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MEET THE SMOBs These students want you (to put them in office next year)

SAVING FACE Find out how you can win a Barnes & Noble gift card



VALENTINE’S DAY A look at how the singles and couples spent the day of love


SIGNING DAY See which star athletes will be taking the next step

Jillian Gonzalez, 12


Thomas S. Wootton High School | 2100 Wootton Parkway | Rockville, MD Volume 47, Issue 9 | February 20, 2018

Index | News: 2-5 | Profiles: 6 | Arts: 7 | Opinion: 8-9 | Commons: 10-11 | Features: 12-14 | Reviews: 15 | Sports: 16-19 | Odds & Ends: 20

Zoey Goldberg, 12

Read about it on page 18

erg b d l o G y e Zo o t s n o i t a l u Congrat ints

o p r e e r a 1,000 c

Live from Rockville, it’s Thursday night Photo by Max Jordan

Max Jordan editor-in-chief An almost full auditorium and bustling lobby full of busy Patriot Ambassadors meant that Thursday Night Live (TNL) would once again be a heavily attended event. The hard work of the staff, stage crew and Senior Planners allowed for a smooth, well-run show with limited flaws. An energetic audience made the atmosphere electrifying, full of chants, cheers and thunderous applause. TNL once again dominated an otherwise quiet Thursday night. Judged by computer science teacher James Turner and English teachers Evva Starr and Kearney Blandamer, the competition had a complex grading system that based acts on categories such as originality, stage presence, etc. “It was thrilling to witness so many of our students’ hidden talents. It was excruciating to assign a score to the thrills and passions of our kids,” Blandamer said. Hosted by seniors Shelly Bhanot and Alyssa Robinson, their on-stage antics were nothing short of cringe-inducingly engaging, with a blend of references to pop culture, corny puns and witty name play. The duo had clear chemistry, and ultimately kept the audience into the show even at its empty transitional moments. Starting off the evening was sophomore Alli Arner with a medley of Portugal The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ and Blackstreet/Chet Faker’s ‘No Diggity.’ Accompanied by the beatboxing stylings of senior Graham Bright, Arner’s acoustic guitar-ladened cover matched the flow of Bright’s percussion well, which made for a fantastic start to the show. Up next were seniors Margot Bartol and Peri Ehudin. Bartol’s impeccable piano playing under Ehudin’s captivating and high vocals to Adele’s ‘Remedy’ left the audience in awe. The bond between the two was shown by the perfectly syncopated number. Third was sophomore Aishlinn Kivlighn with her cover of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Something’s Got a Hold On Me.’ The doo-wop inspired song was accompanied by some doo-wop inspired movements from Kivlignh; she gave a powerful and confident performance that left the audience feeling nostalgic. Senior Peter Hechler’s surprising cover of Shontelle’s ‘Impossible’ caught just about everybody off guard. Hechler artfully mimicked the high-pitched vocals, and had the audience clapping along with the beat. Along with impressive vocals, Hechler’s fearless stage presence made for an even better performance. With her nearly-isolated vocals accompanied by ukulele, senior Amritha Sridhar was able to slow things down with her cover of U2/Jack White’s ‘Love is Blindness.’ The intimate performance silenced the audience, as Sridhar’s voice captured all the attention in the room. This made for an even more thunderous applause. From the moment he was announced, senior Darius Dudley received a spine-tingling reaction from the crowd. With the crowd chanting his name, Dudley stunned the audience with his iconic Michael Jackson impersonation

Senior Graham Bright and sophomore Alli Arner impress while performing an acoustic/beatboxing medley to open up the show on Feb. 8. The acts that followed contributed to a successful night.

- glove included. His dances to a mash-up of MJ songs included some of Jackson’s most famous moves, including the moonwalk. Dudley received an ear-splicing reaction as he walked off stage. While it’s no secret that Dudley was a tough act to follow, senior Rachifa Hainikoye did her absolute best to win over the crowd. With a courageous cover of Andrea Day’s ‘Rise Up,’ Hainikoye had the audience’s attention for her entire performance. Her confident stance on stage only helped her image as she passionately belted out the powerful track. In a surprising change of direction, junior Cheryl Goodman chose Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats,’ to cover, and it was a fantastic swing in atmosphere. The cover of this classic country song included a twangy backing track with fresh, new vocals on top. Goodman had the audience singing along, and received a great reaction as she walked off stage. As the curtain opened for senior Yordanos Belayneh, it was evident that this would be like nothing we’d seen yet. Beyonce’s ‘Run the World’ came over the speakers, and the crowd was hooked. As Belayneh strutted to center stage in a black and gold chain themed bodysuit, she sang and danced as I can only describe as fearless. With a quick singing style similar to rap, she walked her way into the crowd, and had the people on their feet and singing along. With the largest group of the night, sophomore Annie Tang and freshmen Joyce Yang, Rin Sohn, Eva Zhang and Ines Zheng mesmerized the audience with their synchronized dance to ‘Want You To Say’ by K-pop girl group Playback. With so much movement on stage, it was impossible to look away. The bubblegum music blended perfectly with the petite movements from the girls. Opening up the second half, senior Spencer Tritto woke up the crowd with an electric drum solo. Tritto’s hard work and dedication to the craft was put on display, as he crashed and thrashed his way through an encapsulating performance. His performance earned him a second place See TNL, page 7

First ever rave promises excitement, entertainment Aaron Strauss staff writer

Clear your calendars and put your dancing shoes on, because on Feb. 26, the party of the century will occur at school. After all, who has heard of a school allowing a rave to exist in their lower gymnasium? From 9-11:30 p.m, the Midnight Madness party will be livid. The theme for the dance is a blackout, so everyone is recommended to show up in all black clothing. It is encouraged to bring friends to the dance so attendance can be as high as possible. The lower gym may get hot and humid depending on how many people show up, so dress appropriately. Midnight Madness is a school dance that is planned to raise money to donate to A Wider Circle. The mission of A Wider Circle is simple: to help individuals and families rise out of poverty. They work in partnership with those who serve and those seeking help to ensure that every child and adult has the chance to succeed, and the opportunity to live well. All the proceeds from the dance will be donated to the organization. “The dance is a great way to raise money for an important organization. I’m also really excited to see everyone who is performing that night,” freshman Keyan Roshan said. Special performances by senior SoundCloud rapper Graham Bright, Wootton’s own male dance team The Woottonettes, and junior DJ Ryan Amir will bring the hype. Bright’s Soundcloud hit “Designer Feelings,” with features from seniors Nashon “Noble” Plummer and Elijah “Malachi” Trent, will surely have the lower gym bumpin’. It is expected by some students to be the best school dance to ever occur in a Montgomery County public school. “I’m very excited for the rave… oops I mean school dance. I think it’s going to be insanely fun and hope everyone can make it to see my team and I raise the roof,” junior Woottonette Hunter Band said. After the Woottonettes last breathtaking performance, no one can anticipate what the next routine will look like. The controversial performance at the first pep rally of the school year caused administration to bar the team from performing at POTH. After a long wait, the Woottonettes will take the stage and put on a show. “The team missed an opportunity to show their skill at POTH, so I’m excited for them to be able to perform. The routine is looking like one of the best yet, so I expect a big crowd to show up,” sophomore Haley Scheinberg said. Bright will be performing his hit Soundcloud songs “Whatchu Want” and “Fiji” during the dance. “To all the students and fans who are coming out, be ready for some unreleased heat to drop. Also, a special mystery performer will be coming on stage during the dance, so everyone better be there. It’s going to be hype,” Bright said.

Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Fellowship earned by seven STF leaders worldwide Nitya Kumar commons editor

She’s the First, an award-winning non-profit organization, offers opportunities to children to help further fight gender inequality through education via scholarships, summits, and fellowships and can help further develop a team of advocates. Junior Shaily Acharya, the founding President of the STF chapter here, was selected to be one of seven members of the inaugural class of fellows as part of fellowship program called She’s the First Community Impact Fellowship. Acharya applied for this competitive fellowship program with a project about refugee life, an issue that is personal to her. “The main purpose of the application was to describe the project that you would be completing under this fellowship. In the application you had to outline a project that you would complete as a fellow that captures the spirit of STF. “My project revolves around empowering the young girls of the refugee community in the DMV and giving them the information and tools to navigate the higher education system of the US. I was inspired to make my project about refugees due to the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Nepalese from Bhutan a couple of years ago. I saw how these refugees were welcomed into the US, but the youth were often left with little support to guide them through the school system in a completely foreign country to them. Since my family is Nepali, discussion around the Bhutanese refugee


Infographic by Chloe Perel


has been a pretty important part of my life. After doing some more research, I learned about the other refugee communities here, such as the Somali and Sudanese,” Acharya said. Acharya is excited about the fellowship program and its impact. “Basically the purpose of this fellowship is to bring the essence of what STF stands for, accessible education and girls’ empowerment, into communities all over the US and the world. This is a good thing for Wootton too. I will need a lot of help from the community in order to make my project a success. I would love to get as many people involved as possible. I think that this fellowship can really create an impact in the DC area due to the high number of refugees that live here. But more importantly, I think the opportunity to participate in this project is very important for the Wootton community in that it teaches people about local refugee communities and it allows us to directly use our privilege to make a positive impact in the lives of these refugee children,” Acharya said. Separate from the fellowship, the STF chapter at this school plans to promote social awareness, take political action and run fundraisers. “We have branched out to focus more on raising awareness for women’s issues in our club meetings as well as in our community. For example, we called or wrote our local representatives to express our concerns over certain political issues. We also had a poster campaign in school following the theme of the #metoo movement. In the spring semester, we are planning to continue with these awareness activities as well as fundraise for our scholars,” Acharya said.

To cancel school or not to cancel school Jake Klugerman profiles editor

Everyone knows the feeling of going to sleep dreaming of a snow day. Then waking up, for some people at 5 a.m., to check the MCPS website with fingers crossed hoping to see the red font that means you can go back to bed. What most people do not know about is the process that happens from the time you go to bed until the time you wake up that determines whether or not there is a delay, cancellation, or if school will start on time. The decision obviously relies on the weather, but there is often a fine line as to what weather will need a delay or cancellation. MCPS often has difficulty deciding which

way to go, sometimes waiting until the very last minute to make a call. The county can make a decision as early as they want to, although they are rarely made early. “A decision must be made by 5 a.m.,” according to Some wish that MCPS would put a policy in place where they would announce snow days by the night before so that they could go to bed knowing if they could sleep late in the morning. “Snow days should be announced because it is unfair to people who wake up really early for school, and then find out they never actually had to wake up that early, because they may have trouble falling back asleep,” junior Kyle Hermary said. Students often look toward the weather app on their phone to form their snow day

predictions. MCPS uses a variety of sources to determine whether or not a snow day or delay is needed. “Information about the weather is gathered from many sources, including The National Weather Service, Accu-Weather, the news media and by actual inspection of roads, school driveways, and sidewalks throughout the county. Weather conditions in surrounding counties are also gathered and factored into forecasting conditions for Montgomery County students and considered for those students attending non-public schools in other areas. Information from these various sources is factored into the decision,” according to During many snow days or non-snow days, students and teachers have questioned

the decisions the county makes. Some feel the county closes at unnecessary times, and some feel that the county does not close in dangerous conditions. “I think there have been some unnecessary snow days but most of them have been needed,” junior Harrison Lee said. One reason why we often have delays and closures on days where the conditions are not that bad is MCPS closing policy. If the northern part of MCPS has unsafe conditions, the whole county closes even if the southern part is safe, which is a common occurrence. This happened as recently as the last snow day on Feb 8. “Once again, upcounty weather dictates school closing decision,” WUSA-TV meteorologist Howard Bernstein said.

Library contest gives students ‘RBF’: resting book face Hannah Ho back page editor

that the library has become a very student centric-library. It’s a friendly place that has done a lot more outreaching with various activities. All the different activities are really indicative of how student-centric they are,” Hanson said. While taking pictures, students were still allowed to check out those books, yet running out of books was not a worry. One challenge though, was finding a book that fit the participant’s face. “I realized the books were not diverse enough, so I really needed to get more books,” Burk said. “I am currently ordering and building a better collection right now.” The winner will be announced the week of Jan.20. The prize is going to be a gift card to Barnes and Nobles. For the voting process, everyone’s contest photo will be assigned a number and anybody will be able to vote. The benefit about the books covering faces is that students and teachers will not be able to recognize each other as easily. “We welcome participation from both staff and students,” Burk said. Photo by Hannah Ho

Entering through the main school doors, one comes upon a wall covered with photos of students’ and teachers’ faces covered with books aside the Media Center entrance. People’s faces and the book merge together, resulting in amusing images, known collectively to be participants of the Book Face Contest. The process of entering the competition was fairly simple. “You take a picture with a book of your choice that matches your face well,” junior Cindy Huang said. The hidden purpose behind the competition was to get students more engaged with books. The Media Center wants to change students’ perspective of a stereotypical library where people only go to study or read into a more multi-faceted place that is fun. “The idea of the Book Face Contest is that you would take a book with a face on the cover and match it with your own face. In general, it is just a fun activity that emphasizes pleasure with books. I knew students would enjoy it,” Media Specialist Tammie Burk said. Burk created the first Book Face Contest after discussing possible fun activities to do in the Media Center with colleagues and fellow Media Center staff. “I created the Book Face Contest because I thought it would be engaging, and a good idea to see students interact with books more,” Burk said. “Reading is exploring different things in the Media Center.” The process of organizing a successful event highlights the passion and dedication of the Media Center staff. To garner more attention to the event, Burk advertised it in the morning announcements. Most students who participated were reached out to by the Media Center staff in the hallway. “We took a cart filled with all the books with faces on the cover out into the hallway in front of the Media Center, and

reached out to both students and teachers. I want to send the message that the library is a fun, engaging place. I feel the contest is just another unique way to promote reading,” Burk said. It did not take the library long to find all the books with the faces on them. “I just browsed different genres and collections. I also knew what most of the covers looked like. I first looked at fiction, then biography, then non-fiction. After I went through all the sections and realized I didn’t have enough, I looked online for our books with more faces, for a more thorough search. The media team and I put all the books on a cart for easy student use,” Burk said. The Book Face Contest was also a great way to promote the library, “The competition gets students engaging and interacting and shows that people can do many different enjoyable things in the library,” Burk said. “Our library has makerspaces, coloring stations and Lego spaces for students to do in the library besides studying and reading.” This competition takes into account all types of people and personalities, providing a more easy-accessible opportunity. “This competition was great for everyone. Shy people can take a picture without showing their face so it is suitable for all,” Burk said. The competition was initially supposed to be a one day event on Jan. 19, however “many students still wanted to do it so we still took pictures on the following Monday the 22nd,” Burk said. One teacher who participated was the Humanities and Arts Signature Program coordinator Michelle Hanson. “I walked through the hallway, saw the stacks of books on the cart, and wanted to participate,” Hanson said. “I chose a book that I read before or would like to read. The book I chose also had blue eyes, which matches my eye color.” The library has changed evidently this year to be more welcoming and active in the school community. “I see

The contest participants’ pictures hang outside the Media Center.


