Annandale High School’s
4700 Medford Dr. Annandale, VA 22003
Informing the Atoms since 1954
Wed., May 26, 2021 Vol. 66 Issue #8
BY DAVID SEWALL
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
BY ADAM SHAWISH
Co-Editor in Chief
The school year is finally over.
Summer is almost upon us and Covid-
19 regulations are starting to become
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.”
year will be
a mask and
be in place.
and staff will
find out more
after June 15.
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
like a lot of students
to manage that
on top of external
“This year has
I couldn’t be
of the students and staff at
Annandale High School...”
my 1 year-old
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
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.
BY ADAM SHAWISH
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
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
“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,”
on instaram to stay up to date with
Multiple teachers set to retire
Six staff members
are leaving AHS at the
end of the year
BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB
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
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,”
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
“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
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.
BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB
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
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
BY FATIMA SAYED ELTAYEB
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
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
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
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 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
To add to the blow, Yang attended
an Eid event even though he completely
disregarded the deaths of innocents at
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
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
of the Israeli-
I’m on the side
of Palestine. The
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
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
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.
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
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
A BLAST STAFF
MAKIN’ THE GRADE
CO-EDITORS IN CHIEF
Fatima Sayed Eltayeb
Fatima Sayed Eltayeb
Fatima Sayed Eltayeb
Fatima Sayed Eltayeb
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Annandale High School
Vol 66. Issue No. 8
4700 Medford Dr.
Annandale, VA 22003
The A-Blast is
newspaper that strives
to inform, educate and
entertain the student
body and community.
The A-Blast will not
print any material
that is obscene or
libelous; or that which
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
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,
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
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.
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
VARIANTE DE COVID DEVASTA LATINOAMERICA
La variante P1
empeora aún más la
situacion de COVID
BY MIA ANTEZANA
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
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
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
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?
FOTO TOMADA POR GOB.PE
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
Otros problemas son la falta de
ayuda médica, falta de espacio en los
hospitales, falta de conocimiento de
variantes, falta de vacuna, falta de
Sin embargo esperamos que a
medida de que el timepo pase y con
las restricciones y vacunas latinoamerica
BY DANIELA DOSEN Y LILI
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
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
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
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
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
FOTO TOMADA POR OLIVIA CRUZ
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
because his music is
very calming and he
has a nice voice and
he’s an indie singer.”
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
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
BY MARY ENDALKACHEW
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
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
Los síntomas pueden incluir a menudo
sentirse triste, confundido, culpable,
temeroso, con poca energía, dificultad
para dormir o tener cambios extremos
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
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
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
¿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
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
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
BY SHANE GOMEZ
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
BY LILLI DALRYMPLE
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
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
DONATE YOUR CAR
The Annandale Auto Tech Class is now accepting
donations of old cars for classroom use.
The sooner the better!
Contact Auto Tech Teacher Anthony Maniatakas for more details!
AHS almuni Abril Sanchez during the graduation for the class of 2020.
Seniors prepare to graduate
BY ADAM SHAWISH
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
“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
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
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA CRUZ
mind a little
noise to help
her out with all
she needs to
finish up for the
BY THONNY ANWAR
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?
BY DANIELA DOSEN AND LILLI
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
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
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
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.
P.S. This is the last ever Talkin’ with
“I like listening to a
song titled ‘Hold On’ by
The Internet because
it is really relaxing and
helps me stay focused
“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
“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
“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
BY THONNY ANWAR
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
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
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.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NADIYA KHALIF
TEST YOUR NOODLE!
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
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
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
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADS!
George Mason University
University of Virginia
NOVA Community College
George Mason University
NOVA Community College
University of Vermont
UT San Antonio
George Mason University
George Mason University
George Mason University
Louisiana State University
University of Virginia
James Madison University
United States Naval
George Mason University
Orange Coast College
George Mason University
George Mason University
Old Dominion University
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
BY LEEN ALAWNEH
Sydney’s Studio sells keychains, resin trays and more
BY SYDENY LONG
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
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
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 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,”
The prayer itself takes five minutes
My family and I always either go to
MAS DC Mosque or Dar al Hijrah in
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
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
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?
WHO AM I?
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
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
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
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
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/
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
Who Am I?
Wed. May 26, 2021
SPF reduces the risk of
skin cancer, which is the
most common cancer in the
U.S. It also protects against
and redness. Not only that,
but SPF helps to prevent
wrinkles and fine lines,
and avoid blotchy skin
a sunscreen with at least
Protect yourself from the
diseases by getting
vaccinated. The risk of
is extremely high and
immunizations will protect
you from any sicknesses
and allow you to enjoy the
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
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
WEAR A HAT
EAT FRUITS AND
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
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
BY MARAM IBRAHIM
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
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
6 to 8 small, round corn tortillas
(certified gluten-free if necessary)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped romaine
lettuce or spring greens
YIELDS: 6 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES
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!
BY MARY ENDALKACHEW
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
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
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
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
ORDER YOUR YEARBOOK TODAY AT WWW.YEARBOOKFOREVER.COM
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?
BY SEREENE DARWIESH
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 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
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
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
BY LEEN ALAWNEH
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.,”
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.
12 SENIOR FAREWELL
Wed., May 26, 2021
ALL ART CREATED BY RYAN LAM
Departing members recount their time in The A-Blast
BY KHADIJA AHMED
Former Co-Editor in Chief
BY JAMILEH HAMADEH
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
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
BY ALEX BURITA
Former Sports Editor
BY THONNY ANWAR
Former Academics Editor
BY MIA ANTEZANA
Former Spanish Editor
BY MARAM IBRAHIM
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.
BY RYAN LAM
Former Webmaster, Social Media Manager
BY LEON ARCEO
Former Staff Writer
BY NAREG BOGHOSIAN
Former Staff Writer
BY EYOB DAGNACHEW
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