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theWarrior

46th Year, Issue No. 3 March 21, 2024

Sherwood High School: 300 Olney Sandy Spring Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860

www.thewarrioronline.com

Multiple States Propose Social Media Bans for Adolescents

by Evelyn San Miguel ‘26

Due to rising concerns nationwide,

southern states like

Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri

have proposed bills in their state

legislatures that would effectively

ban certain social media sites for

children under sixteen, attempting

to lead the way in a new era

of protecting children against Big

Tech. Though which sites would

be banned remains uncertain, the

message being made still stands:

social media harms adolescents,

and it needs to be regulated.

On February 1, CEOs from

the world’s biggest social media

companies gathered to testify in

Congress in front of the Senate

Judiciary Committee. In a rare

display of bipartisanship, CEOs

of Meta, Snap, Discord, TikTok,

and X (formerly known as Twitter),

were questioned thoroughly

by senators as to whether their

algorithms and business models

are formulated to target impres-

sionable teens and perpetuate the

spread of harmful information for

the purpose of ad revenue.

Among the hearing’s most

memorable moments was Meta’s

CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, apologizing

to families who lost their

children as a result of sexual exploitation

or harassment via social

media. Other attacks have

come from the House, whose

MCPS Superintendent Search

Begins after McKnight Resigns

by Connor Pugh ‘24

On February 2, Dr. Monifa

McKnight stepped down from

her position as superintendent of

MCPS, her resignation represented

a culmination of nearly half a

year of controversy and internal

chaos as sexual harassment allegations

against former Farquhar

Middle School Principal Joel

Beidleman were made public in

August in an exposé by the Washington

Post.

McKnight initially rejected

calls for her resignation. On January

22, when the Board of Education

reportedly asked McKnight

to step down, McKnight responded

publicly that, “The Board has

never written, documented, or

communicated any concern about

my performance, and through the

evaluation process has consistently

affirmed that I have met expectations.”

McKnight was posed

to take legal action in the event

that the Board would violate her

contract, but ultimately she and

the Board reached a “mutually

accepted separation.” According

to the Montgomery Perspective

blog, McKnight will recieve

$1,183,250 in wages as part of

her post-employment compensation.

Within days, Monique Felder

was appointed as interim superintendent

as MCPS began conducting

its search for a permanent

superintendent to put under contract.

Felder stated her primary

focus includes creating “stability

within the district [and] ensure

consistency for our staff, students,

and families and pave the

way for a seamless transition to

the next superintendent.”

Felder has a long history of

being an educator, starting out as

a teacher before becoming principal

of Watkins Mill Elementary

School. Most recently in 2019

before becoming interim superintendent

of MCPS, Felder was

superintendent of Orange County

Schools in central North Carolina.

Felder’s current tenure as

superintendent is set to run until

June 30.

see MCKNIGHT, pg. 2

most recent bill targets TikTok,

declaring a full out ban if the Chinese

owners do not sell the company.

Although the topic is politicized,

consensus is forming about

social media and teens. Most

health organizations and experts

agree: social media has serious,

real, and harmful consequences

in regards to mental health and

In recent years MCPS has

seemingly taken a step away from

utilizing instructional software to

monitor students’ assignments

and class work. In the 2022-23

school year MCPS stopped using

popular anti-plagiarism software

turnitin.com. The stated reason

for cutting ties with the software

company was a dispute with the

company over student-staff privacy

concerns. This trend of MCPS

taking away instructional software

continued this school year

when on January 23 the MCPS

Board of Education was informed

by Stephanie Sheron, who serves

as MCPS Chief of Strategic Initiatives,

that the county had cut

funding for the GoGuardian platform

from the proposed 2024-25

school year budget.

This decision will reportedly

save the county over $230,000

but will have much wider implications

for both students and

teachers at schools across the

county. The decision won’t be

finalized until the Board of Education

finalizes the budget in the

spring of this year.

physical safety for adolescents

who are active on them. In a study

conducted by Yale Medicine, adolescents

12-15 who used social

media for more than three hours a

day were two times more likely to

be vulnerable to developing mental

illnesses like depression or

anxiety, or exacerbate the symptoms

of pre-existing mental conditions.

An informative example of

the harms and dangers of social

media comes from a recent phenomenon

that has gained popularity

among teen boys since the

Covid-19 pandemic: the idea of

“bulking up” or gaining muscle

to improve their physique to unhealthily

cope with issues pertaining

to home, school, romantic

relationships, or their body image.

These mindsets tie into narratives

of toxic masculinity and

disordered behaviors that directly

target young males and can lead

to developing a type of body dysmorphia

aptly named by Harvard

Many teachers have expressed

that without GoGuardian

and other software that helps prevent

students from cheating, the

only way to truly make sure students

are not cheating is for them

to handwrite assignments. Some

teachers have already been using

paper for high-stakes assignments,

such as in-class essays,

and other teachers will explore

this option more and more without

the option of GoGuardian.

“GoGuardian is the program

I will miss the most. While

Chromebooks are useful, they

also provide ample opportunity

for student distraction. GoGuardian

helped to limit that,” explained

social studies teacher

Scott Allen. “With it gone at the

end of this year, I will no longer

be able to assess students on virtual

quizzes and tests, as I have

no way to ensure test security. So

assessments will have to be paper

and pencil going forward.”

Although MCPS recognizes

the effectiveness of GoGuardian

as a classroom tool, Sheron has

pointed to the fact that 60 percent

of teachers do not use the platform.

“Because other software,

Health as “Muscle Dysmorphia.”

It includes working out excessively

for hours at a time, participating

in disordered dieting or eating

patterns for the sake of improving

their physique, and idealizing unrealistic

or harmful expectations

for male bodies. Experts say social

media is a direct cause, with

algorithms that are built to feed

similar content for continued engagement,

often leading their users

down a rabbit hole of harmful,

dangerous, or negative posts. One

pediatric doctor from the University

of California San Francisco,

Jason Nagata, told the Washington

Post that social media sites

like Instagram and TikTok “can

create pressures for boys to display

and compare their muscular

physiques,” with both linking directly

to increased levels of dysmorphic

thought processes and

disordered eating.

Teachers Lose Use of Helpful Software

by Ziv Golan ‘26

Seph Fischer ‘25

see SOCIAL MEDIA, pg. 3

including Nearpod and PearDeck,

and selected staff positions have

already been eliminated from the

budget for next year, there were

no other software cuts to consider,”

said Sheron. “Unfortunately,

we could not meet our required

cut threshold without putting

GoGuardian forward. Without this

cut, we would impact technology

refresh for student Chromebooks

and staff laptops. We recognize

the impact to some of our teachers

and are looking for alternative

solutions to help mitigate the impact

of this reduction.”

Without turnitin.com and

GoGuardian, teachers will have a

much more difficult time helping

students understand how to use

technology responsibly and ethically

in academic settings. This

will make the job of the teachers

who do regulalry use GoGuardian

more difficult. “This definitely

will add responsibilities on the

teacher to try and make sure students

are learning and not using

shortcuts that may leave them

less prepared for exams and future

responsibilities beyond high

school,” said social studies teacher

Michael King.

What’s Inside: News 1-4, Pulse 5, Opinions 6-7, Spotlight 8-9, Humor 10-11,

Entertainment 12-13, Sports 14-16

Pulse

Learn about where Sherwood

students have traveled.

Page 5

Sports

Read about how varsity sports

prepare year-round for their seasons.

Page 14


2

The Warrior • News

March 21, 2024

FAFSA Delay Impacts Senior College Decisions

SMOB Election Nears

by Ziv Golan ‘26

As this year’s SMOB (Student Member of the Board) election

approaches on April 17, the final two candidates, Samantha Ross

and Praneel Suvarna, will be campaigning at middle and high

schools throughout the county.

Ross, who is a junior at Montgomery Blair High School, has

been advocating for a focus on building strong school communities

and keeping AP and IB tests, as well as dual enrollment, free.

She has also noted that providing funding for magnet programs is

an important part of her campaign. Ross has also been a strong advocate

for keeping school guidance counselors and wellness professionals

well paid. In addition, Ross has estensive experience

working as an intern for MCPS along with working under multiple

previous SMOBs, including serving as Chief of Staff for current

SMOB Sami Saeed Chief.

Suvarna, who is a junior at Clarksburg High School, has been

campaigning for a variety of policies including creating a more

welcoming space for transgender and non-binary students along

with offering more inclusive school lunches (Halal, Kosher, Vegan,

and Gluten Free options). He also wants to work towards making

sure funds are being sent to schools that are in need of repairs

along with working to combat institutionalized bias and hate within

the county. He has experience working within the county-wide

SGA along with serving as president of his school’s SGA.

The SMOB is an important position that has existed since

1978. Although many counties have a SMOB, MCPS is unique

in the fact that along with Howard County, the SMOB has the

same voting rights on the Board of Education as its seven elected

members. The position allows the SMOB to play a crucial role

in deciding the MCPS budget, school closings, and more. The

position comes with a $5,000 college scholarship, Student Service

Learning hours, and one honors-level social studies credit.

The SMOB also has the oppurtunity to work with a staff of other

MCPS students. This includes a Chief of Staff among other roles

on the SMOB’s “cabinet” as it is called. This gives other MCPS

students the ability to see how the school board operates.

Fairfax School Admissions

Case Rejected by Court

by Justin Lakso ‘25

Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School, a nationally acclaimed

magnet program in Fairfax County Public Schools system in

Northern Virginia, changed its admissions policy to boost the racial

diversity of the school. Enrollment was based on an entrance

exam and a combination of GPA, application essays, and teacher

recommendations until 2020. The school board argued that these

admissions favored students in wealthier areas of Fairfax, and the

policy was soon updated to reserve spots for the top students from

every school in the county. This boosted the percentage of Black

and Latino students from under 5 percent to 20 percent, but decreased

the amount of Asian American students from 73 percent

to 54 percent.

The parent’s group, Coalition for TJ, filed a lawsuit against

the Fairfax school board claiming that the new enrollment system

was unjust and discriminatory. Initially, the district court sided

with the parents, agreeing that TJ’s enrollment cannot withhold

spots for students to promote racial diversity; however, this was

overturned in the court of appeals. The Coalition for TJ appealed

the case to the Supreme Court. The Court denied their writ of certiorari

almost immediately, refusing to hear the case. The majority

maintained that the policy is race neutral, despite the demographic

changes that resulted from it. Justice Samuel Alito dissented with

the ruling, arguing “what the Fourth Circuit majority held is that

intentional racial discrimination is constitutional so long as it is

not too severe. This reasoning is indefensible, and it cries out for

correction.” This claim was similar to the dissents in the lower

courts. As Judge Claude Hilton of the district court wrote, “Asian

American applicants are disproportionately deprived of a level

playing field.”

by Katie Ng ‘24

Free Application for Federal

Student Aid (FAFSA) allows

secondary education students and

incoming secondary education

students to apply for and receive

financial aid when applying to

colleges. Students fill out the application

by inputting their family’s

income data and the Department

of Education reviews the

information to determine the student’s

eligibility for financial aid.

The United States Department of

Education would have sent out

the FAFSA data to colleges in

January but because of an error,

it could not send out the data until

March. The delay is causing uncertainty

for many college-bound

seniors and their parents in MCPS

and around the country.

Normally, FAFSA becomes

available in October. In 2023, it

was unavailable until December

because Congress ordered

the Department of Education to

change the FAFSA. In response,

the Department of Education

tweaked the way it calculates eligibility

and simplified the FAFSA

form, so that there are now fewer

questions. The form is also now

MCPS Looking for New Superintendent

from MCKNIGHT, pg. 1

MCPS conducts its search

for a new superintendent in three

phases. The first phase involved

collecting information and feedback

from staff, students, and others

to build a “leadership profile”

that the county can then use to

determine the best person for the

job. This method of input collection

includes a feedback form that

stakeholders fill out to voice what

they want to see in the next superintendent,

conducting surveys

to staffs and students, and hosting

in-person town halls on April 2,

3, and 4 at Seneca Valley High

School, Richard Montgomery

High School, and Wheaton High

School, respectively. The second

phase involves MCPS conducting

a national search to find suitable

candidates to interview and narrow

down the options of possible

superintendents. The third and final

phase will have the final candidates

interviewed for a second

time and determine the final suitable

candidate for superintendent.

