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AP Literature changes class structure

Animal testing deemed unethical in Poolesville

Battle of the cinematic universes

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Graphic by Carol Lee

The Poolesville Pulse

Volume 17 Issue 1 - Poolesville High School - 17501 West Willard Road Poolesville, MD 20837 - February 13, 2019

Poms return to competition season as D1 champions By Pauline Mnev Staff Writer

The Poolesville Pompon squad returned to another competition season as Division 1 county champions. After three years of winning in D2, and one D3 victory, the poms secured their first D1 victory in Feb. 2018, and are now in the midst of their competition season for 2019. The team received first place at their first competition of the year on Jan. 5th, at Watkins Mill High School. They finished up their season as county champions at Montgomery Blair High School on Feb. 2nd. This year, the team brought on seven new girls. At the beginning of the season, the squad consisted of five seniors, six juniors, three sophomores, and six freshmen. Since then, two juniors have left the team. “We had quite a large new group of girls who joined our team this year so getting everyone up to the same level is always challenging each year,” explained Tanya Ventura, the head coach of 10 years. Another major change this year for the poms team was new coaches during the fall season. Ventura got engaged and moved to Colorado over the summer. Natasha Velasquez and Teffany Ventura,

Photo courtesy of Beth Poss. The squad performed in January at the Watkins Mills High School Invitational competition. Leading the triangle formation is Senior Poms captain Izzi Gibbs.

both PHS Poms alumni, were asked to help fill in for the fall season. Ventura returned to Poolesville just in time for the competition season to coach the girls. One of the greater challenges the team faced was time management. The team practices for two hours, four to five times a week during the fall season, and five to six times a week during competition season. This year, the team has had to move around the building to find available practice locations, which in turn has affected their practice times. Because of these switches, practices ran as late as 6:45-8:00 p.m. The team places a great emphasis on maintaining good grades and being committed to academics. Last year, the team had an average GPA

of 3.56 and collectively took 41 AP classes. When practices start right after school, the girls don’t have time to start homework until they get home late. But on days when practices start later, the girls often go to a team member’s house to do homework together. Senior Izzi Gibbs, Poms captain, says the girls have “a natural sense of responsibility for maintaining good grades.” They must also send their grades to Ventura every Friday. Gibbs says these weekly check-ins helps the girls balance the priority of school and sports. Their Division 1 counties win last year gave the team a confidence boost and confirmed that their hard work paid off. Continued on Page 7

‘No Place For Hate’ club started amid a tense political climate to promote acceptance By Leeah Derenoncourt Staff Writer

‘No Place For Hate’ (NPFH) is a club started at Poolesville High School (PHS) by Humanities Junior Matthew Palatnik in order to combat negative attitudes at PHS. Palatnik started the club partially because of what happened in Charlottesville as well as the development of negative attitudes he witnessed at Poolesville. “I wanted to work to educate people and help people understand everyone else’s differences and make the community closer as a whole. I felt that the school kind of needed some kind of organization to bring tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion of minority groups into one.” says Palatnik. He worked with Resource Counselor Mr. David Gysberts and Assistant Principal Mrs. Jennifer Herman as well as representatives from several clubs and organizations including the Poolesville Progressives, Muslim Student Association, Jewish Student Association, Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), to support his program. ‘No Place For Hate’ is a part of the Anti Defamation League, an organization dedicated to combating hate speech and inappropriate behavior within the United States. It is a self-directed program created to improve and maintain a school cli-

2 School News

Photo by Leeah Derenoncourt. The pledge of respect that students signed back in December is displayed in the principal’s office. This pledge is signed by PHS Principal Deena Levine.

mate in which all students can thrive. The goals include building inclusive and safe communities,

3 Current Events

4-5 Center Spread

empowering students, faculty, administration and family members to take a stand against hate speech and bullying, and sending a clear, unified message that all students have a place to belong. To be designated ‘No Place for Hate’, a school must complete several requirements. This included signing the Resolution of Respect, a pledge to respect all students, which Poolesville students did back in December. While the first year for Poolesville’s NPFH branch has mostly been dedicated to getting Poolesville High School certified as a ‘No Place For Hate’ school and establishing the club, next year there will be more of a focus on projects and events, according to Palatnik. One of the future projects planned is the “Tree of Respect”, in which students will be given paper leaves on which they can write their observations of instances where a person was being kind. Over time, the tree will “bloom”, and everyone will see it, every day. They will also be doing a project called “Humans of Poolesville” in which, starting in January, they will post short videos on falcon media announcements and the NPFH Instagram of students sharing what makes them most proud of their background. “I think everyone should put themselves out there, you know, get involved, because we need as many people as we can get and the more people there are, the more people get drawn in and the more people get educated,” says Palatnik.

6 Opinion

7 Sports

8 Features


The Poolesville Pulse


February 13, 2019

The Poolesville Pulse Volume 17, Issue 1, February 2019

Our Mission: The Poolesville Pulse is a student-run and written publication, dedicated to the pursuit of scholastic journalistic truth, which presents the news and opinions that are most relevant to the Poolesville High School community.

