Page 1


Volume 53, Issue 7

February 13, 2009

McLean High School; 1663 Davidson Road, McLean, VA 22101

Students may soon get one more hour of sleep Moises Cazal News Editor

The parent-led movement Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal (SLEEP) is pushing for later starting times for middle and high schools next year, bringing the issue to the School Board’s agenda. The major concern regarding the possible changes is the rescheduling of after school activities, like the swim and dive team, which practices at the Spring Hill RECenter. “I just want my swimmers to be able to

swim,” Coach Jeremy Craig said. “If the Park Authority can’t reschedule, the swimming will be cancelled.” School Board members and SLEEP representatives agree that if the motion were to be passed, most athletics could work around the schedule. “We propose that after school you go straight to sports,” Co-founder of SLEEP Phyllis Payne said. “It’s a great way to impact the sports and activities after school.” According to a FCPS Task Force docu-

ment, Loudon and Arlington counties both switched to later starting times for their schools and experienced little trouble. The report shows improvements in extracurricular activities and teens receiving more hours of sleep. “Loudon County is a great example because they dismiss their students at 3:48 and still manage to work around the schedule,” Payne said. The proposed changes presented by SLEEP include most schools beginning at

or after 8:30 a.m. and ending no later than 3:45 p.m. and would take effect in the 20092010 school year. If the proposal is accepted, McLean is expected to begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:35 p.m. “More sleep would be good, but I already get home at 9 p.m.,” sophomore Joe Schnider said. “I’d rather they take an hour off school.” One of the problems facing the new starting times is the availability of buses and continued on page 2

Briefly Prom theme set to be “Fire and Ice”

Prom planning is officially underway,  with SGA coming to a consensus on many key factors. The event is planned for May 30, and will be held at the Westwood Country Club. The 2009 prom theme will be “Fire and Ice.” The  choices for the prom song  adhere to the theme,  including  “Fire” by Augustana, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and “Fire & Ice” by Pat Benatar. Six different committees, composed of parents and students alike, will be in charge of decorations, entertainment, and merchandise. -Shefali Hedge


Freshman girls basketball undefeated

In the locker room after their fifteenth straight win, the freshman girls basketball team is celebrating. Laughing, yelling and gesturing wildly, the girls compete to put their two cents in. “This is our team in a nutshell,” freshman Mary Spulak said about the screaming match. The only undefeated basketball team at McLean, the girls can’t sum up their so-far undefeated season into just one thought. “It’s sort of weird that we’ve gotten this far,” freshman Kristen Ahearn said. “We just play basketball.” Freshman Becca Latimer is the team’s leading scorer with a career-high 26 points. “We know how to play, but we know how to have fun,” freshman Allison Wilhelm said. “Because we don’t always have to be serious, it takes off pressure.” “We’re all always dancing,” added freshman Kat Fitzgibbons. The team has their last game tonight against South Lakes. “You can just say that we’re 16-0,” Fitzgibbons said. “Knock on wood.” - Talia Roth and Molly Welch

School dedicates plaque to former custodian After 22 years of service, recently retired custodian Dang Truong is receiving an honorary plaque in his honor. “The plaque commemorates his years of service and dedication to this school,” Director of Student Activities Tom Herman said. A reception will be held to pay tribute to him. Teachers, students, and administrators all can attend the reception. Dang has previously stated that he will return to McLean to visit from time to time. -Nikki Kaul

photo by Mohammad Tavakoli Freshman Phillip Morse takes a test while Computer Applications teacher Cara Lambert monitors the students’ screens through a program called SynchronEyes. The program can allow teachers to block programs and control students’ computers from their own.

Administration cracking down on computer usage Ryan Flamm Reporter

The administration is taking action against students playing computer games with several different programs that restrict students’ misuse of the computers. In senior Charlie Wegrzyn’s Global Marketing class, students were playing games when Security Officer Buddy Sekely and Technology Specialist Paul Kozar came into the class to apprehend them. “Some people noticed and were able to close their windows,” Wegrzyn said. Those unaware of the official’s presence were locked out of their accounts for 30 days. The next day, Assistant Principals Stephen Wojciechowski and Christie Taylor informed those caught that they would be attending Friday School in addition to their temporary loss of computer privileges. “These resources are not here for personal use,” Kozar said. “It is not a place to store and use files to play games, listen to music and watch videos.”


Learn about the contents of President Obama’s stimulus plan on pages 12 and 13

One of these programs, called “SynchronEyes,” allows faculty to see what students are doing without walking around the room. The program displays all students’ computer screens on the teachers computer screen. SynchronEyes can block any or all software to keep students from playing games instead of doing their work. “I like it because I can tell what my students are doing,” Technology Education teacher Cara Mosely said. “I can limit my students to certain websites.” There is also an automated program in effect that searches students “H drive” for executable (.exe) files every day. When an .exe file is found, the program tracks the file back to the student’s account and records the student’s I.D. number. These files range from a game simulator to an internet browser such as Firefox. According to Kozar, students in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) are referred to the administration for disciplinary action.

Read about students speaking out on the difficulty of their grade level on page 10

“Games disrupt instruction and slow down the speed of the network,” Kozar said. Administration is trying to keep the “H drive” free of .exe files to keep the school network running smoothly. “It’s successful to the extent that fewer and fewer students are misusing their home folders,” Kozar said. Some students don’t feel so positively about the administrative efforts. “It’s an invasion of our personal accounts,” junior Rishi Verma said. “They shouldn’t give us personal accounts if they’re just going to search it.” Without computer privileges, students are unable to do work in classes like Electronics, which rely heavily on computers. “Programs we use are only on our computers,” Mosely said. “Without these programs students can do nothing but wait and watch school work pile up. “It definitely hurts classes.”

The writer can be reached at rflamm@

Find out about cute and inexpensive Valentine’s Day gifts on page 14

Speed over to page 22 to check out some of Mclean’s sweetest rides




February 13, 2009

Colleges battle budget problems Shefali Hegde Assistant News Editor

photo by Mohammad Tavakoli Senior swim team captain Phillip Betts practices at local Spring Hill RECenter. Proposed later starting times for high schools could affect the scheduling for the swim and dive team.

Later high school starting times could upset schedules cont. from page 1 recalculating bus routes to maintain low costs. SLEEP analyzed the transportation data and came up with a plan to lower bus transportation costs using fewer buses. Students and parents are able to provide the School Board with their opinions on the proposal through a survey posted on the FCPS website. “We need to hear from the people who want it,” Payne said. “We’d like to hear from the students and how they’d like to work this.” All surveys will be collected and presented to the school board in a work session held on March 9. The School Board is also holding seven commu-

nity dialogue meetings throughout the county to receive feedback on the possible effects of the proposed school schedule changes. SLEEP has been working for this change since 2005 and has gained support from the community. The organization wrote a letter to the School Board and has collected 8662 signatures for a petition to the county. “If we work together as a community, all the students, the teachers, coaches, parents and shareholders, then we can work around the new schedule,” Payne said.

The writer can be reached at

In the midst of an economic recession, rising college prices will make affording college even more difficult for students. According to College Board, the average four-year private college will cost $25,143, almost six percent more than last year. Even the price tags on public schools are up 6.4 percent this year to $6,855. The deepening recession is crippling university budgets. In 2008, the University of Texas lost more than $30 million and Dartmouth lost more than $220 million. Even the superbly wealthy colleges such as Harvard and Yale, with endowments the size of a small country’s GDP, have cut back on spending, scholarship funding, new building upgrades and staff additions. One of Harvard’s colleges will downsize almost $125 million.   According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, the University of Pennsylvania will “identify the most effective cost-cutting measures and allocate remaining finances only to matters of the highest priority for the 2010 fiscal year.” This means that many resources will disappear by the time current sophomores and juniors enter college. Gone will be the days of constant refurbishing and development.  Public schools are being hit even harder, as the state governors warn

that severe budget cuts in higher education is imminent. In Florida and California, schools plan to place three year caps on freshmen enrollment. Decreases will near 10,000. In Rhode Island, three state universities even instituted mid-year tuition increases to avoid a deficit. The DC metro region, however, is one of the lucky few. Last year, Business Week called both Arlington and Washington D.C. the best cities for withstanding the recession.  The DC area is benefiting from the increasingly politicized nature of the country. The new administration attracts new jobs as well as thousands of tourists, vying to catch a glimpse of Obama. Georgetown and American University are two of the few private colleges not looking to significantly downsize for the 2009 fiscal year.  Rather than cuts, Virginia public schools have designed emergency loan funds for potential students. Two weeks ago, Virginia Tech created The Horizons Program specifically for students facing family job loss or another similar situation. “We believe that students would want to stay in school during this time while their financial support is evaluated,” said University President, Charles W. Steger in a press release.

The writer can be reached at

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February 13, 2009


Bulova elected as Fairfax County Chairman

Mark your


Peter Behm Guest Reporter

project should be an underground tunnel as opposed to the overhead option. “It would look better and wouldn’t be Local Democrat Sharon Bulova won a special election an eyesore,” he said. John Foust, Supervisor of the Dranesville district, which for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors with a total of 1,206 votes over Republican opponent Pat includes McLean High School, has been campaigning for Bulova for over a year. He says the position of chairman is Herrity on Feb. 3. The issues Bulova will face immediately include the ex- very important. “It provides a real bully pulpit,” Foust said. “We are pansion of the Metro into Tysons Corner, and the redevelopment of Tyson’s Corner. The proposed plan to create a all supervisors in the same boat, but the chairman is the person you look to for directing Metrorail to Dulles Airport county policy.” would involve 2,100-foot Bulova has been working in the tunnel underneath Tysons Fairfax County Government for Corner or an overhead rail Because my relationship with her is more than 20 years. She has been above the roads. Bulova is good, her being elected is an exChairman of the Board and chaired an advocate for the under- tremely positive development as we the county’s budget committee for ground plan and also sup17 years. Many people who voted ports the idea of Tysons work on anything that might affect McLean. for her felt that her budget experiCorner as a city. John Foust ence would be particularly helpFreshman Juan Pineda Dranesville District Supervisor ful now, given the fact that the said that he was aware about economy is in its worst state in the election and its impordecades and that Fairfax County is tance, but didn’t support projecting a $650 million budget Bulova or Herrity because shortfall for this year. negative ad campaigns from According to a survey taken by Start Later for Excelboth were plastered around his neighborhood. “I think it is wrong that the candidates would post mean lence in Education Proposal, Bulova supports later school and sometimes untrue things about each other,” Pineda starting times for middle and high school students. Foust is a great supporter of Bulova. She “is a consensus said. “It’s not needed.” Pineda also thinks that the new Metrorail in Tyson’s builder,” he said. “She is respectful of other supervisors and should be an overhead, not an underground tunnel, be- works to bring the team together.” Foust said her election is very beneficial for McLean. cause it is cheaper and the county government would be able to use the saved money for other purposes in the fu- “Because my relationship with her is good, her being elected is an extremely positive development as we work on anyture. Junior Kevin Pyne thinks that the Tyson’s Metrorail thing that might affect McLean,” he said.



