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Volume 64 • Cub Edition • June 2020 • McLean High School • thehighlandernews.com • @MHSHighlander


Letter from the Cub Editors

Volume 64 • Issue 7 • June 2020 • McLean High School thehighlandernews.com • @MHSHighlander 1633 Davidson Road McLean, Virginia 22101

Dear McLean,

When the coronavirus reached American shores, events and social gatherings were canceled, and communities shut down seemingly overnight. Bustling metropolitan areas became reminiscent of ghost towns, and the country’s medical infrastructure stretched to its limits in ways that most Americans have never seen before. Our time as Journalism 1 students has been greatly reduced because of the school closure. However, it did not take away our ability to raise morale and complete the biggest project of the year—the Cub Edition, which showcases what first-year journalism students learned throughout the academic year. In an exclusive interview with the Highlander, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams provides us with tips and his thoughts on reopening the country and region. The Highlander staff would like to thank Dr. Adams for taking time to talk to us and provide rich, meaningful answers. This edition’s in-depth dives into the food industry during a time when consumers are decreasing their spending. The food industry has long been risky because of low profit margins and volatile real estate. Now facing low demand, businesses have been forced to make sacrifices and think outside the box to stay financially stable as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the local economy. During this time of uncertainty, we need to encourage each other to be optimistic and strong. Now, more than ever, we must unite, support each other and have hope that we will get through this pandemic together, as a school and as a community.


Akash Balenalli, Mackenzie Chen & Polina Zubarev

Managing Editors

Makda Bekele, Dalia Fishman & Nyla Marcott

Design Editors Copy Editors Cartoonist In-Depth Editor News Editor Features Editors

Akash Balenalli & Cameron Tebo Dalia Fishman & Cameron Tebo Cameron Tebo Jungyoon Keum Nyla Marcott

A&E Editors Opinions Editors Sports Editors Fact Checkers Advertising Managers

Sincerely, Akash Balenalli, Mackenzie Chen, Polina Zubarev & the students of Journalism 1

Reporters Adviser

Belen Ballard, Pratistha Dhungana & Christiana Ketema Sydney Gleason & Layla Zaidi David Jerzak & Khushi Rana Gianna Russo, Scott Shields & Sangmin Song Pratistha Dhungana & Sydney Gleason Nabilah Jibrin Usman & Valerie Paredes

Adam Baker Daniel Fimbres Max Irish

Charlie Jackson Ivy Olson Jiaying Li Spencer Sirotzky Monica Molnar Taylor Staats

Lindsay B. Benedict

Editorial Policy: The Highlander is a designated public forum in which students can express themselves, discuss issues and exchange ideas. School officials do not exercise prior review on this publication or its online counterpart, and student editors are in charge of all final content decisions. Advertising Policy: The Highlander sells ad space on each page of the paper except on the front cover, Opinions section and In-Depth article. The staff reserves the right to reject any ads it deems libelous, obscene, disruptive or otherwise inappropriate. To Submit a Letter to the Editors: Please email it to thehighlanderstaff@gmail.com or bring it to room R133. The staff reserves the right to edit letters for grammar and clarity, and all letters are subject to laws concerning obscenity, libel, privacy and disruption of the school process. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.



McDance-a-Thon exceeds fundraising goal


Q&A with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams


Teachers and students adjust to distance learning





Independent restaurants struggle to combat economic challenges posed by the coronavirus Cover illustration by Marina Qu


Editorial: Distance learning needs improvements


Crossfire: Are riots justifiable?


Drinking fountains spread germs, should be avoided


6-7 Highlander of the Issue:



16 New movies to rent


Sports alternatives to watch


Marguerite Godwin

Comparing COVID-19 to other pandemics

17 Netflix recommendations


Runner Anna Wells profile

How to make essential item alternatives

18 TikTok kills time


Five sporting events we missed

Highlanders’ quarantine routines

19 DIY activities to try


9 10

10 questions with essential worker Ethan Fontaine

Soccer teams lose season

$61,986.99 For The Kids

McDance-a-Thon exceeds fundraising goal at virtual dance



he McDance-a-Thon club held a virtual dance through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on May 16 to finish fundraising for Children’s National Hospital. After the annual McDance-a-Thon event was canceled, the execs, heads and club sponsor had to work together to find new ways to raise money and give members a chance to celebrate all the hard work they did throughout the year. “We were originally hesitant to do a virtual event, but once school closed we were all on board with a virtual dance marathon. We wanted to be able to celebrate all that we’ve done for the kids at Children’s National, and we want to raise as much money as we can to help them,” said English teacher Bridget Donoghue, the sponsor of McDance-aThon. “This year’s marathon was especially important because all of the money we raise will go to Children’s National’s COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund, so we’ll be keeping vulnerable kids safe from COVID.” The virtual dance mainly took place on the McDance-a-Thon Instagram page through pre-recorded videos and a series of Instagram Lives. McDance-a-Thon leaders took turns posting videos explaining what fundraising

events and challenges were going to take place at specific times, along with pre-recorded videos of members saying why they dance. “They adjusted in a good way—they figured out how to promote the event online and since they already had an Instagram account for McDance-a-Thon, it was really easy for people to join,” said sophomore Einmon Tha, a member of the morale committee. One of the biggest parts of the dance is the morale dance that is usually taught in parts at the in-person event. At the virtual dance, a head and member of the morale committee went on live every hour to teach a section of this year’s dance to “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. “Being a part of McDance-a-Thon and teaching the dance for morale was so fun. It was so nice being able to engage other members even during quarantine,” said sophomore Simal Mann, a member of the morale committee. Fundraising events took place every hour during the eight-hour dance. The events included posting a baby picture for every donation received and an alumni challenge where previous execs and members donated. These social media fundraisers played an important part in the success of the dance. “The dance was very successful. The challenges I had feared were not issues during the dance because of how well everything was organized and planned out,” Tha said. One of the most memorable parts of the in-person dance marathon is the midnight reveal of how much money the club raised

Images courtesy of @mcdanceathon Instagram | Graphic & page design by Ariana Elahi

for that year. It is an emotional and exciting experience to see students hold up signs revealing the final total. This year the reveal was done through Instagram Live. “The best part of the virtual dance was the reveal and being able to see how much we all raised,” Tha said. “I was shocked in the best way possible—it was so amazing to see that the numbers grew by so much.” Although students were excited to see the reveal numbers pop up on their screens, showing a final total of $61,986.99, exceeding their fundraising goal wasn’t the only mission the club accomplished. McDance-a-Thon’s leader’s aimed to shift the club’s focus this year and work to form more personal connections with the kids at Children’s National Hospital. Throughout the year McDance-a-Thon members worked on growing their relationship with the hospital and the kids through activities like making Valentine’s Day cards to send to the hospital along with handmade blankets. “This year, we set goals that were unrelated to how much money we raise. Although we set a goal to raise $60,000 this year, we also set a goal to put less emphasis on the monetary goal and more emphasis on why our club exists,” Donoghue said. “We are hoping that more people learn about McDance-a-Thon and our cause this year because we want to emphasize that no matter how much money we raise, it’s all going towards helping the kids and families at Children’s National.” JUNE | NEWS | 1


Dr. Jerome Adams discusses precautions and outlooks for fall with The Highlander* AKASH BALENALLI EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MARINA QU NEWS EDITOR & DESIGNER

The Highlander: In the D.C. area, what’s the greatest threat that the virus still poses? U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams: We know that D.C., Maryland and Virginia are the three leading areas, and the DMV area overall is the leading area in the country in terms of cases. Most everywhere else, outside of small outbreaks and clusters, is trending down, but we’ve just been surprised at...how resistant the DMV has been to leveling off. We still are trying to figure out why that is. We know a lot of it is related to the fact that we have many essential workers in our area... We also are just an area where a lot of people come in and out from the rest of the country...so it’s a place that is ripe for importation of new cases of coronavirus. It’s critically important that we’re aware of our data, that we are particularly aware of how we can protect ourselves and that we are vigilant about doing the things that we know will keep ourselves and our communities safe and slow the spread. Do you have any concerns with Virginia starting to reopen? I do have concerns when you look at the data... We want to see a downward trend in cases—we don’t want people reopening if case counts are going up. We want people to have hospital capacity, so that if they do see new cases, they have the ability to take care of these people without denying them a ventilator or denying them a bed. We also want to make sure they have the public 2 | NEWS | JUNE

FAMILY TIES — U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his wife, Lacey Adams, have three children in FCPS: Eli, an 8th grader at Longfellow Middle School, Millie, a fourth grader at Spring Hill Elementary School, and Caden, a freshman at McLean High School. (Photo courtesy of Lacey Adams)

health capacity to be able to test people and to be able to do case contact tracing... That’s the way they contain disease... It’s not a light switch. It’s not one day you’re closed and the next day you’re open. It’s how do we gradually reopen in a data-driven and evidence-based way so that we protect as many people as possible as we reopen our country?

I DO THINK SCHOOL WILL OPEN IN THE FALL IN MOST PLACES. I DON’T THINK IT WILL LOOK LIKE SCHOOL HAS TRADITIONALLY LOOKED FOR US.” -DR. JEROME ADAMS U.S. SURGEON GENERAL Under what conditions do you think schools will open? Do you think it will happen by fall? I think schools will reopen in the fall in most places in the country. That’s just my personal opinion. I think it’s important that we think through how we make that happen... We want to make sure we’re acknowledging the public health tenet of physical and social distancing. We don’t want everyone crowded together in a tight space that is likely to spread coronavirus. We want to make sure we have the opportunity for people to practice good

hygiene, so you’re going to see a whole lot more hand sanitizer... We may even see staggered school. Many places have already put into place plans where instead of everyone coming back to school all at once, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Group A goes to school, and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday—and yes, there are some places that are looking at Saturday school, too—you will have Group B go to school. That will better allow for social distancing. I do think school will open in the fall in most places. I don’t think it will look, in most places, like school traditionally has looked for us. But I do think we’ll gradually work our way back to normal with social distancing, with good hygiene and by protecting the vulnerable. One of the other concerns that we have is that it’s one thing to acknowledge that young people actually are much lower risk for coronavirus than older people, but it’s a very different topic of discussion to consider the fact that many of our teachers who have to be there and teach actually fall into the atrisk categories in terms of being older and in terms of having chronic medical conditions. So it’s not just about the students—it’s about everyone who has to be there for reopening the school, including your cafeteria workers, the security officers, your custodians, your

*This interview took place on May 27; it has been edited for space

teachers. We have to make sure it’s a safe environment for all of them too. In terms of extracurricular activities, what will be different? Well, extracurricular activities are going to be tough, because everything that we do in life has a risk and a benefit... As a parent, I definitely see the benefit of my child going to school, so I am more likely to embrace that risk-benefit ratio, but it starts to get harder to make the case that your kid has to play football, or that your kid has to be part of chess club, or that your kid has to be part of this extracurricular activity that by definition is not something that everyone has to do. I think there’s going to be a higher threshold for us really engaging in some of these activities. When you look at sports, it’s impossible to play football while practicing social or physical distancing. So that may be a scenario where you say we have to test everyone before they’re allowed to participate in an activity where they’re not going to be able to respect social distancing or where they’re going to be very close to one another... I think it’s going to be different for each and every extracurricular activity, looking at risk and benefit, looking at precautions and looking at other models out there, but we’ll gradually start to reopen them just as we reopen school. Under what circumstances would you be comfortable letting your children go to school? That is tough to say right now... One part of this is going to be looking at the burden of disease and making sure things are trending down. Another part of this is going to be me as a parent feeling comfortable that the school is taking appropriate precautions to protect my child and other children. So again looking at what are they doing to allow for social distancing? What are they doing to allow for proper hygiene? Are they going to have people wear face coverings in environments where they’re not able to practice social distancing? What are they doing to test people so that they understand whether or not they’ve got an uptick in cases? And then what are they going to do, most importantly, to let parents know if there is a case that they found at school? ... It’s not impossible for us to get there. We just all need to sit down and think intelligently through how we do this in a way that protects people.

