Issue #8



Annandale High School’s

4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003


Informing the Atoms since 1954

Wed., May 26, 2021 Vol. 66 Issue #8


schools to

be vaccine



Staff Writer

AHS custodial staff members clean and disinfect the cafeteria desks, which were put in to follow social distancing guidelines.

School year ends with a promise

FCPS announces 2021-22 school year will return to ‘pre-covid’ normal


Co-Editor in Chief

The school year is finally over.

Summer is almost upon us and Covid-

19 regulations are starting to become

less strict.

The plans for the 2021-22 school

year are still being drawn up. However,

one thing is certain; the next school

year will have students return to the

five days a week, in-person instruction


“This year has been extremely

challenging. However, I couldn’t be

more proud of the students and staff

at Annandale High School who overcame

all the adversity to have a successful

school year,” AHS principal

Shawn DeRose said.

Students do have the option to

request to stay in virtual learning, but

they need to be approved by AHS to

be able to. There are only a few circumstances

where a student will be

able to stay virtual. One of which is

medical reasons. As of May 21, only

three students at AHS have been

approved for virtual instruction.

“I hope I’ll be teaching students in

a real physics classroom, safely, and

not limited to digital demos and video

recorded labs,” physics teacher David

Tyndall said. “You won’t get the ideal

Physics experience just through You-

Tube, GoogleDocs, and HTML5 -- Physics

should be real and tangible, and I’m

very ready to bring it back to the classroom

once it’s safe to do so.”

While next

year will be

returning to

a pre-covid

normal, some


like wearing

a mask and

social distancing,

may still

be in place.


and staff will

find out more

about covid


after June 15.

“While I

am still concerned about another flare

up in cases, I am looking forward to

having everyone back in the building,”

English teacher Sasha Duran said. “It’ll

make communication and outreach so

much easier between teachers and students,

and students and their peers—

I’m hopeful that my students will be

more engaged and enthusiastic about

learning with and from each other and


This year was full of challenges.

Teachers and students had to adapt to

virtual learning and overcome many


“Pandemic teaching was a huge

challenge, of

course. But

like a lot of students

and colleagues,

I’ve had

to manage that

on top of external


my father’s

death, keeping

“This year has

been extremely



I couldn’t be

more proud

of the students and staff at

Annandale High School...”


AHS Principal

my 1 year-old

daughter safe,

worrying about

my wife’s health

while she works

at a hospital,

and so on. And

of course, I’m

always trying to be mindful that some

students and colleagues are struggling

through similar or even more traumatic

experiences,” Tyndall said.

Summer school will also be available

this year and is being held at

schools all across the county. It will

be held in-person with students still

required to social distance and wear

masks. Summer school will start in late


“At first, the school year was off to

a rocky start since everyone had to get

used to distanced learning. I eventually

got used to it and it was not so bad,”

junior Nathan Ong said. “It was more of

a struggle to stay focused and not getting

behind on assignments. Now that

the year is almost over, I feel like I can

start to relax, especially now that finals

can only improve your grade.”

FCPS has given students a lot of leeway

in regards to grading. Throughout

the year, teachers were not allowed to

give zeros. The lowest score they could

give was a 50 out of 100. This was used

if a student did not turn in their assignments.

“It was so hard to get a hold of some

of my students this year, even with

the help of other teachers and counselors.

It’s been really disheartening lately

to look at my gradebook and see that

there are students who, no matter how

I try to encourage them to meet with

me and catch up on work, seem to have

given up on the year,” Duran said. “In

an ordinary year, this can be largely

avoided by in-person face-to-face talks,

but this year it has just been hard. I

can not help my students who ghost

because I literally can’t find them.”


As eligibility for the COVID-19

vaccine continues to expand, AHS

looks to help students get vaccinated

by partnering with the Fairfax

County Health Department to

bring a vaccine clinic to Annandale.

On May 27, students aged 12+

who registered for their vaccination

will be able to receive their

first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech

vaccine at Annandale High School.

The vaccine is free of charge and all

students are highly encouraged to

get the vaccine if available to you.

Students were required to be

registered by a parent or guardian

and have a written consent form

provided as well.

“When I saw there was an

opportunity to get vaccinated while

at my school I made sure to register

immediately. It’s really cool

that they have made it so convenient

for us students to get the vaccine

and help our school stay safe,”

freshman Zach Plank said.

The vaccine will be distributed

from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May

27. In-person learning students

will have their normal classes and

bell schedule around their vaccination


Students who participate in

school virtually will provide their

own transportation to and from

Annandale, and students from

other FCPS schools that have registered

for the vaccine at AHS will

have access to transportation to

and from their school and Annandale.

“I have personally gotten both

shots of my vaccine, however, I

did encourage some of my friends

to register for their vaccine at

Annandale and encourage everyone

in general to get the vaccine to

help protect themselves and their

family, as well as the community

around them,” sophomore Kaylee

Rivera said.

The Fairfax County Health

Department has also announced

that there will be 9 other vaccination

clinics spread out across the

county at schools from May 25

through June 9. This comes as a

result of an outpouring of vaccine


This is a great opportunity for

students to get their vaccination

and to continue keeping their families

and communities safe.






Co-Editor in Chief

The Filament Magazine is a literary

magazine published by students

in Creative Writing classes. It

compiles creative works from AHS

students and focuses on original art

and writing.

The type of material the Filament

publishes is broad. It can be

fiction or no-fiction. Most of the time

they publish what has been submitted.

The most common works are

poetry, plays, personal essays, and

short fiction.

“We’d love to eventually include

comics/cartoons and short screenplays,”

Filament Magazine adviser

Soo Jin Lee said.

The Filament Magazine also

produces Poetry Slams and Coffee

House. Coffee House is an open-mic

type event which has students go

up on stage and perform their work.

This can be anything from music

and comedy to poetry and dance.

This year the Filament Magazine

will be published online and will

come out around June 11. It is normally

around 40 pages.

Due to Covid-19, the Filament

staff was unable to publish last

spring. Virtual learning also created

challenges for the staff.

“Luckily, we have been able to

meet online, and so it has worked

out fine. This was the first year having

two classes of Creative Writing

instead of just one. In a way, that

has worked out well. We have more

people writing pieces for the magazine,”

Lee said.

Follow @thefilamentmagazine

on instaram to stay up to date with

their announcements.

Multiple teachers set to retire

Six staff members

are leaving AHS at the

end of the year


Editorials Editor

As the school year comes to an end,

many teachers are wishing Annandale

farewell as they begin the new chapters

of their lives by retiring.

History teacher Jonathan York, history

teacher Joe Valentino, science

teacher Marcia Bellamy, English teacher

Caitlyn Hughes, librarian Meagen

Padget, and special education teacher

Nikki Worrell are all bidding their

good-byes to Annandale at the end of

this school year.

York, Valentino, and Bellamy are

all retiring, while Hughes, Padgett, and

Worrell are continuing their career in

different schools.

York has been at Annandale High

School for 26 years and has created a

great deal of memories.

“My favorite memories would be giving

the commencement speech at DAR,

and most importantly, my daily lunches

with the social studies department. We

had so much fun together,” York said.

York looks forward to not having to

stress over school work and go fishing

wherever he wants.

One thing he will miss about

Annandale is having fun in the classroom

while working with students.

Valentino has spent 25 years teaching

at Annandale. Some of his favorite

memories come from being in student/teacher

theatre productions like

“Laugh-In” and “The Sound of Music.”

“I am looking forward to not having

to do all the cumbersome yet crucial

administrative or bookkeeping tasks.

They take you away from actual teaching

which I so enjoyed,” Valentino said.

One thing Valentino will miss

about teaching at Annandale is the

Three teachers are retiring at the end of the year; Marcia Bellamy, Jonathan York, and Joe Valentino. Three teachers are

also leaving AHS to continue their careers elsewhere; Caitlyn Hughes, Meagan Padgett, and Nikki Worrell.

atmosphere of the school.

“The camaraderie of the social studies

teachers was always supportive

and enjoyable. Just as enjoyable was

the engagement of students in classthe

give and take, the questions and

answers, and the pupil excitement of

simulations of events like the French

Revolution or the Chinese Cultural Revolution,”

Valentino said.

Bellamy will also be parting ways

with Annandale this year.

Bellamy has been working at

Annandale High School since 2012, but

she began working in Fairfax County in

2000 at Falls Church High School.

Some of her favorite memories center

around lab activities in her biology

and anatomy classes.

“While teaching about STEM cells I

use the tiny flatworms: planaria…their

whole body is full of regenerative cells.

When you cut one worm in three pieces

you get three new worms! The second

is taking my human anatomy classes

to INOVA Hospital Cardiac Dome

to view open heart surgery, and hosting

the last Red-Cross Blood Mobile at

AHS, where we almost broke records in

collections. We were determined to do

so in the Spring of 202 then Quarantine

happened!” Bellamy said.

Bellamy looks forward to sleeping

late, sitting on her back porch in North

Carolina and sipping sweet tea.

One thing Bellamy will miss about

teaching at Annandale is seeing all of

her students.

“The students! I remember the

‘pre-pandemic days’, standing at my

doorway, greeting everyone that walked

by, surprising many unsuspecting

students with a “good morning” and

expecting a response!” Bellamy said.

“Also, I will miss staying late and arriving

early to my classroom and getting to

know the awesome Custodial staff!”

Hughes has been teaching at AHS

for one year. She came to AHS from the

JMU graduate program. She will be

moving to Fort Polk, Louisiana because

her husband is stationed there with the


Padgett will be leaving to take a

library position at Independence HS in

Loudon County.

Lastly, Worrell is leaving AHS to

teach at a school in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Her husband is in the military and

was recently stationed there.





freedom of




Editorials Editor

Many people believe that athletes

and celebrities shouldn’t talk about

politics because it ruins the industry.

This has prevented public figures

from being able to express themselves

freely without backlash.