13 14 16

Pep Rally Valentine’s Day President’s Day

(No School)


Mardi Gras


3 8 17 20

Third Quarter Interims Mailed Daylight Savings Time St. Patrick’s Day First Day of Spring

Get to know your SGA, SAC and class council Cat Davis Editor-in-Chief

Believe it or not, school does not just happen. People put in a lot of hard work and effort to make the school year survivable for the student body. But who does everything? Who is in charge of getting balloons for dances? Who represents





your voice to county representatives? Who plans prom? And who puts together all of the pep rallies? All of these things do not come easily, but thankfully, we have Leadership. As a whole, the Leadership classes are in charge of dealing with the majority of projects and events that students participate in.


What they can’t do

To address and fix school issues that involve the entire school body. In addition SGA plans out events that pertain to the school as a whole.

Erin Truesdale Lori Wagoner

The SGA cannot plan out events or deal with issues in individual classes. In order to be addressed by the SGA, the entire school must be involved.



What they can’t do

To represent the views of McLean students and meet with other school representatives from all over the country

Erin Truesdale Lori Wagoner

SAC cannot deal with issues applying only to McLean. To make something SAC-worthy, the issue has to involve all of Fairfax County.



What they can’t do

Student council members are chosen by the student body to represent their class, plan out big events and raise money throughout the school year.

Senior class: Daniella Minetti, Rob Plunket Junior class: Farris Gale, Rachel Siska Sophomore class: Karen McNamara, Renee Yates Freshmen class: Tara Dwyer, Christy Toledano

Student council cannot fix or address school-wide issues such as renovations around the school. The government doesn’t allow it.

There are three groups who are in charge of totally different aspects of your school life: Student Government Association (SGA), Student Advisory Council (SAC), and each class’s elected council.

The writer can be reached at

Students involved Four to five students are elected by their classmates to represent their grade.

Students involved Sarah Albani Maggie Streeten Alexis Koeppen Liz Sullivan Sina Mostaghimi

Students involved Four or five elected students represent their specific class. Students are required to re-run every year.

What they do Plan pep rallies, organize dances such as homecoming, attend Student Congress meetings, and organize events such as Friends of Frosty and Cram the Can.

What they do Deal a lot with budget issues. Last year they prevented students from being charged for participating in AP tests and extracurriculars. Also, SAC provides a significant voice for FAIRGRADE.

What they do Plan events for their respective class. Seniors work on graduation, juniors work on prom, while sophomores and freshmen mostly raise funds for future events.



Oceanography trip teaches students how to build ROVs Reza Masgarha Reporter

On Friday Jan. 30, members of Mrs. Silva’s oceanography class went on a field trip to the Nauticus Maritime Science Center in Norfolk, Virginia. The purpose was for the seven ROV (remote operated vehicle) captains, two from each class, to gain knowledge on how to build ROVs and in turn, pass that knowledge onto their peers. The seven captains are Phillip Pardue, Ian Thompson, Benjamin Gilman, Alfonso Maffe, Christopher Nesbitt Callaghan, Eleanor Bissell, and Eliza Enriquez-Hesles. “The field trip was great,” Oceanography teacher Claire Silva said. “The captains really learned a lot.” “The instructors were really helpful. It was a great jump start to this project and we now know what direction we want to take it,” senior Alfonso Maffe said. The Oceanography class plans to compete in Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s International Remote Operated Ve-


February 13, 2009

hicle competition (MATE ROV) in May of this year. This year’s theme will be submarine rescue. Each ROV in competition will be required to complete four tasks as part of the competition. Task one is to survey and inspect the submarine for damage. Task two is pod posting, delivering pods filled with food, water, clothing, medical supplies and other items to survivors. Task three is to ventilate the submarine. The final task is remote operate rescue vehicle mating. This requires the ROV to latch onto the submarine, retrieve survivors, and transport them safely back to the surface. photo courtesy of Claire Silva “I think we can do very well in this comOceanography students test the buyoancy of their remote operated vehicles at the Naucipetition,” Silva said tus Maritime Center. The purpose of the workshop is to prepare for future competitions. Mrs. Silva is not only able to lend a helping hand as a teacher, but will be able everything. She wants us to use our own the time we had at Nauticus. When we get to bring experience in the area. She was a ideas but if we ever need help she is always more people and more time to work we’ll be member of the team that placed third out of there,” Senior Eleanor Bissell said. more productive and we’ll do great,” Maffe fourteen in the 2007 MATE ROV competiStudents are also high on confidence. said. tion. “I think we have a really good chance in The writer can be reached at rezagholi“Mrs. Silva has been really helpful with the competition. We made a good robot in

Sylvan Learning Center to sponsor free practice SAT Holly Betancourt In-Depth Editor

Sylvan Learning Center is sponsoring a free practice SAT for the first 50 juniors who sign up. Sylvan first approached McLean counselors with their idea. “They offered to come do a real practice SAT and host a tips and strategies session,” counselor Joan Cassell said. Sylvan was looking for someone at McLean to coordinate the program and run the test. Students who want to take the test must also come to the tips and strategies session, which will be taught by Sylvan. “I think it is a valuable session,” Cassell said.

The session will be the same that Sylvan administers to students who pay for their class. Junior Emily Hunt thinks that the free practice test is a great idea. She would have done it if she had not already signed up to take a SAT class with C2 Education Center in McLean. “There’s lots of people in other areas that are not as wealthy as us and they should have the same opportunity to get into a great college as us,” Hunt said. The full-length practice SAT will be given on March 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. After receiving test scores, students and parents will be contacted to see if they want to schedule a sit-down meeting with Sylvan. As of Feb. 4, 42 juniors had registered for

the test and within the last week eight more had signed up, bringing the total to fifty. McLean counselors began advertising the free practice SAT shortly before Thanksgiving, but registration picked up after more announcements. “We got a big influx of students after winter break,” Cassell said. To avoid no-shows on test day, Cassell will register about 55 students. “There is no cost [for the test] so I can’t guarantee who will show up,” Cassell said. If this first test is a success, Cassell hopes to continue the program with Sylvan. “Absolutely. Maybe even later this year,” Cassell said.

The writer can be reached at

February 13, 2009




10-point scale gets passing grade Bryan Kress Assistant Features Editor

photo by Shefali Hegde NOVAM speakers Larry and Nicole speak about living with HIV with eleventh grade history classes.

NOVAM speakers spread HIV awareness Shefali Hegde Assistant News Editor

Speakers from the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry (NOVAM) arrived last week for their annual HIV/AIDS high school awareness seminar. On Wednesday and Thursday, NOVAM volunteers spoke with juniors about the global pandemic, as they have since the 1980s. The presentation began with a discussion on common HIV misconceptions. “No, you can’t get it from saliva,” said Kyana, the head NOVAM organizer. “Or from sweat. Or from sneezing.” The presentation detailed everything from risky behavior to the daily travails of an AIDS patient. But what really made the presentation special, students say, are the accounts of the two HIV patients. Larry and Nicole discussed their struggles with their eleventh-grade audience. “This is your life,” said Larry, who wished to leave his last name out for privacy reasons, and has been battling the disease for decades. “Don’t take it for granted.”

Students felt this type of sex-education was much more effective than any FLE class. “The speakers were very authentic,” junior Andrew Hoepfl said. “If I saw them on the street, I wouldn’t have known.” Junior Maryam Kanna said the audience was captivated. “For once, people were actually listening, rather than scoffing at the fact that AIDS is a disease they probably will never get.” HIV awareness in schools was not always encouraged. Only twenty years ago, 15-year-old Ryan White was expelled from school and driven out of his home state, Indiana, simply for having HIV. AIDS has now infected over 1.2 million people in the country, according to UNAIDS. Washington D.C. has more HIV cases than any other US city. Though the disease is devastating, the speakers remained optimistic. “It’s not about how AIDS allows me to live my life,” Larry said. “But how I’m going to live my life with AIDS.”

The writer can be reached at

After more than a year, the Fairfax County School Board sided with FAIRGRADE to adopt a new grading policy in a 10-0 vote on Jan. 22. The new system includes a 10-point scale and adds additional weights for Honors and Advanced Placement classes. While many praise the changes as an improvement, some see it as a setback compared to the old scale. “Everybody can’t be an A student,” U.S. History teacher Barbara Ruff said. “What does [the grading scale] do to an A? It makes an A a C.” Ruff believes the old scale awarded students if they worked hard in class and did “that little extra.” In response to the new scale, Ruff wants to change her course to continue challenging the students. “I am going to consider changing my curriculum,” Ruff said, “I’ll have to think about it…we all [teachers] have to think about it.” The final structure for the new grading policy has not been decided, but Superintendent Jack Dale is expected to announce the official arrangements by March. The delay is due to the debate over whether the passing grade will change from a 64 percent to a 60 percent. “We’re not lowering standards, but adopting a more standard language,” School Board member Jane

K. Strauss told The Washington Post. Colleges will receive updated transcripts with the new weights from seniors. The weights are retroactive and will be updated for every student’s GPA. The 10-point grading scale is expected to go into effect next school year. Many students appreciate the new scale and weights. “Every time I would get a grade I would always think to myself it could be better if we had the 10-point grading scale,” freshman Mired Asfour said. No one is sure what the new grading scale will bring, but some have an idea. Carolyn Wagner, an English and Journalism teacher in the Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95, experienced the same grading scale shift seven years ago. “I noticed kids felt they didn’t have to work hard,” Wagner said. At Wagner’s school, the students followed a 7-point grading scale. Similar to Fairfax County, the school changed the system to the standard 10-point grading scale because of growing concerns over college acceptances. Wagner said that students were negatively affected by the change. “[The old scale] demanded more excellence from students,” Wagner said. “I believe education is whatever you get out of it, and you get the most when classes are rigorous.”

The writer can be reached at




February 13, 2009

Theater’s OneActs show range of performances Chris Herron-Venancio Reporter

A series of plays were performed on Jan. 29 and 30 that were written, directed and performed exclusively by students, as part of the annual McLean One Acts. Of the 12 plays performed, five went on to perform again on Saturday, followed by an awards ceremony. The five were “Palindrome,” directed by junior Niki Becher and senior Nina Scholl and also written by Scholl, “Sold,” written and directed by junior Matt Parent, “Fools in Love,” written and directed by junior Elaina Kaiser and senior Rachel Zucker, “Whistles in the Wind,” written and directed by senior Charlie Cook and “The Hysterical History of Troy,” written by D.M. Bocaz-Larson and directed by seniors Sherwin Parandeh, Evin Gualberto and Samantha Audet. The plays ranged from dramas to comedies and took place in settings as diverse as the French countryside during World War II, ancient Troy, and high school. “The Hysterical History of Troy,” a comedic retelling of the Trojan War, won the Best Play award. Awards were also given out based on exceptional performances. Junior Leila Goldstein won best actress, best actor was awarded to senior Henry Jimenez, best supporting actress was junior Vanessa Bretas, and best supporting actor was senior Jackson Langevoort. Best director went to Cook and most original script was “Palindrome.” “It was a lot of fun,” sophomore Marielena Planas said of the One Acts. “I met new people and it was a great experience.” “It was wonderful,” Denise Perrino, head of the Theater Department, said. “The directors were well organized.”

The writer can be reached at

Correction: The directors of the One Act “The Red Savior” were Sara Lavenhar and David Markoff. They were incorrectly identified in the last issue of the Highlander.