How can quarantining negatively affect a teenager’s mental health? What should people do to cope with stress? I am very worried as Surgeon General about the impact of social distancing on mental health... Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation... I would say to the students of McLean that now it’s more important than ever that you reach out to your friends through digital means...and let them know that you’re thinking about them and that you care about them. It’s also important to try to have some semblance of a routine... Physical activity actually helps a lot of people deal with stress and also helps people alleviate boredom.

I WOULD SAY TO THE STUDENTS OF MCLEAN THAT NOW IT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THAT YOU REACH OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS.” -DR. JEROME ADAMS U.S. SURGEON GENERAL It’s also important to avoid [abusing] substances. And I say that to [McLean students] knowing that they’re illegal and you shouldn’t be using them anyway but that a lot of people are. When you look at Juuling and vaping, it is very important to understand that that has a negative impact on you in the best of times and, particularly when you’re isolated, can affect your mental health. Drinking alcohol is definitely something that young people should avoid, [in addition to] marijuana... If you have concerns, [you can call] 1-800273-TALK, the national helpline available for anyone, anytime, 24/7. During this past [Memorial Day] weekend, we’ve seen a lot of photos of people crowding the beaches. What do you want to say to those people? I would reiterate...that we have sacrificed a lot to stay at home and slow the spread, and what we don’t want to do is negate all of that sacrifice that we’ve made up until this point... A lot of the folks who you see going to the beaches are people who think they are

not at risk. The fact is that anyone can be at risk for coronavirus, but you also want to remember that your actions have an impact on other people out there. While you may not get sick, you may bring it home to your grandmother or to your baby brother or sister or to someone else who’s vulnerable, and you just quite frankly would never forgive yourself if you were the reason someone else actually got sick, got injured, died because of coronavirus. I ask people to remember that. Remember that we’re all in this together. And we will get through this. We do expect that we’ll have a vaccine within the next year. We are seeing the development of better medications and therapeutics to treat people, and we are seeing these counts go down. This sacrifice isn’t for forever—it’s just for the time being, and we will reopen, and the sooner we do the things that we know will slow the spread, and the more effectively and comprehensively we do those things, the sooner, actually, we will reopen. Is there anything else you’d like the McLean community to know? What I want them to know is that I am incredibly proud of their response to our calls to stay at home and to slow the spread. The truth is that almost every model out there predicted things to be much worse even than what they are. We came in under...most of those projections because people really did do their part and stayed at home. People were wearing face coverings. A lot of people...talk about the bad, but there are a lot of people out there doing the right thing and, really, they’ve tangibly contributed to fewer deaths and fewer people getting coronavirus than what most experts originally predicted, so that’s something I want people to know. I want them to know that now is not the time to forget about all the things that we did, that we need to be careful and measured in our reopening, because otherwise it will negate all of the effort, all of the sacrifices you’ve made up to this point. It’s important that as we reopen, it’s measured, it’s data-driven, it’s done in phases and we don’t rush, because what we don’t want to do is undo all the great efforts that the people of the McLean community have put into slowing the spread of this disease.

To read the full interview, visit thehighlandernews.com JUNE | NEWS | 3

DISTANCE LEARNING TURNS EDUCATION UPSIDE DOWN Teachers, students and parents adjust to online school

MACKENZIE CHEN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF mid the coronavirus threat, traditional schooling has been replaced by online “distance learning” programs that have raised confusion among teachers and students. “I had a lot of questions the first few weeks, especially when Governor Northam closed schools for the rest of the year,” social studies teacher Emer Johnson said.


MCLEAN STUDENTS ARE VERY DEDICATED. I KNOW IT HAS BEEN A CONSIDERABLE HURDLE FOR THEM, BUT I KNOW THEY ARE HARDWORKING.” -EMER JOHNSON SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER Although malfunctioning and insecure Blackboard services postponed online classes at the start, teachers have made the most out of the grim situation by adjusting their schedules and syllabi. Now, their main priority is to prepare students for the next school year while also prioritizing their mental health. “I spent lots of time transitioning my activities to a format that would be easily accessible to students,” Johnson said. “I also check in with [my students] during breaks in my teaching and meetings to see if they are doing alright.” Teachers have worked hard to create a comfortable and open learning environment through their computer screens, but students too have sacrificed a lot to further their education. “McLean students are very dedicated,” Johnson said. “I know it has been a considerable hurdle for them [too], but I know they are hardworking.” The announcement of the school closure left many students shocked and disappointed. “It’s inconvenient for everybody,” junior Lizzie Bryan said. “I had to adjust to online 4 | NEWS | JUNE

school and not being able to talk to the teachers in person.” One of the main complaints students have brought up is how disorganized the distance learning schedule is. “I didn’t think the school schedule was very effective,” Bryan said. “We have a 30-minute break after each class, which…I don’t think we need.” The grading modifications also caused concerns. Students will receive either the highest semester grade or the average grade of the first three quarters, with the opportunity to earn a half-letter grade boost based on work done online in the fourth quarter. This new grading policy was made to guarantee that every student would be satisfied with their final grade. “I think it’s fine if they don’t have a fourth quarter grade, but [FCPS] shouldn’t be telling students that it doesn’t matter if they do the work or not,” Bryan said. Although they have some complaints, students have expressed their gratitude for their teachers’ efforts. “Distance learning has been pretty smooth for the most part with my teachers by my side,” sophomore Phoebe Li said. “After all, the teachers are making sure we’re learning everything we’re supposed to know.”

Parents also had to modify their normal routine as a result of their children staying at home all day. Lizzie Bryan and her mother, Jane Bryan, formed a workspace arrangement for their busy schedules. “She doesn’t bother me,” Jane Bryan said. “We worked it out where she is upstairs and I am downstairs.” Like McLean students, parents have voiced concerns about the distance learning system. “There have been problems with [distance learning],” Jane Bryan said. “There is no grading, no checks and balances... I think going to class for 40 minutes is unnecessary.” Nonetheless, many of McLean’s parents have been thankful for their children’s teachers, who spent lots of time encouraging their development as critical thinkers. “I think the teachers are fine and doing the best they can under the circumstances,” Jane Bryan said. Despite the challenges distance learning may present, the strength of the community is what unites its members and allows them to have hope during the extended school closure. “I am very impressed with my students so far,” Johnson said. “I am moving forward— happy that the issues have been resolved.”

TERRIFIC TEACHER — Social studies teacher Emer Johnson prepares for her online class during the quarantine. McLean teachers have aimed to ensure their students are still learning as much as they can, despite strenuous circumstances. (Photo courtesy of Emer Johnson) Page design by Rebeka Rafi

10 Questions with:

Essential Worker Ethan Fontaine (Junior; Cashier at Chain Bridge Road Safeway)

Reporting by Christiana Ketema & Monica Molnar Photo courtesy of the Fontaine family Page design by The Highlander staff

1 2

How has COVID-19 affected your work? It has been much busier, so I’ve had to work harder and take on more hours, 30-40 hours a week.

What precautions/new protocols have you had to take up since COVID-19 struck? At first, I just had to use hand sanitizer but then they added masks, gloves, a plastic face shield, plexiglass and everyone has to stand six feet behind each other in line.


What does your routine look like at work? How has it changed due to the virus? I’m doing all the same things except I’m working more hours, and I have to make sure I follow the CDC safety requirements.


Have any of your co-workers been diagnosed with coronavirus? No, not that I know of.

STAYING SAFE-WAY — Although this picture was taken prior to the coronavirus outbreak, junior Ethan Fontaine has continued to work at the Safeway on Chain Bridge Road throughout the pandemic.


Do you feel like you are doing something special as an essential worker? No, but some customers give me tips now. One customer gave me $50. They didn’t do that before COVID.

6 7

Do you feel at risk? No.

How do you interact with customers? I have always had to greet customers but I have more conversations with them now. Definitely more talkative than before COVID.



How do you keep food uncontaminated? Everyone uses gloves and masks. I also use hand sanitizer between customers.

How do your family members treat you when you come home from work? They make sure I wash my hands as soon as I walk in the door.


