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Walter Johnson High School

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Volume 54 I Issue 3

6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814



By Ava Bleiberg

ood, money, time, sleep, nutrients, school, sugar, friends, exercise…health and teenagers. The puzzle pieces don’t always match harmoniously. The generally hectic lives of teenagers seem to push health down the list of priorities. And even for the health-conscious, the student life-style is not widely accommodating to nourishing the body. For senior Jackson Wilke, the most important factor when eating at school is taste, followed by price, then nutrition, calories and lastly, convenience. While Wilke’s prioritization reflect his wallet and palate most predominantly, he is very mindful of the food that enters his body. “I usually think about the health value of the things I eat,” said Wilke. “It’s not as much about calories as the actual nutrients I am getting or not, or about how and where my food was made.” According to Washington, D.C. Dietitian Dr. Sandra Pinney, Wilke’s is a sound viewpoint to hold. Pinney expresses that students should focus the most on the wholesomeness of the food and nutrients that will be gained, which, in turn, will affect mood and concentration. “I feel that teenagers should have some basic nutrition education, but I do not think they should be spending a lot of time thinking about the nutritional value of the foods they eat,” said Pinney. “I would rather that kids think about balance, variety, moderation and eating less processed foods. I would like teenagers to learn to listen to their body’s cues for food and not just eat because food is so readily available.” However, some students feel that the choices are scarce when looking for nutritious items.Vending machines are stocked this year with Fruit by the Foots, Rice Krispies Treats, and cookies along with reduced-fat Chex Mix, Sun Chips and Whole Grain Pop Tarts. School vending machines have been a much debated topic among policy officials, who argue that the machines condone unhealthy eating habits. “[The] movement towards granola bars and nuts [in the vending machines] was promising, but this year the machines are filled with candy and chips again,” said junior Sara Peterson. “What should the school be focusing on; the health of their students or the amount of money they can suck out of them?” Many teenagers may wonder why the temptation of foods they know are not healthy choices are placed in front of them throughout the day. A bag of chips bought from the vending machine is offered at a greater convenience to students than a trip to Giant for the chance to peruse the aisles for more nourishing foods.

Athlete of the Month Pg. 13

Photo by Julia Haymore

Nutritional information from a Whole Grain Strawberry Poptart that was purchased for 85 cents from a WJ vending machine. The popular usage of the vending machines is attrib- ers. uted by some students to the schedule of the school “This past week of classes, I was running on about day regulating their hunger. The early start to the day four hours a night, tops,” said junior Brady Gradleaves many students cramped for time, and breakfast owski. “The fact of the matter is school starts too is often skipped to save minutes. early. Students understand this, parents understand “I don’t have time for much more than a granola this, and even teachers understand this.” bar or piece of fruit for breakfast,” said Wilke. “Then The lack of sleep results in more tired, less active lunchtime seems way too early. When we have an al- students, which hinders their ability to achieve the tered schedule I often find myself randomly getting recommended 60 minutes of physical exercise each hungry during fourth period, even though it might be day, as suggested by Pinney. 9 a.m. in the morning.” “The main problem that arises from teenagers eating poorly is obesity,” said Pinney. “Teenage obesity in “I feel like health and convenience the United States has been on the rise and, now more are strongly linked. People want to grab then ever, is a public health emergency. This current what they can before making up a test generation is the first to potentially have a shorter life span than their parents due to the complicating or running out with friends, and a cookie disease associated with being overweight.” is easier to scarf down than an apple. ” However, this is not to say that there are not many students who participate on sports teams in school Many students do not eat breakfast at all, leaving them or reach their physical activity requirements outside starving at lunch and confusing their body’s natural of school. Many students live a healthy lifestyle filled hunger cycle. Eating breakfast improves attention and with nutritious choices and a clear care for their concentration through the whole day, improves emo- bodies. tional mood and helps boost metabolism to maintain “At school I usually keep like trail mix or nuts or a healthy weight. something relatively healthy in my locker, so when I “Teenagers need a constant supply of energy and get hungry during class or after school I have somestarting the day with a protein rich, high fiber diet thing good to go to,” said Peterson. “I bring lunch may improve the food selections later in the day,” said from home like 95 percent of the time. I’m relaPinney. “Kids that are extremely hungry in the after- tively satisfied with the way I eat at school.” noon due to lack of calories earlier in the day may be drawn to the higher sugar, higher fat foods later in the To read more about health isday.” sues relating to teenagers, see Students use the high sugar and fat content of some the Self-Image spread on page foods to combat sleep. Be it a large amount of work, 8-9, investigating what happens procrastination of work or socialization, teenagers, on when obsessions with health average, do not get the recommended amount of rest take a turn for the worse. each night. Pinney acknowledges sleep deprivation as a leading cause of the decline in health seen in teenag-

Self-Image Spread Pg. 8-9

Obsessed about Body Image?

Thanksgiving Traditions Pg. 6

Fantastic Mr. Fox Pg. 12





Volume 54 | Issue 3


Afghanistan -

Same-Sex Marriage-

President Obama is sending an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan over the next six months beginning in January, totaling U.S. military commitment at 100,000 troops. This will be the second time he has sent additional U.S. forces into Afghanistan since he became President in January. Obama is also requesting further commitment from NATO allies raising the amount of NATO forces to 45,000. This acceleration of force is said to be an effort to speed the development of the Afghan military and police force. However, Obama plans to begin the withdrawal of American forces in July of 2011. “The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 ... so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers,” according to excerpts from Obama’s speech provided by CNN. This announcement has divided Obama supporters as they are weary of extending U.S. combat forces and has gained the support of many Republicans, though they are concerned with setting a date for withdrawal. “Certainly I support [the 30,000 troops] but I am very concerned about whether there is a date certain for withdrawal,” said McCain. “Success is what causes us to withdraw.You don’t tell the enemy you’re coming and you’re leaving.”

On Tuesday, December 1, the fight for national legalization of same-sex marriage took a step forward. The D.C. council passed a bill 11-2, progressing toward the legalization of same-sex marriage in the district. If the bill passes a second vote, then it will be sent to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who plans to sign it. If passed, this bill will unite with the five other states that allow gay marriage, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts. After leaving Fenty, the bill will go to a congressional review. Congress can override the city’s decision, but it is likely to support it. David Catania, one of two openly gay members on the D.C. council was a primary sponsor of the bill and was pleased that the District is taking the first steps toward legalization nation-wide of same-sex marriage. “It really speaks to the long and rich tradition of tolerance and acceptance that does make up the sense of place in the District of Columbia,” said Catania in a article. The only two members of the council to vote against the bill were Marion Barry and Yvette M. Alexander. However, Barry stated that it was not his personal opinion that influenced his vote, but the views of his constituents. “I stand here today to express in no uncertain terms my strong commitment to the gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender community on almost every issue except this one,” Barry said.

Compiled by Luke Wilson

Compiled by Liz Wasden

FAST FACTS #1 Cockalorum

song in America according to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart is “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Couresty of

This week’s Best seller in hardcover nonfiction remains Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin. Courtesy of

One with unduly high opinions of oneself. Courtesy of

Balanophagy The eating of acorns.

The highest grossing film of the weekend is The Twilight Saga: New Moon

According to ga of the he llup polls, 49% wo alth care plan, whil uld not approve e 44% w ould. Courtesy of

Courtesy of

A Massachusetts woman discovered that the brownish burn residue on the bottom of her iron resembles the shape of Jesus Courtesy of


Graphics by Devon Murtha Facts compiled by Luke Wilson, Alexandra Sanfuentes and Liz Wasden

6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814

December 4, 2009

December 4, 2009



Volume 54 | Issue 3

6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814



A Day in the Life of... Two Academic Support Center Programs By Jenny Deutsch The main goal of high school is to prepare students for their lives once they no longer have the support of school and their parents to help them make their way in the world. Although students involved in the School and Community Based (SCB) and Learning for Independence (LFI) programs have the same goal as the rest of the student population - to be as independent as possible - they take a different path to get there. The SCB and the LFI programs are within WJ’s Academic Support Center. SCB students’ disabilities/disorders tend to be more severe than those of students in the LFI program. SCB and LFI students are not on a “diploma track,” the track where one must take classes based on typical graduation requirements, but on a “certificate track.” They receive a Certificate of Attendance stating that they were part of the WJ community and completed the Functional Life Skills Curriculum for the duration of their time in high school. Students in both the LFI and SCB programs participate in activities within the school. These activities include collecting recycling, handing out passes, helping building services, delivering mail to staff mail boxes and delivering mail to teachers in portables to save them the trip to the building to get their mail. Although in each program there is a focus on community-based work, the students still participate in some academic classes, such as English, math and reading. The SCB program, taught by academic support teacher Emilia O’Connor, focuses on teaching the skills and information deemed absolutely necessary for life after high school.Some of these skills include vocation, personal care, recreation and leisure, travel training, and most importantly, community access. This group of students spends most of their time off campus learning how to interact with the community. Students work at Michael’s Arts & Crafts, Silver Diner, Boy Scouts of America, the cafeteria at Bealls Elementary School and Borders, working as “greeters.” The LFI program, taught by academic support teachers Christine McArdle, Domenick Fabii and Clay Proctor tends to stay more within WJ and they approach academics more “traditionally” than the SCB program. These students participate in classes based on their interests instead of the graduation requirements. “If an individual really likes basketball, then we will try to place them in a basketball class,” said McArdle. Though less often than the students in the SCB program, these students also participate in community activities. “Every Friday, we apply our in-class lessons to the community and real-world experiences by traveling to various locations throughout the county and access public transportation to open up the world of opportunities for the student when they leave high school,” said McArdle. The ultimate purpose of these activities is to help the students figure out their likes and dislikes. “I like to do landscaping,” said an LFI program student who, before being introduced to the horticulture club, hadn’t known he was interested in it. “I learned something new.” It is important for all students to understand that these students are no different than any other student in the sense that they have the same initial goals. “They are working just as hard as everyone else,” said O’Connor. “They just do it a little differently.”

