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October 19, 2012 Vol. 13, Issue 2

Westfield High School, Chantilly Va. 20151 >>

Inside the Issue


Students remember Matt Peterson, mourn collectively >> Page 4

Opinion Student shares experience in cultural diplomacy program >> Page 7

A&E Pitch Perfect surprises audiences with comical acting and well written story line >> Page 11

Sports Joon Ho Yeo, 12, attracts college coaches to games >> Page 13

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Band qualifies for Rose Bowl Parade Jennifer Steinhilber >> News Editor One of the 12 bands, beating out over 1000 other applicants, the Marching Bulldogs will be the third high school band in the state of Virginia to march in the Rose Bowl Parade. The last school to perform in the parade from Virginia was in 1993. “This is a chance to make history,” Steven Panoff, Band Director, said. After the Marching Bulldog’s half time performance, the game announcer informed the band that they qualified to march in the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade in Pasedena, Calif. “It was a surprise. I was so shocked and once I realized that it really happened, I was so excited,” Thomas Moskal, 11, said. When they heard the announcement, they rushed together in the center of the field in celebration. “It was overwhelming at first and just really unbelievable and really exciting. It was nice to know that all of our hard work paid off,” Erin Schulte, 12, said. This is one of the highest honors a high school band can receive. “We were able to prove ourselves in competitions, but this excels our reputation even more,” Marissa

Cassens, 11, said. The school is the first in the county to receive this honor. “This is a huge moment for the school, community and the state. When the band is shown, the school’s name, area, county and state will all be displayed on national television,” Panoff said. The Rose Bowl Parade will have one million live viewers. It will be presented by three networks in the nation, creating approximately 50 million viewers in the United States. The parade will also be watched in 220 countries The band began their application process a year ago and submitted it for a final review in May 2012. “The application included a picture of a parade banner, every aspect of the uniform from every angle with every uniform with various instruments, a group picture, written application with essays, a list of the bands past 10 major awards and national letters of recommendation,” Panoff said. Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnel and Senator, Mark Warner are two of the people who wrote recommendations. Some of the top musicians from across the country also wrote on

behalf of the band, such as Prevcon Selmer and Key Paulin. The video was one of the most difficult parts of the application process, due to its strict requirements. It needed to include a two minute introduction, two minutes of the band performing and marching on the field and a clip of the band marching in a parade in uniform. “This was the hardest part because we had never been filmed marching in a parade before,” said Panoff. To read more on the band’s qualifications and future, see Page 2.

Photos Courtesy of the Westfield Band

Time for Celebration>> Celebrating their Rose Bowl acceptance, the band gathers at the center of the field. The Marching Bulldogs will march in the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade. Facing the Music>> Leading the group, Drum Majors Samuel Lim, 12, Celeste Azubike, 12 and Erin Schulte, 12, march onto the field. The band is performed “The Zorro Rides Again”.

Students pass bracelets to encourage kindness Madeleine Bloxam >> Staff Writer Recognizing random acts of kindness among teachers and students at the school, the Theatre Department began the school wide movement, Actively Caring for People, AC4P. AC4P was founded after the tragic Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, when Westfield lost two alumni, Reema Samaha and Erin Peterson, Class of 2006. Their mission is to ‘inspire individuals to commit an intentional act of kindness everyday and share the caring story.’ While also raising awareness about bullying, AC4P focuses on highlighting positive behavior. Theater teacher, Susan Pike, was inspired to bring the project to Westfield after an annual Remembrance Cabaret

for Reema Samaha. “At last year’s remembrance Cabaret for Reema Samaha, a woman from Virginia Tech spoke about AC4P and I was quite taken by the message she brought to me. I wanted something special. Respectful behavior and empathy towards others are important and

I feel that my students are great representatives of this movement,” Pike said. Students or teachers who see someone exhibit kindness may pass on their AC4P bracelet to the exhibitor. Then, when the new owner of the bracelet sees someone else displaying positive behavior, they will

Photos by Kelsey Stanton

Passing of the bracelet>> Spreading the word about the Actively Caring campaign, Allie Koenigsberg receives the bracelet from Susan Pike. Koenigsberg now holds the responsibility to pass it on.

also pass it on. “It is proven that if one person takes a step to be more positive, they create a ripple effect in making everyone more positive and more respectful. I chose my Theatre 3-4 class because of the respectful behavior and nature of the students I teach. I know they care for others,” Pike said. Allie Koenigsberg, 12, one of Pike’s students, believes this program will have a constructive effect. “Hopefully it will make more people more aware of positivity when they see us wearing bracelets. They will see why it is important to care and our community and school can benefit from it,” Koenigsberg said. Estella Massey, 11, also in Pike’s Theater 3 and 4 class believes the program will make students and teachers more aware of how their actions affect others. “It will make everyone do more positive things

for each other and improve happiness and will get the student body to be conscious that everything they do can affect someone else,” Massey said. While the program has good intentions, other students doubt that the entire student body will get on board. “Most will be pretty indifferent, but few people will care. It’s important that the students at Westfield show some empathy,” Brandon Sanchez, 11, said. Only the students in Theater 3 and 4 have bracelets at this time, but the project is proposed to go school wide. “Our Class has green rubber bracelets and we wear them around the school. When we see others care for someone, we give them the bracelet and hope that they pass it on as well. I have not passed my bracelet on yet, but I have been keeping my eyes open,” Koenigsberg said.

2 Vol. 13, Issue 2


The Watchdog

Interest sparks in the Latino Dance Club, Step Team Mia Newkirk >> Staff Writer With an optimistic attitude and a heart full of rhythm, the Step Team and Latino Dance Clubs are trying to improve their diversity with a public approach. “I am very excited for this season. We are trying to expand our team and be more aggressive in terms of publicity,” Captain of the Step Team, Tramaine Nakirigga, 11, said. A new insight and positive attitude has sparked a change and made improvements upon the previous years. The teams aspire to work hard as they gear up for their performances this year. “Our biggest performance of the season will definitely be the winter pep rally,” Nakirigga said. Nakirigga, the team and the sponsors look forward to the year ahead and hope for a good turnout this season. However, the team needs to improve on its size and find more places for them to perform. “I hope to see more performances, mostly at basketball games. We also

need a larger group of kids,” Sponsor of the Step Team, Scott Burroughs, said. The lack of diversity has prevented the team from reaching its full potential, but the assuring turn out at the interest meeting gives members high hopes as they step their way into the school year. “It would be nice to see male representation and more diversity in the team, but I was very impressed with the number of students who showed up at the interest meeting,” Burroughs said. Not only did the Step Team have a promising interest meeting, but the Latino Dance Club had a diverse group of students attend the meeting. “So far, everything has been good. There has been a good amount of diversity: Hispanic, Asian, African, and white,” Captain of the Latino Dance Club, Jamila Vizcaino, 12, said. The teams are expanding their horizons in terms of choreography. The Latino Dance Club is learning new routines that involve a combination of dance styles. “We are learning chore-

Photos by Kelsey Stanton and Madie Mason

Spinning Around>> (Top) Building chemistry, Carlos Canales,9, practices his Latino dance with his partner. He was one of multiple students at the tryout. Stepping out>> (Right) Preparing for tryouts, Zainab Jalloh, 9, practices the routine she will have to perform to make the team. After the interest meeting, the Step Team held another session for those tryout to learn the steps and moves. ography that involves some different dance styles, like salsa and pop. It is a combination of Latin music,” choreographer for the Latin Dance Club, Cathy Cespedes, said. There has been a stereotypical attitude that has prevented people from tryout for the teams, but they dance club is trying to avoid

that this year and expand to people of all cultures. “I think there is a misconception that in order to be a part of the group, you must be Latino. This is just a myth and it should not be believed,” Cespedes said. Expect some surprises from the teams this year. They are ready to show what they have as they ex-

pand their teams and improve upon the previous seasons. Eager to impress the student body, the teams are excited to see everyone’s reactions as they watch each teams new and improved

performances at pep rallies and football games this year. “We just look forward to seeing you guys at basketball games and pep rallies. Keep rooting for us, this year,” Nakirigga said.

