ISSUE #4

narutoryanmc

THE A

Annandale High School’s

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003

www.thea-blast.org

BLAST

Informing the Atoms since 1954

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021 Vol. 66 Issue #4

“HAPPINESS AND

PROSPERITY!”

Read about

significant Lunar

New Year

traditions and

how students

are adjusting

for the pandemic.

INTERNATIONAL 11

AHS staff power wash the

front of AHS in preparation

for the return of students.

Students are set to

return to in-person instruction

on March 2 and March

9. This comes as thousands

of FCPS staff are being vaccinated

for Covid-19.

Scan this to view the

in-person instruction,

health and safety FAQ

by FCPS and the health

department.

SHAWN DEROSE

FCPS prepares for return to school

Students to return to school by March as FCPS staff is able to be vaccinated for Covid-19

BY ADAM SHAWISH

Co-Editor in Chief

FCPS is continuing their push to

bring students back. In the newest

timeline, freshmen and seniors will be

returning on March 2 and sophomores

and juniors on March 9.

This timeline is possible because of

inoculations. All FCPS employees are

now able to set up appointments to get

one of the two approved vaccines, the

Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer-BioN-

Tech vaccine.

Inova, partnered with the Fairfax

County Health Department (FCHD),

have been administering vaccines to

FCPS staff since Jan. 10. The main vaccine

staff are getting is the Pfizer vaccine.

The vaccine requires two doses and

is completely free to staff.

English teacher Sasha Duran

received the Pfizer vaccine within the

first week it was available.

“The shot itself was like getting any

other kind of immunization. Little needle,

little pinch, over in an instant. The

cool thing about going to get the shot

was actually how well the logistics were

set up,” Duran said. “There are signs

everywhere on the INOVA complex

directing people where to park, how to

get to the building, where to walk. Then

there are greeters everywhere; first to

check your ID and appointment confirmation,

then to sanitize hands and

check temperatures, then to check consent

forms, then to be directed to a

nurse’s station, then finally to the waiting

area where they tell you how to sign

up for dose two. Everyone was super

friendly and upbeat (they were blasting

dance music at 8 a.m. when I went!)

and happy to help vaccinate teachers. It

was all around a great experience.”

Duran went to the INOVA Center

for Personalized Health in Fairfax.

Staff can sign up for appointments via

the Inova 1b registration link.

Even with vaccinations, there is

still a lot of frustration and anxiety

with returning to school. Some parents

feel that we should be back in school

already since sports are still going on,

while some students think FCPS is not

ready to return.

FCPS sent out an in-person instruction,

health and safety FAQ for students,

staff, and parents.

The FAQ outlines the procedure for

disinfecting shared materials, teacherstudent

interactions, student collaboration,

and outdoor learning.

Library books will need to be isolated

for seven days after use and not

disinfected so the books are not damaged.

Students and staff are required to

remain six feet apart and wear masks

at all times. Any shared materials like

sport equipment and science tools will

need to be disinfected before another

student is allowed to use it.

“At first I was eager to go back to

school, but after I learned it would be

basically the same as virtual learning,

I’d rather stay home,” junior Nathan

Ong said. “I feel like we were promised

virtual learning would be the same

as in-school learning, but to be honest

it’s just not the same. I feel like it’s an

effective method of teaching because

you aren’t building the connections you

would if you were face to face.”

If students return, they will split

up into two groups. Group one will

attend in-person learning Tuesdays

and Wendsdays and online learning

Thursdays and Fridays. Group two will

attend in-person learning Thursdays

and Fridays and online learning Tuesdays

and Wendsdays.

“I don’t feel we’re quite ready to go

back because cases are on the rise and

the vaccine hasn’t been distributed to

everyone,” junior Zack Pacack said.

“Although it is more difficult to learn,

I’m not frustrated with distance learning

as it is helping keep us safe. I also

like having the ability to do more work

at our own pace.”

In accordance with Virginia health

and safety protocols, all unnecessary

furniture and broken furniture has

been removed and replaced. This will

provide more room for students and

staff to social distance.

Before students return to AHS, parents/caregivers

will be asked to complete

a health screening commitment

form.

This form confirms that a parent/

caregiver/guardian will complete a daily

health screening and will keep their

children home when they are ill.

“I don’t think it is safe for us to

return to school yet since there have

been a lot of cases coming in and England

has gone into lockdown,” senior

Nalin Rawat said. “Virtual learning

hasn’t been the best, but it hasn’t been

the worst for me. Of course in-person

would be better, but for now virtual

learning is going fine for me.”

How other

countries

are handling

vaccine

distribution

1. United

Kingdom

The U.K. government is planning

to offer vaccines to 15

million people by the middle

of Febuary. These people include healthcare workers

and people 70 years or older. Millions more are

set to get the vaccine in spring. There are three

vaccines that have been approved by the government.

The Oxford Uni-AstraZeneca, the Pfizer-

BioNTech, and the Moderna vaccine. Each vaccine

needs two doses.

2. Germany

The German health minister

had targeted for 300,000

innoculations a day, but has

failed to meet their goals. The

country has been averaging around 60,000 innoculations

a day. One main issue Germany is facing

is supplying the vaccines. Two vaccines have been

approved: the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna

vaccine. The Oxford Uni-AstraZeneca vaccine is

yet to be approved.

3. South Korea

South Korea has had success

containing the spread of

Covid-19 but is slower to distribute

vaccines. The commissioner

of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention

Agency has said that vaccinations will

start late Febuary. The South Korean government

has ordered enough vaccines to cover their entire

population of 51 million.

NHS

accepting

new

members

BY SHANE GOMEZ

Staff Writer

The AHS chapter of the National

Honor Society (NHS) is accepting

applications. Students in grades 10

to 12 are eligible to apply.

“I think it is important for students

to apply to the NHS to be recognized

as outstanding individuals,”

said John Ellenberger, NHS sponsor

and director of student activities.

Applying students need to complete

four assignments found in the

NHS Google Classroom: a personal

essay that asks “What do we owe to

each other?”, an information sheet,

a teacher recommendation and a

Google Form to submit your signature.

Current members only need to

fill out the online signature form.

The deadline is Sun., Feb. 7.

Afterward, a panel of teachers will

review the applications. Accepted

students will be notified around the

first week in March.

“I’m applying so I can be an

active member in our school,” sophomore

Rahiel Berhe said. “It’s important

because they learn strong values

like service and leadership

which is crucial for the real world.”

Students with any questions can

contact any of the three co-sponsors,

John Ellenberger, Bryan Molle and

Jennifer Cory.

New club focuses on mental health

Atom Minds Matter hopes to spread awareness and create a safe space

BY KHADIJA AHMED

Co-Editor in Chief

Senior Salma Yousafzai was taken

aback when she realized AHS did not

have a mental health club. She knew

something had to be done.

“It’s important to have mental

health clubs at schools, so we reduce

the stigma around mental health

among teenagers,” Yousafzai said. “I

want people to learn that mental wellbeing

is as important as physical health

and that it’s okay to not be okay.”

Her mission for better mental health

all began in her sophomore year. In her

junior year, she got started on the process

of creating the club with the help of

senior Jimmy Le. Due to the pandemic,

however, the start of the club was postponed.

Now, in her senior year, the club has

finally been launched with her at the

forefront as club president. There has

also been a tremendous amount of staff

support.

“Our student services team had previously

talked about starting a chapter

of Our Minds Matter at AHS, but we

never had a student interested enough

to get it off the ground,” school psychologist

Laurie Ottehenning said.

When Le approached his counselor

Stacie Shaffer about being a sponsor,

that’s when everything began to

fall into place. Shaffer asked Ottehenning

if she would also be a sponsor and

she accepted.

In addition to Ottehenning and

Shaffer, math teacher Nicole Ferree

is the third co-sponsor of Atom Minds

During the Atom Minds Matter interest meeting, attendees participated in an exercise where they discussed the charge

on the device they were using but also the personal charge that each individual felt. Everyone was also invited to share

what they do to recharge. In addition, there was a meditation exercise for people to try out together.

Matter.

For now, all three sponsors are very

active in helping get things organized

but they hope to take a step back eventually

and let the students take over.

“This is really supposed to be a student-led

club, so once we get going, we

will be mostly relying on the student

leadership team to keep things organized

and planned while the co-sponsors

are in more of a support role,” Ottehenning

said.

The interest meeting turned out to

be a resounding success with many students

attending over Google Meet and

excited about what comes next.

“My hopes are that in starting a

community like this, we can work

towards eliminating the stigma around

mental illness and create a safe and

comfortable environment for everyone

in the future,” club member and senior

Kelly Tieu said.

As for what comes next, there are a

lot of plans in the making.

“Our leadership team has some

JIMMY LE

great ideas about school-wide campaigns

and activities, like a wellness

week that we hope to do before the end

of the year,” Ottehenning said.

In the meantime, the next meeting

will be taking place on Mon. Feb. 1.

“We’ll be talking about Mental

Health 101 where students will learn

about the similarities of mental health

and physical health, so they can understand

why mental health is important,”

Yousafzai said.


2 EDITORIALS

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

Stop stigmatizing community college

attending highly competitive schools. the high tuition.

BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB

Northern Virginia Community College

is one of the most popular choices it seems more reasonable because why

“Considering we’re in a pandemic,

Editorials Editor

among students trying to further their would you pay $25,000 to sit in your

As college decisions loom around the education on a budget. Many Annandale

students have went on to study at want to do when you could pay a frac-

room on a laptop, not knowing what you

corner, many students are mentally preparing

for the worst that could happen: NOVA. One of its biggest perks is that tion of the price by going to community

getting rejected. On the other hand, it’s a feeder school.

college,” Granados said.

students who have made the choice to NOVA can help students efficiently

transfer to four-year universities due ing a degree from a community college is

Many people also believe that obtain-

attend community college don’t have to

face the coming months with anxiety. to their connections to bigger universities

such as George Mason, VCU, Mary-

the day, a degree is a degree. Employers

less valuable to employers. At the end of

Community college is a great option

for students trying to stretch their dollars.

Not only is community college

workplace, and that is not determined

mount and Virginia Tech.

want to know if you’ll be a good fit in the

significantly cheaper than four-year

by the kind of degree you have.

schools, it also allows more room for

Another benefit to community college

flexibility and they are also transitional. “I feel like

is that thousands of community colleges

So what’s the catch?

society created

an image

ty college students for transferring into

offer bridging programs. The purpose of

Community colleges have several

these programs is to prepare communi-

cons such as the lack of campus life and

academic opportunities, but the biggest

that you

four-year schools. Bridging programs

con of community colleges are the stigma

that surrounds them.

have to go to

versities, so the process of transferring

also have connections with specific uni-

For years, students have been

a four-year

credits is made much simpler.

shamed and made fun of for choosing

“I feel like society created an image

to attend community colleges instead of college right after high that you have to go to a four-year college

right after high school and know

four-year schools.

school and know exactly

“I feel like people put down community

colleges so much even though it’s a what you want to do.”

exactly what you want to do,” Granados

said. “All it does is create debt, and if

much smarter decision financially, and

--ALEXIS GRANADOS everything is virtual then it makes more

you can do programs with a university

that you might want to transfer to,”

Another stigma around communi-

senior sense to just hold out a little

senior Alexis Granados said.

ty colleges is that the professors are

Many people assume that going A large factor that many people don’t less qualified than those that work at

to community college means that you think to consider is that many community

college students are first-gener-

become a professor you must hold a

universities. In the United States, to

aren’t smart enough to go to a university,

but that’s so far from the truth. ation. According to First Generation Master’s Degree in their field, regardless

of whether you work at a communi-

A handful of students that attend Naspa, 56% of community college students

are first-gen.

ty college or a four-year one.

community college end up transferring

to traditional four-year schools. Not only Many first-generation students have It’s been difficult to break these stereotypes,

but they are not as bad as

will they have paid less, but they can to carry the responsibility of being successful

so they can support their fami-

before.

also finish in a year because of the ability

to transfer credits.

lies. The issue here is that handfuls of Some of the most famous actors and

Out of those students, a small percentage

of these students end up kids to competitive schools because of nity colleges. Tom Hanks, Walt Disney,

these families can’t afford to send their entrepreneurs graduated from commu-

The toxic side of TikTok

BY RYM BENOUNA

Staff Writer

As the world quickly shifted into isolation

due to Covid last March, many

looked for something to keep them

entertained with all this newfound free

time. Social media apps such as TikTok

have played a huge role throughout the

pandemic. The creative content and upand-coming

trends have kept people of

all ages busy. As more people join the

app, it continues to grow day by day.

However, although it serves as an

opportunity for a creative outlet for

teens and really anyone else, TikTok

has gradually become toxic as well.

The app has turned into a way

for people to hurt others while hiding

behind a screen.

There are many issues that are regularly

seen on TikTok such as racism,

misogyny, homophobia, body shaming

and a great deal of degrading comments.

These things are also on other social

media platforms, but because of Tik-

Tok’s interface, this negativity is a lot

more magnified. The most prominent

source of interaction on TikTok is the

foryoupage which displays random creators

making the app more prone to

hate compared to other social media

apps like Instagram, Snapchat, or even

Facebook.

The scariest part about TikTok is

that after a while of seeing so much hate

and negativity, viewers get used to it

and normalize the behavior.

It can be a toxic environment due to

the fact a small mistake can lead to lots

of backlash, and any opinions that go

against the norm are hated.

TikTok is fun and it’s a beneficial

way to lose track of time, but it is difficult

to see people treating each other

with hate. It is frustrating to see racist

“ It is lowering

our value as

Black people,

making it

seem like we

will accept

everyone just

because they’re not racist.”

--YVANNA MOFFATT

freshman

TikToks when people go on the app with

the intention of having a good laugh, not

to be attacked through a screen.