New Superintendent has plans, aspirations for Montgomery County Aaron Levine Managing Editor

that needs to be solved, and he believes it can be done by providing more access to resources and by eliminating the barriers to access.

than Google Classroom and are wondering why the migration to MCPS Classroom needs to occur. Smith admits that the details of MCPS Classroom were developed before

A major goal of Smith’s in his upcoming years is expanding the career readiness programs available throughout the county. Smith hopes to erase the negative stigma the programs have, making them more readily available to students across the county while also expanding their services. Currently, Thomas Edison High School is the school in the county with the vast majority of career readiness programs available, however Edison is too far for many students in the county to commute to. By creating a center for the programs in each corner of the county, as well as by spreading the potential benefits of undergoing the programs, Smith hopes to provide all students in the county with career readiness as a legitimate alternative to traditional schooling. Regarding Smith’s position on other topics, he is committed to making sure schools are a safe environment, free from violence and perfect for learning. Smith wants to expand mental health programs in schools, providing students with the service if needed, and is also dedicated to expanding ESOL programs in schools. Smith is someone who has a clear vision for the county and is ready to have his goals for the county come to fruition. Photo courtesy Aaron Levine

Superintendent Jack Smith detailed his plans and aspirations for Montgomery County to this reporter and other student journalists from across the county on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Many of his goals for the coming years relate to academics, however Smith talked about other topics important to students in the county as well. One major concern Smith addressed was the achievement gap, or opportunity gap, in schools. Students are concerned that those who have less opportunity because of their ethnicity, socioeconomic status or school end up doing worse academically than students advantaged in those areas. While Smith does admit the gap exists, he insists the situation be put into perspective. Regardless of how they are compared to each other, all 25 MCPS high schools made the Jay Mathews list of challenging high schools and all MCPS schools do better academically on average than Maryland and the nation. Smith also pointed out that the key function of schools is to help students learn. In the MCPS schools with lower academic achievement, while scores are lower, the improvement shown in students from the start of high school through the end is higher than that of the most successful schools in the county. In Smith’s words, “It’s all about where the students’ education starts and ends up.” Still, Smith sees the gap as something

Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Jack Smith leads a staff meeting addressing the school’s socieconomic status.

Another issue Smith spoke about was the transition in MCPS from Google Classroom to the newly introduced My MCPS classroom and portal. Students have expressed their grievances about using the system that, in many ways, is more complex

he entered his position, but he is dedicated to making the service easily accessible for all students. Smith is modeling his hopes for the service after what he calls the Amazon test. “If it’s not as easy as buying something on Amazon, it’s too hard,” Smith said.




Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Behind the making of student schedules An inside look at how counselors put together second semester schedules Ava Castelli staff writer

aid in the counselor office Nicole Bedanova said. Classes are capped at a certain number of spaces due to number of desks or seats available so counselors cannot exceed the number of students allowed in the classes. Photo by Ava Castelli

In the beginning of second semester, as teachers shuffle around learning new names and students become accustomed to their new schedules, counselors work behind the scenes to organize the transition. In the beginning of January counselors are already rearranging and setting up for the new semester to ensure every student is put in the right class. “We work to balance the schedules and try to have everyone and everything in order so we have a really good second half of school year,” counselor Robert Kurtz said. The key to counselors making and rearranging schedules is simple: balance. One of the main goals of the counselors is to have each class balanced with the same number of students. Though the task sounds as simple as just dividing the number of students taking the class into the number of periods available for the course, there is actually an algorithm to it.

Counselors have to keep the number of students in a class in mind when trying to accommodate a student’s wants and needs. Every switch from one class to another, ends up affecting other classes too. If someone wants to switch out of a class that has 26 people into a class that has 27, it would make the classes even more unbalanced. “In the first week of my math class there were people still switching in because we had such a small amount of people in the beginning,” senior Emma Henderson said. Along with this, the students with schedules that are restricted to certain periods have to have their schedules in a specific order. For example, if a student is taking AP European History, which is only available eighth period, they have to rearrange their other classes to fit it in their schedule. Students with double period classes are also restricted to when they can take other classes since double periods cannot be split up and there are limited periods when they are offered, assuming the student can fit them into their schedule at all. “You really understand how much work counselors have to put in because there are so many students who wants all different things,” senior and student

Counselor Robert Kurtz helps a student with her schedule after the second semester began.

Teachers’ new babies: the extra work they come with Molika Singh staff writer

Photo courtessy Michael Dickel

English teachers Michael Dickel and Melissa Kaplan had a baby, Alexander James Dickel, on Jan. 27 and have both been on leave since. “Mr. Dickel and I are taking some time off to adjust to parenthood and to take care of this most perfect little person. We are in awe of him and totally in love,” Kaplan said. English teacher Daniel Pecoraro has also been on paternity leave. Pecoraro and Dickel are expected to return today and Kaplan is returning mid-May. Dickel does plan to take a few weeks off at the end of the year as well. Two long-term substitutes have been hired, for Kaplan and Dickel. Pecoraro has a few different substitutes over his period of absence rather than one for the entire time.

When a long-term substitute is required, policies for them, etc.,” Hitchens said. a job listing is published and people with In addition to helping substitutes minimum requirements, like a college adjust to this school, Hitchens has been degree, apply. Applicants are representing the English then selected to be interviewed department in meetings, by the teacher they will be organizing his own substituting for as well as meetings, and performing the resource teacher of the administrative work department and sometimes an related to the department administrator. References for such as book ordering and applicants are also checked, dealing with computer which can include other issues. teachers who have had them as Hitchens, having a substitute. taken on resource teacher Dickel is English resource responsibilities, has teacher, so this position has been much more busy been temporarily filled by than usual. “This role Alexander Dickel sleeps surrounded English teacher Nicholas by pillows and blankets. has certainly taken a lot Hitchens, who took paternity of time away from me as leave himself last year. “I’ve been orienting a teacher. I have not had as much time substitutes to the building, giving them with students during lunch or after school. plans, keys, attendance rosters, clarifying During class, things are mostly the same but

I will say my mind is a bit scattered with all the extra things going on. I am still able to get things copied, etc. but I do stay later than usual (and arrive earlier than usual),” he said. Students were surprised to come to school on the first day of a new semester to find substitutes. Senior Helen Feng has Dickel’s substitute for AP English Literature and Composition class and had Dickel last semester. She compared their teaching styles. “The substitute has less flexibility and seems to be teaching more based off of reading from a paper or whatever the other teachers tell her to do. Of course that’s her job, but sometimes if we have a question she can’t give us a direct answer because she has to confirm with other teachers and Mr. Dickel, which is understandable. However, it is sometimes a bit inconvenient,” Feng said. Hitchens is confident in the long-term substitutes. “I’d say students are in very good hands,” he said.

Trump talks plans at State of the Union Address Danny Rothenberg news editor Every year at the beginning of January the president gives the State of the Union to Congress on his view on the state of our country along with his future plans. This year was the first of four State of the Union addresses that President Donald Trump will give during his term.  Some of the main subjects Trump focused on during his speech were the topics he believes in, such as how to fix a fractured immigration system, the problem of people who are trying to undermine America’s way of life, and bipartisanship.  Along with focusing on these points, he attempted to tug at his listeners emotions through hearing other people’s stories. Trump tried to show he supports bipartisanship in our country.  Bipartisanship is when both the Republicans and Democrats come together and work as one government, finding common ground and agreeing on terms and decisions.  Although it may seem as if Trump is making progress in trying to unite his party with the Democrats, he needs to gain support from the opposing party when it comes down to getting his ideas signed into law with enough votes.  Some of his ideas like the southern border wall would need votes from more than just his party, so gaining the support of the Democrats would be a big win for Trump.   “The speech, one of Mr Trump’s most high-profile since taking office, has been themed around ‘building a safe, strong and proud America,’” The Telegraph News editor Ben RileySmith said.   Trump’s focus

on the dangers in the country was displayed as it was a huge topic in his speech. Trump decided to speak on dangers from deadly gangs when he praised a police officer who has arrested 100 gang members.  He also spoke of the dangers of North Korea that have shown threats throughout the past year, as he noted that North Korea would soon threaten the United States with a nuclear missile.  One of the more surprising things in Trump’s address was the fact that he did not speak on the issues involving China and Russia during talks of his foreign policy.  Trump’s administration made it clear that this is because they do not see China and Russia as much of a threat to the United States compared to other countries. “Though we will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in today,” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a speech he gave at Johns Hopkins University on Jan. 19, “Great Power competition, not terrorism, is not the primary focus of US national security.” One of the other main focuses of his speech was about his new ideas for immigration.  Trump explained his immigration plan through four different pillars.  The first of his four pillars is the path to citizenship for DREAMers.  DREAMers are DACA recipients in the United States who have now gained Trump’s support a s long as they have shown, over the past 10-12 years, that they have met certain educational and work requirements, and have shown good moral character.  The second of his pillars is border security, which includes $25 billion of funding for President Trump waves to the crowd both the northern before he begins his address to congress and southern on Jan. 30. borders, which still Photo courtesy Google Commons

includes a wall being built for the Mexican-American border. Along with the wall, the money is planned to go towards Customs officials and agents, officers, immigration judges, as well as better technology, which includes cameras, drones, and sensors.  His next pillar focuses on ending the Diversity Visa Lottery, instead having a merit-based immigration system, which gives citizenship to the people who have been deserving and hard-working.  Trump referenced a New York terrorist attack in explaining why the lottery system does not work since the man who commited the attack got his green card through the lottery.  The president’s last pillar is setting restrictions on family-based immigration.  The current immigration laws for family allow for siblings, children over the age of 21, fiancees, and parents to come into the country with someone who has a green card, but Trump’s plan shaves that list of people down to just spouses and children who are minors.  “It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century,”  Trump said,  “These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern and lawful immigration system.” Throughout the address, Trump decided to talk about other people’s stories to relate to his points as he tried to gain support and compassion from his audience.  Trump started this out with a reference to the recent hurricanes and how members of the “Cajun Navy” went in and helped out everyone during the aftermath of the storms.  Trump talked more in depth about a woman named Ashlee Leppert, who helped more than 40 people get out of Houston after Hurricane Harvey.  Trump thanked Leppert and continued referencing more people like David Dalberg, who helped save 60 lives during the California wildfires.  This idea was carried out through his whole address, as he referenced over 10 people and their stories, attempting to gain support.



Cashing in on Bitcoin Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Josh Messitte managing editor Heard of Bitcoin? Here’s why most people have: In 2009, a single Bitcoin was worth 76 thousandths of a one cent. That’s right, .00076 of a single US cent. At the end of 2017, that same single Bitcoin was priced at just over 15 thousand dollars, $15,093 to be precise. If you had spent 76 cents and bought one thousand Bitcoins in 2009, you would be a multimillionaire today. Before we understand this exponential growth, however, it is important to answer a basic yet complicated questions. What is Bitcoin? The first Bitcoin was created on January 3, 2009, by an anonymous individual or group under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as open-source software, which basically means that the ability to use Bitcoin is public and anyone can use it. US currency is issued by the government and mainly controlled by big banks. With Bitcoin, the power is with the people. Anyone can find Bitcoins through a process called ‘mining.’ Miners have the ability to use high-powered computer software to solve math problems and analyze algorithms as a method to find Bitcoins. There are two main reason for the mining process. First, once the Bitcoin technology is spread more, mining will provide a smart, fair way to issue currency rather than putting our money in the hands of big banks. Second, the fairness and hopeful accessibility will incentivise more people to mine as Bitcoin grows. Why was Bitcoin created? Sometimes referred to as “the honest

If you had spent 76 cents and bought one thousand Bitcoins in 2009, you would be a multimillionaire today.

currency,” Bitcoin was created as a response to the catastrophic economic collapse in 2008, when major US banks collapsed. When millions of Americans lost their life savings in 2008, people began to question the crucial and monumental role that banks and the government play in our economy. Different college professors might define money

differently, but generally the concept of money is an accounting system to track who has what. People give and take money, and the amount of money any given person has changes frequently. Also, with money, comes the need of a trusted third party. This third party is the main issuer of money, makes money, verifies your money is real. They can also monitor transactions and perform a plethora of other services in our economy. It might be somewhat obvious by now what the major third parties in our monetary system are. There are two big ones: the government and banks. When these third parties malfunctioned in the crisis in 2008, American citizens paid the price. This is where Bitcoin revolutionizes the way we look at money and currency. Bitcoin is not electronic money. Using Bitcoin is not comparable to using Apple Pay or Venmo. Bitcoin is its own, new type of money. With Bitcoin, all need for these trusted third parties dissipates. “I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that is fully peer to peer, with no trusted third party” said Satoshi Nakamoto in his plans for Bitcoin. With Bitcoin, the function a bank or the government normally serves is fully automated in something called an open ledger. With each Bitcoin transaction-- when people exchange Bitcoins -- the Bitcoin software on your computer or phone records what happened and stores it. That data is not owned by anyone or any company as opposed to a big bank. Who Created Bitcoin? This is one of the most fascinating questions surrounding Bitcoin. While the project was released in 2009 by an individual or group named Satoshi Nakamoto, nobody really knows who Nakamoto is. His identity has been concealed since the launch of Bitcoin. There have been many people suspected of being Satoshi Nakamoto, but the true identity of the creator of Bitcoin is unknown. Even before Nakamoto, the creation of Bitcoin can be linked to something called the CypherPunk movement. The

CypherPunk movement can be traced back to 1985, and it is the idea of moving society toward the use of high-level cryptography and enhanced privacy. In other words, it was the first idea to drop third parties like banks and give people more privacy and power. “We cannot expect governments, corporations, or other large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy,” Eric Hughes said in his CypherPunks manifesto. In 1992, a small group of people became the original CypherPunks when they met in person in San Francisco to discuss the future of the CypherPunk movement. In the coming years, the CypherPunk movement grew to become big mailing lists and communication groups. Then, in 2008, an anonymous individual named Satoshi Nakamoto released an essay-of-sorts that detailed the ideas and plans for a new type of decentralized currency called Bitcoin. Nobody knew who he, she or they were. Since then, there have been many people suspected of being Satoshi Nakamoto, most of whom were members of the CypherPunk movement. Despite various theories, there hasn’t been any hard evidence to show that any one person is in fact Nakamoto. Every person presumed of being Satoshi has denied it, leaving the mystery unanswered. Bitcoin Over the Years Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has has many highs and lows. Early on, people thought the name Bitcoin would be tarnished forever because of its ties to the black market for drugs and illegal substances. This was seen through an online marketplace called the “Silk Road.” It was an online black market where people used Bitcoin to acquire drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Through the use of Bitcoin, the Silk Road was a Tor-hidden service on the dark web, which basically means users could use Bitcoin and browse the the site without the risk of being monitored. When the website’s creator and individuals on the board of Bitcoin were arrested by FBI in October 2013, Bitcoin prices plummeted. Despite the occasional bumps in the road, however, Bitcoin maintains a overall upward trend. In December 2017, Bitcoin peaked at $18,922.78. Its growth late last year was unparalleled, which is one reason the upand-coming currency received so much media attention. Since the new year, Bitcoin has not been able to sustain its soaring prices. Since it peak in December, it has dropped currently to a price of just under $9,000. The Future of Bitcoin Looking to the future, Nakamoto planned well. Every currency system has the potential for major consequences, one of which is inflation. The Zimbabwe economy is an example. When the government in Zimbabwe printed too much money, it resulted in serious inflation, leaving millionaires starving and homeless and causing the people to lose trust in the government. For this reason, there is a cap on Bitcoins, which is 21 million. By the year 2140, we are scheduled to have all 21 million coins in circulation. However, to allow Bitcoin to continue expanding, each Bitcoin can be broken up into tiny little pieces. In other words, you don’t need to buy an entire coin. Bitcoin has the potential to not just change our economy in the US, but the way the entire world views currency. Roughly half of human adults don’t have the luxury of having a bank account and can’t utilize technology such as phones or computers when making exchanges. With Venmo or Uber, your account is linked to a bank. With Bitcoin, people across the globe may have the power to have their own bank because Bitcoin gives this power to the people using it.