Editor-in-Chief Melody Zhang Editors Angela Wang Andrew Sojka Dora Kreitzer Photographer Julia Corfman Megan Kelly Contributing Staff Writers Grace Bodmer Skylar Chan Vincent Chim Anusha Chinthalapale Carly Dacanay Kobey Davenport Leeah Derenoncourt Joe Dwyer Alex Firestine Varsha Iyer Megan Kelly Kenna Krueger Kanika Mehra Pauline Mnev Rachel Ryan Samantha Stewart Graphics Isabel Guimaraes Julia Pavlick Sponsor Stephanie Gomer Principal Deena Levine Poolesville High School 17501 West Willard Road Poolesville, MD 20837 (240) 740-2400 thepoolesvillepulse@gmail.com Total School Population: 1,322 Students: 1,205 Staff: 117 The Poolesville Pulse staff encourages all of our readers to actively participate in the reporting process and welcomes signed letters to the editors. We reserve the right to edit submissions without ruining its content. We assume the responsibility for any necessary corrections throughout the paper. If you have any information, leads, or ideas on a possible story, or would like to place an advertisement in the paper please email us your name and any relevant information to thepoolesvillepulse@gmail.com

Find us online at: www.poolesvillepulse.org

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Guan. SMCS juniors Jeffrey Guan, Anthony Okonkwo, and Datta Kaligotla and their subject matter expert Vencer Cotton display the SeeStrap, a camera and computer combination. It tells Cotton what objects are in front of him. This trio developed the SeeStrap as part of the Research and Design class.

Student teams compete for Source America Design Challenge By Skylar Chan Staff Writer

Students in the Research and Design class participating in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge were allowed to pick their own teams this year, a departure from last year project rules. The SourceAmerica Design Challenge is a national competition where student teams work with nonprofit organizations to develop software or hardware projects to assist employees with disabilities. The goal is to improve efficiency, productivity, and ease of use for these employees. All SMCS juniors are required to participate in the Challenge in teams of three in the Research and Design Class. SMCS juniors Lydia Ruan, Preethi Prakash, and Megha Tummalapalli expressed that being able to pick their own teams allowed them to be “more comfortable expressing [their] ideas, which in turn allowed for better teamwork and a better product.” Prakash, Ruan, and Tummalapalli developed the Memory Machine, a device that allows an employee with Down syndrome to remember the order of the steps of his cleaning process and to stay focused at his job in the janitorial department. Pictures of the steps are printed and inserted into a modified CD. By spinning the CD, the “Memory Machine” allows the user to view each step one at a time. It is seen that the simpler the invention, the better. That has been proven time and time again given the devices that have won in years past, according to SMCS juniors Jeffrey Guan, Anthony Okonkwo and Datta Kaligotla.

Guan, Okonkwo, and Kaligotla developed the SeeStrap, a Raspberry Pi housed in a case attached to a GoPro harness to assist a salesman working at the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. The SeeStrap scans the area in front of the user, identifies objects in its view using machine learning, then tells the user via a headphone jack what they are seeing. “What we’ve realized over the years is how many lives we’ve changed in working with people with disabilities,” said Head of SMCS house and Research and Design teacher Kevin Lee. “It’s evolved to the point where we don’t care about winning, but about completing the project and giving back to these people.” In April 2018, SMCS seniors Alex Carbonell, Ashwini Thirukkonda and Dhruv Maniktala won first place nationally in the Challenge with their Folder Filler project. The Folder Filler enabled an employee with limited hand mobility at the National Institue of Healthto better manage paperwork. Before the device, it took him 18 minutes to fill a folder with sheets of paper. With the “Folder Filler”, he could complete his task in under one minute. Lee stated that the class was open for every student: “You need a willingness to help others and be creative. You don’t necessarily have to aspire to be a future engineer, just a passion for working with others.” Poolesville SMCS students have been participating in the challenge for the past seven years. Over the years, PHS teams have scored multiple victories.

New structure of AP Literature class diversifies literature selection By Kenna Krueger Staff Writer

The new structure of the AP Literature (Lit) classes brought different angles on literature to PHS. AP Lit classes are composed of mostly seniors from each magnet house. AP Literature, explained by College Board as “an introductory college-level literary analysis course,” provides students with the opportunity to analyze and draw conclusions from literary works. The course is similar to AP Language and Composition. However, it differs in that AP Lit focuses on the study of literature, while Lang is centered around writing and language techniques. AP Lit typically follows AP Lang as a high-level English class for high school students. Traditionally, there was one AP literature class offered and all students share the same curriculum. This year, they implemented a new class structure where students can focus on specific subjects in literature. This allows students and teachers to focus on an area of literature they are most interested in. There are four subsections of AP Lit offered, including African-American Literature, Women in Literature, the Seven Plots of Literature, and Great Ideas in Literature. Head of the English department Mr. Dan-

iel McKenna noted that as student enrollment in the class dropped, the English department decided to split the class into subsections that students can choose from, allowing for a more vested interest from both students and teachers. Students will continue to take the same AP exam because the fundamental skills needed for the AP exam are still taught within subsections. Students in the Humanities house are required to take one subsection of AP Literature, and seniors in the other three houses have the option of taking Lit or Honors English 12. Junior Humanities student Madison Repass notes she is most excited to take the Seven Plots subsection of AP Lit. While there are different subsections of the class, all students are taught fundamental skills in analyzing literature and text. Teachers are able to prepare students for the AP test while staying true to a common subject. AP Lit teacher Mr. Brian Matthews says that as long as students are intensely studying literature, it is easy to teach the skills needed for the AP test. He praised the class, saying that giving students the option to personalize their education is “working well” for the structure of the course.