Recently, more and more people

have been pushing for public figures to

use their platforms for good use and to

spread awareness about current events.

On the other hand, there has been

a new vendetta against celebrities and

athletes speaking out against political

issues and it’s affecting their free


The International Olympic

Committee revealed its policy on no

demonstrations on the field of play,

during official ceremonies and at the


Black Lives Matter apparel was

added to the list of banned items,

and this caused outrage in many


Many users on TikTok and Twitter

argued that BLM is not a political

issue, it’s a human rights issue.

The ban on BLM apparel was

completely unjustified.

This is not the first time athletes

were permitted from expressing their

freedom of speech.

Former San Francisco 49ers

“ It’s a fight for

equal human rights

and an end to police




quarterback, Colin Kapernick protested

the oppression of black people in

America by taking a knee.

He faced extreme backlash from

fans, coaches and politicians as well.

By the end of the 2016 season,

Kapernick opted out of his contract

after being blackballed by NFL coaches.

Politicians such as former President

Donald Trump called for any athletes

that kneeled to be fired.

“As an athlete myself, I think that

it’s important to give everyone an equal

opportunity to express their emotions

and opinions. BLM has never been

a political issue and it shouldn’t be

considered as one either, it’s a fight

for equal human rights and an end to

police brutality,” junior Michael Bekele


Other athletes such as NBA star

Lebron James went under scrutiny for

kneeling during the National Anthem

and wearing BLM apparel.

People want to silence public figures

for speaking about important issues

because they don’t want to acknowledge

the oppression against minorities.

The IOC intends to ban anyone that

doesn’t abide by the rules, and this

has led to many people boycotting this

year’s Olympic games which take place

in Tokyo on July 23.

Protesters marched in D.C. in support of Palestinian rights after the terror attacks that took place at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheik Jarrah.

Israeli government is killing

Palestinian civilians and

nothing is being done


Editorials Editor

Although a ceasefire has taken

place between Israeli and Palestinian

forces, the damage has already been

done. Over 230 people have been

killed, thousands have been injured

and over 50,000 Palestinians have

been displaced due to Israeli airstrikes

in Gaza.

The recent surge of violence

resulted after Palestinians were

forcefully removed from their

Jerusalem homes in a neighborhood

known as Sheikh Jarrah. Hundreds

of Palestinians are facing eviction

in Sheik Jarrah due to the influx of

Israeli settlers.

In attempts to protect their

homes by praying, Palestinians were

attacked by Israel forces at Al-Aqsa

Mosque. Over 200 Palestinians were

injured due to Israeli forces using tear

gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun

grenades inside of the Mosque.

The violence didn’t end there.

Israeli forces launched airstrikes

and missiles towards residential homes

with families trapped inside.

Hamas, a Palestinian militant

group also launched airstrikes towards

Israelis, resulting in the death of many

Israeli civilians.

Information regarding the crisis

quickly spread on social media

resulting in political leaders such as

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-

Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders to

call out for peace.

Many were critical of the Biden

Administration’s approval of a $735

million weapons sale to Israel.

The United States has been an ally

to Israel for a very long time, and the

United States has stood in support for

Israel numerous times despite trying

to negotiate peace between Israel

and Palestine. During the Third Arab-

Israeli War, the U.S. backed Israel, and

they have also given Israel significant

economic assistance and military aid.

Social media users, especially on

TikTok, have been cracking down on

people who support Israel.

One person that came under

serious fire was Andrew Yang, who

tweeted about his support for Israel

and condemned the Palestinian


“I’m standing with the people

of Israel who are coming under


and more





and are dying due to this




bombardment attacks, and condemn

the Hamas terrorists,” Yang tweeted.

“The people of NYC will always

stand with our brothers and sisters in

Israel who face down terrorism and


Reporters asked Yang why he hasn’t

addressed the innocent children and

civilians that are dying in Palestine

and why he hasn’t condemned the

Israeli government for the airstrikes

they launched on residential homes in

Sheikh Jarrah.

To add to the blow, Yang attended

an Eid event even though he completely

disregarded the deaths of innocents at

Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Despite the deaths of many innocent

civilians and children in Palestine,

many countries have turned the other

cheek and have yet to condemn the

Israeli government for their terrorist


“This whole thing is really confusing

but I do know one thing. More and

more Palestinians are becoming

refugees and are dying due to this

problem,” sophomore Rahiel Berhe said.

It is conflicting when you hear and try

to understand both sides of the story,

but looking at the facts, you’ll be able to

see the problem very clearly.”

Regardless of the ceasefire, the

situation between Israel and Palestine

will not end soon. Palestinians will

continue to fight for their righteous

land, and Israel will continue to push

for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The recent attacks on Palestinians

by the Israeli Defense Forces has not

deterred countries from supporting

Israel. The United Arab Emirates plans

to continue its billion-dollar gas deal

with Israel.

The actions of these countries shows

that the death of innocent people does

not matter to them, and it is a sign

that the world will ignore yet another


“It’s so hard to believe that the

people of Palestine are suffering and

nobody cares to acknowledge it,” junior

Firdaws Yahia said. “I will continue

to stand with the people of Palestine

because they have a right to their land.

Yes, people are dying on both ends and

it’s terrible, but in this situation Israel

is the oppressor and Palestine is the


Israel is a nuclear super power,

and Palestine is a country desperate

for help. Countries need to stand in

support of Palestine in order to end the

ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples

that has been going on for decades.


Wed., May 26, 2021

What is your

reaction to the

current state

of the Israeli-





I’m on the side

of Palestine. The

compression of

their land and

multiple killings of a

lot of their innocent

people, including children has been hard to

watch and it needs to stop. I approve all the

nonviolent means to stop the violence taking

place in Israel. #FreePalestine




Everything that’s

been going has

made very angry

because it’s so clear

that Israel is in the

wrong, but countries are still supporting them

even though they have literally killed hundreds

of Palestinians with airstrikes.



Seeing that so

many people have

been affected by

this situation is

heartbreaking to

see. It’s just very

unfortunate and sad because so many people

are being hurt.




I have been trying

to keep up with

news as much

as possible, and

from what I’ve

seen, I think that

Palestinians deserve our support. Watching

the news and hearing about all the people that

have died is so heartbreaking.




I’m really

disappointed that

so many innocent

people have gotten

killed. I stand in

support of Palestine

because they are Indigenous to Jerusalem,

and the ethnic cleansing has gone on long





I’m not very

educated on the

entire situation,

and I haven’t been

following the news

very closely either. What I will say is that it is

very upsetting to see the situation get so out

of and it always hurts to see civilians getting






Fatima Sayed Eltayeb

Adam Shawish


Tyler Plank


Fatima Sayed Eltayeb

Adam Shawish


Fatima Sayed Eltayeb


Uyen Huynh

Vivian Phan


Evan Burita

Alex Burita


Tyler Plank


Elena Leopold

Vivian Phan


Uyen Huynh


Maram Ibrahim

Insaf Bouzana


Thonny Anwar


Mia Antezana


Maureen Hunt


Ryan Lam


Fatima Sayed Eltayeb

Adam Shawish


Ryan Lam


Rylie Zimmerman


Leon Arceo

Leen Alawneh

Limia Bahar

Rym Benouna

Nareg Boghosian

Lilli Dalrymple

Sereene Darwiesh

Daniela Dosen

Mary Endalkachew

Rudy Flores

Tyler Foti

Shane Gomez

Emily Ha

Sydney Long

Eldana Mengitsu

Andrew Nields

Wendy Raymundo

David Sewall

Abdul Siddique


Alan Weintraut

Annandale High School

Vol 66. Issue No. 8

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


Signed letters to the

editor of 250 words or

less may be emailed to or

submitted to room 262 or

mailed to the school. The

A-Blast reserves the right

to refuse advertisements.

All submissions become

property of The A-Blast,

Copyright, 2021.

Follow The




Annandale hosts vaccination clinic tomorrow!

clinic registration was also open to non-Annandale students, and their

base schools will provide transportation to the clinic. AOlivia Rodrigo impresses with new album Sour


CReproductive F

Annandale High School has partnered with the Fairfax County

Health Department, and Annandale has been selected to be a student

vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 27 from 9:30a.m.-1:30p.m. Students

ages 12 and up eligible to get vaccinated. Vaccinations will also be free

for all students. Registration closed last week on Thursday, May 20. The

Olivia Rodrigo showed the world that she isn’t just a one-hit-wonder

with her new album Sour. Fans instantly fell in love with the 11 song

masterpiece that’s filled with emotional songs that take fans through

levels of anger, grief and confusion. The album has received a high

amount of praise and has attracted a new spotlight to Rodrigo. She’s

performed on SNL, the BRIT’s and Vevo Lift. Her performances

displayed her talent for song writing and performing. Fans are excited to

see where see goes with her next project after the success of Sour.

Who’s Adrian?

The internet went into chaos after a teenage boy named Adrian advertised

his birthday party on social media. The flyer for his birthday went viral

and thousands of people began tweeting about “Adrian’s Kickback.” Many

people took the tweets literally and flew to California to attend Adrian’s

Kickback. The impromptu birthday was organized in Huntington Beach,

California and escalated into a small-scale riot according to police. Over a

hundred attendees were arrested with charges such as vandalism, failure

to disperse, curfew violations and illegal fireworks.

healthcare is at risk

On May 19, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed a law which would ban

abortions on pregnancies as early as six weeks. Many women don’t even

know that they’re pregnant at six weeks. The law also for citizens to sue

abortion providers. The Supreme Court also announced that it would be

hearing a case to decide whether states can ban some abortions before

viability which directly challenges Roe V. Wade. Over 15 states have

passed laws in attempt to ban abortion at or before 20 weeks.

Wed., May 26, 2021 NOTICIAS DESTACADAS 3


La variante P1

empeora aún más la

situacion de COVID

en latinoamerica.


