December 2016

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CULTURAL FOOD TASTE TEST Trying cuisines from various nationalities


The power and influence of human kindness after a grueling election season


Opinions of students from various backgrounds



The impact of school sports supporters at games

DEC. 15, 2016 || VOL 2 ISSUE 4 ||







RFL Spirit Week


Jefferson Murals

6 7

Profiles of Kindness

16 17 18

The Significance of IBET Projects Memories From Science Outreach Clubs Seasonal Affective Disorder


Fan Impact


Wrestling With Gender Roles


Cultural Food Taste Test SCI AND TECH



24 EDITORIAL Free Speech vs. Hate Speech 25 Rejected tjTODAY on Fake News ENTERTAINMENT

28 30

Stories Behind Foreign Traditions


Ethan Phillips

A Jefferson Petting Zoo WHAT I'VE LEARNED












ERINN HARRIS tjTODAY is the official newsmagazine of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology published by the journalism staff. 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.



Photo courtesy of Manu Onteeru. Freshman Manu Ontee members of the Scholastic New Kids Press Crops and fo Michelle Obama.

Junior Camdyn Davis shakes hands with Dr. Glazer after cate during the National Honor Society induction cerem

Photo courtesy of Ria Sonawane. Seniors Ria Sonawane pose with Mrs. Wu, director of the oceanography lab, an


Manu Onteeru poses with other Crops and former first lady

Lilia Quan || STAFF WRITER

childhood obesity in America.

BACKSTORY As a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps student reporting program, freshman Manu Onteeru covers local news events for the Kids Press webpage. In Nov., Onteeru traveled to Washington D.C. to speak with First Lady Michelle Obama about her views on children’s health and her Let’s Move! campaign to combat

HOW DID YOU COME BY THIS OPPORTUNITY? After working for Scholastic for about a year, and visiting the White House three times, my editors were contacted by the White House to do a sit-down interview with the First Lady. They invited me, and about seven other students to talk to her, and her plans outside the White House to continue her work on nutrition. Michelle Obama wanted the ability to talk to the youth of the nation, so she decided to contact young reporters, not adult ones. WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE

Katherine Du and Ashley Huang || EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, STAFF WRITER

. Glazer after receiving his certifiction ceremony.

ia Sonawane and Sarah Crossen raphy lab, and Derek Watkins.

BACKSTORY National Honor Society (NHS) held its induction ceremony on Nov. 8 at 7 PM. The purpose of the induction ceremony was to formally initiate new members into the organization, and the event featured a guest speaker, Dr. Jae Ku, who is the director of of the U.S. Korea Research Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Samantha Yap || STAFF WRITER

BACKSTORY Seniors Sarah Crossen and Rhea Sahai attend the third anniversary of the Minorities in Energy Conference, which was held in Washington DC on Nov. 31. The initiative, run by the US Department of Energy, seeks to spread energy concerns to underrepresented community members. This year, ocean lab director Lisa Wu invited two seniors to the conference. tjTODAY interviewed senior Sarah Crossen about the experience.


PART? I have to say that throughout the entire experience, the most memorable part was just talking to her. Not an interview, but just speaking to her about schools and my life. I emailed her the other day and she responded, saying that young people like us at TJ have the ability to make change in our society by putting our minds to it. She knows that we are the future, as students and innovators, so by making sure that our uprisings are right, our country will be right in the future.

symbolic - just the flame that keeps us WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF going while we’re alive. THE INDUCTION CEREMONY? WHAT DO YOU THINK STRONGLY So my favorite part of the induction EMBODIES THIS YEAR’S NHS “CLASS”? ceremony was, ever since middle school I think one thing we notice about the when I was in NJHS, there was a candle applications this year is that we were really lighting ceremony, and as an officer you impressed by the students who applied had to light each candle. [The induction because they were very well rounded. There ceremony] was pretty deep and it [involved were people who were definitely aware of recognizing] all four of the four pillars what they wanted to do in the future and [scholarship, leadership, service, character] they surrounded each other with scholars? of NHS. After that, each officer would And activities that really demonstrated write a small portion about each of the their interest in that field. But in addition to pillars of NHS. That really helped solidify that, they also did clubs and went into the things and after we were done, we lit each candle and put them down. I think it’s really community and do service activities and events. HOW DID YOU COME BY THIS OPPORTUNITY? [Ms. Wu] knows a woman called Dr. Lewinstein, and she runs the program, and she was being inducted into this energy committee. She runs the program called the “Net Generation of Youth,” and she told Ms. Wu to pick two of [her] ocean kids and take them with [her] to this conference. WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE? [Members at the Minorities in Energy Conference] were talking about where they’ve been, where they are, and where

they want to go. It was cool for me because honestly I’m white. I don’t really get that, or understand that struggle, but I can listen and try to understand it. And I think it’s really cool from my perspective to know that I’m going into that field, and I have the power to be able to amplify their message a little bit. WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE EXPERIENCE? I think the big takeaway is that once you understand someone’s perspective, you kind of weave it into your own. DESIGN // Avni Singh



Renovation Update The auditorium will be turned over this week

ON THE RADAR: Student Activities will be in use when students return from the Winter Break.

Gym II will be in use by mid-JanuaryBreak. The remaining Humanities rooms, math classrooms, two commons areas, IT office, health classrooms, planetarium, Partnership Fund office, and archives room will be open late winter or early spring. DESIGN // Uzma Rentia

The Jefferson community bands together in providing hope to those affected by cancer Grace Mak || STAFF WRITER


tudents in yellow trickled into the dome as they placed motivational sticky notes showing support for cancer patients on the windows. That day, Nov. 5, Relay for Life had organized the first day of their spirit week. Students dressed in a certain color each day, ending with a kickoff event during both Friday eighth period blocks. They wore yellow for children’s cancer, blue for prostrate cancer, pink for breast cancer, white for lung cancer, and purple for all cancers in general. “Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, but more than that, it’s a way to support our community and provide hope for all those who are affected by cancer,” said senior Daniel Haseler, the co-event chair of the Relay for Life committee.

In order to spread the word, Jefferson’s Relay for Life put up a large poster about the activities for each day of the spirit week.

tickets for a chance to pie a Jefferson staff member. This was one of the events that Relay for Life focused on during this time of year to create greater cancer awareness and involvement within the community.

Haseler first chose to join Relay for Life after being influenced by both his family and the cancer story “We tried to include spirit activities of Dr. Debbie Rachlin, whose son that would appeal to different started the organization at Jefferson groups, with our color themed days and free food, to our sticky in her honor. notes in honor of cancer patients “It’s heartbreaking how many and a raffle to pie teachers,” said people are affected by cancer, but Haseler. “The objective is to show it’s heartwarming how many people people that there are many reasons are strong in the fight against it,” to participate in Relay for Life-said Haseler. there is no reason why serving your For each day that students community shouldn’t be fun too.” participated, they received raffle



DEC 15, 2016


SGA leads effort to revive tradition through redecoration Nikita Sivakumar || STAFF WRITER

inspirational quotes. Finally, the largest house to student paintings were the bathrooms. Biology life cycles, such as meiosis, decorated one of the girls’ bathrooms. Some students feel that construction has killed much of the dynamic, artful spirit TJ community. According to junior Jahnavi Prabhala, the addition of seasonal paintings to the artificial hallway that used to connect the Aud/Lob to the JUMP lab breathed life into the dull, sad place. “During that period of time when they first put up the tunnels, it felt like such a lifeless thing that you were going through,” Prabhala said. “It was really crowded and there was nothing on the walls. I just think it [the murals] brought life to something that didn’t really have any character.” Prabala said that murals are a core part of the TJ character, and construction has suppressed this part of the school. Now that there is a new building, there is the opportunity for each class to sprinkle their own personality over the white halls and ceilings for future generations to remember.