Seniors Kate Waters and Tyler Quinn play Helen and Paris in the “Hysterical History of Troy,” above. The play won the overall award, Best Play. Rakesh Guha acts in one of the Mini Acts, which were meant to entertain the audience in between plays, at right. Guha wrote and directed all three Mini Acts. Many students, like those in “Palindrome,” below left, acted in more than one play. Senior Stephen Lastova and junior Vanessa Bretas play Alex and Addison in “Fools in Love,” bottom left. Bretas won Best Supporting Actress for her performance. “Whistles in the Wind,” bottom right, directed by Best Director winner senior Charlie Cook, was one of the only dramas of the night. It was set in France during World War II.

photos by Mohammad Tavakoli


February 13, 2009

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February 13, 2009

This may sound old, but alternative energy will be the only answer Charlie Park Assistant News Editor

They are doing it again. The gas prices are going up. Since last year, everyone has been enjoying the relatively inexpensive gas prices at the pump, ranging from $1.70 to $1.90 in the McLean region. On Dec. 17, 2008, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to cut the crude oil production to 1.5 million barrels a day starting this year. According to Reuters, a British international news agency, they are likely to cut production even more. The lesser production in petroleum means a smaller supply of oil, resulting in increasing gas prices. It is already under process as the U.S. national average gas price has risen about 45 cents from January. The BP gas stations in McLean already charge over two dollars per gallon for unleaded gas. OPEC’s decision will sound very upsetting to individual consumers at the gas pumps. In these hard times when 6.5 percent of the U.S. population is unemployed, the higher oil price will result in a higher cost for gasoline, production of necessities and even utilities. Although it is not likely that we will face another oil shock similar to the one in July of last year, no one wants to see gas prices going up. But why did OPEC decide to raise the oil price? Chakib Kheli, the president of OPEC, told Associated Press that if

global economic destruction. This is why we should be looking for new energy resources other than petroleum. According to President Barack Obama’s statement in a press conference, we are importing more foreign oils than in 1970s, when OPEC was first formed. This means that the dependence on foreign petroleum has increased since then. In this country, where a quarter of the world’s oil is consumed even though it only produces about �������� 8.1����� percent, it is inevitable that we have to rely mostly on foreign oil to fill our needs for gasoline. Thus, in an instance like this when OPEC nations try to raise the oil price, we must abide by their decisi�������������������������������� on������������������������������ .����������������������������� We cannot blame the OPEC nations, since their economic crisis will directly affect ours in a negative way. Certainly no one wants that to happen. Whether it is 50 years as some oil peak theorists say, or centuries as the overly optimistic people say, oil will eventually run out, and we will need to look for alternative energy resource someday. Fortunately, there is progress being made on the industrial level. Feb. 10, the Senate approved the 2009 stimulus art by John Park package which contains total of around $60 billion dollars of funding for renewable energy sources such as wind oil prices fall too far there could be an economic backlash in power or geothermal energy (this is very lucky since these the wealthy oil-production countries that could worsen the were not mentioned on the 2008 stimulus package). global economic crisis. Continuing research on hydrofuels and electric fuel is also For most of the OPEC nations, their major income comes a hope of developing a gas-free car. Sooner or later, we will from petroleum production. So it is natural for those nations have to part with century-old gasoline; and the faster we preto try to keep away from marking red. In the most extreme pare, the faster we are independent from OPEC and its oil. case, if these nations go bankrupt due to loss in revenue, the The writer can be reached at sircharliepark@ entire Earth will be in great turmoil, as the production of petroleum halts. Only then would we witness the greatest

Enough with the rankings Ned Burchfiel Managing Editor

Unusable bathrooms are unacceptable

They might have mentioned that our newspaper and yearbook are nationally recognized. On the website, I would point out that our LD program is one of the best in the country. Does the administration mention these things? From time to time. But few students remember that the Clan Yearbook was ranked fifth in the nation in 2008, or that the crew team performs on a national level. Instead, the school chose to celebrate a magazine ranking. Thomas Jefferson High School was ranked first in the nation in the same magazine article. Did the principal give every student an embroidered U.S. News backpack? Does their website flaunt the recognition? Hardly. After all, TJ has much more to be proud of than a 100 percent “College Readiness” statistic. The same goes for our school, supercomputer or not. Next year, the folks at Newsweek, U.S. News and the Washington Post will release a new set of rankings. Maybe we’ll be fifty-fourth, or fifty-third or even forty-second! I couldn’t care less. What makes McLean noteworthy are the extracurriculars, traditions and teachers that can’t be crammed into a statistic. Regardless of what the new set of rankings says about our school, I’d like to see the administration order a set of pencils that read: “Our school has a hallway linebacker.” Now that is something to celebrate.


When the U.S. News and World Report ranked our school fifty-fifth in the country, thousands of embossed pencils were bought to celebrate. The school website proudly proclaims our status as a “Gold Standing” Top 100 institution. The office even has a copy of the magazine on a table. (For viewing only, of course.) It’s sad that the administration would flout a useless number instead of the qualities U.S. News knows nothing about. Apparently, we’re number fifty-five because our seniors like to pass AP tests—and our disadvantaged students surpass expectations. Wonderful. I could try getting a three on 10 AP exams at the end of the year. Does that make me one of the 100 best students in the country? (Perhaps I should call up the editors and ask.) There’s nothing wrong about taking an AP Test, or two, or seven. What saddens me is flaunting a soulless statistic on our website and office table. The administration seems to have overlooked the teachers and extracurriculars that truly make McLean special. If I were in charge of those pencils, I would have put something meaningful on them. Like, “Our chorus is ranked first out of all American public schools,” or “Our school has The writer can be reached a Sousa flag hanging on the band wall.”

Chris HerronVenancio Reporter

When I walk into McLean’s bathrooms at the end of the day, I am disappointed by our student body, and how carelessly they treat school property. The walls and stalls are covered in homophobic and racist graffiti. The floors are covered with trash and toilet paper. Some students even leave the toilets un-flushed, which is disgusting and inconsiderate to any other person who might use them. And how hard is it to flush a toilet? The custodial staff is not to blame; we’re the ones who write the graffiti on the stalls and can’t seem to be able to get the paper towels into the trash, even though it’s one foot from the dispenser. Sophomore Vishnu Tallapragada said, “The gym bathrooms are some of the worst.” I think that it’s stupid that we have to walk halfway around the school to find a clean toilet during the school day. Another thought to consider is the fact that we are trashing the very bathrooms that we are using ourselves. You wouldn’t do that to your bathroom at home would you? Just because you know that other students are going to trash them doesn’t mean that you don’t have to throw away


Editors-in-Chief Cat Davis Talia Roth

Managing Editors Ned Burchfiel Molly Welch

Photo Editor

Circulation Managers Bridget Berry Paige Kinghorn

Editorials Ali Shapiro

Assistant Editorials Torin Liberthson-Brown

Mohammad Tavakoli


Online Editor

Jasmine Mohandesi

Sarah Albani

Assistant Features

Advertising Manager Prianka Das

Section Editors News Devan Kerley Moises Cazal

Assistant News Charlie Park Shefali Hegde

Nikki Kaul Bryan Kress Rubina Sarkisian

Sports David Berk Lizzie Masghara

Assistant Sports Andrew Davis Ibrahim Jacobs

In-Depth Holly Betancourt

Assistant In-Depth Cammie Meade

Reporters Chris Herron-Venancio Henry Kuhl Zenobia Morrill Reza Masghara Daniel Jabbour Danny Marx Asli Uyanik Ryan Flamm

Adviser Amy Poe Volume 53, Issue 7 Published 12 times yearly McLean High School 1633 Davidson Road McLean, VA 22101 703-714-5838

your trash, it all adds up. Students can report any acts of vandalism or graffiti to security, but no one reports anything. “There are so many bathrooms that we have to rely on the student body,” Security Officer Donald Summers said. “But nobody reports anything.” Students also use the bathrooms to violate school rules, such as using a cell phone or smoking. Last year there was an incident where a fire was started in a bathroom trash can. There is still an investigation by the fire marshal on what exactly happened. There are some things that can be done to improve the quality of the bathrooms. “They should have air fresheners instead of the bad smelling air sprays,” freshman Abraham Wu said. “Also, hooks to hang your jackets on.” Many public places, from restaurants to airports, have started using motion sensitive toilets in bathrooms. If the school could afford to put these in place it could at least put an end to the toilets that are left un-flushed, or the never-ending ones. Instead of punishing our custodians with filthy bathrooms, we could have students with detention clean them. I can not think of a worse punishment. If that still does not fix students obsession with filth, then it’s not only the bathrooms that need to be cleaned.

The writer can be reached at

‘05, ‘07 CSPA Gold Medalist 08’ Silver Medalist

06’ NSPA Pacemaker finalist Hall of Fame 07’ All American winner

VHSL Savedge Award

The Highlander is a public forum in which members of the school community can express themselves, discuss issues and exchange ideas. Printed at Silver Communications. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Advertising Policy: The Highlander sells ad space on each page of the paper except on the opinions pages, front page, back page and center spread. To Subscribe: Mailed subscriptions of the Highlander are available for $20 per year. E-mail for information. To Write a Letter to the Editor: Please e-mail


February 13, 2009

Senioritis: natural part of 12th grade or a crippling disease? You tell us!



Is ‘senioritis’ a problem that needs to be stopped, or a 12th grade tradition that deserves more respect? Write your response below and deliver it to room S111.

The same debate arises every year: should seniors ‘take it easy’ after the first semester, or would it be unwise to let grades drop even a little? True, it can be hard to stay motivated after acceptance letters and second quarter grades come in, but students wouldn’t want seven Fs on their final report, either. The Highlander wants the school to answer this question. In the space to the right, write one or two sentences advocating your position on senioritis. We’ll publish a ‘quote cloud’ in our next issue with your responses, so make sure your opinion gets included!

Lack of honors courses leaves students with no middle ground Asli Uyanik Reporter

Advanced Placement classes have the tendency to move through the material at a lightning speed while regular classes move at a snail’s pace. Advanced Placement classes are known for their immense amount of studying and toughness. In my AP class, students are expected to read 70-100 pages in the textbook every week as well as complete other assignments. This doesn’t leave enough time to review the information because we read it once and move on. Other students feel the same way. “I feel like we just try to move through the textbook quickly without understanding any of the concepts,”

sophomore Yeji Seok said. The alternative option is taking the “regular” class; however, the regular classes baby the students and spoon-feed the information instead of giving them the independence that students need. Also, the teachers tend to repeat information over and over again which causes the students who already understand to begin to loathe the subject. A large difference between a regular class and an AP class is also the environment.“You don’t get as many peers that are interested in regular classes and it affects the entire environment of the class,” junior Megan Jones said. This affects many students’ decisions in whether to take an AP or regular class. In the classes that do not have an AP version there’s the option of Honors classes which, in my opinion, generally

challenge students and move at a good speed. Students in honors classes tend to work hard and strive for a good grade which makes the class interesting. AP classes also have dedicated students, but the pressure that comes with the speed and amount of studying leave the majority stressed when they don’t receive the grade they were hoping for. A better system would be to have the options of taking regular, honors, or an AP class instead of just regular or AP. That way the classes could suit students and their own learning style without leaving anyone stressed, frantic, or bored.

