volume 52, Issue 7 March 20,2014
Walt whitman High school
7100 whittier boulevard
Bethesda, maryland 20817
photo by NICK ANDERSON
New SAT could change prep strategies
Boys basketball finishes miraculous year as state runner-up (From left) Seniors Ben Castagnetti, Max Steinhorn and Adam Lowet hoist the state finalist trophy following the 4A championship game. See page 16 for full coverage on the boys’ playoff run to the state title game at the Comcast Center.
Broken copiers send teachers scrambling for classroom prep Antiquated machines to be replaced this spring By Adam Simon The halls of Whitman on a Sunday are somewhat of a ghost town. But listen carefully and you can hear the sighs of three frustrated teachers in search of an operating copying machine. This year, frequent breakdowns and jams have plagued the three main copying machines and subsequently caused the county to advance the date for replacing the main copiers. The same machines have been at Whitman for decades, but this year their functionality has reached a new low, principal Alan Goodwin said. “The copiers are way past their expiration date,” math teacher Meg Thatcher said. “They were supposed to be replaced three years ago, but nothing has happened.” On Tuesday, March 11, a Montgomery County technician came to fix the printer on the first
floor and diagnosed the real issue: the average lifespan of this type of copier is 10 million pages— the Whitman copier has done 11 million. “At this point, our copiers break down far too often,” Goodwin said. “It’s starting to really take away from teachers’ ability to teach.” As an alternative to in-school copying, the county provides a service called Copy-Plus, where teachers submit documents to be photocopied and delivered in about two weeks. “CopyPlus is only sometimes effective,” social studies teacher Wendy Eagan said. “For example, when I want to give students unplanned readings that are relevant to the curriculum—such as the crisis in Crimea—I’m unable to do so.” Another option for teachers is to upload their material onto the
internet via Edline. However, this strategy doesn’t come without problems. “If the copier is acting up and I need to give homework, I’ll scan it and put it online,” Thatcher said. “This has limitations, though, because often times students are less likely to keep track of the work and struggle to get access.” While it may seem feasible to have teachers print multiple copies of short documents using the standard printers, the school has discouraged them from doing so because of the high cost of printing toner. “It’s a cost that has crept on us recently and we spend several thousands of dollars a year on toner,” business manager Eddy Campbell said. “Printers should be used for exceptions, not class sets.”
Continued on Page 3
Continued on page 2
EDITORIAL: New A look inside SAT emphasizes March Madness merit over money
Winter weather sparks students’ passion for
by Ben Titlebaum and Rebecca Meron Lost amid the noise of freshmen rejoicing at their good fortune and upperclassmen bemoaning hours spent memorizing ‘archaic’ vocabulary, test-prep companies are thinking about how to adapt to the justannounced changes to the SAT that will debut in 2016, which will pose challenges to the $4.5 billion-a-year industry. On March 5, the College Board’s president and CEO David Coleman announced a revamped SAT that they say will more accurately reflect the work students do in high school and level the playing field for all students, privately tutored or not. The new test will be available to this year’s freshmen. Students will be able to take the test on a computer at some sites, according to Coleman’s announcement. In a reversal of the 2005 policy change, scoring will switch back to a 1600-point scale with just two 800-point sections: a combined reading and writing section and a refocused math section. The essay question, which will be optional and document-based, will be scored separately. Sample questions for the new SAT will be released next month. Leveling the playing field The College Board is partnering up with Khan Academy to produce free prep videos, which may reduce reliance on prep courses by providing a alternative to the expensive tutoring offered by companies like Kaplan, PrepMatters and Princeton Review. And by reducing the difficulty of vocabulary, the College Board aims to reduce the need to use tutors. Coleman was quoted in the New York Times as calling the changes “a bad day” for test-prep companies. With this change, the College Board hopes to increase opportunity for all students and reduce the current correlation between income and scores. According to data released by the organization in 2012, the average score out of 2400 for students from families making between $40,000 and $60,000 was 1458, while students from families making over $200,000 averaged a 1722. Despite the many changes, local tutors don’t think their business will decline. “People are going to be coming in just as much, if not more,” said Harriet Broder, owner of Potomac’s Breakthrough Test Prep. She also noted that test prep companies have known that the SAT would be revised since Feb. 13. English teacher Cheryl Essers, who teaches reading and writing for Whitman’s SAT prep class, said that in 2005, when the SAT was last revised, there was no increase in private test prep services because students thought the test would be easier. But in the years after the change, demand for private services went up, she said. Ned Johnson, president of PrepMatters, said he places more value in one-on-one instruction. “A lot of the reason people work with a tutor or take a class is there’s real motivation in human connection,” he said. “We don’t go to school and just sit in front of a computer. We go to school and sit in front of a teacher because we count on that person to communicate with us and inspire us and to pay attention to how we learn,” he said. Broder plans to change her practice tests, but not her procedures. “The bottom line is—my teaching doesn’t change,” Broder said. “I teach students how to improve their speed, comprehension and focus. The skills and the techniques are not going to change dramatically.” Essers said the strategies she teaches now can still be applied to the new test.
Robotics prepares for tournaments Page 12
Sports scouting key to Vikings’ successes Page 14
march 20, 2014
SAT updates content, scoring system
continued from page
Skills such as reading quickly for main ideas, knowing how long to spend on each passage, weeding out distractions and looking for common grammar mistakes are still important skills that can be used when students take the new SAT, she said. In another effort to encourage less-affluent students to apply to college, the College Board will allow qualified students to apply to four colleges free of charge.
Briefs Speed limit increases to reflect 85th percentile speed
Structural changes to the test In an effort to reduce reliance on test prep and allow students to demonstrate their classroom learning, the vocabulary section will be radically changed: students will now be tested on words they encounter in their studies, rather than words they memorize solely for the SAT and rarely use again. The College Board made this change because students were focusing too much on studying for vocabulary they would rarely encounter outside the SAT, said the Educational Testing Service’s Tom Van Esssen in a phone interview. Essen is the executive director of ETS, the company that writes the SAT. While vocabulary is a good predictor of reading comprehension, studying for it is less important than doing work that will help in high school, he said. The shift away from esoteric vocabulary may also be an attempt to minimize the effect of difference in socio-economic levels, Johnson said. Students whose parents went to college are more likely to have grown up hearing higher-level vocabulary. The College Board is more interested in identifying those who are good readers and can learn from context, he said.
The Maryland House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Feb. 20 that could raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on major roads. Parts of the federal highway system including I-495, I-270, limited-access highways such as the ICC and rural highways are all contenders for speed limit increases under the bill. The bill, if it passes in the Senate, would raise the state’s speed limit “threshold” which authorizes the State Highway Administration or Maryland Transportation Authority to raise the speed limit on roads, assuming traffic studies prove that the increased speed would be safe for drivers. Many factors contribute to raising a speed limit, including traffic levels, pedestrian traffic, sight distance and eighty-fifth percentile speed, the speed 85 percent of motorists drive on a given road. Thirty-eight states, including Virginia, already have speed limit thresholds above 70 mph, while many Northeastern states and a few others maintain thresholds at 65 mph. “When you post a speed limit much lower than the eighty-fifth percentile, you’re saying most motorists are breaking the law,” Miller said. “We want to reflect what a majority of drivers are doing.”
Crime decreases in Montgomery County The total amount of crimes in the Montgomery County decreased nine percent between 2012 and 2013, according to year-end county crime statistics. The decrease reveals an overall trend towards a safer community – since 2007, all crime in Montgomery County went down 26 percent, including a 33 percent decrease in serious crimes. The decrease comes after County Executive Ike Leggett implemented various initiatives to curb crime in the county. “None of this happened by accident. When I assumed office, Montgomery County was spending beyond its means,” Leggett said in a press conference. “We had to stop unsustainable budgets. Then, of course, we had to weather the Great Recession that laid low our entire nation. Despite these challenges, we made public safety a priority.” Every type of offense decreased between 2012 and 2013, except for rape, which went up by 27 percent. Last year, there were 130 forcible rape offenses, compared to 102 in 2012. One notable statistic was a 46.7 percent decrease in murder incidents between 2012 and 2013.
The revamped reading and writing section will require students to interpret and analyze evidence from multiple sources, including charts and graphs. This section will feature texts across many disciplines and will have at least one notable historical document, such as the Declaration of Independence or Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In another change, students will not be penalized .25 points for wrong answers. “The move to ‘rights-only’ scoring encourages students to give the best answer they have to every problem, and not to fear a penalty for making a best effort,” College Board spokesperson Kate Levin said in an email. So students can focus on fewer topics that are more relevant to college work, the math section will emphasize three main areas: problem solving and data analysis, algebra and advanced math. Calculators will only be permitted on certain sections. Math teacher Amy Hunt, Essers’s test prep counterpart, said she’s going to have to make changes to accommodate the new test. “If you don’t have penalties for guessing, I’m going to have to adjust the whole pacing strategy,” she said. “Also, I’ve always told the kids to use calculators, so I’m absolutely going to have to change my approach to certain problems and review different types of concepts.” The change, just the second in a decade, has this time been met with mostly positive responses. “The new SAT seems to be more grounded in the 21st century than the current SAT,” local college counselor Bruce Vinik said. “It appears to test skills, concepts and knowledge that are more closely
aligned with the things that students are learning in high school and that they will need to be successful in college.” Students agree with Vinik’s characterization. “I think it will better prepare students for the real world,” freshman Delaney Corcoran said. Many freshmen also think that the changes, especially the lack of a guessing penalty and the changes to the vocabulary section are wellconceived. Freshmen also think that preparing for the test will still be necessary. “You still have to study for the SATs and they’re not changing everything,” freshman Marieke van Rossum said. In recent years, the ACT has overtaken the SAT as the nationally most popular test for college applicants. In 2013, 8 percent more students took the ACT than the SAT. The new changes to the SAT, which incorporate some aspects of the ACT, could have been spurred by increased competition with the rival test, some sources suggest. And many schools have begun making standardized college testing completely optional. Prominent examples include Bowdoin and Bates colleges in Maine, Pitzer College in California, Wake Forest University in North Carolina and DePaul University in Illinois. This could shift focus away from college testing altogether. “It remains to be seen whether there will be a move back to the SAT once the new version is out,” Vinik said, but some students appear to be considering making the switch. “I was considering taking the ACT, because a lot of students said it was better and easier to take,” Corcoran said. “But now I think I’m going to go with the SAT.”
SAT Changes Old:
1/4 point penalty for incorrect guessing
No penalty for incorrect guessing
Calulator allowed for all sections.
