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A Weekend Without Parents Although Model UN at CHS is known for hard work and acclaim, the conference in DC also has the reputation of being a weekend away from parents, during which a small—but to some, hardly negligible—portion of the club partakes in underage drinking, smoking and partying. “I wouldn’t want to apply because it seems like the only reason people go is to do inappropriate stuff,” said freshman Lauren Matcha. “I heard that a lot of students were doing drugs, participating in underage drinking, and sneaking around into each other’s rooms at night. Students go with no actual purpose, and then other students lose respect for them

News Energy Drinks Teen’s death leads lawmakers to propose ban on selling energy drinks to minors.


overwhelmed by the independence they get when they’re here,” CHS club officer senior H o p e K e a n s a i d . “They’re on their o w n , getting their own m e a l s , getting up on their own, getting themselves to committee, preparing themselves

and researching alone. They feel like they can do whatever they want. Some of them end up making bad decisions.” This independence leads a few students to act in the ways they believe college students act.

Work Hard, Play Hard According to upperclassman Chris, who asked that his name be changed because of the sensitive nature of the topic, students either bring bottles of alcohol from home or buy liquor from one of the two liquor stores located within two blocks of the hotel. Some

The teachers are also allowed to do spontaneous room checks if they see fit, although they usually do not.

just occur after committee ends for the day. According to Chris, he knows a couple of students who drink prior to committee sessions in order to loosen up. “The drinking helps in committee,” Chris said. “It gives you the confidence to speak. There’s no point in going to committee, paying $375, to not participate. If alcohol gives you the confidence to speak and participate, then I don’t see it as partying so much as immersing yourself in the Model UN world.” Although it seems like a large portion of Model UN students participate in these activities, accounts of this behavior may be exaggerated


CHS Turns 50 The CHS building celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

PAGE 10, 11

A National Blue Ribbon School in the rumor mill. “It’s a very small percentage of students that would even try to break the rules,” said club sponsor, field trip chaperone and social studies teacher Paul Jacobson. According to Jacobson, security measures are in place to ensure that students who are admitted into the club are serious about the conference itself. During the application process, officers do not generally accept juniors and seniors who have not participated in the conference before. “That’s a red flag,” Jacobson said. “We want people to be doing it all four years. Why would they suddenly do it senior year if not to party?” At the conference, Jacobson and the teacher chaperones do checkins at midnight every night, coming to students’ doors in order to ensure that all students are in the proper rooms.

students also bring “vapes,” electronic inhalers that can be used to smoke marijuana without creating any odor, because they are “easier to blow out the window” and “to hide.” Students either partake in these activities inside of each other’s rooms or go to D.C. establishments to do so. “Some people go to hookah bars downtown,” said senior Patricia, who asked that her real name not be used. These activities do not

Future Plans However, next year, Jacobson plans to strengthen security significantly. The adults on the trip will be more vigilant in detecting suspicious behavior during next year’s trip, which Jacobson plans to continue. “I’m going to monitor them more,” Jacobson said. “There will possibly be more chaperones and PHOTO COURTESY OF MARJORIE GREENWOOD.

This year, the CHS Model United Nations club won more awards than ever. Six CHS students were presented with the highest honors the conference has to offer; one student even received the Best Delegate award. The CHS delegates guide hypothetical policy with an iron fist. Every year, CHS’ Model UN club attends the North American Invitation Model United Nations (NAIMUN) Conference in downtown DC. The conference, which is run by Georgetown University students, takes place during a weekend in the middle of February and attracts more than 2,000 students from across the globe. Each year students are assigned various issues, such as environment and economy, that parallel real UN issues. They are then tasked with creating policies to resolve the problems. Most policy creation takes place in committees with meetings of up to three hours that simulate United Nations debate. “It is a very fun weekend where you get to go to seminars and make friends with other students,” said sophomore and first-time participant Meredith Srour.

and the club.” But which parts of this reputation are fact and which are fiction? The problem does not lie in what students do during committee, but in what they do during the long stretches of free time between and after these grueling sessions. Students have the option to go out for food in downtown DC or simply spend time in their hotel rooms with their friends. Many students do not abuse these opportunities, but when some do, the trouble begins. “A lot of the people we take are


By Emily Birnbaum Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Baten Staff Writer

Monday, March 17, 2014

Arts CHS Alumna Newsroom star Kelen Coleman catches up with the Observer.


increased monitoring in the hallways.” Returning students might also find a few changes in the application process. A new set of officers will be in charge of selecting students next year, and they don’t plan on letting students in without proof of dedication. “The application process will be very rigorous and limited in number,” said junior and future officer Katie Kidney. But what more can be done?

Reputation in Repair According to several Model UN members, the students themselves need to come up with ways to reverse the precedent of Model UN being an opportunity to go wild. “If we treated the competition itself as more of a competition, like a sport, I know that a lot of students wouldn’t partake in these activities, because they would be so focused on doing well,” Kean said. “It’s like athletes who don’t do drugs because they want to do well. If we made this a more competitive atmosphere, it would encourage people to take the competition more seriously and not see it as a vacation.” In order to weed out students who are not in it for the love of the academics, Kean proposes that the club be more timeconsuming. Students who are not truly serious would be deterred by the intensified preparation. “That goes with focusing more on the preparation, preparing the position papers and doing more research on your topic,” Kean said. “Right now, I think that the delegates from our school are not fully invested in the club. If they invested more time, work and research, it makes it so that there’s more at stake.” According to junior club member Isabel Mangan, she was disheartened to find that people at the NAIMUN conference thought less of her because

See MUN, 2


Volume 38 - Issue 7



Monday, March 17, 2014


Maryland bill to outlaw energy drink sales to minors By Natalie Cortez Public Relations Maryland legislators are considering banning the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 18. The bill was introduced at the Maryland General Assembly by Del. Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery County). The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee met to discuss the bill March 7. Although the bill was heard in the committee, the committee chair did not give the bill a committee vote. The bill is in part due to an incident where a 14-year old Maryland girl died after drinking the energy drink Monster. According to an October 2012 CBS News article, the girl, who suffered from an inherited disorder that weakens blood vessels, went into cardiac arrest after drinking two 24-ounce Monster Beverage Corp. drinks within a 24-hour period. She died of caffeine toxicity that hindered her heart’s ability to pump blood. If the bill passes, Maryland would be the first state to ban the marketing and sale of energy drinks to minors. According to a Feb. 14 Press-Enterprise article, if passed, the bill would fine anyone who sold an energy drink to a minor up to $5,000 for a first offense, $10,000 for a second offense and $20,000 for a third.  Yet, energy drinks continue to seem to attract younger crowds because they claim


Drinks like Monster would no longer be sold to people under 18. to offer increased energy, enhanced athletic performance and possibly even clearer thinking. “I drink energy drinks often because they taste good and help me stay awake,” senior Alexa Ghobadi said. However, according to a February 2014 study published in the Journal of Addiction

Medicine, consuming energy drinks can be associated with increased alcohol, cigarette and drug use. Additionally, energy drinks have up to five times the amount of caffeine as sodas do. They also contain a number of unregulated stimulants like taurine, guarana and creatine. Another Montgomery County law-

seems to always make its way back into the classrooms. “I do not remember it being an issue before the modernization,” Principal Joan Benz said. “It became a problem afterwards, and it has been pretty constant ever since.” According to Benz, there is only so much the school can do to fix this issue and ultimately, it is up to MCPS to come in and address the situation. “We have a whole department of environmental protection employed by MCPS that looks into these things,” Benz said. “When the smell appears, building services contacts them and they come and check it out.” According to Delgado, the county has addressed the issue on several occasions and treated it as recently as last year. “The plumbing department sent a couple of plumbers over and they went to the roof to check on the vents where the smell was coming from,” Delgado said. “They then connected the vents to one pipe, which was intended to direct the smell outside and away from the

classrooms.” Despite these efforts, the odor is still an issue that teachers and students in the World Languages hallway deal with daily. “It smells like someone took a lot of eggs out of the refrigerator, left them out in the sun for hours and then smeared them all over our classroom,” junior Nesma Belk hodja said. Not only is the smell unpleasant for those affected by it, but it also disrupts classroom instruction. “When you smell it, it is just awful,” Belkhodja said. “It makes it hard to focus on work because the smell suffocates you.” According to a teacher who asked to remain anonymous, the odor reaches a point where they have to stop teaching to try and fix the issue. “Sometimes the smell is so overwhelmingly disgusting that it becomes a disruption to the class because we have to stop what we are doing,” the teacher said. “We have tried using a spray to mask the smell, but some students are allergic to the spray, so that is not a very healthy solution either.” Despite the concern that teachers and students share about this issue, according to Delgado, nobody has reported the odor to building services this year. Teachers have contacted building services on several occasions in years past but according to the anonymous teacher, have recently been less inclined to do so because the problem seems to come back either way. Until a student or staff member contacts building services again, however, the county will not hear about the issue nor resolve it. “I know it is a concern to everyone, but we have to go to the county and follow the process,” Delgado said. “And for that, I need to have proof that this is happening. If someone smells it, they need to contact me so I can forward the issue to the county and they can come check it out. I will get them here tomorrow if I have to.”

maker, Senator Brian Feldman, has filed a companion measure. According to Justin Ostry, who is a legal counsel to Feldman and former CHS AP NSL teacher, several lawmakers in Maryland think energy drinks should be banned because there have been several incidents of children dying from these caffeinated beverages, and they want to look out for the health and safety of children. Despite the proponents’ reasoning behind the measures, the ban continues to be controversial. “Any time a law restricts people›s behavior there will be people who question the infringement,” Ostry said. “Energy drinks are a powerful lobby and do not want to be forced out of a lucrative market.” In addition to the energy drink companies, many students are also opposed to the ban. “Just because they have the right to doesn’t mean they should ban energy drinks,” senior Radha Bhatnagar said. “Teens find it appealing because they don’t sleep a lot and they need something to keep them awake and energized.” However, according to Ostry, Maryland has the right to ban energy drinks to minors because of its authority to regulate the consumption of a substance that has negative effects on minors unless there is a State Constitutional amendment against it.

Odor invades World Languages hallway Club plans for future

By Pablo Roa Staff Writer

The foul odor that has plagued the World Language hallway has struck again, and according to students and staff, it is even more prominent than in years past. According to a 2010 Observer article, a 2009 inspection performed by Building Dynamics, LLC, a private consultant hired by the county, determined that the odor was attributed to “floor drains from the boiler rooms.” Five years after the inspection, the sewage system is still to blame. “The smell is coming from the sewage system under the school,” building services manager Angel Delgado said. “It then enters the building through the ventilation system in the bathrooms and through open windows in the classrooms.” Students and teachers first noticed the problem over 10 years ago, after the school’s modernization, and while the issue has been addressed several times, the odor


A smell pervades the World Languages hallway due to CHS’s sewage system.

From MUN, 1 she came from CHS. “If you say you’re from CHS, people say, ‘Oh, so you’re not here to actually participate?’” Mangan said. “In committee, people are less likely to talk to you when they’re making working papers because they think you probably don’t know what you’re talking about.” In order to reverse this reputation, Mangan also proposes increased preparation in school and more help from experienced officers on position papers. According to Kidney, CHS’ reputation for apathy is unfair because most of the students actually put in a lot of effort. “It’s a really great experience because it shows you what diplomacy is like while having fun,” Kidney said. “I just wish that all students had taken advantage of such a cool opportunity.” Jacobson is optimistic that this year’s events will serve as a message to CHS participants that their mindsets must be changed. “It does ruin the conference when students act like this, and it also makes the school look bad,” Jacobson said. “But hopefully we’ve learned some lessons and can take this as a wake-up call.” Some are wondering about the future of CHS’ Model UN but students may rest assured knowing that Model UN will continue to be a club at CHS. “It will definitely continue,” Principal Joan Benz said. “It’s very valuable to kids and is a great learning experience. We’re very proud of the students’ accomplishments as well as the chaperones. We’ll just keep building trust with the rest of the group, and hopefully next year we’ll have an incident-free conference.”

