Print Editor-in-Chief Alex Robinson
Print Managing Editor Max London
Print Managing Editor Katie Hanson
Print Production Heads Noah Grill Joey Sola-Sole
cover art by JACKY LOCOCO
theblackandwhite.net Online Editor-in-Chief Dana Herrnstadt Online Managing Editors Ally Navarrete, Anna Yuan Online Production Head Alex Silber Print Production Assistants Samantha Levine, Jacky Lococo, Sam Nickerson, Samantha Rubin, Eva Sola-Sole Online Production Assistant Kyle Crichton Multimedia Editors Jack Gonzalez, Jack Middleton Multimedia Interns Lexi Fleck, Bella Grumet Photo Directors Annabel Redisch, Kurumi Sato Photo Assistants Charlie Sagner, Joey Sussman Webmasters Eva Ginns, Jonathan Young Communications and Social Media Directors Isabelle van Nieuwkoop, José Wray Yearbook Liaison Anna Labarca Puzzles Editors Kaya Ginsky, Mathilde Lambert Business Managers Khanya Dalton, Min Yeung Business Assistant Shivani Sawant Traffic Manager Zoe Chyatte
The Black & White is an open forum for student views from Walt Whitman High School, 7100 Whittier Blvd., Bethesda, MD, 20817. The Black & White’s website is www.theblackandwhite.net. The B&W magazine is published six times a year. Signed opinion pieces reflect the positions of individual staff members and not necessarily the opinion of Walt Whitman High School or Montgomery County Public Schools. Unsigned editorial pieces reflect the opinion of the newspaper. All content in the paper is reviewed to ensure that it meets the highest level of legal and ethical standards with respect to the material as libelous, obscene or invasive of privacy. All corrections are posted on the website.
Print Copy Editor Meera Dahiya Online Copy Editor Hirari Sato Sports and Style Editors Sara Azimi, Aditi Gujaran, Bennett Solomon Metro Editors Blake Layman, David Villani Perspective Editors Mateo Gutierrez, Emma Iturregui, Clara Koritz Hawkes Education Editors Zara Ali, Danny Donoso Sports and Style Writers Ella Adams, Andrew Eagle, Mia Friedman, Anna Kulbashny, Matthew Mande, James Marzolf, Afsoon Movahed, Eli Putnam, Gabe Schaner, Meera Shroff, Reuben Stoll, Ben Stricker, Eve Titlebaum Metro Writers Lexi Fleck, Celina Fratzscher, Sammy Heberlee, Christian Hill, Emily London, Jocie Mintz, Jesse Rider, Ben Waldman Perspective Writers Holly Adams, Bella Brody, Bella Grumet, Chloe Lesser, Eva Levy, Heather Wang Education Writers Ben Baisinger-Rosen, Taylor Haber, Bella Learn, Jack McGuire, Jaclyn Morgan, Sam Mulford, Lincoln Polan, Eleanor Taylor, Sarah Tong, Ethan Wagner Editorial Board Khanya Dalton, Jack Gonzalez, Taylor Haber, Emma Iturregui, Clara Koritz Hawkes, Chloe Lesser, Emily London, Jack McGuire, Ben Stricker, Eleanor Taylor, David Villani, José Wray Adviser Ryan Derenberger
Recent awards include the 2019 Gold Crown, 2018 and 2017 CSPA Hybrid Silver Crowns, 2013 CSPA Gold Medalist and 2012 NSPA Online Pacemaker. The Black & White encourages readers to submit opinions on relevant topics in the form of letters to the editor, which must be signed to be printed. Anonymity can be granted on request. The Black & White reserves the right to edit letters for content and space. Letters to the editor may be emailed to email@example.com. Annual mail subscriptions cost $35 ($120 for four-year subscription) and can be purchased through the online school store.
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS As students, we are motivated by our activities and passions. An interesting biology class, a successful soccer team, a charitable club — we invest our time doing the things we love most. But as our busy lives continue, it’s often difficult to stop and reflect on what we have accomplished and what we can improve on. Sometimes, people need provocation to inspire them to reflect — and the end of the 2010s offers us the opportunity to do just that. In the 2010s, immigration policies forced family separations, and science deniers refused to recognize the importance of vaccines and the existence and severity of climate change. While some events were concerning but easily forgotten, like the Tide Pods internet challenge that dominated social media, others were impossible to ignore. Our writers chose to document such issues, including the continuing struggle many immigrant families face to find stability with the complex visa process, student employees who face harass-
ment in the workplace and an education system that still implicitly discriminates against students of color. But the past decade has not been without an abundance of positive change as well. Developments like the protection of gay marriage rights in a 2015 Supreme Court case and the success of the 2017 #MeToo movement in bringing to light the prevalence of workplace harassment paved the path to a more socially conscious society. Environmental advocacy and the promotion of STEM in primary education altered the physical and educational landscape for the better. Locally, a Whitman parent started KID Museum, a handson STEM-oriented educational program, in 2011, and multiple Whitman families took up restorative beekeeping as a way to make a positive impact in their own backyards. For students, the next 10 years will likely mark a decade of increased technological dependency. Marketers and inventors are rushing to present new technology that promises
to increase efficiency in the classroom and beyond. After implementing artificial intelligence to grade standardized test essays, the Maryland State Department of Education will likely continue to promote and depend on the technology. Throughout the country, an increasing number of colleges are relying on various data collection consulting firms to gather intel on prospective applicants. As we close the 2010s, even with educated predictions in sight, it’s unclear exactly what the next decade will bring. But with each update and change in our lives, the in-depth and analytical nature of news magazines still allows us to pause in the chaos, remember and reflect. In the spirit of reflection, we know this magazine wouldn’t exist without our thoughtful, dedicated adviser, Mr. Derenberger, talented writers and editors and imaginative production team. We hope these next 30 pages will help you reflect.
photo by KURUMI SATO
Alex Robinson Editor-in-Chief
Max London Managing Editor
Katie Hanson Managing Editor
Table of Issue 2, December 2019
Whitman parent runs a hands-on workspace for kids to innovate
face harassment in the 19 Students workplace
Artificial intelligence grades essay portion of standardized state exams
Make-A-Wish chairman brings smiles, family to volunteer work
Anne Hutchens: an everyday hero
Veteran parents reflect on years of service
The best sip in Bethesda: how local coffee shops compare
Families try to BEE the change they want to see in their environment
Crossword: Tis’ the season
10 12 14
Colleges track applicants’ personal data Some students of color misplaced in lower math classes
The centennial of the 19th Amendment: where we are now
One immigrant’s struggle with the visa process
Suffragettes advocate for women to have the right to vote at a 1913 suffrage parade. Photo courtesy NATIONAL ARCHIVE.
D I K
Museum provides creative learning space for students by Holly Adams
Walking downstairs at the Davis Library in Bethesda, you wouldn’t expect to enter a whole new world, one filled with creativity and exciting new learning opportunities. While most museums are static, filled with historical artifacts, hidden on this first floor is a museum very much alive. At one table, children are making robots out of plastic cups and circuits. At another, they’re inventing their own secret code using a cipher wheel. They’re sewing pillows in one corner and building wind powered cars to test out in front of a fan in another. There’s no front or back of the room — it’s one large, open space for kids to experiment and learn. In the creative world of the Kids, Innovation and Discovery Museum, a unique education program founded by Whitman parent Cara Lesser, educators encourage mistakes and collaboration. KID Museum has programs during the day for school field trips, in addition to after-school and weekend programs. Technology has revolutionized the future of the job market, compelling students to innovate and solve real world problems, Lesser said. Lesser’s goal in creating KID Museum was to foster an environment where kids could learn problem solving skills and apply them to STEM-oriented activities in a non-traditional classroom setting. “A lot of what we’re doing is exposing kids to science, technology and engineering,” Lesser said. “But what we’re hoping is that it’s a platform for developing their creativity and their understanding of their ability to make an impact on the world.” Lesser founded KID Museum in 2011 after realizing how little education had changed since her own school experience. During her public policy career working on health reform, she noticed that she had to use creative thinking skills to work through the complex issue of health policy, but since her elementary and middle school education didn’t prioritize creative thinking skills enough, she felt unprepared, she said. This — and the similarity between her own education and that of her, then, elementary-school-aged daughters — ultimately motivated her to create a space
for kids to cultivate the creative thinking skills they will need in the workforce. Educators at KID Museum emphasize collaboration in learning. They encourage kids to work together through hands-on activities which introduce basic STEM concepts such as coding, engineering and design. The museum is also trying to incorporate art into their STEM focus — a hybrid practice known as STEAM — by including crafting activities in their stations. There are 14 educators at KID Museum, many of whom are former classroom teachers or museum educators. “Often when we have visitors who come in to see our programs in action, they don’t even see who our teachers are at first,” Lesser said. “We really are working side by side with the students as coaches and mentors more than a teacher at the front of the room delivering a lesson.” The most common visitors to the KID Museum are elementary and middle school students who stay for a multi-session visit with their classes during the school week. These visits are part of their Invention Studio program and typically last two hours, with five different sessions throughout the year. These sessions focus on design and invention. Often, students work on developing design, engineering, fabrication, electronics or coding skills. KID Museum recently joined forces with the Partnerships in Education and Resilience Institute at Harvard Medical School to conduct a study. The Harvard researchers found that students who engage in KID Museum’s Invention Studio program express more interest in STEM careers and exhibit improved critical thinking skills, higher quality relationships with peers and heightened perseverance. Lesser’s daughter, junior Cayla Joftus, has been a “teen apprentice” at KID Museum since eighth grade. All educators and apprentices are instructed not to answer the students’ questions to build up their perseverance, Cayla said. Cayla said that her experience working at her mom’s museum has changed her perspec-
tive on her own education. She remembers having to learn about circuits in her physics class last year solely from pictures and presentations; she compared this to her experience at KID, where children actually get to work with physical circuits. The hands-on aspect of KID Museum is really beneficial, Cayla said. “You have to actually learn from experiences,” Cayla said. Families can also drop in on Sundays, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., to take part in the special weekend programs that KID Museum offers to members. Members pay $80 per year for a child membership which gives them free museum admission in addition to discounts on other programs. KID Museum also offers select weekend programs for free, provided by donations and grants, in order to serve an economically diverse population, Lesser said. During their weekend programs, many high school students volunteer as apprentices and help facilitate programs. Winston Churchill High School junior Anika Gupta volunteers at KID Museum on Sundays as a teen apprentice because she loves seeing how creative the kids are and enjoys seeing what type of inventions they have created that day. Gupta has been a teen apprentice for three years and has learned a lot during her time teaching there, she said. “I learned that in order to teach kids you have to think outside of the box yourself, in order to make them think outside the box,” Gupta said. Many parents come to KID Museum regularly on weekends to let their kids explore and keep them occupied, especially when it’s cold outside, parent Celia Sher said. Having teenagers at the stations to help the kids create and build things can be very helpful to parents who aren’t familiar with the activities, Sher said. Teen apprentices facilitate new activities every week, ranging from helping kids create a claymation video to getting their hands messy with hot glue guns to help kids make popsicle stick crafts. They also lead staple activities that some kids come back every weekend to do. Many parents, like Hayley
Clockwise from top left: Whitman parent Cara Lesser with a child who is showing her what she created at the KID Museum; a teen apprentice assists a student in a building project; students work with various materials to build their inventions at the KID Museum; a child helps his team construct a project at the museum. Photos courtesy EMMA STARR
Weimer, enjoy the new activity stations every week. “I like that they change all of the stations regularly so the kids always get to experience something new,” Weimer said. “The STEM focus is great: It’s ideal for kids to figure out how to build something.” KID also offers global citizenship lessons where kids can begin to understand diverse cultures, in addition to developing an innovator’s mindset. One Sunday a month, KID Museum has a culture day where all the activities are based around learning about a new culture. On “Bulgaria Day” in November, kids made a traditional Kukeri mask out of cardboard, learned cross stitch patterns, created their own name tag with the Bulgarian alphabet by learning Cyrillic lettering, heard poetry readings and watched dance performances by the Botev Academy Bulgarian School. Lesser’s younger daughter, freshman Eliana Joftus, often helps out at the museum with her mom, dad and sister. She has worked at the then annual World of Montgomery Festival which celebrated different cultures with
artwork by SAMANTHA RUBIN
traditional food, performances and crafts from countries ranging from Ethiopia to Thailand. The cultural aspect of this festival is now part of FutureFest, which incorporates innovation activities as well. “They’re really important, especially here because this area is so diverse,” Eliana said. “It’s important for kids to see how everybody in this country has come from a different place.” When Lesser first opened the museum, she expected it to just be an out-of-school experience to supplement traditional classroom learning, she said. Lesser made appearances on local news platforms to publicize the museum as much as possible, Cayla said. Now KID Museum has outgrown its space at the Davis Library, and Lesser hopes to open a new location soon so that it can serve more students. As KID Museum has become more popular, its staff has established a close relationship with the county and now influences how certain subjects are taught within schools. KID Museum works closely with MCPS at the middle school level to change what the
science and engineering curriculum looks like; recently they have worked together to incorporate a model based off of the museum’s Invention Studio program into elective and seventh grade science curriculums at three MCPS middle schools. Lesser hopes to expand the program so all seventh graders across the county have access to it because it introduces collaboration into the science classroom and allows students to build their own inventions. Cayla said that it has been amazing to see how her mom’s hard work has paid off as KID Museum has developed so much over the years. Because Lesser’s whole family is involved with KID, every day at the dinner table, her mom gives their family a run-down of what happened at the museum that day. “The museum has definitely made us more connected because we’re all super supportive of my mom and what she does,” Eliana said. “We’re always there when she needs us to be there.”
