bulks Arts looks at how Academics up on its military
student artists turn their passion into payday.
International nal takes a na look at how the crisis in Japan has affected students udents and their families here.
InDepth InD n explores the history of freedom of religion in the United States - how does AHS stack up?
knowledge and takes a look at students in the Armed Forces.
Sports Xtra investigates March Madness betting within the school.
ANNANDALE HIGH SCHOOL
the VOLUME #56 ISSUE 9
4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003
Informiing the Atoms siince 1954 4
TUESDAY MARCH 29, 2011
Epidemic of the apathetic
School spirit wanes as few participate in pep rallies, spirit days and school events
Senior Grace Franjie, this year’s SGA President, addresses the crowd during the Pep Rally. Despite Leadership’s extensive efforts, many students are less than enthusiastic about pep rallies,
Track stars earn All-American SGA elections BY SAMIR SHAH Staff Writer
Guitar concert held The Guitar Club raised $350 through a concert held last Friday, March 25. The event began at 7 p.m. and featured artists playing instruments from classical guitar to the banjo. Admission was $5.
Report cards released Bile
“All-American” continues on page 17
Despite the 2011-12 school year being several months away, newly elected SGA officers are wasting no time getting things started. Junior Samir Shah will serve as the president and junior Lena Nour as the vice president for the 2011-2012 school year, with juniors Tatiana Niang, Kelly Goodison and Sally Ablimona on the executive board. These students will also serve on SAC next year to represent AHS at the Fairfax County Student Advisory Council cluster meetings, which are held once a month, along with one student as an alternate who has not yet been determined. “Next year we will make sure that not only the president puts effort in, but the executive board members have equal rights and responsibilities and put in effort as well. I personally will ensure that everyone in the executive board will be
COURTESY OF MAHA SHAH
The Annandale Christian Community for Action will be awarding a scholarship to one senior who is making a difference. Nomination forms can be found in the Student Services office and are due April 18.
Junior Samir Shah will serve as the SGA President for the 2011-2012 school year. Many know Shah from his job on the afternoon announcements.
helping to make next year successful,” junior Tatiana Niang said. SGA focuses on running our school by planning and coordinating events or activities and raising school spirit for the students. SAC advises the school board and ultimately the Superintendent on decisions for the county and provides AHS’s view on certain issues. “SGA profiles” continues on page 5
Juniors scramble to find funds for Prom Class still $500 short on downpayment BY REBECCA MALZAHN News Editor
Visit www.thea-blast.org for a look at student diversity in and around the school and community.
BY COLLEEN ADENAN Staff Writer
The gun sounds, and the runners for the National 800m race are off. AHS’s star mid-distance runner and Virginia State Champion for the 1000 meter race, Ahmed Bile, starts off at a brisk pace, securing a position behind 3 other runners. After the first 400 meters, Ahmed makes his move, sprinting to 1st place. He knows that if he can just hold on, the title will be his. Every step, every breath, every stride cuts into his stamina, and his legs starts to buckle. His whole season coming to a close in less than two minutes, and all he can do is keep running. He closes his eyes and gives it all he has got, collapsing at the end of the race. Bile finishes in third, securing All-American Status. It is not often that you see two athletes granted All-American status from the same school - much less from the same sport and season. But Bile and senior JP Jenkins have done just that. All-American status for the indoor track season is achieved by placing top six in the entire nation. At the New Balance Indoor National Meet in New York City on March 11, Bile competed in the 800 meter run, while Jenkins sprinted the 60 meter hurdles. As the only athletes from AHS, they represented our school well with Bile placing third overall in the nation in the 800 with an amazing time of 1:51.96 and Jenkins placed fourth overall in the nation in the 60 meter hurdles, with a time of 7.33 seconds.
ACCA Scholarship nominations due
April 1 is the final day of third quarter. There will be a teacher workday on April 4, where students do not have to attend school. Report cards will be released shortly after.
Leadership students run for office, junior Samir Shah wins presidency
Junior Ahmed Bile and senior JP Jenkins earn third and fourth in the nation for indoor track
Prom is a time to forget about school and celebrate the end of senior year. It is a statement and a day most teenagers look forward to and hope to remember for the rest of their lives. But for the class of 2012, Prom may not be a night they will want to remember. This year, the class of 2012 has been focusing on one word: money. At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, the junior class only had a total of approximately $600 saved up from the previous two years combined. But with the pressure of their of senior
year vastly approaching, realization that the class is nearly broke is finally sinking in. Especially considering that the $2,000 down payment for Prom, which is most likely to be held at The Waterford Hotel, as many senior classes have done in past years, is due in about a week. Although the official due date is undecided, the class needs to gather the money as soon as possible. At the beginning of March, the class had approximately $900, due to a few minor fundraising events and winning the Homecoming float event. However, it was not until this month that the 2012 class Student Government Association (SGA) decided to really step their game up and start chaotically fundraising. And in this nearly complete month alone, the SGA and class have been “Juniors” continues on page 5
Top Class Fundraisers
The school board voted to refund the approximately two million dollars it has collected in AP/IB fees on March 25. According to the FCPS news release, parents and guardians who have already made payments will be notified by mail in early April and all refunds will be completed by the end of April.
“Spirit” continues on page 5
FCPS to refund IB Fees
The sound of AHS students yelling during a pep rally can be like a roaring waterfall…or not. Pep rallies are held so that the athletes can be recognized and students can get excited for the upcoming sports seasons. Yet most students that go to the pep rally are uninterested and only glad that they get to leave their classrooms. “[The pep rallies] are really boring. It’s always the same thing; make it different,” senior Kelly Huarnez said. “It’s the same people. People from the audience should be involved. We just sit here and watch,” senior Natalia Teran said. Pep rallies usually follow the format of each class first being asked to yell as loud as they can to show their spirit. Next, the teams for each sport of that season (fall, winter, spring) are introduced and varsity athletes from each team come out and are recognized in
front of their peers. The pep rally usually ends with some competitions like relays between the various sport teams and coaches. “I don’t think that people care anymore. The pep rally this year compared to the one last year was boring. Schools should encourage more kids to have school spirit. [Spirit] is important because it lets other rival schools know that we support our school. School spirit this year is definitely lower than last year. Doing group activities with our classes would increase the spirit levels in our school,” sophomore Laila Sayed said. “People aren’t involved, which doesn’t allow them to have the feeling of pride in their school,” sophomore Harris Fitzgerel said. “I think that the SGA and leadership students should ask students to give their ideas. If there was more student involvement, students would be more excited to see their peers.” There are about 25 Leadership students that organize spirit
Girls Varsity Lacrosse Record: 4-4
BY KL HOANG Staff Writer
This option is especially popular during the warm spring and summer months - on a good day, a group can earn upwards of $700. However, time slots tend to fill up fast and need to be reserved early.
This year, many classes have made and sold bumper stickers as ways for students and parents to show their class pride. While individual stickers don’t cost much, the profits soon add up.
Another popular fundraising option taps into a student’s sweet tooth. Many clubs and classes sell various baked goods and other sweets outside the cafeteria or auditorium. Groups typically make around $50.
Should the U.S. be involved in the Libyan crisis? “The U.S. should not have been involved in the war because France and other neighboring countries are already trying to resolve it. If the U.S. gets even more into it, we’ll lose all our funding.” — Brian Kaong
“I don’t believe the U.S. should get as involved right now because Libya isn’t really posing that much of a threat to the U.S.”
— Harris Fitzgerel sophomore
“We shouldn’t get involved because the U.S. is already involved in Afghanistan, Iraq and now getting involved in Libya. Let them handle it themselves.”
March 29, 2011
Students can pick classes based on teacher types BY KELSEY PRICE Weekend Editor
It’s that time of year again: the time when signing up for a session with your counselor is as difficult as meeting with President Obama. The Student Services Office is packed with anxious freshmen, sophomores and juniors abuzz with questions on classes and credits, as well as seniors attempting to guide their young protégés in the right direction. Course selection season has officially begun. What many students fail to realize is that sometimes it’s not so much the level of a given course that can prove challenging the following year, but also the teacher. Let me begin by first stating how many wonderful teachers there are at AHS. It would be somewhat idealistic, however, to pretend that all of these teachers are without certain quirks and habitual tendencies that students find either endearing or infuriating. The Perpetual PowerPointer: This teacher relies solely on Microsoft PowerPoints to teach material in every class. They may attempt to “engage” students with flashy colors and spinning transitions, but fail to realize the damage they are causing to students’ precious retinas. While it certainly is entertaining to watch famous authors and historians zoom into view at 20 mph, the extremely volatile motions have little impact on students’ comprehension of the material. The Nicknamer: These teachers bypass the traditional names that students’ parents laboriously chose many years ago, in favor of their own concoctions. You’re likely to hear, “Dan the Man,” at least once a class along with some unoriginal rhymes (Anna Banana, Scary Carrie and others). There are a couple of reasons for this interesting trait. The first is that through the act of giving students nicknames, teachers gain access to the same inclusive feeling that comes with an inside joke; only the student, the teacher and the class understand. The second is far less emotionally driven. When a teacher can’t pronounce a students’ name, he or she gets a nickname. Problem solved. The Spielbergs: Unbeknownst to many at AHS, we have quite a few teachers who happen to be connoisseurs of film. Students adore these teachers as they can find an applicable movie or YouTube clip for whatever lesson they happen to be teaching that day. Monsters Inc? Sure, it relates to the theme of friendship in one of the books you were supposed to read this year. The latest song by Rebecca Black? It portrays a positive message that any student can achieve success with some hard work and a little bit of luck. Whatever the subject matter, these teachers will find a way to make it work. The Fashionistas: When movies fail to win over the hearts of students, this next group of teachers rely on their clothing get the job done. They wear stylish brands, trendy prints and always have the right accessories. Male
Greg Gripes &Pat Ponders Editorials Column
By Greg Nielsen and Pat McCann
—Miriam Jaradat senior
“No because we’re already seen as imperialists and getting involved just adds to that.”
— Maha Shah senior
“It is very positive that the U.S. is acting multilaterally with its allies instead of uni-laterally. However, we may be over-extending our military and contributing to a worsening of our budgeting problems at home.”
As two young gentlemen, we are quite familiar with the term ‘“awkward.” For years we have fought through situations that may have defeated lesser men. We are here to protect you from any awkward situations you may encounter in the future. Situation Numero Uno: The dreaded isolated hallway encounter. On the way through the hall for a refreshing splash of water, a series of unfortunate events confront you. First, the fountain is at the end of the hall. Second, so is your freshmen year English teacher closing in fast! As the distance diminishes, the awkwardness increases. The decision to wave, head nod, or stop for a casual conversation dashes
recipient. Everybody has seen your hand motion upwards and if you do not do something fast then embarrassment is imminent. Solution: Play it off ASAP! Maybe a swarm of flies was attacking and you needed to defend yourself. Maybe you were checking the time. Do anything to avoid the awkwardness of the absent wave. Situation #4: Goodbye: Another cornerstone to awkward interactions is the goodbyes. As conversation trails off to an anti-climatic end, someone needs to take control and end the talk before things get hairy. After exchanging final remarks and possibly a hug, you move to go your separate ways. But when you realize you are both leaving in the same direction, the awkward levels spike. Solution: If you find yourself in this treacherous predicament, do not panic. Immediately look for an alternative route or a friend to talk with. If all else fails, run like the dickens to escape the inevitable awkwardness that would surely follow. We hope that these how-to tips will help you to avoid future uncomfortable situations. And remember, it is only awkward if you make it awkward.
Rule of Thumb Bride orders life size cake for wedding A bride renewing her vows ordered a cake that was an exact replica of herself. The cake replica included a wedding gown and a veil. Rule: A wedding is supposed to be about the bride.
92 year-old woman opens fire on a man’s home
Helen B. Staudinger, 92, opened fire on the home of a man who refused to kiss her. Rule: Never disappoint granny, you’ll be asking for trouble.
Drunk driver crashes while sexting
—Thomas Chorman physics teacher An intoxicated bus driver Phernando Cuello lost control of his car and crashed while he was trying to send a sext.
Go to the web to read an opinion about Pokémon. www.thea-blast.org
students may not notice (much less care), but female students appreciate every extra minute these teachers spend in the mornings making themselves look presentable for their classes. These teachers must be cautious of dressing too closely to their teenage counterparts. We don’t want to see your undergarments any more than you want to see ours. The Granola Munchers: In contrast to the teachers on trend, these could care less about style, as long as their clothing is made from 100 percent organic cotton, burlap, or hemp. They carry around aluminum water bottles rather than plastic and deduct points on students’ quizzes when they find they have not properly recycled their waste paper. To survive the year in a class like this, it is recommended that you join the Green Atoms Club or casually mention that your community service hours involved cleaning up a local park. Whether or not your teacher falls into any of the aforementioned categories, remember that you, the student, are ultimately in control of your academic career. While it’s important to be wary of specific traits that teachers may possess, don’t take any advice from upperclassmen too seriously. Take the courses that you are interested in, work hard and everything else should just fall into place. So don’t worry, “Dan the Man,” you’ll get through next year watching The Lion King in your math class after your stylish teacher concludes her superfluously detailed PowerPoint with the lights off to conserve energy. Attitude is everything.
through your head. Too late. You are now side by side with only awkward eye contact. Solution: A casual “How do you do?” should suffice. Begin the conversation approximately 15 paces before intersecting, giving plenty of time for further small talk. Situation #2: Who to wave to. Friends come and go in high school. From sports teams to freshman history class, you have made many acquaintances. There in lies the problem. You have talked before but not in a long time or maybe you hung out over the weekend with a not so familiar friend. Do I wave, smile, or simply ignore these people as we pass through the hall? Solution: Small acknowledgements can work wonders. Do not be afraid to exchange a friendly gesture. Do not by any means attempt to neglect the fact you saw them because, lets be honest, we all know you saw them. Situation #3: The Miscommunication: In a daze, you amble through the corridors of Annandale on the way to your next class, when all of the sudden a generic “hello” and a wave are sent in your direction from a cluster of students. Your eyes light with excitement and you respond with enthusiasm before realizing that you were not the intended
—Mary Richardson history teacher
“Gaddafi is killing innocent civilians, the U.S. executed the UN Security Council’s decision. It’s not just the U.S., but several other countries as well. Enforcing the no-fly zone was a good thing to support the rebels who were being killed.”
Science teacher Kim Becraft utilizes PowerPoints to instruct her class effectively.
How to avoid awkward hallway encounters
— Md Mohaiminul Islam junior
“I disagree with the involvement because there might be consequences that Libya will have to face and the U.S. will have to be associated with them. I disagree with the protest to begin with.”
EDITORIALS Which teachers make the grade?
Rule: Never sext while driving under the influence.
Staff Editors In Chief: Emily Fruchterman David Hookey
Lifestyles Editors: Jennifer Allshouse Erin George
Managing Editor: Ndidi Obasi
Health Editors: Gessica Azzam Katie Vu
Editorials Editors: Nasiha Rashid Jeff Shim
Photography Editors: Emma Barker Kristen Hennessey
Photographers: Rachel Bergen Sarah Bergen Carly Bouchard Helina Daniel Alexis Gunther Arthur McCafferty Lance Miller Isabel Villarroel-Teran
In-Depth Editors: Erin Johnson Katie Masters
Circulation Manager: Rachel Baker
Sports Editors: CJ Aftergut Jake Barnes
Art Editors: Jane Aman Jordan Aman
Sports Xtra Editors: Esra Gokturk Brenna O’Neill
Academics Editors: Nikki Contrino Tricia O’Neill
People Editors: Alley Adcock Kelsey Knoche
Copy Editors: Marwa Abdelaziz Rebecca Burke
Weekend Editors: Helena Belay Kelsey Price
Historian: Mariah Pollet Kida Gizaw
Staff Writers: Colleen Adenan Stephanie Allshouse Corinne Balicki Noah Fitzgerel Megan Flynn Hila Ghorzang Parker Gillcash Kate Grandchamp Brekhnaa Gull Becca Hendrickson Kim Long Hoang Natalie Johnson Wisna’odom Keo Elizabeth Kruse Alexa Lafferty Carli Loeb Kylee Nisker Ngan Pham Viviana Valle Rocha Samir Shah Rowan Shartel Jerald Sheppard Maria Suri
International Editors: Jayran Moridzadeh Haumaira Safi
Web Editor: Liz Wilson
Adviser: Alan Weintraut
News Editors: Annie Curran Rebecca Malzahn
Entertainment Editors: Mackda Dinberu Mary Anne Kavjian
Annandale High School 4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, Virginia 22003 email: email@example.com
Ad Managers: Rachel Coulter Daniel Park
Video Staff: Haben Berihun Alex Davalos William Labarca Gwen Levey Patrick McCann Greg Nielsen Vol. 56 No.9 March 29, 2011 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, 2011.
March 29, 2011
The media’s massive mistake What draws the media to scandalous individuals?
Media focuses on unnecessary celebrity news and fails to recognize more important societal issues.
Brown wrote on Twitter the day of his violent tantrum that people tend to “praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs” for their negative behavior. It’s true; the media does seem to glamorize the inappropriate behavior of celebrities by giving those types of stories big headlines and blowing the situation way out proportion for the sole purpose of entertainment. If these incidents were not focused on as much by the media, the audience would also have to ignore them and focus on more important news. Not to say that news pieces such as these should be ignored completely by the media, but perhaps the more serious news organizations should avoid reporting on stories that make the audience doubt their reputation. In short, CNN should not be re-
porting on the same things as People magazine. One of the messages the media may be sending out by paying so much attention to people like Sheen and Brown is that acting out is the best way to gain attention. Before the Sheen scandal, people at AHS rarely brought up the name Charlie Sheen or Two and a Half Men for the simple reason that teenagers didn’t really care about Sheen. The only reason his story appeals to them is because the comments he made were mildly amusing. If that is indeed the case, what is the point of the media making such a big deal out of him if not many cared about him to begin with? All it does is rewards celebrities who are clearly a bad influence by giving them so much attention and distracting people from news that affects their lives directly.
Witch-hunt for Muslim radicals? Hearings in the past few weeks do anything but find an answer to the radical issue BY NASIHA RASHID Editorials Editor
Forget about the Year of the Rabbit, this has become the year of the Scapegoat. 2011 has turned into a year of singling out Muslims residing in America in hopes of justifying the growing fraction of Islamic radicals in the country and abroad. Republican Rep. Peter King is the modern McCarthy. He created congressional hearings to target the source of Islamic radicalization in America and to address whether the community is doing enough to stop it. Senator Joe McCarthy did something along the similar lines in the 1940-50s but in contrast targeted, or rather, accused individuals working within the Government of being communists amid the Red Scare, perpetuating a fear among the citizens in this country. The issue of radicalization is minimal for Muslims in the U.S.