What don’t people realize about your job during this time? It’s really hard to wear a face mask for eight hours. JUNE | FEATURES | 5



Senior Marguerite Godwin sews and donates face masks to those in need POLINA ZUBAREV EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


CRAFTING WITH COTTON — Marguerite Godwin sews a mask out of unused fabric from TheatreMcLean’s spring musical. To maintain the standards for safe masks, she only sews with fabric that passes CDC regulations. “When making masks, [the CDC recommends] 100% cotton as the best thing to use because it’s breathable and it’s tightly knit,” Marguerite said.

hen a Michaels gift card arrived in the mail from Vinson Hall Retirement Community, senior Marguerite Godwin was surprised. She had donated her handmade masks to them a couple weeks before, a little while after school shut down and the theater curtains closed. As a head of costume design for TheatreMcLean, Marguerite had taken home the fabric for the upcoming spring musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. When FCPS announced the closure for the rest of the academic year, she was left with a pile of unused fabric. In the meantime, Marguerite started sewing with her own materials. “I started making masks for my family, with my own fabric, and then my neighbors reached out [and asked], ‘Hey, can we have some?’” Marguerite said. “And [they have] a friend who works at Vinson Hall...and she reached out to me, and she asked if she could have some for the workers there.” A new purpose was found for the costume fabric, which adhered to all of the recommended Centers for Disease Control regulations for fabric for homemade masks. “[I thought], ‘I have time, I have fabric, let me reach out to [the theater teacher] Mr. Reid and ask if I can use it,’” Marguerite said. “He gave me permission, which I’m thankful he did.” Since she is using fabric that was originally bought by and intended for the school theater program, Marguerite decided not to sell the masks for a profit. She feels that essential workers deserve free protection for working despite the risk of getting sick. 6 | FEATURES | JUNE

“The only time I use it is if I am donating. I don’t want to use the school fabric for selling them,” Marguerite said. Because of Virginia’s stay-at-home order, Marguerite’s new project has become one of her only activities. Even though she is mostly using materials she obtained for free, Marguerite has put a lot of time and thought into her creations. “I went through a few different patterns. I started in March…so there weren’t that many patterns out at that point. I’ve evolved as I’ve been making these,” Marguerite said. Cutting and sewing one mask takes approximately 20 minutes. Marguerite’s twin brother, John Godwin, has started helping her to make the process more efficient. “He was helping me cut out fabric, and he burned the edges of the ribbon so that they wouldn’t fray,” Marguerite said. Marguerite’s father, Thomas Godwin, also supports her mask making. He previously worked in a hospital as a pathologist, so he understands how even a homemade mask can be crucial to an essential worker. “[Marguerite’s mother and I] both have, not only experience in healthcare, but experience using masks,” Thomas said. “We were quite aware that [masks] would be a need, but we didn’t know that we were going to run out of them so fast, as a nation and internationally.” Marguerite stresses the importance of wearing a protective mask.

Photos courtesy of Marguerite Godwin | Cartoon by Cameron Tebo | Page design by Marina Qu

“I know the best ones are the N95 [masks]. The health professionals who are with high risk patients should be using those,” Marguerite said. “But I think for [people like] us, who are in quarantine, a homemade mask is the best thing to save those N95 masks for the health professionals.” The request to make masks for Vinson Hall staff came due to a lack of N95 and other medical masks. “The best thing you can have is some sort of protection. I donated to Vinson Hall, and they were happy to have anything they could,” Marguerite said. “I’ve been doing my best to make them as safe as possible…as safe as a homemade mask can be.” Following her donation to Vinson Hall staff, Marguerite gave masks to Kurt Larrick, who works for Arlington County Health and Human Services. Marguerite’s neighbor, Candace Stromberg, is Larrick’s sister. Stromberg said Larrick has worked for Arlington County for as long as she can remember and that he has always strived to protect the county’s most vulnerable citizens. “Kurt asked me if I knew of anyone making masks, and I told him about Marguerite. He asked if she would make some for him,” Stromberg said. “Marguerite heeded the call and made beautiful and secure masks that he was able to distribute to workers and the homeless.” So far, Marguerite has only made masks when someone contacts her with a request. If she ever runs out of requests, she plans to refer to an online database of local hospitals and their preferred procedures for homemade masks. “My preference is to keep what I make local, because I think I should be helping locally. I think if you want to donate to [places like] New York, do it,” Marguerite said. “Donating anywhere is better than not at all. But I’m donating locally.” Stromberg, who has known Marguerite since she was young, was not surprised to hear that she was not accepting any money for her homemade masks. “When she could have been wallowing in self-pity about losing out on her graduation, she instead went to work to help others. That elevated my hope and faith for her generation,” Stromberg said. “We are all in this together, and I know Marguerite is paying it forward and doing her part. That’s just who she is, and I am so proud of her.” Marguerite was accepted into the George Mason University Honors College, in Fairfax, Virginia. She hopes to help people through her studies, while also maintaining her hobbies. “I’m very interested in laboratory sciences, so my major is going to be forensics science,” Marguerite said. “Hopefully, I will be able to participate in some theater activities and continue my sewing.” Marguerite’s goal is to help the community, and she encourages other citizens and students to reach out and do the same, regardless of the pandemic. “I think people should be donating even if it has nothing to do with the coronavirus,” Marguerite said. “There’s still organizations out there within your own community that need help and need donations. If you have the time, if you have the supplies, I think you should go out there and help your community.” While the future may still be uncertain for seniors like Marguerite, her impact on the local community is significant. “I think it’s so important, even though we’re apart from each other, that we should stay connected,” Marguerite said. “It feels great, knowing that even though we’re stuck in quarantine, we can still help each other as a community.”

MARCY’S MASKS — Marguerite’s plaid masks are made from fabric that would have been used for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee character Marcy. “I made a lot…of plaid [masks],” Marguerite said. “However, I did move towards the yellow [fabric] because it’s more breathable than [the plaid].”

FASHIONABLE PROTECTION — Many of Marguerite’s masks are made from vibrant yellow and purple fabric. “The biggest thing [for the Putnam County Spelling Bee musical would have been] the cheerleaders... We were going to make [yellow and purple] cheerleading costumes,” Marguerite said.





OVID-19 altered the lives of most people around the globe due to its fast spread and high mortality rate. Schools and businesses are closed, and most people don’t have a grasp of when everything will be able to return to normal. In the meantime, unemployment rates have soared, and various government facilities have been shut down, yet such cases of job loss and the closure of government facilities due to diseases are not unprecedented. Although previous pandemics were different in their durability and influence, governments have issued policies in the past to stem the spread of other diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Spanish flu. In order to scope out the current situation, we looked at the 2003 SARS outbreak and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to learn from various governments’ past attempts to deal with widespread contagious diseases. “SARS is another type of coronavirus that came out of China and spread quickly through respiratory droplets,” Julia Ries wrote in a Healthline article. “Though the SARS death rate was higher than COVID-19, COVID-19 has already claimed more lives.” Although SARS and COVID-19 are similar in their method of transmission through human contact and air droplets, SARS infected about 8,000 people worldwide, a very small number compared to the number infected by COVID-19, which was over 7 million as of June 9. Dr. Christine Kreuder Johnson, who did research for USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project, noted that the mortality rate for SARS is higher, yet COVID-19 has had more devastating effects. “[COVID-19 has led to] more fatalities, more economic repercussions, more social repercussions than we [had] with SARS,” Johnson said. Although SARS and COVID-19 are both fast-spreading diseases, their overall impact across the globe doesn’t even come close to that of the Spanish flu outbreak that began in 1918. The Spanish flu is known as one of the deadliest diseases in history. The Centers for 8 | FEATURES | JUNE

Disease Control (CDC) estimates it infected about 500 million people and killed at least 50 million, a number higher than the number of deaths caused by World War I. The CDC’s Spanish flu documentation notes, “The 1918 pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history.” The Spanish flu was caused by an H1N1 virus and had a mortality rate of about 2.5%. The symptoms of the disease were mild at first, but they later developed into much more serious conditions like blue discoloration of the skin and suffocation. “It was scary, because every morning when you got up, you asked, ‘Who died during the night?’ You know, death was there all the time,” Massachusetts resident Kenneth Crotty said in an interview with CNN in 2005, recalling the Spanish flu pandemic he experienced when he was 11. As the highly infectious disease spread through human contact, states in the U.S. issued quarantines, limited gatherings and closed down schools until the infection rate of the virus was lowered. In spite of the deadliness of the disease, some people were strongly opposed to the


quarantines issued by the U.S. government, and people staged demonstrations, much like the COVID-19 shutdown protests that occurred throughout the country this year. For example, bowlers in St. Paul, Minnesota, drew up a petition that requested permission to begin bowling again in November of 1918, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. COVID-19 and the Spanish flu are similar in that they both spread at a high speed through human contact and have a similar mortality rate, along with the fact that the U.S. government decided to issue quarantines on both occasions and were met with opposing arguments from citizens. Exploring the effects of various epidemics and the hardships people had to endure makes one thing abundantly clear: eventually, the world was able to return to normal once the spread of each disease subsided. The purpose of learning history is to not make the same mistakes we made in the past, and also to make better choices in the future. One can only imagine what future generations will learn by studying the immediate and lasting impacts of COVID-19.

Spanish Flu


Mortality Rate

9.6% 2.5% 1.4%

Infected Population

500 8,096 mil

Year of Outbreak

2003 1918 2019

7.1 mil

Data from CDC, WHO & Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center as of June 9

Infographic & page design by Akash Balenalli & Marina Qu



Three cheap, easy options for hard-to-find items PRATISTHA DHUNGANA FEATURES EDITOR

Face Masks

Supplies needed: A bandana - $2 Two hair ties or elastic bands - $2/pack

Step 3: Fold each side over where the elastic is and pull the bands over your ears. Your mask is now complete!

Hair Ties Step 1: Fold your bandana halfway hotdog style three times. Bandana Hair Ties Bandana

Step 2: Slip an elastic band ⅓ of the way on both sides.

Rating: 4.5/5 This bandana mask does what’s expected out of it. It’s pretty tight so you don’t have a big gap for air to come through. If you want an extra layer of protection, you can always add fabric or a layer of paper towels. It lost a point because the elastic bands I used were tight and somewhat painful, but you can try replacing them with a softer hair tie like a scrunchie.

Hand Sanitizer Supplies needed: ¾ cup of rubbing alcohol (highest concentration available) - $2.59 ¼ cup of aloe vera - $4.99 10 drops of lemon - $0.47

Step 2: Pour into a clean bottle.

Step 1: Pour all of these ingredients in a bowl. Mix until gel-like. Rating: 3/5 This is definitely more expensive than actual hand sanitizer but at the same time, you’re able to make a large amount of gel compared to buying many small, overpriced bottles. It might not be as effective as actual hand sanitizer. It’s worth a shot with a higher level of alcohol but otherwise, it might be a waste of money and time.

Supplies needed: Paper

Toilet Paper

Step 2: Crumple it for 2-5 minutes until it’s all soft.

Step 1: Get a piece of paper of any sort.

