Page 1

6

People

explores one student’s journey to graduate early and help others

Health

7

14

In-Depth

Lifestyles

provides a firsthand account of the D.C. Occupy Wall Street rallies

informs students how to take care of their skin during the winter

teaches guys the correct way to fix their ties

18-19

Entertainment

explores how MTV has transformed from a music and news network to a home for reality television

B last A Annandale High School

the Volume #57 Issue 5

10-11

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003

www.thea-blast.org

Informing the Atoms since 1954

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

(703) 642-4229

Is

POT

By the numbers

4

The number of clubs that are creating drives for the holidays. See page 5

3

The number of years it will take one student to gradudate early. See page 6

3

The number of nights the fall play Arsenic and Old Lace will be running. See page 8

2

The number of years Ahmed Bile has been running at AHS. See page 17

60

The number of students on the Swim and Dive team this year. See page 17

Northern Region football honors announced

Ali Ali-Musa and Joe Bermingham were both awarded Norther Region football honors this past week. Ali-Musa was awarded 2nd Team All Northern Region Honors as a defensive end, while Bermingham was awarded Honorable Mention All Northern Region Honors as a tight end.

that popular? 50 percent of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana PTSA to promote drug awareness By CJ Aftergut Co-Editor in Chief Its name has the power to make even the most mature adult squirm with uneasiness. It is bought, sold and referenced under countless street terms, all hiding its true identity. It is outlawed for nonmedical purposes in all 50 states and can transform the human body in seconds, and it has found its way into the lives of high school students. In this day and age, there is no denying the role that marijuana and other drugs play in the lives

of students. With support for the legalization of marijuana at an all-time high, AHS students and community members weigh in on the role of the drug in the everyday lives of students. According to Gallup’s Oct. 6-9 annual crime survey, a record-high 50% of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legalized. This is the highest the numbers have been since Gallup began conducting the survey in 1969, when only 12% of the country supported legalization. Furthermore, based on the results of the poll, 62% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 now support its legalization. Although other polls have reported different findings, these numbers still raise questions concerning the role of the drug in the lives of students. “I don’t think that it plays a major role in

Photo Illustration By AJ McCafferty

4

The number of days Counselor Cliff Hickman has remaining at AHS. See page 4

students’ lives,” senior Tatiana Niang said. “But I feel that it is beginning to be a problem at AHS because that is what everyone seems to be interested in as opposed to in previous years when it was only certain groups.” Although some people believe that students are being increasingly exposed to marijuana and other drugs, the results of the Fairfax County Youth Survey prove different. According to surveys conducted over the past 10 years, the percentage of students reporting alcohol, cigarette and marijuana use in their lifetime has decreased significantly. Since 2001, the percentage of students that have used alcohol has decreased from 59.3% to 45.5% and the percentage of students that have used tobacco has decreased from 42.9% to 20.1%. “Marijuana” continues on page 5

Bile places second in south Senior receives fullride to Georgetown He’s arguably the best runner AHS has ever had, four-time state champion, three-time All American runner and the Gatorade Runner of the Year. On Nov. 26, Ahmed Bile became the fastest Virginian to run the 3.2 mile course with a time of 14:38 at the Foot Locker South Regional Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, finishing second in the process. He was only one second away from passing Texas State Champion and new Regional Champion Craig

Courtesy of Foot Locker

By Marwa Abdelaziz and Samir Shah News and Sports Editors

Senior Ahmed Bile will advance to the national competition, held on Dec. 10.

Nowak. With his shoes untied but his mind full of determination, Bile sprinted to the finish line. The only problem was that he began his sprint earlier than he should have, allowing Nowak to pass him in the last 20

meters of the race. “I made my move a little too early, and I got passed at the end for it,” Bile said. However Bile will still represent Virginia for the second time at the National Championship race in San Diego on Dec. 10. He hopes to place in the top five at the National Championship, which will be his last cross country race in his high school career. Bile, who had more than 70 universities interested in him, of which 60 were Division 1 and 8 were Ivy League, recently announced his commitment to Georgetown University. What distinguished this university for Bile was its overall prestige, excellent athletic program and the support it had from his family. “It was the best combination of

athletics and academics,” Bile said. Bile, who began his running season only in his sophomore year after coming off a nine-year club soccer career, was immediately distinguished as one of the fastest runners in the school. His best times have been 1:50 in the 800 meter run, 4:09 in the mile run and 14:38 in the three-mile run. He suffered a stress fracture injury in his foot last year and could not run for a total of nine weeks, yet he placed fourth in the Patriot District in his first race back from recovery. Naturally, these achievements gave Bile many opportunities to run for some of the best teams at the collegiate level. Schools such as Georgetown, University of Virginia, University of “Bile” continues on page 17

Clubs help out for the holiday season DECA, BCC, NHS hold drives to collect supplies

It’s Academic wins competition Go to www.thea-blast.org to see a story about It’s Academic’s televised win of Oxen Hill HS and Mount Vernon HS.

As the holiday season draws near, several clubs are living up to the saying, “it is better to give than to receive.” The AHS chapter of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) decided to hold a Holiday for Hope toy drive for the organization Dreams for Kids. This organization helps at-risk homeless children, some with disabilities. DECA chooses a different organization each year that works with children, so that students can relate to them and also give back to the community. Some AHS students continue working with the organizations after school hours and after the school year has ended. “It’s a really cool way for DECA to give back

Annie Curran

By Noah Fitzgerel and Ngan Pham Editorials and Sports X-tra Editors

Seniors Susie Sowa and Reid Moore assemble baskets for Homestretch on Nov. 16. All senior members of the National Honor Society were required to help out.

[and] I think it helps students learn about the importance of being a productive member of society and that they need to give back,” DECA sponsor Lindsay Zivney said. “My job here at Annandale is to teach and help prepare teens for the real world, and this is one way that really helps to do that on a hands on experience.” Additionally, DECA will volunteer with Dreams for Kids members and then do volunteer work on Dec. 18 at Howard University for the actual Holiday for Hope event. Events include handing out gifts, helping with entertainment, face painting, serving the holiday meal, and spending time with the children in need. The National Honor Society (NHS) held a drive for an organization called Homestretch, a nonprofit organization which helps underprivileged families live normal lives after being removed from high-risk situations, such as abuse. NHS president Carolyn Hartley called the drive a success. “Help” continues on page 5


2

EDITORIALS

Nov. 29, 2011

Video games disrupt lives Virtual reality is becoming too much of students’ realities

GOP debates reveal truth On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view an editorial about how candidates need to stop being so extremist and focus more on the issues.

QUOTE COLLECTION The A-Blast wants to hear your opinion. Your response to the following question might be featured in our Quote Collection:

What do you think about the prevalence and effect of video games on high school students? E-mail your response to: ablast.editorials@gmail.com

Questions, comments, or ideas for the editors? E-mail the editors at: ablast.editorials@gmail.com

November 8 resulted in fried retinas for stereotypical, middle-aged men living in their parents’ basements, conventional ‘hot’ girls and adolescents everywhere. The release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, one of the many video games that has caused a lowering of productivity for students across the nation, is only a recent addition to the phenomenon which began with our parents and the archaic arcade game Pong. I was 10 when my then 13-year-old brother received a Gamecube for Christmas. Although already outdated back then, games like MarioKart and SuperSmash Bros have spanned the gender discrepancies between my predominantly male extended family and myself, enabling ‘hanging out’ to involve something other than gladiatorstyle street hockey. Ourselves outnumbering the controllers, we were forced to develop the commonly used ‘you die, you give it up’ policy, teaching ourselves cooperation and friendly competition. Flash forward to the present. An eight-yearold sits immersed in the game of Minecraft for hours on end, sometimes putting the needs of his cubic agriculture before his own in the name of the game. The difference? Age, of course, and era, but largely the lack of an auxiliary device. Noncompact disc requiring computer games are largely one-player. If they are multiplayer, they are for the most part wirelessly connected to one another. Without joysticks, the argument for increased dexterity is expunged, and depending on the player’s location (computer desk or laptop) posture is thrown out the window. Internet games mean access to infinite resources, inappropriate or otherwise, and the ability to purchase goods and services at the push of a button. Memberships and accounts often require large computer memory usage and can welcome in viruses and slow down functioning. Sure, computer games have many pros. They can encourage little ones’ independence, for example, my younger sibling can already effectively type and operate Youtube (tutorials) at the age of eight. There are many free, educational online games parents can use as fun teaching resources. When the former and the latter are

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF EMILY OLIVER

BY KATE GRANDCHAMP Copy Editor

combined effectively, the result spurs intellectual curiosity and self-motivation to succeed. What a rainbow of possibilities, right? Wrong. Getting the concoction correct is as hit-and-miss as playing Russian Roulette. Although there are violent video games, reality-disconnecting headsets, non convivialityencouraging games and socially constricting, expensive handheld devices in the Nintendo/ affiliates world, the cons of computer games outnumber those of auxiliary devices’. ‘What about Wii?’ you ask. Wii Sports and Wii Fit are to exercise as LARPing (Live Action Role

Playing) is to socializing. It’s just not the same thing. There is a happy medium between becoming “Benchwarmer’s” W.O.W. peanut butter castle inhabitant and a Gameboy Color, Pokemondominating “My Life is Bro” subscriber. Depending on the degree of your gamer enthusiasm, it might take anything from a serious bout of gamer rage to prompt your mom to restrict your hours, to trying new experiences (for example, the Class of 2013 actually attending homecoming, rather than a COD marathon) to find yours.

School drink policy hypocritical

What do you think about video games and their effect on productivity? Rule is contradictory “I think video to common sense games make

—Kevin Ngyuen freshman

“Video games are fun, but are distracting from school work, because they take up time.”

—Vivian Choe sophomore

“I think they do distract students, but it is all their responsibility.”

—Eddie Sy Cuestra junior

“Video games are a waste of time and people who play them have no life. Video games lead to being lazy.”

BY SAM CONVERSE Staff Writer Every student knows that teachers can be divided into two categories: teachers who allow drinks in class and teachers who don’t. Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are popular drinks among students and are often considered a better choice than the school provided milk cartons or the school water fountains. It’s important that students be allowed to bring their drinks to class to keep them from leaving class for water or from getting tired due to a long day with little sustenance. Many students leave the classroom to go get water from the water fountain at all hours of the school day. This trip can take anywhere up to five minutes, depending on the location of the class in relation to the location of the water fountain. Students often use this as an excuse to miss parts of class as well. If students are allowed to bring drinks such as Gatorade into class, then this would cut down on the flow of students leaving the class for five to ten minutes to “get a drink of water.” If anything, teachers would be able to keep students in class longer without the interruption of students going in and out of class at random points in the class.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIEL PARK

people smarter because you learn strategies to beat the game.”

Sodas can be purchased at multiple AHS vending machines for 75 cents after school.

Teachers also have problems with students sleeping in class and each school day students come to school armed with caffeine to keep them awake. This often comes in the form of sodas or drinks that contain sugar. If a student has a Gatorade or a soda in class, they should be allowed to

drink it for it gives them the energy to write down that last section of notes the teacher slips in before the class ends or to wrap up an essay the student has been working on all class. Admittedly, all that caffeine and sugar may cause students to be more

social and less willing to focus and listen to their teachers. This is an acceptable argument, but by the time students have reached high school, students shouldn’t be too affected by sugar and caffeine drinks like a young child. If a student chooses to be social, that’s a decision that’s already been made and has very little to do with the contents of a popular sports drink or soda. Energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull have been banned in Fairfax schools for a few years now. These drinks are made with many unhealthy chemicals and ingredients that are undecipherable to the average consumer, as well as large portions of caffeine and sugar. These drinks are often confused with sports drinks and sodas that do not contain half of the amount of unhealthy chemicals, caffeine or sugar and are not banned from Fairfax County Schools. This confusion only adds furthers argument of the teachers who are against sports drinks, though most teachers conveniently forget that many of their colleagues drink sodas and sports drinks in the classroom. In the end, there are more pros than cons supporting sports drinks and sodas being allowed in the classroom. Now that sports drinks have become a popular part of a students school day, the school should change its policy so that all drinks in the vending machines in AHS should be allowed in classrooms whether the teacher likes it or not.

Staff

—Alaa Haj-assaad senior

“There are two theories about them, one that says they help with coordination and the other that they’re damaging to the brain and causs disorders. Most importantly, it depends on the violence of the video game, which is unhealthy. ”

—Marcela Vergara

Annandale High School Vol. 57 No.5 4700 Medford Dr. September 21, 2011 Annandale, Virginia 22003 phone: (703) 642-4229 email: theablast@gmail.com fax: (703) 642-4299

The A-Blast is an award winning newspaper that strives to inform, educate and entertain the student body and community. Published every three weeks, The A-Blast will not print any material that is obscene or libelous; or that which substantially disrupts the school day, or invades an individual’s right to privacy. The A-Blast is an independent, open forum for discussion that is printed at the Springfield Plant of The Washington Post. Signed letters to the editor of 250 words or less may be submitted to room 262 or mailed to the school. The A-Blast reserves the right to refuse advertisements. All submissions become property of The A-Blast, Copyright, 2011.


Editorials

Nov. 29, 2011

IB policies require change Standards dissuade students from taking advanced courses By Jenny Jessen Special to The A-Blast Fierce competition for college acceptances has led counselors to encourage students to try to take as many advanced classes as possible. Some try to get several of their IB tests out of the way during their junior year to help alleviate the stress they will encounter during their senior year. However, IB does not allow this. The IB program caps the tests you can take in junior year at two SL tests total — with no exceptions. Here’s the problem: some kids take Algebra II/Trig their freshman year. That selection leads them on a path that has them taking IB SL II Math (or IB HL II Math, which causes even bigger problems) their junior year. Then, some students decide to take the second year of a science their junior year: IB Physics, IB Chemistry, IB Biology, the list goes on. An unfortunate student such as this is already up to two tests, which means that he/she cannot, under any circumstances, take another one-year IB course his/her junior year. If he/ she are already enrolled in another IB course, he/she- cannot get credit for that course. This restriction

2 points you should know about IB policies: 1. Juniors can only take two IB tests, both of which must be for a Standard Level class. 2. Students taking second year Higher Level courses cannot take their respective tests until their senior year. eliminates multitudes of electives from the student, including the everpopular IB Social Anthropology and much-anticipated IB Psychology. This is not a school rule, mind you, but an IB rule. These students are taking risks by pushing themselves to new levels, going outside of their comfort zones in terms of the workload. They are inquiring, trying to learn new things and explore new options and subjects that they may not have tried before. Lastly, the students are trying to make themselves more knowledgeable by opening themselves up to new curricula. How IB can squash this natural curiosity is beyond me. Ready for another mind-boggler? Juniors are not allowed to take IB Higher Level exams. If a student completes all of the prerequisites required for a course, then there should be no question as to whether or not he/she can take the test. “It’s true that juniors cannot take

IB HL tests. It is a steadfast rule, and I’ve called Cardoff (the IB world headquarters) to see if there is any possible way for me to register juniors to take the test. They responded with an absolute ‘no,’” said IB Coordinator Shirley Campbell. Five juniors this year, myself included, were enrolled in HL II courses, and we’re talking HL Math, HL Physics and HL Computer Science, among others. We had all completed the first year of HL in our sophomore years, and fulfilled every other prerequisite IB requires for the course. We were informed eight weeks into the school year that the IB registration site would not accept our spring test registration because we were juniors. We are being forced by IB to take lower level classes or switch, even though IB encourages people to rise to their highest potential. IB, in response to a question about when exams could be taken, said, “Higher level exams can only be taken at the

end of the second year.” This vague statement is interpreted as saying that the HL tests can only be taken at the end of senior year. However, at the end of the 2011-2012 school year, the four other students and myself would have completed two years of our respective courses. We would be taking our tests at the end of the “second year,” and would have fulfilled 270 hours of class time, though IB only requires a minimum of 240 hours for HL courses. The system needs to change. IB needs to be more “open-minded” (just like their learner’s profile says), and encourage the “risk takers” and “inquirers” to strive to achieve the highest level of education they can no matter their age. The Fairfax County school system should not support an educational program that goes against the county’s mission statement. IB specifically violates the county’s belief that “each child is important and entitled to the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential,” and goes against the proclaimed vision statement that the county “provides opportunities for all its students…to grow educationally” and “provides a breadth and depth of opportunities to allow all students to stretch their capabilities.” Fairfax County schools cannot accept this injustice and must force IB to right its wrongs, or stop wasting their money and pull the plug on the International Baccalaureate program.

