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the Hottest Headlines EDITORIALS

looks at the negative implications of a synthetic turf field See page 3

Informiing the Atoms siince 1954 4

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 13, 2013

(703) 642-4229




4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003 470

The 24-7 aggressor

PEOPLE aims to find your perfect personality counterpart See page 6.

Students hide behind social media BY DESTINY GAMMON Co- Editor in Chief


ou’re ugly. Why do you even come to school? Nobody likes you. You’re fat and fake.” It is not unusual for students to come across comments such as these on their news feeds and timelines in various social media apps. Despite public awareness campaigns and multitudes of studies, cyberbullying is still prevalent and proves to be a struggle to curtail. In response to the growing levels of cyberbullying in FCPS, the Fairfax Partnership for Youth is hosting a Bullying and Violence Prevention Symposium to delve deeper in the causes of bullying among groups on Nov. 13 at . The event will feature keynote speaker Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at VCU, and author of Emotion Regulation in Children and Adolescents Dr. Michael


looks at an artist apart of the Torpedo Factory See page 13.

SPORTS gives a look into the upcoming winter sports season See page 17.

ENTERTAINMENT reviews the evolution of SNL and creates an all-student SNL cast See page 18.

Southam-Gerow, who will present research on emotional regulation difficulties and evidence-based therapies. In a recent study, 49,969 FCPS students ranging from grade 6-12 completed the Fairfax Youth Survey. According to the survey, 11.9 percent of students experience cyberbullying between schoolmates. The number of females who have experienced this act doubles that of males. “I think girls bully more in general, but we do it more sneakily than guys. Girls talk about each other behind each other’s backs,” senior Lailumah Faisal said. Like many students, Faisal is a frequent user of various social media apps on a daily basis.

#LetsMakeItAwkward thing last year, but I feel if you don’t want to be affected you shouldn’t make an account,” Faisal said. “Sub-tweeting,” a term coined by users, refers to tweets that are about another Twitter account holder without directly mentioning that person’s name. This type of tweet often results in fights between classmates and friends. “It’s not a good way to talk to people. Everyone is all about social media and Twitter and that’s where all the fights start,” sophomore Maddie Little said. “ has definitely evolved into a way for people to hate on eachother.”

TWITTER MAKES HEADLINES, a Latvia-based popular new app and website used by teens, is a questionnaire- like account in which users can ask each other questions of all kinds anonymously. “It’s something people do when they’re bored, whether they want to ask the questions or receive them,” junior Gaby Payne said. “Some people ask pretty weird things and some of it could be seen as hurtful, but I don’t

Twitter has become a leading candidate in the root of cyberbullying with over 24 percent of teens using this form of social media as their bullying medium according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. “ Tw i t t e r h a s f u r t h e r e d cyberbullying, especially with the


think it’s an outlet for bullying unless you make it one.” Faisal admits that before she deactivated her account, she recieved questions about who she has “hooked up” with and she considers the app to be “pointless.” “I don’t have an but some questions I see on my timeline on Twitter are really mean,” senior Kunnica Kou said. “Since they are anonymous, the asker has more courage to ask what they want.”


Cyberbullying is defined as the use of technology to degrade or humiliate another person or group; it must occur during school hours, on the bus, or using school equipment. Under Virginia Law, intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass someone using a computer network or to communicate obscene, vulgar, or indecent language or threaten any immoral or illegal act may be guilty of a Class one misdemeanor. According to FCPS’s Students Rights and Responsibilities handbook, cyberbullying can result in a maximum suspension of 30 days and “Cyberbullying” continues on page 5

Career center eases college decision-making process Visiting colleges help students make important decisions


looks to expose the dynamics behind alcohol and partying See page 20.


Wednesday, Nov 13 – Stress Less, Laugh More (All Lunches) (Clausen Hall) – 7:20 A.M. - ASVAB Juniors & Seniors (Career Center/Clausen Hall) – 2:15 P.M. - Indoor Track Interest Meeting (Room 59) – 2:15 P.M. - National Business Honor Society Induction Ceremony (Clausen Hall) – 2:15 P.M. - Stress Less, Laugh More: Afterschool Yoga (Dance Room) – 2:15 P.M. - Student of the Quarter Ice Cream Social (Cafeteria) – 3:00 P.M. - Varsity Math Meet (Cafeteria) – 6:00 PM - 8:00 P.M. - My Friend’s Closet (Neighborhood Center) – 7:00 P.M. - Financial Aid Workshop (Clausen Hall)

College is supposed to be the greatest four years of a student’s life, an opportunity to broaden the mind, and experience a new lifestyle. When visiting and choosing the school that they want to go to, many students picture a large campus, and guided tours around the facilities. They do not picture a small room inside the walls of AHS. Students have the opportunity to learn about colleges right inside AHS at the Career Center. “It is similar to sitting in on an information session at the school, just without going on a campus tour afterwards,” Career Center representative Robin Roth said. However, in a digital age where it is possible to travel to anywhere in the world with a click of a button, this does not really pose a problem for seniors looking at schools. While many seniors see this as a good opportunity to learn more about a school, some still think that these options do not match up to actually seeing a campus. “You don’t get the opportunity to talk to the students there or see the campus,” senior Erica Junior Caiti Pever gets a head start on her college decision- making process by reading one of the various pamphlets availble in the Career Center. JARED GOLUB

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Johnson said. These college visits are planned through Family Connection which students can access through their Blackboard accounts. Schools throughout the county hold these visits and they have been taking place for over 15 years. Most of the visits take place in the fall, however a few schools will schedule sessions for the spring. Some of the more popular state schools such as University of Virginia and Virginia Polytechnic Institute only hold sessions once a year. Students are pairing these visits to AHS with their own trips to schools in order to create an even more in depth understanding of the school. “Earlier on I went to college visits to learn the basic gist of what the application process is to get into specific schools such as UVA and Tech,” senior Lily Montes de Oca said. “Now I see these visits as a way of learning techniques that can be applied to any school I plan on applying to.” The sessions, while seen as helpful, do not take up much of the student’s time. “Some of the schools will come in the spring to give rising seniors a chance to see them,” Roth said. “The sessions generally last for about 30-45 minutes at a time.” At the visits, the number of students ranges from one or two to as many as 40 students for the more popular schools, however, not all of them show up. Students see these visits as a chance to get acquainted with the school and learn a little bit about each individual one. It enables them to become comfortable with the idea of college as well as the

Swansbrough, left, with a student from the 2013 Poe MS yearbook. Right, Swansbrough is accused of money laundering

Poe MS principal arrested for alleged money laundering BY DESTINY GAMMON

Co-editor in Chief Poe Middle School Principal Sonya Swansbrough, 46, has been charged with the embezzlement and money laundering of over $100,000. Since late September, she has been under investigation with J.E.B. Stuart High School Administrator Bethany Speed. Swansbrough and Speed allegedly falsified timesheets for personal financial gain in incidents that began as early as May 2010. The Financial Crimes Unit detectives from Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public School human resources have led the investigation The police have also charged Swansbrough’s son, 20-year-old Brenton Rusnak, with allegations of receiving stolen property related to the case. Almost 950 students from grades 6 to 8 attend Poe Middle School, which feeds into AHS. For many Poe Middle School now attending AHS, these allegations come as a shock. “She was so nice, I would’ve never seen it coming,” senior Kowthar Said said.

“Career Center” continues on page 5

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How do you feel about band not getting enough credit on their senior night? “I felt disrespected because we put on so much work to only get kicked off.” — Nick Mortensen sophomore

“I’m upset because the fact they wanted to interrupt us in the middle of the song while we don’t interrupt them.” — Brianna Puryear junior

“I think that’s so rude and band is so hardworking; they should get a lot of credit for everything.” — Sangya Shrestha senior

“I think it made my senior year a bit of a disappointment because I thought the football team was there to cheer us on but in reality they were there to kick us off.”

Nov. 13, 2013

Band kicked off the field Senior night for Band becomes memorable in the worst way BY MEGAN RYAN AND JAMES BARKER Entertainment Editor & Special to The A-Blast “GET THE DAMN BAND OFF THE FIELD,” a parent of one of the football players said at the AHS Marching Atoms “mid show” of their Senior Night performance on Nov. 8. The Annandale Atoms faced South County in their last game of the season. The night began as a typical Friday night football game in the fall would; cold and under the lights in Bolding Stadium but then turned sour for the marching atoms. In the beginning of the game, the band stood out in the cold weather, making a tunnel for all the seniors in the football team, dance team and cheerleading squad to walk through for their senior night. At halftime, all of the seniors were announced, the band started performing their show, “Music of the Night” with 7:36 left in the halftime period. As they played their first song, the football coaches brought their football teams back on the field to start to warm up for second half. At first, the teams stayed in the end zone, however, that changed when the band began performing their second piece, when both football teams entered the field by going past the goal line in the direction of the performing band students. Unfortunately, this was not new. Throughout the entire 2013 season, the football team has been known to come too close to our performance, or even interrupt some of the students marching, while they performed. Then the unspeakable happened. Coach Mike Scott and a few other coaches as well as some players began yelling at the band and Band Director Adam Hilkert to “get the band off the field.” According to the game clock, we had about 4:30 left and halftime wasn’t over. The screams from the fans and coaches became more intense, and Coach Scott resorted to his own measures by shaking the podium of




junior Assistant Drum Major Douglas Nguyen, and then yelling at the other Assistant Drum Major, senior Noah Wolfenstein, to stop conducting and get off the field. Yells came from the stands and the coaches to the press box and the field. This, in its own right, was very rude. There were parents and grandparents of band members, alumni band members and friends of Annandale, who were enjoying the performance. Suddenly stopping the performance in the middle of a piece, like they wanted us to, would have been distasteful and wrong from a musicians’ perspective. Putting it another way, would any football team ever be forced to stop playing in the middle of a quarter and told to get off the field? For the marching band, there couldn’t have been any more disrespect shown to us, the band staff, the band alumni who were present, and the students. Prior to the game, the band had a special “Band Senior Recognition Ceremony,” where all seniors gave speeches reminiscing about what band has meant to them at Annandale. Principal Vincent Randazzo was in attendance and praised the seniors, saying, “The marching band embodies what this school is all about.” If that’s true, why couldn’t they have been shown respect for us? According to Principal Randazzo and Director of Student Activities Karl Kerns, the Atoms football

team would have received a 15-yard “Unsportsmanlike” penalty if we hadn’t been removed from the field when we were. According to the National Federation of Schools Football Rule Book, on page 19, rule number three says “As the teams leave the field [at the end of the first half], the timer places 20 minutes on the clock and upon reaching 0:00, places three additional minutes on the clock” to allow the football team to warm up for the second half. If this is so, it was inexcusable for Coach Scott to bring the football team back on the field with 4 minutes still left on the halftime clock. In any case, the football team would have still received their allotted three minutes. This rule was created to make sure that the teams are on the field by the end of halftime to be ready to warm up, rather than still in the locker room, thus not gaining an unfair advantage against the opposing team. Before the game, Principal Randazzo discussed with the referees that due to it being Annandale’s Senior Night, halftime might run over and that we needed extra time, and fortunately South County agreed to the time allotment during halftime. According to sources, Many people warned the Athletic Office and Kerns about this dilemma before the Friday night football game and they were advised to have the band perform their show post game instead of during halftime. However, we were

told to march during halftime, because there should be enough time. The penalty is just 15 yards. Yes, it is still a penalty, but would that have really made a big difference? The marching band shows respect for the football team and supports them no matter what. Is it asking too much to take one for the team and allow one “Unsportsmanlike” penalty to allow us to have two extra minutes to show appreciation and respect to the band? The VHSL and NFS have very strict rules about treating the game, its players, and the whole game experience with the highest quality of sportsmanship in mind. Apparently, the treatment of the marching band has not been figured into that equation. The way this was handled by the Annandale coaching staff and administration was poor in taste and brought out the worst kind of “unsportsmanlike” behavior. So administration, why couldn’t you respect us for once? Under the direction of Coach Scott, the football team has won one game throughout their 2013 season while the band received Virginia State Champions and won a National award for their “III-Open” class, (which is the hardest competition division). And all the while, the band stands proud with the football team through every loss and through every win. Since when has administration asked the football team to support the band by going to a competition, whether we win or lose? It is odd to think about how a team with a head coach that has a pitiful record during his tenure gets more recognition and respect than the marching band who competed in an open class and won a State Championship Title and their first ever National Award. The players on the football team were not of fault of this altercation because they were just doing what they were told by administration. Many of the football players even felt bad for the members of the marching band as their coach made them get off the field. While we understand the rules of the halftime time limit, the way this was handled by the coaching staff and by the Administration was flawed. Do the Marching Atoms truly embody what this school is about or is that something they say?

Should your vote be able to count?

QUOTE COLLECTION The A-Blast wants to hear your opinion. Your response to the following question might be features in our quote collection: Do you think the voting age should be set to 16 year old nationwide?

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16 and 17 year olds are now allowed to vote in elections in Takoma Park, Maryland BY SHAMAIM SYED Lifestyles Editor

In many parts of the country, 16 year olds don’t have the right to drive or even buy alcohol, but in a small town in Maryland they now have the right to cast their vote in the elections. Takoma Park Community Center became the first town in the nation to lower its voting age from 18 to 16 years. The proposal was brought up by council member Tim Male, in which the discussion of “How do we get more people to vote?” was brought up. The idea of lowering the voting age is a great way to increase voter turnout especially since all of U.S. suffers from the lack of willing voters. By having 16 year olds and 17 year olds be a part of their community and participate in the elections, they are learning at an early age about their duties as a citizen. According to the polls, out of the estimated 351 16 and 17 years old granted the right to vote, 90 of them actually registered to vote. Considering this was just a municipal elections, which meant that it was only a mayor election, the number is much better than expected and lets not forget it was the first one.


— Lily Montes de Oca senior

16 and 17 year olds have been granted the right to vote in Takoma Park and it has turned out to be very beneficial.

Now putting into perspective, 16 and 17 year olds are juniors and seniors, most of them have either taken the government class or are currently enrolled in that class. In government, you learn all about our government and anything involving voting and all the procedures. All the students should be well aware of who they want to be in charge. Other changes were proposed to increase voter turnout, like same day registrations, allowing paroled felons to vote and even giving the running candidates easier access to apartments to be able to campaign more. All these proposed changes, were not beneficial and just makes Americans look even lazier. Do we really need same-day registrations? Everyone should be doing their civil duty and registering to vote beforehand and then going to vote.

And the other two changes don’t have a big impact on how to increase the voters. And if you really think about it, illegal residents living in this country have been allowed to vote in city elections since 1993. Yes, they are young and maybe they don’t know as much about politics, but I am pretty sure they know how to form their opinion and how to vote. By starting this early, teens have a much more interest in getting their voices heard and learn the impact of their vote. “Eighteen-year olds, it turns out, are not a very good first-voting age group, because many of the are in the midst of leaving their childhood homes,” Rob Richie, the director of the national reform organization FairVote and also a Takoma Park resident said. Continued on

Staff Editors in Chief: Omnia Saed Destiny Gammon Managing Editor: Joe Sehrer Editorials Editors: Shamaim Syed Christine Tamir News Editors: Bayley Brill Jarod Golub In-Depth Editors: Andrew Peters Sports Editors: Melanie Bennet Sports Xtra Editors: Erin Johnson People Editors: Chloe Loving Kiara Patino Weekend Editors: Gaby Camili Priya Adhikary

International Editors Nuhami Mandefro Entertainment Editors: Ayah Oweis Megan Ryan Lifestyles Editors: Diana Quezada Phuong Nguyen Health Editors: Berta Tarqui Photography Editors: Alex Zernik Cayley Byrne Ad Manager: Chelsea Alfonso Circulation Manager: Biruk Negash Art Editors: Sandra Webb Academics Editors: Aniqa Rashid Linus Bumbaca Copy Editors: Mark Slough Bailey Oliver

Web Editor/Master: Jared Lefbom Head Photographer: Olivia Lafferty Head Videographer: Nadia Elgendy Staff Writers: Nancy Evora Andrew Nunez Benny Le Mery Bernene Luka Fernandez Sabrina Hawa Kailyn Garay Maria Baragano Marin Masson Noah Nelson Cynthia Weiner Sean To Hezekiel Yonas Daniel Yenegeta Tara El-Achi Yesenia Blount Sacha Cameron Efstathia Carayiannis Luka Fernandez

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Annandale High School 4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, Virginia 22003 email:

Vol. 58 No.4 Nov. 13, 2013 fax: (703) 642-4299

The A-Blast is an award winning newspaper that strives to inform, educate and entertain the student body and community. Published every three weeks, The A-Blast will not print any material that is obscene or libelous; or that which substantially disrupts the school day, or invades an individual’s right to privacy. The A-Blast is an independent, open forum for discussion that is printed at the Springfield Plant of The Washington Post. Signed letters to the editor of 250 words or less may be submitted to room 262 or mailed to the school. The A-Blast reserves the right to refuse advertisements. All submissions become property of The A-Blast, Copyright, 2013.


Nov. 13, 2013

Synthetic fields, real risks Long term effects of potentially toxic rubber far outweigh apparent short term benefits

3 FCPS turf field timeline

BY CHRISTINE TAMIR Editorials Editor

2005 Fairfax HS implements turf fields, becoming the first high school in Fairfax County to do so

2005 West Springfield HS implements turf fields, becoming the second high school in Fairfax County to do so



Caught up in the county-wide fervor to play sports on synthetic rubber, the AHS community has rallied to implement a new turf field. However, before we plunge face first into the rubber pellets, the health risks associated with synthetic rubber should at least be acknowledged. Numerous turf field funding initiatives have been set up throughout AHS, including the “Turf Challenge” that challenges each class to raise a certain amount of money, a challenge to each of the teachers to donate $100 and an overall request of support from the community. As of Nov. 5, the Annandale Turf campaign has raised slightly over $33,000. It’s easy to see the apparent benefits of turf fields - increased playing time, lower maintenance costs and there would be no need to travel to nearby turf fields for practice. Many have argued that the turf fields will save both AHS and FCPS a lot of money in the long run. Director of Student Activities (DSA) Karl Kerns articulates the many benefits of turf fields, including the lower monetary costs, increased practice time and delays due to inclement weather. “When you have turf field, you don’t have to worry about any cancellations, we don’t have to mow the field every single day,” Kerns said. It is undeniable that there would be lower monetary costs, but what environmental and health risks are we willing to pay for lower financial costs? Studies have found the presence of many compounds that are threatening to human health. Rubber quality The rubber used in turf field pellets (also called “tire crumbs”) is not approved by the U.S. government to be dumped in oceans or landfills, according to the Environment and Human Health Incorporation’s (EHHI) toxicology report about synthetic turf fields. The report says that only 40 percent of tires are rubber, and that the rest is “carbon black, aromatic oils, sulfur and various metals.” EHHI’s report states that some of the rubber in synthetic turf fields comes from waste rubber tires, which contain a variety of hazardous chemicals. Synthetic turf fields is not wholly comprised of waste rubber, but the amount of waste rubber in each mixture of turf is unknown.