Calculator only allowed on select sections
Diverse, unfamiliar passages
Familiar historical pieces like the Declaration of Independence Emphasis on practical vocabulary i.e. synthesize, empirical
Emphasis on formal vocabulary i.e. fortuitous, deleterious
New desks comfortable, convenient
photo by ABBY CUTLER
Black & White students test the new desks in A-202. The desks are light and mobile, and meant to encourage group work and “higher order learning conversations.”
by Casey Noenickx Completely new, remodeled desks can be found in English classroom A-202 and throughout high schools in the county. MCPS is phasing out old desks for all high schools, replacing them with a more comfortable and portable model. The spacious desks, with a separate chair for each, made their first appearance this year in newly constructed high school buildings in the county – Clarksburg, Gaithersburg, and Paint Branch. These three, along with another three high schools, have the new desk model throughout the building. All other high schools in the county have received one classroom shipment of the desks. At Whitman, the desks reside with English teacher Emily Glass, while more classroom shipments will be delivered over the summer and next school year. “I love the desks—they’re nice looking and better than my old
desks,” Glass said. “The old desks were just so small, it was hard to get a lot of work done, and the new desks will help the students to be a little more productive.” The county puts a strong focus on using higher order learning conversations, referred to as HOLC, which emphasize the importance of students taking responsibility of their learning, participating in class discussions, or working in groups. The desks are light and mobile, and the chairs are unattached to the desks, making it easier for the students to congregate, principal Alan Goodwin said. The desks are also designed to keep the students more comfortable. The chairs are shaped to support students’ backs, and the desks themselves are more spacious and comfortable to work on. “They’re not going to change a student’s overall GPA or anything like that, but I’d like to think students will be more comfortable
in class,” Goodwin said. “It’s difficult for students to go through seven periods sitting in a hard desk all day.” The desks offer a lot of space for the students, but also take up a lot of space in the classroom. Finding a set up was difficult, but the only downside, Glass said. So far, the new desks have been a hit with the students—sophomore Selvi Ulusan said she looks forward to having the desks in her other classes as well. However, the desks could be difficult to set up in a science classroom where group work is already done at labs, or in classes where the focus is on the Promethean board, Ulusan said. “I think it’s definitely easier to pay attention when you are more comfortable so the desks help in that sense,” she said. “The only problem with the physical desk is the absence of a good foot rest.”
march 20, 2014
New county database tracks harassment, teacher-student incidents by Sarah Friedman The convenience of communication through social media, email and texting can make it difficult for staff and students to draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate conversations and interactions. A few interactions have escalated into larger episodes between staff and students, attracting the public eye. In response to multiple incidents last year, some of which became sexual harassment cases, MCPS created a new database over the summer to track staff interactions with students that got too personal. Superintendent Joshua Starr asked the MCPS Performance Evaluation and Compliance Unit to create the database in order to track incidents in a centralized location, said Robert Grundy, director of the unit. Principals are required to report incidents to the Performance Evaluation and Compliance Unit, and about 25 incidents have been reported and entered into the database this year. Most of these cases have been “suspicious interactions,” such as teachers locking a door or closing the blinds while meeting with a student, Grundy said. This type of incident--reported by students, staff and parents--can often be resolved with a simple reminder of rules and regulations, but is reported so that a pattern can be tracked for repeat offenders, even if they switch schools, he explained. Principal Alan Goodwin doesn’t hesitate to remind teachers to maintain professional relationships with students if a minor incident occurs, he said. “Stereotypically I’m more likely to warn a male,” Goodwin said. Whitman has not encountered any incidents between staff and students in the past fifteen years, Goodwin said. He would report anything to the database that makes a student feel uncomfortable or that a parent reported to him, but
hasn’t reported anything yet, he said. Only two people have access to the database: Grundy and one other staff member. The main purpose of the system is to trace incidents from school to school. A principal might talk to a staff member about a minor incident and feel it has been addressed, but if the staff member switches schools, the new principal generally won’t know the circumstances. “Sometimes when there’s allegations against a staff member, we found out after the fact that there was a history,” he said. “We want to make sure these incidents are captured in a central spot.” Principals are encouraged to report any suspicious activity, even extremely minor incidents, to be recorded in the database, Grundy said. Principals attended a training session in October to learn about the new system and how to use it to protect students. Not all incidents need to be reported to Child Protective Services, but they still need to be tracked within the county, Grundy said. Staff members are still required by law to contact Child Protective Services if any suspicious activity is observed. In addition to the database, MCPS added background checks through Child Protective Services to the hiring process for all staff members and individuals who regularly appear in county schools. The county has always performed fingerprint checks on new hires, but they’ve added background checks as “one more safeguard,” Grundy said. If any county staff member is arrested, central office receives a report under the new system. “We take this extremely seriously,” Grundy said. “We want to monitor the character and quality of the people who work here.
photo by ADAM SIMON
System comes in response to sexual harassment cases, tags repeat offenders
A teacher posted a note on the broken-down copier in the main office, complaining that all of the school’s main machines were nor working properly.
After teacher frustration, overused, broken copiers to be replaced this spring Continued from page 1 On the morning of March 10, for example, no main copiers in the building were operational. Teachers had to bear long lines for small copiers that couldn’t handle big loads and adapt their schedules around this. Many teachers couldn’t reach the machines and had to change their lesson plans. “Teachers, who don’t have much time to begin with, spend their mornings in search of a working machine,” Eagan said. “I, along with Mr. Rosen and Ms. Rockwell, have had to come in on Sundays just to get our papers for the week.” Two staff members, Blenda Legrande and Theingi Tun, receive a stipend to handle minor issues with the copiers. However, due to the crumbling state of the machines, most problems are too complex for them to fix, Goodwin said The county sends its technicians to repair the equipment, but often, their
efforts don’t solve the problem “These servicemen are understaffed, overworked and have to cover the entire county,” secretary Donna Gardiner said. “One worker said they only get to spend a short time at each school to try and fix every problem.” Even with professionally trained servicemen, the copiers continue to break. “The workers can leave and within a half hour they’ll be broken again,” Goodwin said. “Most of the time the fixes only last a day or two.” But there’s hope for the future of Whitman copying. Although the county had originally planned on replacing the three main copiers this summer, the replacement has been rescheduled for this spring, Goodwin said. “I think the school system powersthat-be were so tired of the complaints that they realized how relieved everyone would be if the copiers were replaced sooner,” he said.
Students channel inner Capital Weather Gang Snowy winter, new access to models stimulate rise in amateur forecasting by Adam Simon In one of the most crazy and hectic winters in recent history—with school cancellations out the wazoo and seemingly a new storm each week—weather seems to be on everyone’s mind. Unknown to most, a handful of students have taken this interest and turned it into real skill. Scared of thunderstorms as a child, freshman Ari Neugeboren is now fascinated with the weather. “I became interested really after the 2010 winter with all the snowstorms,” Neugeboren said. “I was really intrigued by the power that weather has on your daily life and the power that it holds.” Neugeboren took this curiosity and acted on it. He attended a week long weather reading camp at Penn State in the summer of 2013. “I decided to go to weather camp when I realized weather had became more than a hobby and more of a passion,” Neugeboren said. “I loved the idea of great people coming together who share the interest of weather.” At the camp, Neugeboren learned to analyze weather graphs, models and patterns to come up with accurate predictions, while knowing some insiders tips. “The weather apps that a lot of people rely on only looks at one model, which makes them all sometimes get one inaccurate reading,” Neugeboren said. “Knowing what models I trust and what I see gives me a chance to know what will happen and how school and our lives in DC will be changed.” Dan Stillman, a Whitman alum (‘06) and the lead meteorologist at the Washington Post’s Capital Weather
Gang told the Black & White last month that the internet has helped amateur forecasters get all the information they need. “It’s great that anyone can access most of the model information that’s out there,” Stillman said. “It gives the young aspiring meteorologists a great opportunity to see what everyone’s seeing, even what the professionals are looking at. All in all it’s great for the aspiring meteorologist; the information is really at your fingertips.” Other students have used these internet resources to self-teach themselves. Senior Nick Sobel became interested in meteorology in middle school after reading the Capital Weather Gang. Through reading the comments on these articles and doing further research on sites such as NOAA, Sobel was able to learn how to read the models and make predictions. “Meteorology is perfect for me because I like knowing what’s going to happen before it happens,” Sobel said. Any aspiring meteorologist has access to all of the different models and weather maps at their disposal. Through his exploration, Neugeboren has been able to analyze these models and decide which ones he thinks are most reliable. “The NAM is great short range but the NAM and GFS models are both American produced, meaning they have less funding,” he said. “The European model is the most reliable I think out of all the models.” This winter was a meteorologist’s paradise. Neugeboren and Sobel were able to compile evidence and make predictions on school cancellations almost every week. Through posting on Facebook, both made
different predictions on the likelihood of school the next day. “Every time a weather warning was sent out, I get loads of texts and Facebook messages,” Sobel said. “At first it was only a couple of friends, but with each storm it would increase from 10 people to 15 and so on.” Senior Zach Butler has decided to dedicate the next four years of his education to meteorology. Butler will be attending SUNY Oswego next year, a school that prides itself on its meteorology program. “I decided on Oswego because they are one of the few schools in the north east with meteorology,” Butler said. Even though, Butler is not as experienced in the field as Neugeboren, he is excited to increase his expertise. “I look at the weather a lot online like articles and data,” Butler said. “Through reading I’ve learned some things, but I haven’t really studied it yet” Although Sobel thinks of meteorology as more of a hobby, Butler and Neugeboren are more committed to the subject as a profession. “Meteorology is one of the jobs that I look to pursue when I’m older,” Neugeboren said. “As a member of the debate team, I can speak in front of people and plan to pursue a TV meteorologist job as one of the jobs I might want to have when I grow up.” Sobel has no intention of becoming a professional meteorologist—the thrill of reporting the weather is enough for him. “At the end of the day, I enjoy the pressure it brings to make the right decision,” Sobel said. “Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re wrong.”
march 20, 2014
Maryland’s national ranking called into question Critics point to high exclusion rate among special ed students as evidence of score inflation; test does not allow read-aloud accommodations By Samantha Zambri Maryland – which has been nationally ranked as number one among state education systems for the past five years – may have its title’s legitimacy called into question as a result of allegedly inflated scores on the NAEP, a national math and reading test, according to a November article by the Baltimore Sun. Education Week, a national newspaper covering K-12 education, releases an annual “Quality Counts” report every January that is considered the most reliable list of state rankings. Again this year, Maryland had the highest grade for K-12 student achievement, based in part on results from the NAEP. Maryland’s number one ranking is important because it acts as a sweetener to attract businesses and it suggests an education system that provides a ladder of opportunity for the state’s youth, said Nina Smith, a spokesperson for governor Martin O’Malley. “Education is essential to ensuring young people have an opportunity to achieve. Additionally the ranking is used to track progress of the state’s students. This way we’re able to not only compete nationally, but globally,” Smith said in a phone interview. But the Sun article raised questions about the ranking’s accuracy. Evidence surfaced of high test exclusion rates for English Language Learners and special education students with Individualized Education Plans. Maryland excludes test scores for these students more frequently than all other states. The National Assessment of Educational Progress test, a reading and math test given to select students across the country in fourth and eighth grade, is familiarly known as the Nation’s Report Card. It’s a long-term measure of national student achievement and produces estimates that individual states can use to compare their education systems with those of other schools, said Maryland’s NAEP coordinator Clayton Best. While Maryland has the highest test scores for students with disabilities, it also has the lowest proportion of students tested, according to statistics from the Maryland Department of Education, which are available online. In the past, Maryland has excluded scores for a higher percentage of special education students and English Language Learners (ELL) on the reading portion of the test than any other state, with a 66 percent exclusion rate, compared to 16 percent nationally. The National Center on Education Statistics, the research branch of the Department of Education, found that excluding students with disabilities and ELLs from the NAEP results raised Maryland test scores about eight points for fourth grade reading and about
five points for eighth grade reading. If the standings were adjusted, Maryland would fall from second place in fourth grade reading to eleventh place, and from sixth place in eighth grade reading to twelfth place, according to NCES. Additionally, a NAEP report found that the exclusion of ELLs and students with disabilities can result in an increase in variability among sampled students that can skew results. Either of these outcomes can affect conclusions concerning changes over time.
