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FEBRUARY 14, 2014

Culture P14


New renovation changes affect community

by Lindsay Williams Online Editor The full renovation has been steadily marching along to stay on time and finish in the fall of 2016. The construction is continuing in several areas, including the interior and front of the school. In the front of the school, construction has progressed rapidly on the administrative wing and new senior tech labs, which will hopefully open next fall. According to Principal Evan Glazer, the progress looks hopeful so that seniors will have new facilities to perform their culminating research projects and the administrators will be able to move out of the Auditorium Lobby (AudLob). “There will be areas classes migrate to because the school will be designed less in dpartments and more by grade level,” Glazer said. Teachers are excited to be moved to their new spaces so that they have more room for all of their resources. Currently, many tech lab sponsors have some of their materials packed up for the move, so they will be able to enjoy their new spaces will all of the possible resources available to their students. continued to p. 2

Mental Wellness Week provides relief photo illustration by Sandy Cho

by Sandy Cho News Editor “Treat yo’ self, TJ!” Every morning during Mental Wellness Week, this motto resounded in the hallways as students lined up to sign a pledge, promising to change one particular unhealthy habit, pick up free breakfast food and receive tips for the day. From Feb. 3 through Feb. 7, the members of the Active Minds club held the annual Mental Wellness Week, aiming to change the conversation from mental illness to mental wellness by encouraging healthier actions and removing the stigma surrounding the discussion of such illnesses. “The purpose of Mental Wellness Week is, through physical practices, to build yourself as a better person and lead a healthy life,” senior Tarun Prabhala, president of Active Minds, said. “At TJ, there’s a notoriously bad reputation for not having a healthy lifestyle, so what we focused on this week were practices that could alleviate that mindset.” According to the fall 2012 Fairfax County Youth Survey, taken by eight graders, sophomores and seniors, only 13 percent of Jefferson students reported getting eight or more hours of sleep per night, in contrast to the 32 percent of students of Fairfax County. In addition, only 37.2 percent of Jefferson students engage in physical activity as compared to the 43.3 percent of the other students in the county. School psychologist Gregory Myers was not surprised. “Sleep is one of the few areas that TJ does worse on than other students in the county. I think we knew already about sleep and exercise, which are the two that TJ does the worst on,” Myers said. “Everything else, TJ does pretty well but those are the ones that really stand out.” To address the problems, the club focused each day of the week on a theme: Monday on healthy eating, Tuesday on sleep, Wednesday on exercise, Thursday on random acts of kindness and Friday on stamping out stigma. “Often, depression and stress are overlooked and I think it’s really important to get a better idea of what affects kids every day,” junior Parth Desai, historian of the club, said. “We wanted to find a way to calm students down and eliminate different types of stresses.” Myers and Social Worker Danielle Armstrong hosted Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Talks during lunch,


Snow days cause social media havoc


relating to the topic of the day through discussion and videos. Week, guest speaker Lauren Anderson held an honest keynote “The TED talks are supposed to raise awareness about cer- addressing suicide and stigma, in the light of the recent deaths tain mental health issues. They have covered the value of sleep, of two seniors at Langley High School. After losing her brother, new ways of thinking about mental health, mental wellness, Josh Anderson, several years ago to suicide, Lauren Anderson mindfulness and stigma,” Myers said. “We also touched on a helped establish the Josh Anderson Foundation to focus on few actual mental health conditions, such as depression.” preventing teenage suicide and give support to those in need. During eighth periods, the club held yoga classes to help Through these efforts, Active Minds club hopes to be the deal the with stress that stems from school and life. catalyst in improving the mental health of the community. “I think yoga helps with stress by clearing your mind and “We want to educate peple to stay healthy, especially with engaging you in activities that calm you,” sophomore Rachel busy lives,” Prabhala said. “Sometimes they need the first step Vasta said. “After the eighth period, most of us seemed so and we hope to be that first step.” peaceful and content. I guess just forgetting your worries and relaxing puts you at peace.” Due to the efforts of Active Minds, students, such as freshman Nayana Suvarna, took the intiative to start a new habit. She began playing basketball in her free time with a friend, including more physical activity in her life. “When I saw the members promoting Mental Wellness Week in the morning, I felt motivated,” Suvarna said. “Although I’m not on the team, I’m still playing basketball to improve my mental wellness and photos by Sandy Cho physical health.” Counterclockwise from top left: Keynote speaker Lauren Anderson gives a talk about the stigma surOn the final day rouding mentall illnesses during B block of eighth period on Feb. 7; Students sign a banner for Mental of Mental Wellness Wellness Week; Junior Parsa Zand relaxes during eighth period yoga with the Nadi Shodhana technique.

Athletes strive for future Olympics


Staff reviews lovethemed food


Differentiating allergy from intolerance



february 14, 2014

Kudos & Accomplishments

DeRose named as Outstanding Assistant Principal

Assistant Principal Shawn DeRose has been named the 2014 Outstanding Assistant Principal of Virginia by the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals (VASSP) and was nominated for the National Assistant Principal of the Year award. He will recieve the state award at the 87th annual Virginia Middle and High School Principals Conference and Exposition in Williamsburg, Va. in late June.

Students receive Writing Awards


Seniors Brian Clark, Emma Hastings, Anwar Omeish and Emma Puranen, juniors Sandy Cho, Angela Ma and Pegah Moradi and sophomores Matthew Sun and Sara Warrington received Gold Keys for their entries. The works will be submitted to the national competition and winners will be announced in April.

New renovation alterations affect community

School community works to alleviate sleep deprivation

continued from p. 1 The dome is also closer to completion, at an unexpectedly massive height of 55 feet. Although most of the changes have been in front of the current building, the physical building and student life is changing as well. The humanities classrooms on the upstairs front of the building have been closed and construction is going full speed ahead in those areas, forcing many teachers to be moved to the Weyanoke trailers. This move can be inconvenient for students and teachers who have to walk that far to class, especially given the freezing winter northern Virginia has experienced this year. Many members of the Jefferson community now brave snow and rain to make it to their new classrooms. “It’s so far away and my next class is in the other trailers so I have to walk a lot and it’s so cold outside and I don’t have any free time in between, so it’s an-

by Ellen Kan Managing Editor As one of the nation’s premier centers for high school education, Jefferson is known for its accomplished and ambitious student body. However, the academic standards and competitive environment in the community also take a toll on student health, most notably through sleep deprivation. The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) recently obtained an update for the Fairfax County Youth Survey for the 20122013 school year. Only 31.5 percent of the 32,027 students surveyed claimed that they averaged eight or more hours of sleep per night. Of the 10th and 12th graders surveyed, 25.1 and 15.5 percent of the students agreed with the statement, respectively. In the Jefferson community, the numbers were lower. In the same school year, 13.0 percent of the students surveyed received eight or more hours of sleep per night, while the numbers for sophomores and seniors were, respectively, 19.4 and 6.4 percent. “We’re in a school community where students are driven to excel in a lot of different things,” Principal Evan Glazer said. “Ultimately, we realize that we have limitations. This is the notion of overachievement: how do you know when to achieve in areas that you are passionate about, and how do you know when to let go of areas that you may not be excelling in or that you just don’t have time for?” Glazer recognizes that “the challenge of overachievement is that it can creep into our wellbeing.” As a result, the TJ Leadership Team – a group of administrators, division managers and other faculty members – is attempting to address the root of the problem of sleep deprivation. The Homework Subcommittee is also in the process of creating guidelines concerning homework distribution. So far, the subcommittee has recommended that teachers communicate time estimates for homework and studying, refrain from assigning homework over long breaks and give end-of-theyear questionnaires for student feedback, although they acknowledge that the problem goes deeper than just excessive homework. “We also know that students commit to extracurriculars outside of school, and we can’t overlook how social media influences time management skills,” school psychologist and Homework Subcommittee facilitator Greg Myers said. “Embedded in the issue is that some students take on more than they can handle in their course load, and the resulting lack of sleep can affect our abilities to emotionally cope.” The issue of sleep deprivation has always been a concern for parents and educators. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average teenager needs approximately nine hours of sleep every night. More recent studies, such as the one conducted in 2008 by Brigham Young University’s Eric Eide and Mark Showalter, suggest that the recommended amount of sleep for the average 16-year-old is actually closer to seven hours. Even with the lowered guidelines, many Jefferson students still do not get the recommended amount of sleep. There is often a precarious balance between cramming for a test and going to bed, and some perceive that late-night studying is more effective than getting adequate sleep. “I haven’t noticed a significant detrimental effect on my test scores from lack of sleep, and for sure I wouldn't have done well on some tests had I not crammed the night before, so I’m definitely one to trade sleep for studying,” junior Austin Ly said. “I don’t think it’s a healthy habit, though, because I’m decidedly less attentive and prone to falling asleep in class.” Furthermore, the prevalence of sleep deprivation can be attributed to Jefferson’s culture, in which many hold the opinion that sleep is for the weak. Sophomore Jeffrey Xia believes that the stigma associated with sufficient sleep needs to be confronted before advances can be made in promoting healthy habits. “Sleep deprivation exists at TJ because kids are used to staying up late,” Xia said. “Even though we’re told to sleep nine hours a day, people will still stay up if they have nothing to do because the new normal is fewer hours of sleep.”

noying,” junior Bridget Park said. The renovation has also forced older students who park in the church parking lot to either make a long trek around the school or jump over the fence, although this is prohibited. When faced with the choice to walk all the way around in subfreezing temperatures or take the short cut, many students choose to break the rules. Despite the problems facing the Jefferson community as a result of the construction, many students and teachers are hopeful that the renovation will turn the dilapidated school into a higher quality center of learning. “I think the learning environment will be set up in a way to support our students more than it does right now," Glazer said. "I think we're creating an environment that gives students spaces and we're providing teachers more reasearch space."