Westfield HS becomes the third school in Fairfax County to implement turf fields

West Springfield HS’ turf field. Turf fields are celebrated as a success, but their health risks have not been fully assessed by FCPS.

The EHHI report discusses a multitude of health issues among Taiwanese rubber workers at a scrap tire shredding factory, where tire crumbs are ostensibly derived. Workers have a host of health issues, including acute and chronic respiratory effects and an increased case of laryngeal, skin and bladder cancers due to repeated and prolonged exposure to the particulates released by the processes at the factory. The particulates analyzed in samples of air collected at the Taiwanese factory included quinoline, amides and benzothiazole (BZT). BZT is a chemical that is considered a “respiratory irritant” by a 2011 report done by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. While it could be argued that BZT is associated with the rubber-making process, people who use turf fields should be cognizant of the potential for respiratory issues. Further research should be conducted on the issue of particles such as BZT if they are involved in the production of the rubber crumbs that are intended for the use of high school students. Effects of prolonged exposure The tire crumbs contain volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals with carcinogenic potential that are found in paint, aerosols and nail polish. It should be noted that VOCs are not harmful in isolation. However, increased

exposure to the VOCs is known to adversely affect the liver, nervous system and potentially cause cancer. Student athletes who play on turf fields for extended periods of time face increased exposure to the chemicals. They will repeatedly breathe heavily at two or three hour practices for three to six days a week, and inhale all compounds released into the air by the rubber pellets. Environmental hazards There is no denying that turf fields lack the environmental benefits that natural grass fields provide the ecosystem. Synthetic turf offers minimal opportunities for filtration that grass provides. “The drainage in synthetic goes straight through. On a grass field, it drains off to the side, and we have four drains on our field. On a grass field it drains into the soil but there’s a subdraining system in the synthetic turf fields.” Kerns said about the drainage. “[The water] goes into the watershed. Right now we have to put chemicals down to keep our fields. So those chemicals go into the Chesapeake. With Chesapeake, the studies show you have less pesticides, all those herbicides, everything else that goes into the Chesapeake.” However, Kerns points the critics of turf fields to the Fairfax County Turf Task Force website for risk assessment of the synthetic turf. “All of the figures, everything is in there,” Kerns said. “The

county, the park authority - if it were dangerous, or they felt it was a risk to the environment, we wouldn’t already have 20 fields in schools and the county wouldn’t put these fields in as well.” However, IB Environmental Systems and Society (ESS) teacher Caroline Gergel has a different perspective about the benefits of the grass field vs. the synthetic turf. “You lose all the ecosystem functions that grass provides,” Gergel said. “It helps fix nitrogen in soil, it makes food for other organisms in the food web, not necessarily humans but other things. It’s involved in symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, nematodes and all kinds of soil organisms that are intrinsic to a living soil.” That being said, synthetic turf seems to be the perfect solution to all of athletes’ problems with grass fields: statistics report a lower amount of injuries, practice and games don’t have to be cancelled because of inclement weather and - added benefit - they cost the county much less money. All of those benefits are solely for short-term human gain, not for the well-being of the environment. “What’s the environmental cost of cleaning up the landfill because these things are toxic - they’re going to make waste that is permanently on this earth,” Gergel said. “What’s the cost of that over time?”

2012 Robinson SS implements its first turf field during the summer of 2012

2013 In July, Fairfax County School Board approves $1.5 million of the budget to be used to help pay for turf fields for the remaining eight high schools in Fairfax County

2013 W.T. Woodson debuts two turf fields after the Braddock Road Youth Club donates $400,000


Q & A with Andy Muir, DSA of West Springfield HS was the second school to get one implemented. Q: Do you happen to know how much they paid for the full turf? A: I think it was around a million dollars. It was a substantial amount of money Q: So how many years has it been since the first turf field was implemented [at West Springfield HS]? A: It’s been about eight years. Fairfax HS was the very first school to get one, and West Springfield HS

Q: Have you found that athletes and coaches tend to like one [type of field] over the other? A: They like the turf better. In essence, I think everyone loves a grass field, but the reality is grass gets worn down, it gets worn out. There are big patches of our right field now where

we don’t have any grass, it’s just mud. [Turf is] a much more consistent surface. Obviously, the lines are always painted on it, so when you’re practicing, you’ve got them there. In the spring, we don’t paint our grass field just because there’s too many different sports with different lines, they just have an open grass area. So I think they like the consistency, I think probably the biggest impact is if today, we had rain for two hours, if you’ve got a grass field, it’ll be a little slippery, a little bit muddy. Our turf is ready to go as soon anytime.

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AHS begins its “Turf Annandale” campaign, hoping to raise $175,000 by late January. to implement two turf fields. As of November 16, they have raised $33,000

Falls Church HS plans to implement its first turf fields.

Student contracts MRSA from a turf field Antibiotic resistant bacteria contracted on turf field complex BY CHRISTINE TAMIR Editorials Editor Following a soccer tournament on a synthetic turf field during her middle school years, senior Olivia Lafferty developed Methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Lafferty was playing soccer on Battlefield HS’s turf field complex during a soccer tournament when she got a cut on her knee that seemed non-threatening. “I got it [during] a soccer tournament,” Lafferty said. “So we had a lot of games in one day at the same place. I used to play goalie, and I got a cut from diving. Then the cut got infected.” At first, Lafferty thought nothing

of it. “It didn’t seem that bad, I put a bandaid on it afterwards.” After getting home after multiple soccer games during the tournament, Lafferty did shower once she got home, but MRSA had already entered the cut. Following the established course of the infection, Lafferty felt an extreme amount of pain and her knee swelled up. “I thought it was a spider bite at first and it was really hurting one day, so I went to the doctor and they did a culture thing and they told me I had a bad staph infection,” Lafferty said. “Then they later found out that it was MRSA.” According to the Mayo Clinic, MRSA is caused by an aggressive strain of staph bacteria that has become resistant to the normal antibiotics used to treat staph infections. Consequently, treatment is difficult, but there are a few strains that are treated by unconventional antibiotics. Luckily for Lafferty, the

strain she had was treatable, which isn’t typical of MRSA infections. As for the origin of MRSA, Lafferty says her doctors were unsure. “They said they couldn’t pinpoint it, but I did tell them that I was playing soccer, and they thought that

I went to the doctor and they did a culture thing and they told me I had a bad staph infection. Then they later found out that it was MRSA.

was probably it,” Lafferty said. Interestingly enough, studies have been done that show that Staphylcoccus aureus has an easier time surviving on synthetic turf fields. Previously, MRSA was primarily found in highly sanitized environments, such as hospitals and nursing homes.

However, according to a study done by Andrew McKnitt and Dianne Petrunak of The Pennsylvania State University, the bacteria is able to survive for several days if the field isn’t exposed to extreme conditions like temperature and a limited amount of light, which occur in indoor turf fields, much like the turf field complex where Lafferty was thought to have been infected with MRSA. Staphylcoccus aureus also survives on outdoor fields with higher temperatures and exposure to UV light, but at a much lower rate. There is insufficient evidence to provide more than a correlation between MRSA infections and turf fields, but an increase in MRSA infections has been noted amongst athletes who play on turf fields. Lafferty is okay now, but when asked if she would have known about the risk of developing MRSA before playing on the turf field she replied in the affirmative, saying “Yeah, that would have been cool.”

Video: The Turf Field Initiative On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to watch a video about the AHS Turf Field Initiative.



Nov. 13, 2013

Stress Less Week helps moods

Stress Less, Laugh More Week The schedule of Stress Less Week events is as follows: Wednesday, Nov. 13– Yoga will take place after school at 2:15 p.m. in the Dance Room. Friday, Nov. 15– Jordan Burnham will be speaking at AHS during W4. The schedule will be W2/W8/W6/W4.

Stress Less Week On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view a video about Stress Less Week.

Ice Cream Social Students who recieved “Student of the Quarter” awards are invited to attend the ice cream social event after school on Wed. Nov. 13 at 2:15 p.m. in the cafeteria. Please bring your certificate to be

National Business Honor Society Inductions The National Buisness Honor Society will be holding their inductions at 2:15 p.m. in Clausen Hall on Wednesday Nov. 13.

Honor Roll Breakfast Students who received all A’s and B’s on their report card are invited to come to the Honor Roll Breakfast during W4 on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Food will be provided by the AHS Bistro. Please bring your pass given to you in W4.

Thanksgiving Break Wednesday Nov. 27– School will be released early from school Thursday Nov. 2– Thanksgiving Friday Nov. 29School is closed to allow students to travel to visit

SAT Administration AHS will be administering the SAT on Saturday Dec. 7. Students who are taking the SAT must bring a calculator, a current photo ID and their admission ticket to be admitted into the testing area. Please arrive by 7:45.

Interim distribution 2nd quarter interims will be distributed to students during their W4 classes on Monday Dec.9.

BY BAYLEY BRILL News Editor Wake up at 5 a.m. go to school for seven hours, go to a two and a half hour sports practice, come home, eat, do homework until 2 a.m., and hopefully find time to take a shower. This is the life of the American teenager. Most teenagers report feeling stressed because of everything they are forced to do in a small amount of time. In order to combat this, school Psychologist Anne Brosnan came up with the idea of Stress Less, Smile More Week, which will be taking place this week, Nov. 11-16. “I decided to do [Stress Less week] because we know the students are under a lot of pressure,” school Psychologist Anne Brosnan said. “Sometimes with getting good grades trying to graduate, wanting to do something after or during high school, like going college, getting a job sometimes it gets so stressful that it makes it more difficult for them.” Brosnan has been trying to get the word around the school in hopes of more student participation. “Yearbook took pictures of all throughout the school and leadership students posted posters all around the school and The A-Blast videographers made videos that will be shown on Wednesday during W4 and also the PSTA talked to the parents about what we’re trying to do,” Brosnan said. Throughout the week there will be activities

Laugh more buttons are being distributed during all

going on throughout the school to help the kids enjoy their day a little bit more. There will be laugh buttons handed out, jokes on the morning announcements, music in Clausen Hall during all lunches on specific days, smiley face cookies at lunch, yoga, and a guest speaker to talk to the students on Friday, who will also be at Annandale Thursday night to speak to the parents. “We wanted to give [students] one week where they could just take a week and sort of relax a little bit, and enjoy themselves a little bit and maybe that way it will kill the stress,” Brosnan said. According a study from the American Psychological Association, about 35 percent of teenagers considered themselves stressed, and many students agree that they feel stressed during the day.

“I study in the morning before class, during lunch and as soon as I get home I study more. Plus I participate in a lot of organizations and honor societies, so I have a lot of meetings every day. I’m usually pretty stressed out,” junior Soriya de Lopez said. Many IB Diploma Candidates also feel stressed out, but they try to schedule themselves to help alleviate their stress. “I’m not usually stressed because I try to organize and schedule everything so I don’t get overwhelmed,” senior Amelie Trieu said. This week has many events that coincide with Stress Less Week, such as the videos shown during W4 all week to helps students cope with stress. Art is being displayed in Clausen Hall and there will be yoga at 2:15 p.m. after school in the Dance room today. There music in Clausen Hall during all lunches today and motivational speaker Jordan Burnham will be hosting a parent presentation in Clausen Hall from 7-8 p.m. on Thursday. Friday there will be music in Clausen Hall and an extended W4 for Burnham’s presentation. Laugh More buttons will be distributed during all lunches during the entire week. Tickets will be handed out during all lunches as passes to get into the events happening in Clausen Hall. Stress Less week was created to help lower the stress of students, and will become an annual event. “I would love for this to become an annual event,” Brosnan said.

Seniors take part in democracy First time voters went to the polls on Nov. 5

Terry McAuliffe fast facts Name: Terry McAuliffe

BY BAYLEY BRILL Staff Writer Walking into the polling booth and reading over her ballot senior Christina Tran was excited to vote for the first time. “I just wanted to practice my civic duty and finally voice my opinions,” Tran said. Seniors who turned 18 on or before Nov. 5 were legally allowed to vote for the next Governor of Virginia, among other elected offices such as Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and sheriff. The largest election that took place was the Gubernatorial election. The three major candidates were Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Sarvis is only the fourth minor party member to gather the required 10,000 signatures to appear on the state ballot in the past 40 years. Many of the students old enough to vote were excited in the election for the first time. “I was really excited to vote and it was really cool to be a part of the system,” Tran said. The seniors who voted had a strong opinion on who they wanted

Graduated from: • The Catholic University of America (Bachelor’s), Georgetown Law School Politcial Background: • Worked on former President Jimmy Carter’s reelection campain as the National Finance Director, helped fundraise during the Clinton administration Political views: • Supports gay rights, the Affordable Care Act, and the drilling of offshore oil in Virginia.

to win. “I really like Cuccinelli’s take on family life and I didn’t like what McAuliffe did while he worked for Clinton,” senior James Barker said. Despite many seniors voting, many young people in the U.S. don’t vote contribute to a large number of Americans who are not registered to vote, or choose to not vote. According

to the U.S. census, Only about 71% of eligible Americans (adults over the voting age of 18) even register to vote. Of those 71%, only about 57.5% turned out to vote in the 2012 presidential election, which was considered a high turnout, according to statistics provided by George Mason University. In a Virginia governor’s election, it is an even

smaller number. Only about 53% of registered virginia voters went to the polls on election day according to The Washington Post. “I think that kids our age our just uninformed on the issues. Even with government class, they don’t know which party is best for them,” senior Eric Mejean said. 18-29 year olds only make up about 19% of total registered voters. There are many reasons for this low number compared to other age groups. One reason is the lack of involvement campaigns have with young people. Many feel that the campaigners focus solely on older voters, and tend to forget about the youth vote. “Campaigns should focus on youth but they’re too caught up in other issues to give them the attention they deserve, ” Mejean said. The majority of eligible seniors votes diverted from the state’s majority, with most seniors voting for Cuccinelli opposed to McAuliffe. The gubernatorial election was won by Terry McAuliffe with only 54,870 votes separating him and Cuccinelli. Sarvis also received 145,560 votes. McAuliffe will take office on Jan. 11, 2014.

Literary magazine hosts event Filament Coffee House is sucessful, looks toward future BY ALISHA SAMPENE Staff Writer The Filament hosted its semi-annual Coffeehouse after school on Nov. 6. It turned out to be a full house, making it a successful event. Students had to audition in order to perform. In the end, 12 students were chosen. The coffee house consisted of two Acts with a 15 minute intermission in between. Some students sang while playing the guitar and others recited poetry. “I thought the coffee house went very well,” Filament sponsor Fusun Sulzbach said. During the performances, the audience was able to drink coffee and enjoy baked goods. Some performers sang in duets while Seniors Angel Jomuad and Claudette Pagulayan performed a duet singing “Skinny Love” by Birdy and “Buy U a Drank” by T-Pain ft. Yung Joc. “It was better than I thought,” senior Angel Jomuad said. “I had fun,” Another performance was done by sophomores Leif Christian L. Jomuad and Aldwin Pagulayan who performed “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake Sophomore Milton Garcia sang his own song at the Coffeehouse preformance. Students sang both their original songs and and “Royals” by Lorde. covers. Seniors Emily Vo and Yemi Zewdu performed “Impossible” by Shontelle. Senior Yemi Zewdu was one of the best coffeehouses I have ever been said. Filament is also planning on hosting a poetry played the piano while both her and senior Emily to,” Stamp said. “Everything turned out better than expected thanks to our amazing staff and slam later on in the year. Vo sang. The Filament is a student run literary magazine It was Vo’s first time performing for the coffee incredibly talented performers.” Filament is planning on hosting another Coffee that is published in May. To be published students house. must submit their writing through their English “I was nervous at first. Although we messed House mid-March. “We’re going to do a lot more advertising since teacher and from there the Filament committee up a few times, our performance turned out well,” this was right after the four day weekend and not chooses what it publish in their magazine. It is Vo said. Co-Editor in Chief of Filament, senior Melissa many people were aware of it. We would also like distributed along with yearbooks. Stamp felt that the coffee house went really well. to have more people audition, with more variety. “I think things turned out really well and it We’re hoping for more raps and poetry,” Sulzbach


News Briefs

With high teen anxiety levels, school psychologist hopes to raise awareness



Nov. 13, 2013

Cyberbullying at AHS the website before her suicide read: “[asker:] “you have pretty eyes but your fat” [Laney:] ‘awesome. but i’m not fat.’” In response to the deaths, creator Mark Terebin posted a reply on his page: “Mass media is knocking on wrong door. It is necessary to go deeper and to find a root of a problem. Its not about the site, the problem is about education, about moral values that were devalued lately. is just a tool which helps people to communicate with each other, same as any other social network. . .”

— 11.9 percent of students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 reported having experienced cyberbullying as of 2012.

— Seven percent of students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 admitted to having cyberbullied others.

— Twice as many girls as boys admit to cyberbullying others.

have chills when I say that because I can not imagine having that inundation all the time. It is very scary,” Reyes said. According to, an online campaign attempting to increase awareness of cyberbullying in teenagers and parents, revealed that over 80 percent of teens use cell phones regularly, making these devices the most popular medium for bullying. While 58 percent of teens admit that somebody has said something mean to them online, less than 10 percent admit this to a parent or another trusted adult. “I think only 10 percent of victims tell parents because they feel it’s a dumb thing to complain about and they think they should be able to handle it themselves,”Faisal said. Reyes believes that students who are cyber bullied often feel isolated and alone. “When you go home with a black eye, there is no way to hide it, so you’re not alone,” Reyes said “But cyberbullying is often so isolating that you feel like you can not turn to anyone, and you feel embarrassed sometime even though you shouldn’t.” According to Reyes, it is important for victims to about reach out and realize they are not alone.

