Category Archives: LIFE

Fascinating and fun stories that educate and entertain

Facebook Changes Default Settings

Facebook’s mission is to make it easier for people to find each other on the web, but what if you don’t want to be found?


by Brandi Bottalico ’10
News Editor

If you woke up on Wednesday, December 9th and did not change your personalized Facebook privacy settings, then much of your information became available to anyone who has access to a Facebook. Facebook has changed its default privacy settings to include not only the name, hometown, and profile picture of Facebook users, but also all photos and videos on users’ walls.

According to Facebook’s “A Guide to Privacy on Facebook” (Dec. 14) the privacy settings were changed in order to make it easier for people to connect. Yet it seems as if the new settings sacrifice users’ privacy for this goal. The new default settings have become more lenient, encouraging users to share their profiles with a broader viewing audience, whereas before Facebook tended to stick to the safer side. This new Facebook is a part of a fundamental shift in the way users share personal information.

Previously Facebook asked users to join networks, which have now become inconvenient to users due to their large memberships. Facebook now groups people into three categories: “friends,” “friends of friends” and “everyone.” The new default allows for friends of friends to view almost everything on your page, including photos, videos, comments, wall posts, picture comments, friends list and basic information. The only thing it seems to limit is the ability to comment on a user’s page. The same amount of information is shown to users who share no mutual friends, unless you are a minor. In that case, only “friends of friends” and “friends” can view information such as your wall posts, status updates and photos.

(Click for info on how to change settings.)
When you go to change your privacy settings, make sure you access the drop down menu and select the appropriate settings for each type of information. (Click for example.) Also, photo albums have separate settings that you must change for each album.

To test the way that users have adapted to the new privacy settings, The Stampede chose 25 random Bishop McNamara students to see whether these default settings had been detected and changed. Out of the 25 students, 22 had profiles revealing photos, videos, wall-to-wall comments, notes and date of birth, to users who were not friends, but shared at least one mutual friend.

Although the privacy settings now start very broad, they can be tweaked to fit the needs of users more accurately. Recently Facebook created an individual setting for every time something new is posted. This allows you to specify who is able to view each post, overriding your default. The lock below each post indicates where to choose exactly who you would like to include and exclude.

Facebook’s new changes have made it more versatile, but users must learn how to adjust their settings to fit their needs. Now, Aunty Cindy doesn’t have to read that status about how mad you are at your parents. And those embarrassing family photos from last Christmas can stay in the family.


Brandi will be writing a follow-up story to this piece.  If you have any questions, comments, or stories to share, please email her — get.trampled[at]

A Finished Novel in 30 Days

Web badge from http://www.nanowrimo.orgby Grace Kelly ’10
In-Depth / Features Editor

30 days. 50,000 words. Ready set go! This is the exact amount of time that junior Carmela Rourke spent on her novel entry for the Nanowrimo contest which was for National Novel Writing Month in November. Carmela along with other worldwide contestants submitted a combined total of two billion words by the deadline date on November 30th.

Her novel discusses the battle verse good and evil. She describes this accomplishment as, “A lot of fun but a challenge.” As a result of competing in this contest, Carmela will have her novel printed and bound for free, and have the opportunity to have it sold on Amazon. She was also given a list of email addresses of publishers.

When asked if she will compete again, she said that her previous novel is a cliff hanger and she wants to finish it with a sequel.

Battle of the Bands

Marie Blair ’11
Staff Writer

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…champions?! This past weekend, the BMHS bands went to Flowers High School for a competition. The Wind Ensemble, Concert band, and Symphonic band performed exceptionally, and most were excited by the outcome.  However, Symphonic band felt they could have done better.

Even so, none of the bands scored lower than a II (I being the highest), which is truly outstanding. The songs performed include some of the following: Armed Force Parade, Concord, Creed and Exaltation.

As the Spring trip and other performances loom in the near future, some of these songs, as well as others, are likely to be played.  Congratulations Bishop McNamara Band Program!

