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BOYS’ SOCCER SCORES AT STATES: Varsity meets its goal and takes home the state title.


BOOKS AND BERETS: Explore the differences between American and French universities.



SCANDALS IN AMERICA: Inside the dark affairs of American politics.


ISRAEL AND PALESTINE IN CONFLICT: Cease fire agreement temporarily appeases Gaza strip.


PUSHING THE SNOOZE ON START TIME: Students sign new petition for a later school day.

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Volume 42, Issue 5- Thomas S. Wootton High School - 2100 Wootton Parkway - Rockville, MD 20850 - December 7, 2012 Montgomery County’s only biweekly student publication

‘The 39 Steps’ strides through comedic horror Courtney Pories arts editor

Full of comedy, suspense and a cast of all grades, Wootton theater impressed audiences yet again with their play “The 39 Steps” on Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1. “The 39 Steps” is a comedy adapted from John Buchan’s 1915 novel and Alfred Hitchock’s 1935 film, both of the same name. Senior Christopher Walkup plays Richard Hannay, a handsome Canadian bachelor accused of murder, who escapes from his London home to chase down an evil spy in Scotland by the name of Professor Jordan, played by junior Alex Millstone. The conniving professor is planning on sending crucial top-secret information to a foreign country that could potentially start a war. Hannay is chased by evil spies played by freshman Brett Cassidy and junior Jordan Weisberger, and receives help from the most significant of his three love interests in the play, Pamela, played by senior Sarah Kinney. The production was ambitious for the theater department due to the various set pieces and acting skills required. The set changed with each scene, and although some of the pieces were repeated, the crew arranged them to look different. Director Jessica Speck cleverly staged the train and plane

scenes without using many props, and instead used the actor’s body language and the audience’s imagination to shape the scenes. The tech crew used various sound effects throughout the show including background music, wind, sirens and even a voice recording of Principal Michael Doran as a BBC news anchor to enhance the scenes. The actors also impressed the audience with surprisingly accurate British and Scottish accents that they kept consistent throughout the play. Based on the plot description, the play initially seems like a dark, dramatic show. However, the script was filled with jokes in every scene that kept the audience laughing. Walkup was especially funny in his role, and his humorous attitude rubbed off on the other actors, allowing them to play off of each other. He had already been in a performance of “The 39 Steps” at his church, but the jokes still make him laugh. “During several scenes I had to resist cracking up or smiling during intense moments,” Walkup said. “All of the other actors were so funny and expressive so at times it was hard to not laugh along with the audience.” The most humorous parts of the play were during the scenes with Walkup and Kinney. Both seniors and members of the

Photo courtesy of Joseph McCary Senior Christopher Walkup portrays Canadian bachelor Robert Hannay as he locks lips with co-star senior Sarah Kinney, as Pamela. The two leads, seasoned Wootton thespians, had remarkable chemistry on stage.

International Thespian Society, Troupe 335, Walkup and Kinney have already developed a friendship. Their collaboration was a pleasant sight to see, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves just as much as the audience was. “My favorite part about the show was

Athlete initiations invite controversy

Drumline marches its way to the top Jonny Harvey news editor

An Athlete’s Perspective

Rebecca Jahnke features editor “When I made the hockey team as a freshman, we had to wear all our gear to school--kind of like if the football team had to come to school with all their pads on,” junior Sam Eichberg said. “I enjoyed the initiation. As long as I wasn’t getting hurt or ruining my image, I wanted to be part of the team.” For Eichberg, his team’s initiation was a harmless joke. It felt rewarding that his belonging to the team was clearly communicated. While this is the popular perspective among Wootton’s hundreds of athletes, it only serves to further alienate the smaller fraction of students who are uncomfortable with their team’s initiations, which, despite being intended as traditional rites of passage, tread the dangerous line between innocent fun and hazing. According to, hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.” A handful of Wootton

athletes who feel acts are imposed upon them by veteran teammates fit this bill. “My first year on poms, the veterans came to my house one morning before school, woke me unexpectedly and told me to get up. They went through my closet, picked out a really ugly outfit and made my makeup look nasty. I had to go the whole school day like that; they call it initiation,” a student who wishes to remain anonymous said. “It’s hazing, but no one’s ever accused them to their faces,” the student said. As a cheerleader, I know such experiences are standard on the poms and cheer teams. New members are annually surprised with a ‘spirit’ day on which the veterans mandate a dress-up theme for rookies and a corresponding theme for themselves. Whereas the poms team catches new members off guard by showing up at their homes before school, cheer veterans give rookies a ploy theme and have them attend a team breakfast, at which rookies are adorned with items like face paint, colored hair spray and signs. While the rookies are made to look outrageous and comical, both teams’

working with the cast,” Kinney said. “Most of them are underclassmen and new to Wootton theater, and getting to know all of them was really fun.” Auditions for the spring production of Ragtime are being held after school every day next week.

Graphic by Rebecca Jahnke Initiation processes may inadvertantly divide teams instead of bringing them together.

veterans use their end of the theme as an excuse to dress in an attractive way; take, for example, last year’s cheerleading theme of rookie sharks and veteran lifeguards. Teammates hope that, by calling attention to themselves, they’ll raise awareness for upcoming competitions. While the premise is understandable, some wonder whether the ends justify the means. Coaches are not present when these activities are carried out. I refused to have my look altered by senior teammates, yet was met by profane threats that I would no longer be eligible for the upcoming competition. see INITIATION, page 11

They are seen and heard during fourth period lunch, after school and at football games beating their drums furiously. They work-up a sweat practicing in the gym with more intensity than any sporting practice. With a first place win at the Northwood drumline competition, Nov. 3 and second place at the Springbrook competition on Dec. 1, drumline is looking good. The drumline has been a consistent force dating back to last season. This marks the second year in a row that Wootton has won the county competition at Northwood. With a squad consisting of seven seniors, the 15-person drumline performed eight songs with choreography for each one. The competition included six schools from the county, including rival Watkins Mill. Wootton performed their eight-song set with their choreography, getting them the first place trophy and winning

sectional awards of best snare drums, tenor drums and bass drums. “We focus more on technique than dancing and looking cool,” senior Aaron Tian said. “We’ve worked so hard this year and it’s great to see it pay off.” Obtaining the first place trophy was not easy. The team had grueling after school practices weeks before the competition to make sure they got their routines down pat. “We just have amazing chemistry on this team,” senior Peter Throckmorton said. “Tempers flared, but we overcame adversity.” Band teacher and sponsor Carolyn Herman had much praise for these students. “They pushed themselves harder than any other school in the county, and I am so proud of them,” Herman said. The drumline’s Springbrook competition did not go as well as the Northwood competition. Losing by two points in a 300-point scale, Wootton took second place to Friendly High see DRUMLINE, page 3



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

Modernization delayed, community pushes back Katie McRae managing editor

Sophomore marches in band at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Eric Shumacher staff writer The committee that heads the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade selected sophomore Sam Berman to play the sousaphone as a part of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band. Berman was offered to participate because of the talent he demonstrated in the Maryland All-State Band, and he was accepted after submitting his qualifications. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is known as the official kick-off to the holiday season. Over 50 million people watch the parade annually on television, and over three million people see it live. This year, the parade took place on Nov. 22 in Herald Square, New York. This year marked the 86th anniversary of the parade, which involves many decorative floats, oversized balloons and extravagant costumes. It is considered a joyous and special occasion, but it was especially memorable for Berman. Berman went up to New York a week prior to the parade in order to rehearse, which occurred every day in the week leading up to the parade for almost the whole day. Berman marched for two and a half miles down the streets of New York City with a heavy sousaphone mounted on his shoulder during the actual parade. “The rehearsals were both physically and mentally demanding,” Berman said, adding that they “lasted for long period of time; hours on end of memorizing songs and routines there were to be performed during the march.” Although rehearsals were tough, Berman had a great time performing in the parade. “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Berman said. “It was all worth it.” Aside from having rehearsals, Berman was also able sightsee around New York City. Berman knew that the preparation required to play in the parade was going to be overwhelming, but he eagerly went to New York to achieve one of his dreams. “I think it’s a great achievement and a great opportunity,” Music Director Carolyn Herman said. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held in 1924, was to celebrate the new American heritage of first generation immigrants that were employees of the Macy’s. The parade features acts by music groups and other performance groups including cheerleaders chosen by the National Cheerleading Association. The parade starts on Central Park West Street and ends in Herald Square, where Santa Clause rings in the holiday season.

Modernization issues most important to students


Spring musical tryouts


Winter Break





JAN. 14-18 Exams

INSIDE >> Common Sense News.............................................................................1-5 Op-ed............................................................................6-7 Commons......................................................................8-9 Features.....................................................................10-11 Arts.................................................................................12 Sports........................................................................13-16


71st Anniversary of pearl harbor


turn. Despite some additions and brief alterations, some portions of the building have been untouched since 1970 when the school was founded. Doran’s wish list entails a new weight room and an improved auditorium and meeting rooms that are more inviting to the community. The schedule is at the whim of the state and county money, but Doran is keeping his fingers crossed that there will be no more delays. Maintaining 27.4 acres of land and 295,620 square feet can be a difficult process. With the modernization, the 42 year-old building could receive an update that could potentially eliminate the need for the 10 relocatable classrooms, as well as the need for sharp elbows in the cramped stairways.

Modernization issues most important to staff



Download a QR reader to view seniors Jamie Rotbert and Elliott Burklow’s video on modernization.

How Wootton sees it: Modernization

School Calendar DEC. 7

and half of speeches, I think to visually show the issues in a video made a difference,” Burklow said. The video also explained that the damaged school does not look like a facility that ranks in the top 100 schools for education. “A modernized school would make our learning environment safer, more comfortable, and more enticing for students,” Rotbert said. There are expenditure funds planned for the board to determine the scope and cost of the school’s potential modernization in 2015. The observations of the school will contribute to the plans of the renovation. “The modernization would be the icing on the cake…Wootton is still the cake, but it would be more aesthetically pleasing,” Doran said. “The renovation won’t change the nature of our kids, but it would create a more inviting educational area.” The two-year delay is disappointing to many students and parents. According to Doran, the renovation is deserved because the school has waited patiently for its


Photo courtesy of Sam Berman John Rodesh of Ohio, Lauren Beard of Virginia and Wootton sophomore Sam Berman prepare to march in the parade in New York.

Getting books soaked on the rainy sprint from the school to the portables and shoving through a sea of students to try to make it to class on time are second nature to most students, just a part of the daily routine. However, with a delay on the renovation to modernize the school, the routines that students have become accustomed to are being reevaluated. The modernization renovation was originally scheduled with an Aug. 2018 completion date. This date has been delayed two years due to the countywide fiscal constraints based on the information released in the Superintendent’s Recommended FY (fiscal year) 2014 Capital Budget and Amendments to the FY 2013-2018 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The most recent proposal has planned an Aug. 2020 completion date for the building, and Aug. 2021 for the site. “I hope that the modernization would make the school more attractive and functional, and built with

consideration to 21st century technology,” Principal Dr. Michael Doran said. On Nov. 19, the Board of Education hosted a Boundaries and Facilities Hearing with the updated plan on the agenda for discussion. Senior Class President Elliott Burklow and Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President Jamie Rotbert took initiative by presenting a video to the Board of Education addressing various issues related to the poor conditions of the building. Among the needed improvements were the cracked walls and floors, the overcrowding in the narrow hallways and the disrepairs in the bathrooms. Rotbert and Burklow even mentioned the issues in the cafeteria with footage of “our very own pile of broken tables.” According to Burklow and Rotbert, most people at the county meeting gave speeches explaining the problems with their schools, but were unable to provide real footage into the dire need for an updated learning environment. “After about an hour

Graphics by Ross Davis



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

SGA aims to raise $20,000 for Sandy victims Ryan Shults staff writer

The weekend before Thanksgiving break, the SGA began planning their Hurricane Sandy relief fundraiser, a weeklong event that encouraged staff, students and parents to donate as much money as possible for the victims of the viscous storm that has left thousands of people in New Jersey and New York powerless, foodless and homeless. Like any other major disaster, whether it be international or national, the SGA sprung into action to help as much as they could. They contacted teachers to participate, came up with a lottery for student donators to win guidance counselor Jennifer Taylor’s parking space, played music during lunch to raise spirit and even convinced Principal Dr. Michael Doran to dress up as the Geico Gecko if the school manages to rake in $20,000. Both Taylor and photography teacher Stephanie Daisley, the SGA’s sponsors, had high ambitions for the week. Taylor said seeing Dr. Doran dress up as a gecko would be the “icing on top of a cake.” On Monday, Nov. 26, the SGA posted a chart, stretching from the floor to the

