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Pitch Walter Johnson High School

Bottoms Up:


Underage Drinking Remains Common Among Teens By Julia Cinquegrani It is a well-known, if infrequently discussed fact, that underage drinking is prevalent among teens. Recent studies that track trends in alcohol consumption among teens show no signs that the rate in alcohol consumption among teens is decreasing, which is a cause of public concern. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 14 percent of eighth graders, 29 percent of tenth graders, and 41 percent of twelfth graders had consumed at least one drink in the 30 days before being surveyed. Also, five percent of 8th graders, 15 percent of 10th graders, and 27 percent of 12th graders had been drunk. Globally, 320,000 people aged 15-29 years old die annually from alcohol-related causes, resulting in nine percent of all deaths in that age group. Many students at WJ have said that

Alcohol continued on page 3

Boys Soccer captures 4A West title and looks to continue run to state championship, story page 20. Photo courtesy of Meghan Geier

Students Rally to Support Breathe Deep D.C. Recent 5K Raises Money to Fight Lung Cancer By Claudia Nguyen To kick off National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, on Nov. 6, over 50 WJ students participated in “Breathe Deep D.C.,” an event supporting lung cancer research hosted by the LUNGevity Foundation. The event’s main feature was a 5K walk around D.C.’s National Mall, and proceeds from the participants’ registry went directly to help raise funds for lung cancer research. In order to create additional motivation, LUNGevity created a system where individuals could register as part of a team. By fostering friendly competition, the organization hoped to reach, or exceed, its goal of raising $300,000. With nearly 2,000 participants, the walk aimed to unite the community in the battle against lung cancer. WJ sophomore Margot Cohen headed a walk

Cancer continued on page 2

Photo by Claudia Nguyen

Participants walked around the National Mall in D.C. last Sunday to raise money for the LUNGevity Foundation.

Inside, Check Out: Editorial, pages 5-8 November 11, 2011

Feature, pages 9-12 Volume 57 Issue 2

AA&E & E,pages pgs.13-16 13-16

6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 803-7184

Behind the Scenes of “Anne Frank” By Megan Chun and Claudia Nguyen Although many school plays tend to focus on comical or light-hearted theatric productions, WJ S*T*A*G*E has decided to key in on a more serious and historic interpretation this fall. Adapted from the novel of the same title, “The Diary of Anne Frank” is set in Amsterdam during World War II. The play revolves around young Anne Frank, her family and her friends. The Franks and their friends, all Jewish, are hiding from the Nazi soldiers who have occupied the Netherlands. If caught, they will likely be separated and will be sent to concentration camps. “The Diary of Anne Frank” provides

Anne Frank continued page 9

Sports, pages 17-20





NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Students Walk in 5K to Aid Lung Cancer Research

Cancer continued from page 1 team named “Pirates of the Cureibbean,” consisting of her family and friends, including students from WJ and other schools. She heard about the walk from a friend who text-messaged her about the event. Afterwards, Cohen researched and began to organize it. The past few months have been difficult, but she has been determined to stay strong. Having recently lost her mother to lung cancer, Cohen’s life has been heavily impacted by the loss. By supporting LUNGevity, and encouraging her friends and family to do

Margot Cohen sings a solo during WJ Chorus’ performance at Breathe Deep D.C.



Dear Pitch Readers, This issue readers should notice a change in our front page layout. With multiple articles placed on the page and a larger picture of the regional champion boys soccer team, we hope to give our Pitch readers more of an insight of what’s new this issue. While our layouts may change from time to time, we generally like to adjust the front page and other pages from the paper based on the content of the issue. This issue, since boys soccer brought home a regional title, we felt the team should be adequately recognized. In addition, we hope to emulate the approach of a newspaper by having news and timely articles briefed on the front page for a reader’s enjoyment to immediately browse the paper without even opening it. Specifically, our November issue is addressing the usage and effects of alcohol on teenagers, as we feel it is impor-

m o r F


the same, Cohen hopes to prevent the same experience from affecting others. “My mom passed away over the summer from lung cancer and I wanted to raise money because I told myself that I just really wanted to make a difference,” said Cohen. “I didn’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. I wanted to help find a cure. I wanted to raise awareness and [to] honor my mom.” Despite her strong motivation and determination, she expressed that the process had been challenging because she often needed to remind people to register for the walk online. “I looked up [the walk] and I thought it would be a good idea to ask if the [WJ] chorus could come, [because] I wanted to get as much representation as possible,” said Cohen. “It would be good to get so much support, so I emailed [Jerry Sorkin], who organized the event. We [had] 20 people come from the chorus and about 200 people [were] invited.” As a result of Cohen’s coordination, a performance by WJ’s chorus was featured at the event. In addition to the 5K walk, “Breathe Deep D.C.” also included other kid-friendly activities at the Syl-

van Theater, such as face painting, songs and games. The kids’ tent also featured a station for “Treats 4 Our Troops”, a program that helps put together care packages for soldiers fighting abroad. Additionally, Monica Barlow was presented as the featured lung cancer survivor, and she shared her story of how lung cancer has impacted her life. Doug Kammerer, NBC News4’s chief meteorologist, and Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM served as the event hosts. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 157,300 Americans died of lung cancer in 2010. It is the second most common cancer found in both men and women, with hundreds of thousands of people diagnosed in the United States each year. Lung cancer has a high occurrence rate and it continues to be the number one cause of cancer mortality. On average, 430 people die of lung cancer each day. However, since more research has been conducted, mortality has decreased significantly. A major proponent in the f i g h t against lung cancer, the LUNGevity Foundation is a national institution that funds research for the early detection

Doug Kammerer speaks before the start of the walk.

and successful treatment of lung cancer. By hosting more than 50 annual events in major cities across the United States, LUNGevity hopes to eventually reach its ultimate goal of finding a cure for lung cancer. It hosts Breathe Deep events in Maryland each year; another recent one included “Breathe Deep Baltimore,” which occurred this past September. A nonprofit organization, LUNGevity is largely volunteer-based, supporting the largest national grassroots lung cancer net- work, as well as an online support community for those affected by lung cancer, which can be found on their website,


tant to convey the truth about underage drinking at WJ. We hope that while reading you acknowledge this increasingly important issue and become more informed about the drinking culture at this school. In addition, with each issue, we are giving our online version, increasing coverage in the print edition. This time around almost every section has excerpts from the online paper to give our readers more access to the website. Two years removed from the inaugural year of, the website has come a long way and we encourage those who love the print paper to give as much attention online. With breaking news, top world events, “Songs of the Week”, the online paper is updated on a much more frequent basis. If you love reading the Pitch, then be sure to bookmark on your home computer.

Breathe Deep D.C. sets up stage at the Sylvan Theater.

Monica Barlow cuts the starting ribbon alongside Jerry Sorkin and other cancer survivors.

Left: Tommy McFly introduces the WJ Chorus before their performance of the National Anthem and “Your Song” by Elton John.

--Hannah Flesch and Rosie Hammack, Print Editors-in-Chief


The Ninety-Nine Percent Calls for Reform By Girard Bucello, Online News Editor

They refer to themselves as “The 99%.” The average Americans. The segment of the population squeezed by a stagnant economy and record unemployment. They’ve adopted the grievance tactics of the Arab Spring: there will be no one-dayonly protests. The “Occupy” protesters in New York, Washington and cities across the country and Song of the Week-- “Pumped” across the world, have refused to budge. As a number of protesters by Foster the People have said, they will stay out for “as

Photos by Claudia Nguyen

Cameron Keyani’s take on long as it takes.” For what? In D.C., the unity is not Video of the Week: “Teach very apparent. Chad Price, a senior Me How to Wambach” at WJ, attended a General Assembly meeting at the Occupy D.C. movement at McPherson Square. “Basically, anyone could write whatever they wanted [on a sign],” said Price. “They had no unified theme… one of the signs read ‘Stop Corporate Geed [sic],’ and another had the words ‘Islam is the Way’ hastily scrawled on.” To continue reading, visit

Q&A with Dr. Starr By Julia Cinquegrani On Oct. 18, MCPS’s new superintendent of schools, Dr. Joshua Starr, met with reporters from high schools across the county. Below are excerpts of questions asked by reporters and Starr’s answers. Q: What is the biggest problem that MCPS has? A: Variability [among schools] is the biggest problem. It is a wonderful system in many ways, but there are differences in performance. Not everyone is performing at the level that I would like. Q: You have said that you want to visit every school in MCPS. How does this help you do your job? A: I would like Photo by Steven Groobert to get a ‘kid fix’ to see what is going on with kids in classes. It helps me to understand what is happening and why it is happening. I like to hear directly from teachers, students and principals. I also see curriculum taught in different schools in different ways and I want to see why that is happening. Q: Do you have plans to cut extracurricular activity budgets? A: I don’t get to choose how much money we have; it’s unfortunate. I have no plans to cut funding, but I won’t make any promises either until I go through the budget. Every class period already costs $18,000 each. Q: How will you stay connected with students in the future? A: I plan to visit schools, understand the formal structures of each school, contact students through Twitter and make sure that students have an appropriate voice in their school. Q: How is MCPS’s math curriculum changing now that the policy of accelerating students in math classes has been stopped? A: I have heard the complaint of students being accelerated too quickly in math from many people. I’m also concerned about the competitiveness of the American high school system. The technical term is that math is a big old mess right now. We teach math like it’s just a procedure and not analytical thinking. Q: What do you think the future of the No Child Left Behind Act is? A: I think the president missed an opportunity when he was first elected to change it. I’m a supporter of his but this overreliance on test scores is tragic and needs to end. I am glad that the president brought up the issue, but I have very little hope that the government will come up with a meaningful solution.



