February 2015

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FEBRUARY 18, 2015

First Amendment P.8-9


cracking UNDER pressure SMARTR goals, possible JLC elimination pose problems by Stav Nachum and Lindsay Williams News Editor and Online Editor-in-Chief Students think of teacher workdays as a welldeserved break after a stressful quarter, while teachers have quite a different view. But at the end of this semester, teachers had even less time for scoring assignments and finalizing grades, due to a scheduled Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) “strategic planning” day. Some teachers feel that their workloads are becoming a growing problem. With the onset of strategic and specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, time-bound and rigorous (SMARTR) goals assessments, teachers now have to grade three additional high-intensity assignments every year, which are not always directly relevant to classroom material. “An experienced teacher watches his or her students and can see the progress they’re making, and a good teacher is constantly adjusting what they do in the classroom to bring each student to the next level,” chemistry teacher Hadan Kauffman said. “Under SMARTR goals, to artificially group students into three categories to show that you’re extending the range for some and closing the gap for others simply doesn’t match the reality of the classroom. Students change categories from topic to topic; it’s not how we teach.” The increased quantity of assessments and decreased amount of grading time also affects Integrated Biology, English and Technology (IBET) teachers, most of whom have approximately 20 more students across their IBETs this year. “Outside the classroom, 20 more of everything means hours longer in terms of grading,” English teacher Emily Orser said. “This makes it harder to stay on top of grading when you are attempting to prepare the freshmen for scientific and analytical writing and give detailed advice and notes on their papers.”

This problem does not have an easy solution. FCPS requires teachers to record at least one grade per week and encourages them to have two. Jefferson teachers also have to maintain rigor in their curriculum. “It’s a very tricky situation because you have to consider all of the factors and all of the colleagues in any decision you make,” Orser said. Unfortunately, the IBET situation is a result of budget cuts, meaning the Jefferson administration has very little flexibility. According to Principal Evan Glazer, teachers are compensated for the extra students, but the additional workload is still difficult to manage. “Any teacher who feels overwhelmed by workload is encouraged to speak with their supervisor to develop some strategies.,” Glazer said. “These may include, but are not limited to, cutting back on assessments and labs to grade, asking students to peergrade small assessments before they are submitted, grading fewer homework assignments, etc. In essence, teachers still give feedback on work, but focus on what matters most.” Next year, teachers may receive even less planning time. FCPS has proposed to take away modified start times, in response to the elimination of half-day Mondays for elementary schools. This would include taking away Jefferson Learning Community (JLC), which teachers use for collaboration with other team members. Teachers are not the only ones who factor JLC into their weekly plans; students also use the hour to study and sleep in. Just as teachers face increasing demands, students have a plethora of responsibilities for every day. For example, the average Jefferson student must juggle homework, sports practice, extracurricular activities, chores and other tasks in a typical week, in addition to the long commute that plenty of students continued on p. 2 photo illustration by Ellen Kan

Commmunity grieves loss of Class of 2013 graduate by Sandy Cho and Ellen Kan Online Editor-in-Chief and Print Editor-in-Chief An Ton, a Jefferson Class of 2013 alumna, passed away on Feb. 5. Ton was a sophomore at Wellesley College, where she was majoring in biological sciences. Ton was known for her musical talent and artistic spirit, and her death left many Jefferson students, teachers and alumni to look back on the cherished memories they made together. “She was so creative. She learned to play the piano, ukulele and guitar on her own. She composed music, wrote poetry and could sing,” guidance counselor Sean Burke, who was also Ton’s counselor at Jefferson, said. “She


was comfortable in her own skin, unafraid to be herself. I admired that and it motivated me to be more authentic.” Many of Ton’s younger friends remember her as a steady support figure and mentor. Class of 2014 alumna Lauren Mostrom first met Ton when they played on the junior varsity (JV) soccer team in 2011. Ton later gave Mostrom a warm welcome when the latter decided to join the Wellesley College Class of 2018. “An always made me feel as though I wasn’t alone - that was a talent of hers,” Mostrom, now a freshman at Wellesley, said. “What I’ll miss most was the way she smiled with her eyes, gave a small nod, and said, ‘Don’t wor-

Vaccinations should be required for all


ry, it’ll be fine’ whenever I felt nervous about any of the problems that seem insurmountable when you’re 15.” For junior Cheryl Mensah, another close friend of Ton’s, Ton inspired her to channel her energy in Mental Wellness Week, which was hosted by the Active Minds eighth period club from Feb. 9-13. “People I had never talked to before reached out to me right after An died, and it makes me happy to know how supportive the TJ community is,” Mensah said. Both a viewing on Feb. 11 and the funeral on Feb. 12. incorporated traditional Buddhist themes. Presented in Ton’s native language, the events focused on how

Bulería celebrates Spanish culture


life is transformed. Teachers and ber Ton for her involvement in alumni attended both events to activities such the Gay Straight pay their reAlliance (GSA) spects to Ton. and French Honor “An taught Society (FHS), but us how to what many friends have courwill miss the most age in being about Ton is her who you are caring nature. and not hid“She always ing,” Burke, made time for who attended people, and she these ceremowould remember nies, said. everything I would “She lived life tell her,” Class of on her terms 2014 graduate Sib and never setShewit, a freshman tled for anyat the University of thing less.” Notre Dame, said. photo courtesy of Techniques The Jeffer“I always felt like son community will also remem- she really listened to me.”

Can love be defined in 36 questions?


Black History Month inspires conversation



february 18, 2015

Kudos & Accomplishments Thomas Jefferson Model United Nations Team (TJMUN) wins big individually and as a team at the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) On Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, the TJMUN team attended ILMUNC at the University of Pennsylvania and won nine Best Delegate awards, eight Outstanding Delegate Awards, six Honorable Mentions, and 14 Verbal Commendations. As a whole team, TJMUN also received the Secretary General's Best Large Delegation Award, the Franklin Cup.

Danalache moves onto semifinalist stage of the Science Talent Search (Intel STS) competition Senior Edi Danalache was one of two FCPS students to be recognized at the Intel STS competition. His project dealt with categorizing mild traumatic brain injuries.

Scholastic Writing Awards winners announced Several Jefferson students were recognized as regional winners of the Scholastic Writing Awards hosted by Writopia Lab D.C. Gold Keys were awarded to seniors Tara Abrishami, Pooja Chandrashekar and Anna Weidman, juniors Joyce Hong and Jonathan Zheng, sophomores Suzie Bae, Richa Gupta and Ahnaf Khan and freshman Mei Baek. Silver Keys were won by seniors Shani Cave, Carrie Heilbrun, Katrina Junta, Ellen Kan and Shreya Nandi, juniors Megan Do, Victoria Yang and Jonathan Zheng and sophomores Katherine Ahn, Zara Batalvi, Caitlyn Ling and Thinh Tu.

Chandrashekar receives Bushboys and Poets award for senior writing portfolio scholarship Senior Pooja Chandrashekar was awarded The Busboys and Poets $1,000 Senior Portfolio Scholarship for her collection entitled "The Road to Discovery."

Jefferson Science Fair results released The Jefferson Science Fair was held on Feb. 4. Students competed in 16 categories. The following won first place in their respective categories: junior Prerana Katiyar (Animal Sciences), senior Pooja Chandrashekar (Behavioral and Social Sciences), senior Linda Allworth and sophomore Shruti Anant (Biochemistry), sophomore Prathik Naidu (Cellular and Molecular Biology), seniors Adrien Bernard and Janice Ong (Chemistry), junior Claire Scoggins and sophomore Rohan Suri (Computer Science), juniors Charlie Guan, Doyle Lee and Julian Vallyeason (Energy and Transportation), junior Ava Lakmazaheri (Engineering: Electrical and Mechanical), senior Richard Oh (Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering), junior Andrew Park (Environmental Management), junior Akhil Waghmare (Environmental Sciences), senior Sara Kim (Mathematics), seniors Jessica Kim and Jessica Wu and junior Tarun Kamath (Medicine and Health Sciences), senior Matthew Park (Microbiology) senior Brian Li and juniors Andy Charbonneau and Michael You (Physics and Astronomy), senior Lily Wittle and juniors Jennifer Lee and Ai Mochida (Plant Sciences).

tjTODAY Online To see see more visitvisit our website at tjhsst. To morenews, news, our website at edu/studentlife/publications/tjTODAY tjtoday.org

Colonials join contest to meet Ed Sheeran by Anjali Khanna Features Editor First, the Colonials wanted Taylor Swift, and now they want Ed Sheeran. This year, like in previous years Jefferson entered tutoring service Chegg’s annual Chegg + Music competition, which funds a pop star’s visit to a high school or university. After making it to the top 25 this year, Jefferson students sent in their last votes on Feb. 13, with fingers crossed that it would be enough to bring Ed Sheeran to campus. In the past, Jefferson has had positive experiences entering large-name competitions like Chegg’s. For example, in Coke Zero’s national “Sweater Generator” competition in 2013 six students’ sweaters reached the top 100. Chegg’s competition is a little different. For one, sec-

ondary schools and universities are grouped into separate categories. And second, only the school with the most votes gets to host Ed Sheeran. Senior Ana Malhotra, the creator of the Facebook campaign “Bring Ed Sheeran to TJ,” hoped to win because she wants to hear Sheeran live. “He’s always putting out amazing music, and he has a unique sound,” Malhotra said. “I’m really proud that we were able to make it to top 100 and then top 25.” Other students have joined Malhotra in the campaign to get votes for the competition. Some cast their votes each day in hopes winning. “Ed Sheeran has a way of writing that’s so cleverly poetic,” sophomore Kristin Myers said. “He’s definitely my favorite artist.”

Students and teachers suffer full workloads continued from p. 1 have each day to arrive at school. This study time during JLC plays a vital part in completing these tasks. “Every week, JLC serves as a time when I can catch up on sleep if I need to or finish studying for a test or a homework assignment I couldn’t get to the night before,” junior Vanya Vojvodic said. “Without JLC, I would have a much harder time keeping up with all of my responsibilities.” But JLC, while helpful to a certain extent, is not enough to help balance

the student workload, especially at Jefferson. Some students use their long commute to their advantage, sleeping or doing homework while on the bus. Others, however, find the need to pull an allnighter once in a while just to stay on top of assignments. “TJ has definitely been a stressful experience,” senior Shirley Burt said. “Reflecting back on the last few years, I can honestly say that there were weeks when there wasn’t enough time to finish everything I needed and wanted to do.”