McKnight departing and

leaving the superintendent spot

undetermined is but the latest

shakeup to come to MCPS after

the Beidleman investigation.

MCPS hired private law firm,

Jackson Lewis, to investigate

MCPS’s failured response to the

accusations against Beidleman.

Their heavily redacted report,

released in October of last year,

identified at least five MCPS officials

who were at a minimum

complacent in allowing Beidleman’s

misconduct. All names

in the report were redacted, but

shortly after the publishing of the

report, numerous higher ups at

integrated with the IRS to make it

easier to access financial information

instead of having to use a tax

return form.

However, the Department

of Education made a significant

math error that would have cost

$1.8 billion dollars in financial

aid. The mistake would have

made families appear to have a

higher income, which would have

deprived lower income students

of federal financial aid as well as

possibly discouraged them from

seeking a secondary education.

As a result, colleges cannot

determine what financial aid students

receive and cannot send out

offers until April, which is incredibly

late. This particular setback

could impact whether a student

attends the college of their choice

or even college at all. May 1 is the

traditional deadline for college

decisions, so unless colleges push

the deadline back, families will

have less than a month to make

college decisions, which puts

them in a tight position to quickly

make a decision.

“It’s unfortunate that these

delays could impact whether a

prospective student goes to college

at all this fall, or at the very

MCPS left unexpectedly or were

placed on administrative leave.

Such people included Deputy Superintendent

Patrick Murphy, Associate

Superintendent of School

Support and Well-Being Donna

Jones, Director in the Office of

School Support and Well-Being

Eugenia Dawson, and Associate

Superintendent of Schools and

Well-Being—as well as Beidleman’s

former supervisor—Diane

Morris.

On February 8, MCPS released

a less redacted version

of the report in which it was revealed

McKnight was aware of

the allegations towards Biedelman

before the approval of his

promotion last June to become

principal at Paint Branch High

School. MCPS Chief Operating

Officer Brian Hull clarified in a

Washington Post Article that two

least where they go,” said Brad

Barnett, the financial aid director

at James Madison University in

an NPR article.

Some colleges across the

country will push back their deadlines

for the FAFSA, according

to Sherwood College and Career

Information Coordinator Jenny

Davis. She shared that a few seniors

voiced concerns about their

college decisions but that college

representatives say colleges are

working with applicants. Davis

will send out any resources she

receives on Canvas and update

the Sherwood College and Career

website as soon as she recieves

new information.

Davis also emphasized how

she strongly recommends that

students look for numerous avenues

to pay for college due to

the problems caused by the FAF-

SA delays. “Students should not

solely rely on the FAFSA to assist

with college payments. There are

other avenues to receive financial

aid: the institutions’ merit aid, applying

to scholarships, grants, etc.

Having in depth conversations

within your family about what

you can really afford, are crucial,”

said Davis.

Cliff Vacin ‘25

The Carver Educational Services Center, which is the MCPS School

District Office in Rockville, houses the Board of Education offices.

of the five employees have left

MCPS, two are currently under

investigation, and the final one

has been disciplined but remains

working in MCPS.

Some, however, argue that

changes to staff are not enough.

County Councilmember Dawn

Luedtke, a vocal advocate for

greater transparency and accountability

within MCPS during the

investigation, insisted in a statement

regarding Mcknight’s departure

that “[McKnight] leaving

her position provides new leadership,

but it does not provide

answers. Without a detailed and

public explanation of the school

system’s failures in the matter

of Joel Beidleman, MCPS and

the Board of Education will have

failed in their collective commitment

to transparency and accountability.”


The Warrior • News

March 21, 2024

3

Student Performance Struggled Post-Pandemic

by Elsie Rozario ‘24

MCPS year-to-year data showing literacy skills in grades K-3.

The Covid-19 pandemic

had a large impact on student

performance. According to

the Education Recovery Score

Card, students nationwide lost

around half a year of learning

in math and around a third of

the year in reading. Standardized

testing data indicates

a sharp decrease in reading

scores, especially for younger

students who received online

instruction during their early

elementary school years. For

instance, a larger proportion of

students in Grade 4 performed

NAEP Basic (partial mastery

of grade level content) in 2022

than 2019, with many 8th graders

also performing worse than

they had in previous years.

MCPS was not exempt

from these struggles with distance

learning, especially regarding

its younger students.

DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators

of Basic Early Literacy Skills)

scores from 2022 indicate that

53 percent of kindergarten students

fell below the benchmark

in Montgomery County, with

1st and 2nd grade students performing

only slightly better.

Learning loss was also an issue

with MCPS middle and high

schools, especially in English

Language Proficiency.

In order to reverse the

trend of students falling behind,

additional federal aid was

given to schools to accelerate

learning. As schools across the

nation reopened, many took

advantage of this funding to

hire more staff and implement

supplemental academic programs,

such as tutoring, summer

school, and other student supports.

Schools also attempted to

cover more academic content

in a single school year. These

methods showed results, with the

Education Recovery Score Card

reporting that students recovered

a third of their loss in math and

a fourth of their loss in reading

between 2022 and 2023. Despite

this, a sizable deficit still remains

and students still are catching up.

MCPS also began to change

its approach on learning following

the pandemic, especially

by expanding school resources.

More teacher-screening tools

and student-tutoring services

were added to better identify

and address student needs in the

classroom. MCPS focused on

increasing resources for English

Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics

following the drop in student

performance in those areas.

Early elementary school classes,

especially kindergarten, began to

place more emphasis on phonics

and fluency.

MCPS’s learning recovery

plan has resulted in significant

improvements, especially with

elementary school students. In

2023, 58 percent of 1st grade

students and 60.4 percent of 2nd

grade students were at or above

the DIBELS benchmark. Kindergarten

students saw the most

progress following the implementation

of MCPS’s recovery plan.

with kindergarten literacy rates

rising from 24 percent to 72 percent

in 2023 according to Montgomery

Community Media.

Despite all the improvements

made, a large educational gap still

exists within the county. MCPS

reports uneven progress in math

across MCPS schools and gaps

in early elementary school literacy

despite the curriculum changes.

According to the 2022-2023

Maryland Report Card, MCPS

elementary schools did not meet

the annual target for academic

achievement, while MCPS high

schools did not meet the target

for academic achievement, graduation,

or English language proficiency.

This year, MCPS plans

to continue monitoring student

learning and focus on ELA and

mathematics resources.

Teachers Still See Effects

of Pandemic on Students

by Evelyn San Miguel ‘26

It’s been four years since the

nationwide shutdown of schools

from the Covid-19 Pandemic,

and many have been left wondering

whether or not the world

has recovered. Although masks

and social distancing have fallen

out of fashion and the virus is no

longer considered a public health

emergency, the long-lasting effects

of the global shutdown rings

the loudest in the ears of students

and educators alike. Despite going

“back to normal,” academic

disparities from virtual learning

continue to harm the progress of

the next generation.

Sherwood teachers had their

fair share of setbacks during virtual

learning for the 2020-21

school year. “Teaching during

the pandemic was frustrating,”

recounted math teacher Heather

Baxter. “I tried to do fun things,

like breakout rooms and play music

when students entered Zoom,

but the enthusiasm from students

was lacking.” Baxter’s feelings

echoed those of most teachers:

virtual learning prevented

teachers from holding students

accountable, and students are

still slow to come back from the

setbacks that came from online

learning. She often has to catch

her students up on basic concepts

from Algebra they may have

missed if they weren’t engaged

on Zoom, and has to compensate

by offering to reteach concepts

during lunch.

English teacher Ashley Graham-Bell

noticed that when her

students came back from the

virtual learning year, they were

“really resistant to collaborating

with other people … they

didn’t want to speak. That was

the thing that was really the

hardest part.” Students also had

a hard time completing tasks

independently, but indicated

they didn’t want to work as a

group.

“There was a hypersensitivity

to being seen and heard,”

said Graham-Bell, who added

that many of her students had

become more passive learners

after virtual learning. This trend

of passivity brought less independence,

with more and more

students relying on technology

or other adults to provide them

with answers instead of seeking

them out themselves.

Baxter and Graham-Bell

noted the rising popularity of

AI systems, like ChatGPT or

Photomath, that their students

have used to cheat on assignments.

The systems have contributed

significantly in the

trend of technological reliance,

with students being unwilling

to complete the most basic

work. The volume and rigor at

which students used to work

has declined, with students

lacking basic skills like reading

comprehension and writing

structure. Graham-Bell found

herself having to compensate

for the learning that her students

lost in middle school

from virtual learning. But the

biggest loss that she saw in her

students was the “lack of joy,

a lack of curiosity, a lack of

spark … [and less] learning for

learning’s sake.”

BSU Holds County-Wide Town Hall at Sherwood

by Mauricio Altamirano ‘24

On February 26, the Black

Student Union (BSU) sponsored

a meeting to discuss topics ranging

from inclusivity and diversity

in school curriculums to police

presence at school-sponsored activities.

Approximately 100 BSU

members from Sherwood, Blair,

Watkins Mill, Wheaton, and Paint

Branch were in attendance, participating

in the discussion by

asking a variety of questions to

the panelists.

In the span of two hours,

panelists and students discussed

issues that were of much prevalence

in the MCPS community.

The participants gathered in the

Ertzman for the discussion. Senior

Marley Hillman, the president

of the BSU at Sherwood

High School, said that the goal

for the panel was “to create a platform

for black students to discuss

topics within their community

with community leaders.”

The panelists, which included

Rhea Beal, Sgt. Naeem Hargrove,

Sherwood science teacher

Dr. Gina Martin, Margaret Knudsen-Gleason,

and Charles Alexander,

discussed a wide range of

issues concerning student voices

in MCPS. For many, banned

books and censorship in school

curriculums was at the forefront

and a key part of the discussion.

“Banning novels is bad for students

and there is a need to see

every student to see themselves

reflected in literature. To fight

against this, don’t be quiet, don’t

sit silent, speak up,” said Knudsen-Gleason,

a K-12 Content

Specialist for MCPS.

Martin, the head of the science

department at Sherwood,

emphasized a need for outreach to

students of color in order to push

them to participate in higher level

classes that see less diversity

overall. Some students commented

that they were the only person

of color in their AP or IB course,

and that most of their peers haven’t

been pushed to higher levels

of academic achievement because

of systemic disadvantages for students

of color.

Among the concerns BSU

members brought up was the issue

of Community Engagement

Officers’ (CEO) presence at

school games and events. Many

students argued that the CEOs

made them feel more unsafe, a

number of students detailed how

they felt their presence at certain

schools was biased, and based

on the negative reputation of the

school. Hargrove responded to

the myriad of student concerns,

saying that no matter what, CEOs

were going to be at school games

and other events, not because of

a perception that a school has

a negative reputation. Their responsibility,

Hargrove emphasized,

was to keep students safe

while on school grounds and at

school sponosred events.

In the future, the BSU hopes

to hold similar events, with more

opportunities for students around

the county to interact with leaders

in their community. Hillman believed

that the panel achieved its

goal; however, there is still much

more work left to to be accomplished.

“We achieved the first goal,

the second is step two. We hope

to continue to work together as a

MoCo BSU collective to engage

and open further opportunities of

engagement for other students,”

said Hillman.

Multiple States Propose Social

Media Bans for Adolescents

from SOCIAL MEDIA, pg. 1

Banning social media does,

however, have its drawbacks.

Many platforms provide a place

for individuals to find community,

and limiting that potential

could mean depriving people

of meaningful connections that

are made through the internet

and social media. Members of

the LGBTQIA+ community and

marginalized youth, for example,

find safe havens in social media.

Social media sites can provide a

space for creative expression of

sexuality and identity, creating

a safer, more accepting environment

for marginalized groups that

face discrimination in their dayto-day

lives. Without this outlet,

these groups could be at a higher

risk for developing or worsening

mental illnesses like anxiety and

depression.

Southern states’ efforts

against social media, and more

specifically, Florida’s proposed

bill, raise the question of how

much the government can regulate

decisions that would normally

be up to parents. While

Florida’s bill targets singularly

banning social media for those

under sixteen, it treads a dangerous

line between protection and

outright censorship. Social media

platforms are major hubs for

political and social commentary,

with most of the voices participating

in that commentary being

young people. Dissenting parties

argue that by removing millions

of people from consuming this

kind of content and participating

in these discussions, it would effectively

“silence an entire generation.”