...the congressional hearings from last week are reinforcing Islamophobia among Americans.
Comparably, the congressional hearings from last week are reinforcing Islamophobia among Americans. What should startle many is the fact that Rep. King was a former proponent of the Terrorist Irish Republican Party, which deliberately killed people in Britain, and to his defense he stated that the IRA never attacked the U.S. If his rationale isn’t alarming, then his actions will most likely indicate his views. This is a modern day witch-hunt that many in the media
have compared to the Salem witch trials. To say that the Muslims living in America are doing little to assist in fighting terror in the states may be partially true. But the question would be why? After the Ground Zero Mosque caused an uproar this past summer, inciting anger within the ignorant and fermenting attacks across the nation on small town mosques, how else should Muslims act? In attempts to bridging communication with those in the community, the fear remains that their attempts will be reciprocated with hatred. In Annandale, the Mustafa Center does an exceptional job in building connections within the community as well as holding events that strive to provide an insight into the religion on the correct grounds. Mustafa Center is well known within the community and the events that were held in the past year or two have been focused on targeting the growing backlash within this country. “Calling All Heroes: The Middle Path & the Error in Terror”,
“Islamophobia”, “A platform of positive activism for the community’s young professionals” and “Talking Contemporary Issues” are only a few of the many events held. The Muslim community in Annandale prides itself in the effort they put into eradicating misconceptions and helping out the community as a whole. Holding volunteer activities such as Project Downtown and feeding homeless women at Muslimaat al-Nisaa, the Muslims in the Annandale area are doing exceedingly well to quell any semblance of radicalism in our youth. The ACLU is one of the several organizations that have joined in on the backlash in response to the hearings, indicating the fallacy in assuming that there is a connection between all American Muslims and Radicals. During the hearings,Senator Keith Ellison who is Muslim tearfully re-accounted the story of Mohammad Hamdani, a Muslim-American paramedic who was one of the many first responders to be killed on 9/11. Ellison, like many others, is expressing discontent over the singular focus on a specific religious minority in the United States. If Rep. King wants to fight radicalization among the youth in our country, he should first familiarize himself with the religion he is targeting and do a tour of mosques around the country to get their input. This way he might find his answer or a solution. It would be wrong to believe that there haven’t been young American men who have been lured in by radical teachings, because it is in fact true. But that only substantiates a very minimal but growing number. There are other means in which the government can target this issue. Taking a xenophobic approach negates the purpose of holding these congressional hearings. Slapping stereotypes on a group of individuals and their particular beliefs allows for discrimination, and for that matter these hearings will not accomplish anything other than playing a neverending cycle of the blame game. Now, if Rep. King were to hold hearings for the Jewish community or African-Americans, would the whole country not be in an uproar? What makes Muslims different?
By Noah Fitzgerel Everyday on the ride to school, I have made it a habit to glance at how much gasoline costs that day. If you partake in a similar ritual, you might have noticed a pattern that I have, which is, when the Middle East is in the headlines, the prices go up – and when the region is “calm,” those prices drop like a rock. Just recently, this theory proved true, with prices seemingly taking a sojourn from the roller-coaster it had been riding on after the BP oil spill disaster. However, those prices returned to the ride, rising as tensions in the Middle East were escalating into political turmoil and upheaval. For years, gas companies have claimed that these prices change in correlation to current events. Currently, gas companies are stating
that the situation in Libya is causing gas prices to rise. However, is this a legitimate claim, or are these companies doing what they do best: maximizing profits? According to Michelle Burdette and John Zyren of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the price per gallon you were paying for gas yesterday is proportional to the price the refineries paid for crude oil two-and-a-half months ago. That would mean that the gasoline you just purchased was bought by the refineries in mid-January, the point at which headlines were beginning to shed light on the turmoil in the Middle East. If the claims that the gas companies are making about the correlation between prices and the situation in Libya are true, one could conjure that they might have made a similar case during the upheaval of the Egyptian government. Well, that person would be correct. Companies claimed that the unrest occurring in the Middle East was going to cause an exponential rise in prices. The American population weighed this claim, kept buying gas, and the prices seemed to rise overnight.
Escalating oil prices: gas or pass? Noah’s Notes
Is it time for Charlie Sheen to disappear? “Yes, because his drug act is getting worse and the more he’s getting exposed to the media the worse he’s getting.”
BY MARWA ABDELAZIZ Copy Editor How many teenagers know all about Chris Brown’s temper tantrum on the Good Morning America show last Tuesday? Compare that number to the teenagers who know all about the potential nuclear meltdown in Japan that may affect the west coast of the U.S. The numbers for the latter would be significantly lower than the first. It’s no doubt that the last few weeks of news have been anything but slow. What’s concerning is how we live in an age of communication where events that occur on one side of the world can spread globally within a matter of minutes; yet most of the youth in America know more about the latest Charlie Sheen scandal than what is happening with their own government. Who is to blame? The youth for neglecting to keep up with all that has been going on, or the media for focusing more on these types of stories? Obviously the media wants to grab their readers’ attention through stories which they think are important to a specific target, but how can young adults and teenagers even decide what they think is important if they aren’t aware of all the choices? Many students at AHS are oblivious to the fact that the U.S. imposed a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17 but are fully knowledgeable about the etymology of the terms “tiger blood” and “bi-winning” which were coined by Sheen.
However, if the model that the EIA created is legitimate, then it would not be possible for prices to rise only days after a major world event. More importantly however, this answers our question in that these companies are simply maximizing a profit; and members of the AHS community are quite livid about this.
“Gas prices are outrageous right now! Hopefully prices will go down,” sophomore Brody El-Achi said. However, rising prices are not serving as a catalyst solely for anger, but for changing daily patterns. “I definitely try to carpool with friends now, because I’ve paid $80 to fill up a tank of gasoline,” senior Victoria Ko said. For some students, rising prices are beginning to make them reconsider driving. “It’s [bad], because it’s more expensive, and you’re more considerate of how much you drive, because you don’t want to waste gas,” junior Evelyn Jaramillo said. Why don’t the gas companies simply convey the truth, and state that the prices are a culmination of events that occurred months ago? One could venture to argue that it would be because if this was so, prices would be lower, therefore generating a lower profit for these companies. When all is said and done, for these corporations, it is the fiscal, not the social ramifications of the areas they are involved with that are important to them – and in the end, it only hurts the consumer, as many have felt while pumping gas recently.
“He’s a terrible actor and I couldn’t care less what happens to him.”
—Robert Truong sophomore
“Showcasing his meltdown on T.V. is getting old, find something new.”
— Eliad Gebrehiwot junior
“I feel like he’s hanging on to the publicity he’s making and the attention. He should just go to rehab.”
—Banna Gebremichael senior
How are the gas prices affecting you? “It’s limiting where I go in terms of school.” —Kunny Kou
“My dad doesn’t let me go anywhere unless it’s an emergency.” — Joyce Kim
“It’s a very big factor, my little sister asks my mom to take her to places and my mom says we need to cut down. It forces a lot of people to be conservative.”
— Ashton Johnson senior
“My friends stopped giving me rides because I have to pay for the gas.”
—Brian Le senior
“I’m considering carpooling with Ms. Hanneman to alleviate the costs.” —Catherine Gibson
NEWS Marching down Main St. U.S.A. March 29, 2011
NEWS BRIEFS Career and Job Fair today Students will be given the chance to explore possible future careers by viewing information on them, and learning about them inperson from professionals at the annual AHS Career and Job Fair. The event will take place today during both flexes. Classes that sign up to participate in time will be able to go to the fair.
Band and Orchestra perform in Disney World for Spring Trip Rehearsing piece after piece and day after day eventually paid off for the marching band and orchestra students who traveled to the “happiest place on earth” for their yearly musical spring getaway, this year to the warm and sunny Orlando, Florida. The two musical departments traveled alongside one another and set out for their five day trip on March 23. This year, two charter buses were hired to usher the students and staff to their separate Orlando hotels roughly 16 hours down the road. Marching Band and Orchestra students were given the rare opportunity to work with Disney performers and perform a variety of different Disney songs. The Orchestra performed in front of a live audience at the Epcot Center on Friday afternoon. The selections they played consisted of the songs Declaration, Mach of Meisersingers, Serenade for Strings Orchestra. The marching band performed while walking in the parade down Main Street at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park on Friday. “Students were excited and a bit nervous but they did a fantastic job,” Band Director Andrew Loft said. On Saturday, marching band members participated in the Disney “You’re Instrumental” workshop where a Disney musician conducted the students in a studio session. They were given a selection of music in which they had to sight read and then synced it with a Disney movie in an allotted amount of time. The producer recorded them playing “A Tale As Old As Time” from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and played it back to them over the original so they could spot the differences.
MYP Personal Project Fair All students, faculty and parents/guardians are invited to attend the upcoming MYP Personal Project Fair. Students participating in this event will display and formally present their individual MYP Personal Project, and view the projects of other students. The projects, presented by sophomores, have been developing over the course of two years. The event will be held on April 5 in the cafeteria.
Animal Shelter donations The Leadership and Resilency Program is asking the AHS community to help with their blanket drive for nearby Homeless Shelters. If interested in donating a blanket, drop it off in the Main Office.
COURTESY OF ALLIE NORRIS
BY KYLEE NISKER Staff Writer
Freshman Katie Pozdol (L) and senior Lydia Metz ride a racecar ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom after performing with color guard behind the marching band.
“It was a great opportunity to learn about the world of the professional musician and learn how to coordinate film with music,” Loft said. With Festival Disney, both the band and orchestra performed in hopes of receiving advice in advancing their instrumental skills while performing songs they enjoy. “I thought the trip was a great experience. We were given a lot of advice from several professors in music,” sophomore Connie Tran, a member of the violin section in the orchestra department, said. The trip was not all about performing and receiving ratings; the students also visited Disney Theme Parks during their stay. They visited Hollywood Studios on Thursday, Magic Kingdom on Friday and Epcot on Saturday in addition their performances. “It was a wonderful experience to travel with such outstanding students and musicians,” Orchestra Director Stephanie Lewis said.
College letters begin to arrive
Red Cross Club book drive
Seniors receive good and bad news this month
Used SAT and ACT review books are being collected by the Red Cross Club. Book donations can be given to either of the following teachers: Debbie Estes, John Hawes, Mary Richardson, Katherine Gould, Samantha Spinney, Thomas Chorman, Hee Chang Choi or Maureen Hunt.
BY NOAH FITZGEREL Staff Writer It is a daily recurrence nowFacebook statuses, “tweets” and increasing smiles emanating from seniors all signify one thing- it is finally that time, after months of anticipation. The answer, to many, is in the mailbox- is that packet fat or thin? A bright or dim future? Acceptance or rejection? In a few days, many will find out. At this point in time, there are many who have already learned their fate- whether through early acceptance, or a rolling admissions process. Many consider these seniors
Memory Brick Fundraiser The class of 2011 will be holding a fundraiser for students, staff and faculty, or alumni interested in buying a brick in front of Jock Lobby. The annual fundraiser, allows memebers of the AHS communtiy to leave their mark, by placing an engraved brick with their name on it on school property for all to see. Bricks will be sold for $50 each until June 3. Students can go to http://www.facebook.com/event. php?eid=214082361942601&ref=ts for more information and can buy their brick(s) by downloading the PDF file: http://www.mediafire. com/?w3ioxian2726scl. Seniors that order a brick by April 10 will be guranteed a place before graduation.
associate with the competitive aspect the “lucky ones.” “I’ve applied to a total of seven of applying to college- the sheer mass colleges, and I’m relieved. I got into of students who are all vying for a my second choice college, but I’m spot at their dream school. Many students share this anxious about hearing from my top choice on April 1,” senior Lynn Wu apprehension, as they come to terms with their competition. However, said. Many colleges have reported in retrospect, many seniors seem record application numbers- Harvard at ease about the system. “The process of getting University alone into college isn’t stated that as bad as you they received might think it approximately is, but there is a 35,000 filter system to applications —Lillian Singer see what they for about 2,200 senior want,” senior spots in the Margaret class of 2015. However, with decisions finally D’Amico said, who will be attending coming in, blood pressure is easing the University of Mary Washington. In fact, as the number of applicants off, as seniors come to face a decision that will decide their near future. is rising, universities are finding According to the College Board, ways to cut down on costs- including the administrator of the SATs, 1.6 acceptance and rejection letters. million college-bound seniors took the Many institutions are using electronic SAT last year. This number serves means to relay the message to seniors. as a basis for the feelings many “My applications were all online, I
It’s a relief to know where I’ll be next year
also got my acceptances online, and in the mail,” senior Jenna Balicki said, who will be matriculating to the University of Miami next year. In a school as large as the University of Miami, with over 10,000 undergraduate students, it seems that “digitalizing” the application process is the fiscally responsible choice. As the year wears on, seniors are learning every day of what choices they have for next year. With the official date for notification letters sent on April 1 for most colleges, many seniors are still waiting to hear the final verdict on the applications they sent in months ago. For those who have been accepted, many seniors feel they are finally able to rest. “It’s a relief to know where I’ll be next year, and to know that I am wanted somewhere,” reflected senior Lillian Singer, who will be going to the College of William & Mary.
Heritage Night proves to be lucrative Biggest event of the year nearly packs the theater
For further online content, such as the stories listed below, visit: www.thea-blast.org
COURTESY OF LIFETOUCH
COURTESY OF GRACE FRANJIE
BY CAROLA ROJAS Staff Writer
Chorus excels at competition By Megan Flynn, Staff Writer Freshman Alex Gonzalez sings “Esta Vida.”
The Masters of Ceremonies (MC’s) Benjamin Odom and Maxwell Talley presented the Banzai Crew out onto the stage for their last performance in their high school career. The crowd rised and cheered in excitement for one of the most anticipated performances of the night. The annual Heritage Night was on March 17, and had a total of 17 acts ranging from Punjabi dances to Martial Arts. “My favorite part was [that] the Banzai Crew had come back this year to perform, they were amazing,” junior Cynthia Quintanilla said. George Bennet, theater teacher and the artistic director of Heritage Night, was very pleased to have raised approximately $4,000. Although sales did not decrease or increase drastically from previous years, the event was nearly sold out. His main goal was to
make sure the show was technically flawless; last year the sound system had been quite a problem. “[The show] was wonderful, I was able to meet 110 students, 85 who were in the show and the rest who were helpers, it couldn’t have been possible without them,” Bennet said. Heritage Night coordinator and Librarian Janet Pfeiffer noted that this year, the event was packed with more members of the community then just the usual students, teachers and administrators. “The enthusiasm was overall great and it’s always exciting to see the graduates come back to watch the show,” Pfeiffer said. “Esta Vida,” sung by freshman soloist Alex Gonzalez, was a huge hit as a large portion of the audience sang along, cheered and clapped. Gonzalez is of Bolivian and Columbian decent and chose to sing a Mexican song because it had been re-made in Columbia. Sports were not always an option for Gonzalez, so he decided that participating in clubs and events such as Heritage Night would help him be more involved and let him share his culture. “Hearing the applause made me really proud,” Gonzalez said. “Plus I was actually surprised of the reaction I got back from the crowd.”
Students take National Latin Exam Students celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
By Wisna’ Odom Keo, Staff Writer
To further boost their college applications, 110 Latin students students took the National Latin exam (NLE), a voluntary test on March 17. Since 1983, the NLE has been an established part of the Latin world and AHS. “I took it because it only cost $4 and if I do well I could get an award,” sophmore David Vo said. Latin teachers believe that taking the NLE has many benefits. Academically, the exam looks good on college applications and awards are given afterwards for various categories. And as a personal benefit, some students just enjoy taking the test for the challenge. A student can be awarded for numerous things, from receiving a perfect paper to just taking the exam. According to nle.org, 942 seniors won gold medals for top scores and are now eligible for a $1,000 scholarship.
BY ALEXIS GUNTHER Staff Writer
By Mariel Rocha and Brekhnaa Gull, Staff Writers
A month in the modular
Benefits are gained, and results are waited upon
Mary Morgan’s IB Latin students turn in their National Latin Exam materials after taking the test on March 17.
“I don’t make it a requirement, but I use my power of persuasion, and that usually works pretty well here at AHS,” Latin teacher Mary Morgan said. The participation rate at AHS has vastly improved since the test was first given. “When I came to AHS in the school year 1990-91, we had a very small Latin enrollment, three very small classes, and only the ‘A’ students usually took the test,” Morgan said. “We are doing lots of worksheets and repetition and we have a ‘Fast Facts’ booklet with material
from the test,” sophomore Gabriel Kuhl said. “I felt I was well prepared for the test and feel the same about it this year.” “Some students excel at foreign language, just as some students are great in math or athletics or visual arts or music. So naturally, those people who excel at language studies have an opportunity to compete with other excellent language students around the world,” Morgan said.
