Annandale High School’s

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003



Informing the Atoms since 1954

Wed. Nov 20, 2019 Vol. 65 Issue #3



As more and more

universities stray

away from the

SAT, is it worth



Green Atoms

sells ornament

for fundraising


Co-Editor in Chief


Co-Editor in Chief


Over 700,000 live in fear as SCOTUS debates legality of DACA

Junior Sarah Lopez came to

Springfield, VA with her mom and

two older sisters in 2003, when she

was just 5 months old.

A few months later, her father followed.

For most of her childhood, she and

her family lived in fear of deportation.

The A-Blast has changed her name to

protect her identity.

“Typical everyday things scared

us,” Lopez said. “Going to the doctor’s

going to school, going to work. We

weren’t safe anywhere.”

Some of that fear lifted in 2012,

when President Barack Obama

announced the creation of Deferred

Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Known as DACA, this policy

allowed for people who were brought

to the U.S. as children in an unlawful

manner to get temporary legal status,

go to school, and obtain work permits.

Applicants needed to be in school

and/or honorable discharged from the

armed forces and needed to pass a

background check.

Currently, DACA has placed over

700,000 people under protection from


As soon as the program was

announced, Lopez’s parents filed

applications for her and her two sisters.

“When DACA was announced,

me and my family felt like we had a

chance to make things work in America,”

Lopez said. “But things have

changed recently. It has all taken a

turn for the worse.”

Lopez is certainly not alone, as of

the 2018-2019

school year,

45% of AHS students

are of Latino

descent, many

facing the same

fear as Lopez.

When President


Trump began

his campaign for

the oval office in

2015, he made a

promise to end

DACA, claiming

that the program was “illegal” and

“unconstitutional,” even going as far as

to say that he would rescind the program

on his first day of office.

Now, it looks like he may have a

chance at fulfilling this promise, as the

Supreme Court began hearing arguments

revolving around the legality of

DACA last Tuesday.

In June 2017, the Department of

Homeland Security announced that

any expansions to the original DACA

“I don’t know what

will happen to me, my

siblings, or my parents.

How is that fair to a


policy would be rescinded, but the original

policy would stay intact and be

under review.

Less than three months later, Attorney

General Jeff Sessions announced

that the program was to be repealed,

calling DACA recipients ‘lawbreakers.’

Quickly enough, DACA recipients,

often called DREAMers as a reference

to the DREAM


junior and DACA recipient

Act, a policy that

would give DACA

recipients a route

to citizenship but

was never passed,

were put in a

state of fear.

“There were

no clear instructions

on what

to do,” Lopez

said. “There are

so many people

whose whole livelihoods

depended on DACA, and President

Trump and his administration

were taking it away with just a snap of

their fingers.”

In his announcement, Sessions

defended the repealment of DACA by

saying that the existence of the program

was taking away jobs from U.S.

citizens, and that there was an increase

in children arriving to the U.S. without

parents, in hopes that they too would

receive protection from DACA. He also


claimed that a majority of law experts

agree that DACA is unconstitutional.

“Those words were extremely hurtful,

and only put more fear into people

like me,” Lopez said.

Swiftly, fact-checkers proved all

of these statements to be wrong and

the general public condemned these


Protests were held in nearly every

major city, including Washington, D.C.

Even some Republicans were

aghast at the repealment of DACA.

Within days, state governments

began to file lawsuits against President

Trump and his administration.

The very next day, New York headed

a lawsuit with 14 other states and

Washington D.C. A few days later,

President Trump was slapped by

another lawsuit from California and

four other states.

There was plenty of back and forth

that culminated in three different federal

district courts ruling that the

Trump administration was to continue

accepting DACA applications and that

the program was not unconstitutional

in early 2018.

“This gave us some hope,” Lopez

said. “Someone cared about us, and

they were willing to do something


What seemed like a moment of

peace for DREAMers ended quickly.

CONT. Page 5

The official Christmas ornament of the White

House Historical Society. The ornament honors

the 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower

and symbolizes his commitment to innovation.

A U.S. military attack helicopter is

depicted with a Christmas reath at the front.

The ornaments costs $25 and to can be purchased

by contacting sponser Aileen Walsh.

In this day and age, having an

environment club is critical to school

life. At AHS, the Green Atoms have

been the go-to environmental club

for years. The club is great for all

things community service, providing

students with easy and interesting


“We want to raise awareness

about environmental issues and build

a strong sense of community in the

school.” Green Atoms board member

Tomas Lineras said.

However, the Green Atoms aren’t

all about the weekly recycling on

Wednesdays and other environmental

projects in the area.

Recently, the club has teamed

up with the White House Historical

Society and has been raising money

through the purchase of the 2019 official

White House ornament.

This year’s ornament honors President

Dwight D. Eisenhower and

symbolizes his commitment to innovation.

The ornament is American made

as well, coming from a vetern-founded

business in Rhode Island.

Purchased ornaments are expected

to deliver between Dec. 9 and

13. Payment of the ornament is due

when purchased.

All proceeds from ornament purchases

will go to the Green Atom’s

sustainable land-scaping efforts.

In addition, volunteers who work

to sell the ornament will receive three

to four hours every day they work.

“This opportunity is great for

those who want hours and great for

funding of our club,” Lineras said.

The White House Historical Society

releases an official Christmas

ornament every year. Howver, this is

the first time that the WHHS has collaborated

with the Green Atoms.

Selection of





Co-Editor in Chief

Following Principal Tim Thomas’

departure last school year, AHS

is still looking for a permanent

principal to take his place.

In August, Mark Merrell was

chosen to be the interim principal.

Since then, Fairfax County

Public Schools has been actively

looking for someone to permanently

take over his role.

Last Wednesday, the county

held a principal selection meeting.

Teachers, staff, parents, and

other members of the community

were invited to discuss what they

wanted in a new principal.

“Personally, I would want our

future principal to be dedicated

and willing to work with everyone

to make this school the best it can

be,” junior Anjum Ashraf said.

School Board Members Sandy

Evans and Megan McLaughlin,

embers of the school board were in

attendance to listen to what people

had to say. Region 2 Assistant

Superintendent Fabio Zuluaga

and Region 2 Executive Principal

Penny Gros were also available.

For those who were unable to

make the meeting, Zuluaga and

Gros were also at the PTSA meeting

last night.

For any other additional input,

people are encouraged to email

ideas to Adam McGeehan (

in Human


Operation Clean Vape put in motion

AHS security team

cracks down on

students vaping in

the bathroom


Co-Editor in Chief

The end is nowhere close to near,

vaping nicotine or THC products continues

to be a widespread issue across

the nation. In our niche of Annandale,

the problem is highlighted through the

continuous use of vape products by students.

It is a common sight to see multiple

students vaping in the bathrooms in

between classes, during lunch and even

during class time.

“It gets hard to tell whether the

girls bathrooms smells like perfume or

a JUUL pod nowadays,” senior Sydney

Wuhrer said.

Just last week, the bathroom in the

business/math hallway was shut down

due to excessive incidents of vaping.

The issue is so bad, students have

strted to take a comical approach to the

intensifying situation.

One student has labeled the time in

between periods in the very bathroom

that was shut down “IB Vape SL”

“I just don’t understand why kids

can’t wait until after school,” senior

Michael Brown said. “All I want to do is

use the bathroom but I can’t have any

privacy if I have JUUL smoke clouding

my vision.”

Teachers and administrators have

taken notice of the vaping problem and

the security team has developed a counterattack

against vaping in the bathrooms.

The AHS security team has dubbed

it “Operation Clean Vape.” The

Smokin’ in the boys room

Juuls or other vaping devices are a common scene in the bathrooms at AHS. The problem got so bad, the boys bathroom in the

business hallway had to be shut down for a whole day.

operation will be carried out over the

next several weeks to come and the

team will be targeting different bathroom

locations throughout each week.

Safety and Security Specialist Philip

Taylor sent out a message to all staff

members outlining the goals of the operation.

“The security team will be proactive,”

Taylor said. “However, we need

your [the teachers] help.”

The operation states that teachers

should limit giving their students bathroom

passes. Teachers are especially

encouraged to limit bathroom passes to

students who have a consistent record

for leaving class to use the bathroom.

Due to the high number of passes

that have been handed out in the past,

passes often float around the school;

allowing multiple students to have a

“pass” for the restroom.

This ‘Operation Clean Vape’ will

only be successful if we get buy in from

you,” Taylor stressed in his message to

the teachers.

Although many students find the

excessive vaping in bathrooms a nuisance,

some students argue that the

operation is an impediment on their privacy

and that it won’t be that effective.

“I don’t think the operation will

work as effectively as planned,” senior

Mohammed Khatib said. “Using fear

tactics and invading other people’s privacy

is just going to make students

trust the administration less and be

more secretive about their activities.”

Despite student opinion, the problem

of vaping in school bathrooms is

likely to be affected by this new strategy.


2 EDITORIALS Wed. Nov. 20, 2019

Are students being censored?


Editorials Editor

More and more websites have

been becoming blocked by FCPS.

Sites like Hulu, Netflix, and

Reddit have all been victim to

School Board Policy 6401.

Even at home, when students

want to relax, the sites are still

blocked. These sites are blocked

on every school issued computer.

When a student or staff visits

a blocked website, the message

“Sorry, ...<>

not available because it is categorized

as...” appears.

FCPS blocks sites they deem

as inappropriate for juveniles.

However, some of the sites they

block are harmless.

FCPS filters content by using

lightspeed, a filtering vendor, to

categorize websites. These categories

can be anything from

games to entertainment.

The school board then chooses

to block certain categories

based on their policies.

There is a way around

blocked websites. Staff are

allowed to request that certain

sites be unblocked. This does not

help students at all though.

The main reason that sites

are being blocked is because of

internet speed. When thousands

of students log onto streaming

services it greatly slows down

the servers. Another thing that

slows down the servers is the

amount of people on the FCPS

WIFI. When students get to

school, a majority of them log

onto the WIFI.

The amount of websites that

are being blocked is getting out

of hand. When someone is at

Twitter is doing the right thing for the public

Social media

companies choose

to ban political

ads ahead of 2020



Editorials Editor

Social media websites have always

been a platform for companies and campaigns

to get their messages out into the

world. Political advertisements become

more frequent around elections.

With the 2020 presidential election

coming up, political advertisements

should be popping up all over the place.

However, social media platforms like

Twitter have decided to ban all political


CEO Jack Dorsey announced that

Twitter would stop political advertisements

in response to the spread of misinformation

that has been plaguing the


Twitter has not agreed upon the official

policies, but Dorsey says they will

take place in November.

This is a huge public relations win

for the company.

Facebook is currently embroiled in a

debate over its decision to allow political

campaigns to push advertisements containing

misleading facts.

The company has said it does not

think it should be the arbiter of political

speech, though it does stop companies

and political committees from using


Senior Connell Kou gets frustrated while trying to watch shows in his his downtime.

home, they should be able to

watch their favorite TV show on

Hulu or Netflix because they are

on their time.

FCPS even blocked the

Google T-rex game. How much

harm can a small dinosaur

false information in ads.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg

said that no changes will be made to

their political advertisement policy.

Although, some politicians and consumer

watchdog groups have asked the

company to reconsider their stance.

It will be nice now that unwanted

political ads will not be forced into

everyone’s Twitter feed. No longer will

candidates agenda be pushed on the

unsuspecting public.

Most of the ads on social media give

false information anyway.

Last month, Joe Biden asked Facebook

to take down an ad by the Trump

campaign that included false information

about him.

Facebook declined the request,

which is what started this.

Facebook should reconsider changing

their policy because if they are

responsible for spreading even more

false information into the world, they

might not be able to bounce back.

Candidates tend to spend more

money on Facebook ads due to the fact

that more active voters frequent Facebook.

For example, Trump has run not a

single ad on Twitter for one week, while

he spent nearly a quarter of a million

dollars on Facebook over the same period,

according to the companies’ archives.

Banning political ads will not hurt

Twitter. The ads only make up about 1%

of total revenue.

In the 2018 midterms, only $3 million

was made from political ads out of

an estimated $3 billion.

Twitter is doing it right and other

companies should follow their lead.

game do? The game can only be

accessed when there is no WiFi


It is ridiculous that FCPS

will not even allow students to

escape boredom whenever the

WiFi is down.



Twitter, and Facebook have not

been blocked. Though, they will

most likely be blocked soon.

This is becoming excessive.

It is understandable that they

would block the inappropriate

sites, but blocking games is just


How do you feel about

FCPS blocking websites?



“I believe there are

certain websites that

should be blocked, but

students should be

able to access harmless

game websites.”



“The blocked websites

are awful but there

are ways to get around

them, so they don’t

really affect me personally.”

Students are going to find

a way around this. Even if the

games are blocked, everyone has

a phone that they can play on.

Maybe someday FCPS will

realize that they should allow

access to certain sites at home,

but it will not be anytime soon.



“Blocking websites is

not the greatest idea.

Some of the blocked

websites have good

information and can

help us with learning.”



“I do not like how some

websites are blocked

because some of them

are actually useful and

relevant to our school





“The blocked websites

generally aren’t the

ones that I would go on

anyways, so I have no

problem with them.”



“I think that it’s kinda

useless. On one hand,

sexually inappropriate

things shouldn’t

be allowed, but on the

other hand, there are

some websites that

doesn’t even make

sense to block. Either

way, people just end

up using their phone.”

Political Twitter



Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, popularly known

as AOC, is an American politician and

activist who serves as the U.S. Representative

for New York’s 14th congressional district.

The district includes the eastern part

of the Bronx and portions of north-central

Queens in New York City. She is a member

of the Democratic Party.

# of followers: 5.8M

# of tweets: 9,344


Ben Shapiro is an American conservative

political commentator, public speaker,

author, and lawyer. At age 17, he became

the youngest nationally syndicated columnist

in the United States.

# of followers: 2.4M

# of tweets: 145.8K

Post of the Month

The best Instagram post on The A-Blast page.


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Annandale High School

Vol 65. Issue No. 3

4700 Medford Dr.

Annandale, VA 22003

The A-Blast is an awardwinning

newspaper that

strives to inform, educate

and entertain the student

body and community.

Published monthly, The

A-Blast will not print any

material that is obscene

or libelous; or that which

substantially disrupts the

school day, or invades an

individual’s right to privacy.

The A-Blast is an independent,

open forum for discussion

that is printed at

the Springfield Plant of The

Washington Post.

Signed letters to the editor

of 250 words or less may

be emailed to theablast19@ or submitted to

room 262 or mailed to the

school. The A-Blast reserves

the right to refuse advertisements.

All submissions become

property of The A-Blast,

Copyright, 2019.

Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


Do security cameras

help with crime

or infringe on our

privacy rights?


Editorials Editor


Over the past 30 years, the use of

security cameras and facial recognition

technology has become more and

more prevalent throughout the United

States. From public streets to airports,

to stores, security cameras have most

likely monitored you at some point in

your life.

Facial recognition software

distinguishes people from recorded

video, normally taken from security

cameras, and compares their facial

features with an array of other faces

within a database.

In a matter of seconds, the software

compares millions and millions of

faces and works efficiently to find

perpetrators and solve cases. From

petty theft to muggings and shootings,

facial recognition helps to solve many

forms of crime and overall maintains

public safety.

However, some see the situation

differently. Instead of seeing the usage

of facial recognition technology and

security cameras as bettering public

safety, they see it as a threat to their

right to privacy.

They argue that the Fourth

Amendment protects them against

unreasonable searches and seizures

and the use of security cameras

without their explicit consent violates

that right.

Another concern that worries people

is the accuracy and racial preference in

facial-recognition software.

During its prototype, the software

was trained on mainly white men

and other races were not there to give

varying distinction to the system. In

fact, according to the American Civil

Liberties Union, the misidentification

rate for people of color is around

39%, which is way too high to be

implemented into our law system.

Unfortunately, there are no laws put in

place to neutralize this bias.

Another worrisome factor is that

technology can never be 100% accurate

and could cause a multitude of wrongful

arrests. In one instance, during the

testing phase of Amazons’ facial

recognition software, it mistakenly

matched 28 members of Congress as

convicted criminals.

For those reasons, so far four U.S.

cities have banned the use of facial

recognition. Despite all this, those

instances do not represent how effective

facial recognition can be to our society.

For one, public safety should be

our number one concern. Although

privacy is an important right, in our

current society with mass shootings

happening often people should be okay

with giving up a small part of that. This

new technology may give increased

convenience or security at the cost of

privacy, and people put their ignorance

aside realize that this tradeoff in its

entirety benefits society.

Another reason surveillance and

facial recognition are beneficial is that

it will inevitably reduce crime rates.

When the installation of security

cameras is clearly seen there is a

continual reminder to every other

person in the public that they’re being

watched. This understanding creates a

second thought in the heads of potential

criminals before they take chance in

criminal behavior.

Places like parking lots and public

streets are the most common places

that crime occurs and the installation

of security cameras considerably assists

the police in the identification and


That ideology along with the usage

of facial recognition technology, even if

it is not the most accurate system, will

greatly reduce the rate of crimes.

In fact, in Orange County, New


Jersey, a place infamous for its crime

rates, saw a 50% drop in crime rates

after they installed security cameras all

over their city.

Finally, it provides residents with

the knowledge that they earn, knowing

that possible criminals will be put to

justice for their actions.

Although there are some flaws

need to be corrected and there are

some legal barriers it needs to go

through, generally, the advantages of

security camera surveillance and facial

recognition overbalance its negativity.

From enhancing public safety to

guaranteeing the justice of criminals,

the world will be a more secure place all

thanks to advancing technology.

Do you think

there is a


between gun

violence and

video games?




“I feel like as more

and more kids are seeing

guns normalized in

video games it’ll normalize

actual guns in

the future”



“I don’t really feel

like there is a correlation

between the two

because of the age

restrictions on video

games, which allow only

mature teens to play

these “violent” games.”



“I think that if kids are

play ing violent games

which have guns in

them, it might make

guns seem like less of a

big deal.”



“Video games have a

very essential impact

on gun violence

because of the games

that we play such as

GTA are very graphic

and could cause kids to

be influenced by them.”



“I think that video

games expose kid to

violence and killing

and could also it teach

them knowledge on

guns which could inevitably

cause violence.”



“I think that the correlation

between gun violence

and video games

is that video games

make players seem like

it is okay to shoot people

or like steal cars.”