All photos taken by Ava Bleiberg

4 By Liz Wasden




December 4, 2009

College Application Survival Guide

That time of the year has come again: college applications. Around now, seniors are busy getting recommendations, perfecting their resumes and writing the college essays that all together may determine their futures. This is one of the most stressful times in a student’s high school career, but there are ways to make the process much more bearable. “Start early,” said college/career coordinator Bryna Blaine. “What you’ll find are the people who are in a panic are behind.” The beginning choice to help make the college selection process less stressful is to start even as early as freshman or sophomore year. Around this time in your high school career, begin deciding what you are interested in and what job you might be interested in pursuing. Begin making up a list of colleges that you think you would like, keeping in mind the different attributes of a school, such as size, proximity to home, price, setting, programs and your major. From September to Thanksgiving, as a junior, go to the college recruiter visits at WJ to schools that you feel interested in. Then take trips with your family during the school year or summer to a few of the colleges on your list. It is important to spend time on campus, even better to do so when the school is in session. As a senior, go again to the college visits, but limit your visits to your top choices. “One size does not fit all,” said Blaine. “What worked for your parents or your older brother may not be right for you.” Throughout the year, WJ provides many opportunities for students to catch up on college information. “We do a college fair in the spring and juniors and seniors have three excused absences for college visits,” said counsel-

ing services director Dennis Reynolds. curricular activities and focus on one,” “There is also a College Info Night for all said senior Vivian Wang. “Colleges like to grades in February, for juniors in April see that you are focused on one activity.” The number of college applications is and a Financial Aid workshop in Decemanother stressful aspect of the process, ber.” Not only should juniors begin going on but it varies depending on the student. college visits and looking into schools, but Many students can achieve their needed they have a lot on their plate with SAT/ range of schools in just two applications ACT prep. “Triumph” is a new SAT/ACT where others find it in 12. “We tell students a good ballprep program designed for stupark range is between six dents to have constant acand 10,” said Reynolds. cess to practice online. “Not enough schools It includes lessons and you are limof concepts and Things to Consider ited, too many, basic problems When Applying to College and students that will be on have not rethe tests. You fined their list can also take a enough and practice SAT/ are applying ACT test, to schools for which not the sake of only simulates applying. This what it will be causes a floodlike when you ing of the apreally take eiplication market ther test, but also and only hurts stugives you a sense dents in the end.” of your strengths and Students should not weaknesses. Be sure you Infographic by Liz Wasden only apply to desired schools, are prepared, but don’t overbut also include some backup schools study. The pressure of doing well could that they are confident they can get into. affect your scores negatively. “Don’t study the night before,” said Wang is applying to a total of nine colBlaine. “Relax. Get a good night’s sleep leges, within the recommended number and come refreshed and ready to take the of colleges. “I applied to 10 engineering schools,” test.” Come senior year, it is time for college said senior Cal Glover. “All are from the applications. Begin writing your essays Top 50 list.” One of the most crucial and ultimately over the summer and make a schedule of all of your due dates. Organize your re- deciding factors of the whole college sume and make sure that all of your after- application is the essay, and it is key to make it right. Be constantly revising for school activities are in order. “[Students] should start organizing mistakes and improvements. “The most stressful part is the essay what they are doing in terms of extra-

Price School size Proximity to home Setting: urban, suburban, rural Classes and programs offered Your major

getting it right,” said Glover. “You pretty much have to write one perfectly.” Reynolds also agreed that the essay portion is a stressful and daunting task when looking towards the future. It can make or break you. “The essay is one opportunity to give information about you,” he said. “One shot to indicate who you are.” College interviews, which are meetings with a college admissions counselor, are another way for you to get to know the college. Though they are not always mandatory, it is important to be prepared for one. “Study the school,” said Wang. “Read the Web site and know what it offers. Know what attracts you about the school and have ready specific examples about why you think you should go there.” A few seniors are not sending out college applications yet, but are planning to take a gap year in between high school graduation and freshman year. “Students not going straight to college need to plan for their gap year in the same way kids prepare for college,” said Reynolds. “The time they spend will be valuable and they should be productive about the way they fill it.” WJ sends out about 2700 applications a year. 80 percent of WJ graduates apply to four-year colleges, which is well above the national average. Amidst the stress of college applications and the pressure of senior year, students should be reminded that this is an exciting new phase of life and for many, will be a significant turning point to mature decisions and adulthood from childhood. “This should be a fun, happy and exciting experience,” said Blaine. “With college preparations begins the freedom of choice.”


December 4, 2009




How would you get people to pick up their trash?

Trashy Hallways Are Dirty Violations By Abby Singley

“I think people would pick up their trash more if there were dire consequences.” - Junior Kailey Dickison

“I would get Dr. Garran to tell them.” - Junior Allison Kepple

“I would just be like, ‘hey, pick up your trash,’ and if they don’t I’d kick their a**.” - Senior Ting Shen Chen

As we all sat in fifth period on Nov. 3, an announcement came on the PA system. It was Principal Christopher Garran’s voice, a harsh voice, a very, very, harsh voice. Hmmm . . . Code Blue or Code Red drill? Woo-hoo! Not so much. Those expected words of “students, we are now entering a Code Red drill” were not on Dr. Garran’s rant agenda; he was angry. Instead came a long talk about students abusing our privilege to openlunch – shoplifting at Giant and leaving trash all over our own school’s hallways. I sat in my AP Calc class listening intently, as more about this issue came out. Did something just happen? Were a bunch of students arrested for shoplifting? Apparently not. Security told a Pitch reporter the next day that Dr. Garran made the announcement as a “spur of the moment” type of thing. Well, thank you, Dr. Garran, because it is time for something to be done about this. Seeing a hallway at the beginning of fifth period is like seeing a street that was struck by a tornado on trash night. It’s ridiculous, and it’s preventable. We can’t even throw our own trash away? All the school is asking you to do is take care of your own mess. If everyone throws out their own trash the problem is solved. But apparently, that’s too difficult for us. We choose to make many people’s jobs even harder while they deal with our inability to “respect” the school. Think about how lucky we are to have such a dedicated building service team that can make our school go from being trashed to sparkling clean. Yet, I don’t think their job description reads, “clean For

w e e k l y

U p

A t

B a t

up trash after lazy students to save them trip to the trash can.” So what should we do about this problem? Dr. Garran’s announcement mentioned using the school surveillance cameras to catch those who are “too busy” to pick up their trash. Sounds like a cool idea. But also sounds like a pathetic waste of time, and we should be ashamed that it’s come to that. Therefore, I propose a warning system that will cause embarrassment, possible damage to Uggs and the popping of personal bubbles. Warning No. 1: Water gun squirt. CAUTION: No warning shots fired. Warning No. 2: You will be forced to eat lunch sitting in a desk right in the middle of your group of friends. But you’ll have another friend with you. A good old security guard. This security guard will hover right over your desk, watching your every move, especially your strut to the trashcan. Warning No. 3: You will be forced to wear a “trash can hat” – a mini trashcan that can be fitted to the head. With this fantastic hat, you will sit in the hallway and encourage kids to put trash in your hat. Too bad if they miss! After you’ve been given these three warnings, you will face the ultimate consequence. For one week, you will be required to pick up trash in the hallways during and after lunch with trash tongs, wearing an orange jumpsuit. Now pick one – my warning system or Dr. Garran playing a tape back for you of you trashing the school. Or, just do one simple thing: pick up your trash! p o l l s ,

v i s i t

Photos by Celia Karp

“I would fine them, I guess.” - Sophomore Ashley Sawyers

“[I would] put more trashcans where people eat.” - Junior Martin Alberico

“If they don’t [pick up their trash], they’re going to have to eat it.” - Sophomore Patrick Berry

“They could get some kind of reward [for picking up stuff.]” - Freshman Ana Cachau-Hansgardh (Left) “I would single them out. I would be like, ‘Hey man, you can’t just like trash it; there are trashcans and recycling bins every four feet from you so quit being such jacka**es.” - Senior James Mizoguchi (Right)

“[By] telling them to pick up their trash.” - Senior Julio Sanchez Editors-in-Chief Colin Buley Luke Wilson Abby Singley* News Editor Ava Bleiberg Ku Jung* Assistant News Editor Liz Wasden Editorial Editor Alexandra Sanfuentes Ian Green* Assistant Editorial Editor Devon Murtha Sports Editor Mateo Williamson Hannah Flesch* Jeremy Smith* Assistant Sports Editors Kathleen Seale Zach Gordon

Arts & Entertainment Editors Sasha Tycko Sophie Meade Rylee Genner* Feature Editor Camilla Yanushevsky Katie Levingston* Assistant Feature Editor Allison Gordon Layout Editor Parker Smith Copy Editors Abby Singley Devon Murtha Photo Editor Celia Karp Kathleen Seale*

* Online Staff


The Pitch is published nine times a year by the students of Walter Johnson High School, 6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814. Advertising and subscription rates are available by calling 301-803-7302. Editorial opinions represent those of The Pitch staff and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff, faculty, or student body. We welcome letters, articles, photographs, and artwork to be submitted to room 211 or e-mailed to thepitch@ The Pitch is an award-winning paper that works towards providing the student body with accurate as well as credible information.