GRAPHIC // Nikita Sivakumar Before construction, ceilings would be covered with paintings similar to the image above that educated the Jefferson community in an active manner. And now, that tradition can continue with the repainting of the newly renovated school.


t used to be that you would look up and see tiles of colorful compounds cover the ceilings. Now if you look up at the school you might see an array of random wires and pipes hanging from the roof. Prior to construction, there was a long-held student tradition of covering the school with creative and inspirational murals. However, in past years many of these murals were lost as the old building was demolished. Now that renovation is coming to a close, and the school is regaining its bathrooms, ceilings, and walls, TJ students are reviving this tradition.

On Nov. 3, senior Nora Thompson from SGA posted a Google form that invited students to offer ideas for painting the school in the “TJHSST OFFICIAL Class of 2017” Facebook group. She described how the previous artwork that covered the school was “the product of 30 years of students making their mark on our school” and expressed the SGA’s hopes that students would restart this tradition.

“It’s like personality in this school, and I feel like with the renovation a lot of that has been taken away,” senior Tim Cho said. “A lot of students, especially the upperclassmen, feel like the school has lost a sort of personality, and I think that now that the renovation is coming to an end, we can establish a new tradition and begin anew and bring back that spirit of a school that really has life.” In addition to reviving a fundamental TJ tradition, SGA views this as an opportunity for students to express their passions in the fine arts that a STEM school often overshadows. In addition to the TJ murals initiative SGA has taken up over projects such as an Art Gala to promote the artistic side of TJ students.

“I also think that while this is mostly a stem school, a lot of people here really enjoy the humanities and the arts and we really want to promote that,” Cho said. “We are having Prior to construction, a variety of wellthe Arts Gala this year, and this is just one known TJ murals illuminated the school. other way to show that artistic spirit in our In addition to the previously mentioned chemistry hall, the stairways were painted with community.”



KINDNESS No matter where we are or who we’re with, it isn’t hard to recognize an act of kindness at Jefferson

PHOTO // Ankit Agrawal



DEC 15, 2016


Alynne Cutler’s kindness shines beyond Jefferson Josh Mutterperl || STAFF WRITER

It’s hard to imagine kindness in the Thomas Jefferson community without junior Alynne Cutler coming to mind. “I’ve known Alynne since seventh grade,” junior Lilly Ko said. “Even at school, she was always helping people. If someone was sitting alone, she would be the one that was brave enough to walk over and leave her friends to go with them.” Although Cutler is known for her inclusive nature and good heart, her kindness goes beyond the scope of the school community. “I’ve worked with autistic kids, participated in Book Buddies at TJ, played in a quartet at nursing homes, and volunteered for environmental organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation,” Cutler said.

“We have so many opportunities to serve the community during 8th period,” Cutler said. “Take advantage of them! Volunteering is a way that TJ students can discover issues they’re truly passionate about, and be able to actually do something about those issues. In order to make a difference in the world, you need to start small with something you care about, and volunteering in your community is the best way to get you on your way to making an impact.”

Each Friday through the Jefferson Book Buddies Club, Cutler goes to Weyanoke Elementary School and reads to her second grade buddy for 45 minutes. Cutler says that this interest in community service stems from an opportunity she had in sixth grade. “My elementary school had a program called Bus Buddies, in which sixth graders were paired with an autistic second grade buddy,” Cutler said. “I spent a total of ten minutes each day with my buddy, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of the year the time allowed me to make friends with my buddy, and I started to look forward to those ten minutes each day. During that year I discovered that I loved working with those who are autistic and wanted to continue volunteering in the community during middle and high school.” Through her work Cutler has found that it is possible to incorporate volunteer work in even the most hectic of schedules. “Another thing I’ve discovered about volunteer work is that it’s easier to fit into your life than most people would think,” Cutler said. “The key to incorporating service into your life is looking at what you already like to do regularly, and figure out what you can do for the community using those things.” Cutler’s community service and upbeat attitude have been viewed positively by many people in the Thomas Jefferson community, including junior Emily Quan. “Having a positive attitude [like Alynne] really does make a big difference,” Quan said. “Also having team dynamics and working with people, because people at TJ sometimes can be a little negative.” Cutler herself believes that in addition to helping others think positively, community service -- no matter how small it seems -works to better the world.

DESIGN // Ankit Agrawal PHOTO // Christine Zhao



We want to be treated nicely. We want people to be kind to us, and sometimes we are kind to others. But many might wonder what the point is--we’re often so busy with our own duties and aspirations that taking an extra moment to be courteous to a stranger or peer seems impossible or unnecessary. But according to senior Anusha Balani, co-president of Jefferson’s Minds Matter, formerly known as Active Minds, kindness has [surprising] psychological benefits for both the person being kind and the person on the other end of an act of kindness.

says that helping people could help the society and better the society. Basically, we’re helping other people in order to help our species survive.” Balani would know about kindness--she and fellow co-president Rahul Batra organize several Random Acts of Kindness days, usually during stressful academic weeks, on which Minds Matter members volunteer to dress up and hand out flowers and candy with kind words around the school. “The person receiving the action is relieved of some social anxiety and their day is brightened a little,” Balani said. “I think that brightens the community because the students and teachers are receiving something nice in the midst of some stressful study session. Even if they’re not studying and just hanging around, they’ll feel better about themselves. It’s like a boost in confidence.”

So, while reading these profiles of students at Jefferson who go out of their way to be kind to their classmates, remember that you, too, “I’ve read that people feel better about themselves and more can make another person’s day with a simple act, like signing up to confident because they’ve done a good deed, but also because they’re distribute Hershey’s Kisses or volunteering to visit a senior home or shifting attention away from themselves for a minute and onto simply smiling at someone in the hallway. another person,” she said. “Also, there’s an altruistic perspective that


Light can often come in the most unexpected or darkest of times. For some, that light comes in the form of sophomore Ankita Vadiala.

in many people.” Sophomore Brian Xu also believes that Vadiala’s passion for selfless warmth and devotion to the happiness of others is what separates her from the crowd.

“One day my friend and I were sitting in the dome, and Ankita came up to say ‘Hi’ to us,” junior Nick Begotka said. “I didn’t know her at the time, but she was “TJ is kind of this high stress environment and super friendly. That night she messaged me, and we’ve enthusiasm is normally one of the first things to go, and been friends ever since.” she’s always kind of just cheery and happy, and that kind Kind, friendly, energetic, and always smiling. of puts a spot of color in everyone’s day,” Xu said. Begotka believes these are her kindness’ In the end, Vadiala attributes her source of kindness to most notable traits, whether Vadiala is its effect on others. beaming a happy smile across the hallway, “I want everyone to feel like there’s someone out there or simply being an understanding ear. who will always be there for them, no matter what,” “She immediately smiles super big and Vadiala said. “I want everyone to keep smiling, because says ‘Hi,’ even if she’s on the other side it’s a beautiful thing to stay happy in a time of stress. of the hall,” Begotka said. “When you When people have done these things for me, it let me talk with Ankita, you can really tell she stay positive, even when I felt like I couldn’t do anything. genuinely cares about you and what That’s why I want more people to feel like there’s a you have to say. She goes out of her friend on their side.” way to be friendly. You can’t find that PHOTO // Christine Zhao



DEC 15, 2016


In a competitive environment like Jefferson, it is important to have someone you can turn to in times of need. For freshman Sonika Vuyyuru, this person is fellow freshman Turner Bumbary, and the two met during freshman orientation.

them. You have to understand that even though you might disagree with certain things and issues, they have their own opinions and that you have your own, too.