PHASE TWO of the renovations is officially

under way. Over the next 12 months, significant construction on the CENTER OF THE BUILDING will be completed. • There are currently regular AIR QUALITY TESTS occurring in the school to ensure that it agrees with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) REGULATIONS. • In the LEARNING COTTAGES, there have been coatings added to the trailers to prevent slipping. • New VISITOR PARKING LOT at the front of the building is officially open. • Due to unanticipated complications, the NEW FRONT DOME is still delayed and will not be open to student access until NEXT SCHOOL YEAR. photo illustration by Esther Kim and Stav Nachum

Homework Committee attempts to provide valid solutions to stress by Esther Kim Opinion Editor Convening for the first time since the beginning of the school year, the Jefferson Homework Expectations curriculum team will hold a meeting on Feb. 24, during which students, faculty and parents will have the chance to propose suggestions on homework policies that could be implemented to relieve students’ stress. “The most important issue that we’re trying to address is finding a way to lighten the workload for students,” freshman Victoria Chuah, the student representative for the Class of 2018, said. “Many students are constantly swamped with different assignments, and while it’s important that they have them, many times there will be tests and papers from other classes along with the assignments.” Established as a venue for the administration, parents, students and teachers to share their views on homework management the Homework Committee to

works to generate recommendations for the Jefferson Leadership Team for possible implementation. The team, led by Assistant Principal Shawn Frank, calls attention to the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) guidelines for homework regulations, in which the School Board recommends that high school students have no more than two hours of homework per day, regardless of the difficulty of the course. “I think most can agree that at TJ a rule like this isn’t feasible, not only because it’s hard to regulate, but also because of all of the special college-level courses we offer,” sophomore Kristin Myers, the Class of 2017 student representative, said. “I think the biggest problem is balancing a class’s workload with rigor -- what amount of homework is necessary to optimize a student’s stress level while still providing the unique, advanced curriculum we have here at TJ.” The four student representatives for the committee, Chuah, senior Anant

Das, junior Andrew Howard and Myers, collect their corresponding class’s views on homework and share their ideas for improvement. Additionally, teachers from each department, including humanities, social studies and math, attend the meetings to represent their particular subject area. “It is like when we have representation in a government,” Frank said. “We can’t only think about ourselves -- we have to think about our constituents.” Despite weather-related cancellations of meetings, the Homework Committee has gathered suggestions and opinions on homework management from the Jefferson community. “Last meeting was the brainstorming phase of the committee, so before then I posted in our Facebook group asking members of my class about issues they face relating to homework or what ideas they had for possible solutions,” Myers said. “I compiled these and shared some of them at the meeting.”

Starting with the Feb. 24 meeting, the Homework Committee hopes to successfully recognize the issue of homework management and efficient studying. Additionally, two follow-up meetings are planned for March to further discuss the best policies on homework for all the members of the school community. “We want our students to be productive,” Frank said. “We want them to not always focus on what they do, but how they do it.” The committee hopes to collect various opinions about homework from different members in Jefferson and act as the medium for communicating ongoing issues with pragmatic suggestions and possible enforcements in the future. “I’m really encouraged by the progress the committee has made,” Myers said. “Having administration, parents, teachers and students alike advocating for a more regulated homework policy at TJ could really contribute to a positive change in our culture.”


february 18, 2015

NEWSMAKERS Seliskar sets regional record

photo courtesy of Arianna Chen

The News Senior Andrew Seliskar set the regional record for the 200-yard individual medley at the 5A North Region Championships. Backstory On Feb. 6, individual swimmers from Thomas Jefferson Swim and Dive (TJSD) participated in the post-season 5A North Region Championships. TJSD has been known for their high awards and standings at post-season meets, so there was little surprise when TJSD placed eight swimmers on the podium. Star swimmer Seliskar performed exceptionally well despite feeling sore the day of the meet. In the 200-yard individual medley, Seliskar set a regional record time of 1:48:95. He also became the secondfastest 100-yard butterfly swimmer in Virginia High School League (VHSL) history with a personal record (PR) of 47.14. “I was happy with the swim and how well TJSD was swimming on both the men’s and women’s teams,” Seliskar said. “We’re all really excited to go after the state championship.” Along with his individual races, Seliskar also helped the Colonials defend their regional title through his team’s medley relays. Among the eight swimmers who placed, two reached the top. Among those were Columbia-bound senior Luke Thorsell, who won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.93. Jefferson advanced the maximum number of swimmers to States. “As the TJSD manager, I have seen some extraordinary improvement from the beginning of the year from almost every swimmer,” junior Andrew Huang said. “Seliskar has trained exceptionally hard and I’m so happy for him that he PRed.” - Kate Deng

Chung featured in art museum

Ocean Bowl places first

photo courtesy of Emily Sun

photo courtesy of Maya Chung

The News Smithsonian’s “Artists at Work” exhibit features senior Maya Chung for her ink drawing “Redbay,” inspired by scientific samples. Backstory On Feb. 4, a panel of jurors selected Jefferson senior Maya Chung’s work and 55 others from over 170 submitted entries from the Smithsonian community. The Smithsonian Institute will be displaying their artwork during the fourth annual “Artists at Work” at the Ripley Center. At 17, Maya Chung was the only artist under 18 to be selected. The juried show, which is designed to bring out hidden talents in the Smithsonian community, runs from Feb. 4 to May 1. Chung was inspired during the two years she spent as an intern at the museum, where she mounted biological specimens and worked with invertebrates retrieved from hydrothermal vents. She used botanical samples of Persea borbonia from the museum’s butterfly garden to create an ink illustration that resembles a scientific drawing. “Much of what I do at the Natural History Museum has to do with public outreach and education, and I find that illustration is a universal way to capture people’s scientific interest,” Chung said. “Scientific illustrations are unique in that they can preserve specimens forever and modify them -- fix broken or missing parts.” Chung considers herself both a scientist and an artist. After graduating Jefferson, she plans to attend Harvard University and study physics while also doing art in her free time. The “Artists at Work” exhibition was the first contest for which Chung used a scientific style of drawing. “I feel very honored to be in the exhibit. I only started getting into scientific illustrating last summer, and this was the first time I submitted a scientific illustration to an art contest,” Chung said. “I’m excited to go see it and the rest of the exhibit.” - Mei Baek


The News The Jefferson Ocean Bowl team placed first in the Chesapeake Bay Bowl. Backstory On Feb. 7, the Jefferson Ocean Bowl team participated in the Chesapeake Bay Bowl at George Mason University. The team placed first with a score of 154 to 31 in the final round. They will now be able to advance to the finals of the 2015 National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Mississippi that will be held from April 23-26. “It was actually really exciting,” junior Jared Nirenberg, captain of the team, said. “Obviously our goal was to win, but the very first round of the competition we lost, and that obviously shook us up a bit. It also really drove us into high gear and we kind of rode that wave all the way to the end and used it to help us win.” This year’s Ocean Bowl team consists primarily of new faces, many of which are underclassmen who have little experience in the high school Ocean Bowl competitions. Thus, this win was rather unexpected, even if the team was pleased with the final result. “I was not really expecting that we would place first because most people on the team are new. It was really a happy surprise that we made it to finals and placed first,” freshman Katherine Barbano said. Although the team placed first, their work is not done. In order to prepare for the national level, the following weeks will entail rigorous weekend meetings and practices. “We want to do the best we can, and we just want to have a good time and work our hardest and try to do as well as you can,” Barbano said. - Uzma Rentia




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february 18, 2015

Brian Williams’ fall from grace tjTODAY serves as a cautionary tale Volume 30 Issue 5

2014 Pacemaker - NSPA 2014 Trophy Class - VHSL 2013 All-American - NSPA 2013 Gold Medalist - CSPA

Editorial Board Print Editor-in-Chief Ellen Kan

Online Editors-in-Chief Sandy Cho Lindsay Williams

Design Editor Alexis Williams

News Editor Stav Nachum

Opinion Editor Esther Kim

Features Editor Anjali Khanna

Lead Editorial

same time because we are on both the giving and receiving end of the news. Not only are we committed to serving Jefferson as a vehicle for student expression, but we also look up to media titans when we search for advice or precedent on a particular issue. We idolize distinguished journalists for their professionalism, impeccable reporting and ability to engage with their audience. In this manner, we admired Williams for his masterful storytelling, a talent responsible for drawing in millions of viewers every night. His rare charisma, under ordinary circumstances, is nothing but praiseworthy, and it is also what make Williams’ sudden fall from grace so shocking and demoralizing. In a matter of days, Williams’ sterling reputation was tarnished, his personable face now regarded with suspicion and hostility. This scandal deals a heavy blow to the journalistic community. Williams may have sullied his own name, but he also dragged all of his colleagues through the mud. We commend NBC for responding to the controversy in an appropriate and proportionate manner, but there’s no doubt the broadcast television

tj TODAY’s unsigned majority opinion On Feb. 10, NBC Nightly News suspended Brian Williams, their head anchor and managing editor, after Williams was embroiled in a scandal involving misrepresentation of the truth. This disciplinary action followed after Williams related a questionable story about his coverage of the Iraq War in 2003; he claimed to have been inside a helicopter taken down by rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire. Frantic backpedaling and apologizing for the error were not enough to clear Williams’s name. The discrepancies between Williams’ accounts of his time in Iraq also prompted an internal review and investigation, which called into question several of Williams’ previous assignments, including his award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Ultimately, Williams was suspended without pay for six months, with NBCUniversal CEO Steven Burke calling the celebrated anchor’s actions “inexcusable” and the suspension “severe and appropriate.” Williams’ downfall hits close to home. As student journalists, we fill several roles at the

and radio network will have to go through some tough times as they deal with the continued fallout of Williams’ actions. Professional journalists, who are already regarded by the public with a wary eye, will also face even more scrutiny as they attempt to fulfill the duties of their demanding jobs. Williams’ disgraced departure thrusts some important issues into the spotlight. How do we decide in which news organization or journalist we can place our trust? How can Williams redeem himself in the public’s eye after an incident of such magnitude? How much embellishment turns a truth into a lie? For us, the staff of tjTODAY, the most important question involves the relationship between the manipulation of the truth and public appeal. As Williams climbed the ladder of success, he walked the fine line between accuracy and sensationalism, dabbling in the gray areas of the truth. Just as doctors must swear to the Hippocratic Oath, we, as journalists, must always uphold one fundamental law: to tell the truth, no matter what. Williams violated the public’s trust, and we hope that his story will serve as a reminder that integrity should never be sacrificed for the sake of persuasion and selfpromotion.

Entertainment Editor Kate Deng

Sports Editor Akhil Waghmare

Business Manager Esther Kim

Staff Reporters Annie Abraham Mei Baek Sruthi Jayaraman Uzma Rentia

Guest Writers Pranav Baderdinni Peter Gunnarson Arun Kannan Pegah Moradi Zoe Wang Michael Woon Stefan Young

Adviser Erinn Harris

MPAA should reconsider how to rate movies by Stav Nachum News Editor Sex. Profanity. Violence. Nudity. These are the four aspects of movies that are judged when it comes to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating process. The ratings that we have come to know include general audiences (G), parental guidance suggested (PG), parental guidance suggested for audiences under 13 (PG-13) and restricted audiences only (R). Yet beyond these common four, there remain the ratings of no one 17 and under admitted (NC-17), MPAA movie ratings for adults only (X), unrated (UR) and not rated (NR). Yet, even with such a wide range of ratings, it seems that this set of letters is not always accurate or effective when it comes to rating films. This issue has come into light once more with the release of “Fifty Shades of Grey” on Valentine’s Day. The risque movie, which features a Bondage, Discipline/ Domination, Submissions/Sadism and

Masochism (BDSM) couple, was surprisingly given only an R rating, even though there are several pornographic scenes in the novel that were likely carried over to the movie. In fact, on the day that the rating was released to the public, journalists and parents turned to social media to express their disbelief for such a mild rating for the risque film. Throughout the years, the MPAA and the public have had dramatic disagreements over movie ratings. For example, “The King’s Speech” and “Once” were both unexpectedly given an R rating simply for profanity when many movie goers thought they should have only been PG-13. Conversely, movies such as the “Twilight” parody entitled “Vampires Suck” were only rated PG-13 when viewers thought it should have been at least R due to nudity. Although movie ratings are essential to ensure that young children and teenagers are not subjected to inappropriate films, perhaps we need to rethink how mov-

ies receive their ratings. We should have different ratings entirely for R movies depending on their sexual content, violence and profanity. Some parents are willing to allow their profanity, but are uncomfortable with their children viewing sexually explicit material. The MPAA does currently accompany each rating with a concise explanation of the movie’s inappropriate content, but it would be more efficient if entirely new ratings were created. Today, films are consistently rated above or below what audiences believe they should be. While ratings are incredibly subjective depending on the person who views them and there seems to be a dramatic rift between what the MPAA and the general public believes, the solution can be fairly simple. The MPAA should provide more detailed ratings as to what awaits movie goers within each film they view. Perhaps using this method, fewer films will slip through the cracks and receive ratings they do not deserve.