“My biggest issue with TikTok, as

a black teenager, is the fact that non-

Black people or occasionally even Black

people glorify TikTokers for not being

racist or praising creators for not saying

racial slurs,” freshman Yvanna Moffatt

said. “Saying that a white person

is ‘invited to the cookout’ because they

aren’t racist is ridiculous. It is lowering

our value as Black people, making

it seem like we will accept everyone just

because they’re not racist,” Mofatt said.

Yes, there is a lot of great content

on Tiktok, but the bad is becoming

more and more prominent and almost

unavoidable. This app has done more

harm than good. Teens are always comparing

themselves to popular creators,

and they’re ridiculed if they’re not the

standard definition of “attractive.”

“After a while of using TikTok, I also

started to get insecurities about things I

didn’t even know were ‘wrong’ with me

and it was just bad,” freshman Tris Le

said. “It’s like a drug you know is bad for

you but once you have it, you can’t stop.”

People constantly use dark humor

to mask sexism and homophobia, and I

think there is a fine line between them.

A few tiktokers have spoken and

out and stated how their views have

gone down after posting content regarding

the black lives matter movement.

In fact, viewers also began to wonder

whether or not Tiktok’s community

guidelines were being applied to all creators

fairly. However, Tiktok did partake

in Blackout Tuesday but whether

or not Tiktok continues to shadowban

poc creators’ is still a question.

After a few months on the app, I

couldn’t tell if the jokes were just jokes

or if it was hate disguised as a joke.

Tiktok should be an entertaining

and light-hearted environment where

teens can go and enjoy themselves. But,

the harsh reality is that TikTok does the

opposite by magnifying hatred and bigotry.

According to a study conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse, 45 percent

of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had previously

enrolled at a two-year college. It explains the importance of feeder schools and

two-year institutions such as community colleges.

Clint Eastwood and Costco CEO James

Sinegal are all examples of incredibly

successful people that graduated from

community college.

People need to stop looking down on

students for attending community college

because you don’t know what their

circumstances are. At least they’re making

an effort to further their education.

Furthermore, community college

is also a smarter decision in terms of

finances.

Most community college students

end up graduating debt-free, and in

some cases students can even get paid

Biden is president, so

what comes next?

BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB

Editorials Editor

President Joe Biden was officially

sworn in last Wednesday, but he wasted

no time in reversing many of former

President Donald Trump’s policies.

Some of Biden’s executive actions

included extending the pause on student

loans until Sept. 20, rejoining the

Paris Agreement, reversing the Muslim

travel ban, stopping border wall

construction, preserving and fortifying

the protections of Dreamers and much

more. It’s arguable that President Biden

did more in his first few hours in office

than Trump in the past four years.

“I’m honestly so relieved that Biden

has been reversing so many of Trump’s

policies. I feel at ease knowing that

there’s someone in office that actually

cares about basic human rights,” said

junior Ugasa Ali.

Trump’s sour exit and his absence

from the Inauguration will forever be

remembered. He will be remembered for

being the only president in history to be

impeached twice, inciting a riot on the

Capitol and failing to have a plan for the

pandemic.

Many people took to social media

to discuss how Biden should deal with

some of the problems that he has to take

care of, one of them being the plan for

vaccinations, returning to school and

other regulations regarding Covid-19.

President Biden made 101 promises

to citizens of the U.S., leaving

FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB

to attend. Students can also use community

college as an advantage to get

into a school that they couldn’t get into

straight after high school. They could

improve their GPA and then transfer to

a university.

Students who go directly to a fouryear

university are by no means better

than those who attend community college.

Everyone has different paths in life

and it’s high time that we, as a society,

learn to respect others’ choices and not

look down upon people just because they

do something different.

President Biden has spent his first

few days in office reversing many of

Trump’s policies.

people hoping that he will stay true to

these promises. Some of these promises

include passing $2,000 stimulus checks,

setting a federal $15 minimum wage,

administering 100 million vaccines

within the first 100 days of him being

in office, guaranteeing paid maternity

leave, ending the trans military ban and

putting $2 trillion towards the Green-

New-Deal plan.

So far, Biden has been making positive

efforts in attempts to clean up the

mess that was left for him by the previous

administration. It won’t be easy for

our country to return to its normal state

considering everything that has happened

over the last four years, but the

least we can do is be hopeful and continue

to stay positive. At the same time,

being better than Trump is a low bar

and Biden still needs to be held accountable

for his actions in the coming years.

THE

A BLAST STAFF

MAKIN’ THE GRADE

CO-EDITORS IN CHIEF

Khadija Ahmed

Adam Shawish

MANAGING EDITOR

Jamileh Hamadeh

NEWS EDITORS

Khadija Ahmed

Adam Shawish

EDITORIALS EDITOR

Fatima Sayed Eltayeb

IN-DEPTH EDITORS

Henry Hoang

Erik Rivas-Martinez

SPORTS EDITORS

Evan Burita

Alex Burita

ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Tyler Plank

PEOPLE EDITORS

Elena Leopold

Vivian Phan

INTERNATIONAL EDITOR

Uyen Huynh

HEALTH EDITORS

Maram Ibrahim

Insaf Bouzana

ACADEMICS EDITOR

Thonny Anwar

SPANISH EDITOR

Mia Antezana

SPANISH ADVISER

Maureen Hunt

WEB EDITOR/MASTER

Ryan Lam

AD MANAGERS

Khadija Ahmed

Adam Shawish

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Ryan Lam

CIRCULATION MANAGER

Rylie Zimmerman

STAFF WRITERS

Leon Arceo

Leen Alawneh

Limia Bahar

Rym Benouna

Nareg Boghosian

Eyob Dagnachew

Lilli Dalrymple

Sereene Darwiesh

Daniela Dosen

Mary Endalkachew

Rudy Flores

Tyler Foti

Shane Gomez

Emily Ha

Sydney Long

Eldana Mengitsu

Andrew Nields

David Sewall

Abdul Siddique

ADVISER

Alan Weintraut

Annandale High School

Vol 66. Issue No. 4

4700 Medford Dr.

Annandale, VA 22003

The A-Blast is an

award-winning 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@

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All submissions become

property of The A-Blast,

Copyright, 2021.

Follow The

A-Blast

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A

Bernie’s

A

“drivers license” breaks records

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Rodrigo broke records this month with her

debut hit single “drivers license.” The song first garnered attention on

TikTok when the drama behind the song came to light. The song was

supposedly written about her co-star Joshua Bassett. The song has

charted #1 on Billboard and broke records across streaming platforms

its first week. She’s been recognized all over social media and by other

celebrities and musicians as well.

iconic mittens

The internet was flooded with thousands of posts about Inauguration

Day, but one that stuck with people the most was the photograph of

Bernie Sanders sitting down with his brown mittens on. Many meme

pages on Instgram began to repost the photo, but they added a twist.

They photoshopped Sanders onto album covers, memes and many more

things. His brown mittens were what stuck out in the photo, and it’s

because it added a “wholesome” look to his Inauguration Day look.

Ashanti ‘Verzuz’ Keyshia

BFSabrina Carpenter adds fuel to the fire

Over a million viewers tuned in last Thursday to witness Keyshia Cole

and Ashanti battle it out on Verzuz. The long awaited battle fired fans up

as the night kicked off. The two women performed some of their top hits.

Ashanti’s “Happy” and Keyshia’s “I changed my mind” kick started the

long awaited battle that had been postponed since December. Some fans

were fed up because the battle was taking longer than expected to start.

Nonetheless, the night was filled with mega hits and suprises.

Sabrina Carpenter recently released a song last Thursday titled “Skin.”

The song was in response to Olivia Rodrigo’s song “drivers license.” The

song was faced with extreme backlash by Rodrigo’s fans because they didn’t

understand why Carpenter was calling her out for expressing her feelings.

Many fans believe that all of the drama is a publicity stunt, but the drama

does not look like it will be dying down anytime soon.


Wed. Jan. 27, 2021 NOTICIAS DESTACADAS 3

DEJE DE ESTIGMAZTIZAR LA UNIVERSIDAD COMMUNITARIA

BY FATIMA SAYED

Editora de Editoriales

A medida que las decisiones universitarias

se avecinan, muchos estudiantes

se están preparando mentalmente

para lo peor que podría suceder:

ser rechazados.

Por otro lado, los estudiantes que

han tomado la decisión de asistir a

un colegio comunitario no tienen que

enfrentar los próximos meses con ansiedad.

El colegio comunitario es una

excelente opción para los estudiantes

que intentan estirar su dinero.

Los colegios comunitarios no solo son

significativamente más baratos que las

escuelas de cuatro años, sino que también

son de transición y permiten más

espacio para la flexibilidad.

Entonces, ¿cuál es el truco?

Los colegios comunitarios tienen

varios inconvenientes, como la falta de

vida en el campus y oportunidades académicas.

Pero el mayor inconveniente de los

colegios comunitarios es el estigma que

los rodea.

Durante años, los estudiantes han

sido avergonzados y se han burlado de

ellos por elegir asistir a universidades

comunitarias en lugar de escuelas de

cuatro años.

“Siento que la gente menosprecia

a los colegios comunitarios,” dijo Alexis

Granados, estudiante de último año

“a pesar de que es una decisión mucho

más inteligente desde el punto de vista

financiero, y puedes hacer programas

con una universidad a la que quizás

quieras transferirte.”

Mucha gente asume que ir a un colegio

comunitario significa que no eres

lo suficientemente inteligente para ir

a una universidad, pero eso está muy

lejos de la verdad.

Un puñado de estudiantes que

asisten a un colegio comunitario terminan

transfiriéndose a escuelas tradicionales

de cuatro años.

No solo habrán pagado menos, sino

que también pueden terminar en un

año debido a la capacidad de transferir

créditos.

De esos estudiantes, un pequeño

porcentaje de estos estudiantes terminan

asistiendo a escuelas altamente

competitivas.

Northern Virginia Community College

es una de las opciones más populares

entre los estudiantes que intentan

continuar su educación con un presupuesto

limitado.

Muchos estudiantes de Annandale

han pasado a estudiar en NOVA. Una

de sus mayores ventajas es que es una

escuela secundaria.

NOVA puede ayudar a los estudiantes

a transferirse de manera eficiente

a universidades de cuatro años debido a

sus conexiones con universidades más

grandes como George Mason, VCU,

Marymount y Virginia Tech.

Un factor importante que mucha

gente no piensa considerar es que

muchos estudiantes de colegios comunitarios

son de primera generación.

Según First Generation Naspa,

el 56% de los estudiantes de colegios

comunitarios son de primera generación.

Muchos estudiantes de primera generación

tienen que asumir la responsabilidad

de tener éxito para poder mantener

a sus familias.

El problema aquí es que un puñado

de estas familias no pueden permitirse

enviar a sus hijos a escuelas competitivas

debido al alto costo de la matrícula.

“Teniendo en cuenta que estamos

en una pandemia, parece más razonable

porque ¿por qué pagaría $ 25,000

para sentarse en su habitación con una

computadora portátil, sin saber lo que

quiere hacer cuando podría pagar una

fracción del precio yendo a un colegio

comunitario? ”Dijo Granados.

Mucha gente también cree que

obtener un título de un colegio comunitario

es menos valioso para los

empleadores.

Al final del día, un título es un título.

Los empleadores quieren saber si

encajará bien en el lugar de trabajo, y

eso no está determinado por el tipo de

título que tenga.

Otro beneficio de los colegios comunitarios

es que miles de colegios comunitarios

ofrecen programas puente.

El propósito de estos programas es

La selección de cursos

se ve diferente este año

BY THONNY ANWAR

Editora de Academica

Con el inicio del segundo semestre

también viene la preparación para el

próximo año escolar.

Los estudiantes que regresan a la

escuela el próximo año están pensando

en qué cursos tomar y se están reuniendo

con sus consejeros para discutir

sus horarios.

En años pasados, los estudiantes

han tenido la oportunidad de explorar

y aprender más sobre diferentes cursos

en la feria electiva.

“La feria electiva por lo general me

ayuda porque me da una mejor idea de

qué clases debo tomar y me ayuda a

descubrir dónde están mis intereses”,

dijo la estudiante de tercer año Emily

Martindale.

La feria electiva permitió a los estudiantes

visitar las aulas donde los

maestros explicaron sus cursos para

aclarar cualquier confusión y responder

cualquier pregunta que tuvieran los

futuros estudiantes.

Sin embargo, el proceso de selección

de cursos de este año se ve completamente

diferente al de años anteriores

por una razón principal: todo es

virtual.

Algunos estudiantes estarán tristes

al decir adiós al preciado evento.

“Extraño la forma en que pudimos

hablar sobre cómo es realmente

el curso con otros compañeros”, dijo

la estudiante de segundo año Hannah

Vaughn.

“Extraño poder obtener una vista

previa de la clase que voy a tomar en

persona”, dijo el estudiante de segundo

año Wade Hayes.

Sin embargo, los consejeros han

trabajado duro para asegurarse de

que la ausencia de la feria no afecte

demasiado a los estudiantes.

“A principios de enero, los consejeros

se reunieron virtualmente con los

estudiantes de los grados 9, 10 y 11

durante el W4 para discutir las opciones

de cursos para el próximo año

escolar”, dijo la consejera escolar Stacy

Marville.

Durante estas reuniones, se realizó

Según un estudio realizado por National Student Clearinghouse, el 45 por ciento de todos los estudiantes que terminaron un

título de cuatro años en 2010-11 se habían inscrito previamente en una universidad de dos años. Explica la importancia de

las escuelas secundarias y las instituciones de dos años, como los colegios comunitarios.

preparar a los estudiantes de colegios

comunitarios para la transferencia a

escuelas de cuatro años.