“I don’t like to say there

is a correlation because

everyone should be

able to make their own




“I think that people

who play video games

and take it to extreme

just not mature enough

to play those types of


Graphic and violent video games have increased in popularity over the past couple

of decades and it has recently recieved a lot of blame as a reason for school



Don’t blame video games for gun violence


Staff Writer

Gun violence has been a

controversial topic for the past few

years but we have yet to come across

the reason for what is causing it.

Since 2019 began there have been

over 21 deadly mass shootings, but the

problem is that nobody knows where to

point the blame.

Some say it’s because of mental

illnesses, others say video games, and

some say that it’s because of guns in


Many politicians such as the

Californian Congressman Kevin

Mccarthy and President Donald Trump

have come out to say that shootings are

in fact linked to “violent video games.”

The issue with that claim is that

there is no hard evidence linking

shootings and video games together.

However, there is evidence that

proves that gun violence is not related

to video games at all. According to

Newzoo Institute for Health Metrics

and Evaluation, the United States isn’t

even the biggest consumer for video

games that are considered violent, it’s


Even though the leading consumer

is China, the United States is leading

in the number of deaths in mass


Therefore proving that there is no

correlation between the two. A majority

of the people who are making these

claims are conservatives and this

makes it seem like they are to use any

excuse to protect their gun rights.

Video games have been a constant

scapegoat every time a new mass

shooting occurs. Walmart even began

removing displays of violent video

games after the shooting that took place

in El Paso, Texas.

It is unnecessary that Walmart took

this action because they’re trying to

stop shootings by getting rid of game

displays but they won’t remove guns

from their stores.

Over 70% of high school students

play violent video games; yet only

20% of school shooters have played

these same video games, according

to the director of the Interpersonal

Research Laboratory and professor of

psychology at Villanova University,

Patrick Markey. If the claim of games

influencing gun control was factual, the

statistics would be much higher than


Playing violent games doesn’t mean

that you want to be violent towards

people in reality.

If there is no statistical evidence or

any evidence at all for that matter, why

do so many conservatives keep pointing

the figure at video games? It’s because

they don’t want to admit shootings keep

happening because of the guns that

they are trying to protect.

It’s clear that efforts need to be made

regarding gun reform but that won’t

happen until people stop pointing the

finger at things that are unrelated and

holding guns and the people using them

with the intention of harming someone



Caps season starts strong






The Washington Capitals season is off to a great start. They are currently No.

1 in the Metropolitan Division and currently have the best record in the NHL

with 14 total wins. The most recent game was against the St. Louis Blues and

they won 3-2. As of now, it looks like the Capitals are on track to reclaim the

Stanley Cup.

delivery robots in DC

Self-driving delivery robots have been appearing all over the country but most

recently in DC. They were made by a food delivering company called ‘Starship

Technologies’ and by 2022 they plan to become the main delivery system

at 100 different universities all over the country. Although many enjoy the

service, there has been a couple of incidents. During one delivery last year, a

car hit a delivery robot and another spontaneously burst into flames.

Popeyes sandwiches are back

The re-release of the Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich just like last time

prompted long lines at Popeyes all over the country, this time however there

have been a bunch more violent incidents. In one instance, a man stabbed

another man over a chicken sandwich and is now arrested. He is now charged

with first-degree murder as well as first-degree assault. In fact, at one

restaurant in Maryland was closed due to numerous amount of assault.

Wizards without wins

The Washington Wizards have dug themselves a hole early in the season. They

are currently ranked 14th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. As of

now their record is 2-7 which is one of the worst in the NBA. As of a team, they

need to get together and learn to build upwards to more wins, but, they’re in

bad shape. Hopefully they can get back on track and start winning again like

the WNBA team in DC, the Mystics.

Cartoonist Corner


4 NOTICIAS DESTACADAS Miércoles, Noviembre 20, 2019

Las elecciones

en Bolivia causan

caos y agitación

entre la gente


Editora de Noticias

El país sudamericano Bolivia

tiene caos unido con su nombre. Evo

Morales, su presidente durante más

de una década, renunció la posición

después de que protestas y disturbios

en todo el país duraron más de 2


Por las últimas semanas, en países

como los Estados Unidos, han habido

muchas protestas, todo sobre las

elecciones presidenciales en Bolivia

que ocurrió el 20 de Octubre del 2019.

Los dos candidatos principales

fueron Evo Morales, quien ha sido

presidente desde 2006 y Carlos

Mesa quien fue presidente interino

anteriormente desde 2003-2005.

Después de las elecciones

recientes, fue anunciado que Evo

Morales ganó por la cuarta vez.

Según The Guardian, Morales ganó

con 47.07% de los votos de la gente y

Mesa se quedó atrás con 36.51% de

los votos.

Los votos fueron proporcionados

por el electoral de la Comisión de

Bolivia pero por 24 horas, la página

web se apagó. Antes de que se cayó,

Morales estaba atrasado pero cuando

comenzó a trabajar, otra vez, Morales

estaba adelante de todos los otros


Escritor de Personal

“Primal” es un nuevo programa

de dibujos animados que acaba de

estrenar el 7 de octubre de este año. Los

espectadores interesados pueden verlo en

el sitio web Adult Swim.

Muchos niños de los 90 y a los

principios del 2000 están familiarizados

con Samurai Jack y su fantástica

narración visual y visión artística.

Después de casi dos décadas, el

espectáculo sigue siendo muy apreciado.

En “Primal”, el espectador está

llevado en un viaje inmersivo en

tiempos prehistóricos. El espectador se

presenta por primera vez con uno de

los personajes principales “Spear”, un

homínido masculino temprano llamado

simplemente por la lanza de piedra que

maneja durante la primera temporada.

Inmediatamente, las capacidades

visuales de narración de historias de

Genndy comenzaron; hay dos cosas

que vemos en los primeros minutos

del espectáculo. Mientras pescaba, un

cocodrilo gigante saltó del agua, Spear

reaccionó, se sumergió y evadió el ataque,

la expresión de su rostro permaneció

constante en todo momento, una mirada

tranquila. Después del intercambio,

él caminó hacia su casa, una pierna

cojeando visiblemente, pero no hubo

heridas. Estas dos escenas establecieron

a Spear como un cazador experimentado,

es fresco, tranquilo y sereno, es obvio

por su pierna mala que ha pasado por

peleas paralizantes (si no que amenazan

la vida) con la fauna prehistórica. Lleva

el pescado a casa para presenciar una

tragedia, su familia se ha ido.

Solo unos minutos más tarde, Spear

sube una montaña y alcanza su punto

más alto. Él mira hacia el suelo distante

debajo de él, y da un paso hacia su

borde. Está claro que el suicidio estaba

en su mente, la pérdida de su familia

fue demasiado, claramente eran todo

por lo que él vivía, y ahora este impulso

se había ido. Con el cielo rojo en el

fondo y la montaña oscura en la que se

encuentra Spear, esto crea una escena

inquietantemente hermosa. No pasó

nada durante unos segundos, las cuerdas

que suenan en el fondo se hacen más

fuertes, Spear no se movió y esta falta de

acción fue exactamente lo que hizo que

esta escena fuera tan tensa. Él se sienta,


Esto les pareció bien sospechoso a

los ciudadanos y encontraron de que

varios factores estaban alterando los

resultados verdaderos.

Evo Morales ganó la elección

en 2006 con más de la mitad de

los votos, el 54%. Su popularidad

creció rápidamente por ser el primer

presidente indígena después de varios

líderes de descendencia europea.

Con esto, él mantuvo su posición de

Presidente por varios años pero la

gente se empezó a dar cuenta de lo

que estaba pasando.

A la gente le pareció de que

Morales no pensaba dejar el rol del

Presidente de Bolivia y de que el

gobierno se estaba volviendo corrupto.

Después de varias disturbios y

peleas entre la gente, el Presidente

Evo Morales renunció bajo la presión

de las protestas callejeras civiles y las

propias fuerzas armadas de Bolivia.

Al principio, las fuerzas armadas y

los policías estaban detrás de Morales,

pero también siendo parte de la

comunidad, ellos se dieron cuenta de

lo que estaba pasando y en vez, fueron

contra Morales. La policía se amotinó

contra el Presidente y se unieron con

la gente.

El mismo comandante de jefe

de las fuerzas armadas de Bolivia

todo hasta que todo lleguen. Vemos un

poco de fútbol, y si no tambien juego

Fifa con mis tíos,” dijo un estudiante del

último año Elvis Cornejo, “una vez que la

comida está lista, todos se reúnen en la

mesa, decimos las gracias y empezamos

a comer.”

Sé que los estudiantes aquí en

Annandale están entusiasmados por las

vacaciones del Día de Acción de Gracias

al poder quedarse en casa o salir del

estado, sin tener que preocuparse por la

le pidió a Morales que renunciara

después de ver el efecto.

Morales anunció su renunció el

10 de noviembre y el próximo día,

anunció que se iba para México a

recibir asilo político.

Bolivia tiene un límite de mandato

que permite a los presidentes ejecutar

un total de dos veces por un período

de cinco años cada uno. Dado que

este habría sido el cuarto mandato de

Morales, tuvo que hacer ajustes para

hacerlo legal.

La convincente narración visual de Primal


Escritor de Personal

El Día de Acción de Gracias es un día

festivo nacional celebrado en los Estados

Unidos, así como en otros países. Se

celebra el cuarto jueves de noviembre de

cada año.

Lo primero en que pienso cuando oigo

el Día Acción de Gracias es un pavo. El

olor a pavo recién cocinado recién salido

del horno, una pequeña reunión familiar

y la frase “Estoy agradecido por ...” al dar

las gracias.

Ese es mi escenario del Día Acción de

Gracias, pero cada persona o familia tiene

su propia tradición para el Día Acción de

Gracias o incluso puede no celebrarlo.

Varias personas pasan el Día de

Acción de Gracias en casa con sus

familiares y variod otros viajan.

Los estudiantes de Leadership de

Annandale también se meten en el

espíritu cuando colocan decoraciones

alrededor de la escuela durante las


“Voy a la casa de mi tía. Ella prepara

sin lágrimas, pero el espectador puede

fácilmente empatizar con su dolor.

La tragedia lo llevó a la venganza, y

a través de la venganza conoció a Fang,

una mujer T-Rex que también tiene

dos hijos y los está criando solos. Justo

cuando Spear decide emboscar y matar a

Fang, descubre que ella está pasando por

la misma desgracia que él. Spear se vio

de inmediato en Fang, la pareja coopera,

la violencia se produce cuando los dos

luchan contra los perpetradores. Genndy

se asegura de que cada movimiento

“El espectador

esta llevado en un

viaje en tiempos


de los dos personajes tenga peso con

ellos, y cada decisión que toman en

esta pelea los caracteriza, la sangre se

convierte en un placer para la vista del

espectador mientras la pelea continúa y

los perpetradores son asesinados uno por

uno bajo la lanza y el colmillo.

Toda esta acción y drama son creados

y puestos a la vista en el sitio web Adult

Swim. Los cinco episodios se crean sin

ningún diálogo, todos los intercambios

se realizan mediante acciones, gestos

corporales y faciales, o gruñidos y

rugidos. En general, es un placer para

la vista y un buen cambio de ritmo en

comparación con otras caricaturas como

Bojack Horseman o Rick and Morty, todo

depende del diálogo para transmitir su

mensaje al espectador.

Celebran el Día de acción de gracias

“Voy a

la casa

de mi

tia. Ella



hasta que todos



Personas bolivianas se reúnen en DC al frente de el edificio de Organización de los Estados Americanos para protestar

por una segunda ronda de elecciones en Bolivia el 24 de octubre de 2019.

“Primal” está fascinando

a varios adultos jóvenes

Arriba: Una instantánea de “Primal” de

uno de los principales charcters, Fang, un

tiranosaurio luchando contra la vida silvestre

para sobrevivir.

Abajo: El nuevo espectáculo “Primal” de

Genndy Tartakovsky cubre incidentes en los

que Spear, el cavernícola es llevado de vuelta

a la prehistoria y se une a Fang, el dinosaurio

mientras luchan por sobrevivir

escuela durante cinco días, incluido el fin

de semana.

Personalmente, yo lo pasaré con

familiares y amigos principalmente, pero

también dedicaré algo de tiempo para mí.

Seamos realistas, la escuela genera

mucho estrés entre los estudiantes.

Algunos maestros incluso dan tarea para

que los estudiantes hagan durante el

descanso, lo cual es cruel. Mi sugerencia

para eso es terminarla el mismo día para

que no tenga que preocuparse más tarde.

En general, durante el descanso,

espero que todos puedan relajarse y

disfrutar de los cinco días libres. Vive,

ama, ríe y simplemente rodéate de una

atmósfera positiva.

Ponte al día con sus familiares y

disfruta el tiempo que pasas con ellos.

Para aquellos que no celebren el Día de

Acción de Gracias, mi sugerencia sigue

siendo lo mismo pasa tiempo con tu

familia, disfruta del descanso y diviértete.

Para todos, regresen con una vibra

positiva y compártela con los demás.

En 2016, Morales pidió un

referéndum que propusiera un

proyecto de ley que esencialmente le

permitiera a él y a su vicepresidente

postularse para un tercer mandato. La

gente votó en contra de la propuesta,

pero el partido de Morales no estuvo

de acuerdo con los resultados.

En lugar de aceptar los resultados,

su partido se enfrentó a él y convenció

al máximo tribunal electoral de

Bolivia para que aceptara su

propuesta. Después de hacerlo, corrió

y ganó su tercer mandato. Aquí es

cuando se dice que la oposición entre

el pueblo ha comenzado.

Ahora que ha renunciado Evo

Morales, sus sucesores también han

resignado. Por el momento Jeanine

Añez esta sirviendo como la titular

hasta que un nuevo Presidente sea


Ellos querían terminar con el poder

de Morales y hacer cambios en el país

de Bolivia para lo mejor de ellos y de

todos los ciudadanos.

Humanos de Annandale

(Corrección de la última edición)



Profesor de


¿Por qué enseñas


Siempre me han encantado las

matemáticas y he sido bueno en

eso. Creo que es un lenguaje universal

que es la base de todo en el mundo. ¡Además es divertido!

Espero poder hacer que los estudiantes estén tan interesados y

apasionados por las matemáticas como yo.

¿Quién es tu inspiración (s)?

Al crecer, mis padres siempre me apoyaron y atendieron a

mi agenda ocupada (deportes, banda, etc.). En cuanto a la enseñanza,

he tenido algunos maestros / profesores favoritos que han

influido en la forma en que enseño.

¿Cuál es tu parte favorita de venir a la escuela todos

los días?

Me gusta que cada día sea diferente y que pueda conversar

con los estudiantes; no solo sobre la escuela, sino también sobre

sus vidas y su futuro. Espero no solo poder enseñarles matemáticas,

sino también proporcionarles un ambiente positivo para

venir a la escuela.

¿Estás orgulloso de la diversidad en AHS?

La escuela secundaria a la que asistí en Nueva York no era

muy diversa, por lo que venir a Annandale fue un gran choque

cultural. Pero estoy muy contento de haber podido ser parte de la

diversidad de Annandale. Aprendí muchísimo sobre muchas culturas

y pude ver de primera mano muchos caminos de la vida

diferentes a los míos.

El comienzo del

horario de verano


Editora de Noticias

Es esa época del año

cuando el horario de verano ha

terminado. Este año, terminó

el 3 de noviembre a las 2:00

am como lo hace cada año el

primer domingo de noviembre.

Ahorro de luz natural se

inició hace varios siglos para

ahorrar energía utilizada por la

electricidad en los hogares.

Arizona y Hawái son los dos

únicos estados de EE. UU. que

no siguen el horario de verano.

Arizona, sin embargo, ha hecho

una excepción para la Nación

Navajo que se conoce como

territorio nativo americano.

Arizona está exceptuado

debido a su clima cálido y

Hawaii porque es el punto

más lejano al sur de todos los


Comienza el segundo

domingo de marzo y

esencialmente le da a la gente

más tiempo de luz a medida

que el sol se pone en una hora

Why is this page translated in Spanish?

This section was created with the intention of expanding our

reach as a publication towards the growing population of Spanishspeaking

students. As one of the most diverse schools in Fairfax

County, Spanish has become the second most spoken language

at our school, accompanied with an extensive ESOL (English for

Speakers of Other Languages) program.

The goal of The A-Blast is to inform and entertain the largest

possible group of readers. Las Noticias Destacadas is a collection

of articles of relevant news affecting the hispanic community,

written in Spanish. We hope that this section will allow the

A-Blast to be a more inclusive and diverse newspaper.



De esta manera, las

personas no necesitan usar la

electricidad tanto y en su lugar

pueden confiar en la luz solar.

“Por lo general tengo un

horario al que sigo, pero

desde que cambió la hora, lo

cambió todo el horario”, dijo

una estudiante de último año

Christine Trieu, “me siento

desorientada, pero me estoy

adaptando poco a poco”.

Ahora tendremos cuatro

meses cuando el sol se pone en

un momento anterior, por lo

que se oscurecerá antes. Con el

invierno llegando y las nubes

empezando a cubrir el sol mas

y mas, comienza a dar el efecto

general de un día más corto.

Esto puede resultar como

inconveniente para varias

personas que ya creen que no

tienen suficiente tiempo en un

día para hacer las cosas

Son tres meses más

hasta que comenzamos a

despertarnos más temprano así

que es mejor que disfrutemos

del tiempo que tenemos ahora.

Wed. Nov 20, 2019


NEHS hosts Atoms and Eagles program


Co-Editor in Chief

The Annandale National English

Honor Society chapter has started the

Atoms and Eagles Buddy Readers program

hosted by Braddock Elementary


The program consists of around

14 members of the honor society, all

of whom have made the dedication to

visit their elementary school buddy

once a week.

The program is held every Thursday

from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. where

Annandale students walk as a group

to Braddock Elementary and help students

who have been struggling with

reading in school.

The first session of the program

was held on Nov. 14 and will continue

for the rest of the year.

CONT. Page 1

The Trump administration kept

pushing for the Supreme Court to hear

the case, which lead to the hearings last


Following the confirmation of Brett

Kavanaugh last year, the Supreme

Court now has a conservative majority.

This practically ensures that the

hearings will conclude in the termination

of DACA.

If the Supreme Court does conclude

that DACA is unconstitutional, which it

is likely to do, the result will be a gradual

shut down of the program.