“The effect of excluding students who have read-aloud accommodations in their IEPs is unknown.” -Maryland NAEP coordinator Clayton Best Many special education students have a readaloud accommodation in their IEP that allows a person or computer to read questions aloud to the student. The NAEP doesn’t allow the accommodation, so this excludes those test scores from the results, Best said. Other states either limit the read-aloud accommodation or don’t have it at all, which is why Maryland’s exclusion rate is so much higher, he explained. Virginia, for example, requires that students who use the read-aloud accommodation on the VMAST (an alternative version of a test similar to Maryland’s HSA) and other modified tests complete the NAEP without the accommodation, according to Virginia’s inclusion guidelines. As a result, special education students who normally use the read-aloud accommodation are still included in the final score report even though they took the test without any assistance. Virginia is ranked tenth in Education Week’s K-12 Achievement category. Some critics are skeptical of the practice of testing students without their read-aloud accommodation.“It becomes a question about the integrity of the test and how valid it is when these students do not receive the accommodations,” said Geoff Sanderson, associate superintendent of the MCPS Office of Shared Accountability. The office provides information on school improvement operationally and academically. NAEP’s Best urges caution when linking the exclusion rate to Maryland’s overall ranking. “Students with disabilities have lower NAEP scale scores than students without disabilities,” he said. “But the effect of excluding students who have read-aloud accommodations in their IEPs is unknown.” State school superintendent Lillian Lowery said in a memo to district officials last year that she would
discuss the issue with local superintendents, testing directors and special education supervisors and put more pressure on local school districts to limit the practice. However, since student exclusion is handled at the district level, state officials have little control over it. “Nothing concrete will happen until next fall, when next year’s test will be planned, but I am optimistic that Maryland is moving towards including more children,” Best said. “What we will do is alert the parents of the selected children that the NAEP won’t offer the readaloud accommodation, and if students don’t want to participate, they won’t have to.” Westland Middle School, Wood Acres and Bethesda Elementary Schools are among the 37 MCPS schools that participated in the NAEP last year. “While schools in each county participate, all reporting is done at the state level,” Sanderson said. “As a result, MCPS does not have the ability to benefit too much from the results – only to assume that we are helping the state of Maryland in its performance.”
With read-aloud accommodation scores 4th Grade 8th Grade
6th 2nd Place Place
11th 12th Place Place
Uncomfortable classrooms leave Maintenance, Building Services scrambling Heating, cooling equipment strained by extreme cold, temperature swings by Raquel Weinberg In the six years that English teacher Prudence Crewdson has taught in room B214, the heating and cooling unit has never worked properly. In December, the temperature in her classroom dropped to almost as cold as outside – some days around 40 degrees – until she had to temporarily move her class to another location. In the past few months, students have had to carefully choose their clothing in the mornings: it’s not uncommon for one classroom to feel like the arctic and the neighboring room to maintain a sweltering heat. County schools have been plagued by more heating and cooling system machinery problems this winter than usual. MCPS staff submitted about 20 percent more machinery work requests than last year due to the extreme cold temperatures experienced throughout the county, said Sean Gallagher of the department of facilities management. The county’s equipment was not designed to operate efficiently in extremely cold weather, making it difficult to maintain temperatures. Whitman’s heating and cooling system circulates hot and cold water throughout the building, with a boiler and a chiller
in the building for each respective task, said Lou Stavely Jr., a supervisor at the Bethesda branch of the county maintenance depot. Moving cold and hot water through 22 year-old pipes can be more complicated that it might seem, principal Alan Goodwin said. “It’s all operated by water. The water will get to a valve that’ll be stuck and can’t move through. If it can’t move past there, then one room’s really cold and the next room is really warm because it
“When it’s 30 degrees, what do you do? It’s just a mess. Everybody wants the building running well.” -Principal Alan Goodwin has the hot water,” he said. A working system should maintain temperatures within two degrees of the official set-points – 70 degrees for heating and 76 degrees for air conditioning – with some variations, Gallagher said. In addition to complications from the sub-freezing temperatures, most systems are original from the schools’ constructions and have simply been
repaired over and over again, which results in various problems, Goodwin said. Heating and cooling systems throughout MCPS are generally less than 30 years old and aren’t replaced until the building is renovated or reconstructed. Replacing a typical high school system costs between $8 and $9 million and only happens when something is seriously wrong with the unit or repair parts are unavailable, two MCPS officials said in email interviews. The other main issue is the thermostats – many are broken – and they sometimes break within a month of replacement, Goodwin said. Oversight of heating and cooling systems is complicated. Building Services, Bethesda Maintenance Depot and Energy Maintenance all handle system issues. However, they are all responsible for different aspects of maintaining maintenance and that can cause conflicts. “Sometimes, Bethesda Maintenance will come in and they’ll say it’s an Energy Management issue. Energy Management will say, ‘no it’s a Maintenance issue’. Sometimes you have to get both people in the building to determine what it is,” Goodwin said.
Building Services’ main role is assessing the issue before determining which party should be notified. Julien Po, Whitman’s plant equipment operator, does everything he can to fix the issue before passing it off to maintenance or management. Students and teachers typically try to turn the individual blower units on and off by manipulating them with scissors or pressing buttons, but Po comes into the classrooms to “do it the mechanical way,” Goodwin said. Ultimately, malfunctioning systems mean students and teachers have to sit through the heat or cold, depending on the classroom. “If it’s either too hot or too cold, kids can’t concentrate because they’re thinking about the temperature,” English teacher Ashley Houghton said. “And if it’s too hot, kids get sleepy. It distracts.” The issue is like a game of whack-amole, Goodwin said. One issue is solved and then another problem pops up. “I’m supposed to be the instructional leader in this school but a lot of times I have to get involved and make phone calls because I get frustrated,” he said. “But when it’s 30 degrees, what do you do? It’s just a mess. Everybody wants the building running well.”
March 20, 2014
OPINION New D.C. United stadium could provide needed spark for a lackluster team By Fionn Adamian Mention D.C. United and you might get a couple of reactions: “worst team in D.C.,” “I remember when my rec soccer team went to their games,” or “D.C. has a soccer team?” D.C. United has largely faded into irrelevance in the Washington sports world. Last season, they registered an MLS all-time low three wins while drawing the second lowest average attendance at their games in the league. D.C. United officials, who have seemed to realize how pathetic their team is, are now trying to get funding and city approval for a new stadium to revamp interest in the team. Mayor Vincent Gray and his city administrator Allen Lew are currently arranging deals with landowners at Buzzard Point in Southwest D.C. to provide the area for a 20,000 seat soccer-specific stadium. The project would cost $300 million, about half of which the city would pay for through tax incentives. It might be costly, but it’s definitely necessary to rejuvenate the flailing and forgotten D.C. sports team. D.C. United currently plays at the dilapidated RFK Stadium. Unfortunately, no one wants to go watch sports team in a halfempty stadium while sitting in a broken seat. A new field, though, would spark a greater interest in United. When you buy a ticket to a sporting event, you’re also paying for the experience, an aspect that is vastly improved by an attractive
stadium. In fact ten out of the ten students the Black & White talked to said they would be more likely to go to a D.C. United game with a new stadium. In turn, improved turnout can even improve the quality of the franchise. There’s greater prestige associated with a team that gets a solid attendance at most games, making it more attractive for star players. For instance, the Seattle Sounders, which were added to the MLS only in 2009, quickly rose to powerhouse status after establishing a fan base that set record attendance averages for MLS games. Gray’s stadium plans has its detractors. Muriel Bowser, the chair of the council’s committee on economic development, put it simply: there are better things the city can spend their money on. But building a stadium is an investment. It creates hundreds of jobs in construction and for people permanently working at the stadium. The area surrounding the stadium also would become more appealing for businesses. In fact, Unite D.C., a group advocating the building of a new stadium, estimates that it would directly create 1,200 jobs in the surrounding area. D.C. United has been the joke of the alreadyabysmal Washington sports world for a long time. A stadium may be the right step towards changing that.
Issue 6 Corrections Page 2: In a news brief we incorrectly identified the winners of the 4X800 relay in the Maryland 3A/4A Indoor Track State Championships. The winners were juniors Erin McClanahan, Clare Severe, Lela Walter and senior Zeya Luo. Page 5: The Staff Editorial neglected the “Art Space” exhibit in the media center. This area showcases new artwork on a rotating basis, as the article suggests. We regret the oversight and hope the rest of the building follows the media center’s example in displaying fresh student artwork. The Black & White regrets these errors.
A 1600 based on merit, not money The SAT may have lost 800 points, but the newly redesigned college admissions test should win back some solid praise. Starting in 2016, the SAT’s essay will become optional, the quarter-point penalty on guessing will end and arcane vocabulary words will be removed, which, when combined with a whole host of other changes, returns the perfect score to the more memorable 1600 of old. To the average junior, the removal of “diaphanous,” “adumbrate,” and “perspicacity” from the test is like a second birthday present. Removing such esoteric material is part of a larger initiative on the part of the College Board to give those of all socio-economic backgrounds an equal opportunity. By taking out little-known vocabulary words, the need for a tutor or test prep is diminished, helping those with lower incomes. Long criticized for being a better indicator of affluence than intelligence, the new SAT attempts to eliminate the factor of wealth from the equation. Behind many of these changes is David Coleman, College Board’s new CEO and the architect behind the Common Core State Standards. Coleman is connecting the SAT material directly to what students learn in the high school classroom, thereby encouraging hard work and study in school rather than paying for a tutor’s tips and tricks. College Board is also teaming up with Khan Academy, also a non-profit, to distribute free tutorial videos through the internet. This collaboration strikes a direct blow to giant test prep companies like Princeton Review and Kaplan Educators, who help comprise a sort of “industrial complex” of the education world. Dislodging a billion dollar business isn’t an easy feat, but it seems to be a pretty noble attempt by College Board to take down some of the class and race barriers surrounding the SAT. This isn’t to say that the College Board doesn’t have its own personal motives for fixing up its hallmark exam. After 88 years in the market, the SAT, essentially an American rite of passage, was replaced just two years ago by its ACT rival as our nation’s favorite college admissions exam. There’s no doubt that behind all these changes there is a desire to reclaim the top spot. The College Board also sure seems to charge a lot for its various assessments. And there’s no telling whether a refurbished SAT will actually do all that College Board hopes. While “We can help you with the new SAT!” could be an easy marketing gimmick for those in the test prep industry, everyday applicable vocabulary, extended learning over test taking strategy, and an equal opportunity for all sounds good. The new SAT isn’t perfect, but emphasizing intelligence over income is a step in the right direction.
