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8

News

Arts

looks at the lives of teachers who are pregnant or expecting

covers the children’s play “Good Grief, a Griffin!”

In-Depth

A

shows how to apply technology in everyday life

14

Photo

Lifestyles

follows a day in the life of students who take Peer Tutoring

provides advice to make Valentine’s Day special

ANNANDALE HIGH SCHOOL

the

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003 470

Informiing the Atoms siince 1954 4

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012

(703) 642-4229

Bile holds #1 time in U.S.

By the numbers

$5 41 53

The spot Ahmed Bile rates in Virginia for 1000 meter dash See page 16

BY SAMIR SHAH Sports Editor

The price of a Singing Valentine See page 8 The percentage of students who pirate all of their music See page 10 The number of students enrolled in Peer Tutoring See page 13

$500

The scholarship money that junior Matt Del Signore was awarded for his sports injury

Kings Dominon Law repeal stalls in state Congress The Kings Dominion Law repeal has been stalled in the Virginia Legislature. The Senate killed three bills that were going to repeal the bill on Jan. 26. Then, on Feb. 2., the Virginia House of Delegates voted 76-23 to approve bill HB 1063, similar to the three which were killed in the house. The Kings Dominion Law states that school must start after Labor Day in order to protect the tourism industry. The bill will go back to the Senate, where it will likely be killed again. This means that school will still start after Labor Day.

CHLOE LOVING

1

Runs 1000 meter in only 2:26 at VTech

Although the history department is home to many professional educators, it is majority Caucasian like many other departments. During their lunch break, Jonathan York (foreground) talks to (clockwise) Gregory Commons, Catherine Bishop and Gregory Reed.

NO DIVERSITY 71 percent of AHS staff is Caucasian BY ANNIE CURRAN Co-Editor in Chief AHS is heralded as one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation. When Michelle Obama visited in October, she commended Principal Vince Randazzo on that diversity. As she walk around the school, she turned to Randazzo and asked her next question, “is your faculty equally diverse?” If you peak into classrooms, you can see why his answer was no. As off Nov. 2011, AHS had 249 faculty members of whom 71 percent were Caucasian, ten percent were African American, eight percent were

Asian, six percent were Hispanic and five percent were categorized as other. This final category includes faculty members of Middle Eastern or Native American descent. All teachers, administrations, counselors, librarians, custodians, office aids and faculty members of other positions were included in this count. Faculty members are hired at AHS for a variety reasons, which is why there could be a disparity among races. “We hire the person who is best qualified and the best person for the job,” Randazzo said. “We want them to fit with the student body.” When looking at just the professional staff, which excludes custodians and food service positions, 79 percent of the staff is Caucasian, six percent is African American,

Ahmed Bile, the best runner at AHS, is also the best runner in the nation. Bile ran a 2:26.36 1000 meter race, the fastest time in the nation, at the Virginia Tech Invitational held on Jan. 27, almost breaking the 2:24 meet record set by Olympian Alan Webb. “Feels great to be the fastest,” Bile said. “I’m going for Alan Webb’s record at states in the 1000, 2:23.68, which is only a few seconds off of my time.” In the past few days, AHS star athlete Ahmed Bile has run the fastest high school time in the nation “Bile” continues on page 16

six percent is Asian, five percent is Hispanic and four percent is in the other category. This provides a stark contrast to the racial demographics of the student body. For the 2010-2011 school year, 32 percent of students were Hispanic, 26 percent of students were Caucasian, 24 percent of students were Asian, 16 percent of students were African American and two percent of students were listed in the other category. Many students do not think that this contrast is a problem. “I don’t think it matters,” senior Lolita Jojic said. “I think the school’s priority should be just to find teachers who actually know how to teach.” Math teacher Roberto Obando is “Diversity” continues on page 5

COURTESY OF ED LULL

VOLUME #57 ISSUE 8

13

Senior Ahmed Bile runs during districts.

Just World Festival gearing up Club continues preparation for Feb. 24 showcase of diversity The diversity of AHS, which has become an almost obligatory topic of discussion in any conversation concerning its student body, is constantly showcased through both school and community-wide groups and events. No event, however, compares in scale to the annual Just World Festival, which AHS will host on Feb. 24 from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. The festival, which is in its seventh year, “aims to empower youth by raising awareness about global issues and diverse cultures, and by offering resources to help them become personally involved in creating a more just and peaceful world,” according to Just World Co-Sponsor Jan Kamide. The festival will feature presentations from four prominent members of the global community. Activist and socially conscious entrepreneur Andy Shallal, the founder and owner of the Busboys and

FILE PHOTO

BY CJ AFTERGUT Co-Editor in Chief

A woman gives a student a henna tattoo at last year’s festival.

Poets restaurants, will give a keynote address. Pentagon Correspondent Nancy Youssef, who has worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, will discuss the role of the media in shaping one’s understanding of international events. Writer and editor Samia Errazouki, a specialist in Moroccan politics and economics, will provide an update on the Arab revolutions of the past year. Lastly, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Vice President Manik Roy will discuss the issue of global climate change. “We know a global perspective is needed to succeed in the world, and many can’t go out and see the world, so we bring the world to them,” Just World President Daniel Park said. Beyond its premise, however, the festival also offers students a chance to both participate in activities they enjoy and immerse themselves in cultures to which they are rarely exposed. “I would describe the Just World Festival as a place where those who have passions are able to communicate and advocate for their passions,” Just World Vice President Danielle Turner said. “Just World is both fun and informative, and therefore “Just World” continues on page 5

Honors classes among new courses Three new IB classes to be offered in new coursework Mr. Annandale contest coming up On your smartphone, scan this code using the application “QR Code” to view a preview of the Jan. 16 pageant.

BY ANNIE CURRAN Co-Editor in Chief Students no longer have only two curricular roads to follow in FCPS. Instead of only taking IB and AP or standard classes, they have a new option. The FCPS School Board voted 11-1 on Jan. 26 to implement five mid-range honors courses into the curriculum for those exact students. Now, the AHS administration has to make a decision about how to offer these classes. “We are still evaluating the most effective way to incorporate honors into our IB program,” Director

of Student Services Jennifer Crump-Strawderman said. The classes include English Honors 11, World History Honors 2, U.S./VA History, English 12 and U.S. Government. Many teachers see these new courses as problematic, because they will take away students from the IB program and be difficult for staffing purposes. Depending on the number of students who express interest, these classes might be made available online. “We’re looking at it a couple different ways,” Principal Vince Randazzo said. “We’re trying to work it out.” English teacher Amy Graham, who is the eleventh grade team leader, could possibly be affected by these classes. She thinks that they can be a good option for some students. “The benefit is it helps those who are in between with a placement that better fits their learning

needs,” Graham said. She can also see some problems with the measure. “A downfall is, those students [who would leave standard classes for honors classes] raise the level of discourse in regular classes,” Graham said. “They help to set the pace and moves thing along in class.” Both AHS school board representatives, Mason District Member Sandy Evans and Braddock District Member Megan McLaughlin, supported the measure. McLaughlin was the Co-Founder of FairGrade, who campaigned for the board to change the grading scale four years ago. During an AHS PTSA meeting in Oct., she declared her support for the classes. “We want to have that middle-level option,” McLaughlin said. “Honors” continues on page 5


2

EDITORIALS

Feb. 7, 2012

To eat or not to eat in class Students should be allowed to consume food during class

Democracy is strong again On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view a story about how the younger generation has participated in democracy.

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

What do you think about allowing students to eat during class and how it would affect classes? E-mail your response to: ablast.editorials@gmail.com

Is it fair that some teachers eat in class while their students cannot? “No I don’t think it is fair. The teacher is being a hypocrite. You are telling us not to do something then doing it. How are we supposed to listen to you?”

BY MOLLY KECK AND BERTA TARQUI Staff Writers It’s 9:30 a.m. and your stomach is rumbling. You didn’t have time to eat breakfast and you have another two hours until lunch. You turn your head to look at the clock for the tenth time and you suddenly hear your teacher munching and slurping away on coffee and a muffin. The sweet aroma of the meal lingers on your nose and you think of that million dollar question once again: Why can’t I eat during class? The policy at AHS is that no one is supposed to be eating or drinking anything other than water during class. Some teachers follow this policy strictly, and yet many of those same teachers eat while teaching. Biology teacher Surmeen Bedi thinks it is not appropriate for students nor teachers to eat or drink during class unless it is water that is consumed. “Students should not be allowed to eat, because if one student is eating, everyone is going to bring food,” Bedi said. Some teachers don’t care as long as the students eating don’t make a mess and are not distracting. We believe that if teachers are eating during class, then we should be able to eat as well. We asked English teacher Bill Maglisceau if he thinks it’s fair that some teachers eat while teaching but don’t allow their students to eat. “It’s whatever the teacher chooses to do and it’s his or her choice,” Maglisceau said. One reason students should be able to have snacks in class is that the students are already eating, whether the teachers allow it or not. This means that certain students will eat their snacks when their teachers aren’t looking or try to hide their snacks in their desks. Other teachers condone eating

EMILY OLIVER

For additional online content, including the story listed below, visit www.thea-blast.org.

in class because they want to eat as well and understand our situation. Science teacher, Rachel Lazar eats during class and doesn’t mind her students eating. “I don’t mind eating as long as it isn’t a big lunch. I also don’t allow candy,” Lazar said. Right now the policy isn’t being equally enforced. Many students don’t eat breakfast because they have to rush in the morning to arrive at school on time. This way, students get a greater

amount of sleep. Students then have to wait three to five hours until lunch. As such, they have trouble focusing in their morning classes because all they can think about is getting some food in their bellies. Health teacher Peggy Capehart believes that students and teachers should be able to eat during class depending on the snack and as long as all trash reaches the trash can. “Students and teachers should be able to eat during the first 5 mins of

their first period class. The snack should be healthy and students should place trash in the trash can. Its necessary for people to eat breakfast to get through the day, oatmeal, fruit, cereal, etc…, these things are necessary for a diabetic, students to focus on class work,” said Capeheart. The lunch block at AHS is only 30 minutes. If you buy lunch, you spend about two-thirds of the period waiting in line. You then want to try and talk with your friends for the remainder of lunch, but you never have time to do both. Thus, you can’t even finish your lunch. As a result, you are still starving, which means you have to finish your lunch secretly in your afternoon classes. Or, your other option is to go back to class feeling so full you want to throw up from stuffing yourself in the last five minutes of lunch. We asked Bedi, Maglisceou, Capehart and Lazar what particular foods and drink annoy them. Some of the foods and drink included candy, soda, chocolate, chips and PopTarts. Some teachers were annoyed by these foods and drinks because students often don’t throw away their wrappers. These foods are unhealthy and make a lot of noise. The students eating the food also advertise to other students that they are eating. Furthermore, leftover food can cause bug infestations. We agree that these are problems for teachers, so we think that students should be more respectful of these issues while still be able to eat in class. Another question we asked the teachers was how many of their colleagues actually follow the policy. Most said that the majority of the teachers they know don’t follow the policy. We agree with this, although there is still a good amount of teachers who are very strict about eating during class. In the end, the pros definitely outweigh the cons in our opinion. So, teachers, please let us eat during class so that we can actually focus on your teaching and be more lively and energetic.

Valentine’s Day needs more creativity People should get original with gifts for a bigger impact BY GABY CAMILLI Staff Writer “If they are eating while teaching, I feel they are not totally dedicated to the students. It is not a big deal that they eat but [their chomping and chewing] is annoying.”

—Rizwana Noor

“No, because if teachers are eating in class and the kids are starving that is not fair. Some miss breakfast like I do. Actually, one time I started hallucinating because I didn’t get breakfast.”

—Filiberto Sanchez junior “I feel like they have the right to because they are usually on their feet all day. They need the energy more than us. We sit on our butts. They leave early in the morning and do not get breakfast. They use lunch for making lessons and do not have a set time like we do.”

Valentine’s Day; “Love is in the air” has become more of “money is in the cash registers.” The holiday that is meant to celebrate love and romance has been lost to the world of commercialism. The “holiday of love” has brainwashed people into thinking that a romantic gesture means mandatory expenditure. Rather than taking time out to create an individual and creative romantic gesture for their special someone, people often feel the need to waste a ton of money on non-meaningful, trite gifts. What most people are unaware of is that this “holiday of love” has completely changed from its original purpose. Valentine’s Day is most commonly referred to as a day to honor Saint Valentine, who ultimately gave up his life to protect the sanctity of marriage. Unfortunately, the holiday is now only recognized as a day to spend money on overpriced and overused attempts of “romantic gestures.” Unfortunately, during the last several decades, Valentine’s Day has truly lost its sole intention; to celebrate the sanctity of marriage and the true capacity of the heart. The commercial business has taken over the once-romantic holiday. With constant commercials for stores like K-Jewelers and Jared running, the pressure to spend money on gifts increases. These commercials along with radio adds and chick flicks featuring bratty girls judging each other based on how nice their Valentine’s Day gifts from their boyfriends, have all added to this false perception of having to spend excessively on this holiday. Instead of being able to show romantic gestures to loved ones in a unique manner, many people buy into

Why people need to get more creative: • During a recession, people should focus on spending less on extravagant gifts. • Adds to the true meaning of the holiday. • Adds to the romance and favors the rich. • Many of the gifts are trite and overused. DANIEL PARK

—Areej Ennasr freshman

• An original gift gives more of an impact.

the pressure to spend tons of money on prosaic gifts like over-priced flowers, chocolates and jewelry. According to National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, over $15.7 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day last year, over half of which was spent on cards, candy and flowers. In the midst of the second largest recession in U.S. history, people should be more frugal and less afraid to give a creative, less costly gift. Well thought out gifts are a much more favorable option than simply dumping money on your significant other. This habit of spending money on unoriginal gifts and feeling forced to buy into these “romantic” habits starts at a very early age. In elementary school, kids are always told to buy candies or cards for everybody in their class because “everybody is special.” By forcing these Valentine’s Day traditions on kids, they are conditioned into thinking that they must spend money to make a romantic gesture and they lose the true meaning of the holiday; showing your special loved one that you care about them.

Instead of focusing on the material side of love and the holiday, they should preach about the true meaning of love to young students. Love isn’t about how much money you can spend on each other, its about caring about the other person more than you care about yourself. Its about devoting yourself entirely to someone and enjoying the little things. Valentine’s Day has become all about the trappings of romance rather than romance itself. It has created extremely high standards for people to show their love. For some reason, people interpret celebrating their love for each other as getting dolled up, going out to a nice dinner and buying gifts for their significant others. But, showing your true appreciation for love doesn’t have to be so expensive and flashy; it can just entail spending time with and expressing your true feelings to a loved one. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should not celebrate the holiday and give each other gifts. It just means that you should take more time out and give a meaningful, individual gift to that certain someone who you care about.

Staff ff

—Amin Elgarch junior “No, that is not fair. It should be equal. If the teacher eats in class so should the students. The teacher should not impose anything on the students that he or she would not impose on themself.”

—Catherine Gibson English teacher

Annandale High School Vol. 57 No.8 4700 Medford Dr. February 7, 2012 Annandale, Virginia 22003 phone: (703) 642-4229 email: theablast@gmail.com fax: (703) 642-4299

The A-Blast is an award winning newspaper that strives to inform, educate and entertain the student body and community. Published every three weeks, The A-Blast will not print any material that is obscene or libelous; or that which substantially disrupts the school day, or invades an individual’s right to privacy. The A-Blast is an independent, open forum for discussion that is printed at the Springfield Plant of The Washington Post. Signed letters to the editor of 250 words or less may be submitted to room 262 or mailed to the school. The A-Blast reserves the right to refuse advertisements. All submissions become property of The A-Blast, Copyright, 2012.


EDITORIALS

Feb. 7, 2012

The layers of letting it go

3 Trending Topics

Teens spend too much time worrying about their appearances BY GWEN LEVEY Arts Editor

Temple Run consumes the valuable time of AHS students

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: GWEN LEVEY

We often hear the common cliché “true beauty and success is what lies on the inside.” It’s easy to let these words go in one ear and out the other, especially as a teenager on the brink of graduating from high school and really starting his or her life. As a teenage girl, however, I think I’m more likely to ignore these words than anyone else. I’ve never had an issue with my weight before. I was always healthy, but this slowly started to change once I began having a thyroid problem in seventh grade that threw off my metabolism. From there, this inner battle between myself and the mirror seemed ongoing, as after losing the weight, I entered high school with a weight gain that increased my size 4 jeans to a size 12. I joined field hockey my freshman year thinking that I could find myself there, but soon discovered that it would be better not to continue it than deal with boys supporting the rival team making sumo wrestling noises at me whenever I ran by. I was better at faking sick, staying cooped up in my room and tuning out the world by blasting songs and dreaming of the day when I could finally be out of here and really start my life than dealing with people at school. I didn’t want anyone to have to see me when I was secretly so unhappy with myself. I found that what I used to love to do—sports like swimming, going to friend’s houses, taking pictures and performing the songs I wrote onstage—became a burden because I didn’t want anyone to have to see me when I was secretly so unhappy with myself. I wasn’t putting in as much effort as I was

Science National Honor Society is holding its annual Penny for Patients campaign throughout February

Students such as junior Jasmine Lee are subjected daily to pressures to appear “beautiful,” causing them to spend time worrying about themselves instead about their school work or other important obligations.

used to in school. Instead, I took a lot of this effort and somehow put it into dwelling on myself. Every day I said I would do something and finally follow through on what I wanted to do and accomplish, but I’d find myself waking up feeling horrible and going to sleep crying. I even tried one of the worst things you can do for any amount of time: not eat. But pushing my plate away at dinner and only packing a piece of fruit for lunch made my family catch on, and the worry built up for them as well as the problem persisted. It would take a long time before I could finally realize what I was doing to myself, and this summer I finally was able to do something about it. After all of the wasted time taking this energy and pitting it against myself, I worked hard, educated myself on the proper way to maintain myself and carried out what I always wanted to do: come back to who I am through shedding the layers (both

physical and emotional) that had held me in the state of not feeling worthy of anything. At times I still find myself slipping back into that twisted mentality where I’m not good enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough to let people see me—especially people that I’m afraid will judge me if I lose myself again. Even though I may want to throw my blanket over my head and take a “sick” day at times, I have to tell myself how hard I worked through this everyday struggle to maintain the confidence I’ve found in myself again. I have to remember how I battled through those moments when friends would eat ice cream or other treats in front of me and I had to refuse them with a polite “No, thank you. I’m not hungry.” I have to remember the times when I was so unhappy with myself that I skipped out on pool parties or wore baggy shorts over my swimsuit just so no one would judge me and I wouldn’t have to focus on

judging myself. But I know who I am now and have come to accept all of the qualities that make me, me. I am bigboned, caring and have a big heart. I’ve found a way to tune out what I thought defined me--what other people think or say--and have finally found the beat to my own drum. But I’m not asking for a pity party. Instead, I want the rest of us to find it in ourselves to believe that we are worth it and that we owe ourselves the confidence and acceptance that makes us who we are. Variety and difference is what makes the world beautiful, especially as teenagers trying to discover who we are in it. A f t e r a l l , i t w a s Wi l l i a m Shakespeare himself that wrote, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.” And now when I step on that stage, I know it’s the real me looking back at the world, eye to eye, never to turn away again.

