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SNOW DAY SCANDAL Fake MCPS twitter accounts cause a flurry of confusion.


BOX OFFICE IGNITES The odds are in Catching Fire’s favor at the box office.

GOOD VIBRATIONS Senior Kenny Hailey, “Audio,” talks artistic expression.



MAKING WAVES Swim and dive coach Jackie Emr shoots for victory.


Volume 43, Issue 7- Thomas S. Wootton High School - 2100 Wootton Parkway - Rockville, MD 20850 - December 17, 2013 “POTH is a really great way to bring everyone together. We can just enjoy all the talent the school has to offer.” Senior Lydia Han, Senior Planning President

Limit does not exist for nationally ranked math team

Joey Castelli staff writer

The 2013 edition of Puttin' On the Hits (POTH) tore through the auditorium on Dec. 5, revamped with the tagline "Do it for the Vine," and sporting a fresh crop of sizzling new talent. The doors opened at 6 p.m., an overhead projector dropped, the hosts of Act One slinked on stage in matching black attire and the show began. POTH is an annual lip-syncing and dance competition hosted by Senior Planning to illuminate and award talented students, with first place sweeping $100. The night was split into two divisions; Act One (hosted by seniors Sophie Lehrenbaum and Jeffery Morse) provided a platform for individual and small group performances, whereas Act Two was reserved for official school affiliations, such as class planning and SGA. The first act to grab the stage was a breakdancing routine delivered by junior Milan Moreau, to the pulse of Macklemore. Claiming the stage after Moreau was the all-girl group of four, Triple A, with a hip-hop tribute. The group's rapid-paced routine to the beat of Beyoncé and the likes was laced with a clever twist in the form of auto-themed sound effects, which the girls matched in their choreography. Next to dazzle was a tap and jazz number from senior Fara Moskowitz and sophomore Robbie Pine, set by the tune of "Popular Song," by Mika featuring Ariana Grande. The lively routine was closed with a friendly hug between the duo

The math team has been ranked in the top 10 best high school math teams in the nation. As of December 5, the 26 member team, sponsored by AP calculus teacher Alexandra Brasoveanu-Tarpy, is the eighth best team in the Interstellar Tournament. Interstellar is a live, online academic competition for every grade and course, in this case, mathematics. The competition includes schools from every part of the U.S, including private and public schools. The number one school in the nation is Lynbrook High School of San Jose, California. The competition has been going on since October. The Wootton math team is in the first division, the highest and most competitive. The team consists of students from every grade throughout the school who meet every day to practice for weekly competitions. They are currently in the eighth week of their competition. Their practice includes rigorous drilling by BrasoveanuTarpy for a couple of hours each day after school. The competition team consists of 17 students who are willing to compete in the tournament. “We travel very far to get to our competitions, down the hallway in the computer lab,” said coach Brasoveanu-Tarpy. Once a week at 2:30 exactly, the team must be logged onto their computers and ready to compete against that week’s challenger. This week the team faces Millburn High School of Millburn, New Jersey. The most recent tournament the team has competed in was a competition at The University of Maryland College Park.

see POTH, page 12

see MATHLETES, page 3

Photo courtesy Joyce Chen Senior Angela Gu displays a whirlwind of talent in the dance, “Spirit of the Peacock.”

Photo courtesy Joyce Chen Senior Planning gets crazy and rocks out with the drum line at their last Puttin‘ On the Hitz class performance.

Photo courtesy Joyce Chen Freshman Alisha Dhallan leaps across the stage during the Freshman Planning dance.

Students step in line to ‘do it for the vine’ at Puttin’ On The Hitz Tracy Yu managing editor

Photo courtesy Joyce Chen Sophomore CarrieAnna Kuldell expresses passion to the tune to Michael Jackson.

Carpool buddies: Freshman and senior siblings compare experiences Katie McRae editor-in-chief Every student endures countless changes between freshman and senior year. The freshmen enthusiasm fades into a dark senioritis. The freshman overwhelmed with an English 9 assignment turns into a causal AP Monday writer begging for an in-class essay instead of a multiple choice assignment. The freshman dressing to impress evolves into a senior who cannot decide which Uggs to wear with their sweatpants. The freshman brought to tears from forgetting a protractor transitions into a senior who laughs about forgetting to bring his backpack inside his house. The changes are there, but none more evident than when contrasted by two siblings. Senior Adam Bogart describes the greatest difference between him and his freshman brother Darren is “three years, 40 pounds and hundreds of homework assignments.” Many seniors in the school have freshman siblings. While some of these seniors choose to show their younger siblings the ins and outs of the school, others simply refuse

to acknowledge the other’s existence in seemingly empty hallways. For freshman Aaron Green, the best part of having senior Elise Green as a sister in the school is the guaranteed ride to school. For Elise, however, the burden of having to drive another person to school is the worst part of having a sibling here. In the hallways, Elise only acknowledges Aaron when he initiates the communication with a nudge. The brother and sister often bump into each other walking to third period, as only a thin wall separates the classes they have next door to the other. “I think I've come to learn how to take things a little less seriously. Not that I don't care anymore, I've just come to realize I shouldn't worry about all the little things with homework and quizzes and stuff,” Elise Green said. “Also, Aaron does not have nearly as much homework as I do and doesn't have to study…he doesn't realize how good he has it.” Freshman Darren Bogart also notices the difference in the work ethic between him and his senior brother. “School is kind of a joke for [Adam], I take it more se-

riously,” Darren said. “Seniors have already turned in their applications, so they don't need to work as hard. We have three years left.” Although Darren and Adam’s paths rarely cross during the school day, asking for help (and more often extra food) adds to the convenience of having a sibling at school. Senior Allie Foecking enjoys seeing her friend’s younger siblings at school get acclimated to the new high school environment. “I love to embarrass the siblings because they don’t know how to react being the low ones in school,” Foecking said. “I remember being in their shoes and it’s so fun to see them trying to find their way at school after already finding mine.” While some students find themselves tired of being asked if they are so-and-so’s senior sibling or being called “so cute!” by their older sibling’s senior friends, at the end of the day, the differences in attitude found under the roof of the same school make the dinner table conversations at home more dynamic.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

News Briefs Illinois legalizes same-sex marriage Seattle, Washington Seattle fans create earthquake

The National Football League’s (NFL) Seattle Seahawk’s fans re-broke the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium on Dec. 2 in their home game against the New Orleans Saints. The play on which the record was broken was when Seattle’s Michael Bennett scored a 22-yard fumble return touchdown. Not only did they stadium break the record for loudest stadium, but it was so loud that there was an earthquake with a magnitude of about two registered by the noise. The game was nationally televised on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Previously in 2011, Seattle recorded an earthquake during a divisional playoff game against the Saints.

New York, New York Commuter train crash in NY

A New York City commuter train jumped its tracks in the Bronx as it entered a curve at a high speed on Dec. 2. Data from the crash reveals the train was moving at 82 miles per hour in a 30 m.p.h. zone. Three people were killed in the crash and at least 63 were injured. The cause of the derailment is still unknown, but investigators speculate that there was a brake malfunction. Two passengers have filed a notice of claim, the first step in a lawsuit, against the commuter railroad. One of those two passengers is Denise Williams, a retired Army Colonel, who was injured in the accident.

Valencia, California Paul Walker dies in car crash

Forty-year-old actor Paul Walker died from traumatic and thermal injuries in a car accident on Nov. 30. Walker was most famous for his roles in the Fast & Furious series. Universal Pictures has temporarily postponed the filming of Fast & Furious 7 as a result of Walker’s death. Walker was a passenger in the one-car crash, and the driver of the vehicle also died of injuries.

-Tej Joshi staff writer

School Calendar December - January 17 PSAT results distributed 18 boys and girls basketball games vs wheaton 19 WAAPN 23-1 Winter Break

INSIDE >> Common Sense

News.............................................................................1-5 Op-ed............................................................................6-7 Commons......................................................................8-9 Features.....................................................................10-11 Arts..............................................................................12 Sports........................................................................13-16 Nov 26 Issue Corrections - The page 1 Thanksgivukkah article incorrectly stated that Thanksgiving was the second day of Hanukkah. In fact, the first day of Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving. - The wrestling article stated that the team lost 14 seniors. In fact, they lost 11. The article also stated that Garret Rudderman was in the #152 weight class last year. In fact, he wrestled 138.

Charlie Eichberg staff writer

Illinois became the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States on Nov. 20. The bill will take full effect by June 1. This conflict has been an issue in the state of Illinois since 1996, when Illinois created an act prohibiting same-sex marriage. In 2007, Representative Greg Harris introduced a bill to legalize same sex marriage in the state. Over the next five years, Harris along with senator Heather Steans, relentlessly pushed to legalize it, but failed to succeed all three times. In early January, at the 97th general assembly, Steans reintroduced the bill. And by mid-January, both bills moved into the next step of becoming a law. After several steps, the bill reached the House of Representatives on Nov. 5, and narrowly eked out the 60-vote minimum with a final tally of 61-54.

Many people are in support of the law, including President Barack Obama. “This is huge...the Illinois House just passed marriage equality,” he tweeted. He also stated, “As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law.” In general, the public is divided about the topic. In a 2010 New York Times poll, 48 percent of Illinois residents supported legalizing same-sex marriage In February, Crains/Ipsos, a Chicago news and business website, reported that 50 percent of Illinois residents favored the same-sex marriage bill under consideration by the legislature, while 29 percent opposed it. Though things are looking optimistic, there are still people offended by the law. “Where are the religious rights for those of us, those people of Illinois, who think that this is wrong,” said State Representative David Reis.

Reis is just one of many who value the Christian religion and hold the strong belief that same sex marriage is morally wrong. The Gay-Straight Alliance club is in support of same sex marriage. “I think it is great that it was legalized,” said Gloria Kim, the president of the Gay-Straight Alliance club Kim is just one of many all around the country who believe in the cause, but does not think that legalization in a few states is enough. “I don’t think it will make much of an impact until all of the states collectively make a change,” Kim said. Even though the bill does not take effect until June, one couple has already officially broken the ice in Illinois. On Nov. 27, Vernita Grey and Patricia Ewert became the first official same sex marriage in the state of Illinois under the new law. The couple was married early due to the terminal illness of Grey, who has cancer. “So happy, so incredibly happy,” Ewert said to The Associated Press after the wedding.