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist 2009

National Scholastic American Scholastic Press Association Press Association Pacemaker Award First Place Special Merit 2008 2008-2009

“I would force them to [clean up] and hit them if they don’t.” -Senior Sean O’Leary Print Staff Writers Jennifer Spencer Maia Dicey Flor Martinez Jenny Deutsch Cami Keyani Abby Singley Alex Spinard

Online Staff Writers Ryan Lynch Miklos Szebeni Daniel Fanaroff

Online Reporter Peter Langer Photographers Kevin Nuñez PR Manager Alex Curtis Alex Spinard Cami Keyani Kathleen Seale Business Manager Andrea Linder Flor Martinez Advertising Manager Julia Haymore Hannah Flesch Artist/Cartoonists Krithi Ramaswamy Will McGowan Samara Fantie Advisor Hilary Gates




Luke’s Life! Nostalgia...

By Luke Wilson I have lived a mere 17 years, but I have found myself. Some journey endlessly to discover their true self; I am happy to say that upon examining the experiences I have had and the people I have met, I am now a complete man.   As a child, I was best friends with Sam Lichtman, your SGA secretary, not quite as prestigious as Editor-in-Chief of the The Pitch, but who’s counting? We first met in pre-school, where our common link was a love of power rangers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a refusal to get potty trained. (Sometimes I wish I had fought just a little harder against the pressures to potty train, diapers are so convenient and not to mention more comfortable than these boxers that are constantly riding up.)    However, this fierce independence led to vicious bullying, as we carried our rebellion well into the sixth grade. They used to call us the diaper duo and the bathroom buddies, so needless to say we needed a sabbatical.    We accepted an offer from my Uncle Dave, who upon hearing our woes invited me, Sam and my parents to his quaint, small town home in West Virginia. Dave had planned a lunch with one of their friends from at a local diner upon our arrival. As I strode into the local diner I saw a man approaching in a straw hat, with thick denim jeans and a dirt stained shirt.     “Hello, I’m Mr. Clarence Carter, but you can just call me Clarence,” he said. “What do y’all think about our nook of the country, different from Washington D.C., isn’t it?”     Now at this point in my life, my intelligence was still in its virgin state and in all fairness, I was raised without manners. Until the fourth grade I was convinced that profanity-laced conversations were the norm. So I didn’t really have an understanding of etiquette in any form, and my parents didn’t really either.      “Well it’s quite different,” I said. “I have never seen so many hillbillies in one place in my life.”     “Yes, that is true, Luke,” my Mom added eagerly. “We have a lot of dogs, cats, birds and squirrels, but no hillbillies.”     “Jody, do you even know what hillbillies are?” My Dad asked sarcastically. “They are not a different species; they are humans, just with a different lifestyle.”     “Whoops!” she exclaimed. “My mistake! Just another one of my blond moments!”     “Mom, you’re a brunette,” I replied.     Dave was looking at us with a big grin on his face. “I guess I am a hillbilly,” said Dave with a chuckle. “I’m willing to accept that.” At this point I had my epiphany. I realized I was everything I wanted to be.   “I am your bathroom buddy, I am a diaper-wearing doofus,” I said to Sam, mesmerized by Dave’s courage. “Maybe I should still swim in the kiddie pool where I can pee.” “You pee in pools?” asked Sam. “That’s probably where I got my rash from… Why would you do that?!!?” “It doesn’t matter, we are best friends,” I replied. “We are bathroom buddies; we can do this stuff.” “That we are my friend,” said Sam. “That we are.”     

December 4, 2009


Pitch Opinion: College Apps Threaten Student Wellbeing The pressure builds up- you have a week to complete six essays that will be read by admissions officers who will decide your future. All essays are expected to be outstanding to make you stand out among thousands of applicants. In reality they are excessive, time-consuming and an arduous, yet obligatory, part of senior year. We try to put them off, but as deadlines approach, college applications cause much distress and inevitably have to be completed unless you want to spend the next four years disappointing everyone, including yourself. Sure, you can take a gap year, or something similar, but the majority

of seniors participate in the college application process. College applications are an obvious necessity, and some schools do take in consideration our valuable time by making their applications straightforward and relatively short. In regards to the majority of the schools though, including more than one essay and over a couple short answer questions is a little over the top. Seniors still have a large amount of school work, and many are involved with extracurricular activities in addition to college applications. A common stereotype is that seniors do not have much work to do. Ask the average WJ senior though and

you will find many of them take several AP classes, and are very involved in school activities. Not only this, but some of the world’s brightest people are just not great writers. With students sending in transcripts and teacher recommendations, one essay should be more than enough information for the schools. Emphasis should be placed by the schools on getting students to do interviews and campus visits. Students learn more about the school and the school attracts more students. While it does take time to visit a school, you get a lot more out of the time spent visiting and really experiencing what you are in for.

Let’s All Give Thanks for Big Eatin’

allowed to mess stuff up, essentially not touching anything, until after all the famThanksgiving traditions vary from fam- ily was gone. For instance, if we happen ily to family. From munching on chicken, to sit down on the couch and rumple to scarfing down tura pillow or two, if it’s not key, to chomping on back where it was origitofurkey, family gathnally strategically place, erings revolve around then we’ll be hearing from eating, and lots of it. This is how Americans give thanks for what they’ve received. This means eating dead bird. Rarely does anyone consider the holiday as more than just getting together, eating a really large meal only to slip into a food induced coma afterward. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had two Thanksgivings: one for Dad’s side of the family, the other for Mom’s. Depending on who had off from work Photos by Alexandra Sanfuentes when and whose turn it was to cook, I Ice cream turkeys: just one of many traditions sometimes would end up with a Thanks- that are a part of many WJ students’ Thanksgiving lunch followed by a Thanksgiving giving holidays. dinner, all on the same day. Other years my family would have Thanksgiving at my my mother. Day Two consisted of all of house, which ended up spanning over a the grocery shopping and bringing the few days. This comes from the Italian fat turkey home to be marinated in God heritage on my mother’s side. Day One knows what. Hard to tell what we’re would include cleaning up the house, and eating anymore. If I’m not mistaken, tidying everything up and then not being the turkey that was brought home didn’t

By Alexandra Sanfuentes


exactly fit in the oven. Another year, the turkey was borderline miniscule after being shrunken in the oven. My mother would then go on to over-exert herself by making tons and tons of side dishes that she claimed were sub-par, being her own toughest critic (but really they’re always delicious, more leftovers for me anyway). The third day involved the table setting for 11 and whipping out the folding chairs and extending the dining room out into the living room so everyone could sort of fit and just scream at each other across the table. At my grandfather’s house, he has a tradition of getting a rather large ice cream cake in the shape of a turkey for all to regret eating later. All the kids get little tiny ice cream turkeys that are so adorable you can’t bring yourself to ingest them. In the end, we kill the cuties anyway and by the time Thanksgiving is over, all the schmaltzy Christmas songs are playing on the radio and I’m lying on the couch about to bust out of my pants. So no matter what your Thanksgiving holiday traditions are, we have to remember the real reason to be giving thanks. It’s because rarely can we eat this much food and get away with it. Nor do we ever really get such awesome leftovers. That’s a lot to be thankful for.

