Redistricting remains unpopular John Bardo, ‘11
so many complaints that the county has rolled back its plans and reverted to the old grading system, Easy Grade Pro. Easy Grade Pro has been used in Arlington for nine years, but at each interim and quarter, grades were exported to eSchool Plus, the county’s student information system. This system is what the county uses to report data to the state’s education department, and it keeps track of students’ schedules. Complaints that the grading feature of the software was not user-friendly, did not allow for teachers to show absences on a
In 2007, then Arlington Public Schools (APS) superintendent Dr. Robert Smith made a proposal before the school board to tackle the problem of overcrowded elementary schools. Dr. Smith’s plan, however, involved a dirty word in school-community relations: redistricting. Dr. Smith wanted to implement a redistricting plan for Tuckahoe, Nottingham and McKinley Elementary Schools, all of which were experiencing overcrowding. The plan would have forced nearly 600 elementary school students to switch schools. According to Mr. Frank Bellavia, APS public relations specialist, the plan was “met with massive opposition by parents” who did not want to leave the community elementary school. As a result, the school board passed a drastically scaled back plan which only affected 40 to 60 students. Since then, no redistricting plans have been proposed, while the elementary schools continue to experience a population boom. According to APS facilities planner Dr. Allison Denton, all district elementary schools are experiencing overcrowding, with the exception of Barcroft and Hoffman-Boston According to an expert source familiar with the issue, reasons for overcrowding are the APS elementary schools offer all-day kindergarten which gives working parents free child care, and Arlington is experiencing an increase in multiple births because many educated women who have put off having children are using fertility drugs, oftentimes resulting in two or more births. “Arlington has always had a public policy valuing education which has kept its schools attractive to parents,” the expert source said citing further reasons for the population increase. School board projections show only more capacity problems in the future. The APS countywide enrollment is projected to increase four percent annually through 2016. In 2013, elementary schools will be short 1,084 seats, increasing to 1,608 seats by 2016. Arlington’s newborn population is also increasing ,with over 29,000 resident live births in 2010, many of which will require schooling in the APS system within the next few years. The schools in Northwest Arlington are experiencing the worst overcrowding problem, particularly Tuckahoe, which has a capacity of 499 students, but currently has 638 students, according to Tuckahoe PTA president Mr. Ronald Molteni. The population has grown quickly; in 1999 Tuckahoe’s population was just over 400. A 2008 report released by the Tuckahoe PTA contained a list of problems which the parents have observed as a result of overcrowding. Some of these included having the entire fifth grade class placed in trailers instead of classrooms, having computer classes taught in the library and a decreasing number of parent volunteers because “there seems to be a sense that with all these children surely someone else will volunteer.” Mr. Molteni observed other problems such as less playground space and time, more work for the custodial staff and shorter lunch periods. “It diminishes the enjoyment of going to school in lots of little ways, too,” he said. Mr. Molteni also voiced concern about class sizes which were increased last year. “That will affect the quality of instruction, even with excellent teachers,” he said. “And I think most teachers would agree with that.” The report aimed to avoid redistricting as a
See GRADING pg.3, Col. 1
See REDISTRICTING pg.3, Col. 1
BY ABIGAIL BESSLER
Students study in the library during their lunch period. After the implementation of a Generals Period come September, students will have 30-minutes to study every day, allowing many to spend fewer lunches in the library finishing assignments.
Generals Period passes vote Greg Jacks, ‘11
On March 8, the staff voted on a measure to introduce a Generals Period next school year. This 30-minute period would be after third block daily, and it would allow students to have time to do homework or meet with teachers. The proposal was passed 90-58, and the period will be instituted in September. Although the logistics have not been completely worked out, it appears each block class will be shortened by eight minutes, and third period lessened by six minutes, to allow for this study period. Some teachers object to this loss of instructional time, yet students have been quite pleased with the decision. “Students are hugely in favor of the idea,” said Mrs. Julie Cantor, the instructional lead teacher. “Kids were coming up with all sorts of uses for the period,” she said, “from working on group projects to studying in pairs.” Junior Macon Mann said, “The Generals Period is a great opportunity for me to catch up on my studies.” For some students, they see it as a chance for academic redemption. “This period will be an awesome time for me
to take homework more seriously than I have in the past,” said junior Thomas Fontaine. Leading up to the vote, most math, science and English teachers approved of the Generals Period. They believe this period will give more students an opportunity to receive individual help. The social studies department is less convinced that the trade-off of class time for individual help is beneficial, and is split on the issue. For Generals Period, students will be placed with a specific teacher in groups of 15-17. Most of the instructional space in the building will be used to accomodate the large number of Generals Period classrooms. Students will also most likely be grouped by grade level, so that important information can be given during that time period and not during other instructional time. Teachers will also be able to sned for students during the period. The idea of a study hall is hardly unique. Several area schools have adopted similar programs recently. George Mason High School, for example, implemented a 31-minute
I N S I D E News Get inside look at poverty in DC, and hear about a potential problem with SMARTBoards.
Senior own d t n u o C
Lifestyles See what’s cooking in the Crossed Sabres kitchen, and catch the latest spring trends.
Features Read staff testimonials on the reality of going green.
Sports Meet Gretchen Schroeder, a varsity lacrosse player, and read up on the girls soccer team’s dress-up rituals.
study period dubbed “Mustang Time.” Teachers favor the period for various reasons. Science teacher Mrs. Ana Ratcliffe is excited to see students get further help and more time for homework. “I really don’t mind losing class time,” she said. “Ninety minutes is too long to keep a student occupied.” Mrs. Ratcliffe’s son attends Langley High School, and has benefited from their school’s free period. “He gets all sorts of help from his teachers,” she said. Mrs. Rosa Reyes, an English teacher, while also in agreement that this will be a good time to study and learn, seems more focused on the resting aspect. “I don’t know what I would do without a half hour break each day to recuperate,” she said. “I can’t imagine how my students feel without a period to simply regroup.” In addition to the resting and studying time, teachers also look forward to seeing students outside the classroom. “I love talking to kids away from the instructional environment,” Mrs. Reyes said. “You really get to learn a lot about your students on a personal level.”
New grade system falters County scraps eSchool Plus pilot, reverts to Easy Grade Pro
Andrew Elliott, ‘11
“I guess I didn’t realize how much I used my grade book for things other than calculating an average,” said English teacher Mrs. Sarah Congable, as she ruminated over the county’s third quarter experiment with eSchool Plus for keeping track of student grades. Though the original piloting period that the school took part in was supposed to last the third and fourth quarters, before the system was implemented county-wide in September, the system received
May 4, 2011
SMARTBoard lights could burnout School still deciding how to avert setback
Abigail Bessler ‘13
Three and a half years after the construction of the school building and the installation of interactive SMARTBoards, a technical flaw was found that may require replacement of SMARTBoard projectors in classrooms all over the building. The issue stems from the lifespan of the projector. The bulbs that light the SMARTBoard screens have a lifespan of 2000 hours. When a projector has gone through two bulbs (4000 hours), the projector will start losing its quality and sharpness and new bulbs will last a progressively shorter amount of time. Although the SMARTBoards were part of the initial cost of constructing and furnishing the new building, the cost of replacement bulbs and SMARTBoards would potentially come out of the school’s technology budget, which is also used for other software and hardware purchases. Each replacement bulb costs $165. With 112 projectors in the building, replacing all the bulbs at the same time would cost over $18,000. A few boards have already had their bulbs replaced twice. The cost to replace a projector is $2099, a price technology coordinator Ms. Sandy Munnell says is simply not in the budget. “There’s no pot of money for that,” she said. The cost to replace the projector plus the screen is $4100. As more boards reach 4000 hours, teachers may need to adjust the way they present material. When a SMARTBoard starts to malfunction, there is no guarantee it will be replaced quickly. Math teacher Ms. Anne Verville was especially
BY ABIGAIL BESSLER
Ms. Anne Verville is one of many teachers who rely heavily on the SMARTBoard to aid in classroom lectures. Issues with the bulb life in the projector on some boards may cause teachers to lose this tool.
concerned about the possibility of a SMARTBoard breakdown. Ms. Verville uses her board for every class, and says the interactive features are critical to each lesson plan. Many math teachers rely on SMARTBoards claiming they are more useful than regular boards for solving equations. French teacher Ms. Danielle Karaky said she hates regular blackboards and joked that her lessons would stop should her SMARTBoard break down. Dr. Mary Jo Primosch, a special education teacher, echoed Ms. Karaky’s and Ms. Verville’s comments about the importance of SMARTBoards to her lesson plans. “We all managed without SMARTBoards before we got them and we didn’t feel at loss without it, but once you get in the habit of using them, they are very crucial.” Not all teachers say they would be lost without their SMARTBoard. English Teacher Ms. Pamela Sanchez, said
her SMARTBoard is not crucial to her lessons. Her board has broken down before, so she knows she can fix it. One solution to mass SMARTBoard malfunctioning might be redistributing working SMARTBoards from classrooms in which they are not in use to classrooms that use them frequently. Ms. Munnell said they will take projectors out of the conference rooms as well as other infrequently used rooms instead of replacing each board as it stops working. Teachers were told to turn off their boards during planning periods to conserve bulb hours. Ms. Munnell periodically asks teachers to check bulb usage and monitors if teachers are overusing their SMARTBoard. “Teachers start up their board 15 minutes before class or have it on during lunch. It takes 47 seconds for a bulb to light the board, and I don’t think that’s a loss of instruction time,” she said in explaining her desire for more conservative use of the boards. Ms. Munnell does not anticipate all of the projectors malfunctioning at the same time. She is compiling a planning guide for the superintendent to identify which projectors are most likely to need replacement. She wants to emphasize that this is not a crisis and that teachers will be able to keep using the technology despite the projector replacements. Ms. Verville has her own solution to the problem. “I will just steal a bulb from someone else’s space,” she said, and even though it was meant as a joke, there was something serious in her eyes. However, although she is happy that teachers are using SMARTBoards to deliver instruction, Ms. Munnell would disagree that this level of self-preservation will ever be necessary.