Star Diner in Kentlands files for bankruptcy Jared Beinart news editor

The Star Diner in Kentlands in Gaithersburg filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 5. The restaurant, which has been in the area for many years, has always been a place for families to grab a meal while surrounded by old-fashioned diner memorabilia. “The diner is set in a fun and great environment,” former star diner employee senior Eric Shumacher said. The diner is known for its unique transition into their nightly tiki bar, which provides diner customers with a fun time and bring in local bands. “My goal [with the diner was] to create a friendly, relaxed atmosphere where people can drop by to eat fresh, homemade food, all day long,” said co-owner Marty Kobrin on the restaurant’s website. Kobrin, along with his wife, Sharon, own 90 percent of the company. “The pancakes there were pretty good. If they were to pull through, I would definitely go back there again,” senior Ezra Sokobin said. The Star Diner filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows for reorganization

photoc by Jake Brodsky The Star Diner, a local staple in Kentlands, has recently filed for bankruptcy for the second time in the diner’s history.

under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to every business, whether organized as a corporation or sole proprietorship. “I had a good time working there, but you could tell that business was not so great because some nights [work] was pretty slow,” Shumacher said. The restaurant’s bankruptcy filings reveal that the diner is $262,180 in debt, including $180,360 that is owed to Beatty

Management of McLean, Va., the restaurant’s landlord. This is not the first time the restaurant has dealt with this issue; in 2002 it was protected by Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Kobrin has released statements stating that he expects the restaurant to surface from this issue soon and continue to serve the area. The restaurant continues to remain open to the public during this financial struggle.

long as they like. Filibusters, or even just the threat of a filibuster, are often used right before a vote to delay a decision as long as possible or even make it impossible to vote. Use of the filibuster has become more and more common in recent years due to the growing lack

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who led the effort to change the filibuster rules said. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led the opposition to the changes and called the move by Reid and his fellow Democrats a “power grab,” according to the Washington Post. McConnell further claimed that triggering the nuclear option was designed to detract attention from the ongoing controversy over Obamacare. “It’s a sad day in the history of the Senate,” McConnell said. With motions for cloture much easier to pass, it is expected that 76 appointees of President Barack Obama will now be voted into office without delay. In addition, the changes may lead the President to nominate more progressive appointees to the judiciary because he will no longer fear their confirmations being filibustered into defeat. AP Government teacher Christopher McTamany expects that, as a result of the procedural change, the filibuster will be both used and threatened much less frequently. “If you take out the teeth, which is the fact that you can’t stop it, then why bother [to filibuster]?” said McTamany. “I think it’s been a long time coming. Reid is just the one who’s actually gone through with it.”

Senate votes to drastically reform filibuster rules Matt Silverman staff writer

After months of warnings and threats, Senate Democrats were prompted to vote for changes to the legislative body’s filibuster rules on Nov. 21. Although all Senate Republicans and three Democrats voted against the measure, the changes passed by a final vote of 52-48 in favor of the so-called “nuclear option,” which will fundamentally alter the way filibusters work in the Senate. The “nuclear option” received its name due to its perception as the most extreme change that could be made to the Senate’s filibuster rules, which have historically given members of the minority party more say in legislative decisions. The changes in procedure, which will take effect in January, reduce the number of votes necessary for a cloture motion to pass (and therefore a vote on nominees to be taken) from a three-fifths supermajority to a simple majority of more than 50 percent. The changes will apply to executive and judicial branch nominees but not to Supreme Court nominees or legislation. A filibuster in the Senate is when one senator, or a series of senators, stands up and speaks to any topic they choose, for as

If you take out the teeth, which is the fact that you can’t stop it, then why bother [to filibuster]?” AP Government teacher Christopher McTamany

of bipartisanship in the Senate. This increased use of the filibuster has contributed to the expanding gridlock in Washington and to the perception among Senate Democrats that the legislative body could become irreparably broken. “Republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent President Obama from appointing his executive team or confirming judges. We’re burning wasted hours and wasted days between filibusters. It’s time to change. It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete,” Senate



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

The MoCo Latest

Councilmember introduces deer hunting bill

Alessandra Lowy news editor A Montgomery County lawmaker will try again to give archery hunters more room to help diminish the county’s growing deer population. Overpopulation of deer is not only a county problem, but it has become a hot topic across the country, as was exemplified with the picture depicting the problem on the front page of the Dec. 9 issue of Time magazine. Delegate Eric Luedtke has proposed a local bill to shrink the safety zone around Montgomery County buildings from 150 yards to 50 yards for bow hunters. Current state law prohibits shooting any firearm or lethal weapon, such as a bow, within 150 yards of an occupied home, church, campground or other building.Around schools, the safety zone is 300 yards. Some believe this bill is a good innovation, while others do not think that Montgomery County is overrun by deer. “There are a lot of deer in our area, but I think deer add a nice touch to our suburban life and it’s not like they’re harming anyone or anything in our community,” junior Graysen Bright said. “And even if we want to lessen our deer population, having hunters shoot them down is barbaric. It sounds like legislation from another era.” Luedtke proposed a similar bill in the last legislative session that became a point of significant debate among the delegation and did not pass.Few solutions are effective for deer management in the county, but about a dozen citizens testified in favor of the bill at a delegation hearing Monday, saying that giving archers more room to hunt will go a long way in controlling the deer population. County citizens testified with complications of Lyme disease, a debilitating disease carried by ticks that often feed off the blood of deer. Others spoke of the many deer killed each year along their streets by motorists. Kevin Kommitt of the Sycamore Acres Citizens Association told the delegation that it needs to support the bill to protect children and residents in the county. “Odds are it [a deer-auto collision] will happen to someone in this room in the next year,” Kommitt said to the Gaithersburg Gazette. Rob Gibbs, of the Montgomery Parks Department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, acknowledged that reducing the safety zone could increase the opportunity for hunting in the county.Even a 50-yard safety zone would not allow hunting in the county’s more densely populated areas, according to Gibbs. Luedtke’s bill was one of 13 local bills the delegation has filed so far for the 2014 legislative session, which starts Jan. 8. Among the crop of legislation are nine bills that seek to change alcohol regulations, including ones that would allow serving wine at beauty salons and ease restrictions on microbreweries. Others would prevent self-checkout sales of alcohol, permit beer festivals and create an annual license for small performing arts facilities that pay thousands each year for one-day licenses.

Efforts add up in national mathlete competition from MATHLETES, page 1

Thirteen students qualified to some days you do better take part of the competition. In this than other days and not competition only a select 200 students all the students can do evcould participate in the whole state of erything,” said BrasoveaMaryland. It is the most prestigious nu-Tarpy. competition in the state of Maryland. She encourages all For the sake of comparison it is equal students to join the team to being in a state championship for in hope to bring the stuan athletic sport. dents a deep sense of The competitions last for 30 minsatisfaction of meeting utes and competitors have to answer their intellectual challenga series of questions going all the way es. up to honors precalculus. “The stuShe says that she dents have dedicated a lot of time and feels like these challenges hard work in order to achieve what prepare them for future they have done and they should all academic work and the photo courtesy Lucian Hodor be immensely proud of themselves,” Eight members of the math team pose after the Princteon Mathematics competition. real world demands in said Brasoveanu-Tarpy. the workplace. The team recognition for their excellence and dedicaLooking forward, Brasoveanu-Tarpy tion to education. She hopes to gain more has another math competition coming up in hopes that one day the team will be recog- publicity for the rising academic team.“We February. Interested students are welcome nized like a sport team and win awards and can always do better. Math is like a game, to attend.

Fake MCPS twitter accounts spark snow day confusion Jake Brodsky art director Montgomery County was hit with its first blast of winter weather on Dec. 8, as a snowstorm drove students into a frost-driven frenzy that raged wildly over social media. The storm, which caused the cancellation of school on Monday, Dec. 9, hit in the early afternoon and raged overnight leaving the streets covered in fine white powder and a layer of dangerous black ice. The social media frenzy began a few hours into the storm with the cancellation of school in counties across the DMV. Students

anxiously waited for Montgomery County Public Schools to follow suit - but it didn’t happen right away. While constantly checking the MCPS webpage or praying for the text cancelling school, students, intent on bamboozling their peers regarding the status of the impending school day, decided to create fake MCPS twitter pages broadcasting the cancellation of school. One fake account, @MCPS_alerts tweeted at 5:18 p.m. on Dec. 8 that MCPS would be closed on Dec. 9 because of the snow, however MCPS had not announced that yet.

Following that tweet, Fox 5 news reporter Laura Evans quoted the fake MCPS weet, tweeting to her over 3,000 followers relying on her for valid news that MCPS would be closed on Dec. 9. This wreaked much havoc and confusion in the minds of students and teachers alike within the community. Throughout the snow day frenzy, students countywide tweeted from their regular twitters posting snow pictures in attempt to incite an early cancellation of school from MCPS, often times garnering hundreds of retweets and favorites and successfully unifying the MCPS community.

graphic by Alessandra Lowy Students across Montgomery County (including Wootton student Max Levine, lower left) tweet at the official MCPS twitter account in attempt to coax MCPS officials into granting days off of school on account of the snow (upper five images.) Bottom left is a fake twitter account while bottom right is Fox 5 reporter quoting fake account.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

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Common Sense - December 17, 2013



College acceptance is not a status update

As the leaves descend from trees and the temperature slowly drops, students can find every crevice of their social media filled with joyous remarks of seniors’ college acceptances. While the sight of a “TOWSON SAID YES” or “INDIANA CLASS OF 2018” tweet can make you happy for a future college attendee, these constant public statements of celebration can have negative ramifications. When a senior has sent off their application and the answers start rolling in, it can be an exciting time. They have worked diligently the past 12 years to ensure a bright future in a college of choice and when an achievement and milestone to this degree happens in a young person’s life, it is natural to want to spread the news to friends and family via social networking. This time of year can also bring disappointing news for hopeful seniors. For a student who worked just as hard though was not accepted to the same college, seemingly endless reminders of their failure can make them feel inadequate. Posting a status or a tweet when getting accepted into a top choice college can be a good way to celebrate a victory with friends and family, but excessive updates of success are constant reminders to some students who were not accepted to any of their top choices that they did not achieve the same. In addition, students often post where they got accepted before they choose where they are going. These statuses might confuse friends and family members about where they are going. Colleges might even see these updates and act accordingly. Some students make these statuses when they have no plans on attending a certain school, but want to display their good fortune to everyone. Why do students decide to post about every school they applied to, when they obviously cannot attend every single one? It would be like ordering food at several different restaurants and only eating at one. While it’s not wrong to be proud of achievements it is important to remember the feeling of others when celebrating victories. Common Sense welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit them as necessary for style, punctuation, grammar and spelling. Letters may be submitted to the Common Sense mailbox. All letters must be signed, but requests to remain anonymous will be considered. Please contact us at Please visit to see our editorial policy.