Drumline places 1st, 2nd in county competitions from DRUMLINE, page 1 School, who wore morph suits and did some sort [of]eccentric skit/drumline hybrid,” Tian said. “It was really entertaining and drastically different styles than ours.” Even though Wootton did not grab the first place trophy, they still were awarded best snare drums by the judges. Although this competition was the last of their season, the team said they felt fulfilled. “I couldn’t have asked for a better season from my fellow comrades,” senior captain Jamie Logan said. “I will remember all of the good times we had as I move on to play in the Auburn University drumline next fall.” Senior captain Justin Santos also says he hopes to play on a drumline of some variety in college. The drumline has not only been competing this fall, performing at Frost’s Turkey

ceiling of the Commons, to display how much money the school has collected and what silly stunts that the good-sport teachers would do. So many groups of people seemed so involved in this project that it came as a shock that by Thursday Nov. 29, one day before the end of the fundraiser, less than $4,000 had been received. “We thought people would give more,” Daisley said. During sixth period Nov. 29, the SGA had a meeting to discuss the lack of donations received. They asked themselves what else they could have done to raise more money and get students more involved in the worthy cause. Usually when SGA hosts fundraisers for other natural disasters, whether it be the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunami in Japan, they reach their goal without breaking a sweat. Not this time. “There is usually a more immediate feedback when our neighbors are in trouble to when a stranger is in trouble,” a puzzled Doran said. Then, during seventh period Nov. 29, Taylor discovered that what they thought was a lack of school charity ended up being a technical goof. “We found out some of our messages [about the fundraiser] did not get out to the community,” Taylor said. Over Thanksgiving Taylor planned to send a massive email to staff and parents

Trot, an annual race held by the school to celebrate Thanksgiving, the soccer state finals game and Puttin’ On The Hitz (POTH). “No matter where we are playing, we just love to groove and have a good time,” Throckmorton said. Drumline’s appearance at the state finals game was definitely a huge boost for the team as they arrived right after the start of the second half. “They were motivating and got the crowd going,” senior soccer player Andrew Jason said. “Once they got there, Savana Park’s crowd was taken out of the game.” The team attributes their success to the chemistry of the team. “We are a coalition of likeminded individuals who hit things with wood for entertainment,” junior Charlotte Racioppo said. For the seniors, they will have no more wood to be hitting, as POTH was their last time they plan on playing as a group. “I wish I could play with these guys for the rest of my life,” Throckmorton said. “We have such a passionate group of people it will be hard for me to hang up my bass drum in the band room for the last time.”

Photo by Adam Hurwitz Seniors Kevin Mooney and Jamie Rotbert, SGA president and vice president, fill in a thermometer measuring the amount raised. As the money raised increases, more staff members will perform embarrassing acts.

about getting involved. She had sent an email request, but the request was sent to the wrong email addresses. “It’s our fault,” Taylor said. Due to the failure to fully advertise the Sandy fundraiser, the SGA decided to extent the collections an extra week. They will

continue to take donations from Monday, Dec. 3, to today in hopes to see Doran dress up in the gecko outfit. Throughout next week, teachers listed on the chart in the Commons will partake in embarrassing activities over the school’s morning news show. “We can do much more to help victims,” Taylor said.

Drugs drag out demons at Damascus Sophie Lehrenbaum news editor

The Montgomery County Council’s health and human services, public safety and education committees met in Rockville to discuss the drug addiction and intervention programs already existing within the schools. They also discussed how to train teachers and staff to identify students who may potentially have a problem with substance abuse and ways these students can be helped. The meeting was a result of a flurry of hearings this past spring at Damascus, where an outpouring of anger emanated from community members, as they argued for funding for drug treatment programs. Jason Bourdeaux, a 2000 graduate of Damascus, organized a variety of community events in order to raise awareness for the cause. Bordeaux created a Facebook group entitled Project Damascus, which works to staunch the flow of drugs and abuse of substances in the greater Damascus area. In 2011, with support from the Damascus Community Recreation Center, Bourdeaux organized an event called Project Awareness, which gave parents and teenagers the opportunity to discuss drug abuse and treatment options with experts and police officers. Bourdeaux explained that the root of the problem lies in the community’s refusal to acknowledge that a problem exists. “I’ve known 26 people who have died from heroin and opiate addiction….and I decided to [create the Facebook]group because everybody in Damascus knows where the drugs are and how easy they are to get….but nobody wants to talk about

it,” Bourdeaux said in a press release to American University Radio on May 4, 2012. Based on the data collected by the Montgomery County Screening and Assessment Services for Children and Adolescents ( SASCA) program in 2011, 68 percent of the participants in the survey reported abuse of alcohol, while 60 percent and 45 percent reported marijuana and tobacco abuse respectively. However, according to Eric Sterling of the county’s Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council, over the past four years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been slashed out of drug treatment programs. Some students feel that the money dedicated to current drug programs is not being used correctly. “The DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration]is wasting money; just look at the dealer at [Walter Johnson High School] arrested a couple of months ago,” junior Jookhang Lee said. “He had been dealing for multiple years.” Montgomery County Board of Education member Michael Durso attended one of the earlier community meetings at Damascus and agreed that there is a degree of validity to the allegations. “The schools have not been as straight-forward and active with this issue as we could be,” Durso said in a press release to American University Radio on May 4, 2012. “If we knew what to do, we wouldn’t have kept it secret all these years.” While some may be apathetic in the face of these problems, which for a large part pertain directly to Damascus, drug abuse affects everyone in the MCPS system. In a school district that stresses the importance of performing at the highest level, people are stirring to action as they decide the only way to move forward is by addressing the darker aspects of MCPS.



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

County-wide petition helps pressure schools to set back starting time concept has recently gained, it is not a new Sophie Lehrenbaum managing editor

It is 7:25 a.m. when students hear melodious chiming noises that are reminiscent of alarm clocks. While other high school students in the nation equate any early-morning trills with the snooze button going off, Wootton students have grown accustomed to a different sort of reality; instead, these bells signify that the instructional day has officially begun. However, this could soon be a thing of the past. An online petition was launched on Oct. 15 by Walter Johnson parent and clinical social worker Mandi Mader, appealing to the Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr and the Montgomery County Board of Education, to push back the start time of high schools to no earlier than 8:15 a.m. The appeal, displayed on, boasted over 7,500 signatures from various Montgomery County students, pushing the petition just past the 75 percent mark with the ultimate goal to obtain 10,000 signatures. The petition claims that with 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep, attendance increases, students report less depression and irritability and teens are involved in fewer motor vehicle accidents. Nevertheless, some students remain skeptical of the weight the petition would have in the eyes of the school board. “It probably won’t end up being implemented for a few reasons, mainly because extracurricular activities would end at … nine [p.m.],” junior Chad Gruzin said. Gruzin said he is dubious that the board of education would give the issue much of a thought. Despite the flurry of attention the

topic of debate; the Board of Education had considered a study from 1998 where the idea was quickly discarded in response to concerns about transportation. This would still be a relevant predicament for MCPS; the school district has over 149,000 students and modifying the times and bus schedules would directly impact all of the 200 schools. Presently, the county relies on staggered start and end times for elementary, middle and high schools. Many of the educators in the area also find issues with the possible change in start time. In a statement to Bethesda Magazine, Principal Dr. Michael Doran said that he sees obvious benefits in an earlier start time, but does not see it as something that is either necessary or feasible. “It’s not like what we’ve got wasn’t working….[and] if there were real issues with grades and learning, this would come up more often with educators,” Doran said. Despite the logistical problems this change could pose, the benefits could outweigh the cons. Research conducted by the publication Psychology Today asserts that a later start time would be advantageous to the average student. Students who had that extra hour or so had a blatant increase in attentiveness, efficiency and better grades. In a county that prides itself on maintaining one of the best school systems in the nation, the Board of Education may find that the potential to boost already high performance levels is a tempting concept. The idea possibly garners the most widespread support from students, many of whom have already signed or plan to sign the petition.

Presented by Wootton’s Humanities & Arts in Cooperation with Wootton’s Drama Department and Patrons of the Arts

Please Join Us!!!

A FREE FILM FESTIVAL In Celebration of Ragtime

December 7 & 14 @ 2:30 PM After School in the Auditorium

December 7 – Citizen Kane December 14 – The Sting With Special Guest Speakers and Musical Entertainment Before Each Show

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Alan Xie (2370, Jan11, RM) Entering Harvard [March, 2012] Eric Y. (2400, Wootton), Amy L. (2400, RM), Jessica J. (2340, Langley), Kate P. (2320, TJ), Astine F. (2320, Wootton) Simon J. (2290, Wootton), Alan W. (2260, QO) Taiyuan P. (Dec11, 2350, RM), Sofia H. (Dec11, 2350, RM), Joie C. (Dec11, 2320, RM) Alan X. (2370, Jan11, Harvard), Gariel (2390, Oct11, Poolsville) Nabeel (2310, Oct11, RMHS) Adrianna (2290, Oct11, Churchill), Eric (2280, Oct11, NWHS). Russell Horowvitz (2370, May11, WJHS), Eric Zhou (2290, May 11, Atholton HS), Vivian Tu (2350, Mar11, Marriots Ridge HS) “This prep has to be witnessed to be appreciated. The combination of fascinating teachers and repetitive test preparation create the winning environment for success.” Henry (2360, Dec 08, Landon HS) “A magic binder full of challenging, all sorts of tricky SAT math questions, a hot list of SAT vocabulary words with illustrative sentences, and a collection of hot essay topics, critical readings”


WORLD NEWS Common Sense - December 7, 2012

Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to rise Jared Beinart staff writer

Tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians have always been high, but recent events with Israel and Gaza have taken their fighting to new levels. Seven years ago, Israel left a small piece of land for the Palestinians to live in; this strip of land was later named the Gaza Strip. Though the plan was to make peace with the Palestinians, the two continued fighting there ever since. In the winter of 2008-2009, Israel Defense Force (IDF) created Operation Cast Lead; this operation soon led to what was known as the Gaza War. This was a three-week battle in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestinians. Hamas later called for a ceasefire to put an end to the battle. “Israel and Gaza [were] causing this problem to escalate towards the [brink of an all-out war],” freshman Elliot Kern said. In past years Gaza has fired many rocket

attacks into Israel and in recent times the ongoing attacks have grown more frequent. As of Nov. 2012, more than 2,256 rockets have been fired toward Israel from Gaza since Jan. 2012. Israel decided to retaliate with rockets of their own. Ahmed Jabari, chief of the Hamas military wing in the Gaza Strip, was killed due to Israeli air strikes at Gaza. Also, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, a total of 158 Palestinians were killed by the air strikes; 102 were civilians and 55 militants and one was a policeman. Later the IDF came out with statistics stating that out of 177 Palestinians that were killed, 120 of them were militants. On Nov. 21, a ceasefire was placed into effect to stop the attacks that were coming from both sides. “I think the [enforcement of] the ceasefire was great… [because] enough people have died [from these attacks],” sophomore Stephen Tonelson said. For the time being the ceasefire will bring peace

between Israel and the Palestinians, though the idea of a peace treaty coming anytime soon will take much more convincing of both Israelis and Palestinians. “The big thing is that the UN is recognizing the Palestine’s new [state] and is creating new opportunities [with the situation and resolving the issue quickly],” history teacher Jeffrey Benya said. Israel and Gaza each have their own supporters. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other western countries support Israel’s right to defend themselves against Gaza’s bombings. The US State Department sent spokesmen into Jerusalem to talk to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to try to resolve the issues of the recent events. “They discussed efforts to de-escalate the situation and bring about sustainable outcome that protects Israel’s security and improves the lives of civilians in Gaza,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria

Photo courtesy MCTcampus Palestinians extinguish a fire following an Israeli strike in Zeitun, on the outskirts of Gaza City, on Saturday, November 17. Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas government buildings in Gaza, including the prime minister’s office, ahead of a potential ground invasion.