PATRIOT PROFILES Common Sense | February 20, 2018



Ricciardella inspired to run for SMOB by lack of change

Infographic by Katie Schreck

Every year students from Montgomery County run for Student Member of the Board, otherwise known as SMOB. This year three of the students running are from Wootton, and one of the three is Tony Ricciardella. Ricciardella is a sophomore who believes the competition is stiff but feels he has a strong background. “I have been in SGA for five years and I’ve worked SMOB elections at Frost every year I was there. I have been to the nominating convention before, so I know how that goes. I worked very closely with Alex Abrosimov on his campaign,” Ricciardella said. Running for SMOB is no small feat. Ricciardella is running because he is tired of students saying, “SMOBs don’t do anything” or “SMOBs only run for their resume.” “I care about students and our wellbeing and right now it is not the best. I want to fix that. I want to take my experience of being a regular student, doing sports, being in clubs, and being in SGA and take it all to the board and start building this county to its highest potential,” Ricciardella said. Every candidate has their goals they want to implement if they win SMOB. Ricciardella wants better infrastructure of schools, not by tearing them down, but he wants to renovate from within, like better bathrooms, classrooms, and locker rooms. Ricciardella also believes the lack of

mental support is horrible. “I plan to change this by adding floating counselors within our county so our counselors are not overwhelmed. Also adding what Wootton offers, SOS [Sources of Strength] to all schools so if counselors are busy students have a safe place to get help from people their age who know how to help,” Ricciardella said. Ricciardella feels that communicating with students is key. He plans to visit multiple schools, but wants to communicate with students even if he can’t make it to their school. Ricciardella will still communicate with students via social media but his other plan is to set up what he calls support staffs at every school. “It is for anyone who would like to partake because SGA is not as inclusive. So this

The SMOB election will take place on April 25th.

support staff will work hand in hand with SGA so I can better communicate with students in problems or anything they need,” Ricciardella said. Ricciardella feels his support staff is strong and intelligent. “I’ve known Tony for a long time, I believe he has the drive and work ethic to be SMOB,” sophomore Ian Wolf said. Ricciardella knows not everyone is one his side.“I am not sure who I will vote for yet but I am excited to see all their campaigns,” sophomore Jessica Llewellyn said. To all of the voters who are on the fence, Ricciardella said, “I should win because I am passionate, driven by lack of change in the county, and overall want a better school experience for students. I want Tony Ricciardella is students to hate school less. running for SMOB with that he will be able And I believe I can do these hope to make a bigger difference things if I am elected.” then SMOBs of the past. Photo courtesy Tony Ricciardella

Anna Baldwin staff writer

Yuzuki plans to spread compassion Weng wants schoolSMOB. image improved Weng has started to put together a Dev Zoks staff writer

Photo courtesy Mei Yuzuki


few people for his campaign staff including sophomore Erik Sherman. Each candidate has their own platform The annual SMOB (Student Member of ideas they would like to implement once of the Board) election is coming up. students elected for SMOB. “I want to make the small will vote for a students to be a member on things in the school better, such as better the Board of Education for MCPS. It is bathrooms, and food to make the a huge honor to be elected, senior at overall image of school seem Sherwood, Matthew Post, won the a little better and make sure election last year and is currently the students have the small SMOB until the end of the year. things that make them This year one candidate feel good,” Weng said. running for SMOB is sophomore, Weng also said, Shiteng Weng, who wants to help “other candidate running the community. Weng is one of for SMOB is trying to do three students from this school who really big things that do not are running for SMOB. From February seem that possible. Most through March, there is an election “of people want something nominating convention delegates excellent to put by local schools,”(primary in their college elections) according to resume, but I the MCPS website. Two really want candidates will remain, to help and the general election students for the SMOB takes on a day to place in April. day basis by Weng has improving always thought little things and about running trying to push for SMOB, even the Board in the when he was in Candidate Shiteng Weng wants to be SMOB so he can favor of students middle school. have the chance to improve his community. in certain topics.” “When I was in Students want to middle school I give him the support in the election. “I love used to watch the debates for the general Shiteng. He has a great leadership ability election and I always thought to myself and would be great as a SMOB. He has my how cool it would be to actually run for the vote,” sophomore Jack Lvovsky said. spot,” Weng said. Students want to hear more from all Campaigning plays a big role in three candidates to make sure they get the running for SMOB and according to Weng, right vote. Sophomore Antonia Roach he has started to set up some meetings at said, “All three candidates look really good, middle schools to get his ideas out there. especially Shiteng, but I want to hear more He also wants to get his campaign staff to on what they will try to do if they get start getting his name out there as there are elected.” two other students here already running for y Shi teng

oto co urtes


bullying,. “At Wootton, I want to work side by side with our Sources of Strength program,” Yuzuki said. Students like the idea of Yuzuki As a young girl growing up in running because she would be able to speak Montgomery County, becoming Student for the school. Sophomore Nina Bouchard Member of the Board of Education was said, “I am glad to see a fellow Patriot something sophomore Mei Yuzuki thought running for SMOB and representing our about in middle school “Now, here I am school.” four years later, with a chance to transform Sophomore Meghana Kotriah says the students’ wishes and hopes for the everyone should changes we want into a really get to know reality,” Yuzuki said. the candidates. “I Yuzuki is in personally know the running to be that Mei is very the next SMOB this organized and April. If elected, she well spoken, but sets out to make a I really think that change by connecting everyone should students with their be educated on representatives, as all the candidates, well as seeking greater instead of voting diversity. because of school According to or personal loyalty,” the MCPS website, Kotriah said. during February and Smob candidate Mei Yuzuki meets with For the past March there will be a students at Neelsville Middle School. few weeks, Yuzuki selection of nominating has visited schools convention delegates by local schools. every student in middle and throughout the county and joined with their high school student is eligible to vote in the SGAs to learn about the specific issues throughout MCPS and how to diversify her general election. Yuzuki stated that coming from an policy based on the needs of the students. “I “outsider’s perspective,” she had lived her have an amazingly supportive group working entire life in MCPS and was aware of the with me, who have valuable experience disconnect between representatives in MCR, and advice. Alex Abrosimov, Trent Folk, MCJC, SMOB advisory council and the and Young Kim have been essential to the students themselves. Yuzuki said, “My goal development of my policy and campaign is to connect us, the students, with these strategy thus far,”she said. She reaches out to the public through organizations.” social media and she has a blog at www. Her main goal is to spread compassion . “I will also be doing weekly throughout Montgomery County. The “fireside chats” on Facebook and Instagram principal issue she is focusing on is the Live in order to keep my connection with performance achievement gap between the students all across the county.” student subgroups. She is also prioritizing Monica Godnick staff writer



Common Sense |February 20, 2018

One Act play festival arrives, amazes Student produced lineup of performances succeed after months of preparation James Barberis arts editor

Sure Thing, acted by junior Cheryl Goodman and senior Jeffrey Grant, told the short story of two strangers meeting in a coffee shop on a rainy night. Seems like a simple plot but, the twist reveals that every time a “wrong move” was made, the scene essentially restarted, adding a sense of unpredictability to the play. Universal Language was just as interesting, following Don, played by

freshman Aidan Wilbur, and Dawn, played by junior Abby Batkhan, in their quest to make a universal language. The chemistry between the two actors was palpable and the set design impressively encapsulated the scene. The festival happens every two years as the prerequisite play directing class is only taught on a biannual schedule. Photo by James Barberis

The student-produced “One Act Play Festival” occurred Jan. 19, 20 and 21 and showcased the abilities of this school’s brightest and most gifted actors and directors. “I observed rehearsals and worked with the directors,” the festival’s sponsor, Drama and English teacher Jessica Speck said. “But for the most part, the students were the ones who create the productions.” One Acts are exactly what they sound like; small, short one act plays, chosen and perfected by the student directors themselves. From scene subjects ranging from silly librarian job interviews to living with disabilities, the “One Act” Festival had something for everyone, even those who aren’t too keen about the stage. While the One Acts were entertaining and fun for everyone involved to produce, they held serious weight for the students’ GPAs. Stage designer of one of the plays, All in the Timing, and junior Janel Berlinger said, “It’s the final project for the Play Directing and Stage Design class, and every person is paired with someone in the [acting] class.” Although one act doesn’t seem like much to produce, students put in lots of time and effort put into making the shows as spectacular as possible, especially those behind the scenes. “The stage designers design the sets, build the sets, design the lights, and the sound design as well,” Berlinger said.

The process begins in October, with the deadline for the director’s play selection occurring. The following month in November, auditions are held to cast the actors and the next six weeks are constant rehearsals in order to ensure the best possible outcome. “The two to three month time frame gives the students enough time to make their One Acts the best they can be,” Speck said. Those in the acting class need to be just as involved, since their bond with their director dictates the success of the project as a whole. “The directors choose the play and get their actors in order to be able to complete the play,” stage designer of The Father Clock and junior Bradley Udwin said. While all of the One Acts displayed talent from everyone who worked on them, a standout was All in the Timing, a dual One Act directed by senior Rebecca Korn. All in the Timing consisted of two smaller plays, Sure Thing and Universal Language, both of which were impeccably executed.

Junior Abby Batkhan and freshman Aidan Wilbur perform the one act play Universal Language on Jan. 20, directed by senior Rebecca Korn.

Thursday Night Live exhibits exciting student acts TNL from page 1 as he crashed and thrashed his way through an encapsulating performance. His performance earned him a second place victory in the competition. “It’s hard to describe how doing what you love for the people you love makes you feel with words. But it’s pretty freakin’ awesome,” Tritto said. Following that rapid performance, senior Brian Nicholson slowed the tone down with his inspiring cover of Rihanna’s ‘Stay.’ Nicholson’s range must be heard to believe. Along with having the crowd singing along with him, he had people waving their phone flashlights back and forth, creating a sight to behold. His fiery vocal delivery had the audience dazed and on the edge of their seats. As one of only three freshmen competing in TNL, freshman Jacob Kaplan-Davis had some stiff competition. Flawlessly, however, he performed Brahms’ ‘Rhapsody in G Minor,’ and the crowd loved it. As the only solo piano act of the night, it was evident that years of practice has been invested in his playing. The judges noticed too, as he earned a third place victory in competition. “Wootton talent show? Easy finesse,” Kaplan-Davis said. Senior Radhika Khare and freshman Somya Jain led a

cultural shift in the competition, dancing in sync to a popular Indian song. The duo’s chemistry was remarkable, and the smiles and looks of joy during the performance were a nice touch. Kickin’ it old school was sophomore Bryan Lee with Dean Martin’s ‘You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.’ This performance was pure class, and even featured Lee in a classic black and white tuxedo. His subtle snaps to the rhythm was this perfect addition to this 1960s classic. Up next was a heartbreaking medley, with seniors Katie Seibert and Vibha Sastri on vocals, and host Alyssa Robinson behind the piano. Seibert sang Ed Sheeran’s ‘Happier,’ while Sastri sang Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me.’ Seibert and Sastri went back and forth taking turns singing, until the two songs intertwined perfectly, with the piano suiting both songs wonderfully. The slow, eerie rendition made the performance both captivating and sad. Sophomore June Chamberlain lightened up the mood with her intense dances accompanied by both illuminated wand and hoop. While her hoop malfunctioned and failed to illuminate before showtime, she was still able to pull of an incredible performance; one that would earn her a first place victory in the competition. As she walked from the back of the stage to the front, it

was evident that sophomore Ally Nalibotsky was channeling her inner Adele through her song ‘Skyfall.’ The powerful, dominant performance showcased Nalibotsky’s impressive vocal range, and made for an impressive performance. The dramatic backing track allowed her voice to shine through, leaving the audience impressed. Freshman Jay Capitelli offered something no one else did: an original song. Through the unique sound of his distorted acoustic guitar, Capitelli captivated the audience with both impressive singing ability and mature lyrical content. It allowed him to show off his creativity and song writing ability, which was impressive and inspiring to say the least. Closing out the night were seniors Rayyan ‘Rayman On The Beat’ El-Amine, Graham Bright and Nahshon Plummer. With El-Amine DJing, Bright and Plummer had the audience in awe from the second they began. Their impressive flow and chemistry had the audience hyped and into the music, along with their unmatchable energy and genuine enjoyment of their craft. They both made their ways into the audience to get up close and personal with their supporters. This year’s TNL continued its streak of excellence. Look out for next year’s event, as it will be just as big and bold.

on their abilities,” Pierce said. Pierce compares a math class to a ceramics class. A grade in math class consists of tests, quizzes and homework grades. This enables students who do not understand a concept in math to practice and have an opportunity to get better at it. Also, it provides students with different opportunities to help their overall grade. Likewise, students are given clean-up jobs and other assignments in ceramics class to help boost their grade if they don’t do well on a project. Pierce has a theory that just like it takes practice to get better at math, it takes practice to get better at ceramics. Even if a student does not feel he or she is naturally artistic it does not mean that with practice they can’t enhance their abilities and get better in the art class. Sophomore Nate Gilkey has a different perspective and believes the current grading policy for an art class is unfair. Gilkey finished the semester of ceramics with a C. “I worked very hard on all my projects but they just never were good

enough to achieve a strong grade because I don’t have the artistic ability needed,” Gilkey said. Students have a heavy workload and some students take an art class to have what they feel is a more relaxing class during their day, which is what junior Jake Smith did. “Initially I chose the class because I thought it would be relaxing, but I had to work very hard and it added a lot of stress to my day,” Smith said. Sophomore Bailey Goldstein went in for lunch often to try and get her grade up in her ceramics class. “I worked so hard in ceramics but I barely pulled off a B,” Goldstein said. Some art teachers would disagree with what students think of the art classes. Pierce tells her students in advance how each project will be graded. She also walks around during class to try to help her students achieve their best work. “I believe all students can benefit from art, and I teach the class skills that everyone can learn and obtain,” Pierce said.