“When you receive an awful text you may forget it for a minute but when it’s night time, that’s when bad thoughts come up and you start feeling awful. So it’s important to take these students out of isolation because it will get better,” Reyes said While many students feel that there is no escape from the effects of cyberbullying, senior James Barker believes that there is one way to get away from the hateful words of other students. “Everyone has been cyber bullied at some point and it’s a bad thing,” Barker said. “But if you are bullied, turn off your computer or phone off and ignore those people. If it gets worse somehow tell someone.” When Reyes began working at AHS, the school’s number of suspensions were higher than every other school not because there were more fights, but because each one was reported. “That is what is different about Annandale,” Reyes said. “We don’t just try to sweep things under the rug, we are what we are, we do what we do and we are going to take ownership of that.”

Career center hosts colleges “Career center” continued from page 1

Registration for the college visits can be accessed through Family Connection.

or university can. “Unlike an actual college visit, you can get a general premise for what a school has to offer, but no specifics on your major of interest,” Montes de Oca said. Seniors suggest attending these college visits, even if it is just as a preliminary step in a students college search. “I would suggest going to as many as your class schedule permits because the more you know, the easier it is applying to college will be,” Montes de Oca said. The next school that will be visiting AHS is the Cleveland Institute of Art on November 20.


application process. “I go so I can get a better feel for the college,” Johnson said. “It gives me a chance to talk with a representative of the school and decide if I really want to go there.” While many students see this as an opportunity to learn about a school, some students already have an idea of what they look for in a school. “I feel like these things can’t teach me something that I don’t already know,” senior Caleb Coffman said. “I already know where I want to go after high school.” The colleges that want to come to AHS contact Roth in order to set up a specific date for the information session. “It serves as an opportunity for them to market their school to AHS students,” Roth said. “They may have a lot of AHS alumni that go there, or they could want to recruit from Fairfax County.” Despite all-around approval of these visits, they provide different things than an actual trip to a college

The college visits take place in the Career center periodically throughout the school year.

Elective provides refreshments Gourmet food sells refreshments to student body BAYLEY BRILL News Editor


Many students tired of the cafeteria food have found a new lunch alternative. On White Days during Atom Time, students in good standing are allowed to go to the AHS Bistro and buy fresh-made food. The price of food ranges anywhere from 50 cents to $3. “We sell a variety of things like hot dogs, quesadillas, fried rice, fries and chicken,” studentchef Jose Castro said. “My favorite thing at the Bistro is the chicken quesadilla because it’s really tasty,” sophomore Joyce Romano said. The Bistro began selling food last year, but was forced to stop by administration due to students not eating the school-provided cafeteria food. But with the disappointment of many students, the Bistro was given permission to sell food during Atom Time this year. “Last year people always asked if we sold food, and we didn’t, so we decided to start selling food.

Then this year we decided to start selling food again after being shut down for a little last year,” Castro said. The Bistro’s food is well liked among all students and some make it a routine to go there during every Atom Time. Most students who eat there have favorites they want to get every time they’re available. “The funnel cake is delicious, it tastes like the one’s at the beach but better,” senior Lailumah Faisal said. The Bistro doesn’t have a fixed menu, so while many favorites such as the quesadilla are regularly on the menu, special foods such as funnel cakes and buffalo wings may not always be available for students to purchase. “The day before we look at the food and ingredients we have, and decide what we’re going to make based on that,” Castro said. The Bistro has multiple large tables inside it, so students who buy food are able to eat their food and hang out with their friends as well. “I like coming here because we can eat and talk with friends,” sophomore Cecilia Arnez said. Any student in good standing is welcome to come to the Bistro during Atom Time. The Bistro is open during every Atom Time unless otherwise posted, and is located in the art hallway next to the photography room.


Cyberbullying Statistics

Above: The flu clinic took place at AHS on November 5. Below: INOVA Fairfax Hospital, the hospital that provided a nurse to administer the shots to all the faculty that attended.


handbook, cyberbullying can result in a maximum suspension of 30 days and referral to the school psychologist. According to school counselor Alana Reyes, cyber bullying is brought to the attention less often than traditional bullying once was, but cyberbullying as a whole has not taken the place of physical bullying. “I think the bully is a different person,” Reyes said. “The person who is going to physically bully is still going to do so, but a perpetrator of cyber bullying may have never been a bully before.” Although the intentions of the AHS INITIATIVE website were to allow members to Next year, Reyes and research connect with one another, it has teacher Hassan Mims are leading become a victim of the growing world school-wide effort to instill positive of cyberbullying. values within students. Through a “The bad questions I get are program called Positive Behavior ‘You’re so ugly’ or people basically say Intervention and Support, or PBIS, mean things about me being on Ask. the goal of PBIS is to “re-frame how fm,” Little said. “Whenever people we think.” ask me that, I either reply ‘OK’ or I “A lot of times people focus on don’t reply at all because it doesn’t the negative and not enough on the faze me, especially because they are positive, and I think if we focus on the anonymous.” positive, we will receive a little less of Reyes believes that the “beautiful the negative,” Reyes said. terrible part of cyberbullying” is Cyberbullying is defined as that the reaction of the victim goes the use of technology to degrade or unnoticed and students hit ‘send’ humiliate another person or group; without seeing the damage on the it must occur during school hours, on other side. the bus, or using school equipment. “That’s Under Virginia the terrible L a w, i n t e n t part about to coerce, A lot of times people focus on the it,” Reyes intimidate, negative and not enough on the said. “That or harass positive, and I think if we focus on leads to kids someone using doing drastic a computer the positive, we will receive a things network or to little less of the negative because they communicate —Alana Reyes feel that obscene, Counselor they cannot v u l g a r, o r escape it.” indecent Although language or Little does not let the negativity threaten any immoral or illegal get to her, nine global act may be guilty of a Class One users, including two Florida teens, misdemeanor. have committed suicide due to Reyes believed that in the cyberbullying instigated by questions traditional form of bullying, students that others were asking them. could go home to their families and 16-year-old Jessica Laney from Pasco escape the harassment for six hours. County, Florida, hanged herself after “Now, there’s no freedom; there’s being bullied about her weight on no escape; it’s constant. That’s what One of her last accounts on becomes overwhelming about it. I


“Cyberbullying” continued from page 1

AHS holds faculty Flu clinic ZEKE YONAS & NOAH NELSON Staff Writers

On Tuesday November 5, AHS held a flu clinic for all FCPS employees. The clinic took place in the AHS clinic, and was open to all FCPS employees and their families. This clinic was an opportunity for the employees to get their mandatory flu shots without having to go out of their way to get it. The flu shot is an important vaccination to get before the winter months, when the influenza is at its peak. “The flu clinic is an opportunity for FCPS employees and their family members to get a flu shot,” Administrative Assistant Jennifer Sharp said. “For employees it’s free, for their family members it’s $24.” All employees were contacted and informed about the flu clinic. However, it is not a requirement for FCPS employees. “Not all teachers have to get it, it’s completely voluntary,” Sharp said. The clinic was just a way of reaching out to the FCPS community and trying to make it easier on the employees and their families to get vaccinated before winter comes. “We sent out emails asking who was interested in getting one, it was only a matter of convenience,” Sharp said. “If they have to come to work anyways, they don’t have to take a trip to the doctors to get the shot.” FCPS did not cut any corners with the flu clinic, having a professional nurse from INOVA Hospital come and give the shots to each employee. Despite all of the preparation and planning, the clinic went over well and did not take long at all for each patient. “It’s quick and easy,” Sharp said.

Story of the day On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view the story of the day on


Who is your ideal partner?


Nov. 13, 2013

Which Atom do you bond to?

Find out what kind of person you are drawn to by taking this quiz. Follow the arrows that apply to you most and discover who you are most compatible with. Scan the QR codes that matches the ideal traits you look for in a girl or guy.

Start The Notebook

Which movie would you find yourself watching?


Reserved and Relaxed

Your ideal date would be..

Die Hard


Spiritual and Sporty

An outdoor concert on a warm summer night

A nice home cooked meal

When you are feeling stressed you find yourself..

Go out with friends

When given the chance you would... Stay home and watch

Eating your favorite comfort food


Caring and Creative

Religion plays a...

Going on a long jog Small or non existent role Big part in your life

Your fashion style is.. Your personality is... Preppy Loyal and dedicated


Social and Sassy


Fun and confident

The classes you look forward to the most are...

You are naturally...

English + History


Organized and practical

Tall and Talented

As an extra-curricular activity you would rather...


Artistic and Athletic

Science + Math

Super creative and you love making things look unique

Your favorite place to shop is...

Play a sport Vineyard Vines

Join a club

Urban Outfitters


Driven and Dedicated



Focused and Friendly

Use your smart phone to scan the w codes above to find your exact match and see what they look like.


You are attracted to natural born athletes. Outgoing and extroverted people call your attention. You like to surround yourself with funny, and lighthearted personalities who focus on sports as a main hobby and stress reliever.

You like driven, dedicated and focused minds. Education is a core value in your life and you understand the importance of excelling in your studies. You strive to do the best and expect no less from the people around you.

Boys: you can find your match at #2 Girls: you can find your match at #5

Boys: you can find your match at #8 Girls: you can find your match at #7



Trendy people catch your eye and a good sense of style is a must have. Appearances are an important factor while choosing your significant other. You are very relaxed and you let life take you wherever it goes.

Creative people appeal to you. Unique people attract you and you like artistically talented minds. Bold and different are your style. A romantic relationship would suit you well and you believe love can be forever.

Boys: you can find your match at #4 Girls: you can find your match at #1

Boys: you can find your match at #6 Girls: you can find your match at #3


Nov. 13, 2013

Chronic stress harms health


Six Tips for this Thanksgiving

A cold, a headache and sleepless nights can be caused by stressing out too much

1. Do these exercises in the morning before the feast to feel better about yourself and to make sure that you do not consume too many calories. Try these to help with cardio:



Your agenda is filled with meetings; you still need to give money for clubs, a project is due tomorrow and you still need to get your college recommendation letter from your teacher. You start feeling tired and maybe a little ill... Not only does stress cause you to feel worried and overwhelmed, it can harm you physically. Stress is common around this point of your life. There are many factors that contribute to stress. College is nearing for many, homework is piling and your social life may be lacking. Worrying too much Everyone seems to be getting sick and a reason may be that students are dealing with a lot of work and activities. about these can harm your health and make you more susceptible to sickness. a healthy meal. Most will want to buy something give each activity a time period so you can plan SYMPTOMS OF STRESS other activities. One of the biggest symptoms of stress is losing quick to eat. “I feel like, honestly, I don’t feel much stress Stress also hurts your mental health. You need sleep and feeling more tired than usual. Many students stay up late to finish homework and a little stress to get things done, but not to the because I learned to let it go. So that’s why I am projects and others cannot sleep because they point where you are feeling anxious all the time more healthier mentally of my friends,” junior Rasel Abutaa said. and having outbursts of anger. worry right before they try to sleep. Yoga and meditation are simple ways to help Feeling irritable is okay from time to time, “I think it is preventing me from my potential height, and the lack of sleep makes me tired so but feeling annoyed all the time can mean that cope with stress. The breathing techniques will I do not feel well during karate practice,” junior you need to do something in order to lower your help you calm down if you are going through a high-stress situation. Learning how to relax is vital stress level. Tho Tran said. Stress weakens your immune system which during high school and other stressful situations. Getting enough sleep is already difficult to many To learn yoga basics, attend Stress Less Week’s students and stress is a great factor to sleepless causes you to susceptible to sickness. after school yoga session this week in the Clausen WAYS TO LOWER STRESS nights. Exercising can be difficult to think of even Hall. “Sleep is really important for learning and when “Think of the positives and not to get boggled you sleep, you reorganize you reorganize what you adding to your busy life, but doing at least 30 learned during the day,” school psychologist Anne minutes each day can be beneficial to your health. down with everything negative but everyday,” Eating healthier can be helpful to controlling Brosnan said. “Put aside a moment to say Brosnan said. something they are thankful for, something good A scary side-effect some experience is hair loss. stress. “Nutrition is really important too, because a lot going on in their lives, or something they feel If you are under a lot of stress then you may not be eating right, therefore not getting enough vitamins of people don’t eat properly; nutrition contributes to makes their life special.” To help cope with stress, attend Stress Less your general sense of wellness and your alertness,” to sustain healthy hair. Week from this week. Sessions will be held during Gaining weight is also common issue when Brosnan said. To help eliminate stress is organizing your life. Atom Time, lunch and after school. Students will dealing with stress. Usually during the school year students are given a lot of homework and do Every week set up a time to list everything you have opportunities to voice their stress and deal not worry too much about sitting down and eating need to do. Have a calendar or planner with you with it through different activities. and set up times to do those things. Make sure you

Uneven Push ups This is a variation of a push up but will get more of your body moving. Get down into a pushup position. Have your arms at a 90 degree angle, then extend your legs into a jumping jack motion while holding yourself up.

Basic Burpees

This exercise is used to work out many parts of your body, such as your biceps and your quadriceps. It is broken down into four steps. The first step is to squat down with your arms touching the floor. Next, push back your legs into a push up position, then quickly go into a squat position again. To end the exercise, jump into the air. Do this quickly for 20 times.

Mental changes If you have been feeling more irritable, short-tempered and/ or unfocused on tasks, then you are probably under a lot of stress.

Ear ringing Hearing a ringing in your ears is a problem that people experience from time to time and often is caused by long exposure of noise, but being anxious about something can cause temporary ear ringing.

Weight change Your eating habits may change when you worry. Some eat less and others start eating more. Neither is good for your body. One habit can lead to weight loss and the other one can make you overweight.

Neck pain When anxious, some people clench their muscles to the point of soreness. This usually happens in the neck.

Heart problems You will probably not feel this effect until later in your life, so it is important to learn how to control it. Your heart beats faster under high stress situations and increase your blood pressure. This may lead to heart disease and heart attacks.

Respiratory problems Research has been done to conclude that high stress situations can increase your chances of asthma and other breathing problems. Your immune systems reacts differently to allergens.


How stress is hurting your body Arm Plank Doing skater lunges is a similar motion to ice skating. If you have a small medicine ball or weights, then you can use them to challenge yourself. First, with your right leg, bend it while your are lunging down with your left leg. Both legs should be making an ‘L’ shape. Change back from legs in a swift motion. Repeat 30 times. 2. Incorporate healthier options to your menu. Try creating a fruit dessert and adding in more vegetables to get more vitamins and to variety your meal. See below for an alternative to try. 3. Take a walk after you finish eating. It can be difficult to even get up after eating such a large meal, but just taking a 10-15 minute walk will help keep your digestive system moving.

Stomach problems Stomach discomfort can arise if you are worry too much. Some people may experience headaches as well. Usually, nothing is physically wrong and is caused by severe anxiety.

Skin rashes If you already have a skin condition, stress can make it worse. Some can encounter skin rashes or a skin change.

High blood sugar In a stressful state, your blood sugar could increase because your liver releases more sugar throughout your body. This can be dangerous to those who have diabetes.

Knee or muscle pain Tensing your muscles can cause pain throughout your legs and other parts of your body. This can cause muscle cramps, knee pain and muscle spasms.

Which is healthier: Thanksgiving edition Mashed Potatoes

Sweet potato casserole

Calories: (Usually) 214 calories/ per cup Nutritional highlights: -15 percent B-6 vitamin -No cholesterol -692mg of potassium. Unhealthy highlights: -741mg of sodium -Almost no protein Why you should pick: Despite being a little high in sodium, this has no cholesterol and is filled with potassium.

Calories: (Usually) 267 calories Nutritional highlights: -2.6 grams of fiber -236 percent of vitamin A -9 percent of potassium Unhealthy highlights: -38.4 grams of sugar -Almost no protein Why you should pick: This has no cholesterol and it is low in sugar even though this has a high amount of sodium.

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Calories: (Usually) 411 calories per slice Nutritional highlights: -Contains iron -No cholesterol -122mg of potassium Unhealthy highlights: -No variety of vitamins and minerals -Contains 237mg of sodium Why you should pick: Apple pie contains no cholesterol and has iron which outweighs the lack of vitamins and minerals.

Calories: (Usually) 323 calories per slice Nutritional highlights: -91 percent of vitamin A -222mg of potassium Unhealthy highlights: -2.6 grams of saturated fat -Contains 25 grams of sugar Why you should pick: This treat may have a little more sugar than recommended, but it has a variety of vitamins like vitamin B-12.


5. Do not eat too much throughout the day. If you know that you are going to eat a lot, at least avoid mindlessly eating so you can feel better about eating. 6. It is okay to eat a lot for Thanksgiving dinner, because it is just once a year, so do not restrict yourself too much.

Fruit Desert: Jello Fruit

Junior Alan Vargas


4. Conversing with others can help you stop from overeating. When talking with others, you probably will not be constantly eating.

On your smart phone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view a recipe on how to make this healthy dessert.

Answer to which is healthier On your smart phone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view the answer to the “Which is healthier: Thanksgiving edition.”

ARTS Meet the cast of Our Town


Nov. 13, 2013

IB Art students work on first projects

Junior Alex Mekuria will focus each of his projects around different aspects of Halloween.

IB Art students are working to complete their first work of the year. The typical IB student will complete between 12 and 18 pieces of art per year, including a research assignment surrounding their topic. Students have chosen a theme that will be the focal point of their research and their artwork for the remainder of the year.

Senior Gabi Montes De Oca What is your role? I’m a Stage manager, and basically I narrate what is going on and give background on the story and the town they are in. What is your favorite line from the play? Since the caveman, no bride or groom should see his father in law on the day of the wedding or near it. Now, remember that. What has been your favorite acting experience? I came here when I was in eighth grade and being a part of the musical the King and I. That was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done in acting, just because not going to this school but being a part of the play was really awesome.





