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GOLDEN GIRL Catch up with alumna Haley Skarupa after her win in PyeongChang

CHANGING TIDES Social media’s effect on dangerous teen activity


BEYOND BORDERS Check out where our Patriots come from



Haley Skarupa, ‘12

Thomas S. Wootton High School | 2100 Wootton Parkway | Rockville, MD Volume 47, Issue 10 | March 6, 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

Model UN conquers competitors Rachel Wei editor-in-chief The Model United Nations (MUN) team is having an award-winning season, with over 75 percent of members capturing coveted honors in the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference held at the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 25-28. They also took home the team delegation award at the North American Invitational Model United Nations hosted in D.C. by Georgetown University’s International Relations Association on Feb. 15-18. Common Sense caught up with copresidents seniors Hamzah Shah and Shazia Ahmed, as well as a few other members, to learn about what it takes to excel in the world of MUN. Seniors Hamzah Shah and Shazia Ahmed, copresidents Common Sense: What do you think you’ve done together as co-presidents to help members win awards? HS: The first thing we did this year was run a conference hosted here. Running that conference was a really good opportunity for them to put into practice what we were teaching at meetings. A lot of what we do is running debates at meetings, giving feedback on speeches, leadership, diplomacy and working together. The conference was a way for them to apply what we had taught them. SA: We had a lot of new members join this year from all different grade levels and we felt the one conference we had put up wasn't enough, so for the first time we rented out a community center and we ran our own simulation of what a MUN debate would be like for these first year [participants]. We also increased the number of local conferences we went to before we went to collegiates. CS: What are your hopes for the club next year, and do you have any advice for future MUN presidents? SA: Our hope for the next year is that our trajectory will continue to go up. We set a really solid foundation and our club is getting better with each year. I hope we still continue our win streaks and our membership. I hope they’ll continue to be successful and make WHS MUN successful. HS: I would just add that going through a presidency, you pour in a lot of time into running everything. My advice for future presidents would be: although it’s a lot of work, it's really rewarding in the end, especially to come out with something to show for [it], like a delegation award. If you want to be president, you should be doing this for the growth of the club in the future and looking at what you can be building up for future years. My hope for next year would be to continue to win another delegation award. I know our team is prepared to do

that, and ready to do that. Sophomore Arnav Patra, junior officer CS: How did it feel to win “Best Delegate?” AP: It felt amazing. It’s my first ever collegiate award, and for it to be Best Delegate. It was just a great experience and kind of surprising, but I’m happy with the result. CS: What ways have you helped the club improve as a junior officer? AP: I work mainly behind the scenes like helping organize logistics stuff. I’ve been able to provide my input. I’m the only sophomore who’s doing that, so I provide a voice, and I feel that's very important. Iman Shumburo, sophomore CS: How did it feel to win Verbal Commendation? IS: I was really surprised, but it felt really good because a lot of hard work went in to it. It was a huge sigh of relief to be recognized for something you've worked so hard for. CS: What did you do that helped you win that award? IS: A lot of it was obviously knowing what you were talking about, but having such a great partner as [junior] Megan See, having a good dynamic really helped us succeed. If I didn’t have her, I don’t think it would’ve been the same. Eric Yao, junior, vice president CS: What does it take to win “Outstanding Delegate?” EY: Winning Outstanding takes stamina, hard work and preparation both before and after the conference begins, an unwavering mentality of "we can win this," and maybe a bit of luck. Confidence is necessary because without trust in your actions you leave yourself prone to failure. CS: How are you going to ensure that the MUN program here stays strong next year? EY: The most important thing is member retention. Countless clubs lose members as the year goes on because of apathy. Personally, I hope we can combat this apathy by increasing the number of activities we do to ensure that members who aren't chosen for bigger conferences, or are given conferences held later in the year, have the chance to practice and compete in other activities, and keep their interest alive. Abbey Damonte, freshman CS: What is your favorite part of MUN? AD: My favorite part is learning about all the different topics and getting to see the different aspects of the different nations I learn about every week. CS: How has being with an award-winning team and experienced members helped you develop MUN skills? AD: They’ve always been able to tell me how to deal with different situations and different people I come across in committee, which helps me learn and do better.

Meet MUN Fun Fact:

Shah has been a part of Model UN for the past four years, and as co-president made moves to hold more conferences this year than years past

Hamzah Shah, 12

We set a really solid foundation and our club is getting better with each year. I hope we still continue our win streaks and our membership.

Shazia Ahmed, 12

It felt amazing [to win Best Delegate]. It’s my first ever collegiate award... It was just a great experience.

Arnav Patel, 10

Fun Fact:

Shumboro won a Verbal Commendation. Other awards delegates could win include Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate and Honorable Mention

Iman Shumboro, 10

Recent shootings spur student action Matthew Lind back page editor In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students took to the streets. In an effort to force change, students left school and marched through the streets of D.C. chanting and calling for a time without the threat of more school shootings. They refused to be silenced after 17 people were killed and 14 were injured in the shooting on Feb. 14. Students marched for change, signaling that enough was enough with gun violence. On Feb. 21, with signs in hand, students rallied starting from Union Station, moving to the Capitol and ending in front of the White House. As part of the #Enough movement, students declared how they needed to put an

end to the shootings that have become an all too common sight in this country. “I wanted to go to the march to show my support for gun control because I think it’s super important to end the violence. Students shouldn’t be afraid to go to school,” senior Gabi Menconi said. Those who participated believed that they had a duty and responsibility to speak up about this issue and demand change given how close the school is to D.C.. It was a way for students to voice their discontent with the system that has allowed these tragedies to occur. In response to hearing about the walk out, Superintendent Jack Smith wrote an email to the MCPS community showing his encouragement toward the peaceful protest. “MCPS strongly supports students who engage in the civic process and share thoughts on the issues they are passionate about,” Smith said.

On Feb. 26, a meeting was held during lunch for members of the “Wootton for Gun Control,” a new group that has formed dedicated to creating change surrounding gun violence and prevention. The 75 students in attendance aimed to spark necessary conversations about gun control and be leaders of change both in this community and throughout the country. The meeting began with students sharing their opinions on the Parkland shooting and discussing what changes need to arise to prevent these attacks from recurring. “We are all here because we are scared. We are all terrified that someone can just walk into our school and start shooting. Our responsibility is to take a stand and do something about it,” senior Avery Tarwater said. The group plans to raise awareness and educate the community on their stance for

stricter gun laws. Plans are in development to create a sign containing the names of every victim of a school shooting since the killings at Sandy Hook in addition to sending cards or a poster to those affected by the recent Florida shooting. As part of the #Enough movement, students advocating for such change will participate in a 17 minute walk out on March 14 at 10 a.m. to represent the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting. The walk out represents a call to Congress to do more than merely send thoughts and prayers to the victims and those affected, demanding a more active approach to stop gun violence throughout the country. It has become clear that the student voices supporting gun control demand to be heard and their efforts to promote change will not cease. They want more than thoughts and prayers, they want action.



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Death of QO senior has county mourning Football player Tyler Terry dies from heart complications on Feb. 11

Christina Liu staff writer

therapy lessons for the kids if they wanted or needed it, and in homeroom we talked about asking for help and to love the people that we’re close to,” Rommel said. A vigil for Terry was held on Feb. 20, where coaching staff, students and family members took turns sharing their memories and stories about Terry. Candles were lit to symbolize the light the senior had

shined on their lives. Balloons were also released in the air to the sound of everyone chanting “Fly High Ty.” The online hashtag, #FLYHIGHTY, has also been trending among students to honor Terry on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Terry had committed to Monmouth University in New Jersey to play college football before he died. Photo courtesy Monmouth University

Tyler Terry, a 12th-grade varsity football player at Quince Orchard, died on Feb. 11, after suffering a cardiac arrest on Jan. 29. According to the Montgomery County police, two rival teams agreed to meet up on the morning of Jan. 29 and engage in one-on-one fights at a local basketball court. Terry and an adult male were the first to fight, but after two to three minutes, Terry stopped and walked away, showing signs of tiredness. Police also say that two other fights broke out in the next five to 10 minutes, and that’s when Terry collapsed. Montgomery County investigators find that there was minimal physical contact and that Terry collapsed due to pre-existing found conditions. Terry was on life support for nearly two weeks when his family had to make the decision to remove him. “When Ty was in the hospital, his parents tried to raise money to keep him on life support. Soon, the whole school found out and tried to make enough money, but his parents decided to let him go,” QO freshman Ella Rommel said.

Terry’s death has made a large impact on the Quince Orchard community. Freshman Samantha Stillwell at QO felt a large change in her school’s atmosphere after Terry’s passing. “The school seemed gloomy after Ty passed away. You could feel the sadness and silence of everyone,” Stillwell said. School was especially difficult to students who knew Terry well. “I knew Ty because my brother was friends with him through football, and going class to class was hard because it felt like the school was dead when he left,” Rommel said. His death has touched students all over MCPS. Freshman Christina Jung hopes that his death will spread awareness and positivity among students. “I think Ty’s passing makes MCPS realize how quickly a loved one can pass away, how precious someone’s life is and that deaths of friends may be more common than it seems,” Jung said. A memorial and numerous other shrines were made to remember Terry. “Every morning we would have moments of silence for him. We would also wear red and have ribbons on our backpacks, and people would also use chalk to write and draw on the brick walls for him outside. Our principal also had

Monmouth University mourns the loss of football commit Tyler Terry. The team posted this picture on their website and twitter on Feb. 12.

IIS: at-home program helps with managing stress Kristina Tsakos staff writer

What is an average school day to you? Maybe your alarm rings at 6:30 a.m., before the sun makes its appearance. Maybe you begrudgingly roll out of bed, head to the bathroom, make yourself look presentable, and head out the door. Maybe you go to school for seven hours, head home, and try your best to complete five-hours worth of homework. For an Interim Instructional Services student, their average day is different. The Interim Instructional Services accommodates students who are not in a stable enough physical or emotional state to attend a regular seven-hour school day. Schedules vary for each person, but for one student in particular, they attend school for their second, third and fourth elective periods and then take their academic classes at home over a

conference call with five other programees. Or on another day, the student meets in the library after their morning at school with a teacher provided by the IIS. Each class can last about two hours a week, and the small size allows for more specialized help for each student. The goal of the teachers is to ready K-12 kids for their return to school once their conditions improve. An unspoken standard has been established amongst many here at the school. If you’re not staying up finishing work, if you’re not getting straight As, if you’re not taking the hardest classes possible, you’re doing something wrong. For one student, they were constantly sacrificing their mental health for the sake of a grade. It got to the point where they were completely consumed by their work, and their severe anxiety wasn’t helping. It was then that they knew they needed this program. The way students are taught emphasizes students’ abilities

to memorize an overload of information, recite in the form of graded work, move on and repeat. Students often feel compared to the best rather than the individual substance of their own work. There are positives and negatives about such a system, but for IIS, the way they go about affirming understanding is much, much different. Their embrace of free discussion and unique approaches to situations allow for a more personalized learning experience. “My English teacher told me I was a good writer. No teacher has ever told me that before, and that is something that will stick with me forever,” one IIS student said. “I’m engaged now versus at school I was constantly catching up. I’m a lot less stressed than before. I’m a lot happier. I learn a lot more. You wouldn’t think so because I go to class less than if I were to go to [school] five days a week, but the quality of what I learn is a lot better,” an IIS student said.

Britney Spears’ toxicity is good, Tide Pods’ toxicity is bad Hannah Ho back page editor

benefits. Started on July 14, 2015, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) ice bucket challenge brought attention to the important disease. With the participation of celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Jennifer Lopez, the challenge raised a total of $220 million according to Business Insider. The ALS challenge was not the only positive trend promoted through media. Thanks to media and ads, smoking and drunk

driving have also significantly decreased, with cigarette smoking at its lowest level amongst high school students in 22 years according to the CDC. “I think media has a positive impact on trends. Media allows people to connect with each other and share common interests. People should be smart enough to realize it’s a bad idea though. At that point, that is why survival of the fittest exists,” junior Rumi Petrova said. Infographic by Chloe Perel

When the words “ingesting” and “Tide Pods” are used in the same sentence, you know there is a problem. The Tide Pod challenge has caught the world by surprise when social media posts and videos of people eating Tide Pod laundry detergents went viral.The media has the power to build grand platforms to spread information to people all over the web, but with power comes great responsibility. Hundreds of thousands of people have jumped on dangerous social media challenges starting with the cinnamon challenge. Following the cinnamon trend was the Kylie Jenner lip challenge and now the life-threatening Tide Pod challenge is on the rise. The Kylie Jenner lip challenge began when girls wanted to achieve Kylie Jenner’s pouty lip look posted on her social media. For the challenge, people sucked air out of shot glasses or empty pill bottles to get the image of enlarged lips. The results however, proved disastrous. People’s lips bruised and ripped. Shot glasses sometimes even broke from all the pressure, sending glass shards everywhere. “Media can promote negative ideas and magnify the influence on a much larger scale,” junior Charin Song said. Following the Kylie Jenner challenge,

the Tide Pod challenge quickly became the next craze. It started as a joke on the internet but people thought it looked like candy and would be interesting to eat. Adolescents recorded themselves biting into the colorful laundry detergents and spitting them out. The Tide Pods contain highly toxic and poisonous chemicals such as ethanol and hydrogen peroxide. Ingesting the chemicals leads to vomiting, diarrhea, or even death. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were over 12,000 calls to the U.S. Poison Control Centers due to exposure to laundry pods last year alone, with 10 calls ending in death. There are 37 reported Tide Pod ingestion cases so far in 2018. Media outlets are now trying to reverse the damage, using media to prevent further spread of the Tide Pod challenge. The Tide company posted a video repetitively saying no to the thought of putting pods in people’s mouths. Junior Sarah Rankin thinks that media is positive for the majority of people who have the ability to think clearly. “I think it depends on each case. Media often brings people together, but gullible people could actually try dangerous trends like the Tide Pod and cinnamon challenge,” Rankin said. Despite the countless wild challenges, some media trends do have significant


Getting ready for graduation Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Jordan Rubin staff writer

Senior Lindsay Grinspoon is one of many seniors looking forward to graduation this spring. Along with her classmates, she will head to DAR Constitution Hall in May. Her parents and sister will be gathered there to support her and watch her walk across the stage to receive her diploma. A lot of work goes into planning graduation. History teacher Christina Rice is in charge of organizing graduation. There is a lot that Rice has to do in order to get ready for this big event. She begins planning for

graduation in August for the school year ahead. Once second semester begins, she starts working on different tasks to be ready in time. “Teachers always wonder why I do graduation because it is a lot of work, but I love doing it and it’s a lot of fun,” Rice said. At the meeting for the ambassadors they learn important dates and talk about proper clothing. During the meeting they also go through how rehearsal works so they are prepared for rehearsal day. Rehearsal is necessary to ensure everyone knows what to do the actual day of graduation including the ambassador volunteers and all the graduating students. At rehearsal they make

sure that all seniors’ names are in order and pronounced correctly. They run through the walking in of seniors multiple times to work out any kinks. “I attended a meeting where the ambassadors ran through rehearsal so we would know how to line up the seniors at rehearsal, and then in Constitution Hall, to make sure they would be in alphabetical order to receive their diplomas,” sophomore Patriot Ambassador Peter Pietri said. On the day of graduation, the ambassadors, band, and senior planners get to school early to help load up the buses. The ambassadors arrive at DAR Constitution Hall about two hours before graduation begins to

help set up and get ready. The ambassadors put names on box seats, which are given to SGA members and senior planning’s family. After the ambassadors finish helping the seniors walk in, they all sit down and watch the ceremony. Once the ceremony is over the ambassadors clean up and go back home. The seniors have to take multiple steps before the actual day of graduation. They have a three hour rehearsal led by specific teachers and administrators. The students have to practice walking up and down the aisles of the gym and around the first floor of the school.