GOP presidential candidates Romney, Paul and Gingrich continue to duke it out over debates

Junior IB Diploma Candidates begin their participation in IB TOK PHOTOS FROM SCREENSHOTS.NET, SCIENCENHS.ORG, CRIMSON.US, MEDINA.UK

How do you feel that the media affects your perception of self-image?

God does not belong in schools N

“It makes me self-conscious. I have to spend more time on how I look.”

oah’s otes

Editorials Column

— Julie Nguyen

freshman

By Noah Noa N oah h Fitzgerel Fitz Fi tzge gere rell “I think it makes people think they’re perfect and want to be skinny.” —Shareen Arshad

sophomore NOAH FITZGEREL

The Virginia Code is a document of violations. Among them is a violation of students’ religious freedom. At AHS, we walk by this violation every morning. It is manifest in a harmless looking framed document. It is the words “In God We Trust.” I am a proud adherent of Reform Judaism. However, my God is not the God that the sign alludes to. Neither is it to the God to whom my Muslim friends worship. And of course, it is simply an offense to my peers who have decided that faith should have no role in their lives. In fact, it is not an allusion to the God who most of my Christian friends worship. To all of us, this sign alludes to a God only supported by ultraconservative Christian fundamentalists, whose God vilifies any person who intends to create a separation between church and state. Moreover, this sign is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Manifest in the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” the Establishment Clause prevents government from favoring one religion over another. This sign is a clear establishment of religion, offending all of those who are protected from government interference with their respective religions. However, even if this sign alluded to a God who I believed in, it would have no place in a public school that contains adherents (and non-adherents) to a multitude of religions. I can’t believe that students as diverse as those at AHS must be subjugated to such a God every day. In June 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals banned the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance from all public schools. Shortly thereafter, on July 1, 2002, the Virginia legislature passed a set of laws that required schools to “prominently display the

The sign pictured above is posted in the main entryway of AHS. It is a violation of students’ First Amendment right to religious freedom, but is legally mandated to be posted in public schools under Virginia law.

national motto ‘In God We Trust.’” Thus was the birth of the sign that haunts us today. I am ashamed of the fact that I live in a state that prides itself on marginalizing minority religions. Whether through the endorsement of days of prayer (passed in 1997) or the inhibition of students’ religious freedom, Virginia seems to pride itself on being “God’s state.” However, I hold a hope that the culture of Richmond has changed in a decade. To those fundamentalists who might be reading this column, I write that you have every right to worship such a God, but not to impose such a God on others in a public building. I have worked in political advocacy to ensure, no matter the degree of interpretation, that you have a fundamental right to openly worship such a God. But I have fought against attempts to invoke such a symbol over the heads of unassuming students, and will continue to do so. At an institution that prides itself on fostering diversity (the reason for which the First Lady

visited us), it is simply ironic that Virginia facilitates such a law. While it would be illegal to take down the sign that holds a dark reminder of the perpetual violation of our precious separation between church and state, it is necessary to make a change. Such a course of action can only occur through legislation in Richmond. Therefore, because it is legislative season the year before an increasingly important election, such a change can and should be made. Otherwise, Virginia might continue to live up to its self-proclaimed reputation as “God’s State,” which casts a negative image on us all. However, there is still time. As students, we are told that we have limited access to politics. Contact your representative, and tell him or her that the God you believe in (or do not believe in) belongs in your personal life, not as a framed motto in the entryway of a public building. In doing so, you will defy such fallacious social constraints. Our right to religious freedom, ultimately, depends on it.

What do you think of

QUOTE COLLECTION RESPONSE: lowering the drinking age? Personally, I do not believe that lowering the drinking age to 18 is beneficial. In fact, lowering the drinking age would have a negative impact on teenagers in high school. With the legal age to purchase alcohol being 21 and over, there are still many underage kids who have access to alcohol and often practice underage drinking. Lowering the drinking age would only make it easier for high school students to

obtain alcohol. It would influence 18 year olds to purchase alcohol for younger teenagers. The younger students could easily go to an 18 year old as opposed to someone older to obtain alcohol. Allowing certain high school students to access alcohol would be dangerous for younger high school students. If the legal drinking age were to be

lowered to 18, students in high school who turn 18 before graduation could legally acquire alcohol. This would open a gateway for alcohol abuse and the tragedies that occur as a result. One of these being accidents that occur when driving while under the influence of alcohol. 18 year olds are not mature enough to drink responsibly. One may say that responsibility comes with learning and experience,

but 18 year olds do not have much experience in the real world. Seniors in high school are simply not mature enough to drink alcohol responsibly. There are simply too many risks involved with lowering the drinking age to 18, so the legal drinking age should not change. That is, unless, teenagers demonstrate more responsibility. - Nardos Assefa junior

“I don’t think it has an effect on me.”

--- Jackie Lewis junior

“I don’t think it affects my perception. You just have to do your thing.”

— Freddie Johnson senior

“I don’t believe the media has an influence on my self-image.” — Lyn Berry

history teacher

—Compiled by Noah Fitzgerel


4

News Students compete at science fair

Guess whose engagement ring

Original experiments evaluated by community By Marwa Abdelaziz News Editor

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Hundreds of students, teachers, judges and parents attended the annual AHS Science Fair on Feb. 2. The event took place in the cafeteria and ran from about 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The winners will be announced today in the individual science classes. Science Fair is a yearly event that requires all students who take honors sciences to design, conduct and present their own science experiments for any of the different science courses offered at AHS. Almost as diverse as the projects themselves were the experiences each group of students had while preparing for the fair. Some students spent weeks on their experiment. Freshman Diva Chowdhury, who tested the vitamin C levels of fruits after different methods of cooking, said she and her group “started a week after winter break.” Other projects did not require nearly as much time. “I did it in like two days,” freshman Ahmed Elnour said. Generally, students found it easier to conduct experiments on subjects

they actually enjoyed learning about. Senior Tatiana Niang has participated in the Science Fair this year as well as last year. While she conducted an experiment based on environmental science last year, this year her project, called “Effect of Mass on a Pass” was focused on physics. “The subject made a big difference,” Niang said. “This is a topic I’m really familiar with, and it’s applicable to everyday life and sports, so I could explain it better.” She even included a video of the process to show the judges for clarification. Many students, such as Niang and Chowdhury, chose to work with partners rather than go through the experience alone. “Its definitely advantageous to have a partner,” Niang said. “You get different perspectives and clarification.” Usually, the students required to participate in the fair are in non-IB science courses, as the IB students participated in the Group 4 projects in November. The IB students who do participate in Science Fair usually do so of their own accord. Conversely, some students at AHS were “just doing it for the grade,” Chowdhury said. While the Science Fair usually runs smoothly, according to IB Chemistry teacher Isaac Boakye, some changes have been made this year.

MARWA ABDELAZIZ

Feb. 7, 2012

Sophomore Angel Jomuad presents her project to chemistry teacher Nancy Kaegi.

“In previous years we had IB Environmental Science students join in the Science Fair,” he said. “This year we moved these students to join the IB Group 4, so the number went down.” With less students, it was more time-manageable and easier to organize. Furthermore, “last year judges would simply walk around,” Niang said. “But this year they assigned judges for you so it was better to know they were coming instead of just waiting and waiting.” Most students generally received positive feedback from their judges.

“The judges really liked our idea and thought it was understandable,” Niang said. One of the judges, Bruce Fenchel, who is the father of biology teacher Steve Fenchel, said “I think what is refreshing is the enthusiasm of the kids. Whether they’ve done an excellent job or an average job, they’ve all walked away with more knowledge than they started with.” “The beauty about the Science Fair is it helps you to see how students grow based on the projects they’ve done,” Boakye said. “It shows growth in terms of science.”

Teachers enjoy their engagements and pregnancies Answers: 1-Stephanie Long, 2-Carmen Peek, 3- Kathleen Dion

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

Students receive their grades By Emily Blank

Many feel mixed emotions after seeing their semester grades.

By Marwa Abdelaziz and Nasiha Rashid News Editors A significant number of teachers at AHS are recently finding themselves even busier than usual because of pregnancies and engagements. English teacher Sarita Viloria gave birth to a girl, whom she named Angelina, on Jan. 31. Likewise, all throughout this winter, various teachers have gotten engaged. ESOL teacher Shana King had a baby shower thrown for her after school on Feb. 3 by her colleagues. King is expecting twins very soon, so she will also be maternity leave for the next couple of months. Others, such as English teacher Courtney Dearinger, are not due until the end of the year. “I’m due in June,” Dearinger said. “I told [my students] after the winter break when I was showing enough that I couldn’t hide it anymore.” Of course, with pregnancy comes many challenges for these teachers. “I was very tired at first,” Dearinger said. “Maybe a little moody at first but I think I’m back to normal, just a little bit distracted sometimes.” Math teacher Brianne Trotochaud is also 30 weeks pregnant, but her symptoms differ from Dearinger’s. “The biggest impact is the ‘pregnancy

NASIHA RASHID

3

Staff members reflect on new changes to their personal lives

ESOL teachers Catherine Mounteer and Shana King celebrate her pregnancy at King’s baby shower on Feb. 3.

brain’ where you become forgetful,” Trotochaud said. “My students can attest to that where I’ve done silly mistakes.” As far as students’ reactions, most have been positive. “I think a few of them guessed but were polite enough not to ask anything,” Dearinger said. “Most classes applauded, and some were a little bit betrayed about why I hadn’t told them before.” Likewise, many teachers have had to break

the news that they were getting married soon. “I decided to just tell my class so it wouldn’t be an interruption if someone looked and noticed [my ring] in the middle of a lesson,” English teacher Kathleen Dion said, who got engaged on Jan. 20. English teacher Stephanie Long, who was engaged on Dec. 24, is planning her wedding for summer 2013. Dion also stated her wedding is being planned for this summer. English teacher Carmen Peek, who was engaged on New Year’s Day, thought-out her wedding day carefully. “[My fiancee and I] actually planned it that Nov. 5 and 6, [2012] are teacher work days so I only have to miss a few days as opposed to a whole week.” Trotochaud, who is due in mid-April, will have to miss a few weeks of school but is planning on coming back for finals. “The stressful part is preparing for a substitute,” she said. Dearinger also plans on missing the last few days of the school year, much to her disappointment. “I usually like to do a big farewell project with the seniors and have a celebration,” she said. “Since I’ll be on maternity leave I wont be able to do it and I’ll also miss graduation.” Overall, the teachers are finding themselves in better moods because of these occasions. “I might be slightly happier than usual,” Dion said. “It’s a fun kind of stress, [the wedding planning] is something I like working on.” “Its just a fun topic of conversation to have with [my students],” Long said. “It makes them see me as a real person, not just the teacher.”

Students prepare for educational field trips Model UN goes to Johns Hopkins for conference Sophomores take a trip to Capitol Hill on the trip, each between 30 and 45 minutes. When students are not in a guided tour session, they It’s less than 15 miles away, will be on a self- guided tour until though maybe more than 30 noon. Though the trip promises to be minutes with traffic. It’s the a memorable experience for many home of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, but many sophomores taking government, some simply view it as a way to students have never been there. Sophomore Katherine Ross has get out of class. “It’s kind of convenient that not had the time to visit the Capitol, but will get the opportunity now we’re missing class and we’ll that all sophomores taking U.S be with our friends and our VA Government will be given classmates,” sophomore Alison de the opportunity to visit the home la Concepcion said. “I think it’s a big part of the of the curriculum legislation and there’s branch. pretty “I think I think it’ll be scenery.” it’ll be interesting; I actually While it interesting; may only be like politics. I actually an excuse like to get out —Katherine Ross politics,” of class, sophomore Ross said. Zurawski The willingly field trip is visited the scheduled Capitol for Feb. 10, and buses will depart from the school at 7:30 a.m., and during middle school to take part students will return to school at in a rally to promote legislation. “I wanted to go; we were approximately 1:30 p.m. actually part of a rally, involving “I think they’ll [students] get additional information or at least dolphins being caught in tuna have a new appreciation for it, nets,” Zurawski said. “There and they’ve learned about the was a piece of legislature that legislative process and they can was passed to prevent that from now see it in action,” government happening. We were part of a rally teacher Lindsay Zurawski said. outside, then went in to tour the “I’m just sorry that Congress building.” G i v e n t h e o p p o r t u n i t y, won’t be in session when we go.” Sophomores will get the students will still have varied opportunity to see the gallery, views on the trip and what they’ll the room commonly seen on the take away from the experience. C-Span channel, but it will be The government teachers can empty since Congress will not be hope that the students learn something or at least enjoy the in session. There will be three guided tour field trip. sessions, starting at 10 a.m., for the over 100 sophomores going \\

By Gaby Camilli Staff Writer

By Olivia Lafferty and Priya Adhikary

He played on the varsity football all four years in a variety of positions.

GSA and Peer Mediators host No Name-Calling Week By Abby Converse

The halls are filled with positive signs that encourage treating students with respect.

Why did freshman transition end early? By Shamaim Syed

Counselors wanted more time to collaborate with each other.

COURTESY OF KATIE GOULD

Wattenbarger signs to AldersonBroaddus College

As Feb. 9 approaches, members of Model U.N get more excited for their weekend of high-intensity debating. Members of Model United Nations Club will be attending the annual John Hopkins (JHU) conference in Baltimore, Maryland Feb. 9-12. Students from high schools all over the U.S. will be meeting at the university to act as ambassadors from U.N. member nations to discuss and debate current world matters. Model U.N./Foreign Affairs Club, which is often called the school’s debate club, gives students the opportunity to learn and debate about current events and issues. During the year, the club attends several conferences held at universities. At conferences, students prepare resolutions, give speeches and negotiate with enemy and allied nations, in order to simulate the actions of the actual United Nations. “We meet after school usually once a month and talk about committees/ conferences that are coming up and issues that are happening around the globe,” sophomore Hayat Yusuf said. The trip to John Hopkins is run entirely by students at JHU. The conference at JHU will include 25 committee options, which address issues that vary from the environment, to communism, to the parliament of Great Britain. “I’m looking forward to actually go to the college, and being able to check out the school in person,” junior Jeffrey Haber said. The weekend also includes great opportunities to visit the campus, and tour the city of Baltimore. “Beginning Thursday evening, we will have a guest speaker, usually from the U.N.,” sponsor Jonathan York said. “Before that there’s a training session for new people, and then the committee sessions start Thursday night.” The Keynote Speaker for this

By Christine Tamir Copy Editor

Senior Derrick Hollenbeck holds up his placard at the 2011 Johns Hopkins MUN conference.

conference will be representative Will Davis. Davis is currently the director of the UN Development Program’s Washington Representation Office and has an impressive record working for the UN. This conference only includes single delegations, which means the students must represent nations by themselves and prepare and deliver speeches for their country alone. “I am excited to go to JHU because we get to meet new people that are also involved in Model U.N. and it’s a good chance to make new friends,” Yusuf Said. ”But, I am nervous about working alone and prefer double delegation instead of the single delegation AHS’s Model United Nations has lost many seniors since last year so they are looking to recruit underclassmen for the club. The club is a great opportunity to gain many skills necessary for college and future careers. “The students involved definitely improve their public speaking skills along with their research skills and they gain a more world rounded view,” York said. “You really do meet lifelong friends there, besides that it goes into the inter-personal skills, you have to work with people that you don’t know and people you may not like to reach a common resolution.”