The writer can be reached at

Take this quiz to see what level classes you should take next year START! How good 2-3 hours

infographic by Ali Shapiro and Asli Uyanik

1/2 hour to 1 hour

of a test taker are you?

How much homework can you handle a night?

Very good Okay

At what pace would you like your classes to go?



Do you prefer more attention or independence in class?

Fast How in-depth do you want to go in the subject?

How much are you willing to read a night?

Attention 20 minutes 1 hour

Not as detailed Very in-depth


The purpose of the course is to prepare students for the SOL exam as well as go expand upon the regular requirement information. Homework amount varies upon the class, but is generally 1-2 hours and concentrates more heavily on reading than worksheets. They also prepare students for AP course and help them develop good working skills.


The purpose of the course is to prepare students for the SOL exam at the end of the year. Typically, the homework load is light and there’s not much reading. The class is more flexible and accommodates different learning styles while moving at a slower pace.


The purpose of the course is to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Exam at the end of the year. Generally, the homework load is very heavy and concentrates on reading and independent study rather than worksheets. The class emphasizes interaction and discussion and offer more independence. The course gives a college credit to those who pass the Advance Placement Exam and is literally a college-level class.




Cr ssfire

Becca Latimer Guest Reporter

Everyone has to go through the time in their life when they are freshman. Entering high school can be one of the scariest parts of your life. Walking through the halls looking up at the upperclassmen and the sight of them staring back down at you with a disappointed look on their face isn’t too promising; the school work is even tougher. Now is the time when deadlines and due dates have never meant more. Getting used to the work methods can take some time. There are so many things that are going to be new to you. Nothing can be more intimidating then getting lost in the halls of a huge building. The colored hallways invite you to vanish inside them. It can also

get tough for you when you’re doing sports. It really pounds on the stress to keep your grades up when the coach doesn’t play you in the game only because your grades don’t meet the requirements. This does represent the life of any high school student, not only freshman, but being new to the school means new to getting used to this method. It is more than likely for students to frequently develop problems. It can be traumatizing to find yourself with absolutely no free time on your hands. This can build up trouble with a student’s social life. The packed schedule causes stress to fire up. Where is there to find any free time in between school, activities, sports, and homework? With no extra time to hang out with friends, you can easily loose the people you care about, but everyone has to be a freshman once in their life and deal with those frantic “four more years.”

The writer can be reached at

A Highlander debate Junior year is most difficult because you increase your work load and begin to plan for after high school. During junior year, a student must try to maintain or even improve their grades, In addition to the amount of stress that is caused solely by the pressure to get good grades, junior year is when the stress really begins concerning college and your future. Some juniors are experiencing the pressures of varsity sports for the first time. For a few selected students that made varsity before junior year, this is not a problem. But for those students who have progressed through junior varsity and freshman teams, making a varsity team is a very stressful experience and takes a lot more commitment than previous years. The college application process begins junior year, and is filled with numerous steps. The first part of this process is taking the SAT and other reasoning tests that may determine whether or not you can get into the college of your dreams. Many students’ sign up for SAT classes that help the student improve their scores, however with seven classes and numerous activities, there is not much time to focus your full attention to the SAT class. “It [junior year] is hardest because of the SAT’s, ACT’s, and getting your license,” junior Anoushka Youseff said. However, in contrast with senior year, a student in their junior year does not

High school, as we all know, is one of our biggest hurdles to overcome in our lives. Each year of high school has its own significance in our lives. However, with significance comes pain and lots of hard work. Sophomore year is one of the hardest years a high school student will go through. The workload goes from somewhat manageable and fairly tough in freshman year to strenuous and excessive in sophomore year. The leap is incredible and takes us sophomores by surprise. We sophomores grow and mature, yet we are still considered miniscule compared to the upperclassmen and their stress levels. I am not denying that high school poses a lot of stress on juniors and seniors and makes those two years some of the most taxing years of high school. Because more advanced placements courses become available and as students take them, the anxiety increases. Teachers give tests, projects, homework assignments, and quizzes more often to the upperclassmen.. The pressures and burdens accumulate as you enter sophomore year. However, no matter how hard junior year is, I still believe the sophomores have to get credit for their extremely stressful year. In each year of high school, it progressively speeds up and it just does not get any easier for anyone. However, sophomore year is not as easy as juniors and seniors may think it is. We get a lot of homework and have tests every other day. Also, advanced placement world history becomes available to us, and we having the curious minds and alacrity as underclassmen, take on this rigorous course. However, we

9 10

“Which grade has it the hardest?” Cammie Meade Reporter

Nikki Kaul Reporter

have the “senior slump” and cannot look forward to graduation at the end of the year. A junior student is just beginning the long process of looking at colleges, applying, and being accepted. Junior year is also the first time that many students begin to take more than one AP class, and as a result, many experience a work load that is unlike anything they have had before. The stress of junior year also seems to affect the parents because many parents unconsciously place more stress on their children. Although it seems that parents are pushing you to the edge, they only want what is best for you. “There is a lot more stress about college, and it is the first time it seems real,” junior Michaela Pickus said. One more added experience to juggle is getting your first job. Junior year is really the first time that many students get jobs, and time management becomes very important during this time. Money all of the sudden becomes a huge problem as students begin to realize the full cost of college and their ever-looming future. Consequently, many juniors take on their first job at this time, which makes scheduling even more of an issue. Everyone always says that junior year is that hardest, and that is not an understatement. Teachers, counselors, and parents are constantly saying that this one year will decide your future. But don’t get caught up in all the hype, only 489 days until graduation.

soon learn what advanced placement courses and their expectations are all about. In addition to having the huge leap in our stress load, a lot of us sophomores do school sports, or sports outside of school. The times at which we come home, and then go to finish our work is extremely strenuous. The amount of homework assigned is given in mountain loads the size of mountains. Sometimes, we can barely even remember when the last time was when we went to a bed at a reasonable hour. Seniors might say to a freshman or sophomore, “Oh, hey, you are not allowed to be tired, you’re only an underclassman!” So what if we are only underclassmen? We may not have the same amount of rigorous courses as you, but we are also stressed out like other upperclassmen. I will not deny junior year and senior year are incredibly hard and teachers do not let anyone off the hook easily. However, we sophomores cannot be left out of the picture. We sophomores face many hardships in high school and lack of adequate sleep, but it will not help anyone to say that one year is so much harder than the other. Therefore, other grades cannot complain about their stress. For now, I just want to make the most of my high school experience. I do have to say, sophomore year has its ups and downs, and so far there have been a lot of downs. However, it is definitely one of the hardest years of high school I have ever experienced. This year is not making my life any easier, but it does definitely have its fun moments.

The writer can be reached at

Molly Welch Managing Editor

11 12

The writer can be reached at

February 13, 2009

Suck it up, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Senior year may have the reputation of a blissful sequence of Beach Weeks, Senior Breakfasts, and minimal class attendance, but academically, it’s no cake walk. Having experienced all three years of high school at McLean until now, nothing makes me more annoyed than hearing underclassmen, blissfully ignorant about what’s ahead, whine about their work load. Senior year is supposed to be the culmination of your academic career, the year in which you challenge yourself with the most AP classes and advanced-level electives. Most students steadily increase their workload leading up to senior year, increasing their amounts of advanced classes, and seniorlevel AP’s also have the reputation of being some of the hardest. Twelfth grade is also when you assume leadership roles on sports teams and in extracurriculars; you’re expected to be the captain of the team, the president of the society, and still be maintaining an excellent GPA. On top of academic and extracurricular pressure, there’s the stress of the college application process, the equivalent of another AP course load in itself. Between college visits, applications (some students apply to up to ten schools), endless

application revisions and simply sitting at your computer staring at scattergrams, the process is extraordinarily time-consuming. Before I started my applications, I had a vague idea of doing a couple essays, typing my name and social security number into a computer, and sending out a few transcripts, but I had no conception of the scope of the process. Teacher recommendations, counselor data packs, counselor meetings, infinite editing and revisions, resume writing, interviews: the to-do list stretches on and on. The application process aside, contemplating where you want to spend the next four years of your life requires weighty consideration, and deciding whether to apply early, rolling, or regular is also taxing. It’s a difficult time emotionally, with people getting accepted and others rejected, and everyone thinking hard about the future. Don’t get me wrong: senior year is so fun. It’s the last year with your high school friends, you get to push underclassmen around, and a lot of the pressure is off second semester (finally). But for many seniors, the year’s not only about senioritis and senior perks, but about balancing activities and making crucial decisions about the future, and that’s no walk in the park.

The writer can be reached at


February 13, 2009


11 X

McLean High School - Web Browser





Tools Help

Address School website may be in need of another makeover Prianka Das Advertising Manager


hat do you think a school w e b s i t e should have? Why not horoscopes, puzzles, quotes, or staff portraits? Could our McLean High School website be improved from what it is right now? The webpage changed a lot making many additions and alterations in the 2008-2009 school year. True, the website has been categorized quite a bit, but is it really attractive to its audience? Junior Faysal Matin said, “I think that the new website is more organized and efficient in acquiring information about the school. However, I think we could have more student participation in developing the site to truly reflect our school.” A new McLean High School banner covers the webpage with a McLean “M” symbol background, reading “Home of the Highlanders” with a picture of a highlander on the very right. This banner was designed by Mohammad Ahmad. It looks great, and this is definitely an improvement from the previous banner, but I think the website as a whole really needs to that extra “ummph” to make it feel like our school website. There’s room for a lot of enhancement. I feel we can involve students to make it truly a high school website for students to enjoy and visit frequently. “It’s not a good representation of our school,” Junior Fifi Wang said. “[The webpage] is not very professional-looking. I think the school should ask kids in the computer science class to make [improvements] on the website that gives a better impression of our school.” Honestly, it’s a pretty cool idea to play around with—having student participation in creating and

updating the school website. Ms. Peg O’Hara, the web website. The OCR regulations shouldn’t be so restriccurator, revealed to us that students can volunteer their tive. The director of this office should be more open artwork for the site. to creativity and let schools do what they think is apMr. George, the Illustration and propriate. Photography teacher, was asked to James Madison High School along with many select a student to design the banothers, implements cool features into their school ner. Students can submit their work websites. It would be terrific to sprinkle some true as long as the content is reviewed by McLean student, teacher or faculty spirit onto the director of the Office of Comour site. munity Relations (OCR). Adding in pictures or maybe a Personally, there are a lot of slideshow of photos of our changes I would like to see for the teams and students parcurrent website. ticipating in school “I believe the curactivities, as well as rent website is a signifipictures of the adcant improvement over ministration would the previous version,” give the website a O’Hara said. “But, like great boost. any website, it will conAnnandale High tinue to be a work in progSchool’s website has ress. Every Fairfax County some form of this. Public School web curator Come to think of it, is obliged to follow the official a “Meet the Adminguidelines contained in Regulaistration” section in the tion 1505.” site would be a great adWe are required to use a standard dition with pictures and template. All changes to the template quotes from teachers and must be approved by the school principal staff. and the Director of the Office of ComIn all honestly, we do graphic by Cammie Meade munity Relations (OCR).” have a pretty easy to navigate I do wish this template selected by the OCR would website, but why not try to make it even better? allow for a little more leeway. Why not have some It’s a representation of the entire school, the student featured highlights on the side or a calendar you can body, the teachers, and staff. We all visit it, at least pesee without flipping though the various drop-down riodically, to check it. Let us make this website somemenus? thing we take pleasure in visiting and make it echo According to the OCR, the purpose of the school what McLean truly is. website is to provide information for the school comThe writer can be reached at munity, not to provide entertainment. Still, there’s no harm in having a little fun with the