Study habits to help ace AP exam Jonnie Voyta news editor

Percent of 2017 class that passed at least one AP exam

the environment on the test,” AP psychology teacher Jen Bauer said. Another form of preparation that students use outside of class is study groups. Students have formed study groups with friends and classmates in order to help prepare them for their AP exams. Instead of losing focus while you study by yourself, friends will be able to help you stay on task and explain material to you which you may not understand. “I have always found study groups the most effective way to study because I don’t lose focus when I’m with my friends,” junior Jared Rabin said. One more effective way to study for an AP exam is by using flashcards. Flashcards are the most effective to remember specific dates and definitions of learned subjects. These can also be combined with different methods of studying such as study groups to increase the effectiveness of both. Other ways students score well on AP exams is from studying early in intervals before the test and to not study at all on the last day. “Last year I started studying a little each day a month early for my AP NSL exam and I got a five,” junior John Billingsley said.

Infographic by Jonnie Voyta

AP exams start the week of May 7, and will affect the majority of students at this school. For the class of 2017, an average of nearly 23 percent of the nation passed at least one AP exam and 31.2 percent of Maryland passed at least one AP exam according to the College Board. This school’s class of 2017 had 80 percent of its students pass at least one exam according to U.S News. This school has always been one of the highest scoring schools in Montgomery County. While other schools in Montgomery County had a lower percentage. Walter Johnson was at 73 percent, Richard Montgomery at 69 percent and Clarksburg at 45 percent of students passing at least one AP exam according to U.S News. Students get ready to take AP exams in a variety of ways. Practice test are the most well-known way students and teachers prepare for the AP exams. Practice tests can include multiple choice and written response questions either from past exams or made up by teachers.They

can help students understand what the day of the test is going to be like while also reviewing the subjects covered in class. “Practice test have always been the most effective for my classes because they help my students prepare for




Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Mass school shooting in Florida calls for change throughout nation Photo courtesy Olivia Kerben

Olivia Kerben staff writer Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day filled with flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, and love but it turned out to be quite the opposite. It was a tragedy that not only affected the victims in the school but the entire country. On Feb. 14, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student killed 16 people in the school making him responsible for one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history. This incident has caused students across the country to participate in walkouts and rallies to get their voices heard. Students are attempting to get Congress and the president to listen to their concerns and to take action. The shooter arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in an Uber and “pulled out a semi automatic AR-15 rifle in a black duffel bag and backpack, where he hid loaded magazines,” the NY Times reported. He shot people inside five classrooms on the first and second floors of the freshman building and eventually discarded the rifle, a vest and ammunition in a stairwell. He then blended

Memorial for the late 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland Florida on Feb. 17.

in with fleeing students and eventually got away. Authorities apprehended him an hour later at a McDonald’s, according to CNN. This mass shooting is one of past two months of this year alone. “It’s time for something to change in the legislation, no 18 year old should have access to a gun like that;” junior Annie Clampitt said. Clampitt took part in a national walkout on Feb. 21 with thousands of other students to rally and demand something be

done. Students all over are worried that they are next and believe the time is overdue for peace and change. Currently there is little regulation over who can buy a gun and the NRA seems resistant to change. Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman for the NRA, spoke at a Town Hall in Sunrise, FL. on Feb. 21 and she believes that the issue is mental stability. “In terms of prevention and making sure that people who are dangerous should not have access to firearms,” Loesch said. Members of the community question what changes will be made to ensure the students and staff feeling of security when they walk into the school. It is imperative that “we build better relationships with kids to try and be inclusive but also make sure the students keep an eye out for something that might be suspicious,” security team leader Chris Pucciarelli said. There have been complaints about how easy it is for someone to walk in. “There needs to be a better security system for people entering and leaving the building,” math teacher Suzanne Pykosh said. To further protest the nation’s lack of gun laws, on March 14 there will be a National School Walkout and the theme of the event is “enough is enough.”

Nitya Kumar commons editor

Zumba, the bounce house, the free food, the free prizes and more kept people enjoying the race,” she said. Williams believes that this year’s event will be the best one yet. “There is a class competition this year for those who show the most spirit, there will be leprechauns to chase and get candy and free food. There is still the previous food and fun but we made it even more of a big event since it is the fifth year anniversary,” Williams said. Along with the activities at the event, there will be a free raffle for all registered participants with prizes like a GoPro camera, Fitbit and Under Armour gear. People can register at http://www.

Photo courtesy Sierra Coflin

The fifth annual Samuel Williams Be T.R.U.E 5K walk and run will be held on Saturday, Mar. 17 at 10 a.m.. All the proceeds of the event will be used to provide specialized teen leadership programs. Junior Sierra Coflin reflects upon the run from her experience at last year’s event. “People got to start the race on the track and proceed up the Frost Hill and around the soccer field and tennis courts and then on the backside of the school and down by our softball field and repeated this another two times before coming back onto the track,” Coflin said. Activities aside from the 5K run include obstacle courses, face painting and Zumba. “It is a fun event that is family friendly. The purpose of the race is to have a fun event that raises money to give a leadership award away to a sophomore in Wootton,” junior Amanda Williams said. The race started in 2014 in memory of Williams’ brother, Samuel, who died in the summer of 2013. He was about to be a junior. “That is why the award is given to sophomores. The race brings Wootton students and families together just to have a good time and keep the memory of Samuel Williams going. People do not necessarily need to come and run. Families enjoy the time they get with their kids, runners like to race and challenge themselves on this course

and students have a fun time being with friends,” Williams said. Volunteers and contributors help prepare for the event, and people can participate in setting up the race as well. “People can learn about the race either by visiting the Samuel Williams leadership foundation website or by coming to the meetings that organize the race. There are sponsors that help support the foundation, but during the race, the SGA, the BBQ club, past award winners and families come to help set up and organize the race,” Williams said. Williams predicts the upcoming event will be a success. “In the past few years, the outcomes were great. Everyone had a great time. The face paint,

Juniors Sierra Coflin and Meredith Halpern smile together after they completed the 5K last year.

Photo courtesy Google Commons

Annual Sam Williams Be T.R.U.E. 5K ready to run

The new Seneca Valley building plans feature a whole new campus .

Schools being left behind when it comes to renovations Miller Romm staff writer Montgomery County Public Schools has recently planned to rebuild Seneca Valley and Wheaton. About 38 percent of students have free or reduced lunch at Seneca Valley, while about 58 percent of students at Wheaton have free or reduced lunch, according to Wheaton and Seneca Valley have recently won their bids for reconstruction, while Schools like Winston Churchill and Wootton have not been renovated even though they have requested it for years. Five percent of students were eligible for free or reduced lunch. Only four percent of students from Churchill are eligible. Do these numbers make a difference? P e o p l e believe that because of this poverty difference the MCPS administration renovate the school that is

struggling more. Wootton has been on the list for years but continues to get pushed off. “Our school is getting old, but the county continues to push our time to get rebuilt, this is ridiculous,” freshman Ryan Feldman said. This school is 47 years old and still has not gotten rebuilt while Seneca Valley high school was built in 2003. We are 33 years older than them, yet we still haven’t gotten renovated. According to the administrators here the socioeconomics do not affect the decision to rebuild schools. “Absolutely not, just look at the upcoming projects,” Business manager Philip Hill said. The reason for the push back is because MCPS has decided to build a new school. There is a

huge population around the Crown area in Gaithersburg, so the superintendent decided to build a new school there. The new school in Crown has pushed back the dates of all reconstruction, which proves that the poverty levels do not affect the order of rebuilding. “The poverty levels do not impact the order, I believe that they are just planning to build this new school,” freshman Sarah Woodward said. This means that MCPS does not factor in the socioeconomics of the schools, and instead hey care about what is best for the students in the county. “It has taken a while, but I believe it is just about the timing and what other schools need it more,” freshman Sarah Woodward said.

A dented dirty trashcan sits in school while other schools are getting new buildings. Photo by Miller Romm



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Why art is a dying art One morning as students awaited the sound of the morning bells, I took a seat with my friend in an empty stairwell of the school. She told me something was bothering her, and I encouraged her to tell me. “It turns out I can’t go to art school,” she said to me. My friend is an artist. She creates all the time, and she’s been doing it since she was a little girl. Her parents told her that “it’s time to be realistic” and to start looking for a college that supported “real” jobs. Having confidence as an artist is challenging as it is, so the prospect of giving up a dream she has desired her whole life came as a shock. Most parents want the best for their children and the best is synonymous with realistic. Why can’t art fall under the category of “realistic”? Why is pursuing art as a career perceived as such an unrealistic concept to so many people? Art is more than painting and sketching and sculpting. Art is everywhere. From the building you’re in to the clothes you’re wearing- artists are involved in the creation of nearly everything. Students trying to make it in the art world are often discouraged

because “art” seems like too much of a vague occupation. There’s seemingly two options for artists. Do what you love and be broke. Or choose a more conventional path, support yourself, be unfulfilled. My friend, like many aspiring creators, feels like she needs to make the decision of whether or not she wants to be poor in her future. But this shouldn’t be the case. Especially here at this school,

changes your mindset, and that’s ok. Writing down potential solutions to problems is advantageous in figuring out one’s goals. Being open to compromise can allow smaller sacrifices to be made now so in the long run you’re where you want to be.These compromises could include going to a nonart school for half of the college experience, minoring in something other than art, or offering to pay for part of the four years of university. Aspiring animator and junior Yasi Movahedi says that “for now I’m just trying to develop my skill because I feel like it’s the only thing I have control over.” Of course, the more limiting and competitive the line of work, the more risks at hand. Understanding the negatives of an occupation is just as important as understanding the benefits. It can be hard finding balance in a career that requires individuals to prioritize their own personal progression. The more selective the job, the harder it may be to support the people around you. In the past, artists and musicians were ensured success if they had a patron. It was high society to be a patron of the arts. Nowadays many creators have to find their own way. There are still companies and non-profit organizations who will sponsor artists, but a calling in solely painting canvases, playing an instrument or singing for an audience makes for a vague estimation of how one will support themself. Living paycheck to paycheck is the reality of many independent artists. Nevertheless, artists have to allow themselves to take that leap of faith that is so widely feared. Teachers and students must encourage their students to take up the classes they feel foster their creativity. Once someone is

Senior Matthew Wei draws during his sixth period art class.

confident in their self and their work their own definition of success falls into place. People devoted to their craft are bound to draw in people who admire what themes, ideas and emotions they showcase in their work. When more people venture into art or other humanities, the funding and the respect will follow. Students will feel free to explore their interests in an environment that embraces self-expression. We can’t shame those who excel more in a studio than an office, and vice versa. We need a place where people with multiple pursuits in mind feel like they can verbalize their hopes without being made to feel inferior. At the end of the day, my friend turns to art. Even when it seems like it is leading her to failure, her art was always there for her and will continue to be. For her it’s more than a passing phase. She loves forming people,

scenarios and emotion from the ideas in her head. Even if her work were to only move one person, it would be enough for her. As for the rest of the artists troubled by the adversities that continue to come their way, I’m sure they too find solace in creating. The need to show what they’ve made, despite the discouragement, is too strong to defy. While for so long artistic fields have been understood to be too risky and too infeasible, there’s been an apparent shift in mentality in today’s generation. We have the privilege of being exposed to all kinds of people; people with different tastes, experiences and insights. Art provides us with the opportunities to experience the variety and the differences. Something so impactful and so unifying deserves to be recognized as a viable option for success. Infographics by Max Pasternak

There’s seemingly two options for artists. Do what you love and be broke, or choose a more conventional path, support yourself, be unfulfilled.

there is a profound prioritization of science, technology, engineering and math. While of course studying in the STEM fields is perfectly suitable for some, it’s not for everyone, and that’s a fact that some don’t seem to understand. Whether it be due to lack of funding or perceiving art classes as an “easy A,” students who spend most of their school hours in art rooms are not always taken as seriously about their passions as those who spend their hours in labs or in front of computers. Alfie Khon, writer for the Huffington post, writes in his article “STEM Sell: Are Math and Science Really More Important Than Other Subjects?” that “among decision leaders and the general public, I suspect that STEM enjoys an immediate advantage simply because it tends to involve numbers.” Numbers are safe, numbers are reliable. People feel safe putting their time and efforts into a field that can almost calculate their future. Art is more passionate rather than numerical. Your chances of success can’t be mapped out and determined, and that uncertainty scares people. But for former Wootton student and current attendee of Savannah College of Art and Design Noa Gamliel, the unpredictability didn’t deter her, if anything it’s what attracted her to art school. She walked into college thinking she wanted to study fashion marketing, but in less than a year of being in school she’s realized she wants to be a social worker who uses art therapy. College has shown her the multitude of opportunities art grants an individual. Gamliel feels as though her school provides its students with the security they need. Faculty helps their students outline where they want to take their skills and how to do it effectively. While people would look down upon her aspirations in high school, she knew what she wanted to do and she stuck to it. “Eventually I would get out of this bubble where people thought I was taking the easy way out,” Gamliel said. The internet has graced us with dozens of platforms to show our work. People have found ways to express themselves and broadcast their creations on places like Youtube, Soundcloud and Instagram. Art and even humanities professions are being normalized in the outside world, and it’s time for people to start recognizing this trend at home. There remains the question of “how do I stay practical?” Being fixated on one calling can be beneficial however there are many benefits of keeping an open mind when it comes to figuring out the future. You may think you want one thing but later be introduced to someone or something who completely

Photo by Katie Schreck

Kristina Tsakos staff writer

Information via U.S. News.



