Montgomery Blair High School SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND
A public forum for student expression since 1937
March 9, 2018 VOL 80 NO 5
MCPS students protest for gun control at U.S. Capitol By Isabella Tilley
Politicize Parkland By Serena Debesai and Erin Namovicz In June of 2016, a 29-year-old man killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Politicians tweeted out their shock, horror, and condolences to the families of the victims. A month later, 25 Texans were slaughtered while going to church. Speaking a day after the massacre, President Trump stated that the Sutherland Springs shooting was due to failures in addressing mental health issues, but also felt that it was “too soon to go into it.” The aftermath of a mass shooting in America unfolds with a disturbing clock-like predictability that ultimately ends in inaction. The most frustrating reactions to these tragic events are eﬀorts to stiﬂe dialogue around gun control in order to prevent politicizing tragedies “too early” and risk disrespecting the victims. After the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, even the survivors themselves were criticized for their immediate calls for common sense gun control.
see WALKOUT page A4
MARISSA HE AND CARLY TAGEN-DYE
An estimated 2,100 MCPS high school students walked out of school on Wednesday, Feb. 21 in response to the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 14 students and 3 staﬀ members. Most of the MCPS students who walked out gathered outside the U.S. Capitol Building to demand stricter gun control laws. An estimated 670 Blair students participated in the walk-out. Students from Albert Einstein, Northwood, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Walter Johnson, Richard Montgomery, Thomas S. Wootton, and Takoma Park Middle School attended the protest as well. Student protesters voiced feelings of anger and frustration, and a
desire to be safe from gun violence. “All students should be able to feel safe in their schools because that’s the one place that we’re promised education and safety,” sophomore Leoul Verhanu said. Protest organizer and Richard Montgomery senior Daniel Gelillo said his goal with the protest was to show lawmakers that young people, like himself, feel passionately about the issue of gun control, and to warn them that students will make their opinions known in the upcoming midterm elections. “A lot of the people that were here today are going to be able to vote in the 2018 and 2020 elections, and if you don’t listen to what we have to say now … you’re not going to win
see WALKOUT page D3
Parkland students come to Blair By Adenike Falade Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Fla. visited Blair on the evening of Feb. 26 to discuss their gun control platform with hundreds of Montgomery County students. The eight students and two alumni, joined by their Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22), arrived in the wake of the deadly shooting at their school and the protests for improved gun legislation that high schoolers across the county organized in response. Representative Jamie Raskin (MD8) and Principal Renay Johnson planned the event the day before. After a performance from
members of Blair’s chorus and the Sankofa cast, Raskin took to the stage to introduce Deutch and the survivors from Florida. Deutch opened the meeting with a moment of silence for the 17 victims lost in the shooting as he read aloud their names. He asserted that too many tragedies are followed by silence and said that “this is the generation that will insist upon change.” The MSD students were junior Jaclyn Corin, senior Delaney Tarr, senior Sophie Whitney, junior Alfonso Calderon, junior Alex Wind, senior Kevin Trejos, senior Ryan Deitsch, and senior Chris Grady. They were accompanied by alum-
see PARKLAND page A2
Retired Blair Magnet teacher accused of sexual harrassment By Mindy Burton and Lucy Gavin Where only ﬁrst names appear, names have been changed to protect the identity of the sources. Anne LeVeque is not the type of person to take anything sitting down. At her workplace in the 1980s, an environment in which women were actively discouraged from reporting instances of sexual harassment, she was not afraid to complain about a male client who was infamous for harassing the women on the secretarial staﬀ. “My mother has spent a lot of her life ﬁghting very actively against sexism, sexual harassment and sexual predators,” her daughter Julia Bates says. So, when Bates told her mother about a teacher
who she heard was sexually harassing students, LeVeque knew she had to take action. Bates was a junior in the Communication Arts Program when she began hearing troubling stories from her friends in the Science, Math, and Computer Science Magnet Program. They all echoed the same sentiment — that they felt uncomfortable with their math teacher Eric Walstein’s comments about their bodies, seeming lack of intelligence, and frequent references to the sexual relations of his past students. As Bates’ friends lamented their experiences to her, she became increasingly worried and she conﬁded in her mother, who told her to
see WALSTEIN page D3
Analizando los cambios del rol de la cena en las familias latinas
The groundbreaking cultural impact of Black Panther
A guide to creating some of Blazer’s family recipes at home
Teachers who were on track to becoming professional athletes
LA ESQUINA LATINA C1
CHIPS CLIPS E6
A2 News silverchips Montgomery Blair High School 51 University Boulevard East Silver Spring, MD 20901 Phone: (301) 649-2864 Winner of the 2015 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Winner of the 2015 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Editors-in-Chief: Alexander Dacy and Olivia Gonzalez Managing News Editors: Gilda Geist and Leila Jackson Managing Op/Ed Editors: Serena Debesai and Erin Namovicz Managing Features Editors: Cole Greenberg and Isabella Tilley Managing Entertainment Editors: Emma Cross and Hermela Mengesha Managing Sports Editor: Henry Wiebe Ombudsman: Laura Espinoza Newsbriefs Editors: Gilda Geist and Leila Jackson Page Editors: Anson Berns Mindy Burton Elise Cauton Noah Chopra-Khan Miranda Rose Daly William Donaldson Arshiya Dutta Adenike Falade Lucy Gavin Hannah Lee Elias Monastersky Camden Roberts Marlena Tyldesley La Esquina Latina Editors-in-Chief: Michael Hernández and Sofía Muñoz La Esquina Latina Writers: Amanda Hernández Jasmine Méndez-Paredes Lourdes Reyes Yesenia Sorto Executive Business Directors: Karen Depenyou and Ariel Zhang Business Staﬀ: Siena Butters Julia Henderson Honor Kalala Alyssa Ma Ray Mizui Matt Morris Olena Zelinsky Managing Photo Editor: Chaminda Hangilipola and Sami Mallon Photographers: Avery Brooks Jedediah Grady Elia Griﬃn Amarins Laanstra-Corn Hannah Schwartz Maggie Lin Managing Media Coordinators: Ben Miller Aidan Lambiotte Managing Art Editors: Carly Tagen-Dye and Marissa He Artists: Elaine Cheng Jenny Cueva-Diaz Niamh Ducey Seoyoung Joo Amy Krimm Kelley Li Avery Liou Meng Ming Luo Tiﬀany Mao Aritra Roy Sally Zhao Ivvone Zhou Managing Design Editors: Hermela Mengesha and Isabella Tilley Puzzle Editor: Bennett Coukos-Wiley Copy Editors: Ben Abramson Ben Auslin Will Ederer Divya John Brennan Winer La Esquina Latina Advisor: Dianette Coombs Advisor: Jeremy Stelzner Silver Chips is a public forum for student expression. Student editors make all content decisions. Unsigned editorials represent the views of the editorial board and are not necessarily those of the school. Signed letters to the editor are encouraged. Submit your letter to Jeremy Stelzner’s mailbox in the main oﬃce or to silver.chips. firstname.lastname@example.org. Concerns about Silver Chips’ content should be directed to the Ombudsman, the public’s representative to the paper, at ombudsman.silverchips@ gmail.com. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.
March 9, 2018
Eagles and Blazers come together to discuss gun control policy
Florida massacre survivors host a discussion on gun reform from PARKLAND page A1 -ni Matt Deitsch and Kaylyn Pipitone. The students had spent their day meeting with congresspeople on Capitol Hill, including civil rights leader John Lewis (GA-5), to discuss gun control before coming to Blair. The Florida visitors sat on stage with a panel of Montgomery County high school students. The four Blair students on the panel, senior Jedediah Grady, senior Abigail Landesman, senior Alix Swann, and junior Rachel Shereikis, were joined by senior Angelique Wong of Rockville, senior Emily DohlerRodas of Albert Einstein, senior Olivia McCarren of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and senior Daniel Gelillo of Richard Montgomery. Johnson invited these students to sit on the panel to represent Montgomery County as young student leaders and activists. Each panelist gave personal statements about their goals and
plans for gun control going forward. Ryan Deitsch said, “We are teenagers, we have a voice, we can speak out, and they’re gonna listen.” Many students from Florida and Montgomery County alike reiterated that they hoped to see a large turnout at the March for Our Lives scheduled for March 24. Raskin also informed the audience that Mary Beth Tinker, the First Amendment activist from Tinker v. Des Moines, will attend the march to support students’ right to protest. Students then lined up in the auditorium aisles to ask the panel a series of questions. President Donald Trump, the National Riﬂe Association, and the March 24 protest were frequently brought up. Corin stated that the MSD students’ main goals are to ban highcapacity magazines, strengthen comprehensive background checks, and close gun show loopholes. A high-capacity magazine is a form
of ammunition storage that allows a gun to hold more rounds than it is normally capable of holding. Wind emphasized that everyone should be concerned with gun control. “Last year, our city, Parkland, Florida, was voted the safest city in Fla.,” he said. “It can happen in any city, even a small town.” When students asked the panel about whether the issues of mental health and social isolation played a role in their tragedy, they quickly refuted that argument. “People are using it [mental health] as a scapegoat to avoid talking about gun control,” Tarr said. McCarren noted that “America isn’t the only country with mentally ill people; it’s just the only country where mentally ill people have access to guns.” Tarr also explained that attributing the shooter’s actions to his isolated behavior is “damaging to other outcasts and a harmful narrative to push.” Another student asked if the
Parkland students plan to address handguns, but they are currently focusing on assault weapons since they are usually involved in mass shootings. In addition to the discussions and demonstrations that have taken place around the country, the Montgomery County and Parkland students plan to do more. “We can talk to people in other parts of the county, [even] in other parts of Maryland, that may not agree with us,” Swann, Blair’s SGA President, said. She also recommended that people register to vote as another way to inﬂuence change. Chris Grady said he wants as many people as possible working hard to make a diﬀerence in gun legislation. “We need everybody on March 24 and… every single day after that if real change is gonna come,” said Grady.
By request of the MSD students, no photos of the event have been included.
MCPS experiencing increase in violent threats Shooting and bomb threats surge after Clarksburg scare By Isabella Tilley In the two weeks following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., at least ﬁve MCPS middle and high schools have received violent threats. According to Montgomery County Police (MCP) spokesperson Rick Goodale, it is unusual for schools to receive this many threats in such a short amount of time. Albert Einstein received an email saying that there was an explosive device outside the building on March 1, a day after police investigated reports that a student brought a gun to Silver Spring International Middle School. Both of these incidents occurred a week after both Walter Johnson and Winston Churchill received phone calls warning of explosive devices inside the school building on Feb. 21. MCP investigated each of these threats and found that they were all false. On Feb. 16, a Northwest student was arrested and charged with disrupting school after making a social media post telling students that they should not come to school. According to Bethesda Magazine, Northwest intensiﬁed its security that day in response to the online
threat. According to Goodale, MCP will investigate each threat fully, and charge the people responsible for the threats. A recent MCP press release states that those who make threats can be charged with “Disorderly Conduct/Disruption of School Activities,” “Threat of Mass Violence,” and/or “Threat of Arson/ Destructive devices.” These threats follow an incident in which a Clarksburg senior brought a gun to school. Around 2 p.m. on Feb. 15, Clarksburg’s student resource oﬃcer (SRO) received a report that 18-year-old Alwin Chen might be in possession of a weapon. Upon locating Chen and searching his belongings, the SRO discovered a handgun and knife. According to an MCP press release, detectives searched Chen’s house that evening and seized two riﬂes, a shotgun, two handguns, ammunition, replica grenades, a ballistic vest, a replica electrical ﬁring device, and Chen’s journal. At the time of the press release, there was no indication that the guns belong to anyone except the household members. Chen is being held on no bond status, and the investi-
gation is ongoing. According to the MCPS Student Code of Conduct, bringing a ﬁrearm to school is a level ﬁve offense, and can result in long-term suspension, recommendation for expulsion, or referral to alternative education. Clarksburg principal Edward Owusu was unable to comment on the details of Chen’s punishment. In response to this incident, Clarksburg is instituting additional emergency drills, as well as a “See Something, Text Something” resource for students to text an administrator if they notice anything dangerous. The additional emergency drills will take place before school, during transition periods, during lunch, and after school, rather than only during instruction time. “We’re looking at not just the normal times when students and teachers are in classrooms but … all the diﬀerent times that anything can happen,” Owusu said. Owusu said that Clarksburg is continuing to enforce existing security policies, like maintaining locked doors and using a visitor management system similar to the one Blair recently implemented. Blair’s new visitor management
system prevents visitors from entering the building without ﬁrst ringing a doorbell and speaking to someone from the main oﬃce over an intercom system. The system also allows the person in the main oﬃce to see the visitor before letting them in. Blair principal Renay Johnson said that the system was implemented as a direct reaction to the Clarksburg incident, as well as the Parkland shooting. “I often meet with my administrative team and security, and I said, ‘Are we doing everything that we can, using every tool we have to ensure that our kids are safe?’” Johnson said. According to Owusu, parents, as well as schools, have a role to play in keeping students safe. “The question also has to be asked … ‘How does a parent keep a weapon outside of the hands of the student?’” he said. Owusu emphasized the importance of positive parent-child relationships for fulﬁlling this goal. “[Parents] need to keep having that positive relationship so that they know when things are awry, because everything kind of starts at home ﬁrst,” he said.
March 9, 2018
Maryland General Assembly bill roundup State lawmakers are meeting to introduce and review new legislation
kid who has played [tackle football] versus a kid who has not,” On the other hand, many concerned parents and school staﬀ are glad to know that contact sports will be played less by younger children, as immature brains are more prone to brain injuries. In an interview by the Diamondback with Delegate Hill, she said, “It’s not about concussions, it’s about repeated head trauma,” adding that this is “particularly problematic for developing brains.”
By Arshiya Dutta The 2018 Maryland General Assembly went into session on Jan. 10 and will remain active until April 9. During this period, House Delegates and State Senators are scheduled to discuss a variety of bills that will aﬀect the Blair community. The following bills are either currently being debated, or have been recently passed.
Rape Survivor Family Protection Act
On Feb. 13, Governor Larry Hogan signed the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, after it was passed unanimously by the Maryland House and Senate. This legislation prohibits rapists from having parental rights over the children of their victims. Under the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, rapists will face the consequences of their crime, starting with a legal divide between offenders and victims’ families. The act authorizes a court to retract parental rights of respondents if they are found guilty of rape, or “either convicted of, or [found] by clear and convincing evidence that [they] committed, an act of nonconsensual sexual conduct against the other parent that resulted in the conception of the child at issue,” according to the bill. After about ten years of ﬁghting within the state assembly over terminating rapists’ rights to custody of their victims’ children, Governor Hogan managed to sign the act into law. In a press release from the governor’s oﬃce, Hogan said that, while the legislation’s passing was necessary, it should have been enacted much earlier. “Our administration made a commitment to work with legislative leaders
to pass this important and long overdue legislation,” he said. “Today, I am proud to sign this bill into law.” According to Frederica Struse, bill sponsor Senator Brian Feldman’s chief of staﬀ, this law is being implemented as an emergency bill. “It took so long because there are many legal questions that had been brought up in committee that had to be resolved,” she said. “Now, the governor has signed it into an emergency bill, which is very important— that means that the bill is enacted right away as opposed to waiting until June or October.”
the Senate on March 7. This act prohibits the use of conversion therapy by healthcare practitioners on patients who are minors. The act states that health practitioners who use conversion therapy will be subject to scrutiny by a licensing or certifying board, and will be unable to apply for state funding. Conversion therapy, also
the patient.” With the passage of this bill, this form of homophobia and psychological torment will be banned in the state of Maryland.
Family Life and Human Sexuality Curriculum Act
ages sexual promiscuity, or that the topic paints men as sexual predators. Supporters assert that consent must be taught at an early age to emphasize its importance in relationships later in life.
Public Schools and Youth Sports Programs Bill The Public Schools and Youth Sports Programs Bill, which is currently being proposed by Delegate Terri Hill, prohibits children under the age of 14 on public teams from participating in contact sports on public facilities. This bill applies to tackle football and soccer teams that allow heading, as well as lacrosse and ice hockey teams that permit checking. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Delegate Hill said that the dangers of playing such highcontact sports are life-long, and the epidemic of sports-induced brain injuries is a “public health
Traveling Elephants Acts
The Traveling Elephants Acts, sponsored by Delegate Aruna Miller, prohibits the use of elephants in traveling animal shows, including carnivals, circuses, and fairs. This bill penalizes oﬀenders with a ﬁne of up to $10,000. Elephants who participate in traveling shows are not protected by the state by any other legislation, and therefore do not have rights. As a result, these animals can be subject to inhumane living conditions, living in conﬁned quarters without temperature moderation. The precedent concerning animals in circus acts in Maryland bans the usage of exotic animals, such as crocodiles, lions, and tigers, but does not prohibit them from travelling through the state. This law will further protect animals that were used in shows such as the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. Nestor Jimenez, aid for Delegate Miller, says that elephants are more
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known as “reparative therapy,” is a practice in which medical professionals attempt to change their patient’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. The methods of this practice, including shock therapy, public shaming, induced vomiting, hypnosis, and violent role play, are not scientiﬁcally proven to be eﬀective. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “In the last four decades, ‘reparative’ therapists have not produced any rigorous scientiﬁc research to substantiate their claims of cure.” The Youth Mental Health Protection Act outlines the extent of issues with conversion therapy in Maryland, and takes actions against the practice. The APA says “the potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce selfhatred already experienced by
In response to the growing #MeToo movement and reports of sexual assault on college campuses, the Family Life and Human Sexuality Curriculum Act was passed by both the House and Senate (when?). This act, sponsored by Delegate Ariana B. Kelly, mandates that all Maryland public schools provide ageappropriate instruction on sexual consent as a part of the Family Life and Human Sexuality curriculum. The bill requires that consent must be introduced at least once in middle school and once in high school. The responsibility of creating curriculum requirements would be left to local school boards. This bill was introduced in hopes of creating a safe environment for future generations in both college campuses and in all other walks of life. According to the Washington Post, the act is “highly polarizing,” as many people believe that consent education encour-
issue.” These high-collision sports would not be banned when played in private schools or clubs, but they would no longer be permitted on public ﬁelds and schools. Several tackle football teams have issues with this bill, arguing that banning these sports will increase inner city crime or be a waste of valuable athletic talent. According to an interview by the Diamondback with Patrick Cilento, varsity football head coach at the Bullis School, “You can tell the diﬀerence between a
susceptible to abuse compared to other circus animals. “[This bill] is absolutely important because elephants, due to their large body mass, are more likely to be abused in order to do acts in a circus. The statistics have shown that compared to tigers and lions and other animals, elephants are more likely to be abused in order for them to perform,” Jimenez said. According to a WTOP interview with Delegate Miller, this law was created to stand up for animals who cannot advocate for themselves.
Youth Mental Health Protection Act
The Youth Mental Health Protection Act was ﬁrst introduced on Feb. 5, and will be heard in the House on March 1 and in
Maryland places second in nation in Advanced Placement success Maryland ranked second in the country in AP test performance, with 31.2 percent of its class of 2017 earning a passing score of 3 or higher on at least one AP test, according to College Board’s annual ranking. Maryland slipped behind Massachusetts for the second time since 2016 in the past decade, which finished first with 32.1 percent of their class of 2017 earning a passing score. Connecticut, California, and Florida also exceeded 30 percent. Education experts such as Trevor Packer, who runs the AP program at College Board, determined that Maryland’s outcome was due to federal funding from the Maryland State Department of Education. Packer said that the funding assistance caused the number of low-income students taking AP exams to increase significantly, which had a dramatic impact on Maryland’s ranking, according to the Baltimore Sun.
SMOB Nominating Convention selects final two candidates Richard Montgomery juniors Nimah Nayel and Ananya Tadiknoda were selected as the final two candidates in the annual Student Member of the Board (SMOB) election, set to occur on April 25. On her campaign website, Nayel said she advocates for project-based learning, (including LGBTQ+ education in the health curriculum), introducing more extracurricular programs in elementary and middle schools to reduce the achievement gap, and making lunches available year-round for families in need. Tadikonda’s key platforms include advocating for the removal of Wi-Fi blocks on social media, maximizing the amount of teacher-student class time interaction, decreasing class sizes, increasing funding to cover AP and IB exam costs, and permitting open lunch, according to her campaign website.
Montgomery County sues 14 opioid drug companies Montgomery County filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors for deceptive marketing and failure to report suspicious sales. The county accused the companies for violating county and state consumer protection acts as well as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which extends criminal penalties for acts performed as a part of an ongoing criminal organization. The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 6, stated that overdose deaths from prescription opioids in Montgomery County increased from 27 in 2010 to 117 in 2016. Other jurisdictions in Maryland, including Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties, have filed similar lawsuits in efforts to stop the companies’ advertising practices and to regain money the county has spent toward addressing the opioid epidemic. Attorneys who filed the lawsuit stated that the case will most likely be transferred from the Maryland District Court to a federal court, according to Bethesda Magazine. Newsbriefs compiled by Hannah Lee
March 9, 2018
Students leave school to protest gun violence
MCPS students gather at the Capitol in response to Parkland shooting from WALKOUT page A1 reelection,” he said. “We’re going to take our voices to the ballot box and vote out any politician who’s bought and owned by the NRA.” Gelillo came up with the idea for a walk-out the day after the Parkland shooting. He posted an event announcement on Facebook and spread the word to his friends at other Montgomery County high schools. The night before the walkout, he spoke on TV to promote the event. Gelillo said that he wanted to organize this protest as quickly as possible in order to ensure the issue stays in the news. “Being able to mobilize fast was really important, because God knows what can happen in between now and these national marches,” Gelillo said. “Maybe this won’t even be a relevant part of the conversation and it will have been drowned out by whatever other things happen in the next couple weeks.” Principal Renay Johnson found out about the protest when students approached her to ask about the consequences of walking out. Johnson later released a letter informing parents and students that students were expected to be on campus, and that those who did participate in the walk-out would receive unexcused absences. Upon finding out about the walk-out, Johnson communicated with Blair’s senior resource officer (SRO) to ensure that students who did participate in the protest would be protected by the police.
“While we didn’t encourage [the walk-out] … once [students] did leave, I wanted Officer Junious [the SRO] to talk with the units to ensure that there would be a police presence,” Johnson said. Johnson also organized a forum during lunch in the media center on the day of the walk-out to give students who did not wish to leave school a chance to express their thoughts. “We … want to keep [students] safe inside the building, have a forum for them to exercise
their freedom of speech at school where it’s safe and there’s staff to supervise them,” she said. Aside from receiving an unexcused absence, MCPS students who participated in the walk-out were not further disciplined. Albert Einstein principal James Fernandez said that he received an email from Deputy Superintendent Kimberly Statham instructing him to let the students leave school if they wanted to. “We did get an email from Dr. Statham … telling
us that kids have a right to express their opinion, they have a right to assemble, and basically telling us to let them go,” he said. This walk-out was one of the first protests in a series of gun control rallies planned for the month of March. MCPS students are planning on joining another walk-out on March 14, and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are organizing a national protest in D.C. on March 24.