NEWS

Feb. 7, 2012

Staff reflects white majority “Diversity” continued from page 1

one of few Hispanic teachers in a school with a majority Hispanic student body. He believes that the school should make more of an effort to make the faculty reflective of the students. “Yes, it’s important, because we are supposed to be the model of the students,” Obando said. He thinks that since he understands the students, he can model his teaching to help the minorities. “I stay after, because I know some minority students don’t have the money for tutors and they need that help,” Obando said. Many of school’s occupations have different races concentrated in them. The administration is made up of ten individuals, all of whom are Caucasian. Of the four individuals which make up Safety and Security, 75 percent of them are African American. 80 percent of the ten counselors are Caucasian, with one counselor of Asian descent and one of Hispanic descent. The custodial staff is the most diverse, with nine African American custodians, six Hispanic and four Asian. What is the cause of this disparity? IB Social Anthropology teacher Holly Miller thinks that it has nothing to do with culture and that it is much more complex.

AHS DEMOGRAPHICS CAUCASIAN Students: 26% All staff: 71% Teachers, admin., counselors: 79%

HISPANIC Students: 32% All staff: 6% Teachers, admin., counselors: 5%

BLACK Students: 16% All staff: 10% Teachers, admin., counselors: 6%

ASIAN Students: 24% All staff: 8% Teachers, admin., counselors: 6%

OTHER Students: 2% All staff: 7% Teachers, admin., counselors:: 4%

DATA COMPILED BY ANNIE CURRAN

Anthropology teachers says it follows the culture

“I don’t think this lack of diversity is the case everywhere,” Miller said. She thinks that perhaps it could be because of the location, and although she has noticed the lack of diversity, she has not been able to think of a cause. There are some, however, who think that the lack of diversity does have to do with the culture. Senior Paul Singh’s parents went to school in India and he has had family members who have gone to school in other countries, all of whom have had difficulty adjusting to the American education system. He thinks that since international education systems are different and do not stress the standardization of information as much, people have trouble adjusting, whether they are trying to learn or teach. “I’ve noticed the lacked of diversity on staff and I think that it is because a person of a different culture who didn’t grow up here wouldn’t fully understand the system,” Singh said. “The systems are too different.” This may explain why international teachers would be less likely to teach, but it does not explain why people born in the U.S. of minority races would not want to teach. There are many factors that contribute, but the AHS administration still says they hire the most qualified person for any position. FCPS does not have any special programs that try to hire minorities.

The Science National Honor Society (SNHS) is kicking off “Pennies for Patients,” a yearly campaign that raises funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society running from Feb. 6 through March 2. “I really hope we meet our goal to raise awareness and of course the $3,000,” SNHS President Jiyeong Park, senior, said. “I will be so happy if we do so.” “I’m really optimistic this year because we have new events that we didn’t have before,” SNHS CoSponsor and biology teacher Claudia Lemus said. “I hope that these events will help us reach our goal.” Last year, SNHS raised close to $2,000 for this event. This year the goal is $3,000. Multiple fundraising events have been presented to help reach this goal. For the rest of February, there will be a ‘penny war’ between classes and faculty departments. For students, the penny war will be held during all

lunches. Any student who donates $2 or more will be entered in the weekly raffles. The winning class will also receive a prize. For faculty, donation boxes will be placed in the workroom of each department, one in the main office and one in the guidance office. The winning department’s faculty members’ names will be entered in a raffle to win prizes as well. Fuddrucker’s night will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m on Feb.10. A movie night will also be held in the auditorium from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for the movie “My Sister’s Keeper” on Mar. 1. A dating event will also take place in the auditorium during Atom Time. This event involves five male seniors and five male juniors being auctioned off. Junior and senior girls will have the opportunity to bid on a guy for a date. There will be a $5 admission fee and the date for this event is to be determined. Lastly, chocolate bars will be sold for $2 for the rest of February. “I think that this fundraiser should be pretty successful,” SNHS member Wenhui Huang, junior, said. “All of the members have contributed a lot to this cause, so we should do well.” “I want to help out for this fundraiser,” junior Jessica Strong

Electives Fair All students except seniors will be participating in the electives fair during Atom Time on Feb. 17. Students will get to choose the classes they want to visit and possibly enroll in for the next school

Model U.N. Conference Students involved in Model UN will be participating in the Johns Hopkins Model UN Conference from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12.

Ice Cream Social

On Feb. 8 at 2:30 p.m. students who received student of the quarter awards from their classes will be invited to attend an ice cream social.

Honor Roll Breakfast

Today during Atom Time students who had AB or all A honor roll will get the opportunity to attend the honor roll breakfast. Students will have to show the honor roll paper before entering the cafeteria.

Students are encouraged to participate in the Black History Bowl which will happen on February 24. In order to get more information, Freshman should go to Ms. Saladino in Rm. 279, Sophomores to Ms. Capehart Rm. 101, Juniors to Ms. Bishop Rm. 155 and Seniors to Mr. Jepson Rm. 277. Students will have the opportunity to win prizes, teams win $100 and the winning class gets $100.

Open Heart Surgery The Human Anatomy classes will be viewing an open heart surgery at the Inova Fairfax Hospital on February 14 and 16. PHOTO BY CHLOE LOVING

BY DANA FILIPCZYK Staff Writer

News Briefs

Black History Bowl

SNHS raises funds for cancer patients Upcoming ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ movie night

5

Members of the Science National Honor Society collect money during D lunch.

said. “I’m really interested in buying some chocolate.” The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is an organization that funds research on finding treatments and cures for blood cancers. SNHS held a presentation in the auditorium on Jan. 26 during Atom Time to promote “Pennies for Patients,” where the Campaign Manager of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Leah Cutler, came to speak about the organization

and the fundraiser. “We have come a really long way with the cure rate,” Cutler said. “In the 1950s, the cure rate for the most common rate of leukemia was 3 percent, but now it is 94 percent. We are not going to stop till we get to 100 percent, and that’s why we need your help. Last year you all helped out a lot and we are really appreciative of your support.”

Course Selection

Atom Time will not be in session for the first two weeks of February. Students are required to stay in their W4 classrooms. Counselors will be going around different classrooms to give presentations on course selection.

Class of 2012 IB Diploma Candidates celebrate finishing Extended Essay and TOK

Exhibits centered around international issues Changes include that all food will be provided from vendors “Just World” continued from page 1

Those in attendance will be also exposed to international issues through both workshops and exhibits, which will address human rights, conflict resolution, the importance of the rain forest, genocide prevention and education in third world countries, among other topics. Furthermore, students will be able to observe Chinese calligraphy, Pakistani henna design and the crisis relief kit of the ShelterBox program of Rotary International firsthand, in addition to learning dances and listening to music from Latin America, Egypt and West Africa. “[I think students will most enjoy] the variety of things to do, see and eat,” Just World Co-Sponsor Jan Kamide said. “No matter what your passion, we’ll have an exhibit or workshop to satisfy every passion – environment, human rights, politics, culture and food.” “I know the students will enjoy the ShelterBox display that the Rotary organization brings. They also will enjoy the dance lessons and exhibitions,”

In order to ensure a successful event, members Just World Co-Sponsor Kate Mounteer said. “I hope many will learn a lot from our workshops. of the club have been working hard in preparation We have some lively and energetic presenters who for the festival. “[Students are still] planning the program, will make all the serious topics fun.” Although admission to the festival is free, food organizing the space and equipment necessary from IndAroma, Breeze Cafe and Food Corner to accommodate the workshops and exhibits and Kabobs, in addition to fair trade coffee, tea, publicizing the event,” Kamide said. “There are [still ways for students to help out],” chocolate, jewelry, baskets and other crafts, will be on sale. This is different from in years past, Park said. “You can come to meetings and help with publicizing, and we may when the culinary department need volunteers to help provided food for the festival. run the festival, such as “One big difference is that Our workshops are also a helping exhibitors and we are having outside food presenters.” vendors, which will add a little more international With less than three different flavor to the festival,” relations-oriented. weeks until the festival, Mounteer said. the final touches are The festival will also —Kate Mounteer being put in place for be different in terms of its Just World Co-Sponsor what has become a much presenters and exhibits, anticipated event known making it a worthwhile for its success in both educating and entertaining experience even for those who attended last year. “Our workshops are also a little more students and adults alike. “We just really want all AHS students to come international relations-oriented than in the past I think,” Mounteer added. “Ms. Kamide and enjoy the festival and learn a lot,” Mounteer and I are brand new sponsors, and most of the said. “We want to encourage students to take a past organizers have left the school, so we hope more active role in the world around them.” everything runs smoothly.”

Five honors courses to be made available online IB English juniors can no longer switch to AP J “Honors” continued from page 1

In addition to the honors courses, ten new classes for the 2012-2013 school year have been announced. There are three new IB courses, which are IB Business HL, IB Psychology and IB Literature and Language, which is designed for students who speak English as a second language. Other new courses include, Advanced Composition which is the Atoms Writing Center, Speech Communication, a full year Gourmet/International foods

and a yearlong Ceramics course. Three new semesterlong courses are Painting, Printmaking and Philosophy. IB Arabic will be taught at another school due to low enrollment this year. The school will also offer Oceanography and AP Statistics, which were cancelled this year also due to low enrollment. Another shock for some juniors was the fact that if they took IB English their junior year, they will not allowed to switch to AP English Language and Composition, sometimes referred to as APJ for their senior year. This was something many students would do if they discovered IB English was not the proper fit for them.

The measure was designed to keep students in the IB program, although some students are not pleased with this new rule. Junior Clare Lazar feels trapped now in IB English. “I went back and forth about whether I should take IB English,” Lazar said. “I would have taken regular English if I had known I would have to stay in the IB program.” Even though she takes a few IB classes already, she is upset because she wanted the opportunity to try the AP curriculum. “It’s one of the only AP classes at AHS, which is why I wanted to take it,” Lazar said.

The IB Diploma students take a group picture with Vincent Randazzo.

IB Diploma student Emily Oliver hugs Shirley Campbell the IB coordinator .

IB Students listen as Randazzo speaks.

NEW COURSES — 3 new IB courses include Psychology, Literature and Language and Business HL. —Oceanography and AP statistics are returning classes.

IB Students listen intently as Principal Mary Ann Richardson speaks about the Extended Essay and the process.

—IB Arabic will be offered at an undetermined school due to low enrollment. — Semester long courses are Painting, Printmaking and Philosophy. —Other courses include Advanced Composition/Atoms Writing Center, Speech Communication, Gourmet/International foods and Ceramics.

Richardson hugs Stephanie Keremeyeh while handing her a certificate. PHOTOS BY AJ MCCAFFERTY


6

People

What is your most embarrassing moment? “When I was in third grade during announcements, I was trying so hard not to sneeze that I farted.”

A Blast

the

That awkward moment

Ten students share their most embarrassing times “When I was playing basketball I got dunked on by Amiel and everybody started laughing.” — Steven Schwartz sophomore

“Last year on a snow day these three girls held me down, locked me in their basement and put me in a dress. I ran to my friend’s house nearby and was still in a dress.”

1

— Richie Fruchterman freshman

RATING:

— Whitney Dunning history/psychology teacher “I was getting books from my locker in high school, and when I stood up I hit my head. I didn’t realize that it cut me and my forehead was bleeding while I was walking to class.”

—Sean Miller history teacher

“One time when the fire drill alarm went off, I squealed louder than one of my students when I was the one that was supposed to be composed.”

Feb. 7, 2012

RATING:

“In the fourth grade, I did the talent show. Everything was perfect until my part because I forgot all the words.”

“My brother pantsed me in public. He never did it again from then on because I punched him right in the face.” — Alex Williams junior

— Ravyn Hankinson freshman RATING:

RATING: “I was at Dreams for Kids at Howard University in D.C. and we were having a dance battle when I ripped my pants. I had to sit down until I bought sweatpants from the bookstore.”

“My bathing suit was knocked off by a wave in the ocean. I screamed.” — James Barker sophomore

— Rebecca Yohannes sophomore RATING:

RATING: “One time I broke my finger from punching my sister because we were fighting over the remote control. The embarrassing part came afterward when I had to explain to people how I broke it.”

“When I was reading out loud in front of the class in eighth grade biology, I accidentally said ‘orgasm’ instead of ‘organism.’”

­ Carmen Peek — English teacher “Two girls were fighting and they were literally pulling the tops off one another. I pulled both of them to the side and said, ‘Stop fighting and keep your clothes on!’”

—KW Williams security specialist

––Compiled by Allison Ilagan

—James Terrell junior

RATING:

RATING:

“I was giving a group presentation during English while I was sick and I ended up overheating and passing out in front of the whole class. My friend had to wheel me down to the clinic in a wheelchair.” —Hiba Abuelhawa senior

Celebrity Birthdays

RATING:

February 34 35 27 21 20 32 68 40 26 23 31 47 19 24 25 37 18 47 41 59 31

—Kardo Omerbell senior

Optimal Dentistry Services:

• This is my fourth year teaching at AHS. • I attended Miami University. •I majored in English/language arts education. •In my spare time, I go on car trips. • I like to listen to Mumford & Sons, Chris Thile, Broadway musicals and Sara Groves.

• My favorite part of working in a school is the thoughtful students and the constant striving to be better at my job. • My motto is: “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” • My birthday is Oct. 14. • I played soccer. • My favorite TV show is Modern Family. • My favorite store is Barnes & Noble. • My favorite food is shrimp and grits. • My favorite candy is Snickers. • My favorite movie is The King’s Speech.

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

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New patients welcome!

• I have traveled to Switzerland, Nicaragua, France, Italy and England.

Meet Jae Min Kim

“I was once in a movie theater and all of the sudden the seat flipped up and I farted. My date just stood up and left.”

RATING:

Who am I?

7 Ashton Kutcher 8 David Farrell 9 David Gallagher 10 Emma Rober ts 11 Taylor Lautner 12 Christina Ricci 13 Jerry Springer 14 Drew Bledsoe 15 Amber Riley 16 Elizabeth Olsen 17 Joseph Gordon-Levitt 18 Dr. Dre 19 Victoria Justice 20 Rihanna 21 Ellen Page 22 Drew Barrymore 23 Dakota Fanning 24 Kristin Davis 25 Sean Astin 26 Michael Bolton 27 Josh Groban

—Madeline deMello junior

• My favorite vacation spot is Hilton Head.

To find out who these teachers are, visit www.thea-blast.org/category/studentlife/people/ –Compiled by Megan Flynn

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Health

ABlast

the

Feb. 7, 2012

Earphones harm hearing

Signs of hearing loss seen in teens listening to loud music

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What electronics do you think harm your health? “A computer because I stare at it every day- I stare at it for 3-4 hours a day for school.” —Lynn Kha freshman

By Christine Tamir Copy Editor

“I think earphones hurt you because they are realy close to your ear and the music gets louder and louder.” —Maryam Hassan Sophomore “My laptop because my head starts to hurt [when I use it].”

AJ MCCAFFERTY

Junior Nick Warner listens to his iPod at an appropriate volume to prevent future permanent damage to his hearing.

headphones. “[I listen to headphones on] low volume because I value my hearing more than my music,” senior Leo Leksang said. “[Other teens] turn it sky high; you can hear it out of their ears.” LiveScience also reports that teenage boys play their music louder than teen girls, and that most teens play their music louder than young adults. Although scientific research emphasizes the negative effects of listening to music too loudly, junior Khalid Kamara has found a positive way to use loud music – as a way to focus before games. “It helps me drown out all other thoughts than what I’m focusing on,” Kamara said. “There’ve been lots of studies that show hearing loss could take place if you listen to music at a very high volume,” health teacher Gabe Romano said. “[Teenagers] don’t think about the consequences, just the music right now.”

—Hanan Hassan senior

—Compiled by Kate Grandchamp

How loud?

Tone up with these quick exercises

The average teen listens to music between 110 and 120 decibels (dB). Use this decibel meter to compare the noise level to other common loud sounds and events. —Source: Fiestico.com

What’s your perfect lunch? Mostly fruits, vegetables and other light food.

Throughout the day you crave:

You have been sitting in school all day long and now you want to:

Cupcakes, cookies, Twinkies or any baked good.

For breakfast in the morning you are most likely going to eat:

Sometimes; it’s usually around two or three days.

On a scale of one to ten, you would rate your stress level a: Between a five and a ten. You’re constantly worrying about something.

Pretzels, chips, french fries or any fast food.

Mainly meat and carbohydrates.

Throughout the year, you get sick and miss school:

A lot; you’ll miss seven or more days with a fever or cold.

t

Between a one and a four. You’re usually calm and collected.

Nothing; you’re already running late and don’t have time to eat anything.

Grab your running shoes and exercise for an hour to burn off all your extra energy.

A Pop-tart or something that you can quickly eat.

Some fruit and a bagel, or if you have time maybe some eggs.

Staying after school Going straight to catch up on a to practice for lesson that you two hours before missed when you heading home. were sick.

You should eat... Satisfying Salads First, take a deep breath, when you’re stressed your immune system can be compromised. Be sure to eat vegetables and fruits to get the vitamins you need. Scan this QR Code to view a recipe for a Mediterranean chef salad.

Full and energetic, you’re ready to go.

Heading home to check Facebook and watch T.V.

Good; you’re happy with your weight and work out often.

Wow, you exercise a lot. To make sure that you have enough energy during your workout, you should intake more carbohydrates, but be sure to not consume too many calories. Scan this QR Code to view a recipe for a turkey avocado club.

5

meals

By Betsy Kruse and Esra Gokturk

For a healthy midmorning snack, try these delectable insects to fill up and feel great without overindulging

Wall sits: Start standing with your back against a wall. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle, as if you are sitting on a chair. Hold the position for thirty seconds. Take a break and repeat two more times.

Stuffed and regret eating so much.

At the moment, you feel that your health is:

You should eat... More Carbs

minute

Go home and relax, maybe even sneak a nap in before starting your homework.