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SCORES THOUSANDS OF MARYLAND STUDENTSâ€™ ESSAYS CRITICS FIND WORRISOME FLAWS IN THE ALGORITHMS BY SAMMY HEBERLEE
Artwork by Jacky Lococo 8
“Clarity, clarity, clarity,” English teacher Todd Michaels says, waving his hands. To Michaels, it’s the most important part of writing. If you’re not clear, nothing else really matters, he says. But new artificial intelligence programs — which some states are now using to score millions of students’ essays on standardized tests — don’t recognize this criteria. The programs can’t measure clear word choice, let alone determine an essay’s meaning. Automated essay scoring engines are either the primary or supplemental grader on standardized tests in at least 21 states, according to a survey conducted by Motherboard, an online magazine launched by Vice. Maryland uses AI as the primary scorer for several mandatory statewide exams, including the HSA and the PARCC. “AI is ‘trained’ like any human scorer: by teaching it with example student responses that have been scored either by Maryland educators or by expert human scorers,” said Paula Katula, a Maryland State Department of Education scoring specialist. To score essays, computers use the prescored sample responses to develop hundreds of measurable factors — like essay length, sentence structure and complexity of word choice — that categorize the essays. When students submit a response, the computer engine uses those parameters to assign a score. “All of this happens in almost an instant,” Katula said. “We’re required under federal law to return scoring information to schools by a certain date each year, so the AI’s efficiency helps us follow the law and get scores back to our schools in a more timely manner.” The MSDE decided to use AI engines to score essays on a trial basis in 2007. The state decided to continue using the AI technology after extensively reviewing the scoring data and issues associated with computer scoring in the first year. The three main reasons the MSDE chose to score tests with computers rather than human graders were time, consistency and finance, Katula said. It’s less expensive to harness existing technology and train it to score a new question than it is to hire human scorers, train them on each question and pay their benefits, she said. Additionally, the quality of the engine has greatly improved over the last 12 years, with fewer and fewer essay questions being disqualified from AI scoring due to complexity, Katula said. Maryland uses the company Pearson, which develops its own technology, as the vendor for the PARCC test, and it uses Cognia as the vendor for the HSA. Cognia doesn’t
have the in-house capability for AI, so it uses an AI engine, ACT Inc., developed for scoring. Les Perelman, director of writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it doesn’t matter that the machines and software are faster and less expensive than human graders because the AI scoring technology simply doesn’t work. “There are a lot of things that are cheaper and quicker but bad for you,” Perelman said. “AI scoring promotes ‘McLearning’ — it’s cheap, fast and very non-nutritious.” In an effort to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of e-Rater, an automated scorer that the Educational Testing Service developed to score the Graduate Record Examination — a standardized test that most graduate schools require for admission — Perelman created the Basic Automatic B.S. Essay Language Generator. The BABEL Generator creates essays that aren’t logical but earn perfect scores from computer engines. If you enter three words related to the essay prompt, the Generator spits back a 500-worder filled with incoherent sentences and multisyllabic words: “Careers with corroboration has not, and in all likelihood never will be compassionate, gratuitous, and disciplinary. Mankind will always proclaim noesis; many for a trope but a few on executioner. A quantity of vocation lies in the study of reality as well as the area of semantics. Why is imaginativeness so pulverous to happenstance? The reply to this query is that knowledge is vehemently and boisterously contemporary.” This GRE response is the opening paragraph from an argumentative essay prompt about whether imagination is more important than knowledge. E-rater gave the essay a perfect score of six and said the response was a “cogent, well-articulated analysis of the issue and conveys meaning skillfully.” Two of the parameters that AI technology measures are the frequency of uncommonly used words and the number of characters in each word, so this response fits the technology’s standards perfectly, Perelman said. “The machines are teaching students to become verbose, pretentious writers that obfuscate meaning,” Perelman said. “What the machines want is essentially bad writing.” Michaels agrees with Perelman’s sentiment. He describes AI scoring as “unbelievable, stupid and utterly ridiculous.” “Writing isn’t just the sum of its parts,” Michaels said. “It’s the whole finished product. I don’t see how a computer, without bringing some humanity to it, can do an essay justice.”
Schools and teachers are evaluated on how well students perform on these exams, so Perelman and English teachers fear that once teachers learn how to cheat the computer engines, they will teach their students how to write for these tests and not how to write effectively. English teachers preach sentence variety and clear meaning today, but memorizing vocabulary lists of obscure, lengthy words could soon constitute the majority of class if AI grading becomes more common, Perelman said. “Teaching to the test is a problem even without AI, but the technology takes it a whole new level if we know students can get away with using certain buzzwords,” Michaels said. AI grading reduces the risk of human error and eliminates personal bias, Katula said. However, research proves that the technology has a slew of its own bias issues, specifically regarding students’ races, even though the machines don’t know the racial background of the student. In the Educational Testing Service’s e-Rater report, the computer overscored Chinese students by an average of 1.3 points and underscored African American students by .81 on a 6-point grade scale. Since the AI algorithms place a large emphasis on metrics like verb tense, subject-verb agreement and sentence length — all things that English speakers from different cultural backgrounds do differently — the system has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing biases, according to a 2019 article from Vice. These artificial intelligence programs are exacerbating biases by just counting things that are sometimes correlated with good writing but don’t constitute good writing alone, Perelman said. “Artificial intelligence, in some ways, is artificial unintelligence,” Perelman said. “Machines count very well, but machines don’t understand meaning, and meaning is what writing is all about.”
‘Super’-coordinator Anne Hutchens leads senior class in college admissions process by Sam Mulford “Your glass is half full.” The message is inscribed on a glass of water that sits on College and Career Information Coordinator Anne Hutchens’ desk everyday. It’s Hutchens’ personal mantra — and for students, it’s a constant reminder to maintain a positive mindset. Hutchens started to leave the glass on her desk after helping a student come to terms with the college decisions she had received. Hutchens wanted to remind her and other students of the importance of looking on the bright side of things. “Not getting into a college isn’t going to be the end of the world, even if it feels like it is in the moment,” Hutchens said. “There’s more to be thankful for than people realize; it’s all about remembering that there are things at the end of the day that you should be thankful for.” Hutchens has worked in her position for the past six years, so she’s accustomed to the daunting college application process. She’s responsible for processing and sending materials to colleges, including transcripts, grades, school reports, counselor recommendations and teacher recommendations. She also organizes college visits, works with the counseling department and sets up student and parent conferences to discuss the college application process throughout the year. Resource counselor Kari Wislar said Hutchens is the heart and soul of the college admissions process for Whitman students. “She knows the process backward and forward,” Wislar said. “She is incredibly efficient, super kind and super patient with kids who are in a really anxiety-provoking process.” Hutchens meticulously inspects the senior class’ documents at least three times before November 1 to make sure everyone’s documents are where they need to be, ensuring that no student misses a deadline, Wislar said. Aside from paper copies of transcripts, Hutchens is responsible for sending the transcripts of the entire senior class on her own. According to counselor Laura Williams, she sends out about 5,000 transcripts a year. A significant part of Hutchen’s job is being available for the student body, she said. She keeps the College and Career Information Center open all day, including 10
lunches, so that students can go in to ask her questions or destress. “Whether a kid is stressed about school or something else entirely, having them come in worried and leave less worried is the most important thing,” Hutchens said. When former Whitman student Cameron Newcombe (‘18) was going through a rough patch her senior year, the CCIC felt like a safe place for her, she said. “It was nice knowing that if I had a rough day, I could always go to the CCIC and talk to Hutchens,” Newcombe said. “She was a great support system.” Although many students can’t imagine their college process without her help, Hutchens didn’t always know she was going to be a counselor. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a law degree in 1980, she moved to Chicago and went to law school for seven years. After she had her first child, she moved back to Bethesda and became a stay-at-home mom. When her eldest child started at Whitman in 2000, Hutchens started volunteering in the main office answering phone calls and became close with former principal Alan Goodwin, who was the assistant principal at the time. In 2014, when she was working at Pyle part time as a counseling secretary, Goodwin informed her that Whitman’s current resource counselor was retiring, and he asked if she would consider applying for the job. With all of her kids out of the house, she felt it was perfect timing: She was ready for a new challenge. After accepting the position, her first year was a difficult transition, she recalled. Since the previous resource counselor had retired, she had no one to train her. She remembers coming in that first summer and having no idea what she was doing. “That first week I called my sister-inlaw, and I was like ‘What am I doing here?’” Hutchens said. Thankfully, Wislar took Hutchens under her wing and walked her through the process. Wislar invited Hutchens to sit in on and observe college meetings with students; for Hutchens, these one-on-one meetings were among the most difficult aspects of her job. Through the mentoring process, Wislar and Hutchens developed a close friendship. “We are able to talk honestly to each other about things we are doing well and things we are not doing well,” Wislar said.
