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BRING IT ON: Girls’ basketball looks forward to showing their strength in the second round of playoffs.

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AND THE WINNER IS: Mooney and Garretson take the Mr. Wootton crowns.


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BEHIND THE BEAUTY: The Stage Crew works to prepare the set of the spring musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”


GOLD STANDARD: Should athletes like Michael Phelps be expected to set an example for the rest of us?


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WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: New lids and containers make recycling a nobrainer.


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Common Sense

Volume 38 Issue 5 - Thomas S. Wootton High School - 2100 Wootton Parkway - Rockville, MD 20850 - February 25, 2009


photos by David Hartzman

More noticable though was their physical toughness, as they intimidated Linganore with plenty of huge hits. Sophomore defenseman Josh Bretner (who, despite an earlier article in Common Sense detailing his plans to transfer after the season, has decided he will stay on to continue his prolific hockey career at Wootton) kicked off the scoring with a power-play goal, onetiming a pass from senior forward Dylan Skarupa into the back of the net early in the first period. Junior forward Neofytos Panagos added another goal late in the period, making the score 2-0 heading into the first intermission. In the middle of the second period, senior forward Jon Cohen put the game away, tallying two goals in a span of just 80 seconds. “[Those back-to-back Jon Cohen hoists up the State Championship trophy, his second in as many years. goals] were a knife to their chest,” Cohen said. “We really took control from there; we rolled from there. We didn’t completely finish them off though until my breakaway goal in the third.”

Patriots dominate Linganore to win back-to-back titles Zach Stone sports editor The most difficult achievement in sports is winning back-to-back championships. Don't tell that to the ice hockey team. A repeat seemed unlikely, as the team graduated 10 players and lost a total of 12 after winning last year’s state championship with a perfect 15-0 record. On Feb. 21, though, they rose to the challenge, dominating Linganore by a 5-2 score to win their second Maryland State Ice Hockey Championship

in as many years. "To win another state title is just a testament to the returning players' character and the new players' contributions, [as well as] the outstanding leadership of our four captains," head coach Mr. Dave Evans said. The Patriots overwhelmed the Lancers, scoring the first four goals of the game.

In a back-and-forth game all the way, Wootton prevailed 4-3 thanks in to its go-to line of Skarupa, Cohen, and sophomore P.J. Hall. The group scored all four of the Pats' goals. "The key is our passing," Hall said. "Our whole line just works really well together." "Those guys control the puck so well," Bretner said. "Sometimes it feels like it takes a miracle for the other team to regain possession." After the early deficit, Cohen tied the game at 1-1 on a power-play goal, with Hall and Skarupa collecting the assists. After Easton scored again to take a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period, Wootton's Hall and Skarupa scored back-to-back goals in the second stanza to take a 3-2 lead. Easton continued to battle, and was able to tie the game at 3 midway through the third period. Less than two minutes later, Hall provided the game-winner off a pass from Skarupa. "The key to the win was [our depth]," Skarupa said. "We were able to keep everyone fresh." This goal was Hall's second game-winner of the

“[Winning another title] feels spectacular.

I never would have guessed this could happen. This is the greatest feeling—I love it! - senior goalie Chris Hogan

In the state semifinal, the Patriots had to adjust to a situation they were not used to: coming from behind. East Region Champion Easton took control of the game early, scoring less than two minutes into the first period.

playoffs, as he also eliminated Churchill in the county semifinal. "[P.J's] potential is obvious," Evans said. "He's got grit though, [too.] He's one of those guys, given the

see HOCKEY, page 14

The ice hockey team raises two fingers in celebration of their repeat as State Champions. The Patriots won the title game, 5-2, against Linganore. No school in the state could handle the team’s combination of speed and size. Senior Jon Cohen led the way on offense with a hat trick in the final.

“Good to Great”

The Quest for Perfection For four years, Wootton has lived by the motto “From a Good School to Great School.” The slogan was devised as a way to inspire students to improve the quality of an already-stellar institution. But, what exactly is a great school? Rankings and statistics claim to objectively rank schools on a number of criteria. Is this possible? What is the best way to judge the quality of a school? Here, we aim to find out. Preston Cornish & Jared Nelson editors-in-chief After seeing Wootton's "US News and World Report" ranking fall for the third straight year, some members of the school community began to question the meaning of the rankings and the single-minded focus they put on Advanced Placement testing. According to what principal Dr. Michael Doran calls the “deceiving” rankings, Wootton is not judged on the basis of its whole slate of offerings, but on the narrowly focused “Challenge Index,” which is primarily based on the number of students who have taken Advanced Placement classes. “[The rankings are] not important at all, since the rankings I've seen are based on how many people take AP exams, not what score they get,” senior Seonwoo Lee said. Doran, who said “we already have enough” AP tests being taken, argues that the rankings should not be based simply on the number of tests students take, but on every part of the school -- from its drama department, to its ability to help integrate ninth graders into a demanding high school environment, to its athletic program. If the ranking organizations “really looked at [Wootton's programs], the school would be ranked in the top 10 of public schools nationally,” Doran said. “There's no doubt in my mind.” And yet, because aiming to be the absolute best defines the school’s culture and is in the blood of most students, many cannot fathom how there are 53 high schools in the country who not only share Wootton's intense academic mentality, but also produce better results in the rankings. On the heels of a #17 ranking in "Newsweek" in 2005, Wootton has steadily declined in both the "Newsweek" report and "US News" rankings, while two Wootton arch-rivals–Churchill and Whitman–have closed the gap. In fact, Whitman was ranked as Maryland's best high school in the 2009 "US News" rankings, ten spots ahead of Wootton and twelve ahead of Churchill. “You're always going to see some rising and some falling,” Doran said of the number of AP tests taken. Still, he has set the future focus of the school to increasing the number of students who take AP exams, but not necessarily the number of tests taken. “[We could work] to have the kids who take four

see RANKINGS, page 4



Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Here at Common Sense, we are ready to celebrate the coming of Spring. The following are some noteworthy upcoming events.

Spring sports tryouts begin February 28

March is Women’s History Month Celebrate the important women in your life

Highlight of the mathematical year Celebrate Pi Day on March 14!

Junior hopes to unite citizens throughout county Danielle Buccine staff writer Junior Timothy Hwang announced his plans to run for Student Member of the Board of Education of Montgomery County (SMOB) this year. The election takes place on April 29. Hwang is one of five students competing for the position. Hwang’s platform is based on unity. Communication and transparency among parents, students and the Board of Education in deciding school policies is a fundamental tenet of his campaign. His motivation for running comes from his desire to unify the groups involved in shaping county policies in an effort to improve students’ education. “We need to have a member on the Board of Education that can bring together all of the constituencies to make sure something gets accomplished for the students,” Hwang said. “We need to make sure students come first.” He wants to end divisions between parents and public officials, which have arisen over conflicts such as increased school fees. “He’s very altruistic,” social studies teacher Mr.

Matthew Winter said. “In other words, he’s not just motivated by his own glory or his own grades.” Hwang’s list of credentials is vast. He serves as CEO/President for Operation Fly, Inc., an international non-profit organization he founded in 2007 to fight inner-city poverty and homelessness. The organization is entirely student-led and currently serves five locations in the country. Senior Kevin Wong, who serves as Director on the Board of Operation Fly, Inc., is confident in Hwang’s potential as a future SMOB. “He’ll bring a fresh voice to Montgomery County,” Wong said. “He’s got great leadership skills and management abilities.” Hwang also serves as Vice President of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association where he has worked for the past three years. He says his work with President Obama’s campaign and with the Democratic party has prepared him to be SMOB. Taking a full schedule of Advanced Placement courses, Hwang admits he is an overachiever, in the best sense of the word.

photo courtesy of Tim Hwang


Hwang reveals plan to run for SMOB

Hwang (R) has worked to earn the trust of Montgomery County students.

Mrs. Eugenia Chiu, Hwang’s mathematics teacher, has no doubts that Hwang will excel in his quest as SMOB because of his relaxed attitude. “He works very hard, he’s very smart, and he’s very humble,” Chiu said. “He works well with people.” Taking a full schedule of Advanced Placement courses, Hwang fully admits he is an overachiever. “If you’re passionate about something, the energy should come automatically for it,” Hwang said. He has worked as an evaluator on the Executive Board Montgomery County Junior Councils, was elected Freshman Class President, and held multiple positions on the Montgomery County Junior Councils. “His resume is ten times better than mine and ten pages longer,” guidance

counselor Mrs. Wendy Kiang-Spray said. “I think students should listen to his platform and strongly consider him.” Hwang emphasizes that the position of SMOB extends beyond the Board of Education. Many of the decisions the SMOB votes on impact the county. The SMOB votes on issues like administrative appointments, policy, the Board of Education’s legislative platform, and appeals for transfers and expulsions. “Even though [the SMOB is] elected by 70,000 students, [they] still have to represent the 1.1 million residents of Montgomery County,” Hwang said. “I think that I have the ability not to just represent the students, but to represent the citizens of Montgomery County and the citizens of Maryland.”

Recycling initiative aims to can bad habits

Wootton Center for the Arts presents Beauty and The Beast Opening night on March 20

Spring Sports Teams Host Annual Mulch Sale Distribution on April 17-19

INSIDE >> Common Sense News...........................................................................1-4 Billboard.........................................................................5 Editorial.......................................................................6-7 Arts ..........................................................................8-9 Commons................................................................10-11 Sports......................................................................12-16 Features...................................................................17-20

In an effort to meet the new requirements of Montgomery County law, students and staff members have recommitted themselves to eco-friendly practices on school grounds. Orders were placed on Jan 27 for 55 recycling bins and lids for preexisting containers in an effort to encourage people to dispose of their waste in a more efficient manner. “We’re hard pressed to comply [with the law],” resource teacher Mr. Randy Alton said. “If you put the wrong thing in the wrong container, supposedly, the whole [recycling can] is contaminated.” Due to the willingness of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to fund the initiative, steps are being taken to develop a more comprehensive recycling program. All of the bins and lids are being paid for by MCPS. “We didn’t put in [extra] effort to bolster the movement…we’re going to go above and beyond,” Business Manager Mr. Philip Hill said. Normally, the school has received an average rating of “C” from an MCPS inspector on energy efficiency. Alton and Hill hope for better grades to set this program apart as an example of environmental awareness.

photo by Naomi Sapiro

Emily Burklow & Eleni Kessler news editors

Juniors Danny Buchanan and Mary Lyons practice good recycling habits in the Commons.

“Recycling centers” will be located throughout the hallways and will consist of a trashcan, a recycling bin (for cans and bottles) and a poster identifying why recycling is a relevant topic. Hill notes that these recycling centers will not be placed in classrooms, as it detracts from the school’s policy against eating in classrooms. Lids will also be added to paper receptacles to further discourage disposal of cans and bottles in inappropriate bins. “[Students should have] a choice at every place, even in the cafeteria,” Hill said. Hill has asked building services staff to bring around trashcans and

recycling bins at lunch when they are collecting garbage from students. The leaders of this project realize that their goals will be met only after making a truly joint venture. “Students and staff have to comply. It’s not a one-sided effort,” Alton said. “That’s how it is at this date and time.” Recycling centers will be placed in the teachers’ lounge and in department offices to encourage faculty members to partake in the program. Special education pupils contribute to the movement by collecting filled recycling bins during the school day and emptying them on a loading dock for MCPS pick-up. The School Energy and Recycling Team (SERT) has also been monitoring other aspects of creating an eco-friendly environment. There is a mandate in place that ensures that computers are turned off before the weekend, reducing the electric bill. Alton and Hill expressed excitement over the project and hope to garner the attention of the student body in upcoming months. The new bins are expected to arrive in approximately three weeks, and starting this spring, increased publicity will bring awareness to their mission. They are weary of the fact that this project will only succeed with the support of the adults and students. “Everybody in this building has to be mindful,” Alton said.



Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Seniors dominate arithmetic competition Logan Jaffe staff writer Over 2,000 students from the Washington metropolitan area competed in the 29th annual University of Maryland math competition this December. Senior Qinxuan Pan won first place in both the county and state divisions of the competition with a perfect score. Pan’s success this year was preceded by a third place win in the competitions from 2006 and 2007. Senior Samuel She earned an honorable mention in this year’s competition and last year’s event. An honorable mention was also awarded to senior Jonathan Liang. “[My teachers] taught me how to think conceptually and allowed to me complete problems quickly, which is really the biggest challenge,” Pan said. The Math Department, headed by Mr. Chris Tucker, is known for its high achievement countywide and the high scores of its students on nationwide and state tests. Tucker hoped that the gains of Wootton students at College Park would further prove the school to be a model for how math should be taught in high school. Pre-Calculus, AP Statistics and Algebra teacher Mrs. Eugenia Chiu was overjoyed that Wootton students had done so well. “It’s not surprising [that our students did so well], and it is a reflection

of our great school,” Chiu said. “[I] had several of the winners, so of course they won!” Liang’s former math teacher, Diane Malanowski, was also not surprised by the students’ success in the competition. “[The participants] are very conceptual thinkers,” Malanowski said. “They worked very hard, they deserve it.” The contest was started by University of Maryland professor Gertrude Ehrlich, who wanted to organize an event for

“ [the

participants] are very conceptual thinkers. they worked very hard. they deserve it.” - math teacher diane malanowski

high school students and demonstrate the prowess of the Math Department at College Park. Many of the students feel that participating in the event will strengthen their college applications. A full Maryland scholarship was also awarded to the highest scoring contestants. Organized into two sections, Part 1 is open to all students enrolled in DC or Maryland high schools. Once the first exams were sent to UMD for grading, those scoring higher than 50% were invited back to participate in the second

round for a more comprehensive exam. To receive an invitation, students must score at least 50% to advance into the second round. This year, four students earned perfect scores, and the median score was 18%. Over 2470 students took the exam and the winner of each county received a $100 cash prize. The top three scorers statewide earned $400, $300 and $200 respectively. The contestants with the top overall scores were each offered an Edgar Kramer scholarship, which offers free tuition, books, and room and board for the University of Maryland. Chairman Dr. Larry Washington remarked that the program was supposed to be a one-time project for a doctoral thesis of a colleague, but the turn-out was so high, he said “it would be foolish to not repeat it.” “[The competition] will get even better if the past is any indication,” Washington said. The contest itself occurred Oct. 29, and the second exam was on Dec. 3. Entry costs are waived for all students, ensuring a large and diverse entry pool. Every year after the event, questions and answers are posted on the UMD website for all to view, allowing students to have a study guide consisting of previous years’ exams. The exams cover all high school math subjects except Calculus.

Obama’s inauguration inspires students Annie Bleecker staff writer

photo courtesy of AP

The inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan 20, 2009 was one of the most highly anticipated and highly publicized events in history. For the first time an African- American man became the president of the United States. An estimated four million people from all over the world crowded into Washington, D.C. to witness the event. Montgomery County Public Schools even voted to give students the day off from school. News stations, newspapers, tabloids, and political programs tracked the Obama’s move to the White House for the months leading up to the inauguration. Obama’s daily morning workout, the arrival of the White House dog, Sasha and Malia’s move to Sidwell Friends School, amongst many other aspects of the transition were featured. The day of the event brought anxiety to D.C. as people flooded through the specially marked entrances. People arrived very early to save their spots either on Pennsylvania Avenue to see the parade or on the Lincoln memorial grounds to see the swearing in ceremony. Metro riders in some areas experienced eight-hour-long waits to board a train. Fewer people braved the chilly weather to walk or bike into the district. “When we left our house at 7:00 am, there weren’t that many cars, but after about three blocks there were so many people and cars with license tags from all over the country. It took us an hour to walk from where we live in Adams Morgan to the mall. But it was worth it,” said Annika Meurs a ten year old observer and D.C. resident. On Monday, Michelle Obama hosted the “Kids Inaugural” on Disney Channel. Tuesday’s performances included the legends Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin as well as contemporary artists such as Usher, Shakira, Beyonce, and Will.I.Am. Other performers included Sheryl

Crow and Garth Brooks, as well as many others. Senator Joe Biden, the first of the officials to be sworn in, was inaugurated by Associate Justice, John Paul Stevens. Shortly thereafter, Barack Obama was sworn into the presidency by Chief Justice, John Roberts, despite the casual tongue tying. Many were moved to tears during Obama’s inaugural address. No matter the age, race, gender or intelligence of the inauguration viewer, almost all felt involved in the election and happy to see Obama become the fortyfourth president of the United States. This election and consequent inauguration featured many different perspectives and ideals for the American people. Most felt attracted to the everpresent change theme. “Barack Obama being elected is pretty inspiring. When I have kids, I can whole heartedly tell them that they can do anything they want, including becoming the president,” junior Jabari Welsh said. Following the inauguration festivities were the highly anticipated inaugural balls at which President Obama and First Lady Obama were scheduled to make an appearance. Despite the historical significance of the event, some were most concerned with what Michelle would arrive wearing. She decided on a gorgeous, simple, and classy off-the-shoulder gown by Jason Wu. “How good does my wife look?” was President Obama’s first remark upon entering the first of many inaugural balls. Various news stations world wide are continuing to track Obama’s progress as he assimilates into the presidency. Many are anxious to see the steps he takes to better the economy and address the many other issues that plague the nation. News 4 is entitling their program documenting the period as “The First 100 Days.”

