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ANNANDALE HIGH SCHOOL

the VOLUME #55 ISSUE 3

2

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003

Editorials explores why Obama’s latest Peace Prize is unwarrented.

Inform ming thee Atoms since 1954

703-642-4229

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 21, 2009

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20

10-11

Arts shares the groundbreaking work of contemporary artists.

Weekend offers some spooky suggestions for Halloween fun.

In-Depth uncovers the hidden world of prescription drug abuse in teens

Band marches on to states Members anxious as Marching Atoms ready themselves for this year’s state marching festival BY ERIN JOHNSON News Editor

Annandale Atoms: 27

The AHS band is marching its way towards October 31, when it will perform at the 2009 VBODA State Marching Festival, which will be held this year at West Springfield High School. Last Saturday the band played at their fourth competition (USSBA) at James Wood High School, and received third place out of eight bands. “We

did pretty well. [The competition] was only about the music and you can’t tell much from that,” said senior and bass clarinet section leader Jeff Huynh. The State Marching Festival will mark the end of the first season here at AHS for new band director Mark Carter. “He’s [done] well with the transition,” said assistant drum major junior Lillian Singer. Many see the transition as a positive one, but

everyone has had to adjust. “He’s doing well implementing his style [while] working with the style we are used to,” said Singer. The band’s style and direction has definitely been different this year. The band’s show is usually four songs, but this year it has been expanded to five. “We’re doing very well for a really long show. [The length] is really good for the band,” said senior Salinna So. “Band states” continued on page 5.

West Springfield Spartans: 30

Atoms prepare for Homecoming 2009

Students campaign for reform BY CHARLES SIMPSON Co-Editor in Chief

Wednesday, Oct. 21 Switch - It - Up Day 5:00 - Homecoming Parade 6:00 - Powderpuff Football Game 7:00 - Homecoming Bonfire

Thursday, Oct. 22

JENNIFER OAKES

Wacky Tacky Day

Friday, Oct. 23 Spirit Day Seniors wear togas Juniors wear facepaint Sophomores wear white Freshmen wear red 7:30 - Homecoming Football Game

Saturday, Oct. 24 8:00 - Homecoming Dance

The A-Blast’s poll of AHS student opinions mirrors the most recent statewide poll of Virginia regarding the upcoming Nov. 3 gubernatorial election. Of the 300 AHS students that voiced an opinion, 42 percent would vote for Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds while 58 percent would vote for Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. This reflects the 43 percent support for Deeds and 50 percent support for McDonnell across Virginia as of Oct. 13 according to Rasmussen Reports. Despite these major indicators, the election is not yet over. Hence, students at AHS have taken it upon themselves support their preferred candidate through the AHS Young Democrats and Young Republicans clubs. “Right now we’re in the midst of planning some projects for the Bob McDonnell campaign,” said Young Republicans president, senior Jennifer “Student politicians” continued on page 5.

Senior class president Jen Oakes (left) and three of her fellow classmates (from left) Seth Ellingston, Anna Lynch and Jesus Castro show their school spirit by donning matching gear for Twin Day. Monday was the first day of Spirit Week which lasts until Friday.

Students select seniors for 2009 homecoming court

Classes ready themselves for Friday’s float competition

BY NDIDI OBASI News Editor

BY KELLY MCGAREY Co-Editor in Chief

The wacky spirit days still remain and the crowns and tiaras are not going anywhere, but the time honored traditions of Homecoming week have experienced some big changes. The most important of these new changes is that the Homecoming court has now expanded to include representatives from all four classes. A big part of this had to do with class participation across all grades.

After a gloomy weekend of torrential rain and near-freezing temperatures, motivated members of the junior and senior classes met Monday with their respective peers to plot. As the clouds broke and the sun came out on, junior class president Carly Bouchard rallied her troops to work on this year’s Homecoming float. Meanwhile, in another corner of Annandale, senior class president

“Homecoming court” continued on page 4.

“Floats” continued on page 4.

Two selected for Regional Orchestra Seniors Gina Lee and Sean Smith chosen to participate in the elite musical group

Visit thea-blast.org for video commentary on the conclusion of the AHS girl’s field hockey Content is updated daily; check in frequently for the latest news, updates, and information about AHS.

Of over 165 violinists, and 26 string bassists traveled from all over the region to audition, two AHS students were chosen to participate in the Senior Regional Orchestra. On October 5, AHS senior orchestra students attended the annual Senior Regional Orchestra auditions at Lake Braddock Secondary School. Students were auditioned individually, then judges evaluated the auditions based off of three criterion. To begin, the students were required to play their major and minor scales. The scales must be memorized, performed in the pattern asked, and must be in the “Orchestra” continued on page 5

COURTESY OF GINA LEE

BY MACKDA DINBERU Staff Writer

Senior violinist Gina Lee (center) performs a piece. Lee was recently selected for this year’s Senior Regional Orchestra, an elite group of talented teenage musicians from across our area.


4 NEWS BRIEFS

NEWS Court expands student involvment Oct. 21, 2009

Nominees for queen

Last Chance for Senior Dues Makeup days for all seniors who have not paid their senior dues are Oct. 28th and Dec. 3rd in the Cafeteria during all lunches.

Aby Diop Upcoming College Fair Any students interested in attending the college fair for Visual and Preforming Arts at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Oct. 5th can sign up through their Family Connections Account.

It definitely gets all the grades more involved.

Aimee Jennings

Young Women’s National Conference On Saturday, Oct. 24th, The Young Women’s National Conference will be held at 500 8th Street, NW, in Washington D.C. Women ages 14-17 are encouraged to attend the conference and connect with female leaders as they share their life stories.

Governor’s School Interest Meeting All juniors and seniors interested in attending Governor’s school next summer are invited to attend the interest meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4th at 2:10 in the Library Lab. Governor’s school takes place during one month of the summer on one of the Virginia College Campuses.

A few students even felt that the entire process was confusing. “I didn’t even know what was going on, it was very disorganized,” junior Adrienne Williams said. Senior Mike Slaughter agreed, saying, “it needed to be much more “Homecoming court” continued from page 1 organized. But overall, it was all right.” “Members of the leadership class and The winners and final senior nominees SGA officers met over the summer and dis- were announced on the afternoon news cussed many goals for the upcoming year. last Friday. One thing all students agreed on was they “I found out I was nominated by my wanted to increase school spirit and have friends because they found out from the an amazing Homecoming. We decided that afternoon announcements. I was happy if we wanted the whole school to participate because I thought this could make me gain in homecoming activities...then we had confidence within myself,” newly elected to include the whole school,” leadership class Lady freshman Saibatu Barry said. coordinator Stephanie Despite this Harmony said. change to the court, Many students were many students are excited about this, and looking forward to welcomed the change. other aspects of the “I think of it as anHomecoming week other activity that, as experience. —Joe Bermingham high school students, we “I’m most looking freshman get to look forward to. forward to the pep It just adds to the fun rally because it’s the Homecoming events,” sophomore class most exciting and you get to see different Duchess Jessica Campanilla said. activities,” Barry said. Freshman Lord Joe Bermingham also The powderpuff football game also enjoyed the change saying, “I think it’s attracts many students every year. “It’s really cool. It definitely gets all the grades always cool to see girls play football,” more involved.” sophomore Duke Willie Labarca said. Another change to the nomination Others cannot wait for the actual Homeprocess was that the winners for juniors, coming game to take place this Friday. “I sophomores, and freshman were an- look forward to every part of homecoming nounced last week, and the King and week but mostly the game because not Queen “will be announced and crowned at only do I play but it’s a chance to show the the Halftime [show] of the Homecoming school what the team is able to do,” said Game,” Harmony said. junior Prince Yari Mizouri. Students were given the opportunity to These changes are expected to impact vote during their Red Day lunches start- attendance at the Homecoming Dance. ing Oct. 5. “We would love it if every Annandale Atom A few students felt that the “old- fash- showed up and celebrated with us this ioned” approach to voting for nominations year!” Harmony said. with paper ballots created room for some biased results. “It should have been on the computer; it was unfair [because] people could have voted more than once,” freshman Connie Tran said.

Changes made to Homecoming court expected to increase involment

Barbara Lopez

Devon Merchant

Lord and Lady

Duke and Duchess

Nominees for king

Julian Mills

Stacey Anderson

Hasib Iqbal

Tony Marealle

Prince and Princess

Joe Bermingham and Saibatu Barry

JAYRAN MORIDZADEH

JAYRAN MORIDZADEH

The AHS Band, Jazz Band, and Color Guard will be purchasing poinsettias from Behnke Nurseries. Flowers come in three sizes and colors. Prices vary from $8.00, $13.00, and $20.00. All orders must be in by Friday, November 13th. Orders will be delivered on Saturday, Dec. 5th. Contact Margi Mcarthy at marjorie.mccarthy@ fcps.edu with any questions.

JAYRAN MORIDZADEH

Poinsettia funraiser begins

Willie Labarca and Jessica Campanilla

Yari Mizouri and Mary Anne Kavjian

Classes race to finish floats in time

IB Diploma interest meeting

STEPHANIE KYEREMEH

All students interested in aiming for the IB Diploma are invited to come to an orientaion with their parents on Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Clausen Hall. For more information, contact AHS IB Coordinator Erin Albirght at Erin. Albright@fcps.edu

West African Group meets today The first meeting of the West Africans Group will be held in room 119 this afternoon. If you have any questions, contact Isaac Boakye.

Compiled by Tricia O’Neill

Members of the freshman class work on completing their floats in time for the Homecoming parade on Friday.

classes prepare for Friday’s float festivities

“floats” continued from page 1

Jennifer Oakes did the same with members of the class of 2010. Bouchard’s band of juniors is working furiously to complete their “Lights, Camera, Atoms!” themed float. After what she calls “a late start” due to “issues finding a flatbed” and the fact that only a few members were willing to participate in the actual construction, the juniors are really starting to pick up the pace and make up for lost time. This year, their contribution to the Homecoming parade will be a spoof of the Wizard of Oz and will, according to Bouchard, feature a reinvented red

version of the trademark yellow brick road, and a live pooch to play Toto. Although this class seems to have high hopes for their float, Bouchard admits that, “the execution is the biggest issue.” She, like many other juniors, is anxious to rally after last year’s defeat to the class of 2010 and says that her classmates “are driven to get payback.” Meanwhile, senior class president Jennifer Oakes’ team of seniors is taking a different approach. “Since we won last year we are fully satisfied with our win,” she said in response to questions about the rivalry with the junior class. Instead of perpetuating the contest between the two oldest classes, the seniors have opted out of building a full-blown float this year. “The prize money is less, so it wouldn’t be worth doing,” Oakes said.

However, she was anxious to add that, “there will still be a float.” This toned expression of senior pride will be “more about class involvement.” Senior senator Andrea Quezada, who has been a key part of her grade’s float-building operations since her freshman year, was among those who voted in favor of this option. “It saves a lot of stress for the people that end up working on it for tons of hours,” said Quezada who believed that Friday’s festivities will still “make a memorable event for everyone.” The underclassman, although less experienced, are equally as enthusiastic. Although the freshmen are still finding their footing, the sophomores, now with a year of experience under their belts, opted to get an early start. “We started our float already,” boasted sophomore class president Nissan Al-Suqi. “We plan to put in a lot of effort and time to make it one of the best.” Al-Suqi and other dedicated members of the class of 2012 are optimistic about the potential success of their project. With their “Atoms Make the Red Carpet” theme, Al Suqi says that the sophomores “have a good chance of winning.” After the generous outpouring of time and resources that the class has devoted to the float, she remains hopeful. “We are working hard and I’m sure it will turn out really well,” said Al-Suqi. Members of the Annandale community will have the opportunity to draw their own conclusions about the success of the class governments when the floats go on display tonight during the Homecoming Parade. The festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and will be followed by the annual Homecoming Bonfire at 7 p.m. All students are welcomed and encouraged to attend these events to show their Atom pride.


20 T op T en C andy Favorites

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WEEKEND

Have a Happy Halloween!

W

hile Halloween is generally perceived as a kid-orientated holiday, there are plenty of possibilities for endless amounts of fun as a high school student. One great place to check out is Cox Farms, a well-known fall festival located in Centreville. Cox offers fun, Halloween-inspired activities such as hay-rides, slides, corn mazes, rope swings and hay tunnels. Cox Farms also puts on an event called “Fields of Fear,” a nighttime event offered on the 16, 17, 23, 24, and 30 of Oct., as well as Halloween night. The event includes “Cornightmare,” a night walk through corn fields filled with spooky terrors, a night hayride, and slide rides by torchlight, plus scary movies and other entertainment accompanied by food and a bonfire. Local haunted houses also offer plenty of Halloween creepiness.

Carmel Apples

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Oct. 21, 2009

From the kitchen of simplyrecipes.com Ingredients: • 1 1-pound box dark brown sugar • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk • 2/3 cup dark corn syrup • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon robust-flavored (dark) molasses • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 12 sturdy lollipop sticks or chopsticks • 12 medium apples • Assorted decorations (ex. nuts, mini M&M’s or sprinkles) • 1 clip-on candy thermometer 1. Combine the first eight ingredients in a thick-bottomed three quart saucepan. Stir on medium-low heat until all the sugar dissolves. 2. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to the pan and cook caramel at a boil until the thermometer reaches 236°F, stirring constantly. Carefully pour caramel into a metal bowl. Cool until the temperature lowers to 200°F. 3. While the caramel is cooking/cooling, prepare a large baking sheet by covering it either with buttered aluminum foil or silpat. Insert a lollipop stick into each apple, about two inches, top down, into the apple core. 4. When the caramel has cooled to 200°F, dip the apples in. Then place apples on the silpat or prepared foil. Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes. 5. Once the caramel has chilled a bit, remove from the refrigerator and use your fingers to press the caramel that has dripped to the bottom of the apples, back on to the apples. Then take whatever coatings you want and press them into the apples for decoration. Return to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.

Bradley Farms Haunted House in Herndon operates on the 23 and 24 and gives a boost to the scary spirit of the 31. If you are looking for a free horror show be sure to visit Bone Marrow Court in Springfield on Halloween night. If trick-or-treating still holds a special place in your heart there is no reason why you should not head out to ring some doorbells. Grab a group of friends and make some homemade, unique costumes to help you and your friends score some free candy. Thrift shops are a great place to find funky clothing and accessories, or get creative with paper bags, cardboard boxes, and paint. The sky is the limit for Halloween activities, so make sure to make the most of this fun and creepy holiday!

From the kitchen of fabulousfoods.com Ingredients: • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds • 2 teaspoons melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil) • Salt to taste Optional Seasoning To Taste: • garlic powder or garlic salt • seasoning salt • black pepper • salt free seasoning blend, such as Mrs. Dash brand • cayenne pepper • seasoning salt • Cajun seasoning blend • chili powder • Mexican style chili lime seasoning • Italian seasoning or other herbs • grated hard cheese such as Parmesan 1. Preheat oven to 300º F. 2. While it’s O.K. to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks. 3. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. (or spray with cooking spray). 4. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Baked Pumpkin Seeds

Atomic Spirit Jack-O-Lantern

10 When asked, “Do you decorate your home for Halloween?” 72% said Yes 28% said No When asked, “Are you planning on going trick-ortreating?” 65% said Yes 35% said No When asked, “How much will you spend on Halloween this year including your costumes?” 43% said $0-10 22% said $10-20 14% said $20-30 21% said $30 or more When asked, “How many pumpkins will you carve this Halloween?” 34 % said zero 25% said one 14% said two 8% said three 19% said four or more This Halloween survey was distributed October 4 and 5 during all lunches. Out of the 600 distributed, 550 were returned. ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY JENNIFER OAKES AND TOP PARAGRAPH WRITTEN BY KATIE MASTERS

The first step in creating the perfect Atom Pride pumpkin is heading to a pumpkin stand and picking out the best pumpkin you can find! Make sure you pick a pumpkin that is not lopsided and bruised.

Draw a simple atom with a Sharpie marker on the pumpkin before you begin to carve. Use a knife specifically made for carving pumpkins to ensure accurate cuts.

TEST YOUR TASTE BUDS Restaurant Guide

By Annika Jessen and Jennifer Oakes The sun beats down on your back as you reach up in the branches for your prize. Standing on your tip-toes, you can almost grasp that beautiful apple, glistening in the light of the sun. You jump, and snatch the apple of the tree. As you bite into the crisp and flavorful apple, some juice trickles down your chin. A smile dances across your lips, for the taste of the delicious apple was well worth the struggle. This is a picture of what happens at Hartland Orchard in Hartland, Virginia. About an hour’s drive down 66, Hartland Orchard is home to apple trees as well as a peach trees, cherry trees, and pumpkin and blueberry patches. They allow people to come in and pick their own fruit and pumpkins, an activity for people of all ages. Driving up to the orchard is a little nerve-wracking, as the road is not wide enough for two cars. Be careful and take it slow because the orchard claims they are not responsible for any accidents. There will be people at the entrance to the apple orchard standing outside your car handing you bags to fill with apples along with a brochure that includes a map of the orchard. Each bag costs $10,

but one bag is plenty for a family of five for about three weeks. If you’re lucky you’ll find someone who is willing to give up their apple picker as they leave the orchard. These tools are great if you do not wish to actually climb the trees or jump to pick the apples. Several families parked their cars and pulled out picnic blankets, chairs, and coolers and set up small campsites in between the rows of apple trees. We would have done the same if we had all day to spend at the orchard, but sadly we only had a few hours. We rushed from tree to tree, attempting to understand this intricate web of color-coded trunks and glistening apples hanging from the branches. The brochure helped a little with its color-coded key on the back, but we failed to understand the map of their locations. Nevertheless we found a few trees that were spectacular; the Red Delicious apples and the Jonathan apples were by far the most superior. These apples were small in size, crisp to bite, yet juicy on the inside. They were slightly tart but left a sweet taste in your mouth. As your time begins to run out you may want to explore the other products Hartland has to offer: apple butter, honey, apple cider, caramel apples, hot dogs, beverages, and hamburgers. We insist on purchasing caramel apples because they are made right there on the spot. The coat of caramel adds a delicious rich, sweet, chewy taste to the already tart, crisp, juicy apple. For three dollars and a savory ride home, this treat is a must. All in all, we say that Apple-picking is a must. If you have a whole Saturday, take a picnic blanket, some chairs and a cooler and plop down in the middle of the rows for one of the most peaceful

Another option for an Atom Pride pumpkin is to carve an “A.” If you want to be really creative try carving an atom around the “A.” Be sure to light up your Atom Pride pumpkin on Halloween night!

Heartland Orchard

B

Junior Kelsey Knoche attempts to choose a perfect apple off a red delicious apple tree with an apple picker.

afternoons you’ll ever have. Even if you just have a few hours, we suggest you drive out to this orchard for something different. It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it is a great family activity or a cute date to take your sweetheart on.


2 Go to the web!

EDITORIALS A Farewell to the class of 2009 the

Final thoughts from former editor Senior Aya Saed

Go to www. theablast.org to read more editorials!