PATRIOT POINTS Should people post college acceptances on Facebook?

“It’s against my religion.” -senior Logan Portes

“I think it must be a generational split because I’m puzzled by how much of their personal lives teens share now. It’s something that should be shared in person with friends and family. It almost borders on bragging and comes across as obnoxious.” -English teacher Dominique Parker

“I like it because it shows how hard they worked. They’re allowed to be proud.” -freshman Joey Roach

“I think it’s great that they want to share a part of their future with us.” -sophomore Langston Thomas

I think it is completely okay and it is acceptable to be excited.” -junior Sydney Heiberger

Photos by Jake Brodsky


Editors-in-Chief sophie lehrenbaum & katie mcrae Managing Editors sofie jacobs & tracy yu Arts Editor shemaiah ellis Commons Editor allie greenspun Features Editors nellie allentuck & abby wei News Editors jared beinart & alessandra lowy Opinion Editor Maria Zlotescu Editorial cartoonist Lily Zhang Senior Sports Editor sam eichberg Sports Editor eric shumacher Art Director jake brodsky Business Manager/online editor liz leung Adviser evva starr Thomas S. Wootton High School 2100 Wootton Parkway Rockville, MD 20850 301-279-8550 visit the website for the common sense mission statement, scholastic press association affiliations and advertising information

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Common Sense - December 17, 2013

ARE SAT PREP CLASSES WORTH IT? Yes, they help students study and prepare No, practice SAT tests alone are sufficient Sarayu Iyer staff writer Let’s face it: nobody wants to take the SAT. But the only thing worse than the thought of sitting in a desk on a Saturday morning taking a four- hour long exam that could very well decide a person’s future, is the thought of being unprepared. Opponents argue that the SAT is merely an aptitude test, and while it is important, it is not worth spending time and money preparing for. People criticize and mock those who go overboard preparing for one out a million tests, when in truth, nobody seems to look at a student’s SAT score after college. Ironically on the back of an SAT prep book there is a statement from the College Board: “Quick prep classes can’t replace years of solid schoolwork… [and] taking rigorous, challenging courses in high school [will help] in getting ready for the test.” Students should be setting themselves up for a successful future ahead of time rather than only thinking about the test the week before. Simply because students need continuity and consistency is not an excuse for them to take the easy road out every time. The truth is that the SAT is just one milestone, but it is an important one. Most colleges demand prospective students take these exams. The SAT can play a large part in college admission as well as scholarships So why not make the best of this opportunity, and take a few courses to help prepare for it? Many classes go beyond what can be offered in straightforward practice tests. “They teach techniques that help students solve tricky problems and save time when taking the real SAT,” junior Kevin Chen siad. Rather than sitting at home taking dozens of practice tests alone, or worse, stressing out alone, many SAT classes help students meet fellow SAT takers going through similar struggles. Facing the

anxiety of a major test is overwhelming, and at times prospects seem hopeless. But meeting new people while learning ways to outsmart the test makes it that much easier. “SAT classes can even be fun if you have a good teacher,” junior Alicia Elliott said. In fact, the right SAT tutor may be right around the corner. A popular choice of many students is Dr. Li’s SAT program, which extensively prepares any student for the exam. As for those who are worried about the seemingly steep costs of many SAT classes, there are schools, religious centers, online teachers and former students who offer help for a relatively low cost. Just taking a moment to research all the options available to students can benefit them tremendously. Students have the opportunity to take this exam as many times as they need. So before signing up for the next test, or undoubtedly, stressing out over it, try signing up for an SAT class, and see for yourself the differences it can make. SAT classes are an investment in a student’s future, and they are worth every penny spent.

The SAT and ACT, standardized tests that seem to haunt students long after they have been taken, are indomitable foes to countless students, insidious puzzles to others and mere walks in the park for a few. Regardless, countless students calculate the importance of these standardized tests as a heavy factor in the college admissions process and decide not to risk falling behind the rest of their peers, so they sign up for prep classes. However, SAT and ACT prep courses are unnecessary. The area’s popular SAT and ACT prep courses, Princeton Review, Kaplan Test Prep, Dr. Li and C2 all consist of practice SAT packets with a few tips on how to tackle the monster test. Review books made by the SAT’s infamous pundits that contain up to 10 complete past SAT tests can be found in Barnes and Noble bookstores for less than $20 or free at a local library. The newest book also comes with detailed tips on how to tackle the questions that trip most people up and what to look out for on the test. Ironically, big name review places have come out with their own versions of the College B o a r d ’s official test bookvirtually taking away any added benefit that may have been obtained f r o m attending t h e i r Photo courtesy MCTcampus private A student studies with a personal SAT tutor. Every year students all over the country take SAT tutoring prep classes and SAT practice tests to increase chances of college acceptance.

Filibuster ‘nuclear option’ could bust Democrats Cameron Walkup staff writer In an attempt to stop unprecedented levels of partisanship in the Senate resulting from President Barack Obama’s election, Democrats recently changed Senate rules by a vote of 52-48, with three Democrats voting against the measure. The changes make it so just a simple majority – 51 votes – is needed to approve all executive branch and judicial nominees other than those to the Supreme Court. The recent filibuster changes in the Senate resulting from Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) use of the “nuclear option” are a misguided attempt at reform. Democrats, led by Reid, said they were driven to use the option as a result of the expansion of filibustering by Republicans during the Obama administration. The final straw appears to have been the Republican blocking of three of President Obama’s nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “I think he’s been conflicted between protecting the traditions of the Senate and doing his job, which is to move legislation through the Senate. It’s hard to do the first when you’ve got 40-some senators abusing those traditions every single day and in turn

Abby Wei features editor

making it impossible to do your job,” former Reid spokesperson Rodell Mollineau said. Despite the faults of the system, and the obvious faults of the Republican Party during president Obama’s administration, the enactment of the nuclear option will not solve the real problems – increasing gridlock and partisanship in Washington –but rather only further them. Two main problems will arise from this “reform.” Presidents controlling a majority of the Senate will no longer have any reason to seek for any balance in their nominations, as their nominees no longer can be blocked. This also sets in motion a precedent that future majority parties will no longer need to negotiate with the minority when debating over appointments. Although filibuster reform is needed, this is not the way to go. This deal will end up biting Democrats when they eventually lose the majority. As then-Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D) said in 2005 when Republicans threatened to invoke the nuclear option in a similar case, “You may own the field right now. But you won’t own it forever. And I pray to God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”

sessions. And although test prep sites usually make their own tests, Kaplan is notorious for making harder tests than the actual SAT, giving students both superfluous preparation. Some students, like junior Dennis Chen who attended a summer SAT prep session at Dr. Li, think that group SAT prep courses do not cater to the individual’s weaknesses. “Dr. Li’s [course] does not suit a specific person’s needs; it’s too broad so I couldn’t learn much. [SAT prep courses] aren’t the best preparation for the actual test but students take them anyway because it’s motivating and helps provide regular practice at least. Still, that $800 was not well spent.” Chen said. The simple reminder to practice for the SAT, something one’s mother can do for free, is hardly worth thousands of dollars. Launched in the past couple of years, the College Board’s Official SAT Online Course offers a less expensive but efficient way to self-study for the SAT. With 10 official practice tests, automatic essay scoring, personalized score reports and interactive lessons, the online course offers students a plethora of study resources for $69.95.“The online course definitely provided me with enough practice, but there are still some tips that tutors could give you that aren’t provided in the course. It was still really helpful though,” junior Emily Kiener said. Although ACT and SAT prep courses can help give some direction to the average befuddled student, they are ultimately psychological safety nets for those who feel as if they are not doing enough to study for the test. Unfortunately this lulling sense of comfort can cost up to $2,000. Skip the course and self-study by buying a practice book, make an organized plan leading up to the test and sleep well the night before the test, knowing that if you are truly prepared, the blue SAT monster will soon be vanquished by your number two pencil and will never bother you again.

DC area Wal-Marts exploit workers Maria Zlotescu opinion editor Two new Wal-Marts opened in DC on Dec. 4. This multi-national, multi-million dollar franchise is famous for discount prices. On opening day countless DC residents lined up with their wallets to shop, excited that they would no longer have to drive to Richmond, Virginia or Germantown. Other residents lined up with pickets signs, protesting. New Wal-Marts are not as great as they first appear to be behind the great deals and convience. This franchise is famous for being anti-union. In fact, according to the Washington Post, Wal-Marts are not opening in Boston or New York City because of the cities’ strong pro-union policies. Wal-Mart is also famous for paying workers low wages. Every year the federal government spends billions of dollars on food stamps for Wal-Mart employees. In Ohio last month, Wal-Mart had a food drive for their own employees. People there work full time and cannot afford to feed themselves or their families. A free box of

macaroni does not make up for that. In fact, full time employees should not have to need charity to survive. Their salaries should suffice. Yet this is no longer the case. Wal-Mart workers and other minimum wage employees now use more and more government programs such as food stamps. According to the documentary “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Living,” it costs tax payers $1.58 billion every year to support Wal-Mart employees. DC council members and Mayor Vincent Grey argue that the new WalMarts will introduce more jobs to the DC area. They are right; about 800 jobs will be created because of the store openings. However, those jobs do not even pretend to pay enough to cover living costs for one of the most expensive places in the country. With that in mind, the new positions do not sound nearly as impressive Instead of encouraging a company that blatantly throws human decency to the wind, the DC area governments should invest in local businesses that pay their employees reasonable amounts for their work. People making a livable wage help the economy more than cheap T-shirts.