Students claim art classes unfair, graduation requirement too harsh Jordan Rubin staff writer In order to graduate from high school, students are required to have a fine arts credit, which some students think is unfair due to their lack of artistic ability. A student can earn this credit by choosing from a number of courses including art, dance, music, or drama/theater. Some students have been questioning whether or not it is fair to be graded on how artistic they are in these classes. Some students are frustrated by how poorly they are doing in an art class they must take in order to graduate. Teachers have another outlook in regards to performance in these types of fine art classes. Ceramics and fashion teacher Malinda Pierce believes that a ceramics class should be treated like any other class. “Students should be graded on their ability in my ceramics class just like they are graded and evaluated in a math class



Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Editorial Staff Editors-in-Chief Max Jordan Jason Silverman Rachel Wei

Managing Editors Peter Hechler Matthew Klein Aaron Levine Josh Messitte Katie Schreck

Front Page Editor Joe Pohoryles

Arts Editor James Barberis

Commons Editors Alyssa Bursie Emily Eichberg Nitya Kumar

Senior Features Editor Features Editors Hannah Shapiro Brian Myers

Reviews Editor Julia Stern

Senior News Editor Max Pasternak

News Editors Danny Rothenberg Jonnie Voyta Chloe Perel

Opinion Editors Dennis Child Justin Fishman

Senior Sports Editors Jill Geline Sam Greene Ryan Ullman

Sports Editor Ethan Reff

Profiles Editor Jake Klugerman

Back Page Editors Hannah Ho Matthew Lind

Online Editor John Riker

Social Media Director John Riker

Adviser Evva Starr

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

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How well someone does in a class and how enjoyable a class is greatly depends on the teacher and what period they have the class. Getting a new schedule can be exciting and nauseating all in one. On the one hand, leaving a teacher with whom you had a great relationship with can be dreadful, but, being stuck in a class with a teacher who read off Powerpoints everyday can be even worse. Switching things up means no longer hating English class because your teacher isn’t helpful outside of the classroom, and it also means no longer having to wake up to math first period everyday. One of the better things about coming back to school in the fall is finding out which friends share classes with you and which of the rumored “tough” teachers you have and don’t have. “I like switching classes but it depends because if I have a teacher that I really hate or really hates me, I love switching out after the semester but if I like them then it’s really annoying,” junior Jesse Lotenberg said. By the time it is half way through the school year, students are accustomed to most if not all of their teacher’s teaching styles. They know if they use Google Classroom religiously, whether or not they check homework every day and if they are a difficult grader. By placing students in new classroom settings, with new surroundings and new teaching styles, it allows for better opportunities to learn things, new or old, in ways they aren’t used to seeing every day, and from a new perspective. “I do really like moving schedules because some of my first semester teachers didn’t really teach well so I couldn’t to understand everything that well but now I do,” sophomore Amber MoralesSheldon said. Being in class with four or five friends versus being in class with nobody you know can have a bigger impact than students realize. Friends can affect how much work and study actually gets

done during the school day. If you are by yourself for the second part of the year, you may be able to gets more work done, and if you struggled first semester, maybe your grade will improve the other half of the year due to less distractions where you will be able to focus a lot better. “I really like new schedules cause while I’m getting new teachers I am also getting new friends in all of my classes,” Morales-Sheldon said. For teachers, getting a whole new group of students can be


The first semester has come to an end and students have moved on to new schedules with altered teachers and classmates. Students are assigned new schedules because some one-semester classes, such as health, end after first semester. Counselors also attempt to switch around students schedules so they are not exactly the same all year. “We should have the same classes all year round and not switch at the end of the first semester,” junior Anne Clampitt said. When students are put in Photo by Dennis Child

Jordyn Taylor

Should schedules switch second semester?

Junior Avi Greenfeld checks his schedule to see what new classes he has second semester.

good or bad, “I do really like it because it provides freshness for the groupings that you see in classrooms and students can get fresh perspective,” biology teacher David Bitler said. Getting a new schedule can be bittersweet because teachers have gotten to know their students so well, but sending them to other teachers allows for them to get an alternative perspective on the material.

- Emily Eichberg, commons editor

classes with teachers or students they don’t like, they get used to it by the end of the semester. By switching classes, they are made to go through dealing with a student or teacher once again. Also, if students stayed with one schedule all year long the teachers and counselors would only have to go through all the complaints about schedules one time per year. “I hate how we switch schedules halfway through the year because I always end up with a much worse schedule the second semester,” junior Trey Wilson said. Another reason why we should not switch classes halfway through the year is because counselors don’t always switch teachers for students. They are not supposed

to switch students’ classes even if a student wants to switch because he or she doesn’t like the teacher. Some of the nicer/understanding counselors do this anyway and makes it unfair for students with counselors who don’t switch students’ classes. “We would love to grant you guys the exact schedules you want but it is just impossible,” Counselor Jennifer Taylor said. “We don’t create the schedule it is all done by a computer.” Different teachers have different teaching styles and students get comfortable with their teachers’ way of teaching over the course of the first semester. At the start of the second semester, when students switch teachers, they have to find out how to learn with different teachers’ styles. “The main thing that I don’t like about switching teachers is that every teacher has a different way of teaching and it takes a while to get used to it,” Clampitt said. Switching teachers in AP classes can be detrimental to a student’s learning. It is important that students learn all of the information in AP classes and switching teachers can throw one’s learning off track. “Especially in an AP course the continuity of having the same teacher is really helpful,” Taylor said. Of course, there are students who switch into a different subject after first semester, but this should not affect everyone’s schedules. The school needs to strive to make sure that as many students as possible are left with unchanged schedules at the start of second semester. There is only a need to switch the classes for students who need to be switched because they are no longer being taken. “There is no need for these schedules to completely switch because usually students are taking no more than one or two different classes,” sophomore Nate Gilkey said. - Dennis Child, opinion editor

Common Sense Newspaper, an amazing opportunity Common Sense Editorial Every year, students ask the same questions. What class should I take next year? How can I look more appealing to colleges? What are some fun activities where I can also meet people? Almost nothing checks off all these boxes, but our school’s newspaper does. I’ve been a writer for Common Sense since 2016, and it has been one of the greatest additions to my high school career. Here are just a few of the many reasons you should join our staff. It’s fun - It may not seem like writing articles and laying out pages is a blast, but the people you’ll meet are incredibly colorful and help you along the way. You’ll meet really motivated and talented individuals who offer new perspectives on school (and life) and who are deeply passionate about the work they do for the school. Plus, it allows you to excel at what you want. If you love covering sports, newspaper lets you do that. And

nothing is as exciting as seeing the final product of the paper circulating around school with your very own contributions set in ink for all of time. It looks great for colleges - Few things are as impressive to higher-level institutions as being an editor on a newspaper. It shows not only that you are academically strong enough to advance on the staff, but also that you can be trusted with the responsibility to run an entire page. It’s another extracurricular that you can add to your resume that also happens during school, thus minimizing after-school commitments to only two days every 10 (for editors). The class itself is enjoyable - There’s nothing tricky about the class; if you complete your work on time, you are almost guaranteed an A. Additionally, the class is weighted, which is fairly uncommon for electives courses. For students who choose to take the class starting in the early half of their tenure in high school, it gives them the chance to boost your GPA while also climbing the ranks of the staff. And

while much of the class periods are dedicated to research and dissecting previous issues, it is also generally stress-free, and much of the actual article-writing can be done at home. It teaches you the importance of reporting - In times as turbulent as these, when the integrity of the press is being challenged left and right, you’ll gain a greater respect for how important it is to have a strong, free and honest press to act as a check and provide new perspectives. When you finish Journalism A (the one-semester prerequisite to taking newspaper), you will be proud to be part of a vital and instrumental institution, especially one that is so locally respected. If you aren’t quite set on the classes you’ve already signed up for, it’s never too late to switch! A newspaper is only as good as those who write for it, and the more talent and passion incoming students possess will make the paper strong for its 50th volume in the next few years.



Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Cartoon by Dani Feng

Looking, visiting early key to college search Abby Russ staff writer According to The Washington Post, there are 5,300 colleges in the United States alone and we are supposed to choose one. Facing such a big decision, students wonder when they should start planning for college? Thinking about college may seem like an intimidating task, so starting early is key. The summer before junior year is the perfect time to start planning. Not only is it the best time to start thinking about and studying for the SAT or ACT, but it is a great time to start planning for the future. Freshman and sophomore year should be focused on studying and

extracurriculars. “There is no reason for ninth and 10th graders to take practice exams. Ninth graders should be worried about the transition to high school and no the transition to college,” English and college test prep teacher Jessica Speck said. The summer before junior year allows enough time for college tours as well as studying for the standardized tests. During the summer before junior year there is a “one week summer class offered that helps students decide whether to take the ACT vs the SAT. Find out which one is better suited to your learning style and take that. There is absolutely positively no reason to take both tests,” Speck said. Senior year is going to be packed with college applications and writing essays on top of normal school work

and extracurricular activities. “Once you start junior year you won’t have time to plan ahead with everything going on. All the hard classes you will be taking as well as preparing for the standardized tests will take up tons of time,” sophomore Stephanie Povich said. Visiting colleges before senior year is important as well. You want to have an idea of what the college is like before you apply or commit to a school. Juniors are allowed just three days in the second semester to go on college tours. This may not be enough time for students to decide on a school that is well suited them. “You have to take advantage of the summer months because you have a few free months to plan and think about where you want to go and what you want to

study,” Povich said. Visiting schools before the start of junior year gives students an idea of what classes to take, as well as what scores to get on the standardized tests while leaving time for last minute college visits. “It is the best time because you haven’t gotten to the stress of junior year yet. You will be more prepared and have less to do when it comes to deciding where you want to go to college, what you want to study, and where you are actually applying,” sophomore Lilah Kauff said. When it comes time for counselor visits in December and January of junior year, students will already have an idea of their college plan and be prepared to take the next steps in the college process.

Canada trip expensive, worth substantial price Amy Weintraub staff writer Local company Ski Travel organizes a yearly “Snow Escape” trip to Canada, which is available to juniors and seniors attending Montgomery County Public Schools. The trip, popular amongst students here, is advertised to be a four-day trip to Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. There is disagreement among students about whether or not the trip is actually worth its costly expenses. The weekend getaway costs $560, which includes transportation and lodging. For students who wish to ski, rentals cost $100 but if you are unwilling to pay the extra expense, the option of bringing your own skis is given. Students recall the trip to be a fun and unforgettable experience, but claim that by the end of the trip, their wallets were cleaned out completely. “For me, Canada was

an amazing experience and skiing there was so much fun. The price of the trip is expensive but it’s nothing compared to the memories you will make with your friends,” junior Hope Rosner said. The bus ride to Canada is about 15 hours long, which some may find daunting. The trip is advertised as a four-day vacation, but when you add up being on a bus for 15 hours to get to Canada and 15 hours to get home, it takes away over a whole day of the trip. Senior Seamus Barrett felt that the bus ride to Canada was too long and uncomfortable, so he ended up buying a flight back to Maryland with a friend. “I thought the bus ride was unfortunate and I couldn’t do it again so I got a cheap flight home, which cut a 15-hour bus ride home into a two-hour plane ride,” Barrett said. On the other hand, some of the students on the trip didn’t mind the long bus ride. “I had no problem with the bus ride there or home. It was long, which was kind of

annoying but I got to bond with my friends, which made me feel closer to them. I definitely want to go on the trip again next year; I just wish that we had more time in Canada since we spent almost two days on the bus,” junior Hannah Johnston said. The Ski Travel “Snow Escape” trip to Canada was a memorable experience for all who attended. It gave students the opportunity to travel to another country with their friends, try new things, experience the Canadian culture and meet people from other schools on the trip. For students who went this year, if they go next year they can sign up to be a representative and take the trip for free, excluding expenses for food, skiing and shopping. “I thought the trip was worth the money and it was so fun that there’s no doubt I’d recommend it to others. I would advise anyone going on the trip in the future to bring extra cash but to spend it wisely,” senior Joseph Brailovsky said.

Trouble finding parking spots affects upperclassmen arrival time Justin Fishman opinion editor

One of the biggest challenges that upperclassmen face is finding parking spots so they can drive to school. For seniors, it is much easier to get a spot than it is for juniors because seniors have priority for parking. Even though juniors and seniors can both drive, juniors do not have as much of an opportunity to park as seniors do. There are only 183 spots available in the Wootton lot and 75 in the Rockshire lot, which makes the student parking situation difficult. During the first semester there are fewer seniors who drive to school than second semester, which gives juniors the chance to park at Rockshire. However, in the second semester, more seniors drive to school, which usually eliminates the spots juniors can get. Cynthia Cunningham, school secretary, is in charge of all of the parking applications that students submit. “We only have 183 spots at Wootton and 75 at Rockshire so unfortunately there are not enough spots for everyone to get,” Cunningham said. Juniors consider the parking situation unfair because seniors get almost all of the spots first semester and leave none for juniors during the second semester. Even if fewer juniors get spots than seniors, they can still carpool with their friends to school. Without the opportunity to get a spot at Rockshire or Wootton, juniors

such as Mollie Greenberg feel it is unfair to not get a chance to park close to school. “Even if only a limited number of juniors get Rockshire spots, that is still better than no juniors getting spots,” Greenberg said. Seniors also have the opportunity to participate in Dual Enrollment up the street at Montgomery College, which affects who gets parking priority. Dual Enrollment is on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so on the days that there is no Dual Enrollment, those students come to school late. These students can’t take the bus at this point in the day so they need a parking spot in order to get to school. Students like senior Corinne Bregman take Dual Enrollment and enjoy the parking benefits that dual enrollment give. “I’m fortunate to get a parking spot at Wootton both semesters and I think dual enrollment helped ensure I had a spot in the Wootton lot,” Bregman said. The parking situation is one of the most discussed issues before the school year begins and at the end of the first semester every year. As students get older, it is easier to find a ride to school because upperclassmen tend to have their licenses. Although the bus is always an option, driving to school is the more desired of the two and seniors get to experience that advantage. Mrs. Cunningham works hard to ensure the parking selection process is as fair and orderly as possible. “Parking is a senior perk that all students should be able to look forward to for their senior year,” Cunningham said.