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: www.tjtoday.org

Vaccines are integral for a healthy community No one likes getting sick and at Jefferson, we all know how easy it is to catch the latest strain of the “TJ Plague.” Currently, medical research has developed vaccines for many different diseases and has SRUTHI JAYARAMAN successfully eradicated some of the more lethal ones, such as smallpox and polio. However, these illnesses can sometimes resurface if people stop getting vaccinated. This is how measles reappeared. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles was eradicated in the United States in 2000, but unvaccinated travelers from other countries can spread the disease to those who are not protected against measles. This explains the measles outbreak in Disneyland, where as reported by NBC, 42 visitors were diagnosed with measles from a suspected infected person who had visited the park. Many of these infected visitors had not received the measles vaccination. Recently more and more parents have opted their kids out of getting vaccinations for many dis-

eases, including measles. According to a U.S. Public Health Science public health report, of parents who delay and refuse vaccines, 63 percent fear that vaccines can cause serious side effects and 57 percent say they worry that vaccines can cause autism. All vaccines carry risks, but the appearance of detrimental side effects is very rare. Specifically for measles, the risk of serious harm or even death from the MMRV vaccine is extremely small. The CDC says that getting the vaccine is much safer than actually acquiring measles and other diseases. Autism was also a potential concerning side effect of receiving vaccines, but a review by the Institute of Medicine concluded that there was no relationship between vaccines and getting autism, so it should not be something parents should be worried about their children acquiring. The measles vaccine is extremely effective in preventing the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from 2000 to 2013 the measles vaccine caused a 75 percent drop in deaths from measles worldwide; it prevented about 15.6 million measles deaths. The CDC maintains that getting one dose of the measles vaccines is 93 percent effective for prevention, and two doses is 97 percent effective. The benefits of receiving vaccines greatly outweigh the extremely low risks associated with them. After hearing about the possible case of measles in Fairfax County, getting vaccinated seems to be the sensible solution.

illustration and photo by Esther Kim


february 18, 2015


Artificial Intelligence: Vice or virtue? AI poses great danger for the future

Positive potential in AI should be preserved by ethical guidelines Last November, a Japanese artificial intelligence (AI) program named To-Robo made a breakthrough in computing by scoring higher than an average Japanese high school student on the English section of the nation’s annual college entrance exam. The researchers, who have seen massive improvements in the program’s performance since last year, hope ESTHER KIM that To-Robo will be qualified enough to attend Japan’s most prestigious university, Tokyo University, in the future. Now, the question that has been bugging our technological minds becomes more apparent. Are we making these machines too smart for us to handle? Today, AI is not a typical science fiction fantasy. At Jefferson, students interested in computer science (CS) have the opportunity to take either a semester-long or a year-long course on AI, and information technology (IT) behemoths such as Google and Facebook have long been promoting the incorporation of CS into everyday education. More countries, especially Japan, have been leading cutting-edge research in CS and AI developments. AI is already heavily incorporated into our everyday life. This is a technology that enables Google to expand its search program, allows Siri to function like an almost-human being, and develops machines such as Watson from IBM to win “Jeopardy!” games. Furthermore, in the near future, AI may be used to diagnose a patient’s disease. From biology to engineering, the vast applications of AI seem to correlate with its rapid developments and an optimistic outlook. Although developments in AI are still in their primitive state and computers do not yet have the ability to think exactly like a human brain, Stephen Hawking has mentioned that AI could “spell the end of the human race.” However, in a society where technology is constantly evolving and becoming more complex, it doesn’t make sense to eradicate AI and its almost infinite potentials. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, claimed that concerns over AI should not be targeted to the technology itself, but to the society that will have to react properly to the incoming technology. He insists we need to be more cognizant of AI’s applications in order to utilize it with an ethical mindset. With the vast reservoir of AI’s positive potentials waiting for be discovered, developments in AI will certainly increase. As the desire for an easier, simpler and faster lifestyle spurs growth in modern technology, it is evident that sooner or later machines will be able to fully mimic the intelligence of a human brain. With this future approaching, it becomes more essential that we are fully educated and aware of the world that we would face, and being able to face it with an ethical and positive outlook.

Last fall, engineers at the NTT lab in Fujitsu, Japan, got one step closer to their goal of building an artificial intelligence (AI) program MEI BAEK that could pass the Tokyo University entrance exams. Their program, nicknamed Todai Robot (To-Robo), was able to score higher than the average high-school senior on the English portion of the exam. To-Robo scored 95 on the English section of the exam; the average score for a high school senior is 93.1. Some argue that computer programs like ToRobo are a sign of humanity’s progress. They remain a human invention, able to be controlled. Humans still possess a currently unachievable advantage in creative and social intelligence, the ability to create new solutions to unexpected problems. That must keep our jobs safe from robot takeover. With computer software to take the burden of complex calculations that are time-consuming but lack creativity, humans can dedicate more time to



FEB 2015:

The largest bank in Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group,will introduce its first robot employee, Nao

FEB 2015:

Recent research develops computers that are trained to perceive emotions associoated with images

JAN 2015:

MIT presents new algorithm that enhances the object recognition process for robots

DEC 2014:

Robotic arms controlled by the human mind learn complex hand techniques

other studies. AI could serve as the catalyst for a whole new level of innovation and discovery. Or, more likely, it will start humanity’s deevolution. The rise of AI has been a controversial topic since it was first introduced. Critics are supported by terrifying science fiction scenes of rebellious technology smart enough to turn against their masters. With the recent developments of robots that can see, feel, hear and think on their own like never before, those concerns don’t seem entirely implausible. However, there is a more credible reason for worry. As the range of abilities possessed by computers and other gadgets grows wider, the capabilities of human minds are growing narrower. Even more worryingly, with robots taking over routine jobs, humans may soon be left with little purpose in life but to tend to the machinery that run our lives. Researchers at Oxford University analyzed 702 different jobs from a variety of industries and found that 47 percent of those jobs were at risk of robotic replacement. As technology grows more and more advanced and production of intelligent software or machinery increases, the cost of robotic workers goes down, encouraging their use in various work environments. Robots tend to perform routine tasks better than humans do due to their inability to tire or give up and their software-generated accuracy. Researchers predict that within the next few decades, AI software will take over at least half of the human jobs we see today. To-Robo’s recent accomplishment is only one example of the ominous rise in the capabilities of robotic programs, and it will not end there. Our unhealthy reliance on AI has only one possible ending. One day we will find that we have reached the very bottom of our intellectual ability, looking up to AI at the top. AI was created as a tool for humans to build new opportunities in education and careers. So why is it becoming a competitor?

graphic and reporting by Esther Kim

cartoon by Diane Lee

Fuel efficiency alone will not save the environment With the recent fall in oil prices, consumers have been flocking to large, gas- guzzling SUVs while the sales of electric cars and hybrids have plummeted. In American culture, hybrid cars PETER GUNNARSON are seen as a symbol of environmental progress. Yet, people who drive fuel-efficient cars to work often receive more praise for being environmentally friendly than people who simply walk or bike. Rarely do we question our obsession with cars in the first place. Before it even hits the road, a typical car has already released 10-20 percent of its overall emissions during manufacturing. Hybrid and electric cars are even worse because it takes a tremendous amount of energy to manufacture lithium batteries. Because of these manufacturing emissions, it is often better for the environment in the short term for us to buy a moderately fuel-efficient, used car than to buy a brand new hybrid. In the long term, hybrid and electric cars will

make up for their manufacturing emissions, but because 68 percent of the United States’ electricity comes from fossil fuels, electric and hybrid cars are usually not zero-emissions vehicles. While electric cars are more environmentally friendly than gasoline cars in the long term, they are by no means the only solution to all of our pollution problems. Perhaps a better solution would be to abandon cars altogether. This may seem impossible, but some cities have already taken steps towards accomplishing this goal. Every road in Munich, for example, has a bike path and sidewalk on both sides of the road, frequent pedestrian crossings, bike racks and bus stops. I have traveled from Germany to Austria and back without ever needing a car. Schools in Munich have large bicycle parking lots with a smaller car parking lot nearby. Unfortunately, most of the United States is not set up for this change. While Munich has a relatively high population density, the United States is large and spread out. Not everyone can live close to where they work. In Northern Virginia, for example, there are few bike paths and buses, and most roads are impassible to pedestrians. Reducing car usage in the United States might be difficult and expensive, but it is not impos-

sible. My cousins in Boulder, Colo. live without cars because it is easy to go anywhere by using sidewalks, bike paths or bus routes. Getting rid of all cars is unrealistic, but if we are truly worried about the transportation industry’s contributions to greenhouse, then funding for public transportation, bike paths and sidewalks should be a top priority. In order to solve our greenhouse gas problems, we also need to realize that transportation is not the only issue we face. Even if we eliminated all emissions from the U.S. transportation industry, we would have only reduced our emissions by 28 percent. The majority of our greenhouse gas emissions come from burning oil and natural gas for energy. Buying hybrids will help, but it will not make much of a difference if we do not also embrace clean energy sources, fund public transportation, and support the installation of sidewalks and bike paths. Solving our environmental problems is going to require multiple angles of attack. As long as people of the United States are fixated on using greener cars to solve our environmental problems, we will be holding ourselves back. Peter Gunnarson is a senior. graphic by Esther Kim



february 18, 2015

TJSD and track forge ahead into championship season

photo courtesy of Sally Stumvoll

Senior Chris Blagg and juniors Nathan Riopelle and Nate Foss lead a pack of runners in the 3200-meter run at Conferences on Feb. 6.

