Walter Johnson High School
March 5, 2010
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Volume 54 | Issue 6
Say It Ain’t Snow
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814
Pennies For Patients Update Dollar amounts are estimated and accurate as of March 2
Photo by Celia Karp
While the snow on the ground is starting to melt and the D.C. area is beginning to recover from its biggest snow storm since 1898, one question is on many students’ minds: will the snow days be waived, or will the school year be extended? The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced on Feb. 22 that individual school systems will be able to request to have five additional snow days waived because, according to State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick, “the severe weather conditions this year have been unprecedented, and the State Board believes that some flexibility must be granted.” Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Director of Public Information Dana Tofig said MCPS is waiting to hear if their request for a five-day waiver has been met. If Grasmick, who must authorize all waivers, approves MCPS’s request, the school year should not be extended. Due to “Snowmageddon 2009,” “Snowpocalypse 2010” and a snow shower in the beginning of February, MCPS has had nine snow days thus far. In accordance with Maryland law, which requires schools to be open for a minimum of 180 instructional days, MCPS schedules 184 days of school to have four extra days of contingency. These four extra days in the 180-day requirement allow there to be up to four school days cancelled with no effects on the school calendar. Generally, when there are more than snow days, the school year is extended to meet the required 180 days of instruction. However, if the February snow days are excused, the law necessitating 180 days of school will not apply. Officials have not only been concerned about the effect of the snow days on the length of the school year; many national and state tests fall towards the end of the year, including High School Assessments (HSA) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Despite the amount of school missed, College Board, who administers AP Exams, will not change the date of the tests. “AP Exams are scheduled to occur across the first two weeks in May, and we cannot change the AP testing window after the schedule has been set and released,” said AP Program Executive Director Susan Landers. “We do work with individual school officials who are unable to provide exams during the main testing window when make-up exams are needed.” Some students are displeased by the fact that the various assessments are not changing. “It’s an unnecessary push from the administration,” said junior Oktai Akhverdiev. Despite the recent confusion and lack of information over test dates and the effects of the snow days on the school calendar, most students aren’t complaining about getting a week off from school - what many called “Winter Break: Part Two.” However, while the five days off from Feb. 8-12 were, for the most part, a relaxing, work-free period for students, for some MCPS workers, making the declaration to cancel school called for copious amounts of work. Several MCPS personnel are involved in deciding whether it is necessary to delay, dismiss early or cancel school because of weather conditions. Workers from the Transportation and Facilities Department monitor the conditions of the roads and school buildings throughout the county during and after storms. Meanwhile, MCPS officials check road conditions in surrounding counties because many employees are coming from outside of Montgomery County. Officials also use general media outlets as a source for weather information and forecasts to help them in making their final decision. “The main factor is the safety of the students and staff,” said Tofig. Depending on the situation, different measures are needed to make the decision to have a cancellation, early-release or delayed-opening. “Sometimes it’s a fairly simple call as it was with the February blizzards – the roads were impassible and no one could get to the schools,” said Tofig. “However, other days, it’s not as clear cut and requires a little more time.” The Wiz Pg. 6
Ping Pong Tournament
By Abby Singley and Jenny Deutsch
Today’s Conflicts Pg. 8-9
The Oscars Predictions Pg. 11
$3,150 Burrito Mile
$950 Wizards Game
$3,300 Club Prowl
$650 Futsal Tournament All information provided by Leadership advisor Nico Atencio Total amount includes money raised from other methods of collection than the activities listed here.
Club Sports Pg. 16
Volume 54 | Issue 3
Photo by Abby Singley
On Feb. 5, the above flier was distributed to students, discussing PFOX’s mission, to provide a variety of services and a safe environment for “ex-gays.”
The Pitch Speaks to PFOX On Feb. 5, students received a flier from PFOX; many interpreted the message to be anti-gay By Abby Singley and Liz Wasden “Unwanted homosexual feelings can be overcome. People can and do make the decision every day to seek help in overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion. They have the right to self-determination and happiness based on their own needs, and not the needs of others.” – Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) These words were communicated to students on Feb. 5 through fliers, which teachers were legally required to distribute to third period classes. The WJ community’s reaction to the handouts, which were sent by PFOX to all Montgomery County public high schools, was one of confusion that left students, staff and parents, in particular, outraged. Some misconceptions exist about the organization. A number of students came to the conclusion that PFOX was an organization looking to “cure” gays and lesbians of their homosexuality. “[PFOX] seems very narrow-minded and ignorant,” said senior Conor Sullivan. “They want to conform everybody to their form of sexuality - heterosexuality.” However, according to PFOX executive director Regina Griggs, this is not the case. While PFOX does believe that “change is possible,” they do not encourage individuals to become straight if they are happy living a gay lifestyle. “The mission of the organization is to provide education, resources and support to families and people with unwanted same-sex attraction and support the ex-gay community’s rights,” said Griggs. Not only does PFOX say that they support and inform the public about ex-gays, they say they are tolerant of those of all sexual orientations. For example, Griggs said if a family had a son reveal his homosexuality, but the family’s church was not tolerant of his lifestyle, PFOX would work with and educate the church about loving the boy unconditionally, regardless of his homosexuality. Some students concluded from the fliers that PFOX is an organization intolerant of homosexuals. “They misinform people and they’re prejudiced,” said Sullivan. A strong reaction to the fliers was seen on the PTSA e-mail listserv. Many parents claimed that their children were
“disturbed” by the fliers and were shocked that handouts with such content could be distributed. Many parents commented on the topic, requesting anything ranging from meetings to address policies to group counter-responses against PFOX. At the PTSA meeting, where Principal Christopher Garran was to address the issue, only 10 parents, who Garran refers to as “the regulars.” Griggs was surprised when she learned of the stir her organization’s handouts caused; she had not received a single complaint from anyone in the WJ community or county. “No one has contacted us,” said Griggs. “If they’re that upset, why aren’t they contacting us? If they take this seriously, if they weren’t anti-ex-gay, if they weren’t against people’s right to self-determination, they could contact me.” WJ’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) had also written to the listserv that they planned to lead a group response to the handouts. “Many [members of the GSA] did feel offended by [the fliers],” said junior Josh Martinez, president of the GSA. “Personally, I tore mine up. I was pretty mad when I read it.” Martinez said that the GSA discussed the PFOX handouts at a meeting, and decided to respond to PFOX by educating students and spreading out information on GSA and on anti-PFOX views. Considering board members of PFOX travel to speak to high school and college GSAs about tolerance for the ex-gay community, Griggs was very confused as to why the GSA would act against PFOX. Regardless of all controversy, Griggs wants the community to know one thing about her organization. “PFOX families love their homosexual child unconditionally,” said Griggs. “Unlike other organizations which insist that parental love is conditional on affirming homosexual behavior, there are no conditions on our love for our children. We do not have to approve of everything our children do. Blanket approval is not responsible parenting or love. True love is loving in spite of our differences and treating each other with kindness and respect.” CORRECTIONS In a Jan. 29 news article, a Pennies for Patients photo should have been credited to Abby Singley.
