ANNANDALE HIGH SCHOOL
the 7 ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Mostly Cloudy Low: 40
DECEMBER 16, 2008
Students who are a part of the Academy program travel to different high schools throughout the county to take classes not available at AHS
10-11 YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Have you ever thought about the nutritional value of the food you put in your mouth? You might think twice if you knew exactly what was in that next bite
Christmas is not the only holiday that students celebrate during winter break. Catch a glimpse of holidays and traditions from other cultures
WEATHERTODAY High: 50
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Senior Kyle Mills explores the combination of graphic design illustration and traditional art forms to create his own unique images
Visit us online: www.thea-blast.org
Holiday budgets cut short
COURTESY OF KARIMA EL-KHATIB
VOLUME #54 ISSUE 5
44700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003
LUNCHTODAY Chicken Nuggets w/ Whole Wheat Roll Fairfax Burrito, Hot Ham & Cheese on Whole Wheat Croissant, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Yogurt w/ Pretzel, Hummus Biteable
Seniors Allahah Abdul Jamil and Margie Calderon-Quintinilla pose for a picture at the pep rally on Dec. 12.
The school spirit debate
BY THE NUMBERS
Leadership class attempts to reclaim Spirit Week
people died during the Mumbai terrorist attacks in India, which began on Nov. 26 and lasted three days. The aftershock of the tragedy has increased tensions between long-time rivals, Pakistan and India.
BY GESSICA AZZAM Staff Writer
of students celebrate more than one holiday, while 85% celebrate only one holiday during the winter season. AHS students celebrate a variety of holidays during this time.
of U.S. schools do not provide lunches that are approved by the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutritional requirements. In-Depth analyzes the nutritional value of school lunches.
is the cost of admission and skates at the Reston Town Center Ice Skating Rink. Check out the Weekend page for other indoor and outdoor skating locations in the area.
is AHS’s ranking on the 2008 Challenge Index. Every year, The Washington Post conducts a Challenge Index survey of the 163 public schools in this region. For full coverage, visit www.thea-blast.org.
Holiday Survey Due to the current state of the economy, will you be spending less on holiday shopping?
This survey was distributed on Dec. 9 during A, B, C and D lunches. Of 400 surveys distributed, 388 were completed and returned for inclusion in this graph.
Junior Kellie Del Signore looks for the best sale at Auntie Tee’s in the Braddock and Backlick Shopping center. Due to the financial crisis, many AHS students are limiting their holiday spending and altering travel plans.
AHS students spending less this season BY WALIHA GANI Co-Editor in Chief There was a time when senior Diana Stacey Caceres and her family would spend over $400 on holiday shopping. In past years, Caceres’s Christmas tree in the basement of her home would be illuminated and adorned with presents of all sizes in numerous quantities. Those were times when the Caceres would buy presents for the entire family—when the prices of items were barely a worry for anyone in the family. Now, as the world market crashes and people are scrambling to swallow the effects of this recession, Caceres and her family have taken a tremendous cut in their holiday budgets. “Sad to say, but my family
is actually doing Secret Santa this year—our budget is down to $250,” said Caceres. She is part of the U.S. population nationwide that is spending less this holiday season. According to a poll conducted by the Conference Board of 5,000 house-
Will you be looking for more bargains during your shopping trips this year?
STAND holds first benefit concert ers and presentations, they aim to help raise money for the victims and increase general awareness of the genocide occurring in our world today. They want to encourage others to take action and emphasize that only with their help will world leaders do something about mass BY KRISTEN HENNESSEY murder. Staff Writer “I didn’t want to stand by while Although information about terrible acts happened to other the indiscriminate killing of over people,” said STAND president 400,000 innocent people in the Jennifer Ibarra. “I saw that STAND Darfur genocide has been pre- was a great way to take action in sented to many on the television, the local community in order to Internet and magazines, make whatever difference few people actually take we can in our global cominitiative to act against munity,” said Ibarra. the genocide. “ E v e n i f w e d o n ’t A small, but deterchange the lives of thoumined club at AHS sucsands throughout the ceeded in the task of findworld, if we are able to ing an enjoyable way to make a difference for spread awareness about some, it’ll mean everythis disheartening issue. thing to those aided indiOn Dec. 10, the hard viduals,” said Ibarra. Ibarra work and dedication of On Dec. 4 and 8, the STAND club members STAND held informative paid off as they could finally sit back presentations during flex. Teachers and watch the concert they had so signed up their classes to go to the diligently planned for. This was the lecture hall where a few of the memfirst concert that the organization bers of STAND presented a hosted at AHS. STAND is an anti-genocide “STAND” continued on page 4 group at AHS. Through fundrais-
Over 170 tickets were sold, making the night a success
holds, 34.5% of Americans said they would be spending under $199 this year, while 24.6% will be spending between $200-$399. These results are in parallel with the AHS student population. A recent survey conducted on Dec. 9 showed that out of 400 students at AHS, 54% said that the deteriorating economy is affecting their holiday spending. Since many AHS students have been hit hard by the economic downturn, many have lost work hours, which also plays a role in less holiday spending. “I’m working less hours now. I can’t waste money like I used to,” said senior Shaina Featherstone. Nonetheless, many students have found their own creative “Shopping” continued on page 5
“Spirit Week” continued on page 5
Bridges between cultures New club created to help ESOL students assimilate to the American culture BY AISHWARYA VENKAT Staff Writer “Có gì mei không?” “Không có gì nhieu.” “¿Qué Hay De Nuevo?” “Nada.” “Quoi de neuf?” “Pas grande chose.” “Kyaa chal raha hai?” “Zyada kuch nahin.” “Maljadeed?” “Lashai jadeed.” These are just a few excerpts from everyday hallway chatter at AHS; all are ways of greeting friends. In the stairwells, on the grounds, or by the bus, it is not hard to hear bits and pieces of Vietnamese, Spanish, French, Hindi or Arabic being spoken by the diverse student population. The diversity of AHS is striking— students speak over 43 languages, originate from 70 different countries and almost all racial groups are represented in the student and teacher population at AHS today. But being so varied poses a huge challenge to AHS. How can we assimilate all this variety and diversity into one student population? Students from all these countries bring their own experiences and perspectives to
is the number of calories an average person burns for every 15 minutes spent on the stairs. Health explores different ways of staying in shape during the winter.
Since last year, some students may be asking, “Whatever happened to Spirit Days?” Before last year, many students would dress a certain way to school corresponding to the Spirit Day. Just like last year, students this year did not have a Spirit Week for the pep rally that was held on Dec. 12 for the winter season. The change of the amount of spirit weeks is definitely contrasting with those of the previous years. Before last year, AHS used to have three spirit weeks a year (homecoming, winter season, and spring season), but now has been reduced to only one. The Student Government Association (SGA) sees the purpose of random, fun spirit days to bring out student spirit. To them, spirit days do not necessarily need to be AHS-themed to present school spirit on the student’s behalf. The SGA proposed to the administration on Nov. 17 to get the winter and spring spirit weeks back, but this was ultimately rejected. AHS’s SGA, nonetheless, believes it is necessary for to have a Spirit Week for the winter sports as well as the classes to promote spirit. The past fall the SGA handed out things, such as beads and face paint, during Homecoming week to promote Spirit Week.
President of Building Bridges, senior Linda Rayasse (left) and Marie Benavides discuss plans for the club.
the community, and often find it challenging to get used to the American way of life. Many ESOL students, who are sheltered among their own peers in separate classes, find assimilation to be a challenge. This is the exact reason why seniors Linda Rayasse, Anita Obasi, Marie Benavides, Melissa Harmouche and junior Nathalie Spita decided to start a club called Building Bridges at AHS. “I got the idea when I learned about a similar program over the summer,” said President Linda Rayasse. “Many students at AHS can relate easily to the ESOL students through language, heritage, etc. It would be a great opportunity to integrate the total population of AHS.” Students agree that this idea works extremely well. “Bridges” continued on page 4
ANNANDALE HIGH SCHOOL
the Hungry? As you eat that juicy hamburger, think about the millions of people around the globe starving everyday
The FCPS grading scale is being put under the spoltlight as debates ensue about the fairness of the scale in comparison to other counties
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TUESDAY OCTOBER 21, 2008
FCPS GRADING SCALE
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Check out pictures from the Homescoming victorious football game against Lee
Oliver Stone’s film fails to truly grasp Bush Jr.’s life and lasitng legacy
AHS hosts PSATs and college fair
THE BUDGET CRUNCH
Students express their opinions of the PSATs
Hot Ham & Cheese on Croissant, Spaghetti w/ Meat or Marinara Sause w/ Wheat Breadstick, Deli Line, PB&J Sandwich Pizza
BY HELENA BELAY AND CARLY BOUCHARD Staff Writers
Annandale Baseball Annandalbaseball will have an interest meeting tomorrow in the Upstairs Gym starting at 2:15 p.m.
FCPS Grading scale to be changed AHS will hold a meeting with the parent advocacy group, Fairgrade, on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Clausen Hall. Fairgrade lobbies for a change in the grading scale from the 6-point scale used in FCPS to the traditional 10-point scale that is more commonly used throughout the country. see page 7 for full coverage
SAT Survey Do you believe that SAT scores are a just measure to determine a student’s academic performance?
This survey was distributed on Oct. 16 during A, C and D lunch. Of 475 surveys distributed, 423 were completed and returned for inclusion in this graph.
Seniors hit by the economic shortfall Students forced to reconsider options BY WALIHA GANI Co-Editor in Chief Senior Isabel Bodrog had been certain that she would be attending her dream college, Savannah College of Art and Design, a private school with a tuition of $35,000 per year
in Georgia next fall. Now, as the U.S. deficit increases, government expenses balloon and banks shut their doors for student loans, she must rethink her options. “It would be better off for my family if I went to an instate school,” said Bodrog. As the slump on Wall Street hit global markets worldwide and people all over the world are just learning to swallow the effects of the market slump, AHS seniors of the nation’s
graduating largest class, feel the budget crunch hit them hard as well. Senior Emily Koppelman is a Division I student athlete, Model United Nations President, plays the drum and has a grade point average of 3.9. Koppelman has definitely accomplished her academic and extracurricular activities that allure admission officers. So what will play as a hindrance to her applications? as a hindrance to her application?
“PSAT” continued on page 5
“Economy” continued on page 5
Colleges evaluate importance of the SAT More significance is placed on GPA and extra-cirricular activities BY ELIZABETH MARCOIS AND JULIA MOELLER Staff Writers While applying to colleges, AHS students have discovered that many colleges and universities are now considering admitting students on the basis of their grade point average alone. Many schools in Virginia have decided to make Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) optional. Among the local colleges are
George Mason University, the Art Institute of Washington, College of Health Sciences DeVry University, National Business College, Stratford University, Roanoke College, and Christopher Newport University. “I think it’s dumb for SAT’s to be optional because grades are different for each county so standardized testing puts everyone on the same level,” said senior Spencer Smith. Other SAT optional colleges and universities throughout the United Sates include Bates College in Maine, Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and Smith College in Massachusetts. More and more colleges and universities are jumping on the bandwagon. More than 280 other four-year colleges
Sophomore Dan Doan takes the PSATs, which were administered Oct. 15.
“SAT” continued on page 5
AHS begins program PIQE helps parents understand college application process BY EMILY FRUCHTERMAN News Editor Diana Diaz, the busy mother of a student at Luther Jackson Middle School, took a break from her cramped schedule to attend a meeting on Oct. 7 that could make a huge difference in her son’s education. “The most important thing is that my son has a future,” said Diaz, giving reason for her participation. This initial meeting of PIQE, which stands for the Parent Institute for Quality Education, began the nine-week parental education crashcourse that can greatly increase a student’s chances of being accepted into a good college. During these nine classes, the PIQE program will impart a wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of the school system and how to increase the chances of their child’s success. Many parents in the Annandale community do not speak English, much less know anything about the school system. This makes it possible for some students, who neither know what it takes to get into college nor have the motivation
to do the work, to slip through the cracks and not achieve at their fullest potential. For this reason, the class is being given in three different languages, Spanish, English and Vietnamese. The program focuses on teaching parents to create a good workspace that enables students to complete homework, giving them the support and drive to do well in high school, and educating parents on what classes and tests their child must take in order to be accepted into college. Patricia Johnson, one of the mothers in attendance, said that although her son plays on the freshman football team, he understands that “academics come first.” “PIQE” continued on page 4
Vice President Patty Meyer had everyone share a dream for their child’s education to introduce themselves to the group.
Students voice their opinion AHS teens excited to vote for the first time BY AYA SAED Editorials Editor It is all over the news; Barack Obama is ahead on the polls one week and behind John McCain the other. What has been the most interesting part of this historic event is the fact that there is a giant wave of young voters, all of whom have attracted the attention of the media and the campaigns. According to the Pew Research Center Publications, over the past several years, young voters tended to vote democratically and have become a very crucial element of the constituency. “I am definitely voting for Obama. I watched all of the debates and both conventions, and found that I agreed with the democratic platform,” said senior Jane Rabinovitz. As current A-blast polls indicate, a majority of the student body do in fact support Barack Obama. “I just think he is an eloquent speaker. He has the ability to relate to people,” said Robinovitz. However, despite common belief, there is still a large number of students that are zealous supporters of the Republican Party. “As a lot of people know, I am a Re-
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East African Club There will be an interest meeting for the East African Club tomorrow from 2:10 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. in Room 291. Students and teachers who are interested in learning more about the club are invited to attend. All are welcome. Please see Timothy Kelly if you have questions.
Senior Emily Koppelman is one of the many seniors who have altered their college plans due to the U.S. budget downturn. Koppelman is a Division I student athlete, but many of the schools she is applying to do not offer athletic-based scholarships.
Students in grades 9-11 interested in signing up for CPP may begin applying today. The goals and emphasis of this program are to increase academic achievement as well increase the number of students to enroll in college. Please see your counselor for an application. The deadline for applying is Friday, Oct. 31.
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College Partnership Program (CPP)
Freshmen, sophomores and juniors scattered off into their W2 classes on Oct. 15 to take the PSAT, the practice test that would help them prepare for the SAT test. A great amount of significance is given to the PSAT as the school day is shortened by three hours and seniors take the day off. The school day ended at 11:00 a.m. According to CollegeBoard. com, the Practice Standardized Assessment Test is a test that provides first-hand practice for the SAT reasoning test. It also gives juniors a chance to become part of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation program. The PSAT measures the reading, math and writing skills of the students taking the exam.