Monday, March 17, 2014




BOE approves Superintendent Starr’s budget By Katie Gauch Production Editor Focused on closing the achievement gap and overseeing growth in schools, the Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) approved a $2.32 billion budget Feb. 11 for the 2015 Fiscal Year. The Board’s approval of the budget enables MCPS to control the district’s spending and allows the county to make any needed changes to promote student success. “This budget will allow MCPS to keep up with its rapid enrollment growth and invest wisely and strategically to improve teaching and learning,” Board President Phil Kauffman said in a February 2014 MCPS Public announcement. The country gains about 2,500 students every year, so most of the budget will go toward managing growth and increasing the number of teachers to serve ESOL and special education students. According to a December 2013 MCPS article, $24.1 million from the total budget will be dedicated to ESOL and specialized teachers. As the number of students increases every year, so does the number of students who “require specific services and support.” The four main needs the budget addresses are increasing the pay of teachers, saving on health insurance, allowing students to send in anonymous reports about teachers and their learning experiences, and installing a “career lattice” program among teachers. The “Career Lattice” program is a system to give back to the best teachers who teach in the most high-demanding schools. According to a February 2014 MCPS public announcement, this


Starr discusses future plans for MCPS with student journalists during a round table meeting Feb. 24. program will “acknowledge effective, veteran teachers” who chose to continue to teach rather than take a job in administration departments. The budget also allows for MCPS to commit to contract with three employee associations: the administrators union, the teachers union, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 500), a group of 2.1 million people who want to improve the lives of workers to create a healthly working environment. “This is the first time we’ve had a three-year contract in five to six years because of the economy, so it’s nice to finally have some stability,”

Superintendent Joshua Starr said in a Feb. 24 press conference with MCPS student journalists. The approved budget will also account for money designated to change tests to promote new and creative thinking in students. Some of these changes include replacing the HSA assessments with the PARCC assessment, remaking and refreshing the current curriculum and lowering class sizes. “Everything’s completely changing, so we are helping kids get ready for a very different set of expectations,” Starr said. The Board passed the budget, changing very little to what Starr had requested. The additional money added will

aid professional development in cultural competency, an increase in number of pre-K classes, and will incorporate the three-year contract into the budget. According to MCPS public information officer Dana Tofig, the Board passed the budget 2.4 percent higher than the minimum funding level that was originally proposed. Now that the Board approved the budget, it will go to the Country Executive and then to the County Council. “It’s a long, drawn-out process, and we’ll see if the elected officials give me what we’ve asked for, which will be a big question,” Starr said.


The Churchill



Monday, March 17, 2014

Observer Editors

Editors-in-Chief Emily Birnbaum Elizabeth Campbell Chief Production Manager Jane Zankman News Editors Brittany Goodman Julia Heimlich *Katie Clem *Alissa Li *Samantha Silber Opinions Editors Greer Smith *Alissa Li Observations Editor *Samantha Silber Features Editors Jordan Janis Jordan Maser *Ana Faguy *Samantha Silber *Katie Gauch Arts Editors Danielle Kiefer Julia Reagan *Madison Hurr *Arjun Swaminathan Sports Editors Ben Fox Julia McDermott *Yash Nigam *Emily Raab Photography Editors Michael Fox Guransh Singh Erica Spaeth Fact Checkers Ross Tannenbaum Mitra Pishgahzadeh * Production Editors

Managers Advertising Manager Fiona Asbury Business Manager Jonathan Greenzaid Circulation Managers Caitlin Doherty Ana Faguy Contest Manager Jeanine Liu Public Relations Natalie Cortez Noah Salzberg Adviser Kelly Knarr

Our Policy

The Churchill Observer is published monthly by the students of Winston Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Road, Potomac, Md. 20854. Advertising and subscription rates are available by e-mailing Advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff, faculty or the student body. Every effort has been made by the staff to assure that the news is accurate and free of bias. Editorial opinions are those of the Observer staff, and personal commentaries and cartoons reflect the opinions of their writers. Letters to the editor must be signed, and assertions must be documented upon request. The Observer is a public forum for the purpose of expressing the views of and informing the Churchill student body.


Banning energy drinks is a mistake To all you teens out there who are sick and tired of being babied now that you are in high school and are preparing for the rest of your life: prepare to feel even worse. According to, the Maryland state senate is attempting to pass a law that, if passed, will prevent the distribution of energy drinks to minors or through vending machines. That is right, you may find that the next time you need your jolt of energy to cram for that test, you will not be able to reach for Red Bull, Monster or any other energy drink. According to a Feb. 12, 2014 Washington Post article, Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais (D) is pushing the bill after a 14-year-old girl died from drinking an energy drink. As upsetting as a death of

a young teen is, it is not necessarily cause to ban a whole product from minors. According to a March 2013 CBS News article about the death of the girl, the energy drink company Monster, who the girl’s family sued, ran tests and claimed that the girl more likely died of natural causes from a pre-existing heart condition. There was no proof her death was brought on by Monster. So, what gives the government the right to step in and “protect” minors from something that may or may not induce death in people with pre-existing heart conditions? Nothing. This is an overstep. As long as people are not putting others at serious risk, they should be allowed to be a little

unhealthy. Energy drinks are not like drugs and alcohol where people are impairing their judgment and often potentially causing permanent damage. With energy drinks, people are getting hopped up on a lot of caffeine and sugar more efficiently than downing several coffees. It may not be good for people nutrition -wise, but it is not for the government to say what people can and cannot eat or drink in these circumstances. Just because people with pre-existing conditions can get seizures from strobe lights does not mean they should be made illegal, and this is a similar situation. Though energy drinks can be dangerous


to some, those people need to be responsible for themselves, and the government should not step in and limit everyone. Energy drinks may not be healthy, but they are good for that extra buzz needed to stay up a little longer studying, or for those of us who want the high of coffee, but cannot go for its bitter taste. There is no legitimate reason for the government to ban energy drinks from minors unless they ban all other forms of junk food because its only real short coming is not being particularly good for you. As long as McDonalds can still sell its criminally unhealthy chicken nuggets and people can still buy Big Gulps at 7-11, there should be no talk of banning energy drinks. This is America. We have the right to our Red Bull.

Standardized testing needs to be eliminated By Ana Faguy Production Editor After a long day at school and two hours of soccer practice, I find myself rushing to finish McDonalds in the car on my way to the next stop of the day: SAT prep. Junior year is the most dreaded year of high school. Not only does the school work load increase tremendously, but it is also the time to prepare for and take the SAT or ACT. To be accepted into most colleges, students must take the SAT or the ACT. Extensive preparation is often key to getting a decent score, but students do not have equal access to materials or preparation. If colleges truly want to get an accurate representation of a student, as they claim they do, they should not require standardized testing. According to a 2012 Washington Post article, significant research has shown that the SAT and ACT do not predict anything meaningful about a student’s future, academically or in the real world. One reason for this lack of productive ability is that money frequently distorts scores. The higher a stu-

dent’s household income, the higher his or her score. Many CHS students go to prep classes after school to prepare for these tests, but not everyone can afford them. Buying books and enrolling in classes costs money— money many students throughout the US do not have, thereby making wealthier students more prepared for these tests than other students. According to the Washington Post article, many factors a f f e ct h o w w e l l a s t u de n t does on these tests, but the strongest correlation to any single factor is family income. Wake Forest, a popular application pick among CHS students, is just one of the more than 800 colleges and universities that no longer require the submission of an SAT or ACT score. According to Martha Allen, director of admissions at Wake Forest, by making the SAT and ACT optional, Wake Forest hopes to broaden its applicant pool. This is a step in the right direction. The more colleges and universities that follow Wake Forest’s path, the more students will begin to lay off standardized testing. If fewer students apply to schools requiring them to submit their scores, the more schools will stop making standardized testing a factor in the applica-

tion process. Some may argue that standardized testing is the one controlled factor of the college application process. While grades and after school activities vary from county to county and state to state, standardized testing gives colleges an opportunity to look at each student through the same lens. However, because it is not a level playing field across the country, standardized test scores are not really controlled, and transforming the format back to 1600 points will not change these facts. According to a 2008 The

American article, evidence has overwhelmingly stated that the SAT no longer serves to equalize college applicants. The SAT has a negative impact on student life, and should no longer be administered. Th e o n l y w a y t o m a k e the college admissions process a fair procedure is to abolish the SAT and ACT. If colleges do not mandate these tests, slowly students will stop sending their scores and eventually students will realize that the only way to have a fair chance of getting into a school is to do so without standardized testing.


Monday, March 17, 2014




Keep it classy, seniors: stop the college status updates By Catherine Goohs Online Arts Editor The majority of us wait for this moment for years. We see it as the major stepping stone that will change our lives forever. Finally, after studying long hours in school, building up a decent list of extra-curriculars, making it through all the standardized tests and surviving the monotonous application process, that moment comes: we get into college. As our generation has become more technically inclined, the medium for congratulating friends and family members about college acceptances has shifted from a phone call to a status update. Opening a letter or email that reads “congratulations” is reason for celebration. While writing on social media what college one gets into is, for the most part, harmless and a good confidence boost, some students try to publicize their success in ways that are closer to arrogance than jubilance. Such posts include statements of getting into a “safety school” or being “10/10” for the schools applied to vs. acceptances. Some posts even include how much financial aid one received. It is great that students are doing so well, and they should be proud

of themselves, but it is not necessary to broadcast these statements to the world. First of all, writing that you got into your safety school and insinuating that it does not matter is a bad idea. You are disparaging the school and making little of your own hard work. Getting into college, contrary to what most seem to believe, is not always a given. In addition to selling one’s self short, one might offend others. Someone who worked hard to get into that same school may not have been accepted, and it is offensive to imply that just because you felt it was easier for you to get into, it was that way for everybody. The school that you are putting down could be another student’s dream school. According to a 2011 Huffington Post article, over 80 percent of college admissions officers take social media sites into account when looking at applicants. This idea is not particularly new, but it begs the question: do colleges still use social media after they have accepted a student? Though there is no available information as to whether colleges follow up on students through more than final term grades, this could be an important factor to those who have been deferred and are waiting on possible acceptance. It could very well happen


Facebook is becoming a more common way of sharing college acceptance. that a college sees a reproachful post–be it about that college or another–and then sees the student in a new light. Socially, the college posting game can be detrimental to an individual and the student body. Posting how many schools one gets into and seeing how many “likes” a certain college post receives furthers the competitive atmosphere around the school when instead we should really be sincerely congratulating each other. If one posts “Class of 2018” after a college name, it is known that student

has decided upon that school, and if one does not post they got into a school, it is assumed they got rejected or deferred. These understood rules of college posts add further pressure to what should be a happy announcement. It is okay to make a social media announcement, if such is desired, for the one school students decide to go to. But in general, they should keep other college-related posts to a minimum and not belittle or flaunt other schools. As we prepare to depart CHS, let’s remember to stay classy.