Residents neglected by rising tide
Despite improvements, poverty continues to flourish in the district Luisa Banchoff ‘13
Online Editor You enter Sursum Corda with a sense of caution, peeping out the window of your safe car to look out at the rows of apartments, each less notable than the next. The pouring rain streams down the browns and grays of the buildings. The homes here have many of the commodities of life in Arlington—refrigerators, microwaves and televisions. But the paint-peeling walls, broken floor tiles and furniture from the local charity organization mean you are not in Arlington anymore. Outside the warmth of the small apartment walls lies a neighborhood crippled by urban poverty. Sursum Corda, Latin for “lift up your hearts,” is a cooperative located in northwest Washington, D.C. Originally created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a reduced-rent development for poor families, the area experienced a rise in drug trafficking, prostitution and crime during the 1980s surge in the cocaine industry. Even now, after a significant decrease in crime and drugs in Sursum Corda, “the projects” are still “the projects.” Poverty is nothing new in the nation’s capital. 2010 census numbers reveal that 18.4 percent of district residents live at or below the nationally standardized poverty line, and more than 10 percent of those people are living at standards below the top 50 percent of people under the poverty level nationwide. As of February 2011, unemployment had reached 9.5 percent in the district, as compared to 4.1 percent in Arlington. In Mayor Vincent Gray’s (D) words, “the district is home to the haves and the have-nots.” The district does hold a record high: the HIV/AIDS rate, close to three percent, is the highest in the nation, and rivals levels in Uganda and Kenya. Infection rates are highest in wards eight and six, the latter home to Sursum Corda.
Poverty and Development in Washington, D.C.: A Timeline
1809: Congress authorizes funds for Washington City Canal as an economic development project. Residents were dependent on Congress for development funding because they had no home rule. 1870: President Grant appoints Mr. Alexander Shephard to the Board of Public Works which paved the city’s streets and installed a sewer system. 1957: The district experiences an influx of Black Americans fleeing racism in the deep south. 1979: Mayor Marion Barry begins summer jobs program for low income young residents which still exists today. 1998: Mr. Anthony Williams is elected mayor and balances the city’s budget. 2010: Crime rates fall to an historic low, an achievement many attribute to Mayor Adrian Fenty’s crime policies. Mr. Gray has outlined a plan to address the conditions of the district’s poor. The One City plan aims at reducing HIV/AIDS rates, unemployment and poor education systems east of the Anaccosta River and encourage the growth of industry and technology throughout the district. In the March 2011 State of the District address, Mr. Gray said of poverty in the district, “Too many of us have operated under the false assumption that a rising tide would lift all boats.” Former Mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty have tried to alleviate poverty in areas such as Sursum Corda. Mr. Williams (D) targeted Sursum Corda with his “New Communities” initiative, a program that would redevelop neighborhoods to welcome more affluent families, creating a mixed-income area. Amidst harsh economic conditions, this program along with others have been suspended or abandoned. The “New Communities” was a five-year plan to be completed in 2010; little follow-up has been communicated in the course of the years, making progress seem questionable. However, Mr. Gray hopes to revive concepts from these attempts in his “One City” initiative. It was not until 2004, with a local
shooting that ended in the slaughter of a 14 year-old girl, that Sursum Corda was wrenched into the spotlight, and local governments started to question the effects of unregulated crime in the area. After a year of tightened law enforcement, crime rates dropped 40 percent. But will redevelopment projects and criminal crackdowns be enough to end the vicious cycle of poverty? Mr. and Mrs. Jerry and M.J. Park believe that there is more to solving poverty than addressing effects. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Park founded Little Friends for Peace (LFFP), an organization that works with young children and adults from low income neighborhoods to teach respect and peaceful conflict resolution. LFFP works to break down ingrained and structural violence by “learning peace at an early age and practicing it at every age.” In an area where violence is second nature, Mr. and Mrs. Park believe that encouraging peaceful solutions is the first step in breaking the cycle of drugs, crime and unemployment which lead to poverty. The district is often seen as the perfect target for pin-the-tail-on-the-poor-person, but Arlingtonians do not have to walk far to see poverty alive in their neighborhoods. The assumption that poverty is not a problem in Arlington is disproved by a visit to the
Central Library, where a homeless man sleeps several feet from the book drop-off area. If one wants more evidence, one can simply look to Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), a non-profit food bank that serves the elderly, disabled and low-income families who cannot afford vital groceries. Although unemployment in Arlington is at a low four percent and the percentage of those living at or below the poverty level is one third of what it is across the Potomac River, AFAC serves over 1,200 needy families every week. Poverty may not be the type of problem that can be solved by one volunteer trip to Sursum Corda or a day of organizing groceries at AFAC. Mr. Robert Summers, teacher of social anthropology and philosophy, says the first step is to understand that poverty is more than a hot button political issue, how it exists inside and outside the beltway. “My advice to students is to open your eyes and adjust your thinking,” Mr. Summers said. The next step is action. This may mean a dollar contributed towards a school-based fundraiser, a grocery bag full of canned goods for a local food drive, a few hours serving at a soup kitchen or a prolonged relationship with a relief organization. Mrs. Park enjoys seeing young people come out to volunteer with LFFP, even on the rainiest of days. “I think young people have such good enthusiasm, energy, and spirit…they can give the poor hope and bring them out of their sense of being a nothing to being a somebody,” she said. Action may simply be a kind hello to the homeless man outside the library. “The marginalized do not have a voice,” Mr. Summers said. “When you see a homeless person on the street and walk by without acknowledging them, you perpetuate that.” So as you step out of the scratched door of this particular apartment, saying hello to the young girl sitting on the front step next door might not be such a bad idea.
May 4, 2011
APS developing strategies to fight overcrowding OVERCROWDING, from page 1
solution saying “the committee will attempt to maintain existing [boundary lines].” Mr. Molteni further noted, “Bear in mind, redistricting is not as simple as just drawing new lines. There are transportation issues and geographical obstacles like highways or other extremely busy intersections.” To tackle the problem, the school board has explored other short term options in lieu of redistricting. In December 2009, Dr. Smith and the school board released the Progressive Planning Model (PPM), which according to Mr. Bellavia had a short-term and mid-term plan that directed schools to find ways to reutilize space by using computer labs and multi-purpose rooms as classrooms and introducing relocatable classrooms to some campuses. If these actions fail to address the problem, then the school board will consider redistricting as a potential long term solution. “Parents only want redistricting if it is the only option left,” said Mr. Bellavia. According to a March 2010 Crossed Sabres article, only the Arlington Education Association--Arlington’s equivalent of a local teacher’s union-- has voiced support for redistricting as a solution but conceded to take the option off the table. However, Mr. Molteni said, “What I recommend, want or don’t want will become irrelevant when capacity reaches the point where you simply cannot place another student in a school building or trailer.” Many people have cited reasons for opposition to redistricting, the most prominent being parents and children do
not want to switch schools after becoming familiar with teachers and other students. Some people believe redistricting would have a negative effect on the price of their home if it is moved into a lesser quality school, however the expert source disagrees. “I don’t think a redistricting plan would cause fluctuations in home prices around the county. This is just a convenient argument people use to scare politicians.” According to the expert source there was no fluctuation of home prices when some houses in the Tara Leeway Heights and Larchmont neighborhoods were moved from the Tuckahoe to the Glebe district as a result of the 2007 compromise between Dr. Smith and the school board. Since 2009 the school board has conducted further actions and made further plans. According to Mr. Molteni, in March the board allocated $700,000 to study “options and alternatives.” Dr. Denton has visited many elementary schools in Arlington and given presentations on the issue. Dr. Denton does not believe redistricting will solve the problem; it will simply overcrowd the schools with different students. According to Dr. Denton the two under capacity schools are projected to reach capacity by 2016. Dr. Denton’s solution is to add seats to current elementary schools by adding more relocatables and building additions to schools. Currently APS has 62 relocatables distributed across the county and plans to add 30 more before school starts in September. APS will also allow more students to attend alternative countywide schools such as Arlington Traditional
BY ABIGAIL BESSLER
Tuckahoe Elementary School in northwest Arlington is one of the county’s most crowded schools with 623 students. The school has added a field full of trailers as proxy classrooms. This trend is being replicated at many overcrowded elementary schools around the county.
