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Tues. April 10 , 2018 Vol. 63 Issue #9

Annandale High School’s

THE A BLAST Families thanked for their service BY ASEAL SAED Co-Editor in Chief Twelve students will be recognized for their families’ active military service today during Pride Time in the front office. April is the month of the Military Child which serves to acknowledge their families. “When we were presented with information about how [military students’] situation can be unique,” school psychologist Anne Brosnan said. “They can include moving frequently, being uprooted a lot and also that their parents might be deployed, done from long periods of time can put stress on a family, we decided to take some extra steps to recognize those students to connect them with each other.” April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, which recognizes the important role military children play in the armed forces community. This year, Brosnan, along with others, has taken steps to bring those students together. “The military is a unique situation where there is a lot of pride and strength from being in a military family,” Brosnan said. “Kids who grow up in military families have the resiliency and willingness to overcome challenges and it also puts stress on children as well.” During the ceremony, principal Tim Thomas will present them with certificates. The United Service Organization (USO) has also provided the ceremony gifts to give the students. November was the month of the Military Family and during that time she had a couple students put together a bulletin in front of the gym to recognize their families. Brosnan wanted to bring the students together as a way to foster increased community among military students who share certain similarities. “What I would hope is for the students to create a club for students who are military and in that way they could get together,” Brosnan said. “We have a lot of teachers and staff who are veterans and who were in military as well so that would be a way for students could connect to people in the building.”

Senior Elliot Alwes participates in martial arts. SPORTS X-TRA 16

Informing the Atoms since 1954

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003

Military students recognized


IS YOUR PHONE WATCHING YOU? BY BINQI CHEN Co-Editor in Chief Like many students, senior Benjamin Lee takes advantage of the school’s free WiFi network instead of using his cellular data throughout the day. From R1 to lunch and all the way until dismissal, his phone lights up with various notifications and texts. As he responds each message, Lee wonders if anybody else in the school system is able to see his private conversations. How much mobile data and activity can school officials, government and marketers actually see? Due to the increase usage of smartphones around the world and the sharing of personal information through online activity, the protection of personal information online has been especially relevant in recent years. FCPS uses a program called WebSense in its networking system to determine which websites and applications to block. The types of sites blocked is determined in regards to the school board policy. “I know they [the school] WPA2 security which basically incorporates window certificates to connect to the WiFi, which is how students connect to the network,” AHS Technology Support Specialist Brent Litherland said. The school network does not actually collect or pull data from students’ daily use. The only time student data is analyzed if there is suspicious or malicious activity. “For instance, if an issue came up where they got a user’s device was infected or is causing a lot of network bandwidth then the school officials will look into the data,” Litherland said. “Not unless it is redflagged. Either they are looking at

Students question how much mobile data is watched by administration and staff In criminal cases, the ACLU cites inappropriate content or torrenting and stuff like that. If they bring a red the Fourth Amendment of the Constiflag to our attention then we’ll obvious- tution to protect the rights of citizens in regards to technology. Courts and ly be looking into that.” If a student violates the Accept- police need to obtain a warrant and able Use Policy (AUP), then FCPS probable cause before accessing the has the right to investigate all devic- device. However, this changes while on es and activities on the FCPS network, school property. While school officials admit they including all Bring Your Own Devices do not regularly collect student data (BYOD) devices. According to the Students Rights unless they find something suspicious, and Responsibilities Handbook’s it is now an open secret that the govSearch and Seizure policy, if school ernment surveils its citizens. The National Security Agency coladministration has a reason to believe a student is dangerous, they may lects billions of records a day to track search his or her electronic device the location of mobile phone users around the world. Most recently, the while on school property. In bullying circumstances, consent Department of Homeland Security would be first obtained before the stu- acknowledged that they listen in on phone calls by pretending to be a cell dent’s phone is opened. “With their permission, I’ll take tower, forcing nearby devices to conpictures of them [the messages] if I’m nect before the signal goes to an actual tower. going to work the Facebook also case if it rises to “I decided to admitted that the level where download a it was targetit might be a ed by hackers crime,” School VPN a few who were able to Resource Offiyears back to take advantage cer Adam Curget around of search tools on cio said. “A lot the website, givof times it may some of the ing them access not actually be blocked sites to the identities a crime because that the school system has and information bullying itself of over 87 milis not a crime set.” lion of its users, depends on what -BENJAMIN LEE including 71 milthe messages are, senior lion Americans. how they’re sent These hackers and what their were a part of Cambridge Analytica, content is.”

which is a political consultancy hired by Donald Trump and other Republicans. Although data breaching to such an extent may seem like something that rarely occurs, experts urge students to be careful of what they are sharing. Mobile devices are constantly tracking every movement the user is doing. Pop-up advertisements that target specifically to the user’s personal taste are a result a system analyzing most recent data and the overall interest of the phone owner. Like using computers, this is done through the sharing of online cookies, a small piece of code that allows ad networks to share information on consumers view or buy, with other companies. There are also false ads and apps such as Total Trivia, Portal Quest and Sniper 3D Assassin that lure users into accidentally downloading a virus onto their phones. There are quick ways to protect personal information such as disabling the camera and microphone function in certain apps, shutting off location services on phones, using private social media accounts, using cellular data rather than an unknown public WiFi network and regularly update apps. The seriousness of data breaching and mobile security has drawn in mixed opinions. “I feel that data breach for someone that does not have a high position of power in society is not important at all,” senior Augusto Gonzalez said. “There is no incentive for a hacker or someone that’s working in the field of cybersecurity to take their information. The information they would find would not benefit them in any way shape or form.” Another method is downloading a VPN, which is a Virtual Private Network. A VPN consists of discrete CONT. Page 5

Leadership prepares for Peach Fuzz Green Atoms

celebrate Earth Day

Students begin assembling their teams BY ASEAL SAED Co-Editor in Chief Students and staff begin preparing for the annual Peach Fuzz volleyball game which is coming up on April 25. The game, planned and organized by the leadership classes, is played by male students with female coaches who play against a team of staff members. “We do [Peach Fuzz] to get students more involved the week of the Pep Rally,” Leadership president Rebecca Kindling said. “It is the equivalent to Powderpuff, but instead of football, it is volleyball.” The event consists of two games with teams consisting of all males. The first is juniors against seniors and the winner of that game plays against a team of teachers. Although Peach Fuzz is played by all boys, girls have the opportunity to participate by coaching. Coaches are usually female volleyball players. “I love the sport of volleyball and being able to help the boys better comprehend the sport and have fun,” senior Jessica Roop said. “The guys’ game is fun to watch because their games are more intense.”

will become fuller and fuller to represent student’s taking a more active role in the environment. “By doing these activities, we are Following Earth Day, the Green promoting awareness of various topAtoms will be kicking off a series of ics concerning our environment,” Green events from April 23 to April 27 in Atoms President Janlynn Ngo said. what they call Earth Week. “There is so much about the world that During the week, the Green Atoms we aren’t aware of, so these activities asked several clubs to create posters will close the gap.” to be displayed In addition to in the cafeteria. these two awareEach poster will “We are ness opportunihave a different promotties, the Green theme around Atoms will also Earth conserva- ing awarebe hosting a tion. For example, ness of varitrivia game on one poster may be April 25 after about air pollution ous topics of school. Different and will give infor- the environclubs will commation as to the pete where they cause, impact and ment.” will be tested actions students -JANLYNN NGO on the environcan do to solve the Green Atoms President ment. There will problem. be a prize for the “We definitely want to raise awaregroup that wins. ness about the environment, but it is “I would like students to be aware also about creating a call to action for about the environment around them. I students,” Brosnan said. “Students will think people can get lost in the bigger learn to start to be more aware about picture, but I would like students be what they can do to protect environmore connected as they step out of their ment. homes,” Brosnan said. “‘The amazing The Cafeteria will also have a thing is that Virginia is an incredibly Promise tree where students will write rich environment with natural resourca pledge on a leaf to help the Earth and es and if people became more connected will put it on the tree. As students add with the natural world.” the tree throughout the week, the tree BY ASEAL SAED Co-Editor in Chief

Class of 2017 seniors won the Peach Fuzz tournament last year and the class of 2018 seniors hope to follow in the tradition. In between the two games, students have the opportunity to enter and win raffle prizes. Tickets will be sold at the price of $1. Classes who make it into the pep rally for Battle of the Classes will be able to make it into the Peach Fuzz game for free. Peach Fuzz also gives students a chance to meet and play with students that they may not otherwise talk to. Usually, each of the teams meet and practice to prepare for the game day where competition can be tough. However, practices are only encouraged, not

required. “We will definitely have practice after school to teach the basics,” Roop said. “But we just want to let the guys have fun.” The highly anticipated event is known for creating high excitement for the players and students. “I am excited to watch the seniors take the dub over the juniors and play the teachers,” Roop said. “We have height so there should be a lot of crazy hits.”


Tues. April 10, 2018


The benefits to taking a gap year

Because of large loads of homework and assessments given by teachers, students are often overwhelmed and have to deal with a lot of stress as a result.

School is way too stressful BY SUAD MOHAMED Editorials Editor The average high school teacher assigns 3.5 hours of homework per week. The typical high school student takes six classes, so that means that they receive 24.5 hours of homework weekly. This means that they don’t have much time to spend on extra curricular activities, or hanging out with friends of family because they are so preoccupied.. With such little time available to high school students, it’s no wonder why a majority deal with stress. This stress is comparable to, and sometimes even worse than what an adult experiences. In moderation, stress can be very healthy for teens. Good stress

encourages competition. This makes students work harder and leads to better results in school, sports, and other things. Dealing with stress as a teen makes it easier to manage stress as an adult. But the problem with school nowadays is that it is promoting stress at extremely high rates. Students have to deal with jam packed school lessons, intense amounts of homework, and assessments on the daily. “I have at least 4 quizzes or tests a week,” sophomore Zak Belkhayat said. “Sometimes, teachers don’t tell you until that week. And other times, I have more than one a day.” Extra curricular activities such as sports, clubs, and jobs only add to increasing stress levels. Add these two to pressure to please parents and outdo peers, and you can

see why students are so stressed. “I feel like parents unknowingly make the pressure that comes with school worse,” sophomore Nia Lewis said. According to a report published in Frontiers in Psychology, 49% of high school students report that they have a great deal of stress daily because of school. 31% percent said that they felt somewhat stressed. A study at NYU found that students deal with chronic stress at higher rates than adults. When people deal with too much stress as teenagers, it can have lasting effects. In terms of mental health, it can lead to anxiety disorders and depression. High levels of stress can also lead to a teenager developing eating disorders.

Stress can also effect physical health. Stress hormones wreak havoc on the immune system and can cause heart disorders. Many people try to reduce stress levels with unfavorable methods. “I’ve seen a lot of people who try to get answers from other people so that they can limit the amount of time that they have to spend doing work,” junior Arafat Aliya said. Considering this, it’s easy to conclude that the harmful amounts of stress that school causes has made school about passing, not learning. It would be much healthier for students if teachers were to give out less homework. An alternate solution could be placing less of an emphasis on assessments. Either way, there needs to be a change, and fast.

Makeup brands need to be more inclusive BY SUAD MOHAMED Editorials Editor There are many issues in the beauty industry. Underweight models, sexism, and unrealistic standards are just a few. But there is a specific one that seems to persist. Most companies do not offer products that can be used by people with darker skin tones. Most recently, Tarte Cosmetics came under fire after pictures of models swatching (or trying out) the company’s Shape Tape Foundation was released. The picture featured two models with fair skin and one with dark skin. While there were shades of the foundation that matched the lighter models, even the darkest shade did not match the skin of the darker model. Not only that, but of the 15 shades available, it seemed like only 3 were

in the shade range of people with dark skin, Tarte’s blunder is only the latest example of colorism in the make up world. In January, It Cosmetics released a new foundation line which came in 50 different shades. The problem? Only a handful were fit for darker skin tones. There might be new techniques and products coming out everyday, but make up companies are making it difficult for people with skin that isn’t fair to try make up out. “As a woman of color, buying make up products is a long process,” senior Deega Hilowle said. In fact, some people have to buy two shades of the same product, so that they can mix them and create the right shade. “It isn’t fair because where most people only need to buy a $40 shade at once, I have to buy two shades at $80


Cosmetics companies need to include a wider shade range for foundation

Tarte Cosmetics’ new Shape Tape Foundation has only 3 darker shades out of the 15 available. just because my skin is darker,” Janneh said.

In the past, many companies have used the excuse that not many people would buy darker shades if they were available. If that is true, then how come Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation, which has 40 diverse shades, was flying off the shelves when it was released? “When Rihanna’s foundation came out, the darker shades were being bought at high rates, so obviously that point is faulty,” Hilowle said. Thankfully, this generation of make up users has put a lot of pressure on the industry to expand options for people with darker skin. Nearly every company that has failed to create products suited for dark skin have been called out by YouTubers who review things for their fan base and ordinary users who are upset. Companies such as Fenty Beauty and Make Up For Ever have also created a fierce competition, as they have shown that a diverse shade range will bring in money. Hopefully, more make up companies will listen to the criticism and create more options for dark skinned people.

MANAGING EDITOR Grace Hogye NEWS EDITOR Diego Feliciano EDITORIALS EDITORS Ruth Mekonnen Suad Mohamed COPY EDITOR Yvonne White IN-DEPTH EDITORS Casey Nguyen Kim Vaides SPORTS EDITORS Fares Ayoub Luke Elkins SPORTS XTRA EDITORS Jude Nanaw Ethan Zimmerman WEEKEND EDITORS Cameron Foti Halley Thaddeus

ENTERTAINMENT EDITORS Lina Al Taii Nicolle Uria Christian Reyes LIFESTYLES EDITORS Yabi Bereket PEOPLE EDITOR Henry Hoang ARTS EDITORS Maryam Dereje Galilea Sejas HEALTH EDITORS Rachel Shogren PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS Serene Ghul Katie Pope

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Lennon Wuhrer STAFF WRITERS Khadija Ahmed Jamie Baker Alexander Burita Shyeim Campbell Jacqueline Claros Lopez Mya Clyburn Pablo Gammara Noe Gonzalez Jamileh Hamadeh Abraham Kebrom Mahdi Larhmari Elias Moura Arzoo Marzi Tiana Reams Erik Rivas-Martinez Jason Reyes Hasan Royer Victor Torrico Calderon

ACADEMICS EDITORS Jessica Salisbury Kavi Shamdin WEB EDITOR/MASTER Victor Nguyen AD MANAGER Yvonne White CIRCULATION MANAGER Yvonne White

Follow The A-Blast

As seniors begin receiving the final round of college acceptances, there is a second option that is often not remembered: taking a gap year. A gap year is usually between senior year and college. During this time, people can take advantage of many opportunities such as traveling or doing an internship. In the past, taking a gap year has been frown upon. But lately, more and more people have begun taking gap years. Below is a list of reasons why taking a gap year could be a good idea.


IT IS EASY TO WORK OUT By now, most people have already picked a college to attend. Still, it will not be hard to switch to taking a gap year. Most universities will have potential students fills out forms that they use to determine whether the deferral will be allowed or not.


EXPERIENCE NEW THINGS A gap year can also be used to travel the world. While traveling, one can learn more about different cultures and customs. This will help broaden your horizons and you will see the world in a different way. During this time, you can also figure out who you want to be and what you want to do with your life.


GET SOME MONEY If you’re running low on money to use for college, it might be a good idea for you to take a gap year to go to work. The money you earn during this time will take away the stress that could come with having to take out a loan to fund your education. If you save your money and budget, you will even have money to use for other things. A job could also get you experience that will be useful once you return to school.


GET SOME EXPERIENCE Taking up an internship is another good idea. Internships will give you experience that will help a lot in school. It will also give you an advantage that your peers who went straight to college won’t have.


HELP YOUR SELF ESTEEM Sometimes, people use a gap year to do volunteer work. Most people who do this report that they feel a lot better about themselves as people afterwards. It would be very rewarding to know that you took time out of your life to help others. It will also give you experience to use later on in life.


TAKE A BREAK After you graduate high school, you have completed 14 years of school. That is a lot of time and hard work. It might be exhausting to have to continue that for another 4+ years. A gap year would be the perfect way to cut up what might seem like a never ending cycle. You can use the year to relax and chill out before returning to school next year.


PREPARE YOURSELF For most people, college is the first time that you are independent from your parents. This is a lot of responsibility to get at once, and it can be stressful. You can use a gap year to mature a bit and get used to your new autonomy.

Monthly Poll


BY SUAD MOHAMED Editorials Editor

Look out for the next poll @theablast on Twitter to vote for the next issue!

Annandale High School Vol 63 Issue No. 9 4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003 The A-Blast is an awardwinning newspaper that strives to inform, educate and entertain the student body and community. Published monthly, 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 emailed to or 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, 2017.


people voted

46% said that they would travel

24% said that they

would work

7% said that they would volunteer 23% said that they would figure out what they wanted to do with their life

ALAN NGUYEN freshman “If I could take a gap year, I would take it as a chance to travel. I would take pictures of things like mountains during my travels. It’d be a great chance for me to take up photography.”