NOVEMBER 11, 2011



Bottoms Up: Underage Drinking Remains Common Among Teens they normally get alcohol from older Alcohol continued from page 1 friends who buy it for them. Others will pay strangers, parthey choose to drink because they like ticularly the homeless, to buy the effects that alcohol has on their alcohol for them. Crawson also emotional state. Several students said mentioned that a few liquor stores in D.C. will sell alcothat they drink beer and vodka most hol to minors. frequently, because they are inexStudents’ parents have pensive and easy to obtain. varied attitudes toward Sophomore Derek Yersly* and drinking. Some parents are senior Samantha Daveson* both relaxed about underage started drinking the summer drinking. before their ninth grade and “My parents know drink about twice a month at about my drinking,” said parties. Senior Paul Mayer,* “Drinking makes the parwho drinks about twice ty more fun, it makes you a month. “My family is less hesitant [and] it makes Irish-American, people more fun, open and so it’s not that big comfortable,” said Yersly. an issue for my Daveson has had similar family. My mom experiences with alcohol. sometimes buys “Alcohol enhances me beer.” your party experience; Other students said that their parents it lightens your mood,” are more concerned about alcohol consaid Daveson. “It’s just fun. sumption. I think it’s worth the consequences.” “Once I got in trouble with drinking Many teens nationwide share these same motivations for underage drink- from my parents,” said sophomore Luke ing. Not surprisingly, studies show Madison.* “I was grounded for a couple weeks. I stopped drinking for a while afthat as students get older, ter that; I was disgusted by the thought the frequency of alcohol of alcohol. But then I started again.” consumption increasSome students find that their parents es. Some students who have relaxed attitudes toward drinking drink see the dangers of b e c a u s e they have lived in foreign underage drinking but countries, with more decide to drink anyway. lenient policies about “It’s kind of stupid drinking than those in that I’m doing it this the U.S. young,” said freshman Mariella Sieber,* who Sieber’s family is normally drinks twice a originally from Parmonth. “But it doesn’t afaguay, where Sieber fect anything other than the was born and lived night [when I drink], not until she was my grades or anything.” Teens have different opinions about the impact that peer pressure plays in the decision of students to drink. “I was not pressured four. to drink by “You can be so much more peers, I was open there. [The drinking age is 18 in pressured by my own curiosity,” said Paraguay, so] my mom offered my older brother alcohol in the U.S. when he was Yersly. Some, however, do see 18. The laws here are a lot stricter, so peer pressure as a fac- my mom’s not okay with me drinking tor in teens’ decisions now, but she probably will be when I’m a senior.” to drink. Madison attributes his comfortable “If you’re at a party and you’re not drink- attitude with drinking partially to living, you get hated ing in Peru for his freshman year of high on,” said senior Jane school. “In Peru, drinking is a part of the culCrawson.* Students ture,” said Madison. “The drinking age said that is 18 in Peru, but you could walk into a store and be served before that.” However, despite the casual attitudes some students have, continuous alcohol abuse can lead to serious health

problems. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, intoxication can impair brain function and motor skills, and heavy use can increase risk of certain cancers, stroke and liver disease. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence can result, which is characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, or continued use despite harm or personal injury. Some students have already witnessed negative consequences of underage drinking. “Recently a girl at a party was so far gone [from excessive drinking] that we had to call an ambulance,”

Tequila is 40-50% alcohol by volume

y is e k s i h l’s W lume e i n a D Jack cohol by vo 40% al

Vodka is 3550% alcohol by volume

said Sieber. Similarly, one of Madison’s friends had to be hospitalized and have his stomach pumped because he drank too much tequila too quickly. Aside from health consequences, there can also be legal ramifications from underage drinking. Teens caught drinking underage can be cited by the police for alcohol use, resulting in the incident appearing on a teen’s criminal record. “Earlier this year, I was at a friend’s house at a party, and the police came,” said Yersly. “We didn’t get cited, but the police called our parents.” Sometimes teens worry more about the reaction of their parents to their alcohol use than they fear the risk of more serious consequences. “Kids are sometimes more afraid of getting in trouble for drinking from their parents than of getting alcohol poisoning or dying from driving drunk,” said Mayer. But other students are less concerned about the effects of alcohol. “For me, it’s all or nothing,” said Daveson. “I don’t have limits. I don’t like being held back.” *Name has been changed.

Corona is 4.6% alcohol by volume Photos by Julia Cinquegrani





NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Pressed for Time

Testing Accommodations Given to Students with Learning Disabilities By Girard Bucello

For students with learning disabilities, getting an education is a struggle invisible to those around them. Their obstacles aren’t as easy to see as a physical injury. Dyslexia, dysphasia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other disorders, however, can be severely limiting factors for students trying to keep up in class. Without accommodations, students with learning disabilities might not be able to perform at a level that reflects their actual capacity to learn – and, in extreme cases, a student could be kept from graduating. Senior John Benoit,* has received accommodations for ADHD since third grade, and has performed better in school as a result. “I get double the time [normally allotted for testing] because of accommodations,” Benoit said. “I haven’t used it all, but there are a number of times where I use more than what is normally allowed.” Senior Bethany Buel receives accommodations due to diabetes.While not considered a learning disability, the condition can impede concentration if the affected person has an increase or decrease in blood sugar. Buel’s accommodations are subject to yearly review. “Once a year, my mom and I meet with my teachers and my counselor to discuss if I need [accommodations] anymore,” said Buel. “If I don’t use [my accommodations] very much, I can get [them] taken away.” According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the term “learning disability” is “an umbrella term” that refers to “specific the ability to do reading and writing and math and spelling and other kinds of skills that are needed to succeed in school.”These disabilities are “not the result of

laziness...poor teaching....[or] poor motivation,” nor are they a sign of low intelligence. Rather, they are abnormalities in how a student absorbs or processes information. Because the effects of learning disabilities can impact a person’s college education or career, it is important that those with learning disabilities receive accommodations as soon as a learning disability is diagnosed. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 mandates that all states must provide individualized attention to students with learning dis-

abilities. IDEA also allows the Department of Education to provide federal funding to states in order to implement these specialized programs. Most of the effort to accommodate learning disabled students takes place at the county and school levels. This is where programs, such as WJ’s resource department, come in to help students. Rachel Wills is the coordinator for the school’s Academic Support Center, and is responsible for overseeing resource teachers and ensuring that they have the necessary resources to do their job effectively. “We’ve been very fortunate here at WJ,” said Wills. “What we need, we usually get. [Former principal] Dr. Chris Garran and [principal] Ms. Jennifer Baker have been very helpful, and our teachers work very hard to provide accomodations.” Each student with a learning disability has his or her own personal struggle. Some learning disabilities are more difficult to overcome than others, but each impedes a student’s ability to perform at his or her best academically. Without help from the school, students with learning disabilities would fall through the cracks, unable to be as successful as their counterparts who don’t need accommodations. WJ’s resource department helps many students with disabilities unlock their full potential in school, and gives those students an equal chance for success beyond graduation.

“There are a number of times where I use more [time] than what is normally allowed.” -John Benoit*

Photo courtesy of

Graphic by Girard Bucello

*Name changed to protect identity



NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Take this one to the Bank By Cameron Keyani

turned out a very costly one. That said, the bank’s logic was highly Banks are always out to get us. Our circular. I shouldn’t need to save the regovernment bailed out these negligent ceipt, because obligation should be vultures during this recession, and now cleared anyway.the This have been a they are back to their evil ways. But very serious problem could if it was the week which bank is the most insidious of all, before graduation rather than the week existing only to burn holes in the wal- before homecoming. lets of decent, peace-loving Americans? The school bank should be a boon for The school bank. Yes, I did lose Biology: Exploring Life textbook my freshman year. But, evidenced by the fact that I took the exam that year, I bought a replacement for it immediately. Lo and behold, last year I tried to purchase my homecoming ticket and was told to go to the school bank to clear an obligation for this textbook. I repeatedly claimed I had bought a duplicate textbook on, but the bank would hear none of it. I reluctantly cut my losses and shelled out $65, foolishly thinking my troubles were over. But when I tried to buy a ticket this year, I was again redirected to the insipid school bank, where I was told that I had to pay $65… AGAIN. Are you kidding me!?!? I argued that if I attended homecoming the previous year, how could I possibly not have paid it? I was blown away. Admittedly, I was at a loss when asked if I saved my receipt from last year to prove I cleared my obligation. No, I did not, I am a horribly irresponsible, lazy and disorganized teenager. Not saving the receipt was a foolish move on my part, and as it

“I work at the Capitol and I just yelled at my coworkers that there was gunfire... you scared the [expletive] out of me #fakenewsscares.” This was tweeted by a worker at the Capitol after The Onion, a satirical newspaper, wrote an article explaining that John Boehner and fellow congressmen were holding children hostages and that there was gunfire. Congressmen and women condemned the article, after many Americans believed the article was based on fact and the police force rushed to the scene thinking that the gunfire was real. While members of Congress continue to blast The Onion for writing the article, I am turning my attention to the actual problem. How could people believe this obviously fake article? I am not sure what is worse, believing that The Onion is a legitimate news source or believing that members of Congress would take kids hostage. Though children hostages and gunfire are not something to joke about lightly, The Onion, let me repeat, The ONION, wrote the article, for Pete’s sake. An article released at the same time as the hostage article was titled “Leaf-Hunting Season Begins.” And yet, police and civilians still believed that the article was real and the threat

credible. The problem with this situation is that many Americans do not check whether the source of their news information is reliable. With Facebook and Twitter, many people believe anything that’s posted or tweeted, even if it has no credibility. After The Onion tweeted with the hash tag #congresshostagecrisis, and posted on

Photo courtesy of

The Onion: America’s finest news source.

Facebook about the hostage situation, numerous Americans thought the article and the tweets were reality.