Model United Nations (MUN) performs well at national conference

Seniors Parth Chopra, Varun Jain, Carrie Murton, Yena Seo, Sib Shewit and Nisha Swarup, junior Sreya Atluri and sophomore Shohini Gupta won gavel awards, the highest level in MUN, at the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC), which was held from Jan. 30 - Feb. 2, at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

Policy Debate succeeds at local competition On Jan. 25, Jefferson's Policy Debate (TJPD) competed at the Washington-Arlington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) competition. Sophomores Christine Li and Alison Li placed third in the junior varsity division. Senior Yana Kaplun and sophomore Daniel Chae placed first in the varsity division, where senior Richard Wang and junior Sravani Korupolu placed second.

Kaplun and Wang earn Tournament of Champions bid

Seniors Yana Kaplun and Richard Wang won the varsity division of the Pennsbury Policy Debate tournament. With their success, they have earned a bid to compete in the national Tournament of Champions in Kentucky this summer, a first for Virginia in years.

photo by Shayna Hume

Due to the ongoing renovation, students and teachers have had to adjust to location changes, especially with the addition of new trailers behind Weyanoke Elementary School.

Student compete in Science Fair By Sandy Cho News Editor After months of research, students unveiled their projects at the annual Science Fair during both blocks of eighth period on Feb. 7. First place winners are seniors Sahitya Allam, Anthony Carrington, Jennifer Du and Sanjana Epari for Animal Sciences; senior Srikanth Chelluri for Behavioral and Social Sciences; junior Jessica Kim for Biochemsitry; senior Manotri Chaubal for Cellular & Mollecular Biology; seniors James Wang and Dillan Chang for Chemistry; seniors William Moses and Parth Chopra for Computer Science; seniors Sienna Lotenberg and Virginia Wordsworth for Earth & Planetary Science; seniors Jonathan Lee and Daniel Suzuki for Energy & Transportation; senior Samuel Rohrer for Engineering: Electricity

Harris honored by Journalism Eduction Association Erinn Harris, adviser for tjTODAY and Techniques, has been named a 2013 Journalism Education Association (JEA) Special Recognition Adviser. Harris was awarded the title for her work with Jefferson's yearbook, Techniques, and was honored alongside three other winners of the award. Science Bowl wins regional competition On Feb. 1, the Science Bowl team placed first at the regional competition, and received $750 and medals for each of the members. The team comprises of senior Victoria Xia, juniors Matthew Barbano and Janice Ong and sophomores Ross Dempsey and Tiger Zhang. The team will advance to the National Science Bowl, which will be held in Washington, D.C. in late April of this year.

tjTODAY Online

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and Mechanics; senior Rachel Zoll for Engineering: Mathematics and Bioengineering; seniors Gloria Cho, Caitlin Kim and Krista Opsahl-Ong for Environmental Management; seniors Tiffney Kathir, Simran Rohatgi, Isabelle Walton, Harleen Bal, Comfort Sampong and Julia Suarez for Environmental Sciences; senior Archis Bhandarkar and junior Pooja Chandrashekar for Mathematical Sciences; seniors Sindhura Kolachana and Rahul Ramraj; junior Ramya Radhakrishnan and freshman Neeraj Prasad for Medicine & Health Sciences; senior Tina Ju for Microbiology and seniors Shayna Hume and Emma Puranen for Physics and Astronomy. The students of 22 projects who qualified for Regionals will advance and compete at Robinson Secondary High School from March 14-16.

photo by Sandy Cho

Jefferson Science Fair Categories: • • • • • •

Animal Sciences Behaviorial & Social Sciences Biochemistry Cellular & Molecular Biology Chemistry Computer

• • • • • •

Science Earth Science Energy & Transportation Engineering E&M Engineering M&B Environment Mangement Environmental

• • • • •

Analysis Mathematical Science Medicine & Health Sciences Microbiology Physics & Astronomy Plant Sciences


february 14, 2014

NEWSMAKERS “A Taste of Honey” entertains

photo courtesy of Mark Strickman

The News Senior Jordan Goodson portrays Helen, the mother of the protagonist, at the performance of “A Taste of Honey.” Backstory TJ Drama members performed “A Taste of Honey” on Feb. 7 to 8 as their winter production. Written by British playwright Shelagh Delaney, the play focuses on a 17-year-old workingclass girl named Jo and her relationships with the people around her, including her mother and her new friend. Featuring five cast members and several TJ Drama members working in the tech departments, the play was the Cappies production for Jefferson for this school year, and cast and crew members will be eligible to receive nominations and awards for the Cappies Gala later this year. “It’s not your typical high school play. There’s very little action, and it’s all about the relationships between the characters,” senior Jordan Goodson said. “I loved playing my character, and digging into that twisted psyche, coming up with her back story and trying to add depth to my portrayal was incredibly fun.” Because of the play’s intimate apartment setting, the production was staged so that audience members would be seated onstage, akin to a blackbox theater. This allowed cast members to be closer to the audience and make use of the stairs leading to the catwalk. “It was a lot different than I expected—I thought the cast did a great job at expressing their respective characters, and giving the audience a look into the hard life of the poor in the 50s,” senior audience member Alyssa Bruce said. “Almost all of the tensions created throughout the play remained unresolved in the end, and this play was more ‘how it is’—toned down and almost depressingly normal.” - Yena Seo

Debate excels at WACFL

photo by Sandy Cho

The News On the varsity team, seniors Yana Kaplun and Jamie Kim achieved a record of 4-0 and received medals for second place at the WashingtonArlington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) 5. Backstory On Feb. 8, members of the Jefferson Policy Debate team competed at the fifth WashingtonArlington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) tournament, held at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va. For the junior varsity members, juniors Steven Androphy and Sam Cadd received fifth place, junior Katherine Yan and freshman Elizabeth Hu received sixth place, sophomores Jeffrey Liu and Stella Yang received eighth place and sophomores Esther Kim and Lavanya Shukla received 10th place. “I’m really happy that we won,” Cadd said. “In some ways, I’m disappointed because I know we’re capable of doing better, but it’s nice to have a victory.” In addition, for varsity, seniors Jamie Kim and Yana Kaplun received second after accomplishing a record of 4-0. Kaplun also achieved the feat of winning the Pennsbury Policy Debate tournament and earned a bid for Tournament of Champions (TOC) with senior Richard Wang earlier this month. “This was my last Policy Debate tournament so it hasn’t hit me that it’s over. I’m torn between feeling numb and missing my partner Yana,” Kim said. “I feel great that I left with a bang because we were undefeated at the tournament. I’m really glad I ended on a high note.” Those who are qualified to compete at Metrofinals will advance, which will be held from Feb. 28 to March 1 at Dominion High School - Sandy Cho


Track succeeds at tournament

photo courtesy of Sally Stumvoll

The News Senior Matt Wattendorf races in the boys’ 4x800 relay on Feb. 4 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center. Backstory On Feb. 4 and 7, Jefferson’s indoor track team competed at the Conference 13 Championships. Despite going into the meet with several disadvantages – including missing training due to snow days, running in a subpar facility and competing without key sprinter senior Raeford Penny on the second day – the team performed well enough to secure second place for the girls and fourth place for the boys. Some athletes had notable performances. Senior Muthu Chidambaram obtained personal records (PRs) in all of his events and placed first in the triple jump and third in the high jump, qualifying for Regionals in both. The girls’ 4x800 relay – senior Grace Zeng and juniors Katrina Junta, Kate Salamido and Haley Stumvoll – placed first and auto-qualified for States. Other athletes who placed within the top three included senior Zartosht Ahlers and Stumvoll in the 3200-meter run, Zeng in the 1600-meter run, senior Ken Qi in the 55-meter hurdles, junior Stephannie Chen in the long jump and juniors Monique Mezher and Yuqian Yang in the pole vault. “Our team has great relays, and since we’ll have all of our varsity members at Regionals, I believe our relays will shine,” Chidambaram said. “In terms of things we could improve, we could always use better handoffs.” The regional meet will be held on Feb. 15 at George Mason University. The team’s goal is to win Regionals, and relays and individual athletes hope to earn PRs and qualify for States. “I hope that as many athletes as possible can advance to States,” Ahlers said. “It would be a nice finish to an otherwise fantastic season.” - Ellen Kan



february 14, 2014

Increasing demographics bode tjTODAY ill for future of Fairfax schools Volume 29 Issue 4