Nuland said. Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and other Arab and Muslim countries disagreed with Israel’s act of fighting back against the Palestinians. With the support of Egypt, Gaza and Israel were able to reach the ceasefire to stop the attacks on Nov. 21. As of now it does not look like either side will turn the ceasefire into a long-term peace treaty.

States threaten to secede from China selects Xi Jinping as the nation following election next communist party leader that receive most of the funding allocated to states from the federal government. “According to the Washington Post, it is the Reeling from President Barack Obama’s rich, ‘blue’ states that subsidize poor ‘red’ re-election, thousands of Americans became states,” Winter said. “For every dollar the disenchanted with the election results and Republican states pay in taxes they get $1.40 have moved to secede from the United back in funding.” States. Initially, citizens from several states Although the petitions for secession including Alabama, Arkansas and Texas have garnered much media attention filed petitions on We the People, a website since the election, many speculate that the created by the White House to facilitate the petitions are simply a cry petitioning process. for attention. “This is just The petitions people letting off steam. spread to states that are Whenever the Democratic traditionally Democratic candidate loses all the and voted for Obama. liberals say they are going Marylander David D. (no to move to Canada, while last name provided) from when the Republican Lutherville Timonium, candidate loses all the created the petition for conservatives threaten Maryland to peacefully secession. But no one withdraw from the United really ever does anything,” States of America and Winter said. create its own government Since many petitions on Nov. 12. regarding secession have As of Nov. 30, the reached the threshold petition has already number of signatures, collected 4,105 signatures. White House staff are For the White House to expected to release an Photo courtesy MCTcampus recognize petitions they response soon. Dallas radio personality Mark Davis speaks official must have at least 25,000 to an anti-Obama rally on August 9, 2010. In retaliation, citizens signatures and reach opposing the secession that amount within 30 days after starting. have established petitions on We the People Seven states have already completed the to call for the revocation of citizenship thresholds, with the Texas petition even of Americans who have signed secession culminating 100,000 signatures and still petitions along with their deportation counting. from the union. “I like how people are However after further investigation, responding to show their support for government teacher Matthew Winter points the President,” senior Alex Rotello said. out that it is the traditional Republican “Personally, I think that secession in general states who originally wished to secede on is just anti-American.” the basis of poor economic performance,

Washiq Ahmed managing editor

Ross Davis news editor Inside the Great Hall of the People at the 18th Communist Party Congress, China unveiled its new leaders to the nation and the world on Nov. 15 after months of secretive deals and political compromise. Xi Jinping will take over control of the Communist Part from Hu Jintao, becoming the head of the Central Military Commission. Jinping led the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the parties top decision-making body, onto a stage in the Great Hall to be introduced for the first time. Li Keqiang, who will replace Wen Jiabo as the new premier, as well as with Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli joined him on stage. These leaders remain on the committee for 10 years until deciding the next group of leaders. Despite the change in leadership, many analysts believe that the new members are mainly conservative and will not

bring political change to the world’s second largest economy. “I think it is unlikely that any major reforms will come. The names have changed, the faces have changed, but nothing major will change,” AP comparative government teacher Matthew Winter said. With the recent elections in the United States, many people may compare China’s election to that of the U.S.; however, in the U.S. candidates spent billions in campaigns trying to appeal to the American public, while in China the decision was made secretively by the current leadership. In a speech given on Nov. 15, Jinping discussed “many severe challenges” for the party including “corruption, being out of touch from the general public, bureaucracy and undue emphasis on formalities. [These issues must be resolved with] great efforts. The whole Party must be vigilant against him,” Jinping said. “In comparative government we learned that we don’t know what goes on

in China because they are very opaque. It makes it hard to be sure of the future of China and their leadership,” senior Ryan Goldberg said. Jinping is the son of one of Mao Zedong’s top lieutenants and has close family ties with the Communist Party and the Chinese military. Despite all that is known about the process of appointing a new leader, there is a lot more that is not. There are no clear requirements and it is not clear how the new leaders are selected, and little information is known about them. “[He] is in many ways an unknown commodity,” senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s U.S.-China Institute Mike Chinoy said to CNN. “He’s risen to the top by being very careful not to disclose what he really thinks.” Though the future is unclear for the Republic of China, what is known is that its leaders for the next 10 years have been finalized, and it is still a country without free and fair elections.

South Korean pop sensation takes world by storm with exuberant music video Jared Beinart staff writer Recently a song that is almost entirely in a different language has taken over not only American radio stations, but radio stations all over the world, as well as the internet. This is what South Korean pop sensation Psy accomplished with his hit single “Gangnam Style,” which became famous due to its quirky music video. Psy, born as Park Jae-sang in South Korea, has been in the music business since the early 2000’s. He has had huge success becoming a popular singer in his home country. In July 2012, Psy released his sixth

album Psy 6 (Sixth Rules), Part 1, which scene resembles the picture on the cover featured the song “Gangnam Style.” Shortly of the album. Through the video there are after the release, the song became a hit, many different dancing scenes. Along with jumping all the way to the dance, number one on iTunes viewers are music and music video introduced charts. With the music to his video also being a hit, famous Psy soon became an line “Oppa - sophomore Ellie Kobylski international sensation. Gangnam The music video Style,” consists of constant changes in strange which means “This is Gangnam style.” scenery. Viewers first get a quick glimpse Gangnam is one of 25 districts that make up of the iconic “Gangnam Style” dance when Seoul, South Korea. Gangnam is known for Psy enters a barn filled with horses. This being a wealthy high-class district. Though

“Gangnam style is one million times better than [Justin Bieber’s] ‘Baby’.”

Gangnam style is taking over iTunes, it has just achieved one of the biggest accomplishments a song can achieve. It is officially the most viewed video on Youtube, with over 830 million views, surpassing “Baby” by Justin Bieber. “Gangnam style is one million times better than ‘Baby’. Gangnam style has a [fun] dance [and it] appeals to everyone,” sophomore Ellie Kobylski said. The video has also passed many other popular music videos that once used to be at the top, such as Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” featuring Pitbull, and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna.


EDITORIAL Common Sense - December 7, 2012



States secede in causing controversy


Now that Obama has been re-elected, Republican reactions have been intense. One of the most extreme responses is the new Should states be allowed to secede from the Union and why? succession movement that has been rising in several states. It all started with Alabama: 25,000 people from this state have signed a petition to secede from the Union and have sent it to the White House. With 25,000 signatures, the White House is required to respond. After the news media started reporting on the story, other states began their own petitions. Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado have joined in as well. No, because No. I’m not No, states Yes, I think No, because As many know, this is not the first time states have tried to secede in the last time a believer should not states should if people response to not supporting the candidate who claimed the presidency. the states in states’ be allowed to be allowed to want to leave In 1861, after Abraham Lincoln’s victory, several states tried to secede seceded it rights. They secede from secede from the Union from the Union as well, fueling the Civil War. To make a long story started the don’t have the Union. the Union they can just short, it did not end well. Civil War. states’ rights We’ve seen because leave the It is doubtful that this will end well either. -Caitlin Kim in England where that’s wew should country. Obama has already been president for four years. Why did ‘16 and Ireland been. be giving -David Chan the succession movement start now? A few people talked about because we -Dana returning ‘13 succession over the years, but the movement did not start until Obama have a differRodriguez ‘14 power to the had been re-elected. If Obama has truly been destroying America, the ent poitical states. succession movement would have started a long time ago. system. We’re -Sam The irony is that except for Texas, Colorado and Arkansas, the either the Williams ‘15 states that are trying to secede take more money from the federal America or government than they give. Alabama, which started the movement, we’re not. takes in $2.03 for every $1 they give. These states might not survive - Principal without federal money. They also might not survive without the Michael American military protecting them. They will have to start their own Doran military from scratch, which will be difficult because they already suffer a lack of sufficient funds. Seceding from the Union is treason. The people who signed the petitions believe that the national government is oppressing their rights. However, they have failed to mention what those denied rights However, from a humanitarian and ethical standpoint, Mia Saidel are; they have verified the right to petition is not one of those lost the blockade is inexcusable. Exacerbated politics should editor-in-chief rights. not be an argument for imposing restrictions on Gaza’s As the movement to secede continues and the Confederate flag is The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was recently raised economic facets when the economy has the potential to becoming relevant again, let Marylanders fear not; this state will likely to a new level during the weeklong confrontation from facilitate stability within the city, and thousands of lives side with the Union now just like it did 100 years ago. Nov. 14 to 21, as Hamas initiated violence by targeting are at risk because of unemployment. Israel has also seized control of the water and Common Sense welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves Israel with rockets, which were followed by heavy Israeli electricity supply in Gaza, leaving it extremely vulnerable. the right to edit them as necessary for style, punctuation, defense responses. The confrontation claimed the lives Israel’s attempt to control Gaza is only angering the grammar, and spelling. Letters may be submitted to the of 173 Palestinians, many of them children, and six coastal enclave even more because of the helpless state Common Sense mailbox. All letters must be signed, but Israelis. Although the two regions reached a ceasefire it has left it in. A lift of the embargo would ease tensions requests to remain anonymous will be considered. Please agreement on Nov. 21, such a lightweight solution is not between the two neighbors and allow a temporary cease contact us at Please capable of resolving the hatred and violence at hand. In of communication so that Gaza can rebuild fundamental visit to see our editorial policy. order for Israel and Gaza to establish relative peace as parts of the city. well as define their long-term relations, political issues Mutual recognition remains to be the underlying stemming from the original conflict must be addressed. Editors-in-Chief point of controversy and argument. As this is the root After Hamas defeated rival political group Fatah and tyler kessler & mia saidel of the issue, both Israel and Palestine should put effort seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in enacting the two-state solution as a viable solution five years ago, Israel enforced a blockade on goods and Managing Editors to the longstanding conflict. Polls taken by CNN have implemented coastal restrictions for fishermen, which washiq ahmed, Katie mcrAE & shown that many Arabs has not only caused the SOPHIE LEHRENBAUM and Israelis favor the economy to dwindle, two-state solution; this but has contributed Arts Editor gives hope for common to unsanitary lifestyle COURTNEY PORIES ground to be established conditions. The between these two Commons Editor blockade has manifested SOFIE JACOBS peoples. Although the into a political issue one-state solution had within itself because Features Editors been proposed so that it has made Gaza’s ADAM HURWITZ & REBECCA JAHNKE Israel could finally expand economic infrastructure from “the Jordan River to practically collapse due News Editors the Mediterranean Sea,” it is not feasible because of the ROSS DAVIS & JONNY HARVEY to export and import restrictions imposed by the Israeli ideological standings of each party. Israel has already government. As a result, jobs have been eradicated and Opinion Editor expressed negativity toward this proposal because the the standard of living has plummeted. Maria Zlotescu Arabs would become the majority and therefore Israel The rationality behind the Israeli offensive is would no longer be a Jewish state. The Palestinians plausible from a political standpoint, since Hamas Sports Editors refuses to recognize Israel as a nation and continues would not want to conform to Israeli policy, either, as ELLIOtt BURKLOW & SAM EICHBERG to uphold radical Islamic ideals to spread Palestinian they do not view Israel as legitimate. Israel and Palestine have been locked in this conflict Photo Editor influence. The continued air and missile strikes against ADAM HURWITZ for much too long. Now, the two groups need to work Israel from Hamas over the years are also enough reason together to achieve a lasting peace. for Israel to enforce a naval embargo against Gaza. Business Manager

Common Sense Editors

Israel and Palestine need to coexist

Although the two regions reached a ceasefire agreement on Nov. 21, such a lightweight solution is not capable of resolving the hatred and violence at hand.