PATRIOT PROFILES Common Sense | March 6, 2018

National champion Hachem participates in 2018 speedskating Olympic trials Anna Baldwin staff writer

Being a competitive speed skater there are sure to be bumps in the road. “The biggest struggle on my journey has been having to rebound from injuries. I have learned it is possible to come back even stronger if you’re passionate about what you do,” Hachem said. Along with the bumps in the road come great successes. Hachem said, “As a skater the greatest accomplishment has been representing the US at multiple junior and senior international competitions. But more than any results the best thing that I’ve received from skating is growth as a person.” Having a Patriot in the Olympic trials is inspiring to others. “Seeing someone from Wootton accomplish such great things is really cool,” sophomore Sabrina Shah said. A piece of advice to anyone aspiring to be a successful athlete like her, Hachem said is, “To stay focused and most importantly have fun. Remember why you started the sport and don’t lose sight of the fact that you love it.” Photo courtesy Gabby Hachem

Junior national champion, participating in the short track world cup, and placing third in the US short track championships are just some of Gabby Hachem’s accomplishments as a short track speed skater. Hachem graduated from Wootton in 2017 and is going to attend the University of Pennsylvania next fall. She competed in the 2018 Olympic trials but didn’t make it. USA only qualified three spots; Hachem finished in sixth. But that doesn’t take away Hachem’s success as a speed skater. Hachem started her career on ice as a figure skater while her younger brother was a speed skater. After her figure skating lessons she had to stay at the rink for her brother’s speed skating practices and saw how supportive and close his teammates were. Hachem eventually tried speed skating at the age of 12 after the moms from her brother’s team encouraged her to try. Hachem could tell as soon as she started speed skating, it was a better fit for her. Hachem was also encouraged and

supported by the faculty here. “My teachers, national team as she moved to Utah in June counselor, and administrator were more of last year. She trains six days a week and than helpful and supportive of me. They seven hours a day. “To stay motivated, I try went above and beyond to accommodate to keep focused on my goals despite the when I needed to travel, and they would struggles I am going through. If I am having check in on me to see if I needed help and made sure I wouldn’t fall behind,” Hachem said. During her time here, Hachem received good grades, served at her church, and was in involved in medical exploration programs, all while balancing 20 hours of training a week. “Gabby truly exhibits the Olympic spirit 2017 graduate Gabby Hachem participates in the U.S. Olympic trials for speedskating. in that she always put forth her best effort and made it look so easy.” Jose Varela, a hard time at practice, I’ll think of how Hachem’s counselor, said. bad I want to accomplish my next goal,” Currently, Hachem trains with the US Hachem said.

Vinick starts Chemoconnect to help cancer patients Katie Schreck managing editor

Photo courtesy Gaby Vinick

For senior Gaby Vinick, what started out as a way to show support to family members undergoing chemotherapy turned into a commitment and to helping others. Vinick started her program, ChemoConnect, in 2013. Inspired by her mother’s co-worker who was alone during the process of chemotherapy, Vinick decided to create the program. “I couldn’t imagine having to endure cancer, let alone undergo a painful treatment alone, so I started thinking of different items that would make the treatment more bearable,” Vinick said. “I met with Shady Grove Hospital, whose chemotherapy infusion program agreed to accept the packages I wanted to create.” Working alongside her aunt, Vinick worked to develop a website for the program and emailed members of the National Cancer Association to raise donations. In her life, Vinick has known family friends to have been diagnosed with any form of cancer, therefore she takes this project “very personally,” she said. According to her website, it is a program that provides support for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. While partnering with the Adventist HealthCare Organization at Shady Grove Medical center, Vinick organizes “ChemoConnect Care Kits” to

patients. The kits include stress balls to alleviate effects from pain, lip balm to help damaged skin and nails, antibacterial wipes to help with exposure to germs, fuzzy socks and hats to keep patients warm, puzzles and games to make the time pass during treatment and herbal tea to manage nausea. “Each item in the kit is carefully chosen to help pass the time during treatment or make it a little more comfortable for patients,” Vinick said. Although she runs the program by herself, inspiration

Senior Gaby Vinick makes boxes like the one above filled with items to support cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

came from her aunt Debbie who has Down syndrome. Her aunt started her own charity walk called “Strides to Thrive,” which takes place in the summer in Rio. This event is staged to raise money for both her and other adults with disabilities to participate in fun activities they often do not have money to take part in. “I am inspired by what my aunt does, and it definitely went into my decision to start ChemoConnect,” Vinick said. Along with running ChemoConnect, Vinick balances her life as a teenager. As a member of the varsity poms squad and participant in other clubs such as NHS and senior planning, Vinick finds herself juggling many responsibilities. “I think it is really admirable what she is doing,” senior Sara Hodes said. “I am very proud of the way she takes time to do things that are important to her, and dedicate an equal amount of time to each.” To others hoping to follow in Vinick’s footsteps and start an organization like ChemoConnect, Vinick urges others to start early and to balance their time. Although the work is time consuming and can be hard, “it is worthwhile,” she said. “I think having a website and advertising and reaching out to your community is extremely helpful, but also it is important to welcome change.” To learn how to get involved with the organization, check out Vinick’s website for more information.

Q & A with womens’ hockey gold medalist Haley Skarupa Jill Geline sports editor

Photo courtesy Haley Skarupa

Common Sense spoke with Haley Skarupa about her experience in the Olympics. How was the place you stayed/ where did you stay? We stayed in the Gangneung Olympic Village by the coast in 25 floor apartments. They were brand new and it was awesome. What was your favorite memory at the Olympics? My favorite memory was spotting my family in the stands from the ice after we won the gold medal during the celebration and waving to them.

What was the coolest thing you saw better from this experience? at the Olympics? My teammates and I have known each Coolest thing I saw there was other forever. It when Martin Garrix performed at seems and we are the closing ceremony... or the Russian like a big family, but I cheerleaders during the Russia vs definitely do feel this USA men’s’ hockey game. Or the experience made us North Korean cheering section. closer. Especially that How were the opening we brought home the ceremonies? gold too. Walking in the opening Did you get ceremonies was probably one of good time out on the coolest things I’ll ever do in my 2014 graduate Haley Skarupa the ice? Or would life. It was unbelievable to walk with competes in the Olympics. you have liked all of the US athletes and all the more? amazing athletes from around the world. I didn’t get a lot of ice time, that really Did you get to know your teammates isn’t my role. My role is more to create

energy for the team whenever I am out there and to just work my hardest. When you were out on the ice, did you have a sense of nervousness, or were you relaxed, and confident in yourself and your team? Once you get your first shift in all the nerves sort of disappear. The games were such a blast. I could not believe I was competing in the Olympic Games!! I always have complete confidence in my team. Where are you going to put the gold medal when you get home? I want to show it to everyone who helped me get it and allow them to see how incredible it is. After that, I’ll probably keep it somewhere very safe.



Common Sense |March 6, 2018

Local SoundCloud artists on the rise Monica Godnick staff writer

be the end of the world for him. In the Furthermore, Bright said it is an end, he says that he achieves most of the opportunity for beginner or undiscovered promotion for his tracks through live shows musicians to find their voice. “SoundCloud like music festivals and parties. “I would still is for unheard artists to release their music be performing at places like Ultra Music on a widespread platform,” Bright said. Festival, Moonrise and clubs all around, I would just post on every other social media platform,” Fritz said. Students say the app can provide authentic content for people who are finding fresh new music, and in return artists on the rise can be noticed. Fritz stated that the application had helped him share his music with people all around the Senior Graham Bright (left) and sophomore Benjamin Fritz (right) are two of this school’s on-the-rise artists who use SoundCloud as a platform for their music. world.

Photos used with permission from Graham Bright and Benjamin Fritz

Do you remember the last time you tuned out the stress and pressure of the world with a pair of headphones and your favorite SoundCloud playlist? Was senior Graham Bright or sophomore Benjamin Fritz in it? For those who aren’t “hip,” SoundCloud is an online audio distribution application where users can upload and promote their original music. The platform has quite boosted the artistic careers of Bright and Fritz. Bright’s most famous songs out of his seven tracks on SoundCloud are “Routine” and “Whatchu Want,” both with more than 12,000 plays. “Routine” was released a year ago and “Whatchu Want” came out nine months ago. Most of his songs belong to the Hip Hop and Rap genre. His latest song, “New Addiction,” was released two months ago and currently has more than 4,000 plays. The same song on Spotify has received 30,000 plays. Members of the school community such as freshman Rozhin Fadae support his music. “I think his songs are really good; my

favorite is ‘Whatchu Want,” Fadae said. Fritz goes by the stage name “Benspence,” and has a total of 20 tracks on the platform. Most of them are episodes that are part of “The Electric Playhouse,” which is a house music mix show performed by the 16-year-old. His most popular mix is “Power Up,” with almost 500 plays. Most of his music is in the Dance and EDM genre. Sophomore Izzy Perez says the music is really good. “He definitely knows what he is doing,” Perez said. Others say that Bright’s music on SoundCloud and other applications such as Spotify will lead him to a successful future. “I think that he can go somewhere with his rap,” sophomore Jonathan Lee said. Even though Bright said that SoundCloud gave him the freedom to experiment with different styles of music and see how people reacted to them; he also added that he likes streaming services better. “If SoundCloud shut down I would focus more on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. I prefer the streaming services because it allows artists to receive pay for the amount of plays they get,” Bright said. Fritz says that if SoundCloud hypothetically disappeared it would not

Upcoming school musical poised to amaze audiences Maxwell Redding staff writer

When Meredith Wilson, a relatively unknown playwright, published The Music Man in 1957, no one really expected much of it. But Wilson surprised everyone who doubted him as The Music Man became an instant hit. First appearing on Broadway in 1957, it broke previous box office sales and won five Tony awards including Best Musical that same year. The Music Man ran for 1,375 straight performances on Broadway and the cast won the very first Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 1959. “This show is particularly unique because it has lasted and lived in the theatre community for over 60 years,” senior Max Ramsay said. The Music Man features a con man, Harold Hill, played by Ramsay, posing as a boy band’s salesman and Hill’s associate Marcellus Washburn, played by senior Brian Nicholson, promising the citizens of River City, Iowa, a well-trained band within a matter of months. However, Hill is no musician and has no musical talents whatsoever; he plans to get the

money and skip town and board the next train heading east. “The Music Man is a compelling tale of deception turned love story that is very enjoyable to watch and be a part of,” senior Heloisa Tebaldi said. Hill does not expect to meet Marian Paroo, the town librarian and part-time piano teacher played by senior Taylor Litofsky, who attempts to warn the citizens of River City of Hill’s plot to get the money and run. Hill falls in love with Paroo and attempts to woo her but Paroo does not fall for his plan -- or so it seems at first. For the first time since the spring musical in 2014, children are involved in the ensemble and two of the leads feature two sets of kids, one pair of males for the part of Winthrop, Marian’s shy, lisping brother, and one pair of females for the part of Amaryllis, Marian’s young piano student. One pair will play the opening weekend of the show and the second pair will play the following weekend. “Working with younger kids is definitely an experience that I am looking forward to,” Nicholson said. The musical also features witty characters to the likes of the Barbershop Quartet, played by freshmen Ameya

Deshmukh, Aidan Wilbur, Tejas Iyer and junior Matthew Sachs. The Quartet appears out of nowhere to sing a classic tune that is always inappropriate for the situation. Junior Rachel Kershenbaum plays the role of Mrs. Paroo, Marian’s mother, who always seems to have a song for every setting. The pair of junior Sean Klein and freshman Alyssa Herman have perfect chemistry for the roles of Tommy Djilas, a troublemaking young man who is “from the wrong side of town,” and Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor’s oldest daughter, who is undeniable while on the stage. Junior Zach Cassidy brings his comedic personality to the role of Mayor George Shinn, who is suspicious of Hill and is certainly not afraid to show it. Beside Mayor Shinn is his wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, played by senior Hannah Bruckheim, who always seems to have a sarcastic comment to share amongst anyone who will listen. Featuring jazzy songs and finger snapping tunes, the musical is a must see this April. The Music Man will be opening the weekend of April 13, 14 and 15, and the second three part showing will appear the following week on April 20, 21 and 22.

Ceramics students showcase projects, weeks of work pay off with new display Kirby Child staff writer

project that ceramics teacher Malinda Pierce calls “the secret door.” Students are using recycled boxes and paper mache to make a mixed-media door that leads to anything they can think of. The students are being challenged to use their imaginations and create a scene that expresses something about themselves or to fabricate something beautiful hidden behind the door. This project reflects, “transitions from one place to another place. It could be somebody thinking about a transition to college or an

emotional transition,” Pierce said. Not every student’s work is displayed in the showcase, but Pierce adds new pieces to the display after new projects are completed. The ceramics showcase is a way to get new students interested in the class, as well as to show pieces made by students currently enrolled in the class. “I love when one of my projects is put in the showcase because it makes me proud of my work,” sophomore Peter Pietri said. Photo by James Barberis

Ceramics is defined as “pots and other articles made from clay hardened by heat,” but to students enrolled in this class it means so much more. This class gives students the opportunity to express themselves through their pieces and encourages them to use their imagination when completing each project. The glass display cases in the art hallway showcase a variety of students’ work in ceramics as well as other art classes. Currently, the display holds clay houses made by students in the first semester intro to ceramics class. Each student cast a unique spin on this project, shaping the houses differently and giving the houses unique themes. “I had a lot of fun with this project and made sure it reflects my personality,” sophomore Antonia Roach said. Additionally, the showcase exhibits trays made by students first semester. This project required the students to stamp and paint slabs of clay. Given the freedom to make their trays look however they wanted them to, students got creative. “The tray project was a good one to do at the beginning of the year because it wasn’t too hard,” senior Mike Pissara said. Another first semester project completed by the students was combining an animal

and a pot into one sculpture. Each student sculpted an animal of their choice and the students then molded these animals to pots they made. Along with choosing what animal to sculpt, students had the freedom to paint their pots any color they wanted. “This was the hardest project we’ve done so far, and the owl I made was really complicated to make out of clay,” sophomore Katie Barnett said. Currently, the students are completing a

The display in the art hallway houses the impressive work from ceramics students of all grades.



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Cartoon by Michael Onel

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 Jordyn Taylor

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

www. Visit our site for Common Sense’s mission statement, scholastic press associations, advertising information, and editorial policy. Common Sense welcomes any letters to the editor but reserves the right to edit them as necessary for style, punctuation, grammar and spelling. Letters may be submitted to the Common Sense mailbox or Gmail. All letters must be signed, but requests to remain anonymous will be considered.