2013 Pacemaker - NSPA 2013 Trophy Class - VHSL 2013 All-American - NSPA 2013 Gold Medalist - CSPA

Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Shayna Hume

Managing Editor Ellen Kan

Online Editor Lindsay Williams

News Editor Sandy Cho

Opinion Editor Tommy Lunn

Sports Editor Stav Nachum

Spread Editor Alexis Williams

Entertainment Editor Anshula Rudhraraju

Features Editors Anjali Khanna Esther Kim

Social Media Editor Yena Seo

Staff Reporters Tara Gupta Megan Ganley

Adviser Erinn Harris

Printer Silver Communications TjTODAY is the official newspaper of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology published monthly by the journalism staff. It serves as a vehicle for student expression and is an open forum of issues of interest and concern to the school community. A full-year subscription can be purchased through the Thomas Jefferson Publications Package or by sending a check or money order for $20 to tjTODAY. The staff is deeply committed to a code of journalistic ethics that demands the exercise of accuracy, good judgment and impartiality. The content of tjTODAY is determined by the editorial board. Unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the staff of tjTODAY, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors. Signed editorials and letters to the editor reflect the views of the authors. tjTODAY solicits advertising but reserves the right to reject any material deemed libelous, disruptive, obscene or otherwise inappropriate. 6560 Braddock Road Alexandria, VA 22312 Phone: (703)-750-8375 Fax: (703)-750-5010 Web site: Send letters to:

Lead Editorial

But, despite the overall increase in the budget, many cuts were nevertheless deemed necessary. One of the most sensitive of these was an elimination of 731 positions, with over 480 of those being classroom positions. FCPS has just over 23,000 employees currently involved in school operations. While this is less than a five percent reduction in school operations’ employees, it was explicitly noted in the release that if FCPS is not granted the amount of revenue in the Advertised Budget, “additional reductions beyond those noted will be needed.” According to an FCPS press release, 300 additional staffing positions were added in the FY 2014 Adopted Budget to accommodate the increasing demographics. At the time, the student population estimated to be over 184,000. The number has since increased. These increasing budget costs aren’t going to go away. Since FY 2010, FCPS has grown by over 15,000 students, many of whom are eligible for special services and

tj TODAY’s unsigned majority opinion In past months, many students and staff members have been concerned over the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget, whose introduction was preceded by an fall announcement by Superintendent Karen Garza, which included a large number of possible budget cuts. However when the school board approved an Advertised Budget, very few of those possibilities came to fruition. The FY 2015 Advertised Budget, as approved on Feb. 6, totals $2.5 billion and includes an increase of 5.7 percent, or an additional $98.1 million, from FY 2014. Approximately 70 percent of that budget comes directly from money transfers from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). The net operating cost for Jefferson in FY 2014 just exceeded $2 million. The main reasons for the necessary increase in funding, as cited by Garza, are the continually burgeoning demographics of the region, state-mandated retirement rates and health insurance rates.

programs. By the year 2020, Garza anticipates serving a population of students larger than 200,000. On April 29, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will approve the FY 2015 Adopted County Budget, tax rate resolutions,and transfer amount to schools. Following that, and a series of public hearing, on May 22, the FCPS School Board will adopt the FY 2015 Approved Budget. Any changes to the plan adopted on Feb. 6 will have to be proposed in early April, during the Board of Supervisor’s public hearings. While the changes being discussed may seem small, the rate that the budget is increasing is not likely to go down. Since 2010, it has been a steady 1.1 percent increase on average, and in less than six years, will undoubtedly still be swelling as Fairfax County becomes more heavily populated. This year’s Advertised Budget cuts may not be as drastic as originally thought. But with FY 2015 beginning in less than four months on July 1, it’s time to take into account what this year’s budget changes mean for what continuing accommodations will have to take place in upcoming years for FCPS to remain strong.

Teachers’ past mistakes should not hinder future success forever O n Jan. 28, the news broke that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) had previously hired sevTOMMY LUNN en felons. When it was discovered, the story swept local news outlets, prompting a response from FCPS superintendent, Karen Garza. Virginia law prohibits public school districts from hiring felons of any sort. As such, the seven employees had no choice but no resign or otherwise leave work. The blame for this ludicrous rule lies only with the Commonwealth of Virginia and its antiquated laws. There is absolutely no need for the commonwealth to ban all felons from working in public schools. Offenders of violent and sexual crimes should not be allowed near the state’s children. That goes without saying. However, non-violent offenders needn’t be punished for the rest of their lives. Take, for example, the case of Deilia Butler. Butler was, until 2013, a special education teacher at James Madison High School in Oakton. At that time, it was revealed that Butler had a drug trafficking charge dating back to 1992. That’s where the situation changes. Butler had been an employee for FCPS for six years without incident at the time of her being placed on leave. Moreover, her conviction was two decades ago. If an employee can work for multiple years and do a good job, why should they get fired because of a mark on their record? Just because it was found out that Butler has a conviction does not change her performance as a special education teacher. Instead, it further stigmatizes criminals and advances the United States’ punitive, non-rehabilitating judicial system. The American judicial system is far too punitive to be effective, as demonstrated by Virginia’s harsh laws about hiring felons. Take into account that according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 68 percent of released felons in the United States will be arrested in

the following three years, with 47 percent being reconvicted. Compare that to Norway’s Bastoy prison, which focuses on rehabilitation, that only has a reconviction rate of 16 percent. Something must be done. Garza’s statement says “FCPS employees, families and community can be assured that this situation will not occur again because of the rigorous online application process and strong vigilance.” However, tolerating the law and ac-

cepting it as logical is not what FCPS should do. For the time being, FCPS needs to follow Virginia’s law and not hire new felons. They should not do so without raising a point. As the largest school district in Virginia and the 13th largest in the country, FCPS has quite a loud voice. With their influence, FCPS needs to show the state of Virginia that not all felons are the same, with many being able to be good employees. If they succumb to the law,

cartoon by Megan Ganley


february 14, 2014

Love in the media isn’t quite reality


Women expect Men should not have to be Prince unrealistic tropes Charming in order to be truly loved Boy meets girl. They grow close, they get jealous and then they fight. But it takes a realization, a dramatic declaration of love, something that will cause the music to swell and the camera to pan on that big kiss. Then the movie is over. There’s no need to worry about their future because we know they’ll be in love forever. SANDY CHO Cue the credits. The end. But in reality, relationships go on after the ending credits. People break up and love fizzles. As life goes, some things are just not meant to last forever. However, due to popular novels and romantic comedies of Hollywood, love is painted in an unlikely and unrealistic light, in which people expect relationships to be heartwrenchingly passionate and last forever. And because of this, girls of the audience, in particular, are left pining away to reform their bad boys or fall into the strong arms of their Prince Charming’s. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that your significant other should not be a stock character who has a certain look and image, but someone you actually enjoy being and talking with. There will be no clear-cut jerk with a heart of gold or the righteous hero who’s always there to save the damsel. With popular movie heroins, such as Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Natalie Portman in “Garden State,” females are portrayed as quirky and free-spirited as they bring some sort of meaning into the brooding male protagonists’ lives and drag them into whirlwind adventures. However, females are so much more complex than that. They shouldn’t be molded nicely into a trope, acting as a catalyst for some sad man’s life. Though Hollywood relieves anxiety and provides entertainment, especially for stressed out Jefferson students, it’s imperative to realize that love and relationships aren’t all what’s on the big screen. There’s more to eccentric girls and dashing dark heroes, and happily-ever-afters. According to Barbara Frederickson, a positive psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in her new book, “Love 2.0,” love is not actually an emotion that lasts forever but rather, a “micro-moment of positivity resonance,” a positive connection between people. As long as we focus on maintaining positive connections between the people we love, not just with a love interest, and be true to ourselves, it’s possible that our lives may just rival those seen in Hollywood movies.

Can an average guy ever find love? If you are well versed in popular culture, the answer may seem confusing. It would likely come across as a flat out no. But what can a guy do to find love? Roses and a suit of shining armor seem to be about the baseline. TOMMY LUNN Let’s face it. The romantic expectations of men as portrayed in the media seem to be from the early 20th century. Heaven forbid women call men or ask a man on a date. The way we see it, if a man does not initiate or call after the first date, there is no chance for him to find love. Strike one. If a guy does succeed in getting a date, the pressure is even higher. He must be on time, drive a fancy car and pay quite a hefty sum of money for that meal. In addition, he must also remain as infallible as the pope while starting and carrying on an interesting discussion. And what if he doesn’t? Strike two. No discussion of love in pop culture can be portrayed without what is seen as the most important aspect of a man: physical appearance. A man cannot be average, or even skinny. Instead he must be gifted with attractive genes, physically built and wearing nice clothes. That’s not to say there’s no pressure on women, but even average looking women in the media hone their personality and find love. If a guy doesn’t look like Channing Tatum or Dave Franco, he’s done for. Strike three. And what happens if a man fails at any of these tasks? He receives a one-way trip to loneliness. In pop culture, any man deemed as average or anywhere near there falls into one of three categories. Quite often, he is the sidekick, the annoying friend born to pale in comparison to the more attractive male. If not, there’s a good chance he is the butt of all the jokes, his own or otherwise. And if neither of the above applies, he lives alone and unhappy for the sake of it. But that’s not how real life should work. And yet if we keep allowing men to be portrayed as either Prince Charming or forever alone, we are going to shift to a society in which that becomes more acceptable. There’s nothing wrong with romance. Men should allow themselves to be charming and to look good.