BY AYA SAED Ex-officio Editorial Editor

What is your favorite memory from AHS? “The time we stole a school map and slid down the stairs on it.” —Mike Martinez senior

“When I was in the pep rally sophomore year free-styling and I got disqualified for making fun of the principal.” —Mohammad

Humza senior “The chorus spring trip to Myrtle Beach because it was fun playing on the beach with my friends.”

This is it. The final word from your beloved ex-editorial, ex-in depth editor. While I was contemplating how deep this simple 800 word commentary should be, I felt as though I reached an epiphany. The memories of my AHS experience all flooded my brain at once, and I must say the feelings of nostalgia are already settling in. This editorial is a simple reflection that attempts to capture the value of the system that educates approximately 50,000,000 every year. Everyone knows that AHS, and probably every high school in America has its pros and cons. But at the same time, every AHS student has also had a teacher that they adore not only because of their inquisitive intelligence but also because they are there for us no matter the circumstances. When talking about defects, one cannot fail to mention the long lunch lines, and the fact that we have a mere 20 minutes to get lunch, eat and converse with friends. The memories are endless. But I must say, regardless of all the fond memories, I am delighted

June 2, 2009

and ecstatic to finally be graduating from AHS. Every year, since I began my education under the public school system, I dreamt of the time when I can finally graduate and embark on my own journey, without the confinements of this system. Finally, the time has come, and yes, I am as excited as ever. However, while seniors always feel as though a huge weight has been lifted during this time of year, completing high school is only the beginning. The push to get into college, get superb SAT scores, have a perfect GPA and even to be the popular, friendly, and have a perfect boyfriend/girlfriend is somewhat overwhelming. You can call it the first test of life, one that allows you to explore your thoughts and beliefs in a secure environment. It is as if we have been climbing what seemed to be an infinitely large mountain, only to reach the top to find that we are expected to climb one that is much larger. The real quest starts now. Yes, we are young, and we have the rest of our lives to contemplate what we wish to do and what we wish to achieve as members of the world community. However, many of us have also lived through a lot, perhaps we have witnesses our families delve into a terrible economic situation because of the current recession or we faced problems with our cultural identities. Many of us have witnessed hardships that have caused great misery. As a whole, we have lived through a lot, from 9/11 to Iraq to Hurricane Katrina and beyond, and it is our challenge to now

use what we have learned to become better leaders of the world. No matter what path you have chosen to take, every member of the class of 2009 has a chance at grabbing a piece of the world. As seniors, we are currently standing at the pinnacle of this education system, and from this point of view, the success and defects are clear. And this goes to all underclassmen and soon to be seniors, members of my class have done it all, from getting a perfect GPA to working towards the IB Diploma, making it to states in sports, winning championships to forming long lasting friendships. While not everyone can accomplish all of these feats, they are “doable,” so do not be afraid to go after what you want, and do not let the peer pressure get to you. As a member of The A-blast staff I have had the chance to reflect on an array of international and local issues. You have read about what I thought about the world, life and even on political issues. Now, I would like to thank you for reading my often last minute articles, your feedback and above all for your support of this student-led newspaper. My experience in AHS, which are a mix of fond memories and great regrets, have tremendously molded my attitude, my personality and the way in which I will tackle the “real world.” Farwell AHS, and keeping in mind that we are an international institution: “adieu,” “ciao,” “ja ne,” “au revoir,” “adios,” and “salam,” from the beloved class of 2009.

being used, and the humiliation of prisoners who were subjected to certain distasteful acts, there is something that many Americans seem to forget. Throughout the Bush Administration’s ‘War on Terror,’ numerous acts of torture and public execution of Western citizens took place. Beheadings were shown on the World Wide Web, and citizens of various Western nations were told to beg for their lives and call out to their families as they were blindfolded and eventually executed. Water-boarding is, and should be, illegal. The simulation of drowning falls under torture and is therefore condemned by the law, but we should not be so quick to hunt down CIA officials and haul them away to jail and label them as war criminals. The simple fact is that CIA officials have said numerous times that the methods used at Guantanamo Bay, which were presented to and passed by the Senate, have greatly helped to obtain infor-

mation from terrorists being held there. On top of that, we all knew what was going on. Not the details of what happened at Guantanamo or even to the extent of how people there were being treated, but the American public knew Guantanamo and other places like it existed. We all knew that people were being held without their rights and judicial representation, and it simply was allowed to happen. Therefore, we are all responsible, not just CIA officials who have a bad rap for being involved in one of the most secretive organizations in the world that protects United States citizens everyday, even though many of us choose to criticize it. Lets improve on the way we act and treat prisoners of war, and move on because dwelling on this will bring nothing but more trouble for an already troubled America.

Guantanamo Bay: we are all to blame

America needs to consider its role as a whole in the implication of torture BY CHRISTOPHER YURKO Staff Writer

—Alyssa

Welch senior “Baking cakes for every class!” —Pam

Eggerton senior

“Going to regionals for softball my senior year!” —Kristina

Berry senior

An issue that has dominated the political world and caused a media firestorm has been the use of water-boarding and other questionable interrogation tactics used by the CIA in their treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. The United States has traditionally denounced the torture of prisoners of war and has demonstrated this by being a member of the Geneva Convention since the end of WWII in an effort to stop the torture and mistreatment of prisoners of war. When the Geneva Convention was convened in August of 1949, Article III of the document that was produced at the conference clearly stated that no prisoner of war shall be subjected to “violence to life and person, the taking of hostages, outrages upon personal dignity and the passing of sentences and carrying out of executions without previous judgment.” Accusations of abuse at Guantanamo Bay have been brought to the attention of the American public, and now many people are calling for blood. Many codes and international laws within the realm of the Geneva Convention have been violated, which gives many reasons for the angry reactions of Americans. The United States is supposed to be a role model and example for the rest of the world, and its behavior in handling supposed terrorists has obviously been unacceptable. However, even with the simulation of drowning

Media sparks hate in “Jon and Kate” “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” is one of television’s biggest hits these days. This TLC show is about a family with a set of twin and a batch of sextuplets that deal with the day-to-day havoc caused by such a bunch. Recently, into the fifth season of the show, problems have sparked between the previously happy couple, Jon and Kate. What is fact is that Kate is the parent at fault for the problems. Not only did she leave for work business trips, but she left for her book tour, leaving Jon to take care of their children alone. Kate originally was the parent who always wore sweatpants and looked slightly disheveled. These days, her hair looks like a Victoria Beckham replica and she constantly dresses for the camera and she refuses to confront her issues. The degradation of Jon and Kate’s family situation is a clear representation of the negative way in which media is effecting families today. Families taking part in reality shows are only torn apart by the attention, and those watching them are only steered astray by the media’s portrayal of family life. The media has morphed many stable families into chaotic messes and for what? For the sake of drama. Jon and Kate plus eight was once an adorable TLC show that made people thankful for their small families, but it is now another example of the disastrous consequences of reality television. -CARLY BOUCHARD Photographer

Issue 11 May 20 corrections -”Screen on the Green” has been canceled due to a lack of funding. -Kidist Ketema was incorrectly spelled on page 3.

Rules of Thumb Old woman wins A 66-year old shopkeeper fended off a robber by pelting him with carrots and a roll of tape. Rule: Don’t underestimate the elderly.

Smiling : Not Allowed! Four states, including VA, have started ordering people not to smile while taking their picture for their drivers license to help prevent ID fraud. Rule: Remember this next time you get a fake ID.

Failed robbery A man in Memphis was caught trying to rob a KFC, after the manager recognized the recently fired employee because the holes in his mask were too big. Rule: There was a reason you practiced using scissors in kindergarten.

A

the

Staff

Editors In Chief: Kelly McGarey Charles Simpson

Weekend Editors: Annika Jessen Jennifer Oakes

Academics Editors: Jennifer Allshouse Gessica Azzam

Managing Editor: Nathalie Spita

International Editors: Annie Curran Jeff Shim

Copy Editor: Mary Anne Kavjian

Editorials Editors: August McCarthy Hope Stadulis News Editors: Erin Johnson Ndidi Obasi In-Depth Editors: Emily Fruchterman Aishwarya Venkat

Entertainment Editors: Helena Belay Brenna O’Neil Lifestyles Editors: Kelly O’Brien Maggie Craig

Health Editors: Erin George Kelsey Price

Sports Editors: Alley Adcock David Hookey

Photography Editors: Mariah Pollet

Sports Xtra Editors: Kelsey Knoche Katie Vu

Ad Manager: Emma Barker Manal Elhak

People Editors: Victoria Deible Cassady Keller

Circulation Manager: Rachel Coulter Art Editors: Jane Aman

Annandale High School Vol. 54 No.12 (703) 642-4229 4700 Medford Dr. April 28, 2009 email: theablast@gmail.com Annandale, Virginia 22003 fax: (703) 642-4299

Online Staff: Connor Goolrick, Zulay Huma Adeel Shams, Video Staff: Greg Neilsen, Logan Miller, Stephen Craig, Andy Craig, Bob Stevens Staff Writers/Photographers: Carly Bouchard, Nicole Contrino, Hila Ghorzang, Daniela Guevera, Kristen Hennessey, Hila Haidari, Mirian Jaradat, Walleed Karimullah, Adam Kasdorf, Stephenie Kyeremeh, Bum Lee, Elizabeth Marcois, Brandon Mitchener, Julia Moeller, Melissa Purvis, William Risse, Jerald Sheppard, Amy Stevens, Alexandra Torre, Travis Valle, Ben Wolfenstein, Sam Young, Chris Yurko, Lance Miller Adviser: Alan Weintraut

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, 2009.


2 Go to the web!

EDITORIALS A Farewell to the class of 2009 the

Final thoughts from former editor Senior Aya Saed

Go to www. theablast.org to read more editorials!

BY AYA SAED Ex-officio Editorial Editor

What is your favorite memory from AHS? “The time we stole a school map and slid down the stairs on it.” —Mike Martinez senior

“When I was in the pep rally sophomore year free-styling and I got disqualified for making fun of the principal.” —Mohammad

Humza senior “The chorus spring trip to Myrtle Beach because it was fun playing on the beach with my friends.”

This is it. The final word from your beloved ex-editorial, ex-in depth editor. While I was contemplating how deep this simple 800 word commentary should be, I felt as though I reached an epiphany. The memories of my AHS experience all flooded my brain at once, and I must say the feelings of nostalgia are already settling in. This editorial is a simple reflection that attempts to capture the value of the system that educates approximately 50,000,000 every year. Everyone knows that AHS, and probably every high school in America has its pros and cons. But at the same time, every AHS student has also had a teacher that they adore not only because of their inquisitive intelligence but also because they are there for us no matter the circumstances. When talking about defects, one cannot fail to mention the long lunch lines, and the fact that we have a mere 20 minutes to get lunch, eat and converse with friends. The memories are endless. But I must say, regardless of all the fond memories, I am delighted

June 2, 2009

and ecstatic to finally be graduating from AHS. Every year, since I began my education under the public school system, I dreamt of the time when I can finally graduate and embark on my own journey, without the confinements of this system. Finally, the time has come, and yes, I am as excited as ever. However, while seniors always feel as though a huge weight has been lifted during this time of year, completing high school is only the beginning. The push to get into college, get superb SAT scores, have a perfect GPA and even to be the popular, friendly, and have a perfect boyfriend/girlfriend is somewhat overwhelming. You can call it the first test of life, one that allows you to explore your thoughts and beliefs in a secure environment. It is as if we have been climbing what seemed to be an infinitely large mountain, only to reach the top to find that we are expected to climb one that is much larger. The real quest starts now. Yes, we are young, and we have the rest of our lives to contemplate what we wish to do and what we wish to achieve as members of the world community. However, many of us have also lived through a lot, perhaps we have witnesses our families delve into a terrible economic situation because of the current recession or we faced problems with our cultural identities. Many of us have witnessed hardships that have caused great misery. As a whole, we have lived through a lot, from 9/11 to Iraq to Hurricane Katrina and beyond, and it is our challenge to now

use what we have learned to become better leaders of the world. No matter what path you have chosen to take, every member of the class of 2009 has a chance at grabbing a piece of the world. As seniors, we are currently standing at the pinnacle of this education system, and from this point of view, the success and defects are clear. And this goes to all underclassmen and soon to be seniors, members of my class have done it all, from getting a perfect GPA to working towards the IB Diploma, making it to states in sports, winning championships to forming long lasting friendships. While not everyone can accomplish all of these feats, they are “doable,” so do not be afraid to go after what you want, and do not let the peer pressure get to you. As a member of The A-blast staff I have had the chance to reflect on an array of international and local issues. You have read about what I thought about the world, life and even on political issues. Now, I would like to thank you for reading my often last minute articles, your feedback and above all for your support of this student-led newspaper. My experience in AHS, which are a mix of fond memories and great regrets, have tremendously molded my attitude, my personality and the way in which I will tackle the “real world.” Farwell AHS, and keeping in mind that we are an international institution: “adieu,” “ciao,” “ja ne,” “au revoir,” “adios,” and “salam,” from the beloved class of 2009.

being used, and the humiliation of prisoners who were subjected to certain distasteful acts, there is something that many Americans seem to forget. Throughout the Bush Administration’s ‘War on Terror,’ numerous acts of torture and public execution of Western citizens took place. Beheadings were shown on the World Wide Web, and citizens of various Western nations were told to beg for their lives and call out to their families as they were blindfolded and eventually executed. Water-boarding is, and should be, illegal. The simulation of drowning falls under torture and is therefore condemned by the law, but we should not be so quick to hunt down CIA officials and haul them away to jail and label them as war criminals. The simple fact is that CIA officials have said numerous times that the methods used at Guantanamo Bay, which were presented to and passed by the Senate, have greatly helped to obtain infor-

mation from terrorists being held there. On top of that, we all knew what was going on. Not the details of what happened at Guantanamo or even to the extent of how people there were being treated, but the American public knew Guantanamo and other places like it existed. We all knew that people were being held without their rights and judicial representation, and it simply was allowed to happen. Therefore, we are all responsible, not just CIA officials who have a bad rap for being involved in one of the most secretive organizations in the world that protects United States citizens everyday, even though many of us choose to criticize it. Lets improve on the way we act and treat prisoners of war, and move on because dwelling on this will bring nothing but more trouble for an already troubled America.

Guantanamo Bay: we are all to blame

America needs to consider its role as a whole in the implication of torture BY CHRISTOPHER YURKO Staff Writer

—Alyssa

Welch senior “Baking cakes for every class!” —Pam

Eggerton senior

“Going to regionals for softball my senior year!” —Kristina

Berry senior

An issue that has dominated the political world and caused a media firestorm has been the use of water-boarding and other questionable interrogation tactics used by the CIA in their treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. The United States has traditionally denounced the torture of prisoners of war and has demonstrated this by being a member of the Geneva Convention since the end of WWII in an effort to stop the torture and mistreatment of prisoners of war. When the Geneva Convention was convened in August of 1949, Article III of the document that was produced at the conference clearly stated that no prisoner of war shall be subjected to “violence to life and person, the taking of hostages, outrages upon personal dignity and the passing of sentences and carrying out of executions without previous judgment.” Accusations of abuse at Guantanamo Bay have been brought to the attention of the American public, and now many people are calling for blood. Many codes and international laws within the realm of the Geneva Convention have been violated, which gives many reasons for the angry reactions of Americans. The United States is supposed to be a role model and example for the rest of the world, and its behavior in handling supposed terrorists has obviously been unacceptable. However, even with the simulation of drowning

Media sparks hate in “Jon and Kate” “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” is one of television’s biggest hits these days. This TLC show is about a family with a set of twin and a batch of sextuplets that deal with the day-to-day havoc caused by such a bunch. Recently, into the fifth season of the show, problems have sparked between the previously happy couple, Jon and Kate. What is fact is that Kate is the parent at fault for the problems. Not only did she leave for work business trips, but she left for her book tour, leaving Jon to take care of their children alone. Kate originally was the parent who always wore sweatpants and looked slightly disheveled. These days, her hair looks like a Victoria Beckham replica and she constantly dresses for the camera and she refuses to confront her issues. The degradation of Jon and Kate’s family situation is a clear representation of the negative way in which media is effecting families today. Families taking part in reality shows are only torn apart by the attention, and those watching them are only steered astray by the media’s portrayal of family life. The media has morphed many stable families into chaotic messes and for what? For the sake of drama. Jon and Kate plus eight was once an adorable TLC show that made people thankful for their small families, but it is now another example of the disastrous consequences of reality television. -CARLY BOUCHARD Photographer

Issue 11 May 20 corrections -”Screen on the Green” has been canceled due to a lack of funding. -Kidist Ketema was incorrectly spelled on page 3.

Rules of Thumb Old woman wins A 66-year old shopkeeper fended off a robber by pelting him with carrots and a roll of tape. Rule: Don’t underestimate the elderly.

Smiling : Not Allowed! Four states, including VA, have started ordering people not to smile while taking their picture for their drivers license to help prevent ID fraud. Rule: Remember this next time you get a fake ID.

Failed robbery A man in Memphis was caught trying to rob a KFC, after the manager recognized the recently fired employee because the holes in his mask were too big. Rule: There was a reason you practiced using scissors in kindergarten.

A

the

Staff

Editors In Chief: Kelly McGarey Charles Simpson

Weekend Editors: Annika Jessen Jennifer Oakes

Academics Editors: Jennifer Allshouse Gessica Azzam

Managing Editor: Nathalie Spita

International Editors: Annie Curran Jeff Shim

Copy Editor: Mary Anne Kavjian

Editorials Editors: August McCarthy Hope Stadulis News Editors: Erin Johnson Ndidi Obasi In-Depth Editors: Emily Fruchterman Aishwarya Venkat

Entertainment Editors: Helena Belay Brenna O’Neil Lifestyles Editors: Kelly O’Brien Maggie Craig

Health Editors: Erin George Kelsey Price

Sports Editors: Alley Adcock David Hookey

Photography Editors: Mariah Pollet

Sports Xtra Editors: Kelsey Knoche Katie Vu

Ad Manager: Emma Barker Manal Elhak

People Editors: Victoria Deible Cassady Keller

Circulation Manager: Rachel Coulter Art Editors: Jane Aman

Annandale High School Vol. 54 No.12 (703) 642-4229 4700 Medford Dr. April 28, 2009 email: theablast@gmail.com Annandale, Virginia 22003 fax: (703) 642-4299

Online Staff: Connor Goolrick, Zulay Huma Adeel Shams, Video Staff: Greg Neilsen, Logan Miller, Stephen Craig, Andy Craig, Bob Stevens Staff Writers/Photographers: Carly Bouchard, Nicole Contrino, Hila Ghorzang, Daniela Guevera, Kristen Hennessey, Hila Haidari, Mirian Jaradat, Walleed Karimullah, Adam Kasdorf, Stephenie Kyeremeh, Bum Lee, Elizabeth Marcois, Brandon Mitchener, Julia Moeller, Melissa Purvis, William Risse, Jerald Sheppard, Amy Stevens, Alexandra Torre, Travis Valle, Ben Wolfenstein, Sam Young, Chris Yurko, Lance Miller Adviser: Alan Weintraut

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, 2009.