Drawn and Arranged by Will McGowan


December 4, 2009

Point-Counterpoint Drive Thru Life

By Maia Dicey

The whole point of fast food is that it’s supposed to be fast. That means acquired fast and eaten fast. Therefore, the best way for Americans to meet their basic nutritional needs is via the drive-thru. They’re all about convenience and in our crazy and hectic lives, who needs to waste time waiting in line for a Deluxe Angus Third Pounder when you can just whiz on by the drive-thru and get one ten times as fast? Not only can you get your Big Mac quickly, but you can also get it in whatever physical state happens to suit your fancy. You’ll feel no shame zipping on by the window to get a breakfast burrito in your PJ’s. Hey, if you really wanted to, you could even drive up in your underwear and no one would know. Plus, no one will know if you eat alone because you’ll be spared from having to go inside and find a place to sit all by yourself. No one but you and the voice on the other side of the speaker will know that you order enough for four people and yet there’s no one else in the car with you. It’s all for you, man. And yet you feel no shame. Drive-thrus are also around to help you in the most uncomfortable and embarrassing situations. Say you’re out with a blind date who happens to be so not what you expected. To save you from the public embarrassment of being seen with this fool in black and red checkered pants and suspenders, you can still manage to avoid starvation without being seen and possibly mocked later on for poor taste. Possibly one of the most important benefits of the drivethru is that if you skipped a meal and are dying from your stomach twisting up in knots, you can speed up to the window, shout out that you need sustenance and almost immediately have it served to you on a seemingly-sacred-at-the-time cardboard tray, in a bag with grease seeping through the bottom. It’s probably all going to clog your arteries and kill you someday, but we’re staying in the moment here. And speaking of food being served to you on a cardboard platter, there are even better ways that God has created of getting your food served fast. Take certain Sonic locations, for example. Not only do you get to drive up and order right away, but you receive your order by a carhop sporting roller skates. So you get your food, plus the entertainment of watching them trip all the way back inside. So what if it’s poison that you’re ingesting? It’s called fast food for a reason. Shouldn’t you be able to zip on through and get your super-sized breakfast, lunch and dinner in peace? And super fast? Absolutely. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone those milk shakes were just for you.

Dear Editor, In last month’s newspaper you wrote an article on the use of prescription drugs among students at this school. In a follow-up to that article, I think it would be a great idea to also let students know about a resource they have here at school, the Student Assistance Program (SAP). It is important for students, after reading last month’s article, to realize that if they are concerned that a friend is abusing prescription pills or other drugs they can anonymously help their friend at school. Crystal Dovman Teacher Student Assistance Program Chair *Editor’s Note: SAP concern forms can be found in the main office, health room, media center and counseling service office.

Graphic by Will McGowan

...or Sit Down and Digest It?

By Alexandra Sanfuentes

Letter to the Editor



You’re sitting at home with your family. It’s getting late, almost dinner time. No one feels like cooking. What do you do? Someone suggests heading out for some food. Everyone agrees, and you all pile in the car, but where do you go? If your answer is the local Taco Bell or McDonald’s to cruise through the drive-thru and eat on the way home, you should be ashamed. What’s the sense in speeding through the drive-thru when you can sit down in the restaurant and enjoy a nice healthy meal with your family? After all, that’s how you remain close. By sitting down around a table and talking, not by each sitting in the car listening to one’s respective iPod and munching on that $.99 artery-clogging burger. I understand your trepidation when you’re on your lunch break and the last thing you want to do is sit down in a restaurant and have everyone look at you and snicker to themselves because you’re all alone. But I promise you, there is no spotlight on you and no flashing neon sign proclaiming “I have no friends and that’s why I’m all alone.” We’ve all been there. No one is judging you. Cartoon by Krithi Ramaswamy Using the drivethru takes so much away from the experience of eating out. Inside, you can sit down in a relaxed atmosphere and let someone else take care of you, peruse the menu and enjoy some time to sit and think or enjoy a stress-free meal with your family. With the drive-thru, you sit in your car and talk to a box, wait for food to be shoved towards you through a hole in the wall by a bad-tempered, minimum-wage earning employee whom you can barely understand anyway. Sitting and eating in the car, you have no time to enjoy the service or the food itself, and what’s more, the food probably isn’t even worth enjoying. Be honest, after finishing your drive-thru fast food, how satisfied do you really feel? Do you regret the purchase later? You should. These days, drive-thrus, while not a terrible idea for the convenience issue, simply cater to lazy individuals who don’t want to grocery shop for themselves. We’d easily be able to get by without drive-thru places. If time is the problem, head to an à la carte place where you can go through a line and walk out with food in hand. It’s just as fast and much better quality. The long and short of the matter is, eating out is a lost art. So next time the great dinner debate comes up at home, suggest going out and actually sitting in a restaurant. For a little bit more money, you can get an exponentially more enjoyable and delicious experience, not to mention a much healthier one.



Lists, Everybody Loves Lists

By Colin Buley So you might have heard of “the list.” Oh, you haven’t? It was all over Facebook, noobs; I’ll drop some knowledge for all of you sillies out of the loop. Supposedly, (and I stress “supposedly,” please don’t smite me, Dr. Garran. I’m so not down with being smited), the administration made a list of students they “know” were under the influence of alcohol at athletic events this fall. How they would “know,” I have no idea, unless they partook in the pre-game activities. And if that happened, well, I don’t think anybody would need a column in The Pitch to hear about it. Now, let’s just assume for the sake of me thinking of something to write for this column that this list does exist. What else is the administration keeping from us? More lists about us students? Super secret teacher parties where the schwasted level is off the charts? Cupcakes? No, on the whole I think that they’re pretty trustworthy. Except with their lists, which may or may not exist, and that I may or may not have managed to secure for your reading pleasure… The list: Students who attack vending machines because it won’t give them candy before 2:10. Who’s on it: Me. The list: Students caught having sleepovers in gym with onesie pajamas and a karaoke machine. Who’s on it: Tristan Plunkett, Garrett Schiponi, Sam Lichtman and Mateo Williamson. The list: Students who stand in the middle of the hallway talking and blocking traffic with no regard for other people. Who’s on it: You know who you are, I hate you, so I’m not putting your name in The Pitch. The list: Students who need to work on their rapping. Who’s on it: AP Bop. The list: Students who make sexual noises when they walk into the bathroom. Who’s on it: A surprising amount of people...always freaks me out.

The list: Students who are cops. Who’s on it: That dude, you know, we’ve all seen him. You can’t fool us. We know an old person when we see one. The presence of Canadian geese on WJ fields is apparently a huge problem for construction. So

When the Birds Invade the Geese Police Get ‘Em...Eh?

problematic in fact, that construction has decided to bring in the big guns- the Geese Police. The Geese Police By Devon Murtha of fecal matter, which is harmful to are The kindpresence of a big of deal in the illustrious world birdbecause control; they are soil.ofAnd geese imprint Canadian geese on the WJ’s fields is apparently a huge prob- in certain places, they consistently alem group armed with leaguetoofWJ, border colliers and to which continues for of theprofessionals, construction company. So areturn problematic in fact, that construction cause problem. Geese are generally not afraid of has decided to the big guns: thewho are knowledge of bring gooseincontrol tactics, completely dedicated Geese Police. The Geese Police, a group humans, and many faculty members have tried to scare geese of scaring professional armed gardens, to away bird-wranglers geese from schools, golf courses, andthe other with a group of border collies, are com- off themselves, but failed. When pletelygrassed dedicated to minimizing the Modernization Coordinator Chris open places. impact geese have on commercial and Merrill tried this, he found that the at most only flew a couple residential areas. They will use their Some people try astrained say thatgeese hiring the geese police is a feet dogs to scare away geese from schools, away and continued their business undisturbedtimes by hisschools presence. gardens, golf courses andthese other open economic waste of money, that in difficult might As a remedy, the Geese Police grassed places. comeof every dayimportant to frightenthings, the geese a business to scare away to Though better tohiring focus their economic recourses more birds seems rather silly and a waste of off the fields. They arrive at differmoney, Canadian geese actually create ent times during the day to catch the like books problems and teacher These misguided soulsand will geese unawares to inevitably seem more legitimate for salaries. the construction of sports fields. They destroy fields, unpredictable. Then they send their call the Geese Police, feeding on the grass and“silly”. the seeds, and dogs to work, running and chasing in leaving behind an excessive amount the geese off the premise. Graphic by Will McGowan But geese control really them top priority. Canadian geese





know someone 67% ofwhowjhasstudents felt less self-confident

(44% are female; after reading celebrity magazines 23% are male)

or seeing Hollywood movies


Self-Image is ‘perfection’ worth it? December 4, 2009

December 4, 2009



wj students know 73% ofsomeone who has de-

of wj students deprive themselves of proper nutrition be(17% are female; cause they think they are fat 10% are male)

wj students overwork themselves 34% ofat the gym

(7% are female; 27% are male)




prived themself of proper nutrition (because they think they are fat)

of wj students know someone who has made themself throw up after a large meal

Overdosing, Hanging, Purging: A True Story By Camilla Yanushevsky

“The earlier you address the problem with appropriate treatment the better the prognosis. “ --Katherine Reyes (Therapist,Washington Center for Eating Disorders and Adolescent Obesity)