Bumbary believes that it’s essential to be kind, as it not only helps others, but also “Turner is always willing to help others and always there, even when y ­ ourself. you’re having a tough day,” Vuyyuru said. “He’s there to talk to you and understand, and especially in difficult classes where everyone is “I think it’s important to be kind or nice always competitive or trying to get the best grade, he’s always there to because, in this world, especially in times help you understand what’s going on or just be a good friend.” like this where everyone is so Vuyyuru also appreciates the fact that Bumbary often puts others before himself, a trait she feels is important in a friend. “Turner is always there to help out his friends and even people he may not know,” Vuyyuru said. “He often cares about other people more than himself.” For Bumbary, being respectful plays a large role in being kind. “I think that, in order to be kind to someone, you have to respect

divisive, it’s really helpful to have a kind face that people can look out to and it kind of brights not only their day, but your day is also brightened.”

PHOTO // Christine Zhao


“Warm-hearted.” “Positive.” “Kind.” These are just a few of the words used to describe senior Sean Tran. Friends of Tran feel that he is kind in that he goes out of his way to make people happy. “He has a really positive personality that I think people react well to,” senior Tiffany Sun said. “Just in his everyday life he’s genuinely happy for other people’s successes, and that’s really admirable.”

PHOTO // Sabria Kazmi

and I almost dropped out of TJ,” Tran said. “The kindness shown by some of my peers and teachers during this sensitive time helped me get through that period, and since then it has been my goal to give back to this amazing community. If it weren’t for the support of others, I probably wouldn’t be at this school today, and I hope that through my posts and interactions, I am helping to make a difference in someone’s life.” From the way that many of his friends and classmates have spoken about him, it is evident that he has succeeded in his mission to raise the spirits of others. An anecdote of Tran during his junior year captures the love the school has for him.

Tran’s motivation behind his kindness comes from personally experience a hard time. He “In junior year, our MEX was kind of falling apart,” overcame this tough time with support from others and hopes to senior Tim Cho said. “Everyone was kind of upset, but then when [Tran] came out and danced really have the same impact on people passionately the seniors started cheering for him, in similar situations. everybody started getting happy, and he turned the “It was terrible, feeling so alone, spirit around.”

DESIGN // Ankit Agrawal




DEC 15, 2016 TO GET INTO A TOP COLLEGE YOU MUST STAND OUT MyEdMaster students do research that gets published in scientific journals. They are building a social media website, that is attracting interest from investors. They developed AI-based educational software that crushed Khan Academy in terms of effectiveness. They get internships at places like Harvard, Duke and Johns Hopkins. They get into top colleges (Ivy League, MIT, Caltech, guaranteed medical programs). They also get tutoring for SAT, SAT II, ACT and academic subjects. For more information, visit, or contact Dr. John Leddo at or 571-242-6986.

Attention Students & Staff “How can we better embrace failure with the TJ community and use it as an opportunity for learning and growth?" DO YOU HAVE NEW CREATIVE PROJECTS WITH THIS QUESTION IN MIND? CHECK OUT THE GRANT AWARDS.@ The purpose of the One Question Grant is to support creativity and enthusiasm for exploring the themes of the 2016-2017 One Question. The grant can be used to support classroom activities, student club initiatives, service activities, and special events (including speakers) during our 8th period sessions. Grant awards can be used to pay for almost any expense that support this year's One Question. Examples of expenses can include, but are not limited to: student research project materials, books for lessons, supplies for an out-reach project, transportation costs, food for an event, a banner for the school, etc. Individual student, faculty member or a group of students may request up to $250 for expenses.. All grant recipients must be willing to give a presentation or demonstration at this year's TJ STAR on June 6, 2017.


One Question Grant Application 2016-2017 MARK YOUR CALENDAR! DEADLINE EXTENDED Deadline to submit grant proposal: Thursday December 15, 2016. Questions? Email Mr. Davis at and/or Ms. Gravitte. Thank you TJ partnership for the donation. Thanks to Jami Park and Adarsh Kulkarni for this year’s question. Art graphic by Sydney Miller, class of 2016



1 pound powdered milk 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour 4 tablespoon yogurt 1 tablespoon ghee (make sure it’s warm)

Instructions Mix all the ingredients together. Add a pinch of baking soda. Make into balls and fry. The balls should be deep fried in olive oil. Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water. You can add cardamom powder for extra flavor Heat on stove. The sugar syrup should be made using low heat. Drizzle mixture over the balls made earlier.

To learn how to make and eat Pani Puri, another Indian treat, visit

CAMBODIAN FRIED RICE Ingredients 4 cups of rice 2 eggs 1/4 cup oil 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables and onions 1/2 sp salt 2 tbsp soy sauce 3 cloves fried garlic pinch of pepper, sugar, fried garlic

Instructions Cook Rice. Scramble eggs with oil. Add frozen mixed vegetables and onions. Fry the entire thing and add some

more rice.

Add black pepper, salt, and sugar,

and fry some more.

Fry all together and add some soy

sauce and fried garlic.

Aryaan Hussain || STAFF WRITER

On Dec. 5, tjTODAY prepared a cultural taste test with foods from each of the student’s ethnic and racial backgrounds. The foods present included Korean dumplings and cake rolls, Chinese tomatoes and eggs, tofu, and friend rice, Indian desserts such as Gulab Jamun, Kaju Katli, snacks, samosas, and a tjTODAY favorite, Panu Puri. The taste test also included Greek chicken, Japanese rice and seaweed, British Ceylon and peppermint bark tea, and others.



Dec 15, 2016

EGGS WITH TOMATOES INGREDIENTS 2 diced tomatoes 4 eggs 1 tsp cornstarch



green onion, chopped (seperate the white and green)

225 g cold butter, diced 350 g of plain flower 100 g golden caster sugar 280 g mincemeat 1 small egg

salt and pepper

icing sugar, to dust

olive oil


INSTRUCTIONS Beat eggs together; season with salt and pepper, and add the”white” part of the green onion and sesame oil. Mix well. Add oil to the pan; turn up the heat. Add the egg mixture. Break the egg into pieces. Toss and cook until the eggs are almost done. This should take less than 2 min. Take out the egg. Add more olive oil to the pan and cook the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes and add the rice vinegar and sugar; cook until the you can smell the tomatoes. Put the egg mixture back to the pan. Add the”green” part of the green onion. In a little bowl, mix cornstarch with a little more than 1 tsp of water Toss. Serve hot.

To make the pastry, rub 225g cold, diced butter into 350g plain flour, then mix in 100g golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon 280g mincemeat into the pies. Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal – you don’t need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month). Beat 1 small egg and brush the tops of the pies. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

DESIGN // Christine Zhao Photos of flags courtesy of

A look at cultural foods from around the world

14 IN-DEPTH Because he [Trump] is a republican, I think that we that might have a chance at lowering taxes and getting rid of ObamaCare. I don’t support everything he says, but I’m not the biggest fan of ObamaCare. -Alexa Bailey, 9 I don’t think Trump will follow through on ALL of his campaign promises; nevertheless I know that he will bring positive change to our country’s economy, security, and foreign policy. -Joseph Waddington, 11



Opinions from different backgrounds




Black people are already being oppressed and the rate of oppression has gone up. I feel like when he [Trump] starts being president, the message he is sending may start affecting the white people around me to think it is okay to treat me like that. -Angel Peprah, 11

Something I’m scared of, is that, we’ve made a lot of progress considering a lot of people’s rights, like the LGBT community, But I’m just scared that given his ability to elect a new supreme court justice, he might be able to overturn these rights. -Sachin Jain, 11 I know that suicides are up, and calls to suicide hotlines are doubled now that the election is over and Trump has won. -Max Pabilonia, 12 Overall a lot of the people he is appointing are either extremely racist, sexist, homophobic, anti semitic, or just people who believe equal rights should not be granted to all. -Isabelle Deng, 9

Design // AVNI SINGH



DEC 15, 2016


Students consider the legacy of the administration

Tanya Kurnootala || STAFF WRITER

President-elect Donald Trump will take office Jan. 20, 2017, marking the end of President Obama’s eight years in the White House. From 2008 to 2016, the Obama administration has been shaping the lives of Americans and the lessons, beliefs and values that he leaves behind will ultimately reveal his own legacy. Obama first appealed to the nation as an optimistic, young leader who had plans for a hopeful future. “The road ahead will be long,” Obama said in his 2008 presidential election victory speech. “Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

community, he was popular within the country. “Obama, while I didn’t think he did a very good job with foreign policy and portrayed America as a little weak to other countries, generally set a good image to the American people,” senior Jack Boyle said. Regarding education, Obama has been in support of allocating funds for STEM. However, concern is growing that his work could be reversed by future administrations. “President Barack Obama was committed to a lot of spending in the education department,” junior Brandon Kim said. “I think the National Science Foundation might actually be cut under the Trump Administration, which would be a bad thing because TJ and a lot of schools in Fairfax County rely on federal funding.” Although some students disagree with the Obamas’ political viewpoints, they agree that they have been role models for American citizens and future administrations.

