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the VOLUME #59 ISSUE 7

Hottest Headlines

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003 470

Informiing the Atoms siince 1954 4

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12, 2014

(703) 642-4229

Heritage Night returns The AHS Cultural showcase makes a return to the stage

NEWS introduces students to newest faculty members See page 4

BY JAROD GOLUB AND OMNIA SAED News Editor and Co-Editor in Chief


profiles relationships. See page 8.



examines race and tolerance in commemoration of Black History Month. See page 10-11

PHOTO gives you an inside glimpse to students, teachers and their cars. See page 13.

The South Asian Student Association has been practicing in the hopes of debuting its dance team during Heritage Night

After a one-year hiatus, Heritage Night, a longstanding AHS tradition is returning to the stage. The event will be held on April 3. Head Librarian Janet Pfeiffer and Business teacher Monica Bentley have taken over the planning and execution of the event this year. “Mrs. Pfeiffer is going to be the head committee chair,” Bentley said. “So that’s a big help to me, since she’s been doing it for more years than I have.” This year, Pfeiffer and Bentley are working to create a night dedicated to representing all of the cultures that are present at AHS once again. This year, the two co-coordinators are working to keep things similar to previous years, with limited changes. “It was an event dedicated to representing all of the cultures present at AHS, with dancing and singing,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re looking to continue that to a certain degree.” Heritage Night was started in the early 2000’s as an attempt to display students’ culture and heritage in an entertaining way. During the night, students perform dances songs or other traditional acts from their cultures. In the past, Heritage Night has been the most “Heritage Night” continued on page 5

Race panel promotes dialogue Snowy season

leads to delays

Students to bring race discussion to AHS

SPORT X-TRA puts a spotlight on senior athletes See page 15.


BY DESTINY GAMMON Co-Editor in Chief

Wed. Feb. 12

— 2:00 p.m. - Class of 2014 Bake Sale (Cafeteria Lobby) — 2:15 p.m. - Varsity Math Meet (Clausen Hall) — 2:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Club & Organization Yearbook Photos (Cafeteria) — 5:00 p.m. - Gymnastics Region 6A North Tournament (Lake Braddock) — 7:00 P.M. - Band Boosters Meeting (Band Room)

“We decided to go with a racial discussion as the focus for our panel because we thought that it was such a widespread topic that affects teenagers on a daily basis,” senior Tahani Yosuf and member of #RealTalk said. “Take a look on Twitter and you can see subliminal racial divisions. And over the summer when the Trayvon Martin case took the “Race Panel” continued on page 5

— Electives Fair (Extended W4) — Senior Class Meeting (W4) (Cafeteria) Track Championship (PG Sport & Learning Center)

#RealTalk previously hosted a panel with Imam Makhoom Zia, Rev. Clarence Brown (above) and Rabbi David Kalender

“Snow delays” continued on page 5

AFCU raffles Valentine’s Day lunch for two Apple Federal Credit Union hosts bistro-created meal for students starting accounts BY JAROD GOLUB News Editor The Apple Federal Credit Union is holding a Valentine’s Day lunch for two as their monthly promotion for the AHS branch of the bank. The winners will be served a lunch in the Bistro made my Chef G and her culinary students. The Atom Branch provides students with an opportunity to not only keep their money safe, but also for some students to gain the real world experience of running a bank or credit union. “It’s a student run branch of the credit union, the advanced accounting students run it,” Business teacher Monica Bentley said. “It’s for teachers, students, staff, anyone who works in the building can come and use it.” “It’s fun working there, but it can also be


WEEKEND recreates famous movie date scenes around D.C. See page 20.

AHS will host a student-led race panel to commemorate Black History Month and examine the ideals behind race in the 21st century on Wed. Feb. 19. The program which is being hosted in partnership with the Black Cultural Awareness Association (BCAA) is being spearheaded by #RealTalk – a venture started by AHS students through the nonprofit organization LearnServe. “I created #RealTalk two years ago as a means to get teenagers talking,”senior and Founder of #RealTalk Omnia Saed said. “The venture in itself is a really simple idea. We aim to bring panels, whether they may be student led or from outside sources to local high schools across the area to get students talking about issues prevalent in their societies today.” Last year, the group hosted a Religion Panel in partnership with the Muslim Student Association, which was a resounding success.

As the first snow flakes fall to the ground and students awake to their alarm clocks, it has become an engrained ritual to check for delays or closings. The ritual is now being carried out once again as reports heed warning for the largest snowfall of the year. The area is expected to be hit with a Nor’easter, which reports now state may bring up to 5-8 inches of snow. Shaping up to be what is believed to be a major storm, snow is predicted to begin falling Wednesday night before midnight in the southern suburbs of the metropolitan area, with the front moving to the north by Thursday morning. The weather has caused a number of problems for teachers. “For IB 11, past snow days had a huge impact on presentations that were scheduled for the end of 2nd quarter,” English teacher Julia Hanneman said. “Luckily, my kids were super cooperative and finished on time by presenting during Atom Time and after school.

The Apple Federal Credit Union is hosting a Valentine’s Day raffle that would give two winners a lunch hosted by the Bistro.

frustrating, trying to convince someone that doesn’t want to sign up,” senior teller Doreen Tetteh said. The Atom Branch operates similarly to a bank. Members have the ability to open accounts, make deposits and take out money. “Credit unions are for select groups of people,

and Apple is really school focused,” Bentley said. “It’s so convenient for the students to use.” While the Atom Branch is a branch of Apple Federal Credit Union, it is completely run and operated by AHS students. “Valentine raffle” continued on page 5

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What do you think the future generations will condemn us for?


“When I was younger.....” Five things the future generation will condemn us for BY SHAMAIM SYED Editorials Editor

“The next generation will think technology has taken over our lives.” — Hassa Koroma sophomore

“The future generations will judge us on our technology usage.” — Madeline Coelho sophomore

“They will condemn us for our lazy attitudes.” — Justice Kerfoot junior

“They will condemn us for our lack of peace with other countries and our pollution problem.” — Aristides Rodriguez senior

Feb. 12, 2014

1. The environment As third world countries start to develop and populations start to increase, the amount of energy and amenities needed will increase – this only means environmental issues will also increase. Our current environmental problems have always been an issue, but in the near future, these issues will only worsen and heavily impact the world. According to MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change’s 2012 Energy and Climate Outlook energy usage could possibly double by the year 2050. China would go from having about 50 million cars and trucks to nearly 300 million. Both the elderly and the younger generation are at fault with their rude and wasteful attitude towards most of our planets natural resources. The main problem with ourselves is that everyone knows what they are doing and how they are affecting the world, but we lack some sort of motivation to fix that. The future generation will lack the easiness of living free and instead they will inherit a wasteful Earth. 2. The National Debt Undoubtedly the national debt is a worldwide crisis and has been affecting everyone, not only in the U.S., but around the world. According to the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) the national debt increased from $3.23 trillion in 1990 to $5.67 trillion in 2000. But the debt didn’t just stop there, it kept increasing and increasing and now it lays at $17 trillion and still counting. In order for the debt to be paid off all government spending would have to stop completely, which includes welfare and other government subsidies and taxes will also raise at least 10%. The future generations will be forced to pay off all the debt. In perspective it would take 31,710 years to pay back $1 trillion, at a rate of $1 per second, but

5 facts about our national debt: 1. U.S. doesn’t owe all of its debt to China; only $1.28 trillion 2. U.S. owes japan more than $1.1 trillion 3. The U.S. Treasury owes 28.4 percent of the debt 4. The U.S. has raised the debt limit 78 times since 1960 5. The U.S. has been in debt every year except 1835 –INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM AARP.ORG AND LATIMES

multiply that by 17 and that’s how long it would take our debt to be fully paid off. In the future the government would be forced to shut down most of the welfare programs, affecting every single person. 3. College Tuition Paying for college is something that nobody looks forward to – whether their parents have been saving up since their birth or they have just started saving up for it. Some colleges range up to a total of $64,000 annually and a number of students take nearly 25 years to pay back their loans, especially if you aren’t making a suitable amount from your job. After getting out of college, most students are drowned in debt and then spend their whole life trying to pay off all the accumulated debt. College tuition has become so expensive in the last couple of years that most students have skipped out on getting their degree. According to OECD, almost half of American students – 46 percent – finish college.Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. had the highest percentage of college graduates in the world, but we are now slipping out of ninth place. There needs to be a way that students aren’t wasting their life paying back their debts or aren’t being forced to choose between getting an education and living easily. 4. Educational system Focusing in on our public school educational

system, The U.S. lacks being “intelligent.” In five out of eight criteria measured by the OECD, which includes math, science and reading scales, Americans were determined average. The U.S. was below average in math and they test worse than students in 30 other countries. According to the NAEP Nations Report Card, Nearly three out of four eighth and 12th grade students can’t write proficiently and two out of three eighth-graders can’t read proficiently. According to the World Economic Forum the U.S. is ranked a shocking 51st in the world in science and math education. If we want to be the number one country in the world, shouldn’t we be number one in our education also? We obviously need to fix something in our education system, so we can actually make a difference. 5. Our treatment towards the elderly They may be the wiser generation, but nearly two million of America’s elderly are living in nursing homes. Though many elderly Americans live independently, they are mostly left isolated and away from their families. We have yet to realize the true value of the older generation. Keeping our aging parents has become a hard challenge for most people and that is something that we should not lose because unlike other cultures we don’t value them enough. Lets not forget they survived their whole life by looking up answers through books and not Google.

Photoshopping banned for Aerie The lingerie brand Aerie launches a campaign by using digitally untouched models BY BAYLEY BRILL News Editor

“I think they will condemn us for our health habits, like our exorbitant amount of sugar intake.” — Christina Nguyen senior

“The next generations will condemn us for our waste. This goes for natural resources, knowledge, wisdom and more.” — Coach Behne Business teacher –COMPILED BY NUHAMI MANDEFRO


As you flip through magazines, you are always given pictures of beautiful, stick-thin models. Recently Elle Magazine was criticized for cutting Mindy Kaling’s full body shot to a head shot because of her size. This is nothing new. Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Katy Perry have been photoshopped on magazine covers despite their thin figure and outcry from the public. But this standard is slowly diminishing. In 2012, Seventeen Magazine promised to no longer photoshop their models after an eighth grader’s campaign against photoshopping magazine covers. And now, Aerie, the lingerie sister brand of American Eagle, has announced they will no longer be photoshopping their models. In addition to this, they will now show models in all bra sizes, so girls of all shapes and sizes can see how the bras will fit on their body type. I love and hate this. I love this because it shows us that girls don’t have to be photoshopped to be beautiful. One of the Aerie models even has a tattoo that was never seen before because it has always been photoshopped out. Why do magazines feel the need to hide art on the skin? Probably because anything besides perfectly clear, tan skin doesn’t exist and they know girls can’t relate to that, right? The Real campaign allows girls to realize that yes, even paid models have a little belly flab. They aren’t as perfect as photoshop makes them seem like. It’s how it should be. Prepubescent and

With its new campaign Aerie has now stopped airbrushing their models, which includes tattoos, birthmarks, lines and dimples.

teenage girls shouldn’t be subjected to almost unhealthy slim girls, when in reality, those girls aren’t even that size. They should be shown that yes, even if you’re skinny, it’s okay to not have a flat stomach. It’s natural. It’s how our bodies were created. Imagine a girl who is a size 8. To her, she feels huge because she isn’t stick thin like the girls in magazines she always sees, but in reality she isn’t large at all. The average U.S. women wears a size 14 in jeans. That is 3 sizes bigger than a size eight, but to most girls, anything over a size 4 is considered large. I hate this because it has to be a huge statement for a company to make. Since when was it a big deal to say “Hey look at me – I’m a real person!” Companies so heavily photoshop their models it is now not even a question as to if they do – it’s a question as to how much. Companies shouldn’t have to make a large scale

The A-Blast wants to hear your opinion. Your response to the following question might be features in our quote collection:

What is your opinion on Aerie not photoshopping their models anymore? E-mail your responses to

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to read “A myth about AHS”

Staff Editors in Chief: Omnia Saed Destiny Gammon Managing Editor: Joe Sehrer Editorials Editors: Shamaim Syed Christine Tamir Copy Editors: Mark Slough Bailey Oliver News Editors: Bayley Brill Jarod Golub In-Depth Editors: Andrew Peters Destiny Gammon Sports Editors: Melanie Bennett Conrad Shartel Sports Xtra Editors: Erin Johnson People Editors: Chloe Loving Kiara Patino Weekend Editors: Gaby Camilli Priya Adhikary

International Editors: Nuhami Mandefro Entertainment Editors: Ayah Oweis Megan Ryan Lifestyles Editors: Diana Quezada Phuong Nguyen Health Editors: Berta Tarqui Photography Editors: Alex Zernik Cayley Byrne Ad Manager: Chelsea Alfonso Circulation Manager: Biruk Negash Art Editors: Melissa Stamp James Barker Academics Editors: Aniqa Rashid Linus Bumbaca Web Editor/Master: Jared Lefbom Head Photographer: Olivia Lafferty Head Videographer: Nadia Elgendy

Staff Writers: Nancy Evora Andrew Nunez Ashna Viswanathan Benny Le Soulisa Pathammavong Efstathia Carayiannis Mery Bernene Luka Fernandez Sabrina Hawa Kailyn Garay Maria Baragano Marin Masson Noah Nelson Cynthia Weiner Sean To Hezekiel Yonas Daniel Yenegeta Tara Ashi Yesenia Blount Sacha Cameron Hussein Salem Marilyn Rivas Kayee Lynch Arzoo Marzi Photographers: Tiffany Huynh Videographers: Medhane Berihun Fahmi Mohammad Amir Mohammad Rahel Tecle

announcement like Aerie did, focusing a whole publicity stunt around it, and recording things such as “Girls should accept themselves for who they are, even if they have a weird ear or something they’re uncomfortable with,” to play inside American Eagle and Aerie stores. When Seventeen announced that they would no longer photoshop girls they took up two pages to make the announcement. Shouldn’t it just be assumed that they didn’t photoshop the model? Hopefully more companies will soon be coming to the realization that non-photoshopped models is what the public actually wants and what the public actually looks like. In the near future I would like to hope that this will just be a distant memory. Hopefully, history will remember this era as “the photoshop era” and photoshopping anyone would be shunned. If anything, it should be used for its initial purpose – to fix pictures, not to fix a beautiful person.

Alejandra Iriarte Mohaned Zyoud Andrew Gonzalez Alex Lewis Ashley Britton Alexia Sung Summer Ayoub Adviser: Alan Weintraut

Annandale High School 4700 Medford Dr.

Vol. 60 No.7 Feb. 12, 2014

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, 2013.