2 Go to the web! Go to www.theablast.org to read about the war in the middle east.

EDITORIALS

Oct. 21, 2009

Texting between classes Great benefits would be seen from the allowance of texting between classes

Should students be texting between classes? “To be honest, I would rather not see it. It makes our hallways more crowded.”

—KW Williams security “Yes, because you’re never going know if you have a test next class, so you can text your friends and ask.” —Oscar

Flores senior

“Yes, because in between classes it doesn’t matter, because you’re not doing anything academic.” —Anna Smith

junior

The bell rings. As you make your way through the crowded school halls, you reach into your backpack and pull out your cell phone. In the seven minutes that you have to get from class to class, you know that you need to contact your mom to ask her to bring in your lunch because you left it on the kitchen counter. Your fingers tap gracefully along the smooth keyboard of your cell phone as you finish writing the message to send your mom. You type, “Mom, please bring me my…” and as you search for the L to write “lunch” you feel a tugging on your phone. Moments later, you look up to realize the harsh truth that a teacher has whisked your phone away to be turned into the office. Thoughts flash through your head at a rapid pace. How will you survive unfed? Will your mom be able to make the obnoxious trek to school to retrieve your confiscated device? Worst of all, if you get caught texting another two times between classes, you could be suspended. All this because you wanted to contact your mom in your time of freedom between classes? IDK. Something is not right. Students should be allowed to send and receive messages on their cell phones between classes. This change in SR&R regulations would have a countless number of advantages for the entirety of AHS. Not only would texting between bells reduce the evident problem of students ignoring lessons to send messages in class, but it would make life much easier for the typical busy high school student. With all of the activities that our high school has to offer, such as sports, clubs, and various projects, the average student is constantly pressed for time. Permitted access to cell phone messaging between classes would allow students to contact their parents or siblings, or even their sports coaches about their plans quickly and efficiently. They would also be able to ask other students about pending assignments or to find answers to other school-related questions without seeking out sources directly and wasting their precious time in doing so. Senior Andres Avendano said, “There’s no doubt that we should be able to text between classes without consequences.” He added, “It’s not like we are disturbing other students or classes and it’s pretty much the same as talking to people between classes.” With overcrowding in the student body that has forced expanded the size of average class, the responsibility for a teacher to patrol the hallways and bring cell phones to the office is too extensive. Reinforcement of the current cell phone rules has obviously cut in to some of this free time because an average of five to six phones are confiscated and brought to the front office every day, according to principal John Ponton. Allowing students to text during this break time would lighten the heavy burdens of staff members and let them rest and revamp between classes. Most importantly, permitted access to cell phone messaging between classes would reduce the amount of secretive texting during classes that poses a great distraction to learning. With designated opportunities between classes to text, students would feel less compelled to engage in conversation mid-class. They would also have an allotted time to get in touch with anyone

KELLIE DEL SIGNORE

BY HOPE STADULIS Editorial Editor

Many students risk using the cell phones in the time between classes to communicate with parents, coaches and other students.

that they needed to communicate with openly during a period in which they are not required to be working or paying attention to class. This change in rule would also minimize the excitement that a student is met with when they break the rules by texting in or between their classes. “Texting between classes wouldn’t effect our studying or our learning in class and it would make it less likely that students would text during actual class,” said junior Jenna Balicki. Ponton said, “I have two teenage sons and I know that texting has become their primary form of communication. And, I know they can text with the phone tucked in their pants pocket. I text with them as well. However, as a principal, I’m responsible for upholding the regulations of the SR&R.” If AHS were to alter current regulations of the SR&R and overlook texting between classes, it would reap the benefits. Effects would include less patrolling for teachers, open communication between students and their families and coaches, understanding of assignments and above all increased attentiveness in students. LOL. This alteration in policy would certainly be worthwhile in the long run.

Teens are not too old to trick or treat

“No, because then everyone would run into each other.”

This seasonal tradition is not limited to young children

—Emily

Oliver

BY ALEX UTANO Staff Writer

sophomore

“As much as I’d like to say yes, I think it would get too out of hand.”

Well kids, it is that time of year again! It is time to take a trip to the costume store to snag that Spongebob costume before it runs out, and to grab a few bags of candy to hand out to anxious children who will be knocking on your door. Most importantly, it is time to find all your friends and plan out your route through the neighborhoods.

The question is, are high school teens to old for this stuff? Have they finally out grown trick or treating? Senior Chris Fuller said, “Teens aren’t too old until they’re 18. From there on out they should just see how people react and they should go or not go based on that.” Many adults say we are way too old to be trick or treating. Kids like myself, however, are not willing to forfeit participation in Halloween festivities. Freshmen Yaniira Guerra said,“I think you should always have fun with your friends when ever you can, and this includes trick or treating.” While freshmen like myself are definitely young

enough to take part in trick or treating, the slightly older kids still feel the same way. Junior BJ Odom, although slightly older voiced a strong opinion on his rights to trick or treat. “You’re never too old,” he said, “as long as you want to you should go out and do it!” Teens are not too old to engage in this childhood tradition. And besides, there are still many options, even if trick or treating isn’t your cup of tea. Regardless, everyone should spend some time getting into the spooky spirit of this holiday! Take advantage of your youth, because just like any other holiday, the way you celebrate Halloween will always be a part of your memories.

—Bonne

Clark

sophomore

Classroom etiquette

Trading children A Louisiana couple admitted to exchanging $175 and an exotic bird for their two children.

A school teacher implemented a system in which students use sign language to ask to visit the restroom, library, water fountain, etc, so they do not interrupt her lectures.

“Yes, because it’s our time between classes.” —Antonio

Alves freshman

The mother of a 13 year old girl was arrested in Alabama after she let her daughter ride in a cardboard box atop a minivan. The mom said it was safe because the box was attached by a clothes hanger.

Rule: Kids are worth more than a car payment and an animal.

Rule: Sign language is no longer just for the deaf.

Rule: Never do this as an adult.

“Yes, because half the time we’re texting our parents.” —Stephen

the

Oakes freshman

“Yeah, because you can text your friends when you have free time.”

Issue two article “The Science of Embarrassment” Katherine Gould was quoted as saying that the brain’s occipital lobe processes information about public humiliation. This information is processed by the temporal lobe. This causes the brain to release neurotransmitters like. adrenaline, which helps deal with embarrassment. Freshman Boris Mewborn was not photographed accurately on page 6

Staff

Weekend Editors: Annika Jessen Jennifer Oakes

Academics Editors: Jennifer Allshouse Gessica Azzam

Managing Editor: Nathalie Spita

International Editors: Annie Curran Jeff Shim

Copy Editor: Mary Anne Kavjian

News Editors: Erin Johnson Ndidi Obasi

Issue 2 corrections:

A

Editors In Chief: Kelly McGarey Charles Simpson

Editorials Editors: August McCarthy Hope Stadulis

—Jessica Montenegro freshman

Girl on roof

In-Depth Editors: Emily Fruchterman Aishwarya Venkat

Entertainment Editors: Helena Belay Brenna O’Neil Lifestyles Editors: Kelly O’Brien Maggie Craig

Health Editors: Erin George Kelsey Price

Sports Editors: Alley Adcock David Hookey

Photography Editors: Mariah Pollet

Sports Xtra Editors: Kelsey Knoche Katie Vu

Ad Manager: Emma Barker Manal Elhak

People Editors: Victoria Deible Cassady Keller

Circulation Manager: Rachel Coulter Art Editors: Jane Aman

Online Staff: Connor Goolrick, Zulay Huma Adeel Shams, Video Staff: Greg Nielsen, Logan Miller, Stephen Craig, Andy Craig, Bob Stevens, Micheal Ejigu, Michael Lazar Staff Writers/Photographers: Carly Bouchard, Nicole Contrino, Hila Ghorzang, Daniela Guevera, Kristen Hennessey, Hila Haidari, Mirian Jaradat, Walleed Karimullah, Stephenie Kyeremeh, Elizabeth Marcois, Brandon Mitchener, Julia Moeller, Melissa Purvis, Jerald Sheppard, Christopher Yurko, Lance Miller, Kellie DelSignore, Jake Barnes, Esra Gokturk, Natalie Johnson, Bethany Montgomery, CJ Aftergut, Eric Malzhan, Katie Masters Adviser: Alan Weintraut

Annandale High School Vol. 55 No.3 (703) 642-4229 4700 Medford Dr. April 28, 2009 email: theablast@gmail.com Annandale, Virginia 22003 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, 2009.


EDITORIALS Affirmative Action is racist Oct. 21, 2009

Go to the web! Go to www. theablast.org to read more editorials.

Affirmative Action is proving to be unfair to specific groups of college applicants BY CHRISTOHER YURKO Staff Writer

Are high school students too old to trick or treat? “No, I don’t think so. Everyone’s a kid at heart.”

KELLIE DEL SIGNORE

America is the land of the free. We are a nation comprised of cultures that come from every corner of the earth. We are people who believe that every man is created equal, and therefore should be treated and judged as such. At least, that’s what they say. The United States is a land that has always had a sensitive relationship with racial tension and racism. With so many diverse groups of people and mixes of cultures all living together, there is bound to be disagreement. Affirmative Action is the policy that takes gender, race or ethnicity into account in an attempt to help create equal opportunities among different races. Affirmative Action has long been one of the more heated debates in politics. The program helps people of races or ethnicities that were the victims of past oppression. In America’s past, Affirmative Action was useful and effective in helping to eliminate discrimination in schools and places of work. It allowed for minorities such as Native Americans and African-Americans, who were generally the victims of prejudice, to be able to have equal opportunities over the then dominant white majority. However, I believe that Affirmative Action has now run its course. Inexplicably, sometimes good things turn into bad ones and that is the stance I take on affirmative action now. It has morphed from a beneficial program that helped to ensure diversity in workplaces and places of education, into something prejudice in itself. It has created a the idea that says it is ok to discriminate again based on gender and race. This fact is shown to us subtly, every time we have to fill out our ethnicity and gender on a standardized test. The section in which they ask the student to fill out whether he or she is an African American, Asian American, American Indian, Hispanic or White. Choosing anything but that last option puts you higher in the barrel of applicants hoping to get into college. I don’t believe in the term, “reverse racism” (racism towards white people) which is a phrase coined by opponents to affirmative action, but rather just racism. Imagine this just for a moment; an African American student has gained a 3.5 GPA over the course of his high school career, and so has his best friend who is a Caucasian student. Both were involved in after school sports and honor societies. The two friends have applied to the same college and apart from their name difference there is very little that sets either one out in front of the other for a college acceptance. However there is one thing and it is that little section where they ask you for your ethnicity; it is here where it affirmative action comes into play. The African American student would likely get the college acceptance over his Caucasian counterpart, solely because of the fact that he is an African American. If that isn’t racist, then I don’t know what is. In a nation where we now have a biracial president, this policy of affirmative action cannot be allowed to continue. The issue here at AHS is split, with some believing affirmative action creates and unfair advantage and with others believing that it is still necessary in order to avoid racism towards minorities.

3

—Brian Chan senior

Senior Maggie Bermingham fills out her college applications, aware that being Caucasian may put her at a disadvantage when applying to some schools.

Senior Seth Ellingson disagrees with affirmative action and says “it gives people who are not white better opportunities than a white person regardless of whether or not the white person has the same qualifications. That is unfair.” It is blatantly prejudice to award someone with a job or an acceptance to a college due to their ethnicity, and I believe that publicly funded organizations (organizations that currently must abide by affirmative action), or at the very least public colleges, should not have any knowledge of an applicant’s race or gender. I propose that we completely remove the section about ethnicity from all of our standardized tests in order to ensure equality. Colleges and workplaces should be colorblind. Equality does not work simply in one way because equal means fair, and the affirmative action policies in place now unfairly give an advantage to students who are minorities simply because they are not white. We should be building a country of young adults who believe in awarding people based on merit, solely off of accomplishments and not off of race or gender or any other factor that has nothing to do with ones ability to learn and succeed.

“It all depends. If you have a good costume, you’re straight. But if you have a nasty costume, stay at your house.” —Zeni Saife-

Selassiem junior “No, and I would like it if people did it in Germany, where I live.” —Victoria

Kugies junior

Spirit week-ness needs a cure AHS should take a new approach to pump up school spirit BY HOPE STADULIS Editorial Editor We got spirit yes we do. We got spirit, how about you? Of course we have spirit here at AHS, but the question is, do we really show it? Every year, I anticipate the festivities of spirit week, in which students get to break up the normal school routine by wearing silly outfits, building tissue paper floats and dancing to their heart’s content at the homecoming dance. I expect to walk in on Wacky Tacky Day and be surrounded by students in `80s garb, neon leggings, plastic bracelets and Chuck Taylors. I always feel a pang of disappointment when, as I push through the doors of jock lobby, I only spot a few people dressed like me. “A lot of people I know just don’t participate in Spirit Week. It just seems like people don’t embrace school spirit like they used to,” said senior Connor Volk. Ex-officio leadership teacher of three years Abbie Kahn said, “It always seems to be the same people from each class that wear the red and white, go to homecoming, and build the float during spirit week.” Participation in spirit week and homecoming

events has seemed to decrease more each year since I have been here, and there is no clear remedy for this Spirit week-ness. What is obvious though is that Spirit Week needs to be reevaluated so that it appeals more to the strong pride in culture that is dominant at our high school. “In trying to add appeal to Spirit Week, we should reach out to different populations and to the diversity found here in Annandale,” said Kahn. “Whenever you attend an event that has to do with culture, the pride that AHS students show in their country is astounding. If we could somehow build on that pride, participation in Spirit Week would definitely grow.” Of all the events that AHS holds every year, Heritage Night receives the most spectators. Students jump at the opportunity to flaunt the traditional and unique aspects of their culture at Heritage Night, so why would the same not be true if we incorporated cultural identity into Spirit Week? “I think that if we at least had one day out of Spirit Week that had to do with heritage, a lot more kids would want to take part. If you think about it, culture is the only thing that almost everyone has an interest in,” said junior Diana Herring. Sports, dancing and fashion are the interests that are guaranteed to be touched upon every Spirit Week. But at a school with such extreme diversity, it is astounding that culture is never a factor in the spirit days, float building, or dance themes. Picture this: if we found a way to incorporate heritage into

“No because we’re still kids and everyone likes candy.” —Sarah

Slough sophomore

“I do not think highschoolers are too old to go trick-ortreating. It’s just candy, who cares?”

School spirit is abundant at fall pep rallies, but missing during Spirit Week.

the homecoming festivities, we would be uniting the masses. At first glance, one may think that by focusing on diversity, Spirit Week would be straying from its traditional cause. In reality, we would be celebrating the diversity of our school, which brings a unique sense of spirit to each student and the community. With a pinch of tradition and a dash of culture, AHS’s case of Spirit Week-ness would be sure to clear up right away.

Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize? Our President’s latest award makes a mockery of the Nobel selection committee

—Nisreen Al-Suqi sophomore

“I think you’re never too old to go trick-ortreating. It’s free candy, who wouldn’t go?” —Ali Foster

sophomore

BY KELLY MCGAREY Co-Editor In Chief Judging from his impressive track record, President Barack Obama seems to be a natural champion. Not only does he have two Grammy awards, a senatorial victory, and a successful presidential bid under his belt, but he occupies the top spot on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful People list, and is also Time Magazine’s reigning Person of the Year. Clearly, he has been reaping the rewards that come with his position as the media’s darling, making him invincible in the eyes of the world. However, in February, he was nominated for an award that he would not win. When public broadcaster NRK reported that Obama was among the 205 nominees for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, the world was anticipating his first major defeat. Surely the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the body responsible for helping the Nobel Commitee choose the winner of this prestigious honor would consider his nomination to be for show and remove him from the short list of candidates. In fact, many of us had forgotten that our fledging president was even nominated when October rolled around and the Committee began its final deliberations. Well, we all got a wakeup call on Octber 9 when the news exploded out of Sweden that Obama had shown his propensity for winning once again. In the aftermath of this stunning revelation, I began to seriously question what exactly Obama has done to earn this honor. I was not surprised to discover that I was not alone. After the initial shock, Americans scrambled to come up with an answer to this enigma, prompting Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland to explain the decision in a statement to the Associated Press, saying that Obama, “got the prize for what he has done,” and identified his efforts to heal the divide between the West and the Muslim world which “have contributed to...a world with less tension.” Now, I am not sure if they are getting the wrong news in Sweden or if the judgement of the committee is still hopelessly clouded by its love for the 48th American president, but this idea is preposterous. Since the beginning of Obama’s presidency, the situation in the Middle East has disintegrated, not improved. While the U.S. has begun its withdrawals

“No, because we all want candy.” —Hamid Saadlla freshman

Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland holds a picture of this years Nobel Prize winner, Barack Obama, whose win surprised many Americans.

from Iraq under his command, there has been no increase in the region’s stability, and the war in Afghanistan has worsened. America’s relationship with Iran has gone downhill and Obama has even threatened the country with more sanctions if it continues its nuclear program. In fact, his actions in the Middle East have brought about the antithesis of peace, making a mockery out of the award which was once held in such high regard. Since the award has been given to some of the world’s greatest peacemakers, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa, it was reasonable for the world to expect that the Committee would judge wisely once again. Instead, the fallout from this erroneous decision serves as a sign to the Nobel Committee to reassess its criteria for choosing the recipients of the prize.

“They’re not too old, they can still trick-ortreat. Its fun.” —Hawar

Yousif freshman


NEWS Students campaign for governor election Oct. 21, 2009

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A

Membership drops for Young Democrats and Republicans

Go to the Web To read the results of Class Acts!

Friday morning music fills the halls with tunes

CHARLES SIMPSON

“Student Politicians” continued from page 1 Oakes. The Young Republicans will work directly with Fairfax campaign headquarters with the intent of raising voter interest in the gubernatorial campaign. “We’re working at Fairfax County headquarters to phone bank, get the word out, get people to get out and vote,” said Young Republicans advisor Fred Zuniga. Phone banking consists of calling those who have demonstrated interest in candidate McDonnell and appealing for turnout at the poll come Election Day. The Young Republicans will also be preparing literature on McDonnell to mail out to potential voters. The Young Democrats have been preparing work on similar projects. “We’re planning to campaign for Creigh Deeds through phone banking and canvassing. Canvassing consists of going door to door with literature, informing citizens about the various candidates,” said Young Democrats president, senior Nathalie Spita. Senior Aneta Nikolic said, “Last Saturday I actually did literature drops in North Springfield for the [Deeds] campaign.” “I had a list of houses and I basically just dropped off a newsletter at each house. The newsletter was all about all the Democratic candidates. I’m probably going to do another one of these literature drops again next week,” she said. “I also plan to work on Election Day by passing out sample Democratic ballots at the polls.” Despite the strong involvement by some key members, both clubs have suffered recently from a decline in membership. Young Democrats sponsor Mary Richardson alluded to a “cadre” of roughly 15 highly involved students, with few others actively involved in the club. The Young Republicans have experienced a similar decline in participation. “Since our club is lacking the membership we need, we’ll probably have to car-pool down to the [Fairfax Republican] headquarters,” said Oakes. “We’re always looking for new members.”

