volume 52, Issue 5 February 5, 2014
Walt whitman High school
7100 whittier boulevard
Bethesda, maryland 20817
photo by ABBY CUTLER
Top colleges see more apps from class of 2014 as acceptance rates plummet
The male cast of “Lord of the Flies” rehearses a scene for their upcoming performance the weekend of Feb. 28. Director Christopher Gerken plans on using acrobatics and staged fights in the production, in addition to a lagoon and waterfall on stage. “We are not just doing a show,” Gerken said.
Gerken casts dual all-male, all-female versions of ‘Lord of the Flies’
by Emma Anderson If you see Whitman Drama’s production of “Lord of the Flies” on Thursday, and love it so much that you decide to go back for an encore on Friday, things will look very different. This year’s winter play has two casts—one of only girls and one of only boys. While director Christopher Gerken originally envisioned a genderless cast where the actors would just “play parts” and ignore gender, he soon realized it wasn’t feasible. “The girls work so much harder to try to be boyish and not girlish,” Gerken said. “I think that comes naturally to them. There is not enough time to get [the girls] ready as actors to make the audience believe they are not.” To solve this problem, Gerken created the separate girls cast, putting girls in traditional male roles. Now, the usual four-hour rehearsal turns into an eight-hour rehearsal, as Gerken dedicates two separate times for each cast to practice. Senior Ryan Savage, who will play Jack, likes the idea of a split cast. “This show draws on savage instinct, masculinity, testosterone-driven rage and jealousy, and other traits that are very different when played by a boy,” Savage said. “So while the girls were playing their parts well, sometimes even better than some of the boys, what they were bringing to their characters emotionally was very different than what the boys were bringing. It would have been a challenge to bend the two different emotional energies.” Gerken chose “Lord of the Flies” after seeing a production of The Tempest at Syntetic Theatre in Arlington. The small theatre does not do many prop and costume changes. Gerken was inspired by their performance style and set, which he thought translated well to “Lord of the Flies.” “It is probably one of the most terrifying pieces of literature ever, if it’s done well,” Gerken said. “I want it to be psychologically terrifying. I want this to be a year of epic performances.”
Inside Look New designated driver service reaches MoCo Page 2
The split cast idea surprised the prospective girls cast more than the boys, and they were hesitant at first, Gerken said. “They were afraid people were going to draw comparisons between the two,” Gerken said. “It is going to be different, and yes people are going to compare them, but not because of talent. They are going to compare them on interpretation.” While the staging is similar in both versions of the show, the actors’ delivery of the lines and the meaning behind their words seems to be the biggest distinction, along with how both sexes react in situations, Gerken said. “The girl cast is fierce. It is kind of like ‘Mean Girls’ on an island,” Gerken said. “The boys, while more traditional, are extremely intelligent. We have sat and dissected the psychology of the script, subtext on subtext.” Most of the cast members read and analyzed “Lord of the Flies” in their sophomore English classes. The experience and familiarity with the plot makes the production stronger and inspires discussions about the deep implied meaning of the text, Gerken said. The girls cast has changed the names of the characters to make them more plausible. In the girls cast, Rachel and Jackie have replaced Ralph and Jack, adding another dimension to the show. “The girls have the element of surprise because no one who is coming is going to know what to expect,” said junior Carolyn McGill, who plays Helen, the female equivalent of Henry. “That’s a huge opportunity for us.” The casts have only four weeks to rehearse before opening Feb. 28. Though they experienced set backs after snow days, Gerken is not holding back. With modern dance, drama, cirque techniques, acrobatics, and a fight coordinator, Gerken is pulling out all the stops. “We are not just doing a show,” Gerken said. “We have a real lagoon on stage with a waterfall. The actors are going to be wet. It’s epic.”
by Ben Titlebaum For five weeks, until the last day of January, 70 Whitman students were down in the dumps after being either deferred or rejected by the University of Michigan. This disappointment was even more perplexing given that many were seemingly overqualified; the list included students who were admitted early decision to Cornell and Vanderbilt, at least two National Merit semifinalists, and several students with GPAs above 3.9. Why were so many students not admitted? To put it plainly, it’s getting harder to get into college. Last school year, nearly half of 90 early action applicants were accepted into the University of Michigan. This December, out of 102 applicants—more than a fifth of the senior class—less than one third were accepted in the first round of decisions in late December. Michigan is only one of several schools flooded with an unprecedented increase in applications. Whitman students applied in dramatically bigger numbers to schools ranging from the Ivy League to large state schools. The biggest jump was in applications to the nation’s most prestigious colleges, where schools including Penn, Columbia and UCLA saw roughly twice as many applications from Whitman students this year as they did last year, according to data collected by career information coordinator Janice Marmor and compiled on Naviance. College counselors have noticed the trend. “Because kids are aware of the increasing competition in admissions at some schools, it makes sense that they would apply to more colleges to increase their chances of being admitted to schools where they really want to go,” said local college counselor Bruce Vinik. Counselors and college admissions experts cite many factors for this growing competition, including an easier application process, shrinking acceptance rates at many schools, grade inflation and more highly qualified students. The streamlined application process Since the Common App went online in 1999, students have been able to apply to many colleges with just one form. The number of member schools has also increased by more than 150 percent, from 191 to 517 schools, now serving over 1 million applicants, the Common App website reports. “I applied to 12 colleges,” senior Beatriz Atsavapranee said. “I found that the Common Application really simplified the college application process since I could use one essay for many schools and I only had to enter my personal information once.” Some colleges experienced massive increases in applicants right after adopting the Common App. Columbia’s applications worldwide grew by 32 percent in the year after the university adopted it in 2011, while Brown’s increased 21 percent after it began using the Common App in 2008. Last year, Columbia accepted roughly 2,300 out of 33,000 applicants, while Brown accepted roughly 2,600 out of 29,000 applicants. But the number of Whitman students applying to prestigious colleges has also skyrocketed after years of using the Common App. This year, 52 students applied to Tufts compared to 29 last year. Twenty-three students applied to Amherst, a record high after 11 applicants last year. And 35 students applied to Johns Hopkins, up from 23 last year. Whitman students also applied more to schools that don’t use the Common App, including Georgetown, whose applicant pool grew from 24 to 33 this year; and UCLA and UC Berkeley, which both doubled (from 15 to 31 and 11 to 20 respectively). continued on page
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Local teen stars on US national hockey team
February 5, 2014
Briefs Library pushes back closing time at request of students At the request of students and parents, the media center has extended its closing time an hour later to 4 p.m. In order to stay open later, the media center staff needed to receive more funding because they have to be compensated for their extra work. The Walt Whitman Educational Foundation, a volunteer-run organization which independently funds projects at Whitman with donations from community members, approved a grant proposal submitted by the media center staff to fund the expansion of library hours, media specialist Ginni Trulio said. Students and parents have been requesting the change for a long time, but Whitman has had trouble getting funds, Trulio said. A later closing time will allow students to utilize the library resources more. Previously, students had only a short time—50 minutes—to stay after school to work on projects. “We would be open 24/7 if we could, but we just don’t have the funding,” Trulio said.
Polar Bear Plunge postponed due to weather conditions In an ironic last-minute change, the Polar Bear Plunge has been moved from Jan. 25 to March 8 because of frigid temperatures. The 18-year tradition has never been cancelled before. The Polar Bear Plunge is an annual event where thousands of participants take a dip in the Chesapeake Bay in the dead of winter. The event is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland, which Best Buddies participates in. The water is always cold when the event takes place; however, these temperatures were unprecedented. “The tipping point was the confluence of three extremes: extreme cold, extreme weather and extreme buildup of ice in the water,” Jim Schmutz, president and CEO of Special Olympics Maryland told a WBAL reporter. “We have had each of those separately, but never had all three at the same time,” In addition, the extremely high winds of up to 30 mph caused waves up to five feet high, conditions unsafe for the plunge.
Three seniors nominated for U.S Presidential Scholars program Though they didn’t get a shout out in Obama’s State of the Union on Jan. 29, three seniors got the distinction of being nominated as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program. Adam Lowet, Gabby Tender and Jessica Levy were all awarded the honor. Each year, the Department of Education and a presidentially appointed commission select up to 141 graduating high-school seniors out of a nationwide class of around three million for distinction in the academics and arts. “The award is based solely on standardized test scores, either the SAT or ACT,” explained Lowet. “It is quite the honor to actually be named a Presidential Scholar, but we were just three of 3,000 who were nominated,” said Levy. The next steps involve the narrowing of the current pool of nominees to a group of semifinalists and then eventually the finalists through an extensive application process. The 141 finalists include 121 nominated for academics and 20 for the arts: one boy and girl from each state and D.C. along with selected candidates from U.S. families abroad. Although Presidential Scholars don’t receive any monetary scholarship for college, the award has a long history dating back to 1964 and is still regarded as very prestigious.
County promotes safe driving options By Adam Simon Long nights of drinking and debauchery commonly end with a cab ride—or an accident. But increased awareness of drunk driving has led to new options for a safe ride home. The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control teamed up with Be My Designated Driver (Be My DD)—a company that provides professional drivers to function as designated drivers—in an attempt to increase the use of safe alternatives to drunk driving. The county initiative will increase awareness about Be My DD and waive the registration fee to attract new customers. To use the service, the user must create an online account and connect it to a credit card. After that, all the user has to do is call in and reserve a driver. “Montgomery County wants to promote planning ahead and reserving drivers with a variety of different programs,” said Alena Milkovich, head of marketing at Be My DD. The partnership comes as a part of the county’s “Patron Responsibility Program,” which helps educate adults to plan their evening before they go out, said Kathie Durbin, a representative for the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control. “By the time you’re 40 and you finally get a night out, a lot times you don’t consider if you’ll be drinking and your methods of transportation if you are,” Durbin said. The county has implemented several policies to promote the program, including waiving the $25 registration fee for the first year. “We are working in phases,” Durbin said. “We
started with social media promotion, now we are promoting the service in county liquor stores, and soon we want to have everyone in the community aware of the options.” Be My DD is currently operating in 74 cities across the country, including Baltimore, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. “There are lots of other communities where the program has worked successfully,” Durbin said. “So we’re just following their lead.” There are two main options that the service provides. The first is called the “Personal Driver Service.” With this option, the customer leaves their car at their home, and a Be My DD driver acts as a chauffeur for the night, with a charge of $16 dollars per hour. The second option is called the “Pick-up Service.” This is the option for if a person has gone out with their car but is unable or unfit to drive home. Be My DD will send two drivers in one car to pick up the customer. One driver will drive the user’s car, while the other follows in the Be My DD car. This program is similar to the booming company Uber, which has been recently valued at $3.4 billion. Uber works similarly to Be My DD because the customer creates an account and can call from anywhere. However, it operates more similarly to a taxi, as fares are based on time traveled. When it comes to underage drinking, Be My DD won’t ask for age of the customer. “We are by no means endorsing underage drinking,” said Andrew Novak, a spokesperson for the company. “We simply would rather have these kids safe than punished for their actions.”