“It’s really nice to have a colleague like that.” For Hutchens, no day looks the same. Depending on the time of year, her responsibilities are different. In the fall, she works closely with students to make college deadlines and finalize applications. She also organizes college visits at school; in any given year anywhere from 150 to 180 colleges come to visit Whitman. “I pretty much take any college who wants to come visit because you never know which students will be interested,” Hutchens said. She takes time off from Thanksgiving to Christmas, where there is a “lull” period in the process. In March, she starts reaching out to seniors so she can send their final transcripts to colleges. Around this time, she also starts meeting with juniors. While most teachers and counselors aren’t employed by MCPS during each summer, Hutchens starts the process all over again, organizing college visits and answering questions from the rising senior class. “What’s remarkable about Mrs. Hutchens is she’s so busy, and her job can be very stressful, but she’s always so positive,” Williams said. Former Whitman student Max Gordy (‘18) said he noticed Hutchens has a calming presence on students when he worked for her as a teacher’s assistant. “As a TA, I saw so many Whitman students and parents come into her office completely worked up,” Gordy said. “Mrs. Hutchens has this unique way of helping people realize it’s not the end of the world.” Gordy often spent time in the CCIC after school because he had time to kill before crew practice. He decided to be Hutchens’ TA junior year, and the two became close. He still keeps in touch with Hutchens; he calls her about once a month to update her on his life. “She talks to students like they are real people,” Gordy said. “She always treated me as an equal but gave the advice of someone who had experienced a lot more than I had.” Getting to know students is without a doubt her favorite part of the job, Hutchens said. “I don’t think the community realizes how varied you all are in terms of your interests, your passions, your extracurriculars,” Hutchens said. “You all are just great for your own reasons.”
Photo by KURUMI SATO
hink twice when you’re online: colleges may be watching by Eleanor Taylor Each time senior Deanna Adams logs on to her email, she’s greeted with an onslaught of new messages from various colleges and universities. With vague subject lines like “Let’s keep in touch” or “We’re coming for you,” she admits, “they can be a bit ominous.” Nevertheless, up until recently, she shifted through the mountain of digital mail, deleting almost every message, except for the few that seemed mildly interesting. But following a meeting with her college counselor in August, Adams changed the way in which she skims her email. She no longer only saves college emails from schools she’s interested in; she now also interacts with them, making sure to read through and click on attached links — because these schools might be monitoring her. As the capabilities of technology continue to advance, colleges and universities have introduced a new
factor into their admissions process: tracking the online activity of prospective students. These tracking practices, combined with the College Board’s sale of detailed, personal data to schools — including zip code, ethnicity and interest in financial aid — have made the admissions process increasingly data-driven. Indiana University attaches a piece of code known as a “cookie” onto students’ computers each time they visit the school’s website. From this small piece of software, IU’s information office can track which pages an individual student visited on the school’s website in addition to time spent on each page. With this data, schools like IU can gain insight on personal aspects of the student being tracked: Multiple visits to the website’s
ANTHA by SAM graphic
athletics page might indicate an interest in playing sports at the college, while trips to the website’s financial aid page could indicate a potential inability to pay tuition. “Knowing this definitely makes me more conscious about which emails I should click on and which pages I should visit, and thinking about college admissions is already stressful enough,” junior Angela Xiong said. The Whitman student body reflects Xiong’s consciousness. While just 18 of 50 students in an informal lunchtime survey were aware of colleges’ ability to monitor their online activity, 86% of those students felt more conscious about their online behavior and felt that their newfound awareness made them more likely to interact with college emails and websites. Unlike some other institutions which engage in tracking behavior, including Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt University, IU doesn’t factor this data into the decision-making part of the admissions process but does consider it when marketing to students, IU admissions officer Jill Shimek said. Higher education institutions don’t always acquire and analyze this data on their own. At least 44 U.S. schools pay upward of tens of thousands of dollars to third-party tech firms and admissions consulting companies to collect and process students’ web activity data, according to The Washington Post. At schools that use the services of information technology consulting company Capture Higher Ed, for example, personal data collected from students’ visits to the school’s website — including gender, enrollment year, GPA, household income and geographical information — helps admissions and information officers to develop individualized “affinity scores” for each student, according to the company’s promotional video. The affinity score is designed to represent, on a scale of one to 100, how likely a student is to accept an admission offer from the college — and, as a result, how admissions officers should prioritize students in the decision-making process. As an increasing number of students,
both within the U.S. and internationally, apply to a growing number of schools each year, admissions officers are often overworked, according to Jeff Knox, counselor and education planning services director at PrepMatters, a tutoring company in the D.C. area. Information from online activity may not be tied to every student, but by giving schools, especially the more selective ones, a window into students’ relative interest in that school, the data can help admissions officers weed out seemingly uninterested candidates, he said. “At public institutions, an individual has to go through more than 1,000 applications during a very short season, so they’re using things like predictive modeling and targeted email behavior,” Knox said. “For example, they can monitor whether a student is more likely to open an email and read it on Monday at 3 p.m. versus Friday at 6 p.m. In that sense, schools don’t really operate much differently from a [business] in that they’re able to check whether you’ve clicked the link that they’ve asked you to click inside an email and how long you’ve spent on their website.” The College Board also has a stake in the increased popularity of a data-based admissions process. For 47 cents an individual, the nonprofit organization sells the names of students who choose to participate in their Student Search Service — a voluntary program AP, SAT, PSAT and SAT II test-takers can join by simply bubbling in “yes” on their test scantrons — to the nearly 1,900 colleges and universities connected to it. From there, schools are able to examine nearly every aspect of the students’ academic and personal lives. A student who consents to participation in the Student Search Service on the SAT, for example, is consenting to the disclosure of not just their names, but also their email address, birthdate, high school graduation date, geographical location, self-indicated major, GPA, gender, ethnicity, educational aspirations, interest in financial aid, participation in various high school courses and extracurriculars, and desired college characteristics. While the College Board affirms that its Student Search Service program is designed to help colleges reach a wider range of students, the information it provides also helps schools target their marketing toward students whose academic performances are well below the school’s admissions standards, according to The Wall Street Journal. The result is a surge in applicants and subsequent applicant denials, an overall lower acceptance rate and a climb in the school’s selectivity rankings. Lloyd Thacker was a college counselor and admissions officer for 30 years. Over the course of his career, he saw drastic differ-
ence in how universities treat students in the admissions process, he said. Now, he’s the executive director of the Education Conservancy, a nonprofit he founded in 2004 with a mission to reform the college admissions process. “Having an inspiring relationship with learning — where you feel excited, where you want to do the work, and you want to follow your curiosity wherever it takes you — is so important,” Thacker said. “Colleges, through their admission practices, diminish rather than celebrate that relationship by treating kids as customers and by reducing college to a product. That’s something less than learning.” For some schools, the use of students’ online data in their admissions process goes beyond GPA and demonstrated interest; it can come down to a student’s ability to pay tuition. By analyzing traffic to pages related to financial aid on their websites, schools can make assumptions about a student’s financial situation before each student even applies, according to The Wall Street Journal. A high number of visits to a school’s financial aid page indicates a high likelihood of that individual requiring financial assistance. Just that information, combined with the other geographical and personal information the school receives from that student’s online interactions, places them behind other prospective applicants in their chance of being accepted to the school, according to Business Insider. Laws like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act mandate that students must give schools permission to use their data before their information is shared with any third parties. But colleges and universities have found ways around such restrictions. By listing third party tech consulting firms as “school officials,” FERPA regulations no longer pose a threat to their collaboration. And even though students oftentimes unknowingly consent to giving up their data through innocuous pop-up agreements and inconspicuous privacy policies each time they visit a school’s website, the protection of FERPA and other laws concerning educational privacy often doesn’t extend to situations like this one, Andrew Goldstein, a program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said. “What’s interesting about federal student privacy law is that it doesn’t actually ‘kick in’ until you accept an offer of admission and show up on campus,” Goldstein said. “Up until that time, you don’t have a right to see what records the school has about you.” Many colleges and universities involved in student web monitoring, including IU,
have emphasized that if students don’t want to be tracked, they can choose to visit the school’s website in a private browser or simply not visit the website at all. Unlike many of her peers, junior Bailey Galt is conscious of the watchful eyes of colleges each time she scrolls through her email inbox. But rather than stressing over which emails to open and which links to click on, she chooses to avoid the interaction altogether. “They know something about me through how long I’ve been on those emails, and I don’t know if it’s good or bad,” Galt said. “I can’t control it. So I’d rather let them think that maybe I didn’t give them the right email address. I just prefer to not be on the record rather than have them register something that might be negative.” Even Adams finds herself worrying less and less about the way in which colleges perceive her through her interaction with their emails. “I don’t necessarily mind that schools have that ability,” Adams said. “When I have my email open and I remember to do it, I click on the emails, but I don’t focus on it too much.” For Thacker, the legal ethics of the emerging changes in the admissions process are secondary to the ethics of schools subjecting students to those changes. “Students get to this really important part of their academic journey and they’re actually treated like consumers, not learners,” Thacker said. “As a result, instead of getting excited about educational opportunities and learning what college can and should be about, students become anxious and fearful. They obsess with strategizing to get into the perfect college, whatever it takes. Educators, and colleges, know this is wrong.” As someone coaching students along their own academic journeys, Knox offers advice that varies very little whether the colleges a student is interested in having the ability to access their online activity or not, he said. With factors like visiting your choice schools or choosing to apply early decision, there are numerous ways to for students to show their interest in a particular school, he said. “I think no matter who you are or what your goals are, your application process really starts with a genuineness and authenticity about who you are and what you want for yourself,” Knox said. “It’s important for students and families to remember that the decision that comes from admissions is usually based on a very complicated group of reasons. You do what you do, and everything that should fall into place will fall into place.”