While some students believe Obama could “I disagree with their politics but as far as the type of people have displayed America they were, they definitely set a good example,” Boyle said. as a stronger power “[During] their presidency they kept a good public image.” in the international Photo courtesy of

Graphic // MIJIN CHO




Information from

African American

34% 3%






Asian American











Hispanic or Latino


33% MALE

White (or non-hispanic)


Independent Parties




How did certain demographics vote in the Presidential election? Clinton



A Demographic Display



IBET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THE IMPORTANCE What impacts do IBET projects have?


Ashley Huang and Valerie Nayak || STAFF WRITERS

sk a student at Jefferson about their best memories of freshman year, and he or she will likely mention IBET (Integrated Biology, English, and Technology).

Even though IBET projects can sometimes be seen as seemingly having no end goal, data collected from IBET projects go directly to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) at Mason Neck State Park.

But what about IBET makes it so significant? Is it the excitement of a novel learning environment with a fresh new set of classmates? Or is it the realization that their project results will be used to propel ongoing scientific research?

“Our relationship with Mason Neck goes

“IBET is all about forming connections - we build a little family of peers, [and] I love to see my former IBET students in the halls.”

Jessica Chen, a Holman Red Day IBET member, is involved in a project formulated around the topic of deer excrement. Her IBET group is hoping to conclude if deer excrete in some places more than others, therefore being more likely to be there for foraging. “Everyone’s projects are special and unique,” Chen said. “Our teachers just provide us with data collection tools. We have all the freedom to do any project we want. [My project is to] get people to better comprehend deer and their livelihood. [That would] help the human’s effort to help the deer population.”

- IBET English teacher Lona Klein back over 10 years and was established by some of the same teachers that founded the IBET program at TJ,” Holman said. “We are a part of helping the USFWS plan actions for the future that will improve the health of the species we discuss.”

From left to right freshmen Grace Cullen, Havish Malladi and William Vroom set up a quadrant on a plot in order to survey the trees and identify the lichen on them.

Photos courtesy of Athena Gu

Dr. Sonia Del Cerro is the biology teacher of the critter IBET group. Members of the critter IBET spend the year researching an invertebrate of their choice. Del Cerro thinks that

the projects have the potential to move local environmental research forward. “A common organism that is one of the favorites is planaria because planaria actually has the capacity to regenerate and it’s one of the aquatic organisms that can be an indicator of the quality of the water. It has many interesting properties, and it’s pretty cheap. Another popular one is daphnia. That’s also used in a lot of toxicology experiments,” Del Cerro said. However, the students don’t manage to produce useful scientific research every year alone; teachers like Design & Technology teacher Mr. Jared Seyler of the lichen IBET are crucial for the repeated annual success of the IBET program. This year marks the second use of lichen as the focus of Dr. Larson’s IBET after the debut of lichen in the 2015-16 school year. “The students are finding out how they can use lichen as a bioindicator for pollutants,” Seyler said. “Lichen is easy to use and they provide a passive way to figure out [what] pollutants are around.” Even though IBET is a new challenge each year, many teachers agree that students will gradually find IBET shaping their freshman experience. “IBET was like a family,” sophomore Eli Kaufman said. “My rotation was really tight; we even made our own IBET rotation t-shirts.” “IBET is all about forming connections we build a little family of peers, [and] I love to see my former IBET students in the halls,” Lona Klein, the Microbial Fuel Cell IBET English teacher said. “ I think if we didn’t have IBET, freshmen would gravitate into their middle school groups a bit more at the start of the year, and that would hold us back somewhat from building the kind of spirited intellectual community we want to create here.”




DEC 15, 2016

Jefferson students experience memories and learn life skills Justin Chang || STAFF WRITER


hrough hard work, endurance, and motivation to inspire others, Jefferson students made memories and learned life lessons when participating in outreach clubs, such as Life And Inspiration For Everyone (LIFE), Women In Science And Engineering (WISE), and Kids Are Scientists Too (KAST). The clubs provide educational activities and services to other communities of students in elementary and middle schools, through learning sessions and handson activities. The club LIFE strives to inspire elementary school students with learning disabilities to pursue science and mathematics. LIFE meets twice a month to visit a variety of elementary schools, and aims to promote the students’ communication and social skills through strong bonds with their mentors through individualized attention. “It’s really interesting to see how difficult it is to teach kids science concepts that seem so simple to us now,” said junior Arpitha Shenoy, the treasurer of LIFE.

After a learning session with elementary school students, Jefferson mentors work with the students during a hands-on activity, encouraging and sharing excitement in science, with the elementary school students.

Shenoy also recalls a comical time where students introduced themselves through an engaging, ice-breaker activity. “On the first day of the club this year, I remember one of the Weyanoke students said [his] life goal was to become a pizza man.”

PHOTO // Katherine Du

“I learned to explain simply and clearly, be patient, and that has made me become a leader - having to plan and implement labs and organize over 80 girls from TJ is a lot of work, but it’s something I really enjoy.” KAST also strives to inspire students to discover a passion for science through accessible and interactive learning programs. KAST inspires students at a variety of schools such as Bren Mar Elementary School. Austin Huang, a freshman at Jefferson, is one of three lead facilitators in KAST working with students at Bren Mar. Huang recalls when the students used popsicle sticks and tape for a competition to build a bridge.

Another club, WISE, meets twice a month to reach out to female students at Weyanoke Elementary School. Weyanoke students travel to Jefferson, where they receive hands-on experience from qualified student mentors. By reaching out, the WISE club hopes to increase the participation, contribution, and success of women in STEM., shared some memorable moments she experienced with the “Each groups of kids had their own unique ideas, and we tested students. to see which bridge could hold the most pennies before collapsing, and the winning bridge ended up holding 119 pennies. The kids were “My memorable experience was doing the Lava Lamp lab,” said senior Diana Zavela. “It’s simple--water, oil, and food-coloring--but so excited they had won, and it was definitely a fun and memorable experience.” the girls were absolutely fascinated. My favorite part of WISE is seeing how happy the girls are when they learn something new, or In addition to creating exciting memories with the students, Huang complete an experiment.” also learned from participating in the club KAST. In addition to sharing memorable moments with the students, Diana Zavela also shares what she has benefitted and learned from participating in WISE.

“As for something I learned, you should always have an extra activity planned, but always expect not to do everything planned. Time always goes by faster than I expect because KAST is a blast.”

DESIGN // Sabria Kazmi



Why So S.A.D.?