America is becoming moderate N Editorials Column

By Noah Fitzgerel Unfortunately, since 2009, at the nascence of the Tea Party Movement, it seemed that America had taken an indefinite proverbial swing to the right. Citizens and politicians with the more “extreme” views of 2008 were becoming the mainstream champions of the “American way” in 2009. However, it seems that this is changing. As reflected by early November’s election results, the country has supported a movement returning to the middle of the political spectrum. Kudos, America. Meanwhile, here in Virginia, politics seemed to take a turn for the worse on Election Day. (Our state senate is now controlled by social and fiscal conservatives). Overall, Americans have come to understand the sheer magnitude of the ridiculous rhetoric of the extreme right candidates

QUOTE COLLECTION Last issue, The A-Blast asked for your opinion on a certain question. Here is the opinion of a reader to the following question:

What do you think about the college admissions process and its use of affirmative action? “Affirmative action.” When applying for college, sometimes these are the two words that make your heart sing, and for others, they’re like a death sentence. Affirmitive action is when race is taken into consideration in the application process to programs like college. Originally it was used as a sort of apology for discrimination and a way to make up for past prejudice. It is used to promote equal opportunity to ensure that the minority is represented. This practice makes sense for the U.S. in some ways, but seems completely incompatible in others. For example, the U.S. has also supported competition and hard work in order to achieve one’s goals. I believe that while affirmative action once had its place and served an important purpose, the practice has become outdated and should be discontinued. I don’t serve to discount the struggle of minorities in societies of the past, but I see now a much more accepting culture. Acceptance into college should be based purely on a level of achievement and how the college will best fit your needs. Therefore, it should not be based on filling quotas or making sure that “the numbers add up.” Companies and housing often add a disclaimer that basically says they will not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, etc. I think that the college acceptance policy should be more like that, a pattern of nondiscrimination, instead of giving priority to more diverse applicants. Students should be accepted into college based on their merit, not based on the color of their skin. -- Alexis Garretson

junior

DAILY KOS

oah’s otes

for American office who call themselves members of the Tea Party. These candidates that seemed, for a fleeting second, to be on a path towards mainstream acceptance are finally being cast as what they really are -- extreme. As Timothy Egan, columnist for the New York Times, wrote on Nov. 10, this past election has shown that Americans’opinions are easily changed. This is sometimesfor the better, and sometimes for the worse. This time it seems that it was for the better. In Arizona, Russell Pearce, the man who brought to the Arizona state senate the bill allowing for police officers to capriciously demand the papers of any suspected illegal immigrant, was voted out of office. In Mississippi, the citizens of a traditionally conservative state voted against an amendment that would classify fertilized eggs, in terms of legality, as “people.” This, clearly, would have banned abortion outright, in addition to banning forms of contraception such as the “day after” pill. In Ohio, citizens banded together against Tea Party governor John Kasich to protect the rights of public employee unions. What does this all say about America? It has had enough of the extremist agendas of Tea Party politicians, whose plans have proven futile in the way of yielding to Americans the promise of “returning America to her glory.” They have had their time to shine, but instead

3

This map reflects the results of Ohio’s recent vote against a proposal called Issue 2 which would have curbed the bargaining rights of Ohio’s public unions.

have taken two years to show America that their limited knowledge of the Constitution they claim to “protect” will not satisfy the demands of the American people. Again, I congratulate America on a return to common sense, whether it be in the form of support for moderate Republicans or Democrats. Either way, we are moderately better off.

Do you think that schools should provide more comprehensive sexual education programs? “No, because most students will not listen to more detailed information.”

--- Umaru Tarawalie freshman

Teens need better sexual education Education about contraception can help students to avoid sexual disease and pregnancy

“Yes, because it will prevent potential future abortions that might result from sexual relations.”

By Leah Young Staff Writer

“Yes, because too many couples are having babies at an early age, ruining their lives.” — Reinaldo Zelaya

NOAH FITZGEREL

Does providing teenagers contraceptives promote sexual activity or prevent pregnancies? It might seem that it promotes sex. Making forms of birth control available to children at a young age might seem to promote the message that sexual activity is okay. Studies seem to show, however, that offering further birth control to children at a young age will actually lower birth rates among teenagers. A 2010 study by the American Public Health Association discovered through a poll that 33 percent of teens have engaged in sexual intercourse by ninth grade. Another report by the Center for Disease Control reported that 75 percent of all people have had sex by the age of 20. Kids are starting to become sexually active at younger ages. At this age, they cannot and will not be able to fully understand the potential consequences of their actions. High schools in Fairfax County require all sophomores to take a Family Life Education (FLE) class. “The goal of our program is to persuade younger generations to wait to have sex,” health teacher Peggy Capehart said. “We also want to educate our students about safe sex with an emphasis on using protection.” Although FLE urges teens not to have sex, the program wants students to understand how to cope with a pregnancy if such a situation arises. Besides absitence, the most common form of pregnancy prevention is the condom. “FLE stresses that condoms aren’t 100 percent effective,” Capehart said. Birth control, female condoms and new developments such as NuvaRing are now also available. Although the biggest worry among teens is the chance of an unplanned pregnancy, many kids disregard the fact that they can contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection (STI) through sexual relations.

— Raphael Iglesias sophomore

The ready availibility of condoms at local stores allows for students to easily misuse these forms of birth control without proper education.

Contracting STDs and STIs can be just as damaging as pregnancy. While some STIs can be cured, many last a lifetime. Once contracted, there is no undo button. Parents think that by their children nodding and grimacing during the infamous “sex talk,” they have gotten their message across. This isn’t always the case. A lot of teens are uncomfortable when talking about sex with their own parents. They usually feel more comfortable talking to somebody else. The FLE program wants kids to be able to open up to teachers, ask questions and share stories as well. Preventing pregnancies, while being the leading benefit of birth control, is not the only benefit of contraception. Taking the pill helps balance a young woman’s hormones, which will result in less cramping, lighter menstruation periods and fewer premenstrual symptoms. The pill will also lower the risk of certain cancers such as ovarian cancer. An even balance of hormones will help with complexion and reduce acne. Although the worry that the pill will promote sex is present, it is a closed-minded way of looking

at this form of contraception. In the long run, any parent would prefer to not have their child become a teenage parent. Birth control can help avoid this nightmare. Sex-related content can be found everywhere. It is in magazines, movies and on the Internet. If children can easily get their hands on something promoting sex, then obtaining birth control should be made just as easy so that they can protect themselves. No parent wants to accept the fact that his/her baby girl or boy is sexually active, but it is part of growing up. Parents want to protect their children and shelter them for as long as possible. In reality, everybody is going to grow up eventually. FLE understands this and provides information to guide students through their lives. The easiest way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is for teens to stay abstinent. Not having sex will eliminate the chance of not only unplanned pregnancies, but also the contraction of any strain of an STD. Parents need to continue to drill into their kids’ heads not to be sexually active, as it is the safest way to support their children and prevent them any harm.

junior

“No, because students won’t listen to people who they don’t trust.” — Julia Copenhaver

junior

“Yes, because it empowers students, and creates a safer, healthier population.” — Holly Miller

history teacher

— Compiled by Noah Fitzgerel


4 News Briefs AHS Hosting SAT The SAT will be held on December 3. Students should arrive at 7:45 and meet in the auditorium for further instructions.

Class Bake Sale The class of 2013 will be hosting a bake sale tomorrow after school in the cafeteria lobby to raise funds for their prom.

NEHS Induction ceremony The Annandale chapter of the National English Honor Society will be holding their inductions on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m in the library. New inductees are required to attend.

NBHS Induction Ceremony The National Business Honor Society will be hold their inductions on Dec. 7 directly after school at 2:15 p.m in Clausen Hall.

NEWS

Nov. 29 , 2011

Math SOLs make AYP Teachers work for high passing rates in Math tests BY ANNIE CURRAN Co-Editor in Chief

AHS

Virginia

Black

91%

77%

White

95%

90%

Hispanic 90% 83% This story is the second of a three-part series on how AHS performs on the SOLs, in accordance Students with 66% 88% with No Child Left Behind. Each part will focus Disabilities on a different department. After studying for the test, senior Godwin Economically 78% 91% Banzuelo failed his geometry SOL last school year. Disadvantaged He had a score of 399, which was one point away from a passing rate. Limited English “I crammed the week before the test, but I still Proficiency 82% 91% failed. It was hard,” Banzuelo said. He says that now he is focusing on passing his next math SOL. “As long as I pass the Algebra 2 SOL, I’m fine,” Graphic by Annie Curran Banzuelo said. Despite Banzuelo’s score, the math department Math teacher Gail Chmura teaches Algebra 2 and Geometry. The graphic indicates the passing rates for each ethnicity at AHS is pleased with the job the students did For 2010-2011, 91 percent of black students, 90 most crucial. on the SOL’s for the 2010-2011 school year. The “The practice SOLs, the test-taking strategies, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) reports percent of hispanic students, 95 percent of white that 93 percent of students passed their math students, 88 percent of students with disabilities, E-Cart are really helpful before June,” Wheeler SOLs. AHS did make Adequate Yearly Progress 91 percent of limited English proficient and 91 said. “I think my students did amazing; I was so (AYP) for math scores, which means they increased percent of economically disadvantaged students proud. Some were worried that they weren’t going passed their math SOLs. This is better than to pass, and did really well.” their scores by three percent from years past. VDOE has announced that there will be some “We’re actually really proud,” math department compared to the rest of the state, where some of chair Karen Olarinde said. “We made AYP. Two the lowest passing numbers for math SOL results changes to the test this year. Such changes years ago, we did not make AYP. The weakness included 77 percent of black students and 66 include incorporating more technology enhanced percent of students with disabilities. questions, meaning not all of the questions will was in the special ed scores.” Some teachers focus not be multiple-choice and raising the passing score. Olarinde says that only on teaching students “This will give more independent thinking wbecause of this, the the math, but making sure questions. There’s been the argument with math, department focused on they have the skills to use that you can just plug in all of the choices to find using E-Cart and Jefferson We made AYP. Two years the tools they have provided the right answer,” Olarinde said. Lab (JLAB) practice tests. ago, we did not make from them when they are Now that there will be new forms of questions, By the time the student taking practice tests. the released tests from former years will not help are ready to take the test, AYP. “We teach with a graphing students as much as they had in the past, since they have received a lot —Karen Olarinde calculator and we stay the new non-multiple choice questions will not be of practice. Students who ESOL teacher after with JLAB practice,” on them. struggle on these tests geometry teacher Roberto “We’re really relying on the Virginia Department receive remediation. Obando said. of Education. They are giving us sample questions “In the past, we’ve done For algebra I and geometry teacher Allison and EPAT tests,” Olarinde said. a math boot camp. Last year, we took advantage of FLEX. This year we plan on using Atom Time,” Wheeler, though her students practice throughout the year, the month leading up to the test is the Olarinde said.

For further online content, such as the stories listed below, visit: www.thea-blast.org

Math SOL Results (2010-2011)

Veteran counselor transfers to new school Group 4 Fieldtrip By Ethan Edwards

Group 4 students were excused for an in-school field trip for their projects

NHS Inductions By Joe Sehrer

New inductees were welcomed to the NHS in a ceremony

Filament Coffee House By Emily Blank

Students musicians perform at the Coffee House sponsored by Filament

Hickman ends his 17 year career at AHS BY MARWA ABDELAZIZ News Editor AHS staff and students, particularly those with last names starting with A through Bec, will have to get used to school life without an important member of the guidance department: counselor Cliff Hickman. This Friday, Dec. 2, is Hickman’s last day as an AHS counselor before he moves on to become an academy counselor at the West Potomac Academy. Near the beginning of November, an academy counselor at West Potomac left, leaving her position up for grabs. This position gives him a chance to work with four or five different schools focusing on a career and technical curriculum. “It’s something unique, I haven’t done and have always wanted to do,” Hickman said. “It’s very rare for these positions come open and for many years I’ve wanted to be an academy counselor.” While his move is certainly unexpected after his total of 17 years at AHS, it was not as sudden as it may seem. Although most students only heard the news this week, his last week at AHS, it had been confirmed to the other counselors about two weeks ago. “It was announced to all of us at a department meeting we had here,” counselor Lisa Foliaco said. “I was kind of suspicious early on because he started collecting boxes in his office and he was very careful how to answer when I asked him what the boxes were about.” Foliaco, whose office is adjacent to Hickman’s and has been working with him for seven years

Cliff Hickman’s last day is on December 2

said she has many fond memories of him. “If there were a way to open up the wall [separating them], to share information and ask each other questions quickly, it would stay open,” she said. “On both sides.” Now, walking into Hickman’s office, many of the old features embedded in his students’ minds are gone. His head statues of the Seven Deadly Sins, picture frames of his family, and his many award certificates are out of sight. All that’s left is his jar of Jolly Rancher candies, which he gave to students after meeting with them. This serves as a reminder of how much of a positive influence Hickman was at AHS.

“His door is always open for anyone to come in,” Foliaco said. “To ask questions, to get advice, or to ask about his opinion about something going on in the world.” Hickman, who began working for AHS in 1984 and continued here for 10 years before left for a few years, came back to work in 2004 and remained for the next seven years. Unfortunately, this counselor and ex-sponsor of National Honor Society does not have any plans to come back again to AHS any time soon. “It all happened so fast,” Hickman said. “I’m going to miss the staff that I’ve worked at AHS. I have many excellent memories of AHS that I’ll keep forever.” While the timing of his leaving may not be the most ideal for those being left behind at AHS, “when opportunities arise, you have to take them,” Foliaco said. Students will definitely be affected by his move, especially seniors. “Some of them probably thought ‘for past four years Mr. Hickman will write my recommendation and now he’s leaving’...its a very stressful time,” Foliaco said. Hickman has reliable coworkers who will help his students through the transition. “Ms. Reyes and I have told him we will try to help the seniors with the transition,” Foliaco said. “But we can’t write them recommendations.” Currently, a new counselor is being selected to replace Hickman after he leaves. “We should know by the end of the week who then new counselor will be,” Hickman said. The person in charge of picking a new counselor is the Director of Student Services Jennifer CrumpStrawderman. “I think Ms. Crump-Strawderman will pick a good new counselor,” Hickman said. “The AHS guidance is an extremely strong department and there’s nothing they can’t accomplish in an excellent fashion.”

Marching band to perform with National Band Association Students asked to participate in a Camp at Lake Braddock

Winter sports gets festive By Ngan Pham

Winter sports bonding activities created to cultivate a unified environment

The AHS symphonic band has been invited to participate in the National Band Association Wind Band Pedagogy Symposium and National Symphonic Band Camp at Lake Braddock Secondary School on Feb. 17th and 18th. This event involves rehearsal labs with nationally recognized clinicians, clinic sessions, master classes and performances. “This is a unique opportunity for us,” Band Director Andrew Loft said. “This is not something we applied for. We were actually called and asked to participate, possibly due to our reputation. These unique clinicians are from universities and provide a higher interaction for our students. This is a chance to learn more, collaborate, and to expand our craft.”

COURTESY OF DIEGO CORNEJO

BY DANA FILIPCZYK Staff Writer

Students will be performing with the National Band Association

The symphonic band was chosen as one of the three clinic bands for this event. These

students have the chance to interact with other students from different regions along the East Coast. “I’m excited because I’m the only oboe player in the band,” sophomore Erica Johnson said. “It would be good for me to interact with other people who play the same instrument. We will get to be taught things that we can’t get [taught] in band class.” “This shows how good our band actually is,” freshman Thomas White said. “This will gives us a chance to get instructions from another director, and to work on our technique.” “I personally attended this event last year,” Loft said. “It was very interesting and really cool. I’m excited for the students to be able to work with these unique clinicians, and I want to hear the performances from the other students there.” The event is still in early stages of planning. More information and specific scheduling will be released at a later time.


NEWS

Nov. 29, 2011

Is marijuana that popular at AHS?

“Marijuana” continued from page 1

Meanwhile, the percentage of students that reported lifetime marijuana use has decreased from 26.2% to 20.2%, surpassing tobacco as the second most used drug among those surveyed. These results, which incorporate information reported by 8th, 10th and 12th graders throughout FCPS, cannot be considered illustrative of drug use specific to AHS. Instead, they reflect reported drug use throughout Fairfax County, which means that the results must be evaluated in a countywide context. “My recollection is that our abuse rates are not significantly different and may in fact be lower than other FCPS schools,” PTSA President Emily Slough said in reference to the AHS-specific results from the Fairfax County Youth Survey presented to the PTSA at a fall 2009 meeting. “I don’t think that we have a bigger problem than other high schools in the area,” Slough added. “I think that yes, abuse takes place, but we’re no worse than any other high school.” Junior Kalie Rosati holds a similar outlook on the role of drugs in the lives of AHS students. “[Drugs are] not any more of a problem [at AHS] than at other schools,” Rosati said. “It depends on who you ask, but I think that AHS’s drug problem isn’t really different than any other high school’s.” Regardless of the actual presence of drugs at AHS, the administration remains steadfast in its enforcement of cases involving marijuana and other illegal substances. “If you’re in possession [of marijuana] on school grounds, that’s usually an expulsion,” Principal Vince Randazzo said. “The instances that I had as an administrator last year, many of them were for possession. I don’t know if it’s an increase [in the number of students using marijuana].” In light of the new high for support of legalization and the fact that marijuana has surpassed cigarettes in term of its use among FCPS students, several students were interviewed concerning their own experiences using the drug. Their identities will remain anonymous, as pseudonyms were used instead. John, a senior with an approximate 2.5 GPA who is taking only the classes needed to graduate, began smoking marijuana the summer

before his 8th grade year “to help treat the depression and anxiety I felt everyday.” John now smokes “two to three times a week and only on the weekend” for what he calls “all the right reasons.” “I just want to step out of the panic of life when I’m not doing anything important,” he said. “I do my work. I get (expletive) done.” A strong proponent for the legalization of the drug, John believes that “we’re wasting our money on a losing war” in the fight against drugs. “It keeps me sane. It keeps people calm and happy, it’s illegal for no reason,” he said. “But the bureaucracy is so complex and against freedom they can’t stop shooting our tax money down a black hole with prohibition of marijuana.” The feelings John described are due to euphoria, which is the main psychological effect of smoking marijuana. According to WebMD, marijuana can also cause a distorted sense of time, paranoia, magical or “random” thinking, short-term memory loss, anxiety and depression. In fact, although many people believe that the drug itself does not have addictive properties, marijuana is indeed psychologically addictive. Furthermore, some experts believe that marijuana could also be physically addictive, causing symptoms of withdrawal form marijuana. These symptoms might include aggression, anxiety, a depressed mood and a decreased appetite. In addition, short-term medical effects of smoking marijuana include a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, an increased rate of breathing, red eyes, a dry mouth, an increased appetite and a slowed reaction time. Because experts are still working to understand the effects of the drug, some students believe that it will not have a negative impact on their health. “Marijuana is the biggest thing for high school kids because it does less damage to you than alcohol or cigarettes,” John said. “You can die from alcohol, you can die from cigarettes, but with weed it just relaxes you and makes you feel better.” This belief that marijuana will do nothing but create a feeling of euphoria can play a major role in students’ decisions to use the drug, as they may believe that it will have little impact on them physically. “You can’t really say marijuana can cause addiction because it can’t,” John said. “That’s another reason pot is so big among high school students; if you have a grip on your life and smoke weed, you still have everything under control. It isn’t habit forming either; you can quit it much easier then you can cigs or alcohol.” Because experts have yet to discern whether or not marijuana is

Percent of FCPS students who have used mairjuana

News Briefs Symphonic band rehearsals There will be a Symphonic Band rehearsal today from 5-7 p.m. in the band room.