’Tis the Seaso

As falling leaves and warm autumn breezes give way to snowy days and bare tree ed holiday season is finally in full swing. With a diverse student population, celeb holidays differ based on tradition and cultural background. No two holidays are are equally important to those who celebrate them. With so many different celebr is sometimes difficult to keep them all straight. Never fear: Common Sense is he inside scoop on how students celebrate just a few of the major winter holidays an behind how they came to be. Design and graphics by Allie Greenspun Commons Editor

New Year’s Eve Celebrated on December 31 according to the standard calendar, New Year’s eve commemorates the end of the current year and the dawn of the next. Though New Years Day is considered the actual “holiday,” all of the action takes place the night before. Celebrations differ by country, but in the Unites States, New Year’s Eve is a family and friend-oriented event. The largest New Year’s event takes place in Times Square in New York City, where the ball drops at midnight and cheering crowds ring in the new year together. The event is host to musical guests and celebrities with coverage from major news channels. Though the holiday has a religious connection, Americans have commercialized it into a strictly celebratory holiday. Traditions include attending parties, using confetti and noisemakers when the clock strikes midnight, receiving a New Year’s kiss at midnight and making a list of New Year’s resolutions or things that you want to achieve or improve in the coming year. Many use New Year’s as a way to kickstart the year and finally get rid of old bad habits.

Chinese New Year Ringing in on January 31 this year, Chinese New Year, translated literally from Chinese as the Spring Festival, is marked as the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar. The 15-day festivities reach their pinnacle on the eve of the full moon, in which fireworks erupt and reunited family sits down for a dinner that commonly features dishes like fish and dumplings. Red envelopes filled with money, of any quantity (although even amounts in particular are favored), are gifted from adults, particularly married couples, to children. The holiday symbolizes a time of reunion and thanksgiving, and flowers are strung throughout the house to represent rebirth and new growth. Tangerines are gifted to newlyweds to bring happiness in abundance, and candy trays are put out for house guests to dive sweetly into the Near Year. The entire home is cleaned pristinely to echo the sentiment ‘out with the old and in with the new’,’ and lanterns, paper cutting crafts, and upside down “Fu” signs are strewn throughout for holiday spirit.


As the annual celebration of t branches of the Christian religio all around the world. Closing th on December 24 with Christma Christmas Eve range from dinners attending church, caroling and o After the celebrations, children ea According to legend, Santa sta and travels around the world in one distributing presents to boys and gir by the fireplace for Santa to eat after h He leaves presents under the decorat wake up in the morning, they open celebrate with their families. Many a In America, the Christmas commercial industry. Stores open t early as the night of Thanksgiving a the special Black Friday sales. From season continues with decorations trees, ornaments, mistletoe, wreath green start popping up everywhere major activity during the Christmas helping those in need in the local co based holiday the promotes togethe


es, the long-awaitbrations of winter e the same, but all rations going on, it ere to give you the nd the background


the birth of Jesus Christ in the different on, Christmas is a holiday celebrated he advent season, Christmas kicks off as Eve celebrations. Celebrations of s and parties with family and friends, other traditions that differ by family. agerly await the arrival of Santa Claus. arts in the North Pole on Christmas Eve e night on a sleigh led by flying reindeer, rls. Families often leave milk and cookies he enters the house through the chimney. ted Christmas tree and when the children n the presents, check their stockings and attend church on Christmas day as well. season has grown into a booming their doors to the public beginning as as crowds swarm in to take advantage of m Black Friday onward, the Christmas s such as Christmas lights, decorated hs, holly and all other things red and e. In the spirit of giving, shopping is a s season. Others choose to give back by ommunity. Christmas is a largely family erness and love throughout the season.

Hannukah With 16 different spelling variations, (C)han(n)uk(k)a(h) is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight nights in commemoration of the victory of the Maccabees over King Antiochus, who refused to allow the Jews to practice their religion. Once the Maccabees reclaimed their temple, they used oil to light an “eternal flame,” which they assumed would last only one day, but miraculously ended up lasting eight days and nights. To celebrate this miracle, eight candles are placed on a menorah and an extra ninth candle called a “Shamash” is used to light the other candles, becoming the ninth candle on the menorah. The celebration lasts for eight nights and one candle plus the Shamash is lit the first night. The second night, two candles and the Shamash are lit and so on each night until finally all nine candles are lit on the final night. Along with lighting the menorah, two prayers are said, gifts are exchanged between friends and loved ones and in many families, traditional food is prepared and games are played. The game of Dreidel, which is similar to top, includes spinning a dreidel that has a Jewish letter on each of the four sides. Chocolate coins called “gelt” are exchanged depending on which letter the dreidel lands on and at the end, all of the participants get to eat the gelt. Typical foods prepared on Hannukah include potato pancakes called latkes and Sufganiyot or jelly- filled doughnuts. Hannukah falls on the 25th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar each year. The Hebrew calendar is lunar while the standard calendar is solar so Hannukah falls anytime from late November to early January depending on the year. Though it is most often during December, this year Hannukah happened to fall at the very end of November, overlapping with Thanksgiving celebrations. Experts predict that Hannukah and Thanksgiving will not coincide again for the next 70,000 years.

Kwanzaa Created in 1996 by Dr. Maulana “Ron” Karenga, a professor of Black Studies at California State University, Kwanza is a nonreligious holiday celebrated each year from December 26 to January 1. Karenga created the holiday as a way “to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people” who were facing a hard time in America in the 1960s. Based on the year-end festivals that take place in Africa, each of the seven days of Kwanzaa honors a different one of the “Seven Principles” in African culture. The principles include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, creativity and faith. Traditionally, families get together on December 31 for a feast of “karamu” featuring African foods. The colors of Kwanzaa are red, green and black. Kwanzaa is celebrated among family and friends with special greetings to reinforce the day’s principle and the usage of the seven symbols of Kwanzaa including the unity cup, lighting seven candles, the eating of harvest foods and the exchange of gifts.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

The scoop with Skatie Elusive woodpecker nears extinction Zach Lowy staff writer

photo by Tracy Yu

A very Skatie snowday

Sophie Lehrenbaum & Katie McRae editors-in-chief You’re looking out the window. The snow has changed to rain, but you maintain hope that the rain falling will turn into treacherous ice— the kind that threatens school buses and cancels school. You’re on the MCPS website now, exercising your pointer finger with constant clicks to refresh the page. Still nothing. You guess that essay won’t finish itself… but wait! You hear your phone alert a text. It could either be from your crazy classmate asking what size margins your essay has or from MCPS. It’s from MCPS. You usually regret signing up for those texts that seem to alert you if there is a tornado 538 miles away or if .13 inches of rain might be falling in Rockville, but now it’s different. This is the text you’ve been waiting for. It’s a snow day. Minimize the essay… …And maximize the fun! Upon waking up, you look at your alarm clock with a smirk; you have won this round. You then slowly tip toe to the kitchen and lift up the blinds to ensure that you are not delusional. Once you confirm that your sanity is indeed safe, you indulge in an elaborate snow-day breakfast of hot chocolate, marshmallows and cereal because you can. #yolo. You chew extra thoroughly to savor the sweet taste of snow day.

 Now that you’ve gotten your snow day fuel, you bring out the snow pants that have the rips in the side from your last epic sledding adventure. Armed in your snow-toure clothing you cite the wise words of Horace: Carpe Snowem, or something like that. Flash forward 15 minutes later and you are finally ready to take your first steps outside. But wait, you can’t remember if you went to the bathroom before you got into your suit. Flash forward 20 minutes later, and now you are ready to take your first steps outside. Dodging the minefield of yellow, puppy-sullied snow in an otherwise beautifully untouched landscape of virgin crystals, you trudge to your rude, elderly neighbor’s home to scrape at the layers of ice and snow from his driveway. But you stop. It’s too quiet outside. You look around to assess the area, but it’s too late. The first snowball of the year comes flying from undisclosed location and hits you in the face. You don’t even have time to think about the stinging numbness that is your nose or the pain as the ice seeps inside your jacket. You know it is the neighborhood’s fifth grade hoodlums who are firing snowballs from all directions. An urgent, primal instinct creeps over you, driving you to promptly retaliate by making them cry and then begging them not to tell their parents. You quickly retreat inside before the scene escalates into something much uglier, and their long-johns end up over their heads. You can almost remember when you used to babysit them.

 You come inside and strip off those wet, elephant pelts of snow pants. Your skin is bright red and your bladder is full, so you know it was time to retire to the great indoors. Upstairs, you pass a mirror and catch your reflection; you look like an overgrown wet rat, so you consider sending a selfie to all the people on your Snapchat list because you are simply in it for entrancing the boyz. Next, you get to the important part of the snow day: the TV smorgasbord. You begin with something adventurey, something that will match the mood of the dark, chilly world outside, and perhaps you close the blinds to give the room a more dungeonous atmosphere: Game of Thrones it is. After a blood-soaked, innuendofilled marathon, your spirits need a break from all the beheadings, so you seek solace in some Nickelodeon classics like Snow Day, and even consider a double feature followed by March of the Penguins, but then you realize that nothing is more boring then watching penguins waddle for two and a half straight hours and recall that you fell asleep in the theater showing. You slowly begin to nod off in the snuggly confines of your fleece blanket. 
You wake up from your long winter’s hibernation and wonder how many of your favorite Game of Thrones characters died during your nap. Suddenly you hear something outside. It’s the evil snowplow truck followed by the even worse vehicle that covers the road in salt. Now you’re feeling salty that these trucks are ruining your chance for tomorrow’s of snow day: round two. So you head back to your computer, and maximize that essay. You see that the only words written on the screen are “Hamlet was acting as crazy as a kid who just found out school was cancelled.” You have to start over. You finish the essay, and get ready to pull out your math homework. But then you get a text. It’s from MCPS.