Should seniors get priority for parking?

“No, we all have important places to be and we all drive, so juniors should have an equal chance to park.”

“Yes, seniors are the oldest in the school and should have all the priorities.”

Rory Sullivan, 11

Nashon Plummer, 12

“Yes, seniors have waited for years to “No, there are enough spots available be the oldest and this is a seniority that some juniors should be able to get Rockshire spots.” advantage they should get.” Gaby Vinick, 12

Mollie Greenberg, 11

Desgin by Alyssa Bursie, Nitya Kumar and Emily Eichberg

Love is in the Air, We’d Single Celebrations Satoshi Sato staff writer

Two people meet on a bridge in the cold night of February, greeting with warm hugs and kisses. The gentleman reaches behind him and hands the lady a heart shaped box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers with an envelope attached. The lady opens the envelope, which reveals a pink card. She flips open the card with words of “Happy Valentine’s Day.” inscribed in gold cursive. Valentine’s day is the day that celebrates the love between two people. However, not everyone in the world is either dating or married. This leaves the people who are not involved with a holiday that does not apply to them. These people who are estranged on this holiday do have their own way of enjoying their time on this February holiday. First, an individual should not sulk in the pains and embarrassment of being “that” person in a friend group that doesn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend. When a person reaches this depressive state, sulking will only make their lives more miserable. Instead of sulking when someone doesn’t have a significant other, people should enjoy this time in the ways they can by finding something enjoyable and fun to do when they are single. These could be either be group hangouts or personal relaxation. Group hangouts could be something as large as a party to even something small as a three or four friends going to the movies together. When people have other people to spend time with, they forget about what the holiday is really about and can just focus o n

what they are doing at the time and enjoy themselves. Personal relaxation could be something such as playing video games to working out. When someone is spending their time on themselves, they can do what they want and how they want. Freedom is a great way to relieve stress and have fun. “Most of the time, I just sleep,” senior Adrian Guerra said. During this time, it is a great way to catch up on some “Z’s” when students are spending time to study for RQA’s and all their classes. Student’s don’t even celebrate Valentine’s day because the holiday does not hold any significance for those that are not romantically involved. “`Because I am single, I literally do nothing,” junior James Choi said. Other students also agree with this statement because this holiday do not apply to them. “Valentines is not an important holiday,” senior Rachifa Gado said. This leads to the issue regarding the holiday: Valentine’s day. Valentine’s day is important to those that are romantically involved and have a reason to celebrate the holiday. Valentine’s day is not important for the people that do not have a significant other. It’s a holiday dilemma. The student body who are not dating find the holiday completely unnecessary and almost forget the holiday even exists. “Valentine’s day is for commercial purposes,” senior Estelle Casper said. Valentine’s day is known to be a day where couples spend time and money on each other but in the reality, the holiday is less relevant than what people think.

Cut and

Use these to spread

d make the perfect pair Celebrating day of love in love Michael Gonyo staff writer

Art by Veronika Schuermann

d Share

d the love year round

The scent of chocolate, the smell of flowers float around in the air and are noticeable every time a person tries to breathe. The pleasant taste then enters their mouth after inhaling such a beautiful smell. Combine this with the love for another person and spending the day together: Valentine’s Day at its finest. There are people who spend the day alone, but here there are plenty of couples who have the privilege of spending the day together. Each of these couples believe that having a significant other is important for Valentine’s day, and they also agree that keeping the relationship intact through this holiday is just as crucial, and extremely worth it. It is not easy, though, to maintain the relationship, especially in school. There must be work put in by both sides for the relationship to work out so that they get the privilege of spending “the day of love” together. Freshman couple Ariya Johnson and Koen Beasley are both excited to see what’s in store for Valentine’s day. Beasley said, “I think having a person who I love and who loves me back is extremely meaningful for Valentine’s day. We can do a lot together and have fun without worrying about being lonely on such a special day.” To make everything work in school “communication is key and it’s great knowing someone cares so much about me,” Johnson said. Both are looking forward to it with “nothing but joy and excitement,” Beasley said. Another couple felt the same way

about Valentine’s Day, but their plans was more set in stone. Senior couple Max Ramsay and Eva Kolb, both very well-known around school, have experience in spending this day together. They have been together for over five years and it has been “far from perfect, obviously, but always worth it and works out in the end,” Ramsay said. Kolb followed on Ramsay’s comment and said, “when you’re together for as long as Max and I have been, you just know how to work through issues. No matter what, we always communicate and know that, in the end, everything will be fine. That’s because we know how much love we have for each other.” Ramsay was excited to talk about his Valentine’s Day plans where he is going to be “taking Eva out to a nice dinner date and spending the night together at his place watching movies,” he said. The number of relationships in high school is increasing, according to the Huffington Post. However, only “1-2 percent of these last longer than college,” and article from the Huffington Post said. Work must be put in to keep the relationship together, but this also shows that people still accomplish being together for a long time. This means Valentine’s Day is a tradition and having a relationship is special for people on this day of love. Spending time alone on Valentines is not always bad, but couples here have expressed the joy it brings. While it’s hard to maintain the relationship in school, they believe it to be worth it, which makes Valentine’s Day even more special to them.


Common Sense |February 20, 2018


Juniors tour colleges over break From the inside Students take advantage of time off to begin college process

Although spring break is a great time for college visits, it is hard to visit all potential schools. Students tend to look at school in different parts of the country, and spring break As spring break comes around the corner, juniors are is not long enough to visit schools too far apart from each beginning to plan their college visits. Junior year is the time other. Try finding schools closer to each other and go from where students buckle down and get serious about their there. Junior Grace Youngstrom is touring colleges in general futures. areas. “I am planning on Spring break is a great visiting multiple schools in opportunity for students Southern Maryland and if to travel around and visit there is time me and my mom potential colleges. Junior want to visits schools in New Kyra Goldstein has started York as well. Those are my planning her college visits top two locations as of now,” for spring break. “Me and Youngstrom said. my mom are planning on Throughout the year, going to Florida for the first there are days we have part of spring break and visit off school. Students take colleges in that area. For the advantage of these no second half my dad and I school days and go on day are going to visit colleges visits at nearby colleges. in Pennsylvania. Penn State When planning these tours, is one of my top choices,” the sooner one signs up the Goldstein said. better, because these spots When visiting colleges, fill up quick. Feb. 19 was a it is important to expand holiday; this is an opportunity your horizons. Look at for a college visit. On that schools with a variety in size, day, Elon University had alternative locations, and 1200 students tour, 600 is various majors. Even if one the morning and 600 in the school may be one’s dream afternoon. school, it is good to visit When students decide and apply to others and have Junior Marc Laibstain begins planning his college visits over to go on college visits with spring break, including Elon University in Elon, NC. options. their friends, sometimes their Junior Marc Laibstain own goals for their future can is visiting colleges with his family over spring break, and deciding what kind of school he likes the most. “I’m just be diminished by the need to stay close to friends. Every now beginning to plan my college visits, but me and my student has their own desires for their future. Whether that parents want to look at a big, medium, and small size school. is college, military, or anything else, junior year is the time I think I want to go to a big school, but my parents want me for students to start setting their paths beyond high school, and spring break is an opportunity that junior should take to look at others before I make a decision,” Laibstain said. advantage of. Hannah Shapiro features editor

Photo by Hannah Shapiro

Students lighten course load with summer school Christina Liu staff writer

a lot of students take courses over the summer,” Varela said. No honors courses are offered over the summer for students retaking a class they did not pass. “There are very few summer courses offered, and the ones that are offered are just the most basic academic programs that are required for graduation because they

Infographic by Hannah Shapiro

Rachel Wei editor-in-chief People eagerly join lines that span nearly a block of New York City. The excitement and anticipation is palpable as they stream into the theater, greeted by spiffed up ushers, beverage stands offering themed drinks in souvenir cups and merchandise tables featuring everything from CDs to T-shirts. If you have never experienced the above, you’re missing out. The magic of live theater cannot be adequately expressed in words: You have to be there yourself. As a theater nerd who loves being whisked away to another world as a member of the audience or cast, going to a play or musical is one of my favorite things (bravo if you just got that reference). Although movies can make audience members feel immersed in a different world, the big screen cannot compare to live theater. With actual living, breathing, sweating, dancing, singing actors in front of them, audience members in a theater are drawn into the story in a very real and moving way. Actors often include taking the audience away from reality for two and half hours as one of their goals as a performer. In the productions I’ve seen here, on Broadway, and in the D.C. area, I often feel jolted back to reality when the lights come on during intermission. As a member of the Young Artists of America, a musical theater training organization, I’ve come to appreciate the work of every person involved in the production of a live show. The director, conductor, set, lighting and costume designers, and the actors all work together to create a story that is worth sharing. Speaking from personal experience, creating a professional, seamless and touching production is no easy feat. It requires hundreds of hours of hardwork and dedication. As a performer myself, I admire and respect actors who are able to create complex characters and essentially become another person when they’re performing. Being a performer requires actors to step out of their comfort zone, conduct research (as appropriate) on their characters and delve deep emotionally. Sitting in Sidney Harman Hall in D.C. at a production of Hamlet last week, I was reminded of why I love live theater so much. No performance of a live show is ever repeated; each one is different because the actors are not frozen in time. There is no “final tape” with all imperfections and bloopers removed. One night an actor could trip while exiting the stage, a lift may not work, forcing the actor to improvise on the spot. Another performance, an understudy may be on, requiring the whole cast to adjust as necessary. Live theater is full of surprises, and twists and turns. Perhaps most impactful is live theater’s ability to convey important messages to the audience that stay with them. Shows that explore what it means to be human and the complexities of life can be powerful motivators of change. Dear Evan Hansen discusses teen suicide and anxiety, encouraging discussion and awareness of the impacts of social media on teens. The show also explores the challenges of raising a teenager. Anastasia, which may seem like just a princess fairytale, discusses the impact of memory loss on identity (like The Sirens of Titan) and the importance of family in a child’s development. Wicked tells the story of a girl who is shunned by strangers and family because of her green skin. It warns against prejudice and explores what it means to stand up for what’s right. Live theater is respectable, admirable and thought-provoking. It’s worth giving a try the next time a show is playing that appeals to you, or you’re about to head to the movies. You just might leave the theater with a newfound respect for the arts. Photo by Rachel Wei

June 13: the day when students are finally released after completing another year of school. After a twoweek break, nearly every students’ nightmare begins: summer school. MCPS offers a small range of courses to choose from, including the most basic math, English, science, and history courses. Health and Foundations of Computer Science are also offered. Counselor Jose Varela does not usually recommend taking summer courses unless Information from Montgomery County Public Schools students fail a class or if students need more room in their schedule. “Summer school isn’t something I recommend are just meant to be credit recovery, unless students fail a class. Students not learning material. Most classes are should be off interning, relaxing, or meant for students who need to retake working during the summer,” Varela a class.” Varela said. Senior Young Kim recommends said. taking health over the summer for two The two most common courses reasons. “It was really nice to have the taken over the summer are health and option to take health over the summer Foundations of Computer Science. because there were a lot of electives I “Specifically for Wootton, students take wanted to take during the school year. health because it helps add flexibility I didn’t want to waste any time taking for taking electives in their schedule. required courses, so taking health over Taking the technology credit over the summer is a great way to get it over the summer is also common because with. I highly recommend students to people who are in AOIT and STARS take whichever courses they can over need another credit, but typically, not

the summer so their school schedules have more classes they enjoy,” Kim said. Kim has also taken other courses over the summer. “I’ve taken Matter and Energy during freshman summer in order to take more AP science classes, and a research project, which was a required course for STARS. People normally think summer courses are awful, but taking these classes over the summer was actually really fun.” Freshman Merril Heitz is glad to have the option to take courses over the summer. “Even though a lot of my friends are still taking health at school, I’m planning to take the online health course because I don’t have any time in my schedule next year. I don’t want to waste a class period even if health is only one semester long, so it’s nice to have this option,” Heitz said. The MCPS brochure states that students can choose to attend any one of these four schools to take summer courses; Northwood, Walter Johnson, Watkins Mill and Wootton. All schools meet face-to-face daily, except Wootton, which functions as a blended online learning site. Registration starts in the spring on the MCPS website.

The magic of live theater

Senior Rachel Wei attends a production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on Broadway in NYC.



Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Senior helps freshmen thrive, survive high school

applications since I was 10, take your time. It is important to do well in your early years, but worrying about where you want to go as a freshman is not needed. “When you get to senior year, so many of the little things from freshman Looking back at my four years in high school, they were year seem small,” senior Gabe Pollack said. “Focus on your long. grades because you want to There were times that I thought I was do well, not because you not going to make it to the successful, want to get into college.” relaxing, happy life that I am currently living Learn how to get help. as a second semester senior. Find a teacher in a subject Here are some tips and tricks to that you may struggle with navigating the halls of high school. and stick with them for the First of all, find your people. For a young rest of your time here; it will student, these halls may seem daunting. By prove helpful eventually. finding a group of people you vibe with, Teachers are there to help high school will be more tolerable. These you, not to watch you fail. “I people may be different from those you love Mr. Burnham,” Hodes surrounded yourself with in past years, but said. “Even when I do not that is OK. High school is all about finding have him I still can get help yourself and creating your own identity, and from him in math.” the first step to doing that is to find people High school can be who are like you and to shed your skin from tricky, but it can also be middle school. the best four years of your Second, I suggest you get ready for life. Do not rush it, enjoy change. This is something that I struggled it while it lasts. Before you with during most of my time here --know it, as cheesy as it between classes, friends, school work and Seniors Hannah Vinner, Deanna Schaeffer, Gaby Vinick, Katie Schreck, Sara Hodes, Sofia Weinstein and Margot sounds, you will be in your everything in between, change is inevitable, Bartol hang out with each other at a BBYO conference on Jan. 13. The group has been friends since freshman year. second semester senior year, so you might as well accept it now. “A lot watching your friends pick changed for me coming into high school,” me when I was applying to colleges,” senior Hannah Vinner schools across the country and begging for high school not senior Sara Hodes said. “Changing classes each semester was said. to end. the biggest one for me.” Contrary to what I just said, do not worry about college I am sure you hear this every direction you turn, but too early. Take it from someone who has been worried about Katie Schreck managing editor

your grades matter, so make them count. Not to scare you now, but your grades as an underclassman might come back to haunt you. Your GPA follows you through high school, which is something often forgotten by students. “I am really happy I worked so hard as an underclassman, it really helped