Upcoming HLC meetings SOURCE: FAIRFAX COUNTY YOUTH

Students provide insight into marijuana consumption

physically addictive, many students have misconceptions concerning the effects of the drug. It is for this reason that the PTSA is taking action to increase awareness concerning drugs and their effects on students. The PTSA will host a panel from PROTECT, a group of parents and recovering students that visits schools to talk with parents and students about the dangers of substance abuse, on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in Clausen Hall. “I heard that marijuana use was on the rise countywide, not specifically at AHS, and that’s why I thought it would be a good idea to bring that group in,” PTSA President Emily Slough said. Jane, a senior who has maintained a GPA above 4.0 while taking many IB classes and participating in both AHS clubs and honor societies, said that she smokes weed “occasionally.” After a long day of school filled with many IB classes, Jane returns home, where mountains of homework await her. With no time to lose focus, smoking a bowl to settle her mind is not an option. It will have to wait until Friday night, when she will relax from an intense week of IB work by taking a trip to the mall. Before returning home around 10 or 11 p.m., Jane meets up with a friend or two in a safe, secluded environment to smoke together. After spending about half an hour with her friends, Jane returns home, unquestioned by her parents. She slides into bed and soon falls asleep, only to wake up the following morning and return to the homework and service that mark her everyday life. “Sometimes it’s once a week, or maybe I’ll go months without,” Jane said. “I usually only do it on a night that I know I won’t be doing any homework.” Unlike other students, Jane began smoking marijuana her freshman year not out of a desire to experience its effects, but rather due to the

influence of her peers. “I had a best friend that always wanted me to, but I was never interested. And then one day a close friend of mine said she wanted to try it and I didn’t want her to do it before I did – lame I know – so I did it,” she said. “I guess in a weird way [it was a sort of peer pressure]. If I had hung out with people that had absolutely no interest in smoking, then I probably wouldn’t have ever tried it.” Jane then took a break from the drug when she began dating someone who “didn’t approve,” although she would later start back up “because my best friend likes to smoke and I hang out with her a lot.” She now continues to use the drug due to its calming effects and her belief that it has no effect on her daily routine and schoolwork. Furthermore, even though her mother knows that she used the drug as a freshman and either knows of or at least suspects marijuana use now, Jane is never paranoid about the repercussions of being caught with the drug. “I’m pretty sure [my mother] doesn’t approve, but she doesn’t really make a fuss about it or even mention it,” she said. “If I wasn’t such a good student I think she would have a fit.” It is this acceptance of marijuana use by family and friends that can cause students to continue using the drug, another reason the PTSA desires to spread drug awareness and work towards their prevention. Still, Slough believes that AHS students are not exposed to marijuana and other drugs as often as many would believe. “I don’t think that AHS suffers from a reputation as a ‘druggie’ school,” she said. “When people talk about AHS, they’re more likely to talk about whether they’re comfortable with the diversity than they are about drug use.”

Security camera vote next month Parents have mixed feelings about extra security measures BY ANNIE CURRAN

Co-Editor in Chief The FCPS School Board is set to vote on an initiative to add cameras to high schools on Dec. 15. If implemented, students would be recorded in hallways and other “hot spots” throughout the school. The school already has 22 exterior cameras. Principal Vince Randazzo, who at first was undecided on the matter, has now defined his opinion. He believes that cameras will not be a bad thing for AHS. “I think it’s an extra layer of safety and security, for 3,000 people who are here everyday. I think if we can do it, it might be a prudent thing to do,” Randazzo said. Not everyone in the AHS community is supportive of the initiative. The PTSA was one of two in the county, along with Langley HS, to officially oppose new indoor cameras in the school. “[I’m] not saying that AHS is a perfect place (as no school is ever perfect), but the students have found a way to get along,” AHS parent Kathy Ryan said. “Tolerance of each other also adds to the lessening of tensions. Each student is respected for what they are, where they came from, and what

FACEBOOK FEEDBACK “The school has enough security already, no need of security cameras. Instead of wasteing money on cameras. They should use that money on something else, e.g. new academy classes within the school campus.” —Zack Hussain “It’s a waste of money and shows that this school needs more security than any students’ needs.” —Wilson Tu they can bring to the world as a whole.” “But the stronger point to bring across is if a school has a strong administrative team, such as we have at AHS, then the need for cameras in the general areas are not needed.” Many students seem to agree. “It’s a waste of money and shows that this school needs more security than any students needs,” sophomore Wilson Tu said. Randazzo was present at the Oct. 18 PTSA meeting, where he had an open discussion

with parents about the cameras. He said he received many questions from parents about the implementation. “The biggest [question] was where do we get the money from,” Randazzo said. “Some people discussed how it would be an invasion of privacy. It really was an open discussion, where we didn’t seem to be going one way or another.” One issue that the community has voiced is the fact that the School Board seems to be pushing this item along at a fast pace since the term is up on Dec. 31, and half of the members will retire. Mason District member Sandy Evans voiced her concern with this issue. “I thought we should wait, but current members want to see it passed,” Evans said. Evans notes that some of the key issues that the community has found with the cameras are the monetary issues of funding, as well as how the school environment will change with the cameras. Randazzo agrees that the environment of the school should be something taken into consideration. “A lot of this has to do with the culture you have in your school. I think we have a very good school culture,” Randazzo said. For those who have an opinion on the matter, they can sign up for a three-minute time slot to speak at the Dec. 10 school board meeting. “People can always come and testify,” Evans said.

Clubs gathering supplies for those in need Members required to volunteer with different jobs “Help” continued from page 1

Members promoted the drive in W4 classes which resulted in 400 intems for baskets and over 300 canned goods for Homestretch. canned goods for Homestretch. “I liked the drive because it involved the whole school and I hope everyone gained an appreciation for what they have. We should definitely do something similar to this drive again,” Junior Corinne Balicki said.

5

Key Club, will be providing food for the homeless on Dec. 3 at the Baily’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter. “In the winter time, the homeless are more in need due to the temperature outside” Key Club president Diego Cornejo said, “Disease is widespread across the area, and so [we] want to do all it can to help the homeless out by volunteering at food shelters” Members have also reflected on the experiences that they have gained by this service opportunity. “I’ve realized how many people are unfortunate to have no food or a place to live. Volunteering at the homeless shelters humbled me and made me appreciate that fact that I have someone to take

care and provide things for me,” junior Michelle Park said. The Black Cultural Awareness Association (BCAA) is holding a sock drive to collect clean adult size white socks for the Bailey’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter. Students can place new pairs of socks in baskets in their W4 classes. The W4 class collecting the largest number of socks is rewarded with a breakfast in the Bistro. “So many teens think they are just entitled to everything these days and it helps them appreciate what they have when they see and work with others who are less fortunate,” Zivney said.

The Hispanic Leadership Club will have a meeting today at 7 p.m. and another one tomorrow right after school, both in Clausen Hall.

Traffic Safety Program Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. AHS will hold a Parent/Teen Traffic Safety Program in Clausen Hall, student drivers and their parents are encouraged to attend.

AHS fall play is underway The AHS production of Arsenic and Old Lace will be performed from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium on each night.

Feminist club meeting The AHS feminist club will hold its next meeting on Dec. 1 at 2:15 in Trailer 8. They will explore ways to help educate girls in parts of the world where they are traditionally under-served. All are welcome, not only women.

Softball interest meeting There will be a softball interest meeting on Nov. 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the upstairs gym. All that are interested should attend.

Winter Pep Rally next week The AHS winter Pep Rally will take place on Dec. 9 during ATOM time in the main gym.

Discount basketball game There will be $1 off general admission to Tuesday night’s basketball game with the donation of a toy for DECA’s Dreams for Kids Holiday for Hope Toy Drive.

AHS clubs help out for the holidays DECA Holiday for Hope toy drive through December 9 for Dreams for Kids organization.

NHS Homestretch drive collected over 300 items to help families in need.

BCAA The Black Culture Awareness Association is holding a sock drive for Bailey’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter, collecting socks in W4 classes.

Key Club Facilitating a volunteering session at the kitchen in the Bailey’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter on Dec. 3.


6 From AHS to Africa People

Where would you choose to study abroad and why? “Philippines, because they’re strict there.”

Junior Alexis Garretson is graduating early to travel to Morocco to learn Arabic By Megan Flynn People Editor

— Phoebe Banzuelo freshman

“Probably Spain, I like their culture.”

— Natalie Hall sophomore

“I don’t know, England because it would be pretty cool.”

­—Vinson Le junior

“Hawaii because of hulas, volcanoes and also to learn Hawaiian culture.”

A Blast

the

— Ty Johnson senior

––Compiled by Allison Ilagan

December Celebrity Birthdays

1 Brad Delson 2 Aaron Rogers 3 Brendan Fraser 4 Jay-Z 5 Frankie Muniz 6 Andrew Cuomo 7 Aaron Carter 8 Nicki Minaj 9 Kara DioGuardi 10 Bobby Flay 11 Rider Strong 12 Bob Barker 13 Taylor Swift 14 Vanessa Hudgens 15 Adam Brody 16 Benjamin Bratt 17 Manny Pacquiao 18 Christina Aguilera 19 Jake Gyllenhaal 20 David Cook 21 Kiefer Sutherland 22 Jordin Sparks 23 Eddie Vedder 24 Ryan Seacrest 25 Jimmy Buffett 26 Jared Leto 27 Hayley Williams 28 Denzel Washington 29 Jude Law 30 LeBron James 31 Anthony Hopkins

Most students attempt to take easy classes throughout high school, but junior Alexis Garretson is going against the norm and taking extra classes to graduate from AHS early. Garretson is leaving AHS this February to travel to Rabat, Morocco for four months. Garretson attends Edison HS during school mornings to take Biology and US/VA History. She is also taking English 11 and 12 online and her final history credit will be completed upon her return from Morocco. Garretson will graduate from AHS this August. Garretson received an academic scholarship from the U.S. State Department through The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). The program grants scholarships to students to send them to a variety of countries worldwide. The students then immerse themselves in the culture of that nation and learn one of the seven languages offered by the program. Garretson will stay in Morocco for six to eight

COURTESY OF ALEXIS GARRETSON

weeks with a host family. “My education has always been very important and I’m not done yet, I’m just taking some time to learn about the world and what kind of person I am,” Garretson said. Similar to an immersion program, Garretson will take classroom type courses and will be encouraged to practice Arabic with her host family as well. She will be engulfed in Arabic culture and learn about the basic ways of life in Morocco. After returning from Morocco and

The City Year program is found in 21 locations all across the U.S. With City Year, teams of people get together in groups called corps and work full-time in elementary, middle and high schools for 10 months, helping students with their English and math skills while also working to improve their attendance habits. To participate in the City Year program and aid students in need, you must: •Have a GED or high school diploma, have attended or graduated college •Set aside 10 months for service •Be between 17 and 24 years old •Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident •Haven’t served more than three terms in an AmeriCorps, VISTA or NCCC program

NSLI-Y The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program started in 2006 to help grant Americans the opportunity to learn how to communicate internationally. Students have the opportunity to live with a host family in one of the countries offered to learn Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi, Korean, Tajik, Russian or Turkish. NSLI-Y offers yearlong and summer programs. To be eligible for this program you must: •Be a U.S. citizen •Be 15-18 years of age at the beginning of the program •Be enrolled in high school and have a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale

• This is my third year teaching at AHS. • I attended George Mason • I majored in English.

Global Routes is a nongovernmental organization that encourages volunteer work in various countries around the world to strengthen the global community. This foreign exchange program uses community service to bring people of different countries together as members of the world. People taking part in this program spend between 10 and 18 days on service projects, working between five and eight hours each day. There is a high school program, gap year/college program, adult program and independent placement program. No experience with building or teaching is necessary.

AMERICORPS

AmeriCorps is a national program created to help others and aid communities in need. As an AmeriCorps member, one will serve national and local nonprofit organizations, performing activities such as mentoring deprived youth, constructing affordable housing, aiding communities that have been struck by disaster, cleaning parks and much more. To join AmeriCorps, you must: •Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. •Be flexible, organized and willing to work with a team •Have a college degree or have worked for at least three years •Be at least 17 years old

• This is my sixth year teaching at AHS. • I attended Penn State University.

• I don’t have spare time.

• I majored in political science.

• I like to listen to music I can sing along with.

• In my spare time, I listen to music and exercise.

• I have traveled to Peru, Japan and the Western Caribbean.

• I like to listen to everything from Alison Krauss to ACDC.

•My favorite part of working in a school is my students because they are really entertaining.

• I studied in Strasbourg, France during college and traveled through Ireland.

• My motto is “Don’t forget to be awesome.”

• My favorite part of working is learning and teaching U.S. history.

• My birthday is Mar. 4. It’s also National Pun Day. • An interesting fact about me is that I sometimes dance in the hallway.

On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to see a profile of an AHS student.

GLOBAL ROUTES

Who am I?

University.

Student Spotlight: Ahmad Haj-assaad

graduating, Garretson wants to join “City Year,” which is a program for which volunteers tutor inner city kids and do community service. Garretson has a lot of tutoring experience and tutors Spanish, math, science and English as a second language. Garretson applied to the City Year Boston location, but does not know yet if she has been accepted into the program. In case she does not get into City Year, Garretson is looking into other programs, including overseas medical and government programs, or considering taking a gap year in either India or Tanzania. Even after planning to attend all of these programs and opportunities, Garretson still plans on attending college. Over the past summer, Garretson visited Harvard University and took some semester courses, which made her realize that she wanted to finish high school early. “I have really loved being at AHS, but I think it’s just the right time for me to leave and I feel like there is more that I can learn by taking a year off and then going to college,” Garretson said. She has big plans and wants to major in a field relating to biology or genetics and minor in international policies. She wants to go to medical school afterwards, with hopes of becoming a doctor. Garretson owes her educational success to the help of her mom and her counselor. Through their support, she is able to graduate early and participate in these programs. Her friends have also been helping her through the process. “My friends have been pretty supportive; they’re sad that I’m leaving before our senior year, but they kind of understand. I’ll still be entering college with the same kids that I entered high school with, I will just have taken a little detour before I got there.” Garretson has a big heart and really cares about others, which fuels her interest to travel and help others around the world. “I really want to help other kids realize their own dreams,” Garretson said.

How to get involved worldwide CITY YEAR

34 28 43 42 26 54 24 27 41 47 32 88 22 23 32 48 33 31 31 29 45 22 47 37 65 40 23 57 39 27 74

Junior Alexis Garretson tutors a student from Lahore, Pakistan in calculus.

Nov. 29, 2011

• I played soccer when I was little. • My favorite TV show is Pan Am. I also love The Amazing Race. • My favorite stores are Anthropologie and The Loft.

• My motto is “I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” • My birthday is Dec. 20. • An interesting fact about me is that I love visiting old battlefields and graveyards. • I swam competitively through high school. • My favorite store is Barnes & Noble. –Compiled by Megan Flynn

To find out who these teachers are, visit www.thea-blast.org/category/student-life/people/


7

HealtH

Nov. 29, 2011

Healthy habits for skin

15 so that you will always have it on. “If you are wearing a lot of sunblock you should be taking vitamin D,” Albert said. Sunscreen not only blocks harmful rays, but also prevents your skin from absorbing necessary vitamins. Overexposure to the sun can also cause heat rashes, sunburn and general irritation. If you have already suffered from sun damage, aloe vera is recommended to treat it. However, it is best to take care of your skin to prevent sun damage before it happens.

Students attempt to maintain a healthy complexion this season By Esra Gokturk Health Editor With December just around the corner, your skin can start to get dry, flaky, red and even start to lose that summer glow. Now, with these simple tricks, you can counter the cold weather skin conditions and keep up a healthy complexion as if it were still summer.