An hour after eating a meal, you are usually feeling:

It is 2:00 and school has just ended. Your afternoon plans usually include:

Flutter kicks: Start lying on the ground with your hands at your sides. Then raise both legs about six inches off of the ground. Alternate kicking your feet up and down, never letting your feet touch the ground. Do this for a 30 seconds, rest, and repeat two more times.

Side lunges: Start standing straight up with your feet spread apart. Slowly bend one knee and move to the side. Hold this position for five seconds. Repeat 15 times and then exercise the other leg.

Not the best; you want to improve your over all health.

You should eat... Smaller Portions

Russian twists: Start in the curl-up position. Raise your feet and legs and hold your hands together. Using your core muscles, twist from side to side. Repeat 25 times.

One easy way to imrove your health is to eat more balanced meals. You should try and make sure that you have a variety of foods on your plate that are smaller than your usual portion. Scan this QR code to view a recipe for pita pockets.

—Photos by Betsy Kruse

Apple Lady Bugs Ingredients Needed: One red apple, 1/8 cup of raisins, one tablespoon of peanut butter, four thin pretzel sticks

Five minute meal recipes

1.) Wash apple and slice in half, remove core. 2.) Spread peanut butter on the raisins and stick on to the back of the apple. 3.) Stick one raisin on the end of each pretzel stick. 4.) Stick the other end of the pretzel into the apple to make antennae. 5.) Place on a plate and enjoy! Serving Size: Two lady bugs Average Calories: 230 per serving Nutritional Grade: B+

ALLRECIPES.COM

ar St

If you had to choose between the two, would you choose a diet of:

GRAPHIC BY AJ MCCAFFERTY

The Apple revolution has brought with it the ear bud revolution. Young people everywhere can be seen with the signature white in-ear ear buds plugged into music players, often times listening to music in inappropriate places at inappropriate times, such as while crossing the street. “I’ve seen people almost get run over because they aren’t paying attention and texting or using ear buds,” physics teacher David Tyndall said. According to an article by The Washington Post, 47 accidents were caused by a pedestrian using headphones – in-ear or over-the-ear – crossing the street. The data was pulled from a study conducted by University of Maryland researchers. Surprisingly enough, the majority of the headphone-related accident victims – 70 percent – were male, and over 60 percent of the victims were under the age of 30. 89 percent of the 55 reported accidents (in San Francisco) occurred in urban settings, which are known for their bustling activity. Sophomore Madhav Kumar listens to his music loudly while walking and claims his ear buds “block out all the unnecessary noise” while walking and crossing streets. “That’s what I have my eyes for, to look out,” Kumar said. The report claims that headphones cause “inattentional blindness,” which is the result of one spreading his or her attention too thin and not allocating enough attention to necessary tasks. Not only does it cause “inattentional blindness,” but also “environmental isolation,” which means that headphones of any variety cause the wearer to disregard his or her environment. The effects of headphones extend beyond car crashes and deaths; they also cause ear damage. According to LiveScience, in-ear headphones, including Apple ear buds, are more likely to cause damage than the over-the-ear, old-fashioned

On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a video with step by step instructions to make some of our five minute meals.


“I would want ‘Just the Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars because it’s sweet.”

—Iman

Naieem freshman

“I’d choose ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ because it’s a classic.”

—Aviad Gebrehiwot freshman “Probably ‘Let Me Love You’ by Mario because it explains the girls’ feelings towards me.”

—Herson

‘Good Grief a Griffin’ performance earns praise BY WILLIAM BENNETT Staff Writer The griffin is a notorious mythological character known for its body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle. Although it is usually imagined soaring through the skies or lurking on mountain tops, the griffin made its appearance at AHS this winter. On Feb. 3, the theatre department held its annual children’s play in the auditorium. Theatre arts teacher George Bennett selected Good Grief, A Griffin as this year’s play. “This is one of my favorite children’s plays and it also has really great music in it,” Bennett said. Junior Andy Riddle starred as the griffin, while fellow junior Betsy Cohan played the mayor and senior Jessica Frederickson played the minor canon. “We had a big audience this year and I felt the show was great for a children’s play,” Riddle said. The play is set in medieval times in a small town run by an arrogant mayor, though the residents of the town are just as selfish and ignorant as their political leader. The minor canon is the religious leader in the town and is

GWEN LEVEY

attempts to fix all of the characters’ attitudes. The town church also has a stone image of a griffin above its doors by which the griffin soon appears for the first time in its long lifetime. Frightened, the townspeople run about for help from this “monster” and call for the minor canon’s help. Luckily, the minor canon is the only one brave enough to talk to the griffin and soon finds that the griffin is wise and not as frightening as he looks. The griffin explains that he is going to the town to see his image because he does not know what he looks like due to the fact that he is the only griffin in existence. They then proceed to the town where the townspeople are hiding from the griffin because they are scared. The griffin loves his statue’s image and stays for a couple weeks until the townspeople decide to try and get rid of him. The townspeople then proceed to send away the minor canon, thinking that the griffin will follow. The townspeople celebrate until the griffin returns from a nap asking where the minor canon has gone. Since no one will say where he has gone, the griffin decides that he will continue the minor canon’s good work while he is away. He tells the people to do the right things and they listen because they are afraid that the griffin will eat them. The griffin tells them that he only eats people who are good and kind, like the minor canon. The griffin only eats twice a year and is getting

Junior Andrew Riddle played the part of the griffin in the children’s play.

very hungry. He goes and searches for the minor canon. When he finds the minor canon he is faced with the choice of eating the minor canon or sparing the minor canon because of their friendship. In the end he realizes friendship is more powerful than his hunger. The minor canon returns to the town and the townspeople realize how badly they treated the minor canon and begin to change their ways. They then rejoice in the things the griffin had shown them. The play lasted approximately 75 minutes. “The show was a great overall experience and I am excited for AHS’s next theater production,” Riddle said.

Go backstage to meet our cast! GWEN LEVEY

Palma sophomore

Children’s musical sweeps the stage

“I like ‘Angel’ by Jack Johnson because I’m obsessed with it and it’s a sweet song.”

JESSICA FREDERICKSON, 12 Role: The Minor Canon

—Lailumah

“The show was a little stressful, but overall it was really fun to be a part of! I loved this amazing cast and everyone was so supportive and just had fun with it!”

Faisal sophomore “I’d choose ‘Thinkin’ About You’ by Frank Ocean because it makes me feel wanted.”

GWEN LEVEY

What would you want sung to you for Valentine’s Day?

Feb. 7, 2012

GWEN LEVEY

8

ARTS

ANDREW RIDDLE, 11 Role: The Griffin

ANNE-MARIE LITTLE, 11 Role: Townsperson

“The show has been a fun adventure that we all got to experience. I loved dressing up as a griffin and making it so no one could recognize me. Theatre is so fun!”

“Theatre is amazing! It’s so much fun going to rehearsals and working through the weeks to create something that could have an impact on something else.”

—Joon Lee

Little junior

“Most likely ‘Big Poppa’ by Biggie Smalls because it highlights the importance of love.”

—Bernard

Chalhub-Frau senior

Sophomore Gabi Montes de Oca poses at the entrance to her character, Mrs. Cox’s, house as part of the set of the show. “I enjoyed being part of the cast and playing such a fun character!” said Montes de Oca.

GWEN LEVEY

GWEN LEVEY

—Anne-Marie

GWEN LEVEY

“I’d definitely want ‘Rhythm of Love’ by Plain White Tee’s because it’s cute and upbeat.”

GWEN LEVEY

junior

STEVEN ADERTON, 10 Role: Townsperson

ELIZABETH COHAN, 11 Role: The Mayor

AMBER HINES, 10 Role: Jones

“While it could be hard to get work done occasionally, the show was a good experience.”

“It has been so much fun to play this role and the whole cast worked very hard to put it together.”

“The show was fun. Everyday during practice was always a good time. I liked all of our singing.”

Singing Valentines make annual debut

—Giselle Garamendi senior

Students perform in STAND Benefit Concert On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to follow up on the STAND Benefit Concert and the performers who made the show possible.

BY ANDREA MELENDEZ Staff Writer Love is in the air…and so are melodic tunes as the choral department presents its annual Singing Valentines. This tradition has been a part of AHS for almost as long as the school’s existence. Through the program, students have the opportunity to purchase a Singing Valentine for a loved one or friend. Students can choose from a group of songs that one of the choral groups will perform and write a little message on the small paper hearts included with the valentines. “I think it’s good to get the choir kids out amongst the students, and the faculty has been really supportive about the tradition so it’s great,” choral department chair Jessica Lardin said. The department sells the valentines for $5 each. On Feb. 14, choral students go around to classrooms to perform their songs. “I love Singing Valentines! I think they’re so fun and it involves the choral department with the rest of the school and everyone always gets excited for them,” junior Victoria Beasley said. There is also an opportunity for individual chorus students to audition with songs of their choosing for students to purchase. “We’re not sure what songs we’ll have [to sing] yet, because that depends on what the kids choose,” junior Deborah Tong said. Annandale Singers will be performing Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” Men’s Chorale will sing its traditional rendition of “Blue Moon.” “This experience is one of my favorite parts of being in chorus because we see people’s faces when we enter the class and I just have a fun time,” junior Andrew Riddle said.

AJ MCAFFERTY

Students can be serenaded for $5 as part of choral fundraiser

“I’d want ‘Promise’ by Romeo Santos and Usher because it’s one of my favorite songs.

Choral students in last year’s Annandale Singers perform the same Presley song they sing every year for a class.

Although some may find the tradition sweet, at times the opportunity to send a Singing Valentine can take a different turn for some students. “I think it’s very romantic [to send one], yet it can be very awkward,” senior Jordan Baldoceda said. The opportunity to proclaim one’s love for another or “get in the game” is a notable reason why many students may purchase a valentine. “I think it’s a great anonymous way to express your feelings about someone for those shy folks out there,” junior Hung Truong said. Other students see the Valentine’s Day tradition as an escape for at least a couple of minutes from class. “I enjoy it actually, considering I’ve never gotten one before, but it’s fun and it interrupts class, so I’m all for it,” junior Rebecca Nguyen said. The songs are usually three to four minutes long, and the choral student or group that performs announce the name of the person for whom he/she/they are singing once that student

arrives in the class. “I think they’re nice and thoughtful, but it’s kind of embarrassing to be directly sang to in front of a whole class,” sophomore Sean Flynn said. The Singing Valentines are delivered throughout the day and are based on availability of students to perform during specific classes. Some students pick elective classes for the songs to be sung in so their friends will be less likely to get in trouble with a teacher of a core subject when the choral students interrupt class. While the gesture is thoughtful, there is still a problem in the economic outlook on sending a Singing Valentine. “I think [the gesture] is really sweet and it can be personal or private depending on how you see it. However, I think $5 is way too expensive for a valentine,” junior Christine Nguyen said. Similar to every year, whether the outlook on it is good or bad, the choral department hopes that the singing valentines fundraiser will be even more successful than in year’s past.


ACADEMICS

Feb. 7, 2012

Teachers explore textbook use

9

ASK Abby

AHS department chairs comment on the utilization of textbooks amoung teachers of their subject PERFORMING ARTS Stephanie Lewis “We get new textbooks every year, and because we’re performing arts we have the liberty to lease textbooks unlike the other departments and we are permitted to use whatever helps the students learn.”

FINE ARTS Meredith Stevens “[Textbooks] have their place. The art history textbooks we use are more for reference. We try to provide as many opportunities and different art forms as possible [for the students to learn].”

MATHEMATICS

SOCIAL STUDIES Brian Dunnel “I’m concerned about the access for online textbooks for students. The actual books we use in the history department are on a five-year cycle. I would say the majority of teachers use the textbooks for nightly homework, but the amount of emphasis they put on teaching directly from the textbook varies widely from teacher to teacher.”

WORLD LANGUAGES Maureen Hunt “The way we choose our textbooks is that we form committees of teachers for each language and we look at material, technology and visual appeal. Then as a group we come to a consensus about the books we will use. The textbook is just a vehicle that guides us to help the students learn.”

Karen Olarinde “We teach first and use our textbooks for homework and reference. We don’t teach directly from the textbook. The math department is currently in the process of textbook adoption, and online textbooks are most likely going to be accepted for next year. [Online textbooks] are more editable than normal textbooks and provide a variety of teaching.”

INDUSTRIAL TECH Joe Desio “We use the online CDX automotive textbook, which is updated yearly in auto tech. I leave it to the individual teachers to choose their own textbooks. Kids learn from CDX and then they go hands-on to apply CDX Logo of the online what they learned. iPads for every student would be textbooks used in Industrial Tech classes. great. Online textbooks are the future. Everything we use is online, and then we have a textbook.”

ENGLISH

SCIENCE Isaac Boakye “The teachers in the science department can use a variety of textbooks, but the students have only one kind of textbook that they learn from. Each textbooks goes through a cycle of eight years, but the IB textbooks go through a cycle of two years. The science teachers teach indirectly from the textbooks in class, but they do give the students reading assignments in the textbooks.”

Alan Weintraut

“We just updated our textbooks a couple of years ago, but as English teachers, we rarely rely upon just one text. We use novels, anthologies, workbooks, magazines and online sources of nonfiction. We should be the most nimble in the selections of texts we bring to our students. We are always adding contemporary novels that students like such as The Kite Runner and The Hunger Games.”

Where do these things come from? FCPS official Karin Williams gives insight on the textbook adoption process BY K.L. HOANG Academics Editor Ever wonder how textbooks found their way into the classroom and eventually into overflowing backpacks? The textbook adoption process is intricate and can cause problems for schools and students. Pearson, one of the educational companies AHS subscribes to, is currently under scrutiny in New York State for possible misconduct with school officials and textbook recommendations. Pearson Investigation The New York State attorney general is examining Pearson over its activities with state education officials and education conferences in exotic places like Rio de Janeiro. Months after a conference, Kentucky superintendent, Lu Young, declined the lowest bid of $2.5 million from CTB/ McGraw-Hill and recommended Pearson to her schools. Six months later, the Kentucky Education Department accepted a $57 million contract with Pearson. Terry Holiday, the department commissioner, later traveled to Brazil and China insured by the Pearson Foundation. Fairfax County How can local schools avoid corruption and chose the best textbok company? Karin Williams, Director of Operations and Strategic Planning, explains the processes that FCPS goes through concerning textbooks. “The standard curriculum provided by the state is enhanced by teams of FCPS teachers working in the summer to provide the optimal learning experience for students,” Williams said. Textbook Adoption Textbooks are chosen every six years or so through a group of school board appointees from the public and educational community. The K-12 curriculum coordinator oversees the process. After the committee meets and chooses titles for

consideration, the community is invited to review the textbooks and share their thoughts. The curriculum coordinator gathers the feedback, and presents recommended titles to the FCPS school board and leadership team for final approval. One textbook per grade level is usually adopted. School principals are then asked to purchase new textbooks for the following school year. “The K-12 curriculum coordinator and team conduct teacher training, updates curriculum guides, and provides other resources for teachers during the summer. We are currently in the process of implementing the mathematics textbook adoption.” Williams said. Online Textbooks “The social studies online textbooks were purchased centrally to improve the cost per subscription and reduce the ordering burden from the school staff. When FCPS adopted social studies textbook it was evident that many publishers had excellent online textbook options,” Williams said. After a pilot program, the school division chose to purchase online social studies textbook subscriptions for grades 7-12. “One of the biggest business or economic hurdles was establishing fair contracts with the traditional publishing houses. Since many of the publishing houses have merged in recent years, the options are more limited. Also, for the K-12 market, online textbooks are fairly rare so the business models were not established. Overall, both companies bargained fairly and gave FCPS a six-year commitment and offered a fair price.” Comparisons An annual review is held to see if the FCPS curriculum holds up against state and national standards. FCPS teachers can apply to be on state review committees to review and update state standards. They can also sit on local curriculum and development teams that are held each summer. The Companies “It is true that many of the remaining publishing companies have the whole education solution, but at least in FCPS, we are careful not to merge

Academic Advice Column

By Abby bb Barnes Dear Abby, The other students and I can never seem to please one of my teachers. She stands there and yells at the entire class all day long. What should we do? Sincerely, Flustered Dear Flustered, Unfortunately, I have been in this sort of situation myself. I can tell you that your teacher is probably just about as clueless as you are about your ongoing relationship conflicts. Also, the fact that you think you can never please your teacher is a bit dramatic. If she has been teaching for a sufficient number of years, she is experienced in setting realistic standards for her students, even if you feel they are not. Some teachers know that if they disclose their true standards to their students, their students will not have that constant push to work harder. She may be setting the bar so high that it seems invisible—but this is only an illusion. Though we all have our different personality peeves, (yours may be teachers who pick on students’ flaws and do not believe in rewards), I have not come across a single human being who could not be pleased by anything. I once read somewhere that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. There is a way to act that will please your teacher, and part of it is perseverance and confidence in your own kindness. After all, who doesn’t like a good-humored and optimistic student? The other part is closely examining what makes your teacher proud and what does not. Whether you want an A in the class or just a good teacher recommendation for college, you are eventually going to have to stop complaining and focus on trying your hardest. Soon enough, she will see that you are improving and you will get what you want. Just do not give up! --Abby Have a problem? E-mail Abby at abby305@gmail.com

Vocabulary Words History teachser Joel Jepson looks over new Portrait of America textbooks published by Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

the different types of educational materials and resources available from one company into a big package,” Williams said. “Each product is looked at individually and only those materials that meet the curriculum/content need are purchased,” Williams said. Education Market “I believe education has always been a commodity and market, we just haven’t seen it that way,” Williams said. “The federal government, in an attempt to ensure that all children are afforded a robust education, created the NCLB legislation and made the commercial sector take more notice of the K-12 education market. Many companies began to promote products and services to help failing school districts in an aggressive manner.”