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814
March 5, 2010
Volume 54 | Issue 3
March 5, 2010
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814
Teaching with a Teenage Heart English Teacher Jonathan Bos and Music Teacher Isabel Hernandez-Cata Represent the Giving and Receiving Ends of Organ Donation By Ava Bleiberg Born with an extremely rare heart condition called Transposition of the Major Vessels, a disorder where the aortic valve and the pulmonary valve are anatomically reversed, English teacher Jonathan Bos lay near death on a hospital bed in a Johns Hopkins hospital at age 30. With failing kidneys, it was evident that the procedures which had been sustaining Bos’ failing heart were no longer sufficient. For months, he waited for the piece of news that would be the determining factor of life or death. After three false alarms, Bos was told that he was to be prepped for surgery to receive a new heart. “When you’re listed for a transplant, you’re listed symptomatically,” said Bos. “So I was bumped pretty high up the list. Five months is comparatively not a long time to be listed.” Bos has endured his condition since birth, accommodating his life to his abnormality from childhood into the present. As a young boy, Bos was not allowed to participate in organized sports, became fatigued very easily and was more susceptible to illnesses. “I was in all the neighborhood football and kickball games,” said Bos. “I just had to always be aware of my limits. Pretty frequently I would overdo it, but I have an older brother who always watched out for me.” Into adulthood, the condition continued to create an onslaught of fatigue and deteriorate his health. Despite years of effort to combat Transposition, which included five heart surgeries (two of which were open-heart), a pacemaker and medication, Bos’ health was in serious decline towards his late twenties. During a period of hospitalization, his body rejected medication, sending his blood pressure plummeting. The only option was to receive a new heart. “When I was about 25, my cardiologist randomly told me that they didn’t really have statistics on people with transposition living into their thirties,” he said. When Bos heard news that he was to receive the transplant, he had been waiting on the organ donation list for approximately five months, a considerably short time due to the ratio of available healthy hearts to patients in need. The list is organized through careful symptomatic evaluations of each patient, who are then placed on the list based on the severity of their condition by the National Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network; the more necessary the transplant, the higher on the list the patient will be placed. Bos’ donor was a healthy 18-year old female high-school senior. “Yes, it’s true, I have a chick heart,” said Bos. “But seriously, I find it meaningful that I teach high school seniors and I received the heart of a high school senior. The donor family, I know, takes a lot of comfort in knowing that their daughter’s heart allowed me, and by extension my son, to live.” He makes a point of using his transplant story to drive home two points to his students. The first stems from his donor’s own untimely death, the young girl having died in a car accident. “I tell my students I hope they live until they’re 170, but the fact is, you’re an at-risk group in terms of driving,” said Bos. “So I emphasize safety, but I also encourage students to talk to their parents about signing up to be an organ donor when they get their license.” His second lesson is the gift of organ donation. The experience has inspired Bos and his wife to become passionate about promoting organ donation. “I’m incredibly fortunate to be alive,” said Bos. “But sadly many people die each day waiting for a transplant.” Countering Bos’ favorable view towards organ donation, the opposition raises questions mainly of religion. According to the non-profit organization Transplant for Life, those who practice the religion of Shinto, Jehovah’s Witnesses and some Christian Scientists, though it is not banned by their religion, do not accept organ donation as an acceptable practice. However, most branches of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buhddism allow and even encourage organ donation, the Lutheran church phrasing it as an act “of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.” On the giving side of donation, music teacher Isabel Hernandez-Cata has recently undergone the procedure of donating an organ. When her father, a Type I Diabetic, was in need of a kidney, Hernandez-Cata and her sister both went through testing to see which one was a match. Both daughters were, and being the elder of the two, Hernandez-Cata decided to donate her kidney to her father this past summer. After the initial decision, the process of donating was both arduous and tedious. “The reason it took so long was because they wanted my blood sugar readings, but my laptop got stolen and I lost all my readings,” said Hernandez-Cata.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Bos
English teacher Jonathan Bos stands holding his newborn son. Bos is able to chase his son around the lawn and enjoy all of the normal activities of a parent. Today his life is only limited by having to take an immunosuppressant daily and receive an annual biopsy.
Before being allowed to offer her father a kidney, Hernandez-Cata had to be screened by psychologists to prove that her father was not coercing her in any way, such as threats or monetary compensation, to relinquish an organ to him. Finally, Hernandez-Cata was both psychologically and physically cleared to advance with the procedure. “I had to take every sort of test,” said Hernandez-Cata. “They were concerned about my own possibilty of getting diabetes later on and needing a kidney. But a lot of people are born with one kidney and live a perfectly normal life.” With the medical advancement of modern times, the procedure is done laparoscopicolly, making a tiny incision in the abdomen and removing the organ from the naval. The in-patient procedure was quick and rather painless and the out-patient recovery time lasted about two weeks, after which Hernandez-Cata was able to fall back into the routine of school in time to prepare for class performances. “It was worth it because the surgery worked out well because my father’s kidney works, he doesn’t have to go to dialysis, which is awesome and especially was useful during the blizzard,” said Hernandez-Cata. “He’s had some complications and some surgeries since, but his quality of life just keeps getting better and better.” Kidney transplants have an 80-90 percent success rate and heart transplants have an average 68 percent success rate. As of Feb. 28, 105,991 patients are on the organ donation waiting list to receive an organ with nearly 3,000 new patients added each month. “I think it’s an amazing gift to be able to increase somebody’s quality and length of life so significantly,” said Hernandez-Cata. “It’s not as scary as you’d think it is and you can make such a big difference. It was definitely an incredibly positive experience and I’d reccomend it; you get to feel like a hero.”
March 5, 2010
March 5, 2010
What holiday would you like to see celebrated?
By Abby Singley
Photos by Andrea Linder
“Chipotle Day.” - Senior Paola Lizarazu
“Free Food Day.” - Freshman Jon Norris
“Non-stop Dancing Day.” -Senior Noa Mazia
I love when February rolls around. Not only does the month include the birthday of yours truly, it also marks the beginning of a unique holiday season. President’s Day, Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day...the list goes on and on. Yet when I really look at these “holidays,” there’s one question left in my mind: “Why?” Why do I get pinched every March 17 when I wear a green-less outfit? Why do we let a groundhog decide when winter is going to end? Why do we let Hallmark create money-maker holidays and then actually celebrate them? Why? Why? Why? Well, after extensive research, here are just a few of the holidays that I’m left questioning: Groundhog Day: I will never get over this day. A groundhog? Seriously? If the groundhog “sees his shadow,” because we know his peanutsize brain can think that much, we have another six weeks of winter. And if he doesn’t, spring is on the way. What a 21st century way of predicting the weather… Oh wait, this idea was developed in the late 1800s! It’s time for us to move on and let Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, retire. Grandparent’s Day: Dear Pop Pop & Grandma Sally, I’m sorry for never calling, sending a card or doing anything to show my appreciation for you on this day. If only I knew when this holiday was… Being the super precious granddaughter I am, I know you’ll forgive me. Maybe when you get put in a home I’ll come and visit on this day. For
B a t
v i d e o
Dear Grandma Adie, Hopefully you can forgive me for my lack of recognizing Grandparents Day. You are the best Jewish grandmother out there. You know all of that money you sent me each time I lost a tooth, or when my sister lost a tooth and you didn’t want me to get jealous? Well, I’ve secretly been saving it up all of these years to get you the best Grandparents Day present! Love, your precious little granddaughter, Abby. St. Patrick’s Day: Every St. Patrick’s Day, I find myself walking into school saying, “Ughhh! I forgot to wear green!” And then, the pinching begins. Let me give you a little history lesson. At only 16, Saint Patrick was kidnapped, sold into slavery and then forced to work as a sheep farmer. After being enslaved for six years, he escaped, and went on to be a very important figure in Irish Christianity. So, now that you know that, let me ask you again, why do I get pinched if I don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Maybe I’ll wear my Uggs instead this St. Patrick’s Day to embrace the fact that Saint Patrick escaped from being a sheep farming slave… So, to whomever writes the calendar, can we get a little more...creative...well, not too creative. Let’s have these holidays make sense. Why don’t we nominate a weatherman to decide how long winter will be? And why don’t we just have one big “celebrate/respect your elders” day, instead of this long train of Mother’s and Father’s and Grandparents Days. And, if I forget to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, may I request in advance that I don’t get pinched? Thank you very much.
