Page 1

END OF THE WORLD? Is the deficit really that huge a problem?

inside 11

inside 8

VICTORY SWEEP: The hockey team leaves Churchill ice cold after a 6-3 romp.

AWKWARD GIFTS: Everybody has gotten that pair of socks, but just how awkward can holiday gifts get?


inside 4




BREAKING BORDERS: A European diplomat comes to educate Wootton on diplomacy.

inside 5

DO RE MI: The chorus takes center stage to flaunt their wind pipes with pizzazz.


inside 2

Common Sense

Volume 40, Issue 5 - Thomas S. Wootton High School - 2100 Wootton Parkway - Rockville, MD 20850 - December 23, 2010

Lady Pats prove to be serious competitors at county level Jason Oringher staff writer Five games and five wins into the season, the girls’ basketball team is off to the red hot start that they were hoping for. In their most recent game, the girls edged out Richard Montgomery by two points. After only scoring four points in the first quarter, the girls mustered a comeback to eventually overcome the Rockets late in the game.

In the season opener on Tuesday Dec. 7, the Lady Pats traveled to Paint Branch looking for revenge against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. It was clear from the start that the Patriots had not forgotten about last season, displaying tight defense and jumping out to a 14-point halftime lead. Despite a Paint Branch run in the third quarter to cut the deficit to nine, senior center Gabby Flinchum led an effort to outscore the Panthers 24-9 in the last quarter,

resulting in a statement win with a score of 61-37. Flinchum began her senior campaign with an impressive near triple double by chipping in 17 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks. “Gabby has strong fundamentals and has worked extremely hard this summer to improve her strength and speed,” head coach Maggie Dyer said. “It also helps that she is 6’3 and is usually the tallest player on the court.”  Taking on another tough opponent in

the Magruder Colonels on Monday Dec. 13, the Pats came out aggressive and again proved to be the better team. The team sprinted out to a 17-point halftime lead as a result of sharp shooting by senior guards Jess Welch and Iris Cheng, who connected on

Daniel Moon managing editor

Sara Foster staff writer

photo courtesy of Michelle Hanson

photo by Ashley Gladner

see SPEAKERS, page 3

ABOVE: Holocaust survivors Halina Peabody and Henry Greenbaum share a collection of memories from the Holocaust with junior Rachel Goldberger and other curious students. LEFT: Peabody shares stories of her struggle through the Holocaust. When Peabody was seven, her father fled Poland in fear of being forced into the Russian Army, and she had to live with her mother and baby sister.

POTH performers given extra week to prepare for show George Ewald & Allie McRae news editor & editor-in-chief After much anticipation, “Puttin’ on the Hitz” (POTH), Wootton’s annual lip synching and dancing competition, finally took place last night at 7 p.m. The theme of the night: Wootton Video Music Awards, a takeoff of MTV’s Music Video Awards. Although the event was originally

scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 16, it was delayed because of the brief snowstorm which called for the cancellation of all afterschool activities on Dec. 16. The hasty change in plans proved to be a problem for some students who had hoped to attend the event on the 16th. “I was really excited to go to POTH, but I can’t go anymore because I have indoor track practice [on the 22nd],” freshman Elise Green

see BASKETBALL, page 9

Diversity: Flourishing since Wootton’s beginnings

Two Holocaust survivors share their experiences with interested students On Thursday, Dec. 16, students had the opportunity to listen to two Holocaust survivors during periods four, five and six. Michelle Hanson, coordinator of the Humanities and Arts Program at Wootton, organized the event for students in the program. Halina Peabody and Henry Greenbaum, both survivors, used periods four and five respectively to tell their stories and spent period six answering students’ questions. “I thought it was very sad, but I think it’s good for people our age to know the stories first hand so we can pass the knowledge,” senior Katie Shniderman said. As a child, Peabody lived in Krakow, Poland in a house by the river. “All I remember were the beautiful times,” Peabody said. Peabody’s mother was a swimmer in the Olympics and her father was a dentist. “I had a wonderful life,” Peo said. “But suddenly, the bell rang and everything changed.” Peabody was only seven when the war broke out, however she was not sent to a concentration camp. Instead, her mother and baby sister stayed with her in Krakow while her father fled to Romania for fear of being forced into the Russian Army. “Everybody was in panic, especially the men,” Peabody said. The Russians soon invaded Krakow. “They did some damage,” Peabody said. “They demanded money, and art. Really, whatever they could get their hands on. Then they made us move to Whister. But the Germans broke the agreement, so we were allowed to move back home.”

Senior guard Iris Cheng

said. Others simply felt the sting of a prolonged wait for the highly popular event. “I can’t wait to go to POTH,” junior Julia Wainger said. “It was a bummer that it was postponed.” However, some students welcomed the delay in their performance as an opportunity for improvement. see HITZ, page 3

Since the start of this school year, each issue of Common Sense has included a feature about some aspect of Wootton in celebration of the school’s 40th anniversary. Starting with the first issue, the topics covered so far include the identity of Thomas Wootton, student life in the 70’s, history of the school theater, the Patriot mascot and the history of Wootton football. Is there something missing? Of course there is. In 40 years, one aspect of Wootton’s student body has stood out above all others as one which defines the school and its reputation: diversity. In 2009, MCPS reported the breakdown of Wootton’s student body: 55.1% White, 34.3% Asian, 5.3% African American, 5.2% Hispanic and 0.1% American Indian. But those numbers cannot represent the diversity that stems from the individual backgrounds of the student body, considering that they come from all kinds of places – England, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Yugoslavia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Bhutan, Burma, India, Pakistan, Turkey, South Africa, Congo, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and so on. This seemingly long list actually falls short of all the national origins that fill the hallways of Wootton. “It’s a benefit to all of us that we learn how to get along with other people,” Arts Resource Teacher Susan Thorpe said. “There is always diversity within a culture,” English Resource Teacher Kimberly Boldon said. “We have this tendency to fit everything into an umbrella. It might help with statistics, but it doesn’t reflect who we are as people.” A simple walk through the see DIVERSITY, page 11



Common Sense - December 23, 2010

ews lash

The latest unusual news across the country Blinking Christmas ornament shuts down Metro A blinking Christmas ornament in a Pentagon subway trash can caused the station to be shut down during morning rush hour on Dec. 15. Authorities investigated the “suspicious object.” “Someone spotted some lights that were blinking in a trash can,” Spokesman for the Pentagon police force Chris Layman said to the Associated Press. “It was called a ‘suspicious object’ and they came and x-rayed and inspected the item.”

photo courtesy of Bee buyer


Postal worker arrested for delivering mail naked

A Wisconsin postal worker decided to deliver mail nude to a woman who he thought was “stressed out.” The postal worker told police that delivering mail while completely naked probably was not a good idea. The 52-year-old told the woman he would deliver the mail in the nude to her office to cheer her up. on Dec. 4. The postal worker brought the mail wearing only a smile. The mail carrier was arrested for lewd and lascivious source: behavior several days later.

image courtesy of United States Postal Service

Former beauty queen convicted for kidnapping boyfriend A.T&G.E

A former Arizona beauty queen and law school student accused of plotting the kidnapping and torturing of her exboyfriend is being sent to prison. 28-year-old Kumari Fulbright was sentenced to two years in prison and six years’ probation. She plead guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated assault as part of a plea agreement.