Editora de Noticias Destacadas

Casi 1 millón de vidas latinoamericanas

han fallecido desde que se detectó

el primer caso de Covid en la región en

febrero de 2020, y la pandemia ahora se

está acelerando nuevamente en países

como Argentina, Bolivia, Perú, Venezuela

y Uruguay.

Muchos están convencidos de que la

variante brasileña tiene la culpa.

Esta variante fue inicialmente

detectada en los Estados Unidos en

enero de 2012.

La P.1 se identificó inicialmente en

viajeros de Brasil, que fueron evaluados

durante un examen de rutina en

un aeropuerto de Japón, a principios de


Ester Sabino, una científica brasileña

que está rastreando la propagación

de la variante P1, dijo que el análisis

filogenético sugirió que había surgido

a mitades de noviembre en algún lugar

cerca de Manaos, una metrópolis a orillas

del río en la Amazonia brasileña.

De acuerdo a un artículo escrito por

El Guardian, en febrero, Araraquara,

una ciudad en São Paulo, se vio obligada

a cerrar por una explosión de infecciones

relacionadas con P1.

Los hospitales de Brasil estuvieron

llenos de pacientes de Covid, muchos

inquietantemente jóvenes, y el número

de muertos en Brasil casi se duplicó,

de poco más de 195.000 a principios de

enero a 380.000 ahora.

La batalla contra el COVID contiuna en latinoaemirca, ahora que un nuevo variante fue introducido la segunda ola ataca peor que nunca, afortunadamente desde que el

variante P1 fue inroducido, hay paises que puderion combatir con esto. La foto aqui mustera un paciente siendo vacunado contra el virus en Peru.

En marzo, la variante, que ahora se

ha detectado en ocho países de América

del Sur, también estaba invadiendo a

los vecinos de Brasil: barriendo hacia el

oeste en la Amazonía peruana, saltando

los Andes y asediando Lima, a más de

1.300 millas al suroeste de Manaus

“No es solo una variante mucho más

contagiosa, sino que también aumenta

los niveles de reinfección, lo que reduce

la eficacia de las vacunas”, dijo Antonio

Quispe, un epidemiólogo peruano que

dijo que la propagación “rápida y violenta”

de P1 era una noticia nefasta para

la región.

Un país que está sufriendo varios

casos es Bolivia.

De acuerdo a un artículo por el periodico

Los Tiempos, El departamento de

Cochabamba registró la peor cifra de

casos de Covid-19 desde que empezó la

pandemia con 863 contagios en un solo


De acuerdo acuerdo al artículo, por

estos hechos de ahora y por los próximos

15 días, de lunes a sábado sólo se podrá

circular en el municipio de Cochabamba

de 5:00 a 20:00, ya no de 5:00 a 22:00.

Esta orden empezó a tomar actor el 22

de mayo

La Gobernación también decidió que

se llamará al Comité de Emergencias

Departamental (COED) el próximo 2 de


Otro país que estuvo tocando récord

de Covid debido a esta variante es Perú.

De acuerdo a un artículo escrito

por Reuters, durante la primera ola de

infecciones, Perú alcanzó su punto máximo

con 10.143 infectados el 16 de agosto,

según datos oficiales.

Abril fue el mes más mortífero

de toda la pandemia, durante el cual

muchas vidas fueron perdidas a causa

del contagio del P1.

Afortunadamente Perú puso a cabo

un plan de vacunación para combatir

estos tiempos, lo cual incluyó una

¿Debería escucharse música mientras estudia?


compra de 12 millones the vacunas

Uruguay, un país una vez elogiado

por su manejo de la pandemia, también

sufrió muchos cambios debido al


Nuevos récords de casos reportados

fueron vistos en plazos de 24

horas, y con esta también vino

números de muertos más altos.

De acuerdo a un artículos de Stratfor,

para contener la variante P1 de

COVID-19 de rápida propagación, los

países sudamericanos con gobiernos

políticamente seguros probablemente

impondrán bloqueos más estrictos

pero experimentaran repuntes

económicos más rápidos.

Mientras que países con próximas

elecciones imponen restricciones

más suaves pero luchan para reiniciar

completamente sus economías en

medio de los brotes en curso.

La variante the P1 fue introducida

al mundo a fines del año 2020, desde

entonces trajo devastación a latinoamérica.

Es estimado que más de la mitad

de los casos brasileños de COVID son

por esta variante. En Uruguay más

del 89% de los casos son debido a la


Argentina, Paraguay y Colombia

también se encuentran afectados y

de acuerdo al trackeador de COVID

muchos países en Sudamérica se

encuentran en el estado de las infecciones

más altas.

Otros problemas son la falta de

ayuda médica, falta de espacio en los

hospitales, falta de conocimiento de

variantes, falta de vacuna, falta de

plata, etc.

Sin embargo esperamos que a

medida de que el timepo pase y con

las restricciones y vacunas latinoamerica

pueda recuperarse.



Escritor del personel

Escuchar música, o no escuchar

música, es una pregunta con la que se

encuentran muchos estudiantes mientras

descubren las formas más eficientes

de estudiar.

Usualmente la música puede ponernos

de mejor humor cuando estudiamos,

haciéndonos más productivos.

Pero por el otro lado, también puede

distraernos, haciéndonos menos productivos.

Se trata de encontrar ese punto

intermedio perfecto.

Muchos argumentan que escuchar

música mientras se estudia puede

ser beneficioso. Las investigaciones

muestran que la música puede ayudarte

a motivarte de la misma manera que las

recompensas, como tomar un descanso

para ver tu programa favorito.

“La música hace que estudiar sea

una tarea más agradable”, dijo el estudiante

de tercer año Zack Pacak. “Puedo

cantar y tararear y aun así hacer todo

mi trabajo”.

Escuchar música mientras se estudia

también mejora la concentración.

Se ha demostrado a través de investigaciones

que ciertos tipos de música,

específicamente la clásica, pueden

hacer que su cerebro esté más abierto a

la nueva información, lo que le permite

desempeñarse mejor en las tareas.

“Cuando comencé a escuchar música

mientras estudiaba, me sorprendió que

fuera beneficioso para mis hábitos de

estudio”, dijo la estudiante de segundo

año Olivia Cruz. “Puedo concentrarme

más con la música porque puedo trabajar

mejor con ruido de fondo”.

Sophomore Olivia Cruz no tiene problema escuchando algo de musica mientras estudia.

Con un enfoque mejorado, los estudiantes

también pueden pasar menos

tiempo estudiando y completando tareas,

mientras aún retienen toda la información.

“Me ayuda a concentrarme en las

tareas que tengo que hacer”, dijo el estudiante

de último año Alonzo Sánchez.

“Empecé a hacerlos más rápido y a tiempo”.

Muchos estudiantes argumentan

que escuchar música mientras estudian

es la mejor manera de hacerlo.

“Es lo que siempre he hecho y seguiré

haciendo”, dijo Pacak.

Si bien escuchar música mientras

estudian puede ser beneficioso para

algunos, para otros es una distracción

importante para su capacidad de estudio.

Otras investigaciones afirman que la

música puede “dañar su desempeño en

ciertas tareas de estudio”.

Esto se debe simplemente a que sus

habilidades cognitivas se pierden cuando

también se enfoca en las letras y en el

cambio de notas.

“A veces me gusta escuchar música,

pero si quiero estudiar de manera efectiva,

entonces no puede tener letra”,

dijo la estudiante de tercer año Joscelyn

Ventura. “Habiendo dicho eso, no puedo

estudiar en completo silencio. Si quiero

que suene algo de fondo, tocaré algo de

música clásica “.

Se trata de encontrar un equilibrio

entre la música motivadora y la menor

distracción posible.

Todos somos diferentes y también lo

son sus hábitos de estudio. El hecho de

que no puedas escuchar música mientras

estudias no significa que no puedas

darte un capricho con una pausa musical

para recompensarte después de una

ardua sesión de estudio.

Enfocandose en la salud mental


Que clase de musica le gusta




“Me gusta escuchar

una canción titulada”

Hold on “del grupo de

Internet porque es realmente

relajante y me

ayuda a mantener la

concentración mientras




“Sufjan Stevens

because his music is

very calming and he

has a nice voice and

he’s an indie singer.”



“Prefiero escuchar

música alternativa /

indie porque no tiene

mucho que ver con las

canciones y es solo un

buen ruido de fondo”.



“Jhene AIko because

her music can be very

calming, soothing and

relaxing, but it can also

be upbeat and energetic.

I feel you can

always vibe with her

R&B/soul music.”

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.

Humanos de Annandale


Escritos del personel

Junto con mayo llega la primavera,

el clima cálido y el fin de la escuela.

Sin embargo, lo que quizás no sepa

es que mayo es el mes de la conciencia

sobre la salud mental.

El Mes de Concientización sobre la

Salud Mental comenzó hace más de 70

años en 1949 y fue iniciado por la organización

Mental Health America.

Durante este mes, este movimiento

hace todo lo posible por crear conciencia

sobre la salud mental.

Trabajan duro para brindar apoyo a

quienes luchan y abogan por quienes no


El movimiento cree que es importante

priorizar su salud mental no solo

este mes, sino siempre.

La Alianza Nacional sobre Enfermedades

Mentales ha hecho todo lo posible

para impulsar la narrativa de que “No

estás solo”.

Si las personas supieran que otras

personas están pasando por las mismas

luchas que ellos, lo más probable es que

se sientan más cómodos al presentarse y

recibir la ayuda que necesitan.

Es importante poder identificar si un

amigo / ser querido muestra signos de

enfermedad mental.

Los síntomas pueden incluir a menudo

sentirse triste, confundido, culpable,

temeroso, con poca energía, dificultad

para dormir o tener cambios extremos

de humor.

Sea siempre amable con las personas,

incluso con los extraños, porque

nunca se sabe por lo que alguien está

pasando a puerta cerrada.

Una simple sonrisa o un saludo

con la mano pueden tener un impacto

mayor en alguien de lo que usted conoce.

