Compiled by Han Hu with additional reporting by Amanda Allen, Branden Buehler, Robin Hernandez and Annie Peirce
Policy on Pledge of Allegiance clarified
After the complaints of junior Elliott Wolf, Principal Phillip Gainous has clarified Blair's policy that requires students to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. The school's position, according to Gainous, is and always has been:
• It is not legal to punish students for refusing to stand during the Pledge.
• Gainous requests that students stand during the Pledge as a sign of respect for those who participate and so as not to draw unwarranted attention to themselves.
• Gainous requests that students who do not stand be sent to him rather than be reprimanded by teachers.
• The meeting with Gainous is not a punishment.
• Students who continue to refuse to stand will not be sent to Gainous again.
• Individual teachers are not allowed to embarrass or otherwise punish students who do not stand.
Marching band participates in annual parade
Blair's marching band performed in the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade: A Salute to Law Enforcement, which took place on Nov 23 in downtown Silver Spring. The parade, which replaced Montgomery County's annual Holiday Parade, served as a ceremony honoring victims of the recent sniper shootings and law enforcement agents involved in the sniper case, said Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan in a press release. Spirit Club Sponsor and Media Center Instructional Assistant Susan Madden said that Blair's marching band has participated in the Holiday Parade almost every year since the first one five years ago.
Report cards not withheld
Blair's administration decided not to withhold report cards from students who had financial obligations because it wanted to release grades to students and parents, according to Business Manager Anne Alban. First-quarter report cards were distributed on Nov 14. Currently, 1,074 students have financial obligations and owe the school more than $37,000.
Record enrollment in Honors and AP courses
The percentage of MCPS high school students enrolled in at least one Honors or AP course reached a record 64 percent last year, according to an MCPS press release. The Honors and AP participation rate for the last school year rose nearly 3 percent from the previous year, with increased enrollment for students of all races. At Blair, the percentage of students enrolled in at least one Honors or AP course is 55.7 percent, lower than the countywide rate. According to Guidance Resource Counselor Karen Hunt, the goals set by the Blair School Improvement Plan for this school year include an 8-percent increase in Honors or AP classes and a 4-percent increase in the number of students earning a "C" or better in those classes.
Increase in enrollment of international students
The Blair cluster enrolled the third-most number of new international students in the county during the first quarter of the school year, according to the MCPS newsletter The Bulletin. The Blair cluster enrolled 151 international students, behind only the Walter Johnson High School cluster, which enrolled 296 students, and the Wheaton High School cluster, which enrolled 194. ESOL Resource Teacher Joseph Bellino attributed Blair's high number of new international students to the low-cost housing and the base of immigrants currently residing in the Blair community. These factors make the area suitable for a concentrated immigrant population, he said. MCPS currently has about 18,000 international students enrolled from 162 different countries.
Report cards now available in seven languages
MCPS translated the first-quarter report cards into seven different languages in an effort to reach a greater number of parents, according to the MCPS newsletter The Bulletin. For the first time, report cards were translated into Cambodian, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.
• Seniors Lisa Leung and Anatoly Preygel, junior John Shen and sophomore Michael Li received perfect scores on the first part of the 2002 University of Maryland High School Mathematics Competition. Sixty-five students qualified for the second round.
• Junior Sam Wen won second place in the Anwar Sadat Essay for Peace contest, sponsored by the University of Maryland.
• At the first Montgomery County Forensics League competition on Nov 9, sophomore co-captain Abigail Fraeman won first place in humorous interpretation and fifth place in serious poetry, senior Eric Schaffer won second place for serious prose and senior Amanda Way won fourth place for children's literature.
•Blair's It's Academic! team placed third in the world at the Dec 4 Knowledge Master Open and second out of 14 teams at the University of Maryland competition on Nov 16. The team of seniors Matthew Baron and Jared Sagoff and juniors Ning Bao and Jonathan Magin qualified for the National Academic Quiz Tournament (NAQT) and the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE) Championships.
(see story at silverchips.mbhs.edu)
CLUBS AND EVENTS
• Blair's New Faces show opens tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium and will include songs and scenes from My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease and The Sound of Music. Admission is free.
• The winter play, The Rivals, will run from Jan 30 to Feb 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets are $4 for students and senior citizens and $6 for adults.
• Blair's Spirit Club raised $1,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which fulfills the hopes of children battling life-threatening illnesses. The club raised the money through donations and by selling spirit packages.
• The Chinese Club received confirmation in November that its $600 donation for the construction of a children's library in China has been received and that construction plans have been made.
Guidance Resource Counselor Karen Hunt reminds students of upcoming deadlines:
• Dec 23 – Registration deadline for Jan 25 SAT I and II
• Jan 1 – Begin to file FAFSA financial aid forms
• Jan 1-15 – Most regular decision college applications due
• Jan 3 – Registration deadline for Feb 8 ACT
Han Hu. Han Hu, a senior in Blair's Magnet program, is very excited to serve as Managing News Editor on the Silver Chips staff. Aside from Chips, he is also a member of Blair's mock trial team, where he enjoys delivering cases at the county courthouse before … More »