COGENT adjective Intellectually convincing INDEFATIGABLE adjective Incapable of defeat, failure, decay PALLIATE Verb To reduce the severity of TURPITUDE noun Depravity, moral corruption

TEST YOUR NOODLE! Math

Science

1. A car averages 27 miles per gallon. If gas costs $4.04 per gallon, how much gas would cost for this car to travel 2,727 typical miles?

4. Plant cells differ from animal cells in that only plant cells possess these organelles:

2. When x = 3 and y = 5, by how much does the value of 3x2 – 2y exceed the value of 2x2 – 3y ?

5. What are the purine bases?

3. Sales for a business were three million dollars more the second year than the first, and sales for the third year were double the sales of the second year. If sales for the third year were 38 million dollars, what were sales, in millions of dollars, for the first year?

6. What is the name of the last column on the Periodic Table of Elements?

English

History

7. “What came first: the chicken or the egg?” is an example of a...?

10. When was the Declaration of Independence published?

8. “She could of ran to the store, but she realized that her husband could have went instead.” What part of this sentence is grammatically incorrect?

11. What amendment freed the slaves?

9. The mountain was much greater (than/then) the smaller hill.

12. What two presidents had charges of impeachment brought against them?

1) about $408.04 2) 14 3) 16 4) a cell wall 5) adenine and guanine 6) Noble Gas 7) paradox 8) “could of” is wrong, “could have” is correct 9) than 10) 1776 11) 13th 12) Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton

Students apply for Holocaust internship On your smartphone scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a story about AHS’s students applying to the summer internship at the Holocaust Museum.


12

International

Feb. 7, 2012

cGlobalization

World Obesity Rates

As obesity rates rise in the U.S., FCPS must change eating habits of students

Mexico 24.2%

United Kingdom 23%

Slovakia 22.4%

Greece 21.9%

By Destiny Gammon International Editor It is obvious that fast food restaurants are not scarce in theAnnandale area, or even the U.S., and this observation is just one of many prime examples that have led doctors to believe that fast food is the leading cause of childhood obesity in the U.S.. There are two McDonald’s, two Subways, a Wendy’s, a Burger King, a Taco Bell, a Popeyes, a KFC, various pizza shops and plenty of 7-11 stores in the Annandale area alone. AHS students often rely on these hot spots for quick and cheap meals in between sports practices and various club meetings. “I don’t eat fast food after I work out, but I go any other time. I go get it just about anywhere that’s around,” senior Andres Hurtado said. In the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, it was revealed that McDonald’s alone feeds more than 46 million people per day. The World Health Organization (WHO) has linked this number, and other similar numbers, to the global obesity epidemic. “When I went to Amsterdam, the Dutch called us ‘balloon people’ because we are so big. It has a huge affect; low academics have been tied to obesity and the fact that we haven’t invested in that is a huge failure on our part,” physical education teacher David O’Hara said. Compared to other countries, the U.S. has some of the highest rates of obesity, racking up 32 states with obesity rates over thirty percent in 2008, according to Stop Childhood Obesity, an online awarness website that entices others to fight against childhood obesity. The statistics can be staggering, with Virginia alone having a population that is one-fourth obese. But these rates are not hard to comprehend when you look at Burger King billboards and see that they now deliver. Japan, on the other hand, is one of the healthiest countries in the world according to Nation Master, a website that gives various statistics about many countries all over the world. Despite the large number of fast food restaurants in this modernized country, the portion sizes are much smaller than those of the United States’. The size of a large soda from McDonald’s in Japan is 650 mL, while the U.S.’ is a whopping 950 mL. This proves the theory that fast-food restaurants serve to fit the community they are placed in. “When I go to McDonald’s I get the Big Mac, large fries, and a soda. Or I get the ‘gang bang’ which is a double cheeseburger with a chicken fillet in the middle,” senior Daniel Huynh said. The fast food restaurants can not always be the ones

McWhat? Australia 21.7%

ASIA

Double Beef Prosperity Burger: This burger, served in Mayalsia, contains two beef or chicken patties dipped in a pepper sauce served with onions on a sesame seed bun.

A.J. MCCAFFERTY

United States 30.6%

U.S. McDonald’s restaurants specially offer upon request a combination of a Double Cheese Burger, and a McChicken sandwich.

on the computer Facebook-ing and having virtual friends. Now, kids don’t actually do things outside and I think that affects things,” O’Hara said. “I don’t go to get fast food before track because I try eat healthy and I’m an athlete. I’ve eaten bad before track before and it never ends well,” sophomore Katherine Ross said. Despite the U.S.’ attempt decrease childhood obesity rates, local school cafeterias are still serving foods that are low in nutrition. Behind the “salads” and “TruMoo” milk cartons, these choices are low in nutrition, and high in everything bad. After much digging of the FCPS website, parents are students can learn that the Chicken Fillet on Bun alone has 350 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. Even the “healthy salads” have 502 calories and 25 grams of fat. “When I was a freshman they had a sub line. It was way healthier and it was worth the money. It tasted really good,” senior Israel Muche said. Another cause of rising obesity rates in specifically FCPS is the availability of unhealthy snacks and drinks. An incessant number of vending machines containing ice cream and candy bars are placed at convenient locations for students. Students spend most of their week at school, and being surrounded by unhealthy foods entices teenagers to consume them, despite the 43 grams of sugar in a singular can of soda. FCPS has once again contradicted themselves while attempting to increase the health of its students.

to blame for this epidemic. Wendy’s for instance, offers healthier alternatives like salads and grilled chicken opposed to fried, as gut- friendly options for those who are watching their weight. In many countries, items such as these are advertised as a delicious choice, while in the U.S., the Big Mac, Baconater, and Whopper seem to have stolen the limelight. “I would order healthier options because I want to be healthy and during the season it’s better for you,”Hurtado said. Although FCPS, and other counties around the U.S. have attempted to implement the “60 Minutes of Play” campaign, many students still do not get the time needed to burn the appropriate amount of calories. “People look at gym as a stupid PE class, but it really does affect you. We [FCPS] has the best PE curriculum in the entire country and a lot of other school systems use our studies to base their curriculum off of,” O’Hara said, “But we can be doing more. We can to PE everyday rather than ever other day and we should expect to have it for eleventh and twelfth graders even though we have advanced PE sometimes kids either do it or they don’t and sometimes the only activity that they get is here.” Another big contributor to the U.S.’“big kids” is the fact that teenagers have become so reliable on their technology. This increase is texting, tweeting, and status updating has made many teenagers lazy and feel less motivated to work out according to WHO. “It’s not like it used to be when kids would go out and play until the street lights come on ad now kids are inside

In order to satisfy the different cultures and customs around the world, McDonald’s provides specialty entres in different countries.

ASIA The Ebi Filet-o: Usually served in Hong Kong, this fried shrimp sandwich is served with a special sauce on a sesame seed bun.

ASIA

McRice Burger: This chicken or beef patty is served with a special sauce in between two rice cakes.

MIDDLE EAST The McArabia: Wrapped within this Arab- style pita bread is grilled chicken or beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a garlic mayonnaise.

MIDDLE EAST The Chicken McCurry Pan: Containing a tomato curry sauce, this rectangular dough pan is spiced with thyme, basil and oregano while being filled with chicken, bell peppers and cheese.

EUROPE

The CBO: This sandwich is considered “The Perfect Combination” consisting of chicken, bacon and onions.

New Zealand 20.9%

Hungary 18.8%

Czech Republic 14.8%

EUROPE Croque McDo: Commonly served in France, this sandwich contains two slices of melted Emmental cheese with ham in the middle and is served between two flattened hamburger buns.

EUROPE The Little Chorizo Melt: Offered in England, this herb watersplit hamburger bun comprises of a beef patty, an Emmental cheese slice, lettuce and tomato sauce

EUROPE

The Bacon Roll: One of the most well- known items on menus in England is this sandwhich of bacon and ketchup on a hard roll.

NORTH AMERICA My Poutine: Served in Canada, these french fries are served in a dish and are topped with cheese curds and gravy.

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR code” to view an exclusive story about Forbes’ annual rankings on the worlds healthiest countries.

SOUTH AMERICA

McMollettes: Served in Mexico, these breakfast foods contain refried beans, pico de gallo and cheese served on an English muffin.

From Peru to the U.S. : Adapting to the change Peruvian Fast Facts

Andrea Marquez Special to The A-Blast

The World’s Healthiest Countries

PACIFIC

The Kiwiburger: Commonly sold in New Zealand, this burger is stacked with egg, lettuce, tomato, cooked beet root, onion, cheese and mustard.

Do you know anything about Peru? The United States is nothing compared to Peru. The Uniteds States has many things that are different that Peru: school, culture and language. Schools are different in Peru. The schools in Peru are smaller than here. Peru doesn’t have too many strict rules in school also and the Goverment. In Peru, you have one classroom for each grade, so you don’t have to walk around the school. I feel very happy to be here because we have more rules, and we have more freedom. In Peru we have many delicious foods. We use many kinds of implements for our foods like vegetables, fruits and many others. I think that our food has more taste because they put more seasoning on foods. Our food is not too greasy because we don’t like too many fried foods. I miss my country’s food because it tastes much better. Peru speaks one of the easiest languages: Spanish. My country speak two languages : Spanish and Quechua. Not many people speak Quechua but is part of my country. I think that is a easy language because when you talk and

Capital: Lima Population: 28.7 million Religion: Majority Roman Catholic Government: Constitutional Republic write the words and look the same. Many countries speak Spanish specially counties in North and South America. There are many differences between Peru and United States. Some special things about my country are the food and the people because they are lovely and friendly. I miss my country because my family and friends are there, but I love being and making new friends.

Languages: Spanish, Aymara and Quechua Major Industries: Cocoa leaves, paper pulp and cement Famous for: Machu Picchu Foods: Guinea pigs are considered a culinary delicacy


Photo

Feb. 7, 2012

What’s it like to be in

What’s your favorite part of Peer Tutoring and what grade are your students in?

SARAH BERGEN

PeerTutoring?

Senior Dylan Van Balen works with his student on a lego figure during free time. Van Balen says he enjoys watching his students improve their skills throughout the year and helping out with all the classroom activities.

13

Peer Tutoring is an elective offered to seniors, allowing them to leave school during either R3 or W6 to go to North Springfield or Braddock Elementary, they are assigned classes in which they lend a helping hand to the teachers with the students.

“I have kindergarten; my favorite part is being able to see kids and knowing I’m making an impact on their lives by helping them learn.”

—Kim Rowland senior “I have fourth graders; I love being able to see them every other day and participate in their special events.”

—Andy Tran senior “I help in the gym. I like getting to go back to my old school and see my old teachers. Also being the mentor I aspired to be when I was there.”

—Ashlyn Nisker senior “I have Special Ed preschool students. My favorite part is watching the kids constantly improve on their learning skills everyday.”

RIGHT: Senior Natalie Ford poses with one of her students during recess. CENTER: Senior Ashlyn Nisker is one of two students that get to help out in the gym instead of classrooms. FAR RIGHT: Senior Hiba Abuelhawa reads a book to her students while they draw pictures of the books events.

“I have kindergarten; my favorite part is getting to help the kids in their everyday activites.”

SARAH BERGEN

SARAH BERGEN

SARAH BERGEN

—Alli Foster senior

Peer Tutoring at a glance

—Delwyn Molina senior

Q: Introduce yourself and what is Peer Tutoring? A: I’m Ms. Vining and I teach English and of course, Peer Tutoring. It’s an opportunity for seniors to basically try out teaching.

“I have kindergarten; my favorite part is being able to interact and get to know the students and playing at recess!”

Q: How are students graded? A: They are evaluated twice a quarter by their mentors at the elementary school. They keep a journal all year, and in the beginning of the year we do research and role play to prepare them. Q: Do students get a say in what grade and school they are assigned? A: They give their top three choices and we try our best to match them as close as possible, and then see what teachers will allow students in their classes.

—Natalie Ford senior “I have first graders; my favorite part is seeing them make so much progress throughout the year, like watching them write full sentences.”

Q: How did Peer Tutoring become a class? A: The program started about 20 years ago. It was modeled after a program TJ had. Q: How long have you been doing Peer Tutoring?

A: I’ve been in charge for two years now.

—Compiled by Sarah Bergen

—Kayla Meadows senior “I have kindergarten; my favorite part is hearing the crazy things the kindergarteners say to me.”

—Adam Huenemann senior “I have second graders; my favorite part is meeting new kids and getting firsthand experience with helping the kids.” STEPHANIE ALLSHOUSE

SARAH BERGEN

Senior Adam Huenemann has storytime with some of his students,to help them improve their reading skills. Huenemann holds a plastic pointer finger to help the students keep up with what is being read.

—Fatima Khan senior

—Compiled by Sarah Bergen and Stephanie Allshouse

Senior Hiba Abuelhawa walks with one of her students during recess. Students arrive when their kids are at recess and then stay with them in their classrooms for another hour.

SARAH BERGEN

SARAH BERGEN

Swim and dive honor seniors during their last meet

Senior Megan Wade helps one of her kindergarten students complete his coloring assignment. He flicks a color-wheel and then colors on his worksheet.

Senior Adam Huenemann attended class on his 18th birthday. His kindergarteners handmade him birthday cards as a surprise. His class also organized a mini party by having extra treats.

On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view exclusive pictures from Swim and Dive’s senior night vs. T.C. Williams.


14

Lifestyles

Homemade Valentine’s gifts

Carli’s Corner

Heartfelt gifts that are easy to make and give on the upcoming holiday Sweetheart Lolliops

Advice Column

By Carli Loeb

-Carli

Five easy Valentine’s Day gifts

5

3 2 1

4x4 inch picture frame CVS Pharmacy - $5

Dear

Make it clear in your poem that its purpose is to display affections for your valentine and not just the friendship you already have.

(insert period of time)

Chocolate rose bouquet CVS Pharmacy - $5

Five pound gummy bear perpetualkid.com - $10

,

• Capitalize the first letter of every line, even if it’s an extension of the same sentence as the line above • Put some form of punctuation at the end of every line (like a comma)

And I can’t (insert color ofget eyes)you out of my mind, Your

• If you reach the end of a stanza, make sure you use a period to signify the transition between stanzas

(insert adjective)

eyes enchant my thoughts,

(insert adjective) (insert activity)

You’re funny,

, and kind.

Put his/her activites into the poem to display your admiration for his/her interests.

(insert adjective)

You’re amazing at

(insert verb)

,

• If you choose to make your poem rhyme, make sure you have an evident rhyme scheme, such as ABAB

So I’m taking this time to say,

Don’t confuse him/her with words or statements your valentine may not understand. This may throw your love interest off and ruin the mood that your poem is meant to create. Keep your feelings clear and concise.

I think you

(insert feelings)

Make sure to maintain a clear rhyme scheme throughout the poem to differentiate your poem from a love note.

,

And you always brighten my day. Love,

Sign your name after you finish your poem so that your valentine knows who it is from. If you choose to keep the poem anonymous, you should try to let your love interest know sooner or later, because otherwise your poem will serve no purpose.

(insert your name here)

What does Valentine’s Day really mean? Students’ responses to the classic holiday are both positive and negative By Rowan Shartel Lifestyles Editor

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Basic poem tips

Add personal information, perferably regarding his/ her looks, as an extra compliment.

(insert valentine)

I’ve liked you ever since

ILLISTRATION BY CARLI LOEB AND GWEN LEVEY

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

4

How to write a poem

-Dating Dumps

Dear Dating Dumps, This is a very tough situation to be in. You want to follow your parents’ rules, but you also need to follow your heart. Try to remain friends with him and explain the situation without hurting his feelings. Make sure he knows you have clear feelings for him, but that it would be too strenuous to have to sneak around in order to date him. That way, his feelings won’t be hurt and you won’t be lying to your parents. After explaining the predicament to your significant other, try to resolve the harsh feelings that your parents have towards him. Invite him over with some of your other friends; this way your parents won’t assume you are defying their rules. When he is at your house, try to get your parents to talk casually with him. The more they know about him and the more he displays his sheer dedication to win your parents’ approval, the more your parents will be willing to accept him. Hopefully, after your parents really get to know him, he’ll grow on them and they will be more welcoming your relationship.

1.) Place lollipop sticks into the slots in the mold and combine sugar and light corn syrup in a medium pot. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. 2.) Once all of the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and continue to cook until it reaches a temperature of 300° on your candy thermometer. 3.) Remove from heat, then stir in food coloring and flavoring. 4.) Pour the hot syrup into the molds and allow to cool thoroughly before removing the lollipops from the molds. Tie ribbons around the sticks to decorate.

Ingredients needed: One cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of corn syrup, six tbsp of water, candy thermometer, red food coloring, cinnamon or cherry flavoring, 8-12 lollipop sticks, heart shaped candy molds, ribbons (optional). Makes 8-12 lollipops

Dear Carli, I really like this boy and he has asked me to go out, but my parents don’t approve and won’t let me date him. I want to go out with him, but I don’t want to disobey my parents. What should I do?