5

Virginia Governor candidate Creigh Deeds (D) currently trails candidate Bob McDonnell (R) in AHS and statewide polls.

But the reduction in involvement does not appear to be attributable simply to apathy. “Even though this is not a presidential election, the members of Young Dems [Democrats] are very enthusiastic about helping out,” Spita said. Richardson cites the move by the FCPS to limit AHS late buses exclusively to Wednesdays as a major reason for the decline. “I’m worried it will suffer because of lack of late buses,” she said. “We have this club excess on Wednesdays.” With late transportation home from school only available one day a week, clubs responsively all organize on Wednesday, causing severe scheduling conflicts. “Kids want to be in it but don’t have the ability,” said Richardson. “It’s not that the kids don’t want to join, it’s that I can’t find a time to meet where they can all come in.” “Time,” she said, “is the devourer of all things.” For those students that do find the time, each AHS political club gives students the chance to get involved in government, even if they cannot vote

themselves. Only ten percent of the 300 students surveyed by The A-Blast will be old enough to vote in the upcoming gubernatorial election, but all students can work to support their preferred candidate. “The fact that we’re not old enough to vote, campaigning lets you feel like you’re actually involved in the election process, like you’re more of a citizen,” said Spita. “I think it gives them a real sense of civic involvement,” said Young Democrats sponsor Mary Richardson. “It’s important for kids to get outside of AHS… There’s a lot of things you observe when working at the polls to learn how a strong democracy functions,” she said, illustrating the long-term benefits to working in politics while in high school. For now, the Young Democrats and Young Republicans stay focused on the current election. If polls are to be believed, the Young Democrats have a good deal of work to do, and the Young Republicans will need to focus to maintain a lead.

To students, Friday is the best day of the school. At AHS, Fridays start with a song through the Friday Morning Music program, hosted by DJ John Odom. Friday Morning Music began six years ago, when AHS had its 50th anniversary. It was created by ESOL teacher Georgie Tomisato, who wanted it to celebrate different decades each quarter. Now, Friday Morning Music represents music from all cultures and genres. It is a way that students can hear different music than what they usually listen to. During Hispanic Heritage Month songs from different Hispanic and American singers were featured. Next Black History Month will feature songs of African-American heritage. Each Friday is usually dedicated to a certain theme, such as the Beatles or Michael Jackson. If anyone would like to select a theme of music, please talk to Ms. Tomisato in room 271-A. Requests should be limited to American singers or world famous artists such as the Beatles or Beethoven. –Erin Johnson News Editor

Two seniors win high honors in the Senior Regional Orchestra competition

A benefit concert will be held in December by the student-led anti-genocide club BY MANAL ELHAK Ad Manager

STAND for Conscience, a student-led antigenocide club, is currently preparing for its biggest fund raiser of the year. The organization’s annual benefit concert will be held on Friday, December 11 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. This concert is a great way of raising money through music for those experiencing conflict in Darfur, Sudan. It is also a chance for others to showcase their talents and skills. Potential performers auditioned earlier this week in Clausen Hall. STAND for Conscience club members were hopeful for a large turnout in order to make the concert their best yet. “We are trying to get more performers than we had last year. Last year, we had about nine bands perform and everyone seemed to really like them so we are trying to get most of the bands that played last year, as well as new bands,” said senior Sagal Hashi, who is the STAND fiscal president. However, not every group made the cut. Bands that are going to perform at this year’s concert include The Scoons, The Offset, Union Street and many more. Those who attend the concert get the chance to enjoy great performances, music, and food with family and friends while supporting a good cause. Not only do students enjoy these things, but it is also a great opportunity to earn extra credit. Some teachers, such as history teacher Holly Miller, gives their students extra credit for attending this event. “Part of our responsibility as teachers, especially history teachers, is to make connections to our classes to what’s happening in our world. Also part of the IB curriculum is to encourage students to participate in school events and get involved. ” “Attending the concert is also a great way to raise awareness,” Miller said. “All of the money that we make during the

benefit concert we give to GI network which is a Genocide Intervention network and then they give the money to help the refugees in Darfur. Last year we made a little over $1000, it was successful and I am hoping this year it would be as successful as last year,” Hashi said. STAND members hope that the benefit concert will be another great success this year, and will enable the club to help contribute to aid relief in Darfur. The original STAND for Conscience club was founded in 2004 by a group of Georgetown University college students who were dissatisfied with the lack of action being taken to relieve the genocide in Darfur. The group of students got together and formed “S.T.A.N.D: Students Taking Action Now Darfur.” Since then, STAND has been featured in hundreds of publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, Politico, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Sudan Tribune, Rolling Stone, National Public Radio, CNN and others. The AHS chapter was started in 2008 by former AHS student Kasier Kabir who currently is a student at George Washington and is an active member of the George Washington STAND chapter. According to standnow.org, there are more than 850 chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges in more than 25 countries worldwide.

“Orchestra” continued from page 1 range asked by the judge depending on their instrument. Next, they have to play an orchestral excerpt. The excerpt is a prepared piece the students play for the judges (they are usually a piece of music, the students feel comfortable playing well). Following that, the students are obliged to sight-read music given to them. Each student plays the same music, so the judges can critic each student fairly. Seniors Sean Smith and Gina Lee both won high rankings. Sean Smith won 6th chair in the region, and Gina Lee won 2nd chair. Apart from winning high rankings in the region, the two seniors have also been granted a remarkable opportunity to audition for the All-Virginia Orchestra in February. “It felt really great [to place],” senior Gina Lee said. “I didn’t even expect it. I’m really happy about this. I’ve been playing the violin for about nine years, and I try to practice each and every day. I’m really glad all that hard work paid off.” But for Smith, the feelings weren’t reciprocal. “It didn’t really affect me [to place], it didn’t make me happy or sad,” Smith said. “I’ve been playing for about seven years and I don’t practice so much. I would say the audition system wasn’t a good idea. The judges picked out the people who couldn’t perform, and just sound good to them.” “The whole audition system was fair. It was done as a blind audition, the judges would be turned around and we would play what was required. It was the only fairest way to assess the students, and show how well you could play,” said Lee. The Senior Regional Orchestra will be practicing at West Potomac High School on Nov. 13 and 14. Their hard work can be heard at a concert on Nov. 14, which will begin at 7pm. All are welcome to go and support our fellow AHS students at the performance.

Band looks forward to States Marching band will perform at the State Marching Festival will take place on Oct. 31

COURTESY OF KAREN EPLEY

“Band States” continued from page 1 The many changes this season have led to the seasons slow start, but the band has been growing and improving all season. “We started off [worse] than normal, but we’re growing. We get better and better each time,” senior and piccolo section leader Abby Cummings said. “It hasn’t been one of our best seasons. We’ve done well given the circumstances,” Singer said. Despite the changes, band members are excited about the impending competition. Most believe in the mantra that practice makes perfect. “If everyone puts in some good rehearsals we’ll really have a good shot,” Cummings about their chances at Trumpet player Sammy Qabazad and trombonist Matt Stough states said. practice before states.

“I think we’re going to do as well as our best practice. As long as we rehearse well, we’ll perform well,” Singer said. The band has been practicing vigorously to prepare for the Festival, but some band members feel that not everyone’s heart is in the competition. “I think our work and show [is prepared]. I don’t think we’re mentally prepared to perform on Saturday,” So said. “I think some people’s minds are off topic. Most people in band think they’re ready, and some aren’t sure,” Huynh said. Whether ready or not, the AHS band continues to work their hardest. “We’ve been practicing and practicing to get ready,” Huynh said. The AHS band has always had a tradition of excellence. They have won countless “superior” awards and first place prizes at competitions and festivals. “We’re doing a lot of work to keep our tradition up,” Huynh said.

MEGHAN SALADINO

STAND hosts concert Orchestra

The AHS It’s Academic team came in second place behind Woodson at their last competition. The show aired on NBC4 last Saturday.

Ask The Principal: About Homecoming!

John Ponton

Q: What do you do daily, as a principal? A: “The date for Homecoming is chosen one year in advance and is based on October’s varsity football schedule. We look at the home dates and decide which Friday to select for the Homecoming game. The Lake Braddock game was one of three dates to choose from. The earliest game available in October was the game vs. T.C. Williams on October 9th. We felt the freshman Class would not have enough time to elect officers and organize by October 9th. So, the next earliest date on the schedule was the Lake Braddock game.” Q: Why did you decide to work in education? A: “Basically, I meet with the SGA sponsor (Ms. Thompson) to review the planned Homecoming events and activities. After doing so, I just try to promote Homecoming Week to students, parents, faculty and staff.” Q: What advice would you give to a student who was thinking about working in education? A: “The biggest clean-up occurs after the Homecoming dance in the Main Gym. It involves the Student Government Association and Leadership students and sponsor. Our wonderful custodians are involved with various clean-up chores throughout Homecoming Week.”


LIFESTYLES

6

Oct. 21, 2009

Celebrities influence students’ styles

Hair products that volumize, maximize and emphasize your hair’s natural beauty

After styling ones hair it is difficult to keep hair in place and prevent flyaways. Various hairsprays have been found to keep styled hair in place. Spray and play by Big Sexy Hair is one type of hairspray used to keep hair in place without the sticky mess.

If you were to make the mistake of cutting their hair too short, there is now a vitamin that encourage hair growth. Formula 37 is a system meant to increase the rate at which ones hair grows. Hair grows at double the rate and makes hair stronger, healthier and more manageable.

Stars like Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon set the standards for hair fashion BY MAGGIE CRAIG

lifestyles editor Celebrities are always flashing their styles on television, in magazines and on the Internet so it is no surprise that AHS students are found mimicking various styles. The leading ladies in hairstyle this year include elite stars such as Ashley Tisdale, Kristen Stewart and Halle Berry. These A-listers all have their own unique approach to hair that is becoming infectious among the everyday society. With styles ranging from all points on the radar, these stars have set the bar for the current trends. Ashley Tisdale, who is famous for her long blonde locks in the Disney hit High School Musical has taken her hair back to its natural color of dark brown. This bold change has sparked a wave in the industry to encourage people to reinstate their natural color. Cameron Diaz is one of the stars whom has picked up on this hint and strayed away from her bleach blonde style to replace it with her God-given brunette locks. “I like that the stars are going with a more natural look,” freshman Betsy Kruse said. “I have always thought people look best with their natural hair color.” Kristen Stewart, the vampire loving teen star has made her mark in the business with her “emo” nature. Her hair is the envy of everyday teens with her natural “bed head” look that seems effortless. “Although I am not much into the ‘emo’ look I really

like the style of her hair,” senior Maggie Bermingham said. “I like that my hair is naturally wavy already so it is easy to get that similar style.” Stewart has reincarnated the messy wave hairstyle for the 2009 year. This gothic style has topped the hair charts for popular do’s in the new year. Although some critics find it difficult to pull off, Stewart does it flawlessly. “ The style of tousled locks is an everyday look worth trying. Victoria Beckham, “Posh Spice” took 2009 by storm with her trend of the Posh bob, or “Pob”. This style had a successful run, but has now been replaced with an even shorter look, the “Page Boy”. Beckham models this look along with stars such as Halle Berry, Camilla Belle and Katie Holmes. Actresses have taken the trend to the extreme with razor sharp cuts modeled after the popular 1960’s supermodel, “Twiggy” who made this unique style known. “I think the short style looks really sophisticated,” sophomore Hiba Abuelhawa said. “Unfortunately only some people can really pull it off and I think a lot of people are too scared because it would be such a drastic change.” Senior Aimee Jennings keeps up with the popular hair trends by paying attention to a popular actress, Reese Witherspoon. “People always bring up how much I look like her, so I started to notice her style a lot more.” Jennings said, “I really love how she does her hair.” With 2009 winding down and a new decade

KELLY OBRIEN

Solutions to hair problems

Senior Aimee Jennings models her hairstyle after one of her favorite actresses, Reese Witherspoon.

rolling in, everyone is preparing for new celebrity styles to make an appearance. “There is always some new hairstyle celebrities come up with. I am excited to see them,” Abuelhawa said. From chopping long locks, to going for a natural look, students are influenced by the hottest celebrities.

A little bit of hair, a lot of love BY KELLY O’BRIEN

Lifestyles editor

Sometimes after curling or letting hair air dry, one’s hair becomes frizzy. An easy fix is using FizzEase glossy mist from the John Frieda collection. The mist does not weigh hair down or make it greasy. The mist not only controls frizz but gives hair a more intense shine.

Complain to Jane Advice Column

By Jane Aman Hey Jane, I have a friend who I think is struggling with an eating disorder. She has lost about 20 pounds in a two year period, but she was never overweight to begin with. She is constantly concerned with calories and exercising to the point where it is now consuming her life. Her family has been going through some very difficult times and she is under a lot of stress, but I think that she is dealing with the stress in a way that is harmful to her body. I have expressed concern to my parents on numerous occasions and they have talked to my friend's parents. My friend doesn't know that any of this ever occurred, but her parents aren't taking any action (such as getting her into a treatment program or into therapy). It is a very touchy subject that I am not sure how to handle it. Should I confront her and risk jeopardizing our friendship? Or would it be better to keep raising concern with her parents and hope that they take action? ––A worried friend Friend, While I understand that in these situations it is hard to weigh friendship against a friend’s health, it is imperative that you take a step back from your personal relationship and look at it objectively. You have done the right thing already by going to your parents and then her parents when you realized there is a problem. However, as that has not proved effective, it is time to confront your friend yourself. She will be angry, maybe hurt, but mostly she will be embarrassed. If she is a good friend, she will eventually come back to you. The important thing to remember here is that while you need to call her behaviors to her attention, you also need to emphasize that all you want is to support her and for her to be healthy because, ultimately, that is the goal. Before you begin your conversation, I suggest that you go over what you want to say in your head. Be an ear for her and make sure that you present her with all of her options (i.e. counseling, parents, sports, healthy diet). Just remember, that if she is that important to you, it is better to let your relationship suffer than to let her health decline. Good luck! -Jane

Locks of Love is an organization that takes donated real hair and transforms it into wigs for children who are not able to grow their own hair due to chemo treatments. The hair collected is donated to children 18 years of age and under. One student at AHS who decided to donate was junior Victoria Ko. “My hair was really long and I wanted a change,” Victoria Ko said. “When I realized my hair was

long enough to donate it, I decided to do that.” The organization has various requirements that must be followed when donating hair. It is preferred that hair is at least 10 inches long and has not be treated by chemicals found in hair dye. The length requirement is set because most girls that receive the wigs wish to have longer hair. Hair that is under 10 inches can be used but will only be used to make wigs preferably for boys. Since you must send the locks to the organization, the hair can be cut at any hair salon. The hair stylist have to either braid or pull back the hair into a ponytail. “I went to Hair Cuttery to get my hair cut. They put my hair in a ponytail and then cut it above the hair tie,” Ko said. Sending ones locks to the foundation is a simple but selfless act. If you would like to donate your hair visit www. Junior Victoria Ko donated her hair locksoflove.org for more information.

to Locks of Love within the past few months

KELLY OBRIEN

AHS student donated to the organization for cancer patients


HEALTH

Oct. 21, 2009

The laws of attraction, Atoms style Chemicals in the brain effect student’s opinions on attractive qualities in the opposite sex BY KELSEY PRICE Health Editor It only takes a few seconds, less than ten to be exact. One fleeting glance as you pass them in the hallway and you know: they are hot. What many students do not realize about attraction is that it is not simply caused by one’s physical attributes, but by the chemical elements in their own brain. These elements differ slightly between guys and girls, which might explain why a woman could look at a picture of a stick-thin super model and call her beautiful, while a man might consider her ugly. In order to understand this fundamental difference between men and women, one needs to understand the way the brain works. According to a report published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the qualities that attract you are determined which side of the brain you first use to process them. There is a common myth that people use only one side of their brain for certain functions. However, this is only partially true because in reality humans use both sides of their brain at all times. Studies have shown that women use the left side and men use the right side when they first begin to analyze the physical qualities of other people. The differences in their thinking, however, will astound you. The left side of the brain is generally more logical, analytical and looks at the smaller parts of a bigger picture. Since women use this side of their brain, including the caudate, the septum and the posterior parietal cortex to process attractive qualities, they tend to look at the details of a person. Women are more likely to notice things like eye color, bone structure and a person’s smile. Sophomores Gabby Taboada and Eliana Sejas, agree with this generalization and both said, “I like guys who are easy to talk to. But he definitely has to have really nice eyes and a great smile.” Generally, a woman’s eye for detail gives her a broader definition of beauty because she can appreciate the positive aspects of certain features in other people. Another difference that men and women have is their attractions based on scent. According to a study conducted by the University of Mexico, the scent of a man’s sweat has a specific appeal to certain women. When you sweat, your body produces MHC genes, which directly impact your immune system. When you have a variety of MHC genes, you can fight infections more easily. Scientists believe that women find the scent of men with different MHC genes from their own alluring, because it will allow their children fight off infections. In a nutshell, females are naturally drawn to men who will give their kids the best chance of survival, even if they do not realize it at the time of attraction. Junior Narlyn Gonzalez said, “I want a guy who’s tall, smart and quiet.” She is not the only one looking for height. Girls tend to be attracted to tall guys because it shows maturity. Another wanted quality is a deep voice, as it signals they have a lot of testosterone, the hormone associated with puberty and sexual drive. Oddly enough, girls also look for guys who have physical qualities similar to their own. It may sound shallow, but it gives women a feeling of security when their partner shares their same skin or eye color, according to an article published in Women’s Health Magazine. The right side of the brain acts as an area for visual processing. It looks at things as a whole and in a random order. Men generally use the right side of their brain when assessing a female. Therefore, they are most likely notice things like body shape, amount of curves, and height before anything else. “I try not to be shallow and look at a girl on a deeper level, but I usually look for a slim girl with nice eyes,” said sophomore Willy Labarca. Junior Ryan Keck, said that he notices girls with “long, toned legs.” These observations should not be mistaken as “shallow” because these natural instincts simply support the known evidence provided by scientific research. Men are subconsciously intrigued by the scent of women who are in midovulation cycle. This is the time when women are most likely to become pregnant. Again, this is a natural instinct, which most guys aren’t thinking about when trying to select a partner. Another interesting feature that a man looks for in a woman is symmetrical features. When women don’t have symmetrical features it could signify that there is a genetic problem behind it. Men don’t want their children to inherit genetic problems so they generally aren’t attracted to females with asymmetrical features. According to Helen Fisher, a leading biological anthropologist for the University of Rutgers, the brain uses different chemicals to create the overall

Snack attack Beautiful blueberry and oatmeal muffins •

1 cup flour

1 cup oatmeal

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking powder

1 cup blueberries

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Step One: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Step Two: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Step Three: Then mix in the blueberries Step Four: In another bowl, Break the egg and use a fork to beat it. Step Five: In the same bowl, mix in the milk and vegetable oil. Step Six: Add the two mixtures together. Step Seven: Mix the batter. Don’t mix too much, it should still be lumpy. Step Eight: Put paper liners in a muffin pan or spray with nonstick spray. Step Nine: Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 the way up with the muffin mix. Step Ten: Bake for about 20 minutes Step Eleven: When finished baking cool on a wire rack. Serving Size: One Muffin Nutrition Information: 162 calories

7 Lovely legs in five easy steps

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Healthy Habits Helpful Health Tips

By Erin George and Kelsey Price

Flu shot over sickness Now that it is flu season, many students have started to cough and sneeze without realizing who it affects. Scared you might catch something? The best way to avoid the flu is by getting a flu shot. Many people avoid getting a flu shot because they believe they never get sick or they think they can avoid the flu. Just because the flu might not directly affect you, it does affect the people around you. If you’re around babies or elderly people it is very important that you get the shot because if you get sick it is very easy for them to get sick as well. People who have other serious medical conditions such as asthma, heart problems, diabetes or HIV need to get a flu shot because if they get sick it can lead to worse health conditions. Also, teens who take a large amount of aspirin can develop Reye syndrome if they catch the flu. Reye syndrome is a disease that causes the brain and liver to swell and also lowers the level of blood glucose. Afraid of needles? The flu shot now comes in nasal mist but the mist cannot be given to everyone. People with severe asthma, a week immune system, heart or kidney disease, or diabetes should not receive the vaccine as a mist. Like any medicine, the mist also has side affects such as a runny nose, congestion, irritability, sore throat, and a headache. Though the mist is relatively new, studies show that the flu mist is just as effective as the flu shot. Since the body needs time to build up immunity against the flu, it is best to get the shot in October or November. The flu shot is best way to avoid the flu but you can also steer clear of it by washing your hands and trying not to touch to your nose or mouth. To help prevent the flu from spreading, remember to cover your mouth when you cough and your nose when you sneeze.