Photo by Katie Schreck

Best electives to fill schedule

it was not easy to register for sophomore year,” Riker said, “but I was excited to take guitar because it seemed like an interesting In the typical high school schedule, seven challenge for me.” In junior Nick Gracyalny’s opinion, classes fill up seven hours of every hectic students should not stress themselves too school day. The process of registering for much over choosing their classes. Although each corresponding slot can be an anxious he could see himself going into the field and exciting for some, while confident of accounting someday, Gracyalny chose to students may enjoy swiftly clicking away as apply to take AP Human Geography in his their schedule for senior year as the upcoming he still wants to year is compiled. enjoy learning At the same about a variety time, conflicted of topics in his students may be final year here. staring blankly at a “My advice computer screen, would be to do hovering through what you wanna check-boxes and do,” Gracyalny clouds of stress. said. T h a n k f u l l y, When asked if the conflicted what electives student is you in they thought the aforementioned were popular, scenario, there is the interviewees’ no need to panic. a n s w e r s Even if it is edging included team toward March and sports, yearbook you still are not sure and golf. The you have made the inter viewees right decision, there then argued that are always peers Sophomore Paniz Khajoee works on a project during these classes are ceramics, a fine arts elective course. and advisors to help most popular make the choice because they easier and find the offer a break in the day for students who plan best electives to help fill up your schedule. When junior Andrea Chen received her to take challenging courses. “PE classes are registration card in December, she was already good schedule-fillers because they’re fun and certain that she wanted to apply for a class fulfill requirements and they offer a break that would prepare her for a future involving from academics,” Chen said. Unfortunately, there is not a clear method leadership. She pursued the opportunity to be for everyone in picking electives to fill their involved in Student Government Association schedules. “I’m not sure what advice I could and was accepted into the class for the give to anyone but I solved my schedule upcoming school year. “I’m taking SGA problem by looking for easier classes,” Riker because I know I will be more experienced in said. planning and giving back to my community, If you are faced with a scheduling and I get to have class with unique, talented dilemma, the best strategy may be to fill out people,” Chen said. your remaining schedule with electives that On the other hand, freshman Jeffrey will ease your load for the following year, Riker was not immediately ready to register while also keeping you interested. “The best for the upcoming year but eventually decided way to pick out your classes I think is to to take the elective class Guitar 1. “For me, explore new options,” Chen said. Brian Myers features editor

Gamers rush to play ‘Fortnite’

Photo by Brian Myers

on Fortnite. It’s unnecessary to pay for that when you could just play the free mode that’s just as fun,” freshman Ryan Feldman Do you ever feel like you need an extra said. As of this month, more than 40 med kit or one more shield potion to get million people have downloaded Fortnite, a you through the school day? Or even just a heavy increase compared to the 30 million golden SCAR to lift your spirits? announced in December. The game also The game, Fortnite Battle Royale is a copeaked at more than two million people op sandbox survival video game developed playing it simultaneously recently. by Epic Games and People Can Fly, the Fortnite is not just played for strict former publishing the game. The game entertainment purposes. “I play Fortnite was released as a paid early access title for with some of my camp friends and it’s a Microsoft Windows, macOS, Playstation 4 great way for us to talk and have fun while and Xbox One on July 25, 2017, with a full in different states,” sophomore Daniel free-to-play release expected in 2018. Rudden said. In Fortnite, there are two main battle Sophomore Matthew Kopsidas recently modes, “Battle Royale” and “Save the sustained an ankle injury, making an active World.” “Battle Royale” is a free 100-player kid like himself not able to participate in PvP mode which was released on Sept. 26, the practices 2017. You are able to and activities play by yourself, with he’s used to on one other teammate, a regular basis. Fortnite is just or with a squad of four “Not being able a really fun, teammates. Fortnite to play soccer can be played on PC, addictive game for the next few Playstation 4, Xbox that I love to play months is going One and Mac. “Battle by myself and to be hard. But, Royale” is available as with my friends playing Fortnite a free download on to have a good helps pass the the Epic Games PC time. time and get launcher, Playstation my mind off store, and Xbox store. my injury,” Ryan Mariani, The “Save Kopsidas said. junior the World” mode O t h e r is described as a students don’t co-op sandbox understand what survival game and is all the hype is about exploration, about. “What scavenging items, makes this crafting weapons, game so much building fortified better than the structures and fighting rest of them?” waves of humanoid Junior Maddie zombie-like creatures Grainger said. that attack the living. Students Tim Sweeney, Epic’s founder, described the find it hard to say exactly what it is about game as, “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead.” the game that makes them like it or why However, “Save the World” has a price. it’s so popular. “Fortnite is just a really fun, To be able to play “Save the World”, you addictive game that I love to play by myself need to pay $39.99, so the “Battle Royale” game mode is more popular. “I don’t know and with my friends to have a good time,” anyone that plays the Save the World Mode junior Ryan Mariani said. Josh Levine staff writer

Features 14 To students, parents: if you’re sick, stay home Common Sense | February 20, 2018

they hit. When winter comes, so do the sniffles. And when the flu hits, it hits the school hard. So if you feel sick, stay at home and do not subject the rest of the school to your

Matthew Lind back page editor

Photo by Matthew Lind

Dear all sick students and their parents, Sick students: Don’t come to school. Parents who insist on sending their kids to school: fix your parenting. Most students know the feeling of waking up on the morning of a big test and feeling like absolute garbage. The option of ‘toughing it out’ for just one day to not get behind on work or miss important assignments or lectures is always there, but please, in the interest of everyone else who has to be at school with your flu or cold ridden body, just take the day off. High school is a stressful time for everyone and the thought of missing a day of school can often send kids into a frantic state of worrying. Illnesses appear to come at the most inopportune times, striking just when you need to be at peak physical and mental capacity. Being sick is terrible and having to make up work is no better, but it is not worth getting everyone else sick so you can take that one quiz and not have to stay after school for the make-up. Nobody wants to sit at a germ ridden desk where someone, unbeknownst to an innocent healthy student, has been wiping their snot all over throughout the last period. Illnesses spread like wildfire in schools and their presence can immediately be felt throughout the entire school when

Senior Sidney Levine blows his nose during class, trying not to spread germs to surrounding students.

Take notes of these gym do’s, don’ts Chloe Perel news editor

Forget about the flu, senioritis is coming for you

around you will be transferring to Planet Fitness because of the “gym-timidation” you’re providing. Don’t focus on bulking one area of your body: Skipping leg day is a worldwide issue that unfortunately, has not been addressed at the federal level. Muscle proportion is key. You don’t want to wake up one day with your legs to small to uphold your swole upper body. Trust me, I’ve been there. People who only work upper-body have been mocked for centuries. From people solely doing bench presses with dinosaur bones to doing tricep extensions with the gold from the California gold rush, it’s time to stop. Just tone your entire body. Eat healthy: A balanced diet is key. Carbo-load before you workout and replenish with protein afterwards. A personal favorite of mine is Whey Protein shakes. The great thing about Whey is that it can also be added to any meal. Personally, I think it goes great atop a nice slow-smoked salmon. Photo by Chloe Perel

Your “wcw” drives 10 minutes to get to her local gym. She runs on the treadmill for half an hour and then leaves. Your “mcm” does 20 reps of 10 dumbbell shrugs every day. You can’t tell where his traps end and his neck begins. If you’re trying to master the gym game, literally, be the opposite of these people. Disclaimer: If you don’t know gym jargon, have google nearby. Use proper lifting techniques: If you want to surpass other athletes, you have to think inside the box. Techniques are there to ensure safety and maximum results. Don’t just create a new lifting style because it’s easier. Please, don’t DIY. You don’t want to get your legs to a full 90 degree angle when squatting? Too bad. If you’re going to bend your legs to 120 degrees, you may as well be standing. Try to get the blood flowing a little. It’s good for you. Try to minimize noise when lifting: Even If you’re truly about the #gains movement, you don’t have to let everyone else in a 100 foot radius know it. Doing an overhead press is no excuse to be grunting like it’s the Australian Open, especially if you don’t add any plates on your bar. You may believe it’s intimidating. It’s not. It’s annoying. Also, don’t throw your weights down when you’re done with a rep. A nice drop is fine but you’re not trying to break the floor. Don’t try to prove anything. Be humble. Wear actual workout clothes: Despite popular opinion, the old men working out in khakis and jeans are not the most knowledgeable fitness gurus. If you see a young gym prodigy working out in something to the extent of overalls, help them. Guide them down the right path. Claiming that you’re above brand-names isn’t a power move. If you want to seem like a gym veteran, brandnames are the way to go. Everybody

Jordyn Taylor senior features editor After seven high school semesters full of dreadful hours of homework and studying, months of preparing for the ACT/SAT, and endless work and stress put into college applications, seniors are finally finished... almost. We have reached second semester, the time of the year we’ve all been waiting for, and senioritis begins to kick in more than ever before. While most seniors at this point are either committed or have an idea of where they are going to school next year, most begin slacking. Although it’s extremely easy to catch senioritis, we must attempt to put effort into our schoolwork as second semester grades are sent to our colleges. Cases of senioritis vary from senior to senior. While some begin slacking by not completing any homework, rarely studying, and skipping school frequently, others will complete their homework and study, just not as often as before. It seems like seniors who have officially committed to college catch the worst case of senioritis, while seniors who are still waiting to hear from a few colleges aren’t as seriously affected. “I am still waiting on a few colleges that I am considering going to so I am not slacking as much as most of my friends. However, since I have heard from the majority of my schools, I’ll admit that I am not putting in as much effort as I used to,” senior Allison Geringer said,



Junior Shaomeng Hou completes a successful workout while using Perel’s tips.

illness. To parents, stop forcing sick children to go to school. Sometimes, extra work will be required and accommodations may have to be made to ensure the health of your child. This is a sacrifice that should be taken in the interest of your child and all the other students who will be exposed to them. Regardless of what a child is saying about the work he has in school that day, if he or she is sick, tell them to stay home. Their work can wait and a single absence is not worth the added stress of a school day when they should be resting at home. If someone has a fever, they need to stay home until their fever has gone away for at least 24 hours. This is a rule that is often disregarded, contributing to the rapid spread of illnesses in schools. Allow ample time for recovery, as there is no way a student can do their best work fighting an illness, so parents, do not push them to fight through sickness, tell them to rest. As a parent and a student, a decision must be made to decide if going to a school is a necessary risk. A small cough is not a valid reason to stay home so it is important to accurately assess the degree of your sickness. The only person who knows how sick you are is yourself, just do not wait until everyone else at school can tell also. Sincerely, Everyone else who would prefer to stay healthy

Some seniors even claim that their senioritis began from the start of high school. “Looking back, I wish I didn’t slack as much. Although it may not seem like a simple assignment matters in ninth grade, every assignment affects your overall GPA,” senior Zack Lechner said. Even some grades received as a seventh grader have an impact on students’ GPAs, so it’s important to put in as much effort as possible from the beginning. Then, there are those seniors who are a rare species. They are committed to college, yet throughout second semester put in as much effort, maybe more effort, as they did from the start of freshman year. These students strive to finish off high school with a bang by continuing to put hours into their homework and studying each night. They must be respected, as no ordinary second semester senior is like this. “School has always been my number one priority, although I’m committed I still put lots of time into completing all of my work,” senior Grace Llewellyn said. If you are a senior and haven’t been diagnosed by senioritis yet, be careful because it is extremely contagious. Think of this like the Hunger Games: you want to be the last one to survive, and so far you are doing relatively well considering that the majority of seniors are extremely suffering with this deathly disease. Make sure to stay away from all who show symptoms such as skipping school, not completing any work, and receiving failing grades. Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.


The Post illuminates lessons from past defense of the country. Graham decides to still publish the papers knowing the risks. Already knowing what was coming, the The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg, gives an inside Nixon administration calls The Post and warns them to look into the controversy of the releasing of the Pentagon stop publishing the stories, but they refuse. Soon, The Papers in 1971, during the Vietnam War. During the war, Washington Post and The New York Times become an unlikely a study was written exposing government secrets that said team, knowing they are rival newspapers, and both go to that the Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy administrations all the Supreme Court against the Nixon administration to lied to the public about the progress of the war, when they decide whether or not the companies can reveal to the world these government’s schemes. knew the U.S. could not win. This movie gives an in-depth example of what the In the film, The New York Times gets hold of these First Amendment is all about. Challenging the press just papers, and starts to publish, but immediately gets sent to to protect the welfare of the White House’s reputation court by the Nixon administration. The Washington Post, at instead of the American people questions the First the time a struggling local paper, found out what happened Amendment all together. This amendment is for the people, and wanted a piece of the so if something is action. The motivated hidden from the editor-in-chief of The public, especially Post, Ben Bradlee, played on the topic of the by Tom Hanks, finds a people’s safety, then way to get possession what is the point of of all the papers. This it at all? puts the publisher, This movie Katherine Graham, is interesting in played by Meryl Streep, learning about how in a difficult position. The theatrical poster for “The Post” pictures Streep’s and Hanks’ characters on the the government Capitol steps, awaiting the start of their battle with the Nixon administration. The Washington Post handles problems originally belonged to like these. It shows how the U.S. can try to get away Graham’s father, when he died it was passed down to with anything to help them look like the most powerful Graham’s husband. After her husband’s death the company nation in the world. Even if that means doing whatever fell into her hands. Being the country’s first female it takes to make sure truths don’t come out to the public, publisher, Graham had a lot of weight on her shoulders. During the time period, women did not have leading even though they have the right to know. The acting by Streep and Hanks is phenomenal, as roles in many jobs. Graham was put to a test to show that proven by the abundance of awards they are nominated women can make history too. She has to go against her for, including Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden coworkers telling her there are too many risks to printing Globe awards for both Best Actor and Best Actress and the papers. More importantly, she ran The Washington Post Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble. on her own. The Post has also been nominated for an Academy The Washington Post staff all know the risk of publishing Award for Best Picture and will go against Get Out, Lady the Pentagon Papers. Even though they have the right of Bird, The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, Phantom free speech and press, the Nixon administration will still Thread, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour. go after them stating that it jeopardizes the safety and Sarah Levine staff writer

Photo courtesy Google Commons

Netflix Originals and Chill: the best original shows on site Demi Ellenbogen staff writer

political rivalries that play a big role in shaping the 20th Century. The Crown won the Golden Globe Award for best television series in 2016. Black Mirror Black Mirror came out in 2011 and was picked up by Netflix in 2015. Black Mirror highlights controversial topics such as society’s dependence

Views of each show in the first 30 days (in millions)

The Crown


Black Mirror

The most successful Netflix orignal series so far has been “Stranger Things,” as it brings in over 21 million viewers in its first month of release.

on technology. Each episode explores a twisted world where humanity’s inventions and dark instincts collide. “This show emphasizes the negative effects technology has on people’s actions and is really entertaining to watch,” sophomore Jonathan Lee said. Orange is the New Black In 2013, Orange is the New Black debuted. The series is based on a book

with the same title. The story follows Piper Chapman, a successful business women, whose past catches up with her and causes her to end up in prison. The audience watches as she adjusts to her new life behind bars, as she makes friends with unusual people. 13 Reasons Why The book 13 Reasons Why was released in 2007 and the show premiered in 2017. 13 Reasons Why is filmed from two perspectives- Hannah’s and Clay’s. Hannah is a high school girl who takes her own life, and two weeks later Clay, Hannah’s classmate who had a crush on her, receives a mysterious box filled with cassette tapes explaining the 13 reasons, or people, that led to Hannah’s suicide. Clay is tempted to listen to the tapes as he needed to know why he made her list. Although people praised this show for bringing the controversial topics of bullying, rape, and suicide to light, there were also debates about whether or not the content was too mature for the target audience. 13 Reasons Why includes graphic depictions of rape and suicide, which professionals and parents do not think are appropriate for the audience. Also, the idea of one blatantly blaming others for their suicide was not well received by many viewers. The show did get amazing reviews. Ending in a cliffhanger, viewers were left wanting to know what happens next.