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Should students take all their AP exams? No,


At the end of every AP class comes an AP test that students can take in order to earn credits toward college. Students may decide not to take the AP test because they don’t think they will do well or they just don’t want to take it. Some students believe that the stress caused by AP exams is not worth it so they skip the exam. It is silly for students to not take AP exams for their AP classes because that is what the entire class is for. Advanced Placement classes are designed around the AP test at the end of the year. There is even a bit over a month after the end of the last unit where the class is completely dedicated to studying for the AP test. “The AP test sums up everything you’ve done for the year and you have already done all the work,” AP Psychology teacher Jennifer Bauer said. An AP test is graded on a scale of one to five, with one being the worst and five being the best. A score above a three on the AP test can be used toward college credits so one does not have to take that class in college. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to reducing the amount of work in college. If you do the test well, “hopefully it gives you college credit,” Bauer said. Some AP classes give students an exam on the day of the AP test if they are not taking it. When this is the case, it is completely pointless to not take the AP exam because one is taking a

test anyway. Also, by taking the AP exam, students can save themselves from having to spend the day at school because you can go home after it. “The AP exams can help with college, and sometimes they can even get you out of a final exam in that class,” junior Zack Cassidy said. Another reason why students should take their AP tests is because it is an accurate measure of how much that student learned in the class. If a student takes the test and gets a one on it, it is obvious that they did not put enough work into the class and should not have taken it. On the other hand, if the student takes it and gets a four or a five it means that they really tried and knew a lot about that subject. “If you have put the time in during the school year to get all your work done and get good grades, then you can easily do well on the AP test,” senior Jacob Rosenblatt said. If students who wish to attend college take the AP test and do well enough to earn college credits, they are saving a huge amount of money by not paying for that class in college. That money that is saved can be used to go toward elective classes that that student is interested in or towards their future. “It is a college credit for $90 instead of like $3,000,” Bauer said. - Dennis Child, opinion editor

Preparing for AP exams can be a stressful time for students, especially when they have other stresses on their mind. However, students tend to take the exams for their AP classes anyways because they think that it will help them down the line. Students often receive no college credit for AP exams because high scores are needed to get credit. Not taking AP exams is essential for students and their stress levels and can contribute to students doing better on other important activities in their life. The goal of AP level classes is to prepare students for the difficult level of classes in college and also students can receive credit for the AP classes they take here. People take AP classes because they like the idea of getting ahead and they believe AP classes are a way to get ahead. However, not all colleges accept AP credit from certain classes and also they sometimes only accept the credit if the score on the AP exam is high enough. Trying to get high enough scores for college credit in more than one class can be difficult and stress students out, which sets them up for failure. Students tend to do the best when they aren’t under extraneous pressure to succeed but they do their best everyday. Students like junior Chris Vondas still take the AP exams to try to get credit for the class for college. “Studying for AP exams is brutal because the exams cover material from the whole year and

I don’t remember everything I did first quarter that well,” Vondas said. As well as stressing students out, AP exams stress teachers of AP classes. Teachers have to worry about all of their students signing up by the deadline, which is just another thing added to their agenda. Also, teachers have to ensure all of their students are prepared enough for the test, even if that mean covering a wide range of material in a limited amount of time. This is not the best way for students to learn because they are rushed through much material. If students didn’t take the AP exams they could take their time actually learning the material instead of trying to cram as much information as possible in their brains before the AP tests. Students like senior Michael Pisarra don’t take the AP exam for AP classes that they take because they don’t want to have an even more stressful senior year before going off to college. “I’d rather focus on other things than AP exams because AP exams are unnecessary to take because they require way too much review,” Pisarra said.

- Justin Fishman, opinion editor

Building in desperate need of improvements Common Sense Editorial It is easy to point out all of the negative aspects of our school, especially since it is almost 50 years old. From the bathrooms with broken stall doors to the horrific taste of water fountain “water,” students and teachers often like to sit and complain. Common Sense asked students if they could change something about the school that doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical fix (but must be doable in a day), what would they change? One thing that can be changed, is the bathrooms, which need to have paper towels rather than just a hand dryer. It is understandable that the school is trying to help the environment, but “the hand dryers take a solid two minutes to just slightly dry my hands before I give up and walk back to class with water still on them,” senior Emma Baldwin said. Specifically in the girls’ bathroom in the math hallway, the stall doors either don’t lock or are

missing altogether. Another change that should be made to the school is having music played on the announcements in between classes on Fridays, not just on the days of pep rallies or holidays. The SGA should be able to play a list that is school-appropriate and approved to get everyone excited for the weekend. “Listening to music in between classes on Fridays would be a fun way to end the week,” senior Nabila Okudo said. It is reasonable that this would not be every single day, as no one has time to get all the songs approved or go play them, but for five minutes in between eight periods, it is possible. Though it isn’t free, a change that would save students from making a lot of noise and being uncomfortable would be replacing the chairs in the rooms that aren’t connected to desks. Everyone has sat in those chairs, the ones that wobble back and forth because the legs are uneven and you have to lean to one side and sit still to not disrupt the whole class to let them

know you’re shifting in your seat. A change that some teachers (though not all) have successfully made happen is getting hall passes that look legit, so students can leave class and not have to carry an absurd object with them. Most teachers sign students’ assignment book and let them leave the class, while others have passes tied to a lanyard. The passes I’m talking about, though sometimes quite creative, are also just an unnecessary hassle. Some teachers tell students to grab the yard stick on their way out or another random item in the classroom that is odd to bring to the bathroom and in no way tells security where you are coming from. “It’s annoying to lug around some giant random looking object, especially if the bathroom is right next to the class,” junior Sean Alcicek said. Most changes take months or years to go into effect, but with the help of reasonable suggestions and enough people pointing out the issue at hand, these suggestions could be implemented in a short amount of time.


Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Spring sports bring students pros, cons Joe Pohoryles front page editor

With the spring sports season just starting up, newer athletes here may be having doubts. This pro/con list will highlight the positive aspects unique to spring sports- excluding the obvious ones, like “make new friends,” that apply to any sports season- and refute the cons, to ensure that the decision to play a sport in spring is the right one. Pro: Allows you to spend more time outside as the weather gets nicer For months, one step outside was enough to turn your bones to icicles, and while the season of Uggs, Timbs and sweatpants are all fine and good, it seems as if warmer weather can’t come soon enough. When warmer days finally set in, there’s no better excuse to go enjoy the fresh air than playing a spring sport, especially since our afternoons have become filled with homework, video games, Netflix and other inside “activities” that are really anything

but active. Playing a spring sport outside (sorry volleyball) also means the days of being roasted for ashy knees, elbows and/or hands are gone (at least until next year), as the dry winter air will no longer be a problem. In addition, the arrival of shorts weather should be a happy sign for all those whose thighs have become uncomfortably pasty. If the love for the game isn’t enough to draw you to play, the weather certainly should be. Con: Allergies and humidity Although I just spent the past two paragraphs preaching the wonders of a lovely spring day, we can’t forget that we live in Maryland, where the weather is always a double-edged sword. Of course with warmer weather and more rain comes the humidity, turning a nice, breezy afternoon into a maliciously moist one. Not only that, but spring also means pollen comes back into play, an issue many athletes have to deal with, especially in sports that induce labored respiration. That said, I don’t know anyone with a

pollen allergy who doesn’t have some sort of medication for it, and while the humidity is nasty and uncomfortable… yeah, I don’t really know how to spin the humidity into a positive light. It builds character? Ok, yeah, sure, that works. Just don’t let it stop you from playing. Pro: Keeps you motivated during the final stretch of school The spring season ends just a couple weeks before the end of school (and for seniors, can even extend past graduation). While the senioritis epidemic is highly publicized, month after month of constant school work is enough to drain any student, and being part of a sports team is a great motivator to push through the tail end of the year. We’ve all had days where we just want to sleep in and ignore all our responsibilities, but missing school means missing practice, so competing is a sure way to get you out of bed in the morning. Con: Potential for burnout (if multisport athlete) Any athlete who also plays a fall and/


or winter sport has some fatigue to deal with when spring rolls around, which can make it harder to give it your all in spring. Everyone needs a break at some point, so for the three-season athletes where the offseason literally doesn’t exist during the school year, it’s expected that the level of energy and excitement will be lower than earlier in the year. While that may be the case, the change in sport, teammates and coaches usually is enough of a refresher. Also, for the truly elite competitors, the will to win never diminishes. Be like the greats; don’t let a little mental fatigue throw you off from going out and playing. Pro: If you love your sport enough, then the cons don’t really matter Cheesy, I know, and this one applies to any season, but it’s the truth. As a spring athlete myself, I can’t wait to compete. If you have any doubts about the spring season, think about why you play, and if it’s anything other than to bolster your college resumé, you should be just fine.

Students take stand in response to Douglas shooting Julia Stern senior reviews editor 36. 36 is the number of shootings in the United States that have occured this year. I’m writing this on Feb. 28, the last day of the second month of the year, and there have been 36 shootings already. If you own a phone or a television, you probably know that since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that a massive debate about the state of gun control in the United States has been permeating through Twitter timelines and news broadcasts. While this is not the first school shooting in the United States, and it will probably not be the last, something about the uproar of calls for reform seems different from previous shootings. We are the ones who are affected, the children ranging from ages 14 to 18. We are the ones who feel the need to fear for our lives every time we leave our houses for school in the morning. We are the ones left to wonder if we said “goodbye” or “I love you” to our parents before leaving. Because honestly, how can we

know if it’s the last time we see them? I bet Alyssa Alhadeff thought it would be another normal day at school. Alhadeff, only 14 years old, lost her life to a bullet shot from the AK-15 assault rifle sold legally to Nikolas Cruz, an 18 year old in a obviously deranged state. The hashtag #GunControlNOW permeates through my Instagram and Twitter feeds. I see students angered, upset, distraught, unable to focus on their studies in the classrooms that just don’t feel as safe anymore. If it seems like anyone can get their hands on an assault rifle, having the capability of causing so many casualties, am I safe in school? But it’s not just about whether I feel safe in school. Am I safe going to RIO shopping center to see a movie? Or going to a concert? The day after the shooting, I sat through my forensics class without hearing a word Mr. Herzon was saying, I was too distracted. What can I do? I’m not old enough to vote, I don’t have a real say in policy making. Our president wants teachers to be armed with guns. Politicians take millions of dollars in campaign donations from the National Rifle Association. All that

I have left is my right to protest. But, even that seems to be threatened to be taken away from me. On Feb, 21, students from Richard Montgomery organized a last-minute protest and march in the nation’s capital to vie for stricter laws regarding the purchase of firearms. The night before, I spent about an hour and a half making posters. Finally, I was able to have my voice be heard. When the day finally came, I was sitting in second period, ready to leave with poster in hand. Then Principal Kim Boldon comes on the PA system, announcing that while she appreciates our right to protest, that she does not support our planned actions and that students would be reprimanded and given an unexcused absence if they left school property. While I expected this announcement to come, I didn’t realize that it would deter me so much. I still decided to leave, to have my voice be heard, and it was so worth it. If not now, when would I ever have the opportunity to stand up to our stagnant government. We need gun control. We cannot keep going through tragedy after tragedy and have no solution. We, as students, must stand up for what we believe in.

Recent Snapchat update aggravates users, causes chaos Drew Shrager staff writer

Oh Snapchat, what have you done. If you didn't know, the new Snapchat update came out, which changed pretty much everything. Usually when an app gets updated, the new features that the update has makes it easier to use. The update has left students confused on why they decided to change the layout. The update includes cramming

everything onto one screen. Normally the stories and the individual snaps were on two separate screens, making it easy to navigate through the app. The new update though makes it more complicated to view snaps and look at stories as the buttons to view them are relatively small. People have lost numerous streaks because of this update, and in today's society, losing a streak is basically a sin. “I lost one of my longest streak because of the update and my friend actually got mad at me for it,” senior Daniel Philipose said.

The thing that most frustrated me is that I did not even voluntarily updated the app Snapchat. I had already heard negative things about the update so I didn't plan on doing it. One day I woke up and it apparently had automatically updated in my sleep. Speaking for everyone who this has happened to, it is annoying. “I am afraid to update the app because I like how it is now. Hopefully it doesn't update automatically like it did with other people,” senior Justin Slud said.

In response to this update, people have sent emails to Snapchat asking them why they felt the need to change. “I sent an email the day I updated the app because of how badly they had messed up the app. Hopefully snapchat will reconsider changing it back to what it was before,” senior Jason Eisen said. Snapchat really messed up this time. Let’s hope, for all of our sake, the next time that snapchat updates, that it is much better than last time because Snapchat plays such a huge part in our lives.

Are you for or against the new Snapchat update?

“I dislike the new Snapchat because I can lose my streaks easily and streaks are the only reason I still have Snapchat.” Deirdre Beck, 11

“I love the new Snapchat update because everything is all in one place and all of the stories are more easily accessible .” Hitesh Luthra, 12

“Definitely against it because it has people’s stories pop up on my feed who I didn’t even know I had on Snapchat.” Brett Strauss, 9

Julien Bastin, Belgium Moving to Wootton was really hard for me

because I couldn’t speak English at all. It was


Students share the

really hard for me to make friends because most people already had their friends. I miss my friends from Belgium a lot because I’ve known them for 15 years. Everything is different here like the food, education system, and the people. But, I learned English quickly and people were nice to me. - Julien Bastin, 11

Aishani Shukla, India I was born in the U.S. but I moved to India and lived

there for 10 years before moving back to the U.S. . Life in the U.S. is more stable compared to living in India. In India, I had school off once because of elephants destroying schools. I was a lot closer to my family back then because family culture is more important in India. School was really fun and when I moved here I found it difficult to make friends because I’ve always had the same friends since kindergarten in India. It was really easy for me to assimilate to ‘American’ culture because it’s really diverse here. - Aishani Shukla, 11

Martin Rakowszczyk, Argentina I was pretty young when I moved from

Argentina to the U.S. so I don’t remember much, but learning English was a pretty big challenge for me. I only spoke Spanish, and English was new Photo courtesy Martin Rakowszczyk

to me. It was hard to make friends at first because

Myra Adowah, Ke

When I moved here, the biggest issue for me w

I didn’t speak the language perfectly. However, my

adjusting to how different everything was. I did

teacher aides were really patient with me which

really experience culture shock, but I had just star

helped improve my English. By the first grade, I

adapting to my new school in Kenya when I had

was pretty much fluent.

move to America. It was hard for me to open up

- Martin Rakowszczyk, 12

Senior Martin Rakowszczyk visits his home country, Argentina, which he moved from at the age of two.

first as I thought I would have to move yet again o

I got to Wootton. So for the first semester I kept

myself until a few people reached out to me. N

they’re my best friends. I learned that change is h and nothing is guaranteed, but life is really what make of it. I’m glad I met my new friends.