Los programas puente también

tienen conexiones con universidades

específicas, por lo que el proceso de

transferencia de créditos se simplifica

mucho.

“Siento que la sociedad creó una

imagen de que tienes que ir a una universidad

de cuatro años inmediatamente

después de la secundaria y saber

exactamente lo que quieres hacer”, dijo

Granados. “Todo lo que hace es crear

deuda, y si todo es virtual, entonces

tiene más sentido aguantar un poco”.

Otro estigma en torno a los colegios

comunitarios es que los profesores están

menos calificados que los que trabajan

en las universidades.

En los Estados Unidos, para convertirse

en profesor debe tener una

una breve presentación con descripciones

muy detalladas de las clases y los

consejeros pudieron explicar los requisitos

de crédito para cada diploma

(Estándar, Avanzado e IB).

Después de las presentaciones, se

animó a los estudiantes a utilizar el

Catálogo de cursos de Annandale y

otros materiales informativos antes de

Los efectos del dia moderno en la

imagen corporal

BY SEREENE DARWEISH

Editor del personnel

En el pasado, era poco común

escuchar la frase “positividad corporal”,

pero ahora está en todas las redes

sociales.

Puede estarse pensando “¿Qué es la

positividad corporal?” La positividad

corporal es un movimiento que se creó

para empoderar la figura de mujeres y

hombres.

El movimiento fue creado por

mujeres negras en la década de 1960

y se ha popularizado a lo largo de los

años. De hecho, originalmente comenzó

con la protesta por la discriminación

contra las personas con sobrepeso.

La estudiante de segundo año Maya

Mann dice que no le importan demasiado

las redes sociales porque es una

atleta.

“Utilizo principalmente las redes

sociales para ayudar con la natación

y el reconocimiento, pero no me desprecio

porque soy nadador y existen

enormes diferencias físicas entre un

nadador, alguien que juega fútbol o

incluso alguien que no es físicamente

activo.”

Continúa diciendo: “No creo que las

redes sociales hayan ayudado tanto a

mi imagen corporal porque siempre he

tenido mucha confianza y no busco validación

en las opiniones de los demás “.

Sin embargo, las redes sociales no

siempre han sido el lugar más positivo

para el movimiento de positividad

Una gran plataforma que afecta

Sophmore Sereene Darwiesh mira las

fotos de supermodelo Kendall Jenner.

negativamente es TikTok.

Hoy en día, muchos influyentes trabajando

en cosméticos pero no hacen

pública esa información, lo que crea

un falso estándar de belleza para sus

seguidores.

Esto es extremadamente dañino,

especialmente para sus fanáticos más

jóvens.

La estudiante de segundo año Ellie

Davis cree que las redes sociales han

tenido un impacto negativo en su imagen

corporal.

“Constantemente me comparo con

otras chicas en TikTok e Instagram.

Odio hacer esto, pero no puedo parar “.

Hubo un estudio en 2017 sobre

la respuesta de los adolescentes a

la navegación en las redes sociales

y los resultados revelaron que los

SEREENE DARWEISH

Estudiante navega el sitio de donde se selecionan los cursos

adolescentes tienden a compararse con

sus siguientes listas.

Una científica incluso ha declarado

que cree que hay más presión externa

sobre las adolescentes debido a lo que

las redes sociales han establecido.

Por ejemplo, en la década de 1980,

era muy común entrar en una tienda

de comestibles y ver modelos en revistas

o películas y, por lo general, todas

tenían el mismo tipo de cuerpo: delgadas,

pequeñas y blancas.

A los adolescentes todavía se les

recuerdan constantemente estos

estándares, pero esta vez se debe al uso

frecuente de las redes sociales en lugar

de a objetos tangibles como los tabloides.

El estándar de belleza más reciente

que se estableció es la “figura de

reloj de arena”, un tipo de cuerpo que

muchas adolescentes se encuentran

tratando de lograr. Los youtubers,

por ejemplo, son parcialmente responsables

de fomentar estos estándares.

Durante la cuarentena, el entrenamiento

abdominal de reloj de arena

de Youtuber ChloeTing se volvió viral

por ser mayormente efectivo, pero también

fue criticado por ser demasiado

intenso.

Creo que a quién sigues en las redes

sociales afectará tu imagen corporal

porque si estás siguiendo cuentas de

positividad corporal, es más probable

que estés rodeado de amor proveniente

de personas de todas las formas y

tamaños.

maestría en su campo, independientemente

de si trabaja en un colegio comunitario

o en uno de cuatro años.

Ha sido difícil romper estos estereotipos,

pero no son tan malos como antes.

Algunos de los actores y empresarios

más famosos se graduaron de colegios

comunitarios.

Tom Hanks, Walt Disney, Clint

Eastwood y el director ejecutivo de

Costco, James Sinegal, son ejemplos de

personas increíblemente exitosas que se

graduaron de un colegio comunitario.

La gente debe dejar de despreciar a

los estudiantes por asistir a un colegio

comunitario porque no sabe cuáles son

sus circunstancias.

Al menos están haciendo un esfuerzo

para continuar su educación.

Además, la universidad comunitaria

también es una decisión más inteligente

en términos de finanzas.

completar un Formulario de Google,

que es una nueva edición del proceso

de selección de cursos de este año.

El propósito del formulario es que

los estudiantes preseleccionan sus

clases para que haya más tiempo para

discutir cómo sus elecciones afectan

sus metas futuras.

Los consejeros también elaboraron

Humanos de Annandale

Señora Beight

Profesora de

Historia

La mayoría de los estudiantes

de colegios comunitarios terminan

graduándose sin deudas y, en algunos

casos, incluso se les puede pagar por

asistir.

Los estudiantes también pueden

usar el colegio comunitario como una

ventaja para ingresar a una escuela

a la que no pudieron ingresar inmediatamente

después de la secundaria.

Podrían mejorar su GPA y luego transferirse

a una universidad.

Los estudiantes que van directamente

a una universidad de cuatro años

de ninguna manera son mejores que los

que asisten a un colegio comunitario.

Todos tenemos diferentes caminos

en la vida y ya es hora de que nosotros,

como sociedad, aprendamos a respetar

las decisiones de los demás y a no

despreciar a las personas solo porque

hacen algo diferente.

¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de AHS?

Lo que más me gusta de Annandale es lo

diversa que es la población estudiantil. Tenemos

estudiantes que vienen de todo el mundo

y traen sus propias experiencias y puntos de vista únicos al aula.

una lista de recursos que incluyen videos

que explican descripciones generales

de los cursos.

Ubicado en el Portal del estudiante

bajo Asesoramiento académico, todos

pueden ver videos preparados por el

maestro de áreas de contenido, clases

optativas y académicas.

Los videos muestran una descripción

general de la clase al resaltar las

descripciones de los cursos junto con

ejemplos del tipo de trabajo que los

estudiantes completarán en la clase.

Estos recursos han facilitado que

los estudiantes aprendan sobre los cursos

sin estar en persona.

“Fue un poco extraño debido a lo

diferente que era la selección de cursos

en línea, pero el Flipgrid que encontré

en el portal de estudiantes con la selección

de cursos me ayudó mucho”, dijo

Caleb Yeneneh, estudiante de tercer

año. “Me siento genial hasta ahora eligiendo

mis clases.

Con la ayuda de estos videos que

imitan la sensación de las descripciones

que se habrían dado en una feria

electiva y otros recursos, muchos estudiantes

están navegando con éxito este

proceso de selección de cursos desconocidos.

¿Cómo se ha adaptado al aprendizaje virtual?

Para adaptarme al aprendizaje virtual, finalmente comencé a usar Google Classroom.

No sé por qué aguanté tanto tiempo, ¡es una gran herramienta educativa!

¿Por qué enseña probabilidad y estatistica?

¡ Me gusta enseñar historia mundial porque podemos explorar tantas culturas

diferentes y me gusta mostrar cómo las personas y las ideas viajan por el mundo.

Me encanta enseñar religiones del mundo porque solo investigamos algunas religiones

para que podamos dedicar más tiempo a profundizar en nuestro aprendizaje.

¿Está orgulloso de la diversidad en AHS?

Creo que mi respuesta a la pregunta uno respondería a esta pregunta

THONNY ANWAR

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 Spanish-speaking 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.


4 NEWS Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

How I got to visit the Oval Office

Senior Nareg

Boghosian

witnesses Trump’s

exit

BY NAREG BOGHOSIAN

Staff Writer

Days before Jan. 20, the White

House had an unusual mood as opposed

to its hectic ambience. Despite rising

controversies regarding the recent presidential

election and Inauguration,

many seem to be unaware of what truly

occurs “behind the scenes” of the transfer

of power. On Sat. Jan. 16, I was

fortunate enough to witness the happenings

in the White House as it was

preparing for our new President Joe

Biden.

As an Official White House Photographer,

my mother, Joyce Boghosian,

had asked me to help organize the

camera equipment inventory for the

new incoming photographers under the

Biden Administration. After working

on and off as a White House Staff since

1988, she has photographed a total

of six U.S. Presidents beginning with

President Ronald Reagan. My mother

thought it would be a memorable

occasion to bring me along and see the

activities at this time.

It was fascinating to see the nation’s

capital city under such heavy protection

of our military forces. Traveling into the

West Wing during this time requires

a multitude of steps to truly conserve

safety. For most, it is a unique experience;

witnessing added security and

passing through checkpoints that many

government workers undergo every

day.

Taking my first steps in the building,

I immediately noticed the everyday

workers and their dedication to the

institution of the White House. The

media has consistently projected the

face of the office through the President,

Senior Nareg Boghosian visits the Oval Office with his mother in the final days of the Trump administration.

lacking to represent the importance of

its employees.

Most cease

to recognize the

White House as

not only a setting

of politicians

but of photographers,

chefs, housekeeping,

law

enforcement,

stenographers,

military personnel,

electricians,

carpenters,

National

Park Service

groundskeepers,

curators, calligraphists, florists, medics;

the list goes on. I enjoyed meeting

the people who make the White House

such a special place. They serve in the

capacity of operations

and are

critical to the

mission of any

president.

My mother

has shown

me through

this visit and

throughout

my childhood

the camaraderie

that exists

at the White

House and its

unique environment.

I was

privileged to have seen the various components

and roles of staff members. I

saw them saying their goodbyes while

overtaken by emotion and stress.

These offices had become their second

home. Naturally, they had built a relationship

and bond that they will treasure

for years to come.

I primarily saw the staff packing up,

turning in assets, and clearing the environment

for the next administration. I

also saw the importance and seriousness

of preparing presidential records to

be transferred to the National Archives.

My mother’s photographs were a part of

this collection and will eventually move

the Presidential Library.

At the end of the day, I left the

White House with a better understanding

of its reality. I learned that the

White House is not just a workplace

for aspiring politicians, but for anyone

wanting to serve their nation.

Governor floats idea of school year-round

BY DAVID SEWALL

Staff Writer

Earlier this month, Governor Ralph

Northam introduced the possibility of

year round schooling for the 2021-22

school year. There is also a possibility

of school days this summer to help

students catch up on learning.

“Our children have suffered from

COVID-19, as have our families. And

one of the things that we’re certainly

entertaining is looking at perhaps a

year-round schooling,” Northam said.

Northam also said that he is

already discussing the idea with local

superintendents and state education

leaders.

Richmond superintendent Jason

Kamras has also supported the idea of

additional instruction next year and

says that a year-round schedule is a

way to approach it.

“I think year round school is not

a good idea. I know that us kids

love summer break, but the break

is necessary for our mental health,”

sophomore Armen Boghosian said.

“Everyone needs a break, including us

students.”

Virginia’s 285,000 teachers and

child care workers are currently in

the next phase of Virginia residents

“I primarily

saw the staff

packing up,

turning in

assets, and

clearing the

environment

for the next administration.”

-NAREG BOGHOSIAN

senior

that are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Northam has stressed the importance

of making sure the return to in person

education is safe for everyone.

“The bottom line: we want to get our

children back in school and we want to

do it safely and responsibly,” Northam

said.

“I am extremely hopeful that we

will have the opportunity to go back to

in-person learning this year, but I also

understand that safety remains the

number one priority,” senior Madison

Cruz said.

Although there is some full in

person learning, the majority of

students in Virginia still attend classes

NAREG BOGHOSIAN

fully online or a hybrid of online classes

and in person learning.

“Online school has both helped and

made learning harder for me. I have

enjoyed being able to go at my own

pace sometimes,” sophomore Jaden

Carothers said. “However, I have

struggled gaining motivation to do all

of my work and turn assignments in on

time.”

There has been no official comment

from FCPS superintendent Scott

Brabrand on the possibility of year

round schooling. The country will hope

to have an official decision made by the

springtime.

News Briefs

Meet the Coaches Night

After fall sports were postponed

earlier this year, they will finally

be beginning practices in early to

mid-February. A virtual Meet the

Coaches Night will be held on Wed.

Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. by the Activities

Office for students interested in

football or cheerleading.

IB Information Night

The school has tentatively

scheduled an IB Information

Night for Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. More

information will be coming soon. In

the meantime, students or parents

with any questions can contact IB

coordinator Linda Bradshaw or

MYP coordinator Meagan Padgett.

Revised Bell Schedule

FCPS has announced a revised bell

schedule where school starts at 8:20

a.m. and ends at 2:50 p.m. This is

tentatively scheduled to take effect

on Tues. Feb. 16. The specifics of

the bell schedule, like when each

class will begin, has not yet been

released.

Live Stream AHS Sports

Home games can be watched live on

the Atoms Athletics and Activities

YouTube channel. Wrestling and

basketball will be live streamed

Wed. Jan. 27, swim and dive on Fri.

Jan. 29 and track, basketball and

swim on Sat. Jan. 30.

Students Win Scholastic

Art Competition

All student winners from the school

had submitted digital artwork.