BRENDA HUAMANI sophomore “If I had the opportunity to take a gap year after high school, I would definitely work. I could save the money I earn for the future, like college. I’d be willing to work at anywhere fun.”


Tues. April 10, 2018

Weird trends and challenges

Teens: stop doing these dumb things

IIce and Salt Challenge Pour salt on one part of your body, then rub ice over it. This challenges causes skin to burn.

Internet challenges are overplayed

There’s a new trend spreading called the “Condom Challenge.” Sadly, what came up in a Google search was really shocking. Teens are actually snorting condoms up their noses and trying to take them out of their mouths. What was more disappointing was that this isn’t the first time this kind of challenge has appeared. According to The Washington Post, this trend dates back to 2007 and caught some more traction in 2013 when a kid filmed himself snorting a condom to a Taylor Swift song. It’s caught more traction this year as a San Antonio Local School showed a presentation about the “condom Challenge” to a group of parents and some local news crew that was sitting in for the story. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many videos on YouTube of teens snorting condoms. Now it’s still no reason to actually do it, as there are some very serious possible injuries that come to snorting a condom. According to Vogue, when they consulted Dr. Wendie Williams, an emergency physician at The Colony ER

Hospital in Texas, the injuries that could occur when snorting a condom are: tearing sensitive membranes that can become infected, the condom slipping into one’s esophagus causing a choking hazard, as well as the condom going through the natural route of when something is inhaled through the nose and going straight to the lungs which could seal ones airways and suffocate them. Even though this trend isn’t really a trend, it’s still a great example as to how all these so-called challenges aren’t really challenges. They just put the word ‘challenge’ to catch people’s attention and have them feel inclined to do the specific act, which teens are more likely to do so as they’re easily impressed by it. Take the “Bow Wow Challenge” for example. The internet went crazy on calling Bow Wow out for saying he flies on private jets when really he doesn’t. The public went wild with their interpretations of misleading pictures and memes. Yet, the problem with the use of word ‘challenge’ in it. Because the trend wasn’t a challenge. Anyone can get in on it as long as it’s relatable or a meme. Same with the Niki Minaj Challenge, it’s not a challenge, you’re just going off what she said and changing the words a little bit. It’s not a challenge, it’s a feel

Light yourself on fire while being videotaped. This can obviously something that can turn deadly fast.



Fire Challenge

The Tide Pod challenge consists of eating Tide laundry detergent pods. This challenge soon went viral on YouTube. Considering that the pods contain chemicals that can be dangerous, doctors have advised teens to stop doing it. good moment. There are YouTube channels where a majority of their videos, contain the word ‘challenge’ to signify them trying a trend while making it ‘original’ and getting views off of it. Seriously, look up the word challenge on YouTube and you’ll see just how far some of these content creators reach for views. From 3 Marker Challenge to Pancake Art Challenge to Giant Squishy Food VS. Real Food Challenge to What’s in the Box Challenge, it’s annoying how often content creators will use Challenge to get on the algorithm.

What these are a trends. Nothing more nothing less. Some are harmful like the tide pod challenge where one is eating detergent pods for views. Some are harmless like the slime “challenge” where one is making slime. Both are stupid in their own ways but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they aren’t challenges. So please stop using the word Challenge because they’re not. It’s an attempt at relevancy. There are much better things you can do in your life than snorting condoms or putting tide pods in your mouth.

Condom Challenge Stuff a condom up your nose and inhale it until the latex comes out of your mouth. The condom has the ability to block you from breath and causing you to choke

Hot Pepper Challenge Eat a really hot pepper and film yourself doing it. Although it doesn’t seem as dangerous as other challenges, many people have ended up in the hospital.

Cinnamon challenge Film yourslef eating a spoonful of ground cinnamon under 60 seconds without drinking anything. the Internet.

Why we need to end promposals

Don’t make us wait

BY RUTH MEKONNEN Editorials Editor

Colleges need to just send the rejection letters

Prom is arguably seen as the second most important event in a person’s life, first being marriage, and it is the perfect excuse to splurge out and feel like a king/queen for a night. However, it is really necessary that we spend even more money on just the invitation aspect? This is not an article saying that promposals shouldn’t happen at all. Of course promposals are thoughtful and it’s heartwarming to see the pure joy of the person being asked to prom but there are ways that this can be done without the increasing pressure that comes with it. The way that you’re being asked shouldn’t be more important to you than the fact that you’re even being asked. Watching elaborate promposals that have gone viral, and expecting one for yourself takes away from the true meaning of the event. There are actual people who get offended by the fact that they were asked through a phone call or a text rather than publicly in front of the entire school. Let’s not forget that this is the one time in our entire high school career that we will be able to have a carefree night, to enjoy and have fun with our friends before we go our separate ways. This need for a grand promposal and the increasing necessity shows just how much our mentality needs to change. Most of the people who want a gesture like this, want it so that everyone can see that they were asked and so that they could post it and have

BY RUTH MEKONNEN Editorials Editor

Senior Ryan Gammon asking Camille Scultz to prom after singing Beautiful Girls in front of an audience during Heritage Night. everyone see. If you were accepting the offer, it would seem nice to showcase it to everyone but what if the roles were reversed. Public gestures like this can put the person on the spot and force them to accept the promposal even though they

“I think it’s ridiculous that people are spending so much money to just ask someone to prom” --ANDREW O’RILEY


don’t necessarily want to go with the person. In fact, it is much harder to deny a person if so much money and time was dedicated and it is in front of such a large audience. These promposals also put pressure on people to couple up. Many being asked, and asking to just have a date. A survey conducted by VISA found that teens spend on average $324 simply on promposals. In fact, Seventeen magazine also reports that in the northeast region, families usually spend an average of $431 on promposals and $738 for prom night, totaling $1,169 for one night. This is crazy considering that this is just a high school dance. Although it might seem a little cliche to say, you’re only going to have one prom night, so make sure that what you’re doing is for the right reasons.

MAKIN’ THE GRADE Topless Protesters


junior deposit down, they are left with losing over a $100 in deposit money. In addition, many students who are taken off of waitlist end up not getting a lot of scholarship money as the colleges have already given priority to the students who have already been admitted. If you are waitlisted, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of approval. First and foremost, make sure to put down a deposit for a safety school. If you were interviewed prior to the acceptance letter, contact your interviewer as they can help you get off waitlist. If not, contact your regional counselor and maintain a relationship with them as they can also be very beneficial. Most importantly, don’t lose hope. Although this remains to be an unfair way to keep students wondering, there is still a chance.

Cartoonist Corner

Outside Bill Cosby’s trial, a topless woman was taken into custody after writing Women’s Lives Matter on her body. In addition to that, she had all of Bill Cosby’s accusers sprawled allover her body. She was attempting to run towards Bill Cosby when police handcuffed her. This was a powerful way to showcase her stance on the issue.

Jimmy Kimmel vs. Sean Hannity Last Monday, Jimmy Kimmel made fun of Melania Trumps accent which caused Fox News host, Sean Hannity to call him out. This sparked a twitter war in which lasted well into the night. The insults shared ranged from charges of racism and sexual harassement to sexual innuendos. Kimmel issued some form of an apology stating that this “does nothing good for anyone” while Hannity has yet to respond.

End of the quarter The end of the third quarter is causing a lot of panic. Since school is ending earlier than usual, a lot of exams, such as SOLS and IB exams are overlapping. In addition, due to the amount of snow days and the end of spring break being two weeks ago, there is only a little bit of time to improve your grades. The end of the year is nearing so make sure to finish as great as you started.

D.C. phone surveillance The Department of Homeland Security is reporting that Stingrays are being used in D.C. to track cell phones. This could be dangerous since many are fearing that foreign governments, such as Russia, are surveilling these phones to snoop on members of the U.S. government.



Now that many seniors have received news from their schools, there is still a small percentage that have been left behind. By putting teens in a waitlist-limbo, colleges have added another level of stress on these students. As the May 1st National Decision Day nears, many of these students are wondering if whether or not they should even attempt at getting into these schools. According to the Washington Post, in 2014, Dartmouth College admitted 0 out of the 1,133 students they put on waitlist. Although there is some form of honor that comes with being waitlisting to a top Ivy school such as Dartmouth, that hope is soon after crushed for a large percentage of teens. This is because colleges are using waitlisting as a way to nicely reject students with potential from their schools. The glimmer of hope given to these students is unfair as it can lead to bad decisions and crushed dreams. The National Decision Day is May 1st but students hear the news from their waitlisted school during the summer, meaning that if they chose to gamble and don’t put a deposit down for a safety school, they will be left without a college to go to. As for the ones who do put a

“Waitlists have the ability to give other students who don’t rank as high an opportunity to get into colleges.”


Tues. April, 10 2018


Tues. April 10, 2018

Students finish play production Meet the Cast:

Seniors prepare for their final theater production As the spring musical production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame comes to a close, senior Holly Ramia can’t help but feel bittersweet. The musical may be her last time performing on the AHS stage. The production, is set to be available for viewing on Thurs., April 12, Students have been preparing for the upcoming spring play for months. and Thurs., April 19 to 21. Students, parents, and their famiRamia, playing the role of Esmeral- the production by the cast, crew, choir, da, is excited for students too see this pit, directors and boosters has been lies all look forward to the musical. Ramia has been a part of seven proproduction. unimaginable,” Ramia said. “The pro“I am excited to play such a strong- duction really showcases how hard ductions as part of the theatre compawilled character. Esmeralda speaks for working and dedicated the performing ny. “Before I joined the theater compaall of the outcasts of the world,” Ramia arts here is.” said. Theater and choir teachers Kath- ny, I never thought I was good enough Students have been preparing for erine Brunburg and Pat Vaughn, are to be a performer. However, my conthe production for weeks. directing the production and will be fidence in the past four years has “The amount of passion and ded- teaching the elements of the musical increased from my fellow cast and crew,” Ramia said. ication that has been poured in into such as stagework and acting.

CONT. Cell Phones networks that are connected through a public network. People can use VPNs to secure and encrypt their activity online when they use an unfamiliar public network. “I decided to download a VPN a few years back to get around some of the blocked sites that the school system has set,” Lee said. “I also did a lot of research and found it beneficial for my own data safety.” Mobile devices have taken a significant role in society. Even though they make interacting and the sharing of events in daily life easy, it is also important to keep in mind the dangers that arise with oversharing. “It really isn’t hard to learn about how you can easily find ways to protect sensitive information from other people,” Lee said. “You never want strangers tracing every footstep you take online.” Being a responsible and observant user while practicing safe methods of technology can help keep personal information away from prying eyes.

Filament Cofefeehouse The Filament Coffeehouse will be in Clausen Hall on April 19 from 3:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $4 at the door. Coffee and cookies will be available as students watch the performances.

BY ASEAL SAED Co-Editor in Chief

Privacy increased

News briefs

Student Holiday JOHN LOPEZ Frollo

HOLLY RAMIA Esmerellda

Spring Musical The theater department will perform the spring musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Thursday, April 12, and April 19 to 21.

End of Third Quarter JACK DALRYPMPLE Gargoyle

WESLEY VAUGHN Saint Aphrodisius

The band department will be holding its annual concert including the band, orchestra, and choral departments. It will be in the auditorium on Tuesday, May 1. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and admissions is free.

BY ASEAL SAED Co-Editor in Chief

Enroll in journalism to become an active member of The A-Blast staff to see for yourself where the magic happens. Don’t miss out on activities like Fun Fridays and Secret Santa. Take advantage of the opportunity to have your name featured in the newspaper. Impress colleges by showing them you are a member of The A-Blast, the only high school newspaper printed for free by The Washington Post. We are among the top ten highschool newspapers in the nation. You could report the latest sports events by becoming a sports editor, record significant school events as the head videographer, or determine who will star in the next fashion spotlight by being a lifestyles editor. Enjoy class periods by bonding with friends, making jokes, and sharing priceless memories. You won’t regret it. See Mr.Weintraut in the Publications Lab for more information.

There will be a Varsity Math Meet in the cafeteria on Wednesday, April 10 at 3 p.m. A Math Honor Society meeting will follow the meet.

Music Trilogy Concert

Students begin choosing the path they will take


The third marking period will end on Friday, April 13. Report cards will be handed out during students’ W4 classes.

Varsity Math Meet

College decisions released Senior Megan Lee has known that she wanted to attend art school since middle school. Preparing since high school, she has built up her art portfolio, enrolled in IB Art, and consistently developed her work. In her senior year, she applied and was accepted into several arts schools, but she ultimately chose VCUArts, the number one public art school in the U.S. “I was relived and excited when I got in because I knew that I could fully pursue a career in art,” Lee said. Lee is just one of many seniors who have received college acceptance letters in recent weeks. After sending in applications in January for Regular Decision, seniors have never been so excited to check their emails. Seniors don’t have forever to decide. By May 1, or College Decision Day, all seniors will officially know their plan for the future. At AHS, the seniors celebrate this by wearing college apparel

There will be no school for students on Monday, April 16. School will resume on Tuesday, April 17.

Research Workshop The Writing Center is holding a research workshop on April 17 during Pride Time and April 18 after school where students will learn how to conduct and execute research. Senior Megan Lee is attending VCU Arts next fall where she plans to major in film. She recently visted to get better accustomed to the campus. from the school that they have decided to attend. College is usually the conventional path after graduating high school, but there are many options out there to seniors who may not feel like a formal education suits the path they want to take for the future. There are jobs available that do not need for the employee to attend a formal school because there are jobs best suited being learned hands on. Also, there are options for technical schools that specialize in careers such an plumbing, or electrical training

that will put students in the right path to becoming successful in their line of work. There is also staff there like Career Specialist Robin Roth, who are there to answer the questions about college and how to make sure you’re on the right track. Whether students choose to continue a higher level of education or begin to work, seniors are excited about the opportunities they will hope to encounter after graduation.

Filmament Submissions The Filament is offering students to turn in their art and writing submissions by April 13 to be included in the magazine. If students have any questions they can stop by Room 270B.

Anthropology Field Trip Anthropology students will be going to Lancastor Pennsylvania to observe the Amish lifestyle on April 11.


Tues. April 10, 2018

It’s crunch time for students Students try to keep calm while pulling grades up before the quarter ends

With three days left in the quarter, students begin to scramble and check SIS nonstop as they try to bring their currents grades up last minute. The end of the quarter can be a very difficult period for students, especially those who have been slacking off, essentially digging a deep hole for themselves by not putting in 100 percent effort towards their academics. For the many who wait until the last week of the quarter to start to put in work in order to raise their grades, it can be a very stressful time. “Everyone always rushes to get last minute assignments in and try to raise their grades towards the end of the quarter,” junior Hangyul Chang said. One reason why students leave all of their work for the end of the quarter is procrastination. For students, school may not always be the number one priority, while extracurriculars, friends, and other distractions may seem more important. “Unfortunately procrastination is a common trend, nowadays we have more distractions than ever before with games, apps, Netflix, you name it,” English teacher Soo Jin Lee said. Most high schoolers have the “I can do it later” mind set and usually put things off until the last possible second. “Students get lazy throughout the quarter, they put off assignments thinking that they will have time later and then bam! It’s the end of the quarter before they know it and they find themselves rushing to pull up those grades,” Chang said. What students do not understand is that school would be way easier if they would just get their assignments done

How do you pull up your grades before the quarter ends?



Sophomore Hunter Westfall gets on his knees to bribe and beg history teacher Katheryn Hallett to accept his work months after the due date.

on time. Turning in work late will most likely result in a deduction of points from the overall grade. Additionally, when students wait to complete a project, or annotate a book late the night before the day its due the overall quality of the final assignment ends up being a lot worse than if they had worked on it over the course of several days. Teachers do not assign work days before it is due for no reason, the several days given to students to complete it is only for their benefit. Other students just forget about the assignments that are given to them, rather than deliberately ignore them. Either way, the assignment never gets done which is why many students end up killing themselves the last week of the quarter. Time management is an important skill to have when it comes to balancing school along with social life, extracurriculars, and sleep. These factors can help prevent the rush of school work

NATALIE NGUYEN Freshman “I retake quizzes and I study for the end of the unit tests we are given. Generally in history and biology. Usually if you get a good grade on the test then your overall grade will be pretty good as well and in terms of missing work, I make sure to keep up.”

BERNARDO CALDERON Freshman “I try to make up all of the homework I missed along with quizzes and tests I’ve done poorly on. I like how the school has a retake policy, because it allows me to bump up my grades at the end of the quarter.”

many students find themselves dealing with as the quarter comes to an end. Others just don’t seem to have the motivation to do any work until the deadline is actually presented to them.