Feb. 12, 2014

Importance of humanities The STEM era trivializes the worth of the humanities BY CHRISTINE TAMIR Editorials Editor The classic career mantra is “doctor, lawyer or engineer.” What do two of those careers have in common? They’re STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) inclined. People tend to insinuate that the humanities are nice, but not feasible. They emphasize the three aforementioned careers – particularly engineering and medicine – as the only viable subjects of study for college students. I’ve found that the overwhelming majority thought that the sciences were the only ‘useful’ course of study. Overall, it seemed that the humanities were nice, but not fruitful subjects of study. It’s a prevalent perspective – if you look up Forbes’s top 10 ‘least useful’ college majors, the list is rife with different parts of the humanities – philosophy, liberal arts, English language and literature to name a few.The rationale behind why those are deemed useless is solely based off of a major’s unemployment rate and median earnings. Of course, earnings and unemployment are important factors to account for when deciding on a major, but STEM majors are not the only worthy subjects of study. The sciences inform us about the natural world – our bodies, animals, motion and sub-atomic particles. Like its name suggests, the humanities inform us about our human-created world.

Majors that lead to satisfying careers 6. Social Work - 78 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $33,100 7. Child and Family Studies. Average starting salary: $29,300

1. Nursing - 86 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $54,100 2. Special Education - 83 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $33,900

8. Dietetics - 77 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $54,300

3. Medical Technology - 80 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $49,600

9. Biblical Studies - 78 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $32,500

4. Biomedical Engineering - 79 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $54,900

10. Public Health - 75 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $35,000

5. Athletic Training - 78 percent find it meaningful. Average starting salary: $34,400

–Source: Business Insider website

– it gives us knowledge. But the humanities provide an in-depth study of the effects of science on the human enterprise. For instance, the ethics branch of philosophy explains human responses to scientific innovations such as genetic engineering. Philosophy and religious studies can explain human reception of matters such as stem cell research, which the natural sciences cannot explain on its own. As far as that specific example is concerned, studies of religion are necessary to understanding people’s motivations and lifestyles. The Feb. 4 debate between evolutionist Bill Nye and creationist Ken Ham made it painfully obvious that someone who subscribes to a purely scientific perspective doesn’t believe that

“It really helps you understand modern culture,” senior Amelie Trieu said. “It also gives me an appreciation for the past. In general, knowing about literature makes me feel very aware and appreciative [of the human race].” In an increasingly interconnected world, understanding other cultures is paramount to ensuring open communications between different ethnic groups. While one can learn the techniques of a foreign language and develop a working proficiency, it takes knowledge of the culture to be fluent. Science, for instance, informs us about genetics and patterns of inheritance and how to harness the power of the atom. That is the majority of what science does

science and religion can be reconciled. To b e f a i r, B i l l N y e i s n ’ t representative of all who believe in evolutionary theory, but he (and several other figureheads of science) believe that science and religion are incompatible and that science is a far more worthy subject of study than theology/biblical studies because it is either wrong or flawed in some way. That sentiment isn’t restricted to biblical studies – dismissal of the humanities seems to be so prevalent that it is even in popular shows like The Big Bang Theory where main character Sheldon Cooper consistently interjects snide remarks about the apparent worthlessness of the humanities. The value of the humanities may not be as obvious as the value of the sciences, but that doesn’t make them any less worthwhile. There’s no doubt that both disciplines are valuable, but the era we live in depreciates the value of the humanities. The fine arts especially gets shafted whenever there are budget cuts or similar crises. Of all the parts of the humanities, that area is the least appreciated, but still necessary for the human race. For instance, fiction novels are often considered to be “nice, but not necessary”, while fiction can actually tell us about underlying nuances of a culture or time period that statistics cannot. Victorian era physicist John Tyndall expressed the sentiment that the sciences and the humanities must work in tandem to provide the human race a clear picture of their world: “the world embraces not only a Newton, but a Shakespeare...They are not opposed, but supplementary—not mutually exclusive, but reconcilable.”

Do you prefer the humanities or the sciences?

“The humanities because I’m better at those subjects and because it’s more interesting than the sciences.”

— Faisal Hassen sophomore

“Humanities because I like to learn about things like French because the culture interests me.”

— Risky Alvarado sophomore

“I prefer the humanities because ever since I was younger, I liked social studies, civics and government better. It’s a lot more interesting to me.”

— Victoria Park junior

Public schools must stay secular

“Humanities because I feel like I’m able to connect more with anthropology more than physics, though a basic knowledge of the natural sciences is essential to the humanities.”

Including creationism in biology curriculums marks the inclusion of religious beliefs in public schools

— Alana Buto senior

During the early years of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson advocated for the doctrine to separate church and state.

The theory of evolution doesn’t necessarily advocate that all life on earth was created by chance, but rather that they were developed to reach their current state due to environmental pressures. Evolution can be taught in such a way that the theory doesn’t attempt to explain creation, which wouldn’t necessarily violate all interpretations of creationism. Besides, the inclusion of creationism in biology textbooks would open the floodgates for all religious

“If my goal is to understand the nature of existence as much as possible then the natural sciences are the way to go.”


BY CHRISTINE TAMIR Editorials Editor The age-old debate about creationism in schools has arisen again in the U.S. A Texan conservative group is advocating for the addition of creationism in biology textbooks. Including creationism in the textbooks (which are core study materials) would violate the U.S’s over two hundred-year-old separation of church and state. The Texas public school system is an extension of the state government, which means that it can’t have a religious preference. The inclusion of creationism would show that the state government is bending to the will of the Christian group which, by extension, means that Texas was endorsing one religion. Of course, the implications of that action would be a political debacle for the state, but biology education would suffer as well. Science classes are only meant to teach theories that can be verified by the scientific method. The job of natural science classes is to teach students about the universe, which doesn’t entail that they learn about the manner in which the universe is created.


groups to advocate for their theories about the creation of life and the universe to be part of the universe. However, that isn’t science. As Ken Ham, the representative for creationism in the Feb. 4 debate with Bill Nye (evolutionary advocate) claimed, science means knowledge. But in science classes, objective knowledge, with proof supporting theories, must be taught. Creationism doesn’t fit the bill.

— David Tyndall IB physics teacher “My assumption going into college was that [the natural sciences] were more interesting and had more pay.”

— Russell Youmans IB physics teacher

CVS sets a powerful example for pharmacies Largest pharmacy chain stops selling tobacco products BY CHRISTINE TAMIR Editorials Editor In a monumental first step, CVS has announced that it will stop selling tobacco products as of Oct. 1, 2014. The statement was announced on Feb. 4, and marks the first big step of the reformation of the pharmaceutical industry that will greatly benefit America’s youth. According to an online New York Times article, secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said that approximately 3,200 students under 18 will try a cigarette each day. CVS’s decision, she said, is “an unprecedented step in the retail industry.” With a CVS located around one mile away from AHS, it’s likely that

would increase the company’s profits.

We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting. –Larry J. Merlo

students have purchased cigarettes from the pharmacy, and its a beneficial move on CVS’s part to limit the exposure of school-age children to addictive tobacco products. CVS is the most common pharmacy in the U.S., which increases the availability of cigarettes that high school students will take advantage of. It seems to be a selfless move for the company. According to the New York Times article, banning tobacco products will cost CVS an estimated $2 billion in profits. Of course, the

loss isn’t a significant portion of CVS’s $126 billion in yearly profits, but the company voluntarily gave up that sum of money to maintain the integrity of its objective. It has always seemed odd that pharmacies like CVS sold cancerinducing cigarettes across the store from their clinic. At best, it was a contradiction between the intention of curing people of their illnesses and the illness-causing cigarettes. However, at worst, the in-house clinics served as a source of mitigating the effects of tobacco products, which

Chief executive Larry J. Merlo echoed those sentiments. “We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” Merlo said. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.” President Obama approves of the decision as well. According to USA Today, Obama said that “CVS Caremark sets a powerful example” for the rest of the industry and future businesses. CVS’s decision is – strangely – an ethical decision made by a U.S. business. Imagine if Walgreens Rite Aid and the plethora of inhouse pharmacies followed suit. That would get us closer to a smoke-free generation.

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Feb. 12, 2014

New administrators hired

Electives Fair There will be an electives fair today during W4. Students will be allowed to walk around to different classes to decide if they would like to sign up for them next year.

Senior class meeting BAYLEY BRILL

There will be a senior class meeting today during W4 to discuss prom and graduation. Breakfast will also be provided.

Club pictures

IB Parent Night Parents of perspective IB Diploma Candidates are invited to learn about the IB Program in Clausen Hall on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Honor roll breakfast The PTSA will be holding an honor roll breakfast on Friday, Feb. 14 in the Cafeteria for students who maintained all A’s and B’s during the second quarter. Passes will be distributed during W4.

Math Honor Society meeting There will be a Math Honor Society meeting on Friday, Feb. 14 at 2:15 p.m. in the Cafeteria.

President’s Day School will be held on President’s Day to make up for the snow day on Jan. 21.

Feminist Club meeting

The Feminist Club will be meeting from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Date for a Cure meeting Any junior and senior boys who are interested in participating in Date for a Cure are required to come to a meeting in the upstairs gym on Wednesday, Feb. 19 during Atom Time.

Student of the Quarter ice cream social Students who received Student of the Quarter awards are invited to an ice cream social from 2:15-3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Black History Bowl The Black History Bowl will be broadcasted during an extended W4 on Friday, Feb. 21.

Peach Fuzz interest meeting Juniors and senior boys interested in participating in an all boys volleyball game are required to come to the interest meeting on Monday, Feb. 24 at 2:15 p.m. in Clausen Hall.

Class of 2014 bake The Class of 2014 will be holding a bake sale on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 2:15 p.m. outside of the cafeteria.

Collaboration AHS will be observing collaboration on Thursday, Feb. 27. The schedule will be as follows: W2/W8/W6/Atom Time Students will be released at 1:30 p.m. Busses will depart at 1:45 p.m.

Purchase tickets to Broadway Desserts On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view the chorus website.

Berrett is now the Performing Arts, Fine Arts and English Department assistant principal.

Joseph Berrett oversees English department BY BAYLEY BRILL News Editor Joseph Berrett can be seen walking around the halls mingling with students as if he’s known them for years. Which in fact, as a former administrator at Poe Middle School, he has. Berrett joined the AHS staff in early January to replace Pamela Gravitte, who accepted the assistant principal position at Braddock Elementary School. Berrett is the assistant principal to the English, Fine Arts and Performing Arts departments. Before coming to AHS, Berrett was a Department Chair at Henry Thoreau Middle School, an after school program director as well as assistant principal at Poe Middle School. “I enjoyed working at Thoreau and Poe Middle because we are more involved with the students, helping them every step of the way,” Berrett said. Because Berrett has had such a long history with Poe, he recognizes many of his former students. “It is interesting coming to Annandale and seeing former students,” Berrett said.

As assistant principal of the English department, he now oversees all of the teachers and students in every English class. He hopes to continue AHS’ high pass rate, and make it even higher. “I hope to see SOL scores continue to rise. I want to make sure students are graduating on time [as well],” Berrett said. As of right now, he is still evaluating what needs to be done to help improve scores. “So far everything seems fine. I have to work here for a little bit longer to actually see what needs fixing and how I can help,” Berrett said. Outside of school Berrett is father of two young daughters and an avid reader. “My favorite books are A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and The Great Gatsby,” Berrett said. He also enjoys playing hockey, his favorite NHL team is the Penguins and his favorite NFL team is the Steelers. Berrett is looking forward to the new semester. “I am excited for the opportunity to be in a high school where we have the privilege of refining our student body in preparation for either college or the work force,” Berrett said. Initial reporting by Destiny Gammon and Alishia Sampene

Cortash is the new Dean of Students. He is the assistant principal to the ESOL department.

Cortash named new Dean of Students BY BAYLEY BRILL News Editor Jeremy Cortash, a former college lacrosse player and avid outdoorsman recently became Dean of Students. “I mainly work with attendance and I also supervise the ESOL department,” Cortash said. If a student has attendance problems, such as not showing up to school frequently or skipping class, he gets involved and tries to find out why the student is skipping. “I get involved, see what’s going on and what the problem may be,” Cortash said. The FCPS attendance policy is very strict and gives him no room to have his own discipline policy. If a student skips class once and is caught, it is an automatic detention. If a student has three unexcused tardies it equals a detention, with each tardy after being another detention. Before working at AHS Cortash was a teacher and administrator in Prince William county. “I came to this school because I thought it would be a good

opportunity to work with a completely different population of kids,” Cortash said. Before working in Prince William County, Cortash attended Niagara University where he played lacrosse and obtained his undergraduate and graduate degree. Afterwards he attended George Mason to obtain a second graduate degree. “I majored in Education, History, Social and Political science as an undergrad. And Secondary Social Studies Education for my first graduate degree and educational leadership for my second graduate degree,” Cortash said. In his free time Cortash likes to spend time outdoors with his wife and dog. “I snowboard, play lacrosse and spend a lot of time with my wife and dog. We like to go on walks, go to the movies. We’re very laid back,” Cortash said. In addition to spending time outdoors and playing lacrosse, Cortash likes to watch sports. “While my favorite sport to play is lacrosse, I’m a huge football fan. My favorite team is the Buffalo Bills. I’m from New York, so I’m also a big Sabres fan,” Cortash said. Cortash can be found in the attendance office or at most lunches if he needs to be contacted.

Just World gears up for festival Club prepares for annual ethnic fair BY NANCY EVORA Staff Writer The Just World Interact Club is beginning to prepare for the annual Just World Festival. The festival is a cultural melting pot, which includes food vendors,local businesses and keynote speaker Peter Ter. Ter is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan who was displaced during the Second Sudanese Civil War. Over 20,000 young boys were displaced during the war. The club is excited to have Ter as a speaker. “I think Peter is truly inspirational; I love how humble and generous he is. He is definitely someone I would look up to and hope to be,” junior Alan Vargas said. The goal of Just World is to send the message to young people about the importance of the world we live in, issues around the world and also to promote youth activism. The festival

also promotes fair trade products such as coffee and tea. “The message is to get young people to understand that there is a big world out there and we are all responsible for the world to get together,” Just World co-sponsor Katherine Mounteer said. There will be multiple food vendors to represent different cultures from around the world. “We will have food vendors that will be representing the different places around the world such as the Breeze vendor of Asian food and the Kaboos vendor of food from Middle East,” Just World president Soriya de Lopez said. “I really liked the Indian food that they had last year at the festival,” sophomore Mario Gutierrez said. In addition to different foods, the festival will also feature multiple local businesses. Little River Yoga will be giving yoga lessons and local jeweler, Ten Thousand Village will also be selling jewelry. Last year there were 33 different vendors. “We’re really excited to add businesses to the festival,” de Lopez said. In addition to the AHS community

Fair trade allows farmers in developing countries get more money for their products.

and surrounding school such as Woodson High School, Holmes Middle School, Poe Middle School and George Mason High School, representatives from Arlington County, Prince William county, Prince George’s County will be also attending the festival. “The reason why other counties have been invited is in order to raise awareness throughout Northern

Virginia about social causes around the world and to find ways to solve them, and also to get involved many students to make some noise,” de Lopez said. Just World will be taking place on Feb. 28 from 2:30-6 p.m. in the AHS Cafeteria. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend the festival.