La salud mental es especialmente

importante para los estudiantes debido

a la gran cantidad de trabajo que se les

asigna a diario.

Con una gran carga de trabajo,

puede resultar difícil encontrar tiempo

para usted o para los demás.

Recuerde tomar un descanso de

vez en cuando y trate de no esforzarse


Dicho esto, trate de trabajar duro en

la escuela, pero asegúrese de no exagerar.

Desafortunadamente, no es raro oír

hablar de un estudiante con una enfermedad


En general, 1 de cada 6 estudiantes

tenía suficientes síntomas para

cumplir con los criterios de una o más

enfermedades mentales, siendo los más

comunes los trastornos de ansiedad.

La mayor parte de esta ansiedad

proviene del estrés causado por el trabajo


Hay muchas formas de ayudar a

mejorar su salud mental realizando tareas


Trate de hablar sobre sus sentimientos

porque hablar sobre cómo se siente

le permitirá permanecer en un buen

espacio mental y mejorar sus habilidades

de comunicación si los tiempos se

ponen difíciles.

Manténgase activo en su vida diaria,

tanto física como mentalmente, ya que

tratar de ejercitar su cuerpo y cerebro

puede ayudar a su salud mental.

Finalmente, tome descansos de vez

en cuando porque su mente necesita

algo de tiempo para ordenar sus pensamientos

y relajarse un poco.

Asegúrese de controlar a sus amigos

y ayudar a crear conciencia sobre el

bienestar de la salud mental de cualquier

manera que pueda.

Una simple llamada telefónica o un

mensaje de texto a un viejo amigo puede

alegrarle el día a una persona.

¡Feliz Mes de Concienciación sobre la

Salud Mental!

Si usted o alguien que conoce

se encuentra en peligro inmediato

o está pensando en hacerse daño,

llame gratis a la Línea Nacional de

Prevención del Suicidio al 1-800-

273-TALK (8255) o al número gratuito

TTY al 1-800-799 -4TTY (4889).

También puede enviar un mensaje

de texto a la Línea de texto en

caso de crisis (HOLA al 741741) o

visitar el sitio web de National Suicide

Prevention Lifeline.

Señora Hallett

profesora de


¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de AHS?

Los estudiantes - Me encanta nuestra

población diversa y poder experimentar y

aprender sobre diferentes culturas y conocer

gente de todo el mundo y diferentes

estilos de vida.

¿Cómo se has adaptado al aprendizaje


¡He aprendido que está bien que las cosas

no salgan según lo planeado o que a

veces el Plan B es el mejor plan! ¡Simplemente ha sido mucho experimentar con

diferentes herramientas en línea y nuevas tecnologías!

¿Qué es lo que más le gusta de las materias que enseña?

Me encanta contar las historias del pasado y compartirlas con las generaciones

futuras. También las ciencias sociales son un área muy gris que conduce a discusiones

muy interesantes y permite expresar diferentes puntos de vista

¿Por qué enseñas esta materia?

Siempre me ha gustado la historia y entender de dónde venimos y me encanta

compartir esa pasión y esas historias con las generaciones futuras para que

podamos evolucionar, crecer y ser mejores

¿Está orgulloso de la diversidad en AHS?

¡Sí, mucho! Es una de las mejores cosas de AHS.

4 NEWS Wed., May 26, 2021

News Briefs

Class of 2021 Graduation

The class of 2021 graduation will be

held on June 1 (rain date June 2). It

will take place on the AHS stadium

field and seniors are allowed six

tickets for their family.

AHS Sports Physical Night

On June 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30

p.m., the athletic department will

be hosting a sports physical night

to give students the opportunity to

get their physical. It costs $30 for

anyone who preregisters and $40

for any walk-ins. The physical form

is required to be able to play sports

at AHS.

Final exams can only positively impact a students grades. Underclassmen will be taking their exams in the last two weeks of school.

Finals grading changed in student’s favor


Staff Writer

As this bizarre school year comes

to an end, one thing has proved inexorable:

final exams. The exams must be

given in all high school courses.

However, in response to family feedback

and student check-ins, FCPS has

made the change that final exams can

only serve to improve a student’s grade.

Final exam grades that would not

improve the final grade will be excluded.

This decision was one of many this

year made to lessen the stress of students

challenged by virtual learning

and improve social and emotional

wellness. Students are still expected to

take their exams.

“I like the fact that final exams can

only raise your grade because if you’re

not doing very well in that class, it can

only benefit your grade. I think it is a

good last chance to raise your grade,”

freshman Madison Mum said.

Yet, this new change has been a

subject of contention among teachers

and students alike.

Some now view the exams as pointless

for students already passing a class

or for those satisfied with their grade.

Some have also noticed a loophole:

students hypothetically could skip a

class’s final exam and not worry about

their grade being affected.

“I think final exams should be

optional for those who want to raise

their grade. I do find it pointless to take

the exam if you are already passing the

class,” Mum said.

“I do think it devalues the concept of

a final and it would not surprise me if

students treated it the same way. The

number of kids who will use it to try to

improve their grade will not be as great

as some might hope so I am worried

many may not even show up,” History

teacher Joe Valentino said.

Biology teacher Riley Holt says he

believes the decision should have been

left to teachers as they know their students

best. He adds, “...If a student

decides not to complete the final that is

their choice as the rule is in their favor.

What I am worried about is whether

Seniors log off as the school year comes to an end


Staff Writer

Fri. May 14, was seniors last real

day of school. They are done with final

exams and the last thing for them to do

is graduate on June 1.

Seniors have faced many challenges

this year in light of COVID.

Their final year of high school was

forced to be online and they did not get

to spend one last year with their classmates.

This year has also been different for

many seniors as they did not get their

usual activities and traditions.

“We didn’t really get many of the

benefits most seniors do like prom, a

‘true’ all night grad, and graduation,”

senior Nick Bellem said.

Many seniors have been awaiting

these activities ever since they were

freshman, as they’ve seen other seniors

in the past get to enjoy them.

“I have always seen seniors getting

to experience all the senior traditions

and looked forward to getting to

experience them myself,” senior Natalie

Nguyen said. “But this year I didn’t

really get any of them and didn’t get to

enjoy my last year before college.”

Last year’s seniors were also impacted

by COVID, however many seniors

from this year feel they have it worse.

“With the class of 2020, they got

half of their senior year, the class of

2021 got their whole senior year taken

away,” senior Salma Nagila said. “It’s

hard to not have the senior year that I

pictured, but I’m still proud of myself

that I made it this far.”

With the end of the year and


this decision will affect student’s work

ethic and desire to learn in the future.

Still, some students are optimistic

about the decision and are eager to

boost their grades. Further, this opportunity

probably won’t be around next


“When I first heard we would be

taking final exams, it had annoyed me

since we had just finished taking our

SOLs, but now that I look into it, it’s

only another tactic to help improve

ones’ grade,” Freshman Dina Tefiani

said. “My grades this quarter certainly

wouldn’t mind a good improvement,

so I’d like to take the exams’ in hopes it

will satisfy me.”

graduation in sight, seniors can finally

relax and look forward to summer.

“I’m so excited for summer,” Nagila

said. “I plan on working and spending

some time with my friends before we go

our separate ways.”

Many seniors reflect on their senior

year and look forward to what the

future holds.

“I will miss all the friends I made in

high school,” Nguyen said. “But I am

ready for the next chapter of my life

and can’t wait for college to start.”

Underclass Exams

From June 4 to June 10,

underclassmen will be taking their

final exams. Each of these days will

be half days and schools will end at

11:35 a.m. More information can be

found on the AHS website.

Last Day of School

Fri. June 11 is the last day of school

for underclassmen. It will be a two

hour day and school will end at

10:20 a.m. Grab and go breakfeast

will be offered for in-person


Student Vaccinations

Annandale High School will host

a free student vaccination clinic

on May 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30

p.m. The clinic will provide free

vaccinations for 327 Annandale

students, as well as over 300

students from neighboring schools.

Annandale students who have

registered to participate in the

vaccination clinic will receive a pass

in the FCPS Gmail account.

Read-A-Thon Fundraiser

The class of 2024 started a

fundraiser on May 17 and it will

go through Sept. 27, 2021. They

are asking students to read a

novel then fill out an entry form

every time they read a new book.

Students will then find family

members or friends to sponsor

them. Anyone can participate.

Virtual 5K

The class of 2022 is hosting a

virtual 5k from June 12 to June 30.

It costs $20 to enter and includes

a t-shirt. Register at ahs2022.

This survey was

launched on Instagram,

and responses were

collected on May 22 to 23.

A total of 129 responses

were collected with

43 responses saying

they are ready for five

day a week, in-person

instruction next year and

86 responses saying that

they are not ready.


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

AHS almuni Abril Sanchez during the graduation for the class of 2020.

Seniors prepare to graduate


Co-Editor in Chief

The class of 2021 is wrapping up

their last year at AHS. Finals and classes

are over for seniors, but one big milestone

is yet to be completed. Graduation

will be held on June 1 on the AHS stadium


Seniors are now allowed six tickets

for family and friends thanks to

the updated guidance from Governor

Northam. Seniors must register for

their tickets. More information is on the

AHS student portal.

AHS is asking students to park

at the First Presbyterian Church of

Annandale and enter the stadium

through the back gate. FCPD is also

suspending the parking permit requirement

for June 1.

Students are expected to dress in

formal attire. Due to the graduation

being held on the stadium field, heels

are not allowed as they could puncture

the turf.

“I’m really happy that we are able to

have our graduation this year considering

that the seniors from last year could

not have one. All in all, I am looking forward

to graduation and the future of

my class!” senior Andy Zepeda said.

The commencement speech has

always been a tradition during

graduation. The speech is usually given

by a staff member who is voted in by

the seniors.