There were three Gold Key

winners, three Silver Key winners

and two honorable mentions.

Grab and Go Meals

Available to All Students

FCPS is offering free healthy

meals to all students until June

30, 2021. Meals are available at

school sites and along bus routes.

The specific schedule can be found

online. Breakfast and lunch meals

are offered for pickup at the same

time Mondays through Fridays,

excluding holidays. Meals for

Saturday and Sunday are offered

for pickup every Friday. These free

meals are also available to students

attending in-person instruction

Mondays through Fridays.

DONATE YOUR CAR

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

This survey was

launched on Instagram,

and responses were

collected on Jan. 24 to 25.

A total of 105 responses

were collected with

71 responses saying to

keep the school calendar

the same and 24 saying

to change the school

calendar to year-round

with more frequent

breaks.

College Board has canceled SAT subject tests, along with the essay

portion, hoping to simplify the admissions process. This move comes

as many colleges are placing less emphasis on standardized testing.

College Board announces

SAT changes

BY ELDANA MENGISTU

Staff Writer

The SAT for many years has been a

familiar struggle for students applying

to college. Institutions of higher education

have long taken SAT scores into

account when deciding whether or not

to admit an applicant. However, due to

the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the test

has experienced some changes.

Many seniors will remember when

last year’s March 14 SAT got canceled

the day before just as the county

began to sound the alarm on Covid-

19. In the following months, the May

and June SAT dates also ended up getting

canceled as well as many locations

in August.

As a result, many colleges, including

top-ranked ones, went test-optional

for this year’s applicants, saying they

would factor in a student’s SAT score if

there was one but would no longer be

requiring an SAT score.

The College Board also considered

administering a digital version of the

test, but that quickly fell apart since

students would have to have access to

reliable WiFi and it would be harder to

prevent cheating.

These events only further exacerbated

colleges moving away from standardized

testing, considering the criticism

and even lawsuits accusing the test of

being discriminatory.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY KHADIJA AHMED

“I don’t think the SAT’s are rigged

because everyone gets the same tests,”

junior Anthony James said, “but I do

believe that students who get tutors

and pay for practice tests tend to do

better and that’s what makes the test

unfair. I just feel like it just puts a lot of

unnecessary pressure on students.”

The College Board recently decided

to discontinue the optional essay for

the SAT with the reasoning that students

already show their writing skills

through the reading and writing proportion

of the test. The essay section

was 50 minutes long and took place at

the end of the test. It also cost $16 to

include it.

“I was given a choice to take the

writing portion of the SAT but I chose

to opt out because it’s a whole other

payment,” senior Lidia Mengistu said.

“I know other students that also agree

with me because the SAT itself is pricey

and no one wants to pay for another

section on top of that.”

The SAT Subject Tests were also

separate tests that could be taken

in a variety of subjects to show more

advanced mastery. These tests, which

were once requirements at top colleges,

will no longer be available either.

In addition, the College Board is

once again attempting to create an

online version of the SAT. Whether

they will be successful this time

remains to be seen.


Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

WHY DID YOU BECOME

AN IB DIPLOMA CANDIDATE?

Students share what they have learned from the program and give advice on earning the IB diploma

"I wanted to take

the most rigorous

courses AHS had

to offer."

Junior Camily Salvador

Q: What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: As a student-athlete, the IB program has definitely taught me time

management and opportunity cost. There have been many times I’ve had to

choose to do an assignment rather than hang out with my friends or had to stay

up past midnight doing assignments after a game. I eventually had to learn good

time management skills to avoid that from happening as much as possible.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB candidates?

A: My advice for a future IB candidate is don’t forget to have fun! It’s a lot of

work to get this diploma, and you most definitely need to destress. Remember

that you’re still in high school; it’s only up from here.

"I wanted to

become a competitive

applicant for

universities."

Junior Ryan Leyhe

Q: What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: This diploma requires a lot of commitment and hard work which is why I am

constantly overloaded with work. The IB program has helped me manage all of

it by forcing me to be organized and get ahead of all my assignments.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB candidates?

A: My advice for future IB candidates is to keep an agenda because it will help

you to stay organized and track when assignments are due. I would also like to

advise you to be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time.

"I wanted to maintain

an ardent

desire to go to

college"

Senior Nadiya Khalif

Q: What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: In the IB curriculum, there are various traits students can have that will

allow them to be successful in the program. For example, I have become more

reflective and principled. I have also gotten to improve my writing skills with all

the IAs I have had to write.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB candidates?

A: My advice is to prepare ahead of time by looking through the syllabuses of

your courses. Do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers if you are having any

trouble and most importantly, try to be organized and establish a good work

ethic now.

"I wanted to

become a better

student and develop

certain traits."

Junior Aris Hill

Q: What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: Some skills that being an IB diploma candidate has taught me are

organization and time management. Between school and sports, I don’t have a

lot of free time during the day, so I have to balance my time and plan out how

much time I will spend on something.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB candidates?

A: Advice I would give for future IB candidates is to not fall behind on your

work. The pace of the classes move a lot faster and if you fall behind even a little

bit, it will be hard to catch up.

"I wanted to

challenge myself

and prepare for

college."

Senior Sophia Baraban

Q: What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: The IB program has really helped me with my critical thinking, presentation,

and writing skills. The writing and critical thinking assignments are demanding

and the teachers provide really great feedback to help students improve and

prepare for college.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB candidates?

A: I have two pieces of advice. My first is to find a way that allows you to relax

and my second is to not give up. There are going to be some really tough points,

but just know that you can get through it and that it will be so worth it in the

end.

"I wanted to challenge

myself academically

and gain

more knowledge."

Senior Nicholas Bellem

Q: What skills do you think the IB program has taught you that can

help you later in life?

A: The IB program has helped me develop better note-taking and study skills so

that I can learn and internalize the information presented to me. The program

has also helped me learn and find better ways on how to balance my social,

academic, and sports life.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB candidates?

A: I would recommend that future IB diploma candidates prepare themselves

for a heavy workload and find a healthy way to relieve stress such as working

out or reading a book.

ACADEMICS 5

Talkin' with

Thonny

BY THONNY ANWAR

Academics Editor

Dear Thonny,

I got into my dream college and

am so excited to begin the next

chapter of my life. Sadly, I still

have to finish the current school

year which sucks because my

senioritis is at its peak. I have no

motivation. I’m tired of school,

especially because it’s virtual. I

keep falling asleep and can’t make

myself care about my grades.

Please help me cure my senioritis,

I still want to finish off my senior

year with a bang.

Sincerely,

A senior with senioritis

Dear senior with senioritis,

Congratulations on getting into

your dream college. I am extremely

sorry you are suffering from senioritis.

I don’t want to alarm you, but this may

potentially turn into a lethal condition

if left untreated. Fret not, though,

because I am someone who is an expert

on this disease and I have plenty of

advice on how to help you remedy it.

Slacking off senior year can be so,

so tempting now that the pressure of

getting into college is gone, but it is

important to not let go of your drive and

motivation. With the end of high school

just around the corner, it is important

to finish strong. This year can be

extremely productive and satisfying

when approached with the right frame

of mind.

You shouldn’t start caring less

about your grades because colleges do

look at your final ones, and if there

is a huge drop in your performance,

they will question if you are ready to

attend college. Your grades dropping

might make them put you on probation,

reduce financial aid, or revoke your

acceptance. Don’t give them a reason to

go back on their decision!

Start by setting specific goals for

yourself. The more goals you have the

easier it will be to maintain motivation.

What grades do you want in each of

your classes? What GPA do you want

to graduate with? What skills do you

want to improve on before heading off

to college?

College is a lot more academically

challenging than high school. You will

need really good study skills to succeed

in classes, so use this last year of high

school as you prepare for your first

year of college. Work on note-taking,

time management, and your writing.

Improve them now so you can get

ahead in college.

That’s not to say you can’t have

fun. You deserve a break for all the

long hours I’m sure you put in to earn

admission to your dream school. You

just need to find that line between risky

behavior and rewarding yourself.

Sincerely,

Thonny

Do you have a question that

you want me to answer? Email

theablast19@gmail.com

During

TEST YOUR NOODLE!

Due to the absence of the elective fair this year, junior Holly Martindale is forced to do her own

research on classes by looking over the AHS course catalog on her own at home.

Course selection looks different this year

BY THONNY ANWAR & DANIELA DOSEN

Academics Editor & Staff Writer

With the start of the second semester also

comes preparation for the upcoming school year.

Students returning to school next year are currently

thinking about what courses to take and meeting

with their counselors to discuss their schedules.

In years past, students have had the chance

to explore and learn more about different courses

at the elective fair.

“The elective fair usually helps me because it

gives me a better idea of what classes I should take

and helps me figure out where my interests lie,”

junior Emily Martindale said.

The elective fair allowed students to visit classrooms

where teachers explained their courses

to clear up any confusion and answer any questions

that prospective students have. However, the

course selection process this year looks completely

different than previous years for one main reason:

everything is virtual.

Some students will be sad to say goodbye to the

cherished event.

“I miss the way we could talk about what the

course is really like with other peers,” sophomore

Hannah Vaughn said.

“I miss being able to get a preview of the class

I’m going to take in person,” sophomore Wade

Hayes said.

However, counselors have worked hard to

make sure the absence of the fair doesn’t affect

students too much. “In early January, counselors

met virtually with 9th, 10th and 11th grade students

during W4 to discuss course options for next

PHOTO COURTESY OF EMILY MARTINDALE

school year,” school counselor Stacy Marville said.

During these meetings, a brief presentation

was given with very detailed descriptions on classes

and counselors got to explain the credit requirements

for each diploma (Standard, Advanced, and

IB). After the presentations, students were encouraged

to use the Annandale Course Catalog and

other informational materials before completing a

Google Form which is a new edition to the course

selection process this year. The purpose of the form

is for students to preselect their classes so there is

more time to discuss how their choices affect their

future goals.

Counselors also put together a list of resources

including videos explaining overviews of courses.

Housed in the Student Portal under Academic

Advising, everyone can view teacher prepared videos

of content area, elective and academy classes.

The videos showcase an overview of the class by

highlighting course descriptions along with examples

of the type of work students will complete in

the class. These resources have made it easier for

students to learn about courses while not being in

person.

“It was a little weird because of how different

selecting courses online was, but the Flipgrid

I found on the student portal with course selection

helped me a lot,” junior Caleb Yeneneh said. “I feel

great so far picking my classes.

With the help of these videos that mimic the

feel of what descriptions would have been given

at an elective fair and other resources, many students

are successfully navigating this unfamiliar

course selection process.

1. Principal DeRose is providing everyone in your grade

with gifts to help celebrate the new year. One box of gifts

contains 48. There are 338 students in your grade. How

many boxes of gifts does he need to purchase?

2. There are 117 ice cream cones in your school. 1/3 of

them have been devoured by the senior class. How many

ice cream cones have not been devoured?

What literary devices are used in the phrases below?

3. I’m so excited for the new year I could just die.

4. The fireworks look like sprinkles in the sky.

5. Life is a gift we must enjoy.

6. What kind of plant is a cactus?

7. What is the largest organ of the human body?

8. What are the highest clouds in the atmosphere?

9. A giant panda has a mass of 300kg, what size force is

this?

10. The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new

year’s arrival dates back to how many years ago?

11. When were fireworks first used in the United States?

12. Who is the 46th President of the United States?

1) 8; 2) 78; 3) Hyperbole; 4) Simile; 5) Metaphor; 6) Succulents; 7) Skin; 8) Cirrus; 9) 300

Newtons; 10) 4,000; 11) July 4, 1776; 12) Joe Biden


6 IN-DEPTH Wed. Jan 27, 2021 Wed. Jan 27, 2021

IN-DEPTH 7

Owners maintain a small business while in a pandemic

Business owners share their experiences of how to operate their store with restrictions, guidelines, and a new way of working with a mask

Monoa Cafe

Taco Rock

• How has COVID-19 affected your business?

COVID 19 hit our business really hard. When it first started we lost about

half to 60% percent of our customer base, things were looking scary in the

beginning of the pandemic. Now I would say about 70 to 80 percent of our

customer base has come back, but sales are still kind of iffy right now because

the whole political climate is back to scared.

• What guidelines has your business taken to ensure everyone’s safety?

Well we follow what the health department recommends to do which is put

signs everywhere we have to limit up to 25 people at any time. We have signs,

tables distanced more than 6 ft apart so that people can dine in and stay in

and be safe from each other.

• Has strict guidelines resulted in a loss of customers now?

For the most part it is not really the employees that have trouble, it is more

really how the customers react to these guidelines that is the issue. So when

we usually tell customers, “oh there is a 25 person limit, you can not dine in.”

Usually they will accept it, we have a few problematic customers that come in

once in a while that start acting up, they are just looking for trouble.

• How has the business functioned recently?

Our business has been listening to the strict guidelines, well we try to at

least, because sometimes really big groups come in but we really try to stay at

the 25 person limit. It is really hard because we are trying our best to do what

the state recommends but when people start getting violated and start acting

aggressive for no reason.

• How would you say the employees have adapted to these new

guidelines?

I tell my employees to ignore customers that are acting out because if

they start telling them more and more guidelines they start acting more

and more aggressively. So it really bothers me that it gets to that state

where we have to do that and you know I care about the safety of my

employees the most so honestly that is what we have to do in order for my

employees to stay somewhat safe so it affects them so way because they

have to worry about their safety when it comes to the actual virus but they

also have to worry about people acting up as well.

• Where do you see this business going in the future?

Right now I do not know a single business who is doing well beside online

businesses but like every store that is around here will probably tell the

same thing that things are a lot rougher than they used to be.

ERIK RIVAS

PICMONKEY

• How has COVID-19 affected your business?