The Poolesville Pulse


February 13, 2019


Americans impacted by longest government shutdown By Vincent Chim

Graphic by Julia Pavlick

Staff Writer

The government shutdown lasted 35 days, making it officially the longest in history. As Congress and the President continued to debate over the proposed $5.7 billion border wall, American citizens felt the impact. Although services like diplomatic affairs and mail delivery continued to be funded, a total of nine departments and several dozen agencies had come to a halt. As a result 420,000 federal employees worked without pay and 380,000 were temporarily out of a job. In order to support themselves and their families, furloughed federal employees are beginning to seek jobs elsewhere. “Indeed,” a popular online job search resource, reported an uptake of searches during this period. Meanwhile within the county, Montgomery County Public Schools held job fairs to advertise, any and all, open positions to furloughed employees. “From our previously established ‘Dine with Dignity’ meal program to our upcoming employment open houses, we hope to provide continued support and to be a valuable resource to the furloughed fami-

lies in our county,” said Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith in a public statement. In response, the President recently signed the bipartisan Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of

National Institute of Health animal testing center still operational in Poolesville By Alex Firestine Staff Writer

The National Institute of Health’s Animal Center (NIHAC) is located on the outskirts of the town of Poolesville. This 513-acre plot of the Montgomery County Agricultural reserve contains a facility where animals are quarantined and studied by some of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) top staff scientists. This facility housed a variety of research projects and thousands of animals. Today, the NIHAC is still operational, but a change in the political climate of the nation has led to controversy regarding ethical treatment of animals at the facility. The NIHAC, originally called “the Poolesville Animal Farm” by Poolesville residents, first opened in 1965 with its primary goal being to hold and quarantine animals like mice and other rodents. Over the next few decades, the NIHAC began to incorporate different species of animals into their population. This began with large farm animals like steer, sheep, and pigs. In addition, the facility acted as a holding pen for the less spacious NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Finally, the facility also housed around 500 non-human primates. This included a wide variety of species, like marmosets, rhesus, and patas and cebus monkeys. A primary study conducted at the facility was a calorie restriction diet given to the non-human primates. Beginning in 1987, a group of non-human primates was given a diet with 30% fewer calories than the con-

trol group. This study lasted several years and it revealed that a calorierestricted diet could increase lifespan and delay age-related diseases. Other studies conducted at the NIHAC facility were deemed unethical. These studies involved separating baby non-human primates from their mothers at birth and subjecting them to loud noises and invasive procedures, like spinal taps. For one study, NIH researchers transitioned a mother and infant pair of non-human primates to the research wing for developmental research. In this study, the mother was tranquilized and removed to make it seem like she passed away. The infant was then isolated and studied, to track the developmental process of a non-human primate when it has lost its mother. NIH researchers stated that the purpose of the study was to help develop effective treatments for developmental problems in humans. However, ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,’ an organization that advocates for animal rights, protested the actions to be grossly unethical. The Bethesda NIH campus agreed, also deeming experiments conducted at the Poolesville facility to be unethical. As a result, the NIH facility in Poolesville retired 310 of their non-human primates. By 2015, only 50 non-human primates were left on reserve in the lab in the event of a public health crisis. All requests for information by the Poolesville Pulse were denied by the NIH due to security protocol, leaving current research conducted at the facility up to speculation.

2019 which will compensate federal employees when the shutdown ends. However the the government shutdown already negatively affected students across the state and county. At Poolesville, SMCS students

who researched their senior projects at government agencies also felt the impact of the shutdown. Unable to contact her mentor to approve forms or provide support, Kaitlyn Yang, a senior in the SMCS program, expressed concerns that she would be unable to attend certain competitions if her mentor was unable to reply. Meanwhile students in the Global Ecology program were taken to the Islamic Center of Maryland as a last minute substitute to the National Museum of the American Indian, which closed due to the shutdown. According to Ms. Erin Binns, Head of the Global House, the effect of a shutdown on field trips was a recent topic at a staff meeting. Poolesville alumna, Michelle Moraa explains how she was unsure if she could attend her second semester of college as the shutdown delayed communication with the financial aid office. Although Moraa has since been able to resolve her dilemma, she expressed her concerns on the magnitude of the government shutdown, stating that “hopefully [the shutdown] ends soon and we can go back to a semi-functioning nation.”

Maryland’s Sixth District travels to the Supreme Court on partisan gerrymandering charges By Anusha Chinthalapale Staff Writer

Maryland’s sixth district, which covers all of Allegheny, Garrett, and Washington as well as parts of Frederick and Montgomery counties, is one of three districts accused of heavy partisan gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the act of manipulating state district lines to favor one party over the other. A democratic majority in the sixth district was made possible through this method of redistricting in 2011, when Democratic Congressman John Delaney unseated the incumbent Republican, Roscoe Bartlett. While approximately 88% of the combined state and federal representatives are Democrats, only 55% of Maryland’s 3.9 million registered voters are Democrats as well. Put into perspective, Republicans made up 32.5% of the popular vote, but only 12.5% of Maryland’s eight representative seats. This case has made its way to the Supreme Court. The district map in question was twice taken to court, but the more viable of the two addresses partisan gerrymandering. This case’s outcome, along with two more involving Republicanled partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina and Wisconsin, could set new rules for mapmakers across the country. Under the name of Benisek v. Lamone, the court case addressed a possible violation of constituents’ right to representation under Article I, Section II of the U.S. Constitution and freedom of association under the first amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts found that Maryland had an aggressive case of partisan gerrymandering and issued a per curiam decision in conjunction with appellate courts from the sixth district. A per curiam decision is one that involves district, state, and city courts in