Ryan’s Rant


It’s Time for Change students, a tool to help track the dues we owe to this great school. It should By Ryan Lynch not be an opportunistic taxation service Print Editorial Editor that drains money from otherwise good By the time students have arrived at and diligent students. high school, they are accustomed to a The school bank does not agree with the rigid and sometimes unforgiving school views expressed in this article. The school structure. Make sure you arrive to class bank regularly keeps copies of receipts of all on time. Pay attention. Keep all of your assignments organized so they are easily transactions. accessible. Once you get home, immediately start on your homework. Oh, and be sure to get a good night’s sleep so you can do everything all over again tomorrow. While adapting to a set schedule can be beneficial, my question is where are the opportunities for the system to adapt to the students? They are nonexistent. The main problem with school is that it does not allow students to be successful in the classroom, to cultivate relationships with fellow students and teachers and to maintain some sort of social life at the same time. The inflexibility of the system forces students to compromise and focus on certain elements of happy student instead of balancing them all. Attending one of the top-ranked public high schools in the country, there is plenty of pressure to enroll in rigorous honors level and Advanced Placement (AP) courses from the get go. Beginning in freshman year, several honors foreign language and math classes are available as options for ninth graders. Now, freshmen can even register for an AP social studies class, AP Government, a course only previously available to freshmen in the APEX program. While it is very important to tackle a challenging schedule in preparation for the rest of high school Cartoon by Michael Matthes and college, students are over-exerting themselves too early. Many choose to take a very difficult class simply because their friends are. Accumulating too many demanding courses However, every tweet and post were leads to immeasurable amounts of stress on The Onion’s pages. This means that and the consumption of one’s free time. the Americans that had gone out of their There will no longer be time to hang out way to either like or follow The Onion with friends and countless hours on the on the two sites still thought that the weekend will be spent staying up to speed article, and therefore The Onion, were with classes. Everybody needs a break. real. It just blows my mind that people The daily grind of high school turns could be so foolish. some students into lifeless robots, proHow could anyone like or follow The gramed to go through the motions until Onion and have no idea that it was fake? the day is over. Sleep deprivation and The best part of the whole escapade simple boredom prevent students from was that the information relayed to being themselves and revealing the intriCongress stated there was an armed cacies of their personalities. gunman at the Capitol. I have heard too many teachers state Like a game of telephone, the words how wonderful a particular student may spoken at the beginning passed through have been in their class, but that they nevso many people that the information er really got to know them as a person. was completely skewed when it reached Teachers have taken a step in the right Congress. direction, bombarding students with surI do not blame Congress for believing veys at the beginning of the school year that there was a gunman, but I do not that ask questions about their lives outapprove of their response to the “crisis.” side of school, but this is not enough. Even after finding out that the article School should present an environment was false, Congress complained and where all students feel safe and happy. tried to stop The Onion’s tweets. This is an ambitious goal, but one that is Whatever happened to free speech? impossible to accomplish with needless So Congress, people of America and graduation requirements. If a student the police, take a joke for a joke, instead is not a math wiz, but has a passion for of trying to make a simple joke into a big the arts, they should not be forced to toil deal. Let The Onion and other satirical through years and years of math classes. newspapers crack their jokes and keep It’s time for the school system to adapt the humor flowing. And next time, read to a diverse student body with a variety about where the article came from of strengths, weakness, likes and dislikes before you alert the police and FBI. not the other way around.

Layers of Irony Lost on Dimwitted Onion Readers By Nathaniel Rees


Up Bat





NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Q: What is your favorite song to play in the car and why?


Audrey Marek Freshman

Though we tell our parents that we drive safely, as soon as we turn the corner near our house we gun the engine and blast crazy music. So, WJ, we ask you, the wild and dysfunctional drivers of America, what is your favorite song to play in the car?

“The Show Must Go On” by Queen - “Because it is awesome and I like Freddy Mercury.”

Jake Verner

Itai Bezherano



“Party In the USA” by Miley Cyrus - “Because Hannah Montana is hot.”

“Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO - “Because it shows my inner feelings about myself.”

Megan Spurrell

Fahed Masood



“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper - “Because I am a girl and I like to have fun.”

“White Sky” by Vampire Weekend “Because it is flamboyant.” Photo by Ben Resnick

Elena Johnson

Dmitri Joutz



“Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen “Because it is an awesome driving song.”

“Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa - “Because it reminds me of my childhood.” All photos by Steven Groobert unless otherwise noted.

THE Editors-in-Chief Hannah Flesch Rosie Hammack Ali Jawetz*

Arts & Entertainment Editor Taliah Dommerholt Cameron Keyani*

News Editors Julia Cinquegrani Girard Bucello*

Assistant Arts & Ent. Editor Emily Cosentino


The Pitch is published eight 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 196 or e-mailed to The Pitch is an award-winning paper that works towards providing the student body with accurate, as well as credible, information.

Assistant News Editor Editorial Editors Claudia Nguyen Ryan Lynch Danielle Markowitz* Sports Editors Phillip Resnick Assistant Editorial Editor Daniel Fanaroff Assistant Sports Editor Nathaniel Rees Daniel Thaler *Online Editors

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist 2009

Maryland HS Journalism Award Best Newspaper Overall Third Place 2009-2010

American Scholastic Press Association First Place 2010-2011

Feature Editors Jenny Deutsch Sari Amiel Megan Chun*

Copy Chief Sari Amiel

Photo Editor Emily Cosentino

Copy Editors Megan Chun Nathaniel Rees Claudia Nguyen Artists Anders Norberg Emily Cosentino

Photographers Anders Norberg Girard Bucello Kasun Kulathunga Steven Groobert

Business/PR Manager Claudia Nguyen Advisor Sylvie Ellen

Staff Writer Anders Norberg

Cartoonist Michael Matthes



NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Remembering a Visionary

Curveball Tackling Insensitivity One Joke at a Time

By Rosie Hammack Print Editor-in-Chief

Let me start by addressing the following white elephant: I do have a sense of humor. You might not believe it by the end of this column, but it’s true. And so, coming from one person with a sense of humor to another person with a sense of humor, let me begin this column with a resounding no. No, that rape joke you just made was not funny. And neither was that slavery joke. Or the Holocaust one, or the one about Helen Keller. In fact, not one of them was funny. And do you want to know why? Because they were never meant to be. The fact is, rape is a terrible, lifealtering and far too common form of abuse prevalent in this country and the world beyond. Slavery and the Holocaust were disgusting blots on our human history, and proof of how low humanity can sink. And Helen Keller was a beautiful, brilliant person whose life stood testament to the extent to which a person can rise above their life’s seemingly insurmountable struggles. Each of these topics demands the respect of at least not being desecrated by a stupid, thoughtless joke. I sincerely doubt a classmate who was a victim of rape will find your wellmeaning quip amusing. And by that same logic, if you hopped back in time, imagine how horrified slaves or Holocaust victims might feel by your flippant exploitation of their hair-raising experiences. And Helen Keller, if she were to find herself in the year 2011? Suffice it to say, I doubt anybody would be amused by his or her life’s battle being minimized to a few pointless jokes. Beyond that, you never know who has been affected by any of these topics – and I am definitely not suggesting that they are the only subjects that demand respect. Why risk the humiliation of the awkward, silent moment when you realize you’ve been talking to someone who has a serious and lasting connection to the subject matter? Even if you find humor in the grave and terrible, chances are not everybody in your audience will – and again, no, that does not mean that person has no sense of humor. They simply appreciate the serious for the serious and the funny for the funny. Some things in life are just best left as they are. Trying to stretch them to fit the mold of a joke not only reflects your own inability to find humor in the naturally funny, but it also minimizes the gravity that those serious topics should rightfully hold. That’s just not okay. And let me stop you right there: no, that’s not a stick up my butt. It’s the truth.


By Anders Norberg

On Oct. 5, Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in his home. That day, the world lost a visionary. Jobs not only started the biggest business named after a fruit, but he bought and ran the biggest name in animation, Pixar. Jobs did more in his lifetime than most people dream of doing. Even though such an outstanding and amazing visionary has left us, Jobs remains a great example for future entrepreneurs. He was able to accomplish great things with his life, even if it was cut short. In addition, he started out when the world had very limited technology. There weren’t even cellular phones when he was young. But we, on the other hand, have such a rich pool of technology that, in theory, we should be able to create technology that can surpass the work of Jobs. Through his life, Jobs affected the lives of technology users and moviegoers everywhere, and he also affected everyday people. Jobs created the next generation of MP3 players with the iPod, and also designed the best in computers with the Mac and iMac. After leaving Apple, Jobs

company, NeXT, which ultimately failed and was then bought by Apple. He created the ROKR, a cell phone from 2005 that held users’ songs from iTunes, which also failed because of its small memory space and slow processor. In addition, Jobs created the Power Mac G4 Cube computer, but it came with manufacturing glitches, lacked a monitor and cost $200. Even with his countless successful inventions, Jobs was no stranger to failure. Jobs’ life has greatly affected our generation. Without him, we couldn’t have thousands of songs at our disposal as we walk down the halls, and we Photo Courtesy of would be stuck with Dreamworks. The world lost an innovative and inspirations genious Imagine a world without iPods, after Steve Jobs, above, passed away on October 5th, iPhones, iPads, Macs or Pixar. You 2011. would walk down the hall, humming to yourself, while you check helped create some of the best aniyour regular, non-touchscreen cellmated movies, including “Toy Story,” phone, and the best movies from “Monsters Inc.,” ” Finding Nemo” and your childhood would be the four “The Incredibles.” Shrek movies. Jobs may have helped create some The most important lesson to amazing things, but he failed plenty of take from Steve Jobs is to always times before his inventions were perwork hard, be creative, and keep fected. After he left Apple the first trying, even if you might take a time, Jobs created a new computer misstep once in a while.

Jobs creates the Apple I, a computer logic board and the first apple computer.





Jobs helps create Pixar.

Jobs creates iTunes and the iPod.

2001 Jobs creates iMac.

Jobs creates iPad.

2007 Jobs creates iPhone and iTouch.

2010 All photos courtesy of

Dear Ali,

Ask Ali’s Corner

I recently moved here from Virginia, and started as a sophomore at WJ. By sophomore year, most people already have their friend groups and it’s hard to find one that I fit into. I have tried talking to people and asking what they are doing after school, but it never seems to work out. How do I make friends without seeming too desperate for their attention or being annoying? Please help, I’m getting lonely. –New and Friendless Online editor-in-chief Alison Jawetz offers advice and help on Here is an excerpt from this latest edition. Visit to see more.





NOVEMBER 11, 2011

The Rollercoaster of Senior Year S N W O D

S P U By Hannah Flesch So far, senior year has been a blast. The freedom of driving a car completely embodies the spirit of growing up and being independent. The luxury of choosing complacent classes is like the cherry on top; with fewer amounts of homework and projects the ability to go out and hang with your friends inevitably increases. The first three years of high school are treacherous, one slip during a semester can land your GPA in the depths of underachievement. Since your GPA is a culmination of basically these three years, you can’t afford even one to be subpar. So fast forward to senior year, and everything you have worked for since freshman year will be finally worth it. I admit, it’s no easy task applying to college, but back at school, the hardest part about senior year is maintaining solid grades first semester and ensuring that you won’t LC any class. If those three priorities are managed, your next priority becomes having fun. Whether it’s tailgating with your friends before football games, wearing WJ green during color war days or claiming your territory in the senior hallway, you’ll find yourself enjoying being at the top of the hierarchy. So let’s start at the senior picnic: generally as the day before the first day of school (with an exception to this year), the senior picnic is a great way to resume school relationships. Since you get to paint your name on the green shed while enjoying freshly grilled barbeque food, it’s a great lasting memory of your last high school summer. After taking memorable pictures, you can now go home, ready to embark on the greatest year of your high school life. Going to the mall as often as you want

By Danielle Markowitz

is another perk of senior year; whether or not you have your license, you should have plenty of friends able to drive and boy, is the food over there worth it. After going to G-square for three straight years, the food got pretty boring. Honestly, how could one eat popcorn chicken every single day of the year? So with a more satisfying diet, surely your happiness will increase. Then comes Pennies for Patients, which in recent years has become a competition and a kind of measuring stick of the departing senior class. Last year’s senior class raised over $40,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, out-dueling the efforts of any other WJ class in history. With a slew of fun and entertaining fundraising events, this is another opportunity for seniors to cement their place in the WJ history books. Whether it be through funny and hilarious PPP (Pong for Pennies for Patients) costumes, family feud memories or lasting relationships as a result of “Speed Dating,” the Pennies for Patients event at WJ is a moment all seniors should cherish. Even as an underclassman, I had endless laughter during the presentations of “Mr. and Mrs. WJ.” Although the event is reserved for seniors to showcase their talents and love for WJ, all grades can get a kick out of what the candidates have to offer. There’s a reason why seniors fill in the auditorium seats during the showing of the Homecoming video. This is our year. We dictate school spirits, we start chants at football games and we lead the school spirit at various events. So seniors 2012, take it all in; live it up and to add one more cliché phrase, party like it’s the end of the world.