Of course, men should always treat women with dignity and respect that, as equals to men, they deserve. However, the undermining of everything less than perfect must stop. Average guys are just that, average. It does not mean that they are boring, ugly, rude or have any distinct, negative traits. Most guys are average, and that’s okay. Just about every so-called average guy has an attractive, romantic side. Will they be able to sweep women of their feet every other night? No, but that isn’t necessary. Instead, it should be the little things that matter. If women cannot appreciate any little gesture, they will likely end up being disappointed. Even if a guy doesn’t seem perfect, he still deserves love. Not only are some of the best people the ones that the media would look past, but most people in general deserve to love and be loved. But if we continue to have such high standards, everyone is going to end up hurt. It’s simply not fair for men to be expected to do everything and be everything as seen in the movies. Love is about more than a dozen roses or a box of chocolates, it’s about making a personal connection and making it last. As long as both men and women continue to look to the media as being reality, true love is going to be the real victim. In an age where divorce rates are skyrocketing and online dating is becoming more acceptable, women need to accept men for who they are and the opposite will entail.

cartoon by Tara Gupta

Social media celebration over inclement weather is too frivolous for the consequences Snow days aren’t that exciting. Before the year’s first snow day, Ryan McElveen was not a name known to many students. With one tweet announcing the snow day before the official Fairfax County Public Schools LINDSAY WILLIAMS (FCPS) Twitter, he became the most famous school board member in FCPS history. Why does the announcement of a snow day make students so excited? The first snow day each year is indeed a special occasion- it calls for hot chocolate, sledding and catching up on sleep. But by the third or fourth day in a row of school closings, it’s become such an event that students are afraid to leave their phones between 6 and 10 p.m. lest they miss McElveen’s twitter announcement, even though they know deep down that they’re dying of cabin fever and boredom. When the inevitable cancelation occurs, students react by editing McElveen’s face onto various superheroes, pop culture icons, television characters and even regular pictures. If it doesn’t happen, a vast amount of whining and commiserating over social media ensues. Rumors abound during this time; this person has this inside source, that person knows someone who knows someone on the school board. Students who predict correctly are heralded as heroes, but those who falsely announce a snow day are hated. Fake twitter accounts declaring a snow day are a dime a dozen. Students carefully watch what other counties do as indicators, although we don’t always follow the pattern. One of the problems with widespread misinformation is it draws the attention of the students. This wouldn’t be a bad thing except it comes with a killer side effect: pro-

cartoon by Tara Gupta

crastination. Students sometime skip or skimp on their assignments with the assumption that they will have time the next day to do it. But if the county opts for two hour delay or worse, goes for a full day, they end up staying awake all night completing their homework. If the decision isn’t announced until the morning, there’s some risk involved: assume school is canceled and get some extra sleep? Or study for classes that may not happen? We also have to take care not to take the general excitement too far. Recently, Buzzfeed reported that the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana received racist, sexist and violent tweets when she announced that school would continue despite extreme temperatures. Although nothing at FCPS has reached this point, this is

just an example of how we could potentially go overboard with the snow day hype. Is all of the snow day drama really necessary? Twitter and Facebook are important tools in getting the news out, but the amount of rumor and misinformation is ridiculous. Students should only report information they know is sound and the response is consistently overboard. Snow days are simply responses to inclement weather, and aren’t for student enjoyment. And should we be that excited that we will have to go to school on our few and far between spring holidays, or far into June? We need to calm down and even our reaction to snow days and take into account their costs.



february 14, 2014



by Stav Nachum Sports Editor As the world turns its eyes toward Russia for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games from Feb. 7 through Feb. 23, many students look up to their idols in hopes of joining the ranks of the Olympians for their sports. Whether it is skiing, figure skating, skeleton or many other events at the Winter Olympics, these aspiring Olympians have been training for years to have a shot at the games. One student who might someday take part in the Winter Olympics is senior Alex Le Floch. A skier since the age of three and a racer since the age of nine, Le Floch, along with many other children his age, started skiing when he lived in France. “I would love to ski for a living,” Le Floch said. “I definitely want to be involved in some form for the rest of my life. That’s why skiing is such a great sport – you can do it at any age.” Though Le Floch does not believe he can compete for ski Senior Alex Le Floch races to racing (the majority of racers who compete go to private ski academies and get more training time), he would compete in either alpine skiing or skiercross in the Olympics. “I would likely compete for France if given the chance,” Le Floch said. “Though the Olympics do not seem like a possibility, I want to start my own race ski company and ideally become the official supplier for the U.S. Ski Team.” Le Floch plans to follow the Games closely and is excited to watch Bode Miller in his return from a severe knee injury in ski racing. “Bode is great to watch, because he is so out of control when he skis, but he somehow manages to get down the hill in great time,” Le Floch said. “I’d love to ski like him, but I doubt I’d be fearless enough to ski so close to the edge all the time.” Also a winter sport enthusiast, senior Kameron Wong has been ice skating for 12 years, though she has only been participating in solo ice dance for six years. “I’ve always been told that I am a dancer,” Wong said. “Instead of doing just figure skating, I wanted to participate in a sport where I could incorporate both ballet and ice skating, so now I solo ice dance.” Though competing in the Olympics seems far-fetched to Wong since she does not have as many years of training as the women in the Olympics, she is still searching for a partner for pair ice dance, which unlike solo ice dance, is a sport present in the Olympics. “Pair dancing is something I’d like to pursue throughout college for pleasure,” Wong said. “I’ve never really seri-

Speed Skating photo by Stav Nachum

“American Short Track Speed Skater JR Celski is my favorite winter Olympian because speed skating is my favorite winter Olympic sport and Celski has a lot of potential to become the next Apolo Ohno.” -freshman Nora Thompson

Ice Hockey photo by Stav Nachum

photo courtesy of Alex Le Floch

the finish at a regional slalom race at Bryce Resort in Virginia.

ously considered what would happen if I competed in the Olympics, but if it ever happens, I’ll let you know.” Though Wong has been to nationals for two years in row, she has competed in the Solo Dance Series competitions and is currently ranked ninth in the nation for solo ice dance, she still does not believe that the Olympics could be in her future even with a partner. Also tuning in for the Olympics, Wong can’t wait to see her favorite ice dancers perform since she personally knows three of the skaters competing, one of whom is representing Brazil and the other two skating in a couples free skate for Russia. “I personally look up to Meryl Davis and Charlie White, a phenomenal pair of dancers that I would give anything to get instruction from,” Wong said. “They’re so committed to the sport and while they work hard, they also make every program they skate look effortless and fun.” Ice dancing has become a way of life for Wong. Vowing that she will continue to ice dance for the rest of her life, Wong would rather pursue pair dancing as a career but wouldn’t mind coaching solo ice dancing as well. “Ice dance works as a stress-reliever for school,” Wong said. “I’ve gotten so much closer to my coaches and a couple of friends and I am so fortunate to be able to do a sport that I love so much.” Whether they will join Team USA in the Winter Olympics remains unknown, but for now, both students look at the games in Sochi in hopes that one day, the gold metal biting tradition will be one they can participate in as well.

Students cheer on their favorite countries during the current Sochi winter Olympics

“My family is from Ghana, and we all love to hear about Ghanians doing big things. It’s always fun for us to watch and discuss the Ghanians chances of winning medals.” - sophomore Cheryl Mensah “I’m really excited to see the Jamaican bobsled team upset some of the more experienced teams. Everyone loves a good underdog.” - senior Varun Jain

Students cheer on their favorite winter Olympians

“I appreciate how Team USA is comprised of members from all backgrounds, and how they strive to emulate the values of kindness, inclusion, determination and sportsmanship. That is what makes them so inspiring and remarkable.” - freshman Anshu Sharma Graph displays the teams students are rooting for in the upcoming Olympics based on an anonymous survey sent out on social media to which 180 students responded.

graphics and reporting by Sandy Cho and Stav Nachum

“John Carlson was picked for the Team USA even after a lot of predictions didn’t have him in the roster. Now that he is on the first defensive pairing, I’d definitely like to see him crush it with the rest of our team.” -sophomore Bradford Case

Figure Skating photo by Stav Nachum

“The athlete I like most at this year’s winter Olympics is Ashley Wagner. We figure skated at the same rink so I know her personally and I sincerely hope she takes the gold. I will definitely be cheering her on the entire Olympics.”