r e s p o n s e s ,
v i s i t
“Don’t Go to School Day.” - Sophomore Claire Cohen
“Redskins Are Better than the Cowboys Day.” - Freshman Michael Getachew
“Chocolate Gingerbread House Day.” - Junior Dana Marks
“Christian Love Day.” - Senior Ben Cooke (Left)
“Chocolate Day.” - Senior Christina Brown (Right)
“Dr. Garran’s Birthday.” - Senior Grant Tulick 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@ walterjohnson.com. 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
“Hug a Greek day.” - Junior Katerina Triantos Print Staff Writers Jennifer Spencer Flor Martinez Jenny Deutsch Cami Keyani Abby Singley Alex Spinard
Online Staff Writers Ryan Lynch Miklos Szebeni Daniel Fanaroff Rosemary Hammack Roshel Mullokandov
Online Reporters Peter Langer Stefany Carty Photographers Business Manager Kevin Nuñez Flor Martinez Alex Curtis Advertising Manager Cami Keyani Hannah Flesch Kathleen Seale Andrea Linder Artist/Cartoonists Julia Haymore Krithi Ramaswamy Advisor Will McGowan Hilary Gates Samara Fantie PR Manager Alex Spinard
Luke’s Life! Boy to Man
By Luke Wilson With graduation a short three months away and my 18th birthday just yesterday, it is hard to believe I am now a full grown, legal adult. Not only have I made my way down the perilous path of puberty, I have come to a number of stark realizations that have violated my otherwise innocent mind, like the time I realized there is something too weird about five-year-olds and 75-year-olds changing in the same locker room at the YMCA (if you have ever seen a 75-year-old with just his underwear on you know what I’m saying…talk about sag). But, I digress. It was just seven years ago when I was on the cusp of puberty and first became aware of the radical changes that were to soon take place in my body and mind, thanks to a book my parents bought me, “Changing Bodies, Changing Lives” shortly after my 11th birthday. Upon receiving the book, I took it upstairs and began scanning the thick textbook with ceaseless wonder. All of the initial ideas struck me as perfectly normal: I was to grow at a very rapid rate, facial hair would start to come in (I’m waiting for that one…), my voice would become much deeper (waiting on that one, too..) and I would begin to develop unfettered lust for any and all women (or men). None of this seemed out of the ordinary until I flipped a few more pages. “Dad!!!” I yelled, distress ringing in my voice. “Come quick!” “What is it?!?” he shouted his face bright red after sprinting up the stairs, and twisted with concern. “Are you okay?” I was so distressed by all that I had seen in this book, I just began to blather. “What if I start to get acne?” I pleaded. “How will I be able to bear it? What about genital warts? Do you know women have eggs? Only chickens lay eggs! Men have like 400 million fish in them! Did you know? They’re called sperm; I’ve never even heard of that species!” “Well,” started my dad. “There is a time in everyone’s life when they must move on from childhood and get ready for changes; I guess this is your moment. Maybe’s it’s time for you to give up what you loved as a child, and move on.” I know what this meant. No more Backstreet Boys, no more PokéMon, the premise of which was to get different species to fight until one K.O.’ed the other, (Incidentally PokéMon was Michael Vick’s favorite game…), no more Gilmore Girls DVDs (WWE was my new domain. Waxed, sweaty men: what could be better?).With great sadness I gathered these items and placed them in the trash, a single tear running down my cheek. I was just about to return to my room to think over my future when my Dad called me. “There is one more thing you must do to break free from your childhood,” he said, before taking a deep breath. “I know this is a sensitive subject for you, so I’ll just be direct: It is just not socially acceptable to sit down when you pee; really, I know it is comfortable and relaxing, but real men stand.” I screamed. “I can’t!” I shouted. “You ask too much from me. That is just too much!” I grabbed my Backstreet Boys CD and my Gameboy advance with PokéMon Fire and ran straight to the bathroom. I wasn’t ready for puberty. Something had to give.
March 5, 2010
Pitch Opinion: Flaws in Flier Distribution Policy It would be in the best interest of MCPS and the surrounding community to be given the ability to censor information distributed to students from controversial organizations, such as PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays). PFOX is a non-profit organization that claims to support “gays and ex-gays” who wish to revert back to heterosexuality and who consequently may endure intolerance from the gay community. PFOX thus claims that homosexuality is a choice and not a predetermined biological attribute and that it is curable via therapy and counseling. But how does a small non-profit organization from Fort Belvoir, Va. get
their message out in an area that, for the majority, carries primarily opposite views on sexual orientation? Easy, have the high schools hand them out to students. However, according to the MCPS health class curriculum, teachers strive to maintain “an environment of respect and sensitivity toward all perspectives and individuals at all times.” Wouldn’t passing out fliers that have a skewed opinion toward sexuality infringe on MCPS’ goal of keeping schools respectful toward sexuality? A 2006 court case ruled that any registered non-profit organizations be permitted to distribute non-hate-
ful literature to students four times a year along with students’ report cards. PFOX uses this ruling to their advantage and spreads their controversial message through the school community, despite MCPS’s stance on remaining neutral about sexual orientation when it comes to opinions in health classes. Mandating that schools be required to distribute information that they may not be comfortable distributing to their students is hindering the attempts of MCPS. The information presented in these fliers could be offensive to anyone and if teachers are required to pass them out, no sensitivity comes into play with students’ individual beliefs and ideas.
For The Wiz, Casting is Colorblind By Alexandra Sanfuentes This year’s WJ S*T*A*G*E spring musical selection is TheWiz, the Tony Awardwinning 1975 Broadway show that was performed as an adaptation of TheWonderful Wizard of Oz. The twist with this adaptation is that it represents African American culture, but despite the fact that this is a musical that was originally performed by an all-black cast, WJ S*T*A*G*E’s cast has only two African American principle actors. What WJ needs to keep in mind is that auditions are colorblind and actors are always chosen based on talent, not race. When it comes to choosing a musical, director Colleen McAdory takes more into consideration than just lighting, set and the singing and acting capabilities of WJ students. Also taken into account is the interest level for the audience as well as for those willing to audition for the strenuous yet rewarding job of being a member of the S*T*A*G*E pool. More importantly with this show was that there be an even greater effort to get the WJ minority population interested in being a part of a musical production. “It is our fervent desire to have as much minority involvement, as much involvement of the total population of this school, as possible,” said McAdory. “Sometimes we choose shows that we think will be more interesting to different populations.” From the perspective of one whose theater involvement remains lacking, it’s a bit odd that this famously black-cast musical (the 1978 film version included Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jack-
son as the Scarecrow) is being put on by a majority white cast. Going past these initial impressions, it’s impossible to say that those cast for this musical depended on anything other than their sheer talent. “We really try to involve as many stu-
keep popping up in major roles; however, it is not prejudice against anyone, not for race and not for grade. Seniority only comes into play when students going up for a role share the same singing or acting abilities. This is a musical that has been made into 16 different film ad-
Photo courtesy of Davisseal
WJ is one of many high schools, such as Hattiesburg High School pictured above, performing their own adaptation of TheWiz, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical.
dents as possible while at the same time, we go for who we think is the best person for each part,” said McAdory. “We absolutely always cast colorblind. We pick the show and then whoever shows up, shows up.” It may seem that the same students
aptations and 14 different stage production adaptations. And that’s exactly what The Wiz is for WJ. It’s our adaptation of a “cult-classic” Broadway show that made it just that much more fun to “Ease On Down the Road.”
Drawn and Arranged by Will McGowan
March 5, 2010
The Pitfalls and Faux Pas of The Pitch By Devon Murtha Everyone has their embarrassing and cringe-worthy moments, moments that make them uncomfortable to even think about. Awkward situations are unavoidable, but for most people, these painful slip-ups are something to be buried away deep in the unconscious, only to be unfortunately rehashed at family dinners. But these people have something essential that The Pitch staff lacks: shame. Lucky for you, this especially awkward bunch has too many embarrassing stories and not enough self-pride to keep it to themselves. So, without further ado: Luke Wilson, Liz Wasden, Ava Bleiberg, Sasha Tycko and Cameron Keyani....