Slowly, lower your leg back down towards the ground, maintaining the alignment of your spine.

Repeat steps one through five with the opposite leg. Do four sets of ten repetitions to start out with. As you progress, slowly being to increase the amount of repetitions and sets.

For these health related stories, visit us online: www.thea-blast.org Scientists see a sudden increase in autism diagnoses About 1 in 91 people in the United States have, or may have, autism or an autism spectrum disorder according to recent surveys. The latest estimate shows a dramatic increase in the amount of people diagnosed with autism as opposed to the previous accepted estimate, which stood at about 1 in 150 people. Autism is a brain disorder, which disables different areas of the brain from working together. It often makes it more challenging to communicate with and relate to others.

The first swine flu vaccinations arrived H1N1 vaccines are now becoming the new hottest trend. The public is not messing around with this flu any longer. “This shot is important to help prevent further out breaks of disease and shorten the life span of the flu virus, and curtail further absences in school,” said Ms. Shakespeare, the school nurse. While the H1N1 mists are being given out to local residents around the country, the actual shot has not been given to many people. “All you do for the mist is breath. The doctors stick a little bottle, like nasal spray, up your nose and right when they squirt the mist you breath in,” said sophomore Tricia Counihan.


ARTS

8

Oct. 21, 2009

An expression of liberty

Art Galleries to visit

IB art students create artwork with a little bit of themselves drawn in

WWW.CORCORAN.ORG

The Corcoran

“En Route pour la pêche (Setting Out to Fish)” by John Singer Sargent from the “Sargent and the Sea” exhibition

Current Exhibitions: Sargent and the Sea Through Jan. 3 Edward Brutansky: Oil Oct. 3-Dec. 13

“Untitled (Big Man)” by Ron Mueck from the “Strange Bodies” exhibition

COURTESY OF JESSICA CAMILLI

HIRSHHORN.SI.EDU

COURTESY OF JESSICA CAMILLI

Hirshhorn

One of her more colorful works, this is a photograph by junior Jessica Camilli that she enhanced with marker.

Current Exhibitions: Up7th Fall 2009

This painting by junior Jessica Camilli shows off her obvious love of music.

Strange bodies: Figurative works from the Hirshhorn collection Through Nov. 15

Senior Juliana Leventhal works on one of her current projects in IB Art. The IB art students have a lot of freedom in their choices of subject matter in their artwork

National Museum of Art Current Exhibitions:

JORDAN AMAN

The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900 Through Jan. 18

COURTESY OF JESSICA CAMILLI

WWW.NGA.GOV

Renaissance to Revolution: French drawings from the National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 31

“Autumn Gold” by Hans Hoffman from the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection

Judith Leyster, 1609-1660 Through Nov. 29 Edouard Manet’s “Ragpicker” from the Norton Simon Foundation Through Nov. 29 Recent Aquisitions: The Grega and Leo A. Daly III Fund for Architectural Books Through Nov. 15 Designing the Lincoln Memorial: Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon Through Feb. 12 In the Tower: Philip Guston Through Jan. 3

National Museum of Women in the Arts

This untitled work by senior Daniela Guevera evokes emotions of loneliness in the viewer.

Students often use their artwork to make bold statements, like junior Jessica Camilli in this untitled work.

The tea party affair

Exploring the colorful world of contemporary art through the works of Sarah Joncas BY JORDAN AMAN Staff Writer Contemporary art has gone through significant changes since the non representational abstract expressionism era. Examples of contemporary art have become more prevalent in independent art galleries and design schools rather than in simply modern art museums. Recent art movements include Classical Realism, Street art, Superflat and, most recently, Video performance art, often played on large screens at clubs and concerts. Some great examples of recent contemporary art and the contemporary art scene can be found in Juxtapoz magazine, an art and art culture magazine. They feature artists who have a definite style and vision as well as a very different view of comercial art. One recent addition to the Juxtapoz family is Sarah Joncas, a Canadian artist taking the art scene with full force. Sarah Joncas is a 23-year-old artist with an un-

Current Exhibitions:

WWW.NMWA.ORG

WWW.TEAPARTYLOVE.DIGITALINKZ.COM

Lands of Enchantment: Australian Aboriginal Painting Through Jan. 10 Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions and Conundrums in Contemporary “Victoria’s Secret” Art by Robin Kahn Through Jan. 10 from the “Telling Secrets” exhibit Joncas adds interest to her painting, “Gravity” by painting flat designs into the background.

conventional style. Currently finishing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Joncas has the potential to become quite well known in the art world. Sarah has already been featured in Juxtapoz magazine, as well as multiple art shows and solo exhibitions in and around Canada and the U.S., including the Juxtapoz 15th Anniversary Auction Show in Los Angeles and a show at Dark Pop at Last Rites Gallery in New York City. Her style is comprised of large facial features and a central female subject. Many of her paintings, if not all of them evoke a very low emotion, provoking thoughts of desolation and disdain. Despite the low mood in her paintings, Joncas uses bright colors and contrast to contradict the feel of these images. Many of Joncas’ women appear to be modeled directly after her own likeness. In a comparison, it is apparent that many of her portraits have facial structures and exaggerated facial features resembling her own. This self reflection makes Joncas’ work seem much more personal. Her recent work is a very detailed, and somewhat realistic continuation of her highly emotive style. Joncas’ fan base has been growing. She now has multiple webpages including a facebook, myspace, blog and website: teapartylove.digitalinkz.com. Her artwork can be distinguished from others through her provocative use of color and the facial expressions that her subjects wear. Many of the paintings in Joncas’ collection also contain an underwater theme. this ties into her highly emotive tendency with the idea of drowning. However, the drowning motif is always somewhat romanticized. Contemporary art has taken a turn back towards classical realism, with a bit more emotive themes. As seen in Juxtapoz’s most recent issue, the fascination with the dead, twisted and macabre has taken the art scene. In keeping with the recent trend, Sarah Joncas funnels strong emotions and makes bold statements through her unusual artwork.

WWW.TEAPARTYLOVE.DIGITALINKZ.COM

The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain Through Nov. 1

This portrait by senior Kevin Muller elicits feelings of anger.

“Damsel in Distress” by Sarah Joncas highlights her affinity to bright colors and provocative images in her paintings.

WWW.TEAPARTYLOVE.DIGITALINKZ.COM

An Antiquity of Imagination: Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture Through Nov. 1

JORDAN AMAN

JORDAN AMAN

The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works Through May 2

One of many sketches by Joncas that are available for viewing on her website is “Great Descent.”


ACADEMICS

Oct. 21, 2009

Increasing learning online

The new tenpoint grading scale for the 2009-2010 school year:

Online classes allow students to take their classes without having to come to school

GESSICA AZZAM

BY GESSICA AZZAM Academics Editor Senior Elizabeth Flint lounges on her sofa in front of her laptop screen, with an apple and a box of crackers on the side. She sends a text message on her phone, then minimizes her Facebook page. Class has just begun. However, Flint does not have to worry about making her way through the hundreds of students in the hallway to get to class before the late bell rings. She is taking a class online, allowing her to make it on time simply by signing in to her “Elluminate” account. The classmates in this class come from all around Fairfax County, none of them having ever seen each other in their lives. This is Flint’s World History class, where she is taught the same curriculum that can be offered at any Fairfax County school. A student types a question to the teacher, who immediately replies through a video blog. This is basically a virtual class experience where everything almost stays the same — except the location. “An online class is definitely a lot of fun and is a new experience for me but just requires some responsibility,” Flint said. “The only hard thing is being able to fully communicate with the teacher and getting help from classmates when I don’t understand something. People who choose to take an online class have to be prepared and prompt with their work every day for class. I prefer that learning environment because it is much more organized and there aren’t any stray papers or materials to be bought.” Online classes are gradually becoming a more common, accessible option for students. This is ultimately FCPS’s way of providing an alternative to high school students who choose to study outside of the traditional classroom setting. These online classes may serve as standard or Advanced Placement courses or electives, which operate under the same curriculum and teaching expectations as a customary classroom. One of the primary reasons students take an online class is to re-take a course over the summer instead of finding a ride to the school in which it is offered. These classes are also taken by students who can either not fit a course into their school schedule or those who generally take an after-school class to earn the required credits for high school graduation or college. Lastly, an online class is an option that students can turn to which may substitute the same class that can be taken at school. According to e-Learning Specialist for the FCPS Online Campus Sandy Todd, the online class enrollment for the 2008 - 2009 school year was just over 900 students for the regular school year and close to a thousand for summer school. Only about 4% of students failed an online course. Further, 12% got a D while 84% passed with an A-C. “Students, looking at last year’s statistics, tend to do well in their online classes. The passing rate for the SOL’s is a 95%. Over the summer, classes run for six weeks. For the regular school year, students get started in mid-September and finish on June 5th, before regular schools, so seniors’ grades are sent to their school for graduation,” said Todd. AHS teacher Elizabeth Edwards has been an online Biology teacher for seven years and is familiar with how an online class operates, being the principal of online classes for Fairfax County this past summer. “Students who take an online class definitely need to be self-motivated and disciplined to get the work done. A lot of responsibility goes along with making sure all assignments are turned in on time and that class, if missed, is made up. Overall, the instructional program is the same,” Edwards said. The path to success in an online class truly goes down to a student’s learning style and

9

Online Biology teacher Elizabeth Edwards uploads class assignments for her students.

whether or not they are willing to sit at a computer at designated times and study, opposed to learning face-to-face in a real classroom. “A student might have more trouble understanding a concept over the computer, however online teachers help kids know if they want to do this,” Edwards said. “We also have prep classes that prepare kids for the actual class to see what is expected of them and if they really want to do it.” Fairfax County’s preparatory classes are offered to students before the actual class is taken as a way to provide the full experience to students ahead of time to help them finalize their decision about taking that class. “Students are bound to take online classes sometime after high school for college or their jobs.Also, it is always a good idea for students to take advantage of all the educational opportunities FCPS offers to them,” said Edwards. Junior Anne Hruskoci is a student who is considering taking an online class next year. “I want to take a class online to have space for an extra elective at school. I also think it’s a more organized way to learn the curriculum of the class. It seems like it would fit my learning style better,” said Hruskoci. Over time, online classes have transformed from something unheard of into a more diverse, unique way to take a class. This has been proven through the thousands of students that take these classes each year as well as the growing number of people considering to this exclusive option. Their requirements of responsibility and self-motivation are sure to help students in the future in terms of technology as well as the rapidly growing world of online learning.

A (93-100) = 4.0 A- (90-92) = 3.7 B+ (87-89) = 3.3 B (83-86) = 3.0 B- (80-82) = 2.7 C+ (77-79) = 2.3 C (73-76) = 2.0 C- (70-72) = 1.7 D+ (67-69) = 1.3 D (64-66) = 1.0 F (below 64) = 0.0

What do you think about the new grading scale? “The new grading scale is better because it increases my GPA and makes my report card look much better.”

—Sarah Othman freshman “It makes the grading more fair than it was, making me more confident in getting better grades.”

Ten-point scale takes effect on GPAs BY TRICIA O’NEILL Staff Writer The fight for that extra percentage point to reach a certain grade is now over. This year, Fairfax County’s legislators chose to operate schools under the new ten-point grading scale. Under these new grading procedures, less stressed students expect their Grade Point Averages to rise with the addition of four extra percentage points to a solid grade letter. The debate on whether to change the grading scale began was a concern among parents who decided that it was time to take the issue to the school board. Parents voiced their worries about whether Fairfax County’s system was negatively affecting its students come college application time. After a thorough investigation, Fairfax County came to the conclusion that changing the scales would be beneficial to its students. Among other benefits to the switch are the added weights for pre-IB, honors, and IB courses. In June, when the new weight went into effect, an extra .5 was added to the GPAs of IB students only. The change did not affect honors or pre-IB students until September of this year. All pre-IB or honors students will now receive an extra 0.5 points to their grades. IB students will receive a full point. Some teachers, such as social studies teacher, John Hawes, have doubts about the system. “It’s a little early in the year to tell (whether the new scale will help students’ grades). My original reaction was disappointment over what I thought was Fairfax County retreating from its high standards. I have seen more A’s though, but only from the A and B students.” Though it is early in the year, some students have already started to see changes in their grades. Most, however, say that grades have pretty much remained consistent. English teacher, Melissa Phillips agreed, saying, “I honestly haven’t noticed that much of a difference. Although the new scale makes it easier for students to earn an A or B on individual assignments, I think genuine ‘A’ and ‘B’ students only maintain these high marks through consistent dedication and discipline [on all assignments].” “I think the new scale is less daunting and more inspiring for students. If they put in the effort, they know they can do well,” said Phillips. The teachers of every subject seem to agree with the idea that if a student wants to do well, he or she will, regardless of the grading scale. However, some students have complained that since the switch, teachers have really cracked down and graded their assignments tougher and more thoroughly. Despite these students’beliefs, none seem to be too adverse to the challenge. Sophomore Khadiza Hossain said, “My grades haven’t changed much. I think they want to challenge us a little more so the grades don’t just come too easy.”

Grading Scale Comparison Classes Classes

Grade Percentage

‘08 - ‘09 Grades

“I think it is unfair because before, people had to work harder for grades that we can achieve more easily.”

‘09 - ‘10 Grades

English 11

93 %

B+

A

IB Biology SL

84%

B

B

Journalism 3

97%

A

A

IB History of Americas

82%

C+

B-

Spanish 3

87%

B

B

PreIB Alg 2 & Trig

85%

B

B

Anatomy

93%

B+

A

GPA: 3.1

GPA: 3.4

—Wicksie Tu sophomore “I think it’s alot better than the old one because now we won’t fail as fast as before. Now if we don’t do our homework we can still keep ourgrade up.”

—Narlyn Gonzalez junior “I believe it is better because it boosts your GPA, making grades look much better for college.”

—Tatiana Daza junior RACHEL BERGEN

The ten-point grading scale has had a great impact on students’ letter grades and overall Grade Point Averages

—Ninette Ovando sophomore

“It gives seniors and other classmen a greater chance to get better grades and with a higher GPA it looks better for my transcripts.”

—Alejandra Medrano senior “It puts us on par with everyone else, so kids from other states do not have an advantage of Fairfax County in terms of grades.”

—Gabriel Romano gym/health teacher Compiled by Alexa Lafferty and Jayran Moridzadeh


IN-DEPTH

Oct. 21, 2009

11

Could you have ADHD?

Blame it on the ADHD Teenagers are not the cause for the increase in prescription drug abuse BY AISHWARYA VENKAT In-Depth Editor Lack of concentration, irregular study habits, restlessness, hyperactivity, delayed responses, failure to obey commands. Check all. Diagnosis: This kid has ADHD. While rising prescription drug abuse among teenagers might be an alarming trend, students are not the only ones who are to blame for this. Part of the problem also lies with science, and the rising numbers of people diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and other learning disorders, as well as the multitudes of medicines created to cure these disorders. In the past few decades, there has been an explosion in the rate of students diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). A recent report from the Center for Disease Control indicates that the number of children aged 4-17 years old diagnosed with ADD and ADHD has increased from 4.3 percent in 2003 to about 16 percent, making these disorders the most studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorders in children today. Contrary to popular belief, ADD and ADHD are not newly-discovered disorders. Attention Deficit Disorder was first discovered in 1798 by Sir Alexander Crighton. Today, this are three widely-accepted forms of ADHD: predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive and combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. So what has led to this ‘diagnosis epidemic?’ Chairman of Psychiatry at New York University, Harold Koplewicz, said in a PBS interview: “We know, most times, that once we find an effective treatment and we let the public know that there’s an effective treatment, patients start to appear.” In a similar interview with PBS, child psychiatrist Harvey Parker explains, “Number one,

parents understood from other parents that ADHD exists, and they had their kids evaluated. Doctors understood that medication was an appropriate treatment for ADHD. We realized that kids with ADHD don’t have to stop taking medication when they become adolescents… So we continued prescribing medications to these children. We also realized that children could take medication more than once a day. They can take it in the morning, in the afternoon and evening, and even late in the afternoon when they come home from school to help with homework problems. And we also realized that adults could benefit if they have ADHD and they take medication. So all these factors combined to cause a rise in the prescription rates of medication today.” Another factor that might contribute to the increasing number of diagnoses is the regional disparities between disorder diagnosis in North America and the rest of the world. In North America, most physicians use the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV) standard for diagnosis, which emphasizes symptom severity, duration of symptoms and when and where they appear. On the other hand, many European countries use the ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases: 10th revision) to diagnose cases of ADD and ADHD. This comprehensive list upholds more severe criteria for adolescents to be diagnosed with ADHD and such hyperkinetic disorders, thus making the diagnoses much more accurate and treatable with effective medicines. According to Nature Reviews Neuroscience, an ADD/ ADHD diagnosis with the DSM IV criteria is 3-4 times more likely than if the ICD-10 standard is used, thus drastically increasing the numbers of learning disorder diagnoses in the United States. This distinction is visible in the statistics in Europe and Americ. According to www.adhdtraining.co.uk, about 5 percent of school-children aged 6-16 in England and Wales are diagnosed with ADHD, while in USA, this number ranges from 2-18 percent depending on the population in question. Given the statistics, this sudden explosion in ADD and ADHD diagnoses should be classified as an epidemic. Yet, due to the varied diagnostic procedures

and the wide abuse of ADD medication as “study drugs,” ADD has become one of the most commonplace psychiatric disorders in the US today. This is not to say that ADD and ADHD are not legitimate learning disorders. For those who truly suffer from ADD and ADHD, drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, etc. are a godsend. “I have a very low-dose prescription of Concerta, for ADD,” senior Elisabeth Schieble said. “It does help me become more focused but I don’t like thinking I’m dependent on it. I haven’t taken it since the school year started in an attempt to prove I can function without it, but if my interim grades suck then I’m back on [it],” she said. When the actual symptoms are present and chronic, they often affect a student’s ability to focus in everyday activities.