-freshman Sarah Sturken

Snowboarding photo by Stav Nachum

“Shaun White is my favorite Olympian in the upcoming winter Olympics because he is an incredibly cool guy and he snowboards really well. It’s amazing to watch him in action when he is competing for Team USA.” -junior Sam Veroneau


february 14, 2014


It’s NOT just a game Jefferson athletes share their passion for sports by Lindsay Williams Online Editor Love is in the air around Valentine’s Day, and for some students that doesn’t necessarily mean hearts, flowers and chocolate. For the dedicated members of Jefferson’s sports teams, it means more sweat, more power and more intensity. From the football field to the swimming pool, the tennis court to the basketball court, Jefferson athletes of all seasons love their sports on and off the field of play. Athletes at Jefferson are known to give it their all in practice, but a few even go a step further on game night. Several althetes even have lucky charms or tokens to help them perform their best. These tokens can be anything from lucky socks that they don’t wash all season to simply a pair of cleats that they wear every game for good luck. Ever since junior Kayleigh Vance’s softball coach passed away, Vance honors his memory by writing “TS” on the inside of her glove before every game. “He’s one of the people who made me the player I am today so I try to remember him every time I play softball,” Vance said. Junior Adi Suresh, who plays football, has special padded gloves that he takes with him everywhere. They help him feel more confident on the field, but he keeps them on hand all the time, even during the spring and winter seasons when he isn’t playing football. “My gloves give me confidence to perform in tough situations, much like the pads we wear,” Suresh said.

“I carry them around all the time to make myself have that confidence in every aspect of my life.” Many students also do pre- and post-game rituals as part of fun, long standing traditions they associate with their sports to help them reach maximum focus. Sophomore George Perry listens to rap music before m each of his tennis matches. “I like the beat and the rhythm of the music because it gets me excited to play,“ Perry said. “It is inspiring and motivates me to do well.” In addition to Vance honoring her late coach before each game, she also does a handshake with her teammate and friend, who she’s played with since freshman year to commemorate the time that they spent together on the softball team. “We add something onto it after every win,” Vance said. “We’ve done it since freshman year, since we were the only freshman on the team, and it is still a tradition today.” Pre-game rituals aren’t just limited to individuals. Teams often have traditions to unite and focus everyone. The entire crew team has a pasta party the night before every regatta at someone’s house to get everyone pumped up and energized. This team’s bonding experience is vital to the performance of the boats, which rely on team connectivity and synchronization to perform their best and place well at competitions throughout the year. “Our Friday night pasta parties are a highlight of our team bonding throughout the crew season,” junior

“Dance is great because it gives me a creative outlet for all of the stress I have as a TJ student.”

freshman Audrey Park “Football is a way to bond with people and get rid of my anger, which is why I like it.”

sophomore Randall Jones

Michael Erikson said. “The parties help us bond as a team and prepare our minds and bodies for racing the next morning.” Dance team also has a special handshake for each of their performances, but more important to the team is that after the handshake every team member turns away without saying anything. “Our little handshake that we do for dance team started with the seniors in 2012 at a dance team competition,” senior Christin Park said. “We did it because all of the other teams were really spirited and peppy and instead of doing that we wanted to do something cute that’s quiet but incorporates everyone.” At every cheer competition, one team member buys roses for the whole team. Each person takes one and gives it to someone else on the team. “We all passed around roses,” junior Tony Baek, a varisty cheerleader, said. “Someone buys a bunch of roses and one person takes one and gives it to another and tells the person something encouraging for why they deserved it. It’s an incredible tradition to be a part of.” Although some athletes forgo the lucky charms and rituals as they find them unncessary or even childish, their love for their sport and dedication to the team is all the luck they need. “You feel a sense of accomplishment when you do well in a performance,” freshman dancer Emma Zhang said. “It’s nice to see the hours spent in practice pay off.”

“I love basketball because it’s fast paced; you have to be able to think fast and can’t dwell on mistakes.”

senior Carolyn Ours

“Soccer is an international sport that crosses all boundaries and conflicts that exist to unite us all.”

junior Azeez Abdikarim

graphics and reporting by Lindsay Williams and Stav Nachum


february 14,2013

by Alexis Williams

“It’s actually a kind of funny story how we met. When I went to MEX practice this summer, I was friends with two girls. They were both there too and they were trying to find someone short enough for me. She was on Froshcomm, and the same height as me. That’s how we started talking.” -freshman Chris Cao

Freshmen Laura Chu and Chris Cao

SophomoresRachelVasta and Andrew Howard

“Before King’s Dominion, Helen and I hung out a lot and became close friends. I planned to ask her at King’s Dominion, but I wasn’t that confident. I asked her when we were walking down one of the lighted paths at King’s Dominion. I also gave her a Pikachu plushie I had won earlier in the day. After all, who can say no to Pikachu?” -junior James Jung


“I met him freshman year in gym class, but we didn’t really talk until he messaged me on facebook and said ‘Hey, can I have your number in case I get arrested and only have one phone call?’ It was stupid, but it worked.” -sophomore Rachel Vasta

Juniors Helen Zhang and James Jung



february 14, 2011


february 14,2013

“It’s actually a kind of funny story how we met. When I went to MEX practice this summer, I was friends with two girls. They were both there too and they were trying to find someone short enough for me. She was on Froshcomm, and the same height as me. That’s how we started talking.” -freshman Chris Cao

Freshmen Laura Chu and Chris Cao

Couples share the stories behind their beginnings by Alexis Williams Sperad Editor It seems so easy. Anything can be the beginning, from a Homecoming asking to a mutual friend. The next thing you know, it’s love. However, students starting relationships often face challenges. One of the major ones is how to spend time together amidst busy schedules and mounting stress. Many students use shared interests and clubs to connect. Sophomores Sara Warrington and Jasper Treakle met through a mutual love of music. Although they did not start dating until years later, they initially connected in at a band function. “I met him in 8th grade. I was first chair clarinet and he was first chair percussion. He was friends with the second chair clarinet and they were making fun of the short girl that got first chair, but I had never actually talked to him. We were also in the same band class freshman year,” Warrington said. Treakle, however, remembers it differently. “It was district band in middle school. I was first chair percus-

sionist and talking with the girl who got second chair. We looked at the first chair clarinet player. We commented on how small this girl was, and I noted to myself how beautiful she was. Another couple who connected through music is seniors Alex Le Floch and Hannah Pho. Pho and Le Floch met through choir and became close through a mutual love of singing. “Although we met in middle school, choir is what brought me and Alex into contact. We both lead choirs this year and we may have derailed a couple of meetings with shameless flirting,” Pho said. Athletics can also bring couples together. Junior Andrea Donate-Perez and senior Jane Werntz met through color guard. “We met at one of the first color guard practices when Andrea complimented my ‘Adventure Time’ shirt,” Werntz said. “ We had to spend a lot of time together because of color guard and we really became close at band camp.” No matter how a couple becomes close, similar interests can help a relationship despite stress and pressure. “Alex understands the stress of leading a choir, so when I was organizing the winter concert he was a welcome shoulder to lean on,” Pho said.

"We both lead choir this year and we may have derailed a couple of meetings with shameless flirting.” - senior Hannah Pho


SophomoresRachelVasta and Andrew Howard

“I met him freshman year in gym class, but we didn’t really talk until he messaged me on facebook and said ‘Hey, can I have your number in case I get arrested and only have one phone call?’ It was stupid, but it worked.” -sophomore Rachel Vasta

Reporters interviewed couples about their origins and recorded their responses:

“We met last year at AllStates for orchestra and band. A bunch of the TJ kids were hanging out in the lobby past our curfew, but we got caught by a bunch of the music teachers. Ever since I’ve known that he’s a bit of a rebel.”

-junior Charlene Franke

“Before King’s Dominion, Helen and I hung out a lot and became close friends. I planned to ask her at King’s Dominion, but I wasn’t that confident. I asked her when we were walking down one of the lighted paths at King’s Dominion. I also gave her a Pikachu plushie I had won earlier in the day. After all, who can say no to Pikachu?” -junior James Jung

“I met her during Relay for Life. I was going to my tent. I looked inside and saw a girl passed out in there that I had never talked to and was pretty angry. Eventually I ended up leaving at around 4 a.m. to sleep in my own house a few minutes away.”

