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Blake Homecoming 2009: (no) lights, camera, action set for October 18-24, p. A2

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Volume 12 Number 1

James Hubert Blake HS

300 Norwood Rd Silver Spring MD 20905


October 9, 2009

Fine arts programs hit with budget cuts

Downturn in economy could change quality of classes for students x by Kirsten Petersen

Freshman Heidi Petersen works on a self-portrait in her painting class, which teaches students to illustrate how

Unfavorable financial conditions have reduced the budget for the fine arts department, increasing the importance of charging class fees and altering the quality of the courses for students. An $8,145 budget cut for “Dues, Fees, and Registrations” in the Downcounty and Northeast consortiums has prevented the county from fully supporting art classes. To support fine arts programs, teachers must charge class fees to pay for specific supplies, like sculpting clay or art canvases. Digital Arts teacher John Overman says, “I think it’s very reasonable to say to the students, ‘To help you afford this, we will consolidate all of the purchases and purchase some of the basic materials that you need’.” Both traditional and new classes like Fashion Design, however, aren’t spared from the effects of the budget cuts. “Fashion [Design] barely has enough materials to run the class,” says senior Mary Gillis, who takes the Fashion Design class. “It’s really difficult for the class to run without a lot of support and with things [like sewing machines] breaking all the time.” The instrumental music department has been especially affected by these changes. The department cannot charge fees for the purchase of new marching band uniforms, so the administrators and music teachers petitioned the county to provide them with the necessary funds. “The new uniforms were in desperate need,” says senior Kaylene Lyons, a Marching Band Drum Major. “We do not have enough money to always get new music and not until this year did we finally get new uniforms for marching band.” Nevertheless, interest in fine arts classes is still high. Fine arts classes like chorus and theatre are promoted at Elective Fairs, through competitions, and through cross-curricular opportunities. Adds Mr. Overman, “I think that the bulk of the movement is toward offering what the students are really interested in. We have to ask you, our client, what do you want to have in our art courses?” While the budget cuts have made class operation more complicated, students still find satisfaction in their fine arts classes. “I don’t believe that the quality [of the instrumental music program] has diminished in the least,” Lyons says, “We they view themselves. Despite budget cuts, students are still may have less people, but we still have a quality sound and the ability to play very difficult music.” drawn to these arts classes. --photo by Beth Callahan

Blake alumnus strikes gold with front-page sports USA Today article x by Isaac Hirsch Alumnus Robert Klemko has made the most of his recent internship with USA Today by writing a front-page sports article on deaf athletes, along with writing many other sports articles for the paper. Klemko’s article ran in USA Today September 15. Klemko, 22, came about the idea for the article when he wrote an article for a small paper a year ago about Ryan Bonheyo, a Maryland School for

the Deaf student who had received a sports scholarship to Towson. A year later, Klemko followed-up with the front-page article about Bonheyo and two other athletes. “I knew I had to write it well enough to be on the front page,” says Klemko, “or it wasn’t going to be on it at all.” Previously, Klemko had written articles on the College World Series, an NFL preview, and a college football preview, among other articles. He also helped other journalists with their articles.

Klemko got the internship after one of his professors at the University of Maryland recommended he pursue it. He sent in his application on the deadline, and received confirmation of his acceptance the same day. “I knew I had to really work hard to prove I deserved it,” says Klemko. However, the ever-shrinking newspaper industry has also colored Klemko’s experiences. “Everyone says, ‘You need to get out of this business if you want money,’” says

Klemko. Even at USA Today, the largest newspaper in the United States, employees have to take unpaid furloughs. But working at USA Today has proved to be a valuable experience for Klemko. There is an entire floor in the building devoted to the Sports department, and every employee has a television tuned to a sports network. “It’s basically a sportswriter’s heaven,” Klemko says. At Blake, Klemko played

football and hockey. He also went to all the games for various sports, and eventually started writing sports for the Beat. “Robert was an outstanding journalism student,” says journalism teacher Kevin Keegan. “[He] was the practically perfect blend of strong writing skills and an exceptional knowledge of sports.” Despite the outside pressure to not follow journalism as a career, Klemko thinks that he definitely wants to pursue it. “I love seeing my name in print,” he says.

IN THIS ISSUE: Students flaunt their fly rides p. C2

Mugo captures African adventure p. A4

Students show off their talent p. E2


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

Recession, stereotypes affect enrollment in black colleges Struggle to raise registration leads to staff layoffs and loss of classes x by Merissa Dyer & Isak Shah Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCU’s, were originally established to provide higher education to disadvantaged blacks, but are now facing a steady decline in student enrollment. This year, the New York Times reported that “fewer than 12 percent of all black college students choose to attend historically black colleges.” The trend exists despite the fact that HBCU’s have produced over 70 percent of all black doctors, dentists, and 50 percent of all black engineers, according to the United Negro College Fund. Earlier this year, Clark Atlanta University, citing an “enrollment emergency,” laid off 70 faculty, 30 staff members and cut physical education classes. Morehouse, an all-male college, followed suit, cutting 25 faculty members, as did its

sister school, Spelman College, discharging 23 faculty members. Disinterest in an educational network devoted to advancing blacks is bound to raise brows. Financial withholding may be a source of black students looking elsewhere to apply. The Times went on to note that many HBCU’s lack a “robust tradition of giving” because many have only recently begun “cultivating students to become donors.” This does not prevent Blake alumnus and Morehouse freshman, Mike Clark, from following the family tradition his uncle and sister have practiced. “The networking opportunities at an HBCU are unmatched,” says Clark, who resides in the dormitory where Dr. Martin Luther King stayed. “Being a business major myself, it was cool to find that [Walter E. Massey, the chairman] of Bank of America is actually a Morehouse grad.”

A new report by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund circulated last month noting that the total number of non-black students of color [at HBCU’s] increased by 64 percent, possibly alleviating applicants’ anxieties about lack of diversity. Alumna Tyler Jones, a sophomore at Howard University, says, “There are many people that attend my university that are not African-American. I’ve seen Caucasians, Asians and Latinos.” Stereotypes may also contribute to black students turning away from HBCU’s. “Popular misconceptions are that they are ghetto and lack structure,” adds Jones. “These are completely false. An HBCU offers a clearer history of AfricanAmericans, a feeling of pride in how far our race has come, and most importantly, social networking.” With the network’s impressive alumni including Oprah Winfrey, Toni

Morrison, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, decreasing enrollment questions HBCU’s magnetism. “The way I see it,” says senior Spencer Ramsey, an HBCU applicant, “ if students have the will to do well in college, it doesn’t matter where they go.”

Popular misconceptions are that [HBCUs] are ghetto and lack structure... this is completely false.

Alumna Tyler Jones

Administration meets students halfway: twinkle lights at Homecoming In the name of safety, school dance will be illuminated as compromise x by Rachel Appel & Andrea Lora

No lights at school dances equals happy students; lights at school dances equals happy administration. The battle has continued with neither side satisfied, but the administration has come up with a compromise: twinkle lights. Twinkle lights –like for Christmas trees—will be strung around the cafeteria, replacing the overhead lights. SGA sponsor Erinn Rigney says, “The Administration… [is] listening to student concerns and attempting to reach a middle ground. There will be twinkle lights…so that the Administration can fulfill their responsibility to monitor student behavior while maintaining an atmosphere suitable to a Homecoming Dance.”

Last year, students were overjoyed when news spread of an additional dance to Homecoming and Prom, the Valentine’s Day Dance. However, many students became disappointed when the lights were on. Senior Angel Aguilar says, “If I knew [the lights would be on], I wouldn’t have wasted my money on the dance and would have stayed home.” The lights were on to monitor student behavior, but there was an issue of safety. Homecoming chairman Michael Mugo adds, “I know that students enjoy having it dark but there’s a danger hazard that [is] prevented with the lights.” The twinkle lights create an environment similar to prom so students will still feel comfortable dancing. Both students and administration agree that they want the dance to be a success and the students to have

fun. The theme this year is “Dancing through the Decades,” with the senior class representing the 80s, the junior class the 60s, the sophomore class the 50s and the freshmen class the 70s. Spirit week remains unchanged: Pajama Day on Monday, Decades Day on Tuesday, Wacky-Tacky Day on Wednesday, Celebrity Day on Thursday and Class Colors Day on Friday. To start the week off, Race for a Dream will begin at 11am Sunday, October 18. Battle of the Classes will be October 19 from 7-9pm, the Powder Puff game will be October 20 at 7pm, Student vs. Staff Basketball game will be October 21 at 7pm, Hallway Decorating will be October 22 from 2-8pm, Homecoming football game will be October 23 at 6:30pm and finally the Homecoming Dance October 24.

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The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

ICC puts damper on community spirits, destroys wildlife Blake families feel effects of construction, are unhappy with obstinate government x by Merissa Dyer “Increase of community mobility and safety” is what the Intercounty Connector’s website lists as its primary purpose for construction, but residents are finding that the ICC’s intentions come at a cost. The Maryland Transport Authority proposed a toll plan for the ICC, September 23. The mileage rate for two-axle vehicles would vary from 25 to 35 cents per mile during peak periods (6 to 9 am and 4 to 7 pm) on weekdays and from 20 cents to 30 cents per mile during off-peak periods. “They should have spent the money on forms of public transportation, like extending the Metro system out further or improving public buses,” says senior Kaylene Lyons, who believes the roads will be “just as congested” post-ICC construction. She adds, “Do you really think commuters are going to waste their money using [the toll roads]?” Lyons had been lobbying against the ICC construction long before Governor O’Malley was elected, and has written countless research papers in middle and high school opposing the project. “We can hear the construction all day long,” says Lyons. She lives on a secluded farm off Batchellor’s Forest Road in Olney where the ICC will cross over Georgia Avenue.

“My house is surrounded [by] almost 360 degrees [of] forest. We’re used to hearing the crickets and the owls at night…the whole rural rustic atmosphere is broken.” Senior Emily Cheung is also feeling the effects of the ICC. “I didn’t think it would literally cut my neighborhood in half. They’ve cut down so many trees, it’s hard to recognize,” says Cheung, a resident of the Wintergate community near Layhill Drive. “It is one of the stupidest things the [state] has ever done,” adds senior Shaun Clark. “I was shocked…there is a lot of dust all over the cars outside. My house shakes.” Though Clark’s decision to move is pending, he adds that his cousin and Nana had to move because their house was taken. Lyons, whose family has lived on their farm for 12 years, regards relocating as out of the question. “[We] have invested way too much time and energy into it to just pick up and move,” says Lyons. “We will get used to the noise eventually and keep working to protect the environment once the ICC is up and running.” Some attitudes are subject to change. “Once the ICC is finished, it’ll be easier to travel around,” adds Cheung. “Right now it’s a negative impact because of all the construction and traffic inconveniences. It destroys my neighborhood.”

Near Layhill Road, three construction workers take a minute to examine the newly cleared

land which will eventually become the controversial ICC. -- photo by Kara Korab

MVA puts brakes on new drivers; students drive like mad to get license by Simone Taylor x & Kemi Olowoofayoku According to the new Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) law, all permit holders who have not earned their provisional license by October 1 must wait an additional three months until they are eligible. The new MVA law forces all learners’ permit holders to wait a full nine months before they can be eligible for a provisional license. This is different than the former rule which states that minors had to carry permits for only six months before attaining a provisional license. Senior Kristin Corcoran says, “Making people wait three months longer will change nothing.” Many students agree with Corcoran, who has been driving since the end of her junior year. The new law was created in response to dozens of outcries from adults concerned about the new driving reform. She adds, “The new driving law is ridiculous.” Junior Carley Pressley definitely felt the stress from

the new law. “I had one opportunity to take the driver’s test,” she says. “I had never felt so pressured.” The MVA had to

When [you] cannot drive [yourself] places, it... ruins the whole freedom and thrill you get from driving. Brooke Mellish

deal with a scurry of teens attempting to get their license before October 1; appointments for tests had to be made weeks in advance. Junior Brooke Mellish passed her driver’s test in the

summer and is one of the few junior-aged drivers unaffected by the new law. “When most of my peers cannot drive themselves places,” says Mellish, “it sometimes ruins the whole freedom and thrill you get from driving.” Mellish agrees with the law and says, “It never hurts to have more experience.” Most parents of teenage drivers probably agree with her. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), inexperienced 16-year-olds have the highest crash rate. The MVA hopes to improve these statistics. The law also has a negative effect on teenage driver participation. Students are becoming more hesitant to take the permit test because of the long road they know is ahead. Junior Sonia Polyzos, who has yet to get her permit, says, “The new law discourages me from getting my permit because I feel as if I’ll never get my license.” Many are unsure as to whether or not the new restrictions will be effective in reducing accidents involving teens. “I have seen no difference since I got my license eight months ago,” says Corcoran. “I still do terrible parking jobs, and an extra three months would not have changed that.”

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October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat


Senior Michael Mugo spent the last month of his summer in Kenya visiting family and traveling to different lakes and national parks observing the beautiful wildlife. The top two pictures depicting a giraffe and zebra and the middle picture of the flamingos were taken

in Lake Nakuru National Park by Mugo where, instead of walls between humans and animals, people can drive through the park interacting with the animals. In the bottom picture, Mugo and his family are petting a baby cheetah at Nairobi National Zoo.

The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009



The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

Race for a Dream promotes safety both on, off the road

IDriveSmart to post driving tips on course to stress caution at the wheel by Somala Diby x & Arianna Morrell Race for a Dream’s sixth annual 5k Run/3K walk will take place Sunday, October 18 at Blake, to commemorate Alicia Betancourt, who was killed in a car accident on Norwood Road in September 2004. This year, IDriveSmart is offering a free driving class as a prize

for a random drawing, which usually costs $599. To make the race a learning experience, safe driving tips and driving statistics will be posted along the race route. Says senior Zoё Ligon, “I know I’m a lot more careful when I’m driving…I hope other teens take driving safety a lot more seriously.” First year Race for a Dream coordinator Janice Hylton has been involved with the race since

its debut. Says Ms. Hylton, “I feel the race sends a good message… that Blake feels strongly about educating [the community] on teen driver safety.” She hopes to boost participation this year from the normal 50 to 100 runners by moving the date to the start of National Teen Driver Safety Week. Participants travel toward the main football field from the front of the school, loop around

behind the track, and continue to the starting point, the distance being approximately 3 miles. Junior and cross country runner Lucas Frangou says, “As a member of the cross country team, it’s just another race that I like to participate in.” Poms perform at the end of the race to honor Betancourt, a former Blake pom. Says Ligon, “It’s…made [poms] a family because we realize how precious

each other’s lives are.” Betancourt danced alongside the daughters of Ms. Hylton. Race for a Dream will be held on October 18, kicking off National Teen Driver Safety Week and Homecoming week. Students may register online or on site from 10am to 11pm.“Good luck to all the runners, and remember to be safe while driving,” adds Frangou.

Say goodbye to overpriced vending machines, Bengal Café is back with a roar x by Rachel Appel & Joey Fruth

Senior Phillip Park sells refreshments to Sophmore Caio Bastos. Park works behind

the counter at the Bengal Café during lunchtime. -- photo by Kara Korab

Students’ savvy business minds have created the successful and thriving Bengal Café, leading to negotiations between students, teachers and administration for a second location outside of the auditorium. Negotiations are still in the early stages and may take more than a semester to figure out, but as of now the second location would be the concession stand used during theatre performances. When asked about the future second location, Business teacher and Bengal Café sponsor Fred Katz says, “[It will have the] same items, same prices, same friendly service.” The second location is mostly dependent on the sales of the current store. At the beginning, the second store would only be open at select times to create steady revenue. One of the challenges will be the increased need for employees. Rumors have been confirmed that the Bengal Café caused the withdrawal of vending machines. The machines were not making enough money to offset the costs to operate them. The Bengal Café’s cheaper prices drew business away from the vending machines. Mr. Katz says, “The students did a lot of research in pricing products correctly.” One vending machine cost $700 per year but due to federal regulations, the machines could only be open from 2:10pm-2:30pm and $700 could not be generated in that short time period. While the prices of the café items are 25 cents less per bag than the vending machine prices, the café still manages to make a high profit. The café was started as a Junior Achievement class program in March 2009 to give business students hands on practice. Mr. Katz says, “Students know students... [the café is] run by students [and] owned by students,” which is what he attributes its success to. The café’s prosperity last year has allowed it to open first semester this year. After students discovered the loss of vending machines and cheaper prices at the Bengal Café, many were grateful for the grand opening September 29. Sophomore Abby Ramlagan says, “[Because of the prices] I felt more compelled to buy more [items].”

New vaccines at Blake help to reduce risk of contracting Swine Flu

School taking new safety precautions to better protect students’ health x by Rachel Babcock & Caroline Pledger Swine flu vaccines will be available at Blake within the next month to alleviate the concerns of students and parents about a potential outbreak in Montgomery County Public Schools. Principal Carole Goodman is personally concerned about the efforts the school is making to prevent the spread of all flus. She has been informing parents regularly with updates on the flu by speaking at PTA meetings, sending letters home and leaving voicemail messages. Mrs. Goodman says, “We are really trying to get people to change their habits.” She hopes that Blake will be able to acquire hand sanitizer dispensers for every classroom so teachers

do not have to buy their own. Bathrooms will be well stocked with soap and paper towels as well. Mrs. Goodman adds, “If you’re sick, stay home!” School nurse Janeane Marks is also trying to educate the student body on what they can do to not get sick. Mrs. Marks adds, “You have to be aware of the way you can spread germs… just by simply putting your hand from your desk to your mouth.” Colorful and informative flyers have been posted around Blake halls informing students of basic hygiene techniques including washing your hands, covering your coughs with your elbow (not your hand) and staying home if you have a fever of 100 degrees or more. The importance of getting vaccinated is stressed as local pharmacies and grocery stores, such as the

Cloverly Safeway are stocking up on readily available vaccines. Most insurance will cover the cost of the shot. Some students have already contracted the virus including freshmen Maddy Bruffy and Eli Marsh. While at summer camp, both of them got the swine flu and were instructed by their camp nurses to either go home or stay isolated at camp to keep other campers safe. Bruffy says, “They kept me quarantined! I was stuck in there for four days with all the other sick kids.” Students need to take this matter seriously for the benefit of their own health and others. Mrs. Goodman adds, “It won’t get to a level of hysteria; just get a lot of sleep, eat healthy and remember, we smack kids who cough in their hands!”