The demise of a society is always devastating, whether it be a species or a civilization. Many varieties of animals have ceased to exist, and there are still endangered species that, because of habitat destruction and hunting, are awaiting extinction. The ivory-billed woodpecker is the most endangered species in the world. In fact, it is classified as probably or definitely extinct. So why is it so legendary among biologists and ornithologists? The answer is simple: the woodpeckers refuse to quit. Rumors of the existence of the ivory-billed woodpecker continues to spawn reports of sightings and exhaustive research of them. The last reported sighting was from nine years ago, but ornithologists are still skeptical that the species is gone. As birds, woodpeckers tend to go mostly unnoticed, probably because of the enigmatic behavior. Sophomore student Kyle Fleskes said, “I have a weird relationship with woodpeckers. I hear them but I don’t see them.” Some, like sophomore Maddie Mays seem to notice them. “They’re very noisy,” said Mays. However, the ivory-billed woodpecker’s unrealistic toil to survive has not gone unnoticed in the ornithology community. The ivory-billed woodpecker once lived throughout most of the Southeastern United States and as far north as Southern Illinois. They prefer large areas of hardwood forests with close access to water. The woodpeckers eat larva and insects found in dead

or dying trees, as well as some seeds and fruits. They excavate nests in dead trees, where both parents share in the raising of chicks. Because their habitats have been mostly destroyed, they have only been linked to bottom land swamp forests over the past 100 years. In February 2004, kayaker Gene Sparling defied the conclusion that the woodpeckers were extinct by spotting one in Arkansas. Two Cornell ornithologists went to the same bayou and had an “unmistakable sighting” of the woodpecker, the first sighting by experts in 60 years. An official search team was subsequently organized, and while spending nearly 60 hours searching for it, four people spotted the bird on four different days, declaring it to be none other than the ivory-billed woodpecker. Two more reports of the woodpecker were reported in the following year and there were also reports of the distinct woodpecker sounds. Ornithologists found the ivory-billed woodpecker in Florida in 2006, but in 2009, no one found the bird. In all, $10 million has been raised for the resurrection of the woodpeckers. Whether or not the woodpeckers still live in the forests is a mystery. But the legendary phenomenon of the ivory-billed woodpecker continues to pervade the minds of many ornithologists. Because of this remarkable eluding of death, the ivory-billed woodpecker clearly deserves its nickname, the “Holy Grail” of ornithology. The mind-boggling spectacle of the ivory-billed woodpecker will live on in legend, in a ping pong match between the life and death.

Winter paradises: best places to vacation

6.San Juan, Puerto Rico- San Juan is another get Myles Romm away from the blistering cold weather of Maryland staff writer 1. Leukerbad, Switzerland- Hidden away in the and gives people a chance to enjoy the warmth of a Swiss Alps, Leukerbad is renowned for the thermal sunny beach. Local hotel chefs have friendly cooksprings that sprinkle the resorts. After a long day offs, creating huge amounts of food that are delicious skiing on the mountain or enjoying many of the other and perfect for Christmas dinner. aspects of the resort, the waters offer a calm break 7. Aspen, Colorado- Similar to Lake Tahoe, from the non-stop action of the day. The beauties the Aspen, Colorado, is for skiers. The mountain is Alps hold truly make the resorts look too good to be beautiful, covered in large amounts of fluffy snow that true, making it a vacation that will be remembered make the hour to get down the mountain ascetically forever. pleasing and just plain fun. The different resorts not 2. Lake Tahoe, California- Lake Tahoe is great only offer skiing but shopping and restaurants, which place to spend break skiing. With different resorts that can help provide alternatives if not everyone in the surround the lake, winter family skies. sports are in abundance. 8. Fort Myers, 3.New York City, Florida- Although a New York- New York white Christmas is next to has always been one of impossible in warm Fort the most recognized Myers, the people still love cities in the world. When to get in the holiday spirit. it comes to Christmas It’s a town tradition to time, no city gets into the cover houses in Christmas season like New York. lights, as well as hold an Whether it’s the Santa’s annual Christmas parade. who line the street for the With the opportunity to Salvation Army, the huge enjoy a great beach town tree in the Rockefeller and some warm weather, Center Plaza or an allFort Myers is the place to time favorite, shopping, be. there’s always something 9. Montreal, to do. Canada- Montreal is a 4.Finland- Lapland perfect place to go to enjoy is not usually thought Christmas and experience of when Christmas a different culture. The vacation is brought up, food, shopping and sport but it offers a great teams are what make trip. Lapland happens Montreal an unbelievable to be inside the Arctic city. Montreal, like most Circle, located near the huge cities, presents its North Pole. Its northern annual Christmas tree in location not promises the middle of downtown. a white Christmas, but photo courtesy MTC Campus Also, Montreal offers a also the beautiful sight San Juan is a popular winter vacation spot for families to escape the cold. unique chance to see the of the northern lights. summer Olympic stadium Additionally, as these lights cover the sky, people can from 1976. visit Lapland’s most famous attraction, Santa Village. 10. The Homestead, Virginia- If a quiet get 5. Nuremberg, Germany- Different from all away at a beautiful resort is what one is looking for, The the other vacation spots on this list, the city holds a Homestead is the perfect place. Based in Hot Springs, huge, magnificently lit market in the middle of town. VA, in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, The This market is the center for all tourism in Nuremberg Homestead offers a memorable Christmas. One can and offers fantastic Christmas shopping. Besides the experience ice skating in the middle of the resort, shopping, Nuremberg is well known for its baking- skiing on their private mountain and snow tubing. The from everything from plain bread to sweet desserts. Homestead is quiet, peaceful and not crowded.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

Washington Zoo Lights illuminate city sky Tiffany Yu staff writer Brilliant light sculptures of giant pandas and Komodo dragons dazzle families as they stroll through the night. Children ride animal figurines on a solar-powered “Conservation Carousel” while parents sip-gulp spiked hot chocolate. This winter wonderland is none other than ZooLights. ZooLights is a yearly winter celebration held by the Smithsonian National Zoo. The event runs from 5 through 9 p.m. on Nov 29 through Jan 1, excluding Dec 24, 25 and 31. Admission is free. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll past colorful animal light sculptures or ride the train tour for $3. Though the glittering LED light display is the main attraction, the zoo hosts a variety of other fun activities. A solar-powered merry-go-round dubbed the Conservation Carousel features 58 hand painted animal figurines, each a different species. The large figurines range from the common lady bug to the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog. Visitors can even hop on a yellow jacket. If oversized hornets do not sound appealing, no worries, instead visitors can spend their $3 on snow tubing at Lion/Tiger hill, or visit the Zoo Visitor Center for a

photo courtesy the National Zoo The National Zoo’s annual festival lights, created in clever animal shapes such as pandas, giraffes and butterflies and placed throughout the zoo, are a big hit with visitors.

“Zoo-magination Station” with Legos and trains to amuse the little ones. Last but not least is a giant blow up snow globe. Sophomore Grace Chen is eager to go to ZooLights “because [I want to see] the panda dancing in the snow globe,” Chen said. Note that the dancer is a man dressed in a panda suit, not an actual panda. During this time, the zoo is selling all

sorts of special holiday foods to satisfy hungry sightseers. Drinks include hot chocolate, eggnog, coffee and mulled cider. People can also munch on roasted nuts, kettle corn, holiday pastries and gingerbread. Those over 21 can also purchase spiked hot chocolate, wine or beer. “Who wouldn’t want to go?” said sophomore Eric Meyer. When it gets too chilly outside, step inside the heated exhibit buildings to view the nocturnal animals. The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center and Think Tank are open every night. Before heading to the Zoo, aspiring architects can enter the “Gin-grr-bread contest.” Contestants must design a gingerbread habitat for the Zoo’s new tiger cubs based on the theme “Stalking in a ZooLights Wonderland.” First prize is a keeper-led behind the scenes tour of the Great Cat exhibit. Visitors can even donate money to buy gifts for the animals. These enrichment items include painting supplies to support the artistic expressions of pandas or iTunes gift cards for musically-inclined apes. All proceeds from ZooLights sales will benefit a variety of Zoo wildlife conservation programs and initiatives. “I would visit because it helps the environment,” said junior Soundarya Avantsa.

‘Catching Fire’ ignites the hearts of audiences worldwide Allie Greenspun commons editor Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, hit theaters everywhere Nov. 22, attracting audiences ranging from hordes of squealing preteens to a fair share of adults. As the sequel to the first movie based off of Suzanne Collins’s bestselling books, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire picks up right where the first one left off, in a futuristic dystopian society called Panem where 12 individual Districts are run by a cruel and unforgiving government located in the Capitol. The protagonists, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, have just returned from the 74th annual Hunger Games after a daunting, televised fight to the death against 22 other boys and girls. The game has gone down in history as the first ever to produce not one, but two separate winners. After a clever, yet defiant spur-of-the-moment move pulled by Katniss and Peeta in the final minutes of the game, a hasty change of rules declared that they were each allowed to go home. The movie opens with President Snow, the head of the corrupt Capitol government, revealing to Katniss that the Districts perceived her rule-change evoking stunt at the end of the games as an act of rebellion toward the governmental system. He delivers a stern warning: she must convince the citizens of the Districts on her upcoming Victory Tour that the only reason she pulled the surprise move was because she is so head over heels in love with Peeta, or else face the wrath of the government.

photo courtesy MTC Campus Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence play the sweet Peeta Mellark and fiesty Katniss Everdeen in the blockbuster hit “Catching Fire,” which was released Nov. 22 and amassed $158 million opening weekend.