School and Escuela Claremont, which will increase the county-wide capacity for elementary school students. School board member Mrs. Abby Raphael (D) believes relocatables are a good temporary solution to the problem, but the schools will ultimately need to build additions to their facilities. However, plans like these involve other obstacles. “There is much planning involved with additions. We can’t simply add classrooms because we need to make sure there is space in places like the gym and the cafeteria for the
extra students,” said Mrs. Raphael. According to the school board, a long term solution is to build a new elementary school, which will lead to inevitable redistricting since students will need to be assigned to this school. There are some APS multipurpose buildings which can be reutilized as classroom space such as the Wilson Building in Rosalyn. “In Arlington we are constrained by space and development,” Dr. Denton said. “There is no farm in Arlington which we can simply take and build a school on.”
Teachers welcome back easier grading system GRADING, from page 1
grade report hand out, and that grade print outs were confusing plagued the program from the beginning. Ms. Dana Smith, the Supervisor of Technology Training & Support Services for the county, fielded feedback from teachers as they experienced issues with the system. “The general response was that it did not have the functionality that they [teachers] needed in a gradebook,” said Ms. Smith “It’s web-based, I get it, but [eSchool] was very cumbersome,” said Mrs. Congable. “Something that should’ve taken one click took five.” Mrs. Congable was initially upset that the trial period would not allow grades to be posted online until the full system was implemented in September. Her problems with the program deepened, however, as she was forced to really work with the program for third quarter.
“What should’ve taken one click took five.” -English teacher, Mrs. Sarah Congable Though Mrs. Congable admits eSchool Plus collected mass amounts of data that would prove useful for the state and county, she was bothered by the features lacking in eSchool Plus that had been present in Easy Grade Pro. She sent in feedback throughout the quarter to suggest changes to improve the program, but little was done. “It seemed
BY JACK BARDO
English teacher Ms. Cat Misar is very happy to once again use Easygrade Pro. Due to complaints of inefficiency in the new eSchool Plus program the school reverted to the old system at the start of the fourth quarter.
like the company was not willing to make those changes for us.” According to Ms. Smith, the company, Sungard Penamation, was given a list of the county’s concerns. They offered to make modifications, for a fee, and the county declined. They later said they would send a report of future plans for the software, with updates that may have addressed some of the county’s issue, but as of now the county has yet to receive this information. Students, too, found fault with the eSchool system. “It was much harder to read the grading sheets that teachers would print out,” said junior Audrey Bowler. “The new layout was a lot smaller and more compact.” Junior Rachel Wimmer echoed Bowler’s sentiments, adding that the new system made grades largely unpredictable. “My French teacher used to put in homework grades into the old system simply by putting in an ‘A’ to give us 100 percent,” said Wimmer. “However, when he put
in an ‘A’ in the new grading system, we would only get a 94.5 percent rather than 100 percent, which significantly lowered my overall grade until he had the time to go through and change all the homework grades of everyone in the class.” Others, however, expressed a desire to give teachers more time to grow accustomed to the new program. “I feel we’re all biased simply by being so accustomed to the layout of the reports and the amenities offered by Easy Grade Pro,” said sophomore Henry Conklin. “However, on paper eSchool Plus offers things like working at home, so I feel the teachers need to get over their creature comforts.” Junior Emma Banchoff also found that third quarter grades were less accessible and more difficult to decipher than she was used to, but she is not sold on a reversion back to Easy Grade Pro. “The faculty should be taught how to use the system properly,” said Banchoff. “I don’t find it necessary to revert back to the old system, only that the new system needs to be correctly and successfully implemented.” After a teacher panel hosted at the Ed Center resulted in a unanimous vote to switch away from eSchool Plus’ grading system and back to Easy Grade Pro, the county has restarted its search for a grading system. “We are building our requirements for a new student information system with an integrated gradebook,” said Ms. Smith. “Teachers will be involved in that process, as will other user groups like counselors, registrars, attendance secretaries and the like.” Mrs. Congable, who was one of the attendees at the meeting, was happy to see the county’s speedy response to teacher feedback. “What I really appreciate is that Arlington is a small enough county to give it a try and then be willing to look elsewhere.”
BY JACK BARDO
On April 7, the Latin American Student Association (LASA) and its president senior Antonilla Rodreguez-Cassillo hosted a convention in the cafeteria in support of the DREAM Act, a bill that, if passed by Congress, would allow children of illegal immigrants born outside the country to attend American universities. Similar events were held all over country. Speakers included county board member Mr. Walter Tajata (D). Other guests included Mr. Andres Tobar, a former candidate for Virginia House of Delegates.
May 4, 2011
A step above the sundress Fresh styles for the spring season
Kirby Miller, ‘13
Spring is here, and that means it is time to put away those parkas and whip out the warm weather clothes. Patterns, flowy shirts and skirts, and simple designs are in this season, so take this opportunity to expand your wardrobe beyond sundresses and shorts. Mix and match these popular trends for a winning look.
Colorblocking: With the warm weather of spring and summer come the colorful and fun designs in clothing. Colorblock designed clothes have been popular the last few years, but are taking a prominent spot in this year’s warm weather fashion. Colorblock designs can be found at almost all stores.
CK One: CK One is Calvin Klein’s line of comfortable, minimalist clothing. With prices ranging from $10 to $100 for a wide array of top-quality clothing, CK One is acceptable for a student’s budget.
Chinos: Chinos are the pants of choice for the boys this spring. Made from the light weight Chino fabric, chinos are the perfect pants to go from hot spring days to chilly spring nights. The plus side is they are dressy enough to appear put together, but casual enough to be worn with a t-shirt. IMAGES FROM: TOPSHOP.COM, TOPMAN.COM, URBANOUTFITTERS.COM, CALVINKLEIN.COM
Seventies Inspired: For girls, taking a trip to their mom’s high school closet would be perfect for this trend. With the seventies coming back in style it is important to remember to wear the floral flowy tops or the flared pants, not both. Seventies looks can be found at H&M, Topshop and Urban Outfitters.
Keeping it cheap and chic Look great at Prom without breaking the bank Nicolette Elm, ‘11
with the money. Extravagant spending does not need Prom is a classic American high school to be the norm. There are several ways to tradition. Seniors wait eagerly all year for save money and still have a fabulous prom. the big day to come. Saying you need to In Arlington, there is the Formals for Five look your best is an sale, which allows girls to understatement. All buy their dress for only of high school is $5. It is a good option if culminating in one you are looking to save night. money. The dresses have Before that, been used, but are in good however, comes the condition. cost of the ticket, You could do your accessories, limos own makeup, instead and, of course, the of getting it done, or do dress or tuxedo. your own hair. Seventeen Prom is one of Magazine and other the biggest drains fashion magazines walk BY KIRBY MILLER on a high school you through step-by-step Buying your dress at Formals for Five, student’s wallet. to give you the makeup an annual PTA event, can save a lot of Teen girls money. Although this year’s sale was or hair celebrities often are notorious for last week, juniors can keep it in mind choose. spending on hair, for next year. Prom is important, makeup and, most but make a budget for importantly, the yourself, so you do not go dress. It is the one night where a teen girl over your limit. Set something up where can feel like a princess, and is something you know how much money to spend on an they take seriously. item. Keep a record of your spending and In reality, not every teenager has the that way you know what you can purchase money to throw away a thousand dollars and what to avoid. on one night, although it would be nice. Though it is easy to feel pressured by However, there are other ways to make the finances of Prom, it is important to keep your prom amazing, without going crazy in mind the real reason you are there: fun. Staff Reporter
Sweetlife Festival brings 10 hours of music, food Andrew Karpinski, ‘11
Stripes: Stripes add a design to this spring’s wardrobe without becoming overbearing. The key to wearing designs is to wear them minimally. Do not try mixing multiple patterns together. That will not end well.
The second annual Sweetlife Festival took place on May 1 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. Popular artists including The Strokes, Lupe Fiasco, Girltalk, Crystal Castles and others gathered to perform a 10-hour long concert for people from the tri-state area. The Sweetlife Festival was originally introduced as a way to bring good music to the area along with the transition into warmer weather . Last year’s festival took place in Washington, D.C., at Dupont Circle, in conjunction with the Earth Day celebration. A mere 700 fans showed up to support a lineup that included Hot Chip, U.S. Royalty and The Love Language. This year however, festival organizers reserved the large venue in expectation of a much bigger crowd. “I’m really excited about this year’s festival,” said senior Clare Terpstra, before attending the festival. “I didn’t go last year, but the music line-up is amazing this time around.” Terpstra went on to say that she enjoyed herself at the concert,
as she and a couple friends were lucky enough to stand in the “pit” during the musical performances with some of the other dedicated music lovers from the area. One of those friends was fellow senior, Parita Shah. “I had a great time. The music was great and the food was awesome for a pretty reasonable price,” she said. The cost of admission was $55, but that included a daylong event for those who wished to stay for the entire duration of the festival, with many options of free food from hosts of the Sweetlife Festival. All of these options came from were green companies and chains; including MOM’s Organic Foods and Stonyfield Farms, who wanted to support an event with good music and an overall “think green” environmental message. Shah added that she urges more students to take advantage of next year’s opportunity for the Sweetlife Festival. “I had a blast with my friends and got to find some new music interests that I otherwise wouldn’t have known,” she said. “It was an all-around fun day, a great start for me and my friends to get in the mood for summer.”