THE FIRST AMENDMENT Students from schools across Montgomery County gather at Union Station to hear speeches and protest gun laws in America in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
MCPS launches pilot program for magnet schools
All students will now be screened, rather than submitting applications By Mindy Burton MCPS’s procedure for selecting students for Gifted and Talented (GT) programs, which encompass elementary school centers and middle school magnets, changed this year from an opt-in application and testing to a countywide screening of all third and fifth grade students through a standardized test and application. This field test was implemented to open access to specialized programs through universal screening and expanding local programs in students’ home schools. Following notification of acceptances to the programs in mid-February, there has been some backlash from parents of students who qualified in the 99th percentile in testing but were rejected from programs. According to the MCPS Special Program website, the Centers for Enriched Studies (CES) provide “a learning environment for Grade 4 and Grade 5 students that enriches, accelerates, and extends the MCPS curriculum … to meet the needs of highly gifted and motivated learners in language arts, science, and social studies.” This school year, all third grade students were reviewed for candidacy for CES, as opposed to the prior procedure of parents submitting an application for their children, who then opted-in to testing. CES programs are designed for fourth and fifth grade “students whose needs cannot easily be met in their home school and are seen as outliers amongst their peers,” according to a CES meeting presentation. In September, all families with third grade students were notified of the CES admittance process by mail, and in February, these students were reviewed
for eligibility to test into the programs. Eligible students then took an “above-grade level” assessment, according to the CES presentation. With the pilot program, students will be chosen based on academic performance, standardized tests, their local peer group, and potential for success with accelerated and enriched instruction. Middle school magnet programs are divided into two categories: lottery and application-based. Only applicationbased programs were affected by this pilot program change. According to an email from the Gifted Child Committee (GCC) of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations (MCCPTA), all fifth grade students in elementary schools that feed into Eastern and Takoma Park, middle schools that host magnet programs, were screened this year to assess potential qualification. Over 4,000 students were identified, in comparison to about 800 students who had chosen to apply in previous years. The pilot program consisted of “field tests” which evaluated students’ report cards, Measures of Adequate Progress in Reading and Math percentile ranks, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers achievement levels, instructional need for similarly academically advanced peers, student services (such as English for Speakers of Other Languages, 504 accommodations plans, and Free and Reduced Meals), and scores on the Cognitive Test of Abilities Test (CogAT), according to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents regarding the Eastern and Takoma Park magnet programs. In a Sept. 12 memorandum to the BOE, Superintendent Jack
Smith said that the aims of the redesigned admissions process are to ease and increase access to specialized programs and improve the standards for gifted education. “Using the lessons learned during the elementary school field test for the Centers for Enriched Studies, the middle school magnet field test will increase access and opportunity for students, alleviate the burden on parents/guardians to identify and advocate for their student, and provide the school system with a snapshot of student need for enriched and accelerated instruction,” Smith wrote.
“I think [it] would help us reach some kids that may not have applied but have a need for programs like this.” -Peter Ostrander Students were selected based on a “pattern of performance and a demonstrated need for accelerated and enriched instruction,” according to the FAQ document. MCPS defines instructional need as the “availability of an academic peer group within [the students’] local school.” If more than 20 students in a school are within a “comparable academic range,” this constitutes a peer group, signifying that high-scoring students from that school may not be admitted to magnet programs.
The restriction on admittance from peer groups has incited backlash from parents whose students ranked in the 99th percentile of the CogAT and were denied admission. The GCC advises these parents to appeal the decision, as they think it is “a critical step to bring [Board of Education] members the awareness of the caliber of [the] student that is being denied entrance to the magnet programs and the fallacy of the reasoning for it.” Junior Soumith Gadila said he believes that his fifth grade sister at Travilah Elementary was rejected from the Takoma Park and Eastern magnet programs because of this change in the admissions process. Her home school is Thomas Sprigg Wootton, and she scored highly on the CogAT. “Her and her friends all received percentiles of 99 or 98 and none of them made it,” Gadila said. Magnet Coordinator Peter Ostrander said that he thinks that many families in the county are not aware of the current high school magnet admissions process and that universal screening might be a viable way to target more students. However, eliminating magnet programs in favor of accelerated peer groups at home schools has its drawbacks, because it is more difficult to specialize peer group curricula and they may be more costly than the magnet programs. “I think things like that [universal screening] are very well needed … I think [it] would help us reach some kids that may not have applied but have a need for programs like ours,” Ostrander said. “There’s been a little more focus on whether your home school can meet your needs or not, and that’s really tough for high school…because it’s harder to program and more costly to program for those [specific interests].”
March 9, 2018
Students share explicit pictures
By Camden Roberts Montgomery County middle school students sent nude photographs to an anonymous Snapchat user in January. The photos were then shared with other MCPS students over a password protected website. Students at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School in Silver Spring, William H. Farquhar Middle School in Olney, and a third, unnamed middle school were involved in the incident. An anonymous account added the students on Snapchat and reportedly requested that they send nude pictures of themselves. When students complied, the photos were uploaded to a password protected website. The password was then sent to other MCPS students. On January 23, students at A. Mario Loiederman brought the incident to the attention of principal Nicole Sosik, who contacted the police. A letter was sent home with students to inform their parents of the situation. Sosik also contacted MCPS’s central oﬃce, as schools are required to do when they contact police. The administration at William H. Farquhar Middle School could not be reached for comment. In a letter to parents, MCPS summarized the incident, saying “Montgomery County Public Schools has received multiple re-
ports from community members that one or more individuals is posting inappropriate content on a private social media platform, including nude images of MCPS students.” The letter did not mention which schools were aﬀected, or any further details. Speaking to WAMU, MCPS spokesperson Derek Turner said the county believes 10 or more students have been involved or sent photos. The county also believes that the problem is no longer concentrated at the three middle schools. “We’re hearing more and more reports of students being approached and given passwords for the site. We’re seeing that it’s hitting not just part of the county, but all of the county,” he told WAMU. In the three middle schools, there has been an increased focus on cybersecurity since the website was uncovered. “[Students] have communicated that they are much more aware of who they are interacting with on social media,” Sosik said in an email. There has also been a movement to educate parents more about students’ use of the internet. “I coordinated with the other school that was mentioned in the media ... to access social media resources for parents,” Sosik said. A. Mario Loiederman also hosted a workshop on February 28 for parents to learn about safety on social media.
County officials pledge conﬁdentiality to Amazon County signs non-disclosure agreement amidst HQ2 negotiations
By Adenike Falade Montgomery County recently signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Amazon concerning negotiations over hosting Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). The company required its 20 ﬁnalists to pledge silence about the process and to reveal nothing to the public. The county will no longer be allowed to disclose information about any agreements or promises made with Amazon. According to WAMU, Patrick Laceﬁeld was the only oﬃcial to formally acknowledge that an NDA was signed for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. However, WAMU has conﬁrmed that other locations signed agreements as well. Laceﬁeld, the county’s Director of Public Information, disclosed that the county did agree to keep dealings with Amazon secret. “We have signed a nondisclosure agreement for conﬁdentiality as we move through this process to bring Amazon’s second HQ to the County,” he wrote in an email. Amazon is also looking at big cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, Northern Virginia, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. as possible locations for their second headquarters. WAMU conﬁrmed that Washington, D.C., Virginia, Newark, and Pittsburgh signed NDAs with the company also.
The internet conglomerate—which is currently headquartered in Seattle, Washington—promises to bring up to 50,000 new jobs and invest up to $5 billion dollars in development in whichever region it chooses for the new headquarters. Delegate David Moon of Silver Spring especially anticipates the economic beneﬁts HQ2 would bring to the county, according to Bethesda Magazine. Said promises have state oﬃcials oﬀering incentives to woo Amazon to select this region; Governor Larry Hogan has oﬀered $3 billion in tax incentives and $2 billion for transportation improvements in Montgomery County. County Executive Ike Leggett supported these incentives and asked members of the state legislative delegation to remain silent about their opposition to Hogan’s policies in response to Hogan’s proposal. Oﬃcials claimed that the state is pitching the White Flint Area in North Bethesda as a possible location. According to Bethesda Beat, Governor Hogan said he fears that Montgomery County’s strict business regulations inhibit its ability to compete with other counties. According to Bethesda Magazine, Governor Hogan said HQ2 “would have just an incredible, transformative impact on the region.” He said that Montgomery County’s proposal will be ﬁnalized by March 1, while Amazon is expected to make their decision by the end of the year.
Up and Coming March 16 International Night
March 18, 2:00 p.m. Swingin’ Sounds for Senior Citizens
March 26 - April 2 Spring Break
April 9 End of 3rd quarter, early release day
Student and Teacher Awards & Honors Social studies teacher Kenneth Smith was named Montgomery County Teacher of the Year by the Washington Post.
Sophomores Hemakashi Gordy and Jansikwe Medina-Tayac won the C-SPAN Student Cam fan favorite and ﬁrst prize.
Senior Michael Yin wins the Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education Student Essay Contest.
CAP teacher Helen Lyons was nominated for the Scripps Howard Journalism Award.
Junior Mindy Burton received the Congressional Award Gold Medal which recognizes initiative, service, and achievement.
Juniors Haydn Gwyn, Ryan Tse, and Anson Berns earned perfect scores on the AP Computer Science A exam.
MCPS employees arrested for drug possession
TURF WAR The field at Blazer Stadium had to be replaced in 2017 because of significant wear. FieldTurf, the supplier, is accused of providing defective turf.
Montgomery Parks joins class-action turf lawsuit By Anson Berns The Montgomery County Parks department, which owns Blazer Stadium, joined a class-action lawsuit against the artificial turf company FieldTurf in December. The suit was first filed in October, and includes complaints from clients of FieldTurf in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs alleged that the company knowingly sold defective turf that would wear faster than advertised. Four other schools in Montgomery County have turf fields supplied by FieldTurf, all of which are owned by MCPS. The school district is also considering joining the lawsuit. A 2016 New Jersey Advance Media investigation entitled “The 100 Yard Deception” discovered internal emails between FieldTurf employees discussing the alleged fraud. In one such email, FieldTurf CEO John Gilman’s son Ken Gilman reportedly admitted that the company had knowledge of the defective product Duraspine, the fiber FieldTurf used to make the fields in question. “In all likelihood,” Ken Gilman was reported saying, “in years 5 and 6 these Duraspine fields will be matted down and [shredding] pretty heavily.”
March 9, 2018
In a press release, FieldTurf declared that allegations that it defrauded its customers by knowingly selling a defective product were “completely false.” The company claimed that they were the victims of a “bait and switch” fraud perpetrated by their former fiber supplier, a Saudi Arabia-based company called Mattex, in which they received a different fiber than the one initially advertised. Because of the ongoing status of the litigation, Montgomery Parks outreach director Melissa Chotiner was unable to comment in detail on its causes. “The legal counsel reviewed different options, and decided that joining the class action lawsuit was the best option,” Chotiner said. However, the department did confirm that the replacement of the Blair field was due to degeneration of the turf while the field was still under warranty. “The carpet on the artificial turf field at Blair High School has deteriorated and is heavily worn,” Montgomery Parks director Michael Riley said in a press release from January 2017. The turf at Blair’s field was replaced in winter of 2017 because of wear. The material used for the replacement, a plant-based fiber primarily composed of coconut husks, was provided by Shaw Sports Turf.
Counselor at Sherwood and technology teacher at Wheaton enter not-guilty pleas By Lucy Gavin Two MCPS employees were arrested on Feb. 1 in a Washington, D.C. sports bar for possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. One employee was Erin McKenna, a Sherwood counselor. The other was Scott Price, a part-time technology education teacher at Wheaton and a part-time digital arts teacher at Kingsview Middle School. They were charged with possession of 102 edibles, five brown liquid capsules, nine bags of marijuana, two glass jars of marijuana, and one edible cookie, according to Metro Police’s public incident report. The recovered products tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both McKenna and Price have entered not-guilty pleas and appeared in court on March 7. Some parents were upset after discovering that the two employees returned to their jobs following the incident, according to an ABC7 article. According to MCPS Public Information Officer Derek Turner, the school system was not immediately aware of the arrests. “The complexity here is that we don’t know when people get arrested for misdemeanors in districts that are not our own,” he said. “So the D.C. police department doesn’t notify us if someone has been arrested … we only know if it’s self-reported.” Turner added that police were most likely unaware of McKenna and Price’s pro-
fessions. “My guess is that the D.C. police didn’t know they were Montgomery County public school teachers,” he said. Sherwood sent a statement home to parents and students about the incident. “We have followed all of our reporting protocols and are working with MCPS central office administration on this matter,” the letter said. “The staff member is on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.”
“The staff member is on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.” -Principal William M. Gregory, Sherwood High School
The letter from Wheaton echoed this message while also addressing why Price returned to his job following his arrest. “Our schools were just made aware of this arrest last night,” it stated.
March 9, 2018
Should Montgomery County implement a year round school schedule?
It provides access to important programs The vast majority of public schools in the United States—including those in Montgomery County—are based on a ten-monthlong school year, a system established when America was an agrarian nation. Since most students do not spend their summers cultivating crops to provide for their families, this schedule is outdated and counterproductive to creating a competitive, well-educated society. Instead, MCPS should implement a year-round academic calendar. Implementing year-round education in Montgomery County would not lengthen the school year, but rather divide it up in a different manner. The most CHAMINDA HANGILIPOLA popular plan among schools Miranda Rose Daly across the country that have adopted year-long school is the 45-15 schedule, where the year is divided into four blocks of 45 instructional days and then separated by 15-day breaks. This plan still keeps the same major holiday schedule as the old plan. The major benefit to the 45-15 system is that instructional time is not wasted and student learning is retained since school breaks are far shorter. Often, in the outdated schedule, teachers spend the first few weeks—or even months—reviewing material from the well-known “summer learning loss,” also known as the summer slide; students forget essential concepts, themes, and ideas during the slow summer months. If MCPS were to implement year-round school, the break schedules would allow students time to both relax and retain essential information. The months-long summer break has even tougher consequence for economically disadvantaged students whose families lack the resources to hire tutors or provide three meals a day. With the year-round schedule, students will have continual access to teachers, along with vital resources that are available to lower-income students, such as free and reduced breakfast and lunch. Low-cost meals for students in the current schedule are primarily limited to school months, with only select locations handing out food during the summer months, leaving many students with less access to healthy meals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2016, 30.4 million children nationwide were provided with free or reduced priced-meals during the school year, while only 2.8 million children received meals during the summer—fewer than 10 percent of those in need. With the yearround schedule, it would be much easier to provide students in need with free and reduced meals. Moreover, the extended summer break in the current school calendar poses a threat to parents who rely on school as an engaging environment for their kids nine months
Noelle Efantis freshman
out of the year. A study by The Urban Institute found that low-income families spend a higher percent of their earnings ––14 percent –– on child care during the summer than the percentage of earnings higher income families spend during the summer, 11 percent. In addition to providing students in need with resources, year-long school would help give the United States a competitive edge in worldwide education. Currently, the United States is outperformed by many countries and according to a study by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which measures student performance globally. Moreover, the United States is declining in ranking. In 2015, The United States ranked 41 in the world for math, 24 for reading and 25 for science, which is worse than the 2013 ranking of 30 for math, 20 for reading and 23 for science. A change is needed to break this cycle. Singapore, which is ranked number one in all three categories by PISA has year-round education. The updated schedule will not only relieve strain from low-income families, but also provide a less taxing workload for students. Periods of intense testing are interspersed with short breaks, giving students a chance to recharge and process information, without forgetting important concepts. This forgiving schedule alleviates some of the stress and anxiety put on students and improves mental health. According to a study published by The
Summer break is necessary for students For many Blazers, teachers and students included, summer is a time to lay back and relax. It is the only extended period of time where students can pursue their passions or necessary jobs without the burden of school weighing down on them. More often than not, summer also provides a well needed break from the pressures of school which can have negative effects on students’ mental health. A year long school schedule should not be implemented because of the negative impact that stress can cause for students and the valuable free time that summer proCHAMINDA HANGILIPOLA vides. One of the largest benefits Elise Cauton of summer is the mental and emotional break it provides students; the constant pressure that school places on students is significantly alleviated by summer break. According to a 2014 report from the American Psychological Association (APA), 83 percent of students cited school as a sig-
International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, more vacations can lead to a boost in health. The results show that people are happier when they go on vacation, regardless of length. “This suggests that people derive more happiness from two or more short breaks spread throughout the year, than from having just a single longer holiday once a year,” the study says. Adopting a 45-15 year-round school schedule would provide MCPS students with a more engaging, forgiving, and rewarding learning environment for students and families. The school system must adjust to the needs of its students and to the reality of the modern, global world.
nificant source of stress, with 27 percent experiencing extreme stress during the school year. During the summer, however, only 13 percent of the students reported stress. The 14 percent decrease during the summer displays the positive impact the prolonged break has on students’ mental health, a break that year round school would take away. Untreated and constant prolonged stress, called chronic stress, can lead to a range of debilitating psychological and physical effects. According to the APA, “untreated chronic stress can result in serious health condi-
tions including anxiety, insomnia … [and] depression,” symptoms that are already all too familiar for students today. Summer suspends the stress caused by school, and can alleviate the negative effects that year round school would only worsen. Summer break allows students to not only recharge their brains, but also their bank accounts. Summer jobs benefit students financially, while providing valuable work experience, and confidence that they can use throughout the rest of their lives. Many students, however, can only find time to work during the long summer months. These jobs can range from working at a restaurant to a summer camp. The summer months also provides those that support their families with an uninterrupted schedule that maximizes the number of hours they can work in a week. Either way, students gain a glimpse of what it is like to be employed in the workforce. The overwhelming schedules of homework, school-related extracurriculars, and sports are already too much of a time commitment for students making employment particularly difficult during the school year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that during the summer of 2016, 34 percent more sixteen- to nineteen-year-olds worked compared to the school year. Year round school might sound appealing in theory because of the academic benefits it can provide students, but it is not a monetarily feasible choice for MCPS. If the year round schedule that the county was considering were to be implemented, thirty days of school would be added. According to research conducted by MCPS for one proposal of year round school, which includes adding additional days to the school schedule in the summer months, the estimated cost would be around 206 million dollars, including benefits, for teachers and support staff. This estimate omits a plethora of other important expenditures, including utilities for schools and transportation. David Blazar, an assistant professor of education policy at the University of Maryland recognizes the logistical challenges that would result from changing the school schedule, specifically if teachers would need to work more hours, such as in the model MCPS considered. “The biggest financial component of [a change] would be salaries,” Blazar explained. “[You would need to] be paying teachers more, that assumes that the change in the schedule is requiring more time of teachers.” Summer break is a staple part of the American school year schedule. It provides students with an extended period of time to forget about the worries of school and be liberated from the confines of a classroom. Considering the infeasibility of converting to a year-round school system in our county, MCPS should continue to use the traditional school calendar.
Isaiah Rodriguez junior
Kyesse Bidzimou senior
Matthew Weinsheimer sophomore
Catherine Chisholm senior
“No, we just need more break and it’s just more time to enjoy our life, and enjoy our vacation.”
“No, I’m going to forget everything that I learned those two months.”
“No, I think it would really throw off summer vacations for families.”
“Yes, brain drain is a serious issue, especially for people of lower socioeconomic status.”
“Yes, because I would much rather have more breaks than fewer breaks and more school.”
The ﬁght for our lives
March 9, 2018
Your thoughts and prayers are not enough from POLITICIZE page A1 America is stuck in a cycle of violence that cannot be broken by “thoughts and prayers.” While some eﬀorts to put oﬀ politicizing mass shootings are well-intentioned, doing so makes it increasingly easier to avoid remedying the issue. It is necessary to use the emotional reaction to these events to push for legislative solutions, such as when the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas inspired teenagers nationwide to walk out of school by using social media and impassioned speeches. Had Parkland students waited longer before participating in activism, there would likely be much less momentum surrounding the #NeverAgain movement. Instead, the Parkland shooting continues to be in the public eye, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas students have had the opportunity to meet with the President and legislators at all levels of government. Advocacy groups that were born out of other mass shootings but never received a similar level of national attention, such as Moms Demand Action, founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, have now been able to step into the spotlight and publicize their ﬁght for gun control. There is hope that the activism spurred by the Parkland shooting will serve as a catalyst for legitimate reform. If we never politicize mass shootings and gun violence and fail to treat these issues with a sense of urgency, there will never be time to discuss how these tragedies can be prevented. Gun violence is ingrained in our society; according to The Washington Post, since President Trump declared his candidacy, there have been at least 1000 shooting incidents in which four or more people were killed or wounded, and 40 incidents in which ﬁve or more people were killed. From 2012 to 2016, there have been an average of 35,141 deaths due to guns per year, over 12,000 of
which are homicides, according to the organization Everytown for Gun Safety. It is simply not feasible to delay discourse regarding gun control in order to mourn each death. Arguing for a mourning period can be a purely political strategy that allows gun rights advocates to avoid discussing common sense gun control legislation. The great-
est service that can be done for victims of mass shooting is to ensure that they never happen again—and that means, among other things, using their deaths to ﬁght for gun control. Too many people have died in what are supposed to be safe spaces as a result of gun violence; it is unreasonable to demand that people remain quiet out of respect for
these lost lives. Mourning victims and ﬁghting for gun policy change are not mutually exclusive. Survivors of the Parkland shooting are paying their respects to their fallen classmates by ﬁghting for no more lives to be lost. “We’re mourning the deaths, but [activism] is a way for us to cope with it,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior Kevin Trejos said. “Our way … is to go out, do something, do action, go to the capitol, go to the state capital, and talk to people.” There are countless ways for students to express their voices on the topic of gun control. Students, along with other community members, can band together and participate in the March For Our Lives on March 24. Donating to organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Brady Campaign is one way to exercise economic power; another is boycotting organizations aﬃliated with the NRA. Hosting community dialogues can also spread awareness of common sense gun control. Most importantly, for those who will be of age prior to the November midterm elections, it is essential to cast a ballot in favor of candidates who do not receive funding from the NRA and support gun control. Voting is the only way to hold legislators accountable for the policies they have supported in the past and the organizations with which they are aﬃliated. When politicians opt to avoid discussing gun control, they are letting the lives of gun violence victims fade into obscurity. The appropriate way to mourn is to keep the victims legacies alive. Let their deaths mean more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone, and now most importantly students, should participate in advocating for reforms that will reduce gun violence in the U.S. It is never the wrong time to ﬁght for saving lives.