“The students who stay on track of deadlines don’t have to overextend themselves in the end.” --SOO JIN LEE

English teacher “I wait until the end of the quarter because I get behind sometimes and the final deadline to get assignments in pushes me to actually do them and get them done,” freshmen Laila Lopez said.

SKYLAR SPRABARY Sophomore “Towards the end of the quarter all I really do to maintain my grades and improve them is ask my teachers for a bunch of extra credit I can do. I also look into extra projects and worksheets available for more credit.”

DYLAN WEAVER Sophomore “Throughout the quarter, I will stay after with my teachers and ask them for help as well as whether or not there’s any work I can get done. I give all my classes equal attention so that I can have good grades in all of them.”

For most students, trying to raise their grades last minute also depends on the teacher they have. Some teachers are more lenient than others and offer extra credit to help students bump up their grades or allow late assignments to be turned in for at least partial credit. “I do not make exceptions for summatives without a medical excuse,” Lee said. “I tell students to email me ahead of time if they need an extension or can’t make the deadline, then I try to work with them.” Late in the quarter it is very common to see most students glued to SIS, their online grade book, with the hope that their grades will change for the better. Other students, who have teachers who do not update the gradebook regularly, aren’t even aware of what their grades are until towards the end of the quarter anyway. This could add to the stress as well.

SULAKHA ABDI Junior “When the end of the quarter is near, I make sure I get all my missing assignments in, whether it’s homework, projects or classwork. A lot of teachers penalize students for turning in late work, but I rather have partial credit then no credit at all.”

ADAM LAKKIS Junior “When the quarter is close to ending, I do all of my work and I talk to my teachers in classes that I’m not doing so well in to see if there is anything I can do to fix my current grades. A lot of times I try to keep up throughout the quarter to make it easier.”

“I like to check SIS three weeks before the end of the quarter so that I have plenty of time to raise and improve my grades that aren’t good,” freshmen Abby Estrada said. The end of the quarter can not only be a stressful time for students, but for teachers as well. Teachers are given a deadline and are expected make sure that final grades are submitted correctly and on time. Each department has a different policy in terms of late work. For example, the English department deducts 5% off your assignment every day it is late. So, how is this preventable? It is simple, just stay on top of your work throughout the quarter and don’t allow assignments to pile up and become to much for you to handle. Although this may seem easier said than done considering all of the distractions that come along with everyday life, it is important that you at least try to stay on top of your work. “I think that is important that students do their assignments the day they are assigned to them so that way they wont have worry about them later,” Estrada said. Learn to manage your time well, keep a schedule or agenda so that you can easily plan out when assignments are due. Also make sure to spend time with friends, family, and enjoy hobbies. Although school is important, it is fine to take a break from it every once in a while, it isn’t supposed to take over your entire life. Your teachers are there to work with you, not against you, so be sure to talk to them if you have any problems or need help. “Check with your teachers regularly, most will work with their students. We want everyone to succeed,” Lee said. In the long run working hard and maintaining good grades throughout the entire quarter will eventually pay off. While your classmates are stressing out the last week of the quarter, you will get to sit back and relax.

FATIMAH NOUR Senior “If there are any extra credit opportunities throughout the quarter I take advantage. Other than that, I maintain my grades so that I don’t panic when the quarter is coming to an end. This worked for me all throughout high school.”


IB got nothing on Samuel Wondwossen BY KAVI SHAMDIN Academics Editor

How do you keep up with your academics and social life? I don’t think I can give a definite answer, but I am convinced it’s the fact that I complete my work right when I get it so I can make time for my social life. What are your studying habits? I wouldn’t say I study all night, but I typically look over notes right before tests. I try to pay attention in class so that I won’t have to do so much studying at home. Completing homework is another way I study for quizzes and tests.

IB Spotlight: Profiles of Diploma Candidates

What are your plans after high school? I hope to attend a four year university and hopefully get a job that pays well after my four years. How do you prepare for IB exams? I prepare for IB exams by studying old notes and creating review guides for each unit in every class. For example, in history, I would create a timeline for important events in a unit and this helped me understand the unit, because it organized the information in order. Sometimes I will rewrite some of my notes, because that helps me with memorization.


What is your favorite IB subject? My favorite IB subject right now is IB Physics HL 2. Although IB Physics SL 1 was not one of my favorite courses, I enjoy my second year in physics a lot more, because I’m learning more about the world and how things come about. I also enjoy the course, because it has real life applications which helps me better understand the units we are taught.

Samuel Wondwossen shows off his outfit in Arlington while out with friends. Who has helped you on your IB journey and how or why? My friends have helped me the most, because without them I wouldn’t be doing the diploma and they gave me that extra push to do it. Also, since we struggle as a collective, I feel comfortable knowing I’m not the only one that’s struggling.

What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can help you later in life? Is your only focus academics? Definitely balancing different aspects of my life and taking risks. These two aspects are skills I believe will help No, I enjoy other aspects of my life like my hobbies and interests. I’ve realized over time if I only me the most in the future, because taking risks is the only way to reach your maximum potential and balancfocus on academics, I miss out on other aspects ing your life is important for mental health. of life that are key to my future like a social life. I also enjoy playing basketball after school with friends.

Check your sudoku answers for this issue!

FELLO GOMEZ Senior “I usually keep up with assignments I don’t turn in, so I’ll look through my binders and also have SIS open to have an idea of things I may have lost. Some teachers also give us a progress report with all the assignments in their gradebook.”


Tues. April 10, 2018

Five tips for


Managing your allergies Stay healthy this spring BY RACHEL SHOGREN Health Editor After a long winter, it is finally spring! Although all the pretty flowers and trees are finally blooming, allergies are also becoming popular. The most common symptom causing allergen is pollen. Nearly 50% of people in the US have a pollen allergy or seasonal allergies. “I have seasonal allergies and I am also severely allergic to dogs and cats,” senior Mckenzie Yi said. “I have a bunch of other allergies as well.” In spring, the pollen count grows because of the blooming trees. That thin yellow coat you see on your car in the morning may be causing you to show symptoms. “My allergies affect me depending on what I am reacting to. It goes from the scale of breaking out in hives to me not being able to breathe,” Yi said. Symptoms for a pollen allergy are similar to that of a common cold: stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, itchy eyes and skin, and increased asthma. If you have asthma a pollen allergy may be more dangerous for you, be sure to check the pollen count in the morning and plan accordingly. Northern Virginia is one of the most forested urban areas in the country, making the pollen count grow very high. NOVA generally has a very high pollen count so be sure to travel with tissues and medicine wherever you go. Although seasonal allergies are very common, there is not a cure for them. Here are a few tips to make allergies more manageable.

healthier. Dogs are great for everything, even passing on allergies. Dogs run around outside in the trees where pollen is often collected in the hair and fur. Wash you dog before you snuggle up to him at night so he doesn’t make your symptoms appear. It might be hard, but skipping getting too close to your dog is the best bet.


AVOID YOUR ALLERGEN Obviously, if you have an allergy to something try to stay away from it. Those with peanut allergies avoid them but, it is a little more complicated when you have seasonal allergies. With seasonal allergies, you don’t want to avoid going outside completely. Avoid being outside on days that are dry and windy because the wind tends to carry pollen right to you. Give those chores such as mowing the lawn or pulling weeds to someone who doesn’t have seasonal allergies. Watch out for gardening too as that will make your allergies worse. Although being outside may be causing symptoms, don’t avoid it completely, just be more careful.


TAKE MEDICINES AND VITAMINS There is no cure for allergies but there is no shortage of treatments. There are several pills, tablets, shots, and sprays that are helpful for allergies. The trick is finding what works for you and sticking it to it. Everyone has a different treatment. “I usually have to wait out my reaction or I take Benadryl,” Yi said.


KEEP YOUR HOME CLEAN People bring outside in with them when they get home, so make sure to leave your shoes outside in an effort to leave the dirt, and grass you’ve walked on outside too. In an effort to keep allergens and toxins out of your home, wipe of your shoes and leave them in the garage or laundry room. Another common allergy is dust, so be sure to vacuum areas frequently. Dust builds up on counter tops, tops of cabinets and bookcases, so be sure to dust at least once a week to prevent buildup and symptoms from occurring. Clean the tiles in your bathroom thoroughly. Mold like to build up in bathrooms and that will often cause allergic reactions and symptoms including sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. Scrubbing the tub will clean out these spores and make your home a little bit

Pollen filled friends Your dog could be what is exposing you to your allergen. Wash your dogs frequently and try not to get too close to them. Dogs carry pollen and other toxins in with them after playing outside and may expose you to them, causing symptoms. Ask your doctor for advice or get over the counter allergy medicine to help you with your symptoms. Vitamin C is a preventative for getting allergies and sick. It also prevents and treats several other illnesses. Vitamin C is an immune boosting antioxidant. It also cuts antihistamine levels, which cause allergies. Cutting the levels, lessen the symptoms and severity of them. Vitamin C is found in foods such as oranges and fruit but can also be found as a supplement.


KEEP UP GOOD HYGIENE Wash your clothes after being outside to get the pollen off of them as well as changing your clothes before laying on the couch or bed. Just by being outside, pollen and other allergens gather up on your clothes and by laying down, you are spreading those allergens. Change as soon as you get home to prevent the spread of symptom causing allergies in your home. Rinsing off after being outside is also smart to prevent the spread of toxins into your house. Wipe off your phone frequently as it collects germs and allergens.


CHANGE YOUR EXERCISE SCHEDULE During the morning, pollen counts tend to be highest. Watch out for high pollen and take your run a little later. After school, pollen counts are still high, so you should wait till the evening. If you are running in the evening, be sure to wear bright colors so cars can see you. If you are feeling a little under the weather because of allergies, don’t cut out your workout. Working out will increase blood flow and decrease your allergy symptoms. Increased blood flow also promotes the removal of allergens.

Senior Valeria Salinas stays hydrated to avoid dehydration. Be sure to drink water frequently especially if one of your allergy symptoms

Synthetic weed is more dangerous than weed



Synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2 or fake weed, is very dangerous. Many users experience health issues after using it and are prone to extreme bleeding.

Officials in Illinois have linked synthetic cannabinoids to 56 different cases of severe bleeding. All of the users were hospitalized after using synthetic cannabinoids because they coughed up blood, found blood in their urine, and had excessive bleeding from nose and gums. Two users died. In several cases, the synthetic cannabinoids were cut with brodifacoum, also known as rat poison. Officials are struggling to find the source of the synthetic cannabinoids outbreak. They have not seen a case of severe bleeding from synthetic cannabinoids on this scale before. The number of cases seems to keep rising. The cases are spread among three different counties. The health department is involved but cannot identify where the synthetic cannabis is coming from, how much is circulating, or where it is coming from. Synthetic cannabinoids today are generally made overseas and are laced with different chemicals that can be unsafe. Synthetic cannabinoids are human made. They are made of mind altering chemicals that are sprayed on to a dried plant leaf. These chemicals are sold as liquids so they can be used in e-cigarettes and vapes. These chemicals are found in the marijuana plant. Sellers market synthetic cannabinoids as a legal and safer alternative to weed. In reality, they are not safe. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they are unpredictable and have a more powerful effect on the brain. They have been found to be more dangerous than

marijuana and even life-threatening. Most of the time the synthetic cannabinoids will be labeled as “natural” but tests show that they are not natural and have in fact been altered by chemicals in a laboratory. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of poisonings from synthetic cannabinoids skyrocketed, revealing 456 cases. Manufacturers sell these products in colorful packages in an effort to attract consumers. They used to be very easy to buy and found everywhere. Authorities have since made them illegal to sell, buy, or possess because they have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse. However, people go around these laws by changing their chemical formulas and continuing to sell. Synthetic cannabinoids are commonly smoked in a dry plant material. Many also brew it as tea or vaporize it. The chemicals have the same effect on the brain as THC, the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana. Researchers believe that the chemical concoction has a stronger bond with the brain and produces stronger effects than THC. The chemicals in synthetic cannabinoids are different in every batch. That is part of what makes them so dangerous. Consumers never know what they could be cut with. It is a misconception that synthetic cannabinoid products are harmless. They are NOT and can cause extreme symptoms and even death. People should be wary of them and do research before buying them.


The proper way to squat and build muscle

1.) Athletic Stance

2.) Breathing

3.) Squat Depth

4.) Spine Alignment

Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent and your feet turned out. Keep your weight evenly distributed between toes and heels, and right and left. This stance will keep you balanced. The trick to squats is keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout the entire exercise. Don’t let your knees cave in towards each other.

Having good breathing technique while exercising is important in order to prevent light headedness and nausea. As you lower down into the squat, take a deep breath. As you push yourself back up, breathe out. Keep this breathing pattern consistent. Breathe through your belly rather than your chest. This will prevent your upper back from tightening up.

Stretch out your hips before doing squats so that your hips are flexible enough to reach a deep squat. Your goal should be to squat until your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. Going lower than parallel is fine, as long as you keep good form. Form is more important than reps, once you start getting tired and sloppy, stop, you could cause injury.

Throughout your squat, be sure to have good form. Keep your shoulders back and your chest out. This should form a slight natural curve in your back. Arching or rounding your back too much will cause too much pressure on your intervertebral discs. Keep your head up and stare at a point on the wall, don’t look at the floor.


Tues. April 10, 2018


iving the unch ife

Going green: students are offered a variety of meal choices including a side of salad, which is loaded with veggies such as tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles.

Eye on the prize: senior Toma Anescu works hard on homework in the student help center located in the back of the cafeteria, where students can go to get technological assistance. "My favorite thing is sitting in the booths because they are spacious and comfortable, although usually I sit in the tech office.," Anescu said. "My favorite school lunch is hands down the orange chicken because the flavor is really good, almost authentic." Nothing but smiles: seniors Jack Mcrossin and Tyler Rush exchange a laugh with senior Brandon Le scrolling through social media at the lunch tables and play video games. "I like to going to the senior courtyard because it's nice weather and usually not as crowded," Rush said. "My friends and I like to relax, but we also play Fortnite on our phones," Rush said.


Bucks on beverages: sophomore Madina Rasuli uses the cafeteria vending machine to purchase a bottle of Minute Maid lemonade during her lunch break. "I am working most of the time during lunch, whether it is on homework or other work," Rasuli said. "When I'm not working though, I prefer to sit with other girls, specifically Muslim girls. I don't want to sit with any boys." Lunch in the library: junior Tiya Ayele spends her lunchtime in the library where she works on a few of her many IB assignments and relaxes in silence. "My favorite thing about lunch is probably getting to talk with friends and wind down from class. Sometimes during lunch I go to the library to print something out or do homework for the next day." Ayele said. "I enjoy the library because it is nice and quiet and I can listen to music or watch tv shows."

LIBRARY Library laughs: seniors Manoa Raharinaivo and Kalkidan Teklie laugh and whisper quietly before spending their lunch working on research together. "My favorite part about lunch is pretty basic: the eating because food is life. I love eating rice! I must have it at least once a day, sometimes multiple times a day." Raharinaivo said. "I usually go into line to order my food as soon as I enter the cafeteria because I don't like waiting. Once I have my food, I chit chat with my lunch buddies." However, lunch isn't all about socializing and eating, "sometimes I like to go to the library to catch up with my work, chill, or even take naps because school can be very tiring."

What is your favorite food to eat at lunch?

DANYA KHRESHI freshman "I like the pizza the best because the crust is really crunchy and I like ripping it off and dipping it in the tomato sauce."

HAN GYUL CHANG junior "The smiley potato friends because they have a crunch, delicious taste and with the sauce, it's better."

CLASSROOMS TIYO KEBEDE junior "I like the french fries the best because there's no way to really mess them up."


LEFT: Leadership style lunch: senior Janice Milian spends her time munching on her favorite snack, Oreos, in the leadership classroom where she uses her lunch bag to prop up her phone. "I love to socialize with the people around me, but sometimes I like to escape the cafeteria noisiness and FaceTime my boyfriend," Milian said. BELOW: Sharing is caring: junior Leidy Yoc shares a bag of chips with her friend in the hallway as she works on painting banners to hang up around the school. "I always bring my own food from home, but I also like to visit the vending machine for something extra," Yoc said. "I prefer to be where there are fewer people because I can talk and hear better."

RAYMOND PHAN senior "I like the salads because I like the variety of foods I eat the most."

Made to multitask: senior Vittoria Duquette spends her lunch time in the Publications Lab working on her page before deadline while snacking on some food from the cafeteria. "My favorite part about lunch is definitely being able to cure my hunger because I normally don't eat breakfast in the mornings. I especially like to eat chicken and rice with some fruit," Duquette said.

Fast-food and friends: senior Cindy Le and junior Sreejana Panta take their lunch break in the publications lab, where they work on their pages for the yearbook. The students have decided to bring leftover food from Popeyes from the night before. "I eat in the pub lab because it's not as noisy as the cafeteria since there's less people. It's more laid back to do whatever I want like homework or watching netflix or even sleeping," Le said.