Downsizing deeply disappoints Elana Tinelli staff writer Just as the people in the movie Downsizing shrink, so did my enjoyment. Downsizing takes place in the near future where humans can make the irreversible choice of shrinking to help the environment. According to the, “His latest film Downsizing is his highest concept project to date – it’s about the human race becoming too big for its own good, and the necessity to shrink down to gain a perspective of where we all went wrong. “ The movie’s plot follows an average middle aged married couple, Paul and Karen Safrank. Having recently fallen on financially hard times, Paul and Karen discover the process of downsizing. By shrinking themselves they not only get to live in a luxury small community, they also are solving the Earth’s overpopulation issue. According to the, “So here we have Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig as a stereotypical married couple incredibly bored with their jobs and life. They exist in a world where a company has developed the cure for overpopulation – shrinking humans down to pint size so their carbon footprint is reduced.” Paul Frank is an occupational therapist. He soon becomes a pitiful character due to his mother’s sickness, having everything fall apart when he becomes small, and his wife divorces him. Matt Damon, who plays Paul, is all over the place. He plays Paul in aloof manner, rushing from one scene to the other. The said, “Damon goes so far as to make his character seem practically comatose. Why does Paul want to shrink himself ? Because his life is boring. What happens after he shrinks himself ? His life stays boring.” There are a few things that make a movie good. One is that is well directed so the movie flows well. Downsizing was directed by Adam Payne. His work is usually received well, but this latest movie falls short. According to The, “His typically acid wit and subtle gift for quiet demonstrations of empathy have seemingly been shrunk to microscopic size in this film, and I could not locate them for the life of me.” A movie has to keep its viewing audience entertained, not bored wishing the movie was over. Downsizing just couldn’t keep their audience happy. Meena Zoks, a freshman said, “The movie really wasn’t my taste. I found it too long and boring.” A good movie can’t be too long. The Atlantic. com said, “But in two hours and 15 minutes, the only insight the movie offers is that stagnation is part of existence, and that while we probably can’t stop the world from ending with unbelievable scientific breakthroughs, all that matters is that humans are there for each other.” Photo courtesy Google Commons

Stranger Things

Infographic by Julia Stern

Netflix started with streaming movies and TV shows online and on DVD. Netflix then began streaming original content. There are two types of Netflix originals- shows created and produced by Netflix, and shows from cable TV that Netflix picked up and made additional seasons of. In 2013, Netflix launched their first original series, House of Cards and has released 125 originals since. If you are in need of something new to binge watch, here are the top five Netflix Originals: Stranger Things Stranger Things was released July 15, 2016 and the media has been raving about it ever since. The show is science fiction/ horror thriller that follows the search for a missing boy named Will Byers. Will’s friends, along with his mom Joyce, encounter terrifying twists and turns during their journey. “I love the concepts of this show and every episode had twists that blew my mind,” sophomore Zane Cohen said. The Crown The Crown is a TV drama that debuted in November of 2016. The story chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth beginning with her early reign as queen and leads viewers through her personal interests, romances, and


Common Sense | February 20, 2018

The theatrical poster for “Downsizing” features a shrunken Matt Damon, looking hopeful toward his new life.



jv rundown Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Girls’ Basketball

Coach resigns after disappointing year Jill Geline senior sports editor

game. The Patriots tried to play together as a team with all hopes of winning the game, but they fell short. For the second time this season, the Patriots faced the Clarksburg Coyotes. Instead of playing on the road, the Coyotes visited the Patriots this time. The Coyotes pulled away early from the Patriots, making it tough for the Patriots to catch up to them. In their second to last game of the season, the Patriots lost 52-22. The final game of the season for the Patriots was against the Quince Orchard Cougars. Dyer took lead of this game for the Patriots, giving tons of ideas for them to execute. Whether it be a play that she felt was good to be run in a certain point in the game, or just telling them to not foul because they had too many fouls already, the team listened to everything that she had to say. The Patriots lost this game, 61-16, a tough way to end a season. “We had a really good season overall and we improved a lot. Because of this, we all became really close friends,” sophomore Sabrina Shah said. Through ups and downs this season, with their coach, and a lot of injuries, the team came together as one, and realized that while they wanted to win their games, what they really wanted even more was to learn new skills and have fun while they were doing so. “The season started out rough, but by the end we had become such a close team and showed a huge improvement. I had so much fun,” freshman Leah Starr said. All players showed a ton of improvement since the first day of practice, which is what a junior varsity team should bring out of a player. “Our record doesn’t mean much because we all had so much fun as a team and together we all improved so much from our first scrimmage to our final game,” freshman Maya Erd said. Infographic by Ethan Reff

Going way back to a 39-25 loss for the JV girl’s team against the Northwest Jaguars on Jan. 10, the team looked for improvement. But, they just did not get that wish. The Patriots only won two games throughout the entire season. The Patriots were having some issues with their coach and as the season continued, these issues were continuing to get worse. Certain things happened that resulted in their coach resigning, and he will not be continuing next year. This required varsity coach Maggie Dyer to take control of both the junior varsity and varsity girls’ basketball programs. It was a lot to handle for Dyer to be in charge of both programs, so she looked for help. Teachers Kearney Blandamer and Lesley Stroot were willing to lend a helping hand. The sisters used to be field hockey coaches here, when the field hockey team went to the state championships. On Jan. 16, the Patriots travelled to Springbrook to play against the Blue Devils. The Patriots did come away from the game winning, which resulted in their second and final win of the season. Toward the end of the game, the score was getting pretty close, but with the thought of winning in their mind, the Patriots persevered, and continued to play their best. Then on Jan. 19, the Patriots were on the road again when they travelled to Gaithersburg to fight off the Trojans. Gaithersburg had a physical team, which was a little too much too handle for the Patriots. The Patriots got dominated in this game, and the running clock came into play when the Trojans went up by more than 35 in the second half. Up next for the Patriots was another tough team, the

Richard Montgomery Rockets. This was the second meeting between the two teams. It was a close game for the entire time, with the Rockets winning 34-23. The Patriots were happy with they way that they played in this game, as they only lost by 11 points to a strong team. The Patriots came back home to play against the

Wheaton Gladiators on Jan. 26. With Wheaton usually being one of the less skilled teams in the county, the Patriots were hoping to get another win out of this game. Their hopes were quickly shattered when the Gladiators went up early in the first quarter, leaving the Patriots behind for the entire

Boys’ Basketball

Leaders moved up to play with varsity Jack Moskowitz and freshman Miller Romm, the Patriots came out of the half fast, opening up the third quarter on a 12-2 run. As the third quarter After a great home win against Clarksburg, the came to an end, the Patriots found themselves right Patriots looked to ride the momentum into their back in the game, with the score at 40-36. Toward next two road games against Northwest on Jan. 10 the end of the game the Patriots were down by two and Richard Montgomery on Jan. 12. with just over a minute left. First they took on Northwest, in a tightly Trying to lift his team to their fourth straight contested game the whole way through. With the win, Romm pulled up for a jumper, but, it fell short game on the line, Northwest hit and the Patriots dropped to a shot with 20 seconds left, which 7-6 on the season. ended up being the decider as the “We need to be better Patriots fell 53-52. down the stretch in those “It was a tough road loss, but close games,” freshman guard we need to keep our heads up Thomas Jezek said. and move on,” freshman forward After the tough loss, the Ryan Feldman said. team continued to stumble, That’s exactly what they did, losing their next two games winning their next three games on the road, against Wheaton against RM, Springbrook on Jan. on Jan. 26, and Clarksburg 16 and Gaithersburg on Jan. 19 on Jan. 29. As the Patriots by a combined score of 54 points. season was coming to an end, With the three wins their record they looked to end on a high improved to 7-5 on the season. note in their last game against “Since the beginning of Freshman Ryan Feldman takes a layup Quince Orchard. Moskowitz the season we knew we could against Clarksburg on Jan. 29. lead the way with 15 points, as be a good team, and now it’s the Patriots ended their shaky finally translating to the court,” season with a close 61-59 win sophomore forward Edward Dolan said. at home. Next they were set to play RM for the second Since the varsity basketball team still had time in 10 days on Jan. 23. Early on, it looked as six games remaining in their season schedule if RM was going to run away with the game. Late until playoffs, five JV players were brought up to in the first quarter they held an early lead of 20-6. varsity. That includes Moskowitz, Dolan, Feldman, Momentum never shifted before the halftime break sophomore forward Will Agen, and freshman guard as the Rockets led 30-18. As the second half began, Jacob Kravitz. the Patriots were in desperate need for a run of their “It’s an honor to move up to varsity, it’s a own. dedication to all of the hard work that has finally Led by their two starting guards, sophomore paid off for me,” Agen said. Jack Rothenberg staff writer


Black Lightning Drew Shrager, staff writer

takes Rockville Pike Reviews Honeygrow Alyssa Bursie, commons editor


Pros, Cons of Assigned Seats Rachel Berman, staff writer

Photo courtesy Lifetouch


XFL Makes Comeback

Joe Pohoryles, front page editor


Zoey Goldberg; Wesleyan College Sport: Basketball

Common Sense | February 20, 2018

From the fields to the courts Wootton’s best take their talents to a whole new level Amanda Jordan: Columbia University Sport: Field Hockey

Eric Lu: New York University Sport: Swimming

Caroline Wang: Clark University Sport: Soccer


“I love the balance between academics and athletics at Columbia” -Amanda



Alex Poltorak: Carnegie Mellon Sport: Soccer


“I’m excited to go play the sport I love next year” -Elijah Trent Villanova commit

Fatima Bouzid: St.Mary’s (MD) Sport: Volleyball Elijah Trent: Villanova University Sport: Football

Jill Geline: Ithica College Sport: Soccer

“I am so thankful for my coach Dave Geiser, he’s

“Without my coaches help I dont know if I could have made it this far”

helped me so much” -Eleni Panagopoulos

-Andie stave Colorado commit


Eleni Panagopoulos: St.Mary’s (MD) Sport: Volleyball

Caroline Reynolds: Johns Hopkins University Sport: Soccer

Andie Stave: University of Colorado Sport: Lacrosse

“I’m happy to be continuing my career with the Gamecocks”

Joseph Brailovsky: University of South Carolina Sport: Tennis

- Joseph Brailovsky South Carolina commit

“I love the balance between academics and athletics at Columbia”

Chanel Lucas: St.Mary’s (MD) Sport: Volleyball



St.Mary’s commit

Jillian Gonzales: Army Sport: Soccer

All photos by Miller Romm




Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Goldberg reaches 1,000

Star hits point benchmark, gives team hope for strong playoff push Sam Greene senior sports editor

and five steals. “Scoring 1,000 points has been one of the highlights of my career. Coach Dyer and my teammates put me in a

Photo courtesy Zoey Goldberg

Looking to make a late playoff push, the team battled at home against Clarksburg on Jan. 29. It was a close battle throughout, as the Patriots were only down by two heading into the fourth quarter. However, they were unable to outscore the Coyotes in the fourth quarter, and ended up losing 55-50. As usual, senior Zoey Goldberg led the offensive attack with 20 points. Senior Aliya Rahman had 12 points, and Katie Gillick had nine points, six assists, and six rebounds. Sophomore Sivan Bennain was a beast on the boards, grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds. The team played at Quince Orchard on Jan. 31. Overall the team played well, scoring double digit points in all four quarters, with the final score 55-50. On the offensive side of the ball, the team was once again led by Goldberg who scored 26 points and Gillick had 11 points and seven rebounds. In addition, junior Crystal Bridge had 10 rebounds and seven points and Bennaim had 13 rebounds and six points. “The entire team played really well, having seniors who can consistently play well definitely helps us,” junior Mary Quackenbush said. Following the win over Quince Orchard, the team went on to play at Albert Einstein on Feb. 2. Like the Quince Orchard game, the team dominated, winning the game 7749. Goldberg hit a huge milestone as she scored her 1,000th high school point. She had 17 points while senior Taylor Meade

had 16 points, a career high for her. She also had four assists, four rebounds and four steals and Gillick had 11 points six rebounds

Senior Zoey Goldberg celebrates scoring her 1,000th point after their win at Einstein on Feb. 2.

position to be successful and this milestone is evidence of that,” Goldberg said. After the win against Albert Einstein, the team played at Rockville on Feb. 7. The team struggled to handle the ball as they had turnover problems all game. Despite the 10 point loss, Goldberg had a good scoring day with 19 points. Bennaim had 15 rebounds while Bridge had 10 of her own. The final score was 41-31 Rockville. “We certainly didn’t play our best game of the year but the silver lining is that we know what we need to fix so that we don’t play like this again,” Gillick said. Two days after the Rockville game the team traveled to play Walter Johnson. The team battled the entire game but lost in the end, 52-44. Gillick shot 15/20 from the free throw line while Bridge snagged 23 rebounds. “It sucked that we played so well and still lost but the other team played really well too. Usually when we play like this we will get the result we’re looking for,” Goldberg said. On Feb. 13 the team took on Northwood at home. This was the first time they played at home in two weeks. From start to finish the Patriots were dominant as they ended up winning by a margin of 41 points. Gillick had 17 points, six rebounds and five steals, Bridge had 14 points and 12 rebounds in addition to six assists and five steals. The team’s next game is in the first round of the playoffs. The game date and location have not been determined yet.



Common Sense | February 20, 2018


Photo courtesy Sofia Weinstein

The Poms Squad poses together before the rivalry game against Churchill on Sept. 8 2017.