STAFF EDITORIAL: Homecoming Attire: Scandalous or Seemly?



It takes weeks of searching for a dress, hours of putting on make-up and styling hair, yet in simply seconds a faculty member could tell you to take that dress, hair, and make-up right back home because they don’t find it appropriate. Is preparing that much really worth going back home to sit on the sofa while your friends are having an evening at the dance that they will be talking about when Monday rolls around….?

Exactly. I didn’t think so. Why let something as silly as the dress you’re wearing ruin your night?

After the past homecoming, a letter was sent out to all students of our school community. This letter, addressed to all parents, referenced the fashion choices made by the women at the homecoming dance. The rule in the agenda book clearly states, “Students whose clothing styles are inappropriate or deemed to be too bare or immodest will not be allowed to attend the dance.” The Stampede finds that this rule is unnecessary unless it is enforced. Therefore, if this rule was implemented, people would take this matter more seriously.

Think twice before leaving the house in something that wouldn’t be appropriate. Don’t think that just because you’re covering more that you don’t look amazing. Less DOES NOT equal more. There are many outfits that fit the criteria of the dress code that could easily be seen worn by most celebrities. By “modesty” Mr. Clark is not saying you should be wearing a t-shirt and a skirt to the floor. He wants you to look good and in good taste.

So, for students, here’s some advice so that you don’t end up being the one turned away at the door for next dance. First, we see that depending upon your body type, height, etc., you know what you can pull off without it looking trashy or immodest. For example, the same dress worn by two different girls, one being four inches taller or a few sizes larger, may not look as tasteful. Therefore, consider your body type and know what looks good on you, not someone else. Second, ask yourself honestly if you think you would wear it to a nice event you’re going to with your grandmother. Would grandma look at you proudly and say what a beautiful young lady you are? Or would she offer to take out the hem on your skirt? Lastly, just be aware of the environment in which you will be; a Catholic high school dance, not a night club, and not in a music video. We want you to look good, but it’s not necessary to show too much in order to do so.

So ladies, let’s step it up and not let this be you at the next school event.


The staff editorial is authored through a group process. The Opinion Editors select one or more topics for debate by the staff. After the staff has discussed the issue and approached a consensus on the topic, the Opinion Editors write on behalf of the entire staff.  The staff then reviews and approves the final editorial before publication.

The Traveling Teacher, Mr. Williams

The Traveling Teacher, Mr. Williams Profile

By Alexis Jenkins ’11

Staff Writer

In shirt and tie like most, except this teacher has a passport to boast. Sitting in a history classroom of bright colors and unique finds from Africa and Asia, teacher Chris Williams tells me he has now visited a total of seventy-four countries and has participated in four years of volunteer teaching.

Mr. Williams, of the social studies department, is back from his teaching mission in Guyana, country seventy four, and he celebrates teaching year thirty with sophomores, seniors, and the McNamara community.

He took a break from McNamara to work with the Peace Core because he needed a challenge. Prior to his peace core work, he taught in Sudan during the later part of the 1970’s. One of his most recent volunteer efforts took place in the country of Guyana in South America where he has spent the last two years. He taught primary school which is most equivalent to our elementary school system. He worked with second through sixth grade students to help develop reading, writing, and phonics skills. Lucky for him, Guyana is an English speaking country seeing that English is the only language Mr. Williams speaks.

Teaching the same curriculum year after year had lost its fire. Mr. Williams was stretching his students, but for him it was repetition and more meaningfully he said, “Volunteer work appealed to me very much.” Mr. Williams spoke with Principal Marco Clark, School President Heather Gossart and the administration about taking a leave of absence to pursue the opportunity abroad. The result was two years in Guyana. He went, taught and has come back revived. It proved to be a good experience. He said, “The children are sweethearts,” but admits it’s a lot harder than teaching high school, it requires more patience.