This is the cold hard truth about se- so I was unable to take a Maryland class nior year: it’s not as easy as it seems. or other classes I had been interested in. As underclassmen, the graduating class My advice to get the technology, physicreates this skewed perception that se- cal education and art credits done early. niors are these carefree individuals who If possible, get those credits done before can take easy classes and breeze through junior year. Then you can pick the classtheir last year of high school.To be quite es you are truly interested in. There is honest, I hear this is the case come sec- no shame in taking a lot of electives that ond semester. The first semester of se- don’t have the AP branding or suggest a rigorous nior year is by curriculum. “If you take this advice to heart, you far the most As long as will get by first semester without bothersome, curtedious and crying in the fetal position in the the riculum for stressful time corner in the counselor’s office on a the classes of the entire weekly basis.” is enriching high school and benefiexperience. cial for you, Here is my then go for it. Besides, this eliminates all survival guide for the last year of high that terrible busy work and leaves more school. Let’s start with post-graduation time to work on college applications. One final thing to look out for: stanplans. College applications are the bane dardized testing. When I took the SAT of most senior’s existence. There’s this last June, I thought I was finally done. thing called the Common Application Lo and behold, come August I discovand at first it seems it will make the apered some schools require subject tests, plication process easier. hour-long specialized tests that go along But then you come across the supplewith the SAT reasoning test. So when mental material. you take an AP class that corresponds Each school on the Common App can with a subject test, register! This will require as many supplemental essays as save your sanity as a senior. Then you they want, at any word length.My addon’t have to deal with schoolwork, colvice is to befriend an English teacher and make lunchtime visits a weekly oc- lege apps, scholarship apps and studying currence. Also, make an attempt to have for the SAT. If you take this advice to heart, you’ll a final draft of the Common App essay get by first semester without crying in by the start of the school year. Even if the fetal position in the corner of your you’re not applying to college, there are applications for gap years, job inter- counselor’s office on a weekly basis. views and recommendation forms. One Once the college application process is way or another, be prepared to do a lot over, I can guarantee all your hard work will be worth it and you’ll be ready of paperwork and stay on a schedule. Next is the senior course load. Person- to head off for new adventures. In the ally, I didn’t have a lot of room to play meantime, however, that Stat homearound with my schedule. I was stuck work is calling your name... taking several graduation requirements


Participate in at least one “senior skip day”

Checklist Make sure to have your common app essay done by the first day of senior year

Paint your name on the shed

Get done with those pesky graduation requirements ASAP

Establish a first name basis relationship with the attendance secretary

Don’t be afraid to take a few electives that interest you

Attend one or more of these student trips: Canada Ski Trip, Beach Week, and/or Europe Trip

Take care of the standardized testing, with SAT subject tests included if you need them



NOVEMBER 11, 2011



WJ S*T*A*G*E’s “Diary of Anne Frank”

Anne Frank continued from page 1

the set builders with new challenges. Senior stage manager Tim Hussey said that building the set was the most difficult part of the production due to its vast size. “This [set] is clearly huge; it’s literally built like a house,” he said. “[You have to ensure you are] cutting everything properly, assembling it so that it’s functional and [ensuring that] it won’t break under someone’s weight, but also not wasting money.” Hussey explained that this production is different than most WJ shows where smaller platform sets are used that roll on and off the stage. Work on the S*T*A*G*E set has been a long process, starting in July with the set designs. According to set designer junior Dylan Stieber, once the script is chosen the designing can begin. “You have to do research, and you have to see what is needed,” said Stieber. “You have to really deeply analyze [the play]. Then, once you start getting ideas, you

From left to right: Juniors Iliana Papanicolaou and Defne Dilsiz during a dress rehearsal.

The empty set of “The Diary of Anne Frank” ready for rehearsal.

draw them out and then work with it and then you… plug it into a [set designing] program and make it.” After a possible design is drawn, it is sent to the director for approval. Once the director has finalized the script and approved the set design, the lighting designer can begin to map out the lighting plan for the show.

Lighting designer junior Noam Lautman expressed the difficulty of lighting the stage for the play. He conveyed that, due to the enormity of the set, with the highest platform being nine feet high, it has been difficult to illuminate the stage without casting unusual shadows. Despite the challenges of constructing and working with such an abnormal-

ly large set, many of the crew members find the best part of WJ S*T*A*G*E to be the sense of family. “This is going to sound cheesy... but the [best part is the] community,” said Lautman. “You go out in the hallway and you’re wearing the different shirts, like ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and ‘The Wiz,’ and you’re like, ‘Oh, I remember that show!’ and you remember all the good memories and jokes.” Throughout the past months, the S*T*A*G*E family has been continuously working to prepare for “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The crew agreed that it is not a show to miss. “Bring tissues, lots and lots and lots of tissues. It’s sad. It’s amazing,” said Lautman. “I sat in rehearsal last week and I was blown away. The actors do such a good job of being there in the moment. You just watch them, [and] you don’t even think you’re in WJ [or] Bethesda. You are there with them- it’s awesome.” Photos by Steven Groobert and Emily Cosentino

Senior Gavin Kaplan, junior Defne Dilsiz and junior Felice Amsellem play their roles at dress rehearsal.

Junior Felice Amsellem rehearses her role as Anne Frank.

Senior Gavin Kaplan and junior Defne Dilsiz, in costume, practice for the show.

Snack Smart: Healthy Eating During the Day

By Sari Amiel

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, correlating with success in school and the ability to stay awake. Yet, many still never eat it, often because they are always hurried or are just not hungry. After breakfast, it is common for students to snack on food throughout the day. There are always those students who can be seen lifting a snack out of their backpacks, maybe even during more than one class. “There are some people that, every day, take out a snack in a certain class,” said junior Grace Leslau. She sees this more often in morning classes, as does Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Connie Pokress. According to Pokress, eating many small snacks throughout the day can be healthier than having only a few large ones. However, many students consume snacks lacking in nutritional value because they have higher priorities than healthy eating. At the moment, it may

seem like schoolwork, clubs, sports or other activities are more important than locating and bringing in a healthy snack. “Lots of times people think snack foods need to be packed by a company,” said Leslau. “[But] people can make their own snacks that are much healthier.” Kids are consuming a much higher amount of sugar, calories and snacks than they used to. According to a survey conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, at Yale University, cereals marketed toward children have on average 85 percent more sugar than those geared toward adults. High school students can be seen eating chips, candy and cupcakes that rival kids’ marshmallow cereals and foodcolored juice boxes in malnutrition. However, skipping snacks altogether, similar to skipping breakfast, is no solution. Snacks are advantageous for keeping up one’s energy and nutrients during a busy day, and energy deprivation is never healthy. Also, snacks can provide essential energy for students who play sports after school and have no time to go home and eat a meal. Basically, snacking boils down to individual decisionmaking. Although students are offered

vending machines and open lunch, only they have control over what they eat, just as much as they do when they bring foods from home. “I don’t think open lunch hinders nutritious snacks at all,” said Pokress. She recognizes that high school students’ eating patterns are as varied as those of the country as a whole. She suggests that they come up with a plan to improve their own snacks. Some healthy snacks that can be brought to school include fruits, vegetables and whole grains, such as cereals, granola bars and nuts. If a snack is processed, the ingredients should be reviewed. Even if the front of the snack promises a low fat treat, it may still contain trans fats, preservatives or artificial flavors. In fact, many low fat foods contain high amounts of sugar to compensate for any lack of flavor. “A nutritious snack can be beneficial for the day,” said Pokress. Overall, eating right can improve one’s mood and ability to learn. Packing a healthy snack is easier than struggling through the day with nothing to eat. Photos by Jenny Deutsch and Sari Amiel

NOVEMBER 11, 2011

NOVEMBER 11, 2011





I knew from the beginning that coming o ing to be hard, but that I had to do it. Th way that I could hide this part of me anym cially when I felt like along with my sexu revealing this whole new person. When I sophomore year, the coming out happened people who didn’t know suddenly did, and this confident and out-there lesbian. The h has been people deciding that since they k like girls, there is nothing else about me wo out. Obviously, that’s not true, but they d that. The only real bullying that I’ve recei nonverbal behaviors that I sense every time someone who is uncomfortable with m FEATURE When they give me a look, or move away, i still me, Just because I’m dating a girl, do me deserving of homophobic behaviors. person and all I want is to be treated as suc



NOVEMBER 11, 2011






NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: Being Gay at WJ Flag Photo Courtesy of Flickr