EXFOLIATING

Exfoliating requires the use of a grainy facial scrub to remove dead skin cells and excess dirt, but using it too often can lead to rashes or redness. “Exfoliants are not very significant and a wash cloth should suffice,” dermatologist Moses Albert

Betsy Kruse

Sophomore Melanie Bennett washes her face with a creamy cleanser on a regular basis so that she can keep her skin clean and maintain a healthy complexion.

M.D. said. Albert also advises against using exfoliants because of the chemicals that can be found in them. However, if you want your skin to feel extra clean, see the homemade facial washes below.

clearer complexion and moisturized skin and also balance out the oils in your body. “I drink lots of water to keep my body and skin looking healthy,” senior Micaela Filsoof said.

HYDRATING

Everyone knows the basic facts concerning sun damage and the link between sun damage and certain types of skin cancer. That is a pretty serious consequence, but can be prevented if you take proper care of your skin. You should purchase a moisturizer with an SPF of at least

Hydrating is one of the most important things you can do for your body and it is essential to your everyday health. Not only is it important to hydrate for your body’s health, but also for your skin. Proper hydration can lead to a

SUN DAMAGE

Having a healthy diet leads to a healthier body and lifestyle. Your skin noticeably benefits from eating right and cutting back on junk food. Vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables can help clear breakouts and improve the overall appearance of skin. “You have to eat a well balanced diet with a lot of minerals and vitamins,” Albert said. Some skin conditions can become agitated when certain foods. For example, caffeine can cause acne,when consumed.

EXERcISE

People who lead a healthier lifestyle are shown to have the healthiest bodies and skin. When you workout you sweat, and sweating purges the body of toxins that can cause breakouts and blemishes and clog pores. Exercising also increases oxygen and blood flow throughout your body, which helps carry nutrients to your skin.

Make your own face masks If you have oily skin... Ingredients: 1/4 cup of fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt 1.) Wash strawberries. 2.) Cut the tops off the strawberries. 3.) Mash the strawberries and mix in with the sour cream or yogurt. 4.) Apply mixture to face. 5.) Wash mixture off after 10-15 minutes. Why it works: Strawberries contain a large amount of salicylic acid, which is found in many face washes and other acne medicines. Salicylic acid causes skin cells to shed properly and keeps pores from becoming infected.

If you have sensitive skin...

Potato Chips: Chips are not necessarily the cause of skin problems, but studies have shown they can worsen skin conditions, that such as oily skin and acne, due to their high sodium content and trans fat.

Ingredients: 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/4 cup of almond oil 1.) Mix sugar, vanilla and almond oil. 2.) Apply mixture to face. 3.) Scrub face in circular motions. 4.) Wash mixture off face.

If you have dry skin...

1.) Mix yogurt and oatmeal together. 2.) Apply mixture to face. 3.) Wet a washcloth and heat it in a microwave. 4.) Wash mixture off face after 1015 minutes with the steamed washcloth.

1.) Cut avocado in half, remove pit. 2.) Using a spoon, scoop avocado out. 3.) Warm honey in a microwave. 4.) Mix honey and avocado together until smooth. 5.) Apply mixture to face.

5meals

Candy: Candy is full of ingredients that can harm your skin, such as high fructose corn syrup, sugar and other artificial chemicals and preservatives. Try to cut back on sweets to clear up your complexion.

Burn off holiday calories

Bicycle sit-ups: Lie face up with your fingers interlocked behind your head. Then, bring one knee up towards your chest while touching your opposite elbow to that knee. Switch off between legs as if you are pedaling a bicycle and repeat 50 times.

Side planks: Lie on your right side with your right elbow underneath your stomach. Use your elbow to lift your stomach and thighs off of the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and switch sides. Repeat three times.

6.) Wash mixture off after 10 minutes. Why it works: Avocado oil is very similar to skin’s oil and easily moisturizes dry skin. Also, avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which is healthy fat. Avocados contain vitamins C and E, which act well together as a antiaging tool. Honey also acts as an anti-bacterial agent and helps to eliminate excess germs and bacteria from the skin. Source: Cosmopolitan.com

minute

Tricep dips: Start sitting against a wall, bench or chair. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the chair. Then, using only your arms, raise yourself up and down while trying to keep the rest of your body still in a seated position.

Strawberry cream cheese sandwich Ingredients Needed: Cream cheese (can use any flavor as substitute), four strawberries, two slices of whole wheat bread, honey, grated orange zest (optional)

By Betsy Kruse and Esra Gokturk

1.) Put a tablespoon of cream cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of honey and 1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest into a bowl and stir. 2.) Cut the slices of bread in half. 3.) Once the cream cheese has been mixed, use a butter knife to spread the mixture onto both sides of the bread. 4.) Wash the strawberries in cold water. 5.) Use a knife to cut the tops off of the strawberries. 6.) Slice the strawberries and place on top of the cream cheese. 7.) Complete the sandwich by placing the two slices of bread together. 8.) Place on a plate and enjoy!

Fruit filled snacks to satisfy sweet cravings Pineapple-berry parfaits

delish.com

Ingredients Needed: 2 cartons of non-fat peach yogurt (can substitute a different flavor), 1/2 pint of fresh raspberries (can substitute any other berry), 1 1/2 cups of fresh pineapple chunks Will make four servings. 1.) Spoon a thin layer of yogurt into the bottom of the glass or cup being used to serve. 2.) Mix the berries and pineapple together into a separate bowl. 3.) Put about a spoonful of the fruit mix on top of the yogurt. 4.) Spoon another layer of yogurt on top of the fruit and place fruit on top again. 5.) Repeat step 3 as often as needed.

Once in your body, the phosphoric acid in soda breaks down into sugar, which can lead to breakouts. Certain stimulants in soda can also negatively react with hormones to cause skin problems like acne.

Why it works: The sugar grains act like an exfoliant and can make skin feel softer. It also is better to use sugar than salt in home-made face masks because it is less harsh on the skin and is not as likely to cause skin to tear. Almond oil is an emollient, meaning that it helps to moisturize your skin. Almond oil is very similar to the oil of babies skin and helps to protect skin as well as ake it look more youthful.

Ingredients: 1/2 of an avocado, 1/4 cup of honey

Why it works: Dairy products contain large amounts of lactic acid, which helps skin retain moisture to alleviate irritation. Oatmeal is a natural exfoliant and when used to scrub skin, it removes dead skin cells to help prevent breakouts. Oatmeal can be used for multiple healing purposes, such as treating chicken pox and other skin conditions.

Soda:

If you have combination skin...

Ingredients: 1 cup of natural yogurt, 1/2 cup oatmeal

Serving Size: one cup Average Calories: 107 per cup Nutritional Grade: A-

Studies show that these food and drinks are proven to cause breakouts and damage your skin

NUTRITION

MOISTURIZING

One of the most common problems that results from the cold weather is dry, flaky skin. To combat your problem area, it is essential that you apply a moisturizer one to two times a day, once in the morning and then again before you go to bed. As the temperature drops, you should look to switch to a moisturizer that contains aloe vera, which has healing properties and decreases redness. “I use a moisturizing body wash every night because it smells good and keeps my skin soft and silky smooth,” senior Wally Geiger said.

Three foods to cut back on

Serving Size: One half sandwich Average Calories: 133 per half Nutritional Grade: A-

Find the right toothbrush for you On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view an article on which toothbrushes are the best fit for you.


8

Arts

“Yes, because my friends are in it and I hear it’s funny.”

—Samira

Abdulkadir freshman

“Yes, because I like plays.”

—Sahara Sarker freshman

“No, because I don’t have the time to watch it.”

—Lizzie

Manthos sophomore

“Yes, because I’ve never been to a school play before so I want to see how it is.”

—Herson

Palma sophomore

Theater prepares for play Arsenic and Old Lace will be performed at AHS on Dec. 1-3

By Sam Converse Staff Writer During the final rehearsals leading up to the premier of AHS’ upcoming play, Arsenic and Old Lace, one can understand the amount of rush and hysteria taking place in order to ensure all is ready when Dec. 1-3 roll around. In preparation for this year’s fall play, studentactors have somehow managed to go to play practice and memorize their lines while still getting homework done and making up tests. Though the cast and crew haven’t seemed daunted by the arduous task of completing as long a play as Arsenic and Old Lace (a classic first seen on Broadway in 1941), the play stands out as a juxtaposition of a comedic plot centered on murders by various characters. The main focus of these murders, though, is two elderly women and their nephews, all of whom uncover secrets about the others and themselves throughout the show’s duration. “There’s a lot of accommodating to be done with people in the production and we’ve already had to set the date back to Dec. 1-3 from our original late November show dates,” Co-editor and Head of Set Design George Bennett said. “Everyone has to balance academics, extracurricular activities and sometimes a job. In the end, we end up doing a lot of accommodating for each person and just work with the people who are able to make it.” Bennett and fellow co-director, William Hirsch, have had a tough job throughout the play’s progress of scheduling every rehearsal and practice session around the students’ busy lives. This makes theater life hectic, as some people can make it to play practice and others can’t. But as the show dates have come nearer and nearer, students have had to commit to showing up to

AJ MCCafferty

Are you planning on seeing the fall play?

Nov. 29, 2011

Debbie Aderton and Kevin Tran rehearse their lines after school for the upcoming play at AHS, Arsenic and Old Lace.

rehearsal on time and prepared. “We’re all working hard and we’ve got a great cast. Everyone’s great to work with and I’m sure we’ll be ready by December,” senior Max Talley said. Talley will be playing one of the lead roles in the production, said. The average high school student or occasional playgoer might remain cynical towards the concept of a murder story being shown in a comedic light, but the cast still seems to believe that the show will be very entertaining. “When you have a show that brings together murder and hilarity, it’s naturally going to bring reactions that aren’t expected,” junior Laura Hackfeld, who has been cast as a lead role in the comedy as one of the elderly women, said. “There are different angles to every situation, so this is taking murder from a funny point of view, with eccentric characters, and a very witty script.” Not only do the cast and crew of the play have the responsibility of creating a continuously entertaining show every night, but they also have the added stress of being flawless when the

Cappies come to view them during their matinee show on Dec. 3. The Cappies are a type of award program for which teachers and students from teams attend one show from every school in the county to critique and praise the show that the school has selected to be judged. Before, during and after the show, teacher-mentors lead critic discussions that occur among students. Critics go home and write 300-400 word reviews for a deadline and submit their critiques to the Cappies’ website. During the spring, critics vote on the best shows, and come summertime, the top picks from the Cappies’ selections are invited to perform segments of their shows and receive their awards at the Kennedy Center. “Last year we were nominated [by the Cappies] for one of the best plays and sets in the county,” Bennett said. “We were part of the top five schools in the county to receive this honor and hopefully we will get that again this year.”

In the director’s chair

—Julia

Copenhaver junior

with theater arts teacher George Bennett What is the most exciting part about directing the show for you? “I think the most exciting part is getting to meet some of the new actors; we’ve got a couple freshmen in the show, so meeting all the new guys and getting them to work together.”

AJ MCCAFFERTY

“No, because I don’t like watching plays.”

Bennett’s set design for the play will be the only set used during “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

“No, it’s not very advertised so no one knows about it.”

—Brody ElAchi junior

“No, because I don’t want to pay for it.”

—Monique Diggs senior

What has it been like working with the cast? It’s been a little rough as far as illness, but other than that I think we’ve got a really great cast. I’m pretty excited about it.”

ANAIS FLORES

Why make this show your Cappies show? “This show is a classic, Arsenic and Old Lace is always well received, so I think with this the characters in the show will be the kind to create a lasting memory with the Cappies people so it’ll give us a much better chance of winning a Cappie.” What has been the most beneficial part of directing the show? “Getting to know new people that are new to the department and just working with as many different people as we can.”

Cast shares their stories

ANAIS FLORES

DEBBIE ADERTON, junior Part: Officer Brophy “The play has such a great combination of comedy and tension and it creates a very entertaining environment, so people should definitely come see the play. So far there are so many great memories from being part of this play, but I have to say that my favorite is looking for my shoes the whole practice that somebody hid and you’ll have to see the play to find out why!”

gwen levey

MELISSA HABERLE, freshman Part: Elaine

Tech is more than just support

“As a freshman, it’s a huge jump this year from being in middle school theater and you can do many things here that you can’t really do in middle school, such as the swear words and subject matter of the play. But I’m enjoying being part of it so far and I never thought as a freshman that I’d get such a huge part as mine.”

SHANZE FAISAL, junior Part: Officer O’ Hara

gwen levey

On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a Q&A with the AHS tech support while they prepared for the upcoming play.

“I’ve always loved acting and theater, but last year I was new to AHS and more focused on making friends, so I felt that I was more ready this year to try out for the play. People should really come see the play because there are a lot of funny characters and a lot of things going on at once, so people will be really entertained throughout the whole play.”


Academics

Nov. 29, 2011

AHS reports on homework Teachers and students assess the volume of the workload assigned By Brekhnaa Gull Academics Editor As you watch the last of your relatives leave after the Thanksgiving holiday, you are suddenly hit by the dark and scary thought of homework. With school reopening the next day, you rush through homework by doing problems without reading them, filling in the blanks without looking at the word bank and answering questions with one-word answers. This raises questions about the effectiveness of homework; does it have a positive effect on your knowledge and understanding of the subject or is it just busy work? “Homework is [used] for a learning purpose, I don’t think you have to give homework every night just to say that you gave homework,” history teacher Jonathan York said. According to the Center of Public Education (CPE), studies throughout the years have shown that the effect of homework ranges from positive to negative, depending on the student. The results of the national studies are supported by the varying opinions that AHS students have about homework. Some students agree that it is beneficial, while others believe that homework isn’t beneficial to their learning.

Positive effects of homework

“I think homework has a positive effect because it gives us practice on what we learn,” junior Rachel Teixeira said. 61 percent of AHS students believe that they learn from doing homework and 75 percent do the majority of their homework. The studies conducted by the CPE state that higher income students benefit more from homework than lower income students. This is because students with higher incomes have more tools and resources to use in order to complete their assignments. “Students who have more resources available do better in school,” junior Patricia Webb said. According to the studies, Asian-Americans are shown to benefit from homework more than any other racial group. “I don’t think it’s the homework -- it’s our parents,” junior Christine Lee said. “They bother us until we finish our homework and they consistently question us about our homework. We also have the tendency to learn on our own.” Students show the most improvement in grades when they complete their math assignments as compared to when they do so in other subject areas. “I believe that [completing math assignments leads to the most grade improvements out of all the subjects] because with math a lot of what you learn is through practice and repetition,” math teacher Jennifer Redding said. Upperclassmen also benefit more from homework than students in lower grade levels. “[Upperclassmen] are more serious,” York said. Regardless of the advantages noted by some students and teachers, the detrimental effects of homework can be observed as well. In fact, 59 percent of students believe that homework should not be mandatory.

How much homework do you complete on a daily basis?

9%

I don’t know

10%

Some of it Half of it

6% 35%

All of it

No

15%

English

31%

History Science

61%

45%

7% 8% 18%

— Kyle Goetlicher freshman

16% 12%

Math

“I just tell them I didn’t feel like doing it.”

—Vivian Choe sophomore

39%

“My dad said to forget the homework and go to McDonald’s. ”

Do you think homework should be mandatory?

11%

Other I don’t know

37% 52%

Yes

— David Sillah

3%

junior

13% 59% 25%

This survey was distributed on November 16 during all lunches. Out of the 400 surveys distributed, 300 were returned.

Negative effects of homework

“Homework has a negative effect; with the amount of homework that we get, we have to start deciding which classes are more important, and when we choose not to do homework for a class, our grades will definitely suffer,” Webb said. When too much homework is given, it becomes less effective. The appropriate amount of homework that should be given to a high school student is between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours. “Less is more,” York said. “I think there really needs to be a limit on the amount of homework kids receive because there are a lot of other things kids are involved in,” Redding said. “I think it has nothing to do with the physical homework, it has more to do with the amount of time dedicated towards doing homework. Most likely, students with low incomes have part time jobs, so they have less time to do their homework,” she added. Many AHS students are involved in after school

activities, which makes homework even harder to complete. “It’s hard to balance homework with extracurricular activities,” Webb said. Also, underclassmen don’t absorb as much from homework than do students in higher grade levels. “It’s because they don’t do their homework,” Teixeira said.

Student opinions on the workload

Although many students at AHS get loads of homework, some believe that the amount of homework they receive is adequate for their classes. Most students in IB and honors classes receive more homework than students in regular classes. “My homework load is a lot, but I think it’s appropriate for the classes I’m taking,” Teixeira said. “The amount of homework that I get is fine because I barely get any homework,” freshman Nazila Fakhra said.

Q and A with Abigail Palacios Grade: 11 GPA: 4.0 IB Diploma Candidate: Yes Honor Societies: National Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society Extracurricular Activities: Key Club, cheer leading, softball and church choir Classes: IB Math Studies, IB Chemistry, IB English, IB History of the Americas, IB Spanish, IB Film Studies and IB Anthropology.

“I didn’t do my homework because I was helping your mom with hers.”

26%

No Yes

What excuses have you used for not doing homework?

Which class do you have the most homework in?

Foreign Language

Does a beneficial education include homework?

No

5-6 Hours

Other

8%

Yes

I don’t know

14%

1-2 Hours

Do you learn from doing your homework? I don’t know

6+ Hours

3-4 Hours

40%

Most of it

How many hours of homework do you receive per night?