Pamela Elubiaozar, Nigeria

- Myra Adowah, 12

.Back home in Nigeria, I went to a Catholic

boarding school. There was a strict dress code and we had to cut our hair before coming to school as it was considered to be a distraction to our education. We were taught to show respect to teachers, parent, and reverend sisters with the way we addressed them. My old school is a lot different than here because students have more freedom. I really like the way here they focus on education, sports and talents because back home they only focused on education. - Pamela Elubiaozar, 10

Myra Adowah poses with her classmates in a Kenyan school after a long day schoolwork.

Design by Alyssa Bursie, Nitya Kumar, Emily Eichberg commons editors

n Worldwide

Olivia Park, South Korea The education system in Korea and the U.S. are a lot different, especially with the teaching styles.

eir experiences immigrating

The language was also hard for me to understand as Korean is a complete different language. So, my English isn’t perfect. It was also hard making friends because I don’t have a phone so I usually email my friends. But regardless, I was able to make friends here. - Olivia Park, 9

Kimia Heydari, Iran A funny moment when I first moved to here was when I heard the term “senioritis” for the first time in my biology class. Ms. Joung started telling us about a severe case that seniors get towards the end of the year. I actually thought it was a type of inflamation that happens in the senior’s body. I’m pretty sure I know what it really means now. - Kimia Heydari, 12

Photo courtesy Kimia Heydari

Photo courtesy Osagie Aimiuwu





d to

Ting-Hua Hsu, Taiwan

p at

...I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. I was six years


old when my family and I first moved to the states.

t to

We immigrated because my father came for a


higher education in Lincoln, Neb.. I remember


Osagie Aimiuwu and his sister, both born in the United States, moved to Bangladesh and spent years there before returning back to the United States


that my parents filled out lots of paperwork and were stressed about moving. Because Nebraska is

Osagie Aimiuwu, Bangladesh Living in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is much different Photo courtesy Myra Adowah

than living in the U.S. The biggest change I had to make was adjusting to my new school. Back in Dhaka, there were exactly 62 students in my grade so I knew each and every one of them. Coming to Wootton, I was shocked to see the hundreds of students in the school. To be honest, I was scared at first and wondered how I was going to make friends. But as the school year progressed, I realized


that people here are just as friendly overseas. - Osagie Aimiuwu, 10 of

Kimia Heydari takes a walk on a sidewalk shrouded with trees in her home country of Iran and reminisces.

made up of small towns and corn while Taipei is filled with cities, I was surprised. Snow was also a shock, since it doesn’t snow in Taipei. Being six, it was also easier to pick up English. Eventually, we moved to Maryland because of a job opportunity my father received. - Ting-Hua Hsu, 11



Common Sense |March 6, 2018

Substitutes affect learning From the inside Long term subs create disadvantage for students Demi Ellenbogen staff writer Everyone knows the feeling of excitement when you walk into your classroom and see you have a substitute. A free class period to catch up on homework, study for future tests, or to just play on your phone. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Teacher absences can be the result of various situations: personal leave, family event, sick day, maternity leave, etc. Although this seems amazing at times, having a substitute teacher also has its pitfalls. There is a debate over whether those students who have long term subs, or even a sub just for the day, have a disadvantage. Students with substitute teachers may feel like their quality of education is being impeded by the absence of their teacher. Due to miscommunication with the teacher, the sub plans get messed up, causing the students to not have the right work to do, or not having the right resources. Also, often times the sub isn’t specialized for the class they are subbing in, so students are unable to ask questions and get the help they need. “If we have a sub the day before a test, we don’t get the opportunity to review and ask questions,” sophomore Parmida Khajoee said. When teachers know they are going to miss a day, they often leave plans for the substitute. This way, the students are being productive and getting work done, even in the absence of their teacher. “I always leave extremely detailed plans for my subs, which include the assignments, what to do if there is a drill, where to leave the attendance, and any other information,” Spanish teacher Matthew Salzman said. Teachers who leave plans for the sub are extremely helpful, as students are still able to get the necessary work done. However, when the teacher’s absence lasts for more than a couple of days, students might be at a disadvantage. Even though they will have work to do, without their teachers present students aren’t getting the educational stimulation they need. “When we have a sub it seems like we are just given busy work and not really learning,” junior Kayla Hill said. If teachers have extended absences, such as maternity leave, the students will be given a long-term sub. These substitutes typically are more experienced with the subject

they are teaching and are capable of leading the class as the original teacher would have. With the help of other teachers in the department, they are able to teach the students the most effective way they can. The ability of a substitute teacher to successfully fill the place of a teacher varies from sub to sub, and from class to class. Often students act up or think they can slack off because of the presence of a sub. Substitutes work better when the students are willing to help. “By telling the sub where things are or what the assignment is, the class is able to run smoothly even in the absence of our teacher,” junior Mason Kravitz said.

When we have a sub it seems like we are just given busy work and not really learning.

- Kayla Hill, junior

Students, teachers react to singing valentines Day. “It was great seeing so many talented students perform and it seemed like the recipients really enjoyed and appreciated them. I look forward to the singing Valentines every year,” Duong said. Not only were the Valentines special for the recipient, but all of the students in the classes got to experience them as well. Junior

Photo Abby Russ

Rachel Wei editor-in-chief Athletes, spectators and coaches from all over the world sit unified in the arenas and open air competition spaces in PyeongChang, South Korea. People from countries where political ties are strained stand side by side, watching athletes twirling on the ice and flipping in the air. The 2018 Olympics was a refreshing celebration of human ability and talent in a year filled with political strife; it proved that even in today’s politically tense climate, it is still possible for all of us to come together in harmony to commemorate hardwork, dedication and athletic ability. It was touching to see all the attendees cheering for their country’s representatives and Olympians’ pushing the boundaries of what the human body can do. Similar to literature and art, the Olympics at its core is a celebration of human life and ability. The ability for international competitions such as the Olympics to bring people of all backgrounds together is a testament to humans’ deep bond with each other. No matter what type of government we live under, what political leaders we have or what language we speak, we can all connect with each other. Although it may seem obvious and insignificant, remembering that we’re all human can be immensely powerful. Holding onto what holds us together, not what threatens to drive us apart, can help us work together to solve international problems. Instead of thinking “environmental problems are not my country’s concern,” or “refugee issues won’t reach me here,” we should all come together in international unity to address global concerns. If we can all gather peacefully at the Olympics to celebrate human life, we should be able to meet and effectively discuss the well-being and survival of the human race. Global issues such as global warming and disease are potential disasters that require the best and brightest human minds working together, not behind closed borders. Recently, I had the chance to see the musical Chess at The Kennedy Center, which discussed the use of games to help settle international disputes. Chess is set in the Cold War Era and centers around two chess players as they face off to decide who will be global champion. One chess player is Russian, and the other is American. Government officials in both countries attempt to negotiate with each other throughout the tournament to inch closer to halting the nuclear arms race for the sake of humanity. Whether fictional or real, tournaments of all sorts help us see all the passions we share collectively as humans. Although most were focused on the athlete's performances and scores, I found the Olympics memorable for exemplifying how we can all celebrate human life in peace and harmony.

Winter Olympic Sports

Cross-country skiing Bobsled

Nordic combined Ice Hockey



Alpine skiing



Ski jumping

Figure Snowskating boarding Freestyle Speed skiing Skating Short track speed skating Information gathered from Olympic Games

Infographic by Hannah Shapiro

the teachers of harder classes might find these interruptions disturbing, some instructors appreciated the surprise appearances. Math teacher Throughout the school day on Catherine Ruback had a quiz during Feb. 14, students were surprised in her Algebra 2 class, yet continued to their classes with singing Valentines have a positive opinion on the singing sent from their peers. While these Valentines. “I thought they were treats were nice breaks during the day, awesome. We had a quiz but I thought teachers have varying opinions about it was a nice break for the students them. and lifted their spirits,” Ruback The performances were said. given the acappella groups: Ruback was easy-going The Supertonics, The when her class was interrupted, Chromatics and The Acabellas. but not all teachers are this The students in these three way. Junior Grace Youngstrom groups were excused from witnessed some negativity their classes for the day and by her teachers when The went around filling Valentine Supertonics entered during requests from students. The her day. “We were taking a test members of the groups did during one of my classes and not consider this annoying my teacher told the Tonics or hard work and said they to leave and come back later, had a fun day. Junior Marc but they never did. Some of Laibstain is a member of The my teachers really liked the Supertonics and had a great Valentines and even danced time singing the day away. “It's to them, but others didn’t find always been one of my favorite them as amusing as the rest of days of school going to all the us,” Youngstrom said. classes and singing, it makes so While some teachers and many people happy, but also A cappella group, The Supertonics, sing the hit song students may not have enjoyed shows the school how much “Toxic” to Rachel Berman during her newspaper class. the singing Valentines, the work the different groups put majority of the school found in,” Laibstain said. Sierra Coflin got to see several them exciting and funny. Yes they Depending on the class, teachers performances from the acappella may have been interruptions, and yes found the singing Valentines exciting groups throughout her classes. “It they can be embarrassing, but they and a great experience for the students was really fun to see the people be are mostly viewed as a way for friends and themselves. Art teacher Quan Duong enjoyed the performances in serenaded by the different groups,” or significant others to brighten another’s day and give their class a her classes throughout Valentine’s Coflin said. Although one might think that good laugh. Hannah Shapiro features editor

The beauty of international harmony



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Education shifts over time Classes reflect TV programs Student, teacher, principal share views on schools Brian Myers features editor

Shows, subjects share strikingly similar environment

high caliber of the work he must put forth in his classes. “My mom went to Wootton but I think my experience here is harder because standards are higher than in the past,” Garcia said. Garcia is content with receiving his diploma in the 2010s because he is happy with the technologically advanced environment. “All these changes are bonding society together and bringing us closer to a totally electronic future,” Garcia said. No matter the personal experiences, high school has always been an important place to bring one’s “A” game, as Boldon relates with her own mother’s experience. “My Photo by Brian Myers

Monday through Friday, students rush through the familiar main entrance, a set of corridors and a classroom door in order to start the day. As they drop into their desks, catch up with their friends and watch the teacher approach the front of the class, is there anyone who blocks out all the noise for one second to think, ‘I wonder how high school was before my time?’ In 1990, Principal Kimberly Boldon graduated from Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, a school that she fondly remembers as the place that prepared her to be successful. “High school was a really positive experience for me,” Boldon said. “I was involved in tons of things and I had teachers who cared for me.” Almost 30 years later, Boldon is familiar with the same opportunities that she had and excited with all the new opportunities today’s students have. “Back then, I was class president for a couple of years and I also got to be a part of SGA,” Boldon said. “Nowadays, I think it’s great that new technology gives students even more opportunities.” In 2002, social studies teacher John Freundel graduated from Bishop McNamara High School, another Prince George’s County school. He reflects that there were only about Spanish teacher Matthew Salzman points to his staff yearbook photo 1,100 students on campus from the 1999 Fife and Drum. He started teaching here in 1996. and computers were unbearably inefficient. “I didn’t like my tech classes because you were mom moved from rural Virginia to urban required to work with slow computers and New York when she was 13,” Boldon said, you couldn’t really do much with them,” “but she still pushed herself to work hard in a much different environment and ended Freundel said. Looking back, Freundel thinks that his up getting a job with the federal government high school era does have the current era when she was 18.” Now having found success as the head beat in the sense that they did not rely as much on cell phones. “I loved that I didn’t of a high school, Boldon is grateful to her have a cellphone,” Freundel said, “because parents for inspiring her to continue their the freedom without one is not experienced legacy of academic excellence. “They were big proponents of education,” Boldon said. anymore.” Now in his third year here, junior Greg “They wanted me to prepare myself for Garcia appreciates the rise in security and the college as the next step.”

Abby Russ staff writer With all the stress of high school, students can’t help unwinding while watching television. When you do, have you ever noticed how certain shows remind you of a specific class or teacher? First Period- If you have taken gym for the fourth year in a row, then “SportsCenter” may be your show. It has been airing since 1979 and has recorded over 50,000 episodes. It satisfies all of your sports needs whether you like tennis, football, or even WWE. SportsCenter covers everything in the sports world and airs everyday. Second Period- NSL may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you are a government buff than “The West Wing” is your show. The NBC classic aired for seven years and follows the Bartlet presidency through two terms in office. Although the series concluded in 2006, many of the topics are relevant today. “I thought the show was as close to realistic as possible while staying dramatically interesting,” AP Government teacher Nia Cresham said. Third Period- Anatomy offers a chance for students to learn about and discover if this branch of science is something they would like to continue to explore in college and maybe even their career. But who wouldn’t want to blow off homework and watch binge watch 14 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” instead? Fourth Period- Law: For those law fanatics who want to learn the ins and outs

of the legal system, once class is over, “Law and Order” is your show. Twenty seasons and four spin-offs are at your binging fingertips to apply what you learn in the classroom to Adam Schiff ’s courtroom. The show offers so much you would think it is illegal. Fifth Period- The One (Period) Where Everyone is Fine. “FRIENDS” will always “be there for you” with its 236 episodes on reruns and Netflix. The friends will never fail to make you laugh from “how you doing” to “we were on a break.” Sixth Period- A cappella with Schwartz or Schuester? “Glee’s” six-season run may be the show for you if your interested in a cappella. “It handles heavy subjects that students may deal with in their high school careers and shows solutions, to tough issues while keeping viewers intrigued,” junior Janel Berlinger said. Seventh Period- Physics may be a demanding class but you always have “The Big Bang Theory” and Sheldon to lighten the mood. It’s eleven-season run is perfect for those interested in science. “The Big Bang Theory shows me how apply the class to real life. And Sheldon is a really funny character,” junior Kevin Jordan said. Eighth Period- Psychology may be the last period of a taxing day but if you’re interested in the human psyche then Psych may be your show. Although the similarities between the two may end at the common name, the show ran for eight years on the USA Network. What began as a popular American show gained popularity around the world.