the Supreme Court decision. Together, the courts found that the district lines in District Six were unconstitutional . They ordered the state to redraw the district lines and submit for final approval to the state’s courts by March 7, 2019. Maryland’s Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, has stated to uphold the ruling, and create an “emergency” commission to redraw district lines in district six, without Democrat’s involvement in order to separate district lines and political affiliation. Hogan has appointed three people to lead his nonpartisan redistricting commission, and six more will be chosen from the public. Thus far, a former judge, a redistricting activist, and a think tank expert have been chosen. In contrast to the Governor, the state’s Attorney General, Brian Frosh, has declared that he will be appealing the decision directly to the Supreme Court. “The assumption that MD-6 is a result of partisan gerrymandering should not be a byproduct of one Supreme Court decision,” he said. “On one hand, gerrymandering districts based on partisanship --or any other factor for that matter-- is morally wrong, because it’s skewing the views of the people to promote a single given agenda. But on the other hand, independent commissions aren’t elected. They have a lot of unchecked power because they’re not directly responsible to the people. That’s not okay either because the people elected politicians whose ideas they wanted to see implemented,” says senior Rachel Robin. Redistricting could result in the inclusion of Carroll County into MD-6, while losing parts of Montgomery County and Frederick County, potentially flipping the district from Democratic to Republican.


The Poolesville Pulse

After watching the The Miracle Worker at age seven, Ms. Shannon Heaton was ready to dedicate her career to working with deaf students, taking ASL night classes as a teenager. Though a realization of the exclusiveness of the deaf community and a photography class in high school ended those plans, she headed to the arts. Now, after being inspired by a “crazy old lady with spiky bleached blonde hair, who was amazing,” she understands that building individual connections is a big part of motivating students. Heaton slowly builds trust with students through means of relatability and accessibility, something made much easier by her “teacher persona” being very closely aligned to her actual personality and her own passion for the subjects she teaches. One of the most underappreciated parts of teaching, in her opinion, is how much time is put in outside of the teaching day.

f a totally

Mr. Keith Gordon turned to tea different career path. After ten ye neer, and 25 years in the Informati sector, he began to grow tired of the growing desire to contribute more to s ing high school students, feeling that it w begin turning over to the following gener them on taking up the reins of society.” No himself fortunate, because he genuinely enjo also relishes when he witnesses the process of “I enjoy seeing students go from quizzical looks know they can do it. Instilling confidence in stude is extremely fulfilling,” he said.

The making

owner o ant, and v r e berts s ic r, civ avid Gys lo D e s r. n u M o was a , C op “My mom d hula ho r. e e iz h s c a ly nce te b a reasona grade scie ted to be n th a n e w v e e s h a it’s s new y dad wa teacher-always k a m s d a n a w r r e e ral th d teach d at seve grandmo e y k r m o Special E d w n e h rs. A educator student, or 41 yea as a para ys. As a a w s e teacher f e g h e ll ,” o fc ntil the our blood wasn’t u job out o t it s t r u fi b is , kind of in ance nts s. H ool stude be a Guid program h l c to o s o d h h te c ig s n h a ling to afterthat he w tary Bow n spension w e u e s n m k g u c e in o h r 99 that oore’s d Marilyn administe ichael M career: “ ting in 19 o e M r o h tu m s u o f r e f in is you tell iew gh Columb at would terminin an interv e h s d e W it ‘ in c t e n im just e h m r. H oore asks g. I would rshed mo Counselo in M te a th d y n w a n a a d s e bine a tell them interview for Colum wouldn’t is being I ‘ le , p s o e e o p g of all anson] Manson ?’ and [M th u o y d ecte ay.’” this disaff have to s y e th t a wh listen to

by Carly Dacana

According to Mrs. Melody Morgan, following the education path through college yields a lot of unknowns. She left behind a computer science major to explore teaching in 2007. She enjoyed it, realizing in hindsight that growing up her family always had a driving sense of guiding and teaching. Her parents had teaching roles in their careers. “It was just kind of innate in me… I just like explaining things and showing people how easy and fun something can be,” said Morgan. Her relaxed teaching style is modeled after her inspirational high school math teacher. Morgan enjoys being able to joke around with her students, claiming that it helps students pay attention and open up academically. She cites one-on-one lunch help and comments on her Star Wars pajamas from Spirit Week as elements that help build her student-teacher relationships. She also notes the significant amount of patience that teaching requires, but this attribute comes naturally for her.