Circle the number that best describes how you have conducted yourself in the past six months. 1. How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization? 0 - Never 1 - Rarely 2 - Sometimes 3 - Often 4 - Very Often 2. When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started? 0 - Never 1 - Rarely 2 - Sometimes

These [drugs] are being prescribed way too easily, and to almost anyone. I mean, literally anyone can get a prescription just by saying ‘I can’t focus in school.’ -- “Nate” junior

Often, these drugs are also not as effective as companies claim they are. “I honestly think it’s easier to not get prescribed,” said senior “Andy,” who also chose to withhold his last name from publication. “I used to take such medications, and they made me feel like a robot—I was unable to ever hold a conscious thought. I could finish all my homework in, like, 30 minutes due to extreme focus, and then I wouldn’t be able to have a conversation other than ‘yes’, ‘ok’ and ‘no’” he said. Senior Kelly May also said, “There seem to be a similar trends between these drugs and other depression medications. Are these meds possibly a scam? I think so.” Thus, even though the diagnosis boom has increased the number of students diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and other such disorders, and has made prescription drugs very accessible to teenagers, the ultimate responsibility lies with the students themselves. Students need to learn that the medicine only works for those who need it, and misusing these drugs is not healthy for them in the long run.

3 - Often 4 - Very Often 3. How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you? 0 - Never 1 - Rarely 2 - Sometimes 3 - Often 4 - Very Often 4. How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated? 0 - Never 1 - Rarely 2 - Sometimes 3 - Often 4 - Very Often 5. How often do you feel restless or fidgety? 0 - Never 1 - Rarely 2 - Sometimes 3 - Often

Get the facts about drugs

6. How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required? 0 - Never

Ritalin

Adderall

4 - Very Often

1 - Rarely

Real name: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine

Real name: methylphenidate

2 - Sometimes

Prescribed for: ADHD and narcolepsy

Prescribed for: ADHD, POTS and narcolepsy

3 - Often

The draw: increased attention span, alertness and energy, also decreases appetite for weight loss.

The draw: increased attention span, alertness and energy, also decreases appetite for weight loss. Causes euphoria when snorted.

4 - Very Often

Side Effects: increases high blood pressure and risk of death stroke and heart attack, may cause seizures, and decrease growth rate in children. Changes in vision, paranoia and extreme hallucinations have also been reported.

Side Effects: increases blood pressure, causes acne, dizziness, sweating, cardiac arrhythmia, headaches, nausea, rashes, seizures and heart attacks.

Source: WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview

Vicodin

Oxycontin

Real name: hydrocodone and paracetamol

Real name: oxycodone Prescribed for: moderate to severe pain The draw: causes an easy high, feelings of numbness Side Effects: constipation, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, dim vision, loss of appetite, impotence, pupil contstriction, clammy skin, respiratory arrest.

Prescribed for: moderate to severe pain The draw: increased attention span, alertness and energy, also decreases appetite for weight loss. Side Effects: allergic reactions, seizures, hyperventilation, dizziness, unconciousness, jaundice, fatigue, bruising, dry mouth, hot flashes, itching, hearing loss, hallucinations, severe weakness, and muscle twitches. Source: www.streetdrugs.org

Where drug abuse can land you Treatment options for prescription drug abusers BY AISHWARYA VENKAT In-Depth Editor Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax County itself offers a host of programs targeted at diagnosing and preventing drug abuse in “at risk” youth, and providing intervention and treatment options for students who wish to quit abusing. Counselors are a popular resource for information about drug counseling. “If a student comes to me with issues about drug or alcohol abuse, I usually refer them to the Fairfax County Alcohol and Drug Services representative, Julia Burgos,” said counselor Linda Wheeler. “She works with the students to assess the level of abuse, and determines if parental permission is needed for an official alcohol and drug assessment,” she said. But aside from the AHS counselor,

there are several other resources for youth seeking help and treatment for drug abuse. Fairfax County sponsors several programs for youth and adults, that can assist them in the detoxification process, and helps them return to a drug-free lifestyle again. The Alcohol and Drug Youth Services (ADYS), a program sponsored by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, provides several treatment options for teens that are looking for assistance with quitting drugs. The program includes an indepth assessment of the problem, and continuing treatment options for residents of the Fairfax-Falls Church region. Most youth who complete this program have stopped alcohol and drug abuse, and have improved school performance and attendance. County-sponsored assessment services are available in ADS’s Falls Church, South County and Reston centers. An initial screening appointment takes about one hour, and is designed to detect alcohol, drug and

Now add up your scores. A score of more than 15 indicates that you might be at risk for ADD or ADHD.

mental health problems. Full assessments are also available, and is used to determine the severity of abuse and the level of treatment required. Outpatient Services for youth includes individual evaluations, and even group treatments with multiple families. Treatment options for conditioned drug users includes Day Treatment services, which are available in Falls Church and Franconia through the Horizons and Vista day treatment programs. Through these programs, youth attend school at the ADS location in the morning, and undergo treatment through the afternoon. Residential treatment services are also another option for conditioned drug abusers. These services are provided through the Sunrise I, Sunrise II, and the Crossroads youth therapeutic community treatment program. Sunrise I is a three to six month program for substance abusing youth. Sunrise II is a nine to twelve-month program for students who are diagnosed to have substance

abuse and mental health problems. Crossroads is a similar program geared towards group and community treatment. For students seeking help, or to get more involved with substance abuse- related issues, Fairfax County will be holding the 28th Annual Substance Abuse Week Conference will be held on Friday, October 23, 2009 at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA. This conference will have several seminars about drug abuse risk, prevention tactics, symptoms, and intervention options. Students will also be provided with extensive information about substance abuse services provided by Fairfax County, and long-term effects of substance abuse. Please visit http://www. fairfaxcounty.gov/csb/prevention/ saaw-registration.htm, for more information about the workshops and other seminar activities. All the programs mentioned in this article can be found online at http:// www.fairfaxcounty.gov/csb/ads/ adservices.htm

Where to seek help Julia Burgos, AHS Substance Abuse Counselor Ms. Burgos is an excellent resource about anything related to prescription or illegal drug addictions, etc. She can be found Tuesdays and Fridays in the Cafeteria, or can be contacted through e-mail at Julia.Burgos@fcps.edu. “Take Charge” is a free tobacco, alcohol and drug use prevention program for youth 5-12 grades. For more information, contact Elizabeth Robertson, Teen Services Prevention Specialist at 703-324-5213. Fairfax County ADS Falls Church Location 107 Park Place Falls Church, Virginia 22046 Phone: 703-533-5634 Fairfax County ADS South County Location 8350 Richmond Highway, Suite 515 Alexandria, Virginia 22309 Phone: 703-704-6707 Fairfax Detoxification Center 4213 Walney Road Chantilly, Virginia 20151 Phone: 703-502-7000


IN-DEPTH

10

Oct. 21, 2009

Do you think prescription drug abuse is a major problem? “I think it’s sad that people decide to abuse prescription drugs, and it shouldn’t be done, but it’s really hard to stop.”

—Debbie Anderson freshman

—Jonah Stover sophomore “It’s going to happen and there should be the same penalties for using them as regular drugs, but it is really hard to regulate.”

—Liam McGhee junior “I feel that it’s stupid, and there’s no reason for it.”

—Alex Johnson senior

“I suspect that prescription drug abuse runs much more rampant than most citizens realize, while some people underestimate its harmful effects.”

—Amy Graham English Teacher “I feel that it is a nationwide epidemic, and it needs much more attention than alcohol or other substance abuse before it becomes much more out-of-control.”

—Jason Gould SAM Resource Teacher

How easy or hard do you think it is for teenagers to obtain prescription drugs?

EMILY FRUCHTERMAN

“I personally think that if they have the prescription drugs they shouldn’t be abusing them, because it could make them sick, or even kill them.”

Into the medicine cabinet Pressure from colleges and parents pushes students towards prescription drugs BY EMILY FRUCHTERMAN In-Depth Editor In a world where everything students do can be quantified and analyzed through the grades they receive and standardized tests are regularly used to assess a student’s progress, it is no wonder that students are feeling so much pressure to succeed that some equate it with drowning in the workload. Although this trend pushes students towards excellence, it can have several harmful effects as well. Some students who are faced with a seemingly impossible load of classes and extracurriculars, both of which the student is repeatedly told are necessary for college, are turning to study drugs in order to keep themselves afloat. Medications such as Adderall and Ritalin are among those most commonly abused. “I was prescribed drugs way back in 4th grade for my ADD, even though I stopped using in 6th grade,” said “Frank” who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But now I usually take them every once in a while to help me study for important test or project.” While students try prescription drugs for the first time every day, it is nothing new to Substance Abuse Counselor Julia Burgos. “People are always looking for something to change their body chemistry and make them feel different. We do it in a benign way when we eat a piece of chocolate,” said Burgos. “But when you do it to get high you’re risking too much.” Burgos is currently working at AHS part-time, splitting her days between here and JEB Stuart HS. She often counsels both students and parents on drug use and makes herself available for confidential discussions in her cafeteria office. For students that don’t suffer from these dis-

58

Very difficult

Difficult

Easy

Very easy

This survey was distributed on Oct. 13 during R1/R3 FLEX. Out of the 250 distributed, 228 were returned and counted.

—Julia Burgos AHS Substance Abuse Counselor

Many people feel that the pressures of school and work are the main factors that lead to prescription drug abuse.“I know people that [take prescription drugs] to help them focus better, because they have jobs and they have to keep up with their grades too,” said senior Huong Nguyen. “Taking ADD/ADHD med[icine]s do help you concentrate like crazy so that you can work nonstop, therefore allowing you to do your work and retain information. I guess this would lead to better grades, and therefore success. Honestly, if I could, I would take Ritalin just so that I could stay focused in school,” senior Jose Candia said. “Frank” has experienced these effects as well. “I would study all through the night, take the test the next morning and then stay up the next

any serious negative health effects. The danger in this, however, is that the teens feel a sense of false security when they are taking these drugs. “I don’t think it’s possible to overdose on these, and I only use these drugs about once or twice a month so it doesn’t matter,” said “Frank”. The companies that produce these medications are very clear about the potential risks associated with it. At the end of every commercial for a prescription drug, all of the potential side effects are listed, giving the patient an idea of what could go wrong. When teenagers take these drugs illegally, they do not have the advantage of a doctor looking over their shoulders to keep them safe, making accidental overdose far more likely. “Painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are by far the most commonly abused prescription drugs,” Burgos said. “It’s not a particular preference, kids are just taking whatever they can find, and these kinds of drugs are easy to get at.” This statistic was supported by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, who published a report in 2007, stating that while ten percent of teenagers have abused prescription study drugs, 20 percent have abused prescription pain relievers. For most students, this is not a serious issue. Most develop their own strategies for dealing with school stress and peer pressure, such as using healthy supplements, like fish oil and ginseng.

These natural options are proven to increase mental capacity as an alternative to drugs Ginseng is another herb that is often used to help the body adjust to high levels of stress. It acts by boosting the immune system and is often used to improve concentration and memory.

Gingko-Biloba 11

People are always looking for something to change their body chemistry... But when you do it to get high you’re risking too much.

night too.” According to Burgos, getting high is one of the major reasons that teenagers abuse prescription drugs in general. “There’s this new thing called a ‘pharm party’ where kids all get together and raid their parent’s medicine cabinets,” Burgos said. “They put all the pills together in a bowl and take them with alcohol, so that they don’t know what they’re taking or what it is going to do to them.” While this may seem like a dumb idea, teenagers in general are getting much smarter about their drug use. Teenagers can buy experimental drugs online, or look up what dose of a prescription medication they should take to feel a high without

A boost to the brain, without the pain

103

56

orders, the very same medications can turn into lethal killers in the form of drugs. “I know of quite a few students who misuse it,” said junior “Nate”, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They do it because it easily raises their grades, and it’s easy to get. They either snort it, or just swallow it, and it makes them feel really good,” he added. Such misuse is extremely prevalent among teens today. “Some of my friends used to take, like, 200mgs of Adderall and stay up for at least 2-3 days. People also use it for weight loss, since it speeds up your metabolism, and it definitely makes you think food is repulsive, so you don’t eat for days,” Nate said.

This ancient Chinese herb has been used for centuries to improve cognitive abilities and concentration. It acts an an antioxidant and improves brain functions. It is often used to treat dementia, Alzhiemers, etc.

Ginseng

Almonds Almonds have traditionally been used as study tools for more than 5,000 years. Students in Asia and other Middle-Eastern countries often soak 7-10 almonds in warm water overnight, and peel and eat them.

Fish Oil is rich in Omega 3, which has been proven to improve mental focus and concentration among those with ADD/ADHD. Omega-3 can be found in oily fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, bluefish, black cod, etc.

Fish Oil


Go to the Web

visit www.thea-blast.org For more stories on spirit filled students.

What homecoming festivity are you most looking forward to? “All of spirit week is fun: the dance, bonfire and the game.”

—Jenny Huynh senior

“I am really looking forward to wearing a toga.”

—Tim Davidson senior

“I’m excited to play in the powder-puff game, and to watch the guys play Lake Braddock.”

—Jenna Balicki junior

“I am looking forward to dressing up some more.”

Oct. 21, 2009

Smells like team spirit Three men have been supporting the AHS football program for over 40 years. BY CASSADY KELLER AND TORIE DEIBLE People Editors Spirit certainly overwhelms the stands at AHS’ football games, and longtime traditions of rambunctious students showing spirit like the “Atoms Boys” and dressing from head to toe in red and white undeniably livens up the crowd. AHS football fans come in all different sizes and ethnicities , but it’s not the diverse student population and parents that fill the bleachers: some fans have a loyalty that reaches past affiliation. For John Jackson, Wayne Barrigan, and Edward Dun supporting the AHS football players has become a routine part of their Friday night. Although they no longer have any students on the field, their attendance hasn’t suffered and they have been present at the games for as long as they can remember. “I moved here in ’66, I live just up in Ravensworth. And I have been coming to these games since ’68, ’69, maybe even earlier,” said Dun. And sure enough, every home game, these three men can be found on the highest level of the bleachers, right below the press box. There they sit, engrossed in the action on the field, turning their heads only to discuss a successful play or agree that it should have been executed differently. “We have all had children go through Annandale. I had five of my own go through here. My three girls

TORIE DEIBLE

12

PEOPLE

Jackson, Barrigan and Dun surely qualify as a few of Annandale’s biggest fans. They can be found at all home, football games.

were baton twirlers with the band that competed on a national level,” said Barrigan. “And even now that our children are grown and gone we still come to see these games.” They have seen the best and worst of AHS football. They know the programs strengths and weaknesses; what strategies work and what don’t. And if any fans are qualified to name the most noteworthy players Annandale football has seen, it is these men. “Mark Gus and Bob Bermingham were two great players that Annandale had,” said Barrigan. “But the ’93 and ’94 teams are the boys that really stand out in my mind. Those years, the teams were man-toman amazing. All of those boys were great football players.”

But for them and many AHS fans alike, the football games represent more than just a bunch of guys chasing a ball. It signifies a tradition of spirit and support. “I’ve always been impressed that the Annandale section of fans always has so many people in it,” said Jackson. “Annandale always has more people in the stands than the other team and that just shows how much spirit we have. Each year the level of spirit continues to increase throughout the stands.” Jackson, Barrigan and Dun recognize that this year’s team has been struggling in a number of their games. They believe this season may be a rough spell for the program, but all three agree that in two years, the AHS football team will reach a higher

level of strength. “We have a large Freshman Football Team and Junior Varsity as well. When those boys grow up and play for Varsity, the team will be very good,” said Barrigan. These men have shown loyalty to AHS for over 40 years and the knowledge they have gained about the program as well as the spirit they have for the team is beyond impressive. Their predictions about the future of the team remain a mystery and no one quite knows what to expect for the future of AHS football. But we do know one thing to anticipate; Jackson, Barrigan, and Dun will be sitting in the stands cheering the team on. Because here at AHS, loyalty and spirit truly are ageless.

Students sport their spirit

—Kylee Nisker freshman

ALEX DAVALOS

CASSADY KELLER

Are you a spirited student?

Senior Corinne Summers and her brother wore their homemade senior shirts to the AHS football game.

1. On average how many AHS football games do you attend during the season? a)All of the games, even if they are away b)All of the home football games. c)Maybe Homecoming, but football is boring. 2. On any given Friday, you are most likely wearing... a) RED, its spirit day! b) a fly outfit with red accents. c) the same thing I wear every other day. 3. If a friend were to describe you in one word, it would be... a) Enthusiastic b) Shy c) Apathetic

Homemade senior shirts become a trend. Senior spirit is at an all time high, with senior benefits beginning to surface, and the students of the Class of 2010 surely are not hiding their enthusiasm. Many seniors anxious to display their senority have made senior shirts at home and can be seen wearing them at many school events. “I made my own senior shirt,” said senior Corinne Summers. “Its a fun way to show my school spirit and my graduating class.”

Freshmen Betsy Kruse and Rowan Shartel show off their field hockey shirts.

AHS athletes dress alike to show team unity. Members of AHS sports teams often dress alike on the days they have games or meets. Although this is a common trend between various sports teams, each individual team has its own, unique reasoning behind it. For the AHS Field Hockey team, dressing up, wearing their kilts, or dressing in team spirit wear has an interesting purpose. “We dress alike to not only make other students aware we have a game that night, but also to display our unity. Dressing alike shows that we are a team and a strong one at that,” freshmen Betsy Kruse and Rowan Shartel said.

Sean, let’s cut the monkey business...

4. How often do you wear any form of Annandale spirit wear? a) 2-3 times a week b) Only when I have to represent my sports team. c) I only own one Annandale sweatshirt. Results: Mostly a’s: You are a super spirited student. Your pride for AHS and its programs surely show! Mostly b’s: You are an undercover spirited student. You may not flaunt your pride, but it definitely shows. Mostly c’s: Showing you spirit doesn’t rank high on your list of priorities. But whether you have better things to worry about or you just don’t care, a little more school spirit would not kill you.

go to homecoming with me!