Volume 52, Issue 7 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
PRINT EDITION Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Editor-at-Large Copy Editors News Editors Feature & Arts Editors Opinion Editors Sports Editors Editorial Staff Head of Production Production Manager Production Assistants
Jacob Cutler Emily Harburg Ben Zimmermann Shannon Dawe James Ireland Tamar Meron Max Steinhorn Raquel Weinberg Alexa Brodsky Annie Ludewig Fionn Adamian Rebecca Meron Michael Greenwood Nathaniel Sherman Fionn Adamian Rebecca Meron Ethan Taswell Chris Hodgman Haley Maness Joanne Choi Maria Mu Mikaela Fishman Ireland Lesley
request. The Black & White reserves the right to edit letters for content and space. Letters to the editor may be placed in the Black & White mailbox in the main office or the editor’s mailbox in room B211, or may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All content in the paper is reviewed to ensure that it meets the highest levels of legal and ethical standards with respect to material that is libelous, obscene, or invasive of privacy. Accuracy is of utmost importance to the Black & White staff. The address of the Black & White Online Edition is <www.theblackandwhite. net>. The online edition contact is theblackandwhiteonline@ gmail.com. News Writers Sarah Friedman Casey Noenickx Adam Simon Matt Yang Samantha Zambri Feature & Arts Writers Emma Anderson Nicole Fleck Sophia Glazer Caroline Schweitzer Opinion Writers Scott Singer Ethan Taswell Ben Titlebaum Sebastian van Bastelaer Sports Writers Sam Berson Roger Champagne Caleb Kushner Tyler Jacobson Business/Circulation Managers Sima Farzanegan Michael Gude Photo Director Abigail Cutler Graphic Artists Chris Hodgman Maria Mu
Recent awards include the 2012 Online Pacemaker, 2010 CSPA Silver Crown, 2010 Marylander Award, 2008, 2005, 2004 NSPA Pacemaker Online Award Finalist; 2002 NSPA Pacemaker Award; CSPA 2008 Silver Crown; CSPA 2005, 2008 Gold Medalist Award; Quill & Scroll George H. Gallup Award 2000-2008; 2005, 2004 NSPA All-American Award, 2004 MSPA/Washington Post Advisor of the Year Award.
ONLINE EDITION Editor -In-Chief Managing Editor Sports Managing Editor Feature & Arts Editors Multimedia Editor Blogs Editor Feature & Arts Writers
Multimedia Writers Senior Columnists
Julia Medine Emily Baker Nick Sobel Sarah Barr Engel Anya Goodman Amanda Le Nick Meyer Kelley Czajka Noah Franklin Rebecca Katz Julia Pearl-Schwartz Caitlin Sullivan Bridey Kelly Julia Maman Della Turque
Webmasters Tobin Bell Lisa Deng Calendar Manager Emily Cevallos Janssen
Advisor Louise Reynolds Assistant Advisor Prudence Crewdson Assistant Advisor Nicholas Confino
photo by SCOTT SINGER
Whitman’s Pothole Plot Hole
by Sebastian van Bastelaer With hundreds of teen drivers eager to exercise their newly-found freedom, it’s no surprise that the parking lot is a perilous place. Sure, teen drivers may not be the best, but sometimes, it’s the lot itself that poses the most dangerous threat to our safety. Potholes, a longtime staple of decrepit city roads and long, rambling country highways, have infested our beloved parking lot, and in great numbers. Sadly, even we Bethesdans—who can afford three-dollar cupcakes—aren’t exempt from the pothole’s plight. As the proud driver of a 1996 Honda CR-V, I know my car is on its last legs—er, wheels—and that every day, it gets a little closer to breaking down. So every morning, when it lurches into one of the numerous potholes spread throughout the parking lot, I cringe. To their credit, Building Services tried to fill the potholes at the beginning of March (coincidentally, right after this story was first written—I suspect foul play was involved), but the lackadaisical effort consisted of simply throwing a pile of gravel into the holes. Days later, after being driven over numerous times, the gravel had already been displaced, and the potholes were already back to their mischievous ways, putting us all at risk. It’s not only fledgling drivers who are affected. A school bus could also fall victim to a pothole, sending freshmen flying all over the place. Not to mention those trucks delivering food to the cafeteria, which could strike a pothole and thus alter the complex flavor profile of the usually topnotch ingredients. ` Maybe it’s not all bad; after all, we can always have some fun with it. A case of Olympic withdrawal could be treated with a nice game of pothole slalom. Or, if we let the holes get deep enough, we can take part in freestyle skateboard tournaments. If MCPS wants the parking lot to be a model for safe driving, however, it’s time to fill them up for good. When at its best, the parking lot can be a magical place. It’s where friendships are made, relationships are established, juniors illicitly go to lunch, dozens of near-accidents happen every day, people cuss at each other for having their spot taken and friends dangerously veer in front of one another just for the heck of it. However, in its current state as a perilous plot of pavement with a plethora of potholes, the parking lot is in desperate need of a makeover.
march 20, 2014
Long-debated Purple Line should move forward with construction By Ben Titlebaum Although Bethesda and Silver Spring are separated by fewer than five miles, it takes over 45 minutes by Metro to travel between the two destinations. Maryland Transit Administration officials hope that the proposed Purple Line light rail line will help connect Maryland suburbs in the DC area that are underserved by mass transportation. MTA’s plan suggests a line going from Bethesda across Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to the New Carrollton Metro stop, traveling through Silver Spring and College Park. It will have 21 stations along its 16-mile route, and construction will begin next year. Current plans suggest that it will be completed by 2020, but a risk still exists that opponents could successfully block or delay this goal. The Purple Line was originally planned over a decade ago, and support slowly built up steam, with most Maryland politicians now in favor of it. At the national level, the Federal Transit Authority recently approved $100 million of construction money for the Purple Line, and President Obama included it in his 2015 budget, although Congress still needs to approve this grant. The Purple Line should be constructed over opponents’ objections to ensure that further development comes to the region. The Purple Line will open up job opportunities for people who are otherwise limited by lack of transportation. It will provide access from areas like Prince George’s County to more developed areas
like Bethesda, which has more than 80,000 jobs, and Silver Spring, said Dan Reed, a contributor to the DC area transit blog Greater Greater Washington. This transition could provide substantial benefits for the region. There is no mass transit connection across the entire length of the Purple Line. In order to get to many destinations, residents without cars must take the Metro into DC, switch lines, and ride back out. The Purple Line would encourage residents to take mass transit to solve this problem. However, Chevy Chase’s town leadership has maintained that the train line would be detrimental to the community, and hired a lobbying firm last month at the cost of $350,000 to contest the construction of the line, the Washington Post reported. Along the line’s future track,
Opponents miss the numerous benefits of the Purple Line by focusing on an unpaved trail and inconsequential environmental harms. a part of the Capital Crescent Trail winds through Chevy Chase. Building the line would hurt the trail, causing noise pollution and disturbing the natural environment as trains run hundreds of times per day along a currently peaceful path. Chevy Chase residents like with the trail as it is, and don’t want to see change, but these changes would not be totally negative, Reed
said. The trail would be paved and extended all the way to Silver Spring when the line is built. Opponents also cite concerns related to development, which may threaten endangered species living in the region’s parks. Environmental lawyer John Fitzgerald, who is preparing a notice of intent to sue, said that any further development, especially in the Chevy Chase Lake area, would increase pollution and runoff, threatening three endangered species of crustacean known as amphipods. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has determined that there is no threat to these rare creatures. Opponents miss the numerous benefits of the Purple Line by focusing on an unpaved trail and inconsequential environmental harms. The Purple Line provides far more important environmental benefits than the possible damages that adversaries cite. By 2030, the MTA projects that the line will have 60,000 daily riders, and they estimate that it will take 20,000 cars off the road. The MTA has made a significant effort to accommodate Chevy Chase’s wishes, MTA spokesman Paul Shepard said. Shepard also said that the MTA doesn’t think Chevy Chase’s objections are legitimate. Chevy Chase has little power to stop the project, Reed says, and almost every politician, both on a local level and statewide, is in favor of the rail line. But a successful lawsuit by Chevy Chase could still delay construction, a dangerous prospect for the area. Construction should begin as scheduled next year over any minor objections opponents still hold.
Image courtesy MTA
The planned Purple Line route will run 16 miles from Bethesda to Silver Spring. The line will connect Bethesda and the University of Maryland College Park campus when completed, at a cost of over $100 million.
The Wikipedia Experiment by Scott Singer We’ve all heard the rumors: it’s public, crowded and uncontrollable. No; it’s not the stands at a football game or an EDM concert—I’m talking about Wikipedia, a mainstay at the top of Google searches and a collection of over 30 million web pages. Throughout their academic careers, students are told that Wikipedia is too unreliable to use as a source--anyone can edit the articles and can add false information. I decided to see if these claims of misinformation were true through a small experiment. As an avid Seahawks fan as a young Seattlite, I always imagined myself handing the Lombardi trophy to the game-winning quarterback at a Seattle Super Bowl. One night a few weeks ago, I decided to make my dream close to a reality (at least according to Wikipedia)—changing the Super Bowl XL page from the 2005 season, when the Seahawks lost to the Steelers. In the lower paragraphs, I edited section 3.3 of the page-the post-game ceremony—to read,“NFL Play-60 kid of the year Scott Singer delivered the Vince Lombardi trophy to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.” I saved my edits at midnight and hit the hay. By 6:15 the next morning, my name was erased from all records of that Super Bowl. I was shocked— how would anyone know to factcheck such seemingly realistic information?
Wikipedia’s quick fact-checking dates back to a famous incident in 2005, the same year the Seahawks gained a Super Bowl berth. The Wikipedia page for former USA Today Editor John Seigenthaler Sr. linked the journalist to the assassination of JFK—an event in which he was clearly uninvolved. The phony information went undetected for several months, until the problem was exposed by one of Seigenthaler’s friends, who told members of the press. Since then, Wikipedia has had a bad reputation, in part because of this one incident. Today, Wikipedia is more reliable than ever, having learned from the incident. Besides, administrators who check for vandalism of entries by anonymous editors— like myself—Wikipedia has Bots that correct common spelling errors and block links to certain websites. Most importantly, Wikipedia continues to grow: it is currently the sixth most-visited site in the world, meaning that the number of editors increases and the accountability of the website continuously improves. It’s a shame that I won’t be known in the history books as the guy who gave the Super Bowl XL trophy to Roger Goodell. But that’s for the better: once I give Goodell the trophy in Super Bowl LXII (calling my shot), readers will know that Wikipedia has their facts straight.
SGA “ the leaderSHIP never sinks
march 20, 2014
Jorge Richardson Marcela Falck-Bados VICE-PRESIDENT PRESIDENT
Kendall Eisenberg TREASURER
Thank you for the outstanding student attendance at all of our events during LLS Month! Your donations make a difference. With your help, we are one step closer to finding a cure. Thank you!