Privacy concerns have

been brought up with the bill as

well, since social media companies

would have to authenticate

their users’ ages by requiring

them to submit some type of official,

government-issued identification.

For the companies, implementing

an authentication system

to that scale would be incredibly

difficult, violate their privacy policies,

and have no guarantee of

actually being effective.


4

The Warrior • News

March 21, 2024


The Warrior • Pulse 5

March 21, 2024

The Pulse

HAVE YOU EVER

TRAVELED OUT OF THE COUNTRY?

In this edition of the Pulse, The Warrior travels around

the world to ask students about different cultures, languages,

and sights, as spring break soon rolls around.

PLACES SHERWOOD STUDENTS HAVE BEEN

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY OF

TRAVELING LONG DISTANCE?

PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN TO...

36% 89% 74% 16% 37%

CALIFORNIA NEW YORK CITY DISNEY WORLD LAS VEGAS OUTER BANKS

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF

VACATION LOCATION?

WHAT CITY, ANYWHERE IN

THE WORLD, WOULD YOU

VISIT?

“I think Portland, Oregon would be fun

to visit. I’ve heard there’s a lot of stuff

to do there for people who like art and

other generally creative things.”

- Milo Dowling ‘24

“I want to visit the city of Sydney in

Australia because I want to see the

many cool sights and try the food.”

- Sydney Goldman ‘24

“New Orleans, I want to experience

Mardi Gras and just learn more about

it.”

- Mahlet Daniel ‘24

“Madrid, because of the food and the

buildings.”

- Steven Sarmiento ‘26

“Tokyo or Kyoto, because of the history

and architecture.”

- Andrew Papalia ‘24

WHAT OTHER COUNTRY DO

YOU DREAM OF

GOING TO SOMEDAY?

“I dream to go to Japan someday to be

able to fully experience and embrace

their rich culture, and how that culture

has withstood the test of time as the

country has modernized.”

- Matthew Vacek ‘24

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TRAVELING?

“I love to see what other people experience, because every

place has unique circumstances, whether it be weather,

culture, or customs. It makes me realize how unique

my own life is, and I end up learning many things about

myself and another facet of the world.”

- Abigail Gosaye ‘24

“My favorite thing about traveling is visiting new places,

and living in a new environment for a few weeks. It allows

me to forget about any problems I have while at home.”

- Nathan Thakur ‘24

“Learning new languages, and cultures, and meeting new

people.“

- Sydney Gould ‘26

“I would love to go and see Italy or

Greece. Italy because of all the historic

buildings, and Greece because of how

beautiful it is.”

- Jacob Nelson‘24

“I dream of going to Jamaica, because I

think it would be really cool to go, and I

think that Jamaica is really pretty. “

- Olivia Booker ‘26

“I really want to go to Saudi Arabia

because I want to see the atmosphere.”

- Deo Basnyat ‘24

“The thrill of being out of the open road, not always

having a true destination in mind but wherever the road

may take you, and the stops along the way that make it all

worth it.”

- Maggie Reese ‘24

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TRIP?

“My Baltic Sea cruise to Poland, Russia,

Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia,

Finland, and Norway. I got to experience so

many cultures and different ways of living.“

- Julia Boardman ‘26

“Thailand was very similar to New Yorkless

crowded, was humid but it was nice. The

temples visited were wondrous, and just

had a good atmosphere.“

- Margaret Jones ‘24

“My favorite trip was going to El Salvador

because it was my first time going out of

the country, and I felt more connected to

my Salvadoran roots.“

- Nicholas Hernandez ‘24

“My trip to Slovenia, because I went with

friends and we did a bunch of fun things.“

- Danny Landi ‘24

WHAT LANGUAGE DO YOU WISH

YOU COULD SPEAK?

Survey of 45 sophomores and 55 seniors compiled by Cliff Vacin ‘25


6

STAFF

Editor-in-Chief ........................................... Dylan Sondike ‘24

Managing Print Editor ............................... Audrey Farris ‘25

Online

Managing Online Editor ............................... Liam Trump ‘24

Print

News .................................................................... Ziv Golan ‘26

Opinions ......................................................... Liam Trump ‘24

Pulse ................................................................... Cliff Vacin ‘25

Spotlight ....................................................... Audrey Farris ‘25

Humor ...................................................... Ben Schoenberg ‘24

Entertainment ........................................... Jordan Costolo ‘25

Dasun Panapitiya ‘24

Sports .................................................................. Noah Bair ‘24

Thomas Fenner ‘24

Copy and Content

Director of Copy & Content ........................ Connor Pugh ‘24

Copy and Content Editors ............................... Noah Bair ‘24

Seph Fischer ‘25

Business and Social Media

Director of Social Media ............................... Liam Trump ‘24

D irector of A d v ertis in g ............................. Jord an C os tolo ‘25

Photography

Director of Photography ................................... Gael Rebu ‘24

Staff Writers

Mauricio Altamirano ‘24, George Awkard ‘25, Thien Dinh

‘26, Justin Lakso ‘25, Hannah Mushahwar ‘24, Katie Ng ‘25,

Declan Rooney ‘25, Elsie Rozario ‘24, Evelyn San Miguel

‘26, Randy Wang ‘24, Aspen Weinberg ‘25

The Warrior serves as Sherwood’s primary

news source, receiving numerous state and

national honors over the 46 years it has been

in circulation. With a staff of more than 25 students

under the guidance of Peter Huck, The

Warrior keeps the Sherwood community

informed about local and national events. All

opinion articles represent the viewpoint of the

writer.

The Warrior • Opinions

March 21, 2024

Stop Obsessing over Celebrities

by Cliff Vacin ‘25

In the past couple of years,

the relationship between celebrities

and their fans has taken a

huge shift. Obsessed fans of celebrities

tend to have “parasocial”

relationships, where a fan obsesses

over a celebrity or online figure

who doesn’t know they exist.

The targets of these obsessions

are typically media personalities,

such as famous musicians, TV

and movie actors, and online personalities

who have a prominent

media presence. From this comes

a deeply obsessive fan culture

that revolves around conspiracy

theories, fixation, and in worstcase

scenarios, stalking.

There are many notable cases

of famous people with a large,

captivated fanbase. To name a

few: Kim Kardashian, Kanye

West, many K-pop groups such as

BTS, and especially Taylor Swift.

While many of Swift’s fans don’t

cross the line between appreciation

and obsession, a number of

them are enthralled in her life,

tracking personal details from her

Instagram account and even going

as far as tracking her location.

A good chunk of Taylor-related

conspiracy theories have made

it into mainstream media, most

recently one about her connection

to a rigged Super Bowl through

her boyfriend and NFL player,

Travis Kelce. While most of these

conspiracy theories are neither

malicious nor harmful, the culture

created by the conspiracies

perpetuates a cult-like obsession

among celebrities’ most dedicated

fans.

Many female streamers on

Twitch and YouTube have had

obsessive fans as well, to the

point where their safety has been

compromised several times. Several

notable streamers have been

stalked online and occasionally

in person by fans who believe

themselves to be in real relationships

with them romantically or

platonically. Parasocial relationships

with these streamers can

also cause conspiracies, which is

worse for streamers, as they tend

to have a very interactive audience.

This can cause a lot of false

and harmful information to be

spread throughout smaller communities.

Many people in fanbases

like those tend to make celebrities

their personality, using their

appreciation or infatuation with

a certain celebrity as a way to

relate to like-minded peers. The

obsession ranges from the most

innocent of fan accounts on social

media to downright stalking

and threats to the celebrity’s safety.

Liking an artist to an extent

and being a part of a fanbase is

normal. However, obsession and

creating a parasocial relationship

with a person who is unaware of

the other’s existence, is not.

While believing that you

have a fully developed relationship

with a celebrity who doesn’t

know who you are is strange,

many parasocial relationships

don’t stop there. Many celebrities

may deal with harassment

from fans after doing something

deemed unfavorable by the fanbase

or could deal with stalkers

online and in person. Media personalities

should be allowed to

feel safe without the invasion of

obsessive fans into their private

lives.

Let Patients Have a Choice with Their Assisted Deaths

by Randy Wang ‘24

Virginia lawmakers are considering

legalizing physician-assisted

deaths. Modern medicine,

surgeries, and therapies can only

delay illnesses such as terminal

cancers and complex lung/heart

or nervous diseases. Patients with

these afflictions often end up in

hospice care to ease their pain

until they die from the disease. In

these difficult and agonizing situations,

these patients should have

a choice with assisted death.

Physician-assisted deaths, or

euthanasia, is performed by providing

the patient a lethal dose

of anesthetic drugs. Within minutes,

the patient goes unconscious

before their heart and brain stop

working. The Virginia bill was

approved 21-19 in a vote in the

state senate and has proceeded

to the House of Delegates for a

vote. It proposes to give mentally

capable adults with six months or

less left to live the right to request

medication to end their life.

The topic of euthanasia

Google Images

first arose in the 1870s when a

non-physician first proposed to

use anesthetics and morphine to

intentionally end a patient’s life.

The ethics of euthanasia were debated

upon and led to an uproar

in the United States and Great

Britain, with the majority against

euthanasia. The few doctors

who performed euthanasia and/

or were supportive of it often received

criticism from fellow doctors

and ethicists or jail time for

illegal practice of euthanasia.

However, between the late

twentieth and early twenty-first

century, support for this practice

started to rise, with states like

Oregon, Washington, and California

passing legislation to legalize

assisted deaths. Currently,

ten states and Washington D.C.,

permit some patients with terminal

illnesses to request medication

from their doctor to end their

lives. Along with Virginia, nearly

20 other states are considering

bills to allow assisted death.

Sadly, Maryland lawmakers

on March 4 dropped their aidin-dying

bill due to the lack of

support to move out of the Senate

Judicial Proceedings Committee,

potentially delaying it for three

more years. It’s a shame, because

there was strong support for this

Getty Images

bill from terminally ill patients.

In an interview with The Washington

Post, Diane Kraus, a patient

committed to receive experimental

drugs for her cancer, says

how when the time comes where

nothing can be done, she wants a

choice on when and how to die.

Criticism for physician-assisted

deaths arise primarily from

religious groups and from some

groups that advocate for people

with significant disabilities, or a

few medical organizations. For a

decision that involves one’s life,

it’s unreasonable for other people

to make those decisions. The

patients themselves recognize the

importance of having euthanasia

as an option, not someone else’s

personal or religious beliefs. Patients

are left to either suffer from

their ineffective medication or

slowly die from their illness if

they aren’t given the option of

assisted death. Giving patients

a choice provides an option to

quickly end their suffering, which

is a much more humane alternative

than the former.


The Warrior • Opinions

7

March 21, 2024

Who is going to win the 2024 Presidential Election?

Biden Has Hope for Second Term Trump May Reclaim White House

by Dylan Sondike ‘24 by Evelyn San Miguel ‘26

President Joe Biden’s worrisome approval

rating and general election polling

cannot be ignored; however, they should be

taken with a grain of salt this far out from

the November election. Biden’s current age

of 81 has raised significant concerns among

many voters. Despite being just four years

younger, Former President Donald Trump

has shown that his MAGA base of supporters

is again fully behind him, allowing him

to cruise through the Republican primaries.

However, a base alone will not win a

general election; independents decide that.

While Trump’s base is fired up, Biden can

take a few steps over the next six months to

win re-election.

Currently, Biden is facing many struggles

with the key voter groups that carried

him to victory just four years ago. Biden’s

struggles with minority and young voters

must be improved before this election.

With many of these voters having little enthusiasm

for Biden this time around, he and

his team must devote resources and messaging

to turning them out on election day.

Biden needs to remind these voters that the

democratic platform aligns with many of

their beliefs.

One key issue that helped Democrats

in the 2022 midterm elections was abortion.

With Roe v. Wade overturned by a Supreme

Court with three Trump appointees

ruling in the majority, the democrat’s ability

to emphasize the importance of being

pro-choice was a key factor in maintaining

Senate control. Biden should once again

focus on this issue to turn out women and

younger voters.

Biden must better promote the improving

economy over the past two years to defeat

Trump this November. With the economy

at the top of concern for many states’

voters, including in swing states such as

Michigan, Biden should sell his economic

wins such as the Inflation Reduction Act

Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

and fending off a recession.