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Nearby activities for relaxing spring break Jordyn Taylor seniors features editor

If you want even more options, you can visit the Leesburg Outlets located in Virginia, which is a 45-minute drive or the Hagerstown Outlets, which is a 55-minute drive. “I love visiting the outlets because they have so many discounts and many different store options,” senior Trent Folk said. Photo courtesy Gabi Menconi

Spring break is just around the corner and all of your friends are talking about the extravagant cruises they’ll be taking and luxurious islands and countries they are visiting. You are extremely excited for them, but also jealous knowing that you’ll be stuck in Rockville doing nothing more than watching Netflix on your couch. Fortunately, there is much more to do in this area than you think. Here are four different fun activities you can do that will keep you busy throughout the break. Hiking: Not only can hiking take you to a beautiful and scenic view, but it’s a great workout if you need to burn some calories. We live in a perfect location for hiking as there are multiple trails just 20-40 minutes away. Great Falls, Sugarloaf Mountain and Rock Creek Regional Park are all examples of thrilling hiking trails to conquer with your friends or family. “My favorite thing to do with my friends is hike. It’s so much fun,” senior Grace Llewellyn said. To make it even more fun, bring a bathing suit so that you can jump into the various bodies of water located throughout the trails. Zip-lining: Feeling adventurous? If so, make sure to

check out Go Ape Zip Line, Treetop Adventure and Sandy Springs Adventure Park. At these ziplining parks, you have the opportunity to tackle obstacles, explore the trees from a new perspective and fly around on multiple zip lines from extreme heights. These parks are only 20-25 minutes away, so make sure to go if you are looking for some adventure. “I’ve been zip lining with my family multiple times and it is such a fun experience, which brings my family together,” sophomore Danielle Klein said. Visit Washington, D.C.: There’s nothing better than being a tourist in our city no matter the number of times you’ve been. There’s always something new to do, whether it’s visiting a new museum, joining a march, or trying different food places you’ve seen on social media food accounts. Although it’s unknown at the time when they will be blooming, the National Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. occurs in mid March through mid April, so it’s likely that they will bloom by spring break. These beautiful flowers scatter throughout the city each year and are always a lovely sight to see and walk through. D.C. Go to the outlets: With the weather beginning to get warmer during break, the outlets will offer the perfect shopping experience. The newly opened Clarksburg Outlets are a quick 20-minute drive and consist of stores for all ages and even greater deals at the majority of the stores.

Seniors Gabi Menconi and Brittany Griffin enjoy a warm day by taking a hike at Great Falls.

Spend free time wisely: Follow these Twitter accounts Danny Rothenberg news editor

the world with 100 million. Between his James’ dunks and Odell Beckham Jr. catches, inspiring statements and funny jokes with House of Highlights brings everything a Joe Biden about his birthday, Obama keeps sports fan needs to the table  “House of his followers reading and always wanting Highlights has all of the top highlights on more.  “I didn’t know if I should follow Twitter, which makes it so enjoyable to Obama on Twitter since he’s a politician, but follow so I can see the best players in sports when I saw that he had almost 100 million doing crazy things,” freshman Robby Neil followers at the time I had to,”  sophomore said. Bailey Goldstein said. House of Highlights @ HoHighlights- Calling all sports fans: this is a must follow.  This account is filled with the most thrilling sports highlights all in one place.  With highlights from basketball, football, baseball and even original at-home videos, there’s no better place to get a recap of your favorite sports @BarackObama, @realDonaldTrump, @HOHighlights and games and the best @Boringbigalex place for the top four Twitter accounts, with Obama plays.  Between Lebron having the most followers at 100.4 million.

Screenshots by Jordyn Taylor

Social media is becoming one of the top ways people spend their free time. People use it for news, sports, comedy, or politics. One of the biggest social media sites is Twitter, in which 157 million people are tweeting, retweeting, and liking dozens of posts daily.  With about 500 million tweets being posted every day, Twitter has emerged as one of the top social media platforms in the United States and the rest of the world.  When it comes to Twitter one of the most important things is knowing who the best accounts are to follow so you can get the most out of your time.  Whether you have an account now or still need to get tweeting, here are four of the best accounts and people you need to follow. Donald Trump @RealDonaldTrumpSince last year’s election, the president has been non-stop tweeting whatever comes to mind.  Although this may seem like a person you’d follow for politics, you will soon realize that it is comedy too.  With tweets coming

out left and right your feed will never be empty and instead filled with tweets about important issues that the president loves to put his opinion on such as when he tweeted how the election was rigged during last year’s race. Plus, he’s the president of the United States so you have to follow him. @BoringBigAlex- Are you ever feeling down and want a good laugh?  If yes, you have to follow the school’s own Alex Cohen on twitter.  Even though the name may be a little deceiving, Boring Big Alex is one of the funniest accounts you will come across.  As he tweets whatever comes to his mind, like his maple syrup in the morning, you get a good look into Alex’s life with things that are so boring they are funny.  “@Boringbigalex constantly makes me laugh.”  junior Eric Quam said.  “When he posts it just brightens my day since the tweets are such ridiculous things that just make you laugh.”    Barack Obama @BarackObamaYou may be thinking, why should I follow another politician?  Well, our former POTUS is clearly doing something right on Twitter since he has the most followers in

Streaming music made easy thanks to Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music Sarah Levine staff writer

possible. Spotify premium lets people skip as many songs as they want, and look up and play any song on command. A monthly payment of $9.99 is required. Another popular music streaming service is Soundcloud. Soundcloud was launched in August of 2007 and has around 40 million registered users worldwide. Soundcloud is a little different from Spotify. This app is an “online audio distribution platform based in Berlin, Germany, that enables its users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds,” according to Wikipedia. “A bunch of my friends have made their own music and uploaded it to Soundcloud on their account,”

Infographic by Jordyn Taylor

Having access to your favorite music is easy now due to the many music apps and streaming services. Some of the most common music streaming apps are Spotify, Soundcloud, and Apple music, where people have the opportunity to listen to whatever music they want for a reasonable price. Spotify was launched Oct. 7, 2008, by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. With 70 million worldwide paying subscribers, the app has up to 30 million songs at its disposal. “I use Spotify most often because they have all my favorite songs on it and I’m able to make playlists of all the songs I like,” sophomore Katie Barnett said. Spotify is an app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone or computer. After making an account, there are playlists already made with the most popular music that correlate to a certain mood or event. Another feature that Spotify provides is the ability to make your own playlists.“I have a lot of different playlists that I made to listen to depending on my mood,” junior Dede Beck said. Unless the account has Spotify “premium,” playing a certain song on command is not 50 students surveyed

freshman Thomas Jezek said. Like Spotify, Soundcloud has playlists made by people all around the world that correlate to specific moods and events. People who consider themselves emerging artists who want to become recognized often upload their music onto Soundcloud. Another popular music streaming service is Apple Music. “Apple Music is a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc. Users select music to stream to their device on-demand, or they can listen to existing, curated playlists,” according to Wikipedia. Apple Music was launched June 15, 2015. This Apple feature is available in most of the world, with the price of $9.99 for a single license, $14.99 for a family license, and $4.99 for a student license. “I use Apple Music as well as Spotify to listen to my favorite music,” sophomore Katie Barnett said. If someone doesn’t want to pay for an actual license, one can use a free trial with Apple Music for three months. There are many other music streaming services one can use to access the music they want, like downloading music onto their device from iTunes or music store of their phone.

Survey by Jordyn Taylor



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Midnight Madness excites, exceeds expectations back out.” Since it was the first time school had held an event like this, no one knew what to expect. But it ended up being more successful than anyone thought it would. At the start of the party, things were a little bit slow and not everyone was dancing. The Woottonettes were scheduled to perform toward the end of the night, but because of quick thinking, they were introduced much earlier, which hyped up the crowd a lot. After their performance, the dance floor was totally packed with dancing students. It clearly ended up being a great night for everyone who was involved or attended, but obviously there will be a few things they need to be altered for next year. This includes either changing the name from “Midnight Madness” to something more fitting, or extending the time it ends, because it only went until 11:30. Overall it was a cool and fun experience especially because it was new and different from any school events I’ve been to in the past, as well as because it was going out and having a good time, knowing all the money would be donated to a great cause like A Wider Circle.

Emily Eichberg commons editor

Photo by Emily Eichberg

Last Friday, the Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored its first Midnight Madness dance to help raise money for A Wider Circle, which is an organization that helps families that are in poverty get back on their feet. It was held in the school’s lower gym, featuring rising DJ Ryan Amir, with special guests including Soundcloud artist Graham Bright as well as the renowned male dance team, the Woottonettes. Due to their controversial performance at the first pep rally this year, the Woottonettes were not able to perform at POTH, but made their big comeback at Midnight Madness. The team practiced long and hard for this event because they were expecting an enormous crowd, “ Every person in the crowd went absolutely wild when they came out and since they didn’t dance at POTH, the team was especially excited for Friday night’s performance,” sophomore and co-choreographer Haley Scheinberg said. Along with the Woottonettes and Amir, Bright was one of the main attractions for the dance. Bright is known best for his five singles on Spotify and his popular Soundcloud song, “De$igner Feelings,” also featuring two other students, Elijah Trent and Nashon Plummer. Bright also released his newest single, “New Addiction” in the middle of December. “It was so fun and exciting to go and see Graham perform live in person because it was just like going to a concert only it was at school with my friends,” sophomore Tati Arnaiz said. Doors opened at 9 p.m. on Friday night as students flooded the lower gym dressed from head to toe in black, as the previously announced theme for the night was “blackout or The crowd looks on as the Woottonettes give a stellar performance during Midnight Madness.

Newest addition to Marvel franchise, Black Panther, breaks records

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After hearing such universal praise and reading positive review after positive review of Marvel’s new movie, Black Panther, I was excited to go to the theater with my friends and see for myself what all the fuss was about. The movie definitely lived up to the hype. Black Panther has all the elements of a Marvel superhero movie: stellar fight scenes and action sequences, amazing acting and great characters. The movie also drops an absolutely astounding soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar, which thumps throughout the action. The movie lacks some of the laugh-outloud humor that has lifted other recent Marvel movies, however, which, at least for this reviewer, keeps Black Panther from earning a place among the alltime classics in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther centers around the fictional African nation of Wakanda. This nation was built upon a reserve of the strongest substance in the known world, vibranium. You’ve heard of Captain America’s shield? That’s made of vibranium (well, technically, for the true Marvel nerds out there, a vibranium/steel alloy). The Wakandans use vibranium to create highly

much into his backstory because that would lead to some major spoilers for those still planning to see the film. In Black Panther, I found myself rooting for the villain, something I rarely do in any movie, especially a superhero movie. Killmonger’s vision is to start a revolution that allows marginalized people to fight back against their oppressors using the abilities and resources of the Wakandans that they have kept secret for so long. Although Killmonger’s methods are drastic, he is fighting for what felt like a noble cause, and it didn’t seem fair that the Wakandans would stay in hiding for centuries as others around the world are oppressed. One thing I always look forward to in Marvel movies but saw lacking in Black Panther is the light comedy that is sprinkled through the action. For anyone who has seen movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok, The Avengers and the Iron Man series, you know the important role that humor plays in taking those movies from good to truly great. Don’t get me wrong; I definitely laughed a couple of times during Black Panther, but the movie had nowhere near the amount of humor that I’ve come to expect from the best of Marvel movies.

The Black Panther movie stand promotes the hit outside of the AMC cinema.

Jack Rothenberg staff writer As sophomore Matthew Kopsidas starts to think of places where he and his mom, Marina, can go out to dinner, his mind comes to a blank. He can’t think of any place that they haven’t gone to recently, and wants some place new. In late 2017, a new Mexican restaurant called Gringos and Mariachis opened at Park Potomac and has been a big hit. Their menu has options that can appeal to everyone. Ceramics teacher Unsil Kim has been to Gringos and Mariachis once before and said she loved it. “I had their chicken tacos with a side of fries and it was amazing. It was one of the best tacos I’ve had in awhile,” Kim said. A new Shake Shack is expected to open in the Cabin John shopping mall. Although they have announced the opening, they haven’t released a date of the opening. Sophomore Yuvi Singh has been waiting for a Shake Shack to open in the area. “I’ve had Shake Shack once before, and it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had,” Singh said. Their menu is filled with different options including burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, as well as milkshakes and other desserts that people love. “I went to one in Washington D.C. and it was the best burger I’ve ever had,” sophomore Andy Ram said. Lastly, Chick-fil-A, which is practically everywhere, is now opening even closer the the school. Before, their closest restaurant was in the Kentlands. Now when students are sick of Fallsgrove there is a new option. Their menu appeals to the younger generation with chicken nuggets, milkshakes and french fries. Freshman Brett Strauss is excited for the new Chick-fil-A to open, and can’t wait. “I’m tired of having to go all the way to Kentlands when I want their food. Now I can just drive two minutes instead of 15,” Strauss said. When the new restaurant opens they will give out free meals to the first 100 customers on opening day. Customers camp out overnight in order to get the meals. It provides you with one free meal each week for 52 weeks. Freshman Thomas Jezek doesn’t understand why people would go camp out in order to get free meals. “I would never do that, because most of the people that go don’t even get the free meals,” Jezek said. On the other hand, sophomore Andrew Misovec is going to camp out when the new restaurant opens. “I’m going, because it’s my favorite restaurant in the area. Even if I don’t get the free meals it’s something that I want to experience for the first time,” Misovec said. Photo courtesy Google Commons

advanced technology and weapons, all the while keeping themselves hidden from the outside world, forming a sort of Utopia. Wakanda sends spies around the globe to gather intelligence and help fight international crime and capture highly important fugitives. The Black Panther, named T’Challa, is the king of Wakanda and is given a special heart-shaped herb to give him enhanced strength, speed and agility. Along with this, the Black Panther uses high-tech equipment and weapons developed from the vibranium that the Wakandans have access to. The main “villain” in Black Panther is named Erik Killmonger, although I won’t go t o o

Jason Silverman editor-in-chief

When one door opens, pray that it’s the new Shake Shack

Local Twitter account, The Moco Show, excitedly announces the new arrival of the Shake Shack opening later this summer in Cabin John.