photo courtesy of huffingtonpost


School Calendar


Anna Tragotsi news editor

Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Austria in Washington, D.C. Andreas Riecken visited Wootton on Dec. 7 as a guest speaker for students. “It is so great that we can take advantage of the interesting people who live in DC,” senior David Harvey said. Riecken introduced students to the European Union (EU) by explaining the many reasons for its formation and describing its effects on the economy in both the European and global stages. The ambassador’s visit poses a special significance, especially in the time of the current financial crisis that surrounds numerous countries, both European and non-European. “The idea behind the European Union is to develop Europe economically and bring the people closer together,” Riecken said. The country has been a member of the EU since Jan. 1, 1995. According to Riecken, many diplomats have voiced concern over the EU, worrying that the organization undermines stability in the continent by dissolving border controls at a time of great population movement in human history. Specifically, they point to the immigrants who come from politically unstable regions who may bring the instability along to the European states. On the other hand, Riecken believes that even though there may be some truth behind the statement, individual countries do not lose their culture identity as a result of the union. “One voice, one country,” Riecken said. Despite that the EU strives to create a more cohesive community, each member of the organization is given equal representation and a significant level of autonomy. Another view of the EU is that it was organized strictly for economic reasons that would bring Europe together­­ in order to compete with bigger markets like the U.S. “These people do not realize that the European Union was not created






Austrian Diplomat addresses students about prevalence of European Union

January 1










INSIDE >> Common Sense News............................................................................1-3 Op-Ed...............................................................................4 Arts..................................................................................5 Commons......................................................................6-7 Sports............................................................................8-9 Features....................................................................10-11 Flipside...........................................................................12


Scholarship to be given to student with “SPIRIT” One student will be honored with the first annual award of $5,000 towards his or her education from the SPIRIT foundation, formed in honor of late alumnus Robert Yin who died in May 2010. The award will go to a student who demonstrates “SPIRIT,” meaning that the student will “Show Potential, Integrity, Responsibility, and Inspire Thousands.” The competition requires an essay written about “Honesty and Genuineness.” The student must also include a YouTube video highlighting their essay and other talents.

photo by Anna Tragotsi

Diplomat Andreas Riecken greets senior Sean Hamilton. He explains to the student the current state of Europe’s economy and the reasons the European Union was formed.

for economic reasons,” Riecken said. “Of course it had an influence, but the basic reason was to bring the people of Europe closer together.” Nevertheless, the growing financial crisis that looms over all of Europe has caused a movement among many of the member states to abandon the Euro and return to their original currencies. Originally, the Euro Zone was introduced in order to ease trading among the member states through the removal of exchange rate risks from the internal market of individual countries, reduction of currency transaction costs, and encouragement towards firms to trade across the national borders. Another purpose was to develop a strong common currency that could compete with the US dollar in the world stage. The Euro Zone has encouraged the EU states to adopt responsible economic policies that are designed to contain inflation and increase the living standards. In Austria, the Euro has been the official currency since 2002. “I am convinced that the Euro will last and we will succeed,” Riecken said. Europe itself consists of more


Music Department takes trip to Disney World The orchestra, marching band and chamber chorus singers left on a 16 hour bus ride on Thursday Dec. 16 for Disney World. They arrived to the mildly warm Florida weather while MCPS was experiencing its first winter weather-delayed opening of the year. On Dec. 18, the marching band performed while marching down the Main Street and through the Magic Kingdom. The chamber singers sang a medley of holiday songs for the tourists and vacationers at the park. The orchestra also performed the on Dec. 19. The crowd responded well to their performance of the Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells.”


than 731 million people in 48 different states, contributing to 11% of the world’s population. Currently, 27 of those are members of the EU, which total up to approximately 501 million people. “[Riecken] did a very nice job of putting the EU in terms that American students could understand,” social studies teacher Anne-Marie Steppling said. “The timing was great because it was not during AP testing so many more students could attend.” More students were also able to attend the event because it took place during a lunch period. “I’m glad I went during my lunch becaue he was a very good speaker,” senior Katie Anastasi said. On May 9, Europe celebrates EU Day with festivities that bring Europe closer to its citizens and peoples of the Union closer. “I thought he was interesting and stimulating,” social studies teacher Matthew Winter said. “It was good that he did it before the EU day so more kids could attend.” “[Riecken] has kids in high school, so he could relate to the kids much better than speakers in past years,” social studies teacher Fevronia Cresham said.


States Attorney speaks to Law classes States attorney Douglas Wink gave a guest presentation to law classes on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Wink graduated from Wootton in 1997. His speech aimed to excite students about the various careers available in the field of law and to encourage students to get interested in their own career of choice. Wink examined the Fourth Amendment and the civilian rights that it implies. He emphasized to the students that the amendment gives them the opportunity to turn almost any bad situation into a preferable one. “You have all the power in the world for a greater future,” he said.


PTSA to sponsor Mock SAT Revolution Prep will be administering a Mock SAT at Wootton on Saturday, Jan 8. The Parent Teacher Student Association encourages students and families to register for this test as well as a Mock ACT on Saturday, Jan. 29. Students must register for the test no later than today, Dec. 23. Students who take the test will receive detailed performance analysis, including written comments regarding the test’s essay section. Parents are also invited to attend a presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to register for the tests, visit the PTSA website,



Common Sense - December 23, 2010

Holocaust survivors touch students’ hearts with courageous stories from SPEAKERS, page 1 Peabody was not allowed to go to school, and had to wear a yellow arm band which indicated she was Jewish. “My father was very good and taught me how to read before the war broke out,” Peabody said. “My mother just continued my studies at the house after I was not allowed at school.” Peabody and her family were able to live in Poland; without being sent to the concentration camps because her mother agreed to work for the Germans. “She called it hiding in plain sight,” Peabody said. “She worked in German military camps, so she would have a German ID. Therefore, if we ever got stopped by someone, we could show them our ID and we wouldn’t be taken.” Eventually, Peabody’s family was reunited when her father, who at the time was in the Russian military in Egypt, found them. “We had the choice of moving to England or Palestine,” Peabody said. “We moved to England, and it was very hard to go from Polish to English, but I was able to learn.” Henry Greenbaum also shared his experience. Greenbaum was 12 and lived in Poland working in a munitions factory when rumors began to spread that an invasion was coming. The Germans soon invaded Poland; however Greenbaum and his

family escaped to a farm to avoid them. In 1940, they were moved to the Starachowice ghetto and continued to work in the factory. Greenbaum and his sister tried to flee the ghetto in 1943; however Greenbaum was grazed with a bullet on the head, and his sister was shot and killed. In 1944, Greenbaum was deported to Auschwitz and was placed in the satellite camp of Buma-Monowitz. He was then moved to Flossenburg near the border. When American forces were nearing Flossenburg, the prisoners were sent to Dachau on a death march. He was liberated at Neunburg vorm Wald on April 25, 1945 by American soldiers. Greenbaum has an Identification Card at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. “Portrait of Life” coordinator Kenneth Jassie, who also addressed students, agrees that the Holocaust is an upsetting subject; however he feels “Portraits of Life” is not meant to make people feel sad, but instead to let students learn more directly about the dark, difficult historical chapter that should not be forgotten. “It made me think about how hard their lives were,” sophomore Cari Baxtrom said. “But I do really appreciate them coming, because now I am even more grateful for the life I have.”