It is 7 p.m. Thanksgiving night. The sun has long fallen, the street is practically empty and I am surrounded with a feeling of peace, a feeling of thanks, a feeling of satisfaction. I can smell the turkey roasting downstairs, see my brother across the room watching a movie and I can hear my mom and grandma murmuring below me. However, for me, Nov. 26, 2009 is not a “normal” Thanksgiving. For this Thanksgiving, I will not be joining them downstairs. I won’t indulge in pies, mashed potatoes and biscuits. As the nerd you guys all know I am, I have a Pitch interview with a 26-year-old recovering bulimic who lives in Canada. Erin Smith* has been overweight since the age of five and was on her first diet at the age of six. Growing up from kindergarten to college, she was tormented and bullied. Girls would laugh and stare at her everyday at school and call her ugly, fat and worthless. Some days, gangs of girls would hold her down and cut off her hair and other days, they would throw their lunch at her. She had no friends, no self-esteem and no confidence. For her, “school was hell” and home wasn’t much better. Her dad was sick and in the hospital months at a time, so a lot of the time she felt and truly was all alone. Starting at age 14, she began her struggle with suicide attempts and many hospitalizations - a problem she works to this day to grow out of. At 15, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. “In the beginning, food was my everything, my friend, my confidence,” said Smith. “Food was the one thing that never let me down. I could count on it.” Although Smith admits that the roots of eating disorders are very complex, the bullying she endured from an early age instilled in her a wish to be thin and pretty. “In college is when I hit my highest weight and my eating disorder took over,” she said. “I had to be thin. One day I decided I would

purge after I ate and so the pattern began. I would lose some weight,but [as] soon as I stopped the diet, it became unrealistic to keep going.” And with the cycle of binging and purging came an endless cycle of depression, hopelessness and even suicide attempts. She put into her head the idea that she was better off dead, that people were better off without her. She has tried hanging herself, but has mostly resorted to overdosing on diet pills, always ending in someone finding her and calling 911. Each attempt got closer and closer to death. “The last one in April 2009 I had no blood pressure and was barely breathing when my landlord found me on the bathroom floor,” said Smith. Also, about a year ago, Smith lost 80 pounds in three months by restricting her diet, purging up to 10 times a day and taking a large amount of diet pills. However, after the serious April suicide attempt and unhealthy dieting,Smith knew that she needed to get help. “I found an amazing doctor here who saved my life more then once and got the government to pay for out-of-country medical treatment,” she said. “I was approved finally after three months in the psych ward [on] June 18, 2009.” On that date, Smith left for The Renfrew Center (a care facility for victims of eating disorders) in Coconutcreek, Fla. for 12 weeks. The moment she arrived at The Renfrew Center, her life changed forever. Her initial fears of “being surrounded with anorexics who were 90 pounds” completely dissipated. “I came to realize we all shared the same core belief about ourself, all different stories, but we all shared so much in common it didn’t matter if you were 300 pounds or 80 pounds,” said Smith. Although attending Renfrew was the most difficult thing she has ever done, she has learned to deal with negative feelings for the first time and not have the eating disorder to cope with it.

students have felt less self-confident after reading celebrity magazines 38% ofor wjseeing Hollywood movies

(29% are female; 9% are male)

“I had slips while I was there - purged a few times - but my team was there 100 percent; they treated the whole person, body, mind and soul,” said Smith. Arriving home on Sept. 8, 2009, Smith can now tolerate stress. Renfrew has taught Smith tools to cope and not have to turn to hurting oneself in any way. “I learned to challenge my negative beliefs and thoughts,” said Smith. “I learned it is okay to get angry or sad. I learned it is okay to be happy.” When Smith first arrived home, she fell back into old habits, binging to cope for the first month of being home. But since November, she has been slowly taking back control of her life. “I’m in a fight everyday to choose to engage in eating disorder behavior or not, but most days I’m starting to win,” said Smith. Smith has not engaged in binging or purging in almost two weeks. She still struggles with feeling like she does not deserve to eat and live, but she is starting to look deep down and now knows that this belief is wrong. Although she is still struggling, she has a message to spread: “Learn to love yourself. There is no such thing as perfection.You can spend a lifetime wrapped up in trying to look or be a certain way but you will never get there. Each day tell yourself that ‘I’m okay with who I am.’You have to first accept yourself for who you are or you’ll never be happy. Tell yourself today ‘I’m okay with how my stomach looks. I accept it,’ and over time you will learn to love yourself. Surround yourself with positive things: post-it notes on your mirror with things like ‘I am beautiful’ or ‘I’m worthy of love.’ Get rid of the magazines and don’t listen to what society says about whom you should look like. And no matter what your issue is, whether it be depression, bullying, low self-esteem or an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call a help line, research online, talk to a counselor or anyone.You are never alone. Nothing will change unless you reach out. Help and recovery are possible. Life is worth fighting for.”

wj students know 58%ofsomeone who has

overworked themself at the gym

*not her real name

11 million Americans have an eating disorder -- National Institute of Mental Health

15% of wj students made themselves throw up after eating a large meal

(7% are female; 8% are male)

“ In our experience, younger people that get help are less likely to have a relapse. “ --Tania Heller (Medical Director, Washington Center for Eating Disorders and Adolescent Obesity

Photos taken by Celia Karp 209 students were surveyed in 14 third period classes from Nov. 23 to Dec.1. All photos staged by Allison Gordon, Celia Karp, Colin Buley, Mateo Williamson and Camilla Yanushevsky





December 4, 2009

RELATI NSHIPS Volume 54 | Issue 3

Aries: March 21 - April 19

Aries is quick to make decisions, rather reckless and very sexy. Aries loves to be chased and can hardly wait to be swept up by an irresistible love that will burn hot.

dating 101 Advice from The Pitch

By Allison Gordon As the holidays approach and the mistletoe comes out, everyone wants someone to love. High schoolers, however, are notoriously bad at starting and keeping long-term relationships. So, we at The Pitch put together some dating and flirting tips for guys and girls, to help catch the eye of that special someone you want to spend more time with. Hopefully these tips will inspire you to go after your special someone and show you that the way to a girl or boy’s heart is simple.

Gemini: May 21 - June 20

Gemini likes to be friendly with the opposite sex, but would rather have many relationships than a love. For the Gemini, love is always changing, so his or her partner must be flexible.

Cancer: June 21 - July 22

Cancer is sentimental. Cancer expects to be courted before starting to date and enjoys falling in love. Once the Cancer falls in love, his or her love will strengthen over time. Leo: July 23 - Aug. 22

Leo looks at love as an adventure, likes challenges and looks for someone who is hard to get. The Leo likes to fight for a relationship and the harder he or she fights, the better the relationship will be.

Make her laugh: girls love to be entertained and if you can make a girl laugh, she will definitely notice and remember you.

for boys:

Libra falls in love easily and loves getting to know people and always takes the opinion of his or her partner into consideration. They make loyal partners as well.

Scorpio is less willing to fall in love and always thinks of relationships in worst case scenarios. However, Scorpios are passionate and will not be able to stop thinking about their partner.

Sagittarius: Nov. 22 - Dec. 21

for girls:

Challenge him: whether it’s a game of Guitar Hero or a thumb war, guys are competitive and always enjoy a little game.

Make an impression: show off a skill unique to you, this will impress girls and make them see you differently from their other guy friends.

for girls:

for boys:

Be mysterious: guys love the thrill of the chase, so don’t always text himder back immediately; make him won where you are and he’ll want to see you even more.

Flirt: be playful and casually make fun of her. Compliment her a little bit, but not excessively, and be bold enough that she remembers your compliments.

for boys:

Virgo: Aug. 23 - Sept. 22

It is easy to seduce a Sagittarius because they fall in love easily. A Sagittarius gets bored easily and will not stay in a relationship if it is not exciting. To satisfy a Sagittarius, his or her partner must be creative.

Capricorn: Dec. 22 - Jan. 19

Capricorn takes love seriously, and is not a very good flirt; however, Capricorn will make a very loyal partner. Capricorns only share their feelings with people they trust. Aquarius: Jan. 20 - Feb.18

Aquarius loves to flirt and enjoys the chase more than the relationship. Aquarius usually gets what he or she wants, but gets upset when relationships do not end well.

Pisces: Feb. 19 - March 20

for girls:

Be playful: give him a nudge or small push every once in a while; it will break the contact barrier and show him how fun you are.

Pisces is an idealist and fantasizes about the perfect relationship. Pisces is afraid to make the first move, but will eventually show his or her partner plenty of love.


Horoscopes adapted from and tips compiled by Allison Gordon

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Virgo is very realistic, and thinks about reality rather than daydreams. Virgo is confident in what he or she believes and wants his or her partner to agree with whatever decisions are made.

Libra: Sept. 23 - Oct. 22

Scorpio: Oct. 23 - Nov. 21

Taurus: April 20 - May 20

Taurus likes things to be simple and intimate. Taurus is not the type to do things hastily, and they like to gather all the information about their crush and only make a move when they really like the person.


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6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814


December 4, 2009




WJ S*T*A*G*E presents...

King Lear

S*T*A*G*E members were faced with the weighty task of producing a Shakespeare play set in an ambiguous time period. By Cami Keyani

Time period obstacles...

Photo courtesy of Robert Brownstein

The Earl of Kent (Iliana Papanicolaou) and the Fool (Thalia Patrinos).

Chatter behind the scenes... “The special effects were hard, like making the rainstorm on set. Also, making the set versatile was hard.”

Photo by Celia Karp

Helen Garcia-Alton Stage Manager “I enjoyed the play, which was surprising because I thought just because it was Shakespeare it would be boring which was not true at all.”

Photo by Celia Karp

Justin Bruch Sound Crew Chief “Taking a play traditionally done on a flat stage and creating platforms that actors can perform on without losing sightlines or changing the plot was difficult.”