KATHERYN HOUT senior "Chicken tenders because I love chicken and I like the rice that comes with it."


Tues. April 10, 2018

Julliard accepts junior BY MARYAM DEREJE Arts Editor AHS can be a sanctuary, a home, or dreadful place for many students. There are many seniors who are counting down the days until their graduation, with their college acceptance letters in their hands. Junior Gaby Pho is one of the people included in this group of seniors, since she is planning on completing the high school journey this summer and starting college this fall. “I was accepted into the Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University, Juilliard, and the Curtis Institute of Music,” said Pho. The strong passion that she has for music, especially for playing the french horn, has played a crucial role in her life, and understanding how to become more independent and making difficult choices that many students in Annandale, have yet to face. She previously attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, but decided to transfer here. Many of her friends along with anyone who learns of this news always wonders how she could possibly turn down one of the most prestigious schools that would better her education and her knowledge in the sciences. Though this may seem as an unwise choice to some, Pho knew that she truly has a love and drive for furthering her passion in music.

With this, schools are able to notice that music plays a crucial part in her life, and is thus shown through her achievements in band. Pho has been a part of band since a young age, and she continued to be a member of the Atoms Marching Band throughout high school. “I submitted a recorded audition and passed through to a live audition in New York where I played for a panel of teachers,” Pho said. “The long answer involves thousands of hours of practice from a young age, great teachers, and some luck with opportunities and scholarships for things like lessons, ensembles, summer programs, and masterclasses.” There was a long process for her to be recognized by Juilliard and put on the shortlist, but with the dedication that she has to the arts, it didn’t prove to be the problem. “Juilliard offered me their Kovner Fellowship which covers --GABY PHO the full cost of attendance includJunior ing tuition, room and board, and other expenses. I plan to attend there starting this fall,” Pho said. The fellowship is offered to only a select fifty students who are recognized by their high academic performance, artistic merit and the prospective student’s curiosity for the arts, society and leadership. Since the program is very selective, a full board of members views each applicant’s background and history in music, to decide whether or not they are worthy enough to receive such a large scholarship. Pho is fortunate enough to receive a full ride from such a prestigious institution, since their


“Work hard at whatever you love though take care of and enjoy yourself as well. It’s not really about achievement.”

Junior Gaby Phoplays the french horn tuition is nearing 40,000 with a 7% acceptance rate. “Since Juilliard is a conservatory, I will be entering its music division. I will be working to receive a Bachelor of Music for which I will be majoring in french horn performance,” Pho said. The french horn is one of those instruments that many master, but it requires a lot of time and patience from the performer. For Pho it proved to be worth it, and every decision that she has made since

being recognized as a Kovner fellowship acceptant. “No matter where you end up or ‘how good you are’ in the grand scheme of things, there’s nothing quite like being passionate about something and working at it. I think it’s worth finding things that you enjoy the process of, not necessarily the result. Whether it’s in relationships, careers, or hobbies, sometimes it’s the struggle that makes them meaningful,” said Pho.

Filament Coffee House holds another fundraiser BY BRENDA GAMEZ Staff Writer As junior Elisabeth Platt sets up the stage, she thinks about how fun the night will be with all the talent and all the people that will soon fill the room She is excited because it’s yet again another Coffee House event and it will for sure be better than the last. The Coffee House is an event that takes place two to three times a year showcasing the amazing talent of AHS students, held by literary magazine, The Filament, Students perform all types of acts, from raps to dances. The event includes all art that is creative and school appropriate. It’s a place for students to show off their marvelous talents to family, friends, or staff. But what goes perfect with entertainment? Food. Along with the entertainment the hosts of the event provide baked goods and hot beverages,

as any coffee house does. Maybe you’re thinking that sounds like a waste of time, well according to Platt, when a student attends they receive extra credit in their English class. So it’s probably a good idea to attend if you need some extra credit but doesn’t feel like doing extra credit work. The Coffee House is most importantly about having a good time. It’s not a competition but a way to express yourself through performing art. Students are encouraged to participate, to shine a spotlight on the given talents of AHS students. It also helps raise money for the magazine. Now, you might be thinking ‘that sounds like a lot of fun, maybe I should show the world my incredible singing voice or dance moves. Well, there is an audition process for the Coffee House. Auditions take place after school on scheduled dates but if you’re busy with school work or a sport, no need to worry because you can contact Ms. Lee or a Filament member and schedule an alternative time for you to audition.

But what if you really want to show the world what you got but stage fright is holding you back, there is no need to worry because the Coffee House is a small welcoming environment, think like in a movie. There’s also just enough people to fulfill your dreams but also not to cause a meltdown in the middle of the stage. Have you ever had a friend with an amazing voice but their just too shy to show the world what they got. Kind of like Peggy from camp rock, where at the end of the movie she stopped being the backup singer and ended up winning the whole competition. You should encourage your friends to participate in upcoming Coffee House events, so they can win the competition against themselves. In past Coffee House events students who were once shy students showed their true colors and preformed beautiful pieces. Junior Ephrata Yohannes says her favorite part is seeing those

who you would never notice in the hallways, grow confidence and become not just another wallflower but a beautiful confident talented soul. She’s loved seeing this happen so much, that Yohannes has even been considering performing herself in her senior year of high school. Both Platt and Yohannes enjoy every part of the Coffee House. “There’s always so much happiness and the mood in the whole place is so chill and relaxing” Platt said. It’s a great place to break out of your shell and begin your high school musical fantasy! The Coffee House event takes place April 19, at 3 p.m. in the Clausen Hall. Admission is $4 at the door and remember there will be baked goods and warm beverages for sale. It’s an amazing event that I believe nobody should miss out on. Come and support The Filament but also the talented souls at this school and show them their talent does not go unnoticed.

Artist Spotlight: Sophomore Savannah Gravitt


In the blackbox play, “Late, A Cowboy Song,” Sophomore Makayla Collins portrays the cowboy, Red, and Gravitt, portrays the housewife, Mary, and they share an intimate moment What projects are you currently involved in? I am a singer in choir and I also act in theatre and I am quite active in both departments. How long have you been doing art? I am a singer in choir and I also act in theatre and I am quite active in both departments. I have been doing chorus for over four years, and I have been doing theatre for four years. What is the best part about what you do? I have always had a passion for singing and acting, and I love being able to tell stories and give the audience a show or a song that they can connect with.

In the play “She Kills Monsters,” Junior Rediate Zewdu portrays Agnes Evans and Gravitt, portrays the dark elf, Kaliope.

Do you have any upcoming projects? Yes, I actually do. The school musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame starts it’s run April 19, 20, and 21. What lead you to start what you do? I have always loved music and movie or theatre and when I got the opportunity in middle school to be involved in theatre, I had to go for it. Do you see a future in theatre? Yes, I actually do see art in my future. I plan on going to college for musical theatre and performing art for as long as I live or at least as long as I can. What was the scariest part? The scariest part about Arts is auditions. Even though I have been in a lot of shows,

auditioning for one always makes me nervous. However, I never let that stop me from giving the audition my all and being involved in theatre. Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start a profession in arts? I would just say go for it! Everyone has their own unique set of strengths and all of them are needed to put on a good performance. You find yourself lost in the script or the music and you meet the most wonderful people along the way. Enjoy every moment and always put forward your best. Don’t let that stop you from learning more, there will be new things that you learn every single day you perform.


Tues. April 10, 2018


ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Thousands descend on Pennsylvania Avenue for the March for Our Lives demonstration

It started with a simple hashtag: #NeverAgain. What happened next became an international movement that, surprisingly, began with students. Hundreds of thousands of students, parents, and citizens took to the nation’s capital chanting, “Never again!” People gathered in communities all over the world on Saturday for the March for Our Lives gun control rally organized by Stoneman Douglas students who witnessed the devastation of the deadly school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14. “In attending the march with my friends, I hope that the [politicians] will see that we are relentless and will continue to fight until there is gun reform,” senior Katheryn Hout said. “We want to spread awareness to America and not feel afraid in our schools” The primary march took place in Washington D.C. with a myriad of speakers calling for gun reform in the United States. Speakers like David Hogg, a senior from the Florida high school tragedy last month, called for young people to register to vote and to become politically active in their communities. “The march reminded me that I have a voice,” senior Natnal

Sophomore Dani Villarroel protests with handmade sign during the March For Lives protest on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. on March 24.

Endalkachew said. “I am turning 18 before the 2018 elections, so I was inspired to register to vote so I can make our generation the most active generation.” The protest came in response to the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, FL. where 17 students and teachers were killed. However, the rally included speakers from Chicago and Los Angeles who were affected by gun violence as well. “Hearing the stories of gun violence from black and brown students was really powerful. It made me realize that students have been calling for gun reform in their communities for years,” Endalkachew said. In addition to the Washington D.C. protest, there were hundreds of sister marches across the globe. However, students like Martina Rexrode came with her mother and siblings from Delaware to be at the center of all of the events. “We wanted to come to D.C. because we knew that this was the one that would make a change that really needs to happen now and I just want everyone to feel safe in schools,” Rexrode said. “We are the next generation of voters, so if [politicians] don’t listen now then we are going to make them listen when we vote.” Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Vic Mensa, and several others performed on stage and participated in the march along with students. In the days leading up to the

What are your thoughts about the possibility of teachers being armed?

event, several celebrities including George Clooney and Oprah have donated thousands of dollars towards the Never Again campaign. Another major theme during the event was inaction of Congressmen and women. Some speakers called out many Congressmen for taking donations from organizations that lobby for accessible guns like the National Rifle Association (NRA). Many marchers including former schoolteacher Laurel Flaccavento, whose husband is running for Congress in the 9th district of Virginia, pointed out the need for increased restrictions. “It is the money that people are making in private prisons, in private schools, the military-industrial complex is strong,” Flaccavento said. “I don’t think we need to ban all guns, although hunting is down, we need sensible gun restrictions. We just need regulations and we need to ban assault weapons.” The event stirred up many emotions in students, reminding them of the power of student activism. “I felt wonderful being there because this is like a revolution. It was amazing being a part of something that big, being a part of that change that’s going to affect my life and many generations to come,” junior Hemen Besufekad said. “I was really happy that a lot of people came out to support.”

FATIN OBADI freshman "No, I don't think teachers should have guns because no one should have access to guns. It is not helping the problem, it is making it worse."

ZAIN HOWLADER sophomore "I don't think guns should be allowed, because teachers will have to go through extra training to learn how to use a gun. It is very risky to keep guns within reach of kids."

DIANA VILLARROEL junior "I'm not supportive of the idea, because I feel like the money could be used towards providing metal detectors or other security."

ANGELA KIM senior "No, because not all teachers are ethical or moral. They might wild out and use it as an opportunity to create threats towards students or worst."

did not participate in the school walkout regarding gun control


92% think teachers should not be armed in school

have firearms in their household

66% believe that there should be a limit to the number of guns an individual can own

44% believe that there should be a limit to the number of guns an individual can own

strongly agree that people under the age of 21 should be prevented from purchasing a gun

I feel safe on school grounds.


Neutral Agree

support a nationwide ban on the sale of all semi-automatic rifles

Disagree NANCY KAEGI Science teacher "No, our responsibility is to teach students and provide a learning environment that is encouraging and caring. I can't imagine sitting in a classroom as a student and feeling comfortable that someone in the classroom has a gun."

JONATHAN YORK Social studies teacher "No, I personally do want the responsibility. Professional law enforcement people go through extensive training with simulations on how to react to a given circumstance. I'm not sure if teachers can go through that training."

JULIA HANNEMAN English teacher "No, more guns do not make people safer. If teachers have guns in school, what is to say that a student won't get a hold of it or there could be an accident with it. A gun could be used at the wrong time. It takes years of training to really be able to react appropriately."

= 20%

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree


7% 34% 42% 9%

Why I am marching for my life BY HEMEN BESUFEKAD Special to The A-Blast Arriving in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters gathered to protest in favor of gun control. All around me, I saw swarms of people, old and young, fighting as a united front. They all sported thick jackets due to the chill of the early Saturday morning. However, that chill did not stop any of us from attempting to make a change for the betterment of our society. Instead, we waved our homemade signs high into the air and chanted, “Vote them out!” Some of the signs near me were decorated with the names and location of various mass shootings, others inscribed with powerful phrases such as: “Am I Next?” and “Thoughts and prayers don't stop bullets.” Despite our differences, we all marched for a common goal: for our voices to finally be heard, and to call for an end to gun violence and stricter gun control laws. After every mass shooting, there’s a public outcry, but it frequently fades without real progress. Instances like Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook were overlooked and quickly forgotten, however, something felt profoundly different this time. The energy on the street was undeniably crackling. It was an outcry to the government showcasing that enough was enough, we have suffered for far too long and changes needed to be made. My real first experience in protesting was our school walk out that occurred on March 14. I have absolutely no regrets about it because those 17 minutes were one of the most eye-opening moments for me. I wanted to remember the 17 lives that were lost in Parkland, and I was able to do so by missing 17 minutes of a class to face a sizeable national problem outside the walls of the school building.

Quite honestly, the students in the walkout were not just in March For Our Lives. students who wanted to skip class or go out with their friends, and It was beautiful to see that people were coming from across the they were students who wanted to fight and stand united to support country for this occasion and this made it more special for me to the March for Our Lives campaign. The school walkout was one of be there. Being in the middle of the students giving speeches and the main reasons why I attended the Washington D.C. protest. singers singing songs about coming together, I was able to witness I realized that I wanted to feel safe again in school, or when I go the power of what a group of teens can do. to the movies with my friends, or go to church on Sundays. I do not At the march, we hummed and sang along to famous artists, such want to fear for my life every time there is a lockdown, thinking that as Andra Day. Her song “Rise Up” helped to showcase our might and there might be a chance there’s a shooter. No one should. perseverance; it showcased that we will continue to fight and rise Kids have one job: to learn. We deserve to be able to enter a until things are fixed. school without fearing that a shooter could come through their We also cheered on to powerful speeches that were made by classroom doors at any given time. student survivors, such as Emma Gonzales, who held a compelling I wanted to be a part of this change that's going to affect my life six minutes of silence, as everyone in the crowd stood until she was and many generations to come. done. By going and marching, I hope that it opens the eyes of other Her actions and words showed me how quickly it took the shooter people who think that our marching ruins the Constitution. I want at Douglas High School to take away 17 lives without anything to make them understand that what we want is to live in a safe stopping him. country. In addition to this, we also received support and reassurance Our Constitution is supposed to be permeable based on the everfrom our elders. changing dynamics of our nation, and They encouraged us to continue by stating in this year of endless death and gun “We are right behind you with support” and shootings, our Constitution needs to “You guys are doing so well!” They made me “At that moment, I knew that be permeable more so than ever. realize that what I was doing was the right with this kind of unity and During the march, I met others thing to do. who shared my thoughts and wishes. We have the power to change this country support that came from many I met some from far away cities and to be a safer place. I am more than proud people, we had the power to states that traveled overnight to be to be a part of this fight, to be a part of this a part of this revolution. One woman great cause. The march was a beautiful thing change anything.” from California told me that she and that happened that day, and hopefully, many --HEMEN BESUFEKAD her son flew out to D.C. the morning more people saw that this is a good thing of the protest just because they that we are doing. junior wanted to express their strong beliefs We need change. And we need it now.



MCCLAIN HERMAN English teacher "No, I don't really believe the argument that a shooter won't come into the building if they know that teachers are armed because most school shooters come into the building knowing that there's a good chance that they are going to die and many kill themselves. So, I don't see the logic in that."

Junior Hemen Besufekad has joined the #NeverAgain movement in aspiration to enforce stricter gun control and end gun violence alongside thousands of other students nationwide.

Student survey 77%


BY ASEAL SAED Co-Editor in Chief


Tues. April 10, 2018

April 20, 1999

October 28, 2002

March 21, 2005

April 16, 2007

December 14, 2012

October 24, 2014

September 28, 2016

January 23, 2018

February 14, 2018

Columbine High School Littleton, Colorado

University of Arizona Tuscon, Arizona

Red Lake High School Red Lake, Minnesota

Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia

Sandy Hook Elementary School Newtown, Connecticut

Marysville-Pilchuck High School Marysville, Washington

Townville Elementary School Greenville, South Carolina

Marshall County High School Benton, Kentucky

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Parkland, Florida

Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, went on a shooting spree on their fellow classmates. Originally, planning on setting a bomb, they instead killed 13 people and wounded over 20. Afterwards, they committed suicide.

Robert Stewart Flores Jr., 40, was a Gulf War veteran that killed three assistant professors of nursing before turning the gun on himself. He was a failing nursing student at the university during the time.

Jeff Weise, 16, killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s companion at their home. He then drove to the school, armed with his grandfather’s police weapons and killed five students, a teacher, a security officer and himself.The casualty toll was 10 dead.

Seung-Hui Cho, 23, killed 33 students and faculty members. He also wounded 23 others on the campus before taking his own life. Among the victims was Annandale alumni Mary Read. The incident is the third-deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in American history.