On my first date I wore blue stretch jeans and a tight black v-neck t-shirt. But on top of this ensemble, I sported a furry beige vest that looked like I had murdered a sheep, and paired it with a balloon hat, complete with patches of denim, zebra, leopard, corduroy, leather, wool and plaid...We broke up two weeks later. - A Bleiberg
A friend and I were talking in the new main entrance, next to a glass-framed map of the school. I gave my friend our traditional goodbye, a hard spank. He quickly retaliated and spanked me back, and when he pulled his elbow back he knocked the frame off the wall and all of the glass shattered. We caused a commotion with the surrounding students, and I immediately fled the scene for fear of guilt by association. - C Keyani
One Halloween I chose to dress up as a slut. I dawned a scantily clad red dress and high heels boosting me three more inches into the air. All was going well until I had to climb the stairs of a house on our trick-or-treating route. In my haste to get out of my house, I had forgot to put on my panties. All the kids and parents saw the unthinkable. To make matters worse I had to go back down the stairs…awkward. - L Wilson
One time at a track meet I was warming up for my race when a cute boy from another team came up and asked me for my number. Disoriented in my pre-race frenzy, I promptly told him my heat number, which was “4,” and ran off. Needless to say, that was not the number he was looking for. -S Tycko
I went to interview Mr. Whipple for an article about “It’s Academic”. I was nervous, but I managed to finish the interview and stood up to leave. As I walked away, he said “I’m looking forward to your article.” I stared blank-eyed for a second, lost my composure, and yelled the first thing that came to mind. “I’VE BEEN SICK FOR THREES!!” I yelled and promptly ran out of the room. - L Wasden Photos by Celia Karp and Abby Singley Graphic by Krithi Ramaswamy
Snuggie Up With the Blanket of the Future By Parker Smith Snuggies. The very name seems ludicrous, meaningless, idiotic. And one year ago, the product was just that. Sure we saw the commercials. A blanket with sleeves, so what? I don’t need a blanket with sleeves. No one does. In fact, not only did no one want a Snuggie; they would be embarrassed to be seen with one. And yet, nearly one year later, four million Snuggies have been sold and consumers around the world have the mobility of a sweatshirt and warmth of a blanket. For those of you who haven’t seen one of those in-home moving-picture boxes
in the last year or so, Snuggie commercials are everywhere, from Spike TV to CSPAN to Lifetime Movie Network. The true genius behind the snuggie revolution lies in the beautiful irony of these Snuggie commercials. If you are watching a Snuggie commercial, more often than not you don’t want to be. Therefore, you are forced to change the channel. And as you move your arm out of the blanket cocoon you have created, you pause, and realize that there is nothing in the world you need more than to escape that frigid, glacial air that is so prevalent outside of your nest. You pick up the phone, and dial the number on your screen. And it is through this appeal that the
Snuggie has caught fire. Even as we turn the other cheek to commercials desperately pleading for money to help innocent puppies, people continue to have this recurring epiphany that we don’t have to be cold. We may change the channel while avoiding the frozen tundra that is the surrounding air.We may channel surf day and night, no matter the climate. We may push the limits of the common blanket: from reading, answering the phone, and roasting marshmallows, to knitting, using a laptop, and eating a snack; anything is possible without leaving the comfort of this incredible blanket. These possibilities slowly became realized, and before long, Snuggies were everywhere.
This Place is Wack By Colin Buley I’m sick of high school. Not my friends, not all the cool teachers I’ve had, just the horribly misguided academic aspect, and the part where I have no rights. I’m sick of it, and it’s starting to make me a little angry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning and preparing for the future. But this place goes about it the wrong way. And don’t just dismiss me and call me an ungrateful, selfish teenager. I’m not. I’m very appreciative, just look… Thank you so much grading system! Homework is just such a great way of measuring students’ learning. Of course we are going to do time-consuming, busy work about things we already understand. And if we don’t understand it, well, there’s a simple solution. We should just spend our only free time agonizing over something we don’t like. And it’s 10 percent of our grade so that if we don’t do it, we get punished; that’ll teach us. Brilliant! Oh, oh! The way we test is just so peachy too. The curriculum makes us memorize a bunch of big words and dates and names so that instead of testing our understanding of the concepts presented in class, we get to be tested on our ability to memorize. It definitely doesn’t make school boring and unengaging; and it isn’t to blame for a large percentage of the school losing interest in learning. Definitely not. Thank you school system for making the number of absences a student has a factor in whether or not they pass a class. That really assesses our knowledge. Thanks teachers and administrators for treating me like a small child the past couple years, because every intelligent, thinking person (which most high schoolers are) enjoys that. Stop emailing my parents. I’m 18 years old, talk to me. Just look in the handbook. for examples. “Students more than 20 minutes late are regarded as absent.” This makes perfect sense. “Dress and grooming are up to the student, except when they are such that they disrupt class activity, violate health and safety standards, or are considered inappropriate.” LOL wut? I don’t think a bra strap showing is going to kill me. I was going to make a joke about naked African tribes and inappropiateness here after looking up the name of one, but MCPS won’t let me type “naked african tribes” into google. Education is a word that has no precise definition. One of the central causes of turmoil in our educational system is this lack of definition, even though it’s quite obvious. The goal of education should be to show students how to learn rather than tell them what to learn; it should teach students how to think for themselves rather than to just accept the thoughts of other men and women. I’m sure you’ve noticed how often a students’ interest in learning disappears slowly as they go “further” in their education. It’s because we’re duped. We’re told when we enter schooling that we are coming here to learn. Really, we enter school to be molded to fit into our society. It’s why every countries’ educational system and curriculum is tailored to their culture. I just hope that people take the information (and logic) available in this column (and everywhere), and apply it to their own thinking and believe what they come up with. Belief inspires motivation. Motivation inspires action. So eventually, this system will change. Hang in there, first graders.
March 5, 2010
March 5, 2010
WAR& PEACE The
There are over conflicts going on in the world today. With the current proliferation of news are you expanding your horizons beyond the 30 miles around you? Or beyond the USA? Only by learning about these conflicts can we truly understand the world today. And only with understanding can there be change.
All statistics from globalsecurity.com
Life Away From Dad
Q&A with WJ Student Carl Adams By Camilla Yanushevsky
During World War I, civilians made up five percent of all casualties. Today, 75 percent or more of those killed or wounded in wars are noncombatants.
Moldova Transdniester Time Period: 1991- present
Time Period: 2006- present Time Period: 1992- present
United States Afghanistan Pakistan Baluchistan
SudanDarfur Darfur Sudan
United States Iraq
Uganda Civil Conflict Time Period: 1980- present
Time Period: 2002- present
Time Period: 1968- present
Time Period: 2004- present
TimePeriod: Period:19831983-present present Time
Ivory Coast Civil War
Time Period: 1950- present
Time Period: 1970s- present
Yemen Sheik a;-Houti Time Period: 2004- present
Thailand Islamic Rebels Time Period: 2001- present
Nigeria Civil Disturbances Time Period: 1997- present
Time Period: 1991- present
Indonesia Papua Time Period: 1963- present
China Spratly Islands
Somalia Civil War
Time Period: 1970s- present
Peru Shining Path
China Senkaku Islands
Time Period: 1980- present
Time Period: 1990- present
Time Period: 1953- present
Time Period: 1992- present
Israel Lebanon Algeria Insurgency
Russia Chechen Uprising
Time Period: 1988- present
Time Period: 1986- present
Congo War Time Period: 1998- present
Time Period: 1970s- present
Namibia Caprivi Strip
Time Period: 1966- present
Time Period: 1975- present
What unit does your dad serve in? How long has he been serving? My dad is a doctor in the Medical Department of the United States Army. He has served in the military since 1982. Why did your dad decide to serve in the military? He chose to serve in the army because of the opportunity to get a free education, which he got by going to the U.S. Military Academy and then on an Army scholarship to medical school. Also, he is a patriot and believes that America is worth defending. How has your dad’s job affected your family? Being a military family, we move constantly. I have lived in at least seven houses in four different states all across the U.S. It seems whenever we get settled in at our next house, we have to move again. I’ve lived in Maryland for by far the longest time - seven years. Were you ever scared that your dad would pass away? I have never been seriously concerned that my dad could be killed in action. He belongs to the best branch of the strongest, best-trained military in the world. It is also statistically more likely to be hit by a car and killed or even murdered here in the U.S. than in Iraq or Afghanistan. How often do you see your dad? Most days, he leaves too early in the morning and gets back in the evening, so I really only see him for a few hours each day. As a doctor, he is often on call and can be called back to the hospital at any time of the day to do a surgery. Obviously, when he gets deployed, I don’t see him for months at a time. What is your favorite memory with your dad? The best part of every day is always when my dad gets home. He usually cracks a joke or two and then starts talking animatedly about his day, how he got to cut through a chest to piece together an aorta or how he cut off a gangrenous foot before it could spread. It’s a lot of fun to listen to. What is the worst part about your dad’s job? I hate not being able to see him again for weeks or months. It’s not that I don’t know if he’ll come back or not, it’s just that I, like anyone else, hate being away from [the people I love] for so long. It gets to seem like they never really existed and that they are just a figment of our imagination, only sometimes being proved untrue with letters or pictures sent from over there. Are you interested in joining the military? Of course. I am not going to sit idly by while the bad guys try and blow us, our national icons, our government and everything else we believe in up. If a country is worth living in, it’s worth fighting for. This is the best country in the world, and it needs defending. Do you think there is enough support for the military in our society? Most people say they support the military. It’s a lot easier to say you support them and then go about your daily life as if nothing is any different from peacetime than to actually do something about it. You might as well send one a care package or write one a letter to a soldier they really appreciate it. It doesn’t really matter why they are over there, because as long as they are, they need more than just your words for support.