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Student-athletes resemble professionals

Photo used with per,ission fromfrom Google Commons

Everywhere in America, young high school athletes aspire to be like the great professional athletes. Many students try to model their game after these pros. Some students at the top of their sport here could be compared to professional athletes. One athlete, junior football player, Noelly Miller could be compared to the Green Bay Packers wide receiver, Jordy Nelson. Both athletes play the same position, wide receiver, and are similar in size. Nelson is six feet, three inches while Miller is six feet, one inch. Miller led the county in receiving yards with 1266 yards and also led the county with 14 receiving touchdowns. Nelson came in seventh in the NFL in receiving yards in 2014, and was tied for second in receiving touchdowns with 13. Other students have similar opinions about Miller and pro athletes. “[Miller] is really good and athletic at football, if I had one professional athlete to compare him to it would probably be Jordy Nelson as they both make amazing plays down the field,” junior Ryan Mariani said. Another athlete who is comparable to a professional athlete is hockey player John Billingsley, who could be compared to Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby. Both players led their team in goals and assists.“I am a huge Penguins fan, so I watch Sidney Crosby a lot and John reminds me a lot of him,” sophomore Molly Burns said. Junior baseball player Harrison Cance compares to the Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Both big players who can hit for average and power. They both play the same position, and are both right handed. “When I see [Cance] play, and then when I watch Goldschmidt play, I really can see how similar they are to each other as they each hit for average and power,” senior Jeremy Goldstein said. Not only players but also coaches feel Cance is like Goldschmidt.“I have seen Harrison develop over the years and the one guy I really feel compares to him in the

major leagues is Goldschmidt,” JV baseball coach Robert Acevedo said. One of the star players of the basketball team, junior Kevin Ayissi Etoh, can be compared to retired Los Angeles Laker guard, Kobe Bryant. Both players have had amazing careers and led their team in scoring while also leading the team in other intangibles. “Watching [Ayissi Etoh] play amazes me, his ability to score so easily while also put the straps on people, it reminds of watching Kobe Bryant play,” sophomore Jack Lvovsky said.

Photo used with permission from Lifetouch

Dev Zoks staff writer

Kobe Bryant (left) dribbles up the court against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 3, 2014. Junior Kevin Ayissi Etoh (right) dribbles up the court against Quince Orchard on Dec. 16, 2016.

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Common Sense | March 6, 2018


Girls’ Wrestling BBALL

8-15 9-12 9-8





Indoor Track

Ambrose Devine place 9th in the state for 55M hurdles Shayne Brooks placed 4th in the state for 500M


Swim & Dive

Boys and girls finish 11th and 12th respectively in the state


swim & dive

Successful season ends at state finals Aaron Strauss staff writer

The pool waves have now calmed as the State Swimming and Dive Championships have come to an end. The coed swim and dive team participated in the state final at University of Maryland College Park, Eppley indoor swimming facility and recreational center on Feb 24. For the boys, Churchill had their first state title win for the Class of 4A/3A. For the girls, Sherwood won their second states title for the class of 4A/3A. For the overall event Wootton boys placed 12th, only scoring 78 points.The women’s team one-upped the men placing 11th for the overall event, with a score of 63 points. Senior Eric Lu finished the boys’ 500 yard freestyle in 4:52.61, ending in 18th place. Senior Jeffery Qin swam

like a shark, placing ninth, finishing the 50 yard freestyle in 22.34. Junior Aaron Lazar finished the 100 yard butterfly race in 55.12, placing 16th. Junior Cece Zhao placed 12th in the women’s 200 yard IM, with a time of 2:18.22. In the boys’ 200 yard medley relay, with a team consisting of freshman Leo Seen, sophomore Ryan Chen, senior Jonathan Yune, and Aaron Lazar, the boys placed 15th with a final time of 1:46.81. In the 200 yard Medley relay, with a team comprised of junior Rita Zhang, Cece Zhao, sophomore Joy Shi, and freshman Laura Chen, the girls showed out and placed 10th with a finals time of 1:53.96. For the 200 yard freestyle relay, Qin, Lu, junior Jonathan Odim, and lazar dominated the pool placing seventh. With a final time of 1:30.64, the boys did not disappoint. For the women’s 200 yard freestyle relay,

Zhang, Chen, Shi, and Zhao continued to shine after placing seventh. The girls shot through the pool and ended with a final time of 1:41.39. Although the boys and girls did not win states, the season wasn’t one to sob over. There are many great feats that both teams accomplished, and the next season is just around the corner. “It was a great overall season. I’m sad that we didn’t come out on top, but next season will be even better,” junior Maddie Grainger said. Player look to stay swimming in the pool even after the season is over. Working hard and staying dedicated all year long. “This offseason everyone will work hard and come back better than ever. I’m sad that the season has ended but I’m not disappointed. The season was pretty good, I enjoyed it,” sophomore Evan McLaughlin said.

Girls’ Basketball

Team falls short in first round of playoffs Following the game against Whitman the team had a week to prepare for their playoff game at Quince Orchard. The Patriots came into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the second quadrant while Quince Orchard was fourth seed in the second quadrant. Gillick had an incredible game, with 28 points offensively. Despite both Bridge and Bennaim having good games, the team overall struggled with the height of Quince Orchard. Both teams played hard, physical basketball. In the end Quince Orchard outplayed the team and came out on top 52-42. “Having our season end this way was definitely not what we wanted. We played well and we

fought hard but we just didn’t get the result we wanted,” junior Mary Quackenbush said. Prior to the playoff game against Quince Orchard the team took on Whitman at home on Feb. 16. After the first quarter the score was tied. During the second quarter the Patriots outscored the Vikings 13-8 to put them up 24-19 heading in to halftime. Coming out of the halftime break, the Patriots were outscored 14-10 in the third quarter. During the final quarter the Patriots were outscored 8-4, losing the game with a final score of 41-38. Offensively senior guard Katie Gillick led all scorers with 10 points, while fellow seniors Aliya Rahman and Taylor Meade had 10 points and six points respectively. When it came to rebounding, junior Crystal Bridge

Photo used with permission by Lifetouch

Sam Greene senior sports editor

Senior guard Katie Gillick dribbles down the court against Whitman on Feb. 16.

and sophomore Sivan Bennaim each had nine rebounds in the game, “It sucked that we couldn’t win but we played well, and clearly we match up well against Whitman so we feel good about that,” Gillick said. Heading in to next year the team looks to improve on the talent they have as well as reload on the talent that is graduating. The team is losing key players such as senior Zoey Goldberg as well as Gillick, but the team is retaining two of their most vital players when it comes to rebounding in both Bridge who will be a senior as well as Bennaim who will be a junior. “Next year’s team will definitely be a good one. They’ll have a lot of talent from both the current varsity players as well as the players who are on JV now,” Goldberg said. The team finished the season 9-12.


Jason Liau shines; lone team member remaining Connor Walsh staff writer

As the wrestling season came to an end for most athletes, four wrestlers competed in the regional tournament on Feb. 24, each with the goal of bringing a state championship back home. The remaining wrestlers represented school in each of their four individual weight classes. Freshman Jason Liau was the school’s 106-pound weight class wrestler. Senior Jake Warner was the 126-pound weight class wrestler. Senior Alex Terskin was the 145-pound weight class wrestler and senior Adrian Guerra wrestled in the 195-pound weight class. Guerra, who is new to wrestling this year, got to experience the regional tournament for the first time. He ended up losing in the quarterfinals to the regional 190-pound weight class champion. “Even though I didn’t do as well as I would have liked

to, wrestling in the tournament was a good experience,” Guerra said. Terkin finished off his last season for the wrestling team with his final regional tournament appearance, and ended up making it to the quarterfinals. This would be the end for Terksin for his school wrestling career. Along with Terskin, Warner also participated in his last regional tournament of his high school career. He similarly finished in the quarterfinals, losing to the second place finisher who will be going to States. Warner, whose season is now done said,“I am going to miss wrestling at Wootton and miss wrestling with my friends.” Liau made it all the way to the championship of the regional tournament. He ended up losing the championship and came in second place. Even though Liau ended up losing the top four, he made it to States. Liau will wrestle against the state’s best wrestlers and will most likely see the opponent he lost to again. Liau

said, “It is definitely going to be a challenge for me that I’m not used to, but I am looking forward to it and I think it is going to be fun.” The statewide tournament took place on Mar. 1-2, Laiu represented his school, his teammates and the entire wrestling program. Students from school and on the team planned on going out to support Liau. Sophomore and JV wrestler Ben Bloch said, “I think he has a good chance to make a run and hopefully bring us back a ring.” Bloch, who is also a 106-pound weight class wrestler, wrestled in the regional tournament last year as a freshman just like Liau is. It was Liau’s biggest challenge this year as he only wrestled the best wrestlers in the state, but also some of the best wrestlers he has wrestled against this season. The state tournament is known to be filled with experienced wrestlers and Laiu was looking to make a name for himself.



Common Sense | March 6, 2018


Ryan Ullman senior sports editor

For most indoor track athletes, the conclusion of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) 4A West Regional Championships was their last meet of the season. However, for two athletes, senior Ambrose Devine and junior Shayne Brooks, there was still another day. Both athletes placed high enough in their respective events at regionals, which qualified them for the MPSSAA 4A State Championships, which took place on Feb. 20. While there, they competed against athletes from 43 other schools. At the meet, Devine competed in the 55-meter hurdles, and Brooks competed in the 500-meter event. Since they faced greater competition at States, they both placed worse than they did at regionals. At regionals, Brooks finished fourth with a time of 1:12.36. However, at states, Brooks finished seventh, even though he got a faster time of 1:09.24. At regionals, Devine finished third with a time of 8.23 seconds. At states, he finished ninth in the prelims, with a faster time of 8.17, and did not qualify for finals. In preparation for states, both athletes performed rigorous training that was slightly different from what they had done all season. “Preparation for states was a lot more speed training, whether it was pure sprints with full recovery or working on my steps between hurdles, it was just more intense. In between sets it was more relaxed than regular season since there was not nearly as much pressure to qualify,” Devine said.

Both athletes had different goals at the beginning of the season. “Reaching states was not my overall goal, I mainly wanted to improve my time and challenge myself from my time last year,” Brooks said. For Brooks, competing at States concluded an unexpectedly successful season. “Even though States didn’t exactly go the way I wanted it to, I felt that I ended the season on a high note,” Brooks said. Devine’s goal at the beginning of the season was to reach States, but once he got there, he “was hoping to perform better.” Both athletes had a good season overall and were happy with their performances. “I was content with my season personally and I feel that I learned a lot for my fourth and final outdoor track season,” Devine said. Even though he will not be competing in indoor track next year, he believes that the team will still do well. “I feel that we had a number of new athletes who show great potential and an awesome future for the team,” Devine said. Brooks also had an enjoyable year on the team. “I thought the season went well and the team had a great bond which made it fun and competitive at every meet,” he said. This competitive atmosphere allowed both him and Devine to compete and train at a high level to be the best. Even though the indoor track season is over, both athletes will participate in spring outdoor track and try to qualify for states again. According to Devine, “winter is just the preseason,” which shows that both he and Brooks are ready for spring.


Photo courtesy Ambrose Devine

Devine, Brooks compete at states

Junior Shayne Brooks competes in the 500m race at States on Feb. 20.

First round exit ends season, team set for rebound Eric Lee staff writer For the first round of the playoff, the boys traveled to faced Richard Montgomery on Feb. 23. The team had a hard time stopping the Rockets in the first half. The Patriots allowed 27 points and could not find their rhythm on offense in the first half. As half time came, the score was 27-22. The game was in the third quarter but the team still struggled on defense and allowed 33 points in the second half. With the top scorer, sophomore guard

Kevin Ayissi-Etoh, out with an ACL injury, the team had a hard time keeping up with the Rockets’ offense and they were too much for the Patriots’ defense to handle as they lose 60-48, ending their season in the first round of playoffs. “I don’t think we played they way we wanted to and that’s why we lost,” senior center Sam Alborta said. Losing in the first round, two years in a row are showing that there needs to some changes made in the offseason. The Patriots had their senior night against Whitman on Feb. 16. With only five seniors leaving, the team will not need to rebuild in the offseason. The offense had a

hard time only scoring seven points in the first half. And the Vikings had a hard time as well, only scoring three points. The offense was able to pick it up in the third quarter, scoring 30 points. Warshaw was sidelined with cramps in the third quarter, but was able to come back in the fourth. The boys were not able to keep the Vikings from scoring in the fourth quarter, allowing 21 points and could not get the offense going as well. The team only scored nine points in the fourth quarter and lost the lead they had, ending 6055. “It never feels good to lose the lead you had and lose the game,” junior forward Trey Wilson said.

The boys took on Northwood on Feb. 13. Northwood, winless this season, was not a difficult matchup for the team. The boys were able to play well defensively and only allow six points in the first half. As for the offense, they were able to score 37 points in the first half and were ahead 16 at the half. As Northwood picked up the pace on offense, the team had a harder time stopping them than the first half, allowing 34 points in the second half. But the Patriots’ offense was able to make up for their lack of defense in the second half. The boys won 76-55. “It always feels good to have back to back wins,” senior guard Ryan Warshaw said.

March expected to be filled with basketball madness this year It’s March and that can only mean one thing, the start of March Madness. This year’s annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament has the potential to be one of the best in recent memory. While it may seem like the favorite Virginia has the tools to win this year, there are plenty of teams capable of taking home this year’s championship. First, let’s look at the projected one seeds. Virginia is number one in the AP poll currently, this is mainly because of their top ranked defense. Their 2-3 zone has suffocated opposing offenses and has made it difficult for teams to score into the 60s. While their defense his great, their offense isn’t as good as they only score 67.5 points per game. Next is Kansas. The Jayhawks are complete opposites of Virginia as their offense is top tier while their defense is not nearly as good. Kansas lives and dies with their offense led by senior Devonte Graham. Graham is known for being a skilled shooter and finisher. Next we have Villanova. Villanova has the most tournament experience out of these schools because most of their team was around during their 2016 championship. Player of the year candidate Jalen Brunson leads the Wildcats into the tournament as one of the best teams in the nation and they will be tough to beat come March. Last of the projected one seeds is Duke. Duke has maybe the most talented roster in college basketball, led by freshman sensation Marvin Bagley. With Bagley and the rest of the Blue Devils, Duke has a chance to win it all again. Students such as senior Gabe Pollack think that one of the one seeds will win. “I think one of the one seeds will win because they are the best teams,” Pollack said. Every March there are plenty of upsets that rock the

sports world; these are the teams that may make some this year. The Catamounts of Vermont have a one of the easiest roads to the tournament because they play in one of the nation’s worst conferences. But that is no excuse for this team; the Catamounts have played a decent non conference schedule. They only lost by four to at the time top five Kentucky, and they have beaten both Harvard and Yale. The Virginia Tech Hokies could surprise a lot of people this year. While their record of 21-9 isn’t anything special, they have two huge wins against Virginia and Duke on their home floor. This experience beating good teams can help them come tournament time. Middle Tennessee currently leads Conference USA with a record of 23-5. While their schedule is not the strongest they have still beaten quality teams such as FGCU (twice), Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. Junior Ryan Mariani thinks that upsets are the best part of March. “Upsets make March Madness fun to watch,” Mariani said. One team that is heading in the wrong direction and might miss out of the tournament is Oklahoma. Oklahoma was led the entire year by player of the year frontrunner Trae Young. Young is currently leading the nation in points and assists per game, which is unheard of in today’s game. Statistics from Jack Jones at Unfortunately Oklahoma hasn’t been able think Oklahoma has a chance to make the tournament. to put together the pieces around Young to build a winning team. If they do end up making it to March “Trae Young is good but I don’t think the rest of their team I would avoid picking them in your brackets. Mariani doesn’t is good enough,” Mariani said.