Band’s reputation grows stronger Continued from Page 1 The band had to get everyone together for six weeks of practice. “There is a turn in the beginning of the parade that is more than 90 degrees. We had to practice on Wednesday nights and then be able to film it to show the parade committe we were capable to make the turn,” Panoff said. Despite the additional practices, band members were not too stressed. “The whole band was really intense. We were all shooting for the same goal; we were all really united,” Schulte said. The application took six months to complete, with the assistance of Panoff, three involved parents and the practice of the band. The current members and band alumni have es-

tablished themselves as a dominate band program. “For other schools, it has taken longer to establish themselves. In 11, going on 12, years, we have earned quite an astonishing record,” Panoff said. This year’s freshmen class has entered the program at the climax. “The freshmen are getting the opportunity to see the work put in to create and establish credibility for the program,” Panoff said. The band’s acceptance into the Rose Bowl Parade may also spark interest for upcoming years. “We are already blessed with the largest marching Band in Virginia. Now we are one of the few high schools that can tell the middle school band programs we are recruiting that we have qualified for the Rose Bowl Parade,”

Panoff said. Current eighth graders who will join will have the opportunity to travel to Pasedena, California. “Those coming into the school hit the band lottery. We have created a tradition and a legacy to live up to,” Panoff said. Schulte is excited to see the band achieve this accomplishment in her senior year. “This has definitely been one of the highlights of my band experience. The whole program has been amazing, the band really is one big family,” Schulte said. Looking forward, the programs next goal is to raise funds for the trip. “We will begin our fundraising in January, and our goal is to raise $20,000 to $30,000” Panoff said.

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Being heard>> Starting off the night, Henry Arzaz, 12, John Bentley, 12, and Glen Turner, 11, lead the brass section in the playing of the “National Anthem.” The band heard about the Rose Bowl after their performance in the halftime show.

one purchase per Tuesday during promotion period)


The Watchdog

October 19, 2012


Duct tape and donuts; Senior class takes panoramic Samantha Drew >> News Editor Senior panoramic picture is a tradition, even considered a rite of passage for most seniors, ranking on the top of the senior year highlights list, alongside Prom and the All Night Graduation Party. Friends and classmates create a saying that they think captures the tone of their last year of high school and use it as a farewell declaration for underclassman, teachers and parents. “Well, at first we weren’t going to do anything for the picture. But then we were like, it’s our senior year, why not do it. We wanted to have a positive message, so we came up with ‘One Love.’ We spray painted our shirts instead of duct tape because we all wanted to be able to keep our shirts as souvenirs from our senior year forever,” Amanda Sontra, 12, said. Carson Huling, 12, tried to include everyone in the decision making process. “Some people in the group thought our saying was a bad idea, but we took a vote to be fair. We included a good amount of our friends and then some extended friends, just any-

one who wanted to join. We weren’t exclusive; whoever needed a group or wanted to join was welcome, Huling said. While Huling had a large group to include all the senior girls, Tim Hall, 12, created a large group for the boys. “I wanted to do something that could include all of our friends and encompass everybody. We decided to do ‘Hey sexy ladies.’ I invited as many people as possible, everyone who didn’t have a group,” Hall said. Being memorialized into school history was very stressful for some students. “We had some miscommunication and disorganization because we picked a saying over group chat. We were all throwing out ideas, and then we decided to do girls only. It’s very stressful and I didn’t like it, but it was fun when it was all finished. We got 13 girls together and decided to do ‘Forever Young’,” Katy Dunigan, 12, said. Taking a different approach to the panoramic picture, the students enrolled in Multi-Variable Calculus decided to make a graph on their T-shirts instead of a saying.

“We wanted to commemorate an unparalleled mathematical achievement: a function that is continuous everywhere but differentiable no where. The great weirestrass function,” Byron Harvey, 12, said. The seniors held a class meeting after the picture where class officers reported about the Homecoming float, T-shirts, graduation, the class gift, powder puff, the All Night Grad Party and prom. Seniors were supposed to get their cap and gown measurements taken and discuss graduation packets, but due to time constrictions, that was postponed to be done during lunches at a later date.

A Donut and a Smile >> Taking a free donut and water bottle from a volunteer, Lindsay Knittle, 12, walks into the stadium to take the senior panoramic picture with friends. Adjusting Costumes>> Rearranging the eggs costume, Celeste Azubuike, 12 and Cathy Park, 12, prepare for their picture. Azubuike adorned herself in a bacon costume and matched Park’s egg ensemble. Instead of spelling out a word or phrase, Azubuike and Park opted to wear costumes instead of the traditional T-shirts to stand out in the crowd of students. Photos by Kelsey Stanton

Third annual Post- It Project spreads positive messages across the nation Parul Sanjiv >> Staff Writer Post-It Project is a movement that encourages the spread of positive words. The event took place the week of Oct. 7 to Oct. 14 and participants had to write something nice or uplifting on a post-it and stick it anywhere they could think of in their schools, jobs and communities. “In today’s world, it is really easy to focus on the negatives and the hardships of life and this Post-It Project is such a unique way to pass on something positive that everyone can do,” Katherine Lorio, history teacher said. Instead of writing something mean, participants of the Post-It Project wrote something considerate on a Post-It note as opposed to vandalizing bathroom stalls, to help change the direction of some ones day. Samuel Lim, 12, a former student of Lorio, started the Post-It Project. He spread the word through a public Facebook event that could be shared by anyone who received an invite. “This project is a great

idea not just for the week it was planned for, but anytime of the year,” Lorio said. Lorio contributed by inviting other teachers to join the effort via faculty notes. “Writing anything positive like ‘smile today, you have a friend somewhere’ can help a person recover from a bad day,” Lorio said. Taking the time to write out some nice words to benefit other people is just one way of moving away from cyber bullying and promoting the ramification of anonymous amiable words. “Anonymous cyberbullying has been an issue that we are trying to put an end to and it’s important to promote events like these because it can really have a positive impact on the bullied youth of today,” Katarina Roberts, 11, said. This event is not the first of its form; there have been similar projects resulting in an increase of self-esteem “This idea has been around. Students have been participating in similar events in which they have the opportunity to write out nice things and it re-

ally makes them pause for a second and realize how just a couple words on a note can have such a positive effect, it can seriously boost their morale,” Mark Sypher, special education and history teacher said. SGA has also had people participate in similar acts of kindness. “Positive notes have lifted my mood; SGA placed notes in teacher mailboxes last year that read, ‘To teach is to touch lives forever, thank you,’ ‘You brighten our days,’ and ‘You’re a star in my eyes,”Lorio said. Through this event people cannot only spread words, but they can also spread respect. “People today are straight up rude and hide behind technology to make fun of others, it is about time that someone stepped up and was just genuinely nice,” Bianca Watkins, 11, said. A couple phrases of motivation and love, according to Lorio, can change a persons outlook on the day. “It doesn’t matter whether you were having a good day or a bad day, reading a note that says

something that actually isn’t ignorant and knowing that another student wrote it would be a great feeling,” Roberts said. For some people one word can make a big impact. “We all need a little love and this Post-it Project is the perfect way to spread some encouraging thoughts and words,” Roberts said.

Bullying and vandalism are both problems in our school that are in the process of being corrected through stricter rules and monthly Student Rights and Responsibility seminars during bulldog block. Students are being taught the power of empathy, and the need to realize not only the consequences, but the alternatives to being a bully.

“It is powerful to choose positive thinking over negative thinking. Sometimes I give into the negative thoughts, but I give myself a time limit. I go into that negative place, but I don’t stay long enough to hang pictures, I move on in say five to 10 minutes and choose positive thoughts that are uplifting and more productive. We each have the choice,” Lorio said.

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4 Vol. 13, Issue 2


The Watchdog

Students unify during hard times Luke O’Roark >>Online Editor-in-Chief With the unexpected death of sophomore Matthew Peterson, students of all grade levels mourn ed the loss of their friend, peer and teammate. “I was just shocked when I heard because I saw him that Friday in school and he wasn’t there the next two days,” Lindsey Morris, 10, said. Peterson was found dead in his home on Sept. 25, the loss comes to a shock as it was just two years ago the class of 2013 lost Johnny “Bo” Rupp on Sept. Students from all grade levels lined up and held hands around the flag poles to pay respect to the fallen 16 year old and the rest of his family. “It’s exactly the same [as Bo’s], Matt’s was a little bit bigger in terms of the flag pole, but it was also about Bo too. It was another

young kid, same grade and everything,” Haley McDonnell, 12, said. Peterson wrestled for the JV team last winter and wanted to run track this spring. “Last year he came out as a freshman and win or lose he always had a smile on his face. His teammates will always remember how great of a kid he was and ei-

ther if he was responding to success or setbacks, he always had a smile on his face. His smile was contagious and he was determined to do his best and always gave 100 percent. He was great kid,” Wrestling Coach Chuck Hoskins, said. Even students that did not know Peterson personally paid their respect before and during

the school day. “I didn’t really know him, but that morning I saw all the people circled around the flag poles. I did pray for him and his family when I heard,” Eric Mbualungu, 10, said.

Students caught in tardy sweeps have faced the threat of having their parking spots revoked.

-Story continues online

How would you feel if the administration revoked your parking pass as punishment for being caught in a tardy sweep?

Jaemin Kim, 12 “I would be infuriated if they took my parking spot just cause I was late. I paid for it, I need it to get here.”

