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June 16, 2009

A year at Blair: 2008-2009

by Jeremy Gradwohl, Online Op/Ed Editor
As the temperature heats up and Blazers begin exchanging pencils and pens for bathing suits and ice cream cones, Silver Chips Online sums up the events and stories that occurred this school year. From sports prowess to stunning theatrical performances, it has certainly been a memorable year at Blair.

Aug. 28
Students adjusted to hulking multi-media projectors throughout Blair. Promethean Boards began popping up in classrooms countywide during the beginning of the year, an investment that cost the county $13.5 million.

Sept. 12
The Blazers earned their first victory on the football field against the Blake Bengals since the 2006-2007, smashing the team 47-14. Blair then went on to win its next game against Northwood in a "Battle of the Boulevards." Although the Blazers gave up a thirteen-point lead against Northwood during the 2007 season, the Blazers routed the Gladiators this year 47-12, racking up 428 yards.

Nov. 1
Freshman Tai Lam was shot and killed on a Ride On bus around 11 p.m. on Nov. 1. He was 14 years old. The entire Blair community mourned Lam's death, and a group of friends and family members held a candlelight vigil in Downtown Silver Spring, Lam's favorite hang-out spot.

Nov. 14
The Montgomery Blair players performed "Pride and Prejudice" as its fall play. Senior Maya Baum played Elizabeth Bennet, whose family tries to marry her off in order to inherit a fortune. The play was set in the early nineteenth century and featured ballroom dancing and an intricate revolving set.

Jan. 20
Despite protests by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Jerry Weast, school was cancelled on Barack Obama's inauguration day. The Board of Education voted unanimously on the proposition introduced by board member Chris Barclay. MCPS was one of many local school systems who cancelled school that day. Blazers flocked to D.C. to witness the inauguration of America's first black president.

Feb. 17
Redskins tight end Chris Cooley visited Blair on Feb. 17 to announce a new scholarship he is funding, as well as to present a $5,000 donation to Blair. Seniors were allowed to see Cooley deliver a speech in the auditorium. Afterwards, Cooley talked to students and autographed Blazers' paraphernalia. Senior Jose Sarmiento, lacrosse player and editor of Silver Chips' Spanish page, ultimately won the scholarship. Sarmiento will be attending Stevenson University in the fall.

March 7
An anti-violence concert held by Blair students in honor of Tai Lam was plagued fights and arrests. The Washington Post reported that several thousand people attended the concert in Downtown Silver Spring. Sixteen juveniles and adults were arrested for offenses including assault and disorderly conduct; however, no serious injuries were reported.

March 20
Blair performed "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" as its spring musical, which premiered on March 20. Senior Robin Dreher played Sweeney Todd, who worked with business partner Mrs. Lovett, played by senior Anna Snapp. The play was set on a dirty industrial-age London set and featured twice the number of songs as the Tim Burton film version, starring Johnny Depp.

April 14
Freshman Astride Avoume-Memine died April 14 due to complications related to a seizure she suffered at home. Avoume-Memine moved to the United States from Gabon in September and was an honor roll student as well as a member of Blair's African Club. Avoume-Memine's death was the second death of a Blair student this year.

May 1
The H1N1 influenza, commonly known as the "swine flu" reached Montgomery County. County officials responded by closing Rockville High School due to a suspected case. On June 11, the World Health Organization(WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the influenza virus. A Phase 6 designation indicates that a global pandemic is underway. More than 70 countries are now reporting cases of human infection with swine flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



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