RESULTS Pan: 1st in state Liang: Honorable mention She: Honorable mention

ARCC hosts science lecture, plans for blood drive Sameer Malla copy editor The Red Cross Club is preparing for two events – a lecture by guest speaker Dr. John F. Finerty that took place yesterday and a blood drive sponsored by the Inova Health System on March 5. There was also a lecture given by guest speaker Dr. Hart about the Prader-Willi disorder on Feb. 18. Both lectures are worth as credits towards the Science Technology and Research Scholars Program (STARS). Ms. Leslie Adler, science internship coordinator and Director of the Molecular Biology Resource, invited Finerty to give a lecture to students about how inflammation occurs and the basics of cardiovascular disease as a guest on Feb. 24. “[Dr. Finerty] really loves working with kids and being around kids,” she said. “He can explain things easily, and is a dynamic, nice guy, in addition to being an excellent, well-known researcher in immunology. I have worked with him for years and have enjoyed working with him.” Finerty was the head of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology in the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (F.A.E.S) Graduate School at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also received a Ph.D from Louisiana State University. He is now currently retired. The Prader-Willi disorder is a genetic disorder in which the appetite is never suppressed. As a result, one would eat nonstop – with a feeling of constant starvation – and must be physically restrained to stop eating. Hart talked about this disorder and its genetic implications. The Red Cross Club will also hold their biannual blood drive on March 5. This event will be sponsored by the Inova Health System instead of the American Red Cross. Ms. Lynn Goodman, guidance counselor and organizer of the blood drives, was glad she avoided another disaster by the Red Cross. “We were very unhappy with the Red Cross, which is why I switched [the two companies]. [The Red Cross] was terrible,” Goodman said. “They promised to do things that they did not do.” The inefficiency of the prior drives frustrated her. “We did [the blood drive] eight times with the Red Cross, each time worse than the time before,” Goodman said. “A lot of kids waited three hours [to donate blood].” She looks forward to the blood drive, especially because this new sponsor will be more efficient than the Red Cross. “It’s a different organization, and hopefully, we will have people in and out in an hour.” Goodman said.


4 Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Doran strives to find perfect balance from RANKINGS, page 1

students work hard to help students achieve,” Goodwin said. “Unfortunately, not all schools are recognized for the or five APs to take one or two more. That's easy. But that's not accomplishments they make because rankings only consider what I want to do...What I want to do is have those students a few factors.” who are taking zero APs to take one or two...We've got kids Though Doran has been pushing the movement towards who are going through four years here without taking one hard a great school, he believes that Wootton is, for the most part, really hard class. That's not right,” Doran said. “already there.” By pushing students who would traditionally take regular “It's not that we aren't great already. We are. We take classes into honors classes and giving them support from their [anyone who lives in the school district]. This is a true teachers, counselors, and other faculty, Wootton has been able neighborhood school. Some of the other schools on the to greatly improve the number of students it has in honors rankings have 200 students. All 12 graduates have to take three classes. APs before they'll sign off on their graduation,” Doran said. “The data shows they're doing okay. We know they can do However, if there is one area in which Doran believes it. Teachers believe it,” Doran said. that Wootton greatly improve, it is among minority students The administration and faculty have also redirected their academically. attention towards improving students’ social lives. “We want “[Minority achievement is] the only place I don't think kids to have good social relationships. We really are trying to we're as good as, or better than everywhere else,” Doran said. strike a balance,” Doran said. “I think we're the same as everyone else.” Students also believe that balance is vital to the quality Goodwin says his students show a general disinterest in of the school. “First and foremost the rankings, and believes that [the school needs] a strong athletic his students are simply trying to program to rally around,” senior hat happens to good organi- succeed as individuals and get into Pratik Agarwal said. zations is that they stagnate. okay, college Goodwin said. Part of the balance Doran “When rankings appear in we’re good. but this is from good emphasized comes from the the news, they often ask what to great.” athletics programs. Doran pointed they are all about. Some express - principal dr. michael doran out the tremendous improvement momentary excitement, but of several of Wootton’s sports overall, it is not a preoccupation teams during his tenure. for them.” Over the last three years, girls’ track and girls’ volleyball Doran takes a different approach; though he does not teams have dominated county competition, and girls’ expect his students to care about the ranking systems and basketball won its third straight division championship last taking several AP classes in an effort to boost our score, week. Boys’ lacrosse has reached the state tournament in he would like his students to begin getting excited about each of the last two years, and anticipates an easy road to the learning. regional championship once again this spring. Hockey brought “Where's the fun? There’s no room for learning [simply] home two back-to-back state championships, and the football for learning's sake. [Because of that] we're looking at ways to team made the playoffs for the first time since 1991 this past re-interest kids,” Doran said. fall. One program Doran has brought in to re-interest students “Now, if you really want to be a top-class football player is the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, or or a top-class tennis player, we've got top quality coaches LEED, class. “The students in LEED are doing that instead in place,” Doran said. “Wootton is an excellent school, but of an AP, so we've got 30 less APs. They're getting more out before, you would look at Whitman or Churchill and you of that than they would from one more AP class.” would say, 'Well, we're doing well academically, but I wish I Wootton still has improvements to be made, and Doran could be on their sports team.'” is not shy about explaining the school's “good to great” Some believe that the moderate descent of our rankings mentality. has prompted the movement to become “great,” but Doran “Good is almost a negative to being better...What happens has never had faith in the “deceiving” rankings or its to good organizations is that they stagnate. Okay, we're good. methodology, and remains unfazed by Wootton’s apparent But this is from good to great,” Doran said. decline in preparing their students for college (according to Looking forward, Doran says that he has programs in place the "US News" “college readiness” statistic). to work towards a future where every student is academically “I don't care about other schools [rankings]; it doesn't eligible. He also is working to build on his success in increasing bother me,” Doran said. “If you're a really great school the number of students who will graduate with at least one everything has to be of quality. You've got to look at the total AP under their belt, and also hopes the school will continue to school program.” succeed on the athletic fields. Whitman’s principal, Alan Goodwin, shares Doran’s “The hardest thing is to go from good to great. I inherited skepticism about the rankings despite being ranked the top a good school. I love the kids at this school. Can we all do high school in all of Maryland for the first time in his 11-year better? Yes, absolutely. An organization is never static. You're tenure. never ever completely done,” Doran said. “There are numerous great schools where teachers and


Congratulations Philip! Senior Philip Kong was awarded one of 300 semi-finalist places nationwide after participating in Intel’s Science Talent Search. Each year, approximately 1,600 high-schoolers compete for the title of finalist in an event that has been referred to as the “Junior Nobel Prize.” Kong applied for the recognition by submitting a 20-page research paper and a common application. His piece focused on a protein that controls blood-clotting and its location in the nucleus of blood cells, a subject that had begun to interest him during his time working at the National Institutes of Health. Kong was “surprised” to find that he had succeeded in the contest, and is quick to thank those who helped him reach his goals. “I had really great support from friends and family and mentors,” Kong said. “Especially from my dad.” Kong hopes to pursue his scientific interests at either California Institute of Technology or at Georgetown University in the fall.

Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Thomas Jefferson H.S.: Life at the Top Ranked #1 in the 2009 US News and World Report Rankings, for the second consecutive year, stands Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology located in Alexandria, VA. Established in 1985, the school strives to “provide a specialized education for selected students in Fairfax County.” Here are some student and faculty views on TJHS's prestigious standing.

“There are many more dimensions to a great school than performing well on tests... schools that engage students and promote leadership, responsibility and character are great schools."

-Principal Dr. Evan Glazer, on how a “great school” is truly defined

I strongly question rankings like this because I “ Personally, don't think you can quantitatively say ‘this is the best school in the nation.’ Most kids at TJ have ambiguous feelings toward the rankings--I think most kids take them with a grain of salt, regardless of whether or not they agree with them,” -Senior Joel Stein, on student attitudes towards rankings

focus on tests. We already know that they’re good test takers, so “ Wewe testdon’tstudents on things other than tests... We want to challenge them in new ways that aren't tests." -Glazer, on philosophy of challenging students without official testing

think they’re aware of them, but they don’t care too much about them... “Imaybe it’s my wish, but I don’t think they put too much emphasis on [the rankings].” -Glazer, on perceived importance of rankings to students

do care about the rankings... even though we've gotten this “Students great honor, there has not been any letup of the expectations on the part of students, teachers, or administrators.” -SGA president Molly Pratt, on maintaining high standards

are] responsibilities and expectations [that] the rankings place “ [There on our students and school... I and the other students, staff, and administration are very proud of our spot in the rankings.” -Pratt, on atmosphere that comes from being rated top school

care, and I'm sure most other student care too... it’s not just about “ Ischool pride though. TJ's a magnet school; we all could have opted to stay at our base schools or go to a private school. The ranking kind of reaffirms our decision." -Stein, on student motivations for being ranked in first place

Students plan epic voyage across Atlantic Jessica Ding staff writer A group of students, along with Foreign Language Resource Teacher Mr. Anthony DeRosa, have been granted the opportunity to experience culture by traveling to Rockville’s sister city in Germany. Rockville teens will stay in Pinneburg from June 19 through July 8. “It’s a great idea because it’s not only a tourist trip,” Derosa said. “Students will be staying with families, visiting schools classes and going on an overnight trip.” The trip is sponsored by the Rockville Sister City Corporation (RSCC). The RSCC is a program in Rockville, Maryland that represents a people-to-people relationship between citizens of Rockville and citizens of Pinneberg, Germany. In October, there was an exchange between Pinneberg and Wootton when 12 students and two teachers visited for two weeks. Earlier student exchanges have occurred between Pinneberg and Richard Montgomery High School.

Junior Mary Lyons, who is taking German, recently hosted Sven Ochterbeck from Pinneberg, for three weeks and will be staying with Ochterbeck’s family on the Germany trip this summer. During Lyons’ elementary school years, the Lyons family consecutively employed five German Au Pairs. The experience has made her comfortable with hosting families, especially those from Germany. When Sven visited, the duo went to popular tourist spots, including Philadelphia, D.C., Baltimore, and Tyson’s Corner. “It was awesome hosting Sven. He and I became like brother and sister within the three week time period,” Lyons said. Already, Lyons is excited to see and experience Germany. “[Sven] and I still keep in close touch and already starting to plan out what activities we want to do.” Junior David Musher also hosted a student last year. He is looking forward to traveling to Europe this summer. While

there, he hopes to improve his German and try some new food. “It was a good learning experience for me because I got to see that kids in Germany are normal people too. Many of the German kids were a lot of fun to be around,” Musher said. “I also learned that it is a lot of work to host a foreign kid, because they need to eat too.” The president of the RSCC, James McConkey, raves about his positive experiences traveling to Pinneburg. “I have made good friends in Pinneberg,” McConkey said. “It is the warmth of these relationships that adds joy to each visit and I must add that it is hard to avoid the development of such friendships due to the genuine camaraderie and warmth of the people.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower began the Sister City program in 1956 to match US cities to similar cities in Europe as a way to create enthusiasm for rebuilding the cities devastated during WWII.

BILLBOARD Common Sense - February 25, 2009


6 Security breach? Zohair Asmail Layout and Pulse Editor

Several weeks ago in the Commons before school, Student A was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly by Student B. Several nearby students eventually pulled Student B away from Student A, but by that point a pool of blood had formed on the floor. Student A was able to get up, spit some blood into a nearby trash can and then hobble to the health room. Student B walked away from the scene unscathed. Students had to break up the fight, and even with a team of security guards, not one of them made it in time to protect the student. According to security, they were not aware of the incident until Student A walked into the health room. Security Guards do a great job making students take off their hoods, turn off their phones or correct any minor violation they commit, but this is not security’s main goal of adequately addressing the few and serious problems that must be prevented. Security is often slow to respond to anything that they are actually needed for. To be fair, it is extremely difficult for six security guards to monitor all 2,500 students, but even with this, security needs to be more available. If there is a fight in the English hallway, chances are good that it will be over by the time security has traveled all the way across the school, much like the fight between Students A and B. They cannot be everywhere, and

Editorial Patriot Points Common Sense - February 25, 2009

no one is expecting security to break up every fight, nor are they expected to find every drug that is brought onto school grounds, but security guards are supposed to make everyone feel safe and secure by deterring these problems. A group of security guards huddled in their office is not a deterrent for anything. Security personnel have to be on hand to do their job by spreading out and making themselves available. However, as they are short staffed, the security team relies on students and staff informing them about incidents that arise. Students should be aware that they too have a part in helping ensure their fellow students’ safety, but students are often reluctant to approach security guards because they are often seen punishing people for smaller infractions. Security guards should stay away from minor disciplinary problems that do not adversely impact the school’s safety. Congeniality between students and security staff would actually improve both student participation with security and school safety. If students saw security less as disciplinarians and more as genuinely wanting to help, the number of reported incidents would go up because students would be willing to confide in them and give them leads. Non-compliance with school rules is something that security guards should get involved with when necessary, but focusing on more important things such as deterring drugs and breaking up a rare fight is a priority.

“I think we have an excellent security staff and a history of a lack of violence.” Mr. Jeffrey Benya, teacher

“Very safe. It’s Montgomery county. Rich. Rich.” Melissa Satria, senior

Do you feel safe at Wootton?

“We feel safe because there is always adult supervision.” Emily Levenson & Jordan Schienberg, freshmen

Common Sense welcomes le�ers to the editor, but reserves the right to edit them as necessary for style, punctua�on, grammar, and spelling. Le�ers may be submi�ed to the Common Sense mailbox. All le�ers must be signed, but requests to remain anonymous will be Decisions in high school are based only on the college application process considered. Please contact us at woo�

Common Sense Editors

How much is one piece of paper worth?