The curriculum is divided into nine units of which only the last unit covering the period 1960s-to-the-present does not have a set of concrete objectives. Unlike the other units where lessons are the primary means of teaching, the last unit comprises mostly of “research studies.” The unit clearly focuses more on the Civil Rights Movement and on other later 20th century developments than on current events. Similarly, the College Board AP U.S. History curriculum does not enter the 21st century, missing critical events like 9/11 and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden that have forever altered the trajectory of the nation. According to a 2007 New York Times article, the majority of young adults have an inherent aversion to the news and prefer local news to national news. The article supports studies that show that young adults have developed only a superficial foundation of current events because of an increased dependency on easily acces-

sible media like video and sound bites. Opponents of the increased inclusion of current events in the main MCPS social studies curriculum often claim that a current events course exists for those students interested in learning more about what is happening in the world. However, this is an elective course and therefore lacks the rigor of an AP course and is also not available in most MCPS high schools. It is not entirely this generation’s fault for not being up-to-date. More and more students are pursuing rigorous course loads full of APs and engaging in extracurricular activities that leave them with little time for out-of-school reading. Therefore, the responsibility falls upon the education providers of these students to equip them with a basic and dynamic understanding of current events to transform them into informed, responsible citizens.

MCPS curriculum fails to cover current events By Yash Nigam Production Editor


Books like this exist because high schools fail to teach the fundamentals.

Successive generations will probably have a deeper understanding of the healthcare dispute and other current events than current high schoolers who are living during its most heated period. The time spent studying the minutia of bygone eras like the Revolutionary War and the Civil War should be dedicated to current events. The purpose of examining history is to understand the flaws in past decision making so that similar mistakes are not repeated. However, the present can only be transformed into a brighter future after it is fully understood. The social studies curriculum fails to realize that the present will soon be history, and therefore hinders the potential of future leaders who would be inspired by the complexity of today’s problems. According to the MCPS Honors U.S. History curriculum, teachers are technically supposed to cover current events, but the scant allotment of time and the county’s vague guidelines indicate that it is nothing more than an afterthought.

CHS is not showing enough charitable spirit By Katie Gauch Production Editor

Blue, green, yellow and red strobe lights ascend from the DJ booth, illuminating the empty, dark room. As soon as the doors open up, in flows a sea of teenagers dressed in crazy neon outfits ready for the night to begin. It is just another typical rave for Whitman High School students, who held their third annual bRAVE, a seven-hour dance-a-thon, on Feb. 22 to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to the Whitman bRAVE Faceb ook event page, the school raised almost $10,000 in 2012 and $20,000 last year. How much has the CHS SGA raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? Not enough. Each year, during the week leading up to Homecoming, CHS students participate in coin wars to raise money for this cause. Each class has its class officers carry an empty water jug around school, allowing members of the class to fill the jugs with as many coins as possible. Although coin wars facilitate competition among the classes, it seems to be a burden by the end of the week.


Whitman students host an annual rave to raise funds for breast cancer research.

While students are harassed by their classmates to give money for coin wars, they are already spending enough money on Homecoming itself, buying dresses, shoes, make-up or renting party buses. Since Homecoming is already expensive for many students, they will be reluctant to give money. If the SGA really wants to raise more money, they need to not only continue coin wars, but to also create more fun, charitable events during for the rest of the year. CHS is a Blue Ribbon School. Blue

Ribbon Schools need to provide opportunities for students to give back throughout the year. It seems the SGA focuses on raising money only in the beginning of the year, simply to be complacent with their fundraising efforts. According to 2015 class president Hana Yen, it is true that most of the fundraising for charity is done in the beginning of the year because after homecoming, the grade levels are focused on raising funds for their own class. These efforts are not enough. CHS

needs to emulate Whitman’s bRAVE, since it is a prime example of incorporating the fun students have outside of school into fundraising for a good cause. According to Whitman senior Nicole Welch, the turnout this year was what they were expecting. The dance was crowded with students from all grade levels, some of whom even brought friends from other schools. If CHS held a rave similar to Whitman’s bRAVE, the turnout would be high due to our infectious school spirit and love of partying outside of school. For now, though, CHS is forced to wait for the SGA to take action. Until the SGA learns how to “funraise” instead of minimally fundraising, CHS will continue to be missing out on the chance to help people as a school. According to Yen, the reason for low turnout at CHS dances is due to poor advertising. In order to get a good turnout, SGA needs to advertise these events in an interesting way to grasp the attention of students. CHS may be number one in the state academically, but our philanthropic fundraising is nowhere close to that level of prestige. CHS, we are better than this.



Debate team winners By Sammi Silber Observations Editor

Congratulations to debate team members and seniors Rachel Caspar and Henoss Taddesse for propelling the debate team to winning second place at the Washington Metropolitan Area Debate tournament on March 6.

Congratulations to the other debate team members who also qualified.

Congratulations to the members of the CHS Mock Trial team who finished up their winter season undefeated, putting them amongst the top three Mock Trial teams in the countyalongsideHebrewAcademyandJDS. The team went on to compete in March playoffs. The playoffs are single round elimination, meaning if the team loses one case, they are out. So far, they have made it to the quarterfinals. “I think that there are multiple factors as to why we did better this year,” senior president Hope Kean said. “The main one was that we edited our cases more

thoroughly. We used to impulsively type it all up and present it. Also, instead of just one person working on their part, we all contributed to each and every piece.”

@ Exciting offer! Want to win FREE tickets to see The Wanted on April 9? Visit our website for more details! The winner will be chosen on March 24.

M o de l U N w in n e r s By Emiy Birnbaum Editor-in-Chief


Monday, March 17, 2014

What’s Online? Features: How do the changing seasons affect your eating and exercise habits?

Matt Baris Fahad Khan Ana Faguy Luke Hall Matt Suh Jack Zhao

Mock Trial winners

By Emily Birnbaum Editor-in-Chief


Congratulations to the Model UN club for receiving more awards this year than any other year in CHS Model UN history. This was the first year that a member of CHS Model UN won a Best Delegate award. Only one person in each committee is

awarded with this honor. Senior Hope Kean won Best Delegate of her committee, Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet. Junior Grant Haskins and senior Sahad Khan won Outstanding Delegate awards. Juniors Michelle Yuen and Katie Kidney and seniors Christopher Lai and senior Edmond Lee all won Honorable Mentions. Juniors Luke Hall and Connor Quigley won a Verbal Accommodation.

Students qualify for AIME Best Buddies fundraiser

By Alissa Li Production Editor

By Sammi Silber Observations Editor

Congratulations to the students who qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) that took place on March 13. They qualified due to their performance in the AMC Oct. 12.

The Best Buddies Club, which focuses on trying to promote kindness, raised $1,483 from their Chipotle fundraiser. The “Cause an Effect” fundraiser helped raise money for the club’s costs, including supplies, dues and outings. According to senior and Best Buddies Club president Audrey Hagege, she feels “great” about the fundraiser and believes it will “help the students” at CHS.

Allen Guo Neil Luo Nikhil Perincherry Arjun Swaminathan Janet Sun Alex Pu


Sophomore Arjun Swaminathan is one of the students who qualified for AIME.


CHS attends ‘Women of Soul’ concert at White House

By Elizabeth Campbell Editor-in-Chief

Fifteen CHS students and two teachers were invited to attend the program, “I’m Every Women: The History of Women in Soul,” hosted by Michelle Obama in the White House March 6. The event was part of the White House music series and featured a lesson the history of women in soul music, a question and answer session and performances by Melissa Etheridge, Patti LaBelle and Janelle Monáe. “It was an awe inspiring, incredible experience,” history teacher and chaperone Nicole Van Tassell said. “The kids will remember it for a lifetime.”

Van Tassell chose eight students to go by hosting a poster contest for her third period students. The task was to create a poster about women in World War II. The posters were then voted on by the Social Studies department, and the winners got to go to the White House for the program. The other seven students were from history teacher Matthew Schilling’s classes. For many, it was not just the unforgettable performances by the singers that made the day, but the greeting and talk from first lady Michelle Obama. “It was amazing,” chaperone Matthew Schilling said. “I’ve been to the White House before on the tour but not 15 feet away from the first lady. ‘Honored’ would be the best way to put it.”


Unicef- and Kiwanis-sponsored goal to eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus in developing countries,” junior president Kyle Hwang said. The club officers, members from other high schools, parent volunteers and several Kiwanis members came down to the track to support the walk-a-thon. “Every month, Key Clubs in the community come together, so the other Key Clubs in the district know about our walk-a-thon,” Hwang said. “We’re not focusing on Churchill because we want to spread awareness about Key Clubs. The entire community was welcome.”

Key Club held a Walk-a-thon March 15 to raise money for a good cause.

CHS Key Club holds successful Walk-a-thon By Fanny Chen Staff Writer The CHS Key Club held its first annual walk-a-thon March 15 at the CHS track to raise money for Project Eliminate. Key Club, the oldest and largest service organization for high school students, has many members across the nation. Sponsored by Kiwanis, a global volunteer organization, Key Club has been supporting Kiwanis’s Project Eliminate in past years through various fundraising events. “Project Eliminate is basically a


Monday, March 17, 2014




Popular foods ‘unfit for human consumption’: FDA reviews snack foods with high-risk ingredients getting into,” Spivak said.

By Danny Gordon Staff Writer Jordan Janis Features Editor A student decides to eat an azodicarbonamide sandwich with a beverage of brominated vegetable oil for lunch and later eats meat that is unfit for human consumption as an after-school snack. Although they may sound like unthinkable “food” choices for the day, they are actually common ingredients in items that many students eat: Subway sandwiches, Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets. Recently, these foods have been investigated and found to contain unhealthy ingredients. “It should not come as a shocker to anyone that the ingredients in processed foods are harming us,” junior Colton Neubauer said.

Subway Vani Hari, an activist who runs, a website dedicated to providing people with recipes and information about the harmful ingredients in their food, recently petitioned against the use of azodicarbonamide in Subway bread, generating a public uproar. Azodicarbonamide is a chemical used to increase elasticity in yoga mats and other rubber equipment. According to a Feb. 11 Subway statement, azodicarbonamide “helps condition dough to make it more stable so the desired texture and volume can be achieved.” Azodicarbonamide is fully approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) as a dough conditioner and flour-bleaching agent in certain amounts. According to the Feb. 11 Subway statement, Subway’s use of azodicarbonamide has “always been in full compliance with all food safety regulations.” However, studies have shown possible harmful effects from azodicarbonamide. Azodicarbonamide produces two chemicals when baked: semicarbazide, which causes lung and blood vessel cancers in mice but poses a negligible human risk, and the carcinogen urethrane, which poses a risk to humans. A 1999 World Health Organization report shows evidence that it can induce asthma and other respiratory issues as well as skin sensitization in workers. According to Hari’s petition, when a truck carrying azodicarbonamide overturned on a Chicago highway in 2001, city

Hot Pockets

officials issued the highest hazardous materials alert and evacuated people within a halfmile radius. Azodicarbonamide is banned in Europe and Australia, though it is used in many fast food establishments in the US, including as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is lobbying the FDA to consider banning it in foods. According to a statement by senior CSPI scientist Lisa Lefferts, azodicarbonamide is “hardly a chemical we need in our food supply.” According to the Feb. 11 Subway statement, although public outcry has recently grown louder over this chemical, Subway has been attempting to remove azodicarbonamide from their food since 2013 and will complete the conversion soon. However, many students are still content eating Subway and other foods with these chemicals. “It still tastes good and doesn’t hurt anyone,” said junior Marco Gutierrez, who eats Subway biweekly. Other students have turned away from Subway because of the chemicals. “The fact that the same chemical used to make rubber is also found in Subway bread is repulsive,” Neubauer said.  “I will not eat at Subway until I am positive these ingredients are no longer used.”