2 (Top Left) Lasting Impressions>> Posing for his yearbook picture, Matt Peterson, 10, smiles. The Peterson funeral was held on Oct. 4. Photo Courtesy of Lifetouch (Right) Dog Pound Unites >> Wearing red of remembrance, the dog pound dedicated their game to lost classmates, Bo Rupp and Peterson. Photo by Katie Blondin (Left) Students show respect >> Meaghan Heinecke, 12, and the rest of the student body hold hands around the flag pole to show respect for Peterson, their fellow classmate. Photo by Cortney Mecimore.

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Alex Moses,12 “My parking spot is my life and people who depend on me for rides to school would be very upset.”

James Blersh,12 “I would be quite mad. I’m not trying to take the bus my senior year.”

Photos by Dylan Brown


The Watchdog

October 19, 2012


Early action deadlines increase student stress Brigid Hamilton & Katie Drezwieki >> Copy Editor Staff Writer Students opted to take advantage of the option to apply early decision or early action, allowing them to find out early in their senior year whether or not they were accepted to their top choices of colleges. However with this decision came the extra burden of having less time to prepare their applications. “I’m applying early action to James Madison University and Christopher Newport University. I just like JMU and CNU is close to home. I also like CNU because it’s close to the beach and you can have your car,” Rachel Berry, 12, said. Students who apply early have more time to make decisions on where they would go if they are not accepted to their top choice of schools. “It’s just better knowing earlier and you can plan if it doesn’t work out and ap-


ply to other schools. There are tons of other schools I could apply to if I don’t get in,” Berry said. Applying earlier has the added pressure of having less time to prepare applications, including students’ personal statements and essays and getting recommendations from the teachers of their choice. “I think it’s more stressful to apply early because you have to cram everything in, but in the end it’s worth it,” Berry said. The stress doesn’t fall as heavily on some students, such as Ethan Kalcheff, 12, who is confident that everything will be finished on time. “I’m applying early to CNU because I really like the school and if I make it in I want to go there over anywhere else. It’s not very stressful, it’s a time crunch ,but I think I can do it. Anyone applying early should start early,” Kalcheff said. Jackie Lasky, 12, is applying early action to two schools she is interested in and early decision to her

first choice. “I’m applying early action to Georgia Tech and Purdue and early decision to Virginia Tech because I want to be an engineer. There are ups and downs and pros and cons to applying early, it’s stressful to get everything done but it’s good to find out early,” Lasky said. Lasky has also planned ahead in case she doesn’t get into any of the schools she is applying early for. “If I don’t get into any of my first choices, my back up schools are Drexel University and Wentworth Institute of Technology,” Lasky said. Another benefit of applying early action or early decision is having more time to apply for scholarships after you hear back about getting into a school. “It’s good to find out early because there is a lot of competition for scholarships,” Lasky said. Many seniors will be taking their last SAT, which will be a factor for colleges in determining whether or

Photo by Madie Mason

Piling on the stress> Working to maintain grades with the added stress of meeting the early deadlines for her college applications, Rachel Berry, 12, studies in Economics and Personal Finance. to impress colleges and stand out in the applications among their peers. “I was worried because I needed to bring up my math score,” Lasky said. Emmanuel Subayi, 12, is applying early to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and hopes to get

not the student will be accepted. “I took my last SAT on Oct. 6. I’m worried because I had to do best on this one,” Berry said. The last SAT can be stressful because it is the last time for students to get a higher score in order

in early so he won’t have to worry about college anymore throughout the year and focus on his grades instead. “I want to know where I’m going so I can just focus on my senior year. I’m nervous to have to wait and see if I get in,” Subayi said.

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6 Vol. 13, Issue 2 the


Volume 13, Issue 2


The Watchdog

More money, more tests, more scores

distribution 3,500

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Editor-in-Chief Melinda Heim Managing Editor Jessica Starkey Design Editor Emily Sharpe Online Editor in Chief Luke O’Roark Copy Editors Cartoonist Brigid Hamilton Romeo Natalie Sharpe Sarmiento Kelsey Stanton Columnist News Editors Rebecca Pryor Samantha Drew Jennifer Staff Writers Steinhilber Ghazal Azizzada Opinion Editor Ashleigh Bielen Meghan Garant Madeleine Bloxam Arts & Caroline Cooke Entertainment Jenny Cox Editors Kayla Christina Cunningham Beiene Joseph Maddie Gray Dewechter Katherine Sports Editors Drezwieki Dylan Brown Emily Dzubak Mike Sander Savannah Frye Nina Ghafori Photo Editors Samuel Hollen Cortney Farhana Khan Mecimore Jordan Latham Kelsey Stanton Kiki Laux Shane Martin Photo Staff Mia Newkirk Katie Blondin Anita Kiki Laux Pathammavong Maddie Mason Crystal Park Fatima Rivera Business Julian Sanchez Manager Parul Sanjiv Brian Deely Romeo Sarmiento Asst. Business Laurel Manager Spiegelthal Sam Clark Jordan Uffelman

Staff Editorial


reshmen, sophomores and juniors took the PSAT last week in preparation for a slew of standardized tests that college bound students are essentially required to take. The standardized tests include but are not limited to SAT, SAT II, ACT and AP exams. But do such tests really capture your full potential? Can a four hour test really show colleges what your made of? Although tests such as

Illustration by Romeo Sarmiento the SAT and ACT create a common national measure, do standardized tests have no real correlation to how well a student would do their first year in college? To combat this, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing lists more than 850 colleges and universities that do not use SAT or ACT scores for admission. Wake Forest University was the first top 30 national university to make standardized tests optional in 2009. And when students can

take a test as many times as possible, this leads to retaking the test multiple times for a better score. However, not everyone can afford the $50 it requires to take the test. Fairfax County will pay the $17 fee for sophomores to receive their PSAT score, but this forces underclassmen to start preparing earlier and earlier. In addition, some people pay thousands of dollars to take an SAT class or hire a private tutor; while others opt to spend $100 on a set of practice books and vo-

equally. Some colleges and universities take the highest score for each section of the SAT while others only want the highest overall score. On top of school work, sports, and other extracurricular activities, standardized tests are just another thing for high school students to worry about. It is ridiculous the amount of stress that one person will put on themselves to receive a particular test score. In general, it is not worth the stress, or the time.

Political propaganda takes over the media

Adviser: Mr. Anthony Whitten Printer: Silver Communications Affiliations: Columbia Scholastic Press Association, National Scholastic Press Association, Virginia High School League

Editorial Policy The Watchdog is published monthly and is an open forum for student and faculty expression at Westfield High School. It is established to disseminate news, ideas, and opinions on matters of interest, importance, and concern to the community. The Watchdog will publish no material that is libelous, obscene, or has a clear potential for disruption of the school routine, as has generally been determined by law. The Watchdog staff makes every effort to avoid conflicts of interest, to be fair and balanced in reporting, and to reflect the diverse population. The Watchdog solicits letters to the editor. Letters must be signed. The Watchdog reserves the right to edit such letters for grammar, usage, clarity, punctuation, and length. The Watchdog reserves the right to refuse advertising for reasons of appropriateness, as determined by the editorial board. The content of the Watchdog is determined by the editorial board. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the faculty adviser, administration of Westfield High School, or Fairfax County Public Schools.

cabulary flashcards. Yet if a student cannot financially afford these types of preparations their score could be significantly lower. Standardized tests are generally socioeconomically biased. Yet standardized tests determine more than just an admission decision. In order to be accepted into an honors college at a particular university there is a minimum SAT/ACT score, and are also a factor in scholarship decisions. Not all schools weightstandardized test scores

Illustration by Kayla Cunningham

Kayla Cunningham, 11 >>Staff Writer


s the election draws nearer, we are bombarded with an increasing amount of campaign ads. They’re inescapable and for the next few weeks, will be as intrinsically linked to our lives as shoelaces. They are embedded in just about every YouTube commercial, sneaking up on you on sites like Hulu, attacking you during

TV commercial breaks and don’t forget the smattered pictures and campaign slogans floating about the interwebs. I’ve seen signs in yards, and my own grandmother purchased an Obama sign to proudly display on her carefully manicured lawn. I made a count of how many election related forms of media I saw in one day and it was staggering fifteen separate occurrences. The final straw came when I listened to a message on the answering machine and found it was a campaign ad. To pollute the

sanctity of a landline is a serious crime in my book. It isn’t even necessary, they aren’t telling us anything new. If they had called up people to inform them that Romney was a polygamous gun toting mother killer, then I’d be interested. Alas, they’re not. It’s the same accusatory tripe they’ve been spoon feeding us since the beginning and it’s utterly pointless. Brian Regan, in his 2007 ‘Standing Up’ comedy act, pokes fun at the lengths politicians will go to in effort to woo over the public. Fundraisers, baby kissing,

it’s all ridiculous. None of that matters, the candidates personality has already been established. At this point they’re just collecting ‘nice guy’ tokens, which, in my opinion, Romney falls short. Both candidates have had their fair share of mishaps in the spotlight. So they steer away from these tarnishes in their reputation, instead focusing on trying to sway the mindless masses with a few well placed smooches to an infant and a shake of a hand choreographed for the cameras. The people that make judgments and choose who to vote for based off of commercials are the type of people that have no mind to be made up. The people that seek out facts and educate themselves, they are the ones with brains and they are making an informed decision which is not going to be swayed by some piece of garbage ad.