Yes COVID-19 has affected all of my businesses and then adding a

10pm curfew was a death kiss for a lot of small businesses.

• What guidelines has your business taken to ensure everyone’s

safety?

The guidelines that we are working with in our establishments are .

Tables are 6 feet apart ,no bar service, no standing room, 10 people or

less at one table for gathering, sanitize stations everywhere inside,all

employees, guests must check temperatures, all employees must wear

masks the entire time inside, guests must wear masks when entering.

• Has strict guidelines resulted in a loss of customers now?

It’s been devastating and with little help from the government

and direction it has been hard to stay alive.I feel terrible for all the

employees in the restaurant business. I had to cut 50% of mine before

the holidays because we could not afford to pay them. The sales just are

not where they used to be.Hopefully we will get the next PPP that would

help a lot of us for the time being.

• How has the business functioned recently?

The business functions the same except for the guidelines I said above.

A lot more delivery and to-go. I would rather guest pick up Togo from all

small businesses because all the delivery apps take 15%-30% from each

order.Which breaks us even or puts us in the red. But we have to keep

trying to stay relevant through this tough time. That’s why a lot of us

small businesses use them .

• How would you say the employees have adapated to these new

guidelines?

All employees have been amazing. I’m asking them to do 100% more,

deal with more problems, put themselves in danger for less pay. Which

is not an easy thing to swallow for anyone. A lot of us have no choice and

have to work . We have families and other responsibilities that we need to

take care of. But most of them have been loyal and stayed with us to help

anyway they can. I’m very grateful for that and will do anything I can to

help them on the backend when this is all over.

• Where do you see this business going in the future?

We will bounce back when this is over and come out stronger than before!

A lot of businesses are moving to fast casual models. I own a couple of

those. Which is Taco Rock and Bronx pizza. My other businesses that are

sitting down suffered a lot more. People want to be out with family and

friends enjoying a good meal from a local small business. All of us are

ready for this to be over and go back to a normal life as much as it can be.

NICK CORDERO

Astrolashbabes

NOVA Hype

• How has COVID-19 affected your

business?

Covid-19 hasnt made much of an effect

in my business. In fact, my business idea

started when covid-19 first came around

and gave me the time I needed to put into

making it into a real business.

• What guidelines has your business

taken to ensure everyone’s safety?

New guidelines that had to be put in

place was mainly limiting my space to

just me and a single client in the room, no

extra guests allowed, temperatures are

checked before each appointment starts and

everything gets sanitized/washed/changed

before the next client heads in. Covid-19

testing is required before appointment

if I see that a client has been travelling/

partying.

• Has strict guidelines resulted in a loss

of customers now?

Strict guidelines have definitely made it

harder for people who do not have their own

way of transportation to be able to come and

get their lashes done since it is a 1.5-2 hour

process and we are restricted to no guests

allowed, sometimes the person driving them

doesnt want to wait or make multiple trips

back and forth to pick them up so I have

definitely missed out on younger clients and

clients with no transportation.

• How has the business functioned

recently?

The business has been functioning great!

I have still been open regularly and have a

good amount of new/returning clients to be

able to keep it up with no worries.

KATRINA NGUYEN

• How would you say the employees

have adapated to these new

guidelines?

I am the only employee/boss of my

business, I would say it has been a bit

harder to watch out for every single one of

my clients because I am a home business

and cannot afford to be bringing in clients

who have covid/have not been following

social distancing guidelines/travelling,

but it has been fairly easy to adapt too

with all the cleaning/sanitation since I do

that anyways.

• Where do you see this business going

in the future?

I see a great future for my business, it

has grown so much over the course of 4

months and it can only get bigger/better

from here! I have a separate lashing room

in my house away from the rest of my

family and it is strictly a lashing room not

my bedroom. My dream is to open a store

along with 3-4 other girls who are in the

beauty community and turn it into an all

in one salon so i’m hoping that is where

my business will be leading up too once

I get out into the real world and turn my

small business into a real business!

• How has COVID-19 affected your

business?

Surprisingly, COVID-19 has helped my

business more than it hurt it. New buyers

and sellers were made because I had way

more time on perfecting my business and

how to make it easier for everyone to buy,

sell, and trade.

• What guidelines has your business

taken to ensure everyone’s safety?

The guidelines I have taken were to

socially distance, wear masks when I make

a transaction, but the strict guidelines that

has been made for shoe stores itself has

been difficult for me to buy shoes in-store.

To ensure the safety of my customers,

I make sure to sanitize even the littlest

things like the boxes that the shoes are

coming from, the tongue of the shoe which

is where they grab it the most, or even

wearing gloves to do the deal.

• Has strict guidelines resulted in a loss

of customers now?

Strict guidelines didn’t really affect my

business because most of my customers are

on my phone anyways. I tend to check my

Instagram before I wake up for school so I

can make sure any messages that were sent

before I went to be are read and answered.

• How has the business functioned

recently?

My business has been functioning pretty

slowly since COVID-19 slowed it down a

little bit, but that doesn’t stop me from

making the transactions that is needed for

my business to thrive. I usually spend most

of my weekends going to meets and sneaker

events to get new shoes for my business.

MUSTAFA HAMDEN

• How would you say the employees

have adapated to these new

guidelines?

Being the only employee in my business,

I take everything pretty seriously.

Guidelines like this often gives me

enough of a break to fix my Instagram

page for my next post, or my next stock

picture. Many businesses that I used to

do transactions with don’t really operate

as safely as I do and should change the

way they do things because of the new

rules put in to place.

• Where do you see this business going

in the future?

With only being a sophomore in high

school, I have a lot of steps to take for

me to really go big. During lunch I would

take pictures of my shoes, buy shoes, or

even sell them as well. Making sure that

on my off-time I am still getting things

done really shows the commitment and

the work ethic that I am putting into this

business. I only see this business going

up in a few years, but once I have my

following at the amount I want, all I need

is to be consistent with what I sell and my

business will take care of the rest.

Teado

Mochi Gloss Pops

• How has COVID-19 affected your business?

Teado did close down back in March for a month and a half, but I think

that right when we reopened, only one staff member came back, so we had to

rehire the whole staff and even new employees as well, other then that the

whole business has been going up, even with the first wave the whole business

has been going up.

• What guidelines has your business taken to ensure everyone’s safety?

The strict guidelines that have now been made led us to going through with

closing our usual dine-in, having a mask policy in here, and we even have to

force customers to wear masks, but with our occupancy limit, we try to enforce

it with the low amount of people that come in the morning, but later in the

day there are way more people that trying to kick them out always results in

unhappy customers.

• Has strict guidelines resulted in a loss of customers now?

Strict guidelines led people to complaining online on Yelp and stuff, but no

loss of customers as every day is busier than the day before it.

• How has the business functioned recently ?

This business has been functioning as if it wasn’t a pandemic, but everyone

that comes in always has a mask and respects the mask policy. We have had a

few incidents where there are people with no masks, but we always give them

one anyways. Everything is going back to normal slowly, but it’s been more

busy and it picked up even more since COVID-19.

• How would you say the employees have adapted to these new

guidelines?

Many employees here have been rehired since the first wave. Following

strict guidelines, we have a group chat that helps keep everyone in touch,

and polls are given by our boss to see if we are open to new ideas, or

reopening the dine-in feature. Employees here get tested, most of us got

them together actually, but we’re strict with not hanging out with people,

and we kept our masks on at work the whole time.

• Where do you see this business going in the future?

In the future, we’re going to stay pretty busy. Our owner talked about

reopening the dine-in, but with things that are going on now and the

curfew that is going to be put into place, employees are going to wait until

they are more comfortable for it to be re-released again. Teado is going well

at the moment and it will probably stay busy for the few months to come.

HENRY HOANG

PICMONKEY

• How has COVID-19 affected your business?

COVID 19 has affected my business especially for local deliveries. I can’t

deliver anything face to face and I need to sanitize all packaging, even the

outer layer, due to the pandemic. As for shipping, USPS has been backed

up and some packages have taken much longer to arrive to the customer,

especially for international orders.

• What guidelines has your business taken to ensure everyone’s

safety?

As always, even without COVID 19, my business always cleans materials.

I usually use Clorox wipes, baking soda, and dish soap. Dish soap is a

unique cleaning tool but is crucial for lip gloss businesses like mine because

it’s safe for items going toward people’s mouths, similar to our everyday

forks, spoons, or cups. I also wear gloves and a mask when making my

products.

• Has strict guidelines resulted in a loss of customers now?

These guidelines have not resulted in a loss of customers! Being an

e-commerce business, customers are moving away from buying in-store

products and toward businesses that are online. This way, only I am

handling products before the customer gets it instead of every person in a

store touching the products before someone buys it. These guidelines are

also extremely similar to normal guidelines since this business has always

been as clean and hygienic as possible.

• How has the business functioned recently?

The business has been functioning well. It’s running smoothly especially

since I’m working alone with few family helpers.

• How would you say the employees have adapted to these new

guidelines?

New guidelines have resulted in employees having to use masks and

not be able to make deliveries in person. I personally don’t have many

employees, so it hasn’t been much of a change!

• Where do you see this business going in the future?

This business is a fun hobby for me, and so I’d like for it to grow. So far,

most of my orders come from the US and few in Europe! I would like to

have more orders from around the world.

BRITNEY NGUYEN



8 PEOPLE Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

Annandale

alumnus acts

in WW1984

BY VIVIAN PHAN

People Editor

This past Christmas, the highlyanticipated

Wonder Woman 1984 movie

was released in theaters and on the

streaming service HBO Max after many

delays due to the ongoing coronavirus

pandemic.

The movie was a huge team effort

made by many crew and cast members,

one of which was AHS alumnus Andy

Riddle, who played a small role in the

film for eight seconds as the “Donkey

Kong geek.”

Riddle got his start in the moviemaking

and theater industry from

a young age, getting into acting and

performing at the age of six.

“I was a very energetic and

performative child,” Riddle said. “My

mom thought maybe we should apply

that somewhere, and so I basically grew

up on sets.”

His love for acting only grew when

he got to middle school and was able to

be a part of school plays.

Riddle became a lot more involved

in theater and stage performance at his

school, which started his high school

career.

At AHS, Riddle was involved in the

theater company and landed leading

roles in school plays like You’re a Good

Man, Charlie Brown and Arsenic and

Old Lace.

“I was able to figure out my personal

acting style and learned what did and

didn’t work for me,” Riddle said.

At the beginning of his senior year,

Riddle was cast as “Dale Lyons” in the

movie Ping Pong Summer. The 2014

coming-of-age comedy film was the

turning point that got him into the

acting scene.

“That totally changed the film

industry for me, both acting and behind

the scenes wise,” Riddle said.

Ping Pong Summer served as a

catalyst that pushed Riddle to create

his own short sketches and films.

From these short sketches and

films, Riddle Me This (RMT) Film

Productions was started with the help

of his sister, Jessica Riddle, and fellow

“It was crazy to talk with [director Patty Jenkins] for the little I did, especially since

I had studied her work in film school,” Riddle said, “and here I am getting to hear

the reasoning behind her thought process and decisions.”

AHS alumnus Steve Aderton.

Riddle went on to star in various

other films and graduated from film

school at George Mason University,

developing his skills as an actor, writer,

and producer along the way.

“Each project has been a unique

experience in itself, but Ping Pong

Summer is still my favorite,” Riddle

said. “I loved working with the director,

Michael Tully.”

“The cast and the crew were

awesome, but mostly it sparked this

love for film in a different way than

acting had before,” Riddle said. “Plus, I

got paid to learn ping pong.”

While filming on the set of the 2019

movie The Nomads, Riddle received

ANDY RIDDLE

news that he had gotten the part in

Wonder Woman 1984.

All throughout his acting career,

Riddle has had his family and friends

alongside him, even when receiving big

news.

“I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, so

Jessica and I just stupidly grinned at

each other for the rest of the day on

set,” Riddle said. “It was an amazing

feeling knowing I was going from

filming one movie to another.”

Riddle was filming and working on

the set of Wonder Woman for 10 days.

During this time, he was able to gain

valuable insight from a filmmaker that

had looked up to and even studied in

school.

“I did get to work with the director,

Patty Jenkins, who was so sweet and

such a positive energy,” Riddle said.

Jenkins even talked with him about

his character, explaining some of the

symbolism and reasons for including

him.

“My character ‘Donkey Kong Geek’,

was a symbol to help show the film’s

themes of gluttony and greed,” Riddle

said.

Being a part of the Wonder Woman

1984 cast and the cast of various other

films gave Riddle a lot of insight and

inspiration to continue to pursue his

passion in the filmmaking industry.

“I love creating films and I love

acting and just wanting to continue

doing that is probably my main driving

factor,” Riddle said. “It also helps that

my best friends are all in the same field

and we get to share our passions with

each other and encourage what we do.”

What are

your 2021

New Year’s

resolutions?

Podcasting: one student’s quarantine project

CHRISTIANA

KALOKOH

freshman

“Going into 2021, I’m

definitely going to try

to stop letting the little

things bother me and

start living life for myself

and no one else.”

AUDREY NGUYEN

freshman

“In 2021, I want to

spend a lot more time

with my family. I also

want to try and save my

money and spend less

or spend it wisely.”

HANNAH VAUGHN

sophomore

“This year, I want to

keep my grades up

and continue to make

jewelry. I also really

want to try and discover

my fashion style.”

PAOLA ARTERO-

GRANDE

junior

“My New Year’s

resolutions this year are

to do my assignments

on time and to take

care of myself and

practice self care more

often.”

HAO PHAM

junior

“My New Year’s

resolutions are to

get good grades and

manage my work. I also

hope to get my college

stuff sorted out by the

end of the year.”

ISHAT HANNAN

junior

“My resolution for this

New Year is to limit how

often I drink soda. This

resolution is kind of my

first step to trying to

have a healthier diet.”