VOLUME #53 ISSUE 3
4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003
While Barack Obama allures young voters, many students are voting for John McCain.
publican. I just feel like our democracy is failing. With all of the bail-outs, I want a president that does not just continue on the path of socialism,” said senior Samantha Romano. To students in AHS, voting is often a new experience. For those lucky few, voting is an exciting process. “I am really excited. This is such an exciting election to be a part of,” said Rabinovitz. This election, unlike any other in history, has attracted more young voters than ever before. “Election” continued on page 4
OPINION A Who to blame for Mumbai attacks?
Dec. 16, 2008
Pakistan should not be a scapegoat to the the internal problems facing India BY ASHWARIYA VENKAT Staff Writer It happens in every cricket match, in every peace conference, in every controversial movie release, and in every military move either party makes: Pakistan and India are blaming each other for their problems, yet again. The Nov. 26 attack on the Indian city of Mumbai killed around 170 people and injured several others. As always, the first suspect of the Indian government was a Pakistani terrorist organization named Lashkar-iTaiba. This organization was also blamed for the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, which led both countries to the brink of war. The rivalry between India and Pakistan has existed since 1947, when Pakistan split from India to form its own Muslim state. Since then, both countries have shared a burning hatred for each other, which is intensified by their disputes about Kashmir. On the surface, both countries have peaceful relations—they promise in UN meetings, SAARC conferences, and to all other global leaders that they will initiate peace talks to resolve their conflicts. But such resolutions hardly ever amount to anything as substantial as the next crisis comes along, and decades of hatred are let loose. The shootings mainly occurred around opulent hotels like the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Oberoi Trident, along with minor explosions around town. These attacks have shaken the Indian government, which has taken several measures to quell the outpouring of hate among the citizens. One such measure was ordering TV stations to project the news as less depressing to show that India is not demoralized by these attacks. This attack has provoked strong reactions from the Indian citizens. In general, they feel a sense of hatred towards Pakistan for having
organized these attacks, as the media holds Pakistan accountable for majority of terrorist attacks in India. So, whose fault was it? The first and most obvious scapegoat is Pakistan. And India has reason to believe Pakistani terrorists have caused these attacks. Pakistan, historically, has remained silent on Indian extradition demands for underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim and has often made no substantial effort to track down accused terrorists in the country. This time, Pakistan assures it will try the 20 suspects in the attacks on Pakistani soil if proof of their involvement in the attack is found. But is it rational to blame everything that goes wrong on Pakistan? Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has said, “I would be less than truthful if I said there were no lapses,” assuring that security breaches would be looked into. The police have also uncovered an Indian suspect named Faim Ansari, who was carrying maps and other materials that planned out the Mumbai attacks. The Indian police has indicated that there might be other Indian accomplices than Ansari. Attacks like this are not uncommon in a country where religious fanatics, tribal Communist organizations, and Naxalite attacks occur on an almost daily basis. Although Pakistan seems to be the root of these attacks, they are not the only ones to be blamed for Mumbai. India is to be equally blamed for its security lapses and its intelligence errors. Foreign involvement in this issue is useless. Despite Condoleezza Rice’s urges towards a peaceful relationship, both countries will agree to it on paper and go back to attacking each other again. The issue is just a continuation of the decades-old rivalry between India and Pakistan, and both parties will never chose to resolve it because each is the other’s scapegoat for everything that is wrong. If anything, both groups involved must talk to each other without intermediaries, as both leaders comprehend the historical opposition better than any foreign entity could understand. But the impetus for this must come from genuine concern, not begrudging responses to foreign pressure. They must hold honest peace talks that do not involve empty promises and actually try to work on issues like terrorism that are tearing their foreign relations apart before the hatred fuels a full-scale war.
In Loudoun County a Hindu man has recently been fined for painting a “kolam,” or an intricate Hindu symbol, on the asphalt of his driving lot. The design is a symbol that attracts the Hindu goddess of prosperity into a home. However, the homeowner’s association has fined him $10 for every day it is not removed. To Ram Balasubramanian, this six-foot design of white and red swirls is a peaceful way by which he can express his religious freedom. To him, it holds momentous emotional value and he believes that the homeowner’s association has not given him an adequate reason to remove it. Balasubramanian has asked all of his neighbors, and none oblige. Simply put, the “kolam” is nothing more than a peaceful symbol. There is absolutely no reason for the homeowner’s association to find fault with. The design is not a symbol for hatred, nor does it conjure up offensive or hateful images. It is a show of religious belief, and by removing it, freedom of religion and speech will truly be undermined. Having said that, however, homeowner associations are important. They set standards in residential areas so as to reduce any mishaps and set a uniform standard by which all the neighbors will be included and none offended. This does not allow a homeowner association to make their community into a “cookie-cutter” type area. We are all different and we must embrace, not deface, these differences. Balasubramanian has done nothing wrong. He has not disturbed the peace in anyway, rather, he has induced the community with a sense of understanding. His neighbors can learn something new about the Hindu religion.
Misunderstanding the economy Public to better understand the dire financial situation BY ERIN JOHNSON Editorials Editor The biggest news in recent months has been the nation’s economic recession. As with other recessions, or other times in our past where people’s wallets were thinner, the atmosphere is one of doom and gloom. Looking at all of the horrible things that are happening as a consequence of this recession, such as banks failing, auto companies pleading Congress for money, people losing their jobs and college funds losing value, the description seems fitting. If people look at this from a new angle, they can see that paying attention to a recession, although the situation is difficult to understand, could benefit us in the future. The government so far has been able to prevent this recession from becoming a depression such as the Great Depression by studying the economic events of the 1930s and how it affected the country. The generation that came out of the Great Depression was very concerned about preventing
its recurrence, and tried to teach their children does not have to manage their money entirely, how to be savvy with their money. The depression will only understand that a recession such as this seemed so far off to the younger generations, is bad, but not what we should do to prevent this causing them to get into bad habits of unnecessary in the future. Those in high school who have heard about the risk taking. Understand that the economic situation right economic crisis and see it daily, whether in their now may not seem like its going to get better soon, own homes or from an outside perspective, should but in its own way, shape, and form it will get pay more attention so that they too can learn something from this experience. better. I am not saying this to If this generation pays closer be optimistic and to keep people attention, it is possible that the happy. By looking in the past, next time the economy takes one can see that the world has The main thing is that a turn for the worse, we will always risen and fallen from understand better how to handle periods such as the Middle Ages people need a new attitude our money and how to react to a to the Renaissance. financial deadline. People also need to on the economy Specifically looking at today’s understand that believing economic problems, the thing that everything will always that people need to learn most get better could put us in the same situation we now face. Those who did not is how to buy things that they can afford. When think the economy could fail did not save or invest buying a house, it is unusual for someone to have smartly, which causes grave problems in a today’s all of the money to buy the house at once. But people need to pay attention to interest rates and situation. In this condition, those who did invest and how they have helped create the recession today manage their money well are being negatively if they want to come out of it knowing what to do if pressed with another similar situation. affected by this crisis. The main thing is that people need a new People who have been greatly affected by this crisis will hopefully come out of it with better attitude, or just another added perspective in knowledge of economic planning. However, our relation to the economic recession. Just pay generation, the generation that is still young and attention, and it will help you in the long run.
Association limits freedom of speech
Economy to go green
--Aya Saed Editorials Editor
Should Homeowner Associations fine residents for religious display? “If it is something you believe in, then people have the freedom to express it.”
—Aden Yung freshman
“If the rules were specific when the owner moved in, then it makes sense to fine them.”
—Brittney Jerry sophomore
“I think that since the house belongs to you, then you should be able to do anything you want. Especially if it is peaceful.”
While the U.S. is facing a plethora of financial issues, the solution is going green
—Dominique Harris junior
BY AYA SAED Editorials Editor
—Shane Doty senior CREATED BY CORINNE REINERT
The economy has not been this tight for decades. We have all heard news about a crashing Citibank, Ford, GM and a multitude of other powerful companies that surround our average lives. On top of it all, the U.S. dollar is weakening in the global market and people all over the U.S. are losing jobs and worrying about insurance and retirement benefits. This is by no means a simple problem; on the contrary, it will require patience and very complex solutions. On the other hand, it is by no means difficult to see that there is one step that can be taken immediately: invest in eco-friendly technology. Global Warming is a serious issue that cannot be taken lightly. It is a moral problem that could and has placed millions of people in disastrous situations because of a lack of responsibility in powerful and developing countries—the U.S. being the worst. For years now, people have been proposing plans that would eliminate this quandary, and for years, they have been ignored. Recently, however, after an array of research, many have realized that green technology is the way to go. A recent study by Duke University supports the claim by many politicians of rejuvenating the economy by instituting a green economy. The study states that the “manufacturing sector could be a significant beneficiary of the green movement.” Green technology, which can be a money saver in the long run, is not only a great investment, but can also be utilized to increase jobs. For example, the study pointed to the window sector. A “high-performance” window has
“People should not violate the rules. If it is not in violation if the rules then it does not matter.”
approximately 10 different parts, each of which will require more labor and materials. Eventually, this process will increase productivity as our investments grow, and our flow of money increases, as more people are employed. President-elect Barack Obama stated that green technology has the potential to add five million new jobs, which is further supported by the study. The states that will witness a surge in economic revival are: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana and California. Moreover, the American car industry is yet another that will be affected by such a proposal. Although all car companies are facing a downfall, it is not surprise that Toyota and Honda are leading GM, Ford, and other inefficient car manufacturers. Both Honda and Toyota have
invested heavily in environmentally friendly cars with better gas mileages. Although gas prices are not as high at the moment, investing in such technologies will prove very advantageous in the future of the global economy. Such investments will also create jobs, as more people are needed to create and manufacture these new technologies. The link between climate solutions and the manufacturing sector is phenomenal. These two components are crucial in these tumultuous times. If the U.S. were to institute such a proposal, then the affects will be instantaneous and long lasting. As studies have already illustrated, this change will create a multitude of jobs, which will assuage the current economic crisis.
“No. That is just a way in which people want to express themselves.”
—May Dang senior
“The association stayed within its legal limits. But I think they should deal with the more important issues first.”
—Amy Graham English teacher
NEWS BRIEFS Choral concert tomorrow The AHS choral department will host their winter concert tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
Theater company play The annual Drug Awareness Play will be held on Thursday and Friday this week. The play is designed to educate the student body about the harmful effects of drugs and the life-threatening damage they can create.
Security Tips The Safety and Security Team respects the property of student’s and would like to remind students of what they can do in order to prevent theft. •
All valuables should be kept in a locker or on one’s person. • Locker combinations should not be shared with anyone and should be kept locked at all times.
Large amounts of cash should not be brought to school. Instead of cash, checks can be used for transactions.
In the event of a stolen cell phone, the plan should be immediately cancelled with the carrier.
Cars should be kept locked at all times. •
GPS deices should be removed from windshields and the “ring” left behind should be wiped away.
Petty Larceny is the theft of items totaling under $200. It is a misdemeanor that stays on a juveniles record for five years and an adults forever. Grand Larceny is the theft of property totaling over $200. It is a felony charge which stays on both a juvenile and an adults record forever.
STAND to hold meeting The STAND club, which recently hosted a concert, is to hold its next meeting tomorrow, Dec. 17 at 2:10 in room 245. STAND is a group dedicated to educating students about genocide, especially in Darfur.
Candy cane grams sold today Today is the last day that candy cane grams will be on sale. Leadership students can be found after school today. A candy cane and a message will be delivered to your friends before the winter break.
Theater class attends play ESOL Theater Arts and Theater Without Border’s classes atteded a performance Dec. 11. They participated in the all-day field trip in order to view a performance of “Twelfth Night” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C.
STAND hosts concert “STAND” continued from page 1. graphic video displaying the terror and torture that the people of Darfur suffer through each day. They handed out quizzes to be filled out after the video, in hopes that students would leave having gained some knowledge about the situation in Darfur. Senior Christina Bui, media director of STAND, joined the group after first seeing the presentation last April. “Their presentation was amazing and I wanted to help advance STAND’s causes in raising awareness of genocides and the current situation in Darfur.” The concert itself took place Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in AHS’s auditorium. Over 170 tickets were sold. The money raised from the ticket sales will be donated directly to the Civilian Protection Program. The Civilian Protection Program was chosen because it is sponsored by Genocide-Intervention Network, an organization that the student-led STAND group is a part of. The group decided a concert would be the most beneficial, both in raising money and awareness,
proved to be true. “For a small organization, not well known, the concert did very well,” said Ibarra. The concert lasted about two and half hours and featured performances such as the Annandale Jazz band, Atomic dance team, singers, and local bands. “We wanted to make the bands diverse like the population at Annandale. It is important for all people, all races, and type of bands or performances to be a part of this event,” said Samantha Romano. The Scoons, consisting of sophomores Andrew Pack, Jordan Aman, and Anthony Banaszak, opened the performance. “We wanted to bring some comedy and energy to the concert,” said Pack. Due to the success of this year’s STAND club activities to raise awareness about genocide, the future of STAND looks promising. “We will probably definitely do [another concert] next year. We’ll be more experienced and well known as a club, and it’s just a fun event,” said Ibarra.
to learn about a recent chorus concert www.thea-blast.org
Dec. 16, 2008
The band Union Street was one of the performers at the first STAND concert. They plan to host a concert next year as well.
Next on the chopping block Gymnastics will be removed from the budget next year, several other cuts possible BY SHRIYA ADHIKARY Co-Editor in Chief As Fairfax County Public Schools face the possibility of large cuts on school programs and activities for fiscal year 2010, the worsening economic crisis is sparing no one. Among the proposed budget cuts being made to alleviate the current $220 million budget deficit is the elimination of certain sports, most specifically girls’ gymnastics. This is part of the first-tier of cuts proposed by Superintendent Jack Dale after considering costs of the sport versus the number of participants. “It’s not fair,” said gymnast senior Sasha Thomas. “Just because the team doesn’t get enough members doesn’t mean it’s not good.” Over the last five years, the highest number of female athletes on the AHS varsity girls’ gymnastics team has been six. This year’s team has five female athletes. “It all has to do with the numbers. It costs the county over $4,000 per year to support only five of our girls, even though we share our coach and practice space with Lake Braddock,” said Athletic Director Angelo Hilios. The AHS gymnastics team practices together with the Lake Braddock, Wood-
used for who knows how many years. We don’t even have our own bus. We share with the swim team,” said Thomas. The proposed cuts would save Fairfax County an estimated $221,000 and affect around 125 female athletes and their coaches. If the budget passes in May of 2009, all gymnastics program that are supported by the county will be eliminated. “I just think that Fairfax County should cut other things but not sports or after school activities along with teachers,” said Weiner. The last time FCPS experienced cuts on school sports was during the economic decline of the early 1990s. “Of course no activities director wants to see programs being cut, but this is the reality due to the economic situation and the financial problems the county is facing,” said Hilios. Junior Captain Rose Broberg competes on the balance beam in However, the effects of the financial crisis will a recent gymnastics competition. not end with the elimination of girls’ gymnastics. Other programs are also being evaluated for son, and Falls Church girls’ teams. elimination, such as winter track. “We all practice together and help each other “Around 180 students participate in winter out a lot,” said sophomore Anne-Marie Weiner, track which is a substantial amount, but we also who joined the team for the first time this year. have to pay rent for the space we use, so we have “I am mad that they are going to cut gymnastics to take all that into consideration before we decide next year. ” what to do,” said Hilios. Weiner’s sentiments are shared by all of the Right now, the athletes in the varsity girls’ girls on her team. gymnastics team are simply trying to enjoy the “I am really mad about this. They already time they have, despite fears that they won’t be don’t pay for anything. We have to support our able to participate in the sport they love next own supplies and we use uniforms that have been year. COURTESY OF ADRIENNE WILLIAMS
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Students become mentors Building bridges
Seniors pair up with freshmen to teach life lessons and give guidance in a new program
mentor students, but this year the new program decided that the message would be much more interesting and meaningful for the students involved if it came from a senior.