Incumbents consistently go through

weak polling spurts between a year and six

months before the general election. Biden

is following this pattern. However, it is

also known that with the establishment of

the nomination and excitement at the convention,

incumbents often recover their

polling numbers and approval rating as the

election gets closer. In March of 2004, incumbent

president George W. Bush polled

6 points behind John Kerry, according to

Gallup. Bush ended up winning the popular

vote by 2.4 percent. A similar thing happened

with President Barack Obama who

was seen as neck and neck with Republican

nominee Mitt Romney at the beginning

of the year in 2012, yet ended up winning

by sizable margins. Trump’s criminal cases

could also be used to Biden’s advantage to

sway over voters nervous about the possibility

of a convicted felon holding the

highest office in the country.

Trump is the favorite at this point, according

to the polling. However, when Independents

are faced with the binary choice

of choosing Biden or Trump on election

day, things may get much more interesting.

The lack of excitement around Biden may

look bleak right now, but should he take a

deep dive into turning out the same people

as four years ago, there is a path to win a

second term.

Despite many candidates in the Republican

party initially vying for nomination,

it’s apparent after the recent outcome

of Super Tuesday primary voting in over

fifteen states that 2024 will see a Trump–

Biden rematch. Since incumbent advantage

won’t apply in this election between

a current and former president, the race

will end up being too close to rely on anything

but the intricacies of the parties. The

election will be down to a few important

factors – turnout and mobilization. Former

president Donald Trump will likely

win due to his loyal and energized base,

a lack of enthusiasm among Democratic

voters, and a decline in approval for Biden

by young people, who were crucial to his

campaign in 2020.

For Trump, his base of loyal supporters

keeps him at high approval ratings according

to polls gathered by Pew Research

Center. Biden has seen a dip in enthusiasm

and approval as a result of his age and responses

to problems at the U.S.–Mexico

Border and the Israel-Hamas War, dividing

the Democratic party and causing instability

in support for his administration.

The party has seen an erosion in support,

as evident by the Michigan Democratic

Primary in February, where over 100,000

voters voted “uncommitted” as a symbol of

protest against Biden.

Biden never had a very strong, loyal

Democratic base like Trump does among

his MAGA followers, as the 2020 election

was decided on thin margins for the

popular vote, with many voters—and importantly,

most Independents—choosing

Biden as a result of general disapproval of

Trump’s administration. That likely won’t

be true for this year’s election when Biden

is now the person in office defending his

administration’s record over the past four

years. This decrease in enthusiasm and a

divided electorate can pose a major threat

Michael Conroy/AP

to Biden’s campaign, with many Democrats

being “crisis-ed out” and losing the

will to fight against Trump yet again.

Ironically, one of Trump’s advantages

is constantly being in the news for his

over 91 felony counts across multiple state

and federal circuit courts. Because of this,

his base has become more inflamed and

radicalized, with many categorically denying

his involvement in the Capitol riot

on January 6, 2021 and dismissing his loss

in a sexual assault and defamation case

brought by Elizabeth Jean Caroll.

Trump, throughout his time as a politician,

has mobilized a specific group of

voters. Older, less educated, and religious

white people who historically didn’t participate

in elections before 2016 and 2020

make up a significant part of his base, and

they have become increasingly motivated

as Biden has proved to be highly unsatisfactory.

Trump is backed by white evangelists,

whose support for him is stronger

than ever as he continues to attract voters

motivated by “culture war” issues. The

Democratic party doesn’t have a similarly

fervent core of voters and as the election

looms on the horizon, it doesn’t seem

like they’ll find it anytime soon. Even as

Biden’s approval ratings continue to slowly

narrow the gap between him and his opposition,

it likely still won’t be enough to

win a second term.

UMD Overreacts

by Audrey Farris ‘25

In early March, University of Maryland announced

that it was conducting an investigation into 14 sororities

and 21 fraternities shortly after ordering all Greek Life

chapters on campus to halt social and recruitment activities.

The university announced the order in a letter which

explained it has reason to believe multiple Greek Life

chapters have been involved in activities that threaten the

safety of community members. However, UMD did not

provide specific details to support this claim, leaving many

confused and disheartened. Some argue that they are being

subjected to punishment without due process.

Hazing has been a prominent issue for decades, but

many universities are still figuring out the correct way to

handle hazing situations. In this one, it seems as though

UMD did what its administrators felt was the best action

to keep as much information private as possible while they

were still conducting investigations. Still, UMD should

suspend the fraternities and sororities that are specifically

under investigation, while allowing the chapters that

are not to continue with normal operations. Punishing all

Greek Life chapters for a problem that is only the fault of

a few is more likely to cause division and conflict on campus,

amplifying the issue and making it into something it

is not.

On-Level Classes Are Needed

by Elsie Rozario ‘24

For the 2024-2025 school year, Sherwood is continuing

to limit the range of courses available to students by

only offering honors or AP level US History, NSL Government,

Modern World History, English 11, and English

12. Encouraging students to take more honors classes has

benefits, since honors classes boost WGPAs and look favorable

on high school transcripts. However, removing

on-level classes ultimately hinders learning.

Honors classes are considered the “middle ground”

between AP and on-level, with honors having a lighter

workload than APs, but still covering more material than

on-level classes. Students often take honors classes if they

are unable to handle the time commitment that APs demand

but still want a challenge. With many honors and

on-level classes now combined, honors classes no longer

serve as moderately rigorous courses due to their lowered

difficulty. Having previously taken Honors English 11 and

Honors US History, the less engaging curriculum of these

classes prevented me from learning anything new. I fell

behind compared to my peers, which made it challenging

to later take AP and dual enrollment classes. Though it

isn’t fair to force students who want an on-level class to

do more work than they signed up for, it is also unfair to

force other students to decelerate their learning.

Immigration Scare Tactics

by Declan Rooney ‘25

On February 2, Laken Riley, a student at the University

of Georgia, was murdered by an illegal immigrant. “She

was brutally murdered by one of the millions of illegal

border crossers President Biden chose to release into our

homeland,” said Alabama Sen. Katie Britt in the Republican

rebuttal to the State of the Union. “Y’all ... as a mom,

I can’t quit thinking about this,” Britt told her audience on

national television on March 7. “I mean, this could have

been my daughter. This could have been yours.”

The problem with Britt’s claims is that the link between

Biden’s border policy and higher crime rates is tenuous.

Biden, to the frustration of his own base, has been

remarkably conservative at the border. Early in his presidency,

Biden resisted calls to end policies put in place by

Trump at the border, including those regarding separation

of children from their detained parents. Biden recently surpassed

Trump as the president with the most immigration

focused executive-actions in just three years of his presidency.

Biden also controversially turned away thousands

of Haitians seeking asylum at the border in 2022. Before

drawing such conclusions, the GOP should first look at statistics,

not towards individual and anecdotal events such as

Riley’s murder. They only sow more fear and division into

our country by doing so.


Online Trends

Unveiled

the influence of social media creators on their

young audiences spans across many spheres,

from fashion to politics and everything in

between.

the beauty industry targets adolescents

by aspen weinberg ‘25 Despite warnings from

dermatologists of the dangers

For the past few years,

many children, often aged

eight to eleven years, have

started to use skincare, health,

and beauty products that are

mainly aimed towards people

decades older than them. Such

products can be seen to decay

the skin’s barrier against

the sun’s ultra-violet rays and

pollutants in the air. They have

also proved to increase product

sensitivities, acne, and can

even cause eczema.

During today’s age of

technology, people online are

influencable. If a person’s favorite

online content creator

says to use a new product,

people are more than likely

to go out, get the product, and

try it for themselves. Many new

skincare brands, such as Drunk

of using retinol products under

the age of 25, many young

girls persist to seek them out

and they have continued to ignore

the professionals in hopes

of becoming “TikTok Famous”

and gathering a large audience

of other girls of similar

ages with like interests.

Many Sephora employees

and customer witnesses have

turned to TikTok to share the

appalling treatment of a parent

from the child. One user,

@natsodrizzy, has shared her

story of when she watched a

young girl pressure her mother

into buying nearly $500 worth

of products.

TikTok users have also seen

a rise in “Get Ready With Me”

or “GRWM” videos posted by

children with large followings.

Elephant, have advertised While TikTok has an age limit

their products as “clean” and

“high quality”.

According to the Drunk Elephant

website, “[skin] can only

function at its healthiest when

it’s treated with smart, nourishing,

biocompatible ingredients.”

Many young people

have seen such advertisements

from large-scale brands and

for posting videos, parents of

these girls are bypassing them

and will often try to use their

children for money.

With the constant surroundings

of influencers and

brands telling girls what they

should look like and how to

achieve it, many have developed

worsening self esteem

have convinced themselves issues that can last well into

and their parents that they

“need” these products to look

good.

their teenage, and even adult

years. Children need to stray

away from makeup and beauty

to focus on being a kid and

they need to realize that not

everything they see on the internet

is true.

As polarization between

political and social ideas

online becomes more of

an issue, influencers who

peddle their views within

As polarization between

political and so-

their respective spheres

have risen in popularity.

cial ideas online becomes

These influencers spread

more of an issue, influencers

who peddle their

their opinions through

posts on multiple different

platforms, such as

views within their respective

spheres have risen in

Instagram, TikTok, and

popularity. These influencers

spread their opinions

YouTube. These influencers’

online presence

through posts on multiple

different platforms,

often spreads quickly,

with their content moving

such as Instagram, TikTok,

across multiple platforms

and YouTube. These influencers’

online presence

through an understanding

of how the algorithms of

often spreads quickly,

these social media sites

with their content moving

work.

across multiple platforms

An example of one of

through an understanding

these influencers is Andrew

Tate, a masculinist

of how the algorithms of

these social media sites

and antifeminist social

work.

media personality, and

An example of one

founder of the Hustler's

of these influencers is Andrew

Tate, a masculinist

University online course,

a virtual entrepreneurship

and antifeminist social

course for men. He was

media personality, and

dubbed the “king of toxic

founder of the Hustler’s

masculinity” online, promoting

many misogynistic

University online course,

a virtual entrepreneurship

“alpha male” ideologies,

course for men. He was

such as the idea that men

dubbed the “king of toxic

are better workers than

masculinity” online, promoting

many misogynistic

women, and that making

money is the most important

thing in life. When

“alpha male” ideologies,

such as the idea that men

Tate was active online, his

are better workers than

women, and that making

the acceleration of fashion cycles

by cliff vacin ‘25

immediately what style some-

Gone are the the days of of sim-simplple

terms like like “grunge,” “preppy,” “prep-

and into and trends remained popone’s

outfit could be grouped

terms

“goth,” py,” and and “goth,” many and styles many now are ular for years before society

full styles of buzzwords now are full to bring of buzzwords

to to styles bring that fresh in new reality titles aren’t one.

fresh new would cycle through to the next

titles

distinctive to styles that from in past reality trends. aren’t Styles Along with the constantly

introduced distinctive from through past and trends. popular changing on fashion trends, more

social Styles media, introduced such through as the “clean and girl and more videos on TikTok

by aspen aesthetic,” made weinberg popular “coastal on social ‘25 grandma media,

such “mob as the wife “clean aesthetic,” girl and their list of fashion “Ins and

aesthetic,”

have popped up discussing

“coquette aesthetic,” aesthetic,” “coastal grandma gain attention Outs,” with descriptive lists of

for aesthetic,” their catchy, “mob niche wife aesthetic,”

and names “coquette vary greatly, aesthetic,”

styles and clothes deemed unfash-

names. While clothes deemed fashionable,

their

aren’t gain attention distinguishable, for their catchy, frequently ionable. For example: In; Natural

hair color, Out; Baggy

sharing niche names. the same general items and

consisting While of their same names sought-after vary jeans. The “Ins and Outs” lists

brands. greatly, These the styles trends aren’t come distinguishable,

quickly, being frequently popular shar-

for only consumption, with adolescents

and go also heavily influence over-

very

a ing month the same or two general before items becoming rushing to buy clothes that

outdated and consisting and unfashionable. of the same This were deemed “trendy” by

contrasts sought-after with the brands. fashion of These the past, large content creators. This

which trends come had little and go overlap; very quickly,

being tell popular immediately for only what a style think,” with many adolescents

a person can create a sense of “group-

could

someone’s month or two outfit before could becoming

grouped now following the chosen fashion

trend of the month.

into outdated and trends and unfashionable.

remained popular

for This years contrasts before with society the fashion would cycle The spike of influential

of the past, which had little trends has caused immoderation

and overconsumption, overlap; a person could tell

with

quick fashion trends causing

many teenagers and young

adults to mass buy “in fashion”

clothing and accessories, often

poorly made. Along with the

recently formed TikTok Shop,

more and more influencers

have followed the trend of receiving

free items from the Tik-

Tok Shop, reviewing the item,

then receiving more free items.