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
March 20, 2014
h c r a m
s s e n d a m
w e i v e r p
JEROME EASTON Assistant Principal
Champion: Florida FINAL FOUR: Florida Arizona Michigan State
NATHANIEL SHERMAN Sports Editor, The Black & White Champion: Louisville FINAL FOUR: Florida Arizona Michigan State
SLEEPER: North Dakota State
Champion: Mic FINAL F Florida Michigan State
March 20, 2014
When D.C. native Darion Atkins joined the University of Virginia’s basketball team in the fall of 2011, the program was in a state of disarray. The program hadn’t been to an NCAA Tournament since 2006, and was under the direction of a new coach, after the previous coach lasted only five years. Now, however, times are much better in Charlottesville. “It’s exciting. I’m nervous, to a degree,” Atkins said days after the Cavaliers’ biggest victory of the season, a 75-56 victory over fourthranked Syracuse, their 13th win in a row. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet with me and the rest of the team.” Atkins was recruited by coach Tony Bennett, who took over in 2009. He played at Landon, just a few blocks from Whitman’s campus. Landon’s powerhouse team went a combined 36-10 in his final two years, and took home the Interstate Athletic Conference championship in both seasons. Atkins played alongside Joe McDonald, who now stars for George Washington, the nine-seed in the East region. “It’s pretty intense,” Atkins said about the D.C. area basketball scene. “The competition is obviously at a very high level.” Due in part to Atkins’ contributions off the bench, the Cavaliers have had a renaissance in the past several years, making the NCAA Tournament in 2011, his freshman year. And this year, the Cavs won the ACC regular season and tournament championship, capped off by a win over Duke last Sunday in the tournament final. As a result, Virginia earned the number-one seed in the East region and the team is now ranked third in the country by the Associated Press. “It’s exciting. I’m nervous, to a degree,” Atkins said of the NCAA tournament. “It’s a lot to take in because we’ve never been in this spot before.”
BY SEBASTIAN BAN BASTLAER The NCAA Tournament features three Washington D.C. area teams this year, the one-seed Virginia Cavaliers, the George Washington Colonials and after a suprise Patriot League tournament championship, the American University Eagles. But scores of D.C. area natives will also play in the spotlight this month, playing on ranked teams including Duke, Villanova, North Carolina, UConn and Saint Louis. With Kevin Durant, arguably the second-best player in the NBA, and countless other NBA stars (Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, Carmelo Antohony and Ty Lawson, among a long list) all hailing from the Metro area, D.C. has seen a basketball rennaissance as of late. Sports Illustarted even called the region the new “recruiting epicenter” for basketball. The Black & White talked to two tournamet-bound players, Virginia’s Darion Atkins (Landon) and Duke’s Quinn Cook (DeMatha, Oak Hill). They discussed their team’s stellar seasons thus far, the spotlight of March Madness and the D.C. area’s basketball culture.
“You can tell a guy’s from D.C. because of his swagger,” Duke junior Quinn Cook says. For Cook and fellow teammate Tyler Thornton, who also hails from D.C., that swagger is paying off big-time for the Duke basketball team. Cook, a guard for the seventh-ranked Blue Devils, played his senior year at Oak Hill Academy in Northern Virginia after transferring from DeMatha. He was named the Washington Post All-Met Player of the year in 2011, and along with Thornton, who attended Gonzaga, represents D.C. for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. The team has gone to the Sweet Sixteen in both 2011 and 2013. Cook speaks highly of fellow D.C. players, calling them “legendary” for their confidence and signature style. Duke also has had a history of recruiting area basketball players, and Cook thinks there’s a reason why: “ I think the one thing about the D.C. guys who ended up coming here is we’re all winners. Coach K recruits winners.” He was named to the All-ACC Third Team in 2013 after averaging 11.7 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game. This year’s stats are practically identical, as he is averaging 11.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game He helped lead the Blue Devils to the Elite Eight last season, where they fell to eventual tournament champion Louisville. “It’s been the best time of the year, because of the sense of urgency everybody has, you know, it’s one and done”, Cook said about the tournament. “Everybody wants to end up playing in that last game in April.” This year, the Blue Devils have been strong once again, earning key victories over Syracuse, Virginia and North Carolina. The team fell in the ACC tournament championship game and was named the three-seed in the Midwest region.
Hundreds join student bracket pool in hopes of winning big by Ethan Taswell Enter Warren Buffet’s competition to create a perfect March Madness bracket and you could win a billion dollars. Enter the pool run by juniors Tyler Jacobson and Ben Schloss, and you could go home with over $500 . Jacobson – a staff writer for the Black & White – and Schloss have organized a bracket competition for six years, and last year over 100 students competed, with each contestant submitting up to three brackets at $10 apiece. “Even though watching March Madness is
already really fun,” Schloss said. “But you become a lot more invested in it and care more when there’s money on the line.” Jacobson said the random nature of the tournament makes picking winners both fun and difficult. Because college basketball always features a number of thrilling upsets and buzzer beaters, the NCAA Tournament and Final Four is always unpredictable, Jacobson said. Last year’s winner, senior Lucas Schoch, agrees that luck plays a big role in predicting those that move on.
chigan State FOUR: Baylor
Champion: Florida FINAL FOUR: Florida Arizona
“At the end of the day it comes down to sheer skill and ‘Bracketology IQ,’ both of which I do not have,” Schoch said. “It’s a crap shoot, but I’ve been lucky enough to win.” This year Jacobson is planning a few changes, limiting entries to only one bracket to heighten the challenge. And though he manages the entire pool and coordinates the competition, Jacobson has yet to win it all. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I still enjoy it every single year.”
PETER KENAH Coach, Girls Basketball
Champion: Florida FINAL FOUR: Florida Arizona Iowa State
SLEEPER: New Mexico
march 20, 2014
FEATURE Sign Language students experience
By Annie Ludewig and Alexa Brodsky Dear A&A, I’m looking for a roommate for college and I don’t know how to find one. A lot of kids post in the college group on Facebook, but they come off as a little weird and I don’t know how to do that without coming off strange. Should I message specific people? Help! Sincerely, Roomateless Dear Roomateless, If you’re going to the school within the next month or so for an accepted students day, that’s the best time to keep your eye out and start talking to people and see if you click with any personalities. If you can do this, don’t be afraid to ask for a few kids phone numbers and stay in contact. If you’re not visiting, check to see if your school has an online roommate matching service: this is also a good way to find a few options. Lastly, ask around and see if anyone you know knows someone going to your school. Through mutual friends you can coordinate a roommate. You can also go to your college Facebook page and start looking around to see if any of the students have mutual friends. Ask your mutual friend about the student and maybe they can connect you to someone. Xoxo, A&A Dear A&A, I’m starting to worry about my prom date. I’m not super close with any guys and don’t see anyone asking me. What should I do if no one asks me? I already have my dress ordered, but now I’m considering not going at all. Sincerely, Dateless Dear Dateless, Definitely don’t skip out on prom. This is your only prom and you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t go! Keep an open mind to dates and don’t lose hope! You never know if there’s a guy who’s got his eye on you, but if not there is always someone to ask! Don’t be afraid to turn it into a Sadie’s and ask a guy yourself. It can be a lower classmen from Whitman or a friend from another school. Also, never underestimate the power of a blind date. If one of your friends knows someone outgoing who would love to join you at prom, take the opportunity and have a fun time with someone new. Like we said, there’s always someone and prom isn’t something to miss! Xoxo, A&A Dear A&A, There’s this new guy that I’ve started seeing and we both really like each other. I want to jump into the relationship, but I’m holding myself back because I’m a senior and I know that this relationship is only going to get harder or maybe even end in a few months when we go to college. What should I do? Should I date him anyways or hold back? Sincerely, Relationship Blues Dear Relationship Blues, Just think of Allie and Noah from The Notebook. If it’s meant to be, it will last! If you two like each other, don’t hold back by any means, you may be missing out on an amazing experience and you’ll never know unless you try. A few issues ago we gave advice to a couple who has been together for a while who are looking ahead at the prospect of leaving each other for college as well. Our advice from that issue carries over here: we say don’t set any ultimatums and just continue with your boyfriend/ girlfriend and see what happens step-by-step. After all, as Shakespeare says, “tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.” Xoxo, A&A
By nicole fleck As the bell rang at the start of third period and students filed into the classroom from the noisy hallway, room C-203 was completely silent as Kristy McAleese’s ASL (American Sign Language) 2 class feigned deafness. The March 10 event, named “Deaf for a Day,” had students wear earplugs from the time they woke up until they went to bed, forcing them to communicate without speaking or hearing. McAleese, a CODA (Child of a Deaf Adult), grew up interpreting for her two deaf parents. She heard of the event through her friend, an ASL teacher at Rockville High School, who had a successful experience with it earlier this year. Although she didn’t participate in Deaf for a Day with her students, McAleese understands the struggles that deaf people face based on her first hand experiences with her parents, she said. I also participated in this simulation, but despite having two years of ASL study under my belt, I had a harder time being “deaf” than expected. Although I can communicate in sign language, there was a frustrating language barrier as not many people were able to understand it. “If you’re the only deaf person in a hearing school, you have to find a way to communicate,” McAleese said. “I think the hardest part about being deaf is communicating with hearing people and those who don’t know sign language.” I found myself looking forward to third period sign class more than usual, because I knew there would be people there who could understand me, unlike those in other periods. Now that she has students in a higher ASL level, McAleese strives to hold a “voice off” classroom, meaning students cannot talk and can only use sign. “It’s a struggle because they’re so used to talking and I’m asking them not to communicate the way they have been,” McAleese said. “Miraculously, [on ‘Deaf For a Day’], no one was talking.” Students successfully interacted during sign language class, but the rest of the school day posed some difficulties. “It’s hard to get a normal conversation going with most of my friends because they don’t want to take the time to pass notes or learn sign,” sophomore Dakota Oliphant-Linden said. When Oliphant-Linden was taking notes today, she found out later that half her notes were wrong because she misheard what was being said and didn’t know how to ask for the correct notes. Being deaf in a mainstream classroom setting can be challenging because classes don’t have interpreters and don’t always have fully visual lessons. McAleese said
photo by DAKOTA OLIPHANT-LINDEN
A & A k The Black & White feature s A editors are here to help!
deafness in classroom simulation
American Sign Language 2 students participated in Deaf for A Day, an event intended to raise awareness about deafness.
she wanted to push her students to use other means of communication including typing on phones, writing on paper or asking someone to interpret for them. The communication block that deaf people deal with on a regular basis can hinder opportunities and connections that could’ve been made otherwise. “I’ve been ignored all day— even when I have my hand raised and answers written down to participate in class, the teachers don’t call on me,” Oliphant-Linden said. “It’s crazy because I’m still the same person they know, but they don’t call on me. It’s hard imagining having to go through this every day.” Although I couldn’t participate in class discussions, listen to music or talk to my friends as in-depth as usual, I was still capable of doing everything else. “Deaf for a Day” helped students better understand the experiences and difficulties that deaf students face. “I feel like I understand what they go through now,” junior McKenna Murray said. “Deaf people have just as much to contribute as hearing people, but many people don’t take the time to try and ‘hear them out’ because it’s difficult.” One of the biggest struggles that deaf people have is the lack of awareness of the deaf culture. Many people are simply uneducated as to what it really means to be deaf. “The kids being deaf for the day spreads this awareness to 1,800 more people than we did yesterday,” McAleese said. “By doing these community activities, we are spreading awareness to the language and the community. I think that would be my end goal for everything—building awareness that this culture is out there.”