With school beautification, students are finally making their mark Molly Welch Managing Editor

school raise awareness and get students excited for events like Cram the Can and Friends of Frosty. As a result, Leadership has had excellent responses and high returns. Furthermore, Friends of Frosty decorations in the cafeteria made me actually want to be there for a

events. “First and foremost is advertising,” she said. “We want to make people aware of what’s going on and what student leaders are doing.” It’s great to see Leadership is not only working to galvanize school spirit, but to actually foster awareness for student-sponsored

After several barren years of sterile whiteness and austere halls, students have happily discovered this year that McLean doesn’t have to look like an institution. Thanks to honors societies and Leadership classes, our school’s appearance has vastly improved—and it’s about time. After seeing schools like Thomas Jefferson, where artwork and murals adorn hallways and even bathrooms, McLean has been, for several years, depressingly bare. But this year, with the Art Honor Society’s mural at the school’s front entrance and more banners and seasonal decorations, we’re making a real upswing towards photo by Ibrahim Jacobs a school that is aesthetically exciting. The leadership classes have made a In Ms. Freeman’s math classroom, artwork is displayed to add appeal and beauty. Other significant effort in hanging banners ad- artwork around the school includes the Art Honor Society mural in the front entrance. vertising charity and sports events as well as, among other things, decorating the cafeteria with Friends of Frosty decorations change (so shocking that I still almost can’t events. Their advertising has gotten results around the holidays, lending a festive air to believe it) and got everyone into the holiday too; Wagoner says that the Toys for Tots spirit. fundraiser was their most successful yet, and its usually severe interior. According to Wagoner, however, new yielded a toy return much higher than that “We’re trying to increase school spirit by making the school look better so people can school decorations aren’t just intended to of last year. “When you look around the halls and see take more pride in it,” senior Brooke Bush make the halls look nice. More importantly, said. It’s working, too: more posters around they’re advertising for important leadership student art, it makes the place look more in-

viting and spirited,” SGA sponsor Lori Wagoner said. “It’s inspiring for athletes and fans and creates a fun atmosphere.” I love the Art Honor Society mural. It is such a wonderful addition to our school’s entrance, creating an invaluable impression of McLean’s diversity and creativity. “[The mural is] really inspiring,” senior and Art Honor Society member Martin Brown said. “I definitely think it’s part of an effort to beautify the school, and it’s made a big impact.” The Art Honor Society—with excellent foresight—has formed a mural committee of the society, which takes requests from teachers for murals and presents them with different designs. According to President Julianna Burt, the society has fielded requests from several teachers for murals. “We have a number of projects we’re working on,” Burt said. “[Murals] make the school more unique and provide a way for students to brand themselves on the school and make a lasting impression. It’s a way for students to express themselves artistically.” McLean is too diverse of a community to be content with institutional whiteness and bleak expanses of linoleum. Finally, years after its renovation, we’re making our mark on the school.

The writer can be reached at




Februrary 13, 2009




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Obama’s actions and plans will affect students Devan Kerley News Editor

For months, Americans have repeatedly been promised one thing. Campaign slogans smeared across bumper stickers, road signs, and commercials proclaimed that if we elected Barack Obama, we would see change. Once Obama was inaugurated, the “change we can believe in” would finally come. Some of that change has come, certainly. President Obama already set new standards for ethics within his administration as promised. He has issued executive orders to close Guantanamo Bay, and ordered a responsible withdrawal from Iraq. His biggest project has been the enormous stimulus package currently working its way through the Senate and House of Representatives. “I think he’s been working really hard to follow through on his promises,” senior Mattie Barringer said. While trying to pass the stimulus bill Barringer said, “He’s really trying for bipartisanship and not playing political games like a lot of people are.” Obama’s administration will bring at least some sort of the promised change from the policies and practices of the Bush presidency is very likely. How much of that change will directly affect students, though, is less predictable. During his campaign, Obama made a slew of promises, as did all candidates, to change and improve education. These include possible college tuition credit for community service and reformation of the No Child Left Behind Act. So far, the only movements toward acting for education are included in the stimulus package, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Though the final bill has not been approved, the original draft included billions of dollars for schools. This money would go to renovate schools and prevent states from cutting budgets for education. During a Feb. 3 visit to an elementary school, Obama discussed some of this spending. “The recovery and reinvestment act that we’ve put forward will provide billions of dollars to build schools and help with school construction,” he said. “It will provide money to train teachers, especially in subjects like math

and science that are so critical. And it will also give Secretary [of Education Arne] Duncan the resources he needs to reward excellent, innovative schools.” Other parts of the package may also trickle down to students. “He’s providing funding for industries that students definitely partake of,” Barringer said. Results of this spending, though, probably won’t be evident for some time. “It’s very difficult to measure the results,” Government teacher Nick Humbert said. “We live in such a bureaucratic society that you don’t get great results in such a short time.” Additionally, he said, “an investment in education won’t be evident until children reach later years.” One of Obama’s repeated campaign promises was instituting a $4,000 tuition credit for college students in exchange for completing 100 hours of community service. According to the education agenda from, “This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students.” This year’s seniors who, after completing all their college applications, had to complete yet another form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be one of the last classes to do so in order to receive government financial aid. The agenda promises the elimination of the FAFSA, allowing families to automatically apply when they complete taxes. Obama has set no timeline for accomplishing these goals, but it is possible that some of his actions will have an effect in the next couple years. “Hopefully graduating students will feel the effects of lower tuition,” Barringer said. “He has genuine intentions to fix education. He’s going to do everything he can to improve public education in this country.”

The writer can be reached at




H r sc pes

Read these Valentine’s Day horoscopes to help you find the perfect person to spend this romantic day with. Learn what you’re doing right and wrong and who’s your perfect match. If you are single this year, read our advice and you’ll have someone by next year.



February 13, 2009

This months horoscope...



(Feb.19-March 20)

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Be careful not to commit yourself to a planned schedule today, you don’t want to make any promises that you can’t keep. Take it easy today, relax, and have fun. However, make sure to pay special attention to that one significant person and let them know you’re thinking of them.

Today, concentrate on family. Let them really know how important they are to you, chances are they will be doing the same for you.

Match: Gemini

Match: Virgo




(June 21-July 21)

(July 22-Aug. 21)

Don’t spend your day waiting for a surprise. Instead, have fun with whatever the day brings you and don’t hold that special someone to any expectations.

Try sending that person some subtle signals today. Confidence is key. You’ll be giving off such good energy vibes that you’re bound to catch their attention!

Match: Capricorn

Match: Taurus

(March 21-April 20)

(April 21-May 20)

(May 21-June 20)

Waiting to make a bold move? Today’s the day to do it! If you don’t seize it now, the opportunity may just pass you by.

Don’t refuse any offer you get today! Give that person a chance and you may be surprised with the outcome.

Tonight you will end up right where you want to be. Whether your on that date with your sweetie, or with your friends, you will feel loved.

Match: Cancer   Match: Sagittarius


Match: Scorpio


(Aug. 22-Sept. 21)

(Sept. 22-Oct. 21)

Don’t be too picky or stubborn today. Be flexible to any change in plans, especially if it’s something you least expect.

Today you need to be true to yourself and do what your inner-voice demands. The best way to find someone is to know yourself well enough first.

Match: Pisces



(Oct. 22-Nov. 21) Try showing your affection in an nonmaterialistic way. Most people enjoy flowers and chocolates, but there are other ways to show how you feel. Use your words.

(Nov. 22-Dec. 20)

(Dec. 21-Jan. 19)

Say what’s on your mind. Today is a day to express how you feel, whether it’s the love you have for a friend, family member, or the one you’re attached to. Being direct will make this day run smoothly.

Today’s about having fun. Act on your impulse, invite that special someone to join you. If things don’t work out as planned, don’t sweat it.

Match: Aquarius

Match: Aries


Match: Libra

Match: Sagittarius

information by Zenobia Morrill and infographic by Jasmine Mohandesi

For her Make her dinner

V -day Gifts

AVENUE 1236 CUPID 2210137301 McLEAN VA 1 703-893-367

For him

Bake him cookies or a special Valentine’s Day cake

Bombard his facebook with cute comments give y a D ’s e tin Give her your favorite This Valen omeone the Movie night for him ls picture framed that specia t without the -i.e. The Godfather, The Departed, Die Hard if g t c e e f r r a e p st. Here Watch her favorite movie Make a candy jar of his favorite ormous co o-cost, gift n e with her and no complaining n , e t u c candies and chocolates e d m so im” an H -i.e. The Notebook r o F “ s a t ide will le Her” that money Prepare a scavenger hunt for him, r o F “ r Take her out for a night stroll and u o y p with a special prize at the end you kee star-gaze r date u o y e k a and m happy. Make him a CD mix of his Make her a meaningful CD mix extremely Write her a poem Don’t get one off the internet! Make her a scrapbook with her favorite pictures and funny inside jokes written on the pages GIVE HER A HUG AND TELL HER HOW AMAZING SHE IS information by Cat Davis and infographic by Jasmine Mohandesi

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favorite tunes



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Visit and make a picture slideshow set to music Make him dinner


Signed, sealed, delivered

Highlander layout by Bianca Vasquez and Sanam Shaikh

February 13, 2009

I'm yours Y

56.131.08 Chicken and Shrimp

Plunkypoo, We love you! You’re the best ref ever. Dr. Jackson, I Love You! -Tariq Farah

Angie, I’ve never met a girl like you before...I would do anything and everything to make you happy. I love you. My teeth hurt..... -Charlie

Heather, You are the best sister! Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Adam


Bobby, Happy Valentines Day! I love you. Love, Jesse

I love you Butterfly. Dear Vanessa, You are wonderful and Talia made me buy this so I’m sending it to you! Looooove, Trina...and Talia

Hello. I love you Robin and I hope you have a perfect Valentine’s Day. -I’ll see you soon!

Dear You, Valentine’s Day is lame. Love, Mattie

Kenz, Happy 15th birthday! Thank you for being the greatest best friend ever! Love, Hannah

Zoon, You are my broda from anotha motha. :)

To all the people who didn’t get a Valentine, “If you did not get a Valentine’s this that I’ve get you covered.”