This has created problems with

false advertisements relating

to accessories and clothing. Tik-

Tok is filled with advertisements

relating to one of the many

current fashion trends, pushing

these items to their viewers and

continuing to feed consumerism

and the rapid trend cycle.

Among the controversies of

false influential advertisements

with TikTok Shop, there is no

minimum age requirement for

the online shop. Adolescents

may freely shop there, and

with approximately 1 in 5 Tik-

Tok videos being TikTok Shop

ads, the influence of fashion

how influencers feed political divisions

by jordan costolo ‘25

and buying clothes has heavily

affected teenagers and their

outlook on clothes. One of, if

not the most popular type of

TikTok videos, is fashion-related.

Approximately 1 in 4 TikTok

users are under 20, the largest

age group on TikTok. During

their developmental ages,

teenagers are very easily influenced

by trends, especially regarding

their appearance. This

new wave of TikTok influencers

has caused teenagers to model

after them and their fashion–

which is frequently changing

and constantly moving. This

causes many teenagers to buy

different clothes, constantly

shift their styles, and overconsume.

money is the most important

thing in life. When

Tate was active online,

his account on X (formerly

Twitter), had approximately

8.5 million followers.

He was the third

most Googled person in

the world at his pinnacle

of popularity before

his arrest in Romania on

rape and human trafficking

charges. In addition,

his army of fan accounts

echoed and amplified the

spread of them. Through

a plethora of social media

platforms, some fan

accounts gathered tens of

thousands of followers.

There are also many

influencers who use their

audiences online to promote

drastic political

change, such as content

creator “Woke Karen”

on TikTok. “Woke Karen”

campaigns for socialist

changes to the United

States, anti-government

policies, and pro-Palestine

organizations through

talking over silent cooking

videos. By including

the cooking videos in the

background, “Woke Karen”

widens their audience

to people who enjoy

cooking videos, therefore

spreading their message

farther beyond his direct

sphere of influence.

Another example of an

influencer using their platform

to spread ideas is

Hasan Piker, a left-wing

political commentator on

Twitch and YouTube. Piker

streams to his accumulated

18,000 viewers daily,

spending usually over 50

hours a week commentating

on political issues.

On the other side of

the political spectrum,

some right-wing influences

have used their influence

to give an alternative

view on politics. Matt

Walsh, a right-wing political

activist commentator,

can be seen as an example

of this. In his Daily

Wire documentary What

Is a Woman? Walsh interviewed

a variety of

people about different

issues regarding transgender-identifying

youth,

sex reassignment surgery,

transgender women in

sports, and other related

issues. Walsh spends

a large portion of the

documentary deriding

transgender advocates in

interviews, making fun of

what he sees as the dangerous

nature of their beliefs.

Influencers play a

large role in spreading

ideas and information,

especially as the gap between

with differing ideas

becomes larger and larger.

As time goes on, and

more of these figures become

popular, so will the

ideas they are spreading.

ideas as viruses

by seph fischer ‘25

Over the past few years, most

have become painfully familiar with

the spread and proliferation of viruses.

By infecting a single initial

source, a disease like COVID-19

can quickly grow out of control and

spread far beyond its point of inception.

Considering the high levels

of interconnectivity present in

the globalized world of the 2020s,

there’s no telling what kind of chaos

and destruction could be left in the

wake of such a dangerous pathogen.

Something interesting can be

observed if one is to model the

spread of ideas after the spread

of disease; in a world with tools

like the internet which facilitate the

spread of ideas over vast distances,

ideas become more contagious.

The most important thing to note

when studying the spread of ideas

as viruses is that certain ones will

inherently gain superiority over

other ideas. Just like COVID-19 is

more contagious than the flu, certain

ideas are more contagious than

others. Ideas which appeal to common

modern anxieties, or ideas that

latch onto power, or ideas which

promote collective solidarity, tend to

be more powerful (and, as a result,

more prevalent) than ideas which do

not. This isn’t necessarily a judgment

of the value of these ideas -- they

could very well be good ideas --

it’s just important to note that there

are reasons why, say, Andrew Tatestyle

masculinism thrives, while more

thoughtful and considerate advice

for men and boys often remains underground.

Andrew Tate-style masculinism

is simply cruder, simpler,

and more marketable than something

like Nietzschean philosophy,

just like Vaush’s socialist takedowns

are more digestible than any Marxist

literature.

Many of the political struggles

which take place in discourse today

can be boiled down to the destructive

power of ideas. The global

spread of ideas and culture isn’t

necessarily a bad or good thing; it

is just an observable process whose

negative effects must be recognized

in order to counteract them. This process

is tied intrinsically to democratic

government. Whenever power and

influence can be won if your specific

idea wins, your idea must become

as marketable and simple as possible

in order to compete. The “marketplace

of ideas” rationale models

democratic governance in the

capitalist marketplace, which fails

to recognize the influence of power

which differentiates the two.

This isn’t a new process and in

many ways has caused the development

of the American party system,

which George Washington warned

would likely become, “...potent engines,

by which cunning, ambitious,

and unprincipled men will be enabled

to subvert the power of the

people and to usurp for themselves

the reins of government.” In order

to achieve better discourse within

a democratic society, it is essential

that we first recognize the power of

simple and contagious ideas over

more pragmatic, future-looking, and

long termist ones, and then resolve

to counteract their influence in public

discourse.



10

The Warrior • Humor

March 21, 2024

HUMOR DISCLAIMER: This section is is intended as as satire and uses the tools of of exaggeration, irony, or or

ridicule in in the context of of politics, current trends, recent school events, and other topical issues.

Man from 18th Century

To Run for President

by Jordan Costolo ‘25

In the course of a human’s

life, usually nearing its end, it becomes

necessary for him, or her

(but most likely him), to gain as

much power over others as possible

to ensure a legacy that lasts

for all time. Although much has

changed since my youth in the

late 1700s, I, Sir Cornelius Jefferson,

shall be running for president

as a member of the Whig

party in the year 2024, at the age

of 248, to enact my own policies.

These shall do good for the betterment

of the now 50 free states.

Under this declaration, I have

listed three of the many items I

would enact as president.

Increased spending

programs for the elderly

As I am nearing the midway

point of my third century on

this plant, I am starting to suffer

from constant pain in my bones,

organs, and mind. Therefore, as

president I shall enact the Program

for Elderly Politicians, or

PEP. This program shall supply

us elderly politicians with military

service members to help us

get up from our chairs, blend our

food into digestible mush, and

possibly give us their stem cells

so we may stay alive. Modern

medicine is an amazing thing and

has advanced a long way from

the days of leeches and amputations.

Reduced taxes for the rich

I’ve accumulated quite a lot

of wealth from different ventures

across the years, even if some are

now frowned upon because they

profited from the slave trade. But

alas, now that I have acquired this

ungodly amount of money, the

hoodlums and scoundrels of the

lower and middle classes aim to

take it away! If I am elected, I will

codify into law that the nation’s

richest class are the 21st Century

version of monarchy. Long live

Elon Musk.

Restrictions for who

can hold power

Recently, citizens have been

complaining about the age of me

and my competitors for the presidency

in 2024. I think this direct

and uncivilized disrespect of the

people’s elders should be punishable

by public execution, but

alas, even public floggings have

been banned. Instead, I propose

that we enact a new regulation for

our lawmakers. Only Americans

that qualify for the Early Bird

Special at Golden Corral restaurant

chains shall be allowed to run

for any elected political position.

With age comes privilege … as it

should be so.

Signed,

Cornelius Jefferson

Democrats Rig Super Bowl for Taylor Swift

by Declan Rooney ‘25

The Kansas City Chiefs won

this year’s Super Bowl, beating

the favorited San Francisco

49ers 25-22. The victory was the

third consecutive upset win for

the Chiefs in the playoffs, after

taking down favorites such as

the #2-seeded Buffalo Bills and

#1-seeded Baltimore Ravens.

They did all of this despite an

underwhelming season, going

just 12-6 because of struggles at

wide receiver and the offense as

a whole being inconsistent. That

begs the question: how did a mediocre

team come back to win

their second straight Super Bowl?

The best quarterback in the

league coming up clutch? A solid

core defense stopping the best offenses?

An experienced coaching

staff brilliantly scheming to set

their team up for success? The answer

is liberal plant Taylor Swift.

At the start of the NFL season

a rumor swirled around the league

of a possible romance between

pop star Taylor Swift and Chiefs

All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.

The rumors were confirmed to be

true shortly after, with Swift being

seen attending Chiefs games

and holding Kelce’s hand in the

locker room afterwards. The NFL

began to show Swift in her VIP

suite after every play involving

her sweet boo-boo bear, which

was often considering he was the

only reliable receiver on the team

the whole year.

Many mainstream media

sources characterized the focus

on Swift and Kelse’s relationship

as just a marketing grab by the

greedy NFL, trying to capitalize

on the huge Swiftie army of her

fans. But this is just a cover up to

hide the sinister intentions of the

real purpose.

The 2020 election was a notoriously

strange one; and one

fun fact about that election was

that it featured the largest two

voter turnouts in American history.

This means that the winner

was able to mobilize more people

to get out to the polls and vote,

which Joe Biden was able to do

part in thanks to Taylor Swift.

That’s right, in 2020 Swift

endorsed Biden for the presidency

and urged her millions of

loyal fans to get out to the polls

to vote. In fact, many attribute

the election of several Democratic

politicians to Swift during

Compiled by Ben Schoenberg ‘24

the midterms. USA Today noted,

“Swift’s fan base tends to be

younger and more liberal than

the country overall, and although

the new voter registrations aren’t

likely enough to affect the presidential

election, several 2022

U.S. House races were decided

by fewer than 1,000 votes.” This

reveals the true intentions behind

Swift’s appearances in the NFL

broadcasts.

This completely non-anti

semitic “conspiracy theory” was

revealed to us by former Republican

presidential candidate and

Tik-Tok star Vivek Ramswamy.

All season long, fans had to

endure the face of leftist Medusa

popping up on the screen after a

Kelce catch, turning every man,

woman, and child that made contact

with her to a blood sucking-

Communist.

by Justin Lakso ‘25


The Warrior • Humor

March 21, 2024

11

Start

Across:

1. Famous Trees in DC:

Cherry _____

6. DC Movie with Dwyane

Johnson “Black ____”

10. Popular dip made from

avocados

12. Popular Australian-themed

Steakhouse

14. Opposite from green on

the color wheel

15. Acronym for what an

NFL player is designated if

they’re out for 4 games

16. Popular spring activity to

do with friends

17. Shark that is featured

in 2018 movie with Jason

Statham

18. A person’s sense of

self-esteem

19. Animal that likes to be

near ponds and honk

22. Chinese territory that

used to be owned by the

British

26. Bovine that is similar to

a cow

27. We had one more day

in February this year because

it’s a ____ _____ (two

words)

30. What Twizzlers are

32. Athletic brand with a

wild cat as their logo

33. Slang term for when you

are turned off by someone’s

attributes

35. Acronym for a place

someone might go to after

suffering a sports injury

37. A bunny lays colorful

eggs for kids to find on this

holiday

39. When someone asks you

for an ___ (3 word acronym),

they want to know what time

you’re going to arrive

41. Whose number is 867-

5309

43. If you choose not to

participate in something, you

have ___ out

45. Why Buffalo Wild Wings

gave out free wings after the

Super Bowl

47. ___ in your pants

50. Nerve fiber that conducts

away from the center of the

neuron

52. Romeo and Juliet author

Down:

1. What flowers do in the

spring and the last name of a

Sherwood Spanish teacher

2. Shape with eight sides

3. Very, very slow animal

4. Initials of rock star who was

in a relationship with Megan

Fox

5. Armed Forces with the slogan:

The Few. The Proud

6. What people say at the end

of a prayer

7. Vince Vaughn movie

___ball

8. Alabama state acronym

9. ___ Shower

11. Today’s astrology sign

13. In a while, ____!

16. Game where you find

words in a 4x4 grid of letters

20. Online auction website

21. African country with capital

at Cairo

22. Hindu Festival of Colors

23. Stain fighter brand with

blue and yellow logo

24. One of Ms. Thompson’s

AP Social Studies classes, AP

Human ___

25. Miami Heat player ___

Adebayo

28. Acronym for a political

and economic group of 27

countries in Europe

29. Muslim holiday that has a

tradition of fasting

31. Comedian Louis __

March Madness

by Gael Rebu, Noah Bair, and Ben Schoenberg ‘24

34. What industry a tech support

worker is in

35. Event coming up for seniors

on April 20

36. Opposite of out

38. Rolling in the Deep singer

39. 1982 Spielberg film about

an Alien

40. Two-letter acronym for

Travis Kelce’s position

42. What you might call out

when you want to get someone’s

attention

44. Green fruit

46. Opposite of bottom

48. Author ___ Eliot

49. What someone might

say to you if you’re being too

loud in a library

51. 90 in Roman Numerals

Visit thewarrioronline.com

for answers.