By Jenny Deutsch Recently, there has been ample media coverage regarding the suicides of homosexual youths who have been mercilessly bullied to a horrible breaking point. In lieu of these tragic events, the WJ community can reflect upon how it treats gay individuals in this area, and if there is any abuse occurring. The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) purpose is to supports gay rights and promote diversity and the end of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. WJ’s first club of this sort, founded in the late 1990s, was called “Outlook.” This fell apart when the founder graduated, and was reestablished again in 2006 as the GSA. “One thing that’s unique about the GSA is [that]… traditionally we’ve had two vice presidents,” said its sponsor, Isabel Hernandez-Cata. For this reason, the GSA has a dual purpose. One of the vice presidents focus on the club’s goals of fighting for gay rights, both in the present and in the future. The other vice president is in charge of coordinating social actions, the clubs other purpose. “The only reason there has to be a GSA at all is because we’re bullied so much in the regular community,” said GSA president Ilana Kapit. “We’d love to be treated like everyone else.” The GSA takes part in many activities that promote its overall purpose. These activities include National Coming Out Day and Ally Week, in October, and the Day of Silence in April. Also, the Alliance has hosted an Activism Fair. “For political activities, we try to make a big deal of the ones we do,” said HernandezCata. She said that if the club was to take part in too many activities, it would not receive all the attention that it deserves, so it just focuses on a few major ones. In addition to being a safe place for students to be themselves, the GSA provides

students, both straight and gay, with a tightknit community, not only at WJ but within the gay community of the area. WJ’s GSA and the GSA of Churchill went ice skating, bowling at gaming Dave and Busters. Also, the GSA of Churchill is planning a “Gay-la,” which is open to all but will be a “predominately homosexual event.” This event is especially meaningful for those who do not feel comfortable going to their school’s regular prom with a same-sex partner. “Some of [the GSA’s members] are perfectly comfortable expressing an alternative social identity,” said Hernandez-Cata. However, some members feel uncomfortable expressing their sexual identities in public, and some have not even come out yet to their parents and peers. In total, the club has around 30 active members, and dozens more who do not attend all of the meetings but help out with events. There are also some who only observe the Day of Silence. For example, members of the Peace and Social Action club sometimes helps with GSA initiatives yet are not official members. “For the GSA to be effective, we need to have a lot of allies who are not necessarily active members,” said Hernandez-Cata. WJ is close to Washington, D.C., where the community is considered extremely tolerant when it comes to diversity. However, people may not realize that there are still hurtful acts committed against openly gay individuals at WJ. “There is a lot more harassment than people believe there is, but it’s because most of it isn’t physical at all,” said Kapit. “Some of it isn’t even verbal. It’s the nonverbal harassment that’s the worst. It’s the people who step out of my way when my girlfriend and I are coming, or the people who give me dirty looks that really get to me.” Although abuse at WJ is limited, around the nation, there continue to be a lot of bullying and suicides.

According to Mental Health of America, “gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.” This emphasizes the necessity for the GSA to exist. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states that more than 34,000 people in the United States commit suicide every year, meaning that statistically 90 Americans take their own lives in any given day. Suicide is ranked as the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. “[I] see some really awful things happening in other schools and then [I] realize that this place is great,” said Hernandez-Cata. WJ’s teachers, administrators and counselors are trained and supportive in helping gay and transgender students cope with their difficulties. Also, the library staff created a LGBT collection with information and literature for students. “Based on what I hear in the news, I think this is a pretty safe place to come out now,” said Hernandez-Cata, “[but] there is some bullying [in the area], albeit subtle.” The issue of bullying has received a lot of attention from influential people like President Barack Obama and singer Lady Gaga. In one speech at the “Gala With the Gay Community” in Manhattan this summer, Obama said, “I believed that discrimination because of somebody’s sexual orientation or gender identity ran counter to who we are as a people. It’s a violation of the basic tenets on which this nation was founded.” Similarly, Lady Gaga’s songs “Born this Way” and “Poker Face” encourage people to accept people for who they are. Whether students at WJ are gay or straight, they should know that they are always welcome in the GSA, where acceptance is key. However, it is still important to note that around the nation, acceptance is still a major issue.



Personal Accounts Below are some accounts that describe the struggles and adversity gay students faced in coming out to their friends and families and in finding acceptance within the WJ community.

Ella Nejadi When I first came out to my parents, the last word I would have used to describe their reaction was “happy.” They were confused, taken by surprise and definitely not accepting. At first, all I wanted to do was take it back and say I was just in an emotional state and didn’t know what I was saying. I did do that the first time. Then I realized I couldn’t pretend I was someone that I wasn’t, so I came out again. This time, I didn’t back out. At first I felt like I would have to deal with my disapproving parents forever and I would never be able to be openly gay around them, but they came around. I think it’s normal that parents take a while to get used to their children belonging to the LGBT community. I can’t imagine knowing someone for fifteen years and then hearing they’re a lesbian. I would have to alter every thought I ever had about their relationships, or their friendships or even their future. So to all the teenagers out there struggling with disapproving parents, or parents in denial, just remember that it really does get better. There’s no way for a parent to stick to the same negative mentality regarding something that obviously isn’t going to change, especially when it’s their own child.

Steven Groobert I first came out to my group of friends. With a stutter and my nerves jumping out of my skin, I openly came out as bisexual. The immense fear I felt before their response was unbearable, only to get the reassuring rush of their “okay”s, and then their going on to talk about whatever. As I came out to more people I realized the community was accepting and was happy that I was “being me.” I found comfort with my friends as they supported me, and I found the GSA to be a helpful idea, since people were there to support me and were going through the same thing. As with any area, aside from maybe San Francisco, some people are closed-minded to the idea of homosexuals. I’ve been called a “fag,” and I’ve lost friendships, but in the end, you’ve just got to let it roll off your shoulders. As a wise man once said, “No one is in control of your happiness but you…”

Ilana Kapit Photos counterclockwise from top: 1. Senior Ilana Kapit is in rainbow wear with two friends. 2.Ilana Kapit and Freshman Aidan Gibbons are dressed in rainbow attire. 3. Two men are standing and waiving a flag at the Gay Pride Parade. 4. Members of the GSA celebrate Ally Week. 5.GSA President Ilana Kapit at the Gay Pride Parade with a friend. 6.Gay individuals from around the world holding their countries’ flags. Photos courtesy of Steven Groobert and Ilana Kapit

I knew from the beginning that coming out was going to be hard, but that I had to do it. There was no way that I could hide this part of me anymore, especially when I felt like, along with my sexuality, I was revealing this whole new person. When I cut my hair sophomore year, the coming out happened for me. The people who didn’t know suddenly did, and I was now this confident and out-there lesbian. The hardest part has been people deciding that since they know that I like girls, there is nothing else about me worth finding out. Obviously, that’s not true, but they don’t know that. The only real bullying that I’ve received are the nonverbal behaviors that I sense every time I’m around someone who is uncomfortable with my sexuality. When they give me a look, or move away, it hurts. I’m still me, and just because I’m dating a girl, it doesn’t make me deserving of homophobic behaviors. I’m still a person and all I want is to be treated as such.




NOVEMBER 11, 2011





THE CLIQUE By Cameron Keyani

Many students assume their teachers are robots who are put in a storage closet at the end of the day to recharge. But, in truth, they are people too and, like us, they have lives outside of school. But the other thing they do like us is make friends at school, an even harder concept to imagine. We think of departments as coalitions of professionals, but they can also function as tight-knit groups of friends who happen to work together. “I just got lucky,” said English teacher Rachel Gold. “When I started working at WJ, I met Sylvie Ellen and we were teaching the same subject, so she introduced me [to Academic Support Center teacher Sarah Leng] and the friendship started from there.” Eating lunch together every day is commonplace for coworkers, but Leng, Ellen and Gold going to Mexico together for spring break is not. Gold returned to WJ with sun-burnt skin after a week with Ellen and Leng in a sunny Playa del Carmen resort, just one of many excursions the trio has taken. “We’ve been to Costa Rica and they attended my marathon this summer,” said Gold. “We also go out to dinner and see movies together, normal friend stuff.” Just a few hallways over from the English office, the entire social studies department is in love with itself, making it a wonder that they get any work done. “We have beginning and end of the year luncheons, we celebrate everyone’s birthday and we have baby showers,” said Social Studies teacher Jennifer Hall. One of WJ’s strongest departments seems also to have the strongest cohesion, brought together primarily by food. Social studies teachers often have lunch together, and, while they do not venture as far as Mexico, they spend time together outside of school. But, like it is for so many students, age and time change friendships. As time goes on, people mature and spend less time together because of growing responsibilities.

“Most everyone has kids now,” said Hall. “We used to go out to Happy Hour together, but now we are all old and lame.” The social studies department is not the only one that has been wracked by growing pains. The foreign language department lost a beloved member, French teacher Jim Zellers, when he retired last year. But his friends in the foreign language department threw him a lavish party outside of school to see him off. Italian and Spanish teacher Maria Cavallini offered her home for the gathering, and other teachers in the department contributed to the party. “He said he didn’t want a present,” said Spanish teacher Esther Onto, “so we threw him a big going away party instead. I made a menu for dinner and a photo album on Powerpoint, and he loved it.” But even with a friendship that extends far beyond the classroom, the department is now a lot less lively than its neighbors, socially bogged down by Zellers’ departure and by the upcoming marriage of French teacher Katherine Baird. It’s a funny thought. Teachers cultivate great friendships, spend time together outside of school and sometimes drift apart, all resulting from their meeting during the daily grind at WJ. If teachers texted and threw parties on the weekends, they would practically be students. While teachers fraternizing and focusing on social concerns may seem like it would distract them as it distracts students, it actually creates a happier working environment. Making friends adds a bit of excitement to the labor of being a teacher, and happy teachers make for happy students. But unlike students, who hang out on the weekends to forget about the pressures of school, it seems that teachers cannot. “It’s sad, [but] no matter how far away we physically get from it, we always talk about school,” said Hall.

Cartoon by Michael Matthes Photos courtesy of

Teachers gather with their friends on the WJ staff at lunch, just as students gather with their friends.

Vanilla: Heading in New Directions with New Leadership By Megan Chun Also Featured Online

Photos by Emily Cosentino

Members of the Vanilla chorus group gather around keyboards.

