Jazz musician to speak at graduation
Blair alumnus and jazz pianist Marcus Johnson will speak at the commencement ceremony on June 3, according to SGA President Lynn Favin. Johnson, a self-taught keyboardist, graduated from Georgetown University in 1997. He later founded Marimelj Entertainment Group, Inc., in order to pioneer progressive, creative work in music and music publishing. Johnson's most recent album, In Person: Live at Blues Alley, was released in 2002. Graduation will be held June 3 at 9:30 a.m. at the Jericho City of Praise church.
MCPS offers SAT preparation for second-semester seniors
MCPS offered "crash-course" SAT tutoring to a group of Blair seniors who may have had a strong potential to improve their scores in the three weeks leading up to the March 27 SAT. Between eight and ten students have been participating in the voluntary web-based course. The course is targeted toward students with combined SAT scores between 900 and 1000 and is designed to help them score above 1000, the MCPS average. "The data shows that these intense programs, two or three weeks before the test, will give a 100 or 200 point boost," said Principal Phillip Gainous.
Blair teachers use plagiarism software
Approximately 40 staff members have been trained in the use of TurnItIn.com's anti-plagiarism software, which has already identified at least 15 cases of student plagiarism at Blair. Business Manager Anne Alban said that Blair's TurnItIn license cost $2,230. In addition, the school must pay an annual $250 fee. The money to pay for this service comes from vending machines. TurnItIn.com is licensed to almost 200 high schools in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., according to The Washington Post.
Blazers rock the press
Many Blair students and staff were recently mentioned in The Washington Post. The April 4 Washington Post Magazine featured photos of Blair's breakdancers in its coverage of diversity issues at Blair 50 years after the Brown vs. Board of Ed. Supreme Court decision. The Post also published letters to the editor from journalism teacher John Mathwin on MCPS' lead problems and junior Roxana Hadadi about Blair's marginalized Middle Eastern population on April 10 and 14, respectively. Sophomore Alex Brown's culinary exploits were highlighted in the March 31 Food section, and senior Kent Anderson's batting performance was praised in a March 30 newsbrief. Freshman Eric Hysen was also mentioned for his website business in a March 24 article.
Lunch area restricted
Students in 5B lunch are no longer allowed to eat along Blair Blvd because they continued to leave trash in the hall, according to Principal Phillip Gainous. In an announcement before spring break, Gainous threatened to restrict 5B lunch to the SAC if students refused to clean up after themselves. Although students can no longer sit near the elevator, they are still allowed to eat lunch by the lockers. Gainous expressed disappointment in the students and said the hall would remain off limits during lunch "until I feel comfortable they will clean up." Security guard Julie Oesch said that although students were reluctant to leave the hall, they cooperated with security. Oesch said the decision to forbid food in the hall has made a tremendous difference for building service. "There's no trash on the floor [now]," she said.
Samir Paul. <b>Samir Paul</b>, a Magnet senior, spent the better part of his junior year at Blair brooding over everyone's favorite high-school publication and wooing Room 165's menopausal printer. He prides himself in being <i>THE</i> largest member of Blair Cross Country and looks forward to one more … More »