12

The Warrior • Entertainment

March 21, 2024

Dune: Part Two Adds Depth to Its World

by Liam Trump ‘24

It’s been more than two years

since director Denis Villeneuve

introduced audiences to his vision

of the world of Arrakis in his

2021 film Dune, an adaptation of

the first half of Frank Herbert’s

highly acclaimed science fiction

novel of the same name. Critics

and audiences alike took quick

notice of how abruptly the film

ended, leaving the story incomplete

after its two and a half hours

of runtime was up. As the title of

Villeneuve’s latest film implies,

Dune: Part Two picks up right

where the previous installment

left off, continuing this behemoth

of a story and all the spectacle it

entails.

The new installment opens

right in the middle of a skirmish

between the native inhabitants of

Arrakis-the Fremen and the Harkonnens,

an outside group trying

to take control of the production

of Spice, a highly sought after resource.

With Paul Attredies (Timothée

Chalamet) and his mother,

Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson)

taking refuge with the Fremen after

the events of the first film in

which Paul’s father was killed after

a Harkonnen attack on the capital

of Arraken, they have to fight

their way out against the forces of

the Harkonnen forces to make it

to southern Arrakis, where Paul

can hopefully raise an army and

take back the planet.

The numerous battles between

getting Paul to the south

are truly impressive from an audio/visual

standpoint. The intense

sound design and droning score

help to showcase the ground

level perspective we’re given

as Paul and the Fremen have to

contend against this seemingly

overwhelming force that is the

Harkonnen army. The intensity

keeps going with the one-on-one

fight scenes, which are expertly

choreographed. In particular, the

scenes with the newly introduced

Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler),

who is now leading the assault on

Arrakis, are notable in how they

put a heavy focus on his brutalist

nature which contrasts well with

Paul’s level-headedness, making

their end dual one of the best the

film has to offer.

Throughout this journey, Paul

forms close bonds with Channi

(Zendaya) and Stilgar (Javier

Bardem), two Fremen who are

on opposite sides of whether Paul

really is their race’s messiah who

is destined to become the savior

of Arrakis. This debate on Paul’s

savior status adds an extra layer

that helps to actually flesh out

Fremen who weren’t given any

depth of characterization in the

first film. While this debate does

characterize both Channi and

Stilgar, it can be as repetitive due

to how many scenes are dedicated

to proving if Paul really is their

savior.

Unlike how Dune’s (2021)

main purpose was to expose the

vast amount of lore Herbert wrote

in his original novels, Part Two

puts a much greater emphasis

on the action and an exploration

of the culture of Arrakis. Villeneuve

carries over the stunning

visual effects as well as the strong

performances while correcting

the stilted dialogue and choppy

pacing that marred the first film.

Dune: Part 2 is essential viewing

for those left unsatisfied by the

first film while setting up what

will hopefully be a strong third

entry with Villeneuve’s upcoming

adaptation of Dune: Messiah.

Grade: B+

Google Images

Cage The Elephant Makes an Electrifying Return

by Audrey Farris ‘25

When Cage the Elephant

frontman Matt Shultz was arrested

in January 2023 after two loaded

guns were found in his New

York City hotel room, it was the

first anyone had heard about the

band since early 2021. When a

hotel employee saw Shultz pull a

gun from his pants pocket in one

of the hotel’s public restrooms,

law enforcement was informed

which prompted them to search

Shultz’ room, where they found

two loaded firearms along with

multiple photos of the guns. Following

his arrest, Shultz attended

multiple inpatient and outpatient

treatments for pyschosis due to

an iatrogenic response to a medication.

Cage the Elephant’s last

album, Social Cues, came out in

early 2019 and prompted a North

American tour that summer,

co-headlining with Beck. After

the tour, the band disappeared,

slowly losing the music world’s

attention. This left many fans

wondering if they would ever

make a return and begin producing

new music.

This past January, Cage the

Elephant broke their five-year hiatus,

posting a seemingly recent

photo of the band with a clip of

a new song playing in the background,

captioned “Neon Pill

Friday.” Single “Neon Pill” was

released that Friday and quickly

gained recognition from many

large music publications. In late

February, the band released a

second single, “Out Loud,” and

announced that their new album,

Neon Pill, would be released on

May 17. That same day they announced

their summer tour with

Young the Giant and Bakar.

From the early signs, the album

will likely be reminiscent of

their more recent albums, such

as Social Cues which has a more

produced sound than their earlier

work. This is in contrast to the

raw angst of their first album,

Cage The Elephant. Listening

to it makes you feel like a teenager

in the musty garage at your

parent’s home jamming out with

your closest friends. While this

same feel continues through their

next album Thank You Happy

Birthday, it begins to trickle off

as they experiment with more intentional,

sturdy sounds over their

next few releases. The height of

their production level took place

on Social Cues, but has now

reached another magnitude with

their newest releases. “Neon Pill”

and “Out Loud” don’t just sound

like you are in the same garage,

Motion Picture Association

but rather that you are inside the

world of the song and part of the

story each is telling.

One thing has never changed

about Cage The Elephant’s music

since their first album nearly 15

years ago is their lyric content.

Their music focuses on the dark

truths of our world, everything

from a first love gone wrong to

coping with severe mental illness.

One of their earliest hits,

“Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,”

from the first album reveals the

realities of criminals and their

motivations. “Punchin’ Bag” off

Kung Fu Panda 4 Fails To

Live Up to Predecessors

by Dasun Panapitiya ‘24

After a critically acclaimed

trilogy, Kung Fu Panda fans were

treated to the trailer of the fourth

installment after eight years. With

Director Mike Mitchell’s previous

works including the disappointing

fourth installments of

Shrek and Trolls, there wasn’t

necessarily much to expect from

Kung Fu Panda 4. Still, the movie

could have built on the set formula

of the first three films and

added some creativity to produce

a winning film. Instead, Kung Fu

Panda 4 is lifeless, with a script

that seems as if it might have been

written by AI and not humans.

Kung Fu Panda 4 follows

Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black)

and Zhen (Awkwafina) as they

travel to Juniper City to deal

with the threat of The Chameleon

(Viola Davis). Black is an obvious

staple of the Kung Fu Panda

franchise and other returning

voices include Bryan Cranston as

Li Shan, James Hong as Mr. Ping,

and Dustin Hoffman as Master

Shifu. There was also a surprising

return of Ian McShane, who

played the main antagonist Tai

Lung from the first film.

Davis, however, stole the

show, giving the best voice performance

of the movie. She maintains

the silly tone of the film

while still making the Chameleon

a very menacing villain. Many

fans expected Awkwafina to be

a subpar part of the film, but it

works to give her more of a main

character role compared to being

comic relief.

The film itself leaves much

to be desired. A lot of what made

of their fourth studio album, Tell

Me I’m Pretty, tells the story of

a woman leaving an abusive relationship

after realizing her worth.

New single “Neon Pill” compares

a one-night stand to a hit-and-run,

following the same equation that

is consistent throughout Cage the

Elephant’s music. Despite their

change in sound and production

level, lyrical content is a crucial

way that the band has been able to

define their sound and add a sense

of familiarity across their releases.

Knowing Cage The Elephant,

the previous three films enjoyable

was due to the amazing amount

of emotional depth and humor

that hits with both children and

adults. Those films felt like actual

humans took time to perfect

them, especially considering the

first two films, which are some

of the most enjoyable and emotionally

driven masterpieces in

animated film history. The fourth

film, however, struggles to hold

a candle to its predecessors. It

had barely any soul or emotional

depth to it, and the comedy felt

unoriginal and overused. It’s as if

they gave an AI the script of the

first three movies and ran with the

script that was spat out by it.

Kung Fu Panda 4 still excels

with its amazing animation

and flashy action sequences and

while it maintains enough charm

to the point where it’s watchable,

it was disappointing and felt fake.

The Kung Fu Panda series would

have been better off as a trilogy.

Grade: C-

Universal Pictures

Neil Krug

it is likely that the same disappearance

cycle will repeat after

Neon Pill releases and their tour

has concluded. Regardless, knowing

that they are likely to come

back (even if it is in 2030) with

something fresh yet familiar is an

exciting idea. Predicting where

Neon Pill and any future releases

will go is not entirely possible,

but thinking back on how much

Cage The Elephant has grown

in their sound and story over the

past 15 years, it’s certain that we

will get music well worth the wait

when it comes out.


The Warrior • Entertainment

March 21, 2024

Eternal Sunshine Is Grande’s Most Vulnerable Album Yet

by George Awkard ‘25

The era of Eternal Sunshine

by Ariana Grande began with a

cryptic Instagram post on December

7 of Grande in the studio,

leaving fans curious about

what Grande had in store after

not hearing anything new for four

years. She announced the release

date on her Instagram with three

covers on January 17. Grande

also released the music video

for her single, “yes, and?” which

took inspiration from Paula Abdul’s

“Cold Hearted” music video.

This album begins with “intro

(end of the world),” one of

the more vulnerable tracks. Listeners

can immediately tell what

kind of album this is, one that is

filled with emotions and a lot of

personal experiences. The instruments

come together extremely

well and are a perfect way to

start the album. She then segues

into “bye” which is my favorite

and the most promising hit track

and will most likely be boosted

into the mainstream, as it has

the catchiest chorus and the most

upbeat instrumental. The album

then transitions into “don’t wanna

break up again” in which the melodies

are almost able to transport

you to another place and features

yet another catchy chorus.

“Saturn Returns Interlude”

introduces a new chapter in this

Grande. The next track, “true

story,” features one of the most

hypnotizing instrumentals and

Grande’s best vocal performances

and harmony-building in this

album. The back half of this album

has a few forgettable tracks

that aren’t Grande’s best work

and get lost when you compare

them to others. These tracks include,

“imperfect for you,” “ordialbum

where Grande is finally

able to move on. It is the perfect

progression to the title track,

“eternal sunshine,” This track explores

new genres as the instrumental

leans more towards R&B

instead of pop which elevates the

track to a new level. This new

chapter also includes the track

“supernatural,” which is a one-ofa-kind

vocal performance from

Google Images

Teen Vogue

Grade: B-

13

nary things” and “i wish i hated

you,” though they do tell the story

of her relationship with a new

person after a harsh breakup and

how she moves on, These tracks

are more or less skips because

they don’t immerse you into the

album as well as the others. However,

“we can’t be friends (wait

for your love)” encapsulates the

album extremely well and deserves

to be the highlight of the

album--the instrumental of this

track is extremely pleasing to the

ears and tells the story of her new

relationship.

Eternal Sunshine is an album

of ups and downs but after

4 years of absence, listeners get

an intimate look at what Grande

has been feeling. Whether you

want to know it or not, she tells

you through her lyrics what she’s

been feeling.

What We’re...

Watching

While many people may be more familiar with Matt Reeve’s 2010 American

remake Let Me In, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s original 2008 film Let the

Right One In is certainly worth a watch. While on the surface Let the Right One

In may seem like another supernatural vampire movie, the story being told most

excels when it comes to subtly and the characterization of its two main leads,

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson). The film makes for a very

unique love story that doesn’t simply rely on its supernatural elements.