With auditions over, Vanilla, WJ’s female acappella group, sets their sights on the current school year. Under the new leadership of seniors Noya Levy and Lizzie Cooke, the 12-member group is in the process of planning future musical arrangements. In contrast with other choral groups at WJ, Vanilla is not a music class. Though all members are required to be enrolled in chorus classes, the girls must meet outside of class, on their own time. Cooke says they plan to meet at least twice weekly to rehearse, and more often when preparing for performances. At meetings, members share their ideas and the group as a whole discusses them. The girls are still in the planning process, though they do have some definite ideas. “Well, the one song we know we want to do is ‘Cry Me a River’ by Justin Timberlake,” said Cooke. Covering Justin Timberlake will also be taking Vanilla in a new direction in terms of music style. “It’s kind of a different kind of genre of music than we would [usually] do,” said Levy. “[Before] we would always do kinda cutesy songs, and so we kinda want to

change it up a bit.” The next step in performing a song is getting a musical arrangement, which can be purchased or created by an individual. Cooke acknowledges it as one of the more difficult and time-consuming parts of the process, due to the fact that most arrangements found on sites such as YouTube are formatted for all male or coed groups. In addition to new arrangements, Levy and Cooke have other plans for Vanilla. According to Levy, for the past two years, Vanilla had been run by the same director, who was in charge of the majority of planning and arrangements. This year, Levy and Cooke plan to have section leaders who can assist their sections with their parts, speeding up the process and leaving more time for group rehearsal. They also plan to have more performances, apart from the annual winter and spring concerts. “We really want to do more things, especially in the community. Especially around Christmas time, we’re gonna really try and get a lot of like Christmas caroling gigs,” said Cooke. “That’s one of our main goals, to just get more performances, [and] to get our name out

Photos by Emily Cosentino

Members of the Vanilla chorus group gather to share music and ideas.

there more.” Most female acappella groups only rely on two of the four major vocal parts, soprano and alto, unlike many co-ed choral groups, which also need tenors and bases. Each soprano and alto part is broken up further into two subparts, soprano one and soprano two, and alto one and two, respectively. Each subpart has multiple people assigned to it. According to Cooke, balance was a key factor during auditions in determining whom to accept. “We basically only let in who we needed to. We didn’t want to have a big group, and with a group like Vanilla, it’s all about balance, so if you let in a soprano one, then you have to let in a soprano two, to basically make sure that you have the same number of people on each part,” said Cooke. “If we had let in even one more person on a part then we would have to let in three more people [to balance that part out].” People were also accepted in order to fill spots that were left open by last year’s graduating seniors. “Because last year a lot of people left that were alto twos, we really needed that alto two, that lower part,” said Levy. “So we were mostly searching for low singers who could hit all the low notes.” Auditions this year added three new voices to Vanilla, though this was still a downsize from last year’s group of 16. Vanilla is currently comprised of two sophomores, two juniors and eight seniors. They are still in the early stages of mapping out their year, but the directors speak highly of their members and their commitment to the group amid school and other activities. “[Vanilla is] definitely a commitment. You have to sacrifice some lunches and some after-school [time], but I [don’t] think it’s a crazy time commitment and everyone who’s in it is so committed to the group,” said Cooke. “I don’t think anyone really considers it a burden.” “I really love everyone [in the group],” added Levy.



NOVEMBER 11, 2011



Future in the Arts The Man of Many Characters: Eddie Simon difficult task. According to Simon, this would be the case even for an extremely experienced actor. “It is easy to memorize the lines...but to share a story is hard,” said Simon. Simon is motivated as he goes forth in theatre. He is fully supported by his family and is inspired by his favorite actor, Heath Ledger. When the spotlights are on him durPhoto courtesy of Eddie Simon Eddie Simon dances on stage while performin in Pippin as ing a performance, the ‘Leading Player’. adrenaline keeps Simon going. By Emily Cosentino Although he deals with a vast amount Growing up in a musical family, se- of work, he likes to keep his energy nior Eddie Simon was destined to be in positive and the experience exciting by the spotlight. He has now been a part of joking around with his fellow castmates. 10 plays, six of which were WJ produc- According to Simon, if everyone has the tions. Out of those 10 plays, he has been same goal, to entertain the audience, all of the problems and drama start to fade the lead in five. “It started out with choir [and] then away. “You become so close and you form I had the choice of acting in a show at Summer Camp,” said Simon. “I gave it this amazing family,” he said. The applause and the audience’s prestry and realized there is a lot more you can do with singing rather than just ence are enough to keep him motivated to continue. choir.” “No matter what I am not giving up Simon finds that he never had to put on theater,” said Simon. “There are other in a lot of work to be a good actor, but things that make me happy, but theater putting on a good show was the more is [my] number one happiness.”

A Real World Look at Art: Sofia Silva

By Emily Cosentino

Since August, senior Sofia Silva has been interning at the Alex Gallery. Located in Washington D.C. on 2106 R Street Northwest, the Alex Galleries are two separate art galleries, the “Alex” Gallery and the “A” Gallery. Opened in the mid-1980s by Victor Gaetan, this combined gallery is one of the leading commercial galleries in the area. Silva has learned how much behindthe-scenes work is put into the making of a gallery. “I have more respect for how much work goes into creating [the gallery],” said Silva. “There are so many little things to decide on.” Silva has come to realize that working in an art gallery is not only about loving to create art. “[It] takes 50 percent retail and 50 percent passion,” she said. Although Silva is making her mark in the art world, she still gets stuck for ideas. “When you’re stuck it helps to reference other artists,” said Silva. “I’ve gotten a lot of help from others.” She learns from many artists, but her favorites include Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, and Gustav Klimt. Silva has no intention of letting her passion go. She plans to continue with art and there is a possibility of a future of working in art galleries. “The thing about art is it doesn’t have to mean anything,” said Silva. “You can

express yourself in your art but other people can interpret it completely differently. I really like that art is very liberating.” As an intern, Silva’s say and decisions do matter and she gets to experience of what it is like working in an art gallery. “I see how art applies to the real world, not just the classroom, but that applies to everything,” said Silva. Silva has benefited from the experience of working in the gallery. “I recommend people to try it out,” said Silva. “High school is when you get ready for college and this really helps.”

Photo by Steven Groobert





NOVEMBER 11, 2011

An Inside Look with Producer Shari Finkelstein

By Taliah Dommerholt

the repetitive stories of most evening news shows— “It’s really challenging,” said Finkelstein. “But it it’s about uncovering and exploring something view- would probably get really boring if, for every issue, it ers may not be aware of, and portraying topics in a was like ,‘here’s the formula, now plug it in.’” For the Taylor Swift show, Finkelstein and Stahl behen Shari Finkelstein graduated from Walt new angle or in a different light than the perspective gan filming Swift at her rehearsals last May, before she Whitman High School, she did not imagine viewers may be aware of. “That is really what I look for when I’m looking embarked on the American portion of her 2011-2012 she would one day enter the field of broadcast journalism, working as a producer for “60 Minutes”. In fact for a great story: something where the characters in it world tour, “Speak Now,” although the bulk of the she had no idea what she wanted to do, although she are really compelling and where the story goes some- shooting occurred much later and Finkelstein is still toyed with the idea of going into public policy and where, preferably somewhere unexpected,” said Fin- in the process of writing the script in collaboration kelstein. with Stahl. pursuing a career on Capitol Hill. “I was always really interested in government, politics and international relations,” said Finkelstein. “I also liked current events, but I wasn’t obsessive about them.” After graduating from Harvard University with a “You rewrite a lot, often changing the order of the degree in social studies, Finkelstein applied for a job In addition, “60 minutes” does not base its news topat ABC News in New York City, and got an entry- ics on public demand, much unlike other broadcasting words and so on,” said Finkelstein. “It’s really this puzzle of what you introduce where, when level job as a desk assistant. Finkelstein you meet each character, what they are worked her way up at ABC, finally betalking about when you meet them and coming a producer before switching how you are making sure you can put stations to work as a producer for CBS the information in an order that is inNews’ “60 Minutes.” teresting.” Beginning in 1968, “60 Minutes” One of the most interesting stories reached its 44th season as of SeptemFinkelstein has done was about supeber 2011, and has grown to be the most rior autobiographical memory—when successful news broadcast in television one can remember everything that has history. According to CBS, “60 Minever happened to him or her on every utes” brings in an average of 13.36 milsingle day of his or her life. They can lion viewers per week, over five million recall what occurred on any given day, more viewers than the most popular and trace memories back to the exact evening news shows. day an event happened. Those with “One of the things about ‘60 Minsuch memories can even remember utes,’” said Finkelstein, “is that we don’t what the weather was like on any day have beats—your job here is to find and often what they were wearing or great stories, and they can be about anywhat they ate for meals. To further test thing. I love getting to drop into a world their abilities, Finkelstein would ask that interests me, then getting to imevery subject the day of her marriage merse myself in it and learn everything when she provided the subjects with I can about it before crafting a story. the date of her wedding. To me, that is what is so exciting about “My husband and I got married on journalism.” a Monday, for a weird set of reasons, Working for “60 Minutes,” Finkelstein and so I would tell the subjects that I can write and produce a story about got married on June 15, 1998, and if anything, as long as her correspondent Photo courtesy of Shari Finkelstein they got the day right, I knew they had Lesley Stahl and the executive and se- Shari Finkelstein and editor Bob Shattuck editing the Taylor Swift show nior producers of the show approve of the topic. Each shows that gear their news shows in response to past superior autobiographical memory,” said Finkelstein. Finkelstein has been successful in the journalism correspondent has approximately four producers, ratings. “Here, it doesn’t matter if the show is about some world, working a job that she loves. whom he or she works closely with to develop and “I think the best part is really getting to learn about produce different segments of “60 Minutes,” which remote village in Africa, that maybe isn’t relatable to then becomes part of the three segments that make a lot of the audience,” said Finkelstein. “If it’s a good many different things and then getting to shape them story, well-told with great characters, viewers will and craft them,” said Finkelstein. “My job has a compoup an hour. nent that is kind of like school, in the sense that I get to learn about different things and I have the freedom to do all different kinds of topics. There is a research phase, a writing phase, and a creative element. I get to tell the stories through their structures and visual “If you’re passionate about a story and nobody else tune in because they have the sense that they will get components.” Finkelstein worked her way up from the bottom is doing it, you have the freedom to do it here,” said something interesting and important out of the story, and through diligent work and often through perfecFinkelstein. “This show operates as though all of the and will even feel smarter after having watched it.” And this is part of the reason why “60 Minutes” tionism, has reached many career goals and has made producers and correspondents are kind of freelancers. It’s not a top-down driven show—part of my job as a has been so commercially successful. The show is not a name for herself in the highly competitive world of about pandering and accommodating to what it thinks broadcast journalism. producer is finding a story.” “I feel very lucky to be at 60 minutes,” said FinAnd Finkelstein has taken advantage of this free- its audience wants, intead its producers and corredom, producing stories that range from “The Science spondents assume that if they find something impor- kelstein, “because [the network] really does care about quality journalism and storytelling.” of Sexual Orientation” to “The Mysterious Gift of Mu- tant and interesting, its viewers will too. For Finkelstein, there is a lot of pressure to produce sical Savants” to her current story project, a profile of a segment, because each story is incredibly different. singer and songwriter Taylor Swift. The in-depth aspect of “60 Minutes” is what makes Although she has worked with “60 Minutes” for almost For Finkelstein’s show, Endless Memory, on Superior it so unique. The broadcast is not designed to present 14 years, the writing and structuring of each show Autobiographical Memory, visit to its viewers the news headlines of the week, or cover changes drastically.