This year’s speaker will be Mario

Villanueva Ramos. Ramos is a graduate

of Annandale Transitional High

School and is currently serving as a

classroom monitor here at AHS. He

emigrated from El Salvador to the

United States in 2007, looking for

opportunities to better the circumstances

for himself and his fiancé.

Ramos worked at McDonalds and

other local businesses to support himself

while attending Annandale Transitional

High School and later, graduated

from W.T. Woodson Adult High School.

After his graduation, he brought his

fiancé of five years from El Salvador to

Annandale where they married.

Ramos is currently a classroom

monitor and supports students in double-block

Math. Since his arrival at

AHS, he has also started an afterschool

Spanish language tutoring program

and supported additional classes

for students on Mondays.

“Nothing seems more fitting in this

year unlike any other, than to have a

classroom monitor who has had such a

tremendous impact on the school community

as this year’s graduation speaker,”

AHS principal Shawn DeRose said

in an email to senior families.

Wed., May 26, 2021



Olivia Cruz


mind a little


noise to help

her out with all

the schoolwork

she needs to

finish up for the



Talkin' with



Academics Editor

Dear Thonny,

As much as I would like to become

a couch potato this summer, my

parents are forcing me to search

for a job or internship. They want

me to be productive over the

summer which is very annoying,

but I guess I will need all the help

I can get when it comes to making

my college applications stand out

because my grades aren’t going to

cut it. I’m scared I won’t be able

to find anything because of the

current situation of the world. Do

you have any advice on how to

search for a job or internship while

in a pandemic?


A couch potato

Dear couch potato,

Listening to music while studying?



Academics Editors

To listen to music, or not to listen

to music, is a question many students

come across as they figure out

the most efficient and effective ways

to retain information during a study


Students may have their own

beliefs about why music either positively

or negatively affects their ability

to study, but may not understand the

research behind it.

Interestingly enough, both beliefs

on listening to music while studying

can be correct.

Music can help put us in a better

mood when we study, making us more

productive, but on the other hand, it

can also distract us, making us less

productive. It is all about finding that

perfect in-between.

Many argue that listening to music

while studying can be beneficial.

Research shows that music can help

motivate you the same way rewards

like getting to take a break to watch

your favorite show can. Listening to

music can trigger the rewards center

in your brain as other rewards can.

Even if you personally cannot focus

while listening to music, you can still

take breaks to listen and stay motivated.

Music can also improve your mood,

and research has shown that a better

mood will make you more successful.

“Music makes studying a more

enjoyable task,” junior Zack Pacak

said. “I can sing and hum along to it

and still get all my work done.”

Listening to music while studying

can also improve your focus. It

has been proven through research

that certain kinds of music, specifically

classical, can make your brain more

open to new information, making you

perform better on assignments.

“When I started listening to music

while studying, I was surprised that

it was beneficial to my study habits,”

sophomore Olivia Cruz said. “I can

focus more with music because I can

work better with background noise.”

With improved focus, students can

also spend less time studying and

completing assignments while still

retaining all the information.

“It helps me focus on my assignments

that need to be done,” senior

Alonzo Sanchez said. “I started to get

them done faster and on time.”

Many students argue that listening

to music while studying is the best

way to do it.

“It’s what I have always done and

will continue to do,” Pacak said.

While listening to music when

studying can be beneficial for some,

others find it to be a major diversion

to their ability to study. Just as

research shows the benefits of listening

to music, it also shows its possible


Research claims that music can

damage your performance on certain

tasks. This is simply because your cognitive

abilities get thrown off when

also focussing on lyrics and changing


Spending time paying attention

to these small aspects of songs

may cause some students to get overwhelmed

and become unable to stay

focused on the task at hand.

To minimize how distracting music

is while studying, you can listen to

music you are not familiar with or listen

to music without lyrics.

“I like to listen to music sometimes,

but if I want to effectively study, then it

can’t have lyrics,” junior Joscelyn Ventura

said. “That being said, I can’t study

in complete silence. If I want something

playing in the background, I’ll play

some classical music.”

It’s all about finding a balance

between music being motivating and as

little of a distraction as possible.

Everyone is different and so are

their study habits. Just because you

can’t listen to music while studying

doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself

with a music break to reward yourself

after a hard study session!

Scan the QR code

to access a study

playlist, created by the

Academics Editors.

The pandemic has changed much,

but there are still lots of opportunities

to secure a job or internship.

You might have an idea for what

sort of job or internship you want, but

that might not be what’s available right

now. I want to start off by saying to

make sure you keep an open mind.

Focus on jobs and internships that

are hiring and use them as a starting

point. Even if some places aren’t your

specific area of interest, you can still

gain experience and skills. Sometimes.

internships are just a way to try

something new.

You should also try reaching out

to our school’s new college and career

center specialist, Mr. Niko for guidance

on landing an internship during a

global pandemic too.

I’m sure you can request an

appointment with him for general

guidance or for help searching for


Finally, I see that you’re thinking

ahead to college, but don’t let that

be your only priority. Try to find

something that you will enjoy and that

won’t make your summer miserable.

Good luck,


P.S. This is the last ever Talkin’ with


What do

you like

to listen

to when




“I like listening to a

song titled ‘Hold On’ by

The Internet because

it is really relaxing and

helps me stay focused

while studying.”



“I like to listen to Sufjan

Stevens because his

music is very calming.

He has a nice voice and

he’s an indie singer.”



”I listen to alternative/

indie because it doesn’t

have too much going

on in the songs and it’s

just good background




“I like Jhene Aiko

because her music is

soothing and relaxing,

but it can also be

upbeat and energetic.

You can always vibe

with her.”



“I prefer to never listen

to music when I am

studying or doing anything


because I get too distracted.”



“I usually listen to Khalid,

just because he is a

unique singer that has

such a soothing voice

to listen to when studying.”



“My favorite artist to listen

to while studying

would probably be Taylor

Swift because most

of her music is calming

and upbeat.”



“I would say ‘lofi hip

hop beats’ or ‘music

travel love’ acoustic

covers because they

help me by being different

from other artists.”

Nadiya Khalif struts through IB


Academics Editor

Q: What is your favorite IB subject?

A: My favorite IB subject was TOK as it was a

class in which I felt confident to speak my mind. I

was so eager to do all the readings and participate

in the class discussions and most of all, Mr.Kelly

has been one of the best teachers ever!

Q: What clubs are you in?

A: I am in quite a few clubs. I am in Earth

Uprising, Virginia Youth Climate Cooperative,

Atoms Minds Matter, AALEAD and many more!

Q: What made you decide to do the IB


A: I decided to do the IB program because of

my eagerness for challenges as that has always

been a driving factor in my decisions. While in

the program, I’ve been challenged within the

framework of broadening my

perceptive. To add, I wanted

to be in an environment

with other students who also

wanted to be challenged as


IB Spotlight:

Profiles of



Q: What skills do you

think the IB program has taught you that

can help you later in life?

A: The IB program has taught me one thing:

perseverance. I would like to say, my biggest

supporter, Mrs. Bradshaw, has helped

me persevere throughout these two years.

Perseverance is simply an important life skill.

Q: How have your friends and family

supported you this year?

A: I don’t have much to say except that they’ve

been my biggest cheerleaders this year. After all,

without their support, I won’t have made it here

today. And for that, I am forever grateful!

Q: What colleges have you applied to/plan to


A: This school year has pointed me to one

direction: community college. Being that school is

virtual now, why not save money by starting off

at a community college? My plans are to transfer

within a year.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

A: In ten years I see myself making an impact on

this world. Yes, that sounds very cliche, however I

have a passion for social justice. I can’t exactly tell

you how I’ll do it: I’m a small girl with big dreams!

Khalif poses for a picture at a park in Fairfax,

Virginia for Eid on Thurs., May 13.

Q: What lasting impact do you want to

leave on this school?

A: The lasting impact I want to leave is simply

by establishing long-lasting bonds with my

teachers and friends. In the grand scheme of

things, these bonds will remain an important

part of my life. I mean, in the future, I’ll look

back at the people who’ve made me become who

I am.

Q: What advice do you have for future IB


A: My advice for upcoming IB students is one of

two things: 1) believe in yourself and 2) always

reach out for help when needed.




Graduation Edition

1. A food truck sells burgers for $6.50 each and drinks

for $2.00 each at the AHS senior celebration. The food

truck’s revenue from selling a total of 209 burgers and

drinks in one day was $836.50. How many burgers were

sold that day?

2. Principal DeRose orders Mr. Zaret and Mr. Smith a

pizza for being such awesome senior sponsors. If Principal

DeRose slices the 3 pound pizza he bought in half and

then slices the halves in thirds, what is the weight, in

ounces, of each of the slices?

3. Who was the American writer originally named Chloe

Anthony Wofford, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature

in 1993?

4. Who was an essayist, playwright, novelist and voice

of the American civil rights movement known for works

including Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time and

Go Tell It on the Mountain?

5. What is the smallest unit of ordinary matter that

forms a chemical bond?

6. Everything in the universe is made up of tiny particles

called what?

7. Atoms are made up of what 3 things?

8. When was AHS founded?

9. Who is the CNN Chief White House Correspondent

that graduated AHS in 1989?