Teens across America veg out with junk food as locals follow suit

Recent studies show most adolescents do not eat enough fruits or vegetables x by Isaac Hirsch A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control claims that a national average of nine out of ten high school students do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. The report says that only 13 percent of high school students get the recommended three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit. Senior Jake Erlich says, “From what I’ve seen, most of my friends or, in my opinion, most teens in

general tend to indulge in junk food more than they should.” “My vegetable consumption might be less than [normal],” adds junior Jim Halpin. The study notes that one of the primary culprits getting between teens and proper nutrition is junk food. “[I should] cut back on junk food,” Halpin adds. The study showed a clear trend of southern states tending to have less healthy students and New England states having more healthy teens. Maryland falls in the middle of nutritional rates,

according to the study. “This is a call for states, communities, schools and families to support increased fruit and vegetable consumption,” says Heidi Blanck, a CDC researcher. “I’d be lying if I said I got enough vegetables,” says senior Steven Mulchi. “I get... one serving of vegetables a day, and maybe one serving of fruit.” This sets Mulchi on par with the national average most teens get. There are still students at Blake who get enough fruit and vegetables in

their diet. “Personally, I always include fruits and vegetables in my diet because they supply us with vital nutrients,” says Erlich. “Packing lunch really helps.” Other students, however, realize that they lack proper nutrition, but are set on remedying it. “From now on I’ll satisfy [hunger] with an apple or some grapes instead of laying waste to 300 calories [worth] of tortilla chips ,” says Halpin. “I feel like people don’t understand the importance of fruits and vegetables in their diet,” says Erlich.

The Blake Beat




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October 9, 2009

Cynthia Chow, Todd Holbert, Daniel Pistolessi, Kevin Yang and Timothy Yee have been selected as Commended Scholars in the National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Program commends the top three percent highest scores on the PSAT and invites the students to be referred by their high schools to two colleges or universities in the United States that they are interested in. Max Hedgepeth has been selected as an Outstanding Participant Referred to Colleges in the National Achievement Scholarship Program. The National Achievement Scholarship Program honors academically talented Black American high school students who requested consideration in the 2010 National Achievement Program on their 2008 PSAT and who scored among the top 4,700 program participants. Bronte Abell has been selected as a Scholar in the National Hispanic Recognition Program. The




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National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes Hispanic students who have achieved a minimum PSAT score for their region. Students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher are designated as scholars and those with GPAs of 3.0 to 3.49 as Honorable Mentions.




The Maryland Distinguished Scholars Program recognized 32 seniors as finalists, semi-finalists, and honorable mention. Finalists will be offered an annual scholarship of $3,000 to attend a Maryland college or university. The following students were named finalists in specific categories: Aurelia Akpan and Bryndon Cook in Drama, and Joachim Ogodi and Jacob Perry Jr. in Vocal Music. The following students received Honorable Mention in instrumental music: Marie Estelle Pham and Daniel Seal. The following students received Honorable


Mention in academics: Bronte Abell, Yonit Addissie, Justine Allen, Thomasina Anane, Miriam Boussouf, Jeffrey Brumfield, Nikki Cali, Megan Buonomo, Bethany Callahan, Christine Callahan, Cynthia Chow, Sofia Curzi, Maria Escobar, Timothy Ho, Julie Huleis, Jiwoo Jang, Kaylene Lyons, Colleen McMullen, Caitlin Mitchell, Kirsten Petersen, William Prindle, Christopher Riley, Zahur Sallman, Samantha Steinfeld, Cindy Tan, Christina Wilbur, and Kaitlyn Wright.




The National Honor Society has named its new officers for the 2009-2010 term. President is Kaylene Lyons, Vice President Kristin Corcoran, Secretary is Becky Joiner and Treasurer Justine Allen. They have also named the Inductee Chairs, the Group Project Committee, and the Tutoring Chair.


October 9 Varsity Field Hockey at Whitman, 7:00pm Girls’ Tennis vs. Richard Montgomery, 3:30pm JV Field Hockey at Whitman, 5:30pm Girls’ JV Volleyball vs. Magruder, 5:30pm

October 10 Varsity Football at Kennedy, 2:00pm

October 12 Golf site to be determined, 3:00pm Girls’ Tennis vs. Gaithersburg, 3:30pm





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CALENDAR October 13 Girls’ Varsity Field Hockey at Gaithersburg, 3:30pm Girls’ JV Field Hockey at Gaithersburg, 5:00pm

October 14 Boys’ Varsity Soccer at Springbrook, 7:00pm Boys’ JV Soccer at Springbrook, 5:00pm Girls’ Varsity Soccer vs. Springbrook, 7:00pm Girls’ JV Soccer vs. Springbrook, 5:00pm

Girls’ Varsity Volleyball at Paint Branch, 6:30pm Girls’ JV Volleyball at Paint Branch, 5:30pm NEC Open House for Blake Class of 2015, 7:00pm

October 16 Varsity Field Hockey at Seneca Valley, 6:30pm Girls’ Varsity Volleyball vs. Poolesville, 6:30pm Girls’ JV Volleyball vs. Poolesville, 5:30pm


October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat

Callahan argues that dedication to cause is determined by quantity of garb, p. B2

Section B

Blake Beat Opinion

Celebrity teens bare all, set bad example for youth

October 9, 2009

Wild lifestyle not fit for tween singing idols

x by Analise Altobelli Celebrity teens have recently been photographed at night clubs with their much older significant others, dancing on poles, and sporting overpriced wardrobes. But should all of this be classified as harmless teenage fun? Despite how ridiculous this lifestyle sounds, in the celebrity world, it’s a reality. And when that Jay-Z song is on, what else are they supposed to do? It seems that the only idea these teen starlets have is to dance on a table top. For celebrities, it’s okay to stay out until three in the morning on a Wednesday night because these teens are home schooled and graduate in a record two years. But then again, if you were taught by one hit wonder Billy Ray Cyrus, I would imagine that the curriculum wouldn’t be too difficult to ace. Whatever inappropriate “after school” activities celebrity teenagers are participating in, odds are regular high school students aren’t doing the same things. For every teen star out there who finds it acceptable to party rather than do homework, there needs to be a mature adult to say that it isn’t—this behavior is inexcusable and, to be frank, just plain gross. Despite their fame, these celebrities are still teenagers and need parental supervision. No one wants to see a 15 year old girl in see-through clothes dancing like she’s in a Pussy Cat Dolls music video. No one takes celebrities seriously after they snap provocative pictures of themselves. So instead of going out every night until the wee hours of the morning, celeb teens should recall what life was like before stardom. Before red carpets and flashing lights, the only thing to do on a Friday night was go to the movies. To all teen sensations out there: put on some clothes, take off the ten pounds of make-up, and stay in on school nights. But most importantly, remember to act your age.

Senior happily accepts parents request to be friends on Facebook x by Bronte Abell Some kids might find it strange if their mom talked to their friends more than they did, or if she started showing their friends baby pictures of them-but not me. My mother is a Facebooker, (that is, an addict, for the few of you who don’t know Facebook lingo). She uploads photos of us (her children), comments on pictures, and is friends with my friends. She talks to them and sends them messages to give to me at school. And I love it. I think it is cute that my mom barely knows how to use

Older generations get accquainted with new hip ways of communication

a computer but still manages to navigate Facebook. She goes downstairs to her office to work and instead, she ends up adding another photo album to her page. I don’t know how she gets any work done with her Facebook obsession. Like the many students who have succumbed to the lure of technology, my mother was unable to resist. It started with an innocent little iPod, which turned into fights over whose iPod we

would listen to on car rides. This led to her Youtube addiction, which stemmed into her Facebook addiction. She once actually found her old boyfriend’s band on Youtube— then proceeded to friend him on Facebook. One infatuation just seemed to lead to another with her. Anyhow, I love my mom’s newfound technological addiction. Not only is it adorable, it has also connected our family to her heritage. She can now go

on Youtube and find clips of Colombian music and dance, and watch slideshows of the Colombian countryside, festivals, and news. Facebook has helped her get in touch with all her friends in Colombia. I think it’s cool that the internet is being used by the older generation. Sure, there are parents that only use Facebook to stalk their children, but for a lot of parents, it’s simply another way to connect with their friends.

Grandparents are also a growing demographic on Facebook. In fact, I was just friended by my grandmother, who lives alone and became a Facebooker to communicate with others. Face it, older family members have friends too, and the fact that they are able to discover these friends on Facebook is really great. A few years ago, it seemed like parents and grandparents didn’t even know what the internet was, now, lots of them are using it efficiently. So the next time your mom confesses her love to you through Facebook, just be grateful she actually knows how to use the computer.

Slacking students roam halls with swag without any reason to brag xby Max Hedgepeth To all of you intellectual students out there who unfailingly stay on top of your work, actually succeed in class, and think for some preposterous reason that a 98 percent on a unit test is something to be proud of–stop. You are approaching school in the wrong manner. If you want to be perceived as cool, which everyone does, you’re going to have to change things up a little bit. Apparently, the new and hip thing to do is slack off. It’s no easy task, but with little effort and less determination, the scholars of Blake High School can stoop down to the level of the cool kids.

This seems to be the mindset of many students, but in actuality, I couldn’t disagree more. The one thing that bothers me the most is when I see students, particularly guys, roaming the hallways, equipped with an unsigned agenda book, a fitted hat, and a cell phone. It drives me crazy. They walk around with that, “I’m skipping class and I want everyone to know” swag, but nobody else cares but them. To be fair, I don’t want to classify all slackers into one group, because they all have unique traits. There are those who are slightly more dedicated: they boldly attend class, only to be kicked out and make a huge ruckus right outside the door. Not only does the removal from class

cause a scene, but the numerous warnings and calls down to security do as well. Slacking off is not an appealing quality. While devoted students brag about acing a test, or an impressive paper they’ve written, slackers boast about the amount of time they didn’t spend in class, or the number of gym periods they participated in that weren’t theirs. This type of attitude will get you nowhere after high school, it’s annoying to everyone else and frankly, it’s not a good look. Someone needs to convince these hall-roamers-these classroom ejectees--that slacking off is definitely NOT cool. If you need something to take pride in, go to class, study for a test, and get an A.


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

Peace worth fighting for creates vogue war over wardrobe

Trendy teen takes tees too seriously, behaves terribly in name of green x by Beth Callahan I am devoted to being trendy. No one keeps up with fashion the way I do. And the current peace-sign/I-love-the-environment craze has been my biggest obsession to date. Yesterday, I drove 200 miles to a new outlet shopping center in New Jersey so I could buy myself a whole new wardrobe: peacesign dresses, peace-sign earrings and necklaces, recycle sweatshirts, conserve water T-shirts, you name it. I used an entire tank of gas and had to flick a few people off in my pursuit, but it was all worth it because now I look fresh. Nothing else really matters. Sacrifice. That is what it is all about. People just are not willing to make the sacrifices that are inevitable when you want to practice what you preach. When I say I am all about peace and being environmentally friendly, you can tell that I am serious about it by the impressive amount of merchandise I own that advertises it. Last weekend a girl made the mistake of picking up the last “Peace Not War” shirt in the store I was shopping at. I gave her a bloody nose to take her attention away from the shirt so I could snatch it. Security had to escort me from the building, and I am not allowed to shop at that store anymore—but I got the shirt. I am telling you, it is all about making sacrifices. Another girl had been eyeing the same shirt, but she was too busy apologizing to a little girl she had accidently bumped into to get what she wanted. Someone obviously needs to get her priorities straight. Walk through the hallways of Blake High School and you will see about fifty girls wearing some sort of eco-friendly, war-hating article of clothing. However, none of them take it seriously. Not the way I do. I guarantee I own at least two more pairs of peace-sign socks than any of them, and easily five more T-shirts. That’s because I understand the difference between half-

It was all worth it because now I look fresh. Nothing else really matters. heartedly following a trend and truly deciding to live at a higher standard—doing whatever it takes to pursue that standard. The way I see it, if you don’t own more peace-sign/save-the-environment merchandise than everyone else, you’re not taking what you’re advertising seriously enough. I don’t care if you steal the peacesign-covered pen of the girl who sits in front of you in English class, or trip your friend in the race for that cute new “Save Our Planet!” sweatshirt. Do whatever it takes. It’s time to get serious, people.

Seniors deserve primo spots, but Class of ‘11 ignores pecking order x by Megan Bush An unspoken rule at Blake High School is that seniors park in the front lot across from the gym. However, when I returned to school the morning of August 31 to begin my fourth and final year of high school, thinking that I had finally earned the right of seniority, I was not-so-pleasantly surprised. Junior drivers were proudly parked in the spots that should have been occupied by us, the senior class. I, along with many other

Cocky juniors fail to dominate parking lot, but 2010 conquers concrete kingdom seniors, waited to see if the junior drivers would hop off their pedestal and realize they did not have priority parking. After three days, when that didn’t happen, many of us had to do something that no other senior class has had to do before. That night, September 3, 2009, armed with monstrous buckets of chalk, we decisively carved our names into the spots

that should have automatically been ours. Needless to say, I find the fact that we had to submit to this action pretty pitiful. I don’t want to scold some seemingly arrogant junior who has parked in my spot and tell them that they need to move, because let’s face it, nobody likes confrontation. Furthermore, I would probably

get myself suspended due to my poor anger management regarding the subject. It is much easier for everyone to simply accept their class in the school, and act accordingly. My rage, however, is not all about the parking spots; I simply feel like this occurrence is foreshadowing other controversial events that may eventually take

place. I don’t think any previous 11th grade class has been as disrespectful as the class of 2011. Personally, I’m looking to have the most fun, stress-free senior year possible, as are many other seniors. It would be a shame for everyone if this school year were filled with class rivalries and commotions. So I do not care if you are younger and think that you are cooler or greater than the seniors; please just have the kindness to recognize our superiority and respect it. Wait your turn, juniors. I know I did.

Blake Journalism Be a part of something awesome, sign up next year for Journalism 1! See any current Journalism student for details

The Blake Beat

Crawling under rock: solution to problems?


October 9, 2009

Senior gives tips on how to avoid watching constant political back-and-forth x by Isaac Hirsch

I am getting pretty tired of politics lately, and I’d bet a lot of other people are too. The constant back and forth arguments where neither side refuses to budge an inch are taking too much out of me. I need to crawl under a rock and stay the heck away. My stance on the issues doesn’t matter much for the purposes of this article. I’m tired of reading op-eds from both sides, mainly because both sides have been saying the same things ad nauseum for the past three months. Let me know when either of you has any new information. Until then, I’m staying away from the op-ed section. Then there are town hall meetings. If you get the strange feeling of déjà vu when watching one on C-Span, it’s probably because you have seen it before, just in a different setting with different people. They are, however, getting slightly worse each time. There’s a video of one where a wheelchairbound woman is loudly heckled by the crowd. The sheer amount of misinformation floating around out there is staggering. My advice: don’t believe emails sent to you by your friend, uncle, neighbor, unless they provide some sort of external verification. They won’t, so my plan is not to open emails from anyone I know for the next few months. I admit this plan is probably too ambitious, and, save climbing under an actual rock, is probably impossible to accomplish. But it won’t stop me from trying. I want new developments. Politicians are fond of saying that they are against “politics as usual.” To their credit, the political landscape has been anything but usual in the past year. But this unusualness is quickly growing tiresome. After all, Rep. Joe Wilson shouting out “You Lie” during President Obama’s umpteenth speech about health care sets a real precedent, though not a good one. The national discourse seems to have slowly devolved to everyone shouting “You Lie!” at each other. To combat “You Lie” syndrome, maybe everyone should adopt the “political rock” strategy. If no one pays attention to the crazy outliers, maybe they’ll go away or cancel themselves out. One can only hope. Anyway, here’s how this technique should be implemented: First, turn the TV off. Then, turn the computer off, or at least stay off the internet. Don’t talk to friends, neighbors, and countrymen for the next few weeks. Think this sounds harsh? Tough. If you want to avoid politics, you’ve got to sacrifice a few things. I know this is how I will be spending the next few weeks. I’m not even leaving the house, except for school. If you want to get in touch, send me a letter. Otherwise, I’m going to party like it is 1899.