May 4, 2011
Crossed Sabres guide to home-cooking
Prepare a three-course meal to share with friends and family Sonia Phene, ‘11
the oil in my fryer for the spring rolls before I started preparing my dishes. In a recent senior assembly, some I began with the dessert first, so that I students were asked what they could cook could work on the appetizer and entrée while for themselves. The answers, including the cookies baked in the oven. One of my toast and Ramen Noodles, seem elementary favorite parts of making cookies is mixing for young adults who are about to leave for the creamy cookie batter and whipping the college. mixture until it is fluffy. I usually beat the As teenagers, it is time eggs in a mixing bowl before that we put down the bread adding them to the batter and Styrofoam cups and to make sure everything is pick up the frying pans and thoroughly mixed. mixers. The final mixture For my fellow seniors should be soft and fairly who are going off to dry. It is better to have a dry college, now is a good dough than a wet one, so if time to be introduced to the you add too much flour in life skill of cooking. For the final step of preparing everyone else, this article Almond cookies with jam on top the dough, it is okay. complete senior Sonia Phene’s will serve the needs of homemade meal. When preparing to anyone with a kitchen and bake the cookies, you can an appetite for delicious make the dough into any home-cooked food. shape you want. I twist the dough like a The following guide is for those of you string of licorice, but some people prefer adventurous enough to try new recipes. the traditional circular shape. This is not for people who want a ten Next, I moved on to my cottage potatoes. minute quick fix for the munchies. If you The cottage potatoes are a different, more want a real, wholesome meal that you filling version of mashed potatoes, so they would be proud to serve to your family and work well as an entrée. They also have a friends, then this is the guide for you. hint of spice, which gives the food more On the afternoon of my cooking of a kick than the traditional Thanksgiving adventure, I prepared three dishes: side dish. vegetarian spring rolls, cottage potatoes The key part of making the entrée and almond cookies. To make the most is blending the potatoes well, but not efficient use of my time, I preheated the making them too mushy. The end result oven for the cookies and started warming should consist of small chunks of potatoes. Special Sections Editor
After the potatoes have been well mixed, make sure to gently add in the additional ingredients so as not to over blend the food. Finally, I made my appetizer. Many times my friends and family will eagerly gobble up the spring rolls whenever we eat at a Chinese restaurant, so I love making these homemade rolls. Making the rolls is actually fairly easy. In preparing the mixture that goes inside the wrapper, you only need to make sure that all the vegetables are chopped into thin pieces. There are many techniques to roll a spring roll. I place the wrapper in a diamond shape, fold in the left and right sides, and roll from the bottom up. If you find the process of rolling the spring roll tricky, try using smaller amounts of the mix in each wrapper.
Recipes: Almond Cookies Ingredients: -8 oz. butter -1 cup sugar -2 large eggs -2.5 tsp vanilla extract -3 cups flour -1.5 tsp baking powder -1 tbsp water (can substitute milk) Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking oil spray or line them with parchment paper 2. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl with a hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for several minutes until mixture is light and fluffy. 3. Add two eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla extract 4. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Then add this in increments to form soft, workable dough. Try to add as little extra flour as possible. 5. Knead dough for a few minutes. 6. To shape dough into braids or twists, take walnut sized pieces of dough and use your fingers to roll them into strands about 6 inches long. Fold/bend each strand in half and then twist to form a braid (you can also make up your own designs). 7. Bake for 17-23 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Cottage Potatoes Ingredients: -3 large potatoes -1/8 cup butter -1 cup cottage cheese -1/2 chopped onion -1/4 tsp salt -1/4 tsp pepper -paprika
Frying the spring rolls is the most difficult part of the entire meal. Be extremely careful when using hot oil as the oil can splatter and burn skin. Also, do not spray water (from the kitchen sink, for example) near the frying pan because it can splash out and cause burns. Make sure you use a metal spoon with slots in it to allow the oil to drain to fry the rolls. I suggest practicing with one roll at a time before moving on to multiple rolls in one batch. Depending on the size of your fryer, I would not encourage frying more than three rolls at one time. As you go off to college and begin to live independently, strive to enjoy more than just toast and Ramen Noodles. These recipes can be your starting point or your inspiration to search your parents’ cookbook collection and find your own trademark dishes.
Spring Rolls Ingredients: -1/2 cup grated carrot -1/2 cup of corn -1 cup grated cabbage -1/2 tsp salt -1/2 tsp pepper -1 to 2 tsp chili garlic sauce -1 green onion (chopped into small pieces) -Spring roll wrappers -Vegetable oil (amount depends on the fryer you use) Directions: 1. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir all of the ingredients except the wrappers. 2. Open the spring roll wrapper packet following instructions on the back of the sheet for thawing (most wrappers should be left on the counter for 30-40 minutes). 3. Place the square wrapper in the orientation of a diamond. 4. Place a generous dollop of the mix onto the lower half of the wrapper. 5. First fold the right and left side over the mix and then fold the bottom over the mix. 6. Continue in the same direction as you folded and roll the spring roll up. 7. Place the tightly rolled spring roll in a hot frying pan with oil. 8. Allow the spring roll to cook on each side until golden brown. 9. Remove from pan and allow the oil to drain off (only need to wait a couple minutes). 10. The spring rolls are delicious when served with spring roll sauce. I recommend Pantai Sweetened Chili Sauce.
2. Peel off the skins of the potatoes and slice them.
3. Mash the potatoes in a
mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of butter 4. Add in onion, salt, pepper and cottage cheese to the mixture and stir gently. 5. Transfer the mixture to a BY SONIA PHENE greased casserole and sprinkle with paprika. Directions: 1. Prepare the potatoes first by boiling 6. Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. them in hot water until tender.
May 4, 2011
The Crossed Sabres Goes Green
Giving back to Mother Earth Paige Taylor, ‘12
COURTESY OF PAIGE TAYLOR
Junior Paige Taylor shovels dirt into her compost bin to begin the decomposition process.
Ready, set, bike Chad Hilla, ‘11
Here in the United States of America, our generation has grown up with technology that is developing and evolving even quicker than we do. The sleek and portable cell phone, ubiquitous MP3 player, handy laptop, lifesaving GPS and of course, the prized automobile have all undergone major modifications since they were first introduced. My youth group leader, Mr. Paul Bevins, once showed me his old cell phone when I was an underclassman. I did not even look like a phone to me; it was more like a crude, chunky walkie-talkie with an antenna. As a result of all this overexposure to electronics and labor-saving devices, we are very vulnerable to using them in excess. Rather than going over to our friend’s house to visit, we can just chat with them instantly on Facebook. Rather than honing our navigational skills when we take a wrong turn, we simply turn on the GPS. And perhaps most ominous of all, rather than enjoying the fine weather and getting some exercise, we hop in our Toyota Camry, regardless of how far we intend to travel. This is not only a threat to our long-term health, but also the health of the environment. A problem we encounter in changing this habit, if we intend to change it at all, is that we do not recognize our other options. We say to ourselves: “I could walk, but that takes too long and my feet get sore;” “I could carpool, but I do not want
Composting made easy
Running down to my garden with a banana peel in hand, I dropped it off in a compost bin for it to begin the decomposing process. Part-way through my week-long experiment and I was already a diehard composter. I began my initial composting experiment, with the construction of the actual container. I enlisted my father’s help in finding the right materials for my compost bin. We made the trek to our clustered and fairly disorganized garage and fortunately found some left over wood pieces and some old lattice work we never used. Next, we brought all of our materials to our front yard where we began constructing the bin. For the frame of the compost bin, we started to lay out our wood boards in different positions. However, for a compost bin to work and for food scraps to decompose, the box could not be completely enclosed. So, after hammering together all of the wooden boards into a large frame, I gathered the lattice work pieces and sawed them to fit. Choosing the lattice work was advantageous for the success of the decomposition because it allowed air to flow freely in and out of the container. After I had tapped in all the final nails and checked for any loose sections, I had to choose an appropriate location for my new bin. It is best to set up your bin in a flat, well-drained area. In addition, the area should have a ground that is warm and moist to aid the composting process. The bin should be able to receive plenty of sunlight, but should also be partially shielded from the wind to prevent it from drying out. Also, never place the bin on concrete, because you want to be able to have insects, worms and microorganisms to aid the degradation of the waste materials.