A 14-year-old male opened fire on a playground. As a result, he wounded a teacher and two children. One of children, Jacob Hall, died three days later. Also the suspect’s father was found dead at his home soon after the shooting.

A 15-year-old male student opens fire and shot 16 people in the school lobby. He also caused four non-gun injuries. Two died, one at the scene and one that later died of wounds. 18 were wounded in total.

Former student, Nikolas Cruz, 19, who had prior discipline issues shot at students and staff members. He killed 17 and injures 14 others with an AR-15 rifle. Cruz activated a fire alarm to draw students and employees outside the classroom. He then blended in with the crowd to flee.

Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother before driving to the school. With a total of four guns, he killed 20 first grade children, ranging from ages six to seven. The final death count is 28 dead, including the shooter and faculty.

Freshman Jaylen Fryberg, shot five fellow students in the school cafeteria. He then fatally wounded four. At the scene, he shot himself and commited suicide. There was a total of two dead.



Tues. April 10, 2018

Try international foods closer to home Want some chicken teriyaki, fried rice, or seasoned shrimp? Go to your local Sakura Japanese Hibachi. You order your food to the waiter or waitress and then the chef comes to cook your food in front of you. Fire flames burst in front of your face while you and your friends jump of excitement. It’s a fun time with your friends and it’s fun to make jokes while the chef tosses shrimp into your mouth to see if you can catch it. An average meal here costs about $24 which typically includes fried or white rice and your choice of meat between shrimp, chicken, steak, or even lobster. Usually they first bring you a warm soup with vegetables to start you off as an appetizer. The chef first cooks the fried rice and the meats. Once everyone receives their food after about 20-25 minutes of cooking, then he or she starts to toss whatever meat is left over into your party’s mouth. I only have been there once but I would definitely go again because the food is good quality and I really feel satisfied when I get to catch the shrimp in my mouth. Fried rice, shrimp, and a fire volcano Located: 6411 Shiplett Blvd Burka, VA 22015 being lit at Sakura.

Bock your way into Chicken Pollo

BY KATHERINE ANGEL Special to The A-Blast

BY ROSA ACEVEDO Special to The A-Blast

Everyone loves the breadsticks and salad appetizers at Olive Garden. It’s a simple taste of Italy near you. People love pasta and fettuccine so go butter your bread sticks at a nearby Olive Garden. I love the chicken fettuccine alfredo from Olive Garden. I usually eat about three to four breadsticks and a plate of salad before my meal all the time. I always eat my whole meal too. I rarely go to eat at Olive Garden but since they have a carry out option my mom sometimes will get it and bring it home for all of us to eat. Usually when my mom asks what we want for dinner I sometimes just want Olive Garden. But almost eight out of ten times, she says no. It is not really expensive but with all my family, it can add up. When I walk in I feel as if I am in Italy already just because of the way it is set up and the classical music that is playing when I go. The desserts that they serve that I prefer the most is the chocolate mousse. I like how soft it is and they way it melts. The closest one is in Falls Church. I recommend everyone to go try some tasty Italian food at Olive Garden. Chicken fettucine alfredo, salad and Located: 3548 South Jefferson St Falls Church, VA 22041 breadsticks at Olive Garden.

Love chicken? Then you better bock your way to Chicken Pollo to get some of the best Peruvian chicken in the Annandale area. It’s a place where I go with family and even with my soccer teammates before our games. Chicken Pollo is a restaurant. I have been going to since I was little. My family and I love it. The main thing they are known for is their Peruvian Chicken. Right when you walk in you get a feeling of the Peruvian culture. The staff is also really kind and friendly. The food is top notch. People come from far places to come take delight in the food. There is no other place that will give you the same unique taste as Chicken Pollo. The chicken there has many seasonings so it does not taste dry. Along with the yellow sauce they have, which makes their fries a lot tastier. They have a variety of foods to offer, Salad and rice is also really popular and good. They have latin drinks that you can’t get anywhere else also. It is a good place to dine and spend time with your friends or family. If you are feeling hungry after school and want some chicken, it is only a short drive and really inexpensive. Chicken and fries with a side of rice and Located: 7320 Little River Tpke Annandale, VA 22003 yellow sauce from Chicken Pollo.


Butter your sticks at Olive Garden

Make home at the Kabob House

BY TIANA REAMS International Editor

BY KAVI SHAMDIN Academics Editor

Love curry and paneer? Want to try something new? Then you better curry up and get some Indian food at Indaroma. I order Indaroma once in a while for dinner with my family. I do not typically eat it just because I am picky but my family loves it. It is not that expensive but it tastes just as if it was a home cooked meal when I do eat it. Whenever my family is too lazy to cook and we want something different besides the basic Chipotle, McDonald’s, or subs they go to get Indian food. The pricing is average and it is really local and affordable. In the Pinecrest Plaza ranging from $5 to $10. Having ethnic foods around you is a good opportunity to try new foods and experience other tastes. I know my family enjoys eating chicken curry and I do too when I do eat it. Indaroma is just a small restaurant that is set up as if it was a bakery. The portions that they give are really big and my family usually has leftovers for about two days after. When I walk in to pick up my family’s order, I can smell the food a lot just from walking through the door. Even when the food comes homes, we can all smell it when we go into the kitchen. Lamb with white and yellow rice from Located: 6546 Little River Tpke Alexandria, VA 22312 Indaroma.

The Kabob House is one of my favorite places to eat. The food there taste like home cooked meals so it is just like home. It is my go to place when I am hungry. The food there is very delicious. My favorite thing to get is the chicken and rice. I love the taste of the rice and the texture of it. The way they cook the chicken is so good, no other place does it like them. It reminds me as if it was my mom cooking her rice at home, it tastes almost the same. They also offer salads for a healthier option or sometimes a side of vegetables to go with my chicken or lamb kabobs and rice. Also, as another side they also serve you a slice of naan. Naan is a type of bread that is like pita bread it is really soft, warm, and chewy. The slices of naan that they serve are really big and filling. The place gives off an Arab vibe as soon as you walk inside. I usually go with my family, we always go together. Another thing I like about Kabob house is that it is affordable so it makes it easy to go there whenever. I recommend it to everyone and people who want to try different foods besides the other cheap basic foods that there are. Chicken and brown rice with a side of Located: 7031 Little River Tpke Annandale, VA 22003 salad and a slice of fresh naan from the Kabob House.


Curry up for some Indaroma


Want a taste of Mexican food? Dip right into some delicious guacamole at a nearby Guapos. There are tasty meats, tortillas, and enchiladas it’s a fun and perfect place to go with just friends for a cute date or even your family. There are tons of Mexican style restaurants nearby but out of all the ones I have been to or have even tried, Guapos has been the best that I have had. I go to Guapos all the time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. We always order a ton of food and sometimes the bill is as high as $800 for all of us. I never typically go by myself since the prices are expensive for me. We usually go to celebrate a birthday or just to be together. The food is not really expensive, it’s about $15 to $20 per person. Since I go with my family I do not worry about paying. We have been going for years now and I am glad that the food is as good as it is for as often as I go there. I would not choose another Mexican restaurant to go to from Guapos. I always enjoy going because it is a fun time to be around everyone and my family and we all love the food there too. If you can’t go to Mexico to eat then just go to Guapos to try the best quesadillas around. Located: 13050 Fair Lakes Shopping Ctr Fairfax, VA Steak fajitas at Guapos with a side of 22033 cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and tomatoes.


BY JAZMIN GONZALES Special to The A-Blast


BY EMELY CASTILLO Special to The A-Blast


Chop in Japan at your local Sakura

Dip right into Mexico at Guapos

Tues. April 10, 2018

Protect your pockets on Prom night Tips made to help save money while still having a great time BY YABI BEREKET Lfestyles Editor Although it is typically the most magical night for many seniors, Prom night could also be a funeral for students’ wallets. Prom night is one of the last gatherings that seniors can attend all together, before finally steering off into new, unvisited territory of college life. Even though Prom is a lot of fun to attend, looking at your bank account the next day and realizing you have spent a large amount of money on only one night could leave some worried. Following these tips could help you save money and use it wisely so that you won’t have a thing to worry about.


DINE AT HOME WITH FRIENDS Wanting to dine out Prom night is a tradition followed by many students, but the bill you have to pay at the end could be more than expected- especially since people tend to go to fancier restaurants for Prom. An alternative solution to this is having a dinner hosted at home! Most people tend to meet up at each other's houses during Prom to get dressed and ready together, so most of you will already be at your destination. All it takes is a couple quick and easy dishes to get the job done, and you’ll be ready to go. By doing this, the chaos of restaurants and expensive bills will easily be avoided and will be one less expense to worry about for the night.


RENT OUT A DRESS Secondly, rather than buying a Prom dress (which under most cases could cost more than $100), the

4 important items to bring to Prom PORTABLE CHARGER Prom preparations can take up to an entire day, and your phone battery is likely to die at least once during the chaos. Keep a portable charger on you at all times.

BOBBY PINS Looking your best at prom is important, and you don't want a small mistake to ruin your night. Bring bobby pins with you; they're small and helpful in more than one way.

GUM Many people go out for dinner before prom, getting a mint afterwards isn't always an option. Bringing gum with you can save you from having bad breath.

TIDE TO-GO This item helps get rid of stains on dresses or tuxes. Once again, it's easy to stain your clothing, especially because people will be eating out. Bring this with you to remove marks.

Girl's Prom receipt:


FREE PHOTOS FROM FRIENDS Getting Prom pictures taken with your group of friends is another highlight of the night, and some people end up getting a professional cameraman to take their pictures for them. This is another tradition which is added to the long list of Prom norms, and another expense which would be added to your growing list. An easy solution and another way to save some extra pocket cash is get a friend or family member to take the photos for you. Photography class is an elective that is offered, so if you have a friend who’s in the class, then that’s a bonus for you! If you have a friend or family member who’s willing to put in the time for free, then it’s also less of a hassle to plan.

Guy's Prom receipt:

1. Prom dress.......................$150

1. Tuxedo.......................$200

2. Shoes..................................$40

2. Shoes...........................$100

3. Accessories.......................$25

3. Corsage.......................$20

4. Hair.....................................$30

4. Prom ticket(2)...........$40

5. Makeup..............................$50

5. Dinner..........................$25

6. Dinner................................$25

Grand Total: $320

most inexpensive thing to do is rent a Prom dress either online or in-store. By doing this, you’ll be able to wear the dress for that one spectacular night and look good, and can return it afterwards when you’re finished wearing it. Looking at these places for a dress to wear will prove to be worthy because the dresses look just as amazing as the full priced ones, but you’d only be paying half that price. On top of that, Prom dresses are usually only worn once for the sole purpose of that night, so you don’t have to let the dress gather dust in your closet.

Grand Total: $425

Prom night. Although this is a flashy and glamorous way to arrive on the scene, renting out a limo for the night could cost up to $200 every hour you have it. In order to save money, these unnecessary expenses should be avoided. Splitting the cost with friends first could help solve the issue, but renting a car for the same amount of time would cost much less. And splitting the price among friends for the car is also a budget-friendly way to save your money. Under some cases, the limo will only be used to get home and to the dance, so renting out a limo which will not be in use for a majority of the time it’s rented will be a waste.


SAVE MONEY ON MAKEUP Having your makeup done to perfection is another aspect which helps put your night together. If you want to try and save some cash, a good idea is to look into local cosmetology schools in the area which will do your makeup for a fraction of the cost that a professional would charge you. By doing this, you’ll be able to get your makeup done at a reasonable price, and you could also get your hair done too. Cosmetology schools do both hair and makeup, so it’s worth checking them out and see how they can help.

LIFESTYLES 13 appin' with abi


Advice column Dear Yabi, A couple of days ago, I was getting strange messages from a number I didn't have saved in my contacts. I thought it was a friend pranking me, but they were sending me inappropriate messages and tried to call me too. What should I do? - A friend in need

Dear friend in need, Getting prank calls or messages as a high school student isn't something that happens often, or usually at all. But in the case that it does, do not share any of your personal information, including your name, school, or address. Even if you suspect it is a friend who's pranking you, there's too great of a risk if you don't know for sure who it is. If you have a small suspicion that it's a friend of yours, ask whoever you think would do this. If you act serious enough and express your concern, your friend should come clean with the truth, otherwise, maybe re-evaluate the friendship. In the case that the messages don't seem like they're from a friend and get too personal or uncomfortable, you could go to the office and speak with security. They can help decipher who it is that's messaging you by tracing the number to a phone and finding out who it is that's sending you these pranks. The most obvious thing you could do is block the number, but that would only stop them from calling on that phone. If they have a motive, they'll get to you by whatever means possible.

3 Get your Prom outfit pieces for a good price RENT OUT A NICE CAR Next, another norm among many seniors is renting a limousine for

Save money on dresses, acessories, and more at these stores Dresses:


Rent the Runway

Shoes: Charlotte Russe

Prom Girl

Rather than making a permanent purchase for your Prom dress, this website allows you to rent out reasonably priced dresses and other pieces. This Berry Izzo gown costs $30-$50, depending on the way you choose to rent it out.

Compared to the many other options of where you can buy Prom accessories, this website has better deals to offer, with a large selection of different types of accessories. These White Gold earrings cost $$68, which is a better price than other common stores.

. The store is only 15 minutes away, and you're bound to find something that suits your style. These ankle strap heels were originally $28.99 but are on sale for $20.29

Etsy Boohoo This website is mainly known for the stylish clothing that they sell on their website, but they also have a great Prom dress section, and many of the dresses are on sale. This Metallic Maxi dress orignially was $58, but is now on sale for $35.

This website is already known for its ability to allow people to sell their creative pieces of artwork, but there's also decently priced corsages up for sale too. This ivory white wrist corsage costs $12.99, as opposed to others which could cost up to $25.

Nordstrom Located only 20 minutes away, going to Nordstrom will be a well made visit because of the reasonably priced shoe items they have for both guys and girls. These Venetian Loafers were originially $99.90, but are now $69.90

Fashion Spotlight: Sesen Beyene, 11 Q: Where do you like to shop? A: I like to shop a lot at Forever 21. I always get dresses at Charlotte Russe or at Macy's.


Q: What is your favorite accessory? A: I always forget to wear them but earrings are my favorite accessories. I only remember to wear them for big events. Q: What is your typical outfit for school? A: My typical outfit for school is wearing a shirt or tank top with a cardigan, then a hoodie on top. Q: What do you wear on bum days? A: On bum days, I go all out. I wear a hoodie, pajama bottoms and slippers.

Junior Sesen Beyene wears a light gray top, a jean Q: What's your favorite season to dress jacket, high-waisted black denim jeans, and gray suede booties.

for? A: My favorite season to dress for is summer. I spend most of that season wearing dresses or shorts. The clothing is breezy and soft which I like. Q: How long does it take you to get ready? A: It takes me only ten minutes to pick an outfit and get dressed, but overall, it takes about 30-40 minutes to get ready in the morning. Q: How much do you invest in clothing? A: I have a spending problem, so when I go shopping, I really try not to spend more than $30 unless I planned ahead to spend more. Q: What is your favorite pair of shoes? A: My favorite pair of shoes are my brown booties because they make any of my outfits look like I tried. Q: Do you dress to impress or for yourself? A: I definitely dress for myself.


Q: How did you learn to dress? A: I always see random outfits that I like on Instagram and other social media that inspires me.

Beyene wears off-the-shoulder multi- colored top, highwaisted skinny jeans and black sandals.



Tues. April 10, 2018

PRETTY IN PINK Junior Sherin Kellerman-Nowrouz walks down a runway


If you could have any job, what would it be?

DIANE NGUYEN freshman “If I could have any job, I would be a singer or songwriter because it’s fun. But I might want to be a stylist because I love messing around with different hair colors and try on new colors.”

DARELL PITTS freshman “If I could have any job, I would be a professional athlete because I really love sports.”

Junior Sherin Nowrouz struts a pose after walking down the runway at New York Fashion Week for PINK.