Junior gets real world work experience at NIH cancer lab internship by Caroline Schweitzer While Whitman students empty their pockets donating money to LLS month for cancer research, one student in particular takes a more hands on approach—working at NIH to help researchers find the cure. Junior Katie Mackall has been working at NIH in the National Cancer Institute for about seven months, where her lab group researches the ways that drugs affect the body. She is the only Whitman student who currently works in the NCI lab, and the only high school student as well. The closest intern to Mackall’s age is about 21 years old. Mackall works with two interns that have recently graduated college and one intern who has a post-doctoral degree. The age difference, however has no effect on her relationship with her labmates, Mackall said. “Everyone is very supportive of each other. There isn’t a belief that I can’t do as much because I haven’t been there as long,” Mackall said. “In fact, one of the people who graduated college came after I did, so I’ve actually helped teach her some.” Mackall leaves Whitman at 1:20 p.m. each school day and stays at NIH until between 5 and 6 p.m.— longer than most interns stay in
similar labs. But Mackall said she doesn’t mind the time commitment. Last year, as a sophomore, Mackall took Anatomy and Physiology and developed an interest in the NIH opportunity. She then interviewed at the end of last year for the internship. “I really genuinely enjoy it and I want to be there as much as possible,” she said. Anatomy teacher Melanie Hudock helped Mackall apply for the internship, and believes that the NCI is the perfect fit for her. “She’s very conscientious, she’s reliable, but mostly she can pick things up very easily,” Hudock said. “She thinks of things a little bit differently [and] that’s really important for research.” Mackall and her labmates run experiments to determine whether or not cancer drugs are doing their job in fighting cancerous cells, and if the drugs are safe for patient consumption. Mackall’s lab is currently involved in 43 open clinical trials, while most labs only have about five running at once. Mackall takes blood and tumor samples from these different trials and runs experiments to test the effectiveness of the drugs used. Mackall has had new, hands-on experiences since she started.
“My third day there my PI [Principal Investigator] took me to see a radical cystectomy, which is the full removal of someone’s bladder,” Mackall said. “I’ve watched these surgeries on T.V. in anatomy [class], so it was cool to see it in person.” In most labs, high school and college students are typically given a specific job to do, which they will stick with over the course of their internship. However, Mackall’s lab instructor wants to give the students as much experience as possible in a variety of tasks, Mackall said. “I’m basically able to do everything that any college student or college graduate can do and they’re very eager to teach me how to do as many things as possible,” Mackall said. A typical day is often unpredictable, Mackall said. On a quiet day, Mackall reviews data or gets ready for meetings, while on a busier day, she’ll process blood or run experiments. “It’s been a challenging experience and there’s definitely been a learning curve. I learn every single day,” Mackall said. “It’s shown me that I want to be in a field where I can keep learning throughout my whole life, and I think science allows me to do that.”
photos by JAMEY HARMAN
march 20, 2014
Last summer, Whitman students began work rebuilding a school in El Salvador, traveling with a youth group from the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Over spring break, the Manos Unidas club will travel to El Salvador to continue their efforts to rebuild the school, which was destroyed in the country’s civil war 20 years ago.
Manos Unidas embarks on service trip to El Salvador, continues school building project Caroline Schweitzer Manos Unidas heads to El Salvador this spring break to build on the work of previous Whitman students—literally. This upcoming Spring Break the Manos Unidas club will be traveling to El Roble, El Salvador to rebuild a school for young children, continuing a project started by other Whitman students last summer. Seniors Katherine Patterson and Jamey Harman and junior Eliza Clifford laid the foundation for the school with the rest of their youth group from the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation this past summer as a service project for those in need. An organization called CoCoDA (Companion Community Development Alternatives) organized the service trip for both the youth group and Manos Unidas.
Twenty-seven Manos Unidas club members will continue the youth group’s work by building up the school, which was destroyed in the Salvadoran civil war that rattled the country about 20 years ago. Manos Unidas’s goal is build up at least one classroom by the end of their time in El Roble. Once one classroom is completed, students will be allowed to access the school. Last year, the youth group first cleared the debris from the remains of the original school, which was bombed, then built up columns for support and finally laid cement. “They use every material that they have,” Clifford said. “They’re building it from scratch.” The youth group was only in El Roble for about a week, but by the time the trip ended, the girls felt like they formed a
connection with the community. “The day we left we were all sobbing,” Patterson said. “I wasn’t expecting to form such close relationships with the people there in such as short amount of time.” The girls had great memories from building the school and playing with the children as well. There was an open field in the middle of the village where people congregated, Harman said. Many of the kids played soccer in the open space. “One day it was raining and the field was no longer grass, just mud and we started playing in the mud, and turned into an all-out mud fight,” Harman said. “It was nice because it was just us playing with the kids. I don’t speak any Spanish and a lot of the kids couldn’t speak English, but we didn’t really need to speak to play.” Both Clifford and Patterson believe
that their work with repairing the school will make a lasting difference in the small community. “They’re so happy when they get to learn,” Clifford said. “They don’t take this school for granted.” In the village the students have to walk 20 minutes every day to get to the next closest school. “It’s really dangerous for [kids] to walk now because they have to walk so far to school,” junior Manos member Lila Hobby said. “The new school will make a huge difference.” The parents don’t want their young kids walking that long to school, Patterson said. “Part of the lasting effect will be that younger students will start going to school earlier and promote education in the younger kids and make it more accessible,” she said.
march 20, 2014
by Sophia Glazer The arena is full of rowdy fans who cheer on the players passing and shooting the ball down on the court — the competition is close and the energy is high. Except these players aren’t human athletes; they’re robots, constructed by high school students, playing a game similar to basketball. The robotics team is headed this month to their highly anticipated set of two competitions, where the team is hoping to move on to the national tournament, a chance they missed by just one round last year. Every year a different challenge is released to the robotics teams that explains that year’s game, which will be played between robots on teams of three versus three, senior Jake Harburg said. “This year the game involves a large ball that’s about the size of an exercise ball and we have to pick those up, move them around a court and throw them into a goal, using the robot,” Harburg said. The team has a six-week build season during which they work on the robot at school to prepare for the competition. A lot of precise, hard work goes into building a robot, but the time commitment is flexible with different hours that members can choose to attend. After build season is over, the robots must be stored away until the first day of the competition. “The first week, we focus primarily on design and prototyping and after that we do a computer sketch of what the robot should be and from then on out its just building,” Harburg said. “We go from complete design, to build, to testing; everything is from scratch.” The team has more male members than female members, and they’re always trying to recruit more girls to join, Harburg said. “You can tell that there are a lot more guys, but you don’t feel like it’s any disadvantage at all because you’re all interested in the same thing,” freshman Annie Waye said.
The actual competitions are at James Madison University and University of Maryland, and about 60 schools participate. The tournaments keep participants busy for two days full of fun with robots. The first day of competition gives participants time to fine-tune their robots and test them out on the court, and the second day begins with about six qualifying matches. Based on the scores in that match, eight top seeded teams are chosen which then get to draft two other teams a piece for the final elimination round. Then it just goes into a single elimination tournament, Harburg said. “There are a lot of very smart, interesting people,” Harburg said. “It’s a bunch of robotics teams getting together and everyone’s very excited to be there.” New members are looking forward to experiencing a robotics competition for the first time. “I’m curious to see what solutions other people came up with because when making the robot we went through different things but only found one answer,” freshman Grace Montagnino said. There is also a panel of judges that lay out the rules before the game begins. “There are a ton of rules, but some of the major ones are that no one can intentionally destroy other robots and no one can force other robots to break the rules,” senior Gabby Tender said. Harburg looks forward to the upcoming competition with the goal to advance to the national tournament. He reflects on his experience in the club this year. “My favorite part is just getting some real engineering experience and it’s cool to be able to really design and build something from start to finish,” Harburg said. “It’ll be fun to see this robot that went from something in our minds; just an image to a physical thing and we get to actually see it work in real time.” Physics teacher, Mr. Chen is the teams’ consistent mentor this season.
Robotics team members work on the team’s robot during the six week build season. They will attend competitions at UMD and JMU this spring.
photo courtesy MAXIME ZAMBA
Robotics team wraps up build season, heads into competition rounds later this month
“They collectively come together, put in what they know and learn a ton on the way,” Chen said. “This year most of our work is in programming so as long as our programming and our visual spotting is right I think we have a good shot at making nationals.” Tender loves competitions, but her favorite part is designing and building the robots. “Because of robotics, I know how to approach and solve advanced design problems,” Tender said. “In addition to teaching me how to use power tools, robotics has emphasized the importance of networking, teamwork and communication.”
Whitman Idol winner performs Senior grease at downtown concert venue monkey builds Hill Country Live offers free shows, live music, fresh BBQ and a dose of southern charm
photo courtesy McKENNA MURRAY
by Sophia Glazer Imagine chowing down on Texas BBQ while listening to live country music that soothes the soul. You don’t need to take a trip down south to enjoy these treats; indulge yourself just a stone’s throw away in downtown D.C. Hill Country Live is a music venue and BBQ market which first opened in Chelsea, New York and has spread to D.C. and Brooklyn. The D.C. branch celebrated its third anniversary March 11. Except for 21 and over karaoke nights on Wednesdays, HCL is open to all ages. “We’ve really grown by leaps and bounds without sacrificing attention to detail,” HCL manager Dave Magazine said. Despite its southern feel, HCL isn’t limited to country musicians. Nora Jones, a well-known jazz singer, appears at the NY location from time to time, Magazine said. “We want someone who fits our room, but we also care about the artist’s experience,” Magazine said. “It takes time and patience [to book acts], but it’s always worth it in the long run.” Junior McKenna Murray performed at HCL this November for her fall guitar showcase. Murray has been taking guitar lessons for two years with teacher Manny Bernardo, and all of his students participated in the concert. The venue space was new for Bernardo this fall, and he got the gig for his concerts through connections with Magazine. “Dave and I were a rock band for many years together called The Sketches and we toured up and down the East coast playing tons of shows together,” Bernardo said. Today, Bernardo produces and writes string arrangements for
his own ride
Junior McKenna Murray performs a set at Hill Country Live. Murray performed “Long December” by the Counting Crows for her fall guitar showcase.
albums and teaches guitar. Murray said the room was crowded with performers’ friends and family. She sang and played guitar to the Counting Crow’s “Long December.” “I’m pretty sure the limit is 200 people but we got 250 packed in there,” Murray said. Bernardo and Murray both describe the venue as having a cozy, intimate vibe. “It’s rambunctious, people get kind of loud and it’s crowded but it’s very down to earth,” Bernardo said. “It’s good for up and coming bands that want to have an intimate concert and to me it’s a cool local space.” Magazine likes to book familiar acts that regularly show up on the calendar. Recent acts include Mockingbird Sun, American Aquarium, The Whiskey Gentry, Big Daddy Love, Sunny Ledfurd and Toy Soldiers, he said. The HCL staff makes it a point to welcome all artists and provide a comfortable experience for their performers. “Artists have remarked that we treat them well and that’s
extremely important to us,” Magazine said. “They’re our coworkers for the night and hopefully our friends for the long haul.” The venue is also known for its tangy Texas BBQ. Magazine’s favorite item on the menu is the hot links. In the spring, Bernardo’s students’ perform at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, but HCL will host every fall concert. “I’m looking forward to both concerts,” Murray said. “Each venue is unique in that they embody the season and I’m excited to perform my first original song in front of an audience.” Besides the unique country charm at HCL that is rare in D.C., most shows are free, and given its central location it’s easily accessible by the metro. “We sometimes have guests who are shocked that so many shows are free. It’s always cool when you see that look of surprise and you have to convince them you’re not kidding, they can walk right into the club,” Magazine said.