Now, back at McNamara he celebrates his 30th year of teaching. He currently teaches sophomore Western Civilization and senior Global Studies. Mr. Williams hasn’t taught sophomores in a while and the high school gap is evident. He enjoys teaching both classes, but there is a difference. He said, “Seniors are nine months away from college and sophomores are three months away from freshmen year.” His sophomores are still developing writing skills, while his seniors are busy writing applications. To teach both classes he has to apply different motivations because they are at different stages and their outlooks vary.

Looking around the same room Mr. Williams’ sophomores and seniors sit in, my eyes catch interest in the colorful walls once again. In room 215, many alluring ornaments come down from the ceiling to greet you accompanied by the artifacts on the walls. One of the items hanging from the ceiling is a gift of colorful ornamental balls that Mr. Williams received on a home-stay in Japan. Gift-giving holds great importance in Japan. It is disrespectful to visit someone without coming with a gift. In Japanese, nebura is the word meaning empty handed. Of course, Mr. Williams came with gift in hand and warmly received one back. Returning to his classroom there are many other decorations from different journeys. The wall above the whiteboards bears a sign with chocolate silhouettes advertising Ashanti hair salon in Ghana, West Africa. The room just shows the mix of culture that he has experienced from all around the globe. Other items found in the room include gifts from students and teachers who have traveled abroad. Of these gifts, one is a highly decorated wooden box from Iran, it was a gift from Chemistry teacher Saiedeh Khalili.

Mr. Williams is enjoying teaching, but he may increase his count of seventy-four countries. I asked where he would like to travel next, and three countries came to mind. The first being Madagascar off the coast of Africa because of its unique cultural mix between Africa and Indonesia. “Madagascar has beautiful landscape,” Mr. Williams said, “and a lot of wildlife.” The second country is Papua New Guinea of the South West Pacific Islands because of its rich isolated culture. Papua New Guinea is said to have many undiscovered species of plants and animals. Maybe Mr. Williams can discover something new. Lastly, Easter Island in the Southeastern side of the Pacific Ocean because of its world renown Moai, the nine hundred stone statues that decorate the island.

Thanksgiving: Turkey, Stuffing, Pumpkin pie, and… E-learning?

Students Test Distance Learning (eLearning) in Virtual Classes

by Megan Ardovini ’13
Staff Writer

Nothing gets a high school student more excited than an extra two days off school. On Nov. 23rd and 24th, students had two extra days added to their Thanksgiving break.

Was it a break from having to go to the school itself? Yes. Was it a break from the school work? No.


Flooding in McNamara was the cause for our ten-day Thanksgiving break. On Oct. 7th, Principal Marco Clark sent a notice to the Bishop McNamara community to inform them of the repairs. But most likely, it was the headline “School Closure on November 23rd and 24th,” or the bold, underlined sentence in the middle of the page (“the school will be closed on Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday, November 24th) that stole their attention. In all of their excitement over the new prospects available over Thanksgiving break, some may have failed to read down to the third paragraph where Mr. Clark states that in an effort to not lose the two instructional days, distance learning, also known as E-learning, would take place. He also informed us of the reason for the school closure; major underground water leaking necessitated that the water be turned off throughout the entire building for repairs to begin on Nov. 23rd and and to be concluded no later than the end of that week. With the intention of maintaining the 23rd and 24th as days of instruction, the administration decided to initiate distance learning to be available to teachers to stay on track in their classes.


With the spread of the H1N1 concerning many schools in the DC metropolitan area, the school board wanted to prepare the administration for the possibility of a long term closure due to this influenza or other catastrophic event. The distance learning that took place on the 23rd and 24th was a “test run” of sorts that was meant to show if the school could sustain a distance learning program in the case of a unexpected closure.

The administration hoped that this would serve as a way to reveal the weaknesses of the program as well as what needed to be altered to better accommodate the students and teachers. Some confusion was expected when trying E-learning for the first time, but it was a great chance to learn more about this process that may be of great use in the future.