MITCHELL HUYNH

senior

“My New Year’s

resolution is to practice

better self care. For

starters, I want to try to

drink a lot more water

every day.”

AYAZ AHMED

senior

“I want to spread

happiness, especially

on social media

because I feel like

that’s where our

generation spends a lot

of time.”

BY ELENA LEOPOLD

People Editor

At the beginning of quarantine in

March, students were trying all sorts of

new hobbies and projects.

From learning a new language

to starting a business to beginning a

new sport, the newfound free time had

provided students with the opportunity

to do anything they’d been holding off

on.

Even though everyone is back to

virtual learning now, there is still a good

amount of time to begin something new.

Junior Michael Bekele decided to

take advantage of that and started his

own project, the ABOL podcast.

“During quarantine, I tried a lot of

projects and this was one of them that

stuck,’’ Bekele said.

The idea to create a podcast began

after he was elected student body

president for AHS Class of 2022.

Bekele wanted a way to communicate

with his peers, and he found that in the

form of podcasts.

“After I got elected class president,

I thought a podcast was a great way to

interact with students at AHS,” Bekele

said. “People are posting Instagram

videos and YouTube videos, but I

thought that podcasting was an easier

Michael Bekele and Yoftahe Hailu sit at their podcast recording setup. ““I spent a lot less money on mics and equipment,

which was another reason I chose podcasting over Youtube,” Bekele said.

and more unique way to reach my active on other social media platforms

targeted audience.”

like Instagram and even a YouTube

His friends were quick to support his channel.

new idea.

While starting his channel, the

“After Michael told me, I kind of biggest part, other than coming up with

envisioned it to,” friend and ABOL guest content, was choosing a name.

Yoftahe Hailu said. “We already talk ABOL, the name Bekele settled on,

about some serious stuff all the time was picked to symbolize the tone and

so why not with a mic in front of us to content of the show.

share it with the world?”

In Amharic, abol means the most

Even though the podcast is the unfiltered part of coffee. As the name

biggest and his primary focus, Bekele is suggests, the podcast is chock full of

honest opinions, controversial topics

and candid discussions between Bekele

and guests.

“I want to be unfiltered and talk

about my perspectives with viewers

honestly.”

So far, there have been episodes on

the impacts of social media, racism,

problems within the American school

system, college from a high schooler’s

perspective and other interesting topics.

Bekele’s honest and straightforward

MICHAEL BEKELE

approach to talking about some of these

difficult subjects has drawn hundreds

of listeners worldwide and garnered

10,000 downloads..

ABOL was even ranked in the top

five international podcasts on Apple

Music.

“The growth was incredible. I think

it was because of my audience, which

was mostly people from my home

country, Ethiopia,” Bekele said.

Though time consuming, he hopes to

continue to grow and work on the show,

and is working to get more guests on to

create lots of new content for his viewers

all over the world.

“I see myself continuing the podcast

into college as of right now, but it has

been getting pretty stressful,” Bekele

said.“I think it’s worth it though, I feel

like I’m getting a lot out of it.”

Season two of the ABOL podcast

was just released and all episodes are

available on Spotify, Apple Music,

Amazon and Podchaser.

HUMANS OF

ANNANDALE

In my freshman year at AHS, I joined

the volleyball team. I have been playing for

a total of seven years now, including the two

at school. I’ve also played travel at McLean

Volleyball Club and sometimes coach or

referee for little kids.

If you can’t tell already, volleyball is a

huge part of my life. It’s how I’ve built a ton of

friendships throughout the years and it’s one

of my favorite things in the world. You meet

so many people traveling and going to games,

and it’s such a valuable way to make new

connections.

I’ve come to learn that the volleyball

community, though pretty big, is such a tightknit

group. You can go to a tournament and

see parents, teams and players you met years

ago but still remember. Everyone is always

so friendly and being around other volleyball

people is always such a good time.

This year, I am a member of the National

English Honor Society and National Spanish

Honor Society. I am also a tutor for the

Atoms Writing Center this year. I am in

several IB courses and am pursuing the IB

Camily Salvador Rodriguez

junior

Diploma. In my free time, I’m usually hanging

out with my friends or working out.

After high school, I plan on going to college

and hope to study law or business. I love a

good debate, so I think being a lawyer and

having the ability to help others while doing

something I enjoy would be perfect for me.

I’m so excited for my future. I have great

friends by my side and I know that if I put my

heart into it, the sky’s the limit for me.

I went to school at...

the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in

2013.

I was born in…

Wisconsin

Why did you decide to teach?

From a young age, I was inspired by both of my

parents to enter the profession of teaching.

Where would your dream vacation be?

I absolutely love traveling and would love to visit

any place in the world.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to sleep and read books on any topic.

Getting any free time with kids is pretty difficult

though.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 17 years.

WHO AM I?

What is your favorite quote?

“Little by little, we human beings are

confronted with situations that give us more

and more clues that we are not perfect.” - Mr.

Rogers

Use a QR

Code scanner

to reveal

Who Am I?


Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

HEALTH 9

The modern day effects on body image

The harsh reality

teenagers face due

to social media’s

negative influence

BY SEREENE DARWIESH

Staff Writer

Back in the day, it was uncommon

to hear the phrase “body positivity,”

but now it is all over social media.

There are hundreds of social media

influencers such as Ashley Graham,

Sienna Mae Gomez, and many more

that advocate for body positivity. The

former is a model while the latter is a

TikToker, but despite having different

audiences, they both relay the same

message.

You may be thinking “What is

body positivity?” Body positivity is

a movement that was created to

empower women and men of all sizes

and create a loving and accepting

community.

The movement was created by

black women in the 1960’s and has

become popularized over the years.

In fact, it originally began with the

protesting of discrimination against

overweight individuals.

Sophmore Maya Mann said,“I

mostly use social media to help with

swim and recognition but I don’t

look down on myself because I’m a

swimmer and there are huge physical

differences between a swimmer,

someone who plays soccer, or even

someone who is not physically active.”

“Another factor is I’m healthy as

can be so there’s no reason for me

to be insecure. I don’t think social

media has helped my body image

that much because I’ve always been

pretty confident and I don’t look for

validation in other’s opinions.”

However, social media has not

always been the most positive place

Sophomore Sereene Darwiesh finds herself gazing at a picture of supermodel Kendall Jenner. She feels discouraged

because she cannot relate to the standard body type in front of her.

for the body positivity movement.

For years, the narrative has been

that “skinny” bodies are the beauty

standard and social media plays a big

role in enforcing that.

A big platform both positively

and negatively affecting body image

is TikTok, where many influencers

either promote self-love no matter

what, or create “diet plans” and

“workout routines” for their followers

to attain that “hourglass figure.”

Junior Hana Wasuge has a

different view on this issue,

“To be completely honest, I don’t

really pay attention to influencers

these days and I try and keep a

positive outlook on things.”

Today, many influencers get

cosmetic work done but fail to make

that information public, creating

a false beauty standard for their

followers.

This is extremely harmful,

especially to their younger fans who

start to compare their features to the

false ones their role models portray on

social media.

Although there is no problem

“I constantly

compare

myself to

other girls on

TikTok and

Instagram. I

hate that I do this, but I

can’t stop.”

-ELLIE DAVIS

sophomore

whatsoever with getting cosmetic

work done, these influencers claim to

be 100% natural and push many diet

plans or weight loss pills onto their

followers as well.

“I am constantly comparing

myself to other girls on TikTok and

Instagram. I hate that I do this, but

I can’t stop,” Sophmore Ellie Davis

said.

“It’s honestly really hurtful and I

have gained insecurities due to these

posts.”

Despite that, Davis acknowledges

that she has come across multiple

accounts run by women who

encourage self-love and as a result,

have helped her love herself.

However, she also notes that

“there are days where all I do is

compare myself to social media

influencers, which leads me to hate

how I look.”

There was a study in 2017 run

by Northwestern, on the adolescent

response to social media browsing

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SERENEE DARWIESH

and the results were astonishing,

revealing that teenagers tend to

compare themselves to their following

lists, which can create further

problems such as eating disorders or

mental health issues.

A scientist has even stated that

she believes there is more of an

external pressure pushed on teenage

girls because of social media that has

established an unrealistic beauty

standard.

Unfortunately for teen girls, they

often have a hard time separating

reality from expectations.

There has always been a beauty

standard set for women that is often

unattainable.

For example, in the 1980’s, it was

very common to walk into a grocery

store and see models on magazines

or in movies and they usually all had

the same body type: slim, petite, and

white.

Teens are still constantly reminded

of these standards, but this time it

is due to their frequent use of social

media rather than tangible objects

such as tabloids.

The most recent beauty standard

that was set is the “hourglass figure,”

a body type many teenage girls

find themselves trying to achieve.

Youtubers, for example, are partially

responsible for encouraging these

standards.

During quarantine, Youtuber

ChloeTing’s hourglass abdominal

workout went viral for being mostly

effective, but it also came under fire

for being too intense as well. These

ab workout videos have taken over

many social media platforms such as

TikTok. Many other influencers have

followed ChloeTing’s footsteps and

started making videos of their own.

I believe that who you follow on

social media will impact your body

image because if you are following

body positivity accounts, then you are

more likely to be surrounded by love

coming from people of all shapes and

sizes.

The essentials to achieve self-love

Express yourself

Forgive yourself

Stop the comparisons

Let go

Expression can be articulated in

many different ways such as dressing

up in whatever style you love, the music

you listen to, the books you read, the

people you love, the job you have, and

much more. There are no rules to selfexpression

or being creative, you simply

partake in whatever it is that you love.

The freedom that you achieve from

self-expression is a feeling like no other.

This is also a good way to branch out

and meet new people who share the

same interests and forms of expression

as you.

Through this form of self-love,

you can also find your happy place,

somewhere you feel at ease and truly

satisfied with the moment. They can

range from simply a certain place you

enjoy going to being with the right

people, and expressing yourself is the

perfect way to understand who you are

as a person.

It is quite easy as humans to be

extremely hard on ourselves because

we tend to punish ourselves for past

mistakes and find that is the easiest

way to deal with them.

Instead, trying to take

accountability and learning to forgive

yourself is the healthiest way to cope

with feelings such as regret and guilt.

Understand that part of being

a human being comes with many

different and unique things such as

making mistakes and being imperfect.

Once this idea is accepted, only then

can you truly love yourself for who you

are. Being less hard on yourself when

making a mistake will allow you to

remember that you only learn and grow

from them.

Remember, mistakes are always

lessons and not failures. You can never

change the things you did in the past,

but you can control your future and

look at these mistakes as learning

experiences and believing in the ability

to change for the better.

This is an unhealthy habit that

leads to finding more insecurities about

yourself.

There is no one on this entire planet

like you. Embrace your uniqueness and

understand that the only person you

should be comparing yourself to is you.

Work on bettering yourself as a person

and challenge yourself to be greater.

This mindset allows you to achieve

whatever it is that you desire.

Encapsulate and love the things

that make you different. Although

external beauty is a part of achieving

self-love, internal beauty is just as

important.

Always make your heart the most

beautiful thing about yourself. Once you

realize that who you are as a person is

what matters most, you will slowly but

surely achieve maximum self-love and

appreciation.

You deserve to feel good everyday, so

remember to be nice to yourself. Talk to

yourself in the mirror, put encouraging

sticky notes somewhere visible, or

Perhaps the most important of all

of these is surrounding yourself with

positivity.

As humans, we often associate love

with familiarity even if it hurts because

we are scared of change. If there are

people in your life who bring you

nothing but pain and toxicity, let them

go. It is easier said than done, but try

to understand that these people do not

deserve a place in your life.

There will always be people with

unnecessary opinions who try to make

you feel bad about yourself and a

positive atmosphere is the best way to

get rid of that. So, in the best way you

know, remove yourself from people or

situations that drain you and place

yourself into a loving, supportive

environment.

Maybe this means spending more

time with family, or catching up with

friends every once in a while- whatever

it may be, allow them to embrace you

with positivity and happiness.

Four easy

ways to stay

active

BY MARAM IBRAHIM

Health Editor

Since the rise of COVID-

19, people have been forced

to avoid the gyms and

consequently, they have

had to adjust their exercise

routines as well.

As a result, they have

started working out from

home in order to keep

staying active, which is

especially important now

that most of us are always

at home.

The human body is

designed to constantly move

around, so even taking a

walk or biking can be both

mentally and physically

liberating.

Another reason staying

active is especially important

right now is because exercise

keeps your immune system

healthy.

More importantly,

exercising is a great way to

relieve stress. It is beneficial

for the body, mind, and spirit.

If you find yourself feeling

unmotivated to start, try

not to think of it as exercise

because then it will feel like a

chore. Instead, just consider it

“movement.”

Although we are advised to

avoid gatherings, we can still

easily get the exercise we need

by improvising.

Here are a few easy

workouts to help you stay fit

and safe.

SQUATS PLANKS JUMP ROPE STAIRS

Look for an empty space to

do some squats and luckily

for you, they can be done just

about anywhere. This exercise

is a great example of muscular

strength and has several health

benefits such as strenghtening

your core and lower body

muscles, boosting athletic ability

and strength, and risking injury.

Similar to squats, planks are

also fairly easy to do and can

be done anywhere as well.

They are one of the best core

exercises and are essential in

creating a good workout routine.

Aside from that, planks are also

important in improving your

posture and ridding of back

pain.

Because jump rope is a great

alternative for running, it can be

considered as a cardio activity.

This is because it helps burn

more calories than practically

any other form of cardio. Along

with that, it helps improve

coordination since it requires

more skilled movements such as

quickly swinging the rope.

Like jump rope, running up

and down a set of stairs is also

another beneficial form of cardio.