President Trump has stated on

“The Atoms and Eagles program is

a way for NEHS members to be directly

involved in our community,” NEHS

president Anoosh Taquir said. “Furthering

the next generation is something

that’s very imperative in our community.”

The program is very meaningful to

the students and staff at Braddock Elementary,

providing a unique opportunities

for struggling kids to be successful

in the future.

At the first session of the program,

AHS were introduced to the goals of the

program and the children at BES. Participants

and students engaged in an

ice breaker before they paired off.

AHS and BES students were paired

off perfectly, 14 volunteers matching

with 14 students.

Each volunteer went to a quiet part

of the room and engaged in various

reading activities with the children.

Twitter that he would work with the

Democrats in Congress to figure out a

way to “let them [DREAMers] stay.”

However, past efforts have failed, so

this one is likely to as well.

DACA is renewable every two years,

so each recipient’s benefits have a different

expiration date.

It seems like once the benefits

expire, the recipient is likely to be


This will lead to the separation of

families and friends, and people having

to leave the country that has been their

home since childhood.

“Every day, I am scared that someone

is going to come and take me and

First, volunteers were encouraged to

pick books out of the designated bins for


The volunteers and students were

assinged to read the books they chose


Volunteers took different approaches

to how they were going to help their

reading buddy.

“The book my buddy chose was

pretty difficult compared to her level,”

senior Thomas Chang said. “We spent a

lot of time on that one book.”

Some volunteers even chose to discuss

the books contents after reading.

After the volunteers and students

read a couple of the designated books,

the children were encouraged to pick

some books of their choice off the shelf.

Students were also encouraged to

read aloud to their AHS buddies as

they helped them when needed.

“The whole thing went by really

my family away,” Lopez said. “I don’t

know anything except the U.S., and

everything that I have here can be

taken away from me in a second, and

that is super scary.”

From an economic point of view,

many businesses and schools are in fear

of the termination of this program as


Because nearly all DACA recipients

attend school and have jobs, they

are also reaping the benefits of this program

by making money.

In fact, the CEO of Apple Tim Cook

filed a brief with the Supreme Court,

asking for the continuance of DACA.

Locally, the possible repealment

of DACA strikes fear in the hearts of

fast,” Chang said. “But I really enjoyed

the experience and felt that I had really

made a difference.”

The goal of the whole program is,

indeed, to make a difference for the kids

and the community as a whole.

“The program has allowed us to create

a bond with a student at Braddock

Elementary and show them the importance

of reading,” Taquir said.

Not only is the opportunity a great

learning experience for AHS students

and BES students, NEHS members

earn quick points; completing their 10

point obligation fast.

However, points are not the incentive.

NEHS members have made a commitment

to bettering their community

and the lives of their buddies.

“I want to help my buddy progress

with their reading so they can be better

off in the classroom,” Chang said.

DREAMers at risk of deportation due to hearings

people in the AHS community as well.

Fairfax County does not enforce civil

federal immigration laws and promises

to protect the rights of immigrants.

In fact, just seven months ago the

county proposed a legal defense fund

that would be used to help anyone

entangled in a deportation case.

However, it should be noted that the

county has not been designated as a

sanctuary county.

This means that it must cooperate

with any law enforcement agency,

including ICE.

“It is sad to know that I love this

place so much, but I am not safe here,”

Lopez said. “It’s safer here than where

my parents came from, of course, but


News Briefs

Annandale Book Club


The Annandale Book Club,

which is hosted by National English

Honors Society, will have its first

meeting today at 3:15 p.m. in room


Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving will be on Thurs.

Nov. 28. There will be no school

from Wed. Nov. 27 to Fri. Nov. 29.

Winter Spirit Week

Students and staff are invited

to participate in this year’s winter

spirit week, which will take place

from Mon. Dec. 9 to Fri. Dec.

13. Individual themes will be

announced at a later date.

Winter Movie Night

and Gingerbread House


Leadership will host this

year’s second movie night, which

is holiday-themed. The movie

will begin at 7 p.m. and will be

preceded by a Gingerbread House

Competition at 6 p.m.

Winter Formal

The second annual Winter

Formal will tkae place on Fri.

Dec. 14 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets are currently for sale on

MySchoolBucks. The ticket alone

costs $3, while a bundle with food

costs $6.

Band and Choir


Band will hold its winter concert

on Thurs. Dec. 12, while the Choir

will hold their concert on Tues. Dec.

17. Both are to start at 7 p.m.

being here means I risk being sent


The D.C. metro area, which includes

Fairfax County, is reported to be home

to over 14,000 DACA recipients.

What happens to them once the

Supreme Court gives its final decision

in June 2020 remains unknown.

“I could end up being able to stay

here. I could end up having to move to

a different city or state. I could end up

going back to Central America,” Lopez

said. “I don’t know what will happen to

me, my siblings, or my parents. How is

that fair to a kid?”

*Sarah Lopez is not a real name, as

the student wishes to remain anonymous.


The Annandale Auto Tech Class is now accepting donations

of old cars for classroom use

The sooner the better!

Contact Auto Tech Teacher Anthony

Maniatakas for more details!

(703) 642-4100

In today’s technological age, computers, and other devices, have become an

integral part of day to day learning in schools.

FCPS introduces fee

for school laptops


Co-Editor in Chief

Earlier this school year, Fairfax

County Public Schools announced

that all high school students would be

charged $50 for

school laptops.

Invoices were

officially sent two

weeks ago, right

after the first

quarter ended, via

My School Bucks,

FCPS’ e-commerce


As an update,

students with

reduced lunch

were charged $25.

In addition,

fees were waived

for students with

free lunch.

This fee, which is included in the

county’s fiscal year 2020 approved budget,

was created to ensure that the

county is able to support each student’s

need for a laptop with the same software.

It also helps by covering the costs

of any damages or replacements that

could be incurred by the students as

the laptops are used.

While students will not be charged

for incidental damage, action will be

taken against repeated damage.

Students and their families are also

“The fee is a good idea

because it makes it easier

for the county to

provide laptops to everyone,

which have become

an essential part of our


financially responsible for any lost or

stolen laptops or chargers.

Laptops cost $467, while laptops

cost $28, totaling $495.

“I think that the fee is a good idea

because it makes it easier for the

county to provide laptops to everyone,

which have




become an essential

part of our

education nowadays,”


Emily Shawish


“It allows for

everyone, regardless

of their financial

status to have

access to things

like Google Docs

or their email outside

of the school,

which only makes

learning easier,” senior Isabella Steiner


In 2016, FCPS started giving out

laptops as part of its FCPSOne program

in an attempt to support teachers

in the digital age.

A goal of the county is to ensure

that all students in third grade and

above have a school laptop.

The fee will be applied each school

year, and is not set to increase or

decrease any further at this time.

Parents are to pay the one-time

annual fee using My School Bucks, as

checks and in-person payments are not



Wed. Nov. 20, 2019

What do

you think of


dropping the SAT





‘‘I’m happy about it

because I feel that

SATs do not really show

how good of a student

soemone is.”



“If you have a high GPA,

it won’t affect you as

much. If your GPA is

lower, It might hurt your


Photo created by Nathan Ferson.

Students weigh in on the SAT


Academics Editor

If you haven’t taken the SAT

already, chances are you will soon.

The SAT is a standardized intelligence

test administered by the College

Board company. Most colleges in

the US require applicants to submit

their SAT scores along with the rest of

their application. Students must sign

up through the College Board website

to schedule a day in which they will be

tested. But is the SAT worth it? Many

colleges are drifting away from standardized

testing and many students

believe the SAT is not a fair assessment

of a students abilities.

The SAT has been a part of the

American education system for

decades, but when did the first SAT

come to fruition? Robert Yerke, a

20th century American psychologist

and part of the “new IQ testing movement”,

proposed to the US army a

mass administered IQ test during the

first World War. The test, called the

“Army Alpha” was distributed to all

U.S. soldiers during World War I and

for all intents and purposes, was a


In 1926, Carl Brigham, an apprentice

of Yerke, decided to adopt the

“Army Alpha” and alter it to make it

more difficult so it could be used as

a college admissions test. After the

apparent success of the adapted Army

Alpha test, it was distributed to more

college applicants and gained more

legitimacy. In 1933, Henry Chauncey,

an assistant dean at Harvard, sought

to use Brigham’s altered “Army

Alpha” test (now called the SAT) as

a national baseline test for college

admission. In 1948, the Educational

Testing Service was formed. The ETS

would distribute the SAT as more and

more colleges began to use the test.

However, in recent years, colleges

have been dropping the SAT requirement.

Although many colleges still

recommend the SAT, the general

trend has been that colleges will favor

a student’s SAT score less. This has

correlated with a drop in SAT tests

taken in the past few years, with a

gradual drop since 2016.


Board comes

off as greedy

when they



money for a test that is

seemingly required.”



The SAT, like many other aspects

of college preparation, places a lot of

stress on students. Students must

study general math and english subjects

to prepare for the test, with many

taking online practice courses or hiring

a tutor. Many have accused College

Board (the company that distributes

the SAT) of overcharging

students. Students must pay around

Senior Zakaria Belkhayat bosses up on IB

$50 to reserve a spot to take the test,

with an extra twenty dollar fee for late

sign ups. College Board also charges

students $12 for each college they

want to submit their SAT to. “College

Board comes off as greedy when they

charge students money for a test that

is seemingly required.” said senior

Cristian Alfaro.

These fees have spawned debate

over College Board’s “non-profit” status.

The president of College Board is

set to earn $750,000 this year, along

with other high-ranking executives

that will make hundreds of thousands

of dollars. In addition, College Board’s

biggest revenue generator (pulling

in $446,000,000 last year) is classified

as “AP and instruction”, meaning

that College Board makes most of

their profit selling study programs and

other tools.

Many students who sign up for the

SAT early have ample time to study

and prepare for it. College Board

offers programs and books that guide

students through the studying process

and prepare them for the testing environment.

“I found YouTube videos to be

the most helpful tool for last minute

studying, the most important thing

is knowing the structure of the test. ”

senior Nathalia Burch said. However,

many students feel that they did

not have enough time to prepare. “I

couldn’t study for the SAT as I had to

work on other homework and focus on

extracurriculars.” senior Mohammed

Khatib said.

Currently there are only five

colleges in the U.S. that require the

SAT as a prerequisite for applications.

This is a stark drop in the number of

colleges that require the SAT, with the

number being 44 in 2006. Ivy league

colleges such as Cornell, MIT, and

CalTech require the SAT and have not

had any meaningful talk of moving

away from it.

Of the five colleges that still

require the SAT, the score requirements

are very high, with MIT having

a base score of 1490 to be considered.

Caltech has a 25th percentile score of

1530, meaning that a 1530 will put

you in the lower one fourth of students

with a shot at being accepted. Many of

the few colleges that still require the

SAT have dropped the writing portion.

Many see this action as a move away

from the SAT as a whole, following the

general trend.

Most colleges still recommend

that the SAT be submitted along with

the rest of the application because it

increases a student’s chance at being

accepted. Many colleges also release

a baseline SAT statistic that provides

a general range of scores that if met,

will increase your likelihood of being


Tufts University students conducted

a study in which they looked at

a portion of the student bodies SAT

scores and compared them to the academic

success of the student. The

study found that there was almost no

correlation between the two factors

and in March of 2018, Tufts University

dropped the SAT.




“I believe this is a step

in the right direction

because SATs are honestly

just stressful and

shouldn’t define your




“I think it’s good

because I’ve heard it’s

not an accurate assessment

of a student’s

academic ability.”



“It’s good because the

SAT should be something

that is not mandatory.

Good students

sometimes do poorly

on the SAT.”



“I think it’s a good thing

because not everybody

is a test taker and the

SAT is one of the hardest





“I think ultimately it will

be a good thing. A student’s

identity can’t be

determined by a test.”



“I believe that the SAT

is important, but it

shouldn’t be the only

thing colleges look at.”


Academics Editor

Q: What clubs are you in?

A: I am in Marching Band, Science Olympiad,

along with honors societies including Math

Honors Society, Social Studies Honor Society

and National Honor Society.

Q: What is your favorite IB subject?

A: My favorite IB subject is physics because I

like the real world problem solving aspect.

Q: What made you decide

to do the IB diploma?

A: I decided to do the

diploma because my brother

and my sister did it. It

also has the most rigorous

coursework, giving me a few

more options after high with

credit transfers

abroad and other perks.



Profiles of



Q: What skills do you think the IB program

has taught you that can help you later in


A: I definitely learned a lot more about meta

cognition (thinking about thinking) through

IB Theory of Knowledge. I also learned how

to connect different subjects together for an

interdisciplinary academic experience, which

is useful for college and pursuing a degree.

The focus on writing skills and open ended

questioning has also definitely improved my

ability in those areas.

Q: What is your extended essay topic?

A: My extended essay topic is in global politics,

focused on the increasing influence of Russian

propaganda through their manipulation of social

media and targeted advertising.

Q: What lasting impact do you want to

leave on this school?

A: I hope to leave a positive impact on this school

through the quality of my work, but more

importantly, I want to leave a positive impact on

my friends and teachers.

Q: What colleges have you applied to/plan

to apply to?

A: So far, I have applied to Georgia Tech,

CalTech, MIT and Purdue.

Belkhayat poses with astronaut Robert Krouch

during the VASTS summer academy at NASA’s

Langley Research Center. Belkhayat is involved in

a plethora of after school acitivties such as honors

societies, marching band and other clubs.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Hopefully in ten years I’ll have a stable career

in an engineering field and I’ll be working to

make an impact on the lives of other’s through

innocvation and technology.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB


A: For future IB candidates, I mainly suggest that

you try to see the benefits in taking the diploma

path more than the negatives, because while you

may not see a tangible payoff right now, there

is a lot of very useful experience to gain from it.

I also suggest that you definitely start early on

big written assignments or projects like Internal

Assessments, CAS and the extended essay.




Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


What does

your family

typically eat



Freshman Correne Bellem, a vegetarian, turns down a homemade pepperoni pizza offered to her by Freshman Shalini Vican during their lunch period.

Students prepare for a meatless Thanksgiving



Health Editor and Staff Writer

When someone mentions

Thanksgiving, the first thing that

comes to mind is probably a time for

delicious turkey and gravy.

For vegetarians and vegans who

celebrate Thanksgiving, that is not the


The traditional Thanksgiving meal

consists of turkey, mashed potatoes,

stuffing, green beans and more.

Many vegetarians eat tofurky

which is a “turkey” that is made out of

tofu to be the main source of protein

for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Tofu is a great substitution for meat

because it is a great source of protein

and it an extremely bland flavor,

making it easy to absorb the flavors

that you add to your “turkey.”

Not only is the “turkey” made

out of tofu, but there are many

substitutions for meat when it comes

to Thanksgiving.

For example, instead of chicken

pot pie, you can substitute that with

pumpkin pot pie which has been a

favorite of many vegetarians for many


Most healthy side dishes:

“Most of the foods that we eat for

Thanksgiving are traditional,” junior

Savannah Jones said. “My family

makes the normal Thanksgiving foods

like mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuits

and more but anything we make is


Many students are vegetarians

and have found several ways to enjoy

Thanksgiving without the turkey.

There are a lot of options to choose

from when you are avoiding turkey.

“I have been vegan for about

two years now and my favorite

Thanksgiving food is apple crisps with

a side of ice cream,” junior Han Le


Eating vegetarian on thanksgiving,

as well as life in general, also has a lot

of health benefits.

A normal turkey has 7,197 calories

whereas a tofu turkey contains 290


“I became a vegetarian three years

ago, when I was in 8th grade and my

parents became vegan five years ago,”

Jones said.

Not only is the vegetarian turkey

healthier but it’s much easier to cook.

A tofu turkey takes an hour to cook

while a regular turkey can take up to

four hours.

“I do not usually have a

replacement for turkey so I eat side

dishes,” Jones said. “I have tried tofu

turkey but I have never had it for


Being vegetarian or vegan, it can

become difficult to find a premade


“There’s a

lot of options

like Turkey


roast; it’s


and large enough for

the whole family. It even

looks like a turkey.”



However, many local supermarkets

advertise Tofurky so it is just as

accessible as a regular turkey for

everyone to enjoy their Thanksgiving.

“My dad makes everything that my

family eats for Thanksgiving,” Jones

said “We don’t really buy anything

other than ingredients to make our

own special dishes.”


For people going meatless this

Thanksgiving, there is a plethora

of foods that are available to have a

wonderful Thanksgiving.

“I recommend mac and cheese with

cashew cheese and eggplant bacon,”

Jones said. “The recipe my dad makes

is pretty good, but there are also some

that aren’t good, you just have to find

the one that you enjoy most.”

Some students grapple with the

debate between meat and non-meat

Thanksgiving celebrations.

Many argue that the tradition of

Thanksgiving is ruined when Turkey

and other animal based products are

replaced by vegan or vegitarian items.

“I just can’t see myself making

the change,” senior Anthony Marnell

said. “I’ve been eating the same

Thanksgiving meal for all my life so I

don’t really see the need for change.”

Whether the switch to a vegan

or vegitarian Thanksgiving is for

personal or health reasons, some

students have seen change undergone

in their tradition without the intention

to do so.

Either way, a Thanksgiving meal

can be thoroughly enjoyed by all,

whether it includes meat or not.




“My family

makes the typical


dinner. We eat

mashed potatoes,

turkey, pumpkin soup, cranberry sauce

and stuffing. My favorite thing to eat on

Thanksgiving is the dessert that my family





“We do not

eat turkey for


Instead, we eat

chicken, rice and

salad. My dad

cooks the food and he makes his special

sauce along with his homemade fruit punch.

I never really liked turkey so I enjoy eating

chicken instead.”




“My family has a

pretty traditional


dinner. We have

turkey, mashed

potatoes, red onion

salad. We occasionally add our own twists

to the meal, but we like to keep it pretty




“For Thanksgiving,

my family makes

turkey, chicken,

rice, salad, and

mashed potatoes

with tortillas. I

would have to say

that my favorite part about our Thanksgiving

dinner is the dessert that my family brings


1. Green beans

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 31

Sugar: 3.3 grams

Sodium: 6 mg

Fat: 0.2 grams

2. Butternut squash

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 82

Sugar: 5 grams

Sodium: 8 mg

Fat: 2 grams

3. Cranberry sauce

Serving size: 1/4 cup

Calories: 110

Sugar: 22 grams

Sodium: 10 mg

Fat: 0 grams

4. Mashed potatoes

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 237

Sugar: 3.5 grams

Sodium: 699 mg

Fat: 8.8 grams

5. Mac & cheese

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 376

Sugar: 8.5 grams

Sodium: 669 mg

Fat: 16 grams




of support


“I eat turkey and

ham as the main

dishes. Honestly,

I’ll eat whatever is

in front of me because it is always delicious.