Photo by Abby Singley

Robert Brownstein JuniorTechnical Director

Unlike the original play, which is set in PreChristian England, the WJ S*T*A*G*E production had no stated time period. The decision to stick to no time period in particular was made before production started, and presented some challenges before production was over. “Shakespeare doesn’t need a time period,” said director Colleen McAdory. “There are universal themes present that can be expressed in any setting.” The decision also greatly affected the costumes, which ended up being a mix of modern and old fashioned clothes. “I mean, you don’t need poofy pants and swords

to make Shakespeare, and those things would only distract from the acting,” said junior Matt Krug who starrred as the title character. “This decision was made not to make the play feel less like Shakespeare but just to make it more like something a student could relate to.” In the play the King wears a crown and Renaissance era clothing, but even in the first scene we see him surrounded by men in tuxedos and women in modern gowns. “What was hard was finding nondescript clothing that didn’t fit in to any time period,” said senior Costume Crew Chief Marie Miller. “Most of the clothes we had we tied to a certain setting and didn’t work so we had to do quite a bit of borrowing and searching for new clothes.”

Technical challenges... The set crew constructed a multi-tiered wooden set with multiple stairs in different directions that actors could quickly disappear behind. “I really liked the set,” said Krug. “It was really simple yet very versatile, and it was sort of scary looking in the dark, which really helped the atmosphere of the play.” The play also featured several special effects to supplement the dark atmosphere of the play. Fake blood, made from sugar, corn starch and

cocoa powder, was applied heavily to the Earl of Gloucester (senior Mateo Williamson), after his eyes are gouged out. “And in the second act in the scenes where [Mateo] is blind and dying,” said Miller. “We literally would smear him with fake blood before every scene.” In the famous thunderstorm scene, the crew replicated the rain by flashing a high speed projector and used a realistic sound effects system for th e thunder.

Plot interpretation... King Lear is the story of an aging King of England (Krug) who, in his encroaching senility, decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters (Ellie Borzilleri, Sophie Meade, and Mariel BerlinFischler). The Shakespeare classic is a dark story that features a lot of complex dialogue and onstage violence. “Everyone; the actors, the crew, and the ensemble all did a great job with the material, and I am very proud of them,” said McAdory.

According to members of the cast, Shakespeare carries a weighty stigma in high school because the dialogue and stories are much more complicated. McAdory, however, believes that this does not mean the high schoolers should shy away from Shakespeare’s work. “It is important to appreciate the richness of Shakespeare’s writing,” said McAdory. “We will never have another writer like Shakespeare.”

quick&tasty holiday treats

By Liz Wasden

candy cane cookies



n ball s

This re the holicdipe is simple and These cookies are wonderful for the holiday season when perfect b ays. Not only a easy for teena winter really starts to kick in. Warm, but subtly minty, these and s t r festive holend of salty an re they super degers to do for cookies are a perfect combination with ice cold vanilla ice sse oliday e d d liday dec li d orations.sweet, they makecious in the cream. rounto your hperfect r a cheap an e y e Ingredients: d rfectand tastee cakes ar e 1 p salt, tsp 1 egg, 1 sugar, b powdered I cup 1 butter, a n cup e ½ g g r s r m e e a e d ic c ie lows, 1 ts rowavable pop nts: ser ts egan st, th oy. ½ cup shortening, 1 cup crushed candy canes, 1 tsp vanilla, cor n, 1 b p. butter e desa little el and moie will enj s e coloring h food red tsp ½ ag mini m flour, cups 2½ T add h eryon c , i r r a arshmalg y v u P s la can er. Ver ishes e c p e a large cu s n : t d o ¾ n s shorts butter, together a i M Cream t degrees. , u 350 to oven d Preheat ce d -size ED afer eese dien wait for IUM. Add thepan on the stove bite ientsn ening and sugar until smooth. Add remaining ingredients exIngrecream chVanilla W d it butter in top an e t r o g m lo a e es ofon juice, eat ionlder in flat cept food coloring and crushed candy canes. Once dough is mews into the saucelt. Then, pour 3to the saucepand, heat g a B k . c s pan. St lted or cups o and oz. pa p lem mixed, divide in half. In one bowl add the red food coloring fer eh gree 0 de r cupcakanilla Wathe way and mix until color is even. Chill one hour. From each color saucepan agnooey. Pour whoir with a woodenf marshmal2 8 ggs, 1 ts 5 3 s le e d tur n of p of 2e ne V n to pap dough, take a small portion of dough and with your hands, marshmallow m f the heabag of popcor noon until t oveIn each n, place oholder ¾ ul of a f t e . e ix r r S e t t and d h o u together ir ropes two the . l Braid r ropes. e long e inch W 6-9 into the popc into the roll until all o ash hand co Pr ooth. ake pa pcake a or n a h a n s f t d c i (to avoid th pull off sm cu w shape into the form of a candy cane. Sprinkle crushed candy up spread oef popcor n is convd c h m u untilgreased c Fill eachnutes. ok greatries. n u k c sheet. cookie sprayed h s on place and cookies of top on o in th canes f th H1 1 g un- down. 5-20 mi cakes lo raspber er ms) *Bakinge same way you we popcor n and N Bake10-12 minutes. fo t o ip r u m side . Bake 1 ip: these r ries or h ld : *Baking tip: an easy way to crush the candy canes is to first, andling stick rubbing flou for m a snow balls full Baking t strawbe break apart with hands, then place pieces in a plastic bag anddients in the pyanbaking goods cra on your hands ball. * h like nh w and off y s roll over with a rolling pin. our fingeelp keep the inghren gar ni rs. e-


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Photo by Celia Karp




Out of Left Field Being a Teen in 2k10 (A Blog Post by Me!) By Sophie Meade

Being a member of the current youth generation is the best thing that has ever happened to me!!!11 Every time I hear the unexpected yet secretly anticipated buzz of my cell phone vibrating, every time I LOL, LMAO, or ROFL, every time I ponder the meaning of “discostick,” I am overwhelmed with the joy of living in 2k10 and feel the need to share it with the world! All I want to do is create an ultra-epic blog post listing everything that makes us the most unique generation ever, free from the limits of grammar and complete sentences!! The world is my blog!!$#%^*!! Being a Teen Means... Individuality: We are all individuals. I am an individual. You are an individual. Miley Cyrus is an individual. If I have a yellow American Apparel hoodie, then you have a blue one. If my personal anthem is “Just Dance,” yours is “Party in the USA.” But in the end, we’re all a bunch of chill bros/h*es. Facebook: Facebook allows me to be the person I want to be. I choose my inside jokes for the quote box to prove I’ve had gud timez w/ bffs, something quirky and unique for the “about me” box, and my sacred profile picture. Some FB termsLevel 1 Interaction: “Like” Purpose: to literally say that I like someone’s post in the most apathetic and cool way possible. Doesn’t look like I’m trying too hard, and also proves to everyone else on Facebook that I’m “in” with this person and I “get” their post. Level 2: Commenting. Purpose: to say something LOL-worthy or super-nice—OR—to drop an inside joke that this person and I share for the rest of FB to see! Level 3: Wall posting (text, link, or video). Purpose: to have an exclusive exchange with this person, taking our FB relationship to the next level. Dangers include looking like I’m trying too hard and possibly having my post ignored (so awk!). Chain Clothing Stores that Make Me Feel Indie/Alternative: Spandex leggings. High-waisted skirts. Flannel. Pieces that have never been worn before us. Urban Outfitters and American Apparel made them just for us and the greatest creations of fashion history: track suits and pre-ripped nylon tights. When Am. App. invented the track suit sometime after 2005, it remained underground and super-indie until I went to Philadelphia over the holidays and discovered that they have American Apparel there too (thought it was a MoCo exclusive). Urban’s pre-ripped nylon tights really help me express my rugged side, and every time I wear them, what I’m trying to say to the world is, “Do you think I care that I have runs in my nylons? I am a risk-taker. I am a rebel. I am hot.” Strong Female Role Models: Being a female in this era means a lot of pressure to be “sexxi” and “kewl.” Luckily, I have icons like Amy, Miley, Gaga who have taught me the most essential steps in being a female: 1) [Amy Winehouse] Get attention: Via substance addiction, best if illegal and and bought w/ all of daddy’s money. Maybe go to rehab and complain about it via song/artwork/blogpost. 2) [Miley Cyrus] Be cute and All-American: Post some scandalous pics on the internet and then diss all the h8ers with your strong American values (maybe via Jesus). 3)[Lady Gaga] Avoid wearing pants whenever possible. I am my blog. My blog is 2k10. 2k10 is me and you and Miley + some other ppl. When I die please virtually cremate me and my blog and throw the virtual ashes into cyberspace where we all belong forever!!!11 <333

December 4, 2009


Max, Alice and Mr. Fox:

Photos courtesy of Sasha Tycko, wherethewildthingsare.,,


all grown u

By Sasha Tycko

When in doubt, remake a classic. Hollywood has always brandished this motto, but the recent outpouring of children’s classics is worth noting. Many of the films strive to go further than simple recreations of children’s movies by appealing to an older crowd and mixing nostalgia with themes of love, uncertainty and youthful exuberance. The list of films is extensive, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Where the Wild Things Are, Fantastic Mr. Fox and the forthcoming Alice inWonderland. Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), set the bar for making art out of children’s stories. Set on a fantastical island that supposedly parallels the protagonist Max’s mind, and with a soundtrack written almost entirely by indie band Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O, the film is clear in its appeal to an older audience. A noticeable departure from a typical children’s story, the film has been both criticized and praised for its similar departure from the original 1963 book written by Maurice Sendak. Criticized by Sendak purists for not sticking to the original text, others declare its ingenuity in adhering to the thematic elements of the book and delving into Max’s psyche. The adaptation of Where theWild Things Are has stirred a brief cultural obsession.