Students dodge “magic man,” find attractive Asian, eat yummy cake

Ad canvassing yields unexpected yet incredible, unusual adventure

x by Kara Korab & Samantha Steinfeld

When young and talented writers, seniors Samantha Steinfeld and Kara Korab started off on their ad canvassing assignment, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. At first, the job seemed simple: go to Plaza Del Mercado and ask the local businesses to place advertisements in the Blake Beat. We decided to meet up Monday, August 17, at 4:00pm. We started out enthusiastic, eagerly asking store owners if they had any interest in placing ads. Many of the owners seemed to have “just stepped out” moments before we entered. Other shop owners told us point blank they were not interested. Yeah…we know when we’re not wanted. One particularly fun place to ad canvass was the Nail Club. We gave the (young and slightly attractive—and

by slightly, we mean very) manager our spiel and he asked for a copy of our newspaper. We handed him one, he turned to the back of one of the sections, and held up a full page ad for a Vietnamese noodle restaurant. He said that he owned that place too, and had taken out a couple of ads for it last year, and they had not improved his business. At all. It was awkward. And although we promised to go visit said noodle place if he bought one of our ads, he didn’t go for it. Depressed from our lack of success, we took a break. While we were sitting outside Quiznos, a sketchylooking guy came and sat next to us. We ignored him at first, but then he started talking to us, nonstop. “Do you like poetry?” he asked, beginning his 20 minute ramble. Although we’re a little iffy on the details of what else he said, we’re pretty sure it included him saying how

he can get us free stuff (such as drugs, movie tickets, metro fare, etc.), how he’s never had a girlfriend, how he just moved from Alaska, and how he wanted to take us to his big white van to show us magic tricks. We fled. After spending 15 minutes in Giant, trying to calm ourselves down, our last stop was the Flower’s Bakery Café. We went in, and the manager told us that he might be interested, but he needed to talk with his partner first. The man was sweet though, and as we were leaving, Kara asked if he would be willing to part with some free samples. Instead of giving us a little taste, he proceeded to cut us an entire slice of the best chocolate cake in the world. After eating that cake, the fact that our ad canvassing had been an epic fail didn’t seem to matter much anymore. The cake drastically improved our moods, and now we can’t wait to go back and ad canvass all over again.

Bullies find new way to dig at students,“dirty” website gets messy x by Caroline Pledger With cliques, homework, and gossip, it is inevitable to feel low at some point in high school. But nothing drags a teen down like bullying. Bad news: bullying just went high tech. No teen is a stranger to the internet, but most of us use it for playing online games, chatting on Facebook, and skimming Sparknotes for that book we forgot to read. It has seemed like a pretty safe place…until recently. Since January, anonymous vermin have been spreading their opinions of fellow peers using a cyber-bullying site called People’s Dirt. Like any other chat board or online forum, People’s Dirt lets you log on with a fancy, cryptic username and password so no one can figure out who you are. But what

“When jokes turn into accusations of teachers sleeping with students..., then the line has been crossed.” seems like the site’s upside is actually its biggest downside. Letting teens stay anonymous online leads to the spread of absolute lies, or worse, impersonation of other classmates. The craze has hit Blake hard. Schools in Montgomery County use the site more than any other region in the US, and Blake tops other schools in the county, receiving a record number of posts on its message boards. Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to read the posts, because some are just meant to be jokes. But when the jokes turn into accusa-

tions of teachers sleeping with students or peers bashing peers for their sexual preferences, then the line has been crossed. Other people are starting to take notice too. From lunch rooms to locker rooms, students are conversing over the libel of this website. Long ago, one girl could accept it when another girl talked about her behind her back, but it becomes a mountainous controversy between two groups of friends when rumors are spread over the internet. What no one seems to realize, adults or students, is that this website is

simply the supplier of space for teens to put their thoughts. It is an outlet people use to post whatever they feel like saying. And as much as I do love the first amendment, I think teens are taking things too far. Students of Blake High School, realize this: People’s Dirt, no matter how many times it is shut down, is still a record of what you said about someone. To anyone who does not involve his or herself with the website, good for you. It will only benefit you in the long run. Besides, bullying alone is dumb, so if you cyber bully you are just pitiful. Just remember it will come right back to haunt you, as I have learned. So listen to what your mother told you long ago: If you don’t have something nice to say, then do not say anything at all… especially on the internet.


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

West’s swift sprint to stage ruins night for country star

VMA ends with catastrophe thanks to hip-hop singer and Hennessey x by Samir Battou

As teenagers, we tend to worry about gossip, what to wear to school, and getting into the right college. At age 19, country star Taylor Swift has much more important things on her mind, such as promoting her upcoming album, attending red carpet events, and accepting Video Music Awards (VMA). Thanks to hip-hop artist Kanye West, who rudely interrupted Swift as she was accepting her first VMA award for Best Female Music Video, things have become even more complex. Somehow, West slimed his way past security and wrestled the microphone from the hands of a surprised Swift to let the

world know how he felt. “Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and I’m gonna let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” were the exact words of Mr. West. Swift was stunned, heartbroken, and looked as if she was about to cry. The 32-year-old West just shrugged and walked off stage, as if he had done a favor for the nine or so million viewers. Russell Brand, host of the VMAs, struggled to regain his composure. Although the award ceremony went on, there was a sense of awkwardness and fear that West might interrupt another thrilled award recipient. The night would’ve been a complete disaster had R&B singer Beyoncé

Knowles not stepped up and let Swift accompany her on stage as Knowles accepted her award for Best Music Video of the Year. Since West lost his mother in 2007, things have been out of control for the rap star and producer. He’s had trouble controlling his emotions and seems to have forgotten that his actions have consequences. West was photographed over the course of the VMAs holding a bottle of Hennessey—so he was obviously not in a normal state of mind. But his emotional issues are no excuse: showing up drunk to an awards show, where you and your peers are being rewarded for hard work, is irresponsible and wrong.

West appeared the next day on The Jay Leno Show, where he apologized. “I feel like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he messed up and Robert de Niro asked him to leave… that was Taylor’s moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I truly am sorry,” he said. Can West continue to make crucial mistakes, apologize the next day, and hope this makes it alright? Don’t get me wrong, this is not a Kanyebashing. I have been a fan of West since his first album and will continue to be a fan throughout his stupidity. Hopefully, he will get a grip on reality and realize that being a superstar does not exempt him from knowing right from wrong.

I feel like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he messed up...that was Taylor’s moment. KANYE WEST

Students’ driving opportunities red-lighted by new Maryland laws x by Isak Shah 2016 hours: the amount of time approximately equal to three months. Three months: the time that has been tacked on to the practice period you must undertake before you can obtain a provisional driver’s license in the state of Maryland. 6048 Hours. You start at zero; happy counting. The new driving laws state that all drivers’ permit holders, as well as those without a permit, must wait a full nine months of permit possession in order to obtain a provisional license. This is in addition to the weeks spent in the written Driver’s Ed course that is also required of student drivers. This law will apply to all drivers who have not obtained their provisional license or who have not reached the age requirement of 16 and six months by October 1 (known by many of us as “Doomsday”). I am sure that like me, many of you were looking forward to driving yourselves to school during your junior year of high school, or possibly even purchasing a car.

Thanks to the state of Maryland and its intense scrutiny of teen-related auto accidents of classes before us, we are being pushed further and further in to our teen years before we can even set foot in a car without our Mommies and Daddies screaming at us from the passenger seat to “BRAKE!”

This, in my mind, is cruel and unusual punishment at its worst. ISAK SHAH

The sole purpose of a student parking lot is for students to park their cars in it. Quite frankly, half of us can’t experience the joy of pulling into our own parking space because we are too busy scrutinizing the voids where our cars should be, as we pull up on the school bus. There is

nothing wrong with the bus. However, it is humiliating to be forced to ride it when there is a perfectly good car waiting for you at home. Every day, on your way to the bus stop, you pass straight by your car to go to a crowded moving circus where it is hard to find a seat not occupied by some jerk that refuses to move their 20-pound backpack to make room. This, in my mind, is cruel and unusual punishment at its worst. Why should we, new drivers who have not yet tasted the freedom of flying solo, have to pay for the heedless misconduct of those who came before us? How are the innocent teens of my class and the classes below us supposed to make runs to the grocery store, or drop our younger siblings off to soccer practice to lend Mom a hand, if we aren’t allowed to go anywhere without her? Just a thought: maybe the actual offenders should be punished instead of people who haven’t had the chance to drive solo, let alone break a law.

The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

Not a thrill to swallow pills x by Samantha Steinfeld

Some of the more rational people in this world may say that their biggest fear is heights, or spiders, or things that may actually kill you. I, however, being much less rational than the average person, have a much bigger—and much wimpier—fear. I have an all-consuming, paralyzing fear of swallowing pills. Every time my mom is convinced that I’m ready to try swallowing pills again, the same thing happens. I attempt to swallow about ten pills in ten minutes, but end up spitting them all down the sink. Then my mom tries a different tactic, crushing the pill into tiny pieces, putting them in a tablespoon of water, and having me drink it “like a shot” (her words, not mine). I get about half of it down before throwing up. We’ve tried putting the crushed pieces in applesauce, pudding, and ice cream, but I can never get it down. I don’t know why swallowing a pill is so hard for me, or why just watching someone do it makes me nauseous. If I paid a psychologist to figure this fear out,

they would probably say it had something to do with the abandonment issues I have with my grandmother on my father’s side. But I’m pretty sure it just has to do with my ridiculously strong gag reflex and my ability to make things much more dramatic than they actually are. Part of the problem is that, in my mind, the pill grows exponentially from the time it leaves the bottle to the time I put it in my mouth. What starts out as a Sudafed the size of a drop of water becomes a gigantic, impossible-to-swallow pill the size of a thumb. So far, I’ve been able to avoid any really serious medical problems that require me to swallow pills, and have been able to get by with the three chewable medications I’ve found for people over the age of 12. But as I get older and start to have more serious problems, I get closer to having something happen that I can’t cure by downing five Children’s Motrin. As for now, I’m just praying that I don’t get Swine Flu (Have you seen the size of the pills? They’re the size of golf balls!)

Parents put children on display in ridiculous toddler beauty pageants x by Tullah Deme While many of you spend your Wednesday nights watching America’s Next Top Model, I tune in to TLC for Toddlers and Tiaras. For those of you who don’t know what that is, Toddlers and Tiaras is a show that follows little girls around as they prepare for the ultimate pageant. These girls prance around stage wearing tons of makeup, false eyelashes, flippers

(false teeth worn to perfect their smiles), spray tans and false hair, all in the name of beauty. Pageant moms are willing to do anything to make all that glitz and glam happen. From hair and nail appointments, to expensive gowns and suits, to outrageous dance and coaching rehearsalsmoney is not a problem when it comes to these toddlers. This show is as absurd as it sounds. What kind of parent thinks that it is okay to tan their

five-year-old? Is it really worth scaring the child half to death just for a spectacular tan? And what about those flippers? Despite how uncomfortable they are, they are a must in order to win. The only thing these pageant moms seem to do is bark at their kids. Even when the children are on stage, you can’t help but get distracted by their parents on the sideline, telling them to smile more. Honestly, I think these

pageants are sickening. The toddlers wear more make-up than most adults. They are put in provocative clothes and paraded on stage for the world to see— how is that fun? More importantly, these children are being exploited. Their parents are living vicariously through them, going to extreme lengths for something they care about way more than their children do. At a very young age, these

kids are being taught that looks are all that matter. If asked, I’m pretty sure these kids would say they preferred beauty over intelligence. Despite the ridiculousness and the crazy pageant moms, I can’t help from being drawn to the show each week. From watching these parents break down to hearing them talk about how much their kid “enjoys it,” my eyes are glued to the screen.

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October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat

The James Hubert Blake administration, faculty & staff congratulate these students on making the Fourth Quarter Honor Roll: GRADE 9 Mohammed Abbas Francisca Agbodzah Daniel Anduray Derick Ansah Henry Aparicio Mohammed Ashrafi Sara Asomaning Kyeong Seon Bae Tiara Baldwin Brian Battaglia DANIELLE BLOCKER Zachary Bloom Anthony Bui Nicole Byrd MAN CHAN Edwin Callender Selena Castillo Victor Chau Joal Chen Charles Cheng Hiu Chiu Mark Cirincione Molly Cohen Samantha Comer Cameron Constantine Nero Cooper III PHUC VU DANG Savannah Doane-Malotte Emily Dollemore Christian Domaas Alexis Early Faith Ely Irie Esdaile Marciana Esteves Kathryn Evans MARY FERNANDES Hayley Fixler Angelique Fleming Jocelyn Flores Lane Flynn Linus Francis AMANDA FREEMAN Kristen Frese Kathryn Fuchs NEVA GAKAVIAN Jacob Gill Hayley Glantz Claudia Gomes Jacob Gordon Ramanda Graham Bridget Gratton Sarah Hagan Jack Hawvermale Nana Hayford Heather Heim Gloria Henriquez Phuong Hoang David Hylton Lucas Irvin RACHEL JAFFE Malcolm Jenkins Christian Jeong Devon Johnson Michael Joiner ASHLEY JUDAH Rebecca Kalinich Cross Klemko ROBERT KORYCINSKI Nicholas Kuczarski KEVIN LAM Melina Latona Zoey Lee Adele Leishman IRENE LEMBEROS Peyton Leonard Samantha Levitt SARAH LIPKOWITZ MATTHEW LIPSHULTZ Eugene Litman COLLEEN LIVINGSTON Jenny Lon Monika Looney JULIE LOPATKA Brianna Lopez Stephanie Luk Kayla Mack Ricardo Mancia Sarah Mansaray Leslie Mata Courtney McKenna MELISSA MCNABB Charis McNamara MacKanzie Meyer Terah Minor-Jones Danielle Moore Juan Moscoso Blake Mosier Amanie Musa Mihir Nakrani Michala Nathlar Victor Nicholson Taylor Nine Katelin O’Keefe

Alexandra Paintsil Lauren Paniati Seong Hwan Park JONATHON PARKS Leah Patterson Jessica Perla Grace Plihal Sarah Prather Matthew Present Radov Zachary Andrea Ramirez Tai Ramsey Alexandra Reeves Loren Riesenfeld JAHMILA ROBERTS Ghulam Sallman Kierston Sessoms Emma Shannon Matthew Siegel Andrew Simmons EMILY SIMMONS Danielle Smith Tayvea Sylver NICHOLAS TATNALL Megan Taylor Kalkidan Tesfahun Kimberly Toxie Tram Truong Savannah Tryens-Fernand Samara Tu Nicole Tuttle Biego Vallejos Phabiene Volcimus Cadijah Walcott Erica Wang Zhichen Wang Calvin Ward BRANDON WEBER REBECCA WELLMAN Jenna Williams Larisha Winley Ellen Wood Rhea Wyse Kevin Zelaya

GRADE 10 Alexandra Abell Sheena Afoakwa Darlene Aniebonam Andrea Archila DANIEL ARIAS Nicholas Arnold-Medabal SARAH AYLOR Spenser Balog Lauren Barlow Isabela Barriga Ashley Barteck Joyce Bartlett Melissa Blue Julia Boland Lauren Brown Destini Bryant Stefan Byrd Jordan Callahan Shaina Callahan Maya Campbell Catherine Carr Kiarra Ceasar Jeremy Chen Cynthia Cheng Maia Chicherio Nia Chin Git-Yee Chu Cynthia Chung Delaney Cruickshank Connie Dai SOMALA DIBY Leanna Diggs Christiane Djoum Marco Escobar Conrad Etchi Kathleen Faisca Christyna Falden Ryan Frazier DELILAH GATES Sylvester Gates Gwendolyn Giles Briyanna Gilgeous Samuel Glatt Rainier Gomez AMY GOTTLIEB Gordon Gregg Kelly Hanlon Madison Hawkes BRIDGET HAWVERMALE Cindy Hernandez Anna Hinden Blaire Hoffman Lily Hua NICHOLAS HUNG DYLAN HYSEN Miles Johnson

Zachary Kaye Joshua Kenes Aimee Kohorst Corinne Konoza Brandon Krixer Garrett Krixer SARA KUSHNER Meagan Lagerlef Ashley Larkin Daniel Lee Jennifer Lien Julia Maas Edward Madden Austin Malner Nicholas Mauprivez Matthew McGugan Chistopher McSwain Brooke Mellish Grace Mlingi Gerson Morales NICHOLAS MUGGE Bryant Musse QUYNH-NHU NGUYEN Kemi Olowoofayoku Leena Owen Richard Pak Jeongeon Joshua Puanil Matias Perez Ferrero Jessica Pinchinat Caroline Pledger Eric Poloway Susana Posada LINDA POWERS ALEXANDER RAUL Maya Reid Cory Reyes Andrea Rizkallah Maximilian Sabelhaus Emma Semanyk Max Shannon Andrew Shelton Der MARIEL SHILLING Michael Shriner Daniel Simpson Cassandra Smith Keonna Smith Stella Song GILLIAN SPOLARICH Spencer Sterling Britney Stuart Alexis Thweatt Savandy Touch Jamie Tran Serge Tzeuton Akaninyene Umo Kristina Valerio Victoria Vanlear Sophia Venero Pisey Veng Karina Vidal SHANNON WADE Joshua Waldman Stacey Waldo Jasmine Walker Conor Wallace Tzu-Hui Wang Alex Wells IV Eric Wiley KIRA WILLIAMS Hyo Yang Jung Yang

GRADE 11 Bronte Abell Yonit Addissie Angel Aguilar Oluwaseun Ajayi Aurelia Akpan Justine Allen Analise Altobelli Thomasina Anane Diana Anguh Rachel Appel Argnaramon Assie ALEXANDRA AUGUST Miriam Boussouf Grant Bradshaw Michael Brennan Holland Broadus Jeffrey Brumfield MEGAN BUONOMO Adrienne Bush NIKKI CALI Bethany Callahan CHRISTINE CALLAHAN Julia Campbell Carina Cannon Haley Carpenter Katherine Carrico Jason Case Jordan Chacon