March 29, 2011
Board looking at options N
Non-boundary options addressed as July decision becomes closer to reality
U.S. Military Academy to visit AHS The College Partnership Program will be hosting U.S. Military Academy Night for students interested in a military career. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on March 30 in Clausen Hall. ANNIE CURRAN
BY ANNIE CURRAN News Editor The School Board hosted a work session on March 14, to further discuss the options for the AHS boundaries. Each board member came prepared to debate the possible solutions the ad-Hoc committee recommended to ease the burden of the overcrowding at AHS. The meeting focused on the non-boundary options, which would not redistrict students from their neighborhoods. The school board has decided to move forward with a “dual track”, meaning boundary and non-boundary options will be considered at the same time. The staff has recommended option 1-A to move forward, which would not move 6th grade back into K-5 schools. Instead, Holmes would become 6-7 and Poe would become 8-9, which is a plan with more moderate costs. The next step includes supporting a boundary solution and an option for elementary school issue involving the Lacey site. After a vote, options 1-3 and 1-C were voted out of consideration. The first stated that Special Education students would be removed from AHS, which was option 1-3. The second, option 1-C, would move 6th grade students back into elementary schools that only have K-5.The latter option was voted out of consideration because many of the K-5 elementary schools do not have the capacity for 6th grade and it does not help the current overcrowding problem at AHS. Also, both options only served to open space and removed few
Braddock District representative Tessie Wilson, Superintendent Jack Dale and Mason District Sandy Evans sit together.
students from AHS; the board’s goal is to reduce the number of students. “Option 1-C is not a turn on for me. It has all the disadvantages of disruption and all the advantages of a boundary study,” Braddock District member Tessie Wilson said. “Other than the fact that 1-3 is a lawsuit waiting to happen, I just don’t think that it is right.” The board has decided that eight considerations must be kept in mind with all of the options. The board will be focusing on community stability, demographic balance, economic efficiency, instructional support/resource alignment, manageable timeline, minimal transitions, outreach/community support and space utilization.“What I’m looking for is judgement,” At-Large school board member Tina Hone said. “Facts are great, but I need judgement.” The next meeting to discuss the boundaries will be on April 4. Overall, AHS PSTA President Emily
Slough was pleased with the progress made during the work session. She favored the idea of the dual track, but noted that soon most of the options would be drowned out and the board would select three good options to debate. “One concern is the compressed timeline,” Slough said. Although the ad-Hoc was appropriated last April to meet, the school board has now begun to discuss the options and the final decision will be made in July. This sentiment was felt by many of the parents and community members present. The reasoning behind the decision is so that families can have a full year to plan if a boundary change were to take place. The discussion of the Annandale Regional Planning study was the final meeting during the all-day work session. Other than the school board members, other FCPS faculty members present at the meeting included Superintendent Jack Dale and Assistant Superintendent of Cluster III Dan
Class of 2012 raises funds Juniors hustle to get money when Prom looks bleak
“Juniors” continued from page 1
able to raise approximately $600, enlarging the class bank account to a total of about $1,500. The sources of the upgrade of money came from a lastminute fundraising spree. This spree included a few bake sales, which grossed approximately $50 each, the selling of class shirts, which sold for $13 each and only grossed approximately $100, and a night at Fuddruckers, the benefit of which is still unknown. “Its frustrating when we try to make money and many people in our class fail to participate and our profit is cut short,” junior class president Nisreen Al-Suqi said. “I’m trying my best to manage this class and make the money for everyone’s benefit, I just need the support.” Junior Ali Ali-Musa believes that the class of 2012 students are not participating in fundrais-
Class of 2012 officers Annette Janwatin and Kunny Kou stand on their award-winning float during the Homecoming Parade, which was one of the major sources of revenue this year.
ing events “because we’re a bunch of hoodlums.” While junior SGA executive board member, Sammy Takele said it was because “people are in other clubs as well, so they have to multitask. So sometimes it’s hard to give out their time.” After the class makes it through their current race to earn money, the SGA plans on having more bake sales and car washes. They also are going to try to sell 2012 themed tube socks, sunglasses, and other unique items. However, in order to earn money by selling these items, they will first have to spend a lot of money, like they did for the shirts. “I feel like we need to step it up and we need to show the seniors that we’re just as good because they keep rubbing it in our face,” junior Bekah Zorn said. The senior class of 2011 is continuing fundraising for Prom and other necessities, but their focus at the moment is on preparations for their Prom which will be held on June 3. And on the other side, the sophomore class of 2013 is also on the right track. “[The class of 2013] will be covered for the down payment by the end of the year. Or that’s our goal at least,” said 2013 class president, sophomore Noah Fitzgerel. “We just need our class to participate and we can be successful,” Al-Suqi said.
FBLA wins at regionals The AHS Future Business Leaders of America has been named a Regional Honor chapter after a recent competition. Nicolas Ursini placed first for spreadsheet applications and Joshua Kim placed first for digital design and promotion. Ivonne Alba, Dana Moon, Salma Omer and Clare Lazar all placed third in their respective categories. The FBLA placed second in the Largest Local Regional Chapter category. Sameera Ferdous served as regional Parliamentarian and gave a presentation.
Orchestra receives superior ratings The AHS Orchestra program participated in the VBDOA state assesments. The Annandale Chamber and the Annandale Artiste received superior ratings and the Annadale Symphonic received an excellent rating.
Governor vetos extra P.E. hours for VA schools Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell vetoed a bill that would required middle and elementary schools to get an average of 150 minutes of physical education a week. The bill would have taken affect in the 2014-2015 school year. According to the Manassas Park Patch, many school districts were opposed to the bill because the districts would have to fund the extra hours of physical education themselves. The bill included a amendment that similar programs would have to be created for high schools as well.
Some are peppy, some are pep-less “Spirit” continued from page 1
events for the school. “We get input from people and then we vote on [making decisions]. We split up into committees and we divide the work amongst the committees,” junior leadership student Amel Chavez said. “We make to-do-lists, diagrams, contact coaches, develop games and most importantly, we make a proposal to administration to look at.” “We make posters for the different classes. I was thinking that each class could each make their own poster,” leadership student and newly elected vice president for the class of 2012 Lena Nour said. “It can be a competition to win money for their class. We can give out spirit wear. Everyone loves free things! We are trying to incor-
A student acted excited when it was announced the loudest section would be the first to leave the spring pep rally.
porate more games to involve the crowd and not just the sport teams.” “We wished that people were more involved,” junior leadership student Tatiana Niang said about the process of making spirit events. “It all depends on the people. They can tell us what they want,” Chavez said. Chavez is working on a suggestion box for next year where students can give their input on spirit ideas. The rest of the leadership students are working on a Sadie Hawkins (girls ask boys) dance and a student vs faculty basketball game. Some people might say that pep rallies are made mostly for the athletes, like Director of Student Activities, Angelo Hilios. “Pep rallies are meant for athletes,” he said. “The main thing is to recognize the athletes and the SGA does a great job managing the pep rallies.” The spring pep rally on March 25 was more of the same and students had the same reactions they had
for all the others they have been in. “I thought the pep rally was fun, but I think some kids don’t have school spirit because they’re not in it or they just don’t care,” freshman soccer manager Lauren Flores said. “I thought the [pep rally] was depressing,” senior Doreyn Ngo said. “The attitude for our class is like ‘I need to get out of here now.’ I think we’re just sick of school. Annandale is a very unique school; we’re so diverse, but we just lack in spirit.” “Over time, students lose their pride in school spirit,” Dean of Students Hassan Mims said. “They still care, but they don’t express it themselves.” As the years go on, students go through the same pep rally experience year after year. “The pep rallies are predictable, old and boring,” sophomore Ahmed Mohammed said. The pep rallies at AHS are more like pep ceremonies and unless students step up to get involved, it looks like spirit events will still be dull for some.
AHS students, why so spiritless?
Lacrosse coach Bill Maglisceau is covered in toilet paper by different spring atheletes during the pep rally on March 25.
President: Samir Shah Grade: 11 Thoughts on 2011-2012: “Next year will be hectic, but also fun because we’re all seniors and we’re all fairly diligent.”
Vice President: Lena Nour Grade: 11 Thoughts on 2011-2012: “I think there will be more communication with the school so the student body knows what’s going on.”
Compiled by Collen Adenon, Rachel Bergen and Helina Daniel
Board member: Kelly Goodison Ideas: ”I’m going to try to uphold the traditions of AHS and do my best to work with the new principal for next year.”
Board member: Sally Ablimona Ideas: I’m really excited to take a higher position and to see how different it will be with new responsibilities and what I can accomplish.”
Board member: Tatiana Niang Ideas: There will be dramatic changes within the board because this year [Franjie] had the main role and basically did everything on her own with double the effort due to lack of communication and effort within the executive board of this year.
Outgoing thoughts from President Grace Franjie: “Next year will definitely be different than this year as the new leaders will need to step up. All five of the candidates have good leadership qualities and can accomplish a lot if they put their mind to it and organize their time.
Getting to know the 2011 SGA board
A student tries to pump up the crowd during the pep rally on March 25.
6 What club would you like to join next year? “I would join guitar club because I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar.”
March 29, 2011
Students step out in support AHS student renews club in order to offset discrimination based on sexual preference BY CAROLA ROJAS Staff Writer
— Melanie Burnett freshman “I would stay in STAND because I enjoy the club and helping a cause.”
—Emily Blank sophomore
Like the forgotten old toy in the back of a teenager’s closet, the Gay Straight Alliance Club is often forgotten at AHS. As the club only has three members, seniors Marissa Vigano, Angie Hardin and Brandon Morrison, members fear that the GSA may come to an end due to a lack of participation from the underclassmen. Besides a lack of interest and few promotions for the club, Hardin believes there are other reasons as to why students do not participate. “Nobody cares enough to join. People think that if they join, they’ll be considered gay or lesbian,” Hardin said.
There should be no hostility or fear about coming out if you are gay.
“I would join Model U.N. because it sounds interesting. ”
Marissa Vigano senior
—Daniel Turcious sophomore
“I’d join the feminist club because Mr. York told us we would meet girls there.”
— Rawand Shamdin junior
––Compiled by Corinne Balicki
The most commonly asked question students have about GSA is: what do you even do in the club? Having a club of three people does not exactly help with getting to learn more about others, so they have discussions about the current bills under consideration and read articles about others’ stories, experiences, and beliefs about gay rights. A lot of time and focus from GSA is put on the “It Gets Better” project, an organization recently founded in Sept. 2010. The organization is meant to aid those in need, to give support and to be a place where stories can be shared to others who can connect. The GSA club also looks forward to going to events such as Youth Pride and Gay Pride to promote their awareness and support. The GSA club believes that AHS can grow into a much more accepting school when it comes to being gay. Many students forget that it is a Gay and Straight Alliance, therefore you do not need
to be gay or bi-sexual to fit in. “It’s a great place for people to just come in and ask questions or share opinions,” Vigano said. Unlike many other clubs, GSA was made to accommodate students’ schedules. Even more then half way through the school year, new students are still welcome to participate. “It’s a fun place to be and the club is so flexible for anyone to be able to join,” Vigano said. There are meetings every Wednesday after school in trailer 16. It is not necessary to attend a certain number of meetings to be considered a member of the club. Students do not even have to worry about meeting a certain GPA to be a member, it’s school-stress free. After doing some of her own surveying and research around AHS, Vigano has come to a conclusion that many students said they would find it strange and abnormal to see two of the same gender holding hands or any sort of public display of affection. Vigano mentioned that in her research, most of it was based on the homophobia reactions. “There should be no hostility or fear about coming out if you’re gay,” Vigano said. Members of the GSA club only hope to have the AHS students become more engaged in the club because once the seniors graduate, there will be no one left in the club.
Senior Marissa Vigano leads AHS’ Gay Straight Alliance.
Angie Hardin, Senior
April Celebrity Birthdays
How long have you been in GSA? “I have been part of the GSA for three years.” Why did you join GSA? “Marissa Vigano brought me into the club and had me join.” What is the most important thing about GSA? “It is important because it teaches you tolerance.”
What do you want people to know about GSA? “It’s actually fun and informative and you get chances to go to dances.”
1 Jon Gosselin 2 Marvin Gaye 3 Leona Lewis 4 Jamie Lynn Spears 5 Colin Powell 6 Candace Cameron 7 David Frost 8 Kirsten Storms 9 Leighton Meester 10 John Madden 11 Joss Stone 12 Brooklyn Decker 13 Kyle Howard 14 Abigail Breslin 15 Emma Watson 16 Jon Cryer 17 Victoria Beckham 18 America Ferrera 19 Maria Sharapova 20 Carmen Electra 21 James Morrison 22 Jack Nicholson 23 George Lopez 24 Kelly Clarkson 25 Jason Lee 26 Jason Earles 27 Patrick Stump 28 Jessica Alba 29 Andre Agassi 30 Kirsten Dunst
33 71 25 19 73 34 71 26 24 74 23 23 32 14 20 45 36 26 23 38 56 73 49 28 40 33 26 29 40 28
Visit www.thea-blast.org for a feature on the favorite shopping destinations of AHS students.
The GSA meets every Wednesday in trailer 16.
Need advice? Log on to: www.glbtnationalhelpcenter.org/ www.glaad.org/ www.gaystudentcenter.student.com www.lambda.org/youth.htm http://www.avert.org/ http://www.hrc.org/
Or call: 1-888-THE-GLNH 1-800-398-GAYS
March 29, 2011
Taking care of your hair BY BECCA HENDRICKSON Staff Writer Lather, rinse and repeat. These three words are on the cover of almost every shampoo bottle, but how many of us actually follow the directions? Junior Jack Deible is one that adheres to typical hair care. “My routine for taking care of my hair starts with washing, rinsing and repeating, then I let nature take its course.” However it’s a common argument among the hair community whether or not repeatedly washing your hair is beneficial to keeping it healthy. Some might argue that washing your hair too often can rid it of its natural oils and nutrients, while others may say that this simply adds to the cleaning process. Another aspect that has proven to be detrimental to hair health is dying or highlighting your hair. Hair dying is not only harmful to your hair but also harmful to your body. One of the primary chemicals detected in hair dye, Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) was banned in France, Sweden and Germany because it was thought to be hazardous to one’s health. The use of this chemical has been linked to allergic reactions, respiratory disorders and even cancer. In spite of these risks, people still continue to put these harmful chemicals in their hair, such as freshman Victoria Huenemann. “I highlight my hair because I think it looks good, but I still make sure I condition it well so it isn’t too unhealthy,” Huenemann said. Huenemann is far from alone in this field. “I don’t think dying hair is bad,” Senior Thanh Duy Le said. “I dyed my hair because I don’t like the original color and it looks a lot cooler this way.” Frequently using heated styling tools such as hair dryers, curling irons and straightening irons can easily burn and kill your hair. Junior Tatiana Niang commonly straightens her hair and doesn’t pay attention to the risks it may cause. “I straighten my hair almost every day just because I don’t like the way my hair looks naturally,” Niang said. “I know using heat on your hair is bad but until I actually see bad effects, I’m going to keep doing it.” Other factors such as abstaining from smoking, exercising daily and eating right can improve the health of your hair. Smoking makes hair brittle and dry, causing it to break easily, and it can even lead to hair loss. Unlike smoking, exercising regularly can relieve mental stress and can promote hair growth. Maintaining a healthy diet gives your body the natural nutrients
it needs to grow healthy hair, making it look glossier and feel stronger. “I exercise a few times a week and I try to keep my diet healthy to benefit my hair since right now it’s pretty dead,” Niang said. There are countless products out there to prevent your hair from becoming frizzy, losing its artificial color, being damaged by heat and more. Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness Smoothing Leave-In Creme is a leave-in conditioner that makes your hair softer while reducing frizz.“I usually use a Tresemme heat protector for my hair before I straighten it so it doesn’t get too fried and damaged,” Huenemann said. Heat protectants such as Chi Silk Infusion heat protector should be applied before using a heated styling tool to prevent damage to the hair. No matter how hard you try to perfect your hair, there is probably always going to be some problem you can find with it. One thing is for certain though, washing Junior Kenzi Wright likes to brush her hair to release any regularly is the first step tangles and to make her hair smooth and straight. you can take in keeping your hair as healthy as possible.
How to maintain healthy hair
What products do you use on your hair and why? “I like to use Treseme a lot because it keeps my hair soft.”
--Sureyya Gokturk freshman
“Herbal Essences Mousse mostly, just to keep my hair curly.”
---Natalie Guzman sophomore “Sometimes I put leave-in conditioner just so my hair doesn’t look puffy or frizzy.”
Students have a variety of methods to maintain healthy hair and enhance their appearance
--Tamera Demessew junior “I use Pantene for Women of Color, because I’m black.”
---Angelica Bolds junior
Ways to maintain healthy hair for a variety of different textures, colors and looks
This hair is susceptible to split-ends and breakage. Wide-tooth combs or brushes along with protective hair serum should be used during styling. It is suggested that volumizing or moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are used to provide the scalp with nutrients and volume to cover up thinness.
Fine Falling into the category between thin and medium hair, thin combs are suggested for this type of hair, especially when wet. Hairstyles such as braiding or ponytails reduce the change of breakage for fine hair and prevent knotting as well. It is important that proper protection is used against heat.
Stronger than thin hair, a greater variety of brushes and products can be used. Depending on whether hair is oily or dry, different shampoos and conditioners can also be bought to maintain cleanliness and texture. Remember that dyes and styling products also cause breakage and split ends.
Make sure that you wash your hair in lukewarm to cold water with moisturizing conditioner at least every other day to avoid breakage and dryness. Combs instead of regular brushes should be used to prevent frizz. Never use too much of one hair product so clumping between hair strands does not occur.
Black Black hair is usually
Blonde Natural yellow shades
Red Red is the least common
found in the South American, Asian and African continents, and is capable of withstanding the sun and heat more than any other color. Since black hair is usually thicker, more natural dyes such as Henna or natural mousses and serums should be used to preserve shine and health.
are found in about two percent of the world’s population. Blondes are prone to hair loss and thinning and should protect their hair with serums and sprays against the sun, styling products and coloring. Color touch-ups and shining serums are suggested to keep the color bright.
hair color and should be washed with shampoos and conditioners with color-enhancing properties to maintain vibrance. Because redheads tend to have thicker hair, moisturizing shampoos and products should be used so that the color and texture remains natural-looking and striking.
Straight You should use heating products no more than twice a week. Washing your hair too often makes it oily, so make sure that hair is washed at least every other day. This type of hair is most fragile towards hair altering chemicals and the sun. To decrease snarling or knotting, tie your hair up or wear it in a braid.
Shampoo wavy hair sparingly and condition every time you shower. Also, styling products that do not contain alcohol are acceptable. Wavy hair is styled best with a large-toothed comb versus other types of brushes. When styling with heat, a blow dryer is suggested. Also, wavy hair usually looks better when parted to the side.
Curly To keep curly hair manageable and healthy, simple combs should be used to brush the hair when wet. Also, people with curly hair can use non-damaging mousse and sprays to maintain bounce. Volumizing and moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are suggested for those with curly hair.
Brown hair has more shades than any other hair color, making it the most common in the world. Brown hair comes in different textures and therefore should be treated differently varying from person to person. When coloring hair, it is important for brunettes to maintain a color that is not too light or different from their natural color to avoid damage.
Coiled Coiled hair is curled together tightly, and damage can occur easily due to the use of heating products. Natural dyes such as Henna can be used to protect this hair’s fragile texture and provide shine. Also, for manageability, coiled hair can be professionally relaxed.
“I use Suave, I think, just because my hair gets greasy if I don’t.”
--Sam Converse junior
“I use Head and Shoulders because if you want good hair it has to start from the roots.”
--Andrew Pack senior
––Compiled by Katie Vu
Affordable hair products you can try at home Aussie Price: $11.18 Aussie Hair Insurance is a leave-in conditioner that comes in three packs of 8-ounce bottles that are meant to condition hair, preserve shine and protect the hair’s exterior against damage.
––Sources: ToneHealth, wikiHow, and eHow
Herbal Essences Price: $3.99 Herbal Essences’ “Tousle Me Softly” mousse is lightweight and easy to spread on wet hair. It is meant to create a tousled, natural look and works for any hair type. It leaves hair soft and smelling great.
John Frieda Price: $8.99 This leave-in conditioner makes wiry hair appear shiny and sleek by eliminating frizz. It also has UV protection to keep hair safe from the sun and contains proteins that promote hair health and growth.
