May newsbriefs

May 31, 2005, midnight | By Ravi Umarji | 15 years, 7 months ago

Fewer freshmen expected for next year

Blair's incoming freshman class will have 87 fewer students than this year's class as a result of the completion of the first round of the selection process for the five Downcounty Consortium schools. This year, more eighth graders were denied their first choice of school, meaning that fewer students will attend Blair next year, according to Academy Coordinator Sundra Mann.

Mann said that last year, Blair expected close to 800 students. "We've been planning for 800 to 900 students for a few years now," she said, adding that Blair now expects approximately 700 new students for next year, a drop from this year's 787-student freshman class.

Blair student elected SMOB

Junior Sebastian Johnson was elected Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB), defeating John F. Kennedy junior Nadia Sicard on April 27. Johnson, who served as Blair's SGA president for the 2004-2005 school year, gained nearly 80 percent of the approximately 76,000 MCPS student votes. Former Blazer Shervin Pishevar, elected in 1990, was the last SMOB to be elected from Blair.

Countdown signals approved for Blair streets

The State Highway Administration has recommended that new countdown crossing lights be installed for pedestrian safety at the intersections of University Boulevard and Colesville Road and University Boulevard and Lexington Drive. These new signals will be installed in 12 to 18 months.

Blair parent Debra Reed-Gillette brought the issue of dangerous intersections to the highway administration this year after a car hit her son, junior James Gillette, while he was running with the wrestling team in October. Reed-Gillette had already been involved in the issue for two years, but her son's injury intensified her efforts.

After receiving e-mails from Reed-Gillette, the highway administration conducted an evaluation of the intersections near Blair and concluded that they should have countdown crossing lights.

Northwood evacuated

Northwood High School was evacuated before 7 a.m. on May 12 because of an incendiary device that was found in the school's parking lot. Law enforcement officials are investigating the incident, and currently, there are no suspects. Building services personnel discovered the device at 6:25 a.m. and notified the fire department, according to Brian Edwards, the MCPS director of public information.

The school did not receive any bomb threats, according to The Washington Post, and the device was not an explosive, but the liquid that was found in the device was flammable.

Arson causes evacuation at Eastern

A fourteen-year-old boy was charged with first-degree arson for allegedly setting fire to a stairwell in Eastern Middle School on May 3, according to an article in The Washington Post. Staff members discovered the fire at 11:20 a.m. and extinguished it before firefighters arrived. No one was injured in the fire, but the damages totaled approximately $1,000.

SGA election results announced

The winners of the 2006 Student Government Association (SGA) elections were certified and announced on May 6 by the current SGA administration. After running uncontested, junior Barun Aryal was elected SGA President for next year.

Among those elected was junior Stephen Demarais, who will resume his position as Vice President of the SGA for a second year. Future Class Council Presidents include junior Sayoh Mansaray, sophomore Kenny Coleman and freshman Vijay Baharani, who will represent the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively.

The elections for next year's SGA positions were held on April 26 and 27 during the school day. According to the SGA, of the 2,437 students eligible, 1,887 voted.

Aryal said that his top priority as president is to ensure accurate representation of the student population. He also plans to ensure that he is available to address students' concerns.

Nationwide teen driving campaign started

Ford Motor Company and The Governor's Highway Safety Association launched a nationwide teen driving education campaign called Driving Skills for Life at FedEx Field on May 19. Teen government leaders from the 20 largest high schools in the Washington, D.C., area practiced safe driving techniques taught by performance driving instructors. The program provided students and parents with information on how to extend driver's training outside the classroom and also sent educational materials to high schools in the region.

Newsbriefs compiled by Ravi Umarji with additional reporting by Shannon Egan, Allison Elvove, Caitlin Garlow, Jordan Goldstein, Emma Norvell, Jody Pollock and Danny Scheer.


Resource Counselor Karen Hunt reminds juniors to fill out their TrailBlazer packets and return them to their counselors as soon as possible. She also encourages students to sign up for summer school. Some important dates include the following:

•May 28 - Junior/senior prom
•May 30 - Memorial Day
•June 2 - Graduation, 9:30 a.m. at Jericho City of Praise
•June 4 - SAT I and II administered
•June 8 - Exam review day
•June 9-14 - Final exams
•June 11 - ACT administered
•June 15 - Last day of school for teachers


•Senior Sherri Geng was recognized as a Presidential Scholar on May 3. She is one of five in Maryland and 141 in the country to receive the award, given to students based on academic achievement, essays, school evaluations and transcripts. Scholars will be honored during the program's national recognition events in Washington, D.C., from June 25-28.
•Seniors Tencia Lee, Randolph Li, Robert Vlacich and Kristina Yang were named Corporate National Merit Scholars. They are among six students in Montgomery County and 1,070 students nationally who received the award, financed by companies around the country and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
•Seniors Abigail Fraeman, Sherri Geng, Kendra Leigh, Renee Park, Joanna Skeath, Jacqueline Villadsen and Min Wu were among 25 National Merit Finalists in Montgomery County. The finalists each received a $2,500 scholarship and were each chosen based on academic performance, SAT scores, a teacher recommendation and an essay describing the student's goals, interests and activities.
•Sophomore Brian Lawrence was one of 12 winners of the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad. Sophomore Matt McCutchen received an honorable mention.
•Junior John Kim was selected for the U.S. Physics Team, which is composed of the top 22 physics students from around the country. Seniors James Lee, Nick Tucker and Sam Wight and junior Greg Howard were chosen as semifinalists. Team members were selected through an examination.
•Fifty-one Blair students placed in the National Latin Exam, a comprehensive, multiple-choice test administered on March 11. Senior Wilma Bainbridge, juniors Jacqueline Moonves and Danny Scheer, sophomore Benjamin Katoski and freshman Danielle Tarr received gold summa cum laude awards, one step below a perfect paper.

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