Emily Cheung Sharisa Sesawaeng Adrianne Chiaravallotti Juliana Sesay Danny Ching George Shaw Cynthia Chow Trevor Skibine Kirstyn Clark Samantha Steinfeld Dawn Clarke Emily Stevens Miya Cook Cindy Tan Kristin Corcoran Tu Truong Keary Cristaldi Karen Valentin Joel Cruz JERIN VALLIATH Sofia Curzi John Vernon Jazmine Dandridge Leilani Vitusagavulu Brandon Davis Suzanne Walls Lamia Dean Christine Weithman Nicolette Dehi Christina Wilbur Ramatullah Deme Christopher Williams Lauren Deshler Deena Winley Sharne Donley KAITLYN WRIGHT Anthony Donnay-Wood Jr.Kevan Yang Merissa Dyer Stephanie Yanok Brady Ebert Timothy Yee Maria Escobar Caroline Zebrowski Jonathan Frame Ting-Ting Zheng Susan Frimpong Elise Gifford Brittany Giganti GRADE 12 Mary Gillis Vitoria Adesanmi Megan Glixon Allera Akpan Michael Gold Ashley Austin Crystal Goodman Maria Ayala Ryan Goodman Hadjiratou Bah Nikisha Gordon Anna Baker Jane Grenaldo JEREMIAH BAKER Angel Gutierrez Jalysa Banks Gabrielle Hall Danielle Barlow Lindsey Harris Nicole Barnett Noel Harris CHRISTINE BARRINGTON Sarah Harrison Brittany Beecroft Marvin Hart IV Zachary Berg Kelvin Hayford KASSANDRA BISHOP Ashley Haymaker Brandon Bong MAX HEDGEPETH Boban Bose Elizabeth Hellman Adam Boussouf Jorge Herrera Laura Brady Sasha Herrera ELIZABETH BROWN Isaac Hirsch DEVON BRUNSON TIMOTHY HO Jonathan Bui Todd Holbert Morgan Cali Jadon Holloman Jasmine Carr Julie Huleis Danielle Carter Thomas Irish Corine Chapman JI WOO JANG Talia Chicherio Rebecca Joiner Tsz Chiu Erika Kalkofen Louisa Clarke Safa Karzai Jasmine Cogdell Min Ji Kim Hannah Coll Jinnah Lamin Andrew Comer Kelly Lehman Gretchen Corcoran Zoe Ligon Jessica Covill Lourdes Lopez Evan Curdts Justina Lumor Esther Dadson KAYLENE LYONS Eric Davis Maya Mandaiker Kelly Davis Ashley Martin Michelle Davis Xavier Mauprivez Kevin De Los Reyes Raquel McKenna Chelsea Debernardis Colleen McMullen Isabel Decolin Sean McNamara Christina Degraft-Johnson Frances Melgar CLAIRE DEMARCO Christina Mensh Alex Dionne Nicole Michur Christine Doore Taylor Miller Danielle Douglas CAITLIN MITCHELL Noah Ehrenberg Kyle Moore Clementina Eleady-Cole Michael Mugo Marie Eng Tawanchai Nakbanlung Natalie Engle GLORIA NHAN Lindsey Evans Jason Nkwain Gabriela Ferra Alexa Norberg Graham Flessas Sara Nuttle Alla Fletcher Alfreda Nwosu Aja Flowers Nicole Oakley Zachary Francis Sadao Oka Rui Fu Grace Elizabeth Oxley Shannon Gale CHIRINE PARIS Matthew Gatwood Kayla Pearson Stephanie Giles Kirsten Petersen ELIZABETH GIPSON Marie-Estelle Pham MELISSA GOLDBERG Leslie Phelps James Gonzales Sharice Pina Desire Gordon Rachel Plafker Natasha Gordon Irene Polyzos Joseph Gratton Nicole Pontious Vanessa Gulifa Gabriel Prata Crystal Gwanmesia Abena Prempeh Camille Hart William Prindle APRIL HARTMAN John Ramirez Andrew Hawley Loren Rheubottom Duncan Hawvermale Leah Rich Stephanie Helms CHRISTOPHER RILEY Brittany Hicks Cecil Roberson AMELIA HOLGASH Zahur Sallman Celeste Huaman Joseph Samowitz Margaret Hughes Sydney Selden IV Linda Hwang

Names in all caps indicate Straight A’s

Joshua Ingeholm Kerry Irion Amanda Irvin Shannon Jackson Avi Jacob LILIAN JOHNSON Monica Johnson Jasmine Jones Emily Kamin La Young Kang Dennis Kelner Sarah Kershner Erin Kisliuk Stephen Klingner Samantha Kramer Charlotte Lanning Lauren Levin Sarah Levitt Christine Lien BRENDAN LIPTON SARAH LOMKE Chloe Longchamp Jacob Lorber Neel Madan Rohan Mandaiker Nina Marti Benjamin martin TOMIKO MASON Kyle Matusek JOSEPH MCKENNA Christie Melgar HANNAH MELLMAN Sharon Metzger Jessica Michek Lydia Mihaychuk Yvana Mingia Karishma Modha Katie Molek Drake Morgan Colleen Murray Darin Murray Luieadny Navas Brian Obando Jordanne Otero Chloe Oxley ANDREW PADGETT Stella Park James Parker Sarah Peko-Spicer JUSTIN PEREIRA MICAELA PEREZ FERRERO Kayla Perry Joanna Peth John Pierson Nisa Pottinger Allison Poulin MICHAEL POWERS Elynsey Price JORDAN RAMIREZ Rebecca Rickford Travis Rogers Noelia Roman-Ramos DANIELLE ROMIG Daniel Rosenberry CHRISTINA RUSSELL Nicholas Sacco Christina Santini Hunter Schallhorn Kelli Scheib Benjamin Schnapp Jay Sharma KELLY SHIH LIZA SITZ Alexis Smith DIANA SMITH ISABEL SMITH-BERNSTEIN Patricia Sodolo ETHAN SOODAK Melanie Spaid ASHLEY SPEER Lisa Staples Hayley Steffen Desirae Stephens MATTHEW STEVENS Charlotte Suh Manmeet Thind KATELYN TOY Melat Tsegaye David Tuttle Ian Walker MOLLY WALLACE GINA WALTER Nicole Wannen ERIN WASHBURN Kelly Washington Josselyn White KRISTIN WILLIAMS Nicole Williams Damian Worthy Jonathan Yuen

The secrets to writing the perfect college application essay are revealed, p. C3

Section C

Blake Beat Features

Blake Parents and Peace Corps volunteers Lis and Robert Malotte with their biological daughter Savannah (right) and their two adopted children Michele and

October 9, 2009

Joshua. Both children were born with severe medical conditions but are now healthy and happy. --photo by Kara Korab

For these ex-Peace Corps workers, charity begins at home

Adopted Doane-Malotte siblings get second chance for first-quality life by Christine League x& Leah Rich Some people try fertility treatments, while others pay thousands of dollars for a surrogate, but the Doane-Malotte family has helped save two children by adopting them from different parts of the world. Blake parents and Peace Corps volunteers Lis Doane and Robert Malotte were volunteer-

ing in Namibia when they had their first biological daughter, sophomore Savannah DoaneMalotte. When Savannah was two they decided instead of having another child they would help a child in extreme circumstances by adopting. Says Mrs. Doane, “I love kids and always thought that it was silly to have more kids when there were so many kids already out there that needed homes.”

Their first adoption did not go smoothly. Unfortunately, the baby girl they were ready to adopt was kept by the foster parents. However, family friends knew of a boy in extremely desperate circumstances. They had two hours to decide if they were going to take the boy. “I unwrapped that blanket and took off the hat and saw my beautiful brown sugar boy with his beauti-

ful black ringlet curls all over his head and I was head over heels!” says Mrs. Doane. They named him Joshua Doane-Malotte. Joshua was suffering from malnutrition, failure to thrive, pneumonia, and various skin and eye infections. His age was unknown, but he was estimated to be six weeks old. “It is truly a miracle that we have a healthy boy today,” says Mrs. Doane. Michele Doane-Malotte

was adopted at age four. She was thought to be “unadoptable” because of her age and because she was born addicted to cocaine, heroin and methadone. She suffered neglect and abuse throughout her whole life resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. “The impossible became the possible,” said Mrs. Doane. continued on C2

Adams to compete in state pageant, values more than just beauty Senior seeks to defy sterotypes by going for Miss Maryland Teen USA x by Emily Stevens Pageants are often stereotyped as places where young women flaunt their looks, wear too much makeup, and parade in their evening gowns. But to senior Nadeja Adams, beauty pageants are about much more than beauty. Adams will be participating in her first pageant, Miss Maryland Teen USA 2009, October 31 through November 2. “It’s definitely a lot more than the glitz and the glam,” says Adams. “Intelligence does matter; a lot of people fail to realize that.” The pageant has three sections: eveningwear, swimwear, and interviews—all of which Adams has been preparing for since the beginning of the year. Pageants involve both mental and physical work; Ad-

ams must keep up with current events while staying fit and healthy. To practice, she does mock interviews and walks in her evening gown. But Adams does not have a pageant trainer or coach. Instead, friends and family help her prepare by giving her practice interview questions. Adams hopes to achieve much more than the title of Miss Maryland Teen by participating—she wants to help out the community. “Pageants are a vehicle for me to expand and reach out to more people,” says Adams. “You’ll never know who you’ll [meet].” Her experience in the pageant will also help her with public speaking, which factors into her dream of going into broadcast journalism. For Adams, nervousness is not an issue; she is positive that if she is educated, she will do well. The only fear she

has about the pageant is ending up like Miss USA 2008, who slipped and fell during the Miss Universe pageant. Adams adds, “Confidence is definitely a key factor in pageants.” She has found that pageants require hard work, preparation, and sincerity. Aside from the serious stuff, Adams is participating for the sake of having a good time. “[Pageants] seem fun,” says Adams. “I like getting dressed up. You can’t do that everyday.” She looks forward to meeting the other competing girls as well, among whom she will be assigned a roommate for the weekend of the pageant. “I have a lot of aspirations,” Adams says, and she anticipates that taking part in pageants will lead her down a long road to success.


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

Students whip gas prices with fuel efficient vehicles

Some sacrifice mileage for style, others settle for the best of both worlds x by Joey Samowitz & Sean McNamara

Senior Chris Riley, at top, leans on his “fly” ride, a 2006 Honda Civic Coupe that gets 40 miles to the gallon. Below, senior Mitch Steele sits at the wheel

of his much-exalted 1986 Ford F-250. Senior Tommy Gorman chills in the back of the truck. -- photos by Beth Callahan and Tu Truong

Students have been driving to school in style to start the year; however for some Blake seniors there is a price to pay for looking fly in their new rides. Senior Mitch Steele has arguably one of the nicest rides in the student parking lot, a 1986 F-250. The rev of Steele’s engine can be heard throughout the lot before and after school and his truck’s fresh paint job gleams in the sun. But Steele has to pay for his own gas, and relatively high prices have him in a bit of a financial bind. “It’s worth it,” says Steele. “I’ve waited so long to drive this truck. It feels so good.” Some drivers take to the roads with strategy. Senior Chris Riley had saved up for several years to buy his first car. “I didn’t want to sacrifice style for fuel efficiency,” says Riley. “But I think my car is the best of both worlds.” Riley drives a 2006 Honda Civic Coupe which gets 40 mpg highway. Riley was able to find a car with good mileage while not giving up aesthetics. Inside a digital speedometer gives Riley’s car’s interior a classy look. His car’s fuel efficiency allows him to afford to drive around town without having to worry about gas. “It makes me proud to drive a car I bought myself, that I can drive whenever I want,” adds Riley. Steele is not quite sure what his car’s mileage is but he knows it is not good. “I do spend a lot of time at the pump,” adds Steele. Although gas has Steele’s pockets riding thin, having a cool car has its benefits. Says Steele, “People are constantly telling me how awesome my car is.” Sadly, the majority of the Bengals are not gifted with hot rods, many have to deal with sloppy seconds or hand-me downs from older siblings. If you look out in the parking lot you will see a plethora of 99’ Camrys and worse. Senior Trevor Skibine says, “Hey, I’m just happy to have a car.” Steele also gets the added benefit of a truck bed. Not only can Steele and his friends tail gate in the back of his truck, they can also just use it as a place to chill. “I’m not gonna lie…it’s nice to have a friend with a truck like that,” says senior Tommy Gorman.

Seniors feeling pressure to get outstanding recommendations

Instructors refuse to pen certain college letters, but process is valuable x by Merissa Dyer Soliciting teachers for help on homework or a pass to the bathroom seems to come easily to students. However, seniors are tense when it comes to requesting letters of recommendation for college. For some, the pressure is on to stand out. “You might think that a teacher really liked you,” says senior Mimi Boussouf, “when really they don’t even remember what class they had you for. Or worse, they don’t remember you at all.” Senior Timmy Ho, whose prospective colleges all require letters for admission, adds, “The recommendations can set you apart.” Ho’s concern is mostly due to inconvenience. “I just want to ask [my teachers] as soon as possible to give

them time,” says Ho. Timing and preparation are an important factor, according to school counselor, Jeannette Hayes. “Choose the moment you ask with care,” she says. “Get your request for letters of recommendation to teachers well before the school’s application deadline.” English teacher Allison Finn has her own criteria for recommendations. “[My answer] depends on the student and how they ask,” she says. “If a student has not earned my respect, I will not write one. I actually say no pretty often.” Not all teachers are as selective. “I seldom decline to write a recommendation, “says Joe Caulfield, English Resource and Advanced Placement Literature teacher. However, if a student has “consistently” not done the work

for his class or “been dishonest”, he would rather not write a letter. “Students shouldn’t be required to get [recommendations],” says Boussouf. “Some feel they didn’t represent themselves well enough in class.” Regardless, Boussouf still considers recommendations “helpful.” She adds, “I’ve heard of students getting into their reach schools because they had great recommendations.” Says 2009 graduate Kylie Horn “I relied on my letter a lot….I was hoping credibility would give me the benefit of the doubt.” Horn was accepted to the University of Maryland last spring. Adds Horn, “focus on your work and relationship with your teacher. The people who work the hardest reveal themselves.”

know why.” Both children were given a special name that connected them to something important in their lives. Michele was given the middle name Christine after her long term foster mother who helped save her life by not letting her be institutionalized.

“Savannah has been absolutely amazing with her siblings,” adds Mrs. Doane. “She always just accepted them and loved them.” Savannah does not let the color of her siblings’ skin get in the way of her love. “We get along although we are all so different,” adds Savannah. At the time of the adoptions, social workers were invested in helping the Doane-Malotte family because two of their children were black. “It always makes me wonder: do we really want to be parents no matter what or do we want to raise kids that look like us? It truly is a racial issue,” says Mrs. Doane. Savannah is taking after her parents and looking into the future with hopes of adopting an older child. She believes that it is more important to adopt outside of the country where the circumstances of kids are very critical. “You can really change someone’s life by adopting,” adds Savannah. “You never know what might have happened [to Michele and Joshua].”

Doane-Malottes overcome struggles, celebrate joys with their children continued from C1 Since Michele was older and because of her many disorders, the family had to see her many times before adopting. There were many visitations at her foster parents’ home and then overnight visits at the Doane-Malotte household. Michele had eight different foster care placements so it was important for her to get used to the family before she moved in. Both of the adopted children had behavior issues, but the Doane-Malotte family has dealt with them accordingly. “It was really hard…at first,” says Savannah, “but [they are] really happy now.” With the experience Savannah has had with her siblings, she has the advantage of being able to sympathize with people and understand that everyone has a background story. “I hate when people judge people [when] they don’t know their background,” says Savannah. “When my brother or sister act up I know where they are coming from and

I unwrapped that blanket...and saw my beautiful brown sugar boy with his beautiful black ringlet curls all over his head and I was head over heels! Lis Doane

While the Doane-Malotte family was trying to decide whether or not to adopt Joshua, they randomly opened the bible. It opened to the book of Joshua, which is a story about God fulfilling his promises and giving second chances. “We knew then that this was our child and his name was Joshua,” adds Mrs. Doane.

The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

Admissions of real self secret to create best college essays Teachers agree: truthful responses are better

x by Anna Ching & Samantha Steinfeld Writing the college admission essay is arguably the hardest—and most important—part of the college application process. We asked several English teachers for the top Do’s and Don’ts of college admissions essay writing to help make the process a little bit easier for students: DO make it personal: Says English teacher Allison Finn, “Even though there is a question you have to answer, the question is only the vehicle to talk about you.” The essay should allow the college admissions counselors to see who you truly are and what you would bring to their university. DO use your own voice: Don’t make it sound like you used a thesaurus to find bigger words for your essay. This essay should reflect who you are and what your voice sounds like. It is your voice that makes you different from the thousands of other applicants. Says English teacher Victor Loun, “If your voice is a simple and direct voice, then write like that.” DO engage the reader: Start off with a strong introduction that grabs the counselor’s attention and makes them want to continue. Says Ms. Finn, “[Students] need to [be able to] evoke some sort of response from their reader.” DO proofread: Check and double-check for all grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Says Ms. Branson, “Reading [the essay] out loud always works. If you read it out loud, you catch all the mistakes and all the clunky sentences.” DON’T lie: Don’t make something up just because you feel like you don’t have anything interesting to say. Says Ms. Finn, “What students have to understand is that what they do doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It has to be personal, and it has to be passionate.” College admissions counselors will always know when you’re making something up, so don’t try it. Instead, think about topics that you may not think worthy of being in your college essay. You can think outside the box and be creative. DON’T brag: The college admissions essay isn’t a resume. Says English resource teacher Joseph Caulfield, “You want to reveal your strengths without coming out and saying them [directly].” Says Mr. Loun, “The English department is here to help, but we don’t want to write it for you. We’re here to guide you.” If you need help, come to your teachers with clear ideas about where you want to go with your essay. Adds Mr. Caulfield, “Students should start working on their essays today.”