by Ellen Kan and Alexis Williams Print Editor-in-Chief and Design Editor As Jefferson’s athletes move from the regular season into the championship season, they face more challenging competition and higher stakes. Swim and dive (TJSD) and indoor track are the two largest team sports at Jefferson, and both are known for performing well in

conference, regional and state meets. However, this history of excellence doesn’t come about without extensive preparations. TJSD goes into the post season with different training regimes. “We put on swimsuits designed for speed and sometimes rest for a few days leading up to the meets,” senior Sophie Bennett, a swim team captain, said. “We are much more motivated in the post season because each swim affects the next week. A good Conference swim will help you make Regionals, and a good Regionals swim will help you make States, which is the ultimate goal.” For the swim team, even the goals are different for each meet. “During the regular season, we compete against 6A schools, but we only compete against 5A schools in the post season,” senior Gerry Wan, another TJSD captain, said. “It’s not just about winning in the post season. We try to get as many swimmers to advance beyond each post season meet so we try to set up our lineups to give everyone a chance.” The winter track, which will compete in the 5A North Region Championships on Feb. 18 and the 5A State Championships on Feb. 27, also goes into the post season with a different mindset. “We definitely feel closer post season because we’re trying to get as many people to advance as possible, so we’re all strategizing together about the best way to do that,” junior Nate Foss, a distance runner, said. “And all of the relays matter more, so there’s even more camara-

derie within those.” Team dynamics also take on a different tone in the championship season because the team composition is different. “For the post-season, the team probably is closer, since it’s just all of the varsity people left who have been in track for a while already and know each other,” senior David Hu, who competes in the triple jump, high jump and long jump, said. On the track team, post season meets are heralded by increasingly specific workouts. “A few days before a championship meet, since I’m a hurdler, we put more focus on getting out from the starting line quickly, as well as specifying the number of steps between hurdles,” freshman Ashley Lin said. “For relays, training for a championship meet means practicing hand-offs until we and Coach are satisfied. Workouts are sometimes repeats of distances approximate to those that we’re running at the meet.” No matter which sports, the post-season brings more pressure and excitement to meets than the regular season does. TJSD is looking forward to the last hurdle of the season: the state championships. “It definitely gets exciting in the post season, because dual meets are on Friday nights when everyone is exhausted from a long hard week,” senior Carrie Heilburn, a swim team captain, said. “During the post season, you really get to see our swimmers firing on all cylinders and performing at their highest level, which is gratifying since Coach Ian has been training us hard since November.”

Athletes examine mentality of competing in individual sports by Uzma Rentia Staff Reporter When one thinks of competitive sports, the common image that comes up is one of fierce competition between two schools, students on each team working together to triumph over the other. However, this is not necessarily always the case. Sometimes school affiliation no longer defines who is friend and who is foe. Instead, everyone becomes a comepetitor. Winter sports such as wrestling, gymnastics, indoor track and swim and dive (TJSD) all require this unique individual focus. In such sports, athletes from the same school make up one team that represents said school. However, these athletes compete individually in their respective sports, sometimes even against students from their own school.

One of the more ar- way team members view cane concepts in such each other, but rather, sports is the idea of team- how they interact. work. Contrary to what “In track, ‘teamwork’ one might believe, the is more the idea of helpincreased competitive at- ing each other out to get mosphere in these sports faster, whereas traditional actually leads to a deeper team sports focus more connection heavily between on the teammates. ‘passing “ We ’ ve the ball never had often’ any compesort of tition within t e a m the team for work,” placements senior in competiH a l e y tions,” seStumvoll nior Jenny said. Fang, a cap- - senior Jenny Fang Howtain of the e v e r , gymnastics t e a m team, said. w o r k “We always just try to en- within such sports is mulcourage each other to do tifaceted. Bonds between the best that we can. We’re athletes of the same school a very close and support- are sometimes strengthive team.” ened, while the constant Others argue that the competitiveness can also main difference in team- open up rifts between work comes not from the teammates. The latter of-

“In the end, we are all training by ourselves.”

ten occurs when students from the same school butt heads when vying for the coveted first place or, in the case of wrestling, a spot on the team. “Because we are only allowed to have one guy in each weight class on the varsity level, there is competition,” senior Jafr Kazmi, one of four captains of the varsity wrestling team, said. “If two guys weigh the same and they want to wrestle off for the varsity spot, there is going to be competition between guys as to who is going to be starting on any given day.” On the flip side, inschool competition can motivate athletes to put in their best effort to ensure all are in the best condition possible. This can also be said of the fact that sports such as wrestling, gymnastics, track, and swim and dive put increased pressure on ath-

letes individually, leaving less room for mistakes. “When you are swimming on your own, you put a lot more pressure on yourself,” freshman Jonathan Pollock, a member of TJSD, said. Although athletes who compete individually agree teamwork and

a sense of community still exists within their teams, there is no denying that said sports are more solo than team sports. “We all work on skills individually. We may give advice to our teammates, but in the end, we are all training by ourselves,” Fang said.

photo courtesy of Maya Pabilonia

Freshman Emily Everhart, a member of the varsity gymnastics team, performs an individual routine on the balance beam.

Have a little faith: Tennis’ King of Clay is far from finished Let’s face the facts. Rafael Nadal just had the most abysmal eight months of his career. He was plagued by a wrist injury and then by appendicitis. He lost to unknown tennis players. Fellow countryman Feliciano López brushed him off, and his 17-match ARUN KANNAN win streak against Tomas Berdych came to a screeching halt on Jan. 27 when the Czech demolished Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slams. Yet, Nadal is still No. 3 in the world. You know why, I know why, the whole world knows why: the Spaniard rules on his favorite surface, la tierra batida, the rusty red clay. Nadal reigns as the undisputed “King of Clay.” He has historically dominated the circuit in the clay – warm up events to the French Open, also known as Roland Garros. For a perspective a TJ student would appreciate, with a 92.98 winning percentage, Nadal gets an A on clay. In recent seasons, his quality has dipped a little because of age and injury, but he always managed to peak by the time Roland Garros rolls around. Defending five consecutive French Open titles since 2010 and holding a total of nine since 2005, Nadal has always been the man to beat in Paris since his debut.

It’s no surprise his symbol is the bull. Few matadors have managed to slay him when waving that red flag made of clay. It isn’t a stretch to imagine that in 2015 Nadal will lift the trophy for an incredible 10th time. Critics and haters, however, are less forgiving, pointing to several factors. One has been Nadal’s poor year, although by almost anyone else’s standards, 2014 would have been a dream run. Another is the current world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, who holds the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles and seeks to complete his Grand Slam cabinet with a victory in France. Even the old Roger Federer, who has climbed back to second on the rankings chart, and youngsters are potential candidates. However, I’ve been watching and playing tennis for over 10 years, and while the previous concerns are all legitimate, I can safely say it would be egregious to not list Nadal as the favorite to take the title when history dictates it so. It is because the King of Clay is also the king of comebacks – you can never count him out regardless of the score or how bad his season has been. So many times when Nadal has been down and out, he proved us otherwise. He finished 2009 on a low, including a loss at the French Open, only to return in 2010 and assert his dominance on and off clay, winning three Grand Slam titles in a row. Poised to wreck the tour in 2011, Nadal experienced another setback, this time in the form of another player, Djokovic, who beat Nadal in seven consecutive finals, three of which were at Grand Slams. However, Nadal was quick to resolve his Djokovic

conundrum in 2012. After winning the French Open, Nadal missed most of the 2012 season due to a knee injury, only to have an amazing season in 2013. His hard work and perseverance backed by extreme mental fortitude are the reason for his success. At times, it seems only his body can fail him. It’s the same old story now. After his loss at Wimbledon, I’m sure the organizers of the French Open were preparing themselves to engrave Nadal’s name into yet another Coupe des Mousquetaires, the trophy awarded to the winner of the French Open men’s singles championship. If we’re going to make predictions, I’ll stick with the script we know to be true and tested. I think everyone will write Nadal off, and Djokovic will beat him in the final of a significant clay event only to corroborate everyone’s suspicions. Then Nadal will activate his clay god-mode and take home yet another French Open title. He’ll subsequently get injured due to the grueling clay, and rinse and repeat. While the clay season starts in April, Nadal has already started his clay preparation. So let there be no doubt, he will come back with vengeance, only to the turmoil of Federer fans like me as he inches on Federer’s records, one muscled topspin forehead down the line, followed by an emphatic “vamos,” at a time. Time has not been forgiving to Nadal, whose injuries become progressively graver, and one day he may not return. But for now, the King of Clay has every right to stay. Arun Kannan is a senior.

7 Coaches and captains nominate season’s star athletes sports

february 18, 2015




Carrie Heilbrun Blake Daniels Though this is only junior Blake Daniels’ first year performing enough dives to attend Conferences, dive coach Deonte Sharpe nominated Daniels as athlete of the season due to his extreme dedication. This season, Daniels overcame challenges that followed him since last winter. “I learned two new dives in order to be eligible to dive in Conferences. I struggled with these two dives ever since last season, so I was excited when I was able to fully learn them,” Daniels said. “In order to overcome this challenge I had to focus on the execution of the dive and set aside any reservations I had.” - Sandy Cho

Balancing schoolwork with practicing eight times a week with the USA Swimming (USAS) club team is no easy feat for an average student athlete. But senior Carrie Heilbrun can do it all. “Carrie is incredible in the water – every time she races, she brings her all and gets a lot of points for the team,” senior Emily Moschella, a teammate, said. This season, Heilbrun is most proud of the accomplishments the team has made at the Conferences meet, since “both sides won the meet title by hundreds of points.” Though Heilbrun is not sure where she will continue to swim in college, she is grateful for the time spent on the Jefferson swim team. “My four years on TJSD were so fantastic that I can’t imagine not having the same experience in college,” Heilbrun said. - Sandy Cho


JV BASKETBALL Matt Maribojoc

Ruchi Maniar Senior Charlie Maier, a captain of the wrestling team, placed second in the Feb. 7 conference tournament. Maier’s fellow captains selected him for ‘Athlete of the Season’ because of his work ethic. Maier’s commitment comes from his love of the sport. “I like wrestling because

One of two freshmen on the boys’ junior varsity (JV) basketball team, Matt Maribojoc displayed great leadership qualities as a starting point guard. “He has an exceptional ability to make his teammates better on offense and defense,” head coach Jake Boltersdorf said. Maribojoc, a six-year Amateur Athletic Union (AAUU) basketball veteran, enjoyed playing in front of his friends. “My favorite memory was the McLean game because many of my friends came out to support us,” Maribojoc said. - Akhil Waghmare

Sophomore Ruchi Maniar showed great work ethic and attitude as a captain of the girls’ junior varsity basketball team. “She loves to play the game and it showed through her hard work at practice and her competitive nature during games,” head coach Chet Bracuto said. Maniar has played basketball for seven years, and she hopes to make the varsity team next year. “My favorite part of the sport is the sound of the swish when you make a clean shot, specifically during free throws,” she said. - Akhil Waghmare

WRESTLING it’s a total workout, both physically and mentally. It takes everything you have to keep going for the whole six minutes of a match, but when you win, it’s incredibly rewarding,” Maier said. - Alexis Williams

Charlie Maier

Julia Dunbar

A girls’ varsity basketball captain, senior Julia Dunbar led one of the conference’s youngest teams this season. “For a long stretch of the season, she was our only healthy upperclassman, so her leadership and positivity was crucial in keeping our team together and helping the young players grow,” head coach Liz Reed said. Dunbar contributed in many ways on the court. Despite her tremendous individual play, what Dunbar enjoys the most are moments when the team gets excited by ‘energy plays’. “My favorite part of basketball is in the middle of the game when your team makes a huge basket and the bench gets loud as the team gets back on defense,” Dunbar said. - Akhil Waghmare