BY EMILY FRUCHTERMAN News Editor In their four years at AHS, the seniors have certainly made their share of mistakes. They’ve loved, they’ve lost and, most importantly, they’ve learned from their mistakes. A number of seniors have the desire to pass on their knowledge, a desire that has recently been made possible by the newly founded program, Big Atom Little Atom. Each senior volunteer is paired with the freshman who can best benefit from their partner’s experience. “I want to learn what’s good to do and what I should stay away from,” said freshman participant Alex King. “It’s a good experience and I want to meet people.” Senior Laura Burton also looks forward to the social aspect that the program offers. “I get along with everyone and I like making friends,” she said. Big Atom Little Atom is a program run through a group called MentorWorks that reaches across FCPS. The program is loosely based on the Big Brother Little Brother program that focuses on mentoring at-risk children and teenagers. “We’re hoping that this will grow into a larger program that pairs up almost every freshman,” said co-founder and counselor Rebecca Lockard. One of the goals of the program expressed by Lockard is the desire for “each freshman to have a friendship with someone who’s easy to talk to, but isn’t a peer.” “When they [freshmen] get advice from someone who’s walked before them, its more meaningful than if it’s coming from a peer who’s still trying to figure it all out for themselves,” said counselor Lisa Foliaco, the co-founder of the program. Each pair is expected to meet weekly or monthly, to chat and give advice for any problems the other might be experiencing, “I’m excited!” said Burton, “Our meetings are going to be ridiculously fun.” In previous years, parents have come in to help
Freshmen Alex King and Mia Salch sign in to the meeting on Dec. 9 in Clausen Hall.
“We want to foster a kind and caring Annandale community,” said Lockard. “All we really want is for this program to have a positive impact on the students involved.” As this is the first year of this program at AHS, it’s starting small. There were about forty students in attendance at their first real meeting, held on Dec. 8. It was here that the students met each other for the first time. Many seniors decided to become involved with the program after a teacher mentioned it in class. Burton learned about it when “a counselor walked into the classroom and talked about it. I wanted to do it because it’s going to be fun and looks really good for colleges.” Freshman students were given a form during their first several weeks of school when they had their initial meetings with their counselors. If they wanted to participate, they were to attend an interest meeting. Both Lockard and Foliaco have high hopes that the program will grow and that the students who are “freshman now will want to become mentors themselves when they are seniors.”
“Bridges” continued from page 1. Junior Kukuwa Ghansah, who graduated from the ESOL program into regular classes in 2006, said, “I think such a club would be a great experience for ESOL students and other students alike. The students would have a great time talking about their cultures and learning about other languages and people.” “We have a great ESOL department here at AHS,” said Rayasee. “But despite their diverse backgrounds, how can ESOL students integrate fully into the school when their experience mostly revolves around other ESOL students? Building Bridges aims to bridge that gap—we provide peer mentorship and other resources like homework help and other fun activities to help them adjust to the culture comfortably.” “We have a fairly decent turnout right now, but more people are always welcome. Annandale is full of international-minded people who would support a club like Building Bridges,” said Rayasee. The proposal of offering extra credit to language students for attending Building Bridges meeting is also being considered by teachers, giving language and ESOL students equal impetus to come to these gatherings and learn about different cultures. Robin Thompson, another ESOL Level A3 and B1 teacher at AHS, said, “I think the Building Bridges Club is a great way to make the ESOL students part of the larger community here at AHS. I will tell my students about it and encourage them to attend.” The thriving Facebook group, created by Rayasee said, “The club allows students the chance to meet new people, rewind from schoolwork, and have fun!” It also encourages peer mentors to attend group meetings and allures students interested in earning community service hours as well. “With once-a-month meetings, it’s a really stress-free club to join, and you get to learn about cool little cultural things that aren’t necessarily covered in the classroom.” Hopefully, this club will help build bridges among the ESOL students and the AHS student population.
NEWS A How the economic crisis stole Christmas th
Dec. 16, 2008
Senior Katherine McDermott is utilizing her artistic abilities and creating artwork for her loved ones. “Artwork as presents definitely has more thought. In the end, it’s something more personal for me and the person I’m giving it to,” said McDermott.
“Shopping” continued from page 1. ways of coping with the gloomy economic conditions. Senior Katherine McDermott is utilizing her artistic abilities and creating artwork for her loved ones. “Artwork as presents definitely has more thought. In the end, it’s something more personal for me and the person I’m giving it to,” said McDermott. Junior Rachel Turner is baking cookies as gifts. “I’ve already spent $20, but cookies will be my main gifts to give this year,” said Turner. Another way students will be saving money is by limiting the number of people to give presents to. Many are only giving presents to close family and friends. “I’m only buying one present and that’s for my little brother,” said senior Ume Swaray. Additionally, not only are students limiting gifts, many students have cut their travel plans as well. Sophomore Mackda Dinberu’s family in the past has always gone on vacation to states all over the U.S.—Florida, California, West Virginia, but this year, winter break will be greatly different for them. “We’re staying home this year. My parents want me to save as much as possible,” said Dinberu. For many students, the sales on Black Friday provided the opportunity to save money. The Dec. 9 survey found that 52% of students participated in the sales on Black Friday. “I woke up super early and bought a necklace that was originally $150 for $50,” said sophomore Madeena Haidairi. For Ceceres, who in the past has always participated in Black Friday, chose to not shop at all this year to save money. She, like many other students, has been consistently looking for coupons in the newspaper and online. “Every saving counts,” said Ceceres. Despite the differences in how students are accommodating to the financial crisis, most are alternating their holiday plans in some way.
Programs to Leadership proposes spirit weeks help freshmen
Life is a breeze for middle school students. Days are filled with easy assignments and lots of socializing. Then they enter high school. Freshman year typically serves as an introduction to high school. It is for these reasons that the new Freshman Transition Program has been integrated into freshman agendas. “Research shows that students who have a good freshman year are more likely to succeed throughout their later high school years,” said Assistant Principal Pamela McKnight. This program consists of a variety of components and is still in developmental stages. “We wanted to have a cohesive program that would make freshmen feel like they belong and are a part of AHS. We also wanted to have a chance to instill and talk about things freshmen go through,” said McKnight. A major component of this new program is the mandatory meetings for the ninth graders that are held every collaboration day from 7:20 to 8:00 a.m. At these meetings, this year’s 693 freshmen are apportioned into groups ranging from seven to 50 students based on their counselors. It is in these groups that they have an opportunity to get acquainted with their counselors and other freshmen students. “We talk about GPA and rules at AHS, and most of the time we sit and listen, but sometimes we stand up and get involved,” said freshman Ezra Gokturk. On collaboration days, freshmen are also informed about vital aspects of high school like time management, organization, flex time, goals, planning and staying on top of a heavy workload. Thus far, some students have reaped the benefits of
Senior Karima El-Khatib and freshman Lilas Dinh get to know each other through the Student-to-Student mentor program.
this program, while others have felt like the advice they are given is trite, common knowledge. “I think the collaboration program is definitely worth our time because we learn important things about college,” said freshman Eddie Cutrera. “For people who don’t already know about colleges and opportunities offered in high school. It’s good, but I wish they made it optional because I feel like I already know what they have been teaching us,” said Gokturk. On another note, freshman Jackson Hannam said, “It’s kind of a waste of time and I don’t think it is necessary. I would rather be sleeping.” The Student-to-Student mentor program is another component of the Freshman Transition Program in its infancy. In this program, seniors are trained to mentor freshmen that have signed up. “With the Student-to-Student mentor program, freshmen have the opportunity to meet seniors and feel more comfortable in the high school environment. Freshmen can meet their senior mentor in lunch to say ‘hi,’ and this gives them a sense of belonging,” said McKnight. “We are trying to get freshmen involved and focus on the freshmen this year.” The Freshman Honor Society is another branch of the program, in which freshmen are offered the chance to become a part of a National Honor Society prototype early on. This broadens the horizons of the freshman, and exposes freshmen to success early on. “We want freshmen to explore their opportunities and make them mindful of the things they have taken for granted and also the new parts of high school. It is hard to measure how successful this program has been so far, but we are aiming to expand it as time goes by,” said McKnight. It takes time to develop and measure the effectiveness of a new program. “This staff is simply trying to convey rules and regulations to the newAHS student. In a large school, we can’t have chaos. Our goal is to reach out, and make freshmen feel coherent rather than lost during this transition from middle school to high school,” said McKnight.
BY HOPE STADULIS Staff Writer
“Spirit Week” continued from Would you rather have a spirit day or spirit week? page 1. One of the SGA’s advisors, AbSpirit Day 22% bie Kahn, said, “People have definitely participated, but we’ve only noticed that the students might just be taking advantage of us for free stuff,” said Kahn. “AHS students should participate on their own because they want to, not because we say ‘Hey these are some beads put them on.’” Members of the administration decided to reject the SGA’s proposition because they felt the need for the Spirit Days and weeks to be 78 of 100 surveys were counted. Surveys were more AHS related. “We’ve already distributed by the leadership class. Spirit Week 78% done the football beads, tattoos, and dressing in red and white. This proposition is challenging for us because really, how manyAHS related Spirit Days can we find? There are only so many. We were going to have a Winter Spirit Week, but because of this, we are now only having a day,” said Kahn. However, the administrators feel differently regarding school spirit. “We feel it is too much of a distraction; it is appropriate to have a spirit week for homecoming and a day for the pep rally,” said administrator Angelo Hilios. “The administrators just do not see enough student participation, and think that our spirit days do not promote school spirit.” said Hilios. “Also, we do not believe our spirit days are a distraction because we know we make it clear that spirit days Since last year, the AHS administration has refused to allow aren’t ‘amnesty days’for kids to be revealing,” said Kahn, the SGA to organize spirit week for the winter and spring who apparently believes otherwise. seasons Hilios expressed his suggestions for spirit week. In “I think that the [spirit] days we have had are actually his opinion, the SGA should be pushing for red and white because after all, we are the Atoms. Also, Hilios believes really bad. We should have more creative and fun things that the SGA should be more concerned with other things like Celebrity Day instead of wearing beads and tattoos,” going on with our school, rather than Spirit Weeks. “The said sophomore Elisa Figueroa. “I feel like spirit days are SGAshould not just be promoting spirit – they are leaders. so overrated. I suggest the SGA does Fashionista Day or If they want to show more spirit they also need to support Vogue Day. I think it doesn’t matter at all whether the spirit days our IB program, decisions that affect our community, and overall show actual traits of a great leader. Spirit days are about the atoms or not, because it is all about bringing are not supposed to be considered ‘social time’ for the us together,” said sophomore Madeena Haidari. “Passing out beads and tattoos forAHS limits the spirit students.” the students have because there is no variety. We should Kahn stated that she herself enjoys spirit days greatly. “I really like Pajama Day since many people get a kick out go back to having miscellaneous spirit days. If we do not, of it. On Crazy Hair day, people can really put themselves beads and tattoos should still be passed out in different out there. These days are an excuse to come to school be- parts of the school so everyone will have an opportunity to ing yourself without being ostracized by others. I also like show their spirit,” said junior Juliana Leventhal. Senior Chessy Dintruss also shares this perspective. theme days such as Safari Day or Wild Wild West Day “People would definitely participate more if we had better because they are creative and funny. Basically, the SGA Spirit Days, such as Pajama Day. Still, many people had supports any day that makes it easy on the kids.” According to a recent survey conducted by the leader- fun with the tattoos and beads on Spirit Day anyway,” ship class, many AHS students seem to be leaning on the said Dintruss. By and large, each person has their own perspective SGA’s side as well. 15 of 19 freshmen, 15 of 17 sophomores, 30 of 38 juniors, and 4 of 4 seniors favored having a Winter on what Spirit Days should be about and when or if Spirit Weeks should be held. Spirit Week rather than just a Spirit Day.
Students attend open-heart surgery The field trip to INOVA Fairfax Hospital was inspirational to students BY CARLY BOUCHARD AND HELENA BELAY Staff Writers “It’s so inspirational, seeing how fragile the human heart is and how it can be crushed in the palm of another man’s hand,” said senior Lucas Cochran, referring to the risky medical procedure that human anatomy students have recently observed: open heart surgery. “It was life changing. I had an epiphany.” For only six dollars in transportation fees, the students were able to oversee a risky procedure performed at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. The opportunity is run through FCPS and gives all Human Anatomy kids a chance to visit the hospital and observe, heart surgery. “The students are always very excited, and I don’t think that it’s just because we are going on a field trip, but it’s the surgery that they are enthusiastic about,” said Abbie Kahn, Human Anatomy teacher. “Everyone is scared at first, but I try to prepare them by telling them it’s really not bloody at all. ” Human Anatomy is typically a class for seniors who have completed their three years of chemistry, biology, and physics. Those who wish to complete the IB diploma must take one of the core classes online or through other methods. “We won’t have covered the heart unit yet, but we are going over a few things so we can understand what’s going on,” sophomore John Oakes said. Many students went on Monday to observe, because procedure observation dates
are scattered throughout the month of December. After leaving school a little before seven a.m., students went to INOVAto get ready and learn. “There was a domelike room about ten or fifteen feet above the operation table,” said senior Annie Wiser. “It had television screens where we could see inside the patient. Watching the heart beat that close was really cool.” Although the procedure was about three hours, the class remained intrigued until the very end. “There are cameras on the doctor’s lights and on a tool that they use to harvest the vain from the leg, said Kahn. The tool is a long scope and the camera is as small as the tip of a pen.” “It was really exciting,” said Wieser, “I have seen heart surgery before but I was excited to refresh my memory. This time, we saw the incisions through the side of the man’s body.” Although many people have ideas as to what they want to do after high school, many students believe that the experience would enhance someone’s desire to pursue a career in surgery. “There have been plenty of students that have gone on to take academy classes such as nursing and other science courses in college,” said Kahn. When asked about taking human anatomy, sophomore Anna Smith thought that the interactive learning with hand-on experiences was a great idea. “This definitely makes me want to look into taking the class. The heart surgery would be very interesting to see,” Smith said. “I think it’s a good trip because you get to see the application. It’s live and the students are looking at the actual heart,” Said Kahn. Whether the discussion is on the function of the heart’s chambers or on why muscles act the way they do, students choosing to take human anatomy don’t miss a thing going on inside their bodies.