Mountain Dew In order to ensure that the flavoring oils blend in with the liquid, Mountain Dew contains trace amounts of brominated vegetable oil (BVO). BVO contains bromine, an element most com-

monly used as a flame retardant. According to the Mayo Clinic website, a non-profit medical clinic, BVO has been known to lead to health issues including memory loss and skin and nerve problems. In 1970, the FDA took BVO off of the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list for flavor additives, but a petition by the Flavor Extract Manufacturers’ Association to allow BVO in fruit-flavored drinks as a stabilizer provided evidence that low doses of BVO do not have harmful effects. This caused the FDA to approve the interim use of BVO at 15 parts per million (ppm). According to Christopher Gindlesperger of the American Beverage Association, which represents Moun-

Nestle voluntarily recalled two varieties of the popular frozen snack, Hot Pockets, because they used meat that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had already deemed unfit for human consumption. Hot Pockets received its meat indirectly from the Rancho Feeding Corporation, a company that shut down after a USDA inspector discovered that they were processing diseased cattle. Accordng to a Feb. 19 CNN article, the USDA had recalled more than 87 million pounds of Rancho Feeding Corporation meat, and Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets may contain some of this meat. According to the CDC website, a major danger of unsupervised cattle processing is the possibility of the development of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, better known as Mad Cow Disease, a degenerative neurologic disease in humans that can sometimes be fatal. According to junior Elliot Thaker, many students will continue to eat Hot Pockets because they are a “convenient snack” that can quickly be prepared. However, many students are reconsidering Hot Pockets as a part of their diet because of the condition of the meat. “I stopped eating them due to a lot


tain Dew maker PepsiCo, in a December 2011 Environmental Health News article, PepsiCo products “are safe and our industry adheres to all government regulations.” According to the article, however, while low doses do not have a large effect on humans, many people consume higher doses of sodas with BVO, which can increase BVO concentration in humans and cause adverse effects. Although the oil, used in 10 percent of U.S. sodas, is banned in European countries, in the US it is still being used on an interim basis, pending more FDA research. “I would not drink it,” freshman Tess Horn said. “It’s not that big of a sacrifice to stop drinking it.” According to junior Justin Spivak, however, the BVO in Mountain Dew would not deter him from drinking it because “most sodas have disgusting things in them.” “You kind of know what you’re

of the things I found in them,” junior John Sahin said. “It’s pretty messed up to have the meats that they do put in.” According to Neubauer, who has tried a Hot Pocket once, the fact that the meats in Hot Pockets are unsafe for human consumption is “enough to steer me away from ever trying them again.”

Conclusion Many students are fine eating the foods with chemicals since they have always been eating them. “I am okay with it,” Gutierrez said. “I have eaten them my whole life, so why stop?” Other students are strongly against these artificial foods and the chemicals they contain. “It is very sad to see how far away from natural foods we have gotten,” junior Colton Neubauer said. “If our great-grandparents were around to see the food we eat today, they would most likely not recognize it. That is scary.”




Monday, March 17, 2014

Anti-Semitism apparent outside Potomac bubble By Gil Jacobson Production Editor

Although Potomac’s high Jewish population isolates many from real-world antiSemitism, two recent incidents of Jewish mistreatment, one in Auschwitz, Poland Jan. 31 and the other in Dallas Feb. 19, have caused several to question the prevalance of anti-Semitism in the world today. “Specifically, we are concerned about anti-Semitism expressed as Holocaust denial coming from influential sources and state-sponsored anti-Semitism that has the potential to lead to mass violence,” said Diane Saltzman, Director of the Initiative on Holocaust Denial and anti-Semitism at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. “We address these issues through our multilingual web site, through our podcast series Voices on Antisemitism, as well as the development of targeted resources on the Holocaust in the languages of countries where we are concerned about the trends.”

The event According to a at Auschwitz Feb. 11 article in Taboccurred when let, an online Jewish Jewish train news magazine, this passengers was an act by teenwere told by age hijackers who hijackers Jan. 31 successfully “stole to exit the train the keys that operate at Auschwitz, a the loudspeaker.” concentration In addition to the camp run by Auschwitz train inciNazi Germany dent, Holocaust surduring World vivor Max Glauben War II, and take was robbed Feb. 19 a shower at the of some of his most site, which is valuable photos and now a memorimementos that he al and museum. uses when speaking The National to visitors at the Dallas PHOTO COURTSEY OF ALEX SILBER. Holocaust Museum. Railway Company of Belgium Many students don’t even think twice According to a (NMBS/SNCB) Feb.11 USA Today about displaying their Jewish pride. article, Glauben’s later filed a complaint with police citing incitement to valuables were kept inside two leather bags, hatred, the encouragement or stirring which were stolen from the trunk of his car. up of hateful behavior. CHS students had mixed reactions

to these events, and while some found them shocking, others were not too astonished to hear the news. “I am not surprised by these incidents,” said junior Jackie Plesset, who visited several concentration camps last summer. “There will always be anti-Semitism and unfortunately nothing can or will ever change that.” Senior Harrison McCabe, on the other hand, took a slightly different stance. “The train incident was very shocking to hear about, but I feel that it was driven more so by teenage stupidity than antiSemitism,” McCabe said. “It was just a very immature thing to do, and hopefully the pranksters will regret their actions.” Although McCabe is surprised something like this would happen, he, like others, believes anti-Semitism continues to exist across the globe, even 70 years after the Holocaust. “It would be ignorant to say that antiSemitism is not present today,” McCabe said. “You are not going to see much in Potomac, but it is there. There are millions of people who are uneducated about these matters or those who just hate Jews.”

Mobile alerts warn community of alarming events By Aileen Choi Staff Writer

Senior Alison Lee makes a pit stop at Cabin John Mall to grab lunch when she receives a message that reads: AMBER Alert. Unaware of what it is, she pays no particular attention to the message and returns to her daily life at school. Like Lee, many CHS students do not know what these alerts are. However, these alerts provide important messages to the community, which can ultimately save lives. “AMBER Alerts are sent out when a child near your area is kidnapped,” said Denise Masimore of the Maryland State Police Department’s Office of Media Communications and Marketing. “They come with a description of the vehicle they were abducted in.” The origin of the AMBER Alert dates back to 1997, when 9-year-old Amber

Hagerman from Arlington, Texas was kidnapped and brutally murdered. According to, the official Department of Maryland State Police website, the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Radio Managers teamed up with local law enforcement agencies after this incident and developed an innovative early warning system to help/ find abducted children, called AMBER Alert. According to Masimore, students should look out for things that match the clues provided, such as description of child, vehicle, perpetrator or suspect, upon receiving the alert. Just one phone call to 1-800-THELOST could save a child’s life. Although an AMBER Alert is very serious, there are also other forms of Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEAs, that are sent to your phone. “There are AMBER Alerts and Silver Alerts,” Masimore said. “AMBER Alerts are for children and Silver alerts are basically for

senior individuals.” Silver Alerts are very similar to AMBER Alerts, as they both relate to missing or kidnapped persons. According to, the Silver Alert program was made to alert the public when an adult suffering cognitive impairments is reported to be missing. Unless they have WEA enabled phones, students will not receive these messages automatically. However, if they do not receive the messages, students can sign up for them through their cell phone providers. In addition to the mission people’s alerts, WEA sends out mobile weather alerts when life-threatening weather emergencies are nearby. Signing up for these WEAs is an easy process that can save lives. Students can receive these alerts by signing up for them with their phone provider of visiting, the official Wireless Association website.


AMBER alerts warn community members of local kidnappings. According to, various other ways to receive alerts exist, such as downloading an app, or through social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo and more. “I had no idea that an AMBER alert meant someone was kidnapped,” Lee said. “From now on, I’ll keep my eyes open for the vehicle when I receive the alert.”

Monday, March 17, 2014




CHS alumnus directs video series about college life By Dana Harris Online Features Editor By Ben Fox Sports Editor The music starts, the drinks are poured, and two attractive college students introduce over a million viewers to the world of I’m Shmacked. The YouTube documentary webseries, which focuses on the party scene at some of America’s biggest universities, has built a huge national following over the course of its twoyear existence and is increasing its presence as it showcases some of the country’s craziest college parties. Each video has been viewed over a thousands times. CHS Class of 2010 alumna Arya Toufanian, one of the original two founders of I’m Shmacked, came up with the idea during his time as a Bulldog. “The idea originated after I entered the publishing industry in high school by writing my first book and being rejected due to a lack of a platform,” Toufanian said. “We started I’m Shmacked as a platform to sustain the things we wanted to build in life.” The seeds of I’m Schmacked began to grow during Toufanian’s time at George Washington University as a 19 year-old sophomore. It was during this time he met his future business partner Yofray Ray in a chance meeting at a New York train station. After discussing their shared passion for film, the two decided to join together to film their experiences at various colleges and universities. “The videos focus predominantly on the social scene while highlighting academics, Greek

didn’t have a n y influence over where I applied or wherever I’ll end up going.” According to senior Jake Cohen, however, viewing I’m Shmacked videos helped broaden his choices of potential colleges to attend. “It showed a lot of social life and ways of making connections with other students while also having a

disclaimer provided by each video, “No alcohol or illegal substance is used during filming, just props.” This disclaimer is provided to protect the identities of the college students portrayed in the video, but it is easy to doubt the legitimacy of this statement.

“[I’m Shmacked] made me wary of schools where I heard there was heavy drinking,” senior Melissa Adler said. “I feel like some students go to college just for the parties and not to actually learn.” Those who believe that I’m Shmacked’s negative portrayal of college culture outweigh its benefits as entertainment need look no further than the events surrounding its visit to the University of Delaware. After news of the web series’ planned visit to the campus erupted over social media, students rioted against the I’m Shmacked visit, causing mayhem and damage to the campus. “University of Delaware was an isolated incident due to a few unruly individuals,” Toufanian said. “[It has] nothing to do with I’m Shmacked. We don’t advocate or encourage drinking or illegal behavior. It is stupid and makes our generation look bad. Our generation is better than that.” Despite incidents involving the perceived illegal activities of their subjects, the videos have maintained a strong following and increased in popularity over the past two years. “We did expect the videos to be popular, but I don’t think we could have predicted how popular they would become in such a record time,” Toufanian said. According to Toufanian, Fox Business News recently valued the growing company at around $5 million. “I’m Shmacked just finished negotiating a television deal with a major Hollywood studio,” Toufanian said. “We are currently in Mexico for the entire month of March doing festivals for Spring Break. We are touring Europe and North America in the spring and continuing our journey as a young company.”

she always likes to store a box of tools on hand for all of her sporting needs— crew in particular. “I keep a toolbox in the back of

my car even though when I go over bumps, it always makes a loud, clanging noise,” McClive said. Curious about what other odd

items CHS students keep in the trunks of their cars? Scan the code with a mobile phone to see the video for “What’s In Your Trunk?”

life and athletics,” Toufanian said. “Not everyone drinks in college, and that is more than okay.” For some CHS seniors, watching the craziness of I’m Shmacked gives a peek at what the next four years of college might be like. “I think I’m Shmacked videos a r e funny and definitely make me excited for college,” senior Eve Jaffe said. “But it

good time,” Cohen said. “It gave me more attention to schools I might not have looked at normally.” While I’m Shmacked has caused some students to become excited for college life, others believe that the videos only focus on certain parts of college, such as binge drinking, while excluding the learning aspect. According to a

‘Observer’ asks CHS, ‘What’s in your trunk?’ By Jordan Maser Features Editor By Noah Salzberg Public Relations Senior Njord Soevik is on his way to a party. He parks his car, walks around back to his trunk and pulls out a sombrero. Instantaneously, Soevik becomes the life of the party, all thanks to the funky hat he happens to keep in his trunk. Many students and staff members have odd items stowed away in the trunks of their cars which prompted the Observer to go on a mission to ask members of the CHS community: “What’s in your trunk?” The items that we found in some of the cars are useful, while others are quite humorous and random. “I keep a box of stress balls, playing cards, silly pens, an old license plate, and a cooler,” French teacher Erika Brettschneider said. Even Principal Joan Benz keeps out-of-the-ordinary items in her trunk, carrying useful winter CHS gear in her car. “I have a bag with a very heavy blue CHS coat, blue CHS gloves, blue mittens, a blue hat and white pompoms,” Benz said. While some carry various CHS gear in their trunks, others carry around athletic equipment. According to junior Charlie Criswell, he keeps a basketball in his trunk “just in case” he and his buds want to play basketball. Some of the more cautious students like to carry around items that they will need in case of emergencies. According to senior Abby McClive,


Njord Soevik is proud that the ample space in his truck’s trunk leaves room for his sombrero and more.