Voted unanimously as a team captain of the boys’ varsity basketball team, senior Sharan Arkalgud made a significant impact on the team this season. “He has led our team on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor and helps our team to be competitive on a nightly basis,” head coach Mark GrayMendes said. A third-year varsity player, Arkalgud is well-known for his 6-foot-7-inch stature, and he uses his height to effectively rebound and finish at the rim. “One of my personal highlights was dunking after a rebound on the center from Langley,” he said. “It was one of the most exhilarating plays of my life!” - Akhil Waghmare

Sharan Arkalgud TRACK

Nate Foss

Junior Nate Foss didn’t run competitively until he joined the Jefferson cross country and track teams his freshman year. Since then, he’s been a steadily improving athlete. “He’s been consistently one of the best runners all season long,” head coach Jeff James said. “He’s done multiple events for us at every meet.” Foss finds training to be the hardest but eventually most worthwhile part of the sport. “The key to success is having a goal and working for it,” Foss said. “Working hard every day, especially when you don’t feel like it or don’t want to, is what really makes a difference.” - Kate Deng

A competitive gymnast since she was six, freshman Emily Everhart made waves as soon as she joined Jefferson’s varsity gymnastics team. “Emily is a great all-around gymnast,” senior May Thinnyun, a team captain, said. “She prefers a lot of ‘power’ skills, an approach that is unique to our team, and I can only see her get stronger over the next years.” For Everhart, one season highlight was the conference championships. “Through the season, I have been improving my skills and adding new ones to my routines,” she said. “Even though we didn’t qualify for Regionals as a team, everyone did their best and it showed.” - Ellen Kan


Emily Everhart

photos courtesy of Sharan Arkalgud, Blake Daniels, Julia Dunbar, Carrie Heilbrun, Charlie Maier, Ruchi Maniar, Matt Maribojoc, Maya Pabiloni and Sally Stumvoll



february 18, 2015

We the Students...

Jefferson explores First Amendment rights through an academic lens freedom of


Inventive student artists recognize free speech rights with original cartoon messages Inspired by the outpouring of support from the creative international cartooning community, tjTODAY asked student artists to create cartoons that reflected their own viewpoints regarding the Charlie Hebdo attacks and other free speech controversies.

cartoon by Carolyn Chheath

cartoon by Monique Mezher

cartoon by Sanjoli Agarwal

freedom of

the first a

Congress shal respecting an RELIGION, or free exercise the the freedom of S PRESS; or the r peaceably to AS PETITION the redress of griev


Eighth period political clubs espouse freedom of expression by Mei Baek Staff Reporter Displaying their right to assemble every day at school, any Jefferson student can form a club to express and discuss their ideas with others that share their interests. Because of the Equal Access Act (EAA), passed by Congress in 1984, public secondary schools that receive federal funds and have limited open forums are prohibited by law to discriminate against, or deny equal access to, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited forum on the basis of the religion, poli-

tics, or philosophy. Some controversy occurred in cases such as the 1990 Supreme Court case Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, in which Bridget Mergens, a student at Westside High School, was denied the ability to create a Christian club. After she filed suit, the Court ruled that the EAA applied so long as the club was studentmade and student-led. The clubs Young Democrats and Teenage Republicans are two examples of student-led political clubs at Jefferson. “The main purpose of our club is to provide an

open forum for students to discuss their political views in an open and accepting environment, as well as emphasizing the importance of political activity,” senior Andrew Haymaker, a Teenage Republicans officer, said. “We mainly participate in discussions about weekly events and host guest speakers such as political candidates.” Club members are given the opportunity to cultivate their knowledge in government matters as well as nationwide problems through fellow students and professionals. Students in Young Democrats also discuss

politics and learn about worldwide and local current events, often through a Democratic angle. They discuss ideas for how political problems could be solved, reflecting the variety of student viewpoints in the club. “We do just about everything, from discussions and debates to hosting guest speakers and playing Jeopardy,” senior Steven Androphy, club co-officer of Young Democrats, said. “The club demonstrates our right to assemble just as any other club does in the fact that we are allowed to hold meetings and voice our opinions.”

photos by Mei Baek

From top: seniors Marisa Duong, Nicholas Hougland, Tom Joyner and Marie Anderson and junior Jackson Zagurski discuss an issue in Teenage Republicans Club; junior Rohan Yaradi presents to the Young Democrats Club while sophomore Ishaan Gandhi listens.


february 18, 2015

freedom of



Students respond to Brian Williams scandal by voicing opinions on the responsibilities of journalists to tell the truth “I think it is understandable why he did it, for a better story. I suppose he thought it would be more interesting. But I think it was a little pointless because he could have gotten a possibly better story if he had just told the truth because he would have more people to support him.”

“The public relies on the media to provide factually accurate information and so the fact that somebody in the media that was so trusted said blatant lies is disturbing.” - sophomore Susanna Bradbury

- freshman Sadhana Suri

“I think he should be fired because he keeps changing his story and he is not true to his word. He should be true to his job. Journalists have the responsibility to report the truth.”

“I think the media has a responsibility to be correct, but at the same time, close enough is close enough. If he was on the helicopter behind the one that got shot at, I can understand why he might have just switched a few things around.”

- freshman Nick Isenhower

- senior Adi Suresh


photos and reporting by Uzma Rentia and Alexis Williams

ll make no law establishment of r prohibiting the ereof; or abridging SPEECH, or of the right of the people SSEMBLE, and to Government for a vances. freedom of

freedom of


Jefferson provides prayer accommodations by Uzma Rentia Staff Reporter Generally during break, students at Jefferson can be seen frantically studying for a test, racing to class or finishing homework. However, there is a group of students who choose to spend their time doing something entirely different: praying. Members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) utilize room 123 in the new administrative wing to pray Duhr, one of the five obligatory daily prayers of the Muslim Faith. The club has also conducts prayers during their meetings on Fridays. “I went to Mr. Campbell and he was really helpful. Although it took some time, we ended up getting a room in the new building,” junior and MSA treasurer Kareem Mohiyuddin said of MSA’s attempts to secure a prayer room. However, issues of what constitutes secularism have arisen in vari-

ous schools and universities across the nation. Most recently at Duke University, the student body, faculty and alumni were polarized on whether or not the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, should be played from the chapel tower. “Duke’s case was different because it was the issue of adhan, and they were playing it out loud so some felt it was impacting their daily lives,” Mohiyuddin said. “I think every school should have a prayer room - multifaith - so everyone could do their own thing without impacting their daily lives.” Despite controversy surrounding the role of religion in school, praying at Jefferson remains a relatively low-key and obscure topic while religious tolerance takes the front seat. “It’s totally understandable that a high school with a low religious population like TJ can’t really have a ‘prayer room’ or a chapel or something, but TJ administration has been really responsive to MSA

needs about a prayer location and that’s really wonderful,” senior Reem Mohammed, president of the MSA, said. “Even with the construction and all, we can still have a private place to pray, and I’m really thankful for that.”

photo by Uzma Rentia

Juniors Hasan Ahmad and Kemal Taban and sophomores Raef Khan, Nathan Amal and Abdallah Osman pray during break.


Student grievances to School Board expressed through Twitter Shout out to the Sys Lab for the Iodine schedule today #closeFCPS -junior Rushi Shah

Bus broke down and we got packed into another bus w/ a buncha people sittin in the aisle #closefcps -junior Eddie Zhou

#closeFCPS because every TJ kid will be sleep deprived after tonight -junior Matthew Conway

oh man my CAR is tryna do the shmoney dance right now #closefcps -senior Rohin Dewan

I’m snowed in #closefcps -senior Matt Gibbs



february 18, 2015

‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ proves a refreshing spy movie by Lindsay Williams Online Editor-in-Chief C r a z y villains, secret plots, spy gadgets and swanky suits might sound like a James Bond film, but “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a whole new brand of spy movie. Starring T a r o n photo courtesy of kingsmanmovie.com Egerton, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Sofia Boutella, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” based on the comic book series, “The Secret Service,” gives a refreshing, comical take on traditional spy thrillers. The movie is the tale of a downtrodden boy from the streets named Eggsy (Egerton), who lives with his mom (Samantha Womack) and abusive stepfather (Geoff Bell) after his father was killed while deployed when Eggsy was a young boy. When he gets in trouble with the law, he calls the number his mother gave him to a mysterious friend of his father’s, Harry (Colin Firth). He is then whisked away to a secret spy organization where he competes for a spot among the lethal and prestigious 13 Kingsmen, who have codenames for the Knights of the Round Table.

Eggsy has to go up against both boys and girls from important families, some of whom look down on him because he’s from the wrong part of town. He makes it to the final two, but fails the final test. But he’s thrown back into the mix when villain Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) tries to enact an evil plan that would decimate humanity. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is very comical, but it deals with a lot of important themes, especially classism. Eggsy, coming from a poorer family, is ostracized and considered by many to not be “Kingsman material.” In addition, Valentine’s plans would save the rich, wealthy and influential but destroy the poor. The film also notably included a female character that is strong, competent and didn’t serve as love interest, and barely squeaked a pass for the Bechdel test. However, the special effects were subpar. Some were purposely unbelievable, and others were just poorly done. The action scenes were fun to watch but a bit over the top. The acting was mostly commendable, except that none of the actors dealt with the deaths with appropriate recognition, making them seem somewhat detached. In addition, the movie was rated R for violence and language, but much of this is gratuitous and could’ve been easily taken out to appeal to a broader audience for which the content and premise of the movie would be more appropriate. Despite some small issues, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” was a fun, enjoyable movie perfect for the lovers of action and super spies.

how to

Dance the Cha-Cha 1:




“The Walking Dead” mid-season premiere shocks Tyreese fans

photo courtesy of “The Walking Dead” official Facebook page

by Kate Deng Entertainment Editor Following the death of the beloved Beth (Emily Kinney) in the mid-season finale, I was sure that good news was to follow in the mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” on Feb. 8 and the rest of Season 5. I was definitely not expecting that my favorite character would be killed off completely only 35 minutes into the new season. An aspect of the premiere that I enjoyed was its nice use of foreshadowing. At the beginning of the episode, there were sequences of scenes that I did not understand. There was the voice-over of a funeral-like mourning; I suspected that the mourning was over Beth. There was a sequence of blood dripping onto a painting of a house, and a shovel spreading dirt onto an unknown covered object. Little did I know that I would be encountering those same scenes later in the episode. The main gang including Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the new Noah (Tyler James Williams) go to Noah’s hometown, thinking it’s a safe haven.

To their dismay, Noah’s town has been taken over by zombies, known as walkers, and the dead. Noah breaks down and insists he visit his home with Tyreese. Reluctantly, Tyreese and Noah enter the house and immediately spot Noah’s deceased relative. Meanwhile, Tyreese gets distracted by a strange light coming from one of the rooms. I screamed at my screen for Tyreese to not be so stupid and trap himself in a bedroom, but of course he did it anyway. Mesmerized by several pictures of Noah’s brother and him, he was bit in the arm by a young walker, possibly one related to Noah. Noah quickly comes to Tyreese’s rescue and kills the walker, but not before he is severely wounded. The majority of the episode was in the perspective of Tyreese going through effects of the walker’s bite, which I thought was an interesting perspective that audiences have not seen too much of. While Noah goes to get help from the rest of the gang, Tyreese is left in the room alone. He begins hallucinating of important people in his past, including Beth and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) and other figures, who try to convince him to give up. After a long time struggle, Tyreese tells himself he is not going to give up, but not before a second walker attacks him. Although watching Tyreese in pain was extremely hard, I enjoyed the tie in with Beth, making his hallucination scenes much more powerful. The episode ended with the same beginning scene of a shovel spreading dirt onto a covering, but we now know that it is Tyreese under the covers. Although I was in no way pleased with the outcome and wish Tyreese had not ended up dying, this definitely sets an interesting tone for the rest of the season.