Is it just me or are they becoming increasingly more ridiculous? I saw one the other day that poked fun at Mitt Romney’s Big Bird comment, really Obama? You don’t have anything better to slam your opponent with? If we’re going to be petty, how about we slam Romney for putting his dog in a cage and tying it to the roof of his car during a road trip, because that’s pretty bad. As for Romney’s ads, half of them aren’t even true. If he wants to make Obama look bad he needs to stop slinging around random numbers and start stating facts. I’m not going to even go into the political side of it all. As far as I’m concerned, every word from their mouths on an issue has been said for a demographic. Neither president has clear answers. The campaign has become a battle to sway the masses. At this point, it’s just white noise.

Errors and Omissions : Sept. 21 • • •

Scott Davies was spelled incorrectly; Page 2 The Ace Squad was spelled incorrectly; Page 14 Kieran Hahne, teaches Special Education and English; Page 2


The Watchdog

October 19, 2012


Summer diplomacy program strengthens international bonds


Shalisa James, 11 >>Submission

f you had asked me in June what I would be doing over the summer, I would have told you I was participating in a program called High School Diplomats, HSD, a two-week cultural exchange in which 40 students from Japan are paired up with 40 American students as roommates, learning first-hand about their partner’s language and culture. That was it. This vague generalization was all I’d been given. As I soon discovered; however, HSD is so much more than just a cultural enrichment program. Arriving at Princeton University in July was almost overwhelming. I only knew that I would have to get to know 79 new people and learn to love them all in just 10 days. I knew that I would have to form a

close connection with a girl from Japan who could only speak English with mild proficiency, while I spoke no Japanese at all. I assumed it would be difficult. I thought I would struggle, and it definitely occurred to me that I might fail. When the counselors told us that the upcoming 10 days would be the best of our lives, I was as skeptical as everyone else. I wasn’t disbelieving; I just couldn’t understand how that would happen. How were we supposed to form a bond with students who lived oceans away from us, some of whom barely spoke our language? How would we bridge that gap? Despite all my nervous tension, I quickly learned how to make my relationships work and better yet, thrive. Though my roommate, Yukari, did not speak English fluently—in fact she could not always form coherent sentences—I soon learned to understand her well. We had to use other means to communicate, of course; body language

and large gestures became key. But by the end of the ten days, we had become so close that we knew what the other was saying without needing to speak in complete sentences. We became best friends. To be able to say that about someone who lives across the world from you and with whom you have a rather large language barrier, is amazing. Over the course of the program, Yukari and I grew closer through shared activities and theme days such as Country Fair Day, Diplomat Talks and Halloween. For each theme day we dressed up in costumes and enjoyed such activities as line dancing, a pie eating contest, karaoke, scary movies and a haunted house. The themes served to familiarize the Japanese students with American culture and highlight the most fun points of American tradition. On Diplomat Talks Day, we discussed serious topics affecting our society today. We even had a date night, where each Japanese girl was paired with an Ameri-

Art of the Issue Ksusha Muzyka, 12, submitted her painting, Reverse Mermaid, to the Watchdog editorial staff.

can boy, and vice versa. Dating culture is so different in Japan that none of the students knew what to expect from the night. The purpose of HSD is simple, but has important implications in today’s social issues: for American teenagers to form a real relationship with Japanese students, to learn what their culture is truly like and to erase stereotypes and preconceptions from our minds. Because of my experiences within HSD, I believe that once you form a personal connection on the most basic level, you can spread that connection and enlighten others; first your friends, then your community and soon, your nation will be aware. That’s the ultimate goal. Through teenagers, we change the foundation of world relations. HSD is the most important thing I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve taken a huge step toward changing the world. The first step is just knowing what’s out there and what you can do. The next step is wanting to be

High School Diplomats will be held at Princeton University July 30 - Aug 10, 2013 • Applications found on or in the career center • For more information, email Mrs. Zapolski at

a part of the change. HSD has expanded my viewpoint infinitely and changed the way I think. I am confident that the knowledge and experience I have gained

through this program will take me far in life. I encourage everyone to seize this incredible opportunity and apply to the High School Diplomats program.

Pryorites Difficult classes are made to be conquered, bring it on


“My inspiration for Reverse Mermaid, also known as Little Mermaid Does Silent Hill on Baywatch, was to try and be as ironic and sarcastic as possible.”

Illustration by Romeo Sarmiento •

Becca Pryor, 12 >>Columnist

have yet to experience anything as academically difficult as Calculus. Never in my life have I been challenged in such a demanding and perplexing way as I have in this class. I take notes in school, stay after for additional help and do all my homework. Still, I struggle to understand the concepts in which I am tested on for quizzes and exams. When I unload the frustration of this class that I deal with on a daily basis onto my friends many of them ask me why I am even in the class to begin with. I don’t want to be any sort of engineer when I’m older. I don’t enjoy solving lengthy and difficult math problems. Why then put myself through this stress? Why then spend hours every single night trying to solve a few problems that I might not even understand? Should I have even signed up for this class in the first place? As doubts fly through my head, I remember that I take the class because I

want to overcome a challenge. finding a challenge for myself is something that I have learned to do over the past few years. I don’t take classes by mistake or enroll myself in classes that will challenge me by accidentally checking the wrong box on the enrollment forms. As my classes got harder throughout high school and the course load heavier, I was tempted to take classes that wouldn’t be a challenge during my senior year. I knew that senioritis would creep up on me eventually and debated whether or not to succumb to the devil on my shoulder telling me to take the easy road rather than the hard road. One thing that helps me overcome such trivialities is the support of my fellow classmates and teachers. They are encouraging and understand the struggles that I am going through. Without the kind and supportive words of others, I would be extremely tempted to drop my difficult classes. In all of my classes, there are people who understand the material immediately and others who struggle through each lesson. Everyone has his or her own challenges. Some excel in math while others excel

in history. Different classes provide different challenges for each student. Not everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are the same and it is important to be patient with those who might not be able to understand the class material as quickly as the other students. Experiencing a seemingly impossible class is inevitable in any person’s academic life. Sometimes, encountering a difficult class will come at an earlier time for some and a later time for others. Also, don’t be discouraged and tell yourself that you aren’t smart enough for a class. Set reachable yet challenging academic goals for success. Success doesn’t come without failure and failure can lead to opportunities that may not have been discovered otherwise. Without challenges, there are no opportunities for intellectual and emotional growth. If everyone only took classes on subjects in which they already knew a lot on, nobody would ever learn anything new or discover new passions. Technological and other modern advancements would slowly lose their appeal and people would lose their sense of wonder and discovery for challenging and exciting advancements.

8 Vol. 13, Issue 2

The Watc

If you really knew me: The Watchdog continues its monthly, in depth feature with an array of stories focused on students’ experiences with religion in school.

Although public schools are not allowed to endorse a specific religion in the classroom, religious beliefs are still incorporated throughout the school day. English classes are able to circumvent such restrictions by teaching the importance of biblical allusions and symbolism in noteable novels. The diverse cultures in the classroom create a melting pot for discussion and widening of perspectives. Under the United States Constitution, the freedom of religion is protected, thus

Books Discussed:

a tolerance for each persons’ belief is necessary. The meaning for the commonly used bumper sticker, coexist, often goes unnoticed. The letters in the coexist sign have several different meanings. The letter c is a crescent moon to represent Islam. The letter o is a peace symbol for coexistence. The e is a scientific equation symbol and the symbol for man and woman. The X represents the star of David for Judaism. The I represents paganism. The s is a yin-yang sign to represent taosim. The t is a cross for Christianity.

Bark it Up

Faraz Farazad, 10 “Being Muslim, hasn’t impacted my life a lot since America is like a big melting pot. The only thing is that I have to embrace my roots.”

Manzora Naqibullh, 11 “My Islamic beliefs have affected my life. It affects the way I act and dress, like my head scarf and how my personality is set up.”