9

Q: Why did you choose to apply to all of these honor societies? A: I like being involved and I like being busy. If I’m not doing anything, I won’t work to the best of my ability. Q: Describe your schedule? A: I wake up at 6:30 a.m., come to school and I have IB classes until two o’clock. Then I have meetings and club events until 2:45 p.m. If I need help from a teacher I go to their class and then I go to practice if I have it. After, I go home, eat and start my homework right away. I usually have six hours of homework and I go to sleep at around 11:30 p.m.

Q: Is it hard to manage your schedule? A: It’s very difficult because I have to plan two months ahead for what I’m going to do for each day. I also have to do separate community service hours because each honor society requires separate hours. I only have free time on the weekends. I’m diligent, not smart. I’m in charge of my schedule, not the other way around. Q: What do you want to do after high school? A: I want to go to an out-of-state college, but if not then I want to go to the University of Virginia. I want to study international affairs, business and communications for the CIA.

“I’m so whipped, my girlfriend didn’t let me do my homework.”

— Junior Montoya

senior

- Compiled by William Bennett

SAT Words Imperturbability Noun Incapable of being upset or agitated; not easily excited; calm; quality of being calm and not easily disturbed Refulgent Adjective Shining brightly; glowing; radiant Ellipsis Noun The omission of essential words; the omission from a sentence or other construction of one or more words that would complete or clarify the construction Quibble Verb To argue about minor matters; to play on words when finding fault Noun A minor verbal point in an argument

Test your Noodle! Math 1. If f(x) = (3x + 12)/(2x - 12), what value does f(x) approach as x gets infinitely larger?

Science 2. Do heavier objects fall more slowly than lighter objects?

English 3. I feel nauseous / I feel nauseated. Which is grammatically correct?

History 4. Who took the first permanent photograph? 1) 3/2 2) No, if air resistance is ignored. 3) The latter: I feel nauseated 4) Nicéphore Niépce in 1825

Planning Periods On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a video about AHS planning periods.


10

IN-DEPTH

Nov. 29, 2011

What is your opinion of the Occupy Wall Street Movement? “I think it’s right because there are people that are smart but don’t have enough money and can’t go to school, so they should be allowed to protest.” — Angel Garrish

freshman

A.J. MCCAFFERTY

“I think they should stand up for what they believe in but everything is going out of control so they should tone it down.” — Nuhami Mandefro

freshman “ I think it’s a good idea but it could be dangerous for the people living in tents — Mark Slough

sophomore

BY TRICIA O’NEILL In-Depth Editor

— Alana Buto

sophomore “I think it’s going to affect seniors and juniors about to go to college.” — Vison Le

junior “I actually went to New York last weekend and I saw it firsthand. I think they have a good cause but they just need organize themselves better.”

— Kelsi Gardner senior “ I think it’s pathetic and useless because they are spending too much time occupying Wall Street instead of looking for a job to boost the economy.” — Quy To

senior

“I agree with citizens trying to stand for what they believe as long as their protests are peaceful and legal. It’s everyone’s right to protest and have their voices heard!”

“It’s good because it’s drawing attention to problems and concerns of the economy and the income gap.” — Kathlyn Berry

history teacher —Compiled by Anias Flores

Full interview with Occupy protester Guy Anthony

Check out these additional stories online:

A

s the Occupy Wall Street movement celebrates its second month, cities across the country have been clearing protesters from their “tent cities” amid concerns of drug use and complaints by businesses and residents. The Occupy D.C. movement has expanded to two separate locations, Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, since its start on Oct. 6. It is set to last at least until their permit expires at the end of December. The movement has gained both national and international attention as it spreads to Europe and Asia. But for many of those involved, their participation has led to widespread criticism and ridicule. “I was walking back towards camp, when I overheard two girls say, ‘If you don’t have a job, this is the last thing you should be doing,” Annandale resident Kit LaCroix said. “I didn’t confront them, but I just thought to myself ‘If you can’t get a job even though you have been looking for months, what is there to do? I don’t have a job because I did not agree with some of the things my former employer was asking me to do.” For LaCroix and her husband of just over a year, Benn Mace, run-ins like these are not uncommon as most people don’t understand their reasons for being there in the first place. Later on, as a bus rode by, the protestors were greeted with a mix of encouraging cheers and explicit remarks. In complete unison the group yelled, “Off the bus and into the streets!” However, despite criticisms from passersby the couple was more than willing to sit down and explain their grievances to me and any other curious individuals as they struggled to roll cigarettes without exposing their hands to the bitter cold. LaCroix and Mace both became involved after being introduced to the movement by friends. “One of my bridesmaids was actually part of the original three-day protest held here,” LaCroix said, “And as soon as I came down, I realized everyone was talking about the stuff I had been railing about for years. It just took -- I was home.”

WHY ARE THEY THERE?

— Courtney Dearinger English teacher

OCCUPY FREEDOM PLAZA Annandale residents make their voices heard in D.C.

“ It shows how the young people have been affected by the recession and are taking a stand, which they have every right to do.”

Protester Benn Mace listens intently as his wife of just over a year shares her story of why she left her job and joined the Occupy D.C. movment nearly two months ago.

Full interviews with Karen Boyer and other members of Occupy D.C. Slideshow with additional photos of the movement Podcast with other participants describing their goals for the movement

For those in the Freedom Plaza location, motivations and grievances vary from frustration over the role corporations play in government to anger over U.S. involvement in Iraq. LaCroix’s own motivation was highly personal and long in the making. “I’ve long had a real frustration at the very

PROTESTS THROUGH THE YEARS: 1773

short attention span of the average American and the way policy is handed down from different media outlets,” LaCroix said. “Everything is about making the buck and getting more; that just seems wrong to me.” She was working for a government contractor, whose name she could not provide, when she became alarmed by the message their business practices were teaching. “It was so insidious and so like ‘If you’re not helping, you’re harming the American way of life.’ I got suckered into it; I believed that my artsy-fartsy, free-spiritedness was harming the American world,” LaCroix said. “It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized that those people are the ones harming the world.” Like everyone else at the rally, Mace had his own reason for being there. Growing up overseas, as the son of a diplomat, Mace frequently felt the need to defend his country, and supplemented his education to do so. “I delved into history, philosophy and political science as I thought it was being taught in America,” Mace said, “and I developed a great love of the Constitution. It’s

—Benn Mace the recognition that human nature is flawed and [that relying] on individual people is relying on too nebulous a referee. You need something concrete, you need something to hold them to. “ He argues that the preamble is frequently overlooked due to its perceived lack of substance, but he sees it as the framework through which to interpret the rest of the Constitution. Quoting the preamble, Mace describes the government’s role in providing for and defending the “posterity.” He is concerned that today’s students are not being properly educated about the role of government, making them unable to fully enjoy democracy. “I earnestly believe that my self-guided education was far more adequate in teaching me what my responsibilities are as a citizen, than [what] we get in our school these days,” Mace said. The couple’s frustrations with the government stems from much further than what they believe is a failure to provide a solid education for children. Mace raised the example of the Department of Defense spending tens of thousands of dollars a year to throw a Christmas party while soldiers do not have all the supplies they need. “That’s wrong, on so many different levels: morally, fiscally, even pragmatically. How do you expect to execute a war

Frustrated with the introduction of taxes on paper products and tea after the French and Indian War, the colonies decided to charge the docked ships and dumped their cargo, tea, into the water.

LIVING CONDITIONS One of the main criticisms of the movement is that people are creating and living in a filthy, drug-filled environment. While that may be the case in areas such as the McPherson Square camp, which one man described as “where the younger generation was camping out and doing drugs while infested with body lice,” Freedom Plaza was both clean and well organized. For those living in Freedom Plaza, the solution to this ongoing concern is to create an environment where each person has his or her own role based on individual skill sets. “We have a psychologist here, a plumber, a construction foreman, we have mediators. My friend Collin and his general demeanor make him really good at security,” Mace said. Amidst the cluster of tents is a information area, a kitchen and a first aid tent. Everybody meets for committee sessions in the morning and they discuss their ideas in forums.

WHAT REFORMS ARE THEY ASKING FOR? “The way I look at it, we are a bit premature for any reforms. First comes the complaint, then comes the conversation and then comes the demands. I think what we are witnessing right now is a long, drawn out conversation,” LaCroix said. “The more time that people with many different points and ideas spend living literally on top of each other, the more conversations happen, and the more commonalities start to rise to the top. I firmly believe we are in stage two of that.” With that perspective, occupiers are prepared for the process to move slowly. In fact, Mace anticipates that it will take a year for a common viewpoint to arise. He believes that the key to all of it is compromise from not only those in the camp, but also political leaders. “Compromise isn’t about making everyone happy,” Mace said. “It’s about making everybody manageably discontent.” Mace argues that it is the task of the Congressmen and leaders who represent the people to work to find common ground and criticizes them above all for their partisanship. “I want to tell Congress something, ‘You’re cowards if you think you are going to benefit, that the country is going to benefit from you being so obstinate when it comes to your ideology. Dig a little deeper and learn a lesson or two from our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson had to delete a clause abolishing the institution of slavery so that South Carolina would sign off. They compromised and they built something as a result. If you don’t compromise in this system of government, nothing gets done and everything just crumbles.’” Occupiers of D.C. also argue that their protest extends past the government, as it is the people who control it and the people who need to make a

LABOR MOVEMENT:

CIVIL RIGHTS:

Most historians mark Lowell, Massachusetts as the location from which the labor movement stemmed. The movement began in the 1820s as workers sought to reduce their daily hours from 12 to 10. Unions also began forming in companies across the country.

The Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began in 1955 and lasted four year after King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The movement sought a legal ban on racial discrimination in America.

1820 BOSTON TEA PARTY:

We are the people, we are the posterity, so stand up, take control, be responsible and use the ballot box

effectively when some of your defense spending isn’t going to anything defensive? Mace said.

1848

1955

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE: Although early stages of the Women’s Suffrage Movement can be traced back to the Revolutionary War, 1848 marked the Seneca Falls Convention where women demanded the right from the government. Over 40 years later, in 1920, women were officially given the right to vote.

1969 ANTIWAR: In the fall of 1969, over 500,000 people marched on Washington in protest of the ongoing war in Vietnam. The movement sparked reactions across the country, inspiring other similar displays as well as influencing the music and lyrics of artists.


IN-DEPTH

Nov. 29, 2011

Interview with an occupier

Guy Anthony

Q. Why do you think the methodology for the movement has been successful?

doing something.” It’s changed the dialogue around the country in a very short order.

A. I think it’s captured people’s imaginations because people have been waiting for something to happen. People know the system is broken; no matter what your political ideology, you know its not working. Well, it’s working if you have a billion dollars, if you’re making that salary a year. But the government and the elected officials are not responsive, and everyone has been waiting for something. When this sprang, there was a huge weighty exhale, a sigh of relief. As if “Thank God, someone’s

Q.Why are you at occupy? A. I’ve been involved in politics, going back to [when I was] very young. I think it’s maybe in my DNA, or maybe because I’m Irish and we always love to talk politics. [I was involved] going back to high school in the 60s, with the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. I’ve really been waiting [for] my time to come back, and I’m just glad that I’m alive to see it.

your progress as a movement? A. Well I think it’s been huge. It’s been two months and we’ve totally changed the dialogue of politics of the country. This time at the end of September, nobody would have known who the 99% was and who the 1% was. People maybe knew in the back of their heads that the government wasn’t responsive, but they really didn’t know or think in terms like that. Now there is an awareness and it informs every discussion there is. We’ve changed the dialogue, and I think we’ve set the [political dialogue] on a course that’s going to be irreversible.

Q.How would you measure —BY TRICIA O’NEILL

11

Veteran History teachers thoughts on Occupy Wall Street Our ability to understand even the short term direction of national or international political systems is discouragingly low. John Hawes It is especially hard, in the midst of events, to predict the longer-term implications of any particular occurrence, such as this fall’s “occupy Wall Street” movement. Nevertheless, as citizens it is our responsibility to make our best efforts to sort out the significance and update our present and future world models accordingly. In this spirit, the following points seem in order with regard to the “occupy Wall Street” protest:

1

The protest is symbolic for the greater dissatisfaction with unemployment, lack of economic growth, rising inequality, and the lack of reforms to the financial sector.

2

The country needs to develop a long term approach to large problems, and be more proactive, rather than waiting until we’ve reached a crisis.

3

Despite the large role the US had in globalization, we are ill prepared to deal with some of its inherent risks.

4

Relative to us, some of the newer world powers have shown an ability to reinvent themselves in and for the modern world, and in the process to learn from the experience of others.

Fairfax Highschool alumni Kit LaCroix takes a drag of her cigarette while discussing her involvement in the “Occupy D.C.” Freedom Plaza movement

5

We need economic reform on a grand scale for today’s very different world.

A musician by the name of Nomad performs for protesters camping in Freedom Plaza.

To see the full text visit www.thea-blast.org Protester Casey Webber, 22, expresses his views and frustrations with the government.

Interview with Karen Boyer

Multicolored tents litter Freedom Plaza in D.C. At any time, as many as 20 protesters may be found camping out at this Occupy location.

Q. How did you first get involved with Occupy? A. “We launched this event on Oct. 6, which was the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, and I became involved because I feel very strongly that this country is headed in the wrong direction and we need to end the wars.” Q. In your opinion what actions should the government take?

A man listens on as other protestors explain their differing views on corporate influence in the U.S. government. Daily forums are held by protesters to discuss their ideas for reform.

A protestor taste tests lunch after helping to prepare food for the rest of the camp.

A. In my opinion the government should not only bring their soldiers home, they should bring the contracted military home, and they should do service.We could end poverty, or we could end hunger for the amount of money that we spend in three weeks on the war. Q. Can you describe the community and everyone’s different roles?

Many of the protesters have taken it upon themselves to decorate the outside of their tents with posters and sign proclaiming their grievances and beliefs . —Photos taken by A.J. McCafferty

A man feeds his dog scraps of food during his lunch while camping at D.C.’s Freedom

GAY RIGHTS:

1993

On Sept. 17, 3,000 people gathered to protest greed and corruption on Wall Street test greed and corruption in the government and financial system. Since the protestors were unable to actually camp on Wall Street, they settled in Zuccotti Park and adopted the slogan, “We are the 99%.”

On November 30, 1999, protesters crowded the streets outside the location of the World Trade Organization’s meeting in Seattle Washington. The crowd was an estimated 40,000 in size and resulted in the use of tear gas and over 600 arrests as demonstrators formed a human chain in streets.

Though it continues to be an issue in the U.S. today, the Gay Rights Movement took off after police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. The Inn was raided after it was discovered to be a safe house for homosexual men and women.

1969

OCCUPY WALL STREET:

ANTIGLOBALIZATION:

1999

2009

2011

MILLION MAN MARCH:

TEA PARTY PROTESTS:

In October of 1993, Minister Louis Farrakhan requested for African-American men willing to pledge to be sober, driven, hardworking, and willing to work to clean up their communities to gather at Washington’s National Mall for a day of atonement. The march was also used to advocate protection of AfricanAmerican rights throughout the nation.

In January 2009, Graham Makohoniuk requested for Tea bags to be mailed to Congress and Senate in order to protest Big Government, overspending and taxation. As congress was inundated with tea bags, the Tea Party movement grew and protests began cropping up around the country. Ultimately, the movement contributed to the Republicans’ return to the majority in the 2010 midterm elections.

A. Well we have about 13-16 different committees and they meet to come up with ideas about how we could improve the situation. For instance, housing, military, finance, and different committees take a turn reporting to the general assembly and we have a very large proposal for the Super committee on the web. It’s a really interesting way for people of different walks of life to get to know each other and understand each other. Q. What made you decide to get involved? A. I’ve been protesting for a long time. I was a high school student when the Vietnam war was happening, so I got involved in anti-war back then, and then I got back into it once Bush became president. Q. How do you think things have changed in protesting then vs now? A. One of the main differences is the social network that allows people to communicate, which was really important in the Middle East. So people have new ways of communicating with one another now, which empowers us and it empowers the young people. For a long time the young people weren’t involved at all, but now they’re in and [even] leading the movement.

—BY TRICIA O’NEILL


12

ADVERTISEMENT

Nov. 29, 2011


Photo

Nov. 29, 2011

What’s it like to be on swIm team?

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Meet the boys and girls dive teams

“It’s awesome, everyone is a family on the team, and everyday is a new and fun experience.”

Junior Clark Girardin

—Willie Labarca Senior

Q: Do you think the boys team is going to do well this season? A: I don’t think we’re going to be as strong as last year, and other teams are going to be better than us.

“It’s really busy with all the social activites, but I love it!”

Q:Who is your top diver? A: Pat McCann Q:What are your goals as a team this season? A: We’d like to go undefeated to repeat that trend from the past two years.

—Alli Foster Senior

Q:Who is your toughest meet going to be against? A: Definitely Woodson. They’re gonna be good, really good. They have some really strong divers.

sarah bergen

“It’s a ton of fun, everyone on the team grows really close throughout the season.”

—Andrew Boyd Junior Sophomore Tricia Liller streamlines off the wall during practice. Liller is a returning for her second year on the swim team.

“It helps me improve for summer swim, and I really enjoy being a part of the team.”