My wife makes a really nice green bean casserole,

which I really like.”

Prep time: 2.5 hours



1 cup of chopped mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 cup dried sage

2 teaspoons dried thyme

salt and pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary

2 tablespoons miso paste

5 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon honey mustard

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1. Line a colander with a clean dish towel. Place the tofu in the colander. Put another

dish towel on top of the tofu. Put the colander on the top of a bowl to catch the liquid.

Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large frying pan saute onion, celery and mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the

sesame oil until tender. Add garlic, sage, thyme, salt and pepper, rosemary and 1/4 cup of

the tamari. Stir well; cook for 5 minutes. Add prepared herb stuffing and mix well. Remove

from heat.

3. Combine 1/2 cup sesame oil, 1/4 cup tamari, miso, orange juice, mustard and orange

zest in a small bowl; mix well.

Monthly Poll

Look out for the next poll @theablast on

Twitter to vote for the next issue!

Would you try a vegan


19 people voted

32% said yes 68% said no



“I would try it because

the turkey is not the

best part. I think

mashed potatoes is the

best part.”



“I would probably try a

bite but I do not think I

would want to replace

my entire Thanksgiving

dinner for a vegan one.”



“I would try a vegan

Thanksgiving because

I have never trird vegan

food before. I think

it would be a good

experience. ”




“I would not try a vegan

Thanksgiving. I need

to get protein during

Thanksgiving from my


4. Hollow out so there is one inch of tofu still lining the colander. Place the scooped out tofu

in a separate bowl. Brush the tofu with miso seasoning. Scoop stuffing in center of tofu

shell. Place extra tofu on top of stuffing and firmly press. Turn the tofu on cookie sheet flat

side down. Press on the side of the “turkey” to form an oval shape. Brush the tofu with oiltamari

mixture. Place the sprigs of rosemary on top of the tofu. Cover with foil.

5. Bake for one hour. After one hour, remove from the oven and remove the foil. Baste

with the remaining tamari-oil sauce (reserving 4 tablespoons of sauce). Return to oven

and bake another hour or until the tofu turkey is golden brown. Place the tofu turkey on a

serving platter, brush with the remaining tamari-oil mixture and serve hot.





“I probably would not

try it because the whole

point of Thanksgiving is

the turkey.”



“I would not try it

because I have tried

vegan food before and I

did not like it at all.”




“I personally would

not try a vegan

Thanksgiving. Turkey is

the main dish during

Thanksgiving so I

wouldn’t give it up. ”



“I would try a taste of

it just to experience

something new. I

probably wouldn’t eat

a lot of it unless I really

enjoy it.”


Wed. Nov. 20, 2019

Senior Christopher Le perfoms a tire change on one of the many cars available for use in the Auto Tech classroom. “We get to experiment with other people’s cars,” Le said. “My favorite part about this

class is learning how to perform oil and tire changes.” On occasion, the automotive program recieves donations from local car dealerships with the latest technology that the students can learn from.

Most recently, they recieved a new Ford Fiesta from Sohail Nasim of Jerry’s Ford. This was apart of the partnership that FCPS has with Ford that began Spring 2019.



Take a closer look into the

day-to-day operations of

one of Annandale’s most

hands-on elective


Senior Colin Bonneau works on tire pressure and tire balance. “We work really hard in this class

and I enjoy figuring everything out from simple things like changing tires and changing oil, to

more complecated things like engine repairs,” Bonneau said.

RIGHT: Senior Brian

Grijalva works on a

head light restoration.

“The most interesting

part about

this class is working

along side everyone

else. I enjoy learning

about processes

like oil changes,

tire pressure, and

engine checks,” Grijalva


Senior Rudy Serat changes the oil and oil filter for a car. “This class teaches you a lot. We get

to work on cooling systems and transmitions, and sometimes get to bring in our own cars to

work on. I really like learning about the ins and outs of cars because it’s useful information for

aspects outside of school,” Serat said.

Students in Tony Maniatakas’ R7 Auto Technology 3 course spend their period learning about

and perfoming different types of car maintenance.

LEFT: Senior Christopher

Le looks for tools to prepare

for an oil change.

Students learn the purpose

of certain tools

and what size tools are

right to perform a task.

Along with this, students

are required to

wear special clothing in

order follow the safety

guidelines of the workshop.

Maniatakas works with senior Christopher Le on an oil change. “We do any kind of repair, from

oil changes to engine jobs. We mainly do brakes. tire rotations, and tire balance. That’s our basic

repairs that we do in here,” Maniatakas said.

Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


District 10 auditions begin


Brandon Cao, 11, tenor

Why did you audition for District Chorus?

“I auditioned because I am in the top choir at school and it’s a

very fun experience. The fun part is the auditioning part. You

get to experience what it would be like to audition for a college

and learn how to improve your singing based off of the

notes they provide on your score sheet.”

Why do you believe people should audition for districts?

“I think they should audition to improve themselves as singers

and feel a sense of achievement if they make it into districts.

It has definetly helped me in the past. I have been able

to find out what I need to improve on when I sing, and I have

become an all-around better performer because of it.”

Iris Tran, 11, alto

Why do you think it was important to audition?

“I think it was important to audition because it helped all of

us as a choir to improve our singing skills and take risks for

future performances. Our director Mr. Vaughn also encouraged

all of us to audition. Even though it was nerve wracking,

it was also really fun to be with my classmates and just

have a good time. I would definitely try out again next year to

boost my level of confidence and do better.”

What tips would you give people who are auditioning?

“You should just practice your music to calm your nerves,

that way when you audition you feel secure. Try to surround

yourself with positive people and be in the presence of a positive


Jackson Fornaris, 11, tenor

How has your experience with District Chorus been?

“I was very nervous, but it’s actually the easiest thing in the

world. It’s just a mental game. I got to learn from really experienced

choir directors and musicians from our district. We

all made beautiful music with each other.”

How would you compare this year’s experience with

last year’s?

“This year, I felt more comfortable going into the audition.

I just made sure I came prepared and clear-minded. I think

that if you do that, you’ll be fine. It’s a very relaxed environment

and there’s nothing to stress over.”

Ishat Hannan, 10, violin

Why did you audition for District Orchestra?

“I auditioned for District Orchestra because I wanted to further

my playing abilities and meet talented musicians. It was

a very professional experience and I was very excited about

that. I definitely believe that more students should audition

for it. Even if you don’t make it in the experience is truly

worth it.”

How did you feel about your audition?

“I’m not sure. I feel like anyone who auditions thinks they did

worse than they actually did, so I’ll have to wait until I get

my scores back. I’ve talked to a lot of people for advice and

they told me it was scary but once you get the audition over

with it feels better. That didn’t apply to me however. I was

scared from the moment I stepped into the school and until

the moment I got back into my car.”

Spring Musical auditions:

December 3, 2019

The Theater Company will be performing

the musical “Sister Act,” based off the 2006

Broadway show.

Jason Escobar, 11, violin

What was it like to audition for District Orchestra?

“It’s a learning experience. You are not able to see the judges,

but that’s kind of what it feels like to audition for a college

orchestra or a professional orchestra. You don’t really know

anybody because everyone who is auditioning is from a different

school. When we audition we play a short excerpt so it’s

hard to know what the whole song is like.”

Why do you want to be a part of District Orchestra?

“I’ve been a part of it before and it was a very fun yet realistic

experience. You are in an orchestra where you don’t know

anyone, so you get a chance to learn from one other. You get a

couple of months to practice the music on your own and then

three days to rehearse with the whole orchestra, which is

how professional orchestras work.”

Upcoming events

Band winter concert:

December 12, 2019

Wind ensemble will be playing the popular

Christmas carol “In the Bleak midwinter,” to

celebrate the Christmas spirit.

Jenna Saykhamphone, 9, bass

How would you compare your past experience with

District Orchestra to your recent one?

“The first time I did it, I was in 7th grade. I was adjusting to

how different orchestra was in middle school and how it was

harder, so trying out for districts was definitely a challenge.

This time around, it felt easier. I felt more prepared than last

time. It certainly did require more preparation, but it was

worth it.”

What excites you the most about districts?

“The challenging music and getting to play with other people

is rewarding. I think that playing with people that have

different techniques and playing skills makes it exciting and

something different.”

Chorus winter concert:

December 17, 2019

Men’s Choral will be singing the classic holiday

song, Jingle Bells.

District Band audtions:

December 7, 2019

Sophomore David Miller is in wind ensemble

and will be auditioning for District Band

through a blind audition.

Orchestra winter concert:

December 10, 2019

Artiste orchestra will be playing L’inverno

from Vivalid’s infamous “Four Seasons,”


Winter play: January

17 through 18, 2019

The theater winter play will be performing

a series of one-man-acts.

Artist Spotlight: Senior Gabe Mills keeps the beat

What instrument do you


“I play drums because they are

the best instrument in existrnce.

They can be a great outlet

for when you’re stressed or

angry at something. There’s

nothing better than being able

to whack something as hard

as you need! I highly recommend


How did your interest in

music start?

“I’ve had drums in my house

for as long as I can remember.

As I grew up, I simply started

to figure out how to actually

play them, and I still haven’t

lost intrest in them.”

Are you a part of a band?

“I have played occasionally in a

band with classmates of mine.

It’s one of my favorite activities

during my time at Annandale.”

Why do you like playing in

a band?

“Jamming with other people

is a great way to let loose

and play some different types

of music that aren’t taught at


Who are your biggest influencers?

“I admire a lot of metal drummers

such as Chris Adler and

Mario Duplantier because

metal is a really difficult style

to play. I have been working on

it for the past year or so, and I

hope to perfect it in the future.”

Do you plan to carry out

your interest in music in

the future?

“I would like to continue drums

as a hobby for as long as I

can. I would like to start more

bands in college and if possible

beyond it to play for fun.”

What extracurriculars are

you a part of?

“I have always been a part of

the AHS drumline. This year, I

played snare and was in charge

of all the marching band percussion,

which was incredibly

cool. I am currently trying to

set up a drum club to get more

underclassmen involved in

playing drums and build a bigger

drum culture at this school

for the future.”

How has music influenced

your life?

“It played a big part in my personality.

It’s allowed me to give

more thought into who I am

and what my likes and dislikes

are. I guess you could say that

music is something that defines

a significant part of me.”

Mills performs with the Marching Atoms at a home football game on Sept. 13, 2019.

10 IN-DEPTH Wed. Nov. 20, 2019 Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


In 1958, teenagers in Wichita, Kansas participated in a sit-down protest for racial equality. Now, teenagers in the 21st century have to protest for gun control reforms due to the increase of school shootings, such as at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Though times have changed and new issues arise, students have

proved that the youth voice should be heard.


Sophomore Bilan Osman protest to

become a climate change activist


Special to The A-Blast

I am a climate change

activist. I have recently started

protesting and organizing just a

few months ago. What inspired

me was seeing a world issue

that our current leaders in the

U.S. government are not doing

anything to find solutions. It

upsets me that such leaders can

promise us change, yet refuse to combat climate


I work with the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and

I am part of the Virginia Youth Climate Strike

(VYCS). I came across this organization on social

media websites and wanting to get more involved,

I applied to be part of the VYCS. Now, I am a

regional organizer, which means I organize protests

for the Northern Virginia region

alongside other organizers.

Usually, we protest on global

climate strike days. Currently, we

have a protest planned to happen

in the upcoming weeks, and we will

have a School Board Member Ryan

McElveen as our guest speaker for

the strike.

From my involvement in protesting,

I hope to see changes being

made in my community because

climate change is an issue affecting

all of us. I protest because I demand

our world leaders to put forth action

and bring policies to combat this

matter. It’s through activism that I

have been more aware about world

issues and even problems in my

community. It has also taught me

to do something about it, whether

it’s attending a protest or educating

others about these issues.

Students should do activism

because activism works. Call your

representatives and tell them why

they should vote on policies that

combat climate change. Attend a

protest. Raise awareness. After our

September 20 strike in Arlington, the county board

voted and passed a community renewable energy

plan that will take effect by 2035. However, climate

change isn’t the only crisis that’s going on, sadly,

there are plenty more out where it comes from. If

there’s ever an issue you see in your community,

advocate for a change and find ways to solve the

issue! If no one is speaking up, be the first in doing

so! Don’t wait for someone else to start advocating.

My advice for students is to attend a local

protest or organize one on your own in your area.

Students can also join a group or organization that

advocates for an issue they’re passionate about, just

like I did. They can also raise awareness in their

community and at school for example hanging up

flyers, getting on the school announcements, posting

on social media or even knocking on doors. It’s

small things like this that can make a real difference

in the world we live in.

Sophomore Bilan Osman attends the Arlington Climate Strike with the

Virginia Youth Climate Strike on Sept. 20.


Senior Dani Villarroel explains why she

chose to become a student activist


Special to The A-Blast

It all started during my freshman year of high

school. The Women’s March was finally getting

really recognized. So, I attended that freshman

year and I went to every Pride Parade as well.

Both of these events are held at Washington,

D.C., which is a convenient place for people

who live in the Northern Virginia area.

Most recently, last year was special

because through my mom’s work, we

were able to raise money for the Trevor

Project which helps LGBTQ+ youth that

are facing problems such as suicide and


I attended the March

for Our Lives,

which also took

place in DC.

Attending this

march is especially

important to me

because not

only am I a

gun control

activist, but

it was also more

of a youth kind of

thing since a lot of

us have the power to

speak up.

This right isn’t

always available

to other countries

around the world. It’s

important for us to

recognize that we have

that privilege and

right to free assembly

and free speech, according to

the U.S. First Amendment. It’s

really important for me to speak out

on things that aren’t morally right and

need to be changed.

Although we are teenagers and we

can’t really run for office yet, the least

we can do is speak up for what we find,

needs help and needs to be addressed. Activism

has really shaped me to be the kind of person

I am today, because I love to help people with

law. That’s why I’ve decided I want to become

a lawyer, specifically in human rights. It has

influenced me so much because the law can

really be on someone’s s side if the right person is

representing them. I hope to be that person

to represent those people that have lost

their voice or don’t have the platform for

their voice to be spoken, and their


isn’t being told.

For those reasons, I think activism

as a whole is really important, not just

for youth, but to also be applied in


futures. I really hope that one day,

I could be the person that



need in order

to have




and be


right in the



of my





and belief






rights, gun control, and

pro-choice rights. I do

realize I’m very liberal, but I

believe in democracy and in

representation, especially for

those who have their human

rights taken away from them,

due to any circumstances.

Senior Karla Mercado Dorado’s stands up for

Bolivia’s democracy at the Bolivian Cabildo


People Editor

I went to a demonstration in

Washington D.C., outside of the

Lincoln Memorial, to show my

support for Bolivia in light of

everything that has happened

there recently. It was the second

time my mom allowed me to

attend a protest and even joined

me as well—the first having

been the march for families separated at the border.

The purpose of the demonstration was to show that

Bolivians around the world also have a voice and

are concerned about the threat to democracy in our

home country.

This was important to me because it allowed me

to connect to my country and feel like I’m a part of

something that could genuinely make a difference.

I haven’t been back to Bolivia since I left in 2003,

but through protests like this one and advocacy


on social media, it’s like I’m right there fighting

alongside my family and neighbors back home.

There wasn’t much preparation I needed to do

before going other than bundling up because it

was super cold. When we got there, it was a sight

to behold. There were hundreds upon hundreds

of Bolivians of all ages and ethnic backgrounds

gathered on the hill with flags waving in the air

and posters demanding change. I’d never seen

anything like it. There was a small stage set up

where advocates from the DMV, Bolivia, and even

Venezuela gave speeches and told their stories.

The crowd could be heard chanting and applauding

from almost a mile away. At one point, we sang the

national anthem and then participated in a moment

of silence to honor those who perished in their fight

for democracy at the height of the violence that

ensued in Bolivia.

It was truly an incredible experience to witness

so many people coming together for a common

cause and seeing later in the news how our actions

actually do make a difference and help turn things

around. The crisis

in Bolivia has yet

to cease and so the

battle is not over

and I will continue

to speak out about

it. As people become

more and more

aware of global

issues through

social media and the

internet, there is

more probability for

change. If we have

the power to use our

voices, we must take

advantage of it.

Senior Karla Mercado Dorado attends her second protest on Nov. 3, the Bolivian

Cabildo in Washington, D.C. Her first protest was the Families Belong Together march

in June of 2018.



Get your voice heard!

Prepare yourself for




In-Depth Editors

Many students have been engaging in

protests or demonstrations throughout the

school year in order to make their voices

heard by others. FCPS has recently allowed

students to miss a school day to protest by

getting permission from their parents.

Students who have taken advantage of

this opportunity may have protested in demonstrations

relating to climate change, gender

equality, LGBTQ+, Bolivia, and more.

In order to protest, there are many

aspects should be considered in order to be

prepared. These are a few things that students

and other individuals who decide to

protest should know before they do so.



Make sure your phone is always

charged and off mute when at a protest.

If your phone is on mute this will make

it difficult for people to contact, if you get

separated from others or if it’s your parents

checking in on you to make sure that everything

is going fine. If you believe that your

phone will die or want to stay safe bring a

portable charger with you the day of the protest.

Charge the portable charger overnight

beforehand so that you are prepared for the

following day. Also, make a list of emergency

contact numbers on your phone either in

your notes or write it down somewhere such

as on yourself. It is important to have a list

of emergency contacts because you should

always expect the worst and if you are

arrested for example you have access to calling

someone if you write it down on yourself.




The First Amendment allows for the

right to assemble and free speech,

which allows people the right to come

together and express their views. However,

there are other limits that police officers

can put into place that affect the freedom of

speech. You can attend a protest that is in

a public location such as streets, sidewalks,

and the front of government buildings, if you

are allowing people to go in. You also have

the right to take pictures of people, buildings

and police officers. Remember that if it

is in a private location you need to have it

approved by the owners of private property,

so that the government cannot restrict what

is being said. If the police decide to make the

crowd disperse, they must give the protestors

a specific amount of time to do so and

must have a clear reason as to why they

want them to disperse.