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for more about the economy, go to www.thea-blast.org
NEWS BRIEFS Class Rings The company, National Quality Products, will be visiting AHS during lunches beginning on Wed. Dec. 17. Students who have already ordered a ring may pick theirs up and pay off dues. Students will also be able to order their class rings.
After-School Wednesdays Students are invited to the Annandale Neighborhood Center after school on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. They are encouraged to work on homework or engage in creative activities with their peers.
Holiday Orchistra and Chorus concert The AHS Orchestra will hold a concert on December 16 at 7p.m. The AHS choirs will also be performing with the orchestra. The holiday concert will be held in the Watson Auditorium.
Annual IB Meeting There will be an assembly during flexes on Wed. Jan. 7 for all students who are enrolled in any IB or Pre-IB courses. These students will meet in the auditorium to hear from alumni of the IB Program speak about how the program has prepared them for college.
Ask The Principal: Letters of recomendation
Q: Do you ever write letters of recommendation for students? Why, or why not? A: “Ever since I left the classroom and entered administration, I generally do not write letters of recommendation for students. However, I write many recommendations on behalf of teachers and administrators who are seeking educational or promotional opportunities. “If asked, I would be more than happy to write a letter of recommendation for any student.” Q: How important do you think it is for a student to send good letters of recommendation in with their college applications? A: “It is extremely important to attain the very best letters of recommendation (from teachers, etc.) because the admissions process is very competitive. The better the letter, the better the chance for getting into the college or university of your choice.” Q: When you applied to colleges, how many letters of recommendation did you have? A: “I graduated from high school in 1972 and I’m not sure how many letters were required at that time. What I do remember is this. If it wasn’t for my guidance counselor who believed in me when I had doubts about my own abilities and goals, I most likely would have enlisted in the Army and never made it to college.” Q: What college did you go to? A: “He [my guidence counslor] was solely responsible for getting me admitted to Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland where I earned my Bachelors degree in Social Studies Education. I later earned a Masters degree in Education Leadership from George Mason University.”
Dec. 16, 2008
Dec. 16, 2004
She stayed on her toes Jane Rabinovitz performs her final Nutcracker ballet with the Center Dance Company
Go to the web for videos of the Nutcracker Performance on Dec. 5, www.thea-blast.org
BY JEFF SHIM Staff Writer
Senior Jane Rabinovitz portrays the soldier doll in her final performance with the Center Dance Company’s production of the Nutcracker, before she graduates from high school.
Student Artwork ALL PHOTOS JEFF SHIM
“Please sit back and relax, leave your troubles, global warming, war in Iraq, and the economic crisis outside, and enter into the magical world of the Center Dance Company’s Nutcracker,” said the narrator, opening the Nutcracker show. AHS senior Jane Rabinovitz performed the Nutcracker Dec. 5 – Dec. 7 with at least 300 people in the audience. She dances with the Center Dance Company, and this is the sixth annual year of their Nutcracker performance. She started dancing when she was five years old, with her first performance in the seventh grade. The Nutcracker was Rabinovitz’s last performance with the Center Dance Company before her graduation. The Nutcracker is a fairy-tale show with two acts and three scenes. When the curtains are raised, Christmas begins. With enthusiasm from the company and dancers, one can find holiday warmth in the Nutcracker story. In the opening scene, the protagonist Clara receives the nutcracker from her godfather Drosselmayer as Christmas gift. Drosselmayer tells her that the nutcracker is actually the handsome prince who was bewitched by the evil mice. However, the spell can be broken by a young girl with a pure heart and the bravery to stand against the evil mice. The show may seem just like little typical fairytale performance, but it takes a lot of stress, time and effort to produce one performance. “We have been rehearsing the Nutcracker since October, so we have been practicing for about two and a half months,” said Rabinovitz, “We rehearsed Friday nights from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 2:15 p.m. to as late as 6:30 p.m. when it gets down to crunch time.” Between the many shows, Rabinovitz acted as a soldier doll, a Russian, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. She alternated between the roles depending on the time of the performances. This year’s show was even more special because Connor Walsh, the principle of Houston Ballet, the fourth larg-
Rabinovitz dances as a soldier doll as children gather around in awe.
Rabinovitz (middle) performs as one of three Russians on the Saturday show.
est dancing company in the country, performed with Rabinovitz on stage. He danced as Cavalier while she was Sugar Plum Fairy. Overall, Rabinovitz seemed content with the performance, “Looking back on this run of shows, I am really pleased with how they all went. I never fell, which was lucky, and I felt like I really gave each performance as much as I could,” said Rabinovitz. When the curtains closed, the auditorium was filled with applause and the performers came out to hug and congratulate each other for the success of the performance. “Sharing those moments with the company is a great feeling,” said Rabinovitz. However, she also seemed nostalgic, reflecting on the small number of performances this year. “I love any chance to be on stage and performing in front of an audience, so it is always bittersweet when the run of shows end,” said Rabinovitz. Even after graduating from high school, she has expressed her desire to continue ballet and dancing, but to also try different types of contemporary, modern, and jazz dance. “I want to keep my options open, but I definitely do not want to stop dancing” said Rabinovitz.
The amateur graphic designer wishes to have a career in advertising so that he can continue creating his artwork. “I like what I do!” said Kyle about his work. “It’s really interesting and so much fun.” “He is really working hard,” said Harper. “He really loves what he does. He’s going to be great.”
McDermott is interested in portraying the juxtaposition of humanity and malevolent bionics. She has recently incorporated natal themes into her images.
Vector Portrait —Corinne Reinert senior
Senior Kyle Mills is a talented art student . He has a unique style and amazingly creative ideas. However, he is not an artist in the traditional sense. His colorful images are not made with the stroke of a paintbrush, but with the click of the mouse. The IB Art student creates his work with the new, growing medium of graphic design. While most people use computers to meet their technical needs, Kyle has used them to meet his artistic ones. For two years, he has been working in the field of graphic design as a participant of the IB Arts program. “I like working with computer graphics because it’s a really versatile medium and there is so much to learn; so many new things to experiment with,” said Mills. He is fluent in the use of such design programs as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. He also has some experience using Flash. He has no true external source of inspiration. Although he does admire the work of various artists, all of his work comes from his own imagination. His art has caught the attention of various clubs and organizations at AHS. Mills has become somewhat of a freelance graphic designer
IMAGES COURTESY OF KYLE MILLS
Kyle Mills shows his talent and imagination through graphic design as he has been recruited to design T-shirts for both the Jewish Culture Club and the Filament. He has also been credited with assisting in the design and full cover of the 2008 edition of the AHS literary arts magazine, which features some of his art as well. Kyle has earned recognition outside of AHS. He submitted some of his work to Scholastic Art, which earned him the Gold and Silver Key awards in Virginia. “I love Kyle’s artwork,” said IB Arts teacher Anne Harper. “It’s original, creative and he takes risk by mixing media and experimenting. He’s pushing the boundaries of fine art and illustration. He has unique vision for a kid his age.” Lately, he has been exploring different styles of art such as typography, using words to create images. In one of his pieces, he used white text, which he manipulated and arranged on a black background to create an illustration of a zebra. The young artist has shown that he has the ability to adapt to each new style of art he tries. Mills is planning to continue his studies in graphic design while attending college. “I’m hoping to get a scholarship to JMU, but if that doesn’t work, I’m hoping to attend VCU which has a great Computer Graphics program,” said Mills.
Vector Portrait —Katherine McDermott senior
Bionic Incubation —Katherine McDermott senior
Artist in the spotlight BY TRAVIS VALLE Arts Editor
The following are drawings and paintings created by the Art students of AHS
“I like working with computer graphics because it’s a really versatile medium and there is so much to learn,” said Mills.
Tiger Skateboard —Corinne Reinert senior
Mills enjoys experimenting with photoshop and seeing what wild images he can create, which is how this abstract graphic of a shoe came about.
Lately, Mills has been working with typography, a type of art where words are used to create images. In the picture above, the three words “stripes” “black” and “zebra” are used repeatedly to create the image of the zebra.
Reinert wants to be an animator and most of her drawings focus on conveying emotional characteristics of animals. These images, although not related, show other parts of her personality while allowing her to explore other media.
Dec. 16, 2008
Workout wonderland mile according to spirita.net. Maintaining a good diet during the holidays is another important factor in staying healthy and in shape this winter. “I try and stay away from dessert tables,” said junior Madeleine Irwin. “Overall I keep my veggies, fruits and lean protein near.” Joining a gym can also be another way to slim down over the winter break. Some gyms even have discounts and gift specials during the season. Gyms offer a variety of exercise equipment and even personal trainers to assist in a personal workout plan. Even with holiday discounts gyms, ski trips can get expensive and inconvenient. The most affordable and accessible form of exercise is working out at home. One can bring the gym home with them with a workou t video. Tae Bo is a fun cardiac work out originating from tae kwon do. Yoga and palaties can also be performed in the comfort of one’s living room with more privacy and a personal workout. Not only do yoga and palaties allow one to lose weight, but they also relieve some of the stresses of the holiday season. Music is another tool that helps one relax during a workout. Simply dancing for 15 minutes burns an average of 83 calories in an individual who weights roughly 150 pounds, according to Dietbites.com. “A good iPod playlist makes working out easier,” said Irwin. “Pump up music changes a pessimistic mood in an instant.” Exercise creates endorphins that will help anyone through the rough holiday season and leave one with a great body for the ever so soon bathing suit season. Staying in-shape can be difficult during the winter season in the cold weather, but using tricks during shopping and cooking can lead to a healthier holiday.
Students struggle to stay warm and get health during the holiday season but find other ways the lose weight before spring BY AMY STEINBUECHLER Health Editor Staying fit and working up a sweat can be difficult over the winter season. Often it is too cold to venture outside, and eating holiday feasts seems more tempting than exercising. “Winter months are my laziest months. I rarely workout in the cold because I have a terrible immune system,” said senior Anita Obasi. “It’s hard to get motivated to go out in the cold.” Winter does not have to be all about gaining weight and making a resolution to lose it. It can also be about staying in shape and having fun. There are a number of ways to get your heart rate up without the low temperatures. Running or playing sports are great ways to get some fresh air. Enjoying the snow by sledding, skiing or snowboarding are great cardio and muscular workouts outside as well. Shopping can also burn a few calories. For every fifteen minutes spent on the stairs, an average person of 150 pounds can burn up to 153 calories according to dietbites.com. The number of calories increases as one’s weight increases. Walking from store to store can also burn calories; the average person at 150 pounds can burn roughly 50 calories walking 15 minutes per
Four ways to get your heart racing this winter...
9 Have you updated your workout? Did you know workouts change as the changing season? This quiz will test if you truely know how to get the most out of a Winter workout! 1. When it starts to get chilly, you should work out...? A. Hard and fast B. Slow and steady C. Not at all 2. How much should you stretch before working out in cold weather? A. More B. The same C. Less 3. How should you warm up before working out in the cold? A. More B. The same C. Less 4. You should wear just enough clothing when you work out so that you feel this way: A. Hot and sweaty B. Nice and warm C. A little chilly
COURTESY OF THE ANTENNA YEAR BOOK
COURTESY OF ROBIN SCOTT
COURTESY OF LUCAS COCHRAN
COURTESY OF JERRY SOLOMON
5. It’s NOT a good idea for the clothing closest to your body to be made of what fabric? A. Wool B. Cotton C. Synthetic fibers
1.Active video games 2.Workout videos
3.Take the stairs
4.Breakout in dance
Sophomore Bethlehem Solomon spends time playing Dance Dance Revolution, following the arrows on the screen and the beat of the music, which is a great way to burn calories. Attracting even those who had never been interested in video games, active video games have gotten people off their couch and become more physically involved, dancing to DDR or playing virtual tennis on Wii Sports. However, when it is cold outside, active video games are a much better alternative to just sitting around.
Senior Robin Scott regularly jogs up and down her stairs to get into shape. Instead of expensive exercise equipments or gym memberships, taking the stairs in your own home can be just the solution to a winter workout routine. The strength needed to climb up the stairs is compared to jogging, and going down the stair is compared to a brisk walk. Research has shown that walking upstairs for six minutes each day will make a person 10 to 15 percent fitter.
The Dance Team enjoys spending their time dancing as a workout. For those who find working out too tedious and repetitive, dancing is a more exciting way of getting in shape. Dancing strengthens muscles, especially abs and helps to increase flexibility. Besides improving coordination, balance and raising self-confidence, dancing is a great way to socialize and hang out with friends.
Senior Lucas Cochran follows the instructor on his favorite workout video to stay in shape for the winter and spring sports that he takes part in. It is hard to get yourself into a pricey gym that you may or may not even choose to regularly attend, or even endure taking a jog in the freezing weather. When you just cannot motivate yourself to get into shape in the winter months, workout videos help you reach your fitness goals.
’Tis the season Class struggles As snow falls, many fall victim to the flu and prepare with the vaccine shot or mist BY BOB STEVENS Staff writer As the cold weather approaches, the flu season starts back up again. Every year, the flu virus changes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) choses three viruses to make vaccines. What are some signs of the flu? Some symptoms of the flu are the chills, stomach pain and diarrhea. “I haven’t been sick in years,” said the school nurse Tracy Shakespeare. She hasn not been sick in years because she keeps hydrated, eats properly, and gets a good night sleep. When you do those three things you are less susceptible to catching the flu virus. Another way of not becoming sick is by washing your hands thoroughly many times during the day. Avoiding sharing drinks is yet another way of avoiding the flu. “I waited in the line for 30 minutes to get a shot that took less than 30 seconds,” said sophomore Andrew Pack. “The reason I got a flu shot is because last year I got sick a lot and this year I didn’t want to get sick,” said Pack. The CDC says that the best way to prevent getting the flu is by getting the yearly flu shot. If you do get the flu, the CDC advises to cover your cough to prevent germs from spreading. “I don’t need a flu shot because I haven’t gotten a flu shot in past years and I haven’t gotten really sick in many years,” said sophomore Anthony Banaszak. The CDC states that children aged six months to 19 years old, pregnant women, and people 50 years of age and older should get the flu shot. It is also recommended that people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu shot get the flu shot every year. Based on CDC recommendations, it is advisable that all students should get a shot to prevent the flu virus from catching on at AHS. Additional reporting by Andy Craig
7. A warning sign of working out too hard in cold weather is: A. An elevated heart rate B. Starting to sweat C. Scorching lungs 8. When you’re done with your main workout: A. Stop and drink some cold water B. Jog a bit more C. Stop for a few minutes, then jog around 9. When you get inside what is the best way to cool down after your workout? A. Take off a few layers B. Jump right into the shower C. Stay dressed in layers 10. After working out, the bath or shower you take should be: A. Cold B. Warm C. Hot ANSWERS: 1. B. Slow and Steady In cold weather its easier to tear a muscle if its not properly warmed up.