Low admit rates cause increase in apps to top colleges Continued from page 1 Decreasing acceptance rates mean lower odds for applicants. This trend is visible across the board. Nine years ago, Vanderbilt admitted 40 percent of applicants from all over the world, but the university admitted just 12 percent last year. Vanderbilt admitted roughly 4,000 out of 31,000 applicants last year. MIT’s acceptance rate dropped from 16 percent to 8 percent over the same nine-year period. Penn, Northwestern and many other top schools have seen similar drops in their acceptance rates. Because of shrinking acceptance rates, students apply to more colleges to ensure they will at least get into one, counselor Jamie Ahearn said. Students with high grades and impressive credentials aren’t assured a spot at many schools. “People are unsure about where they can get in,” senior Luke Davis said. “Even with a 4.0 and a 2400 you can’t necessarily get into Harvard, so people apply to Yale and Penn.” The large size of this year’s graduating class could also contribute to the increase in applications, Marmor suggested. There are 485 seniors this year, compared with 461 members of last year’s class, according to data from Whitman’s school profile. Marmor also cited grade inflation as a possible cause for this phenomenon. “You have a lot more stars than you used to have,” she said. The average unweighted GPA at Whitman rose from 3.22 in the 2010-2011 school year to 3.4 last year, and from a weighted 3.55 to a 3.83 last year, according to information supplied by assistant principal Brandi Heckert. Grade inflation blinds students, making them think they’re candidates for the most competitive colleges and universities. “This year more kids shot for the moon,” Marmor said. “Some have a more unrealistic view of where they can get in.” Still, students have been doing more in hopes of getting into top colleges. “They are jumping through more hoops to stand out in the crowd,” said Michael Goran, the director of college counseling company IvySelect. Students have been winning
Source: Janice Marmor via Naviance prizes, getting internships, and making full use of their summer, he said. Senior Lisa Deng, for example, was a National Merit semifinalist as well as a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel and Siemens science competitions. And she is only one example of the trend towards building a more impressive resume. Whitman students will be traveling on service and culture trips to Uganda, Israel and Russia this spring and summer, and senior Malachi Stoll’s Goals for Justice foundation helped him win a prominent service award two weeks ago. Another thing students have been doing is prepping for the SAT. Average scores at Whitman have jumped from 1857 to 1901 in the last two years, according to data released by MCPS. “Kids are more accomplished than they used to be, both inside and outside the classroom,” college counselor Vinik said. A variety of factors drive rising application numbers. Colleges are also responsible for the rapid increase in applications, using a process called “enrollment management,” through which schools seek out students they want to apply, Goran said. “Students are getting letters or emails and students get a sense that the school wants you,” he said. “It’s not necessarily that they want you, it’s that they want you to apply.” Generally, application data
on the national level doesn’t show this massive variation and increase. Most colleges experience small increases or declines in the number of applicants each year, with only a few prominent colleges, like Stanford and Vanderbilt, showing significant increases yearly. Some of the increases in applications from Whitman students this year come after decreases the past two years, but are still above previous highs. For example, 54 students applied to Northwestern in 2011, but the number decreased to 31 last year before reaching 54 again this year. Similar trends exist at Yale, WashU, Brown and Maryland, among other schools. Perhaps because of concerns about the record number of their classmates applying to so many schools, Whitman students say they want more choice on where they end up. “In total, I applied to 24 schools,” senior Jorge Richardson said. “People ask why, and I tell them because I’m not certain of what I want, so I applied to a range of schools.” Still, all isn’t lost. Some of the students who were deferred from Michigan in December received good news as the Black & White went to press Jan. 31. In a second round of decisions, many were accepted into the school—a scarce glimmer of hope in a process that seems to be getting more difficult and absurd by the year.
February 5, 2014
Popular alum band breaks up after years of acclaim
photo by TYLER JACOBSON
By Adam Simon After going to elementary school together, Dan Miller, Max Harwood and John Beck (‘08) began jamming when they were 16 years old. At the time, they were more focused on where they’d be going to college than their futures in music. But now, after years filled with great reviews, two studio albums and three national tours, Mission South has decided to call it quits. The band featured Miller on guitar and vocals, Harwood on drums and Beck on bass and vocals. They all committed full-time to the music life after attending different colleges and will continue their music careers in the years to come. They announced their break up in a post on their Facebook page Jan. 20. “In recent months, we’ve found it difficult to access the unique energy and cohesion we once had that made our band relevant both to ourselves and to our fans,” the group wrote. “A lot of factors played into it,” Harwood said. “But the bottom line is that towards the end of it we were feeling that things were kind of stale.” The break up comes after the band had come off the biggest year of their career. The band played venues including Dan Miller, Max Harwood and John Beck (left to right) were childhood friends and formed the band when they were 16. After a country-wide the Kennedy Center, the 9:30 Club and tour and two studio releases, the band announced its breakup on its Facebook page Jan. 16. the historic Rock and Roll Hotel, released the band felt like they had trouble really enjoyed their sound. “There’s a lot of people that we two albums with critical acclaim and was “Their music developed such a raw connected with on a personal level and keeping their music fresh. even featured in the entertainment blog “We were doing the same thing and soulful vibe that was unlike stuff we built a family with Mission South,” “Brightest Young Things” for one of the with the same people for so long,” I’ve heard,” Murray said. “I felt really Harwood said. “We hope these fans stick top 20 D.C. albums of 2013. For Miller, Harwood said. “It makes it hard to create connected to them because they are so with us through thick and thin.” his favorite experience was touring the close to home and it was just pretty cool something new.” Despite discontinuing Mission country three times, with 36 shows on For some at Whitman, the breakup to see such talented people come out of South, Miller, Harwood and Beck ended their fall 2013 tour. is a sad end to a great band with local Whitman.” on a good note and still remain friends. “Ever since I was little, I just wanted Connecting to the fans was especially roots. Social studies teacher Andrew “There’s no bad blood,” Miller said. to experience being on tour,” Miller said. Sonnabend, who taught Harwood and important for the band. While the “We all still really get along.” Harwood was fascinated watching Beck, attended concerts and encouraged members are planning to expand their Their ‘Biography’ on Facebook the growth of the band. One of their musical horizons—with Miller moving to summarizes their time together perfectly: his students to do the same. first shows out of college had at most 30 The band also formed connections Brooklyn and Harwood trying his hand “A band of best friends.” people, he said. Almost a year later they with students who didn’t personally at producing and recording music—the “We had a great time,” Miller said. headlined a show at the Rock and Roll know the members. Junior McKenna band members hope these relationships “We had a really great f***ing time.” Hotel for 300 people. Despite the success, Murray was a big fan of the band and will help in the future.
County launches effort to catch drivers passing buses Six buses equipped with cameras as part of pilot program to emphasize safety By Sarah Friedman The Montgomery County Police Department began a pilot program over winter break that equipped six school buses with automated cameras that ticket drivers who illegally pass the buses while they’re stopped. The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a bill that authorized the camera project last March, in the hope of uniting MCPS and MCPD to change driver behavior. The program will expand in the next few weeks to include 25 camera-equipped buses, which will be equally distributed among the county’s six bus depots, spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti said. The cameras will issue a $125 ticket to any car passing the bus while it is stopped. If a police officer pulls over an individual for passing a stopped school bus, they can issue a ticket up to $570 and three points on the violator’s license. One of the six active cameras is located in the Walter Johnson cluster, bus driver Kevin Wynkoop said. To raise awareness, the police department created a campaign called “Respect the Bus” to inform drivers about when they are required to stop for a school bus. The campaign targets three dangerous types of drivers: uninformed, impatient and distracted. Maryland law requires drivers to stop when a bus has its flashing lights activated, whether they are traveling in the same direction or in the opposite direction. The only
exception is if there is a barrier, such as a median, separating the driver and the school bus. A Maryland Department of Education survey reported that in a single day in February 2011, 7,028 drivers illegally passed stopped buses in Maryland. Wynkoop sees drivers pass his stopped bus almost every day, especially in the mornings.
“When people are in a hurry, they act like they don’t notice” -bus driver Kevin Wynkoop “When people are in a hurry, they act like they don’t notice you,” he said. The police department hopes to change this dangerous driver behavior. When they view the data the cameras collect, they will assess the success of the program and adjust it accordingly, Innocenti said. If a specific area has a high instance of citations, they will move more cameras to these areas. One hundred buses currently have the wiring and capability for the cameras, Innocenti said. Innocenti emphasized the importance of high schoolers’ awareness of school bus laws when they are driving near their schools. “These are people that you go to school with,” she said. “They could be your brothers’ and sisters’ friends.”