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

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Common Sense - December 7, 2012



SHOULD THE STATES LEGALIZE MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE? Yes, it will bring an increase in tax revenue Tracy Yu staff writer On Nov 6, Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize the possession, licensed distribution and recreational use of marijuana by adults aged 21 and older. Although many concerned citizens oppose the groundbreaking legislation, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the legalization of marijuana is charted by analysts as something that will bring forth several benefits. Marijuana, which is almost impossible to overdose from, ranks as a relatively mild drug compared to the severity of alcohol. According to, the archives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hold no records of any marijuana-induced deaths, whereas alcohol is reported to be the sole cause of death of 37,000 Americans annually. Marijuana does not lead to brain damage, nor does it cause cancers. There is clearly no such thing as a good drug, but if the addicted American consumer must indulge in a vice, the serious side effects of marijuana are minimal, and governmental regulation would widen access to the nontoxic herb. There is still a danger in seeking the drug from criminal dealers. Therefore, most parents remain adamant in keeping their children safely away from the drug and all that is associated with it. These concerns set to motion the group Moms and Dads for Marijuana Regulation, which works to isolate criminality from the drug which intrigued teenagers inevitably seek out. With the regulation of marijuana, which would strictly require licensed

sellers to check for age identification, the number of minors with access to the drug would decrease drastically. In addition, with the elimination of shady criminal dealing, children are placed in a much safer environment. The safety of America as a whole would be greatly improved with the legalization of marijuana, as the legal market sweeps away the criminal market. Consumers would be provided with a safe place of business, free from exposure to hard drug abuse and the dangers posed by illegal dealers. In addition, with the legal distribution of the drug, an element of fierce competition is unleashed upon the cartels. The Mexican Institute of Competitiveness reported that the passing of the legislation has the potential to decrease the cartel’s profits up to 30 percent. IMCO estimatesd that would decline by $2.797 billion with the ratification in Washington and Colorado alone. This revenue would instead circulate through American’s pockets. Analysts from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy predicted that $12 million that was previously used to combat criminal activity of underground dealing being saved for higher purposes, $24 million in tax revenue that will be attributed to public school funds and creating jobs. Marijuana simply does not pose a detrimental threat to society.

No, marijuana is highly dangerous to society

Dannielle Koval staff writer As a result of Proposition 19, which called for the legalization of marijuana in California for recreational use, there is now a widespread controversy as to whether this drug is harmful to people. The health and social concerns, the physical damage and the increase of children using these drugs reveal that legalizing marijuana will be impractical and destructive to society. Marijuana is considered to be a gateway drug that can ultimately lead to dangerous addictions to cocaine, heroin and other more dangerous drugs. According to political activist Alex Datig of the International Business Times, “We must not allow the marijuana activists to sell us on the idea that intoxicating California with marijuana is somehow going to help our productivity, make our schools safer, our communities stronger and our lives healthier.” The California Chamber of Commerce also expressed opposing views on this issue, arguing that drug users will not be able to be sufficiently productive citizens. “Proposition 19 is going to add to employers’ burdens,” lawyer Jennifer Shaw said. “Suggesting that it could make workplaces less safe, increase liability insurance costs and encourage worker lawsuits.” As a result of the impairment of judgment that comes photo courtesy MCTcampus with the consumption Marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington.

of marijuana, workplaces will be less focused on productivity. The most well known reason for states voting against the legalization of marijuana is the negative health impacts it imposes. Second hand smoke has been found to be a major contributor to lung cancer and many other illnesses. “Smoked marijuana damages the brain, heart, lungs, and immune system. It impairs learning and interferes with memory, perception, and judgment. Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds and has been implicated in a high percentage of automobile crashes and workplace accidents,”National Drug Control Policy Director John Walters said. By deciding to legalize marijuana, drug consumption by children and adolescents will inevitably increase. More young people will think that it is acceptable to use it due to social pressures. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2009, 11.8 percent of eighth graders had used marijuana in the past year. These statistics increased as the students grew older. In 2009, 26.7 percent of eighth graders consumed marijuana in the past year. By choosing to legalize marijuana, citizens’ health will ultimately be negatively impacted, workplaces will become less safe and more people will develop addictions to harder drugs such as cocaine or heroine. Agreeing to legalize marijuana will prove to be dangerous for society and should not occur because there were legitimate reasons for banning it in the first place. It is only right to continue to uphold the law and abolish its usage.

Schools should allow body paint Jonny Harvey news editor At every sports game, there is always at least one person who covers his or her body with paint in the team colors. Wootton students should be allowed to join in the fun. Our school has little spirit and the administration hasn’t helped improve it. The school may argue that pep rallies show great school spirit, but a cheering competition that the freshman are rarely ever ready for doesn’t invite school spirit, it represses it. Found in the student handbook, the “Appearance and Dress” section states: “School personnel have a responsibility to counsel those who affect an extreme style of dress or grooming if it causes or is likely to cause a disruption to the educational process.” Students don’t deprive other students who attended the game from an education by wearing body paint. Not only does Churchill allow body paint, but five other schools in the county allow it as well. It doesn’t seem right that only certain schools in MCPS have deemed body paint appropriate. MCPS’s dress code under Administration and Game Management of the MCPS High School Athletic handbook states: “Students will wear acceptable school dress while attending school athletic events.” Security takes that seriously, and Security Team Leader Gregg Melvin believes there is no way going around it. “MCPS policy clearly states that you can not [wear body paint] at athletic events.” Melvin said, “We will not go against county policy.” However, MCPS’s dress code issues guidelines for each school to determine how to enforce them.

“Each school in the county is allowed to implement their own dress code to what they deem appropriate or acceptable,” Principal Michael Doran said. “I don’t believe it’s outrageous to dress like that at a football game. The classroom is not the same as the bleachers, but yet not the same as the beach and Wootton must designate what is appropriate and what is not.” A senior from Churchill got the athletic director and the principal of Churchill to sign a petition allowing students to wear body paint. A group of friends and I arrived at the Churchill Homecoming game in body paint. We got in line, and Churchill’s security didn’t say anything. We were then greeted by a Wootton administrator, who requested we leave the stadium and go put on shirts. When I told the administrator about the petition signed by Churchill’s principal and athletic director, she was just as adamant. Wootton’s security backed the administrator and forced us to put our shirts on. Doran said he believes that the Churchill rules are ambiguous. “The rules could have been read either way because an issue like this has never been brought up among the administration,” Doran said. “Based on the circumstances, [the administrator] couldn’t have expected Wootton students to show up in that fashion and made a fair judgment call. Would I have made the same call? Maybe, but as a soccer fan, I understand showing spirit for a team through one’s wardrobe.” Hopefully the Wootton administration will change its mind and allow us to display school pride in a creative manner.

By Goureesh Paranjpe

A Scandalous Mentality Abby Wei staff writer The recent Petraeus scandal has caused a ripple of questions and assumptions across America. Some say that the highly respected military officer and CIA director’s scandal is explicit evidence of America’s declining moral. Others believe that due to the overexposure of social media and “freedom of the press,” Americans are delving too deep into politician’s lives; that although it may seem that our country is becoming corrupt, it is just as immoral as any other country in the world. Since 1995, Transparency International, an international non-governmental organization fighting corruption, has annually published the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) annually ranking countries “by their perceived levels of corruption” determined by expert evaluations and opinion surveys. The CPI loosely defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit.” A study by The Journal of Business Ethics published in 2002 found a “very strong significant correlation” between the Corruption Perceptions Index and two other alternatives for corruption: Black Market activity and overabundance of regulation. The CPI lists New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Singapore respectively as the most upright countries. Somalia, North Korea, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan are among those registered as most corrupt. On a scale from 1 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean), the United States in 2011 was a 7.1, and is rated the 24th cleanest country out of 182. To what extent does the social media and American society form American’s opinion to what constitutes a “scandal”? Let’s compare two similar scandals between the U.S. and France; on a scale form 1 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean), the first being a 7.1 and ranked 24 th cleanest country out of 182, the latter having been ranked 24th cleanest country in 2011. The Lewinsky Scandal: President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate for having sexual relations with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal sent head-

lines blaring across newspapers in countries all over the world. America was shocked, and a survey by the Washington Post revealed that three-fourths of Americans declared the President untrustworthy and dishonest. The president faced months of tough questioning over the affair and eventually made an apology to the nation in order to win back public support. In contrast, Francois Mitterrand, a former French President, famously replied “So what?” when a journalist asked him about rumors that he had an affair with his mistress Anne Pingeot. France is a country typically known for its non-plussed attitude toward its public officials’ private lives. The French have an expectation not to worry about a politician’s private life, because it does not affect policymaking itself. When the private lives of politicians are leaked, they are not treated in the tabloid manner of the United States. There are varying views on the scope of the public eye. Some think that what the president does directly affects America, whereas in other countries, the president’s private lies do not interfere as much. Comparative government teacher Matthew Winter said, “Because [a president’s] head of state, he represents America. If he lies and cheats, the whole country lies and cheats. In Europe, the prime minister doesn’t represent Europe, just the government. If they lie or cheat [in personal affairs], it doesn’t affect the country.” The ‘same’ political scandal is treated completely differently because of the varying audience. Although the U.S. and France are right next to each other in the CPI, each’s public image is widely different because of the social media and cultural difference in what constitutes a scandal.



Sofie Jacobs commons editor Graphic by Lauren Gorsky Marion Barry, former D.C. Mayor in the 1990’s, began his political career as the first president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Barry was infamously brought into the nation’s eye when he was caught using crack cocaine in an under-cover FBI operation. Barry was tempted into the hotel by an old female friend, where he smoked the drug. He was caught by undercover video and audio tapings, which caught him repeatedly muttering the famous phrase “Bitch set me up” as authorities took him away in handcuffs. However, Barry was able to bounce back from the scandal pretty well, and is currently a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, representing D.C.’s Ward 8.


Sofie Jacobs commons editor Graphic by Lauren Gorsky The handsome, hopeful politician running to be the 2008 Presidential Democratic candidate shocked and dismayed voters when the scandal broke: Edwards cheated on his wife, a breast cancer patient, with a campaign employee and fathered a child with her. During the campaign, Edwards’ 2008 national finance chairman Fred Baron had been giving “assistance” to the employee to keep quiet without Edwards’ knowledge. The outrage and voter disapproval pushed Edwards out of the running. Currently, Edwards has not been seen in the political spectrum, and was not even invited to the 2012 National Democratic Convention in North Carolina, where he began his career as a senator. In 2011, John Edwards was indicted by a North Carolina grand jury on six counts of campaign contribution fraud to cover up the scandal, but the charges were dropped as the jury could not come to a conclusion. Since the trial, John Edwards has been staying low and secretive, remaining well under the media’s radar.

IN LIGHT O controv







Olivia Benzaquen staff writer Previously married Democratic U.S. Congressman on May 27, 2011. Weiner sent the photos to multiple w ter. Although the photos were taken down, it did not ta Soon after the scandal occurred, Weiner took part in photos and having any relationship with the women wh was hacked and the pictures were altered. However, af inappropriate pictures. This scandal caused Weiner to decided to seek help to become a better person and hu ing to redeem myself,” Weiner said to ABC news. Wein therapists, who cannot agree on whether Weiner has a

OF RECENT versies,


A LOOK merican



Rod Blagojevich

Allie Greenspun staff writer Graphic by Lauren Gorsky Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, was at the center of one of the most scandalous political controversies of this past decade. Blagojevich had been in office as governor since 2002 with relatively low approval ratings, before he was arrested on Dec. 9, 2008, on charges of federal corruption. When former Illinois Senator Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in the 2008 election, Blagojevich attempted to sell the seat that Obama had vacated through several different methods of bribery in order to obtain personal gain and money. This was discovered through a series of FBI investigations that used wiretapped recordings to expose his crimes. He was impeached by the Illinois State House and then tried by the Senate, where he was unanimously found guilty of 17 of the 20 counts against him and immediately removed from office. He is also prohibited for life from holding public office in the state of Illinois and sentenced to a maximum of 14 years in prison. This controversy was made even larger by the fact that Blagojevich’s approval ratings had been steadily dropping for years, even ranking him as “America’s Least Popular Governor” by Rasmussen Reports well before news of his scandals. After his conviction, Blagojevich went on numerous talk shows, most notably the Late Show with David Letterman, and continued to claim his innocence. He also wrote a book, “The Governor: The Truth Behind the Political Scandal That Continues to Rock the Nation.” Blagojevich is currently in federal prison in Colorado.