ARTS It’s not just art, it’s a business
March 29, 2011
AHS Art students earn money off of their work amilli C a c i s r: Jes u e n e r p entre Artistic u sold?
Go to our blogs to see Jane Aman’s commentary about Andrea Gibson’s poem, “Say Yes” on The Deadliest Pen. Also check out The Cellar Door to view pictures of Jordan Aman’s new work in progress, inspired from artist, Sylvia Ji’s “Red Crow.”
Art for charity
Over 200 pieces were exhibited at the March Madness show, each designed by local artists and supporters of the charity.
Nestled at the intersection of Union and King Streets in Old Towne Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory is known for many things. The Factory houses sculptors, visual artists, textile artists and a variety of stand-alone galleries that can be viewed by the public daily. On Friday, March 25, the proprietors of the torpedo factory and other local artists used their creativity for a greater cause. The Torpedo factory showcased over 200 pieces with the intention of selling them for $100 each in order to raise money for the March of Dimes charity organization. This organization supports research to prevent premature birth and other subsequent birth defects. Participants in the show were given ten inch square panels on which to paint, draw, sculpt, cut, design or make any other modifications as their own piece of art. Other games and activities at the event also helped to raise more money for the March of Dimes. Overall, the Torpedo Factory raised over $20,000 for the charity. AHS alum of 2009 Elinore Pretsch entered the show with her photographic transfer titled “Talking in Circles.” Pretsch now studies photography at Shepherd University and entered the show both in support of the charity and as a way to
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Artists love to sell their artwork. It shows that their hard work has literally paid off and that their creativity and talent is respected. For some artists it even acts as their livelihood. In AHS, both IB Art and IB Photography students sell their work.
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How do you set the price?
AHS alum Elinore Pretsch points to her piece, “Talking in Circles,” at the Torpedo Factory show.
exhibit and sell her work. Her piece was sold before the show started, along with another handful of other works. “I thought this show would be a great resume builder and it is really exciting to sell my work, even if I don’t get the money,” Pretsch said. “I am really psyched because someone liked my art enough to buy it and hang it in their house.” The majority of the entrants’ pieces were sold during the show.
— Jordan Aman Arts Editor
The artist must take many factors into consideration when setting the price of their work. First, how much is your time worth? A good way to set a basic price is to put an hourly cost on the piece. If it took ten hours to complete and you think your time is worth $40 per hour, a good starting price would be $400. Second, the artist must consider how much the materials cost. To be successful, a profit must be made. If the artist spent $70 on a new canvas and $20 on new paint, it would be a good idea to add at least $90 to the price of the artwork. Lastly, how much is your creativity worth? The reason you are selling your work is because someone liked what you created, using your own creativity. Put a price on it. If you think your originality is worth $200, add that to the bottom line. All in all, the artist must think of their time spent creating the piece, materials costs, and the price of their originality. Here, the price adds up to roughly $700. The price may seem steep at first, but in order for an artist to make a profit, all of these factors have to be considered.
Who Buys? An important idea to note is the audience to which you are directing your work. Is your work going to appeal to a large population or is your imagery a bit of an aquired taste? The artist must figure out how to market his/her work to the right people. In cases of commisioned work, it is very important that both the artist and the buyer are in agreement, because not everybody wants an interperative portrait of their family as zombies.
GRAPHIC BY JERRY SHEPPARD
Senior Jordan Aman sol d this piece for $450 after carefully considering how much time, effort and creativity he put into the paintin g.
March 29, 2011
From books to battlefields Students consider taking an alternative route to the traditional college experience BY GWEN LEVEY Videographer While most AHS students envision the traditional experience of college after high school, some prefer to follow a career in the military. Tyler Jackson, a senior who recently enlisted in the Marine Corps, was put into this situation when the prospect of traveling and having an adventure without having to pay seemed like a better alternative than breaking the bank for college. “I was going to go to every university and do their pilot’s programs, but I don’t want to waste money when I want to learn a few things that I know college won’t teach me, like self discipline and responsibility,” Jackson said. Perhaps the deteriorating economy also has had something to do with the surge of recruiters into the United States Military. There has also been at least a 50 percent increase in applications to the U.S. Naval, Military and Air Force Academies from students after high school since 2009. Senior Jake Dang, who was recently accepted into the United States NavalAcademy, has had his ups and downs throughout the whole process of acceptance, but learning to persevere towards the end of reaching his goal has already started to mark the benefits in line for him in the future. “After the academy, I’ll have a guaranteed job traveling the world and doing things some of my friends will never get to do or experience; meanwhile, I’ll be getting paid to do it. I won’t have to worry about paying for college because it’s completely covered by the government. Health and dental are also covered,” Dang said. A different approach, however, is the one being taken by senior Joshua Sarker, who is planning on going to the Naval Academy Prep School for eight months before being admitted into the U.S. Naval Academy for four years. “I chose the USNA over traditional college because I knew that I wanted to serve my country and become part of something greater than myself while also receiving a college education,” Sarker said. Visiting the Armed Services Recruiting Center in your
local area or applying to the different military academies that you may be interested in is just a beginning step to the whole process of devoting oneself to a particular military experience in this day and age. “I enlisted August 22 of 2010,” Jackson said. “There are a bunch of stages I didn’t even think of having to go through before I was actually able to enlist.” In addition to going through physical training that usually takes place during a couple of vigorous days of the week, those enlisting also have to go through the unpleasant experience of the Military Entrance Processing System (MEPS). “It was the most painful thing that I’ve ever been through,” Jackson said. “There are doctors looking in places you don’t want to know, people who are just tired of you after continuously going through it all. Going to MEPS is one of the most boring and cold experiences in my life.” Students applying to military academies also can get themselves checked medically at their nearest MEPS location and besides from checking recruiters’ blood, eyes and other medical areas, MEPS takes one’s fingerprints electronically, since it’s all a biometric process. After passing the MEPS’ tests, there is another test that many students have to pass when deciding to choose the military as a career: telling parents of their sometimes controversial decision. Dang’s family has felt indifferently on his choice to go to a military academy than a traditional college after high school. “My father would much rather prefer that I go to Virginia Tech or a traditional college because he lived through the Vietnam War and saw the horrors of it. He doesn’t want me to face all that hardship and danger,” Dang said. Sarker agrees that his own parents were a bit wary of his decision when he first told him that he would be choosing the military for a career path. “At first when I told my parents I wanted to pursue this path they were a little hesitant. But as they learned more about the program they
9 Reporting for duty at the Naval Academy
became more and more supportive.” Support seems to be the usual end result for families watching their child’s progress throughout the whole process, especially as more of the benefits of choosing a military career are discussed. “My family was just as uninformed as I was [about the Marines],” Jackson said. “But when they heard that there is a bunch of college money and housing bonuses involved, plus a bunch of other things the marines has to offer, they were fully supportive of my decision.” The question of being shipped out to a war zone such as Afghanistan, however, does cross one’s mind when joining any branch of the Armed Forces. According to a recent article updated by MSNBC.com, there has been continuous pressure to increase the Armed Forces’ size two years sooner than originally planned because of the need for troops to perform in war zones. “If you think about how many Marines are in Afghanistan, it will only take maybe three years before everyone has been there,” Jackson said. Aside from the possibility of being deployed to Afghanistan, one may also have the chance of being sent to other American bases throughout the world, like in Okinawa, Japan or Germany. “I only recommend doing this if you’ve put some serious thought into it and have researched it thoroughly and it’s still what you want to do,” Dang said. Nonetheless, while the fear of the consequences of entering a war zone and going through this time consuming process may cause one to turn away from enlisting, those taking this path show nothing but encouragement for those thinking of taking a military career for their future. “They’re a great career path and provide a great service to our country. Even though it may be a more difficult and challenging path than others, I believe that it will be worth it in the long run,” Sarker said. “Others who have come back from boot camp on leave come visit us and say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done in their lives, but it’s the most rewarding,” Jackson said. “I really can’t wait to take that next step in my future.”
–Courtesy of U.S. Naval Academy
SAT Words to Know
Roll call: veterans and enlistees
Match the word to the definition to test your knowledge of these SAT words 1.
What branch of the military are you joining? I am joining the United States Marine Corps. When did you decide to join? I decided this past summer; if I had went to college, I would have slacked off. So if I’m in the Marines, they’ll make sure I don’t. Also I didn’t really come to them, they came to me. A recruiter called me and asked if I was interested. How did your parents take the news? My mom was fine with me enlisting, because that meant college would be free for me in the future. My stepdad also supported me. What advice can you give to someone else wanting to join? Give it a chance, hear them out and listen to what they have to say. Don’t immediately think about war, there are so many different jobs you can do. Also, once you get to the real world, you’ll have all the skills that you need.
What branch of the military did you enlist in? I was in the U.S. Air Force. When did you decide to join? My father was in the Air Force, so I knew the lifestyle. After high school, you either went to college or joined the army. I knew I didn’t want to go to the army, or be a beach bum, but I did want to be in the Air Force, and there was really nothing else I wanted to do. How did your parents take the news? They were supportive; they were glad I went to the Air Force Academy before enlisting. What advice can you give to someone else wanting to join? It’s a big commitment, you really have to take it one day at a time. If you look at it as the 9 years you signed up for it may seem overwhelming. Don’t give up when it gets hard, because it’s not going to be easy.
Jake Dang What military academy will you be attending next year? I will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy. When did you decide to join? I decided probably at the beginning of high school that I wanted to join. Also they’re the only ones that carry the plane that I want to fly. It’s a F/A-18 fighter jet. How did your parents take the news? My dad wasn’t too thrilled about the news, but they’re glad they don’t have to pay for college. What advice can you give to someone else wanting to join? You should do your research; you really need to dig deep to make sure this is what you want to do. Once you’re in there, you’ve got to do what you’re told to do.
What branch of the military did you enlist in? I was in the Coast Guard. When did you decide to join? I went to the Coast Guard Academy in high school, so I decided around summer of junior year. I chose the Coast Guard because I love boats and being on the water.
How did your parents take the news? I thought they were thrilled, because it was a free education. Plus, my dad was in the Marine Corps, so he liked the military.
A. (noun) fate B. (verb) float, as on the wind
What advice can you give to someone else wanting to join? Learn what you would like to do. If you have a passion for something, and the military fits it, do it.
C. (adj.) expressing oneself easily and clearly D. (noun) a fight E. (verb) fill with love and desire; charm F. (adj.) fervent; enthusiastic G. (adj.) fleeting; short-lived
Complied by Sarah Bergen & Betsy Kruse
H. (adj.) intricate; complicated
School Name: U.S. Military Academy at West Point
School Name: U.S. Air Force Academy
School Name: Virginia Military Institute
School Name: U.S. Naval Academy
School Name: U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Location: Lexington, VA
Location: Annapolis, MD
Location: New London, CT
Location: West Point, NY
Acceptance Rate: 56%
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Acceptance Rate: 17%
Student Population: 4,400
Acceptance Rate: 13% Student Population: 1,300
Student Population: 4,441
Student Population: 1,017
Average GPA: 3.41
Average GPA: 3.5
Average GPA: 3.47-3.68
Average SAT Scores: 1,136
Average SAT Scores: 1,200
Average SAT Scores: 1,1501,360
Famous Graduates: Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (1935) Jason Conley (2002)
Famous Graduates: Jimmy Carter (1947) John McCain (1958)
Average GPA: 3.6-3.8
Student Population: 4,571
Average SAT Scores: 1,278
Average GPA: 3.86 Average SAT Scores: 1,303
Famous Graduates: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1915) Jefferson Davis (1828)
Famous Graduates: Joe Lombardi (1994) Alonzo C. Babers (1983)
J. (verb) explode with sudden violence
COAST GUARD ACADEMY
U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY
VA MILITARY INSTITUTE
USMA AT WEST POINT
U.S. AIRFORCE ACADEMY
The top military academies
I. (adj.) flying or able to fly
Famous Graduates: Thad Allen (1971) Harvey E. Johnson, Jr. (1975)
1: C; 2: H; 3: E; 4: G; 5: J; 6: A; 7: D; 8: I; 9: B; 10: F
Visit www.thea-blast.org for additional information about applying to a military academy and for interviews with AHS Alunmi currently attending military academies.
10 The theory of evolution should be taught at public schools: Strongly Disagree
13% Strongly agree
Freedoms in • • everyday life
Spirituality thrives at AHS
School clubs give students an outlet for worship
BY KATIE MASTERS In-Depth Editor
The theory of creationism should be taught at public schools: Strongly disagree
What is your religious affiliation?
Orthodox Sikh .5% Christian 1% Scientologist .5% Baptist 8% Buddhist 8%
2% Catholic 33%
Muslim 17% Presbyterian 3%
Lutheran .5% Jehovah’s Witness .5% Jewish 1%
The U.S. should allow public schools to sponsor religion:
Religion around the world may be declining, but AHS remains a school whose student body displays strong spiritual beliefs. By simply walking down a hallway, one finds students who proudly display their religion through head coverings like hijabs, turbans or pendants and other adornments, many of which feature crosses, Stars of David, yin-yangs and other religious symbols. Through extracurricular clubs like the Muslim Student Association and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, students can discuss their faith with their peers. The various outlets for student spirituality are also all-inclusive. All Fairfax County schools must adhere to a Declaration of Nondiscrimination, which states that “no student, employee or applicant for employment in Fairfax County Public Schools shall, on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.” The declaration can be found on page 13 of student agendas. Though the AHS faculty and administration cannot legally endorse or control religious clubs, the presence of such organizations in the AHS community indicates a general tolerance towards the religious beliefs of students. Four major extracurriculars provide students with a spiritual outlet. The Muslim Student Association (MSA), sponsored by history teacher John Hawes and presided over by senior Saniyah Mir, meets two to three times a month and is comprised of about 30 members. The Jewish culture club, sponsored by health teacher Gabe Romano and presided over by senior Lillian Singer, meets about once a month and contains about ten members. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), sponsored by ESOL teacher Paul Buschman and presided over by main leader Emma Barker, meets every Tuesday morning and contains approximately 25 members. Korean Bible Study, sponsored by math teacher Hee Chang Choi and presided over by Hong Rae Lee, meets every two weeks and is comprised of about 15 members.
No Child Left Behind
10 Commandments in classrooms
The Pledge of Allegiance is prejudiced toward Christian citizens: Disagree
Strongly Agree agree
The groups provide an important refuge for many members. Besides spreading awareness of their respective religions, clubs provide a safe and encouraging environment for discussion. For Muslim students who are struggling to find a balance between celebrating their religion and Muslim Student Association Sponsor: John Hawes President: Saniyah Mir When they meet: Every other Wednesday Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sponsor: Paul Buschman President: Emma Barker When they meet: Every Tuesday morning Jewish Culture Club Sponsor: Gabe Romano President: Lillian Singer When they meet: Once a month or before a major religious holiday
Korean Bible Study
Sponsor: Hee Chang Choi President: Hong Rae Lee When they meet: Every other Friday
adapting to Western culture, the MSA provides welcome help. “Some of our students are very confident and proud of their religion, but some people really struggle with showing their religion in school because the media spreads such negative pictures of Muslims in general,” MSA president Saniyah Mir said. “Some don’t want to show religion in school and have people associate them with terrorists or other Muslim stereotypes. They don’t know how to appear as a regular high school student but also practice religion daily.” Other clubs provide students with a sense of peace and a place to decompress before beginning their days. “FCA meetings are basically a place where students can come to be encouraged before
The controversial No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 uses many different incentives for schools to be funded by their policies, including a stricture saying that if any local education agency wishes to receive federal funding they must allow students the right to pray.
Many believe that displaying the 10 Commandments in public buildings is a part of their personal religious expression, and in no way inhibits anyone else’s expression. The Supreme Court permits the 10 Commandments to be displayed as long as the goal of displaying them is not to gain support for religion.
Evolution vs. Creationism Many argue that evolution should be taught in school alongside the idea of creationism. In 1968, biology teacher Susan Epperson (pictured left) challenged the Arkansas law that said books containing evolution could not be taught in schools causing it to be repealed.
State sponsored prayer All forms of organized prayer in a public school setting are unconstitutional. Only prayer that is private and voluntary is permissible as long as it does not interfere with the school’s education process. In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled in the case Engel vs. Vital that prayer in the classroom as unconstitutional.
1 Pledge of Allegiance
The inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance has caused a great deal of controversy. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister. The words “under God” were added in 1948, and were officially added in 1954 by President Eisenhower. Many objections to this addition have been raised over the years. A case in the Supreme Court was dismissed that challenged the use of the phrase in the Pledge. Teachers now can encourage their students to recite the pledge, but it is not obligatory.
Brief history of U.S. religious 1778: The U.S. Constitution is officially ratified, including the Establishment Clause, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This statement essentially separates church and state.
1943: The Supreme Court overturns its 1940 decision on the Minersville School District v. Gobitis court case, which made reciting the Pledge of Allegiance compulsory in schools. The decision is reversed after the majority of the court finds that refusal to participate in saluting the flag does not infringe on the rights of others to participate.
This survey was distributed on March 23 and 24 during R5 and R5 Flex. Out of the 600 surveys distributed, 452 were returned and counted.
their annoying school day begins,” FCA leader Emma Barker said. Thanks to the Equal Access Act of 1984, AHS is also federally required to provide all extracurricular organizations, including religious clubs, equal access to the school building due to its status as a government funded school. The Act ensures that local groups are able to hold meetings and events at AHS, which can fall under athletic or academic categories. The most well-known user of the AHS school building, however, is the Chinese School, a group that holds Sunday school lessons in classrooms over the weekend. The School is entitled access to AHS, though many teachers complain that its students damage or steal classroom contents. (I don’t understand how this is relevant) Despite our religious diversity and tolerance and the many regulations that forbid AHS to bias against any specific religion, some students still believe that members of the school population show discrimination. Mariatu Atimbo, a junior who identifies with the Muslim faith, believes that bias towards the Christian religion can be found in school halls, and around the country. “I think that America in general shows preferential treatment to Christians, because schools don’t get any Muslim or Jewish holidays off,” Atimbo said. “I also think some students discriminate against Muslims, because they’ll ask you what your religion is and you’ll say ‘I’m Muslim,’ and then they’ll just say ‘Oh, really?’ and leave it at that. But you know exactly what they’re thinking.” Mir also confessed that while the school administration is generally supportive to the MSA, there was an incident that made her feel that there might be a bias against her club. “Recently we wanted to do a Flex presentation about Muslims Without Borders, a Muslim organization that helped a lot with the conflict in Haiti,” Mir said. “We asked the administration about it and they said they thought it would be best as an after-school presentation, but didn’t say why specifically.” “For the most part, we have complete freedom to express ourselves,” she added. As a school with a strong and diverse spiritual base, religion plays a significant role within the student body. A tolerant administration and the presence of religious organizations allows students to strike a balance between their spiritual and academic identities.