1) 93; 2) 8; 3) Toni Morrison; 4) James Baldwin; 5) Atom; 6) Atom; 7) Protons, Neutrons,

Electrons; 8) 1954; 9) Jim Acosta;


Wed., May 26, 2021

Wed., May 26, 2021



Anjum Ashraf

George Mason University

Jimmy Le

Yale University

Ryan Lam

University of Virginia

Brandon Cao

NOVA Community College

Jayden Joya

Edinboro University

Thonny Anwar

George Mason University

Hunter Duggan


Lizzie Earhart

NOVA Community College

Emma Tlusty

University of Vermont

Nani Brown

UT San Antonio

Nargis Tafwiz

George Mason University

Fernando Gomez

Virginia Tech

Elisabeth Tlusty

UMass Boston

Nareg Boghosian

George Mason University

Angel Phan

George Mason University

Anhtony Assadzadeh

Louisiana State University

Subha Bakhtiar

Northern Virginia

Community College

Britney Nguyen

University of Virginia

Grace Kliewer

James Madison University

Bennett Stenberg

United States Naval


Holly Tran

Virginia Commonwealth


Kalkedan Malefia

George Mason University

Brittany Reyes

Marymount University

Rayne Thomas

Orange Coast College

Sarah Palma

George Mason University

Andy Zepeda

Virginia Tech

Editor’s Note:

Sydney Reinoehl

Virginia Commonwealth


Salma Nagila

Radford University

Sarah Gonzalez

George Mason University

Peyton Buckley

Old Dominion University

Natalie Nguyen

Virginia Tech

Kidist Bekele

George Washington


Usually, The A-Blast

includes the names of all

seniors and where they are

attending college, which

is provided by the College

and Career Center. This

was not possible this year

due to the system glitching,

but we hope you enjoy the

information we managed to

gather on short notice.

8 PEOPLE Wed., May 26, 2021

AHS student opens resin shop

How I celebrate Eid

A first person

account of the

Muslim holiday, Eid


Staff Writer

Sydney’s Studio sells keychains, resin trays and more


Staff Writer

After being quarantined for almost a

year I felt like my life was becoming so


Wake up, eat, join class, work, sleep

and repeat. I felt like I was missing

something and I was getting very bored

of my everyday life. Surprisingly, social

media helped me find something I was

extremely interested in and wanted to

learn how to do.

Scrolling through TikTok, I

learned a lot about resin. I had worked

throughout quarantine so I had

money saved up to purchase all of the

necessary things needed.

I didn’t know that I would want to

start a business when I first started

making products. I thought they were

just cool items that I could keep around

the house or use.

Eventually, I started to realize that

everything I was making was useful.

I hand made serving trays, coasters,

keychains, ashtrays, safety keychains,

cake stands, combs and more.

I started looking into starting my

own business. I had enough products

to show what I could do so everyone

could understand what my business

was about.

I looked into many website builders

and was extremely interested in


I think the hardest part about

starting my own business was creating

the website. I never realized all of the

work you had to do in order to build a

successful business. With Shopify, the

process was fairly easy because it does

most of the work for you.

Eventually, when I had everything

figured out, I launched Sydney’s Studio.

I received lots of amazing support from

people I didn’t think would support.

On the down side, I received little to

no support from people who were the

closest to me. Despite all of that, it only

made me want to work even harder.

What I like about being an

entrepreneur is that I am my own

boss. I love the fact that I work on my

own time and do what I love and what

inspires me. Not only that, but I love

the feeling when I get the final reveal

of my product and I’m able to say that

I made it. I didn’t buy and resell my

products, I made them in the comfort of

my own home, and I love that about my

resin business.

The one and only thing I dislike

about having a resin business is

wasting materials. Resin is not very

easy to work with, and products

could be ruined by not having the

exact measurements or not working

fast enough. When I’m working on

something that calls for a lot, I could

potentially waste a lot. Which is very

irritating and stressful. Sometimes it

makes me want to give up.

Having my own business and selling

my own products is very uplifting.

Since I hand make my products it has

taken a toll on my time, but seeing my

results makes me very proud of myself

and how much I’ve progressed since I


Since starting my business, I

learned so much. How to brand,

market, use social media platforms

and to get out of my comfort zone to

catch the eyes of people who probably

aren’t extremely interested in what

I’m interested in. I also learned about

shipping, customer service and to

accept when things don’t go as planned.

I believe starting a business during

quarantine is probably one of the best

decisions I have ever made. I learned

so much, and I feel like I have a better

understanding of what I want to do.

Anyone who wants to start a

business should go for it. Never be

afraid of what other people will think

of you, or if they won’t like what you

do. Never hold back from what you love

doing because of your peers.

I think before you start a business

you need to know that it’s something

you want to do for the long run, and it’s

a long term commitment. You have to

do what you enjoy doing so you don’t

Just like Ramadan, Eid during the

pandemic can be quite different. Still,

despite everything, the essence of the

holiday remains intact. Here is how I

spent my Eid.

Eid actually starts after the sun

sets on the last day of Ramadan. My

family and I start to call our friends and

family on that night to wish them Eid


The morning of Eid, my mom will

have the Takirat put on the radio so

when we wake up, it’s the first thing

we hear. A takbir is the phrase Allah

akbar, meaning God is Great.

After we wake up, we say Salam to

our parents out of respect, have a light

breakfast and begin getting ready for

Salat ul Eid.

We always buy new clothes for Eid

beforehand, so we get ready in our new

clothes to go to Salat ul Eid which is the

Eid prayer.

Eid prayer is optional but it is

sunnat al Rasul which means it was

done by Prophet Muhammed (peace

and blessings be upon him), so many

choose to do it.

Salat ul Eid is done at the mosques

and there are multiple prayers

depending on the time that is suitable

for you to go.

Generally they happen after the

morning prayer by an hour and there

are a series of prayers until noon.

Alawneh poses with her family. “Eid is a really big part of my relgion and culture, and being able to celebrate with family and friends each year is always really cool,”

she said.

The prayer itself takes five minutes

at most.

My family and I always either go to

MAS DC Mosque or Dar al Hijrah in

Falls Church.

When we go to Eid prayer, we see

friends and family wishing Happy Eid

to each other.

It’s a very happy environment.

After everyone prays Salat ul Eid,

goody bags full of candy are given to

kids and Eidiya as well. Eidiya is the

money given from friends and family to

the youth, especially on Eid. Once I was

in Jordan for Eid and I got 500 dinar

worth of Eidiya, which is around $700.

Due to Covid, Eid prayer had been

spaced out between each person instead

of shoulder to shoulder and everyone

was wearing masks.

The masjid also offers hand sanitizer

at the entrance if needed. Still, goody

bags and Eidiya are handed to all the

kids and everyone is still wishing Eid

Mubarak to each other.

After the prayer, we get in the car

and call our family from Jordan to

wish them Eid Mubarak. We talk to

lots of our family on the phone. It’s a

sign of respect to remember them and

call them on this day to wish them Eid


Sometimes, we go with friends to a

restaurant either at the Panera near

MAS or Tysons. We have lunch and

Starbucks and just talk.

After lunch, we go to visit our close

family friends who give us our Eidiya

and Eid presents and have lots of food

and dinner.

My dad goes to hang out with his

friends and we stay to watch movies,

play board games and talk. Generally,

we will leave their house at 3 a.m. since

it’s Eid.

Then, we all pray our last daily

prayer, bid our parents good night and

anticipate what will happen for the

next two days of Eid Al Fitr.



Where were you born?

Annapolis, MD


My name is Zack and I’m a junior here

at Annandale High school. Currently, I

am on the varsity track team and hope to

continue running track my senior year.

I also play football in the fall season, and

this year I played defensive back for the

junior varsity and varsity teams.

I am from America and my parents are

from Costa Rica. I have three siblings, two

brothers and one sister. I have two cats,

one of them is really fat but the other one is

basically bones.

Some of my hobbies include playing

the video game Madden, hanging out with

friends and spending time with my family.

I’ve always loved sports and have played

a variety of them including soccer, football,

track and basketball. Some of my favorite

sports teams are the Redskins, Capitals,

Nationals and the Lakers.

After high school, I plan on going to

college for some type of sport, (hopefully

track) and I like the idea of majoring in

chemical engineering.

Sometimes in my spare time I like to

cook. I learned how to cook from my sister

and she taught me how to make all types of

food. During Christmas, my family usually

Zachary Hurd


likes to have a gathering where we all meet

up at my grandparents house and have a

big dinner. I love being able to cook with my

family there.

I’m also a part of the Annandale Singers

chorus. We have a ton of gigs, and I find much

joy in being able to spend more time with my

classmates as we become closer and make

better music together.

I am looking forward to my senior year and

I can only hope that life can back to normal for

my last year of high school.

What colleges/universities have you


University of MD

What are some of your favorite movie/book/

TV shows?

Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by M. Sullivan,

Symphony for the City of the Dead, by M.

Anderson, and People of the Book, by G. Brooks;

favorite musical artists are Bob Marley, Frank

Zappa, and Tom Waits

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

Outdoor activities with my family, watching

sports, listening to music, and working in the


A fun fact about me is...

I used to coach soccer, wrestling, and baseball

and have played trombone and steel pan in

reggae and ska bands.

What’s your favorite part about being a


I love being able to support my students and

help them grow as leaners and as people

Why did you decide to teach?

I believed I could affect positive social change

by educating young people from diverse


Use a QR

Code scanner

to reveal

Who Am I?

Wed. May 26, 2021


Summer checklist









SPF reduces the risk of

skin cancer, which is the

most common cancer in the

U.S. It also protects against

sunburn, inflammation

and redness. Not only that,

but SPF helps to prevent

wrinkles and fine lines,

and avoid blotchy skin

and hyperpigmentation.

Dermatologists recommend

a sunscreen with at least

30 SPF.

Protect yourself from the

numerous prominent

diseases by getting

vaccinated. The risk of

contracting diseases,

especially COVID-19,

is extremely high and

immunizations will protect

you from any sicknesses

and allow you to enjoy the

summer fun.

Staying hydrated during

the summer season is

super important and

water is the perfect way

to do that. Water helps to

prevents headaches too.

During the summer, our

body tries to cool down

by sweating, which can

cause severe dehydration,

so drinking water during

summer is essential.

Protecting your eyes

from the sun’s UV rays

is necessary, especially

considering they are

much more prominent in

the summer. Wear widebrimmed


that make sure to cover

everything, which will

help protect you from eye


Because summertime

usually means being

outdoors much more

frequently, this means

dealing with mosquitos

and other insects, so using

insect repellent ensures

protection from any

bites. After coming back

inside, make sure to check

yourself for any bites.