Peanuts: more than just unliked by those who simply can’t stand them Student, teacher share point of view on dealing with deadly allergy by Becky Joiner x & Christine League

There are some things that we cook with and eat everyday that can be harmful or deadly to some people: Peanuts. There is a large range in reactions to peanuts. The more mild reactions would be hives, itching, digestive problems, nausea, shortness of breath or even a runny nose. The more serious reaction would be anaphylaxis, which constricts airways, making it difficult to breathe, which can cause

death. The treatment for an anaphylactic reaction is the epi-pen which helps to open airways. Blake Alumna Danielle Barlow is allergic to eggs, nuts and seafood. “My nut allergy is the worst allergy,” says Barlow. “I have to be cautious and I have to give up good things just because I am not sure about what is in it and I cannot find out.” Most allergies that are seen in kids, such as egg or milk allergies, are usually outgrown as they get older, but the allergy to peanuts is unlikely to be outgrown. Also,

if the child has a mild reaction to peanuts one time, it is not unusual for the child to have an even more serious reaction the next time, which makes a peanut allergy a serious matter. English teacher Elizabeth Jones has had to deal with the impact of an allergy in her own home when she found out her two year old son, Dylan, has a nut and egg allergy. Adds Ms. Jones, “We’re not sure if he would just have hives or if he would have an upset belly or if he would go into anaphylactic shock and possibly die. So it’s

really scary as a parent finding out.” One of the biggest fears for both Barlow and Ms. Jones is that if there were to be an allergic reaction, that the epi-pen would not be near. “[We] make sure we have the epi-pen handy if anything should happen,” says Ms. Jones. Adds Barlow, “The worst fear about my allergy is that I have an allergic reaction and my epi-pen is not around and… no one knows how to help me. I am incredibly cautious [because] I don’t ever want to be in that situation.”

Muslim students observe Ramadan, Eid-Ul-Fitr, Eid-Ul-Adha this fall x Tullah Deme & Kirsten Petersen Muslim students around the world have finished their month of fasting for Ramadan and their celebration of EidUl-Fitr, and are now preparing for Eid-Ul-Adha, a four-day festival of sacrifice. “Fasting [is] a test of patience and having to be tolerant of other people,” says senior Fatima Sallman, who is a Sunni Muslim. Her specific orientation is Naqshbandi, which is of the Sufi group. During Ramadan, her family fasts from sunrise to sunset, and the fast can only be broken under certain circumstances, like illness or pregnancy. “It is not looked down [upon] to break your fast accidentally,” Fatima Sallman says, “but if [it is broken] on purpose, it is considered disrespectful, especially in front of people who are fasting.” Traditionally for any Muslim, the fast is broken each evening with a palm date, but for the Sunnis, other foods can

be eaten as well. Special foods are prepared during Ramadan, like fruit shaat, which is a spicy type of fruit salad, and samosas. Fatima Sallman says, “[We eat food] you would not normally make during the rest of the year, so it makes the month even more special.” Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with the holiday Eid-Ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslim families go to the mosque to pray the Eid prayer, and then celebrate the end of the fast with friends. Says sophomore Ghulam-Nabi Sallman, who is Fatima’s brother, “It is supposed to be an exciting, fun, and relaxing day for you to enjoy.” Fatima Sallman adds, “It is a way to thank [Allah] for everything we have and to appreciate what we have.” This year, Eid-Ul-Fitr was celebrated September 10, which was an unusually early date for the holiday. The next holiday that is celebrated is Eid-Ul-Adha, which is a four-day festival of sacrifice. Muslim families

sacrifice animals like goats, lambs, cows, or even camels, depending on where they live. This day commemorates the command given by Allah to Abraham to sacrifice his first-born son, Ishmael, to him, as depicted in the Quran. Fatima and Ghulam-Nabi Sallman have each faced different reactions to their fasting. “As a Muslim, I don’t face adversity for my practices of Islam,” Says Ghulam-Nabi, “I’ve told my friends about how I fast and they do not say anything negative about it.” Fatima Sallman has experienced a different reaction. She says, “Some people…think you are crazy [and ask] how can you fast throughout the day, but you get pretty used to [fasting] becomes a routine.” Despite these reactions, Fatima and Ghulam-Nabi Sallman believe that Islam is the best religion for them. Fatima Sallman adds, “I have been [Muslim] since day one…I can’t imagine of being anything other religion now.”


October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat

The Blake Stage Company Presents William Shakespeare’s Classic Comedy

The Taming of the Shrew November 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21at 7:30pm Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students

“If we be waspish, best beware our sting!” Cast Aurelia Akpan, Joal Chen, Maia Chicherio, Bryndon Cook, Nicolette Dehi, Assoumou Diby, Mark Fearson, Elise Gifford, Zach Goldberg, Kelly Hanlon, Charles Harper, Becky Joiner, Matt Kreiger, Ashley Larkin, Jourdan Lawanda, Julie Mitchell, Toan Nguyen, Mackenzie Reedy, Alex Reeves, Ryan Reynolds, Max Sabelhaus, Lillian Seikaly, Britney Stuart, Kira Williams, James Wingate Director: Michel D. D’Anna Technical Director: John Ovington * Special Pre-Show Dinners and Entertainments, November 14 and 21 * For more information call 301-879-1300

The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

Some students switch schools, others switch countries Kalkofen soaks up summer sol while in Paraguay speaking Español by Rachel Babcock x & Blaire Hoffman

Nervous seniors were busy packing their bags, setting up their dorms and preparing for their freshman year of college this past summer, while one adventurous alumna was flying south, ready to start her first day of senior year all over again. Blake alumna Petra Kalkofen left for Paraguay July 29 with the American Field Service

(AFS) exchange student program desiring to experience school life in another country. AFS is the oldest educational exchange organization in the world. Kalkofen has also been able to better understand the culture and will receive six to twelve college credits. Kalkofen says, “I missed my family at first, is only a year compared to your whole life.” Her host family farms wheat, corn and barley and has two teenagers of their own.

“I have no idea where she is at any given moment but, overall, I know she is in good hands,” says Kalkofen’s mother, Heidi Russell-Kalkofen. She was very supportive of her daughter’s ambitious decision, though she worried during the H1N1 outbreak. She adds, “Day to day I think of her, but don’t miss her because I know she is safe and having an incredible experience.” In June 2010, Kalkofen will be returning to the United States

and reuniting with her family. Under policies of the AFS exchange program, Petra Kalkofen’s family cannot visit her until the end of her stay. Mrs. Kalkofen adds, “It really distracts from the students having their own, very personal experience, and can also cause homesickness.” However, internet communication and occasional phone calls are available. Not only is Kalkofen getting a real taste for the Paraguayan culture, but she is also improving

her Spanish immensely. She adds, “All you hear is Spanish and all you speak is Spanish.” The school system there is different and slightly behind because they lack the necessary resources, and usually graduate one to two grade levels behind.” Kalkofen is clearly enjoying her temporary visit. She adds, “The culture is ‘muy tranquil’ meaning everyone sits around and drinks mate or terere with the locals.”

Blake offers change of pace, excitement for senior transfers

New arrivals show up this year from Paint Branch, Springbrook x by Miles Johnson & Gillian Spolarich

Bryndon Cook

Nicole Wilson

Kevin Salinas

Evan Jones

Stepping into Blake High School for the first time is usually a frightening event for freshmen. The hallways are filled with upperclassmen, the courses are new and unfamiliar, and it is hard to get a sense of where you belong. However, for five seniors, Blake is a new beginning to the end of their high school experience. Seniors Nicole Wilson, Kevin Salinas, Kristen Johnson, Evan Jones, and Bryndon Cook have all come from other Northeast Consortium schools for their senior year at Blake. Cook’s dedication to theatre is why he chose Blake over his previous school, Springbrook High School. He says, “It has been rather enjoyable and what I came here for is beyond anything I could have expected.” Wilson, from Springbrook, appealed seven times before getting in. She only needs one more credit and she prefers Blake’s class choices. Says Wilson, “Blake just always seemed like a better fit for me, and after being [here] for two weeks, I have found that to be true. Many of the seniors have adjusted well by joining clubs and sports. Salinas, who came from Springbrook, is now on the football team, Wilson is hoping to join Fashion X and some environmental clubs, and Jones is thinking of joining stage crew. Cook is already actively involved in the Drama department, slated to play the role of Petruchio in the fall play, Taming of the Shrew. However, there have been challenges with coming to Blake as there are with starting any new school. Says Jones, who came from Paint Branch High School, “People don’t know you [here] and it’s harder to build a strong relationship with people.” It may be hard for the seniors to adapt to cheering for the Bengals when Blake plays their old school. Wilson cheered for Springbrook at the first football game, since she still felt an attachment to the Blue Devils, but she believes she will be more comfortable and rooting fully for the Bengals by winter. She says, “When basketball season comes around, I’ll…be on the Blake side, because I have faith in them.” Overall, the seniors are on track to having an excellent final year.

Alumni reenter classroom to experience Promethean age of learning by Domonique Hume x & Suzanne Walls There’s no place like home. World History teacher Kara Mohler and Special Education teacher Scott Sussman have both returned to teach at the very school they graduated from in 2002. “I always thought it would be cool to come back and teach at Blake,” says Mr. Sussman, “It feels like home.” In the wake of last year’s economy, Mr. Sussman was unable to find a teaching job. When a position in the social studies department became available, Principal Carole Goodman hired him. “Blake has always seemed like it would be a fun place to teach,” says Mr.

With so much Bengal pride, teachers return for second shot Sussman, who is also a part of the special education department. In fact, Blake played a large role in Mr. Sussman’s passion for history. Adds Mr. Sussman, “Mr. Du Boyce, Mr. Berry, and Mr. Cain all got me into history. They were definitely the inspiration for wanting me to teach social studies.” To get some teaching experience, Mr. Sussman did his student teaching in Baltimore County. After working in many tough schools, he began to see how posi-

tive a school like Blake can be. Says Mr. Sussman, “I definitely came to appreciate the experience I had at Blake and everything Mrs. Goodman did for [me].” Mohler, another alumnus, has also found her way back to the halls of Blake. It was not until the end of Ms. Mohler’s sophomore year of college when she decided to begin a career in the teaching field. “I’ve always loved kids and wanted to do something more interactive with my days,”

says Ms. Mohler. While still in college, Ms. Mohler did her student teaching at Springbrook High School and was eventually interviewed for a contract with Montgomery County. She was then hired as a world history teacher. “I did enjoy Blake when I came here but I never thought I’d end up working here,” says Ms. Mohler. Interestingly enough, the two teachers did not cross paths much during their school years at Blake. “Although we never really hung out, [we did know of each other,]” says Ms. Mohler. However, their connection at Blake through teaching and helping students has created a mutual respect between the two.

C8 BUZZER ROCK is my hero ---------------------------------------Man, they tackled Pac Mac ---------------------------------------Love is the ABCDE’s like a monkey to bananas ---------------------------------------Anna Ching gets abused by turtles ---------------------------------------It just gets blurry and blurry and blurry… ---------------------------------------Go-go’s aren’t for hallways ---------------------------------------I am not a peanut. ¬---------------------------------------Chris P. is sooooo cute. ---------------------------------------Tracy stalks people. ---------------------------------------…Peanut! ---------------------------------------Mike Steffes, I’m gonna crush you ---------------------------------------Soccer Barbie+ Joey forever ---------------------------------------I hate bees ---------------------------------------Car alarms suck ---------------------------------------Spicy Nacho Doritos and Peach Snapple=Lunchin ---------------------------------------Irene is hot as fudge <3 Eric E ---------------------------------------Brenda you’re not cool ---------------------------------------Join Asian Awareness! No need to be Asian! ---------------------------------------Ashley Melendez, Matt Sherwood, Joe Serrano, Love you! Xo Brenda F ---------------------------------------Love asian food? Join Asian Awareness! ---------------------------------------Join Asian Awareness! Join Asian Awareness…in Portable 2! ---------------------------------------MARBLE CAKE also THE GAME ---------------------------------------Professor Slugharn whispers “Harry!” Harry Whispers “Sir!” ---------------------------------------Blake Poms, you know! ---------------------------------------Jake and Amir’s biggest fan ---------------------------------------Sheesh ya’ll, twas a dream ---------------------------------------Swine 09. 2000 swine. ---------------------------------------I love Jane Grenaldo. She is so awesome. ---------------------------------------Madame Branson parle le trés bon français ---------------------------------------Buy your unclassified from Leah Rich. I can’t afford this! ---------------------------------------Ronathan. It’s a combination of the names Ron and Jonathan. ---------------------------------------I’m an Oscar Meyer Weiner, and everybody’s in love with ME! ---------------------------------------My sister is a green monster and my cat is flat ---------------------------------------I love Carolyn Dean and Katrina Jacobson, my best friends, a lot

October 9, 2009


UnClassifieds See any BEAT staffer to buy your Unclassified in our next issue. 70¢ for the first ten words, 5¢ for each additional word

Give me all your pudding cups or the cat gets it! ---------------------------------------Dinosaur Dinosaur Dinosaur HUNCH! Dinosaur Dinosaur Dinosaur HUNCH! Pteradactyl! Pteradactyl! ---------------------------------------“You think this is hard? I’m living with hepatitis, that’s hard!” –Coach Sue, Glee! ---------------------------------------I bet Max is really skinny under all that hair ---------------------------------------Yearbs ’10 <3 ---------------------------------------“Do you believe in ghosts?” “You know I do!” ---------------------------------------JUMBIE! ---------------------------------------We takin’ it to the HNL! ---------------------------------------YEARBS! ---------------------------------------YEARBSSSS ---------------------------------------I LOVE YEARBS ---------------------------------------Mi nombre is JORGE HERRERA y me gusta comer tacos. ---------------------------------------I love Cynthia Chow… Only in Appletini’s class =) and Sofia sometimes ---------------------------------------I love JV Volleyball…Coach Garlick and Tinsley Rock!!!! ---------------------------------------JESSICA IS A DORK! FROM KEVIN ---------------------------------------Im gonna cut your tongue off! ---------------------------------------My name is Roheed Harpenelli!! ---------------------------------------The Blake Beat Newspaper is an awesome paper and has an awesome staff! Lets have a great year! ---------------------------------------Life’s challenges are not suppose to paralyze you, they’re suppose to help you discover who you are. ---------------------------------------Here we come at you live Bucket Boys all the time ---------------------------------------L’Shana Tova ---------------------------------------Is Blake basketball going to be good? ---------------------------------------PGIRLS ---------------------------------------You’re getting on my purple nurples? ---------------------------------------PGIRLS ---------------------------------------PGIRLS ---------------------------------------PGIRLS

JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE ---------------------------------------I love Jane. I love Jane. I love Jane. ---------------------------------------Jane is so sexy, I just can’t stand it. ---------------------------------------JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE JANE ---------------------------------------Jane Grenaldo, will you marry me? ---------------------------------------I love Jane. I love Jane. I love Jane. ---------------------------------------Sharkbait Hoo Hah Hah ---------------------------------------Sharkbait Hoo Hah Hah ---------------------------------------Yearbs ---------------------------------------Yearbs ---------------------------------------Hahohahehahohoho sharkbait ---------------------------------------Dear kid, I like your bike. LOVE, Emily ---------------------------------------Ng Cheukting loves me ---------------------------------------I will show him the ways of our herd. ---------------------------------------A hanker for a hunka…CHEESE ---------------------------------------Joel the shark and other assorted floaties. ---------------------------------------I LOVE YOU SHARISA SESAWAENG! ---------------------------------------Raj Martin is FOXY! ---------------------------------------Hi Tommy Irish! ---------------------------------------Curry. Rice. Pad Thai ---------------------------------------I have a secret crush on Tommy Irish. ---------------------------------------Ashley Martin, will you go to homecoming with me? ---------------------------------------Elise Gifford loves Michael Mugo ---------------------------------------Michael Mugo for Homecoming King (Michael did not write this) ---------------------------------------This unclassified is cool, but Beyonce’s Is The Best!!! ---------------------------------------Join Photo Club ---------------------------------------Freshmen look like 5th graders, I wanna buy them!!! ---------------------------------------Cherry, Cherry, BOOM, BOOM ---------------------------------------Chow Chowza ---------------------------------------Blake Soccer, you got em next time Big green tractors, you know how we do

The Blake Beat You’re a smooth operator boss ---------------------------------------OMGWWT! I think it was a car ---------------------------------------You can catch me switchin lanes, lanes, switchin lanes ---------------------------------------Haters shake the hand but I keep the sanitizer on deck ---------------------------------------They can’t comprehend or even come close to understanding him ---------------------------------------I’m the Hip Hop rocker, I’m the Hip Hop doctor ---------------------------------------Lady GaGa is not a hermaphrodite!! ---------------------------------------Somala Anne Diby. ---------------------------------------Come to Allies For Equality! Every Thursday in room E279 ---------------------------------------Dear Celeste. BOON MONKEY, that is all. ---------------------------------------Varsity Girls Soccer; its fry time Ladies ---------------------------------------Wendy, short and non-sociable ---------------------------------------Sharkbait Hoo Ha Ha ---------------------------------------Okay you’re a goon, whats a goon to a GOBLIN?!? ---------------------------------------LxBroz <3 Fhgrlz ---------------------------------------Ng Cheukting is MY man, Kristin. ---------------------------------------Myles Murrayyyyy, Myles Murray ---------------------------------------Ms. Kodan. She’s cool! ---------------------------------------Cross Country is awesome. ---------------------------------------Always demonstrate intelligence within my presence. ---------------------------------------I love Carolyn Dean & Jay Sean =] <33 ---------------------------------------Yes, finally a senior and about to graduate and live. ---------------------------------------What do you mean a Peter Pan Peanut Butter Alert? ---------------------------------------Real men play bass trombone and golf is for girls ---------------------------------------Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra Philharmonic FTW! ---------------------------------------Beth Callahan, you feel me? ---------------------------------------Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. ---------------------------------------Berries and Cream ----------------------------------------I’m sorry...berries?...Berries and what else? ---------------------------------------Marry me Kristin Carol Corcoran. Please. I have a ring just4u You are the girl of my dreams.