Conflicts between religion and school
March 29, 2011
March 21, 1925: Tennessee becomes the first state to ban the teaching of evolution in schools when the Butler bill, which first suggested the legislative action, was signed into law by Gov. Austin Peay. The law is the first in the U.S. to forbid teaching evolution.
1962-1963: Through the court cases Engel v. Vitale, Abington School District v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett, the Supreme Court found school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading unconstitutional.
1968: The Supreme Court’s decision on the case Epperson v. Arkansas invalidated an Arkansas law that made teaching evolution in school illegal, on the grounds that the U.S. Constitution does not allow states to format lesson plans around a specific religious doctrine. The case helps open all national school systems to the theory of evolution. 1987: The Supreme Court rules that Louisiana’s “Creationism Act,” which forbid the teaching of evolution in public schools unless accompanied by a course on “creation science,” is unconstitutional. The decision asserts that by advancing a belief in a supernatural deity that created the world, the public school system breaches the First Amendment of the Constitution.
March 29, 2011
Religi n Is religion declining worldwide? A recent study shows that religious affiliation may be close to extinction in some countries BY ERIN JOHNSON In-Depth Editor Religion has always been a major part of human existence. Whether it was citizens in Ancient Greece praying to the head God Zeus or Christians now celebrating the Lenten season, people have always affiliated themselves with different belief systems. However, the existence of religion in the modern world is in danger. A recent study done by the American Physical Society predicts that religion will be near extinction in nine different Western nations in the next century. While the idea of the decline of religion has been a part of modern culture for years, this study’s results give quantitative data that backs up what people have been predicting. The nations in question include Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the Netherlands. While there are many other nations worldwide that have been experiencing declines in religious participation and affiliation, these nine countries are some of the few that take census data pertaining to religious affiliation. Some have been compiling this information for more than 100 years. According to the study, the fastest growing religious group is “unaffiliated,” meaning any person who either does not believe in any religious doctrine or does not wish to affiliate themselves with any specific religious doctrine. In Switzerland, the percentage of respondents saying they were unaffiliated went from near zero in 1950 to roughly 5.5 percent in 1990. The largest percentages of those responding as unaffiliated were in the Czech Republic with roughly 60 percent and the Netherlands, where 40 percent responded similarly. The major religious overtone of the past century seems to be the questioning of the existence of a higher power. The unofficial beginning to many of these thoughts being popularized was in Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1882 book The Gay Science where he famously proclaimed that “God is dead.” Over the course of the century The Time Magazine cover these three words took on a brought the decline of religion to the forefront much deeper meaning. The bold statement was put into question form, when the phrase “Is God Dead?” was prominently displayed on the cover of the April, 1966 Time Magazine cover in bold red on a stark black background. The accompanying article analyzed the problems that were facing theologians at the time to make God relevant to a very secular society. Much has occurred in the ensuing 45 years since the article was published. Not surprisingly, modern theologians are facing much of the same problems in an accelerated form. The rise of these ideas to the front of popular culture and the uncompromising recent statistics showing the decline of religion forces those who are either currently questioning their own religion or deeply rooted in any religious doctrine to question where this decline originated. Why are people less inclined to not only practice a certain religion but also to even affiliate
themselves with any specific doctrine? One way to look at the matter in question would be to compare different types of nations. It is true that a recent study has stated nine specific countries where there is statistical evidence that religion is declining to the point of extinction, but this data must be taken for what it is. It may apply to other nations similar to the ones that are contained in the study, but there are also many nations that still hold a tight bond to a particular religious affiliation and some that are even becoming more fundamentally connected to religion. For example, look at a country such as Saudi Arabia. Although there is no law in place that requires citizens to be Muslim, almost all Saudi Arabian citizens are Muslim. Religious freedom is severely limited to non-existent. In 2004, the U.S. State Department declared that “freedom of religion does not exist in Saudi Arabia” and that “non-Muslim worshippers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation and sometimes torture.” Is the religious freedom that is offered in countries such as the U.S. the factor that causes religion as a whole to decline? Obviously, a claim such as this is not 100% fault proof. It insinuates that people only follow a religious doctrine because their state commands them to and that if they had the chance to not practice religion they would. In a country such as the U.S., freedom of religion allows for more people to be exposed to different sorts of beliefs. This can lead to a questioning of their own beliefs, or possibly that their beliefs are bolstered by the knowledge of what others believe. In the past 129 years, since Friedrich Nietzsche, the center of the community in many countries has shifted from being a church, mosque, temple etc. to more public buildings and settings found at schools and jobs. Others claim that social network sites have added to the rapid decline in religious affiliation. They believe that these lead to an increasing number of connections between people who would not necessarily interact before and that connections to those who are unaffiliated with religion is enough to prompt the change. Religion may be allowed to thrive in countries that acknowledge their citizens right to religious freedom, but this allowance does not necessarily correlate with the actual thriving of religion.
Top five most unique religions of All 1. Church Worlds –Founded in 1962 by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and his wife Morning Glory Zell Ravenheart, the Church of All Worlds classifies itself as a neo-pagan religion. The church worships Mother Earth, or Gaea, and focuses many of its rituals on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. Followers also celebrate faeries and other mythological spirits.
–Universe People is a Czech religious movement that centers around the belief that alien beings have telepathically and personally communicated with its leader, Ivo A. Benda, and other select humans since October 1997. According to the Universe People, extraterrestrials orbit the earth in spaceships and assist the good, then transport them to a higher dimension after their deaths.
Prince Philip Movement
–The Prince Philip Movement is a cult found among people of the Yaohnanen tribe on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. Followers believe that Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is a god, the son of a queen and a mountain spirit. Cult members believe that Prince Philip once traveled to their land, married a powerful native and then left, but will return again bearing food and other valuable goods.
4. Newaubianism –Newaubianism emerged as a black-only Muslim group in the 1970s under leader Dwight York, who is currently imprisoned on money laundering and child molestation charges. The religion gets its beliefs from a variety of different sources, including Freemasonry, revisionist Islam and Christianity, but some of its main beliefs include that Caucasians were originally created as a race of killers to serve blacks in a slave army, that every person on earth has seven clones living in different parts of the world and that some aborted fetuses survive and are currently living in sewers, plotting to take over the world.
5. Scientology –The official church of Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientologists have notoriously strange beliefs, including that human beings were brought to earth millions of years ago in a spaceship by the great alien leader Xenu. The religion was started in 1952 by the science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
Does religion have positive or negative effect on humanity at large? “It depends on the religion. In general, all of them have good morals.”
—Diana Quezada freshman
policy 2005: The Supreme Court rules against three Kentucky counties being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for displaying framed copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses and public schools. The Court rules that by doing so, the counties are consciously pushing a specific religious belief.
“A positive and a negative. Negative because it causes fights, but positive because it gives you something to believe in.”
—Carla Suarez sophomore “Negative because it segregates people.”
—Antonio Anderson junior
“I think it has a positive effect because it gives us morals to live up to.”
—Kamin Horvath senior
March 29, 2011
BY XINQIAN LI from China My journey to the U.S. was full of new experiences for me. It seemed like a long, difficult two-day journey for me and my family. Many new things happened, some funny and some frustrating. For example, when we went on the flight, I saw many things which I had never seen, I had to sit for a long time and we missed our next flight in Los Angeles. We began our flight from Guangzhou, China to Los Angeles on May 16, 2010. My parents, my sister and brother all went with me. After saying goodbye to everybody, we left our stuff to get checked and then boarded on the plane. The plane took off at about 9:30 p.m. I sat beside the window and my sister next to me. We flew higher and higher, the sky was so dark, we couldn’t see anything but only the light of some houses or streets. I fell asleep late. After I woke up, it was almost dawn outside. I saw the sun rising and the cloud was under the plane. They seemed much closer to me and they were so beautiful. But soon I felt bored. The 12 hours on the plane seemed too long for me. I didn’t like sitting such a long time. I chose noodles for my breakfast, but it did not taste very good. So I decided to watch the movie, but I had watched this movie one time already. It was still so boring. Then I wanted to sleep. I closed my eyes and kept thinking, “sleeping, sleeping.” But the seat was so narrow that I couldn’t sleep well. Strangely, I kept wide-awake the whole time. Then, we arrived in Los Angeles at about 9:25 p.m. Then my dad headed to transact the entry visa. But it took us such a long time. When we finished it, it was nearly 11 p.m. but our next flight would start at 11:30 p.m. There were a lot of people waiting for checking their stuff. We had no choice but to wait in line. After checking all the stuff, we had no idea what to do next. One staff member told us to go to No. 4 Building. The lady in the building gave me other tickets. But next flight would take off at 6:10 a.m. That meant we must wait in the airport in whole night here. We had no food, no water. Dad and I went to McDonald’s to buy some hamburgers. It was so cold outside, and I just wore one jacket. We stayed at the building and waited until 5 a.m. We must check in an hour before the plane left. Finally we arrived at Washington DC. We were all so tired. Then we all waited for my aunt to take us to Virginia. This was my voyage to the United States. This journey gave me so many special experiences to remember.
Where in the world? See if you can guess what country • This country is very mountainous • This country is said to be one of the happiest places on earth • Population of citizens is 7.8 million • Income earned is among the highest in the world
“Most of my mom’s family lives in Japan, but thankfully most of them haven’t been affected. However, I have an uncle who works on ships in Japan and we still haven’t heard from him. It makes my family really scared and worried.”
“My brother is in the navy and is stationed in Tokyo. For a year now, he planned on coming to visit us but now he is not able to come home anymore. My mother is sad and concerned for his safety.”
Andrea Vega, 12, Dan Doan, 12, Emily Farsani, 12 and Christine Lee, 10 have all been affected by the events in Japan, whether through family or by the people that they know.
Students sympathize with Japan Though far away, the events in Japan have affected the lives of students and their families BY KATE GRANDCHAMP
Staff Writer The last time senior Emily Farsani heard from her uncle was when he was in southern Japan this past summer. She was looking forward to hearing from him again. Due to the Sendai earthquake and tsunami, Farsani now does not know if she ever will. Farsani’s uncle is one of the many people missing after the magnitude-9 earthquake and 7 meter (33 foot) high tsunami that hit Japan March 11.“We knew he was missing because we got in contact with everyone in my family except for him,” Farsani said. Nearly 9,500 people have perished as a result of the natural disasters in Japan. “My family and I pray every day that he is found safely, and think positively that he’s okay,” Farsani said, “We can’t really do anything to help find him, we just have to wait for him to call.” Other AHS students have been more fortunate to have heard from their relatives in Japan. Senior Dan Doan, has heard from his brother and sister-in-law but they are concerned about their future life in Japan. “I wasn’t that informed right when it happened because of the time differences but thankfully, my brother sent me an e-mail. My dad wasn’t worried because he didn’t think it was that big of a deal
at first,” Doan said “But my brother e-mailed me right after to say that his wife and dog were fine. [My brother] said his apartment was messed up, as a lot of things fell on the ground, but no one got hurt.” “Gas prices are high and water is scarce and or contaminated, so my sister-in-law left Tokyo for her hometown farther east. [My brother] doesn’t know when things will calm down,” Doan said. He planned on visiting Japan in the summer but now has second thoughts about whether he should still go or not. “I don’t know if I can go anymore because of all the turbulence in Japan,” said Doan. “I personally love Japan and it makes me sad to see that they’re going through all this at one time,” junior Emily Oliver said. Oliver knows a family who came to stay in the U.S. temporarily. “I know some people who live there, not in the affected area, but near enough that they came here [to the US] to get away from it all.” Oliver’s father planned on traveling to Japan this summer.“Now he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to go. If things clear up by then I’m okay with it,” Oliver said. “I’m just glad they’re here, safe. They’re going back in two weeks but for now the pregnant mom is staying away from any radiation,” Oliver said. The radiation comes from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which as a result of the natural disasters, has been crippled. Japanese authorities have cautioned parents
against giving their babies tap water or using it in formula. Iodine-131, the component of tap water which causes radioactivity, can lead to over absorption by the thyroid gland. Infants are three times less likely to be safe from thyroid cancer in this situation than adults. The World Bank has estimated that the natural disaster combination could cost the Japanese economy up to $235 billion. All U.S. citizens are being affected agriculturally, as the U.S. has placed strict restrictions on the milk and milk product, vegetable, and fruit imports from Japan. Japan’s most deadly seismic event was the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, which had a death toll of over 133,000 people. The last devastating tsunami-prompting earthquake in Japan was in 2004 and killed over 300,000 people. It was centered off the coast of Sumatra and affected dozens of countries. Sophomore Christine Lee takes Japanese as her foreign language course and as an academy course. She and her classmates have put a lot of focus into the events that happened in Japan. “My teacher made a fundraiser about what happened. The origami is for one single victim. The cranes made are for the fundraiser,” Lee said. I feel bad for the victims. My teacher doesn’t really say much about it but you can tell she’s sad about it because she was born there.”
Want to help Japan? Here are a couple of ways to help the victims of the tsunami and eathquake in Japan • To donate directly to the American Red Cross, text REDCROSS to 90999 or JAPAN to 80888 to donate $10 towards the Red Cross’s efforts for Japan. •
Since mid August, 33 miners have been trapped 2,300 feet underground in Copiapo, Chile. Though help is on the way, it is said that the miners will not be able to get out until around Christmas.
Since mid August, 33 miners have been trapped 2,300 feet underground in Copiapo, Chile. Though help is on the way, it is said that the miners will not be able to get out until around Christmas.
Malaysia recently enforced a “hatch” program where mothers can anonymously leave their unwanted newborn while workers will provide care for them.
Malaysia recently enforced a “hatch” program where mothers can anonymously leave their unwanted newborn while workers will provide care for them.
Last week, France issued a ban on burquas and niqabs, or anything that covers one’s face.
Last week, France issued a ban on burquas and niqabs, or anything that covers one’s face.
• Buy a Lady Gaga Earthquake relief wristbands for $5 that say “We pray for Japan.” They are in red and white for all her little monsters. All proceeds will go directly to help Japan. The bracelets were shipped out on March 25. • Next time while on Facebook, go to the American National Red Cross’s page to donate anywhere between $10 and $500 to help the victims from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
• Lake Braddock student, senior Kristina Roller, is making bracelets for $2 to help Japan. All proceeds will be directly funded to them. You can reach her on her facebook page or contact senior Rachel Baker. • Donate via iTunes between $5 to $200 to the Red Cross.
Can you guess where it is?
• The organization, Shelterbox, provides aid boxes to the victims in need. The box includes a tent for a family of ten, cooker, blankets, water purification, tool kit and other items. To donate visit their homepage, shelterbox.org • On the Salvation Army’s homepage there is a link to donate to help the victims of Japan. The Salvation Army has been working with Japan since 1895.
• A portion of the money used to buy any song from the “American Idol Top 12 Season 10” compilation album will be donated to relief effort in Japan. • Go to CNN.com/impact to follow recent updates in Japan To listen to American Stories, go to www.thea-blast.org.
Simply getting to the U.S. can be difficult
March 29, 2011
Gear-Up for LAX
Senior captain Nathan Miller breaks down his attire for lacrosse.
Teams move from courts to fields as the warm weather arrives. Baseball, lacrosse, tennis, track, soccer and softball all enjoy the sunshine and prepare for the final season of the school year.
Shoulder Pads = $50
Cleats = $80
Arm Pads = $75
Gloves = $120
Freshman Kendall Sapp jumps to catch a fly ball during practice. The Atoms’ next game is tonight against West Potomac. JV plays at 6:30 p.m. at West Potomac, while varsity plays at home at 6:30 p.m.
Helmet = $200
Junior Bonne Clark warms up before tennis practice. Clark plays No. 2 for the team.
Senior Kelly Hughes plays first base for the varsity softball team.
Freshman Adriana Medina practices her footwork as she passes to her teammate on JV soccer.
Junior Ryan Miller dodges a defender as the varsity boys lacrosse team faces the Chantilly Chargers.
COURTESY OF BRIAR CREEK PHOTOGRAPHY
Stick = $115
Seniors Ryan Keck and Eric Reynolds talk with Head Coach Ron Abrigo’s son, Lorenzo, at the baseball hit-a-thon fundraiser on March 19.
TOTAL = $640 EMMA BARKER
Game G Ga ame me R Ready ead ea dy = P dy Priceless rice ri icelless less
Senior Josh Jean-Jacques leaps to the extreme during the long jump event at practice. Jean-Jacques is seeded first in the long jump for AHS varsity track. He is also ranked No. 1 in the Patriot District in high jump.
Varsity track runs 50 meter sprints during practice to condition for their next meet.
Junior Annie Rutherford nervously watches a play during the Atoms’ first regular season game against Marshall on March 15. The Atoms lost 15-10.
Go to www.thea-blast.org to see pictures from the journalism convention in New York City from March 16-18.
14 Nag Natalie
What I like about you Students share what their favorite part of their everyday outfits are
Sophomore Megan Patrick says that her favorite part of her everyday outfit is picking out what shoes to wear. Her favorites are Vans, which she recently bought two weeks ago for $120. “They put the whole outfit together,” said Patrick. Try to find a pair in neutral colors such as white, grey or black to go with every outfit.
By Natalie Johnson
Love Triangle Dear Natalie, My best friend wanted me and her boyfriend to start bonding so that all three of us could hang out together. At first we would hang out the three of us, but then me and my friend’s boyfriend became closer and wanted to hang out alone, just as friends of course. My best friend was surprisingly okay with it; actually she was happy that we were getting along so well. But then, I started developing feelings for him. We continued to hang out and I started liking him more. I have a huge crush on my best friend’s boyfriend and I have no idea what to do about it. Please help me! --Stuck Dear Stuck, Whatever you do, do not make a move on the boyfriend. You need to stop hanging out with him one-on-one immediately. The last thing you want to do is have him develop feelings for you as well because this would not only end your best friend’s relationship with him, but will place a huge space between you and your friend. I know it may be very tempting to express your feelings to him, and normally I would encourage you to do so, but in this situation it truly is better to stay silent. Making a move on the boyfriend would cause more harm than it would good and I can guarantee that it will take a very long time for your friend to forgive you if you did so. Hopefully once you put some space between you and the boyfriend, your feelings will pass. If they don’t pass, I recommend occupying your time with other people as well so that your jealousy minimizes. --Natalie Have a problem? E-mail Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your favorite outfit to wear to school? “A skirt with a flowy white top and moccasins. It’s all from Forever 21.”