1965-Potomac High School becomes Winston Churchill High School.

1964-Potomac High School opens its doors.

Monday, March 17, 2014

theObserver 1966-Horses use to graze what is now the soccer field.

1966-Administration shuts down all but one bathroom to control smoking and CHS’s first year book comes out. It was 80 pages.

Before iPhones, Twitter and Beyoncé filled teen lives, there was a time when students would shriek in excitement at the Beatles, hang out at Hot Shoppes and twist at sock hops. That time was not so long ago. In fact, it happened just 50 years ago, the same year the CHS building we know today was opened. In 1964, Potomac High School opened its doors to its first class. The name was not changed to Winston Churchill High School until 1965. “We got to vote on the name and we picked Churchill,” Class of 1968 alumnus Bob Richardson said. “We also got to vote on the mascot, which was between a tiger, lion or bulldog.” While the class made the final decision, the push to change the name to Churchill came from the school’s first principal, and the first woman principal in MCPS, Gertrude Bish. Besides just creating a name for the school, the first few grades to attend CHS also created several traditions. “There weren’t any traditions; we had to make them,” Class of 1968 alumnus Marjie Greenwood said. “Each class brought more to it.” Some still continue today with Mr. Churchill, senior skip day and senior pranks. CHS changed more than just its name and traditions, however. To accommodate the growing number of students, the building 1989- CHS offers a JROTC Class and adds 9th grade.

has seen many additions over the years. The soccer fields used for gym class today were previously used for grazing horses, and that’s not all. “This school was originally built with a bomb shelter,” said AP Human Geography teacher Douglas Kraus, who has been at CHS for 23 years. “We also used to have a driving range for driver’s education.” In order to keep up with the changing times, CHS started a major modernization program in 1999. This construction project lasted until 2001, resulting in the school as students know it now. According to Richardson, who attended the Class of ‘68’s reunion during this year’s Homecoming Week, despite the massive renovation of CHS, it was still “fun to walk the halls.” While the building difference may be the most obvious change, many teachers think not of the building but of the way technology has changed over time. “It was very time consuming because at the end of the grading period you had to add it all up and find students’ averages,” said Spanish teacher Sharon Kleiman, who is in her 37th year of teaching at CHS. “I always used a calculator, but now I think it is great that we have it online with Pinnacle.” Students back then also shared this love of the calculator.

1999- CHS starts modernization project.

1998- Memorial Garden started in honor of Alyse Goff.

1968- The first Observer issue comes out.

By Eliza Editor-i Jane Zan Producti

2002- CHS starts one period lunch

2000- Certain students allowed to carry cell phones on school property


Monday, March 17, 2014 1969-Dress code becomes less strict.

1973-1975-Football only lost two games.

1970-Students with mustaches were not allowed to participate in school sports, and the cafeteria gets a jukebox.

abeth Campbell in-Chief nkman ion Manager

1980-CHS Gymnastics and Rugby teams disbanded.

What kids wore to school was almost as different as the actual classes themselves. Back in the day, students had the choice of electives such as JROTC or Oceanography. These different classes also meant a different book load. “We had to carry around big textbooks every day, so we used our lockers,” Greenwood said. In addition to the various classes, students back then could also join the school Equestrian or Rugby team. Despite all of these various activities, students of the past found a way to stay connected. “We were a pretty close class, we didn’t have cliques,” Richardson said. “We had the greasers, nerds and jocks, but everyone hung out together.” This unity may be something that current students have lost in their rush to pad their resumes for their dream colleges. Despite all of these differences, students back then were also quite similar to CHS students today. They went to football games, decorated homecoming floats, sung in Blast, and thought of the best excuses to skip school. Most importantly though, they were all connected by that same Bulldog spirit we all have today. “In one way it’s changed, but in another it’s still high school,” Richardson said. “I don’t think the underlying high school experience will disappear.”

2007- CHS becomes a Blue Ribbon School.

2004- Condom education and homosexuality are added to CHS health classes.

1977-Football becomes state champions.

1976-Dr. C. Frank Brady becomes principal.

“It was a big deal when you were allowed to use even a little calculator,” Greenwood said. Students’ use of technology also increased most notably with cell phones which weren’t even allowed on school propety until 2000, and that was only after they had gained written permission from the principal. “Cell phones were a nonissue, and now students can use them during instruction time with teacher discretion,” English Department Head Emily Goldberg said. Students’ style choices have also changed over the years as many styles and fads have gone in and out, such as bellbottoms, big hair, plaid skits and even Uggs. “Looking back, the students dressed very differently as did the teachers,” Benz said. “It was almost like there was a different level of sophistication in dressing, and that does not mean high fashion, but maybe students look more casual in their dress today than they used to.” Greenwood not only noticed a change in student’s choice of style, but also in the dress code rules themselves. “The females had to wear skirts,” Greenwood said. “You could not wear pants to school till the ‘70s. Boys had to wear pants with belts and no jeans, and shirts with collars. Those were the rules.”



2011-Absent notes can now be turned in online.

2010- Cheating scandal exposed.

2012- CHS wins best school in Maryland.




Monday, March 17, 2014

The Final Crunchdown: Girl Scout Cookies battle it out By Jordan Janis Features Editor Danny Gordon Staff Writer

With the arrival of spring comes two American traditions: March Madness and Girl Scout Cookie sales. Girl Scout Cookie sales have been occurring throughout February and March. Girl Scouts, a program created to get girls involved in community service and the outdoors,

sell cookies in order to teach members goal-setting, decision-making, money-management, people skills and business ethics. “I like it because there are not a lot of meetings, but there are a lot of fundraisers that are beneficial,” said junior Evangeline Per-

gantis, who is a Girl Scout troop member. In honor of March Madness and Girl Scout Cookie sales, the Observer decided to create a Girl Scout Cookie bracket based on brackets filled out by CHS students.



What cookie would you choose as the winner of the March Madness-bracket-inspired Girl Scout Cookie challenge? Tell us and send us pics of you with your favorite Girl Scout Cookie. Tweet us @CHS_Observer or post on our Facebook page “The Churchill Observer.” We want to hear from you!


Monday, March 17, 2014




On March 10, artist Tatia Pilieva posted a romantic video advertising something you don’t see every day: 20 complete strangers kissing for the first time. The video has received approximately 29 million views, but here’s the catch: the video is staged. All the so-called “strangers” in the video are actually hired actors.


300: Rise of an Empire

South Park: The Stick of Truth was released March 4 for PS3 and Xbox 360. Based off the hit television show of the same name, it will feature different characters from the series, such as Eric Cartman and Butters. Many CHS students who are fans of the show are enjoying the ample references from the show as well as the show’s raunchy humor in video game form.


The sequel to the blockbuster hit 300 made its debut on March 7. The movie follows Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton, Gangster Squad) as he battles the Persian navy, led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Sanotoro, Rio). The cast of the movie includes Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Lena Headey (The Purge).


The Observer sifts through the hype and the hip to bring you topics worth talking, Tweeting and texting about.


John Travolta’s Error

Many students have been finding amusement in the error made by John Travolta at the Oscars on March 2. Due to a slip of the tongue, he mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name as “Adele Dazeem.” Many websites and social media have picked up on this flub, such as, which created the “Adele Dazeem Name Generator” where people can type in their name and find out how it would be pronounced by John Travolta.

Pharell Williams’ hit new song, “Happy,” which is currently the number one single on iTunes, has been taking over the airwaves. Besides constantly being played on the radio, it was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The contagious tune has infected CHS students and was even played in the hallways in between classes on Feb. 28.

“Strangers Kissing” video

By Ross Tannenbaum Staff Writer

South Park: The Stick of Truth

‘Observer’ writer meets Emblem3 at Fillmore Concert By Skylar Whitman Staff Writer There are songs that make me happy and there are songs that make me sad, but overall, there is nothing more powerful to me than the universal language of music. Emblem3 is a pop-reggae male trio made up of Keaton Stromberg, 17, Wesley Stromberg, 19 and Drew Chadwick, 21, three boys originally from Sequim, Washington. Despite common assumptions, they are not a boy band like One Direction because they play all their own instruments as well as write and produce their own songs. After placing fourth on Season Two of The X Factor USA in December 2012, Emblem3 was signed by Simon Cowell to SyCo Records and Columbia Records. They released their first single in April 2013. On March 23, 2013, I traveled to New Jersey to meet the band and watch them perform. On April 14, I went to National Harbor to watch their free acoustic show. On Oct. 18, I went to Selena Gomez’s Stars Dance tour at the Patriot Center, where Emblem3 was the opening act. Finally, on Feb. 27, I went to the Fillmore in Silver Spring to see my fourth Emblem3 concert on their first headlining tour, #BandLife. My friends and I lined up at 10 in the morning. At exactly 2 p.m., after four hours of standing in line, security opened the Fillmore doors and let us sign in and get our VIP lanyards and wristbands. After checkin, we had to sit outside for another hour and a half. At 3:30 p.m., we were led single-

file into the stage room. We were about to be treated to a three-song acoustic show preview, and we were standing in the center front row. Wesley and Keaton’s sister, Breezie, came onstage before the boys did. She talked to us about Team Inspire, a global movement that Emblem3 and the boys’ friends created back home, dedicated to bringing a sense of self-worth, compassion and humility to young people around the world. Emblem3 opened the acoustic show with “Girl Next Door,” one of the more popular songs off their album Nothing To Lose. The boys’ harmonies, paired with the song’s sexy lyrics, mesmerized the crowd, and everyone was singing along. After “GND,” Wes, Keaton and Drew excited the crowd by singing the first song that they performed live on The X Factor, a cover of “One Day” by Matisyahu. Concluding the acoustic performance, the boys sang their original song “Sunset Boulevard,” their audition song for The X Factor. Even though it was a small acoustic show, the reaction from the audience was incredible. After a short question-and-answer session, my friends and I got in line for a meetand-greet. Because there was music playing, I, embarrassingly, started dancing and quietly singing to myself. I looked up and Wes was smiling at me. He started singing and dancing along with me. At past meet-and-greets, security rushed us to take the photo and leave, but

this time we were able to talk to the boys and hug all three of them. I walked over to Wes, Keaton and Drew and asked if I could have a “cute, close group hug.” After the professional photo was taken, we were allowed to take selfies with the boys. Wes took my iPhone from my hand and took the photo of the four of us himself. We all hugged, and it was over. When the meet-and-greet ended, my friends and I ran back to the stage and ended up in the front row on the right side, next to the speakers. Jackson Guthy, who was featured on The Ellen Show in 2011, opened the show and MKTO, a musical duo consisting of Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller, pumped up the crowd as the second opening act. Finally at 8:40 p.m., Emblem3 appeared onstage on skateboards, performing tricks on different ramps and mini half-pipes. The band opened with “I Love LA,” a track on its album about the boys’ favorite parts of the West Coast. The crowd was full of energy and excitement, jumping up and down in sync. The boys later performed “XO,” my personal favorite on the album, which they mashed-up with “Santeria” by Sublime. Keaton introduced the band’s second single, “3000 Miles,” a song about being on tour and away from home. The last time the boys performed this song, Keaton said he was homesick. He admitted that the song makes him emotional. This time, he said he felt right at home because he had some friends and family on tour with

him, and that his fans are part of his family now. Everyone in the crowd held up their cellphones and swayed back and forth, calmly singing along as the boys sang and played guitar. After Emblem3 sang tracks from the album, the boys changed it up and sang five original songs which they wrote and produced before The X Factor: “Jaiden,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Indigo,” “True Friends” and “Curious.” Fans in the crowd seemed more excited to hear these songs than the ones from the album and expressed this by belting out every word. When they sang “I Wish,” the raffle winners from the Q and A were brought onstage. A cancer patient going through chemotherapy was also brought onstage, and Drew sang and danced with her during the song. The final song before the encore was the band’s first hit single, “Chloe.” Everyone jumped up and down and sang along. The boys left the stage and the audience immediately starting screaming “Emblem3” repeatedly. When Wes, Keaton and Drew came back to the stage for the encore, they thrilled the audience with a cover of “Hotel California” by The Eagles. Following the cover, they ended the show with “Sunset Boulevard.” Just when I thought the acoustic show audience was loud, the reaction to this song was so intense that I am still having trouble hearing. Overall, it was an amazing concert and I am hoping the post-concert depression wears off soon.