Not only would online learning keep us from getting behind in our work, but it will also teach us how to use new types of technology. With so many programs out there at our finger tips, it would strongly benefit us to learn how to use them.Teachers were not required to administer online assignments or projects, and many chose to the stick to the packets, book work, or papers. Yet, some teachers were excited to try the new technologies available to them, and discovered a variety of new sites and programs available to utilize. The Assistant Principal for Academics, Mindi Imes de Duclos said, “[Distance Learning] challenges teachers to try something new and keeps the students on track with their content so they don’t fall behind.”

Principal Marco Clark tells us, “This is not meant to be a burden over your Thanksgiving break.” Yet as expected, some students feel that it would prove itself to be a hassle anyway. Daniel Deplata III ’13 says, “Break should be for sleeping and relaxing.” Many students feel the same way. The truth of the matter is we had two extra days off. Although students are asked to complete work on these two days, administration did not expect them to spend the same amount of hours in front of a computer as they would in a classroom. “[It is] a way to still learn, even though not all of us are together,” said Mrs. Imes de Duclos.


Upon returning from Thanksgiving, students had mixed feelings about the distance learning assignments they had just completed. Generally, most students felt that there was too much work assigned. “It didn’t feel like a vacation for me with all the work,” says Michelle Anne dela Paz ’12.

Some could even be heard saying they would have rather been in school for those two days. Some believe less work would have had to be done if they were in class opposed to at home on break. Either way, we would have had to complete some form of work on those two days. The distance learning that took place was in lieu of these two full days of school that we missed. Students were not asked to do work all break or to alter their Thanksgiving plans because of this work either.

When an informal survey was conducted, the result was that roughly one-third of the teachers actually assigned an online assignment. The other two-thirds of the teachers assigned packets, papers, take home tests, book work, or other miscellaneous assignments. Colleen Fleming ’10 makes a good point when saying, “Effectiveness depends on whether people actually did it.”

Although it will take a little more time to discover whether this process to maintain these instructional days was successful, it was a great way to discover how a system like this would work, and now we can go from there. Mrs. Imes de Duclos reminds us, “You can always get better at something.”

Are Wii Fit?

Megan Timms ’11
Staff Writer

Photo Illustration by Jacqueline Wills '10 and Thomas Ingle '10, Photo Editor and Staff Writer / Images from Nintendo Co.
Photo Illustration by Jacqueline Wills '10 and Thomas Ingle '10, Photo Editor and Staff Writer / Images from Nintendo Co.

Technology has taken yet another step towards our wildest dreams with Nintendo’s recent release of the Wii Fit, a video game that helps players lose weight.

Could this take the place of the hard work and exercise that many Americans have grown to hate? Upon arrival there were many disbelievers, but those that have experienced the Wii Fit say otherwise.

“It’s really fun and addictive but its a workout!” said Kirsten Lawrence ’11.

Wii Fit features body analysis programs that keep track of a player’s heart rate, calories burned, and energy exposure. In fact, sports medicine professionals at the University of Maryland are testing to see if this new gaming technology could provide alternative methods of rehabilitation. They have discovered that this gaming device could serve as an inexpensive aide for their athletes as its strength exercises provide a full body workout.

The Wii may not be a very good training tool if you are planning to run a marathon, but it may be ideal for nursing a minor injury, recreation, or to simply get an extra workout.

Players create a character, called a Mii, and then stand on a board that weighs them, helps them balance, and monitors their performance during a game. Then, they do different exercises that tells them how old they are compared to their actual age, based on how well they performed.

So if you’re 16 but out of shape, you might be told you’re 80 years old. Based on your health, it helps you find exercises to improve your score.

Not everyone is a fan. Eric Darnell ’12 said “I have played it, but I don’t like it because it’s an inside thing. It feels like it’s for people who are too lazy to go outside and exercise.”