The music boomed and lights flashed as junior Sherin Nowrouz strikes a pose on the runway at New York Fashion Week. Nowrouz had been practicing for this for months. She started in November and has worked towards this very moment. Nowrouz arrived at NYFW on Feb. 10 at noon. It was a runway area on Broadway street. At the runway, before she went to walk, she was able to meet her idols, Tyra Banks and Whoopi Goldberg. By 7, Nowrouz walked down the runway, cameras flashed and the crowd was roaring. “The experience was phenomenal, it was really loud but I loved every moment of it,” Nowrouz said. Nowrouz had the rare chance of being able to walk down a New York Fashion Week runway. “I was handpicked by my designer to be there,” Nowrouz said. This opportunity, especially for such a young model is hard to achieve. Many models work for years to land a spot at a NYFW runway. “It was a stressful process at first, I took the modeling classes provided by the agency and I was getting through it,” Nowrouz said. Her agency, Genesis Level, was scouting for new models and to her surprise, she got accepted the first day she was scouted. This process would usually take a week but her agency saw something in Nowrouz. “I guess my height, being 5’10, of course, is beneficial and is why I’ve become more successful,” said Nowrouz “But my agency signed me because of not only my height but my skin and face as well.” As a child, Nowrouz was made fun of for most of her childhood years. “Honestly, I hadn’t ever really seen myself as a model till people kept telling me I should become one,” Nowrouz said. “Growing up I was


BY HENRY HOANG People Editor

Sherin Nowrouz poses calmly after a full day of photoshoots.

always self-conscious about the way I looked and was bullied for my height and facial features.” The modeling industry has been a stressful and time-consuming industry. It was often called a silent profession. The diets, exercise and maintenance of the “model body” are often hard for others. When you open up a magazine you are so used to seeing models with chiseled features and slender bodies but this all adds up to the amount of work that models have to put in so they can be a professional model. Nowrouz is trying to defy that perception and to bring a different type of modeling to the table. “I exercise every single day, usually at home,” Nowrouz said. “But sometimes, I go to the gym. Also, I’m also doing track so that helps with toning and cardio.” While some students struggle to juggle all of their quizzes and tests, Nowrouz has to balance the additional busy schedule of jump starting her small modeling career. Nowrouz is one of the youngest models at her agency. Since most of her peers are older than her, it feels as if it

is a competition for her to reach her top spot as a professional model. “I’m one of the youngest models there,” Nowrouz said. “I’m surrounded by 20+-year-old models and of course it is intimidating, but that’s how the industry works.” But for Nowrouz, her modeling career has many limitations. Her religious beliefs stop her from doing anything raunchy or modeling with revealing clothing. For every photoshoot, she lets the cameraman know that she’s a Muslim model ahead of time and they always comply with her beliefs and make adjustments to her outfits. Also, coming from the background that Nowrouz has, she has never, and will never, dye her hair, or do anything drastic to change her appearance. Most models want to be the best, on top, the elite but for Nowrouz, she wants to gain a larger following and work with more influential people. “The larger of a following that I will get will let me use it as a way to expand my platform in regards to my activism.” In the past months of her starting her modeling career, Nowrouz has done

a lot. From getting signed to an agency to walking into two major fashion shows. “I’ve done photo shoots with amazing photographers, and overall, gained confidence as a model,” Nowrouz said. Before Nowrouz started modeling, she never even thought of this industry. “I never saw myself as a model till recently,” Nowrouz said. Now, her agency provides fashion classes monthly that Nowrouz has never attended until she got accepted. For most of her day, Nowrouz is at school, keeping up with her grades and doing her best. But when it is time for her to model, she is always professional. As someone who’s silly and goofy in her free time, she puts up a sort of mask where she’s professional at all times at the agency. She is incredibly patient especially with clients and photographers because, at the end of the day, this is money and exposure for her. “I’m not going to jeopardize my career by being impatient,” Nowrouz said. “I’m sort of open to client’s requirements, but if I don’t want to do something, I say no off the bat.”

HARNEET BHULLAR sophomore “If I had any job in the world, I would want to be a neurosurgeon because I’ve always wanted to help others.”

SARAH ELKHEBRI junior “If I could have any job, it would probably be anything that involves helping kids to get them on the right path. Like a school counselor or social worker.”

CINDY LE senior “For my dream job, I would want a high paying job but with little labor, maybe a doctor because I want to help others.”

HUNTER WESTFALL sophomore “If I could have any job, I would like to be a pro traveler of the world. Like getting paid to eat food, and also getting paid to binge shows and give reviews because it’s fun.”

RICHARD LE junior “I would want to be the president of the United States because it comes with a lot of power and money and security.”

DAT DO senior “If I could have any job, I would want to be a doctor because that is my dream job.”

a I was a cheerleader and President of Key Club and French Club and dance captain for my show choirs, Spotlight and Rhapsody.

HUMANS OF ANNANDALE I came to this country at the age of five from my home all the way in El Salvador. I am fortunate enough to be able attend a Fairfax County Public School. Throughout the years I have learned and experienced new things. For elementary school, I attended Parklawn Elementary School, then went on to Holmes Middle School, and now I’m at Annandale High School. As a little kid I have always loved cars and to this day I still love cars. My dad and I work together at a body shop fixing cars for a lot of insurance companies. It’s really fun to fix cars and learn a lot of new things about the new models that come out yearly. The sad part of moving from El Salvador is that I don’t have much family in the United States, but it I do enjoy visiting them when I am able to. I’m the only child in my family. As an only child, I have been used to being alone at home most of my life. As a kid, I’ve always wanted to travel the world and explore new places. Since I have grown up, I’m hoping once I graduate, that I will be able to start my journey and travel the world. I’ve grown up in a very nice environment, I’m thankful for all my friends that I have and all the new people I have met in


I attended... Kirkwood High School and for college, I went to the University of South Carolina. The extracurricular activities I did were... I participated in German Club, played in two orchestras, and also played basketball and football. I was born in... Princeton, New Jersey. My favorite book is... The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Before teaching at Annandale.... I taught in a school in South Carolina.

Diego Tejada junior the Annandale community. Although I’m not the most studious person alive, I do try my best in school and want to be successful in the future. After school I like to do other activities such as playing soccer and biking. I enjoy playing soccer with my friends very much because it gets me active. I have one more year left at Annandale and I’m hoping to make the most of it and graduate and go onto better things in life afterwards! I couldn’t have asked for a better community than the one I attend and live in.

Why did you choose teaching... I had quite a few inspiring teachers when I was in school. They made it look like a bunch of fun, and they were right! My favorite movie is... the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. My greatest feat is... I have visited 6 out of the 7 continents. I can’t wait to adventure to the 7th continent! I teach at Annandale because... I love the students here at Annandale, the city, and the teachers that teach here also!

What I do in my free time is... I go rock climbing, eat, cook, and I love to travel. Favorite quote is... “To be yourself in the world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Use a QR Code scanner to reveal Who Am I?


Tues. April 10, 2017

Atoms athletic hall of fame Staff introduces new AHS inductees for the first time


Throughout all the years of existence and high-intensity of school spirit and tradition, AHS has never had an athletic hall of fame until recently. This school year Director of Student Activities John Ellenberger made an effort for an installment of the first Atoms athletic hall of fame. “With the tradition in this school and with all the great athletes and coaches that have come through here, I thought that an athletic hall of fame is something we needed to have,” Ellenberger said. The first class of hall of fame inductees features former Atoms athletes including some of whom were also professional athletes, All-Americans, as well as an Olympian. Inductees into the 2018 Atoms athletic hall of fame class will include current UCLA women’s soccer head coach Amanda Cromwell who led the Bruins to a NCAA Championship in 2013. “She [Cromwell] is definitely one of the most decorated athletes in school history,”Scott said. Other individual former AHS athletes being inducted include class of 1960 football player Sonny Utz and former MLB player Robin Jennings who played for a number of professional teams including the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies. Teams to win first state


BY JUDE NANAW Sports X-tra Editor

The Atoms athletic hall of fame will be posted in the jock-lobby and will feature names and pictures of the inductees for the 2018 class. championship for the Atoms including 1965 football team; 1986 girl’s soccer team and the first undefeated Atoms football team from 1959. In addition to individual players and teams being inducted, former AHS coaches and staff will also be added to the 2018 class. Coaches Katherine Buck, Ed Henry and Katherine Russell and former athletic directors Bob Hardage and Rachel Peters are among staff inductees. Former principal Jim Finch will also be inducted. “This is a great first group inductees,” Scott said. “It is great that we are having

an athletic hall of fame,” coach Mike Scott said. “It is long overdue.” Also being inducted in the first class of the hall of fame are state championship teams, coaches and administrators. Inductees were chosen through a process in which a Google form was put out through social media to receive responses about potential nominees. After this, a committee comprised of current staff and coaches as well as booster club members discussed and decided on inductees for the first hall of fame class. The official induction ceremony will take place at the

Arlington Moose Lodge on Sept. 8 where inductees into the first class will meet There will be a new hall of fame class to be inducted every school year. “The only criteria for being nominated for the hall of fame really is to have graduated at least 15 years ago,” Ellenberger said. This new Atoms tradition will create excitement for future years to come. “We expect this new tradition to last in Annandale forever,” Scott said.

Meet notable inductees of the Hall of Fame

Player Profile: Elizabeth Corcoran BY JUDE NANAW Sports X-tra Editor Senior Elizabeth Corcoran has consistently been a top performer on the Atoms varsity softball team since her freshman year. A multi-sport athlete, Corcoran has played softball for 10 years as well as basketball and baseball. She also participates in softball outside of school. Q. How long have you been playing softball? A. I’ve been playing for 10 years now. Q. Do you play softball outside of school? A. Yes, I play for a BRYC travel softball team. Q. What made you want to start playing softball? A. I played baseball beforehand and I got tired of playing with the boys so I switched to softball. When I started, I played with girls two years older than me. Q. When did you start playing softball? A. I first started playing when I was around eight years old. Q. Are there any other sports you have played in the past? A. I’ve also played baseball and basketball before, along with softball. Q. In which ways do you prepare in the off-season? A. My travel team has winter workouts once a week during the off-season so that helps prepare for the high school season in the spring.

Robin Jennings

Amanda Cromwell Amanda Cromwell graduated from AHS in 1988. She went on to attend the University of Virginia and was the team captain for the Cavaliers in 1991. Following her college experience, Cromwell went on to play professional soccer for the Washington Freedom, Atlanta Beat and the San Jose CyberRays. After her playing career, Cromwell became an assistant coach at UVA from 1992-94 and then was head coach at UMBC women’s team from 1996-97. She went on to coach at the University of Central Florida for 14 seasons. In her first season as head coach at UCLA in 2013, Cromwell led the Bruins to the first-ever NCAA Championship in the history of the program.

An AHS graduate in 1990, Robin Jennings would become a future MLB Player. After high school, Jennings was drafted in the 30th round of the 1990 MLB June amateur draft. He attended college for one year at the State College of Florida, Mantee-Sarasota. After his time in college, Jennings was again drafted in the 1991 MLB June amateur draft in 33rd round by the Chicago Cubs. He debuted for the Cubs in 1996 and played in the MLB as a Right fielder and First Baseman in a total of 93 games until 2001. Jennings was also traded to and played for both the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds.

Which NBA team will win the finals this season?

Q. How do you get ready before a softball game? A. I prepare before a game by doing things the way I have always done them like putting on my right cleat first and then my left cleat. It’s my superstition thing that I do. Q. Do you find it difficult to balance school along with sports? A. At first it was hard to juggle school and sports but once I found my right way to balance, it became second nature to me. Q. What are your future goals in softball for this current season? A. For this season my goals are to have a winning record and get into the playoffs.

Student competes in martial arts Senior Elliot Alwes has success in Jiu-Jitsu and Jung-Su in New York tournament

freshman “The Celtics because they are good on defense and still have good players without Kyrie.”

DEVIN GILL junior “I think the Houston Rockets are going to win because James Harden is cooking right now and working everybody.”

FINN ISLAM freshman “The Cavs because they still have LeBron James who is still the best player in the league.”

DRAKE AMAYA sophomore “The Cavaliers because they are still good and are on a winning streak right now.”

ABRIL SANCHEZ-QUIERO sophomore “I think the Warriors are going to win the finals because of KD and Steph Curry.”


IAN MARBURGER senior “The Houston Rockets because James Harden has been averaging 20 points and higher throughout this season and that will help them win.”

AMANI MUNTU senior “I think the Warriors are going to win because they have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on their team and they are both goof three-point shooters.”

junior “The Washington Wizards because even though John Wall is out, Bradley Beal will help the team pull through.”

BY JUDE NANAW Sports X-tra Editor As he knots his black belt and prepares to compete, senior Elliot Alwes reflects on how his martial arts journey began. Alwes competes in a variety of martial arts events and has a black belt in Jung-Su and a blue belt in JiuJitsu and was also victorious in the largest martial arts tournament on Senior Elliott Alwes performs a take-down of a competitor at the Yamasaki Brazilthe East Coast last year, the New ian Jiu Jitsu Academy. He currently holds a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu. York open Jiu-Jitsu tournament. said. “I finally settled on Brazilian enhancing things such as confidence “At first I was put in to martial Jiu-Jitsu and Judo in the last two and discipline. arts to instill discipline in me,” Alwes “One of my favorite things about years.” said. “But later on it was out of my Due to its variety of forms, mar- martial arts is its remarkable ability own desire to learn and develop my tial arts is open to various competi- to crush anyone’s ego,” Alwes said. skills as a martial artist.” Participants in martial arts are tors. The broad range of martial arts With 10 years of previous experifrom kick boxing to judo to Jiu-Jitsu relatively small in number currentence, Alwes has been able to achieve ly when compared to participants in allows for this. high belt ranks and win high-pro“I love the all size fits all capacity sports such as soccer, basketball etc. file contests. He began with different “Martial arts is not something that of martial arts because anybody can forms of martial arts and eventually learn it,” Alwes said. “Everyone can only a select few should be doing,” learned new ones. contour martial arts to their liking Alwes said. “It is great for increasing “Early on I did Korean Jungand there is no optimal size or shape.” confidence and tenacity and stronger Su and wrestling then later learned All types of martial arts are typ- people are more useful to the world.” Muay Thai and kick boxing,” Alwes ically known to be productive in




Tues. April 10, 2018

Track begins their season on the right foot BY SHYEIM CAMPBELL Staff Writer The varsity outdoor track team is ready to succeed this season, following the success of their runners in the indoor season. They opened their season on Sat. April 7, with their first track meet of the spring season, and it turned out well for the team in each event. Many runners were able to get good times to improve upon as the season progresses. “I think I did really good in the 200-meter race but I did not do as well as I wanted to in the 400-meter race, I could really practice improving on my stamina and my form,” junior Makayla Lopez said. With practices six days each week to work on skills and techniques, the track team feels well prepared for every track meet. Some of the drills that each group works on at practice are sprints, block starts, breathing skills, and volume. The team has a system at their practices where if you usually run a 400meter race, you do drills for an 800meter race and you also practice running an 800-meter race. All these practices have set them up well. All the runners have goals in their minds to achieve in their upcoming track meets and they also have a couple things they would like to fix to do better. “For the next meet, I want to be able to get off the blocks more explosively to help with my start,” junior Franco Kitila said. “It was cold but I ran at my best and I am proud of myself but I want to improve on my stride length because it could be better,” junior Ayman Elhag said. Although the track season just started, the runners all hope that it turns out great and hope that their hard work pays off. “The season just started but it looks promising especially since we are coming off being 4th in the state for indoor track,” Elhag said. They hope a successful season is in the future for them.

The lacrosse squad huddles together and discusses tactics during practice in preparation for their next game.

Boys lacrosse bounces back Team earns first win of their season in close game vs Hayfield BY JAMIE HAMADEH Staff Writer After losing two games by one goalthe boys varsity lacrosse team were finally able to pull off a clutch win as they defeated Hayfield by a score of 14-13. The score of the game went back and forth several times and at one point, Hayfield took the lead but the Atoms managed to take back control of the game. “It was a roller coaster of emotions. We were in the lead, then we fell behind for some parts of the game, but our guys came through and won,” junior James Gore said. During practice, the boys get a lot of training in and skills that they use during their games. They always end up working on things that they messed up

on during their prior games so they can improve for the future. “We worked on our defensive slides and our defensive positioning. We always work really hard at practices and it always ends up helping us at our games,” junior Abel Samson said. During their practices, Coach Maglisceau and Coach Mathis usually separate the offensive and defensive players into two groups. The coaches each work with one group to develop more skills in their specific positions. “We have been working on a variety of plays for our defense like Syracuse, Spider, and Rydo. We’re also focusing on being aware at all times,” Gore said. The boys all agree that there could have been a couple of things that they could change to make their most recent

Softball plays in Hayfield Spring Break Invitational Tournament BY ALEX BURITA Staff Writer A flash snowstorm forced the softball’s team’s final game in the tournament against Oakton to be postponed until two weeks later on Fri. April 6, moved from the week before spring break, The Atoms varsity softball finished up their final game in the tournament against Oakton. Of the five total games they played in the Hayfield Spring Break Invitational Tournament, the Atoms were only able to win one of them, against Thomas Jefferson 1-0. This tournament took place after their first two season games, where they routed both the Jeb Stuart Raiders and the Falls Church Jaguars by scores of 12-2 and 13-3 respectively. Against Oakton however, the Atoms were not able to shake off the rust left over from spring break. The team lost by a heartbreaking score of 18-2, thus adding to their losing streak making it a total of four in a row. “The game was alright, but we did not get the result that we were hoping for,” senior Elizabeth Corcoran said.