- senior Kyu Kim photos and reporting by Alexis Williams

Juniors Helen Zhang and James Jung



“Labor Day” captures the hearts of audience

february 14, 2014

Students check out new D. C. events Romance factor: Creativity factor: Fun factor: Ratings are out of five based on the opinions of the tjTODAY staff

Around Washington, D.C., fun events are giving students an alternative to traditional hangouts

photo courtesy of

by Alexis Williams Spread Editor Opening in theaters on Jan. 31, “Labor Day,” starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, told the story of a depressed single mother and her son as they take an escaped convict into their home and eventually accept him as a part of their family. Winslet, playing single mother Adele, and Josh Brolin, playing escaped murder convict Frank, both gave a great performance. Winslet seemed a bit typecast—reprising her classic and well-known role as the girl who meets a boy she can’t have, falls in love with him and just as they try to work it out, he is cruelly ripped from her arms—but she can certainly play the role well. Brolin was good considering the fact that his role as a misunderstood murder convict was a somewhat unrealistic one. The star of the story, however, was Henry, the 13-year-old boy who is about to start school when his life is turned upside down by the convict. Henry, played by Gattlin Griffith, by far experiences the most character development in the story as we see him come of age and battle with welcoming someone new into his life. Henry’s love interest, Mandy, played by Maika Monroe, brings comic relief, sass and charm, with her callit-like-she-sees-it, somewhat hippy-dippy attitude. The two of them bring life to an otherwise overly emotional plot. The plot and writing took away from the good acting. Under an astonishingly little amount of pressure, Adele agrees to let Frank stay in her home. She falls in love, and he with her, in under a day. She agrees to try to move to Canada within five days. In an otherwise serious film, this aspect of the plot seemed almost laughable. That said, the movie does navigate the emotional parts of the film astonishingly well. Adele is pressured into watching disabled child Barry, played by Michael Fowler, at one point in the weekend, and the audience is treated to the heartwarming scene of him playing baseball with Frank, Adele and Henry. Later we get an insight into the darker parts of Barry’s life; when Barry sees Frank’s picture on the news, he makes a commotion in front of his mother and she hits him. While it served its purpose as a shock factor for the audience, that’s all it is—we never get a resolution to Barry’s story or see him mentioned again at all. Frank and Adele’s respective backstories are equally heartbreaking. Frank, the audience discovers, accidentally kills his cheating wife by pushing her into a heater. Her child—who may or may not be his—dies in the bathtub the same day, but it is not revealed explicitly whether it was Frank or his wife who left the water running. The flashbacks used to reveal this story use artistic style and make it all the more heartbreaking. Adele’s story is revealed all at once: after Henry, she had several miscarriages and a still birth that drove her to depression and caused her husband to walk out. These revelations occur at the same time as Frank’s backstory’s final reveal, so the audience becomes more invested in these characters at the same time that they become closer to each other. Overall, the movie was certainly not mindlessly entertaining—it was very emotional and it made the audience think. While intriguing and artistic, it isn’t a movie to see with friends on a Friday night; it’s probably better served on payper-view on a rainy day.

Coming Attractions photos courtesy of studio websites infographic by Lindsay Williams

‘Endless Love’

Odyssey River Cruises

“I’ve been on a Potomac river cruise, and the water was serene and the sky was really beautiful.” - junior Joo Kang

“Chocolate is delicious and it’d be really fun to go on a Georgetown chocolate tour.” -sophomore Bita Saeedi

Sweets of Georgetown Chocolate Tours

“You can learn about different things at museums, and if you talk to people that work there you can learn a lot of interesting facts.” Smithsonian Museums

- senior Kevin Luu

Address: 1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024

“Ferris wheels are really fun because they’re an activity for the whole family and they’re pretty safe and kind of nostalgic.“

Feb. 14: Theaters everywhere

- junior Kate Salamido Be My VALentine Fest Address: Village at Leesburg Shopping Center 1602 Village Market Blvd, Leesburg, VA 20175 info,graphics and reporting by Lindsay Williams and Shayna Hume

‘Winter’s Tale’

Feb. 14: Theaters everywhere

‘Moving Target’

Feb. 18: Bookstores everywhere


Feb. 25: iTunes


March 4: iTunes


february 14, 2014


Local eateries offer Valentine’s menu options Bellissimo Ristorante

Price range: 3/5

Address: 10403 Main Street, Fairfax City, VA 22030 Description: Bellissimo Ristorante is a hidden treasure located in the heart of downtown Fairfax. What the petite restaurant lacks in seating is made up by its exquisite Italian dishes, which include an abundant selection of appetizers, entrées and desserts. The charming restaurant, which boasts romantic orchestral music and beautiful decorations, is a must-go for couples and families seeking an authentic and personal dining experience. Perks: intimate and classic setting, generous portions, very warm and professional service. Drawbacks: lunch only available Tuesday through Friday, limited seating, expensive selections.

PING by Charlie Chiang’s Price range: 2/5 Address: 4060 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

The Melting Pot Price range: 3/5 Address: 11730 Plaza America Dr. Ste 100, Reston, VA 20190 or 1110 N Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA 22201 Description: A one-of-a-kind dining experience, The Melting Pot features cheese and chocolate fondue and a variety of seafood, vegetarian and meat entrées. The restaurant also offers options for four-course meals and romantic booth seating. Both the Reston and Arlington locations offer pre-fixed Valentine’s Day menus, as well as an always available Ultimate Romance Package. Perks: intimate setting, personalized experience, interactivity. Drawbacks: expensive menu, limited entrée selection, customers with allergies or vegetarians may find meal preparation to be a hassle.

Description: Located in the Village at Shirlington, PING is an ultramodern Asian fusion restaurant with a vibrant, minimalist interior design. PING offers imaginative dishes from a long menu; in particular, the sushi is both mouthwatering and aesthetically appealing. The restaurant is in close proximity to several other eateries, stores, a library and a cinema. For Valentine’s Day, PING will be offering a selection of inventive à la carte specials.

a taste of


Perks: generous portions, convenient location, glutenfree options available. Drawbacks: limited street parking, not recommended for couples seeking a quiet getaway, fusion style of cooking not preferable for customers searching for authentic Chinese food.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery Price range: 1/5 Address: 116 S Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314 Description: Located in Old Town Alexandria, Lavender Moon Cupcakery is a welcome alternative to the ever-popular Georgetown Cupcake. This cozy cupcakery offers a changing menu of creative cupcake flavors, and cupcakes are baked daily with fresh ingredients. Lavender Moon Cupcakery will also have extended hours and special flavors on Valentine’s Day, including lemon lavender chiffon and chocolate raspberry kiss. Perks: all organic ingredients with gluten-free options, excellent service, artful interior design. Drawbacks: slightly pricey for baked goods, unique flavors combinations may not appeal to everyone, limited seating.

photos, graphics and reporting by Ellen Kan

6550 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA 22312

SPANISH TUTOR - Lola Quintela

- Native Spanish speaker - Professional translator - Individualized lesson plans to fit your needs - One-on-one instruction - All levels - Oral and written PALS prep Phone: 703-919-9199 - Spanish AP and Spanish SAT prep Email: - Close to Rt. 123, Rt. 50, I-66



february 14, 2014

What is Love? An Investigation in Infatuation Does falling in love at first Is “soul mates” just a sight have a scientific basis? term of our imagination?

by Esther Kim by Anjali Khanna Features Editor Features Editor From the classical star-crossed lovers of “Romeo and Juliet” to the clichéd first enSoul mate (n). a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic counters of lovers in conventional romances, falling in love at first sight has always partner. been a ubiquity in numerous literary and cinematic works, invoking people’s desire Finding a soul mate is a life goal for most of us as humans, but what if the idea of for a fortuitous yet passionate love. a “soul mate” is not a realistic one? In terms of evolution, it makes the most sense for Today, various scientific studies are reporting that love at first sight may have human beings to try and have children with as many partners as possible. So why is a more scientific basis than being a fantastical stroke of luck featured in whimsi- it that most prefer monogamy? cal romance novels. In fact, according to a 2010 study led The term “soulmate” was first established in ancient Greece in Plato’s “Symposium.” by Syracuse University Professor Stephanie Ortigue, a The story originally was that humans were born with two heads, four arms and four person can fall in love in a mere fifth of a second as legs. Zeus, known as the head of the Greek gods, split each creature in two so they the brain induces a sense of delight would forever be in search of their other half. through the production of multiple Today, this search has become increasingly more chemicals, including dopamine difficult. With the world’s population at an all time and adrenaline. high at an estimated 7.14 billion people, it seems as “I think there are differif finding your “other half” is next to impossible. ent stages of falling in love, As every-increasing divorce rate statistics have and the infatuation phase proven, you may not get it right the first time. may take only seconds to “I don’t know if I agree with the term ‘soul develop,” sophomore Katelyn mates,’” sophomore Juliana Bain said. “I think Etemad said. that maybe people get divorced because they Finding a perfect partner in haven’t found their one true partner yet.” a short amount of time may not be However, do we date for the purpose of finding only restricted to romance, but also a life partner? In the high school setting, many When in love, the brain reacts by in any form of relationships, as proposed by students are coupled up, yet do not expect to get emitting neurotransmitters, or a 2013 study conducted by Michael Sunnafmarried one day. As seniors graduate and go to chemicals which send the body rank. In his research, Sunnafrank proposed college, chances are that many relationships will be messages as to how it feels. Neuthat positive first encounters usually correseparated by distance before anything else. rotransmitters are also present spond with continuing the relationship into a From a biological standpoint, the term in different forms when feelings longer one. “soulmates” is an irrational one at best. of fear, happiness or sadness are Furthermore, Helen Fisher, a professor at RutHowever monogamy, although it goes against present. gers University and a preeminent researcher on technical evolution, still occurs between love, stated in her article published in the November some species in nature. Swans, among other 2009 issue of “O, the Oprah Magazine” that falling animals, bond for life for self-preservation in love at first sight may take only three minutes, purposes rather than romance. Because these a time that is significant for sustaining a romantic birds spend most of their lifetime incubating relationship. eggs and raising young, spending time looking “Love at first sight is probably possible, but I for multiple partners is not as effective in swan wouldn’t say it is true love,” freshman Suzie Bae said. “It is reproduction, so it makes the most sense that they probably unlikely to have honest feelings for someone just after stay with a single partner. one conversation or one glance.” Chimpanzees however, animals which are most The validity of love at first sight has always been a continuing dedirectly related to us, are far from monogamous. graphic by Esther Kim bate among people, strongly advocated by some and opposed by othThe animals live in clan-like organizations, in which both females and ers. According to a 2000 Gallup survey, 52 percent of Americans bemales attempt to reproduce with as many other animals as possible, in order lieved in love at first sight, while 47 percent had expressed doubts. to rapidly increase the size of the species. “I think it is hard to produce studies about falling in love,” junior Maddie Meyers According to Jeannine Callea Stamatakis of Scientific American, it makes most said. “Since I have never fallen in love, I cannot attest to the numbers.” sense biologically to think in the way of the chimpanzees, to rapidly increase the In fact, love at first sight may not be the absolute prognosis of a fateful love that number of births as fast as possible. However, this is not the case for all humans, as people wait for. In fact, according to another 2000 Gallup survey, only 40 percent of many have found their lifelong partners and believe that they have found a true “soul Americans have actually experienced love at first sight. For the rest, the coincidental mate.” scenario of meeting their Romeo or Juliet has not occurred to them yet. With various Although they might not consider each other as “soul mates,” Couples can also interpretations of the never-defined word, “love,” falling in love at first sight will be increase their chances of attaining this level of a relationship by establishing trust and always discussed over its legitimacy. respect for one another. “Loving someone is about loving all aspects of the person—their quirkiness, “I don’t think soul mates exist,” sophomore Satvika Kumar said. “There’s so many uniqueness, weaknesses, and strengths,” sophomore Shritika Dahal said. “I think people in the world that you can’t meet everyone, so how will you know the person that it takes more than one encounter to truly fall in love.” you are with is really a soul mate?”