Preston Cornish, Jared Nelson Managing Editors: Lindsey Binder, Michael Briggs, Chad Larsen, Bryan Oringher Arts Editor: Samantha Ritwo Commons Editors: Ilana Avergun, Emily Khalid Features Editors: Azzah Ahmed, Melissa Marcus News Editors: Emily Burklow, Eleni Kessler Opinion Editor: Drew Endick Sports Editors: Zach Stone, Jeff Zifrony Layout & Pulse Editor: Zo Asmail Copy Editors: Sameer Malla, Rachel Marcus, Katy Tong Photo Editor: Naomi Sapiro Business Manager: Zara Shore Sponsor: Jaclynn Rozansky

Jared Wasserman staff writer

The all too familiar phrase, “because it looks good,” can be heard ringing in the Wootton hallways at all hours of the day. Countless students shoulder enormous workloads while participating in numerous after-school activities, not for personal satisfaction, but in an effort to pad their college resumes. According to the official website, the factors that the University of Maryland considers while reviewing an applicant range from high school achievement and class rank to socio-economic background and breadth of life experiences. Needless to say, students feel the pressure to prove themselves worthy of admission to these prestigious universities. “Everyone stresses out when they apply to college,” University of Arizona freshman and 2008 Wootton graduate Jamie Turow said. “You never know exactly what they’re looking for, or how many other students have better transcripts than you.” The emphasis appears to have shifted from acquiring knowledge and experience that will be beneficial later in life to taking courses and participating in extra curriculars in order to look

“well-rounded.” Some feel the pressure to take on a rigorous schedule is advantageous to students because it allows them the opportunity to delve into areas they would not normally consider, as well as give students incentive to work hard for the concrete purpose of being accepted to their college of choice. “I like that [college standards] motivate kids to do more,” Wootton parent Marc Shepard said. “But if they’re not enjoying what they’re doing and the only positive is an enhanced transcript, then there isn’t much point to it is there?” A worthy alternative to asking students to balance an inordinate amount of activities and strenuous classes would be if colleges placed the value on quality, rather than quantity. If students were able to hone one area of interest to them, similar to the college majors employed at universities, then education and other activities would become relevant and enjoyable, rather than another bulleted accomplishment on a piece of paper. As a senior who recently endured the rigors of the application process put it, “I don’t think school should be just about filling out an application.”

Thank you Patrons! Mickey Bolmer, Cindy Rampp, Vinitia Joardar, Liz Shore, Lorin Bleecker, Alexis and Steve Bossie, Bonnie and Jeff Endick, Diana Perroots



Common Sense - February 25, 2009

point-counterpoint: is michael phelps still a role model? Yes; Give the American Hero a Break No; he is Swimming in Hot Water Drew Endick op-ed editor

Eight gold medals is deserving of an award. To break an Olympic record that nobody has come close to in the past 25 years involves an inhuman amount of hard work, more than just about every American has put in in their lifetime ("For five years, from 1998 to 2003, we did not believe in days off,” Phelps wrote in his book, No Limits. “I had one because of a snowstorm, two more due to the removal of wisdom teeth. Christmas? See you at the pool. Thanksgiving? Pool.”). Now, when Phelps tries to relax for the first time in his life and enjoy a semblance of the life many people get to enjoy in college, people flip out? Give me a break. When Phelps' sponsors picked him, they picked an American icon; an image of an unstoppable force who dominated his sport like Jordan dominated basketball. To suggest that everything he has should be lost because of a plant is mere absurdity. Does his success justify his unlawful actions? Of course not. His 2004 DUI, far more serious than this offense, was a massive mistake and this second incidence suggests not a pattern but at least that Phelps needs help. People should give it to him. They should not throw an icon under the bus, hold him to a far greater standard than they probably held themselves, and suggest that he has permanently failed in his quest to be a role model. Judge Phelps by his greater body of work, such as his donation of his $1 million bonus from Speedo to start a foundation in his own name dedicated to promoting youth swimming. Judge him by his desire to change the sport of swimming forever, his great humility displayed even after great victory, and his respect for the Olympic tradition. Partying with illegal substances, according

to Stanford Daily, occurs with four out of every five college students. Phelps, in truth, was only being a 'normal' college-aged young adult, an experience he never had. Phelps rightfully issued an apology, but people seem to still want more. People have called him a "disgrace" to the Olympics; Mr. Hatch calls him a "moron." That's not fair. It's not fair to say everyone has experimented wtih substances, but unless we're going to seriously scrutinize everyone who has--likely a huge number of politicians, including our two most recent Presidents, singers, actors, writers, Nobel Prize winners--it's not fair to vent all our anger against Phelps when he got caught smoking from a bong once. Besides, as Charles Barkley (of all people) so cleverly pointed out at one point: "[Athletes] are not role models. Parents should be role models." If any kids have such a poor support system that they decide to do pot just because they see Michael Phelps do it once, their support system was flimsy enough to collapse under peer pressure to begin with. Phelps knows what he did was wrong and I can guarantee will never have another picture like that surface again. But let's put blame for the failures of a number of children where it belongs: at the feet of the parents who turn blind eyes when they throw massive parties with alcohol at age 13, and maybe even buy for them. Not at an American icon who made one mistake. Parents should be spending a lot more time with their children than the children watch Michael Phelps. Unfortunately, in this country, a lot of times that's not the case.

Tyler Hatch staff writer

Michael Phelps is quickly turning from icon to moron. Choosing to smoke a bong at a University of South Carolina party didn’t just hurt his image as a role model; it also displayed his childish stupidity. The people that dismiss this decision saying Phelps can do whatever he wants with his body fail to realize Phelps’ actions also affect others. In the 2004 Olympic Games at Athens, Phelps was one gold medal short of tying Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven. More determined than ever, he returned to action in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and surpassed Spitz by winning Gold in all eight of his events, setting seven world records along the way. In doing so, Phelps became a role model, an icon, and an example for millions of kids - especially young swimmers. Phelps didn’t stop there. After the 2008 Olympics, he signed endorsement deals with Speedo, Visa, PowerBar, Omega, Argent Mortgage, Matsunichi Communication Holdings, Kellogg’s, and Subway, which made him around $100 million combined. In agreeing to those endorsements, Phelps essentially signed a contract to maintain a wholesome and positive image. Getting photographed at a random college party smoking weed is definitely not the image his sponsors expected. Kellogg’s was the only company responsible enough to drop Phelps, saying his behavior was

“not consisting with [their] image.” More importantly, Phelps’s decision was not the image his fans and idols have come to expect. It is certainly not an image his mother Debbie Phelps approves of and neither should we. People are wrong to say, “Oh, give the kid a break; he’s only twenty-three.” Yes, Phelps is young and demonstrated he still lacks maturity, but he should be old enough and experienced enough to realize not to get high at a college party. Phelps had nothing to gain from lighting up a bong, but he had everything to lose--his fans, his reputation, and his endorsements. Besides, Phelps already screwed up after the 2004 Olympics when he got arrested for drinking and driving after a party. He apologized, saying it was irresponsible behavior and he wouldn’t let his fans down again. Sound similar to his comment after his recent embarrassing episode? “I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.” Smells like deja vu to me. We are all human and it is human nature to make mistakes. However, we shouldn’t use this as reason to dismiss the issue. What Phelps needs is the public to support him, not by saying, “Yeah dude, you are awesome, smoke pot all day! Phelps for legalizing marijuana, yeah!” but by letting him know we will back him as he works to regain and maintain his oncegolden image.

Exploitation in our own halls Big Brother is watching us Ethan Miller guest writer At Wootton, we buy a lot of clothing. No matter what it is that you buy: the BBQ club t-shirt with your nickname on the back, the senior sweatpants or class sweatshirt, they all have one thing in common: they were made in a sweatshop. Working 12-hour days for pennies an hour, workers as young as 14 sew this apparel together, often in conditions that cause serious health problems. When workers try to organize themselves into a union and fight these conditions, they are met with opposition from factory management who fire and send death threats to union leaders. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet two such worker organizers, Moises Alvarado and Norma Castellanos, during an event at the University of Maryland. Alvarado and Castellanos are the president and vicepresident, respectively, of a union representing workers from the Jerzees de Honduras factory in Choloma, Honduras. This factory, owned by Russell Athletic, was recently closed as a retaliation to the worker’s attempts to organize for better working conditions and pay. Additionally, both Alvarado and Castellanos received death threats after refusing to cease their struggle for better conditions for the factory workers. Upon learning about these abuses, High Schools Organizing for Labor Action (HOLA), a national network of high school social justice activists, put out a call to action. At Wootton, we are in a unique position to answer this call and support the workers’ struggle. The Jerzees de Honduras factory produces clothing with the brand name Jerzees Activewear. The tags on Wootton apparel proudly display the logos of Jerzees Activewear and Russell Athletic.

Because we purchase such a large volume of clothing from Russell Athletic, we can use this purchasing power to pressure Russell Athletic to keep the factory open. Wootton Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) has already taken some action in response to the crisis in Honduras, sending letters of complaint to Russell and taking pictures that will be compiled in a slideshow of pictures from students from around the country and sent to Russell. However, something that would be even more effective in pressuring Russell to re-open the factory, reinstate the workers and negotiate with the union would be a letter from the administration stating a commitment to not buy Russell / Jerzees clothing until the previously mentioned demands are met. Universities such as Georgetown, Duke, Wisconsin, Miami and Rutgers have already cut their contracts with Russell, and more schools are expected to do so in the next few weeks. While no high school has officially taken action against Russell yet, the Wootton administration should be the leader and take action as soon as possible! Of course, this only fixes the problem in a single factory. In order to prevent future abuses such as the one at Jerzees, the Wootton administration needs to commit to buying only clothing from sweatshop-free factories. To the same extent, the entire county needs to stop their second-degree exploitation as well. Campaigns are currently underway in order to achieve both. In order to get more involved in campaigns such as these to fight for worker’s rights, you can attend meetings of SDS, on Thursdays after school in room 252. Alvarado and Castellanos urged all students to do all they can, and they said every little bit helps.

Yan Zhuang guest writer Every day at lunch, the media center is packed with students who want a quiet place to study or to catch up on homework. It has all of the essential resources that we need: tables and chairs to seat the students, a comprehensive library of books, and to accommodate to the internet-crazed students, computers with Internet access. However, something strange happened while I was using a computer in the media center the other day. As I worked on my English essay, I remembered that I should check whether my doctor had responded to an urgent e-mail that I had sent him earlier. But immediately after I had logged onto Gmail, the screen froze and I stared in horror as a haunting blood-red message slowly appeared: “Not at school.” Someone was remotely hand-writing this message onto my screen! That can only mean one thing: the school is directly monitoring our computer activity. I understand that MCPS computers are meant to be used for educational purposes, but having someone being able to see everything that appears on our screens is a breach of privacy rights. Privacy is universally recognized as one of the most fundamental human rights, and even though the American Constitution does not explicitly mention it, privacy is protected by countless laws and legal precedents. Also, court cases such as Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) and Goss v. Lopez (1975) has shown us that students do not leave their rights at the schoolhouse door. New Jersey v. T.L.O.

(1985) may have allowed school officials to search lockers, but it was only because a student was suspected of having drugs; it does not justify directly monitoring the computer usage of students. Need more proof ? In 2007, the administration of Monarch High School in Colorado was accused by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for violating students’ right to privacy by reading text messages from confiscated cell phones. In that case, the ACLU ultimately emerged victorious and the Monarch administration reluctantly revised their policies. However, Wootton’s actions are arguably worse than Monarch’s; while their school officials simply read a few text messages, Wootton has someone who can constantly see everything displayed onto our computer monitors, some of which is personal or confidential information. For instance, many students use school computers to fill out college applications and financial aid forms. Identity theft, anyone? Even if it somehow is legal, it is still a bad idea for the administration to spy on us. It can actually deter students from using school computers at all, even for educational purposes; we do not feel comfortable knowing that some creepy guy is looking at everything that appears on our screens. Besides, many websites inappropriate for school are already blocked and all of the websites that each student visits is logged. Isn’t that already sufficient? Directly monitoring our computer usage is going too far. So, the next time you log onto a school computer, be careful. Big Brother is watching us.



Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Up close and personal with the Stage Crew junior Samantha Ritwo and junior Aaron Fensterheim, are in charge of organizing the many construction projects, working As soon as the curtain rises, the realistic with the director during rehearsals and backdrop comes to life because of the hard giving cues during shows. Co-heads of work of the stage crew. Stage crew spends sound crew, junior Wolfie Devine and junior months everyday after school working on Drew Culbertson, and the sound crew the construction of the sets, in addition to check the mics, making sure that everyone’s the lighting and sound effects for all school mic batteries are replaced and add the productions. Stage Crew is also involved sound effects. Head of lighting, senior with Puttin’ On the Hits and Mr. Wootton, Annie Bolek, and the lighting crew control where they help with the sound and lights. spotlights and stage lights. Senior Phillipe English teacher Mr. Nick Hitchens and Seydi, the materials and supplies manager, Media Services Tech Mr. Kenny Jacobs makes sure that the needed materials are are co-tech directors of the stage crew. there, keeping the crew room clean and They instruct the crew and supervise the creating more storage space. The students construction. on the leadership team are crew members “I try to let the students be as who have applied for a leadership position, independent as they can, which sometimes shown strength in their own specialized area, means watching them make little mistakes so participate and work hard. they can learn from them.” Hitchens said. Running crew moves the set pieces Stage manager, junior Dahlia Ting, during the shows. Jacobs says that members and the two assistant stage managers, of running crew are stage crew members who have proven that they work hard and can do their job well. All of stage crew is involved in the actual construction of the set with sophomore Andrew Consroe as master carpenter and senior Sandy Wilson as master painter. “I have some say in the paint colors and some shows I get to put my own creative spin on the pieces,” Wilson said. During construction phase, the members use tools such as the table saw and the circular saw in the crew room to cut the wood. The large pieces of wood are located in the Elephant Room next to the stage for crew use. “Everyone is working together towards one goal, and we are all having fun,” Ting said. Some of the crew members have had prior experience with their specialty in crew. Junior Sam Chung is a part of the sound crew and has experience with Junior Wolfie Devine works to cut rose-themed shapes. the soundboard from helping the band Allie McRae staff writer

photos by Evan Pappas

at his church. Seydi was on stage crew in middle school and worked during the summer before ninth grade building fences and using many of the same tools in stage crew. The members from stage crew also help teach each other new things. “The older members mentor you and Crew works every day for at least 3 hours a day before the production. help you learn stuff as all of the crew’s labor will come together to they graduate,” Seydi said. When the seniors on stage crew graduate, transform the stage. “The best part is meeting people and they write a message on the wall of the crew being there for the final production,” Chung room to future crew members. The newer said. members of stage crew are trained on their Comments? first day. They rotate around the crew room and the leadership team teaches them how to use all of the materials and tools. Freshman Rachel Goldberger has been working on stage crew for a month and already feels at home. “It’s like one big family,” Goldberger said. All of the stage crew members agree that they have made many new friends. “There are a bunch of people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise like freshmen and seniors,” sophomore Christina Rzepka, a new member said. During rehearsal stage, crew members spend a lot of time together. Tech week, the week before a show, is crucial to stage crew in working out the cues and getting a chance to rehearse a few times. They stay after school until 9:00 or 9:30 at night to make sure that everything is running smoothly. “[Tech week] is the most hectic time, but you’re with all of your friends. It never gets old,” Seydi said. Stage crew is currently working on the set for “Beauty and the Beast”. Sophomore master carpenter Andrew Consroe and junior The show opens on March 20, when co-head sound Drew Culbertson work together at the chop saw to cut pieces of 2x4 wood.

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Common Sense - February 25, 2009

“Beauty and the Beast” to bring a classic to life Jillian Greenbaum staff writer

photos by Jon Cohen

On March 20, “Beauty and the Beast” will make its premiere in the Wootton Auditorium at 7:30 pm. As the vocal director of the spring play, Mrs. Carla Ingram has high expectations for this production. “It will be a very professional play. It is a production that could be seen on professional stages as well as community stages. Our leads are pretty perfect for their roles, and the actors and actresses are progressing fantastically,” Ingram said. The play of “Beauty and the Beast” was chosen for its familiarity and appeal to the community, along with the ability it has to emphasize the talent available at Wootton. “We try to pick one show a year that is appropriate for children and adults in the community,” Ingram said. “We are also aware of the talent we have here at Wootton and wanted to choose a play that would show case it as much as possible.” With a cast of almost 70, rehearsals occur Monday through Friday for two to three hours per day. Senior Jessica Futran, who will be playing Belle, practices at home in addition to the long inschool rehearsals. “On the weekends I could spend up to three hours practicing. When I go home from rehearsal during the week, I spend one to two hours rehearsing as well,” Futran said. Senior Aaron Gage, who holds the other lead role, the Beast, rehearses outside of play practice as well. “I sing the songs in my car occasionally,” Gage said.