Rating: 3.5/5 This worked surprisingly well, but it should not be flushed, considering there is a chance it could clog the toilet. If you’re completely out of toilet paper, this is a viable option, but I don’t recommend using it on a daily basis. Graphics & page design by Ariana Elahi



Highlanders develop good habits during quarantine...and some bad ones KHUSHI RANA REPORTER


reshman Ava Farivar created a daily schedule to follow during quarantine, including exercise. “Working out is a form of stress relief for me and it also makes me feel good since I’m losing weight,” Farivar said. “It also brings me closer with my sister since we do it together.” For fun, she rides her bike to her friends’ houses for quick chats six feet apart. “It’s fun because it’s nice seeing my friends after not being able to see them for so long without school and being in quarantine in general,” Farivar said.


reshman Kate Gleason has managed to stay productive throughout quarantine by keeping up with her classes. “Continuing to do my schoolwork makes me feel productive and gives me something to do rather than not do anything,” Gleason said. She also makes sure to have fun by swimming in her pool. “Swimming helps me relieve my stress about being inside all the time, and it’s also a form of exercise so I’m not just being lazy all day and actually doing some physical activity.”





arivar has also created some less healthy daily habits. One is eating a lot during her spare time out of boredom. “Eating too much makes me feel bloated and unhealthy, because it is actually unhealthy,” Farivar said. She has increased her screen time with not only TV, but her phone too. “Going on my phone has gotten boring since it’s so excessive, and the same with TV,” Farivar said.


leason has a bad habit of sleeping too much with her extra time. “Sleeping too much just makes me even more tired for the hours when I’m awake so it doesn’t help me do anything productive,” Gleason said. She has also been watching lots of TV. “Watching too much TV has gotten kind of boring,” Gleason said, “and soon I won’t have anything left to watch.”

panish teacher Melissa Duluc has made a couple of good habits vital parts of her routine. She goes on a walk every day and reads before going to bed. “I think it has to do with bringing my focus to something that isn’t newsrelated,” Duluc said. Duluc has also picked up a new activity to help ease her stress: meditation. “Meditating 10 minutes after working out is something I never used to do before, but doing it now really helps me calm down during these difficult times. It’s a habit I wish I’d picked up sooner!”

hese good habits have also come with some bad ones. An example of a notso-good hobby Duluc has taken up is baking in big portions, causing her to eat unhealthy foods a lot. “I would say not having a sense of routine is what makes me feel bad,” Duluc said. “When I had to go to work every day, most aspects of my life had a routine including what/when I ate.”

Images courtesy of Ava Farivar, Kate Gleason & Melissa Duluc | Page design by Jayne Ogilvie-Russell



hen the coronavirus reached the U.S., consumer spending halted nearly overnight. The initial economic strain and chaos, like stock market drops and panic buying, has mostly subsided, but consumer demand remains critically low. While larger corporations like Uber and Amazon have adapted to the stressful economic environment, small businesses across the country have struggled to stay afloat because they lack the resources that big companies have to remain buoyant in the turbulent economy.

Dal Grano “Since we closed the dine-in portion of our [restaurant], our sales volume is significantly down,” said Jozef Valko, owner of Dal Grano in McLean.* “We are operating at around 40% of our pre-COVID-19 sales.” Dal Grano opened in August 2015 and has strong roots in the community. Before the virus spread to the D.C. area, business was more than satisfactory. “We had a decent winter, and we were still on the curve up in sales for January and February compared to previous years,” Valko said. “Our busiest time is in March, April, May and June when the local kids start outdoor sports. So for us the virus hit in the worst possible time.” Customers staying home has driven down demand and forced Dal Grano to try new ways to attract customers. “[Our initial reaction to the virus focused on] the safety of our employees and customers,” Valko said. “[Since then, we’ve] ramped up our Facebook and Instagram presence [and set up] a delivery service.” Dal Grano had never provided a delivery service in the past. Despite the rapid change in the method and volume of consumer spending, Dal Grano’s hit dishes remain popular.

“For us the virus hit in the worst possible time.” -Jozef Valko, Dal Grano

“Gnocchi, lasagna, black ink pasta with seafood, ravioli, steak. [There haven’t] been any big changes in demand [among items on the menu],” Valko said. Because the restaurant’s sales have been slashed by more than half of what they were 12 | IN-DEPTH | JUNE

PILING UP — Mylo’s Grill stores excess takeout containers in the back of the restaurant. Profits at Mylo’s have been about 50% of those prior to the shutdown. before the stay-at-home order, Valko needed to make some sacrifices. “[We had to fire] two out of 15 workers, but we rehired one back,” Valko said. “One is still furloughed, and two employees quit.” To help pay his employees still on the payroll, Valko applied for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), a loan provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA). If all of a business’s employees are paid for eight weeks and the money provided by the program is only used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments or utilities, then the SBA will forgive the loan. “We got [our loan from] the PPP in nine days, thanks to our Chain Bridge Bank,” Valko said. Despite reassurance from government services and economic improvements since the start of the outbreak, Valko is unsure of where Dal Grano is headed. “If there are more outbreaks...or if the number of sick people goes up and people are not comfortable [eating out], we may be in trouble,” Valko said. “Not only as a single restaurant, but the hospitality industry as a whole.”

Clare and Don’s & Lazy Mike’s In Falls Church, a community staple faces similar problems. Clare and Don’s Beach Shack has been in business for over two decades. Owned by Richard Tax, it quickly shut its doors before Virginia announced its stay-at-home order. Before phase one of reopening began in Northern Virginia, Tax’s other restaurant,

Lazy Mike’s, remained open, and Clare and Don’s limited its services to takeout events every Tuesday and Saturday. While sales have been strong, Tax’s priority is to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. “The challenge is to minimize the contact because the most important thing is that we want people that are coming to work for us to be safe,” Tax said. “We don’t want to be the cause of anybody getting sick. And obviously, for our customers it’s the same thing—we don’t want to be the cause of them getting sick either.” Due to Clare and Don’s limited operations, Tax has needed to make cuts to his workforce. Initially, he laid off all of his staff, but he soon rehired a majority back. “We only have our wintertime staff, which is a much smaller staff than what we generally have at this time of year,” Tax said. “Right now, it’s springtime, which is our goto time, and when we [should] have a lot of people working… We’re paying [all of our kitchen staff].” While Lazy Mike’s provides an additional channel of revenue, Tax has also had the help of the community to pay his employees and remain financially stable. “People are reaching out to us, lending us as much support as they can, and supporting our employees through GoFundMe,” Tax said. “Even when the kitchen wasn’t open, we were able to pay [the kitchen staff] because of the money that our GoFundMe gave us. That’s something [my sister and business partner] Rebecca and I hold close to our hearts.”

*All interviews were conducted prior to phase one of Northern Virginia’s reopening, which began May 29

Like Valko, Tax set up a delivery service “Unfortunately, as our shows started to Mylo’s Grill to keep his own employees working. Tax cancel there was no schedule available for In McLean, Mylo’s Grill has also been requires his employees to take measures to our security, general, wait and bartender dealing with low sales. To entice hesitant prevent spreading the virus. staff, which comprise the vast majority, about customers to continue ordering from his “Most people order by phone, and that’s 85%, of our staff,” Giuffre said. restaurant, co-owner Chris Mylonas has cool, and we added a phone line [at Lazy The theater applied for both the Economic used the Facebook, Google and Instagram ad Mike’s] just so we could take the extra amount Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and PPP. The platforms extensively. They’ve been effective, of calls,” Tax said. “There are still some EIDL is a loan offered by the SBA that helping stabilize the restaurant’s profits and people who walk up provides funds that a boost sales. to the window to business would have “In the beginning, [our profits] were order, [but] that is a earned had it not down in a day’s range between 50 and 75%,” level of contact that been affected by an Mylonas said. “But right now we’re at a “We can get through June, I’d rather not have.” economic calamity. consistent 50%. It’s pretty steady now.” but after that we’re pretty While Tax isn’t Giuffre noted Sales have been sufficient enough to allow much screwed.” too pleased with the that the venue the restaurant to keep all of its full-time staff. -Richard Tax, Clare and Don’s federal government’s received both loans His part-time staff gave their shifts to the policies, he said he after a long wait. To full-time employees because they have other is satisfied with local better support its sources of income. and state governments’ efforts during the employees, the business started a GoFundMe. “[Our part-time employees] are still COVID-19 shutdown. “So far [the GoFundMe] has raised almost employed with their other full-time jobs,” “We’ve had some pretty open $17,000,” Giuffre said. “We thank everybody Mylonas said, “so it didn’t really affect them conversations with Falls Church, and the who has been so kind and donated to this that much.” Fairfax County Health Department reached campaign.” The restaurant’s strong ties to the out to us a couple of times and kept us up to Giuffre said he is satisfied with the City neighborhood have helped sustain the date [with the coronavirus],” Tax said. of Falls Church administration because it has business; some customers have tipped as Like Valko, Tax worked with a local bank communicated regularly with his business. though they dined in and some have made to get assistance from the PPP in a short Nevertheless, he hopes that the economic donations. period of time. Still, he is concerned about conditions will improve soon. “[Our customers] are family,” Mylonas his restaurants remaining in their current “We are hopeful that we’ll get back said. “They’ll hand me an envelope and say, state for much longer. to a place where we can plan on regular ‘Here, disperse this to the people that need “We can get through June, but after that ticket sales…but that will depend on when it.’” we’re pretty much screwed,” Tax said. entertainment venues are allowed to open Mylonas applied for the PPP at a large, to a workable capacity, we can do it safely national bank, but he never received his loan State Theatre and the public feels comfortable attending after a long wait. Frustrated, he went to the The State Theatre, next to Clare and Don’s, shows,” Giuffre said. “These are still very Chain Bridge Bank, who gave him the loan has also been affected by the coronavirus. It unknown variables.” in less than a day. initially opened as a movie theater in 1936 and closed in 1988. It fell into disrepair until Thomas Carter bought it in the late 1990s and opened it as a music venue in 1999. When the threat of the virus became apparent in the U.S., the business canceled events and rescheduled most of them for the fall. In the meantime, the theater has switched to selling food. “We have shifted our focus to takeout lunch and dinner service, something we have never offered in the past,” said Brennan Giuffre, a talent buyer and the marketing manager for the State Theatre. “We...have a professionally trained chef on staff so this was an easy first choice to help our sudden drop in income.” Tickets sales for future events have seen a sharp decline, but takeout hasn’t fully GARGANTUAN LOSSES — The State Theatre advertises its takeout. The Restaurant compensated for it. Without live shows, Association estimates the food industry will lose $240 billion by the end of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. most part-time employees had to be laid off. Photos & page design by Akash Balenalli


HANGING ON — Before phase one of reopening began, Clare and Don’s offered takeout only two days a week. OpenTable estimates that 25% of restaurants will close due to the pandemic. “It certainly helps with the payroll. All the full-timers are still here… They’re getting the full amounts,” Mylonas said. “It also allows me to take [the restaurant’s profits] and put it to the side, because we don’t know how long [the pandemic] is going to last.” Mylonas plans on using the PPP over the next four weeks to pay for payroll, utilities and his lease. While government handouts, tips and donations have been helpful, Mylo’s Grill has mostly relied on sales to support itself. The restaurant sells bottles of wine at half price every night and makes most of its profits on its dishes. Meat prices, however, have caused some complications. “Just a little bit of news that we’re going to have a meat shortage, and everyone just went crazy,” Mylonas said. “They went to the stores and they loaded up on meat and stuffed it in their freezers.” High quality steaks like the New York strip have skyrocketed in cost. The restaurant’s relatively stable income has protected its longevity in the chaotic economy. If the lockdown continues and demand remains constant, Mylonas believes he can survive without making any sacrifices until winter. “Now, if [the pandemic] continues through next year, we’ll definitely see a lot of cuts here,” Mylonas said. “We would have to make a lot of adjustments staffing-wise.”