by Ethan Taswell When senior Cole Hinga decided he wanted a car, he didn’t head to the dealership. Instead, he decided to build his own. Hinga has long been fascinated by cars and mechanics, but had never taken on a challenge quite like this before. “I’m building what’s called a kit car and it is like a giant Lego set,” he said. Hinga ordered the car—an MK4 Roadster made by Factory Five—online, and had all the pieces delivered to his house. From there, he said the process is pretty simple; he follows an instruction manual to assemble all the parts. “That’s pretty much all there is too it,” he said. Admittedly, there might be a little more involved. Tackling the project involves a remarkable amount of construction know-how and initiative. Not only does the body have to be made, but the entire engine, brakes, and drive train must be installed properly so that the car can eventually make it out of the garage. While this is a daunting task for some, Hinga says his previous experience in a woodshop has helped him out. “I learned my knowledge of power tools from the shop my dad has worked in building furniture and other woodworking items,” Hinga said. Combining his love of cars and his familiarity with handiwork, Hinga set out at the beginning of this school year to finish the car for himself by the time he graduates. The car, modeled after a 1965 Cobra, weighs under 2000 pounds and has a little over 400 horsepower, making it lighter than a Mini Cooper and more powerful than a Mustang, Hinga said. And compared to a Ferrari, “It technically has a better power to weight ratio,” he bragged, for the comparably low price of $45,000. A few months into the project, Hinga reports he is loving the experience. At this point, Hinga can pretty much manage all on his own, he said. Besides a few google searches and the occasional help from others who have built similar cars, Hinga said the project is his and his alone. At the end of the day, Hinga said safety is still a concern. Although the car is completely operational, the kit does not come with airbags. Once his work is done, he can apply for the car to become street legal, though it might be hard to get insured because he is underage. “The whole process is really a learning experience,” Hinga said. “This is a first for me.” Even if the road may be off limits, Hinga says once he’s finished he’ll test it out and get his thrills in at a local racetrack. Come graduation, Hinga will have a pretty nice present waiting for him: a gleaming, brand new car.
March 20, 2014
SPORTS ATHLETE OF THE
Wrestling: Mitch Fenton By Caleb Kushner Mitch Fenton, 132-lbs sophomore wrestler, finished off a successful 34-4 season placing first in counties and regions followed by third in states. Fenton’s dominance this year builds upon his freshman season, when he won the region championship and came within one round of placing at the state tournament. Fenton credits a great deal of his success to the work he put in during the offseason. This past summer. Fenton wrestled in several elite tournaments that feature high school wrestlers from across the country. He placed second in both Maryland tournaments of Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling and fourth in the northeastern nationals. These successful runs helped him qualify for the most renowned national tournament that same summer, called Fargo, located in North Dakota. After all this summer success, Fenton returned to
the Vikes vastly improved. “I am now a faster, smarter and stronger wrestler,” Fenton said. “The tournaments helped me develop my shots and awareness on the mat, but I don’t let it get to my head. Too much confidence can lead to defeat.” Fenton also feels that the Whitman wrestling environment created by coach Derek Manon has helped him develop as a wrestler. “He’s a really nice guy and cares about all his kids,” Fenton said. “He helps me out not just in wrestling—but in life too.” Manon considers Fenton one of the hardest workers on the team and is honored to coach him. “Mitch is purely motivated by getting better,” Manon said. “I’m very proud of the things he’s accomplished this year and he’s earned it.”
SPRING PREVIEW Baseball
Even after graduating six starters, the baseball team will look to continue their offensive success of recent years with the leadership of four college commits, including pre-season all-state team selection Drew Aherne. College commits Aherne, Ben Castagnetti, Max Steinhorn, and Max Vogel will all make big contributions on both offense and defense. After scoring 210 runs in just 18 games and hitting .394 as a team last season, the Vikings will look to improve their already stellar offensive lineup. “The team’s drive to win is unlike any other,” starting catcher Max Vogel said. “We bring our Whitmaniac spirit into the dugout and the field and can absolutely mash the ball.” The defense will be strong again as Aherne anchors the outfield in his final season and Steinhorn and third baseman Alex Clark protect the left side of the infield. The team’s pitching depth may be a concern with Alex Cladouhos and Alex Lesley being the only senior pitchers on the team. However, juniors Sam Berson and Dylan Hurd along with underclassmen Max Palermo and Sean Cook will look to add depth to the rotation.
Despite a mediocre 9-8 record last season, a second round playoff loss to the Clarksburg Coyotes, and the departure of several key players, the Vikes look to rebound from a tough season this year. The team’s goal includes winning its section as part of a deep playoff run. The Vikes’ plan on accomplishing their goals this season on the backs of senior captain Cheyenne Bartolomei, third baseman Elena Kozak, and catcher Olivia Weals. This season also marks the tenth year that coaches Ann-Marie O’Donoghue and her husband Karl O’Donoghue have been coaching the softball team. “We’ve just got a lot of experience and were really excited for this season,” Ann-Marie O’Donoghue said.
batting average last year Senior Max Vogel takes a whack in the Vikes’ win over for senior Drew Aherne runs scored by Max Steinhorn in 18 games last year, tying the team record
After a somewhat disappointing 5th place finish last season, the Boys Tennis team is poised to rebound quickly. Nationally ranked and recruited players Aries Wong and Sean Ngo have returned to the squad, and will likely play number-one and two singles respectively. Their return will have a ripple effect on the rest of the line-up, creating many favorable match-ups in doubles and lower-ranked singles matches. Additionally, nationally ranked freshman Jack Welch will contribute immediately, and likely play in the third singles rubber. “We’ll be receiving a great boost from Jack,” senior Lucas Schoch said. “His ability as a freshman can only be compared to players like Aries and Sean in their respective freshman seasons.” Because the team has so many seniors, coach Jasen Gohn increased the team’s size to 22 members to allow a younger crop of players to develop before the seniors depart next year. The team tied the Potomac School, one of the top private school squads in the area, in a preseason scrimmage.
Northwest last season.
Boys Lacrosse Despite losing several contributing seniors from the previous season, the lacrosse squad will return a young and promising attack led by juniors Alex Hosker, Richard Miller and Aidan Darragh. Hosker and Miller, who will both now be playing for their third straight year on varsity, should lead the team in scoring this season. The team will also return last season’s starting goalie Colin Hains, who has turned in two solid performances in pre-season scrimmages. “The team looks incredibly well-rounded this season,” Hains said. “We are returning a strong attack and our defense will be solid as it has for the past few years.” The defensive attack, the team’s strongest point, they will look to veterans Matt Howell and Alec Gould to shut down opposing offenses. The team will look to take revenge on the Wootton Patriots this season, after they knocked the Vikes out of the playoffs last year in a dominating 16-3 game. The Vikings, who finished 9-7 last spring, will open the season with a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to face Needham Broughton High School.
After getting knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by Sherwood last year, the girls lacrosse team looks to take advantage of its young talent and strong chemistry to make a run at this year’s title. With a 7-5 record in the 2013 campaign, the Lady Vikings hope that the team, which only lost five seniors from last year, will come back stronger than in recent years. “It’s a different dynamic with this year’s team,” coach Katie Bitonti said. The team will rely on a strong senior class, which boasted 12 members of the team last year, to make a run at the state championship. “We expect to have our second season with a winning record,” Bitonti said. “We expect the girls to be working hard to improve each day as the season
photo courtesy ALEX HOSKER
Boys Baseball At a Glance
photo courtesy ADAM PRILL
Junior Alex Hosker leads the attack last season.
School teams incorporate scouting techniques into game day preparations
photo courtesy DREW AHERNE
College commit Aherne prepares for big season in 4th year as varsity starter
By Tyler Jacobson Entering his fourth year starting on the baseball team, centerfielder Drew Aherne is poised for a potentially historic season. The Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches named Aherne to the pre-season All State team last month. Players at both private and public schools from across the state were eligible for the award. Aherne won the award on the heels of a dominant junior year. Last season, he set the Whitman RBIs record with 28. He also batted .533, scored 21 runs and had sixteen stolen bases. He was named as Whitman’s player of the year, second team allgazette, and honorable mention in the Washington Post’s All Met. “Being selected was a huge honor,” Aherne said. “Especially because the team is full of great players from across the state and it was cool to be considered in the same category as them.” Members of the baseball team thought the award was well deserved. “Drew has cannon for an arm and destroys anything that is pitched at him,” senior Ben Castegnetti said. Beyond Aherne’s individual prowess, he also is an important leader for the team. “It’s awesome being his teammate
march 20, 2014
because he is really intense,” Castegnetti said “He makes everyone around him work as hard as he does.” One of his favorite moments of last season was senior night. “We got to honor our seniors and our veterans,” Aherne said. “I also hit the game winning homerun which was an awesome moment for me.” After this season, Aherne will play for the University of Louisiana Lafayette in the division one Sun Belt Conference. Despite the accolades, Aherne didn’t rest on his laurels this offseason. He worked hard on his conditioning and is noticeably faster and stronger, he said. With another year under his belt, he could have an even stronger season. “Michael Flack broke a lot of records his year and Drew has a good chance to break those,” coach Joe Cassidy said. “It’s all depends on the number of games we play.” Aherne and the rest of the baseball team are looking forward to a successful season. Their first game is March 22 against Quince Orchard. “My expectations are pretty high this year,” Aherne said. “In my opinion we’re just as good if not better than last years team and hopefully we can step up and play well.”
By Roger Champagne It’s the day before a basketball game, and center Josh Fried is sitting at his computer, instead of taking free throws in the gym. But Fried isn’t watching TV or playing an online game, he’s watching footage of an opposing team to prepare for tomorrow’s game. Scouting has become a big part of Whitman athletics; the basketball, football, lacrosse, girls’ soccer and swimming teams all have incorporated scouting including reviewing film and analyzing statistics, into their gameday preparation. Scouting allows the team to better anticipate the opposing team’s patterns of play. “Scouting benefits us greatly, because the team is better prepared on how to defend and how to attack,” girls soccer coach Greg Herbert said. Different sports use different means of scouting. One of the most common ways of scouting is using Hudl, a website that was founded in 2006 and provides tools for coaches and players to review game footage and improve team play. Whitman’s Hudl costs $4,200 to use for the entire year by every sport and is paid for by the Booster Club. Whitman purchased access to Hudl in the fall of 2011. The program has been a huge benefit to many teams, because it allows players to view footage of their own team, as well as teams they may face. Players can view this during practice and on the go through their mobile devices, girls basketball coach Peter Kenah said. “Hudl gives us a huge advantage over the other team. Sometimes we know their plays better than they do,” guard Marie Hatch said. “It just gives us a little jump on them so we can prevent things from happening as opposed to reacting when they make a play.” Hudl came in handy in early January, when the Vikes went up against the Walter Johnson Wildcats. Hudl allowed Whitman to successfully counter the WJ’s two basic offense sets,
and win the game 44 - 36. Some teams are only just beginning to take advantage of the scouting site. This year for girls’ soccer, Whitman was one of two schools in the county that used Hudl. As a result, coach Herbert had to travel to and watch opposing teams’ games in person, to gather footage of opponents. Swim and dive coach Geoff Schaefer scouts his meets by looking at opposing swimmer’s stats, and matching his swimmers accordingly. Schaefer does this in an attempt to put the swimmers in the right event and stack relays. Instead of placing all of the team’s best swimmers in one relay, he spreads them out in an attempt to win the most events, he said. “I’ll stay up till almost two in the morning studying lineups,” Schaefer said. “It’s all about guessing what the opposing team will do, and then saying I was wrong or I was right.”