Senior Jazmine Bounds Q: Do you think the girls team is going to do well this season? A: I think we’re going to do well, we just need to work really hard at every practice.

—Joe Rolen Junior

Q:Who is your top diver? A: Allie Vogus

“It’s hard work, but you make friends that will last you a lifetime.”

Q:What are your goals as a team this season? A: To “sweep” at least one meet, which means for all our girls to place first, second, third and fourth.

—Melanie Bennett Sophomore

Q:Who is your toughest meet going to be against? A: Probably Woodson or West Springfield because both have really great divers.

The AHS swim & dive team consists of 70 people. The teams season will open on Dec. 2 against Lake Braddock Bruins.

sarah bergen

sarah bergen

The rest of the AHS boys and girls dive team members

Junior Paul Helfgott

Sophomore Lizzie Manthos practices her start off the block while others wait to go.

stephanie allshouse

Returning sophomore Kaitlin Martindale works on her breaststroke during practice.

Senior Pat McCann

Freshman Kyle Goettlicher

Sophomore Allie Vogus

Freshman Shannon Lewandowski

Freshman Jane Carey

During swim practice, the lanes are split into three different skill levels: “guppy,” medium and advanced lanes.

stephanie allshouse

stephanie allshouse

Sophomore James Barker practices his backstroke start off the block during a break at practice at Audrey Moore.

Freshman Annika Hackfield takes time to stretch before practice. Hackfield also wears tights to create drag while swimming. This is the second season the team has been required to wear tights during practice.

Winter Sports Start Up On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view pictures of the start of winter sports training.


14 Carli’s Corner Advice Column

LIFESTYLES

Nov. 29, 2011

Don’t get tangled in ties Learn how to tie a neck tie using the classic Windsor knot in eight simple steps

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Have a problem? E-mail Carli at: carli.loeb@gmail.com.

What is your favorite brand logo? “My favorite is the Eagles. I like them.”

--Douglas Nguyen freshman

Bring the wide end across the top of the knot again.

“The swoosh logo, it’s unique and gives personality.”

---Godwin Banzuelo senior

“‘I love Boobies’ because it supports breast cancer.”

---Jasmine Rivera senior

-Compiled by Sarah Omer and Allison Ilagan

Fashion blogs: Sea of Shoes On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to read about a popular fashion blog.

ROWAN SHARTEL

8

ROWAN SHARTEL

ROWAN SHARTEL

Bring the wide end back down and lace it through the front of the knot.

Bring the wide end up through the top of the loop again.

Tighten the knot and adjust with both hands.

automotive tradition.” -Joe Desio, auto tech teacher

“‘Friday is Tie Day’ was started by me in 1991. [The auto tech students] receive a grade for wearing a tie. I wanted to accomplish a few things. I needed to know that the students would have something nice to wear for a job interview, wedding, funeral or date. The students act differently when wearing nice shirts and ties; we are technicians, not just mechanics! Wearing ties has become an AHS

“I own 7 ties; I wear them for special occasions. I like wearing them because my ties are pretty fresh.” -Paul Singh, senior “I own 2 ties. I wear them to family parties, but I don’t like wearing them because they are annoying.” -Pablo Garamendi, junior -Compiled by Anais Flores

Fashion blogs offer a new perspective on style

---Lailumah Faisal sophomore

---Hanan Hassen junior

Pull down and tighten the loops.

7

Words from students and teachers on ties:

“I like the Abercrombie logo because I like the moose!”

“I love George Mason’s logo. I want to go there.”

Take the thick side and loop it over top of the crossed center, then pull it behind the cross.

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ROWAN SHARTEL

Dear Decisions, decisions, To be noticed you need to get yourself noticed. The age difference might make it a little more difficult to talk to him and/or see him during school since he is unlikely to be in your classes, but don’t let this setback keep you from doing what you want. Bump into him in the hallway and see where the conversation leads, or even join a club you know he’s in. That way, you have reason to talk with him as often as you want. The basis for any healthy relationship is communication, so do what you can and get to know him. If you find out he’s not your type, then you know to move on. But, if it turns out you really do like his personality, then keep talking to him and hopefully he’ll feel the same. Just remember, nothing promising will come out of sitting back and hoping for the best. Get into action and be confident! -Carli

Cross the thick side again, this time behind the thin side.

Put the tie around your neck, evenly spaced on both sides, and cross the thick side over the thin side.

ROWAN SHARTEL

Dear Carli, I like a guy that is one year older than me. I’ve known him ever since I was in the seventh grade, but I don’t know if he notices me. Please help! --Decisions, decisions

ROWAN SHARTEL

ROWAN SHARTEL

Young hoping to catch old

ROWAN SHARTEL

By Carli Loeb

Fashion blogs have been very interesting to me lately. The YouTube channel Juicystar07, which is run by a teenager named Blair Fowler, really caught my eye. She provides good videos for young adults in high

school and college. She not only creates videos for what is trendy, but also gives organizational tips for all aspects of life, from your closet to your school bag. Her sister Elle is also a blogger on YouTube, and the two currently share a website called www.elleandblair.com. Together, they post written blogs about the latest trends and tips in fashion. Articles include “Halloween Fun: Are you a vampire, werewolf or witch?” as well as “Quick Tip: Be Shoulder Savvy”. Most of the articles focus on styles for the season, whether it be back to school or vacation time. The girls keep up with styles and know what the teenage age group likes. Blair started her channel at age 15, as a sophomore in high school in 2008, and

Elle was 21 when she started hers in 2009. The girls also incorporate money saving tips, which are very useful for teen girls on a budget in this economy. Included on their website are also makeup tips and tutorials for those who are less beauty savvy. The girls themselves have such a glamorous appearance that anyone should use them as an example for tips. Lastly, there are also health tips. They also have an online store called shopglitzyglam.com. In their online store, you can find tons of their favorite stuff, from throws to school essentials. They use most of the products themselves, which are featured in their videos. Vera Bradley products are advertised, as they are one of the sisters’ favorite brands (as

well as mine), and they have great recommendations for other brands as well. Another great thing that they do is use their connections and popularity to support good charities. Blair and Elle have recently made several videos supporting the Mark Foundation, which raises awareness for dating abuse to young women. This issue is current and affects many young ladies. Buying one of the necklaces for the Mark Foundation will provide donations to the foundation and also help spread the word about abuse. They are very inexpensive at $22, and make a great gift for any occasion. Thank you Elle and Blair for your amazing strength and deliverance of information. Continue being awesome!

Discover yourself with name numerology Calculate your name numerology to expose your standout characteristics BY ROWAN SHARTEL Lifestyles Editor From horoscopes to birth stones, new ways to discover qualities about people are always emerging. A recent method to emerge is name numerology, also known as Pythagoran numerology. The origins of name numerology go back to mathematicians and are associated with the same type of prediction and personality description as color mapping and fortune telling. The appeal for students is the balance between the puzzle of discovering their number and the ease with which the number is able to be found. The qualities are also all positive, which helps to appeal to more students because there is no fear of discovering an inherently negative personality. Numerology can also help to characterize a person by helping them connect to aspects of their personality they may not have been aware of. Whether people are skeptical or not about the qualities they end up matched to, it remains that the new matches will strike a chord and cause them to at least reflect on themselves. Whether they are believers in superstition and horoscopes, or whether they are completely logical thinkers, name numerology appeals to all students because it is entertaining and informative at the same time. Instructions: Assign each letter of the first name the number that corresponds with it in the first table. Add all of the numbers together once each letter is assigned. If the resultant number is not listed on the second table, add the two digits together until a number on the table is reached.

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A

B

C

D

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F

G

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I

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Ambitious, independent and self-sufficient

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Supportive, diplomatic and analytical

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Enthusiastic, optimistic and fun-loving

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Practical, traditional and serious

5

Adventurous, mercurial and sensual

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Responsible, careful and domestic

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Spiritual, eccentric and a bit of a loner

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Money-oriented, decisive and stern

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Multi-talented, compassionate and global

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Enlightened, intense and high-strung

22

Goal-oriented, a global planner and inspired INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM HTTP://WWW.INAMEDB.COM/BABY/NUMEROLOGY.


Sports X-tra

ABlast

the

Nov. 29, 2011

Colleges recruit senior athletes Future School: Southern Connecticut State University Why did you choose to attend SCSU? What is your favorite part about the school? I like the team, the coaches and the campus are really nice. My favorite thing about the school is the gym and the cafeteria, they are the best places ever. What was the recruiting process like? It was really long and it was fun, but long and tiring. There were lots of phone calls from different colleges. Did any other schools express an interest in you? If so, what were they and why did you choose not to attend? Yes, Longwood University, Mount St. Mary’s, Fairleigh, Dickinson. They’re good schools in all, but their record wasn’t all that good and I wanted to go to a school with a really good record.

A typical game of bolf:

What made you want to play basketball in college? I wanted to try going to the next level, and I think I can do well playing college basketball. How did your parents react to you signing to play with Southern Connecticut? They were happy because in terms of money [the tutition] was all covered and it was a reward for four years of hard work. What do you hope to acheive while playing in college? I hope to do my best and contribute a lot to the team so we can do well throughout the season. I want to benefit the team with my playing. What will be the most challenging part of playing college basketball? The hardest part is probably going to be balancing school work with practice and traveling. It is going to be a lot to balance compared to high school.

Junior Nolan Gilbert prepares to hit the ball as he takes the appropriate stance. Courtesy of jackie beathea

JACKIE BEATHEA

Beathea (right) jumps to block a player in last year’s game against West Springfield.

HAILEY BROWN

Junior Joe Rolen begins to swing to send the ball as close to the target as he can.

Future school: Shepherd University

Courtesy of Hailey brown

Why did you choose to attend Shepherd University? What is your favorite part about the school? I chose Shepherd because it’s close enough to my house where I can come home and visit my family on the weekends. My favorite part of the school is the team because it is very welcoming and they were really nice people and I’m excited to spend the next four years playing with them.

Brown shoots a penalty shot at one of the away games during last year’s basketball season.

What was the recruiting process like? [A recruiter] came to some of my tournaments and she liked how I played and she talked to me and asked me to come to the school. They were very welcoming and everyone in the town is really sweet, so I fell in love. Did any other schools express an interest in you? If so, what were they and why did you choose not to attend? I was going to go to Hofstra University, but it’s too far and I wanted to stay close. And I had some other D1 and D2 colleges, but I really liked Shepherd [which is a D2 school].

What made you want to play basketball in college? I want the challenge because I know it’s going to be hard balancing school with basketball, and since I love basketball I really wanted to continue. How did your parents react to you signing to play with Sheperd? My mom was very happy and thankful because it is a way where she doesn’t have to pay for college. What do you hope to achieve while playing in college? I definitely want to contribute to the team so we can win the championship and make an impact on the team.

What was the recruiting process like? I filled out an online questionnaire after my junior year of diving and then the coach started emailing me and asked me to come up on a recruiting trip. After that, we kept talking and he finally made me an offer for a scholarship. Did any other schools express an interest in you? If so, what were they and why did you choose not to attend? Yes, the College of Charleston, Emory University, East Carolina University, and Davidson College. I chose not to attend these schools because I like Delaware more than the others, and they offered me a scholarship as opposed to other schools that had an interest in me to dive for them.

Senior Willie Labarca aims his hand at where he would like his ball to go.

What made you want to dive in college? I started the sport recently and I felt like I can get a lot better and put the time in college to see how far I can take it. How did your parents react to you signing with Delaware? They were really happy about it because I got the opportunity to play a Division I sport. The scholarship took a lot of money off the tuition cost and they were really happy that they didn’t have to pay as much. What do you hope to achieve while diving in college? I want to be the best diver on the team and win the CAA championship by my senior year. What will be the most challenging part of participating college dive? The hardest part will probably be balancing my school work with my practices and getting enough sleep.

Courtesy of Patrick Mccann

Why did you choose to attend the University of Delaware? What is your favorite part about the school? I really like the school in general, the coach and the team seemed really nice. It’s out of state but it’s close enough so that I’m not far away. My favorite part of the school is the mascot, the Blue Hens

Juniors mix concepts of golf and baseball to create the sport ‘bolf’

Colleen adenan

By Colleen Adenan Sports X-tra Editor

Junior Luke Lundy uses golf’s equivalent of a putt during his turn to improve his accuracy and control without overpowering his swing. This technique is commonly used in bolf.

the bat, then it doesn’t count as a stroke. “We got the idea when junior Luke Lundy and I were just joking around one day when we were playing,” junior Nolan Gilbert said. “We started trying to hit stuff and it just turned into a game like golf.” The boys who take part include juniors Matthew Del Signore,

Lundy bends down to see how far away his ball is from the designated target.

McCann prepares to dive at one dive meet last year.

Ready to play a game of ‘bolf?’ As you hear the crack of the bat and see the baseball soar across the field, you watch the player drop his bat. However, rather than sprint to the base, they saunter slowly towards where the ball has fallen with the other competitors, much similar to what golfers do. This mixture of sports may seem strange, but it has become popular among students, especially with the juniors of AHS. The sport being played is “bolf,” a combination of baseball and golf. Players hit a ball to certain locations with the object of the game being to finish with the least amount of hits possible. After the initial hit, players start wherever their ball lands. There are no restrictions on how many holes there are, but the person with the least amount of total strokes at the end wins. If you whiff the ball,meaning you don’t touch it at all when swinging

Junior Luke Lundy finishes his swing.

What will be the most challenging part of playing college basketball? It is probably going to be hard adjusting from high school basketball to college where conditioning is every day and we don’t get Sundays off. We’re always on the road for games, so I have to get used to it.

PATRICK MCCANN Future School: University of Delaware

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Michael Hennessey, Nolan Gilbert, Luke Lundy, Jonathan Pratt and Clark Girardin. “[The people who play are] usually guys from baseball or whoever can handle a baseball bat,” Gilbert said. “But we’re pretty chill about it, so we invite our friends too just to hang out.” The group meets at the AHS

baseball field to play once or twice a week after school or on the weekend. “It’s great because you can hang out with your friends and just relax while having fun,” junior Jonathan Pratt said. “I like the incorporation of our great nation’s past time into a good game of golf,” junior Clark Girardin said. Because Girardin does not play baseball anymore, he sees bolf as a way for him to hang out and have fun with his friends. “It’s great that you can’t cheat when you play,” Gilbert said. “It’s also really satisfying when you get a hole-in-one.” Players are unable to cheat because of the constant presence of the other participants. “My advice to people that play would be to hit the ball accurately,” Girardin said. “Don’t just hit the ball as hard as possible, it usually just makes you do worse.” Despite how much fun the group is having, they aren’t planning on making it an official game. “We aren’t trying to turn it into some big sport,” Gilbert said. “Right now, it’s just something we do to chill and bond as a team for baseball since most of us play. If it gets any more competitive, it won’t be as enjoyable.”

Junior Gunnar Thompson throws the baseball up to hit it on the final hole.

—Compiled by Colleen Adenan

Winter sports start getting festive On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a story on the traditions of winter sports.


16 Coach’s Corner: Patrick Hughes

SPORTS

Nov. 29, 2011

Track starts indoor season

sophomore and returning 100 meter dash District Champion Alex Ellison, seniors Roland Andoh and Walter Manlen and junior Austin Chavez.

Boys and girls teams use tryouts to cut down, prepare for another successful season

Q: Are you doing anything different this year? A: “I put in some different stuff. I’m trying to put in some stuff to work on [their] strengths, taking my time to develop something that they can understand and get better with.” Q: Who are your key returning varsity players? A: “There’s a number of them; Jackie Beathea, Hailey Brown, Gaby Ripani, Lorraine Turner, Diana Hurtado. And all of them will have a key role on the team. There’s also some kids coming up from JV, [including] Shannon Casey, Erin Johnson and Carly Klima.” Q: What are your toughest games this season? A: “West Springfield will be our toughest game this season. We also have a hard schedule this year. Oakton is our first game, and there are some tough teams after that. But we’re not hiding from anyone and we’re gonna work hard to prepare.” Q: What are your goals for the team this season? A: “Winning districts, winning 15 games. Getting better each game and peaking at the [Patriot District] Tournament.” Q: How do you feel about this year’s team compared to teams in the past? A: “I think we can actually make a little more noise this season. In the past, we’ve had 13 or 14 wins in a season, but this year I think we can do better.”

Correction: In the last edition of The A-Blast, “Cheer disappointed at finals” incorrectly said that the cheer team placed seventh at districts and lacked coverage of a tabulation error. For a corrected version of the story, visit www.thea-blast.org.