Kazan Near McLean High School and Dal Grano, Turkish restaurant Kazan has been 14 | IN-DEPTH | JUNE

facing difficulties despite being in business for 40 years. Its owner, chef Zeynel Uzun, has taught cooking in conferences at universities, worked for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and even served baklava to Queen Elizabeth II. The restaurant provides curbside pickup and first come, first served outdoor seating. “We were doing well, [but] when they shut down [businesses] we dropped down to 25-30% [of our pre-coronavirus sales],” Uzun said. Fox 5 featured Kazan in a segment called “Takeout,” which informs viewers about restaurants in the D.C. area where they can order food. Aside from publicity, regular customers have been purchasing food and gift certificates to support the business.

“It’ll be tough for the restaurant to make a profit.” -Jeynel Uzun, Kazan

“Lots of customers came and bought gift certificates,” Uzun said. “They said that they want us to stay in business. They keep saying, ‘Please don’t go. Stay here. We want to help as much as we can.’” The restaurant has about 80% of its staff working, but Uzun hasn’t laid off any of his workers, nor does he plan to in the future. The employees that left took time off voluntarily to be with family. To support

those still working, Uzun cashed in some of his life insurance. Acquiring meat has also caused some financial stress. “Occasionally, meat [supply] gets a little shorter, but there are various places that we can get [the meats] from, like the Restaurant Depot,” Uzun said. “The only problem is that meat prices get very high. We were buying a case of top round for $300, now it is $650... It’ll be tough for the restaurant to make a profit.” Despite the meat price hike and sudden decline in demand, Uzun has been able to offer his full menu at its regular prices, but he isn’t sure how long he’ll be able to do so. “[The pandemic] will probably force us to shorten the menu if we can’t [fill the restaurant] inside, or if it is hard to pay the rent or the expenses,” Uzun said. Over the years, Kazan has accrued some rainy day savings that have given the restaurant some reassurance. Uzun received both the PPP loan and $10,000 from the EIDL. But he doesn’t believe that they will last more than a short while. “It’s not [going to last for] forever,” Uzun said. “Just a couple of months.” Uzun has contributed to the local economy for four decades, so he hopes that Fairfax County and Virginia will provide more financial assistance to businesses like his. “Thirty percent [of sales compared to our normal operations] is holding up for us with the federal government’s help,” Uzun said. “If Fairfax County helps us, then there will be probably another month or two [of us running without having to make deep cuts to the business].” How long Kazan will last in the market will depend on numerous factors, like the landlord’s understanding of his financial situation. “First, I will try to talk to the landlord and see how long we can pay the rent. The rent is the big expense in the restaurant business,” Uzun said. “We have to see what their decision is and how they can help us.”

Bear Branch Tavern Newer businesses have been facing more difficulties because of their lack of reputation in their communities. The Bear Branch Tavern in Vienna opened less than two weeks before the stay-at-home order. It’s run by a local company called Vintage Restaurant Holdings, which owns four other restaurants.

Chris Lefbom and Adam Lubar own all five restaurants. At the tavern, Lefbom and Lubar were blindsided by the devastating effects of the virus. “We did not think it was as serious as it has become,” Lefbom said. “We initially thought we would be closed for two weeks, not two and a half months.” The Bear Branch Tavern has lost 80-90% of its sales since the coronavirus started affecting the area. To make up for some of the losses, the business has been selling kits and other enticing products for neighborhood customers. “[We’ve been selling] family meals, family kits, craft cocktails, sangria growlers, crab feasts and lobster rolls. All have been met with success,” Lefbom said. The restaurant has had a hard time adapting to the restrictions put in place by the state. “We get thrown curveballs daily,” Lefbom said. “We have to learn how to operate as a carryout restaurant, and now as a restaurant that can only operate with 50% occupancy in our patio. This has been, by far, the biggest challenge of our restaurant careers.” Ninety percent of the restaurant’s staff has been furloughed. Lefbom has attempted to receive government financial assistance, but it hasn’t been very fruitful. “We have applied and not yet been approved for our EIDL application,” Lefbom said. “We did not receive much of a PPP loan at the BBT due to the fact that we had no history. Restaurants needed to show prior payroll history, and we didn’t have much of one.” Due to the lack of aid, Lefbom said he is displeased with the local, state and federal governments. If the tavern is to survive, it will need to earn more profits than it is currently. “The bottom line is, from the business perspective, we need more business in order to pay the bills,” Lefbom said. “Carryout business, while appreciated, is not sustainable.”

Madison Deli Another McLean staple has felt the heat from the virus. Madison Deli has been a family-owned business since its opening in 1995. Its current owner, David Yang, took over the business from his father- and mother-in-law in 2014, and they have had several celebrities visit, including Joe Biden. When the virus hit the U.S., Yang was taken

SAFETY FIRST ­— Dal Grano staff members wear gloves and masks while working in the kitchen. More than nine million Americans work in the food industry, according to the Bureau of Labor. aback and his business tumbled quickly. “Sales dropped 90% immediately after the stay-at-home order was issued in March,” Yang said. “Since then, it has gradually been picking up, but overall, sales are still around the 50% volume from before the pandemic.”

“Carryout business, while appreciated, is not sustainable.” -Chris Lefbom, Vintage Restaurants

The deli started offering only takeout before it was required and limited operations to lunchtime soon after. “By reducing our supplies and menu items, we were able to maintain the level of quality and freshness that we pride ourselves on,” Yang said. Sales have been boosted by a partnership with a local organization which organizes catering for essential workers like firefighters and buys the deli’s gift certificates for people in need. Yang has had trouble acquiring certain resources for his business. “One of my suppliers alluded that California’s lettuce supply chain had been drastically cut, therefore affecting the nation’s overall supply,” Yang said. “And of course, bottled water and other essentials [have been hard to obtain].” Even though Yang had had customers, he

needed assistance from the EIDL and PPP. “The [government] aid and programs were critical in keeping the business afloat,” Yang said. “The sales drop was so sudden and so severe that we have had no choice but to search and apply for multiple aid programs.” Like other business owners, Yang is unsure of Madison Deli’s future. “With reduced hours and reduced sales, we are hurting, just like many other small businesses across America,” Yang said.

Community Connections As businesses struggle, some members of the community have become more proactive in contributing to the local economy. “[I’ve been] buying bread from local businesses,” Langley High School sophomore Anna Detweiler said. “[I’ve also been] avoiding purchasing things from Amazon that can be obtained from local businesses.” McLean freshman Anna Giese’s family is making efforts to support local restaurants. “We order out to different restaurants for lunch at least once a week, and try to spread it out to support more than just our favorite places,” freshman Anna Giese said. Businesses that have the highest chance of survival are those with integrity and strong connections to the community. “You give people quality food and service continuously, your restaurant will stay forever...that’s what my father taught me, my grandfather taught me,” Uzun said. “That’s why we’ve been in the business all these years. Because people get their money’s worth.” JUNE | IN-DEPTH | 15

NEW MOVIES TO RENT Which films are worth paying for?

Warner Bros.



nward is the story of a world once reliant on magic, abandoning a difficulty mastered artform for an easier way of doing things: technology. After many years, when most have rejected and forgotten magic, two boys find themselves needing to master the ancient force in order to bring their deceased father back to life so they can meet him for just a day. If you love Pixar movies, Onward will be hit or miss. It feels almost like the movie is trying too hard to be a “Pixar Movie.” It has all the elements of their touching classics, but something is just off. The jokes and dialogue sound like they belong in a Dreamworks film. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, while phenomenal actors, did not have the proper vibe for the movie—Hollywood A-listers are no substitute for good voice acting. While a lot of this movie’s details seemed to contradict what classic Pixar movies had perfectly encapsulated, such as likeable characters, funny jokes and a sense of family relatability, it is worth noting that, at its heart, Onward is still a Pixar movie. It has moments that’ll make you laugh, cry and just feel unconditionally attached to the characters. Onward would be the perfect movie to watch as a family, no matter what age range the viewers are. If you are just looking to kill an hour and a half, there are a lot worse ways you could do it than watching Onward. It is worth renting it on Amazon for $5. 16 | A&E | JUNE

Focus Features



irds of Prey is the story of newly single Harley Quinn and the predicaments she finds herself in without The Joker’s protection. She is joined by a group of equally underestimated women in need of an emancipation of their own. Together, they make this movie something special. At surface value, this is a bright, colorful and fun movie. It has likeable characters, scary villains, well-choreographed fight scenes and remarkable settings full of flair. However, Birds of Prey is not a film to be taken at surface level. Every detail has a deeper meaning. The characters are likeable, albeit a little cartoonish—but that just makes them seem like they’re really in a comic book. The villains are scary but are mostly taken as a joke, unless they could immediately hurt someone that matters to the main protagonists. Which is exactly how Harley sees things—everything is a joke until it’s really not a joke anymore. The fight scenes are like a dance, where every action is fluid and meaningful, distinct from most superhero movie fights. The settings, with bright colors, explosions and glitter add so much to the story. It’s Gotham like we’ve never seen it before, because it’s Gotham the way Harley Quinn sees it. Birds of Prey is exciting, funny and different. It throws a wrench in the repetitive mediocrity of both the world’s current predicament and generic superhero movies. It is rated R and rightfully so, but if you’re OK with harsh language and gratuitous violence, this is definitely worth renting.


arriet depicts the epic story of the Underground Railroad’s most famous conductor. The film begins when Harriet Tubman is on a plantation in Maryland that she has no choice but to leave. The adventure begins with her harrowing escape to freedom, but becomes even more harrowing when she goes back to save others, time after time. Harriet is a phenomenal movie. The acting, the writing, the settings, the action and the story make Harriet a movie to not only watch, but experience. The movie’s stars perfectly portray the true emotions of the characters. Prepare to be on the edge of your seat every time Harriet is close to being caught, and prepare to feel immense hatred for every single white person in the film, not only the central antagonist. The writing is full of passion and emotion, and the incorporation of music is hauntingly beautiful. Overall, this movie is a pristine example of what historical cinema should be. Although certain elements of the movie may seem utterly unbelievable, most of the seemingly solely cinematic moments are true. It isn’t necessary to enjoy this film, but I strongly recommend reading Harriet Tubman’s Wikipedia page before watching the movie. If you’re looking for an amazing, thoughtprovoking movie to enjoy alone or with your family, Harriet is 100% worth the $5 fee to rent, and in my opinion worth the $20 fee of buying it. Page design by Ally Liu



uter Banks centers around a group of four teenagers, the ‘Pogues,’ who live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina as they work to figure out the mystery behind one Pogue’s missing father. These troublemakers take ‘summer fun’ to a whole new level as they find love, new friends and more in this intriguing series. “The show has such great acting and it really shows teenagers just having the best summer ever,” sophomore Naveen Patury said.