Administrators confront troubling data on class placement
Students of color disproportionately enrolled in math classes beneath their academic capabilities
by Taylor Haber
This school year Whitman administrators informed select students and their families, a majority of whom came from racial minority backgrounds, of what administrators believed to be class misplacement. Data collected by the school indicated that these students of color were taking less rigorous classes than their grades and test scores indicated were appropriate for them. Whitman administrators compiled the data which spanned over a three-year period from the 2016-17 to 2018-19 school years, subsequently recognizing the trend in placements throughout Whitman. Though this data for Whitman is limited due to the small number of students of color who attend the school, the trend warranted intervention by Whitman administration. “The data indicated that access and opportunity to higher-level courses wasn’t necessarily a level playing field, based on the students’ background, race as one component,” Whitman principal
Robert Dodd said. “Most of the kids that we had conversations with were kids of color, kids from different cultural backgrounds.” Teacher recommendations or parent and student choice dictate which course path a student takes, either on grade level, one grade level above or two grade levels above. In MCPS, teachers issue recommendations throughout elementary and middle school. As students progress, however, the differences between the class trajectories solidify, over time making it more challenging for a student to move successfully into higher level courses, math resource teacher James Kuhn said. Eighth grade is the last year that teachers issue grade-wide recommendations in the Whitman cluster. In the second semester at Pyle Middle School, — the Whitman cluster middle school — eighth grade teachers in core departments make recommendations for students. If parents want to overrule the recommendations and move their students either up into a higher
course trajectory or down into a lower one, they may. However, the overwhelming majority of parents and students tend to remain on the path suggested by an educator, several Whitman department heads confirmed. At Whitman, students of color were misplaced in their courses often enough to warrant retroactive intervention. “Very few people wind up challenging that process,” Kuhn said. “I would say, maybe a dozen times a year I had that conversation with parents.” In the 2016-17 school year, MCPS implemented new online data-compiling software called Performance Matters. Student data was less centralized in the years before the program’s implementation, as grades, standardized test scores and other data points were saved in separate systems. Performance Matters gave teachers and administrators the ability to sort and clarify the varied data sets. “Back then, we had final exams and grades in classes, and that was really our only two data points,” Kuhn said. The implementation of Performance Matters allows administrators to identify potential student misplacements quickly. It also allows teachers to make more data-driven recommendations and diminish the role that subjectivity plays. The startling data doesn’t surprise some parents of minority students who say that, in their families’ lives, the impact of implicit bias — a term for subconscious bias — is common. “I told my kids, when you go to school, you have to deal with certain things and that everything’s not fair,” said Whitman parent Angela Hart-Edwards, who is the school’s coordinator for the NAACP. “You have to pick and choose your battles. I like that now, we’re taking on the environment and trying to make everybody culturally competent.” Minority students have directly grappled with adverse effects of potential implicit bias at Whitman. Minority Scholars Program president Jordan Shabani explained that students can feel overlooked by staff when they indicate to teachers that they are overwhelmed at school. “I don’t really think it’s that new,” Shabani said. “When you’re a student who’s displaying a lot of mental health issues like anxiety or depression, if they’re a person of color, normally that’s put as a behavioral issue or a cultural thing. But with a white counterpart a teacher or counselor is willing to help.” The issue of potential implicit bias isn’t only a local issue but a national one. A study conducted by American University associate professor of public policy, Seth Gershenson, examines the potential role race plays in the relationships between students and teachers. Gershenson co-authored a 2016 study on educational biases — both implicit and explicit — which examined over 16,000 tenth grade students from across the country. Each student was observed by their reading and math teachers, both of whom were asked to answer a questionnaire on how far they thought their students would pursue an education: either a four-year degree or more, or no college degree at all. “When one of the teachers is white and one of them is black, not only did the teachers systematically disagree about how far the kid will go in college, or school, but the white teacher expects less [from black students] than the black teacher,” Gershenson said. The effects of valuing some students over others, even subconsciously, has adverse effects on the education of the students perceived as “worse.” “If the teacher really believes that, they might not try as hard with that student,” Gershenson said. “So if you’re a teacher, and you think that Jimmy isn’t serious about school or doesn’t have a lot of potential academically, you might shift some of your time and attention toward other students who you think have more potential.” After seeing the data from Performance Matters during the last school year, Dodd said that he wanted to reexamine the course paths for students at Whitman. “My strategy was to really use data — not to minimize or diminish the importance of teacher recommendations or opinions — but to really look at data to see where the kids’ strengths and weaknesses
were and then say, ‘Who do we think would benefit from a higher level class?’” Dodd said. MCPS requires that administrators use the educational practice of “vertical articulation” to combat issues like these. Dodd confirmed that he and Pyle principal Christopher Nardi are expanding this practice of counselors, teachers and administrators aligning curricula regularly in ways that aim to challenge students and help them navigate their course loads. As a result of their findings, Whitman administrators opened discussions with both the students in question and their parents to raise concerns about placement in other class trajectories. The effect, in cases where students were receptive to administrators’ advice, was placement into a more academically challenging course, allowing them to move up to honors and AP levels, Dodd said. Last year, Whitman administrators also collaborated with the counseling department to discuss the issue of students being misplaced again based on factors other than academic merit. The two groups helped found One Kid At a Time, commonly abbreviated to OneKAAT, a biweekly strategy meeting to, among other objectives, discuss the needs of specific students who could benefit from a course reassignment. The meetings last for one hour and the discussions, which center on specific students, often allow the group to only make decisions on up to four students at a time due to time constraints, resource counselor Kari Wislar said. “OneKAAT provides ‘wrap around services’ to children who we identify as needing a change to their classes,” Wislar said. “For counselors, that can mean providing mental health support, weekly meetings, calling parents with updates and teacher conferences in order to readjust these students.” Administrators are attempting to curb bias-related issues at Whitman, but bias-related problems persist at other schools in the county. Locally, the Montgomery County Council passed a comprehensive racial equity law Nov. 19. The goal of the legislation is to measure the equity impact of all further bills and budget plans. Additionally, the law will establish the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice to combat inequality in the community. While administrators are relying on data more heavily as a metric of student success, teacher bias trainings are considered a necessary tool in ensuring that an educator’s recommendation isn’t impacted by any preconceptions. “Good implicit bias trainings do work and they do a few things: First off, explaining what implicit bias is and it’s a natural way that our brains work. That’s the product of the world we live in and can’t be turned off,” Gershenson said. At Whitman, implicit bias training has become a standard practice. MCPS has mandated certain trainings, including implicit bias trainings in recent years — but after meeting those requirements, local school administrators have autonomy in furthering of their training. This year, Whitman administrators collaborated with the Anti-Defamation League, a nationally recognized anti-hate group. In this partnership, the ADL plans day-long lessons which restructure some school days to train Whitman educators. “The goal of all of our training program is to recognize bias and understand how bias can potentially come cause harm on individuals and society, build an understanding of the value and benefit of diversity, improve inner relations, and then confront racism, anti-semitism and all other forms of bigotry,” said Michelle Manger, ADL coordinator for the D.C. chapter. Even with all of the new measurements in place, some students are worried that the steps Whitman administrators are taking aren’t enough. “It starts at such a young age, in kindergarten and elementary school where there’s teachers placing biases on kids before they even open their mouths,” Jordan Shabani said. “Students have a lack of self-efficacy because they’re like, ‘my teacher doesn’t believe in me, why do I need to believe in myself?’”
graphics by JACKY LOCOCO
One hundred years ago, suffragette Lavinia Margaret Engle (1892-1979) of Silver Spring, Maryland, was elated to see the passage of the 19th Amendment. After attending marches on Washington, traveling across the country on behalf of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and organizing campaigns, Engle achieved the goal that she and many other suffragettes across the nation had tirelessly fought for: Finally, women had the right to vote. But by no means did she stop advocating for women’s rights on June 4, 1919. Between the time that Congress passed the amendment and ratified it, suffragettes like Engle continued lobbying and organizing. Just months after Congress ratified the amendment, Engle developed and became the director of the Maryland League of Women Voters, which sought to guarantee women the ability to exercise their right to vote and conserve that right against obstacles designed to hinder female voter registration. Later, in 1930, Engle became the first woman to represent Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates, serving until 1934. 2020 will be the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. As we approach this historic anniversary, organizations and individuals around the country are arranging memorials and programs to commemorate suffragettes’ success and dedication. While we reflect on the past 100 years of female suffrage, women today are continuing the fight for equality in politics and the public sector that courageous women, like Engle, pioneered. “It’s important that we acknowledge the women who pushed for the right to vote and understand that women had been advocating for this right for centuries before the 19th Amendment was passed,” said Ashlee Anderson, the digital learning specialist at the Maryland Historical Society. “While the suffragists worked to create change, they explicitly wanted to create change for white women. African American women continued to face discrimination when advocating for their rights to vote.” The U.S. government stalled and suppressed the right for black women to vote through poll taxes, Jim Crow laws and literacy tests. Even today, black voter suppression remains an issue. “Women like Ida B. Wells spoke out against racism and discrimination while using her voice to advocate for African American women’s rights,” Anderson said. “Women’s tenacity and refusal to be quieted, although they were ignored and mistreated, created change and gained women the right to vote.” The 19th Amendment began with women voting exclusively for white men, the only options they had, to represent them. Just 100 years later, women are voting not only for women, but for women of color — which was impossible less than a century ago. Maryland House Delegate Sara Love wanted to go into politics her entire life, knowing from the time she was very little that she wanted to help people, she said. Due to the progressive environment in her community and the fact that her political career began in 2018, an election cycle with political success for many women, entering politics as a woman wasn’t as hard for her as it has been for many other women throughout history, Love said. “We’re moving toward a much more supportive and inclusive
political environment,” she said. “This isn’t true everywhere, but in Montgomery County, the people I work with are very accepting and progressive.” Overall, the country is moving toward a more female-inclusive political landscape. After the 2018 midterm elections, the Pew Research Center found that a record number of 102 women are serving in the House of Representatives. Moreover, there has been an increase in women holding statewide elective executive offices across the country from 2018 to 2019. Last year, 74 women held statewide offices; today, the number has risen to 91. On a local level, the number of women in political leadership positions is growing as well. Among the 100 largest cities in the country, 27 have female mayors, up by four from 2018 and up by eight from 2016, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. Female representation in the county’s political field reflects this trend. Shebra Evans became the president of the first ever Montogmery County all-female Board of Education last December. “It’s important to have representation at the local, state and federal level to ensure the range of policies being considered include priorities for women and our proposed solutions,” Evans said. “Our young girls need to see a reflection of themselves in leadership roles.” Still, Love admits that we have more progress to make. After almost 250 years of presidents, we have yet to see a woman in the Oval Office. One in eight Americans still think men are “better suited emotionally” for office, according to a 2019 Georgetown University survey. Love confirmed there are still occasional instances where she faces ignorance and sexism in the workplace. “One time we had a group of students come into our office,” Love said. “One student asked my colleague what his other job was and he said he was a lawyer. He asked me and I said I was a mother, and the man who was chaperoning asked me ‘As a mother, how did you understand how to do things here?’ It was so stunning that someone could even say that.” Today’s young women are striving to further the women’s rights movement and eliminate instances like these. For senior Maddie Menkes, Whitman’s president of GenerationWOW, a female empowerment club, inspiring young women and encouraging them to speak up is crucial to advance women’s rights — and female representation in politics is one important component to accomplishing this. “If you want to promote something you love, you have to speak up,” Menkes said. “Politicians truly represent the epitome of girls representing their own beliefs.” After 100 years of progress, Menkes and Love know that the feminist movement still has work to do. Menkes is excited to keep fighting for what she believes in through encouraging her female peers to pursue leadership careers. Love sees room for women to make progress in terms of representation and equality for female politicians of diverse backgrounds. “A lot of people don’t realize how relatively recently we have made so many gains in civil rights,” Love said. “If you don’t have diversity in gender and race and wealth, you can’t understand all the issues that affect people when making policy.”