After a fairly unsuccessful tour, Katniss is unable to produce the results Snow is looking for and the Districts slip further into disarray. Snow then pulls a deadly plot twist in an attempt to repair order and punish Katniss with his announcement that the tributes for the 75thannual Hunger Games, also known as the “Quarter Quell,” will be chosen from the pool of existing tributes.

Katniss and Peeta are thrown straight into the midst of their worst nightmare, sent back to the arena they thought they had escaped forever. With plot twists thrown in throughout the course of the movie and a balanced blend of heart-wrenching scenes of injustice and enthralling displays of friendship, love triangles and action, Catching Fire does justice

to the book while simultaneously adding its own flare to the story with beautifully crafted cinematography, compliments of director Francis Lawrence. As with most movies, Catching Fire has its flaws, though they are merely tiny blemishes when looked at in the context of the overall character of the film. For those who read the book, the inevitable absence of certain events in the movie may cause some frustration. Several scenes that had been present in the book were cut out from the movie entirely while a handful of others were only briefly touched on. This is a typical characteristic of films adapted from books, and in the movie’s defense, it is quite difficult to fit all 391 pages of action loaded text into a 146-minute time slot. With that perspective in mind, the movie did an admirable job of summarizing the most important points in a clear manner. The all-star cast, including Hollywood sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, and heartthrobs Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as Peeta and Gale, give spectacular performances and inspire viewers to fall in love with the characters all over again. With a satisfying mixture of horror, romance, drama, comedy and scifi elements, Catching Fire is thoroughly entertaining and enthralling. This winter break, whether a veteran Hunger Games fan or simply someone looking for a way to fill all that newfound free time, grab the family or some friends and head over to the movie theater for a screening of Catching Fire, as it promises not to disappoint viewers of any age.

Winter hot spots still open for those who do not celebrate Christmas holiday Sophie Lehrenbaum editor-in-chief Immediately after Thanksgiving, Christmas seems to permeate the air; Mariah Carey’s renditions of classics follow busy shoppers from store to store, while homes swathed in tea lights line every road like beacons guiding Santa and his dependable crew of reindeer. Decking the halls proves to be no true challenge, with Christmas constantly on the mind during this season, but for those who do not celebrate the holiday, Christmas day options can seem fairly limited to the stereotypical matinee-and-moo-shu-chicken rendezvous. Instead, keep in mind this varied and sizeable list of Christmas day alternatives to keep extended family at bay and silence scrooges of all sizes. If weather permits it, outside activities in the brisk December air can be invigorating, fun ways to spend time with loved ones and ease some of the guilt that stems from an inevitable holiday baked-good-binge. While national parks are closed for the holiday, a number of trails are open for hikers searching for a strenuous trek, such as paths running

through Sugarloaf Mountain. For those in the market for a more level path, park along the C&O Canal and walk down to Georgetown for an urban hike. The national monuments and memorials throughout D.C. are also open on Christmas day and are typically underutilized during this time, presenting savvy Washingtonians with a window of time for ideal monument-hopping, when the lines are short and parking is plentiful. Those who seek to embrace the merits of an afternoon in the great indoors also have an abundance of options at their fingertips. On Christmas day, the Botanic Gardens downtown remain open, displaying its traditional collection of exotic vegetation. From now through Jan. 5, the Gardens also have a special “Season’s Greetings” theme, boasting impressive models of iconic creations from past World’s Fairs and the monuments throughout the city. Later in the evening, the Kennedy Center is putting on a seasonal commemoration of its own with the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam, a free, 15th annual holiday concert.

Religious or not, the ideas that characterize the holiday spirit transcend denominations, and as the year approaches its end, it is time for people to reflect upon all they are fortunate to have in their lives and act for those who are not as lucky. The giving spirit is not limited to Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza. A gratifying and engaging way to spend Christmas day is by giving back to the community though volunteering. Organizations like the Capital Area Food Bank have lots of projects going on during this time of year to provide the homeless with meals, leaving a definite need for more helpers. Other groups, such as The Holiday Project, simply provide much appreciated conversation and company for residents at nursing homes and patients in hospitals throughout the area. Whether or not you spend Christmas in Grandma’s hand-knitted itchy “little helper” sweater or don a shirt that boasts “Hanukah Harry is my homeboy,” the city is alive with seasonal activities on Christmas day, and Chinese food will still remain an ever-present, delicious alternative.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

Rapping with Kenny Hailey

Shemaiah Ellis arts editor

graphic by Jake Brodsky The outline of the graphic is the logo used by Kenny Hailey. The lyrics to one of his singles, “Kid Again,” are placed throughout the graphic.

Since the age of eight, it seemed that rapping could be something senior Kenny Hailey could succeed at. “I just liked writing and it came easy to me, putting words together so that they flow wasn’t really the hardest task,” Kenny Hailey said. Currently a senior, Hailey also goes by his stage name, Audio. “I just like to write what I’m thinking down better versus saying it, being able to let everything out onto paper makes me content.” Hailey believes that it is easiest to write about things that are relevant to himself, whether its relationship problems with anyone, or struggles in school, “There is always situations that occur that I write about, eventually it can be turned into a rap,” Hailey said. Hailey isn’t unfamiliar with the effort it takes to perfect craft; he often finds himself locked in his room with the lights completely off with no sound or movement. “It sounds depressing, but it isn’t,” Hailey said. “It was just that anywhere else I couldn’t fully concentrate.” In the free time Hailey does find he enjoys listening to various artists, all the way from Lauryn Hill to Chance the Rapper. Although his expertise is rapping, Hailey

likes other genres like indie rock/pop or some dubstep. “I don’t really listen to music as much now. I know it sounds annoying, but everything is the same and it’s nothing worthwhile,” Hailey said. Hailey recently performed at Puttin’ on the Hitz and awed his fellow students and teachers with his skill. “I felt that [Sudden Impact] and I did well for the time that we had to prepare; it was like three practices within two weeks. If we had more time we would’ve used it but I’m happy with the outcome.” Hailey said. Alongside classmates’ seniors Michael Felber, Drew Hollins and Nick Poto, as well as drummer Alec Young and lead singer Sierra Buck from Quince Orchard. Sudden Impact and Audio covered songs like “Billionaire” by Bruno Mars, “Encore” by Linkin Park, and “Mind of Logic” by Logic as well as “Monster” by Eminem featuring Rihanna incorporated into the ending. When asked what he hopes people think after they listen to a track of his, he responded: “I hope they can correlate to things I talk about in my songs. I hope they feel as if I have potential,” Hailey said. With years of growth ahead of him, Hailey is simply going along with the flow and looking to improve on what he finds beneficial. “Rushing isn’t anything I want to do. Good timing is everything.”

Kanye West provides Verizon Center audience with ‘art show’ Sofie Jacobs managing editor

Kanye West’s Yeezus tour was anything but its raw, minimalist namesake album. Each concert is luxury: three gigantic screens circled the ceiling, a monster stalked across the stage, two mountains rose, snow fell, a volcano erupted, a fake-Jesus appeared and naked dancers- creeping, rather than dancing, as kinds of ethereal animals- lifted a screaming West. It was over-the-top, insane and all around magnificent. Visually, it was incredible. West wore four bejeweled Martin Margiela masks and boasted a beautiful light show, but balanced them with a simple, elegant stage. A tall, white, jagged mountain stood in the background with a skinny triangular stage jutting from the center. As the concert went on, the triangular stage rose to create a second mountain West would dance on until it shook under him. “It wasn’t even a concert. It was an art show set to the background of Kanye music,” senior Sara Strei said. The show itself was split into five sections: fighting, rising, falling, searching and finding. In one section, the three screens above the stage broadcasted each word’s definitions with relevant, powerful quotes. However, rather than cycling through West’s best albums and works- merging similar melodies next to one another- the songs were carefully picked to match their accompanying act. Take, for example, the act titled “Falling.” It was defined as a “verb: [to] detach, move downward, succumb, surren-

der, crash,” elaborated on with “mere mortals can’t ruin their own lives” and finished with the quote, “Who will give me wings, I ask, wings like a dove?” Previously, the Rising section, filled with pop hits like “Power,” “Clique” and “Can’t Tell me Nothing” detailed West’s rise to fame. However, the following “Falling” told the story of his struggle with the newfound celebrity status. With the humbled arrogance of someone who had interrupted America’s sweetheart on national television and did not know how to stop being “a bad guy,” West sang “Hold My Liquor,” “I’m In It,” “Guilt Trip,” “Heartless” and finally, the powerful, toe-curling ballad, “Blood on the Leaves.” As a volcano emerged from the stage he once commanded, West told the story of a relationship ruined by ego and fame seemed to realize onstage the mistakes of his former life. Through this careful structure, the concert did not seem like a compilation of West’s best works, but his autobiography. It told his story of fighting for himself his whole life, finally rising to stardom, struggling with the newfound fame, looking for redemption after his mistakes and finally finding love and meaning in his life. West, a storyteller; the songs, his stories, he let the audience into his world, doubts, and fears. West’s emotions peaked during his performance of “Guilt Trip,” in the Falling section. Contextually, West had started to realize his mistakes and blamed others for inciting them. (Presumably former fiancé Alexis Phifer). West stood at the end of the stage, back to the audience, and asked, “If you loved me why’d you let me go?” His pain palpable, his

questions real, West was shockingly honest and emotional in every performance of his songs. This would explain why West covered his face for fourfifths of the show. The aforementioned masks changed color and design to reflect West’s different moods. They were not taken off until “Finding,” after the actor playing Jesus’s urgings. The audience seemed to breathe a sigh of relief alongside West. Finally, he could be himself, without the guise of a cover. But despite West’s acknowledgements that his ego had gotten out of hand and he had done wrong, he still reveled in the adoration. To introduce his hit, “Runaway,” West stood in the middle of an empty stage with a keyboard synthesizer. He hit the first note of the song, and the audience went absolutely bonkers. They screamed and cheered and begged for the song for a good two minutes before West ran to the synthesizer, hit the next note, and scurried back to the edges of the stage to thunderous applause. He walked around, waving his hand, drumming up applause, teasing the audience; making them beg for bits of a song about, ironically, modesty and self-loathing. After the song, West ranted about his life. He ranged from complaining about a failed deal with Nike sneakers to declaring himself a religion, telling the audience “Yeeze. Is. Us.” to inspiring the stands with an affirmative, “You can do anything.” After a show about struggling with ego and arrogance, Kanye stood on stage and just talked about himself. Still a jerk, but playing the role so well.