Urban Outfitters and designer retailer Opening Ceremony separately created entire lines of clothing and accessories inspired by the film. Other merchandise includes a video game developed by Griptonite Games, boots by Ugg Australia and skateboards by Girl Skateboards (co-owned by Jonze). Where the Wild Things Are was followed by the release of the stop-motion animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox based on Roald Dahl’s children’s story. Fantastic Mr. Fox was directed by the acclaimed Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums). Although it was Anderson’s first stopmotion project, the film incorporates certain aspects of his distinctive style, with its rich colors, dry wit and mostly folk-filled soundtrack. The film expands on Dahl’s story of a personified fox fighting against three farmers and follows the fox’s struggle between human aspirations and primal instincts. Though a certainly simple plot directed towards children, the somewhat sardonic humor and quirkiness of Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is sure to appeal to an older age group. It boasts an impressive cast of voices, with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray among others, and an eclectic soundtrack featuring Burl Ives, Alexandre Desplat and the Rolling Stones.

Set to be released in March 2010 is Tim Burton’s (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) adapted version of Lewis Carroll’s classic novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. In Burton’s Alice in Wonderland Alice returns to Wonderland at age 19 although she has no recollection of ever visiting the magical place. An already fantastical story, Burton combines live-action filming with motion capture and digital animation to create his characteristic style of a sinister and distorted reality. Versions of Alice inWonderland have been around since films were silent, probably the most famous being Disney’s 1951 adaptation, but Burton aims for a fresh take on the classic story. “Seeing other movie versions of it, I never felt an emotional connection to it. It was always a girl wandering around from one crazy character to another, and I never really felt any real emotional connection. So it’s an attempt to really try to give [Alice inWonderland] some framework of emotional grounding that has never been in any version before,” said Burton in an interview with Kellen Rice of “Blast” magazine. The cast includes Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, both familiar faces in Burton films, as well as Mia Wasikowska and Anne Hathaway.

Stay Warm & Cute from Head to Toe By Sophie Meade


Quick tips for keeping toasty but not frumpy this winter

layer, layer, layer

Stay sleek by slipping some thin tights underneath your pants. No one will know your secret, but you’ll be goosebump-free.



warm accessories = splash of color Stuck with a drab, monotone winter outfit? Pop in some colorful warm weather accessories.



create a sillhouette

You’d be suprised at the pieces you can layer... A graphic tee, shrunken oxford, and relaxed cardigan can create a casual and chic look.



Belts can create a flattering shape to a boxy frame. Buckle up over a cardigan, blazer, or coat.

+ Photos courtesy of,, and

December 4, 2009



Athletes of the Month Volume 54 | Issue 3

6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814



Zach Abelman Michelle Gilbert

By Alex Spinard

After starting the past four years for WJ hockey, it is now senior forward Zach Abelman’s turn to anchor the esteemed Wildcat offense. This season, Abelman leads the team in points (4), with three goals and one assist, with two points in the team’s first game, a 4-2 win over Blair. The team’s new coach, Fredrik Nygren, attributes the team’s success in part to Abelman’s skill as a player and leader. “He is one of the better players on the team and we need him to play on a very high level,” said Nygren. Throughout his years on the team, Abelman, who is one of five seniors on the team this season, has learned both leadership and hockey skills from such players as class of 2009 graduation Daniel Cohen. As a leader, Abelman has made it a point to make each player fulfill their own potential in order for the team to compete at a high level. “Abelman has taken a very big leadership role so far,” said Nygren. “Sometimes I have to tell Zach to take a step back and tell him I’m the coach. But he seems very helpful with the other players on the team.” Abelman’s success in high school as a hockey player has been a product of his experience on travel teams throughout his tenure in the sport of hockey, a game which Abelman has played competitively since elementary school. “[My success] has been from playing on an additional travel team all of my life,

and doing the hard work to be where I am today,” said Abelman. Despite the amount of offensive talent procured over the past couple of seasons, the team has not been able to live up to its championship victory in the 2004-2005 season. The team has struggled over the past few years to find a balanced defense and a consistent starter at the goalie position. Regardless, the team has started off strong, with a three-way tie with Wootton and Whitman for first place in the Montgomery East League. The team will play Wootton for league supremacy tonight at Cabin John Ice Rink.

Photo by Kevin Nuñez

Abelman’s leadership and point scoring have propelled the Wildcats to a 2-0 start.

Gilbert first realized she could go far in the sport when, in her first national competition at the 2006 U.S. Indoor National Championships, she set a national record. For the next three years, Gilbert would not lose any event at any level. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that at all,” said Gilbert. Photo courtesy of Michelle Gilbert With her growing talent, Both Gilbert’s mom and dad learned archery to coach her Gilbert required more when she is not shooting away from home. complex training and By Jennifer Spencer technical advice in order to achieve furWhile most WJ athletes choose to ther advancement. Now, Gilbert trains at play more main-stream sports, one the Izaak Walton League near Manassas, talented freshman has set 25 national Va. Because she is also a member of the records in the lesser known sport of ar- United States Junior Dream Team, she chery. Freshman Michelle Gilbert has travels to the Olympic Training Center competed locally, nationally and even in California every few months to train internationally. As proud as Gilbert is with members of the Junior Dream Team of all of her accomplishments, she con- and Resident Athlete Program under the supervision of National head coach Kisik siders this to be her breakout year. Gilbert traveled as part of an elite Lee. “Lee has produced the most World squad of the Junior Dream Team this year, representing the U.S. in many Champions and Olympic Medalists in the competitions. She helped the U.S. history of archery,” said Gilbert. “LearnCadet Girls Team become fifth in the ing under him is one my greatest priviworld in addition to bringing home nu- leges.” At the young age of 14, she remains merous medals of her own from intergoal-oriented and focused on her bright national competitions. future. “2009 was the biggest year of my “This year, I plan to shoot as an adult archery career,” said Gilbert. “Even though I am technically a Cub (ages 13- and place top 20 in the country,” she 14), I shot up a division as a Cadet (ages said. “This will be my next major step to 15-16) in order to be eligible to try out reaching my ultimate goal of winning an Olympic Gold Medal.” for international teams.”




December 4, 2009



14th at counties 9th at regionals 48th at states

Key Returning Athletes

Key Dates Senior Michael Pitsenberger January 23 Junior Sasha Tycko New Balance Games Senior Martin Dally Key Dates @ NYC Armory Junior Camille Bouvet

Key Returning Wrestlers

December 18-19

January 9

On the Rise



Montgomery Invitational Bulldog Dual Meet

Junior Donitto Smith Sophomore Jasmine Robinson @ PG SportsPlex

@ Churchill

December 18-19

Senior Nick Taylor Senior Patrick Teixeira

Wrestler’s Insight “We have a young team, we need to work harder. All we have to do is practice hard and see where we go from there” -Teixeira

Coach’s Quote Leopard Invitational “We’re going to be focusing on getting strong and @ Smithsburg Coach’s Quote train for the outdoor track season in order to compete for “We have a lot of young kids this year and we hope to an outdoor track championship” -Tom Rogers compete at a high level every year” -Tom Wheeler

Boys Basketball 12-12

Key Dates

December 18 January 11

Wootton @ WJ

Churchill @ WJ

January 13


January 25

Whitman @ WJ

The team will rely on >> key minutes from its underclassmen

Player’s Insight “We’re definitely rebuilding because we just lost nine seniors and we only have three returning players, but hopefully we’ll get better throughout the season” -Sophomore Halid Hamadi

Coach’s Quote “Our experience is not very high so we really don’t know where we’ll end up and chemistry and who steps up is going to be key” -Bill Morris On the Rise “I’m going to say all the players are. We’re rebuilding so we really don’t know which players will play a key role yet” -Morris

Girls Basketball Key Dates January 11

Churchill @ WJ


January 25

Whitman @ WJ

Key Returning Players

Senior Catherine Madden >> Senior Kat Gratton Junior Sarah Howie

Players On the Rise

Freshman Kristen Larrick Sophomore Sam Stadnik

Photo by Alex Curtis

The team was devastated by injury last year, and will need to avoid injury in order to improve on last season.