Feb. 7, 2012

It is that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day. No other holiday brings about so many strong feelings, both good and bad. There has long been a conflict of interest between people who love Valentine’s Day and all the red roses, chocolate and love that it imparts, and the people who view the holiday as overdone and commercialized. The fact that stores like Hallmark begin preparing for this holiday months in advance, with a multitude of gift boxes, cards and flower selections, suggests that it has become more about the gifts and less about the sentiments. Student opinion varies, with people on both sides of the spectrum. Some are proponents of the holiday for its

“I think Valentine’s Day is cute because you can hang out with your girlfriend, or try to find one.” --Chris Villenna junior

sentimental value, while others are more against the idea of it due to its focus on gifts and materialism. “I think Valentine’s Day is a moment for couples to have together that is memorable and romantic,” sophomore Abby Gebremichael said. While there is the argument that Valentine’s Day can be too commercialized, some students say that its appeal is gift giving and receiving, especially when it comes to sweet treats. “I like valentine’s candy,” freshman Nelson Bersal said. However, not all people share this view. “I think it’s a waste of time and money,” junior Visoda Heng said. “It is stressful and it is just like every day.” Other reasons for the lack of solid support for the holiday include the confusion can disparity between genders concerning expectations of the holiday. This can be attributed to today’s culture and the gender roles associated with it. Girls are often depicted as expecting gifts or grand gestures. “I want to watch The Vow with my sophomore boyfriend,” freshman Rochelle Kenney said. On the other hand, guys are generally less eager to express their feelings so strongly. “I think Valentine’s Day is pointless,” junior Kurtis “It’s not about what you get, it’s about who you spend it with. ” --Tricia Liller sophomore

Neal said. “If I had a girlfriend I would get her flowers and chocolate.” Part of the reason this occurs is because of the commercialization of the holiday. There is a huge selection of candy and flowers available at numerous stores. Coupled with the mass advertisement of romantic comedies in movie theaters, date-night ideas and gifts, this causes an expectation in some that may be considered exaggerated by others. However, not all students are affected by this. “I would expect a guy not to do anything big, but to take me out somewhere,” junior Michelle Park said. “I am getting flowers for my wonderful girlfriend,” sophomore Ronald Romero said. This is yet another example of conflicting student views and expectations, both of which are positive and refflect the idea that the holiday still does retain value among today’s generations. Regardless of the debate over specifics, the core idea of Valentine’s Day still appears to be present among students. “It’s a time to show each other love,��� Gebremichael said.

“It’s a romantic day because poeple try to find time to show how much they care about others.”

“I’ve either already broken up with a person or not gotten with them yet on that day. ”

--Absara Mesfen junior

--Dale Reichenbaugh junior­

---Compiled by Erika Alwes and Sarthak Batra Perfume or fragrance mist Bath & Body Works - $4

H&M takes inspiration from a film heroine

Sweet treat valentine recipes On your smartphone, scan this code using the application “QR Code” to read other Valentine’s Day recipes.

The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo premiered Dec. 27 and became one of the largest grossing movies of the year. It was adapted

from both the book by Steig Larsson and the Swedish version of the film, which grossed $100 million in its opening week and starred Noomi Rapace, a famous Swedish actress. The newest version stars Rooney Mara, a very interesting looking actress who starred in The Social Network, as Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is a very powerful woman who defends other females with her fighting and hacking skills.

H&M found her to be an inspiration and therefore an icon. They decided to get the movie’s costume designer, Trish Summerville, to design a 30-piece clothing and accessory line based on the tough heroine’s style. The line debuted Dec.14 and featured pieces ranging from $9.95 to $199 in the color scheme of black and grey (tough girl chic). It was so popular that the clothing in some places, such as Los Angeles was sold out within 10 minutes.

I think everyone needs a little dark nostalgia in their lives and I would definitely buy a couple of pieces from this collection, especially a replication of Lisbeth’s black thorn-like earrings from the movie. I am not sure if this line will last very long since there may be lot of controversy, but while you can, you should definitely check it out. Be fierce my fashionistas!


ABlast

the

Feb. 7, 2012

Sports X-tra

Athletes overcome injuries One student even receives a scholarship for his affliction

15

What is the worst sports-related injury you’ve ever had? “I got hit in the knee with a field hockey ball and it was really hard to walk for about a week.”

By Colleen Adenan Sports X-tra Editor

“I was BMX biking and I landed on the front wheel instead of the back, so I fell over the handlebars and cut my chin open.” —Jarod Golub freshman

Junior Paige Britton wore a headband to prevent future concussions at a summer lacrosse camp in Gettysburg.

“I tore ligaments in my shoulder at the first football practice and it is going to affect me until March.” —Jordan Scroggins sophomore

Junior Matt Del Signore was forced to run with a knee brace during cross country season after tearing his ACL.

$500 scholarship for himself and a second $500 for AHS’s athletic training room. “[The injury] definitely makes me more cautious of myself and others while I’m playing sports,” Del Signore said. “I take injuries a lot more seriously now.” Major concussion changes outlook Senior Kim Rowland got her first concussion her sophomore year during a field hockey game against Lake Braddock. The ball was hit by a Lake Braddock player, causing it to pop up from a stick and strike her in the head. “My first concussion was a definite diagnosis,” Rowland said. “I could tell from the moment I got hit that I had suffered a concussion.” Rowland has had two major concussions, and has also experienced concussion-like symptoms that have lasted for a day or two after hitting her head. Her first

Courtesy of Paige Britton

—Lee Hayes freshman

Courtesy of hung troung

The sound of a shattering bone, the pounding headache, the tearing pain in an ankle. These are perhaps some of the scariest things an athlete can experience. What’s worse is the pain that follows. Athletes that have spent the whole season preparing for a huge game may lose all their progress with an injury, and some may spend a whole season on the bench. Driver’s Education teacher Patrick Hughes recalled the worst injury he has ever seen while coaching basketball, when his daughter Kelly separated her kneecap. “In terms of injuries, we’ve actually been quite fortunate,” Hughes said. Hughes recommends staying in shape, getting enough rest and working different muscles by doing a variety of exercises in order to prevent injuries. “Athletes returning from injuries should continue to do exercises and whatever skill needed for their sport possible,” Hughes said. “Sometimes the biggest thing that stops them is what’s in their head about the injury. They get hurt and come back and are hesitant to perform at as intense of a level as before, so sometimes it’s more of a psychological impact.” Torn ACL changes sports forever It was a normal day at soccer practice for junior Matt Del Signore when he went for the ball at the same time as a teammate. “The next thing I knew, I heard my knee pop and I fell to the ground in pain,” Del Signore said. “I wasn’t able to play soccer my sophomore year and I had to run with a knee brace during cross country,” Del Signore said. “My leg is a lot weaker so it gets tired more easily and I can’t swim breaststroke.” Del Signore completed physical therapy with athletic trainer Kathy Ayers before undergoing surgery. After his recovery, he took up physical therapy again. “Before, I couldn’t do any activities involving planting [my feet] or cutting, but now I am back to full health,” Del Signore said. Del Signore says the positive effect of his injury was the scholarship he won. His doctor’s office held a Facebook contest that nominated four patients. Teachers and friends of Del Signore helped him win by promoting the contest through e-mails and Facebook links. By garnering the most votes, Del Signore received a

concussion took her out of athletic activities for nine months, while her second took her out for one. “When I got my concussions, the biggest effect I had was irritability,” Rowland said. “I didn’t act like myself. I got headaches every single day and was sensitive to light and noise.” Rowland does not recommend participating in a lot of physical activity while you have a concussion. “The only thing you can do to recover from a concussion is rest,” Rowland said. “Nothing else.” “I am now very cautious when playing sports and get nervous when things come close to my head,” Rowland said. “It has stopped me from playing soccer completely because it is not good for me to be heading balls. I feel like I can’t be the same type of athlete as I was before my concussions because I have another important thing to worry about and to keep an eye on.”

Concussion headbands decrease risk

As doctors notice the increase in concussions over the years, many have contemplated ways to decrease the risk of concussions among athletes. One possible solution is the creation of the concussion headband. The ForceField FF headband was invented by Dr. C. J. Abraham. The headband was invented with the intention of preventing concussions without taking away from soccer techniques. Although the headbands were made with soccer players in mind, other athletes, such as basketball and lacrosse, wear them as well. Junior Paige Britton got her concussion at the

end of lacrosse season her sophomore year when she was hit in the head by the ball after someone missed a pass. She got another one in the summer when she was hit in the head with a lacrosse stick. “I didn’t want to get another concussion and [the headband] looked like a good solution,” Britton said. “I think it looks fine, and there is no difference in my performance.” The headband reduces the risk of injury, has an airflow system and absorbs sweat. “It is a safe solution to concussions,” Britton said. “Although it can’t stop concussions, it definitely helps prevent them.”

“I pulled my hamstring during time trials at track. I go to the trainers everyday to improve.” —Connie Tran junior

—Compiled by Ngan Pham

Inside the athletic training room:

Senior Becca Sponga stretches out her back while listening to music.

Micaela Filsoof signs with Radford to play soccer

courtesy of micaela filsoof

Sophomore Jordan Scroggins uses resistance bands to strengthen his arms.

Filsoof moves the ball up the field in a district game against Robert E. Lee.

Q. Why did you choose to attend Radford? What is your favorite part about the school? A. I really like the campus and the team. It fits me academically and athletically.

Athletic trainer Christopher Austin talks to senior Richard Maku about exercise.

Q. What was the recruiting process like? A. It was difficult e-mailing coaches and getting them to come to games and knowing whether or not they’d be there. It was also hard to figure out which schools I’m interested in and which schools are interested in me. Q. Did any other schools express an interest in you? If so, what were they and why did you choose not to attend? A. Yes, Winthrop University, Coastal Carolina University and other D2 and D3 schools. I chose not to attend them because I wanted to go to a D1 school. They were also out-ofstate and far away.

Junior Connie Tran ices her hamstring, which she tore during track.

Q. What made you want to play soccer in college? A. I’ve wanted to play ever since I was little, and my parents always talked about me playing in college. Q. How did your parents react to you committing to Radford? A. They were happy, but expected more. Q. What do you hope to achieve while playing in college? A. I hope to get a good experience since many people do not get the chance to play a sport in college.

For the rest of the interview, scan this barcode on your smartphone.

Sophomore Megan Ryan squats on a balance ball to strengthen leg muscles.

—Photos by A.J. McCafferty


Senior Ali Musa pulls a move an opponent from West Springfield in the 220 pound weight class. Musa went on to be the Patriot District Champion.

Senior John McCollom scores points during a match against an opponent from W.T. Woodson HS. McCollom went on to win the 195 pound weight class.

Junior Jack Johnson faces a Lake Braddock wrestler in the 138 pound weight class. Johnson finished second.

Boys win districts with 12 of 13 wrestlers placing for the team and 4 individual district champions As the season winds down, pressure and stress were high for the AHS wrestling team while heading into the Patriot District tournament. The AHS wrestling team competed in the Patriot District Tournament held at AHS on Feb. 3 and 4, and came out on top as the district champions. After two losses to Lake Braddock HS, one at Canner duals in Biglersville, Pennsylvania and the other at the home meet “Pack the Pit,” the team went into the meet knowing that Lake Braddock would be their closest competition, and that they could not lose again. “I think those losses to Lake Braddock really woke us up as a team and we knew what had to be accomplished,” senior Rawand Shamdin said. “Coach Sholders never gave up hope in us winning the district title and he continued to coach us to our fullest potential.” The team overcame their competition during districts, beating out Lake Braddock for the win by 15.5 points. The team exceeded expectations at the meet, with twelve of the thirteen guys placing in the top six in the district, and four being individual district champions. The District Championships were won by senior and returning state champion Dane Harlowe in the 126 pound weight class, senior John McCollom in the 195 pound weight class, senior Ali Musa in the 220 pound weight class, and junior Bryan Jefferson in the 285 pound weight class. Other top finishes include Shamdin placing second at 120, senior Jordan Dickerson placing second at 132, and junior Jack Johnson placing second at 138. “All season we had one goal set in our mind and we worked our butts off

“Bile” continued from Page 1 for the 1000 meter race, won the 4x800 meter race, the 1000 meter race, and the 1600 meter race at the Patriot District Championships, signed a letter of intent to run at Georgetown and won another Gatorade runner of the year award. He’s had a good week, to say the least. As a four time All-American and state champion, Bile is one of the greatest athletes AHS has seen. And his career is not over yet, with Bile looking to be much stronger and faster during his outdoor season this year. “I’ve been doing a lot of strength workouts every day and my body isn’t as beat up as it would be after races,” Bile said. “And Coach O’Hara has taken the workouts to a whole new level that has made me used to racing.” At the first installment of the Patriot District Championships held on Feb. 1 at Episcopal HS, Bile was the anchor for the boys 4x800 meter relay with juniors Austin Chavez and James Terrell and freshman Nathan Hogye. He took the team from fourth place to their district championship finish. The overall time for the team was 8:22, with Bile’s astounding time of 1:53 for a half mile. Bile went on to compete in the 1000 meter race and the 1600 meter race, winning district championships in both with times of 2:34 and 4:24, respectively.

Girls Basketball Districts On your smartphone, scan the code above using the application “QR Code” to view a story about the girls basketball game against T.C. Williams.

all season and the team just came together at the right time and we did it,” Harlowe said. Harlowe looks to repeat his state championship from last year, along with numerous other athletes who competed at the state level last year including Musa and McCollom. The season continues for the team with regionals and states. The Northern Region Championship competition will be held on Feb. 10 and 11 at Hayfield HS. The Virginia State Championship competition will be held the following week on Feb. 17 and 18 at Robinson HS.

Senior Ahmed Bile poses with his coaches, Head Track Coach Sean Miller (left) and Distance Coach Dave O’hara (right), after signing the letter of intent to run at Georgetown.

Last year, Bile was awarded the Gatorade Virginia runner of the year award after his cross country season as the most outstanding runner in the state, not only athletically but academically. This year, Bile received the award again, and will have another banner hanging in the gym in his honor. Bile received 12 gatorade water bottles and gatorade towels for the award as well, which he donated to the school.

So far in his high school career Bile has won 12 district championships, eight Northern Region Championships, four State championships, along with four All-American statuses. Bile’s next race will be at the Northern Region Championship competition held at George Mason University Field House on Feb. 18. The state competition will be held at Hampton, VA on Feb. 24 and 25. Last year, Bile was the Northern Region Champion and the State Champion in the 1000 meter run, and he looks to repeat these feats again this year. Bile announced his decision to run at Georgetown University earlier this year. On Feb. 1, National Signing Day, he signed his letter of intent to run at Georgetown University on a full ride scholarship. Family, teachers and coaches were present at the ceremony at Clausen Hall at 8 a.m. Distance coach Dave O’Hara, who has coached Bile throughout his high school career, said a few words to the small group about Bile’s running ability, academics and character, presenting him with the official letter to sign at the end. After states, his season will continue into the New Balance Indoor Track National event at the New Balance Armory in New York. Bile placed third in the 800 meter run last year, and hopes to beat his time of 1:51.

Indoor track falls short of goals BY SAMIR SHAH Sports Editor

-photos courtesy of Becca Sponga

Senior and returning state champion Dane Harlowe wrestles an opponent from W.T. Woodson HS during the Patriot District Wrestling Tournament. Dane emerged as the District Champion in the 126 pound weight class, scoring 25 points for the team.

Bile continues winning streak

Boys unable to win, both teams send many athletes on to regional competition

Junior Bryan Jefferson faces an opponent in the 285 pound weight class. Jefferson finished as district champion.

COURTESY OF BECCA SPONGA

BY GABY CAMILI AND ERIKA ALWES Photographer and Staff Writer

The boys indoor track team was not able to achieve their goal and pull away with the Patriot District Championship, losing to T.C Williams by 17 points on Feb. 4. The girls team placed seventh overall, with wins and top placement in multiple events. The boys track team has won multiple district championships in the last four years, culminating with their Northern Region Title last year. At the Patriot District tournament held on Wednesday Feb. 1, and Saturday Feb. 4, the team’s goal was to win the trophy once again. T.C. Williams’s strong performance in field events on Wednesday proved difficult to come back from on Saturday, with T.C. leading 64-24 after the first day of districts. T.C. scored numerous points in the pole vault, shot-put and high jump. AHS responded by claiming victories in the boys 4x800 meter relay, and the triple jump. “I thought we had a good chance to come out and win, but it didnt work out,” Head Coach Sean Miller said. “I’m happy with their performance, everyone gave their best effort and that’s all a

coach can ask for.” Although the team did not win the district championship as a team, there were many individual district wins and top placement from the boys and girls teams. The boys 4x800 began the racing events on a high note with freshman Nathan Hogye, juniors James Terrell and Austin Chavez and senior Ahmed Bile. The relay team brought home the win with a time of 8:22.16. The girls 4x800 ran a season best time of 10:24, finishing in 6th place overall. In the triple jump, senior Richard Maku placed second with a length of 41 feet and 4 inches, and Quy To placed third with a length of 40 feet and 5 inches. Other strong performances for the boys include senior Ahmed Bile’s double district championship in the 1000 and the 1600-meter race, with times of 2:34.87 and 4:24.50, respectively. Chavez was also the district champion in the 500 with a time of 1:09.16, and senior Roland Andoh was the district champion in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.57. Senior Walter Manlen placed second with a time of 37.01 in the 300 meter dash and Andoh placed fourth with a time of 37.85. “I just went out there and ran hard to score points for the team,” Bile said. The boys 4x200 were also the meet champions, however they were disqualified along with T.C. Williams HS due to contact during the race. Strong performances from the girls side include the meet champion 4x200 meter relay with a time of 1:50.89, consisting of junior Rowan Shartel,

COURTESY OF ED LULL

Senior Rawand Shamdin faces an opponent in the 120 pound weight class at the district competition. Shamdin went on to place second overall.