March 29, 2011
Today she’s sporting an oversized T-shirt with leggings, but usually junior Kelsi Gardner prefers to wear skinny jeans. Her favorite pair are from H&M that she got approximately six months ago for $29. “They look great with everything,” said Gardner. Skinny jeans can easily be dressed up for special occasions or worn with a loose T-shirts for a more casual, everyday outfit.
H&M and Papaya are where you’ll see freshman Gabi Montes de Oca shopping for her mini-sweaters, which are her favorite piece of clothing. Montes de Oca gets them for $15 to $20 and says, “They’re comfortable.” Minisweaters can be worn over a tank top or strapless dress to make it school appropriate.
Senior Daniel Calabro got his favorite pair of cargo pants only a few months ago. Calabro got them at Nordstrom for $60. “They’re comfortable, and have a lot of pockets,” said Calabro. With pants having a lot of pockets, it is easier for you to store your everyday necessities like your wallet and cell phone.
Guy’s share their views on girls’ fashion trends Q: When a girl wants to dress comfortably, what do you think she will wear? A: “Yoga pants and UGGs.” Q: What trends do you think are popular with girls right now? A: “Skinny jeans, Sperrys and dresses.” Q: What clothes do you not like on girls? A: “I don’t like when girls wear flare jeans because they’re too wide.”
Freshman Myles Carpenter
Q: When a girl wants to dress comfortably, what do you think she will wear? A: “I think she will wear sweatpants and pajama pants because they’re comfortable.”
—Carol Orosco freshman
Q: What clothes do you like on girls? A: “I like when girls dress preppy because it looks good.”
“I don’t have a favorite outfit.”
— Clark Girardin sophomore
Sophomore Kyle Jamieson
Q: What clothes do you not like on girls? A: “I hate when girls wear sweatpants because it looks trashy.”
Q: What trends do you think are popular with girls right now? A: “Booty shorts and tank tops because that’s what guys dig.”
“My cardigan with a floral skirt, gladiator sandals and jeans.”
Q: What stores do you think are popular for girls to shop at? A: “Pink, Garage, Papaya and Target.”
—Ashley Parada junior
Q: What clothes do you like on girls? A: “I like shorts and tight clothes.” “Sweats, UGGs and a hoodie because it’s comfortable.”
Q: What clothes do you not like on girls? A: “I don’t like skirts on girls.”
— Jessica Orellana senior
Q: When a girl wants to dress comfortably, what do you think she will wear? A: “Sweats because I think they are comfortable for everyone.”
-Compiled by Helina Daniels and Isabel Villarroel
Go to www.thea-blast.org to view more students favorite accessories.
Junior Rawand Shamdin
Q: What trends do you think are popular with girls right now? A: “Gladiator sandals, spring blouses and yoga pants.” Senior Julian Jordan
Q: What stores do you think are popular for girls to shop at? A: “Urban Outfitters, Madwell, H&M, American Eagle and Hollister.” Q: What clothes do you like on girls? A: “I like when girls wear dresses or spring clothing, but not sweats. I like when they put effort into what they wear.”
Sophomore Adil Jared is wearing his favorite type of shirt; a v-neck T-shirt in grey. He bought this particular shirt at Macy’s for $25 at the beginning of the school year. Jared says he wears these shirts because, “they suit me best because they look nice.” These shirts are great because they can go with almost any outfit but look nicer than a regular T-shirt.
Sophomore Mirian Romero’s is wearing her favorite type of shirt, a plaid Hollister shirt that she got for $15. Romero bought her shirt about a month ago and loves it because of “The huge variety of colors.” With summer rapidly approaching, plaid shirts are commonly worn with cowgirl boots to rock the western style.
March 29, 2011
March Madness takes over With VCU entering into the Final Four, AHS revels in underdog status
BY BRENNA O’NEILL Sports X-tra Editor The Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup. All are sporting events unparalleled in terms of the competition and excitement brought by a tournament style event, one of the reasons why March Madness is so popular. In the world of college sports, nothing can compare. This year has been specifically exciting thanks to the early round exits, major upsets, and “Cinderella” stories. “This is the most exciting time of the year,” health teacher, Gabe Romano said. The only thing possibly more exciting than the actual tournament seems to be the competitions that it brings to the halls of AHS. “I picked my brackets based on teams I’ve seen lay. I’m really biased towards the ACC,” Romano said. While all of the sports marketing classes require a bracket to be made, many students and teachers have become all consumed by their brackets and televisions after tipoff. “I’m watching almost every game that is on. I am an addict,” Romano said. March Madness began the year with mixed reviews after the NCAA made changes to the rulebook, now allowing 68 teams to compete in the tournament. But with the changes brings a greater challenge to those
Many expect Connecticut to win due to their high rank at number 3.
VCU was never expected …to go this far, and was only ranked 11th.
April 2 6:09 p.m. CBS
April 4 9 p.m. CBS
Butler was ranked 8th and also caused an upset in the third round after beating Pittsburgh.
making brackets and participating in betting pools. “The new rule makes the whole tournament more fun because it helps me to keep track of more teams that participate in the tournament. It builds more competition,” senior Alay Tedla said. Tedla, along with senior Ben Wolfenstein, organized a 11-person pool through the ESPN tournament challenge. Each participant bet $5
April 2 8:49 p.m. CBS
The game between Kentucky and Connecticut is expected to be very close and Kentucky is currently ranked 7th.
in order to compete. Teachers have also taken to their brackets. English teacher, Bill Maglisceau, organized a group of 50 teachers to participate in this year’s bracket competition. This year has been especially unpredictable for those in the middle of competition, with many of the top teams knocked out early in the competition and others who were seeded low still in the competition.
Southeast favorite, University of Pittsburgh, was knocked out in the third round by Butler. “I had Pittsburgh to win it all, but now I’m rooting for Butler,” Tedla said. Additionally, Ohio State, a favorite to win the championship failed to make it to the Final Four and Duke, the 2010 Champions lost to no name, Arizona. Things have become so upredictable that of the 5.9 million to enter into the ESPN bracket competition, only two participants remain with an accurate guess of the Final Four. Following in the footsteps of George Mason’s 2006 appearance in the tournament, VCU has become “the little team that could,” after beating Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and first seeded, Kansas to win the southwest division. The team, lead by head coach, Shaka Smart, has given hope to a team that was seeded eleventh and had low expectations coming into the season. Unlike many years in the past, there in no clear winner in this year’s tournament, much to the enjoyment of it’s fans. “ I picked my brackets by the teams that were are the top in their division, then my favorites. It is all different this year,” Tedla said. With only four days until the Final Four match up in Houston, it is anyone’s guess as to who will take the championship title. “It is all up in the air at this point. I think Butler will beat VCU, and Kentucky will take the whole thing,” Drivers Education and girls varsity basketball head coach Patrick Hughes said.
Who do you think will win the NCAA tournament? “Duke already lost, so now I’m going for the underdog.” —Luke Lundy sophomore
“VCU! because they’re awesome.” —Hannah Coulter freshman
“I think Kentucky will win and if they play like they did against UNC no one will be able to beat them.” —Kelly Hughes
“VCU because it would be the biggest upset of the tournament.” —John Le senior
—Compiled by Kate Grandchamp
Balance Bracelets: is it all in your head? The latest athletic craze has many peeople hooked while others are still left skeptical BY BETSY KRUSE AND ESRA GOKTURK Staff Writer and Sports X-tra Editor Improving balance, strength, and coordination is something that athletes know will help their game, but usually is not something that comes easily, until now that is. Recently, a new trend of Power Balance bracelets have emerged supposedly to help people improve their overall balance and performance in everyday life. The makers of the bracelets have persuaded many people that they work by backing their products up with science and claim the bands are putting the natural energy field of their body in perfect balance which in turn helps with coordination and performance. This product may seem too good to be true, and definitely has its critics. “I think that it’s mainly a mind game, but the bracelet has helped me with my balance,” junior
Andrew Risse said. Customers thinking about purchasing a balance bracelet are allowed to do balancing activities with and without the bracelets so they can determine for themselves if they actually work. Usually it can be seen that usually their balance does improve a great deal. “I got [the bracelet] because I was curious to see whether the advertisements were true or not,” Risse said. Others believe that the bracelet has no real effect on a person, and is has to do with a person’s mindset. They beleieve times it could improve their balance because of the placebo effect. This means that just because someone says the bracelet will help improve balance someone else wearing the bracelet’s balance will improve, a simple mind trick. “I haven’t bought one of these bracelets because I don’t think that they will actually help me and the company is running a scam,” junior Bekah Zorn said. The company has based its research in an ancient eastern philosophy called holistic healing, which says that a person’s mental and physical health should both be accounted for
Improved sports technologies
when assessing them. The bracelets are meant to be worn everyday, and are even waterproof so that they never have to be removed. However, while the bracelets are advertised to help improve athletic performance, most high school athletes are not permitted to wear them during a game. The bands are considered to be jewelry that could potentially be dangerous in a game. Because of this, they are treated the same as any other jewelry item and are banned from being worn during a game. Any athlete wearing a balance bracelet or necklace during a game are in danger of receiving a foul for their team or an automatic disqualification for individual events such as swimming or track. In addition to the power bracelets, balance necklaces can be sold which are typically worn by baseball players. The products can be purchased at malls, fitness stores, or online for about $30.
CONCUSSION PROOF HELMETS: As concussion rates are rising in high school athletes, especially football players, helemts have been modified to help prevent head injuries. The difference between these new helmets and the old ones are new rounded and reinforced face masks, shape of helmet, and customized padding on the inside. SPEEDO FASTSKINS: Fastskins are a newly developed swimsuit that is designed to absorb less water and decrease resistance for swimmers. This allows competitors to go faster in the water. The suit was first unveiled at the 2000 Sydeney Olympics, but have become increasingly popular in recent years. SPORTS VISION TRAINING: Washington athletes such as the Clinton Portis, Mia Hamm, and Christian Guzzman have participated in the advanced training techniques created by local opthamoligist, Dr. Keith Smithson. The vision training helps athletes to improve depth perception, eye-hand and body coordination, and peripheral vision. IPHONE: Yes,strange as it may seem, technology has prgressed to getting fitness application on iphones, itouches and ipads. New applications such as imapmyfitness allow you to track all aspects of your workout and mark your pace, time, elevation, calories burned, distance, and speed just to name a few.
—Compiled by Esra Gokturk
Go to the web to read an exclusive article on the youth
March 29, 2011
Boys improve to 3-0 with 12-9 victory over West Springfield
ROWAN SHARTEL Staff Writer
BY DAVID HOOKEY Co-Editor in Chief
Hoping to improve on their 2-0 record, the girls tennis team looks to build momentum and take advantage of their skills and confidence as they head into the rest of their season. With their match against Lake Braddock cancelled due to rain, the Atoms expected to be tested in their match against Woodson on March 28, which ended too late to be covered in this issue. “There are a lot of great tennis teams out there, especially Woodson, Lake Braddock, and T.C. Williams,” sophomore Jenny Ha said before the match. Woodson’s record going in was 3-0, and the team is historically a strong competitor in the Patriot District. Hopes were high from players about the match, though. “It is always hard to say how the next game will work out but I think we have good chances to win this match,” junior Caddi Schuessler said before the face-off against Woodson. This year has been one of transition for the team, as several of their top players graduated last year. The new coach of the team, Dean of Students Hassan Mims, has also been able to bring his leadership and experience to the
Over the last eight years, the West Springfield boys varsity lacrosse team has had the Atoms’ number in the regular season. The Atoms have been 0-8 against the Spartans in regular season matchups since 2003, but on March 25, the Atoms used a strong performance from senior Nick Lalande and scoring from across the roster to overcome the “curse” and beat the Spartans, 12-9. “It’s nice to know that our kids can overcome any expectations for a regular season game because [West Springfield has] certainly had our number,” Head Coach Bill Maglisceau said. The Atoms’ offense got off to a quick start with a goal from junior Alec Villafana, but cooled off and only managed two more goals – both from Lalande – in the first half. The defense for the Atoms was strong, however, and the two teams entered halftime knotted up at three apiece. “[At halftime] I told the kids to quit forcing it to the crease and be more patient,” Maglisceau said. “[In the second half,] we waited for cutters and moved the ball around to the help side and got better looks.” The patience paid immediate dividends as the Atoms jumped out to a 5-3 lead behind goals from senior Nathan Miller and junior Ryan Miller, but the Spartans fought back and cut it to 6-6 at the end of three quarters. Early in the fourth, West Springfield took a one-goal lead, but sophomore Zack Lalande was able to tie it back up at seven with 10:50 remaining in the game. From that point on, the Atoms would never fall behind again. Nick Lalande proceeded to win five
straight face-offs and quick goals from senior Stephen Craig and Ryan Miller established a 9-7 lead. After a West Springfield goal, Craig scored another and quelled any hopes of a Spartan comeback. Villafana and Nick Lalande added the final two tallies of the night en route to the 3-goal victory. “I was just able to get open and [my teammates] just kept feeding me the ball, so I had a bunch of open looks,” Nick Lalande, who finished with five goals and a team record 16 ground balls, said. Despite the win, there is still room for improvement. The team played man-down for a total of six and a half minutes and was called for penalties on several big hits. “I’ve never really gotten on kids for too many penalties,” Maglisceau said. “I don’t want kids to ever not be aggressive because they’re afraid of getting a penalty, so I don’t really get on them a whole lot. Ideally, [the] man-down [team] gets excited and look forward to it. We have the athletes on our team to make it one of our strengths.” With the win, the Atoms improve to 3-0 on the season and are now ranked third in the Northern Region according to laxpower.com. A key to the success this year has been the revamped defense. Over the past two years, the Atoms have had a high-powered offense, but lacked the defense necessary to go deep into the postseason. This year, that has changed. After switching to defense from midfield last year, senior Peter Hagen has become one of the best defenders in the Northern Region and leads the strong defensive unit for the Atoms. Seniors Bob Stevens and Andy Craig switched to defense this year from goalie and midfield, respectively, to further advance the talent along the defensive line. Sophomore Joe Bermingham has stepped in at goalie and done a very nice job taking over for the reliable Stevens. “We lost some defense last year, so we got some new guys in and we’re starting to gel as a unit,”
Lax remains undefeated
Girls tennis looks to rally behind new coach, leadership
Sophomore Will Oviatt races down field in the Atoms’ win over West Springfield. The Atoms defeated the Spartans 12-9 behind strong defense and multiple offensive contributions from juniors Alec Villafana and Ryan Miller and seniors Nick Lalande and Stephen Craig.
Stevens, one of the team’s three captains, said. “We want to keep getting better each game” With a new-look on the defensive side of the ball and a powerhouse offense capable of scoring with the best teams in the region, the Atoms look to have a very successful season and return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2008.
program. “Each week the girls continue to improve and it looks like we will have a winning season,” Mims said. “I think with our new coach and hard work, we’ll be able to show those schools how much better we’ve gotten,” Ha said. The hard work has come from a determination to succeed in the district and as a result of confidence from previous matches. Including scrimmages, the team’s record before the Woodson match was 3-1, as they lost to Marshall in their first scrimmage. They swept Lee 9-0 in their first match, and narrowly beat West Potomac 5-4 in their second. “We pulled through on our matches against West Potomac, but we could have done better in terms of being consistent with our shots,” junior Bonne Clark said. Ha, who along with Clark is one of the team’s top six competitors, agreed. “I think that our team has done pretty well so far because last year we lost to West Potomac and this year we beat them after losing a lot of seniors,” Ha said. While the team has seen success recently, there is always room for improvement. “Our team is pretty good about understanding to keep the ball in play but I really think we could improve on our ‘killer instincts’,” Clark said. “That’s what really gets you into the game instead of thinking about how much you want to just end the game. It’s what makes matches fun.” The team looks to do their best and move forward with the remainder of the season on a positive note. “The team can do a good job this season; we have really good players who do a great job,” Schuessler said.
BY CJ AFTERGUT Sports Editor Heading into their match against Lake Braddock, the boys tennis team had hoped to continue their early regular season success. The team, however, was unable to build on its 2-0 start, falling to the Bruins in a 0-9 sweep. This scenario was all too familiar for the Atoms, who started their 2010 season with two easy victories before being swept by the Bruins. This year began in a similar fashion, with a 9-0 blowout of Robert E. Lee and an 8-1 victory over West Potomac. “We played pretty well against a very talented and experienced Lake Braddock team,” senior Erik Morton said. Morton remained optimistic about the loss, as the team was without its number three player, senior Luis Parrada. “We should be able to do much better next time,” Morton said. Despite the tough loss, the Atoms are off to a bright start this year and look to be successful throughout the remainder of season. Two of the team’s losses last year came at the hands of the Bruins, which means that the Atoms are likely to finish with a winning record if they continue to play as well as they did in 2010. “We should be able to win most of our team matches for the rest of the regular season and finish second or third in the district,” Morton said. “Then we would advance to the dis-
trict and regional tournament.” Sophomore Dylan Gore also believes that the Atoms will be able to continue their early success. “The whole team is playing great and improving everyday, so I think we should make it to regionals.” Head Coach Mike Scott took a similar outlook on the season so far and the matches yet to come. “Everyone has gotten better and we’d like to continue to improve,” Scott said. “If we keep working hard, we’ve got a good shot to make the playoffs.”
Sophomore Kyle Jameison practices his forehand. Jameison and the Atoms have had trouble defeating Lake Braddock the past two seasons.
Hard work seems to be the key for the Atoms, as the team lost two of its top six players from last season. However, should the Atoms continue to work hard and improve daily, the team should be able to overcome these losses. Then, the team should be able to establish itself as a district competitor with its sights set on a berth in the regional tournament.
Track and field looks to continue Patriot District dominance in 2011 BY COLLEEN ADENAN Staff Writer The outdoor track and field team will begin its regular season tomorrow at AHS in its only home meet of the season against Robert E. Lee, Lake Braddock and West Potomac. The meet will also be the team’s Senior Night and will honor all of the graduating seniors this year. “In order to prepare for the meet we have been training hard at practice,” Head Coach Sean Miller said. The recent history of the AHS boys and girls track teams has been filled with many great individual and team accomplishments and the members of this year’s team hope to repeat history in their upcoming spring season. “On the boys side we expect nothing less then a district and regional championship,” Miller said. “For the girls we are hoping to send as many individuals to regionals as possible and score well at districts as a team.” “I think the upcoming season is going to be a great one,” junior Ahmed Bile said. “We have a lot of new guys that could become really good with practice. I think most of the guys will go pretty far, at least to regionals, and we should send a couple guys to states.” Coming off an indoor track district title and a district win from last year’s outdoor track season, the boys track team is expected to do well this sea-
Junior David Croghan practices his long jump. Croghan and the rest of the team will compete in their first meet tomorrow.
son. Some key members of the boys track and field team include Bile and seniors JP Jenkins, Josh Jean Jacques, Joel Hoisington and Nick Doumbia. “As a team we are looking to get another district title and a regional one as well, and even a top five finish at states,” Bile said. Bile hopes to win another state title, earn another All-American finish, and win the 800meter race at Nationals this spring. “I think the girls will do great this season,” senior Carrie Vergel de Dios said. “We have a lot of good new underclassmen as well as juniors and seniors who have the experience. I believe some girls have a really good chance of getting to regionals, such as senior Victoria Ko and junior Sabrina Romano.” “We will go far because we have outstanding individuals in just about every event,” Miller said. “Very few teams have the depth that we have.”