Broadway Desserts changes date Annual chorus concert rescheduled BY BAYLEY BRILL News Editor Broadway Desserts, like many other activities at AHS, has been rescheduled to May 31- June 1 due to the snow. The show is a two act Broadway revue featuring 27 songs by the AHS choral department where students sing their own selected Broadwaystyle songs. “With the snow days, there just wasn’t the time needed for Production Week rehearsals,” Broadway Desserts coordinator Georgi Barker said. With the multiple school closures, students didn’t have enough time to practice and auditorium use was becoming unsure. “We had to respect our choral families and audience by postponing the performance in a timely manner,” Barker said. Students were upset about having to postpone their performance, but


Yearbook will be holding club pictures today after school from 2:15-5:00 p.m. Check with your sponsor to see what time your club’s pictures are.

Last year Men’s Choral preformed “There is Nothing Like a Dame” from the musical South Pacific at George Mason University.

they know it was for the better of the show and are looking forward to their new show date. “I’m really excited to perform with my friends but also with songs that I’ve always loved from Broadway,” junior Caitlin Odem said. Chorus teacher Jessica Irish was also disappointed about not being able to perform, but looks forward

to the newly scheduled performance. “It would have been nice to perform then, but I know my students will perform very well,” Irish said. The chorus department and the Student Activities office worked to reschedule the show. It was difficult to find another date due to the musical and other chorus commitments such as District chorus, Festival and a

performance in New York City which takes up the entire month of March. “We hope that all ticket holders will attend the spring show, but meanwhile we appreciate their patience as we work out new details and dates for a spring show,” Barker said. Tickets can be purchased online at


Feb. 12, 2014

School tradition renewed


Winter weather woes: snow days affect school planning



“Snow days” contined from Page 1

“Welcome to Our Motherland” sponsored by Tricia Kapuskinski in 2012 Heritage Night. The show serves as a way to emphasize the cultural diversity here at AHS.

In the past, Heritage Night has been the most attended event held at AHS, by students and parents. The event on average brings the school $3,000 a year and attracts around 110 performers, 20 acts and 650 spectators. “We don’t want to have more than 20-25 acts,” Bentley said. “Or else we’d be here all night!” In order to see how many people plan on auditioning, an interest meeting was held on Wednesday, January 29th. This was just to get a rough estimate of the amount of time the audition process would take. The audition process usually takes about a month before groups and acts are finalized. The auditions are

Promotional lunch held “Valentine Raffle” continued from page 1

“We do all of the withdrawals and deposits for the students as well as any marketing that has to be done,” Tetteh said. The Atom Branch provides the students who work there great opportunities. However, not every student can work at the branch. “A prerequisite for working at the Atom Branch is that they [the students] have to take Accounting first, and then the Advanced Accounting kids get to help run the branch,” Bentley said. “It really teaches us good work ethic and customer service,” Tetteh said. “If you don’t have good customer service, you’re not going to get many members.” Working at the branch is also a good opportunity to add experience to a student’s resume or extracurriculars. Not only does the branch provide opportunities for workers, it also provides benefits for the members. “We have low interest rates on loans that benefit members, as well as extra student savings with

high interest rates on accounts,” Tetteh said. Not only does the Atom Branch have benefits for members, they also hold entertaining events each month for the school. “We do promotions every month just to try and get people interested,” Bentley said. “This month we’re doing a valentines lunch.” In last month’s promotion, the Atom Branch ran a prize wheel that contestants could spin to earn different items. Along with the prize wheel, the Atom Branch has also given away tickets to Prom and Heritage Night in past years. Not only does Apple Federal do fun promotions, they also give away scholarship money to prospective college students. Each year 30, $4000 scholarships are given to students. “To apply for the scholarship, students had to activate their accounts by Feb. 1, and the applications are due Feb. 15,” Bentley said. In order to be eligible, students must be a senior and have a GPA of 2.8 or above.

had retired and vacated her role. The administration scrambled without success to find teacher/parent sponsors. “To solve the problem, we found someone who was willing to do the artistic side of the job,” Pfeiffer said. This year, Heritage Night is being held on Thursday, April 3 in the auditorium.

#RealTalk panel “Race Panel” continued from Page 1

world by storm we took note of the teenage response that was so prevalent. ” senior Tahani Yosuf and member of #RealTalk said. “I think the Trayvon Martin case became such a monumental key in opening the door to the examination of race for teenagers in the 21st century. We’ve grown up in a society post the Civil Rights Movement that hears about the fight for racial equality in our textbooks,” senior founder Omnia Saed said. “But with the [Trayvon Martin] case no matter what stance you took on it, it was such a relatable story. He was a teenager, someone our age, and most importantly and eye opening he was profiled.” The event will start off with a student panel, followed by discussion questions and activities. Questions include: How segregated a life do most of you lead now? Is there a lot of interaction between different races both in and out of school? When did you know there was a difference between colors and backgrounds and how did that come about? A lot of times there is the perception that people of color are overly sensitive about things that happen to them and they’re willing to put that blame on race. Do you think that’s true? The event is also expected to be filmed by news channel ABC7. “What’s really great about this event is that it will be filmed and so AHS students have the opportunity to let their voices be heard by an even larger audience than those in Clausen Hall,” #RealTalk member Aysha Ghaffar said. “It’s going to be an extremely informative and interesting conversation. I think we just want everyone to be able to feel free to voice their opinions but also hopefully learn something along the way,” Saed said.

Science Fair held at AHS Although the winners have yet to be announced [as of publication date], Science Fair is complete after it’s Feb. 7 date. Students can now reflect on their experiments and the experiences that accompany the fair. “Our experiment was the effect of temperature on the decomposition of tomatoes,” freshman Dylan Buras said. “It was my first Science fair but I thought [the fair] was pretty good.” ”My experience with science fair was pretty good. It was fun and different from what we did in middle school,” freshman Vi Dang said. “My experiment was on the effect of domino spacing on how long it takes for them to fall down. It was fun overall and I just had a fun time doing my science fair project, even though I don’t like it,” junior Richard Manahl said. Buras and Dang were just a couple of the many freshman to experience the Science Fair for the first time, learning the challenges that many face when working on


NOAH NELSON & BAILEY OLIVER Staff Writer and Copy Editor

a long term project. As well as the learning how science fair works students also had to deal with working with one another. “If you work with a partner you have to know where your experiment is going to be and how you are going to do it or who is going to do what. Sometimes partners don’t come through for you and that is hard,” freshman Bitania Endalkachew said. “Some challenges I faced were mainly based around communicating with others in my group,” Manahl said. “This was the first year that I worked with somebody else, so it was kind of a challenge working with another person.” Science Fair not only has students performing experiments but connecting them to the world around them. Some dealt with serious issues while others had a lighter issue. “My experiment was on how Tylenol effects plants,” freshman Bitania Endalkachew said. “I did this because the sewer systems in America don’t completely filter them through and actually drinking Tylenol water is really bad for you.” Students were judged based on their understanding of the project including how well they knew the experiment and how well they

Sophomore Mahalet Ayele presents her presentation along with her partners to their first judge. Their project was on the different splatter patterns of different liquids.

Juniors Aya Eltahir, Victoria Park, and Emily Rivas present their project. They tested the flammability of different types of fabric.


Students present to judges in annual science competition

Science Fair Photos


“Heritage Night” continued from page 1

being held Wednesday, March 5 at 2:15 p.m this year. While Heritage Night has been approved again, it cannot be produced without a substantial amount of help from staff members. Each performing group needs a faculty sponsor that will let them perform in or outside their classroom after school, as well as staff members needed to form the committee for the event. “We are still looking for people to serve on the committee,” Bentley said. The move last year to cancel the famed event left many stunned in disbelief. “I was honestly so shocked last year to have seen it canceled,” senior Sara Mina Khan said. “It’s such a vital part of the Annandale identity.” The move was not an easy one, as Principal Randazzo voiced his regret last year in its cancellation. “I am very disappointed that we had to cancel it,” Randazzo said. “There was no one willing to sponsor it.” ESOL teacher Georgiana Tomisato, the event’s leading sponsor since 2001

Junior Jeffrey Ngo poses in front of his project board. Students were required to present to at least two judges with other people allowed to question them.

explain it. While students were judged based on those guidelines, judges also based the decision on smaller factors. “I guess the first thing I looked for was whether the students were interested in what they were studying. I also definitely looked at the effort that was put into it,” judge David Tyndall said. “We want

to make sure that the effort that was put into it is apparent. I also look at the attention to detail- if students pay attention to detail, that can be impressive. It’s not necessarily that everything was 100 percent correct, its really how much attention they paid to what they were doing.”


After cancellation last year, Heritage Night is set to continue at AHS this year


Heritage Nights full cast in 2012, its last year. This year, Heritage Night will return to AHS on April 3rd in the auditorium.

Also teaching yearbook, the snow days acted as an even bigger obstacle for Hanneman. “As for yearbook, it pushed back our late nights adding a level of urgency to meeting our deadline,” Hanneman said. For sophomore Nathaniel Stamp, the past couple of snow days have been bittersweet. “As much joy as [snow days] bring me, they make classes harder because the teachers rush to cover missed material,” Stamp said. Nonetheless, Stamp admits that the snow days do however, allow him to catch up on sleep. Similarly, junior Christian Firaben believes that although snow days are relaxing, they prove to be a double-edged sword in terms of academics. FCPS was hit with 5 inches of snow during the infamous polar vortex late January which brought closing for three days straight and the usage of all of the school’s scheduled make-up days and a shortage of the quarter. “Another cancellation would be detrimental to me because missing school puts teachers behind and causes them to have to rush to complete lesson,” Firaben said. “However, I always enjoy a day off.” As teachers begin using Blackboard, a website in which assignments and announcements are made available at students’ fingertips, more frequently, snow days are no longer an escape from scheduled homework and projects. “I usually just relax, watch TV and play video games. I do the homework and assignments that were given to me, but I usually don’t check Blackboard,” Firaben said. With more snow in the forecast, Hanneman fears any further school closings or delays. “In the future, closing would hurt a very busy IB schedule and preparations for the March Writing SOL,” Hanneman said.

Juniors Sandra Webb presents her project on the effects of acid rain on different objects. Webb worked with senior Megan Ryan.

What song would you like to be serenaded to on Valentines Day? “Even though I won’t have a valentine, I would like to hear ‘Love’ by Matt White, because it has a certain je ne sais quoi. It makes you feel wanted.” –Hayat Yusuf senior

“I would love for someone to sing ‘Whistle for the Choir’ by the Fratellis to me. It isn’t a conventional love song and it’s about a relationship where people really know each other as opposed to just romance.” —Sabrina Rivera junior

February 12, 2014

Singing valentines return

Annual chorus tradition spreads the love BY MELISSA STAMP Arts Editor

As the month of love begins, chorus prepares for the school wide Singing Valentines fundraiser. Every year on valentines day students in the choral program go around the school delivering valentines and a performance. A singing valentine can be sent to any students or faculty members to be serenaded. Traditionally, each chorus class would perform a song, but this year the selections are solely individual and small group acts. This is mainly because in recent years teachers and administrators have complained about students roaming the halls and leaving classes unnecessarily. “I love the Singing Valentines fundraiser, it’s a lot of fun for everyone, but it has to be well organized and planned then everything runs smoothly” Administrator Jamie

Carraiyannis said. Math teacher Michael Mazzarella agrees with the fun nature of the day. “I don’t mind that it disrupts my class, because school is fun and if the singers and listeners are having fun then a small interruption doesn’t bother me”, Mazzarella said. For the chorus students singing valentines is a great opportunity to showcase different types of singing and musicianship. Throughout the school year they learn various styles of music including folk,broadway and traditional renaissance. Singing valentines allows them to choose from music in any genre as long as it fits with the theme of love. Performers can also bring instruments or tracks with them to make their performance more dynamic. Some groups even choose to add choreography into their performance. The songs students select range from traditional tunes to modern ballads. This years selections include the classic, “Blue Moon”, “Teenage Dream”, and “Pusher Love Girl”, from Justin Timberlake’s latest album, The 20/20 Experience.




All chorus groups, including some alumni, sing the final song at last year’s Winter Concert at Annandale Methodist Church under the direction of Jessica Irish.

For students the Singing Valentines fundraiser continues to be well received. “[Singing Valentines] They are very comedic, I love seeing the chorus kids outside of their usual concerts. It’s a day everyone looks forward to” senior Amelie Trieu said. Juniors Pheobe Banzuelo and Julie Nguyen are student leaders for the fundraiser. The process includes making all the hearts

that each person receives with a message from their valentine. “We wanted the hearts to be more creative this year, because it’s a special day and everyone should receive something unique and special” said Banzuelo. Tu e s d a y F e b r u a r y 11 , Wednesday February 12, and Thursday February 13, valentines will be sold during all lunches for five dollars.

Artist in the Spotlight: Senior Kelcie Chandler

“‘Love and Affection’ by Rihanna featuring Future, because It’s a good song to listen to and valentines day is on my birthday”


Arts Editor

Q: How long have you been dancing? A: I started when I was five years old, when my mom put me in a ballet tap combo class.

—Natnael Weidegiorgis sophmore

Q: Where do you dance? A: HeartBeats Music and Dance in Springfield, Virginia. Q: How big of a commitment is dancing competitively? A: It’s a huge commitment if you take it seriously, because we’re in the studio ten or more hours a week.

“‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars, because it’s a really fun and cute song.”

Q: Where have you performed? A: The Cherry Blossom Festival, Reston Pet Fiesta, Fall for Fairfax Kids Fest and Reston Winter Festival.

—Fadwa Albakhouch freshman

Q: What different types of dance do you study? A: Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, HipHop,Lyrical, and Musical Theatre. PHOTO COURTESY OF KELCIE CHANDLER

“‘Mine’ by Jay-Z and Beyonce. I like it because it sets a good mood and brings back great memories.”

—Tsolmon Batsukh

“‘Just the Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars, because it talks about being comfortable and feeling beautiful not matter what.” —Andrea Garcia sophmore

“‘Sun and Moon’ by Above and Beyond, because it’s about finding one person that means the world to you.” —Isaac Kebede senior

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to read about District Chorus.

Q: Which style of dance do you feel is your strongest? A: Hip-Hop, because it comes most naturally to me and I’ve improved a lot.

Q: How do you balance school with dance? A: I set apart time for homework and I always make sure I have homework done before i go t my classes. At long reahersals I always bring something to do. Q: What kind of opportunities has dance provided for you? A: I’ve been able to meet and learn from a lot of famous dancers that inspire me. Also, being a competitive dancer I have been able to inspire children to develop the same passion for dance I have. Q: In what ways will dance continue to be a part of your life in the future? A: I hope to join a dance club or team in college, and I would love to be able to teach dance classes as a side job in the future. Q: What is your most memorable performance? A: Being chosen by Kent Boyd to perform in the showcase at excel dance convention out of 100 other girls. It was an honor to be chosen by him and the performance itself meant so much to me. Q: Why do you love dance? A: I love dance, because it is not only a sport but an art form and it allows me to express myself. Dance is also a great way to form lasting friendships, because my studio is family.