2. A. More
Wrestlers diet to make their weight
Because muscles tighten in cold weather its better to stretch more in the winter time.
3. A. More To stay warm in the cold weather focus your energy on your warm up. Your warm up can improve your exercise and keep you injury free.
BY KELLY O’BRIEN Staff writer Being a varsity wrestler requires dedication in learning better techniques and improving those skills already gained. Not only must they devote themselves in practice, but also in the lunch room. In the past, wrestling has been known as a weight sensitive sport. “The old school way was unhealthy,” said athletic trainer Allison Lane. According to the Providence Journal, new rules for wrestlers, set in 2006, were established after the deaths of three athletes due to excessive weight loss. “Now we can regulate their weight so it is healthy,” said Lane. Wrestlers must make sure that they meet their weight class in order to be eligible to compete. It is necessary for wrestlers to be divided into classes for safety reasons. “We have a weight chart in the back of the room. They can calculate their weight before and after practice so they know where they are at.” “You can’t have one big fellow against a little fellow because the little fellow might get hurt,” said head coach Keith Sholders. Competitors use some of the same methods to stay in their weight class. “I don’t eat as much as I usually do, and when I do eat I cut out all bad foods,” said junior Ricky Adams. It is important to stay the same weight, but also become stronger. “I also work out extra after practice.” Former competitors found meeting their weight requirements counterproductive. “It made me really tired and I never felt like I was at my full strength,” said junior Marquis Perez. Sholders has tactics to help his team watch their weight in a healthy way. “I tell them to eat healthy, drink lots of ice water, run after dinner and not to eat after 9 p.m.,” said Sholders. “We have a weight chart in the back of the room. They can calculate their weight before and after practice so they know where they are at.” Even though the team has positive ways to meet their weight class, the dieting can also have negative side affects amongst the athletes. “Usually I become grumpier cause I am hungry, and I think about food more,” said Adams.
6. On windy days, start jogging: A. With the wind in your face B. With the wind at your back C. With the wind at your side
4. C. A little chilly Make sure you can feel a little cold when you start your workout so you can warm yourself up as you work. Avoid catching a cold however by layering your clothing.
5. B. Cotton When cotton is worn on your skin it absorbs the sweat form your body and becomes cold in the winter.
6. A. With the wind in your face Although it may seem colder to run into the wind you will use your initial energy to run against the wind and when you get tired you can turn around and use the wind to push you as you run.
7. C. Scorching lungs Make sure to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Push yourself enough to work your heart and muscles and not your lungs.
“We have a weight chart in the back of the room. They can calculate their weight before and after practice so they know where they are at.”
8. B. Jog a bit more Just as the warm up of your exercise the cool down is important. Slow down your heart and breathing while keeping your muscles from tightening by continuing to move.
9. C. Stay dressed in layers Your body could go into shock with a drastic change in temperature so loose the layers slowly.
10. B. Warm Extreme temperatures can also send your body into shock so once properly cooled down take a warm shower.
Information from www.channelone.com & www.emaxhealth.com
Go to the web Visit us at thea-blast.org for locations where you can recieve the flu vaccine.
13 Adventure at Great Falls
Dec. 16, 2008
Go to the web
For more information on Great Falls Park visit www.thea-blast.org
A short distance up I-495 lies a breathtaking 800 acre park. For only $5, you can forget that you live in the surburbs and take a hike that allows you to experience a side of nature that cannot be seen through your kitchen window. The park runs along the Potomac River just over the border of Maryland. You have an opportunity to hike over giant boulders along the Billy Goat Trail, or for a placid walk, you can take the path way to the overlook.
Know your nature facts: —Electric eels are capable of emitting a discharge of 600 volts. —Puffer fish can be poisonous to eat if not prepared properly. —The bark of the Willow tree was the original source for making aspirin. —The only state without a National Park Service site: Delaware.
The Great Falls Tavern, built between 1828 and 1831, provided meals and lodging for canal travelers. It now provides refreshments and a warm place to rest during the winter.
—Man is the only animal that sleeps on its back.
Great Falls Park offers views of the Potomac River from multiple paths that wind over a span of 800 acres.
—Mosquitos are responsible for the most human deaths due to the many diseases they carry. —Flamingos can only eat with their heads upside down.
Signs are posted throughout the park warning you about the rapids. TANYA BELLINGHAM
This waterfall may appear scary and uninviting to most, but to some, it may seem like just another place to kayak through the rapids.
Winding pebble paths lead you to each avaliable trail for the hikers. Along each path they provide benches to rest on and bike racks to place your bikes.
How do you get in touch with nature? “I recycle.”
—Ryan Beamer freshman
The Overlook Path was built with wooden walkways to perserve the natural bedrock on the ground below.
Senior Hanna Navarrete takes a triumphant step after climbing over a rocky hill.
“I love plants and I grow some. I have 15 varieties of plants.”
—Zach Gordon sophomore
“I go running around my neighborhood.”
The Potomac is surrounded by trees that are usually filled with leaves but now are bare due to the winter season.
—Maggie Birmingham junior
“I tan to appreciate the sun. ”
The park is open for groups of all ages to explore a simple path or take a rocky hike up a hill.
—Hanna Navarrete senior
The Overlook Trail ends with the breathtaking view of Potomac waterfalls. The waterfall is surrounded by woods and is full of sharp rocks.
“ I kayak, I like to fish, go to the beach, and hiking. I like being near water.”
—Patrick Hughes Drivers’ ED teacher
Dec. 16, 2008
15 Go to the web
for more information on the Varsity Club www.thea-blast.org
Who do you think will win the NBA championship this year?
“I think the Detroit Pistons will win because they have Allen Iverson.”
—Andre Conner freshman
The Varsity Club is a network of athletes, founded by Coach Adams, middle. junior Ricky Adams and junior Raymond Acker show off their Lettermen jackets.
Adams introduces Varsity Club to AHS control, and therefore, chose senior Cason Kynes to serve as the Varsity Club’s president. Kynes is a responsible varsity athlete who has earned letters in numerous sports and also has high hopes for this up and coming club. “I want to use this club to serve others. I hope to utilize our platform as varsity athletes to make an impact on the community,” said Kynes. Community service will also be incorporated in the plans for this active BY CASSADY KELLER AND TORIE DEIBLE club. Visiting local nursing homes and making stops at the pyramid schools. Staff writers When visiting the neighboring elementary schools, the varsity athletes will Red and white filled the bustling hallways, jocks sported their lettermen wear their uniforms to encourage the younger students to follow in their jackets with pride and “Atom’s Spirit” was evident throughout the student footsteps and get involved in school sports. body; it is Annandale High School, 1975. School spirit was at its peak, and Another goal of this group is to reach out to minority students and get leading this wave of Atoms pride were those student athletes anxious to them more involved in sports. earn their first varsity letter. “We will make sure this club is as diverse as the student body here at “It used to be that right when I got my letter, I would run home and ask Annandale,” said Adams. He was hopeful that students of all walks of life my mom to sew it onto my jacket, and I wore my jacket immediately, the would attend the Varsity Club’s first meeting. next day,” said varsity football coach Dick Adams. Although Adams expected most of his varsity football team to attend At this time in Annandale history, receiving a letter didn’t just mean you the Varsitys Club’s first meeting, he was happily surprised when over 100 could wear a cool jacket, but you were also eligible to partake students filled the weight room, over half of which in a designated club, the Lettermen’s Club. For its time, this were young ladies. was an exclusive club that most boys strove to participate. “I am a proud woman athlete, and believe that us When Adams walked the halls as a student, rather than head girls should have as many opportunities in the athletic coach, he was a proud member of this all boys club. world as the boys do. That’s why I’m really excited to When I got my letter, I “It was known as a “jock club” for all boys with a varsity letbe a part of this club, which is now open to boys and ter. We met once in a while, did some community service,and wore my letter jacket imgirls alike,” said junior Caroline England. it looked good on our résumés,” said Adams. During this time spent in the club, Adams not As time passsed, less and less school spirit came from mediately. All the boys only touched on the various community service activistudents. Noticing the recent spirit drought, Coach Adams ties, but also on fundraising ideas and emphasized jumped in and took action. His first thought was to revive used to wear their letter the importance of a strong student based leadership the old tradition, the varsity lettermen’s club. committee for the Varsity Club. Positions available After contemplation, Adams realized that times had jackets. include vice president, treasurer, sergeant at arms, changed dramatically since the days of the original club, and —Dick Adams social director, activities director, and a fund raising for that reason, requirements for the club needed to change. Varsity club sponsor committee. For example, girl athletes are now prominent, and that is Fundraisers will provide even more fun activities why this club will be coed. for members to involve themselves in. “That’s why I call it the Varsity Club, in order to include “I’m not going to ask members to sell stuff to raise everybody,” said Adams. money, but maybe we will have a dance,” said Adams. This new Varsity Club has taken on a large mission, which involves both Plans are in the works for the Varsity Club to sponsor a winter dance, an increase in the level of school spirit and the spirit of an athlete. “Varsity “The Blizzard Bash.” Adams plans to advertise this dance with extreme Club is trying to generate school spirit. We want the students to take more intent. In his words, he plans to “pound it” and expects great attendance. pride in being athletes, and strive to be varsity athletes. We want the athletes All members have high hopes for this first year of the Varsity Club, with to wear the letters on their jackets and be proud,” said Adams. an abundance of community service activities and fundraising. Adams, who will act as the club’s sponsor, wants the students to take full
The Varsity Club reestablishes itself at AHS to provide public service for area residents
The loneliest man in the NFL Marcus’ Mentality Opinion
By Marcus Mavlian
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a quarterback and only be able to use one half of the field during a game? Well that’s what it’s like if you’re the opposing quarterback against the defense of the Oakland Raiders. Potentially the best cornerback to ever play in the NFL, definitely the most under-rated, is Oakland’s own Nnamdi Asomugha. I am willing to bet that if you are reading this article you have never heard of this guy. I hadn’t until very recently. When I first heard about Asomugha, I thought that he couldn’t possibly be as good as some people made him out to be because I’d never heard about him in the press. I was wrong. On average, opposing quarter-
backs throw to the side of the field that Asomugha is covering less than twice a game. So why isn’t this guy in the Pro-Bowl and why doesn’t he appear on talk shows? “Nnamdi Asomugha is the most underrated player to ever play in the NFL,” said coach Mike Shanahan. This is the guy that has to play against Asomugha twice a year. Asomugha was only selected to one Pro-Bowl and that was in the 2006 season where he had 50 tackles, eight interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a touchdown. After his breakout year, quarterbacks were so afraid of him that they only threw to his side of field 31 times the whole year with a less than 30 percent completion percentage against him. On the field on Sundays, Asomugha gets pretty lonely. You would think, since Asomugha is as good as he is, that he has been playing cornerback all of his life, but that’s not the case. He didn’t start playing cornerback until he reached the pros. In college, at the University of California, he played
free safety and had a very productive four years. Asomugha was the highest recruited defensive back in the nation coming out of high school. The only problem that Asomugha has faced in his NFL career is that he doesn’t get the stats that other defensive backs around the league get because no one throws against him. Sadly there is no stat for how many times opposing teams throw against you, but if there was, he would be a future Hall of Fame inductee, no questions asked. But it’s the guys like Champ Bailey and DeAngelo Hall that get all the recognition because they get all of the picks and have way more tackles than any other defensive backs in the league. It makes you think what other secret starting players could be playing around the league that we have never heard of because they play on teams with one or two wins. But as we all know, it has never been about shut down defense, it’s always about interceptions and touchdowns.
Imagine being the third winningest coach in Wizards franchise history and then 11 games into the season, you’re fired. Unfortunately this was the case as the Washington Wizards released Coach Eddie Jordan on Nov. 24th after a terrible 1-10 start to the season. Jordan was into his sixth year as the Wizards head coach after taking his team to the playoffs for four straight years. He was hired by owner Abe Pollin back in 2003 and had a contract to coach through next season. “We had to do something. The way we’re losing games was unacceptable,” said Ernie Grunfeld, the Wizards president said in a press conference after the decision was made. “A change had to be made.” Of course, the Wizards have been playing without three time All-Star Gilbert Arenas, and starting center Brendan Haywood. So, how much should two players affect a team with 13 other men, including All-Stars Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison?
—Andres Hurtado sophomore
“The Celtics will win because they have a well rounded team of veterans and they’ll repeat.”
---- Murat Gokturk junior “I like the Celtics because they have a strong team with Garnett, Rondo and Paul Pierce.”
—John Copenhaver senior
“The Phoenix Suns will win this year, Shaq is gonna have one more big run.”
—Mike Scott history teacher
BCS games announced
FedEx BCS National Championship Game: Jan 8 8 p.m. Florida v. Oklahoma
Tostito Fiesta Bowl: Jan 5 8 p.m. Ohio State v. Texas
Raider’s cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the most underestimated players in the NFL.
Wizards wrongfully fire Eddie Jordan BY AUGUST MCCARTHY Staff Writer
“The Lakers will win this year because Kobe Bryant provides a good chance as well as Pau Gasol.”
With a new six-year, $111 million contract, Arenas was obviously the most important key to the Wizards’ success this season. Arenas has still not set a timetable for his return after having a third knee surgery earlier this season. Brendan Haywood had wrist surgery in October and is expected to be out another two to four months. “We have not performed up to our abilities,” said Ernie Grunfeld. But with many new players receiving playing time, such as guard Dee Brown, and rookie center JaVale McGee, there have been many mistakes and miscues. The Wizards replaced Eddie Jordan with Ed Tapscott, the former director of player development. Tapscott will serve on an interim basis, and is expected to coach through the end of the season. Except for the blowout 124-100 blowout win over Golden State in Ed Tapscott’s debut, and the 13 point win over a struggling Detroit, they have not proven to be any better than before. Still losing games like they did with Edie Jordan. The Wizards hope to see an improvement with their new coach but the season still has a grim outlook to it.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Jan 2 8 p.m. Utah v. Alabama
FedEx Orange Bowl Jan 1 8:30 p.m. Cincinnati v. Virginia Tech
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi Jan 1 4:30 p.m. USC v. Penn State
“Basketball because there is a lot of action so it’s always entertaining.”