ll American is an inspiring sports drama about a high school football player whose life changes when he transfers from Crenshaw to Beverly Hills. Despite the economic and social differences he and his new teammates have, they begin to learn that those differences can connect them on a deeper level. “It included the crazy teen scenarios necessary to make a good show but also provided important insight on race relations, socioeconomic inequalities and other social issues,” senior Emily Chopra said.


etflix’s heartfelt coming of age series, Atypical, follows Sam Gardner, an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum, on a journey to find love and independence while his family confronts the harsh realities of their own lives. This moving show will make viewers laugh and cry at the same time, making it a definite must-watch. “It shows the realistic struggles of high school while also being funny and entertaining,” sophomore Kaitlyn Conly said.


ull of teen romance and supernatural drama, The Vampire Diaries follows the life of teenage girl Elena Gilbert. After losing both her parents in a car crash, Elena falls head over heels for 162-year-old Stephen Salvatore. With many different subplots, supernatural threats and other twists, this show is sure to keep you on your toes.. “I connect with the characters so much. It’s definitely a five-star show,” freshman Olivia Zhang said.


he Good Place starts with a young woman named Eleanor Shellstrop who has recently entered the afterlife. She and three others are welcomed into ‘The Good Place,’ a highly selective heaven-like location. They have houses, soulmates and basically everything they could ever want and need. But do they belong there? Finding out is half the fun. “I started watching this show because a friend recommended it to me, and I haven’t been able to stop since,” sophomore Lily Flint said.


he animated comedy show Big Mouth features a group of 7th graders navigating their way through puberty, as cartoon nudity, sex jokes and plentiful cursing fill their middle school lives. Although the characters maintain their obsession with all things sex-related through the seasons, they also tackle other aspects of adolesence such as depression and problems with social media. “[The show is] so funny and it’s weirdly taught me so much,” freshman Hannah James said. Images obtained via Netflix | Page design by Jayne Ogilvie-Russell

JUNE | A&E | 17


As students’ boredom increases during quarantine, so does their TikTok addiction BELEN BALLARD FEATURES EDITOR


s time slowly passes by, social media platforms have become most teenagers’ main source of entertainment. In such strange circumstances where everyone is stuck inside, there are multiple productive things to do such cooking, crafting or even homework. However, millions of people have chosen a less productive (but extremely entertaining) alternative known as TikTok. As of February 2020, there are 800 million active users worldwide on TikTok. Some people dislike it and others find it to be their prime source of entertainment, especially during quarantine. Whether it is for the humor, the cringey dances or even the cute occasional puppy videos, TikTok has taken no time in its continued rise to fame and fortune. “TikTok has definitely taken over the majority of teens’ lives right now,” sophomore Rachel Longo said. There is a variety of content on the app, though the most popular type of content is dances created by so-called “TikTok influencers.” Once a new dance goes viral, it becomes a trend, and in no time millions of people are learning the dance as a way to pass time. “I enjoy making TikToks and learning new things like dances and also helpful life hacks and tips for school and college,” sophomore Einmon Tha said. Aside from the dancing trends, the platform has a wide amount of informative or comical content. That content ranges anywhere from skin care to “POVs” where people act out relatable situations. This variety in content allows TikTok to reach all sorts of audiences worldwide. “I like seeing how other people are spending their quarantine,” sophomore Simal Mann said. “It makes me want to do more and stay active.” Thanks to quarantine, a popular trend on TikTok has been motivating videos encouraging people to start exercising and to get up and be active. Popular creators on TikTok have been making videos showing their workouts, which many people have tried at home. “I’ve tried a few of the at-home workouts made by creators. I really like them because they are pretty easy to learn in under a minute and I could repeat them as many times as I needed,” Tha said. It is all of these characteristics that make the app so desirable, and almost addictive for its users. With such high quality entertainment comes an excessive time suck, leading people to spend hours a day scrolling through their “For You” page or the TikTok homepage. In a poll of 41 McLean students, more than 60% said they spend one to four hours per day on the app. “TikTok is addictive because the videos are short so therefore they don’t take a lot of attention span to find the videos entertaining,” Mann said. What starts as one short video eventually leads to many short 18 | A&E | JUNE

videos and hours and hours go by. Many students would agree with the fact that TikTok is a big reason for their procrastination. “I often feel the need to delete the app just so I can focus on getting my schoolwork done,” Longo said. But how long until TikTok loses its reign? Is the clock already going tick tock for TikTok? “TikTok is entertaining because I like seeing celebrities on it, my friends’ videos and a lot of the videos can make me laugh,” Mann said. “This app has introduced new ideas and been a comical addition to many teens’ lives, and I hope it’ll last.”

Average hours on TikTok per day* *In a poll of 41 McLean students

5+ 6.5% 3-4 22.6%

less than 1 32.3% 1-2 38.7%

Page design by Dasha Makarishcheva | Infographic by Jayne Ogilvie-Russell & Dasha Makarishcheva


Things are getting crafty around here SYDNEY GLEASON A&E EDITOR | GIANNA RUSSO SPORTS EDITOR


eing stuck at home is getting to the best of us, but luckily social media has been spreading fun ideas to keep us occupied. TikTok is one of many sources that have become home to DIY activities. Teens spend hours on the app trying to pass time, and when scrolling through the videos, some find inspiration. Other than the entertainment this app provides, people share tutorials to show easy athome activities and DIY projects to try during the quarantine. Some of the trends that have gone viral from the TikTok platform are: tiedying, bleaching and ironing pictures on clothing; making homemade whipped coffee and other baked goods; and creative wall painting. The DIY activities that have grown in popularity tend to require things that people already have in their homes or can be found at local stores, making them even easier to do. “I have been tie-dying my old sweatpants and sweatshirts because I am bored and am having fun with this trend,” sophomore Rebecca Hatanpaa said. Bleaching clothes is a trend that was on the rise before coronavirus hit, but it has become even more popular during the shutdown. It is similar to tie-dying, but the dye is substituted with bleach. Jeans are the most commonly bleached item of clothing, along with sweatshirts and sweatpants. “I bleached a black sweatshirt by following a YouTube video. It turned out cool, and I would recommend bleach dyeing to anyone who has a [plain] shirt at home that they would want to transform,” sophomore Sage Fedora said. Another DIY activity that people have been trying is ironing printed pictures on clothing. This is a very simple yet fun task, and it leaves the clothes looking like they are from a trendy store. “I was going through my closet and

found a lot of old shirts and didn’t want them to go to waste, [so I] printed out pictures of bands and put them on,” sophomore Simal Mann said. In addition to these crafty clothing items, whipped coffee has become the drink of the month. “My whole FYP [“For You” page on TikTok] was filled with videos of whipped coffee, so I tried it. I would’ve rather just

Infographic & page design by Jayne Ogilvie-Russell

had regular coffee though. It hurt my wrist from whisking for seven minutes and my expectations were higher,” Mann said. These DIY activities are super enjoyable and a great way to make the most of all the time people are spending at home these days. “I have done all of these trends so far,” Hatanpaa said. “They have kept me busy and given me something to do.”


Whipped Coffee

Materials: - Parchment paper - Plastic wrap - Printed image - Article of clothing - Iron Instructions: Cut out the printed design, then wrap it with plastic wrap. Place the design on the article of clothing, put parchment paper over the design, and iron the image on for around five minutes.

yeing Bleach D

Materials: - Instant coffee - Sugar - Water - Ice - Milk Instructions: Take one tablespoon of water, instant coffee and sugar. Mix until it looks like peanut butter. Once it's thick and whipped, pour over ice and milk.. There you have it!


Materials: ing of cloth - Article - Water - Bleach bands - Rubber

ions: e Instruct nds to th dye.. bber ba h Apply ru to bleac u want yo ea u are e ar ction yo se ach to th e th Get d apply ble wet., an ts. ait for thing. W vealing your resul bleaching clo of ion re wet port to dry before ing the cloth

Materials: - Tie-dye kit - Article of clothing Instructions: the instructions Get the materials and follow an (almost) instant the kit gives you. Boom, masterpiece.!

JUNE | A&E | 19

DISTANCE LEARNING: FCPS CAN DO BETTER Online learning needs improvements if quarantine continues into fall The staff editorial represents the opinion of the majority of The Highlander editorial board


ith no sign of the coronavirus pandemic coming to an end in the U.S., the possibility of continued stay-athome learning in the fall is very plausible. If FCPS is to continue distance learning next year, it will need to make drastic improvements to its current plans. In a poll conducted in April by McLean’s Committee for Raising Student Voices, only 40.6% of 212 respondents said that they were satisfied with distance learning, while 59.4% were not. Complaints started when overlooked security flaws in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra disrupted classes. “We realized very quickly that using guest links was not secure enough, and we need to change the plan,” said Elaine Tholen, the Dranesville District school board representative. While FCPS fixed some initial problems, like the security failures, other complaints about the distance learning class structures have not been addressed.

IT’S SUPER AWKWARD THAT YOU CAN’T SEE YOUR CLASSMATES, SO NO ONE ACTUALLY WANTS TO TALK DURING SESSIONS.” -MARIA DUBASOV TJHSST SOPHOMORE “It’s super awkward that you can’t see your classmates, so no one actually wants to talk during the sessions,” Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology sophomore Maria Dubasov said. A lack of participation in sessions was a recurring complaint among Fairfax County 20 | OPINIONS | JUNE

students who responded to The Highlander’s survey in late May. Many students do not speak in class and others log in to receive credit for attending class but are not at their computer. “I would say, generally, [there is] at least one person per class period that I have to remove from the session at the end because they are unresponsive,” English teacher Anna Caponetti said. FCPS did not require students to participate in live sessions, so teachers are not able to ensure all students are paying attention. This causes teachers to spend too long waiting for a response and waste class time, which is already too short to be effective. “There...is no time to allow students to collaborate effectively...if you only have 45-minute installments and a week spaced out between them,” Caponetti said. Like class participation, FCPS did not set clear guidelines on how work should be assigned. Yet even in classes with high workloads, course plans are not challenging enough. “My teachers can’t go in-depth anymore due to the fact that it’s too difficult to learn challenging material through the virtual classroom,” Dubasov said. “Lots of my assignments are much easier than they would have been.” According to a 2020 study by the Northwest Evaluation Association, school closures will cause students to lose 30% of progress in reading and as much as 50% in math. A lack of challenging classwork has led some families to supplement their children’s learning with other resources. “Several families that I’ve talked to in the McLean pyramid have hired tutors to... augment some of the learning,” Tholen said. “I think it’s unfortunate that people aren’t feeling challenged, and...that is a big consideration that we will have looking forward with any distance learning.”