Seniors Sanjoli Agarwal and Joe Wang of the Ballroom Dance Club demonstrate the basic steps of the Cha-Cha.

1: BASIC 2: NEW YORKER 3: GRAPEVINE 4: FAN AND HOCKEY STICK 5: CHASE by Kate Deng Entertainment Editor Feb. 13 marked the Jefferson Spanish Honor Society’s annual Bulería dance. In preparation for the dance, the Ballroom Dance Club hosted an eighth period dance lesson. Ballroom Dance Club members and others eager to learn to dance gathered on the dance floor. “I love ballroom dance because most of the dances are fast-paced and it is so easy to stop thinking about everything else and just concentrate on the moves,” senior Sanjoli Agarwal, an officer of Ballroom Dance Club, said. During the dance lesson, Spanish teacher and club sponsor Peggy Gendive and senior Prashanth Panicker, another club officer, taught the participants several dances such as the cha-cha, hustle, tango, swing, salsa, quickstep and rumba. Their main focus was the salsa, one of the most popular Latin dances. In the beginning, the boys and girls learned their respective dance moves on

separate sides of the floor in order to figure out the individual movements. Later in the session, the participants found partners to try the moves together and practice with the music. At the end, club officers gave their pupils a follow-up review to reinforce the dance steps they had just learned. Another one of the most popular Latin dances is the cha-cha. Agarwal and senior Joe Wang, a club officer, were responsible for teaching this dance, which involves five basic steps. The dance starts off with the basic step and then the New Yorker with hands extended. The two dancers then circle each other in the grapevine and with a basic step in between, the girl raises her hands during the Fan and Hockey Stick. The last step is the chase, in which they move forward or backwards. Using the five steps, one can improvise just about any cha-cha choreography that they desire. At the end of the dance lessons, participants were passionate about the dance and eager to teach their friends at Bulería in infographic by Kate Deng the evening.

Coming Attractions photos courtesy of studio websites infographic by Kate Deng

‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ ‘87th Academy Awards’ Feb. 20: Theaters everywhere

Feb. 22: ABC

‘The Longest Ride’

Feb. 24: Bookstores everywhere

‘The Amazing Race’ Feb. 25: CBS

‘The Lazarus Effect’

Feb. 27: Theaters everywhere


february 18, 2015

Season 40 is redeeming ‘Saturday Night Live’ as a beloved classic show

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

by Pegah Moradi Guest Writer “Oh, SNL? That show used to be good.” Whenever I hear this assertion about Saturday Night Live (SNL), my ears perk up like a dog. As a comedy nut, I’m quick to sniff out the speaker and attempt to defend the now-40-year-old show. It’s quintessential variety television, after all. Big names like Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler got their start on the program. How could someone possibly feel as if the show is anything less than absolutely stellar? While I hate to admit it, SNL hasn’t quite upheld the same glory it possessed just five years ago, let alone the reputation for hilarity it developed following its debut in 1975. Last year, the show’s 39th season was widely acknowledged as a rough period for the program. SNL had just said goodbye to prized players Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig and Seth Meyers. Finding itself low on the talent it used to comfortably rely on, the show turned to eight new cast members, only three of which returned for Season 40. With the added pressure of controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in the cast, the cult classic produced few noteworthy episodes, leaving even the most avid of fans

unsatisfied. After eyeing Season 40’s episodes, however, things are looking up for SNL. The show is comfortably transitioning into its new cast and fresh writer’s room. SNL has been utilizing the versatile Kate McKinnon this season, most notably through a series of Calvin Klein parodies where she plays a frighteningly convincing Justin Bieber. At the frontline with McKinnon is veteran Kenan Thompson, whose goofy voices and lovable facial expressions are go-to laughables in almost any sketch. Thompson’s pre-Super Bowl performance as Marshawn Lynch is a terrific example. Though the show has been easing into its repertory players, producer Lorne Michaels has been making some -- perhaps dicey -- changes with the featured, or “newbie,” players. While SNL has been known for pulling its cast from improv troupes, Michaels cast “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che, as well as “resident young person” Pete Davidson from the upand-coming New York City stand-up scene. In addition, two freshman players from Season 39, Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney, seem to have found a place in deadpan, psychedelic 90s-style sketches, where the humor comes less from the writing than from the absurdity of their performances. Likely the biggest personality in the cast, newcomer Leslie Jones left the writer’s room this season and emerged as a powerful force of nature with her booming voice and brash comedy. The cast finally appears to be maturing into the comfortable dischord viewers have grown to love. Still, much remains to be done if SNL wants to fully relive the glory days of the mid-to-late 2000s. The show still has trouble attracting the attention of teens and young adults who find more refined, biting sketch comedy in shows on cable TV. In a 2014 article for The New Yorker, producer Ian Crouch wrote, “Comedy Central’s ‘Key & Peele’ and ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ can make the sketches on ‘SNL’ look slapdash and tame; the topical sharpness of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ often makes Weekend Update seem meek and scattered.” Crouch has a point: SNL may very well need more than just a seasoned cast and some witty quips on “Update” to save itself. The show’s declining popularity may be more than just a bump in the road. It might signify a revolution in comedy TV altogether.

Winter award season entertains viewers by Sandy Cho Online Editor-In-Chief Every year, social media buzzes with the latest controversy that arises with the annual entertainment award ceremonies. In 2009, rapper Kanye West interrupted singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s speech at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). In 2013, comedian Seth MacFarlane and his vulgar jokes raised eyebrows at the 85th Academy Awards. And this year, West stormed the stage again, nearly interrupting musician Beck’s speech at the 57th Grammy Awards, which was held on Feb. 8. Tuning in to these televised events, Jefferson students watch entertainment award ceremonies for a myriad of reasons. “I watch some award ceremonies, because I need to see if my favorite band wins,” freshman Olivia Lu said. This new year, kicking off the trail of major award ceremonies were the 41st People’s Choice Awards on Jan. 7, the 72nd Golden Globes on Jan. 11 and the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 25, all of which honored the best films and television achievements of 2014.


Grammy Awards

Golden Globes


Also, the 57th Grammys were aired a few weeks later on Feb. 8, in which the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) awarded the musical achievements of 2014. “Over the course of the year, you get to listen to a lot of different songs.,” junior Rachel Li said. “At the Grammys, you find all the best songs and they’re all compiled, so it’s very interesting to see what everyone else likes to listen to.” In addition, with film insiders and journalists chiming in predictions, the 87th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, will be held on Feb. 22, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). With the recent controversy over the lack of racial diversity in the nominations of the Academy Awards, students find that the award ceremonies also offer topics of discussion over issues in society. According to junior Ally Scholle, these ceremonies provide “an interesting commentary on what pop culture is.” “I enjoy stuff like that partly for the basic fluff of watching talented people win, but I also make sure to think about what’s being included and what’s seen as better,” Scholle said. However, unlike Scholle, other students, such as senior Peter Gunnarson, believe that the ceremonies are “not that interesting.” “I can usually just find the results afterwards if I need to,” Gunnarson said. “For the Oscars, I would rather just watch the movie than have people talk about it.” Despite the divide, award ceremonies ultimately serve as leisure for those who enjoy entertainment. “By watching these award ceremonies, people can reduce their everyday stress and discuss them with friends as conversation topics,” senior Joo Kang said. “Also, you can never predict who is going to win the awards and expect the unexpected events within the ceremonies.”

Tony Awards

People’s Choice


Do not watch

statistics from a social media poll to which 145 Jefferson students responded. Students were allowed to select more than one option. Graphics and reporting by Sandy Cho


‘The Interview’ proves to be controversial

photo courtesy of theinterview-movie.com

by Anjali Khanna and Esther Kim Features Editor and Opinion Editor Once Sony Pictures pulled “The Interview” from the nation’s theaters, we as a country could hardly wait to get our hands on a digital copy of this controversial comedy about the assassination of North Korea’s supreme leader. In fact, it was almost as if making the film more unattainable and a more hotly debated topic increased our desire to watch it. Perhaps, that was Sony’s intent. The movie itself was not particularly engrossing. Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) worked naturally together as comedic protagonists, but the plot was too far -fetched to be realistic and truly incite the ire of another nation. In the ads for the film, Sony purposefully highlighted the scenes that would spark enough controversy to get North Korea, the American public and even President Barack Obama talking about it. The bottom line is this: the film was not nearly as absurd as its advertisements hashed it out to be. Franco’s character did address the common conception of the rising poverty levels and poor standard of living in North Korea compared to the rest of the world, but this criticism from Franco and Sony Pictures was not meant to be a direct attack or call for war against the nation, as it was done in a harmless and comedic manner. However, the film did portray many incorrect aspects of North Korean life by trivializing important issues for the purpose of getting a laugh out of the audience. Poverty in North Korea is in fact a legitimate issue, as can be seen by famous satellite imagery of the country at night, in which it is almost entirely without electric light. According to American journalist Tim Sullivan, most of the country’s wealth is concentrated in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, as portrayed by Sony when Skylark and Rapoport travel there to visit North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Randall Park). Sullivan, having traveled to Kaesong, North Korea, remembers his experience there to be vastly different from life in the capital, which he described to be much more glamorous. Kaesong, like most other towns in the country, is riddled with poverty, and any sources of electricity are few and far between. Although “The Interview” provided an accurate depiction of the lavish Pyongyang, it barely grazed the surface of what the true North Korea, as described by Sullivan, is really like. In addition, the film also missed several details about North Korean life, including the way Korean is actually spoken. The actors’ speaking in Korean were mostly undecipherable, and the English subtitles to the erroneous speaking seemed almost comical. Although the production’s neglect of such glaringly apparent details detracted from the quality of the film, it added on to the notion that “The Interview” was not at all supposed to be a real-life documentary of the nation, but a comedic interpretation of it. Regardless of the movie’s depiction of North Korea, the decision to ban “The Interview” from theaters was clearly an act that went beyond the rights of Sony. Although the film clearly ignored the persisting sufferings of numerous North Koreans and trivialized their pains into a distorted comedy, films should not be censored from viewing due to political reasons. Sony’s decision left a potential for future movie censorships -- those that might actually violate the First Amendment right for the freedom of speech.


student voices

february 18, 2015

Voices of a new generation

Jefferson seniors discuss current events and hotly debated topics that will shape the future