February 5, 2014
by Casey Noenickx After years of waiting for much needed renovations, Montgomery County hospitals are finally getting the updates they need. Improvements including updated technologies and new facilities, plus hospital relocations and a brand new care center in Germantown, are scheduled for completion starting early 2014. At Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, a $230 million campus enhancement project was approved last April after opposition from local residents. Opponents of the project were concerned about how the new buildings would affect the character of the surrounding neighborhood, but project advocates urged the construction to move forward, said Ronna Borenstein-Levy, head of marketing at Suburban Health Care Systems. “We’ve been waiting quite a while to be able to implement our project,” she said. “We now have the green light from the county and we are very excited about that, because this expansion will be very important for our patients and our community.” The new building includes a four-story, 235,000-square-foot addition, featuring more operating rooms and a new parking garage. The new garage will be completed in 2017 and the building will open for patient use in fall of 2019. The project focuses on relocating operating rooms and increasing their size to help surgical related processes be co-located. The extra space will allow room
photo courtesy SIBLEY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
Local hospitals including Suburban, Sibley expand with new buildings, treatment centers
3-D rendering of the new plan for Sibley hopspital, the project began in 2012 and is expected to be completed in 2015
for new technology like MRI machines, considering many surgeries are now MRI guided, Borenstein-Levy said. “Our campus enhancement project assures that we will continue to be able to provide the same high level of patient care that our community has come to expect from Suburban Hospital,” Brian Gragnolati, the hospital’s president and CEO said in a press release. “Our patients deserve the best hospital facilities possible, and we are committed to providing that for them.” Along with Suburban, Sibley Hospital is also undergoing renovations, creating both a new cancer
Rat lab adds hands-on element to Journal of Psychology By Sarah Friedman If you hear squeaking in Whittier Woods this semester, don’t be alarmed. Interns on the Whitman Journal of Psychology are designing experiments using two lab rats for publication in the journal’s experimental section. The journal, which comes out once a semester, is the first high school publication to conduct experiments with rats, said senior Kendall Wiss, one of the four editors of the journal. For their first experiment, the lab rat interns plan to train the rats through a process called classical conditioning, to respond differently to various genres of music. The rats will have to move to a certain corner of a box when they hear classical music, and a different corner if they hear rap music, said senior Allison Wyner, a second-year intern on the journal. In the past, the journal has only published submissions from other schools in the experimental section, which consists mostly of social experiments involving human subjects. Beginning this semester, at least one experiment from the rat lab will join outside submissions. Wyner hopes to perform behavioral experiments with the rats to supplement the social experiments, she said. “It’s a very unique thing for a high school to do,” Wiss said. “The whole hands-on aspect of psychology is what you do in college and stuff. It’s a lot more practical and interesting.” Emma Mairson (‘13), an editor of the publication last year, started the rat lab second semester of last year. She and the first two interns, seniors Wyner and Ali Hashim, got approval for the rats, prepared housing for them and learned how to care for them. Once the rats arrived, the interns didn’t have enough time to perform any official experiments with them before giving them to
a student to care for over the summer. Wyner and Hashim will mentor this year’s new interns, juniors Jack McPherson and Sara Schlesinger, in experimenting with the rats. The application process for new interns took place before winter break, and the new staff members joined the staff at the start of second semester. McPherson and Schlesinger were selected out of 15-20 applicants for the rat lab position.
“It’s a very unique thing for a high school to do. The whole hands-on aspect of psychology is (...) a lot more practical and interesting.” - senior Kendall Wiss “I was mostly interested in applying because I thought that it was a really unique opportunity, and because I thought it would be really cool to work with rats,” Schlesinger said. Over the summer, Wyner researched fundamental neuroscience with mice at NIH. She plans on mirroring some aspects of her experience in Whitman’s rat lab, she said. “I learned so much about what to note through the whole process and what to do next time if you get something wrong,” she said. Li looks forward to the good publicity she thinks the rats will generate for the journal. “We are looking to expand the Psych Journal and we are hoping to do it through the rat lab,” she said.
center and patient pavilion with an over 300 new beds. The project began in 2012 and is expected to be finished in 2015. Sibley’s new Radiation Oncology Center is anticipated throughout the county, Borenstein-Levy said. Sibley and Suburban are closely related as a part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the cancer center will be recommended by Suburban to provide the best care for patients facing a cancer diagnosis. “Cancer is a wide-spread problem all over the country and all over the world,” she said. “There is now an increased need to have state-of-the-art facilities and technologies to help cancer patients, which is exactly what Sibley’s cancer center is planning to do.” Aside from the additions to both Suburban and Sibley, Holy Cross Hospital of Silver Spring is building a separate six story, 93-bed hospital in Germantown, the county’s first new hospital in 35 years. Construction started in July 2012 and Holy Cross Germantown is expected to be open this fall. Holy Cross also is expanding its Silver Spring facility to include a seven-story patient care building and a parking garage addition. The patient care building is projected to be completed in fall 2015. “The process of delivering high quality health care continues to evolve,” she said. “As it evolves, we want to be able to keep up, using new technologies as well as new and better ways of rendering care.”
Stawberry milk banned from county cafeterias By Samantha Zambri Remember strawberry milk, that creamy pink elixir you loved to slurp down with your lunch every day in elementary school? Well those happy memories will be all that remain of the flavored beverage, which was taken off the cafeteria menu this month due to lack of demand and possible health risks. The removal of strawberry milk is not as insignificant as it may seem. Last October alone, MCPS bought the equivalent of 14,363 gallons of strawberry milk, accounting for nearly 18 percent of all student milk servings, according to the Washington Post. Unflavored milk made up only 15 percent of the total servings, while chocolate milk was the overwhelming favorite, making up 67 percent of milk servings. Marla Caplon, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, made the decision to remove strawberry milk after complaints were raised by a grassroots parent organization called Real Food for Kids Montgomery, over an artificial color additive known as Red 40. The dye may cause hyperactivity in children and even contribute to certain kinds of cancer, according to a study done by the Oxford Journal. Furthermore, a 2007 British study found that when children not diagnosed with ADD or ADHD consumed artificial dyes, they displayed hyperactive behavior as soon as within an hour. Real Food For Kids Montgomery, run by parents Lindsey Parsons and Karen Devitt, spearheaded the effort to ban strawberry milk. The organization worked earlier in the school year to bring healthier snack options to vending machines and are looking to bring fresher foods to school cafeterias. “There were three main reasons we worked so hard to get rid of strawberry milk,” Devitt said. “First, it has an excessive amount of high fructose corn syrup. It also contains artificial flavoring and Red 40 food coloring. The ingredients are petroleum-based and therefore exacerbate health conditions, especially in children.” The evidence, however, is inconclusive, health teacher Nikki
Marafatsos said. “The studies conducted included a mixture of food additives, so it isn’t clear as to which specific additive caused hyperactivity, nor how much was needed to cause the change,” she said. “An FDA advisory committee determined that there is no proven link between the consumption of Red 40 and hyperactivity.” Instead of pulling items with Red 40 from the market or restricting it from our diet, the better option is to increase awareness on their potential hazards, Marafatsos said. “Once you educate someone on the subject, they will be able to make a well informed decision for themselves, and in turn create healthier eating habits that they can carry throughout their life,” she said. “In doing that, you are not only merely eliminating the option; instead you are utilizing these healthy habits to change the lifestyle for the better.” Aside from the Red 40 dye, strawberry and chocolate milk, another cafeteria staple, are surprisingly similar. The products from the Grab & Go, the brand commonly found in MCPS schools, both have 120 calories and over 20 grams of sugar per eight ounces. Real Food for Kids Montgomery wants to take their health effort a step further by looking to remove pre-processed and frozen foods from menus and replace them with healthier and fresher alternatives. The loss of strawberry milk didn’t make that much of a difference in milk sales at Whitman, cafeteria manager Karen Phillips said. Students just switched from strawberry milk to the equally caloric and sugary chocolate milk. Strawberry milk has only been available in Montgomery County for six years, and its quick removal is testament to the growing awareness of child health issues. However, the pink drink will be missed just the same. “Strawberry milk isn’t available in most stores, so school was the only place kids were able to get it,” junior Lex Payne said. “Even though I’m older and don’t drink strawberry milk as often anymore, my heart goes out to elementary school kids who love the flavor.”
fEBRUARY 5, 2014
OPINION County should limit use of suspension for disciplinary action by Ben Titlebaum Suspension has long been a punishment for rulebreaking in school, in Montgomery County and across the country. But last Tuesday, January 28, the State Board of Education announced that Maryland school districts would no longer automatically suspend students for minor infractions, in line with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s recent pronouncements against its use. Schools should avoid suspending students for all but the most serious infractions, and focus on addressing the causes of the rulebreaking rather than the symptoms. Suspension is often ineffective and racially biased. In 2010, Montgomery County suspended 8.6 percent of black students, but only 1.7 percent of white students, according to MCPS data available on their website. Whitman suspended 16.3 percent of the 86 black students at the school but only 1 percent of approximately 1,500 white students. These numbers may be skewed because of the small sample size, but the trend holds true. Problematically, even after a drop in overall suspensions, there has been little change in the number suspended for African-Americans, indicating possible racial bias. And according to a Texas A&M University study conducted between 2000 and 2008, a black student is 31 percent more likely to be suspended than a white or Hispanic student who committed the same offense. Suspension doesn’t reduce infractions in the future. Look at it logically: kids who break rules often don’t want to be in school in the first place, so why punish them by removing them from classrooms? Such a policy destroys any chance these students have of actually succeeding in school by taking them out of the academic environment, and practically reinforcing their bad behavior. Even in-school suspensions don’t address the root of the problem. Students with this punishment sit in rooms with their schoolwork for the day, according to the MCPS website. There is still no teaching and no education for the student. Neither in-school nor out-ofschool suspension actually educates students about how and why to change their behavior. Schools sometimes face a problem in which the safety of students is at risk as a result of one student, MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig said. In this case, the student should be separated
from others, but they should not just be sent home, as is the current practice. Punishment in school shouldn’t be focused on penalizing the misbehavers. It should be focused instead on educating them and making sure the school is safer. Schools in Baltimore City have done just that in the past ten years. They eliminated suspensions for more minor offenses, and they have begun offering more academic support for suspended students. At the same time, Baltimore City reduced the dropout rate for its schools by 50 percent while the graduation rate increased 20 percent, according to Jonathan Brice, who leads Baltimore City’s school support networks. On a more limited scale, MCPS has been working to counsel suspended students. The SHARP program uses mentoring to offer support to suspended students, but there are only six locations, and the program has no capacity to address the problem for every suspended student. The issue of how to punish kids is complex. But if we really want to prevent kids from acting out, the solution isn’t taking them out of the only environment that can help them. Keeping kids in school is the best solution, and MCPS should help make that happen.