Distance learning accentuated inequality in FCPS and put underprivileged students at a disadvantage. Students whose families are able to afford additional learning support are likely to be better prepared for school next year. That could cause long term problems for underprivileged students, leaving them behind, unprepared

I THINK IT’S UNFORTUNATE THAT PEOPLE AREN’T FEELING CHALLENGED.” -ELAINE THOLEN DRANESVILLE DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD REPRESENTATIVE for classes and to score well on AP exams. FCPS will also need to address the unreliability of its web services. “My English teacher once got kicked out of her own Blackboard Collaborate session,” Dubasov said. “One time I started having connection problems even though my WiFi was fine and I missed half of a class because I couldn’t rejoin, even after I tried another computer and restarted my computer.” While Dubasov only had connection issues once, some students have had multiple failures. “I’ve disconnected from classes multiple times and been unable to reconnect, and overall it just hasn’t been a very good learning experience,” junior Lauren Grady said. Technical failures could bring down students’ grades if FCPS issues a more traditional grading policy next year. Ultimately, if distance learning is to continue in the fall, the school district must listen to the hundreds of student complaints echoing throughout the county and create a more substantial learning environment with clear expectations for students.

Page design by Akash Balenalli Reporting by Akash Balenalli, Nyla Marcott, Valerie Paredes & Polina Zubarev

Protesters who riot will cause more harm than good POLINA ZUBAREV EDITOR-IN-CHIEF rioter, face covered, armed with bricks and a lighter, smashes a shop window, runs inside, proceeds to loot the building and finally lights it on fire. Citizens across the nation have been gathering to protest institutionalized racism and police brutality, primarily against black people. These protests for Black Lives Matter reignited with more vigor and outrage when George Floyd, a black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. While these protests began as peaceful acts of opposition, many of them quickly turned into violent riots. Citizens of this country have a right to protest, especially if they are being actively oppressed, beaten and killed by those meant to protect us. The majority of this country does not and will not ever understand the suffering black citizens experience on a daily basis. But burning buildings, looting and rioting unprovoked by police is unacceptable


and not the right way to fight against a racist system. Violence will not end violence, and causing chaos and destruction will invalidate any change that protestors want to bring to this nation. Burning down small businesses and homes will also affect people of color more than anyone else. Nearly 21% of black people are living in poverty, and are therefore more likely to work minimum wage jobs. Furthermore, those who loot and destroy buildings may target black-owned businesses without even realizing it. On May 28, more than 160 buildings were looted, damaged or destroyed in Minneapolis alone. Although these protests have come to be about more than just the killing of George Floyd, it is important to remember what sparked them. On June 1, George Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, met protesters in Minneapolis. He urged protesters to continue to fight peacefully, and said that violence is “not going to bring my brother back at all.”

By rioting and destroying buildings, people go against the direct wishes of the Floyd family. While many people believe that looting is a legitimate form of protest, there are so many other ways to allow your voice to be heard. When people preach justice yet destroy private property with no concern for others, it gives reason for others to belittle their cause. “We are all angry… But what are [protesters] changing by tearing up a city?” said Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta and a black woman. “[They have] lost all credibility now. This is not how we change America.” With violence, protesters are adding more fuel to the fire that is America’s prevalent racism. However tragic, the past cannot be undone, and it is up to us to change the future and bring peace. We need to let our voices be heard, not loot and riot in George Floyd’s name.

ARE RIOTS JUSTIFIABLE? Riots are necessary to fix this country’s problems

DALIA FISHMAN MANAGING & COPY EDITOR o you remember Willie Tillman? How about Antonio Richardson? Or Kisha Arrone? Or how about the other 133 black people killed by police officers in just one year? No, you probably don’t recognize them, but one name you most likely recognize is George Floyd, a black man whose recent death initiated riots in Minneapolis. George Floyd was murdered by three police officers kneeling on him for no evident reason, after he exclaimed several times that he could not breathe. He, and his malicious death, however, are not the controversy. The controversy lies with the aftermath of Floyd’s death—the riots all over the country, resulting in the mass destruction of property. Protesters began looting stores as well as vandalizing buildings by spray painting them, both of which were done in the name of justice. Simply put: drastic actions are necessary to correct the systemic racism that people of


color face every day in this country, and these riots are what is needed for that change to occur. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy’s famous quote echoes loudly in today’s societal climate. After generations of racial prejudice affecting millions, with no solution in sight, violence seems to be the only way to get the public’s attention. Those who ignored peaceful revolution must realize that violent events, like the ones in Minneapolis, were inevitable. In no way is destroying property belonging to innocent people, pillaging uninvolved stores and taking advantage of the riots to steal for personal gain acceptable, but people are talking about it. People are discussing George Floyd, his death and what we, as a country, can do to prevent this kind of atrocity from happening again. People of every race are gathering in the streets all over the nation and the world to make real change.

George Floyd has sparked a revolution, and now no one can deny the prevalence of police brutality. After several cases of trying to make a difference peacefully, people started to see just how impossible that would be. These protests for George Floyd started out peaceful, but it wasn’t until things became unruly that people actually began talking about police brutality. In an ideal world, people would not have to resort to violence, but this is not an ideal world, and it is naive to believe that extreme and long-lasting change can be achieved without large sacrifices—large sacrifices by people who will someday be treated as heroes. Once again, the people of this country are called to action. It is your duty to stand by these protests, and let whoever will listen know that as a country, we will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of any victim who needs protection. Most importantly, we will not let our voices be silenced. We will be heard. We will be listened to. And we will get justice for George Floyd, no matter what. JUNE | OPINIONS | 21

Thirsty? Think again

Drinking fountains are extremely dirty and should be avoided NYLA MARCOTT MANAGING & NEWS EDITOR s students approach the water fountain, bend down and take a big gulp of water, they are blissfully unaware of the student who appeared to swallow the entire faucet moments before. Water fountains are constantly being contaminated with germs, putting everyone at risk. People fail to consider that placing their faces near a repeatedly used water spigot and drinking whatever sprays into their mouths may not be the best idea. Amid the health concerns associated with the coronavirus, one of the earliest actions public officials took to protect the public was to shut down drinking fountains. According to a study by The Public Health and Safety Organization, water fountains are the dirtiest places in schools. Water fountain spigots were found to be dirtier than bathroom sinks and toilet seats. “I would not drink out of the school water



fountains because when I sit on the bench in the hallway, I have seen students cough, sneeze and spit near the opening, and it is not a pleasant sight,” Health and Physical Education teacher Nathan Worek said. Students have also observed unsanitary drinking fountain use. “[I have seen students] put food in the water fountains...[as well as] napkins and tissues,” freshman Sydney Kosco said. Drinking fountains are used hundreds of times a day with spikes in their usage during lunches and passing periods. The fountains are not cleaned nearly enough for the frequency of their use. “The water fountains are cleaned daily by our evening custodial staff,” said Director of Student Activities Gregory Miller, who oversees the school building and custodians. “It is my belief that [the drinking fountains] are [cleaned sufficiently]. I have never received a complaint that they are dirty.” A single daily cleaning is insufficient for

how often the drinking fountains are used. If people only drank from fountains during the school day, they would be used for seven hours without being cleaned. This issue is compounded by the fact that the fountains are also used before and after school. “When the school is occupied, it may be hard to keep [the drinking fountains] constantly clean during the day,” said Mark Eggers, McLean’s building engineer. Although the risk of getting sick can be reduced by proper water fountain use, this does not ensure the safety of users. In a recent New York Times article, virologist Angela Rasmussen advised readers to avoid using water fountains during the current pandemic. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, I wouldn’t consider drinking from a fountain,” Eggers said. “Until the...pandemic is 100% resolved and behind us, I feel that all public drinking fountains everywhere should be shut down.” Water bottle fillers can be a good alternative to drinking fountains, but they pose many of the same risks as drinking fountains because of improper use. “The water bottle filler was a great addition [to the school],” Worek said. “That being said, I sometimes see students drinking out of the water bottle filler option, which is a turn-off.” Times have changed. If students return to school in August, no one can afford to take the risk of potentially spreading illness through dirty fountains. To ensure everyone’s safety, drinking fountains need to be cleaned multiple times a day and students must treat them properly. “I will not [use the drinking fountain when we return to school],” Kosco said. “So many people use the water fountains and so there are so many germs covering them that I will probably never touch one again unless I have to.” Health risks associated with water fountains can be reduced by proper use, but do you really want to put your health in the hands (and mouths) of the person who last used the fountain?

Cartoon by Cameron Tebo | Page design by Heran Essayas

MISSING THE GAME Senior soccer players lose precious last season SANGMIN SONG SPORTS EDITOR oth boys and girls soccer teams found out their season was officially canceled on March 23, and no one got a chance to play a single game due to the spread of COVID-19. Coaches, managers and especially the players were frustrated by the cancellation. “It sucked a lot when I found out that the season was canceled. It was going to be a really fun time to enjoy playing the game with some really good friends,” senior Tariq Moutaouakil said. Senior Kayla Eksteen, one of the captains of the girls team, was similarly disappointed. “I was extremely upset about it. It was my last chance to play soccer in high school,” Eksteen said. “It was also because I would be missing all the fun memories such as the scavenger hunt, senior night, team tie-dye, all the games and just spending time with the team in general.” The sudden cancellation was especially unfortunate for seniors because they had high expectations for their final season. “Senior year was the year I planned on winning districts and moving further in the competition than last year. We had a really exciting group of boys and a new coach so the group was very competitive,” senior Ben Torres said. Juniors were also saddened by the cancellation of the season, since it was their last chance to play with the seniors.


DISTANCE TRAINING — Nina Otto practices soccer with her club teammates on Zoom.