Photos provided by flickr.com Infographics by Krithi Ramaswamy
Imagine there’s no countries; it isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace. --John Lennon, Imagine
March 5, 2010
All images provided by flickr.com
VANCOUVER 2010 “
The Medals and the Mishaps
I found the curling match, USA vs. France, very entertaining because I didn’t know it took so much skill. Their technique of sweeping was flawless.
--Senior Kevin Spak By Allison Gordon
It happens only once every four years, and for the Winter Olympics 2010, athletes came from all over the world to Vancouver where they tested their skills and showed the world what they have been practicing for years. For many of the athletes, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. But, once it was finally time for them to perform and compete in front of the world, there was just as much focus on what went wrong in the Olympics as there was on the athletes’ performance. Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death during his practice round on the luge was devastating and overshadowed the opening of the Winter Games. This was a
horrible loss, especially considering this would have been Kumaritashvili’s first time competing in the Olympic Games. “I think it’s a shame that he died because they didn’t make the track as safe as it could’ve been for the athletes,” said sophomore Jake Karlin. Junior Kate Cyr agreed. “I think [the death] was terrible; they could’ve protected the track so he wouldn’t have hit the metal post,” she said. Another obstacle the Vancouver 2010 team had to face before the Olympic Games even started was getting snow on the ground. At the time, there was not enough snow in Vancouver for certain sports to be played. The lack of snowfall
I’ve been watching the Olympics and my main squeeze, Shaun White, has impressed me throughout the Olympics due to his dominance of his sport.
--Senior Sam Lichtman on Cypress Mountain caused quite a bit of trouble for the Olympic organizers. The organizers had to find snow from higher elevations to import to Vancouver, so they could make sure there was enough snow to cover all six snowboarding and skiing events that took place on the mountain. Karlin, however, had a different solution. “They should’ve taken some of our snow or had the Olympics here,” he said. There have been other mishaps surrounding the Olympics as well: there were PETA protests and threats against American figure skater Johnny Weir for wearing fur on his figure skating cos-
tume; there were complaints about NBC airing the vulgar conversation that occurred between Shaun White and his coach, Bud Keene, after they learned he had won his event, and there was the controversy surrounding Lindsey Vonn posing in a bikini for the cover of Sports Illustrated. Even though a few events have occurred that could distract audiences from the true purpose of the Olympics - the athletes and their abilities - students are still very opinionated about the games, athletes and countries they were rooting for. Infographic by Parker Smith Interviews conducted by Flor Martinez
March 5, 2010
Oscars ‘10 Photo courtesy of www.weareallprecious.com
Photo courtesy of www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com
Photo courtesy of www.theblindsidemovie.com
Photo courtesy of www.theupintheairmovie.com
In the weeks preceding the Academy Awards ceremony, this year on March 7, anyone film-obssessed with access to a computer tries to get inside the Academy’s heads and publish their predictions for Oscar wins and snubs. The Pitch joins the pre-Oscar frenzy and made predictions based on critical acclaim and history of Academy politics, as well as picked what should win but probably won’t. By Ian Green
Avatar • The Blind Side • District 9 As Oscar night approaches, the race for top film is virAn Education • The Hurt Locker tually between two starkly contrasting movies, the lowInglourious Basterds grossing, critically acclaimed The Hurt Locker and the highPrecious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by est-grossing movie of all time, the visual nirvana Avatar. Sapphire These two movies reflect the clash within the movie-going A Serious Man • Up • Up in the Air public, between the obsessed cinephile who regularly attends the local art-house cinema, and the common movieBest Director goer who stuffs his face with buttery popcorn while watching the latest 3-D flick. While the films differ in nature, • James Cameron, Avatar • they are similar in that they are visually stunning, compul• Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker • sively entertaining action films. However, The Hurt Locker has the edge when it comes to who will win. It has won •Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds• • Lee Daniels, Precious • the Producer’s Guild, Director’s Guild, Writer’s Guild, • Jason Reitman, Up in the Air • and BAFTA (British Academy) awards for Best Film, and historically that bodes well for the film. The winner should Best Actor be Inglourious Basterds, the wild history-altering romp written and directed by one of the best storytellers of this era, • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart • Quentin Tarantino. It deserves to win simply for popular• George Clooney, Up in the Air • izing the phrase “Nazi Scalps.” However, signs point to The • Colin Firth, A Single Man • Hurt Locker becoming the smallest grossing movie to win Best Picture in decades. • Morgan Freeman, Invictus • Will win: The Hurt Locker • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker •
Should win: Inglourious Basterds
Best Actor The award for Best Actor this year will not just be about the top performance this year, but also about rewarding a career as a whole. The actor in question is five-time Oscar nominee Jeff Bridges of Iron Man and The Big Lebowski, known for his laid-back, charming appeal. He is expected to win for his performance in Crazy Heart as boozing country singer Bad Blake finally getting his life back together is both riveting and touching. He has been sweeping the Awards circuit, with a Golden Globe and SAG Award under his belt. It also does not hurt that he comes off as the swell, laid-back guy that he has played over the years. The actual best performance of the year though belonged to Colin Firth in A Single Man. He played an English professor from Britain living in early ‘60s L.A. who plans to commit suicide by the end of the day after dealing with depression over his boyfriend’s death. When he receives the call relaying the news of his lover’s death, his perfectly expressed horror is deserving of an Oscar in itself. He won the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival and the Best Actor Award at BAFTA, but it has already been decided. Bridges will win. The Dude abides.
Best Actress Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side • Helen Mirren, The Last Station • Carey Mulligan, An Education • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious • Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Best Supporting Actor Matt Damon, Invictus • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz, Nine • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air • Mo’Nique, Precious
Will Win: Jeff Bridges Should Win: Colin Firth
Best Supporting Actress Similar to Best Supporting Actor, this race has been a virtual shoe-in and all the awards that keep piling up just further prove the inevitable result: Mo’Nique of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire will win.Yes, the thought of Mo’Nique standing up on that stage, holding up an Oscar, will be shocking to many of you who know her as the star of Phat Girlz, which is hopefully none of you, but it’s true. Playing the role of Mary, Precious’ abusive mother, she delivers a terrifying performance that plays with the audience’s emotions like a game of chess if your opponent threw pans at you and crushed your self-esteem. The other actresses delivered fine performances, but Mo’nique will certainly win an Oscar this year, and she earned it. She was the most terrifying character in the movies this year, and for that Mo’Nique deserves to win.
Will Win: Mo’Nique Should Win: Mo’Nique
When the Oscar for Best Director is announced, it will most certainly be Ladies Night. Kathryn Bigelow of The Hurt Locker will win the Oscar, and in doing so will become the first female director to win. Her closest competitor would be James Cameron of Avatar, who also happens to be her former husband. If she beats him, it would be a victory for scorned women everywhere. History is on her side; she won the Director’s Guild Award, and only six times has the winner of that not gone on to win the Oscar. People are sick of Cameron’s God complex when it comes to his movies, even though Avatar was pretty damn impressive, creating an entire world. Bigelow has kept her ego in check so far, and was certainly the better director this year. Her film was a brutal and honest look at the male psyche, which is an impressive viewpoint from a female director. She got wonderful performances from her actors, and she used the camera well to pump up the collective adrenaline of the audience.