Varsity girls basketball schedule Nov. 29 @ Robinson Dec. 6 vs. Herndon Dec. 9 vs. Washington-Lee

Juniors Rowan Shartel and Connie Tran and freshman Lee Hayes compete in the 200 meter dash during indoor track tryouts. Tryouts were held for the girls on Nov. 15 and 17.

as expected, and a majority of those who tried out made the cut. “Our goal is the same it has always been, to win districts.” Miller said. Although both teams lost many of their key varsity athletes from last year, including JP Jenkins, Joel Hoisington, Josh Jean-Jacques and Jenna Balicki, both have many returning varsity runners and

newfound talent that should help them compete at a high level again this year. The girls team is led by returning members senior Sabrina Romano and juniors Rowan Shartel and Connie Tran. The returning varsity runners on the boys side include senior and cross country State Champion Ahmed Bile,

Wrestling looks to dominate Varsity wrestlers work hard in preparation for tournaments and tough district match-ups BY NADIA ELGENDY Staff Writer As the 2011-2012 wrestling season fast approaches, the varsity and JV wrestlers diligently prepare for what is to come. “The team’s pretty amped up this season,” junior Jack Johnson said. “We have a solid lineup this year.” All athletes participate in daily practices that include perfecting positions on the mat and weekly workouts in the weight room. “We all are coming into this season with a clear mind and one goal,” sophomore Dominic Maier said. “To win districts and put AHS on the map.” “I don’t believe it’s all about the records,” wrestling coach Keith Sholders said. “It’s all about hard work and sticking together.” The key players for the upcoming season consist of seniors Dane Harlowe, Ali Ali Musa, John McCollom, Rawand Shamdeen, and returning juniors Archie Elba and Jordan Dickerson. There also seems to be a positive outlook concerning freshmen Bennet Cutrera and Wes Miller. “They could step up and help the team this year,” Johnson said. However, Sholders seems to have a different perspective, as he believes that the team must work together to do well. “We don’t have specific key players, our team works as one.” Sholders said. Last year the Atoms placed second in the district

OLIVIA LAFFERTY

Q: How do you expect the girls to perform this season? A: “I think we’re gonna be pretty good. We’re trying to improve our outside shooting and [get our] turnovers down. They’re working really hard and we’re looking good.”

The AHS indoor track team has grown to be one of the largest teams in both the region and state in the past few years. With almost 160 athletes from the girls team, boys team and throwers combined, this growing team presents a safety hazard to the community and the athletes themselves. While the team is extremely large, they have dealt with the ratio of students to coaches well and have been successful in the past. In the last few years, the boys team has won four district championships and the first Northern Region Championship AHS has seen in a while. Numerous boys and girls athletes have competed and won at the district, region and even state level. With large amounts of athletes running around the neighborhood and not enough coaches to watch over them, the growing number of track athletes needed to be addressed. This year, head coach Sean Miller decided to address the problem through tryouts based on both ability and effort. The tryouts began on Nov. 14 and ended on Nov. 18. There was not as large of a turnout

PRIYA ADHIKARY

BY SAMIR SHAH Sports Editor

“I’m really looking forward to this season and can’t wait to see what I can do,” Ellison said. “I ran a pretty fast time at the tryouts for the 100, but I’m sure I can do better.” Bile was one of the top high school running recruits in the country, with four state championships under his belt and countless other titles. He recently announced his decision to run at Georgetown University next year on a full scholarship. Bile has not yet started his training for indoor track, as his cross country season was extended due to south regional competition. Last year, Bile placed 14th and earned All-American status at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships in San Diego, California. This year, he will be the third fastest returning runner and could be a contender for the national championship. “My goal is to place in the top five at nationals and end my season on a good note,” Bile said. Bile will be a key asset to the team this year, holding the potential to contribute as much as 30 points to the team’s score, as each district championship earns the team 10 points. The team’s first meet of the winter season will be held on Dec. 4 at Episcopal HS and will reflect the team’s progress and competitiveness to come during the regular season.

Freshman Bennet Cutrera counters a takedown from an opponent and attempts one of his own at a recent practice at AHS.

competition and fourth in regionals, with several players, including senior Dane Harlowe, winning state titles. Despite a decent record last season, there is always room for improvement. “Last season we came up short in the district finals to South County,” Johnson said. “I think this year we’re the team to beat. We have all the tools to succeed, it’s just a matter of wanting to when

January rolls around.” AHS has 10 matches lined up this season, including those against longtime rivals Lake Braddock and Woodson. “They all improved a whole lot this season and they’re going to be even better this time next year” Johnson said.

Dec. 13 @ Westfield Dec. 16 vs. Woodson Dec. 20 vs. West Springfield Dec. 27 @ Oakton

Girls aim high at season’s start Team sets high goals, looks to improve heading into games

Ahmed Bile signs with Georgetown On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view the full story about Ahmed Bile’s commitment to run at Georgetown University.

Basketball season has officially started and the girls varsity team has been focused on making this season memorable. This year, head coach Patrick Hughes and the team have many aspects that they want to improve upon and goals that they want to reach. They are setting their goals high and cannot wait to accomplish them. “I want our defense, efficiency on the court and our record to improve from last year.” Hughes said. Aside from their team goals, many of the girls have personal goals, which they hope to achieve throughout the season. “I want to improve on my dribbling and shooting,” junior Gaby Ripani said. The girls are planning on working a lot harder this season in order to improve and reach their goals. They

OLIVIA LAFFERTY

BY PRIYA ADHIKARY Photographer

Junior Gabbi Ripani attempts to pass the ball to a teammate while being defended by sophomore Carly Klima during practice. Both will be on the varsity squad this year.

will work hard to achieve their goals and become stronger as a team. “My goal would be to get better at playing defense,” junior Diana Hurtado said. There are many key and returning

varsity players on the team this season. Some of these players include Jackey Beathea, Hailey Brown, Diana Hurtado, Gaby Ripani and Lorraine Turner. Brown has been on the varsity squad for four years, and both she and

Bethea have received scholarships to play college basketball. These players are extremely dedicated and work hard every time they step on the court. “We have some really good senior leaders.” Hughes said. As the season progresses, the girls hope to become better players and make it to regionals. Last year, the girls won 13 games and hope to improve their record this year. Hughes wishes to begin the season with more intensity than last year by recording more rebounds off the board as a team. He also wants his team to go to qualify for the district championship. “I want our team to go to regionals and beat West Springfield.” Ripani said. For some of the players it is just their first year on varsity, which can be a very big deal for them. Just like the rest of their teammates, their primary goal is to make it to regionals, but some aspire to go even further. “It feels good, and I hope we can make it far enough in regionals to go to states,” sophomore Carly Klima said.


SPORTS

Nov. 29, 2011

Bile one second behind winner “Bile” continued from page 1 North Carolina, Duke and University of California Berkeley invited Bile to spend a few nights on campus throughout the past few months. Bile visited Georgetown first, followed by UVA and then UNC. “Georgetown was my first visit, it was the day after my birthday,” Bile said. “They showed me a good time.” After the first three visits, Bile said he canceled his Duke and Berkeley visits. “I knew I wanted to go [to Georgetown],” he said. However, Bile also said “The UVA guys were really awesome, so it made my decision between UVA and Georgetown really tough.” Cross country head coach David O’Hara said he supports Bile’s college decision “wholeheartedly.” “The program [at Georgetown] has a larger scope or view of Ahmed’s career,” O’Hara said. “It would bring him along a little more slowly instead of putting high intensity pressure on him his freshman year and cause him to be injured or slower as many programs would.” As Bile’s coach for most of his running career, O’Hara knows what is best for him in terms of which college would best support his talent. “When you have a really great athlete your job as a coach is to help him prepare mentally and to keep him healthy,” O’Hara said. “Which is really a minimal role but an important role at the same time.” Location was not a big factor in which university Bile committed to, although he was specifically considering schools on the east coast. “I didn’t care how close I was to home, but my mom was happy when I chose

Georgetown,” Bile said. “My whole family wanted me to go to there and they’re all Georgetown fans and have grown up around DC, so it kinda played a factor that my whole family wanted me to go there.” The fact that Georgetown is less than 30 minutes away from home was not the only factor that influenced Bile’s decision. “I felt really comfortable with the team; the guys were awesome and I really liked the coach,” Bile said. Academics played a big part in Bile’s commitment. In the end, Bile said the name of the school and its overall prestige mattered greatly for him. He gets a fifth year of eligibility because of his red-shirting (which means taking a year off of athletics to do other things) and “[Georgetown] will pay for my grad school,” Bile said. “I’ll probably continue in the McDonough school of business or go to the law school.” However Bile also said he sees himself signing a contract to go professional in his fifth year at Georgetown, which depends heavily on how well he performs at the collegiate level. “Like any great high school runner, a lot of things have to go right to be as successful in college as you are in high school,” O’Hara said. “A lot of that is being a healthy runner, which is a lot of the reason that he decided to go to Georgetown.” Finally, a more personal reason Bile was willingly on-board with Georgetown is the fact that “Georgetown’s a big Nike school,” he said. “I’m just excited to get on the free gear and never having to buy any running stuff again.” Overall, Bile, his family and his coach feel like he made the best decision for himself. “I felt really good about the decision,” O’Hara said. “It was really well informed, we took our

Q: Are you doing anything different this year? A: “[We are] keeping the same routine to help us achieve our goals. Nothing different.” Q: Who are your key wrestlers? A: “Dane Harlowe, Ali Musa, John McCollom, Rawand Shamdin, and Bryan Jefferson” Q: What are your toughest matches this year? A: “The out of state tournaments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia Beach.”

time, and his parents took their time, and a lot of thought went into it so it

Large turnout bolsters early season hopes for championship run

SARAH BERGEN

BY WILLIAM BENNETT Staff Writer

Senior Willie Labarca works on his freestyle during practice. Labarca is one of many strong seniors on the team this year that hopes to lead the team to a successful season.

the 84 who tried out would make the squad. “We have a lot of depth this year,” Jarvis said. With the final roster having been decided, the second week of practice got a little tougher on swimmers, with a typical workout consisting of 3,000 yards of swimming. While that may seem like a lot of laps, the workouts are only expected to get tougher and tougher, with the ultimate goal being regular workouts of 3,500 yards or more. Many members of the team swim during the summer or year-round,

Q: How do you feel about this years team compared to years in the past? A: “[We have] a team with potential. We can reach our goals if we train hard.”

Senior Ahmed Bile placed second in the southern region cross-country race by only one second, qualifying for the Foot Locker National Championship in San Diego.

wasn’t a rash or quick decision that we jumped into.”

Swim prepares for first meet

Everything about the scene is familiar: the strong stench of chlorine, the shimmer of the clear blue water and the hustle and bustle as team members prepare for day one of practice. The only surprise: a total of 84 faces, adding new depth to a team purged by redistricting over the past two years. As the AHS swim team prepares for their first meet of the season, expectations run high as they hope to contend for the Patriot District Championship behind newfound depth. “I want to get six relays and six divers into regionals,” Head Coach Neal Jarvis said. “I’m hoping that a lot of the team places in districts, does well in regionals and hopefully makes states,” senior Willie Labarca said. After the first week of practice, which was a tryout for the team, coaches April Brassard, Donna Kruse and Jarvis were faced with the difficult task of choosing which of

Coach’s Corner: Keith Sholders

Q: How do you expect the team to perform this year? A: “ We have a lot of work ahead [of us] and hard workouts.

COURTESY OF MILESTAT

Senior plagued by sickness, untied shoe

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with programs such as the Potomac Marlins, Mason Makos and Machine Aquatics being some of the most popular year-round teams. “I swim year-round and it’s prepared me a lot for this season,” sophomore Sarah Padrutt said. Although the main goal of the team is to win the district championship, all the swimmers set their own individual goals. “I want to beat the 50-yard freestyle record,” Labarca said. “My goal for this year is to cut a lot of time from my 500-yard freestyle time,” junior Dylan Gore said.

The team conditions from Mondays to Thursdays at Audrey Moore RECenter, practicing from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., which is a change from their practice times of 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. last year. At the beginning of the year, it was unclear whether or not the team would be able to use the RECenter on Wednesdays due to athletic budget cuts. However, the decision was reversed from last season and the team has been allowed to practice there on Wednesdays. In addition, the team will have dry land practices at the school on Fridays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. until the first meet of the year. The team also gathers at Lake Accotink Park on Saturdays for dry land practices, which consist of runs around the lake. “The practice load has been really good this year,” senior Alec Montes de Oca said. “It’s helping me and everyone else on the team get in shape.” “I used to be fat, but swim team made me skinny,” sophomore James Barker said. “It’s really easy,” senior Taylor Swann said. “We don’t have dry land every day, which is fantastic.” “I think we will have a very successful year,” junior Joe Rolen said. “Winning the district would be the candle on the cake.”

Boys basketball remains determined

Boys varsity basketball schedule Nov. 29 vs Robinson Dec. 6 @ Herndon Dec. 9 @ Washington-Lee Dec. 13 vs Westfield Dec. 16 @ W.T. Woodson Dec. 17 @ Granby Dec. 20 @ West Springfield Jan. 3 vs West Potomac Jan. 6 vs Lee

Varsity swim and dive schedule Dec. 2 vs, Lake Braddock @ Oak Marr Rec Center Dec. 9 vs South County @ South Run Rec Center Dec. 16 vs West Springfield @ Audrey Moore Rec Center Dec. 17 vs W.T. Woodson @ Providence Rec Center Jan. 13 vs Lee @ Audrey Moore Rec Center Jan. 20 vs T.C. Williams @ Mount Vernon Pool

With many key returning players, basketball works hard both on and off the court

PRIYA ADHIKARY

Four hour practices. Intensity workouts. A towering 6’8 senior Amiel Terry. These are they key components for the varsity basketball team this year. “We have had a lot of off-season training and workouts,” Terry said. “We did Intensity, which is like P90x without that weights and that was hard.” The loss of key players such as Patriot District Player of the Year Karl Ziegler will be tough, but the team also has many strong returning players. “We have a lot of experienced and key players coming back,” head coach Anthony Harper said. “They have the mentality to win.” Among those players are seniors Monte McCarthy, Reggie Scott and Terry, along with junior Sanar Shamdin. “We have good talent and have been conditioning hard to be the best. We have had practices as long as 4 hours,” McCarthy said. The team maintains high expectations for this year and is striving to surpass last year. The Atoms fell to T.C. Williams in both the district and regional championship, but are looking to avenge that. “Our goal is to hopefully go back to the state tournament, but really we’d like to win districts and then regional’s this year,” Terry said.

PARKER GILLCASH

BY PARKER GILLCASH Sports Editor

Senior David Croghan makes a lay-up at practice. The first district game will be on Dec. 16 against Woodson.

Junior Sanar Shamdin works out in the weight room with the rest of the basketball team after school before practice.

Coach Harper agreed with Terry, “[We’d like to] finish in the top half in districts and get to the regional championship.” The Atoms face a tough schedule this year, playing against some of the best teams in the state. “We play Montrose Christian which is a very good team, but every district game is important,”

McCarthy said. The end of the season is a long ways away, but the team is keeping their eyes fixed on the game ahead of them. With two scrimmages under their belt, the Atoms will play host to the Robinson Rams tonight at 7:30 in the main gym for their first game.

Winter sports workouts On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a slideshow of all winter sports.


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Upcoming concerts

Entertainment

Nov. 29, 2011

MTV: dead or dominating? With its focus no longer on music, students speculate on the once great and influential music network

MAC MILLER Thurs., Dec. 1 The Fillmore

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA Fri., Dec. 9 The Fillmore

WMZQ WINTER FEST Sat., Dec. 10 GMU Patriot Center

By Marissa Uriarte Photographer It’s obvious even to the average high school teenager that the once dominant music network, MTV also known as Music Television, has fallen from a high pedestal. Shows such as Jersey Shore, 16 And Pregnant, and Teen Mom are the main causes. Remember the old days when Music Television actually provided content related to music? Is the channel that was once the most influential source for new music gone forever? “I think it’s lame. It’s filled with dumb and illiterate idiots who have no education,” senior Adeeba Rasoli said. “I think I stopped watching when they stopped showing music videos.” Within the last decade, MTV has failed to produce daily music entertainment like it had in the past. With today’s easy access to entertainment sources online, some may argue that MTV doesn’t need to be a source for new music as a television broadcast; this was exactly why MTV was so unique when it started. It was praised for its ability to utilize and mash up artist from different genres that appealed to young adults across the nation. Some students agree that more focus should be put on providing music videos, but with many options available to watch music videos like YouTube, VEVO, and iTunes, the necessity for it on T.V. has decreased. MTV has branched off and added many other channels

such as VH1, MTV2 and MTV Tr3s that have added a variety of music alternatives, but these channels are an extra cost in which not everyone has. Besides music, focusing purely on reality shows that inaccurately represent the people they feature, freshman Carlos Valenzuela claims, they “aren’t really real.” Not having music videos isn’t the only problem, but the use of inappropriate content is overly excessive. “As a music lover, I shake my head at all the drug and sex related nonsense they play now, I just want my music videos, and some occasional Beavis and Butthead,” junior Bryan Jefferson said. With its global influence on teenagers, MTV has high expectations to fulfill from its original airing. The focus of MTV reared from music videos to more sex/drug related shows and even commercials. In 1992 Real World viewers were amazed to sneak a glimpse of two roommates kissing. Today it’s rare to watch an episode of the Real World without seeing constant alcohol abuse, profanity and roommates bringing home random people to “fool

APRIL 1987:

JULY 1985: CITY AND COLOUR Sat., Dec. 10 The 9:30 Club

AUGUST 1981:

MTV makes its television debuts airing The Buggles’ music video for “Video Killed the Radio Star”.

1983: GWEN LEVEY Mon., Dec. 12 Jammin Java

Top 10 iTunes Downloads

Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was played in rotation promoting black musicians. In the same year, Kiss appeared publicly with it’s signature makeup for the first time.