Monday, March 17, 2014

Release of ‘Divergent’ movie thrills avid fans


The best-selling ‘Divergent’ series is coming to theaters on March 21. ByJulia Reagan Arts Editor Devotees of Katniss Everdeen and her Hunger Games crew will fall in love with the similar dystopian Divergent trilogy. It features love, action, friendship and secrecy– what more could a teenage girl want? Fans of the books will be heading to theaters March 21 to see their beloved Beatrice Prior and others come to life on screen. The three-part series written by Veronica Roth has gained incredible popularity among CHS students who are captivated by the books’ unique characters, distinctive setting and well thought-out plotline. “I loved the book series so much that I read all three of them within the span of a week,” senior Amy Dalrymple said.

“They are very well-written, and the plotline has so many twists and turns that it just made me want to keep reading.” The first book of the series, Divergent, released in February 2012, follows Beatrice Prior’s journey in the future dystopian Chicago. The city is divided into five factions: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite. The citizens of each faction dedicate their lives to particular virtues, which are honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness and intelligence, respectfully. On her 16th birthday at the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice must decide which faction to dedicate herself to for the rest of her life. She is torn between staying with her family in the selfless Abnegation faction and joining the brave Dauntless faction. As she is initiated into her faction,

Teen novel is worth a read By Danielle Kiefer Arts Editor Teenage romance is the backbone of countless young adult books. It is seemingly nothing new. However, Rainbow Rowell’s novel about young love Eleanor & Park is anything but ordinary. Set in 1986, Eleanor & Park is a story about two high schoolers who fall in love despite overwhelming everyday obstacles and their unlikeliness as a couple. Eleanor Douglas, described as a “big girl,” has a head of bright red hair, which, combined with her odd fashion sense, lands her as a target for bullies, especially on the school bus. After desperately searching for a seat on the first day of school, she ends up next to Park Sheridan, a half-Korean boy whose borderline popularity is just enough to keep him from being bullied. Through their daily bus rides, the two forge an unlikely friendship that soon blossoms into love. However, the teenagers’ lives are not without their struggles—in fact, their relationship is rooted in obstacles. At the beginning of the novel, after being kicked out of her house for a year by her alcoholic, abusive stepfather, Eleanor returns to her home in Omaha, Nebraska, to live with him, her mother and five siblings. Her life at home is anything but pleasant. In addition to sharing a small room with all of her brothers and sisters and being so poor that she cannot afford a toothbrush, she is constantly afraid of upsetting her stepfather. According to a September 2013 NPR article,

Rowell stated that the purpose of the novel is hope, even in the worst circumstances. Many CHS students are fans of Eleanor & Park, especially those who enjoy the popular book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which is being released as a movie June 6. Both young adult novels share a theme of unconventional love between teenagers. “I liked the book because of how attached I became to the characters and of course the ending, which blew me away,” junior Jake Smith said. According to media specialist Page Pagley, a copy of Eleanor & Park was recently purchased for the media center and is already checked out. “The characters were really realistic and relatable,” junior Yasmine Kehenmouyi said. Eleanor & Park also has its downfalls: the vulgar language and mature issues may be inappropriate for young readers, and some may consider Eleanor and Park’s romance to be slightly hurried. Despite this, the book has a mostly positive reception and even won the 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature. Overall, Eleanor & Park is a well-written and captivating book about a love that is strong and inspiring. “I thought the book was a fantastic read that really captured the mindset of a teenager well,” Smith said.


Beatrice not only changes her name to Tris, but also her entire identity as she meets new friends, enemies and even a love interest. She must also hide a secret that could mean life or death for both her faction and herself. “Divergent shows the development of Tris and how she faces fears and dangers, all while developing friendships and trying to save her relationships with her family,” senior Helen Gomez said. “Out of the trilogy, Divergent is my favorite because it focuses on psychology and the way a person thinks without trying to accommodate society’s wants.” The second book, Insurgent, released in May 2012, continues the plotline of Divergent. Tris must face the consequences of her previous decisions, dealing with conflicts between factions, broken relationships, loyalty and exposed secrets. “Insurgent is still amazing because the relationships among the characters become so complex, like when Tris is trying to find a way to make herself useful while [her love interest] Four tries to show her the difference between giving up and self-sacrifice,” Gomez said. The final installment of the series, Allegiant, was released in October 2013. When Tris tries to create a simpler life for herself, things only become more complicated. The controversial ending of Allegiant sparks intense emotions among many die-hard fans of the series. “The second and third books were very good, but in my opinion, there was not enough of a solid plotline in them,” Dalrymple said. “At first, I really did not like the ending, but now that I have had time to think about it, it really was not all that bad.” The Divergent series fandom is strong and has continued to grow. From Tumblr posts to Pinterest pins to Facebook pages, fans have more than enough places to share their love for the books online. Many have also chosen to write fan fiction based on the novels. Fan fiction are stories created by someone other

than the author of a book that are based on the original characters or plot. “I follow Veronica Roth on Tumblr and Twitter, the Divergent movie on Twitter and many fandom blogs on Tumblr because I like discussing the series with fellow readers,” Gomez said. “The people are so nice, and it is amazing to talk about the series without being weary of spoiling it for others.” Fans of the series are ecstatic about the release of the Divergent movie, which hits theaters this Friday. Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The Fault in our Stars) stars as protagonist Tris. The rest of the cast is also starstudded. Theo James (Underworld: Awakening, Golden Boy), Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now, That Awkward Moment), Kate Winslet (Titanic, Labor Day) and Ansel Elgort (Carrie, The Fault in Our Stars) among others will join Woodley on the big screen. “I think Shailene Woodley is a great choice for Tris because she resembles her simplicity yet butt-kicking attitude,” Gomez said. “I think Theo James will also be amazing as Four because he seems older, stronger and more intimidating. Four is very mature and rarely looks his age, so I think Theo will be great.” Many CHS Divergent fans plan to catch the flick on its premiere night at local theaters. Some even plan to dress in accordance with their favorite characters or based on the factions they feel the most allegiance to. “I am 100 percent seeing the movie,” Dalrymple said. “As with any book-turned-movie, I love comparing what the book had that the movie did not or vice-versa. I think there will definitely be some changes, but I am expecting it to be a very good movie.”

Monday, March 17, 2014




CHS alumna Kelen Coleman catches up with ‘Observer’ Q: What were your favorite experiences at CHS? A: I have a lot of good memories. We are very lucky to have such a great school and community in Potomac. I loved Blast; I was in it for all four of my years here. I was also a cheerleader, in Showstoppers, and my senior year, I was SGA secretary. The key factor in a lot of that was the friendships and connections I made. They were all great extracurricular activities. Q: What activities were you involved in during high school? A: I was in literary magazine with [English teacher Jeffrey] Savett. I was in plays and did the morning announcements. PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS.

Q: What experiences did you have Coleman is currently guestat CHS that prepared you for fame? starring in Men at Work on TBS. A: I do not see myself as famous.

By Ana Faguy Production Editor The Observer sat down with actress and ‘02 alumna Kelen Coleman, who has starred in shows such as Men at Work, The Mindy Project and The Newsroom. Q: Were you born and raised in Potomac? A: I was born in Nashville, TN, and my dad is a bluegrass musician. When I was 4 or 5,he switched bands, and we moved here. The new band was based out of Virginia. We moved to Potomac because the school system was one of the best in the country. I went to Beverly Farms and Hoover before CHS.

I am starting to get recognized, but that still does not register in my head. I do not think anything can prepare you for that. I guess if I had to choose something, it would be Blast. One other girl and I were the first freshmen to have solos. Having that artistic outlet and performing in front of that many people is an experience not many people have.

Q: Who were some of your favorite teachers? A: I love [math teacher James] Collins, who I have known since middle school, and Mr. Savett, who embarked a lot of creative energy in me. I think I had him during his first year of teaching. Former Choral Director Carlos Barillo also had a big impact on me.

Principal Dr. Benz was a great principal and was very supportive of the arts programs. Q: Would you go back to high school if you could? A:Yeah, maybe I would for a week or so for a visit and get a flashback of the past. I love my life now, and I love my memories there. Q: Were your parents supportive of you becoming an actress? A: Yes, I am lucky that I have such supporting parents. Both were or are in the arts. They were always very honest with me. They would tell me what they thought, and they told me that they believed in me. But they also kept me in check. They told me ”You are going to face a lot of rejection.” Q: Is acting as glamorous as it looks? A: Probably not. There are aspects that are very glamorous. You get to work with people you looked up to when you were growing up. You are putting your emotions out there. You have to work your way up. I was a server for a very long time. I was still serving part-time all throughout the first season of Newsroom; I did not want to have to worry about money. You work so hard, but in a second something can happen. Q: How did CHS and Potomac influence your acting career? A: I think that where you are from and the people you meet along the way all influence you as a person when you are creating any art form. You pull everything from who you are as a person from your


Coleman was a performer in Blast during her time at CHS. experiences, and a lot of my experiences are from the people in Potomac. It has shaped who I have become. Q: What advice do you have for CHS students? A: High school is an important part of life. It is just the beginning, and there is great stuff ahead. Take everything in and enjoy it while you can. Do not take everything like it is the end of the world. Your high school experience is what you make it. I did a lot there and had a great time. It is important to be involved because you are only going to be in high school once. You want to remember this time.