Twitter threats shouldn’t be given or taken lightly For those who don’t remember, back in December students received a blessing of two snow days, and, in a final flurry, the extra gift of a two-hour delay to top it off. While most students pleaded with whatever weather gods there may be, a few kids took a more direct approach to get their sought-after snow days: cyberbullying. On Dec. 8, Superintendent Joshua Starr received numerous threats over Twitter demanding that school be closed for a snow day. In the sage words of one young tweeter, a school’s chiefs who doesn’t cancel school had best watch out, for “people go to hell for things like this.” Though most likely only immature, adolescent jokers, this blatant misuse of social media needs to stop. In one sample tweet, the mature teenager declared, “Cancel school before I unleash these thugs on ya.” Many of the overly aggressive or inappropriate tweets have since been removed, according to a Dec. 16 Washington Post article. As Starr wrote in “Cybercivility,” his letter to the community, students frequently incorporated racial slurs, addressed him with profanity and went so far as to write “disturbing” messages that alluded to threatening his family’s health and safety. Starr himself acknowledges that these threats were probably innocuous and that he never felt personally endangered or offended. However, as legally mandated, MCPS reported many of the guilty tweeters to school administrators and police or security teams. It’s clear these teenagers were probably just attempting to impress their friends with a little bit of daring wit and humor. Starr even admitted himself: “Some of these ‘tweets’ were clever, funny and respectful, pleading for me to cancel school so they could sleep in.” Meanwhile, here at Whitman, principal Alan Goodwin’s Twitter account has experienced more than its fair share of hacks. As recently as a few weeks ago, Goodwin’s 1,151-strong legion of followers received some very insightful weight loss and dieting tips (in case one year of county-mandated P.E. wasn’t enough for you). In all seriousness though, such instances of social media mistreatment highlight an important point: our online communications today stick around long after we want them to disappear – even worse, they can be seen by nearly everyone. While I appreciate the attempts at comedy, they shouldn’t be directed at our school’s leaders and definitely don’t belong online. If you want a creative outlet for your inner Jerry Seinfeld or Will Ferrell, keep the puns within the home or among a circle of friends; unfortunately, the internet in today’s world really isn’t the best place to crack a potentially misinterpreted joke.
Volume 52, Issue 5 2013-2014 The Black & White is published 9 times a year by the students of Walt Whitman High School, 7100 Whittier Blvd., Bethesda, MD, 20817. The Black & White is an open forum for student views. Students and staff can pick up the paper free of charge. Mail subscriptions cost $35. The newspaper aims to both inform and entertain. Signed opinion pieces reflect the positions of the individual staff. Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Walt Whitman High School or Montgomery County Public Schools. The Black & White encourages readers to submit opinions on relevant topics in the form of letters to the editor. Letters must be signed to be printed, though names will be withheld upon
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FEBRUARY 5, 2013
Legalization would bring financial benefits, pose no real health risks by Noah Franklin America needs to wake up and smell the weed. With several states already in their right mind, and Maryland possibly following suit with a bill proposed this month, more and more Americans are realizing that there’s little actual harm in legalization. Maryland legislators should legalize marijuana: there’s little more than stubborn tradition backing the opposing side. About 15 months ago, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the possession of an ounce of marijuana for recreational use for people over 21. Numerous recreational marijuana dispensaries opened for business, and due to steep tax rates on the drug, Colorado will generate $67 million a year, with $27.5 million of it for building schools, according to state tax officials. The Washington State marijuana tax is projected to bring in almost $2 billion in the first five years, according to the official Fiscal Impact Statement. Maryland could definitely use this extra money. Aside from benefitting the general economy, ending the war on drugs would do wonders for the American law enforcement and legal system. The DPA has compiled statistics to put the absurd drug war into perspective. In 2012, there were 1.55 million arrests on nonviolent drug charges, and two-thirds of those arrested were blacks or hispanics. An ACLU report claimed these arrests show a “staggering racial bias,” and President Obama even agreed in an interview with the New Yorker, saying “Middleclass kids don’t get locked up for
smoking pot, and poor kids do.” While racism has permeated the entire war on drugs, it has become increasingly realistic to end a huge chunk of it lying in marijuana incarcerations, according to Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The United States spends more than $51 billion on the war on drugs, according to the DPA. This money shouldn’t be wasted putting people in jail for a substance that would be legal if they used it in a different state. Opponents to legalization cite the supposed dangers of marijuana. But even the most common arguments to this aren’t so cut and dry. A study spanning more than two decades from The University of California, San Francisco, and The University of Alabama at Birmingham, found no lung damage and even an increase in lung capacity from “levels of marijuana exposure commonly seen in Americans.” Even people smoking one joint a day for over seven years showed no lung deterioration. In fact, a simple WebMD search turns up only sparse mention of the long-term effects of marijuana, with each one carefully labeled as an effect of “heavy use.” This broad term should not be applied to the average pot smoker. There isn’t a single recorded American death from a marijuana overdose. Wading through the sea of misleading statistics used against marijuana can be tough, but America should end the economically deteriorating and racially unjust criminalization of the drug. The grass is, in fact, greener on the other side.
Side effects of marijuana use shouldn’t be overlooked, while benefits of legalization overblown by Scott Singer College applications to the University of Colorado-Boulder increased 33 percent this year; but if my guess is correct, the school should expect a rapid drop in class attendance since the state’s Jan. 1 legalization of marijuana. Adults are hitting up some “Mary Jane” as well. Even esteemed Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus joked she might “check out some Bubba Kush.” All joking aside, Maryland shouldn’t follow in Colorado’s and Washington’s steps by passing Sen. Raskin’s and Del. Anderson’s bill to legalize marijuana. Passing such legislation would provide young people and adults alike with greater access to a drug with underestimated dangers, University of Maryland professor Peter Reuter wrote in a 2009 New York Times opinion article. Marijuana is especially dangerous for high schoolers because many students underestimate the harmful effects of the drug. A 2010 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 60 percent of seniors believe that marijuana is harmless. However, a study conducted last month by researchers at Northwestern University concluded that marijuana reduces brain function in young people. The study also found that the earlier users begin to smoke marijuana, the greater brain function loss they suffer from later on in life. The Maryland bill would treat marijuana the same way as it does alcohol in terms of age restructions. Teens, who
use marijuana most frequently, will likely have greater access to marijuana. And given that some states have legalized marijuana, it will be easy to smuggle it across state lines. In Colorado, where marijuana was legalized via referendum, the financial results were exceptional—the state made over $5 million during the first week the law was in effect. But it’s important to recognize that it will be difficult for Colorado to maintain these great tax gains after the hype generated by marijuana legalization dies down. A 2010 study conducted by the think tank RAND Foundation found that marijuana prices will likely decrease by more than 80 percent. At the very least, these numbers are based on unreliable projections. And the estimated $70 million annual revenue isn’t as significant as the numbers appear; the money wouldn’t even be sufficient to fund the construction of four high schools, the objective of the funds. At the very least, we should allow the Colorado and Washington experiments run their course before they expand to other states. Much of what we think we know about marijuana— it’s long-term health effects and revenue-generating potential—is speculation, and we should wait for more concrete evidence so that we can make informed decisions about marijuana. Legalizing marijuana may seem pretty dope on the surface. But until we get a broader view of legalization’s impacts, the idea of marijuana in Maryland should go up in smoke.
Coaches deserve higher stipends to reward time, passion by Sebastian van Bastelaer Ask soccer coach Greg Herbert why he chooses to spend countless hours coaching and mentoring high school kids and he’ll tell you, “I just enjoy sports, I enjoy working with students and the school, and I thought it’d be a great way for me to grow professionally and also help kids out.” Many coaches share this sentiment, giving their afternoons and weekends to help improve their teams, yet they earn a startlingly low pay for their efforts. Sports coaches should be paid more, as the current stipends hardly reflect the exhaustive work they do. Much is expected from coaches not only on the athletic field, but in the classroom too. Teachers that don’t spend their time coaching after school would be able to devote more time to grading tests and papers and preparing for classes, as well as helping students to learn material more efficiently. Teachers who coach outside of school say that during their teams’ seasons, they need to be more efficient during the day in order to set aside time.
Coaches get a very low pay for their time commitment. A teacher with about five years of experience gets paid about $55,000 a year, or $6,000 a month.. Coaching a team, which is essentially working overtime, pays at most $6,000 for three months’ work, and that’s only for the highrevenue, varsity teams such as football and basketball. Low-revenue sports teams like swimming and gymnastics only give two to three thousand dollars, and junior varsity coaches make even less. It’s the equivalent of three months of work for two weeks’ extra salary. The stipend offered by MCPS to coaches is also low relative to other surrounding areas. Football, the highest-revenue sport for most schools, has a large disparity in stipends with the surrounding counties. Whereas both Fairfax and Arlington County schools pay head football coaches upwards of $7000, MCPS only pays $5600. Even the head coaches of Arlington County freshmen-only football teams earn $5500. Fairfax County pays over $3000 more to cheerleading
coaches than Montgomery County does, according to salary schedules available online. For the 13 biggest varsity sports, Arlington County pays its coaches more than MCPS in every single sport. Surely they don’t work any harder or achieve more overall athletic success— there’s no reason there should be such a gap. True, most coaches choose to coach for love of the sport, and coaches unanimously say that the love of the game and the kids act as a motivating factor, not the money. However, not paying them enough just feels like an insult to the work they do. In order to incentivize coaching for high school teachers, MCPS needs to ensure that coaches get paid fairly for the amount of work they do. The current stipend pays for only two hours of extra time per day, when in reality most coaches put in far more than that. It’s time to recognize the work they do, and pay up.
SGA “ the leaderSHIP never sinks
FEBRUARY 5, 2014
Jorge Richardson Marcela Falck-Bados VICE-PRESIDENT PRESIDENT
Kendall Eisenberg TREASURER
LLS MONTH SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
-Wednesday February 5th: Battle of the Bands -Sunday February 9th: RedRush 5k -Monday February 10th to Friday 14th: Valentine’s Day singing grams sold -Wednesday February 12th: Guy Auction -Saturday February 22nd: bRAVE (turn in shirt pre-orders by Thursday, February 6th) -Monday February 24th to Friday 28th: Battle of the Beards We will be collecting donations all month and through our online donations page. Please help us support a great cause and BEAT CANCER!
Jenna Kantor SECRETARY
Rachel Ordan SECRETARY
‘14 ‘15 ‘16 ‘17
Elizabeth Meyer Jonny Rasch, Katie Sullivan, Mia Carmel Jenna Hosker, Selvi Ulusan, Carolyn Hoover Keara Sullivan, Kueho Michael Choi, Sophia Zambri
of students use Marijuana most frequently
34%of students use
onc 9% mo e a nth
Marijuana Use: w ee 7% kl y
Number of Students
How often students consume alcohol:
alcohol most frequently
2%of students use tobacco
12% Have tried once or twice
er d it ast ea Nev Tritewice Onconth At leekly r m we eo c n o
72% Have never smoked
53%of students have
never tried any of these substances
Get to know the Graphics by Maria Mu
By Scott Singer & nicole fleck The Black & White conducted a survey in January looking to discover the average Whitman student. The survey was evenly distributed to five homeroom classes and nine English classes among all four grades, covering a total of 203 students. The questions covered several aspects of studentsâ€™ life, including athletics, drugs, free time, home life, sports and technology.