March 9, 2018
Make Pre-K free-K
BONJOUR LEARNING Immersion students at Sligo Creek Elementary engage in class.
Speaking the same language Immersion is a valuable tool for students’ cognitive development
By Anson Berns An opinion
Of the 133 elementary schools in MCPS, only 13 oﬀer language immersion programs of any kind. Only a tiny fraction of the ready and developing minds in the school system actually get to take advantage of a curriculum that provides immersion. Bilingualism is an increasingly valuable skill in the modern globalized economy that leads to an increased social awareness of global cultures and signiﬁcant increases in standardized test scores and overall critical thinking. As many people as possible should get to experience immersion, rather than only the select few. One of the most tangible beneﬁts of bilingualism is its impact on the economy. The Canadian Heritage Foundation concluded that American workers who had skill in multiple languages had a wage premium of somewhere between two and four percent compared to their monolingual peers. The free market values useful skills, and as the modern economy becomes more and more international, the utility of speaking a second language has only increased. However, a second language seems to be useful even if there are no opportunities to actually speak it. The Canadian Heritage Foundation study found that the wage premium experienced by multilingual workers persisted even when they did not use their second language as part of their work, suggesting some underlying connection between language study and eventual career success. This correlation likely stems from an inherent cognitive beneﬁt to bilingualism. Since bilinguals often have to manage neurological activation of both of their languages, they often perform better on cognitive tests relating to conﬂict management. They have been shown to perform better on the famous Stroop test—in which participants are shown color words in a mismatched color font—and in a 2004 study this advantage was demonstrated to be present from an early age, as bilingual preschoolers outperformed their monolingual counterparts in a similar conﬂict-based experiment that involved sorting colored shapes. These neurological beneﬁts are more signiﬁcant than just inside a laboratory. A 2013 NIH study conﬁrmed a correlation for Illinois students between participation in immersion programs and performance on the State Standards Test. While some of this trend may be due to unequal access to immersion and other language learning opportunities, the scientiﬁc results coupled with the abundance of data suggests at least some relationship between test results—and thus likely college pros-
pects—and bilingualism. The best way to instill this valuable bilingualism into students is through immersion programs. A Belgian study found that after only three years of immersion, eight-year-old children experienced many of the cognitive beneﬁts associated with early bilingualism. These neurological beneﬁts likely come from something called “metalinguistic awareness,” or an understanding of how languages themselves work. One Canadian study conﬁrmed the development of this complex skill over the course of ﬁve years of an immersion program. For all its concrete and measurable beneﬁts, one of the most important opportunities immersion may provide is exposure to a diverse array of global cultures. In immersion classes, students are able to see cultures and societies outside of the one in which they grew up with as valid, thus helping them become a better functioning member of society as well as increasing cohesion in an ever more diverse populace. An Oxford study found that race relations between whites and nonwhites improved simply because of diversity. That is, the more diverse an environment white people were exposed to, the more accepting they were of other races and cultures. By teaching non-language classes in the target language, immersion programs expose children to other cultures in a way that characterizes them as legitimate rather than as an “other,” they are socialized to be more accepting of a wide array of ways of life. Language immersion programs may not be for every student, especially those with unique learning challenges like participants in Special Education programs. However, MCPS should not view this as a barrier to making immersion programs near universal, since the programs can be shaped around the students. For example, even ESOL students could participate in immersion programs through two-way immersion—a type of program MCPS is exploring in ﬁve elementary schools, including Blair feeder schools Oakland Terrace and Rolling Terrace. Under the two-way immersion model, instruction is split between English and a target language (Spanish for all of those schools). Moreover, those student bodies include native speakers of the target language, who reap the beneﬁts of English immersion, while their native English-speaking peers do the same with the target language. The economic, cognitive, and cultural beneﬁts of language immersion are clear and widespread and the opportunity to enjoy them should be aﬀorded to more than the small minority of students who won the lottery for spots in MCPS’s limited programs.
soapbox Were you in a language immersion program? If so, have you beneﬁted? “I have beneﬁtted from it because it made Spanish seem like a much more familiar language” — Liam Orcutt, sophomore “I beneﬁt in that in my regular Spanish classes now, vocabulary and understanding the teacher is a breeze.” — Ruben Moulton-Huber, freshman
Universal preschool should be implemented in Montgomery County By Hannah Lee An opinion Time and time again, school board ofﬁcials and superintendents, such as Craig Rice and Jack Smith, have promised to work towards closing the achievement gap. However, the capacity of Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) enrollment only covers 74 percent of four-year-olds in Montgomery County, according to a 2017 internal report. Without Pre-K, students enter kindergarten already behind in math and reading skills compared to their Pre-K educated peers. When MCPS fails to ensure that all students experience Pre-K education, some children enter kindergarten behind their peers, through no fault of their own, and on the wrong side of the growing achievement gap. To directly improve the achievement gap, MCPS needs to target the problem at the most basic level by making Pre-K education available for every child through universal Pre-K (UPK). The achievement gap, or the signiﬁcant and persistent diﬀerence between the academic achievement of white and Asian students versus black and Latino students, has grown wider over recent years in Montgomery County in terms of academic success, according to a county report. Advanced-level scores for state exams for math among third, ﬁfth, and eighth-graders shows an increasing disparity, which begins early in students’ academic careers.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR EARLY EDUCATION RESEARCH
According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, black and Latino students are already behind in academic skills by nine to 10 months in math and seven to 12 months in reading compared to their white peers when they enter kindergarten. Attempting to reduce the gap that manifests at the start of a child’s public education later in their academic career is ineﬃcient and ineﬀective. A viable solution to prevent such a large performance gap between people of diﬀerent socioeconomic and racial backgrounds is to give students the chance to start from the same place. High-quality UPK has been proven to signiﬁcantly reduce achievement gaps at kindergarten entry. According to a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, UPK not only positively aﬀects children of minority races, but also those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, as the math and reading gap is reduced. Establishing a UPK program is a critical ﬁrst step toward creating equity in
access to early education. Many education experts emphasize the beneﬁts of a diversiﬁed classroom on academic performance and critical thinking skills. UPK oﬀers those beneﬁts by giving children the chance to learn in classrooms consisting of students with diﬀerent socioeconomic and racial backgrounds from a very young age. According to a report from The Century Foundation and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, peers, speciﬁcally within a preschool environment, are essential in establishing learning skills, as children with disparate skills may learn from each other in the daily interactions and play that typically characterize the preschool day. Denae Guzman, Blair Child Development Program Instructor, emphasized how Pre-K education also extensively develops key motor and mental skills before entering Kindergarten. “[Teachers] plan diﬀerent types of activities such as reading, writing, math, art, science, gross motor, and ﬁne motor,” she explained. “[Children] are learning how to develop physical, intellectual, emotional, and social skills.” Despite the clear gains children would receive from UPK, critics often argue that such a program would be detrimental to MCPS’s budget. Implementing UPK in Montgomery County is projected to cost between $113 million and $128 million each year.
The budget spent on UPK is proven to be beneﬁcial, as for the lowest-income children, a year of high-quality preschool education yields a beneﬁt of $84,000 per child as it reduces the cost of special education, remediation, and school support costs while also reducing criminal justice and child welfare costs. UPK can also increase future income for Pre-K participants in adulthood, according to the 2017 Montgomery County Pre-K Report. UPK is a prime solution for closing the achievement gap. Not only would it diversify classrooms for students starting at a young age, it would also allow all parents to have the choice of providing their child a highly beneﬁcial early education. If MCPS is serious about ﬁghting the achievement gap, implementing UPK is the best way for them to keep their word to children waiting to start their education.
Whitewashing his legacy
March 9, 2018
How Martin Luther King’s words have been misinterpreted throughout the years By Arshiya Dutta An opinion “If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new deﬁnition of greatness.” These words from Martin Luther King’s sermon titled “Drum Major Instinct” have resonated for decades, inspiring people and helping them ﬁnd hope in darkness. This year, his words have been elevated to a new accolade: being featured in a pickup truck commercial. During the 2018 Super Bowl, Ram Trucks aired an ad that featured audio from “Drum Major Instinct.” This advertisement is a prime example of how King’s sermons and ideas have been manipulated and commercialized, a symptom of the larger issue that is the whitewashing and distortion of the Civil Rights Movement. The Ram advertisement makes a connection between King’s legacy and the company’s belief in “greater good” through a montage of people loading things into trucks. Needless to say, King’s words have been stretched and shaped to ﬁt a narrative that is completely unrelated to his creed. Not only is the advertisement blatantly disrespectful to King’s messages of public service, it contradicts King’s anti-capitalist agenda. King was a radical socialist, and using his speeches to advertise trucks is a distasteful misrepresentation of his legacy. Perhaps the most ironic part of this situation can be seen in the very speech used in the ad. Ram speciﬁcally cut out a part of the speech where King not only calls out car companies, but Chrysler itself, for making their cars overpriced and gaudy. “You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford. But
it feeds a repressed ego,” he says. While Ram claims that the advertisement embodies King’s beliefs, in reality, King opposed the antics of these companies and their advertisements in the ﬁrst place. But the distortion of King’s message does not limit itself to Super Bowl Sunday. His most fundamental philosophies concerning racial issues are watered down in most of the ways in which they are presented. Classrooms and textbooks often hone in on King’s nonviolent methods to the extent that they erase his more radical beliefs. Many people are taught that King was able to reach his audience eﬀectively through loving and accepting the enemy, when this is not the case. In his famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” King explains his discontent with white moderates, saying, “The Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice … who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action.’” Comparing white moderates to terrorist groups like the KKK highlights that King was not interested in loving his enemies. The exploitation and fabrication of King’s philosophies is only a small portion of the issue. In the 21st century, Americans romanticize the Civil Rights Movement, which is often remembered as a widely successful movement that alleviated America of racism altogether. This is an exaggeration given that progress towards racial equity is still needed. Although the Civil Rights Movement signiﬁcantly improved racial equality, in no way were all of its goals achieved. Black people are still targets of aggression from law enforcement, face entrenched cycles of mass incarceration, and generally do not have equal opportunities compared to their white counterparts. One speciﬁc
goal of the Civil Rights Movement was economic equality for all people, which can be seen in the speeches made during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Economic justice is yet to be achieved in the United States, as unemployment and job discrimination plagues the black community. Thinking that the Civil Rights Movement was a triumphant cure for economic and racial inequality is detrimental, as it can lead people to believe that we live in a colorblind society. People instead picture a wholesome country where everyone works together, such as in the Ram commercial, and proceed to excuse themselves
from any work needed to ﬁx lingering inequality. The most troubling issue with this Ram advertisement, however, is not that they appropriated such a harrowed speech, but that in doing so, the NFL is giving people the false impression that they care about social justice. Is this the same NFL that has let Colin Kaepernick go unsigned for two seasons? Or the same NFL that has kept the name “Redskins” for the Washington team despite the protests? The NFL seems to only care for activism when it makes them money, and while it is disheartening, it is not the least bit surprising.
March 9, 2018
My Blair: Why I Walked Out Jamie Greene Chang, 9
Anika Fenn Gilman, 11
Roman Cannuscio, 9
By Hermela Mengesha
I walked out to show that I am strongly against the NRA and Trump for allowing more people to gain access to guns and die in exchange for money.
Ian Nehrbass, 10
On February 21, I walked out of Blair with 600 of my peers in an effort to demonstrate solidarity with the survivors of the Parkland shootings as well as support for stronger gun control laws. I walked out because I strongly support this issue and I feel that it affects me directly. I was worried about missing certain classes, but I realized that I value my life and safety during my school day more than I value a single unexcused absence. The experience was exhilarating. I felt so powerful being at the Capitol and White House with students from all over Montgomery County. I believe that when you truly want to fight against an issue you believe in, you should show your support however you can.
I walked out because gun violence is a very important subject and I want our school to be safe. Power in numbers.
Lucia Parish-Katz, 11
Sophia Lucarelli, 10 I walked out because I believe that our voices together should be heard now and in the future. The experience was interesting because there was a sense of achievement and freedom whilst marching to Capitol Hill.
Sadie Groberg, 10
I walked out because I believe that gun control will help the problem of shootings. The experience in general was really great.
I went to the walkout in order to support what I believe in. 45 or so years ago, my dad walked out and marched and demonstrated in order to protest the Vietnam War. My parents have always taught me to fight for what I believe in, so I was proud to walkout. We need to show people that we will not sit by and do nothing. We are tired of seeing â€œthoughts and prayersâ€? being sent out after our brothers and sisters are murdered. We are tired of seeing families torn apart, and we are tired of no one talking about it until the next tragedy occurs. I am tired of it. This time, we will keep the pressure on until change happens. I walked out because this should never happen again.
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I walked out to show my support for Parkland and gun reform.
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Keep guns out of our classrooms
March 9, 2018
Arming teachers will do nothing to stop school shootings School shootings have occurred with morbid predictability for over a decade, yet the United States government has done little to prevent them. Following the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., survivors instantly called on elected officials to pass common-sense gun control legislation. In what has become a common trend, however, most solutions proposed by lawmakers avoid guns entirely. But the most ridiculous proposal thus far, and unfortunately one of the few to gain legitimate traction in legislative chambers following the Parkland shooting, is arming teachers with guns. Though 10 states allow teachers to be armed in some capacity, there is little research on its effectiveness. However, it is important to consider that even police officers are not particularly accurate shots when engaged in gunfights. A study by the RAND Center on Quality Policing found that from 1998 to 2006, New York Police Department officers only hit their targets an average of 37 percent of time when only seven or fewer yards away from their target; hit rates fell to 23 percent when further away. There is no reason to think that teachers will be significantly better shots than police officers, and thus no reason to think that they will be able to protect students during in a majority of school shootings. The recently approved Florida “school marshal” program calls for 132 hours of weapons training for school personnel who volunteer to be armed, a similar amount to the average of 110 hours that
police officers received during their academy training, according to a 2006 Department of Justice report. Police officers also have the added advantage of the potential of on-the-job experience as training, yet they still have dishearteningly bad shooting accuracy. Aside from providing more opportunities for students to access a deadly weapon, more guns on campus may not provide much of a deterrent to potential shooters. The threat of being shot upon attacking a campus does not mean much to those potential shooters who are suicidal, and the American Society of Suicidology reported that “individuals who perpetrate murder-suicides are often primarily driven by thoughts of suicide.” According to an FBI study of 160 mass shootings, forty percent of them ended with the shooter ultimately committing suicide, and it is unclear how many more would have committed suicide had they not been shot by a law enforcement officer or bystander. Arming classrooms is not only dangerous but prohibitively expensive. Allocating funding to pursue a potentially ineffective and damaging policy is detrimental to the mission of public schools, considering many school districts already struggle to afford new textbooks and supplies. The Florida state legislative committee’s “school marshal” program would pay for educators’ gun training and a one-time stipend. Meanwhile, public school funding took a severe hit in 2017 at the hands of the Florida state govern-
ment. These public dollars could be better spent enhancing the education of Florida students. If all levels of government are truly committed to protecting students, it makes far more sense to provide funding for initiatives that tackle gun violence and mass shootings at their roots. Proper background check systems ensure that no one with a history of violent behavior can access firearms. Increased resources for mental health provide support systems for students who may be at risk of perpetrating mass shootings. Working to reduce discrimination
and bullying in schools prevents young people from being isolated and ostracized. Banning assault rifles and accessories that enable rapid-fire shooting—such as highcapacity magazines—makes it more difficult for despicable plans to materialize. Neither students nor teachers should ever have to worry about the possibility of being shot on school grounds. Arming teachers with more guns to fix a problem caused by an excess of access to guns is like throwing gasoline on a fire.
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Excellent news: Chocolate can help you lose weight By Laura Espinoza Slim by Chocolate! Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily. In early 2015, newspapers across the world printed articles touting the merits of chocolate on the metabolism and cholesterol levels of those who consumed a bar each day. They all cited the newly published study, “Chocolate with high cocoa content as a weight-loss accelerator” from the International Archives of Medicine by Dr. John Bohannon. As always, there was an alternate motive. Bohannon was actually a science journalist working with a documentary film crew to test how easy it would be to manipulate the media and expose the corrupt world of diet research. He found a bogus science journal willing to publish his work in exchange for payment, played with his statistics to achieve favorable results, and crafted a press release that journalists would snap up. Granted, many of the news outlets, such as KLTV from Texas and Cosmopolitan Germany, that ran the story were not at the peak of well regarded journalism. However, these articles can still spread around the internet like wildfire and serve as an extreme example of a deeper problem in the journalism community: sensationalism. Science, journalism, and change are inherently intertwined. It is a little subtle, but the media and journalists are important political socializers, as well as a link between the government and the people. For years, journalists have exposed politicians and policy-
Ombudsman Laura Espinoza makers to the ideas and needs of the public, forging relationships within the political system so that citizens are well informed on what is happening. In some ways, media coverage can bring attention to a scientific issue that will actually force the local and state governments, but more likely the federal government, to act. However, this two-way street requires trust between the various parties that information is correct and opinions are properly represented. While most journalists do not fall for pranks about chocolate-
powered weight loss, they still rarely do a thorough job of covering science. Any article should be heavily researched and fact checked, with information confirmed by multiple, unconnected sources. Journalists are publishing stories without knowledge of who is benefiting from the free media attention and exactly how the information was spun to shine a positive light on the subject of the article. They are not sourcing information responsibly, which does both them and their readership a severe disservice.
In March 2017, the American Council on Science and Health and RealClearScience released rankings of news outlets based on the quality of their scientific reporting. Celebrated publications, such as The New York Times, Time Magazine, and National Public Radio, had mixed records of or ideologically driven evidence-based reporting, showing that the issue of sensationalizing exists at all levels of journalism. The New York Times, as an example, cites infamous skeptics in many different fields in science and health articles to make coun-
ter arguments, such as alternative remedy advocate Joseph Mercola and anti-GMO contributor Michael Pollan, who give skewed or incorrect information to reporters. Walking the line between controversial and incorrect is unacceptable for trusted news professionals. Prevailing knowledge on dieting and human health rapidly evolve and change, so journalists must do their research to weed out the bad science. Whether cheese prevents or induces cancer is marginally consequential and only slightly confusing if both sides are reported. However, the media frenzy that ensued when a later discredited study claimed the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine caused autism has now led to an uptick in those diseases within the United States whereas before they were almost eradicated. Sensationalism can have real effects that can only be identified with 20/20 hindsight. Journalists need to do a better job of discussing statistics, science, and other topics that they do not understand. It is okay to not be an expert on quantum mechanics and bioengineering as long as these writers do their best to research topics before reporting on them. Not only is it annoying when stories are sensationalized, but it leads to a general mistrust of journalism that can be dangerous when the news is trying to get people to pay attention to something truly important. But in the end, it is also up to readers to identify sketchy news websites and outrageous articles. If all else fails, take the advice of the age-old journalism adage: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.
9 de marzo, 2018
La Esquina Latina
Silver Chips el 9 de marzo 2018
Tiroteo en escuela superior de Florida deja estremecida a la nación Estudiantes toman la iniciativa para que esto nunca vuelva a pasar
Por Sofía Muñoz y Michael Hernández El miércoles, 14 de febrero los estudiantes de la escuela secundaria Marjory Stoneman Douglas en Parkland, Florida fueron el blanco de un tiroteo que tomó las vidas de 17 estudiantes y miembros de la facultad. La alegría del día de San Valentín fue contaminada por el terror que causó el atacante Nikolas Cruz, un joven de 19 años quien era un ex-alumno. Este evento solo resultó en algunas de las miles de muertes a causa de las armas en los Estados Unidos y no es la primera vez que una escuela ha sido afectada por un tiroteo de esta magnitud. Entre las fatalidades se encuentran dos latinos: Martín Duque de 14 años y Joaquín Oliver de 17 años. Según Azteca Noticias, Duque nació en el sur oeste de México, en el Estado de Guerrero. En una cuenta de GoFundMe, su hermano Miguel describió a Duque como, “...un niño muy divertido, extrovertido, pero a veces realmente callado.” Por otro lado Oliver nació en Venezuela pero se mudó a los Estados Unidos cuando tenía tres años y se convirtió en ciudadano americano en enero de este año, según el noticiero The Sun Sentinel. Entre los sobrevivientes también hay muchos latinos que sufrieron de varios impactos de balas. Uno de ellos es el joven de origen venezolano, Anthony Borges, de 15 años. De acuerdo al noticiero Univisión, Borges recibió 5 impactos de balas cuando trataba de proteger la vida de veinte compañeros antes de protegerse a sí mismo.
A consecuencia de la masacre, los estudiantes que sobrevivieron el tiroteo crearon un movimiento activista que lucha por aumentar el control de armas en los Estados Unidos. Este movimiento se llama Nunca Más (Never Again) y también es conocido por el mensaje Suﬁciente es Suﬁciente (Enough is Enough). Los estudiantes han organizado reuniones con políticos en Florida, sus senadores y representantes en el congreso nacional, y representantes de la Asociación Nacional de Riﬂes (NRA), un grupo que promueve la venta de armas y tiene mucha inﬂuencia con las leyes que son hechas relacionadas a las armas. Nunca Más ha tenido una gran inﬂuencia en los medios sociales, especialmente con alumnos de Blair. El miércoles, 21 de febrero, una semana después del tiroteo, muchos alumnos de Blair decidieron salir de sus clases a las 9:30 de la mañana para unirse a una marcha con otros colegios locales en Washington, D.C. Estos tomaron el metro hasta la estación Unión y caminaron al Capitolio. Ahí se encontraron con el representante Jamie Raskin, del distrito 3 de Maryland, quien representa una gran parte del condado de Montgomery. Raskin habló sobre los cambios legislativos para controlar las armas que fueron implementados en Maryland y los que él quiere apoyar en el congreso nacional. De manera esperada, el Superintendente de las escuelas del condado de Montgomery, Jack Smith, se pronunció al respecto a través de un comunicado. Smith reiteró
Manifestación Los estudiantes del condado apoyando el movimiento Nunca Más. todos los protocolos de seguridad que el condado tiene para prevenir una masacre de esta índole. Comentó que todas las escuelas practican simulacros para preparar a los estudiantes y maestros. También, destacó que MCPS ha hecho inversiones en sistemas de seguridad. Esto incluye sistemas de control de acceso y sistemas de registro de visitantes en todas las escuelas del condado. Al igual miles de cámaras de vigilancia instaladas en el interior y exterior de cada plantel escolar. Debido al gran impacto que este evento ha tenido en las comunidades escolares, la Señora Johnson hizo múltiples anuncios en donde explicaba cambios para incrementar la seguridad en Blair. Johnson dejó en claro que los estudiantes no deben de abrir las puertas externas a ninguna persona extraña y hasta conocida. Los que deseen entrar al
colegio deberán ir a las puertas principales asignadas como entradas oﬁciales durante el día. Un cambio signiﬁcativo es que de ahora en adelante, estas puertas del colegio van a estar cerradas y las personas que quieren entrar van a tener que presionar un botón para llamar a las secretarias en la oﬁcina principal. Es de extremada importancia que todos los estudiantes de Blair sigan las instrucciones de los administradores para que una tragedia como la de Florida no pase en nuestros pasillos. Siempre hay que reportar situaciones extrañas o comentarios que son sospechosos para asegurarse que ninguna persona esté planiﬁcando una masacre. Como estudiantes y residentes de este país, también es importante luchar para promover soluciones al gran número de matanzas a causa de las armas.