Because running forces you to

put more pressure on your feet,

stair climbing might be better

because it offers less impact to

the body. Stair climbing also

helps to build endurance and

improve your balance.

ALL PHOTOS BY INSAF BOUZANA


10 SPORTS Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

Cross country coach steps down

Boys cross

country and

distance track

coach moves on

after five years

BY ALEX BURITA

Sports Editor

On the afternoon of Jan. 21, the

boys track and cross country teams

were saddened to hear disappointing

news through an email they received

from Head Coach Dave Ciccarelli.

The contents of the email included

the formal declaration that Ciccarelli

would be stepping down from his

position effective immediately.

“I simply cannot devote the time

and energy that I believe is required to

produce the superior team product that

is expected and deserved,” Ciccarelli

wrote in the email after stating that

his work commitment was the leading

factor in the decision.

Following his departure, Assistant

Cross Country Coach Ryan Willis will

assume coaching duties for both cross

country and boys distance track.

Willis began coaching cross country

as an assistant in the summer of 2019,

The boys cross country team celebrates a district championship in 2018, which would be their second title in a row.

playing a massive role in assisting the

team to a second place conference finish

and a fourth place regional finish last

year.

In his five years of coaching,

Ciccarelli has remarkably turned the

team into a top regional contender,

a team that nearly secured state

qualification on numerous occasions.

Some of his many achievements

include back to back conference

championships in 2017 and 2018,

a very close 2nd place finish in the

district in 2019, as well as a fourth place

finish in the regional meet in 2019, a

performance which failed to qualify for

states by a mere 13 points.

Throughout Ciccarelli’s time at

Annandale, runners have enjoyed

many unforgettable moments under his

ALEX BURITA

coaching.

Senior Peyton Buckley has been on

the team for the last four years and has

amassed fond memories that he reflects

on with positivity.

“The best memory that I have of

coach was him always cheering me on

during races. Out of everyone who was

cheering you can always count on him

being the loudest,” Buckley said.

Ciccarelli has been impactful for

the team in ways other than racing

successfully. He has also emphasized

the importance of growth as a person.

“As for his impact on me, he made me

a better person and always encouraged

me to do better.

In short, he made the entire team

better than we were before, as a team

and as people,” Buckley said.

As a final note, Ciccarelli added that

although he would not be at practice

every day, he will not completely

disappear.

“I’ll stay in touch with the staff

and you may see me at a meet or two,”

Ciccarelli concluded in his email.

He also wished the team the best

of luck moving forward and stated

his confidence that the team’s goal of

qualifying for the state meet would be

achieved soon.

The team is now just a few weeks

away from a new cross country season

where those hopes will once again be put

to the test.

For now, no one knows what may

end up happening but we should hope it

will be a successful season.

“The team has trained very hard and

we hope we can show of the tremendous

improvemnt the runners have made

in the offseason,” senior cross country

runner Bennett Stenberg said.

How athletes are affected by playing with masks

Student athletes

share their

opinions regarding

the usage of masks

in competitions

BY ANDREW NIELDS

Staff Writer

School sports are extremely

important to student athletes as they

are provided with opportunities to learn

new things and play the sport they love.

Also, other students have the chance to

support their classmates and school by

attending the games being played.

However, a different experience

for athletes arises this school year as

athletes are required to wear masks

during practices, team meetings, and in

some cases, games.

The precautionary measures are

put in place by VHSL so athletes

can be the safest they possibly can

while participating in activities and

competitions with their team.

“It is [playing basketball with a

mask] mostly fine, it is a little hard to

breath and can get tiring,” said junior

Zakariase Nebeyu.

The Atoms are currently 7-2 (at

time of publishing), nearing the end

of the regular season. The Annandale

The boys varsity basketball team huddles up during a timeout in their 72-53 win against Mount Vernon on Jan. 14.

basketball program has been practicing

social distancing and has followed the

strict

Covid protocol by taking turns using

the gym to limit excess interaction.

All equipment is thoroughly sanitized

before games and between usage by

different teams.

“I feel safe, but at the same time you

never know with the pandemic,” said

Nebeyu.

Winter track athletes have also

had to adapt to these precautionary

measures. The track season was

temporarily halted due to a suspected

Covid-19 case, but quickly resumed and

meets began to take place once again.

During the beginning of the practice

season, many athletes and parents

voiced their opinions on wearing a mask

during such vigorous running practices

as the athletes could be put at health

risks.

“It’s [wearing a mask] more difficult

and kind of annoying but if it stops the

spread of Covid, I am more than happy

to wear them,” said sophomore shotput

thrower Catherine Connell.

In order to keep all track athletes

as safe as possible, there are only three

ANDREW NIELDS

teams per event and the meets are held

at an outdoor track.

However, just because there are

several precautionary measures put

in place does not mean that everyone

thinks running is completely safe.

“I feel a bit safer wearing masks but

I’m still worried about the spread of

Covid,” Connell said.

Another winter sport that has made

drastic changes is wrestling. Wrestlers

are not currently required to wear a

mask when they are wrestling, but still

have the option to compete with a mask

if they feel the need to.

“On match days you have to wear

a mask the whole time unless you are

wrestling. We also sanitize every 10

minutes when we are in contact with

another wrestler,” said sophomore

Marcelo Pozo.

Finally, the swimming program has

undergone many alterations. Swimmers

are not able to swim in masks, so extra

safety measures are put in place to keep

them safe.

They must stay socially distanced

from each other when swimming, as

there are gaps in between lanes so

athletes can be as separated as possible.

Team members must also wear a

mask at all times, except for when they

are in the pool.

“I feel pretty safe, despite the

circumstances of Covid because of how

well maintained things are this year.

Everything is done in an orderly fashion

so we all follow the safety guidelines,”

said sophomore Thomas Nugen.

Overall records and upcoming competitions for winter sports

Boys basketball:

Overall record: 7-2

Upcoming matches:

Vs. Hayfield on Feb. 2

Vs. West Potomac on Feb. 3

@ Mount Vernon on Feb. 5

Girls basketball:

Overall record: 1-6

Upcoming matches:

Vs. Mount Vernon on Jan. 27

Vs. West Potomac on Jan. 30

@ Hayfield on Feb. 1

Boys swim/dive:

Overall record: 3-2

Upcoming matches:

District finals: Jan. 29 to

Jan. 30 @ Lee District Park

Sophomore guard Andrew Nields dribbles

in the Atoms fall league game on Oct. 23.

The Atoms score a free throw in their 40-34

win against justice on Dec. 23.

@atomsathletics

@atomsathletics

@atomsathletics

Wrestling:

Overall record: Not recorded

Upcoming matches:

@ West Springfield on Jan. 27

Vs. West Springfield on Feb. 1

District final on Feb. 5

Indoor track

Overall record: Not recorded

Upcoming matches:

@ Hayfield on Jan. 30

@ Mount Vernon on Feb. 6

Girls swim/dive

Overall record: 2-3

Upcoming matches:

District finals: Jan. 29 to

Jan. 30 @ Lee District Park

Sophomore Marcelo Pozo wrestles a Hayfield

opponent.

Boys track win their 4x200 heat with a time

of 1:37.62.

@atomsathletics

@atomsathletics

@atomsathletics

The swim team celebrates their Iron Atom

winners.

The Atoms celebrate senior night on Jan. 8.


Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

Significant Lunar New Year traditions

Students celebrate Lunar New Year

BY UYEN HUYNH

International Editor

UYEM HUYNH

UYEN HUYNH

VIVIAN PHAN

As February rolls in, there are many

AHS students that are preparing to

celebrate another holiday that marks

the start of a new year.

Lunar New Year is commonly

celebrated in some east asian

countries, like China, Vietnam, and

Korea. This year, Lunar New Years

will begin on Feb. 14th.

Since the date is determined by the

first new moon on the lunar calendar,

the day that the holiday falls on each

year changes.

AHS students love this time of year

because they are able to celebrate with

their family and enjoy fun traditions

that will help them get in touch with

their roots.

“For Lunar New Years, my family

usually visits our temple to say some

prayers, help out the community, and

exchange red envelopes,” junior Lynni

Do said.

“My favorite part is watching

the dragon dancing at festivals and

receiving red envelopes,” junior

Cassandra Quach said.

Lunar New Years also allows

students to be able to enjoy delicious

foods that belong to their families’

cultures. Some students also have the

joy of making them.

“My favorite part [of Lunar New

Years] is getting to eat a lot of good

food made by my mom and dad,” junior

Michelle Zhou said.

Exchanging Red Envelopes

Receiving red envelopes is a tradition

that is favored by many kids. During

Lunar New Years, adults give kids red

envelopes filled with money. The red

color of the envelopes represent good

luck and prosperity. The envelopes vary

greatly in design. Some are simplistic

while some have intricate designs of

dragons and flowers.

Watching Dragon Dances

Watching dragon dances is a tradition

that everyone enjoys. These dances are

performed at festivals. The dragon

costume is a dragon head and a long

piece of fabric to represent the body.

Sometimes people will feed money into

the dragon’s mouth as it dances. The

dragon symbolizes power, wisdom, and

wealth, and the dance is performed to

bring good luck and wealth.

Attending Festivals

During the Lunar New Years season,

there are many festivals held to

celebrate the holiday. At the festivals,

people can watch dragon dances and

fireworks, eat New Year’s foods, and

buy things from a marketplace. The

festivals are always decorated with red

or yellow lanterns and flowers. People

who attend the festivals also dress up

in traditional clothing.

The far left picture is of a red envelope. The middle picture is a dragon costume worn

during dragon dances on Lunar New Years. The far right picture is of red lanterns.

Different cultures tend to eat

different foods to celebrate. In Chinese

culture, hot pot is traditionally eaten.

Zhou’s family always prepares hot

pot with delicious and expensive meats

for Lunar New Years. Aside from hot

pot, her family also enjoys dumplings

and tang yuan, which is a ball of dough

made from rice flour and has a filling

inside.

“My favorite tradition is making

tang yuan and dumplings with my

mom,” Zhou said. “My favorite food

would be tang yuan because of how

much it reminds me of my childhood.

In Vietnamese culture, a common

food that just about everybody eats

during Lunar New Years is banh

chung.

Do usually makes banh chung with

her family as a tradition.

Do also enjoys eating mooncakes,

which are small and round cakes with

nuts, bean paste, lotus root paste, and

egg yolk.

“During Lunar New Years, my

favorite thing to eat are Chinese

Mooncakes,” Do said. “The roundness

is supposed to symbolize togetherness.”

Lunar New Years is usually a very

Wearing Traditional Outfits

In different cultures, different types of

clothing are worn to celebrate Lunar

New Years. In Vietnamese culture

everyone wears an ao dai. In Chinese

culture people wear qipaos, and in

korean culture people wear hanboks.

However, if someone doesn’t want to

wear traditional clothing, they can wear

red clothing to symbolize good fortune

and joy.

Making Foods With Family

Lunar New Years is a time of amazing

cultural foods. A lot of people enjoy

making certain dishes for their

family to have on New Years day. In

Vietnamese culture, many people will

make a dish called banh chung. Banh

chung is a sticky rice cake with a

filling. Savory banh chung has a mung

bean and pork filling while a sweet

banh chung is filled with bananas.

Eating Big Feasts

Enjoying big family dinners with

delicious foods is a tradition that

everyone enjoys for each holiday and

Lunar New Years is no exception.

What a family eats for this holiday

can depend on their culture or their

own family. In Chinese culture, many

families will eat hot pot to celebrate,

Vietnamese people will usually eat

braised pork belly and banh chung.

social holiday where every relative

comes together to celebrate. However,

with the pandemic still among us, it

might be different this year.

Many AHS families who celebrate

this holiday will have to find a safer

way to do that while meeting health

guidelines. They may have to put some

of their regular traditions on pause.

In other years, many AHS students

have enjoyed a huge dinner with many

of their relatives to kick off the new

year together, however, it is unsafe to

have such a massive gathering this

year.

“I have dinner at my grandmother’s

house with the whole family every year

where we eat traditional foods that are

going to bring good luck to our lives,”

Quach said. “This year we plan to just

eat in our own separate houses so we

don’t risk our safety as well as others.”

Do usually makes banh chung to

enjoy in the company of her families

and friends won’t have the pleasure of

doing that this year.

“With the pandemic going on this

year, my family will just be making

bánh chng at home, and then

dropping them off at our friend’s and

family’s houses,” Do said.

Regardless of the pandemic or not,

students won’t let it bring down their

spirits.

Even though many traditions will

be modified, the important thing about

Lunar New Years to many students

is being able to spend time with loved

ones.

INTERNATIONAL 11

Around the world

China

History was made on Jan.

16 as Lai Chi-wai, a man

with Paraplegia, climbs up

the Nina Tower in Hong

Kong. Lai managed to climb

the 89-storey skyscraper

by pulling himself and his

wheelchair using a rope

and pulley system. Lai was

unsuccessful in making it all

the way to the top, however,

after 10 hours, he was able to

climb 250 meters. His purpose

for climbing the Nina Tower

was to raise money for spinal

cord patients. His efforts

helped raise $670,639. Lai

was previously a champion

rock climber before he was

left paralyzed due to a car

accident. However, he hasn’t

let that stop him and still

finds a way to climb in his

wheelchair.

United Kingdom

The Salisbury Cathedral in

England has been turned into

a Covid-19 vaccination center.

One unique thing about this

vaccination center is that while

people are getting vaccinated,

organ music is played in the

church. People that fit in

the over-80 age group are

encouraged to come to the

cathedral to get their vaccine.

So far, over 3.23 million people

have gotten the first dose of

the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ghana

Covid-19 cases are severely

increasing in Ghana and

even new strains of the virus

are being discovered, such

as the highly contagious

variant of the virus that was

first discovered in Britain.