Player’s Insight “Coming from an 0-23 season last year, people may not expect much but we are starting from scratch. We have new coaches, new players, and new ways of playing” -Junior Sarah Howie

Coach’s Quote “The biggest thing is to change the culture of the

program, create a team of fierce competitors, demand defense and teach the players why playing this game can be so much fun” -Tori Moten

Photo by Alex Curtis

boys 5-1 2nd at divisionals 2nd at counties 6th at metros girls 4-2 2nd at divisionals 2nd at counties 4th at metros

Swimming Swimmer’s Insight We lost a lot of really fast swimmers last year, but we have other

swimmers ready to step up. Churchill and Whitman

will likely be our most difficult meets, but WJ Swim & Dive comes through year after year and I can’t wait for this season” -Senior Captain Katie Jacobson

Key Swimmers and Divers “We graduated a good amount of talent, but we still have, on the girls’ side, [Elizabeth] Pepper, Sidney Drill, Sarah Kwon, Annie Kastler and Katie Collins. Guys will do well this season, we still have [seniors] Kevin Spak, Greg Karel, Andrew Tollefson” -Coach Jamie Grimes Key Dates February 13


February 18-20


February 24-27



December 4, 2009




Athletes Give Back Volume 54 | Issue 3

6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814

Student Groups Create Fundraisers to Benefit Charitable Organizations

By Zach Gordon Quick. Count to thirty. Finished? A child in Africa has just died of malaria. Each year, anywhere from 350 million to 500 million people contract Malaria, a disease transmitted by a blood parasite in mosquitoes. The disease kills around a million people each year, with a large portion of these deaths in children under the age of five. Although the disease has nearly been wiped out in Europe and the Americas, it hits Africa especially hard. Whereas many would just look the other way, WJ students have decided to help make a difference. The second annual “Nothing But Nets Basketball Tournament,” organized by members of WJ’s leadership class, helped raise over $2000 through donations and tournament entry fees for Nothing But Nets, a non-profit organization which sends pesticide-treated bednets to homes in over 10 African countries. Each net costs $10, so the $2000 raised will help 200 Africans have a safer night’s sleep. With never a dull moment during the tournament’s festivities, the more than 100 students who played in the tournament, both boys and girls, were able to raise awareness and fight for a good cause while enjoying the game as well. “People are able to identify themselves with [the event] because they are able to help out people who need help, along with having fun in the basketball tournament,” said senior Robin Mowatt, who was one of the main coordinators of this year’s tournament. And it doesn’t stop at just basketball. This November also saw the planning of

“The event started mainly because the football team and field hockey team were so close,” said senior field hockey co-captain Georgina Beven. “Having the game was a fun way to bring us all together one last time.” Even at the professional level, athletes show an exemplary level of kindness by participating in charity events and volunteering in the community. For more than 35 years, the NFL has had a partnership with the United Way, paving the way for other teams and leagues to get involved. MLB has had an official partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America since 1997. Since the tragic death of college basketball icon Jimmy Valvano in 1993, the NCAA has worked hand-in-hand with the Jimmy V fund to

raise money and awareness for cancer research. Since 2005, members of the NBA and WNBA have volunteered in the community through NBA Cares, an organization which to date has donated more than $105 million to charity. Upcoming fundraising events include the Best Buddies Bowl-a-Rama on Dec.13 and “WJ’s Best Dance Crew,” a dance competition on Jan. 15 benefitting the Andrea Rizzo foundation. Through the compelling mediums of athletics and activity, students are able to not only have fun, but raise awareness and fight for a cause. “Helping people makes you feel good,” said Mowatt. “But doing it while having fun is even better.”

Charity Fast Facts Photo by Kathleen Seale

More than 25 three-person teams competed in the Nothing But Nets tournament.

the second annual Field Hockey vs. Football game, a friendly field hockey game between members of the varsity field hockey and football teams. All proceeds from this event will go to KaBOOM!, a charity whose vision is to “bring play back into the lives of our children” by building and renovating playgrounds and other play areas in run-down and overlooked parts of the country. Although weather caused the event to be postponed with no set reschedule date, the bonding power of sports combined with the good cause has made this event special.

Nothing But Nets Founded: 2006

Best Buddies Founded: 1989

KaBOOM! Founded: 2007

What They Do: Send and deliver pesticidetreated bed nets to African villages to prevent malaria.

What They Do: Help people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

What They Do: Lead projects to build play areas in underdeveloped parts of the nation.

Impact: Donated over 1,000,000 nets to 10 countries. Donate & Volunteer:

Impact: Over 1,400 chapters, helping over 400,000 a year. Donate & Volunteer: Rm. 191, Thu. @ Lunch

Impact: Led over 200 building projects.

Subscribe to The Pitch for 2009-2010

Donate & Volunteer:

Walter Johnson’s Very Own Student Newspaper

9 issues for only $20.00 Issues are mailed directly to your home **back issues will be included Please mail to: The Pitch Walter Johnson HS 6400 Rock Spring Drive Bethesda, MD 20814 **Please make checks payable to Walter Johnson HS You may also send an email to: with your subscription information. Thank you for your support!

Infographic by Zach Gordon

Sports W i l d c a t


December 4, 2009

Winter Sports Preview pg. 14

Check out The Pitch Online at

Infecting the Stands Since 2006

By Kathleen Seale

Everyone knows who the Mad Cows are. Everyone knows about the green outs, black outs, the challenges against the Mad Cows. In fact, if you don’t, where have you been? Many students participate in the Mad Cows spirits and go to the games, but do they even know who created the Mad Cows, or who gave them their name? The freshmen, sophomores and juniors may not have a clue about how the Mad Cows were created, but the seniors might. The senior class of 2006 had the “Morris Maniacs” for the basketball season, but the Mad Cows officially started on Oct. 31, 2006 at Northwest High School. Jeff Gratton (’07), Tommy Shekarchi (’07), Tim Cowan (’07), Stefan Dabic (’07) and Carlos Freitas (’08) created the Mad Cows in 2006 in order to get WJ’s crowd to cheer louder. “More and more people just started to come [to games], bring drums and paint themselves,” said Gratton. “By the end of the year, however, we were happy to leave a legacy. Some classes left little plaques, or parts of the building, but we left a cheering group section.” In that same year, not only was a “mad” cheering section established, but a name was given to them as well. English teacher Colleen McAdory gave the fans a name to go by. “Three years ago at the Soccer State Championship game, a reporter asked one of the students what [the fans] were called,” said McAdory. “I turned around and said, ‘I think we should be called the Mad Cows.’” After creating a strong cheering section

and receiving an official name, the class of ’07 gratefully handed down the Mad Cows crown to the following grade. “We just kind of looked for people like us in the grade below,” said Gratton. “Who on [the day of] a playoff game in the pouring rain would be out there with drums and paint [on them].” As the school year of 2007-2008 came around, the ’07 seniors appointed ‘08 seniors Alex Chili, Freitas and Phil Jasper to continue the legacy of the Mad Cows. “It’s not the cow that meant something specific, it was the fact that we were ‘mad,’” said Jasper.

“I mean, who wants to confront a mad cow?” The class of 2008 made the Mad Cows school-affiliated with the help of the Booster Club. Some students from the class of 2007 did not agree with this

decision because the administration now had control over the actions of the Mad Cows. “When it’s run by the school, they have a lot more say in what we do,” said Gratton. “I wanted to keep the Mad Cows something [the administration] couldn’t touch.” While Gratton was against making the club school-affiliated, Jasper believed that it would give more to the club. “We decided to make the club official, not just because it would legitimize us as a real prominent group, but due to the fact that it provided tools and support to really make the Mad Cows as loved and as feared as we knew it could be,” said Jasper. When the end of the school year came, it was once again time to find new leaders to encourage the other students for years to come. Freitas, alongside his fellow students encouraged all the students to come out to games and get the players and other fans pumped up. “Phil [Jasper] and I figured we would keep it going,” said Freitas. “We encouraged other kids to come because it made [the game more fun] when more people go.” After the class of ’09 graduated, this year’s seniors officially took over the Mad Cows. In the beginning of the school year, there was confusion about who would take charge of the Mad Cows. Seniors Andres Rocha and Daniel Kirwan naturally accepted the leadership of taking charge. “Andres and I kind of took charge at the beginning of the year,” said Kirwan. “Then in Leadership, [advisor Nico]

Atencio made it my assigned leadership project, along with Jessica Peterson and Richard Benjamin.” Since the group’s creation, WJ’s has become known for their sport fans. Students from other schools in the county have taken notice of WJ’s loud fans. “How do we compare to other fans?” said Jasper. “We don’t. Our shirts, our noise, provocative chants and constant cheer really do set an entirely new bar for fans that only we can reach.” Not only has the Mad Cows encouraged WJ fans to show support and spirit, but student athletes also believe that the support from the Mad Cows has impacted their games in a positive way. “[The Mad Cows] are so great,” said junior volleyball player Jennie Zelenko. “We owe so much to them. It’s really great to see all this support from so many people we go to school with. It really gets us into what we’re doing, too.” With that in mind, Mad Cows are keeping their quest alive in order to support and cheer on WJ teams for many years to come.

All photos by Kevin Nuñez

For all the latest WJ Sports News go to

Volume 54 Issue 3  

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