Nov. 11, 2004, midnight | By Ravi Umarji | 16 years, 2 months ago

Graduation to occur one day early
The senior graduation ceremony will take place on June 2, one day earlier than previously planned. The event date was moved up because of a scheduling conflict with the Jericho City of Praise, the church where graduation is held, according to senior class sponsor and graduation coordinator Charles Wang.

Blair tops state in National Merit semifinalists
Blair had the highest number of National Merit semifinalists in Maryland with 56 of the state's 339 qualifiers. Fifty students are in the Magnet, three are in the Communication Arts Program and three are on-level.

Two more students have qualified this year than did last year, and 25 more qualified than did in 2003, according to Resource Counselor Karen Hunt. In Montgomery County, 143 students from 15 schools qualified for the scholarship program. Richard Montgomery had 26 qualifiers, Walt Whitman followed with 17 and Bethesda-Chevy Chase had ten.

The National Merit Scholarship Program was established in 1995 as an academic competition for students in grades nine through 11 who took the PSAT/NMSQT. The top-scoring third of students become semifinalists and are eligible to complete an application packet to become finalists.

Outdoor water fountain to be installed near track
The Physical Education (P.E.) Department, the Athletics Department and the PTSA will split the expenses for installing an outdoor water fountain near the track, according to P.E. Resource Teacher Cynthia Changuris. Changuris said that the new fountain, which will be the first outdoor fountain in Blair's history, will cost between $1,300 and $2,200.

Old Blair auditorium likely to be renovated
Silver Spring International Middle School's auditorium will likely be renovated due to recent support from U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, County Executive Doug Duncan, Maryland State Senator Ida Ruben and Blair alumnus Ben Stein. Because of numerous safety concerns, the 1,200-seat auditorium has remained unused since Blair relocated from its Wayne Avenue campus to University Boulevard six years ago. The facility will need to be brought up to code during renovation, and a sprinkler system will need to be installed.

The old Blair auditorium renovation committee, which consists of parents, residents and members of the art community, has tried to raise money to fund the estimated $1.5 to 2 million project.

Van Hollen speaks at Blair
Congressman Chris Van Hollen spoke to Blair students on Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m. in Blair's Colesville side parking lot at a press conference for Safe Neighborhood Day. Van Hollen discussed with students the diversity of Montgomery County, the restoration of America's credibility overseas, the No Child Left Behind Act and American unity.

Blazer interviews U.S. Ambassador to Australia
Senior William Dreher interviewed Tom Schieffer, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, via video conference on Oct. 19 as part of Talkback Classroom, an Australian program expanded through the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Dreher, along with two other area students and three students from Australia, questioned Schieffer on the war in Iraq, his relationship with President Bush, the alliance between Australia and the U.S. and a possible free trade agreement between the two countries.

Newsbriefs compiled by Ravi Umarji with additional reporting by Allison Elvove, Jeremy Goodman, Erica Hartmann, Julyssa Lopez, Luke McQueen, Stephanie Nguyen and Melanie Thompson


-Senior Katherine Zhang was one of six Maryland Siemens Westinghouse Math, Science and Technology Semifinalists. Finalists will be announced in Washington, D.C., between Dec. 3-6.
-Seniors Greg Jukes (vibes), David Crawford (trumpet) and Gabriel Osborne (trombone) were accepted into the Montgomery County Senior Jazz Band.
-Juniors Greg Donaldson, Josh Gist and Damian Morden-Snipper made the semifinals at the Liquid Arts Expo, a breakdancing competition, on Oct. 22.
-Seniors Jeffrey Dunn, Michael Forbes and Eric Ma won $240 for placing first in the high school division of the Loyola College Programming Contest in Baltimore on Oct. 16.
-Silver Chips swept the Children's National Medical Center's 17th Annual Student Journalists' Health Writing Contest. Former Print Editor-in-Chief Easha Anand and former Entertainment Editor Abigail Graber of the class of 2004 won first and second places, respectively. Senior Arianna Herman came in third place.

Guidance Corner

As college application deadlines draw nearer, Resource Counselor Karen Hunt encourages all students to seek advice in the Career Center and to visit the new counselor web site here. Seniors requesting transcripts should refer to the table of dates on page 38 of their student planbooks. Please remember that transcripts take 20 work-days to process. Some important approaching dates include:

-Nov. 11-Report cards distributed
-Nov. 12-13-Rumors, Blair's fall play, runs
-Nov. 13-Females in Science and Technology Conference
-Nov. 18-Registration deadline for Dec. 11 ACT
-Nov. 25-26-Thanksgiving break
-Dec. 4-SAT I and II administered
-Dec. 11-ACT administered

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Ravi Umarji. Ravi is finally a senior in the Magnet. All you need to know about Ravi is that he's a huge Redskins fan (which, until last year, wasn't exactly pleasant). Of course, he's predicting a Super Bowl season next year. His favorite athlete is Lance Armstrong, … More »

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