Wrestling dominates district

SAMIR SHAH

Patriot District Wrestling Tournament at AHS

Feb. 7, 2012

Senior Walter Manlen and junior Alex Ellison compete in the 300 meter dash at the Patriot District competition. Manlen finished second and Ellison finished fifth overall.

sophomores Leah Bowie and Destiny Anderson and senior Monique Diggs. Outstanding individual events include Shartel, who placed 6th in the 300 meter dash with a time of 44.76, sophomore Margaret Njomo who placed sixth in shotput with a throw of 26 feet and 10 inches and sophomore Katherine Ross who placed sixth in the 55 meter dash with a time of 7.78. Although the team will not be attending as Patriot District Champions, the athletes that placed in the top six will be advancing to the Northern Region competition that will be held on Feb. 18 at George Mason University.

Girls B-ball hopes to win districts Varsity on a winning streak, prepare for upcoming Patriot District tournament BY ERIKA ALWES Staff Writer The girls varsity basketball team has been crushing their competition by winning nine of their past 11 games. The team has been working hard to push through districts and advance to regionals. They all have one thing on their minds, “We want to win districts,” junior Shannon Casey said. But the girls still have goals set for their season. “My goal is to do well enough in districts so we have a easier schedule for regionals,” sophomore Carly Klima said. “Despite a couple kids who became injured and sick, which is kind of a throwback, we just have to get all the pieces working again,” Head Coach

COURTESY OF ANNIE NGUYEN

16

SPORTS

Senior Jackie Bethea takes a free throw shot after she was fouled at the T.C. game held at AHS on Jan. 17.

Patrick Hughes said. The girls have been working hard all season long, focusing on their goals and not letting minor

things hold them back. “We are cutting back at practice, we got away from little things and we are going back to basics in order to prepare for the first round of the district tournament.” Hughes said. Putting the minor setbacks aside, “this is the first time Annandale is [in] third place in a long time, and we have a shot at second in the district,” senior Hailey Brown said. If the team wins on the Feb. 14 home game, which is senior night, against South County SS, they will be in third place. If the team continues with another win against T.C. Williams at their away game on Feb. 10, then that will tie them in second for the district. Districts is not impossible for the girls to excel in. “Finishing in second or third is achievable, we want to go out and win, win, win,” Hughes said. Winning games is not the only thing the girls have been doing, they have also been working hard to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer, raising $1,100 at Pink Night.


SPORTS

Feb. 7, 2012

Boys falter in second half BY CJ AFTERGUT Co-Editor in Chief The scene was all too familiar for members of the boys basketball team as they headed into the locker room at halftime. Down by only three, they had matched Lake Braddock basket for basket, refusing to fall behind in search of their third win in the last four games. This early dominance, however, would not last beyond the first half. Instead the Atoms were outscored 25-9 in the third quarter, digging a hole from which they were unable to escape in the 68-84 loss. “We got off to a strong start, we were knocking down all of our shots. In the second half they just played better basketball than us,” junior Sanar Shamdeen said. “Our team lived and died by the three, and we got in foul trouble due to our poor team defense,” senior Monte McCarthy said. “Overall I’m glad our team never quit even when we were down 22 points and were able to cut the deficit to five.” Although the Atoms got off to a hot start and controlled the game for much of the first half, Lake Braddock dominated play in the third quarter. By shutting down the Atoms’ offensive attack and outscoring them early in the half, the Bruins established a large enough lead to maintain control of the game despite a fourth quarter resurgence. “[Overall we played] inconsistently. We had a lot of good moments and also a lot of bad moments,” Head Coach Robert Terry said. “We had trouble adjusting to the officiating and people in foul trouble. [Lake

Braddock] kind of dictated the tempo of the game.” “We played well against Lake Braddock, it was just turnovers in the end that cost us the game,” senior Amiel Terry said. “In the second half we just had a lot of people in foul trouble and kept getting called for fouls and turning the ball over.” Other members of the team also cited offensive miscues as a reason behind the their low-scoring second half performance, which was marked by both AHS scoring droughts and Bruin dominance in the paint. “We failed to stop them in transition and were not making our shots and executing our offense properly,” McCarthy said. The loss, which puts the team’s record at 3-15, marks the ninth time in 12 district games that the squad has either led or trailed by five or less heading into the second half. Of those games, only three have ended in victory. “I think as a team on the whole we need to believe we can win,” Robert Terry said. “Whether we’re down by one or 15 we have to believe we can come back.” With only two games remaining in the regular season, the first of which will be held at South County tonight, the Atoms have little time to build momentum heading into the district tournament. “We’re all just trying to use these last couple of practices to get our stuff straight,” Shamdeen said. “We need to win [our last two games] so we can have confidence going into the district tournament.” In order to finish its season strong, the team will have to outplay two of the district’s top four contenders, a task unlikely to come with ease. “[We need to] protect the paint with solid ‘help’ defense and remember to make the extra pass on offense,” McCarthy said.

Boys basketball vs. Lake Braddock

Sophomore Michael Tran shoots a layup to add to his 19-point performance.

A.J. MCCAFFERTY

Basketball outscored 25-9 in third quarter, falls to 3-9 in district

17

Junior Sanar Shamdeen dribbles the ball down the court to set up the offense. Shamdeen led the Atoms with 22 points against the Bruins and remains the team’s leading scorer.

Shamdeen reiterated the need to perform well offensively while also establishing a strong offensive performance. “We need to protect the ball, stop them on defense and put the ball in the hole,” Shamdeen said. Robert Terry put the team’s plan more bluntly, citing its need to improve play in the season’s final

Senior David Croghan prepares to shoot a foul shot. The team will hold its Senior Night this Friday against T.C.

two games with the goal of staging an upset in the district tournament. “Our game plan is just going to be to correct all of the flaws and mistakes we’ve had up to this point in the season,” Robert Terry said. “Our goal is to just send someone home early.”

Swim & dive successful at regionals Boys 200 freestyle relay breaks 19 year school record, heads to states with two divers To topple a 19-year-old 200 freestyle relay record, each of the swimmers in the relay must swim the fastest 50 yard races of their lives, which is exactly what happened on Feb. 3 at the regional swim meet. Juniors Matt Del Signore and Daniel Jessen and seniors Willie Labarca and Adam Wattenbarger, broke the 1993 school record of 1:29:78 by a half second in the regional preliminary round with a time of 1:29:28. All four members of the relay had personal best times, with Wattenbarger finishing the relay with the fastest split time of 21.8 seconds. “I felt amazing when we found out that we actually broke the record,” Labarca said. “There was some confusion at the time because we had forgotten what the [previous] record was.” The boys swimming in the relays were coincidentally looking at the record earlier in the day, which is displayed in Jock Lobby, while they were waiting to go the meet. “They [the boys’ team] had a great

RACHEL BERGEN

BY COLLEEN ADENAN AND BETSY KRUSE Sports X-tra and Health Editors

Sophomore James Barker swims fly during the district meet. Although Barker did not qualify for the regionals, the boys squad sent multiple swimmers to the competition.

night a preliminaries and we’re looking forward to states,” assistant swim coach April Brassard said. “The girls had great splits in the medley relay.” In the finals round of regionals, the 200 freestyle relay placed seventh overall in the Northern Region. The girls 200 medley relay was swam by sophomore Tricia Liller and juniors Betsy Kruse, Jenny Jessen and Sarah Bergen. The girls 200 freestyle relay was swam by senior

Emily Krause and juniors Betsy Kruse, Jenny Jessen and Sarah Bergen. The 200 medley relay placed eighteenth in the region and the 200 freestyle relay placed twenty first. “Everyone put in their best effort and we dropped a lot of time. We knew we weren’t going to place well but we did our best and had a lot of fun,” Liller said. The boys’ team sent two swimmers who participated in individual events to regionals. Junior Daniel Jessen

swam the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. Senior Adam Wattenbarger swam the 50yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Wattenbarger moved on to finals and placed sixteenth in the 100 freestyle and fourteenth in the 50 freestyle, while Daniel Jessen placed 28th in the 200 individual medley and 22nd in the 100 back. However, the Boys’ 400 freestyle relay comprised of the same swimmers as the 200 freestyle relay was disqualified due to an early start. “I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I still consider that weekend successful since the 200 free relay made states and broke a record,” Wattenbarger said. The dive team also sent three members to the regional competition, senior Patrick McCann, junior Clark Girardin and sophomore Allie Vogus. McCann placed eighth in the region, Vogus placed twelfth and Girardin placed 22nd. McCann and Vogus qualified for the states competition during districts. “I kind of choked at regions, but luckily my districts score qualified me for states,” Vogus said. Vogus’ placed third in the district with a score of 340.75. States for swim and dive will be held on February 17 and 18 at George Mason University. “I want to do better and to improve. I want to do all my dives correctly and set a state record,” McCann said.

Junior Sanar Shamdeen runs down the court to set up a fast break.

Senior Monte McCarthy inbounds the ball to an open teammate downcourt.

Freshman Austin Hall passes the ball.

Banged up Caps continue to struggle

Sports Column

After sleep walking through the first half of the season, the Caps are now entering the most critical part of the year: the push to make the playoffs. Since they failed to gain a lead in their division, every game and every precious point matters. So far, they have still been very inconsistent and may have a great game followed by an embarrassing defeat. Their struggles through the month of January were not helped when Nicklas Backstrom, the team leader in points, suffered a concussion from an errant elbow.

Known enforcer Rene Bourque of the Calgary Flames threw a blatant elbow to Backstrom’s head after the play. While he did receive a penalty, hefty fine and five game suspension, it does not help Backstrom recover any faster. To make matters worse, the Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin received a three game suspension for an illegal hit. While Ovechkin did not even receive a penalty during the game, the NHL reviewed the play and decided suspend him three games and make him forfeit $150,000. The NHL pointed out that Ovechkin left his feet during the hit and, while not intentional, made contact with Zbynek Michalek’s head. Due to his previous record of illegal hitting, the NHL concluded Ovechkin should serve a three game suspension. I won’t argue that Ovechkin didn’t leave his feet, because he did and that is a charging penalty. My problem is that he did not even receive a penalty during the game. The ref ’s did not call anything, Michalek was not injured, and the play continued. A three game suspension is going a little overboard in my opinion. Don’t expect to see Mike Green in the line-up

anytime soon either. He has been out consistently with a groin injury and has only participated in a measly 10 games this year. He was placed on the long-term injury reserve list and there is no timetable for his return. However, none of these are excuses. Their lack of energy and effort makes it seem as if they almost don’t want to win. They have all the right ingredients for a successful team: young talent, weathered veterans, and even a new coach. This lackluster performance is not going to cut it in the second half of the season. They are barely hanging on for a spot in the playoffs. The recent losses to the Lightning and the Panthers are unacceptable. Both are division rivals and in contention to steal the division title. The division games are the most important and those two losses could be harmful in the future. The defeat by the Bruins on Superbowl Sunday was another embarrassing loss in which the Caps could barely even get on the scoreboard. The 4-1 loss is hardly a representation of how much the Bruins dominated control of the game. Every year the Caps disappoint in the play-offs and this year they may not even make it that far.

-Photos by A.J. McCafferty

Wrestlers compete in Pack the Pit On your smartphone, scan this code using the application “QR Code” to view a video of the annual Pack the Pit wrestling match.


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Upcoming concerts

JAVIER COLON Wed., Feb 8 Baltimore Soundstage

JACK’s MANNEQUIN Fri., Feb. 10 The 9:30 Club

PASSAFIRE Sat., Feb 11 Jammin Java

Entertainment A Blast Are you Down With Webster? the

Feb. 7, 2012

Introducing Down With Webster’s unique sound: We spoke with Pat, Cam and D!ggy who make up one half of Toronto’s rap-rock group. The faceto-face interview took place at Jammin Java on Tuesday Jan. 31 prior to their set. Q: Introduce yourself and your position in the band. Pat: I’m Pat, I sing and I play guitar. Cam: I’m Cam and I rap and bang on things with my fingers. Diggy: I’m Diggy, I’m the DJ. Q: Explain your music to someone who’s never heard it before. Cam: It’s kind of all over the place; it doesn’t really sound like anything else that I’ve heard that’s out there. We’ve tried to say what it is [for] forever, and we always fell short like I can’t really describe what it is. You’d probably just have to come see a show. By genre it’s like, rap doesn’t make sense, rock doesn’t make sense, electronic doesn’t make sense, funk doesn’t make sense, pop doesn’t make sense. Pat: It’s all of that, a little bit. Cam: Yeah, it’s all of those things. Q: If someone were to go to your show, what should they expect? Cam: High energy, very loud and there’s a lot of us, there’s like six guys in the band so there’s a lot of people on stage kind of going nuts. Q: Being from Canada, how is touring in the U.S. different than touring in Canada? Cam: The venues we play here are smaller because again we’ve played a lot more in Canada because that’s where we’re from and where we grew up, and where we grew up playing shows so I think we’re definitely a bigger deal in Canada, but in terms of the fans that do come to our shows down here, there very much the same as Canadian fans. I don’t really notice a huge difference. Everyone is super chill down here. Pat: If anything it’s just like going back in time two years where we were kind of laying in the grass-roots of Canada.

Pat Gillett, Cam Hunter and D!ggy Ferris of Down With Webster.

Q: Tell a secret about yourself or something fans wouldn’t know. Pat: What’s a secret about myself? Cam: You’re a nerd and you like sci-fi. Pat: I like sci-fi, but so do you. Cam: I love sci-fi. Pat: So we’re both nerds and you’re a bigger nerd. Cam: I don’t know, I don’t know what fans wouldn’t know about me, probably a lot. My middle name is McCloud, there are very few people that know that. Diggy: It wouldn’t be a secret anymore if I told you. Cam: Diggy’s passing on that, he has too many. Q: If you could add any one of your songs to a movie soundtrack, what song would it be, what movie and why? Cam: I’d probably put “Professional” in some sort of an action film, like go back in time and put it in Terminator or something. I think I’d be into that. Pat: That’d be awesome. Q: What would be your dream tour to be apart of? Cam: Our own tour. Because then we get to do whatever the hell we want. Q: Do you have any embarrassing or funny stage or tour stories? Cam: There’s a lot of embarrassing moments on stage when you play shows every single night you’re bound to screw up a lot and like there’s been moments when people have fallen onto their backs and they’d been rolling around like a turtle, and you can’t really do anything about it. Diggy: I think we notice the embarrassing mistakes more than other people notice them, so we always have a good laugh.

Pat: Yeah, we don’t really want to fill you in about what the embarrassing mistakes are. Cam: Well that time that Buck fell over people loved it, they thought it was like part of the show. Q: Give us your favorite pick-up line. Cam: I don’t really have pick-up lines to tell you the truth. Diggy: I’m in a band. Cam: I’m not that guy. That’s not how we roll. It sounds like it would be funny, but it’s not, it never works. Pat: No, I don’t have pick up lines. Hey what’s up? That’s probably about as far as I go. Cam: I think that’s just normal talking though, that’s not a pick-up line. Q: Are there any underground musicians from your area that you feel deserve more attention? Cam: There’s a lot of talented people in Toronto, almost too many to name. I’m trying to think, like from our area directly there’s a rap group called Notes To Self which is actually doing some cool stuff so go check them out. I’m trying to think like from our actual neighborhood, not just Toronto. I think that’s probably about it. Pat: I don’t know, we’ve kind of been traveling around a lot so we don’t really know a lot of people from our own neighborhood anymore because they’ve all grown up and moved out of the neighborhood. Q: Any last words? Cam: Go to facebook.com/downwithwebster we’re on there all the time, same with our Twitter. New album, iTunes, right now, Time To Win Volumn II. See you at a show.

Scan the code to the right with your smart phone to view an exclusive video interview with Down With Webster.

Living in a virtual reality

THE CAB Sun., Feb. 12 Baltimore Soundstage

HUNTER HAYES Wed., Feb. 15 The Recher

EVERY AVENUE Thurs., Feb. 17 EMPIRE Nightclub

ATTACK ATTACK! Fri., Feb. 24 The 9:30 Club

BLAKE SHELTON Sat., Feb. 25 GMU Patriot Center

Video games are highly addictive

In a society dominated by technology, 62% of AHS students play video games almost daily By Jared Lefbom and Richie Fruchterman Staff Writers

The world we live in is completely consumed by the technology that we all own. Parents of young children and teenagers continue to discourage their kids from playing games because they claim that it’s harmful to their study and homework time. Even though children and students continue to constantly use technology on a daily basis, they don’t feel it’s affecting them in a harmful way. Sophomore Hayat Yusuf even argues that video games are beneficial because, “it makes my hand-eye coordination better.” We use technology to keep up with their friends, find out what’s going on via social network sites and and most commonly, for entertainment purposes. But could technology actually be addictive? Scientifically, playing video games is actually similar to using recreational drugs like cocaine and nicotine. Why? Because video games trigger a positive chemical in the brain called dopamine, which allows the brain to become somewhat addicted. This chemical gives the body a postive sensation, or high, that the human body can eventually learn to crave. Dopamine is released as a reward by your brain for accomplishing a task, which could include things such as completing a mission, beating a level or advancing a level in a video game. Video games have been scientifically shown to increase dopamine levels. According to a study conducted at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, dopamine levels are increased by 100 percent, thus doubling dopamine levels. Junior Luke Lundy doesn’t think that video games are addicitve. “I only play when I’m with friends so I could stop if I wanted to,” Lundy said. However, some disagree. “Yes, because it’s a virtual reality,” sophomore Noah Wolfenstein said. With new technology and gaming systems available to people of all ages, the country is quickly starting to play more video games. According to the NPD Group (National Purchase Diary) about 63 percent of Americans play video games. Not only do a large percentage ofAmericans play video games, but more importantly The A-Blast conducted a survey during all lunches on Feb. 2 in the AHS cafeteria and found that 62 percent of students claim to play video games on somewhat of a daily basis. Of the 62 percent that play video games on a daily basis, about 70 percent are male gamers, leaving the remaining 30 percent to be female gamers. This makes sense because males generally have more activity in the mesocorticombic region of the brain.