The premise of the play is the same as the classic movie. A selfish prince treats an elderly woman terribly, and she casts a spell on him that can only be broken when he falls in love. She turns him into an ugly beast, and eventually the beautiful and headstrong Belle finds herself trapped in his castle. Although Belle is initially repulsed by the Beast, the two eventually fall in love, and once they kiss, the spell is broken and the prince returns to his charming, human state. The kissing scene that breaks the beast’s spell has yet to be rehearsed but will take place in the upcoming play. Senior Jonathan Loewy will be acting in this scene as the young prince, as Gage will be in full costume at the time and will be unable to transform into the prince.

Ensemble members work with choreographer Mel in the dance studio.

In the preparation of a play, conflicts will always arise. One main conflict for the cast of “Beauty and Beast” has been snow days. Since the show is premiering in March, this leaves a shorter time to prepare. Therefore, all the time available for rehearsal is needed, and days missed hurt the crew’s progress. As for the audition process, the difficulties laid not in the lack of talent of the actors and actresses, but the surplus of it available at Wootton. “We have too many talented people, and there are more people than roles available. The real struggle comes when we

have to narrow for the choices for the roles,” Ingram said. The cast has been practicing since December and have less than a month left of rehearsing. As for Futran and Gage, balancing schoolwork and play practice is no problem. “Senior year has been a little bit more relaxed, but I have had to balance this for a couple years, so I think I have the hang of it. I just put my priorities in line and get everything done,” Futran said. “Beauty and the Beast” will be Futran’s sixth show at Wootton, and she hopes to puruse acting as a career. “I love acting, and I plan to make it my life,” Futran said. As the vocal director of the play, Ingram has some personal favorite productions that she believes Beauty and the Beast will live up to. “‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Sweeny Todd’ were two of the most successful plays I have directed at Wootton because of the level of challenge they presented,” Ingram said. “Commercially, ‘Suessical’ and ‘Grease’ were the most successful as well.” As the cast continues to progress in their rehearsals for the play, Ingram believes that “Beauty and the Beast” will live up to her expectations. “The leads of the play are amazingly talented, and it is going to be a very professional play.” To experience the drama, love and comedy of “Beauty and Beast,” come see the play, which will be performed March 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30pm and March 22 and 29 at 2:00 pm in the Auditorium. comments?

Wootton theater-lovers take weekend trip to the big apple Samantha Ritwo arts editor On Friday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 7, the drama club took a trip to New York City for a chance to experience the city, sightsee with friends, and see Broadway shows. “It’s a good way to bring the students from school and to give them experiences they wouldn’t normally have,” drama club sponsor Mr. Nick Hitchens said. “It shows them theater in the real world. It’s a good opportunity.” The trip consisted of 38 students, with a mix of performers, crew members and the simple theater lovers. Everyone already had to be a member of the club in order to participate on the trip. “It’s a club that exists for people that appreciate theatrical productions,” Hitchens said. “If you’re an actor, if you just appreciate theater, if you enjoy anything, really any aspect of theater, acting, technical work, anything – that’s what it exists for. It exists for love of theater.” The trip started early Friday morning with students meeting at the school before 7 am. After several hours on a bus, the group finally arrived in New York, where they ate at Ellen’s Stardust Diner for lunch. A traditional part of the trip, the diner provides musical entertainment, not from a sound system, but rather from the waiting staff.

“[My favorite part was] Ellen’s Stardust Diner,” freshman John Minderman said. “It was funny when all the waiters sang and [my friend] Matt Cho started singing with them.” After lunch the students could wander around for a little while before heading to, quite possibly, the most unique aspect of the trip. The students participated in a workshop with two members from 2008 Tony Award Winning musical “In the Heights,” where they learned to both sing and dance to a song from the musical, which they would be seeing later that night. “It was cool because all the students could learn it, and then later that night we went to see the production and saw exactly what we were doing on stage being done by professionals,” Hitchens said. As exciting as the workshop was, it also proved to be intense and quite a struggle for many of the students, with the song being fast paced and upbeat, unlike most musical theater. Even so, everyone seemed to greatly appreciate the experience. “My favorite part of the trip was probably the workshop we did, because that was very unique, and you never get to have that type of experience. Working with people that were in the cast was really cool,” Hitchens said. Following a dinner at Planet Hollywood, the students met up to see the actual show “In The Heights,” a highlight of the trip.

“‘In The Heights’ was possibly the best Broadway musical I’ve seen in my life,” sophomore Matt Cho said. “I’m definitely going to look at Broadway shows just a little different because of ‘In the Heights.’” “‘In the Heights’ was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen, and I’m going to remember it,” Hitchens said. After spending the night in New Jersey, the students returned to New York the next day to be divided into groups for hours of free time. Activities included visiting Toys’R’Us and riding the Ferris wheel, walking two miles to a candy store, buying $45.00 worth of candy from said store, climbing $20 million stairs in the middle of Times Square, stopping for pizza, meeting up with local friends, and clothes shopping. Everyone then met up to attend a matinee of the new musical “Shrek,” which was based on the movie. Perhaps not the

best show on Broadway, “Shrek” still had an extremely talented cast and an intricate set that moved so quickly and swiftly that it barely seemed possible. “The sets were great,” Minderman said, referring to both shows. “Everything moved so well; it was amazing.” After a wonderful yet exhausting weekend, the students hopped on the bus and drove the long way home. All in all, the consensus was that the trip was once in a lifetime and definitely worth it. “I would absolutely recommend people go on this trip, because it was amazing,” Cho said. “New York definitely exceeded my expectations of the trip.” “I can see what the big deal about New York is now,” Minderman said. “The talent on Broadway was amazing, and I was blown away by it.” comments?


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Student Service Le

...Reaching Past the Required..

By: Ilana Avergun, Commons Editor

To Montgomery County Public School Students, the number 60 holds special significance. In order to walk across the stage in a cap and gown at their high school graduation, students have to have logged at least 60 community service hours throughout the course of their high school career. Whether it is for the diploma, a college acceptance letter, or just a sense of accomplishment, Wootton students are motivated to reach past the required hours and devote their free time to participating in community service and philanthropic opportunities. 527 organizations have been preapproved in Montgomery County for students to earn their service hours from, with new submissions for approval constantly being suggested. From volunteering at churches and temples, to senior homes and little league teams, Wootton students have covered all the bases. Senior Liz Askins has logged over 1,010 community service hours, the most in the school. She has been in various performing groups that entertain at senior citizen homes, hospitals, summer camps, parties, and other public events.

For two summers, she volunteered as a CIT (Counselor in Training) at the Musical Theater Center’s summer camp, and each year she travels to Drift, Kentucky with a small group from her church to rebuild homes for people in need. Her devotion to the community is evident, and she clearly draws her motivation to partake in philanthropic work from other sources besides the 60 hours that she has been required to complete in order to graduate in May. “Since I have been doing most of these activities even before high school, when it came time to record SSL hours, I found it shocking that all these things I had just been doing for the pleasure of helping could actually be useful to me throughout high school and even for getting into college,” Askins said. “I really don’t view what I do as community service; to me it’s just fun.” Recently, the Montgomery County Public School System raised the graduation requirement of SSL hours from 60 to 75. This mandate came from the Maryland State Department of Education, as they wanted consistency across the state on the number of hours required for graduation. Every other Maryland county already required 75 completed Student Service Learning hours for graduation, so by increasing MCPS requisites, the school district was catching up with the precedent set by the rest of the Maryland School Systems. Pam Meador, coordinator of the Student Service Learning program in Montgomery County, hopes that all students feel strongly about community service, and look favorably upon working towards their service learning hour requirements. Community service can provide much more than a diploma, as the lessons learned completing hours extend far beyond a high school education. “It is my hope that our MCPS students will simply use this service-learning graduation requirement as a springboard to propel

themselves into roles as life-long learners and life-long contributors to their communities,” Meador said. “Civic engagement and political participation are extremely important in our increasingly diverse and interconnected world.” Many Wootton alumni have taken their 60 high school hours and become involved in more community service efforts upon entering college. 2008 graduate Zach Asman is presently a freshman at The Ohio State University. The fraternity that he is currently pledging, Alpha Epsilon Pi, shows a strong dedication to philanthropic efforts and community service. Asman has used what he has learned at Wootton and applied it to his experiences in college and serving the community outside of the realm of the Montgomery County Public School system. “It’s so important to help out your community and to do things like helping out and raising money for charities,” Asman said. “That’s why I’m so happy to be philanthropy chair intern in my fraternity. The root of it all is what I learned in high school.” To Askins, community service has just become a normal part of her daily life. Helping others is the driving force behind the countless hours of work she puts in, and has impacted her in tremendous and permanent ways. “I think the best part of doing so much community service is the rewarding feeling knowing you put a smile on someone’s face and just feeling good about yourself once you have helped somebody,” Askins said. “Community service has become such an important part of my life that I don’t think I could ever stop. I know I will continue doing community service throughout college and also into my adult life.” The benefits of community service are endless, and reaching past the required hours can only impact a student positively in all realms of their life. Meador has seen how much community service can help and influence a student throughout his or her high school career and beyond. “I see that involvement in meaningful, high quality service learning provides many advantages to students. SSL activities in school courses, school-sponsored clubs and pre-approved community organizations provide opportunities to develop citizenship skills, civic behavior, career awareness, workforce ethics, self esteem, resiliency, and leadership,” Meador said. Students learn how to work with others, develop pro-social behavior, and feel

empo produ O Laps will to throug in Ph homel an or featu “ fough three servic that I and d for th S a con with h about future past inspira 60 an startin learnin streng aiding

Photo Liz A Kentu Maris trip to



owered to address real community need in uctive ways.” Over winter break, freshman Allie learned a great deal about her strong o succeed, work ethic, and resiliency gh community service efforts. While hiladelphia, Laps ran three miles with less Philadelphians in partnership with rganization called Back On My Feet, ured on CNN’s Heroes. “Running through the streets of Philly, I ht through the tiredness and finished the miles strong,” Laps said. “Doing community ce makes me feel really good, and I knew I could stick it out just a little bit further do something nice for the community, and he homeless.” Student Service Learning hours are not nvention put in place to burden students hours of work, but to allow them to learn t themselves, their communities, and their es. Moving past minimums and reaching the required is an educational and ational experience. To Wootton students, nd 75 hours aren’t stopping points, but ng points. 60 and 75 are where service ng begins, and where new appreciations, gths, and developments are made in g the community and themselves.

os: Askins building a ramp with her dad in Drift, ucky (upper left) sa Braun volunteers during a community service o Alaska (above)

Thomas S. Wootton High School SSL Hours Earned 9th Grade: 48,905 hours 10th Grade: 64,761 hours 11th Grade: 78,670 hours 12th Grade: 105,044 hours Total: 297,380 hours Top Honors Seniors: Liz Askins (1,011) Alice Jiang (752) Rachel Marcus (690) Juniors: Ann Xi (731.5) Aditya Malik (678) Hena Thakur (566) Sophomores: Rachel Harrison (599) Xinyi Zhu (513) Ilan Simanin (495) Freshmen: Sam Cheng (654) Ha-Un Chung (460) Eshane Wang (398)

RE M Ma IND k act e Su ER! ap ivities re al p you rove are l SSL do d be prethe for wo e rk!

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Wootton At Work:

To Do List: COMMUNITY SERVICE! ...students with 0 hours earned... 15 seniors 11 juniors 9 sophomores 44 freshmen

Debi Segal performs with Imagination Stage’s Deaf Access Acting Troupe at a charity Gala

Senior Marisa Braun volunteers in Alaska and Senior Robert Partika paints a wall at his community service work camp

Ilana Avergun, Emily Khalid, Lindsey Binder


SPORTS A Season of Destiny? Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Winter Sports Craig, Flinchum lead way for Lady Pats Records and Schedules Boys’ Basketball: 8-14 Next Game: PLAYOFFS! Friday vs. Northwest Girls’ Basketball: 18-4 Next Game: PLAYOFFS! March 3 @ Wootton Hockey: 15-0 BACK-2-BACK STATE CHAMPS!!! Co-Ed Swim and Dive: Final Record: 2-2-1

The past few months have been memorable both on and off the court for the girls’ basketball team. This past November, senior center Chelsea Craig signed her National Letter of Intent to play Division I basketball at the University of Delaware. On Feb. 9, head coach Maggie Dyer gave birth to Emery Downs Dyer, her second child. To top it off, the Patriots clinched the 4A West division title for the third consecutive year after a win over rival Churchill. On Feb. 20, the Patriots concluded their superb regular season with a win over Sherwood on Senior Night. Craig had a great sendoff, totalling 12 points and a dominating 20 rebounds to lead the Pats. The squad finished with an 18-4 record and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. They hope to have Dyer back soon, as she’s been at home nursing her baby. “We think that we’ll be able to fare fine without her and hopefully she’ll be back in time for the playoffs,” Craig said. “I know she’s going to be rooting for us even though she’s not there.” On Feb. 17, Wootton took down Springbrook, 4734. Senior Sarah Bolmer led the way with 15 points to lead all scorers. Closing the season with two wins was big for the girls following a 58-74 defeat at the hands of powerhouse Paint Branch, which defeats opponents by an average of 47 points, on Feb. 13. The game remained close until the fourth quarter, so the Patriots showed that they could

photo by Amalie Joseph

Will Browning staff writer

Gabby Flinchum, a star of this year’s team as a mere sophomore, recorded 24 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 blocks in a big win over Northwest. Wootton starts the playoffs as a 2 seed and is a favorite to advance far.

compete with the top-tier teams in the region. In a slowpaced, low scoring game, the Patriots were able to pull out a close victory against Churchill on Feb. 10, winning by a final score of 35-33. The key play was senior Sarah Bolmer’s steal with ten seconds left that led to her knocking down two clutch free throws to ice the game. Craig totaled 20 rebounds that were very important in a defensive-oriented game, while sophomore Jessica Welch knocked down three 3pointers that helped her total 13 points. “The girls’ teamwork and drive to be successful has been rewarded, as we’ve won back-to-back division titles,” assistant coach Robert Healy

said. “That shows what kind of a program Coach Dyer has built here.” With an 18-4 overall record, the team will look to capitalize on their first round bye. In the playoffs, the team is in the 4A West #1 bracket, where they’ll have to potentially get by #1 seed Gaithersburg and #3 Northwest, if they can get there. On Feb. 6, the girls triumphed over Richard Montgomery, 56-46, in a game that seemed more like a tune-up for the main event against Churchill. The win was big for Wootton after a loss to Northwest. Flinchum nearly had a triple-double, recording 24 points, 18

rebounds, and 7 blocks, while Craig added 17 boards. Prior to the Northwest loss, the Lady Pats reeled off three straight wins, outscoring Q.O., Whitman, and Walter Johnson by a combined 54 points. The emergence of the four sophomores--Flinchum, Jessica Welch, Iris Cheng and Gillian Sissman--has been key to their impressive season. Flinchum’s improvement from five points per game last season to 13.1 this one is the best the team, and she also contributes 11 rebounds and three blocks per game. “With all the pieces we have, we can definitely go farther than we did last year (the regional semifinals),” said Flinchum.

Girls’ Track: 3rd at regionals, 7th at states Boys’ Track: 18th at counties Ekpone, Tian, Munro, Dowling, Corbett run at states Cheerleading: Second Place at UMD cheer competition

Melissa Shumacher staff writer The indoor track team finished their season strong by putting on an impressive display at regionals and placing in four

Tian (left) reaches to handoff the baton to Corbett.