The Lord of the Flies

Oedipus trilogy


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Melinda Heim, Emil >> Ma

Shrey Kapadia, 12 I’m a Hindu. There are some rules I have to follow. I am not allowed to eat meat, so I am a vegetarian. That’s the big nono, everything else is as you go along. Cows are extremely sacred.

How does religion impact your daily life? Danielle Little, 9 “I am a Christian. I go to church every Sunday. It makes me happy and think twice about decsions. God influences my decsions.”

The Grapes of Wrath

Canterbury Tales


Zack Gore,12 “[My mormon beliefs] have affected my morals in life like deciding what is right and wrong. On Sundays, I don’t do a lot of things like I don’t do sports.”

From freshman year through senior year, th curriculum include many books that have b controversial for their religious undertones

One time we were going to a debate competition and someone decided we would eat at Ruby Tuesdays. We went there and the only two things I could order were salad… I hate salads and a zucchini burger. I opted for a zucchini burger. I had no idea how it was going to taste. The lady brought three sliders. It didn’t really look like a zucchini burger but I ate it anyways… then I was like wait it’s a cheeseburger. It’s not vegetarian so I spit it out. The waiter got really upset and gave us free ice cream and cake. I washed my mouth and it came out. I felt bad. It was an accident. If it is an accident it is fine. I am in the ruler/warrior caste. The caste system does not matter that much anymore. I don’t really believe in the caste system. I don’t believe everything about Hindu religion but I do think it is possible, there is nothing to disprove. I kind of believe in karma.

Josh Greenberg, 12 I am Jewish. My parents started me on a path of Jewish education and gave me the choice of whether or not to continue. I try to not just follow everything I am taught and make decisions myself. I sometimes question the Jewish beliefs

Atheist • Definition: Judaism is a monotheistic religion where its beliefs are found in the Old Testament.

• Common Beliefs: Judaism is the belief that the eternal God exists and the messiah will come.

• Percentage of population: 2.1 percent of the United States identify themselves as Jewish.

I’m the president of my temple youth group so I am at the temple three times a week for that. I used to get pretty offended by Jewish jokes but I’ve tried to let it slide an take it in good fun. I do know there is a line though. Karan Surykant came up with my nickname Jewberg one day at lunch and I just kinda decided that I didn’t hate it and everyone calls me it now. I kind of embrace it.

October 19, 2012



Religion In School

he novels incorporated in the English been previously banned or viewed as s.

Maren Wilke, English teacher

Banned Books:

“In the English classroom the Bible is not taught as the religious truth, but as literature. For anyone being educated in the western tradition, knowing the biblical stories gives them a complete understanding of the books. It gives them a language to reference as they read. It’s absolutely necessary to have an understanding of the influences we study. Particularly, Fairfax County has such a diverse group of students. We want to level the playing field by making sure everyone has a foundation of the core knowledge of western literature. We need to explore. It would be a disservice if we don’t explore religion, politics and race. Without teaching such topics, it would be a watered down education.” Photos by Kelsey Stanton, Madie Mason, Sandy Sparace and Josh Greenberg

ly Sharpe, Jessica Starkey anaging board

Hinduism Definition: Atheism is the rejection in the belief of the existence of deities. Common Beliefs: In a broad sense, atheists view atheism not as a disapproval of god, but rather as the lack of proof of a god. Percentage of population: Around 2.3 percent of the world’s population define themselves as atheists and another 11.9 percent define themselves as nonreligious.

Joe Drzemiecki, 12



• Definition: Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and does not have one single founder.

• Definition: Mormonism is a religious and cultural group derived from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

• Common Beliefs: Judaism includes a wide array of laws and “daily morality” based on karma, dharma and societal norms. There is not a rigid system of beliefs like in many other religions and worship is practiced on an individualized basis. • Percentage of population: Hinduism is the third largest world religion with around three billion followers.

• Common Beliefs: Mormonism began in the 1820s with Joseph Smith. After Smith died in 1844, Brigham Young founded the church of Mormon in Utah. Mormons have a health code that prohibits consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, tea and other addictive substances. • Percentage of population: The total percentage of Mormons in the United States is 0.22 percent

My dad instilled his Catholic beliefs in me as a child. Now, I am an Atheist- it’s not a religion. I don’t believe in a higher power or any kind of god. I believe in science and things that can be proven. I thought that a lot of the religions were corrupt and not right. Treating people wrong- it made me uncomfortable. I came to this conclusion in sixth grade. My mom knows; she’s comfortable with it. If my dad knew he would probably kick me out of the house. My mom is comfortable hiding it from my Dad. It was ironic that I was an altar server and an atheist. I was an altar server up until last year. When I was a Catholic my dad wanted me to be an altar server. I had to wean my way out of it my slowly telling by mom. I kept telling my dad that I was too busy. Every priest was always nice to me- I wasn’t gonna be bitter about it. Well, my dad still thinks I go to church every week. I leave for about an hour and a half every week. I never feel weird hiding it from my dad. It is better this way. I will tell him once I am officially out of his grasp probably once I am out of college. When I am gone I go get dinner or do my homework. I don’t want to be seen as hating everyone for believing in religion. I think it can ruin people’s lives.

Sara Berrios, 9 I am a Mormon. I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. We are Christian. My family was Catholic but we converted when I was six. My dad is not Mormon but he supports us. Something just didn’t feel right. I didn’t have fun going to church; it was more of a drag. Being Mormon they have a place for everyone. You are important. There are some rules that we must follow. Every morning we have seminaries. From 6-7 [a.m.] we go to class to study and learn. I love it. Some people say it’s strict but I find that the more I follow it the more things work out. As long as I am doing what’s right I think I benefit a lot. It’s weird because I thought I would be more tired but I am more attentive. Everyone’s really friendly its kind of like another family. We don’t drink any alcohol we don’t smoke we don’t take drugs unless its medicine. Modesty is a big thing we don’t show our shoulders and all of our shorts skirts and dresses must be knee lengths. Something I have had most trouble with is on Sundays we have to keep to Sabbath day holy; I have had to give up sports and activities. I see blessings in different ways.

10 Vol. 13, Issue 2


The Watchdog

Meaning of life sparks debate, who makes the rules?

Illustration by Kayla Cunningham

Meghan Garant, 11 >>Opinion Editor


ver the summer, I had an in depth conversation with my cousin, who is a fair deal older than me, about the meaning of life. She had always taken the religious viewpoint, and

wanted to know how a generally coherent and psychologically sound atheist well versed in the matters of science, saw things. Enter, me. She claimed the Bible gives us a very clear set of rules for good versus bad. God handed us the Ten Commandments and that breaking these stipulations for the continuance of humanity means damnation of your soul. I beg to differ. In my mind, there is no such thing as righteousness

or evil. It is a fable, created for our own betterment, an imagined code to help us sleep at night. Because think about it. We all act differently, not a single person behaves under the same moral code. Yes, the basics are all there, no stealing, killing, or raping, but we each take those guidelines and enact them to different degrees. One person might not see it as such a crime to take without asking if you mean to return it, while

another might hold the sanctity of one’s own possessions on the highest of pedestals. Even something as simple as how we treat our own possessions and how long we expect them to last, is something we decide by ourselves. Those big rules, the basic no-no’s of humanity, were once simply an idea in someone’s head. Of course, the vast majority of us must have held those same views, in order to make them a social norm, or even laws.

So now some people may argue that we have created our own commandments, scrawled in parchment the same way God had his carved in stone. But then again, I’d beg to differ. Where the moral staples of a religious life are based on an everlasting code, signified by immovable stone, humanity is a little less strict in that respect. When we get fed up with the rules, we go and change them. Going back through history, a common theme woven throughout every culture and form of government are revolts. Eventually the ideals of the masses change and if enough people feel the same way that they take up arms, storm the castle, or however it is we make changes nowadays. This ties into yet another argument against my personal theories. People think that the original rules are always the most correct ones and that any change, even though it is in the best interest of the public, is only humanity straying farther away from righteousness. That’s part of the reason our generation is so harshly scrutinized. We have a radical set of ethics unprec-

edented in our nation’s history. True, the sixties were a little more accepting as well, but they didn’t have the total variance of cultures and style and sexual orientation our generation has decided to support. And that’s not to say that we’re wrong in thinking this way, or that those before us were wrong in being more conservative. Because what I’m saying is there is no such thing as wrong. We pulled ‘wrong’ out of thin air. ‘Right’, too. Needless to say, my cousin was perplexed. Here I was, a 16-year-old social deviant, proposing a theory that went against everything she had ever believed, and it made sense. Of course, if anybody wanted to debunk my ideas, all they have to do is say, ‘well you just made all this up’. True, but everybody else is making it up, too. So, no child left behind, and all that. In my opinion, religion is just one of those ways. It gives us something established to base everything else off, because the alternative is too mind boggling. But alas, that’s a topic for later, and you’re stuck with this philosophical mumbo-jumbo for now.