iffery was d r to c je a tr ess s’ career s a busin e a lo w a I v , e r e nardo D a teach and Mr. Leo ld them to being o r s io I r . p a “ most im lorid most: e?” The tels in F f o li h ent than in y e o e m r “d g do with saying, owned th , to I t ls r. n il e a k n s w w I is o to be use all h t else do teaching a h to d n w le u b t, o a f h gy g e thoug psycholo was bein eath. ” H d d n n io a to r , e e e it c m cr here ld bore experien portant Beach, w usiness ... it wou o b r ly e , n e V o c n in g ould be rie ol one thin t a scho rience w vel expe a e a p tr ip x h e is s h n is r th he said use ew that id an inte student, n d a way to k d e e s g H e n . lo e e ll fter eva ll at onc ith a cha lives.” A class. D w ’s d s s E le e l r p degree a g o ia at a o pe ec students g real pr pact on f d in a Sp in o e e im e k s t r s d c o r e e r is w d dir Afte he teaching make a with hun f o d reak it.” to e b x e k r u r n r o o o c it w e ate ws “make that at th d having his ultim n hing allo e ts a c k a is a ts s te c m in je w ho death to ent sub evaloes he “saw of differ t of cell s, Mr. D r n y a e a e v r r y e a l 3 a n 2 a biologic the past teaching g to the 500) in n y ti dying.” tl in n o e r p r ing, ou start n y r n a e time (cu le h d w an rning is t growth stop lea u constan o y te he minu point: “T

aching after 35 years on a ears as a structural engiion Technology, or “I.T.”, corporate world. He felt a society, and was drawn to teachwas “time for [his] generation to ration while teaching and advising ow five years later, Gordon finds oys most of the subjects he teaches. He students grasping content, stating that s to the ‘aha’ moment when they get it and ents who question their ability in my subjects

Mr. Daniel McKenna entered college as a double major in English and Political Science, intending on synthesizing his love for writing, composition, and argumentation as “not a politician... but someone who wrote for politicians.” He spent two summers at the Penn State Data Center, fulfilling research requests for state congressmen. During the second year he had a “disillusioning experience about politics,” when it appeared that the research didn’t matter to the politicians. Realizing that it wasn’t an “avenue to really solve problems” or “create positive change for lots of people,” McKenna turned to teaching-- a profession where he could take his love for “trying to understand things that I don’t really understand.” Teaching also offered both a “sense of purpose by benefiting others and the chance to help others think or write more clearly or question conventional wisdom.” McKenna began his career with a long-term sub position turned full-time job at Richard Montgomery, coming to Poolesville seven years later in 2008.

g of PHS staff

ay and Kanika Mehra

P.E. teacher , health coach, Mrs. L teacher aurie W , and g a gym irls’ so ohnhas teacher ftball had tho early in student ught ab , it was her life out bei . As an the fun began ng her car elemen of the r eer as a tary sc ole tha She wa hool t attrac substitu s event ted her te teach ually o which . Wohn ffered a er here was ab has normal at Pool job her school e e s sville H i level. O by the nce mo then pr S. st P.E. ver the best to incipal teacher 26 yea keep le Dr. Ben s start a rs she’s ssons i enthusi nterest tz, t the el been te asm in ing, bu ementa aching the less too,” sa t r , t y he stud Wohnh ons. “I id Woh f I’m b ents sh as has nhas. S relation done h ored, th e teach he tries ships w er e e s n t r i o e I th stud a k c l n h l y o a n w my s impact ge up l ents in tudents the esson p an effo Mr. Andrew Ward always knew he wanted to must b lans ea rt to he e bored ch sem lp them be a teacher. His mom was a teacher, and growing ester. W through o h t nhas fo heir tee up he “watched, valued, and wanted to do it.” His wife sters n expe rience. is a School Psychologist in Montgomery County, which is ultimately what brought him here from Baltimore County. Ward has a deep interest in learning about the people that surrounded him, therefore as a teacher, he strives to learn about his individual students and get to know them in a way that he can connect with. Social Studies particularly suits his motivations as a teacher, because he believes that the more that lessons can be humanized, the better students will understand and be interested in social topics. He wants his teaching to spark an interest, a curiosity, or even a desire to follow a certain path. To him, high school is a place where students learn basic skills that are transferable to the working world. It is here that teachers help students to Mrs. Lesli e Gum id instill these habits so they continue with them long after the graduate. entified e interest in arly on th science a at she had n d math. In an excelle college, th nt biology anks to teacher, s major. As he chose for gettin to be a sc g her teac that in hig ience hing degre h school e, Gum e she work math but x p e lained d with a g was able irl who w to gradua initial aim as failing te becaus lessness o e of Gum f her care a job in w ’s help. D er path ou hich she w espite an t of high oke up in to work -school, G the mornin combinin u m wanted g and loo g her love brought h ked forwa for scienc er that fee rd to goin e and help ling. Gum science. I g ing others states, “I love to te in w a o te ch scienc u a ld ence. Eve c h n in ’t g do anythin e. And I lo rything I g else… I ve it whe do in my only the k lo n v c s e la tu s d nowledge sroom...it’ ents are e s always of science xcited ab about hav out sci, but hope ing kids le fully enjo ave with ying som not e part of th at experie nce.”