Poms: DNP at counties

photo by Zo Asmail

Wrestling: 11-3 Next Match: Regionals, Friday @ Sherwood

events in the state-wide meet. The girls’ team fared extremely well at regionals, led by standout underclassmen Olivia Ekpone, Casey Dowling and Grace Corbett, all who came off successful

regular seasons. After regionals on Feb. 11, many members of the squad pushed on to states. At regionals, the girls' relay team consisting of senior Andrea Tian, Ekpone, Corbett and Dowling finished first in the 4x200. Ekpone won both the 55m dash and the 300m run, while Corbett and Dowling finished first and sixth in the 500m and 300m runs respectively. Junior Annie Munro also placed fifth in the high jump. On the boys’ side, sophomore Seth Margolis competed in the 55m dash. Juniors Jonathan Chen, Conception Cruz, and Matt Gordon competed in the long jump, triple jump, and shot-put events respectively. “It is important to practice everyday because you get out of shape and lose your momentum,” sophomore Kenny Wohl said. The Wootton track team members expected nothing less than serious competition at states. Although Churchill, Paint Branch, and B-CC are considered

the county’s front-runners in indoor track, Wootton is not far behind. With a strong showing in the regionals, Wootton pulled ahead of its rivals. At states, sophomore Olivia Ekpone placed 1st in the 300 m run and 2nd in the 55 m dash. The girls 4x200 team with, Ekpone, Corbett and Dowling placed 5th overall and ran their personal best. Corbett also finished 9th in the 500 m run. “It was really exciting running in states,” Corbett said. “I wasn’t expecting to be there so it was such a thrilling experience “This was Grace’s first year running track, and I am so proud of her. She ran really well and had a great time,” Gatewood added. Wootton defeated very stiff competition at states, including Eleanor Roosevelt High School, a track powerhouse. "I'm very proud of how the girls placed, and I'm impressed with how well we did against Roosevelt," Ekpone said.


SPORTS Common Sense - February 25, 2009

blowouts. The team struggled on both ends of the court, resulting in a pair of losses by 20 or more points. On Feb. 10 against bitter rival Churchill, the Patriots came out with their best effort of the season and avenged their 53-50 loss from earlier in the year. Defensive intensity was the mantra of the night, as the Patriots contained touted Bulldog swingman Chase Hicks en route to a 48-45 victory over the favored Bulldogs. Wootton used a complete team effort to contain Churchill's main offensive contributors. Hicks, the team's leading scorer, scored most of his 16 points in transition and was unable to find success in the half court. Senior forward Matt Canter was responsible for bottling Hicks, with assistance from swarming help defense from the entire Patriot squad. “It was a real team effort with a lot of communication on defense,” Canter said. “All it came down to was team defense. We brought the intensity and that set us apart.” In addition to defense, it was the Patriots' senior leadership that saw Wootton through a fourth quarter that came down to the closing seconds. After a technical foul against Churchill senior guard

Richard Montgomery. Rebounding was the Patriots’ achilles’ heel as the Rockets dominated the boards, grabbing five offensive rebounds on one possession. Still, the game was tied at 31 going into halftime. “Our offense was really clicking in the first half,” junior guard Freddy Vance said. “I guess their's was just clicking too.” The two squads traded baskets for most of the third quarter, as the score was tied at 44 going into the fourth. The fourth quarter was a tale of turnovers. The Rockets took a 50-48 lead with just under three minutes remaining in the game, Senior Jason Korth fights to shoot over a Bulldog defender as Potarazu battles for position. forcing Wootton to call a timeout Danny Holzman, senior center what I needed to do, and it was the and regroup. On the ensuing Nitin Potarazu missed two key free confidence from him that led to inbounds play, the Patriots threw the ball away again, leading to an throws. This gave the Bulldogs me shooting the ball well.” momentum, as they went on a After blowing a number of easy layup. The Patriots turned the quick four point spurt. double-digit leads earlier in the ball over 22 times on the night, Instead of folding as it had season, the Patriots were finally and they ended up suffering a in previous close games, Wootton able to sustain a high level of devastating 58-53 loss. “Turnovers were a huge factor exploded with a run of its own. play for a full 32 minutes against in the second half,” junior forward Senior guard Brian Hollins hit Churchill. Jack Weis said. “They really cost us two three-pointers and Potarazu “For us, it was just the same as the game wound down.” added one of his own in a run story on different days,” Potarazu The Patriots look to build off that resulted in a four point Patriot said. "Every game we'd have the the close wins against Sherwood lead. lead and end up losing. It feels and Churchill in the playoffs. They “I felt that I needed to take the awesome to be able to finally close will play Northwest at Wootton on ball in my hands and take charge,” out a game. We did the little things Feb. 27 in the first round. said Hollins, who had 19 points. right and it paid off in the end.” “[Coach] Bohlen told me to do On Feb. 6, the Patriots faced

Wrestlers prepare for regionals Lexi Pace staff writer

photo by Ira Rickman

“It takes a lot of commitment and we did very well,” O’Neill said. “I was very happy with With the end of the regular season how the guys wrestled. It was a long season so approaching and only individual tournaments I was impressed that they came back from early left, the wrestling team looks upon their 11- losses to a win streak.” The deep commitment stems from the 3 record with mixed feelings. Though this record is one of the best performances of the strong leadership by the five captains. Leading Wootton wrestling program in recent history, the team in spirit and statistics, the captains the team fell just short of their ambitious pre- constantly set a good example for the rest of the team. season goal. “With winter being the longest season, it’s For this season, the team set out to make the Regional Duels, a team competition that important to have a good core set of captains. includes the top four teams from each division. We have really good captains,” junior Nate With four divisions in the state, only 16 schools Baruch said. Seniors Jeremy compete in this Rosenthal, Eric Mears, prestigious event. The Jack Corbett, Alex Patriots came up just McSweeney and junior one match short of Mike Barbaro are meeting this goal. exemplary captains. “We came just They seek to make short [of our goal an impression on the to make Regional whole team. Duels]. If we had “We try to be beaten Magruder, we somebody that a lot of would have been in,” the younger guys can senior Sam Hollman look up to,” Barbaro said. said. Head Coach At the county Kevin O’Neill Rosenthal helped Wootton to a 11-3 mark this season. tournament on Feb. addressed the losses 20, Wootton placed 7th out of 25 schools. The with a similar disappointment. “Magruder and Springbrook were Patriots’ top performer was Mike Barbaro, who winnable matches that we lost. We fell short of placed 2nd in his weight class. An impressive 11 one of our main goals—we missed by only one Patriots qualified for the regional tournament, which is this Friday at Sherwood. match,” O’Neill said. Most of the graduating seniors are among The Patriots lost the Springbrook match, on Dec. 20, by a final score of 38-30, but the the team’s heaviest wrestlers, such as Kevin match was much closer than the final score. Mrohs (see Pg. 14), Corbett and Hollman. Against Magruder on Jan. 17, the Patriots However, the lighter weight wrestlers will lost 47-25, but again, the final score did stay mostly intact, minus only Rosenthal and not represent the relative ability of the two Mears. “This was much better than a typical teams. Throughout the season, Wootton and Wootton wrestling season. We are happier with Magruder had very similar results. The team suffered only three losses this our record,” O’Neill said. “It shows the younger kids that we can year, two of which occurred in the first two weeks of the season. The team showed deep come out next season with something to work dedication to end the season on such a high for,” Baruch said. note.

1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. N’goumou’s imposing physicality and big play ability as well as his first team all-Gazette and second team all-state accolades have Hawkeye Nation anxious to suit him up in the black and gold. Blogs such as reveal the buzz generated by N’goumou’s signing. As one poster put it, “I’m thinking of an Anquan Boldin type WR.” “Thenebraskahawkeye” added, “Man, he takes a hit like a running back! Just keeps going and going...very impressive.” Emerging late onto the recruiting scene, N’goumou is only a two-star recruit on the five-star scale from N’goumou will take his game to Iowa next season. However, “Herky Hawk” on shares the sentiments of most Hawkeye fans in saying, “Wow- that guys is a two star? I’ll take all the two stars with his ability…” Stephane’s hard work and welldeserved publicity has the Wootton football program prominent once again. “Stephane being recruited to a big D1 school offers a sense of legitimacy to our program, and for incoming players,” head Jared Wasserman coach Greg Malling said. staff writer N’goumou’s arrival into Iowa’s The most highly-touted Wootton prestigious football program caught the recruit in recent memory, senior wide eye of other national powers. receiver Stephane N’goumou, signed his “After I signed, Maryland, Michigan, letter of intent to attend the University of and Michigan State all called trying to Iowa on Feb. 4, National Signing Day. get me to decommit,” N’goumou said. According to ESPNU, Iowa is “[Syracuse] and Western Michigan were ranked 16th in the preseason polls for upset to see me go, [because] they know the upcoming season. The prospect of I’m going to be doing big things this playing right away for a potential top-25 year.” Big Ten school, along with the amenities Despite the few cynics who say he offered by the school, were too much for will be overmatched in a conference rich N’goumou to pass up. with tradition, N’goumou remains certain “They want me to come in and play he can make an impact. as a true freshman,” N’goumou said. “I’m going to be successful [because] “The coaches were great, the campus was of work ethic and my confidence,” amazing, the city is nice and the people N’goumou said. “I feel like I’m prepared are amazing.” and good enough.” With a 6’4”, 200-pound frame, Stephane compiled 71 receptions for Staff writer Alex Kelly contributed to this

photo by Amalie Joseph

Jeff Zifrony & Mike Weiner sports editor & staff writer Weighed down by heavy expectations, Christopher Bohlen’s basketball squad hasn’t exactly performed up to their billing. The Patriots dropped two of their last three to close out the regular season with a 8-14 record and rank last in their division. The poor regular season could be forgotten in a matter of days if the team can pull off a few big upsets in playoff competition. The loss of key starters from last year’s team has particularly plagued Wootton at the end of games. The Patriots have made costly mistakes at the worst times, losing nine games by less than 10 points or in overtime. To finish the regular season, however, Wootton might have begun to reverse this trend. The Patriots defeated Sherwood 60-55 to win their last game on Friday, led by senior captain Nitin Potarazu, who posted a double-double (24 points and 13 rebounds). The team played stingy defense in the crucial final few minutes to preserve the win. In the two previous contests againsts powerhouses Paint Branch and Springbrook, the Patriots were outscored 134-92 in back-to-back

photo by Matt Paris

Surprise win over rival spurs hope for playoff success

N’goumou ready to put his stamp on Big Ten football



Common Sense - February 25, 2009


Senior varsity wrestler Kevin Mrohs has been one of the biggest surprises for the team this year, posting a 10-3 overall record. Mrohs came into the season unsure of his role on the team. A two-sport athlete for football and wrestling, Mrohs uses his size, 6’ 2”, 220 pounds, to his advantage. He started on an offensive line that was a major key to success for this year’s football team and is the wrestling team’s starting wrestler in the heavyweight division. Throughout his high school career, Mrohs has been a successful athlete because of his work ethic. “Ever since Kevin came to Wootton, he has always been one of the hardest working Wootton football players,” varsity football Head Coach Mr. Greg Malling said. “He was in the weight room all the time.” “During his freshman and sophomore year Kevin would stay after practice almost every day to spend some extra time wrestling with me,” varsity wrestling head coach Mr. O’Neill said. “He took his lumps but I was also able to work with him and show him some stuff that we didn’t have time to cover in practice. I think the extra time he put in is paying off this season.”

photo by Ira Rickman

After the football season ended this year, Mrohs still felt like he had to participate in another contact sport. “I’ve always liked being in a contact sport where I can hit people for fun, and since I had wrestled before I figured I might as well try that again,” Mrohs said. The wrestling team couldn’t have been happier getting Mrohs back this year. He has been one of their best wrestlers and has won two tournaments for his weight class, the Tuscarora Invitational and the Damascus Holiday Tournament, one of the toughest tournaments in the area made up of teams from the metro area. Mrohs has surprised even himself with his success this season. “I thought I would be getting destroyed, but in matches I wrestle very aggressively and it must be working since I’ve won most of my matches.” O’Neill is also surprised with how well Mrohs has been doing. “I figured after taking a year off, he was in for a rough season. I knew he had some skill from his past seasons on the team but he has surprised a lot of people in the wrestling community going from a relative unknown to a state ranked wrestler.” Teammate senior Sam Hollman thinks that Mrohs’ success in the heavyweight class this year has a lot to do with his body size. “Kevin is such a good heavyweight because most wrestlers in that class weight around 275, while Kevin weighs about 220,” Hollman said. “Since he is lighter it makes him a lot quicker and gives him better endurance Mrohs has enjoyed a successful comeback to wrestling throughout this year. than the other heavyweight Mrohs has had great success this year wrestlers.” as a wrestler with a record of 21-7, while Mrohs looks to continue his athletic ranking fifth and fifteenth in his weight class career in college. He is currently looking to for Montgomery County and the entire state play college football at either Christopher of Maryland respectively. Newport or Catholic University. The surprise has been stunning given that Mrohs quit the team junior year to focus -Gordie Gold on lifting for football.



Last year, sophomore Jessica Welch didn’t have any doubts that she would make the junior varsity basketball team. Coach Maggie Dyer thought she was good enough for varsity as a freshman. Despite the suprising bump-up to varsity, Welch transitioned smoothly and has grown into one of the smartest, most poised members of the team. Since her call-up she has been putting up exceptional numbers and is one of the main reasons the team has won their third 4A West division title in a row. “It felt pretty amazing to make the team last year as a freshman,” Welch said. “I was really happy to be able to play with the girls I played with, and it felt great knowing that I was contributing as a freshman as well.” Last year, Welch saw time on the court in every game of the season. She was the third-leading scorer on the team, averaging 5.6 points per game. Welch’s most impressive statistic was her team-leading 35% shooting from beyond the arc. This season, Welch’s role in the offense has expanded. She is second on the team in points and assists. Welch is a major factor on both ends of the court; she leads the team with 31 steals this season. “Jessica is a crucial player on our team,” senior teammate Chelsea Craig said. “She controls the game as a point guard, and her threes help swing momentum and give little sparks of energy to the team.” This year, she has played a key part in many of the team’s wins this season. On Jan. 31, she contributed 18 points in a 60-51 victory over Quince Orchard. In the game against Churchill, her 13 points made the difference in a close 35-33 win. “One of the team goals we had for this season was to win the division again,” Welch said. “But we also hope to go to and win states.” Now that they have captured the division they can focus their attention on the playoffs. The girls’ team frequently appeared in Washington Post’s Top 20 rankings at the beginning of the season,

and they are still looking strong with a 18-4 record. Welch’s individual goals this season were to improve her shooting and ball handling skills, two areas where she has shown promise this year. Welch is shooting 62% from the free throw line this season and she has already surpassed her point total from last year. “Jessica is a great player with a lot of skill,” sophomore teammate Gabby Flinchum said. “She is also very supportive

photo by Ira Rickman

Player Profiles


Welch is among Wootton’s top passers and scorers.

of her teammates. She is just an all-around good person.” While Welch has had great success on the court, her teammates rave about her as a wonderful teammate. “Jess never has anything bad to say about anyone and is the ideal teammate,” Craig said. “She is always there to pick everyone up and she never lets the crowd or anything in the game get to her; she always stays positive and just keeps playing.”