Tales from a non-resident alien Graphic by EVA SOLA-SOLE
Four hours in, my younger sister, mother and I were still sitting at the Motor Vehicle Administration waiting to renew my learner’s permit. We had been there 10 days earlier for three hours, with no luck. The week before, the Department of Homeland Security had slowed down our process by issuing a SAVE or “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements,” which meant they wanted to review my “case” again. The elongated process was all due to one simple fact: According to our visa, we’re non-resident aliens. When I was three, my dad got a new job in D.C., and my family picked up and moved to the United States from Europe. We’re here on visas that completely depend on my dad’s work status; we would have 30 days to leave the country if he ever lost his job, despite the fact that I grew up here and view the U.S. as my home country. I speak accent-free and have been in the American public school system since kindergarten like most of my peers. Yet as long as I can remember, and perhaps unsurprisingly, my citizenship status has been a defining factor in my life. While my friends talk excitedly about being able to vote for the next president, I don’t chime in because I’d never be an official American citizen in time to cast my ballot. I often refrain from attending protests with friends, not because I don’t care about each issue, but because my parents are worried that if something goes wrong and I get in legal trouble, my visa could be compromised, and I wouldn’t be able to eventually apply for permanent residency. Last spring, when classmates and friends were headed to the Climate Strike and the second-annual March For Our Lives protest — both issues that are important to me — I stayed behind. I know it could be a lot worse, but instances like these are frustrating because all that’s really stopping me is a piece of paper. Before I go further, of course, I recognize that I’m incredibly privileged. I’m not discriminated against in the same way as many other non-residents because of my race and my economic status. I only share my story because I’m in the best position a non-resident could be in, but my status still creates problems for my family. Our situation
indicates the larger implications of America-first ideas. Since the last election, my family and I have become very aware that we’re non-residents because we weren’t able to vote despite feeling a close attachment to American politics. Naively, we thought that the new administration would not impact our day-to-day lives. However, this perception changed when my mom had to renew her work permit. My mother, who has law degrees both here and back home in Europe and has passed four state law exams in her life, has held five work permits during her time in the U.S. She applied for and received the first four under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations and never had to wait longer than a month for the permits. But, under our current president, my mother’s work permit is set to take 12–18 weeks to renew. The alleged reason is the backlog that accumulated during the government shutdown. Yet you’re only allowed to apply for a renewal 90 days in advance, which leaves an unfortunate, glaring gap for people seeking to renew their permits. While the policy itself doesn’t differ from that of old administrations, the process is being completed at a much slower pace due to a lack of prioritization. My mother’s old permit ran out Oct. 27, and since then, she has been unable to work. In the weeks prior to her old permit’s expiration date, she tried to work as much as she could while it was still legal. Now, my mother is waiting until possibly January to receive her new permit. This leaves her without being able to see clients or work otherwise. Although we are privileged and get by without my mother’s income, it’s still exceedingly frustrating for my mother, who is capable and qualified to work. I have spent my whole life watching her work hard, whether it was with clients or putting herself through law school again on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Now, something she takes immense pride in has been taken away from her. Being an immigrant in this country has always been something I pride myself on. Lately though, it’s been hard to be proud when my family faces daily obstacles because of our visa status. Far too often, we are defined by a piece of paper.
“THEY JUST HELD SO MUCH POWER OVER ME” STUDENTS FACE HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE BY BELLA GRUMET
The model depicted
Students’ names have been changed to protect privacy. Content warning: This story contains language that pertains to sexual harassment. Being a high school girl, Anna is used to using social media to talk with friends and casually flirt with boys her age. But she never expected for a man who was 30 years older than her to weaponize social media by initiating sexual advances: “Age is no boundary.” Who was married: “It’s ok, my wife wants to join.” Who was her boss: “I love that you’re a hardworking girl.” Who attempted to silence her: “Whatever, just don’t say anything.” Students enter the workforce expecting to be met with the same level of respect given to their adult counterparts. “I felt like it was going to be a professional environment where you could become friendly with your coworkers,” a Whitman senior said.
is not a source in th
Instead, their initiative is often met with manipulation and mistreatment. In a workplace environment survey of 91 Whitman upperclassmen, 10% reported experiencing verbal abuse, 22% reported witnessing something that made them uncomfortable and 7% recall witnessing harassment while at work. Dr. Susan Fineran, professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine, conducted a similar survey of 260 students at a New England private school. Fifty-two percent of the girls surveyed reported experiencing sexual harassment in a workplace environment. This is particularly disturbing considering the majority of teen workers only work part-time, yet they experience the same rate of sexual harassment as full time workers, Fineran said. Young workers are likely to be targeted by harassers because they often aren’t aware of their rights and how to protect themselves, Fineran said. “If you start working and you aren’t an
e story. Photo by CH
informed worker, you’re just sort of a sitting duck for anybody who wants to take advantage of you,” Fineran said. The legal definition of workplace harassment is “any unwanted or undesirable conduct that puts down or shows hostility or aversion toward another person at the workplace,” according to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Any derogatory remarks, slurs, crude jokes, physical harassment, unwanted sexual advances or discrimination in the workplace are all considered illegal. An EEOC task force attributes the lack of accountability of harassers to the prevalence of mistreatment. Teenagers specifically are less likely to report an incident because they may be new to the work environment or fear they would lose their job if they were to speak out against another employee. The voices of harassment victims often go unheard, or their stories are twisted. Here, their stories are shared on their terms. 19
anipulating the power dynamic
Anna was 16 when she started working as a hostess in a restaurant in Bethesda. Starting her first day, she noticed some of her older male managers hitting on her, but she brushed it off as camaraderie between coworkers. But being the youngest worker at the restaurant, she quickly began receiving unwanted advances from her older managers. “I would be bending over doing something and then they would say ‘you look so good doing that,’ whispered in my ear,” Anna said. “I didn’t know what to do in that situation. It just made me so uncomfortable.” The managers had access to every employee phone number so they could reach employees if necessary. When two of the older managers added her on the social media platform Snapchat, she didn’t think anything of it — many of her coworkers communicated through the app. But in the time it takes to send a picture, her work environment changed from social and friendly to uncomfortable and violating, she said. After working at the restaurant for two months, Anna began receiving nude images and explicit texts via Snapchat from a manager who was around 40 years old. He would ask Anna to have sex with him and his wife, who he said had already agreed. Anna immediately declined his advances, explaining that it was inappropriate for him to be soliciting sexual relations with her. Even after she stopped responding, he continued to send her inappropriate messages. At the same time, a different adult manager started reaching out to her, often calling her while heavily intoxicated late at night to profess his love for her. “He was calling me at 3 a.m. telling me he loved me and that age was no boundary,” she said. The managers reached out to her primarily on the weekends after they had been
20 Artwork by Joey Sola-Sole
drinking, Anna said. The managers’ behavior led her coworkers to believe she wanted the attention and was giving them sexual favors in exchange for benefits and paid days off, Anna said. Her coworkers would tease her, saying she “was the hottest girl there” and “getting all the managers.” After enduring a year of harassment, she quit. “I think they thought I was a little girl that wouldn’t say anything,” she said. “They just held so much power over me, and I could have lost my job if I said anything.” About nine months after she quit, a manager familiar with the situation reached out to Anna and informed her that the managers who had harassed her were no longer working at that location and offered her a new job at the same restaurant. Although the managers who harassed her no longer worked with her, she still felt the impact of their harassment, she said. On Anna’s 18th birthday, one of her coworkers told her that they would call her old boss and tell him that she was legally an adult. Her coworkers laughed. She didn’t find it funny.
Pushing boundaries The summer after their sophomore year, Julia and four of her friends wanted to make the most of their time off and decided lifeguarding would be a good way to make some money. After interviewing for a position at a pool, Julia took a lifeguarding and first aid course. Two weeks later, she was clocking into her first shift. Initially, the manager there conducted himself appropriately, but as he got to know “certain workers” — the majority of whom were female — he pushed the boundaries of a professional relationship, Julia said. Her manager was over 60 years old, and the majority of the employees were minors. But the over 40-year age gap and inherent expectations of a professional relationship didn’t stop him from asking the younger employees overly personal questions about
their lives and making inappropriate comments to female employees, Julia said. “He always asked a lot about our personal lives, like if we were getting with guys or if we were drinking and smoking,” Julia said. “We would show up to work and he would make comments like ‘You had too much fun last night. You look like you partied hard.’” The manager went to extensive lengths to get attention from his younger coworkers, Julia said. He was tolerant of substance usage and permitted the underage employees to drink and smoke marijuana on the premises after work. “He promoted it in the fact that he literally bought the alcohol,” another female employee said. “We didn’t have to pay for it or anything; it was a gift. He would just hand us fifths of Svedka and be like ‘for a job well done.’” In addition to consistently purchasing alcohol for underage employees, he offered to give the female employees money to buy “cuter” bathing suits. After that comment, Julia said she felt self-conscious working around him in a swimsuit. The manager would go from acting like he was a highschooler to being aggressive toward employees, Julia said. He would curse explicitly when employees complained and occasionally referred to female lifeguards as “bitches.” Upon becoming aware that one of the boys at the pool was interested in Julia, her manager would physically push Julia toward this boy and make suggestive comments about him. “I was like, ‘why are you, a 60-year-old man, involved in a 15-year-old girl’s life right now?”’ Julia said. “It was definitely weird.”
Witnessing harassment Being the victim of harassment can ruin a workplace experience, but seeing other employees or customers harassed can also be unsettling, senior Daniel said. Since his interview with a popular eatery in Bethesda, Daniel began enduring un-
comfortable interactions between himself and his managers. The initial interviewer showed him videos of workers drinking and partying together outside of work. Daniel found it odd that someone he had just met would show him, a minor, these videos, but he attributed it to the company’s “young culture,” he said. The next red flag showed up during his training at a D.C. location. His manager told him and the other employees to imagine they were making a drink for a pretty girl and had to make it and serve it perfectly without getting distracted by the customer. The manager repeated this scenario multiple times during the training, as well as other sexual innuendos. Daniel didn’t expect to work with this manager again and assumed the uncomfortable comments would be left behind at the training. But at his first day on the job, in a different location with a different manager, Daniel witnessed the new 23-year-old manager repeatedly flirting with underage customers. “A girl about my age ordered a small drink,” Daniel said. “As he’s handing it to her he says ‘you’re too pretty to have a small, so here’s a large drink.’ I didn’t really know what to do or say, and I could tell it made her uncomfortable.” Daniel had previous work experience and recognized the situation was unprofessional, so he decided the best course of action was to alert the regional manager about the manager’s inappropriate conduct. That was until the regional manager came into the store and began flirting with the female customers and offering young girls free drinks. On the job search engine Glassdoor, former employees leave reviews commenting on their work experience. The eatery Daniel worked for received negative reviews regarding sexual harassment; multiple reviews mention the eatery overlooking harassment and a male-dominated, toxic, “cult-like” culture. After recalling the lessons from a “confronting sexual harassment” online course that the employees were told to participate in, he felt an obligation to let human resources know what he had witnessed.