Softball ready for first game of season Girls to take on West Potomac Wolverines tonight in home opener Coming off a 10-9 record in the 2010 regular season, the varsity softball team will take on the West Potomac Wolverines tonight at Ossian Hall Park. Though this is the Atoms’ first game of the 2011 spring season, the team has much experience, with 11 of last year’s 13 varsity players returning to the team. Of these 11 players, three are seniors; Kelly Hughes, Brittney Terry and Izzy Yaroch. “I know West Potomac will be fired up because they lost to South County the other night,” Head Coach Chris Tippins said, Junior Jessica Hotter also anticipates a tough match-up against the Wolverines. “The game is going to be really difficult, so we need to stay focused
BY HELINA DANIEL AND ISABEL VILLARROEL Photographers
Visit www.thea-blast.org for a slideshow of pre-season softball photos.
Freshman Hannah Coulter returns a serve during practice. Coulter and the rest of the girls tennis team are hoping to continue their early success.
Tennis swept by defending district champion in loss
Boys fall to 2-1 vs. LB Track preps for spring
Junior Jessica Hotter hits a pitch during a recent practice at Ossian Hall Park. Hotter is one of 11 returning varsity players, a factor that makes this year’s squad a force to be reckoned with in the Patriot District.
throughout the whole game,” Hotter said. Despite their belief that West Potomac will prove a strong opponent, many Atoms have a positive outlook for this season. “I think if we come out and play
to our potential and get a lot of hits we can win,” senior captain Kelly Hughes said. However, the Atoms also realize that many of their Patriot District rivals, including West Potomac, will prove to be a challenge.
Junior Kayla Meadows said, ”There are a lot of good teams in the district this year, but as long as we give it 100 percent, we will do well. I think we’re ready and prepared to beat them.” Overall, the team has high hopes for this season. “Our team’s goal is to win the Patriot District,” said Tippins. “I think we have the right pieces to do that, as long as we don’t make mental mistakes.” Tippins is also confident that his team will do well if they limit their mistakes and keep focused throughout the season. He said, “I think that the game tomorrow will be challenging but I’m confident in my team’s ability.” Although they have yet to begin their regular season, the players have practiced hard and are excited for tonight’s first home game. “I think the team will come out strong and display what we have been working on this season so far,” junior Casey Fait said. “Our team has potential to go really far this season.”
March 29, 2011
Baseball notches first win The Atoms defeated the Robert E. Lee lancers by 2 runs improving their record to 1-1
BY ESRA GOKTURK Sports X-tra Editor AHS varsity baseball grabbed their first win of the season against district rival Robert E. Lee led by the strong pitching of senior Eric Reynolds. Reynolds pitched seven good innings and recorded a complete game. “It was great getting to go the whole game. At the beginning of the game my goal was to go for five innings, but once my adrenaline started pumping in the game situation I was able to push through and finish strong,” Reynolds said. The Atoms scored two runs on a clutch hit, with runners on second and third, from senior Evan Smith. Later two more runs were tacked on to give the Atoms the win with a final score of 5-3. “We played well and competed hard, but we need to keep working hard to get better,” said sophomore catcher Matt Stevens. “I’m glad that we won, but we have to play and hit the ball better in the future,” said Head Coach Ron Abrigo. Surprisingly, the Atoms were able to win after only getting two hits. The weak offensive showing needs to be solved quickly as the team will
face four of the regions toughest teams in the next few weeks including, Lake Braddock, W.T. Woodson, South County and last year’s state champion, West Springfield. “We got the win last Friday, but we have to play a lot better to beat the tougher teams in our district,” said senior first basemen Jordan Cowles. The Atoms play away at district rival Lake Braddock on Friday and again on Monday against at home against W.T. Woodson. Last year the Atoms beat W.T. Woodson when they were ranked no. 10 in the state in extra innings. The victory knocked the Cavaliers out of first place in the District. The Atoms are currently the fourth seed in the District behind Lake Braddock. If the Atoms are able to have a strong week their season looks to be an impressive one. AHS finished no. 5 in the Patriot District last year after being knocked out of the playoffs by W.T. Woodson. For complete schedule and results visit www.annandaleatoms.com and click Boys Varsity Baseball.
17 Varsity Baseball by the Numbers
The total number of hits the Atoms had to defeat the Lancers. They boys still managed to score 5 runs to win the game.
The number of inning that senior Eric Reynolds pitched against the lancers. It was Reynolds first career complete game.
The number of players on the varsity roster this year. It includes four sophomores, five juniors and seven seniors.
The number of games the Atoms play this year during the regular season. They face each district team twice and will be traveling to Myrtle Beach for a spring break tournament,
Junior Pat McCann practices taking ground balls with a partner during practice. McCann is the starting varsity second baseman this year, batting ninth.
AHS goes 2-3 in Spring Invitational
-Compiled by Jake Barnes
Girls lacrosse brings their record to 4-4 after a tough spring tournament
COURTESY OF BRIAR CREEK PHOTOGRAPHY
For two weekends straight the girls lacrosse team has hosted a tournament at AHS inviting local out of district teams to compete. The annual Atomic Blast Spring Invitational was added to the schedule again this year in addition to the regular season game played against West Springfield. “I think that it was a well organized tournament that everyone enjoyed playing in,” assistant coach Kari Kraus said. The Atoms went 2-3, including losses to Chantilly, Bishop Denis J. O’Connell and Oakton and wins against Gar-field and Forest Park HS. Osbourne Park HS was also in the tournament, but didn’t play AHS. “It was disappointing that we didn’t win the tournament, but we played really well as a team and I thought we did great,” senior Kate Bermingham said. The tournament is hosted by AHS every year to provide more games for the team to play in preparation for future games. Chantilly HS won the tournament by going undefeated. “Even if we don’t win, the tournaments help us learn and improve for our upcoming games,” senior Megan Loman said. The strenuous weekend schedule was added in addition to the regular season schedule. The exciting last minute victory over Patriot District rival West Springfield was over shadowed by the four games played in less than twenty-four hours. “The amount of games was really tough on us because we played so many games in such a small period of time,” junior Kenzi Wright said. However, the team has a week to recover before getting back to work with a huge game against rival W.T. Woodson on April 4. The week has
BY JAKE BARNES Sports Editor
Sophomore Andrew Boyd throws the ball during practice. The Junior Varsity and Varsity teams practice together on Saturdays to help improve the skills of younger players.
Girls Soccer Schedule
Sophomore Paige Britton is a leading scorer on the team. Britton was awarded first team all-district last year as a freshmen.
three games including a scrimmage against St. Bartholomew’s School from Newbury, England. The biannual scrimmage will be played at AHS on April 8. The trip will also consist of the two teams going on a field trip to Washington D.C. to visit the monuments, as well as a visit to Tyson’s Corner Mall.
April 1 - at West Potomac April 5 - Lake Braddock April 7 - at W.T. Woodson
Two athletes place in the top five in Nationals
April 13 - T.C. Williams April 15 - Madison April 27 - at West Springfield
AHS athletes Ahmed Bile and JP Jenkins finished third and fourth respectively
April 29 - South County May 3 - at Herndon
“All -American” continued from page 1
May 11 - Fairfax
“It felt great placing so high,” Bile said. “I was hoping to get in the top six, so placing third was amazing.” It is not the first time that we have seen these two names, as both have been very successful in their sports. Bile was running at NYC as a double Virginia High School League AAA State Champion, once for the Cross Country season and another this indoor track season for the 1000 meter run. He also received All-American status during the Cross Country season when he ran at the Footlocker National Meet in San Diego after what was said to be a “dream season.” Bile is now only a few seconds off from his father, Gold Olympic Medalist Abdi Bile, who ran the 800m in 1:43.60 back in 1989. “The 800 is more my specialty,” Bile said. “Cross country was a lot harder on my body.” Jenkins has also made a name for himself in the sport, with a district and regional championship for the indoor season, as well as placing second in the state for the 55 meter hurdles this year. Jenkins also contributes to the team with his position on the 4x400 meter relay. Jenkins’ amazing speed and running has transitioned seamlessly into his high school career as AHS’s running back and defensive back, cementing his position as a truly versatile athlete. This is not the last time we are going to see these fine athletes as the spring season has just begun for both. There is no doubt that these two track stars will aid the track and field team in their quest for another Patriot District Championship. This is especially true for Bile, who is still a junior, and still has his entire senior season ahead of him. Both athletes are looking forward to the spring season, where they can hopefully end off the school year with a national title.
Junior Ahmed Bile Competed in the National tournament along with JP Jenkins. Both finished in the top 5 of their respective events.
Go to www.thea-blast.org to see a slideshow of the girls lacrosse tournament last weekend.
18 Upcoming movies The life of an ordinary family is compromised after unexpected evil spirits present themselves to the family. Watch to see how the family handles the situation and if they make it out alive.
Insidious April 1 PG-13
When a man wakes up to find out he is a part of a secret government project, he must choose to savor the love he has found with another woman or comply with the rules of the project.
Source Code April 1 PG-13
March 29, 2011
New AHS student band with unique post- hardcore and electronic ambient sounds sits down with The A-Blast
Get To Know The Band Vocals/Guitar
Name: Tyler Miller Grade: Junior Favorite Musician: Kid Cudi Hidden Talent: Bagging Groceries
Drums/Electronics Name: Andy Tran Grade: Junior Favorite Musician: Ke$ha Hidden Talent: Hardcore Parkour
Guitar Name: Randy Ma Grade: Junior Favorite Musician: Rebecca Black Hidden Talent: Kung Fu
The remake of the 1981 movie “Arthur” depicts the life after a rich playboy ends up losing his inheritance because of his love interest and has many problems finding a job.
Arthur April 8 PG-13
Notable Musical Newcomers Ellie Goulding
Originally from Hereford, England, this newcomer is a 24 year-old singer and song-writer that is making hits in the U.S. Her soft and subtle voice mixed in with electronic beats makes her music very unique and original. Hit Song: Lights
This artist has made a name for himself by gathering such a large fan base for someone without a record label. Apart from his boyish charm, this British musician’s sweet melodies are sure to pull your knickers right off. Hit Song: Superman
This Disney Channel star is now pursuing her musical ambitions with her new record label, Wind-Up Records. Her style is very similar to pop artist Ke$ha, but with much less auto-tune and a little less grungy look. Hit Song: Lovesick
This 26-year-old Canadian pop star’s songs have been featured in movies such as Whip It! She has also performed at many Olympic games and is currently working with hot American artists such as Selena Gomez and Kevin Rudolf. Hit Song: Ghost
If there is one thing Chris Brown is doing right, it is helping this young artist get his musical career started. At only 13 years of age, this singer is putting smiles on all the little teenyboppers out there with his sweet voice and his adorable smile. Hit Song: Nobody
Being original is one thing this artist excels at. Although some may find her vocals over the top and an outsider to the music world, that is what makes her unique and interesting to listen to. Her music is basically a mix between Lady Gaga, Ke$ha with a twist of Nicki Minaj’s rapping nature. Hit Song: Back it Up
Although very new to the music scene, this artist is really making a name for himself. His music is very similar to John Mayer, but definitely has an original voice. He recently participated in a recording with Hanson to support the victims from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Hit Song: Keep Your Head Up
Go to the web to read more about the recent Rebecca Black phenomenon.
Name: Alec Stewert Grade: Sophomore Favorite Musician: Austin Carlile Hidden Talent: Fingerboarding PHOTOS: SARAH BERGEN
BY MACKDA DINBERU Entertainment Editor Band mates Tyler Miller, Alec Stewert, Randy Ma and Andy Tran are aspiring to be the next big thing with the start of their band, Oh Satellite. The guys have been buddies throughout their academic journey here atAHS and with the start of their new band are hoping to stay together for awhile. The band is very passionate in what they do and are very excited to take the next step in coming out to the AHS community. They plan to make a statement with their music and hopefully influence others to listen or appreciate a different style of music. Group members Tran and Miller opened up to The A-Blast to discuss their journey as a group. How do you all know each other? Miller: “Andy, Randy and I have known each other since elementary school, and we all met Alec at AHS.
The group is looking to expand their fan base by performing at the Battle of the Bands competition at AHS in May. (Not pictured above, Alec Stewert)
What made you want to start a band? Miller: “Andy and I have been playing music together since middle school. We’ve tried to put bands together before, but nothing has ever worked out. Now that we actually have a functional group, we’re trying to turn it into something serious and create a new sound.”
Do you write your songs? And if so, what inspires you to write them? Tran: “We have one song finished so far, and we’re in the middle of writing another one. We’re definitely inspired by the positivity from everyone and everything around us, and the chroma season.”
Explain your genre of music (post-hardcore with electronic sludge influences)? Tran: “We’re trying to be aggressive and melodic at the same time. We’re bringing in some ambient sounds over some hard core stuff with a pinch of electronics. We’re trying to steer away from the generic sound most bands have nowadays. It’s pretty swag.”
Where can your fans hear you perform? Miller: “We’re going to be playing at Battle of the Bands at school in May. But as of now, we’re trying to set up some shows at Jaxx Nightclub before the end of the school year. And soon fans can listen to our music on YouTube. We also have a Twitter @ohsatellite.”
What artists are similar to your type of music and influence you? Tran: “Bands like Oceana, Decoder, Of Machines, Lower Definition, Four Letter Lie, as well as a lot of other hip hop artists.”
What are your plans for the future as a group? Miller: “As of now, we’re saving up for some new equipment. But as soon as we’re prepared, we plan on playing at Jaxx Nightclub and other local venues as often as possible.”
Is romance in Hollywood dead? Steamy hook-ups and quick dates are the new faces of love BY CORINNE BALICKI & CARLI LOEB Staff Writer Long lost lovers, destiny and everlasting passion are three things that characterize Hollywood romance, or at least used to. Traditional Hollywood romance has slowly come to an end in present-day movies. The romance has changed from long lasting devotion to quick hook ups. Many current films illustrate this new found idea of “love” while the older ones depict the traditional standard. Old films and films set in the past stick to traditional romance. Movies like Gone With The Wind show the purest form of love. They include old fashion chivalry and all the elements of head over heels love. The characters are faithful to those they love, unlike something we see often in current movies. “Back in the day it used to be sincere but now its more focused on lust and isn’t genuine,” senior Zeni Saife-Selassie said. Present-day culture has transformed but it has not changed the way we like to view the past. Even though The Notebook was produced in 2004, it was set in the 1940’s. They portray the character’s love as everlasting and able to withstand the test of time. If this movie was set in present time, the story would have played out in a different manner, the movie would have focused more
on the physical side of the relationship, not emotional. “I think there are still romantic relationships but the movies have been showing a lot more of just the physical relationships,” freshman Katie McCann said. The love shown in The Notebook is also present in old animation movies. Lady and The Tramp depicted the
In the 1939 movie “Gone With The Wind,” the young woman and her love are inseparable.
“Friends with Benefits” stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake relax on the couch together enjoying their free relationship.
idea that love will always conquer and nothing can keep destined lovers apart. However, in current movies, the leading ladies have now turned into the tramps. “In the past it was more genuine, but the movies now are much cornier and lame,” senior Nick Vu said. Presently, movies portray a nonchalant outlook on love. Characters often look for physical relationships as opposed to the sentimental ones that are now the old Hollywood norm. In No Strings Attached, we see two characters only interested in the physical side of love. Movie goers now like to see the standard friends with benefits scenario rather than the old heart melting saga. The characters in No Strings Attached rejected all actions that could symbolize love. They refused to cuddle, have breakfast together or talk about any sort of romantic feelings. These characters despised all things that made old romance movies so popular to the general public. No Strings Attached however, was a very popular movie. This shows just how much the mindsets of movie watchers has changed. “I feel like movies have changed the way people feel about how a relationship between a couple should be,” sophomore Kurtis Neal said. The upcoming movie entitled Friends With Benefits embodies the very essence of this mindset. The movie is all about two friends, played by Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, that are only interested in a physical relationship with no plans to ever get attached emotionally. It is undeniable that these movies are entertaining, but some find themselves wishing for a heart warming classic portrayal of love.
Straight out of the ’Burgh Young rapper Mac Miller is racking up the numbers in his fan base BY SAMIR SHAH & HABEN BERIHUN Staff Writers Young, white rappers seem to be making a comeback these days with rappers such as Sam Adams, Asher Roth and Mac Miller making it big. The latter of the three, Miller, is a new name who seems to be becoming extremely popular in the competitive world of rap and hip-hop. Miller, whose given name is Malcolm McCormick, released his fourth mix tape, Best Day Ever, on March 11 this year. Miller is a 19 year-old rapper from Pittsburgh. Originally only known in his neighborhood, he has become a big name in the rap community all over the nation. Although he has concerts selling out every night, many do not know of his creative musical background. Miller taught himself how to play the drums, piano, guitar and bass all by the age of six, and by the age of eight he started laying down his own freestyles. Many of his musical muses included
Big L.,ATribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Lauyrn Hill and Outcast. Earlier in his music career he was in a group named Lil Spoken and, instead of Mac Miller, he went by the stage name of Easy Mac. In 2007 he released his first mix-tape, Mackin’ Ain’t Easy, and then he released two other projects in 2009 called The Jukebox and The High Life which became quick hits on the Internet. From the second he dropped his first hit, it was a known fact that this kid was definitely a competitor in the game of music industry. In 2010, he signed with the independent record company Rostrum Records, and released his first ever album, K.I.D.S. which featured blazing songs such as “Nike’s My On My Feet,” “Kool-aid and Frozen Pizza,” “Senior Skip Day” and “Knock Knock.” His songs gained over two million views on YouTube and on iTunes. His huge fan base continues to grow exponentially, as his success on the “Incredibly Dope Tour” demonstrates.