Regular exercise is

important everyday, and

the warm summer weather

allows for easy access to

exercising outdoors. This

can range from taking

walks, to going on a run,

to swimming. Make sure

to exercise in the morning

or evening when the air is

much cooler.








Wear lightweight and lightcolored

clothing in order to

minimize the absorption of

the sun’s rays and reflect

the heat. Along with that,

make sure to wear loosefitting

clothing to help the

sweat evaporate easily

and keep your body cool.

Wearing cotton during the

summer is helpful because

it easily absorbs water and

by default, sweat.

Similar to how sunglasses

are necessary to protect

your eyes from UV rays,

hats protect your skin as

well and keep your head

cooler, especially if you

have darker hair, so make

sure to invest in a lightcolored

hat. Wearing hats

also provide instant shade,

which we need in summer.

Summer is perfect for

enjoying the outdoors with

family, and refreshing

meals are the perfect way

to do that. Fruits and

vegetables provide your

body with the energy and

nutrients it needs, and it

also keeps you hydrated as

well. These foods will help

to keep a balanced diet.

Considering more families

take vacations during

the summer, planning

an active one can make a

difference. This can include

activities such as hiking,

camping, and scuba diving,

and allow for a connection

with nature and muchneeded

exercise. If visiting

a city, rent bicycles or take

walking tours.

While the summer months

usually include a shift in

sleep routines, maintaining

a consistent sleep schedule

even during the summer

is essential. Not getting

the right amount of sleep

can be associated with

increased hunger and a

lack of focus and attention,

so make sure to get at least

seven hours a night.

Summer is usually

filled with fun activities

and chaos, but it is also

important to find some

downtime to reflect on the

things that matter most.

Being grateful for the

things that once brought

you joy, such as family and

friends, can help you thrive

in a healthy, happy life.

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos


Health Editor

Tacos are already a popular dish,

and while they are already tasty as is,

there are ways to keep it that way and

also make it healthier to enjoy.

Quinoa and black bean tacos with

a side of dairy-free avocado sauce are

vegan and gluten-free. The quinoa in

the tacos are high in protein and fiber,

making it a very nutritious food.


Quinoa and black bean filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped red onion

2 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well in

a fine mesh colander

1 cup vegetable broth or water

1 (14 ounce) can black beans or 1 1/2

cups cooked black beans, rinsed and


1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly

ground black pepper, to taste

Avocado sauce:

1 large avocado, sliced into long strips

1 to 2 medium limes, juiced

1 medium jalapeño, deseeded,

membrances removed and roughly


1 handful fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt

Other things:

6 to 8 small, round corn tortillas

(certified gluten-free if necessary)

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped romaine

lettuce or spring greens







To make the filling, warm the olive oil in a mediumsized

pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic

with some salt for about 5 minutes until the onions become

soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste, cumin, and chili

powder and sauté for another minute, stirring constantly.


Add the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of broth or water.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, cover the pot,

reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the quinoa from the heat and allow it to rest, still

covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess

liquid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the drained

black beans and add salt and pepper, for taste. Cover and

set aside for a couple of minutes to warm up the beans. To

make the avocado sauce, combine the ingredients in a food

processor or blender. Blend well and season with salt.


In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the

tortillas in a single layer, flipping halfway. Wrap the

warmed tortillas with a lint-free tea towel until ready to

serve. To assemble the tacos, spread quinoa and black bean

filling down the center of the tortilla, then top with avocado

cream, a handful of chopped romaine and any additional


Here are the tacos, finished and ready to be eaten!


Mental Health

Awareness Month


Staff Writer

Along with May comes spring,

warm weather, and the end of school.

However, what you may be unaware of

is that May is Mental Health Awareness

Month. Mental Health Awareness

Month first began over 70 years ago,

in 1949, and was started by the Mental

Health America organization.

During this month, this movement

does its best to raise awareness on the

topic of mental health. They work hard

to provide support to those struggling

and advocate for those who are unable

to do themselves.

The movement believes that it is

extremely important to prioritize your

mental health not just this month, but

every month.

The National Alliance on Mental

Illness has especially been trying its

best to push the narrative that people

experiencing these struggles are not

alone. If people were aware that others

knew what they were going through,

then they would most likely feel more

comfortable with coming forward and

receiving the help that they need.

It’s important to be able to identify

if a friend/loved one is displaying signs

of mental illnesses. Symptoms may

include often feeling sad, confused,

guilty, fearful, low energy, difficulty

sleeping, or having extreme mood


Always be kind to people, even

strangers because you truly never

know what someone is going through

behind closed doors. A simple smile or

wave hello may have a bigger impact on

someone than you know.

Mental health is especially

important to students because of the

large amounts of work they’re given on

a daily basis. With a large workload, it

can become difficult to carve out time

for yourself or others.

Remember to take a break every

once in a while and try not to push

yourself too hard. That being said, try to

work hard in school, but make sure not

to overdo it.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to

hear of a student with a mental illness.

Overall, every one in six students had

enough symptoms to meet the criteria

for one or more mental illnesses, the

most common being anxiety disorders.

Most of this anxiety stems from the

stress caused by schoolwork.

There are many ways to help

improve your mental health by doing

simple tasks.

Try to talk about your feelings

because talking about how you feel

will allow you to stay in a good mental

space and better your communication

skills if times get hard. Stay active in

your day-to-day life, both physically

and mentally, as trying to exercise your

body and brain can help your mental


Finally, take breaks every once in

a while because your mind needs some

time to collect its thoughts and relax for

a bit.

Be sure to check up on your friends

and help raise awareness about mental

health wellness in any way you can.

A simple phone call or text message

to an old friend can make a person’s

day. Happy Mental Health Awareness


If you or someone you know is in

immediate distress or is thinking about

hurting themselves, call the National

Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the toll-free

TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889).

You also can text the Crisis Text

Line (HELLO to 741741) or go to the

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


10 ADVERTISEMENTS Wed., May 26, 2021


Distribution from 2-5 p.m. on July 12 and 13 in the front of AHS

Buy in advance to be notified about pick up details

Wed., May 26, 2021

What’s going on between Palestine and Israel?


Staff Writer

The history of Palestine and Israel

starts in 1940 when Jews were “given”

the land of Palestine by the British

and American governments after the

Holocaust. It was well known that the

Palestinians housed many Jews during

and after the Holocaust to keep them


It was to their surprise that things

would quickly change soon after. In

1948, over 750,000 Palestinians were

kicked out of their homes by the Israeli

government and this tragic event

was named the “Nakba,” meaning

catastrophe in Arabic.

Many Israelis feel that they have a

right to Palestinian land because their

ancestors lived in that land over 3000

years ago so they are coming to “re-claim

their holy land,” but the only issue with

that is there’s an entire country of

people already living there.

Due to the Israeli occupation,

Palestinians were pushed to smaller

cities within Palestine called the West

Bank and Gaza. The living conditions

within those cities have been absolutely

terrible and inhabitable. Many

Palestinians describe it as an “openair

prison.” This is because the Israeli

government bombs and airstrikes those

cities very often and they have no escape

since their entire cities are surrounded

with borders and Israeli checkpoints.

From 1948 to present day, things

have been extremely hard for the

Palestinians due to the fact that they are

getting their homes taken from them by

Israeli settlers, Gaza continues to get

bombed by the Israeli government, and

they innocently get arrested every time

they speak out against the occupation.

Recently, Israeli settlers tried to take

the homes of Palestinian families in the

neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah located

in East Jerusalem. This sparked an

outburst of support and protests all over

the world.

The family that lives in the

neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah were

Sophomore Sereene Darwiesh snaps a picture of a man waving a Palestinian flag.


Around the world


Many are calling to the

government to demand a

nationwide lockdown. The

Indian Medical Association

believes that a 10 to 15

day lockdown will give the

health system enough time

to replenish. Currently

millions are practicing locallyimposed

restrictions since the

government won’t implement

the nationwide lockdown.

extremely stunned by the fact that they

may get their family home taken away

from them even though they’ve lived

there for countless years.

that situation turns as genocidal and

blatantly inhumane as it has now,”

sophomore Corrrene Bellem said. “I

don’t think that it will be easy or even

Soon after the Sheikh Jarrah possible to simply end the conflict

incident, the Al-Aqsua mosque was

attacked by the Israeli government

during the holy month of Ramadan

while many Muslims were praying. Not

only was this a violation of international

law, but they attacked the third most

holiest cities in Islam.

There are famous Muslim prophets

buried in that mosque and it holds a

very special place to many Muslims so

this brought even more anger to people.

Since the attack on Al-Aqsa mosque

and the attempt to take Palestinians

homes in Sheikh Jarrah, there have

been hundreds of protests in countries

like America, Canada, France, Brazil,

Yemen, and many more.

“I think that the conflict has been

going on for thousands of years and is

incredibly complex, however it is the

job of other countries to step in when

but the Palestinian people do need to

be protected and Israeli government

needs to have consequences for the the

blatant human rights violations they

are committing.”

At these protests, thousands of

people have come out to show their

support for the Palestinian people and

fight against the occupation. There has

also been a lot of anger towards the

United States government since they

fund the Israeli government with $3.8


When President Biden was asked to

speak on the Israelis’ actions, he said

they “have a right to defend themselves

against terrorists.” He also recently

approved an auction of weapons worth

$750 million for the Israeli government.

Politicians AOC and Bernie Sanders

have been working against this sale of

D.C. stands up for Palestine on May 11



“I think what is happening in

Palestine is awful. Innocent people

are dying, including children, which is

upsetting in any situation,” sophomore

Ellie Davis said. “It’s also upsetting to

see people say both sides are at fault,

because based on the information and

statistics I’ve seen, it is clear Israel

has more resources than Palestine and

they are using that to their advantage

in a highly unfair way. It has been and

always will be Free Palestine.”