Students face seasonal affective disorder during transitions between seasons.



inter blues. Summer sadness. Autumn anxiety. “So far, the physcotherapy has worked. It’s nice to talk to Spring sorrow. The American Family Physician somebody about my life who isn’t necessarily part of my life. defines seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a type It’s like I’m taking this part of my life and giving it to her . of depression that changes in correspondence with seasons. I’m relieved of that feeling, that part of me that I don’t want “ I can’t really explain it. I get a gloomy feeling [and] everything anymore,”Aarushi Tripathi said. is gray, compared to where in the spring I might feel like everything is blue and happy,” freshman Aarushi Tripathy said. “I started feeling depressed two years ago during the winter. I couldn’t really say that it was SAD until it went away in the spring and it came back [the following] year.” Although changes in seasons provoke different reactions in the 6% of the U.S. population that is diagnosed with SAD, the intensity of symptoms, such as irritability, tiredness, and appetite changes, may vary on a daily basis. “It’s the way I’m feeling. On a good day, I’d be okay. I wouldn’t be knocking myself down all the time. I wouldn’t have anxiety. There is [a] difference,” Tripathy said. In order to help cope with such symptoms, doctors recommend light therapy, which suppresses the secretion of a hormone affecting sleep patterns and mood called melatonin. Although the therapy is not scientifically recognized for its antidepressant effect, it has shown to work in 85% of patients. According to the National Institute of Health, psychotherapy is also a main treatment to help patients adjust to their lives.

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD): a form 10,000,000 people of depressiong associated have SAD in the US. with the changess in daylight cycles every season.

Although the WebMD reportssigns of S.A.D. most frequentlyin ages 18 to 30, students may show symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. In these cases, the school also works to create a system of support in classes. “In my experience working with students, a couple of students each year come to me and report that they are experiencing possible symptoms of seasonal affective disorder,” Dr. Eveleigh said. “My role is to support the student as she or he goes through those changes in mood throughout the school year.” To raise awareness of seasonal affective disorder and mental health, the school promotes initiatives that work to advocate for mental wellness. “We are hosting an event to view a documentary called “Unmasked” [and]... youth mental health first aid courses… for students and parents to participate in [and] learn about the warning signs,” said Dr. Eveleigh. “We understand that the pressures of school and workload can become overwhelming for students. We want them to know that we’re here and there’s support available.”

WOMEN are more likely to get SAD.

+ 10-20%

more have a milder version.


require hospitalization. DESIGN // MiJin Cho INFOGRAPHIC // Nikita Sivakumar


DEC 15, 2016



Impact of the negative fans on player discipline during the game

PHOTO //Brian Park Junior Noah Barnes, a varsity basketball player, takes an early shot in the first quarter as a Washington & Lee High School player runs to try and block the shot on Dec. 9.


he basketball season officially kicked off with a blowout home win against McLean High School on Nov. 28. The Jefferson basketball fans have always been enthusiastic and positive towards the basketball teams, although they have also given chants towards the opposing teams. Fans believe that it is appropriate to chant against the opposing team.

aspect of a player’s playing style while maintaining a respectful tone,” senior Ankush Joshi said.

individuals. The kids perceive that they can have an impact on the game if they can get into the head of an individual.”

Fans do this to have an impact in the game. Math teacher Michael Auerbach has also pointed that chants are more easily heard in the Jefferson gym, compared to larger venues.

Though fans remain loyal to Jefferson even when the game gets frustrating, Joshi said that cheers against opponents can be effective as long as they do not go overboard.

“I don’t get the impression that at football games they engage in the same “I believe that cheering against the thing,” Auerbach said. “I’m guessing opponent is justified and I have definitely because in football games, they’re so far engaged myself in banter with opposing from the opposing team and it’s already players under the right circumstances. so loud so there won’t really be an impact, I believe it is fair to talk about a certain like getting into the head of specific DESIGN // Bayliss Wagner

“I have found that negative cheering impacts the game if we can distract opposing players from executing their game plan.” Joshi said. “It is important to keep jeering limited to superficial matters so we do not offend any players or their families who may be in



DEC NOV15, 21,2016 2016

PHOTOS //Brian Park

Do fans negatively impact sportsmanship?

attendance. Any negative cheering is directed toward the opponent because our team deserves nothing but the most positive energy from the fans. Regardless of the score, TJ athletes will always have our unconditional support and any frustration the fans may feel will never manifest itself toward negative cheers directed at our players.” However, according to Auerbach, this cheering is having a negative impact on the Jefferson reputation, and jeering at other players is causing other students and adults to disrespect the Jefferson community.

“TJ kids are under the impression that adults and other students outside the TJ community are disposed to like them because they think the rest of the world would think that TJ kids are good kids, but I think what is more accurate is that most adults outside the TJ are inclined to dislike TJ kids. Especially parents whose kids go to other schools because they see the TJ kids as elitist and entitled, only looking for evidence to back that up.” Auerbach said. From senior varsity player Tim Cho’s perspective, the impact of fans on the game is minimal. However, he is grateful

Fans at a home game quiet down and put their hands up as a Jefferson player begins his free throw.

During Varsity halftime, Jefferson’s dance team entertains the audience. The Monticello Maniacs lead cheers at a home game versus Washington and Lee on Fri., Dec. 9.

Sophomore JV player Todd Hartman waits for Jefferson to get back on the offensive.

Jefferson fans belt holiday tunes like “Jingle Bells” to distract W&L players during free throws at a home game on Dec. 9.

for a fan base that is always cheering them on. “It’s hard to notice the cheering of student sections during away games because, frankly, they are usually quite disorganized,” Cho said. “To the contrary, our Jefferson Maniacs have done a great job this year being rowdy and supportive while keeping chants clean and inoffensive. Their presence at games always gives us tons of energy because they remind us of why we play basketball: to represent them, ourselves, our school, and our collective pride as colonials.”


WHY TRACK? Aumena Choudhry || STAFF WRITER

Track and field team members discuss why people should join

DESIGN // Angel Kim

determine due to differences between studies, homework that I spend working out are invaluable and I find that I am actually Cancer Institute said. “It is estimated that much more productive when I arrive home 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous Additionally, as a distance runner, I go on physical activity per day is needed to protect runs as long as 9 miles for my training and against colon cancer.” the conversations we have on those runs can be both enjoyable and stress reducing.”

Track can become a lifelong passion. making comparisons difficult,” the National

Senior Nora Thompson started running as a young girl and her father encouraged her to continue. “I love that running is a sport I can do all year long since we have cross country as well as winter and spring track,” Thomspon said. “Along the same lines, I love Track and field has a close-knit the fact that it is something that I know I can community. do for my whole life. Running helps me to “The bonds I made cross country season feel healthy and overall good about myself, a before freshman year have been defining feeling that I know I will cherish for the rest friendships of my high school career for of my life.” these are the people that I spend three seasons a year with working and growing.” It can help reduce many healthThompson said. As track and field runs all 3 related risks, such as cancer. seasons, this provides a lasting opportunity According to the National Cancer Institute, to make friends and develop important, longphysically intense activities like running have lasting bonds with each other. been found to significantly reduce the risk It helps with relaxing and focusing. of acquiring cancer. “The magnitude of the protective effect appears greatest with “Track makes me feel healthy both high-intensity activity, physically and mentally, it although the provides me with a break optimal levels from the intense TJ and duration atmosphere,” Thompson of exercise said. “The two hours are still between school and difficult to

Senior Christina Oh runs a hurdle event in the 2015-16 winter track season Junior Ashley Lin throws a discus during the 2016 spring track and field season

Photo courtesy of Mario Rodriguez

Photo courtesy of Mario Rodriguez

It promotes teamwork and collaboration. As a rigorous sport, track and field helps with honing teamwork and collaboration skills. Players encourage one another to perform their best and they help each other strengthen their weak areas, whether it’s beating their personal best by 1 minute, or trying to jump farther. They endeavor to overcome obstacles and daily challenges together as a family.