~Liam Trump ‘24

For a long time, I was not interested in Friends, despite its massive popularity

even today, nearly thirty years later. I assumed the show lacked plotlines to keep

things interesting. However, a couple months ago I decided to watch the first

episode and immediately fell in love with it. Every episode is filled with great comedic

timing, affectionate characters and wholesome themes. My favorite character

is Pheobe; she is the funniest and most lovable of the Friends. More than

any other show, Friends has held my attention and I’ve now watched 9 seasons.

~George Awkard ‘25

Reading

The Nice House on the Lake Vol. 1 by Jame Tynion IV is a gripping story

about old college acquaintances gathering together at their shared friend Walter’s

lake house for a vacation in paradise before the world ends. The graphic

novel takes a quick change from relaxation to full panic as the house recipients

realize they are stuck in this house with nowhere to go. This comic doesn’t shy

away from heavy topics, using a mix of sci-fi horror writing and drawings to

create a sense of hopelessness, disorientation, and pure panic as each character

tries to grip their new chilling reality.

~Gael Rebu ‘24

The Human Target written by critically acclaimed DMV local Tom King

and wonderfully illustrated by Greg Smallwood is a 12-issue miniseries that

serves as a testament to what a modern comic book is capable of being. The

story tracks hitman Christopher Chance and the 12 days leading up to his death

after getting poisoned by a mysterious perpetrator. Over those 12 days he investigates

the Justice League one by one to find his murderer, all while falling in

love with the superhero Ice. The charming and smart writing is perfectly paired

with Smallwood’s pop-art style art which is probably the best work of his career

so far. If you are a fan of superhero comics, art, or noir stories, this comic is a

must read and definitely one of the best comics DC has put out in recent years.

~Ben Schoenberg ‘24

Listening To

Plastic Death, Glass Beach’s second album can be defined with one word:

candy. It is a treat to listen to, with every song providing a unique taste unlike

any other. Choosing from a palette of 12 different songs, the album ranges from

themes of loss to the general human psyche. All of these are conveyed through

the mixing of varying genres--progressive, emo and indie--that somehow works.

If you asked me what song I’d recommend to a first time plastic death listener,

I’d say “slip under the door.” It’s unexpected musical structure makes for an interesting

listen.

~Thien Dinh ‘26

Playing

I recently started playing Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation, with plans to

continue with other Metal Gear games. Solid follows Solid Snake infiltrating a

Nuclear Disposal facility in order to neutralize the special forces unit that took

control of the facility. Their rebellion was considered an act of terrorism as they

threatened to launch nuclear missiles with the Metal Gear mecha. My favorite

part about the game is a boss battle that “reads your mind” aka the controller

motions and to deal damage to the boss, you need to switch to player 2. The

whole series has an expansive story and is uniquely crafted by Hideo Kojima.

~Dasun Panapitiya ‘24

While The Beatles have a number of famous albums and songs, Sgt. Pepper‘s

Lonely Hearts Club Band is one album that has tremendous re-listenability.

Despite its hits like “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Lucy in the Sky

with Diamonds,” the lesser-known songs are a great complement to the album

as a whole. This album has songs for any mood and any setting, and shows how

complex The Beatles’ discography can really be.

~Noah Bair ‘24

Many people dismiss the game as Pokémon: With Guns! However, the

gameplay in Palworld focuses on open-world survival, base building, and capturing

creatures. The story is left intentionally vague, only told through hidden

journal entries, to encourage exploration and find out what exactly is going

on. The designs of the Pals, while similar to existing Pokémon, are innovative

enough to be both visually appealing and legally distinct. Every detail down

to the music and artstyle make the game an instant classic. If they consistently

release new content, the PocketPair developers could become Nintendo’s new

competition in the creature capturing genre.

~Justin Lakso ‘25


14

The Warrior • Sports

March 21, 2024

Have Varsity Sports Become a Year-Long Commitment?

by Dylan Sondike ‘24

A number of varsity sports

at Sherwood and across MCPS

have become a nearly year-round

commitment for players on the

teams. From offseason conditioning

to summer leagues, varsity

coaches use a variety of ways to

prepare players for their seasons.

Although such opportunities are

technically voluntary, it is increasingly

the norm that students

who are on or hope to be on the

team--will participate in team-organized

activities that are outside

of the regular season.

Offseason conditioning programs

have been a key part of

many varsity sports at Sherwood.

Athletic Director Jason Woodward

says that these workouts

are beneficial, and he added that

coaches are giving up their own

time to have these conditioning

programs.

“No complaints have been

made to me that coaches are forcing

those kids to go to workouts,”

said Woodward. “I make it very

clear to my coaches that we cannot

mandate attendance to these

workouts, and we can’t count it

towards [a player] making the

team or not making the team.”

Woodward said that a player

missing offseason workouts potentially

may hurt the relationship

with a coach to some small extent,

but if a player has the skills

Gael Rebu ‘24

Varsity football began offseason conditioning in February, including lifting sessions in the weightroom.

and abilities to make the team,

then showing up to workouts will

not matter. Woodward noted that

there were more than 500 students

who signed up for offseason

conditioning workouts across all

sports at Sherwood from June 1

through February 15. In basketball

workouts alone, he said that

70-80 students showed up this

past summer when only approximately

the DMV. In this summer league,

however, the team can’t affiliate

with Sherwood and must change

their name and MCPS doesn’t

fund or associate with any aspect

of it, according to Woodward.

Other organizations sponsor and

fund the team with players not

paying to participate.

Patrick Cilento, who was

named two months ago as Sher-

several leagues and tournaments.

Cilento also runs offseason workouts

starting after winter break

four days a week for just over an

hour.

“There is a balance that must

take place, to avoid fatigue and

burnout,” said Cilento. “Typically

after the season, the football team

has 3-4 weeks off to rest their

bodies. We follow the schedule

30 students total made the wood’s new varsity football that most colleges have to achieve

JV and varsity teams.

In addition to its season

during the school year, the varsity

basketball team plays in a summer

league coached by Sherwood

coaches against other teams in

coach, said that he knows some

of the players on the team have

participated together on 7 on-7

teams and added that once this

summer begins, Sherwood will

form their team, and compete in

our goals. The student-athletes

also have built-in breaks such as

spring break, and we give them a

week off in the summer.”

Cilento is clear that varsity

football requires nearly a year-

Final Four Staff Picks

round commitment for players

to work out to enhance their performance

on the field. “If they

are not preparing for excellence,

someone else is,” he said.

Boys lacrosse Coach Matthew

Schneider has a similar

approach to Cilento. Schneider

explained that he knows their

competition is staying ready and

that working out in the offseason

allows players and coaches to

stay connected to each other and

get more skills training.

According to Schneider, his

staff held eight summer practices

this past year, as well as voluntary

conditioning workouts twice

a week in the fall and winter. He

coached a summer team that included

varsity players, and knows

that many of his players compete

on club teams year-round and that

parents have organized teams for

players which aren’t coached by

the Sherwood staff.

“I am entering my 8th season

as head coach here, and I have

seen the voluntary offseason participation

levels increase every

year,” said Schneider. “Many of

our players got to play in a state

championship game for the first

time in Sherwood lacrosse history

last spring. They want to return

to that game and win it, so I am

not surprised at the level of offseason

participation we have seen

lately.”

Dylan Sondike ‘24

UConn, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arizona have

not disappointed this season, as all 4 teams have

battled adversity to get to where they are now.

In a very competitive SEC, Tennessee found a

way to a 14-4 conference record. Led by senior

transfer Dalton Knecht who has averaged 20+

points per game, the Volunteers should have no

trouble taking the Midwest region.

Being atop of recent recruiting classes has

been very helpful for the Kentucky Wildcats, who

have three freshmen averaging 10+ points. These

stars should allow them to defeat the number one

seed Houston for the South region.

Arizona has not had to play the same caliber

teams as the others; however, their impressive

Pac-12 performance shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Star transfer Caleb Love along with senior center

Oumar Ballo have been a dynamic duo and will

allow them to win the West region.

Ultimately, the best team in this tournament is

once again the defending champions UConn who

have dominated this season with a 31-3 record.

Other than a few losses from last year’s team,

UConn is led by several returning players who will

ultimately lead them to back-to-back championships.

Noah Bair ‘24

By their standards, Purdue, UNC, Auburn, and

Kentucky have all had very successful seasons.

Each is a top 4 seed in the Tournament and has

a shot at competing for a national championship.

After missing the tournament in disappointing

fashion last season, UNC is back for vengeance.

The Tar Heels have five players remaining from

their 2022 squad, which made it to the title game

but ultimately lost to Kansas. These players along

with transfers Harrison Ingram and Cormac Ryan

have a good chance to win UNC’s seventh title.

Since reaching the Final Four in 2019, Auburn

hasn’t gotten past the Sweet Sixteen. Their six

consecutive wins leading up to the tournament

should provide them with the momentum required

to make a run.

Kentucky is led by freshmen Rob Dillingham and

Reed Sheppard, providing 15 and 13 points per

game respectively. Inevitably, Kentucky’s inexperience

throughout their roster will catch up to them

and prevent a title run.

Purdue will emerge victorious under the leadership

of senior Zach Edey who leads the country in

points per game. Edey will step up and dominate

opponents along with now-experienced guards

Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith.

Thomas Fenner ‘24

Sending 8 teams to the NCAA tournament, it is

clear that the Big 12 is the premier college basketball

conference. This will be very apparent when

Iowa State, Baylor, Houston, and Kansas, all from

the Big 12, are in the Final Four in April.

After going 0-18 in conference play just three

years ago, Iowa State beat Houston to win the

conference title and earn them a two seed. The

Cyclones are a very well-rounded team, with four

players averaging double digit points.

Baylor is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament,

racking up 8 wins over the past three seasons including

a championship three years ago. Led by

freshman Ja’Kobe Watler, the Bears will use their

experience to advance back to the Final Four.

Though they have struggled recently, no team

will want to face a healthy and hot Kansas team in

the NCAA Tournament. They are one of the most

experienced teams in the bracket, which will help

them in the tournament, led by senior transfers

Kevin McCullar and Hunter Dickinson.

In their first season in the Big 12, it is clear

that Houston is a powerhouse program whose

goal every year should be to win a national title.

As a one seed, the Cougars will win the East region

and ultimately prevail in the title game.


The Warrior • Sports

March 21, 2024

Girls Basketball Loses in Regional Finals;

Boys Fall to Rival Blake in Regional Semis

by Dylan Sondike ‘24

The playoffs for girls’ basketball

finished dramatically with a

loss by a score of 55-42 against

Damascus in the regional finals.

After blowing out Watkins Mill

in their first playoff game, the

Warriors hosted Wootton where

they narrowly won by a score

of 55-48. They then headed to

Damascus who they previously

lost to earlier in the season in a

low-scoring game in which the

Warriors only managed to score

23 points. In the rematch against

the Hornets, the Warriors jumped

to an early lead but couldn’t hold

on as the game progressed.

“Our biggest struggle this

time might have been just handling

the pressure of the moment/

game,” said Coach Tammara

Ross. “Multiple players were

making poor decisions and missing

shots they hadn’t missed all

season. It’s the team that can execute

under pressure that will win

the biggest games.”

Despite the tough end to the

season, the team made tremendous

strides in Ross’ first year as

the head coach. After finishing

with a 12-11 record last winter, the

Warriors significantly improved

this season with 19 wins. With

key senior leaders in Taylor Corrothers

and Savannah Weisman,

the team was well-positioned to

make a run throughout the season.

Ross emphasized how proud

she was of her team from start to

finish and how they never gave

up. “They did nothing but deliver.

I’m extremely proud of our

success and am overwhelmingly

excited to see how we continue to

grow and improve on what we’ve

already started,” added Ross, who

Senior Taylor Corrothers squares up for three in the regional final.

will coach a strong returning cast

next season, including juniors

Avery Graham and Avery Anderson,

as well as standout freshman

Aubree Thompson who led the

team in scoring.

The boys’ basketball team’s

season concluded with a 69-52

loss against rival Blake in the regional

semifinals. After defeating

Rockville in the opening round

of regional playoffs by a score of

77-50, the boys returned to face

Blake whom they had played

close in the regular season. The

Warriors beat Blake in January

by a score of 86-76, followed by

a heartbreaking loss towards the

end of the season 68-67 in which

Blake pulled ahead with 2 seconds

left with a game-winning

3-pointer by 5-star recruit Baba

Oladotun. In the playoff matchup,

the Warriors came out trailing

from the start and were forced to

play from behind. With a lackluster

performance on the boards

and scoring, the Warriors could

not overcome the slow start.