HEALTH Sex education reducing pregnancies Feb. 12, 2014

California is among one of the many states that has reduced their teen pregnancy rate because of more teenagers being educated about sex. In 1991, the national teen pregnancy rate was 68 births per 1,000 teens. In the most recent study done in 2012, the teen pregnancy rate has reduced 29 births per 1,000 female teens. California has reduced their pregnancy rate 60 percent and in other parts of the U.S., it has decreased 30 percent or more. Pregnancies among teens has been steadily declining and is currently at an all time low. Different factors play into this decline, but the main reason contributing to this record low is the fact that more teens are using contraceptives to prevent the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancies. According to the Center of Disease and Control (CDC), “A review of 48 research studies found that about two-thirds of the HIV/STD prevention programs studied had a significant impact on reducing sexual risk behaviors, including a delay in first sexual intercourse, a decline in the number of sex partners and an increase in condom or contraceptive use.” Education Affecting Teens Some teenagers choose not to abstain from sexual activity and many view that learning about the risks can be useful to those who don’t abstain. Giving students information about sex will lead them to make safe decisions that will help prevent spreading diseases and other complications. When schools inform teens on the possible diseases, such as HIV and STDs, students will know the risks that come along with participating in sexual intercourse. With an abstinence only approach students are not able to know the

Step by Step: Lettuce Wraps Get your daily vitamins and minerals by putting foods together



risks which can possibly prevent them from having children or living with a lifelong disease that may kill them. A comprehensive sex education also teaches how teens can prevent pregnancy. Students learn about the different types of contraceptives, such as condoms and birth control. Many states, such as California, are forcing schools to teach certain topics that could help students learn how to take preventative measures. According to the Huffington Post, “One factor was the state’s school sex education program, which law requires to be comprehensive and medically accurate.” Importance Compared to schools that teach abstinence only, schools that teach a round sex education have better outcomes with prevention and disease. According to Guttmacher Institute, “The majority (86%) of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002 was the result of dramatic improvements in contraceptive use, including an increase in the proportion of teens using a single method of contraception.” Most AHS students started learning sex education as soon as fifth grade and the subject is reinforced every year with more in-depth topics as the students age into young adults. However, every year students grow tired of the repeated subjects and believe they know most of the material. In some parts of the U.S., abstinence only is taught as sex education at schools. Many of those students never learn about types of protection, sexually transmitted diseases and anatomy of bodies. Schools or even parents who choose to opt on giving substantial information about different types of contraceptives and instead teach abstinence may be increasing the chances of teens getting pregnant or contracting an STD/STI. Also there has to line drawn to what material can be discussed in schools and what should be saved for guardian and child. “I think it should be a cooperative group effort between the school because we are well educated on


Health class is helping the decline of teen pregnancies

You will need: - One pound of chicken -Two and a half cups of water -Lettuce leaves -One carrot -One and a half cups of rice -Half an onion

-Half a tomato -Cooking oil -Half a bell of green pepper - Two pans -Salt and pepper -Wooden spoon Optional: Any seasonings

Condoms are one of the most common contraceptives because students have easy access.

these subjects and the parent being involved.” Health and Physical Education David O’Hara said. In the Classroom Sex education does not stop at learning about the different types of contraceptives and what kind of risk there are, it goes beyond to teaching students about the anatomy of both sexes. “One of the main things we are talking about right now is detecting for cancers, so we’re talking about breast self exams and testicular self exams; any cancers if you can catch something early, it’s really important,” Health and Physical Education David O’Hara said. While health teachers inform students about the different ways they could practice safe sex, abstinence is still emphasized as the best way to be 100 percent safe. “We are also teaching kids how to keep themselves as safe as possible and we preach, of course abstinence, it is the safest way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases,” O’Hara said. Overall, AHS has been keeping a consistent on what material is being taught. However, since there are new

health teachers, topics may be taught a little differently but the message is the same. “Everything is going to be a little different in how the material is presented, but we have a pretty strict standard of curriculum we go off as.” Safe Sex Take what you learned in sex ed and apply it your life. If you do not feel ready, there is nothing wrong with abstaining from sexual activity. Don’t get pressured to doing anything you don’t feel comfortable with. There is also nothing wrong if you feel ready to have sex, it doesn’t make you less of a person, because it is your own personal choice. However, make sure you take preventative measures such as using condoms or birth control. Talk with a trusted adult, such as your parents if you have any questions. “At the age we are learning sex education, that’s when kids are starting to do that kind of stuff and they need to know what they are getting themselves into,” sophomore Jennifer Hall said.

1. Wash and dice the tomato, onion, green pepper and carrots. Place into one pan with a teaspoon of oil and stir consistently for five minutes.

2. Add a thin layer of cooking oil and place your washed and prepped chicken. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Do you think sex education in schools is necessary? “No, I think it’s an awkward subject. I think it should be optional.”

—Sarthak Rathi freshman

“It is necessary. People need to be informed about all of the risks before they decide to have sex.”

—Natalie Jones sophomore

“I think sex education is necessary because teenagers need to be aware of all the risks before having sex.” —Gohar Zeb junior

“Yes. It is necessary to educate about sex since it is present in our life. Also, it is important to know about the different diseases and to expand your knowledge.”

3. Once finished, transfer the chicken onto the pan with vegetables and keep stirring for five minutes.

— Eric Jaldin senior —Compiled by Aashna Viswanathan

Statistics about sex and education


Of the national teen birth rate fell from 2007-2011.


Of teens did not use birth control the last time they had sex.

31% 86%

Of 1000 teens ranging from 15-19 years of age have given birth.

Of high school students have been taught how to prevent pregnancy, STD’s and HIV.


4. Add the water and let it sit for 15 minutes or until it reaches a boil.

Of high school students have been taught how to use a condom correctly.


Youths were infected with an HIV in 2010.

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

5. Add the rice and keep at a low heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, or any desired seasoning.

6. The water will soak up and once the mix is only moist, turn off the heat. This will take about 10-15

7. Wash the lettuce leaves and pat dry. Add the chicken and rice onto the leaves and roll.

Five more sex education statistics On your smart phone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to view more statistics about sex education.


What is your opinion of Valentine’s Day?


Feb. 12, 2014

Annandale is for lovers Students share their relationships as well as advice for others

tionbeen dating connduec ltureal A cu have er Yim aneberhan and Yemi Zew

“It is overrated. It is really hyped but actually not that big of a deal.”

— Billal Kamara freshman

“It is about caring for a person and it shows lots of spirit. I like the colors and all of the gifts.”

Seniors Berket Yem ents from e first generation immigrant par have similar for three months. They both hav “We n. istia e religion, Orthodox Chr of our parents Ethiopia. They also share sam h Bot . first ays alw is on cati and edu values, like family is important Zewdu Yimer said. on,” cati edu on t stric tty pre are first relationship. For both of them, this is their school to be the ut [relationships]. They want abo t stric “My parents are really hane. g out on the only focus,” said Yemaneber is the first priority. “We try to han They both agree that school er. Yim du Zew said k” school wor weekends but there’s a lot of gests to partner, Yemaneberhane sug if having difficulties with your . said he it,” ut abo talk and erstanding, say, and be to communicate. “Try to be und has son per r n to what the othe Zewdu advises to “At least liste best friends before you date.”

— Leeana Nazafrin freshman

“I love how guys and girls get together and say ‘I love you’ and then get a big kiss and a big hug. Then they go to dinner so it is really cute.”

Berket Yemaneberhane and Yemi Zewdu Yimer seniors

From friends to

— Kevin Folli sophomore


Seniors Carly Klim friends for a year be a and Ronald Romero have been da ting for eight month fore they started da s.They were ting. “I feel like being frie nd s is a very important pa them laugh and ge rt,” Klima said, “[It t along with them, is important to] ma instead Klima and Romero ke have the same grou of just thinking they’re cute.” p of friends as well. “You don’t have to her friend when we split time between hanging out with my bo and how he portray th have the same friends,” said Rome friends and hanging out with s himself in a good ro. “I like how smar manner, He make though sometimes s me laugh and we t Ronald is, we butt heads a lot get along, even .” said Klima. “I like her smile an d her hair,” Romero Washington. They sa id. Bo th plan to go to Unive see the relationship rsity of Mary lasting. “For friends who wa nt to be mo re , just tell them how said. you feel and be str aight up” Romero

“If I wasn’t single, It would be cute and lovey dovey. But since I am single, it was much better when everyone got a valentine.”

— Amanda Adenan sophomore

“IIt is annoy yin ng and interessting. People over do it som metim mes.”

Carly Klima and Ronald Romero seniors

— Georg gio o Khoury juniorr

What will you be doing for Valentine’s Day? “I am going to spend it eating and watching movies.”

— Casey Nguyen sophomore

g lovhaeve been together for a Lastin s d Tim Johnson

a Koroma an and were friend g since 8th grade Sophomores Hass tin da en be hnson ve ha s. They rted dating after Jo year and 10 month a couple. They sta larly. gu me re ca g be tin y tex the d e o after talking an vo for 8 months befor Oo on big al” a s ici off wa ake it school asked Koroma to “m itioning from middle school to high ns not be able to see d an sy bu be uld For the couple, tra wo m the of th bo worried justed well. They go step. Koroma was are best friends, ad ce sin y the e nc Si . each other as often tes. for and also go on da , don’t take things to church together to trust each other is use ca les be up re co er the t oth ou “My advice for ur relationship yo t pu n’t do y stl ngy. La granted, don’t be cli id. ruin it,” Koroma sa to nt wa ll wi le op pe

“I am going to probably eat my weight in chocolate and then cry.”

— Caitlin White sophomore

Hassa Koroma and Tim Johnson sophomores

Foundation for forever Staff members Jessica and Carl Klein have been married for five years now. Mrs. Klein is a math teacher and swim coach while Mr. Klein is a track coach and is going to be a football coach next year. They met through mutual friends and started dating right away. They dated for 8 months before they got married. Mr. Klein was in the army and was stationed in Hawaii. She went to go visit him and Mr. Klein proposed on a beach. He was stationed in Iraq for the first year of their marriage but they kept in touch by Skyping everyday. “I like how he makes people laugh and makes people feel very comfortable,” said Mrs. Klein. “I like that she’s smart, beautiful, and if she can put up with me then I got to keep her,” said Mr. Klein. “There’s always going to be problems but you have to talk it out, and just have as much fun as possible,” Mr. Klein said. “Long distance can work,” Mrs. Klein said.

Jessica and Carl Klein faculty


Feb. 12, 2014

Drop everything and read now Silent reading on Fridays is implemented to W4 classes Starting on February 21, the newly implemented Drop Everything and Read program will be held White Days on Fridays during W4 classes for the entire school. During this time, students are not able to visit their counselors, go to the attendance office or even go to the library to check out a book to read during this silent reading time. “The expectations for DEAR are that students will leave their electronic devices alone for 25 minutes and pick up a book or newspaper and read!,” English teacher and Literacy Coach Courtney Dearinger said. The DEAR program was an idea created by a group of teachers and counselors called the Learning Seminar Committee but is now being fully implemented into second semester. “It is supposed to be pleasurable reading, for sure, but the hidden benefits are amazing! Reading for sustained amounts of time will only help students improve their reading for school as well,” Dearinger said. Research on has shown that silent reading helps brain function more effectively and has many benefits including improved vocabulary, fluency in understanding material and also the students’ reading abilities. This is where the silent aspect of the 20 minute reading comes in- as opposed to being read out loud to by teachers or reading aloud, which students do all the time. Students will be able to use this time to actually use their brains in figuring out different words that is found in literature and will then be able to find the meanings of these words on their own, more often. “I think it’s also really important for students to have a few minutes of quiet time during the day. We get very few moments of peace during the school day!” There are many other benefits to having a reading period implemented into biweekly W4 classes, for that of both students and teachers.


BY ANIQA RASHID Academics Editor

Students will now be required to read silenty without the distraction of electronic devices.

As students will be able to work with something that is not exactly required for any of their classes, they will perhaps gain an interest in reading on their own time. “And I know most teachers love to read but just don’t have the time to do it. This is a perfect excuse to pick up that book we’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had time to start,” Dearinger said. Books are natural conversationstarters, so students and teachers would also be able to communicate more, and effectively as well. Some students think that the DEAR program is a good idea and will help the students with their time. “I think I’ll like it because it’s nice to relax and just read,” sophomore Julia Quizon said. “In our hectic high school life, we don’t have time to just sit down and read a book, so [the program] is really good. It should be fun.” Others think that the newly implemented program will take away time from the students. “I’m pretty sure a lot of students who take rigorous courses use that time to

The right classes to another class. “I’ve been in a course that was too easy,” junior Vinh Nguyen said, “so I changed to a higher level course.” “I talked to my counselor,” Obregon said. “He couldn’t take me out of ESOL officially, but he put me at a higher level. My new class is better for me. Everybody there speaks English.” BY LINUS BUMBACA In most cases, students find that Academics Editor they are in the wrong classes before the Having entered the second half of end of first quarter and are moved soon the school year, it is time for students after. to start thinking about the classes they “I found out the class wasn’t right will take next year. for me, the first two weeks of school,” While counselors do what they Obregon said. can to make sure students are placed In the course selection process, in classes that will be right for them, teachers that the student has had there are often circumstances that before recommend that they take leave students in unfitting classes. certain classes based on how well they “The first time [there was a mistake] did in a subject. I was put in ESOL classes, where you “Previous teachers give advice for learn English” freshman Alex Obregon particular students,” Dienstfrey said. said. “But I already knew English.” “Counselors and parents get involved Classes are decided between the in it too. If a student or counselors, students, parent disagrees with parents and teachers, The fact is that you a decision, they can but despite the people talk with the teacher only have a few issues involved, the result or counselor about that. per class. No system can be different from It’s their prerogative.” what was expected. runs perfectly, but it “Teachers can tell if “They may the students are getting works relatively have wanted to try failing grades and not smoothly. something more understanding content challenging, and find on a consistent basis,” – Tobias that they bit off more Dunnell said. Dienstfrey than they could chew,” Most subjects have Algebra 2 and Algebra become increasingly 2 Plus teacher Tobias Dienstfrey said. challenging throughout the years, but “They may have wanted to go the some changes in class difficulty may easy route and got bored if it’s not still be surprising to students. challenging enough.” The teaching style and difficulty of “Sometimes students make progress content varies between subject courses, faster than expected, sometimes slower like biology, chemistry and physics. than expected,” ESOL Math teacher “Most students know what they’re Audrey Dunnell said. getting into,” Dienstfrey said. “The Teachers and department chairs in previous teacher has a discussion with each subject try to account for this by the student if they aren’t going into the having students take an assessment at expected class, to avoid surprises later the beginning of the year. on.” “We give a 40 question diagnostic Placing students into the right test at the beginning of the year,” classes is not a flawless process, but Dienstfrey said. “If they do well, they those involved try their best to ensure can go to Algebra 2 Honors, but if they that students can get the education do poorly then it would be better for they need in a way they can handle. them to take Algebra 2 Plus.” “Some students struggle, but we try “ESOL students don’t choose their to place students at an appropriate level classes,” Dunnell said, “they take a in accordance with county guidelines,” standardized test before enrollment Dunnell said. and are placed according to that. “Two to three students out of a class Teachers have some discretion, so of twenty-five may be misplaced, but placement doesn’t rely solely on one overall I think recommendations is a test.” good process.” If a student and their teacher think “The fact is that you only have a that they are in the wrong class level, few issues per class,” Dienstfrey said. the teacher suggests to the subject’s “No system runs perfectly, but it works department chair to move the student relatively smoothly.”