After taking all of these factors into account, I decided the perfect place for my compost bin would be in my garden by the garage, so it would receive enough sunlight, while also being shielded from the harsh winds. The soil there is also already rich in nutrients and worms are scattered across the entirety of my garden. The first couple of days of composting were quite a challenge for me. Having to remember at school that I had to take my apple core or bread crust to my compost bin after I got home was difficult. Nevertheless, keeping all of my food scraps in a little baggy became a habit for me. I simply dropped them off in the compost bin on my way into my house everyday. In the infant days of my composting experience, I learned the hard way what foods compost better than others. For example, any type of meat, fish or dairy product produces a terrible odor after a couple of days sitting in the sun. I did, however, learn that certain foods decompose with greater ease and with a less disgusting aroma. Fruits and vegetables worked well for the compost bin, especially when they were cut up into smaller pieces. Also, morning beverages, like tea and coffee grinds compost well because the worms love them. The more varied the materials are in the compost bin, the more nutrient-rich your final compost will be. Check your container periodically. If by touch the pile is not warmer towards the center in comparison to the outside perimeter, you should add more green vegetation. Composting has become a hobby for me and through this project I have learned that I can make the waste I produce beneficial to the environment.
Area retailers and Craigslist offer affordable bikes
to cause my friend to be late;” or “I might have some roller skates, but I look dumb in them.” Fortunately, there is still a clean, quick and stylish way to get around: riding a bike. The bicycle is ideal for a number of reasons, but most important is its affordability. True, there are racing bikes in the display windows of Clarendon that retail for thousands of dollars, but a reliable used bike is well within y o u r
worth examining in more detail. They are the Bike Club, next to Elevation Burger in Falls Church; Phoenix Bikes, in Barcroft Park in south Arlington; and Craigslist, a popular network of online communities. The first two are advantageous because they are close by and you have the luxury of being able to talk to an employee. He or she can make sure the bike you buy does not have any problematic kinks. However, if you really know what you are looking for, Craigslist can be a convenient tool. First, the principal aim of Phoenix Bikes is to teach students the skills to build bicycles. In doing that, the adult mentors hope they will learn more about responsibility and dedication, and how to be better leaders. Two programs which focus on those goals are Earn-ABike and Phoenix Team. Phoenix Bikes also offers repairs at low cost to area bikers. Anybody who wants to get involved has to apply and commit to a regular schedule. On Fridays and EN H Saturdays, every kind of bike LC PI H from Marin to Cannondale is up OA YN B grasp. for “adoption.” What makes Phoenix O PHO T Of the opeven more appealing is that often the bikes tions at your disposal, three stores are are built by Arlington teenagers for
youths specifically. Bike Club is another business with humble origins and young employees. Located in Falls Church, owner Mr. Phuoc Van Pham runs a store that specializes in repairs, but also sells new and used bikes. He has one mechanic and two high school students who help him part-time. Bike Club, open every day of the week, can get all repairs done in just 24 hours. Makes and models include SE, Redline, Schwinn and even the trendy “fixie” bikes, which have one speed and sometimes no brakes. Whatever kind of ride his customer prefers, he can build it that way, even from scratch. Finally, there is Craigslist. Although a buyer certainly must use more caution, as the exchange is not face-to-face and he or she may have only a picture to examine, most bike sellers on this website are not crooks. The trick is to know precisely what bike you want, which may mean sifting through some research on the bike’s parts. Find a vendor that is in your area, contact that person by e-mail and arrange a swap that lets you prevent fraud. Make sure you have company with you too. When you are sure that the bike is in working order, and you can reach them if some problem emerges, close the deal. Although I have been riding my bicycle to school and through Washington, D.C. for many years now, I still do not know everything about bikes. However, even a novice bike rider can take up this eco-friendly hobby without too much effort if they are willing to learn. The sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with riding a bike frequently is definitely worthwhile.
May 4, 2011
Week-long vegan longs for ice cream Audrey Paduda, ‘13
The vegans of the world separate themselves with their pledge to no longer partake in the eating of animal meat or any animal byproducts. This very strict diet has been increasing in popularity due to the health benefits it is said to have if gone about correctly. Not only is a good vegan diet supposed to help regulate the body’s digestion and other functions, it is also marketed as being more environmentally friendly. There are fewer packaged foods consumed and the diet consists of mainly organic farm or garden-grown foods. For one week, I became a vegan. I cleared my diet of all dairy products and other animal byproducts, even honey because it is made from bees. I was already a vegetarian for over a year, so I did not have to worry about cutting meat out of my diet. However, even though this made the transition less difficult for me, I still found the week to be very challenging. The first time that I realized this experiment would be more difficult than I expected was in the grocery store on day one. I spent the trip browsing through the aisles searching for food with no milk, cheese or butter
while also attempting to find something that looked at least partly appetizing. I ended up spending most of my time in the produce section. In my opinion, most of the pre-prepared foods marketed towards vegans or vegetarians tend to look and taste bad. It is best to get the unprocessed ingredients and make it yourself. The meal is healthier and tastes much better. It is not difficult to get information on what foods to eat to create a healthy vegan diet. It is best to talk to a doctor when making any radical changes in your diet, but I was only altering my diet for a short period of time, so I got information from internet sites like Soyconnection.com and Soyouwanna.com. I composed a meal plan before the week started, with a variety of different vegan recipes for each meal of the day. My goal was to eat something different each day. I had to pack a lunch everyday for the whole week because there are very few lunches sold by the school to accommodate a vegan diet. During the beginning of the week I definitely noticed the amount of food I could no longer eat was extensive, but I also noticed I was eating much healthier foods and that I ate a lot less than I usually would. Instead of just snacking on whatever was around without really thinking, I was
Thinking about going vegan?
forced to read the labels of everything to make sure that I was allowed to eat it. Becoming a vegan made me more aware of how much unnecessary snacking my friends and I do. By the middle of the week I was halfheartedly following the meal plan I made and started getting kind of lazy, eating only fruits and easy veganfriendly snacks instead of the nutritious meals that are important for a vegan diet. I had to check myself and become more aware of what I was eating so that I could maintain my diet for the rest of the week. However, I also discovered several dairy alternatives that I still enjoy now that the experiment is over, like Almondmilk. Although the name may sound strange and when I first saw the carton I thought there was no way I would like it, but it is surprisingly delicious and I drink it more than regular milk now. It is really hard sticking to a vegan diet when it is not a personal choice—I was doing it purely for this experiment and not because I actually wanted to try it. I was expecting to resume my regular diet in a week so instead of trying to enjoy the experiment and the change my lifestyle, my week ended up being more of a countdown to ice cream.
LUNCH*Macaroni (sans cheese) * Peanut Butter
Here are some food to kick start your vegan lifestyle!
* Oatmeal * Orange Juice * Cereal with Soy Milk
* Vegetarian Chili
SNACKS* Popcorn *Guacamole
Learn more at: http://www.vrg.org/
Car-free diet requires caution Emily Walker, ‘12
Lying on a hospital bed with splints on my arms and stitches in my lip at 9 p.m. one Friday night, I was forced to reevaluate the feasibility of going completely carless, if even for only one week. I set out to determine whether it was convenient to not use any form of motor transportation, try to reduce my carbon footprint and hopefully come up with some useful tips in the process. My vehicle-less adventures started off innocently enough on a balmy Monday morning. The night before I had inflated the wheels of my bike, a hybrid between a mountain and street bike, and re-adjusted the seat, which I found to be too low after months of not being used. I biked the mile-and-a-half from my house to the school without consequence and locked my bike on the rack out front. After dealing with my helmet hair, something I had to contend with all week, the rest of my day was not impacted by my ride to school. After track practice, I biked home, which although tiring after a track workout, was not super strenuous and was more enjoyable than walking. I found myself in a similar situation on Tuesday, except the weather was colder. Wednesday, I found myself in a bit of a predicament. I had to dress up for a track meet, so I rode to school in sneakers and then changed to heels. However, I wore a skirt while riding to school, something I would not recommend. It is neither comfortable nor attractive. Riding home in the dark and cold that night was not great, and when pedaling up a big hill near my house, I thought my legs might fall off. Thursday was nondescript, but I was faced with a dilemma when I had to come back to school for an Extended Essay meeting. I knew that by the time I would be riding home it was going to be dark, and very cold, so I was not very resistant when my mother insisted that I ride in the car with her. I justified this by telling myself that she was going to the meeting in a car anyways, so it was really like carpooling. As Friday came, it was to my great dread that I found it was raining outside. In the morning, I arrived at school slightly damp, but it was not until the afternoon that the rain posed a true problem. As I biked down the hill on Military Road by Cherrydale Library, I saw a car pulling out of a driveway. With the driver looking the other way, about to turn into traffic, I braked, but my bike kept going due to the slippery sidewalk, and the car hit me. Thus, my green week came to a close as I was forced to ride in an automobile, an ambulance, to the hospital. Judging from my experiences, I think going partially vehicle-less is perfectly achievable. You do not have to be an athlete to bike or walk to school. There are certain situations, like when it is dark, late, the weather is bad or when you have to travel long distances, where it is better to use a vehicle. In these situations, opting to carpool, taking the metro, or taking the bus, are green options.
Learn about Arlington’s Car-Free Diet at: http://www.carfreediet.com/
PHOTO BY KAREN VALLEJOS
Junior Emily Walker shows off her bike after locking it in the bike racks at the front of the school.