When he began to research how to contact HR, he noticed the current head of HR had been involved in a sexual harassment scandal himself at a European location. Daniel felt trapped in a system that he believed would never listen to his voice, he said. “The guy is ‘buddy buddy’ with the regional manager here,” Daniel said. “There was no way my voice would have been heard within the company and within the system at all, especially being a new employee and having no background.” Daniel doesn’t label himself as a quitter, but after a final “disturbing” exchange with his managers, quitting was his only option, he said. “The regional manager said to me as another manager was listening, ‘a girl who wears no bra gets a free drink,’” Daniel said. “It reassured me that I was doing the right thing by leaving.”
tudents cope with aftershock
Dr. Fineran’s study found a statistical difference in the amount of workplace stress and job withdrawal reported by girls who had been sexually harassed at work in contrast to their peers. “For many students, a negative work experience may deter them from a career path or hurt them psychologically to the point where they don’t want to work,” Fineran said. The study also found girls who have been sexually harassed are more likely to skip classes and experience academic withdrawal than their peers. Fineran believes the most effective way to protect teen workers is for schools to provide courses and information on workplace rights and sexual harassment. Students who experience harassment in the workplace can report their experiences to the EEOC. Anna has told her mother about her experiences and they
have considered taking legal action. But now that she is an adult, she’s scared that in future situations, a manager may do more to her than text her. She said her experiences have taught her how to defend herself in other harassment situations. Although she enjoys her job again, Anna said she feels more isolated at work after these experiences, and while being nice and friendly, she tries to “keep her distance” from her coworkers. Julia is currently in college but she and the staff at the pool from that summer still keep in touch. They often send each other Snapchat memories and pictures from that summer and joke about the state of the pool. Multiple staff members have said the manager has reached out to them several times from different phone numbers since leaving the company. He even asked one of the guards from that summer if he could sleep at her house and live with her. He still follows and inappropriately comments on many of the employees’ Instagram accounts. Daniel’s managers and coworkers at the eatery believed he quit due to a scheduling issue, but months after he quit, he reconnected with a former coworker to explain his decision. Daniel explained the incidents he witnessed while working for the eatery. The coworker realized he had grown numb: he stopped noticing the comments because “they became so natural,” he said. Daniel has since returned to a previous job he held before working at the eatery. During his time at the eatery, he was able to recognize the toxic environment because of the good example of his previous employment setting, he said. In contrast to “feeling trapped” at his job at the eatery, he feels very comfortable and free to open up at his current job. “Now it’s a story I carry with me, but it’s also a way to pick up on things,” Daniel said. “I can identify harassment easier, and it keeps me more aware of my surroundings, especially when it’s mostly an all-male environment.”
To report a workplace harassment incident, scan here:
Mike Manatos (â€˜86) makes dreams come true with Make-A-Wish by Jocie Mintz
photo courtesy MIKE MANATOS
ike Manatos (‘86) goes to work every day wearing the same pin on his lapel. Every morning, he fastens it on his suit jacket or sports coat in the hopes that people will ask about what that little gold wishbone with a ribbon tied around it means. “It’s the logo for the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” he’ll respond to anyone who asks. “And I’m the chairman of the board.” Manatos isn’t bragging about his position — he just wants to spread awareness about the organization everywhere he goes. Manatos leads the board of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, which has its headquarters in Bethesda. Founded in 1980, Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization that grants life-changing wishes for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. These wishes can be virtually anything the child wants, ranging from a celebrity visit to a vacation in the Bahamas. Manatos works personally with children and families to grant wishes, and he also raises funds and awareness for the charity. After 22 years of volunteering for Make-A-Wish, the board elected Manatos as chairman in September. In his new role, he works on all aspects of the foundation from programming to fundraising to marketing, among other responsibilities. He considers himself the “first among equals” as chairman, and he works closely with other board members to grant wishes successfully, he said. But working for Make-A-Wish isn’t his day job. As the president of his family-run D.C. lobbying firm, Manatos & Manatos, he has worked with high-ranking political figures, including former presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Manatos is honored to carry on his family name through his work as a lobbyist, he said, but he can’t think of many other experiences that he has enjoyed more than working for Make-A-Wish. As chairman he gets to connect with each family that he helps, he said. “There are a lot of wonderful charities out there but very few can you touch and feel the mission when you volunteer like you can with Make-A-Wish,” Manatos said. In 1997, Manatos stumbled upon a flyer in his dentist’s office for a Make-A-Wish triathlon. As an avid runner and athlete, Manatos excitedly signed up. Since that triathlon, Manatos has worked with the organization for the past 22 years and has personally helped make over 200 wishes come true. Wish granting is rewarding for him because he gets to actually see the results of his efforts, he said. Though the lobbying firm is the official family business, Make-A-Wish has made its way into the family too. Manatos’ mother, Tina is also involved with the organization. “My mom and dad have always been my
guiding light,” Manatos said. “Helping kids has always been a focus in our family. When I started to get involved with Make-A-Wish, my mom loved the mission and wanted to get more involved. She’s so passionate about granting wishes and becomes like a grandmother to each of the kids whose wishes she grants.” For Tina, the ability to grant wishes with her son at her side is wonderful, and she’s grateful for the opportunity to interact personally with each family. “Being a volunteer is truly life-changing,” Tina said. “We give the families something very positive, pleasant and happy. It’s a great gift to us as volunteers, and doing it with my son makes it all the more special.” As wish granters, Manatos and his mother talk to the family and connect with the child to determine what wish the child wants. The wish doesn’t just bring joy to the affected child, but their parents and siblings too — the foundation makes sure the siblings are never left out. The Manatoses family also help the wish family with all the necessary paperwork so they aren’t overwhelmed. Manatos has fond memories of every wish he has helped grant. He arranged for a girl to meet a unicorn and ride the horse, which became magical with the addition of a glittering horn, all around a cheering crowd. He turned a boy into a superhero to “save D.C.” But one of his favorite wishes was for a boy who wanted to give back to the community. In the last few days of his life, he delivered PlayStation4 gaming systems to the children in the 22 rooms of the floor of the hospital where he was treated. “It was just a magical moment,” Manatos said. “He could have done anything, but instead of using the wish for himself, he gave it to others, which is amazing.” Manatos doesn’t think anyone performs charity work just because it makes them feel good; personal happiness is just a natural reaction to helping others, he said. Each time he grants a wish he feels proud and gratified, and he knows that others feel the same. He often feels like he’s “floating on air,” he said. But after the delight of helping out wears off, he begins to feel guilty. “I truly feel that what I get out of granting wishes is almost as great as what the family gets out of it,” Manatos said. “I feel like I was just here to help, and yet I get so much reward. I can’t help but feel guilty.” Manatos has other responsibilities along with granting wishes. As chairman of the Mid-Atlantic branch board, he stays focused on how he can he can improve the organization and help as many kids as he can. He’s always looking to become more involved with the job, he said. When financial times are difficult at the foundation, he personally meets with almost every one of the 34 staff members to remind them of his appreciation for their work. He believes that all non-profits are facing a very difficult financial landscape, so he makes
sure the Make-A-Wish staff knows that the board supports them. In his first few weeks as chairman, he scheduled a retreat and structured new procedures that help members bond. He’s hopeful that these efforts will “solidify our Make-A-Wish family” and result in more children’s wishes coming true, he said. Though he has become a leader in the foundation, he still continues his 20-plus year tradition of participating in an annual fundraiser for Make-A-Wish, where he uses every outlet he can to raise money for the charity. Usually, this means running in that same triathlon that drew him to the charity in the first place. This year, he raised money in more of an unconventional way: He won first place in D.C.’s Dancing with the Stars competition. The D.C. Dancing Stars Gala is an annual fundraising event where local celebrities train to dance with a professional. To receive any lessons in dancing, they must raise a certain amount of money. The winner is decided by a combination of how well they dance and how much money they raise for a charity of their choice. “It’s great because no one is comfortable with their dancing,” Manatos said. “It’s a fun thing. You’re so desperate for it to go well.” Through his victory, Manatos raised over $90,000 for the foundation. He thinks one of the biggest challenges in fundraising is that community members are already familiar with Make-A-Wish, he said. Because of the name recognition, he finds that a lot of his friends assume that Make-A-Wish already has all the money it needs, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth, Manatos said. “The only way we can grant wishes for local ‘wish kids’ is using funds that we raise locally,” Manatos said. “For every one child whose wish we grant, there are literally two more children for whom we can’t because we don’t have the resources.” There’s another misconception about Make-A-Wish that Manatos is eager to clear up: Wishes from Make-A-Wish are not “dying wishes.” These wishes are for everyone ages two to 18 with life-threatening medical conditions. He believes that most of the wishes invigorate and make the affected child healthier. “Physically, you can see the change we make; you can see the wish help them heal,” Manatos said. “That’s powerful stuff. You’re not only making the family happy, you’re helping their child survive.” Manatos is proud of his work, he said. He hopes to continue inspiring others and create lasting memories for each affected family, and he loves seizing every opportunity he can to ensure the Make-A-Wish foundation helps every child and family that it can. “It’s important to find something you’re passionate about,” Manatos said. “For me, that’s when I give back. It’s so amazing to become part of the memory of the child and the family forever.”
Veteran families find community in Bethesda by Jesse Rider
Whitman parent veterans have completed years of rigorous training, been stationed across the world and formed lifelong relationships with fellow servicemen. When three veterans reflected on their time in the military, they kept thinking back to the communities that supported them during their time in service: their families. Fifty-six percent of enlisted military personnel in the U.S. are married, and 36% of those married members have children while they’re still active duty members, according to America’s Promise Alliance. “When we talk about being in the Army, we should talk about the families in the Army, not the individual,” Colonel James McKee said. In the D.C. area, many people work at the Pentagon or other government agencies, giving the area a “military town” atmosphere. Most people in the area are supportive of those in the military or any government service jobs, Lieutenant Paul Krush said. This makes Bethesda a welcoming environment for military families, including the families of Krush, McKee and Colonel John Hackel.