Will win: Kathryn Bigelow Should win: Kathryn Bigelow
Best Actress Part of the politics of the Oscar season is kissing up to the press. Feigning genuine surprise even as the awards stack up, and playing the modesty card until you are officially no longer allowed to be modest. This route has been played to perfection by America’s Sweetheart, also known as Sandra Bullock. After years of being in mediocre romcoms with the occasional dramatic role, Bullock is apparently overdue for an Oscar for her turn in The Blind Side. Not sure where that love was when Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous was around, but hey shut up, she’s America’s Sweetheart, dammit! Her performance was the best work of her career, as the dynamic, well-to-do white lady who decides to adopt a homeless, black teenage boy, but that isn’t saying that much when you’ve been in more than one movie with Keanu Reeves. Before the spunky Bullock came in and starting getting the big awards, the race was considered to be between Carey Mulligan in An Education and Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia. Streep has already won two Oscars among a record-breaking 16 nominations, and she most likely will not get another one. Mulligan richly deserves the Oscar, for her elegant and beautiful depiction of a high-school student in bleak early ‘60s England who gets in over her head while in a relationship with an adventurous 30-year-old con man, but Bullock will pull off the win.
Will Win: Sandra Bullock Should Win: Carey Mulligan
Best Supporting Actor This is one award that has been in the bag for quite some time now, and the victor will surely be Christoph Waltz as Hans Lauda, aka The Jew Hunter, in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Virtually unknown, with a resume consisting almost entirely of Austrian movies, he immediately generated Oscar buzz when the film was first released at the Cannes Film Festival. He went on to win the Best Actor Award there and has not looked back since, winning almost every single award out there. His complete mastery of the role, from seamlessly shifting between four different languages to chewing up Tarantino’s dialogue like a steak dinner, is stunning. He was a strong, dynamic force in the film, and every scene that had him in it was immediately improved. Based on the way the awards season has developed and a stunning performance, Waltz will be waltzing his way to the podium come Oscar night, and that’s a bingo.
Will Win: Christoph Waltz Should Win: Christoph Waltz
Out of Left Field:
Mashing Up Our Music Before We Digest It By Sophie Meade
When a remix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Party and Bullsh**” paired with Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” was popularized throughYouTube, listeners were either ecstatic or outraged. The creator of the remix had forced together two unlikely songs with two very different fan bases, obviously resulting in some level of discontent. As every third YouTube comment asserted, the remix was an “insult to Biggie’s career and music,” while to others it was simply a “sick mashup.” Few people on YouTube, however, felt the need to address the actual reproduction of the copyrighted works, as they were mainly focused on their dissatisfaction with the specific pairing of songs.This would suggest that the excessive remixing and sampling so prominent in today’s mainstream music has already been formally incorporated and accepted into the music industry. However, the strong base of critics against such direct reproduction of musical works refuse to consider these sample users and remix creators as artists, but rather as poseurs. And even many listeners of sample-based music who actually understand the origin of what they’re listening to have avoided thinking of remixing and sampling as a defined form of music with its own conceptual principles. Sampling, or the re-use of isolated portions of songs as instruments or tracks in a new recording, has been in use as far back as the ‘60s, reaching a new level in the ‘80s with the creation of hip-hop. But it wasn’t until this past decade that the practice cleverly adapted itself into the industry and became so essential to separate genres as well as creating a faction of its own. Various sampling artists can use different degrees of sampling, from simply mixing two or more separate songs together (known as mashups) or completely dissecting instrumental elements from various songs to create a completely new, multi-layered track. The former style usually intentionally incorporates recognizable elements from the popular songs they synthesize, thus the mashup holds an initial significance for the listener who already knows the sampled songs. Artists like Girl Talk and Super Mash Bros. have truly conceptualized the form of mashups to the point that it is not just a mechanical process of laying down tracks, but rather a principled art that has a literal take on the abstract theories of music. Mashups are, in a way, ingeniously paradoxical as the combined songs often blatantly contradict one another conceptually while they complement each other technically. In other words, the songs could be an unlikely match because of their genres but for technical reasons such as harmony or rhythm they piece together beautifully. The combination of MGMT’s “Kids” with Eminem’s “Without Me” in a mashup by Super Mash Bros. mixes two songs that are theoretically clashing, but the clever combination of their complementary qualities makes them surprisingly fit together. The savvy ability of these artists to intertwine the songs in a way that is mind-blowing is largely due of the significance of each song as a separate entity. In no way are the individual integrities of the mixed songs sacrificed, rather, they are amplified as one song is pinned against another and the listener subconsciously switches between the recognition of each separate song and the synthesis as a whole. The presence of mashups in today’s music is a conflict in itself because although they has gained such wide popularity, few people actually take them seriously. Everyone from loyal listeners to skeptics owes it to these artists, and to the progression of our own musical taste, to see beyond the literal combination of songs towards an ingenious artistic conception.
March 5, 2010
Alumni in the Arts By Sasha Tycko Although to some a career in the arts may seem like an improbable reality, WJ alumni are continuing a love for art in college, either attending art school or participating in extracurriculars.
Tasha Vemulkonda 1 (‘09) School: School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Majoring in: Architecture College Experience: Vemulkonda is experimenting with a multitude of artistic mediums, ranging from film to Plexiglass. At SAIC first year students are required to take two classes, Core and Research Studio, but otherwise have free reign in choosing classes as long as they complete the required credits. “This semester, my Research class is topic-based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Right now, a project we are working on is morphing a doll into one of the sins we see in ourselves,” says Vemulkonda. Classes at art school tend to run longer to allot time for studio work, with some lasting up to six hours. “While students at general colleges spend time studying for tests and writing papers alone in a library or in their room, I’m always with my friends working on an art project, asking for input. Students have to get used to professors and other students criticizing their work and learn not to take it personally,” says Vemulkonda. Advice: To prepare herself for art school, Vemulkonda did a summer program at the Rhode Island School of Design, which helped in her decision to focus on art beyond high school. Reflecting on the daunting application process Vemulkonda says, “Now looking back, I wish I had had a consistent theme to my portfolio, schools love themes. It’s also important to draft out earlier in the application process what your goals are as an artist.”
Photo courtesy of Tasha Velmukonda
Photo courtesy of Artem Artemov
Photo courtesy of Ania Soltan
Soltan, third from left, sung the national anthem at a woman’s basketball game with members from her all-girls a capella group.
3 Artem Artemov (‘09) 2 Ania Soltan (‘08) School: GWU Majoring in: Psychology and English College Experience: Though not majoring in art or music, Soltan continues her love for theater and music in college, participating in an all-girls a capella group, a co-ed choir and student theater. Along with psychology classes, Soltan is taking several various arts courses, such as Comedy, American Drama and Voice. She is considering a career in singing later in life, or possibly a job as a music teacher. “I’m not a music major, but every day I am singing and participating in some sort of music or theater activity,” says Soltan. Advice: Soltan is a perfect example that students don’t need to major in art to continue their artistic ventures. There are many extracurricular opportunities for students who love art but are pursuing degrees in different fields. “Even if you don’t end up majoring in your art field, continue with it through college because you shouldn’t let your passion disappear just because your location changes from high school to college,” she says.
What other alumni are doing in the arts: Aprilia Prizal - attended Marymount University for fashion design, is now at MC for illustration and is planning on transferring to SVA or Parsons next fall. Shayna Blass - musical theater major at American University, just finished a local production of RENT at the Keegan Theatre that earned 5 Helen Hayes nominations. Tamir Kalifa - majoring in either Radio/Television/Film or Photojournalism and Middle Eastern Studies at University of Texas at Austin, is in a band, and works professionally as a photographer.
School: School of Visual Arts (in NYC) Majoring in: Graphic Design College Experience: As an aspiring graphic designer, Artemov is primarily focusing on the fine arts in his freshman year. He is taking Literature, Drawing, Painting, 3D Design and Art History. Art school is a different experience than traditional schools - while other students are scouring textbooks, art students are assigned design or painting projects. Yet, Artemov warns that art school requires just as much work as any other school: “Once you are here, you have to learn how to learn. It’s a bit stressful in the beginning but you get it quite fast.” Advice: Like most students involved in arts Artemov did a summer program at his intended school and advises high school students to follow suit. “I had the opportunity to meet a lot of awesome professors. I feel they helped me so much, especially since one of them wrote my recommendation letter.” Artemov also recommended getting as involved in art as possible while in high school: “Take as many art classes as you possibly can, go to as many galleries, museums, artistic events, etc. as you can. And make sure you really, really love art.”