Students find themselves in the wrong class levels

get their work or hours done, and catch up,” junior Atiqa Khan said. Khan said that silent reading is meant to be for leisure time but that work that could have been done during that time, that actually receives grades for academic courses, does not get finished.” Although there are conflicting opinions with the introduction of the silent sustained reading (SSR), only a short amount of time is being used, that students usually spend idly. Dearinger said that the DEAR program leaders understand that some students may utlize the W4 class to complete work, but it only comprises of a very small time every other Friday. Students still have Atom Time, and will still have the oppurtunity to make up tests or quizzes or finish up work. Even though time may interrupt some students’ time and assignments, this program may actually help their planning skills and reduce procrastination. Students simply need to know the dates in which the SSR times are on and plan out ahead of time to make sure that their work is completed on time, and not before a major deadline.

Despite criticism, DEAR could be that one step towards more proficient reading for all students because of concern over the ability and performance of students’ literacy skills. “The reading levels vary greatly across the school, but in every grade level, from grade nine to twelve, about one-fourth of students are reading significantly below grade level, while another one-fourth are reading just below grade level,” Dearinger said. Based on the statistics, half of the students population is reading way below reading level, under the regular reading mark. The one-half of students reading below grade level, whether in ESOL or who take regular classes are not getting enough stimulation or reading activity in their regular routine are able to benefit and improve on their skills through this program. AHS is behind on this trend- most FCPS schools have some kind of silent sustained reading program already, perhaps in their free period and also in their English classes. The schools that do have this kind of program, implement it into their students’ schedules on a daily basis. An effort at this kind of beneficiary reading program was put in place a couple of years ago, but the impact of the program was not known. “I don’t know exactly what it entailed or how successful it was. I do know that some teachers have already been implementing silent sustained reading in their classrooms on their own, to great success,” Dearinger said. The managing staff hopes that instead of only a few students- that every student will be able to get the chance to partake in SSR. This program is hoped to encourage students to read more often on their own, thus improving students’ literacy, analytical and reading skills. It’s also meant to help those who don’t particularly have an interest in reading, and will make all students be pro-active in learning themselves and be more aware of their reading abilities. “We also hope students who are reluctant readers will find some books they actually enjoy reading and will start to become lifelong readers on their own,” Dearinger said. “Every student can find something of interest to read for 20-25 minutes, whether it be the A-Blast, a magazine, or a book. The trick will be finding the right material for students at first.”

9 Do you think the DEAR program will benefit students? “I think students should have a choice because not everyone likes to read,” ––Jannat Fatima sophomore

“I think students really don’t benefit because during the school day they focus on their school work and would rather find it to be a waste,” ––Atiqa Khan junior

“I think that the silent reading should be optional because students might have work for other teachers to do that they need to complete,” ––Kazi Rahman senior

“I think that it would be beneficial for some people but a lot of people use W4 for completing their work,” ––Samah Faris junior

Vocabulary Words ACERBITY noun Sourness or acidness of taste, character, or tone. IMMACULATE adjective Completely neat and clean; without fault or error. PALLIATE verb To make an offense seem less serious; make less severe. ACCOLADE noun An expression of approval; praise. RESPLENDENT adjective Splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant. EXPOUND verb Clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing.

Tips on working with others in group assignments On your smartphone, scan this code above using the app “QR Code” to view tips on how to work in groups.

- Throughout the 1920s, the French controlled the Provinces of Syria such as Damascus. - After the French divided the country, Syria slowly pushed out France during their involvement with WWII founded. - The Baath Party was founded during the 1940s. They dissolved all political parties and started the revolution. - United Arab Republic was created which ordered the dissolution of Syrian political parties and to dismay the Baath party. - The rise of Assad happened during the 1960s. The President destroyed much of the air forces and connections with Egypt. - War with Israel during the 1970s which led to the infamous riots of the 1980s and so forth.

Thoughts on Syrian conflict from our history teachers

“It’s complicated and it’s not in the U.S.’s sphere of influence. The African Union and Arab league should be taking the fore front on this. Another problem is once al-Assad is gone, who will take over? Al-Qaeda has been against him so the outcome might concluded a new leader. The Syrian civil war could be the start of a region conflict across the Middle East.”

Jonathan York Topics

“The U.S. should not be engaged in this conflict. We don’t know where this is going and we have minimal influence on the outcome. This conflict is not a simple black and white dilemma; there are no good guys.”

John Hawes TOK and Georgraphy

“This is the short end result of short sighted policies of the Treaty of Versailles which almost insures instability within the region.”

Joel Jepson HOA and US Government

Compiled by Nuhami Mandefro

Life back in Syria Siblings open up about Civil War and moving to Annandale BY NUHAMI MANDEFRO International Editor After years of running and panicing from bullets and bombs, Jasmine and Mohamed finally escaped the civil war. Senior Jasmine Haitalani lived in the city of Aleppo with her mom, father, younger brother, and the majority of her family With good grades and plenty of friends, Haitalani left her whole life as she escaped to Annandale the summer of her junior year. “I had to leave Aleppo due to the terrible situations occurring around me,” Haitalani said. “Half of the government places are closed and if anyone needs a visa to get out of the country, they have to go somewhere else to get it like Lebanon or Turkey.” After living in America for a year, Jasmine was finally reunited with her brother, freshman Mohamed Haitalani. “I was glad to have my brother here and see him again after an entire year,” Jasmine said. “I still haven’t seen my mom or dad since August of 2012. My mom is currently in Brazil trying to get a visa to come here and my dad is still back home.” Since being here, problems have increasingly gotten worst back home. Jasmine and Mohamed describe the everyday struggles they’ve endured and witness - incidents that most people only see in newspapers and movies. “There were tanks all through my neighborhood and you couldn’t go a day without a missile firing (occur during the days and nights),” Jasmine said. “You could rarely get out of the house and between each block were soldiers from the army to check your car for weapons or anything threatening,” Mohamed said. The electricity was and is unstable and unreliable throughout Syria. The electricity would go off in Aleppo almost every day and places that sustained power only had it for a couple of hours. “I would sometimes not talk to my dad for weeks because he didn’t have electricity and I would be worried sick. I was a nervous wreck,” Jasmine said. The prices on everyday essentials doubled if not even tripled due to a shortage of supplies. This led to run down businesses and an increase in unemployment. “For water, we had to look at the water storage in our building and so we had to limit the amount of water we used for laundry or even doing dishes,” Jasmine said. “Water wouldn’t be available during daytime, usually only at night time so we had to save gallons of water to use throughout the day.” “My aunt and her family had to sleep over at our place for a month because she had no water or electricity at her house,” Mohamed said. According to the UN, over 100,000 civilians have died over the course of the war - 10,000 of

Senior Jasmine Haitalani moved from Aleppo during the summer of 2012.Things became difficult in Syria so she had to move to the U.S where her aunt lives. She misses her parents and friends and she hasn’t seen them since then. However, she is looking forward to graduating this year and reuniting with them soon. She has adjusted to AHS and has joined leadership this year.

them being children. Others have been sexually assaulted, imprisoned, and homeless. “My step aunt’s mother got hit in the leg and had to stay in the hospital for many weeks.” Mohamed said. “While my brother and I were in the U.S., my house was shot with bullets but luckily my dad wasn’t home so he didn’t get hurt,” Jasmine said. Public schools in the neighborhood were housing refugees or survivors from distant villages because they had no place to stay. They lived in small classrooms and each family had a minimum of six people making it’s incredibly tight. “My school closed down and I had to be home schooled for eighth grade. It was okay to be out of school and on my own schedule but I missed seeing my friends,” Mohamed said. The Haitalanis have experienced danger in an environment that should be safe. “One of the missals hit the high school in our neighborhood. It was close by and we had to go somewhere place to hide in the house,” Mohamed said. “We were all afraid that it would hit our building because the school was

From Guatemala to Annandale Student reveals the truth differences between the cultures and his preferences

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to visit the website to sign up. Read more about Coming to America

Guatemala is very different from other countries. Guatemala has pyramids made by the Mayas. You can have good vacations in my country. I was born in Guatemala. The United States is the only country that I have ever visited. The United States has many opportunities. In my country, we don’t have a lot of opportunities because the economy and the government are not doing so well but the food is very good. The economy in my country is not good. Some people have to work hard every day to have enough money for their own family. In the U.S.A, it is easier to find a job because of the good economy. The United States has a good economy, that is why people from other countries come to live and

Nuhami Mandefro

BY GENAR RAYMUNDO Special to the A-Blast

Coming to America

extremely nearby. My sister contacted us a few hours later but we never told her so she wouldn’t worry. We actually hid a lot of things from her while I was still in Syria. My parents didn’t want her to worry and we wanted her to enjoy her time.” Jasmine found out about the dangerous shooting once her brother came in July. “I was furious because my family was sacrificing and hiding things just for me to enjoy my time,” Jasmine said. Predominantly Sunni, Aleppo was one of the main targets during the war from Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, a Shi’ite. Jasmine and her close family are Shi’ite whereas the rest of her family are Sunni. “Although my family is with the Syrian president, I’m completely against him. The place I grew up in is slowly being destroyed and the matters are getting worse. I just hope it ends soon for the sake of the many lives lost,” Jasmine Haitalani said. Jasmine and Mohamed both live with their aunt today and hope that the civil war will soon come to an end.

Freshman Mohamed Haitalani moved from Aleppo this summer. He is happy to be reunited with his older sister, Jasmine, and is relieved to escape the war field called Syria. Mohamed says it took him a while to adjust but likes AHS. “I greatly misses my friends and family in syria but know it’s better here. I hope everyone is safe back home and I think about them everyday.”

Photo Courtesy of Jasmine Haitalani

Events leading to the Syrian Civil War

Feb. 12 2014

Photo Courtesy of Jasmine Haitalani



Genar Raymundo misses Guatemala but likes AHS

work here. The government in my country does not help the community. In the United States, the government helps the community by giving them

health care. The government in Guatemala does not provide healthcare for the community. In America, government does everything to make the community safe, and to make the country a better place to live. Guatemala has many types of food. Some of the Guatemalan food has been around for a long time. I miss the food from my country because it tastes really good. The United States has different types of food too, some of the food are, pizza, hamburgers, french-fries etc. Guatemala and the U.S.A are similar in terms of their food tasting really good. Final facts about Guatemala versus United States are that both countries are exciting because they are similar and different in some ways. The United States it is not like my country because the government provides healthcare for the community. Guatemala is similar to the United States in some ways like the food. The U.S.A also has an economy which is stronger. Guatemala economy is not like that; it is very weak. The United States is not like my country, but I like to live here. You can learn new things in the United States, and get to meet a lot of nice people from different parts of the world.




k a c a P r e l Ty

What was your first car? “A Honda Accord that I got when I was 16. If I could last two years without damaging it or getting a ticket, my parents would get me a new car.”


Feb. 12, 2014

Senior Tyler Pacak got his 2001 Mustang GT, pictured above and below, on his 16th birthday from his parents. His favorite part about his car is that it’s fast and loud. “I’ve had to do a little work on it,” said Pacak, “but for the most part it’s not that hard to maintain.” Pacak received his car by finding it through a scavenger hunt! “I was given a series of clues that led me to certain places that had had an impact on my life,” said Pacak, “and at each destination I would receive another clue until the last destination where I was presented with the car.” Tyler Pacak even personalized his car with a special license plate, see right, which makes it easy to spot but hard to forget.

— Carmen Bartley English teacher “My first car was a black Toyota Solara. I got it when I was 17, but it was actually my dad’s car and he just let me drive it.”

“It was a baby blue, limited edition, Buick Century. I ended up taking it to college and we called it “Spot” because of all the rust spots.”


s e h g u H Coach


— Amy Graham English teacher

Pat Hughes, Drivers Ed teacher and girls basketball coach, got this brand new 2014 Ford F-150 in December of 2013. “It was a Christmas present to myself,” said Hughes. His favorite part of the truck is the interior. “It’s black leather, with heating and cooling in the seats,” said Hughes, “it’s really comfy.” Mr. Hughes decided to get this new car because he had an old truck from 1995 that wasn’t safe to drive anymore. This truck is actually his first new car that he’s bought himself. “It’s really fun to drive,” said Hughes, “I love it.”

— David O’Hara P.E. teacher

“My car was a 1970 Ford Maverick. It was beautiful and blue, but I didn’t have a name for my car.”

Senior Carly Potts was given this Volkswagen Beetle for her 16th birthday in April of 2012. Her favorite part of her car is that it’s a stick shift car. “Not many people can drive stick shift cars,” said Potts, “but once you get the hang of it it’s easy.” She’s lucky because her parents pay for her gas and insurance, but since her car is old it’s hard to maintain sometimes.

“My first car was a 2000 Mazda 626. It was tan with leather seats, and I named it Lloyd.”

— Michael Mazzarella Math teacher

The A-Blast Instagram

g n a i N u o Fat

Junior Fatou Niang received this 2008 Mini Cooper convertible, see above, this past summer. It was her older sister’s but Fatou inherited it since she was going to get her license a few months later. “It isn’t very old,” said Niang “and luckily I haven’t encountered any major problems so far.” Her favorite part of her car is the great sound system. “It’s also really fun having a convertible, especially in the summer,” said Niang. Niang’s car has also been featured in two of AHS’s past homecoming parades! A photo from last year’s homecoming parade is shown above.


Make sure to follow the A-Blast Instagram for #TransformationTuesdays, #ThrowbackThursdays, and daily updates! Scan the QR code below to be linked to the Instagram.


Junior Zaryab Sethi is the proud owner of a 2005 Corvette Z06. He inherited it from his older brother in October of 2012. His favorite part about his car is that it goes really fast and it has a nice stereo. “I love how other people with nice cars gesture at it when they see me driving it,” said Sethi. One of the drawbacks of having a car like Sethi’s is that it’s really expensive to replace parts and fix the car.

Carly Potts


Zaryab Sethi


— Nancy Kaegi Science teacher

Zooooom onto our website! On your smartphone, scan the code to the left using the application “QR Code” to visit the A-Blast’s website and view a slideshow of students’ cars.