It is important to let your parents

know when you plan on participating in a

protest. If you don’t let your parents know

and plan on not coming to school, you will

receive an unexcused absence. An unexcused

absence means that you will not be

able to make up any of the work that you

missed and will be getting a zero for all of

those assignments. Letting your parents

know will also help with when they are trying

to get in touch with you or cannot find

you. It is better to be safe than be in trouble

without anyone knowing where you are.



When attending a protest, you want

to make yourself heard by others,

so that Congressmen pass laws regarding

the issues you are trying to raise awareness

for. Making a sign for the protest you

are attending is a good way to catch people’s

attention and allow them to see what

is happening in the world. A good place to

make signs is at a friend’s house, where you

can bounce ideas off each other and help

each other with the designs. If you made

more than one sign, other protestors will

be thankful that you made extras if you are

willing to share. It is important to write the

signs in big, clear letters so that others can

read what you have written.



Bringing a friend or group with you

is a good way of having someone else

look after you or vice versa. If something

happens to either of you, one of you will be

able to contact that person’s family. It’s also

important because during a protest if someone

gets lost, disappears, or even gets hurt

there will be a way to contact other friends.

Also, letting a friend know who isn’t going to

the protest is a great idea because you can

contact them if anything happens to you.

Overall, considering this short list will

help you be better prepared before attending

a protest. Remember, that you should

always tell somebody before you do a protest

so that others aren’t worried about

your whereabouts. Being a student activist

means standing up for what you believe in

even if it is a controversial issue.

Keep in mind, there are different other

ways you can be a student activist other

than attending a protest or a march. This

includes internet activism, petitions, media,

boycotting, protests, strikes, sit-ins, demonstrations,

and more.

Senior Emily Shawish (left) particpates in the 2017 Women’s March held in Washington,

D.C. “I felt really empowered by the Women’s March,” Shawish said. “Since it was

right after the inauguration of the U.S. President, the march was a statement that

women are not to be objected and taken for granted.”


Vietnam Anti-War



A movement focused on

protesting against U.S.

involvement in the Vietnam

War, which took place on

college campuses.

Pride Parade


Pride Parades are a cultural

protest where individuals in

the LGBTQ+ community and

supporters come together to

show self acceptance through


Women’s March


In response to the

inauguration of President

Donald Trump, both women

and men marched to support

gender equality.

Greensboro, North

Carolina, Sit-ins


Four black students came into

a “whites only” lunch table and

refused to move. More and more

black students began to come in

every day, which lead to protests

in the South.

Tinker v. Des Moines


Mary Beth Tinker and other students

wore black armbands to protest the

war in Vietnam. Des Moines Public

Schools did not agree with this act and

decided to ban the armbands. Tinker

and other students refused to follow this

regulation, so was suspended by her


Black Lives Matter


An activist movement from

the black community for the

purpose of protesting against

violence and racism against

black people by legal officials.

March For Our



In response to the Stoneman

Douglas High School shooting,

March for Our Lives is a studentled

movement in support of gun

control regulations in the U.S.


Wed. Nov. 20, 2019

Sentenced to death at age 15

Students write letters to advocate for minor on death row


International Editor

Two years ago in South Sudan,

when Magai Matiop Ngong was just 15

years old, he was convicted of murder.

The murder he was on trial for was of

his cousin, whom he accidentally shot.

According to Amnesty International,

Ngong was attempting to ward off his

cousin who was trying to stop Ngong

from fighting with one of his neighbors.

In court, Ngong inadequately represented

himself because of his inability

to get access to a lawyer. At just the

age of 15, the judge sentenced Ngong to

death by hanging.

There are many issues that arise

while looking at this case. The first and

foremost is that Ngong was a minor

at the time of sentencing and is still a

minor as he awaits the country’s brutal

death penalty.

This is not an isolated incident

in South Sudan. In fact, according to

Amnesty International, in the past two

years, the South Sudanese government

executed three juveniles.

This goes against not only international

human rights law that prohibits

the execution of prisoners under the

age of 18, but also South Sudanese law

which states the same thing.

The other issue at hand is the access

to legal representation during a trial.

According to Human Rights Watch, the

majority of lower-income South Sudanese

end up being incarcerated due to

the fact that the majority go through

the criminal justice system without

legal counsel.

Unlike in America where the right

to a lawyer is embedded in the Sixth

Amendment of the Constitution, in

most countries such as South Sudan,

the privilege to

a lawyer is only

accessible to

upper class citizens.

Ngong’s case

was among the

many AHS students


about during

Write for Rights

event last Tuesday.

Write for

Rights is a letter-writing



“Write for

Rights is

a way for


to be global


by standing up for social




by Amnesty International to shed light

on various cases across the world in

which people’s basic human rights are

being infringed upon.

Each year, the non-profit chooses

10 cases and distributes them to 170+

countries and regions to take part in

this campaign.

“This year was incredible because

we saw that all the cases were of young

people who are similar to our ages, and

their rights were being violated in different

ways by their government,” Just

World Vice President and senior Rudha

Fareed said.


number of


in 2018

1. China (1,000+)

2. Iran (253+)

3. Saudi Arabia (149+)

4. Vietnam (85+)

5. Iraq (52+)

6. Egypt (43+)

7. USA (25)

8. Japan (15)

This year’s cases ranged from advocates

demanding change from their

government about climate change, to a

young woman jailed for improper clothing,

to a student fighting for the right

of property ownership. Amid all of

these cases however, the trial of Ngong

caught the attention

of many students.

This is because

the case of Ngong

was not something

that was completely


The death penalty

is a larger

problem that is

prominent across

the world as it is

passed down as

a form of punishment,

often times

when the laws that

are being broken are not that severe.

This can be specifically seen in the


In 2016, Rodrigo Duterte came into

power after campaigning mainly on the

issue of tough crimes on drug traffickers.

After coming into office, his administration

has been accused of human

rights violations, as thousands of citizens

were killed as a crackdown on the

drug problem that is rampant in the


Again, this administration mostly

targets the lower class who are unable


to get fair due process.

Issues revolving the death penalty

are not only relevant in developing

nations. The death penalty causes strife

and controversy right here in the U.S.

as well.

In just 2019, the United States has

executed 19 people. States across the

U.S. have continued to execute convicted

criminals even when at times, even

when there is a lack of evidence.

An example of this was the case of

Larry Swearingen, who was executed

in Texas in August of this year after

being convicted of murdering a woman

by the name of Mellissa Trotter. New

evidence that has emerged, however,

suggests that Swearingen was under

police custody during the time of the

victim’s death.

In the past few months, the U.S.

federal government announced its plan

to continue federal execution after a

16-year hiatus. The decision, which is

being criticized by many officials across

the country, was pushed by President

Donald Trump.

It is important to ask if the death

penalty is an ethical way of punishment.

With the emergence of new evidence,

faulty witnesses and unfair trials,

many across the world are sentenced

to death unjustifiably. It is

important for an international governing

body such as the United Nations to

condemn this method of punishment.

and abolish it altogether.

Immigrant stories: coming to America

How senior Daiany Salomon made her journey from Bolivia to the United States


Around the world


Nigerian Security Forces are

refusing to release a journalist

who is being held despite being

granted bail. The Department of

State Services convicted journalist

Omoyele Sowore with treason

after he organized a protest

against the government. Amnesty

International has continually

criticized Nigeria's government,

which has a history of attacking

freedom of speech and press

within the country.

Jihad leader dead

An Israeli air strike launched on

Nov. 12, killed prominent Islamic

Jihad leader Abu al-Ata. Abu al-

Ata is thought to be responsible

for numerous rocket fires from

Gaza aimed at Israel in the past


Capitalism on trial

Protests were started in Chile

after the government raised the

price of metro tickets early October.

Although the protests were

initiated by this event, the issue

speaks much louder about the

wealth disparity that is present

within the country. Many protesters

are demanding a reform to

the constitution, which incorporates

capitalist principles.

Researchers denied

Canadian government is facing

backlash after denying visas to

researchers from Africa, who

were invited to participate in a

conference on Artificial Intelligence

(AI). This has been an

issue that occured last year as

well, with 100 attendees failing to

attend because their visas were

denied. In response to this, a

major AI conference named International

Conference on Learning

Representation has chosen Addiss

Ababa, Ethiopia for its 2020


Should the death penalty be

allowed around the world?



"I feel like it depends

on what kind of crime

you did and the severity

of it all, but overall

I don't believe it is a

good idea."



"Personally, I don't

believe the death penalty

should be used as

a form of punishment

because regardless of

the situation, their life

should not be taken

from them."



"Yes, I think the death

penalty should be used

based on what crime

the person committed.

If they killed so many

people, then yes."




"No, because people

can learn from their

mistakes and usually

new evidence come

into light that can prove

people innocent."




"Yes, but I think it only

should be allowed in

some cases depending

on the crime committed."


International Editor

Senior Daiany Salomon moved to the

U.S. at the age of seven from Santa Cruz,

Bolivia. The decision for the move was a

plan that was first initiated by her mother

when Salomon was just a toddler.

As Salomon entered preschool, her

mother made a monumental decision to

leave Bolivia and move to America. The

reason for her move was the hopes to provide

Salomon and her sister a better future.

During this time, Salomon and her sisters

stayed with their grandmother, whom

she calls their second mom.

“My grandma has been our mom for

most of our lives, especially the years that

my mom was not there to take care of us,”

Salomon said.

After two and a half years, Salomon’s

mother was ready to take her daughters to

the U.S.

Salomon remembers the emotional

moment at the airport when she had to bid

farewell to her relatives. Salomon especially

remembers the immense sadness she felt

when she said bye to her grandmother. Her

mother, wishing to lighten the mood, began

talking about how better things are waiting

for them in America.

“My mom told me how my sister and I

had our own rooms and that we were going

to get a lot of toys to make us feel better,”

Salomon said.

The flight from Bolivia to the U.S. took

approximately 15 hours. During her flight,

Salomon recalls how her ears keep popping

because of the elevation.

After spending almost a day and a half

in a plane ride, Salomon and her family

stopped in Miami, Florida to transit to

another flight to Virginia.

As Salomon finally got out of the airport,

she saw a familiar face waiting for

her. “I saw my grandfather after years of

not seeing him,” Salomon said, recalling

the joy she felt. With her grandfather, her

stepfather was also waiting, whom she was

excited to meet after hearing about him

from her mother.

After leaving the airport, Salomon

and her family began making their way to

Burger King to eat their first meal in America.

Salomon and her sister were excited to

go there because unlike in America, Burger

King is a very expensive place to eat in


One difference that stood out and surprised

Salomon the most was the driving

etiquette present in America.

“The roads were much cleaner in America

and most people obeyed traffic laws

which was so different from Bolivia, where

people's driving etiquette was extremely

bad,” Salomon said.

Another difference Salomon noticed was

the schooling system. In Bolivia, private

schools were more common in order to get

a good education. However, when she came

here, she noticed many students attended

public schools.

“Here, the public schools are well

resourced and provide a good education for

students, but it was not like that in Bolivia,”

said Salomon.

One hardship Salomon faced when she

came to America was getting learning English.

“It took me a few years to fully understand

and use the language well,” said

Salomon who spoke Spanish all of her life.

Planning to visit soon, Salomon says

she is excited to see her relatives again.

“I really miss my family because I

haven’t seen them in 9 years,” said Salomon.

As she is preparing to finish her final

school year, Salomon says she is working

hard to show to her mom that the sacrifices

she made when deciding to come here were

not all in vain. “I was given a chance to get

a better life because of my mom, and I work

hard every day to get it,” Salomon said.


Wed. Nov. 20, 2019 LIFESTYLES 13

Would closing stores on

Thanksgiving be a good idea?



Lifestyles Editor

Thanksgiving is a day to give

thanks to everyone around and create

new memories with the ones you

love. Memories like being stuck with a

bunch of wild customers are not ones

that should be made on this holiday.

Working students have found that

it is hard for them to get time off on

the week of Thanksgiving because

Black Friday is right after the holiday.

Many stores have pushed back their

Black Friday sales to start on Thursday


With stores giving off specially

reduced prices, they are reluctant to let

go of employees because they need to

be there to handle the massive crowds

of customers. This results in many students

celebrating Thanksgiving by

helping people purchase their items.

“Stores shouldn’t be starting their

sales on Thursday. It’s called Black Friday

for a reason,” junior Lissel Lopez

said. “I found a great job at Springfield

Mall, but now I find myself taking a

shift on Thanksgiving when I should be

helping my mom cook.”

Black Friday is a prime day for

business and Thanksgiving is a prime

day for family. Closing stores on

Thanksgiving would be a grand idea

for working students who need a break

to spend quality time with their loved


Black Friday is a day of wild crowds,

stampedes and extreme tiredness. The

sales make people go crazy and let go of

their judgment. People stand outside of

stores in the middle of the night wearing

their sweats and pajamas impatiently

waiting for the doors to open.

There have been many severe injuries

as a result of ruthless Black Friday

shopping. Lots of things can go wrong

and become very dangerous. Here are

some tips to help steer clear of those


Junior Dilan Yousif's family cooks a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Yousif will not be joining her family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner

because she will be working at Justice, a clothing store for girls.

Tips to avoid the Black Friday mayhem






Making a list of what things to

Walking around tired is a horrible

way to shop. People start to get

Lifestyles Editor

purchase is an easy way to shop

and on a day like Black Friday, easy is exhausted and hungry after experiencing

what is needed. Having a list will make

the chaos of the early Black Friday

sure you don’t get distracted. You can sales. Take a break from shopping and

just grab all the things on the list and rest at a local food court.

be in and out.

2 4


Make sure to pay attention to your

surroundings. Watch where you

are going at all times and be aware of

the people around you. Some people

get grumpy while they're shopping and

accidentally bumping into someone will

get them annoyed.


Waiting in a line for a long time

can be agitating, but it will eventually

be you next to pay so make

sure to be patient. Yelling for people

to move in line will make things troubling

for everybody. You have to be

sympathetic to the people around you.



Special to The A-Blast

Most people believe that on Thanksgiving,

families meet to feast on turkey,

watch football, and most importantly be

thankful. It is expected to be tradition

to celebrate, but for many, the holiday

is an annoyance.

Not a lot of people want to invite

back relatives who have unnecessarily

criticized them and enjoy a great meal

to celebrate practically nothing. Instead

of doing the traditional Thanksgiving

celebration, they go do some early Black

Friday shopping.

Shopping on Thanksgiving can be

how families spend their quality time

together or it could just mean people

want to get ahead on the Black Friday


Lots of stores like to start their sales

early which is helpful for people who

don’t want to get stuck in the chaos of

other shoppers.

“I would prefer to go shopping on

Thanksgiving rather than Black Friday

because the shops are less crowded

and it gives me the chance to buy all

the things I want before they sell out,”

junior Melanie Reyes said.

People can meet up with their family

and be thankful any day of the year.

Customers are everywhere on this day

and stores being closed would be a bad



Stores only have a limited

amount of items, things can sell

out fast on Black Friday. Arguing

over items will only lead to chaos.

Sadly, sometimes people do not get

all their desired items on Black Friday

and that is okay.




For this holiday, it is best to not

let your greed take over. The person

who got the item first is the person

who keeps the item. Stealing items

from others can be very tempting but

can result in major fights.

Talkin' with



Lifestyles Editor

Dear Thonny,

I have a really big problem. I

hate the Trump administration

and its policies. However, I

love to eat Chick-fil-A. The food

is so good, but I always feel

guilty afterward since the CEO

donates to Trump and anti-gay

groups, some of which even

support conversion therapy.

Is it okay for me to continue

eating here even though

I despise the causes they



A friend in need

Dear friend in need,

The first thing I want to tell you

is that you are not alone. Many

people are experiencing this same

ethical dilemma.

Choosing to eat at Chickfil-A

is your decision and your

decision alone. I guess it just

depends on whether you think

the deliciousness of their food

outweighs your moral code.

A lot of people love their

sandwiches, myself included, but

I personally will never eat there

again after hearing about their

views on the LGBTQ community.

That is just my own opinion.

It is your hard-earned money

and you can use it however you

like. Some argue that one person

doesn't make a difference in the

grand scheme of things.

Even if you don’t agree with

their LGBTQ stance, you can

choose to set aside politics and stuff

your face with their delicious food.

Since you seem to feel guilty

afterward, I suspect eating there

isn’t the best thing for you. I

understand that the food is good,

but it isn’t worth it if you are just

gonna end up feeling regret.

Before you eat at Chick-fil-A, or

any other businesses that support

Trump, think about what impact

your actions will have.



Do you have a question that

you want me to answer? Email

Popular items that will be on sale for Black Friday


The Fitbit Versa 2 has a

diamond textured small band

with straps to prevent unwanted

movement. Best Buy will offer

a sale which lowers the price to



These have just been released

and they're already on sale.

Right now, Apple is selling them

for a little more than $14 off,

setting the price at $235 instead

of $250.


These headphones have a great

design and give off an incredible

sound. Target will be having a sale

that drops the price down to $179.

You will be saving $120.


This iPad has a screen size of

10.5 inches with a front and rearfacing

camera. It will be selling at

$479.99 at Target which means

you will be saving $300.


The Surface Go is perfect for all

daily tasks and gives you the

ability to easily carry just like a

tablet. Best Buy will be selling

them for $429 instead of the usual


Fashion Spotlight:

Idil Ahmed, 12

Senior ldil Ahmed wears a white turtleneck under a

mustard-colored floral shirt, along with a tan hijab.


Q: How did you learn to dress?

A: I take inspiration from fashion sites, but

I have a certain style that I go by.

Q: Where do you like to shop?

A: I like to shop online at places like Zaful

or Forever 21 because it’s easy to use.

Q: What is your favorite accessory?

A: My favorite accessory would have to be

earrings because they can match with any


Q: What is your typical outfit for


A: My usual outfit for school is jeans and a

sweatshirt. I sometimes match my favorite

jeans with a cool T-shirt that I like to wear


Q: What do you wear on bum days?

A: On my bum days, I wear sweats. I have

sweats that are different colors and styles

so I can still feel cute and comfortable.

Q: Do you dress to impress or for


A: I definitely dress for myself. I don’t try to

think about how other people view me.