Cassady


Oct 21, 2009

Fall

PHOTO

13

5 ways to Go Green during autumn

Into Autumn

1. Decorate for autumn with ecofriendly materials such as leaves, branches, or pumpkins instead of buying new decorations. 2. Use fall leaves for compost. Compost is a more natural choice for mulches and fertilizers. 3. Keep curtains and shades open during the day to allow solar heating.

Put away those tank tops and bring out those hoodies! Autumn is the season of change as the weather turns crisp and cool and leaves turn a variety colors. The sound of crunching leaves and the smell of crisp air signals fall’s arrival. The Cox Fall Festival hayride is a much awaited activity that families look forward to annually.

4. When you leave your home set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees to save energy. 5. Buy recycled materials and other eco-friendly products for school supplies.

Fun Fall Festivals Annandale Fall Festival •Enjoy the Taste Of Annandale, it offers delicious foods and live music. •The Kid Zone has many activities such as obstacle courses, slides, a bungee jump and a reading corner. •The festival is from 10a.m. to 6p.m. The parade starts at 10a.m. on Columbia Pike, Annandale on October 24. •Website: http://www. americantowns.com/va/ annandale/news/annandale-fallfestival-and-parade-204493 Cox Farms Festival •The Cox Festival has giant slides, hayrides, rope swings, farm animals, a cornfield, food and entertainment. •September 19 to November 8 •15621 Braddock Road Centreville, VA 20120 •Website: http://www.coxfarms. com/ Six Flags Fright Festival •Spooky mazes, haunted houses, special events and other themed fun along with diabolical rides and roller coasters will provide family fun and entertainment for all ages. •October 3 to November 1 •13710 Central Avenue Bowie/ Mitchellville, MD 20721 •Website: http://www.sixflags. com/america/index.aspx

What is your favorite thing about autumn? “The colors of the leaves and the trees, because the trees are really pretty when they turn colors.”

—Meghan Lynn freshman “I like watching the Chicago bears play football.” Spooky tombstones and vampires make the hayride from the Cox Festival quite scary but overall enjoyable.

—Chris Groshon sophomore

“I enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family, eating soul food.”

Leaves change color because days are shorter and therefore leaves cannot produce enough green chlorophyll so they change to red, yellow and brown.

---- Angelica Bolds sophomore

As you ride through the farm there many decorations suited for all ages. It is the perfect place for families to spend time together and enjoy the scenery.

Cox Farms has traditional fall festival activities such as family hayrides. The hayrides are unlimited and are the most famous at Cox Farms.

“I enjoy Halloween because I like dressig up and going trick-ortreating and then my friend’s party.”

—Margaret D’Amico junior

“I like all the changing colors of the leaves.”

Cox farm has grown over the last 25 years to be northern Virginia’s largest and most famous fall festival. It started with small hayrides and pumpkin patches at the farm and has grown to over 90 acres of swings, slides, and live entertainment.

The hayride goes by wooden cut outs of many characters and animals.

All photos taken by Mariah Pollet

—Daren Lopez senior


14 Go to the web

for complete coverage of the Oct. 23 powder puff game, visit www.thea-blast. org

Fast facts about concussions •A concussion is the least serious, but most common brain injury. •The name comes from the Latin word “concutere” which means “to shake violently.” •The brain, which is made of soft tissue, is cushioned by spinal fluid and covered by the protective shell of the skull. With the impact of a concussion, the brain is jolted and literally sloshes in around in the head. •Someone who has suffered a concussion may have issues with vision, loss of equilibrium, and consciousness.

•Symptoms of a concussion include: confusion or feeling dazed, clumsiness, slurred speech, nausea or vomiting, headache, balance problems or dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and noise, sluggishness, ringing in ears, behavior or personality changes, concentration difficulties, and memory loss.

•In a grade one concussion, symptoms last for less then fifteen minutes with no loss of consciousness.

•In a grade two concussion, symptoms last more then 15 minutes but there is still no loss of consciousness. •In a grade three concussion, the person loses consciousness, sometimes just for a few seconds. In the event of a grade three concussion, a doctor should immediately be seen for observation and treatment.

SPORTS X-TRA

Knocked out: athletes face concussions AHS student athletes feel the effects of the painful head injuries BY KELSEY KNOCHE Sports X-tra Editor For Tricia O’Neill, the end of her freshman year in high school brought excruciating headaches and a crushing diagnosis: a severe concussion that prevented her from going to school for the last three months of the year. While playing in a soccer tournament in mid-March, O’Neill headed a ball, and although she felt more pain than normal, she did not immediately feel the effects and continued to play for the rest of the weekend. On Monday, however, she woke up with a painful headache which lasted for the rest of the week. “The doctor originally told me it was caused by allergies, but the trainers at Annandale had me take the concussion impact test. When it came back, I found out that I had a concussion and wasn’t allowed to play soccer or do any physical activity for two weeks,” O’Neill said. Not only do concussions prevent athletic activity, they also severely impact academics. “My problem was that I couldn’t make it through the school day without getting really bad headaches. In school, I was sort of half-way there, almost like I was watching what was happening but not really participating. I was told that I had to stop anything that caused the headaches so my recovery progress wasn’t delayed, which meant I had to go on the home tutoring program for the last part of the year,” O’Neill said. Although having a three month break sounds like fun, O’Neill did face obstacles with the hiatus. “At first I thought it was going be fun, but it was hard because instead of learning the material I had to just make sure i had all the work done. I had each class once a week for three hours at a time,” O’Neill said. Sophomore Kim Rowland has also suffered in school after getting a concussion during a field hockey game this year. “The opposing player took a free hit and it went off of someone’s stick and smacked me in the head. It has impacted me in school a lot. It is really hard to focus and complete my work. Whenever I try and do my school work I get really bad headaches and have to stop what I’m doing. It gets me really behind,” Rowland said. Concussions are especially common in high contact sports such as football and basketball. “[The majority of concussions at AHS are seen in] football, soccer, lacrosse and wrestling,” said athletic trainer Kathy Ayers. “I’ve had two concussions but the worst was one I got my sophomore year against South County in football. I ran a slant route and after I caught the ball I got gang tackled by half the defense. I don’t remember anything from that night except two of my teammates telling me I’d be fine,” said senior Nathan Clayton. Junior Kelly Hughes also suffered from memory loss after a concussion during a basketball tournament. “I was going for a rebound against two big girls and I got sandwiched. The momentum pulled me to the ground and I fell and hit my head. I couldn’t really remember anything that happened after, my teammates had to explain it all to me. The headaches after were brutal and I also got bad migraines.” Concussion tests are used to asses the function of the brain and the impact the injury had. The exam measures such things as reaction time, memory, and other cognitive functions. “You take it [the test] as symptoms improve. It’s very individual based and depends on how long symptoms last,” said Ayers. According to ImPACT, a company which created the ImPACT concussion

Class of 2011 prepares for powder puff

• If a young child has a concussion, he or she should be monitored by an adult for the first 24 hours. Young children should not be given medications because they may cause bleeding. • Some ways to prevent concussions include: wearing protective equipment (headgear, padding, and mouth and eye guards), driving and riding smart (wearing a seat belt, obeying speed limits), and not fighting (concussions are common during assault).

Junior Natalie Johnson avoids the defense during a scrimmage in the junior’s practice.

• Some ways to prevent concussions include: wearing protective equipment (headgear, padding, and mouth and eye guards), driving and riding smart (wearing a seat belt, obeying speed limits), and not fighting (concussions are common during assault. •There are about 300,000 sportsrelated concussions in the United States each year.

Junior Emma Barker looks for an open receiver during practice. “I’m excited for the game I hope we can work hard in practice to prepare,” Barker said.

•It is recommended that athletes take the step-wise return to sports, slowly getting back before going full speed. •Concussions temporarily interfere with the functions of the brain, affecting memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and coordination.

––Facts courtesy of kidshealth. org, webmd.com, impacttest.com, and mayoclinic.com.

Oct. 21, 2009

Coaches Nathan Miller and Andy Craig discuss strategy during the first powderpuff practice.

––Photos by Kristen Hennessey

test, an online exam which can process and diagnose the symptoms and signs after a head injury. The 20-minute test examines cognitive reactions in six different modules. The test is very important in determining the severity of the concussion. “I’ve failed the test twice so I haven’t been able to start playing again,” said Rowland. Recovery from the injury depends on each person, as well as the severity of the concussion. “There’s not much you can do to make it go faster. Anything that starts to give you a headache you basically have to back away from. It’s really important to know your limits,” O’Neill said. “[General recovery] is anywhere from seven days to months. Symptoms subside usually in two weeks,” said Ayers. Despite the lingering pains of last years injury, O’Neill has returned to school and is recovering quickly. “Although I still occasionally get headaches, they’re not as bad and I can get through the school day fine,” O’Neill said. The symptoms and severity of concussions vary from case to case, but it is imperative that those with headaches after an impact injury to the head be checked out by a medical professional.


INTERNATIONAL

Oct. 21, 2009

Rwanda: 15 years later

Teachers and students continue to learn about the genocide that shook the world

Where In The World?

BY HAUMAIRA SAFI AND JAYRAN MORIDZADEH Staff writers

See if you can guess what country. • The capital of this country is Jakarta. • It borders the Indian and Pacific Ocean. • This country was originally colonized by the Dutch, then claimed by the Japanese during WWII, and finally gained it’s independence following the war. • The major religion of this country is Islam.

RACHEL BAKER

Can you guess where it is?

Junior Katie Bui sports a t-shirt that promotes peace in Africa.

that killed approximately ten percent of Rwanda’s population. What started out as a social dispute between the minority Tutsi and the majority Hutus society ended in a bloody, deadly, and historical genocide. The victims included thousands of mothers, fathers, and children and such acts most people feel are undeniably vile, atrocious, and unforgivable. However, Nizeyimana’s arrest proves that the efforts by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to seek justice and to hold those convicted accountable in Rwanda are effective. Despite the negative impact the genocide had on Rwanda, it is considered to be one of today’s

most stable nations in Africa. Everything that was destroyed in the genocide, such as education, health care, tourism, and trade have noticeably improved since the genocide. Though the arrest of Idelphonse Neziyimana reveals a huge improvement in Rwanda’s efforts to carry out justice, the genocide that took place in Rwanda will never be forgotten. Many AHS students seem to care about the conflicts that plague Africa. Even though it’s been 15 years, Mr. Hawes still feels it’s important for kids to learn about Rwanda. “I’ve known kids from stand for a couple of years and it’s a good activity for getting people to continue to think about the genocides. You want high school students to think beyond the boundaries of AHS.”

100 days of the Rwandan Genocide Roadblocks are set up by the Rwandan Armed Forces, killing thousands of Hutus and Tutsis.

The genocide begins with the death of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana.

April 7, 1994

April 21, 1994

The UN security council deems the Rwandan crisis as a “genocide”, as thousands continue to flee.

The UN limits the amount of troops it will send after 10 Belgian soldiers are tortured and brutally murdered.

April 30, 1994

May 17, 1994

Kigali is captured and the Hutu government flees to Zaire, with thousands of refugees. Tutis continue to be killed in refugee camps.

Despite their promise, the UN has not yet deployed any troops. French troops come and set up a “safe ground” for refugees.

Answer: Indonesia

On Oct. 5, 2009 one of Rwanda’s most wanted men, former Hutu intelligence chief Idelphonse Nizeyimana, was finally captured and arrested. This infamous individual has been suspected of instigating many of the violent crimes that took place in the 1994 genocide. Nizeyimana abused his power as an official and had supposedly conducted violent attacks which included raids on universities aimed at academics, widespread rape and sexual abuse, and mutilation by soldiers under his commands. Students and teachers at AHS are deeply affected and aware of the genocides that took place not only in Rwanda, but throughout all of Africa as well. Social studies teacher John Hawes annually plays the movie Hotel Rwanda during his classes to expose his students to an example of a genocides that has taken place in Africa. “The issue of genocide is obviously an important moral question in the world. Rwanda is one of the worst examples of our recent failure to deal with this issue,” said Hawes. Junior Katie Bui wears a t-shirt that has the continent of Africa shaped as a hand positioned as a peace sign. This shirt is a form of expression in which Bui is letting other students know that she wants peace in Africa. She said, “I wear this T-shirt to raise awareness to my peers about the genocides in Africa because I don’t think a lot of people understand or know about it. I think people should need to know more about countries other than the US.” The STAND for Conscience club, a network of student groups at AHS dedicated to putting an end to genocide in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa recently played the movie God Grew Tired of Us and also plans on going to see genocide survivor John Bul Dau give a speech at Glasgow Middle School. He will talk about how the genocides in Africa have affected him. Many students join this club to raise awareness in AHS about the genocides in Africa. On April 19, 1994 Rwanda’s vicious political war between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups erupted in a 100 day killing “rampage” in Rwanda,

April 6, 1994

15

What punishment do you think Idelphonse Nizeyimana should receive if convicted for his role in the Rwanda genocides? “I think his punishment should be put in jail for life.”

—Christiana Uglitt freshman June 19, 1994

Source: PBS Frontline

“I think that he should be put to death.”

----Hailey Brown sophomore

“I think he should face the death penalty because there isn’t any way to truly punish someone for killing so many people.”

—Ashby Nelson junior “He should be put in jail and a long time or be put to death so he would know what he did to those families.”

—Kenia Rueta senior

“If he’s found guilty of intentional killings, he should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole”

—Stratton Shartel Social studies teacher Compiled by Bria White


16 Atoms vs. Spartans

SPORTS

Spartans edge Atoms

Oct. 21, 2009

Football falls to West Springfield 30-27 in the Spartans homecoming football game BY DAVID HOOKEY Sports editor

Junior linebacker Yari Mizouri motivates teammates during a timeout.

Stars of the future

CARLY BOUCHARD

Players and coaches disscuss defensive strategies for stopping the spartan offense.

Amid piercing rain drops and low temperatures, the Atoms took on the West Springfield Spartans on Oct. 16. In a game that had six lead changes, the Spartans were victorious on their homecoming night, 30-27. “This was the best, most inspired football we’ve played all year,” said head Coach Dick Adams. “We didn’t let the weather effect us and we didn’t really turn the ball over, [but] there were three key mistakes that hurt us.” The Atoms jumped out to an early lead on a 59-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Tony Hysjulien to junior wide receiver Melvin Robinson. Following a West Springfield field goal, the Atoms found the end zone again on a 5-yard run by senior quarterback Ricky Adams to take a 13-3 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, West Springfield return man Lee Gleason ran back the kickoff 85 yards to bring the Spartans back into the game, 13-9. The Atoms special teams made a play of their own by blocking the point after attempt, preserving their 4-point lead heading into halftime. “We got behind at times but we responded with good, long drives to get us back in front,” said Coach Adams. In the second half, the teams continued to trade touchdowns until West Springfield won the game on a 14-yard pass in the fourth quarter. “We fought hard but in the end we need to improve in all aspects of our game and then we will become victorious,” said junior linebacker Yari Mizouri. One of the positives from the game was the Atoms ability to dominate the run game, outrushing the Spartans 253 yards to124 yards. Adams led the team with 23 rushes for 135 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Tyrek Worrell added 72 yards and a touchdown and senior Stacey Anderson had 28 yards and a touchdown. “We played better in this game than in any of our three wins so I’m very excited,” said coach Adams. “Nobody’s outstanding and we’ll be able to beat a lot of people.” Even with this loss, the Atoms are still very much in the playoff picture. They are currently in seventh, but are within two games of first-place Woodson. This Friday AHS will play our homecoming game against Lake Braddock. Last year, the Atoms spoiled the Bruins’ homecoming with a decisive 34-7 win. The team hopes the same doesn’t happen to them. “We need to focus on stopping their quarterback and everyone has to give everything they have on the field,” said Mizouri. “I, personally, am excited and I know the team is excited to show the school what we can do, especially since we’re the underdogs at our own homecoming.” The Bruins are 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the district, while the Atoms are 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the district. Senior quarterback Ricky Adams dries his hands while getting instructions from the coaching staff on the sidelines during the rainy Friday night game against the Spartans.

Atoms continue winning streak Volleyball continues winning with a record of 10-2 BY JAKE BARNES AND ESRA GOKTURK Staff Writers

Football: Player: Delwyn Molina Class: Sophomore Position: Running Back, Linebacker Years of Experience: 4 Thoughts on the team: “We have been doing alright, we should be doing a lot better. With players being moved to varsity there’s lots of change we need to learn to adjust to that.”

The Lady Atoms varsity volleyball team had an amazing victory over T.C. Williams High School Thursday, October 8th. It was a triumphant defeat after their previous two game losing streaks. However, the girls did not let that get their spirits down and have still managed to maintain an impressive record with nine wins and only two losses to cross-town rival W.T. Woodson and West Springfield High school. The team seems to have learned from their mistakes in past games and found the strength to come back strong. “We had longer practices and focused more on the defensive side of the game,” said junior Allison Warth. Teamwork, practice and determination have really paid off for Atoms varsity volleyball. Also, Oct. 15 marked yet another win for the varsity volleyball team against Edison High School, making their record now ten wins.

It was a complete shut out victory with AHS winning all three matches in a row, not even needing to play the other two games. The junior varsity volleyball team was also successful in their games versus Edison and came out victorious, coming back after a three loss streak. The win against Edison gives the team a current record of six wins and three losses. “I feel the team could coordinate a little more but overall we have a lot of potential,” says sophomore and outside hitter Nisreen Al-Suqi. Players like Al-Suqi who has been playing for two years now and freshmen Clare Lazar who has been playing for four, are just two examples of how the strength and popularity of AHS volleyball has grown. With many of the junior varsity players have years of experience in volleyball and along with their impressive record, the future for Annandale High school’s varsity team is looking very bright. In addition, the freshman team is showing to have plenty of potential for future seasons to come. “My coach says to serve at the girl who looks like she’s about to cry,” said junior Teppi Shultis. With focused play and competitive attitude like this, the Atoms could advance farther into the post season than in recent history.

ALEX DAVALOS

Field Hockey: Player: Jessica Hotter Class: Sophomore Position: Defense: Center-Back Years of Experience: 2 Thoughts on team: “We have some good talent, but were not very consistent in our play.”

Senior Aby Diop sets the ball in a drill during practice.

Atoms prepare for districts The atoms competed in the South County Invitational on Oct. 17 at Meadowood Park despite dreary weather conditions

Volleyball: Player: Clare Lazar Class: Freshmen Position: Middle Hitter Years Of Experience: 4 Thoughts on the team: “We started off strong but we have lost a lot of very close matches recently, and our team goal is to work to together and finish the season with a great attitude and win ning streak.”