Theater prepares to perform their annual fall play Nov. 21-23

Sophomore Sarah Woodward

Freshman Maya Koch

What is your role? I am a stage manager and I personally think of us like fairies because in the play, we walk into the character’s houses and we move chairs and basically just [mess] with stuff and it’s so much fun.

What is your role? I am one of the stage managers and they are both like a narrator and a guide for the characters. My stage manager in particular, there are three, is like sort of a wistful, nostalgia filled one.

What has been your favorite acting experience? Working on this play has been so much fun, but my favorite acting experience would have to be when I was in eighth grade. I was in the musical Into the Woods Junior. That cast was so much fun to work with and the musical itself was hilarious. What made you want to start acting? Well, if you ask any of my friends, I’m really weird. So I think I was kind of drawn to theatre because theatre kids are generally pretty weird too so I think I blend in well.

“We have students working on a range of different themes, anywhere from some projects that are extremely personal to some that are very worldly,” IB Art teacher Meredith Stevens said. “Students get to explore themselves. They get to explore what they’re interested in and how their artwork affects them.”

What made you want to start acting? I’m like a big movie fanatic, so my love for movies carried over into just acting. What is your favorite hobby outside of theatre? Probably singing. Just like in chorus.

Where do you hope to be in five years? I want to be a drama teacher and maybe also become a published author. I’m trying to be published this year because I’m writing a novel for my MYP project and I’m going to try and get it published.

Teachers check up on students’ progress every week to two weeks, but students self-govern the majority of their time, allowing them to work at their own pace to create the required number of projects.

Where do you hope to be in five years? I plan to be working, either acting or singing in New York or Los Angeles or something like that.

How has theatre influenced your life? It’s definitely made me more outgoing. I used to be really shy around strangers, but now I feel comfortable just walking up [to strangers].

What is your favorite line from the play? There’s a scene in the third act where the lead is asking one of the stage managers if people value life, and the stage manager, Gabbi in this case, says, “No. The poets and saints, perhaps they do.” What has been your favorite acting experience? When we did our first memorized rendition of the second act. What made you want to start acting? Well, I thought it would be a good experience, and like imitating other people, and I just love the art for of theatre. What is your favorite hobby outside of theatre? I love to read Russian novels. Where do you hope to be in five years? I play viola, so I want to play viola in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

“[My favorite part is] the amount of

The program motivates students to work through problems on their own and only rely on teacher help when necessary. “It’s completely your own choice [if] you get direction from a teacher on what to do or how to go from what you’re doing,” junior Gillian Thomas said. While the program allows for freedom, it also requires a self-driven and motivated students to stay on task. “[The hardest part is] trying to make the required number of projects by the end of the year, Mekuria said.

Others struggle with finding and sticking with a theme. All projects must be focused around the same

What made you want to start acting? There was this summer camp thing I did in fourth grade. I was more into singing than I was acting, but one counselor asked me if I wanted to try theatre out. So I auditioned and ended up getting the lead.

What’s the hardest line to memorize for you? In the middle of act two, there is this line when I’m trying to tell the other lead why I’m not going to agricultural school, and the character’s thoughts are all over the place. Normally, with a line, what you say before leads into what you’re going to say next, but this line, my lines are all over the place so there aren’t any lead ins.

Where do you hope to be in five years? Well, I’d like to be in college. That’s a start. And later, being a history professor at a college would be fun. How has theatre influenced your life? I’m a lot louder that I used to be and I’m not as shy as I was. I feel like it’s made me more confident as well.


When did you start writing?

I think it was 7th grade when I started. I just had a notebook and one day during class and I was thinking of a lyrics, which actually sounded good so I expanded from there. I decided to learn guitar because it was the main component of many songs so I thought I would add it to my repertoire.

What made you want to start writing/ singing?

I thought it was a good way to express myself and I liked music a lot. When I was in band at Poe, I loved the music that we played and I thought that it would have sounded better with lyrics.

On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to read the rest of “IB Art students work on first projects.”

Junior Gabrielle Lewis Who is your character? I play Emily Webb. Throughout the play she’s different ages, like in act one she’s around 16, act two takes place form when she’s 16 to about 19. She gets married in act two, but in act three she’s dead; she’s reviewing her life events. And so its kind of a review of how she goes through her life. What has been your favorite acting experience? My favorite acting experience was when Ms. Viñas made me and Beckman Hollis, the other lead, stand on opposite sides of the theatre and as we said our lines, we had to change direction depending on how we felt at that current stage of the

What is your favorite hobby outside of theatre? I really like bike riding. I’m really obsessed with my bike right now. I’m not competitive, I just like to ride it. And the maintenance part of it is like having an actual vehicle. Where do you hope to be in five years? I’m hoping to be in California because I have family in San Francisco. But I also want to get a BS in biological sciences. How has acting/theatre influenced your life? It really has helped improve my self-confidence, I used to be really bad at public speaking, but now I’m so much more confident in myself. It’s also helped me make lifelong friends. It’s really had a big influence on my life and without theatre, I don’t think I’d be here right now. —Compiled by Efstathia Carayiannis and Kayee Lynch, staff writers

Artist Spotlight: Kaitlin Martindale A look into Martindale’s singer/ songwriter career

IB Art continued online

What made you want to start acting? I think it wasn’t really my decision to start, my mom actually signed me up for a theatre camp and I just really enjoyed it so I kept going. SANDRA WEBB

Who is your character? I’m George Gibbs and my character has had a crush on the other lead for a very long time. So he becomes the baseball team captain, but he gets a big head and basically becomes a jerk and that affects the relationship with the other lead negatively.


Has writing music helped you through any hard times in your life?

Writing helped me get through my “bad first breakup” or if I just had a bad day. I would write about it and it was like my own kind of therapy because I would leave it all on the page.

What made you want to pursue your career path?

I love music and its easy to express myself through it. I can have multiple songs and they all mean something different to me. All of my songs represent something significant that happened in my life as well as everyday situations.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is my middle school band director, Mr. Niehoff, because he taught me how to freely expresses my love for music by openly expressing his love for it and also because he genuinely loves it and gets his students to love it as well.

Do you have any pre-performance traditions?

I drink a lot of water and I make sure I calm down while I go through the cords on my guitar because its hard to not get nervous on stage. I also go over my lyrics to make sure I’m in tune and know exactly what I should sing.

Where do you mainly perform?

I perform a lot at school, like Battle of the Bands and the coffeehouse. I’m also hoping to perform at this years battles of the bands and the coffee house. There is a church band that I perform in almost every Sunday, even though I don’t perform any original songs, I will to in the future.

How can someone do what your doing?

I advise them to have a book of lyrics because lyrics will come to you at random times, and make sure you be creative when you write because there are always new genres. Don’t be afraid to express yourself in a different way because people could end up liking it. Have fun with it and make sure you put yourself out there so people know you and hear you perform.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Teaching at a middle school with plans to get


freedom,” junior Alex Mekuria said. “You’re not limited by what the teacher is telling you to do so you get to chose your own projects and choose how you go about them.”

Freshman Beck Hollis

What has been your favorite acting experience so far? When I was in sixth grade, the middle school I went to fed into Jeb Stuart High School and they were doing the play The Music Man. I didn’t know about the play and one of the lead actors in the play for some reason could not do it so my drama teacher asked me if I could play the part. So I agreed so they gave me the script and she said “By the way, the play is in three days.”



What is your favorite quote/ line from the play? “Use your own window.”

Senior Kaitlin Martindale performs at the 2012 Battle of the Bands. She performed an original song she wrote and a cover of Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons.

my masters degree in music education or in the music industry with a big record deal. But as long as my life pertains to music, then I will be content because music is one of the main things in my life.

What is your main goal in life pertaining to your music? To be able on stage performing for people and have my music connect to my fans. I also wish to produce albums that people will enjoy listening to.

How do you plan to achieve this goal?

I plan to make videos of me performing my songs and post them on youtube as well as social media sites. I also hope to try out for the “Voice” (Tv show) since I was close to doing it over this past summer. —Compiled by Megan Ryan, Entertainment Editor


Nov. 13, 2013

What to know about college Knowing how college apps work isn’t only important to seniors The classes students take and the grades they get affect the options they will have later on in life, but not everyone knows how they can prepare for college before senior year. For a number of students, finding the college they want to go to is not a top priority. “I don’t know that much about colleges, but I can learn,” freshman Haben Cheffena said. “I’m going to be here for four years, so that should be enough time to get that experience I need.” Although teachers and counselors are available to talk with students about college, most students don’t take advantage of those opportunities until their junior year. “Each year, student services has planned nights for students and parents to ask questions and get information,” Robin Roth, Career Center Specialist, said. “At these, students, teachers and parents can plan for the students’ future.” “We also have several grade level programs to plan for life after students leave high school, for careers and colleges. Some students take advantage of these opportunities, while others are present in body but not in mind,” Roth said. The process of finding and applying to colleges is not one students have to go through alone, but anyone involved in it needs to understand how it works. “The college application process has changed since students’ parents have gone to college,” Roth said. “The students need to know the ins and outs of the process; the vocabulary, the


BY LINUS BUMBACA Academics Editor

Students stress on what they should know and how to prepare for university and beyond.

sequence of what they need to do, and to know about the different types of admissions such as early action, early decision, or rolling admissions.” Students who understand the process and everything involved with it feel more confident about their future. “They give me tips on how to research what colleges there are, and the admissions and requirements that they have,” junior Oscar Arias said. “Currently, colleges don’t matter so much, because I feel like I have time to get it all done. I’m confident I can handle my senior year.” Arias knows that he wants to do advance in science, but hasn’t narrowed down exactly what he will do. “I would care more about colleges in my senior year,” Arias said, “right now I don’t think about it much.” In their final year at high school, seniors are offered even more ways to manage their future life. “Teachers lecture us a lot, counselors come in and talk with us individu-

ally on how we can prepare for college,” senior Thomas Szewc said. “Over the course of my high school experience, any questions I had got an opportunity to be answered. Before senior year, I knew about fifty percent of what I know now, and after talking with teachers and counselors, I know twice as much now.” The college application process is significant for students who know what they want to do in life, but it doesn’t take up as much of senior year as some students might think. “It takes up a good week or two to begin with applications, but after that it’s just waiting to see where you’ve been accepted,” Szewc said. “After that, you’re done for the year.” Students are encouraged to start thinking about colleges early on, even if they won’t need to decide until much later. “I think you should definitely share with your counselor in freshman year that you are interested in college,” Roth said. “That way, students can get all the

coursework they need in order to get into the college they want.” Taking certain classes and participating in programs and extracurricular activities are ways that students can improve their chances at getting into college very early on. “To be ready for college, I do certain extracurricular activities that build up to make a good college application,” junior Daniel Kim said. “I started learning about colleges last year, talking with my counselor, and it helped quite a bit.” While participating in programs and activities can reflect well on a student, there are minimum requirements that colleges want students to meet. “If students don’t take a foreign language class, that affects whether or not they can get into a four year college,” Roth said. “Not taking five academics classes can even hold them back. Schools are looking for students to have been challenged in high school, by taking AP or IB classes, and for them to have succeeded in those classes.” Teachers and counselors help students where they can, but there are still common issues that some students face that they hadn’t expected before. “Students in general don’t know much about colleges,” Roth said. “A common issue is that out students are not often willing to look at colleges out-of-state, although there are opportunities financially and academically to go to colleges that are out of state. Students don’t know about a lot of terms, and they aren’t sure about questions in college applications.” In order to prepare for college at the right time and at an appropriate pace, students have to work with their counselors and take any opportunities they are given. “Families need to be aware of the process if college is the goal,” Roth said. “Students need to be aware of careers, and what those careers expect.” “If college is a part of what they need in that career, the family needs to visit colleges, college fairs, and talk with friends that are in college.”

How to ask for a recommendation 3. Teachers

1. Time • Be aware of the time you are asking a particular teacher to write you a recommendation. • Don’t give the teacher a recommendation request a week before college application deadlines, because in most cases they will decline the request. • Give enough time for your teachers to write the recommendation letters, maybe 6-9 weeks beforehand.

2. Strength • Consider how strong your recommendation letter would be, say if your HOA teacher writes it as opposed to your English teacher. • Think about how well you’ve done in class, including your participation and how you’ve improved through the year.

• Look for teachers who have known you for awhile (most preferably junior and senior teachers) as opposed to freshman and sophomore year teachers. • In most cases, if you are taking IB, you will have the same teachers from your junior year classes for senior year as well. • Give your recommendation letter request to a teacher! Not friends or family, or others. Most colleges will have a particular request as to what kind of recommendation letters they want to have, for example, some schools will want a letter from a core academic teacher, as well as a coach, while others may only want two recommendation letters from core academics teachers.

4. Location • Take into consideration the atmosphere when going up to a teacher to ask for a recommendation. If he or she seems a bit down, it is best to leave the discussion for another day. Don’t interrupt a teacher’s discussion with another student or teacher simply to ask if he or she will write you a recommendation letter.

5. Method • If you come across a circumstance which doesn’t allow you to go to a teacher in person for a recommendation letter, you can use email to ask. • Be aware of the manner in which you write. Include a proper header and body. Include memories about how you helped out in class, or participated well.

Q: What is your role in the career center? A: I guess you might say I’m the director or keeper of information for the career center. I plan programs, acquire speakers for programs, I execute the Career & Job fair, I hold Financial Aid Information Nights. FAFSA completion workshops, I’m involved in all grade level programs during the day and evening. Q: How can students use the career center to their advantage? A: Come and use the Career Center during Atom Time, and Thursday evenings (6-8). Q: What steps do you recommend for students to take if they want to apply early decision? A: Get their application in on time, be sure that is the college that they want to attend as it is a binding agreement. They also need to be sure that they don’t need financial aid to attend that school, as they will not know if they are receiving financial

• If you are applying to six different colleges, and have a particular teacher you have in mind to write your letters, give it to them all at once. Do not at all attempt to give it consistently every other week, according to the college or university’s deadline that you are applying to. This will not help your teacher and it will not help you in the long run, as that teacher will not want to repeatedly give a letter each and every time after writing one, and with little notice, at that. • Chances are that the teacher you’re asking a recommendation letter from will also have a bucketload of other recommendation letters to write for other students.

College resources ANIQA RASHID


Q & A: Profiles

Robin Roth; Career Center Specialist

6. Amount

Family Connection -Receive alerts on upcoming college visits and fairs at AHS that you otherwise would not be notified about. You can view a wealth of information on careers, such as the skills and knowledge needed for a particular job and typical earnings. Scholarship opportunities can also be found on the site, as well as general admission information to any college you choose to search and compare.

Federal Student Aid -Find useful checklists for college preparation. You can find types of aids that are available for prospective university Patricia Liller; students and which students are eligible to receive them. Senior There is also important information touching on the exploration of various fields of work and how to choose the Q: What is your prospective school and why school that’s right for you. did you choose to committ to this school? A: Lousiana State University (LSU) because a My College Options lot of my family went there. -Find college admission guides and an explanation of the Q: What’s your university admission plan college application process. Various tricks and ideas to the and why did you choose that? college application process can be found as well, given by A: I chose early admission. I did all my apps in counselors and university students. You can also find useful the summer so I did most of my schools Early tips to and advice from previous and current university Action because I was done. students on study abroad programs, career programs, and transferring college. Q: How did you prepare for the college application process? Scholarships A: I took SAT and ACT classes. I also took some writing classes which helped a lot. -Find scholarships that can help pay for your tuition based on your needs and fields of expertise, whether that be Q: What college resources did you use? academic or sport-wise. There are also various articles on A: I read everything Ms. Roth sends out! My alternatives to employment, volunteering, and public service. counselor is really helpful. She had us working Many opportunities and ways of obtaining volunteer work is on the [apps] during the summer. given in the site as well. Q: Any tips for underclassmen? A: Do everything in the summer. You won’t have time once school starts! If you know where you want to go, do Early Decision because it increases your chances of acceptance.

Career Center -Find information regarding military service, NOVA Pathways & Connections Programs and the financial Aid options and more.


How to make a good college app great Take advanced classes:

• Colleges are always looking for students who can overcome challenging situations. By taking IB and other advanced classes, you can show that you are serious and have the will to succeed. • Not everyone can keep up with the workload that these classes have, but putting that extra effort in will reflect well on you.


• Everybody has to do community service at some point, but getting the hours you require doesn’t mean you should stop there. Colleges will always be looking for people who choose to contribute to their community.

Be a leader:

• Having experience as a leader in a club or program is a quality that will be recognized by colleges. Leaders know how to work with and set examples for others, which are valuable skills in college. • Being confident about your actions can make the application process go along easier. Be passionate: • Simply taking a lot of classes and being in a variety of clubs isn’t a guarantee that colleges will think positively of you. • Colleges look for people who have their own goals, who get involved in things they are passionate about. Try new things: • Even if you aren’t interested in clubs or programs at AHS, being aware of the opportunities they offer can be beneficial later on. • By trying something new and going out of your comfort zone, you show that you are open-minded and can adapt to new situations.

Vocabulary Words OSTENTATIOUS adjective Characterized by pretentious, showy, or vulgar display. ANECDOTE noun A short account of an interesting or humorous incident. VINDICATE verb Show to be right by providing justification or proof. QUERULOUS adjective Given to complaining; peevish. DEMAGOGUE noun A leader who appeals to emotion or prejudice. ANACHRONISTIC adjective Chronologically misplaced.