—This survey was conducted during all lunches on Thursday Feb. 3. Out

of 200 surveys, 189 were returned, and counted.

The mesocorticombic part of the brain influences reward and addiction. It was calculated that 84 percent of students that claimed to play video games on a daily basis actually started playing video games before the age of ten. Almost every student atAHS owns some sort of gaming system, whether its an XBox 360, a GameCube, Wii, handheld Gameboy, Nintendo, PS2, PS3, a computer or other electronic device. Using these gaming systems on a daily basis, including things non gaming related, can make it difficult to quit using electronics. Of those surveyed, only three percent of students did not own a single video game system. This shows that gaming systems are readily avaible and could potentially cause addiction. Not only do these games cause addiction, they are also historically proven to produce carpal tunnel, serious migranes and sleep disturbances. When asked to choose a category of gaming preference, most students chose first person shooter games such as Call Of Duty, Modern Warfare, Halflife, Halo or DOOM which was followed by the close second of Wii sports games. “I prefer playing online games because I like to interact with my friends,” freshman Kaitlyn Cook said. “[I like] playing online better because it’s more fun to play with other people,” Abu Kamara said. So before you sit down to play a video game for hours, think of the consequences. Have you become addicted to video games?

On this day in entertainment history

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February 7th

1940 —Disney premieres its second full-length film Pinocchio 1964 —The Beatles arrive in NYC to begin their 1st U.S. tour 1985 —Sports Illustrated’s largest 218 page swimsuit addition released 1985 —”New York, New York” became the official anthem of NYC 1987 —Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” goes #1 1994 —21st American Music Awards take place 1995 —Tupac Shakur sentenced to jail for sexual abuse

Celebri-

Get inside your favorite celebrities’ heads

BAYSIDE Sat., Feb. 25 The Black Cat

Scan the code above on your smartphone to view a slideshow of pictures from Saturday’s show at the 9:30 Club.

“Just bowled what might’ve been the lowest score in the history of the game. #52isntthatbadisit?”

“Today is the day to appreciate the past and create your future. Live your truth and make all of your dreams come true.”

—Hayley Williams

—Tyler Blackburn

“I miss my fans ... I wish I was having one giant meet and greet today so I could hug each and every one of you.” —Demi Lovato

“I’m very personable ... that’s sometimes the best thing about me, but sometimes its my downfall.” —Mac Miller

“Why hate on something that clearly makes someone happy?” —Lucy Hale

WEBSUDOKU.COM

Augustana Concert Review


A Blast

the

Feb. 7, 2012

Entertainment

Must-read books

After your required reading is done, read these books for fun DECODED

MY BOOKY WOOK

by Jay-Z As if being a rapper and producer wasn’t a large enough creative outlet, Jay-Z released a brutally honest and passionate memoir. It starts with a detailed account of his struggles growing up on the streets of Trenton, New Jersey all the way to his wife’s miscarriage. This memoir will have you on an emotional roller coaster as you jump over obstacles on his road to triumph.

PALO ALTO

by Lauren Oliver Move over Hunger Games, Delirium is here. Living in a world where the government controls your every thought and move, Lena Haloway awaits her eighteenth birthday when she will be cured of “deliria,” or love, which is a forbidden feeling. In a world with no basic rights, Oliver’s eloquent writing and unique characters will keep you up all night.

Top 4 bookstore alternatives Named after the largest river in the world, Amazon is one of the world’s largest online retailers. With a very wide assortment of books and an even wider assortment of prices ranging from $.01 and up, you can buy used or new books and e-Books are also available for download on their exclusive eReader, the Amazon Kindle.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, this website helps people trade personal media. All you have to do is create a virtual library of all the media you own and an algorithm will match you with other users and media for trade. You don’t have to do anything but choose a book and initiate a trade by offering one of your own books.

INSATIABLE by Meg Cabot Watch out Stephanie Meyers, Meg Cabot is reviving the played out vampire theme with a more realistic twist. With a more solid and classic background on vampires, Cabot incorporates the classic myth of Dracula, blending it with a romance gone wrong theme. The first in an upcoming series, Cabot is sure to make an impact and hopefully put an end to the Twilight frenzy.

A subsidiary of eBay, this website offers books at very low fixed prices, in any condition. Half.com not only has books but textbooks, music, movies, video games, and video game consoles. Unlike eBay and Amazon, there are no fees to list your items for sale but commission is taken from completed sales.

Founded in 1997 by Martin Manley Alibris is an online store devoted to selling new, used, out-ofprint books, eBooks, and textbooks published most recently. With the help of the growing technology industry, Alibris became a huge success. Also if you create an account you can put your own books on sale.

Man on a Ledge falls short

FOX does it again

Pablo F. Fenjves disappoints with a confusing plot

Winning streak continues with another successful show

By Helina Daniel Entertainment Editor Man On a Ledge is a giant disappointment from the title that explains it all to the ending that lacks an explanation. Ex-cop-turned-fugitive Nick Cassidy, portrayed by Avatar’s Sam Worthington has reached his breaking point. Discovering him on the ledge of a skyscraper, first responders and shocked onlookers see a man who intends to end his life, but not everything is as it seems. Cassidy (Worthington) has an ulterior motive that threatens the reputations of many. Determined to figure him out and rebuild her damaged reputation, NYPD’s lead negotiator, Lydia Mercer played by Our Idiot Brother’s Elizabeth Banks embarks on a confusing investigation into an old robbery involving a wealthy businessman.. As Mercer delves deeper into Cassidy’s former life as a prominent NYPD officer, she finds that he may have been convicted of a robbery he didn’t commit. The trail eventually leads to a cruel and ruthless Movie Review: businessman, David Man on a Ledge Englander, played by Ed Harris. Problems with the plot arise as connections between its main characters

C

Worthington did his own stunts in the film.

remain unclear in the middle of the film. The plot continues to unravel, and if it weren’t for directorAsger Leth’s intense action scenes and impressive stunts, interest would have significantly waned since writer Pablo F. Fenjves fails to keep viewers interested and engaged with a less-than-suspenseful plot. While the actors were among the best, the roles they played didn’t suit them at all. Edward Burns of Echelon Conspiracy and Entourage, typically a good guy, had the strange role of a cop who blatantly ignores the crimes being committed around him. Furthermore, Jamie Bell of The Eagle and Genesis Rodriguez also of Entourage play a couple who might be less convincing and more awkward than Edward and Bella from the Twilight Saga. This film is hardly worth the time or money to warrant a trip to the theaters. It receives a solid C, and if you’re still interested, wait for it to be released on Netflix or Redbox this summer.

What book are you reading right now? “I’m reading Night. It is so unfortunate but interesting.”

DELIRIUM

by Russell Brand With his acting and comedy career on the fast track since 2006, Brand releases a witty, hilarious and sometimes, vulgar memoir. Turning his pain into comedy, Brand expresses his struggles with fame and fortune while reminiscing on his life. Although the challenges he went through were serious, his comedic twist on life makes the memoir meaningful.

by James Franco A talent for acting doesn’t equal talent in writing, but James Franco proves you can do it all with a compilation of short stories based on teenage life. Although all the stories within the book are works of fiction, young readers cannot help but relate as they encounter similar problems. From tragic accidents to boring summers, each story possess a unique and lasting theme.

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9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. As the story unfolds, the plot is thickened with a mathematical mystery. The young boy named Jake, played by the adorable David Mazouz, has a special ability allowing him to utilize science, mathematics and natural patterns in history to connect unrelated people and events from around the world to each By Marissa Uriarte other. Dr. Dewitt, played by Danny Glover, is an expert on decoding the signs Staff Writer of the connections in the universe. Tim Kring, the creator of several Jake begins to reveal just how hit shows, such as Heroes and Crossing interconnected we all are, with each Jordan, has done it again. FOX Network’s conscious thought or action affecting new show, Touch, will grasp its audience one another directly but discreetly. with the very first episode. Its preview is Ironically, his desire not to speak with already the second highestrated drama anyone around him is another way of opening FOX’s mid season. communicating because, as Dr. Dewitt The series follows a man named explains, language is just an outdated Martin Bohm as played by Kiefer evolutionary setback. Sutherland of FOX’s 24. Bohm is a Touch has already successfully struggling single father trying to take contributed to FOX’s increasingly popular care of his disconnected and mute 11 shows like New Girl, Alcatraz and the year old son after his wife’s death in the returning of American Idol. Recently, FOX has been dominating television networks with one hit series after another. Work from Glover, Sutherland and Mazouz only adds to the ongoing popularity. Kring receives a well deserved A for its unique story line and an exquisite cast. Touch will begin airing on Mar. 19 at 9 p.m., but you can catch the pilot episode Mazouz has the privilege of working with veteran actor online on Hulu or FOX.com. Sutherland in his first leading role.

­— Kayla Elahi sophomore

“The Hunger Games; it seems interesting and I want to see the movie”

­—Arelee Gonzalez junior “I’m reading Catcher In the Rye. It’s about a classic coming-of-age tale, and I felt I should read it.”

­ Olivia — Buckley junior “I’m reading Run Baby Run; it’s a good book, and is also an English assignment”

­—Andre Connor senior -Compiled by Allison Illagan

Upcoming movies

The Vow: Put in a coma after a car accident, Paige wakes up with a five-year gap in her memory. With no recollection of her husband Leo, Paige’s story will have you tearing up as they couple struggles to find love again. Feb. 10

This Means War: When two CIA agents realize that they are dating the same girl, they wage war on each other, fighting over her heart while she is none the wiser. Feb. 14

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Based on the Marvel character Ghost Rider, stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze is back. This time, he’s after the devil, Blackout, who is trying to take on a human form. Feb. 17

Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds: With his whole life planned before he was even born, businessman Wesley Deeds becomes unhappy with the same old routine. After meeting an eccentric and struggling young mother, Deeds rethinks his past, present and future. Feb. 24

Alcatraz review

On your smartphone; scan the above code to read a review on FOX’s new midseason show Alcatraz.


Learn from these disaster dates “One time I went to dinner with a girl and her mom was at the same restaurant. It was really awkward.”

—Jordan Scroggins sophomore

Feb. 7, 2012

Perfect place for every date

Night in or night out, spend some quality time with that special person COUPLE’S DATE

There is no more classic or cute way to go on a date than simply going out to dinner and then catching a movie with your significant other. Georgetown has several different places to eat, such as Johnny Rockets and Moby Dicks, which are sure to fill you up. Georgetown also recently opened Serendipity 3, a restaurant mimicking the one featured in the movie Serendipity. But, be sure to hold off on ordering dessert at the restaurant, because if you walk just a little farther down towards the Potomac River, there is a movie theater. There, you can both grab a few sweet or buttery snacks and relax for the rest of the date. Serendipity 3: 3150 M St NW, Washington D.C., DC 20007

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY REBECCA MALZAHN

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Weekend

Seniors Sarah Knenlein, Diego Cornejo, Daniel Huynh and Lolita Jojic go on a double date, using their weekend to relax with friends during an exciting bowling competition.

“We got kicked out of an R-rated movie because we didn’t have any IDs.”

DOUBLE DATE

Double dates can go one of two ways: they can be entertaining and fun for all or they can be awkward and boring. In order to avoid dull silences, you and your significant other should go out with a couple that both of you are close friends with also. If you’re feeling competitive, you can split up into teams as couples for a night of bowling or board games. Just remember to relax, as double dates are meant to be fun and carefree and allow you to connect with other couples. AMF Annandale Lanes: 4245 Markham St. Annandale, VA 22003

—Hayat Yusuf sophomore

“When we were on a coffee date, I spilled my coffee on him.”

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY REBECCA MALZAHN

—Marwa Eltahir junior

“I went on a date with some girl and Tysons security tried to arrest me so I had to run.”

—William An senior

Above: Seniors Alec Villafana and Natalie Ford have been together Seniors Alec Villafana and Natalie Ford have been together since freshman year and still find time to make their dates special.

CAR

OLA

ROJ

AS

“As my date and I were entering the mall, there was an automatic door that had a sign saying it was broken and I walked right into it.”

Seniors Quy To and Taylor Swann study diligently for a test while sipping on some hot tea.

—Nisreen Al-Suqi senior

Graduation countdown: 129 days

Donate your change to the Penny Wars throughout February; winning class receives a prize

R

estaurant eviews

Order your favorite pizza and heat up some popcorn; it’s time for a guys night in. Whether you prefer football, hockey or basketball, there is always a game on TV for your group of guys. Call your best guy friends and pick a house to meet up at - preferably one with a large, flat screen TV and home theater speakers. You can represent your team by throwing on a jersey or going all out with team gear. You can be as loud as you want with your friends, yelling and cheering on the same team or rival teams. After the game, head outside and start a backyard bonfire to calm down and warm up. A guys night in is a cheap way to relax and have a good time with your guy friends who enjoy the same things you do.

Pupuseria Doña Azucena CAROLA ROJAS

Order your class merchandise from Annette Janwatin

GUY’S NIGHT IN

MARISSA URIARTE

2012 class bulletin

GIRL’S NIGHT OUT

Alluring dress, glittery jewels and high heels make up the perfect outfit for a night out with your best girl friends. All you need to do is get together with your group of girls and make a dinner reservation. Set a date in advance to make sure everyone is free. You should also establish a dress code beforehand so that you all know how classy or casual to dress. Then choose a restaurant to meet up at, like one of the Great American Restaurants (including Silverado, Coastal Flats, Sweetwater Tavern and more). Between school and sports, finding time to hang out and catch up with your girls can be difficult. A girls night out allows you to take a break from your hectic life and do just that.

CAROLA ROJAS

––Compiled by Priya Adhikary and Rebecca Malzahn

Your bed is begging for you to crawl back in it and a new episode of your favorite show is about to air; there always seems to be something distracting you from getting any work done. Getting out of the house can eliminate distractions and even motivate you to be productive. Call up the student in your class that you have been crushing on and ask to meet up to study for an upcoming test or work on a tedious project. Pick a place that is close for the both of you, offers free Wi-Fi, and has enough space to handle all of your schoolwork while also leaving enough privacy for your date. Panera: 5578 Vincent Gate Terrace Alexandria, VA 22312

On your smartphone, scan this code using the application “QR code” to view an exclusive story about different skiing and snowboarding places to go to before winter’s over.

REBECCA MALZAHN

End the snow drought

For how diverse Annandale is claimed to be, options for Hispanic dining are very limited. Other than Chicken Pollo, a local Peruvian restaurant, there aren’t many other restaurants that allow you to taste and see different Hispanic cultures in the area. So why not make an extra ten minute drive to Doña Azucena in Springfield to give your taste buds a new experience? This restaurant doesn’t have many branches in the area, making their Salvadoran meals, like their location, extra unique. Upon stepping in you can hear different types of Hispanic music playing, from bachata to salsa and merengue. The waiters primarily speak Spanish, but they also speak English and are very kind. If you end up sitting close to where the food is prepared you can see your entire meal being fixed, in the kitchen. Besides the average soda and coffee that most restaurants offer, Doña Azucena has four different types of Hispanic drinks, including horchata, tamarindo, maranon and melon con piña. The horchata, made from mainly from almond nuts and sesame seeds, is one of the most well known drinks in El Salvador and definitely one of the best overall. While their menu may not be packed with a large selection of entrées, everything is

REBECCA MALZAHN

By Rebecca Malzahn and Carola Rojas Weekend Editors

TOP: A plate of carne de res asada containing steak, yellow rice, a salad and two tortillas. MIDDLE: The cheese pupusas are served with tomato sauce and curtido salad. ABOVE: A plate of yuca frita con chicharon, composed of chopped pork and fried cassava with vegtables and lime on the side.

quite filling. If you are a steak lover, then the carne de res asada is certainly for you. The plate contains a big, well-spiced piece of steak, traditional yellow rice and a choice of either salad or beans as a side along with two tortillas for $9. The second entrée on the menu is yuca frita o salcochada con chicharon, or in other words, fried or boiled cassava with pork chops, for $5. The pork is a bit overly chewy, but the crisp fried cassava is very good. Even if you are not in the mood for something too big, there is pan con pollo. This is basically a Hispanic version of a chicken sandwich. Lastly, the sopa de mondongo or tripe soup, is only served on weekends What this restaurant is most known for is their mouth-drenching pupusas, which are served four different ways. There are pupusas made of only cheese, cheese with Salvadoran plants, cheese with beans and cheese with green squash/zucchini. These cost only $1.50 per pupusa. If you are not already full from just your entrée and have a sweet tooth, try a delicious pastry which include quesadillas (cheesecake), budin (bread pudding) and empanadas de platano con leche (plantain turnovers filled with milk-pudding). It is the perfect way to end a great meal that will fill you up, enrich your cultural taste buds and, overall, make you happy.

Grade

B+

6961 Hechinger Drive Springfield, VA 22151


Issue8