-Steven Fitzwilliam

Cohen’s hat trick key in second straight title

from HOCKEY, page 1

photo courtesy Steve Zegowitz

After Churchill tied the game one more time, Wootton took the lead once and for choice to skate around someone or skate all. With less than three minutes to go, Hall over them; he'll skate over them on his tallied the game winning goal, knocking in the way to the net."The Patriots advanced to rebound after a shot from Skarupa. the state semifinal with a 4-2 win over The 3-2 win was the first competitive Whitman, despite being heavily out-shot. league game in weeks for the Patriots, who Senior goaltender Chris Hogan bailed out went 12-0 in the regular season against a sluggish offense, making 25 saves. Montgomery County competition. In those 12 "[Hogan] has gotten a lot better the games, Wootton outscored the competition an past two years," Skarupa said. "He's a real incredible 96-10. In five games the mercy rule leader on this team. He can really stand in was used. net and wi n us games." On Feb. 4, the hockey team suffered Despite not taking many shots, their only loss of the season—and their first Wootton's top line still could not be held defeat in two years—against Howard County off the scoreboard. Skarupa and Cohen champion Glenelg in a non-league game. each scored goals, but they were canceled The 8-5 defeat came with an asterisk, Skarupa breaks through the defense and dekes past the goalie in the championship game against Linout by two Whitman goals. ganore. The senior captain scored nine points in four playoff games, and had two game-winning assists. however, as the squad played without Bretner, With the score tied at 2-2 late in the Hogan, and junior defenseman Jonah Guiton. the scoring with an assist from Skarupa. third period, Cohen notched another goal, A much anticipated rematch never materialized, however, as After a Churchill goal to tie it up, Wootton regained the this time on the power-play. Bretner fired a shot from the Glenelg lost to Linganore in the other state semifinal, 7-5. point, and Cohen was able to deftly deflect the puck into the lead with a crucial short-handed goal by junior Neofytos Now, the squad's six seniors will go off to college with back of the net. Senior Andrew Stein added an empty net Panagos. Hall's shot caromed off a Churchill defender right two consecutive championships to show for their hard to Panagos' stick, and he knew how to put it away. goal to seal the win. work. "Lucky for us, it went off a defenseman once [P.J] shot The playoff run began with a county semifinal on Feb. “[Winning another title] feels spectacular," Hogan said. 9 against arch-rival Churchill. The game started slowly, with it, and it came right to me, and I was able to put it in," “I never would have guessed this could happen. This is the no scoring in the first period. In the second, Cohen opened Panagos said. greatest feeling—I love it!"



Common Sense - February 25, 2009

What’s Wrong With Sports? Part Four: Not exaCTLy rolE models

Sameer Malla copy editor

Players are often viewed as role models, but their shenanigans off the court can have a bad influence on their fans, specially young student-athletes. Professor William Morgan, a teacher in the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, educates students on the field of sports ethics. “In general, the tendency of a young high school athlete is to emulate star athletes,” he said. “Some [star athletes] are not good role models, and professional athletes have an obligation to be role models.” Senior lacrosse goalie Yanni Rindler feels the same way. “I don’t feel it necessary to emulate Cal Ripken Jr., but I feel like I must remain responsible and level-headed at all times,” he said. “Since, as an athlete, my actions are studied and focused on, it is pertinent I show good qualities.” “I am not a role model” Take Charles Barkley, the NBA Hallof-Famer and current Turner Network Television (TNT) NBA color commentator. At 1:30 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, Barkley was arrested for driving under the influence

of alcohol while returning from a party in Arizona. As a result, he was suspended from his job for a month. He returned last Thursday. Ironically, Barkley himself made the case in the early 1990s that athletes should not be considered role models. Starring in a Nike commercial 15 years ago, he bluntly told viewers, “I am not a role model….parents should be role models.” Swimming captain and senior Chris Emr, whose role model is Olympic gold medalist Aaron Peirsol, strongly disagrees. “Professional athletes are made rolemodels by the kids who look up to them,” Emr said. “But they’re definitely not always the best role-models.” In our society, athletes are often worshipped by their young fans. When those players behave badly, fans are crushed. On Jan. 6 this year, San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) just days before a divisional playoff game. The San Diego Union Tribune online forum lit up with fan comments. “Pretty disappointing,” wrote a Chargers fan. “What’s wrong with these guys? Your living is made on your strength and stamina and you’re out getting drunk before the most important ball game of your career?” “Professional players do have an obligation to behave responsibly off-thecourt,” Professor Morgan said. “I do not think athletes are special, but their behavior is important because of how many people look up to them as role models.” Celebrity culture and athletes run amok The big money and commercial endorsements players can quickly achieve with fame feed the bloated egos that often plague these high-powered athletes. After his record-breaking eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps rang up endorsements from various companies, including AT&T, Visa, Speedo and Kellogg’s. Then, on the Jan. 31 cover of Britain’s News of the World magazine, there was a cover picture featuring Phelps smoking marijuana at the University of South Carolina last November. His error cost him both money and competitions. His sponsorship with Kellogg’s – the leading

Coach’s Corner:

Hockey Coach Dave Evans with Zach Stone

What is your coaching philosophy/strategy? What it boils down to is teaching the players to make good decisions. There’s just so much happening on the ice; players can’t be prepared for every situation. The coaching staff has to trust the kids to do the little things, and to take what’s there. We don’t want the kids to try to be heroic on every shift. How would you describe your coaching personality? I’d like to think that I’m a players’ coach. I try to be as approachable as possible. I’m definitely not a hard-line kind of guy. I tend to be very laid-back. It’s important to me that the guys are having a good time. What kind of things do you do to prepare for games? We practice a couple times per week. Mostly it’s just building piece-by-piece. We focus on getting guys into the right habits, making good decisions all the time. Before the [championship,] we did have a meeting, where we talked about how we wanted to approach [Linganore star player Ethan] Klouka and we made sure everyone was on the same page, and mentally prepared. What was it like having two girls on the team this year? It’s funny. In 15 seasons, we’ve had at least one girl in probably around 12 of them. As long as they work hard, they’re just

regular players to me. Obviously having two as good as Amy [Lipton] and Haley [Skarupa] are is a thrill. They go out there and they contribute. They are both good, smart, dedicated players. It was great to have Amy win a championship after missing last year’s run since she was so busy, and Haley won a championship with her brother on the team. What were your expectations coming into this season? I thought we should be very competitive. We lost a lot of guys who played a lot of minutes. For example, we lost every goal-scorer from the championship game Evans (R), has led Wootton to back-to-back last year. But at the same hockey titles, all in relative anonymity. time, I saw that we still had Jon [Cohen] and Dylan [Skarupa]. [Chris] Hogan was coming back; [Josh] Bretner was coming back. So I was still pretty happy with the roster at the beginning of this season. We just had to understand that we had the target on our back. Every game, our opponents wanted to beat us a little bit since we were the defending champs. I think that actually photo courtesy Steve Zegowitz

A Hall-of-Fame basketball player is arrested for driving under the influence. A diva NFL wide receiver shoots himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun. A professional golfer tees off a beer can during a match. All-Star-caliber professional athletes hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons on a consistent basis.

children’s cereal producer – was dropped, and he was suspended for three months from competition by USA swimming. Oftentimes, though, athletes get off with barely a scratch. Kellogg’s was the only sponsor to drop Phelps. “One thing that worries me is that athletes are pampered, and aspiring athletes [copy them],” Morgan said. “The [professional athletes] get special treatment, and [young student-athletes] are in a different standard in how celebrated athletes are treated.” Some athletes seem to keep getting into trouble, tarnishing the good name they may have acquired on the sports field and earning a bad-boy reputation that dogs them throughout their career. Consider ex-Indiana Pacer Ron Artest. He will surely never live down his role in the infamous ‘basketbrawl’ incident that erupted Nov. 19, 2004 in a game against the Detroit Pistons where he leapt into the stands to attack a defenseless fan. The brawl cast a black eye on the NBA, one that took years of public relations damage control and may even still be hurting the NBA’s public perception. Or consider the more recent case of New York Giants wide-receiver Plaxico Burress. On Nov. 28, he went to a New York City nightclub with his teammate and co-defensive captain, middle linebacker Antonio Pierce. At some point, Burress accidentally shot himself in the right thigh with an unlicensed gun that was buried in his right pocket of his sweatpants. The next day, he was charged with criminal possession of a handgun. This incident was the latest in a number of controversies involving Burress. He was suspended for the Oct. 5 game against the Seattle Seahawks for a violation of team rules. On Oct. 24, Burress was fined for accumulating for inappropriate postgame comments regarding officiating, unsportsmanlike conduct towards a head linesman and for simply throwing the ball into the stands. The fines totaled around $45,000, and have diminished Burress’ fairly-recent perception as a megastar that he earned following his Super-Bowl-winning touchdown catch a year ago. “I feel that it was ridiculously stupid and immature to carry around a loaded gun, and he was lucky no one was seriously injured,” Rindler said. “Just because he is a star athlete shouldn’t allow him to not face the consequences of his actions, so not rejoining the team was not harsh enough.” “In the Spotlight” Once charged with a misdemeanor or felony, some athletes pay the price immediately. Barkley was stripped of his

job as sports commentator on TNT a few days after his DUI incident, and was out for many weeks. Golfer John Daly was recently suspended for six months by the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) for a number of altercations this past year. Daly is known to fans as a golfer who has a non-country club appearance and attitude, as well as a roughand-tumble personal life, including various

incidents of being under the influence of alcohol. During the Buick Open Pro-Am in Grand Blanc, Michigan on June 26, Daly hit a golf ball off of a beer can that belonged to Detroit singer Kid Rock. On Oct. 27, he was intoxicated outside a Hooters restaurant and was sent to jail, which led to a photo posted on the internet of him in an orange jail suit with his eyes half-open. After a rain delay in the PODS Championship, Daly used the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach John Gruden as his caddie for the final seven holes of the round – losing swing coach Butch Harmon in the process. For those incidents and a growing suspicion of alcoholism, he was suspended for six months and lost most of his endorsements, such as Focus Golf Systems, which had signed a 15-year agreement in 2006 to sell his golf clubs and apparel in Wal-Mart stores. “Professional athletes are role models to many youth who look up to them and strive to be as athletically dominant,” Rindler said. “Unfortunately, I think most athletes are unfit for this role due to on and off the field antics, as well as showing characteristics that should not be taught to children (i.e. disrespect, cursing, violence ...etc.).” “Yes, [professional players have an obligation to behave responsibly off-thecourt],” senior basketball star Chelsea Craig added. “They are in the spotlight and it’s a part of [their] job, it’s one of the roles they take on when they become superstars.”

helped us though. We were probably played tougher by Churchill and Whitman than Easton and Linganore because they were familiar with us. That helped us turn it on the last two games, which is when we really had to. Who would you say it this year’s team MVP? I really can’t choose just one guy. Jon probably scored most of the big goals, but how many of those were assisted by Dylan? There were games where Hogan was huge. In the semifinal, P.J [Hall] was out of this world. Everybody stepped up at one point or another. We were in a fortunate situation where we didn’t have to rely on just one guy. What is your outlook for next year’s team? The biggest question mark going into next season is whether or not we will have enough offense. Obviously, losing great possession players like Jon and Dylan is tough to replace. It’s going to be up to guys like Steven [Rubin] and P.J and Neofytos [Panagos] and to step it up. Alex Greenfest and Sam Weintraub too. We’re going to be competitive; we’re still going to win a lot of games. I’m just not sure we’re going to have that dynamic scoring ability that can stick it to another team. Our style might have to change a little bit; we might not be able to play that transition game as well as we have been. We’ve got two real good goalies coming back though, so we’ll be fine in net. Bretner, [Jonah] Guiton, [Ryan] Streger, [and Carl] Sperling is a solid defensive core.



photo by Vivian Chen

The swim and dive team finshed thirteenth at Metros and sixth at the County Championships this season.

Senior swimmers and divers propel team into 13th at METROS Rachel Marcus copy editor The swim and dive team, led by 21 seniors, placed 13th in this past weekend’s Metros. The girls did not finish in the top 15, but the boys finished tenth. 23 Wootton swimmers and divers qualified at the meet, the most ever for Wootton. “It is one of our best performances of the year,” senior swim captain Maddie Casey said. This season has been up and down for the Patriots, as they have had to rely upon their senior-laden team. However, the team managed to have a

respectable showing in the Division One Championships and Counties before their solid performance at Metros. Wootton finished sixth as a team at the County Championships on Feb. 14. The boys had a strong showing, finishing fourth, while the girls finished tenth. Freshman Kenneth Ke had an impressive performance in the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke. Senior Chris Emr also paced the boys with strong performances in the 200-meter and 500-meter freestyle. Sophomore Jordan Lesser finished fifth in diving. In the Division One Championships,

Wootton placed fourth. Freshman Kenneth Ke had his personal-best swim in the 100-meter backstroke, as did sophomore swimmer Thomas Finn. Another freshman, Michael Fu, had a personal-best swim in the 200 IM and the 100-meter breast. Junior Raymond Zhou had his top swim in the 500-meter free and the 100-meter breast stroke. “Everybody gave it their all,” Casey said. “We had some really good races.” Although the team did not finish in the top three in the Division One championships, the showing was still respectable. “The important result is that Wootton will stay in Division One,” Blume said. “I am pleased with the results for the most part.” The two recent results came after two disappointments; a loss and a tie. Following a 111-60 loss to a perennially high-ranked Walter Johnson team on Jan. 17, the Patriots tied Whitman. However, in Wootton’s next meet on Jan. 31, the team was able to bounce back, beating Gaithersburg 122.5-48.5. Even though Gaithersburg is in a lower division, the win would be considered dominating against anyone. “The [Gaithersburg] win was a good confidence booster,” Casey said. “The senior captains will be a big loss [at season’s end],” Blume said. The team still has a solid core of underclassmen returning, however. “The freshmen boys [along with freshman Liz Dickerson have] done excellent jobs this year,” Blume said. “Sophomores Finn and Emily Bolek [have also been] productive.”

Coaching shake-up rattles poms before competition Neal Lerner staff writer

Wootton’s poms’ squad had an intense month, competing first in the Northwest Jaguar Invitiational on Feb. 7, followed by the County Competition at Richard Montgomery on Feb. 14. At Northwest, the poms placed third behind Blake and Damascus at their second “pompetition” of the year. The girls lost 10 points because of a few dropped pom-pons, which disappointed the squad. Three of the four judges gave team eights and nines, while the fourth judge gave them sixes across the board. “After we got our scores back it was clear to us that something wasn’t right,” freshman Alex O’Daniel said. “The dance looked really good. It was just one or two mishaps that put us behind,” senior captain Alex Miller said. This season hasn’t been easy for the poms. Coaches Lea Archer and Jessica Simon resigned on Jan. 13 and were replaced by Ashleigh Hunt, who coached the squad in 2006, and social studies teacher Andrea Pezeshkian. According to Athletic Director Christopher Thompson, Archer’s resignation was caused by several factors. After having coached and danced for 17 years, she now teaches classes at a dance studio, which caused her to miss some practices. Archer is also a mother with another child on the way. “Really she was too stressed and couldn’t fulfill her time as the coach,” Thompson said. Some anonymous parents also made complaints about Archer, which she claims were largely unfounded. Archer said that time constraints were in fact not a factor for her, and instead cited the repeated complaints and escalating conflicts between her and certain poms as the reasons for her departure. After receiving a particularly serious complaint,

Archer abruptly announced to the girls that she no longer wanted to coach. “Something happened at a practice and [Archer] kicked everyone out and was ready to quit,” Thompson said. Although Archer later changed her mind and decided she wanted to continue as coach, communication between Archer and the team had virtually halted and plans had been put into place to find her replacement. Pom captains claim that after Archer’s original resignation, they simply needed to proceed with their season, and that they did not ask her to step down. “You can’t compete without a coach, so we weren’t just going to wait until she came back,” said a pom captain who asked to remain anonymous. “She stepped down, and then we moved on.” Archer, however, claims that she had “every intention of fulfilling [her] obligation as coach” and that she was “simply pushed out by a select few of the senior girls.” Archer also said that she continues to offer her support and assistance to the team. Thompson acknowledged that the actual details behind Archer’s departure remain unclear for many involved. “Due to the loss of communication, there are rumors and misrepresentations of the story on both sides,” he said. The sudden change of coaches left Wootton’s team in a problematic situation. While most high schools start learning their competition dances at the beginning of the school year, Wootton re-started the whole process in January. “When Lea left it made us want to do that much more to get better and prove that we can do this [even] with such little time,” senior Liz Askins said. Also, because of some injuries less than a week before the pompetition, the squad had to redo their formation. Sophomore Marissa Schreiber was

unable to perform due to a groin injury, and Askins and O’Daniel both had knee problems. Junior Jillian Greenbaum was bothered by a hip injury suffered a few weeks ago. Askins, O’Daniel, and Greenbaum have still competed through their injuries. “Having so many injuries can be frustrating, since no one wants to feel like they’re letting the squad down,” Askins said. Many poms, including senior captains Miller, Becca Leighty, and Liza Moskowitz, are disappointed with the outcome of the pompetition at Northwest. However, Wootton did win the “spirit” award due to their fans’ sportsmanship and excitement for the sport. “I think we have the prettiest poms in the whole wide world,” senior poms fan Andrew Yi said. Wootton hoped to carry this loving enthusiasm with them to counties on Valentine’s Day. Despite there being no slips or mess-ups by Wootton, the competition was too intense this year and got the better of the Patriots who were unable to place among the top three. “Counties this year was probably the hardest it has ever been,” Leighty said. “Every team including us prepared so much for this competition, and everyone came up with new and creative routines.” “Through our adversity we were still able to do better than teams with consistent coaches, which shows how much effort was put in by our squad,” Askins said. “Our girls this year stood up to the challenge.” Counties were Wootton’s last pom competition for this season. Aside from Counties and the Northwest Invitational, the poms also placed second in the Seneca Valley Eaglettes Invitational on Jan. 17. The poms returning for the 2009-2010 season are already gearing up for tryouts, which are at the end of April.

photo courtesy of Savannah Yokley

Common Sense - February 25, 2009

The cheerleading team placed second in their competition.