Embracing artificial intelligence will Protecting our oceans is crucial for change our society for the better sustaining future generations by Stefan Young Guest Writer The year is 1965. The world sits in awe as the 12-year undefeated checkers champion admits defeat to a computer program. Again, in 1990, humanity is knocked one peg lower when Gary Kasparov, the undisputed chess champion of the world, loses to IBM computer program Deep Blue in only 36 moves. Chess and checkers were games of creativity, games where no amount of brute force or computational capacity could win, games for humans. Or so we thought. Today, people do not recognize the comprehensive presence of artificial intelligence (AI) in their everyday lives. Siri, Cortana: millions of people use these systems to set reminders, to find routes through traffic, or to search for how tall Abraham Lincoln was. The average person, however, does not realize AI has evolved to a point surpassing Siri. Last year, Google unveiled its newest project: a self-driving car. In an advertising campaign, testimonials glorified the car’s functionality and user-friendliness. Critics argue these cars aren’t perfect; they won’t be safe for large-scale human use. These cars aren’t perfect yet, but that doesn’t matter. They just have to be better than human drivers. These self-driving cars are safer than the human-caused 33,561 deaths and over 2.75 million injuries. These cars don’t get tired and fall asleep at the wheel, get distracted by texting or get overtaken by road rage. The transportation industry employs 4.4 million Americans, and soon, these jobs may disappear. If you think self-driving cars are the end of the robotic expansion then, again, you’d be wrong. Think of all the labor-intensive tasks performed across the country. Mining, construction, manufacturing, utilities, transportation. You get the idea. Most of these jobs can be done more quickly, cheaply and safely with machines and only a handful of regulatory human managers. After the initial cost of purchasing the machine, robots need the cost of electricity and annual maintenance. A human, on the other hand, needs a salary, sick days, 401k matching, dental, health - the list goes on. Tens of millions of blue-collar jobs could disappear, but will it stop there? Medical injuries due to human error could also be eliminated. IBM Watson, for example, is already being used to help treat and identify leukemia because he can sieve through millions of experiments, drug identifiers and diagnostic manuals to, in a matter of seconds, prescribe a course of treatment. This mechanical shift is not inherently evil. Humanity has not created Skynet or the USR of “I, Robot.” Just as computers revolutionized the global economy half a century ago, AI and working robots will change the world for the better. This science will only progress further and I believe the general public should embrace it: this change can accomplish wonderful things.

by Zoe Wang Guest Writer For the third winter in a row, hundreds of emaciated sea lion pups have been washing up on the shores of California. This mass abandonment of sea lion pups is characteristic of extreme El Niño periods, when severely warmed waters and depleted fish populations force mothers away from their pups to find food. The thing is, we are not in an El Niño period. Across the world, scientists have reported seemingly inexplicable mass mortality events washing everything from sea stars to dolphins ashore. This past summer, I saw a similar story playing out in the coral reefs of Indonesia. I was absolutely shocked. Even here, in the meticulously protected waters of the Wakatobi, the ocean was full of death. Much of human development still had not reached this place, and yet the recklessness of our policies had. Our environmental abuse has dire consequences. A few years ago, we could shrug off climate change. Leave it to the next generation to fix our problems, right? But if the recent mass extinctions of bees, bats and amphibians are any indication, our resources might not even hold out that long. The strains of fungi and viruses killing these animals are more deadly than ever before. Species like tuna and salmon - the things we actually eat and care about - are dying just as fast. But here’s the kicker: it’s not some terrible disease that’s wiping them out. It’s us. Without human interference, Bluefin tuna have an average lifespan of 15 years, growing to over 550 lbs and 6.5 feet in length. Most of the tuna caught these days are barely half that size, not even old enough to reproduce yet. Global populations of orange roughy, mahi mahi, halibut, haddock, and black sea bass are facing similar decimation. Much of this fish comes from the 64 percent of global water that remains unprotected by any nation’s regulations, and fisheries take advantage of that neglect. Even sharks, which are not a mainstream food fish, are being killed at a horrifying pace. A report by Dr. Demian Chapman in 2013 estimated that between 63 million and 273 million sharks are being killed annually by commercial fishing. This marine slaughter is taking a terrible toll on the world’s food stocks. The role that fish play in society extends beyond just seafood; we need them for everything from fish meal for chicken feed to oils for pharmaceutical products. They balance an elaborate ecosystem that produces significantly more of our breathable oxygen than terrestrial plant life. Our economies, cultures and survival on this planet are inescapably linked to these fish. We’ll continue to depend on the ocean’s dwindling resources for many years to come. What will we do when the fish run out? The time to act was half a century ago. We are no longer just fighting to preserve the ocean. We are fighting to save ourselves.

Stefan Young Zoe Wang Maintaining NASA’s budget is key in Net Neutrality is an integral part of a more innovative and accessible future preserving human curiosity by Pranav Baderdinni Guest Writer Even faster than NASA rose to prominence, it has faded away to an afterthought in the minds of the American public. NASA recently warned us that, in a few decades, a “mega drought” in the Midwest could cripple our agricultural system. Unfortunately, this kind of important information, acquired through satellite images and analytics, may one day never reach our ears if NASA continues to be monetarily shunned. The flawless launch of Orion, NASA’s highest flying orbital mission since the Apollo program, was the agency’s desperate elevator pitch to the federal government as they tried to show Orion’s potential for future missions. In fact, Orion is only one of the two last spacecraft that survived Obama’s funding slash to the 2010 Vision for Space Exploration. Orion’s lack of clear future missions allows NASA the flexibility to determine intermediate missions based on the generosity of the federal government. Orion is simply the beginning of the long vehicular puzzle to Mars, but it is quite possible even this dazzling beginning may come to an end. It is time to save this curiosity, this fascination with the unknown, before it is too late. The evidence of said disinterest is clear, as NASA’s designated budget has gone down from 43 billion dollars at the height of the space race in 1966 to a paltry 17.5 billion. Percentage-wise, the amount of the federal budget devoted to the space agency has shrunk from a surprisingly small 4.41 percent in 1966 to the current slim pickings of 0.49 percent. These statistics tell us that not a lot of extra fiscal attention is needed to get NASA back to the capabilities it once had. In an effort to make a contribution to infinity and beyond, NASA has doled out its budget to private space enterprises like SpaceX and aviation giants like Boeing to create the reusable shuttles of the future. The rest of the world has rocketed ahead into the cosmos, perhaps turning back for a split second if only to give our lack of interstellar activity a confused glance, before continuing onward. Most opponents against an increased focus on NASA’s endeavors argue more effort must be spent on real, pressing matters, like tackling our immigration crisis or handling the ideological mess in the Middle East. They are deeply mistaken, however, as the discoveries of NASA have affected us all, even on a personal and daily level. For example, miniaturized cameras fitted on rovers and probes are a technology used today in smartphones, and carbon monoxide detectors fitted onboard spacecraft also keep American households safe. These innovations are a byproduct of curious scientists trying to design safe and efficient vehicles for bold missions, an initiative that is slowly fading away to make way for “real” and short-term developments that are stealing the spotlight. Similar to the possibility that our lack of resolve against harmful environmental impacts might one day leave us in a stifling, smoggy world, we might also find ourselves backing out of making bold leaps into the unknown, leaving us in a world devoid of curiosity.

by Michael Woon Guest Writer Free Wi-Fi. Seeing that small sticker on the outside of a restaurant or store gives me a sense of comfort. In the immediate future, this “free” Internet connection might not actually be free. Internet service providers (ISPs) control the flow of data to and from our devices, and they are looking for ways to discriminate between data from different sources. For example, an ISP could look at individual websites and decide how fast the connection should be for each one. On Jan. 29, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to increase the minimum speeds required for broadband Internet providers. This preluded the Feb. 26 vote on a solution to this web crisis, which could decide the Internet’s accessibility for the next decade. This solution is net neutrality. Net neutrality (NN) is the idea that ISPs and governments should treat all Internet data equally, not discriminating by user, site, content or purpose. In most areas, people do not have many options for their ISP, creating a pseudo-monopoly in which the ISP is able to interfere with the open Internet. In 2007, Comcast was caught slowing connection of customers who used BitTorrent and peer-to-peer file sharing. Verizon was fined for charging customers using their phones as a mobile hotspot. Telecommunications companies are hoping to create a tiered service model that controls the flow of different types of data, hence slowing down competing applications and content. These companies should be categorized as common carriers. The designation would legally prohibit them from discriminating based on customer or type of good they transport. Common carriers currently include public utilities like electricity or water. However, the Internet is becoming so widespread and essential that the common carrier designation must be assigned. Internet giants like Google and Facebook also advocate NN alongside everyday users. To them, the Internet is a medium for innovation, and its moderation would only stifle our progress. Last November, President Barack Obama issued a statement advocating for the FCC to develop new net neutrality rules and reclassify broadband providers as a telecommunications service. The FCC has been urged to overturn the 2002 ruling that classified the Internet as merely an information service, rather than a telecommunication service. Under the new ruling, Title II of the Communications Act would designate the Internet as a basic utility, allowing equal access for everyone. This change would reflect our growing dependence on the Internet; in fact, the United Nations even declared Internet access a human right in 2011. Despite the demonstrated benefits of net neutrality, there are many skeptics. Mark Cuban stated that the FCC move towards Title II Internet classification would only bring lawsuits and controversy over legal interpretation. Cuban reminded the public that government involvement in the past has rarely been a clean affair. While there is no guarantee President Obama’s plan will completely solve the rift between ISPs, companies and customers, taking steps to enforce equality is of the highest priority. The Internet is the world’s largest community. Don’t let greedy ISPs turn it into a commodity.

Pranav Baderdinni Michael Woon

photos by Ellen Kan, graphics by Anjali Khanna


february 18, 2015


Class of 1997 alum produces million-dollar Super Bowl ad by Ellen Kan Print Editor-In-Chief A long-time aficionado of all things related to video editing, Jefferson alumnus Scott Zabielski knew he wanted to direct a commercial. When his friend brought up the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, Zabielski saw his opportunity to try his hand at making commercials. But there was one catch. “I realized I only had two weeks until the deadline,” Zabielski, 35, said. “I work on a comedy TV show, but telling a story in 30 seconds is very different from a threeminute or five-minute comedy sketch. I didn’t really think I had enough time, but I figured, ‘Why not give it a shot?’” As it turned out, the payoff was huge. Zabielski’s commercial, titled “Middle Seat,” was chosen as a finalist from nearly 4,900 submissions and aired during Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1. The whirlwind affair – writing, shooting and editing “Middle Seat” on a personal budget in just a couple weeks – also landed Zabielski $1 million and a coveted job with Universal Pictures. Zabielski’s remarkable journey had its humble beginnings in high school. He knew little about Jefferson when his family moved from Chicago just before his freshman year, but Zabielski quickly found that the school had much to offer to advance his passion for video making. “As a tech school, TJ provided me with an outlet for being creative and really learning the technology of TV and film,” Zabielski, a Class of 1997 alum, said. “When I was there, it was right at the beginning of video editing and the web, and TJ was the first place I got to use computers to do editing.” At Jefferson, Zabielski played football and baseball, and the Theatre Sports club inspired him to explore comedic storytelling. Zabielski also demonstrated interest in web page creation. Oceanography lab director Lisa Wu recalls