“Guys weren’t knocking

down shots that normally fell,

and we were getting down on

ourselves,” said senior forward

Kobi Gyan. “On the defensive

end, Blake grabbed many offensive

rebounds leading to many

second and third-chance points.

In the first couple of games, we

were able to force them into taking

tough shots, and capitalize by

pushing the ball up the court off a

rebound.”

The boys didn’t end the season

as they hoped, but finishing

with a 19-6 record is an impressive

accomplishment. The girls

concluded with a 19-4 record and

a trip to the regional finals for the

first time in over 30 years.

15

Perspective

NBA Should Move to a

64-Game Season

by Noah Bair ‘24

There is no doubt that in today’s NBA, team defense and individual

player effort are at an all-time low. Since the 2011-12 season,

average points scored in a game has gone up by 40, the highest 12 year

jump in the league’s history. Players simply don’t care enough to play

defense and put the effort in that is required, and something needs to

change.

TV ratings have certainly shown that not only do players care less

about the game, but so do the fans. NBA games on Christmas, a holiday

which they usually dominate in the ratings, were down almost 73

percent in viewership this year. The NFL and college basketball lead

among viewers over the months of December and January, and it’s

very clear why: their seasons are much shorter than the NBA, so every

game matters much more.

While every NBA team plays 82 games, each NFL team plays just

17 games in a season while college basketball teams only play 31. In

the NFL and college basketball, losing a few games in a row could end

a team’s chances of making the postseason. In the NBA, teams can

very easily lose many games in a row and still recover to compete for

a championship. For this reason, players recognize that regular season

games aren’t as important as in other sports and fans recognize that

regular season games don’t matter a lot, and are watching them less

and less every year.

In addition to making it more entertaining for fans and making

each game matter more, shortening the season by 18 games would

greatly decrease the number of injuries each year. Games could be

spanned further away from each other and give players more time to

rest in between games. Instead of having star players miss games for

“rest” or even play but not give full effort, those players will be able to

play at 100 percent effort knowing they won’t have to play again the

very next day.

If the league does choose to shorten the season, there will certainly

be an outcry from fans who miss their team playing their rivals more

often, but there is a simple way to deal with this. The NBA can easily

replicate this by having each team play every other team twice, with

each team having three “protected rivals” that they place four times

each year instead of only twice. For example, the Lakers might have

the Clippers, the Warriors, and the Celtics as their protected rivals who

they play four times each year.

If the NBA wants to protect its players and make the league a more

entertaining product for its consumers, a change needs to be made.

A shortened season would rejuvenate the league’s popularity to what

it once was and make it so that the NBA can once again be a league

where the fans and players are both equally engaged and committed.

Swim and Dive Finishes Season in Impressive Fashion

by Hannah Mushahwar ‘24

Sherwood swim and dive

has left an incredible mark on the

pool this season. With dedication,

teamwork, and a commitment to

excellence, the team has not only

achieved remarkable individual

accomplishments but have also

solidified their reputation as a

powerhouse after its influx of

swimmers this season.

The season kicked off with a

wave of enthusiasm as the swimmers

dove headfirst into rigorous

training regimens. Though

some may have been skeptical

of the practicality of taking on

such a large team of nearly 100

swimmers, coach Ryan Burnsky

proved it was possible and successful

as the season went on. The

support and camaraderie at meets

was unquestionably a key factor

to the team’s success, as swimmers

cheered each other on and

celebrated victories collectively.

Following the regular season,

one of the standout performances

included the team’s stellar showing

at the regional championship.

Senior and captain Brian Wilbur

won the regional champion title

for the 200 meter IM and 100

Senior Brian Wilbur winning the 100 meter breastroke event at the Maryland State Championships in February.

meter breaststroke--also breaking

the school’s 100 meter breaststroke

record. Senior and captain

Adrianna Caponiti won the regional

champion title for 100 fly,

as did freshman Nicholas Liberty

in 500 free. For the dive team,

seniors Mark Williams, Owen

Mascott, Maddie Simpkins, and

Gary Peters

junior Dorothy Young represented

at regionals.

Not only did the team dominate

in individual events, but also

showcased their depth and versatility

with strong relay performances

at regionals where Wilbur,

junior Justin Lakso, freshman

Tyler Kominski and Williams set

Gary Peters

a new school record in the 200

free relay. Overall, both the boys

and girls’ teams placed 2nd.

As the team pushed forward

into states, the determination remained

high. The team had better

prospects at the state championships

compared to Metros, as

Metros encompasses both public

and private high schools, creating

a broader and often more competitive

field, while state championships

exclusively feature public

schools. Wilbur proved that to

be very true as he outshone his

rivals, winning the state champion

title in 100 meter breaststroke

with a time of 55.45 seconds. The

state participants showcased the

culmination of months of hard

work, accumulating in a great

season finisher at states where

boys placed 8th and girls followed

shortly behind for 11th.

Though the team has many

seniors leaving, great prospects

are in sight as some prepare to

move forward into their collegiate

teams. “I am so excited to

continue my swimming career,”

said Caponiti. “I am committed to

swim Division 1 at Loyola University

Maryland, and I couldn’t

be more grateful.” As for the

Sherwood team, many freshmen

are on the rise. This year, Mia

Fecko, Liberty, and Kominski

have already made it into top

qualifying competitions such as

regionals, where their horizons

will only expand with each season

and will take the team very

far.


16

The Warrior • Sports

March 21, 2024

Spring Sports Preview

by Thomas Fenner ‘24

Boys Lacrosse

Coming off a dominant 16-2 overall record last year, the Warriors look to build off

their first-ever state championship appearance in which they lost 16-6 against Broadneck.

Boys lacrosse returns all but six players from last year’s roster as they move from 4A to

3A this season.

“We expect even more from returning starters such as Andrew Cavanaugh, Andrew

Bergesen, Jeb Buffington, Cooper Hawkins and Tyler Bishop,” said Coach Matthew

Schneider. “We anticipate an even bigger role for players like Sam Carbone, Tommy

Hanrahan and a healthy Brody Monroe. We will be looking to identify other players who

can fill some niche roles as well.”

The Warriors will compete in a two day tournament over spring break for the first

time this year, in which they will face schools such as Westminster and Glenelg. Churchill,

Whitman, Wootton, and Walter Johnson will give Sherwood a difficult games in the

regular season.

Players have been preparing since the loss in the state championship, committing

themselves to summer workouts and a summer league. Team weightlifting and conditioning

have also helped rally the team together and improve on their skills.

“The amount of time our guys have spent playing and preparing together these past

months should help us hit the ground running,” Schneider added.

by Hannah Mushahwar ‘24

Softball

The girls varsity softball team rolled along during the 2023 season, winning every

game of the season until their 5-2 loss against Clarksburg on May 3. The Warriors’ regular

season included seven games in which they shut out the opponent, and eight games in

which they scored 10 runs or more on offense, amounting to a 13-1 regular season. They

kept their dominance going in the playoffs where they secured the regional title against

Blair in a 4-0 victory followed by another 18-0 win against Glen Burnie in the state quarterfinals.

Unfortunately, the girls lost the 4A semifinal matchup against Urbana to end

their season.

Now entering the 2024 season, the team has lost many “veteran players,” where lone

senior Neha Sufi stands alongside the juniors to kick start the season. “Six seniors graduated

last year and it was a strong set of girls, but I am very confident in the girls this year,”

said Coach Ashley Barber-Strunk.

“We hope to take their lessons in hard work, dedication and positivity with us into the

new season. We want to make [former players] proud and carry on the good vibes they

brought to the team,” Sufi added.

The girls have been dedicated through the offseason with conditioning and strength

training, but this season they are transitioning into a new division. They expect there will

be a lot of competition now that they have moved into the 3A division, which means they

are playing against teams that they have not played before. As the girls have been putting

in the work, the excitement is gearing up for the first varsity game at home on March 22

against Walter Johnson and playing at their big competitors, Damascus, on April 6.

by Randy Wang ‘24

Track and Field

Gary Peters

Junior Andrew Bergesen and senior Alex Lacey in a victory over Churchill in the playoffs.

With a large number of returning athletes, the outdoor track and field season will be

largely dependent on the drive and determination of all the team members. With the majority

being returnees, this season will see a variety of personal bests. With 10 meets lined

up for the season, athletes will have many opportunities to showcase their impressive

times they will work towards this season.

Returning distance runners include seniors Ayden Fritsch, Sean Gravell, and sophomore

Madeline Quirion, who all will provide points in their long-distance events. Senior

Emma Mascari should stand out in the 400. In the field events, watch for juniors Michael

Robles and Brenden Heyer in the shot put, and junior Akhili Reece in the triple jump.

The season starts with the Seahawk Invitational on March 23. Sherwood will compete

with seven other teams at South River High School in Arundel County. Last year, the

team struggled overall throughout the season, but individual athletes achieved impressive

times. After spring break this season, the team will have a home meet with Springbrook

on April 3. Top athletes on the team will look to continually improve as they work towards

regionals on May 15.

by Dylan Sondike ‘24

Girls Lacrosse

After losing in a close one in the 4A state quarterfinals last year to Dulaney by a score

of 13-9, girls lacrosse will look to go even further this year. The Warriors are fortunate to

bring back a strong squad of juniors and seniors this upcoming season. These players will

once again be key pieces on the field and in helping to develop the new underclass group.

“As one of the leaders and four-year varsity players, it will be my duty as an upperclassman

to make sure everyone feels welcome and can contribute to the team,” said

senior Emma Walsh. “In my four years of Sherwood lacrosse, I have never been more

confident in the program’s ability to make it the furthest ever in the state competition.”

The Warriors open their season at home on March 22 against Quince Orchard. Following

spring break, the girls will return to action on April 4 vs. Blair. In addition to

Walsh who is committed to playing at Lindenwood University, key players will include

seniors Alexa Lyons, Dani Watson, Maddy King, goalie Savannah Weisman, and more.

Junior Avery Graham, who already has committed to play at the University of South

Florida, will look to cement her status as a top player in the county.

by Thien Dinh ‘26

Boys and Girls Tennis

Boys and girls tennis both get back on the court for a new season against rival Magruder

on March 21. After spring break, the Warriors will face tougher matches against

Wootton on April 2 and Blair on April 4. A change from previous seasons is that the

schedules of opponents for both girls and boys is more balanced in which teams are closer

in their level of skills. This should make for more consistently competitive matches.

“Last season we played well, fighting hard against nationally ranked players,” said

girls coach Rebekah Byerly. Senior Abby Gleason added that the girls players helped

each other stay focused during long matches against players on good teams.

The boys team will look to capitalize on not losing many players to graduation, which

will allow them to compete against some of the premier teams in the county. “We are hoping

to perform well and compete for a division title with our focus on daily improvement,

and hard work,” said boys coach Michael King.

by Noah Bair ‘24

Baseball

Gary Peters

Senior captain Emma Walsh gears up to pass in a win against Damascus last season.

After beating Urbana 7-4 last year to win their third straight state title, the baseball

team seeks another, something no Maryland baseball team has ever done. However, even

though the season hasn’t started yet, the team faces an early challenge: MSABC Preseason

All-State Selection Mac Crismond tore his ACL last month, sidelining him for most,

if not all, of the season. Coach Sean Davis acknowledges that Crismond is a player that

the team “cannot replace.”

In the midst of losing Crismond, senior captain Liam Irving believes that they “need

everyone else to step up and fill the huge hole that was left.” Opportunities will certainly

be available for younger players to make a huge impact on a now-storied program.

To have success this season, varsity baseball will have to handle pressure and adversity,

with senior captain Garrett Smith seeing it as having a “huge target on our backs

from not only the county but the state.”

Davis looks at the high expectations as a positive. “Pressure is a privilege. The fact

that we are talking about four in a row means things have been very good around the

program.”

The Warriors open the season March 22 at home with a game against Paint Branch.

The team will face difficult games against Magruder, Wootton, and Damascus on April 2,

4, and 6 after spring break.

Gary Peters

Senior Garrett Smith fields the ball in the infield during a machup with Seneca Valley.

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