POTH: The WMVAs must go on from HITZ, page 1 “I’m excited to represent the freshman class this year in the competition. The delay gave us some more time to practice,” Freshman Planning member Jaclyn Lyberger said. The Senior Planning committee organizes the event every year and was forced to alter their plans with only a day’s notice. “I’m glad everything worked out fine, and I’m excited for POTH to happen even if it has to be delayed,” Senior Planning member Stephanie Plave said. The first act was consisted of individual and group performances. Senior planners Milagros Diaz and Jeff Hilnbrand planned funny quips to introduce each of the performers in the first act. Students were able to showcase their creativity not only through their dancing and lip-syncing, but also through their distinctive group names. Performing troupes from the first act included Pop Rox, the Hot Toddys, Cadence Essence, Electric Fusion, Commotion, Ry-Din’ Solo, Ookala JJeckala and Fresh Kicks. All of the performers are groups except for one, RyDin’ Solo, a.k.a. senior Ryan Carlough. Act two began new

graphic by Jeff Hilnbrand

announcers seniors Jenn Purisch and Jeffrey Popkin. The band Breaking Borders performed at the start of the act. After the band, the first school-sponsored group, the SGA, performed. The SGA was followed by the Woottonettes. After the Woottonettes, a video was played of senior Sara Foster as Ke$ha in Tik Tok. “I hope we have the same turnout with this new date that we would have had,” Senior Planning member Kit Trowbridge said. “The videos are great and Sara Foster makes a great Ke$ha.” The class planning groups were then scheduled to perform. “I’m excited to compete against the other classes and happy to have competed with

friends,” Sophomore Planning member Rebecca Jahnke said. After all of the performances, the judges of the event, English teacher Justin Sybenga, social studies teacher Anne-Marie Steppling and security guard Brian Ammann, decided the best individual performance and the best class performance. While the judges deliberated, a video of teachers lip-synching and dancing to Willow Smith’s “Whip my Hair” played to entertain the audience—an expected highlight of the night. Overall, students were excited to watch their friends dance on stage and compete for their class. NOTE: The POTH event ended too late for this edition.


SU_HS_AD10x7.5_2010_Layout 1 11/1/10 1:44 PM Page 1



offers more than 50 distinct academic programs—at a great value. Students come to SU from across the U.S. and around the world.

■ Outstanding

faculty are mentors for undergraduate research. Students gain real world knowledge through internships and global experiences including SU’s Salisbury Abroad programs in Ecuador, Estonia and China.


growing collection of state-of-the-art facilities includes SU’s new business school building and residence-retail complex. This “green” campus is located on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore.


I found SU to be a perfect fit

I applied to SU for two main reasons: its size and the professors. The class sizes are ideal for me because they’re similar to the sizes of my classes in high school. The campus is perfect for seeing a familiar face and meeting new people every day.

APPLICATION DEADLINES ■ Early Action: December 1 ■ Regular Admission: January 15

Apply online at


To find out about campus visits, SU’s test-optional policy and the application process, visit


News & World Report’s Best Colleges

■ The

Princeton Review’s Best 373 Colleges and Best Northeastern Colleges

■ Kiplinger’s

Personal Finance “100 Best Values in Public Colleges”

■ The

Princeton Review/USA Today “50 Best Value Public Colleges”

A Maryland University of National Distinction



Common Sense - December 23, 2010




samuel paul morse

Absence policy problematic for parents Students and even parents of MCPS know the strict rules of the absence policy. No matter what the reasons for skipping classes are, Wootton’s attendance rules only allow absences due to illness, a death in the family, court summons, school trips and weather emergencies. So forget about the family vacations or visitations because they will be noted “unexcused,” even if parents contact the school staff. The absence policy needs a reform. With shorter breaks from school and more competition, school is stressing out kids from kindergarten to 12th grade, simply because the school system does not wish to “jeopardize a student’s successful completion of course objectives,” according to this year’s assignment book. In fact, spending time with family does not jeopardize education. Family time builds lifelong experiences to cherish that a textbook can never replace. Family teaches you things that you can’t learn as effectively in school, such as morals, ethics and tradition. Family time should be embraced and more readily accommodated by MCPS policies. Rather, the absence policy states that “family visitations are discouraged,” making education a more of a priority than family. While it is understandable that MCPS wants to continue providing top-notch education and keep itself in Newsweek’s Top 100 High Schools, strict policies geared towards students’ family lives are unnecessary. Typical Wootton students are under too much pressure even to have dinner with their families. However, with the amount of homework students get, family time trickles downwards on the priority list. Between school, club activities, jobs, homework and internships, students hardly get free time to spend on leisurely activities. Even though teachers usually refrain from assigning homework the day before break begins, assigning a 24-page packet the week before hardly gives students the time to fully enjoy their vacations. Since parents and other relatives care for their kids’ eduation, respect the school’s attendance policies and encourage their students to perform well in their classes, the school system should not deny them their right to spend excused time with their kids.

“It’s unfair. I think we should have the same price. The cans are probably cheaper to make and better for the environment.” Javier Rosada, freshman “Absolutely. The students should have the same opportunity as the teachers to drink smaller amounts of soda. Kids don’t really need that much sugar anyway.” Jeffrey Benya, social studies teacher “Yeah, definitely. If students only have a couple coins in their pocket, they should be able to buy a soda with that. The bottles are way over-priced.” Erica Yingling, senior “It’s unfair because the machines don’t come on until 2:10 anyway, so we should be able to have the same access as the teachers. The cost is a big factor, too.” Gardian Jalloh, sophomore “I think it’s unfair. There is no more to say. We deserve the same access as teachers to cheaper drinks.” Sarah Blumberg, junior

photos by Ariana Amini and Phyu-Sin Than

Common Sense welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit them as necessary for style, punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Letters may be submitted to the Common Sense mailbox. All letters must be signed, but requests to remain anonymous will be considered. Please contact us at

Common Sense Editors


Should students have access to canned sodas in vending machines for a lower price like those in the staff lounge?

Editors-in-Chief Allie McRae & Daniel Wadler

Managing Editors

Michael Krakower & Daniel Moon

Arts Editor Evan Rindler

Commons editor

sagari Rao assistant Commons Editor: Arun Raman

Features Editors

Jeffrey Hilnbrand & Alisa Sonsev

News Editors

George Ewald & Anna Tragotsi

Opinion Editors

Samuel Morse & Phyu-Sin Than

Sports Editors

William Browning & Katherine McKenna

Photo Editor Ashley Gladner

Business Manager Daniel Moon

Distribution Managers

William Browning & Samuel Morse

Online Editor Earl Lee

Online Assistant Editors

Christine Chang & Phyu-Sin Than


Jaclynn Rozansky Thomas S. Wootton High School 2100 Wootton Parkway Rockville, MD 20850 301-279-8550

photo courtesy of MCT Campus | used with permission

President Barack Obama holds a conference at the White House with the press to defend his decision to continue the policy on tax cuts.

Public debt rises as the economy recovers

Daniel Moon managing editor

To begin with, let’s acknowledge what we know— the United States is running on a $13.6 trillion deficit. Many of us have exaggerated the fact to the point where we have come to believe that this country is approaching a total collapse in a matter of years. Maybe it is the nature of the media, but we seem to have entrenched ourselves in a never-ending gloomy outlook on the U.S., focusing only on the public debt to judge the state of the entire economy. Many ignore the fact that the country is experiencing positive economic growth from a near double-digit negative growth a year ago, that the unemployment rate is slowly but surely going down and that the stock market has more or less recovered to the post-recession values. As many students are aware, during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, the country constructed an enormous web of government agencies along with a huge military industry that consumed vast amounts of

financial resources, raising our public debt to a staggering 120% of our gross domestic product by the end of the 1940’s. The current public debt is roughly 80% of the GDP. Seeing as how we are still here, we obviously survived the time of the country’s biggest debt. How? Through his spending, FDR pursued Keynesian economics, which embodies the idea that government intervention—meaning more government spending— can help stabilize the economy. And it worked. The details might differ, but Obama has pursued stimulus policies that mirror FDR’s programs. Of course, one problem is that the divided Congress will pose a challenge that FDR did not face, forcing Obama to adopt bipartisan policies that may not necessarily help those in the most need. People shouldn’t worry so much. Our public debt is high for a reason: the trillions of dollars of debt that people complain about are the result of a set of policies that are in the process of revitalizing the economy.

thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou thankyouthankyou thankyou thankyou Thankthankyou You for Yourthankyou Support as athankyou thankyouthankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou Common Sensethankyou Patron! thankyouthankyou thankyouthankyou thankyouthankyou thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou thankyouthankyou thankyou thankyouthankyou Mike & Anne McRae,thankyou Mary Kettl,thankyou Priscilla Quackenbush, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou Julie &thankyou Danny Krakower, Debra & Bob thankyou Browning, Toby & Joelthankyou Morse thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou



Common Sense - December 23, 2010

Jazz concert brings fast-paced fun Chorus provides warm

Megan Vincentz staff writer

The cafeteria was lined with chairs and filled with parents, siblings, peers and members of the chorus as they looked on at the 22-person ensemble as the Wootton jazz band performed its annual winter concert on Tuesday, Dec. 14. The band performed a series of different works, ranging from Latin jazz pieces like Mike Smukal’s smooth, melodic arrangement, “Mi Corazon,” to more modern compositions like “Strolling with Sammy,” written by Paul Baker. The program featured a version of Lester Young’s classic swing jazz piece “Lester Leaps In” from 1939. Junior Jonathan Lawson had the tenor sax solo along with three other solos throughout the night: alongside freshman Kevin Xu on trombone for the song “Anything Goes,” with Xu and junior Wesley Jung on trumpet for “Living in America,” and alongside Jung for “St. James Infirmary.” “I think that ‘Living in America’ was my favorite piece,” sophomore percussionist Burak Demir said. “It really moves.” The audience responded appreciatively to the soloists’ efforts. “Jazz band is fun because it gives kids a chance to have solos,” Lawson said. “Solos are a great way to show off all the hard work that we do.” In addition, Jung, another frequent soloist, had a solo in

sound for the holidays

photo by Ashley Gladner

The brass section and the saxophones work together to create a a classic swing sound.

“Strollin’ with Sammy” with sophomore Jonathan Kagan on electric piano. “Unfortunately, the keyboard experienced a few technical difficulties,” junior Ryan Taylor said. “We came out on top in the end though, and I’m proud of the result.” “Stairway to Heaven” was a piece very different from the rest. It was written by Led Zeppelin and arranged for jazz ensemble by Victor Lopez. Lopez aspired to conform it to the original recording, limiting the number of tempo changes. The ensemble had no problem taking on the moderate rock groove. The band ended the night with the song “Hot Chocolate” written by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri. After playing the final

notes, the ensemble belted out the words “hot chocolate” to end the song. Freshman Sean Avijan soloed on trumpet with junior Eli Bergman on alto sax and Demir on percussion. “I hope since you guys were able to enjoy a little bit of this hot chocolate. You guys can go find somewhere to enjoy your own and stay warm,” jazz band conductor Joseph Trettel said upon closing the concert, adding “Happy holidays, everyone.” The jazz band concert showcased the wealth of talent among Wootton’s musical program. “I really enjoy being a part of the jazz band because it integrates the grade levels and gives underclassmen and upperclassmen a chance to play great music together,” Lawson said.

SPOTLIGHT: Daniel Riggio Evan Rindler arts editor

He didn’t start his musical career by dropping sick-nasty tribal beats on the Wootton drumline, but that is what senior drumline captain Daniel Riggio will surely be remembered for. He started out on the baritone before he moved to the drumline, ascended the hierarchy and reached his position as top dog. “I joined drumline because of the really amazing talent there was. [Class of 2010’s] Brian [Campos], Imad [El-Amine], [and class of 2009’s] Ajay [Ravichandran]. Those were the guys that got me into it,” Riggio said. “I wanted to be a part of something fun.” This year, the drumline has expanded and works hard, with practices twice a week and band class every day. The result so far has been a strong third place showing in a competition with schools from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. “I really wish we could have gotten first, but I’m happy with how we did,” Riggio said. “I think that we played music that was a lot harder than [everyone else’s], and it showed.” “He really cares, and that makes him a natural leader,” sophomore snare drummer Justin Santos said. Riggio’s steadfast philosophy on work ethic and practice makes him an effective teacher and leader. “He’s one of the best captains we’ve had,” junior bass drum leader Adam Greaney said. “He really works with us and he’s very focused.” In one instance the drumline played their competition piece 100 times in order to master it fully. “He’s determined to have us learn our pieces and play them clean,” Greaney said. However, Riggio’s strict practice

photos by Ashley Gladner

Riggio lays down a powerful beat on the drum set.

methods don’t stop him from having fun. “It’s work hard, play hard,” Riggio explained. “On drumline we work really hard, but we also just jam and mess around.” As captain, Riggio must also maintain the traditions of drumline, along with teaching the music. “Drumline wrestling is a tradition. Going to dinner together after competitions is tradition,” Riggio said. “Drumline has its own culture and we’re all really about having fun.” As if leading the drumline wasn’t enough, Riggio also captains the Wootton boys’ varsity soccer team. The team finished 8-7, but had an aggressive start, winning four of their first five games. They lost to Walter Johnson 4-1 in the second round of the playoffs. Riggio maintains high standards with everything he does, and encourages those around him to do better as well. “Trust me--I know Riggio inside and out,” senior snare drum Zeeshan Shad said. “He’s just a great guy.”

Darren Koraganie staff writer On Tuesday, Dec. 14 the Wootton auditorium was filled with a warm collection of voices singing a medley of holiday songs to the delight of the crowd. The Winter Choral Music Concert consisted of a series of performances by the honors chamber chorus, Wootton’s a cappella groups and the ninth grade chorus. The night started off with the all-female AcaBellas singing “All I Want for Christmas is You.” The style was smooth and soulful. “I think we all did a pretty good job and performed to our full potential,” senior AcaBella member Allyson Lynch said. “I enjoyed showcasing our vocal talent for our school.” The ninth grade chorus went second, performing five songs including “Good King Kong Looked Out,” which was a bit different thematically. “If you actually listen closely to the lyrics, the song is pretty funny.” choral director Jacqueline Serratore said. Other songs performed included “A Merry Madrigal,” “Somewhere In My Memory,” “Fum! Fum! Fum!” and “Hanerot Halalu.” Wootton’s largest a cappella group, Chaos, came in third, with “Hate on Me” by Jill Scott. Solos went to seniors Ari Halevy and Divya Mouli. The honors chamber chorus took the stage next with challenging holiday-themed music. “Some songs were pretty hard,” senior chambers member Jessica Koutsandreas said. “I think we still performed them pretty well and we did an overall good job.” One song that stood out from the others in difficulty was “Hatikvah Hanoshanah,” a Hebrew song by David Burger. “The Hebrew song, that was difficult,” Serratore said. “It’s a song meant for college-level students, but the students did a good job, showing how hard they worked.” The all-male a cappella group, The Supertonics, came next, performing “Magic” by B.o.B. Fun and energetic solos were performed by senior Sean Rhinehart and sophomore Landon Fleischman. The whole night the audience was very responsive to the music. “They did a really nice job, and I can tell they worked really hard,” Serratore said. “It’s only been a month and a half since the fall musical, so they haven’t had a lot of time. It showed that when they focus, they can always do a great job.”

GIVE THE GIFT, KEEP THE CAT 10 methods to save money this holiday season

As the holiday season rolls around, people are hustling to buy the perfect gifts for their friends and family. The one problem, however, is keeping budgets in check. According to senior Lola Adegbokun, the holiday season is a time of unbearable debt. “I go broke until the next year,” Adegbokun said. “I really need to learn how to cut down on buying so much.” Senior Max Summerlin similarly, found himself spending more than he could afford. “I spent $1,500 this year on gifts alone,” Summerlin said. “There are so many great deals, I can’t help myself. I get the urge to splurge.” The holidays can turn happy seasons into times of stress and anguish, especially if you have to spend an unnecessarily high amount. Here are 10 money saving tips from Money Saving Techniques to help you keep your holiday shopping under control.