And according to Garrett Tucker ’13, users may not be getting the workout they think. “Someone may use it in the wrong way, not the workout intended, so they don’t get the workout.”

The majority of the people interviewed did not know about the Wii Fit or care for it, because of other video game devices that they already have. Will the Wii Fit be as successful in the teens perspective? As of now it is up in the air, but with advances within the gaming industry to come, it’s highly debatable when teens will give up their remotes to get into shape.

Grace’s Kitchen: Healthy Snacks

Grace Kelly ’10
In-Depth / Features Editor

Are you hungry after school?
Do you have a sweet tooth?

If this describes you, then this is your chance to learn a new healthy recipe to eat after school. Watch an exclusive cooking segment of Grace’s Kitchen on the brand new Stampede website. This step by step video explains how quick this recipe is to make and will keep you coming back for more. These treats will keep you energized until dinner time!


BandTalk: Retro Rama & The Modern Face

by Dillon DiSalvo
Copy Editor
Retro Rama

1966 saw the formation of the newest sensation out of Britain, Cream. It was one of the original and best power trios in rock history.  All three members were regarded as the “cream” of the crop.  Most notably was Eric Clapton on guitar and vocals, then Jack Bruce on Bass and vocals, and Ginger Baker on drums.  The band’s sound is straight up blues rock and they created some of the most famous riffs and solos of all time.  Many have heard the famous “Sunshine of Your Love” lick that is featured on Guitar Hero III and in movies like School of Rock and the solos are everywhere in the Cream set list.
Most of the soloing is done by the legend, Eric Clapton, who is regarded as one of the best guitarists of all time.  He is one of the first to use the wahwah effect in the songs “White Room” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses.”  He is also the inventor of the “woman  tone” which is a thick muted distortion sound; this is the tone used in the solo of “Sunshine of Your Love.”dillon redo copy
Under the high end of Clapton’s guitar lies the deep growl of Jack Bruce’s bass line.  His lines are melodies that could really stand on their own.  An inspiration to bassists everywhere, he shows the world that bass isn’t just for playing the root while the guitar takes all the glory.  Formerly a concert cellist, Bruce’s classical training makes him a musical marvel; he actually takes up his cello once again to play on “Deserted Cities of the Heart.” When he is not singing, his focus goes all to his playing.  In “Crossroads,” Clapton takes over as lead vocalist, and Bruce gives a stunning performance of blues bass.
Behind the set sits the drummer extraordinaire.  Ginger Baker’s style was one of the things that defined a Cream song.  While most modern drummers do the hi hat/snare combo and the simple kick drum beat with tom fills in between, Baker brought something truly unique to the ensemble.  His toms were not just for fills, he plays them all through the song.  His fills consist of complex kick drum, cymbal and tom combos.  His set had two kick drums, and this made him be able to play with his feet in a different time signature than what his hands are doing.  His most epic performance is in the song “Toad,” which is essentially just the some of the best drumming ever recorded.
The group disbanded in 1968 after putting out four albums. Rolling Stone Magazine hails them as the sixty-sixth greatest artist of all time.  Their music has defined many generations of new and aspiring musicians.  All three members moved on to other bands such as Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes, and they are all currently playing the music they love.

The Modern Face
Bad Veins

Forty years after the formation of Cream, there were two guys jamming in a Cincinnati attic who decided to call themselves Bad Veins. The band was originally a solo attempt by vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Davis, but that soon changed when Davis realized solo was a no go.  He asked drummer Sebastien Schultz to sign on, and the duo was born.
However, their band was not complete; drums and guitar were not enough.  They decided to bring a most interesting member to the group that makes them truly unique artists.  They have a reel to reel tape player which provides orchestra accompaniments, recorded bass lines or whatever they wish to add to the mix.  This player’s name is Irene.
dillon redo copy_2Listening to them, one hears a real authentic tone.  They are not the polished bands seen on huge record labels with tons of reverb and compression.  Bad Veins has that edge to their music, the little minor errors in the songs that are present, but it provides for a raw feel that just can’t be topped.  A surge comes from the distorted guitar sounds and the fast hi hat/snare

