April and May 2006 Newsbriefs

May 25, 2006, midnight | By Adam Yalowitz | 18 years, 2 months ago

Blazers participate in Day of Silence
Over 350 Blazers participated in the national Day of Silence on April 26 by not speaking throughout the day to show their support for gay rights, according to history teacher Mary Thornton, the sponsor of the Gay-Straight Alliance.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network began the Day of Silence 10 years ago. Blazers who participated were part of 500,000 students nationwide who were expected to participate in the event to help raise awareness of discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Hysen elected SGA President
Junior Eric Hysen won the SGA presidential election over sophomore Will Bucher, SGA Parliamentarian Christie Lin announced on April 27. Hysen currently serves as Chief of Staff under SGA President Barun Aryal. Sophomore Molly Martinez was elected vice president.

Students voted during English class on April 25 and 26 using Blair's online voting system. Lin said that the election was Blair's most hotly contested in years. "It was exciting to have an election with two candidates who are so seriously focused on the SGA," she said. Aryal ran uncontested in 2005, and his predecessor, current Student Member of the Board Sebastian Johnson, had won in a landslide as a sophomore in 2004.

Blair holds first poetry slam
Blair held its first poetry slam during Blair Fair on April 28 in the media center. The winners were seniors Jonah Gold and Sarah Janesko and freshman Jumi Bello. In April, Blair had poet Carol Peck, author of "From Deep Within: Poetry Workshops in Nursing Homes," visit classes over a two-week period to teach students about various aspects of poetry. The poetry slam's organizers said Peck was the inspiration for the contest. Media center Specialist Ilene Catzva said that she and her colleagues "were trying to think of a way to celebrate [Peck's] two weeks." Also at the slam was poet Omari Daniel, who has published two books, "Wrapped in Black" and "We Fish." Daniel is currently a teacher at Blake and has written many poems about his teaching experience.

Blair competes at county Envirothon
Blair teams swept the first five spots at the county Envirothon competition held April 26 at the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood. Team CX, comprised of juniors Olivia Buzek, Justin Chow, Jeff Guo, Ben Li and Alex Pei, placed first, with a total of 436.5 points out of a possible 500.

The Montgomery County Envirothon competition is held each year at the end of April and covers four areas — aquatics, forestry, wildlife and soils — and an additional fifth current issue, which this year was water stewardship in a changing climate. Over the course of the competition, each team took five 30-minute written exams (each worth 100 points plus bonuses) on each of the topics. The Blair teams will advance to the state competition, which will be held at the William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center in Prince George's County on June 20 through June 22.

MCPS schools ranked among top in the nation
Five MCPS schools were ranked by Newsweek magazine in the top 100 high schools in the United States for the second year in a row, according to an MCPS press release. All 23 MCPS high schools eligible to be ranked were listed in the top three percent of American high schools. MCPS had more schools in the list of the top 100 schools than any other school district in the country. Richard Montgomery, the highest ranked MCPS school, was 11th. Blair was ranked 155th. Schools were ranked based on the number of students taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams divided by the number of seniors in the graduating class.

Blair requests additional AP fees from students
Blair students who took dual Advanced Placement (AP) Economics, Government or Physics exams had to pay an additional $70 fee for each pair of exams by May 5, according to letters issued by the Blair Counseling Department on May 4. In previous years, students taking any of the AP Economics (Macroeconomics and Microeconomics), Government (United States and Comparative) and Physics (Mechanics and Magnetism) exams only needed to pay $82 to take both tests within any of the three subject areas. To help cover the increase in costs, Blair paid for $12 of each additional AP registration fee. The College Board, the organization that administers the AP exams, instituted a new policy this year that required separate payments for each exam.

Newsbriefs compiled by Adam Yalowitz with additional reporting by
Lois Bangiolo, Bridget Egan, Varun Gulati, Alex Hyder and Meaghan Mallari.

Guidance Corner
Resource counselor Marcia Johnson reminds students to study for their final exams and wishes the best of luck to the Class of 2006.

Important Dates
• May 29 — Memorial Day, no school
• May 30 — English HSA make-up
• May 31 — Algebra HSA make-up
• June 1 — Government HSA make-up
• June 2 — Graduation rehearsal, 8 a.m., auditorium
• June 3 — SAT I and subject tests administered. Senior and Junior Prom, 9 p.m., Bethesda Marriott
• June 5 — Graduation, 9:30 a.m., Prince George's Equestrian Center, no school
• June 6 — Algebra HSA make-up
• June 7 — Exam review day, Government HSA make-up
• June 8 — Period 1 & 2 Exams, Biology HSA make-up
• June 9-13 — Periods 3-8 Exams

•Twenty-two students from MCPS received National Merit scholarships of $2,500. The senior winners from Blair were Gregory Howard for economics, Margot Pass for psychology, Samir Paul for economics, Eddie Wang for biochemistry and Chelsea Zhang for computer science.
•Junior Elias Moges won top honors at the annual Montgomery County Business Plan Competition. Moges's business, EZ Jackets, also received the Top marketing prize. Sophomores Yenny Miranda and Linsey Alfaro won second place in the business operations competition for their successful business, Better Babysitting.
•The National Capital Area Critics and Artist Program (Cappies) recently nominated Blair's musical Crazy for You for several awards. Seniors Katrina Comisiak and Anuja Shah, junior Zoe Blackbourn, and freshman Alex Federman were nominated for Best Set Design. Seniors Kevin Bingaman, Isaac Carruthers and Jennifer Collins and junior Elliott Shiotani were nominated for Best Stage Crew. The Pit Orchestra was named a finalist for Best Orchestra, and senior Jessica Harris was nominated for Best Female Dancer. Awards will be presented at the Kennedy Center on June 11.
•Blair media teacher Shay Taylor's Electronic News Gathering class's drunk-driving projects was accepted into the Chicago Future Film Makers' Festival.

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