Fans follow Maggie Rose By Hannah Yasharoff Staff Writer

“Looking back now, I probably should’ve let him run” is the opening line to country singer, Potomac native and Georgetown Visitation alumna Maggie Rose’s new hit single “Looking Back Now,” a song that deals with toxic relationships, a tragic ending and ultimately, regret. In real life, Rose, born Margaret Durante, does not have many regrets. She began her professional career six years ago when she moved to Nashville. Since then, she debuted her first album, Cut to Impress, in 2013 and was named the sixth most-played female on all country radio stations, in between Sheryl Crow and Kelly Clarkson. “I went from Potomac, where I was rare in my career path, to a town where everyone has some involvement in the music industry,” Rose said. “At first it was intimidating and humbling, but I think that it made me become a better musician.” According to Rose, her introduction to the world of professional singing began in high school. “I’ve been singing my whole life,” Rose said. “My sophomore year I got hooked up with this band called The B Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover band. I started performing with them pretty regularly until I was a sophomore at Clemson.” At age 16, she auditioned for American Idol but did not get past the audition round. “They said I was too young,” Rose said. “It was one of the most heartbreaking moments for me at the time. I felt like the world was over. Now I realize that the little things like that were just different steps that have conditioned me to get me where I am now. I think that successes are great, but the best lessons are learned through failures.” Her failed audition was anything but the end of her singing career. During her sophomore year of college, she was discovered by former head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, who eventually led her to

signing with RMP Entertainment. “I got the call from Tommy’s assistant, and I thought I was being pranked, but a couple weeks later I went up to his office to perform for him,” Rose said. Rose attributes a large part of her success to support from the Potomac community. “People rallied around me even at an early age,” Rose said. “After soccer practice, we’d all be hanging out and they’d ask me to sing. I was so shy at the time that I made everyone turn around because I just couldn’t perform for them while they would watch me. I always think about that when I come back and play shows at home.” Not surprisingly, Rose also has a large CHS fanbase. “I first heard about Maggie Rose from my friend, and I’ve started to notice her songs on the radio more and more,” junior Carly Kabelac said. Rose’s favorite song that she has written is “Looking Back Now.” “It’s consistently been a fan favorite and something that people gravitate toward because the protagonist of the story is really complex,” Rose said. “I love the challenge, and I love the way people respond. You can visibly see them getting drawn into the story and that’s always a fun thing for me to observe.” Local fans had the opportunity to hear Maggie Rose live March 8 and 9 for back-to-back performances at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. “It’s really nice to come home, knowing that people are busy with everything going on, but they’re still taking time to visit me and support what I do,” Rose said. This year, Rose and her band will continue to tour all over the country from Maryland to California. “There was a time when I would make everyone turn around and not look at me when I sang, which is a funny thing to think about,” Maggie said. “I’ve come a very long way.”




Monday, March 17, 2014

NFL bullying incident raises questions How prevalent is harassment in high school sports?

By Daniel Miyares Staff Writer The sporting world has been rocked by Richie Incognito and other Miami Dolphins players’ verbal harassment of fellow teammate Jonathan Martin, leading to Martin’s highly-publicized leave from football. This scandal has raised questions about the extent of harassment and intimidation in the adrenaline-charged sport of football at all levels. At the scholastic level, studentathletes and faculty alike have expressed their disappointment about the harassment. According to assistant principal John Taylor, the Martin scandal was a textbook case of bullying under Maryland law. “I think that it is sad to see someone feeling so persecuted by the actions of another,” Taylor said. “In Maryland, the law on bullying says that if it is perceived as bullying by the victim, then it’s bullying.” William G. Beattie, who directs MCPS interscholastic sports, claims that bullying situations in school and in afterschool sports are infrequent and isolated. “I most certainly do not think MCPS has a ‘bullying problem,’ but then again, because of the sheer size of our school system, and considering that we have over 1,000 high school interscholastic teams, and over 20,000 annual participants, there are no doubt isolated incidents of “‘bullying’,” Beattie said. At CHS, some students dismiss


Does athletes’ competitiveness make them more likely to bully their teammates? bullying as unimportant and exaggerated, but bullying does occur in school and after school through sports. “I do believe there is a problem with bullying at CHS,” Taylor said. “I know that our sports teams reflect the problems of our student body, and I worry about instances of bullying involving the football team and other teams.” Personal experiences of several CHS students, football players included, have confirmed Taylor’s worries about bullying in school. “When I was an underclassman,

I felt like I was being bullied by my older teammates,” said senior football player John, who asked that his real name not be used. “It is hard to speak up because if you do, you fear that you will be looked at as weak, making yourself an even bigger target.” According to Taylor, this experience is not uncommon, and is not limited to the confines of the football field. “We do have a fairly consistent number of incidents of bullying, around one per week,” Taylor said. Beattie suggests that these incidents

are as frequent in the locker room as they are in other normal high-school settings. “I would not see locker rooms as more or less conducive to bullying as lunchtime in the school cafeteria, or on a school bus,” Beattie said. Football head coach Joe Allen did not respond to interview requests. Despite Taylor and Beattie’s claims, several players on the football team claim that interactions on the team never escalate to bullying. According to senior wide receiver Ryan Mortman, football leads to a wide range of emotions, but never causes bullying. “Football is a really aggressive sport,” Mortman said. “There’s no reason to prevent the aggressiveness because football is an outlet for that.” In a competitive environment such as the locker room, it is difficult to differentiate between what is just ‘football players being football players’ and bullying. This dilemma was at the root of the aforementioned Jonathan Martin scandal, and many incidents at CHS. According to junior football player Nathan Chung, students on the team rarely intend to harm their teammates. “It’s all joking,” Chung said. “I’m sure the intentions of our teammates aren’t to put anyone down.” On any team, a clear line must be drawn between joking and harassment. This rule holds true in any incident, during or after school. “People need to be aware of a person’s line between being teased and bullied,” John said. “Most people on the team know where to draw the line.”

Monday, March 17, 2014




Students share their I want you to want me: recruitment experiences By Ben Fox Sports Editor

Many high school aim to play for a major college team when their time at high school has finished. To get a head start signing the best possible

athletes, colleges recruit athletes as early as possible, and those at CHS are no exception. The Observer talked to current students who have gone through or are in the middle of the college recruitment process to learn more about their experiences.

Junior David Fitzgerald – Track and Field Colleges began to watch junior distance runner David Fitzgerald during his freshman year at CHS, when he ran a 4:09.52 1500-meter dash at the 2012 New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, NC. Since then, Fitzgerald has been in contact with many small schools and even some Division I universities that have all been interested in his talents as a runner. For Fitzgerald, a deciding factor has been whether the schools in question meet his educational requirements. “The schools know that I am interested in physical therapy, and those are the main schools I’m interested in,” Fitzgerald said. “They talk to me about their programs educationally and their running programs.” According to Fitzgerald, the beginning of recruitment varies among schools, with some schools preferring to begin early to get a head start in making connections with prospects and others starting later to try and steal away potential stars. “The process has been fine time wise,” Fitzgerald said. “It differs from school to school because you have smaller schools like George Washington that want to build relationships early, and schools like Stanford, Oregon and amazing running schools who can come in last second and steal you away from other schools.” While Fitzgerald has yet to commit to a school, and still must go

Junior Louis Dubick – Boys Lacrosse



For junior lacrosse player Louis Dubick, the pressures of recruitment began before he even started high school when colleges started to contact him the summer before his freshman year. As a varsity athlete since his freshman season at CHS, Dubick was faced with the immediate attention of college coaches and assistants, adding to the everyday stress of classes and teachers. “The whole process was a little overwhelming,” Dubick said. “I tried to just


through the demands of juggling academics and athletics, he recognizes that the process has eased many of the normal pressures associated with junior year. “I am still going on with the process and have a while left,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a very fun process knowing that a college wants you and that you probably won’t have to experience as much stress as everyone else with apps and essays. I will hope to commit around September of next year.” not let it get to me and be patient, but at the same time the experience flew by.” Though there are rules set by the NCAA in order to prevent colleges from contacting athletes earlier than deemed allowable, coaches, trainers and assistants have perfected the art of using the many loopholes in the recruitment process. “The weird part is until July 1 or Sept. 1, the athlete has to call the coach and the coach can not call the athlete,” Dubick said. “On Sept. 1 the coach can email the athlete but still cannot call him.” According to Dubick, the process for lacrosse begins too early and is unfair to athletes who do not develop until they are upperclassmen. “I think they should push back the whole process so you can’t commit until junior year at least,” Dubick said. “Kids haven’t matured yet so it’s almost unfair to the ‘late bloomers’ as we call them.” While Dubick was given offers by many schools across the county, he decided to play locally after high school, committing to University of Maryland the summer before his sophomore year. When deciding whether to become a Terrapin, a number of factors came into play, including a desire to remain close as a role model for his younger brother. “I committed to the University of Maryland for a few reasons,” Dubick said. “The coaches were guys that I knew I could look up and learn from as a person not just on the field. The atmosphere and tradition at Maryland for lacrosse is second to none. A lot of my family members went to Maryland. Lastly I have little brother who looks up to me, so it will be nice to stay close to home for him.”

Senior Will Szamosszegi – Tennis

While some student-athletes have their lives controlled by the college recruitment process, senior tennis player Will Szamosszegi believes that he might have started caring about it a bit too late. As a varsity tennis player, it was not until much later into his career as a Bulldog that Szamosszegi was put under the intense scrutiny that athletes in many other high school sports face. “To be honest, I wasn’t really focused on the process,” Szamosszegi said. “I wasn’t proactive with any of it and didn’t respond to some coaches. Then when I really started looking at schools, I went and contacted the coaches at those schools.” According to Szamosszegi, the offers he received from schools were dependant on each individual school’s credentials in both academics and athletics. “The offers varied based on how good the academics were and how good the tennis team was,” Szamosszegi said. “Good academic schools said that my tennis could help get me in. Other schools said that they could give me money.” While every athlete faces pressure when going through the college recruitment process, different sports seem to vary by how early they begin recruiting and how aggressively they pursue prospects. “I know that recruitment varies for each sport,” Szamosszegi said. “Lacrosse recruits very early while tennis

Junior Lucy Srour – Track and Field


The college recruitment process began over a year ago for junior runner Lucy Srour, but only recently has the interest become more intense. While it was mostly assistant coaches who made contact with Srour, occasionally head coaches also took the time to pitch their schools to the three-year varsity track star. “They would tell me how successful their teams were in the past and how experienced they are with


happens much later. I believe that I started taking it seriously too late.” Despite beginning recruitment later than most, Szamosszegi received a scholarship to Bucknell University, where he will be playing for the Bison next year. “It is a school that I may not have gotten into purely on academics,” Szamosszegi said of his commitment to Bucknell. “I loved the campus, and it is a very good school, so I am happy that I am going there next year.” coaching,” Srour said. According to Srour, the main methods of communication largely consisted of emails, Facebook messages and calls from coaches. Though college coaches could not directly call athletes like Srour until July 1 of their junior year, many have been able to keep up communication through letters and assistants. “I’ve been getting letters since fall of sophomore year, but coaches didn’t really start contacting me until just about a month ago,” Srour said. While most students are stressed out by the college admissions process, the benefits of being recruited took away much of the pressure. “I enjoyed it,” Srour said. “It wasn’t stressful or anything. It was pretty easy, just a lot of typing emails and filling out questionnaires.” According to Srour, most track athletes are expected to commit to a school after their spring track season. While she was initially concerned that she was behind many of her fellow athletes, Srour soon realized that she was on a similar recruitment pace to most of her peers. “At first I thought I was too late starting the process, but then I realized I was pretty much on track,” Srour said. No two athletes handle the recruitment process the same way, but Srour has managed to figure out how to balance out her commitments to both school and athletics. At the very least, it has made the normally difficult college admissions process a bit easier.


Winston Churchill High School 11300 Gainsborough Rd. Potomac,MD 20854

the churchill



Volume 38 - Issue 7

Coed Volleyball By Katherine Michael Staff Writer Coed volleyball spikes off the season with high goals following last year’s 9-2 winning record. The team looks forward to improving its weak spots and strengthening its harmony before the first game. “We are going to focus on fine tuning our defense and advancing our offense so that we become a wellrounded team with no holes,” senior captain Kaitlyn Hillard said.

Track and Field By Cristian Edwards Staff Writer

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Sports Previews


Tennis By Julia McDermott Sports Editor

Senior Jake Monson, Junior Alan Yan, Junior Charles Yang PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL CHIANG.