Zug encourages female participation in computer science

photo by Ellen Kan

Junior Maddie Zug holds a “computer science Barbie doll,” a symbol of women’s freedom to engage in computer science and math. Zug will be starting a new eighth period club, the Coding Lady Colonials.

by Ellen Kan Managing Editor When junior Maddie Zug stepped foot into her hotel in Mountain View, Ca, she couldn’t help but smile when she saw the friendly faces of her fellow Google trailblazers. Although she had never met the other students or mentors in person, weeks of online communication had left Zug feeling very much part of a close-knit family. Now that she had finally arrived at her destination, Zug easily slipped into conversation with her friends, marveling at the smooth transition from talking on Google Hangouts to building friendships in real life. As they boarded the double-decker buses to Google headquarters, Zug felt at home, certain that this adventure into the heart of computer science (CS) would have a long-lasting impact on her life. Zug’s selection to be a member of the prestigious Google Trailblazer program is a testament to her dedication for CS, which has been a lifelong passion of hers. Zug’s interest was first sparked in elementary school, when she became fascinated by the interactivity of building and programming robots. Since then, Zug has been heavily involved in all things CS-related. Other than brainstorming ways to address the lack of global CS education at the Google Trailblazer Summit, Zug was also a national runner-up for the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing contest. “Winning an award has connected me with a network of incredible young women who are also interested in computer science, and I have learned so much from them,” Zug said. At Jefferson, some students – especially females – are hesitant to delve into the world of CS due to the plethora

of stereotypes surrounding the field. During Computer Science Education Week (CSED Week) in December, Zug spearheaded the campaign for fomenting interest in and striking down misconceptions associated with CS. Among other activities, Zug and her team painted the J-Lounge wall in honor of CSED Week and hosted trivia contests, guest speakers and a scavenger hunt. “The biggest challenge I’ve faced in CS is the general assumption that I can’t be as successful as the boys in my classes,” Zug said. “It has been hard to build selfconfidence in CS, but it has really helped me to connect with other women that have been in the same position and have used CS to do meaningful things in their lives.” Zug has also taken the initiative to start a new eighth period club specifically for female coders: the Coding Lady Colonials (CLC). The club’s leaders are currently hosting planning sessions during lunch until the CLC can begin meeting during Wednesday eighth periods. Once the club is up and running, its members will engage in activities such as learning Facebook application programming interface (API) and doing CSrelated community service. Zug will be one of the first to take Mobile and Web Application Development, the new senior research laboratory that will be inaugurated in the 2014-2015 school year. Although she does not have concrete plans for her future beyond Jefferson, Zug is confident that CS will always be a part of her life. “The most important thing that I have learned from being involved in CS is that coding is an extremely important skill to have in our world,” Zug said. “I can make a huge impact on the lives of others with CS, and I have found something that I am really passionate about learning about and doing. It’s a great life skill to have, even if I don’t become a software engineer.”

february 14, 2014



Overcoming Intolerance After being diagnosed with a milk allergy, sophomore Sara Warrington shares her experience of living without dairy by Sara Warrington Guest Writer When I was born I cried. A lot. My mother would try to comfort me by feeding me, but my unexplainable fits would only get worse. So after six months, my parents, sleep-deprived and fed up, took me to the doctor and begged him to do something. A myriad of tests and diets turned up something unexpected: I was allergic to milk. Today the words “milk allergy” often invoke pills, LACTAID milk and stomachaches. When I would tell people I was allergic to milk, they would respond by commenting, “Oh, so you’re lactose intolerant.” What many don’t realize is that lactose intolerance is biologically different from a milk allergy, not merely a term coined to differentiate based on the severity of the reaction to the allergen. Those who have an intolerance to milk lack proper levels of the enzyme lactase that digests lactose, the sugar found in milk. LACTAID pills counter lactose intolerance by supplying the body with the lactase enzyme, thus allowing the body to ingest products containing milk. Likewise, LACTAID milk is devoid of lactose. In contrast, food allergies entail an immune system reaction when even a small amount of the allergen is ingested. In a sense, the body treats the allergen as poison, attacking it with immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that detect and warn the body of the presence of the allergen. These antibodies elicit the release of chemicals, including histamine, that trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling of the lips and tongue and lifethreatening anaphylactic shock in extreme cases. With a milk allergy, lactose-free products are no less dangerous than regular milk products. It is the milk protein, not lactose, that triggers the immune system reaction. For nearly 13 years, I lived with a milk allergy. I didn’t eat ice cream until eighth grade. My childhood passed without hot chocolate on snowy winter days. I grew up without buttering my bread, without pouring milk on my cereal, without sprinkling cheese on my pasta. But milk products never tempted me. I’d simply never known what it was like to live with them. Entering school brought many challenges. For the first time, my food intake would be much less controlled by my parents and more controlled by me. And in case I had a reaction, my parents would not be there to advise me on what to do. When an allergic reaction occurs, those with severe allergies may be instructed by doctors to first take Benadryl and then, if the reaction is serious enough, to use an EpiPen. Benadryl is an antihistamine used to treat minor symptoms, such as hives, and EpiPens are injectors of epinephrine designed to keep the symptoms of anaphylaxis at bay until 911 can be called and professional medical treatment can be obtained. As I could have potentially had an allergic reaction during the school day, I had to keep Benadryl and an EpiPen on hand in the clinic. The county’s medical policy, however, apparently did not agree with the treatment plan prescribed by my doctor. The nurse crossed out the doctor’s instructions on my medical form and wrote, “First use EpiPen, then Benadryl if needed.” As using an EpiPen involved jabbing a rather large needle into my thigh, I was absolutely terrified. Part of the fear of my having an allergic reaction while at school stemmed from the fact that severe food allergies do not always require the allergen to be ingested to trigger a reaction. Many milk-based soaps and hand lotions can be found in grocery stores and are best avoided