Q: What's your favorite season to dress


A: My favorite season would have to be

spring because the nice weather allows me

to wear a wider range of clothes.

Q: How long does it take you to get


A: I would say it takes me around 15

minutes to get ready.

Q: How much do you invest in clothing?

A: I don’t spend a lot of money on my

clothes. I don’t think I have ever gone

above $30 or $40 on my outfits.

Q: What is your favorite pair of shoes?

A: I like to wear my black Vans a lot since

they are simple and easy to put on.

Ahmed wears a white shirt under a black and white

striped v-neck, paired with a black and white hijab.


14 PEOPLE Wed, Nov. 20, 2019

What is YOUR number?

Students tell their stories


Funnily enough, my favorite number is 2

Alejandro Erazo



A number that's important to me is the

Correne Bellem

for two different reasons.

The first is pretty simple. I was born on the

22nd of July of 2002; that's a total of four 2's,

which I think is kind of cool.

The second reason is more personal. The

number 2 gives me motivation to keep working

hard because although getting second place is

good, it also means tht there is still work to do

to be the very best at something.

Right now, I'm working towards getting

back in shape for the upcoming indoor track

season. I'm also trying my hardest to get all A's

again this quarter.

Also, my jersey number when I played

soccer back in Peru was 2, so that makes it

even more special to me. Soccer used to be

my favorite sport, but now my cross country

and track and field have my heart.

Despite that, its still a connection to my

home country, bringing back fond memories

that I will always treasure.


number 4 because there are four other people

in my family: my mom, my dad, and my two

brothers. My family matters a lot to me.

Four is also my brother's number for football,

and my preferred number for sports. I

play field hockey and lacrosse.

Going back to family,they are really important

to me because I used to move around a lot,

so the only people that I would consistently see

was my family.

The number four is related to moving

even more, in that I've lived in four different

countries. I've lived in New Zealand, Hungary,

Germany, and America.

Moving around a lot allowed me to experience

a lot of different cultures, so I see the

world from different perspective now, which

is pretty cool.

I've lived in Annandale for the longest

time and have grown to love it, although I

do miss Europe sometimes.


The number 3 matters a lot to me because

Bilan Osman



I chose 5 because it's the number of Euro-

Connell Kou

it represents me starting my first season of

field hockey ever at AHS. It was a new experience

for me to be a part of a school team and I

really enjoyed it.

The field hockey team to me has been like a

family and the coaches have motivated me to

try my best and be the best version of myself.

Additionally, the number 3 is my jersey

number. While it might seem insignificant at

first, field hockey has become a big part of my

life and is now my favorite sport to play.

Field hockey is the first sport I’ve really

played in the sense that I made a full committment

and had regular practices.

Playing for the past 2 seasons has

inspired me to continue my hockey career

by playing in college or doing club after high



pean countries that I've been to. At the end

of junior year in June 2018, I visited Monaco,

Switzerland, Italy, France, and Spain.

I found out about the trip through a friend.

I'd been to California two years back and loved

it so I made it my goal to travel at least every

other year.

I thought this trip to Europe would be a

great opportunity to travel to a completely different

place where I knew absolutely nothing

so I could learn about new cultures.

That experience allowed me to gain a

new set of eyes with which to see the world.

I was finally able to step out of my comfort


It was fascinating to me to talk to new

people and learn that every person has their

own unique story. I've been wanting to go

back ever since.

26 02

Sophia Izaguirre


Paramvir Singh


A number that has significant meaning to

me is 26 because that was the day I had my

Quinceanera party and it was very memorable.

I had a lot of fun. My favorite part was dancing

with my dad and grandparents. I enjoyed the

company of friends and family.

Fun fact: the dress I wore on that day was

actually my second favorite dress, not my first.

I had to wear heels, which was new for me,

and I was very stressed because I am a perfectionist.

My mom and sister were a huge help for me

that day. They calmed me down and assured

me that everything would turn out right so I

was able to enjoy the night

After so many months of planning, everything

came out just the way I wanted and it

was everything I could ever ask for.

My life is surrounded by the number 2, it is

a constant motif.

I was born on the 2nd of the year 2002. Second

day of the second year of the second millenium.

Also, I was born on the fourth month

and two times two is four so that's kind of awesome.

Even my height ends in two! I'm 6'2...tall,

I know. So when I say it's a constant motif in

life, it really is!

I always aim for second place, because it

makes first place feel even better - when it

happens, of course.

Currently, I'm aiming for second place in

boxing, which I decided to take up this year

through the spring.

I'm also wrestling so that's something

else I'm working towards. Oh, and I'm 200

pounds, too! So that's my weight class in

wrestling. The number two is everywhere

for me.



Being politically active is one of the

most important things to me. To me, politics

isn’t just a “difference in opinion”. The

party you decide to stand by impacts real


America, although it has its faults,

really is a beautiful concept. The fact

that I can vote, my opinion matters, I

can choose my representatives- that isn’t

something you’ll see everywhere.

I choose to be a volunteer for campaigns

to keep people informed about the

politicians who will eventually represent

us in Congress and our country in foreign

affairs. I choose to get everyone I know

registered to vote so that come Election

Day they can go and decide what happens

to our community.

I know how important it is to vote and

spread your opinion because I see people

misinformed every single day. I hear people

talking about not knowing when registration

deadlines or the next election is.

If there’s any one thing that inspires

me to stay active, it’s the people around

me. Many of the people I know can’t vote

and need other people to vote and make

sure their voice is heard for both of their


I’m a very open person when it comes

to voicing my opinion and that really

comes from how there’s so many platforms

for me to express my opinion and



that people before me didn't have the opportunities

that I do.

My grandparents grew up in a village in

Bangladesh and didn’t have a way to voice

their opinion. A high school junior just fifteen

years ago couldn’t have their voice heard

like I have mine. Since I have the ability to

put out my views, help others get their voice

heard, and vote when I’m 18, I do.

I know that many people don’t have a say

in their government. Since I have the opportunity

to have a say in mine, I take it and

make sure others take the opportunity as


I attended…

Cornell University where I majored in Entymology

and Animal Science.

I was born in…

Long Island, New York

My favorite movie is…

Dante's Peak

Before teaching at Annandale….

I worked at my family's restuarant

Why did you choose teaching…

I like kids and and I love science.

Favorite movie genre is…

I have a soft spot for superhero movies!

What I'm proudest of is…

My kids!


I teach at Annandale because…

I did my student teaching at Holmes Middle

school, and I like the kids here

My favorite food is...

New York-style Pizza (because the pizza here


What I do in my free time is…

My kids! But I also like to hike and go berrypicking

Favorite famous person is...

I really admire Abraham Lincoln. He's my favorite


Favorite quote is…

by Thomas Eisner, a professor that I had in

college, who said:

"Bugs are not going to inherit the Earth, they

own it now, so we might as well make peace

with the landlord"are not going to inherit the

Earth, they own it now, so we might as well

make peace with the landlord"

Use a QR

Code scanner

to reveal

Who Am I?

Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


How social media is changing sports


Staff Writer

The development of technology has

brought social media to the masses,

since television and radio are both slower

and are considered antiquated to the

new Generation-Z fans. Social media

is undoubtedly a great marketing tool

for anything, from the nobodies to the

celebrity, and sports teams are no different.

“I use the Annandale Twitter page

that Mr. Aldenderfer runs,” lacrosse

and football Coach Bill Maglisceau said.

“If we ever did something, like when

the lacrosse team volunteered at a clinic

youth, or when there’s any change in

schedules, I’d just send a picture and

description, and he’ll tweet it out.”

It is safe to say that every established

sports team has a dedicated Instagram

or Twitter page for their fans

to keep up with their progress. These

two incentivize the production of compressed

information, and they are optimized

for the mobile user, which is perfect

for people’s short attention span

these days.

For example, Twitter allows only

280 words in one tweet, so every tweet

contains only the essential information.

Instagram shifts the significance

of words to photos by making font sizes

of the description smaller than the pictures.

Many people are deeply passionate

sports fans, and talk about their social

media engagement. “I’m a big fan of the

Oakland Raiders, grew up loving them

because my mom’s family lived in San

Fran,” senior Peter Epperly said. “Being

very, very committed to the Raiders, I

don’t really follow any team other than

the Raiders for the NFL. Instead, I follow

their every move, watch every

game, even rewatching them. I monitor

their transactions, all the players they

signed, traded, and drafted for. I even

research the players they could possibly

sign, trade or draft for the team.”

Other than the Raiders, Epperly

also follows the NFL, NBA, college football,

college basketball, watches the

Winter sports kick off for the school year


Staff Writer

As the fall season for sports is

coming to an end, new opportunities

to participate in winter sports are


Varying sports such as wrestling,

indoor track, swimming, and basketball

will be featuring in winter sports

this season. Coaches are prepared

and excited for the start of the 2019-

2020 winter season.

“I am most excited for seeing how

we’ve progressed from last year to

this year,” varsity wrestling Coach,

Joshua Domico said. “We’ve had people

working in the summer this year,

and we have a solid core of students

returning and newcomers who can

help us contend in the district and


The practice schedule for

Seniors Peter Epperly and Salvon Simmavong show off which teams they follow on Instagram.

MLB on occasions, and even the Olympics.

“I do hate seeing my Raiders lose

but I always watch until the end,”

Epperly said.

A simple statement that showcases

his loyalty for the Raiders that would

last through thick and thin.

This investment in the Raiders, not

surprisingly, gave him a serious opinion

on team loyalty, “If you follow multiple

teams, you don’t get as much enjoyment

out of seeing them succeed,” Epperly

said. “Like if you’re cheering for a team

during a 4-12 season and then they go

12-4, you’ll feel like you succeeded too.”

Epperly uses a large range of sources

to keep himself informed, “All of

this information I got, I see it on social

media, more times than not I see it first

on fan pages, NFL websites, YouTube

channels, and the Raiders websites.”

Epperly said.

wrestling goes from Monday to Friday.

It goes from 3:15 p.m. to 5:30

p.m. for varsity players while JV goes

from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Saturdays,

practices will begin at 9 a.m.

and end at 11 a.m.

“My main goal is to make sure

that our athletes are prepared as

best as possible for all their matches,”

Domico said.

With basketball coming around,

Domico is focused on the season

ahead and is ready to rebuild after

losing nine seniors last year.

“I’m excited about building a team

with new and young guys in the mix,”

Domico said. “I think we’ll be doing

well with our new squad.”

Girls indoor track Coach Harris

is also excited for the winter season

coming up.

“Coming off of cross country was

great.” Coach Harris said, “We had

Another NFL fan, senior Salvon

Simmavong also uses social media, “I

follow everything out of interest but

I’m a Chicago Bears fan so that’s where

my focus is,” Simmavong said. “I follow

most of their players on Twitter, also

the official team account on Twitter and


Although Simmavong is a Bears

fan, she doesn’t seem to be as serious as

Epperly when it comes to teams other

than her favorite.

“I also keep track of the Steelers,

Redskins, Raiders, and Packers

(because they’re our rivals). I’m a Bears

fan always but I just like watching the

stats of other teams,” Simmavong said.

Aside from the two main social

media platforms, she also uses the

ESPN app to keep informed about the

stats of other teams.

“Although the Bears do lose to the

Packers quite often, I’m a realistic fan,

many great athletes in the season,

and we even had one who improved

her time substantially.”

Harris has very high hopes for this


“It’d be great to see all of them

return for the indoor season and I’m

excited for people who are interested

as well, so they can reach their full


One of Coach Harris’ main goals is

to build a higher endurance for athletes

during the indoor season so they

can compete at a higher level during

the outdoor season. He also seeks to

win a conference.

All in all, coaches are excited for

players to return in the winter season

and are thrilled for the athletes

who are excited to get back to playing

sports again. They are ready to push

athletes to be at their best, physically

and mentally.

so when we lose, we lose,” Simmavong

said. “It sucks but I’m not gonna go

all out and act like we’re the greatest

out there. I acknowledge the pros and

cons of both defense and offense of both


Of the three people interviewed,

Senior Ollieu Kamara had the least

passion for factions.

“I like watching anything involving

two teams whenever they get interesting,

but I don’t have a favorite team

that I commit myself to,” Kamara said.

He explained this lack of investment

to any singular sports team.

“I don’t really root for a team

because that’s usually for people who

grew up loving the sport since day

one,” Kamara said. “Since I didn’t get

into basketball until middle school,

at that point, having a favorite team

didn’t really serve a purpose anymore I

guess,” Kamara said.

Which winter sport are you most excited for?


However, it’s worth noting that

Kamara still likes to keep himself

informed. He follows the Nets, Clippers,

Pistons, Wizards, Bucks, DC Breeze, all

on Instagram, but nothing on Twitter.

“I watch games when the scores are

really close, or when a player is really

heated up in terms of playmaking

or dominating,” Kamara said. “I

remember watching Kevin Durant lead

a comeback against the Knicks last

year, that was intense, or when LeBron

James played in game 5 of the 2012

Eastern Conference finals.”

Appealing to the new generation’s

fast-paced tendencies would definitely

let sports teams reach more people, but

it seems that student fan commitments

are influenced much more by how

they’re brought up, rather than how

good the account’s postings are.

Senior Umi Herman swims the butterfly at a varsity meet last year.




“I’m most excited for basketball

because it’s fun to play.

It’s just a blast in general

whenever I play basketball.”



“I’m most excited for basketball

because my mom played

for a while but stopped due to

a knee injury. I’m just trying to

finish what she started.”



“I’m most excited for basketball

because it’s fun to watch

and is fun to play in general

and I can’t wait to go out

and see the teams compete

this year.”



“I’m not excited for any sports

this winter, I’m not a very big

fan of watching them.”



“Track, because I’m a vaulter

and this is probably going

to be a season where I clear

at least 11 feet and im pretty

excited about that.”



“I’m excited for wrestling

because I like the

competitiveness and we have

a really good team coming in

this year.”



“I’m excited for swimming the

most. I grew up swimming and

it’s fun to participate. It’s also

fun to watch and it has a great




“Track, because I am really

hoping that I can perform better

than I did last year and give

it 100% all season.”

Sports trivia! Can you get them all right?

Q1: Who is the oldest quarter

back in the NFL?

A. Tom Brady

B. Drew Brees

C. Patrick Mahomes

D. Ben Roethlisberger

Q4: Who was the highestpaid

athlete in 2013?

A. Tiger Woods

B. Lionel Messi

C. Kobe Bryant

D. LeBron James

Q7: How many gold medals

does Michael Phelps have?

A. 28

B. 23

C. 18

D. 14

Q10: When was the last time

the USA won a gold medal

for hockey in the Olympics?

A. 1960

B. 2002

C. 1980

D. 2010

Q13: How many Stanley

Cups have the Montreal

Canadiens won?

A. 27

B. 19

C. 24

D. 23

Q16: Which NHL team has

won the most games in a single


A. Tampa Bay Lightning

B. Edmonton Oilers

C. Washington Capitals

D. Montreal Canadians

Q2: What position did the

Montreal Expos draft Tom

Brady for in 1995?

A. Quarterback

B. Catcher

C. Pitcher

D. Goalie

Q5: Who scored the most

points in a single NBA


A. Wilt Chamberlain

B. Luke Babbitt

C. Micheal Jordan

D. Stephan Curry

Q8: In 2003 What team did

Michael Jordan play for?

A. Chicago Bulls

B. Carolina Bobcats

C. LA Lakers

D. Washington Wizards

Q11: Who holds the NFL

record for rushing yards?

A. Emmit Smith

B. Jim Brown

C. Frank Gore

D. Adrian Peterson

Q14: Which team has never

been to a World Series?

A. Detroit Tigers

B. Seattle Mariners

C. Miami Marlins

D. San Diego Padres

Q17: Which soccer team has

the most MLS cup wins?

A. D.C. United

B. LA Galaxy

C. New England Revolution

D. Chicago Fire

Q3: Who won the world cup

in 2014?

A. Brazil

B. France

C. Germany

D. U.S.A

Q6: Who holds the MLB

record of 1,406 Career Stolen


A. Jackie Robinson

B. Tim Raines

C. Rickey Henderson

D. Trea Turner

Q9: What is the Oldest NHL


A. Montreal Canadians

B. Toronto Mapleleafs

C. Boston Bruins

D. New York Rangers

Q12: Who is the first player

to hit a homerun in November?

A. Alex Rodrigez

B. Randy Johnson

C. Derick Jeter

D. Albert Pujols

Q15: How many teams have

Winless seasons in the NFL?

A. 8

B. 3

C. 6

D. 10

Q18: Who won the 1919

World Series?

A. The Chicago White Sox

B. The New York Yankees

C. The Cincinnati Reds

D. The Brooklyn Dodgers

Answer Key: Q1: (A ) Q2: ( B) Q3: (C) Q4: (A) Q5: (A) Q6: (C) Q7: (B) Q8: (D) Q9: (A) Q10: (C) Q11: (A) Q12: (C) Q13: (D) Q14: (B) Q15: (A) Q16: (A) Q17: (B) Q18: (c)

16 SPORTS Wed. Oct. 23, 2019

Sophomore Jane Elkins drives up the court against Thomas Jefferson HS scoring 12 points that game.

Girls basketball hoping for stronger season

After a tough 8-14

Last season, the Atoms were defeated

by the Lancers so hopefully this time and hopefully take a W.

Girls Basketball schedule

watch the Atoms take on the Lancers

season, Atoms strive around they’ll be successful.

“I can’t wait for the first game of the

The Atoms have many fresh new season. We’ve been working really hard 12/03 vs Robert E. Lee

01/21 vs Mt. Vernon

for a deep playoff run faces on their varsity roster which is at green days and at tryouts. I’m super

exciting many students to come out and excited to show my love for the game 12/06 @ Wakefield

01/24 vs T.C. Williams

watch. Students want to see how the out on the basketball court,” sophomore


new team dynamic will play out. Nyah Stallings said. “Almost every girl 12/10 vs Thomas Jefferson

Staff Writer

01/31 vs Hayfield

“This season will be different from freshman to varsity has been waiting

for basketball season to arrive so we

because we are building new team

The Lady Atoms basketball season

is warming up as the weather cools

12/11 vs Yorktown

chemistry with our varsity ranging can dominate.”