One Blair se esfuerza por la inclusión y la diversidad en el colegio Este grupo estudiantil busca ayudar alumnos de diferentes razas y etnias Por Amanda Hernández La campana del almuerzo suena mientras una multitud de estudiantes entra a la biblioteca. Esperando su llegada está el patrocinador de One Blair, el Sr. Shindel. Los estudiantes se mezclan unos con otros, tratando de encontrar un asiento. Mientras que líderes de One Blair introducen unos temas de discusión, casi de inmediato, los estudiantes comienzan una discusión fructuosa. Esta estructura pronto se convirtió en los diálogos de los miércoles, una discusión abierta a todos los estudiantes y es el evento más popular organizado por One Blair. En el último año, One Blair se ha convertido en una organización con un objetivo principal: el empoderamiento de los estudiantes y la inclusión racial dentro de las paredes de Blair. Para los estudiantes, la vida normalmente consiste en pasar seis a siete horas en clases y en algunos casos, un promedio de cuatro horas en actividades extracurriculares. One Blair desea mejorar las vidas de los estudiantes de Blair. Si uno se ha dado cuenta, la mayor parte de la vida como estudiante gira dentro y alrededor de la escuela. Es esencial que los estudiantes, sin importar su edad, estatus socioeconómico o raza, se sientan seguros e incluidos dentro de las paredes de Blair. El año pasado, One Blair decidió enfocarse en la calidad de vida de los estudiantes, especíﬁcamente para los estudiantes que sienten que no tienen una voz. Hace 15 años, el club comenzó a proponer ideas para lo que hoy es One Blair. Aunque solo era una proposición en ese momento, esta organización ha recorrido un largo camino desde sus inicios. Justo el año pasado comenzó a conocerse como One Blair. One Blair nació
de los diálogos interraciales, un evento enfocado en traer estudiantes de todas las razas juntos para discutir conﬂictos sociales. Al ser un condado diverso, multi-
OneBlair en acción Estudiantes participando en un diálogo con el Sr. Shindel. lingüe y multicultural, MCPS ha visto un aumento en los estudiantes matriculados en el programa de ESOL. De acuerdo con la estación de televisión del área de Washington DC, WJLA, “Entre 2009 y 2015, el número de estudiantes de ESOL en MCPS saltó a un 32 por ciento.” Los estudiantes no solo han tenido problemas en obteniendo recursos, tecnología eﬁciente y apoyo de maestros caliﬁcados, sino que también ha habido experiencias deﬁcientes en la práctica del idioma inglés. Aunque MCPS ofrece múltiples programas para personas que no hablan inglés, a menudo se pasan por alto los programas diseñados para integrar a los estudiantes de ESOL con sus compañeros. La integración de estudiantes en ESOL es uno de los muchos proyectos que One Blair se esfuerza por lograr. De acuerdo con un reporte conducido por el condado MCPS, Blair tiene apro-
ximadamente 3,135 estudiantes matriculados. Un 32 por ciento de esos estudiantes son hispanos y un 14.9 por ciento son parte del programa de ESOL. A medida que la población de ESOL continúa creciendo en Blair, es imperativo que los estudiantes y la facultad trabajen por un objetivo común; la integración de todos los estudiantes. Aunque los planes de One Blair para integrar estudiantes de ESOL aún no tiene una base concreta, los líderes están trabajando arduamente para ajustar sus planes y eventualmente crear algún tipo de evento que atraiga a todos los estudiantes, independientemente de la posible barrera del idioma. Al hablar sobre la falta de comunicación entre los estudiantes de Blair, Shindel dijo lo siguiente, “Hay muchos estudiantes de ESOL que quieren oportunidades para practicar el idioma y sienten que no tienen.” Ha sido muy evidente que en Blair, los estudiantes tienden a segregarse y pasan la mayor parte de su tiempo con otros similares a ellos. Reﬂexionando sobre el equipo de liderazgo, Shindel expresó su entusiasmo por continuar el trabajo en los próximos proyectos, “...aumentamos nuestro grupo de liderazgo de once a treinta. ” Sin embargo, uno no necesita ser parte del equipo de liderazgo de One Blair para participar o contribuir. Junto con el empoderamiento del estudiante, One Blair se esfuerza por provocar el pensamiento crítico, conversaciones honestas, valientes y el activismo cívico. El asistir a un evento de One Blair no solo es la manera más fácil de participar, sino que también contribuye a la misión de One Blair. Los estudiantes que no estén disponibles para estos eventos también pueden inscribirse en la lista de correos electrónicos de One Blair: tiny.url/oneblair. A través de
esta plataforma, los estudiantes serán notiﬁcados constantemente de eventos y otras fechas importantes. Si un estudiante tiene una idea para un proyecto, también puede comunicarse con Shindel o cualquier otro líder de One Blair y hablar sobre la logística de sus propuestas. Independientemente de la forma en que un estudiante decida participar, el coordinador dice que, “…siempre estamos buscando ayuda de otras personas que tienen interés en lo que estamos haciendo.” Aunque puede haber opiniones variadas sobre el objetivo general de One Blair, muchos estudiantes consideran que el trabajo del club para integrar a los estudiantes es eﬁciente y exitoso. José Pérez, un estudiante del grado doce, expresó su aprecio por el trabajo que One Blair se esfuerza por lograr. “[A pesar de que los estudiantes de ESOL] están tratando de hacer lo mejor, es difícil para ellos. En lugar de discriminarlos, deberían unirse y ayudarse unos a otros y establecer una conexión positiva. ” dijo Pérez. Otra estudiante del grado once, Kayla Wellage, también explicó su opinión sobre One Blair, “Creo que su misión de unir estudiantes, especialmente estudiantes de minorías, está funcionando. También he visto a muchos estudiantes usando pulseras de One Blair y apoyando sus eventos.” A medida que pasan los años, no hay dudas de que One Blair seguirá creciendo y pronto se convertirá en un icono reconocible dentro del cuerpo estudiantil. One Blair continuará buscando activamente a estudiantes capacitados para crear cambios signiﬁcativos y promover el diálogo entre estudiantes de todas las razas. De cualquier forma, que uno decida participar, es crucial entender los beneﬁcios de la inclusión racial en un entorno tan diverso como Blair.
9 de marzo, 2018
Preservando tradiciones familiares: el comer en familia Hay valor en compartir momentos especiales con seres queridos
Por Jasmine Méndez-Paredes Una opinión Imagínese ayudando a su mamá a preparar una cena en la cocina. Mientras que su mamá prende la estufa y pone el pollo crudo en la sartén. Usted le ayuda con la ensalada; cortando la lechuga, el pepino y el tomate. Después saca los utensilios y prepara la mesa. Para algunas personas, el hecho de preparar la comida y comer en familia no es común. Aunque la tradición de reunir la familia para comer trae muchos beneﬁcios, esta costumbre ha disminuido en la comunidad latina. Actualmente, muchos se han acostumbrado a comer comida rápida sin tomar el tiempo para cocinar en casa y compartir con toda la familia. Si trae muchos beneﬁcios, entonces, ¿Por qué muchos no mantienen la tradición de comer en casa con la familia? A veces puede ser que el trabajo no le permita a uno disfrutar con sus seres queridos ya sea que un padre o el estudiante están en el trabajo hasta tarde. Víctor Chávez, un estudiante de Blair que está en el grado doce, se identiﬁca con esa situación. Chávez dice, “La mayor parte de mi familia viene tarde del trabajo, entonces no hay tiempo para comer en familia.” Oscar Cortez, un estudiante que también está en el grado doce, solo come una vez a la semana con su familia por conﬂictos en el horario de su trabajo. Cortez comenta, “Mi familia trabaja en la construcción y yo trabajo en una tienda. Entonces, ellos vienen del trabajo a las cuatro y después comen como a las seis pero yo regreso del trabajo a las nueve y casi todos están durmiendo cuando llegó a la casa.” Emely Guevara, una estudiante del décimo grado comparte esta situación de otra manera. Guevara explica que, “ El trabajo interﬁere en pasar tiempo
con su familia. Pienso que la mayoría trabajan arduamente para pagar las utilidades y tener un techo en donde vivir.” Otras razones por la cual comer en familia ya no es común es por el uso de la tecnología, que sirve como distracción, y por las escusas que imponen los adolescentes. Nayla Henríquez, una estudiante del décimo grado dice, “Normalmente no comemos en familia sino en ocasiones especiales como en el Día de Acción de Gracias, Navidad o en el Año Nuevo y cuando hay tiempo para compartir, siempre hay alguien que está mirando televisión o usando el teléfono.” Henríquez también conﬁesa que algunas veces ella ha puesto excusas cuando no tiene ganas de reunirse con la familia. “Algunas veces yo digo que ‘ya comí,’ ‘tengo tarea’ o ‘tengo sueño’ para evitar conversación en la mesa con ellos,” dice Henríquez. Normalmente para los latinos, es la madre la que prepara la comida, pero hay una estudiante en Blair quien ha asumido ese rol en su casa. Brenda Macario Cursa es una de las pocas estudiantes de Blair que practica esta costumbre diariamente. Macario Cursa menciona que, “En total como con mi familia nueve veces a la semana… De lunes a viernes como una vez al día con mi familia, y sábado y domingo como dos veces al día.” Macario Cursa añade, “La comida la preparo yo porque me encanta cocinar.” Los que no pasan ese tiempo en familia pierden los beneﬁcios que ofrecen esos momentos íntimos. Muchos dicen que el comer en familia es parte en el desarrollo de hábitos saludables. La mayoría de las veces la comida servida en la mesa de casa es más sana. Los Archivos de Comida Familiar hicieron una encuesta en el año 2000 acerca de la calidad de los alimentos que están servidos durante la cena familiar. Ellos concluyeron que los jóvenes entre las edades de 9-14 años que co-
mieron con sus familias en casa comen más vegetales y frutas que comidas grasosas. También encontraron que la comida preparada en casa lleva cantidades más altas de nutrientes importantes, como el calcio, el hierro y la ﬁbra. Otros estudios demuestran que cuando alguien come en frente de dispositivos electrónicos, esa persona no registra lo que está comiendo y tiene la tendencia de comer más de lo necesario. Según la escuela médica de la Universidad de Harvard, “Comer alimentos frente al televisor estimula a las personas a consumir más calorías y, en particular, más calorías de grasa.” Otro beneﬁcio tiene que ver con la escuela, lo cual puede ser de mucho beneﬁcio para los estudiantes de Blair. Según el reporte de El Centro Nacional de Adicción y Abuso de Substancias de la Universidad de Columbia, estudiantes
que comen cinco a siete veces por semana con sus familias tienen altas probabilidades de obtener caliﬁcaciones de A y B. Deﬁnitivamente, el comer con la familia promueve el desarrollo personal y la unidad familiar. Aunque a veces la estudiante Henríquez admite de poner excusas para comer con la familia, ella aún recomienda a los estudiantes que practiquen la costumbre. Henríquez explica, “Deberían tener en cuenta de que la familia es una de las cosas más importantes en la vida, lo cual la unidad y la comunicación son cosas que deberíamos de practicar.” El hecho de compartir en la mesa con la familia no es simplemente para consumir los alimentos, es para compartir, socializar y disfrutar con la familia. Esto se ha distorsionado a través de los años con la tecnología y también con el estilo de vida.
Los latinos en Blair se hacen ver en actividades extracurriculares Alumnos demuestran sus habilidades y pasiones fuera del salón de clases Por Yesenia Sorto y Lourdes Reyes Valenzuela
cas como lo es en el caso de Molina. Otras estudiantes se visten de rojo para mostrar opciones son el hockey, fútbol, tenis, las cuasu apoyo. El fútbol americano no es un deporte muy común en Latinoamérica, pero En la actualidad podemos ver como en les se encuentran en Blair en diferentes estahay estudiantes latinos en Blair quienes Blair hay una cantidad de estudiantes pro- ciones del año. Todas estas actividades están venientes de distintos países y cultura. Hay una gran cantidad de estos estudiantes que provienen de países hispanohablantes, por ende deben de haber actividades en la que se puedan representar a sí mismos. Entre las opciones, están las actividades extracurriculares en las que los estudiantes pueden participar. Esto crea un ambiente en donde los estudiantes pueden hacer cosas que les entusiasma. Además se encuentran muchos beneﬁcios como por ejemplo poder trabajar en equipo, divertirse con lo que les apasiona y ampliar su repertorio extracurricular para tener una mejor oportunidad de entrar a la universidad. Es una buena oportunidad para los blazers participar en las actividades extracurriculares por los beneﬁcios que estas incluyen. Algunas de las actividades más populares para los estudiantes de Blair son: el fútbol americano, el lacrosse y los poms. Nathalie Molina es una estudiante latina en el décimo grado y ha elegido estar en el equipo de poms. Molina ha sido parte de AMARINS LAANSTRA-CORN dicho equipo desde que empezó a estudiar en Blair en el noveno grado. Su interés en el Blazer con talento Edgar Gómez es un estudiante latino que está en el equipo equipo de poms era por su pasado en una de fútbol americano de Blair y está orgulloso de representar la etnia hispana. actividad similar, lo cual es muy común para los estudiantes. Ella dijo que le, “gusta forman parte del equipo de la escuela. esta actividad porque hace nueve años que disponibles tanto para chicos como para chiEdgar Gómez, un estudiante del grado yo he estado bailando y esto es algo que cas. Si a uno no le gustan los deportes, tamdoce, ha practicado en el fútbol americano puedo hacer dentro de la escuela.” En el bién se encuentran clubes y organizaciones desde que era pequeño pero lleva un año equipo, Molina ha aprendido a trabajar con en las cuales los estudiantes pueden particijugando en el equipo de Blair. El interés otras personas. Además, ha creado buenas par. Los blazers siempre dan lo mejor de ellos, en el deporte viene por el aspecto social y relaciones con los estudiantes que tal vez no Gómez dijo que, “Juego fútbol americano hubiera conocido si no fuera por el equipo ya sea jugando algún deporte u obteniendo buenas notas. Si uno no está involucrado en desde pequeño, me gusta jugar porque de poms. es divertido estar con mis compañeros Estas actividades extracurriculares tam- uno de los equipos deportivos, también hay de equipo y los entrenadores.” Gómez bién ayudan a que los estudiantes puedan una oportunidad para mostrar su orgullo escomentó que los reconocimientos indiviexpresarse a través de destrezas no académi- colar y apoyar a los que participan. Muchos
duales no son muy común ya que se considera a todo el equipo, no solo a un solo jugador. En Blair se encuentran muchos latinos con inmenso talento y que se encuentran en actividades extracurriculares o en clubes. También hay algunos que no están en dichas actividades y tienen un gran talento. Además de que estas actividades tienen beneﬁcios, para ayudarles en el futuro tanto en el ámbito personal como en el laboral, dichas actividades les ayuda a los estudiantes a involucrarse más en la comunidad de Blair. Las clases académicas pueden ser estresantes y cansadoras. En estas actividades pueden despejarse de esos problemas haciendo lo que más les apasiona o hasta encontrar algo nuevo para hacer que les agrade. Para los estudiantes quienes quieren ser parte de un grupo en donde pueden conocer a otros compañeros y pasar tiempo celebrando la cultura latina, también hay opciones para actividades extracurriculares. El grupo de baile ya ha comenzando a desarrollarse en Blair y en el futuro es posible que represente a la escuela en competencias del condado de Montgomery. El condado lleva 18 años haciendo una competencia en la cual varias escuelas participan con sus grupos de baile. Varios de los bailes que intervienen son el cha-cha, la bachata, la salsa y el merengue. Las escuelas más notables en la competencia son Northwood y Einstein. La gracia de tener un equipo que represente a la escuela en esta competencia es que los estudiantes latinos van a poder tener una actividad en donde expresarse. El grupo de baile va a representar a Blair en diferentes eventos competitivos, y los participantes van a tener la oportunidad de pasar tiempo con otros estudiantes y compartir los mismos intereses. Lo mejor de tener y ser parte de estas actividades es que los estudiantes pueden expresarse en la comunidad escolar.
9 de marzo de 2018
Reﬂección personal: Cambios inesperados
Noticias breves: Movimiento “Yo también”
Por Salvador Álvarez
Por Sofía Muñoz
El 15 de septiembre, Día de la Independencia en mi país me levanté tranquilo y con ganas de ir a estudiar. Para mí este día no sería igual, porque recibiría una noticia que impactaría mi vida. Sin saber lo que se me venía encima, me preparé para ir a la escuela con todos los ánimos del mundo y tocar en la banda de marcha. En el camino me encuentro con muchos amigos, los cuales saludé gentilmente. Ya al llegar a la estación donde esperaba el autobús recibí un mensaje de texto de mi madre, en donde me decía que quería hablar conmigo. Como todo un adolescente, me sentí asustado y me puse a pensar, “¿Que hice mal para que mi madre quiera hablar conmigo?” En eso llegó el autobús que tenía que tomar, dirigiéndome hacia mi destino ﬁnal, el pueblo. Seguí pensando “¿Por qué querría mi madre hablar conmigo?” Esto era muy inusual porque si ella tenía algo que decirme, me lo decía sin ponerme en una situación de incertidumbre. Llegué al pueblo donde estudiaba y me puse a buscar a mi novia. Yo quería ir a desayunar con ella porque sería un día muy largo y tedioso. Nos pusimos a hablar sobre si en el instituto nos darían donas como todos los años y sobre planes para ir a comer unas donas por nuestra cuenta. Nos pusimos de pie y empezamos nuestro día, yo tocando y marchando con la banda, y ella desﬁlando un largo tramo. Como a las 3 de la tarde se acabó todo, me despedí de ella y emprendí el camino hacia mi casa. En todo ese alboroto no me
En octubre, las acusaciones de acoso sexual en contra del famoso director de Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, se dieron a conocer. Este caso marcó el inicio del movimiento “Yo también” (Me Too), en donde mujeres empezaron a denunciar públicamente que ellas también habían sido acosadas. Inicialmente, las acusaciones solo eran en contra de hombres que eran famosos o en posiciones de alto rango. Esto pronto cambió y hubo u n a revo-
había acordado de lo que mi madre me había dicho. Llegué a mi casa y mi madre me llamó, diciendo que quería hablar conmigo. Fui a donde estaba y le pregunté, “¿De qué mamá?” Ella respondió que nos íbamos a mudar, y yo me quedé horrorizado porque ahí tenía todos mis amigos y a mi novia. No sabía cómo les iba a decir que ya no los iba a ver. Le pregunté a mi madre por qué, a lo que respondió que las cosas no iban muy bien. Mi madre me dijo que en cinco días sería la mudanza. Le insistí que el mudarnos sería un gran cambio para mí, empezar desde cero en un lugar desconocido. En ese momento me sentía desconsolado, no porque le tuviera miedo a lo nuevo si no por la explosión de emociones que surgían a raíz de esta noticia. En los días siguientes, ya faltando dos días para irme, le conté a mis amigos y también les dije que no sabía si contarle a mi novia porque era muy duro. No la quería dejar sola y lamentablemente era lo que terminaría haciendo. Por ﬁn me dije-
ron que era lo mejor y yo la busqué en los pasillos para poder hablar con ella, la encontré y le dije que le quería hablar. Me preguntó de qué, y yo le respondí que era algo confuso y delicado, sólo esperaba que me comprendiera. Le dije que eso no estaba en mis manos y ella me dijo que no me asustara. Nos fuimos, y en el camino le conté que me mudaría y me dijo entre lágrimas, “¿Porque?” Yo le respondí que no lo sabía pero que tuviera en cuenta que regresaría por ella. Me despedí y llegó el día de irme. Partí con el corazón destrozado y con recuerdos inolvidables. Le prometí a mis amigos que los volvería a ver y estaríamos juntos otra vez, como los viejos tiempos. Un 15 de septiembre que tenía que representar libertad e independencia, un día para celebrar y pasarla bien fue opacado por la desilusión de no volver a ver a las personas más importantes en mi vida. Este día siempre será emblemático por mi cultura y a la vez muy triste por lo que tuve que asimilar.
l u ción en donde miles de mujeres empezaron a compartir sus historias para tratar de cambiar la actitud sexista que se ve en nuestra sociedad. Sin embargo, este movimiento todavía no tenía raíces en países latinoamericanos y era muy centrado en los Estados Unidos. De acuerdo al noticiero CNN en Español, las actrices mexicanas Karla Souza, Stephanie Sigman y Paula Núñez, y la clavadista olímpica Azul Almazán rompieron el silencio en el mundo latino. Ellas contaron sobre sus experiencias en unas entrevistas con Carmen Aristegui en CNN en Español. Mientras las artistas no dejaron claro quienes eran los que las habían acosado, Souza, Sigman y Nuñez comentaron que en sus casos habían sido directores. Todas las artistas recibieron mucho apoyo de parte de otros directores, actores y actrices, quienes notaron
16 de marzo Noche internacional
Celebra tu cultura y más aprende sobre las culturas de otros estudiantes
que estaban impresionados por su fortaleza y que ellos también tenían que estar vigilantes para asegurarse que no pasara otra vez. En el caso de Souza, la cadena Televisa cortó sus relaciones con el director Gustavo Loza un día después de que las acusaciones de Souza fueran hechas públicas. Souza no ha clariﬁcado si Loza es el personaje de los supuestos acosos, pero él sí había trabajado con ella en algunos proyectos. Loza negó las acusaciones pero sí dijo que había tenido una relación con ella.