Middle class mindset give students a difficult transition

Natalie Sharpe, 11 >>Copy Editor


e all see them, the teenagers with expensive designer clothing or the 10 year old with the latest iPod. They can beg their parents for just about anything and get what they want. Students may have nice cars and outfits, but do they always pay for it themselves? One problem with people who are given everything they ask for is that they expect everyone else to be just like them. Teenagers go out on weekends and participate in expensive activities, like the movies, going out to eat, or shopping. Not all families have the financial means to do this and would rather save up their money for something more important, such as college. It’s important for kids to understand how much things really cost in this world and what life is going to be like either after high

school or college graduation. I believe in teenagers having jobs while they attend school.  Students who have a job are going to be more independent when they go off to college. They know what it’s like working for something they really want, instead of simply asking their parents for everything. Students will be in for a rude awakening when they go off to college and expect their parents to pay for everything and wait on them hand and foot. Not everyone has parents who can get up on the weekends and take them shopping and let them spend as much as they want. It shouldn’t work that way. Kids should have a set limit and not expect their parents to pay for clothes or accessories that are not necessary.  Parents should not spoil their kids to the point where they don’t know how to function on their own. Kids who work hard for every little thing they buy have more independence and know what it’s like to pay for everything which will benefit them later in life and also helps them value things more. Teenagers, especially

northern Virginia where the community consists really of upper and middle elitists, take everything for granted and don’t always think about the cost, they only care about how they look and what will make them more popular. Teenagers should take a step back and look at how much their parents do for them and not just use their parents as a walking, nagging, ATM. Teenagers take their parents for granted when we should really appreciate everything they do for us. Parents are the ones that pay for things we may not need but we want, whether it be to stay up with the latest fashion or have the newest technology. We plead with our parents to buy it for us, it’s not necessary; we feel that we need it because other people may have it. Some students might feel upset that others get spoiled whether or not they deserve it. They might resent people with nice cars who buy new devices or gadgets without batting an eyelash. If people could be equal, they would be less resentful and judgmental. It’s like a utopian society where it might seem like everything is perfect and

Illustration by Kayla Cunningham fair but in our reality there are social classes and not everyone gets what they want. for example, the book Braveheart where there is supposed to be a Utopian society, but it is far from it. You may see those kids who just take everything for granted and when they

get something expensive as a gift it’s not special to them, it’s just another item to add to their collection of toys. If students were more grateful of the items they have and the money their parents spend on them they might be able to learn

to respect and care for the things they already have. Some People only think of materials and possessions and how they will help them succeed in life, why not just take a moment to look around and appreciate the little things in life that won’t cost you a thing.



The Master’s phenomenal acting overshadows long plot >>Page 12


Fall fashion trends make an appearance in the halls >> Page 11



The Script infuses new genre with classic pop rock sound in #3 >> Page 12

Summer pieces make transition to fall A

s the school year progresses and the temperature decreases, students find a variety of ways to bundle up in hopes of keeping warm and staying fashion forward. While many students are eager to pack their summer clothes away, Luisa Lacsamana,

12, and Andrada Ciurescu,12, have mixed the best of both seasons with each of their transition pieces. Investing in classics such as a leather jacket or military style coat can easily make any summer top or outfit stylish and warm for the chilly fall weather.

Ghazal Azizzada >>Staff Writer

Andrada Ciurescu, 12

Featured pieces: Leather jacket, belted summer dress, black leggings, riding boots and patterned scarf

Luisa Lacsamana, 12

Featured pieces: Military jacket, patterned button down, black trousers and Dr. marten combat boots

Q: Why do you believe this combination of the leather jacket and riding boots is essential for fall?

Q: Why do you believe this combination of the army jacket and docs is essential for fall?

A: I like the colors of these items because they remind me of autumn. They keep me warm and I’m not too fond of dressing up, so this allows me to dress casually in the way that I am comfortable with. It’s easy for me to incorporate tops from the summer because the muted tones of the jacket and docs balance out the vibrant colors and patterns of the shirt.

A: I believe leather jackets and boots are essential for fall because they are practical and cute. They can be worn with pretty much anything; dresses, skirts, or pants. They also keep you warm and cozy during the fall, which gives them functionality. When it rains, riding boots are a cute necessity. I love them because they’re really versatile.

Q: What attracts you to this kind of outfit and why?

Q: What attracts you to this kind of outfit and why?

A: I like the display of my cool buttons on the jacket, especially my Kanye West one. The outfit as a whole reminds me of Japanese street fashion. Overall, I don’t think about what’s trending, I just wear what appeals to me. But I have always loved the Japanese street style fashion and I like things that don’t match.

A: I love to mix and match things, but I love to be comfortable and chic at the same time. For fall, I like items that can be layered. In general, there aren’t many fashion trends I don’t like, I pretty much incorporate all trends in to what I wear. Everyone has their own personal style, so there is no reason to not look at all trends with an open mind.

Q: When did you start developing your sense of style as girly with a bit of edge?

Q: When did you start developing your sense of style as “soft grunge grimes”?

A: My style has mainly developed over time. I always picked out the things I saw that I liked. I never really thought about it. At this point I have all kinds of pieces that vary in style. But a lot of my pieces are a mix of edgy and girly things. I love the way they go together; I feel like edgy compliments girly very well.

A: I developed my sense of style when I saw Claire Boucher, also known as Grimes, in the oblivion music video. I originally became interested in fashion due to photographers and blogs, especially Tavi Gevenson’s I also really like Lindsay Weir’s style from the show ‘Freaks and Geeks’.”

photos by Kelsey Stanton

Rebel Wilson and company’s box office hit strikes high note Samantha Drew >>News Editor Director Jason Moore’s film debut, Pitch Perfect, ranked third in the box office. The film revolves around a college freshman, Beca, played by Anna Kedrick. Beca’s dad pushes her to get more involved with her school and less involved with her dreams of being a DJ. She joins a collegiate a cappella group, the Bellas. Under new leadership of two seniors; cute, naive second in command Chloe, Brittany Snow and her anal retentive boss, Aubrey, Anna Camp. They strictly stick to the old school song list and the same tired routines

the team used in previous years. The team ends up recruiting a mix of modern clichés and non conventional stars. Although the characters contrast, they all have one thing in common; they can sing. The exceptional singing is one of the movie’s best features, done by the actors and actresses themselves. Along with their talent, each character brings their own sense of humor. The Bellas, go up against their rivals and fellow classmates, the all male Treblemakers. The group’s originality and modern take on songs is praised in the world of collegiate a cappella singing; meanwhile the Bella’s songs are seen as

traditional and boring. This movie shows the excitement and struggles of a new beginning, as many students experience in their first year of college. The movie is classified as a musical, although it has a unique twist opposed to your average musical movie. The movie’s focus strays more toward the comedy story line rather than the staged singing. The background music in this movie is unique and original. The mixes Beca creates for the most part narrate the film and give it flare that ordinary songs couldn’t capture. Beca’s mashing of different tracks help her create songs that mesh well for the Bella’s,

giving them a competitive edge in the competition. Upcoming comedy star, Rebel Wilson, got the majority of the laughs in the theater by playing her role as “Fat Amy”. Wilson made her comical debut playing Brynn, Kristen Wigg’s crazy room mate in 2011’s Bridesmaids. Wilson made headlines as an up and coming female comedian and household name through the role. She is the funniest part of Pitch Perfect, with the crazy antics and her outgoing, honest, carefree personality. Wilson plays along side Kendrick, who made her film debut in the Twilight Saga as the sassy class

president Jessica. She was not recognized by the film community until her break out role as Natalie Keener in Up in the Air, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Pitch Perfect achieves

the perfect harmony of music and humor, combining female empowerment with mainstream hits. The talent of both Wilson and Kendrick help make a rather tired concept into something new and exciting to watch.

12 Vol. 13, Issue 2


The Watchdog

The Master filled with masterful performances Julian Sanchez >>Staff Writer A group of fresh faced soldiers wrestle against the backdrop of the bright blue waters of a foreign land. Some lay childlike on the beach, carving pictures into the sand. A singular, sullen man stares intently at the sea, gazing forlornly into the faraway horizon. So begins The Master, an incredible film that ends leaving questions about love, desire and the limitations of belief. This cinematic success follows Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a WWII veteran and aimless wandering drunk who accidently stumbles upon a mysterious celebration in the midst of a drunken stupor. Freddie learns that the members of the festivity are part of The Cause, a strange cult led by Lancaster Dodd, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, a charming man whose power of persuasion has acquired him a large, obe-

dient following. Freddie takes a liking to Lancaster, joins The Cause and travels around the nation with the faction. Along the way, The Cause faces harsh skepticism and Freddie himself starts to gradually doubt the spiritual society that he was once duly faithful to. Realistically capturing the progressive essence of post-war America and the enrapturing world of ec-

Bark It Up

What is your favorite fall activity?