MARCH 1986:

120 Minutes airs, providing alternative rock and underground music videos from bands like Oasis, The Ramones, Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana, including the groups most popular music video “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

1. Rumour Has It/ Someone Like You Glee Cast 2. Take Care (ft. Rihanna) Drake 3. We Found Love (ft. Calvin Harris) Rihanna

AHS Artist Spotlight

4. Sexy And I Know It LMFAO 5. The Motto (ft. Lil’ Wayne) Drake 6. It Will Rain Bruno Mars 7. You Da One Rihanna 8. Someone Like You Adele 9. Good Feeling Flo Rida 10. Without You David Guetta & Usher —for the week of 11/21/11

Gwen Levey Q: Who are your idols/influences musically and why? A: I have always admired Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, and Sheryl Crow, not only for their artistic talent and relatable music, but for their ability to remain humble and true to themselves through out their careers, for they don’t need to do something crazy or elaborate on or offstage in order to create an appearance that might catch the media’s attention in a negative way, they’ve accomplished things through their music just with their pure, raw talent and that is really admirable to me.

Q: What made you decide you wanted to play music? When did you decide music was what you wanted to pursue? A: I’ve always loved to perform in my living room making up little songs and acts that I’d put on for my family. As an only child, I felt that I needed to find other outlets to keep myself entertained when my family couldn’t be there and that’s where music came into play. I first started out on the piano in first grade and revisited it in fifth grade and it was only when I got my first guitar during the summer going into my freshman year was when I could really, truly feel passionately about my music well enough to believe that I could make something of it. Q: Do you perform covers or original songs? If originals, what do you write about, what inspires you? A: I only recently started doing a few covers, but honestly like singing original songs more because I feel that when I sing a song that I have written myself, I can feel more passionately about it knowing exactly what or who it’s about and that I accomplished writing it. Inspiration usually comes in waves--it can be an idea that produces one song after another and when this happens, I’m not usually aware of it. I’m more aware of when I’m not able to write because I have writer’s block and am at a loss for inspiration. That’s when I find when I give it a break (even if it’s for a month or two at times) inspiration finds me. I suffer from many of the usual things that girls my age go through, so this constantly inspires me everyday, even though I may not be aware of it at the time.

Simple Plan slideshow Scan the code above on your smartphone to view a slideshow of pictures from Simple Plan’s concert at the Fillmore in Silver Spring MD.

NOVEMBER 1989:

Headbangers Ball premiers on MTV, providing hair metal and heavy metal music videos from bands like Twisted Sister, Van Halen and Metallica.

Live Aid is publicially televised to raise funds and awareness for famine in Ethiopia.

Q: Your playing a show at Jammin Java in December, talk about how your preparing for that, what kinds of songs you’ll be playing and how AHS students can get tickets. A: I’m so excited for this show and I’ve been preparing for it by practicing in my living room and at other smaller shows with the original songs that I plan on playing on the 12th. I’m also looking forward to getting together with the AHS band With the Hero to practice over Thanksgiving Break because they have been nice enough to agree to accompany me during my set. If you’re interested in getting a ticket, you can get one directly through me for $10 and $13 at the door on the night of the show. It’s going to be a great show, so I hope a lot of people plan on purchasing a ticket and coming out to see it!

around with.” It poses a negative effect on its younger audience by damaging their perception of what adulthood is. “I used to watch it just for the music but the reality shows are just too much drama,” freshmanAngel Garrish said. “It’s just to many fake people.” Early MTV aired music entertainment such as Yo! MTV Raps that publicized Hip-Hop VJs (Video Jockeys), 120 Minutes main streamed alternative rock and underground bands, Headbangers Ball played heavy metal and hair metal, Amp for electro, MTV Jams played the most demanded videos, and MTV Unplugged featured different artists in live and acoustic performances. Today most of the schedule consists of shows like 16 and Pregnant, Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, Ridiculousness, Awkward, The Real World: San Diego and I Used To Be Fat. All of which are related either to teen drug abuse, young pregnancies or reality drama shows. The only music video showings are played on AMTV and 10 On Top Countdown from 3-7 a.m. on Mondays through Wednesdays. Who is supposed to be able to watch music videos on weekdays before the sun rises? It’s hard to imagine that MTV broadcast 205 music videos on the first airing in Aug. 1, 1981. The network was built and popularized by alternative music. For the network created concepts such as VJ’s and providing viewers with the opportunity to watch music videos from the comfort of their living room, its sad to see it on a long downfall. “When I watched MTV, early to mid 90s, it was actually music television,” English teacher Courtney Dearinger said. “Everyone went home and watched Top Ten Videos at four o’clock and listened along and danced in front of the TV. Not only that, they had real world news. MTV was the first to have Rock the Vote so it was actually educational. 15 years ago we didn’t have access to everything so you either listened to the radio or watched MTV.

MTV Unplugged airs, providing listeners with a toned-down acoustic set as opposed to the usual electric instruments. Some of the earlier artists included Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, Bob Dylan and more.

AUGUST 1988:

Yo! MTV Raps, hosted by Dr. Dre (now known as the Sucker Free Countdown), premieres, providing a 2-hour show to promote a wide variety of rap and hip-hop artists like Ice Cube, MC Hammer and Snoop Dogg.

1990:

1992: MTV gets real, airing the

first season of “The Real World: New York”. The MTV Movie Awards also makes its debut this year.

The first MuchMusic Video Awards air in Toronto, Ontario. The show packs the streets of Canada with screaming fans. With no hosts, the show is run by VJs.

1994:

MTV enters the digital era, launching its website MTV.com broadening its audience to include online readers.


A Blast

Entertainment AHS students weigh in on MTV today the

Nov. 29, 2011

Q: Do you like MTV more today or back in the day? A: I think MTV was kind of better back in the day just because it was more about the music and now it’s more about the TV shows they put out and less about the music. I don’t mind reality TV shows but I think they kind of went overboard with it because it’s just a little too much in my opinion.

—Todd Le freshman

Q: What’s your favorite show on MTV? A: My favorite show is definitely Awkward because it’s really funny. You’d think it’s like a high school drama, with typical situations. It’s really witty and clever. Q: How do you think MTV influences kids today? A: I don’t think they mean anything bad with their shows, for example 16 and Pregnant they are all girls who got pregnant, but I don’t think they mean to influence girls to get pregnant. I think it does sometimes have a bad influence, it is just unintentional. Q: Do you watch music videos on TV or online? A: Online, I watch them on Youtube. Q: Would you prefer that MTV played only music videos? A: I think it’s ridiculous because music videos are easier to make nowadays so there could be more. Reality TV shows are a pretty bad influence and they feature people that aren’t really the best role models, so it’s making TV trash. Q: Do you think its weird that MTV doesnt play music videos even though its called Music Television? A: Yeah it’s ironic, it’s a contradiction.

—Vanessa Maranon junior

Q: How do you think parents, adults and teachers view MTV? A: I feel that parents think it’s corrupting childrens influences, because they show people who get away with doing the wrong thing. They may think that their children’s behavior was

Q: Do you like MTV more today or back in the day? A: I like it more back in the day, with music videos. I feel like music brings a lot of people in society together, it’s a big part of us, I feel like they ruined it with like stupid shows like Jersey Shore; I don’t think they have meaning. It doesn’t have meaning now, and it used to have meaning. I prefer they play music videos because I feel like with reality shows, people are getting money for no reason. I just don’t feel like there is a point to it, in my opinion. Q: How do you think parents adults and teachers view MTV? A: My parents hate it and I know teachers have a really strong opinion on it because it’s not apropriate. We can watch it because we’re in highschool, but it’s not educational or beneficial at all.

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Upcoming movies

ANSWERS TO NOTHING Dec. 2

—Kayla Elahi sophomore

Q: What’s your favorite show on MTV? A: I like I Used to Be Fat because you see people overcome a challange that they’ve had for a while, I like the emotion and the depth that they go into throughout the show.

NEW YEAR’S EVE Dec. 9

Q: Do you like MTV more today or back in the day? A: It is not as good as back in the day because too many people watch the dirty shows and they don’t necessarily block everything out for the younger watchers. Q: Would you prefer they only play music videos? A: It doesn’t make sense because music television should have more music than just reality shows; they should put that on another TV channel I watch Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. Q: Do you watch music videos on TV or online? A: I usually watch music videos on YouTube because there are not any videos on MTV worth watching.

THE SITTER Dec. 9

—Jazmine Bounds senior

-Compiled by Rachel Bergen ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIP-WRECKED Dec. 16

1996

TRL (Total Request Live) airs for the first time feauturing the hottest videos and even hotter celebrities.

2004

Laguna Beach premieres, the reality series that leads to a string of spinoffs like The Hills and The City.

AUGUST 2011

2009

2006

MTV celebrates 25 years by airing its first hour of programming on mtv.com.

12.4 million viewers tune in to the MTV Video Music Awards, the network’s largest audience to date.

T.I.’s Road To Redemption airs, chronicling the rapper’s life 45 days prior to his sentencing.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS Dec. 16

2002

The Osbournes hit it big with the airing of their reality show feautred on MTV.

2005

MTV Canada launches with a talk TV liscense abandoning music videos and focusing on pop culture programming.

2008

MTV cancels TRL after a prosperous 12 years on the air.

2010

“Music Television” is officially dropped from the MTV network’s logo.

BEFORE

AFTER

-Compiled by Marissa Uriarte from mtv.com and timerime.com

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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL Dec. 21

Primetime TV tonight 8:00 Christmas in Rockefeller Center The X-Factor The Middle Survivor: South Pacific

9:00 Harry’s Law Modern Family

websudoku.com

Criminal Minds

10:00 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Revenge Grammy Nominations Concert Live

Breaking Dawn On your smartphone scan the above code using the application “QR code” to read a review of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn pt. 1


Play the day away in D.C.

Malcolm X Park has more than the typical swing sets, slides and monkey bars

5k Run with Santa

Even if it is the beginning of winter, it is never too early to go watch a nutcracker showing. Four different shows will be playing at the Bishop Ireton Whaley Auditorium from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4. Tickets are on sale for $13 to $40. If they are purchased at the door, an extra $3 will be added, so it’s better to get your tickets early. Location: 201 Cambridge Road Alexandria, VA 22301

Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols Get into the holiday spirit with the Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols. The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 3. Children 12 and under can have lunch with Santa at the Sherwood Community Center out of the three sessions for only $6. Entertainment and music will also be provided throughout the day. Location: 3999 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030

Washington Capitals Game

Ice hockey is one of the most watched sports this season, so why not attended a live game? The Washington Capitals will be playing the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Verizon Center on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be a little pricey, ranging from about $60 to $300. Be sure to check Craigslist and other sites to find cheaper seats. Location: 601 F Street NW Washington, DC 20004 20120-1140

THE DRUMMERS

The park was built on a hill, so whether you are walking down the street, running up the stairs or walking in from the north side, you can instantly hear the loud pounding of the drums. The drummers of the park are not there to simply bang out their own beats, but rather because they love being one with the park. Typically, the drummers begin arriving at the park around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. All of them gather at the top of the park, where the concrete benches are located. Creativity is what catches peoples’ attention the most because the drummers do not play reading off of sheet music or with specific rythyms. Instead, they come up with their own beats and combine them with other instruments, such as guitars and maracas. At first, the drummers warm-up with something soft, but they progressively move onto more exciting beats to encourage dance. Whether you are a professional or just a beginner, any instrument you bring to the park is welcomed. There is no need to be shy; all of the people are of different origins and ages, and come to enjoy the time they spend creating this great atmosphmere for others.

The diversity within the drum circle ranges from African Americans to Caucasians, Asians and Hispanics.

THE DANCERS

There are no requirements or permission needed to participate; anyone and everyone are encouraged to jump in and give it all they’ve got. Many parents bring their toddlers to the park because it is very family-friendly and kids enjoy moving along to beats they hear. Not only do the little kids move their arms and legs in their own crazy styles, but adults also find their own style to go along with the music. The majority of the dancing is African-based and performed barefoot. Like in the photo to the right, many people add a plethura of creativity to their dancing styles. Some people bring groove staffs and practice pois, which are are basically balls on chords that are generally used for fire dancing. However, they do not actually use them for fire dancing, but rather as a dance accessory. Although it may seem simple, dancing with these items is actually a lot harder than it seems, because it requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. Upon visitng the park, feel free to let loose, feel the groove of the music and just have fun with yourself and friends. MARRISA URIARTE

The last chance to purchase a senior advertisement for the yearbook is Dec. 2.

MARISSA URIARTE

2012 class bulletin

Stay posted for new senior merchandise coming out!

A woman is seen mixing her dancing with hula hoop skills by using four different hoops.

R

Dressed in urban clothing, this man is one of many playing drums within the drum circle.

estaurant eviews

BY CAROLA ROJAS AND REBECCA MALZAHN Weekend Editors

Heaven for video gamers On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR code” to view an exclusive story about a video game center in Annandale’s Seoul Plaza.

This position requires a lot of upper body strength.

This upside-down position requires flexibility.

––Compiled by Carola Rojas and Rebecca Malzahn

Graduation countdown: 198 days

CAROLA ROJAS

BalletNova’s The Nutcracker Show

ACROYOGA

Instead of practicing the art of basic yoga, those who attend the park use the grassy fields to practice AcroYoga. This is a mix of three ancient Buddhist and Hindu practices of yoga and acrobatic concepts. It was first officially established as a practice in 2006, and has taken off as a mass trend in Malcolm X Park ever since. There are seven different elements that make up the practice: circle ceremony, asana, partner flow, inversions and spotting, therapeutic flying, Thai massage, and partner acrobatics. All of these elements involve two to three people, therefore trust is a key factor in this practice. Amongst these groups are three primary roles: the base, the flier and the spotter. The base has the most contact with the ground in order to provide stability for the flier. The flier balances on top of the base and twists into a multitude of acrobatic positions, letting gravity do most of his or her work. The spotter is basically the safety net for the flier, making sure that he or she does not get injured or harm the base by slipping. Many people practice AcroYoga on a field to the north side of the park, and encourage newcomers to participate.

MARISSA URIARTE

Work off those extra calories from Thanksgiving during the Reston Run with Santa 5k. The event will be held on Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m., and costs $25 (kids are free). All proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There will also be a costume contest, so be sure to dress up for a chance to win. Location: Reston Town Center: 11911 Democracy Drive Reston, VA

Over time, Annandale has acquired the nickname “Koreatown.” So we decided to try a traditional Korean bakery. Little did we know how much of an actual treat we were in for when we went to to Breeze Bakery Café. The two-story building is as modernized on the outside as it is on the inside. It’s trendy decor is dispersed throughout their combined bakery and cafe. The main floor primarily consists of the bakery portion with a small dining section. The second floor is just a dining area, with a large terrace branching off of it. For the brisk winter weather, the staff provides customers interested in eating outside with cozy blankets. Double chocolate cake, cinnamon cake and white bean mondu are just a few of the fresh baked goods that can be found in the bakery. Curious to find out if the pastries tasted as delicious as they appeared, we tried a few of the free samples that were placed in small baskets in front of each type of pastry. To our great pleasure, they were delightful. With so many samples of the breads, cakes, doughnuts and various other pastries, it is hard to resist walking around the bakery trying all of them while waiting for your food to be prepared. The

Location: 2500 16th Street Northwest, Washington D.C., DC 20009 Open: Sundays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Breeze Bakery Café soft bread and creamy fillings are simply savory. Korean pastries tend to have a lighter density and be less sugary-sweet than desserts from other cultures, such as American and French. We, personally, thought it gave the pastries a more authentic taste. The bakery also served gelato ice cream near the café, which looked very appetizing as well. The café has several options for main entrées. They mainly consist of simple soups or sandwhiches, as opposed to a full course dinner meal. The paninis seemed like a popular choice, so we got the Chicken Panini, which was highly recommended by one of the friendly cashiers, and the Turkey and Avocado Panini. Each of the paninis costed around $7, and after our first bite, we realized that it surely was money well spent. Both of the paninis included lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese and mayonnaise on toasted white bread. They also each came with a side of unsalted, crunchy potato chips, which were less than satisfactory. Nonetheless, we both agree that the paninis, themselves, were some of the best that we had ever had. As a choice of drink, Breeze does not carry any sodas. Instead, they sell frappuccinos, cappuccinos, lattes and a large variety of teas. These drinks are more pricey, costing around $4 each. The type of drinks, however, fit well with the Korean café and bakery theme. The Cafe Mocha Frappuccino and the Pumpkin Latte are two of the many caffeinated drink blends. The chilly Cafe Mocha Frappuccino was average, but the warm Pumpkin Latte was quite heavenlyespecially after standing outside in the cool winter air. Many of the customers in the café were sitting down with their laptops open and their food

REBECCA MALZAHN

To Do List

Nov. 29, 2011

CAROLA ROJAS

20

WEEKEND

The Turkey and Avocado Panini, Chicken Panini, Pumpkin Latte and Cafe Mocha Frappuccino were even more delictable than they appeared on our plates.

and drinks to the side. The calming and quiet atmosphere provided a perfect place to relax and get work done. However, there were also a few groups that were either reuniting with a big group of friends over a meal or sharing a giant pastry on a date. So, the environment of Breeze is perfect for working hard, as well as catching up and even intimate moments. The bakery and cafe are open from 7 a.m. 12 a.m., Monday through Sunday. We highly recommend you take some time during your weekend to check it out, and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Grade

A

4125 Hummer Rd Annandale, VA 22003

Issue5  

5th issue of the 2011-2012 year