Lizzafred, Buh buhh buh BUH buh AD WUB YOOOOU buh buhh BUUUHHH. -Monkle

Henry K: You’re the best guy a girl could ask for. Thanks for all you do sweet cheeks! I LOVE YOU! Love forever, Olivia

Kire Swarna guru, Tui jano amar shongey shobsomay thakish. Love, Choto didi

Miss Poe! Happy Valentine’s Day sweetheart. You are my everything. Lots of love -Dave

Dear Lebron (Melissa), I got your back. Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Kobe

Evin, I wanted to make you laugh, but then I realized I’m not funny, and that you should of bought an ad for me. Happy VDay! Love, Sam




Walk for a


February 13, 2009

Memory Walk of ‘09

Walk MS Breast Cancer 3 Day

Lynchburg’s Asthma Walk Walk Now for Autism Danny Jabbour Reporter

Anne Kinghorn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Inspired by her diagnosis, Kinghorn signed up to participate in “The Breast Cancer 3 Day.” She now participates in the “Race for a Cure” every year. “I feel good because I’m giving back and helping other women. The money raised could help a woman get a mammogram, and it makes me feel good,” Kinghorn said. Freshman Danielle Wertz also walks in “Race for a Cure,” which hopes to find a

cure for breast cancer. Wertz has been involved since 2003 and continues to walk for her mother­—who was diagnosed with the disease. “[Participating] makes me feel good, because maybe it will help find a cure one day,” Wertz said. Another person who tries to help out is Physical Education teacher, Joseph Muskett. Muskett walks and runs in a number of events including “Walk for Life,” “Brian’s 5k,” and the “Chemistree 5k.” He has been participating in the “Walk for Life” for 25 years and “Brian’s 5k” since its origin. “First off, it’s always good to be a part of

something,” Muskett said. “It brings good recognition and awareness to causes.” Many of these walks have had their starts in the McLean community. “Brian’s 5k” was developed in 2006 for a McLean High School Alumnae, Brian Anderson. Anderson, an All-District lineman fractured his C-6 vertebra and became paralyzed while on vacation. “Doing Brian’s 5k is a fun way to give back to the community,” Sophomore Nick Hedrick said. “Plus I like to run; it makes me feel good.” Another event developed by the McLean community is the annual “Chemistree 5k’”run and walk. This event was devel-

oped in memory of a McLean High School chemistry teacher, Terry Moore. Students have plenty of upcoming charity events from which to choose. Events coming up in Washington D.C. are the “Memory Walk of ’09” (Alzheimer’s disease) on Oct. 17, “Walk MS” (Multiple Sclerosis) on April 25 and “The Breast Cancer 3 Day,” which takes place on October 9-11. Muskett said that, charity events allow students to show true support for a cause instead of simply talking about it. “When you participate, you go beyond just saying, ‘gee it’s too bad about Brian Anderson or Terry Moore;’ you go above and beyond verbal recognition, you take it one step further, and it’s also a personal sacrifice for you,” Muskett said.

This writer can be reached at

SAT Prep Exclusively for High-Achievers It's no surprise that Honors Test Prep is the SAT prep program of choice for top area students. � Outstanding test results (Ask for our list of parent references.) � All instructors have scored 800 on the exam sections they teach � Detailed written critiques of each student's writing exercises � More hours of genuine instruction � Locations in McLean and Falls Church � Small classes Visit to review our complete '08-'09 course schedule and learn about our SAT Course, SAT Essay Workshop, and PSAT/SAT Course.


“We and our son felt that Honors Test Prep did a great job in preparing him for the SAT.” Betsy Sigman, parent of McLean HS student, Class of '09

"The course that you offer is well geared to high-achievers. The small class size, individual attention, and personal comments on every essay that the kids write are unlike any other course that I have heard of. I attribute my son's success to Honors Test Prep." Beatrice D'Souza, parent of TJ student, Class of '09

"We were very impressed with the improvements that our daughter made in her reading and writing scores. She was, in fact, surprised at how well she did and attributes her scores in both areas solely to your classes." Diane Ungerleider, parent of TJ student, Class of '09

February 13, 2009



Highlander Official Ballot

DIRECTING “The Curious Case...” “Frost/Nixon” “Milk” “The Reader” “Slumdog Millionaire”



Photos courtesy of vc82t.jpg and childcare_star.gif

COSTUME DESIGN “Australia” “The Curious Case...” “The Duchess” “Milk” “Revolutionary Road” CINEMATOGRAPHY “Changeling” “The Curious Case...” “The Dark Knight” “The Reader” “Slumdog Millionaire” ART DIRECTION “Changeling” “The Curious Case...” “The Dark Knight” “Revolutionary Road” “The Duchess”

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” “Encounters at the End of the World” “The Garden” “Man on Wire” “Trouble the Water”

ACTRESS, LEADING Anne Hathaway in “Rachel...” Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” Meryl Streep in “Doubt” Kate Winslet in “The Reader”




Amy Adams in “Doubt” Penelope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina...” Viola Davis in “Doubt” Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious...” Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM “The Baader Meinhof Complex” “The Class” “Departures” “Revanche” “Waltz with Bashir” VISUAL EFFECTS

“The Curious Case...” “The Dark Knight” “Frost/Nixon” “Milk” “Slumdog Millionaire” ANIMATED FEATURE “Bolt” “Kung-Fu Panda” “WALL-E”

BEST PICTURE “The Curious Case...” “Frost/Nixon” “Milk” “The Reader” “Slumdog Millionaire” SHORT FILM, ANIMATED “Le Maison en Petits Cubes” “Lavatory - Lovestory” “Oktapodi” “Presto” “This Way Up” SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION “Auf der Strecke “Manon on the Asphalt” “New Boy” “The Pig” “Spielzeugland (Toyland)” SOUND EDITING “The Dark Knight” “Iron Man” “Slumdog Millionaire” “WALL-E” “Wanted” SOUND MIXING “The Curious Case...” “The Dark Knight” “Slumdog Millionaire” “WALL-E” “Wanted” SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED

“The Curious Case...” “The Dark Knight” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

SCREENPLAY ORIGINAL “Frozen River” “Happy-Go-Lucky” “In Bruges” “WALL-E” “Milk”

“The Conscience of Nhem En” “The Final Inch” “Smile Pinki” “The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306


“The Curious Case...” “The Dark Knight” “Iron Man”


The 81st Annual Academy Awards will be held Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. The ceremony will take place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and will be hosted by Hugh Jackman. Fill out the ballot below, and the student with the most accurate predictions will receive a Highlander Prize. Tear out this page and turn it in to Room S111 by February 21.

ACTOR, LEADING Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” Sean Penn in “Milk” Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case..” Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”

Josh Brolin in “Milk” Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic...” Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” Michael Shannon in “Revolution...”


ORIGINAL SONG “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” Millionaire” “O Saya” from “Slumdog

“The Curious Case...” “Doubt” “Frost/Nixon” “The Reader” “Slumdog Millionaire” ORIGINAL SCORE “The Curious Case...” “Defiance” “Milk” “WALL-E” “Slumdog Millionaire”

‘The few, the proud, the Marines’ Jasmine Mohandesi Features Editor

Photo courtesy of Thomas Harris Thomas Harris at a young age with his father, a former Marine. Harris has enlisted in the Marines and will be going to boot camp on Aug. 10.

Next year, McLean’s seniors will be off to college and taking their first steps towards a new life. However, not all students will be taking this traditional path. Students like Thomas Harris and Peter Cofrancesco will be serving in the Marine Corps. “We both wanted to be a part of something bigger and better,” Harris said. “So we joined the Marines.” Harris and Cofrancesco both enlisted last month. According to Harris, he has wanted to be a Marine since age four.

“It has always been my dream,” Harris said. “My dad was a colonel in the Marine Corps for 30 years, so he has definitely inspired me.” Harris and Cofrancesco will travel to Paris Island, South Carolina on Aug. 10 for “boot camp.” All recruits who live east of the Mississippi River train at Paris Island while recruits who live west of the Mississippi River train in San Diego. The two seniors are buddies in the Marine Corps Buddy System. “We are in the Buddy System so we will go to boot camp together, be deployed together and have someone to help us out,” Harris said. Enlistees will learn drilling,

marching, self defense, survival and technical skills, martial arts, and marksmanship as well as an array of other skills. “It is going to be a lot of discipline and direction,” Harris said. “But it would be great to serve our country.” After approximately three months of boot camp, the recruits will have 10 days to visit their families and then move on to infantry school. According to Harris, after infantry school, they will then go to a specialty school. “Every Marine is trained as a rifleman, unlike the army,” Harris said. “So I will probably be there

for another three months. I am signed up for a total of eight years of service to the Marine Corps.” Cofrancesco says that “the Marines are the hardest military institute to get into. They are looking for people in top-notch condition.” According to Harris, there is a large possibility that he and Cofrancesco will be sent off to fight. “There is a good chance I could go to Afghanistan,” Harris said. “But I’m ready. I mean, you don’t join the most prestigious branch of the military unless you really want to serve and help out your country.”

The writer can be reached at




February 13, 2009

Teachers’ desks overflow with recommendations Alison Shapiro Editorials Editor

A killer essay and awesome grades can certainly help students get into a good college, but teacher recommendations can be just as important. The hardest part of getting a great recommendation may be finding someone in the school who really knows you, given that instructors often teach hundreds of students each year. Teachers don’t have it any easier. History teacher Barbara Ruff definitely has her fair share of “recs” to fill out every year. Ruff says she writes about 75-80 student reports a year. While recommendations are time consuming, especially when there are so many, Ruff is always happy to take the time and students are always grateful. “Kids appreciate the effort we give them and students will acknowledge it with thank-you notes or small gifts,” Ruff said. According to Ruff, a recommendation typically takes about an hour to write and another hour to copy, if it is going out to more than one college, fold, put in envelopes and mail out. History teacher Helen Stephan sent out a pile of recommendations last year—260 in total. English teacher Marc Cascio does not take as much time as Ruff to write a recommendation, but still has about 50-100

kid. We know kids better if they come after school and work with us,” Stephan added. “I have to be reasonably familiar with [the student], but it’s not normally hard,” Cascio said. “I try to make sure I know something other than knowing they are one of my students.” Teachers may be easy to reach because they are right in the school, but there are many other people to go to that may know you just as well—provided, of course, that colleges do not require a high school teacher to write it. “Kids can go to teachers, boy scout leaders, pastors, reverends, anyone who knows you,” Ruff said. Cascio said coaches are a good source for recommendations, provided you have known them for a long time. Recommendations are a way for colleges to see your qualities as a person, not just a test-taker or multitasker. Building a good relationship with at least two of your teachers will come in handy when the time comes to find someone to write up a positive reommendation for you.

photo by Alison Shapiro Barbara Ruff spends numerous hours writing college recommendations for students. Ruff reportedly writes between 75 and 80 recommendations a year. to produce a year. “It takes no shorter than half an hour.” Ruff, Cascio and Stephan all agree that they need to know more than the student’s name to write a good rec. “We don’t like things just stuck in our mailbox,” Ruff said. “We need to know more than them just being just a smart

The writer can be reached at

Classes get student interest during electives fair Henry Kuhl Reporter

classes, such as Programming, Dance and Advanced PE, the latter of which has been available for years, but has never been implemented. PE Department Chair Don Vivacqua thinks Advanced PE has never run before because “more of our students have priorities in AP classes that may have a closer relationship to what they want to pursue for their career. Advanced PE is low on their list[of classes], not that that’s negative.” Allman said that the “academic advising piece happens when a student comes and registers with their counselor.” Academy classes are well-liked among students as well. Sophomore George Hawkins, who is taking Auto Mechanics, said, “It’s fun because I like cars and it’s something I would like to do for my career.”