Squad ends season with counties Jack Moskowitz staff writer

Poms sought out revenge at Blair on Feb. 2 to try to bring home the county championship for their last competition of the year after coming in second place at last year’s competition. The team had a disappointing performance, not even placing in the top three. They were expecting a much better outcome after placing second at divisionals this year. The team was in shock finding out they hadn’t placed after what they thought was a stellar performance. “I think we should have made it into the top three and it is sad to end the season this way,” sophomore Brooke Simon

said. Poms perform at all football games and most basketball games at halftime. They also compete in multiple competitions throughout the year. The team is led by senior captain Taylor Weitz and junior captain Caroline Gastwirth. “It’s disappointing I couldn’t end my poms career with a win but I still had a great time these past four years and made many new friends,” Weitz said. The team is made up of 19 girls ranging in age from freshmen to seniors. All 19 members on poms have created a close bond with each other. “I’m very happy I joined poms because I have made many friends and memories just this past year, and have three more years

ahead of me,” freshman Ella Teichberg said. All dances are choreographed by captains Weitz and Gastwirth. Routines are around six minutes long depending on the dances and are detailed and challenging. It takes the team tons of practice to try to get the routine down. “[Weitz] and I make these dances very challenging so that the judges will give us more points for the difficulty of our routine,” Gastwirth said. The seniors this year on poms are Weitz, Grace Darby, Allison Moon, Sofia Weinstein and Gaby Vinick and all have fond memories. “I have had countless amounts of memories over these past four years and made lifelong

friends that I will always keep in touch with,” Weitz said. Traditions are a big deal on the poms team. Before every performance, they all meet at a teammate’s house and to relax, and then get ready together. “These traditions have been passed down through the years, and I think that it has made everyone become closer with each other,” Simon said. Poms takes pride in their school spirit. Throughout the whole week before one of their competitions they all participate in dressing up in different costumes based on what type of spirit day it is. It is mandatory that all members of the team dress up and go above and beyond for spirit days to show their pride in school.

Swim & Dive

Team has highs, lows throughout season After a somewhat disappointing finish in their last meet, the swim and dive team was looking to bounce back in their next meet of the season against Sherwood, Blair, Quince Orchard, Northwest and Gaithersburg on Feb. 3 “This meet featured some of the best swimmers in the county and we were kind of intimidated going in but we knew we were the best,” senior captain Lauren Woodward said. In the first event, the boys’ 200-yard medley relay, a team consisting of juniors Aaron Lazar and Jonathan Odim, along with senior captains Jonathan Yune and Jeffrey Qin, finished third with a time of 1:41.06, just 4.46 seconds behind first place. The girls’ 200-yard medley relay also came in the top five as a team consisting of freshman Laura Chen, sophomore Joy Shi and juniors Cece Zhao and Rita Zheng finished in fourth with a time of 1:55.41. In the boys’ 200-yard freestyle, senior Eric Lu dominated the competition placing first with a time of 1:46.58. In the girls’ 200-yard freestyle, Shi finished just inside the top 10 with a time of 2:06.07, only 13 seconds behind the first place finisher. In the 200-yard IM the boys did not disappoint as Yune finished seventh with a time of 2:11.63. The girls took the fourth place position as Zhao finished seven seconds behind first place with a time of 2:14.48.

Photo courtesy Lifetouch

Maxwell Redding staff writer

Junior Kevin Scher competes in a meet on Feb. 10.

Both the girls and the boys were commanding in the 50-yard freestyle; for the girls, Zhang finished seventh with a time of 25.75 while for the boys, Qin finished in third with a time of 22.46. In the deep end of the pool, the boys locked in one spot in the top five diving spots with freshman Riley Jordan scoring 186.25 points to finish fifth. The girls took fifth and seventh place as sophomore Kelly Kimbis scored 156.85 points and junior Jennifer Weiss scored 152.45 points. Although both teams battled hard and dominated most of their events, both the

girls’ boys’ teams came in fourth among six top tier teams. “We were disappointed in not finishing in the top three but we improved in all aspects and that is what really matters,” Woodward said. The team is going into the Metropolitan Championships Feb. 16 to Feb. 18 and multiple athletes from the team will compete. “We, as a team, are excited for those who are going to the Metro Championships. They should be proud. It’s truly a high accomplishment,” Qin said.

arsity letter

Varsity vernacular John Riker online/social media editor Communication is essential to any sports team. But to the occasional spectator, the athletes on the field may appear to be speaking a foreign language. From playcalls to formations to moves to gear, the language of our sports teams is so strange and confusing that it can flummox even the athletes themselves. Sports breathe new life, and new meanings, into otherwise common words that seemingly have nothing to do with sports. Take the field hockey team, which uses the term “dog leg” to describe a 90 degree pass from the baseline. Or soccer, whose coaches are known for calling out “framing” to prompt defenders to return the goal. Football players call out “Honda” when choosing a six-yard hitch and use another vehicular term, NASCAR, to hurry up the offense during games. That’s just the start. Baseball, a sport well known for using terms such as “stealing,” “pitcher” and “bat,” is the chief culprit of this practice. Players have to “hang and bang” to hit a curveball or “hit and run” to advance a runner on the basepaths. Patriot coaches also tell their team to put up a “crooked number,” or a high run total, between innings and to “paint” the strike zone with pitches on either side. There is also an apparent infatuation with food on our sports fields. Wrestlers call a goto maneuver a “bread and butter” move, while baseball players call a hard throw “cheese” and an easy throw “meat.” “Slicing” from tennis and “bib” from cross country also seem better suited for the dinner table. Put it all together and it’s practically a Thanksgiving feast. Even more bewildering are terms that contradict their literal use. Take football, which uses the names Mike, Sam and Will to refer to linebackers whose names this season were actually Max, Jake, and Joe. That might as well be an Abbott and Costello routine. “Jump ball” is the term used when basketball players on opposite teams share possession of the ball, though 1) this often occurs when players are on the ground and 2) at the high school level this doesn’t even result in players jumping for the ball. Likewise, there is nothing safe about being sacked for a “safety” in football and little to smile about when your score is “love” in tennis. Often, connotation trumps denotation, as there are some terms that players never want to hear despite otherwise innocent literal definitions. The most brutal cross country workout is called “Dundee,” named after the park where the workout takes place, and any mention of this word sends athletes into a frenzy. Football players loathe the “Oklahoma” drill, in which two players charge at each other. Wrestlers despise “rounds,” which entail a tiring regimen that includes pushups, situps and squats. If these regular words with sportingrelated definitions aren’t confusing enough, there are other words that seem like gibberish. As a cross country runner, I tend to lower my voice whenever I mention our most common workout, the fartlek (no relation to flatulence). When a player on the boys’ basketball team makes a great play, teammates acknowledge with the term “guap,” a strange word of unknown origins. And “bangoo” is used by soccer players as a kick from the corner toward the goal. Maybe the language of sports isn’t your bread and butter, but it’s important to remember that these foreign words serve a purpose and that without them our teams couldn’t function. So next time you hear a “NASCAR” or a “guap”, know that they’re getting your team closer to a “W.”


Odds & Ends

Common Sense | February 20, 2018

Super Bowl LII

Must-eat foods for ultimate game Jason Silverman editor-in-chief Whether you are an avid football fan or just someone watching for the halftime show, Super Bowl fans around the country can agree on two things: The game telecast offers some great commercials and Super Bowl parties offer some great food. Let’s take a look at some of the best foods at Super Bowl parties. Wings - It’s pretty simple. Football and chicken wings go together. Wings are everywhere during football games: in commercials, in bars (if that’s where you watch the game), and they should definitely be something your guests see on your counter during the big game. Vegetable platter - Most people may hate vegetables, but everyone loves dip. And vegetables are the perfect dip delivery system. Vegetables are a great pre-game snack to mindlessly eat as you wait for the game to start and for the entrées to come out. Chili - Chili is quite possibly one of the easiest Super Bowl foods to make, and it’s perfect for a cold winter day.

You get a huge vat of meat, tomatoes, beans, and spices and mix it all together and cook. Once you finish, throw it all in a slow cooker and set up a toppings bar with onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, chips, and jalapeños, and allow your guests to do the work of serving themselves. Loaded nachos - Nachos are another one of those foods that many people think about when they think about football. Nachos are great to just grab off the plate and snack on during the game. They taste amazing, and making them really isn’t that hard. Just put some chips topped with shredded cheese under the boiler for a few minutes then add some toppings like jalapeños, salsa, and shredded beef. Along with this, you can make huge portions of it in the true spirit of Super Bowl gluttony. Pizza - No football party is complete without pizza. Whether it’s a Super Bowl party or a simple get together of friends, every party needs pizza. It’s just that simple. Guacamole or 7-layer-dip - In the category of dips for chips, I definitely recommend either guacamole or a classic seven layer dip. If you are feeling super adventurous, maybe even go for both.

Birds fly high to clinch win

Photo courtesy Jason Silverman

the ball over on downs. The Philly squad was Peter Hechler able to re-open the scoring floodgates though managing editor when ex-Patriot running back LeGarrette Blount barrelled his way through tacklers on The eyes of the entire sports world were a 21-yard rush that extended the Eagles lead fixed on Minnesota’s U.S. Bank stadium for to 12 points. “When we got up 12 early I felt a night when it played host to the visiting confident in our chances to win, but after Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots seeing the Pats come back from down 28-3 in a rematch of 2004’s big game, which the in the last Super Bowl, I knew not to start Patriots won on a late field goal. celebrating yet,” senior Eagles fan Humza The paths both teams took since that Mohiuddin said. game could not be more different. The Eagles The Patriots stormed back and countered have spent time in the league’s basement and with consecutive scores on their next two have cycled through coaches before being able drives, using a 45-yard Gostkowski boot and to claw back into the spotlight. The Pats have a 26-yard scamper from running back James been perpetually dominant and have been to White to cut the lead to three as the second the title another four times after that leading quarter was winding down. The Eagles then up to this one, winning their most recent two. ran a play called the “Philly Special” in which The build-up to the game heavily featured running back Corey Clement handled the snap a David v. Goliath narrative, with the underdog and pitched the ball to tight end Trey Burton, Eagles, led by their backup quarterback Nick who then touched a perfectly placed dime to Foles after MVP candidate Carson Wentz Foles for a touchdown that left the defense went down indefinitely in Week 14 with a torn dazed and pushed the score to 22-12 at the ACL, hoping to pull of an upset for the ages half. against future Hall of Famer and literal living The second half brought with it what legend Tom Brady and the Patriots. seemed to be a Patriots comeback sequel, with Both QB’s and their offenses came out of the scoring continuing throughout the third the gate firing and set the tone of the game quarter and the New England unit eventually early, but neither squad was able to punch the pulling ahead by one after Brady found his ball in the end zone after impressive drives by favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, each. The two teams traded field goals early for a four-yard score in the middle of the before the Eagles scored the game’s first fourth. The Eagles then put the game on touchdown on a Foles lob deep in the end ice by stifling Brady’s attempted late game zone from 34 yards out to wideout Alshon heroics, recovering a fumble in a crucial spot Jeffery to make the score 9-3 after a missed to set up a field goal that put the team up by extra point at the end of the period. eight and all but close the door on the chance After Patriots’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski of a comeback. “That fumble was the most missed an equalizer at the beginning of the exciting play of the game for me, and the first second quarter, the offenses stagnated, with time that it really sunk in for me that we were the Eagles punting and the Patriots turning going to win the game,” senior Eagles fan Mandla Johnson said. While the 41-33 score that deemed the Eagles Super Bowl champions for the first time in their history brought elation to many in the area, it also left fans of the losing side shocked and disappointed. “I had faith that we were going to win up until the ball hit the ground on the final play. Brady usually gets it done,” freshman Patriots The New England Patriots line up to score against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII during the fourth quarter as the game winds down. fan Alex Ochman said.

Football shaped cake - I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily required to have a football-shaped cake for your party, but I will say it’s strongly recommended. Everyone die-hard football fan (and even non-fans) loves a football shaped cake, because it reminds people just at your party for the food what the party is really for. Garden Salad with no dressing - Haha, just kidding. Mac & cheese - I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for most people when I say that mac & cheese should be considered a staple in most unhealthy meals. If you’re already going to be unhealthy — and that’s pretty much the point of Super Bowl dining — you might as well go all the way, throw in some mac & cheese and really pack in those carbs. Doughnuts - A quick stop to Krispy Kreme before the game is a great opportunity to add dessert to your party menu. Get a dozen doughnuts on your way back from the grocery store. The people at the party will thank you, and your evening of Super Bowl food consumption will be complete.

MVA: Most valuable advertisements Ethan Reff JV sports editor While this year’s Super Bowl was a classic, the commercials lived up to the hype and delivered an entertaining break from the game. My top five Super Bowl commercials are… NFL - I know what you’re thinking. Why does the NFL need an advertisement during the Super Bowl? Well I don’t have an answer for that, but what I can say is that this was a creative take on the NFL’s new celebration rules for this season. The commercial had Giants stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning practice an awkward dance with their offensive line. While this was an odd and obscure advertisement, I thought it was funny to see how awkward Manning looked throughout the commercial and how perplexed Beckham, Landon Collins and the rest of the Giants were throughout the commercial. One thing’s for sure, this commercial will be the last we will see of the Giants on Super Bowl Sunday for awhile. M&M’s - This commercial was a classic M&M’s Super Bowl ad centered around the red M&M who is upset that people are trying to eat him. He sees a penny and wishes that he were a human to avoid being eaten. He then transforms into a human (Danny Devito) who promptly asks multiple people who pass him by if they want to eat him. Of course, they all say no. I enjoyed this ad because Devito was the perfect actor to portray the absurdity of the situation and he did a great job of characterizing how the red M&M felt. Australia - Like most viewers, when I first watched this commercial, I thought this was an advertisement for a comedy movie starring Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth. The commercial opens up with McBride arriving in

Australia, meeting Hemsworth who takes him around the country, where they do normal things that people would do when visiting Australia. When McBride realizes that they are only doing normal activities, he comes to the realization that it is just an ad for Australia tourism. This was a clever way to make people remember this commercial, and I like the way that they confused all of America in the process of making a great ad. Doritos/Mountain Dew - This commercial opens up with actor Peter Dinklage rapping Busta Rhymes verse in “Look at Me.” When Dinklage finishes lip syncing the entire verse, he spits out fire representing the heat of “Doritos Blaze.” The next half of the ad features Morgan Freeman lip syncing a verse from “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliott where the room around him is portrayed as a frozen and arctic atmosphere. At the end the two actors meet in the middle and stare at each other as if it were a rap battle. This commercial is a funny take on rap battles and both actors did a great job of lip syncing and dancing during their verses. Tide - Tide did a fantastic job of making fun of every possible advertisement that is shown on Super Bowl Sunday. David Harbour pokes fun at all sorts of commercials when he points out the stereotypical ads that you may see during the big game. When watching the commercial people wondered what it was advertising, Harbour then states that “it’s a Tide ad.” He then tells e v eryone L F N from watching that Photo every ad is a Tide ad due to the clean clothes that people wear in commercials. This was the best ad due to its creativity, and its way of confusing the audience for a good portion of the ad.

Issue 9 February 20, 2018  
Issue 9 February 20, 2018