“Overall, we did a good job with making adjustments when playing multiple different teams during the tournament, however we did not execute many plays as we wanted to.” After the conclusion of the tournament, the team now has a record of 3-5 overall, with district opponents on the schedule ahead. Additionally, the Atoms will face off against W. T. Woodson, in what will be a tough game for them. Annandale suffered defeats against Hayfield and Mt. Vernon during the tournament at Hayfield and will be seeking revenge. Next, they will face Hayfield on Wed. April 18 and Tues. April 24 and Mt. Vernon on Fri. April 20 and Tues. May 8. The Atoms’ game against Mount Vernon on May 8 will be their final regular season game before the district tournament. “So far during the season, we are a much stronger team and have made some big improvements, but we still need to work better together as a team as opposed to everyone waiting for someone else to make a play,” Corcoran said. Knowing this, the Atoms will be looking to improve in time to do well during the postseason.

game have a better outcome. “We could have kept our strong 4-0 lead but then we let them come back and take the lead in the 4th quarter,” Samson said. The score bounced around a couple of times but the Atoms got their points back to take a win home. “We are changing and getting better every practice. Our only flaw is that we are not hydrated. We all need to drink a lot more water,” Gore said. They all see a couple of minor mistakes that could be improved on the defensive side of the field. Although the game had a couple downsides, there were definitely many good things about the game as well. “I think the biggest pro of the game was winning the face-off and getting the ground ball to gain possession most of the time,” Senior Andy Nguyen said. The boys were good at keeping the ball towards the opponent’s goal and having possession of the ball for most of the game.

Girls lacrosse competes in invitational tournament BY ELIAS MOURA Staff Writer

Senior shortstop Elizabeth Corcoran throws the ball during practice.

Everyone was really excited which gave the team a great amount of support and energy throughout the whole game. “Everyone came out motivated and we fought hard for every possession. We also made every possession count and converted a lot of them into goals,” junior Idris Dahir said. They are looking forward to getting wins for the rest of the season and to keep working hard every day at practice to make more improvement. The team is looking to achieve their goals for themselves. “My goal for the team for the rest of the season is to develop our players and team chemistry so we can get further in the postseason than we did last season,” Dahir said. “For myself, I want to work on all the fundamentals and become a player my teammates can rely on.” Their next game will be away on Fri. April 13 against West Potomac where they will be looking to gain their second win of their season.

It was an unfortunate tournament for the varsity girls lacrosse team as they faced disappointing results in it. The girls faced off against teams such as Madison, Oakton, Langley, and West Potomac High School. It was an invitational tournament, so the schools played at the stadium field and the track field for most of the day. Junior Kenzie Gardner felt the team played tough against their match ups but it wasn’t the best of results. “The tournament on Saturday wasn’t easy for us on the field. During the second half, it did get better with more pressure on our opponents and being strong on defense,” Gardner said. She also feels the season has been a bumpy journey thus far. “I would say this season, had been a bit of rocky one. There are times where we are completely on the same page, and times where we feel stuck,” Gardner said. Head Coach Cindy Hook agrees. “The season hasn’t been going to plan record wise, but the girls have been

playing hard lacrosse throughout and look to get only better,” Hook said. In order to turn the season around, the girls have to start fixing their problems. “One problem, I would point out is being able to hear each other on the field. We tend to say things out loud, but sometimes we can’t hear because it has only been said once or twice and that creates an effect if others can’t hear it,” Gardner said. ”Another problem I have noticed is the lack of stick skills that we should know.” Hook believes communication is a big factor and are working hard in practice to fix all these issues. The girls squad have been focusing on overcoming a certain issue and overcoming it with confidence and clearing up any questions. “Practices are mixed up so we don’t get too comfortable with what we have been doing.” Gardner said. A goal the team has is to advance far in the playoffs and they plan to do so by fixing some of the problems they’ve been noticing. “This team has so much potential and hype in them, which makes us want to work harder and get better,” Hook said. The girls will be preparing for their next game at home against West Potomac on Thurs. April 12.

Athlete of the Month: Alex Brennan BY LUKE ELKINS Sports Editor How long have you been playing baseball? I have been playing since I was four years old so about 13 years I’ve played baseball. How did you discover your interest in baseball? I had played soccer and basketball but wasn’t enjoying it too much so I went to baseball and I kind of just stuck with it. Who is your favorite athlete and why? Shaun White because snowboard is pretty cool and especially after he came in clutch with the gold in the final run of South Korean Olympics. What inspires you to play baseball? I think what inspires me to play baseball is how I have progressed as a player over the time I have played. I have seen myself get better and how I have changed as a player. How have your friends and family supported you? My family has been my biggest support in playing baseball. My family always shows up to my games and have supported in anything I’ve done which I am very thankful for. What’s the best advice you’ve received? The best advice I have received is that everything happens

for a reason. It may not be what you wanted to happen but it could’ve happened in order to give you other opportunities. What is your daily training routine? I don’t really have a daily training routine but what I do to prepare for the next season is stay active year round. In the summer and fall I play travel baseball and on the winter I go to the gym and work with pitching and hitting coaches. What do you like to do in your free time? When I am not playing baseball I enjoy fishing, hanging with friends and in the summer I enjoy going to the beach and the pool. What’s your favorite song to listen to before a game? Right now I enjoy listening to Zombie by Bad Wolves. What’s your favorite pre-game meal? My favorite pregame meal is something light like a sandwich with chips or fruit. What’s your favorite part about baseball? I love the mental aspect of the game and the rush of adrenaline whenever you make a big play or get a big hit. What advice would you give to baseball beginners? Stick with the sport, don’t give up on it. If you want to stop playing it, that’s all good but it’s really hard to come back and pick up the sport when you have taken time off from it.

Junior Alex Brennan winds up to pitch the ball in a game against Robert E. Lee HS.


Tues. April, 10. 2018

Coach’s Corner: Rico Moore

Junior starting left back Fares Ayuob dribbles the ball up the field before passing the ball to his teammates in the game against Stuart.

Atoms draw against the Wolverines BY JUDE NANAW Sports X-tra Editor

The 1-3 Annandale Men’s Varsity Soccer suffered a 2-0 defeat at home against Jeb Stuart on April 3rd 2018. This loss was marked as the second consecutive against Stuart this season. Then, On Friday, April 6, the Atoms moved on to play the West Potomac Wolverines in which the result was a 1-1 tie. During the first few minutes of the game, the Atoms started out strong and had a few shots on goal and many breakthroughs, but no goals. “I think what we saw on the good side of things was the team playing really well together, everybody really gave there finest effort and it really showed even if it was a substitute that came in,” varsity soccer Head Coach Rico Moore said. Then, up until half-time, the Wolverines soon adapted to Annandale’s high pressing play style and possession started to even out. “Overall, for most of the game, possession appeared to be balanced along with opportunities,” Augusto Gonzalez-Suarez captain plays midfield on the team, said. The rest of the first half remained this way in that neither team was able to score, but each had a plentiful amount of opportunities followed by missed shots or close saves. But, that was soon to change in the second half which featured successful free kicks and other positive plays. “The team is most definetly improving

because they really have a handle on what are system is and what are style is and they are really applying it now,” Moore said. Annandale’s used and kept a high pressing play style featuring attempts to keep the ball on the ground featuring short passes followed by long through balls in hopes to create big plays.

“We are very technical and tactical team, we have improved a lot this season as a team.” --AUGUSTO GONZALEZ

Senior “We kept moving the ball and high pressing, this is something we have been working on throughout our practices this week. We have decided as a team that high pressing is how we play at our best, so we will continue to work on moving as a team,” Gonzalez-Suarez said. This is the common play style that Annandale has used since 3-1 defeat at Thomas Edison High School.

Eventually, in the second half, the Atoms drew a foul and earned a free kick. A perfectly placed free kick in the air allowed for Senior midfielder #16 Jasiel Aldino to score off of a header giving Annandale the 1-0 lead in the second half. “If they keep doing as well as they did the other night, I think we’ll really have room to make a lot of noice in the district,” Moore said. Later in the half however, this lead would not be maintained as West Potomac also scored off of another free kick. After this, neither team was able to score again as strong defenses on both sides were fortified. The game then ended at a 1-1 draw. This makes the Atoms’ record 1-3-1. Overall, the Atoms have been more successful as a team when playing together and communicating on the field. “Due to our being good at high pressing in our game, I feel confident in saying we will have a good winning season,” Gonzalez-Suarez said. Annandale will play West Potomac again on April 24 and will have the opportunity redeem themselves with a win. “The strength of the team is the skill level of the boys, the boys have a really high skilled level but they have brought from everywhere from club ball to just playing soccer all there lives. They can do things with the ball that I can’t even imagine doing”, Moore said. Annandale’s next game will be on Tuesday April 10, away against the mighty, undefeated T.C. Williams Titans.

On the left is Soccer Head coach Rico Moore and on the right is Assistant coach John DeOrnellas disscussing about the recent game against West Potomac. How did you discover your interest in soccer? I got a New York Cosmos soccer ball when I was eight. I played outside of my place with my friend Sergio and never looked back. Soccer was my life since then.

What are your strengths as a coach? I believe that my true love and passion for the game of soccer is a great strength for me as a coach. Always wanting to learn new ways of training. I also believe that that I can be emotionally inspiring. The boys might think otherwise.

What are your best and worst memories in coaching? The best memories are easy. Jumping up and down like a little kid and running towards the kids on that championship field. The head coach at Mt Vernon is one of my best friends since high school so it was a very special day. Coming full circle from being kids on the playing field to being adults coaching them. Another was getting the call to be the the head coach here. It was a big deal for me. I really thought about bad memories in coaching and can’t really think of any. I’m coaching the game I love with kids that I grow to really care for and I can’t find anything “bad” in that.

How do you handle the discipline of players? Teenage boys can be really hard to deal with but I try to instill a sense of responsibility in them. Pride in the team and the school and that what they do in the classroom is the most important thing.lettinthemselves down if they don’t take their own lives seriously. It’s their team, be true to it. It’s their academics be diligent about it.


Tues. April 10, 2018

Review: My Dear Melancholy The Weeknd releases new EP following breakup BY TJ GONZALES Staff Writer

Students applaud first major teen LGBTQ+ film BY LINA AL TAII Entertainment Editor

Following the spectacular release of Black Panther, Hollywood is being thrust into the world of diversity and inclusion—the real world—headfirst. No longer will movies with all white casts and white lead roles reign supreme in the film industry. Hollywood has finally begun casting and portraying the lives of all people, whether that is multiracial, LGBTQ+ or women, who have all been a minority in the film industry for a long time. Love, Simon, a coming-of-age romantic drama follows the life of a pretty normal 17 year-old high school guy who happens to be gay. Director Greg Berlanti does not stray towards any stereotypes of gay people and does not let Simon’s whole identity be defined by his romantic preference. Instead, he creates a heartfelt story about accepting yourself and growing up. The film features actor Nick Robinson and actress Katherine Langford, who gained popularity through her role as Hannah in 13 Reasons Why. Aside from Robinson and Langford, Berlanti also has inclusive and diverse supporting roles featuring actress Alexandra Shipp and actors Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and Keiynan

Lonsdale. The film also features Jennifer Garner as Simon’s mother. The diversity and inclusion of this film gained attention from the release of the trailer, and led to an overall opening weekend gross of $11 million and a domestic gross of over $33 million as of April 2. The number, compared to other major films such as Black Panther, which made $202 million on opening weekend, shows that many people still do not fully support the movement. Love, Simon has become Berlanti’s best directed film yet, and it is the first movie featuring a gay lead role to be backed by a major production studio like 20th Century Fox. The message behind this film has proved to be true and powerful. Everyone deserves a love story and everyone deserves happiness and equality, no matter what they look like or what is in that love story. The film also attacks stereotypes of gay people by consistently portraying Simon as the regular guy throughout the development of the conflict. For instance, in the beginning of the film, Simon tells us that he lives a normal life with two parents, a younger sister who is obsessed with cooking, he has best friends and he is a good student. The only difference is that he is gay. Even more, the film uses strong comedic relief through the side plot of

Martin trying to win Abby’s heart and Katherine being secretly in love with Simon. This comedy ultimately lends to a light hearted story with a deep and emotional theme. The film follows Simon’s journey towards coming out through a string of emails with an anonymous gay classmate. Simon falls in love with his email pen pal, but the plot takes a sharp turn when a member of Simon’s drama club, Martin, finds out he is gay and begins blackmailing him. In the end, Martin reveals Simon’s true status to everyone online, and Simon is forced to come out to his family. The scene where Simon and Ethan, the only openly gay person at his school, were at the principal’s office was the most prominent scene in the entire film. The scene encapsulates the idea of LGBTQ+ in a perfect manner to introduce the audience to the fact that LGBTQ+ doesn’t consist of one certain type of person. Simon could be described as the complete opposite of Ethan, yet they are both gay. This once again lends to the overall message of inclusion and accepting all people, no matter what they look like. As the first major motion picture featuring a gay lead role supported by a diverse and inclusive cast, Love, Simon has launched Hollywood’s film industry into the 21st century, and into the real world. The portrayal of all people and all love has not been a popular subject in film, but more successful films like Love, Simon will guide the way for the rest of the film industry.

The best reactions!

The Weeknd’s honesty and emotion in his new EP sets it apart from his other albums.

and heartbreak connect this album to Trilogy. Even more, the electro-pop production is also reminiscent of Starboy. However, The Weeknd shows that he has grown since those albums and he is now a different mix of who he used to be. My Dear Melancholy is also a clear look into his love life, exposing his emotions about the Selena Gomez break-up and regrets about his relationship with Bella Hadid as well. This EP gives us a clear, vivid meaning of love defined by Tesfaye, in what he was willing to sacrifice for both former significant others. He felt betrayal from both women who broke his heart. The album specifically targets Gomez who rekindled her love affair with Justin Bieber immediately after her break up with The Weeknd. Tesfaye drops the hints of the heartthrob he’d gone through with both women, but what stands out is his song “Hurt You” which consists of him apologizing to both girls for moving on, or trying to look like he’s moved on so quickly, even though they both did the same to him. This EP is a look at his soft side, his most vulnerable side: his love life. This is a genuine release of pain that he’s endured. Instead of masking it with drugs, women and expensive materials, he’s using his talents to express himself.

LGBTQ+ representation in Film



This 2017 film follows the love

This film won Best Picture at the


story of a young seventeen year

Academy Awards in 2017. It fol-

This Netflix production exam-

old boy who falls in love with

lows the life of a young African-

ines the death of a transgender

another man over a summer in

American gay man growing up in

woman who led the LGBTQ+



movement in the early 90’s.

Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, dropped one of the most anticipated EPs of the year on March 30. Tesfaye released the news that an EP was coming earlier that same week, and confirmed it by posting the album art on his instagram. Even though he only gave the world about two days notice, the EP is being predicted to hit #1 on Billboard’s top 200 chart by April 13. The EP itself is extremely somber, taking his fan base back to his roots in Trilogy with a combination of Starboy. This is Tesfaye going back to his old self, the inspiration for his start in the music industry. The production of Starboy was great, but the album depended on the electro-pop sound and focused more on the beats rather than the lyrics. A slower, more deprived use of the electro-pop production that really sets the tone of depression, loneliness, and heartbreak in My Dear Melancholy. The vibes of depression, loneliness

Santa Clarita Diet impresses

Playlist of the Issue

Drew Barrymore takes on role as a wife turned zombie

BAD COMPANY Asap Rocky, BlocBoy JB Single (2018) Rocky dropped this song as a teaser for his upcoming album drop in a few months.

BY LINA AL TAII Entertainment Editor


Santa Clarita Diet is a Netflix TV show which blends horror and comedy to create a unique story telling method. Married couple Shiela and Joel lead regular lives as real estate agents. However, the show takes a turn when Shiela dies in season one and turns into a zombie. Unlike the plot in other zombie shows, Shiela does not turn against her family and instead works with them to figure out the cause of her zombie disease. Sea- Barrymore, who plays Sheila in the show, needs to eat blood to survive. son one of the show was rough and rocky, with some obvious plot holes, but the Compared to how wobbly and unusu- guidelines for this disease. However, release of season two changed that. Season two is stronger than season al season one was, season two is much season two has begun introducing those one and has begun to establish the rules more stable and strong. Season two fully rules as Sheila and Joel finally begin to embraces the nature of this horror-comedy think about why this disease came to be for this show. and who else it could possibly be affectProduced by Victor Fresco, Aaron family zombie movie. The most impressive part of this show ing. Kaplan, and many more, this show also For anyone who wants to watch a features star actress Drew Barrymore as is the portrayal of Sheila and Joel’s relationship, which is strong and positive weird and different show, Santa Clarita Sheila. Diet is the perfect one. For anyone who Barrymore brings more persona to the throughout both seasons. Sheila and Joel work together, even isn’t a fan of gory scenes or might get sick show, with an impressive acting career starting at eight years old as a lead role though Sheila is a zombie, and they repre- from blood, it is not the one. However, the good part about Santa in E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial.) Besides sent a team and a family. Joel helps Sheila Barrymore, the show also features actor keep her disease under wraps from neigh- Clarita Diet is that it has done something bors by helping her find already dead peo- new and different, and stepped out of the Timothy Olyphant as Joel. comfort zone. The smart casting of BarAt the end of season one, the show ple to eat. Differently from season one, where all rymore as Sheila brings more attention ends with a cliffhanger as Joel gets put into an insane asylum and the couples’ of the problems are inside the family and to the show. Even more, the unusual mix daughter struggles to find a way to keep kept fairly low-key, season two finally con- of horror and comedy as well as a faminects Sheila and Joel to the outside world. ly friendly plot makes this show a unique her mom’s zombie-ness from spreading. Similarly to other mythological and one, and that’s what has made it so sucSeason one relied heavily on the juxtaposition of mixing a comedy style with fantasy TV shows and movies, Santa Clar- cessful. ita Diet is still developing its rules and gory and scary scenes.