Former Bengal running back Acker takes James Madison University by storm, p.D7

Fasdmen;rit uhnbroiutbnsrtnrtnsrtjsrtj rysrjrstjsfsr Section D

Blake Beat Sports

Lady Bengals sticking together after slow start

D? October 9, 2009

Challenges for field hockey strengthen squad’s chemistry x by Nikki Cali & Sean McNamara

With a slow start to the season, the varsity field hockey team is proving they are ready to turn things around with back to back wins against the Sherwood Lady Warriors and the Blair Lady Blazers. The Lady Bengals won a close game last Friday, 3-2, against a tough Lady Blazer squad. “The team chemistry is better so we’re making better passes,” says senior Nicole Pontious. “[It’s a result of] knowing the people around you.” Better passing and spreading out on the field are helping the team clench their victories. Strategy is a key component to the team’s success as well. Says senior captain Jane Grenaldo, “All day before the Sherwood game we were thinking about what we were going to do to beat them.” They ended up dominating the Lady Warriors September 29, 6-2, in a key win of the season. The Lady Bengals previously suffered a string of close losses against Magruder, 0-1, Springbrook, 1-2, and BCC, 1-5. The Springbrook game was arguably the toughest loss. “Defensively we did good,” says senior goalie Keary Cristaldi. “The second half was much better for offense but we just couldn’t pull out the win.” The team has had a lot of changes to overcome since last year. “We struggled at the beginning of the season after losing our entire starting lineup and adjusting to our new coach [Patrick Howley],” says Grenaldo. The team has confidence that they’re coming into their own in time for their last few games. “Our regular season schedule is a lot harder than our playoff bracket,” adds Grenaldo. The team hopes to continue their improvement into the post-season. The Lady Bengals will take on the competitive Whitman Lady Vikings at home tonight at 7pm. They will be away for their next two games against the Gaithersburg Lady Trojans and the Walter Johnson Lady Wildcats, before ending the regular season at home October 22 against the Damascus Lady Hornets at 7pm.

Senior captain Justine Allen beats Magruder defender junior Thanh Nguyen to the ball during the Colonels’ 1-0

win over the Lady Bengals September 25. The team plays tonight at Whitman. --photo by Tommy Irish

Football starts season with victories over Watkins Mill, Northwood x by Chris Jaeger & Josh Paunil In the last three years, the varsity football team has won a combined five games and only one divisional game; however, the Bengals have started this season 2-3 with a division record of 2-1 in addition to setting three records. “Our team has a lot more chemistry this year,” says junior captain TE/LB Willy White, “and we have started to trust each other more.” The team is averaging 19 points per game and giving up 29 points per game. This is an improvement from last year’s average of 12.6 points per game and giving up 34.4 points per game.

In the Bengals’ last game, they lost to consortium rival Paint Branch 43-21. Blake was never down by more than seven until the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter saw them give up 15 unanswered points and rush for over 200 yards, but also give up 400 yards on defense. “We wanted this one badly,” says junior RB/LB Steven Penland, “but we lost because of all the mistakes we made.” When Blake played the Northwood Gladiators, they left the game with a 54-29 victory. They also set three records including most points scored and the longest play from the line of scrimmage, a 98 yard touchdown catch by junior running back Brandon Simms. Says Simms, “North-

wood scored on the opening drive, so I came in feeling like my team was depending on me… so I made big plays.” After going into Damascus, the Bengals left with their first division loss of the season. Blake, who was held scoreless, also gave up 35 points. “Our quarterback didn’t have any time and we killed ourselves on penalties,” says senior WR/DB Vidal Hassan. Blake defeated Watkins Mill 16-8 in the home opener but also lost to Springbrook 36-7 in the season opener. The Bengals’ next game is at Kennedy tomorrow at 2 pm. “To beat Kennedy,” says senior RB/DE Devonte Sayas-Drake, “we just need to execute.”

Volleyball loses valuable alumni, serves up talent in younger players x by Jeff Brumfield

With a mix of impressive victories and tough losses early in their season, the girls’ varsity volleyball team has struggled to live up to the full potential of their extremely talented squad. The current trend of inconsistency has not come as a surprise to coach Leigh Tinsley, who, after graduation, lost some

of the most talented players in the history of the program. “Our seniors last year were amazing,” says coach Tinsley. “Losing their leadership has been one of our greatest challenges.” One of the players determined to step up and fill the void is senior captain Caitlin Mitchell who harnesses four years of varsity experience. “It’s weird to not have someone older to look

up to,” says Mitchell, “but [the captains] are definitely the ones who the younger players look to for guidance on the court.” A deep talent pool is also present among the younger players on the squad, including junior Meagan Lagerlef, who has proven to be a dominant offensive weapon. “Meagan’s hitting ability is something I’ve never had before,” says coach Tinsley.

“She is, without a doubt, the most talented hitter I have ever coached.” The team has earned convincing victories like their win last Friday against the Clarksburg Lady Coyotes in straight sets. The performance boosted their record to 4-3. At other times, the team has fought hard and come up just short. September 30, the Lady

Bengals faced off against the Damascus Lady Hornets. Despite fighting back to tie the match at one set apiece, the team went on to drop the next two sets. The shaky performances have not rattled the team’s veterans. Says senior captain Jiwoo Jang, “We’ve still got a long way to go, but by the end of the season, we will have made a name for ourselves.”


October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat

Cubs putt their hardest, keep up morale Golf team struggles with meeting past records: keeps heads up while pouncing for holes in one

x by Jonathan Frame

Jake Mondonedo

After having a stellar season in 2008, finishing with a 15-2-1 record, the golf team faced a bump in the road, as the young team faced a harder division, and finished 1-17. Just when the season looked like it was going winless, the Bengals finished the year with a one stroke win over the Sherwood Warriors. Junior captain Jake Mondonedo saw this as a large turning point for next year. Says Mondonedo, “The team looks pretty solid due to the sophomores and freshmen playing in many matches, getting experience.” Despite a season-best one over par

from Mondonedo September 16, the Bengals lost to the Walter Johnson Wildcats by a total of six strokes. On September 14 the Bengals faced the same Wildcats team, this time with their worst score. They finished with a total of 249 strokes, 24 behind the Wildcats. Though the team was not putting up the same scores as last year, Mondonedo didn’t see this season as a loss. “The season was good,” says Modonedo, “because last year we had mostly upperclassmen playing and now we have a lot of younger kids playing and getting used to the experience.” Many of the golf team members expect to dominate next year. The team rival Warriors were one

of the opponents September 11, and the Bengals almost achieved their first win. However, they lost by three strokes. The Bengals had similar results September 4, losing to all three teams, with a difference of 33 strokes between them and first place Damascus. But August 25, lone freshman Kaitlin Klumpp started off the season with her best score of 52. Klumpp was the only girl this year and she does admit, “It was difficult at times, but they treated me as one of the guys.” Coach Jon Eising also recognizes Klumpp’s potential and says, “By senior year, I’m expecting her to get scholarships.”

Varsity Lady Bengals kick back with a vengeance

Girls finally find their winning spirit in divisional play x by Joey Samowitz After a rocky start, the varsity girls’ soccer team has found its best form in the division and shown that it is a force to be reckoned with. Last Thursday, the Lady Bengals forced their way to a 2-0 win over the Kennedy Lady Titans. The Bengals entered the game 1-5 and reeling from a 4-1 loss to the Rockville Lady Rams. Unfortunately for Kennedy, with a 5-2 record, there was an upset in the cards. Junior forward Kristina Valerio scored a brace for the Lady Bengals. “We really were just the better team that day,” says Valerio. Two days before the Rockville game, the girls picked up their first win of the season 3-0 over the Northwood Lady Gladiators. The win gave life to the Bengals’ season. “It definitely made us more confident because it showed us that we could win,” says junior captain Nikki Ostrow. Kristina Valerio’s scoring couldn’t stop the Lady Bengals from

going 0-4 in their first games of the season. On September 17, the girls lost a tough game to the Clarksburg Lady Coyotes 3-2. “It’s close games like that [one] that feel the worst to lose and the best to win,” says Ostrow. “[It’s] too bad we lost.” Prior to the Clarksburg game the girls lost 2-0 to their arch rival the Sherwood Lady Warriors and 5-0 to the Poolesville Lady Falcons. The season opener was a 7-5 thrilling loss to rival Paint Branch who they had beaten just two weeks before in a pre-season game. However, six second half goals from Paint Branch ruined the Bengal opener. The girls are poised for a winning streak. Upcoming games at 1-7 rival Springbrook and 1-4 divisional opponent Einstein have the Lady Bengals confident. “We know we’re better than them,” adds Ostrow. Springbrook, the girls’ biggest rival, has been outscored by opponents 49-9. That game will be played October 14 on senior night, at home.

Nikki Ostrow

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The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

Cross country runs their way to county championship x by Samir Battou To be a successful cross country runner you need to have endurance, the ability to pace yourself, and a deep passion for the sport. The cross country team has all three of these, after winning their last meets against Paint Branch, Seneca Valley, and Watkins Mill. The Bengals have now improved their record to 5-0.

The boys hope to continue their winning streak next week against a solid team in the Northwood Gladiators. They successfully defeated the Kennedy Cavaliers. Senior Kevan Yang says, “We’re working really hard in practice and the results are starting to show in meets.” With a record of 5-0 the Bengals have a chance at finishing the season undefeated. On the other side the Lady Bengals hope to get back in rhythm and back on

Senior midfielder Grant Bradshaw outruns the Rockville forward and steals the ball with a crushing tackle as senior defender Joe Serrano and a Rockville defender

track and rack up some wins before the county championship October 24. With a record of 2-3 the Lady Bengals have been working hard and hope that eventually all their hard work will pay off and they can become a successful squad. Senior Becky Doane says, “If we continue to work hard, the wins will come.” Coach Christopher Schenk and assistant coaches Brian Oliver and Charlie Simms hope to steer this young lady Bengal

squad, consisting of only two seniors, in the right direction. Says coach Oliver, “We have a young [girls] team but they work hard and we should be very successful.” As the season progresses the Bengals hope to continue their winning record and continue the team chemistry. The boys’ team has shown great determination to be undefeated. Senior captain John Vernon says, “We’re not just a team, we’re a family.”

look on in the Varsity Bengals first win of the season. The boys were dominant on their home field leading to a 1-0 victory.--photo by Sharisa Sesawang

Boys’ soccer kicks it up a notch, focuses on achieving tough goals x by Max Hedgepeth After a bumpy start to the 2009 season, the varsity boys’ soccer team has displayed two impressive performances against the Rockville Rams and most recently against the Kennedy Cavaliers. The Cavaliers came into Blake October 1 and took an early 2-0 lead against the Bengals. A goal from senior midfielder Grant Bradshaw and a late score from senior forward Nicolas Garcia

tied the game up and sent it into overtime. “I tell my players good things will happen when we score,” says coach James LouisCharles, “and sure enough it did.” After two exciting overtimes, the game ended in a tie. Before Kennedy, the team willed their way to a close win against Rockville September 23. Prior to the Rockville game, the Bengals had been held scoreless, and their defense had been questionable. However, the Bengals

shut down the Rams not allowing one goal, and managed to score their first of the season on a penalty kick from Garcia. This year’s team is an experienced one, consisting of one sophomore, three juniors, and a rare 12 seniors. Says coach Louis-Charles, “These guys have been playing Varsity for a while, they know what to expect at this level.” The players are performing well as a team. Adds senior

defender Trevor Skibine, “After four years, we’ve finally built up some good chemistry.” The Bengals have been able to keep every game close, including a 1-0 overtime defeat at Poolesville September 12 and a 1-0 loss at rival Paint Branch in their season opener. “We always stay in the game,” says senior defender Joseph Serrano, “we’re just struggling to score.” While the Bengals have not had great offensive success, it is

partly due to the strong defenses they have been facing. “Sherwood and Clarksburg are ranked high in the area,” says Skibine, “it was a tough start to the season.” Next Wednesday the team travels down the road to consortium rival Springbrook. The Bengals are playing well and have the potential to do great things. “Come out and see us,” says coach Louis-Charles, “you might just be surprised to see how competitive we are.”

No love for girls’ tennis this season as team tries to serve up a win

Competition proves fierce so far; squad fights back despite losing record x by Somala Diby Starting off with a rough first half of the season, the girls’ tennis team manages to stay enthused and inspired for the remainder of the season. The team lost to the Clarksburg Cayotes September 29, adding another loss to the team’s one-win record. Says senior captain Kristin Corcoran, “Although our performance so far has been disappointing, I do believe that we are trying very hard and should be proud.” Windy conditions during the afternoon proved distracting to players, as much of the match was spent scrambling for lost balls. September 23, the Lady Bengals took on the Quince

Orchard Cougars, which resulted in a 2-5 loss. However, the team had to overcome a shortage of three players resulting in three doubles filling in the positions of singles. “We all lost, but it was a great experience,” adds Corcoran. The team was defeated 1-6 by the Poolesville Falcons September 21. The Lady Bengals were surprised at the ability of Poolesville’s team, resulting in the loss. “It seems to me that the teams are getting harder,” says junior first doubles Linda Powers, “so we’re losing more games.” The Lady Bengals lost 1-6 to the Rockville Rams September 15. Preceding Rockville, the team faced two consecutive 1-6 loses against the Damascus Hornets September 8 and the Magruder Colonels September 9. The first match

of the season September 4 against the Northwood Gladiators presented the first win, where senior Drew Virgil played three sets against an evenly matched opponent. Despite their record, the Lady Bengals have good team chemistry as a result of Corcoran’s constant effort to team-build. Says Corcoran, “[We’ve] gone from not talking to each other much on the first day of try-outs to really being a team.” With six loses behind them, The Lady Bengals take on the Richard Montgomery Rockets this afternoon at home at 3:30pm. “[Losing] will keep inspiring us to do better,” adds Corcoran. Monday, the team will face Gaithersburg for their last match before county and regional tournaments.


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

JV boys’ soccer team heading towards winning season

Squad reverses typical losing trend, begins racking up some victories x by Stephen Kae Though the JV boys’ soccer team is often associated with losing, it is gaining the well-deserved respect of opposing teams. The team already has more wins than losses with its latest win against the Kennedy Cavaliers. Prior to the Kennedy game, the Bengals tied the Rockville Rams 2-2, and had a 5-0 victory dominating the Northwood Gladiators. In the 1-0 win against a tough Kennedy team, freshman Darius Oxley scored a well placed, left footed shot off of a break away to win the game for the Bengals, during the middle of the second half. “We’ve worked hard,” says sophomore midfielder Malachi Broadus. “Respect for this

team comes with hard work.” With the way the team has been playing this season, they should be confident going into their remaining games. So far the only losses have been against the soccer powerhouse Sherwood Warriors and the Clarksburg Coyotes. The Bengals lost against Sherwood 2-1 at home. “We did not do so well because we were not focused and were way too relaxed for the game,” says sophomore defender Trey Cooper. “We could have [beaten] them easily if we played like we did in the second half.” New coach Fred Gomez is also impacting the team. He is a soccer veteran and holds a highly ranked coaching license. Cooper says, “Coach Gomez has made this team even better for Blake soccer to improve in the years to come.”

Coach Gomez’s efforts with the team cannot be overlooked. Compared to last season’s minimal two wins; the current team has already begun to significantly increase this amount. Broadus adds, “Coach Gomez gave us courage, faith, and believes in us…he’s not just a coach, he’s a friend to all of us.” With a medley of experienced sophomores and freshmen showing potential, this team could possibly help erase the tough history of previous Blake soccer teams. The Bengals take on the Springbrook Blue Devils next Wednesday and end the season against the Quince Orchard Cougars at home October 21. Adds Broadus, “I expect us to do even better towards the end of the season.There’s no backing down now.”

Brief slip ups don’t prevent squad from sliding to wins

Chemistry, determination helps outscore inexperience on field Kenney ensured an easy victory. x by Joey Samowitz

Sophomore captain Tracy Velazquez steals the ball from Northwood forward, helping the Lady

Bengals seize their second win of the season September 21. -- photo by Beth Callahan

Injuries have plagued a young Lady Bengal team that finds itself struggling at 2-4-1 after seven games, but the young team still has a lot to be proud of. The freshmen-laden team has managed to grab two wins under the leadership of sophomore cocaptain Tracy Velazquez and junior co-captain Sarah Aylor. However, last Thursday the girls were crushed 5-1 by the Kennedy Lady Cavaliers. “Games like that are just learning experiences,” says Velazquez. September 23, the girls found themselves on the wrong side of a 3-2 game against the Rockville Lady Rams. The girls fought hard but were unable to outscore the Lady Rams. “I definitely feel like we should’ve won that game,” adds Velazquez. “But I guess we just [have to] keep practicing.” Two days previous, the girls notched their second win of the season against the Northwood Lady Gladiators 3-0. The girls completely dominated the under-matched Lady Gladiators. Goals from freshman forward and leading scorer Hannah

The girls held the Clarksburg Lady Coyotes to a 1-1 tie September 17, which proved to be a confidence builder. The tie came on the heel of two straight losses, 2-0 to arch-rivals the Sherwood Lady Warriors and a crushing 7-0 loss to the Poolesville Lady Falcons. “We just put those games behind us, we know not to think about the past,” says sophomore midfielder Paula Edoja. The girls season opener was a 2-1 win over consortium rival the Paint Branch Lady Panthers. The win means that the girls only have to beat the Springbrook Lady Blue Devils to claim the consortium crown. “I have been impressed with the team’s performance this year,” says Coach Erin Rigney, “we are a very young team and we have worked very well together [and have] a wonderful dynamic.” With remaining games against Springbrook and the Quince Orchard Lady Cougars, the girls appear to be poised to claw their way to a .500 record. The girls’ next game will be Wednesday at home against Springbrook.