—Becca Hendrickson freshman
“Basketball because it’s exciting and I want to see Ronnie McCoy dunk.”
—Patrick Khoueiry sophomore
“Basketball because its very schooloriented and enthusiastic.”
—Angel Balbuena junior
“Basketball because it can get pretty exciting and is really fun to watch.”
—Carson Wahl senior
Dec. 16, 2008
Boys off to a rocky start Atoms lose close game to Langley by one point, after splitting their first two games BY DAVID HOOKEY Staff Writer The AHS boys Basketball team tipped off their season on Dec. 5, and after three games has stumbled to a 1-2 start. In the season opener against the JEB Stuart Raiders, the Atoms came up short, falling 60-47. The team kept it close through the first half, trailing by a manageable 8 points at the half, 31-23. However, they were never able to overcome the deficit and ended up falling to the taller, more experienced Stuart team. “We didn’t give it 100% defensively, and the effort just wasn’t where it needed to be,” said head coach Anthony Harper. “We played alright, but definitely not as good as we should have,” said sophomore guard D’Angelo Boyce. Stuart was able to disrupt the Atoms’ preferred style of play, one that is fast-paced and emphasizes the team’s quickness and athleticism. “We are a running team and they were able to slow us down on offense and forced us to be patient,” said Harper. “They pressured us in our half-court set and forced us into bad decisions.” The team’s second game of the season, played on Dec. 9, was against the Thomas Jefferson Colonials. The Atoms beat the Colonials last year, and coach Harper said a key to the game would be to press more in order to increase the pace of the game, which would favor the more athletic AHS team. The Atoms executed this game plan perfectly and easily defeated the Colonials, 70-51. Senior Allen Stalp scored a season-high 20 points and sophomore Karl Ziegler added a season-high 16 points. On Dec. 12, the Atoms played a talented Langley squad that beat Annandale in a true nail biter. With the Atoms up by 1 with 20 seconds left, the Saxons were able to beat the tough Annandale defense to get a two-point field goal to put them up by one. Annandale then took a timeout with 14 seconds to play in order to set up the offense they’d need to retake the lead. However, Langley played great pressure defense and forced the Atoms into a turnover with four seconds left on the clock. A Langley player was immediately fouled and missed the front-half of a one and one, giving the Atoms one last chance. But junior Jon Williams’ shot from beyond half-court didn’t fall. The Atoms lost seven seniors last year, most notably center Erik Etherly, who received a full scholarship to Northeastern University. His departure left the Atoms with no true center and a relatively small lineup compared to other teams in the district. Sophomore forwards Melvin Robinson and Karl Ziegler helped pick up the rebounding slack, but rebounding is still an area that can be improved upon. “We need to do a better job getting rebounds and executing our defense,” said Boyce. “We also need to work on our free throws.” Through three games, the Atoms are shooting a disappointing 65% from the foul line. “We’ve missed several free throws this year and it has cost us in two of the games,” said Ziegler. Another weak point for this year’s team is its lack of experience. The loss of the aforementioned seven seniors leaves the Atoms with just seven players with varsity experience. “We only have seven returning varsity players and we haven’t really gelled as an experienced unit yet,” said Harper. Annandale has started three sophomores in each of their first three games, Boyce, Robinson, and Ziegler, and junior Hasib Iqbal has started in two of
Which winter sport do you plan to watch the most?
Sophomore D’Angelo Boyce directs the offense on a fast break against JEB Stuart. The Atoms lost the game 60-47 and are now 1-2.
Senior Allen Stalp guards a JEB Stuart player. Stalp is one of the Atoms’ leading scorers on the season and averages 13.7 points a game.
the three games. Stalp has been the lone senior in the starting lineup for every game. Stalp leads the Atoms’ charge with an average of 13.7 points per game. Robinson is second on the team averaging 11.3 points and Ziegler is third averaging 10.3 points. Boyce is close behind with an average of 9.3 points a game. Coach Harper has set goals for this year’s team to “finish like last year’s team (a Regional Tournament berth), but not have the drop-off like they had.” Harper is referring to the loss to Madison following their big victory over Chantilly. Madison played in a style similar to the way that Stuart played them in the opener. “[Stuart] was a good, disciplined team similar to Madison and got us out of our rhythm like they did,” said Harper. Boyce has similar goals to those of Coach Harper. “We want to make it to the Regional Tournament, but first we want to win the district,” he said. The Atoms look to rebound from this early season slump and have more success later in the year. Last year’s team also got off to a slow start, so it is very possible for this year’s team to recover and have a successful season.
Gymnastics at Langley
Atoms prepare for Christmas tournament in New Jersey after a strong start BY SCOTT PLUNKETT Sports Editor
Junior Rose Broberg competes in the vault at the Atoms most recent meet on Dec. 8.
The AHS “grappling” atoms completed this past weekend in the Prince William County Invitational. The Atoms had a very impressive outing and finished in second place with 158 points. “We did very well, taking second,” said senior Victor Njomo. The Atoms were led by 103 lb. champion freshman Dane Harlowe, and senior Shane Doty and Njomo who won the 285 and 215 lb. weight classes. Other top finishers at the meet included junior Stacey Anderson who finished third, sophomore Jon Le who finished fourth and senior Kyle Schalman who also finished fourth. “We showed great enthusiasm and came from a great deficit, from fifth to second,” said junior Ricky Adams.
The Atoms were coming of a competitive meet in the Nova Classic on December 5th and 6th where they finished 10th with 100 points. Njomo picked up the win at the Nova classic as well, while Harlowe and Doty both finished very well at 4th. “As a team we’re hoping to take first in the district,” said Njomo. “We have a lot of people who can place in the district.” Njomo is the top returning wrestler in the 215 lb. weight class in the state of Virginia. Njomo has also already won his weight class for the two invites the team has attended this year. The Atoms don’t compete in the district until Feb. 6 but have a meet tomorrow against Obsbourn Park, Chantilly, Woodson and Robinson. It will be another good indication of how well the Atoms are doing within the Northern Region. The Atoms also have a big tournament over the winter break at the Christmas Tournament in New Jersey. The Atoms also have the annual “Pack the Pit” Sophomore Jake Sanborn practices takedowns at practice. meet on Jan. 28 against the South County Stal- The Atoms placed second at their most recent meet at lions where they hope to have a strong win as they Garfield HS. near the end of thier season.
Wrestling places second out of 16
Broberg does a difficult handstand on the vault.
Atoms beat South County after losing to a powerhouse West Springfield team BY KRISTEN HENNESSEY Staff Writer
Broberg flips into a handstand during her floor routine.
Photos Courtesy of Adrienne Williams
The swim and dive teams had their opening meet on Friday Dec. 5 against a strong West Springfield team. The Atoms went in knowing they had their work cut out for them, and left satisfied with their performance although the score may not have reflected it. The Atoms lost with a final score of 173-142. “It was a pretty good opening meet. The freshmen surprised me, especially the boys,” said head coach Neil Jarvis. “The boys’ team was much closer down to the end, while the girls’ team lost by a larger margin.” “I thought the meet on Friday was a decent accomplishment because we kept it close with one of the top teams in the state,” said sophomore Ryan Keck. “We swam our best and gave it our all even though we lost by a lot,” said junior Ellie Holcombe. Junior Annika Jessen and senior Rachel Burnett stood out, each making state cuts in individual
events. The team is still adjusting to their new coach and policies this year. One of the main principles Jarvis brings to the team is team unity. He hopes to accomplish this with strict policies regarding practice attendance. He has also brought a challenge upon the team by making them give up fast food during the swim season. “I did this in college. It’s better for their bodies, but really it brings the team closer together,” said coach Jarvis. The next opponent is T.C. Williams, one of the toughest opponents in the district outside of Lake Braddock. “We need to have more desire and be tougher,” said Jarvis. “We need to work on our cheering and getting off the wall faster,” said Holcombe. “I’m looking forward to the T.C. Williams meet because they are the worst team in the district, it is also easy to win your race,” said Keck. Also competing in the meet Friday was the dive team who started off strong. “The meet was a good season opener because we went up against a pretty good team. We got a chance to shake off the cobwebs and get back into the competition mindset,” said sophomore Jordan Aman. “The meet was good, we just need to focus more,” said sophomore Andrew Pack.
Swim/Dive season starts
Freshman Patrick Mccann flips at the Atoms’ meet against West Springfield. The Atoms boys lost by a score of 142-173.
Captain Sean McKinney, junior, led the team with an impressive first place score. Since only eight divers compete in the meet, the other divers who were not diving helped contribute by coming out to support and cheer on the team. The Atoms will use this meet as a steppingstone to improve in their next last meet before the winter break.
Dec. 16, 2008
Girls off to a good start at 2-1 The Atoms win two straight games against Stuart and Thomas Jefferson before falling to Langley 53-49 in a close contest
17 Football breaks records and earns honors •
The Atoms completed the 2008 football season tied for first in the Patriot District. Their final record was 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Patriot District
Senior quarterback Cason Kynes broke the school record for most touchdown passes in a season with 21.
Kynes now also holds the school record for yards-per-pass, averaging 20.9 yards.
Kynes was named to the Northern Region first team as a defensive back.
Sophomore receiver Melvin Robinson broke the school record for touchdown receptions in single season with 11.
Robinson also received the honor of first team all Northern Region as a wide receiver. He became only the second Annandale sophomore to ever be named to the first team.
Senior Shane Doty was named second team All Region as a defensive tackle.
The game was close at the half, but if the Atoms’ previous game was any indication as to how this one would end, they were in position to come out victorious. After outscoring Thomas Jefferson 19-6 and pulling ahead in the third quarter on Dec. 9, the Atoms were hoping to repeat against the Langley Saxons. Unfortunately, this time, the Atoms fell further behind in the third quarter and despite scoring 19 points in the fourth, they fell short in the end, with a final score of 53-49. The girls had their chances down the stretch, but shots didn’t fall and Langley was able to close out the game and improve their record to 2-3. “It’s been our best game so far,” said head coach Cleveland Williams. “Defensively, we played well.” “Langley has always been a tough team to beat,” said sophomore Kelly Hughes. “We made some crucial mistakes at the end that prevented us from getting those final points we needed to come out with a win.” The Atoms were led in the game by junior Nikki Clarke, who scored 15 points and senior Alexis Williams, who added 10. Williams has led the team in scoring overall this year, with a total of 40 points in the three games played so far, with Clarke right behind, totaling 38 points. Despite the loss, the Atoms are off to a great start this season, after opening with two convincing wins over Thomas Jefferson and J.E.B Stuart. The Atoms’ season opener was especially impressive as they held the Raiders to only one point in the third quarter and 33 points total, winning by a score of 53-33. A total of eight different players scored for the Atoms as they allowed none of the Raiders to score double digits. The Atoms’ away game on the ninth against the T.J. Colonials was a blowout as well, as the Atoms cruised to a 26 point victory with a final score of 63-37. The Atoms were led by three players in double figures with sophomore Kelly Hughes’ 15, Williams’ 13 and Clarke’s 12 points. The most impressive aspect of the Jefferson game was the swarming defense played by the Atoms. The team has worked hard on defense this year, and it really showed in the game as the Atoms were able to hold Jef-
COURTESY OF LINDA KNOCHE
BY SCOTT PLUNKETT Sports Editor
Junior Nikki Clarke shoots a free throw during the Atoms first game, a 53-33 win over Stuart. The Atoms beat Jefferson, making their record 2-0 before falling to Langley 54-49.
ferson’s leading scorer to only four points. The Atoms hoped to continue this defensive effort in the Langley game. The team’s goal was to hold six foot, one inch sophomore forward Audrey Dotson and five foot eleven inch junior guard Kristen Kody to under 10 points each. The Atoms were not able to do this, with Dotson and Kody scoring 15 and 14 points respectively. “We really wanted to stop their main players, but we still feel like we played pretty well defensively throughout the game,” said Hughes. The Atoms’ next game is against the T.C. Williams Titans on Dec. 16 at AHS. The Atoms lost to the Titans last year in the regional playoffs, as well as dropping both season contests, and are hoping to avenge those losses. “We really want to beat T.C., and we think that if we play to our potential we can,” said Clarke, a key player for the Atoms this year. “We need to work on defense, rebounding, and shooting. We already focus on these things in practice and have improved immensely so far. We have a long way to go, but everyone has a really positive attitude and is eager to get better,” said Hughes.
Track kicks season off well BY ALLEY ADCOCK AND KATIE VU Staff Writers With the first track meet on Dec. 6, the Atoms runners and their coaches worked very hard to prepare for this and other upcoming meets. “As a team, the boys should be one of the top three in the district, and the girls should improve on their seventh place finish from last year,” said head coach Sean Miller. After the first meet of the season, both the girls and boys teams were successful. “The boys tied for first with West Potomac, and the girls finished second behind West Potomac, but we still need more points from relays and sprinters,” said Miller. After six long hours of preparing for their first chance in showing their skills, the runners felt excited, but nervous in competing against the other schools. As the season progresses, runners try to improve on not only their individual goals but goals for the team as a whole. “My goal for the season is to get my time down and for the team to get a higher ranking in districts,” said senior Laura Burton. Athletes focus on taking direction from coaches and trying to raise the standards from the past
Winter Track at Episcopal High School COURTESY OF TED PLUNKETT
Track prepares for Friends of Indoor Track Invitational
seasons. Practices start every day at 2:45 PM on the track and last until 4:30. “The boys need to find more depth in the sprinting events and the girls have a lot of strong individual runners but we need more varsity performers,” said Miller. During practices the team focuses on improving their momentum and speed by going on long runs along with practicing the correct running form. “ The coaches help me improve on my starts and my running form because it really needs a lot of work,” said junior Maggie Bermingham. On days that meets take place, the team gathers in the jock lobby at six a.m. heading for various locations including Episcopal High School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Upon arriving the two buses unload, and runners file into the indoor track facility. After loosing several key seniors from last year’s team, the runners are looking to build stronger relays to create a foundation for the upcoming meets. The first varsity invitational will take place on Dec. 20 at T.J. Middle School. “During the upcoming varsity meet I plan on focusing on dropping my time and to sleep in between my races so I don’t waste my energy,” said junior Daniel Blasser. Looking ahead towards the rest of the season, coaches expect more points, faster starts, and higher places by the end of their season. “We have a big varsity meet on [Dec 20] and we expect the upper classmen to do well,” said Miller.
Senior Yohan Calcuttawalla comes down the final turn in the 1600m run. Calcuttawalla finished with a time of 4:57.