02/04 vs West Potomac

from players in grades 9th-12th,” varsity

Coach Fawn Tucker said. “I am and more exciting. This doesn’t neces-

02/07 @ Mt. Vernon

This season is expected to be better

down. Although the school is going

12/13 @ Herndon

from Friday night lights on the football

excited to see how this unfolds and how sarily mean that the overall record will

field to basketball games in the gymnasium,

the Atoms’ campus will still be

12/17 @ Robinson

hard the ladies are willing to work to be better than last year, but the dynamic,

energy and confidence will certainly

02/11 @ T.C. Williams

accomplish each of the team goals that


12/26-28 Invitational

we’ve set for ourselves this year”. be emanating across the court.

02/14 District Quarterfinals

Girls basketball is one of the winter


With every new season comes new “I am expecting for us to continue

sports people are most excited for. After

players who are working hard to give it placing our team principles of character,

academics and athletics at the fore-

01/03 vs W.T. Woodson

02/18 District Semifinals

last year’s 8-14 record, the girls are preparing

for a more successful season.

their all on the court.

The Atoms usually have a smooth front which will always assist in producing

better seasons,” Tucker said. 01/07 vs Fairfax

02/21 District Finals

Last year, the girls lost many

time when it comes to working with

seniors who were star players, but that

new players and building that ability An excellent and fun season from

won’t stop the Lady Atoms from having

a victorious season. Their first offi-

02/24 Region 1st Round

to play like a team that’s been playing the Lady Atoms is anticipated and 01/10 vs Westfield

together for years.

many can’t wait to watch them on the

cial home game of the season will take

02/25 Region Quarterfinals

As the date of the first basketball court dominating schools from left to 01/14 @ Hayfield

place Dec. 3 against the Robert E. Lee

game of the season nears, more and right.


02/27 Region Quarterfinals

more students are getting ready to

01/17 @ West Potomac

Wrestling plans to take district title back in upcoming season


138 lb Sophomore Brent Sanchez in lock with competitor in district match against T.C.

Swim and dive team gets ready to hit the water

Junior Umi Herman swam butterfly throughout last season and will do the

same this upcoming season.

Sanchez wins district match against T.C. opponent freshman season,

proving smaller is better in wrestling.




Staff Writer



Sports Editor

After ending the season third

in the district last year, the

Atoms wrestling team doesn’t

plan to skip a title again this


In the past ten years, they

have won the conference five

times. This season will mark the

last of the decade and they want

to finish it with six championships

in the 2010’s.

“My expectations this season

are to win back the Gunston

District and to qualify multiple

athletes to states,” Coach Joshua

Damico said. “We have a good

mix of experience and youth. The

coaches feel that by tournament

time, we will be strong enough to

accomplish both of these goals.”

Last season was Damico’s first

time coaching the team. It was

a trust building season but he

seemed to fit in the program well

and of course, plans to do better.

As the temperature drops and layers

of clothes increase, it is evident that the

seasons are changing, not only with the

weather but also with the sports here.

Winter sports are beginning to start,

and the swim and dive team are just

waiting to hit the water and get the season


On Dec. 6, the swim and dive team

have their first meet at Mount Vernon

Rec Center where they will take on the

T.C. Williams Titans.

“I am really excited for the swim season

to start,” freshman Chelsi Lilli said.

“It’s my first time playing a high school

sport, so I’m a little nervous as well. I’m

looking forward to making new friends

and hopefully creating bonds with people

that can last throughout high school.”

The team will continue to practice

daily in hopes that they will improve a lot

as the season goes on. In practice, some

“Last year was a learning experience

between myself and the

wrestlers; I was the new guy coming

in and they didn’t know what

to expect out of me,” Damico said.

“I feel that by the end of the year,

I earned their trust and they

believed in what I was teaching.”

Damico’s coaching style is

“hands on,” meaning teaching by

doing. He believes showing is better

than telling.

“I will wrestle with the athletes

to give them different looks and

help them figure out different positions

and situations,” Damico said.

In practice matches, he lets the

experienced wrestlers do what they

do and point out minor improvements.

“I will sit back and point out

some things they might be missing

during a match” Damico said.

He spends most of his time

teaching the younger wrestlers.

“Younger wrestlers I will be

a bit more vocal and help them

through a match in order to help

them learn that muscle memory

teams implement a drag system in

which the swimmer will wear heavier

clothes to make them work harder

and put forth the extra effort.

“I just want to improve on my

swimming, but I especially want to

improve on my backstroke because,

in my opinion, that’s my worst

stroke,” Emma Findler said. “I have

been looking forward to swimming

season since the beginning of school

so I’m pretty excited for the season

to start.”

The swim and dive team are looking

to improve on last year after both

the girls and the boys went 1-6 during

the regular season.

Although the swim season didn’t

go how the coaching staff and the

swimmers wanted it to, many swimmers

improved during the season

and reached their personal goals.

The girls finished the Gunston

District Championship coming in

fourth place out of five teams with a

Player Profile: Brent Sanchez

Q: When did you start


A: I started wrestling last year.

Q: Besides wrestling, what

other sports do you play?

A: I play lacrosse in the spring.

Q: What’s your favorite part of


A: My favorite part of wrestling

is probably the individual

improvement. Since it’s one on

one, I can pick out what I need to

improve on.

Senior Annika Yunger takes shot against conference rival West Potomac

Q: What is the most difficult

thing about competing in

varsity wrestling?

A: The most difficult part is

competing against people who

have more expierence than me.

Q: How do you get mentally

prepared for a match?

A: I listen to my hype playlist and

think about my technique.

Q: How long do you plan to


A: I plan to wrestle for the rest of


and eventually get comfortable out

on the mat.” Damico said.

The team has strong diversity in

age which is good for this season and

building on the future. After having

a strong participation from freshmen

last year, there is a lot of sophomore

strength in the program.

They don’t lack in veterans either.

Seniors Dylan Weaver and Patrick

Lee both led the team last season

and are strong assets to the team.

The other good thing about having

experienced veterans is that they

can be role models.

“I expect our younger classmen to

work hard, show up on time, and not

to be jerks,” Weaver said.

This is a hopeful season for the

Atoms. They have great work ethic

and the experience to take back the

Gunston District.

“I plan on hitting the ground running

and establishing an identity

early on that Annandale will be a

team that will fight and scrap and not

back down,” Damico said.

score of 304. The boys finished the tournament

last with a score of 224, coming close

to Mt. Vernon, who scored 232.

For this new season, the swim and dive

team will need to train hard in practices if

they hope to win this year in the very competitive

Gunston District.

The team has seven meets, including two

tri meets before they will compete in distract

finals on Jan. 31, where they will face

multiple different high schools.

The team continues to work hard and

continue to get better every day.

The 2018-19 dive team at first district

meet of the season.

high school. I would have to work

really hard if I wanted to wrestle

in college.

Q: What are your expectations

for this season?

A: My expectation is that we get

our district title back, and qualify

at least five of us to go to state.

Q: Who do you see as a role


A: My role modes are my brothers.

They taught me to be mentally

tough and introduced me to WWE.


16 SPORTS Wed. Nov. 20, 2019

CC team falls short of states

Varsity cross country celebrate the end of a great season. The Atoms came fourth in the region.


Abel Mehari and Mikyas Salhu qualified for states as individual runners. They

placed 52nd and 33rd in the meet overall.

Despite fourth place regional finish, Atoms send two runners to states



Sports Editor

Cross country raced in regionals

with hopes to qualify for states.

The Atoms had been contenders to

qualify for states the entire season, but

fell short of their goal by one spot.

Despite the team not making states,

the Atoms were able to send both Abel

Mehari and Mikyas Salhu to the competition

due to their impressive times at


The two runners trained for several

days before racing against the best runners

in the state. Mehari placed 52nd

and Mikyas placed 32nd overall.

Fourteen schools competed in the

regional meet at Burke Lake Park and

ten runners from each team ran the 5k

course on Nov. 7.

To advance to states, the Atoms

were required to place within the top

three regarding total points scored.

Points are based on individual placements

in the race. The higher the runners’

overall placement is, the fewer

points are scored. The team with the




for a





fewest total points wins the meet.

The team had several impressive

individual performances in the meet

and finished fourth overall, only a few

points away from third place.

Annandale placed behind West

Potomac, Woodson, and West Springfield.

The Atoms scored 99 points, only

13 fewer than West Potomac, who finished

third with 86 points.

The team recorded two top-15 finishers.

Senior Mikyas Sahlu and sophomore

Abel Mehari finished in twelth

and thirteenth, with times of 16:09 and


The result of the meet was rather

disappointing for the team, who concluded

their season after missing states

by one place after confidence was high

to qualify.

Although the meet did not pan out

the way the team had hoped it would,

many positives can be taken from this


Each runner on the team improved

their times and speed. In addition, the

atoms placed second in the Gunston


“My season had some ups and

downs, but I came away with a personal

record in every event that I ran,” varsity

runner and junior Bennett Stenburg

said. “This is the best our cross country

team has performed in 30 years.”

Most of the team is currently preparing

for indoor track, which takes

place during the winter sports season.

Runners have been training for several

weeks to build endurance and

speed before the track season begins.

“Indoor is a short season with only a

limited number of opportunities to compete,”

track and cross country Coach

Dave Ciccarelli said. “For distance runners,

I see it as a bridge between cross

country and spring track.”

The team is looking forward to running

track, as it is a great oppurtunity

to condition during the winter and

helps runners improve.

“I think I practiced hard and did

pretty well on workouts this season,”

JV runner Connor Lilli said. “But

indoor track has shorter events, so I

want to work on my overall speed.”

The Atoms have many individual

goals for the track season.

Atoms basketball season underway


Staff Writer

As the winter sports season

approaches fast, many athletes,

including basketball players, are

getting prepared.

The players have been practicing

during the offseason as they played in

games in the spring league and AAU.

These leagues have contributed to

the team’s preperation for the school


The varsity team is expected

to perform at a high level and has

impressive goals for the upcoming


Although the team has many

returning players, the roster has many

promising additions.

Freshman John Awoke, a

new player, reclassed and was

homeschooled to focus more on his

basketball skills.

Sophomore Amanuel Tucker

arrived at Annandale this year from a

private school in Maryland.

Tryouts for the team were held on

Nov. 11 through Nov. 13.

“Tryouts went well. It was a lot of

conditioning to help people get back

into shape for the season,” Tucker

said. “I think the season is going to go

very well and we are going to win a lot

of games.”

The tryouts played an important

role for the team as they identify

players skills and abilities.

They also help players get in shape

for the season.

“Tryouts were good but they were

a little hard,” Awoke said. “I think

this season is going to go really well

because we have a good team.”

The team has high hopes for

the season and has seen a large

improvemnt from last year. The

players feel they can be sucessful.

“Tryouts went really well. The

boys worked extremely hard and I

could really see their imporovment

since last year and I am very proud

of them,” basketball Coach Deidrich

Gilreath said.

Many runners hope to achieve personal

records before the winter season


“My goals for winter track are to

train really hard and to break 5:20 for

the mile,” Alejandro Erazo said.

As many of the Atoms runners are

working hard and training for the winter

season, the team is looking to be

sucessful for upcoming meets.

“Given my experience as a coach, I

feel that only the fittest, top performing

distance athletes can successfully compete

at a high level for three seasons in

high school,” Ciccarelli said. “We will

also work extensively on weight training

to improve upper core, upper body,

and overall strength and fitness.”

Recovery for the runners after a

long season of vigorous training is very

important in order for them to be ready

for the start of the winter track season.

“Team preperation for indoor consists

of recovery from cross country

including rest and refocusing,” Ciccarelli

said. “Runners need to build weekly

mileage back up to 40+ miles a week

and gradually reintroduce speed work

and nterval training.”

The varsity team sits during halftime in a game last season.

Needless to say, Atoms cross country

and track have performed at a very

high level for the past several seasons.

They have two district champoinships

in the past three seasons and

are expected to qualify for states in the

near future.

The majority of the roster consists of

sophomores and juniors, meaning the

team will remain strong for the next

few seasons if runners stay with the

team and improve.

After missing states by a meer 13

points, the atoms will be determined to

do all they can to reach states.

Top 6 teams in the region:

1. West Springfield (21 pts)

2. Woodson (77 pts)

3. West Potomac (86 pts)

4. Annandale (99 pts)

5. Lake Braddock (101 pts)

6. Justice (193 pts)

Athlete Spotlight: Leoule Yared


Sports Editor

Leoule Yared is a sophomore at AHS. He

plays point guard for the basketball team and

runs varsity for cross country.

After completing a very sucessful running

season, he is now preparing to play basketball

for the school.

He has a great passion for both sports and is

a very talented, well rounded player.

Although managing to play several sports is

very difficult, Yared constantly works hard and

has became a very skillful athlete.

He enjoys playing for the team and spending

time with his teammates.

He hopes to improve and continue playing

basketball in the future.

Q: What is your favoite part about playing


A: “I love the joy it brings me and I can always

go to it to take my mind off things.”

Q: How did you discover your interest in


A: My older brother played and I ended up

doing the same. I instantly fell in love with the


Q: What are your strengths as a player?

A: “My strengths are my ball-handling and

ability to finish over taller defenders. Also, I am

able to shoot off the dribble and guard my man

Leoule Yared plays in a game against Falls Church last season. Yared scored 39 points.

the full length of the court.”

Q: How long have you been preparing for

this season?

A: “I have been preparing for the season since

last season ended. I have been in the weight

room getting stronger and have studied fast

paced games to see what I have to do to adjust

to the pace of a game.”

Q: How long have you been playing?

A: “I have been playing basketball since I was

a toddler.”

Q: Do you plan to keep playing in college?

A: “I do plan to play in college. I would be happy

with any Division 1 school because it is a goal I

have had for a while.”

Q: What are your goals for the rest of the


A: “I want to be an all-district player, but the

main goal is to win districts and make it to


Q: What is your favorite memory of

playing for Annandale so far?

A: “My favorite memory was the Lake

Braddock game when the team was losing by

double-digits going into the fourth quarter. The

entire team perservered and came back to beat


Q: What activities do you participate in

outside of basketball?

A: “I run cross country and track for the school,

and I like to hang out with my friends to watch

NBA games.”

Q: What is your favorite professional


A: “ My favorite team is the Lakers because

Lebron James has been my favorite player for


Q: What game did you perform your best


A: “In our game against Lake Braddock last

year, I had 41 points and 7 steals. This game

was my favorite performance because we

were down the whole game, but the entire

team pulled through and beat them at the last


18 ENTERTAINMENT Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


go at it to

settle their


by split


KSI wins

the fight.


KSI and Logan at it one more time


Entertainment Editor

As of now, it has been over a full

year since the first clash of two iconic

YouTubers in one of the biggest events

in internet history.

The first fight between YouTube

sensations Logan Paul and KSI took

place in August of 2018.

However, both sides left rather

unsatisfied with the ending to the fight,

as it was ruled a 57-57 draw.

KSI and Paul went to the ring on

Nov. 09, to conclude this long time beef.

The conflict started when KSI called

out Logan Paul after he fought Joe

Weller, another YouTuber.

“Logan Paul is really annoying and

KSI is one of my favorite youtubers,”

junior Nalin Rawat said. “I was excited

to see KSI land some punches.”

Olajide “JJ” Olatunji, also known as

Feb. 2, 2018

First YouTuber boxing match

KSI, is known for his vlogs and entertainment

videos with his group of “Sidemen.”

He has 20.7 million subscribers

on YouTube and releases music, his last

release being “Down Like That” with

Rick Ross and Lil Baby.

On the other hand, Paul has 20 million

subscribers on YouTube and, like

KSI, posts vlogs and other challenge


Both KSI and Paul took their training

up to the fight seriously and hired

well known trainers to get them the

best shot at winning the title during the

“internet’s greatest event.”

KSI’s corner features Stitch Duran

as the cutman, who is well known and

has appeared in the Creed movies.

He had Leon Wills as his trainer,

Viddal Riley as his head coach, and Jeff

Mayweather as team advisor.

Paul’s corner looked very different

in terms of the amount of well known

fighters. The only big name associated

“Logan Paul

did get points

deducted but

also KSI was

never awarded

points for

his knockdown, so there

is controversy on both




with Paul in the fight was Shannon

Briggs, a two time heavyweight championship


However, due to Briggs’s aggression

and violence past with Riley’s cousin,

he was ineligible to be present at

Logan’s corner during the fight.

The initial 2018 fight took place in

KSI’s home country of England, in the

Manchester area.

This time around, the rematch took

place in Los Angeles, specifically in the

Staples Center.

That was not the only difference in

the match.

In the first fight, they used 12 oz.

gloves and headgear, but this time they

used 10 oz. gloves and no headgear.

This means that the rematch counted

as a professional boxing match.

The build up to the event happened

through two press conferences, one in

the U.K. and one in the U.S. There was

also a public workout in LA.

KSI was believed to be the underdog

since the beginning because of Logan’s

height and weight advantages.

In the weigh in that was held the

Evolution of Logan Paul KSI rivalry

Aug. 28, 2018

First KSI vs. Paul fight

Sept. 3, 2019

Rematch first announced

Oct. 7, 2019

First press conference held

day before the fight ,Paul weighed 199.4

lb., while KSI weighed at 193.2 lb.

Overall, the whole match looked like

a standoff that might have resulted in

yet another draw.

Neither Paul nor KSI seemed to

gain an obvious upper hand that would

result in a victory.

In the end though, KSI claimed victory

over Paul by split decision.

Two judges scored it 57-54 and 56-55

for KSI and the other judge scored it

56-55 Paul, squeezing KSI past Paul for

the win.

“The fight seemed pointless I do not

think it was worth paying to watch both

Youtubers still could not box,” junior

Fernando Machado said.

Nevertheless, it was a fight for the

ages that popularized two conflicting

internet sensations in a fight that will

go down yet again as one of the greatest

events in internet history.

Nov. 9, 2019

Final fight night

KSI fought YouTuber Joe Weller. After KSI

came out victorious and got the belt, KSI said

whoever wants it come get it and called out

Jake and Logan Paul.

Did Endgame deserve Best Movie in the E! Awards?

Photo Roulette

KSI and Logan Paul fight for the first time in

the Manchester arena. This fight was with

head gear and 12 oz. gloves. The fight ended

in a draw.

Robert Downey Jr. receives the award for Endgame and thanks fans and Stan Lee.

Disney +

KSI and Logan Paul both announce that a

rematch will be held. They announce it will

happen Nov. 9 at the STAPLES Center.