College Profile: Lynchburg College On your smartphone, scan this code above using the app “QR Code” to view a college profile on Lynchburg College





Meet the key players

Karen Garza Superintendent


The Superintendent creates the budget and the budget cuts

Ilryong Moon School Board Chairman

Nov. 13, 2013

$140 million Shortfall Proposed cuts bring on anxiety AHS reacts to Superintendent Garza’s budget proposals

Sandy Evans AHS School Board Representative


The School Board has to approve the budget

Vincent Randazzo AHS principal The principals provide feedback and suggestions

Garza begins as superintendent ANDREW PETERS In-Depth Editor Dr. Karen Garza became the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools beginning July 4. Dr. Garza was unanimously elected to her position by the Fairfax County School Board. Previously, she served as the Superintendent in the Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) in Texas. In LISD, Dr. Garza oversaw 30,000 students for four years. Before serving in LISD, Dr. Garza was the Chief Academic Officer in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) for four years. HISD educated 200,000 students, making it the seventh largest school district in the nation. She will now serve 168,000 students here in FCPS, the 11th largest school district in the nation. Dr. Garza clearly identified her priorities in FCPS, with students being her priorities. She wants them to have a “world class” education, so they can successfully meet the challenges before them. Dr. Garza stresses the importance of strong and effective teachers and available professional development. She also wants parents to be involved in their children’s education. Continue on thea-blast. org

$140.7 million. That is the “bottom-line” budget deficit that the FCPS School Board projects to face for the 2015 school year. Classified as “revenues that have not kept pace with growing enrollment and increasing mandatory costs,” the projected shortfall is a problem newly inducted Superintendent Karen Garza now faces. Why? In a letter sent out to parents and members of the FCPS community Garza is keen to elaborate a precise cause to the growing deficit. Instead she cites an amalgam of reasons, the most exacerbating she points, is to the incessantly increasing enrollment rate. “Revenues have not kept to pace with enrollment growth and increasing expenditure. We have grown more than 15,000 students in the last five years,” Garza said. “And our required expenditures for items like employee benefits have contributed to the increase.” It is more than accurate to say that the surging enrollment rate has contributed to the deficit. The school board council has projected that an additional 2,800 students are expected to enroll for the upcoming school year, which roughly translates to around $25 million. Along with the increased enrollment, an increased health insurance rate and increased contributions to the Virginia Retirement System have together generated over $50 million of the shortfall. Consequently, the school district is facing one of its largest deficits in history; “a daunting challenge” that Garza has readily admitted to. THE EFFECT In response to covering the shortfall, Garza has proposed a number of cuts and suggested proposals. Some of which include cut backs on school counselors and assistants which could save $20 million a year, increasing class sizes by one student (saves $20 million) and cutting foreign language classes from elementary schools (saving $5.5 million). One of the most directly



BY OMNIA SAED Co-Editor in Chief

One of the proposals for closing the shortfall is to charge athletes $100 per sport.

impactful proposals is that Garza may plan on charging athletes a $100 fee per season. “As a 3 season athlete I wouldn’t like that. My parent wouldn’t either because they have to pay so much,” junior Aviad Gebrehiwot said. “It is irresponsible and short-sighted for a county as wealthy as Fairfax County to chose to cut educational programs instead of raising funds,” biology teacher Caroline Gergel said. As for Annandale, the proposals are just that – indefinite suggestions. “Right now there is a menu of items that’s being looked at as far as cuts are concerned. But it’s a large menu,” principal Vincent Randazzo said. We’re in the beginning stages of looking about what we can do and how we can repair the budget down if we need it to but it’s in the beginning stages. It’s too early too discuss anything like that.“ HITTING HOME Annandale’s budget in retrospect has been solidified for the last few years and with an actual decrease in enrollment, the AHS staff may face reduction but for ratio accommodations. “The student ratio per teacher is the same and so they allocate employment resources in that regard,” Randazzo said.

Aside from teacher salaries, “we spend a lot on technology upgrade, professional development, [and] daily upkeep of the school, obviously through the custodial staff. But honestly it’s [technological upgrades]. The installation of the synthetic turf field, which currently aims to raise $140,000 by having every student and teacher donate in the effort was the most recent budget decision. As regards to who has the final say, “I don’t know who has the final decision on that. I know it initiative, we’re one of 8 schools that don’t have a turf field that were looking at and trying to raise funds for. It’s a combination of your community and the school system,” Randazzo said. Not all are happy with the initiative. “Something like the turf field is kind of hard for me to understand. I just don’t know why we’d spend our many and all of our efforts on it, when that money could contribute to something else,” senior Aysha Ghaffar said. “I understand it will have benefits in the long run, but I’ve heard teachers complaining about replacing blinds and other resources that need recognition and would affect the classroom first hand.” But Randazzo quickly responded to AHS’ s commitment in covering teacher needs. “Teachers can ask for a Smart Board, whatever technology they need and then we prioritize. We have x dollars in our local budget to deal with that,” Randazzo said. But some teachers are frustrated, many of which haven’t received pay raises in years and Fairfax County froze teacher pay during the recession. However, according to the Washington Post, Superintendent Garza has said that she will propose teacher salary increases for next years’ budget in hopes of boosting morale and attracting employees. The move will cost around $42.7 million on top of the deficit, has caused some anguish and backlash. “My first heartfelt opinion is that it is really hard to be a teacher. We work really long hours; give a lot of our time and money for supplies and our emotional commitment to help students succeed,” English teacher Niki Holmes said. “Now my contracted salary is made [for a] political discussion or point and that’s really frustrating.”

The budget approval process The FCPS financial plan goes through a year long process through feedback and revision by the public through hearings and by the School Board and the Board of Supervisors. FCPS community gives the School Board and Superintendent feedback Aug - Dec

Superintendent proposes budget

1. Feedback

2. Proposal

Jan. 9

Fiscal year begins on July 1st

Budget is approved by School Board

8. Year begins

7. Approval

May 22

School Board works on the budget and holds hearings Jan. 27

School Board proposes budget

3. Hearings

4. Second Proposal

School Board works more on the budget and holds hearings May 13

Feb. 6

Board of Supervisors approves budget April 29 5. Approval

6. More Hearings


Nov. 13, 2013

Garza’s Proposed Budget Cuts for 2015 Here are some of the proposals that Superintendent Karen Garza has proposed in order to close the shortfall that will affect AHS.

Furlough of one day for all

“Cut the spending on physical copies of textbooks, we have the resources for online textbooks, so why do we continue to buy hard copies?”

saves $10.2 million

Spend 40% less in replacing computers saves $2 million

saves $1.8 million

Athletes pay $100 per sport

What programs would you cut from the FCPS budget?

Cut 1/3 of high school counselors

saves $7.9 million

Increase class size by 1 student


AP/IB students pay for AP/IB test

adds $1.8 million

— Kiwon Sue


add $4.5 million

Shorten faculty contracts

Reduce 38 custodial positions saves $1.7 million

save $9.1 million

Eliminate extra staffing for WAT

Reduce number of librarians saves $.5 million

saves $3 million

Change high school schedule to 6 periods

“I would cut the gymnastics team, because there are only three people on the team” —Yoseph Tiguh

Reduce summer school options


“I would not add a student [to a class], because teachers are really needed and it is easier for kids to learn with smaller classes.”

Scan these QR codes to get the menu of proposals for closing the shortfall (right) and a feedback website for FCPS where you can make your voice heard.

— Victoria Dang

Should the proposed cuts be made? BY CHRISTINE TAMIR Editorials Editor


FCPS is the 11th largest school district in the nation, and the largest in Virginia. In the 2012-2013 school year, the average class size in high schools was 29.5 students. Superintendent Karen Garza’s cuts mean that class sizes would increase by one student, but in already-full classrooms, that number would be strongly felt. F i r s t o f a l l , implementation of the increased class sizes would be difficult, especially at an over-capacity high school such as AHS. Some classrooms can’t comfortably hold 28 students, let alone the 32 that would be in classes. In addition to the impracticality with respect to classroom structures, students would not be able to engage in as much dialogue with their teachers about essays, major projects or IB tests. That would lead to teachers having to stay after school for longer periods of time in order to give their students the amount of attention that they need to succeed in class. However, according to The Washington Post, Garza sees an expected $25 million in savings, as the slight increase in class sizes will lead to the county laying off 400 staff positions, further spurring teachers to leave the FCPS system and seek employment in neighboring counties. Cutting staff positions One of Garza’s proposed cuts entails the elimination of over 1,000 staff positions. She plans to remedy this by increasing class sizes. School board members have voiced concern in this matter, but Garza offers other solutions, including eliminating the positions of school psychologists, librarians, social workers, custodians and secretaries. All of the aforementioned positions are necessary for FCPS schools to function. By eliminating those positions, those in existing positions will have to take on additional responsibilities. When the FCPS system brought up a new plan for the school library system (which would eliminate the need for full-time librarians), citizens strongly opposed it and the idea was scrapped. The idea has already been proven extremely unpopular – there is no reason it should be brought up again.

Eliminating foreign language instruction in elementary schools While AHS is known for its diversity, FCPS is also a considerably diverse county. Due to its diversity, several different languages are spoken, and the number of English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students increases each year. That further

increases the need for foreign language instruction in elementary schools. It would promote a dialogue between students who speak different languages, thusly encouraging the interaction of cultures. Besides, according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages ACTFL), students that learn more than one language as a child proves better in the long run – they tend to outperform monolingual students on math tests and most standardized tests. It would be in FCPS’ best interests to keep the foreign language programs in elementary schools – the return on the investment of funds in this program would yield better SOL scores, grades and other test results (such as the SAT, ACT and IB tests). In The Washington Post article, Garza herself says that the proposed cuts “will affect just the operation of our system as a whole. So it’s to the bone, I would say.” The budget cuts force FCPS to be a less competitive county – if we expect to retain our reputation as one of the best counties in the nation, we must continue to invest as we did before in education. The cuts threaten the integrity of the FCPS system – which is one of the best in the state, if not the nation. Not only will we see a quality decrease if her budget proposal gets approved by the Board of Supervisors, but, as School Board Chairman Ilryong Moon said, “we won’t be Fairfax anymore.”



FCPS is the 11th largest school district in the United States. FCPS operates with $2.5 billion operating budget, educates 180,000 students, and employs 24,000 staff members. For the next fiscal year (2015) FCPS faces a $140 million shortfall. The shortfall is a result of increasing students ($25 million) and rising costs for Virginia Retirement System ($37 Million) and health insurance ($27 million), as well as less aid from Virginia ($21 Million). Superintendent Karen Garza has proposed adding one student to classes; eliminating teacher assistants for kindergarten, instructional assistant for elementary schools and “Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools”; reducing assistant principals and counselors; and shortening faculty contracts one day and furloughing faculty one day. “I understand that these discussions might cause some alarm among our employees and families,

but at this point, we are only exploring ideas. But we have to begin the discussion somewhere as we face a crisis that is not going to be easily solved. Final decisions will be made in May when we complete the budget process.” Garza said in ‘The Bottom Line’, a FCPS budget publication, “This is the most serious fiscal challenge that FCPS has ever faced. We will need the best thinking of our employees, families, and community members to help us find solutions. Unfortunately, at this point, we will need to explore all options for reducing our expenditures.” FCPS is unable to accrue debt and must address the shortfall. The federal government can accrue debt, and some assume that FCPS can overspend and pay interest. However, FCPS cannot overspend and have debt. FCPS has a system like a debit card instead of a credit card, where only money the cardholder has can be spent. For a debit card, when the card is swiped the existing money is taken out of the account immediately. When there is no more money a purchase cannot be made. Even if FCPS was able to accrue debt, it would be unwise to irresponsibly

leave the shortfall to become debt and be compounded by future shortfalls. This would cripple future FCPS students and cause much more severe, comprehensive, and debilitating cuts. many programs would have to be eliminated. Interest would have to be paid on the future debt and that would consume money that would be better spent on schools. It is advantageous for FCPS to address this lack of money now, and enable FCPS to operate as an efficient school system. Then money can be spent to benefit and improve schools, raise teacher salaries and buy new equipment, instead of buy more time on a debt bomb. The federal government just underwent a bitterly divided battle over their budget bomb. Nothing was decided and the government shutdown. The shortfall of $140 million, out of a $2.5 billion operating budget, for fiscal year 2015 would cause FCPS to run out of money 3 weeks before the end of the next school year and FCPS shut down. It would be like the government shutdown but at FCPS. Teachers could not be paid. There would be no electricity for air conditioning or lights. There would be no food in the cafeteria or gas for the buses. The cuts may hurt now, but benefits will be reaped in the future as money is allocated to improvement and operation and FCPS is not crippled by interest, debt and future cuts. The difference of $140 million must be made up. The question is instead, what do we cut and how can we increase revenue. “Any reduction we make this next year will be painful,” Superintendent Garza said in an email to FCPS staff, “I am very mindful that these budget discussions create concern and anxiety for our employees and our overall community. I am confident that we will find solutions to these challenges by working together and by seeking the support of county leadership and the support of our community.”


“I would cut sports, not totally, but maybe have people pay to play.” — Ryan Peich


“I would cut the dance team, because we already [have] cheerleaders.”

— Issac Sampson sophomore

“I would cut useless clubs from the budget.”

— Hassan Syed freshman

“I would cut spending on textbooks, because we have online ones” — Tim Gray


“Charging students $100 for the athletics, given the circumstance, seems like an option worth considering.” — Fusun Sulzbach

English teacher

Does the foreign language department help students become fluent? “Yes, I do because they teachers help you out with everything you need to know ”

— Adrianna Romano freshman

“Yes, I took Spanish 2 at my old school and I ended the year with a C and here I have an A.”

—Sabrina Huynh freshman

“I believe the class do because the teacher helps you learn how to speak it properly.”

— Sheila Aguire freshman

“Yeah I do because I do all the homework and class work. I’m always in class.”

—Gary Colomo sophomore

Nov. 13, 2013


Students discuss the flourishment of foreign languages in Annandale BY NUHAMI MANDEFRO International Editor

Most European and Asian countries have students that have mastered learning more than three languages whereas American students struggle to comprehend one. Recently, there has been a debate over the degree to which students learn and maintain the foreign languages they learn in U.S. schools. Despite a strong language department and an extremely diverse student body, there seems to be a lack of mastering other languages. “Throughout my life, I have found that being able to speak many languages is a very good skill,” senior Amelie Trieu said. Countries around the world, such as China and Germany, desire all students to be fluent in English. Demographically, Europeans tend to speak more than two languages aside from the native language. Other than English, students of the United States fail to have basic understandings of the foreign language they’re required to learn in school. Powerful figures, such as President Barack Obama, stresses the importance of being bilingual. As foreign people come to the United States, they must adjust to English in order to interact with Americans but when Americans travel to other countries, the people have to speak English in order to communicate with us. The United States seems to lack a factor that all progressive societies have been developing. Like the United States, Annandale is known for having a vast demographic. Although the country fails to be bilingual, AHS seems to be very knowledgeable in other languages. Senior Amelie Trieu is from a Chinese ethnicity and fluently speaks English and Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese. Additionally, she is learning Mandarin Chinese at a Chinese school, French at AHS and knows basic Vietnamese. “It is a necessity to know multiple languages in my family,” Trieu said. “My parents primarily taught me different languages, by speaking it and teaching me how to read. I have gone to Chinese school since I was in elementary school, so I have had different teachers teach me Mandarin.” With Trieu’s knowledge of numerous languages, she is able to fluctuate them in her




Students feel the foreign language department in our schools are beneficial and helpful depending on the teacher.

household. “I learned Cantonese first, at home, and French when I started school. At home, my mother speaks Cantonese with me and my sister; Vietnamese and French with my father; my father speaks English, Vietnamese and French with me and my sister; my sister and I speak English and Cantonese together.” Still, with many students fluent in other languages, the student body seems to have mixed opinions on whether the foreign language department actually guides students to be fluent in the language. “I have taken French for five years, which I have immensely enjoyed,” Trieu said. “I feel like I am capable of speaking French, but I would still like to improve my language skills. Annandale’s foreign language department is really good - the teachers are very skilled and willing to help students. In addition, there are so many classes offered, like Arabic and Spanish for Fluent Speakers.” Junior Doreen Amoaful begs to differ. She is fluent in English and Twi. “My first language was English. I wasn’t exposed to Twi until I was six and I was forced to learn it when I went Ghana over the summer because they don’t speak anything else.” Though Amoaful is bilingual, she has a hard time learning a language in school. “I take French 4. All we do in class is conjugate words and study vocabulary. We don’t really

communicate with each other. Overall, there’s no preparation; if I went to France, I’d be doomed.” Junior Abdul Mohammed is only fluent in English. Coming from an Ethiopian ethnicity, also known as Habesha, he fails to learn Amharic. “I haven’t really tried to learn Amharic; I guess I’m just lazy,” Mohammed said. Though he is monolingual, Mohammed knows the importance of being bilingual. “I feel it’s essential to know another language because you’re more cultured and it helps with job opportunities. The foreign department doesn’t really help students learn the language. I took Spanish for two years and now I take Arabic. I can’t remember anything I learned in Spanish.” Amelie Trieu feels learning other languages is essential. “ It makes things easier when I travel, especially since I do not have to consult a phrasebook or translating tool. Surprisingly, I also have found it handy in other classes. For example, the English language borrows a lot of words or expressions from French so when I encounter them, I am able to pronounce them correctly. I think it is important that kids should learn other languages. Especially in such a globalized world and diverse community, it is necessary to learn the language(s) and culture(s) of other people. Even if it’s hard to learn, it will be worth it in the end.”

How does AHS measure up?

“Yeah, because I’m taking IB Spanish and it helps you become fluent in the language.”

Sources provided by the Department of Student Services

— Sahrain Zahoor junior

The graph of the left showcases the languages natively and/or spoken at home in AHS. Out of the 2258, 755 students speak Spanish natively and/ or at home-- which is more than the 676 students who speak English natively and/or at home. In other words, 189 students speak Vietnamese, 114 speak Arabic, 88 students speak Amharic (Ethiopian language), 63 students speak Urdu (Pakistan language), and 47 speak Korean-- These are some of the most prominent languages in Annandale.

“Yes, I do. We get to practice writing and speaking the language.”

— Emily Vo senior Source from Student Service

— Abigail Belayneh senior

— Compiled by Andrew Gonzalez

Right: Bar graph displays the amount of students born in the United States compared to students born in other countries. 72% of students are born in the U.S. where as 28% of the student were born in other country.

COMING TO AMERICA: GUATEMALA VERSUS U.S.A Student opens up about his life in Guatemala and talks about adjusting to a new country BY GILMAR MENDEZ Special to the A-Blast

Coming to America Story On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to visit the website to sign up. Read more about A Monolingual Nation

Left: Bar graph compares the number of Languages represented in AHS versus the U.S. There are 50 languages spoken in AHS whereas there are 337 spoken across the country.