En realidad, Almazán había acusado a su exentrenador en 2001, pero decidió volver a hablar sobre el tema ahora para demostrar cómo el Comité Olímpico Mexicano la ignoró. Dijo que cuando ella reportó el abuso, el comité le dio las opciones de callarse o seguir en los juegos. Lo que todas estas mujeres quieren reiterar es que las acusaciones del acoso sexual no deben de ser rechazadas y es un problema muy serio, del cual todos tenemos que luchar en contra. CARLY TAGEN-DYE
26 de marzo al 2 de abril Vacaciones de primavera Estas fechas están sujetas a cambios debido a inclemencia del tiempo o estado de emergencia
30 de marzo Fecha límite para la beca Esperanza
30 de marzo Fecha límite para la beca del “Hispanic scholarship fund”
5 de abril Reunión para los padres de los seniors
6 de abril Fecha límite para entregar las hojas de horas comunitarias
9 de abril Medio día de clase, ﬁnalización del trimestre
10 de abril Examen de SAT
Este examen va a ser gratis para estudiantes
March 9, 2018
What’s in a
Transgender students on the name-changing process Jamie Griffith, a senior, walks into his philosophy class on the first day of second semester right before the late bell rings. He surveys the class, trying to find a place to sit, before grabbing a desk near a few of his friends. They chat amiably, while the teacher begins to take attendance. As the teacher approaches the “G’s” in the alphabet, Griffith feels his stomach churning. Though he is now completely comfortable and forward about his identity as a trans male, the school system still prints attendance sheets with the name given to students at birth—a name he no longer uses. The teacher reads his birth name from the roster. Griffith takes a breath and pauses before answering: “Actually, I prefer to go by Jamie.”
43% of gender-expansive youth have an adult in their family they can approach when they are worried or sad.
His experience is shared by many students. During their first class with a new teacher, all students have to tell instructors whether they go by the name printed on the roster or use a nickname instead. For a small group of students, however, their preferred names mean much more than a few letters—names are, as Griffith explains, an integral part of gender identity.
“Names, especially gendered names like my given name, they denote gender and it’s something that is very obvious,” Griffith says, whose trimmed, middle part hair is hidden by the backward baseball cap he is wearing. “It’s just such an introduction to who you are and it’s so key to how people see you.”
The name changing process The name given to a child at birth becomes almost inseparable from the identity of that person. It is inked to birth certificates, school documents, accolades, passports, driver’s licenses, and permits, and with time, the name becomes ingrained in others’ minds. When someone’s name denotes a gender with which they do not identify, it becomes an uphill battle to move forward with both informal and legal changes. “I haven’t gotten a legal name change for a couple of reasons, the first one being: it is a process, because you have to go through court, and then you have to publish it, and then you have to go back to court,” Griffith says. “It’s cash that you have to spend, time that you have to waste.” Griffith does, however, plan to pursue a legal name change in the future. The legal name changing process in Maryland, like in many other states, is complicated. According to Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW), a Maryland name change applicant must submit a petition for name change to a local or district court, a copy of their birth certificate, a valid ID, and the allotted filing service fee of $135, which varies county by county and does not include other costs of a Present legal nameNot change, such as legal services and postage for documents. Once all of these guidelines have been followed, an applicant then has to have a notice of name change published in a county or city newspaper, incurring an additional charge for the publication space. After publishingPresent the name change, an additional court appearance or hearing with a judge may be required. If all of this goes through without a hitch, the applicant will receive a signed order for name change. Amy Nelson, director of patient legal services at Whitman-Walker Health (WWH), notes that some aspects of the legal name change process are outdated and potentially harmful. “[Publishing a notice of name change] is both pricey and a real invasion of privacy,” she says. “[The process] is expensive and it can be time consuming and stressful.” The length and nature of the process can also deter individuals who are transitioning. “For folks who are transitioning, they may have a lot of other pressing personal, legal, social, economic, health needs that come before spending the time, money, and energy to get their name changed,” Nelson says. “For a lot of people, because it does take several steps and it could take several months, it just can be a daunting process.” For minors, the whole process must be completed with the signed approval of a parent or guardian. Nelson notices that providing legal services to minors whose parents are not supportive of their desire for a name change is legally and emotionally demanding. “The heart-wrenching thing is that we get kids on the other end of the spectrum who have been rejected by their family, are couchsurfing, homeless, living with friends,” she says. Jace Eaton, a senior and trans male, legally changed his name during the summer before his sophomore year. “After I came out to my parents, we started the legal process,” he says. “We got a lot of it
done in the summer … we were r before the school year started.” Alex Holland, a junior, decide adulthood in order to legally chan until I’m 18,” they say with confide I’ll change it again, or I think I wan it without parental consent.” Even though legal name change has seen an increase in the numbe monthly name change clinics. “W come in, high school kids—and ev
“It’s just introduction are and it’s so people s - Jamie
which is exciting because usually
board or totally open to learning m As an agender student, Hollan name they were given at birth. “M it,” they say. “I changed it because
rushing to get everything changed
nine, girly kind of name—and I never felt like that.”
ed that they will wait until legal nge their name. “I’m going to wait ence and mild excitement. “Maybe nt to be old enough where I can do
New name, same person
es require parental consent, Nelson er of teenagers attending WWH’s We’re seeing more and more kids ven little kids—with their parents,
While Holland feels confident about their most recent name change, the shifts have presented challenges within their family. “It’s kind of annoying because my family calls me a name that I no longer go by at school or anything,” they say. “But I don’t know how to change it with them, so it’s just kind of weird.” A 2010 study conducted by Caitlyn Ryan, director of the Family Research Project, found that LGBTQ+ teens who lived in more accepting families were at lower risk for depression, suicide, and substance abuse. The study, according to a press release from the Family Research Project, found that “LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family acceptance during adolescence had significantly higher levels of self-esteem, social support and general health, compared to peers with low levels of family acceptance.” “[Coming out] to family was harder because they were suddenly finding out that I was not their daughter,” Eaton remarks. “My family, as supportive as they were—it’s going to be really hard to mourn the loss of the idea of your child, and that includes the name you had picked out for them.” The process of coming out, however, does not end with family. School, where names are used constantly by teachers and peers, presents the familiar challenges and worries that come with presenting one’s true self to the world. “I am terrible at standing up for myself,” Griffith says. “With names, there’s such an association of memory of who I was before I transitioned … When people call me by that old name, it’s reminding me that that’s a way that people perceived me and some people still perceive me.” Eaton notes that when a teacher sees a name on an attendance sheet, it immediately creates a set of expectations that could be based on a false assumption. “A name says a lot about a person,” Eaton says. “Teachers will read a name off a roster and make assumptions, like for me that I’m female, when I had my old name.” When Holland changed their name in the middle of their sophomore year, most of their classmates were accepting of the transition. “People in general are fairly accepting of it. They’re very like, ‘Okay, whatever is good for you.’ And they’ll slip up, but they’ll correct themselves,” Holland says. “But then there are some people who
t such an n to who you o key to how see you.” Griffith
y that means that the parent is on
more about the process,” she says. nd never felt comfortable with the My birth name is Caitlin, and I hate e I never felt—it’s like a very femi-
don’t [correct themselves], and that’s just kind of unfortunate.” Griffith found that even though it was difficult to come out to his classmatees, being able to be himself in the classroom has made it
“It’s important to be yourself and allow yourself to have your identity.” - Alex Holland
worth it. “Hearing my new name in a classroom setting is allowing me to really shape my identity and take control of it,” he says. Holland emphasizes the importance of support from friends and family for anyone considering going by a different name than the one given to them at birth. “The most important thing is to find people who are supportive of you,” they say. “It’s important to be yourself and allow yourself to have your identity in a way that people can’t take it from you … Don’t let anyone take that from you.”
Story By Photography By Design By
William Donaldson Chaminda Hangilipola Isabella Tilley
March 9, 2018
Magnet teacher faces alumni allegations from WALSTEIN page A1
document everything she was being told. Bates’ younger sister was a student in the Magnet and would soon have Walstein as a teacher. Bates spoke with her friends in person, but she preferred to have these difficult conversations over email or on Google Hangouts so that they left a “paper trail.” As Bates relayed multiple stories of the teacher calling students “sexy” or making them feel uncomfortable in class, LeVeque began to worry for the safety and security of all students at Blair. She reached out to Principal Renay Johnson, who was just beginning her first year at Blair, to schedule a meeting in November 2011. LeVeque says, “We were assured by Mrs. Johnson at that meeting that Walstein was retiring at the end of the year and he was on his way out.” However, by the time the next school year came around, Walstein was still working as a full time teacher with seemingly no repercussions in LeVeque’s eyes. When asked about any disciplinary action taken in 2011, Johnson said that she was not permitted to comment. “I can’t say his disciplinary action … but I can say, people who know me well would say, ‘You know, I know Ms. Johnson did the right thing,’” she says. In 2013, a year later than LeVeque expected, Walstein retired.
selves through the years.” While some praised Walstein’s mathematical prowess, other students—like Bates’ friends— claimed to feel sexually harassed and worried about speaking out against a teacher who was widely revered in the community.
2010 Magnet alumna Emily Jones vividly remembers sitting in her sophomore precalculus class, which was taught by Walstein. In most classes, Emily was a shy student. On the first day of the semester, however, Walstein kicked all of the boys out of the front of the class and ordered the girls to sit in the front rows. “He wouldn’t just say, ‘girls, sit in the front row’; he would basically go up to a boy who was sitting in the front row and say ‘no’ and then would point to a girl sitting somewhere and say, ‘you sit here,’” she recounts. “He did that to me.” Sitting uncomfortably in the front row, Jones attempted to focus as Walstein sprawled equations across the board. One day, in the middle of instruction, he paused. Walstein approached Jones’ desk and leaned on his elbows. Just inches away from her face, Walstein whispered, “Do you want a kiss?” Jones froze and remained silent, unsure of what to do. A teacher had never spoken to her in this way before.
Who he was
Walstein began working as a Magnet teacher in 1986, one year after the program was founded, after previously teaching at Winston Churchill. He coached the Montgomery County math team for over thirty years. Lauded by many in the educational community as extremely influential, he was profiled in The Washington Post for his widespread mathematical knowledge. “He knows more about math-
“I felt like it was my fault.” -Emily Jones, Class of 2010 Walstein repeated himself, this time more loudly so that the entire
COURTESY OF ANNE LEVEQUE
LOOKING BACK Anne LeVeque, mother of Julia Bates, met with Principal Johnson in 2011. Jones continued to feel embarrassed. “I felt like it was my fault, that I was supposed to not be so shy,” she explains. “I still remember that … just kind of throwing me off for the whole rest of the day and making me unable to listen to any of the rest of the instructions.” While some girls worried that they would be the next subject of his attention, many male students were either oblivious to the harassment they observed, or too concerned about negative retribution from Walstein to report it. “I was a teenage boy, and I interpreted all this as … joking, maybe. Walstein being Walstein. A sometimes gross man who was what he was,” Mike Arbit, a 2006 graduate, remembers. “I hadn’t yet learned the language of sexual harassment, so I couldn’t articulate to myself what was really going on.”
Only two students were enrolled; both were male. “He wasn’t a sub for anybody … it’s a staffing position that we can’t find a certified teacher to do,” Ostrander says. “For that particular class, it was just a class that was sitting out there that we didn’t have a teacher to teach.” Ostrander says that if the administration knew then what they know now, the decision to bring Walstein back as a long term substitute would not have been made. “We are hearing way more now than I would have been aware of at the time,” Ostrander says. “I wouldn’t necessarily have been aware of anything that happened before I got here … Given [the current allegations], that wouldn’t even be a discussion right now.” According to Johnson, it can be difficult to have teachers who have the specific skill set to teach very advanced classes. “Given the level of math and the acceleration we like to give the kids in the Magnet program, we do want someone who can extend their thinking or learning and expand what they know,” she says.
until the alumni letter was released in January, which sparked both county and police investigations. The police investigation is now closed. MCPS has hired an outside legal team that is currently conducting a confidential inquiry into the matter, according to Superintendent Jack Smith. “I can confirm [the inquiry is] taking place,” Smith says. “We think it’s important to follow back for two reasons: to see what happened and secondly, to make sure that we structure our systems to better respond to things like that.” Because the county inquiry is ongoing, teachers and administrators are not allowed to speak on the issue. “I can’t comment on this case. I can’t comment at all,” Johnson says. “It’s an open [inquiry].” Johnson hopes that the results of the inquiry will be shared with all principals and educators to prevent something like this from happening again. “I’m glad to hear the county is doing their own investigation of this,” she says. “Hopefully they’ll share outcomes with me
COURTESY OF EMILY JONES
COMING FORWARD Emily Jones vividly remembers feeling harassed in her sophomore precalculus class taught by Eric Walstein. ematics from kindergarten through college than anyone I know,” former Magnet Coordinator Dennis Heidler told The Washington Post in 2008. “He has an understanding of how the concepts thread them-
Amidst the allegations, Walstein admits that he made some “dumb jokes” as a teacher, including his “do you want a kiss?” line to Fox 5 on March 2.
class could hear him. A tense pause ensued. Walstein produced a crumpled Hershey’s Kiss from his pocket, laughing loudly. The class was silent and Jones was mortified.
In December 2017, Magnet alumni, including Jones, formed a Facebook group to send a compilation of approximately 90 former student allegations concerning Walstein’s behavior. The stories date back thirty years. The letter was sent to all current Magnet faculty, as well as Johnson, on Jan. 3. In the letter, the alumni asked the faculty to consider the choices they made during Walstein’s time at the school. “We present these events from the past and ask that you read each entry and reflect: Reflect upon the action you decided to take at the time of the incident, and what you could have done differently to gather the knowledge and power to stop Walstein’s pattern of harassment in its tracks,” the letter says. Upon receiving these allegations two months ago, Johnson relayed them to county officials. “I report[ed] it. You sent me allegations even though it was before my time … I take every allegation seriously,” she says. “I’m going to follow MCPS policies and procedures as I did in this case … principals don’t have the authority to fire people. There’s a process through MCPS Office of Human Resources and the Compliance Office.” Walstein remained on the substitute teacher roster, however, until 2016, and taught a semesterlong Advanced Geometry class in the fall of the 2014-2015 school year. According to Magnet Coordinator Peter Ostrander, the class had a vacant teacher position because of the high level of knowledge required, so he was hired to work as a long-term substitute.
COURTESY OF JULIA BATES
TAKING ACTION Julia Bates documented her friends’ experiences of Walstein and reported them to her mother, who carried her concerns to the administration. John, who was a junior at the time he took Advanced Geometry, remembers that Walstein would periodically summon female students he knew into their class. “Whenever he would see a girl he would recognize, like his old students in the hallways, he would yell out her name multiple times,” John says. “Most of the time the girls would be very reluctant to come in.” At one point, John reached out to a female peer regarding her feelings about her interactions with Walstein. “She said she would always try to avoid walking by when she knew he had class,” he explains.
Walstein retired from the substitute teacher roster in 2016. Public allegations about sexual misconduct remained undocumented
… and with all principals [and] all educators to say … ‘Here’s what we recommend principals and staff can do in the future.’... Whatever the outcome is will help us.” Walstein has rejected many of these alumni accusations and claimed he never intended to harass his students. “I tried my best to get girls involved in my courses, to achieve in my courses, and they did,” he told The Washington Post on March 1. Johnson also praises the students who shared their stories. “I want to commend the alumni for stepping forward,” she says. “It’s not always popular and it’s not always accepted to share your experiences against someone who has been deemed as a master teacher or master educator, but if it happened to you, and you can share your experience … it empowers young women and young men.”
March 9, 2018
A careful look at student health insurance Blazers navigate a life with inconsistent medical coverage
By Elise Cauton Where only first names appear, names have been changed to protect the identities of the sources Katherine, a senior, stares attentively at the road ahead of her. With both hands on the wheel, she carefully looks out her rearview mirror to ensure she has space to turn, and signals her intent to switch lanes. Just as she is about to shift to her left, Katherine hears a loud honk and slams on the brakes, her heart skipping a beat. She quickly retreats back into her lane and watches as the car in question passes by. A million thoughts run through Katherine’s mind: What if the driver had hit her car? How bad would the damage have been? What if she had been injured? She takes a second to catch her breath and continues down the road. If she did get into an accident and needed to go to the hospital, the consequences would have been both physical and financial. Katherine does not have healthcare. She does not have insurance to help alleviate the cost of hospital bills, and would have to pay the amount at full price—something she can’t afford to do. According to a 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of people under the age of 18 have government-provided healthcare, while around five percent live without any healthcare at all. The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute cites that, in Maryland, around three percent of children are uninsured and 30 percent are covered by Medicaid. Katherine belongs to that three percent. The issue over how much the government should give to these healthcare programs has been a topic of debate between both major political parties for the past five months. Recently, the Children’s Insurance Healthcare Program (CHIP)—one of the many programs that supports children under 19—almost lost all of its funding after Congress’ failure to agree on a budget. A fraction of these teenagers who depend on government programs for their healthcare are part of the Blair community. Every day, they go through their routine knowing that they are not insured.
Institute, notes that even though families earn too much for Medicaid, the cost for insurance provided by the parents’ employers are often too high for some families. “What happens … [is] the parent makes more money, [and] suddenly they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid,” Jordan explains. “But the insurance that they get from their employer is more expensive, and … [if] you have to pay for two or three kids … it suddenly becomes a financial burden.” For Katherine, who has two siblings, these new expenses proved too costly for her family. “They wanted to charge us around $600 to $700 worth of insurance [per month],” Katherine says. “It was just too expensive.” Her family decided to unenroll from Medicaid that same year, and Katherine has been without health insurance ever since.
Lola, a senior, also utilizes government healthcare. She is partially covered by the insurance company Amerigroup, whose services are offered in accordance with other government programs such as CHIP and Medicaid. The other half of Lola’s healthcare is covered by her father’s insurance, provided to him by his employer. Lola learned about her family’s health insurance situation at a young age, after she became responsible for arranging her own check-ups. “I guess from a young age, probably like the seventh grade, I found out that we sort of need government assistance,” Lola explains. “I had to make my own appointments because my parents were so busy, so my mother was the one to [explain].” Nathaniel Worku, a senior, is also covered under Medicaid and has been for as long as he can re-
member. Worku first discovered that his healthcare was government provided after his mom told him at a young age. “Whenever I’d go to the doctor, I’d ask my mom, you know, who’s paying for this, how can we afford this,” he says. “She showed me the Medicaid card and said the government is the one that provides.”
In everyday life
Katherine’s family decided not to pay for healthcare because her parents prioritized other necessary payments. “[We’re] also paying car insurance … and mortgage,” Katherine says. “So it’s not like all my money can go to [healthcare].” Coupled with the fact that she does not get sick often, her family decided that the trade-off was worth it for the time being. Without health insurance, every medical exam, whether it be at a pediatrician or an eye doctor, has
Katherine has not always been without healthcare. In the past, her family had been protected under Medicaid, another government program that fully covered their health insurance. It was during her freshman year, however, that her family no longer qualified for the program. As Katherine’s mom began to receive higher salaries at work, her family’s income bracket increased enough that Medicaid would no longer fully cover them as it had before, instead requiring them to pay additional fees. Medicaid is an income-based program, meaning that to qualify, the recipients’ income has to be less than a certain amount, which differs from state to state. Families that earn more than the amount no longer qualify for Medicaid. Phyllis Jordan, the communications manager for the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy
CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL
to be paid at full price. Because of this, Katherine has to avoid going in for appointments if they are not routine check-ups. “I won’t go to the doctor’s, and [I] just do whatever [medicine] my parents give me,” she says. Katherine is aware of the dangers of living without healthcare, and knows that thoughtless actions can have damaging consequences. “I’m not trying to do stupid stuff … like [I’m] not trying to [do] things that I know can harm me,” she explains. “I try to be safe driving … I know that if I get in a car accident, it’s going to suck, and be expensive.” Similarly, Lola has to make sure to take care of herself and her belongings, like her glasses, even though she received them from under her father’s healthcare. “[For] my glasses, I know if I lose them, I’m losing a lot of money,” she says. Lola is also aware that she cannot be reckless, as she has seen firsthand the large expenses that result from a hospital admission. “My grandmother was in the hospital one summer, and the bills came out [to be] so much that my mom had to take a little time to pay them off,” she says. “Even though we have benefits from both insurance companies, it costs a lot.” Although it has been three years since Katherine went off Medicaid, she still misses the sense of security that an insurance plan provides. “It’s just nice to know that there’s a backup plan, so if I do go the hospital, I know I wouldn’t be in so much debt,” she explains. “But if I go now, I know that I’ll have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars.”
A notable benefit of government-provided healthcare is that it alleviates the financial burden for its recipients and provides stability, which allows them to focus more on contributing to their community. Jordan remarks how Medicaid is a predictor for students’ academic success. “For children, there’s research that shows that children that have Medicaid are more likely to attend school, they’re more likely to get good grades, and they’re more likely to graduate,” she says. “That means they’re more likely to become contributing members to our economy and society.” Lola recognizes how much her dual insurance has helped her family save and how important it is to have. “It’s been a big help, both of [the insurances],” she says. “Compared to us not having insurance, it would have cost … a lot more, and that would have cost both of my parents to pay for it and we can’t. We have one [person] in college, and I’m going to college, so my parents are trying to save up for all four of us [instead].” Because Medicaid coverage stops for teenagers once they reach the age of 26, Worku plans on getting private insurance when he grows older. “In the future, I see myself having a good career, and being able to pay for a private insurance,” he says. Similar to Worku, Katherine hopes to secure a job with benefits after she graduates college, and get insurance of her own. “I think I’ll get insurance,” she says. “I think that’s what my parents were hoping for since I am turning 18, [that] I can get my own insurance.” For now, Katherine will have to continue to drive cautiously and avoid injury until, one day, she can receive healthcare of her own.