Staff Writer

The 45th E! People’s Choice Awards

was held last month. The PCAs have

been held every year to recognize

achievements in the entertainment


This year, the PCAs were held at the

Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California,

but without a host.

“I really enjoyed watching the

awards,” said junior Lara Dib.

“All my favorite actors and actress

were there and some even won

something.”Jennifer Aniston, who

starred in the Netflix film Murder Mystery,

was named People’s Icon.

Adam Sandler, who was nominated

for two other awards, won Comedy

Free apps of the issue

Cloe - Skin Care Diary

KSI brings a dog who looked like Logan Paul’s

old dog. Logan had posted a video a couple

months back saying, his dog Kong, was killed

by a coyote. KSI even said the dog’s name was

King Kong.

Movie of 2019.

After won Drama Movie. Aladdin

won Best Family Movie, and, last but

not least, Avengers: Endgame won Best


“I saw Endgame but I thought Joker

would win for the Best Movie. Maybe if

they had been more specific for best solo

movie-actor, the movie along with Joaquin

Phoenix would of won it for sure,”

Freshman Guillermo Lopez said.

Cole Sprouse won Drama Movie

Star for his role in Five Feet Apart and

Male TV Star of the Year as Jughead

from Riverdale.

Millie Bobby Brown won Female TV

Star of 2019 for Stranger Things.

“I just wanna say, it matters not

what you’ve done but what you do with

what you’ve done, for others” Noah

Centineo said during his acceptance

Cash App

KSI ends up victorious against Logan Paul.

After the fight, KSI and Logan Paul eventually

shake hands. Afterward, Paul still maintains

that he should have won.

speech for the Comedy Movie Star of

2019. Some viewers were confused as to

what exactly he was trying to say.

Kevin Hart made his first public

appearance since his horrifying car

crash in September and ended up winning

the Comedy Act of 2019 for his acting

in Irresponsible.

Keeping up with the Kardashians

won Best Reality Show, with Khloe

Kardashian also winning TV Reality


“I think it is great to see such a successful

Armenian family in American

culture. Armenians play a vital role

in the success of America as a diverse

nation,” junior Bennett Stenborg said.

It is safe to saw that the 45th PCAs

was a success.

Shudder: Horror & Thrillers

Compete with your

friends to guess whose

picture is shown. The

photos are displayed for

only 5 seconds so you

will get a brief display of

the picture.

Released on Nov. 12, Disney+

gives you access

to your favorite movies

from Disney, Pixar, Marvel,

Star Wars, National

Geographic and more.

Have you ever wanted an

app to keep track of your

skincare routine? Track

your progress with daily

photos. Discover what

products that actually

work for you.

Used for mobile payments,


money to another device

is also popular with this

app. It is the easiest and

safest way to send and

spend money.

A subscription service

operated by AMC networks.

This includes horror,

thrillers and suspense

genres of movies

and shows.

Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


Is it worth the

extra price?


Entertainment Editor

Do you want to build a snowman...again?

The hit animation

film looks for

another title


Entertainment Editor

With a gripping story and songs

you can not get out of your head,

everyone loved Frozen.

After making over $1.2 billion in

half a year, Frozen became the top

grossing animated movie ever.

It has also become the fifth highest

grossing film ever. Frozen was all the

craze for the Winter of 2013.

As a movie that big, Frozen was one

of the biggest movies in the animation

division of Disney ever.

With the major twist on the

princess cliche that Disney helped to

create, Frozen was everywhere.

“I think that the movie Frozen

was one of the biggest Winter hits

everywhere. I can’t even begin to

imagine what will happen for this

movie,” senior Jonathan DeLeon said.

While Disney Animation tries to

not make sequels to many of their

animated movies, they needed to make

another Frozen.

“I really loved the movie,” junior

Evelyn Granados said. “It brought

memories back of the first time I

watched it when I recently watched it

with a group of friends.”

On Nov. 22, Frozen is coming back

again for a sequel, Frozen 2.

Like the first movie, Frozen 2 will

feature many catchy songs, lovable

characters, and even cute little jokes.

“Olaf was one of my favorite

characters,” senior Vincent Nguyen

said. “The way he was is so cute.”

While it is an animated-kid’s movie,

the tone of this one is a bit more tense

than most were expecting.

But, that should only excite us as

viewers to see what is coming when the

film hits theatres.

The trailer of Frozen 2 doesn’t give

away a lot of the story, but it gives

many hints.

With these hints, when we combine

them, the plot of the movie becomes

easier to see and understand.

When they find out the kingdom is

not safe, Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff set off

for a journey North.

Elsa wants to find where her powers

came from and try to save the kingdom.

“I loved the first Frozen and I hope

the second one is just as good,” junior

Sarah Gonzalez said.

Olaf the snowman and Sven the

reindeer also accompany them on their


Magic seems to be the cause for

trouble in Arendale and Elsa has to find

out how to stop it.

“The first movie’s plot was really

simple. Hopefully they can do that

again to appeal to kids,” junior Evelyn

Granados said.

The trailer had a record 116.4

million views in 24 hours. This makes

it the most viewed animated trailer in


Elsa adds a different perspective to

Disney princesses.

Most of them fit the stereotype of a

fairytale princess.

Elsa on the other hand, has her own

troubles, which adds to the appeal of


Actors Kristen Bell and Indina

Menzel will be returning as Anna and


The film is currently at 81% on

Rotten Tomatoes.

Early reviews have had positive

reviews overall, but they admit it is

not as good as the first movie.

The gripping story from the first

film does not seem to carry over into

thr second, as many critics have

complains about the story.

The animation animation

however has gotten even better.

Frozen 2 is sure to add for action

and dramatic scenes.

“I hope the new movie brings more

excitement,” senior Moises Marquez

said. “It will be really cool to watch

and my little brother cannot wait.”

The movie will be released just in

time for winter.

With a strong first movie, Frozen 2

will not disappoint.

It will be a family classic for many

years to come.

If the songs are as catchy as the

first movie’s, get ready to hear winter

classics all over again.

After the tremendous success of the

first AirPods release, Apple has created

the AirPods Pro.

This new version’s biggest addition

is noise cancelation, which is something

many users have been waiting


“I was happy to hear they created

this feature,” senior Eric Gonzalez

said. This makes them the only in-ear

headphones with active noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro are smaller than the

original, with a slightly wider case.

They have also created silicon tips to

help them fit the user’s ear better.

“The first AirPods didn’t fit my ears

that well which made them hard to

use,” senior Maddy Kim said.

They have three different sized tips

or you can take them off completely.

You can take a fitting test with each

tip and they will tell you which one

fits best. A smaller, but still significant

revision is making them sweat and

water resistant.

You can now switch between noise

cancelation and “transparency mode”,

which allows you to hear things

around you, with the tap of a button.

You can also share audio through

the Control Center. This feature is the

coolest because now you can listen to

the same song through different series

of Airpods.

All these new features have

increased the price to $249, nearly

$100 more than the first version.

“The new ones cost a lot, but they’re

definitely better than the ones I have

now,” junior Andrew Pang said.

Apple has changed the headphone

game with the AirPods Pro, keeping

them at the top of technology.

Are you

getting the

new airpods




“I’m not buying them

the Galaxy Buds are




“I’m just going to keep

the AirPods that I have

now. ”


“They look really small

compared to the ones I

already have, so I would

not buy them.”



“The price is really

high, but the noise cancelling

might make it

worth it.”



“They look really cool,

but the price is way too

high. ”



“I don’t see the point of

buying new ones when

I already have a good




“I really like the new

noise cancelling feature,

so I’ll probably get




“The first edition didn’t

fit my ears so hopefully

the new tips will help.”

TikTok famous students


Staff Writer

The growth of TikTok has been

insane. The app was released in

September of 2016 and there are

already 100 million users on the app.

TikTok is used to make comedy,

lifestyle, dancing, and many more


Many teenagers use this app on a

day to day basis so they can keep up

with their favorite TikTok influencers.

Some students at school are even

TikTok famous.

Being famous by taking videos on

your phone is a scenario anyone would

dream of.

“I became TikTok famous by

posting consistently and by posting

the trends and what people wanted

to see,” senior Cerys Jones said. “It’s

crazy that people take the time out

of their day to look at my page on

Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.”

Cerys Jones racks up a total of over

300 thousand followers and almost 10

million likes.

But TikTok isn’t just an app for

videos and comedic endeavours.

You can learn a lot of life lessons on

TikTok because there are numerous

accounts teaching math, science, and


The app is not only used by

teenagers, rather there are people

of all ages using and posting on this

worldwide app.

“My TikTok went viral because it

got on the ‘For You page’ which is a

page where TikToks become viral. A

lot of people agreed with my opinion

so it went viral,” junior Jocelin Rivera

said. “What I like about the app is that

you can express yourself in whatever

way you want, like singing, drawing,

and being comedic.”

(From left to right) Junior Jocelin Rivera and seniors Christian Nguyen and Cerys Jones have

well over a total of 20 thousand people watching their TikToks.

While in the midst of all of this,

Rivera has a video on TikTok with

well over 100k views.

TikTok bought in

2016 and has been a hit ever since.

Celebrities such as Jessica Alba,

Howie Mandelle, and Mariah Carey

are popular users on the app.

A lot of popular trends have started

on the app like VSCO and e-girls.

Many of the0se trends are seen in

school worn by many of the students.

But becoming a TikTok isn’t easy.

Many stay up countless hours

to perfect their transitions or to put

up their “TikTok lights,” but senior

Christian Lamn has some tips to get

some views flowing.

“I think a good tip about becoming

viral is to constantly post videos.

People will look at your profile and

believe that you create good content,”

said Lamn “Hopping on the trends of

TikTok can also make you viral.”

Lamn has a fair amount with 14K

views and over 50K views on posted

tik toks.

TikTok is very popular for being

known as ‘addictive’ to teens. As well

as being addictive, many apps like

TikTok die out.

But, TikTok won’t be going

anywhere for a long time.


Here is a code

to Cerys’s Tik-

Tok with over

200 thousand


Playlist of the Issue


NBA Youngboy

AI YoumgBoy 2 (2019)

In his first album of the year,

YoungBoy delivers with a fast

paced banger.



Roddy Ricch

Single (2019)

For his second single released

since Feed Tha Streets II, Roddy

and Gunna make a dynamnic


Trippie Redd

Single (2019)

Trippie Redd releases a song to

give viewers a taste of what his

next debut album will be like.


Selena Gomez

Single (2019)

After her last album in 2016,

Selena gives you a classic that

could tease at a new album.


Dua Lipa

Single (2019)

As a new face to the pop scene,

this new single puts her to the top

of the charts.


Scan the QR code to access the

Playlist of the Issue with additional

songs on Spotify.



20 WEEKEND Wed. Nov. 20, 2019


A twist on a favorite

national holiday brings

friends together


Weekend Editor

In recent years, Friendsgiving has

become a largely popular tradition.

A group of some of your best friends,

great food and the festive season are the

perfect way to celebrate the fall weather

and the Thanksgiving holiday this


Class of 2019 graduate Eva Bottcher

first got the idea to have her own

friendsgiving last year over break and

will be hosting one again this year.

“I wanted to combine seeing all my

friends, especially those back from college,

with a giant holiday meal that we

made together,” Bottcher said. “This

year will be year number two.”

There are no rules to Friendsgiving,

so Bottcher decided to switch up the

food style - everything is vegan.

She had been vegan for a few years

and wanted to share that part of her life

with her friends.

Friendsgivng is usually done in a

potluck style, with everyone bringing a

different entree, dessert or appetizer.

“My favorite part was seeing all of

the vegan food that everyone decided

Mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and a fruit platter are among the dishes that

were brought to Bottcher’s Friendsgiving last year.

to cook, especially since most people Some things do stay the same though.

attending aren’t vegan,” Bottcher said. A normal Thanksgiving meal is a lot of

In place of turkey and ham, there is work, and Friendsgiving is no different.

a larger variety of food types, ranging Most of the work is the food prep and

from roasted veggies to vegan mac ‘n’ cleanup of dishes.

cheese casserole.

“There’s a lot of work, but some people

Most of the desserts stay the same, show up early to help me cook and set up”

like fruit cobblers and chocolate peanut Bottcher said “The cooking and food prep

butter pie.

takes a while, but is well worth it.”

“Last year, everybody brought all The group needs to have a plan for leftovers,


kinds of things, and it was an amazing

meal,” she recalled.

“Last year there were tons of leftovers,

Changing up long standing traditions,

especially the food, is what home with someone for them and their

so we had to make sure it all got taken

Friendsgiving is all about!

family to enjoy,” she said.

All in all, the preparation and clean

up for the get together can take anywhere

from a total of 1 to 4 hours

depending on how many people come to

help out.

Sophomore Isabel Dalsimer went to

Bottcher’s Friendsgiving last year and

helped out with meal prep beforehand

and dishes after.

“My favorite is probably eating all

the delicious food and being around my

friends,” Dalsimer said.

For her, making all vegan food

makes the process more fun, as she

could experiment with so many ingredients.

“I knew that everyone would be able

to eat it and no one would miss out on

a good dish,” Dalsimer said. “Friendsgiving

was really fun and I’m glad I got

to go.”

A twist on a national holiday,

Friendsgiving could be the perfect way

to bring you and your friends together

this holiday season.

Being able to share traditions and

enjoy some Thanksgiving classics is

what Friendsgiving is all about.

“I like sharing my vegan lifestyle

with my friends, and so getting creative

to make really yummy dishes

that everyone will enjoy is always fun,”

Bottcher said.

If you’re looking to make your holiday

just a little different, gathering

friends for a Thanksgiving dinner could

be a blast.



Cozy up inside with blankets and your favorite

hot drink, and watch a festive fall movie.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a holiday

classic perfect for the season. The animated

short film is based on the Peanuts comics

and has all of the characters from the comics,

including Snoopy the Dog and Woodstock

the Small Yellow Bird. Another classic holiday

movie to enjoy this fall is A Winnie the

Pooh Thanksgiving. The film shows Pooh and

his friends learning about the true meaning

of Thanksgiving and enjoying the holiday

together. Watching a movie is a perfect

way to get out of the cold, but still stay in the

fall mood.

Five fun activities to try out this fall



With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s the time

to refresh your baking and cooking skills

for the holiday. On a brisk day, baking

delicious sweets in the oven can warm

up your home and fill the air with delicious

aromas. From pumpkin pie to cinnamon

rolls, there are endless possibilities

to what you can whip up. Get a group

of friends together, find recipes - or create

your own

- and

make whatever er you


think of. The process is fun, and the out-

come of your hard work

is even en better.




As fall rolls around, there are lots of charities

and businesses hosting Turkey Trot

5ks and mile runs. If you are someone who

likes running, a Turkey Trot could be a

fun activity for fall. Most runs require a

small amount of money or a few canned

goods od

as an entry fee to the race. You can

do something you enjoy, and donate to a

good od cause while doing it. A few local turkey

trots are the Alexandria or Quantico

Turkey Trot.



Fall brings chilly weather, colorful leaves

and fun holiday. However, it also brings

hockey. The Washington Capitals, winners ners

of the 2018 Stanley Cup, play home games

just half an hour away in Washington, D.C.

If you are a hockey fan, going to see the

Caps play this fall could be a fun


with friends or family. Even if you do


like hockey, a Capitals game could be something

new to try. Hockey games are



and fast paced, and watching the


zoom around the ice is always ays fun.


A twist t on the

Thanksgiving holiday,

Friendsgiving ivin


g is

a great way to see friends

and enjoy a holiday meal with them. There

are no

traditions ti

or “rules” to Friendsgiving,

so you can

change it up however you like! If

you want to cook

ok alone, you can have people


after you

do food prep, or you can

gather the

group a little early to help out

and then enjoy the

food once it is made. Traditional

Thanksgiving dishes like turkey,

apple pl

pie and mashed potatoes can still definitely


be on the menu, but seeing what cre-

ative foods od

your friends bring can help to

make Friendsgiving your own.

Restaurant review: The Pho Factory delivers in all aspects


Staff Writer

Vietnamese Pho is a popular dish

that many enjoy eating, including

myself. It’s a Vietnamese soup that

consists of broth, your choice of meat,

herbs,vegetables and rice noodles. It is

a popular street food in Vietnam that

has made its way to the taste buds of


Living in Virginia makes it hard to

find the perfect place to get pho from

because the places around aren’t very

appetizing except for one place: The

Pho Factory.

The Pho Factory offers a variety of

delicious types of pho such as seafood

pho which has shrimp, calamari, and

fish. They also have chicken, steak,

and vegetarian pho as well as many

more variations.

The Pho Factory also offers many

dishes aside from pho such as rice

dishes and vegetarian dishes like a

tofu vermicelli bowl. There are also

different types of pan fried noodles and

lots of starters and sides. One of the

options I liked the most was the bubble

tea. They make their own bubble tea,

and it is a delicious drink to enjoy on

the side with your food.

During a recent outing, I decided to

try out the restaurant for the first time.

I was expecting to be disappointed with

the lack of authenticity of the pho, but I

was shocked at how good the food was.

After reviewing the menu, I decided

to order the well done flank steak pho

with a side of calamari and two spring


The food was packed with flavor

unlike any other pho that I have tried.

My pho came with different kinds of

herbs and vegetables such as baby corn,

green onion, mint leaves, jalapenos and

bean sprouts.

The spring rolls were hot and

smelled great when I got them and the

calamari was cooked to perfection.

The Pho Factory is unlike any other

pho restaurant because not only do they

have a cozy feel to the atmosphere and

a traditional taste in the food, but the

customer service is efficient and timely.

It took them less than 15 minutes

to prepare my food which caught by me

suprise since I’ve waited over half an

hour before at different pho places.

What I like most about the pho itself

is that you get to pick what you want

and how you want it cooked.

You can even choose the type of

broth that they use for soup or ask to

have certain vegetables removed or


The Pho Factory usually isn’t very

busy which is definitely an upside

because the restaurant isn’t that big

The employees are very kind and

attend to all of our wants quickly and

efficiently. I’ll definitely come back for a

second time to explore their wide variety

of food.

Key Information:

- Open from 10am-8:30 pm all week

- Located at 6237 Little River Turnpike,

Alexandria, VA 22312

The Pho Factory is known for its abundance of authentic Vietnamese pho flavors.

Above is a photo of its renowned flank steak pho.

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