“I feel very lucky to be at “60 minutes” because [the network] really does care about quality journalism.”

“If you’re passionate about a story and nobody else is doing it, you have the freedom to do it here.”



NOVEMBER 11, 2011



Keys to Success in Broadcast Journalism By Taliah Dommerholt

Passion for writing

Patience and time management

Interest and knowledge in many subjects and areas of study

Diligent work habits and a desire to impress

Artwork by Michael Matthes

Awareness of global happenings and an open attitude toward examining new issues and exploration

Motivation to pursue any internship or work opportunites

“My advice is to study what you love because [you can acquire] the skills of being a journalist,” said Finkelstein. Stages of Production By Taliah Dommerholt

and correspondent find 1) Producer and agree upon topic and basic investigation of 2) Research topic begins segment is cast; featured characters 3) The are determined

4) Interviews and extra materials are shot 5) Footage is screened and editing begins for correspondent’s narration 6) Script is written narration and footage are 7) Material, combined into a 12-minute segment



Third Base The Humor Column

NOVEMBER 11, 2011



Upcoming Concerts Compiled by Taliah Dommerholt Artwork by Michael Matthes

Fed Up: A Primer on Thanksgiving

Oh Land t Where: The Black Ca When: Fri., Dec. 9

By Cameron Keyani As the first holiday of the “holiday season,” Thanksgiving is greeted with anticipation by most Americans. Not only do we get two days off, but we also get to stuff our faces with delicious food, literally shaving off years of our lives with the amount of sodium and fat consumed. Even with such a checkered history, like the decimation of Native American tribes through disease and warfare and the eventual decline of the Pilgrims into paranoid witch-burners, Thanksgiving is still a generally beloved holiday. I have many friends who claim lineage from the Mayflower, but unfortunately these are the same types of friends with made-up family lore who claim to be related to Native Americans, princesses and, on occasion, Native American princesses. Still, I have to wonder, what is the actual significance of the Pilgrims? Clearly their ideals of sexual abstinence, scorn of alcohol and belief in hard work did not influence this country at all. When the insane Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock, they were very thankful. They were mostly thankful that, during their journey in which half the passengers died, they didn’t have to stoop to the level of eating each other.They were also very pleased that there were local resources and native peoples ready for exploitation by their future colony. They were so thankful that they actually ate for three days straight, rather than the usual two hours that modern Americans eat for. But my irreverence aside, I do appreciate the Pilgrims’ decision to settle in New England and their virtue of giving thanks for what they had. There is simply no better way of giving thanks for what you have and helping the less fortunate than shoving pounds of food down your gob and falling asleep for three hours. I almost can’t imagine someone who dislikes Thanksgiving. But, while dumpster diving on the corner of K Street and 4th, I met a real turkey, who enlightened me on the demerits of Thanksgiving. I recorded his wisdom so you, my loyal readers, can soak up his knowledge. Southeast Turkey: Thanksgiving is a horrible holiday. It can’t even be considered a holiday at all. It represents the slaughter of thousands of my people. And I don’t care if you call it a “cavity,” getting bread stuffed up there is no picnic. Imagine being covered in your own bodily fluids, cooked to a crisp and cut apart by a family, who have the audacity to thank you for being there. Man, you are hallucinating so hard! After talking to the turkey, I woke up on a park bench, with all of my money, clothing and dignity stolen. But I gave thanks that a passerby in a purple suede jacket, who introduced himself as SugarKing Smooth, allowed me borrow his cell phone if I promised to work for him. As my mom pulled up to the dilapidated street corner, I gave thanks. Thanks for being an American. Thanks for living in a house, where I go to sleep with a full stomach, in a warm bed. Don’t forget that so many people don’t have running water, freedom of speech or days off. Give thanks for all these things, and give thanks that you aren’t an employee of SugarKing Smooth.

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Where: 930 Club When: Wed., Dec. 28

DAR Constitution Hall

Tori Amos When: Mon., Dec. 5

Rock and Roll Hotel

Twin Sister When: Mon., Jan. 23




NOVEMBER 11, 2011

What 2 Watch 4



The sports section’s guide to key upcoming WJ games


Cross Country State Championships @ Hereford HS (Girls Race, 10 p.m. Boys Race, 11 p.m.)


Boys Soccer vs. Perry Hall, State Semifinals @ Richard Montgomery, 7:30 p.m.


Girls Basketball home opener vs. Clarksburg @ Walter Johnson, 7 p.m.


Wrestling, “Mad Mats” Tournament @ Magruder, 3 p.m.


Swim and Dive vs. Churchill @ Gaithersburg Aquatic Center, 11:30 p.m.


Boys Basketball vs. Quince Orchard @ Walter Johnson, 7 p.m.

Walter Johnson All School Booster Club We are here to support YOU! TEAMS AND CLUBS CAN EARN MONEY FROM BOOSTERS IN THESE WAYS: 1) Sign up to work the concession stand at any of the events posted. All groups who work will receive $100. 2) Sponsor, create and run a fundraising event that is co-sponsored with Booster. Take advantage of the events we already use to raise funds, or ask us to help you with your own fundraiser. 3) Direct request for assistance. Request assistance through our Funding Request Form. TO JOIN THE BOOSTER CLUB – Look for our flier ONLINE at GOT BOOSTER?






By Anders Norberg

By Daniel Thaler

The golf season ended successfully with a record of 7-11. This year, the entire team made it to states, something that doesn’t happen too often. The team improved from last year and is expected to even more so next year with all its incoming talent, despite the absence of its only senior Tyler Modjeska. “Everything basically went well; we had good team camaraderie this year. At first we were really low at the beginning of the season because only two people were returning, but it ended up being a good season. We had a really solid group,” said senior Tyler Modjeska of last years season.

By Daniel Thaler

NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Girls Volleyball

Girls Tennis

The girls tennis team started the season off well, winning their first four games by a combined score of 26-2. Then, as the season wore on, their schedule got more difficult and they struggled with consistency. Blowout losses to rivals Churchill and Wootton were particularly tough, but with quality team efforts the girls pulled out a solid 8-4 record. In her last fall at WJ, Sarah Bernstein had yet another good season continuing her tremendous high school career highlighted by awards and tournament appearances. She effectively led the team alongside fellow senior captains Sarah Breen and Nora Horvai. Dora Illei

Gina Fischetti

For the first time in a while, the girls volleyball team had extremely high expectations. Powered by star juniors Kristen Larrick, Stephanie Paul and Ivana Stojisavljevic, WJ kicked off the season strongly with a highly competitive win over B-CC. “For the beginning of the season, that [BCC game] was a great win,” said Coach Bill Morris. As the year progressed, injuries and sicknesses plagued the team and disrupted their chemistry on the court. Nevertheless, the resilient girls rode their top-notch talent all the way to an 11-3 regular season record with wins in their first two playoff matches.

Kelsey Hickey Photo courtesy of Adam Strochak

Taylor Swift

Photo courtesy of Kasey Yamashita

Fall Sports Recap

Football Team

Photo courtesy of

Evan Shapiro

This past fall, WJ Sports were highlighted by golf and girls volleyball’s deep playoff runs. All sports updated through 11/8/11

Photo by Steven Groobert

Photo courtesy of William Edgar

By Daniel Thaler

Photo courtesy of Richard Payne

Joshua Ellis

Girls Soccer

A stacked roster highlighted by seniors Caroline Hagerty and the Van Wagoner twins (Carly and Emma) wasn’t enough to lift the girls varsity soccer team past regional semifinals. Nevertheless, they had a highly respectable year, finishing the regular season 9-3-2 and posting shutouts in each of their first two playoff games. Their success was keyed by good positioning and working well as a team on both offense and defense. Next year, they will focus on finding more consistency in order to compensate for the graduation of a strong group of seniors. “I will remember [the seniors’] camaraderie, leadership and passion for the game,” said coach Liz Friedman.

Sydney Calas Photo courtesy of

Football By Daniel Thaler Despite facing an extremely tough schedule, the WJ football team remained competitive throughout the season. Eight of the 10 games were decided by two possessions or less. They struggled to pull out wins, though, and ended up below expectations with a 2-8 record. Senior running back/safety Elad Covaliu proved himself as one of Montgomery County’s best players, especially on offense, which bolstered both the running and passing game. “The season didn’t go exactly how we expected,” said Covaliu. “We were definitely looking for a winning season, but we came together as a team towards the end and played hard every game.” Next year, the team will look to improve behind junior quarterback Gus Gill and junior defensive end Charlie Barry.

Cross Country

Photo courtesy of Jerry Harris

Field Hockey

By Phillip Resnick

By Daniel Thaler

The cross country team is coming to the end of a very successful season and trying to seal the deal on a record fourth consecutive state championship. Led by seniors Josh Ellis and Scott Sheehan, the team features a number of high profile runners on the boys side. The boys narrowly lost to Churchill at both counties and regionals but look to defeat the Bulldogs at the State championship. The girls are led by freshman Melanie Cirillo, who was the girls team’s only individual state qualifier, finishing 17th at regionals. Senior Olivia Stearn and sophomore Irina Bukharin have also been key contributors on the girls side. “We can win states if all seven of our runners have their best races,” said Coach Tom Martin. “ We don’t need miracles, just good races.”

With nine senior starters, the WJ field hockey team expected to utilize their experience to reach the state playoffs for the first time since 1989. The team prided itself on being one close group consisting of complementing personalities. “We did away with captains to try to instill leadership on everybody’s part,” said Coach Erika Murray. After a dominant 9-1-1 regular season, highlighted by a 5-1 blowout win over rival powerhouse Churchill, the girls enjoyed a first round bye before beating Clarksburg in the regional quarterfinals. Unfortunately, B-CC continued to be the team’s Achilles heel, handing WJ its lone regular season loss and then knocking them out in the regional semifinals.



NOVEMBER 11, 2011

Girls Basketball

By Daniel Thaler

First year coach Lindsey Zegowitz will lead the girls varsity basketball team in a battle for a wide-open 4A division. Coming off a year in which only one senior graduated, the team will likely benefit from their growing experience and high basketball IQ. At the same time, they will be tested by the challenge of adapting to a new coach. “There’s going to be an adjustment period for them to get used to me and my competitive coaching style,” said Zegowitz. Physically, WJ’s guard-oriented team will keep opponents on their toes. They will use their speed to cash in on easy transition points and spot up threes. Zegowitz hopes this will translate into wins but first and foremost, she wants to see the girls dedicate themselves to being prepared. “I hope that everyone works hard and comes ready for every game,” said Zegowitz.