March 5, 2010
Athletes of the Month Volume 54 | Issue 3
Junior forward Sarah Howie has enjoyed this season the most out of all her years playing basketball for WJ. She feels the team has become more confident, and that new head coach Tori Moten has put a new spark on a program that struggled last year. As a result, Howie has seen the team come closer together. “I feel like the team is really clicking this year and we are finally starting to prove that WJ can play basketball,” said Howie. The adjustment to a new head coach was not difficult for Howie. She feels that Moten has been key figure to her personal and the team’s success this season. “She has helped put in a whole new attitude about basketball and has really placed a lot of fun in our program,” said Howie. “She has encouraged me to work my hardest and give it my all during each practice and game.” As the leading scorer and rebounder on the team, Howie has taken her own game to a new level. She routinely scores in the double digits; for example, during the team’s win against Northwest, Howie scored 34 points. She was named the star of the day by The Washington Post following the Northwest game. “Her work ethic on the floor is tremendous and she continues to mature into a top player in the league,” said Moten. Howie has also stepped up as a leader on the team. She leads not only by example and spirit, but also by helping out other players on the team. “She also does a good job talking to the younger players when they are strug-
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814
By Jennifer Spencer
Photo by Kathleen Seale
Howie has led the team to an 8-13 record this season, a dramatic improvement from last year’s winless season.
gling,” said Moten. “She has done a better job talking on the floor, and her competitive spirit on the floor speaks loudly.” Howie is constantly striving to play better and has been working on building her strength with the help of Moten and her teammates. “I have really just learned to have fun while playing,” said Howie. “I am a very competitive person but I have learned to just leave it all on the floor and be happy as long as I give it my all.”
Competing in two sports is not uncommon. However, it takes a standout athlete, like senior Patrick Teixeira, to compete in both football and wrestling at a very high level. Teixeira started wrestling his sophomore year to stay in shape for football. Little did he know, he would progress to eventually compete his junior year and, by his senior year, be ranked first by The Washington Post in his 285-pound weight class, considered a serious contender for the state title. “Wrestling was hard from the start, but I learned to get used to it and I began to like it,” said Teixeira. Coaches Tom Wheeler and Robert Li worked closely with him during the offseason to improve his performance. Although he is a relative newcomer to the sport, he wrestles like a veteran. “This season, I’ve won more matches and have been smarter about how I wrestle,” said Teixeira. “Wheeler and Yi have definitely helped me out to reach this point.” Wheeler saw Teixeira’s potential early on. He continually sees perseverance, discipline and patience in Teixiera traits that are essential for successful wrestlers to possess. “Very few people would have practiced an entire season to learn the sport when he could not wrestle as he did when he was a sophomore,” said Wheeler. “Very few people have the discipline to remake themselves physically in order to participate.” The coaches know how important
Photo by Nicole Nakagama
This past weekend, Teixeira won the 4A Regional Championship in the 285-pound class with a 3-2 victory. He will compete in the state championships that begin today.
football is to Teixeira. They also see the benefits of wrestling for him. The strength he builds in football carries over to wrestling while the toughness required in wrestling helps in football. “Wrestling has made him a better football player, and football has made him a better wrestler,” said Wheeler. Teixeira has had to consider which sport he will focus on in college. He does not plan to give up wrestling as he continues onto the next level in football. “I’m going to play football in college, but I would do club wrestling wherever I go,” he said.
Photo by Kathleen Seale
After starting the season 4-0, the team struggled the rest of the season with two four-game losing streaks.
Early Playoff Exit for Girls Basketball By Kathleen Seale Due to the memorable blizzard last month and consequential snow days, two girls basketball games were postponed. While the snow and week off from school caused much chaos, it wound up giving the girls basketball team an advantage; the girls were given the chance to take a break from playing and injured players were able to recover in time for the end of the season and playoffs. On Feb. 21, it was made official that the team would play Northwest on Feb. 26 for their first playoff game. Instead of a desired win against Jaguars, the Wildcats fell 51-64. “I am so proud of what the team has accomplished this year,” said senior co-
captain Kat Gratton. “Even though the game [against Northwest] didn’t turn out in our favor, we played so hard and fought all the way to the end.” At the beginning of the season, the team started to prepare for the playoffs and since then, senior co-captain Catherine Madden and Gratton worked with new head coach Tori Moten to motivate the team to play to their full potential. “Before the playoffs began, I just encouraged them by making a motivational CD and said ‘we have nothing to lose,’” said Moten. This season, the girls had to get accustomed to the new strategies Moten brought to the team. Although this was difficult at first, as the season progressed the new “philosophies” introduced by Moten - such as hard work, personal sacrifice, teamwork and heart - became routine. “Coach Moten and Carl Travis, our assistant coach, are honestly such a blessing to have,” said Madden. “They put their emotion and effort into everything and that is something we did not have last year. They care so much for all of us and as a result, we do not want to let them down ever. Coach Moten and Travis have definitely changed the WJ girls basketball for the better, into a program and a family, rather than a four-month season.” Although this season is over, the girls have transformed from last year, coming from a winless season and going to an 814 team for this past season. As for next year, the team is only losing three seniors and plans to continue to play hard and move to the next level. “I think that if everyone plays like they did this year, next year the team will be very successful,” said Madden. “If they play with energy and heart there is nothing they cannot accomplish.”
March 5, 2010
Wrestling Team Sends Two to State Meet
Volume 54 | Issue 3
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20814
By Cameron Keyani After a five-meet losing streak in January, four wrestling team members - freshman Colin McCoy, sophomore Elad Covaliu and seniors Patrick Teixeira and Mitchell Gesumaria - qualified for the Regional Championships, with both Covaliu and Teixeira moving on to the Maryland State Championships today and tomorrow. Despite the many losses the wrestling team suffered as a whole, Covaliu has gone 28-3 and Teixeira has gone 30-1 this season, and both are among the county’s best in their weight classes, 135 pounds and 285 pounds, respectively. “Elad’s a sophomore so this is just experience for him, but Patrick is a firstseed wrestler and he has a good chance to progress beyond states,” said co-coach Tom Wheeler. The progression to States is much improved from the team’s performance in January, which ended with the injury of senior Nick Taylor, who dislocated his elbow on Jan. 30 while wrestling against Blake. “I was trying to stand up and the kid picked me up off the mat,” said Taylor. “As he was bringing me back down I tried to do a move called a standing switch. As I was trying to do this I posted my arm and landed on it; he landed on me and there was a pop.” It was a grisly scene in which Taylor’s arm bone was visibly dislocated and made a bulge in his skin. The injury was not as severe as it looked, however, and while Taylor will not be wrestling for the remainder of the season, he will recover quickly. “My humerus was completely separat-
Photo by Nicole Nakagama
Teixeira (back) and teammate Covaliu will compete in the State Championships after qualifying at the Regional Championships.
ed from the radius and ulna, [but] they were able to pop the bones back into place without surgery,” said Taylor. Additionally, sophomore Charlie Bulman and freshman James Reid-Epps both injured their shoulders while wrestling. At the start of the season, the team won its first three meets and performed well at the “Big Train” and “Bull Dog” dual meets. As the season wore on, however, the team had a series of losses against Churchill, Wootton and Northwood, among others. “The first few team wins were pretty much expected, but as the season went on, the teams we wrestled started to get harder,” said Covaliu. “A lot of underclassmen had to step it up and wrestle some good people [and] try their hardest to at least not get pinned.”