Create a budget. A budget is actually the best way to keep you on track. Knowing how much you can really afford to spend will help you figure out how many presents you can buy. Make sure your budget includes everything you normally buy during the holidays, such as decorations, cards and postage.


Make a list. Ask yourself two questions before you go to the mall: Who exactly am I shopping for? And how much do I want to spend on each person? Keep the list within the budget, and if it’s not working out, try reducing the names or the amount you are spending on each person. Organize a gift exchange. If you have a big family or a large circle of friends, it may not be practical to buy presents for everyone. Each family member or friend buys only one gift for someone else. The pressure of having to stretch the money too thin is reduced.

3 4

Plan ahead. If you start early, you can take advantage of the best sales and have a better chance of finding exactly what you’re looking for. There’s nothing worse than trying to find the ideal gift in all of the chaos that is guaranteed to

10 under $10 1. Books: Some are actually still under $10, and if

they’re specially selected to reflect the interests of the person, they can be a great option. 2. Gift Baskets: Popcorn, other snacks and a movie theater gift card together in a nice basket can be a great present. 3. Kits: Gifting a crafty person or a cooking enthusiast? Find a container and put together the ingredients for a cool recipe, the tools they’ll need to knit a scarf, a camping survival kit, or a set of useful household gadgets and tools. 4. Board Games & Puzzles: Affordable, thoughtful and fun for everyone. 5. An experience: Sometimes an experience can have longer lasting value than a physical present, such as a gift certificate to a yoga class or to the person’s favorite restaurant 6. Self-Made Coupon Books: Everybody loves free hugs. 7. The Essentials: No matter what, you can never have too many socks, hats, scarves or gloves. 8. Scrapbooks: This can also be considered a fun project to work on. If you’re feeling ambitious you can make a digital slide show of your photos. 9. Mixed CDs: Mix together a bunch of that person’s favorite songs or songs that bring back memories of your friendship 10. One-of-A-Kind Objects: A quirky item such as a clever keychain is thoughtful and unique. Source: The Beehive Holiday Helper

be at any given store you go into on Christmas Eve.


Just say no. Stores have almost perfected the skill of luring you in during the holiday season. The colorful decorations and Christmas music make those sales all the more tempting, and it is easy to buy things that are useless. Never buy things on impulse. Also, set boundaries for a list so they don’t expect more than you can reasonably accomplish.


Get creative. If money is running low, find other ways to give gifts. Organize an inexpensive outing or make a special dinner or dessert. There’s nothing wrong with making presents on your own. Try finding new uses for old things, and though it may seem cliché, it’s the thought that counts.

7 8 9

Stick to cash. If you have trouble with budgeting, only use cash for presents. Once it’s gone, your shopping should be considered done.

Stay away from credit cards. Credit cards may be more convenient but it is easy to lose track of spending. If you end up spending more than you can afford to pay off at one time, you could end up paying for those gifts for the next 30 years. Start planning for next year. Take advantage of the afterChristmas sales to get things for next year. You can not only find holiday decorations at unbelievably low prices, but also get a head start on basic items for next year’s gift giving.


Don’t forget the true meaning of the holiday season. This time of year hasn’t always been about buying presents and racking up debt. Reflect on your own spiritual or cultural beliefs with your family and friends. -Sagari Rao, Commons Editor Tips courtesy of Money Saving Techniques

Average amount Americans spent on holiday gifts in 2010

$43.50 on everyone else $26.70 on co-workers

graph by Sagari Rao data courtesy of Brighthub

$94.52 on friends

ASH The economics of holiday giving

graphic by Sagari Rao

How has the Economy Affected Holiday spending? Santa Claus is on his way again, but for the past few years, the American economy has not been in the best shape, making Santa’s loads a tad smaller. As a result of this drastic state of the economy, people have been unable to send or receive as many gifts as in holidays past. According to the American Research Group, the average spending on holiday shopping by an individual from 2007 to 2008 dropped from $859 to $431. Since 2008, however, the economy has improved to bring the 2010 estimated average to $658. But these numbers are deceiving. While some Americans have enjoyed a recent increase in income, many have dealt with prolonged unemployment, the effects of which (increased debt, for one) still prevent them from shelling out the dough for presents this year. One factor that affects how successful holiday shopping will be is the Black Friday sales, since it is the first “official” day of Christmas shopping. According to “Taming the Beast,” an e-commerce and internet marketing site, Black Friday sales increased by double digits compared to last year, with the average order value up from $170.19 to $190.80, an

increase of 12.1 percent. Unfortunately for this critical time in the economy, students’ gifts are getting more expensive. Video games, for example, are known to be a teenage boy’s best friend. Back in the 1990s, the fifth generation top gaming systems were the Nintendo 64 (originally $249.99), and the Sony PlayStation (originally $249.99). As sixth generation came around, we had the PlayStation 2 (originally $299.99), the Nintendo GameCube (originally $199.99), and the Microsoft Xbox (originally $299.99). The most recent seventh generation provided the PlayStation 3 (originally $499.99), the Xbox 360 (originally $399.99), and the Nintendo Wii (originally $249.99). Not only are the systems getting more expensive, but the games with these systems are as well. Back in the fifth generation, games would cost $49.99 each. Now, deep into the seventh generation, games can be $59.99 (up 20 percent). Now that gifts are more expensive, students are forced to spend less in order to save for the holidays. “I have to ration more gas and carpool more to save more money on gifts,” senior Jonathan Sperber said. Some teachers have started new

traditions to save for the holiday season. “Mr. Bauer and I did a secret Santa with his four brothers this year,” psychology teacher Jennifer Bauer said. “My friends also agreed not to exchange gifts this year.” Everyone may have a different wish list for Santa, but they are limited in this difficult economy. According to senior Ilya Sirotinin, the best gift to give someone this year is money because it allows people to get what they desire instead of a possibly useless gift. “Let’s say someone buys another person a gift for $70, but to the gift recipient, that gift could be worth $1.50. Since they don’t like [the gift], that’s $68.50 deadweight loss,” Sirotinin said. “So buying an unwanted gift for someone is a waste of both time and money.” In addition to worries about the cost of gifts, American families are also making significant changes to their holiday travel plans in order to save money. According to an AOL Travel survey, 54.5 percent of travelers will be cutting back on expensive activities because of the economy. 28.5 percent cited cost as the most stressful part of holiday air travel, and almost 30

percent of travelers will be shortening the length of their travel or staying with family and friends to reduce expenses. Another way to save funds if travelers must stay in hotels is to select a hotel with a kitchenette so that families can cook their own meals, rather than eating three meals a day in restaurants. Many travelers are also opting to drive to faraway destinations instead of flying this year—93%, according to AAA. English teacher Alton Lightsey is making the eight-hour drive to Augusta, Ga., after Christmas. While the drive may be long, Augusta has no airport, so to travel by air would also require renting a car. “It doesn’t make sense to pay for a flight to Atlanta only to rent a car and drive two more hours. It’s just too expensive,” Lightsey said. Until the economy gets back into shape, people must plan wisely in order to make the best of the holiday season and celebrate with friends and family. -Arun Raman Assistant Commons Editor




Boys’ Basketball

Girls’ Basketball



Jan. 7 vs. Urbana

Jan. 4 @ Churchill

Indoor Track Dec. 29 at PG sports & Learning complex

Swim & Dive

0-2 Relay Carnival Jan. 8


Ice Hockey



Today @ Poolseville 3:30

Jan. 7 vs damascus


Boys’ basketball reels off two straight wins Robert Logan staff writer The boys’ basketball team’s most recent win against Richard Montgomery improves their record to 3-2 after the exciting home opener win against Paint Branch. After going up 33-20 at halftime, the Pats ran away with the win in their most recent game against Richard Montgomery on Dec. 20. Senior forward James Wallerstedt and senior guard Kyle Welty led the way with 19 and 18 points, respectively. The win gives the Pats a winning record through five games. In the Pats’ fourth game of the season, they took on Walter Johnson on Dec. 17. The Patriots were able to pull ahead towards the end of the game, winning 63-54. The team found points from a number of players, with Wallerstedt scoring 17 points, followed by senior guards Welty and John Gillick, who had 16 and 13, respectively.

