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.
"I think the best solution to make up the days is to pace the classes a little faster." -freshman Katelin Montgomery
On Jan. 27, a young girl at Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown refused to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance. When she refused the teacher's request to rise for the Pledge, the instructor sent the student out into the hallway. The student was threatened with detention and sent to her counselor's office promptly thereafter. But the grievous violation of First Amendment rights did not end there. The next day, when the student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance once again, a security officer escorted her out of the classroom and back to her counselor. To add to this humiliation, when the student's mother complained to the assistant principal, she was told that the student must apologize to the teacher. A role reversal to what should have happened. The teen proceeded to apologize, twice over, for her "defiant" actions.
Just a few percentage points can make all the difference when it comes to illegal substances. Among teens, marijuana and alcohol abuse rates are rising for the first time in ten years, according to a study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The 2009 Partnership/MetLife Foundation Attitude Tracking study, which recorded the number of teens who had reported use within the past month, found that alcohol use among teens increased from the 32 percent measured in 2008. Reported marijuana use shot up from 32 percent of teens to 39 percent of teens in the same time. Candice Besson of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America attributed this trend to several different factors, including a decrease in federally-funded prevention programs and an increase in the portrayal of substance abuse in movies and television.
It is easy to forget that Washington, D.C., and Baltimore are only 40 minutes apart. Even a cursory examination reveals cities with diametrically opposed characters. With a renewed interest in the city due to hit HBO show "The Wire" and a growing art and music scene that has garnered national fascination, it's time to revisit Charm City and explore what makes it so, well, charming.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed similar versions of a $15 billion jobs creation bill, initially created by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid drafted the new bill as an alternative to a bipartisan Senate jobs proposal and after the House passed a $155 billion jobs bill in December.
Freshman Jack Foster wrote this letter to the editor in response to the Silver Chips article Freshman year: Obama's report card
Long has it been known that the apple of every teacher's eye is tenure, a status obtained after a successful probationary period that ensures his or her teaching position. Historically, tenure was awarded to experienced and deserving teachers in order to protect them from discriminatory, unfair dismissals that prevailed during the early 20th century.
A school's library is its backbone. It strengthens and supports all departments and stimulates learning and independent thought. The library breathes life into the lessons from the classroom. We cannot afford to cut back library resources any more than we already have.
A haven not only for women of the past but also of the present, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) offers a venue exclusively for women's art. Until the last century, women artists had trouble finding success. Often, like writers, they had to work under an assumed name to gain any respect. NMWA proudly displays these artists from the 16th century to today.
In today's ever-expanding and connected society, it would be wonderful if we all could speak every single language - an impossible goal. Nevertheless, we have students who have taken it upon themselves to try, through enrolling in a variety of foreign languages. As long as the door of opportunity remains open, the appreciation for foreign languages, particularly those less commonly studied, will grow.
One of the many things we are trying this year for Silver Chips is using more artwork and graphics in the paper to make our pages more visually appealing to readers. A problem associated with this increased emphasis on art is that there are issues with. Moving forward, Silver Chips definitely needs to place more rigorous standards for art.
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.
Their village was called Friendship, but freshman Yakemi Wilson's grandparents feared even to peek out the window. Outside, ethnic riots had torn through Guyana, and Wilson's grandparents were holed up inside their house, unwilling to show their faces to the aggressors fighting beyond the panes.
The Takoma Park basement is quiet for an instant before junior Jack Naden springs into action. The drum set vibrates under Naden's flying sticks, filling the room with music.
Walking into a room and inhaling the buttery scent of baking pastries and cakes that emanates from the oven inspires an acute pang of hunger, a deep gnawing in the pit of the belly that will remain until the craving has been sated. For a select few, the aroma of a cake in the oven inspires a different type of hunger entirely - a hunger for business.
For many Blazers, receiving a vaccine or a shot offers a permanent peace of mind. For sophomore Yesli Leon, receiving the swine flu vaccine in late 2009 meant only a temporary respite from worry.
Senior Walter Martinez feels the adrenaline rushing through him as he straps in, knowing that in a few moments he will be traveling at 120 miles per hour. After the flash of a green light, his car comes to life, roaring and springing off the ground. The race will be over in less than 15 seconds, so he has no room for error. He must change gears with precise timing while being able to control a car going the speed of a roller coaster. Perfection is key.
Sitting day after day through her eighth grade French class, sophomore Sally Barth, like many foreign language students, found herself in a continuous state of confusion. As time ticked by slowly each class, Barth struggled to speak and understand a language which at times seemed no more than gibberish. But instead of continuing to slip, Barth took her foreign language education into her own hands. She got a pen pal.
A team hailed as one of the best in the county protects the halls of Blair everyday. Clad in blue uniforms, they roam the hallways, ready to jump into action whenever trouble arises.
A Christmas tree standing in front of the City Hall in Copenhagen twinkles with thousands of bright, white lights - but the energy powering them is purely green. Every day, a different Danish politician spends half an hour on an exercise bike connected to the tree to provide the mechanical energy to illuminate the tree and light up the city with an enchanting glow.
It's somewhere between a sport and a dance form, a means of expression and a medium for competition, a source of pride and a lesson in self-discipline. A dance form that originated in the United States, stepping brings the members of the Lady Blazers, Blair's step team, together as artists, teammates and, most importantly, as family.
As the Blair athlete streaks down the field, she makes a quick cut to free herself from the defender. Not expecting the move, the defender waits a second before chasing the Blazer down. However, this one-second is all the Blazer needs to get open and score the magnificent goal. Her agility could be a tribute to her talent, or could show the effect the new turf has on sports. This fall season featured some of the most exciting and fast-paced games in recent Blair history. The soccer teams had thrilling games every outing; the football team made quicker moves and ended the season with an impressive two-game winning streak. While these successes are the result of good teams, Blair's new energizing home turf may have made its own contribution to the teams.
Imagine, 3,000 students milling about on a campus surrounded by two major roads. The cars whiz by at high speeds, as jaywalking students dodge their trajectories. Sound familiar? This is the situation that Blazers are faced with on a daily basis.
The first 13 years of life are supposed to be a person's most fun and carefree years. Joe Sullivan had no such experience. By age 13, Sullivan had experienced repeated physical and sexual abuse, had endured living with a mental disability and was sentenced to a lifetime in prison without the possibility of parole. Now 33 and still in prison, Sullivan has missed out on a childhood. Like many other people sentenced to life as juveniles, Sullivan does not deserve to miss out on the rest of life as well.
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