My faith in the government is:
of Whitman students identify as Liberal 35% identify as Moderate 11% identify as Conservative
Number of students
80 70 60
The issue that Congress needs to address most urgently is:
40 30 20
t n ate en are tio im nge c l m a h y C ha uc alt plo c Ed He m e Un
81% of students have travelled to another country
24% 69% Facebook
73% of Whitman students
speak English at home
37% How Vikings Sports spend time Club 6% outside Homew17o%rk 40% Other of school:
of students have an iPhone
Number of Students
28% support the Washington Redskins 20% support Baltimore Ravens Most Frequent Social Media Use: Boys vs. Girls 52% support a different team
Time spent on homework Less than one hour
elyh m e ig xtr H
60 Number of Students
40 20 0
Never use their phones
th use unch y l On es at l n pho
elyw m e o xtr L
74 100 70 80
Phone use in school:
Opinion on School Spirit
A & Ask AThe Black & White feature editors are here to help!
By Annie Ludewig and Alexa Brodsky Dear A&A, I’m a second semester senior and terrified of losing all of my motivation. This could be bad because I’m taking physics and world, which lots of juniors are in, so the classes I take won’t get easier. How do I find fun ways to do work and study? Sincerely, Unmotivated Upperclassman Dear Unmotivated Upperclassman, We understand what you’re going through. It’s definitely hard to stay motivated this semester, but unfortunately, it’s still important to keep your grades up and keep applying yourself to your studies. You don’t want to start college off with bad habits from the end of senior year. Try working in groups! Don’t underestimate the power of a great study session. For history classes like world, take to the Internet to find some helpful study videos. For instance, author John Greene creates world history crash course videos that condense years of history into roughly ten-minute clips. Good luck studying! Staying focused can be a drag this time of year but there are ways to make it not only manageable, but also fun! Xoxo, A&A Dear A&A, What’s your advice to couples facing the prospect of leaving for college in a couple of months? Sincerely, Coupled and Clueless Dear Coupled and Clueless, Long distance relationships can be tricky— especially when each of you have your own busy college schedules. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t work. We suggest playing it by ear. Don’t rush an ultimatum. This could mean breaking it off before college and seeing how it goes. When you are both home for winter break you can see where you’re at: maybe you realize that you are willing to commit despite the distance, but maybe you realize that for now you are better off without putting pressure on the relationship. On the other hand, if you’re both committed and ready to work hard to keep the relationship going, then staying together as you go to college is worth a shot. Take it slow and spend as much time together as possible—whether that’s through phone calls, Skype, or weekend visits—make your significant other a priority. Sometimes conflicting schedules will get in the way but try to be patient through the ups and downs. Xoxo, A&A Dear A&A, With the season of flowers and hearts coming up, I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to what I should get my man. I don’t want to give him anything too extravagant but definitely want to show I care. Thoughts? Sincerely, Out of Ideas Dear Out of Ideas, The best gift is something from the heart to show that you care. Try to avoid the generic choices and go for something that shows you pay attention to your guy’s interests. If he’s an athlete try getting him something with his favorite sports team logo on it or if he’s a musician you could get something for his instrument like guitar picks. Better yet, give him something homemade. Maybe bake his favorite treat from scratch (the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.) Another option is painting a piece of pottery at a place like All Fired Up. Or make a CD with songs that remind you of your man, or maybe songs that will remind him of you. Anything personal is the way to go. All of these options will show that you notice what he cares about. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day! Xoxo, A&A
February 5, 2014
Driving test nightmares, squirrel-sicles Students share surprising, shocking driving stories by sophia glazer Sophomore year marks the milestone when all the hard work of drivers-ed pays off, and students can begin to get their learner’s permits. As junior year approaches, students look forward to their newfound freedom of possessing a real driver’s license. Unfortunately, new drivers are likely to experience some mishaps which will usually end up as funny stories down the road. Frozen Squirrel Watch It Roll Junior Jordan Martin was enjoying a ski trip in Park City A light hearted prank on senior Whitney Cinkala over the semester break. She returned home to an unpleasant went terribly wrong. “Someone pulled my windshield surprise waiting for her in the driveway. “My dad told me wipers up as a prank,” Cinkala said. “When I got out of that there was a dead squirrel stuck under the front of my my car to put them back in place my car started rolling car,” Martin said. The squirrel must have crawled into the forward. I forgot to shift my car into park so it just rolled underneath of the car for warmth and tragically died and right into the car in front of me!” froze. She described the squirrel as “very dead and very gross.” Multiple members of Martin’s family have tried to Lost in Translation move the squirrel strategically without really touching it. In senior Meredith Spencer’s driving test, she and the “It’s really stuck,” Martin said. “It’s frozen so maybe I’ll instructor had a small miscommunication. Periodically, have to wait for it to thaw out in the spring and fall out on the instructor would ask Spencer what the closest sign its own.” A few days ago Martin’s neighbor asked if she was said, but Spencer thought he was saying fine. “I was so aware of the rodent hanging from underneath the front of her confused and I kept making up random costs for the fine,” car. She answered yes. she recalled. After having her license for several months Spencer had another faux pas. On a nice summer night, after a long day of driving in the warm weather, Spencer left her sunroof open overnight and woke up to find the interior of her car soaked from a late night rainstorm. Oops. Soaked Shotgun Senior Wes Slaughter had an embarrassing and awkward moment at his driver’s test. “This large, burly, mean looking man who was at least 6 foot 7 inches tall was sitting shotgun for my driver’s test,” Slaughter said. “He asked me to test my windshield washers but on my car they are slightly misaligned, so I tested them directly into his face,” he said. “Basically he was demolished by a jet of windshield wiper fluid. After that my spirit was broken and I was just so afraid. When he got back in the car he gave me a very long and dripping look and then wiped himself off and we proceeded with the test—but not for that long, because I failed miserably.”
photo courtesy JORDAN MARTIN
A squirrel froze to death under junior Jordan Martin’s car over semester break.
A behind-the-scenes look by caroline schweitzer It’s 3 a.m. and snowing, just hours before high schools normally start across the county. As students sleep in their beds, clad in inside-out and backwards pajamas, the clock is already ticking for county officials as they race to make a decision by the 5 a.m. deadline.
Over the next two hours, students’ fate will hang in the hands of a crew of county workers, including officials at the MCPS Department of Transportation, bus drivers and top administrative heads. The Black & White spoke with spokesperson Dana Tofig and Todd Watkins, the director of the Department of Transportation, to learn more about the process that keeps thousands of students on edge.
Six people go out on the roads and begin to assess the conditions. The drivers, who work at county bus depots, take note of conditions on the roads, sidewalks and school sites. Others work in the office, contacting nearby counties, weather casting services and state county road officials to discern the conditions and the progess of plowing operations.
The MCPS Department of Transportation puts all of the collected information together to formulate a recommendation to send to the chief operating officer, Larry Bowers. The decision is the result of a consensus view of 10 people in the Department of Transportation.
The final recommendation then goes to the superintendent after being reviewed by Bowers. Starr makes the final decision and sends it back to the Department of Transportation by 4:45 to be broadcasted.
The final decision is then broadcasted on local airways by 5:00 a.m. The country is notified through emails, texts, twitter, the MCPS website, MCPS TV, recorded phone lines, and other various forms of media.
february 5, 2014
‘It’s Academic’ team finds success with underclassmen
By Emma Anderson In an activity usually dominated by seniors, the“It’s Academic” team of three sophomores is proving that they don’t need four years of schooling to keep up with the upperclassmen. Sophomore twins William and Sam Arnesen, along with sophomore Caroline Evans, were moved up to the “It’s Academic” A-team this year after last year’s team of seniors graduated. They are working their way through the initial rounds of the “It’s Academic” game show to make it to the play-off rounds. “For the most part, everyone is always remarking ‘You all are so young,’” Evans said. “Typically, [the teams] are seniors and can be a little intimidating, but then we beat them.” Evans and the Arnesens have moved into the second competition round of “It’s Academic.” Last year’s team made it to the third round before losing to Churchill. “I was pretty nervous beforehand,” Sam said of the first round of competition. “Especially because there were teachers there and it would be embarrassing if we didn’t do well. But there was a certain point in the first section where it is was clear that we were going to do well.” Evans and the Arnesen twins joined the Quizbowl club their freshman year. The members of the club form four-person teams that participate in county competitions. However, usually only seniors are placed on the three-person “A-team” that films “It’s Academic” competitions at NBC4 studios. “I was a little intimidated,” Evans said. “But I learned that they respect you if you’re assertive and confident, which was really important to learn.” In Quizbowl, students learn a third of the information from reading books and articles, a third from what they learn in class, and a third from studying, said coach Laurie Safran, who teaches in the Special Education department. While the amount of knowledge that the Arnesens and Evans had to absorb may have intimidated some, they took it in stride. “Every practice, there is a lot that you know and a lot of stuff you learned the previous practice, and a lot of stuff that you don’t know and will learn,” William said. “At the start of last year we didn’t know anything, but you just build up more and more as you practice.”
photo courtesy WILL ARNESEN
Sophomore twins William and Sam Arnesen and sophomore Caroline Evans compete in the televised “It’s Academic” competition at NBC4 studios. The team has advanced to the second competition round.
The Quizbowl club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays to practice. Safran leads the students through about two packets of 50 questions each practice. The three team members compliment each other well. The Arnesens have two history professors for parents and excel at history, while Evans is more math oriented. “Caroline is definitely a math wiz,” Safran said. “She is great with pop culture stuff too. The twins know a lot of minutia. They all seem to have just fabulous memories for little details.” Being in the twin loop has its advantages. Sam said that he and William might as well be the same person, and although they deny having telepathy, Evans
doesn’t believe it. “They do. They lie,” Evans said. “Sometimes it can be difficult because they get into their own world and they can just look at each other and know what they are talking about and I am just like ‘God, let me in.’” Whitman has never had such a young team, and Safran said the current team has grown exponentially since freshmen year. “It is always a little iffy when you have a really young team because all the other schools have juniors and seniors,” Safran said. “I was nervous the first competition, but they are outstanding. I am pretty psyched.”
