February 2004 Newsbriefs

Feb. 20, 2004, midnight | By Samir Paul | 16 years, 9 months ago

Newsbriefs compiled by Samir Paul with additional reporting by Cori Cohen, Anthony Glynn, Robin Hernandez and Adedeji Ogunfolu


Senior and alumni charged after fight
Senior Bryan Boley and two Blair alumni, Thomas Kollie (the son of a Liberian diplomat) and David Alvarado, were arrested Jan. 2 on several charges after a series of events that culminated in a fight involving 16 people in Long Branch. Alvarado and Boley were released Jan. 3 on $20,000 bail each. Kollie was released to his father, the Chargé d'Affaires at the Liberian Embassy, when police determined that he had diplomatic immunity. According to a Gazette article, the three teens face charges including carjacking and robbery, malicious destruction of property and three counts of first-degree assault. If convicted, the maximum sentence is 30 years in prison.

Police believe the accused were among a group of 13 who attacked three victims in a parking lot near Glenview and Domer avenues in Silver Spring. The victims claim that the assailants began throwing bottles and then approached the victims with a knife. The victims fled and called police. Officers say that the suspects took the victims' car and drove it into two parked cars. There are no descriptions of the other ten alleged attackers.

Board votes to implement revised grading policy
In a 7-0 vote on Jan. 13, the Montgomery County Board of Education ratified a five-year implementation plan for the controversial new grading plan, which will base students' academic grades solely on "mastery of objectives" established by the county. Partial implementation will start during the 2004-2005 school year, when all MCPS students will receive report cards that provide grades in academic subjects as well as information about effort and behavior. However, this information, along with progress, attitude and participation, must not be considered in academic grades.

Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, students will be graded on how well they meet course and grade-level standards of achievement. The county will develop new report cards for high school students in the 2008-2009 school year. ESOL students' English proficiency level will be taken into account in grades for academic subjects, and Special Education students will be graded on standards set by committees that supervise individual education plans.

Arson suspects apprehended
The individuals involved in the Jan. 22 bathroom fires were identified by five students and apprehended by administration, according to Principal Phillip Gainous. In a Jan. 16 announcement, Gainous thanked students for helping to identify those involved. At least three fires were started in separate boys' bathrooms during fifth period. Students evacuated the building at the end of 5A and firefighters inspected the bathrooms to make sure that they were safe before allowing students to reenter the school. Gainous offered a $100 reward, and the SGA contributed an additional $100.

PTSA president resigns
Former PTSA president Valerie Ervin will run for the District 4 seat of the MCPS Board of Education in the upcoming primary election (see "Chips endorses Ervin," page 3). Her opponent for the seat is Sheldon Fishman, another Blair parent and a former PTSA executive board member. Replacing Ervin's position as PTSA president is Betsy Scroggs. Fran Rothstein was also appointed as first vice president, according to the PTSA.

Alma Mater changed
English teacher Norman Stant wrote a new stanza for Blair's Alma Mater to incorporate the changes Blair has experienced in the past few years. Stant has thought about changing the Alma Mater since Blair changed locations in 1999 and finally wrote the lines as a "parting gift" before his retirement after 36 years. While writing the new verse, he tried to "tie together the new Blair and the old Blair." The song's new version will be sung this year at graduation. "What they choose to do after this year is up to the administration, but I hope they keep it," said Stant.

For the lyrics of the Alma Mater, visit

• Blair had 13 Intel semifinalists, the second-most of any high school in the nation. Seniors Easha Anand, Aditi Bhaskar, Elena Chung, Lauren Cohen, Han Hu, John McManigle, Jessica Shang, Joshua Stern, Stanley Wang, Elliott Wolf and Kenneth Yan will each receive $1,000 for their achievements, and Blair will receive $1,000 per semifinalist. Blair also had two Intel finalists (see "Intel finalists," page 10).
• Sophomore Brian Lawrence won first place in the 2003 University of Maryland Math Competition, freshman Richard McCutchen won second and senior Noah Forman tied for third. Lawrence, McCutchen and Forman will receive $500, $400 and $300, respectively.
• The Poms won the spirit award at the Feb. 7 competition at Blair. Senior Elizabeth Bryant won the third place Captain's Award.
• Psychology teacher Eliot Applestein's letter to the editor on MCPS' complicated vocabulary was published in The Washington Post.
• Computer-programming teacher Karen Collins was profiled in the National Education Association's magazine for her fiddle-playing with her bands.
• Blair alumnus Eric Shansby was featured in The Washington Post Magazine as the new artist for Gene Weingarten's "Below the Beltway" column.

• Magnet Arts Night is tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Admission is free.
• SGR and Young Conservatives clubs will host three debates on Feb. 24, 25 and 26 on health care, the economy and foreign policy, respectively. The debates will be in room 162 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
• The annual SGR Spectacular will be held March 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the SAC.

Resource Counselor Karen Hunt reminds students of the following upcoming deadlines:
• Feb. 20 — SAT I only registration deadline
• Feb. 27 — ACT registration deadline
• March 1 — FAFSA deadline to qualify for all Maryland State Scholarships and grants
• March 27 — SAT I administered

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 »

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