Coming to America was a good opportunity for me. My family came to the U.S.A. for work. In my country, everything is different. I had heard stories about the busy big cities in America. The airport, the forest, and the food in my country Guatemala are so different from the ones in the U.S.A. In my country Guatemala, the airports are sort of similar. In U.S.A., the airports are much bigger and more beautiful. Guatemala has one airport that is very similar to the Maryland airport because they have many people traveling. Other than that, they both have big and small airplanes landing there. In my country, the forests are smaller. In U.S.A., the forest are bigger and the trees too.

I like the forest in Guatemala. Some of the trees are very big and when I was young I use to play the forest close to my village. In South America, we have the Amazon rainforest. It is very beautiful. In America there are probably large forests in places like Georgia and Florida. In my country, we don’t have many foods to eat. In the U.S.A., we have all types of foods. The food in my country are very different from American food because our main foods are mole green with carne de res, pollo with papas, and ensaladea. These are traditional Guatemala foods. Americas love hamburgers, pizza and French fries. For me, it’s not easy to adapt to the U.S.A. because everything is different. The culture, the government, the cities and the language too are different. I love my country and my language. In U.S.A., the language is very hard to learn but I am learning English. The food, the airport and forest are in some ways different and in some ways similar in the lower countries. They are both very beautiful places to visit.


“Yes, but I also think it depends on your teacher. Previously, I had teacher who didn’t help. Now, I have a teacher who explains everything to me.”

Though he misses Guatemala, Mendez has enjoyed his time in Annandale so far.



Nov. 13, 2013

Other Torpedo Factory artists

art at the Torpedo Factory CAYLEY BYRNE

Rebecca Ravenel, who makes handmade ceramics and mosaics, works on one of her unique mosaic photo frames.

Matthew Harwood, an artist who creates multi-dimensional paintings and drawings, works on one of his 3D art pieces. The layering process and setup of the frame is shown in this photo. Harwood has a background in architecture, and that’s why he incorporates that type of structural work into his art in such a creative way.

Jeanne Garant is currently working on a large painting to display in her studio, and explains to us her process of adding each square individually to create depth and detail.

A self-portrait of Harwood is hung up in his studio, and is a good example of his signature 3D art.

Harwood’s many awards and mentions in art journals and magazines are laid out in the front of his studio. Harwood’s incorporation of architecture into his art has helped him gain notice from the art and architectural communities.

Step 1

Alicia Roman, of Wearable Objects, carefully puts together a personalized ring that she is working on for a friend.

For the first step, Harwood uses layering in his intricate 3D portraits

Barbro Eriksdotter Gendell, of Eriksdotter Design, shows us the Dalmation stone that she is adding to an elaborate necklace.

Step 2 In the second step, he adds a different piece on top of the first layer to create dimension.

Step 3 To complete the process he adds the third, and final layer, to his masterpiece. The final product is a threedimensional piece of art.

About the Torpedo Factory The Torpedo Factory in Old Town, Alexandria, is three floors full of artist’s studios and galleries, displaying their work and giving them space to create more art pieces. There are 82 studios, 6 galleries, and 2 workshops. It’s open to the public and admission is free. It attracts around 500,000 visitors a year, so make sure you take a trip down to Old Town to see it too!

Matthew Harwood’s website On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to visit Matthew Harwood’s website.

Do you pay attention to what celebrities wear? “No, because I would rather be creative with my style that to copy them just because they’re celebrities.”

— Jessica Smith freshman

“No because I have my own style and different look. But, I sometimes pay attention to get an idea.”

—Syneese Noble sophomore

“I guess. I like to know if the celebrities I like are good role models. I also like to see what trends they follow.”

—Sarah Woodward sophomore

Nov. 13, 2013

Social media inspiration

Students stray from fashion magazines and turn to sites like Tumblr for new outfit styles BY PHUONG NGUYEN Lifestyles Editor Looking your best to impress is a philosophy that many students live by. When it comes to fashion, social media attracts students’ attention by introducing them to new trends, styles and tastes. Many designer labels and stores turn to social media to attract eager consumers. They rely on websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Tumblr, to communicate with the public to share their ideas and preview new clothing lines. Most importantly, designers use social media to observe the opinions of the general public on their clothing to gain a better idea of people’s interests. “[Social media] influences me by improving my taste of clothes and the fashion that’s trending, senior Susan Do said. I go on websites and sometimes [they] give me an idea of what to wear (to school) in the morning.” “There’s a bunch of websites I use to get inspiration, like Instagram and Lookbook, sophomore Xan Chen said. The styles that students look at on social media sites are often reflective of their own interests. “[My current favorite looks] are 90s grunge, punk, and what a teacher likes to call Kurt Cobain,” Chen said.




Students spend time using apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr to add more flare into their style.

Social media websites showcase many different looks and therefore allow students to explore and personalize their fashion interests. “On Instagram, I get to see people I admire and aspire to be like [one day] fashion wise, but it’s restrictive to their style. [While] on Lookbook, the site is designed to help users discover looks from preppy to punk, grunge, to girly, etc. The hottest looks are featured on the front page, and you get to look through and ‘hype’ or ‘fan’ the users & their looks,” Chen said. Meanwhile, some students such as sophomore

Leif Jomuad turn to sites such as Facebook and YouTube for inspiration towards other unique styles. In other words, social media allows Jomuad to explore fashion trends from South Korea which he can use to refine his look. Jomuad especially admires how South Koreans try to mimic American fashions. “I really like how Koreans dress, not necessary K-pop because they are a bit over the top, but most of them,” Jomuad said. “I love their hairstyles and I try my best to mimic it, even if I fail at it sometimes. Koreans try to copy our tuxedo, jeans, blonde hair color, but they make [it] seem better and more modernized. This is why I like [their style] a lot. I can stay American (by style) and also have an extra flair to it.” Social media also helps students decide what to wear to school in the mornings. “ I pick it out the night before. But since I have to stick to school dress code, I usually tone my outfit down, Chen said. Chen is able to find new outfit combinations with the help of social media. “My outfits are usually composed of a shirt, a skirt & some sort of crazy shoes, so I pick out the separates and lay them out to see if they work together or not. From then on, I decide my makeup look for that day,” Chen said. Social media’s impact on fashion allows people to add individuality to their style. The convenience and ability to attract people with different tastes is what makes it so popular amongst students. “There’s always new places to seek styles and inspirations for new looks,” Chen said.

Influential social media apps How to use everyday social media as a tool to find new fashion inspiration

“I do notice it but I don’t care because I’m not the one the one wearing it.”

—Mahlet Ayele sophomore



Instagram is a social networking website where users share photos and videos while personalizing them with filters.

Tumblr is a blogging app. Users are able to post photos, thoughts, and music. You are also able to follow other blogs that you like. Similar to twitter you can repost (reblog) something to your page if you like it.

Pinterest Pinterest is a photo-sharing app designed to look like a bulletin board where users can share (pin) images based on themes. Popular board themes include fashion, sports, art, and food. Users are able to connect to others by liking and sharing their favorite boards.

“No, I don’t care what they wear because I dress for me and not for someone else.”

—Megan Pendergast junior

“Yes, to get inspiration on the type of clothes I would wear and buy.”

—Michelle Hoang freshman

On Instagram some photos pages consist of outfits worn in everyday life. Others are photo collages of clothing that can be paired together. If you identify your style with certain clothing stores, often times those brands will have a page demonstrating ways to wear their clothing along with advertising new

With Tumblr you can follow blogs that are solely dedicated to fashion. You can also ask the owner of the blog fashion questions and tips. Tumblr hosts all kinds of clothing styles. Any style you can think of has a blog relating to it. Its a good way to stay ahead of fashion and come up with new

On Pinterest, fashion is one of the more popular categories to “pin” from. The categories are split into Men’s Fashion and Women’s Fashion to make your search easier. Finding outfit ideas along with sites where you can buy the clothing in the photos is made easy with the app.

— Compiled by Diana Quezada “To a slight degree, yes. If I see them on the cover of a magazine I’ll notice their fashion and comment on it.”

—Jazmine Walker senior

Q&A with Thida Pathammavong Sophomore fashionista reveals her secrets and reflects on her personal style When did you start liking fashion? In middle school, when I started to actually pay attention to fashion and clothing.

“Sometimes I do during award shows and red carpet events.”

Who’s your inspiration when it comes to fashion? My cousin, because she pursued her dream and got into the Art Institute of New York. What celebrities do you look up to when it comes to fashion? Kylie Jenner, because she’s my age and she’s interested in the same thing I’m interested in, and her fashion.

—Lydia Teferra sophomore

What’s your go-to outfit? Usually when I don’t have an outfit in mind, I just throw on some boyfriend jeans with a plain tee and just some ankle boots. — Compiled by Phuong Nguyen and Sacha Cameron

What’s your favorite store to shop at? I don’t have any specific stores, I go into random stores that catch my eye. What describes your style? Somewhat edgy but chic. If you were to go shopping what would you usually buy? Usually basic essentials, so I can wear more stuff with [my outfits].

On your smart phone, scan this code using the application “QR code” to read about new stores that are opening at Tysons Corner Center.

Top Left: Pathammavong on a New York City stroll; Top Right: Pathammavong tries to look her best wherever she goes; Middle Left: Maxi skirts add on to Pathammavong’s edgy yet chic style; Middle Right: Handbags tie together Pathammavong’s outfits; Bottom Right: Pathammavong poses with her friend Marem Atef.

What are some of your favorite fashion magazines and designers? I like Alexander Wang and the magazines Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Elle. When you’re older would you like a job involving fashion? Yes because fashion has been my passion for as long as I can remember. How is your closet organized? I have two closets. One closet has dresses and pajamas and the other has shirts, shorts, pants, etc. — Compiled by Tara El-Achi and Soulisa Pathammavong


Nov. 13, 2013

Hey, hey, hey, it’s game day!


AHS sports by the numbers


things you needtoknow 7 to be game 18 day ready













1 2

Senior Destiny Anderson will enter into her final winter season for track & field. Anderson is known for her stellar 4x100 relay and is also one of the team’s leading runners.


Visualize your game in your head “When you visualize your game in your head you can visualize yourself making plays and doing well in your game,” junior Ayobami Fakulujo said. “It helps me focus and I’m prepared for anything that happens during the game.” Fakulujo is a linebacker for the varsity football team.


Friday night football games

FCPS schools without turf fields

New track coaches hired

State championships AHS holds

Years since AHS has had a state championship

Would you rather have a coach that is also your teacher or just your coach?

“I would like it if my coach was my teacher because Coach Behne is a chill teacher.”

Warm-up and stretch out “Warming up is important because you don’t want to catch a cramp during the game and you don’t want to pull a muscle,” junior Beza Yoseph said. “I always make sure to stretch out really well before my game so I am prepared to play.” Yoseph, a forward, is returning for her second year on varsity for the girls Basketball team.

— Davian Gonzalez Sophomore

“I would prefer my coach to be just a coach, because it would be awkward [if they weren’t].”

Get focused before your game “Focus is so important because if you can’t focus then your head is not in the game and you’re not going to play to your full potential,” sophomore Brooke Thadeus said. “I always listen to music before my game starts so I have my head in the right place and I’m focused on what I need to do in my game.” Thaddeus will be a returning athlete for the track & field team this winter. CO












— Raphael Yu Sophomore

Motivate yourself!








“Motivating yourself is important because you feed off the pressure because that’s the best way not to get nervous and it pushes you to play well every game,” senior Lizzie Manthos said. “I always feed off the crowd and my teammates because it motivates me to play my best every single game.” Manthos is captain of the field hockey team as well as one of the teams leading players.



“Staying hydrated is important so you’re able to play your hardest and go as long as possible,” sophomore Janan Gokturk said. “I always drink three bottles of water throughout the day of my game and it always helps.” Gokturk is one of the few underclassmen who is a part of the varisty field hockey team.

Sports played at AHS

“I always eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before a game because they’re healthy and have a lot of protein [and carbs] in them,” junior Joseph Koroma said. Koroma is a runningback and linebacker for the varsity football team.



Drink water

Eat carbs 2-4 hours before your game


4 5

Go to bed early “Going to bed early is important because you cannot perform at your best without being fully rested,” senior Greg Jackson said. “The night before a game I make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep to make sure that I am fully rested.” Jackson has been a part of the boys basketball team since his freshman year.

10 8 3 11

Days until winter sports season begins

“Just a coach so that they can’t watch my every move at school.”

Junior Devin Hamlett has been apart of the grappling Atoms wrestling team since his freshman year. This season will be his second season on the varsity wrestling team.

8 9

— Meg Hua Junior

Relax and have fun! “It is important to relax so you don’t make mistakes during your game because you’re not stressed out. And every athlete needs to have fun because if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing the sport for the right reasons,” junior Richie Niner said. Niner is a member of the boys baseball team.

Stay Positive “You need to stay positive because you want to motivate your team to do better. Not bring them down with negative comments on how they are playing or how you are playing,” senior Carly Klima said. Klima, a shooting guard, will be returning for her third and final season for the girls basketball team.

“Coach and a teacher because then they understand the work-load along with being an athlete.”

— Kara Hoisington Junior

“Just a coach because he can devote all of his time to coaching.” Sophomore Aaron Boyd is part of the swim and dive team for the second year in a row. Boyd is one of the teams leading male swimmers who specializes in butterfly.


— Grant Gittins Senior

Don’t over think it “It is important not to over think your game, because it will cause you to play very poorly and that will also take a toll on your teammates. There isn’t any need to over think [your game] because a game is supposed to be easier than practice and is supposed to be fun,” junior Ahmed Elnour said. “You put in countless hours practicing the same things everyday, so you just need to go out there and execute it and have fun.” Elnour will be returning for his second season for the boys basketball team as a shooting guard.

—Complied by Erin Johnson

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to visit the Red and White Golf Classic website to sign up.



Nov. 13, 2013

Eat my bubbles: Swim & Dive

Head Swim Coach: Ryan Smith

Teams prepare for season with few new members with much enthusiasm BY DESTINY GAMMON Co-Editor in Chief With the leadership of a new coach, the AHS swim team is poised to build on their past traditions and place well in the Patriot Conference. Although AHS has not always been the top-placing team, their family like atmosphere and pride have always been un-comparable. “I joined the team not only because I love to swim, but also because I knew the team was like a family,” senior Lizzie Manthos said. “We have always been close and I hope to pass on that trait.” “I want to develop positive relationships amongst the team that go beyond practice and meets to the classroom, out of school, and continue on after the season is over,” head coach Ryan Smith said. There are many traditions that come with being an AHS swimmer. The two main ones however, are team dinners and big sibling, little sibling. Team dinners usually take place after practice the night before a swim meet. This is not only time to eat, Four years of dedication but bonding time with team mates. “We have lots of fun at team dinners,” junior Senior Erica Johnson has been on the AHS swim team for three years now and is excited to be swimming in her senior year. Bennett Collins said. “It’s like having a family of 40 Here she is pictured in a meet last season, swimming the 100 meter butterfly event. “I am very excited for my senior year of kids who all smell like chlorine with you.” swim because I have been looking forward to it for a long time. However, I am sad it has to end,” Johnson said. Big sibling little sibling is just another way Tryouts this season started Nov. 11 and will the family aspect is brought to the team. Each like I was truly a part of the team.” This season, there seems to be a lack of freshman continue through Nov. 14 at Wakefield Rec. Center. upperclassman is assigned a underclassmen to be “I am excited for the season to start,” Manthos said. their younger sibling. On the day of the meet, the newcomers. Last season the team lost a significant number of swimmers. The team is hopeful that their “I cant wait to keep all the traditions and fun times “siblings” meet and give each other gifts. “I loved having a big sister freshman through diligent recruiting will pay off adding to the teams going.” junior year,” senior Allie Vogus said. “It made me feel membership. COURTESY OF THE ANTENNA YEARBOOK

What new things do you plan to bring to the AHS swim program? “I want to instill a competitive but supportive atmosphere within the swim team. At the same time each swimmer should root for and cheer on everyone else on the team regardless of ability level or experience. I want the team to feel like a family that has each other’s back and wants everyone to succeed.” What goals do you have for the season? “As a team I would like our record on both the girls and boys side to improve from last year. Additionally, I would like to see an increase in the number of swimmers we send to the region and state meets. On a more general note, I want every swimmer to end the season with improved technique and faster times.”

Inside the life of a swimmer

Alumni Postcard:


Sarah Bergen

What is your favorite memory of Annandale swim team? “One of my favorite memories on Annandale swim was when the girls team beat Lake Braddock for the first time on our senior night.” What made you choose swim? “I chose to swim for Annandale because I had swam my whole life and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I joined the swim club at Coastal Carolina because it was a chance to meet new people at the school and get the opportunity to travel to meets and be involved.” Do you enjoy swimming at Coastal Carolina? Why? “I love swimming at coastal! It’s not as serious as a NCAA sport so the time commitment isn’t as serious and it’s a ton of fun! I love traveling to meets and being able to continue swimming.” What would you tell a new person trying out for Annandale swim team? “If I were to tell someone trying out for the Annandale swim team something it would be the make the best of it. It sounds cliche but I made some of my closest friends on Annandale swim, it was something I looked forward to every winter and hated when the season ended. Swim team at Annandale really is a family and I’ll have memories with that team for the rest of my life.”



Senior Tricia Liller, a member of the AHS swim team, is what some would call a “swimaholic”. Not only is she a member of the AHS swim team, but on top of that she does year round swim with the Marlins and summer swim with the Parklawn Piranhas. “I’ve been swimming since second grade,” Liller said. “I chose swim because I felt it was a sport I could excel at.” Swim is very time consuming and requires much sacrifice on a day to day basis. Especially for a high school student. “I could not do cross country this year because swim took up all my time which made me very sad. Also if I have a morning practice I cannot stay up late with my friends.” Year round swim is also very physically draining. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to do hard workouts and practices everyday all year round. “There are those days when I ask myself why I do swim, but then

Sophomore Beau Hatch, will be participating in the swim program this winter season. Hatch is a three sport athlete here at AHS, participating in football and lacrosse alongside swim. Last fall Hatch injured his knee while playing football. His injury prevented him from participating in wrestling, the sport which all football players are encouraged to do by their coaches. Hatch instead decided to give his body a break and do swimming. Swim is known to not only be a competitive sport, but also a kind of rehab for injured athletes. Unlike football and lacrosse, swim is not hard on joints but soothes them. “I did swimming to give my body a chance to heal after getting banged around for the past four months during football,” Hatch said. Hatch uses swimming as a buffer in between football and lacrosse. These two sports are both high contact sports which increase risk of injury for athletes. By swimming in between


What do you look for in someone trying out for the team? “I look for two main things in a swimmer: ability and work ethic. I measure a swimmer’s ability by his or her technique in the four strokes and times achieved during time trials or at meets from last season. Work ethic I measure by watching the swimmer practice.”