experience. I hope to do it again soon,” Naing, who was one of two group members to perform complicated flips and tricks on-stage, said. The intermission between the acts was filled with a Vine compilation created by Senior Planning that had the audience roaring in good spirits and ready to dive into Act Two, hosted by seniors Jordyn Chace and Jared Schifren. Drumline, SGA and the Woottonettes swept the stage to vigorous applause before paving the way for a merry, pop culture confection from the competing grade levels. “I think it was a very successful event. All the acts were fantastic and ran smoothly. Senior Planning was well-prepared and organized, and everyone had a lot of fun,” Senior Planning sponsor Melissa Kaplan said. Freshman Planning, the ultimate victor of the battle of the classes, was the first to shine, paying homage to dubstep and Hannah Montana in the same breath. The performance also included chairs in the air, feathered headdresses and swirling glowsticks in the dark. LED lights spelling out “2017” zoomed across the stage in a final hurrah to the next four years ahead. Sophomore Planning’s routine gave a nod to the Jingle Bell Rock scene from “Mean Girls”, complete with a skipping CD, before Junior Planning hit the stage with shortshorts and Troy Bolton vocals. The class of 2015 cheered with Gaga and counted stars with OneRepublic before signing out with Drake’s “Started from the Bottom.” Senior Planning jumped on stage with neon shirts and

brought everyone from Little Mix to LMFAO with them, with Kaplan making a surprise appearance after Zac Efron reaffirmed once and for all that yes, we are all in this together. “I thought it was wonderful. I feel like we had some speed bumps, but we got through those smoothly. The show itself was wonderful – a night to remember,” Senior Planning member Lauren Gottfried said.

Senior Planning captivates audience with lip-synching, dance competition from POTH page 1 that had the audience endeared. The duo would go on to lock down third place. Senior Angela Gu’s “Spirit of the Peacock” cleverly utilized the silhouette cast by stage lights to illuminate a controlled, elegant passion. Gu has been studying traditional dance since the age of five. Following Gu’s routine came senior Brittney Sandler, who would proceed to snag the second place title with a fast, dynamic routine met with thunderous applause and raucous shouts of support. Sophomore CarrieAnna Kuldell, the reigning runner-up of last year’s POTH, then took the stage with Michael Jackson’s perfect pitch to guide her intense number. Elevating in the ranks, the seasoned veteran would proceed to claim this year’s top spot. Next, senior Catalina Mejia strutted onstage adorned with a Columbian flag around the waist to deliver a high-energy, ethnic routine. Closing Act One with a bang, Level 1 bounded onto the stage with a captivating breakdance number, making the show come full-circle. The group was assembled through the members’ affiliation with BBoy, a club that welcomes all types of dance styles, and includes sophomore Dhruv Mehan and juniors David Ko, Soe Naing, Danny Tang and Brenton Zhang. Rahul Alfar, a former senior who won 2012 POTH with his group Level 5 and a personal friend to the Level 1 boys, was the one to name the group. “Since it was my first time dancing in front of an audience, it was nerve-wracking, but all-in-all [it was] a good

photo by Jake Brodsky Freshman, Hannah Lezcano breaks it down on the stage for the class act performances. The freshman went on to win the class performance section of Puttin’ On The Hitz.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

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Common Sense - December 17, 2013 RECORDS&SCHEDULES

Boys’ Basketball 0-0*

Dec. 18 vs. Wheaton


Girls’ Basketball 0-0*

Dec. 18 @ Wheaton

All records are as of Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Wrestling 1-1*

Today @ Churchill

*Games played too late for this issue


Ice Hockey

Indoor Track Boys’




Dec. 30 @ PG Sports Complex



Dec. 20 vs. Whitman @ Rockville Ice Rink

Swim and Dive 0-0*

Dec. 21 vs. Churchill @ KSAC

Indoor track Hockey bounces back from surges off loss with dominant showing starting blocks Shemaiah Ellis arts editor Joining together for the first meet of the season, the indoor track team competed at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex on Saturday, Jan. 7. The Patriots showed how hard work pays off with sophomore Rachel Maizel placing first place in the 300 and 500-meter events with times of 42.50 seconds and 1:21:00 seconds, respectively. Also tying for third place in the 55 meter dash, Maizel finished in 7.30 seconds. “I was quite nervous before my races I was intimated by the competition, but felt relieved once I won the 300. I was exhausted when it came time for the 500, but I pulled through and was very surprised but happy with my results,” Maizel said. Only in her sophomore year, Maizel is off to a great start in the indoor season and will hopefully be a dominant force with the team in seasons to follow. With just a few tenths separating the two seniors Hallie Byles and Erica Monterio in the 300-meter, they finished with times of 7.80 seconds and 7.90 seconds showing the team’s vast capability within events. “As a whole we performed so well and I am just hoping we can all keep it up, for myself I want to improve my times for the 55 [meter] and 300 [meter].” Byles said. In the 800-meter event, senior Kira Harrison concluded with a time of 2:37.40 seconds, which placed her in the top 10. Later on during the meet, senior Blair Toy achieved a height of 4-04.00 in the high jump event, which placed Toy in fourth place. Toy also competed in the long and triple jump and received fifth and third place, respectively. Alongside Toy, senior Kara Huie executed a height of 15-02.00 in the long jump event, allowing her to place sixth and ninth place in the triple jump event. Within the boys’ events, the Patriots got off to a slower start contrasting the girls’ achievements. One of the highlights included sophomore Redfield Shaw finishing the 55 meter dash with a time of 6.80 seconds which landed him a place of 16th, along with senior Will Salter. “I just hope to improve my times and compete with all my effort for meets to come,” Salter said. Both Salter and Shaw also competed in the 300 meter event with senior Robby Hoff who finished with a time of 39.00 seconds. Within the 1600-meter event, junior Nathan Nadal demonstrated his persistence with a finish time of 4:54.60, seconds which gave him a spot of 12th place. The boys hope to improve their times in events they usually dominate in, such as the 55 meter dash, 300 meter, 1600 meter and relay events. Due to inclement weather, the meet that was planned to be held on Tuesday, Dec. .10, will be covered in the next issue.

teamwork and winning all the battles,” the Patriots their second goal of the Nellie Allentuck senior defender Jordy Bretner said. game, assisted by senior forward Ben features editor “We can still improve on back checking Keppler. Landon scored one more time After suffering their first loss of and supporting the defense.” to round out the game, winning by a the season to Landon on Nov. 22, Senior goalie Jake Mitchell recorded final score of 8-2. varsity hockey is back on the winning his first shutout of the season, stopping “We were physically intimidated. track with a 7-0 shutout victory over ten shots from entering the goal. We realize that we have to be the team Bethesda Chevy-Chase on Dec. 6. The On Nov. 22, the Patriots played that comes out strong,” Kaplan said. victory enabled them to hold on to Landon in a non-division game. The The Patriots suffered six penalties their undefeated division record of 3-0 Patriots started off the game strong, in the loss, after having only four and and keep them in first place. with a score three minutes into the three penalties respectively in their first Sophomore forward Brandon Hall game by Kaplan, assisted by junior two games. Hall leads the team in totals started the Patriots off strong, scoring defender Robbie Weinstein. goals scored so far this season, with a goal 58 seconds after the game began, Landon then proceeded to score eight total. Kaplan and Klecker are not assisted by junior forwards Adam five unanswered goals in a span of six far behind with five each, and are the Kaplan and Harrison Linowes. minutes to giving them the 5-1 lead at only Patriots to have scored in every Hall then proceeded to score three the end of the first period. game so far this season. Brandon Hall more goals for the Patriots, assisted After a scoreless second period, leads the team in total assists, with six by junior forward Drew Butler and Landon achieved two more unanswered total, followed by Kaplan who has five Kaplan. The Patriots had a 4-0 lead goals in the third period. Bretner gave total. heading into the third period. “We just Junior forward have to focus on Luke Klecker started Walter Johnson the third period off and not think with a Patriots goal, about anything assisted by Kaplan. else,” Hall said. Kaplan added on The Patriots will another goal, while played Walter the Patriots were Johnson on shorthanded, assisted Friday, Dec. 13, by Hall. but it was too Hall then added late to appear in his fifth goal of the this issue. game, assisted by They will senior forward Ryan play Whitman Schuler, to seal the at Dec. 20 at 7-0 win. Rockville ice “The key to photo by Andrew Panagos rink at 4:15. winning was our Sophomore Brandon Hall dekes out defenders before scoring against B-CC on Dec. 6. The Patriots went on to win 7-0.

Rams pinned by Patriot wrestlers Nathan Tadesse staff writer The Patriots looked to bounce back from their defeat at the hands of the Whitman Vikings, and aimed to take down the Rockville Rams on Dec. 11. The team did exactly that, and crushed the Rams with an outstanding 75-6 victory.