Thoughtful or clichéd Valentine’s Day Gifts? BY SACHA CAMERON Staff Writer There’s pink and red everywhere and hearts all around. That’s right; it’s that time of year again. As the Valentine’s Day gets closer, couples scramble to find that perfect gift to say ‘I love you’ to their significant other. There are, of course, many traditional options to consider when thinking about a gift. Flowers and chocolate seem to be the go-to options for couples everywhere. On a day in which people celebrate their relationships, is it better to go with a safe option that is sure to please? “I think that flowers and chocolate are cliché,” junior Sabrina Rivera said. “It’s still nice but it’s cliché. It’s a staple and it’s expected and people turn to that when they can’t get creative.” Sophomore Elise Kim thinks that giving a generic gift is a sign that the gift-giver may not know the recipient too well. “I don’t think generic gifts would happen if the people knew each other well,” Kim said. “They’d actually get each other something they actually like.” Will Chase believes that the perfect Valentine’s Day gift is something that cannot be bought, wrapped, or tied with a bow. “The perfect Valentine’s Day gift would be just me and her spending time together,” Chase said. Whether going traditional or thinking outside of the box, make sure to impress this Valentine’s Day.

Feb. 12, 2014

acebook Turns Ten Social media icon hits a major milestone, however is it still relevant toward users? BY PHUONG NGUYEN

Lifestyles Editor You’re staring at your Twitter feed while trying to take selfies to post on Instagram, little that you realized that once wildly popular Facebook marks its 10th anniversary. In reminiscence of its ten years on the web, Facebook released a video option. Users can choose to view a minute long video of their memorable experiences while on Facebook. Billions of likes, friend requests, notifications and relationship statuses later, is Facebook still significant among young users? Facebook transformed how people interact with each other. “It’s brought the world closer,” senior Amelie Trieu said. “You can click on someone’s face and see their mutual friends. It connects people around the world together and family members that live far away.” Websites such as Twitter and Instagram sprouted from the ideals of Facebook. The ability to connect and share anything appeals to sociable person. Now in 2014, Facebook has become obsolete among young social media users thanks to the rise in forums such as Twitter, Instagram, and the addictive Tumblr. “Social media is like a bandwagon, one person starts using one network, then they tell their friends how awesome it is and starts a chain reaction,” sophomore Julia Quizon said.




Despite celebrating its tenth anniversary, Facebook’s prominence is diminishing among younger users.

“Facebook works the same way.” Facebook’s current slump is contributed to several factors. First of the all, the site grew rapidly and peaked too early. As millions signed on to the site, the large volume of users caused Facebook to lose its “cool factor.” Users began to turn to other places where they can still update their statuses all day long while differentiating themselves from everyone else. “Now that there’s [places like] Twitter, there’s no need for Facebook,” sophomore Elise Kim said. Students in particular avoid using Facebook because

of the presence of their parents who have accounts. It can very awkward if your mom tries to befriend you and monitors your profile page. Facebook’s recent marketing direction focused on advertising and emphasis on gaming has turned away users who find it overwhelming and annoying. The networking site disconnected itself from its original focus of connecting people together and is instead exploiting users with ads. Sophomore Marem Atef used to enjoy chatting and sharing whatever she had in mind with her friends. She left Facebook while in middle school and turned to other social media websites. “Facebook has a bunch of ads and games that not a lot of people are interested in,” Atef said. “Twitter has become more popular,” Trieu said. “The ads and updates got annoying.” Students predict that Facebook’s popularity will decline until it reaches the status of practically abandoned Myspace. “Everyone is one Twitter now, just like when everyone started using Facebook, Myspace became lame and no one uses it anymore,” Kim said. “It kind of went from Myspace to Facebook and now it’s more like Twitter,” freshman Madison Lowry said.” “All social media goes through its phase of popularity and then it’s down and something new pops up.” Regardless of its decline, Facebook has left a legacy for future websites that want to follow in its path. In the meantime, Facebook has to step up and improve user experience to woo back its audience. “We’re always looking for something new as teenagers,” junior Dwashema Liburd said. “As soon as something new comes out, we switch to that.”

y Strange F d Addictions

Alternatives to Cliché Gifts

“I love [eating] french fries dipped in ice cream whenever I eat fast food about once a week.”

“I really like Spicy Cheetos. I eat them all the time because I love spicy food.”

“ I love eating snails.”

“I have a cheese obsession. I sit on my bed at midnight with my phone in my hand and eat a bag of cheese.”

Instead of Chocolates: Be creative by giving your date a large jar of personalized M&M’s in their favorite colors.

Instead of Valentine’s Cards: Meaningful gifts such as Valentine’s cards shouldn’t be bought at a drugstore. Create a photo album with memories of your date for a meaningful touch.

Chris Phan freshman

Nora Hasrat freshman

Iris Arrazola freshman “If I drink a smoothie, it has to have mangos in it. Mangos just give it this taste that is amazing. I haven’t had a smoothie in weeks because of this.”

“I eat the little kid squeezable apple sauce packets. They’re really tasty and easy to eat.”

Syneese Noble sophomore

“I have a weird habit where I eat these Goya “Maria cookies. I [pour in] milk and mash them up. I like the consistency and taste of it since I usually eat my cereal soggy anyhow. “

“I only drink almond milk not milk from cows. I eat bagels instead of doughnuts I’m a whole foods type of gal.”

Instead of a Dinner Date: Show your date that love them by making a dinner with all of her favorite dishes.

On your smart phone, scan this code using the application “QR code” to read and see a slideshow about how Olympic uniforms showcase style.

Mahlet Ayele sophomore

Andrew Leal junior

Hayat Yusuf senior

Bethel Mahoney senior –Compiled By Phuong Nguyen and Diana Quezada


Feb. 12, 2014

Say, sayonara seniors!

Senior winter sport athletes reflect on their time at AHS as their last season come to an end Grant Gittins Basketball

Quote you live by: “Nothing is impossible, the nerd itself says I’m possible.” Hidden Talent: I can drink water the fastest. Highlight of sports career: Game winning shot against Lake Braddock. Advice to younger athletes: Before every game, eat a kiwi with a spoon. Most embarrassing moment: I accidently tripped and fell in a hole when I was trying to ask my girlfriend out.

Ishaq Isse Basketball

Rebecca Yohannes



Lewis Folli Track & Field Prized possession: Lotion and chapstick. Highlight of sports career: Beating a guy with dreads and tattoos in a race. Advice to younger athletes: Don’t do winter track...It’s too cold for all that. Most embarrassing moment: Losing a race because I tried to smile for the finish line camera. Your biggest secret: I have a private collection of Disney Princess joke.

Elexis Evans Track & Field Quote you live by: “Love no thotties.” Most embarrassing moment: Tripping at the start of one of my races. Favorite memory: Going on an overnight trip to Richmond with my track family. Highlight of sports career: Breaking the schools 100 meter dash record. Biggest secret: I am an undercover fairy. Hidden talent: I am a really good dancer.

Noah Wolfenstein Swim & Dive Hidden talent: I can open my mouth really big. Quote you live by: “Bro, do you even lift?” Prized possession: My extra-plush viscoelastic foam pillow. Legacy: A fun, loving guy who smelled great and gave a speech once. Most embarrassing moment: Every time I swam 100 Backstroke. Biggest secret: I don’t actually know how to swim (shhhh...).

Erika Alwes Swim & Dive Hidden Talent: I burp like a champion. Most embarrassing moment: When I dropped a 45 pound weight on my toe and I was out for a couple of games. Hightlight of sports career: Beating Lake Braddock. What you will miss most: The bus rides to and from the meets. Your biggest secret: I listen to really, really dirty music before a game. It gets me pumped.

Ali Imran Wrestling

Quote you live by: “Never back down.” Hidden Talent: I can do a cartwheel. Most embarrassing moment: getting pinned my senior year. Your biggest secret: I watch chick flicks sometimes. What I will miss most: I will miss putting on my singlet and being able to do the sport again. Advice to younger athletes: Don’t give up no matter how hard it is. Just keep trying.

What winter olympic sport are you most excited to watch?

Prized possession: My Christmas Lebrons. Quote you live by: “Grind now, shine later.” Most embarrassing moment: Wearing dress socks in a game. Highlight of sports career: Beating Lake Braddock. Your biggest secret: I have one arm that is longer than the other. What I will miss most: Chilling with my team.

Carly Klima Quote you live by: “If you ain’t talkin’ money, I don’t wanna talk.” Legacy: Long hair, don’t care. Advice to younger athletes: Burn your ankle socks. Prized possession: My array of elite socks. Your biggest secret: Coach Bartley is actually my twin sister. Favorite memory: My final game on JV game I scored 27 points against Lake Braddock.


Quote you live by: “Show no love for the thots.” Favorite memory: Getting the “TMI” paper plate award because I talk about how I do “stuff” too much. Highlight of sports career: The team doing the Cha Cha Slide during practice. Legacy: My nappy hair. Most embarrassing moment: Scoring in the other teams basket.

“Snowboarding because I think it is really cool.”

— Jalen Lynch Freshman

“Snowboarding and skiing because those are the only two sports I watch.”

— Katie Pacak Sophomore

“Speed skating because I like the intensity of it and it is really cool to watch.”

— Effie Kalulu Junior

Kyle Peich Track & Field Quote you live by: “Waking up is the second hardest thing in the morning.” Hidden talent: I am pretty smart. Highlight of sports career: Going to states for track. Most embarrassing moment: Falling during a race. Your biggest secret: Victoria’s. Advice to younger athletes: Get good grades, it’s not all about sports. Legacy: I am a nice, fun guy. What I will miss most: All of my friends who have become family.

“Downhill skiing because I love to ski, so it is cool to see professionals do it 50 times faster than I do.”

— Eric Mejean Senior

“Slalom, because I like skiing and it is enjoyable.”

Melissa Pratt Track & Field Quote you live by: “Running sure is a pain in the butt, but it sure gives me a good one.” Advice to younger athletes: Don’t wear underwear with running tights. Underwear lines do not look good when you’re running. Most embarrassing moment: Face planting over a hurdle of course. Favorite memory: Team dinners where the guys showed the girls how to twerk. Your biggest secret: I hate running.

Michael Sgrecci Swim & Dive

Prized possession: My lucky towel. Quote you live by: “Go in hard, come out wet.” Hidden Talent: Dolphin Dive. Favorite memory: Flaunting my hot bod at the winter pep rally. Most embarrassing moment: Almost missing my race and having to swim in shorts because I didn’t have time to put my suit back on. Your biggest secret: My body hasn’t always been this hot.

Tricia Liller Swim & Dive Prized possession: My stuffed donkey that my favorite coach gave me. Quote you live by: “Losers sleep outside.” Most embarrassing moment: When the timer caught me peeing behind the block. Favorite memory: When I was attacked by Bennett’s dog at a team dinner. Your biggest secret: I cry during most practices.

Dominic Maier Wrestling Favorite memory: Getting slammed by Ali Ali Musa. Hidden Talent: Powerful tongue. Legacy: The weird, crazy white guy. Most embarrassing moment: Coming of the field as blue as a smurf. Your biggest secret: I have a huge crush on Mrs. Klein. What I will miss most: My coaches and my teammates. Advice to younger athletes: Don’t do any drugs.

—Complied by Erin Johnson

— William Maglisceau English Teacher

15 songs to get you pumped before your game 1. M.A.A.D city: Kendrick Lamar 2. Turn Down For What: DJ Snake & Lil Jon

3. Dark Horse: Katy Perry 4. Rap God: Eminem 5. Til I collapse: Eminem 6. Work: A$AP Ferg 7. Pour it Up: Rihanna 8. Bird Machine: DJ Snake 9. Here come the boom: Nelly 10. Run this Town: Jay-z feat. Kanye West and Rihanna 11. No Church in the Wild: Kanye West 12. Let it Burn: Stic man feat. NYM 13. Monster: Kanye West 14. Hello Goodmorning: Diddy 15. Weekends: Skrillex

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to visit the Red and White Golf Classic website to sign up.


SPORTS Preview to spring sports Baseball hits the batting cages for preseason prep

What is your opinion of being a 3 peat athlete?


“I think being a 3 peat athlete is a good thing because it keeps me in shape during the school year.” — Lucie Lefbom freshman


“I think being a 3 peat athlete is a good thing because I love sports so its nice to always be part of a team.”

With the spring baseball season quickly approaching, the new head coach Dan Porter has high hopes for the season and expects a good turnout. This is coach Dan Porter’s first season here at AHS, and hopes to bring something new to the program. “I feel like I am energetic and able to communicate well with the players. I have experience in the sport, as I played college baseball,” coach Porter said. The baseball team has many goals for the season that they hope to accomplish. “One goal for this season is to be able to reach the regional tournament. Hopefully we will come together as a

Feb. 12, 2014

team, and also improve greatly as a team,” Porter said. The players have been working hard at the green days in order to prepare for the upcoming season. The coach has plans for their practices that will help them have a better season. “We are going to practice very efficiently by doing a lot of hitting and simulating games whenever possible,” Porter said. The baseball team hopes to not be held back by their loss of seniors that graduated last year. “Part of high school sports is losing players and having to move on,” Porter said. “The team and I are looking forward to a good season.” Senior Travis Swann who has been playing baseball since freshman year is excited for this upcoming season hoping that his high school baseball career finishes well. “I want to finish out high school on a positive note by having a great baseball season. Im looking forward to it,” Swann Said.

Senior Noah Wolfenstien practices hitting during a green day in the pre-season.

“I think its good to stay involved but it takes a toll on your social life and acedemic performance.”

BY CONRAD SHARTEL Sports Editor The girls lacrosse team looks forward to a strong season this spring. The team hopes to do as well, if not better, than they did last year. Last season they tied for third in the Patriot District. Head coach Cindy Hook has good hopes for the season and has many new goals she hopes to accomplish. “One goal is for all of the girls to have a lot of fun while they learn as much as possible about lacrosse and life at the same time,” Hook said. “Another goal is to improve our individual and team defense and to make better decisions on the field.” The girls lacrosse team lost some players this year due to graduation, but Hook believes it will not affect them. “Every year we lose players to college. I never see it as losing, but I see it as an opportunity for the team to work to the best of their ability and make the team as strong as possible,” Hook said. “Last year’s success was not the work of single players, but the team

Alumni Postcard Paige Britton Q. What is your favorite memory of AHS lacrosse? A. “My favorite memories of AHS acrosse is all the fun team dinners we had throughout the season and 3 v. 2s during practice.” Q. What is lacrosse like at Liberty? is it more challenging? More fun? A. “Lacrosse at Liberty is the best experience of my life. Im always surrounded by encouraging coaches and teammates who love the Lord. But it is very challenging because we practice all day everyday and we have conditioning and weight lifting too.” Q. Why did you choose lacrosse in general? A. “I chose lacrosse in second grade and have always had a passion for it.” Q. What advice would you give a student doing AHS lacrosse this season? A. “My advice is to go all out. Do not leave the field thinking you could have done something better. Also there are very high expectations for everyone so do your best.”

Compiled by: Melanie Bennett

as a whole.” Coach Hook has new plans for this year’s practice. She hopes they will prove effective during the season. “Every year is new. This year we will focus on improving individual skill and on improving the team’s defense. The biggest help with improvement is having players make good decisions on the field,” Hook said. Hook is also confident in the leadership of the seniors this season. “Based on the turnout at the interest meeting and the great leadership of the senior class, I believe the season will be very successful.”