by those with a milk allergy. However, what became even more concerning to me as I grew older was that I could react to foods that did not specify milk as an ingredient on their packages. Cross-contamination occurs when a food product that does not contain an allergen comes into contact with the allergen and thus can possess miniscule amounts of it, sometimes enough to cause a reaction. This can occur in a number of places including at home, in a restaurant, or during food production. While those with mild allergies do not have to worry about cross-contamination, it is a major problem for those with severe allergies. For example, if a vegetable is diced on a board on which cheese has just been sliced, the vegetable could contain minute amounts of milk protein. In food production, products that contain an allergen may be processed using the same equipment, or on the same line, as those that don’t. When these foods are labeled and put up for sale, the words “May contain milk, eggs, and treenuts,”or any other combination of allergens, are printed in agate type under the ingredient list. Cross-contamination is a huge variable in restaurants, making it extremely difficult to eat out with a severe food allergy. Very few restaurants have the resources to maintain separate equipment to guarantee the prevention of cross contamination. And worse yet is the lack of knowledge many face when they try to explain their allergy to the wait staff, or even the chef. I have been served dishes obviously containing cheese multiple times after informing the staff of my dietary restrictions. By age 12 the doctors said it was unlikely I would ever get rid of my allergy. Then, halfway through seventh grade, our health insurance plan changed, and I had to switch allergists. The new allergist had a blood test done, and my IgE levels were low enough that they could try a food challenge. New studies on food challenges and milk allergies showed that if I could tolerate small quantities of baked goods containing milk, I could essentially desensitize my immune system slowly. When milk protein is baked into foods like muffins and cakes, the heat causes the protein’s conformation to shift slightly. It becomes just different enough that graphics by Anjali Khanna the antibodies, assuming their levels are low enough, will let the disguised protein slip by. I was able to tolerate baked milk and spent the next year eating a muffin, cookie or bread containing milk every day. So, on a cloudy morning in early March 2012, I walked into the allergist’s office for the last time. I climbed the stairs, fraught with angst over the four hours ahead. The challenge was planned so that I would start small, testing less than half a spoonful of yogurt, eventually working my way up to an entire cup. I was so close to being free of my allergy, and yet something sank in my stomach. I could not push a single thought from my mind: What if something goes wrong? Somehow, those four hours of my life managed to pass. I made it out alive. But through it all, there is still something inside of me that cringes when I pick up a piece of pizza, or a container of yogurt, or a bowl of ice cream. It’s a result of those 13 odd years of my life during which I diligently watched my diet, reading every nutrition label, scanning for “may contain milk” and suspicious ingredients that could maybe, just maybe, contain my body’s idea of poison. I don’t think it will ever quite go away.



february 14, 2014

CELEBRATING CULTURE Students from the High School Affiliated to Renmin University (RDFZ) perform one of their dances, “Our Time, Our World.” graphics by Anjali Khanna and Sandy Cho

Chinese student art troupe showcases cultural dances by Esther Kim Features Editor With virtuoso skill and swift movements, a group of young dancers dominated the stage with immaculate coordination and elegance as their white dress fluttered and the golden accessories glistened in the darkness. The dancers are current members of an art troupe in the High School Affiliated to Renmin University (RDFZ), one of the most prestigious high schools in China.The RDFZ Performance Art Toupe, which is currently in the midst of their American tour, visited Jefferson Feb. 5 as one of their venues. “The art troupe performs in countries all across the world,” senior Michelle Chen, the vice president of Chinese Honor Society (CHS) said. “TJ is lucky to have them perform at our school.” Due to a sudden two-hour delay on Feb. 5, the original 90-minute performance had to be condensed to fit in the 1-hour block provided for eighth period blocks. The performance consisted of a variety of dances, songs, acrobatic movements and martial arts, providing the audience a glimpse into the unique repository of Chinese tradition and culture. “I had known that Chinese students were very disciplined, but the level at which they performed was beyond belief,” sophomore Faith Ellen Lam said. “I wouldn’t have minded a little less sleep if I could have been able to watch the rest of the program.” The troupe began their program with the performance, “Our Time, Our World,” a classical Chinese dance performed by female students. The show then continued with a trio of singers who showcased their high vocals. Afterwards, students featured their immaculate skills in aerobics and martial arts, ending the show with a collaboration of all of the members performing on

the stage. “I thought the performance was phenomenal,” senior Eric Bo, the president of CHS, said. “I was blown away by the huge amount of talent the performers had and was so glad I got to see such an amazing show.” Through the one-day event, CHS hoped that the performance would deepen the students’ awareness of the cultural and artistic aspects of Chinese culture, hopefully shedding a new light into their long-held prejudices or thoughts on Chinese traditional dances and broadening the fascination of Chinese culture in the Jefferson community. “I think it is important to be aware of other cultures, not only on the surface, but also really digging deep into their habits, traditions and even dances,” Chen said. The performance acted as a springboard for an opportunity to communicate with students from two contrasting cultures at opposite areas of the world, as both Jefferson and RDFZ students interacted throughout the performance through intermittent applauses and welcoming smiles. “I am glad to have visited America to perform,” Sherry Yin, one of the students at RDFZ, said. “I believe we can be friends.” The club, with its tenets primarily centered on the appreciation and spread of Chinese culture at Jefferson, believes that students will gain a broader spectrum of its culture and the arts through their continuing efforts to organize unique cultural events and eventually deepen the students’ fascination in the transcendental and boundless influence of the culture of China. “CHS allows members to learn about Chinese culture not from a typical lecture format but by partaking in interactive activities with friends,” Chen said.

by Stav Nachum Sports Editor Every year International Night (I-Nite) is the most celebrated night at Jefferson as students from dozens of different clubs share the stage to share their heritage and relish the experience of showing off their favorite talent on a stage in front of the rest of the school. This year I-Nite will be held on Feb. 28 at George Mason University (GMU). In previous years the rush to get I-Nite tickets seemed to be madness as students stood in lines and ravenously attempted to get tickets to this easily sold out show. This year, however, ticket sales were completely different. The most obvious difference is the change in medium. Now that Jefferson has secured the show at GMU, Jefferson’s I-Nite is now an official college-level production. With that, however, comes the logistical planning that with over a thousand seats, the normal method was not only unfeasible, but also presented many issues. “As a result of the new venue and more seating, we switched ticket sales to an online approach, similar to any concert you would go to,” senior Tarun Prabhala said. “This allowed us to better organize ticket sales and avoid as many issues as we could with ticket accessibility.” Even though there are many more seats than there were in previous years, I-Nite tickets still sold out quickly. Some students, prior to sales, even believed that the ticketing site would crash when tickets were first being sold due to heightened activity on the site. “Since there is a change in venue, we are selling over six hundred more tickets compared

to last year,” senior Jaidan Ali said. “More students will definitely have the opportunity to attend because of the online ticket sales since we have relieved a lot of tension that was present in previous years’ ticket sales.” The new location for I-Nite not only changed the ticket sales and I-Nite hype, but also preparation of the culture clubs taking part in I-Nite with their performances. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed I-Nite last year, but I can assure you that the quality of the acts is going to be a lot higher this year. With much stricter deadlines, we got other clubs, not just Namaste, to start planning earlier,” sophomore Dhruv Gupta said. “With GMU, we have huge opportunities to grow and have a bigger, better show.” As the clock counts down the days to the most anticipated event, clubs across the school prepare their routines and events for their moments on the stage. Jefferson students across all clubs want I-Nite 2014 to be the remembered as one of the most successful shows in Jefferson history and anticipate the show to achieve new heights in act quality, entertainment value and, of course, revenue. “No matter how high I set my expectations for I-Nite, it never fails to surpass them,” Prabhala said. “To be honest, I stopped expecting things for an event of this caliber because I know it’ll be amazing. You can look at it like a few minutes on a stage with your friends, or you can look at it like a culmination of passion, hard work and culture – all within your reach, all in the presence of your closest friends, all with the most amazing crowd of a lifetime.”

Namaste implements new ticket sale procedure

Latin program celebrates traditional Lupercalia festival by Anjali Khanna Features Editor All due to the Jefferson Latin Honor Society (LHS), eighth period on Feb. 14 will be filled with food, fun, friends heads? In celebration of the ancient Roman fertility festival Lupercalia, the Latin program has planned a special block for students from around the school to get a taste of what Roman culture on this day was really like. Lupercalia, which was originally celebrated between Feb 13 and Feb. 15 each year, is said to be the first Valentine’s Day festival promoting love and fertility. According to Roman history, Luperci, or youthful priests during the holiday, would begin the celebration by sacrificing a goat or dog to Lupercus, the Roman god of the shepherds. After this ritual was performed, the youths would run through the cities naked, gently striking women who wished to conceive with strips of the skin of the sacrificed animals. Every year, LHS takes on its own rendition of this ancient Roman event, during eighth period for all to attend. “The Latin Honor Society has a little tag game of sorts planned,” senior Anthony Carrington, a Pro-Consul of LHS, said. “The point of the game is to be partnered with someone when the music, which is playing, stops.” During the game, the player must avoid being touched by those running around without partners. If the player is touched by a partnerless player, he or she must enter the “fertility zone,” and his or her partner is taken by the other player. The only way out of this zone is to be “re-fertilized” by someone who is wearing a horse mask and holding a

felt “whip.” “The Lupercalia game itself is probably my favorite part of the festival,” senior Anwar Omeish, also a Pro-Consul of LHS said. “Students really get into it and it is a great way to spend an eighth period.” During the week preceding Lupercalia, LHS also organized a candygram for students around Jefferson near Valentine’s Day. Formally called “mittendamanti,” these packages can be sent with little phrases in Latin attached. “Lupercalia is always a fun way to experience Roman culture,” sophomore Shirali Nigam said. “After spending hours learning Latin, it’s nice to get to participate in such activities and actually experience the things you are learning about.” Senior Andrew Coffee, Consul of the Latin Honor Society, wears the horse mask for annual Lupercalia games. photo courtesy of Anthony Carrington


february 14, 2014


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february 14, 2014

information from Jefferson Pyramid Youth Survey

information from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

information from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

information from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

information from Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

information from Jefferson Pyramid Youth Survey

graphics and reporting by Lindsay Williams and Yena Seo

February 2014