November 2003 Newsbriefs

Nov. 13, 2003, midnight | By Samir Paul | 17 years ago


Homecoming attendance down
Homecoming attendance decreased considerably compared to recent years due to a shortened ticket-sale period and administrative policies banning freak dancing and requiring students to pay all obligations before purchasing tickets, according to SGA Parliamentarian Sebastian Johnson. SGA treasurer Elena Chung said that approximately 800 to 900 tickets were sold, of which 200 tickets were sold at a reduced price because students donated canned food. Although the exact figures have not yet been calculated, Chung remarked that the SGA made a "reasonable" profit.
The SGA sold over 1,800 tickets two years ago and made similarly high sales last year, which Chung said was due to the string of sniper attacks that delayed Homecoming.

DCC choice process to begin
The choice process for the incoming class of Downcounty Consortium (DCC) freshmen will begin in November. All eighth grade students from the base middle schools will be mailed a choice form that must be completed and returned by Dec 12. To allow freshmen to experience a broader range of high school subjects before choosing their pathways, students will select a high school within the DCC with an academic interest in mind rather than a specific academy. Final school assignments will be announced in February.
Freshmen entering the DCC in fall 2004 will all take the Connections class, now offered at every DCC school. At the end of ninth grade, students will select academies for grades ten through 12 and, in sophomore year, will begin taking classes in their chosen academies.

Club sports excluded from Blair affairs
In compliance with a county mandate requiring schools to distinguish club sports from official school organizations, the ice hockey club team will be excluded from Blair's pep rallies and yearbook. The main reasons for the action are legal and fiscal, said MCPS Athletics Coordinator William Beattie, citing "liability issues." According to Beattie, associating club sports with the school gives the non-Blair related groups undue attention. Additionally, Beattie said, each new sport comes with additional costs for coaches, referees, uniforms, equipment and playing space.
Junior Neal Vasilak, a former member of the Blair ice hockey club team, was disappointed at the administration's decision to remove his team from school publications and pep rallies. "It was fun being a part of Blair, representing Blair, but now we're just some club sport," he remarked.

Students re-enroll after receiving immunizations
Approximately 40 students were ineligible for enrollment at the beginning of this year because they lacked necessary immunizations. All students have since been re-enrolled, according to Blair nurse Mazine Lofton.
This year, the health department was faced with fewer vaccine-related enrollment problems at Blair than last year. During the last school year, approximately 90 students were not enrolled initially because they did not meet state requirements. A clinic was held on-site because of the high number, Lofton added.

Staff wins honors
Silver Chips staff won 50 awards in the 2003 Maryland Scholastic Press Association (MSPA) Individual Writing and Editing Contest, including 12 of 19 possible first-place awards. Silver Chips won all of the awards in several categories, including Editorial-Opinion, Features, News, Informational Graphic, Single Inside Page Layout and Front Page Layout.
In the 2003 MSPA Publications Contest, Silver Chips took a close second place with a score of 95 points. Winston Churchill High School's The Churchill Observer won first place with a final score of 96.
To see the results of the MSPA contests, visit MSPA at


• Junior Abigail Fraeman is among 16 global finalists in the "Red Rover Goes to Mars" competition, sponsored by the Planetary Society. She won a chance to participate in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA.
• Senior Stanley Wang was named a regional finalist in the annual Siemens Westinghouse Science Competition for his project "Development of a Siderophore-based Optical Array Biosensor for Detection of Pathogenic Bacteria."
• Seven Blair students have been named semifinalists in the 40th annual National Achievement Scholarship Program for outstanding black students. Seniors Michael Campbell, Reyna Camps, Mary Daniel, Nicole Gray, Lindsay Hocker, Jenny Shungu and Belen Wasihun are among 1600 semifinalists nationwide selected for their PSAT scores.
• Blair's literary magazine, Silver Quill, was ranked the first finisher in the first-place rating category of the 2003 Maryland Scholastic Press Association Publications Contest.
• Senior Sam Wen won first place in the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story contest with his piece "Before It's Time."

Clubs and Events

• The fall play, Pericles, will be performed on Fridays Nov 14 and 21 and Saturdays Nov 15 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets are $3 for students and senior citizens and $6 for adults.
• The bi-annual Choral Coffeehouse will take place on Nov 19 in the SAC at 7:00 p.m.
• The Show Choir Festival will be held Dec 12 at Sherwood High School from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Guidance Corner

As college application deadlines approach, College and Career Information Coordinator Sharon Williams encourages students to seek advice in the Career Center and reminds seniors to request transcripts early, as there is a 20-school-day turnaround. Some important upcoming dates include:
• Dec 3 & 4 – Maryland Functional Writing Test (No delayed
• Dec 6 – SAT I and II administered
• Dec 13 – ACT administered
• Dec 22 – Registration deadline for Jan 24 SAT I and II
• Jan 2 – Registration deadline for Feb 7 ACT

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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