Olivia Benzaquen staff writer

Graphic by Lauren Gorsky

Graphic by Lauren Gorsky

Caught in a bribery scandal on May 26, 2006, former Louisiana Representative William Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison. According to the New York Times, the FBI accused Jefferson of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. In court documents, the FBI said that Jefferson collected $90,000 in exchange for aiding a small technology company win federal contracts and improve business deals with Africa. When Jefferson’s house was searched, the money was found wrapped in foil in Jefferson’s freezer, stuffed in pie crust boxes. Prosecutors wanted to have Jefferson sentenced as soon as possible, but he was first ordered to forfeit $470,000 in bribery proceeds. Jefferson then decided to file for bankruptcy protection because the government intended to seize his retirement savings. Jefferson’s trial concluded with a conviction of 11 counts, including bribery and racketeering, which is the engagement in illegal enterprises for profit. He is currently still serving his sentence.

DAVID PETRaEUS Allie Greenspun staff writer

Graphic by Lauren Gorsky

n Anthony Weiner was caught sending explicit photos women, who were not his wife via Facebook and Twitake long for the scandal to catch the media’s attention. numerous interviews, denying sending or posting any ho received said photos. He suggested that his account fter months of denial, Weiner admitted to posting the o resign from his position as Congressman. He then usband. “I’ve made some serious mistakes and I’m tryner has sought treatment by getting help from multiple a sex addiction or merely an inflated ego.

Graphic by Lauren Gorsky

Retired American military officer and former head of the CIA, David Petraeus became entangled in a flurry of media attacks in one of the biggest scandals in recent years this November. Prior to taking on the position as director of the CIA, Petraeus served for over 37 years in the army and was a highly esteemed general. In 2011, after he retired from the military, a biography about his life entitled “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” was started by authors Paula Broadwell and Vernon Loeb. Petraeus soon formed a close relationship with Broadwell while collaborating on the biography, and their professional relationship progressed into an extra-marital affair. Petraeus reportedly ended his affair with Broadwell in the summer of 2012 after learning that she had recently been sending harassing emails to Petraeus’ family friend Jill Kelley. Kelley complained to the FBI about the emails, and while investigating these claims, the FBI came across intimate emails exchanged between Petraeus and Broadwell. This was kept a secret from the media until Nov. 6, when the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, urged Patraeus to resign from his position as director of the CIA due to a possible compromise of national secrets. On Nov. 8, Petraeus resigned after being called to the White House by President Obama. His resignation was accepted and the media exposed his secret to the general public. His reputation been severely damaged, and he has also lost his job and the respect he had worked for many years to gain. Layout by Sofie Jacobs commons editor



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

Disney is the new, proud owner of Star Wars Patriot Threads Josh Lee business manager

There are few movies in the history of Star Wars with as much lasting appeal as the original Star Wars Trilogy. Since the release of the first film in 1977, Star Wars has experienced success not only in the mainstream market, with the six films in the series performing well at box office, it has also developed a loyal cult following with fans dressing up every year at conventions as their favorite characters in costumes with the highest detail. On Oct. 30, Disney announced that they bought Lucasfilm LTD from Star Wars creator, George Lucas, for $4.05 billion. This includes the Star Wars franchise, rights to all six movies, LucasArts Entertainment, which makes all the Star Wars licensed games, and all pieces of merchandise. In addition, Disney announced the production of a new Star Wars trilogy, with Star

Wars Episode 7 set for the big screen as early as summer 2015. This continues Disney’s recent trend of buying rights to other big companies, having also recently bought Pixar and Marvel.

Sequel Speculation That being said, people have asked what it means now that the Star Wars franchise is in new hands and has a new trilogy on its way. For now, it means the pre-production of Star Wars 7. Although there is no official news on what the new storyline will be, many fans have speculated that it may take influence from the Expanded Universe--a series of stories from other merchandise that expands the story and world of Star Wars, making it as big as the worlds of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. Others have speculated that they will be completely new stories, having nothing to do with the Skywalker family (whose history is explored both before

and after the six films through comics and novels), or any events in the six films.

Merchandizing In terms of merchandise, LucasArts started production on Star Wars 1313 in 2011. The game is about a bounty hunter on the planet Corusant, center of the universe’s political activity, and will explore darker themes than the franchise is used to. According to LucasArts, Disney is supportive and will give complete creative control of the project to LucusArts. The other big Star Wars game at the moment is the massive multiplayer online role playing game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, developed by awardwinning developer, Bioware of Mass Effect fame. The game recently changed their business tactics from a monthly subscription to free to play, meaning that the game will be accessible to more people.

Whether this was influenced by Disney’s buyout is yet unknown. Disney has also announced that an updated version of their Star Wars theme park ride is at hand. In addition, merchandise such as toys and comics are being subject to change as Disney is currently considering changing toy makers. Currently, all Star Wars toys are made primarily by Hasbro with the exception of a few limited edition toys made by other companies. The comics are made and distributed by Dark Horse comics. Both these deals are subject to change as Disney is currently deciding whether to keep these contracts or start making these two mediums themselves. The comics in particular are a interesting subject as Disney now owns Marvel Comics, known for characters like Spider Man and Iron Man. If Disney has Marvel start making Star Wars comics, crossovers are inevitable.

seriously, and never trembles at the idea of looking foolish or unprofessional in the broadcast. “I hope kids can get an accurate weather description and a good laugh out of it,” Rouhanian said. But why even have a weatherman when it is so easy for people to access more accurate forecast on their phones or mobile devices? It is all part of Kenny Jacobs’ plan to make the morning announcements more enjoyable. Jacobs is also trying to make the show more appealing with discussions on interesting topics with the ‘Current Events ‘segment hosted by Lindsay Destefano and Danielle Lyon. “Arshum’s Weather Funcast adds some fun…to the same old everyday show,” producer Robbie Adking said. The announcements are no longer two anchors reading from the daily bulletin, divided by videos and powerpoints with pop music in the background. That was before, and now Wootton has Arshum. “The dude’s a force of nature,” crew member Paul Malinauskas said.

It is 7:25 on Monday morning and junior Arshum Rouhanian bursts into the TV studio gushing with energy and quirky ideas for the new attention-grabbing things he can do during his weather forecast on the morning news show. What was originally intended to be a simple one- to two-minute segment in which a student was to report the week’s weather has turned into ‘Arshum’s Weather Funcast.’ Doing his best imitation of a dorky weatherman, Rouhanian spends only half of his Funcast reporting the weather and the other half cracking lame jokes, using silly props and doing just about anything to put a smile on the faces of all the tired viewers. One of his personal favorite cheesy lines is, “Hey, if it’s a seven day forecast, shouldn’t it be called a seven-cast?” Back in September, Rouhanian was assigned the job of being ‘weatherman’ for the first two weeks of school, which would then be passed on to another member of the Morning Announcements crew. However, due to all the positive feedback from his classmates, Rouhanian made the bold decision to make ‘weatherman’ a permanent title. He can now be considered somewhat of a celebrity. “I thought I would just be telling the weather and not actually be noticed for it,” Rouhanian said. “Practically everyday someone who I don’t even know yells out, ‘Hey Arshum! What’s the weather photo by Ryan Shults today?’” He acknowledges Junior Arshum Rouhanian smiles in front that his funcast is not taken of the greenscreen in TV studio as he does one of his weekly weather forecasts.

The latest technological innovation has been released by Chinese automaker BYD Auto Co. LTD. The Su Rui car has taken the remotely-controlled toy to a new, now life-sized, level. The Su Rui seems like a normal sedan from the outside. With a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and getting 36 mpg, the car seems normal. However, there is one thing that is unusual about it. It has a remote control. That’s right, a remote control that can drive the car even when the driver is not inside. With a maximum remote speed of 1.2 miles per hour (mph) and maximum distance of 33 feet, the technology is still basic and safe, but it is a step in a new direction. With the basic five-speed manual transmission going for $10,365 or the turbo with a choice of a six-speed manual or Dual Clutch Transmission going for $15,710, the car is cheaper than most on the market, even with the shipping costs. The Su Rui represents the Chinese putting their foot into the rising business of self-driving cars. For over a year now, Google has been testing its driverless car. Since then, California became the first and only state to allow these cars to be used on their roads. These tests could lead to a future of cars that are connected using their GPS systems, knowing where other cars are and avoiding accidents. The U.S. Transportation Department has been field testing cars of this sort in Ann Arbor, MI, since August. “I believe that self-driving cars will help to reduce traffic and accidents,” senior Patrick Fowler said. “Since a few central computers would control the actions of all cars on the road, the possibility of an accident will substantially decrease, although human error would still need to be taken into account

Jaime Dacosta staff writer

Name: Emily Boring Class: Senior Outfit: Denim shirt, thrift shop; black crop top, American Apparel; leggings, Forever 21; Shorts, ebay; socks thrift; boots by Baker, scarf by Forever 21. As senior Emily Boring was walking out of the school store, her outfit stood out, especially with her patterned leggings that were hard to miss and the style in which she layered her scarf, because an actual person would shirt and top. program the traffic patterns.” Fowler brings valid points to the table. But if the self-driving cars become the norm, then there would most likely be more cars on the road. And while the traffic may be cleared up because of the self-driving cars, the traffic may just be made up by the greater number of cars on the roads. “The other potential problem is [that] you now shift reliability from the person behind the wheel to some programmer who doesn’t have to look at the victims of the accident,” Name: Xavier Swingler physics teacher Michael Thompson Class: Senior said. “There will be ethical problems Outfit: Flannel by Polo Ralph Lauren when we do have the first crash. at Lord & Taylor, Volcom jeans at The rates of accidents could go way Pacsun, Vans, Vans Store; Skull candy down, but still any one crash, heads headphones, Radio Shack. Leaving the cafeteria I caught senior will roll.” If all of the cars know where Xavier Swingler walking upstairs. His the others are, then theoretically a bright red vans caught my eye initially, crash would be impossible. Even if a and how he matched it with his flannel deer jumps out in front of a car, the with the bright colors of red and subtle self-driving car gives drivers a better touches of green made his outfit stand chance of walking away without out. His black jeans bring focus to the damage because the reaction time of colors of his shirt and shoes. the car would be much faster than human reactions. But the backlash from one accident would be much greater as the public may try to put the blame on a single party. “[Self-driving cars] will help automobile safety because it will eliminate human error from the equation,” senior Austin Feng said. “But with every technological improvement, we are also reducing the amount of input we have to put in, so it makes humans more stupid because we don’t know how to do Name: Emma Lewis these things.” Americans are already perceived Class: Senior to be dumb, fat and lazy by the rest Outfit: Jacket by Urban Outfitters; of the world. These cars would shirt by Urban Outfitters; boots at only heighten that stereotype. But Nordstrom, leggings by Forever 21. maybe, if society eases them into the Heading to class, senior Emma Lewis’s popular culture, America can avoid leather jacket was hard to miss, the jacket was soft in texture but stood out. the blow to its reputation. “I think the self-driving cars Usually around this time of year, the are going to take a while to become main outerwear seen is Northface or popular because people will be Columbia jackets but she meshed hers unsure of how safe they are,” senior well with the white top, which worked well with her boots. Her colors were Erica Baum said. simple and still managed to stand out.