March 9, 2018
Latino teachers at Blair are few and far between The teaching staff lacks the diversity seen in the student body By Miranda Rose Daly Social studies teacher Douglas Jimenez leans forward in his chair and takes a big bite from the Chipotle bowl sitting on his cluttered desk. It’s sixth period lunch and he welcomes students. Straight ahead, they crowd around a small television, remote controllers in hand, as they engage in an intense video game. Next to them, another group of students works quietly on math projects. Jimenez keeps his students connected and engaged with everything from interactive assignments to anecdotes of what Blair was like when he was a student. But Jimenez brings more to the classroom than his engaging teaching style — he is one of a handful of Latino teachers at Blair. His presence in front of students is a daily reminder of what they can achieve. “I obviously grew up in the neighborhood and I have the same background as a lot of students,” Jimenez says. “I think it’s fun that they can look at me and see somebody that they can relate to.” The same is true for Magnet student-teacher Elias Gonzalez, who is also a proud alum. After graduating from the University of Maryland, Gonzalez came back to Blair. As the son of immigrants, his background gives him insight into what some of his students experience. According to a demographic report by MCPS, Latino teachers make up 7.4 percent of Blair’s professional staff. This value is significantly lower than the 33.5 percent of students at Blair that are Latino. In contrast, nearly two thirds of
Representation in student body versus professional staff by race at Blair
Blair teachers are white compared with just 22.3 percent of Blair students. Jimenez is aware that he can serve as a role model to his Latino students, so he aims to provide a more positive school experience than what he had when he had in high school. Growing up, Jimenez says he lacked role models that looked like him and only had one Latino teacher throughout his entire time in MCPS. Although his teachers tried to encourage him pursue
whatever career he wanted, he found it hard to believe them. “When I’d go home, subconsciously I’d think … people who are my color are the people working in restaurants, the people doing construction. And I don’t see any of them in [positions of] power,” Jimenez says. “I kind of just accepted the fact that that’s not going to be my destiny—being a doctor or a lawyer.” Gonzalez had a similar experience. He, too, only ever had one Latino teacher, in eighth grade,
at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School, which ultimately pushed him to become a teacher. “[My experience] gave me more of a reason why I wanted to go into teaching, because especially what I saw at Blair where we had such a large population and there isn’t necessarily always a teacher that can relate and know what the students are going through,” he says. Research shows that students perform better academically when they are exposed to teachers of their own ethnicity and cultural
background. A study published by the Institute of Labor Economics estimates that having one black teacher in elementary school (grades 3-5) reduces the probability of a low-income black male student dropping out of high school by 39 percent and increases the interest in attending college by 29 percent. For Gonzalez, his role as a Latino role model for his students has not gone unnoticed. “Having students see someone look like them in every discipline can really help them see what they can achieve,” Gonzalez says. From Jimenez’s point of view, having an all-white teaching staff is similar to an all-white police force in majority-minority neighborhoods. “It is bad because although it is not explicitly stated, certain people are in charge and certain people are subordinate or not in power. The same thing applies to teaching,” he says. Jimenez explains that an overwhelmingly white teaching staff reinforces the idea—even if it does so implicitly—that only white people can become teachers. School districts can only hire Latino teachers if they have enough qualified candidates, Jimenez says. “There definitely is the need, not just for school districts to hire Latino teachers,” Jimenez says. “But, we need Latinos to actually want to become teachers.” Gonzalez suggested teachers may already be in the community and do not know about teaching opportunities. “Creating a pathway for those immigrants … would be a good first step,” he says.
March 9, 2018
MCPS data highlights disparities in AP test results
Despite efforts, black and Hispanic/Latino students remain isolated from top classes By Ben Miller Senior Darien Price sits in his AP European History class on a quiet Thursday afternoon. Like the other students in the class, Price is crafting a presentation on nationalism and preparing for an upcoming test. Although he is working quietly just like everyone around him, Price clearly stands out. He is one of just two black or Hispanic/Latino students in a class of 23. Price’s experience is not unique to his AP Euro classroom, nor to the walls of Blair. It can be seen in classrooms across the county’s 25 high schools as black and Hispanic/ Latino students’ participation in AP classes continues to lag behind that of their white and Asian peers. According to a January 2018 memo from the MCPS Oﬃce of Shared Accountability, just 38 percent of black students and 31 percent of Hispanic/Latino high school students in MCPS took an AP test last spring. These ﬁgures are distinctly lower than the 64 percent of white students and 69 percent of Asian students who sat for at least one exam. At Blair, this disparity is even greater. While around 60 percent of white and Asian students took an AP test last year, only 35 percent of black students and 19 percent of Hispanic/Latino students did. The origins of this massive gap can be traced to a variety of factors. Ashley Johnson-Wormley, Blair’s only black AP science teacher, believes that much of the racial disparity in AP classes can be traced to conditions outside of school. “I really think it has to do with upbringing, access to money, parent education level, and area in which you grow up,” JohnsonWormley says. Johnson-Wormley’s perspective is supported by academic research on the subject.
Blair’s AP classes are almost entirely taught by white and Asian teachers; only one black or Hispanic/Latino educator teaches any section Blair’s ﬁve most popular AP classes (U.S. Government, World History, Psychology, English Language, and Statistics). Kenneth Smith, a black social studies teacher at Blair and this year’s MCPS nominee for The Washington Post Teacher of the Year award, stopped teaching AP classes in part due to a desire to spend more time instructing minority students. “I wanted to bring more students of color on board. And to be honest, that’s one of the main reasons I’m here at Blair,” Smith says. “If I taught AP classes … my concern [is] that I might not have that diverse population.” In the face of these obstacles, MCPS has undertaken numerous initiatives over recent years to increase black and Hispanic/Latino enrollment in AP classes, many coordinated through the Equity Initiatives Unit. “ A lot of what we’re doing is...help[ing] staﬀ look at the data and then change their practices and their beliefs so that will change,” says John Landesman, coordinator of the Equity Unit. “We provide diﬀerent kinds of training and support to ... understand what the barriers are to more students of color being in AP classes and then develop structures so they can discuss these issues in a productive way.” In 2016, MCPS launched the Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) initiative to increase black and Hispanic/Latino AP participation in focus high schools. Using data analysis and concentrated outreach programs, EOS managed to raise the share of black, Hispanic/Latino, and low income students taking AP tests across four pilot schools by 40 percent. Even beyond the EOS focus schools, rates for black and His-
MCPS Students by Ethnicity
MCPS AP Tests Taken by Ethnicity
MCPS OFFICE OF SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY
MCPS OFFICE OF SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY
Disparities in AP participation fall within the nation’s broader “achievement gap” in which white and Asian students tend to outperform black and Hispanic/Latino students. Studies show that this gap derives primarily from non-school, socioeconomic factors, for instance, a 2014 Johns Hopkins report traced its speciﬁc causes to diﬀering levels of parental education, social and economic capital, and community resources. While socioeconomic factors fuel AP disparities, the dynamics of the classes themselves can also limit black and Hispanic/ Latino participation. Price believes that the lack of diversity in AP courses can dissuade minority students from taking them due to fears of isolation and pressure. “It can be kind of intimidating,” says Price. “In a class that’s not as diverse, you don’t feel ready to share your opinions or something like that because people can see you as the talking point of your whole race.” The challenge of drawing black and Hispanic/Latino students into AP classes is compounded by the lack of diversity among people teaching them.
panic/Latino AP participation have steadily risen, with the share of black students taking AP tests rising nearly 5 percent over the past three years and the participation rate for Hispanic/Latino students also signiﬁcantly increasing. Despite these advances, recent data indicates a fundamental hole in the success of AP integration eﬀorts. The same January memo that showed the rates of black and Hispanic/Latino AP participation rising also noted that the percentage of those students actually passing their AP exams is decreasing considerably. At Blair, the percentage of black AP test takers earning a 3 or above dropped 2.4 points to just over 60 percent last year, while that same statistic for Hispanic/Latino students dropped nearly 4 points to 72 percent. White and Asian pass rates, on the other hand, near 90 percent. In AP English Language, over 70 percent of white and Asian students in MCPS passed the exam, while just 41 percent of black students and 45 percent of Hispanic/ Latino students did. The gap AP Physics 1 students is even larger, with only 28 percent
of Hispanic/Latino students and 14 percent of black students passing compared to over 70 percent of White students. Blair AP World History teacher David Whitacre attributes much of this AP performance gap to policies which push students of color to take classes they are not qualiﬁed for. “I have a lot of students I think just aren’t prepared for the AP level and yet they’re in the class,” Whitacre says. “There’s a push to promote folks of diﬀerent ethnic backgrounds to make the numbers better, a little bit more balanced” While programs like EOS focus on broadly boosting black and Hispanic/Latino AP enrollment to improve engagement and college preparation, pushing students beyond their academic preparation can be deeply wounding. Besides not earning potential college credit, students who do not succeed in AP classes can suﬀer other negative repercussions, for instance, a 2017 study from the University of Portland found that struggling in AP courses can lead to “signiﬁcant decreases in [students’] perception of their grit, their academic self, and their academic strategies.” Christopher Klein, a Blair AP English Language teacher, sees this phenomenon impact his students. “If you set someone up for failure you can damage their self esteem and that can be a problem,” he says.
MCPS OFFICE OF SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY
To avoid these pitfalls and decrease the racial gap in AP performance, MCPS is actively pursuing ways to better support black and Hispanic/Latino AP students. Many of these eﬀorts are coordinated through Minority Scholars Programs at county high schools. First piloted at Walter Johnson in 2005, these programs represent student-led initiatives to combat the achievement gap. “The focus of [the Minority Scholars Program] is to ﬁnd those minority students who are not in AP classes and encourage them to take those courses and to make sure they are successful,” says Smith, who co-sponsors Blair’s Minority Scholars Program with Yolande Bruno. “We want to get students of color in AP and make sure they’re successful, and for those that are in [already], we want to make sure that they are successful too.” Even with eﬀorts like the Minority Scholars Program, teachers acknowledge that substantive gains in AP performance equity can only come through social change beyond schools and classrooms. “The county, for a long time, has been working to de-track and decouple taking advanced courses from race and class. They have had noticeable success, from my view,” Blair AP government Peter Cirincione says. “There is a long way to go, but we can only expect schools to do so much to undo the cleavages and inequalities in society.”
March 9, 2018
Wakanda forever: Black Panther unmasked
By Adenike Falade The line of 90 plus people is ever growing and begins to wrap around the upstairs lobby of Downtown Silver Spring’s Regal Majestic Theater. Many are dressed in traditional African garb complete with beads, jewelry, and bursts of color. They belong to the DMV Tribe, a group known for promoting world travel for underrepresented populations. But they were not there for their usual purpose, but rather to attend a premiere. Their leaders reserved dozens of seats for its members in anticipation of the cultural event of the year, Black Panther. The Black Panther—the ﬁrst black and African superhero featured in mainstream American comics—ﬁrst appeared in a Fantastic Four comic in 1966, created by the legendary duo Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Black Panther is a title given to the sworn protector and king of Wakanda, an advanced and isolationist ﬁctional society known for its immense deposits of vibranium, the strongest metal on Earth. In the most popular iteration of the character, the Black Panther is named T’Challa, the son of King T’Chaka. The ﬁlm centers around T’Challa, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, who faces threats to the kingdom and his throne while trying to live up to his late father’s legacy. Many have been waiting to see Black Panther on the big screen since he was ﬁrst introduced in the comics. Robert Clark, a Howard alumnus attending the ﬁlm with his wife Joan Payne Clark, still remembers the impact the Black Panther comics had back in 1966. “It was special then and now that they’re bringing it to the scene— we’re going to IMAX. [I] wouldn’t
miss it,” he says. “They don’t make movies that represent black people in a positive light.” Though other black superheroes like the Falcon, Luke Cage, and DC’s Black Lightning have since followed, Black Panther continues to stand out as one of the greats. Although the Black Panther
Black Panther came overwhelmingly from women. Women of color tend to be underrepresented or stereotyped in American movies, but in Black Panther, each female character is complex and compelling. Okoye is a traditionalist loyal to her country and her roots, which shows in her outdated ﬁghting style. Princess Shuri jokes frequently with her brother as any teenage sister would, but she is ready to ﬁght for her country and her brother when the time comes. Shuri, a young, black female genius, serves as a new role model for little black girls about what a princess and a technology wiz can look like. Seeing black women in such high positions of power is a refreshing break from the stereotypical roles in which they are usually cast. For Sophia Benn, a third grader at Elise Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School, Black Panther quickly became her favorite Marvel movie because she saw a part of herself in the movie. “There’s a character that I act similar to and it was the sister of Black Panther,” she says. Despite being out for less than a month, Black Panther is already one of the most successful movies of all time, superhero or not; the ﬁlm is the ninth-largest U.S. box oﬃce release ever. Worldwide, it has made more than $900 million dollars, TIFFANY MAO a ﬁgure that continues to is the “superhero,” the most pow- grow. Much of the movie’s popularerful characters in the ﬁlm are the ity comes from its commitment many women by his side. Take T’Challa’s brilliant teenage sister, to truly capturing an authentic Shuri, for instance. Shuri is by far black African experience. The the most intelligent character in the majority black cast and mostly ﬁlm, and despite her young age, dark-skinned actors do well to invents the life-saving technology capture what an isolated African her brother uses on his missions. nation would look like. “I’m excitAdditionally, Wakanda’s success ed to see what an African country would not be possible without Lu- could have been if the white folks pita N’yongo’s character Nakia, a had stayed out of it,” Payne Clark spy and T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend, or says. “I’m here to see power, black Okoye, the general of the all-female men in power positions, and black women, because his bodyguards Dora Milaje army. The standout performances in are women.” Junior Miniya Jefferson, who saw the movie for her birthday, was impressed by the movie’s success with a black cast. “It was really amazing because it was one of the ﬁrst ﬁlms that I’ve seen that was a blockbuster hit in which the majority of the cast was African American,” she says. The movie manages to celebrate both black actors and their natural hair types. Camille Friend, head of Black Panther’s hair department, wants to express to viewers “that
FASHION FORWARD Members of DMV Tribe pose for a picture in their traditional West African jewelry and clothes. black hair is versatile and it’s beautiful.” In Black Panther, Ryan Coogler, the director, skillfully manages to display a culturally-diverse Africa within the action-packed scenes key to the Marvel genre. He ensured that the four tribes that makeup Wakanda reﬂected real African culture. For instance, the cloaks worn by W’Kabi and his men are inspired by those worn by the Basotho people of Lesotho. The Wakandan script is inspired by the Nsibidi written language from modern-day Nigeria. The lip plate worn by one of the nation’s elders are commonly worn by Mursi women in Ethiopia. Even the red clay hairstyle worn by one of the elders is based on the OvaHimba women of Namibia. Black Panther’s emphasis on authenticity was much appreciated by Regina Neal, an employee of the US African Development Foundation. “I’ve heard a lot about all of the research that went into the different groups in Wakanda and being based on actual ethnic groups in Africa. I’m pretty excited to see that depicted on screen,” she says. Despite not being a Marvel fan at all, Neal was inspired by “the black folk” to come out and see Black Panther. “I’m not a superhero fan,” she says. “I haven’t seen the movies in advance of this one. The last one [superhero movie] I saw was Wonder Woman.” Another factor that makes Black Panther a truly unique release is the eﬀorts that many have made to make it accessible to black youth. The #blackpantherchallenge encourages people to start funding campaigns to send children to see the ﬁlm. A New York resident,
Frederick Joseph, raised $40,000 for the Harlem Boys & Girls club to watch Black Panther while celebrities like Zendaya and T.I. each paid to send 300 children to see the movie. According to the Washington Post, Mari Copeny, also known as “Little Miss Flint,” raised over $16,000 for hundreds of children in Flint, Michigan because she believes “kids need to see themselves as superheroes.” Black Panther has managed to inspire young people around the country by setting standards for diverse casts and breaking boundaries for what a hero, leader, or a genius can look like. Even within individual ﬁghts, the unique ﬁghting styles add yet another dimension to the characters’ stories. The Jabari tribe ﬁghts by brutally swinging clubs, shoulder-checking opponents, and chucking them across the battleﬁeld, which parallels their worship of the White Ape deity and their traditional antiinnovation ideology. During her ﬁght in a secret bar, Nakia skillfully utilized her own high heel and an enemy’s gun as weapons just like any resourceful spy would. Joi Randall, a member of DMV Tribe, believes that Black Panther’s success will set a precedent for more black Hollywood ﬁlms to come. “Black people will come out to see a black movie, and it will be a blockbuster,” she says. “You can have a movie with majority black characters and it will be a sellout.” Randall has waited so long for the Black Panther movie that she is taking every opportunity to see the movie. “I’m going to see it tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday, so yeah, I’m looking forward to it,” she says.
soapbox What was your favorite part of Black Panther? “When Michael B. Jordan was like ‘Hey, auntie.’ It was so funny because everyone was like, ‘Oooooo.” — Fatima Koroma, freshman
AFRICAN PRIDE Regina Neal’s movie outﬁt is complete with trinkets from her travels for her job in African development.
“There was an awesome mix of traditional culture and more modernized things. It was a great movie overall, everything about it.” — Lucia Parish-Katz, junior
March 9, 2018
Something for everyone: The best of local theater Taking advantage of the DMV theater scene
By Gilda Geist When it comes performance art, the cultural hub that is the DMV has much to offer. A quick Google search will likely lead you to a show that will draw you in and immerse you in its story. The DMV’s diversity of backgrounds and cultures is reflected in its theater scene, allowing you to learn more about other people’s stories, or find one that you can connect and relate to. Below is a taste of just three of the shows the DMV has to offer.
Aubergine at Olney Theatre Aubergine, directed by Vincent M. Lancisi, is about two things that all people experience: eating and dying. Playwright Julio Cho takes these two universal events and uses them to tell the unique story of a Korean American man and his dying father. The opening monologue lets the audience know right away that food is going to be an integral part of the story. A woman named Diane recounts her late father making her a pastrami sandwich one night, and deems it the best meal she has ever had. The main character, Ray, and his friends take their turns telling the story of the best meal they ever had: gumbo made with homegrown okra, greasy fried chicken and a Coke, a fresh bowl of mulberries. Each character has a different story to tell, but the one common thread is family. Aubergine shows us that
tickets you could find in the D.C. area either, compared to Arena Stage, for example. Also, while the show is now closed at Olney Theatre, it is being co-produced at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, where tickets will be a bit more affordable. Through Aubergine, Cho shows us that the food we eat means more than we think. It not only has the ability to unite the living, but it has the power to remind people of passed loved ones. Aubergine will make you painfully aware of your own mortality and beautifully aware of what your food and family mean to you. Aubergine is now closed at Olney Theatre, but it is being co-produced at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore from March 14 to April 15. The number for the box office is 301-924-3400.
The Great Society at Arena Stage
The Great Society, directed by Kyle Donnelly, may be set in the late 1960s, but it tells a story that remains relevant today. Writer Robert Schenkkan brings us the sequel to his previous work, All the Way, which tells the story of how Lyndon B. Johnson became president. The Great Society gives us a moving and suspenseful history lesson about what the United States was like while Johnson was president. The Great Society’s opening is West Wing-
events like the Selma march and Vietnam War protests portrayed on a stage showed just how relevant history is to America today. Fifty years later, the United States still battles with racism and war. The Great Society manages to cram four years of politics into one two-and-a-half-hour play, making stories many of us know from history books come to life. The Great Society is playing at Arena Stage through March 11. The number for the box office is 202-488-3300.
Light Years at Signature Theatre
COURTESY OF STAN BAROUH
FATHER AND SON Tony Nam as French chef Ray (left) and Glenn Kubota as his father (right) share a meal in a heartfelt scene from Olney Theatre’s “Aubergine.” across Korean, American, Caribbean, and all cultures, food brings people together. The scenes between these monologues show how Ray, a gifted chef played by Tony Nam, handles his father’s terminal liver disease. When Ray’s uncle shows up unannounced to see his sick brother, the language barrier between the two at first leads to some much-needed comic relief in this harshly honest story that hits close to home for many. As Ray and his uncle’s relationship develops, however, their interactions go from comic relief to a demonstration of how food allows people to transcend their differences and connect with one another. Upon first meeting Ray, the audience sees a cynical, grouchy man as he struggles to deal with the fact that his father is dying. As the play progresses, however, Ray speaks less harshly to the other characters. Nam’s expert portrayal of Ray evolves from closed off and unfriendly to increasingly vulnerable, showing the audience that Ray is learning to open up, to his uncle, his girlfriend, and himself. The set is split into three adjacent rooms, including Ray’s kitchen, which is designed with so much detail that looks like it could really be part of someone’s home. Aubergine also uses a projector as a subtle but innovative way to provide the audience subtitles for Ray’s uncle, who only speaks Korean. Aubergine’s tickets are not cheap, but they are far from the most expensive theater
COURTESY OF C. STANLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
BRINGING HISTORY INTO TODAY’S MEDIA Bowman Wright (center) as Martin Luther King Jr. and the ensemble in Arena Stage’s production of “The Great Society.”
esque — fast paced dialogue laced with political jargon, with politicians circulating in and out of the Oval Office and the audience’s focus. Even those who have not seen All the Way or did not grow up during the Vietnam War can be drawn into the story. Some of the most compelling scenes focus around the Civil Rights Movement in Selma and Chicago. Dr. Martin Luther King, played by Bowman Wright, is portrayed differently than we usually see him in mainstream media. Rather than being the passive, tranquil, and whitewashed MLK we are used to, Wright’s MLK was assertive and tenacious, while still reflecting his peaceful and nonviolent values. The Great Society is performed in a 360-degree theater with audience members seated on all four sides of the stage. In addition to the complex stage directions that keep the audience engaged from all angles, the show also makes good use of a projector, sound effects, lighting, and even fire to make the story more immersive. For the average high schooler, The Great Society is definitely on the expensive side, as it cost the most by far of the three shows reviewed in this article. Fortunately, Arena Stage offers “Pay Your Age” tickets, where theatergoers under 30 can get in at a discounted price. Seeing politicians like Bobby Kennedy, George Wallace, and Hubert Humphrey, and
Whether you are a theater aficionado or a novice, Light Years will draw you in and make you feel something. Light Years, directed by Eric Schaeffer, was written by Robbie Schaefer. Through folk rock music of his own creation, Schaefer takes the audience through his life and relationship with his father as he tries to make a career out of music. Music is a focal point of Light Years. Schaefer’s songs are deeply personal and are performed beautifully by the cast. The music carries the story and connects the handful of scenes from Schaefer’s life together. The set of Light Years is minimalist, which was effective for a show with ever-changing locations. Upon entering the theater, the stage appears to be set up for a concert, and the only set piece is a clear plastic table. Dates, locations, backdrops, and images are shown on a series of screens mounted to the back wall of the set. Three different actors play Schaefer at dif-
ferent stages of his life. Schaefer himself stars as his current-day self. The youngest Schaefer, played by John Sygar, is between the ages of about six and 11. Considering that Sygar is actually an adult, his portrayal of a curious, youthful, and daydreaming Schaefer is impressive. The energetic and innocent way he speaks, moves, and acts makes you forget that he is anything but a child who is new to the world. Bobby Smith, who plays Schaefer’s father, an immigrant and Holocaust survivor, is also adept at manipulating how he presents his age throughout the show. Seeing Smith’s character go from being a young, new father to an old, dying man with dementia is heartbreaking to watch. Ticket prices vary depending on where you prefer to sit. There are some relatively cheaper tickets available from less optimal seating angles and locations. Although that makes it more difficult to see, the show’s music and storyline are far more important than the very minimalistic visuals, allowing the show to still be enjoyable from anywhere in the theater. Light Years is successful in drawing in the audience because of how intimate and honest it is. The music is open and vulnerable and puts you right into Schaefer’s world. After learning so much about Schaefer and the people in his life, you cannot help but care deeply about a family you have never even met.
Light Years is now closed at Signature Theatre. To inquire about other Signature Theatre shows, the number for the box office is 703-8209771.