Girls try to stick to fundamentals, bounce back after early struggle by Sean McNamara x & Nikki Cali

Despite a rough start, the Lady Bengals have shown they are a force to be reckoned with, coming off their loss to Springbrook with three back-to-back shut outs. Last Friday JV field hockey matched up against the then 4-1 Blair Lady Blazers. Sophomore Sarah Prather managed to score two goals while the Bengal defense held off Blair’s attempts to settle the score. Coach Angie Seufert says, “Each person on our team is always so important, as they bring different abilities to the field.” The Bengals also managed to grind down the Sherwood Lady Warriors with a

3-0 victory. Sophomore offensive players Julie Lopatka and Courtney McKenna worked through the Lady Warrior defense to put three goals up on the scoreboard, Lopatka scoring two and McKenna with the third. “I think [as a team] we all have enough skills and power to beat them,” says McKenna. Arguably one of their best games this season was against the Magruder Lady Colonels September 25. With a strong first and second half, the Lady Bengals remained in control of the game. “We dominated the game,” adds Seufert, “using skills and concepts that we had been working on in practices.” This season the Lady Bengals are deal-

ing with a tougher, more competitive schedule than they’ve had in previous years. Many of their opponents have very strong programs that give rise to excellent play. These programs proved powerful in some of the Bengals’ first games. The Quince Orchard Lady Cougars brought the hammer down during the Lady Bengals’ first game. Although the Rockville Lady Rams did not pose a threat to the team, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Lady Barons and the Springbrook Lady Blue Devils proved too much, beating the Bengals 2-0 and 4-0, respectively. Still, the Lady Bengals are confident in their ability to turn the season around. “Our team is definitely still learning the game,”

sophomore midfielder captain Sarah Hagan says. “The teams we play are not better than us, we just haven’t fully grasped the concept of the game; which is to spread the field and pass.” Looking towards the future, coach Seufert adds, “We will continue to work on communication on the field, using the whole field and spreading out, and general consistency of all basic skills.” Today at 5:30, the team will face off against the 2-2 Whitman Lady Vikings in their final home game of the season. The Bengals will have to overcome the loss of their captain and leading scorer Hagan who recently made the move up to varsity.

Young volleyball team looks to rebound back after difficult start

Lady Bengals hope to spike, set competition in second half of year

x by Jeff Brumfield After struggling to secure a win all season, the JV girls’ volleyball team earned their first victory of the year in straight sets against the Clarksburg Lady Coyotes last Friday. The Lady Bengals held on in two very close sets, winning the first 25-22 and the second 25-21. “The girls didn’t let their nerves get the best of them,” says coach Jes-

sica Garlick. Prior to the Clarksburg game, the team of two returning players and 12 newcomers was in the midst of a staggering six game losing streak. The girls gave a hard fought performance as they went up against the Damascus Lady Hornets September 30. Losing the first set 3-25, the Lady Bengals battled back with a 2523 victory in the second set to force the game into a tiebreaker. Despite their best efforts, the team went on

to lose the tiebreaker 11-15. “Honestly I think most of it is mental,” says coach Garlick, “they get nervous in close games and are unable to step it up in those situations.” With so many new players, the team was forced to tackle a huge learning curve early in the season. Eleven of the team’s fourteen players had never played in a real volleyball game before joining the squad this year. The lack of experience is

likely the cause of the Lady Bengals’ early straight set losses September 8 against the Churchill Lady Bulldogs, September 10 against the Sherwood Lady Warriors, and September 16 against the Bethesda Chevy Chase Lady Barons. Despite the numerous losses, the girls have tried their best to stay positive. Says sophomore captain Erika Arancibia, “If we make a mistake, we just let it go and someone will always come to give you a high


September 22 proved to be a turning point for the team when they won their first set of the year against the Rockville Lady Rams 25-8. The Lady Bengals went on to lose in three sets, but that game laid the groundwork for the team’s recent victory. Coach Garlick and her team are looking to get another victory tonight when they go up against the Kennedy Lady Cavaliers at home.

The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

JV football shows potential to finish with winning record x by Josh Paunil & Chris Jaeger After a winless season last year, the JV football team seemed to be on the same track, losing their first two games against Springbrook and Watkins Mill, but the team has bounced back with wins against Northwood and Paint Branch. The Bengals pulled off the upset against Paint Branch 22-16. Blake was down early in the game, but they were able to fight back and not let Paint Branch score, even when they were in the red zone. Says sophomore captain OL/LB Nick Tatnall, “We never gave up even when we were down, and when they got close to scoring we shut them down.” Tatnall also made two game-saving tackles that let the Bengals hold on to the

lead and win. Blake scored three touchdowns through two rushing touchdowns and one touchdown through the air by sophomore captain quarterback Julian Carr. “We put it all on the [offensive] line,” says sophomore captain Travon McMillan, “and they refused to be stopped.” Blake was able to get their first win of the season against Northwood shutting them out 36-0. Carr threw for three touchdowns and the running backs again combined for two scores. Says sophomore captain OL/LB Emmanuel Clarke, “We were able to score so much because of the great coaching and because the skill players and line put everything together.” The year started off in the wrong direction for the Bengals by losing the home-

opener to Watkins Mill 14-6 and losing to consortium-rival Springbrook in the season opener 36-16. “We just weren’t prepared [against Springbrook],” says Carr, “and we came out flat.” Blake had a few chances to score against Springbrook but penalties and not scoring when given the chance killed them. Only four games remain for the team including the next three against division opponents Seneca Valley, Einstein and Quince Orchard. The Bengals play at Seneca Valley Saturday, October 17 at 10:00 AM. Blake also plays Einstein in the homecoming game October 24 at 10:00 AM. The squad ends the season playing at Rockville in a Thursday night game November 5.

Julian Carr

The James Hubert Blake administration, faculty, and staff congratulate these students for their recent statewide or national recognition: Maryland Distinguished Scholars Finalists: Aurelia Akpan and Bryndon Cook in Drama; Joachim Ogodi and Jacob Perry Jr. in Vocal Music Maryland Distinguished Scholars Honorable Mention: Bronte Abell, Yonit Addissie, Justine Allen, Thomasina Anane, Miriam Boussouf, Jeffrey Brumfield, Megan Buonomo, Nikki Cali, Bethany Callahan, Christine Callahan, Cynthia Chow, Sofia Curzi, Maria Escobar, Timothy Ho, Julie Huleis, Jiwoo Jang, Kaylene Lyons, Colleen McMullen, Caitlin Mitchell, Kirsten Petersen, William Prindle, Christopher Riley, Zahur Sallman, Samantha Steinfeld, Cindy Tan, Christina Wilbur, and Kaitlyn Wright in academics; Marie Estelle Pham and Daniel Seal in instrumental music National Merit Commended Scholars: Cynthia Chow, Todd Holbert, Daniel Pistolessi, Kevin Yang and Timothy Yee National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar: Bronte Abell The National Achievement Scholarship Program: Max Hedgepeth


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

Redskins continue to disappoint somehow loyal fanatics x by Jonathan Frame Well, there you have it: the Detroit Lions have won their first regular season game in two years, and of course, our very own Washington Redskins gave them this sense of accomplishment. The Washington Redskins went into Ford Field September 27 as the team projected to win, but cracked under the pressure and both teams left with a 1-2 record. The Skins played a game plagued by bad play calls, poor defense on long scoring drives, and above all, a large lack of heart and strive to win,

Team booed out of FedEx, supporters wonder what’s next for the struggling team which has been apparent all year. Jim Zorn came into Washington as a quarterback coach who didn’t have any experience calling plays. Right now, this inexperience is showing in the redzone as they have only scored four touchdowns in ten attempts. The problem isn’t driving the ball down the field, but once in the redzone, Zorn refuses to go to his playmaker Chris Cooley.

With an offensive line that is struggling, Zorn needs to show faith in Jason Campbell and let him make a play. Both Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan are coaches with Super Bowl rings, and as of now, they are both on the NFL coaches market. With Zorn struggling to call good plays in the redzone and score, the decision to hire one of these guys

needs to be considered. The problem is that Redskins owner Dan Snyder doesn’t make the best decisons for the organization. For example, the Skins have a franchise player in Albert Haynesworth who is known to be injury prone and is currently earning 100 million dollars. Unless Snyder has a drastic change of heart, fans should expect more of the same.

Campbell has been in the apparent hotseat this off-season, without doing anything wrong. He has thrown for over 960 yards and has a quarterback rating over 85, both of which are on track for a career year. But to show he belongs in Washington, Campbell needs to make up for the three interceptions against Tampa Bay, and improve his decision making. Redskins fans are some of the most faithful fans in the league, but when Redskins Nation starts booing their own team, you know that there is something wrong. All Skins fans can do is try to enjoy the season.

Season filled with upsets across the country; Gators remain on top

Hurricanes surprise with strong record, while Fighting Irish fall behind x by Josh Paunil After an amazing college football season last year, with the Tebow vs. Bradford BCS National Championship game and the McCoy-Bradford-Tebow Heisman trophy race, this year is already shaping up to be a bust. The season started off strong with the Virginia Tech (7th) vs. Alabama (5th) game and the Oklahoma (3rd) vs. BYU (20th) game and continued to be strong through the USC (3rd) vs. Ohio State (11th) match-up. However, top teams took a tumble starting with Oklahoma’s loss against BYU when Sam Bradford, Heisman favorite and potential first pick in the draft, went down and when USC lost against Washington. This isn’t the first time a PAC-10 team beat USC to end their hopes of winning a National Championship. Last year, USC lost to Oregon State; in 2007 they lost to Stanford and Oregon; and in 2006, the Trojans were defeated by Oregon State and UCLA. After USC tumbled in the rankings, South Carolina upset 4th-ranked Ole Miss, 16-10, and Iowa

repeated their performance of last year by again upsetting 5th-ranked Penn State, 21-10. In the same weekend, Oregon crushed 6th-ranked California, 42-3, when they shut down Jahvid Best, and Virginia Tech’s 11th-ranked defense made Miami’s 9th-ranked offense feel like they were a high school team as the Hokies won, 31-7. In last weekend’s match-ups, 4th-ranked LSU

ranked LSU at 8:00 pm tomorrow. Not only is there the question of how healthy Tim Tebow is after a brutal concussion last week, but this game might also determine which of these teams will make it to the national championship game. The biggest disappointment so far has been the Fighting Irish who were supposed to rise through the rankings given their cup-cake schedule (except for USC) and battle the Trojans for a national championship bid next weekend. However, Notre Dame has disappointed with their loss to Michigan, only winning by three against Michigan State and Purdue and needing overtime to beat Washington. The biggest surprise so far has been the Miami Hurricanes (11th), who have surprised this year with wins against Florida State (18th at the time), Georgia Tech (14th at the time), and Oklahoma (8th at the time). Miami is being led by a Heisman candidate sophomore Quarterback Jacory Harris who has thrown for five touchdowns, 806 passing yards, and has a 152.62 passer rating.

The game to watch is top-ranked Florida at 4th-ranked LSU at 8pm tomorrow. was able to squeak by Georgia (18th), pulling off a last-minute comeback capped by Charles Scott’s 33yard touchdown run, winning 20-13, 7th-ranked USC crushed 24th-ranked Cal, 30-3, and 17th-ranked Miami defeated 8th-ranked Oklahoma, 21-20, on the strength of three Jacory Harris touchdown passes in the biggest game of the weekend and the only upset. If you only watch one regular season game this year, the game to watch is top-ranked Florida at 4th-

Tonight, 6:30 to 9pm

The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

Star running back looking to score one more time by choosing right university Asante follows up his astounding performance on field with great academics, sets sights on college by Josh Paunil x & Samir Battou

Senior Kwabena Asante, one of the most recruited running backs in Blake history, has accomplished things some only dream of, such as receiving a 2008 ESPN Rise All-State Offensive Honorable Mention for football. However, he has yet to accomplish one thing: selecting a college. To Asante, scoring on the field is just as important as getting an “A” on an upcoming test. He prides himself on doing well in school and other academic related activities just as much or even more than how he plays on the field. Asante says, “I’m looking for academics as well as athletics.” He is considering Villanova, Virginia, and Toledo among many other division one schools. When it comes to choosing the college that is right for him, academics are as equally important as football. However, he does not spend all of his time studying or practicing and watching game film. Whenever he has free time he enjoys spending time with his friends and catching a movie. He began playing football for Blake as a freshman on JV and coaches could already see the potential in the future captain. Asante has played a vital role in the success of the Bengals while establishing new rushing records in almost every category. He has also won numerous awards including being named to the

2008 All-Montgomery County Offensive and the All-Gazette Football Offensive Second Team. “He stands out because of his running ability,” says junior running back Steven Penland, “He is a really hard runner, has great vision, and knows when to cut.” Asante rushed for eight touchdowns and 1,422 yards (school record) last year and has rushed for 568 yards this year. He averages around 150 yards a game on the ground and has scored six times through the first four games of the season. He is also on pace to obliterate his touchdown record and to finish near 1,500 yards, again. Says coach Tony Nazzaro, “I am very glad we have him in our program. He has been and continues to be a vital piece of Blake Football.” The ability to play and contribute to Blake Football seems to run in the family for Asante. His older brother, Kofi, was also a star player for the Bengals. Kofi was a senior in 2007 and heavily contributed to the Bengals’ and eventually went on to play college football. Asante’s younger brother, Kwame, currently a freshman at Blake, plays running back and defensive back just like his older brothers. Even though Asante has many achievements on the team, his time as a Bengal is winding down. Asante is gearing up to depart as he has only 5 games left for the season. Says Asante, “I think what I’m going to miss most is the atmosphere of the games at Blake.”

Running back Kwabena Asante breaks a tackle against the Northwood Gladiators in route to a 80 yard run and a career-high 249 yards.-- photo by Tommy Irish

Social Studies teacher to race past competiton, take home trophy Mrs. Rowe finishes first in Howard County Police five-kilometer competition x by Bronte Abell & Cynthia Chow Many of us dread running a few laps in gym, but social studies teacher Pamela Rowe runs that and much more every week for fun, plus the occasional marathon every now and then. September 13, Mrs. Rowe ran in the Howard County Police five-kilometer race and won a trophy for being the first female teacher to cross the finish line. She has been working with a training group since July and has rediscovered her passion for running. “It’s a great opportunity to just clear your mind,” she says, “and get away from the day to day [schedule].” She beat every female in the race across all age groups, except for one runner in the 20 to 39 age group. “It feels good when I finish,” says Mrs. Rowe. This was not Mrs. Rowe’s first race. When she lived in Germany, she ran an 18 mile race and has even won a couple of

half marathons. Mrs. Rowe will be running a marathon in Baltimore this October as well as another marathon in Philadelphia this November. Mrs. Rowe has been running since high school and continued running as an army officer. She later dropped the practice, but returned to it this past summer by joining a training group that helped her improve her time. Running has always been a hobby for Mrs. Rowe. “In fact,” she adds, “I’d rather run somewhere than walk.” Besides running for pleasure, Mrs. Rowe runs to stay healthy. She runs about 30-35 miles a week on her own and occasionally with friends and her training group. However she prefers running on her own. “It’s more productive and clears my head better,” she says. Running with others usually slows Mrs. Rowe down because she frequently finds herself engaging in conversation, even when the other runners aren’t. She observes her surroundings while running, “I check out

new scenery,” adds Mrs. Rowe, “it’s my own personal journey to see what’s going on in the neighborhood.” Unlike most high school students who run with some sort of mp3 player, Mrs. Rowe has her own music. She has some songs she plays in her head while running for fun. But when the running gets tough in a marathon she says, “I think about the finish line, that keeps me going.” A few years ago, social studies teacher Stephen Cain challenged Mrs. Rowe in the annual Blake Race for a Dream. Mr. Cain challenged her months before the race and continued to tease her as the race approached. On the race day Mrs. Rowe crushed Mr. Cain by several minutes. “I love [running] because you can just get away, you can’t take any work with you…it’s just my escape,” says Mrs. Rowe.

Alum Acker spins his way into hearts of JMU fans, makes touchdowns

Former Bengal, Division 1AA player goes to endzone with different team

by Chris Jaeger x & Jonathan Frame When Blake alumnus Corwin Acker played at Blake, many expected great things, but no one expected him to play for an NCAA Division 1AA powerhouse. A graduate of the class of 2007, Acker was a standout football player here at Blake and received recognition by the Gazette on the second all county team. Acker plays for James Madison University who is ranked number four by some polls in their division. Though first signing with

Temple, he transferred to JMU in January 2008, foregoing his first season at Temple. Says Acker, “I felt JMU was a better fit for me, and that the people here would help me accomplish what I want to on the football field.” Acker certainly showed his skill on the field rushing for a career-high 147 yards in the September 26 game against the Liberty Flames. In the fourth quarter, Acker scored on a 65-yard run with 14:35 left to play. This touchdown proved to be the winning score and Acker won them the game. Acker and

junior tailback Jamal Sullivan combined for 301 rushing yards. Acker would also later boost his stats with a 13-yard touchdown run late in the fourth which secured JMU the win. When Maryland fans showed up to the JMU game September 12, no one was expecting a close game. Although Maryland did win, Acker had a fumble recovery early in the second half that gave JMU momentum that eventually gave them the lead. Acker also had two tackles and four reception yards in the loss to Maryland. Almost everyone was as-

tounded by his impressive performance at the Maryland game, but it came as no surprise to varsity football coach Tony Nazzaro. Says coach Nazzaro, “His combination of speed, strength, and athleticism made him an outstanding player.” It is not every day that we see a Blake athlete playing at the collegiate level, but Nazzaro says, “From a football sense, there was no doubt that [Acker] would be able to play at the next level.” Here at Blake, Acker made the difference at the running back position, but at JMU he plays different roles. In two back sets, you will

see him in the backfield, but when it comes to one back sets Acker says, “Honestly I’m not as good of a pass blocker as Jamal Sullivan.” But in these scenarios, he may not necessarily be out of the game as he lines up as a slot receiver. He says, “…I’m fast, run good routes, and can catch better than some of the receivers.” Most get nervous when stepping on the field of a huge game, but not Acker. “I feel like an entertainer,” says Acker, “in front of a crowd of thousands, expecting me to do something amazing. I try not to disappoint.”