Behind the Scenes of Chinese release life-size toy Hurwitz Arshums’s Weather Funcast Adam features editor Ryan Shults staff writer

Assessing the Patriot style



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

The new French-American War Different style universities give students a chance to pick sides of the course, while in America there is constant homework which can take hours to complete. Also, instead of a letter grade scale or a 100% scale, there is a 1-20 point scale, with While travelling to French colleges, it is quite apparent one being the worst, and 20 being the best. But, perhaps the that English is not the language for students. With classes greatest difference is the examination process. They have exams fully taught in French, and none for English students (at that are essays and “brain dumps.” While essays are prevalent most universities), as exams in the U.S., the English speaking the prompts will not student might have a be as general as seen in hard time adapting. France. For example, Besides the language if a student was in barrier, however, all a macroeconomics aspects of college life class, the prompt are different in French would read: “What is colleges compared to macroeconomics?” those in the United Then the student would States. have to write all about “Being someone what they had learned who is highly over the course of the considering living semester. abroad, or completing Extracurricular: my graduate years in a Each college has foreign county, there some extracurricular are so many factors activities, but most I have to consider students do not before making a huge participate in them. choice like this,” senior There is an SGA that Katie Terbush said. serves as a liaison Here’s a guide between students and from various college administration, but websites and students that’s about all there to help make the is to see at a French choice a little easier college. There also for students, such as isn’t a large emphasis Terbush: on sports, unless it Application Process: is soccer, which is a For most French huge deal there. While schools, there is no in America there is a laborious process for following of sports applications. There is varying from basketball minimal information to football, and many and grades sent to clubs to choose from the schools, and that per campus. sums up most of the Social: college’s acceptance As opposed to photo by Tyler Kessler processes. In fact, the American theme Sciences Po in Lyon, France is a representation of a difference in the look of French when applying, most The of parties on parties and American schools. The roads are narrower and the buildings have bridges to connect applicants know if across them, creating an easy way to commute to class without needing to go outside. on parties, this is not they will get in or not what to expect when in since there are not many factors into gaining acceptance. But France. While in America a large part of college life is the when students apply, they also don’t apply to many schools like excessive drinking and partying, this doesn’t occur in the students do in the U.S. The students there pick colleges solely French school systems. When students go to college, there based off major and location, since most colleges are similar are no dorms to live in, so students usually have apartments in size. In fact, in Lyon, France, there is a “Lyon Un,” “Lyon that they pay for by themselves. Also, there are no fraternities Deux” and “Lyon Trois.” The major differences between or sororities since there is not much club involvement. Since these colleges are the majors or as they call them, faculties there is essentially no place to party with peers on campus, offered, and type of people who go there. In fact, Lyon Deux it prevents students from being able to do so. Instead, many and Trois happen to be right next to each other--on the same small hangouts occur that may include drinking, but more street. likely the students will be smoking cigarettes or doing drugs Academics: rather than drinking alcohol, since drinking is legal at the age While globally a certain subject has the same content, it is of 16, it is not that big of a deal to students. taught in a different way in French schools. First of all, there is If looking for a much different college atmosphere and no homework. It is up to students to keep up with the content lifestyle, then a French university is the place to look. Tyler Kessler editor-in-chief

For goodness cake, club donates to shelter Tracy Yu staff writer Wootton is home to many philanthropic groups that unite in their commitment to helping those in need. The Cakes for Charity Club is a prime example of this prevailing goodwill. Members donate their time and creativity to decorating cakes for the birthday celebrations of children staying in the local Stepping Stones Shelter. The Stepping Stones Shelter wages a war against homelessness. They offer food and shelter to homeless families with children and aid the families in moving toward stability and reclaimed independence. They have a wide array of support programs to help families progress in their recoveries, including a tutoring service for all members of a family. Cakes for Charity contributes to these charitable efforts by presenting children with an extra dose of happiness. The foundation of Cakes for Charity was laid when junior president Pavalli Malla was upset by a story she’d heard while volunteering to repaint a room at the Shelter; a boy’s parents had chosen not to celebrate their son’s birthday or even bake a

cake, despite the shelter providing them the supplies. “I feel that birthdays are memories that you are supposed to keep with you forever, so I decided to do something about it,” Malla said. “The goal of the club is to make kids going through hard times feel special on their birthday.” The cakes are designed with fun, whimsical themes in mind and decorated at the club’s monthly meetings. Recently, they have crafted a Dora the Explorer themed cake for a birthday celebration. The cake was delivered at the meeting and members created stars and various shapes from fondant, a sugary food spread, to dress the cake up in homage to the beloved cartoon explorer. In addition to their artistic craftsmanship, the club also organizes and hosts cupcake sales for the benefit of the shelter. The members of Cakes for Charity receive not only a creative outlet, but a sense of gratification derived from devoting their time to a kind act of humanity. “The experience has been great,” junior member Monica D’Arpa said. “It feels really good to be helping the kids at the shelter. It’s very rewarding, and I really like being part of the club.”

Athletes run into iffy freshman initiations from INITIATION, page 1 While coaches immediately reprimanded captains for attempting to make the initiation mandatory, they allowed students to carry out the intended bonding activity this year so long as they gave participants the choice to opt out. A freshman cheerleader’s mother who entered the cafeteria during the activity became incensed with several cheerleaders who were decorating rookies. “We want to promote things that bring a team together and make everyone feel welcome,” cheerleading coach Kristen Daugherity said. Poms and cheer are not the only teams that use initiations. However, it’s questionable why these teams openly display acts that may be interpreted as hazing. Some students question why, given the population of students and parents who are uncomfortable with such initiations, administration has yet to address them. “Most of the time when students are in face paint and colored hairspray, they have smiles on their faces and are happy to be wearing it. It is difficult to see something as controversial when you don’t know how or why it is,” assistant athletic director Alton Lightsey said. Perhaps for fear of reprisal or backlash, some teams are more discreet in their initiations. “Every year on the last day of practice before cross country counties, they do this thing called the lake run. The whole team runs to a lake near Cold Spring, and they give us some BS thing to look for. Then they grab a freshman and throw him in the lake,” said a student who also wishes to remain anonymous. “It’s really cold when they do it, and if they grab you, you’re in. It’s all in good fun though; people laugh, the water is only, like, 3-4 feet deep, and the coaches know about it. There are two rules though: we don’t talk about the lake run, and we don’t talk about the lake run.” Given that such an act is hushed by students and coaches, thoughtful students may wonder whether the team’s secrecy is a means of hiding an action they know is wrong. Still, other teams further conceal their initiations by carrying them out completely outside the school environment. “Girls’ soccer does ‘dare nights’ where they dress up wacky and go out. They TP the houses of boys’ soccer members and write with shaving cream on their driveways. They’ve also made them buy condoms, or forced them to get boxers from a boy in every grade,” another anonymous student said. Some students feel that veterans are abusing their seniority by seeking out and defaming rookies. “These team traditions may be intended as bonding experiences for everyone, but the way they specifically single out first-year members on the team and kind of embarrass them does make it hazing,” senior Alice Gindin said.”The decision that members of the team are given to not participate is only a decision in name. In all reality, they feel compelled by the older members of the team and by everyone else to participate, even if by their own sensibility the acts are stupid or unwise. The social pressure especially wears on freshmen, who are still trying to find their place in the school.” Many coaches who agree are cracking down on such rituals. “This kid mooned one of the freshmen, so we all had to run because of it. We make the freshmen carry stuff, but the coaches are really against hazing,” junior football player Jake Brodsky said. Boys’ lacrosse also steers clear of acts that could damper their wild success. “They didn’t do much at all [when I was on the team], but freshmen just had to grab gear and clean the fields. Nothing too bad,” former varsity lacrosse player Bobby Riso said. Riso graduated in 2010. Wootton’s initiations come nowhere near the crass, vulgar hazing incidents that have garnered national attention and often entail sexual or physical abuse. For Wootton athletes, it comes down to the question of whether these initiations are really necessary —and it’s up to them to make their voices heard. As Lightsey puts it: “My suggestion to a student athlete that is having an issue with a team tradition is that they should go to their coach, and let them know that they don’t feel good about what is taking place. All of our coaches know that hazing is not tolerated here at Wootton or anywhere in Montgomery County.”



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

Its a busy week in the Art Deparment... MONDAY - FRIDAY



Humanities & Arts FREE Film Festival “Citizen Kane”

2:30 pm in the Auditorium

Wootton Litmag Coffeehouse

7:00 pm in the Commons




Auditions for Wootton’s spring musical, “Ragtime”

Wootton Humanities & Arts FREE Film Festival “The Sting”

After school in the Choral Room

2:30 pm in the Auditorium

Kelly’s “Hip-Hopera” takes the big stage “Trapped in the Closet” will make its Broadway debut in summer 2013 Jaime Dacosta staff writer R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” is a series of songs and videos consisting of 23 chapters. This “Hip-Hopera” the genre created by the singer, displays a visual of a casual soap opera with the characters all being voiced by the singer. The music is completely original and produced by Kelly as well. Kelly announced on Monday night that he was offered to bring the “Trapped in the Closet” series to the Broadway stage, and he may even be in some performances. The 23-chapter song series has been an ongoing project from 2005 to 2012. Each song features its own music video, which tells the story of a man named Sylvester (played by R. Kelly in the videos) who, after waking up from a one-night stand, is forced to hide in the woman’s closet in order to prevent being caught by her boyfriend. This sets off a wacky and hilarious chain of events. Kelly reportedly has an additional 62 chapters of the series in the works as well. The chapters follow the narrative of any other classic soap opera, filled with twists and turns, lies and deceit and the seemingly never ending cliffhanger. The artist is looking forward to his new opportunity. “I

want everybody to know I’ve got 85 chapters of ‘Trapped in the Closet’ waiting in the studio for y’all,” Kelly said to CBS, “The chapters that are coming the live show, is going to exceed every chapter that you have ever seen.” The latest chapters introduce a few new faces, and like the others series, ends with a cliffhanger. During the unveiling, Kelly said he always wanted to act and the “Trapped” series’ popularity is somewhat of a fluke, because it’s just his imagination going wild. “I’m just having a lot of fun. I don’t have a job so I sit in the studio all day and think of stuff to do and this is just something stupid I’ve done that’s been successful for me,” Kelly said. Some students are skeptical about how successful the Broadway production will be. “I think the ‘Trapped in the Closet’ collection is funny and entertaining, but not in the way Kelly intended,” senior Goureesh Paranjpe said. “I’m not sure how it will be as a Broadway show, but I guess we’ll have to find out.” There is no clear-cut date for the release of the play or decision on the casting of any actors that will participate but it is projected to be released during the summer of 2013.

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus After making music history, the R. Kelly is now focusing on his soap opera. Episodes of “Trapped in the Closet” can be watched on the IFC network.

Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ celebrates 15th anniversary Abby Wei staff editor Nov. 19 marked a milestone in history, (well Broadway history at least): The 15th anniversary of the Lion King. The Lion King is the highest grossing Broadway musical of all time, and its popularity has never gone down since the first performance! Constantly sold out shows follow this beloved classic based on Disney’s animated film, re-made with African and Asian ritual dance moves and traditional African costumes. The cherished classic songs from The Lion King animated film are featured in the Broadway score, with three new songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, along with songs by John and Rice from the original film. The show, which won six Tony Awards in its first year, celebrated its anniversary with a special one-night celebratory performance at the Minksoff Theatre, with benefits going to the Actors Fund. The story begins with a lion named Simba, who is convinced by his evil Uncle Scar that he is responsible for the death of his father, Mufasa, who was king. Simba flees his home and grows up in isolation, with the help of a hilarious hog and carefree meerkat. With many catchy tunes, the trio learns how to love life with all its problems. Along the way, Simba falls in love with a childhood friend, Nala. Eventually Simba returns home to fight his evil uncle and accept his rightful role as heir to the throne, with Nala, his female companion, by his side. To call the show a success is an understatement. It has made more money than Avatar and Titanic, the #1 and #2 highest-grossing films in movie history, combined. By February of 2013 with the

Photo courtesy of MCT Campus

The famous Lion King show can be seen on Broadway along with many other venues across the country. This family favorite has also been performed with dancing elephants and all at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

debut of its South American and Portuguese language debut in Sao Paolo, Brazil, The Lion King’s 21 productions will have played in 98 cities in 16 countries on every continent except Antarctica. The show’s director, costume designer and mask codesigner Julie Taymor was the first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, and continues to play a vital role in productions of The Lion King around the world. The Lion King is a monumental testimony to the success Broadway musicals can obtain, and a dear reminder that no matter how digitally astounding movies can become, nothing can compare to elaborate set designs, breathtaking costumes, and the brilliance of live theatre.



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

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SPORTS Common Sense - December 7, 2012


Boys’ BBall Tomorrow @ Paint Branch Varsity 7 p.m. JV 5:15 p.m.


Girls’ BBall Tomorrow vs. Paint Branch at home Varsity 7 p.m. JV 5:15 p.m.

0-1-1 Dec. 14 vs. WJ, 8:50 p.m.


Indoor Track

Swim & Dive Tomorrow vs. RM at Rockville Swim Center, 5:15 p.m.