combos. Also, if one listens closely, Davis’ voice is akin to vocalist Brandon Flowers from The Killers. This being said, The Killers’ singer has nothing on this new talent.  Davis has control of his higher range, while Flowers frequently loses his voice to cracks and embarrassing little screams.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but they should watch out for this group.
Another interesting aspect of the group is their stage performance.  Davis does not always use the traditional method of voice amplification, the microphone.  He tapes a telephone receiver to the mic stand and sings into that on songs like “Falling Tide.”

Other times, when the mic does not fit the occasion, he sings into a megaphone.  This is a characteristic of their song “The Lie.”  On top of that, there are parts in some songs where there is no drums, vocals or guitar playing, but Irene is giving a solo.  So, it is interesting to watch a live video of theirs when all the sudden, the two guys stop playing to sit around listening to a tape player.  Good work, Irene.
Probably one of the best new and upcoming bands, Bad Veins is a refreshing change from the high polished, big label artists.  Their passion for music comes out in their playing.  A few of their shows have been attended by more of the stage hands than actual audience members, but it does not make them play any less enthusiastically.  Their debut album entitled, Bad Veins, was just released this past July, and four of their songs as well as their list of upcoming shows are posted on their MySpace page.

I’m in a Boat (Shoe)!


by Alexis Jenkins ’11
Staff Writer

Ian Jenkins '12 shows how he can work the boat shoes.
Ian Jenkins '12 shows how he can work the boat shoes.

Are we starting a sailing team? No, but McNamara is all prepared with our boat shoes.

With one glance around a classroom, you may see several students headed for the deck in Sperry’s Top Siders or variations of that design. Sperry’s are the modern sport shoe invented by Paul Sperry in 1935 that are made to grip the wet decks of boat, hence the name. They also are called loafers, Top Siders, and deck shoes. Typically, they are leather with rubber soles. As Kyle Martin ’11 said, “They are water-proof!” That they are, and they “poofed” their way onto several students’ feet this school year.

Although they are the most preferred boat shoe, some prefer a cheaper buy and have adapted to the new trend without breaking the bank. Several students made it known that their Top Siders weren’t Sperry’s but were from other brands such as Payless Shoe Source where, as you might guess, they paid less.

This trend at our school is mainly seen on upperclassmen, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time until we see freshmen adorning these cushy loafers. As of now, one in every four people are wiggling their comfortable toes in boat shoes. However, if you thought this was just a McNamara thing, it seems to be popular through-out the WCAC. Many students from Seton, Good Counsel, PVI, and Gonzaga have been seen sporting these popular shoes too.

It’s a little ironic because just a couple of years ago we probably all would have called them “old-man” shoes, but now they are the coolest thing. Style is evolving and so are the boat shoes. They come in different shades: tan, brown, and black. These are acceptable for school, but they also come in bright shades of red, yellow, and blue. And to make the “old-man” shoe even younger, some have vibrant orange soles and piping or plaid. Mark Yacat ’11 said, “They’re hard to get messed up compared to black dress shoes.” Bottom line is: they are cooler than black dress shoes.

So, boat shoes win in the style category, they win against their closest competitors (dress shoes and ballet flats), and they win in what could be the most important category of all — comfort. Allison Bahneman ’11 said “Boat shoes are comfortable, they don’t fall off like ballet shoes.”

However, the benefits of boat shoes would have no importance if they didn’t fit this category–the uniform requirement. It’s one less thing the deans have to look after, one less blister, and two less wet socks. Boat shoes meet all of Amber Martin ’11 standards. “They’re easy to put on, they’re comfy, and they go with the socks too.” The people have spoken. The boat isn’t coming anytime soon, but if it does, McNamara has the shoes on deck.

In light of this, I believe it is safe to say the Top Sider is not going anywhere any time soon.