“Hudl gives us a huge advantage over the other team. Sometimes we know their plays better than they do. -Girls basketball guard Marie Hatch Teams will often allot practice time to watching footage of both opposing teams and themselves in an effort to improve their game. Both the basketball and football teams set aside practice time before and after games to use Hudl to analyze past games. The football team has film days on the Saturday after a game, where they analyze their performance last night, and what they’re up against next week. “We always say the eye in the sky never lies,” coach Jim Kuhn said. “We can see from a tight angle, we can see from a wide angle. It’s like watching a college football game.”
Hudl, a website founded in 2006, allows coaches and players to review game footage. The website is used by multiple teams, and access is paid for by the Booster Club.
Sophomore looks to continue fencing successes, earn second bid to national tournament By Scott Singer Even with a sword pointed at his face, sophomore Jeffrey Chu keeps his thoughts simple. “Don’t get hit and hit the other person,” he said. This mindset helped Chu qualify for nationals in foil fencing for the under-14 group last summer. Chu is seeking to repeat his success and earn another bid to the prestigious tournament. “Jeff is a very strategic fencer—not too aggressive but not too defensive,” said Churchill senior Micah Green, who trains with Chu three times a week. “He is very fast and athletic so sometimes he can beat you easily just by his footwork. His strategizing makes it more difficult to hit him.” Chu took up fencing in seventh grade, but only because his friend told him about the activity. Chu normally practices for an hour and a half four days a week at various training centers, primarily training at Rockville Fencing Academy and Virginia
International Fencers Alliance. While he said that he rarely performs drills, he spars against other fencers for practice. He attends tournaments about once a month, he said. “He’s a quick and unpredictable fencer who, from what I can see, works hard to improve his game at practice,” said Wootton senior Roshan Talagala, who often practices with Chu. Foil fencing is one of three different forms of fencing. Foil is considered the quickest form of fencing—fencers attack the torso and the groin and can only make thrusting motions (as opposed to side swipes, which are permitted in other forms of fencing) to score points. In addition, fencers establish a “right of way,” meaning that a fencer only scores when attacking first. Given the speed of the sport, success is dependent on quick adjustments and strategy, Chu said. In order to qualify for summer nationals, Chu needed to finish in the top 25 percent of fencers or be
among the top three overall in the capitol division at a March 2013 qualifier. Chu cruised through qualifiers, finishing first in the tournament and winning his final bout. Chu said he never expected to earn a bid to nationals. “Last year I was shocked more than anything— pleasantly surprised to be honest,” he said. Although Chu was unable to attend nationals last year because of a conflict, he hopes to earn another bid to the prestigious tournament next year. “Nationals is an honor to be a part of and he realizes that,” Green said. Above all, Chu said he loves the sport for its individuality. “If you win you know you are responsible and if you lose you know you’re the only one to blame—it’s one of the greatest appeals of fencing,” Chu said.
march 20, 2014
Crossword 3 4
DOWN 1. Burrito, gyro are variations of this 2. Sobriety organization (abbrev.) 3. Russia recently invaded this region 4. Nationality of recently lost passenger jet 5. Ecuador domain extension 6. Mountainous “Indiana Jones” location 7. Played dad on “Full House” (last name)
by Chris Hodgman
ACROSS 1. DC graphic novel turned Zach Snyder film 7. Dessert often featuring bananas 10. Watches over dorm inhabitants (abbrev.) 11. Computer manufacturer 12. Iranian currency 13. MPAA rating (abbrev.) 14. Clothing article, comes in sports variety 15. Workout, in the military 17. Admiral General from “The Dictator” 19. One of Lil Wayne’s nicknames 20. Minor debris, dirt 21. Type of circuit 23. Comes after BC for the politically correct 24. Therefore 26. Floating robot from “Fallout: New Vegas” 27. Operated from a distance (abbrev.) 29. “Lord of the Flies” boys become less ___ 31. Band known for Rube Goldberg video 32. Two letters sometimes written ase one 34. Company that sells juice in pouches 35. Illicit product made by Walter White 37. Type of beer 39. British bar 41. Folded and sewn edge of cloth 42. Musical note 43. E. Asian nation’s cuisine (for short) 44. Volleyball term 46. Acknowledgement of debt (abbrev.) 49. Detects aircraft with waves 51. Important but powerless chess piece 53. Type of molecule 54. Weapon from “Modern Warfare” series
8. Throw gently 9. Type of mobile home 13. Used to be made of feather dipped in ink 16. Dance move 18. Old-fashioned way to get on the internet 21. LLS Month athletic activity 22. Round, shiny, doesn’t like scratches 25. Caps star, also plays for Team Russia 28. Virtual special effects (abbrev.) 30. Lobster doctor from “Futurama” 31. Canadian province, home to Niagara Falls
54 33. Beach with girl’s name 36. Discount store chain 38. Zodiac symbol 40. America (abbrev.) 45. Educator’s helper (abbrev.) 47. Color-and-number-based card game 48. Debit card security measure (abbrev.) 50. ___ Brown, ___ Holliday 51. Unconscious, in boxing (abbrev.)
march 20, 2014
photo by Nick Anderson
Magical run ends for boys basketball in state finals
by sam berson Throughout their stellar regular season and magical playoff run, the Vikings boys basketball team was able to control the pace of the game through their intense defensive pressure while also making key shots when needed. A different player seemed to emerge as a difference-maker each night, propelling the team to their first state title game appearance since 2006. But on Saturday night, the Vikings were unable to match their success from their five playoff victories. The overpowering Wise Pumas (24-2) had height advantages at multiple positions, controlling the boards and seemingly making all of their difficult shots. The overwhelming Wise offensive attack and defensive scheme would prove too much for the Vikes, who fell 70-43 in the 4A state finals. The speed and size of the Pumas was evident from the start, which played right into the weaknesses of the Vikings who were overmatched on defense. The quick Wise team was able to whip the ball around the court, shooting 17-
29 from the floor in a 42-point first half while hitting only one three-pointer all game. Wise forward Trevor Brown led the charge, starting the game 6-6 and scoring a game high 15 points. Even though they won the opening tip, the Vikes quickly found themselves in an 8-0 hole that grew to a dominant 42-15 deficit at halftime. The size of the Wise players, especially centers Micah Till and Devin Moore, clogged up the paint and forced the Vikings to speed up their game, moving them out of their comfort zone. It became clear early that coach Chris Lun was going to try every scheme he could, subbing in big men, then shooters and switching up the defensive game plan from man-to-man to zone, but nothing proved effective against the run-away state champion Pumas. “We tried everything,” Lun said in the team’s post-game press conference. “I don’t know if there were many teams that would have beaten them tonight.” Lun said his game plan was to force the Pumas to take mid-range jumpers, a spot he saw a weakness in during their
semifinal win over Springbrook. But the Pumas proved him wrong, knocking down these shots to take a commanding 27-point halftime lead. The Vikes had an off shooting night and were unable to get anything to fall, shooting 1-17 from beyond the arc. Senior Alex Lesley hit the team’s only three with just four minutes remaining in the game. The team also shot just 27 percent from the field, shooting just 6-22 in the first half. Ten players were able to get on the board for the Vikings, but only senior Josh Fried was able to break double-digits, scoring 12 points. The Vikes’ leading scorer, sophomore Kyle Depollar, was held to just two points, both coming on free throws. Wise, ranked third in the area by the Washington Post, was a heavy favorite entering the game, not having lost to Maryland team all season. The Vikings were no match for their athleticism, size and skill, unable to match their similar run in 2006, where they upset another powerhouse Prince George’s County opponent: Eleanor Roosevelt.
Support from the Whitmaniacs continued in full-force last night, with over 4,000 fans cheering the team on at the Comcast Center, filling Whitman’s side of the arena to the brim, with many fans staying through the trophy presentation to applaud the Vikings on their runner-up finish. “Our support has been amazing this entire year,” senior Ben Castagnetti said. “And to see a stadium packed like that is going to be something I’ll remember forever. We put Whitman basketball back on the map and we’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.” Even as Lun acknowledged Wise’s outstanding play, calling them “very, very, very good” and “certainly the best basketball team we’ve seen,” he and the Viking players remained positive after their best season in eight years, proving the critics wrong throughout their playoff run. “Not many people gave us a chance,” Lun said. “It was just a great run, just an awesome season. Just awesome.”
Defensive intensity, balanced lineup helped Vikings dominate in playoffs, when it mattered most by ben zimmermann Eight years ago, the Vikings boys basketball team peaked at just the right time, upsetting multiple ranked opponents on their way to the program’s only state title. In the state championship matchup at UMD’s Comcast Center, the Vikes beat perennial powerhouse Eleanor Roosevelt in a game the Washington Post described as “one of the biggest upsets in Maryland tournament history.”
photo courtsey ADAM PRLL
This year’s Viking squad, which returned to Comcast and ended up as the state runner-up, shared many traits with the 2006 team. These Vikes, similar to the team eight years ago, have been the underdogs throughout their run to the state finals last Saturday. “[Just like in 2006,] not many people expected us to come out of the region and advance to Comcast,” coach Chris Lun said. “Our team knew we could do it” Both teams have focused on defense as their “backbone,” senior Adam Lowet said. This season’s team has held opponents to an average of only 40 points over four playoff wins. “On defense, everyone’s buying in and getting each other’s help,” Lowet said. “When we play that kind of team basketball, we are tough to stop.” Compared to the 2006 squad, these Vikings lacked a clear dominant player, featuring a balanced lineup with four players averaging over seven points a game. Sophomore Kyle Depollar, a transfer from The Heights, leads the team with an average of 13 points a game and senior Josh Fried controls the post, scoring just shy of ten points each contest. “Whereas they had a clear superstar in Michael Gruner, a Division I player, we don’t have that star,” Senior Alex Lesley guards a Wise player during the state champpionship game last Saturday Lowet, a captain, said. “It at the Comcast Center. Lesley scored six points off the bench for the Vikes. can be any guy on any given
night. There’s no one person that the other team has to stop.” The Vikings ended the regular season in a slight slump, losing two out of their last three games. But in the postseason, they have “really dug in on the defensive end of the floor,” Lun said. They’ve also been sharing the basketball well on offense, spreading shots across their many scoring threats.
“When we play that kind of team basketball, we are tough to stop” -senior Adam Lowet In addition to Depollar and Fried, senior Max Steinhorn has added more than four assists a game and senior Ben Castagnetti has been on fire as of late, scoring a career-high 18 points in the team’s first-round playoff win against Kennedy. Senior Alex Lesley and sophomore Jake Kuhn are added threats beyond the arc. And the Vikings are playing with high intensity for all 32 minutes on their current playoff run. “We’ve been able to put complete games together,” Castagnetti said. “From the tip to the final buzzer, we’ve been able to be intense on the defensive end.” In the state semifinals, the Vikings shut down the Annapolis Panthers and their star, guard Juan Brown. The Vikes’ suffocating defense held the Panthers to 48 points, Depollar led the team with 20 and the Vikings continued their run, advancing to the state finals. There, however, the team was unable to finish the way they wanted to, falling to the Wise Pumas. But, just like all season, the Vikes played their style of basketball, with ten players scoring and many contributing to the defensive effort. “This team plays for each other, and they are great teammates,” Lun said. “It makes all the difference.”