February 5, 2014
The best of Britain
by nick meyer There’s no arguing that the three kings of European gastronomy are France, Italy and Spain. But there’s one European cuisine that tends to lag behind its more famous continental cousins. It’s a food style dismissed by snobbishly proud Frenchies, Italians and Spaniards alike. I am referring to none other than the infamous cuisine of the British Isles. Next year, I embark on my collegiate adventure which will take me to St Andrews, Scotland, about an hour north of Edinburgh. While British food has failed to reach the same level of international superstardom as the aforementioned cuisines, I’m looking forward to many underappreciated and misunderstood regional specialties that make the U.K. a culinary destination in its own right. Compiled below is a list of some of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s best dishes . Fish and Chips If there’s one dish emblematic of the UK, it’s Fish and Chips. Perhaps it’s the dish’s simplicity that makes it so beloved by both the Brits and others the world over. The classic is a generously portioned filet (pronounced filèt in the UK) of cod or haddock, battered and deep-fried to golden deliciousness, and served alongside a pile of freshly made chips; unlike the US, a chip refrers to their ticker version of the french fry, while a crisp is what yanks consider a chip. Traditional Chippers or Chippies (chip shops) are institutions in towns all across the UK, and serve up a wide variety of deep fried bites—ranging from pizza to candy bars. Meat Pies and Cornish Pasties In the US, pies are often limited to apple, key lime, or pecan. But in the UK, a pie is usually a savory main course. Found at pubs and bake shops, and ideally enjoyed with a pint, British meat pies are commonly filled with beef and pork, but can also be stuffed with other meats. Favorites include steak & ale, steak & kidney and simple pork pies. Cornish Pasties are similar meat pastries hailing from Cornwall in the south west corner of England. They resemble empanadas and are usually stuffed with beef and vegetables. Full English Fry Up After a long night of pub crawling and pint chugging, there’s one dish that all Brits turn to make their morning a bit more manageable: the full English fry up. This hearty breakfast feast packs in all of the major food groups. Although variations exist, the staples usually include back bacon—resembling ham more than American style “streaky bacon”—bangers (sausages), baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, fried or roasted tomatoes, fried eggs, and toast. This breakfast is best topped with tangy brown sauce—commonly HP brand—a ubiquitous staple in British food. Haggis Quite honestly, it’s understandable why many are skeptical of Haggis, Scotland’s national dish. After all, sheep offal (heart, liver and lungs) mixed with onion, suet (beef or mutton fat) and oatmeal, all stuffed into a sheep’s stomach does not seem too appetizing. But when simply boiled or deep fried, and served with “neeps and tatties” (mashed parsnips and potatoes), haggis turns out to be a surprisingly enjoyable specialty. That being said, for amateurs, it’s best to eat it without thinking about what the dish is made of. Where to eat around here… Curious as to where you can sample some of these crown jewels of British gastronomy?
Duke’s Grocery 1513 17th St NW Washington, DC 20036 The Queen Vic 1206 H St NE Washington, DC 20002
By Sophia Glazer A live band blares on stage while hundreds of people spin around the picture-perfect Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo learning to swing dance. For the past 20 years, instructors Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg have been swinging around the dance floor, teaching classes about once a month for dancers of all ages. Koerner and Sternberg have been dance partners for so long that they can practically read each other’s minds. “We know what each one of us wants to talk about and we have an innate sense of timing,” Sternberg said. “Sometimes it’s like mental telepathy.” Whitman students and staff have been spotted showing off their moves on the dance floor of the Spanish Ballroom. “I’ve been going to Glen Echo since there’s been dancing there,” social studies teacher Robert Mathis said. Mathis prefers contra dancing, but he also dabbles in swing dancing. He said he prefers old fashioned dancing to what teenagers and young adults participate in today. “I go to the proms and I’ve gone to the homecoming, and dancing with a person and connecting in a way that’s safe and not aggressive –-we’ve lost that in many dances today,” he said. “I think if people tried swing dancing they’d think it was pretty cool.” Sternberg said everybody should try swing dancing because it’s a fun break from sitting in front of the computer all day, and gives people the opportunity to try something new. “You’ll meet all sorts of people from all different walks of life and you’ll get a chance to make friends
Tom Koernor and Debra Sternberg, who have been dancing together for 20 years, teach swing dancing classes at Glen Echo.
with people who you wouldn’t normally if you didn’t go outside of that comfort zone,” she said. Sternberg said she and Koerner have seen hundreds of relationships bloom through their swing dancing classes, even including some marriages. Senior Frank Beiser took junior Maxi Okon out for a night of swing dancing at Glen Echo for a guy auction date last year. “The instructors [Koerner and Sternberg] were really good dancers and really funny and entertaining,” Beiser said. Koerner said one of the main appeals to swing dancing at Glen Echo is that every class offers safe and fun entertainment for all ages. Okon said she enjoyed the laid -back atmosphere in the Spanish
Ballroom. Dance sessions include an hour long dance class and then open dancing for the rest of the night. “It was really cool because we could watch the more experienced couples dance and they were doing really cool flips,” Okon said. Koerner started dancing in college to improve his social life, but it’s now become both a lifestyle and a career path for him. “When I was in college, the girls in my dorm told me I would never get a date if I didn’t learn to dance,” he said. “Hell, yeah I took dance classes.” At Glen Echo, live bands perform at the swing dances, including motown, jazz and blues selections. “If you go to Glen Echo and stand in front of a 16 piece orchestra – you just can’t get that same thing out of a DJ,” Koerner said. Sternberg thinks that almost anyone can learn to swing dance if they really try. Although it might be hard to encourage everyone – especially boys and young people — to take a dance class, because they think it’s just for girls and grandparents, Koerner said. “The dance was not invented by a bunch of old people, the dance was invented by a bunch of young kids in Harlem,” he said. Swing dancing provides exercise and entertainment, and taking a swing dance class at Glen Echo is an instant throwback to the 1930’s and 40’s. “It’s cheap entertainment without alcohol,” Koerner said. “I think that’s the attraction to Glen Echo and swing dancing, because you can go and feel safe and have fun and you’ve had way more fun than if you woke up the next morning with a hangover.”
Teen Angel Project spreads joy through song Local middle- and high-schoolers perform for residents at hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters and more By Matt Yang Yorktown High School teacher Francesca Winch had a dream to spread joy throughout the community through song and dance. That dream came to fruition when she created the Teen Angel Project. “It sounds like I’m trying to channel Martin Luther King but it’s really true—it was a dream,” Winch said. “I woke up in June 2012 from a deep sleep having had this really vivid dream of teenagers performing in a hospital and being called the ‘Teen Angels.’” TAP is a non-profit organization of teens across the D.C. Metro area that’s committed to brightening up people’s days through song and dance. TAP has two performing groups—one middle school group called TAP Jr. and one high school group. Each group has about 30 members, and members must pass a singing and dancing audition to get in. “We are bombarded with negative news of tragedies all over the world, over which we have no control,” Winch said. “We do what we can do, which is to bring joy through song and dance. TAP’s sole mission is to bring joy, wherever we can, to the sick, the elderly, the recovering, to any community in need of our support.” The group performs in hospitals, homeless shelters, veterans facilities and nursing homes, Winch said. Between the middle school group and the high school group, TAP performs three to four times a month and has a three-hour rehearsal every week. Their most recent performance was at the Grace House, an assisted living home in Silver Spring. “My favorite part about being in TAP is seeing how much we can cheer people up,” said junior Sara Franklin-Gillette, who performs with TAP. “Over winter break, we went caroling at a retirement home, and a lot of the people started singing and clapping along with us. One of the women told us that it had been ages since she’d heard children sing. It’s great to see how happy we can make people.”
photo courtesy AMY SMITH
Locals learn to shake, rattle, roll to live music at Glen Echo
photo courtesy TOM KOERNER
Members of the Teen Angel Project perform for residents at the Grace House, an assisted living home in Silver Spring.
In the past year, TAP performers have collectively logged more than 2,000 community service hours, TAP spokesperson Amy Smith said. The most memorable performance for FranklinGillette was at an event for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “We performed at their gala, and helped celebrate some of the children’s wishes,” she said. “There was a little boy who wished to go to Disney World, so we sang ‘Be Our Guest’ for him. A lot of the parents spoke about how meaningful the event was for them, and I loved being part of that.” One of the most touching moments for Winch was when TAP performed at the Children’s Inn at NIH. “They were performing for very sick, critically ill children,” she said. “One of the kids got up on stage and started dancing with the performers. The mom was a little embarrassed and tried to pull the child off the stage but the TAP kids said ‘No, no, no. If it’s okay with you, it’s okay with us.’ The child was so happy to be up there dancing and it was just a magical moment.”
february 5, 2014
SPORTS Wrestling: Kevin Baker By Roger Champagne After an 0-2 start to the season, wrestling captain Kevin Baker has been dominant on the mat, going 20-2 through the last 22 matches and helping propel the team to a record of 10-1. Baker, one of Whitman’s top wrestlers, accredits his success to an increase in training and a new state of mind. “I started the season 0-2 but since then I’ve got my conditioning up,” Baker said. “I’ve gotten a lot more aggressive by making myself hate the person I’m about to wrestle right before my match.” In January, Baker caught fire, placing high in two prestigious tournaments. He took third place at the Patriot Classic Tournament and then first place at the Grapple at the Brook Tournament. Although Baker started the season in the 170-lb, weight class, he has recently cut down to
160-lb. Baker, a senior, leads the team in pins, flaunting an impressive 17 falls. “Kevin has become a leader on and off the mat this season,” wrestling coach Derek Manon said. “He is a leader vocally in the practice room and by example through his wrestling.” Baker’s signature moves include lat drops, claws, and double leg take downs, and he said his favorite pinning combinations are half nelsons and reverse half nelsons. “When I wrestle, I always look for throws and five point moves,” Baker said. “I try to get the most points I can while expending the least amount of energy.” Baker looks to continue his success and that of the Vikes’ in the upcoming county and regional tournaments, starting mid-February.
TEAM STANDINGS Girls Basketball Montgomery 4A South TEAM
CONFERENCE OVERALL PERCENTAGE
Montgomery 2A League
Boys Basketball Montgomery 4A South TEAM
Mitch Fenton racks up near-fall points against Richard Montgomery Jan. 7. Fenton holds an 18-3 record.
points by Andy Dexter in 13 games played
senior Zach Butler’s goal against average
Boys Swimming Divison II
Divison II TEAM
photo by NICK ANDERSON
Ice Hockey At a Glance
Ben Castagnetti takes a deep jumpshot in the Vikes’ win over Poolesville Jan. 28. The team is ranked eighth by the Gazette.