If you are feeling inspired to start riding your bike to school, please bear in mind the following: 1. Though biking does not need to be difficult, Arlington is hilly and you may get tired. Make sure to drink water during the day and to eat a good breakfast. 2. Look out for drivers and traffic. In Arlington, both are notoriously bad. 3. I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet. Not wearing one does not make you cool, it makes you stupid. 4. Know your turn signals. 5. Stay on the right side of the road, especially if you are biking in the bike lane. When riding on the bike path, it is also crucial to stay to the right. 6. Make sure to wake up earlier so you can leave the house with enough time to ride to school. Depending on how far away you live from the school, this will add more or less time to your morning commute (I added less than five minutes to mine).
ART BY NOAH PILCHEN
May 4, 2011
ATHLETE OF THE ISSUE Gretchen Schroeder, Lacrosse
Noah Pilchen, ‘12
for madrigals and also starred as Sandy Dumbrowksi in last fall’s production of Grease. “It was really amazing how she could transition from the field to the stage so seamlessly,” said senior Shahenda Helmy, who played Betty Rizzo in the production. Next year, Schroeder will be attending the University of Miami. Although lacrosse has been a major part of her high school life, she is unsure how important the sport will be to her when she enters college in the fall. Though she plans to study film, she does hope to play on a club team at Miami.
G-Schroedes, Gretch, G-Unit and Fetchin’ Gretchen are just some of senior Gretchen Schroeder’s nicknames on the girls varsity lacrosse team. Schroeder, goalie, has been playing on the team since freshmen year. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot since freshmen year,” said Schroeder. “I can definitely say that a majority of that has come from the work my coaches put into the program.” Head coach Ms. Jenni MacIntosh has coached Schroeder for two years. “I would say her biggest asset to the team is her positive energy,” said coach Ms. MacIntosh. “It would be very easy, especially as goalie, to give up after a tough shot, but I watch over and over again as she picks herself up and works harder to stop the next one.” Schroeder’s teammates agree that her positive attitude makes the sport more enjoyable. “I just really like her,” said junior Meredith Randle. Randle has been on BY DAN PARIS the team since sophomore Schroeder catches a shot from a teammate in practice. year, but has known This is her fourth year on the lacrosse team. Schroeder since freshmen year. “She’s always been nice to me, working on skills and generally helping me adjust to high school.” Randle believes that although the loss of Schroeder next year may negatively affect the team, it will not keep them from having a great season. This year, the girls varsity lacrosse team has gone 6-1 in the district. “The best things about our team this year are our passion for the sport, our team atmosphere and
BY ANDREW ELLIOTT
Schroeder is the only goalie on the varsity girls lacrosse team. Her coach cites her positive energy as the biggest asset she brings to the team. our willingness to work,” said Schroeder. “We’re definitely a huge contender for the district title this year,” she said with a grin. Last year, Schroeder received honorable mention for the district, and this year she wants to place first. “Whatever happens, the greatest thing about lacrosse has been the friendships I’ve made with my other teammates,” said Schroeder. “My success in the sport is only a consolation prize.” Even though lacrosse is her foremost sport, Schroeder also participates in a variety of other sports such as swimming and running. Aside from athletics, Schroeder is one of the student directors
Despite increased field space, school still lacks shot put circle Coaches, athletes push for construction Manbir Nahal, ‘14
Staff Reporter Senior Ben Yatt watches his shot splash into the muddy field behind the bleachers of the Wakefield High School stadium, and sighs as he tip toes through the mud to retrieve the shot. The outdoor track and field team has had two home meets this season, but the throwers unit had to travel to Wakefield to throw due to the absence of a throwing circle at Washington-Lee. The county has had plans for a circle since 2004, but a project has not yet been started. “It impacts the team and ability to maximize team performance when the throwers aren’t there,” said coach Mr. Warren Gillus. “We coaches have been pushing for a circle for years, but we just have to be patient.” Coach Gillus has contacted the county about the matter, but there has been little progress since plans for the new school were made. Originally, there were plans to have a circle made during the construction of the new building, according to Mr. Eric Hill, who has been at the school for 26 years and is a former track and field coach. A part of the two grass fields was initially the area set aside to construct the circle. However, during the construction and after the completion of the new building, construction crews used that area
to store equipment and vehicles, and there was limited space for the circle. Throwers coach Mr. Joshua Patulski feels that there has been a significant delay in building a circle. “It is a no-brainer. Your average contractor can do the job. All you need is a seven foot slab of cement,” he said. “I am frustrated for the throwers because they are easily exposed to injury because they have to throw on grass and spacing could be an issue. At meets, the [throwers] could step out of the circle due to the fact that they haven’t had the practice with a real circle.” While he was a collegiate athlete, Coach Patulski was third in the NCAA Big East conference in discus and shot-put. He attended a combine for the NFL and played fullback on the Syracuse University football team. Now a physical education teacher at Swanson Middle School and H-B Woodlawn Secondary School, with a certification in strength conditioning, he focuses on coaching throwers. “We have had at least one thrower in the top ten in the region. I feel that if we get a circle, we would have at least more than one person throwing at regionals, or even at the state meets,” said coach Patulski. Sophomore Corey Robinson and junior Jewel McNeil attended the indoor track and field regional meet last year and Robinson is qualifying for districts once again this year along with junior Biru Jones.
May 4, 2011
Shiny skirts and silly suits
Team finds cohesion, success through age-old tradition Emily Cook, ‘12
Above: The underclassmen of the team were tricked into dressing as men, while the upperclassmen wore dresses. Top: One of the most popular themes is “Diva Day” where the team dresses in brightly colored over-the-top clothing. Right: Five members of the team pose for a picture on “Barbie and Ken” day. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMMA COOPER
Neon leggings and sparkling high heels catch the eyes of students on game days, thanks to the tradition of female sports teams using “dress-up days” as team bonding activities. This year, however, students and faculty have noticed a significantly greater amount of themed outfits in our hallways, and the girls soccer team is no exception. Though spring teams such as girls lacrosse, girls tennis, girls crew and sometimes even boys soccer dress up on game days as well, the nineteen varsity soccer players and their flashy outfits stand out among the other teams. “We put a lot of effort into our outfits because when someone doesn’t go all out we all just look dumb,” said junior Nikki Nicholas. Their current undefeated record in the district could be the team’s motivation to spend so much time on their attire, or, rather, the result of the great amount of team morale. “Some days have been around for a while so we just have to do them, for example Diva Day, Barbie and Ken Day, and Family Day. By dressing up it gives
The team dressed in camouflage clothing to commemorate their game against Yorktown, with the theme that they were “going to war.”
the team a common bond and creates team spirit,” said junior Raleigh Mills. The participation of the entire team is a factor that sets girls soccer dress-up days apart from other teams. Girls lacrosse and girls field hockey, have both experienced players that chose not to participate in the dressup days due to lack of self confidence or opposition to wearing certain outfits. “Dressing up has always been a soccer tradition because it brings the team together, and if everyone doesn’t go all out, the whole idea of team bonding is lost. Our team as a whole has become really close which is, in part, as a result of
all of our dress-up days,” said Mills. Junior Annie Franchi also said that dressing up was a way of gaining school support and encouraging students to attend the games. Junior Susan Ferguson said, “Our team motto is go hard or go home and our dress up days reflect that!”
Promise, heartbreak of opening day at Nationals Park Zach Perlman, ‘13
Another year has come and for fanatics of baseball, life has begun again. Although the sport is associated with warm weather and summer, that was not the feel on March 31 as the Washington Nationals took the field against the Atlanta Braves for their season opener. The weather was cold, rainy and depressing, but the atmosphere and vibe couldn’t have been any farther from it. As I walked down the street from the Metro I encountered a number of food vendors, fans, loud music and cheering. The Nationals have not been a competitor in the past few years, but something about seeing children rushing to the game, and sounds of vendors pushing their sale of overpriced hotdogs made me optimistic. The stadium does not have a lot of history, but it is clean and for the first time since Stephen Strasburg’s first game, filled with intensity. Though the weather was awful, and by the end of the game my fingers were numb, the experience was great because baseball was back. Freezing in the midst of this crushing loss, fans were able to at least enjoy the food that the park had to offer. Like recent years, there was a lot. Hard Times Café was a huge hit, even more so than usual due to 39 degree weather. Ben’s Chili Bowl and Flippin’ Pizza were also hot commodities. However, as I walked through the concourse at the 7th inning stretch I was heart broken to see Auntie Annie’s Pretzels has moved. In place of it was a “treat stand” which
contained plastic-looking pretzels that tasted even worse then they looked. The outcome of the game was even bleaker than the weather, and was not the way most Nationals fans envisioned the start to a new season. Losing by a score of 6-2, the game was played even worse than I can summarize. Nationals starting pitcher Livan Hernandez fell victim to the Braves line up, giving up hits to third baseman Chipper Jones, second baseman Dan Uggla and catcher Brian McCann. The players did not help out their pitcher, giving up two errors as well. Followed by the poor defensive performance, BY ZACH PERLMAN was an even worse offensive The scoreboard at Nationals Park on opening day. Despite performance. The team a series of tumultous seasons, the Nationals are looking to fell victim to numerous be a competitor this year. strike outs and saw no contribution from $126 these spectators for not being true fans, but million investment Jayson Werth. The I let it go as I ran to get warmed up in our Braves quickly took over the game with heated car. We drove back home listening little response from the Nats. to post-game highlights and could not help Fans raced out of the stadium, hoping but picture another losing season. to find shelter in the warmth of their cars. The Nationals did lose, but the day was As my family and I filed out, few people not a waste. Yes, the food was expensive, seemed upset as most were Braves fans. but for the most part it was delicious. So-called Nationals fans could be heard Although I felt like I was at a Green Bay speaking about following another team, Packers game, I would rather be at a the Boston Red Sox, in the face of another Nationals baseball game than anywhere losing season. It is easy to be angry with else in the world.