The Patriots were able to find their outside shot, hitting ten three-pointers. “We finally shot the ball really well,” head coach Chris Bohlen said. “Our defense really picked it up in the end and shut [WJ] down.” In their third game of the season, the Pats faced Quince Orchard (QO) at home. In a back-and-forth game, QO pulled ahead late, edging out the Patriots 51-48. Wallerstedt kept the Pats in it all game, scoring 20 points and shooting five of seven from the free throw line. Gillick also had a big night, coming off the bench and scoring 11 points and hitting two big three’s in the process. “Our lack of rotation on defense really did not help us on the boards at all,” senior forward Connor Tendall said. In the Pats’ first road game of the season, they took on the highly talented Magruder Colonels.

Swim and dive team falls to B-CC in season opener Conor Higgins staff writer

photo by Ashley Gladner

Gillick swings the ball to an open teammate in victory over Paint Branch.

Unfortunately, the Colonels shut the Pats down the whole game, winning handily by a score of 64-27. Welty led the team with a total of nine points. “Our defensive and offensive execution was horrible,” Tendall said. “Everything went wrong from the start.” In front of a big home crowd in their opener against Paint Branch, the Patriots

Hockey begins season with perfection, defeats rival Churchill in thriller


by Mo o ot en ph olle C

playing exceptional defense. Katie McKenna But once again the Pats were able to show sports editor that they were the dominant team, edging out The Wootton ice hockey team is off to the Vikings and claiming a 3-1 victory. a 3-0 start, defeating Blair, Whitman and “We doubled [Whitman’s] shots, but they Churchill in an impressive opening stretch. have a really good goalie and great defense,” The Patriots are the top-ranked team Hall said. “The next time we play them, the in Maryland and hope to regain their domigame will definitely not be that close.” nance after the loss of key seniors. On Friday, Dec. 17, the Patriots faced They look to improve on their record rival and second-ranked team, the Churchill last season and hope to make it back to the Bulldogs. The Pats took an early 2-1 lead, but state championship as they did in 2008. it quickly evaporated and the Bulldogs tied Currently leading the team is senior duo up the score at 2-2. forward and captain PJ Hall and defender At the end of the first period the Patriots Josh Bretner, who are expected to be among held a 3-2 lead with goals from Bretner and the top players in the county, if not the state Hall. this season. Through two periods the Patriots looked “Our record shows how good we are as strong, allowing the Bulldogs only three goals a team right now, and I expect us to be undeon the night. feated at the end of the season,” Bretner said. “I love playing Churchill. The atmoIn the team’s season opener on Monday sphere is always great,” Bretner said. “We Nov. 22, they defeated the Montgomery Blair kept them quiet the whole night, and that Blazers squad 11-2. will be a game I will never forget.” The Patriots jumped out to an early Bretner and Hall lead all scores for lead and never looked back. the Patriots, scoring three The Patriots had the lead after the goals apiece en route to first and second periods and kept up the team’s 6-3 victory their momentum strong through over the Bulldogs. the final 15 minutes. “It feels really “It was good to get the first good to beat our rivictory out of the way, and I val,” Hall said. “As long expect nothing less of as we keep working hard this and together as a team team and not get too selfish we than to should keep go all the way to states and win,” Senior PJ winning. We Hall said. Hall calls out to a just need to teammate for the After defeating Blair, the Patriots keep to our puck. moved on to their next opponent, fundamentals.” the Whitman Vikings on Friday, Dec. 10. It was a hard-fought game with both squads

came out firing on all cylinders. The Pats scored 19 points in the first quarter, en route to a nerve-racking 5146 victory. Welty had a career night, scoring 17 points, followed by Wallerstedt, who had 11 points of his own. The Patriots game on Dec. 22 against Whitman ended too late for this edition.

The swim and dive team began the season with a loss to B-CC, yet the Patriots still have plenty of time to regain their footing in the race for the county title. The boys lost by four, while the girls won. Unfortunately, many of the swimmers did not attend the meet because they were swimming in the Tom Dolan Invitational at George Mason University at the same time. Seniors Thomas Finn, Jordan Lesser and Sean Rhinehart, juniors Michael Fu, Kevin Fu, Kenny Ke and sophomore Matt Gibson were all at the Tom Dolan Invitational and missed the meet. “We had a lot of good times at the scrimmage, especially from our freshmen, but we would’ve finished

stronger if we had a full team ,” senior co-captain Eric Woodard said. Churchill also outswam the Pats last weekend, avenging last season’s victory in the county title. “[Churchill] is one of the strongest teams in the county; it was a competitive meet,” senior co-captain Derek Jensen said. Most of the team will be back for their toughest test this season against Walter Johnson in a dual meet. During practice the Pats strictly prepare for their meets, working on their stroke techniques, turns and starts. Attention to detail will hopefully lead them to victory. “There wasn’t much done poorly during the meet. We just have to make sure we raise the intensity level in the dual meets,” Woodard said.




Common Sense - December 23, 2010

Indoor track looks strong after scrimmage

Wrestling asserts its dominance

Will Browning sports editor

Tyler Klein staff writer

On Saturday, Dec. 4 the indoor track and field team tested their abilities at the annual developmental meet held at the PG Sports and Learning Complex. The Patriots looked good given that there were only a handful of runners available on the Saturday the December SAT was held. “Not many of us were available that day,” senior sprinting co-captain Maya Walsh said. “It wasn’t official, but the runners who did go fared well. Many of us are still working on our speed and stamina at practice, looking ahead towards our first real meet.” The other sprinting cocaptain, senior Seth Margolis, was present at the developmental time. Margolis posted good earlyseason times at the meet with 38.5 seconds in the 300-meter dash and a 1minute, 15.98 in the 500-meter dash. Junior Daniel Nozick ran the 300 meters as well with a time of 39.78 seconds. “Individually, I expect us to do very well this season,” sprinting coach Justin Sybenga said. “We

The Wootton Patriots’ wrestling team has opened up their season 2-1, beating both Magruder and Walt Whitman on Dec. 18. “We just beat two very good teams,” head coach Kevin O’Neill said. “I am very proud of my team.” In wrestling, a major decision is when one wrestler is winning the match by eight points, and earns the team four points compared to six points for a pin. The entire match against Whitman was in the hands of senior Greg Potemken. Down 36-33, Potemken needed to win the final bout in order to win or tie the match. Potemken started strong against his opponent and was dominant throughout the whole match. Potemken decided to go for the four points. He won, earning a major decision, which gave the team an one point edge in the final score. “Whitman is a powerhouse,” O’Neill said. “Though we may not have the same skill level as past years, we’re winning and I give all

photo by Alexis Roffeld

Seniors Kenny Wohl and Kerry Engoron jog in warm-ups before an indoor track practice.

have a number of runners who will be competing at counties and hopefully beyond.” The Patriots’ first actual meet is this Wednesday, Dec. 20 at the PG Sports and Learning Complex. It will be their first opportunity to show how they will fare this season. Individually, the Pats look to be competitive in every event. Senior co-captains Seth Margolis, Kenny Wohl and Rori Kamkeka have shown exceptional leadership for the boys’ distance, sprinting and field teams,

respectively. Freshman Alan Banks has emerged as a short distance talent, while sophomore Will Quackenbush looks to repeat the success he had last year as a distance runner in the 500. The girls’ team looks to be as strong as ever, with juniors Casey Dowling and Grace Corbett as well as sophomore Gwen Shaw each returning after excellent individual performances last season. Senior distance captains Walsh and Beata Globa will look to lead the Lady Pats in long-distance events.

that credit to working hard in practice.” The Patriots also took fourth place at the Tuscarora tournament. Although it was not a team tournament, individuals from the Pats squad combined to produce the fourth most points out of the 16 teams present at the event. “I thought we did well,” assistant coach Chris McTamany said. “However, we could have done better. There was a lot of sloppy play out there.” Individually, senior Shane Bramble took first place, pinning his opponent in the final second of the championship match. Potemken and junior Jacob Weaver also finished in second place. In their first regular season match of the year, the Patriots lost to Springbrook 35-29. In the first match of the night, Weaver pinned his man and the Patriots took an early 13-3 lead to start the match, but Springbrook came roaring back. Springbrook pinned several of the Patriot wrestlers and never looked back once they took the lead. NOTE: The match against Wheaton on Dec. 21 ended too late for the results to be published in this issue.