Sophomore Jack McEver runs at a 2016 fall cross country meet Photo courtesy of Angel Kim



DEC 15, 2016

Photo courtesy of Shruthi Nyshadham

Sophomore Jocelyn Liu practices her wrestling technique with freshman Samuel Dodson.

WRESTLING WITH GENDER ROLLS Women in the male-dominated sport of wrestling Ashley Huang and Shruthi Nyshadham || STAFF WRITERS


f you ever watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match starring world champion Ronda Rousey, you may have to keep your eyes peeled for the entire duration. One second you’re waiting for the fight to start, and the next second, the fight could already be over. In 2015, Rousey won the fight against American martial artist Cat Zingago in less than 14 seconds. Rousey thrives in the highly competitive sport of ultimate fighting as living proof that women can rise to the top of male-dominated sports with enough talent and competitive drive. “Usually [ultimate fighting] matches go for 15 minutes; [Ronda Rousey’s almost] never had a match more than one minute,” Alex Shmorhun, Jefferson’s wrestling head coach, said. “Just [shows that] female athletes can be every bit as intense if they choose to be.”

As a TJ Class of 2010 graduate, and a coach who strives to engage his wrestlers’ minds, Shmorhun ensures that all his wrestlers, regardless of gender, are actively involved and learning at every practice.

decided to try something new by joining the Jefferson wrestling team this winter. As the only female currently on the team, Liu appreciates Shmorhun’s teaching style and open-mindedness.

“I talk about physics; we joke around about static and kinetic coefficients of

“I like that the coach doesn’t treat me any differently,” Liu said.

“We don’t make special exceptions, because that would be unfair. I don’t care what your gender is; everybody gets treated the same.”

- Wrestling head coach Alex Shmorhun

Although men typically dominate the sport of wrestling, as shown by Jefferson’s all-male roster last season, both Shmorhun and his players believe that women can and should friction,” Shmorhun said. “I’m interested be granted an equal opportunity to wrestle. in that, [and] I think TJ wrestlers are also. I nerd out with them.” “There’s not a reason to exclude females,” After participating in taekwondo since sophomore Shihao Cao said. “I feel like first grade and enjoying the sparring there’s a stereotype that females can’t do component of it, sophomore Jocelyn Liu wrestling, but that’s not true that all.”

In fact, apart from logistical differences such as a separate weigh-in, Liu is viewed and treated the same as any male teammate. “The team [doesn’t behave] any differently,” Liu said. “I have to practice with a guy, [but] they don’t make it awkward. It’s kind of the same system.” As described by most students, Jefferson is particularly open-minded and inclusive toward all types of people. Students often claim that this asset is what makes it such a special school. To Shmorhun, that inclusivity should stretch onto the wrestling mat as well. “If [someone wants] to join the team and work, then they work,” Shmorhun said.“We don’t make special exceptions, because that would be unfair. I don’t care what your gender is; everybody gets treated the same.”




alsely accusing someone of stealing property? Illegal.

Posting untrue statements about someone on social media? Illegal. Using race or gender-based slurs? Protected by the first amendment. But does this protection make this kind of speech okay? According to the American Bar Association, hate speech is defined as “speech that offends, threatens or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or other traits.” This type of speech is not uncommon in a world where we are so different, but recent events, particularly the election, have made it increasingly more prevalent. Watching a public figure insult racial and ethnic groups creates the idea that this kind of speech is okay or even encouraged.

of libelous, slanderous, potentially dangerous, obscene or criminal statements, but does not condemn hate speech. While the definition of free speech prevents someone from getting in legal trouble for hate speech, it doesn’t mean that it is permissible to say something that may harm someone else. The key difference between free speech and hate speech is how a person frames their statement - “I don’t think Syrian refugees should be brought into the United States” is a person’s right to an opinion, but “Syrian refugees are terrorists” is crossing a line. Words go beyond their origin - people listen to what we say, and form opinions based on what they hear. Creating a world in which racist or homophobic comments are considered acceptable is creating a toxic environment in which we bring people down rather than build them up. Yes, we all have a right to an opinion, but individual rights shouldn’t extend to a point where they make someone else feel ashamed of being who they are.

Unfortunately, hate speech is protected under the first amendment, even though slander--a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation--is not protected. The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Student Rights and It’s important to note that Responsibilities Booklet also disagreement is impossible protects students’ freedom of to eliminate in life--we aren’t expression with the exception


always going to be on the same page, and that’s fine. But given this, it’s crucial that we are open to these differences of opinion in our lives and learn how to coexist with someone who may not always agree with us without scorning them for doing so. A world where hate speech

doesn’t exist is just not feasible in the near future. But a world where people are encouraged to think before they speak, where there is a clearly-defined line between expressing an opinion and hurting someone else, where disagreement is accepted but in conjunction with respect? That may be a possibility.



OCT 27, 2016

A message from parody account rejected tjTODAY A message from parody account Rejected tjTODAY



emember the time Dr. Glazer was found crying in his car? Or when a SWAT team breached a bathroom to take out a student on his phone? Obviously, these stories are fake. They’re jokes, satire, hyperbole; in other words, the stock-in-trade for the delinquents over at Rejected tjTODAY. And while fake news has been at our heart from the beginning, this past election cycle has shown us that it can be more potent than quips about senioritis and resume padding. Fake news has consequences. So where do we draw the line between humor and deception? Here at Rejected tjTODAY, we’ve never presented ourselves as a legitimate news source. While our headlines are heavily based on real events and culture at TJ, they’re presented as satire. We exist to entertain. The same can’t be said for many news outlets this year. In an election cycle characterized by sound bytes, Twitter beefs, and miles of dirty laundry on both sides, a darker side to fake news has flourished. Often shared over social media, most fake news stories were written with the specific intent to provide support for a candidate or ideology. They’re written to sway people’s votes not through a deliberation of policy or even basic facts, but through scandal and division. From one claim that anti-Trump protests were staged, to another that Trump has a learning disability, both sides of the aisle

engage in this behavior. And it’s downright dangerous. Fake news takes advantage of one of the fundamental flaws of today’s media. We as a society thrive on endless outrage and scandals. It’s instinct. We’re far more interested in spreading gossip and controversy than anything else. Gone are the days when thorough, investigative journalism was the norm. Nowadays, the media makes money on maximizing clicks. In today’s Internet world, the ability to ignore dissenting opinions has become easier and easier. If a Democrat sees a friend retweet Trump, they can click “block.” If a Republican wants news, they’ll follow Bill O’Reilly. Intentionally or unintentionally, our ability to select news sources creates an echo chamber; a place where we hear only what we want to hear, read only what we want to read. It’s in these echo chambers that fake news thrives. Among liberals, who’s going to question the validity of another Trump scandal? Between conservatives, who’s going to question the idea that Clinton is too sick for office? As the face of media shifts, it’s down to us, the consumers, to remain vigilant. Fake news can be dangerous, and it takes advantage of our fallibility. Get your news from a variety of sources. Question everything, even our headlines. Everyone has a spin. Fake news doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. But it’s when the truth is distorted with malice rather than mirth, when it pretends to be real, and when it’s not questioned, that it becomes an issue. Verify what you hear and keep an open mind. If you can do that, we’ll try to keep you laughing.

For the rest of Rejected tjTODAY’s editorial, visit



If a hate crime occurs and Trump didn’t see it, did it happen?



onald Trump was elected president of the United States on Nov. 8, a surprising victory that had an unwanted - if not completely unforeseen - side effect: the number of hate crimes escalated in the days that followed the election.

huge message to the angry Trump fans now feeling empowered to tear hijabs off the heads of Muslim-American women or march through the halls of their high school chanting “White power.”