NATS STATS AND FACTS The Nationals hold a 13-14 record on the season thus far and are 4th in the National League East. Right-fielder Jayson Werth leads the team in home-runs with four and holds a .242 batting average. The Nationals’ 41,546 seat stadium, Nationals Park, opened on March 30, 2008 and took more than $611 million to build. It is the first major stadium in the United States to be accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design structure. The style of the ballpark is inspired by the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art by architect I.M. Pei. Ticket prices are as low as $10 and the stadium is easily reachable by taking the Metro to the Navy Yard station on the Green Line.
May 4, 2011
COURTESY OF AMINA CHENINI
COURTESY OF BETHANY WILLIAMS
From April 16-23, students enjoyed their week off from school. Some traveled to new destinations while others had fun in town. COURTESY OF ISHA SRIVASTAVA
COURTESY OF CAITLIN O’GRADY
COURTESY OF KELSEY BUTTERWORTH
Counterclockwise from bottom left: Junior Caitlin O’Grady vacationed at Grand Place, Brussels; Staying local, seniors Isha Srivastava and Sarah Chisholm toured the National Cathedral; Senior Bethany Williams visited Oregon while checking out prospective colleges; Senior Amina Chenini tanned in the sun on her visit to Miami; Pictured with her dad, senior Kelsey Butterworth went to Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee. W-L alum Monica Ahir met senior Lina Chhuy-Hy who went to James Madison University.
COURTESY OF MONICA AHIR
Photo Contest Winner:
Esther Ullberg ‘13 This month’s theme was spring This month’s winner was sophomore Esther Ullberg. To see her photo in color, visit our website, www.crossedsabres.org. As students plan to go different ways in the summer, take photos to preserve those memories! The next photo contest is finding photos to represent being with people. Grab a large group of friends and take a picture. Try to snap pho-
tos of as many people together as you can. Take photos in school, at parties or at any gettogethers with a huge crowd. The prize for the best picture will be a $10 Chipotle gift card and your photo featured in the Crossed Sabres.
Submit photos by June 1 to wlcrossedsabres@ yahoo.com or to the Publications Lab, room 1028.
May 4, 2011
Local gentrification: a phantom menace Matthew Hirsch, ‘12
There is a plague spreading across Arlington. Signs advertising “Luxury condos starting at $700,000” litter the medians and sidewalks of the county. Gentrification (the buying and renovation of houses and stores in declining neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families and individuals) is growing at a worrisome rate. Gentrification in Arlington has been an issue for a while now. Families have been displaced by increasing housing or rental prices and forced to search for more affordable living.This is most apparent in the Buckingham, Columbia Pike and Nauck neighborhoods of Arlington where “luxury condos” phased out low-income housing. Ms. Lois Athey, the executive director of BU-GATA, a tenant’s association for the Buckingham neighborhood, works to help families in the Buckingham community maintain their current livelihoods. According to Ms. Athey, although Arlington County does not keep track of housing displacement, there are other statistics that provide a sense of the upheaval in Arlington County due to gentrification. For example, although the Arlington population has grown from 189,453 in 2000 to 207,627 in 2010, the number of Latinos has dropped by nearly 4000, from 35,268 to 31,382. Also, from 2008 to 2010, the number of homeless people who are classified as “language minority” has increased from 77 to 182, or 136%. This shows that the gentrification in areas heavily populated by
immigrants has radically altered the very ethnic fabric of the county, even in the past three years. I have lived in Arlington all of my life and one of the most appealing aspects of the county for me is its vast diversity. Whether it is culture, socioeconomic status or religion, Arlington is very multidimensional and I feel that growing up here has exposed me to many different points of view and ways of living. Unfortunately, we can see that rising costs of housing or rental properties in an area often reduce the
ics of Arlington will irreversibly change, meaning Arlington’s flavor and personality will be distinctly more appealing. When I am an adult and I come back to Arlington, I do not want to return to an unfamiliar area dominated by pretentious yuppies and overpriced lots. Senior Magdalena Escobar, who lives off of George Mason Drive in the north side of Arlington, has seen gentrification and its effects in her own neighborhood. “[Prices] have gone way up,” Escobar. “I know many kids who had to move be-
Although Arlington has benefited from increased economic activity and overall prosperity, the population diversity has dropped. The number of whites has steadily climbed to more than 65% of the population, while the black and asian populations have remained relatively constant. Latinos, however, have been displaced more and more. They now constitute just 15% of the population.
demographic diversity of the area. It is not apparent yet, but if gentrification continues, I am sure that the racial and social dynam-
cause of the prices.” Escobar also once had many friends who lived in the Buckingham apartments, but they became victim of the
same trend. Another senior, Aida Sebhat, lives on Columbia Pike and has observed the cumulative effect of more expensive residences. “Whenever a new apartment building is built in my neighborhood, rent in my own building rises,” said Sebhat. Many of these new buildings are not put to good use. The owners evict people from the original buildings, which are then demolished. Soon workers are building condominiums which are so expensive that most middleclass people cannot afford them. Sebhat says that in the worst cases, “some of the new apartments are just there because no one has enough money to buy them.” She enjoys living in her neighborhood and also said that she does not want prices to keep rising so her family can continue living there. Gentrification in Arlington not only displaces families to other areas of Arlington, or Northern Virginia. “[Many of my friends] had to move to Fairfax or even back to their country because of the prices and lost jobs…” said Escobar. “I think if the economy doesn’t get better no one [who lives here now] will be able to live here [in the future].” In my opinion, if Arlington does not take action of some sort to create more low-income housing for people who have been displaced, Arlington will transform into something unrecognizable, something we will be less than enthusiastic about. Arlington’s diversity and quality of living are two of its most attractive qualities, and letting them erode beneath the incoming tide of gentrification would be tragic indeed.
AP curriculum mixes it up Isabel Larrocca, ‘14
As the end of the school year approaches, students throughout Arlington are preparing for their SOLs and final exams. At the same time, over 1,000 students are registering and reviewing for their AP exams in May, with tests on subjects ranging from Chemistry to Japanese. Yet as these students study for their exams, College Board prepares for major changes to AP curriculums. Advanced Placement, or AP, courses are offered as an alternative to regular high school classes. An AP course is designed to be as demanding as a college-level class, placing more responsibility on the student to learn, introducing college-level textbooks and emphasizing discussion, essaywriting and analytical thinking. Students can also earn college credit by taking an AP class by getting a score of three, four or five out of five possible points on the AP exam at the end of the
year. However, the actual amount of credit awarded for each score, if any, varies from college to college. Many issues have been raised about AP classes concerning the amount of information in certain classes and the way that information is taught. AP Biology, for example, has a textbook that consists of 56 chapters, with more information being added to the course as advancements are made in the field. With so much information to cover, students have to resort to simply memorizing as many facts as possible. Another complaint has been that teachers in classes such as AP Biology are left without instruction as to how to structure the course, leaving them with the difficult task of determining which units to spend more time on. Recently, College Board has acknowledged these difficulties and has announced plans to revise the curriculums of six AP classes. Changes in AP French, AP German and AP World History will be enacted first in the 2011-2012 school year, while
Crossed Sabres is the student-produced newspaper of the Washington-Lee High School community. Editorials reflect the opinion of the editorial staff and, unless otherwise noted, are written by a member of the staff. The editorial board encourages responsible commentaries and letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit for grammar, style or lack of space. Letters and commentaries containing obscenities, racial slurs or libelous content will not be published. All letters must be signed by the author to be published. They can be printed “name withheld” upon request. The Crossed Sabres publications lab is in room 1028. Any correspondence may be dropped off there or emailed to email@example.com.
AP Biology, AP Latin and AP Spanish will have their changes enacted in the 20122013 school year. These plans include reducing the scope of units in classes such as AP World History and AP Biology by cutting down on the amount of information included in less important units of the classes, such as Stone Age history in AP World History. Other changes include creating more structured course plans for teachers to follow and, in language classes, placing a greater emphasis on culture, such as poetry and prose in AP Latin. I could not be happier with these changes. Having taken AP World History myself this year, I know about the current difficulties in AP courses. With 33 chapters of information to cover in only eight months of block-scheduling, my class had to study 600 years of history a week. Because the exam was in May, there was no time to spend on in-depth analysis of any events in history, with important periods, such as the Roman Empire, getting barely a class period of discussion.
