Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Dec. 17, 2007

Academy Day should be here to stay

by Ya Zhou, Online Connections Editor & Online Copy Editor
Academy Day. Many Blazers will take these words to mean an extra day off of school tomorrow, where in fact, this day is one of the most important all year. In the half-day event set aside for all Blazers, students will be presented with possible career paths via guest speakers from various professions, according to Academies Coordinator Jennifer Kempf.

Despite this important opportunity, many are questioning the necessity of the event and feel there are inequities among the different academies' activities. Though the fact that some academies are having different activities seems unfair, inequalities are strictly due to each academy's differing interests, and therefore unavoidable. Regardless of the naysayers, Academy Day is a worthwhile activity that introduces students to potential careers.

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This year, the academies along with the Communication Arts Program (CAP) and the Magnet program have organized a variety of activities for students, ranging from guest speakers to out-of-state field trips. Each academy has carefully tailored its activities to delve into possible academy-related and student-interest pertinent career paths.

The International Studies and Law academy has prepared two different groups of speakers: one for International Studies (IS) students and another for law students, according to academy head Paul Moose. Although the students technically belong to one academy, Moose wanted to address "their more different than similar" aspects. Speakers from the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Fair Trade Federation will talk with the IS students, whereas representatives from the Montgomery County police and Street Law an organization aimed to educate students on law, democracy and human rights will meet with the law students. It is clear that the events have been well-planned out in order to fit the needs of the students.

While the International Studies and Law academy, along with the other four academies and CAP, are planning events at school, Magnet students are venturing outside the school for the same purpose of discovering potential careers. The different setting of the Magnet's Academy Day activities can be explained by the program's attempt to address specific interests.

Academy Day introduces students to a range of possible careers. Xin Shan
Academy Day introduces students to a range of possible careers.
The Magnet will be traveling to the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, according to Magnet Coordinator Dennis Heidler. Taken at face value, this disparity may raise an issue of fairness to students. However, according to both Moose and Heidler, the administration provides little to no funding for Academy Day, and Kempf and the academy heads do most of the planning.

With the issue of what to do and how to pay for it largely up to the different academy heads, it is no wonder that a variety of different activities are planned. Furthermore, Magnet students are asked, but not required, to pay $23 to provide for the trip's expenses, so an undue hardship is not placed on these students. Hence, the complaints about differences between the academies' activities are largely exaggerated and can be neither easily pinpointed to a single administrator's decision nor resolved without ruining the entire point of Academy Day.

Academy Day is an opportunity for students to explore their futures. Teachers have worked hard to provide a different learning experience from the average day-to-day lecture setting for their students and whether Blazers are staying at school or visiting career-specific centers, they need to take advantage of the activities planned for them.

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  • liberal on December 18, 2007 at 3:01 PM
    It sucked and it will always suck
  • Eli Barnett on December 19, 2007 at 11:03 AM
    What the administration says about Acadamy day really does not match what it truly is. It doesn't give career opportunities, it doesn't prepare you for life beyond high school, and, quite frankly, it isn't interesting.

    Get some better speakers, make the activities more engaging, maybe then it will be worthwhile.

    And, the magnet kids are lucky. They get to go to one of the best aircraft museums in the world. We get to sit and listen to dull lectures about uninteresting topics.
  • conservative (View Email) on December 19, 2007 at 5:51 PM
    It sucked and it will always suck
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