Colonel John Hackel
Off the coast of Oman at 3 a.m., Hackel and his fellow Marines were up and ready for a long day of training in the desert. They accounted for their weapons, vehicles, radios, food and water before leaving the ship they had been living on and cruised toward shore on a smaller boat — all before sunrise. With no one around for dozens of miles, the platoon spent 12 hours rehearsing maneuvers, testing out armed vehicles and practicing communication signals. It was a perfect birthday for Hackel, he said. The fact that it was Hackel’s birthday was not what made the day great. It wasn’t the training or the location either. What made the day great was sharing it with his platoon, he said, and the intense sense of community that every marine experiences. “You’re with these guys that you spent weeks and weeks and weeks of day, morning, noon and night with,” Hackel said. “They’re your brothers.” It’s just one of the many memorable moments Hackel recalls from active duty, but there were also many difficulties of serving in the military while balancing his family life, he said. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1994, Hackel spent 25 years in the
United States Marine Corps. During that time, he went to law school through a Marine Corps program called the Law Education Program, was stationed all over the world and began his family. He married his wife Kristin in 2000 and had two children, sophomore Nathan Hackel and eighth grade student Davis Hackel. According to Hackel, relationships when one partner is in the military need to be unwavering since families must move a lot and can be separated for long periods of time. One of the most difficult parts of being a military member, Hackel said, is helping your spouse find a job while frequently moving around. Luckily, his wife is a nurse practitioner, which is a relatively sought-after job regardless of location, Hackel said. The constant moving around was much easier before Hackel’s family started to grow, he said. His mindset toward moving shifted once his kids were born. “Suddenly we had to start thinking about other things, not just what types of houses we’d want to live in, but schools and places where kids would be safe,” Hackel said. The Hackel family moved to Bethesda in 2017 after Hackel began working at the Pentagon. Nathan was a freshman at the time, and even though Nathan had moved three times before, it was still a difficult process. He had some trouble finding his place at Whitman, he said, but after joining different teams he has now found a group of friends. “It’s tough having to just uproot your life and start over in a new place,” Nathan said. Despite the hardship of adjusting to a new community in Japan as well as Florida, travel has been one of Nathan’s favorite parts of being a military kid, he said. “I got to live in Japan and travel the world,” Nathan said. “It was awesome being able to see all the different cultures.” Hackel is grateful for how the Whitman community has taken in his family, he said. He usually sees other Whitman parents at school events like water polo games or swim meets. Nathan and his dad have found a greater community at Whitman because of its large size compared to the other schools Nathan has gone to, some of which had graduating classes of about 100 students. “It’s been good to meet these amazing people,” Hackel said. “I can see why their kids are decent people: because they’re reflections of their folks.” Nathan believes that his parents may be a
bit stricter than other parents, but it’s nothing that makes his household different than that of most other students. “They expect a bit more respect from you,” Nathan said. “It’s not as different as people expect.”
Colonel James McKee
McKee had strong familial ties to the military with his father and father’s brothers all serving in the Army. While at Syracuse University, McKee spent one weekend a month and two continuous weeks a year in a National Guard unit. This program and his family history influenced his decision to enlist in the Army infantry in 1989, he said. After college, McKee spent 23 years of active duty service in the Army before retiring in 2016. He served all around the world, completing four combat tours and two peacekeeping tours. McKee spent 13 of his service years in Germany with his family. During their time in Germany, McKee and his family struggled with being so far away from home, he said. They had trouble keeping in touch with their family members, making them feel isolated. “It was very, very hard,” McKee said. “You really kind of lose connection with your family and your cousins and where you grew up, but at the same time that’s what you’ve been trained to do.” McKee’s daughter, junior Livia McKee, lived in Germany three times in Wurzburg, Mainz and Wiesbaden and regularly moved before ending up at Whitman. Although difficult at times, the constant traveling has taught her important skills like adaptability, she said. But having a deployed parent can be hard, Livia said. “You don’t get to interact with your parents as much, and sometimes that can feel awkward when it’s like, ‘oh they weren’t there for that,’” Livia said. “He was sad when he missed his son’s graduation or missed a performance in the choir, even though those performances as little kids were probably awful.” McKee believes that he has raised his kids in a different way than most other parents in the Whitman community. His kids learned independence early on from going to school in Germany. Their school day ended at noon, so after that, the rest of the day was theirs. This taught them independence, McKee said, whether it was taking the bus by themselves or finishing their homework alone.
McKee is grateful for how the Whitman community has helped his family adjust to living here. “So many teachers have been so welcoming,” he said. “The parents — whether it was on the diving team, the wrestling team, the JV football team, the field hockey team or the lacrosse team — are just all super.”
Lieutenant Paul Krush
Clockwise from top left: Paul Krush smiles as he is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1993; John Hackel celebrates his law school graduation with his three-month-old son Nathan in May of 2004; Paul Krush (left) poses aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Suez Canal in July of 1993; John Hackel is greeted by his sons Nathan and Davis after completing his seven month deployment in 2010. Photos courtesy PAUL KRUSH and JOHN HACKEL.
With multiple grandparents serving, joining the military always seemed like a viable future for Krush. Toward the end of high school, Krush knew he wanted to commit to some sort of service, and because his grandfather went to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, he applied there and ultimately accepted the school’s admission offer. After graduating from the academy in 1990, Krush was stationed in Jacksonville as a supply officer in the helicopter squadron. He served five years of active duty from 1990 to 1995, spending all of his time in Jacksonville. Now a software engineer, Krush believes his time in the military had a tremendous impact on the way he approaches his job, he said. “The memories, the camaraderie, the great friends, the learning of self discipline and being part of a team is everything that tends to help you do well in a career,” Krush said. “They’re all things you can learn in the military.” Krush has also found that his military experience influences his interactions with other people because it taught him how to relate to a wide variety of people and respect different viewpoints. This is something anybody in the military learns because members must work closely with people from all over the country with many different ideologies, he said. Krush grew up in southern Maryland and his wife, Stacy, is from Bethesda, so after his service they decided to move to his wife’s hometown to start their family. Krush’s daughter, senior Anna Krush, didn’t have a similar upbringing to Nathan and Livia because her dad was retired by the time she was born, but she still feels connected to the culture and traditions associated with the Navy. The Krush family visits the Naval Academy regularly, where Anna has witnessed the camaraderie and relationships firsthand. “We learned about the traditions and got in on things like the Navy-Army game,” Anna said. “When we go to the football games, my dad’s class always has a tailgate, and so does every class before the game. There are so many people that just come back to the academy. It’s so entrenched in tradition.” Anna loves many things about the military, including the community and tradition, and said if it weren’t for her severe peanut allergy, she might have followed in her father’s and her great grandfather’s footsteps and applied to the Naval Academy. Out of the many lessons Krush learned while in the military, one of the most important and unexpected ones was how to be a better parent, he said. “In the military, you’re part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” Krush said. “That’s kind of the same thing with being a parent when you put your needs aside to deal with what your family needs.”
We love coffee a latte — check out our local favorites by Meera Dahiya and Ally Navarrete Whether it’s studying for a math test on a Sunday afternoon or energizing yourself the next morning before confronting the algebra equations on your paper, a cup of coffee is the perfect antidote to any academic stressor. To find the best coffee and study spot in the area, we visited four local shops and tried a latte and a barista recommended specialty drink at each. For each coffee shop, we rated the atmosphere and both drinks on a scale from 1 to 10.
Compass Coffee Atmosphere: When we first stepped into Compass Coffee, the modern yet rustic ambience immediately caught our attention. The wooden tabletops, contrasted with the whitewashed accent wall, complimented a modern glass fireplace in the center of the seating area. One wall had a map showing the regions from where the coffee originates, with colors corresponding to the bags of coffee beans on the shelves. It was a large space with a lot of seating choices, from bartops to couches, with quiet places for working and studying. 10/10 Latte: At first glance, the latte art, in a leaf-like shape, was simple but eye-catching. The foam at the top of the latte was smooth and airy, but after taking a second sip, the latte itself fell flat. Although the espresso to milk ratio was on par, balancing a bold coffee flavor with a silky consistency, there was an unpleasant acidic undertone and lingering sour aftertaste. 6/10 Specialty Drink: Our cashier excitedly recommended Compass’ almond butter latte, so we gave it a try. Though the baristas initially forgot to make it for us, it was worth the delay. The foam art was even prettier than the regular latte and had an even silkier texture. The latte itself had a strong almond butter taste that added a new depth of richness, but it didn’t overpower the coffee flavor. The almond butter latte was our favorite specialty drink from all of the places we visited. 10/10 Compass Coffee has multiple DMV locations, with the closest to Whitman located at 4850 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington, DC 20016.
Clockwise from left: a latte from Compass Coffee; a peppermint mocha from Quartermaine; a latte from Compass Coffee; a latte from Clove & Cedar; an Iced Coffee Rose from Philz Coffee. Photos by ANNABEL REDISCH.
Quartermaine Coffee Roasters Atmosphere: Quartermaine is located in the middle of Bethesda Row, and on the Saturday we went, there was an especially energetic, but somewhat crowded environment. The tables were small, with few areas for seating. Overall, the space was dark and not comfortable for a long stay. The service, however, was quick and personable — the baristas knew the names of frequent customers — making this a great place for a regular morning coffee run. 5/10 Latte: The latte art was impressive given the quick service. The foam was rich, and the whole milk gave it a smooth texture. The coffee itself came out at the perfect temperature and had chocolatey and nutty undertones. There was a bold coffee taste, balanced with creamy foam and milk, which is why we ranked Quartermaine our favorite latte of the four. 10/10 Specialty Drink: Our barista recommended we try the seasonal peppermint mocha. The drink was packed with holiday spirit. Topped with whipped cream and peppermint bark chips, the drink was perfect for the holidays. Although the drink was pretty, it was more like hot chocolate than a mocha; the chocolate flavor and sweetness overpowered the coffee taste. If you’re looking for a tasty, dessert-like holiday drink, this could be worth a try, but we don’t recommend it as your go-to order. 7/10 Quartermaine has two locations; the closest to Whitman is at 4817 Bethesda Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Philz Coffee Atmosphere: At Philz, the free-spirited vibes were apparent immediately upon walking into the store. There was a colorful chalkboard mural covering the back wall and pride flags hanging on the windows. The shop’s layout was confusing for a new customer — there were multiple baristas at one counter, calling people up when they were ready to make another drink, and the cashier was in a separate location — but the service was accommodating and welcoming. 7/10 Latte: Philz doesn’t explicitly have a regular latte on its menu — all coffees are infused with different flavors. Our barista said that he could turn any blend into a latte, so we ordered a “Philtered Soul,” which was hazelnut flavored and one of the simpler blends on the menu. Although the latte was covered in foam, there was no art or color contrast. The foam was too airy and lacked depth, similar to the coffee itself, which was watery and bland. This was our least favorite latte of the day. 4/10 Specialty Drink: For our specialty drink, we chose something unique — an “Iced Coffee Rose.” On the menu, the pink drink looked exciting, but when it arrived, we were thoroughly disappointed. The pink color didn’t appear as bright as it did on the menu, and the drink, much like the latte, tasted watered down. While an interesting idea, we felt like we were drinking rose perfume rather than an iced coffee. Overall, the pungent fragrance made this our least favorite drink. 2/10 Philz Coffee’s Bethesda location is 7247 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Clove & Cedar Atmosphere: Of the four coffee shops, Clove & Cedar embraces its Bethesda roots the most, with black and white photos of old Bethesda on canvases on the walls. The design was modern, but the space had a cozy feel, complete with wooden tables and ceramic mugs. The staff was extremely friendly. Not too noisy or cramped, Clove & Cedar is the perfect place to study or relax. 10/10 Latte: The latte art, a swirl of white foam, was the most impressive of the day with a strong color contrast. It had a bold espresso flavor, perfectly balanced with the foam on top. There was a subtle sense of earthiness, but it didn’t leave an unpleasant aftertaste. This latte also had a perfect milk to espresso ratio and notes of chocolate. 9/10 Specialty Drink: The deep green color of our final specialty drink, a matcha latte, was striking. The drink was extremely earthy with a grassy flavor, perfect for a matcha-lover. It wasn’t too sweet, but its grainy texture could be off-putting for some. 8/10 Clove & Cedar’s only location is at 4918 St Elmo Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814. A matcha latte from Clove & Cedar. Photo by ANNABEL REDISCH.