The only points the Patriots conceded came in the first match of the meet, but that did not slow the team down. They went on to win the next 13 matches in commanding fashion with 10 of the wins due to pins (Spencer Parsons, Jay Carroll, Garret Ruderman, Riley Smart, Josh Hollman, John Griffin, Patrick Bernardo, Joey Castelli, Ricky Lay and Logan Tritto), and sophomore Jack Cohen and freshman Tony Hesseloff picked up victories due to forfeit. “Everyone on the team looked to improve from their last match against Whitman, and it really showed,” senior Rahul Dharmavaratha said. The Patriots jumped out on their opponents quickly, with seven out of the 10 pins coming in the first period of the match. Sophomore transfer Smart (138) dropped his

opponent on the mat, and pinned him in the first 45 seconds, earning Smart his first varsity victory. The fourth match featured senior Sina Dayanzadeh, who also aimed to earn his first varsity win. Unlike Smart’s quick victory, Dayanzadeh needed three additional overtime victories to secure his. The bloodied Dayanzadeh held an 11-10 lead going into the third period of overtime and went on to win 14-10. “I was gassed going into the third, but I knew I had to dig deep to get my first win,” Dayanzadeh said. Prior to facing the Rams, the squad opened their season against the Vikings on Dec. 8. The team came into this match with nine first-time starters against the senior stacked Vikings. Whitman jumped out to a 22-9 lead in the first six matches against the relatively inexperienced Patriots, and went on to win nine of the 14 matches on the day. Two of the five wins

for the team came from sophomores Patrick Bernardo and Spencer Parsons. Bernardo (285) wrestled in the heavyweight class and won in a dominating manner, pinning his opponent 54 seconds into the match. Bernardo’s teammate Parsons (132) pulled out the 15-8 victory, achieving two early take downs. The other three wins for the Patriots came from senior Josh Hollman (170), and juniors Garret Ruderman (182) and Logan Tritto(120). Hollman defeated his opponent in convincing fashion with a 7-1 victory. Hollman secured back points and a take down. Tritto and Ruderman each pinned their opponents, with Tritto’s coming a minute and 36 seconds into the match, and Ruderman’s five minutes and two seconds in. The team’s next match is tonight at six against the Churchill Bulldogs, at Churchill.



Common Sense - December 17, 2013

COACH PROFILES Jackie Emr: Swim and Dive

Tej Joshi staff writer

photo by Nellie Allentuck

Entering her second season as the varsity swim and dive coach, 26-year-old Jackie Emr looks to build off her success from last season, in which she led the girls’ team to an undefeated record and first place finishes in the state tournament and Metro tournament. In addition, she also led the boys’ team to a fifth place finish in the state tournament and a seventh place finish at the Metro tournament. “The girls’ definitely have the potential to go all the way again, and the boys’ also can go all the way after a building season last year,” Emr said. Beginning her swimming career at a young age, Emr swam for the Westleigh Barracudas. She began her career as coach when she was 15, also with the Barracudas, of which Emr is currently the head coach. Many of the swimmers on the team also currently swim or swam at one point for the Barracudas, thus leading many of them to have a long-standing relationship with Emr. “I taught a lot of the current freshman and sophomores how to swim when they were babies from my time at Stone Bridge,” Emr said. Emr attended Wootton and graduated in 2005; while at

Coach Jackie Emr, entering her second year coaching at Wootton, observes the team at their scrimmage against Gaithersburg on Dec. 7. The Patriots went on to win.

Chris Bohlen: Boys’ Basketball

Myles Romm staff writer Nearing 21 seasons of coaching, boys’ basketball coach Christopher Bohlen is hoping to reshape the image of the team after last year’s results. The future of the boys’ basketball team lies in the past of the main leader of the team: the coach. Ever since Bohlen’s playing days in high school, he has had an interest in helping kids. Whether it is teaching them how to grow as a person or how to dribble a basketball, Bohlen was passionate. He dove into coaching at a young age, helping to teach little kids how to play basketball at the local community center. Although Bohlen could have played basketball in college, he opted to follow his academic career instead. After Coach Chris Bohlen graduating from Notre Dame on an academic scholarship, he quickly entered into the job he loved the most, coaching. With the experience of coaching college basketball from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and the University of Evansville, Bohlen quickly gained knowledge and wisdom. Soon afterward, Bohlen decided to become a part of the academic side of school as well as the athletic side. At Phoebus High School in

Virginia, he taught social studies and become the head coach of the boys’ basketball team. As five years passed by, Bohlen found himself at a similar job in Montgomery County. Bohlen has been the coach of the boys’ basketball team for seven years and started his eighth season on Dec. 12. “I’ve never viewed coaching or teaching as a job,” Bohlen said. Bohlen’s players have had a chance to truly see all his emotions on and off the court. “Coach cares for each player throughout high school,” junior guard Justin Feldman said. Every year, Bohlen holds a basketball game reunion to stay in contact with his players. It helps him watch the kids he used to photo by Sam Eichberg coach grow up into adults. As the team geared up to play against Walter Johnson on Dec. 12, instead of the 10th because of the snow cancellations, Bohlen was excited for the beginning of the season. In the first week of the season, the team plays five games and is looking forward to the challenge. With the coaching experience from Bohlen, the Patriots are poised to be an elite team in Montgomery County this year.

Wootton, Emr was a two-year captain of the swim team. Her brother, also a captain on the swim team, graduated in 2009. Emr excelled in the 500 freestyle while in high school. She participated in Division III swimming while she attended Skidmore College. Her first swim headcoaching job was with Stone Bridge Pool. After previous coach Howard Blume died in 2012, Emr took over as the head coach. Blume was Emr’s coach while she attended Wootton. She was previously an assistant coach beginning in 2009. After her success last season, Emr was awarded female coach of the year by the Gazette and was given the All Metropolitan award by the Washington Post. Emr motivates and drives her team emotionally. “She is always giving us confidence, and she just drives to be more spirited,” junior team manager Leah Zhang said. Junior Jason Lazar agreed with Zhang. “She encourages everyone to do their best and come to practice to get better,” Lazar said. Emr believes a key to coaching is high energy and excitement. “Kids really respond to people who are excited, which is why I like to be excited and be full of energy while coaching,” Emr said. In addition to being a swim coach, Emr is also a fourth grade teacher at Travilah Elementary School.

Maggie Dyer: Girls’ Basketball

three years. When a job opened at Wootton, she jumped on the opportunity to return to Montgomery County. “I knew that Holy According to varsity girls’ basketball head Child was really just a stepping stone,” Dyer coach Maggie Dyer, being a successful coach said. “I really wanted to get back to MoCo.” has a lot less to do with age and a lot more Although Dyer went to work immediately, to do with the ability to inspire. “It doesn’t her first team finished a miserable 4-20. really matter how long you’ve been there, it After that, the program took off, and didn’t just takes a certain charisma. You have to be look back. able to make people want to listen to you, Her third year, the team had their first and work hard for you.” winning season, finishing 16-7. The following Although she finds it difficult to put this year, the team reached new heights as they quality into words, one thing is for sure: she won 20 games and definitely has it. “She is the division title such a leader,” junior guard for the first time Cece Kobylski said. “She in almost 30 years. makes us work very hard, “That fourth year and we love it.” was my best year,” Dyer is entering her Dyer said. “Those eleventh year of leading were the girls that a program that has had been freshmen consistently finished with when I first came, a record well above .500. and we put it But it has not always been together.” that way. “When I first Dyer cites her came here, we were the main influence as worst team in the county,” her father, who Dyer said. “We had been played for legendary notorious for being the Dematha coach worst. I was told to do Morgan Wootten. whatever I could to turn “I grew up around photo courtesy HigherLevel Basketball this team around.” a basketball,” Dyer Coach Maggie Dyer She was familiar to the said. “I was always area, having attended Watkins Mill, where out playing pick-up with the boys, working she was a first-team all-county selection as out with them. It really made me better.” a senior. After graduating, she received a Dyer also remains close with Quince scholarship to Lander University, where she Orchard coach Paul Foringer, with whom she played for five years. practiced when he was at Gaithersburg. “I Her senior year, the Bearcats won their was always around their team, working out,” conference and with it the right to play in Dyer said. “He really helped me come along.” the NCAA tournament. Although they While the team’s success has been lost in the first round, Dyer cherished the remarkable, Dyer is still intent on guiding her opportunity. “It was really cool,” she said. “I team to accomplish a goal never achieved by still remember that.” the girls’ team: a regional championship. “It’s Upon her graduation from college, she never happened before,” Dyer said. “That is was hired at Conelly School of the Holy our goal now.” Child (Potomac), where she coached for Paul Malinauskas staff writer


16 Common Sense - December 17, 2013

“I want to work as hard as I possibly can, to become the best as I possibly can, and in doing that, it’ll help my team to become the best that we can. If we have 15 guys on the team, working as hard as they can to


they can, then that’s all you can ask for, and that is what we want to have at the end of the day.” -Justin Feldman, boys’ basketball junior point guard

“We want to get better every day. Whatever that means for us- to get better in the classroom, in the community, on the court, that’s what we want. We can use sports to get better every day. If that ends up in a city title, or a state title or whatever, that’s great. We continually set the bar high for ourselves, and continue to exceed expectations, and rise above.”

“Our team is trying to win states.

We’re in it to win it, bro.” -Jake Mitchell, ice hockey senior goalie

“Be the best wrestler I can be, and place at states. Make everybody around me better. To be not only the best wrestler I can be, but to benefit the team as much as I can, helping everybody else around me. I want to be one of those players who makes everyone else around me better. I want people to look at me and say,

‘That guy is a LEADER.’”

-Chris Bohlen, boys’ basketball head coach

-Josh Hollman, wrestling senior

“WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?” -Sam Eichberg, senior sports editor, and Jake Brodsky, art director


“To win a state championship.

I’m not going for any personal goals- it’s about the team. I want us, as a team, to win and succeed. Because we’re a team, and we’re all one.” -Jordy Bretner, ice hockey senior co-captain defenseman

“I want our team to shoot 80 percent from the free throw line, and it’s

“Help lead the team to states.


I want the whole team to improve. We can all work on our technique and as a group, get better, faster and stronger. I want the whole team to work as hard as we can.”

-Ellie Kobylski, girls’ basketball junior guard

-Hallie Byles, indoor track senior sprinter

“It’s not just about going for the win, because there’s always something that is out of your “I want to win a control. We set goals every game that we try to “My goal is to help state championship, meet, and when we do, the winning takes care unify our team and and go to college of itself. It’s not really about winning or losing, hopefully encourage for track. And to but about doing the little things that create the more support and stay in good shape.” wins and losses. It’s good for the kids to see that spirit within our -Redfield Shaw, indoor track winning isn’t magical, its about doing the things team.” sophomore sprinter -Kristina Li, swim and dive you need to do to win every given game.” senior swimmer -Maggie Dyer. girls’ basketball head coach

Vol. 43 Issue 7  
Vol. 43 Issue 7