Freshman Sarah Deible runs a drill in practice

Winter track helps transition into spring The momentum from districts and regionals gives runners a head start on upcoming spring season BY CONRAD SHARTEL Sports Editor With the previous winter track season coming to an end, coach O’Hara looks forward to this upcoming season and has high hopes for his runners. Coach O’Hara has taken over the head track and field coach position after previous head coach Sean Miller left. O’Hara has tactics he will use in practice to prepare the runners. “We will treat everyday like it is a meet with the

same amount of focus. If you practice half-heartedly, you will perform half-heartedly,” O’Hara said. O’Hara has some goals for the season he believes his runners can accomplish. “My goals for the season are to bring out the best in every runner and be the most competitive team in the district,” O’Hara said. The coaching staff for this season is much different than last year. Many coaches left, giving the team the opportunity to get new coaches with different insights. “My hope is that with the additional coaches specializing in more events we can concentrate more on each athlete to help them improve,” O’Hara said. O’Hara hopes to fill in the shoes of previous coach Sean Miller and continue the tradition of competitiveness he demanded. The athletes are looking forward to having a productive season in the hopefully nice weather.

Boys soccer green days start Boys Soccer strives to regain team chemistry BY CONRAD SHARTEL Sports Editor The Annandale boys soccer team has many new hopes for the upcoming spring season. They hope to have a productive season with a great turnout of talented players. “Our goals for the season are to get a couple of wins in the playoffs,” assistant coach Stephen Brooks said. The teams hopes to not be hindered by the loss of players that graduated last year. The team will need to work extra hard to regain the talent and team chemistry from last season. “We have a lot of new and returning players this year, so the




— Travis Swann senior

coach Maglisceau said. BY CONRAD SHARTEL The players have input on what Sports Editor they too would like to work on in The boys lacrosse team has practice to improve their abilities. confidence for the upcoming season. “We need to practice fundamentals, They have many new goals they wish like stick skills and field sense,” to accomplish that will secure them Britton said. victory. “We are excited about the “We want to be strong on opportunity to shock the other teams ground balls, be well prepared with this season,” Maglisceau said. “This is game plans, and limit the amount the most excited I’ve been since 2007.” of turnovers,” head coach Bill Maglisceau said. Lacrosse players for the the team also have goals that should help them improve their performance. “My goal is for the the team to win some games and not depend on just a few players,” sophomore Caleb Britton said. Maglisceau has new plans for this upcoming season. He feels that these new practice ideas will help the team even more than in the past. “We will be doing shooting everyday, working on defense footwork and making sure every player gets more touches with the ball Boys practice defense at lacrosse green day. to ensure near perfect stick skills,”


— Kara Hoisington junior

Girls Lacrosse green days spark hope for season

An Atoms soccer player practices his shooting in a green day this season.

team will be different,” Brooks said. Since the team has many new players, and is essentially a new team, they do not have many

preset weaknesses. “This team will have different players, so we need to work on team chemistry in order to ensure future wins,” Brooks said. The team does have many strengths that some of the players carried on over from last season. “I think our biggest strength is our resiliency,” Brooks said. “We never gave up. The players played with a lot of passion and we want to keep that up this season.” The view at the greenday looked promising. There were many talented guys that showed up ready to play. The guys tried to impress coach Brooks as he directed them on a shooting drill. Brooks urged the guys to make their runs as non boring as possible so the coaches would notice their talent. All the guys looked excited to show the coaches what they can do.


“I think being a 3 peat athlete is good because it gives me something to do.”

Boys Lacrosse looks promising during winter

Gabriel Lajnef runs during winter practice to prep for spring.

Congratulations to the 2nd place Grappling Atoms! COURTESY OF WES MILLER

— Kevin Folli sophomore

Hammaad Lodhi 106 lb. Runner-up Anouar Sakta 113 lb. Runner-up Alex Joya 120 lb. Runner-up Sergio Pozo 126 lb. 4th place Trevor Hobbs 138 lb. 3rd place Connor Beveridge 132 lb. 3rd place Azamat Islrailov 145 lb. 4th place Devin Hamlett 160 lb. CHAMPION Wes Miller 170 lb. CHAMPION Greg Stratton 182 lb. Runner-up Dominic Maier 195 lb. 4th place Tony Gibbs 220 lb. CHAMPION Sergio Martinez 285 lb. 4th place


SPORTS Track hopeful for regionals Feb. 12, 2014

What is your biggest improvement so far?

Destiny Anderson

Elexis Evans

Aviad Gebrehiwot

Sanusi Jalloh

Nathan Hogye

“Overall jumps were my biggest improvement. I’ve been getting stronger with that and improving.”

“Overall jumps were my biggest improvement. I’ve been getting stronger with that and improving.”

“I probably improved the most in the mile because I dropped 6 seconds.”

“I think my biggest improvement was the 4x2 because my team ran a good time and we grew as a team.”

“I think my biggest improvement this winter season was my time in the 4x2.”

Swim ends season with many regional achievements Sophomore Aaron Boyd breaks 32 year old 200 free record, qualifies him for state tournament


BY ZEKE YONAS Staff Writer The swim team attended the district tournament on Friday Jan 31. and Saturday Feb. 1 at Audrey Moore Center. Even though the Atoms did not place as well as they had hoped, the effort put forth from all the swimmers was a sight to be seen. “We had a lot of best times at districts”, head coach Ryan Smith said, “We have 10 swimmers going to regionals, and I am very pleased overall.” One swimmer who has prequalified states is sophomore Aaron Boyd. He placed first in the 100-meter freestyle. “I did pretty well in districts and am really happy I made it to states”, Boyd said, “We did good as a team and all dropped a lot of times.” Throughout the course of the season, both the boys and girls teams have made significant improvements. “Our biggest achievement this year was our consistent improvement throughout the year”,

coach Smith said, “In districts we swam our best times, both individually and as a team.” Aaron Boyd is also the top individual qualifier for the State Tournament. During his regional swims, he qualified for the 200 free, 100 free, 50 free and the 200 free relay breaking the AHS 200 free record in the process. The other qualifiers for states are the boys in the 200 free relay. Beau Hatch, Travis Swann and Gabe Martino. “I have dropped a lot of time this season and I think I’m ready for states”, said Boyd, “I have been resting, trying to eat better, and working out my technique.” Even though the swim team has made improvements overall, they still need to make adjustments going forward to get better as a team. “Our biggest weakness is depth”, coach Smith said, “We need more swimmers for both girls and boys so we can be more competitive with our teams in the district.” The Atoms are losing a lot of senior swimmers next year, but they still have high hopes for next season. “Next year I hope we get a lot of new swimmers, and a good freshman class”, Smith said “On the girls team we are losing a lot of seniors, so there is a lot of new places to fill as well as leadership positions to fill. I hope we can improve our record and win some more meets and I’m trying to send more swimmers into regionals, and maybe even states.”

Coach’s Corner Ryan Smith: Swim

Q. How did you finish the season? Are you proud? A. “I was really happy with the way all the swimmers did at districts, there were a lot of best times, a lot of dropped times. We also sent several swimmers to regionals and now have a relay and Aaron Boyd going to states and I am very pleased with that.” Q. What were your biggest strengths and achievements as a team? A. “Our biggest achievement for this year was our consistent improvement throughout the season leading up to districts where we swam our best times as a team, in both individual events and relays.” Q. What were your weaknesses as a team? A. “Depth, we need more swimmers on both sides, the girls and the boys. Hopefully next year we can have more people try out and improve our depth so we can be more competitive with teams in the district.” Q. What is your favorite memory of the season? A. “Depth, we need more swimmers on both sides, the girls and the boys. Hopefully next year we can have more people try out and improve our depth so we can be more competitive with teams in the district.” Q. Are you returning next season? What do you hope to scomplish then? A. “I definitely plan on coming back next season. I hope we can get a lot of new swimmers to come out, and hopefully have a good freshman class, especially on the girls side because we’re losing a lot of seniors. I hope we can improve our record, win some more meets, and send more swimmers onto regionals, and maybe even states.”


BY CYNTHIA WEINER Staff Writer The AHS track team will be participating in the regional meet today, Feb. 12 at PG County Sports Complex. The AHS indoor track team recently participated in the Patriot Conference on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. Both the boys and the girls teams brought competition to the table, finishing with the boys placing in 4th and the girls placing in 6th. “The boys had a very strong showing even though we had some bad breaks that were out of control, we finished 4th but we were close to 3rd” head coach David O’Hara said. “On the ladies side we did not do well on the stats sheet but this is by far the most dedicated and hardest working group of ladies we have had since I started coaching and I am very proud of their effort this season.” Varsity sprints coach Carl Klein also is proud of the performance at the meet, adding that the team “worked extremely hard this season and it showed at districts.” With this performance by the entire boys and girls team at the conference, some individuals found their way to outshine the competition to move on to the regional meet taking place today. “There were some really stand out performances,” Klein said. “Runners like Bernard Andoh who got second overall in districts in the 55

meter race. He ran his best time of the year when it really counted. Nathan Hogye ran a very fast 500 meters and he will be moving on along with our 4x200 meter relay.” Other members of the track team, including Kyle Peich, Marcus Walton, Destiny Anderson, Elexis Evans, Margaret Njomo, Khalil Haj-Assad, Lewis Folli, Bernard Andoh, Aviad Gebrehiwot, Nathan Hogye, and Sanusi Jalloh, will also be moving on to the regional meet. In order to prepare for this regional meet, the team has been holding their own last-minute practices in the last week. “For regionals the goal is to stay healthy, stay focused, and to concentrate on the little things that can make a big difference,” O’Hara said. “These include hand-offs for relays, practicing starts, doing runway drills for jumps and sharpening the final kick for the mile.” The team is looking forward to the competition today, with high hopes of their performance against the other runners. “We are looking pretty good against other teams for regionals,” Klein said. “I think our guys can get great times and make it to states.” Shot-put and hurdler coach Bob Sikes also has high hopes for those he coaches, saying that “I have 3 that I coach and I think all 3 of them can make it to states.” Their goal for today is simple: beat the competitive competition. “Our goal is to run as hard as we possibly can,” Klein said. “Run like it is the last time you will ever be able to compete in school. Get our minds right and dominate.” Senior Lewis Folli does hurdles in practice to prepare for regionals.


Track team performs well at districts, individuals qualify for regional tournament

Alumni Postcard Andrew Boyd

Senior Tricia Liller Swims the 100 breaststroke at the district tournament.

AHS athletes commit to colleges in letter signing

Jordan Fox Q. How long have you been playing soccer? What made you want to start playing soccer? A. “Ive been playing soccer for 13 years and I love the sport. It was not until I was in seventh grade that I decided to take my commitment level to the sport to a more dedicated stage. Thats when I decided that I wanted to play in college.” Q. What led you to want to play at JMU? Did you visit the campus? What did you like about it? A. “A lot of my friends and close mentors went there and I fell in love with the campus the first time I visited. There is also alot of school spirit.”

Q. What challenges did you face in your soccer career? Did they make you a better player? A. “I have been injured several times and this along with trying to be recruited was difficult. Overall these setbacks have taught me that everything will fall into place with hard work and desire.” Q. What is your biggest strength a soccer player? A. “Physicality and leadership on the field.”

Michelle Burnett Q. How long have you been playing soccer? What made you want to start playing soccer? A. “Ive been playing soccer for 13 years and I liked playing when I was little because I was competitive and I love sports.” Q. What led you to want to play at JMU? Did you visit the campus? What did you like about it? A. “I really like the size and campus. also it was a D1 school and in the CAA so I knew athletically it would be a good fit. Also the coaches were really interested in me and I liked them.”

Q. What challenges did you face in your soccer career? Did they make you a better player? A. “Getting injured multiple times and having to sit out. It made me stronger and a better player because it made me love the sport more.” Q. What is your biggest strength a soccer player? A. “Confidence in myself, speed and an aggressive mind set.” Q. Anything else? A. “#SoccerIsLife.”

Q. What is your favorite memory of AHS swim? A. “My favorite memory of AHS swim was being rude awakened my freshman year.” Q. Why did you choose swim in general? A. “I chose swim because I had friends who were on a summer swim team and I was influenced by them to join the team at AHS because it seemed like alot of fun and I love the sport.” Q. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome during AHS swim? A. “I think the biggest challenge I had to overcome was cutting my 50 breaststroke time in order to help my relay qualify for the regional and state tournaments.” Q. What advice would you give a student doing AHS swim next season? A. “Some advice I would give to someone wanting to swim next year is to go out and try your best. If youre not that fast you will eventually get better if you keep at it.”

18 What did you like about the Superbowl Halftime show?

“I liked Bruno Mars’ dance; I liked how his back up dancers went along with his dance moves.”

ENTERTAINMENT Opposite Worlds confuses viewers Feb. 12, 2014

The new Syfy channel competition show turns out to be lackluster BY AYAH OWEIS Entertainment Editor

— Henna Ayub junior

“The whole combination of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars was what I liked best.”

— Noah Woodward sophomore

“I liked when the Red Hot Chili Peppers jumped out onstage. It was pretty funny.”

The objective is to be the last one standing, but throughout the competition the players only have one thing on their mind: the future. Opposite Worlds, a reality game show, is a spin off of a Chilean series called Mundos Opuestos. In the show, there are 12 contestants, six in the primitive past and six in the technologically advanced future. Contestants living in the past have only vegetables to eat and animal fur blankets stacked on top of each other as beds.On the other side, the contestants in the future have maids and an electronic voice named Athena who answers any of their questions. The two “worlds” are set in an enormous warehouse and are

separated only by a glass wall. the least popular player is punished. Other than the Twitter Popularity Meaning both worlds can see each Index, contestants have to other. compete against each other in As the host, Luke Opposite Tipple, explains, Opposite Worlds Grade: a weekly “Worldly Challenge;” the winning team of the Worlds is not just a social challenge gets to choose in experiment, it is a social which “world” they live in. media experiment. Within each team there is also Opposite Worlds is one a “protected player,” a player of the first shows to use the who cannot be eliminated. Twitter Popularity Index, There is also a “decider,” who is a a system that uses fan’s tweets to determine a player’s popularity; the player chosen by votes who chooses most popular player is rewarded and which players from each world will go


against each other in the elimination battle called the “duel of destiny.” Despite the confusing set up, Opposite Worlds is an interesting competition that really engages viewers. By the end of the first episode, whoever is watching is sure to have an obvious favorite. Sadly, there is already a secret alliance between players from different worlds, defeating the purpose of the “social experiment” aspect of the show. Opposite World’s greatest downfall is its predictability. When it comes to the Twitter Popularity Index, it is obvious that contestants living in the past will always be the most popular, it had already been that way in the short time since the show began. People always root for the underdog. Still, Opposite Worlds is surprisingly a good show, especially w i t h t h e h a r d - c o r e “ Wo r l d l y Challenges.” Opposite Worlds airs on the SyFy channel Tuesdays at 10 and Wednesdays at 8.

Music festivals: Worth the wait and the distance

— Brandon Hunt freshman

Into it


“It was really fun because they have good music and everyone is really nice. It’s exciting because there it’s crowded and theres lights everywhere.” — Jenny Nguyen Senior

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to watch the Tomorrowland official aftermovie.