With the relays from previous seasons placing fifth at the Regional meet, the standard set by the coaches and staff are high. After loosing only one of the runners from the 4x8 relay, they plan on reaching the same level, if not better, this season. “Our huge numbers will definitely help us and we need to work hard through the whole season,” said Miller. To support your Annandale Atoms winter track team, watch the upcoming varsity invitational on Dec. 20 and 27 at T.J. Middle School.
The bull’s eye on professional athletes
Junior Daniel Blasser runs the 500m during a recent meet.
Junior Alihaji Bah starts the 4x4 relay where the Atoms finished third.
when, in Feb. 2007, Jones showered strippers in over $80,000 of cash. Sean Taylor was larger than life. The incident eventually led to a triple shooting, and although Jones himThe big, strong, towering professional self did not take part in the shooting, a member of his alleged ‘entourage’ football player seemed almost invincible did. Jones has been involved in multiple nightclub allegations, along with until Nov. 27, 2007, when he was shot being charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication and a misdeand killed after his Florida home was meanor assault charge. invaded. Jones is just one example of many athletes who In the year that Sports Column have allowed themselves to become overly involved in has followed, much By: Kelsey Knoche the nightclub life. has been said about On Jan. 1, 2007, Denver Bronco cornerback Darrent the safety and secuWilliams was shot and killed after an altercation at a rity of professional Denver nightclub. Although Williams was not involved athletes and the risk that comes with their lavish and in the fight, some of the people he was with were. sometimes reckless lifestyles. After the men left the club, their limousine was shot Since the death of Taylor, many athletes, especially at and Williams was killed instantly. Twelve hours after National Football League (NFL) players, have said that completing his second NFL season, Darrent Williams alarm systems that previously went unused are now conwas dead at age 24. stantly in use. Although Taylor’s house did have a security A recent and especially startling case is the Nov. system, it was not turned on the night of his death. 28 incident in a Manhattan nightclub, where New The well-known story that goes along with Taylor’s York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot death has nothing to do with bad choices he made; he himself when a gun he was carrying for protection went is one of many high-profile athletes yearly who are ranoff. Common sense says that if you feel that insecure domly targeted by robbers looking to steal large amounts Sean Taylor at a location that you need to bring a gun, you should not of money. be there. But Burress obviously wasn’t thinking, and is now facing the In July of 2007, former Boston Celtic guard Antoine Walker was robbed consequences. at gunpoint by two burglars who had broken into his house in Chicago. The Whatever the case may be, whether targeted because of money, causing men escaped with $200,000 worth of valuables, including a Mercedes, but scenes in public places, or simply trying to protect themselves from danger, Walker luckily made it out with his life. athletes all over, in many different sports, are being affected. Three weeks after, New York Knicks forward Eddy Curry, was held up It’s unfair for anyone in a professional organization to demand that their at gunpoint by the same four men, also in Chicago. The robbers came out players have body guards with them at all times. with $10,000 in cash, as well as an unknown amount of jewelry after holdThey have lives, families and other obligations just as everyone else does. ing Curry, his wife and an employee captive. What is fair is to teach all of them the many consequences of falling in with Anytime a NFL or NBA player goes out in his darkly tinted limo or other the wrong crowd, or being at the wrong place at the wrong time. luxury car wearing thousands of dollars in jewelry, they attract attention Memo to all athletes and entertainers who make monopoly money as to themselves. Whether they are well known in the town or not, flaunting salaries: if you feel compelled to pack a gun when you venture out, maybe fortune is never a smart idea. you shouldn’t be going out at all. Bad things tend to happen when a gun is Although numerous players have dealt with late night altercations at introduced to any social equation. night clubs and similar venues, others simply feel the need to show off their fame and fortune by causing scenes, such as the one by Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones
Junior Michael Ejigu starts out fast in the 1000m run. Ejigu went on to finish fourth in the meet with a time of 2:45.
Senior Vuong Doan runs the 16-lap 3200m run at Episcopal.
-Photos courtesy of Ted Plunkett
Top 10 iTunes Downloads 12/7-12/13 1. Womanizer Britney Spears 2. Single Ladies Beyoncé
Four Christmases cannot compete with other holiday classics, despite the strong cast
Lyndsay’s Logic By Lyndsay Jacobs
4. Beautiful Akon, Colby O’Donis 5. Love Lockdown Kanye West 6. Love Story Taylor Swift 7. Heartless Kanye West 8. If I Were a Boy Beyoncé 9. Live Your Life T.I. 10. Hot ‘N Cold Katy Perry
Go to the web For a review of the movie Madagascar 2 visit www.theablast.org
Complain to Jane Advice Column
By Jane Aman Dear Jane, I’m having some boy problems. My boyfriend has recently stopped trusting me. He has put a lot of rules on me because of this. He always has to know who I’m with, where I’m going, and what I’m doing. I know it sounds really controlling but I know why he is acting this way. I just want him to trust me again. Can you help me? ~Anonymous Who has the issue, you or him? Your real problem is not his lack of trust, so much as your lack of control. If he is going to trust you again it will just take time, but his controlling behavior is another issue. If you consent to his behavior by justifying it with phrases like, “I know why he’s acting like this,” you are giving him control. You are telling yourself that it is okay, though it is plainly not, and letting go of your concepts of right and wrong. A healthy relationship consists of a balance between his needs and concerns and your needs and concerns. At the moment, you seem to be melding all of your concerns to his, creating an imbalance. That is the essence of an unhealthy relationship. As you are not married, I would suggest standing up and putting yourself before him. You are your own person and you are not sharing anything crucial except for a mutual liking of each other, so compromise is not necessary. If you always step back and let him take over, eventually he will get bored. You will end up not being present in the relationship because you are always trying to please him, eliminating the excitement. That said, I suggest you find your voice (you obviously have one, as you wrote in to me) and speak to him about the issue. A relationship is between two people, not one. So, be a part of the relationship. Your input is just as valuable as his. In short, be your own person. Find your voice. And balance the relationship. Contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec. 16, 2008
Get this off your Christmas list Movie Review
3. Just Dance Lady Gaga, Colby O’Donis
The recent release of Four Christmases falls at a perfect time for a holiday movie. With popular stars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as the leads of the movie, you would expect nothing less than a hit. Unfortunately, an attempt at Christmas cheer by director, Seth Gorden, failed miserably. Once Four Christmases was released on Nov.26, it was clear that it was no competition for other Christmas classics like Elf, Chevy Chases Christmas Vacation and Home Alone. Its story line was mediocre and killed what could have been a hit movie. The cast is made up of Vaughn (Brad), Witherspoon (Kate), Robert Duvall (Brad’s father) Sissy Spacek (Brad’s mother), Mary Steenburger (Kate’s mother) and Jon Voight (Kate’s father). Kate and Brad are a happily married couple who both have to face the burdens of divorced and re-married parents. Of course, this year, their typical Christmas rituals were mixed up when their flight was canceled for Fiji. When their relatives saw an interview of them on T.V. about the flight cancelation, the couple was shamed into visiting all of their family members. As a result, they end up spending the holidays doing exactly what they did not want to do, shuffling from family to family. What they thought would be a nice, relaxing vacation in Fiji turned into attending four Christmases, each with a completely different and crazy atmosphere.
For some reason, this movFour ie just did not strike me the Christmases right way. At the start of the movie you question whether you are getting what you paid for, Christmas movie or Porno, Kate and Brad get a little too close at a club. Everything just seemed generic, and trite. Movies like this one have been made time and time again. Even though I was not a fan, I do not want to just sit here and bash the whole movie, it did have some funny scenes. Everyone knows the joys of being with your family during the holidays, and the strange yet hilarious things that happen. There were a handful of scenes that had the audience and I laughing. The problem was that you began to lose interest as time passed by, after the first hour you were ready for it to be over. The delightful and charming Reece Witherspoon along with the loud mouthed comedian Vince Vaughn, are what made this movie entertaining. I probably would not have wanted to sit through the entire movie if they had not been the lead stars. Vaughn is the good old star we love from Wedding Crashers. For some reason, whenever he is on the screen he has your attention. Reece Witherspoon does the exact same, her sweet and engaging personality makes you interested in what she is going to do next. The pair of them had quality on screen chemistry and were not an awkward couple to watch. To finish the movie off, Four Christmases needed its own taste of drama. Switching from comedy to “dramady.” Kate and Brad start to question their perfect relationship, changing the mood of the movie completely from what it was in the beginning,
Pictured from right to left, Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) finally find the joy in Christmas after all their struggles.
Top ten stars of 2008 1. Barack Obama It is no suprise that the first African American President-elect is the #1 most fascinating person of 2008. On Feb. 10, 2007 Barack Obama announced his candidacy, changing the course of history. His wellknown slogan for “change” moved millions to vote for him as our next president. His name will never be forgotten as we observed history being made in 2008.
6.Miley Cyrus 16-year-old pop sensation Miley Cyrus, has experienced more than most her age. From the release of scandalous MySpace pictures, break-up with boyfriend Nick Jonas and shocking relationship with 20-year-old model/country singer, Justin Gaston. She has had her share of fame, straying away from her Disney character, Hannah Montanah, and becoming one of the richest females in America.
The roller coaster ride that was Britney 2007 proceeded into 2008 with fans viewing more of Britney’s wild and crazy antics. As 2008 comes to an end, Britney has begun her comeback. With the release of her new album Circus on Dec. 2 and new tour beginning, she is returning back to the Britney that many love and know. This year has been a crazy year for Britney. From being hospitalized to losing custody of her two children, she has had her share of problems, which have all been watched by the public eye.
Lil Wayne’s album Tha Carter III, which was released June 2008, sold over a million copies within the first week. His hit song “Lollipop” was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as well as on every radio station nationwide, as well as news of another drug related arrest, Lil Wayne has the country waiting to see what will come for 2009.
3.Sarah Palin Governor Sarah Palin made an impression on 2008 with her sudden appearance as John McCain’s running mate. After this, Palin became one of the most watched women in America. In one of her speeches, the line “you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig,” became the butt of jokes all over America. Even though the Republicans lost the election, she is still far from fading from the spot light.
4.Seth Rogen Famous burn-out Seth Rogen is finally getting the credit that he deserves. Starring in hit films Pineapple Express, Kung Fu Panda, Horton Hears a Who and Zack and Miri Make a Porno, he has done nothing other than make America laugh during 2008. We can only expect great things from this blossoming actor.
5. Michael Phelps 2008 was a successful year for Gold Medalist Michael Phelps, to say the least. Winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing made him the owner of the most medals of any athlete at one Olympic Game. He has won a total of 14 Olympic Gold Medals. Also, as of 2008, Phelps now holds eight world records in swimming. In 2008 Phelps proved himself to be one of the world’s greatest althetes.
8. Taylor Swift The teen country sensation Taylor Swift appears to be everywhere this year. From co-hosting and performing at the 2008 CMT Music Awards to her single “Fearless” reaching the top of the billboard charts, Swift has certainly made a name for herself this past year. Taylor managed to drop a new album that hit the top of the charts almost instantly as well as graduated from high school while on tour. The newly named “Top New Female Vocalist,” with a spotless reputation, Swift seems to be at the top of her game.
9. Rihanna Fagg Pop Princess Rihanna has shined during ’08. Releasing her third album Good Girl Gone Bad-Reloaded in June, we have seen nothing, but hits from Rihanna. From being the spokes person for Gucci to winning two American Music Awards, Rihanna has had her hands full this year. She released three Billboard topping hits along with collaborating with T.I. This sex symbol has appeared in the dreams of boys everywhere.
10. Amy Winehouse This year, Amy Winehouse was considered one the of the “Train Wrecks of 2008.” With a long list of dramatic incidents such as drug use, re-entering rehab and a very public divorce, Winehouse was making headlines left and right. Her performance at the 2008 Brit Awards in February created worldwide confusion when she paid tribute to her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil.
th Dec. 16, 2008 08
ABC uproots Daisies Daisies,, Money,, and Stone Money
Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk in this biography of the first openly gay public official.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb.18) Not finished with your holiday shopping? Don’t panic, just take a deep breath, grab your list and hit the mall as soon as possible.
BY KELLY MCGAREY Entertainment Editor In today’s mix of brainless reality shows, supposed “medical dramas” and overly emotional soap operas, it is hard to find a satisfying program to watch. However, last fall, ABC added three refreshingly original shows to its lineup. Trouble began brewing for these freshman programs when the writers’ strike hit last fall. Despite earning great reviews and sufficent ratings early on, the shows were decimated by the three-month hiatus. Their returns generated little buzz, and failed to entice new viewers or re-captivate old audiences. Because of dismal ratings in the beginning of their second seasons, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone have been scrapped from ABC’s line-up. First to premiere was Pushing Daisies, a whimsical romance about a sweet pie-maker named Ned, and Chuck, his childhood sweetheart. However, this love story is anything but conventional. In addition to the ability to bake delicious pastries, Ned has the uncanny power to awaken the dead. He uses this skill to bring Chuck back to life after she is gruesomely murdered while on a cruise. However, his powers come at a steep price: he can never touch people who he has reanimated. This makes for a heart-breakingly doomed relationship between the pair, as they tiptoe around each other, knowing Lee Pace and Anna Friel starred as Ned that a single brush-up will result in and Chuck on the now-defunct Daisies. their deaths. Rather than dwelling on the unfortunate situation, Ned uses his abilities to solve crimes. This element of mystery adds to Daisies’ appeal, creating a tantalizing blend of love, suspense, and comedy. Unfortunately, this charming chronicle will come to an end in the spring, due to a lack of viewers and high production costs. This will surely diminish the quality of ABC’s programming and leave a gaping hole, not only in the schedule, but in the hearts of devoted fans as well. Dirty Sexy Money will also end its brief run after this season. The over-thetop drama about the lives of Manhattan’s richest family served not only as a glimpse of society’s most fortunate members, but also as a moral commentary about the price of power and fame. The saga of the dysfunctional Darling family and Nick, their personal lawyer, was certainly among the network’s most entertaining offerings. With murder, affairs, arson and bribery as regular aspects of the plotline, the show never failed to entertain. Unfortunately, ABC failed to approve production for a third season and Dirty Sexy Money will end in the spring Peter Krause and Natalie Zea when all completed episodes have aired. starred as love interests on DSM. Eli Stone was the last show to be nixed by the network. Although it was clearly the weakest of the three, this saga about a San Francisco lawyer who serves as a prophet was clearly not ABC’s worst program. With interesting story lines and spontaneous dance numbers, Stone seemed entertaining enough to be renewed. However, the American public obviously disagreed, as the show’s season two ratings plummeted. This was undoubtedly a disappointment to the network, which used Johnny Lee Miller months of online advertising, and valuable TV ad space to starred as Stone promote Stone.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) After a dull November, you are looking forward to an exciting winter break. Make sure to take time to relax and unwind, because a long busy winter awaits you.