Electives such as Photography, Law in Action, AP Psychology and Oceanography are among students’ top elective choices. Other electives, though, have found less support such as Programming, Dance and Advanced PE. According to Counselor John Allman, Oceanography was such a popular choice last year that the class will only be available to seniors for the 09-10 year. “We didn’t know how many students would want it, so we put it out there, but there was high interest, so we had to limit the numbers,” Allman said. Only 91 students were given a spot in the class, out of the 150 that signed up. But students are not nearly as enthusiastic about other



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Please make your check payable to MHS PUBLICATIONS. Please mail in your form, bring it to the front office or give it to Ms. Percival in the Yearbook Room - S105. Your cancelled check is your receipt.

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The 2009 Clan



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AP and honors classes remain popular. Last year, McLean students took 1481 AP exams. Teacher Jean Wright said, “due to increased enrollment and cuts from state funding, the superintendent asked for 57 million from the county.” According to Wright, if the county doesn’t get the money, it will have to make more cuts than proposed. Because of this they will raise class sizes by two students. Students may have trouble switching out of classes next year due to more students in classes. “There will be no wiggle room in the need to make your decision because if there are already 30 kids in another class, they can’t take anyone else.” Wright said.

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February 13, 2009



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2 4 5


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2. In XOXO, what does the X represent? 4. Happy Valentine’s _?

1. This holiday is in this month. 3. Be my _?

5. Symbol of the holiday 7. “I didn’t steal your _!” 9. A heart-shaped box of _?

6. He shoots arrows of love. 8. These birds are symbols of love.



















A romantic movie night with your choice of movie

Full of Cuddling *Note* This coupon can only be redeemed on a rainy day

Redeemable for a romantic picnic for two



10. The most common flower given on this day?

A rainy day



1. February 2. Kisses 3. Valentine 4. Day 5. Heart 6. Cupid 7. Boyfriend 8. Doves 9. Chocolate 10. Rose

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Staying Active: Teachers lead by example

Q: Why do you choose to do weightlifting? A: I enjoy lifting because I think it is one of the very few things where you see the results of hard work. I am very competitive so I always see if I can go farther than I am right now. That [beating previous score] feeling is awesome.

photo by Cammie Meade


Q: What type of exercise do you Ca m

F a r r i s


M ie

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A: I run. Q: How often do you run? A: I usually workout three to four times a week. Q: What type of workouts are you doing right now? A: I am doing 4 mile workouts for a 10 mile race that I am doing in April. G Q: Have you done other races? a A: I ran a half marathon last year in New Jersey. l Q: How do you find time to run? A: Because I am a teacher, I can usually get home by e 3:30 which leaves hours and hours for running. Q: Why do you run? A: I was voted most athletic in high school and I think I kind of want to keep photo courtesy of Farris Gale that up. I just like doing it, I like being healthy.

C a s c i o

Q: How often do you lift? A: I lift four times a week at the weight room.

photo by

M a r c

Many teachers at McLean stay in shape throughout the year. Here are a couple of teachers who use various methods to stay healthy and fit.

Q: What type of exercise do you do? A: I’m into anaerobic exercises like weightlifting.

The writer can be reached at

Mohammad Tavakoli

For five days every year, some of the world’s most expensive, luxurious and futuristic cars in the world awe Washingtonians, Virginians and Marylanders alike. The gargantuan Washington Convention Center in D.C. plays host to the Washington Auto Show in early February each year, bringing together thousands of car lovers, technology geeks, environmentalists, businessmen and celebrities. The Center acts as an interactive parking garage for visitors, who can walk around looking at the cars while snapping pictures with their phones and cameras. All except the most expensive ones can be opened and sat in. Some are even turned on so visitors can fiddle with the radio. “It’s cool how you can just sit in any car you want except the really nice ones, and a lot of people take advantage of it,” junior Nik Arur said. “It’s just like a shopping trip, because you can always ask someone from the company to come over and tell you about the cars.” The two floors of the Convention Center are broken up into well-labeled sections for

each of the car companies on display. Among the hundreds of vehicles are booths set up by companies to show off their new eco-friendly technologies or concept cars that they hope to set in place in the future. These booths include hydrogen-powered cars and cars that run on vegetable oil. By far, the most popular cars at the show are the expensive sports cars, which draw large crowds to their purple felt protective fences. However, in today’s economy, where more miles per gallon have overtaken more horsepower as a selling point, the fuel efficient cars are much more popular than they used to be. “I’ve gone to the show for the past couple years and the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and such always attract tons of people, but this year, the companies were really emphasizing fuel economy and eco-friendliness at their booths, and so lots of people were also looking at the [Toyota] Priuses and other hybrids,” junior John Richards said.

to by

David Berk Sports Editor

H a r d m a n

Q: What type of exercise do you do? A: Lately I have been running on the treadmill, but I usually run outside or on the track. Q: How often do you run? A: I run four to five times a week. Q: Why do you continue running? A: My father was a PE teacher, and I was a daddy’s girl. I was always on the track and spent a lot of time at the track or on the field. I also was a three sport athlete in high school. I played field hockey at Ohio University, so we had a tough regiment there. Q: Have you done any races? A: Ms. Guckenberger and I ran Jingle All the way, a 10k downtown, in December. I also did a 10 miler last April. Q: What are your goals for this year? A: One goal for this year is to run two ½ marathons. And I am getting married in June so I want to be able to fit into my white dress.

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Washington Auto Show rolls to town

S u m m e r

February 13, 2009



Infographic by Cammie Meade

Mixed martial arts practitioners ready to ‘fight anybody’ Normally if a student at McLean knocks someone else unconscious, they are going to be in serious trouble. However, in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, some McLean students are encouraged and even praised after a fight. Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most well-known combat sports, and over the past few years has enjoyed a huge growth in popularity among high school students. MMA is a contest between two people using a mixture of different martial arts disciplines, with the intent to subdue your opponent. One of the most popular MMA leagues is the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. Many students at McLean have started to follow this league over the past couple of years. “MMA is one of my favorite things to watch on TV. After I saw the movie ‘Fight Club’, I really started to get interested in the sport,” junior Sam Adler said. In addition to this interest in watching the sport, some students at McLean have begun to participate in it as well. Juniors David Chun and Alessandro Molina have been do-

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ing various forms of MMA for over two years. Both of them practice various forms of martial arts such as Muay Thai, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They participate in amateur leagues that focus on sparring with other participants. Both Chun and Molina have been interested in the sport for a long time. “As a kid I was always into fighting, and later Mixed Martial Arts. It just seemed like something that I really wanted to do,” Chun said. After they first started with the sport, Chun and Molina both found that it was one of the most exhilarating things they had ever done. “When you spar with someone else it can get really exciting. The adrenaline from sparring can keep you going for days,” Molina said. This initial love of the sport has kept them interested for several years now, and even has Chun toying with the idea of becoming an amateur fighter. He sees it as a way to make some good money on the side, and have fun at the same time. Chun particularly enjoys sparring against his friends. “Nothing is more satisfying than putting a hurting on

your friend. It just really gives you a good feeling. I guess I just love beating people up,” Chun said. Although the sport can be very exhilarating, it also carries some inherent risks. “Lots of people do get hurt doing MMA. Broken bones are not that uncommon, and bruises and sprains are routine,” Molina said. Molina cites the lack of younger participants as one major reason why injuries can occur. “When you are out there fighting guys who are a lot bigger than you, yeah, some bad stuff can happen,” he said. Despite these risks, both Chun’s and Molina’s parents support their child’s interest in the sport. They see it as good exercise, and a way to keep them active. Molina and Chun would like to see interest in MMA spread even farther in the McLean community. They would see it as a good way to create a solid base for future MMA fighters. Also, Chun would enjoy fighting people from McLean. “We challenge the whole school. I will fight anybody in the school if they are interested,” Chun said.

The writer can be reached at

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February 13, 2009



Getting a jump on spring season Danny Marx Reporter

Left: Junior Zach Johnson placed first in the 16 yr-old 1500 meter race against 63 other competitors. Right: Junior Joe Smith and seniors Kelly Hall, Larry Peterson, and Colleen Devlin placed 2nd in the mixed 2000 meter relay.

Crew pulls through at ergs Zenobia Morrill Reporter   

Compared to last year, the team is down 20 rowers, yet they still managed to win first place in the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints competition on Saturday, January 31st. Despite Yorktown’s attendance of 109 rowers, McLean, with 53 rowers competing, still earned more points than any other high school. The team finished with a total of 5 gold medals, 9 silver medals, and 7 bronze medals and won the overall competition for all high schools with 215 points. Many rowers competed in multiple events throughout the day. In preparation for the competition, junior Colleen Warren says she got lots of sleep, practiced and stretched every weeknight prior to competing. She ended up winning two medals in of the three events she rowed in at the event. Senior Chris Salpeas prepared by eating lots of carbs rich in nutrients and getting a lot of sleep. “I’m looking to get a PR [personal record] and set my own record,” says Salpeas, “That’s what I’m here to do.”     Many rowers did  attain new personal records after the exhausting day of rigorous competition. McLean rowers left Mid-Atlantics successful and proud of their accomplishments. “I’m proud of McLean,” exclaimed Warren. “We worked hard and everyone did their best.”

GOLD Zach Johnson (Jr.) LW Mens 1500m

SILVER Nick Tobat (Jr.) LW Mens 1500m

Colleen Devlin (Sr.) Womens 2000m

Joe Smith (Jr.) Mens 1500m

Aaron Lesher (Sr.) Mens Coxswain 500m Bridget Smith (Fr.) Womens 500m Elizabeth Masgarha (Sr.) and Colleen Warren (Jr.) 3min Double Slide

K. Wentzel (Fr.) Womens Coxswain 500m Larry Peterson (Sr.), Joe Smith (Jr.), Kelly Hall (Sr.), and Colleen Devlin (Sr.) Mixed Relay Victoria Geithman (So.) Womens 500m


Melissa Frazee (Fr.) Womens 1000m Colleen Warren (Jr.) LW Womens 500m Michael Freeman (Jr.) Coxswain 500m Chris Salpeas (Sr.) and Daniel Russel (Sr.) Mens 3min Double Slide Brooke Bush (Sr.) and Cammie Meade (Jr.) Womens 3min Double Slide

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February is not too early to have some athletes thinking of spring. Most head coaches of spring sports have been holding winter conditioning for weeks now in anticipation of the spring season. Athletes looking to attain peak physical condition or just brush up on skill work participate in these preseason practices. Junior Sam Huffman participates in lacrosse conditioning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Huffman uses this time to fill the void between football in the fall and lacrosse in the spring. He emphasizes his workouts more on strength than cardio during winter. “I need to be at a level where I can compete right when the season starts,” Huffman said. “I want to reach my peak at the start of the season, not three months into it.” Preseason workouts may also lend an edge to participants when competing against their teammates for limited varsity slots during tryouts. Key playing time during the season is also at stake. Girls varsity lacrosse Head Coach Anne Inzerello has the final say in which girls stay and which girls go. “We always have more girls than we have spots for,” Inzerello said. “It’s everyone’s least favorite part of the season.” Winter conditioning is not accessible to everyone. Athletes still occupied by winter sports, like Senior Joe Thompson, will be practicing well past the end of conditioning. Thompson will only have a short break between winter and spring track. “I don’t even think we’ll have time to rest after regionals,” Thompson said of his Liberty District champion 4x800 meter relay team. “Last year we only had a weekend.” Some athletes, like junior Brittany McCray, believe that they can do without winter conditioning. McCray, nominated co-captain of the varsity softball team, does not have time to train with the team as long as her varsity basketball team continues into the postseason. “I think I’m capable of making the transition,” McCray said. “I’ve been playing softball for a long time.” Sophomore Harry Ukleja plays soccer all-year-round. Ukleja, originally from Britain, reflects a much more relaxed opinion on winter conditioning. “So far there’s only been one preseason weight training and it wasn’t really that organized,” Ukleja said. “A lot of us do play [on our own] at Lewinsville Park, three or four times a week.”

