As students trickle into the meeting in a Blair classroom, she gives each a welcoming smile and a gentle hug. When the "catching up" session begins, she sits in the close circle of chairs along with them. She listens quietly to their experiences of the past week, their ideas for changing the world and their solutions to violence in Africa, stepping in only rarely to ask questions and offer insight. Wanjiru Kamau - or "Mama Kamau," as the students call her to show their respect and admiration for her in a traditional African way - is the founder and executive director of the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation (AIRF). She has devoted her life to helping African immigrants adjust to American culture without losing their old traditions.
Dreams often grant us a much-needed escape from our daily struggles. In a dream, anything is possible - swimming through a vat of delicious chocolate, jumping from a 50-story building unscathed, even flying through the hallways of school. So when budget cuts and insufficient funds push on the school from all sides, a daydream in a dull class about a fantasy Blair - one with no monetary limitations - can be the perfect way to brighten up the afternoon.
It was a hard speed workout early on in the cross-country season, and junior Jeremy Ardanuy was focused on making good time. So when he first felt the sharp pain in his hip, he logged it as a typical runner's pain and ran on to finish the workout. He wouldn't find out until weeks later that the source of his pain was a stress fracture in his hip, an injury that would keep him from running for the rest of the season.
They suddenly begin to laugh at themselves around the table. It's junior Sree Sinha's birthday, and her family is dining out in celebration. Though the meal is a common tradition, the Sinhas feel a bit ridiculous sitting in an upscale restaurant. "Why are we doing this?" her parents ask one another. "Neither of us has a job." But the moment of questioning passes, and the festivities continue.
The riddle goes that a boy and his father are injured in a car accident and immediately rushed to the hospital. When the boy is sent to surgery, the surgeon says, "I can't do the operation; this is my son." The "trick:" the surgeon is the boy's mother.
Monday is easy training. Tuesday is a four to five kilometer run along a forest trail. Wednesday is four hours of practice. Thursday is weightlifting and scrimmaging. Friday is easy again, a stretching day. Saturday is for tactical work. Sunday is the big game, and then the cycle begins again.
Being young has its perks, but when it comes to searching for jobs in a bleak economic climate, Peter Pan's outlook on life may not be so fitting.
This summer, the Montgomery County Department of Parks and Planning will install artificial infilled turf in Blazer stadium to replace the natural grass field. The turf will be made of a mix of recycled rubber and other chemicals and will be installed at Blair because the natural grass field was deemed overused. Detractors protest its environmental impact while athletes welcome its even surface.
There are photographs of just one naked girl on his cell phone — his girlfriend. Greg, a junior, is the only person meant to see these pictures, and he respects that wish. The photographs and videos of 18 other girls on his removable memory card, however, are a reminder of his single days.
David Bowie and Iman. Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs. Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubrey. All these celebrities have something in common with several Blazers: their part in a movement to tilt the view of interracial relationships.