Tomorrow Tonight vs. @ HOCO Wheaton, @ Whitman, 4 p.m. Winterfest


Hockey struggles to find their footing early on Nellie Allentuck staff writer The ice hockey team is looking for a fresh start this season after an early exit in last year’s playoffs. The team, which was 5-4-1 last season, lost multiple key players including last season’s captain Anthony Corini. Three juniors also could not return this season due to off ice related reasons. Through the first two games of the season the team sits at a solid 0-1-1 but sits in last place in their Maryland 2A division. “We have a lot of players that will need to step up this year,”, junior goalie Aaron Cooperman said. In the second game of the season the team faced off against Sherwood on Nov. 30. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead with goals scored by sophmores Luke Klecker, Brandon Hall and senior Robbie Medearis, the Patriots allowed the Warriors to score three unanswered goals, tying the game up at three apiece. Hall scored again giving Wootton the

4-3 edge in the third period. With under two minutes left to go the Patriots still held a 4-3 lead. Wootton was penalized, giving Sherwood the opportunity to tie up the score. They took full advantage and scored a goal giving little time for either team to take the lead again. The Patriots and Warriors tied 4-4. In their first game of the season against BCC on Nov. 23, the team lost 4-2. Sophomore forwards Luke Klecker and Harrison Linowes both scored goals. Assists were made by Klecker and senior forward Robbie Medearis. Cooperman made 16 saves on 20 shots. “[Our team] is just trying to get into the rhythm of the regular season,” Cooperman said. “[We need] to go to our next game focused and ready to play.” This year the team is composed of primarily sophomores and juniors but does have three seniors. It also consists of two freshmen ensuring the team a strong future for the next couple of seasons. Head coach Dave Evans,

photo by Elliott Burklow Freshman defenseman Brandon Hall takes a shot on goal against Sherwood on Nov. 30. Hall scored on the shot, putting the Patriots up 4-3. After scoring late to end the game in a 4-4 tie, the Warriors nearly completed their comeback after being down 3-0 earlier.

who attended Churchill, is back for another season. The last time the Patriots won an ice hockey state championship was in the 2008-09 season, one year after they won their first title in the 2007-08 season.

As the team continues the season, the team’s young talent will strive to find stability and unity. Klecker is optimistic about the team’s chances for success. “The teams atmosphere is good” Klecker said, “Everyone is

very enthusiastic and determined to make it a good season.” The team faced their rival Churchill on Dec. 4 but it ended too late for this issue. The Patriots will play Walter Johnson on Dec. 14 at 8:50 at the Rockville Ice Rink.

Wrestling ready to take down opponents Boys’ basketball ends strong Eric Shumacher staff writer This year’s wrestling team is expected to be one of the best squads that the school has seen in years. Last year, the varsity wrestling team finished the season with 13 wins and only one loss to Walter Johnson. They ended the season being second in their division and second in the county. They also participated in the Regional Duals, a tournament among the top teams in the county, such as Damascus, North Hagerstown and Springbrook. They finished second place overall. “Anything less than state duals this year is a disappointment,” senior wrestler Stephen Potemken said. In the 2011-12 season, current senior Chen Han finished fourth place in the region, fourth place in the county and he qualified for states in his respective weight class. Current senior Joshua Strauss finished fourth place in the region, second place in the county and was also a state qualifier. Potemken finished second place in the region, second place in the county and he was a state qualifier. “This year is going to be special,” senior Andrés Restrepo said, “Our expectation is to win states.” Current senior Austin Tritto finished the season as the regional and county champion for his weight class, going 41-6. Also a regional champion and county champion for his weight class, Ralph Bernardo finished the season 44-2. “We got a new coach and everyone is really excited,” senior wrestler Chen Han said. “We also have a lot of returning varsity wrestlers; pretty much the same team.” English teacher Mike Dickel is helping coach the wrestling team this year. The squad has a lot of experience going into this year, and most of the team is comprised of returning seniors that already know the basis of the wrestling program. “We have all the pieces in place, and all the experience and talent needed to go out and win a state championship,” Tritto said. “The guys have been working really hard in the room, and we are

ready to get this done. It’ll be a team effort and I think at the end of the day we will come out on top.” As well as the returning seniors, there is also a lot of young talent that showed promise last year. Sophomores Garrett Ruderman and Logan Tritto both had strong seasons last year, and are expected to be breakout players on varsity. They also have varsity experience from last year, and are not new to the air of a varsity team. “We have a real strong team returning this year. Twelve out of 14 starters were on varsity last year. I hope that we can make a run for the county championships, regional championships, and the state championships. We have high expectations,” coach Kevin O’Neill said. As the first match of the season fast approaches, many of the junior varsity wrestlers are preparing for oncoming victories. With their first match being a tri-meet against Walt Whitman and Wheaton on Dec. 7, and the second match on Dec. 12 against Churchill, the first few weeks of the season will be the most grueling. Starting with a warm-up run of about two miles each day, the wrestling practice is aimed at sharpening each wrestler’s skills, and conditioning the team for peak performance. The wrestling team consists of 14 varsity spots, each of which are open to both new, inexperienced wrestlers as well as returning veterans, so anyone on the team gets a chance to “wrestleoff ” for the varsity position. “I’m really nervous for wrestle-offs,” first-year freshman Jay Karki said. “I’m nervous, but excited. It will be my first time in a real match.” Not only do wrestle-offs help the coaches determine the starting varsity line up for the team, but they also help each wrestler gain some mat time and become comfortable in a match. Wrestle-offs began on Nov. 29, and helped the team prepare for their upcoming tri-meet.

preseason with confidence Goureesh Paranjpe staff writer

With winter approaching, it’s time to break out the warm-ups. As the season draws near, the boys’ varsity basketball team has been preparing with drills, practices and scrimmages for their opening game yesterday against Quince Orchard. On Nov. 29, the Patriots had a scrimmage against Oakdale High School. Like Quince Orchard, Oakdale is a large and physical team and gave the boys the challenge of playing a team with the same style as their opponents down the road. “We played really well early on but struggled in the end as their pressure got to our young team,” senior center Andrew Craig said. Craig has been playing varsity since his sophomore year and looks to help build the young foundation alongside senior captain and shooting guard Jamie Rotbert. After losing several seniors from the last season, the post season morale has been low for the boys’ squad. “People like to believe that this will be a rebuilding year for us, but I have to disagree,” Rotbert said. “We have four sophomores, five juniors and five seniors—that’s younger than most teams—but they are all talented and I think our young squad is capable of surprising a lot of people this year.” Rotbert will be starting for the first time in his varsity career.

The Patriots played effectively in a scrimmage against Landon on Nov. 26. Having previously lost to Clarksburg in their last scrimmage, the boys learned from their mistakes and fixed their more apparent flaws to come out on top against Landon. “When we played Clarksburg, we did not value the ball and that ended up working against us,” Rotbert said. But the boys know where they lack, and have been practicing intensely to make sure they do not make the same mistakes. “The more time we share together on the court, the better our performance becomes overall,” senior Krishang Sharma said. Chemistry is often an issue among teams at the start of the season, but as the season progresses, it’s inevitable that the boys will fix where they are lacking. “[The development] is evident, as seen in our recent win against Landon,” Sharma said. Last season, the Patriots finished 16-11. Although they lost several players, they possess incredible young talent, including sophomore Richard Hum. Alongside senior Sam Lansat, the two multi-sport athletes recently won the Maryland 4A soccer state championship game. “My expectations and goals stay the same as my soccer season,” Lansat said. “Go as far as we can go, and if that includes the playoffs, so be it.”



Common Sense - December 7, 2012

Swim & dive leaps into competition under JV girls’ basketball leadership of new head coach Jackie Emr plans to take hold Jake Brodsky staff writer

The swim and dive team dominated in their preseason meet against Northwest on Saturday, Dec. 1. The team won decisively in their first meet without coach Howard Blume on deck, who died of heart failure last April. Standouts were seniors Matt Gibson, Austin Dickey and Kevin Fu. On the girls’ side impact players were juniors Annie Fagan, Kristina Li and sophomore Emily Zhang. The only event that the Jaguars won was the boys’ 100 meter fly. “We looked really good, and the team swam fast,” senior Abbott Li said. Freshman Karl Treichal, Claudia Gibson and Grace Goodkind all looked strong in their Wootton debuts. The Patriots swept in almost every event. The Jaguars could not compete with the depth or class of the Patriot swimmers. The relay teams dominated and the divers outclassed their opponents. “I watched our divers, and they looked to be in midseason form,” sophomore Stephen Xu said. Blume, who was a longstanding member of the

Patriots coaching staff, was in the hearts and minds of each member of the Patriots team during the meet. The team also paid tribute to their late coach by wearing caps that said “For Blume.” “Swim and Dive is strong this year, but it will never be the same without Blume,” Li said. In other swimming related news, MPSSAA has begun to enforce a rule which states that all players must go to practice or be suspended. The Patriots were reported as

Upcoming meets are Dec. 8 at the Rockville Municipal Pool against Richard Montgomery and December 15th at the Martin Luther King Swim Center against Blair. New head coach Jackie Emr will be replacing Blume this season. Emr is a Wootton alumni, as well as a former captain of the team during her junior and senior seasons. Emr coaches the Stonebridge Sharks club team, and teaches at Travillah Elementary.

photo by Nellie Allentuck Sophomore diver Dan Goodkind enters the water after doing a front flip off of the one-meter springboard in the scrimmage.

JV boys’ basketball strives to find unity Goureesh Paranjpe staff writer Junior varsity is all about proving oneself, and that is exactly what the JV boys’ basketball team intends to do this season. After finishing 8-8 last year, the boys look ahead to put together a more fulfilling record. With a talented young squad, the season looks promising. “So far we’ve only had four scrimmages, and all four have gone pretty well,” sophomore point guard Jason Friedman said. “We still have some kinks to work out, but things look good.” The boys will be working with their returning head coach BJ Debuchananne as well as assistant Coach Tyree Spinner, who was also the head coach for the varsity football team this past fall. “We all have big expectations,” sophomore small forward George Mikalis said. However, their success will only be measured as a unit. “We all play as one and rise and fall as a team.”

not following this rule by WJ and BCC. This law enrages many team members because of the increased workload by requiring swimmers to practice with the team. “It is really hard to balance morning practices [from my club team] and the afternoon Wootton practices,” senior Bobby Martin said. The Patriots look to have a strong season and finish the year off with a state championship to honor late coach Blume.

Having played several scrimmages, the boys saw decent improvement against Good Counsel on Nov. 27. “That scrimmage was a real confidence booster,” Mikalis said. “We needed a big win and we got it.” The boys have reached a consensus that there will not be one particular player standing out this year. “Honestly everybody works hard and brings the same intensity,” sophomore power forward Diontae Wilson said. “No one person is above anyone else and I’m glad to see everyone putting in their 110 percent.” The boys will play their first game this afternoon against Quince Orchard. “We all feel prepared and dialed in for our big game today,” Mikalis said. Freshmen center Langston Thomas, point guard Jordan Weitz and shooting guard Trevon Diggs will debut their talents on the starting lineup, alongside Wilson and Mikalis who look to lead this team to successful season.

of season early Shemaiah Ellis staff writer With a new perspective toward the start of the season, the JV girls’ basketball team has a cluster of new things to get used to. The arrival of new coach, Tim Renehan has been a buzz among the girls, as well as a team made up of mostly freshman and a fairly small number of sophomores. Thre girls first scrimmaged Oakdale High School from Fredrick County. The Patriots hoped to run through and get a feel for some key plays that will be significant for the team in games to come. “We went in with motivation to compete as a team even though we didn’t have weeks of practice prior,” sophomore point guard Annie Partyka said. The motivation wasn’t enough for the girls to come through with a proclaimed win, even though both teams agreed to not keep score for the scrimmage, most agreed Oakdale got the victory. The Patriots first scrimmage was against Urbana at home, with hopes for good chemistry on the court, the Patriots main focus was to run at least two plays smoothly and consistently. They executed well with Partyka helping to lead the team in organizing and running plays. “I’m glad we stepped up our game and put forth a good effort against Urbana. They aren’t the easiest competition so I was happy,” sophomore Mona Abutaleb said. Abutaleb showed useful communication throughout the game. The girls’ first game is on Wednesday, Dec. 5, against the Quince Orchard Cougars at home at 5:15.