The sky’s the limit for this underrated artist. He hopes to have much more success and enlarge his fan base on his “Best Day Ever” tour, with his newest album. “He came from the bottom and worked his way up. He’s still climbing and still has a full career ahead of him. I definitely respect him,” junior Dylan Shuey said. The first song leaked from the album, “Donald Trump,” currently has over two million views on YouTube. Some other songs featured in this album include “Oy Vey,” “Get up,” “Wear My Hat” and “Down the Rabbit Hole.” Many of his songs contain explicit language, however some have strong messages along with great beats and flow that makes the album a good choice for young adults who enjoy hip-hop and rap.
Miller is currently on tour with popular rapper Wiz Khalifa around the U.S.
What the ?
Popular artists turn to profanity BY MARY ANNE KAVJIAN Entertainment Editor Although popular music has included profanity for decades, its prominence in Top 40 songs today is growing. While it is commonplace to have curse words in songs today, recent hits have taken it a step further by including the f-word in the title. In August of 2010, little-known artist Cee Lo Green released his song, also titled F*** You, online which promptly became an internet sensation. As popularity grew, a new version surfaced in which the lyrics and title were modified to “Forget You.” Shortly following Green’s growing hit was the release of Pink’s second single from her greatest hits album, “F***in’ Perfect.” Perhaps the most crude example of this new habit is Enrique Iglesias’s single “Tonight I’m F***ing You.” Most who hear
these songs on the radio have no idea what the song is actually saying. “My mom loved ‘Forget You’ and I had to tell her what the real song was,” English teacher Julia Hanneman said. Although the radio features cleaner versions, there is still great controversy over the uncensored lyrics. “If it’s the artist’s original words, cursing helps a song because it’s what they meant to say in the first place,” senior Andy Nguyen said. With the obvious issue of free speech at hand, Nguyen is not alone in the opinion that artists should be allowed to express themselves openly. However, many feel that the use of profanity is not an artist’s form of expression at all; on the contrary, others at AHS feel that curse words actually take away from the innovation of songwriting. “Words today are starting to mean so much less than they used to; they aren’t as strong anymore because of how much people use profanity,” Hanneman said. “Inappropriate things are becoming much more common, making them seem more
appropriate.” Senior Lucy Webb also feels that there is a problem with songwriting today. “It shows a lack of creativity and talent when people Pink’s new song, “F***ing Perfect” is stirring up use in music. People don’t know how to write, so they use curse controversy with its explicit title and lyrics. words,” Webb said. now also release censored and uncensored As the world today is shifting to more versions of their songs on iTunes, providing advanced sources of technology, artists an opportunity for increased revenue. can include profanity without the worry of No matter your opinion on vulgarity in being censored by the FCC through sites music, it is clear that this habit is not going like Youtube, VEVO and Pandora. to be broken any time soon. In addition to this, profane artists can
Lupe Fiasco brings a unique style
The sixth and seventh tracks, the acclaimed single “The Show Goes On” and “Beautiful Lasers,” bring the album back to its normal criticizing lyrics and good beats. “Beautiful Lasers” demonstrates its purpose immediately, beginning with “Sometimes living in a world like this/It’s pretty hard not to go insane.” “Coming Up” reverts back to the club feel of previous ones, beginning with the line, “this one goes out to all the baby girls.” Fiasco then ends the album where it started with “State Run Radio,” “All Black Everything” and “Never Forget You,” which all feature political comments that emphasize Fiasco’s originality. Overall, while critics may scrutinize the album for combining the electric sounds with political elements, it seems Lupe is attempting to please two types of musiclovers. The album mixes a new light-hearted upbeat sound with his old politicallycharged tracks. Combining these contrasting styles onto a single album is risky, but Lupe Fiasco pulls it off well with beats and impressive lyricism that everyone can appreciate. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a successful career from the talented Lupe Fiasco.
personal intimations on his first track, “Letting Go,” which features Sarah Green. This song incorporates an in-depth glance into Fiasco’s mind along with an introduction to the scrutinizing style of his album, “strip away the justice/justify the scrutiny/I can see the lasers/ shooting out of you and me.” The second song on the album, “Words I Never Said” BY SAMIR SHAH featuring Skylar Grey, elaborates more about political matStaff Writer ters and his opinions, “Murdering is not Islam/ and you are An underrated name most had forgotten in hip-hop not observant,” which along with an upbeat rhythm really culture since his previous albums, artist Lupe Fiasco re- stresses the lyrics to produce a good song. cently had a big comeback with his newly released The third song, “Till I Get There,” album. After experiencing some delays, the highly continues with the same style as anticipated rap and hip-hop album Lasers came Lupe Fiasco’s the previous two songs, incorpoout on March 8. Lasers rating good beats with revealing Known for his criticizing lyrics and great beats, lyrics. It is at the fourth song that Fiasco has a unique style that is not seen in the Fiasco begins with a different materialistic world of hip-hop today. approach. Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known by his “I Don’t Wanna stage name Lupe Fiasco, began his career recordCare Right Now” feaing songs in his father’s basement. A few years and tures a more rock/hipmany good songs later, Lupe Fiasco has become one of the hop sound than the previous songs, with a most successful artists in his genre. club feel and shallower lyrics, however the The sound of the album features numerous tracks with beat is relatively good, as with most of the political and criticizing elements combined with electronic songs on the album. and club-sounding tracks. In addition to many other songs on the This combination proves to be unique. However, critics album, this track shows Fiasco trying to do not seem to enjoy it, with the album having a score of 57 appeal to the typical hip-hop listeners. “Out out of 100 at the review aggregator MetaCritic. of My Head” continues with this theme, adding Fiasco chose to begin the album strongly and with in an element of R&B to the album.
The rapper’s album “Lasers” combines new and old styles
19 Do you really know the lyrics?
GRAPHIC BY MARY ANNE KAVJIAN
March 29, 2011
Everyone knows the feeling– you are singing along to your favorite song on the radio when someone tells you that you’ve got the words all wrong. In the following questions, only one of the options is the real lyric. Can you guess which one?
1. Jimi Hendrix - “Purple Haze” A. ‘Excuse me while I kiss the sky’ B. ‘Excuse me while I kiss this guy’
2. Miley Cyrus - “Party in the USA” A. ‘Welcome to the land of fame and sex’ B. ‘Welcome to the land of fame, excess’
3. Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit” A. ‘Here we are now, entertain us’ B. ‘Here we are now, in containers’
4. Van Morrison - “Brown-Eyed Girl” A. ‘Hey there, Rodrigo’ B. ‘Hey, where’d we go’
5. Shakira “Waka Waka” A. ‘Listen to your heart’ B. ‘Listen to your god’
6. Lady Gaga - “Papparazzi” A. ‘We’ll blast it but we’ll still have fun!’ B. ‘We’re plastic but we’ll still have fun!’
7. Jonas Brothers - “SOS” A. ‘That don’t include your crazy friends’ B. ‘That don’t include your crazy fans’
8. Eve 6 - “Inside Out” A. ‘I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rhines, but the lack thereof would leave me empty inside’ B. ‘I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds, but the laughter of would leave me empty inside’
Get inside your favorite celebrities’ heads
9. Katy Perry - “California Gurls” A. ‘Pine fresh beers, we’ve got ‘em on top’ B. ‘Fine, fresh, fierce, we’ve got it on lock.’
10. Justin Timberlake - “Sexy Back” A. ‘Go hippie go with it’ B. ‘Go ahead be gone with it’
ANSWERS 1. A 2. B 3. A 4. B 5. B 6. A 7. A 8. A 9. B 10. B
If you’ve seen my DVD, my buddy wearing funny underwear came to DC tonite haha! I’m so happy!!
The point, with “Born This Way,” is to fight for something that not everyone believes in. To overcome adversity with a message.
single ladies:next to HOT guy on plane to LA.I’ll get his info so I can pass it on to y’all.I just realized he has friend here!will take pic
You know you have OCD when you’ve yelled “Oh look! The Container Store!” on more than one occasion.
Top 10 iTunes Downloads
Thank God Its Friday? New hit song by teenage artist flops with the fans
You sit down and open up YouTube, prompted by your friends to check out this “awesome new song” that they just heard. You search “Rebecca Black” and click on a song named “Friday.” All of a sudden, your ears are assaulted by a symphony of auto-tuned, prepubescent voices with sinus infections. No, you have not experienced hell; you have experienced the lyrical sensations of R.B., Rebecca Black. Whether she likes it or not, the 13-year-old teenager from Orange County, California has become the newest viral sensation that has spiraled out of control. In just two weeks, Black’s video went from 400 views to a staggering 43,000,000, with no signs of stopping. Black has also surged through the iTunes Top Downloaded list, beating other famous teen pop stars such as Justin Bieber. Black’s video has a staggering 389,859 dislikes on YouTube, one of the highest any YouTube video has ever garnered. Also, if one were to read the comments of said video, they would see post upon post bashing the teenager about her voice, looks and song.
BY DANIEL PARK Ad Manager
Rebecca Black joins her friends in her music video that has earned 43,000,000 views and countless negative comments.
The girl is just 13, so why the hate? Most of the hate stems from the uninspired, almost comical lyrics that she sings, as well as the tone in which she sings it. Many of the lyrics of the song, such as “which seat should I take,” and “fun fun fun fun,” sound so elementary for a pop song that the juxtaposition is hilarious. Although the lyrics are amusing, the brunt of the jokes comes from her horribly auto-tuned voice. Her voice is butchered by auto-tune, and she ‘sings’ monotone, while the music video goes on to showcase some of the worst cinematography the world has witnessed. The video shows teenagers that can’t be older than 13
driving cars, dancing on top of a moving convertible and other horrors. Most of the time they don’t even look like they know what they’re doing; it’s like the video was an unintentional parody of modern pop music. Many music critics have denounced the video as “the worst video ever made.” When Black read the reviews, she responded “When I first saw it... I cried. Being a teenager, you care what other people think about you.” Black then said she isn’t bothered by the cyber bullying comments on the internet because she no longer reads them. Black has also garnered the attention of several concerned parents. Some parents believe that her song encouraged children to skip school to hang out with their friends and drive cars underage. They also think that Black’s video promotes people to dance on top of moving convertibles, an extremely dangerous and stupid thing to do. Regardless, Black is now famous, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Black has now appeared on several television shows to explain her song, such as ABC News, The Today Show and Good Morning America. The surprising thing is when she showcased her voice on a different song without auto-tune it wasn’t so bad. This shows that the video is more of the director’s fault than her own. Rumors have surfaced that Black will be on tour soon, with a visit near us at Fair Oaks Mall on May 3. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going; if not for the music, for the comedy. Better start reserving my tickets and deciding “which seat should I take.”
1. Just Can’t Get Enough Black Eyed Peas 2. No Sleep Wiz Khalifa 3. E.T. (feat. Kanye West) Katy Perry 4. Next 2 You (feat. Justin Bieber) Chris Brown 5. S&M Rihanna 6. Born This Way Lady Gaga 7. On the Floor (feat. Pitbull) Jennifer Lopez 8. Look At Me Now (feat. Lil Wayne) Chris Brown 9. Blow Ke$ha 10. Who Says Selena Gomez & The Scene
Go to www.thea-blast.org to read a different perspective on Rebecca Black.
March 29, 2011
5 Myths of Annandale... There are no places to shop
Last weekend I went to Baltimore to go see Lil Wayne at the First Mariner Arena with seniors Stephen Cook, Paige Clark and Julia Uglietta. We drove for about an hour to reach Baltimore where he was performing. Once the lights dimmed and the spotlight hit the stage, Travis Barker’s legendary drumming began, pumping up the crowd. After an intermission, the lights dimmed again and Lil Wayne’s voice took over the venue as he rose up through the stage. The crowd went wild and started dancing, rapping along to his verse in “I’m Going In.” About half way through Lil Wayne’s performance, Nicki Minaj rose out of the floor and began rapping her verse from the song “Bottoms Up.” Lil Wayne eventually rejoined her and brought out DJ Khaled who performed his well-known song “All I Do is Win.” Later on, Birdman came out on stage to join Lil Wayne in performing a duet. The concert was incredible.
“Where are all the other places to eat? There are so many Korean places.”
—Eboni Mclaurie senior Chicken Pollo’s roasted chicken.
Boredom runs rapant
The arrival of the Cherry Blossoms brings in tourists from around the world. You can get involved in the fun from now until April 9.
Enjoy a loud and festive fireworks show on April 2, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on the Southwest Waterfront in D.C. The event will be preceded by free music and performances.
International Pillow Fight Day
Bring your pillow down to the National Mall on April 2 beginning at 2 p.m. It’s completely free and tons of fun.
The streets aren’t safe
“You have to drive pretty far to get to things like the movies.”
—Obldio Alas sophomore When bowling at the AMC lanes simply doesn’t cut it anymore, try out something completely different with friends. All you need is a microphone and a little bit of courage, and you’re all set for Karaoke night! Café Muse boasts a large number of songs that you will surely recognize, along with weekend “regulars” that can’t seem to get enough of the singing action. Ara restaurant is another well-known karaoke establishment. Prior to your singing escapades, you can dine on their Korean fusion cuisine that won’t cost more than $10 per entrée. If you’re not that into the idea of singing, at the very least you can enjoy a night reveling in the potential embarrassment of all your friends. CARLY BOUCHARD
Cherry blossom festival
Sophomore Stephen Oakes sings along to his favorite song.
Culinary Conquests Senior graduation countdown: 79 days
Bake sale days will be posted on the Class of 2011 group on Facebook
Visit us at www.thea-blast. org to view a slide show of Krugers Antiques.
Breakfast is scarce The last thing you want to do after a fun night out with friends is drag yourself out of bed to drive around trying to find a decent place to grab breakfast. Lucky for you, Annandale has some great options if you’re looking for a bite to eat. Juke Box Diner is our favorite, with a classic menu that will quell all of your cravings. They’ve got the typical pancakes, waffles, omelets, and sides. This is the perfect spot for a large group of family and friends. If you’re looking for something slightly more unique, try Sunset Grille. They offer delicious breakfast burritos and sandwiches, along with many personalized menu options.
The restaurants in Annandale are great night time destinations.
Dark alleyways, hooded figures and gang fights on every corner: these are the images that many associate with Annandale after dark. Parents shouldn’t fret about allowing their students to go out with friends on weekends because Annandale has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation for a city of its size of approximately 55,000. Violent crimes, which include rape, assault and armed robbery, only happen to 0.3% of every 1,000 residents. In fact, the violent crime rate in Annandale rings in far lower than the average median rate of all Virginia cities. The stereotype that “There are no reliable statistics that support exists in the city of that there are more Annandale is the same gangs in Annandale fallacy that is projected than in any other city.” onto AHS, which we all —Bob Bermingham know is untrue. Director of Court Services
2011 class bulletin Senior class t-shirt are available for $5
—Dane Harlowe junior Ann Sandra’s is well known for their stock of Vera Bradely products.
To Do List
“There isn’t a place to shop unless you like the dollar store.”
BY NATALIE JOHNSON Staff Writer
By Kelsey Price and Helena Belay
King Kabob dethroned In the hub of restaurants located along the newly developed Main Street Market Place, a quaint little restaurant called King Kabob awaits eager customers. The outdoor seating piqued our interest and we decided to venture inside the unknown territory. We were thrilled to discover the cheap menu prices. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm only lasted through the first course, when we realized the quality food was reflective of the prices. Both of us were in the mood for some Middle Eastern food and expected to find the typical menu items such as gyro sandwiches, fresh vegetables and, of course, kabobs. We should have noticed the desperate advertising ploys in the front window and taken the hint that new customers clearly were not returning to King Kabob. The display held pictures, enlarged menu copies and self-promotion signs in various fluorescent colors. They advertised the $8 all-you-can-eat buffet and the “Best Kabobs in Town.” We beg to differ. The restaurant is filled with many small tables suited for groups of four, covered with
cheesy, dark, salmon color tablecloths. The tables made the restaurant feel overcrowded and cluttered despite that fact that there were only about six other guests in the entire restaurant. We did our best to ignore the claustrophobic and musty atmosphere and took our seats to peruse the menu. We did happen to find one redeeming factor of King Kabob’s environment when we observed many people using the free Wi-Fi and complimentary tea station. We came up to the counter, which was in front of the half-opened kitchen, to be kindly greeted by an employee who served as both the hostess and assistant chef. Her warm hospitality showed how truly invested she was in the restaurant. She helped us through the ordering process and made suggestions on what we should order. We settled on the King Gyro sandwich with spicy fries, which rang in at just under $9. We also ordered the Chickpeas for $2, which is a bargain compared to other restaurants. The rest of the menu features entrées all above $10, but the higher prices certainly do not reflect the poor quality of all the food. When our food arrived, we took it to one of their 10250 Main outdoor tables. On a good day, their outside St. dining proves to be a Fairfax VA great alternative choice to being stuck inside. 22030 This will definitely be
“There definitely are not many options for breakfast in this city.”
—Sahiba Khan freshman
Last Weekend I... went to a concert
The set of Lil Wayne’s concert tour.
Around this area, mega-malls such as Tyson’s Corner and Fair Oaks rule the shopping sphere. However, why waste precious gas when there are plenty of hidden gems located in Annandale just waiting to be discovered? Ce Ci’s is a hidden consignment shop located near the Popeye’s along Little River Turnpike. Its racks are filled with namebrand designers in excellent condition. Ann Sandra’s is another destination to meet your shopping needs. The store sells all Vera Bradley products and recently received an influx of new merchandise for the spring. If you are in need of graduation presents for friends and family, you should keep this store in mind.
Though it is true that many establishments in the Annandale area are predominantly Korean, there are still plenty of other options if you are in the mood for another kind of cuisine. There is no need to drive all the way out to Fairfax or Springfield; there are plenty of diverse restaurants in the heart of Annandale. Food Corner Kabob offers Afghan cuisine and has many different menu items for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. Chicken Pollo is another popular spot, with long lines often circling out the door due to its popularity. They offer Peruvianstyle roasted chicken, fried plantains and yucca, along with many other tasty delicacies.
Korean restaurants dominate
Sunset Grille offers a unique breakfast menu to start the day.
an added bonus when the warmer weather becomes permanent. We started with the fries, which, contrary to our first impression of the restaurant, had a surprisingly pleasant King flavor. They had a Kabob crunchy outer texture and were fried to perfection. This is where the compliments on the food end. The openfaced Gyro sandwich had tasteless meat that lacked any sort of color and was too chewy. Between a flat piece of bread and lettuce, it was a lackluster meal worthy of neither the drive nor the money. The rest of the dining experience at King Kabob pretty much mirrored that of the gyro sandwich. There are many components that make up a great restaurant: ambiance, service and, most importantly, the food. King Kabob missed the mark on the meat, and provided us with a less than memorable dining experience.
Middle: A side order of hot and steamy Chickpeas for only two dollars. Below: A King Gyro sandwich with a side of spice fries. ––All photos by Helena Belay