There has recently been a ceasefire

between the Palestinians and Israelis

which many people are celebrating

because that means the continuous

11-day bombing in Gaza has come to an


“As a Palestinian myself, it breaks

my heart to see what’s happening in

my country and I believe that it is not

a conflict but rather an oppression,”

freshman Susana Aburish said. “I think

it’s disgusting that our own government

is funding this genocide and I pray for

peace in Palestine.”

The most coverage and support

in Palestine lies on social media from

millions of users. There have been live

videos and pictures of what’s going

on in Gaza, the West Bank, and other

Palestinian neighborhoods which give

people an insight of what’s going on.

“I think that there needs to be justice

for the Palestinian people and what’s

going on right now is inhumane and

the Israeli government needs to be held

accountable for what they’re doing,”

sophomore Ruftana Beyene said.

It is very important to make it

clear that what’s going on in Palestine

and Israel is not a religious war and

there should be no anti-semitism nor

islamophobia when fighting on either

side. Many Palestinians have made that

blatantly clear since Jews, Christians,

and Muslims have all lived together in

harmony since before 1940 and there

has never been any issue regarding

religion. When fighting for Palestinians,

it’s important to make it clear that the

Israeli government is to blame and not


United Kingdom

The U.K. is being publicly

criticized for dumping its

plastic waste in Turkey.

According to Greenpeace, 40%,

which is about 210,000 tons,

of the U.K.’s plastic waste was

exported to Turkey last year.

Investigators reported that the

waste was dumped by roads,

in fields, and in waterways

instead of being recycled. The

plastic waste is also said to be

burned there as well.


Continued protests in

Colombia have caused for 42

deaths and thousands to be

injured. The citizens’ anger

began with a tax reform

proposal during the pandemic

and has now escalated to

rage over police violence as

inequalities and disparities

rise in the country. There have

been over 1,800 cases of police

brutality since the start of the

protests in late April.

Protestors chanted and marched with signs

from the Washington Monument all the way to

The United States Capitol building.









Immigrant stories: coming to America

Freshman Ishika Saini immigrates to America from India


Staff Writer

Freshman Ishika Saini moved to the

United States in 2019 from her home

country India. Due to her father’s current

job, her family moves countries every

three years or so. In 2019 his job relocated

him to the U.S.

Ishika’s lifestyle changes often due to

her family’s frequent living changes. It’s a

normal recurrence, but it still fills Ishika

with an anxious feeling everytime.

“Since I’m traveling often it wasn’t

very new. Although I was anxious about

how my life would change in the U.S.,”

Saini said.

Despite the constant change life puts

in front of her, she never feels homesick

for her roots.

“Since I go back to India frequently,

there is no reason for me to feel homesick.

Wherever my family goes, I go, so it just

felt like it was another day,” Saini said.

Her family was planning to visit India

next month but due to the pandemic they

refrained, however they plan to move

back next year.

Aside from the change in the countries

she lives in she feels that she didn’t

struggle when it came to moving to the


The change became normal so I was

learning to adapt. She learned to adapt

very quickly, she is taking honor classes

and making new friends.

Language for her was never an issue

since English was always the primary

language wherever she went.

The cultural differences between the

U.S. and India are very different though.

The people, ideologies, and religions

differed from the U.S. When thinking of

any similarities she says, “When it comes

to how the U.S. and India are similar I

can’t think of many things.”

Even though the cultures have their

differences she still loves to indulge in all

the cultural aspects of the U.S.

“I love how open minded people in the

U.S. are. The music, the people, the food,

there’s so much to enjoy here,” Saini said.

However there is no place like home.

Ishika still loves all the things her culture

has to offer. Whether it’s big family

gatherings, the music, or her cultural

values all of which shaped her to the

person she is today.

The pandemic put a stop on a lot

of things for Ishika like visiting India,

seeing her friends, or going to school

normally. She likes to stray away from

people because of the pandemic.

Due to this it was hard for her to join

any clubs. She wanted to stay safe so she

only goes to school virtually currently.

To keep herself preoccupied she keeps

at her homework and a couple of her

hobbies. She likes to play guitar and video


Even though life brings her change

after change and challenge after the

other, Ishika learned how to deal with


She still goes about her life normally

learning, growing, and evolving. No

matter the obstacle she hopes to continue

whatever life has in store for her.

Freshman Ishika Saini takes a selfie in the sunlight.

Ishika Saini


Wed., May 26, 2021



Departing members recount their time in The A-Blast


Former Co-Editor in Chief


Former Managing Editor

It’s hard to condense four years into a few

sentences, but I’ll try.

There were the Newseum field trips and

journalism conventions and conferences.

There were all those arguments about

whether A-Blast or yearbook was better (the

correct answer is A-Blast).

There were the countless lunch periods

spent in the Pub Lab, stealing my friends’


There was that time I spent the whole

period putting up lights around the Pub Lab,

but in the end, it was worth it because it

looked cool.

There were all those late nights, stuck in

that room with everyone else, eating pizza and

working on the paper until I was sick of pizza

and sick of the newspaper, only to do it all over

again next month.

I can’t really give you one favorite memory

because it was everything all together that

made it so special. All I can say is that I will

always endlessly be proud of everything we

have accomplished here together.

I was part of The A-Blast for all four

years of high school and it was by far the best

decision I ever made.

I started off as a staff writer, then became

People Editor, then Health Editor and

eventually Managing Editor.

The A-Blast introduced me to my closest

friends and the coolest teacher and definitely

gave me a ton of memories to hold onto forever.

I’ll never forget all the late nights that we

spent in the Pub Lab during deadline weeks.

There would be no way we could have done

what we do without all of the amazing staff

that I got to work with for the past four years.

This class gave me an experience that I

couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

I got to work with The Washington Post and

be part of a staff that produced a newspaper

that was constantly top ranked in the country.

I am also so proud to say that I kept the

generation of Managing Editors going from

my childhood friends down to me, and I hope

to pass it down to my little sister eventually

as well.


Former Sports Editor


Former Academics Editor


Former Spanish Editor


Former Health Editor

Being a part of The A-Blast for the last

four years has meant so much to me. For

one, I have been part of a group that has

helped me to both become a better objective

writer and a better person.

Throughout my time spent in the Pub

Lab, I have fortunately been able to work

with a variety of amazing people on staff.

My favorite A-Blast memory by far over

the past four years has been the celebration

that we had after hearing the news of our

first place result at the annual journalism

convention held in Anaheim that year.

I’ve been in The A-Blast since 10th grade,

and it’s been an amazing experience. Before

I joined, I was pretty shy but being a part of

such a fun and free community changed me.

I have so many great memories while

being in The A-Blast like all the Fun Fridays

where I needed to prepare for screaming

matches, going to the Newseum and also

seeing everyone shudder with fear when

Weintraut threatened to make the person

who finished their page last clean the

disgusting microwave in the Pub Lab. (I was

never afraid because I like to believe I was

the best editor, but that’s just my opinion.)

Overall, my experience in The A-Blast

was a pretty great one.

I made many friends, have many good

memories and really felt challenged by

the responsibility that I had to take on,

especially once I became an editor.

Despite being an elective class, it felt like

the one class I really couldn’t fail or put off

because it wasn’t just about me; making the

newspaper is a team effort.

Even though it was stressful at times, I

think it taught me some very valuable life

skills that I will be able to take with me into

the real world.

I’ve been with The A-Blast for two years

now. Even though I was originally hesitant

to be a part of it, I did end up gaining

something from it. Joining The A-Blast has

allowed me to explore a new style of writing

that I wasn’t used to because we tend to

write in one style for school, and I think that

experimenting was something I needed.

As a writer, I think it is important to be

at least somewhat comfortable with various

styles of writing and that was something I

never really had the chance to have prior to

joining this class, so I’m grateful for that.


Former Webmaster, Social Media Manager


Former Staff Writer


Former Staff Writer


Former Staff Writer

I never imagined myself being in The

A-Blast, but I’m glad that I joined during

my final year. While I didn’t have the typical

experience with field trips and late nights,

I still nevertheless had the opportunity to

learn a lot about journalism.

Planning and finding sources for stories

definitely weren’t easy tasks, but it always

felt so satisfying to read and publish the

finished products. Even the last-minute

stories from my pal, Mim, felt fulfilling to

write. Honestly, writing for The A-Blast

really gave me a breath of fresh air from the

usual essays and commentaries.

I’ve always had a passion for writing and

I thought Mr. Weintraut was a cool guy, so I

decided to take journalism.

For my first writing, I became so

frustrated that I turned in this half-hearted

story. But, every time I wrote, it started to

feel more natural. I would just hear about

something and think, “hey, that would make

a cool story idea.”

Interviewing and writing before the

deadline gave me this adrenaline rush. I

tried to make each story better than the last.

Nothing felt better than grabbing a physical

copy and seeing my name in The A-Blast


This has been my first year in The

A-Blast, and it has been very fun learning

more about journalism in the past year. My

favorite journalism memory was playing

Kahoot with the W8 class on Fun Friday. I

also enjoyed conducting interviews to learn

more about the students and faculty at AHS.

I learned about the effort it takes to fulfill

the role as a staff writer and saw the hard

work all the editors and staff put into the

paper I have been reading all during high

school. I would have enjoyed taking the

class in-person as being a part of a paper

takes a lot of social experiences with other


I joined The A-Blast three years ago and

ever since then, I’ve been increasingly glad

to have joined it. For a relatively quiet guy

like myself, it was a great place to get more

familiar with the students and staff of AHS

by being able to interview them multiple


In addition, being able to work with

minimal teacher intervention let me feel

more pride over my accomplishments as a

journalist. Meeting new people and fostering

some friendships by working with them and

experiencing events like the Newseum trips

are probably the best parts of The A-Blast

and what I’ll miss most.

Not pictured: In-Depth Editors Henry Hoang and Erik Rivas, Health Editor Insaf Bouzana and Staff Writer Rudy Flores

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