Girl’s Lacrosse Boy’s Volleyball

The track and field team hopes to transfer its solid indoor success into the spring. The boys and girls ran well in the 4A State Championships, both teams’ final meet of the winter, with the girls team finishing fourth overall. The Bulldogs expect junior Marquette Lewis and freshman Jalen Hill, both in the 200-meter sprint, as well as juniors David Fitzgerald and Jacob Smith, in the mile and two mile events, to be successful. Among the girls, freshman Tara Rhodes and junior Lucy Srour will be counted on for the relays, and senior Emma Coleman in the 100, 200 and 400-meter sprints. “Our team has real potential this year to do great things,” Jankel said. “Although we don’t have a strong senior class, the youth in our team will carry us, hopefully, to states.”

By Michael Fox Sports Photo Editor

By Ben Fox Sports Editor

The girls lacrosse team looks to start off the new season on a positive note by holding weekly workouts to ensure that the team is in shape for the first game of the season against Northwest March 21. The overall goal is definitely to play our best and grow as a team,” senior Chrissy Kennedy said. “Pretty much every team in our division is competitive, and we hope to go as deep into the playoffs as we can. Getting back to the regional finals would definitely be a team goal.”

After losing in the first round of the playoffs last season, the boys varsity volleyball team hopes to improve on last season’s finish and make a run at the playoffs. For the Bulldogs, a sign of improvement would be to achieve a more impressive record than last season’s 7-6 result. “We’re definitely looking for a strong winning record this season so that we are seeded well in the playoffs,” senior Alex Fang said. “Last year we had to play the first seed and were knocked out in the first round.”


Boy’s Lacrosse




By Katherine Michael Staff Writer

By Jonathan Greenzaid Business Manager

After winning the 4A/3A West Region last year with a 15-2 record, CHS boys lacrosse looks to take the state championship this coming season. The team is practicing hard to achieve this goal and plans to carry out this season even more successfully than it did last year. “We expect to win a state title, no exceptions,” junior captain Louis Dubick said. “To do that, we are just going to try to get better every day at practice.”

The CHS baseball team hopes to rebound from a loss at last year’s disappointing state championship semifinal, and to start off the new season strong. The team is looking to improve on last year’s 11-11 season, which included a 4A West Regional title and an eight-game win streak in the second half of the season. “We need to stick to what we did last year,” senior pitcher Eric Brodkowitz said. “We played for each other and worked hard day in and day out.”

After a season of close matches against rival Wootton last year, the boys tennis team is looking to confirm its spot as the top team in the county. Last year, the Bulldogs beat the Patriots in a historic end to Wootton’s 57-game winning streak, but the team ended the season with a loss against Wootton at the County Championship. The team is looking to players senior Will Szamosszegi and juniors Elliot Thaker and Kevin Chen, to score points in the toughest matches against Wootton and Whitman. “There’s a lot of competition this year but we’re going to put up a fight and try to win [counties],” Thaker said. “Every team has good players, and we’re not going to underestimate anybody.”



By Cristian Edwards Staff Writer

After a disappointing season last year, softball strives to redeem itself from last year’s 4-10 record and first round playoff loss. The team is battling losses of key players but is hopeful with the arrival of new coach and physical education teacher Sharon Morris. “Even with the loss of Katie Jenkins last year, I still think they will do really well this season,” sophomore thirdbaseman Mariam Carlon said. “We have really big expectations from our senior class.”


*As OF 3/12/14


First game 3/21

First game 3/21



First Game 3/21

Softball First game 3/21



first game 3/21

first match 3/21


first game 3/21


first meet 3/22

Monday, March 17, 2014




March Madness storms through CHS hallways By Ana Faguy Production Editor Michael Fox Sports Photo Editor The madness has begun. Yet again, it is time for all college basketball fans to come together and make their ever-so-famous brackets. People will begin to hustle together and decide the future of the NCAA basketball tournament. Every year, people all across the country commence in celebration of the next generation of basketball players and have a little fun. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament takes the top teams in the country and places them against each other until there are two teams left who play for the championship. Talk of March Madness is going to spread quickly throughout the halls

of CHS once the first game begins. “During March Madness kids are always talking about the games and comparing their brackets at lunch,” sophomore Austin Yang said. “You will always see kids going crazy at school over upsets and bragging about their team winning in the previous round.” Participants in March Madness bring students and staff together at CHS to compete for whose bracket will win. March Madness becomes a way of life— people are constantly checking their phones to see the scores, and at lunch, the media center is full of students watching the games. “There is a lot of drama involved in March madness, and the drama extends so the audience is captivated for weeks as opposed to one super bowl game,” boys basketball coach Robert Bean said. “As far as the entertain-

ment value, every round gives you a whole new docket of entertainment. That’s one major difference; there are twelve days of major high level playoffs. It gives you a lot of action to look forward to for an extended period of time.” Quantitative Literacy teacher James Collins does March Madness every year and enjoys making several different brackets for the tournament. “I think it’s one of those sports events that brings the school together like the Olympics,” Collins said. “It brings us together and gives us something new to talk about as a school.” With technology expanding as much as it is, March Madness drama is all around us, whether it is during or after the school day. According to a USA Today article, the tournament’s live-streaming games are accessible even to office workers who have sports and entertainment sites blocked by employers, as well as teachers, bus drivers, retail workers and others who normally aren’t in front of a TV or computer during the workday. Students can access the games during the day through mobile apps such as ESPN bracket bound, or ESPN March Madness live.


“I’m rooting for Indiana because my brother goes there so I am a fan,” freshman Coco Kutchins said.


CHS students fill out brackets in preperation for March Madness.


“I think Wichita State will win because they made it to the final four and they went undefeated this year,” said Philosophy teacher Evan Rosenthal.


“I think Duke will win because they always show up for the tourney and play well,” sophomore Aj Beaurgard said.




Monday, March 17, 2014

Openly gay football player makes NFL history By Julia McDermott Sports Editor On Feb. 9, 2014, football player Michael Sam of the University of Missouri gave a history-making interview on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” An All-American defensive lineman and recent SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Sam is the first ever NFL prospect to come out, and has the potential to make history as the first openly gay professional football player. “I understand how big this is,” Sam said in the ESPN interview. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be. I want to be a football player in the NFL.” While his decision came as a shock to some, Sam is far from being the first openly gay athlete. Professionals such as tennis player Billie Jean King, diver Greg Louganis, soccer player Abby Wambach, basketball player Jason Collins and baseball player Glenn Burke have come out since the 1970s. The NFL, however, has never had a gay player become public about his sexual orientation while still in the NFL. David Kopay, who played for multiple teams including the Washington Redskins, was the first former NFL player to come out in 1975, three years after he retired from playing professional football. Since Kopay, only four other NFL players have come out as openly gay, all after the end of their professional careers. If Sam gets selected in the May 2014 draft, he will have the chance to change the status of


Sam has brought national attention to the issue of gay athletes, and many people have publicly supported him. openly gay athletes everywhere. The NFL, America’s pride and joy, is the biggest sports league in the country, and 111.5 million people watched the past Super Bowl, making it the most viewed U.S. telecast ever. Having an openly gay man with this kind of national exposure has the potential to change the way gay men are perceived. The NFL has access to audiences that are relatively untouched by the LGBT community. If Sam is drafted and performs the way he is capable of performing, he could start changing minds along with changing games. The NFL sets the precedent for the national sports community, so if people

welcome a gay football player into the NFL, any other athlete or any other LGBT individual should be able to feel less stress and have more acceptance from the public and the media. While his coming out is groundbreaking, it is not the only thing that should be important. When it comes down to the game, Sam’s playing should eventually be what is doing the talking and making a statement. Ultimately, his acceptance into the NFL will be shown if he is recognized for his plays on the field instead of his homosexuality. “I’ve grown up in a great generation [that is] more accepting of people,”

Sam said in a Feb. 9 Sports Illustrated interview. “We’re living in 2014. I just see only possibility and great opportunity.” With the draft approaching, America has a decision to make. Football lovers across the country can either accept an atypical player and give him the respect that they would give any other future Redskin, Giant, Seahawk, Eagle or Patriot, or they can let the personal life of a man affect their opinion of him as an athlete. Yes, Sam is different. He is history in the making, but what would be even more groundbreaking is for society to allow him to be defined by more than just one word.

MLB All-Star is the only one worth watching By Jake Certner Staff Writer The MLB All-Star game has become a staple of each baseball season ever since a 2003 decision guaranteeing the winning conference home field advantage for the majority of games in the World Series. Unfortunately, the lack of a similar incentive in the NFL and NBA all-star events have turned their All-Star competitions into a joke. In both the NBA and NFL All-Star Games, none of the players put in any effort because they have no reason to do so. The MLB has offered a tangible incentive for the winners, and it has turned the game into a true highlight of the season. It is time the NBA and NFL do the same. According to a July 2013 New York

Daily News Article, the most recent MLB All-Star Game received the highest ratings FOX has had since the American Idol finale last year, and had a record 45,186 people in attendance. Unfortunately for other professional athletic leagues such as the NFL, the other All-Star Game ratings continue to drop from previous years. According to a Jan. 27 SB Nation article, the ratings for the NFL Pro-Bowl continue to “free-fall,” despite the changes made to coax people into watching. The reason for this is simple: effort. The MLB players are aware that how they play could genuinely affect their chances at a championship; the same is not true for the NFL or NBA. Unlike in an NFL Pro-Bowl, which does not even include the players from the championship teams, the MLB All-Star game can

have major impact on which team will win the World Series. In the NFL and NBA all-star events, the players know it is meaningless, and don’t care enough to put in an effort for our entertainment. According to the Twitter account of Mad Dawg Sports, former coach and longtime NFL analyst John Madden described the NFL Pro-Bowl as an embarrassment and a joke in his interview. Madden is completely right; the ProBowl is a joke. Players and fans know it’s worth about as much as flag football in the park, but it doesn’t have to be. The NFL should put the Pro-Bowl one week after the Super Bowl instead of before, so that players on the two Super Bowl teams can play in the game without fear of injury. Unlike the MLB, home-field advantage isn’t a viable option because the Super Bowl stadium is


The NFL and NBA All-Star games must offer player incentives if they want to increase viewership.

always neutral; however, an economic incentive for the winning conference’s teams would be an effective alternate. Every NFL player wants to make as much money as possible by the time he retires. Therefore, a perfect incentive for the best players would be more profit. Instead of home field advantage, the prize could be a substantial contract bonus paid for by the league to every athlete who played on the winning team. In pursuit of extra cash, the game would be played more and more competitively until it became one of the best events in the season. Due to the market success the Pro-Bowl would then have, the mass revenue of the game itself would be enough to cover the bonuses for players, and make a profit for the NFL. According to a Feb. 16 Fansided article, the score of this year’s NBA All-Star Game was the insanely high score of 163-155. The game also set the record for most points scored in a single half, most combined points in an All-Star game, and most three pointers made by a single player in an All-Star game. Players in the NBA are aware of the AllStar Game’s irrelevancy, and the games can barely be described as basketball. No defense is played, and the brand of offense is “show off.” Much like the Pro-Bowl, the players in the NBA don’t want to risk the injury in an irrelevant game. If the NBA would duplicate the genius of the MLB and give the winning conference homecourt advantage during the championship, the All-Star game could be a spectacle of basketball excellence. All-Star events do not have to be a mockery. The MLB has made their AllStar game into a major event by simply adding a reason for the players to care. If the NBA and NFL would open their eyes and follow suit, players, coaches and sports fans alike could bask in the glory of true All-Star games.

March 2014 - The Churchill Observer  
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