Cheerleading takes second at All-Star Championship Neal Lerner staff writer

The University of Maryland’s Comcast Center hosted the High School and All-Star Cheerleading Championship on Feb. 7, where the Wootton cheerleaders placed second among five teams. The Patriots missed first place by a mere two points, getting edged out by Wise High School from Upper Marlboro, Md. “I thought it was a great end result. I didn’t know what the other teams would look like, and I knew we didn’t have the most difficult routine, but it was performed to perfection,” head coach Kristen Daugherity said. “The program is growing, and this competition was a tremendous accomplishment.” Daugherity, with help from the captains, choreographed the routines. Meanwhile, junior captain Savannah Yokley compiled the music for the routine. “We call her DJ Savannah,” junior captain Lissy Warrick said. Opening with the song “Morris Brown” by Outkast, the cheerleaders were the only high school team with pom-pons and started with their signature “W-H-S” cheer. Senior Vanessa Dickerson tumbled all around the floor with flawless layouts. Dickerson is considering attending Purdue University or the University of Arizona for cheerleading. “As excited as I am to cheer in college, I am very sad to leave this team especially after the progress we have made,” Dickerson said. Daugherity believes that Dickerson will be very successful cheering in college. Daugherity herself cheered for the University of Maryland before moving on to cheer for the Baltimore Ravens for three years, making captain for both teams. Daugherity’s experience and expertise has helped her improve the squad very quickly. One major change was the elimination of junior varsity cheerleading. Daugherity wanted to have 28 varsity cheerleaders to gear the team up for a tougher division. The large team was ready for all obstacles in their way--including injuries. Senior Lindsey Binder sprained her elbow while tumbling three days before the competition, but she remarkably still competed, arm in sling. Her dedication helped motivate the squad. The Patriots performed a double star pyramid as well as several other formations without any slips or falls, while a number of other squads took tumbles as a result of the pressure. “I’m extremely proud of the team,” junior captain Amanda Benjamin said. “We had an amazing performance and everyone worked hard together.” The crowd was filled mostly with parents due to both the venue’s distance as well as the expensive ticket prices, but the atmosphere was far from calm. The trophies seemed to overshadow the competition floor, and nerves were flying as high as the flyers themselves, causing several teams to slip up. Wootton’s cheerleaders did not let the nerves get to them though; no one fell or stumbled throughout the entire routine.



Common Sense - february 25, 2009

Spotlight On. . . Aaron Gage Amalie Joseph & Melissa Frohman staff writers

During lunch every day, a student gifted with a spectacular voice and a passion for the arts can be found serenading his fellow classmates in the chambers classroom. This student is musical aficionado Aaron Gage. Gage will star as the Beast in the Spring musical “Beauty and the Beast.” “This is my second lead role, and it is one of my dream roles because I relate very closely to the character,” Gage said. Gage has also participated in previous Wootton productions, such as his role as

He... Vegan ...spends more time composing music than he does performing ...does not cut his nails on his right hand to help him play guitar ... has “the ability to see into the present”

5:30 pm, and must also partake in dress rehearsals. Additionaly, time is spent outside of school independently learning music and memorizing lines. “He acts his part as if he really was the beast, and that shows on stage,” senior Bryan Pike said. Gage began acting after he watched his older brother, Brandon Gage, participate in productions at Wootton. His admiration of his older brother and his fascination with the theater drove him to begin his acting career. Gage’s love of music has led him to seek musical fulfillment outside the drama department. He teaches the value of music to young students at Bach2Rock in Washingtonian Center. He trains and encourages eager students in guitar, bass, drums, vocals and piano. Although he seems to spend most of him time performing and practicing every day, he dedicates a large portion of his time to composing music. Several of his musical compositions have been performed by Wootton’s C h a m b e r Orchestra in their concer ts. These pieces include Insomnia, Midnight Storms, Bliss and Pirates. “He is a very well rounded musician and my expectation is that he will live up to

a standard that all the leads beofre him have set,” choral director and “Beast” director Ms. Carla Ingram said. “He is a very musically focused individual and is destined to go on in a career in music and do well.” Gage was recently accepted to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, the second best school for performing arts in the country. Although Gage looks to continue to fuirther educate himself in the field of music, he has already gained a position as a professional musician. Gage currently writes music for national commericals and is currently doing the music for a documentary on the history of ranching in Florida. For now, though, Gage’s concentration lies in the successful production of Beauty and the Beast. Check out Gage on the stage as the Beast on March 20-22, and 27-29.

Gage practices the piano at lunch.

photo by Azzah Ahmed

...was accepted into Berklee School of Music

“Doody” in this year’s fall musical Grease. “I was a co-star in Grease but this is my first main character role which is really exciting because it’s one of my dream goals,” Gage said. Not only does Gage act, but he can also sing. Gage has been a part of the ensemble for many shows, including “On the Town,” “My Favorite Year” and “Children of Eden.” “I have known Aaron for four years,” senior Mattia D’Affuso said. “Since freshman year Aaron has grown so much as a performer.” His perpetual passion for singing and acting has helped him attain this amazing role as the lead in a major production. Gage’s love for theater is fueled by his skill and natural knack for singing. However, professional composing, one of Gage’s hobbies began only two years ago. “I had an epiphany that made me start while watching Edward Scissorhands and listening to the music in that,” Gage said. “Now that’s all I do when I watch movies; I listen to the scores and try to absorb them.” “He’s an outstanding singer and his amazing musicality really helps when performing,” D’Affuso said. Along with acting and singing, he is proficient at playing piano, guitar, drums, and bass. His repertoire of musical expertise ranges, but his main focus is on rock music. “With a role like the Beast, which he really wanted to play, he is very dedicated, and it shows during practice,” D’Affuso said. The committment necessary to be a part of a Wootton musical is enormous. The performers start practice every day after school until

Danielle Rotbert staff writer High school seniors all over the country have stressed over which colleges to apply to, and whether or not they would actually be accepted. Students generally worry about which schools are right for them, what their parents think, and what career path they wish to follow. The stresses of college applications did not pass by seniors at Wootton. Career center coordinator Ms. Lynda Hitchcock helps many seniors find, apply, and ultimately, get accepted into colleges. In the fall, Hitchcock says that her job mainly consists of guiding students in the right direction. “I read essays, meet with students, and make lists of schools,” Hitchcock said. However, in the more recent months, Hitchcock has focused her time on helping students handle their highly anticipated acceptances and rejections. “You can’t compare yourself [to other students]. This is not something where you could say ‘Well he got in, so I’ll get in.’ Kids apply to schools that they don’t think are reaches, and they are. Students get severely disappointed,” said Hitchcock. “If you get denied, it’s a letdown, but it’s normal to get disappointed.” Senior Sarah Bolmer was admitted to Stanford University on early action. Applying to a school on early action, unlike early decision, is not binding. Although Bolmer received the news she wanted, her college application process was far from a walk in the park. “I think the most stressful part was opening the email to see if I got in. I think the stress level also rose the longer I put off my applications. In the beginning, applying seemed so daunting which really freaked me out,” said Bolmer. Senior Liza Moskowitz has not decided where she wants to attend school next fall; however she also had a hard time in her college application process. “My advice for next year’s seniors would be to do your

applications over the summer or as fast as you can. The application process was one of the hardest things, and made first semester so much worse,” Moskowitz said. Seniors Skylar Olson and Amy Lipton agree with Moskowitz in that students should get a head start on the decision-making process. “If I could do something different the second time around, I would definitely get started on my college search a lot earlier than I actually did,” Olson said. “I would advise next year’s seniors to start applications at the end of summer. It makes the start of senior year ten times less stressful,” Lipton said. Senior Kyle Cross applied and was admitted on early decision to Vanderbilt University. Early decision applications are even more binding than early action applications, meaning if you get accepted, you must attend that school in the fall. Cross did not apply to any other schools but was accepted into his dream school. Unlike Bolmer, Cross’s college application process was not that difficult for him. “It was not that stressful. I had a good feeling that I would get in,” Cross said. Senior Luke Tedesco also applied early decision, but had his eyes set on Brown University. He withdrew the rest of his applications after hearing from Brown. Regarding his stress level, Tedesco reports being less tense than most of his friends. “Hearing back from Brown was of course exciting; it was the only thing I could talk about for a week, and probably the most stressful part for me,” Tedesco said. “My one piece of advice to students working on the process now is not to apply to a school merely based on its statistics or its national ranking,” Cross said. “Visit different universities to get a feel for where you can truly see yourself living for the next four years of your life. Then make an honest decision as to what’s best for you.” Senior Liz Askins says that visiting the colleges she was

photo by Jared Nelson

Difficult college application process pays off

Cross is excited to attend his first choice, Vanderbilt University.

considering was a major help to her in the college decisionmaking process. “I encourage any student to contact former Wootton graduates at schools and even if you don’t stay with them, it’s good to just have someone to go to if you have questions,” Askins said. From a counselor’s point of view, Hitchcock admits to being “pleased” with the good news and acceptances received by many seniors. “I have been very happy, thrilled beyond belief,” Hitchcock said of the acceptance letters seniors have recently received. The college decision process is definitely not easy; it takes hard work and determination to reach any level of success. These students represent just a view out of many Wootton students who have been accepted into college.


18 Common Sense - Februrary 25, 2009

Mike Mooney is Mr. Wootton, Alex Garretson is Jr. Melissa Marcus & Azzah Ahmed features editors

Hilarity was the theme of the night at Mr. Wootton 2009. Singing and dancing are just minor components when it comes to making a fool of oneself. With 24 ‘secret agents,’ or male members of the Wootton student body competing in a medley of events, senior Mike Mooney took the crown, and junior Alex Garretson was crowned Mr. Wootton Junior. With 11 Mr. Wootton Junior contestants consisting of underclassmen, and 13 Senior Mr. Wootton contestants, the competition for the title and the strong desire to win was easily seen on the stage as each male attempted to edge out their competitors with comical theatrical routines. The contestants were judged by photography teacher Ms. Stephanie Daisley, English teacher Mrs. Madeleine Osgood, and English teacher Mr. Alex Barron. “Mr. Wootton was a fun way to bring in the Valentine’s Day season; it showed that Wootton really appreciates the dancing skills of strapping young males,” senior planning president Elijah Martin said. To start the night off, a video was displayed to the audience in which the contestants were to answer seemingly basic questions, only to be provoked by the senior planners who would say “Can you give a better answer?” Nonetheless, the humor of the video was enjoyed by the audience; this was not only due to the contestants’ answers, but also because of the somewhat frightening painting of a woman that was the backdrop to the video. The actual live competition began with a group dance choreographed by Wootton Poms captains seniors Alex Miller and Liza Moskowitz. The dance, supposedly pre-prepared, was a struggle to learn as the male contestants looked to one another helplessly throughout the dance as to what the next move would be. With the music pausing in the middle of the song, the dance just seemed to fall apart on the stage. The audience began to clearly be able to see

each individual on the stage with the casual-wear performance, comprised of the contestants showing off their ‘everyday’ clothes. As each contestant strutted across the stage in their various outfits, ranging from a workout outfit to what resembled a five year old’s Halloween costume, the contestants were not only being judged by the three judges, but also by the student body. “It was intersting to see my students in a different aspect, other than school,” Barron said. The swimwear competition added more laughs as the audience watched the creative ideas that went beyond the usual surfboard and shorts. D’Affuso and Garretson allowed for many laughs with their “little mermaid” costumes, which was an interesting and innovative take on the classical swimwear category. Tape was required to be worn on the contestants’ chests, as no partial nudity is allowed by administration. With the casual and swimwear competitions now behind the contestants, the focus was on the talent competition. The ‘Junior’ contestants started off the night. The ice skating duo, consisting of Goldschein and Robinson, amused the audience as their ability to actually catch one another (sort of) was funnier than the times when they actually fell. On the other hand, Lee was a prime example of talent, as he serenaded the audience with his acoustic skills. Garretson and Helwig’s singing duet about the touchy topic of “Guy Love” proved that not all Mr. Wootton contestants lack talent. “We were hoping people watched Scrubs, and love the show as much as we do,” Garretson said. The senior talent competition had gigs ranging from singing boy band classics to reminiscing about old Nickolodeon television shows through one band’s song. Marcinko’s laid back beach scene, with his servants

providing him with sun and shade seemed simple. But the audience erupted in laughter when Marcinko was providing a PG related ‘strip-tease,’ only to accidently pull off his shirt to reveal his bare chest. The administration did not see that one coming. Afkhami’s rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance provided many laughs for the whole audience as he pranced on the stage to give a disclaimer to his father that he is not “like this i n real life.” “I had nothing to hold back. I was kind of scared my dad would punch me in the face after, but it turned out alright in the end; he was laughing,” Afkhami said. “Afkhami’s dance gave inspiration to ‘single ladies’ everywhere,” Martin said. Some contestants made videos rather than providing live entertainment, such as Van Wye’s video routine with his friends and Cheever’s rendition o f Donald Duck. “Mr. Wootton is always a funny event; everyone enjoyed all of the acts especially ‘Single Ladies’ and ‘Guy Love’ which were very popular,” senior planning vice president Salah Czapary said. After the talent competition, the contestants suited up in their formal wear, to be escorted onto the stage for the final formal wear competition, by the usual odd company, ranging from teachers to mothers to sisters. “This is a Wootton tradition, and the Wootton student body continues to support fun events like this,” Martin said.

THE CONTESTANTS: Freshmen: Max Goldschein Zach Robinson Johnny Stopher Sophomores: Andy Hoy Nick Kracov Antoine Plante Juniors: Jason Bass Drew Doherty Alex Garretson Jonathan Helwig Austin Lee Seniors: Amir Afkhami Daniel Abimbola Jesse Cheever Mattia D’Affuso Max Liu Kevin Marcinko Robert Meyer Mike Mooney Evan Pappas Nitin Potazaru Andy Van Wye Ryan Witt Andrew Yi

Senior Evan Pappas strikes a pose

Speaker educates humanities students Caroline Mrohs staff writer On Feb. 19, United States Department of State historian Myra Burton visited and spoke with students in Wootton’s Humanities and Arts program. Burton spoke extensively about the impact of the election of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black President. Burton, born in 1957, was raised in Northwest D.C. in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. She recalled that as a teenager, she bought a clothing item at a store that refused her mother’s service, and her mother demanded that she return it. She said that certain stores prohibited African Americans from shopping. Burton studied history at the University of San Diego, and on her multiple trips across the country, she was denied service because of her skin color. Her car was vandalized several times as well. These experiences inspired Burton to earn a Masters degree in history and educate people on the roles of African Americans in the country’s history and development. “This speaker’s visit is a chance for students to see how far we’ve come in the last 60 years,” Humanities’ Program Director Mrs. Michelle Hanson said. “[Burton] will give students a new perspective on how well race relations within our country have improved.” The visit occured a week after the 200th

anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. “We now have a man ... living in the White House that is African American. Considering the place this country came from, that’s a promising sign of where this country is headed. Hopefully, one day we will live in a completely colorblind society,” Hanson said. “I like how she covered every part of African American history, not just the modern aspects,” senior Debi Segal said. Burton discussed topics such as the first presence of African Americans in the colony of Virginia in 1916, Booker T. Washington, the Freedom Summer of 1964, and Tom Bradley’s 20-year run as the mayor of Los Angeles. The final few minutes of the hourand-a-half long presentation described Obama’s election to presidency and an opportunity for Humanities students to ask Burton questions. “Very few people that lived trough what we lived through could believe that enough Americans would be able to look past colors to vote an African American man as president,” Burton said. Obviously Barack Obama’s election to presidency was one of barrier-breaking importance, and because of Burton’s informative presentation, Wootton’s Humanities and Arts students are fully aware of the timeline of African American history that led up to this historic event. “It put Obama’s election into perspective,” senior Kara Vetrano said.