COURTESY OF CHRISTOPHER MUELLER
SHARING STORIES THROUGH SONG Kara-Tameika Watkins as Amelia/Soma (left), Robbie Schaefer as himself (center), and Natascia Diaz as Annie/Chantelle (right) performing Schaefer’s original songs in Signature Theatre’s “Light Years.”
When parking is not clutch
Blazers of Note
The inside scoop on Blair’s student parking lot
By Noah Chopra-Khan
Mr. Smith Teacher The Washington Post named social studies teacher Kenneth Smith MCPS nominee for their Teacher of the Year (TOY) award on Feb. 20. Smith says he ﬁrst heard the news from Principal Renay Johnson. He was in a meeting when he got a text from her saying to come to her oﬃce, at ﬁrst thinking that there was a problem. “I was a little nervous. I’m thinking, ‘bad news,’ so I went to her oﬃce immediately,” he says. When he went in, however, she told Smith the good news. “I was excited,” Smith says. “I mean it’s an incredible honor. It’s a blessing.” Counselor Daryl Howard nominated Smith—who is in his 22nd year of teaching—for TOY. As part of the nomination process, four supporters must submit recommendation letters. After Smith was nominated, he got a chance to see the letters. “I read them and my my my. Incredibly humbling, the things that people said,” he says. The overall winner for TOY will be announced to the public in mid-April.
Senior Zenie Plain opens her car door, hops in, puts the keys into the ignition, and starts her 2004 Honda Odyssey. She throws it into reverse, keeps one hand on the steering wheel and looks backwards as she eases her foot of the break and backs out of her spot in the student parking lot on University Boulevard. Without warning, a parent driver zooms past her, missing her bumper by inches. Daryl Cooper, head of security at Blair, estimates that in addition to the one hundred and thirty-seven students that park in the student lot, about 300 cars drop students oﬀ in the University Boulevard parking lot every morning. With over 400 cars converging in the span of about twenty minutes, close calls are common in the hazardous plot of tar that is Blair’s student parking lot.
Senior Zachary Dunne has been driving his 2013 Mazda 3 to school for over two years, and he loves it. Dunne takes pride in his parking. “Forward parking, that’s my jam, it’s slight work,” he says. “But apparently, it’s not half of Blair’s slight work.” Dunne is alluding to the shoddy parking jobs that plague the student parking lot, especially during second semester when there are more student drivers. “I am always driving through the parking lot, and I always look for the ﬁrst spot because I am ﬁve minutes late, and I realize that half these people don’t know how to park, and they’re over the lines, and I’m really surprised they can get out of their cars,” he says, exasperated. Cooper agrees with Dunne’s sentiment. “I’m going to be honest, most of these students cannot park, and when they turn in— whether they’re parking in the ﬁrst spot or the ﬁfteenth spot—it takes them three times to turn in. It’s really hard for them to estimate with all of the traﬃc,” he says. A longtime parker in the student lot, senior Lucas Gilkeson agrees with Cooper and adds that many students drive recklessly. “In the afternoons, going and getting your
car, not so much now that I have a half day, but it used to be wild when everyone used to be pulling out of spaces. I almost got hit so many times because people just back up ﬁerce as s***,” Gilkeson says.
Although students contribute to the chaos, Gilkeson believes that parent drivers are biggest issue, especially in the morning. “It’s wack when parents drop oﬀ their kids in the middle of the lane,” he says. Cooper agrees. Instead of following cues and traﬃc directions, many parents stop early so that their kids have the shortest route to the door. “I’m out there in my ﬂuorescent vest and some parents say ‘Oh, thank you so much, it’s so much better,’ Cooper says. “But then you got those other parents that don’t want to hear me, they don’t want to pay attention, they want to ﬂip you oﬀ and argue and everything just because you’re trying to tell them to move up,” he says. The result is that instead of twenty cars letting out students at a time, it’s one or two cars, and it takes an outrageous amount of time for traﬃc to move. “Parents need to learn how to drop their kids oﬀ, that’s the main thing,” Dunne says.
Dunne and Gilkeson also believe that the
By Elias Monastersky Dr. Judith Smith Teacher English teacher Dr. Judith Smith is the longest tenured teacher at Blair, with a total of 36 years under her belt. She initially taught at the old location on Wayne Ave, and notes that the construction of the new school at Four Corners is the most signiﬁcant diﬀerence that she has noticed in her years teaching. “When I ﬁrst started [the school] was small. Now it’s huge,” she says. “It’s the amazing resources of the [new] building, I think, [that] are the biggest diﬀerence.” Smith cites the school’s diversity and its tenacious attitude as some of her favorite reasons for teaching at Blair. “The diversity of the students make this place continually fascinating,” she says. “[Blair] is always facing extraordinary challenges, and it’s remarkably resilient and adaptable.” For Smith, it is the overall sense of kinship that keeps her at Blair. “I really feel very committed to my community [and] loyal to my community,” she explains. “It’s never tempted me to leave.”
I like movies. And like most people, I have opinions about those movies and the movie industry as a whole. Now that I have a forum to express my opinions, expect to hear me complain about every little thing that bothers me. Enjoy! Monastersky’s Movies has often focused on what plagues the movie industry when there are so many great things to praise. As the trailer for Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 has been recently released, it is as good a time as any to talk about the greatest superhero ﬁlm ever made. Pixar was a well-known company in 2004. It had ﬁrmly planted itself in the entertainment industry after releasing Toy Story 1 and 2, Monsters Inc., and A Bugs Life, all of which were released to critical acclaim and commercial success. But it was not until 2004 that Pixar unleashed its magnum opus into theaters. The Incredibles immediately distanced itself from the pack with its darker tone, ﬂawed yet still human and relatable characters, and an accessible story for all ages. It remains the perfect case study on how to make a great superhero movie as well as an interesting character-driven experience.
Although the ﬁlm opens with Mr. Incredible stopping a car of armed robbers with a well-placed tree trunk, the ﬁlm’s real focus lies on the characters and the normalcy of their lives. Many of the heroes portrayed in The Avengers or Justice League are larger
administration could ease the ﬂow of traﬃc by removing a barrier that prevents students from entering the parking lot without going through the student drop oﬀ. “If you were able to turn through that [opening], parking would be so much faster,” Dunne says. Cooper explains that the barrier is there to make the route very straightforward and prevent accidents. “The reason for that particular barrier is to keep the system as simple as possible … just one big loop,” he says. Cooper states that if students were able to turn left, then they would be facing parents (from their right) who are rushing to leave the parking lot. “If I had people trying to [turn left], not really being able to anticipate when cars are coming, that’s just too many other opportunities for accidents,” Cooper says. Despite the inconveniences of parking lot, students still appreciate it. “At least we have somewhere to park,” says Dunne.
Check out the student parking lot for yourself with this video. Scan the QR code or visit tinyurl. com/parkinglotlapse to watch.
By Gilda Geist and Elise Cauton
March 9, 2018
than life. While directors have tried to make them relatable in their own ways, they are still essentially gods or geniuses that have little similarity with humans. The Incredible family is the complete opposite. While they have super powers, the power do little to help them with their relationships or family issues. Each family member experiences their own challenges and has to overcome them. Mr. Incredible is a washed up superhero that slowly drifts further away from his stable life and family in pursuit of reliving his glory days. His wife, Elastigirl, works hard to take care of her family with an emotionally absent husband. Both characters are extremely complex and dynamic, showing more range of emotion in the 115-minute runtime than Thor did in his six movies or Captain America in his ﬁve. The parents in The Incredibles live through experiences that drastically impact the way they interact with each other and their children, Dash and Violet, who gain self-conﬁdence and an understanding of where and when to use their powers.
Most recent Marvel and DC movies have misinterpreted what has made superhero movies so enjoyable to watch, and, as a result, the story is subservient to the action in the ﬁlm. The action, being a physical representation of the conﬂict, needs a strong and cohesive story in order to carry emotional weight and relevance in the ﬁlm. In The Incredibles, the action comes in
waves, with long segments of downtime in between that focus on the relationships between the characters. The ﬁlm develops a story in which superheroes have been cast out of society due to fear that they do more harm than good. This creates a central conﬂict in the movie that allows for extensive character development. While the movie has a predictable ending, the story as a whole is not about the ﬁght between good and evil, but rather the development of the characters, especially how Mr. Incredible has to accept his fatal ﬂaw of ﬁerce independence and self-isolation to allow his family to succeed in their goal to save the world. The plot is not wholly original, but the ﬂawless execution of the story and its unique twists and turns makes for an entirely unique experience.
One thing that I cannot praise enough about The Incredibles is the seamless blend of comedy and drama. Much of the comedy attempted in Marvel movies feel awkward and tonally inconsistent. The jokes are often made at inappropriate times, causing the joke to fall ﬂat and the scene to lose its emotional weight. The Incredibles does a fantastic job of having both comedy and drama without either one impeding the other. The ﬁnal battle in the city between The Incredibles and the Omnidroid moves smoothly from a comedic moment while Frozone looks for his super suit to a dramatic moment in the ﬁght. The movie does not attempt to have the characters crack jokes when they are ﬁghting for their lives, instead treating the drama seriously while still allowing for comedic moments in other times. Finally, the most powerful reason I love The Incredibles so much: nostalgia. The Incredibles brings back memories of growing up and watching the movie over and over again, each time pulling something new and interesting from the experience. This is not what makes the movie perfect in my eyes, but it is the reason I go back every year to rewatch The Incredibles, and I am excited to see what they will pull oﬀ in the sequel.
March 9, 2018
Tradition in the kitchen
Silver Chips recreates Blazers’ family recipes By Erin Namovicz
Domada (Peanut Butter Stew)
Stroll into the SAC, and as you walk from table to table, whiﬀs of strong spices and good home-cookin’ permeate through the cloud of greasy cafeteria food. These dishes, like the Blazers that bring them to school, originate from all corners of the world, and have family history written in their recipes. Many of these recipes are tried and true favorites, handed down from generation to generation, and some are featured below for you to try.
The primary crop of the small river country of The Gambia is peanuts, so it comes as no surprise that Domada, a peanut butter stew, is a staple of Gambian cooking. Freshman Yamarie Sarr’s family makes it at least twice a month, as “it’s an easy dish you can make, and it’s easy to make a large quantity and just pop it in the fridge.” Sarr likes this spicy vegetarian stew because of its simplicity and connection to her home country, but also because of the diﬀerent ways you can cook it. “When my sister makes it, she adds diﬀerent stuﬀ, like instead of blending the onions, she fries them in the pot ﬁrst, but my mom, she blends them,” she says.This recipe has been in Sarr’s family since they lived in The Gambia. Even though it comes from Africa, Sarr says that the recipe is in fact easier to make in America, because peanut butter is more readily available in stores. “Back in Gambia it’s actually harder to make the dish because you don’t have a jar of peanut butter, [so] you actually have to make the peanut butter by hand by pounding it,” she says.
Baleadas At ﬁrst glance, baleadas seem like a cross between a taco and a quesadilla. This simple dish that builds oﬀ of a tortilla and beans has made its way to America from its origin in Honduras. Though Senior Frank Sandagorda is from Bolivia where baleadas are not typically served, he is often around baleadas at his church, where they are made for events such as birthday parties and fundraisers. Just like how the tortilla and beans unite the many ingredients inside, baleadas have the ability to unite people from many diﬀerent Latin American countries, bringing cultures together with food. “It’s a pretty common dish,” he says. “Basically [you] make a tortilla, and then fold it in half, and inside you could either put beans, eggs, sausage; it’s just whatever your preference is, diﬀerent people make it diﬀerently.” While authentic baleadas are made with homemade tortillas, you can use small ﬂour tortillas for a quicker approach, though Sandagorda warns that it will not be the same.
Ingredients (for six baleadas): 6 small ﬂour tortillas 2 cups Refried Beans 2 eggs Oil (olive or vegetable)
Optional: 1 avocado Beef, chicken, or loose chorizo sausage Crema (a thin sour cream) ¼ block of Queso Fresco
Heat up a small ﬂour tortilla (or make one if you know how). Either refry beans or heat them from a can. Scramble two eggs in a small frying pan with a bit of oil. If you are using sausage, fry as much as you would like to add. To put together the baleadas, use a spoon or spatula to spread about one spoonful of beans on the tortilla, enough for a relatively thin layer extending almost to the edge of the tortilla. Inside, put pieces of the scrambled egg, and crumble some cheese oﬀ of the block. You can also slice an avocado and add your choice of meat. All extra toppings are optional.
8 oz peanut butter 2 scotch bonnet peppers 2 larger onions, peeled 3 cloves garlic, peeled 6 oz tomato paste ½ cup of oil (peanut or vegetable recommended) 2 cups of water Salt and pepper to taste 1 maggi cube 1 cup white rice
Cut each onion into approximately 4 large pieces. Cut the stems oﬀ of the scotch bonnet peppers. Put onion, garlic cloves, and peppers into a blender or food processor, and blend until chopped. Add tomato paste and blend until pureed. Pour ½ cup oil into a large saucepan. Turn heat to high. When oil is shimmery, add the mixture, turn heat to medium and fry until it begins to turn brown (about 5-10 min). Once it is slightly brown, mix in 2 cups of water and let simmer for 20 minutes. Then add peanut butter, along with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add one maggi cube for extra ﬂavor. Place lid, turn heat to low, and let stew thicken (5-10 minutes). Once the stew is thick, serve with white rice. Feeds 4-6.
Watch Erin Namovicz try out the recipe for domada in this video produced by Ben Miller. Check it out by scanning the QR code above or visiting tinyurl. com/chipscooks.
Kali (Mung Dhal) and Sweet Pongal
Senior Carolyn Subramaniam’s grandmother returned to India when Subramaniam was just a baby, but left behind a precious gift: a notebook ﬁlled with a handwritten collection of old family recipes. “She was leaving for India and she wanted me to learn to cook,” Subramaniam says. In the notebook’s handwritten pages is a Kali and Sweet Pongal recipe that, according to a note from her grandmother, is made to celebrate the festival of Pongal every year on January 13 or 14. Pongal is a Tamil holiday celebrating the ﬁrst harvests and the end of winter, so it is ﬁtting that a feast such as this is prepared. Kali is a sweet dahl, which is a dish made with lentils and rice. Traditionally, you make the rice into a powder yourself, but that requires soaking and drying the rice for hours, so you can substitute in rice ﬂour. “It saves time, and it’s pretty much the same thing,” Subramaniam says. Pongal is a sweet rice dish, ﬂavored with cardamom and ghee, a type of clariﬁed butter. These two dishes can be cooked together and their ﬂavors complement each other well.
Kali (Mung Dhal) Ingredients:
1 cup mung beans ¾ cup rice powder About 2 tablespoons Jaggery (solid cane or date sugar) ½ cup unsweetened coconut ﬂakes, ﬁnely chopped Ground cardamom
Put dhal in a small pot and cover with about an inch of water. Cook covered on low heat until dhal is soft but not mushy. Drain oﬀ excess water. Mix in coconut and jaggery to taste (cut about 2 tablespoon in total from the block). Add cardamom to taste (about 2 teaspoons). Add rice powder, mix well and cover on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sweet Pongal (rice side dish) Ingredients:
1 cup basmati rice (white rice is an alternative) 2 tbsp ghee Ground cardamom 2 cups of grapes, sliced 1 cup of cashews, halved 2-3 strands saﬀron (optional)
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup rice, cover pot with lid, and put on low heat. While rice is cooking, add 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom and saﬀron if desired. Once most of the water has evaporated (after about 6 minutes), add ½ tbsp ghee and mix. Cover rice and let ﬁnish cooking (test rice until it is soft but not mushy). While the rice is cooking, fry the grapes and cashews in 1 ½ tbsp ghee until cashews turn golden brown. Add cardamom to taste. Feeds 4-6.
A TASTE OF FAMILY HISTORY Senior Carolyn Subramaniam reads over family reci- BREAKING DOWN BALEADAS This version of baleadas is made of repes for the festival Pongal that her grandmother wrote down before leaving for India. fried beans, queso fresco (cheese), and avacados on a store-bought tortilla.
March 9, 2018
Edited by Ben Miller and Laura Espinoza
The sixth installment of our 80th Anniversary retrospective series looks back on the 1990s. Silver Chips spent much of the decade focused on the fight to build a new Blair, a decade-long political battle that culminated in the opening of Blair’s current Four Corners campus in 1998. The paper also tackled the emerging issue of sexual harassment. In a series of features, Silver Chips dove into outdated MCPS harassment policies and criticized Blair administrators for consistently marginalizing victims. Beyond Blair, Silver Chips waded into the pressing issues of the period, as the AIDS epidemic ravaged communities, technology revolutionized students’ daily lives, and the Columbine massacre brought gun violence to the forefront of national politics. The paper also audaciously defied a Montgomery County censorship law, helping lead to its repeal. COUNTY PROPOSES NEW BLAIR May 20, 1992
Surrounded by local politicians, Principal Phillip Gainous cuts the ribbon during the dedication ceremony for Blair’s new University Boulevard campus. Oct. 8, 1998
After three years of disagreement over Blair’s future, the Kay tract has emerged as the most supported solution to Blair’s growing population. The proposal calls for building a new, bigger Blair on the Kay Tract, a 42.5 acre plot of land located in Four Corners. Before plans for the future of Blair are finalized, several problems need to be resolved. The Kay Tract is privately owned and the price of the land is disputed. Until the actual amount is known, the County Council’s Educational Committee cannot approve a price for the new building. $22 million has been designated for a new school which will cost $30 million to build, according to Blair’s PTA and the school board. This does not include the price of the Kay Tract. PTA vice-president, Michael Richman believes that the Kay Tract will provide the most positive future for Blair, and says that, “everyone feels strongly that this is clearly the best option.”
tronic communications devices on public school property. Student arrests generally occur in public view, with the offender removed in handcuffs or hand ties. High visibility is a tactic designed to discourage other students from violating the law. Arrested students are usually released to their parents’ custody, and depending on age and past record, the police may put the student on probation for a first offense. Otherwise, convicted students face a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to six months in prison. The recent crackdown is based on the assumption that the use of beepers is drug related activity. “Initially, the principals and the assistant principals were the ones who made the superintendent feel that this was a seriously urgent problem,” explained Blair Principal Philip Gainous. “Weapons and beepers are generally related to drugs, and we wanted them out.”
BEEPERS PROHIBITED Dec. 23, 1992
“I single-handedly destroyed the self-esteem of O.J. Simpson,” recites Blair English resource teacher Vickie Adamson as a slight smile creeps across her face. “See, it all started out in junior high school when I had this teacher named Louis Peters. We all called him O.J. because he was this tall, attractive, muscu-
Eleven Blair students have been arrested this school year for the illegal possession of portable pagers, commonly known as beepers. Montgomery County is strongly enforcing the Maryland law which prohibits elec-
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE O.J. KIND Oct. 13, 1994
lar guy,” Adamson remembers. “All the girls loved to hang around him because he looked like O.J. Simpson.” Adamson skips forward to a decade later. “In Santa Monica, California, in a relatively wealthy area where it wasn’t very unusual to see celebrities, my husband and I went [out] to eat,” she recalls. “There was only one other person in the restaurant, and it was a man who looked very familiar to me.” Adamson contemplated her next move for a few moments as the man repeatedly sent her what she took as glances of recognition. Finally, she came to a conclusion. “I said to my husband, ‘that must be Mr. Peters,’ so I went over to say hello. The guy [just glowed with anticipation] but when I asked him if he was Mr. Peters, he looked crushed. Then he told me he was O.J. Simpson,” she says in a slightly sheepish tone. “He autographed my grocery list because I didn’t have any other paper in my purse, devoured his three hamburgers, and then left,” Adamson says pointedly. GYM TEACHERS REMOVE EXPLICIT PICTURE Nov. 18, 1992 An eight-year Blair athletic tradition has come crashing down like the Berlin Wall. As a result of a new policy concerning sexual harassment, Blair male physical education teachers have taken down sexually suggestive pictures originally located in their office at the main gym. Girls in bathing suits, women with string bikinis, and models straddling motorcycles adorn the teachers’ walls no longer. The posters were removed by a physical education teacher while a Silver Chips reporter interviewed him about them. The teacher said he was not aware of the new policy, but that he did feel that the athletic department was not violating any regulations. “I am not opposed to women’s rights, or anything concerned with the unequal genders issue, but at the same time, I don’t think the pictures are offensive.” Athletic Director Nelson Kobren denied putting up any of the pictures and that he felt they were inappropriate. “I thought that they should have been taken down in the first place even before the policy [was instituted],” he said. One physical education teacher said that students who saw the pictures did not have any reaction to them. “They’ve been up here for at least eight or nine years, and nobody’s ever said anything about them.” INHALING NITROUS- IT’S NO LAUGHING MATTER April 21, 1994
“Student Parking Horrors” October 9, 1991
“It’s a really short intense high,” says Gabriel, a magnet student, of his use of
nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. He pauses for a moment to find the exact word to describe this chemically induced euphoria. “It lasts for two minutes. It’s sort of hard to describe.” Gabriel began using nitrous at the end of his junior year. He was introduced to the drug by a friend John, also a magnet student. Gabriel does about four whippets (a balloon filled with nitrous) a month, saying that nitrous is not hard to obtain. The balloons and the nitrous can be purchased at local houseware and hardware stores in the area. The short-lived high of nitrous, like most drugs, is an escape to a weird reality. “It’s sort of like being in a video game,” says John, thinking back to his last experience with the drug. “You hear Pac Man sounds’: says Gabriel. Drug use among teenagers and its prevalence among the teenage social scene is on the rise, and has been steadily rising over the past three years, according to a study by the University of Michigan. The study cites a rise in marijuana and alcohol use, as well as a rise in the use of inhalants. According to Jerry, nitrous oxide is about one dollar a charge or shot. The gas from the charge is released into a balloon. There are several methods used to inhale the gas, but the most commonly used is to breathe in and out of the balloon until all of the gas is inhaled.
CLINTON, BLAIR VISIT Feb. 12, 1998 President William Jefferson Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the Blair gym last Thursday, February 5. The world leaders spoke to an enthusiastic crowd about the importance of a partnership between education and technology. Clinton stressed the power of a strong education, urging the audience to “believe with all your heart and soul that if you get an education, you can live out your dreams.” Describing the diverse population of Blair as “the picture of America in the twenty-first century,” he asked students to “look around the room, look at each other, [and notice] people from all backgrounds, all walks of life.” Blair, in his first visit to the United States as Prime Minister, echoed Clinton’s message. “When asked what the three priorities of my government in Great Britain are, I say ‘Education, education, education,” he said, prompting the audience to erupt into cheers. Blair also addressed the coincidence of his name. “I will be able to say to my people back home in Britain, ‘I went to Montgomery Blair High School and saw great young men and women, and they’re thoroughly worthy of the name Blair.”