From top: Whitman parent Dan Stoner holds up a tray from his beehive. Each tray holds wax honeycomb that the bees fill with honey each spring; Freshman Zack, junior Zoe and freshman Zeke White pose together in their bee suits in 2013. Photos courtesy ROSEMARY TRENT and ZOE WHITE.
The buzz on beekeeping Whitman families take up a sweet hobby by Eve Titlebaum artwork by Samantha Levine Whitman parent Chris White zips on his white, full-body bee suit and matching white gloves as he heads out to his backyard. There’s a low buzzing hum coming from his five hives, each with four wooden trays stacked vertically and teeming with tens of thousands of bees. He takes out his smoker, holds it around each hive to calm the bees and extracts each tray, looking to see if any are “capped,” or filled with honey. Eight years ago, the White family started their own apiary, a collection of beehives, in their backyard. Now, they sell their honey products on their website Bee-America.com, in Mount Vernon, Virginia, and at craft shows. Another Whitman family, the Stoners, collect and sell their own honey as well, and for both, beekeeping is a way for the family to help the environment. Through an article, Chris learned in 2011 that bees are an endangered species. He remembers feeling like he should try to help the cause because he felt that beekeeping was a way he could make a “tangible benefit” in his community, he said. “You look at the world and you think, ‘how can I make a difference?’” Chris said. “There are all these major things that you can’t do much about like global climate change or saving the whales, but individual urban beekeepers can really make a difference in terms of saving the bees and really improving your local ecosystem.” Chris decided to start an apiary with his family — they had completed other family projects before, such as home gardens of flowers and vegetables — so he ordered queen bees for his hives from Georgia, the top state for queen production. The queens come shipped in wire screened boxes with an entourage of care-taker bees. Chris has to order new queen every few years because each queen only survives for two to three years. “It freaks the mail carriers out, as the bees are right there buzzing quite loudly,” Chris said. “We always get a call from the post office begging us to come and get our bees as soon as possible from their facility.” The Whites set up their apiary in the early spring of 2011, but it took until the following summer for the bees to fill the trays with honey because the bees needed a year to establish their hives and make enough honey to survive the winter. The first time the trays were full of honey, Chris remembers feeling elated. “It was pretty magical to think that these insects that you keep in your yard produce something so wonderful,” Chris said. Over the winter, the family tends to about 30,000 bees, but as it gets closer to May, the queens in each hive start increasing the size of their colony, bringing the apiary size to about 100,000. On the few but stressful harvesting days, Chris and his family spend about 10 to 12 hours with the hives per day. They pull out each tray and remove the dead branches and extra wax until the honey is ready for bottling. A year after they started keeping bees, the White family began to sell the honey. By selling their products, the hobby pays for itself, and they have the money to continue doing what they love, junior Zoe White, Chris’ daughter said. Over the years, the Whites have bought more advanced equipment to handle their bees and package their honey. They use smokers
to immerse the hives during the harvest, an automatic bottler to package the honey and huge vats in their basement to store the honey. As their sales and apiary have grown, so has their product line: Now, they sell seven different types of honey, — including tulip-poplar honey, made in part from local flowers — , lip balm and lotion. The most successful section of their business is dedicated to making honey taste like it did in colonial times by planting flowers and vegetation common to the 1700s agriculture, Chris said. The product names go along with the patriotic theme: among others, Liberty Honey, Pioneer Honey and Prairie Honey. But the most important aspect of the business is that it’s family-operated, Chris said. Chris collects the honey, his kids help package it and his wife Tamara runs the website and newsletters. “I remember painting the hive boxes,” Zoe said. “They used to be this ugly gray color, and my mom and I decided to paint them with patterns. That’s one of my favorite memories. It’s not just selling honey, it’s the fact that we did it as a family.” The Stoners also beekeep as a family tradition. Senior Henry Stoner’s great-grandfather kept bees and passed it down through the generations. The extended Stoner family keeps their own apiaries across the east coast in Florida, North Carolina and Maryland, and they all share their pictures and experiences on their website, stonerhoney.com. “My three boys have all been involved in taking care of the bees and harvesting the honey, so it has been a whole family activity,” Rosemary Trent, Henry’s mom, said. “It’s just been a great kind of unifying thing for brothers.” The Stoners started beekeeping just two years ago but have already produced over 50 lbs of honey. Apart from the tradition, working with a female coffee-farming collective nonprofit inspired Rosemary to take on beekeeping. The collective’s self sufficiency and focus on farming as a main economic activity motivated Rosemary, she said. “We love the idea of producing our own stuff,” Rosemary said. “We’re big composters and we had space in our yard and just wanted to give it a try.” Each spring, the Stoners bottle up their honey and sell it to friends and neighbors or give it as gifts. “It was amazing seeing how much honey they produced,” Henry said. “It was crazy. But it runs out pretty quick.” But beekeeping has its challenges. Recently, there has been a national increase in hive mites and beetles, which are invasive species. It has become challenging for the Whites, along with other beekeepers, to keep their hives flourishing and keep the queen alive. Once an entire colony fled because hornets had been attacking them, Zoe said. “It’s really hard over the years watching your hives get smaller and smaller,” Zoe said. The problem has steadily decreased, Zoe said. As a solution, they put a cleaning device, the Swiffer Duster, into the hive. The bees chase the invasive beetles into the duster, Chris said. Despite the difficulties, beekeeping has been rewarding for both families. To Henry, seeing the impact of his personal effort is his favorite aspect, while for Chris, educating others through his business is the most gratifying. “The trees and the flowers are much happier to be in balance,” Chris said. “But helping educate people on how important these are to the natural ecosystem is the most rewarding part.”
‘Tis The Season by Kaya Ginsky and Mathilde Lambert
1. Preliminary test for high school sophomores and juniors 5. Alternative spelling for Frozen younger sister 8. Associated General Contractors, abbr. 11. AKA, the sixth sense 14. Scrooge’s phrase, with “bah” 16. Small body of water used for winter skating 18. State with the Salt Lake and ski resorts 19. U.S. island territory in Micronesia 21. Freezing rain weather 22. Partner of “mani” 23. Hawaii region known for coffee 24. Swamp giant 25. I.e. pork, veal, beef 26. “Stop, drop and ____” 28. Fall weather, when compared to winter 30. Georgia’s main airport, abbr. 31. Street and Racing Technology, abbr. 32. Natural material extracted from the earth 33. Prefix meaning unpleasant 34. Light snowfall 37. Ice queen from Frozen 39. Young, wise bird 41. Wedding vows 42. Buying and selling 45. Near-arctic countries 47. Summaries 49. Shortened pet name 50. Words said before a big meal 52. Single spotted card 54. Mitten shaped state, for short 56. Ski area near Salt Lake City 58. Unit of heredity 59. Common patriarch of three religions 61. Academy Award 62. Expressing sorrow and misery 64. Donut chain Krispy _____ 66. Hoarseness 68. Hospital spaces, for short 69. ___ __ late: recently 71. Flintstones saying, “_____ dabba doo” 73. Sigh of relief sound 75. Rule made by the government 78. Cartoon “explorer”
80. Views, archaically 82. Iron deficiency can make one ______ 86. A pleasant smell 88. Hockey rink, when compared to a roller rink 90. A swear word for little kids 92. A game played on horses 93. Teenagers get in on their face 94. Electronic Communication Network, for short 95. To oil, in Munich 97. Safe for sensitive eaters, on food labels 98. Camera’s memory holder 101. Menorah lights 105. Big dinner 107. What one hears while talking in a cave 108. If you’re not behind, you’re _____ 109. Interest group with members ages 50+ 111. Seventh planet from the sun 113. Country code for American Samoa 114. Very commonly torn muscle 115. Specialized plan for students with disabilities 118. Online abbr. 119. Characteristic of people at the top of Santa’s list 122. A format for compressing image files 123. Maryland mascot 125. Leveled 127. To fall vertically 128. 2020 year type 130. A university graduate 132.Holiday peppermint candy 133. “Electric” sea creatures 134. British nobleman 135. Folding the corner, as a book 136. What one says “get a room” to 137. Main constituent of chromosomes, abbr. 138. ‘Sup alternative 139. Prefix for foreign
1. Cries weakly 2. Slander 3. Encouraged a crime 4. Famous Egyptian king, for short 5. Caramel or candy covered fruit treat
6. Christmas, in a carol 7. Pair-connecting conjunction 8. Smallest component of an element 9. A dishonest person (variant) 10. Holiday comic and movie character, last name Brown 11. Sense of self 12. Partners of “everything nice” 13. Social gathering frequent during holidays 14. Disney trilogy featuring Zac Efron, abbr. 15. Greek sandwiches 17. Mid-autumn Hindu festival 18. Ukraine for short 20. First name of celebrities Gibson and Brooks 27. Reddish yellow of fall leaves 29. Eldest famous Baldwin brother 33. Measurement while drilling, abbr. 35. Only public university in the nation’s capital, for short 36. Wanders 38. Light bulb type, for short 39. Irritable and unpleasant 40. Russian emperor 42. Melt (as ice) 43. Hershey’s soft caramel filled candy 44. Stake put up by a poker player 46. Pig’s sound 47. To lay out a new pattern 48. Mark left over healed injury 51. House made from snow and ice 53. Automobile 55. Units of a clock, for short 57. Air Force Association, abbr. 59. Yellow fossilized resin 60. Baby, in Madrid 61. Opposite of closed 63. Department responsible for farming and food, abbr. 65. Lack of effort 67. External form 70. Turned dough into donuts, potatoes into chips, etc. 72. “__ ____ as ice” 74. Wired Equivalent Privacy, for short 75. Baseball team in LA
76. Moves with a curving trajectory 77. “Walking in a winter __________” 79. Athletic Division founded by UMD but does not include UMD 81. Ornament-covered Christmas decoration 83. First name of famous Louvre painting 84. Groups of people you don’t care for 85. Garment worn when it’s cold 87. Islam’s holiest city 89. Former empire of Peru 91. Region in northeastern France bordering Germany and Switzerland
96. Temporary Flight Restriction, abbr. 99. Allegheny Health Network, abbr. 100. Having a curved surface 102. Group of acids used in skincare, for short 103. Cuddle up 104. Barrier preventing the flow of water or snow 106. A formal foodie 110. Aquatic plant without stems 111. To uncover something 112. Ambulance signal 114. To send in a transcript 116. An actin-binding protein
117. Argentine chess player: Oscar _____ 118. Of course! (in text) 120. I.e. Pepsi 121. Musical recordings that are shorter than albums, for short 122. “Most beautiful girl in the world” 124. An older sorority sister 126. Slang for gossip 129. Employer Assisted Housing, for short 131. Lacrosse, for short
www.potomacoaktutoring.com ACT/SAT tutoring Academic tutoring
College counseling Math/reading classes
To many college admissions officers, you’re nothing but a number… After working with Capital Educators, you won’t really mind!
SAT / ACT
Subject Tests, Application Assistance