.000 *Division champions
photo courtesy JESSI LI
photo courtesy BONNIE SHARBAUGH
Alex Vissering swims breaststroke at the Jan. 18 meet against B-CC. The boys team is undefeated through five games.
*Standings through Feb. 3
February 5, 2014
New student-run track group leads workouts
by Emilia Malachowski Can you run a mile in under five minutes? Two miles in under 10 minutes? 50 miles in just one week? If you’re up to these standards, you might be eligible for the new student-run track group. Founding presidents Alex Roederer and T.J. McPhaul began the track group last winter in 2012 as a way to stay in shape during the indoor track season. The group has eight members: founders Roederer and McPhaul, Evan Woods, Matt Digan, Ben Gersch, Josh Sack, Andrew Rubin, and Asher Lazarus. Roederer, a junior, said the point of starting the club was to train for outdoor track in the spring in addition to helping anyone who couldn’t commit to indoor track stay in shape. McPhaul, a senior, and Roederer are both on the swim team, which overlaps with the indoor track season. Other runners in the club joined for different conflicts. The group tries not to stray too far from the indoor workouts, and mainly focuses on improving their mileage. “This year we had many of the top cross country runners join to get in great distance training,” Roederer said. To join the club, an applicant must be able to run two miles in under 10 minutes, 50 miles in one week, and be approved by a majority vote. In addition to these strict requirements, an applicant must be prepared to rigorously train every day, and must also pay club dues for clothing, Roederer said. When it comes to the rigor of the exercises, junior Josh Sack said training with the club takes a lesser toll on their bodies than the indoor season. But despite having fewer high-impact workouts, Sack said building up high mileage is still not easy. “Most days we just do easy runs, but when we do workouts they are usually tempo runs or hill workouts with long reps,” Sack said. Although the group is fairly informal, Sack said they might participate in a few shorter races against each other later in the year. Sophomore Asher Lazarus, who joined the group because his driver’s ed class conflicted with indoor track practice time, found the training more difficult. Lazarus said the workouts are often harder since most of the guys are faster and therefore he has to try to keep up the pace with them. “I’m enjoying it and all the people in the group are closer than before,” Lazarus said. “But we still spend a lot of time with our friends on indoor.” Although they do not participate in track meets or team practices, most members in the group feel that the group is very similar to indoor track. “We run every day after school just like indoor and we focus on distance running and preparing for outdoor track,” Roederer said.
Sophomore transfer jumpstarts boys basketball, adds to high-scoring attack Kyle DePollar (12.9 ppg) teams up with father, joins Vikes by Nicole Fleck This year has been one of big transitions for sophomore Kyle DePollar. He transferred from The Heights, a private school with 60 students per grade, to Whitman, with nearly 500 kids per grade. And as he transferred schools to play basketball, he’s had to shift on the court from the one-on-one style of play of The Heights to the more systematic, play-based style at Whitman. He transferred because The Heights wasn’t giving him enough opportunities to progress as an aspiring college player, and his dad was already a part of the basketball program at Whitman, making it a logical option, he said. Kyle’s dad, Steven DePollar, has been an assistant coach for head coach Christopher Lun for six years, first meeting Lun as Kyle’s math teacher in sixth grade at North Bethesda. “I got to see first hand what Lun’s been doing versus what was going on at The Heights and it was like night and day,” Steven said. Whether it be participating in coach Lun’s summer basketball camp, playing on a club team outside of school with Whitman kids, or just being around the program through his dad’s coaching, Kyle DePollar is no stranger to Whitman basketball. “The team is great,” Kyle said. “They were really welcoming the first time I came over when Lun invited me play to pickup. Everyone was like ‘thanks for coming over’ and they’ve made me feel comfortable since day one.” Not only has the team been good to Kyle, but also Kyle has returned the favor. “He’s been a great addition for us, Lun said. “He’s a nice kid; he fits in with the guys on and off the court. He’s got great anticipation skills, handles the ball well, is a smart player and doesn’t turn the ball over much. He also has the ability to get hot and score baskets for us, which has been a very nice bonus for the team.” Kyle averages 12.9 points and 4 steals per game. He, along with senior Max Steinhorn and junior Riley Shaver, provide the Vikings fast-paced guard-play as well as many shooting options. “We don’t have a hard time putting the ball in the basket,”Kyle said. “Defense is sort of our weakness.” Steven played basketball at Good Counsel, and has been coaching Kyle since he starting playing in fifth grade. “It’s a unique situation because I know all of his strengths and weaknesses,” Steven said. Kyle admits his dad is hard on him at times, but Kyle knows that his dad is not only his biggest critic, but also his biggest fan. During the school season, most of the coaching
photo by TOM KNOX
Sophomore Kyle DePollar transferred this year from The Heights, a private school in Potomac to Whitman to play basketball. His father Stephen is the assistant coach for the boys varsity team .
that goes on between Kyle and his dad is done outside of school. When the games are done, they sit down together and watch film, talk about certain situations that occurred, good shots, bad shots and certain situations that could have been prevented. “It’s not just the two hours we spend at Whitman—it’s in the car on the ride home because it’s a continuous, ongoing effort,” Steven said. Their hard work is paying off. This year’s team is on pace to surpass last year’s 14-win season. “We’re really happy with all of the pieces that we have,” Lun said. “Kyle is just one piece of our puzzle and we’re pretty happy with all 15 pieces of it.”
Local teen follows path of NHL stars, competes for US national team By Tyler Jacobson Like after any hockey game, the buzzer sounded and local teen Michael Lackey left his post in goal to meet up with his teammates. But unlike most games, Lackey was now a world champion. The Under 17 Mens hockey team had just beaten Canada 4-0 in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He grew up living in Wood Acres and attending the Potomac School in McLean, and is currently participating in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan and playing for the under-17 USA national team. The team competes in the U.S. Hockey League, the nation’s top junior league, and a number of international tournaments. In January, Lackey and the national team travelled to Cape Breton, Canada to play—and eventually win—the World U-17 Hockey Challenge, the premier hockey tournament in the world for players of that age. “It was my favorite hockey moment so far,” Lackey said of winning the prestigious tournament. “It was such an honor to represent my country like that.” The tournament consists of the ten best national teams in the world and boasts a prestigious history. Ten out of the NHL’s last 13 number one overall draft picks played in the tournament including current stars Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and John Tavares.
Lackey shared time as the starting goalie for the U.S. team and dominated the competition. In four games, he allowed only three goals and led all goalies in the tournament in save percentage and goals against average. He also came up clutch when the pressure was at its peak. During the championship game, Lackey shut out the Pacific Canadian team en route to a 4-0 victory for the Americans. Because of his strong performance, Lackey was named goalie of the tournament, an honor he shares with current Capitals goalie Philip Grubauer, who won the award in 2008. Lackey’s goalie coach at the U.S. team, Kevin Reiter, only had strong praise for Lackey. “Michael has the size and his competition level is off the charts,” Reiter said. “He does everything he can to win and he has come up big for us in a bunch of games.” Participating in the U.S. National Development Program means Lackey lives with a host family and attends an Ann Arbor public school. But it also means he’s on the ice every day. “The training here is incredible,” Lackey said. “It pushes you to a whole another level that you didn’t think was possible and makes you the best player you can become if you put all your effort into it.” Reiter explains that the program
is beneficial for player development because it is sport specific. At other places around the country, athletes might play a number of sports along with hockey, but at this program it’s all hockey all the time. They also have a number specialized personnel that gets the players everything they need. Lackey grew up playing for the Montgomery Blue Devils, one of the area’s most popular travel hockey teams, before transitioning to the more competitive Team Maryland.
“His potential is really unlimited. He has the size and skillset to be an elite goaltender one day and have a long hockey career.” -US under-17 coach Kevin Reiter During a six-year span between the two teams, Lackey played and carpooled with freshman Sam Dexter, someone he still sometimes talks to. “Even then he was one of the best goalies his age in the country,” Dexter said. “I could see he had a bright future.” After playing for Team Maryland, Lackey moved to the Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire so he could more easily focus on schoolwork alongside his hockey. Instead of
spending hours and hours in the car traveling to practice, at prep school, practice was on campus so Lackey could quickly transition to studying. Playing at a sports powerhouse like Exeter helped Lackey impress a number of scouts. “Last season, scouts from the U.S. team followed me throughout the season and at the end, they contacted me and offered me a spot on the tryout team,” Lackey said. The U.S. teams weren’t the only ones to send scouts as a number of colleges offered Lackey scholarships. After finishing high school, Lackey has already committed to play hockey at Princeton University. Though Lackey currently lives away from home and likely will in the future, he still acknowledges his parents’ role in his development as an athlete. “I really attribute most of my success to my parents,” Lackey said. “They spent so much time getting me to the rink, watching my games, taking me out to lessons just so I could keep doing what I love.” Though it’s a brutal profession, Lackey looks like he is on track to keep doing what he loves for a long time. “His potential is really unlimited,” Reiter said. “He has the size and skillset to be an elite goaltender one day and have a long hockey career.”
february 5, 2014
Viking Mat Club puts wrestlers on road to high school success school,” Douglas said. Many other high schools across Montgomery County have mat clubs. Damascus, one of the most dominant wrestling teams in the area, has an extremely successful youth program. “Jim knew that a high school wrestling team was only as good as their youth program,” Lerner said. Although Douglas still monitors the activity of the club, he is no longer involved in day-to-day operations, and Lerner has taken over as the director of the club. The Mat Club is similar to recreational basketball and soccer teams. Practices are held twice a week, followed by a match on the weekend. Matches are organized for the kids through the Maryland Youth Wrestling League, which matches kids up against participant sof a similar ages and weights. “The Viking Mat Club’s real mission is to get kids participating,” Lerner said. Derek Manon, the coach at Whitman and a lifelong wrestler, said he often uses the Mat Club to determine the talent level of
incoming freshman. He credits the Mat Club for much of the team’s success. “It’s a tremendous benefit to us. I know Coach Lerner does a great job,” Manon said. “We would not have the success we’ve had over the last decade if it weren’t for the Viking Mat Club. There are currently two teams in the Mat Club. The organization previously also included a travel team—called the Beltway Team— but it was disbanded two years ago due to a lack of coaching. The Beltway team traveled to such places as Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland, for matches. Senior Harriet Symington, who participated in the Mat Club since age six, has wrestled each of her four years at Whitman and won several national women’s tournaments. “It’s a really valuable program that gives kids valuable experience before they enter high school,” Symington said.
