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THE PAW PRINT An Independent Publication of Wilde Lake High School •5460 Trumpeter Rd. Columbia, MD 21044 • Volume 42, Issue 3•

Speech and Debate Students Compete at Nationals in Florida By Anjali DasSarma Feature Editor

“I used to get so nervous with public speaking and reading out loud in class,” said junior Sarah Nemsick. Seeing Nemsick now, speaking clearly and thoughtfully, it’s hard to imagine a version of her that had trouble with verbal communication. “I really wanted to improve [my public speaking], so I joined Speech class,” said Nemsick. “Speech has really helped me with my public speaking, I’m really good at public presentations and I don’t get nervous anymore.” The Speech and Debate club has been running for over 20

years at Wilde Lake, and the stories from the students involved are all very similar. Students help the club and class help with leadership roles, communication skills, and research techniques. The team’s sponsor is English teacher Ms. Midgley, who has coached since 1997. “Most of our team members have been recognized at some point during the season, but there are several students who routinely medal in multiple events: junior Sara Shemali, junior Meghna Manohar, sophomore Rustin Pare, and sophomore Destiny Lawrence,” said Ms. Midgley. The club members compete in six major tournaments, league

finals, and nationals each year. During typical meetings, students share ideas about their cases and work on researching the topics they get every two months. Junior Sara Shemali has been a part of the debate team since her freshman year, has participated in 11 contests this year, and joined Tiara Hines and Meghna Manohar this year at the national competition. This year at states, she won first place in two competitions and fourth place in a duo performance with Manohar. Research, she says, is a huge part of being on the Speech and Debate team. “People underestimate how much research goes into debate,

Shemali and Manohar have both been participating in speech and debate since middle school (Photograph by Natalie Varela).

because you really have to know what you’re talking about. Debate has helped me learn how to find better research and to know where to look to find scholarly articles,” said Shemali. The team debates philosophical ideas to argue about the “world as it should be,” said Ms. Midgley.

Ms. Lopez Announces Retirement

By Caitlyn Brosnan Staff Writer

“Obey The Lopez” reads the sign at the front of Ms. Lopez’s classroom, a gift from the Class of 2013 for her birthday. The sign describes her unique persona perfectly: regal and wise with a hint of mischief. Well known for her one-of-a-kind personality and worldly approach to teaching, Ms. Lopez has dedicated her life to helping others. Ms. Lopez lived in the Bronx until she was 14, when her father took a job as a union worker in Detroit, where she would finish high school and get her undergraduate degree at Wayne State. After earning her undergraduate, Ms. Lopez earned her masters degree in English at Michigan State. While getting her masters, Ms. Lopez met her husband, and together, they moved back and forth from Michigan to Colorado and finally ended up in Washington D.C, where Ms. Lopez went to law school. After law school, Ms. Lopez worked as a civil rights lawyer for the NAACP for fouryears. Then, she earned a second masters degree in teaching at Johns Hopkins. In her career, Ms. Lopez has taught college classes at the University of Michigan and Wayne State. She also taught a program to help laid off workers get back on their feet. She spent the end of her career teaching English in high school. In total, Ms. Lopez has been teaching for 27 years. She has taught in the Howard County school system, at Hammond High and Wilde Lake for the past 15.

Ms. Lopez will miss Wilde Lake, but she is excited for what is to come (Photograph by Natalie Varela).

While establishing her career, she also traveled around the world and visited China, Cambodia, Italy, Hungary, Germany, among many countries. Ms. Lopez began teaching in 1974, but her love of literature goes back to when she was a young girl with a vivid imagination. She says she began teaching for the interaction with people, the creativity, and the independence that the profession provides. For Ms. Lopez, teaching was a mission. “Education to me is not just limited to the classroom. It’s what life is all about, always learning. You can only learn if your

mind is open to it, so I hope my students continue to have open minds,” said Ms. Lopez. “I hope that they continue to read and think for themselves and not just regurgitate what has been told to them, because that is not education in my mind. I hope that they continue to grow as independent thinkers.” Ms. Lopez’s experience and wisdom help her in being able to spread her ideas about individuality which have inspired both students and her coworkers, says Mr. Townsend. “She encourages me to have an opinion, to do what is right, care about people, and be myself,” said Mr. Townsend. Not only has Ms. Lopez taught many students over the years, but they have all taught her something. “I’ve learned new words that I never thought about as having a different meaning, patience on a deeper level, and extending compassion. Teaching has enriched my compassion for others,” said Ms. Lopez. Throughout her career, Ms. Lopez fought for the rights of students and teachers, as she was a representative for the teacher’s union. After she retires and gets surgery on her knee, “life begins!” said Ms. Lopez. She is excited about what awaits, and will be working on writing stories, traveling, and working. “I’ll be enjoying myself, really,” said Ms. Lopez. Wilde Lake will be losing a unique and knowledgeable teacher. The students wish her all the best.

During the meetings, the students rehearse their presentations, share constructive criticism, and give feedback. “We work together and come up with ideas as a team,” said Shemali.

Mr. Cox Accepts Crystal Flame Award

Mr. LeMon and county representatives surprise Mr. Cox with the Crystal Flame Award (Photograph by Natalie Varela). By Jenny Lees Opinion Editor

As students applauded, Mr. Cox was presented with the 2015 Crystal Flame Award in the Students category, for creating Math Help on Main Street, where he offers assistance to students struggling in any level of math. The annual HCPSS Crystal Flame staff awards was first established in 2013. There are four categories: Students, Staff, Families and the Community, and Organization. The goal is to honor staff members for accomplishments in each of the categories. By donating his time before, during, and after school, Mr. Cox continues to show his support for the success of students.

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