Identity Festival ID Fest is an annual American electronic music festival that tours around the U.S., starting in Indiana and ending in Washington. The closest festival is at the outdoor venue, Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia. This festival tours through June, July and August and features artists such as Datsik, Excision, Hardwell and Wolfgang Gartner. They have not released their 2014 tour dates or lineup yet.

TomorrowLand Celebrating its 10 year anniversary this July, TomorrowLand is the mother festival of TomorrowWorld, but unlike TomorrowWorld, TomorrowLand’s age minimum is 18. The managment of the festival have recently said that anyone born in 1996, no matter whether or not they are 18 by the time of the festival will be granted admission. The line up is still to be announced. TomorrowLand tickets are not on sale, but there is still a chance to preregister until February 15.

Revenge On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to watch a video of the Ultra Music Festival.

Flappy Bird

Over It

Ultra Music Festival

Firefly Music Festival

This annual two weekend outdoor EDM (electronic dance music) festival is held in multiple countries and venues but is only held in one US state, Florida. Every year, more and more people attend the festival, causing it to grow from 45,000 attendees to 330,000. UMF features artists such as Afrojack, Avicii, David Guetta and Zedd. The festival, that coincides with Miami’s annual Winter Music Conference, returns this year for the weekend of March 28.

The Firefly Music Festival is produced by Red Frog Events, an award winning production company. Anyone under 18 has to accompanied by someone (friend or guardian) over the age of 18. It is set in a wooded area in Dover, Delaware from June 19-22. This year’s lineup will include Foo Fighter’s, Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson and Outkast.

“I am planning on going to Firefly. I am excited about spending three days with my friend and enjoying the music.” — Jenni Hall Sophomore

Selena Gomez

“I like the free merchandise they give out there. They always have a good lineup also.”

Pretty Little Liars

— Francisco Lam Senior

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to watch a official video of a Life In Color concert.

Vans Warped Tour

Life in Color

Sponsored by shoe manufacturer, Vans, Warped Tour travels around the U.S. parking lots and open fields. At each concert their are around 100 bands playing; the bands range from street bunk to hard-core metal bands. This year, the tour starts early June and ends in August. The lineup for 2014 includes an array of bands, including I Fight Dragons, Terror, The Ready Set and The Maine.

Life in Color is the world’s largest paint party with an amazing line up of some of the best artists/DJs out there including, Afrojack, Axwell, Chuckie and R3hab. LIC began in college campuses in Florida in 2006 and has now spread to multiple states including Virginia, Texas and New Mexico, among others. It has recently made an appearance in European countries and well as Mexico. LIC begins the first phase of its tour in California on February 22 and continues until June.

Angry Birds On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to watch the Mysteryland aftermovie. On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to read the review of August: Osage County.

“I really liked the music and everyone there was very entergetic.”

Mysteryland Set in the same open field as Woodstock (New York), Mysteryland looks much like a travelling circus; that is, until the stage is set up and the music starts. The “holy ground” can only be camped on, meaning no cars are allowed. Mysteryland has spread to Chile and the Netherlands; it will return to the U.S. May 23-26. In past years, the festival has included incredible artists such as Steve Aoki, Porter Robinson, Fake Blood and Showtek. However, their 2014 lineup is still to be announced. There is also a 21+ age minimum.

Mad Decent Block Party Produced by TMWRK and Embrace, Mad Decent Block Party tours annually in the U.S. and Canada. This year, it has spread to South Africa, which is where they will kick off their 2014 tour. Similar to many other festivals, MDBP is usually held in an open field. Although they have not released their 2014 tour dates past South Africa or their lineup, they have previously featured artists such as Flosstradamus, Nadastrom and Riff Raff.

— Diego Cabrera Senior


Feb. 12th, 2014

Do you watch the awards? With the Oscars quickly approaching, does anybody still watch these kinds of programs? BY SASHA CAMERON Staff Writer Awards shows are promoted constantly throughout the year, both online and through TV commercials. They attract a lot of attention, but students have mixed feelings about watching them since they’re long and some people just aren’t interested. Each year, regular television is interrupted with live-streaming of celebrities walking the red carpet to attend one award show or another, followed by a celebration of the hard work and talent that went into the year’s music, movies and TV shows. Awards shows like the Emmys, Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Grammys and Tonys attract many viewers as they wait to see if their favorite actors, musicians, or movies win any awards. “People like to watch awards shows because they like to have fun,” junior David Furney said. “They watch them for entertainment.” Created in 1929, the Academy Awards (Oscars) was the first awards shows of all time. When it was first created, it wasn’t a show at all, but a private black-tie dinner that celebrated the achievements of actors and movie makers during the past year. It was a night filled with speeches and the Academy President handed out statuettes to the winners. Back

then, the recipients of the Awards were already announced in advance, so nobody was surprised by who won. Now, it is Academy Awards season once more. Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting for the second time, and the buzz around the awards has been going on for a while now. “I think Ellen will make a good host,” freshman Ceilidh Williams said. “Everyone just kind of loves her. She gets along with everyone.” said Williams. Once again, celebrities will make the walk down the red carpet to the biggest celebration of talent in film and movies. The Academy Awards remains the most viewed of the awards shows. People all over and of all ages tune in to see these awards shows for a variety of reasons. Some watch to see if their favorite celebrity takes home an award while others prefer watching the performances that are interspersed between the acceptance speeches. “People watch them because they’re entertaining and they get to see the people they idolize win stuff,” senior Xavier Felix said. Sophomore Sarah Woodward enjoys watching award shows because they provide a chance to see her favorite celebrities receive awards. “It’s really fun to see my favorite celebrities get recognized for being awesome,” Woodward said. She is planning on watching the Academy Awards this year, which are her favorite of the awards shows.

“My favorite parts are the performances because the speeches are boring,” Woodward said. Many students prefer watching the highlights of the Academy Awards, or any award shows because they don’t have to deal with the commercials or annoying parts of an award show. “I watch the recaps of the Grammys and Oscars because they’re shorter,” sophomore Anarae Howe said. Watching recaps of the awards provides a quicker, easier way to see the most important and interesting results of the night. With social media these days, the buzz about these awards gets crazy and most teens rely on those websites, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr to get them updated to the different award shows. Between trending topics on Twitter, the newest feed on Instagram some say it’s hard not to know what was going on. “I only watched part of the Grammys, but I saw on Twitter what was going on,” sophomore Mahlet Bereket said. When another award show comes around, the excitement surrounding the event can be seen all over the internet and television. Whether waiting anxiously for their favorite celebrity to accept an award or watching the performances attentively, millions of people tune in to watch awards shows and many more are able to see the results on social media sites. The 86th Academy Awards will be at 7:00 pm on March 2nd and can be watched on ABC.

Students choose Oscar winners Best Picture American Hustle 12 Years a Slave Her Dallas Buyers Club Captain Phillips Philomena The Wolf of Wall Street

David O. Russell American Hustle Alfonso Cuaron Gravity

Emmanuel Lubezki Gravity

“Gravity was really interesting and had a really good ending.” –Madison Lowry freshman

Best Lead Actor

Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave Martin Scorsese The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Lead Actress


Phedon Papamichael cinematographer was able to produce Nebraska

Amy Adams American Hustle

Michael Wilkinson American Hustle

Bruce Dern Nebraska

Cate Blanchett Blue Jasmine

William Chang Suk The Grandmaster

Sandra Bullock Gravity

Catherine Martin The Great Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club

“He played his role very well, especially how hard it probably was for him, dealing with salvery.” –Amanie Joseph junior

Best Supporting Actor

Judi Dench Maryl Streep Meryl Streep August: Osage County

“She played two great roles in this movie, and keeps the audience intrigued.” –Shannon Lewandowski junior

Best Supporting Actress

Michael O’Connor The Invisible Woman Patricia Norris 12 Years a Slave

Sally Hawkins Blue Jasmine

The Croods

Bradley Cooper American Hustle

Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle

Despicable Me 2

Lupita Nyoung’o 12 Years a Slave Julia Roberts August: Osage County

Ernest & Celestine

Jonah Hill The Wolf of Wall Street Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club

“He was really good because everyone was talking about it..” –Katherine Kaegi freshman

June Squibb Nebraska

“She is a really good role model to girls and did a really good job in this movie. ” –Lucie Lefbom freshman

Pisces (Feb.19- Mar. 20) Someone will intrust you with a secret that will be difficult to keep but stick to your word and you will be rewarded for your loyalty.

Aries (Mar. 21- Apr. 19) The person who seems to be putting off your affections is about to make a change in your relationship. So be prepared for either heartbreak or a loving and fun time.

Taurus (Apr. 20-May 20) Lately you have been playing it safe when it comes to your love life. Stick up for yourself and say how you really feel before anyone gets hurt. Take a stand and see where is lies for you.

You recently made a huge mistake that might impact your future but if you focus on fixing it instead of regretting your actions then fate might bring you something you never knew you wanted.

Leo (July 23- Aug 22) You have a big decision to make that you’ve been putting off. Go with your gut instinct and you will not regret it. You will learn from this experience a serious life lesson that you will never forget.

Virgo (Aug.23-Sept.22)

“Any piece that has costumes as their main focus will win, plus a lot of people have been talking about it so its a given.” –Noelle Vinas teacher

Since New Years you have been putting too much on your plate and right now you need to focus on yourself and slow down. Maybe take a day vacation or go to the spa. Just relax.

Libra (Sept.23-Oct. 22) The pain you’ve been experiencing is starting to fade and you should let it go and begin the path to moving on. It will be better for you and others around you in the long run.

Best Animated Film

Barkhad Abdi Captian Phillips

Michael Fassbender 12 Years a Slave

a 1960 dreamlike film with also the Cohen brothers influence. ” –Alex Mekuria junior

Best Costume Design

Christian Bale American Hustle

In the near future you will have to give up something for a friend but as time goes on you will realize that it kept you from making a big mistake.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Bruno Delbonnel

Roger A. Deakins Prisoners

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 18)

This upcoming week you will have to confront someone or something from your past, but don’t try to run away from it, because after you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.

Inside Llweyn Davis “I really like Steve Mcqueen and I also thought for his first big movie he did really well.” –Ryan Fitgibbon senior


Gemini May 21- June 20)

Cinematography Philippe Le Sourd The Grandmaster

Alexander Payne Nebraska

Gravity Nebraska

Best Director


Frozen The Wind Rises

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) You are still caught up on something that happened a long time ago. It’s time to let go of your anger and forgive. It’ll mend your friendship and get you on the path to something more.

“It was really funny and entertaining to me. It was just a really cute movie.” –Eva Skipworth freshman

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) You have locked yourself into a goal that you haven’t fully processed. You need to fully discover who you are before getting on a path towards something you’re not sure about.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan 19)

Best Film Editing

“Alone Yet Not Alone” Alone Yet Not Alone

Jay Cassidy American Hustle Christopher Rouse Captain Phillips John Mac McMurphy Dallas Buyers Club

Alfonso Cuaron Gravity Joe Walker 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Song

Eric Warren American Hustle

“The work that must have been put into this film with the special effects must have been crazy.” –Lailumah Faisal senior

“The Moon Song” Her “Ordinary Love” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

This month is the perfect time to re-invent yourself. Listen to the advice of others and try to work on being a better person.

Woody Allen Blue Jasmine

“Happy” Despicable Me 2

“Let It Go” Frozen

Best Screenplay

“It’s very catchy and its a fun song to sing along to. I downloaded it right after I heard it. ” –Amanda Adenan sophomore

Craig Borten Dallas Buyers Club Spike Jonze Her Bob Nelson Nebraska

“The screenplay fit the time period that they were going for and I loved the accents from the actors.” –Nina Fairman junior

On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR Code” to read about Phillip Seymore Hoffman and his life as an actor.



Feb. 12, 2014

Take a creative approach on Valentine’s Day by going on one of these recreations of dates from various famous romantic films

What would your dream date be?

Freshman Liam Conroy’s

dream date would be going to a baseball game with his date. He would eat out at the stadium. He would most likely wear a National’s shirt and cheer his team on to victory.

Canoe Date e date from The Mimic the famous romantic cano Potomac River the on eing cano g Notebook by goin y canoe rental in Washington D.C.. There are man House Boat ge Brid Key the places in D.C. like per hour and The $25 for als rent e cano s offer h whic s canoe rentals Thompson Boat Center which offer a great way to is date e cano A . hour per $14 for while getting to get some fresh air and exercise ery of downtown scen tiful beau The . eone som know ng for this setti c anti rom ect perf D.C. creates the . date e’s ntin Vale

Sophomore Hannah Curran would go to Burke Lake

Park or somewhere else fun on her dream date. She would wear jeans and a casual shirt. She would then go out to dinner with her date and they would just enjoy each other’s company together.

Sophomore Danielle Robinson’s (right) idea of

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a perfect date would be getting blindfolded then led to a candle lit dinner and roses on a boat in Old Town, Alexandria. She would love soft music and beautiful sound of calm waves and the view of the moon lighting the night. She would wear a dress and heels with nice makeup and soft curls in her hair.

Paintball Date Go on a romantic and fun paintballing date based off of the unforgettable scene that brought together Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You. Warplay Paintball in Rhoadesville, Virginia and Pev’s Paintball in Fairfax, Virginia both offer great paintball courses in a close vicinity to Annandale. For about $60 you two can spend a whole day filled with fun together. The action packed date is a fantastic way to keep things exciting and unique for the romantic holiday.

Junior Lee Hayes (left)

would go to a really cool place to eat that she had never been to before. Then she would go ice skating or to a concert. Depending on the season, she would skate in the winter or go to a concert in the summer. This is because she loves trying new things and cuisines, skating, and music. She would wear casual clothes and enjoy spending time with whoever she was with.

2014 class bulletin Senior breakfast and meeting is today during W4!

Basketball Game

For the more sporty typ e, going to a sports gam e makes for a great dat e. Tickets for the Wizar ds games at The Verizon Center can be purcha sed on Stubhub, Ticketma ster, and Ticketsnow. com. The exciting, fas t paced game will kee p you and your date on the edge of your seats, plu s the Wizards are over .500 for once! Ticket pri ces range based off of the seat location. Snacks are available to be bou ght at the game. The combination of good foo d and a thrilling gam e will make for the per fect date. Let’s just hop e that unlike Kate Hudso n, you’re trying to kee p your guy, not lose him .

Class of 2014 bake sale today after school. Make sure to stop by and support your class!

Star gazing

If you want to keep thi ngs more intimate and just focus on your dat e, star gazing is the per fect choice for you. Recreate the tear jerking date from A Walk to Remember by taking a trip to Sk yline Drive. Located about an hour out of Annan dale, Skyline Drive is a 100 mile strip in the Blue Ridge Mountains that has vie ws that will leave you and your date awe struck . Bring some cozy bla nkets and some delicious snacks and you can have a rom antic picnic under the stars.

Graduation countdown: 126 days!

pies together Play with pupe that Chris Pine ended up

Upcoming Events On your smartphone, scan the above code using the application “QR code” to read about upcoming events in the area.

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Issue 7  


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