“I like going to football games and being in the student section.”

Kristen Johnson, 12

“I love trick or treating and dressing up and going to haunted places like Fields of Fear.” Starr Baker, 10

“My favorite fall activity is eating pumpkin pie and drinking hot chocolate.”

Brianna Otoole, 11

“I really like participating in track in the fall because I enjoy running.”

Stephen Shao, 9 Photos by Kiki Laux and Dylan Brown

centric religious sects, Paul Thomas Anderson excellently directs and writes this engaging film. The characters are equally complex and psychologically layered. All of them evolve and grow by the end of the film. Although the film could have been slightly cut down, Anderson’s assortment of long scenic shots of everything from the

opening, hypnotic tides of the Pacific to the sprawling mountains of the Southwest are beautiful and fitting. Anderson has further proved that he is a master of the camera and his work on this film resulted in another well-earned victory. The Master features a large collection of gifted actors who played their roles with power and depth. In the performance of his ca-

reer, Phoenix brings an appropriate sense of longing to his character. He portrays this hapless drunkard with incredible ferocity. Paired splendidly with Phoenix was Hoffman, whose characterization of Dodd was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the real-life leader of the Church of Scientology. Hoffman’s delicate representation of his role was near-perfection,

and his raw emotion and passion gave his character new life. The relationship created between Phoenix and Hoffman starts as leader and follower; it develops into a close friendship and mutual dependence. Their steadfast portrayals are undoubtedly both worthy of Oscars. Amy Adams is also not to be forgotten as Hoffman’s Lady Macbeth, a harsh role that was a vast departure for the demure actress. Overall, the careful direction, intelligent screenwriting and award-worthy acting culminated into an intense piece of film that will be remembered for ages to come. The best part about The Master is that it isn’t merely about the inner workings of a strange cult, but rather explores the willingness for one to submit to blind faith and the seemingly endless search for meaning in a world plagued with tremendous uncertainty.

The Script’s #3 mixes old sounds with new twists Caroline Cook & Maddie Gray >>Staff Writer A&E Editor Releasing its third album, #3, the Irish pop-rock band, The Script, is sure to please longtime supporters while failing to attract a new fan base with their overall unmemorable songs. Although their first CD was released in 2008, The Script did not break onto the radio until 2010. With their first ever single, “Breakeven,” The Script broke the US music scene by earning the 12th spot on the Billboard Hit 100. Their latest album was written and produced by lead singer Danny O’Donoghue and guitarist Mark Sheehan. The album’s tracks feature emotional lyrics of breakups and loss of close family, as well as up lifting lyrics of perseverance and accomplishment. The first track off of #3 “Good Ol’ Days,” has good lyrics and even better instrumentals, giving the fans a taste of the same band they fell in love with four years ago. The song is a heartfelt reflection that resembles the bands past single “For the First Time.” Both songs accomplish a feeling of loss, while their upbeat tempos provide a feeling of hope.

O’Donoghue is a coach on The Voice UK’s. O’Donoghue’s rock background makes him The Voice US’s Adam Levine. In their first single, The Script combine forces with fellow The Voice UK coach “Hall of Fame”, debuted on The Today Show during the final days of the Olympics. The lyrics of the song fit the occasion, conveying the message that greatness can be achieved through hard work. adds nothing to the song except a famous name in the title. His background vocals and solo rap are hard to distinguish from O’Donoghue and the instrumental. joined The Script to perform “Hall of Fame” together for the first time on the Ellen Degeneres Show. The song “Six Degrees of Separation” can be compared to their oldest single “Breakeven.” In both songs the artists reflect on the repercussions of breakups. “Six Degrees of Separation” touches every listener by capturing the raw emotions of the breakup process. The track will not disappoint fans with its beautiful poetic form and heart pinching lyrics. The Script focuses on the importance of fighting for love in their song “Glowing.” In today’s cul-

ture, where love is commonly taken for granted, The Script tries to change the notion. The band highlights the importance of never giving up on true love and opportunities to fight for love should always be taken. “Give the Love Around,” is the most unique track on #3. However, it is a bad attempt at a moralistic rap. The overall goal of the song, that love should be given equally and freely, is overshadowed by the cheesy lyrics and specifically designed rhyme. In the process of trying to break away from of his normal voice, O’Donoghue attempts to feature his ability to rap. However he has not perfected the craft yet. The song does not match

the other powerful singles that the band has released; instead it is just another catchy single, where the lyrics get left behind. It’s clear that The Script is trying to find a new niche by reaching out to American hip-hop artists and experimenting with rap, however, their talents may be better served by staying in the familiar pop-rock scene. #3 as a whole offers a new sound on a few of the tracks while still staying true to the music that made The Script famous from the start. The Script are currently touring their new album throughout the United States, making a stop in Wahsington, D.C. at Constitutional Hall on Nov.11.


Field Hockey

Siblings bring family onto the field, team reaps benefits >> Page 14

Cross Country

Freshman Sara Freix produces big results in her first season >> Page 15

Powder Puff


Junior class decimates the senior class in annual game >> Page 15

Yeo leads O-line, plans for college Austin Hollen >>Staff Writer As the football team continues its winning streak, much of the team’s offensive success comes from starting offensive lineman Joon Yeo, 12. Yeo began playing football his freshman year. It was the first time he had played a team sport and he found lots to like about the experience. “I really like the team aspect of the game, with everyone working together for a common cause. Everyone has a job they need to do,” Yeo said. At six-foot-three, 314 pounds, Yeo is explosive from the line and is a big contribution to the team’s offense. As an offensive lineman, Yeo is able to help out his fellow teammates, such as running back, Dalaun Richardson, 12, through his play in the trenches. “With his size, Joon is easily able to push and

move defenders back. He is very big and powerful,” Richardson said. In addition to run blocking, Yeo provides a stable pocket for starting quarterback Chris Mullins, 12, on passing plays. “Obviously, Joon is really big. He can block anybody in the region. No one can stop him,” Mullins said. As a senior, Yeo works to lead the team during practice, in the locker room and on the sidelines. Yeo’s play during games provides an example for the other members of the offense. “Joon is one of our better offensive linemen. He helps our team set the tone early in the game,” Offensive lineman Jason Beylor, 12, said. Yeo receives support from his coaches, peers, and his family members. “My parents are okay with me playing football. My dad especially, he comes to every game,” Yeo said. Yeo utilizes games, prac-

Photo courtesy of Kevin Delaney

Leaders of the pack>> Standing as team captains, Beau Donahue (44), 12, Joon Yeo (65), 12, Ned Johnson (62), and Brian Deely (40), 12, watch the referee during the opening coin toss before Westfield’s game against Chantilly. The Bulldogs defeated the Chargers 24-21. tices and the weight room in order to stay at the top of his game. “I have to keep practicing to get better. If one person messes up, the whole play is pretty much messed up too,” Yeo said. Yeo’s experience allows

him to assist the younger members of the team and help them improve in order to prepare a strong team for the future. “Joon always gives everyone positive encouragement, even if someone messes up. He helps the

team come back and do better next time,” Yeo said. Although Yeo is unsure of where he will end up after his senior year of high school, he has high hopes of playing football in college. Yeo is looking at colleges such as James Madison

University and the College of William & Mary, and the opportunity for collegiate football opened up new possibilities for his future. “I kind of am surprised. I just picked up on the sport. It’s a pleasant surprise,” Yeo said.


14 Vol. 13, Issue 2

The Watchdog

Siblings contribute to Field Hockey regular season success Mike Sander >>Sports Editor This season, the field hockey team received a boost during the regular season from an unexpected source: family. The team has three pairs of sisters on varsity: Grace Horgan, 11 and Sarah Horgan, 9, Becca Ayoub, 11 and Sara

Ayoub, 9 and Katelyn Rennyson, 11 and Callie Rennyson, 9. “It is a lot of fun, and I enjoy playing with my sister and helping her out. This is her first year on the team, so I have been just trying to encourage her throughout the year,” G. Horgan said. Playing with their older sisters allowed the younger

members of the team to quickly adjust to life on the varsity squad. “I try to be humble about being a freshman on varsity and I have learned a lot this season. I think having siblings on the team helps us with our chemistry. We are able to mix well and play well together,” S. Ayoub said.

Photo courtesy of Perfect Shot LLC

Making a play>> Advancing up the field, Katelyn Rennyson, 11, keeps the ball moving during a regular season win against Chantilly. After the 7-0 win, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 4-0 in the Concorde District.