Chips Clips E6
March 9, 2018
Not My Type
by Bennett Coukos-Wiley Across 1. Jeerer’s cry
41. Video ﬁle format
16. Cries of alarm
4. NYT competitor
7. Military branches focused 46. on aerial warfare (abbr.) 50. Supplant 10. Aged
51. Greek jars
23. Those who share a name with the current President pro tempore
11. Words of approval
24. Peacock, in Paris
13. “____, all ye faithful...” 15. Collarbone
53. Changed resolution, for an image
54. See 36-across
25. The eurozone’s ﬁnancial assistance organization (abbr.)
55. Polka ___
56. Organization that works 29. NYEH HEH HEH on the ISS 30. Waxes 57. GCF’s counterpart
20. Ice sporting league that awards the Calder Cup (abbr.) 21. Ulcerated chilblain 22. One of the story conventions catalogued on a certain addictive website
Down 1. Baby’s shoe 2. Early Mesoamerican civilization 3. “___ to Joy”
26. S.H.I.E.L.D’s predecessor 4. Actor Smith’s father 27. Prydain’s ____ Dallben
5. Pole or Belarusian, e.g.
28. Tsar Nicholas’ friend and 6. Dance healer, for short 7. Spore structures of some 31. 12 pt., double spaced fungi 34. What some “Monty Python” knights do 35. It’s guarded in soccer 36. Two after 54-across
8. The Hogwarts caretaker
27. “And his name is John ____”
32. Slangy apology (abbr.) 33. Chronologist’s questions 37. The creator of this crossword, for one 39. “No _______” (“It’s nothing” in Madrid) 40. Alkali metal used to deﬁne a second 41. Oscar, e.g. 42. YouTube competitor
9. Synonym of 8-down
43. How people from LA tell time
12. Sports uniform
45. Poison ______
13. Double reed 38. What most of the world instrumentalists counts in 14. Heading 40. A subtractive primary 15. Location in a theatre color
To see the answers to the crossword, scan this QR code or visit tinyurl. com/marchxword
19. Suspended animation
47. F___ 48. Nap 49. Furies 52. GA’s capital
COURTESY OF WEBSUDOKU SALLY ZHAO
March 9, 2018
March 9, 2018
A jump toward diversity
Increased representation in the Olympics is important for viewers
normalizes gay people in the athletic community. “When athletes come out and say that they’re gay, it makes it a little more normal and less of a big deal,” Rippon said in an interview for Skating Magazine. “You have a lot of respect for your fellow athletes for working hard toward a goal. Their sexual orientation takes a backseat to that.” As gay athletes become more common in the athletic community, their accomplishments will overshadow their sexual orientation. Elliot Verburg, a gay and internationally competitive figure skater of 10 years, acknowledges the advancements on integrating gay athletes. “I love that people in my sport and others are being recognized for their achievements and how it takes a lot of mental strength to be able to brush off comments about our sexual orientation,” he said. “It really shows growth in all aspects of sports that anyone can be successful and their race, gender, and sexual orientation are a complete afterthought.”
By Hannah Lee Every four years, people around the globe tune in to watch the Winter Olympics. Time and time again, athletes perform the seemingly impossible, inspiring kids all over the world to follow in their footsteps. Unlike in previous games, however, coverage on behalf of major TV networks changed to athletes of a variety of races and sexual orientations. This year, half of the individual skaters are Asian American. The bronze ice dance medalists, Maia and Alex Shibutani, are Asian American, and figure skater Adam Rippon and freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy are the first openly gay males to qualify for the United States Olympics team. However, the significance comes not from the makeup of the team itself, but rather the expanded media coverage of people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Specifically, NBC alone paid $963 million for the rights to the 2018 Winter Olympics and averaged 19.8 million viewers for the PyeongChang games. As NBC and other news organizations conduct extensive research on what viewers want to see, the increased coverage of those of different races and sexual orientations shows that viewers are no longer solely interested in white, straight Americans. For example, the ice dance coverage during the 2014 Sochi Olympics was focused on Meryl Davis and Charlie White, an all white pair. However, this year’s United States ice dancing coverage mainly focused on the Shibutanis, not only because they won a bronze medal, but also because they were the only pair without any white members. Maia and Alex Shibutani also broke an Olympic world record by becoming the first pair of Asian descent to win a medal in ice dance. Similarly, Asian American snowboard-
er Chloe Kim became the face of snowboarding, a sport typically associated with straight, white men like Shaun White. Kim, the most covered and recognizable athlete of the Olympics, not only became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal, but also gained massive social media presence. Since the Olympics, she has been placed on cereal boxes, landed an interview with Jimmy Fallon, been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and now has her own Barbie doll. Although figure skaters Nathan Chen and Mirai Nagasu did not medal, they both broke skating records and left a mark on the skating community during the Olympics. Chen, a Chinese American figure skater, is the only skater to attempt and land six quadruple jumps, the most difficult jump in figure skating, in one program, beating the
previous record of four. Nagasu, a Japanese American figure skater, became the first American female figure skater to land a triple axel at the Olympics. The list goes on. The coverage of increased representation of races and sexual orientations makes the Olympics a more inclusive environment to showcase talent. The United States team members represent a very diverse nation, and the Olympic team should reflect that. There is still a lot to be done in order for the United States team to accurately represent the demographics of our country, as there are only 10 black and 11 Asian American athletes out of the total 242 athletes. Rippon and Kenworthy’s openness in expressing their sexuality while competing in each individual event was also influential. They both have explained how being open
soapbox What is your favorite Olympic event (winter or summer)? “I love horseback riding and watching professionals so I can be inspired to do better.” — Mira Barnouin-Jha, freshman “My favorite Olympic event is snowboarding because Chloe Kim is so representative of the American dream.” — Sofia Cuadros, junior
March 9, 2018
Before they were teaching, they were competing Exploring teachers’ former lives as collegiate athletes
By Noah Chopra-Khan She is thrown into the air, spinning twice, head over heels, as the New York Knicks’ home crowd erupts in cheers. The euphoria is like nothing else as she completes a double back flip before falling safely into the hands of her teammates. Before English Teacher and CAP Coordinator Sarah Fillman was teaching students how to write, she was doing acro at what is now Washington Adventist University. While every teacher at Blair attended college, only a few, like Fillman, were collegiate athletes.
Fillman describes acro as a combination of competitive cheerleading and Cirque du Soleil. It was one of many sports she played in high school but the only one she continued in college. “I focused on acro for college because I got the biggest scholarship and enjoyed it the most … there’s no place I love more than being in the air,” she says. Fillman’s specialty is called flying. “It’s where a group of bases, usually men or boys, formed a platform with their hands … then it’s a sequence of the flyer jumping in and everybody sinking together and then exploding with a lot of power,” she says. “So lots of heights and then you learn to do different tricks and then you come down and you’re caught.” Fillman says the rush of being in the air is unique. “That exhilaration, there’s nothing like it,” she says.
Math teacher and baseball coach Bryce Shemer played baseball for three years at Colorado Mesa University before transferring to play at Shepherd University. His favorite memory was his first career college home run. “I was in Colorado, we were
crushing the team and I got put in late in the game … and I hit a three-run home run,” he explains. Shemer immediately knew that it was a dinger. “That was one of the farthest balls I’ve ever hit in my life. As soon as I hit it, I just knew, that was a home run,” he says. However, Shemer adds that the worst part of his experience, which he has since learned from, was how he acted after the home run. “Instead of celebrating and being happy for myself, I was kind of staring down the coaches like, ‘See what I can do if you put me in.’ But not in a way of proving them wrong, but more of being immature,” he says. As a star recruit out of Maryland, Shemer felt that he was entitled to playing time, but like the other young players, he was benched for most games in his first season. Shemer remarks that many young adults don’t understand that they have to start over in college. “They’ve got to prove to everyone, not just themselves, that they are the top [athlete],” he says. “That comes from work ethic, that comes from keeping the right attitude, not getting down on yourself … it’s not through words, it’s just doing what got you there in the first place,” he says.
was time to offer scholarships, they basically said, ‘We have four scholarships that we’re bringing in this year and right now, you’re the sixth guy on our depth chart,’” Pigrom explains. Instead of accepting offers from other schools, Pigrom decided to bet on himself and take a chance as a walk on player. He went to every five a.m. workout, late night lifting session, and practice while balancing academics and a social life. His work ethic paid off, and each year, the school paid him more. “My first year, I got book money, my sophomore year they paid for my meal plan
and book money, my junior year I was on half scholarship, and my senior year I was on full scholarship,” he says. For Pigrom, the scholarship meant easing the burden on his parents and validating his effort. The lessons he learned from basketball remain with him today. “The things that have stuck with me the most are discipline, time management, and just the appreciation of being humble and not being satisfied, and always trying to better yourself, whether it is as a person, or at your craft,” he says.
Physical Education teacher Damon Pigrom understands this notion better than most. He attended Hampton University in Virginia, where he walked on to the basketball team and, after four years, earned his way to a full scholarship. Since sixth grade, Hampton was Pigrom’s dream school. It was a historically black university with solid academics, good athletics, and a gorgeous campus. But when scholarships were being offered, he wasn’t at the top of the list. “I really wanted to go there, and they did recruit me, but when it
COURTESY OF BRYCE SHEMER
DROPPING BOMBS Geometry and algebra teacher Bryce Shemer laces a line drive in his senior year playing baseball at Shepherd University.
A philosophy of positivity
Student athletes and coaches reap the benefits of successful coaching By William Donaldson Coming out of 8th grade, junior Courtney Wyche had no idea where she wanted to go to high school. As a softball player since age nine, one of her goals was to play the sport in high school and find success with that team. Her ultimate decision would commit her to working with a coach for four years before college—a decision that would shape her athletic career. With longtime Coach Louis Hoelman III and Coach Kristin Cole at the helm of Blair’s varsity softball program, however, the decision was made crystal clear. Joining coaches Hoelman and Cole for her freshman year on the varsity team, Wyche knew she had made the right decision. “I immediately gravitated to his coaching style, it’s very—some would say laid back … but he’s still going to make sure that you’re reaching your highest potential,” she says. A 2013 study published in the academic journal Social Neuroscience found that the most effective coaching relies on an emphasis on “compassion for the individual’s hopes and dreams,” which fosters an “enhance[d] behavioral change.” Moreover, positive coaching is shown to activate “important neural circuits and stress-reduction systems in the body by encouraging mentees to envision a desired future for themselves,” according to the study. Senior Zenie Plain felt that her transition from JV to varsity was eased by the varsity coaching staff. “My sophomore year … I made varsity and I was like ‘Woah! What? That’s crazy,’” she says. “[Coaches Hoelman and Cole] are like parents … I love them. They’re so good at softball … and they’ve been so successful that it really shows. They work so well together.” The varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Michael Horne, who has coached Blair’s program for the twenty years since its inception, was a perfect fit for senior captain Grace Hildebrandt’s playing and learning styles. “We
have great practices. It’s serious but it’s also fun,” she says. “One of the reasons I got to where I am today is because of [his] coaching.” Another senior on the varsity team, Mariela Melgar, had to change positions from midfielder to defender, a transition that was made easier by the coaching staff. “It was very weird for me, but [Horne] knew what was better for us as a team. It was great to
have tips from him and have him help us,” she says. “I like how he pushes us … and I think that’s important because it motivates to work harder.” Even before she made it to the varsity softball team, Plain found herself spending lunch periods in Coach Cole’s classrooms. “I would always go into Cole’s class previously that sophomore year [before I made the team] … and just mess around,” she said.
PLANNING AHEAD Excited for the start of the news season, Head Coach Hoelman (left) and assistant Coach Cole (right) conduct tryouts for the varsity softball team.
Getting players to reach their full potential is not an easy task, and coach Hoelman’s approach to helping his players grow has undergone a significant evolution over the years. “As a young coach you’re interested in winning and doing everything you can to win,” says Hoelman. “As you start to coach for a while, you realize that that’s not the most important thing.” Working to improve individual players and the team as a whole involves just as much mental work as it requires physical practice. Kristin Cole, who has been coaching the varsity softball team for five years, received her masters in coaching in 2010, and uses the skills she acquired during that program to strengthen her players’ mental toughness inside and outside of game situations. “On the court, or on the field, if you’re stressed, you’re tense, you can’t think straight, you’re not going to play at your best level,” she says. “Learning how to control your mental approach to sports can also help control your mental approach to academics or work.” Coach Horne emphasizes the core elements of playing team sports with his players, translating into a group of athletes more prepared for the world beyond Blazer Stadium. “We try to reinforce the things that will make them successful on the field, which are really the things that will make them successful off the field: discipline, teamwork, dedication, communication,” he says. “It’s great to see them go on and be successful well past high school, and I think that’s really amazing to see them accomplish some of their goals and their dreams.” Without such dedicated coaching, and the players’ willingness to buy into their philosophies, the improvement that Blair varsity softball and girls’ lacrosse have seen over the past couple of years could not have taken place. “The success happens with how hard the people work,” says Hoelman. “They kind of just refuse to lose.”
March 9, 2018
Racist symbols in sports need to go
It is time for the Washington Redskins to change their name By Marlena Tyldesley Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians have ﬁnally decided to let go of the cartoon Native American “Chief Wahoo” that has been the team’s mascot since 1948. But not until 2019. And the change only applies to the logo; the team’s name will remain unchanged, and fans will still dress as the chief and be able to purchase Wahoo merchandise for the games. If this does not seem like much progress, that is because it is not. Unfortunately, though, it is still more forward-thinking than many other teams who have yet to take steps toward shedding their own racist symbols. Those teams include the local NFL organization the Washington Redskins. According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the term “redskin” is derived from the violent treatment of Native Americans in the 17th century. “The NFL’s Washington football team name “Redsk*ns” is a dictionary deﬁned racial slur,” the NCAI’s site reads. “The slur’s origin is rooted in government bounty announcements calling for the bloody scalps of Native Americans in the 1800’s.” Through the 20th century, “redskin” was used interchangeably with “savage” in literature and it encouraged a deprecating view of Native American people. According to Glenn Arthur Pierce, an author that studies the history of sports teams’ names, “redskin” was a term used by the government to call for the murder of Native American peoples in the 17th century. According to Pierce, “In 1863 The Daily Republican (Winona, Minn.) posts this announcement: ‘The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of
the Red River are worth.’” In 1932, former Redskins owner George Preston Marshall adopted the logo for the Washington team. According to the NCAI
website, the year was marked, for Native American peoples, by major restrictions implemented by the federal government to limit their rights. “The federal ‘Civilization
Regulations’ were still in place, conﬁning Native people to reservations, banning all Native dances and ceremonies, conﬁscating Native cultural property and outlawing much of what was traditional in Native life,” reads the site. It is not as if every team has turned a blind eye to the racism inherent in the logo. Over the last two decades, football teams at every level have changed their names that are derogatory toward Native Americans. According to Capital News Service, 28 high schools in 18 diﬀerent states have stopped using the term “redskin” from their names or logos. And that is only at the local level. The Washington Redskins are a national team and must be held to a higher standard in regards to racism. Several college teams have been taking steps toward eradicating racism from their team names for decades now: Stanford University switched from the “Indians” to the “Cardinal” in 1972, St. John’s changed from “Redman” to “Red Storm” in 1994, and Arkansas State gave up the nickname “Indians” in favor of “Red Wolves,” to name a few. College teams are far ahead of our national teams in terms of working to remove racist logos from use. The nation, and speciﬁcally fans, must be willing to hold our national teams to higher standards than our local ones. The Washington Redskins have committed to a racist name and logo for far too long. In the face of an age where college and high school teams are changing their names left and right, the Washington Redskins need to do the same. Massive groups of Washington fans have protested for a name change—it is time for the team to listen. This logo needs to go.
March 9, 2018
Where are they now?
Checking up on inactive DC sports heroes By Henry Wiebe
new manager. When watching a game, fans often only recognize the role of the players in determining the win or loss of a particular game. What they often underestimate is the role of the coaching staﬀ. Coaches make important game time decisions and set the tone for the entire team. When coaching staﬀs are replaced, there is a completely diﬀerent vibe in the dugout. Davey Johnson gave an utterly mediocre team a breath of life in 2012, helping to boost the team to its ﬁrst ever division title. In 2015, Matt Williams completely threw the team oﬀ the year after a successful 2014 campaign, turning a playoﬀ contender into a club that struggled throughout the entire season and ﬁnished only two games over .500. Dusty Baker brought to the table a winning spirit. He gave the team the ability to march through the regular season with ease, topping oﬀ his Hall of Fame-worthy career with two consecutive division titles. However, what his clubhouse lacked was the energy and the blinding intensity that is necessary for a team that wishes to make it deep into the playoﬀs. Dave Martinez brings youth, rejuvenation, and energy to a team that desperately needs it if Washington wants to bring home a trophy. The Nats’ window is closing, but with Martinez at the helm, the Nats are set up nicely to have one last shot.
“Wiebe’s World” is a monthly column where sports editor Henry Wiebe expresses his opinions on current events in sports.
By Camden Roberts Ex-Nationals left ﬁelder Jayson Werth attended the most recent State of the Union as a guest of congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from Illinois. Werth was invited, not as a baseball player, but as an organic farmer. His appearance in the world of politics came as a surprise to some casual baseball fans. From leaving the world of sports altogether to merely changing their role in the game, here’s what some famous D.C. athletes have been doing since their retirement.
Werth was a member of the Nationals for seven years and is now a free agent, but at 38 years old, his career appears to be winding down. During his time in Washington, he became one of the most prominent Nationals players, both in the game and in the team’s marketing strategy. Helped partly by his unmistakable self-branding as a werewolf, he is one of the most recognizable faces in D.C. sports. Last May, Werth gave a speech to the Organic Trade Association, a group that lobbies on behalf of the organic farming industry. One of the main reasons he said he was so passionate was that he recognized that he couldn’t rely on his sport as a lifelong career. “I’m focused on baseball,” he said in the speech. “But long-term, [farming] is where I’m gonna put my attention and put my energy.” Werth and his family own about 500 acres of farmland in his home state of Illinois. His reasoning behind the purchase, he told the crowd, was to produce food that he believed was better for his family. “I didn’t want toxic chemicals on my property and my crops, and I still don’t want toxic chemicals on my or my family’s food,” he said.
Chamique Holdsclaw was a small forward for the Washington Mystics from 1999 to 2004. Drafted ﬁrst overall by the Mystics in the 1999 WNBA Entry Draft, she was so skilled that she
became the ﬁrst female athlete to appear on the cover of SLAM magazine, pictured in a New York Knicks jersey. The accompanying headline was, “Is the NBA ready for Chamique Holdsclaw?” This kind of publicity, along with her appointment to the goldmedal winning United States basketball team in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, made her a WNBA legend. She was a six-time all-star over the course of her career, staying with the Mystics until 2005, when she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks for DeLisha MiltonJones. Early in her career, Holdsclaw was diagnosed with depression, and after a 2013 indictment for aggravated assault, she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since then, Holdsclaw has been serving as an activist for mental health. She now travels to college campuses and youth teams across the country, educating students about what mental health means, and talking about her own experiences. She has also collaborated with the Jed Foundation, a non-proﬁt that works to prevent suicide in teenagers and young adults, to tell the story of her experiences. “The mental health component of sports is missing,” she told espnW. “I work harder at this than I ever did at basketball.” Her observation of the culture surrounding the sport led to her advocacy. “I just know a lot of people suffer in silence, and I’ve got to step up. I’ve got to stand for something and take responsibility,” she told USA Today.
DeShawn Stevenson spent ﬁve years of his thirteen-year NBA career with the Washington Wizards. While with the Wizards, Stevenson had one of his personal best games, scoring a career high 33 points. In 2010, Stevenson was traded from the Wizards to the Dallas Mavericks, as part of a deal that also included Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. He oﬃcially retired in December 2016.
Now living in Florida full time, Stevenson is the owner of Playoﬀs Barbershop in downtown Orlando. His roots are reﬂected clearly in the interior design. The ﬂooring within the shop is modeled after the wood of a basketball court, the shop’s logo is clearly designed with the NBA playoﬀ logo in mind, and the shop is ﬁlled with memorabilia from Stevenson’s time playing, including a life-size cutout of him with the Wizards. Stevenson described his barbershop as a business opportunity for other players as well as himself. “You can see from the logo, it has franchise all over it. Mine has my memorabilia. If another NBA player franchises it in their own cities, they can put in their memorabilia. I can even see this in NBA arenas,” he told Bleacher Report.
Chris Cooley, a Washington Redskins tight end for the entirety of his nine-year career, retired in 2013. In his career, he appeared in two Pro Bowls and set the team record for most receptions by a tight end. Since retiring, Cooley has stayed involved in the NFL by providing color commentary on the Redskins radio network, as well as co-hosting the radio show “Cooley and Kevin.” Cooley was drafted out of Utah State University, where he majored in art. In 2010, while still an active player, he opened his ﬁrst art gallery in Leesburg, Virginia. After he retired, he began renovating the space to host The Cooley Gallery, which oﬃcially opened in December 2015. Much of Cooley’s work is functional, including things like cups and pitchers, many engraved with his jersey number 47. While he sells some of his own wares, the gallery also features a variety of other works like paintings and sculptures. In Cooley’s biography on the gallery’s site, he explains where his passion for art comes from, and why he chose to share it in the form of a gallery. “Creating something every day is what makes me most happy. Whether it be pottery, drawing or
The Nationals team that will step onto the ﬁeld on March 29 will be completely diﬀerent from last season. The Nats didn’t make many shocking moves (yet) this oﬀseason, but the minor changes that they did make will ultimately prove to transform the entire persona of the team. As much as everyone loves Jayson Werth, his absence in the outﬁeld won’t be an issue. Considering how expensive he was, he simply wasn’t producing at a high enough rate. He missed a lot of time to injury last year, and his performance while he was healthy was wholly underwhelming. He has been one of the most vivid personalities in D.C. sports during his tenure with the Nats, and of course his dugout presence will be missed, but as an overall player, the Nats are better oﬀ heading into 2018 without him. This is the most visible change to the Nats team, but it won’t be the most important. The decision that will have the largest impact on the team as a whole was the decision not to renew Dusty Baker’s contract and to hire Dave Martinez as the making my own concrete countertops, I just have this desire to continue to create,” he says. “Art
inspires me and I hope to show that enthusiasm to all of our gallery customers.”
HANGING OUT Ex-Redskins player Chris Cooley is now the owner of an art gallery in downtown Leesburg, Va.
Olympic diversity is important
Racist logos must be changed
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Published on Mar 9, 2018