Infographic by Ryan Ullman

Ethan Reff JV sports editor



Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Olympics’ best, worst Riley Jordan staff writer

The Olympics are a display of the best athletes in the world and this year’s competition did not disappoint. Hosted by the city of Pyeongchang, this year’s athletes have shown how amazing and dangerous sports can be. Women’s Hockey: After a close three periods of regulation were over, not even overtime and a five round shootout could resolve the 2-2 tie between Team USA and Canada. That was until the sixth round, where USA forward Jocelyne LamoureuxDavidson pulled out a stealthy move that no goalie would be able to stop. Starting with a fake shot that sent Canada goalie Shannon Szabados onto her back, Lamoureux-Davidson finished the deception with a fake backhand, which allowed her to easily put it into the net. With Canada now required to score to keep the shootout going, USA goalie Maddie Rooney made the final stop to secure the win.

“The shootout was back and forth and very entertaining to watch,” sophomore hockey player Scotty Collinson said. “Although I am Canadian you have to admire the skill that Lamoureux showcased whilst sending the goalie the wrong way and tucking it home to ultimately win gold for USA,” Collinson said to source. Snowboarding: American snowboarder Chloe Kim displayed her skill on the halfpipe when it was time for her final run. Already close to securing victory, she still did not slack off on her final lap. She landed two 1080’s back-to-back, earning her first gold medal at age 17. Despite Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and Australia’s Scotty James giving American snowboarder Shaun White tough competition, White used his final run to bring out his biggest and most dangerous tricks. After landing a frontside double cork 1440 (two flips and four rotations), White attempted a cab double cork 1440, a move that sent him to the hospital in 2017 for 62 stitches. After landing the move beautifly,

White celebrated at the base with his gold medal. “That was an amazing run,” sophomore Molly Burns said. Speedskating: In the men’s 500m event, North Korean skater Kwang Bom Jong fell only a few seconds into the race before attempting to trip Japanese skater Keita Watanabe by grabbing his skate. Even after the race was restarted due to the fall, Jong still attempted to interfere with his opponent by pushing Watanabe. This lead to the 16-year-old skater’s disqualification. Curling: USA curling team won their first gold medal ever against Sweden, the top-ranked team in the world. John Shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo won five consecutive games to take the gold. After Shuster’s previous four Olympic attempts, which resulted in miserable failure - last place in 2010 and second to last place in 2014 - he finally got to stand on the podium with his teammates. “As a big curling fan, I was happy to see the boys win the gold,” freshman Jeremy Ullman said.

Potential athletic commits for Class of 2019 In his first practice back he got re-injured, which caused him to miss his junior season. “I’m being careful on my recovery process so that I don’t get injured again. I’m excited for my senior year and hope I can get D-1 offers,” Ayissi-Etoh said. Kevin Ayissi-Etoh, Noelly Miller, Ryan Marinai, Adna Trakic Mariani is coming off of an outstanding sophomore year on and Jessica Trzeciak are among the juniors here who may have an the baseball team. Mariani got voted All-Division first team. He opportunity to be able to play sports at the led the team in hits and was the college level. number one pitcher. He has high Miller is coming off an impressive expectations for himself for his year for football. He finished second upcoming junior year. “I hope I in the DMV for receptions with 74, can pick up some offers during only surpassed by his teammate Elijah the season,  but we have a lot of Trent.  Miller also finished second in yards talent this year I hope that the with 1266, and third in touchdowns with team can make it to states this 14. This impressive season has attracted year,” Mariani said. college coaches from all different areas to Trzeciak and Trakic were two recruit Miller. Miller is excited for his senior of the top 15 best cross country year, and hopes he gets the chance to play runners in the state this past in college. “I hope to see many colleges give year.  They both have looks from me offers before the start of next season,” colleges, and have a desire to run Miller said. cross country in college. “I think Ayissi-etoh came here his freshman Adna and I have a good chance year as an unknown.  Ayissi-Etoh erupted, at being the two of the top five and suddenly became one of basketball’s runners in the state next year, leading scorers. Ayissi-Etoh was on the and I hope we can both run in DMV top three watch list coming into his college,” Trzeciak said. sophomore year.  Unfortunately, AyissiThese five student athletes Etoh got an ACL injury and was out for the have proven to have the ability to rest of the year.  His injury carried over to be able to compete with anyone his junior year.  Etoh was injured in the start in their respected sports and of the year but was cleared to play in the all have a chance of playing in Junior Noelly Miller poses at Old Domion University on Feb. middle of the season. 25 as a part of Junior Day. college. Jack Moskowitz staff writer

Photo courtesy Noelly Miller


Team in shock after season quickly ends in first round Max Pasternack senior news editor The hockey team’s season came to an abrupt end against Northern on Feb. 15. The team went in to the playoffs with some momentum after rattling off win after win before a close loss to Churchill in their last regular season game. After a week off between the regular season and playoffs, the team resumed against Northern in the first round of the playoffs. The team’s leading goal scorer John Billingsley got hurt the weekend before the game in his club hockey match, and was thus unavailable for the game. Not having Billingsley proved to be a big blow to the team as it was a 7-0 loss. The first period started out pretty evenly before Northern got on the board and made it 1-0 after a puck got past the Patriots’ freshman goaltender Riley Jordan. Jordan made some big saves to close out the period for the Patriots. The first period

ended that way after no shots could get past the Northern goalie throughout the entire period. The second period was all Northern after they scored three goals to make it 4-0. In the MSHL, only during the playoffs, both teams go back to their respective locker rooms between the second and third periods while the zamboni is brought onto the ice. That break didn’t seem to help much as Northern scored a short-handed goal to make it 5-0 at the start of the period. At that point Jordan was taken out, and sophomore goalie Colin Brick was inserted. He made some saves, but still let in two more goals. Northern’s final five goals were all scored by the same player, who the Wootton defense couldn’t stop all night. After the seventh goal Wootton generated some chances, but hit the post two more times. Northern lost their following game 8-1 to Blair, who Wootton beat 7-2 even without Billingsley, and then again 12-3. Looking to next year the offense

remains the same other than the loss of senior and four-year varsity played Ethan Heiberger. On the other hand, the defense is graduating everyone except freshmen Daniel Tomashevsky and Sean Liu. Both goalies are underclassmen and will also be back for next year. The offense will be among the best in the state as Billingsley and his younger brother Nick Billingsley both didn’t finish the season due to injuries, but both are looking to come back next season. On the divisional level, Billingsley was awarded all division first team, while senior Zack Lechner, junior Hunter Band, and Jordan all made the second team. “Second team is cool and all, but making a playoff run and winning states once would be better than making even first team all four years,” Lechner said. For Lechner and Heiberger, the only two four-year varsity players in the senior class, their careers both ended with a total of one playoff win even though they finished second in the division every year.


letter All about Villanova commit Elijah Trent John Riker online editor

If Penn State is Linebacker U, our school is gaining a reputation as Wide Receiver High. So far in 2018, one of our former players (Trevon Diggs) won the College Football Championship with Alabama, while another former Patriot (Mack Hollins) defeated the NFL’s Patriots in Super Bowl LII as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Senior Elijah Trent, who recently committed to Villanova, is following in their footsteps. As a receiver and defensive back on the varsity football team on the past two years, Trent flourished, racking up 1,203 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns (second in the county only to teammate Noelly Miller). But Trent was on the radar of Division I college coaches long before his stellar senior campaign. Through summer camps at colleges before his junior and senior seasons, his elite combination of size and speed made him stand out to coaches. The attention made one of Trent’s dreams a real possibility. “I’ve always wanted to play a sport in college and it just so happened that football became the sport that I was best at and could get a scholarship in,” he said. “So it was something that I wanted to do.” During the summer before his senior season, the offers started coming in. Villanova was one school that gave a scholarship offer, while Trent also strongly considered UNC-Charlotte, Towson and Buffalo. Through the process, he kept his focus out on the field. “It was never stressful. I just enjoyed playing football, having fun,” Trent said. “I never really thought about getting offers, I was just getting better at football and the better I got, the more notice I got from different coaches.” After football season, Trent made his official visit to Villanova’s campus and he was immediately sold. “I definitely wanted to use my football talent to get a great scholarship to a great academic school,” he said. “I wasn’t concerned with how well the football team was doing. I just really liked Villanova because they are so high in academics and I know if I can get a good degree out of Villanova, I can do pretty well in life.” Trent’s impact will be immediate once he steps on the Villanova campus. Unlike other Division 1 programs where freshman are redshirted (to preserve a year of eligibility), all freshman at Villanova are expected to play. In the classroom, he plans to enroll in the school’s business program. Trent knows that following Hollins and Diggs to the NFL would be difficult, so for now, he is taking it one step at a time. “If the opportunity presents itself, I would love to [play in the NFL],” he said. “But my main focus is getting a good degree, using my athleticism to get me in a good school and hopefully I do well in it.”


Common Sense | March 6, 2018

Odds & Ends

Looking into 2018

Last year came and went, here are some upcoming events Max Jordan editor-in-chief With any new year comes new events to look forward to. It appears as though 2018 is full of big plans and newsworthy attractions, and will be nothing short of packed. Here’s what lies ahead. NASA’s InSight: What NASA claims to be a new scientific breakthrough, the InSight (Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) probe is designed to gather more data on Mars than ever before. According to NASA’s website, the “lander should detect marsquakes; map Mars’ deep interior, and finally help us understand how Mars’ massive volcanoes actually formed.” By measuring the movements in Mars’ tectonic plates, we will be even closer to discovering

the likeliness of life on Mars. The main focus of the mission is to understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets by observing and understanding the process of Mars. Using technology from NASA’s Mars Phoenix mission, they are able to improve even further among their technology. FIFA World Cup: While the United States failed to qualify, the 32-team tournament will once again decide which country’s soccer squad is the best in the world. Germany, coming off a 2014 victory, will look to once again be a serious contender. Serbia, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Tunisia, Sweden, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt and Peru will all look to make their mark after failing to qualify for the 2014 tournament, while first timers Iceland and Panama are getting ready to show the world their skills. Brazil, the country with the most titles (five) and the only nation to appear

in every World Cup, is looking for another title to add to its resume. The tournament welcomes teams from six continents (Antarctica excluded) and will take place from June 14-July 15 in Russia. Music Festivals: Throughout the year, multiple festivals are drawing big crowds across the country. Ultra features acts like the Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki and Afrojack. Located in the heart of downtown Miami, the festival is practically one big dance party, with very little stoppages from March 23-35. Coachella in Indio, CA is a fan favorite every year. This year’s lineup includes Beyonce, The Weeknd and Eminem. Following the cancellation of her headline performance last year due to illness, Beyonce is set to put on an explosive show as the headliner. Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL, is another favorite year after year, and while this year’s lineup has yet to be released, fans can expect

a vast and deep lineup full of great music from Aug, 2-5. Midterm Elections: Featuring hundreds of congressional, state and local primaries, the 2018 midterm elections are set to end the year off. We are 245 days from the first general election on Nov. 6, and the political climate is becoming more tense day by day. The current balance of power in the Senate is 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats. According to an article from CNN, “CNN’s 2018 House and Senate Race Ratings are based on a number of factors and data points. These include candidate recruitment, fundraising strength, districts’ voting history, voter registration data by party and recent voting trends, as well as CNN’s political reporting and analysis.” All eyes are on Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - the states who voted for both Obama and Trump.

Truly groovy movies anticipated this year Chloe Perel news editor Some films are instant cinematic classics. The movie industry has gifted us Casablanca, Titanic, The Wizard of Oz, Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension and so on. This year, Black Panther has already earned the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of all Marvel Cinematic Universe films and highest pre-sale revenue for any superhero movie. What awaits us for the rest of 2018? What movies will live up to their hype? Will any surpass the greatness that has been set so early in the year? First, let’s see what movies are in store. A Wrinkle in Time (March 9): This adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s science fantasy book will star Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, and Chris Pine. Reid portrays Meg Murry, whose father has mysteriously disappeared and left her and her mother devastated. Meg’s brother introduces her and a classmate to Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) who are three celestial guides who have traveled to Earth to help

A Wrinkle in Time

March 9

Ready Player One

March 29

search for Meg’s father. They journey through a wrinkle in time and space called “tessering” and are confronted with evil and darkness along their quest. Ready Player One (March 29): Steven Spielberg takes on an adaptation of the 2011 science fiction novel by Ernest Cline. In it, the creator of a virtual reality world dies, leaving behind a video that challenges all its users to find his Easter Egg in return for his fortune. Protagonist Wade Watts finds a clue and starts his attempt for the Egg. Avengers: Infinity War (May 4): Remember how mindblowing the crossover of Hannah Montana, That’s so Raven, and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was? Well, on May 4, get ready for something even crazier. Everything that has happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the first Iron Man movie will now connect in Infinity War. The broken Avengers and everyone from Black Panther to Doctor Strange will have to form an alliance to defeat an evil greater than themselves. Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25): This prequel to the original Star Wars story is the second anthology film by the franchise. Young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) encounters a series of dangers in a dark and crime-ridden underworld.

Avengers: Infinity War

May 4

Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 25

He meets his future second-hand Chewbacca and notorious gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) years before joining the Rebellion. The film will also include stars Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson. Incredibles 2 (June 15): After 14 years and various film setbacks, the sequel to the Incredibles will finally premiere. Set immediately after the original, Incredibles 2 will resolve the problem of the “Underminer” who was introduced at the end of the film back in 2004 as a cliffhanger. However, the majority of the movie is expected to show Mr. Incredible and his struggles to be a normal stay-at-home dad while his wife, Elastigirl, is out fighting crime and advocating for “supers” to be able to come out of hiding. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22): The sequel to Jurassic World (2015) and the overall fifth installment of the film’s franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is set three years after the end of the 2015 movie. The island where the remaining dinosaurs preside is threatened by a volcano that has recently become active. The park’s former operations manager forms the Dinosaur Protection Group in an effort to save the dinosaurs and evacuate them to safety.

Incredibles 2

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

June 15

June 22 Photos from Google Commons

Issue 10 march 6, 2018  
Issue 10 march 6, 2018