Runners, athletes warm up for first competition National meet. Sam Eichberg The senior talent leads the way, but there isn’t a sports editor drop off from the rest of the team. Sophomore PatThe indoor track team is looking forward to another rick Munro was a standout runner last spring as well as great season this winter. Last winter/spring, the team during cross-country, and he will look to have another was successful in all competitions, and had runners go great season with the varsity crew. Freshmen Cliff Tilley far in postseason competition. and Colin Sybing both proved themselves during this During the outdoor track season last year, the team past cross-country season, making the varsity team after was even more successful, with numerous team memmerely a few weeks of being on the team. At the counbers qualifying for the state meet, some becoming state try championships, Tilley and Sybing placed first and champions in a variety of events. However, some of second, respectively, in the freshmen-sophomore race. those state champions have graduated, and the loss of Tilley is a sprinter, distance runner, and even particithose valuable assets will have to be made up for with pates in the field events, throwing the javelin. Recently, the abundance talent from the senior class. Tilley was named freshman of Leading the way for the pathe year after his performance triots this season will be seniors in the county meet. Sybing was Josh Trzeciak for the boys, and named to the boys all-freshman Gwen Shaw for the girls. Trzeciak team as well. His time of 18:34 and Shaw were both state chamin the freshmen-sophomore pions during the outdoor season, meet was second only to Tilley. with Trzeciak placing first in the Both of these youngsters are state for the 800, and Shaw in a slated for strong seasons. “We few events, her best being the 3 - senior Josh Trzeciak have a really great up-and-comhurdles as well as being a part of ing team,” Trzeciak said. “We’re the relay teams for the girls. Both going to surprise some people, athletes have been on the varsity squad since their freshand turn some heads this season.” man year, and both are looking to have strong seasons Among the juniors, the team is very deep with Alan for the Patriots. “I’m looking forward to getting back Banks, Foster Ting, Declan Devine, and Sam Feitel for into the swing of things, and I really would like to lower the boys, as well as Dana Sung, Hallie Byles, and Lexi my times and make it to the state meet again,” Trzeciak Levenson for the girls. “I’m looking forward to working said. “ It would be great to win the state meet again, and hard, dropping my times, and having good times (metaI have my sights set on the record.” phorically and physically),” Feitel said. The pool of senior talent doesn’t stop there, howThe team had their first scrimmage on Saturday, Dec. ever. Fellow seniors David Levine and Aaron Tian for 1, at the PG sportsplex. Since it was a scrimmage, ofthe boys and Sylvia Deppen for the girls have shown ficial scores were not kept, and many runners refrained their talents as well during their past three years. Levine, from participating in the meet, since it would not count more of a distance runner, took a fifth place finish at toward the team. The scrimmage was highlighted by the the cross-country state meet this past fall. Tian and senior Deppen winning the 300-meter race by a large Deppen, both sprinters and hurdlers, finished as state champions for hurdles last spring during the outdoor margin, as well as finishing second in the 55-meter hurstate championships. Shaw, Tian and Deppen all trav- dles. The next meet is tomorrow, the Howard County eled to New York after the finals for the New Balance Winterfest race at the PG sportsplex.

“We have a really great up-and-coming team. We’re going to surprise some people, and turn some heads this season. ”


SPORTS Common Sense - December 7, 2012

Boys’ soccer rolls through post season, captures first state title Sam Eichberg sports editor

The boys’ soccer team team has never had a season like this one. This years’ team won the first state championship in the history of the school. For the Gazette, the team had the Player of the Year in senior Matt Hoy, Coach of the Year in Doug Schuessler, first team All Gazette in senior Sam Summerlin as well as Hoy, second team All Gazette with senior Spiro Tsakos, and an honorable mention in senior Danny O’Neil. “I’m so excited to be given this honor, but I really want to thank the rest of the team for their hard work,” Hoy said. “Without them, none of this would have been possible. They were the ones continuing to help me be successful.” In Schuessler’s 15 years, he has never had a team this talented, with Hoy committing to play college lacrosse for Towson, and Summerlin and Tsakos both committing to George Washington for soccer. He has also never won a state championship. In the Pats run to the state finals, the team outscored all opponents 13-3, winning games against Whitman, Richard Montgomery, Walter Johnson for the regional championship, Perry Hall for the state semi-finals, and Severna Park to round out the state tournament. “We had an incredible year starting with workouts in August all the way to the finals,” junior goalkeeper Jeremy Yea-

ger said. “We played as a team all year, and we were able to bring home the win when it counted.” The team was finally crowned the Maryland Class 4A state champions on Nov. 16. As the second seed in the state, the Patriots went to UMBC to complete the journey against the top-seeded Severna Park Falcons. Wootton came out swinging, and took an early lead off of a goal from Tsakos at the 24-minute mark. Hoy corralled the ball in the corner and sent a pass toward the middle for Tsakos. The future George Washington University midfielder one-timed the pass into the corner of the net, putting the Pats up 1-0. “I was pretty nervous before the game and wanted to do well, so I was relieved when Spiro got the first goal,” Hoy said. Wootton held the lead for the next few minutes, but Severna Park tied it, showing that they weren’t going down without a fight. Ten minutes after Tsakos scored, the Falcons received a corner kick and scored off of a header, tying the game at one apiece. “It was a nice header from the back of the box, and it deflected past me,” Yeager said. “I just couldn’t dive back in time.” Determined to go into halftime with a lead, the Patriots offense worked furiously, putting pressure on the Falcons defense and goalkeeper. With less than six minutes to go in the half, Hoy received a pass from junior

photo by Shemaiah Ellis Senior forward Matt Hoy scores a goal against Severna Park in the Maryland 4A State Championship. The Patriots went on to win 3-1, captuting Wootton’s first state title in boys’ soccer in school history.

Matt McDonnell and sprinted around his defensemen. From a low angle, a turned and fired the ball into the upper corner past the goalie to put Wootton back up 2-1 and steal the momentum back. “He just turned on that ball with confidence and ripped it in,” Schuessler told The Gazette. “When you get a strike like that, it just elevates everybody’s adrenaline, everybody’s confidence. You feel like at that point you can’t lose.” From that point on, the Patriots took control of the game, and never looked back. It became a possession game, and Wootton fully dominated the Severna Park players. With seven minutes left to go in the second half, the Patriots got a few chances in front of Severna Park’s goal. The ball made its way to junior Jared Nozick, who knew exactly what was coming next. “We knew before the game that their goalie liked to challenge a lot,” Nozick said. “I figured he’d challenge like usual.”

The junior striker moved and drove the ball toward the wide open net, and as it was going in, junior Urgy Eado tapped in the goal, giving the Patriots a two-spot on the Falcons, and sending the massive Wootton crowd into a frenzy, sensing the win coming. Eado was credited with the goal, as Nozick was given the assist. Wootton’s defensive corps held strong for the entire game, and finished with a dominating second half. Led by a duo of Summerlin and fellow senior Sam Lansat, Wootton allowed only one shot in the second half of the game. That shot came at a dramatic time, with nine seconds left in the game and a diving save by goalkeeper Elliott Burklow to secure the win for the Pats. “I could not be more happy with how well we worked together and how our hard work as a team made the dream possible,” Hoy said. “It was a group effort, and I’m so proud of all the guys.”

Girls’ basketball ready to jump on competition after strong preseason Elliott Burklow sports editor

After an 8-4 record last year and an early, secondround playoff loss to Northwest, the Patriots are looking to establish themselves as a dominant force in the county this year. Luckily, the team returns all five starters from last year in seniors Sophie Ellis and Sarah Wallerstedt, and sophomores Sheri Addison, Cece Kobylski and Ellie Kobylski. In addition to these five, coach Maggie Dyer has a wealth of talent contributing to the game off the bench, including sophomore Katelin Klausing and senior Basma Hamud. Hamud believes that the weaknesses the team experienced last year being so young have been eliminated as the players have grown. “I’ve noticed that compared to last year’s team, we understand each other more as players,” she said. “It seems like we’re a more cohesive unit.” Dyer also reflects high expectations for her unit that has significantly matured over the past year. “I had a very young team,” Dyer said. “I expect to have a winning record this

year and surprise some teams along the way.” In preparation for regular season competition, the team scrimmaged against Clarksburg, Tuscarora, Urbana and Oakdale. The Patriot’s most recent bout was against the team’s only preseason opponent from Montgomery County, Clarksburg, on Saturday, Dec. 1. Wootton cruised past the Coyotes, winning 88-53. While Addison had a team high 26 points against Clarksburg, the most noticeable improvement from earlier scrimmages was the team play. “Everybody contributed and our defence picked up a lot,” Ellis said. “We were just overall more refined and composed.” On Nov. 7, the team traveled north for its scrimmage against Urbana. Through five periods of play, the Patriots showed signs of promise against the team that made a regional semi-final playoff run last year. The periods were individually scored, and the Patriots won one and tied one, while Urbana won the remaining three. The result was not unfavorable, as the team kept the competition close by finding success in putting points on the

board. “Mainly, our defense has been slacking so we’ve been working on defense a lot during practice,” Ellis said. This early in the season, the team is in the process of finding their solid footing. “We’ve made some silly turnovers on offense, but I think it had a lot to do with the fact that we’re just starting out and we had some nerves going,” Ellis said. “I think we’ve got that all out of our systems at this point.” In the team’s first competition of the year, the Patriots scrimmaged Oakdale on Nov. 27, tying the Frederick team. The starting five worked to find its rhythm against the Bears’ defense, while many players got the opportunity to see action as well. Junior Jenny Welch was volatile on defense, recording multiple steals, while senior and first-year team member Toni Urovsky dominated the backboard, using her height to pull down rebounds. The Patriots played their season opener on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Their next game is tomorrow as they host Paint Branch at 7 p.m.

Cheer takes fourth place at County Championship Stavi Tzamaras staff writer As the fall season comes to a close, the cheerleading squad is preparing to bring more pep and excitement to sporting events this winter. Aside from pumping up the crowd and performing at basketball games, the cheer team also participates in cheerleading competitions, like the county cheerleading tournament, which was held at Blair on Nov. 17, where they took fourth in the county behind Gaithersburg, Churchill and Damascus. Compared to last year’s second place finish in the county tournament, this year’s performance was not received as well by the judges due to tougher competition and rumors of cheating among the teams. At last year’s competition, Wootton placed second only to Churchill, readily defeating all other competition. This year, however, Gaithersburg, a formerly under-the-radar team, somehow managed to squeak ahead of Wootton in the rankings. “We had no idea Gaithersburg would do so well this year,” senior cheerleader Jenna Hall said. Rumors have been speculated regarding Churchill’s impressive routines. Accusations of choreographers aiding their squad have been pushed around since their victory last year. Choreographers helping with routine design and practice is illegal, and would have Churchill disqualified

from the county competitions, thus moving Wootton up. However,these are just rumors and are unconfirmed. “No one really knows for sure,” senior captain Katie Magiafas said. “But if it’s true, it could really hurt them.” Looking forward, the team hopes to crush its competition in the upcoming tournaments. “We want to place in at least the top three,” cheerleading coach Kristen Daugherity said. With senior captains Magiafas and Kaitlyn McGuigan, and junior captains Lauren Gorsky and Tess Dhyani leading the team, their goals of placing in the tournaments this winter season should be within their grasp. The next cheer competition is the Panther Invitational on Jan. 26, where the team has a good reputation. Last year at the tournament, the team took first place, bringing home the trophy. In order to keep up the good work, the team is taking measures to improve their overall performance. “We are changing up our routines and practicing a lot,” Magiafas said. With cheerleaders like sophomore top flyer Erica Spitz sharpening their moves, the complexity and difficulty of their routines should increase. Given her All-Star background, Spitz is capable of such challenging stunts as the extended scorpion. Her competitive tumbling passes were also on full display at counties. “In our competitions I am a flyer,” Spitz said. “We do advanced stunts, which help increase our difficulty level.”

photo courtesy Mark Spitz

Sophomore flyer Erica Spitz prepares to hit a heel stretch on Nov. 17 at the County Championships at Blair.

Vol. 43 Issue 5