March 5, 2010
Winter Sports Wrap Up By Sports Editors
Coach’s prediction for next year “Bottom line on the season was our record wasn’t very good. But from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, we did improve. We only had two seniors, so our team is very young and there were a lot of hard lessons that we learned as the season went on. We look for big things next year.” - coach Bill Morris Photo by Kathleen Seale
“The season was an overall success, but we’re looking to peak at the upcoming National Championship Meet.” - senior Martin Dally
Sean O’Leary first place 1600m WJ boys second place 4x800m (Nick Regan, Josh Ellis, Daniel Kirwan, Martin Dally) WJ girls second place 4x800m (Camille Bouvet, Sydney Calas, Jennifer Spencer, Jenna Willett)
Coach’s prediction for next year
“We’re going to see who comes out next year, but we have some up-and-coming juniors who I expect to do very well next season.”- coach Tom Martin
MCPS Poms Champions
Athlete’s Reflection “Since I’ve been on the squad, this is the best season I’ve ever had. We had a really great group of girls, and there was never any drama. Two amazing coaches led to our success.” - senior Alex Gusky
Coach’s prediction for next year
By Zach Gordon
“At the beginning of the year, we were mainly trying to get used to each other since we were a completely new team. Towards the end of the season, we realized that we could win games and ended up beating B-CC. Next year, we’ll have a lot of players returning and we’ll have a pretty solid and experienced lineup, so we’ll definitely be capable of winning many more games.” - sophomore Halid Hamadi
Going Around in Circles
Photo courtesy of Kate Barner
“The team learned this year that it takes hard work, time, motivation and the ability to balance and prioritize responsibilities to be successful. Next year, we hope to see the same qualities exhibited by returning squad members and those new to the team.” - co-coach Sarah Leng
Hello, my name is Zach and I am a NASCAR fan. Yes, you read correct, a NASCAR fan. I am actually one of the rare few in the school, or maybe even in the Mid-Atlantic region, who enjoys watching grown men go around in circles more than a dog with ADD trying to catch its own tail. And while most of you are laughing at me or have balled up the newspaper in disgust, I know there are a few of you out there who think NASCAR is exciting “for the crashes.” This bugs me almost more than people who haven’t even given the sport a chance. That’s about the equivalent of watching college basketball for Dick Vitale’s catchphrases (While we’re at it, Darrell Waltrip’s “Boogidy, Boogidy, Boogidy” is a classic) or watching football for the postgame interviews (see: ‘Playoffs?!?!’ or ‘I Was Like Um’), a small part of a bigger event. So, I have compiled a list of things to watch for in a race to make the viewing experience more exciting for all of you “fans” out there, or for those of you man enough to flip on a race. -No. 1: Pay attention to the drivers when they talk. During the race, commentators often cut to clips of drivers talking to their crew chiefs. The challenge is to try to understand what in the world the drivers are saying. Nobody in NASCAR enunciates. Well, maybe Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson. Especially pay attention to post-race interviews. I like to play a game called “Count the Sponsors,” where you count how many sponsors the driver mentions in his interview. I counted seven in this example: “Well, today the #33 Home Depot-Waffle House-Jim BeamBudweiser-GoDaddy.com-Jim’s Bowling Alley-Blue Ribbon Home Pregnancy Test car had a great day out there on the track.” -No. 2: Pay attention to the fans. NASCAR fans are some of the most dedicated and surprisingly numerous in America. Granted, most of them are probably from the same family, but that doesn’t change the fact that these people come prepared for the race. It’s like a “Pimp My Ride” convention for RVs. The fans’ massive mobile homes are donned with flat screens, jacuzzis, giant grills and rooftop couches to enhance the viewing experience. So, when these fans are packing their gut with probably more alcohol than their body can handle, at least they are comfortable. -No. 3: Pit stops. In my opinion, one of the most exciting and crucial things of a NASCAR race. An average pit stop, where a car will get re-fueled, have all four tires changed and have any remote damage fixed, lasts an average of 13-15 seconds. That means a tire-changer has about seven seconds to change a tire. If you take over 10 seconds, you are probably fired. Talk about pressure. But these stops win and lose races. And how many times can someone say after the win, “I owe it all to the man who jacked me!” -No. 4: The crashes. As much as I don’t like to admit it, they are pretty damn fun to watch. But let’s not get carried away. So, I encourage you, next Sunday, to turn on the race for a few laps. Because crashes aren’t the only thing to watch for in a NASCAR race. Because NASCAR is exciting...right?
Sports W i l d c a t
March 5, 2010
Winter Sports Wrap Up
Check out The Pitch Online at WJPitch.com
Competitive Clubs: Sports Without Sponsorship
Photo courtesy of Emily Carter
Senior Emily Carter competes in local equestrian competitions.
By Mateo Williamson and Colin Buley What makes an activity a sport? Is it the level of competitiveness? Is it the scores and judges? Or is it the physical nature itself? Whatever the case, there are plenty of competitive clubs at WJ that would call what they do a “sport.” Senior Emily Carter has been in the Equestrian Club all four years of high school, competing in various competitions around the county. For her, riding horses is just as much a sporting experience as her three years on the girls soccer and lacrosse teams. “Controlling a 1,200 pound animal takes just as much effort, skill and concentration as any other sport,” said Carter.
“It may not be a popular sport, but it sure is a difficult one.” Probably the most well-known competitive club at WJ is the hockey team. Undoubtedly the most fan-attended of all the sports clubs, the unsponsored sport faces issues with money and finding a location to practice. The Cabin John Ice Rink proves to be a simple solution to the dilemma of location, but player are still responsible for buying equipment. The WJ Crew team is another club that competes in its sport competitively. Crew is team rowing, in which there are boats of four or eight people. With the exception of the coxswain, who steers the boat and coordinates the rowers facing the bow, every member of the boat rows. Like many of WJ’s sports teams, Crew creates a strong bond among its team members. “We’re like a big family,” said senior captain Mollie Rosen. “We do everything together. We run together, we practice together all the time, and there’s the pasta dinners.” Unfortunately, besides the sense of family, Crew also shares funding issues with competitive clubs. One of the biggest dilemmas faced by non schoolsponsored teams is funding. Because the school has a specific budget plan for its fall, winter and spring sports, clubs do not receive any funding from the school itself.
Photo courtesy of Cathy Rosen
Crew hosts several fundraisers throughout the year in order to help cover the costs of the team.
“Each year the [Walter Johnson Athletic Department] gets around $50,000,” said Athletic Director Sue Amos. “Among the other schools in the county, we are towards the bottom in athletic funding.” Because costs for transportation and equipment run high in Crew, Hockey and the Equestrian Club, funding on a large scale comes from the participants and the fundraising. “We’ve had a Five Guys fundraiser, a Citrus sale, a Silent Auction and a Hard Times Cafe fundraiser all benefitting Crew,” said senior crew captain Alex O’Konski. “We need to them just to pay for everything.”
Swim Team Finishes Top Ten at Metros By Parker Smith
Swim and dive is undoubtedly dominated by individual performance, but if one walks into room 222 during any given lunch period, they would witness something that is quite emphatically a team. This science room is where the core swimmers of WJ swim and dive team congregate at lunch, where jokes are cracked, stories are told and a season is reminisced upon. The team already had a very successful season, exceeding coach Jamie Grimes’s own expectations, with a stellar performance at Metros this past weekend ending the season on a high note. “I just wanted everyone to have their best times of the season,” said Grimes. Metros, or the Metropolitan Swimming & Diving Championships is a culminating competition that holds parallels to states, but
Photo courtesy of Bryan Ray
Sophomore diver Anne Kastler placed first at the MCPS Swimming and Diving Championships.
includes public and private schools from Montgomery County, D.C. and Northern Virginia. According to Grimes, many swimmers peaked at the right time, during the biggest meet of the year. Among these were senior Greg Karel, who set a school record in the 50 yard freestyle. Karel’s performance earned him fourth
county meet on Feb. 20, but had an off day at Metros after trying to swim sick. Pepper still managed to finish sixth in the 200 free, seventh in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free relay along with senior Jessica Yuan, and juniors Sara Kwon, and Sydney Drill. Sophomore Annie Kastler also finished third in the one meter diving competition. “Metros were super exciting this year,” said Jason Blanken, paraeducator at WJ and head coach of the B-CC swim team. “Comcast Sportsnet covered the meet; swimmers got interplace in the 50 free, followed viewed after the meet. That with a sixth place finish in the 100 free. was really exciting for everySenior Andrew Tollefson was the only one.” Wildcat swimmer to win an event, the Now, after the conclusion of the season 100 backstroke, and also took second in with Metros, the team is left with only the 200 free. Tollefson also contributed to a third place finish in the 400 free re- memories of a great swim season to remlay, along with Karel, freshmen Christo- inisce upon. At the end of the season, WJ swimmers and divers broke four school pher Root and Barry Mangold. On the girls side, junior Elizabeth records in the girls 200 IM, girls 100 fly, Pepper has contributed several school girls one meter dive and boys 50 free. records. Pepper set record times in the 100 yard fly and the 200 yard IM in the
I just wanted everyone to have their best times of the season.
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