“A lot of my senior teammates were so mad due to the fact it was their last season playing in high school, and hearing it got canceled was tragic for them,” said Kobe McCowan, one of the few juniors on the boys varsity team. “For us juniors, we were mad for a little bit but we got over it because we have next year.” Junior Reed Johnson is thankful for the seniors’ contributions to the team. “You all have been like brothers to me and I’m truly sorry for this to happen on such a big year for you all,” Johnson said. This season was especially important to some players like senior Nina Otto, who wasn’t able to play on the high school team for the past two years due to her involvement with her club soccer team. “I was really excited to have a senior night and to watch my friends’ senior nights,” Otto said. McLean’s soccer players believe they would have done well if they had a chance to play. “I had really high expectations for the season. I legitimately thought we could have won the states cup if it wasn’t for COVID-19,” senior Steven Lourenco said. Lourenco’s teammates agreed with his prediction. “The team bonded well during the preseason and there was a lot of hope going into this season that we could finally at least put up a banner this year,” Moutaouakil said. “A lot of us seniors talked a lot about what the season was going to be like this year, and all of us talked about how we had the potential to win states.” In spite of the cancellation, players have found ways to stay active in quarantine without practices and games. “My family got a Peloton [indoor exercise bicycle] towards the beginning of quarantine, so I’ve been using that a lot. Also, I’ve been doing workout videos, and if it’s a nice day, I’ll go on a run,” Eksteen said. Torres said he has been working hard to stay in shape. “I have made a goal of mine to stay fit and active during quarantine, so every other day I go on long runs, usually six to 12 miles, or play soccer for a couple of hours,” he said.

STAYING FIT — Tariq Moutaouakil trains solo even though his last season at McLean was canceled. “I’m getting touches on the ball multiple times a week and pushing myself toward a half-marathon.” Staying active is especially important to those seniors who are looking forward to continuing their soccer careers. Moutaouakil, Lourenco and Otto are committed to play soccer in college. Torres and Eksteen plan to continue to play on club teams or play intramural soccer. Moutaouakil has learned some valuable lessons from his experience this year that he hopes next year’s players will take to heart. “As we see here with this virus, a lot of stuff can be taken for granted and we should just take advantage of the situations we have,” Moutaouakil said. “High school soccer is all about having fun and enjoying the game as much as it is about winning games for the school you represent.” Torres also encourages next year’s players to make the most of it. “Playing for your school and representing your classmates and family is one of the most meaningful experiences you will ever have,” Torres said. “Do not take high school soccer for granted because it will be over faster than you think.”

Photos courtesy of Nina Otto & Tariq Moutaouakil


SPORTS MEDIA SENDS IN THE BACKUPS Alternatives to live sports help keep fans entertained SCOTT SHIELDS SPORTS EDITOR



s few sports are taking place during the pandemic, it makes sense that old events would fill the time, as that has always been a fallback for sports media during offseasons when there are no live games. Whether it is old championships, random exhibition matches, full playoff series or regular seasons, people enjoy seeing how sports were in the past. Viewers could see the first televised NBA finals, all of Tom Brady’s Super Bowls and several other events. “I’ve been watching whatever is on ESPN if it’s basketball,” freshman basketball player Max Warrell said. It seems that lots of people enjoy looking back and seeing how the sports and their athletes have evolved over time, how talent has increased and what has changed. Of course, old events don’t always provide high octane thrills for viewers, “Personally I don’t like sports reruns because they aren’t new content and it isn’t as exciting,” freshman basketball player Josh John said Even President Donald Trump shares this sentiment. “We have to get our sports back,” Trump said during a White House press conference. “I’m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old.”



rguably the best alternative sports fans have turned to during the pandemic, the 10-part documentary series The Last Dance follows Michael Jordan and the story of the 80s and 90s Chicago Bulls. “[The] Last Dance was really good and gave me a new perspective about the GOAT,” Warrell said. For lots of people, the series brings back nostalgia for the old days, but for students at McLean, it serves as a chance to learn the story of a team and a player widely considered to be the greatest of all time. “[The Last Dance] really highlighted Michael Jordan’s winning mentality,” John said.


he esports world is finding new light as people are stuck at home without sports but want new live competitions to watch. “I think esports is actually very entertaining and it’s an up-andcoming entertainment industry,” John said. Gaming has always had an audience, but now people who hadn’t accepted it into the mainstream are willing to try it out. “I might give esports a chance during quarantine because there isn’t much else to watch,” Warrell said. A wide variety of games are played at the esports level, many with no connection to actual sports. Rocket League and Overwatch are major titles that have attracted a large fanbase since their launch. In addition, sports simulation games like NBA 2K20 offer fresh content for people who want live competition but aren’t willing to stray too far from actual sports. “I’m coming from the world of, if you played video games, you’re a geek or a nerd, and to see how far the video gaming culture just took over and is taking over right now, man, I love it,” Buffalo Bills offensive lineman John Feliciano said in an interview with The Buffalo News. “It’s entertaining.”



An NBA 2K20 tournament that took place in April featured actual NBA players as competitors, including Kevin Durant and Trae Young. NBA All-Star Devin Booker took home the trophy. “I played a lot growing up,” Booker said in an interview with the NBA. The medium is growing but still has some major issues that need to be sorted out. Die-hard sports fans have strong thoughts on esports, disliking the fact that the name claims connection to real sports, as they feel the two are very different from each other. “I’m not really an esports fan because watching someone play 2K isn’t like watching real basketball,” Warrell said. Games’ lifespans in the mainstream of the esports world are also an issue—as new, higher powered games with more advanced features come out, it is tough for a series, let alone a game, to remain relevant for sustained live competition in the entertainment industry. “I think [the esports industry is] going to keep growing,” Feliciano said. “The good thing about esports is there are so many games that have their own league, basically. There are so many different games and games that will be coming out.” Graphics by Cameron Tebo | Page design by Addie Brown


Cross country and track athlete shares memories and running advice NYLA MARCOTT MANAGING & NEWS EDITOR


hen the track season abruptly ended due to the coronavirus, freshman Anna Wells found a new path. She formed a small team of fellow runners, discovered new places to run and practiced various workout routines. Nothing stops her from her quest to continually improve her running performance. Wells competes in both cross country and track. At the cross country state championship last fall, Wells ranked fourth for freshman runners and 25th out of all cross country runners. Running has been an important part of Wells’ life and has helped her to make new friends after transferring to new schools four years in a row. “One of the best parts of cross country is that you have instant friends,” Wells said. “Everyone is so supportive of each other and the team camaraderie is so strong. It’s a great way to meet new people.” Wells’ interest in cross country was sparked by her parents’ experience in the sport. Both of her parents ran

on the Western Kentucky University team, and her mother later ran professionally. “Anna has literally grown up, from the womb, around running,” said her mother, Christina Wells. “Even as a baby, Anna loved her rides in the jogging stroller or hanging out with me in the basement as I trained on the treadmill.” Wells began participating in cross country at her elementary school in fourth grade. “I immediately loved it. I had an amazing coach that made sure that we both worked hard and had fun,” Wells said. “Once a week we had game day, and after every practice we got popsicles.” Five years later, Wells is still running. This year, she ran for McLean’s cross country team and planned to participate in track in the spring. One of her most memorable moments was when the cross country team found out they were going to go to the state championship. “Performing well as a team is very exciting and special. This year the McLean girls [varsity team] won our first ever district championship, finished second at regionals, went to state for the first time ever and finished seventh at state,” Wells said. “I am so happy I got to be a part of the incredible season.” Wells encourages anyone interested in cross country to join the team. She believes it offers multiple benefits. “[Cross country is] a great sport to try because anyone can do it—you do not have to be at the top or anything,” Wells said. “You can do it to make friends.” Wells cautions new runners who are interested in getting more involved in the sport not to run too much. “It is easy to get injured when you all of a sudden start running too many miles,” Wells said. “Instead, start with short runs and then build up from there. It is also important to warm up before and cool down and stretch after.” Wells has developed her technique through years of running and the help of her parents and coaches. Running has not always been easy for her. Wells has faced injuries

and the disappointment of not performing as well as she had hoped. “I have a hard time keeping a positive attitude and I talk negatively about myself,” Wells said. “If I do not perform the way I want to, I get upset.” Despite injuries and disappointments, she never quits. “Anna is really determined; she doesn’t give up and she really gives it her all and tries her hardest,” said freshman Thaïs Rolly, one of her teammates. Wells works hard to be competitive and to consistently improve. During the season, she trains six days a week. “Anna has always been one of the most competitive people I’ve known. And like most competitive people, she is never satisfied and always believes she can do more,” Christina Wells said. “As an 11-year-old, she asked for a pull-up bar for Christmas. Her strength is her strength.” Although she was unable to participate in track due to the cancellation of the season, Wells is doing workouts and runs with three of her teammates to prepare for the upcoming cross country season. Wells completes workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays and runs all the other days of the week. “I am continuing to train as I would during the track season, which I believe will help me in cross country,” Wells said. “Running with a few of my teammates has really helped. If I didn’t have them to run with, I think I would be much less motivated during this time. It definitely helps me get out the door in the mornings or after [virtual] school to go do my workouts.” Wells plans to continue running and hopes to improve her state ranking every year. She is not afraid to set challenging goals for herself and the team. Wells came into last year’s cross country season with a goal to qualify for state championships, something her team had never accomplished. “Having the courage to state that goal was motivating for a great group of hardworking girls,” Christina Wells said. “They made [the state championship] as a team for the very first time in McLean history.”

Image courtesy of Anna Wells | Page design by Dasha Makarishcheva


FIVE sporting events we missed The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of sports ranging from curling to table tennis—here are the top five sporting events we are most sad to miss CHARLIE JACKSON REPORTER | DANIEL FIMBRES REPORTER



March Madness: The NCAA basketball tournament was set to happen from March 17 to April 6 but was canceled on March 12. The men’s and women’s tournaments are some of the most highly anticipated events in all of sports as roughly 70 million people fill out brackets each year. The NCAA originally made the ruling that the games will still happen but with a limited crowd, then later decided that it was too risky and canceled it all. We’re among the millions of fans who missed the excitement of the 68-team tournament.

The conclusion to the regular season and start of when they made fans leave a game between Oklahoma City and Utah on Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The NBA has since suggested ideas such as games with no fans but LeBron James said: “If I show up to the arena and there ain’t no fans there, I ain’t playing.” This was major as James is the league's biggest star, and it’s hard to imagine the NBA coming back without him.




NFL Draft: The draft for the NFL in 2019 attracted 600,000 fans in person and averaged 6.1 million viewers throughout the three-day event. The 2020 draft was set to be in Las Vegas with a boat taking the draft picks to the stage to meet the commissioner. Although it didn’t happen in person, the ratings went up to 8.4 million, shattering the record by 35%. Despite the fact that more people than ever watched, it wasn’t the same seeing the commissioner reading of the names alone in his house.

MLB Season: The Major League Baseball season was set to begin on March 26. However, due to COVID-19, the league announced the season would be postponed by at least two weeks and the rest of spring training would be canceled. With the pro baseball league community at an estimated 500 million, this has been nothing short of devastating.

MLB Olympics: The Olympics draw more than 500,000 spectators every day during the two-week sporting event. The Olympics were originally set to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, but, due to the virus, they are currently postponed to 2021—a long wait.



Graphics & page design by Taylor Olson

Profile for The Highlander

The Highlander - Issue 7 - Cub Edition - June 2020