The team also benefitted from having a very highscoring offense. During the regular season, the Lady Bulldogs outscored their opponents 77-15. Emily McNamara, 10, led the team in scoring during the regular season with 17 goals. “On offense, we never stop scoring and we have just been trying to keep improving our offense throughout the season,” McNamara said. The team also has a stingy defense. In 16 games, it only allowed more than one goal in two games and had 10 shutouts throughout the regular season. “On defense, we all work together well and talk a lot. We make sure to work hard in practice and hustle on the field,” G. Horgan said. During the regular season, the Lady Bulldogs went 5-0 in the Concorde District, including 8-0 wins against the Robinson Rams and the Centreville Wildcats. The team closed out its regular season by defeating the Herndon Hornets 5-1 and shutting out the Chantilly Chargers by a score of 7-0. The Lady Bulldogs’ performance netted the team a bye in the first round of the Concorde Dis-

trict tournament. “Our play against district teams has been exciting, because there are a lot of strong teams in the Concorde District. The tournaments this year will be tough, but we feel like we can win them. We’ve played a lot of the teams before so we know what they are like,” G. Horgan said. The bye allowed the team to use the extra practice time before the postseason to improve certain aspects of their game. “For the rest of the season, we need to continue to work on the things that we work on in practice each day and bring it to game day. Communication has been our number one goal this season and the girls seem to be working hard on this with their teammates. They know communication brings more confidence to the playing field. Also, we need to continue to play at our level and not at the level of our opponents. We need to take the rest of the year one game at a time and take away something from each game to work on and remember this is a team game. The girls for the most part are very selfless players and they trust each other, so that goes a long way,” Head

Coach Starr Karl said. After their strong performance during the regular season, the team has high expectations for the Concorde District and Northern Region tournaments. “We have a good feeling about this year. We didn’t get as far as we wanted to last year, but this year we have a lot more confidence. All of us are working to get in shape before the district tournament starts,” McNamara said. The Lady Bulldogs also played the South County Stallions, the team that defeated them in the Northern Region Finals last season, for the second time this year. The team played to a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half, when the second half was called due to bad weather, making the score official. “Of course the girls wanted to finish the game, but it was out of our hands. I had told them before the game started that if the game got called at halftime or after that the game would be official so put the ball in the cage early. That happened five minutes into the game with a rocket shot from Katelyn Rennyson,” Karl said.


The Watchdog

October 19, 2012


Cross country achieves success in festivals Laurel Spiegethal >>Staff Writer With several new faces to the squad, Sarah Freix, 9, has pushed her way up to one of the best runners. On the morning of Sept. 28, 50 members of the cross country team boarded a bus and left for Cary, NC. They were headed for the Great American Cross Country Festival, a cross country meet that pulls teams from all over the country

to compete on one of the best-seasoned courses. “The Festival is a huge meet. The Oatlands Invitational has races with 500 to 700 kids in it and Great American is about that size. There are teams from all over the country running in it and there are some college races at the meet,” Cross Country Coach, Kelly Deegan, said. Conditions during the Festival were not ideal, but

that didn’t stop the team from doing well. “There were torrential downpours pretty much the whole time and it was really muddy, but the top seven runners from Westfield ran their fastest times by a lot,” Nathan Kiley, 12, said. Freix has won multiple medals in varsity races at recent meets. She was also one of the few freshmen to attend Great American, and she ran in her first varsity

Photo courtesy of Kelly Deegan

Breaking Records>>Breaking through the finish line, Sarah Freix, 9, breaks the banner to beat out her previous personal record by thirty seconds. Freix has proved to be a pivotal part of the varsity squad.

race. “The trip was really fun and I was excited that I got to go. I got a personal record by 30 seconds and I placed ninth out of 176 in my race,” said Freix. The team worked together, even during their races, to achieve the best times they could. “We had some great teamwork. We helped each other out and ran together so we could communicate while we were running. We wanted to push each other to run our best. That’s something that not a lot of teams do,” Kiley said. Danielle Dumas, 12, was one of the runners picked to go to the Festival, part of the category made broader by Deegan, who wanted to expand the opportunity for other runners. “I was really happy to have been picked to go to the Festival. This year, Coach Deegan picked the top 20 runners from each team to go and last year it was only the top 10. It was great because we’ve got a better team this year so more people got the opportunity to go,” Dumas said. Deegan believes that attending the Festival can have a great impact on the team. “Going to big meets like that is really good for va-

riety. We get to see teams from other areas, ones that we don’t normally run with,” Deegan said. The team utilized the mindset set by the coach, and used it as inspiration for success. “As a team, we’ve improved by leaps and bounds. We only lost one guy from last year and all the returning runners are doing better and consistently lowering their times,” Kiley said. As a result of this amount success, the boys’ team especially has highreaching aspirations for this season. “I want our team to make it to states this year. It will be our first states since 2003. Besides that, we’re just trying to continue lowering our times and stay injury-free,” Kiley said. Megan Owens, 12, captain of the squad describes the social benefits of the trip to North Carolina. “It was a good team bonding experience and we got to know all the girls. We normally only take a few people, around 10 to 15 girls, but this year the group was bigger,” Owens said. Owens started the season with injuries, but she hopes to be fully recovered and running her best soon. “I had a rough start to the season. I started out

sick and I had some lower back problems, so I took a week off, but I think that really took a toll on my performance. Hopefully I’ll be PR-ing soon,” Owens said. Although the team has suffered multiple injuries this season, they are noticeably a much better team. “We have a much stronger team this year. There are a lot of freshman who are doing really well,” Owens said. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams want to make it to regionals. This would represent a major triumph for the team because of the fierce level of competition in the area. “There are a lot of competitive schools in our region. Oakton, Chantilly and Robinson are all good teams, so they have a spot in regionals. It’s pretty much between us, Centreville and Herndon to get to regionals,” Owens said. This concern was shared by Deegan, but she believes that the team’s potential is enough to take both the girls’ and boys’ teams to regionals. “The boys’ team is aiming for States. The boys haven’t made it to states since 2003 and the girls haven’t made it since 2007. Our region is tough, but our district is equally competitive,” Deegan said.

Junior powder puff team wins first game in two years Luke O’Roark >>Online Editor-in-Chief After the dust settled, the juniors came out victorious over the Class of 2013 seniors 32-6 with Aviana Barnes, 11, gashing the senior defense on route to four rushing touchdowns. “It was great getting hyped with my team and getting the win was sweet,” Barnes said. Barnes had over 100 yards during the game and the senior defense had no answer for the tailback. “Aviana definitely had the most speed on the team and she helped us out in terms of scoring,” Katie Calesaric, 11, said. The game had moments of intensity, with many of the girls getting involved in scraps under the pile. “They were brutal. They would tackle and scratch you and then cuss you out. We never did any of that before or during the game. I guess they were just getting upset because we were beating them,” Carianne

Miller, 11, said. Many of the girls came off the field with cuts and bruises. “I have a huge scratch going down my back. This girl just scrapped my whole back when I was going after another senior player,” Miller said. With the change at quarterback, the Class of 2013 team adapted to three different quarterbacks. “It felt good being one of the team’s quarterback, I felt like a leader of the team,” Jenna Welch, 12, said. The senior quarterbacks including Katie Manning, Jenna Welch and Courtney Huling struggled to score a touchdown, as the team’s sole six points did not come until late in the third quarter. “It kinda felt like there was hope to come back, but there was a lot more we had to do to get back in it,” Kelly Roddy-Burns, 12, said, Last year, Meaghan Heinecke, 12 and Keona Gaines, 12, were the two under center, as the girls

lost 42-0 with the Class of 2013 only scoring six total points in their two career games. “I wasn’t embarrassed [by the score], I was just angry and mad. I knew we were better than how we played, but we did not put in our best plays, which I

regret,” Burns said. Coach Randy Allen and most of the senior girls returned, giving the team a sense of friendship and sisterhood, something they did not lose from the two loses. The teams started their seasons early with new of-

Photos by Madie Mason

Cheering Loudly,>>Aviana Barnes, 11, and Bianca Watkins, 11, celebrate after shutting the senior class 32-6. This is the first time the junior team came out on top in the schools history. Making Plays>> (Right) Courtney Huling, 12, runs the ball of of the handoff. The Seniors did not find a touchdown until the final quarter of the game.

fensive schemes that were put into place. “We had one play where we did a double reverse hand off, which I thought was pretty effective, but it was definitely not enough to get us jump started,” Welch said. The teams actually prac-

ticed against each other, giving neither team the element of surprise during the game. “We practiced everyday except Tuesdays and Fridays and it helped with positioning and getting our plays right for the game,” Calesaric said.

16 Vol. 13, Issue 2


The Watchdog

2012-2013 Issue 2  

October issue of the Watchdog newspaper of Westfield High School.

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