6 The Poolesville Pulse


February 13, 2019

Do the magnet programs hinder the arts at Poolesville? By Joe Dwyer Staff Writer

Being an art student at an allmagnet high school like Poolesville can be a challenge. My assumption for a long time was that Poolesville’s focus on the magnet programs prevents resources from being allocated towards their classes. Now, in my final year at Poolesville, I believe the magnet programs themselves have less to do with the neglected art programs, but instead find the issue to be with the students. Although some might assume that the administration is at fault for these weak arts programs, the students themselves are the ones who are truly responsible for the issue. Ms. Krouner, Business Administrator, explained how the Resource Teacher in each academic department simply puts in a request for certain materials, and that the order will quickly be filled. She described how the process is not one depending on the discretion of the administration, and that it is up to the Resource Teachers. “Very rarely do we ever have trouble fulfilling requests,” Krouner revealed, “and when that rarity does occur, it is always an issue with textbooks, not arts materials.” This means that from a fiscal perspective, magnet classes and programs are not prioritized over the arts. Both musical and visual art depend greatly on the quality of their physical equipment, and as it turns out, the arts teachers themselves experience almost no restrictions regarding their access to student materials. In fact, upon further investigation, it became apparent that the lack of resources and depth in the programs was a result of lack of student interest.

Daniel McKenna, the English department’s Resource Teacher, describes the process of allocating funds and staff across the school as a result of enrollment. “In the Spring before each school year, department heads will look at which classes students have registered for in the upcoming year, and those student numbers decide how many materials we order for the upcoming year, as well as which classes teachers will have to teach.” With the manifestation of this information, it becomes clear that student enrollment in music and arts classes are responsible for developing the strength of each department. If students lack interest in music and arts classes, then the quality of such programs will falter in comparison to other areas of study. When it comes to program growth, the Resource Teachers for the arts simply have no reason to renew their materials, or expand their faculty, if not many students are interested in taking their classes. At a competitive school such as Poolesville, students want to take classes to prepare themselves for successful careers, and with the growing popularization of STEM learning, art and music classes may often be neglected by students in order to take a different class that is more marketable to a university or specific career. This is the mentality that must change in order to make dedicated art students feel that they are in a valued program. The arts have long been losing their bankability to other STEM-oriented classes, and students are the ones responsible for contributing to that trend. In order for the art and music programs to prosper at Poolesville, the student body simply needs to enroll in more of the department’s classes.

Marvel thrives and DC can’t compete

Graphic by of Julia Pavlick.

By Samantha Stewart Staff Writer

In the world of popular culture the two companies that have always dominated the scene are DC and Marvel. As a result of their popularity, the two are often compared, with people defending each side raucously. In an objective sense, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) beats the DC Cinematic Universe (referred to as the DC Extended Universe officially) in terms of commercial success. The MCU, considered by Hollywood to be a single franchise, has made over 17 billion dollars worldwide, with The Avengers leading the pack having grossed over 1.5 billion

dollars on its own. The DC Extended Universe pales in comparison, having made only about 1.8 billion dollars in total. While there are significantly less films in the DC Extended Universe (6 to Marvel’s 20), none of DC’s films have had the kind of commercial success that The Avengers films have had, with each one making over a billion dollars , a feat only one DC film has been able to accomplish. Marvel has showcased a mastery of plot development and character depth that DC films are so desperately lacking. Batman v. Superman is just one example of the lack of quality in the DC Extended Universe. The film hardly develops the conflict that its named after, causing the two main

Graphic by Julia Pavlick.

Is Colton prepared to be the Bachelor? By Megan Kelly Staff Writer

The decision to make Colton the new Bachelor spurred a lot of backlash from viewers who didn’t believe Colton Underwood could possibly be ready for a relationship after leaving Paradise in tears over his ex, Becca.The Bachelor franchise is known to seek out contestants that will provide the most drama, and therefore, the most viewers. Colton attracted a lot of attention as a contestant as a former NFL player and virgin- a point that was tirelessly stressed by the producers of the show. “I would have rather seen Blake or Jason [as the bachelor], but I guess more people wanted to see Colton after all the drama that happened in the last two seasons,” said Mikey Beautz, a Global senior and devoted citizen of the #BachelorNation. “Plus Jason had the best hair out of everyone.” In the last season of the Bachelorette, Becca Kufrin sent Colton Underwood home after a dramatic hometown date where he professed his love for her. Before that, Colton’s ex-fling and former Bachelor contestant, Tia Booth, arrived to tell Becca she had had a relationship with Colton prior to the start of Bachelorette filming. After Colton was sent home by Becca, he arrived on Bachelor in Paradise. In Paradise, Colton and Tia reignited their relationship for a short period of time, before Colton realized he wasn’t able to give Tia the relationship she deserved, and left Paradise, once again, heartbroken. “We like this guy. He’s interesting, he’s certainly hunky, he looks the part, he’s an all-American kid, a football

characters who are supposed to be strong willed and powerful to fall flat. The two develop a feud for reasons viewers tend to forget by the end of the film, with the only memorable part being the fact that their mothers shared the same name. The performances of Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck do little to alleviate the lack of plot development in the film, with the words and actions of their characters coming across as awkward and unnatural. The failure to portray both the contentious relationship between the two staples of the DC Extended Universe, as well as the characters themselves well, emphasizes the leaps and bounds DC Extended Universe has to make to fully be able to compete with Marvel. If you compare a film

player. The virginity thing is interesting. And we think that just the potential of [Colton losing his virginity] creates added stakes for this season,” stated Mike Fleiss, a producer on the show told Entertainment Weekly. The move for Colton to be the Bachelor after he left Paradise crying and saying he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, causes even the most drama-seeking viewers to question the decision. “[Colton] was forcing himself to making something work,” said Alyson Gotlewski, an 11th grader in the Global program. “He was confused [on Paradise].” Colton is only 26 and clearly still needs time to get himself together before committing to serious relationship. Colton is expected to propose to a contestant at the end of his season, but how can he be expected to propose when he wasn’t ready for any relationship just a few months ago. The draw to choose Colton on paper is clear: he’s a virgin football player who runs a charity for kids with cystic fibrosis. However, Colton has shown the #BachelorNation that he’s not equipped to deal with heartbreak, so how will he deal with having to choose who he loves the most? Colton’s reputation suggests this season will be full of emotional decisions, which may make the show interesting to watch, but will not benefit him or his female contestants.