Girls’ basketball undefeated through first five games of the season from BASKETBALL, page 1 three 3-pointers each, as the Patriots hung on for a 64-54 victory. “I think beating those two teams shows that we can stay with anyone and beat any team in the county,” Flinchum said. With two impressive wins already on

their resume, the Patriots went into Quince Orchard on Wednesday Dec. 15 looking for a third. The game was a low-scoring defensive battle in which both teams struggled to hit shots, but the Lady Pats persisted and again emerged on top by a score of 46-36. Welch was second on the team in

scoring with nine points, and also shut down the Cougars with her stellar defense. “[Welch] is one of the most athletic and poised athletes I have ever coached,” Dyer said. “She is an outstanding shooter and a very strong defensive player.” On Friday Dec. 17, the Lady Pats faced Walter Johnson at home, and grabbed their

fourth straight victory by a score of 50-44. The team is looking to keep up their run for as long as possible. “We just need to keep the intensity up and stay positive with one another,” Flinchum said. “We have proven so far this season that when we execute our offense, we cannot be stopped.”



Common Sense - December 23, 2010

EXAM REVIEW CLASSES Saturday, January 8 & Sunday, January 9 Saturday, January 15 & Monday, January 17

2 Day and Same Day Classes Based on MCPS Curriculum r iste 25th g e R ber unt! m e ec sco by D 25 di $ for

CLASS 1 (6 HOURS) Part A: Saturday, January 8 Part B: Sunday, January 9 CLASS 2 (4 HOURS) Saturday, January 8 CLASS 3 (4 HOURS) Sunday, January 9 CLASS 4 (6 HOURS) Part A: Saturday, January 15 Part B: Monday, January 17 CLASS 5 (4 HOURS) Saturday, January 15 CLASS 6 (4 HOURS) Monday, January 17

For more imformation, please see or call our OFFICEfi at 301-299-6789

$200 9 – 12 am 9 – 12 am $175 1 – 5 pm $175 1 – 5 pm $250 9 – 12 am 9 – 12 am $225 1 – 5 pm $225 1 – 5 pm



Common Sense - December 23, 2010

Thanks, but what the heck? Awkward gifts. Awkward recipients. Awkward moments. Jeanie Kim, Teresa Lewandowski & Alisa Sonsev staff writers & features editor Seen by everyone and exploited by movies, the Horrible Holiday Present has become infamously legendary. People of all ages have had their own experiences with this tragedy that takes the form of a so-called “gift.” Whether it is an ugly Christmas sweater or a savings bond, we are all too familiar with this occurrence and how to react to it. Among these gifts are: socks, Chia Pets, Snuggie’s, and charitable donations made in your name to organizations you’ve never heard of. And then you have to pretend it’s the best present ever and you over-exaggerate how “practical!” it is and how “you’ve always wanted one!” and you pray to [insert deity or scientific theory here] that they believe even a word of what you’re saying. We asked Woot- “I was expecting a parrot, but then my grandmother ton students about the took out this small, live chicken. It was odd.” worst holiday gift they - Andrew Kim, 10th grade “I got an herbal-green sweater with have ever gotten and maroon elbow pads and a giant wrin- were not surprised when they kly smiling elf on the front. Can’t had some interesting stories to say I’ve ever worn it.” share. - Argun Singh, 12th grade “No matter how weird, outlandish or useless it may be, I never make it obvious,” freshman Riley Billups said. “It’s the thought that counts. That’s what the season of giving is all about.” Take a look at these students and their stories, and maybe you’ll start to really appreciate every “When I was little, I asked for a GameCube. present you’ve ever re- “My friend got me an ugly raincoat. I’ve only I got a talking globe.” cieved, whether qual- used it once, to wash my dog.” - Katie Perroots, 11th grade - Trung Le, 9th grade ity or just sub-par.

Student diversity thrives through the years from DIVERSITY, page 1 hallway is enough to showcase the school’s diversity in not just ethnicity, but also religion and culture. In essence, the roughly 2,400 students of Wootton bring with them a bit of everything, making the school diverse in every way imaginable. “The different kinds of classes like Fantasy Literature and Forensic Science are also indications of how diverse we are,” senior Akira Horiguchi said. Looking back 40 years, though, the story is a bit different, at least in racial

composition. Social studies teacher Fevronia Cresham was a student at Wootton when it opened in 1970. Though there was a similar percentage of African-American students as there is today, there certainly weren’t as many students from other ethnic groups as there are in 2010. Being a second-generation GreekAmerican, Cresham’s former full name, Fevronia Maria Chirigos, was a novelty among the student body. At graduation, the principal mispronounced her name as he read the names of the graduates, which still remains a joke among her

photos courtesy of 1976 Fife & Drum

The diverse Wootton community has expressed itself throughout the school’s long history.

high school friends. “We all benefit from learning about each other’s’ cultures – we have so many thing in common also. It gives you a true sense of the ‘human community,’” Cresham said. Principal’s Secretary Elaine Hui emigrated from British Hong Kong in 1983, growing up in a British educational system, which placed a heavy emphasis on respect. When she began working at Wootton in 1992, it was her first time working for a public school, which posed a tough but worthy challenge. “I love Wootton. Our kids are the best in the world,” Hui said. “If I didn’t like Wootton, I would have left already.” Counselor Wendy Kiang-Spray is a second-generation Chinese-American. She was previously a counselor at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School in PG County, a predominantly AfricanAmerican institution. As a counselor at Wootton, she sees the diversity of the school community in not just the race, but also in religion, socio-economic status, family makeup and other factors. “The school is more diverse than what students think,” Kiang-Spray said. The high concentration of Asians within the student body may have earned the school the nickname “Wonton” around the county, but it never hurts to remember that Wootton is in fact a mixture of many more people of all kinds of backgrounds.

Top 11 Jeff & Michael’s

It’s One Bigger!

