Record Homecoming


Nov. 16, 2001, midnight | By Stephen Wertheim | 19 years, 2 months ago

Drug arrests, heat distrupt dance


Two male juniors were arrested on the night of the Homecoming dance, Oct 27, in the Colesville Road parking lot and were later charged with possession of marijuana and controlled dangerous substances paraphernalia. The arrests were one of several disruptions, including long waits to retrieve coats and high temperatures inside the gym, that marred Blair's most profitable Homecoming ever.

Police found marijuana in the jacket of one of the juniors and found a bag of marijuana inside their car, according to Montgomery County Police Department spokesman Derek Baliles. Both students received ten-day suspensions from school with recommendations for expulsion.

Following the search and collection of evidence on Homecoming night, the arresting officer released the juniors into their parents' custody pending an upcoming trial in juvenile court. The juniors were charged at the Rockville district station on Nov 1.

Acting on a suspicion that the students were smoking marijuana, a Blair staff member first alerted the arresting officer at 8:40 p.m., Baliles said. The officer, who was on a routine patrol of the Homecoming event, then pulled the juniors' car over and immediately found reason to begin a search. "As soon as the driver rolled down the window, the smell of marijuana was evident," Baliles said.

One of the juniors admitted to smoking the marijuana but denied any intent to sell or distribute the drug. The junior also expressed regret for his actions and promised not to use drugs in the future. "I look forward to starting anew," he said.

For the SGA, which plans Homecoming, the evening was marked by the dance's financial success. SGA co-sponsor Jeff Newby said that with over 1,800 people in attendance, turnout reached a record high, as did profits, which he estimated at $12,000. He said the profits will largely go toward the purchase of a new sound system for the gym and that the SGA will donate at least $1,000 of the proceeds to the September 11th Fund.

Newby praised the SGA's handling of Homecoming as "fantastic" given that a leak in the ceiling of the SAC forced the dance to be held in the gym and the SGA to modify its original decoration plans.

But some students, such as senior Olufunmilola Akande-Elemoso, did not fully enjoy the experience because of heat inside the gym. "I felt like I didn't have any deodorant on," she complained. Akande-Elemoso left the dance early because of the heat.

Those who stayed to the end encountered long waits to reclaim their coats, according to senior Erika Wyatt, who said she arrived home at 1:00 a.m. as a result.

Newby acknowledged the coat check as a "huge problem." In the future, he said the SGA may run more than one coat check or move Homecoming to an earlier time to avoid cold weather.
Senior class vice president Afua Tay noted that despite the disruptions, students carried on the festivities with the enthusiasm of past years.



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Stephen Wertheim. Co-editor-in-chief Stephen Wertheim is deeply committed to reporting, even when it conflicts with such essential life activities as food consumption, sleep and viewership of Seinfeld reruns. In addition to getting carried away with writing and playing violin, Stephen thoroughly enjoys visiting and photographing spots around … More »

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