The day after Trump was elected president, 202 reports of hate crimes targeting minority groups were tallied throughout the U.S. Ten days after election day, that number had risen to 867. Two hundred and fifty of those were reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the first two days alone, which is more than the center usually sees in half a year.

But that’s not all. The Monday after Trump said on 60 Minutes that he was “going to bring this country together,” he appointed Steve Bannon, the white nationalist who runs the vitriolic alt-right hate site Breitbart, as his senior White House adviser. Really, Trump? You couldn’t think of any other candidate?

And what has our esteemed leader-to-be had to say about this? When “60 Minutes’” Lesley Stahl asked Trump about the troubling series of hate crimes that have been reported in the United States since the election, he said that he was “very surprised to hear that. But I think it’s a very small amount.” When further prompted, he said: “If it helps, I will say this: Stop it.”

“Do whatever, guys,” the Trumps seemed to be saying. “We’ll claim it’s all lies from the mainstream media.”

Trump’s interview on 60 Minutes and the questions he was asked about the hate crimes was his first test after he was elected, and he has already failed it. Perhaps if Trump took a few minutes away from Twitter to learn more about what was happening, he could address this issue in public like an adult.

Mosques have received letters threatening genocide. Minorities are being verbally harassed and their belongings vandalized. “Build a wall” is chanted at schools around the country. The xenophobic fervor has reached a new high in the United States, and Trump thinks that he can stop all of this with just two simple words. Not only was his response lackadaisical, but when responding to Stahl’s questions, he said that the reports of hate crimes and terrified minorities were being “built up” by the press. This is a


A monthly satire column tackling TJ’s issues

Bayliss Wagner || TEAM LEADER

LEADERSHIP IS A MAN BUN An exemplary Common App essay

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via flickr


or most of my life, I have been superior to other people. As a boy whose intellect and appreciation for the fine arts are far greater than those of my peers, I have had to learn how to cope with feeling alone in my maturity and excellence among the less refined (by that, I mean people who don’t read Nietzsche or ponder their own existence out loud). You could call me a “lone wolf.” But I did not learn how to lead the pack, as it were, until one fateful moment. It started out like any ordinary day. I had spent hours alone at the Hirshhorn Gallery. After carefully analyzing one quadrangular,

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

thought-provokingly hideous sculpture and deciding that it represented the struggle between idiosyncrasy and congruity, I went over to the next sculpture. To get it into Photo courtesy of my Snapchat selfie, I had to MGoBlog bend sideways, causing my long, luscious man-locks to hide my exquisite face. I took a rubber band and pulled the top part of my hair into a circular shape. Looking into my screen, I saw that this mass of hair resembled a hamburger



DEC 15, 2016


Christmas is too materialistic for the spirit of the holiday



hen I was in elementary school, I was always excited when Christmas came around. I kept my tabs on Santa, and I always pushed my parents to wake up and get ready faster so that I could open presents with the family. There would always be at least 10 presents under the tree for me, and yet, I never gave anyone a single present. Christmas is a holiday about giving to others, and not a holiday of getting things -- at least, that is what we are led to believe from the movies -- like How the Grinch Stole Christmas -- and general Christmas culture. However, Christmas seems to have become too materialistic; nowadays, most people receive presents for little reason other than it being Christmas.

Thanksgiving weekend, and the average Americans is projected to spend about $1,000 this holiday season. Christmas may be naturally materialistic, but it is all in the spirit of the holiday. Capitalism may reinforce the materialism of Christmas in America. In the name of money, companies heavily promote spending during the holiday season--320 million presents translates to a lot of money. Black Friday and Cyber Monday only exist so companies can sell lots of gifts. It is also important to note Christmas’s origin as Jesus’s birthday party rather than Santa’s gift-giving fest. However, the holiday’s original purpose has been cast aside in the name of Santa and his presents.

Some argue Christmas is not overly materialistic. If everyone in America were to give one present, we would need at least 320 million presents and that wouldn’t include people giving multiple There are two obvious ways to solve our materialism problem. presents. Consumer data reflects this: according to the National Retail Firstly, we could redefine what the Spirit of Christmas is, and bring Federation, 154 million it to our modern standards. This redefinition would essentially mean Americans shopped on that you need to give or receive as much stuff as possible. By doing this, the holiday itself would be defined with extreme materialism, Christmas presents, a staple and thus the holiday is no longer too materialistic for the holiday’s of holiday celebrations standards. The other option is to curb the tide of capitalism and simply give more meaningful-- but less-- presents. After all, Christmas is about showing people that you care for them, not gifting them a pile of socks.

Photo courtesy of Trogian via wikimedia commons

bun. I resolved to call my brilliant solution a “man-bun” and to wear it every day. Once I began wearing my new man-bun to school, though, I faced discrimination for the first time in my life. Girls snickered when I strode past in the hallway. Unsophisticated boys threatened to “kick my bun.” The worst offense was when I was kicked out of the men’s restroom by a boy who called me a homosapien. But I persevered stalwartly in the

Christmas used to be about meaningfulness and religion. Nowadays, Christmas is all about the quantity of the presents. Thus, this special holiday has been swamped in the interests of businesses to make money.

face of this adversity. A week later, I noticed something as I saw the math team practice: another boy was wearing a man bun. Soon, I had started a contagious trend. Everyone seemed to be wearing it by the next month. Even the girls were emboldened to use my technique for comfort: I saw the entire volleyball team with man buns. Though they were too nervous to thank me for my ingenuity, I knew I had helped them accept themselves.

It was in that epic tale that I recount to you the manner in which I learned the great responsibility, trial and reward involved with being a leader. Starting a controversial trend is difficult and exhausting, but my idiosyncrasy inspired others at my school to change their hairstyles and to empower themselves. Thus, I went from being a lone wolf to being a selfless alpha wolf. DESIGN // Sabria Kazmi



Discovering the stories behind foreign traditions

Natalie Homnyom || STAFF WRITER

Rushing down the stairs, the eyes of eager children on Christmas morning meet the colossal stacks of presents meticulously crafted by Santa’s elves. Every year, millions of Americans light up Christmas trees, hang stockings and drink eggnog during the holiday season, but many do not know the stories behind other foreign holidays celebrated around the world.

“A German Christmas is a bit different because here in the U.S. we open presents on Christmas morning, but in Germany, you actually open the presents on Dec. 24,” In Asia, lunar calendar based holidays originate from ancient times senior Fatima Gunterand are celebrated on a different day each year. Often, they eat certain Rahman said. “It’s called Heilige Nacht, which foods because of the meanings associated with them. For example means Holy Night. during the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival, people traditionally eat Usually the Christkind, dumplings. which is baby Jesus “[A chinese medicine nan, Zhang Zhongjing] made things with Christ, brings the present. Photos courtesy of Blogspot, Stephanie Dray, and Chinese Tones herbs bundled inside. During that time, it was a really harsh winter; Santa brings presents on Clockwise top right: Saint Nicholas stands by Krampus people were getting sick, and it was helping them heal, so to Dec. 6 [Saint Nicholas as they getfrom ready to deliver presents to punish naughty chilcommemorate him, people eat dumplings,” senior Vivian Dong said. Tag] but if you’re a bad dren; Ancient Romans joyously celebrate in remembrance of Roman god Saturn; Zhang Zhongjing, the ancience Chinese kid, Krampus will come doctor, studies scrolls; Peasants sit around playing the Other times, traditions originate from the innovation of peasants traditional Korean game Yutnori. from long ago. In Korea, on Lunar New Year, Koreans have family instead and bring coal. You put your shoes out either on the windowsill, in front of the bed, gatherings and play games created by ancient commoners. outside the door, wherever you want. That’s where the candy will “[Yutnori] is a board game [where] you have four sticks [with] come from Santa or the bad stuff will come from Krampus.” marks on them,” junior Lilly Ko said. “The people didn’t have toys Regardless, a uniting thread around the world is spending time with so what they would do is their masters would have eaten meat, they the people you love during holidays. would get the bones, mark one side of it and play with those, and it just became modified [into] a tradition.” “It might vary from family to family, person to person,” GunterRahman said. “But, Christmas is a family-centered holiday; you want Other cultures also have a unique spin on familiar holidays. to spend the time with people you are close to.” Germans celebrate Christmas too, but their local traditions differ.