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Athlete of the issue: Hanna Longwell Elizabeth Masgarha Sports Editor

Junior Hanna Longwell is a competitor in lacrosse and in two seasons of cheerleading. “My dad used to work for ESPN, so our family is so sports-oriented. It was pretty much instilled in us at birth that athletics was going to be a big part of our lives,” Longwell said. Although cheer is a combination of tumbling, stunting and yelling, lacrosse would seem to combine speed, strength, and agility. But Longwell indicates that what some people overlook is that both require one pivotal skill: coordination. “I play goalie for the team, which requires a lot of hand-eye coordination,” said Longwell. “What most people don’t realize is that is really important in cheer and gymnastics because in order to tumble you have to be aware of your hands and feet at all times.” Longwell goes on to explain how being able to concentrate on where her body is when tumbling and stunting has helped her improve her coordination on the lacrosse field. “I’m more conscious of my movements and I stop a lot more goals that way,” Longwell said. No matter what team, Longwell has always been a known for her optimistic attitude towards her teammates and coaches. “Whenever the girls get stressed and just start calling everyone out on everything, Hanna is always the one to add a positive for every negative,” said cheerleading coach Brie Melton. “I don’t think I’ve

ever heard her say a hurtful thing.” Apart from competing in sports for McLean, Longwell is also on a travel lacrosse team and goes to weekly practices and games. Sometimes competing on more than one team at a time. “At one point she was on four teams,” said mother Jacky Longwell. “It was so funny to watch her go from game to game during tournaments because all the teams she played for competed at the same time.” However, Longwell really stresses the importance of balance in all aspects, because even she gets caught up in her whirlwind of activities. “So many times I’ve had to give up weekends because I just can’t get all my school work done with sports,” said Longwell. “It gets so frustrating when I come back from a trip, or don’t even leave at all, but I hear about the great weekend that all my friends have had.” Although it gets hard at times, Longwell has been so used to this schedule that it has become a part of her routine. “Sometimes it would be nice to just slow down and relax with my friends and get a moment for myself,” said Longwell. “But then I think about how much I hate just sitting around and I get back on track with everything.”

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Above: Longwell makes a save and runs to throw the ball back to a teammate. Left: A cheer profile from Longwell during the 2009 season.


The number of saves Longwell has made throughout her lacrosse career.


Number of backhand springs Longwell can do in a row.


Lacrosse teams Longwell played on at one time. photo courtesy of Hanna Longwell




February 13, 2009

Riding in the Behind the wheel: junior Sam Huffman


Students show off some of McLean’s hottest rides

The ride: Mazdaspeed 3 Driver’s highlight: “The car is stick shift.” Why this car: “It was the best option pricewise.”

Behind the wheel: senior Anam Gul The ride: Nissan 350Z Driver’s highlight: “It goes really fast.” Why this car: “I was competing with Ali for the nicest car.”

Behind the wheel: senior Dashuai Han The ride: Infiniti G35 Driver’s highlight: “It’s fast, c’mon now.” Why this car: “It’s elegant and sporty at the same time.”

photos by Mohammad Tavakoli

Behind the wheel: senior Ali Duranni The ride: Infiniti G35

Driver’s highlight: “The exhaust.” David Berk Sports Editor

Why this car: “It has an aggressive look.”

Some high school students feel lucky to have a family car waiting for them when they get their license, others have the priveledge to own a car when they reach that point. A select few, however, drive cars that are above the normal standard for adolescent drivers when it comes to performance or price. At McLean, there are such students, boasting Infinitis, Audis, Mercedes, BMWs, Mazdas and Nissans, among others. Some of the car owners receive the cars from their parents, either as gifts or hand-me-downs. “My parents bought it for all the kids in my family, but my siblings are all younger so it’s pretty much mine,” Junior Sam Huffman said. “My dad does drive it sometimes though.” Others, such as senior Dashuai Han, put their own money into their cars. “I pay almost 450 dollars a month, not including gas,” Han said. “Now, I kind of want to sell it, but we’ll see.” Whatever the case, some students are using their own, or their parents’ money to get high perfromance cars.

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February 13, 2009




Girls basketball dedication begins early Talia Roth Editor-in-chief

Varsity Head Coach Michael O’Brien remembers watching a 9-year-old Caitlin Baker dribble down that same court over seven years ago. “I’ve know Caitlin Baker from coming to camp since she was nine,� he said about the junior, now a varsity player. “The longer you know somebody, the more you know how to get on somebody, how to push them. I know how much I can push her.� O’Brien also remembers now-senior varsity player Caity Flint as a camper at a young age. “I had to move her up an age bracket,� he said about Flint, when he split campers into teams by age. Before O’Brien took over the McLean Basketball program in 2003, he helped out with the summer camp for girls grades three to eight. According to O’Brien, about 90 percent of athletes in the program have participated in the camp. Now, he is finally seeing the effects of his hard work. “The changes have shown through the wins we’ve been getting,� O’Brien said. His varsity team is 10-9. When he joined the coaching staff, the varsity team had won only three games in the past season. Still, the wins have not come easily. O’Brien and his players have made sacrifices and put in dedication, especially in the offseason. “When I first started here we only had a varsity fall league,� he said. Now, “all the kids in the program can participate.� O’Brien started both summer and fall leagues, in addition to continuing the camps. Freshman Coach Robert Bouchard appreciates O’Brien’s commitment to the program. “He’s getting more girls involved in basketball,� Bouchard said. “The talent’s increasing because of the time he’s put in and made us put in. It makes my job a lot easier.�

Baker said she has seen the program improve significantly since O’Brien took over. “Since Coach O’Brien started, we’ve been doing better every year,� Baker said. Bouchard’s freshman team is undefeated at 15-0 and is averaging 48 points per game, with only 15 against the team. According to Bouchard, this is really the first wave of players that had been to the camp since they were very young. He said, “It goes back to the summer.� Freshman Caroline Gray, a junior varsity player, had been going since she was in fourth or fifth grade. “Some of the upperclassmen like Caity Flint and Cailtlin Baker, I remember them being huge competition,� she said. “They were such good players.� Baker, now a counselor, said she really enjoyed the camp as a camper and as a counselor. “I love working with the kids and making it fun for them too,� she said. Freshman player Mary Spulak, who attended the camp, said when the school season started it was easier to play with her teammates because the girls had all competed with each other at camp. She also was familiar with the coach. “I got to know the freshman coach,� she said. “At tryouts he knew me and he knew how I played.� Spulak said she appreciates the extra work the coaches put in. “It shows that they have dedication to the players and that they will do anything to help us,� she said. Bouchard believes that his freshman team’s success can translate to the varsity level. “As we’re doing better, I think our program in general is doing better,� he said. No matter the team, O’Brien likes the way the future of the program looks. “It’s hard to say it automatically translates,� he said about the freshman team’s success moving to a varsity level. “But it is a good sign of the direction the program is going.�

Left: Head Coach Michael O’Brien huddles the girls together during halftime to focus on strategy, at left. McLean played against Stone Bridge High School and won 63-53. Bottom left: Senior captains Caity Flint and Taylor Ancell discuss strategy to one another during a game. Bottom right: A young Caity Flint at the mentioned basketball camp at McLean.

The writer can be reached at talia.

photo courtesy of Caity Flint

photos by Mohammad Tavakoli

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February 13, 2009

Sports Column

Unsung ice hockey team turns out a crowd against Langley

Elizabeth Masgarha Sports Editor Although only a club, McLean Ice Hockey has never failed to put on an impressive show of athleticism and talent. Always ready to win over the crowd, the team did not disappoint this past Friday at a rivalry game against Langely. Even though the game resulted in a 3-0 loss, the audience seemed to enjoy just watching the game, as much as the players enjoying competing. “It was my first game and I can’t believe I haven’t been to more,” sophomore Aaron Golesorkhi said. “Players were hitting each other left and right, and the fact that you could see everything made it that much better.” With just a team of 18 players, five of whom are seniors, the ice hockey team has persevered through tiring practices and games that take them into the late hours of the night. However, the cheer of the crowd helped them during this game more than ever before. “People don’t usually come to our games because they’re so late and pretty far away,” senior Matt McLaughlin. “But this time when we saw so many people we all got so pumped up because we wanted to perform well for the crowd.” The team so far has pulled out an 8-5-0 season under Head Coach John Sherlock and Assistant Coach Steve Winter. The team played against Woodson Wednesday night, but the results were not available at press time. Their last game will be versus Loudoun Valley High School tonight at Skatequest in Reston.

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Taking one for the team: #2 #1

the most memorable moments of the night

Sophomore Tommy Borman, in pursuit of the puck, dives in front of a Langley player for a chance to score.

Freshman Marshall Masterson manuevers a Langley player into the wall and moves past him towards the puck.

#3 Freshman Stephan Ward falls to guard the goal. This is one of many stops Ward made during the night. photos courtesy of

Strength training: what to do to gain the muscle you’ve always wanted Elizabeth Masgarha Sports Editor

Athletes are always in search of the perfect diet. They seek one that combines ample and satisfying food that will not take a toll on their body, but rather benefit it. After years of careful research, scientists seem only able to prove that what was already known is still the most effective. Studies indicate that a low-fat diet containing supple protein provides the best nutritional diet for gaining strength in athletes. However, new research suggests that the importance of dietary protein and carbohydrates may have been overlooked

until now. About 40 years ago, high-protein steak and egg diets were the order of the day when someone wanted to increase their muscle mass. The mentality was straightforward: muscles are made of protein, and therefore, to gain more protein, feed them as much as necessary to enlarge the muscles. What was missing from this logic was the role of carbohydrates in metabolisms that help peak sports performances. Scientists realized that the intake of dietary protein provides a key source of amino acids, which are the building blocks needed by your body to synthesise new muscle tissue.

Theses acids are also vital to replace and repair tissue broken down during exercise itself. So no more hamburgers and cheese steaks; the only way to efficiently digest protein is is to eat lean and fat-free. Although the exact protein varies between athletes, sports nutritionists have agreed that athletes do need more protein for optimum performance and recovery. According to, the suggested amount for athletes that engage in intense training is about 1.5-2 times the normal RDA for protein in order to maintain a positive protein balance (1-5). This equals about 105-140 grams of protein per day for a 70-kilogram athlete.

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The Highlander--February 13, 2008--issue 7  

The Highlander--February 13, 2008--issue 7 McLean High School Newspaper

The Highlander--February 13, 2008--issue 7  

The Highlander--February 13, 2008--issue 7 McLean High School Newspaper