of similar rank in the MCU, there are stark differences. Captain America: Civil War chronicles the conflict between Marvel’s most popular characters: Iron Man and Captain America. The development is significantly different, with the characters having actual personalities and motives behind their actions. This makes the plot not only more interesting, but easier to follow. The performances of both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are also able to shine through by virtue of their acting skills as well as the caliber of the script they have to work with. These film adaptations of some of the most iconic plots in Marvel and DC’s repertoire assert the status of Marvel as the superior cinematic universe.


February 13, 2019

Poms focus on grades, dance moves Continued from Page 1.

“We’ve been so used to feeling like the underdogs of D1, when in reality it’s not the truth. So winning D1 last year was a wake up call for all of us.” says Gibbs. Gibbs is feeling optimistic about this current season and says that reflecting on how much they have improved over the season puts her at ease. But despite a clean routine, great energy, and strong technique, going into the competition is still nerve wracking for the team. “Our goal is to simply go out there at perform even stronger than we did last year,” says Ventura. The team has been working on setting the bar higher for themselves every year. To do so, Amy Zhu, Poms captain and Global senior, says that the girls are trying new types of dances and incorporating them into the routine in a different order than they previously have. Being a D1 champion team comes with high expectations. Velasquez says that the girls still go by one of her favorite quotes: “Practice like you’ve never won. Perform like you’ve never lost.” “Although it sounds like a lot of pressure, the team knows that it’ll be a great performance as long as they put all their effort into it and leave it all on the floor,” says Velasquez.

The Poolesville Pulse


Three-season athlete breaks records at Indoor Track invitational

achieve a time below 11 minutes in the 3200. Satsangi has yet to commit to a college, but she has received offers from and is deciding between Penn State, Illinois, or Purdue University.

By Grace Bodmer Staff Writer

Global senior Nandini Satsangi ran at the Indoor Track Invitational on December 17, where she achieved the new school record, the fastest time in the state, and the seventh fastest time in the country for the 3200 meter race. While Satsangi also excels at the 1600 meter race and other various track events, the 3200 meter is her main event. Satsangi earned a time of 11:05. The previous record for the 3200m race was an 11:06, and had been long standing prior to Satsangi’s race. “I knew I had tough competition in the 3200 so my goal was to place first,” said Satsangi, when asked about her goals before the race. Mr. Prasad Gerard, the coach

of indoor track, has been coaching Satsangi since her freshman year. Gerard always believed Satsangi would achieve great things since her arrival to the team freshman year because of her great work ethic and natural talent. Gerard has coached Satsangi in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. Regarding Satsangi’s many accomplishments at the invitational, Gerard stated that Nandini’s training did not

Graphic by Julia Pavlick..

change much leading up to the meet. “She was just able to intensify some of her workouts,” Gerard noted when asked how Satsangi was able to achieve so many awards for her race. Satsangi credits part of her achievement to her use of the weight room this year, which she states “has made a big difference in [her] strength.” Satsangi also continued her regular pre-meet ritual of propping her legs against the wall to drain them of lactic acid and visualizing her ideal race before breaking her records. The rest of her pre-meet ritual includes warming up an hour before the race, which consists of a 30-minute jog, then long stride runs and agility exercises, followed by putting her signature feather in her hair before heading down to the start. Satsangi’s new goal is to

Photo courtesy of Kevin Milsted of MocoRunning . Satsangi competing in the 3200 meter event. The meet was the December Indoor Track Montgomery County Invitational.

8 The Poolesville Pulse

February 13, 2019 FEATURES SMCS Senior wins gold medal and special award in the 12th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics By Varsha Iyer Staff Writer

Photo by Leeah Derenoncourt The courtyard in the library before renovations. Seniors Kelsey and Lightcap hope to revitalize.

Global Seniors strive to improve courtyards for student use By Kobey Davenport Staff Writer

The Global Ecology house requires seniors to create a solution to an environmental issue and implement it in the community as their final project. Seniors Luke Lightcap and Mark Kelsey plan on renovating the courtyards at Poolesville High School in order to allow for students to have an outdoor space.One courtyard is located outside the media center, while the other courtyard is located outside the Falcon Foier “We hope that it can be a place where students can relax and unwind when they’re having a stressful day,” said Lightcap. While there isn’t a step-by-step plan being followed, Kelsey and Lighcap hope to modify the courtyard in a number of ways, including adding benches

and trash cans for students to use. In addition, they plan on removing waste and dead weeds. They also hope to cultivate plants students would want to see. The renovation is projected to be completed within the next month or two, as they already have the planning and permission in place to complete it. The goal is to have the improvement done by the spring so that students will be able to use it once it’s warmer outside.