JAPAN Famous Dex Single (2018) This new single has put Famous Dex on the same level as other successful rappers. BOUNCE OUT WITH THAT YBN Nahmir Single (2018) The beat and background music take the spotlight in YBN Nahmir’s new song LOVE LIES Khalid, Normani Single (2018) This R&B/Soul song is a new style for Normani, who had upbeat and pop style songs in the past. WHAT I NEED Hayley Kiyoko, Kehlani Expectations (2018) This hip-hop/R&B song features a collaboration between Kehlani and Kiyoko on Kiyoko’s new album. POWERGLIDE Rae Sremmurd, Swae Lee, Gucci Mane, Quavo, Juicy J Single (2018) This upbeat hip hop single is perfect to listen to at a party or in the car.


Tues. April 10, 2018

Finish the Vine

With the announcement of the new v2 app, celebrate with these old vines 1. “AHH...Stahhp. I coulda dropped mah ________” a. keys b. phone c. croissant d. drink 2. “Freesha-- Free-- ___” a. gaucamole b. canteloupe c. freestyle d. freeshavaca do 3. “ya got ___?” “I got what?” “You got ___?” a.eczema b. a pencil c. an eraser d. mad cow disease 4. “Why are you running. WHY ARE YOU ___” a. walking away b. leaving c. ignoring me d. running

5. “...Hi Welcome to _____” a. McDonald’s b. Chili’s c. Apple Bee’s d. Glory Day’s Grill 6. _______ dude that hurt like a buttcheek on a stick” a. butterlover b. mothertrucker c. brotherducker d. mothertucker 7. “WHAT ARE THOSEEEEE?” “THEY are my _____!” a. sandals b. slides c. crocs d. shoes 8. “Look at all those ____!” a. geese b. ducks c. chickens d. swans

9. “My name’s __ I have a basketball game tomorrow” a. Dre b. Trey c. Ray d. Tay 10. “Hurricane Katrina? More like Hurricane ____” a. tortilla b. sandy c. dorito d. harvey 11. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAVEN!” “I can’t ____” a. swim b. walk c. see d. hear 12. “That was _______.” a. epic b. radical c. amazing d. legitness

1. C 2. B 3. B 4. D 5. B 6. A 7. A 8. C 9. A 10. D 11. C 12. D

If you got 10-12 right

If you got 7-9 right

If you got 5-7 right

If you got 5 or less right

You’re an expert

You’re informed

You need work

Download v2

If you answered 10-12 of the Vines correctly, then you are a Vine expert. You probably were very active on Vine and maybe even made a few. Also, the shutdown of Vine probably upset you.

If you answered 7-9 right, then you are well informed about popular Vines and know a good amount of them. You probably enjoyed Vine, but were not super active on it.

If you answered 5-7 right, then you probably spent your time watching Nash Grier or Cameron Dallas instead of the real iconic vines like “eyebrows on fleek” and “do it for the vine.”

If you answered 5 or less right, then you should really get your act together and start catching up on Vines. That way, you’ll be prepared for when v2 releases later this year.

Ready Player One: virtually fantastic BY TJ GONZALEZ Staff Writer Steven Spielberg comes back early in 2018 with this futuristic, VR gaming movie where virtual reality has taken over actual reality. The plot surrounds this virtual world, named the Oasis, and its creator, James Halliday. Halliday creates the Oasis with just about no rules to what can happen in it and who you, as an avatar, can be. The Oasis was creqated to be an escape from reality, but soon turns into reality for anyone who has access to the game. Halliday dies and leaves an Easter egg hunt of three keys. If a player finds all three, they gain control of the Oasis and the bank account of Halliday. The film follows Wade Watts who, in the Oasis, is known as Parzival. He goes on a quest to hunt down all three keys with in his long time online friends and against an entire gaming company. The plot is executed profoundly well. The Oasis is revolved around gaining these three keys, and everyone does what they can to hunt them. Halliday created this hunt around himself. His beliefs, his hobbies, his personal life,

Be on the lookout for these artists

and his interest in life. Anything that defined him could’ve been a clue to gaining a key. He allowed his life to be as open as he could so the public could find hints or clues as to how to gain a key. He has archives dating back to when he was a kid playing video games, and everyone is scrummaging through them for the hint to the easter eggs. This movie heavily resembles people’s modern day obsession with the internet, and how famous people can mold pop culture. Take Fortnite for example. The game has every gamer pumping hours into it, and some of the references implemented into the game are becoming mainstream. The John Wick skin has young gamers watching John Wick movies, the dance from Scrubs has people streaming Scrubs heavily. What the flim captures very well is the behavior these players have with each other, in the game and out in reality. In the game there is banter, the inside jokes they have, the common interest. In the real world, there’s that awkwardness when first meeting each other. The surprise of how they look, the small talk, such and such. They know each other but they don’t. It’s that line of

A$AP Rocky

virtual reality and actual reality. The film, visually, is amazing. It really captures the graphics of a video game, the futuristic look and idea of virtual reality. “Ready Player One” really captures the concept of how virtual reality wants to expand in the near future, and the consequences that concept could lead to if it does. Which makes the film so

Rich The Kid

BY CHRISTIAN REYES Entertainment Editor On My Block is a Netflix original that has caught everyone by surprise. It features a very diverse cast which is one of the reasons for the huge publicity it has been receiving. It is popular among high school students because it is about high school students. It follows a group of freshmen who are trying to survive high school. Besides the cheesey backstory, the show has real life issues that are shown and sometimes put into jokes. This show is also about gangs and violence that goes on. One reason it has been trending is due to some of the actors and their looks. “Ruby was the cutest because he was so sweet to Olivia. His grandma was funny too.” junior Vitalina Fuentes, said. The show has been trending everywhere, and memes have been made from some of the more intense scenes. One scene in particular has had everyone talking. The season finale ends with a bang, literally. “Ruby didn’t deserve that” junior Vitalina Fuentes,said. The first season only features ten episodes, with each episode being half an hour. Every episode counts, so don’t be left wondering what happens.

Netflix’s new ‘OITNB’ junior BY NICOLLE URIA Entertainment Editor On March 1st, Netflix released a new show called “Girls Incarcerated” following girls who were sent to a juvenile detention center due to bad behavior such as getting arrested, doing drugs and murder. Each girl has a released date, however, if they do not complete the program they are held back. Some girls are there for such as two years or six months, following rules and adapting to life incarcerated. Girls Incarcerated may make for an entertaining, emotional rollercoaster of a binge-watch, but it’s likely you’ll find yourself wondering about these girls’ uncertain futures by the time you’ve finished – and how many other girls like them are out there. Netflix has so far released one season to see how far the show will go. If you like ‘Orange is the New Black” then you will like this show.

interesting not to just gamers, but to anyone who has a phone, an imagination, to anyone who wants an escape. Rate : 7/10

Swae Lee

YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Fortnite Mobile BY CHRISTIAN REYES Entertainment Editor

BY CHRISTIAN REYES Entertainment Editor With new music dropping everyday, it’s hard to find out what you like and what you don’t like. Music, more specifically rap and R&B, is changing constantly. Considering this, good artists are hard to come by. A$AP Rocky is an artist that has always put out good music, but hasn’t had an album in years. Newer artists like NBA YoungBoy haven’t been around for long, but almost all of YoungBoy’s songs are hits. With new music releasing daily, be on the lookout for these artists’ music.

On My Block’s first season

A$AP Rocky has been quiet in the music industry. His last full album was released in 2015. He has had his features here and there, but recently he has dropped two new singles which have lead some to question when his next album will drop.

Rich The Kid recently released his debut album The World Is Yours. Before that, he had many smaller projects and mixtapes. With many big names on his debut album, his future is looking a little brighter.

Swae Lee is a member of the rap group Rae Sremmurd, which also includes his

YoungBoy Never Broke Again, also known as NBA YoungBoy, is set to release

brother Slim Jxmmi. He has

his newest project Until

released a number of songs

Death Call My Name late

including “Powerglide” and “Hurt To Look” which did not include Slim Jxmmi.

this month on April 27. He has pushed it to this date due to some legal issues.

Fortnite mobile is now officially available to be downloaded by anyone on the app store. Fortnite is exclusively for iPhone users at the moment. This is a huge move for Fortnite, considering its large popularity on console and PC. Students used to go home and play Fortnite, but now it is much more convenient to play on the go. This is what makes the mobile version so fun, because you can play during school. W4 is the perfect place to catch up on your levels and tiers, or play with your friends who also have the game. “I’ve won a couple games on mobile. It’s easier to play and is the only thing to do in W4.” junior Kevin Cardozo said. A downside of the mobile version is how your wins don’t transfer to your console or PC. Another downside is the amount of space it takes up on your phone. Considering it is free and fun, it is definitely worth the download.


Tues. April 10, 2018

Renwick features Burning Man exhibit Like many of the other exhibits this one was interactive and allowed spectators to write and climb on the wood, which, intentionally or not, added a great amount of depth to the work. As I walked around the room, there were wedding flowers and memorial pictures that people had left as well as letters and quotes to loved ones. It was captivating getting to read the stories and advice that people left on the walls. On the same floor, there were also colossal mushrooms that changed color and shape when interacted with, a LED ceiling display with a beanbag floor which lulls spectators when they lay down and look up at it as well as a “History of Burning Man” room which displays old remnants of burned art, outfits of those who attend and old promotional posters. As we left the gallery, my aunt stated that she had a “spiritual experience” travelling through the exhibit and is now determined to make it to the Nevada to see it in its full glory. While I don’t think I’ll be joining her in the desert next August it was fun to escape reality for an hour and admire some out of the box and engaging art displays.

This wall full of flowers and precise designs is all made out of wood. The piece spans from the floor to the ceiling and will captivate your eyes.

This giant display is made of steel and has many different shapes cut into it. There is a light on the inside which makes shapes on the walls.

The black crow is located in the neighborhood surrounding the Renwick gallery and will be on display untill December 2018.

“Truth is Beauty,” created by Marco Cochrane and is ussually twice the hieght of this piece. It is made out of steel rods and mesh.




Every year in the desert of Nevada thousands of free spirits and art enthusiasts gather to see a city comprised of experimental art pieces rise from the dust and then be ritually burned down days later. This event is traditionally called “Burning Man” and is considered one of the most influential art phenomenons. For the first time ever, the installations that are usually presented in the Black Rock Desert were brought to the Washington D.C. metropolis. Last weekend I opted to save on the plane ticket and skip the dust by going to admire the art for free at the Renwick Gallery in an exhibit titled “No Spectators.” I went to the display with my mom, aunt and cousin and we all were very impressed by the art that was featured. The exhibit was unlike anything that I had ever seen before as every piece was different from the last and almost all of the works allowed the spectators to interact with them. As we approached the museum there

were lines of people taking pictures with human sized crows and a big love sign that were displayed a few blocks away from the Renwick, bringing the experience to those that couldn’t make it to the museum. The first floor featured a mesmerizing decorative arch that had peep holes into it for alternative views, a posed woman standing almost to the ceiling as well as a virtual reality segment where patrons could play an interactive game and really feel like they were at Burning Man. There was also a “Before I Die” chalk wall where people could write their goals and then strangers could comment and connect with them over their commonalities. Some of my favorite ambitions were “before I die I want to eat all the carbs,” “before I die I want to resist racism” or “before I die I want to own a Corgi.” The upper level of the exhibit featured a wooden temple, which once I got passed the distinct smell of plywood, was my favorite display. The floor to the ceiling was decorated with precisely cut pieces of wood which were layered meticulously; the security guard told me it took over a month to assemble.


BY TEAGAN FOTI special to The A-Blast


Gallery will show art through January 2019

These tall, mushroom like art pieces are located on the playa and are lit up at night with many colors. They are made out of plastic and inserted with LED lights.


Sweetwater Tavern

Silverados is a community oriented restaurant

The atmosphere inside is pleasant. There is

Sweetwater Tavern is in very close relation

located in Annandale. It has a large bar and two large seating areas. Silverados serves American

Many Annandale student and alumni work

is a three story restaurant you can go to. Eleva-

and their atmosphere, different.

distance of several free parking garages. Carlyle

tors will lead you to your table if you have a table

is a higher end Silverados with the exception that

on the second or third floor.

that have brought the restaurants to fame. They

it’s without ozzie rolls, the small bread balls that

are small fried balls of dough and for brunch they

Silverados is famous for. The ambience of Carlyle

on the country vibes. The ribs were amazing, they

are dipped in cinninom sugar.

is great and makes you think that you are about

fell right off the bone. Thinking about sharing an

to eat a 5-star meal.

appetizer? Tex Mex rolls are very delicious.

its affordable costs.

Sweetwater has high cieling and is one big

Their fajitas are one of their best dishes. They

The servers are known for being very atten-

room, while Silverados has multiple rooms. It is

are served with a good amount of chicken or steak, three soft tortillas, and a plate of topping

decorated with low hanging lights and a large

tive and friendly. The food is always served cor-

chalk menu above the entrance way.

rectly and in a timely manner.

with cheese, guacamole, tomato chunks, and sour

tends to be noisy.

The burgers are juicy and extremely tasty,

If you think of playing it safe by ordering the

toes and mushrooms. The presentation is always

erados in how timely the meals come out.

overall has a great ambience to it, it feels warm

of them. They don’t look like traditional chick-

be expensive.

to other restaurants of the same food type.

them out too long.

3066 Gate House Plaza Falls Church, VA 22042

Important Dates at Annandale

Overall, Carlyle is a good place to go for high

4000 Campbell Avenue Arlington, VA 22206

and whipped butter. Mike’s has a no reservations policy, but they do have a call ahead.

6210 Backlick Road Springfield, VA 22150

Activity of the month Mosaic Farmer’s Market

May 22 at Annandale from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. All studetns who plan to play a sport, participate in band, cheer, or dance in 2018-2019. Cost: $50 pre-register/ $60 walkins/ $20 reduced lunch/ $10 free lunch COURTESY OF HALLEY THADEUS

AHS Music Trilogy Concert May 1 in the Aduitorium at 7:00 pm Philharmonic Orchestra, Annandale Singers, Wind Ensemble

April 12 in the Aduitorium at 3:30 pm

The bread basket has the best little sweet rolls

food quality at a decent price.

Sports physicals

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Spring Musical

Mikes is all the best parts of the Great Amerand at a good price. Service reflects that of Sliv-

chicken fingers, you will be surprised by the look

7052 Columbia Pike Annandale, VA 22003

attentiveness and excellent service. ican Restaurants combined. The food is amazing

great and the steaks are even better, but they can

en fingers and they can become soggy if you leave

Servers operate as a team which ensures

The ribeye steak and filet mignon is a favor-

they come with fries and coleslaw. The restaurant and cozy. Siverados isn’t too expensive compared

The food is more on the American side and less

ite. The meal is served with sides of mashed pota-

Because of the restaurant’s shape and size, it



limited street parking but it is within walking

Sweetwater also serves the famous ozzie rolls

and eat here. It is very popular among student for

Looking to go out with your family? Well this

to Silverados, their menus are extremely similar

food and drinks. The service at this restaurant is unmatched.


Mosaics farmer’s market has many tents where you can get fresh food, as well as places where you can get a snack, like this strawberry crepe.

On Sunday April 15, Earth Day, from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm Mosaic is hosting an outdoor farmer’s market. At the market, there will be the best locally raised meats, dairy and produce the region has to offer. The are many other options for street food such as, ice cream, empanadas and handmade crepes. You can buy candles, pottery and soaps. Towards the end of the market you will see a plethora of fresh veggies and fruits, a butcher, fishery, eggs and a cheesemaker as well. There are many deals that can be made with vendors to get the most for your money. A lot of vendors will offer samples if you ask for it. Also, you can get high quality food and items for low prices. Parking is very convenient. There are many parking garages that can be accessed and are free.

Mosaic District Avenue Fairfax, Va 22031






The Great American restaurant reviews

Issue 9  
Issue 9