performance as Jack, Harvey’s lover, was distracting and added nothing to the story’s plot. Josh Brolin’s performance Entertainment Review as Dan White, a fellow city supervisor was also disappointBy Kelly McGarey ing. Instead of showing his inner anguish, Brolin remained Every year, directors struggle to stolid and unemotional during much make films that are both Academy of the film. The release of Milk could not have Award-worthy and able to make a profit. Not all of them can make a come at a more opportune time. The biography of a public servant both ac- protagonist’s struggle for equality curate and captivating. However, Gus and an end to discrimination based Van Sant has pulled it off with his lat- on sexual orientation was not only an important factor in reshaping the est film, Milk. The movie chronicles the turbulent political landscape of the 1970s, but is life of Harvey Milk, America’s first still a highly-debated issue today. One of the major focuses of the film openly gay public official. In tracing Milk’s life from his days as a New York was on the passing of Proposition 6, a insurance salesman to a San Francisco law which gave public schools the right city supervisor, the film sheds valuable to fire teachers who were known to be gay. This year, exactly three delight on not only its biographicades after the activist’s death, cal subject, but also on his Milk his dear city of San Francisco tireless struggle for equal is again caught in the middle of rights for homosexuals in the an explosive controversy over 1970s. gay rights. After the passing of The movie opens with Proposition 8 last month, gay Milk, played by Sean Penn, and lesbian Californians lost sitting at his dining room the legal ability to marry, comtable, recording a series of pelling his political descendants tapes to be played in the event of his assassination. It immediately to fight a strikingly similar battle. Milk was a welcome deviation from flashes forward to real news footage of a press conference where a government the usual sickeningly sweet holiday spokeswoman announces the death of movies that flood theatres at this time Milk and Moscone, the city’s mayor. of the year. Instead of a cutesy tale By showing the end of the hero’s life of a dysfunctional family who fights, in the beginning of the film, Van Sant screams, and reconciles just in time reveals his intention to center the focus to unwrap a plethora of presents on on Milk’s interesting journey to public Christmas morning, Milk provided a office and national fame rather than on glimpse into the political atmosphere of the 1970s. his horrifying execution. Hopefully, studios will continue Milk’s actors deserve credit for their ability to tell such a painful story with to produce important, relevant films their emotional portrayals of real-life instead of the fluffy nonsense that people. Penn’s role as Harvey Milk floods movie screens every Christmas is truly heart wrenching, as is James season. Franco’s performance as his partner. Love movies? Read additional reviews However, some of the casting selecat www.thea-blast.org tions were questionable. Diego Luna’s
Spear’s comeback Circus of the
Moment Music Review
By Brenna O’Neill and Erin George Britney’s highly-anticipated new album, Circus, has gotten her back into the public eye: but this time for good reason. After three years of one of the biggest celebrity downfalls in history, everyone from hardcore fans to the unapologetic critics have been rooting for her success. It is no shock that she has delivered. With a new attitude and shocking beats, Spears has put out an album that shows off a side of her that has never been seen before. Although there are elements similar to her legendary sound, the majority of the CD has a techno vibe. This new sound has not only secured her incessant fan base, but also attracts a new audience that would never have previously referred to themselves as “Britney Spears enthusiasts.” Thanks to the success of Circus’s first
S u d o k u
single, “Womanizer,” Spears has generated unforeseen buzz and raised expectations for more hits. However, such songs as “ Womanizer,” have been criticized by the likes of The Washington Post, for the lack of depth and their repetitive choruses; by the end of the song, one often finds him or herself able to sing along, which some consider to be a good thing. In response to such critics, many have defended Spears, saying that her music is fun, upbeat, party music and the “lack of depth,” can be overlooked. Although her comeback has been extremely impressive, perhaps the most impressive thing about this album is its potential longevity. Songs like, “ If U Seek Amy,” “Unusual You,” and “Rock Me In,” will undoubtedly be successful, and her greatest achievement from
Aries (March 21-April 19) No plans for the holidays? Come up with a few ideas to make your break fun and productive. Catch a movie with friends or work ahead on a project.
Taurus (April 20-May18) Nobody likes a Grinch at this time of the year! Ditch the cranky attitude and try to cheer up, before you crush the holiday spirit of those around you.
Gemini (May 21-June 20) As 2008 ends, try to think of a bad habit that you would like to fix. Resolve to change your ways and reinvent yourself next year. Remember, 2009 is right around the corner!
Cancer (June 21-July 22) During this holiday season, your selfish side has begun to take over. What happened to the old, generous, you? Toss your wish list in the trash and head out to do some volunteer work.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) As winter break approaches, don’t let your excitement prevent you from getting your work done. Holidays are a time to have fun, but in moderation.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sept. 22)
Troubled singer Britney Spears makes a convincing return to pop stardom with her new album
the album will most likely “Circus,” its title track. The only criticism one can offer is about the song, “My Baby.” The sweet, sentimental anthem is a powerful song, but has no place on a dance record. It would be better suited for an album that was not shared with songs like, “Mmm Papi.” Although both of these songs were co-written by Spears herself, they are the weakest on the album. Circus’s success is largely due to the diversity of the album and the songs on it. With the premature success of her single “Womanizer,” there are high hopes for the newly-evolved Britney. As her fans continue to support her, and she continues to acquire new ones, many predict that she is here to stay. The success of Britney Spears will one day be compared to “the Greats” such as Madonna. Throughout her career as a performing artist, she has repeatedly transformed herself and proved her variety. One can only wonder if, in future albums, she will stick to this new sound or introduce to the world yet another side of herself.
Not everybody has a place to spend the holidays. Reach out to a lonely friend or distant realtie and invite them to spend some time with your family over the holidays.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Tis the season to be jolly, not critical. Remember to remain calm and not blow things out of proportion. This time of the year is for spending quality time with your family, not fighting.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) The time has come to rid yourself of a bad habit. Your friends and family are becoming increasingly annoyed by it, and you will soon find yourself alone if you do not work it out.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) This is the time to get involved in the world around you. Break out of your shell of selfishness and try to find a volunteer activity to participate in.
Directions The objective is to fill out all the empty boxes with the numbers 1-9. In each square you cannot reuse any number twice. In each row or column you cannot reuse any number.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Tommorrow will be the best day of your entire year. Savor the moment, and try not to be disappointed by the subsequent frustrations that will arise next week.
Dec. c. 1 c. 16, 6, 2 6, 2008 00 0 0
for a Upcoming Concerts
SPIN MARIE BENAVIDES Weekend editor
Oasis w/ Ryan Adams, the Cardinals & Matt Costa Sat., Dec. 20 Patriot Center 7:00 p.m. Price: $52.50-72.50
Robin Thicke Sat., Dec. 27 Dar Constitution Hall 8:00 p.m. Price: $70
The beginning of the holiday season also marks the arrival of many seasonal activities. Among these activities is the timeless classic, iceskating. Fortunately, there are many different places around Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. where people are able to enjoy this seasonal sport. This winter, bundle up, grab some friends and head to one of these ice rinks for a slippery time. Starting in mid-November, the open-air pavilion at Reston Town Center is transformed from an area that hosts concerts and other events, to a full-size ice skating rink that is open to the public. This beautiful ice rink is adorned with seasonal decorations that create a magical mood for the skaters underneath. Not only is the Reston Town Center Ice Rink a gorgeous place to go during the day, but also at night when the pavilion is fully lit, creating a glowing atmosphere. The skating rink is also surrounded by various restaurants where you can go to eat after a fun filled ice skating session. If you are looking for a delicious and upscale meal, Clyde’s is right next to the Skate Rental Shop. Do not worry though, there is also a Panera next to the rink, which offers a wide selection of soups and sandwiches at a reasonable price.
Ice-Skating Lingo ACCOUNTANT: an official at a figure skating competition AXEL JUMP: a jump where you take off from the forward outside edge and land on the back outside edge of the opposite foot CAMEL SPIN: a spin done on one leg while the free leg is extended into the air parallel to the ice
Lil Wayne Tue., Dec. 30 Verizon Center 7:00 p.m. Price: $45.75-85.75
EDGES: the two sides of the skate blade on either side of the grooved center FOOTWORK: a sequence of step maneuvers carrying the skater across the ice in patterns HYDRANT LIFT: when a man throws his partner over his head while skating backwards TWIST LIFT: a twist lift is a pair skating move. The man lifts the lady in the air and then throws her. She rotates and twists and then he catches her on the waist and assists her with landing
Chris Botti Thu., Jan. 8 Birchmere 7:30 p.m. Price: $49.50
GoFortoinformation the web on the controversial ski and snowboard trip to Canada visit www.theablast.org.
Chillin’ on the ice
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Outdoor Ice Skating Rink www.nga.gov Hours: Open Nov 15 – mid-March Mon. – Thu.: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri. and Sat.: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sun.: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
What is your favorite Great American restaurant? “[I like] Silverado because it has better food than the other ones.”
This ice-skating rink is also in the heart of Reston Town Center, which offers an array of different shops and stores for people to shop at while visiting the area. Experience a whole night of fun around Reston Town Center after enjoying the ice rink. Another outdoor ice-skating rink is the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice-Skating Rink in Washington, D.C. This beautiful outdoor rink boasts a state of the art sound system that people can listen to while they enjoy their ice-skating session. In addition, this outdoor rink is larger than other ones around the area. Senior Annie Weiser visits the ice-rink at the Sculpture Garden during winter. “I love the atmosphere of this ice-rink and it’s a perfect place to spend a day having fun with your friends,” she said, “It’s also a good place for beginners to go and just have fun because it is always so crowded that not many people do fancy tricks.” Weiser took ice-skating lessons when she was younger and values the skill greatly now. “It is a really fun, social activity that is also a good way to exercise.” While the Sculpture Garden Ice-Skating Rink is one of the most beautiful rinks in our area, there is not much of an area to take shelter if the weather gets bad. Also, remember that this rink is completely outdoors, so blustery winter days may not be the best choice for ice-skating. There is however, a small café next to the rink called The Pavilion Café, which offers small meals and an array of both hot and cold beverages, in addition to a place of refuge for those avoiding the cold weather. Unfortunately, there are not many other choices for food or entertainment nearby, so the Pavilion Café is one of the only options. The last ice-skating rink in our area is Fairfax Ice Arena’s Indoor IceSkating Rink. This indoor location makes it possible to ice-skate year round, no matter what the weather conditions are. People of all ages are able to go here to sign up for lessons or just enjoy skating with friends. Beginners can skate around the edges of the rink, while the more advanced skaters can show off their most advanced skills in the center ring. “The hardest trick I can do is a single axel,” said sophomore Katie Bui. She followed in her family’s tradition of learning how to ice-skate. “I took lessons for 6 years when I was younger because it was a family thing that my sister did too.” Like many other ice-skating students, Bui took her lessons at Fairfax Ice Arena. “It was a great experience and I loved the feeling of floating over the ice.” Weiser also took a year of ice-skating lessons at the ice arena too. “I was never able to master an axel or do very fancy tricks, but I did learn how to do some basic jumps.” Ice-skating is a great way during winter to exercise and take a break from the stress of the holidays. As Weiser said, “Ice-skating during the winter is like the pool during the summer, everyone loves it.”
Adults: $7.00 Children under 12: $6.00 Students (with ID): $6.00 Senior citizens (50 & up): $6.00 Rentals: Skates: $3.00 Lockers: $0.50
7th and Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20005 (202)-289-3360
Reston Town Center Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Fairfax Indoor Ice Arena
www.restontowncenter.com Hours: Hours: Open from October through March Sun.: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Mon. and Tue.: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wed. and Thu.: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Open year-round Mon.: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tue.–Thu.: 11:30 a.m. – 10:15 p.m. Fri.: 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Sat.: 12 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Sun.: 12:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Adults: $9.00 Children under 12: $7.00 Senior citizens (55 & up): $7.00 Rentals: Skate rentals - $4.00
Weekends and Holidays Children (5 & under): $5.75 Children (12 & under): $6.75 13 and older: $7.50 Rentals: Ice skates: $2.75 Hockey skates: $3.50
1818 Discovery Street Reston, VA 20190 (703)-709-6300
3779 Pickett Rd Fairfax, VA 22031 (703)-323-1131
—Brittney Terry sophomore
—Kelsey Selikhova sophomore
By Marie Benavides and Marisa Tordella
Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge
“Sweetwater because they serve large portions of food when you order burgers and fries.”
—Marquis Perez junior “Mike’s American Grill is the best because the food and service is really good and there is a nice atmosphere.”
— Ernesto Feliciano senior
As soon as I walked into Jackson’s, the newest Great American Restaurant, the hostess enthusiastically greeted me and asked, “Are you Marisa?” I replied, “Yes,” and she told me that my dinner party was waiting for me. The hostess led me through the maze of countless tables to a cozy little booth. I never would have been able to find my party without the hostess; the restaurant is huge. At the table, the waiter quickly brought me a drink and a basket of bread to the table. I absolutely loved the Ossie rolls; they are incredibly addictive. They are the only rolls made by the Great American Restaurants; Best Buns Co. supplies the other bread. The restaurant was decorated for the holidays. There were wreaths and lights all throughout the dining area. Jackson’s also includes a large bar, separate from the dining area. The bar had multiple televisions, all on sports channels.
“Coastal Flatts is the best because they have great food and service.”
M unchies & M As soon as the waiter brought my food over, I dove right in. My dinner was absolutely delicious.
My dinner was a crab cake and piece of filet mignon. It came with a side of French fries. Dinners range in price from $9.50 to $25.00. There are a few menu selections that run at market prices, but according to the waiter, none of them are over $25.00. My crab cake and filet mignon were absolutely delicious, although I prefer the french fries at the local Annandale Great American Restaurant, Silverado. The fries at Jackson’s were thicker, which made them soggy, unlike the thin, crispy fries at Silverado. After dinner, I ordered a warm flourless chocolate waffle and vanilla ice cream for dessert. All desserts at Jackson’s cost $6.50. My waffle was to die for. After I took the first bite, the waffle oozed open with warm, chocolate syrup. The vanilla ice cream was the perfect balance to the rich, chocolate waffle. The most intriguing part of the menu at Jackson’s was the sushi selection. Underneath the sushi subtitle was a little note, “We’re new at this. Please be patient with us…or as Billy would say ‘You’ll get it when you get it.’” To be honest,
Jackson’s is located on the corner of Library St. and Democracy Dr. It’s hard to miss with the bright neon sign.
their cute warning deterred me from trying to sushi. I would rather go get sushi at a Japanese restaurant. Jackson’s is conveniently located right next to a free, public parking garage and is in the heart of Reston Town center, which provides shopping and outdoor activities. Location: 11927 Democracy Dr. Reston VA, 20190 (703) 437-0800
Price: $ $ $
Decor: out of 4 stars
out of 4 dollar signs