October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat

Blake Booster Club Spiritwear Sale Sold at... 10/14 & 15 during lunch 10/23 Homecoming football game


$20 $30

$25 ....and much more!

From Beyonce to Boomtown Rats, Talent Show presents best of the best, p. E2

Section E

Blake Beat Fine Arts

Swift, your video is good and all, but Brown is the best

October 9, 2009

Move over Miley Cyrus, former student starts “the climb” to stardom

x by Bryndon Cook

Many of us wish that they could just leave it all behind in pursuit of their dreams. 16 year-old Lauren Brown, a former Blake student, is doing just that. “I’m so excited to be jumping head first into the music industry. I love to perform,” Brown says. “If I could, I would live on stage.” Brown has taken a leap of faith into show business. With her debut album in the works, its first single “Always” has begun receiving radio airplay in Philadelphia and Florida and is soon to hit Chicago and New York City. Brown is shopping around for different record labels that she is interested in. Recently, she narrowed down the search to three prospects: Warner Brothers, Atlantic, and Interscope records. “The record deal will be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of this month,” Brown added. Brown expressed a love for singing at an early age. With her talents gaining high regards, she eventually recorded a demo and found a manager. Fortunately, the manager she found was Craig White, the President of the Philadelphia Chapter of Grammy. White, who is a Grammy winning producer in his own right, enlisted the help of vocal instructor and violinist Owen Brown, responsible for training artists such as Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys. Brown has been recording at Philadelphia International Records since this past summer. As for her family, they support her 100%. “I don’t have any worries whether Lauren will make it in the music industry,” says Brown’s mother, Paula Brown. “She is very talented and this is something she wants.” As a young teenager, Brown has made lots of hard choices in attempt to follow her music career. One was her decision to leave public high school for home school. While at home, Brown can balance her rigorous

Alumna Lauren Brown is trying to make it in the music business, with encouragement from her mother. She

already has a manager and has a new single, “Always” to be released soon. --photos by Kara Korab

music lessons which include: physical training, voice, dance, piano and violin lessons. Nevertheless, Brown still manages to take four college courses provided by Montgomery College. “I was more than willing to get into homeschooling. Now I can do my work whenever I want to, and however I want to,” Brown said. Brown’s mother hopes that her success will inspire her peers and bring happiness to all who listen. “They

should be proud of one of their former classmates,” Mrs. Brown added. “Proudly say they went to school with her and smile when they say they know her.” “Just enjoy my music, and keep your fingers crossed for me!” Brown says. “I believe success is in the air!” Her album, which is under her stage name, Lauren Ashley, is set for release by the summer of 2010 and a radio tour will follow soon after.

Stage company tames Shakespearean play by adding modern twist x by Somala Diby William Shakespeare’s acclaimed “Taming of the Shrew” will hit Blake’s Main Stage mid to late November with a slight modern twist under the supervision of Director Michael D’Anna. The Shakespearian comedy takes place in Padua, Italy during the Renaissance. However, Blake’s production of the play does not necessarily portray the traditional modern Italian Renaissance set.

Mr. D’Anna’s vision of a “clash of the worlds” will incorporate a modern-day Italian set with a 1990s influence, characterized by Italian music and fashion. Says Mr. D’Anna, “Italian chic led a sort of renaissance in the 90s, so we hope to use it in the play.” Not only is the “clash of the worlds” experienced through the set , but it is also prominent in the combative relationship between Kate and Petruchio. “They can’t live in each other’s worlds,” says Mr.

D’Anna. “They make a brand new world for themselves, literally.” Better known through the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, the story features a stubborn and shrewish Katherine, frequently referred to as Kate. She is reluctant to marry until she is affronted and challenged by Petruchio, a bachelor who squanders his father’s estate, played by senior Bryndon Cook. Petruchio seeks to tame the shrew. Kate is double-cast by senior Aurelia Akpan and junior Kira Williams.

“[Kate] is naturally difficult…but you can do so much with her [character],” says Williams. Shakespeare’s language adds another layer to what the Stage Company offers in the show. “It has a rhythm to it,” says junior Mark Fearson, cast as Lucentio. “It usually rhymes, which makes it easier to memorize.” Because of the lack of female roles, many of the male roles will be taken on by female actresses. Tranio, played by senior Elise Gif-

ford and junior Ashley Larkin, is the right hand man of Lucentio. Says Mr. D’Anna, “It’s going to be more interesting with a female traveling companion.” The show runs on November 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21 at 7:30pm. The Stage Company will also be hosting a preshow with Italian food and entertainment. Says Mr. D’Anna, “We’ve done really good shows in the past and we have high expectations to match what we’ve done.”

Tonight at 7pm, International Club proves it’s a small world after all Many countries to be represented through ethnic food, song, dance x by Juliana Sesay International Night, an event which provides students with an opportunity to represent their country and culture through food, song, and dance, will be held this evening in the cafeteria and auditorium from 6:30 to 9pm for six dollars per person. The show will open up with the Star Spangled Banner followed by a fashion show. Students use this time to exhibit the traditional or latest clothing from their country, transforming themselves with the jewelry, make up and headpieces of

their culture. “The modeling portion of last year’s show was phenomenal,” says senior and International Club president Macy Passawe. “We have many participants and I believe this year will be as dynamic.” During the show, the audience will see numerous countries represented including Senegal, South Africa, Ecuador, and China. “I am excited about what the students will have to offer this year,” says International Club sponsor Gary JeanCharles. Many students plan to serenade the crowd with an ethnic song, a trio of participants will display a poetic act, and

Fuego Latino will perform a Hispanic dance. Before the show, attendants are invited to partake in a free dinner which includes a wide array of different food and drink from a variety of countries. There will be ethnic home-cooked meals made by parents and students as well as food donated by local companies. The eating portion takes place from 6:30 to around 7:30. In preparation for this event, meetings were held every Friday at lunch, students met during off periods to work on the banner, and all participants were

required to attend one of the two dress rehearsals. “These rehearsals are very important,” says Passawe, “We want to give performers a chance to test their outfit on stage with lights and music.” Much time and effort goes into assuring that International Night is up to par each year and it is one of the highlights of the International Club. Despite all the hard work and hours of planning, Passawe says, “I really enjoy spending time with people of diverse backgrounds and learning about other cultures.” This year is her second as club president and she has found it to be a “rewarding experience.”


The Blake Beat

October 9, 2009

Blake’s best fight for title of Most Talented Bengal

Two musical seniors tie for first place in show x by Blaire Hoffman

This year’s Big Bengal Talent Show presented by the stage company premiered September 30 at 7:30 pm in the auditorium. The show was emceed by Spanish teacher Monica Abuliak and had 14 acts that included solo vocalists, duets, bands, and instrumentalists. Signature Program Coordinator Michel D’Anna helped produce the show and was in charge, along with other staff, in making selections for the show during auditions. Mr. D’Anna says, “I really enjoy listening to and watching each and every performer.” About 50% of the ticket proceeds from the show go to benefit the theater department. The night opened with senior Alfreda Nwosu, who sang “Make You Feel My Love.” Nwosu enjoys taking chorus class and adds, “My teachers influenced me [to audition].” Her father was also a singer, and her parents encouraged her to be in the show. Nwosu says, “I was nervous for auditions,” but on performance night she was all confidence. The tempo slowed down near the end of Act one when senior Soraya Abudulkadir sang Beyonce’s “Ave Maria” and German exchange student Marcel Hofman played “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats on piano. Senior Uche Ogodi ended the first Act with a powerful rendition of Fred Hammond’s “I Will Find a Way.” “[Performing] is a way of exposing yourself,” says junior Melissa Blue, who is no stranger to performing at the talent show, placing second last year. This year she chose to sing “Listen” by Beyonce because she liked the range and it portrayed a turning point in the movie Dreamgirls. Blue adds, “It is an empowering song.” During the show, judges were evaluating all of the acts on three specific criteria: talent (40 points), presentation (40 points), and audience response (20 points). All audience members were also given the chance to pick their favorite act by filling out a ballot. At the end of the night, the judges’ votes were tallied and the winner resulted in a tie between senior Jacob Perry who performed John Legend’s “Ordinary People,” and senior Ulises Cordova Chavez, who performed twice, playing the guitar with his band and the piano solo.

Uche Ogodi (top left) sings Fred Hammond’s “I Will Find a Way,” Anthony Donnay-Wood (top right) grooves to the “Robot,” and Ulises Cordova Chavez

(bottom) performs an original piano composition, “Rojo Efervecente.” -- photos by Kara Korab (top left and bottom) & Tu Truong (top right)

Blake, Springbrook alliance makes sweet music; Rivera hits right notes Number one fan becomes keyboardist member of group, rocks out x by Anna Ching Senior Wendy Rivera has accepted an offer to join a diverse rock band, known as Robots Are Watching (RAW), that is anything but mechanic. The band currently includes lead vocalist and Springbrook alumnus Joel Johnson, junior rhythm guitarist Orlando Ramos, junior drummer Dennis Ngo, and sophomore bassist Diego Chicas, all of whom still attend Springbrook. “I was al-

ways a huge fan of this band,” says Rivera, “They used to call me ‘the stalker fan’ who would always ‘like’ their statuses on Facebook.” For a while, the band had been looking for a keyboardist and since they already knew Rivera, they welcomed her into the band without a second thought. Says Rivera, “Being part of the band is a great feeling.” She is the fifth member of the band, and they are still considering a sixth.

About half a year ago, the band planned on having only four members. Spontaneously, the project started adding more musicians this summer after Johnson and Ramos began mulling around the idea. “[Orlando] joked about starting a band,” says Johnson. “Then completely by accident, we started making music.” Not long after, Ngo and Chicas followed suit, ending with Rivera as the final member-at least for now. The band, who are very

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dedicated to their work, practice anytime they can get the chance to pick up their instruments, rock out, and just have fun. Their musical style consists of semi-hardcore pop/punk songs. Says Ramos, “We can make this band one of the best if we put our heads in the game.” “Besides the music, we all love to play and have fun, sort of a mini family thing,” adds Rivera. “We all have similar personalities so it makes for some great fun during practices.”

Despite the fact that they are still up-and-coming, the band does have people helping them make a webpage and providing them with recording equipment. They are also in the process of designing t-shirts, trying to produce their first album Not For Nothing this winter or early spring, and getting signed by a label. “[We’re] getting a lot of work done,” says Ngo, “Not too slow, not too fast, but surely getting there.”

The Blake Beat


October 9, 2009

REVIEWS FOR YOU Weak plot leads to failure for Fame movie x by Becky Joiner It’s no secret to the audience that everyone in the movie Fame has potential to be outstanding performers, but the movie’s weak plot and poor direction ruined what could have been a great film. Fame is a re-make of the hit 1980 movie which follows a group of students attending the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, where students are trained in dance, musical performance, and drama. The film starts with the auditions and then moves through the students’ four years of high school. The original Fame focused on the struggle that comes with studying the performing arts and what it takes to make

it to the top in show business. It was realistic and at times, hard to watch because of its honest message that sometimes pure talent isn’t enough to make someone a successful performer. Unlike its predecessor, the new Fame shows a more optimistic side to the performing arts. No one from the audition process is shown getting rejected, and the huge graduation finale leads the audience to believe that all of the students will achieve fame after high school. The cast was made up mostly of unknowns, each of whom sported a character that had a perfectly clichéd lifestyle. The main focus of the film was a naive, insecure actress who wanted nothing more than to be noticed and her cutesy boyfriend who had confidence from his

natural talent. Sounds like the plot summary for High School Musical 4. While the movie lacked content, it had some really great numbers. The actors, especially Naturi Naughton who played Denise, were obviously talented. She showed off exceptional musical and vocal talent with her rendition of “Out Here on My Own”, and still managed to have an interesting character despite the film’s weak writing. Overall, the film was a disaster that tried to fuse one-dimensional characters with predictable story lines. There was nothing special about the movie—it tried too hard to resemble movies like Step Up and High School Musical, and somehow managed to become an awkward mixture of the two.

Becky Joiner

Whitney Houston returns to music scene after six years

Senior feels overwhelmed after listening to album ent now.” Needless to say, I was a tad able beats and catchy tunes. One of my x

Juliana Sesay

by Juliana Sesay

When I heard that Whitney Houston would be returning to the musical scene she appeared to have abandoned for over six years, “overjoyed” doesn’t quite come close to the excitement I felt. I couldn’t wait to listen to the songs from her new album, “I Look to You,” although I will admit I was a bit apprehensive of how her voice would sound after years of drug abuse. When I first heard the title track, “I Look to You” in my dad’s car, I didn’t even know it was Whitney Houston singing. But as soon as I did, my first impression was, “Oh no! What happened to her voice? It’s so differ-

underwhelmed and left feeling slightly angry - how could she tarnish such a beautiful gift? But after listening to her other single, “Million Dollar Baby” written by Alicia Keys, I was much more pleased, despite the fact that her voice sounded huskier and there was a notable absence of the high notes so characteristic of Houston. I also went back to “I Look to You” and realized that it is actually a very poignant and beautiful song. Houston’s album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and topped the charts in over ten countries, includes a mix of slow ballads, and faster, more upbeat songs with dance-

favorites is “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” which actually brought me to tears. This song displays her vocal ability, and includes lots of moments that are reminiscent of the musical diva who stunned many with her crystal clear and flawlessly pure 1993 rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” After listening to the entire album multiple times, I can honestly say that I really enjoy it, even though I hate to admit that, technically speaking, her voice is not (and perhaps never will be) what it used to. I respect and admire her comeback and contrary to what many may think, Whitney Houston still “has it” and always will.

Halo 3: ODST revolutionizes Bungie game franchise

New campaign is must-have for fans, newbies alike x by Tommy Irish Falling feet first to Earth, with space ship debris suspended all around, and a crumbling cityscape below, an epic journey begins for the Rookie - and it is all taking place a few feet away on your television. Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, (ODSTs), are the ones to experience this amazing descent to Earth. These elite human soldiers are the new heroes of the latest Halo game, Halo: ODST, a first-person shooter for the Xbox 360. The storyline of the game incorporates two distinct parts: playing detective and blowing up aliens, each offering a different style of game play. The detective role is played by the Rookie, who awakes from his Drop Pod many hours

after crashing to Earth to discover a burning city full of aliens and clues as to the whereabouts of his fellow ODSTs. The Rookie’s lonely wandering provides a unique open world experience, full of suspense and tension. The destructive aspect takes place whenever the Rookie discovers something interesting, triggering a flashback mission, during which your perspective is shifted to that of the other ODSTs. Each flashback, loaded with high intensity action and explosions, takes place while the Rookie is unconscious in his pod. The combination of these two game styles, both open world and linear mission, allows more freedom than any previous Halo title. Players are given the ability to pick what missions they want and in which order they want to complete them.

The game includes two discs, one featuring the ODST experience, while the other offers the complete multiplayer experience of Halo 3¸including three new maps along with all 21 maps from Halo 3. The main disc introduces a new way to play Halo, with the addition of Firefight mode. Comparable to the Gears of War 2 Horde Mode, Firefight features waves of random alien baddies that fight with three friends. This mode is extremely enjoyable and satisfying with endless, nonstop action. Halo: ODST is a refreshing twist to the Halo series, with loads of new modes, characters and weapons, including the complete Halo 3 multiplayer experience. ODST is a must have for any Halo fan, and a necessary addition to the game arsenal for all Xbox 360 owners.

Tommy Irish

New show brings “glee” to Wednesday night TV Characters, talents gather together an unlikely bunch

x by Kirsten Petersen

Kirsten Petersen

Glee is quite possibly the most exciting, most wonderful, and most musical TV program to hit the small screen in years, capturing an irresistible blend of the unique and cliché aspects of high school. “Glee” is Fox’s new comedy about a high school show choir. Matthew Morrison, a veteran of both Broadway and television, plays Will Scheuster, a teacher who takes over William McKinley High School’s long abandoned Glee Club and builds it from the ground up. The Glee Club members couldn’t be more unique—from the perfectionist who believes that show choir is the key to success (Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele) to the wheelchairbound guitarist (Artie Abrams, played by Kevin

McHale), this club is unlike any seen or heard before. For some people at the high school, however, the club is too unique. When the star quarterback, Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) joins the club, his football team and cheerleader girlfriend Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) try to rescue their hero. The ringleader of this mayhem is cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), who doesn’t want to let Glee’s popularity destroy the prestige of her beloved cheerleading squad (cleverly named the “Cheerios”). Coach Sue is more of an insane drill sergeant than a cheerleading coach. Everything she says is hilarious and memorable—her quotes range from blunt, like “Lady Justice wept today,” to really absurd, like, “You think this is hard? I’m living with hepatitis,

that’s hard.” While all of the teenage characters have spectacular vocal talents, the adult characters do as well. No vocal challenge is an obstacle for Morrison, who has rapped to Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” (in the premiere episode, “Showmance”) and sung “This is How We Do It” in an a capella boy band (in the second episode, “Acafellas”). What is so incredibly beautiful and wonderful about glee club is how it brings together people from all walks of life: the gay guy, the diva, the punk, the geek, the jock, the star. They form a bond that only a passion for performing could create, and they help each other reach their greatest potential. “Glee” airs every Wednesday night at 9pm on Fox. Full episodes are available online at


October 9, 2009

The Blake Beat

James Hubert Blake Beat Newspaper  

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