Contact information Washington-Lee High School Attn: Crossed Sabres 1301 N Stafford Street Arlington, VA 22201 Phone: 703-228-6200 Fax: 703-524-9814
By cutting down on the amount of information covered in less important units of each class, more time should be available for class discussion of more important units in classes such as AP World History and hands-on, independent experimentation in classes such as AP Biology. This will lead to a more enriching learning experience for AP students. Giving teachers a more structured plan will allow them to hone in on more important curriculum rather than cramming in every possible detail that may be on the exam. Overall, these changes will make AP classes more manageable and even enjoyable for students. According to the College Board website, in AP classrooms, “The focus is not on memorizing facts and figures. Instead you’ll engage in intense discussions, solve problems collaboratively, and learn to write clearly and persuasively.” It is important that College Board stay true to this standard. Hopefully, these changes to AP classes are a step in the right direction, and there will be more to come.
Editor-in-Chief: Andrew Elliott, ‘11 Managing/News Editor: John Bardo, ‘11 Photography Editor: Abigail Bessler, ‘13 Lifestyles Editor: Emily Walker, ‘12 Features Editor: Noah Pilchen, ‘12 Sports Editor: Andrew Dudka, ‘12 Opinion Editor: Chad Hilla, ‘11 Online Editor: Luisa Banchoff, ‘13 Copy Editor: Sonia Phene, ‘11 Business Manager: Kirby Miller, ‘13 Adviser: Claire Peters Staff Reporters: Sydney Butler, Emily Cook,
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Andrew Karpinski, Isobel Larroca, Manbir Nahal, Audrey Paduda, Zachary Perlman, Paige Taylor
May 4, 2011
The Biased Opinion of the Crossed Sabres Staff
Putting the cap back on the map They come fitted or adjustable, formal or casual and in many shapes and sizes. Hats are widely popular throughout the world, and our school is no exception. However, the school’s dress code regarding hats is phrased thus: Hats (including bandannas and other headgear) may be worn only to and from school with exceptions for items worn for religious or medical reasons. The application of this rule and the student body’s affinity for wearing hats has resulted in daily confrontations with faculty members. You have
undoubtedly seen it: a teacher walking across the lunch room or a long hallway, sifting their way through students and other various obstacles to tell one student to “take the hat off.” The apparent fascination on the part of the faculty with enforcing this rule is irritating. Without trying to sound like a typical rebellious teenager, it seems like teachers and administrators find pleasure in enforcing a pointless, menial rule found 11 pages deep into our assignments notebooks. As touched on in the most recent Grinds my Gears segment, the social standards regarding hats
originated in olden times when it was considered disrespectful to have your head covered indoors. But when you consider other social etiquette standards, such as those applicable during greetings and meals, how many still apply today? The answer is very few, and while we definitely support the school’s efforts to create respectful students, the etiquette rules about hats no longer apply in the real world. People scarcely expect to have the door held open for them anymore, mandatory common courtesies in public have been phased out, and it is time for the social standards regarding
hats to follow. Beyond tradition, the main argument against hats is that they are a source of distraction. Provided that the headwear does not violate school dress code regarding offensive material, it is amazing that this argument has held up for so long. To avoid doing class work, one could take hats off and start playing with it on the desk. In this situation, a hat would be a source of distraction. However, if students are committed enough to find some other source of entertainment beyond the class, they could just as well take their t-shirt
off and begin folding it on the desk. Does that sound riduculous? Because it is. Perhaps the fabricated problem does not lie with students’ hyperactivity, but with the teacher’s inability to hold an engaging class. But we will pick our battles. The point is that these rules about general headwear are outdated, and the animosity with which faculty members pursue “perpetrators” adds to the absurdity. Should the administration correctly decide to repeal this part of the dress code, it would certainly be worthy of a tip of the hat.
Birthday party costs balloon beyond acceptability Sydney Butler, ‘11
Everyone has a birthday, and some people will spend large amounts of money, ranging anywhere from $100 to $1000 to make a birthday memorable. Birthdays have made the transition from music, some friends and a cake,
to a massive rave party in a topnotch hotel with a cake, cater and limo. Although not every birthday has made the mind-boggling transition from a simple party with friends into a major operation, it has become increasingly difficult to throw a good birthday party without spending large amounts of money. People typically spend the most money on their sweet 16, quinceañera or bar/bat mitzvah birthdays. Some have significance because of traditional or religious beliefs. Others have merely become a cultural milestone. Such circumstances mean these celebrations are a much-anticipated time for teens, their peers and their parents. The knowledge that an important birthday must be just right “creates this pressure within the family,” said senior Antonella Rodriguez-Cossio. The quinceañera is a major
milestone in the journey to wom- choose an ice rink, you end up presents. “For my close friends I anhood for a girl of Hispanic de- spending anywhere from $185 will spend around $50, if it’s for scent. When she turns 15, an His- to $600. Restaurants can be de- just any party I will spend about panic young woman is considered ceptive. One user of the blog $20,” said Rodriguez-Cossio. However, there is a positive mature and capable of forging her Cafémom.com said he took his own path. Hispanic parents will 15 year-old daughter out to a res- side to all this. It is possible to often save up their money from taurant with a few friends for her have a memorable birthday and the time a child is born in prepa- birthday, and he ended up spend- not break the bank. The first thing ration for this celebration. Ac- ing $1,000 on their meals. Other to remember is this: consider all cording to Rodriguez-Cossio, the parents recall spending ludicrous possibilities when planning your average money for a quinceañera amounts on their children’s get- birthday. It is important to know can range anywhere from $10,000 togethers too. Renting a venue is a what kind of party you want and to $40,000. popular trend for the birthday ex- whether or not that party will be Luckily, there are often mul- perience. Unfortunately, renting a themed. tiple realatives who provide assistance on items Breaking the spending cycle such as the dress, and other inexpensive birthday party ideas the hair and the shoes. Sometimes godparents 1. Tickets to a popular sporting event, like a Wizards or Nationals will contribute game. If you eat beforehand food expenses are not a concern. to the cost of the 2. Mall or nature reserve scavenger hunt, where the aim is to find quinceañera. The certain landmarks or unusual items. Simple and enjoyable. task of organiz3. Movie night, with other films on deck and plenty of popcorn. ing the party and figuring out all 4. Karaoke contest, with a prize for the winner and the other partythe logistics does goers as judges. This requires some bravery on the singer’s part. not have to be the 5. Ultrazone party, with all-night passes and ample tokens. Includes sole responsibilpizza and drinks. It never gets old. ity of the parents. “I don’t think that it is essential to have a large Next, consider what decorabirthday party every year. How- desirable venue can mean spendever, some birthdays are more im- ing thousands of dollars, depend- tions you already have. If your portant than others, because they ing on the quality of the location. birthday is in December, October, Novemrepresent becoming an adult. said This does not ber, February, senior Courtney Riley. “I feel like even include or July you a lot of them are [also] connected catering exprobably have with traditions.” pense, decoholiday decoHowever, not everyone can af- rations, party rations which ford to spend large sums of money favors or a can work reon their birthdays. Another part of cake. ally well for the problem is the image the meC l e a r l y, the purpose dia creates of the ideal extrava- today’s birthof hosting gant birthday. For example, the days are an enjoyable television show My Super Sweet much more party. With 16. The show was criticized for e x p e n s i v e , holidays like emphasizing expensive, luxuri- and what is Halloween, ous birthdays as a necessity for worse, birthThanksgivAmerican youth. Riley agrees: “I day presents ing, Valenfeel like [birthdays] have definite- are often ly become more lavish.” pricey too. I recall spending $50 tines Day, the Fourth of July, in Many people will hold their for my best friend’s 18 birth- addition to the winter ones, a parties in settings such as an ice day celebration. According to a memorable birthday is never far rink or a restaurant, somewhere questionnaire from Freemoney- out of reach. Another way to save money enjoyable but accessible. Others finance.com, most people will may even rent a venue. If you spend $20 to $60 on a friend’s is to set a food spending budget.
Going to stores like Costco and Sam’s Club can be a very good way to look for deals and use accumulated coupons. Most importantly, make a list of all the food you might need at your party. If you require other accessory items like glow sticks, strobe lights, or party favors compare prices with other stores to find the best price. Also, you might try asking your friends if they have things to bring--they might even have a revolving disco lights. You do not need a DJ for music. An iPod should be sufficient. When buying presents for friends you also do not need to spend large amounts of money; a person will typically only use a small fraction of their birthday presents anyway. For close friends, it is easy to buy a nice, inexpensive gift. The truth is, a true friend will just be happy you came to his or her party. For the rest of the crowd, a Hallmark card is a great way to show you care, as is candy or a $5 to $10 gift card. Keep in mind, birthdays happen every year. We do not need to treat them like they are the most important thing in the world. Rodriguez-Cossio believes that as long as there is family, friends and music, a memorable party can happen. So invite people you enjoy being around and just have fun, rather than host a major extravaganza with every friend you can think of. It may surprise you to find that a smaller get-together actually means you will have a better time. All those endorphins everybody has afterwards really come from the good company, not the party favors.