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II courtesy of the Queen, herself

Holiday Gifts for the Queen of England Jeff Hilnbrand & Michael Krakower features editor & managing editor Of course, the topic on everybody’s mind is holiday cheer. Keep in mind that the rest of the world doesn’t stop, my friends; they too have holidays. And as Prince William prepares to be wed, we have had royalty on our minds. What does one give to a royal heir, one who has everything, amidst the holiday giving season? We have compiled a list of gift suggestions to bestow upon the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, which should all make her majesty jump out of her seat in excitement. 11. Membership to Thomas Farm Community Center. Her highness can ball with the best of them. Unfortunately, living with limited means, she doesn’t have a place to throw down with her homies. No longer, my Queen, no longer. 10. Gift Card to Cracker Barrel. Nothing transcends class like Cracker Barrel. Plus, we happen to know the Queen’s favorite dish is fried pork chops with a side of beans and greens. 9. Star Wars Underwear. The best part about themed underwear is that the graphics on the rear cover up any skidmarks, should they (and they will) unfortunately occur. We also have it on good authority that the Queen fancies C-3PO. 8. Singing Telegram from A.R. Rahman. Just imagine the elation of the Queen when the composer from Slumdog Millionaire comes a-knockin’ on the door to Buckingham Palace. Be careful though, she may think it is a delayed surprise attack from the Indian Sepoy rebellion of 1857. 7. One-Year Subscription to ‘Highlights’ magazine. As Her Majesty ages and withers away, it is important she stay young inside. Also, everyone’s favorite Hidden Pictures section would keep her busy during long P.R. events (Crayola crayons not included). 6. ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen’ Seasons 1 and 3 on DVD. In order to help convince Elizabeth II to sponsor a sweet sixteen in the Rockville-Potomac area, it is imperative that she sees what we are expecting. But note, no Season 2. That was the one full of way-toonormal, not-so-sassy middle-class kids. 5. Used 1998 Daewoo Leganza V100. Every great leader and figurehead needs a recognizable ride. This would be the Queen’s ‘Popemobile.’ 4. A onesie. Just for funsie. 3. Tamagachi. It boggles the mind that Tamagachis have nearly gone out of existence. What better way to resurrect the fallen pets than to have the highest royal in all the land adopt one? Sorry Lizzy, we have an ulterior motive with this one. 2. A Spray Tan. That biddie’s gettin’ pasty. 1. The Complete Discography of Chumbawumba Box Set: Silver Anniversary Collection Edition. I can’t imagine how many listens these several discs will receive. It’s got all the hits she loves: “Amnesia,” “Enough Is Enough” (with MC Fusion), “Timebomb,” “Top of the World (Ole, Ole, Ole),” “Add Me.” And her personal favorite, “God Save The Queen.”

Common Sense - December 23, 2010

in Nog my


Jeff Hilnbrand features editor s to while many are rushing to different state The holiday season is finally here. And runs tic fana day holi true the , stores for shopping visit family, or hitting up department age to the h jug of egg nog. This article pays hom fres a up to the grocery store... to pick on, yet seas day holi the with nearly synonomous underappreciated beverage, one that is lot. a sip and , little a n unknown to many. Lear

What’s this “Egg Nog” Stuff?

eggs Egg nog is a thick, sweet beverage usually consisting of milk, cream, sugar, ber. Novem late in shelves the hits and spices such as nutmeg and cinammon. It

Culinary Origins and History

its oriEgg nog’s past is often debated by historians, and many theories exist as to it was While . Europe l medieva in d appeare first gin. Most people believe that egg nog that (And plain. it drink many ys nowada rum, always served with alcohol, most often better be how you drink it!) named Many theories exist as to why the drink is called “egg nog.” Some believe it’s Others in. it served taverns English that mug, after the noggin, or wooden l describe an evolution in the beverage’s title: first, “egg and grog,” a Colonia nog.” “egg finally and rog,” “egg’n’g rum-based drink, it then became

Ew... I Hate Egg Nog!

Egg nog is perhaps the most controversial beverage on the market. It draws more polar preferences than 5-hour Energy shots and carrot juice. While some count down the days to egg nog’s yearly debut on the shelves of the local Giant and Trader Joe’s, others avoid its presence at all costs. The Common Sense newspaper staff was treated to an egg nog tasting to get a better idea for how people react. Haters describe its taste as similar to “toothpaste” and its appearance similar to “wood glue.” Several testers were unprepared for its unique texture and taste, and admit to post-nog vomiting, indigestion and headaches. Opinion editor Samuel Morse

even described egg nog as “nature’s homogonized laxative.” Others favored the new taste bud experience, and cleared space in their refrigerators for a cold quart of nog immediately after getting home. “While everyone complained that the drink tasted like medicine, I thought it was perhaps God’s greatest creation on Earth,” staff writer Falon Lewis said. You may love it or hate it, but don’t be that guy who never tries it. Taste test for yourself, and see what you think. Who knows if you’re a closet nogger.

The Yummiest of Gifts...

Earl Lee online editor is not your best friend What do you get for a friend who s Thi is a dilemma riddling but close enough to merit a gift? adamant to shell out money people of all ages. While more than are war y of buying gifts for for those who mean a lot to us, we uty of food. Homemade treats acquaintances. Herein lies the bea cake (see recipe at right) and such as fudge brownies, egg nog meaningful gifts for those who apricot preserves can serve as cheap, s last a long time and can remind do not make your A-list. In fact, jam le those souvenirs you bought en recipients of your kindness. So whi the season of giving, they may masse may be great gifts outside frenzy of iPads, webcams and be tossed to the side in the holiday raisin cookies? I know I will be e-readers. Now, a batch of oatmeal baked those. sending a thank you letter to whoever

Fruit Cake

Egg Nog Cake Recipe

Ingredients: 1 package yellow cake mix 1 cup egg nog 1/4 cup oil 3 eggs 1 can whipped cream

Directions: Beat all ingredients 3 minutes at medium speed. Divide mixture into 3 (8-inch) square greased pans. Cook 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Layer tiers with whipped cream. (Serves 8). * recipe courtesy of

Other Worthy Winter Treats

Many see it, few eat it. The spiced loaf is loaded with candied fruit and nuts, and is often served at Christmas celebrations.


These potato pancakes are customary come Hanukkah time. The oil used in cooking reflects the oil in the Hanukkah miracle story. Many eat latkes with a p plesauce, sour cream a n d sugar.

Candy Canes

Representative of Christmas time, these hard peppermint candies are often hung on Chistmas trees, when they’re not being eaten.

Spiced Cider

This apple beverage often sticks around from Thanksgiving to make its appearance on Christmas-time dinner tables.





Daniel Wadler editor-in-chief

“You will change somebody else’s life,” the fortune cookie said. That fortune cookie really spoke to me. And for the first time in my life, I felt important. At least, more important than the last one made me feel It said “You will spend more money at Chinese restaurant.” My initial thoughts were doubtful. Me? Me, of all people? Clearly, the fortune cookie was intended for somebody else. But I thought back to the other fortune cookies I had ever opened: “You will be happy and successful,” “You will learn to be happy and successful,” and “You can achieve happiness and success,” and decided this fortune was a pleasant change of pace. This fortune cookie actually told me something I didn’t already know. Anyway, I have chosen to try to change your life. Today. With this very column. It shouldn’t be too hard for me to do (certainly easier than passing AP World, anyway) as long as you are open to this change and let it happen. After all, think about the random people from your past who changed your life more dramatically than you could have even fathomed at the time. Your old gym partner who convinced you Coldplay was lame? Can you imagine how different your life would be today, if you were still a Coldplay fan? Your best friend probably wouldn’t even talk to you, let alone invite you to the party where you met your future wife, as he will next week. Think about that one time you witnessed a mugging. No, it didn’t turn you into a crime-fighting activist or some sort of passionate politician. But do you remember how you walked around the block to avoid the scene and you missed the begining of your big, important whatever-it-was? You were so pissed you probably don’t even remember the poor old man. Nevertheless, his defenselessness certainly had an impact on you, you self-centered pig. Hark back to the movie “I, Robot.” One man can singlehandedly create a new world order and one man can singlehandedly return the world to normality. Not to mention, one movie director (with a little help from Will Smith) can direct the movie that changed you entire outlook on life: even though you were built with the three laws of robotics, you can choose whether or not to obey them. So I hope I’ve made it clear how easy it is for even a total stranger, to influence your needs, your desires, your education, your love life, the color and length of your hair and your opinion of eggnog (it’s disgusting--see left). So how exactly do I plan to change your life today? That, detective, is the right question. Program terminated.

Vol. 40 Issue 5