“[W]e are still in the early stages as far as the actual courtyard cleanup and reopening. Our next steps as soon as it gets a bit warmer will be to begin the physical portion of our work,” said Kelsey. Currently, the courtyards at Poolesville are rarely used by students, part of which may be contributed to by them being untouched by anyone, leaving them barren and empty. Revitalizing them would allow for them to appear more appealing and hopefully used more. Both Kelsey and Lightcap note to be a large inspiration is for an increase in student use. “We both had… noticed the courtyards’ lack of use and how [they’ve] been degrading overtime,” according to Kelsey. Poolesville High School was built in 1911 as an elementary school, but was renovated in 1953 to become a high school and then updated in 1978. This means that the courtyards are at best 40 years old, although they are likely much older. According to the Maryland Department of Education, schools in the early 20th century were built to be short buildings with courtyards in order to light up classrooms and to give students open space. This description matches Poolesville layout, in which courtyards are supposed to be used as a place for students and many classrooms in the middle of the school have windows into the courtyard for light.

Vincent Bian, senior in the Science, Math, and Computer Science (SMCS) program, competed in the 12th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) on Nov. 3 to Nov. 11 in Beijing, China as part of the United States team. He obtained a gold medal and special award for the highest score in the theoretical exam. The competition tests for theoretical knowledge, as well as data analysis and observational skills, within challenging problems involving astrophysics, statistics, and an understanding of the night sky and telescopes. Bian entered the competition through the USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad, which occurred in Jan. 2018. 50 people were chosen from this olympiad to compete in the National Astronomy Olympiad, including Bian. He was originally chosen to be the US team alternate, but joined the team when another member left. Alongside his teammates, Bian helped achieve the US Team’s best results in the IOAA in the 6 years they have participated. “It feels great, and I’m proud of what I’ve done, although I try not to let it go to my head,” Bian said regarding his success on the team. “Fortunately, unless you’re the best in everything, there’s always someone better than you, which helps keep my ego in check,” adds Bian.

Photo courtesy of Vincent Bian. The U.S. team at the International Astrophysics Olympiad. The team cumulatively recieved four metals and an honorable mention.

Photo courtesy of Vincent Bian. Bian holding American flag at competition. He is wearing his first place gold medal.

Bian has been interested in astronomy since elementary school, drawing the planets in elementary school and watching every rocket launch since he witnessed one at Cape Canaveral. As part of the US team for the IOAA, Bian was able to work with teammates just as invested in astronomy and astrophysics as he was. Training for the IOAA was done through video calls with the US team coaches, so the US team was only able to meet at the competition; however, the team became fast friends after meeting one another. “[We] all became friends within a day of meeting each other in person,” Bian said. “While it was cool to have friends that were just as interested in astronomy as me, we were still a normal group of teens, except we made more astronomy jokes than average.” In the future, Bian hopes to join the US team for the International Physics Olympiad, which is chosen from about 5000 students rather than 200 students like the IOAA. While he enjoys astronomy as a hobby, Bian is leaning more towards theoretical physics as a possible major in college. When asked if he had any advice for students who would also like to compete in academic competitions, Bian said, “Don’t take it too seriously, and make sure to have fun, because most of it isn’t gonna matter after you go to college. Also, remember that there is a lot of luck involved in doing well.”

SMCS Senior wins first place in National Chess Championship By Rachel Ryan Staff Writer

On Dec. 16, 2018, Science, Math, and Computer Science program (SMCS) senior Sahil Sinha became a National Chess Champion after nearly nine years of playing chess. Winning first place in the 2018 K-12 Grade National Chess Championships, Sinha began his journey in the spring of 2010, when his interest was piqued watch-

Graphic by Julia Pavlick

ing his cousin play chess. After encouragement from his dad, he decided to join his elementary school’s chess club. From there, he quickly began attending tournaments, and won his first state championship title that same year. Winning the state championship enables a player to attend Nationals, and after many tries Sinha finally came out at the top. Sinha explained his progression in chess through a lot of practice and studying the game. “To improve my game, I bought many books, used a chess software to play online opponents, and even got a chess coach who would analyze professional games with me.” Sinha practiced upwards of two hours a day, and accumulated many state championship wins, six in total. He also won bronze in the North American Youth Chess Championship in Canada. Although he claims to have cut back on his chess playing time this year, he ironically came away with his first national win. He accredited some of this to his relaxed attitude, and the lack of pressure

he put on himself for the championship. This relaxed attitude is something Sinha claims is critical to success in chess. When asked what skills chess has helped him develop, Sinha named problem solving, strategic awareness, and patience as a few. “The longest it took me to decide a single move was nearly an hour, and I’ve had a match that lasted six hours before”, he laughed. He said the ability to take breaks makes this long time manageable, and the wins are worth the wait. Sinha has been offered multiple scholarships, including a full ride to UMBC. Although he has not accepted any of these offers, he does plan to continue to pursue chess in the future, and intends on joining the chess team or club in college. He is going for his International Chess Master and Grand Chess Master, which are awarded based on ranking. The world chess organization, FIDE, awards these titles after a player has reached a ranking of 2350 and 2500. Sinha is currently rated 2215 and possesses the title of FIDE Master.

Photo courtesty of Sahil Sinha Sinha holds his trophy at the US Chess Federation National Champtionship.

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February 2019  

The Poolesville Pulse, Poolesville High School, Poolesville, Maryland, February 13, 2019

February 2019  

The Poolesville Pulse, Poolesville High School, Poolesville, Maryland, February 13, 2019