Review of the top-voted classic Christmas movies Based on a survey of 196 responses




Photos courtesy of Movies Counter, Fine Arts America, and IMBD

GRAPHIC // Christine Zhao

SENIOR DAVID SUN, on his favorite scene in “Home Alone”: “Kevin has this elderly neighbor, he’s an old man now. He had an argument with his son a bunch of years before, and so he’s afraid to talk to his son or call him because he’s scared that his son will just ignore him. But Kevin sits down and says, ‘Well, if you call him, then at least you’ll know, right?’

I thought it was really nice because a lot of the times, people do have this stigma or they’re afraid of the outcome of things, when sometimes it’s better to take a risk than to

never know at all.”




DEC 15, 2016

Celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah on the same day Grace Mak || STAFF WRITER

With the holiday season fast approaching, families everywhere are getting out decorations in preparation for their festive traditions. This year is different, however, as two popular holidays, Christmas and Hanukkah, will coincide.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

“Hanukkah is by the lunar calendar, and Christmas is by the secular calendar, so they usually fall on different days, but this year, the first day of Hanukkah is on Christmas Eve,” said freshman Sean Sweeney, who honors both holidays. Sweeney, himself, is Jewish, so he celebrates Hanukkah as a part of his religion. However, every year during the holiday season, he visits his grandparents who are Christians. There, his family participate in various Christmas traditions as a fun way to spend time together during break. Lighting the memorah, eating deep friend donuts, and spinning the dreidel are common Jewish traditions during Hannukkah.

DID YOU KNOW? Spinning the dreidel was originally done by students illegally studying the Torah. When Greek soldiers made surprise raids, the students would take out a dreidel and pretend to play a gambling game.

SOURCE // Sachlav Group

“Because the two holidays overlap, it could be more eventful than usual because they’re both happening at the same time, so you have the spirit of both holidays during the same time period,” said Sweeney. Christmas and Hanukkah have fairly different traditions as they are centered around different ideas. Christmas is celebrated by many people, but for Christians, it is used to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they believe is the Son of God. On the other hand, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews were victorious against the Greeks in the Maccabean Revolt.

the eight-pronged candle-stick and for eight nights, oil burns.” With the overlap of these two holidays, many families who celebrate both make plans to combine their traditions or celebrate all of them together. In the end, having both Christmas and Hanukkah together creates double the holiday cheer and plenty of traditionpacked days throughout the break. “This year, we plan to just do what we always do: light the menorah and do the Christmas things at my grandparents’ house,” said Sweeney. “My family will go down to our grandparents’ house and do the Hanukkah and Christmas traditions at the same time.”

“[For Christmas] we just usually go to my grandparents’ house, and they’re Christian,” said Sweeney. “There we open presents, and they will have a Christmas tree and other decorations. For Hanukkah, we light the menorah, which is

DESIGN // Christine Zhao

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons user Jason Hangrove, @salty_soul



Students’ pets get dressed up for the holidays and festivities Aryaan Hussain|| STAFF WRITER


s the holidays roll around, we always see funny or cute pet photos on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media. This year, we asked Jefferson students to submit and caption their cute or funny pet pictures. tjTODAY has selected a few to share with you to start off your holiday season.

Duke in a Santa Costume: Passed out after eating all of the treats he was supposed to give out.

Bagel practices hard in hopes of becoming a pianist PHOTO // Talia Carstoiu

PHOTO // Cynthia Zhang

Accio Treats.

PHOTO // Nymisha Mattapalli Silently judging you PHOTO // Isha Goel

Being a dad means you get pooped on (literally) every once in a while PHOTO // Nadia Ali

If I tilt my head a bit more, she’ll totally pet me PHOTO // Kathryn Yang

DESIGN // Bayliss Wagner

Small Cat and Mr. Fluffy snuggling on the carpet in the living room. The two share a birthday on Valentine’s Day. PHOTO // Rayyan Khan

Chase getting ready for summer in his Hawaiaan shirt. PHOTO // Johnathan Huynh



DEC 15, 2016


Kennedy, in addition to being an accomplished first lady who has visited a multitude of countries, was also well-known Jacqueline (Jackie) Kennedy Onassis going through the for her style, with people adapting her looks after John F. grief following John F. Kennedy’s death. Kennedy stands a symbolic leader for the U.S., while also working to preserve her Kennedy’s presidential election. husband’s history. Costume designer Madeline Fontaine has In light of the film’s release, let’s take a look at some of received high praise for her work, including a nomination for a Kennedy’s most iconic outfits in “Jackie.” Sources: ● Critic’s Choice Award in “Best Costume Design.” ● “Jackie,” released on Dec. 8 stars Natalie Portman as


GRAPHICS // Angel Kim

Kennedy wore a red suit and skirt, along with one of her most iconic hairstyles for the CBS’s “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy” in 1962.



On the day her husband was killed, Kennedy wore a pink Chanel suit. Despite the traumatic event associated with it, Kennedy had chosen to keep the outfit, having it resemble her awareness of what she meant to the country during the time.

Portman described playing Kennedy during her husband’s funeral procession as full of emotion- she was playing a character who had gone through a time of emotional distress that no one else would fully understand. During this event, Kennedy wore a black outfit and veiled hat.



figure out what gift to give. t’s that time of year again; mustering a final push to survive “[Secret Santas show] that we do care about each other even until winter break, then recuperating and coming back though we’re all competing all the time, and it’s nice to know fresh in the new year. But with the holidays coming around, that there’s someone out there that you don’t really know who’s classes and clubs at Jefferson are organizing gift exchanges, picking out a gift for you that they think you’ll namely Secret Santas, to bring in a festive mood like,” sophomore Cynthia Zhang said. before the holidays. These types of gift exchanges show how close “When you see gifts, wrapping paper, students are, finding time and putting effort to Christmas trees, lights and all that, people get a meaningful gift to give one another; which smile. It really tells you that, ‘Hey, the holidays students such as Kshamata Neupane believes is are here,’ ” senior Yadeen Rashid said. “I don’t a positive reflection on the Jefferson community. celebrate Christmas, but I still love Christmas Gift exchanges say] that we’re very family-like time because it’s just a happy time of the year,” because Christmas is a close family holiday,” Neupane said. Students also believe that games such as Secret Santas are a “We treat each other as family and we care about each other way of bringing people in the Jefferson community together, and we take time to get each other these gifts that may mean a as students who might not be acquainted with each other try to lot to someone.” Parsa Abedi || STAFF WRITER


PHOTO // Alexa Nguonly REPORTING // Alexa Nguonly DESIGN // Adithi Ramakrishnan

aren’t inherently mean to you “ People because they would like to be mean people to you. You need to look at it as, maybe that person feels like they need to be better themselves or they need to feel better about something. Looking at it that way HELPS ME SHOW COMPASSION OR LOVE TO PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT BE NICE.

DON’T SHY AWAY FROM FAILURE. There are times to be scared of it, but in your day-today life, you can’t always prevent failure, so there’s no need to worry about it. It’s important to respect other people in the same way that you wish to be respected and I think in today’s world especially, it’s more important than ever to LOOK AT EVERY OTHER PERSON AS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOURSELF. Students here need to have the courage to be themselves instead of trying to reach the goals of others. PERSONAL SUCCESS IS DICTATED BY HOW YOU DEFINE IT FOR YOURSELF.



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