Sarah Bergen swims a 100 meter breaststroke in a meet at Coastal Carolina.

Winter swim acts as a buffer between contact sports

Year round swim comes with huge commitment

Senior Tricia Liller swims a 50 meter breaststroke for her summer team the Parklawn Pirannas I remember I love it and would not trade it for anything.” Liller will be participating on the AHS swim team along with the Marlins this winter season. Last season, as well as this current school year, Liller has gone to morning practices which take place before school. But that does not stop her from excelling in both. “I am very excited for my senior year swim season. I am also excited to see a lot of improvement within the AHS team.”


How do you plan on achieving them? “These goals require that the team works hard during practice and carries over that hard work to the meets. I, along with my assistant coaches, will do everything we can to prepare everyone for meet day through technique work, conditioning, and mental coaching.”

Sophomore Beau Hatch (right) after a relay during AHS swim last season contact sports, the body can fully rest before getting banged up for another four months. There is one negative to this. All three sports work out different parts of the body which can be physically exhausting. However, it makes the athlete more well rounded in the end. “It takes me a while to adjust inbetween sports because the conditioning is different for all three,” Hatch said. “But the physical rest is worth it.”

What does swim team actually cost? An inside look at the equipment a swimmer uses and what it costs The swim cap is used to prevent drag. Also it helps keep the swimmer’s hair in place while he/she is swimming.

Goggles used to keep water out of the swimmers eyes so he/she can see clearly.

Fins are used in swim workouts to increase difficulty. Its easier to swim with them, but when taken off the swimmer has to try harder, therefore making the workout more difficult.

A swim bag is used to keep all of the swimmer’s equipment in one organized place. Bag Average Cost: $40

Cap Average cost: $7

Swim Suit Average Cost: Boys: $30 Girls: $50 A swim suit varies in prices based on the material. If a suit is more expensive then it usually repels the water better resulting in a faster swim.

Goggles Average cost: $25

Fins Average cost: $35

A water bottle is very Water important Bottle to keep a Average swimmer hydrated cost: during $7 practice and meets.

Paddles Average cost: $15

Towel Average Cost: $10 The towel has a pretty obvious use. To keep the swimmer warm and dry after practice or at meets.

Paddles are used to create resistance while taking strokes. This creates the effect of lifting weights while swimming. Thus making the swimmers upper body stronger.



Nov. 13, 2013

Winter sports preview

Coach’s Corner: Wrestling

Wrestlers starting fresh with new workouts BY CONRAD SHARTEL Sports Editor With 11 wins and 18 losses last season, the Grappling Atoms are preparing for the upcoming season. Head coach Keith Sholders looks to improve their record. “We are hoping to have a bigger turnout of kids at tryouts this season,” Sholders said. Sholders is planning on changing the format of practice that the Atoms will hold. He is looking to have a three level format practice this year this year. “We’re trying a three level format practice, with a first year practice, a JV practice and a varsity practice,” Sholders said. The wrestling coaches are hoping that students trying out for wrestling are currently doing a fall sport, or already finished one. They do not require students to have played a fall

sport as the wrestling team also holds green days throughout the season. “We always encourage students to participate in a sport to prepare for wrestling, but if they are not doing one they can always come to the green days we hold,” Sholders said. Some students trying out for wrestling for the first time prepare for wrestling by doing fall sports such as football. As the sports are very similar in terms of physicality and muscular strength. “I joined the football team to get in shape and get ready for wrestling season,” freshman Saud Shah said. Students that did wrestling in past years encourage freshmen to prepare for much dieting and brutal practices. “I had lose some weight last year for my weight class and the practices were very tough,” sophomore Ryan Flynn said. Wrestling coaches don’t only look for strength and aggression in the wrestlers, but also character. “In order to be considered, you must show respect, you must be on time, and you must always work your hardest,” Sholders said. “I am looking Senior Anouar Sakta focuses on his opponent as he plans his attack in a meet last year. forward to the upcoming season.”


New practice plans hope to spark a better outcome for wrestlers

Basketball working towards better seasons BY ZEKE YONAS Staff Writer


With the fall sports season coming to a close, the winter sports are just around the corner. Throughout the fall season, these sports have been holding training days to prepare for the tryouts that will take place. Boys basketball tryouts are on Nov. 11 at AHS. The Atoms boys basketball teams have high hopes for this upcoming winter season. “I’m looking forward to everything,” varsity coach Matthew Behne said. “From having our team put together, to getting to know the ups and downs of basketball again.” The Atoms are trying to improve from last year and become a better team overall. Last season, the varsity team finished the season with the record 4-17.

“We need to improve on our communication, our work ethic, and also our total intensity,” Behne said. “We need to be consistent, not just up and down.” The team wants to focus on the unique skills they have, and try to use it in their favor. “We are very athletic, and talented skill wise, but that doesn’t win games,” Behne said. “Teamwork makes the dream work, we have to make ourselves the best team, not the best player or individual.” Bouncing back from a less than perfect season proves to generally be difficult for most teams, but players have been working with Behne in the offseason to improve their overall game and be ready for the upcoming winter season. Players are putting forth the effort to make the team better. “Our expectations are huge, but after a 4-17 season, improving on that would be to win more games than we lose,” Behne said, “We have high expectations, and hopefully that will lead to high results.” Behne has held workouts after school for players to help improve their game before basketball tryouts. These workouts also help new players understand their competition and learn what they need to better themselves at so they can make the team. “My advice for a new player is to have a positive attitude, be a great student, be a better person, and work as hard as you can,” Behne said. The team looks for good qualities in players, so that the team can bond well. “Skills are not as important as a good attitude, being coachable, teamwork and having desire and passion,” Behne said. “You always have to

Junior Austin Hall dribbles against Woodson last season.

Girls look forward to work together to improve record from last season BY CONRAD SHARTEL Sports Editor With last seasons record of 4-16, the Annandale varsity girls basketball team is preparing for the upcoming season. Head coach Pat Hughes has hopes for improvement for this season. “We hope to be much better than we were last year and be in the top three of our division,” coach Hughes said. Coach Hughes is planning on trying some new drills with the girls this season, which he used in the past while coaching boys basketball. “We are going to change up the way we practice. We’ll be doing some things I did in the past, and also things I did with the boys in the past,” Hughes said. Coach Hughes has encouraged the girls to participate in basketball camps and leagues outside of school to sharpen their skills. “Girls on varsity have most likely played in the past, and lots of girls have attended the green days we hold. I also asked the girls to do an AAU

summer league so they work out and play more,” coach Hughes said. Students that have played in past seasons recommend that girls trying out for the first time need to take it very seriously. “You only get a short time to show what you’ve got to the coaches, so you have to try your hardest,” senior Carly Klima said. Since few of the girls last season were seniors, the team does not have the disadvantage of trying to replace too many players. “Since we didn’t lose many girls, we have an advantage because we will only gain players,” senior Carly Klima said. Since basketball is a team sport, along with the athletic skills needed, students must also possess good people skills and have good team chemistry. “What they bring to the table as far as attitude and how hard they want to play is also considered,” Hughes said. “I know we will not win every game, and I want the girls to develop a will not to lose.” “For us, if you are respectful, courteous to other students and coaches, show up on time, and of course work hard, you will be greatly considered for the team,” Hughes said. This season players hope for a team that will work well together and work hard to improve their record from last season.

“Most of our athletes now are involved in a fall sport, and we always encourage them to do multiple sports. If they do not do a fall sport, we do hold green days for those students to get in shape.” What do you look for in a student who is trying out for wrestling? “For us, if you are respectful, courteous to other students and coaches, show up on time, and of course work hard, you will be greatly considered for the team.”

Coach’s Corner: Girls Basketball

Head Coach Pat Hughes: What are your goals for the upcoming season? “To be much better than we were last year, be the top three in the district, win the games we should win, and beat the top teams.”

Senior Kaitleigh Fetterman saves the ball from going out of bounds in a game last season.

The winter track season is coming up fast and many are anticipating the upcoming season. “We’re looking forward to getting started,” coach David O’Hara said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who have been out on the track practicing on their own, that really shows me dedication and that people are itching and ready to go.” The winter track team has many skills that will help them succeed this season. Seniors are being relied on to show character and be positive examples for the rest of the team. “We have a lot of senior leadership, which is really good,” O’Hara said.

and girls.” Coaches look for certain characteristics in players that will help the team succeed. “My number one characteristic that I’m looking for is consistency, and that’s showing up to practice every day,” O’Hara said. “There’s a feeling that some people think that track isn’t like other sports, so it’s okay to miss practice a lot here and there. If you’re on the basketball team, you can’t just miss two or three days a week because you have all these other programs and things to try to get to. When kids have that same dedication that the basketball and baseball teams have, because they show up every day, then they’re going to see a very large improvement. You’re not going to see a big improvement in kids when they’re in 17 different clubs and not showing up all the time.” People new to the track program can have trouble at first, and coaches

What skills do you look for in a student trying out?



“Talent doesn’t help with that. You have a lot of kids that are very talented, but also work hard and have been in high pressure situations before. That’s really going to help us go forward through the season.” There are things that the team needs to improve on as well. “We need to find some more ladies that we can get into the middle distance to distance events and score some points there,” O’Hara said. “We have really good sprint and jumping groups, but we need to make sure we can get some of our best athletes in different events that maybe they didn’t think they were going to be that good at but could be really good at and just haven’t tried them.” “On the guys side, again, we have to improve our distance program a bit,” O’Hara said. Our varsity sprints was really good, but we have to find some more field event guys for jumping and more people for throws for both boys

Do you think the new format will help increase student turnout?

How would you want students to prepare for wrestling tryouts?

Coach hopeful for upcoming winter season O’Hara has a positive outlook for winter

“We are going to try a new three level format for practice, with separate first year practice, JV practice, and varsity practice.”

“Yes. At Annandale we do it through numbers, so hopefully we can maintain some kids and have many kids come out and stay out.”


Positive start for boys

What do you have planned for the season workout wise?

“Of course the basketball skills, team skills, and how they get along with others and how they work as a team. Also the attitude of the player is a big factor.”

Senior Eric Mejean in a meet last year.

always have advice to help. “Get out and get ready,” O’Hara said. “Take it upon yourself to improve. If you really wanna be good at it, nothing’s stopping you from strapping on a pair of shoes, hopping on the track and working out. Get yourself in shape and be ready to go.”

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18 SNL creates audience unrest ENTERTAINMENT

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) You will view issues and problems as an opportunity to be creative. The truth is, everything might get worse before it gets better and remember compromise is powerful tool.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Overacting mental preoccupation might make you unable to do basic activities, but by the end of the week you’re a superstar. This weekend, make sure you take care of errands.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan 19) You’ll be more interested in creative projects than making money and these projects make you feel good about yourself. The end of the week will bring a family situation and you will feel lost in the hectic dynamics.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 18) There may or may not be romantic content to your attraction but they will be all you can think about. This week you’ll be paying more attention to yourself and your wallet but then change to epic, rich and full of people.

Saturday Night Live loses well known cast members and once loyal viewers

BY MEGAN RYAN Entertainment Editor In the 39th season of Saturday Night Live, many changes came to the TV show. With these new changes, it has gone from hysterical to just shaking your head. Many of the veteran actors/ actresses retired in the last two seasons, so it has been left up to the rookies to carry on the skits. Which, so far hasn’t turned out as well as it could have. “Everybody in the new cast makes it boring because they are unknown, other than Beck Bennett who was on the AT&T commercials. Now the only thing I enjoy watching is the monologue and weekend update,” senior Allie Vogus said. Actors like Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudekis, Kenan Thompson as well as actress’ Kristen Wig and Amy Pohler were hilarious and fit the SNL job perfectly. They were a mix between funny and serious, while also trying to put on the best skit possible. As each cast member retired, a new rookie stepped in. No matter how hard they were trained to fit

Pisces (Feb.19- Mar. 20) You have big dreams and you don’t want to say no to anyone else’s dreams either, but meanwhile you have a family and a job and a social life. Try to reconsider your priorities and schedule your time.

Aries (Mar. 21- Apr. 19) Your dreams are rich and confusing, and everything seems impossible because you hit an emotional speed bump. Later in the week you will return to form and seize many opportunities and people will naturally follow you.

I would be Tina Fey because she is really sarcastic and funny, and I see myself as sarcastic and funny. Even though she was in the older cast, her recent hosting of SNL was hysterical and she is so funny.

Gemini May 21- June 20) You enjoy a fresh perspective and you’re itching for a change. Maybe some new clothes or a new career? Try to put yourself in the oath of your outspoken friends and hear their take on things.

What skit do you see yourself best in? Weekend Update because I would be able to keep a straight face, and again, its my kind of funny.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) All week long it’s important that you don’t get riled up, that you allow events to take their course, This week will be an exercise in taking your time and thinking before speaking.

Say something about yourself

Leo (July 23- Aug 22)

You are brilliant at finding ways to be constructive. Later almost every interaction you have is combative but you become happy on Friday.

Libra (Sept.23-Oct. 22) This week will be full of minor victories, everyday normal setbacks, but will turn quickly into all about relationships. You seem in control of your life towards the end of the week.

Rebecca Yohannaes senior

“I’m funny because of my mom because, I don’t know, it runs in the family. I don’t really try to be funny, but I guess because I’m weird people just think that’s funny.

Hannah Shartel sophomore

Seth Tweneboa sophomore

Who would you most like to be? I would like to be Will Ferrell, even if he isn’t a current actor on SNL because he is hilarious and makes my day everytime I watch one of his movies or one of his skits

I would see myself in the skits that make fun of celebrities, especially the one with Miley Cyrus because they’re funny and everybody can get a good laugh from it.

What’s your best joke? What did one ocean say to the shore? Nothing, they just waved.

host honor that episode, but whens enough? Although, some people are more adapt to change than others and like the new cast along with the new skits and ideas. “I think the new cast is funny because they bring something new to the show and the recruiters of SNL are selective in the people they choose to be on their show. And so far, some new cast like Brooks Wheelen stand out and add their personality into the show.” junior Lee Hayes said. Hopefully the season will turn around soon and the rookies will get the ropes of the show as well as more ideas will come to the writers as they plan the skits.

Who would you most like to be? I would be like an Amy Poehler because she is really weird and sarcastic and I see myself like that.

What skit do you see yourself best in? I don’t know exact skits but I see myself acting in entertainment skits, like music and movies. Just to make fun of it.

What your best joke? Who would you most like to be? Definitely Andy Samburg because I feel like I have the same body language as him and like the way he performs with his body.

What skit do you see yourself best in? Weekend Update and I would be Stefan because I think it’s just really funny and it would be fun to act like that. And I really like to improv.

What’s your best joke? My life.

James Barker senior

Who would you most like to be?

What skit do you see yourself best in?

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used to be the most popular artist on each show every week, and now SNL is resorting to the bands or artists that no one knows about, because again, it seems like they are running out of ideas. Ranging from the popular Katy Perry, to a not so popular band, the new Arcade Fire; SNL has gone down in ratings from the cast in 2010. For as long as it’s been on the air, celebrities always claim that it is an honor to be asked to host SNL. But how many time should one person host it? Last season, SNL featured a skit called the “5-timers club” and it featured the celebrities that have hosted SNL 5 or more times. The most recent inductee, Justin Timberlake, received the 5 time

Who would you most like to be?

People will be driving you crazy, so try to hang out with people you adore. Near the end of the week try and take your time with things, and don’t jump head first into anything.

Virgo (Aug.23-Sept.22)

Seth Meyers and cast member, Cecily Strong are featured on the Weekend Update skit as Seth Meyers gets ready to retire from Saturday night Live. Strong will take over this skit when Meyers leaves to host the show Late Night Television.


Taurus (Apr. 20-May 18)

You will have a struggle with someone and not seeing eye to eye. But try to focus on whether or not you’re in the right and just listen to what others are saying. The end of the week is full of plain lessons in odd packages.

the job, it will honestly never be the same. Many of the new actors and actresses try way too hard to be funny and make the entire skit awkward. Seth Meyers, main anchor of one of SNL’s skits “Weekend Update” has recently been introduced with one of the new rookies as a coanchor with Meyers. Which many viewers believe is foreshadowing to Meyers’ retirement from SNL due to his announcement of hosting Late Night (a late night television talk show). The new actors and actresses include Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon,Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Brooks Wheelan and more. As well as the cast changing drastically, it seems that the SNL writers have run out of ideas for each skit, as well as Weekend Update. Each week, the cast and writers of SNL put something together that is decent enough to watch, but will never be as good as it once was. Recently, skits have relied heavily on what’s going on in the present day world, and between the government shutdown or celebrities going insane, SNL has done a poor job covering the news in a lighthearted and funny manner. Another major issue with the new season is the lack of popular and decent music choices. SNL has musical guests on their show that no one knows about and that doesn’t even perform well. There



Nov. 13th, 2013

Will Ferrell because he’s awkward and hilarious and he isn’t afraid to do something stupid and doesn’t care what people think about him.

What skit do you see yourself best in? I see myself in skits where they impersonate people because it’s really funny and I do impersonations really well.

Why did the scientist install a knocker on his door? He wanted to win the No-bell

Who would you most like to be? I would be like Amy Pohler because she is really weird and sarcastic and I see myself like that.

What skit do you see yourself best in? I would be like an Amy Pohler because she is really weird and sarcastic and I see myself like that.

Say something about yourself. I would be like an Amy Poehler because she is really weird and sarcastic and I see myself

Ashley Ngyuen freshman

Who would you most like to be? I would be the fat black guy because he is fat and black and my personality can relate to his a lot. He is absolutely hysterical.

What skit do you see yourself best in? In the weekend update skits because they’re really funny and sarcastic. But I probably won’t be able to keep a straight face through it though.