–Compiled by: Jake Barnes and Esra Gokturk

In their most recent meet at South County, the Atoms were able to overcome the harsh conditions and perform. “The nasty, raw, frigid weather definitely made us come together as a girls team and support each other through the struggles of the course,” said senior Gwen Kennedy. “The girls reached a new feeling of togetherness that we didn’t have before.” For the guys, the weather also proved to be a factor in the way they performed and handled the race. “We definitely would have done better if the weather was nice but I still think we performed well,” said junior Matt Haines. “For a lot of the race we worked together and had really good leadership especially from Charles Simpson.” With the season coming to an end the varsity runners are starting to prepare for districts. Coach Harris will choose who will run in districts based off of times in past meets. The top seven times will continue on into The District Tournament. The team is practicing hard and doing all they can to get ready for districts next Wednesday at Burke Lake Park. “I’ve trained very hard for the past few months, so in the week and a half we have left to prepare for districts I plan on taking it easy and resting my body,” said Sahnun Muhamud

“I think we have the ability to go to regionals as a team. As long as everyone pushes themselves through the race I’m pretty sure we can make it,” said Mohamud. The key runners on the boys team based on performance the past meet are Michael Ejigu, Yohan Calcuttawalla and Charles Simpson. For the girls the key runners are Caroline Kane, Victoria Ko and Carrie Verge Del Dios. Coach Harris has high expectations for the boys team to move onto districts. “The boys ought to go to the region but Michael is hurt which is a damper. I’m hoping the boys will still go as a team though. For the girls, I was hoping they would make it to regionals but it’s a much harder task than I thought, especially with Natalie Johnson hurt and the loss of Olivia Ko,” said Harris. With this being one of the team’s most successful seasons AHS hopes to have runners from both the boys and girls teams competing in the upcoming district and regional tournaments. “I truly think that even with the injuries we will score higher than we’ve ever scored in the district because of their hard work. The boys team is the most talented team we’ve ever had,” said Harris. The Atoms’ next meet will be the Patriot Festival at Fort Hunt Park.

CHARLES SIMPSON-

BY ALLEY ADCOCK Sports Editor

Junior Victoria Ko tries to stay in front around a curve in the last leg in the Oatlands Invitational race.


SPORTS

Oct. 21, 2009

Robinson closes in on record

Patriot District Football Standings 1. W.T. Woodson Cavaliers

Junior wide receiver Melvin Robinson closes in on 30 year-old receiving touchdowns record BY DAVID HOOKEY Sports Editor

(6-1)

2. Lake Braddock Bruins (5-2)

3. Lee Lancers (5-2) COURTESY OF MELVIN ROBINSON’S FACEBOOK

For 36 years, Thomas Fadden has held the Annandale High School record for most career touchdown receptions. In the next few weeks, junior wide receiver Melvin Robinson could break this record. Fadden’s record stands at 18 touchdowns in a varsity football career. Robinson has 16 so far in his one and a half years on the varsity roster. “I’m really happy for the guy and I wish him all the success in the world,” said Fadden of Robinson. Last year, Robinson was named to the Washington D.C. All-Metropolitan team as a sophomore at the end of the season. He was the lone sophomore on the list. In the 2008 season, Robinson had 47 catches for 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was able to score a touchdown in nine of the team’s 11 games. So far this season, Robinson has compiled 24 catches for 488 yards and five touchdowns. “I could care less if Melvin breaks the [receiving touchdowns] record to be honest,” said head football coach Dick Adams. “I’d rather just see him make more plays to win our team games.” Robinson’s 11 touchdowns last season set another school record. Fadden’s 10 touchdowns had been the most for a player in one season, but Robinson was able to break this record as well. Robinson’s playing style varies significantly from the way Fadden played. “He’s more of a big play guy then I was,” said Fadden. Acrobatic catches and phenomenal leaping ability has been a staple in Robinson’s game. He is already being scouted by some Division-1 college football teams. “If he breaks it, then I’ll be happy for him, but what really matters is an Atoms victory,” said Fadden. The Atoms have three remaining games in the regular season, Lake Braddock, W.T. Woodson, and West Potomac, so a touchdown in each game would

Junior Melvin Robinson intercepts the ball during a game against South County.

4. South County Stallions (5-2)

5. West Springfield Spartans (4-3)

6. T.C. Williams Titans

Field hockey cut down early

(3-4)

Atoms have early exit in district tournament following a solid regular season this year

7. Annandale Atoms

BY NATALIE JOHNSON Staff Writer

(3-4)

ball and cleared it but before leaving the circle, the ball was stopped by an attacker and shot directly into the goal. “Having them score with no time left was bad, but everyone gave it their all and I’m really proud of the team,” said Rowland. Although this ended the 2009 season, the seniors are still very proud of the team’s accomplishments and the underclassmen are looking forward to next season with a positive outlook on improving on the mistakes of this season. The Atoms are graduating four players this year, Maggie Bermingham, Caroline England, Kellie Del Signore, and Kelly O’Brien, in addition to manager Ellie Holcombe. “I am very happy with this year’s team and I know that next year they will be able to go farther than we did this year, even though we didn’t do as well as we wanted to this season everyone improved so much and worked hard in every game and practice,” said senior captain Maggie Bermingham. In preparation for next year’s season the Atoms will participate in winter and summer leagues to keep up their skills and conditioning.

8. West Potomac Wolverines (2-5)

Are you more likely to go to the homecoming game than normal home games? COURTESY OF MIKE ADCOCK

The Atoms field hockey team played the W.T. Woodson Cavaliers on Oct. 13 at home and ended with a tough loss of 2-1 with the lone goal coming from junior Adrienne Williams. This was the last game of their regular season which put the team in fourth place going into the district tournament. “I was really upset that we lost our last home game and on senior night but I was really proud of the team because we competed and played as hard as we could,” said sophomore Kim Rowland. Following their loss, the Atoms went on to play the Lake Braddock Bruins in their first game of the Patriot District Tournament. After being neck and neck the entire game, the Atoms were able to score two goals to tie the game at 2 with goals from senior Kelly O’Brien and junior Alley Adcock. As the seconds on the clock ran out, a corner was called and, as the Atoms lined up on the baseline to rush the Bruins at the top of the circle, a Bruin attacker got hold of the ball and served the ball into the circle. Senior Kellie Del Signore stopped the

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Junior Kate Bermingham fights for the ball against a Woodson player on Senior night. The Atoms lost the game 2-1.

“I’m likely to go to all the football games because I’m a cheerleader.” —Carli Loeb freshman

Maggie Bermingham

Caroline England Years Played: 2 Varsity, 2 JV

Years Played: 4 Varsity

Other Sports: Winter Track, Lacrosse

Other Sports: Winter Track, Lacrosse

Favorite Memory: “Bringing down Kate’s ego by calling her a sasquatch.”

Favorite Memory: “Beating Lake Braddock this year.” Season Reflection: “I think it was a really good season because we worked hard and came together as a team but the season ended earlier than it should have.”

Season Reflection: “The season was fun, but it’s too bad it was shortlived. We ended strong, even if we didn’t win and I’ll miss playing with these girls.”

“Yes, because I have to for the homecoming court.” —Willie Labarca sophomore

“No, because it is the same as any football game.” —Yery Gonzalez junior

Kellie Del Signore Years Played: 2 Varsity, 1 JV, 1 Freshman Other Sports: Swim, Soccer Favorite Memory: “When Kim spit water out in my car because she couldn’t swallow a pill.” Season Reflection: “We started out strong in the district and continued to play really well even if the score didn’t reflect it. I wish we could’ve gone farther in the postseason, but overall I am happy with our season.”

Kelly O’Brien “Yes because it is much more intense!”

Years Played: 3 Varsity, 1 JV Other Sports: Winter Track, Lacrosse

—Samuel Njikang senior

Favorite Memory: “The Bermingham team dinner.” Season Reflection: “I think we played really well together. It was hard at first because we were a new team but in the end I think we did really well.”

-Compiled by Alex Davalos

-Photos by Jen Oakes


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Horoscopes

Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb.18) The weather is getting cooler and its time to get cuddly. Snuggle up with one of your friends and see if sparks fly!

ENTERTAINMENT

Oct. 21, 2009

Everything you have ever... imagined

Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20) Today is your lucky day, step outside your confert zone and do something you usually would not.

Aries (March 21- April 19) Be prepared for some trials and tribulations. Learn how to get out of sticky situations by always admitting what you did wrong.

Taurus (April 20 - May 18)

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ jumps from the pages of a classic book to the big screen

Get adventerous and try something new. Do not let the unknown scare you off doing something out of character.

Gemini (May 21- June 20) Watch out for ego conflicts. Try to stray away from conflicts and be the peace maker in your group of friends.

Cancer (June 21- July 22) Let today be a day of happiness. Smile throughout the halls and you just might receive something great in return.

Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22) You have a lot of thing to do. Avoid distraction, sit down and get to business and your life with be a lot less stressful.

Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)

BY KELLY MCGAREY Co-Editor in Chief “And now,” said Max, “let the wild rumpus start.” This famous phrase has been repeated many a time from the lips of generations of parents and heard by the waiting ears of myriads of children as they are tucked into bed. Although this famous scene has been alive in the imaginations of children since the book was published in 1963, it took Hollywood 46 years to bring it to the big screen. Whenever a cherished work of pictorial literature is depicted on film, it seems to strip the magic from the true essence of the book. However, the cinematic rendering of Where the Wild Things Are accomplished a feat that I thought impossible: it improved on the original. While the short children’s book by Maurice Sendak is applauded for its lush, imaginative illustrations, it is important to note that the character development fell flat. (To be fair, it is difficult to delve into the mind and dissect the personality of a five year old boy in a 20 page book with approximately that number of words on each one.) So, when I heard that STUDIO was transforming it into a full-length movie, I was not expecting to learn a life lesson from an hour and a half in a dark room watching a poorly behaved boy declare his superiority

over monsters. Yet when I emerged from the theatre, the realization hit me that Max’s seemingly childish antics had taught me a great deal about my adolescent self. Director Spike Jonze’s wildly imaginative interpretation of the book was unconventional and off-beat, but ultimately successful. His talent is recognizable in the way that he is able to change pieces of the plot while avoiding butchering the original sequence of events or the book’s text. In order to stretch the terse picture book into a 95 minute movie, he had to decide how to reshape the story’s framework without changing it to its core. Instead of having the land of wild creatures arise from a forest in his bedroom with an ocean running through it, Jonze decides to have Max escape in a fit of fury to the banks of a nearby river where he finds a boat and bravely sets sail for great, rebellious adventures on distant, magical shores. When he reaches the rugged, monster-inhabited island, Max is made king by the odd-looking creatures that reside there.At this point, the film begins to deviate greatly from the book. Instead of placidly succumbing to Max’s authority, the monsters initially grumble and doubt the legitimacy of his rise to power. Another major disparity between the two versions is the dynamic relationship between the monsters and their king, something that is never mentioned in the book, yet which become one of the

movie’s central focuses. The jumbled emotions of the unstable group of misfits that coexist on the island are meant to represent Max’s own feelings about life and family. However, Jonze does not always make the symbolism work, which leads to seemingly random and unecessary outbursts of yelling, crying, fighting, and general misbehavior. While Max is clearly tormented by the disintegration of his family due to divorce, the monsters seem to be vexed not only by relationship issues, but by bouts of uncontrollable insanity which create a dangerous environment. This causes Max to leave the island mostly out of fear, and not because of a new-found wisdom about the merits of family, a cause which the book hoped to promote. Although the film had its rough patches, I think that it was a great interpretation of the classic children’s book. If you are craving a mental escape to the carefree, creative days of childhood, or simply want to reflect on the immense powers of youthful imagination, than this film provides the perfect solution. With an open mind and a thirst for adventure, you are sure to be invigorated by a return to the mythical world that was born so many years ago out of the mind of Maurice Sendak, and will respond with a whoop when you hear of your king say “and now, let the wild rumpus start.”

9 0 ’ g n i Homecom Dress Trends

Spend some time socializing with your friends. Head out to a dance club and get your groove thang on.

Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22) Be on the lookout, today you just might find the special someone you have been looking for.

WHOSDATEDWHO.COM

THEINSIDER.COM

THEINSIDER.COM

SHOPPINGLIFESTYLE.COM

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21)

You have been eating more junk food then necessary. Head to the gym and work off those extra pounds. Your body will thank you in the winter.

Time is almost up, but a snazzy and stylish dress is still within reach Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21) School work is keeping in and the pressure is mounting. Head to the spa and take a day to unwind and relax before you get down to business.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 19) Tensions are high in your life but do not let the little thing get to you. Stay positive and you will receive a reward for your attitude.

the The bandage trend has caught wind and is setting the hollywood scene on fire. The bandage wrapping creates a tight and fitted look without showing off too many curves. The bandage can take many forms such as strapless, one shoulder or sleeves but looks stunning in all of them. Although the dress is riske it is the perfect dress for any trend setter. Leona Lewis, along with many other celebrities, wears her bandage dress to tons of events.

One-shoulder is definitely better than two this season! The style is back and the new clothing item to have in your closet. It is a classic yet trendy style that shows just enough shoulder to stun anyone. It goes great with funky belts and crazy accessories and can be dressed up or down on any occasion. Fashion runs in a cycle and the one shoulder is back and hotter then ever. Blake Lively wears her oneshoulder in a bold vibrant color

Although animal print has always been around, the trend has become a part of the red carpet everywhere. Animal print can be worn in many ways. If worn as the print on a dress, like Jenny McCarthy’s, it looks best paired with a simple solid colored shoe.It also looks great as accents, either shown on a bag or a pair of shoes. The print brings fun and edgy to any outfit. It always looks perfect for homecoming.

This season less is not more. Shimmer, sequences and rhinestones are all in but metallic dresses are the must have for your up to date wardrobe. It gives a slimming look and attracts all eyes to your ensemble. The metallic dress works at its best sleeveless giving a reveling yet classic look to any event you go to. Metallic dresses are easy to find and are sure to enhance your style and standing with any crowd.


ENTERTAINMENT

Oct. 21, 2009

Boys Like Girls

Students attend the Boys Like Girls concert at The Hard Rock Cafe in Washington DC

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Visit www. theablast.org to see a music review about Toby Keith’s album.

Upcoming Concerts CARLY BOUCHARD

“Throw it away Forget yesterday We’ll make the great escape We won’t hear a word they say They don’t know us anyway Watch it burn Let it die Cause we are finally free tonight” BY: BRENNA O’NEILL Entertainment Editor As a corporation built upon the foundation of good music and strong philanthropy throughout the community, the Hard Rock Café dubbed the month of October “Pinktober,” in the spirit of the Nation Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During Pinktober, Hard Rock’s commitment to “Love all- serve all,” has brought together bands old and new to raise money for charities such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Carol Keating Foundation for the past 10 years. With 100 percent of the proceeds going to City of Hope, the Washington D.C. branch welcomed people of all ages to see an acoustic concert by one of this year’s top bands, Boy Like Girls, on October 11. The sold-out experience started with a line wrapping around the outside of the restaurant of eager concertgoers waiting for the doors to open. Tickets were sold for $15 for general admission or $100 for a set of tickets along with 2 V.I.P. passes to meet the band and get a signed CD. At around 8:30, the first of two opening acts, Margot

MacDonald, was introduced by Hot 99.5’s morning DJ Sammie. The Arlington-native had strong vocals and great stage presence, but was a far cry from the expectations of fans who came to see an alternative rock band. She seemed out of place and did not hold the audience’s attention for long. The second act, Hotspur, brought up the crowd’s energy almost immediately. Sounding strangely familiar, the band’s songs were reminiscent of those on Boys Like Girls’ second album. Their performance lasted for nearly 30 minutes and had the audience dancing the whole time. The upbeat music alone made what many thought would be a small gathering in an intimate setting, into a full blown rock concert. After going to find a new spot to stand, 10 minutes passed before I realized that I was standing in front of the interview room, where I saw Martin Johnson and Paul DiGiovanni of Boys Like Girls walk into the room to be interviewed by Hot 99.5’s DJ, Toby Knapp. At around 9:45 the band was introduced. Johnson opened the performance by mentioning that he and DiGiovanni both lost their mothers to cancer, which was why they left their tour preparations to be a part of the

S u d o k u

Paramore Saturday Oct. 24 The Norva Norfolk, VA 07:30 p.m.

event. They explained that this was why the “betterlooking” half could not be there with them. They encouraged the audience to “just shout out what you want to hear,” because they never arranged a set list. Although at first this arrangement seemed haphazard, the concert became more interactive and made it a completely unique experience. Not only did they play a combination of old songs off of their CD, “Boys Like Girls,” that everyone knew the words to, and the songs released on their new album, “Love Drunk,” but they gave a little bit of background about how the song was written. One particular song, “Top of the World,” was written in memory of lost family and friends. “This song is for anyone who has ever lost somebody. It is about visiting them in your dreams and [seeing] them whenever you want,” said Johnson. As the night continued with songs like,”Heels Over Head,” “Great Escape” and “5 Minutes to Midnight,” everyone in the building felt comfortable enough to ask the band questions and enjoy the experience.

Jay Z Tuesday Oct. 27 1st Mariner Arena Baltimore, MD 8:00 p.m.

Miley Cyrus Tuesday Nov. 3 Verizon Center Washington DC 7:00 p.m.

Directions The objective is to fill out all the empty boxes with the numbers 1-9. In each square you cannot reuse any number twice. In each row or column you cannot reuse any number.

Brad Paisley Thursday Oct. 22 1st Mariner Arena Baltimore, MD 7:30 p.m.

Top 10 iTunes Downloads 1. 3 Britney Spears

2. Party in the U.S.A. Miley Cyrus

Celebri-

3. Fireflies Owl City

4. Whatcha Say Jason Derulo

Get inside your favorite celebrities’ heads “SIX AMA nominations??? What????!!! PARTY!!!!!” —Taylor Swift 11:38 a.m. Oct. 13

“Still leaving on solo TOUR this nov. Announcing next week. leaked next single is makin my ears bleed. Wait till you hear the real version ;)” —Lady Gaga 8:09 p.m. Oct. 10

“I won a home made moon man made by carey hart for “best use f an ex in a video” You shouldve heard my acceptance speech. It was AMAZING” —Jessica Simpson 9:14 a.m. Oct. 11

5. Down (feat. Lil Wayne) Jay Sean

6. Paparazzi Lady Gaga

7. I Gotta Feeling Black Eyed Peas

8. Who Says “Health reform debate moving soon to the full Congress. It’s time to be heard. Help OFA reach 100,000 calls on 10/20: http://bit.ly/1020-4:07” —Barack Obama 4:07 a.m. Oct 15th

“WHAT R U GUYS DRESSING UP AS FOR HOLLOWEEN? IMA GO AS CHRIS BROWN... LOL “ —Chris Brown 8:17 p.m. oct 18th

“RT @jtshrinersopen What a show @jtimberlake, @ taylorswift13 @aliciakeys @ snoopdog @ciara @jaysean thanx 4 making a difference in kids lives! “ —Jay Sean 1:19 p.m. oct 18th

John Mayer

9. Replay Iyaz

10. Meet Me Halfway Black Eyed Peas


Issue 3