how her former student helped her build a website when the Internet was still a relatively new tool. “Scott is just a very genuine individual, and he was really ahead of the curve even then,” Wu, Zabielski’s IBET biology teacher, said. “He was very creative and always willing to step up and help whenever there was an opportunity.” Due to his father’s job transfer during his junior year, Zabielski’s time at Jefferson was cut short, but Zabielski saw his family’s relocation to Toronto as an opportunity to expand his horizons. “Of course, it was tough to start at a school and not get the payoff of being a senior,” Zabielski said. “But on the flip side, there is a lot of value to living in different places and gaining new perspectives.” At his new high school, Zabielski used his video expertise to start a student TV program. He went on to attend the University of Southern California’s (USC) acclaimed School of Cinematic Arts on a full scholarship. In 1998, he co-founded Annenberg TV News (ATVN), USC’s nightly news program. Zabielski was also a finalist in the 2000 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award competition. After he graduated from USC in 2001, Zabielski worked his way up from the bottom rung. He started out as a production assistant for a talk show, but has worked on other projects since, from TV promos to feature films. Zabielski is currently the executive director of “Tosh.0,” a Comedy Central TV series now in its seventh season. For aspiring videographers, Zabielski emphasizes the almost limitless uses of today’s technology. In every venture, he maintains that “telling a good, entertaining story is the most important thing.” “Editing is such an important skill if you want to work in TV and

film,” Zabielski said. “I really value what I learned while editing promos and movie trailers. If you can tell a story in 30 seconds, then you can tell a story in five minutes, and you can definitely tell a story in 90 minutes.” Former Video Technology and Communications lab director Ed Montgomery remembers Zabielski as an intuitive student who knew how to capture his audience’s attention – an invaluable quality for Zabielski’s line of work and one that ultimately paid off in the Doritos contest. “Scott was a very personable individual – always polite and deeply interested in all areas of media communications,” Montgomery, who retired in 2011, said. “I could tell he had an understanding of how to work with television and its limitations to produce viewer interest.” For Zabielski, the possibilities are endless for the future of video making. “I’m right on the cusp of the new, younger generation that doesn’t really draw a big distinction between different media,” Zabielski said. “I’m looking forward to working on a bunch of different things, whether it’s a movie or a TV show, something on Netflix or Amazon, or something we don’t even know about yet.”

photo courtesy of Scott Zabielski graphic by Anjali Khanna

Colonial Q&A: Juniors ask seniors about college application experiences The number of colleges you should apply to varies depending on your interests and goals. * Panelists applied to anywhere from eight to 25 colleges. * If you apply early decision then you might only apply to one school, be accepted, and then finish your college application process. * If you apply only in-state then you might only have three or four schools. * Start with a long list of all the colleges you think you might want to apply to and then start cutting it down. * Make sure you have reach, medium and safety schools. * Ask yourself what you want in a college: urban or rural? Large or small? Greek life or no Greek life? * Go on some college tours and to information sessions at the College and Career Center.



Early deicision is a common early policy in which you indicate that this college is your first choice. If you are accepted, you must attend this university. * Early action is another common early policy in which you apply early and then hear back from schools earlier, but is nonbinding. Keep an eye out for restrictive early action. * If there is a college that you know you would definitely attend if accepted, regardless of the financial aid package that they give you, then you should apply to said university early decision. * Seniors recommend that you apply to at least one college early action so you can hopefully relax a little when second semester starts. * Before you decide, talk to your parents about the cost of college.

How many Should I colleges should apply early I apply to? How decision or early do I find the right action? If schools for me early action, tjTODAY’s and narrow how many down my list? Feb.11 College colleges?

* *

* * *


App Panel:

* Start keeping an eye out for Do you have Seniors Julia Cassaza, What is your scholarships often and early. * Apply to colleges where you Anant Das, Danial think that you might get into a any tips for scholars program or receive Hussain and Haley advice for enough of a scholarship that it would writing my affording cost similarly to an in-state school. Stumvoll * Keep an eye out for College and college essays? college? How do Career Center emails and their specific deadlines to apply for scholarships. Don't forget to put these deadlines on your When should I I apply for merit calendar so you remember them. * Apply to as many scholarships as you can; start? What do scholarships you never know which ones will end up giving you money, even if it is only a $1,000 award for each. I write/talk or financial * Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) on time so that you can qualify for financial aid about? aid? or need-based scholarships for any of the schools that you are applying to.

Start early - as soon as the Common Application opens in August. Create a spreadsheet of all your deadlines for each college and include the essay prompts beside each deadline in order to stay organized. Remember that the revision process takes longer than the writing process. Don't be afraid to ask your teachers and peers for advice and revisions. You can always reuse essays if the prompts are similar enough. This can save a lot of time and effort while writing the supplemental essays for each of your colleges. While cliche, don't forget to be yourself in your essays, you want colleges to accept you for you, not who they think you are.

infographic and reporting by Annie Abraham, Ellen Kan and Stav Nachum




february 18, 2015

36 questions leading to Level: Easy First question: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Last question: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

In a study by Arthur Aron, Edward Melinat, Elaine Aron, Robert Vallone and Renee Bator, a psychology professor had his students fill out a questionnaire He then paired off the students and gave them 36 questions to ask each other that he believed would bring them closer. One of the pairs eventually got married. A writer for The New York Times tried using the questions, followed by staring into another’s eyes for four minutes, and documented her experience in a post that went viral and brought up an intriguing point: could asking 36 questions to a stranger or acquaintance make you fall in love? tjTODAY has some of the questions below so you can try it with a friend or significant other.

Level: Medium First question: If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? Last question: How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Level: Hard First question: Make three true “we” statements each. Last question: Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen. photos courtesy of Juliana Bain, Habeen Chang, Anna Klaussen and Lily Wittle infographic and design by Anjali Khanna and Lindsay Williams

Level: Bonus Round Look into your partner’s eyes for 4 minutes.

ISIS terrorism creates discussion about freelance journalism risks by Anjali Khanna and Stav Nachum Features Editor and News Editor People often ask, what you are willing to do for your job? How much you are willing to sacrifice for what you do? For journalists, more often than not, that answer is family, freedom or even life. In today’s world, journalists must go to extremes in dangerous territories to gain the inside scoop, particularly for articles involving the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL. Nearly every day, these journalists put themselves in danger of injury or capture by extremist groups. After the recent videotaped beheadings of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, American journalist James Foley and countless others, the true danger of freelance journalism became apparent in the eyes of terrified viewers around the world. Many argue that sending journalists to areas in turmoil is irresponsible and unnecessary, as it puts their lives in danger for doing the same job as a journalist in the United States. However, some take the opposite stance on the matter, asserting that keeping journalists from war-torn areas only elevates levels of terrorism in the world today. If journalists were banned from documenting events in Jordan, Iraq and Syria, it would almost be the same as censorship of these events from the American people. They argue that in this situation, very few people would have information on ISIS other than the violent videos and propaganda it sends into the western hemisphere. As a result, audiences would have to formulate their own biased and misguided opinions about ISIS and Al-Qaeda, as well as the relationship between Islam and terrorism as a whole. “Censorship is a major issue that many countries that lack the freedoms and democracy of America have within their borders,” senior Arielle Ampeh said. “I believe that

even though it is risky and sometimes life-threatening, journalists still should have the option of reporting and documenting events in our world. We need to know what is going on so that our public can remain educated on the issues and make informed decisions. Without journalists we wouldn’t be able to do that effectively.” However, sending journalists to areas of violence like Aleppo and Baghdad comes with very real dangers. Last year, according to the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ), 61 journalists were killed around the world, one of them being Canadian photojournalist Ali Mustafa. A freelancer covering the Syrian civil war, Mustafa lacked the protections and liability of journalists who work for a specific news agency. However, as common western news agencies pull their journalists from war-torn areas in fear of liability, it is the freelance journalists who must do the dangerous work. Mustafa was covering the war independently to inform both the Syrian people and westerners of the events as accurately as he could. At the time, the only true network covering the civil war was the Syrian Arab News Agency, which was riddled with bias and propaganda and issued directly from the Syrian government. “When I do watch the news, I think about the dangers of journalism because I know how dangerous these terrorist groups can be,” freshman Mariam Khan said. “But I also wonder if we just think that we are getting the whole story, because it’s so dangerous that we can’t experience these events ourselves and we must believe what we hear from the news.” Often, as Americans, we do not see direct conflict like the violence in Syria or with ISIS, and we can be forgetful of the sacrifices made to bring us our nightly news. In addition, at a place like Jefferson, students are so close to Washing-

ton, D.C., that most of our knowledge of journalism comes from the news anchors who work there. Students can often forget about the other, more dangerous side of journalism: freelance. “I feel as if sometimes we are in the bubble that is America, especially Washington, D.C.,” junior Vanya Vojvodic said. “Sometimes I forget that not everyone has the same opportunities that I do and that some parts of the world are entirely different from the States. It is the journalists who report on issues around the world and give us a factual tale of what is happening around the world that remind me of those differences.” However, recent new programs directed at training freelance journalists have emerged to make the job a little safer in just the past year. This type of journalism now requires a training program called Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues, which teaches young journalists what to do in a lifethreatening situation before they travel to war-torn areas. Unfortunately, the odds of survival are still never good for a journalist who has been injured or captured in the Middle East by a violent group. Some students at Jefferson believe that unbiased freelance journalists should be granted amnesty while on the job, or offered military protection regardless of their nationality. However, the world isn’t perfect, and simply the action of being in the Middle East during a dangerous time puts freelancers at a higher risk than the normal news anchor. “Although there are dangers, it’s important that journalists go to these areas because if the only coverage of these events is coming from the military, there is obviously going to be bias,” Khan said. “I believe that journalists should be granted U.S. government protection, even outside the United States, because that’s what the government is here for.”

february 18, 2015





february 18, 2015

Students react to speech of civil rights leader “I can say, as Sister Pollard said—a 70-year-old Negro woman who lived in this community during the bus boycott—and one day, she was asked while walking if she didn’t want to ride. And when she answered, ‘No,’ the person said, ‘Well, aren’t you tired?’ And with her ungrammatical profundity, she said, And in a real sense this afternoon, we can say that our feet are tired, but our souls are rested.” “When fighting - Martin Luther for a cause, you must think beyond King, Jr. at Selma, “The rewar d yo urself.” makes the hard Ala. - senior Adrian Robertson wor k wor th it.” “This shows - jun ior Eke Wo ko ch a strength andthe determinati der r o n i e o c n had built ins they acrifi public and S “ “This world isn’t id e them. e of what you hoped to achieovnal peace.” - freshman pers homore Jacob for, but we’re still Sahana Aiy er - sop fighting.” Adolphe

‘My feets is tired, but my soul is .’


- senior Reem Mohamed

Most influential civil rights protests in American history Rosa Parks refuses Congress of Racial to give up her seat, Equality organizes freedom rides year-long bus (1961) boycott (1955)

College students have a sit-in at Woolworth’s Lunch Counter (1960)

Martin Luther King, Jr. leads march from Selma, Ala. to Montgomery, Ala. (1965)

Nation of Islam organizes “million man march” on Washington, D. C. (1995)

Protests break out following police shooting of unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo. (2014)

At the March on Riots occur in Los Protests encourage Washington, D.C., Martin Angeles after police governor of South Luther King, Jr. gives “I caught on video beating Carolina to remove Have a Dream” speech a black motorist (1992) Confederate flag (2000) (1963) photo illustrations and reporting by Sandy Cho and Lindsay Williams background photo “Selma to Montgomery Marches” courtesy of Library of Congress