What’s your best joke? “What did the Dr. prescribe a pig? Oinkment.”

What’s your best joke? Cody Reagan junior

Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 “ate” 9 Lewis Folli senior


Nov. 13, 2013

Is movie hopping ethical? YES

BY AYAH OWEIS Entertainment Editor

A new movie preview comes onto the screen and you are immediately intrigued and are already marking your calendar for its release date. When the time finally comes and the new movie is released, you are disappointed. The movie is a dud and you are stuck $12 poorer than you were when you first walked in. Only two theaters down, there is also a newly released movie that you were also hoping to see. You are stuck glaring at Sandra Bullock and George Clooney floating around in space in the movie Gravity, unamused, while you debate whether or not you should switch theaters. You hear the laughter coming from two theaters down where people are watching Bad Grandpa. Switch. Just go watch the other movie. After paying $12 for the ticket and $5 for the overpriced popcorn, you deserve to enjoy those two hours you paid an arm and a leg for. Movie ticket prices are now at an all time high. Five years ago, ticket prices were $7; now they are $10, if not more. Some theaters even have ticket prices as high as $15. As for the movie theaters, they aren’t even affected by movie hopping. When a movie first comes out, production companies pay theaters to screen a movie for a certain amount of time . Once the movie is released, the theaters get only 10% of money made from ticket sales, which is barely $2. Many compare movie hopping to stealing but it is not as serious; if you are caught movie hopping, the only thing the movie theaters can do is escort you out of the theater or ban you, at most. The only time movie hopping should be considered as stealing is when someone watches three full movies when they only bought one ticket.



Many teenagers buy one movie ticket and end up watching an entirely different movie than the one they payed for. While many wait until the next weekend, others sneak into a different theater without paying. Movie-hopping seems like the cool thing to do. In reality, it is similar to watching an illegal downloaded movie online. Directors and producers spend a great amount of money making a movie every year. They lose profit when teenagers begin to watch their movies for free. Filmmakers lose cash inflow because it is a sort of movie theft. The average amount it takes to make a major studio movie is $65 million. Most filmmakers and producers regain that money through ticket sales. Movie hopping cheats the producers and filmmakers and their companies out of millions and in the end really hurts their company. Teenagers tend to movie hop for many reasons, some being that they want to fit or that they do not have enough money to pay for another ticket. When most people movie hop, they sneak around or hide out in the bathrooms to avoid getting caught. The moral in this is that it is basically stealing as you watch a movie for free. I believe that movie theater security should be strict because movie hopping, in the end, affects a lot of people and is completely unethical. The fact that most people who movie hop do it secretly and discreetly should show that it should be illegal and have harsher consequences.

Every girl’s worst nightmare a reality Famous trio, the Jonas Brothers, have announced their split The Jonas Brothers are officially a thing of the past. The now grown up heartthrobs took a hiatus and returned last summer with a new album, new tour and a whole new look. Their newly revived popularity was however short lived. With loads of rumors circulating, the brothers finally broke down and formally announced that the Jonas Brothers are over. “The boys did so well at their concert this summer,” senior Kelcie Chandler said. “I was not expecting them to break up at all.” This past summer, the Jonas Brothers played at Jiffy Lube Live. Many expected the concert to be a dud since they had been out of the business for so long but they proved everyone wrong. They have been in the entertainment industry for so long that many, like Chandler, believed that their return was for good. The trio started off as just the youngest brother, Nick, launching his solo career. Soon after, his older


BY AYAH OWEIS Entertainment Editor

The Jonas Brothers’ decision to break up broke the hearts of their many fans all around the world.

brothers Kevin and Joe joined him to form the Jonas Brothers trio. Soon after the release of their first album, It’s About Time. The brothers’ angelic voices and squeaky-clean image appealed to Disney owned record label, Hollywood Records, who signed the brothers. After signing with Hollywood Records, the trio quickly gained fame and were introduced into numerous Disney shows, movies along with

other Disney artists, like Miley Cyrus. Soon enough, the brothers were gracing the covers of big-name magazines such as People and Rolling Stones. However, their quick rise to fame was short-lived. In 2009, Nick decided to go solo and create Nick Jonas and the Administration; the eldest brother, Kevin, also went his own way and got married to longtime girlfriend Danielle Deleasa which led to the boys

taking a hiatus. In 2012 the boys returned from their hiatus for their Jonas Brothers World Tour and their Jonas Brothers Live Tour in 2013. They came back with new singles including, First Time and Pom Poms, from the V album. Chandler has been to five Jonas Brothers concerts and was planning on continuing to attend their future concerts before their cancellations. “I am extremely sad about the Jonas Brothers breaking up,” Chandler said. “I have been a fan for a long time.” The Jonas Brothers officially confirmed their split to People magazine in a recent interview. Lighthearted brother, Kevin seemed optimistic saying that the split was a “unanimous decision” and that it was over “for now”; Nick was more serious and upfront about the situation saying he felt “kind of trapped” in the band. “I honestly never really liked the Jonas Brothers,” senior Travis Swann said. “I didn’t think they were that good.” Although Swann never listened to the Jo Bros much, many other students were and will continue to be fans of the heartthrobs. “I understand and respect their decision to do projects on their own,” Chandler said.


Movie tickets: By the numbers


Average price of movie tickets as of 2012. This is the highest it has ever been.


Cost of the most expensive movie ticket , which is in Zurich, Switzerland.


Time, in the afternoon, when matinee ends and prices of tickets go back up.

$3 $21 $12

Amount added to the regular price of a movie ticket for an IMAX ticket.

Amount saved when you buy an AMC Stubs membership every year.

Cost of AMC Stubs membership per year.


Weeks until a movie is recycled to a local dollar theater.


Months until a movie is released on DVD.

Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair returns

Alternate Histories: Vintage art embellished with zombies and robots giving the art a sci-fi twist.

Bmore Papercuts: Artist Annie Howe creates original papercut work cut only with an exacto knife.

Reminiscing on the best of the Jo Bros “My favorite Jonas Brothers song is ‘Year 3000’. I really like their voices.”

— Ramata Sesay Freshman

“I liked ‘SOS’. It was really catchy. I liked their voices.”

— Natalie Jones Sophomore

“‘SOS’ is my favorite song because it’s a twist on an average break-up song. It is upbeat and fun to blast while driving around.”

“‘Burnin Up’ is my favorite. It’s a classic Jonas Brothers song and was my favorite song when I was in middle school.”

— Nyillah Yansaneh Junior

— Allie Vogus Senior

AMC fanatic visits Halloween Horror Editor In Chief Destiny Gammon takes a trip to Florida to visit a popular Halloween attraction


BY DESTINY GAMMON Editor In-Chief After 6 pm, Universal Studios becomes overrun with smoke, blood and zombies as their annual Halloween Horrors began. For 23 years, Universal Studios in Orlando has been haunting guests from all over the world with their Halloween themed nights throughout the month of October. For the first time ever, this month long event stretched into November, giving me the chance to attend. When the night began, I walked the course of the park in search of Haunted houses to choose from, depending on their varying levels of horror. Rides that are active during the day are

Gammon and her younger brother, Ryan pose with one of the cars used on the Walking Dead set

shut down and transformed into these gory and bloody attractions that are themed after movies. This year, the movies included Evil Dead, Cabin in the Woods, La Llorona and the recently recreated classic, An American Werewolf in London.

Adorn and Conquer: Artist Maria Fomich from New Orleans uses metalsmithing to create heartfelt jewelry, dogtags, etc.

Other houses included Resident Evil, Havoc 2: Derailed and Afterlife, but my personal favorite was AMC’s The Walking Dead. For the first time, Universal Studios partnered up with AMC’s popular zombie- themed show in

order to recreate various scenes from the series. Although many of the zombies were park attendants during the daytime, some of the zombies within the attraction were from the show itself. While most movies were designated one haunted house, The Walking Dead was also granted an additional attraction calling “Street Walkers” which consisted of zombies that were roaming around various blocks of the entire park. As I was walking through the smoky dark streets, Walkers would pop out of every corner, making me and everyone around me scream. Each haunted house utilized its own special effects that made it original such as black lights, moving walls, loud noises and music to enhance the visitor’s experience. Although the Halloween Horrors portion was $51 dollars extra for the Stay- and- Scream ticket, which meant you paid for a park ticket during the day, and $91 for a regular ticket, every dollar was well worth it and anyone who enjoys attending theme parks during the Halloween season should attend.

Natural Pop: Chinese-Filipino artist Anne Marie Chua Lee brings sketchbook drawings come to life by transforming them into toys, clothing and accessories.

Magic Industrie: Handmade wallets and upcycled jewelry made from old books salvaged from libraries and second-hand booksstores.

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to read the review of We’re the Millers.

Upcoming Events in the area

What: Capitals vs. St. Louis Blues Game When: 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov.17 Where: Verizon Center

What: ICE! 2013 When: Nov.15 - Jan. 5 Where: Gaylord National Resort

What: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire When: Nov. 22 Where: Visit a movie theater near you

What: Alexandria Turkey Trot When: 9 a.m. on Nov. 28, 2013 Where: George Washington Middle School

What: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Concert When: 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 Where: Verizon Center

2014 class bulletin Stay tuned for Class of 2014 merchandise to go on sale!

Graduation countdown: 216 days! Regular Decision for most Virginia schools is Jan. 1

The Phillips Collection On your smartphone, scan the code using the application “QR code” to view an exclusive story about the Van Gogh exhibit at The Phillips Collection.

Nov. 13, 2013

Under the Influence vs. Above the Influence BY JAMES BARKER Special to the A-Blast

BY ANONYMOUS SENIOR Special to the A-Blast I started drinking my freshman year of high school. At the time my older brother was a senior and he would take me to parties, or let me drink at the parties he threw at our house. He used to tell me that it was better to start drinking early and learn how to drink in a smart way rather than dive into it with no experience. He would limit me to only two beers at the parties and never let me drink liquor. From around the first week of summer going into sophomore year until halfway through my junior year I got drunk once or twice a weekend, every weekend. And when I say drunk, I mean drunk. I’ve blacked out over ten times, and I can’t even count the times I’ve thrown up from drinking. I’ve drank during school and school events. But I’ve never gotten into any legal trouble. At first I used to take my parents liquor, but later on I started paying people with fake ID’s to get me handles of liquor from the ABC stores. I guess I drink so much because it’s a kind of escape for me. I’m naturally an extremely stressed person and when I drink I become worry free, it’s a freeing feeling for me. Despite what my brother tried to teach me, I’ve done some stupid stuff while intoxicated. One time I decided to throw a smallish party at my house. I had about thirty people over, around 9 p.m. By 9:30 p.m. I was belligerent and ended up passing out upstairs while the party went on. When I woke up the next morning, a $300 lamp was broken as well as a $400 chair. My parents were furious when they saw the damage, but I covered up the party and they never found out. Another time I got really drunk at a party and the cops showed up. I started to run away but I forgot that I was on a patio so I fell three feet off of it and face planted into the dirt. Instantly I felt a lot of pain in my foot but I didn’t want to get caught so I kept running. I hopped a fence and fell once again and got a ride from my friend who was drunk. We sped off and he drove us to another party. The next day when I went to my lacrosse game I realized I couldn’t run. It turned out that I had sprained my ankle. It had to be wrapped and rested for three weeks. I always say that I’m not going to drunk drive or get into the car with a drunk driver, but once I have alcohol in my system I don’t care. The fear of getting caught by my parents or missing my curfew always seems to come first. Another bad night was my birthday night. I drank so much that I threw up all over myself, dropped my phone in a toilet, and woke up in a bathtub completely unaware of what happened and where I was. Despite these terrible experiences with drinking, I still do it. I always tell myself I’m done with it, but at the end of a long week of school, all I want to do is go out and get drunk with my friends. My best friends have been arrested multiple times, but I don’t really care. In my opinion I should be allowed to drink. I’m 18 years old, get good grades, and have a job. Looking back, I definitely regret drinking at such a young age but I feel like I’m responsible enough now to have a drink or two.

I have been offered to drink on numerous occasions, each time politely refusing. I have been laughed at because of my choice, which in my opinion, is a really immature thing to make fun of. Other than the basic reasons, like obeying the law, my decision to not drink comes down to having real relationships with people. I want to know and come to love a person, not for what alcohol makes them, but who they truly are. Alcohol impairs a person’s cognitive thinking, making them act like a person they normally aren’t. Another reason I choose not to drink is I want to remember my life fully. Many people use the term ‘YOLO’ as an excuse to do whatever they want, which is the worst decision a young person can make. If you only live once, then why screw it up? My dad has a really cool tradition. He takes his kids out on their 21st birthday and buys them their first drink. All of my older siblings have stayed dry up until then, and I don’t plan on breaking that tradition. A couple of years ago I was invited to a friend’s party. When I got there I saw that a good number of people had begun to drink. I felt out of place and really wanted to leave, so a friend and I both left and did something else. I do not fully understand why teenagers drink. It doesn’t make you cool and it doesn’t help your life. Studies have shown that many alcoholics began drinking in high school, if not before then. Many students drink in an effort to fit in and be hip. I have been told that I am stupid because I don’t drink. I have friends and I know who I am, so obviously drinking does not instantly make you cool. All it does is give you a killer headache and beer belly. This being said, the Barkers still party hard. Ask anyone who has gone to a party at the Barker household and they will say they had a great time. And the great time they had will be remembered forever because nobody passed out. Every year my family hosts many parties, including movie marathons and a New Year’s Eve party. Recently we hosted a Halloween party and many of my friends attended. We had a costume contest, carved pumpkins, destroyed a pinata, bobbed for apples, watched a scary movie, and drank lots and lots of root beer and ginger ale. The biggest party of the year to take place at our humble abode is our annual Christmas Caroling Party. We have had up to 90 people at this event where we all walk through my neighborhood singing Christmas music for our neighbors. If everyone was inebriated, we probably wouldn’t even make it out the door to sing. Everyone had a great time at these parties for many reasons and I believe the main reason is because nobody drinks. I have had a really fun life with lots of friends, and not one moment have I been under the influence of alcohol. Drinking does not make you cool and does not solve your problems. The next time you are bored on a weekend, call me up and we will have the time of our lives that you WILL remember.

Drinking statistics through 2013 Fairfax County youth survey 62% of 12th graders reported ever drinking alcohol

18% of 12th graders reported binge drinking

34% of youth who have ever used alcohol reported first use by age 12

9% of youth over the age of 16 have driven a car after they had been drinking

22 % of students don’t believe that there are health risks from drinking daily

On your smartphone, scan the code using the application “QR code” to view more information about underaged drinking in Fairfax County.

Atoms can’t put down the can Students and teachers reflect on drinking trends at Annandale BY PRIYA ADHIKARY AND GABY CAMILLI Weekend Editors “Chug, chug, chug, chug!” It’s Friday night and your best friend’s parents are out of town. Fifty plus kids from your school showed up with cases of beer and liquor ready for the night. The keg is set up in the corner, the girl from your algebra class is already throwing up in the bathroom, and half-naked girls are dancing on the table top. Although this is the image that the media has created of the average high school weekend night, does it really hold truth at Annandale? “Drinking is a common thing at Annandale. I think students drink alcohol to relieve their stress and have a good time with their friends,” senior Nick Torrico said. “It really is not that hard to obtain alcohol as a minor, you just have to know the right people.” These Friday night scenes usually end with massive regret, a massive hangover, or an even more massive lawsuit, so why do kids still insist on drinking? What is the appeal of something that so often ends with a negative outcome? “I think students drink mainly because of peer pressure,” junior Meg Hua said. Drinking has always been a prominent aspect of the American culture, especially amongst adolescents. But what has perhaps been the biggest change in regards to drinking, is society’s view of it. This idea that you have to drink to be “cool” has become more and more common in high school. Kids drink not because they want to, but because they feel like they have to. Too often teens forget that they have the option to simply say “no.” “It’s not lame to not drink because that’s a choice the person made and it’s respectable. I think people think that if they drink it’ll make them cool but it doesn’t,” junior Lee Hayes said. Beyond peer pressure, there are many other factors that cause kids to turn to alcohol for fun. “I almost think the allure of it is actually

stronger when you’re underaged and it has just gotten to the point where that’s like the cool thing to do. It has almost become a reverse stigma because drinking underage is not supposed to be a good thing, but to them its the cool thing to do,” English teacher Julia Hanneman said. In a hurry to grow up, many kids resort to drinking to make them feel more mature. “It could also be high school kids exposure to college life and how drinking is much more acceptable there,” English teacher Carmen Bartley said. “So I feel like maybe as kids get into later high school years they’re preparing for college.” Since alcohol is age restricted, kids who drink underage feel like they’re older when



WEEKEND The truth about Friday nights

they drink. But participation in such activities requires responsibility and maturity, which isn’t exactly common in the average teenager. Since teenagers turn to drinking before they can handle it, they often feel more negative effects. “More and more kids seem to be forgetting that you can have fun without drinking,” Hanneman said. For many students, drinking is merely a way to become more social. The idea of “liquid courage” creates an appeal to students who are more shy. Students find themselves doing things they would never had thought about doing while sober, these things both good and bad. “I have heard of way too many stories of people being drunk. The craziest one is probably this one time where someone I knew was intoxicated to the point where he believed he was a drug dealer so he tried to sell drugs to a police officer,” Torrico said. In many European countries, the age for drinking is 18 or lower, yet binge drinking isn’t as common in such places. Perhaps it is the American “culture of excess” that leads people to drink until they are vomiting or passed out. Or it is the idea of doing something you aren’t allowed to do that draws them in. Whatever it is, students have tendencies to go beyond their limit and not be responsible when it comes to alcohol. It has gotten to the point where kids don’t drink to sip, they drink to get drunk. “Binge drinking is definitely a problem at Annandale. Before football games and at parties, some of my friends drink to get drunk, and some even pass out,” senior Jocelyn Hotter said. Drinking at such a young age has many consequences beyond the obvious legal ones. “If you look at the statistics of people that get addicted, the younger you start with things the more likely it is [to get addicted],” social studies teacher Holly Miller said. At the end of the day, high school is all about making new friendships and experiences that you can remember and cherish for the rest of your life, not forget the next day. Never forget that you always have the option to just say “no.”

Issue 4  

the a-blast