Mr. Wootton contestants during opening dance.

photos by Vivian Chen and David Hartzman



Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Cafeteria adds flavor and spice to mundane menu Rebecca Lurye staff writer

For too long, the most hungered for period of the day, lunch, has been a source of disappointment and distress to cafeteria-loyal students. However, some relief has come in the form of a lunch menu update. Cafeteria menus now include a host of new entrees, such as boneless drumsticks, popcorn chicken, and mandarin chicken, along with updated sides and vegetarian options. Lower quality and unpopular foods were removed from the menu and have been replaced with entrees like PB and J pockets and chicken egg rolls. “You get tired of the same thing over and over again,” cafeteria manager Sharon Forbes said. Before any new foods can join the menu, students from Montgomery County schools sample them at a tasting. Students and staff alike welcome the changes, especially the retirement of tater tots, an old cafeteria standby which is unlikely to be missed. (“[They] tasted like sawdust,” Forbes said.) The fresher, more flavorful roasted potatoes have replaced them. “The new fries are a lot better,” freshman Austin Marks said. There is still room for improvement before the healthy and vegetarian options are completely student-friendly. “I wish they sold foods that [didn’t] bounce off the walls,” senior Bryan Pike said. Pike buys lunch every day, and has learned it is easiest, and sometimes safest, not to branch out with unfamiliar foods at school. “The healthy foods taste like crap,” Pike said. “[School lunches] are nasty, but I get them anyway,”

sophomore Jashai Rowe said. Sometimes, the menu is dictated by changes in suppliers’ products and not by the cafeteria staff. Recently, the vegetarian spicy bean burgers were replaced by a much less popular garden burger. “The garden burgers are like eating grass after you’ve mowed the lawn. The spicy bean burger was more like a hamburger. Even the meat-eaters were taking two or three. Now it’s like standing on a street corner trying to give garden burgers away,” Forbes said. Forbes is working with Kathy Lazor, director of food and nutrition services for Montgomery County Public Schools, to bring back the more appetizing bean burgers. While students may be noticing changes down the lunch line only recently, Lazor has reduced the fat in school foods by 30 percent in the last two years. Currently, Lazor is working on having the school lunch program reauthorized, which could mean an increase in the base salary parents must make for their children to qualify for free and reduced lunches. “Maybe if they made [the food] less expensive, people would buy it more, and they could actually make the food instead of the freezing thing they do,” sophomore Sara Mason said. As of 1995, all of the cafeteria’s sauces, soups, dressings and meats come either straight from a supplier or prepackaged from a cook-chill facility. The switch from freshly cooked foods was made to cut costs on labor. “I liked the work that was involved in it. We’d

have meatloaf and fried chicken, different things like that,” Forbes said. The cafeteria kitchen operates now without any stove or Combi Ovens, which explains the few real pitfalls in the lunch menu. Some options, like the recently banished tater tots and questionable soups seem to live up to the harsh stereotypes about school food. “They look kind of strange and not very appealing visually,” senior Maithri Kondapaka said of the soups she has tried. Despite the obvious setbacks, Kondapaka finds that convenience outweighs quality. “It’s hot food. I don’t get time in the morning to pack my lunch,” Kondapaka said. For many students, rushing to get ready in the morning is a way of life. Combine that with weaknesses for late night television, and packing a lunch can often manage to slip one’s mind. Past experiences with the cafeteria might drive one to wait until after school to satisfy their hunger. However, the next time a student is emptyhanded when their lunch period rolls around, they might set their preconceptions about school food aside and bite the bullet with some mandarin chicken.

English offers creative classes Perry Hamburg & Daniel Moon staff writers

Students are often frustrated by the repetitious cycle of typical English classes. Contrary to normal English classes, the department offers many elective courses that give students a chance to express their ideas in a form other than essays. Fantasy Literature is an example of the difference between the elective courses and regular English courses. The class gives students who enjoy fantasy literature a chance to get together and study it as a genre. Under the instruction of English teacher Ms. Madeleine Osgood, students read various fantasy stories such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. Film versions of the books are also used to enhance students’ understanding of the literature. “The class gives [students] who enjoy fantasy literature a chance to get together,” Osgood said. The students will study fantasy literature as a genre and do in-depth analysis of the stories they read. “We’ll read a chapter and we discuss it, and then we’ll watch the scene from the movie. It’s a lot better than analyzing text and writing essays,” sophomore Sara Foster said. In addition to the movies, students get to live out the books to an extent by parodying stories, organizing medieval fairs and playing Quidditch, a fictional game from the Harry Potter series. “Fantasy Literature is similar to other English courses because you have units talking about specific themes, notes and discussions about the books,” sophomore Kenny Wohl said. Unlike other English classes, Fantasy Literature allows students to have creativity with a multitude of different hands-on projects. Science Fiction, also taught by Osgood, will take place next year. It switches off with Osgood’s Fantasy Literature class each year. The class is similar to Fantasy Literature, but focuses on a different genre. Students watch and discuss various television series such as Firefly and Stargate Atlantis, and read books such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that stem from this genre of literature. “I signed up for Science Fiction with a couple friends because I wanted to take something new and different,” junior Maddie Li said. “I’ve never read any science fiction

book. I thought it would be really interesting to learn and read science fiction.” One of the unique features that Science Fiction has is that the class does not have any exams or essays. Instead, the regular assignments are replaced by movies and stories to help students get a better taste of science fiction. In addition, students delve into unique projects such as group productions of original films. Aside from literature genres, Creative Writing is a taught by English teacher Mr. Steven Orders. In this one-semester course, students write fictional short stories and poetry. They also learn scriptwriting and songwriting. “Students write every day. Homework in this class is fun, so students don’t mind,” Orders said. “It is a class that everybody can get something out of.” Later in the year, some of the students’ writings are published in the Literary Magazine, PULP. “It’s similar to regular English classes in that before you turn in work you do peer revisions and you can sit down to discuss your work with the teacher,” junior Will Conway said. “But, it’s also different because you have units like songwriting, scriptwriting, poetry and short stories.” Conway added that even musicians like himself can enjoy not only the songwriting unit, but in fact the whole semester without getting bored. “It’s basically fun every day,” Conway said. There are additional English elective courses such as Film Studies where students can take a break from the typical English assignments. English teacher Mr. Garvan Giltinan and Ms. Michelle Olson instruct Film Studies. Another approach to learning, Film Studies highlights the classics of the history of film, the notso-classic and everything in between. It is a class where students watch and study a wide spectrum of film. In addition to the movies, students write their own film reviews and create movie posters. “It's simple. If you like to watch movies and then talk about it with your friends, this class will suit you. Plus, you don't have to pay to watch the movies,” senior Kenneth Congmon said. With so many distinctive activities available, an elective course can be a good choice for students who are looking for unique entertainment in English classes.

SandraLynn Berson/Joanne Paltrowitz The Camp Experts & Teen Summers Ph: 301-309-2267 (CAMP) or 301-793-4808




Common Sense - February 25, 2009

Tasty Thai, Great Location Stepping into Thai Pavilion, I am transported and immersed into an ambiance of a retro, Zen-like quality. Low-lit candles set the soft lighting in the restaurant, as do the modern twists on red lanterns and scattered stage lights that hang overhead. The tables are of a cool marble, adorned with a vase of violet orchids and set by candlelight. Various knickknacks—two crowing roosters, the emblematic American star, a model vessel ship—line an adjacent wall. The myriad of seating options is admirable. The slightly raised platform featuring wrap-around leather seats and floor-to-ceiling picture windows, the bar front highlighting a metallic backdrop and a flat-panel television, the loft that leads from a silver, sweeping spiral staircase—available Friday evenings, weekends and on special occasions—and for the art enthusiast, a front-row view of the aforementioned artifacts, are all solid bets for seating arrangements. The wait staff proves rather efficient; my family and I were seated immediately upon arrival. Conversation is easy as soft rock trickles, unimposing and soothing, from the speakers. When asked which of the dishes are truly authentic Thai cuisine, our server smiled only sheepishly and after a hesitation, replied, "I think everything is real." That, soon, would be judged. Unfortunately, my lackluster appetizer was less than magnificent. The

chicken satay, which boasts a stingy five pieces of skewed chicken, marinated in spices and grilled, came off cold and dry and slightly burnt in the wrong places. Much better was the duo of sauces that come with the chicken. The vinaigrette, cool and tart, added a zesty punch to the otherwise flavorless poultry, while the creamy peanut sauce gave a new dimension of texture with petite peanut Featured is the Thai Pavilion’s exquisite dish, the Shrimp Clay Pot. bits. to ease my recovery. One upside of note: Entrée shrimp clay pot, spiciness is sure to stave off the winter however, came graciously—and was welcomed thoroughly—in a heartier chills. Better yet, the green curry embodies portion. The shrimp, plump, tender and one of the best renowned in Thai succulent, played company to the rich, comfort foods. Bathed in a luxurious concentrated texture of soft, slightlycoconut-infused broth with tender sticky cellophane noodles that came bamboo shoots and firm eggplant, off nicely moist without excessive oil. the milky mixture compensated the A medley of shitake mushroom, crisp unfortunate leathery texture of the beef. watery cabbage, red pepper and ginger Good things, fortunately, come contributed dutifully to the stew, as did to those who wait, and desert is no the inclusion of fresh basil leaves to add exception. The coconut custard was a rustic tang to the punch. Thai Pavilion offers Pik Khing with heavenly, part airy sponge cake and a choice of beef, chicken, pork or shrimp part silky mousse. Resting alongside sautéed with string beans and a red curry the dish is steamed sticky rice splashed paste. The pork variety was rather fine, with a sweetened coconut cream. Lightly featuring a chewy, sans toughness, meat toasted sesame seeds and slices of the cloying—and notoriously pungent— that proved lacking in the previous jackfruit complete the summit. chicken. Be forewarned however: the The final verdict? Indulgence in the curry sauce, which resembled a Sloppy form of two chocolate-covered breath Joe consistency, sent fiery shots to the mints, gratis. back of my throat, and after which Rating: 3.5/5 called for two full glasses of iced water photo by Katy Tong

Katy Tong copy editor

… do students take 15 AP exams in one year. The check for the test fee comes to $1290.

Only at Wootton...


Pay to the order of:

One thousand, two hundred and nintey dollars


Student taking 15 AP exams … is it acceptable to wear a $150 North Face®, $200 pair of Uggs® and $10 dollar sweatpants

… do sushi or fried rice sales attract massive crowds and are highly profitable in ways that make the profit from bake sales seem like pocket change.

… can presidents and rock stars perform in the same year. Wootton grads O.A.R. and former President Bush both visited Wootton in 2001. O.A.R. performed a concert in the football stadium and Bush spoke to the students.

... do students skip class to study in the bathroom.

…do students line up outside the library before school like it was a WalMart on Black Friday. When doors are opened, dozens of students fight their way inside to find a seat. If you have not experienced it, brace yourself--it’s a jungle. … does the Girls basketball team draw a larger crowd than the boys’. Chances are high if you hear “Hakuna Matata” anywhere in Montgomery County it’s not coming from a television--it’s the “The Ladies Men.” The Ladies Men have established themselves as the most formidable 6th man in all high school sports. “Get on our level.”

… is there a criticism of Congressman Van Hollen written above a toilet… Check out the boys’ bathroom opposite the arts classes and witness the birth of a new outlet for pundits: graffiti. Sorry ladies, guys only.


Lol so I was bored lol and ZOMG don’t hate me but I thought it would be fun to do a 25 things for me, Wootton HS. OMG I cant believe I’m giving in to this trend lol I just see them on fb and I love reading them. LMAO don’t judge me.

1) A couple of years ago my faculty thought it would be a good idea to make me a new mascot. The only problem is that now my gender is ambiguous and my dress is a skirt. 2) My neighbor Winston, some nerd with expensive, designer label glasses, is really jealous of me because whenever play, I humiliate him. It’s not that I’m trying to embarrass him; it’s just that I’m so much better than him at everything. 3) More than thirty five years ago when I was born, there was a Bulldog in the neighborhood. Everybody was afraid of it because it was a Bulldog and bulldogs rip people's faces off. Now, I’m no longer scared of it because it fights like a girl and couldn’t intimidate a three-year-old, let alone win the biggest football game in who knows how many years. 4) I was named after Thomas Sprigg Wootton, who was the driving force behind the creation of Montgomery County. Unlike some other namesakes, Wootton was not an alcoholic, was not into domestic violence, and he actually did something productive instead of sitting around writing poetry about his own greatness (that’s right, Walt). Not to mention the fact that Tom was creating counties before baseball was even invented. 5) My friends say that I suck at sports, but they don’t really know me. I hang out with different people now. 6) I have my own army, called Tommy’s Troops. My proudest achievement was pounding the “Dawg Pound.” A close second is a near defeat over the Red Army in a fall bloodbath in 2008. Oh wait, I almost forgot about the back-to-back state championships I’ve won in hockey, the lacrosse state championship I went to and the volleyball state championship. And that’s just in the past three years. 7) I like rubbery chicken and Cup Noodles. 8) I work off my lunch calories during the five minute walk from my parking space to the school. 9) I’m the only school in the neighborhood with $10,000 Smartboards and no functioning bathrooms. 10) I’m so eco-friendly, I stopped using paper towels. 11) My favorite hobby is preparing for the SAT and studying for my eight APs, and maybe the ACT’s if I feel like it. 12) My biggest nightmare is being pulled out of in the middle of my AP Physics class by Dr. Doran’s person bodyguards. 13) I’m afraid of Chuck, too. 14) People stop and stare when they drive past me. I find it awkward, but people don't realize they can drive 31 and still be OK. 15) Everyone always tells me how good I am, but I’m still really self-conscious. 16) Today, I realized that I’ve steadily declined in the national rankings for the past three years. FML. 17) Apparently, Walt is better than me now. That’s debatable. 18) I’m on ‘Cribs’ almost every morning. Personally, I think I look better in person. That’s also debatable. 19) The biggest BAMF at the school occasionally likes to text during multi-variable calculus. 20) My senior class’ pranks are sooooooo hilarious that we even have to redo our entire parking lot and in the process get a new, unnecessarily flashy sign. They think they’ll get away with it. Little do they know, “I Know Who Did It, I just can’t prove it." 21) It took me twelve years to learn how to spell my own name, and people still can’t do it right. 22) I’m the only school in the area to not have open lunch even though I’m surrounded by Chipotle, Panera, Wingstop, Jerry’s, Moby Dick, Smoothie King, Starbucks, Theo’s, Burger King, Ledo’s….. 23) I try to eat healthy in the day by only eating things like ice cream, Gatorade, French fries, and mystery meat hamburgers. 24) I’m really conscious about my weight. 25) My buddy Dr. Doran told me that at the end of the rainbow, there’s an acceptance letter to Harvard. Tagged in this note: by jared nelson, preston cornish, mike briggs, and mike weiner


Vol. 38 Issue 5  
Vol. 38 Issue 5