As this happens, President

Nana Akufo-Addo expresses

his concern of the country’s

health system getting

overwhelmed. As a second

wave hits the nation, more

and more Covid-19 treatment

centers are getting full rapidly.

Ghana hasn’t reached a peak

that was seen in the first

wave, however, the country

is heading towards it at the

infection rate that it’s at.

Indonesia

Indonesia faced a 6.2

magnitude earthquake on

Jan. 15. The earthquake so far

has left 84 people dead, 253

people seriously injured, and

679 people minorly injured.

After the initial earthquake,

aftershocks still rumbled

through the island. In addition,

the earthquake triggered three

landslides. The earthquake

caused tremendous damage.

It flattened buildings trapping

numerous people. Search and

rescue teams are continuing to

search for the trapped people.

Immigrant stories: coming to America

VICTORIA NGUYEN

CASSANDRA QUACH UYEN HUYNH

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY UYEN HUYNH

Junior Biruk Asmare immigrates from Ethiopia to the United States

BY UYEN HUYNH

International Editor

Junior Biruk Asmare immigrated to

the United States in 2013 when he was

10 years old.

He immigrated all the way from

Ethiopia with his family.

His parents came here with their

children’s future in mind.

Similar to many other AHS families

that have immigrated to the United

States, his family came here seeking for

better educational oppurtunities.

The first time that Asmare arrived,

many different emotions were going

through him.

“When I first arrived in the U.S. I was

having mixed emotions because I was

unhappy with everything I left behind but

also excited to start a new life,” Asmare

said.

Having to leave his life in Ethiopia

behind and moving to a new country

wasn’t something that he was happy

with.

“I was disappointed because it was

a sudden change and I had to leave

my school, family, and friends behind,”

Asmare said.

Immigrating at a young age allowed

Asmare to adjust to a new environment

and culture without any major obstacles.

“I did not have trouble adjusting to

life in the U.S. because I was still in

elementary school and I made friends

easily,” Asmare said.

He also didn’t face a language

barrier like most other kids that have

immigrated to a new country do.

He had the opportunity of learning

English in his old school so he knew it

pretty well.

According to Asmare, the way that

people live their lives in both countries is

different.

“I noticed that life in the U.S. is a

lot more simplified than in Ethiopia,”

Asmare said.

He also notices that the school systems

in the United States are very different

from the one in Ethiopia

“Here we go to school for 12 years

but in Ethiopia kids go to school for less

years,” Asmare said.

Asmare appreciates his parents efforts

of bringing his family here to give them

a better opportunity education wise and

life wise.

Being able to have limitless choices

for his future is one of the things that he

enjoys most about living in the United

States.

“I like how there are a lot of

opportunities for a person to become

successful in what they want to do,”

Asmare said.

In school Asmare takes full advantage

of his education and challenges himself

with IB classes this school year.

He is also an IB diploma candidate.

In addition, outside of school Asmare

is a member of the AHS track team.

Even though Asmare is pretty happy

with his life here now, he still misses

some of the perks that he had when living

in Ethiopia.

“I missed being able to enjoy my family

and friends that were always around me

back in Ethiopia,” Asmare said.

Asmare hasn’t really had the chance

to visit Ethiopia ever since he first

immigrated, however he really wants to

in the future.

Junior Biruk Asmare takes a picture staring at the camera.

BIRUK ASMARE


12 ENTERTAINMENT

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021

WandaVision already a hit

A Marvel based sitcom

on Disney+ has

students intrigued

BY DESMOND FITZGERALD

Staff Writer

After remaining relatively silent

through 2020, Marvel studios opened

up in 2021 with WandaVision, a sitcom

based on Wanda Maximoff, otherwise

known as Scarlet Witch, and Vision.

WandaVision stars Elizabeth Oleson

and Paul Bettany, with supporting

actors including Kathryn Hahn, Fred

Melamed, Debra Jo Rupp, and the yetto-be-seen

Evan Peters, who will most

likely be reprising his role as Quicksilver.

On the surface, Wandavision is a

comedy in the style of late 40’s early

50’s sitcoms, complete with black and

white pictures, studio audience, and

stiff camera placements.

However, when you dig a little deeper,

there is a lot more going on under

the surface than you may expect.

WandaVision is a uniquely fun

blend of I Love Lucy, The Truman

Show, and Twin Peaks. While the lighthearted

tone and frequent corny dialogue

might lull you into a sense of nostalgic

comfort, don’t be mistaken.

There is something deeply sinister

going on beneath the surface here.

The first episode establishes the location,

the characters, and the tone of the

show, with a fairly boilerplate plot that

involves a dinner party gone wrong.

However, when Visions boss Mr. Hart

starts choking, things start to get a little

creepy.

Episode two focuses on a talent

show gone wrong. Wanda and Vision

are struggling to fit in as they meet

their new neighbors, but eventually win

BY DESMOND FITZGERALD

Staff Writer

them over.

There are a couple of brief moments

of weirdness in this episode, but the

creepy aspect doesn’t kick in until the

end, where, with the least amount of

spoilers possible, things start to get

weird. Color starts to kick in, strange

thumps can be heard, and there is

a reveal towards the end that, quite

frankly, I still don’t understand.

The way that both the camera and

the actors adapt to the many different

tones of this show is really impressive.

Going from cheesy Leave It To Beaver

levels of overacting to extreme discomfort

at the drop of a hat is not an easy

feat for any actor.

The stiff, stationary sitcom camera

switching to tight close-ups of freaking

out characters is downright unsettling.

There is something fluid about

the way this show can switch its tones

so effortlessly. For me, Debra Jo Rupp

steals the first episode with a horrifying,

Kubrick level freakout.

The way that both the camera and

the characters react to what’s going on

gives an almost meta feel to WandaVision.

The first two episodes leave the

viewer with a ton of questions, and it’s

intentional.

The way that information is slowly

revealed and laced so seamlessly into

the sitcom facade feels almost David

Lynch to me.

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan

of Marvel, but WandaVision has my

mouth watering for episode 3.

I can’t wait to see where the series is

going, and for it to explain what half of

it even means.

My only hope for WandaVision is

that it doesn’t dumb itself down. I hope

it continues to confuse me and not show

me its full hand, and I hope that some

Watchlist of the Issue

questions never get good answers.

A sitcom was the perfect framework

for this story, something so lighthearted

and innocent that it feels like

the darker aspects is truly invasive.

“It’s slow, and there’s a lot of buildups,

but I’m excited to see what the

result of it all is,” said junior Audrey

Barnes. “It’s gonna be cool to finally

understand what’s happening with

Wanda, and why she and Vision are

even in that town in the first place.”

Other students aren’t as sold.

“Honestly it was really weird”, said

senior Lizzie Earhart “I’m not invested

yet, but it has potential. I like the

sitcom parts,” she added, “They were

funny and creative to me.”

Wandavision is released weekly

and is set to have 9 episodes in season

one. Wandavision is a must-watch for

any Marvel fan who’s in for a mystery.

Lana Del Ray releases controversial statements

Singer Lana Del Rey is surely no

stranger to controversy, as last year

brought her fair share of hate from

the online community. This came as a

result of her spreading comments that

seemingly played down the success of

other women in the music industry,

as well as trying to paint herself as a

victim.

“Now that Doja Cat, Ariana

(Grande), Camila (Cabello), Cardi B,

Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé

have had number ones with songs

about being sexy, wearing no clothes,

(expletive), cheating, etc. — can I

please go back to singing about being

embodied, feeling beautiful by being

in love even if the relationship is not

perfect, or dancing for money — or

whatever I want — without being crucified

or saying that I’m glamorizing

abuse?” said Lana in an Instagram

post last May.

She also was caught wearing a

mesh mask to meet some of her fans

last October, (which she defended by

saying it was plastic on the inside,

which is equally ineffective).

Other controversies include her

beef with Azelia Banks in 2018,

where she stated “Banks. u coulda

Both Wanda and Vision are played by the same actors in the movies, Elizabeth Olsen (right) and Paul Betanny (left).

been the greatest female rapper alive

but u blew it. Don’t take it out on the

only person who had ur back.”

In a tweet, as well as constant bombardment

from the internet and music

industry alike for her at times sexist

lyrics that can glorify abuse, and promote

gender roles and stereotypes.

She also got in a pretty nasty fight

with some writers at NPR in September

of 2019, saying “So don’t call yourself

a fan like you did in the article and

don’t count your editor one either – I

may never have made bold political or

cultural statements before- because my

gift is the warmth I live my life with

and the self-reflection I share generously.”

Lana has been in hot water before.

The most recent batch of controversy

comes from the reveal of the album

cover for her upcoming album “Chemtrails

Over The Country Club”, which

featured Lana and her (mostly white)

friends sitting around a table. Some

people took issue with her premature

apology, where she seemingly patronized

people who were upset with the

lack of diversity.

“In 11 years working I have always

been extremely inclusive without even

trying to. My best friends are rappers

and my boyfriends have been rappers.

My dearest friends have been from all

over the place,” in the comments of

her Instagram post earlier this

month, as well as saying that

“The madness of Trump, as bad

as it was, really needed to happen.”

Lana said in her apology.

With two controversies

already this year, some fans are

starting to get sick of Lana’s public

persona.

“It’s getting harder and harder

to support her. She just won’t stop

getting herself in trouble” says

sophomore Chelsi Lilli, “as much

as I love her music, she doesn’t

make it easy to be a Lana Del Rey

fan”.

Other fans just stopped caring.

“At the end of the day, I like her

music. I stopped listening to what

she says outside of it, and just try

to separate the art from the artist”

says freshman Molly Chichester,

“as long as I like her music,

I’m gonna listen to it”.

Chemtrails Over The Country

Club iswforrelease on March

19th, with the self-titled single

dropping earlier this week to critical

and fan approval. This will be

Lana’s 6th studio album, following

2019’s critically acclaimed and

Oscar Nominated Norman F------

Rockwell.

Disney releases

new upcoming

titles for Disney+

BY TYLER PLANK

Entertainment Editor

Disney+ released several titles

in December that are set to come

out throughout this year and 2022

We got the first taste of a new Disney+

show, WandaVision (see the

main article) which has been successful

so far. Although Wanda-

Vision was a big hit, the dump of

new shows and movies seems like

a 50/50.

Some of the new content seems

far-fetched and ridiculous. A prequel

to Beauty and the Beast, a

TV show based off “The Sandlot,”

a TV show for “Zootopia,”shows

based around Disney Princesses,

Tiana and Moana, a new Mighty

Ducks, a new “Cars” TV series, a

new Aladdin spin-off, a live-action

Pinnochio, another Peter Pan

movie, and a list of unnecessary

Star Wars show all seem either

unnecessary or just white noise.

The other problem also is that I

only listed maybe half of the new

teased shows without including

Marvel.

Star Wars will have shows

based on the Mandalorian, past

characters or events that were

minuscule and just seem like tools

to make another million dollars

off the beloved movie series.

Marvel is releasing a bunch

of content that plays the guessing

game. They even have a show

that will be based around how different

events would’ve ended up

had they gone a different way.

Which is lazy creativity, just to

rewrite stuff that didn’t need to be

re-written is completely unnecessary

and boring.

They’re also releasing a new

tv show based around the character

Loki, which may as well

be described as a way to get

back their teenage girl viewers.

Although WandaVision has started

out promising, it begs the question

if Marvel should take a step

back and say they’ve done everything

they can with the Avengers.

“I am excited about the new

Loki series,” said junior Madeline

Dosen. “I am a huge Marvel fan

and I think that Loki is one of the

coolest characters in the MCU.

It will be interesting to see what

happened to him and what his

storyline will be.”

As far as good things, the new

Pixar shows based around Monsters

Inc. and Dug from Up seem

nice and classic for something

Pixar has done very well at. Pixar

is finally exploring the TV show

era.

Disney+ will release the

shows within the next two years.

Fans can only hope there are

a lot more hits than misses.

Playlist of the Issue

Cobra Kai (2018-) Pixar Popcorn (2021)

A new season is out with A series of shorts from

anticipation, may be time various Pixar movies

to watch it for a recap. throughout the years.

(Netflix).

(Disney+).

The Sopranos (1999) Marvel Legends (2021)

A show about a Mob in A show that plays highlights

New Jersey and New York

of characters and

City, arguably one of the moments you may have

best shows ever.

forgotten about in the

(HBO Max).

Avenger’s series (Disney+).

WAITING ON A WAR

Foo FIghters

Medicine at Midnight (2021)

Dave Grohl reflects on times when

he thought a war would start and

living in fear near Washington DC.

DRIVER’S LICENSE

Olivia Rodrigo

Driver’s License (2021)

Olivia Rodrigo sings about her

most recent break up and the

song has gone insanely viral on

Social Media.

BANG!

AJR

Bang! (2020)

The group of brothers released

this song that is still topping

chart for months now. A very

catchy tune.

Willow

Taylor Swift

Evermore (2020)

Tyaylor Swift released her second

quarentine album, even though

it wasn’t recieved as well as the

first, it still brought this hit.

Wonder Woman 84

(2020)

A sequel to the first

Wonder Woman, first

movie out in theaters ina

while, plus a scene shot at

the local Landmark Mall

(HBO Max).

Chris Rock Total

Blackout (2021)

After Chris Rock released

“Tamborine,” he released

a new uncut version that

is still funny (Netflix).

Alien Worlds (2020) Nightstalker (2021)

A documentary about how

alien planets and spieces

look based of theoretical

evidence (Netflix).

A documentary series

about a serial killer

in Los Angekes an d

how they stopped him.

(Netflix)

ZEUS FT. WHITE GOLD

Eminem

Music To Be Murdered By (2020)

Eminem released this song which

disses everyone from MGK to

Snoop Dogg. Eminem unleashes

his beef.

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