photo by TYLER JACOBSON
By Roger Champagne The wrestling team boasts an impressive 10-1 record, its best record at this point in the season since 2010. Driving this success is a squad made up of wrestlers who have wrestled for Whitman since their childhood. Nine of the 14 varsity wrestlers, including captains Jacob Cutler, Kevin Baker and Jack Calder, began their wrestling careers in the Viking Mat Club, a program that introduces young athletes in the Bethesda area to wrestling. The Viking Mat Club was founded in 1991 by former coach Jim Douglas and former wrestler Michael Lerner. Lerner was the team’s captain during Douglas’ first year as a coach. The pair continued working together when they created the club, which aims to help young wrestlers ages 5 to 14 develop skills and refine their technique before joining their high school wrestling teams. “We started the Viking Mat Club because there was no longer any place in the Bethesda- Potomac area to learn to wrestle before high
Young athletes ages 5 to 14 get wrestling experience through the Viking Mat Club, which feeds into the Whitman wrestling
Poms dance their way to strong competition performances by sam berson As the Northwest Poms Invitational Jan. 11 came to an end and the second and third places for the captain’s award were being announced, senior captain Alexa Brodsky didn’t think she had any chance to win the award given to the best team captain in the competition. “I was hoping I would be able to place at all and when they called third place and second place I thought it was over,” Brodsky said. However, Brodsky’s day was far from over and before she knew it, the rest of the second place Poms team was piled on top of her in celebration. “They called Whitman and my entire team jumped on top of me and my co-
captains started crying,” Brodsky said. Along with Brodsky’s first place finish individually, the Poms team finished second overall with a strong sixminute performance. In their second performance of the season at the Damascus Invitational Jan 18, the team did not fare as well, but captain Julia Bromberg received second place in the captain award. “I was really excited,” Bromberg said. “At first I was in so much shock that I didn’t even stand up to receive my award. It was surprising because you never know what the judges are thinking.” After finishing sixth or worse in all of last year’s competitions, this year’s
captains made sure all of the songs they selected were high energy and that the choreography was spot on. “The routine made by the captains this year highlighted our strengths as a team which made it easier to execute,” junior Louise Amat said. “We had good spotlights and worked really hard perfecting the dance.” The team also decided to keep the same routine for all of its competitions, only tweaking small parts with the competitions only a week or two apart. Instead of taking the time to change the dance for each performance, the team put extra time into coming up with a new original dance, Brodsky said. Coach Kayla Collins said she was
very excited to see the team do so well at Northwest after the work they have put in this year. “I am so proud of the enthusiasm the whole squad put into this routine,” Collins said. “They deserved to be rewarded for their hard work and I couldn’t be happier for them.” As for Brodsky, she said the best part of her first place finish wasn’t winning, but rather the reaction she got from the rest of the team and fellow captains. “Honestly the best part about winning the award was seeing how proud my teammates were of me as their captain,” Brodsky said.
photo by NICK ANDERSON
Vikes ratchet up defensive intensity to start season strong
Junior Riley Shaver takes a shot from behind the arc in the Vikings’ 53-48 win over Poolesville Jan. 28. The Vikes’ record improved to 12-3.
By Sam Berson After blowing an 11-point lead late into the fourth quarter against Rockville, the then 0-2 boys basketball team decided to meet together to discuss their struggles. After senior captains talked, head coach Chris Lun gave the team a strong message– to stop saying what they are going to do and actually do it. “We talked about becoming more focused on the defensive end of the floor,” Lun said. “Whitman basketball is based on tough defense and good ball movement. Our first couple of games, we were [simply] going through the motions and settling for quick shots.” Since then, the team went on a nine game winning streak and now finds themselves at 12-3 and ranked eighth in the Gazette. The team has held opponents to averages of only 46 points per game and a 16.5-point margin of victory since the first two games of the season. “Defensive intensity has been huge for us,” Lun said. “When we play together on defense we are tough. We need to do the little things on defense that most teams don’t feel like doing, and our guys are buying in and doing a great job with it.” The Vikes’ full-court pressure played a huge role in a win Jan. 8 against the then tenth ranked Richard Montgomery Rockets when the team held RM to a season low 24 points and allowed only two players to score over four points. Center Josh Fried, who is averaging 10 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, has held down the paint under the basket. The defense has thrived off its intensity and aggressive style of play, which relies on always pressuring the ball and creating turnovers. This scheme has also helped the Vikings on offense. Averaging ten
turnovers per game has helped the team keep games under their control and generate easy baskets off of fast breaks. Lun also praised the team’s mindset, which he said has made the team closer, and is a big reason for their success. Forward Adam Lowet agreed, saying the defensive energy has been key for the Vikings’ this season. “It’s all about intensity for us,” Lowet said. “We know that we are only good when all five guys are awake, talking, and moving like maniacs on defense.” The Vikes have also strengthened their offense with a balanced scoring attack, helping the team wear down opponents and extend their possessions. Guard Kyle DePollar leads the team with 12.5 points per game, but Fried and guards Max Steinhorn and Riley Shaver all average over nine points per game to add to the team’s offense. “We have so many different scoring threats and options,” guard Alex Lesley said. “Our guards can all shoot and get to the basket and our ball movement also gets us open shots. We give up good shots for great ones.” In the Vikings’ Jan. 28 game against the tenth ranked Poolesville Falcons, the Vikes’ were close to blowing a 15-point lead as the Falcons pulled to within three points with less than two minutes remaining. During a timeout, Lun and the Vikes’ talked about focusing on the defensive pressure that has put the team in contention for a 4A South division title. Following the timeout, Steinhorn grabbed a quick steal and laid it in for an easy basket, all but closing out the game. “We had to bear down on defense, go man-to-man, and be aggressive,” Lowet said. “And that’s exactly what we did.”
February 5, 2014
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly discusses popular players, challenges for league and the Winter Classic in D.C.
The Black & White: What is your day-to-day role as the deputy commissioner of the NHL? Bill Daly: Pretty much my position has to do with all aspects of the league. I would say I’m primarily responsible for our labor relationship with the player’s association and maintaining a collective bargaining agreement with our officials’ association as well. Other than that, it’s general business areas; I do a lot of international business, oversight of the leagues businesses and making national television arrangements. B&W: How successful has the transition to hybrid icing and smaller goalie pads been this year? BD: We’ve had one general managers’ meeting and one owners’ meeting since the start of the season, and I think the general consensus is that the hybrid icing rule, while it’s been an adjustment both for our officials and our players, has made the game a lot safer, though it’s still a work in progress. The goalie pad issue is something we’ve been dealing with on and off for probably ten years now, trying to shrink the size of goaltender equipment without losing protective elements. That always will be a work in progress. B&W: What are the biggest problems and some
photo by AP IMAGES/LUIS ALVAREZ
by Tyler Jacobson Hockey has seen a resurgence in the D.C. area over the past few years, with the Capitals making the playoffs every season since 2008. The Black & White spoke to Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the National Hockey League and a Whitman parent. Daly began his career as an attorney and joined the league in 1996. He has shot up the ranks to his current position, where he now specializes in collective bargaining relationships and other league-wide operations.
possible solutions for the NHL right now? BD: I don’t view them as problems, I like to view them as opportunities. One of the big challenges that we currently have is maximizing player safety without changing the fundamental nature of the sport; one of the things that makes our sport popular and appealing to the fans. It’s always going to be a contact sport and with contact, there are bound to be injuries. Given that, the league is trying to make the game the safest it can be. It’s something the league has always been focused on
for the 17 years I have been there. Safety is probably the primary object. B&W: What role do the most popular players like Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby play for the league? BD: I think they clearly play a role and there’s been a lot of comparisons over time of how we market our stars vs. other leagues. I think what’s unique about our sport is the team nature of the sport. While we have lot of great players and superstars who have importance in the perception and image of the league, ours is probably a more team-oriented sport than virtually any other. Maybe football to some extent rivals it but the NHL is much less focused on individual players and more focused on the team. While you have to take advantage of the name players we have, I think we also can promote the team nature of our sport and the culture, history and tradition of it as well. We’re three years away from our hundredth anniversary. People don’t know how well established the league is. B&W: How did you ultimately come up with the decision to have the Winter Classic in Washington next year? BD: It’s been an ongoing discussion with the capitals and owner Ted Leonsis for a number of years now. When we made the decision to schedule the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh and have Washington as the opponent, we made a commitment to Ted that we would try to get the Winter Classic to Washington as quickly as we could. Washington is a unique opportunity being that it’s the nation’s capital. Obviously, the makeup of the team is attractive from a national perspective. We still have to select an opponent and that hasn’t been done yet. We are excited about the prospects of a very successful Winter Classic in Washington.
ACROSS: 1. “High ‘n’ Dry” band 5. Pay your way out of jail with 34 35 this 7. “Frozen” character with frosty 36 personality 9. Party setting 38 39 40 10. One of the Simpson siblings 11. Annoys people on the internet 41 13. Don’t lift heavy weights without one 15. “Stick it to the ___” 16. Nintendo console 18. Morning (abbrev.) 41. Main plot item in “Call of Duty: 19. “The ___ of my ___ is my friend” Ghosts” 20. Simon & Garfunkel though 42. Twilight knock-off features this silence had this color 21. Music note 23. Led Zeppelin album DOWN: 25. Pixar movie 2. Didn’t make it through high school 26. Miley Cyrus’ favorite ball 3. Poker variant 29. Come in boy, girl, cub, and eagle 4. deadmau5 (spelled correctly) varieties 5. Might not let you in if you’re 32. Tumblr user under 21 34. Blind “Avatar: The Last 6. Stitch’s owner Airbender” character 8. Under the influence (see p. 6) 36. “___ vs ___” 9. Verb tense 37. Hair color preferred by 12. Old spelling of “old” gentlemen, allegedly 14. Wrestling surrender 38. Apologetic board game
42 By Chris Hodgman
17. “The Hobbit” main villain 20. Horror movie with 6 sequels 22. Half these clues are this (but not this one) 24. Table tennis 27. Russian domain name 28. Famous individual (abbrev.) 30. Leads you to your seat (also a musician) 31. Impudent 32. Blood vessel 35. Jazz musician with feathery last name 39. British interjection 40. Can be found in email subject Check The Black & White Online for answers.