Swim and Dive

By Anders Norberg

This year, the swim and dive team will take on new challenges by working towards states. Both the boys and the girls teams are predicted by coach Jamie Grimes to finish as a top five team in Maryland. Grimes explained that the boys are better than last year, with senior Garrett Powell, one of the best swimmers in the state, and senior Fletcher Tollefson, who specializes in breaststroke. On the other hand, the girls have lost some key members, such as Elizabeth Pepper, but have the returning county backstroke champ, Natsumi Horikawa, and Metros diving champ, Annie Kastler. The biggest meets will be Churchill and against the Whitman girls team and the Wootton boys team. “Our [team’s strength is] unity and familiarity with each other, so we have a really strong bond,” said Grimes. “The kids really like each other and it shows.”

Cara Machlin

Annie Kastler Photo courtesy of Bryan Ray

Scott Sheehan

Winter Season Preview

This winter, expect solid seasons from boys basketball, which returns three veteran starters and wrestling, which has three of last year’s state qualifiers.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Ray

Ryan Lynch Photo courtesy of the Ollayos family

Samantha Lee

Boys Basketball

Boys Basketball By Daniel Thaler

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Jim Ackerman


By Daniel Thaler

Last year, WJ’s wrestling team had a solid season, despite being led by a group of juniors. This season, the team expects to build on last year and become a top team in the county with a roster chock full of experienced seniors. “As a team, we should do really well this season,” said senior Elad Covaliu. “We were a really young team last year so now we’re hoping to make regional duals.” Specifically, seniors Covaliu and Max McCleskey seem due for big years. Covaliu is the defending 4A West champion and McCleskey is coming off a season in which he qualified for states. “Individually I’m looking to get first at states. Last year I got second and the person who beat me was a senior,” said Covaliu. The team’s biggest tests will be against Whitman and Magruder, two teams that defeated them last year.

Photo courtesy of the Ollayos family

Indoor Track

By Phillip Resnick

The winter season is looking very promising for this year’s indoor track team. Coming off a superb cross country season, seniors Josh Ellis and Scott Sheehan look to lead a strong boys side. The girls team will be led by seniors Emma Van Wagoner and Sarah Breen, both distance runners, as well as sophomores Emma Teal and Mary Rose Melnicki. The team looks to rekindle the success that they have had in years past, and look to use this season as a vault to success in the spring. “We are a very young team, but are very excited for the season,” said head coach Tom Rogers.

At WJ, the basketball team has a trio similar to that of a well-known NBA team located in South Beach, the Miami Heat. Seniors Ryan Lynch, Harrison Gibert and Halid Hamadi have been starters together since sophomore year but have yet to carry the team deep into the playoffs. This year, they will be tested to see if they can come together and live up to their potential under new head coach Mark Karver. Coming over from B-CC, Karver will undergo his first year with high expectations. The trio along with juniors Sean Poosson and Michael Lumbuku will lead the team in an effort to establish themselves as a top team in the county. “I have high expectations for this season. We’re looking really good,” said Poosson, “Hopefully we’re going to pull something out and surprise everyone.”


Grand Slam

The sports editors attempt to answer some of the most pressing questions in sports DF: Daniel Fanaroff DT: Daniel Thaler PR: Phillip Resnick NBA: Lockout goes into lockdown mode, with no progress made. Thoughts? DF: How are Chris Bosh and Gilbert Arenas going to pay child support now? DT: Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, plans to start attending the meetings soon. Owners better get a deal done quickly if they don’t want to get their asses whupped. PR: I haven’t been able to watch basketball with the NBA in a lockout, and I stopped caring about college basketball when Shanghai University joined the Big East. So, I will be getting my basketball fix by watching the Tilden Timberwolves all season. NFL: What should Redskins fans be thinking right now? DF: They should be thinking, “Damn, why did we even bother winning those three games? We might have still had a chance at Andrew Luck…” I give it a month before #FireShanahan is trending on twitter. DT: Dammit, we can’t even win the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes. Is Curtis Painter available this offseason? Kyle Boller, possibly? How about Bryan England? PR: The Redskins QB situation is plain Gross…man. With no QB at Beck..on call, hopefully the defense can win some games and make me Kerr..igan. NCAA FB: National Championship picks DF: Penn State. (Insert completely uncalled for Sandusky reference here) Actual Pick: Stanford. Their closing schedule has more fluff than a Lifetime movie. Andrew Luck makes every other college quarterback look like Rex Grossman did against the Eagles. DT: I like Ohio State’s chances. Terrell Pryor and Jim Tressel make a great duo. Oh wait… PR: Is Wisconsin still eligible? Oklahoma State with their 28-year-old QB will win out in the Big 12 but lose to LSU. NHL: Is this the year the Capitals finally win the Stanley Cup? DF: Alex Ovechkin has a better chance at being president. Bruce Boudreau should have been fired a year ago. But, they might be able to get a nice replica of Lord Stanley from one of those Ameritel copy machines he keeps advertising. DT: Unless Boudreau recently learned the Heimlich maneuver, count them out. Other teams should try for the eighth seed if they want the easiest first round match-up. PR: If Alexander Semin stops shooting blanks come playoff time, they may have a shot at actually finishing off the cup this year. They are a lot more disciplined, and Boudreau has every intention of making this “the season”.

Sports 20

What’s Inside 17

NOVEMBER 11, 2011



What to Recapping A look ahead watch for the fall at all of season at WJ WJ’s winter sports Photo courtesy of Jim Ackerman

Photo courtesy of Jerry Harris

Only one goal left for boys soccer After finishing the regular season undefeated, the Wildacts look to complete their season with a state championship

By Phillip Resnick Just over a year ago, the boys soccer team’s state championship hopes came to a screeching halt at the foot of a Magruder striker. The team stood on in shock as Magruder celebrated their double-overtime victory in the 4A West regional final. Despite losing in such heartbreaking fashion to the future state champions, it did not stop the team from continuing to strive to the top. The team graduated a number of stars, including Mike Tillman and Daniel Spencer, but is led by a revamped offense featuring two star freshmen and a number of key returning players. That, along with an improved defense has made the soccer team rebound from last year stronger than ever. “This is the most talent that WJ [boys soccer] has ever had, period,” said head coach Mike Williams. Williams is no stranger to success at the high school level; he was the head coach for the 2006 state championship team and led Woodward High School to a state championship as a player in the late ‘80’s. Under Williams, Wildcats boys soccer has become somewhat of a dynasty, accumulating four winning seasons over the past five years and consistently makes deep runs in the playoffs. The boys team began the season by thrashing High Point and Magruder, both by the score of 5-1, and only went up from there. The team gritted out a double overtime thriller against Blair and beat a tough Whitman foe 2-1 in a rain-delayed game. “The first half of the Whitman game

Photo courtesy of Meghan Geier

Coach MikeWilliams, above, has used his experiences as both a coach and a player to guide his team on their march through the playoffs.

was the best high school soccer that I have ever seen,” said Williams. The players also realize the talent that they possess, but aren’t satisfied with just a good regular season. “[As a team] we are not there yet,” said senior co-captain and defender Harrison Gibert. “I do not believe we have played to our full potential.” Gibert was a part of last year’s team and has been one of the central figures to the much-improved defense. “Gibert, along with [senior] Pierre Mensah, who I think is one of the top defenders in the state, have been the keys to such a good defense,” said Williams. While opponents have had some trouble putting the ball in the Wildcats’ goal, WJ has not had this issue at all. The team is extremely deep at the forward position and has completely dominated other teams with its style of possession play. The team scored five goals in its first three games and has not relented since, scoring more than five goals five times this season. Senior Noah Sheetz-Ziegel leads the team with 12 goals, followed by freshman Jeremy Ebobisse who has 11, but the team has found scoring from a number of key contributing players. Gibert recognizes the offensive talent that the team possesses. “No one in the state moves the ball as well as we do,” said Gibert. As the coach, Williams tries to get his team to model themselves after championship teams on the professional level such as F.C. Barcelona from Spain.

Photo courtesy of Meghan Geier

Members of the boys soccer team celebrate a goal against B-CC. The team finished the regular season with a 13-0-1 record and has won all three of their playoff games so far. The team only needs two more wins to lock down the school’s third state championship in the last 10 years.

“Barcelona is the epitome of a truly championship team and that’s what we are striving for,” said Williams. The team’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed, as it is currently ranked second in the D.C. metro area behind Dematha, and is ranked 22nd in the country according to However, despite all of the hype, the team has stayed focused on one goal: winning a state championship. “Whenever your team does exceptionally well you have to fight over confidence,” said Williams. “Talent alone as I always tell them doesn’t win champ,ionships. Every time you go out on the field it takes work.” Gibert agrees with Williams that the team needs to put in the work before they can find success in the playoffs. “We know we are really good, so I just remind the guys how good we are if we all do our jobs and play hard for 80 minutes [and] then no one can beat us,” said Gibert. However, he still knows that if the team isn’t on their game at all times, it can come back to bite them.

Photo courtesy of Meghan Geier

The team, shown above, is more focused than ever, especially after a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs last season.

“The key for us is not being overconfident and play every game like it’s our last,” said Gibert. “If we go in thinking it will be easy, that’s when other teams will pounce on us.” So far the team has found success in the playoffs. They beat Richard Montgomery 2-1 on WJ’s home turf, the only playoff game the team will play at WJ. Then they defeated Blair 2-1 in the regional semi-final at Blair despite trailing for the first time all year. Gibert scored the game-winning goal off a free kick on a scorching drive that just got into the goal under the crossbar. Just this Tuesday the boys locked up the regional final with a 2-1 win over Northwest. However, state playoffs will be a completely different beast than regionals, even without defending champion Magruder in the picture. Williams knows the risks, but feels that as long as the team plays to their full potential, they can take it all the way. “We have the talent,” said Williams. “but the only thing that can stand in the way of us is us.”

Photo courtesy of Meghan Geier

Gibert, above, has been one of the keys to the team’s success. As captain, Gibert has inspired the team off the field and led by example on it.

The Pitch Nov. 11, 2011  
The Pitch Nov. 11, 2011  

Walter Johnson High School's student newspaper