Category Archives: LIFE

Fascinating and fun stories that educate and entertain

Eyes Around the School

Brandi Bottalico ’10
Staff Reporter
Feel like you’re being watched? You could almost swear that the eyes of that statue of Bishop McNamara were just following you? Well, no worries — the school’s security isn’t invasive and doesn’t subtract from the enjoyment of our building. Due to recent security breaches, the administrative board has decided to take some precautionary steps to tighten up the security. There is now a mass of metal fixed above the door frame between the beginning of the concourse and the morning entrance hall. This security gate is the beginning of the process of advancing the school’s safety.
Soon, another security gate will be added in Holy Cross Hall. Another brand new accommodation is LED lights, to be added within the next three weeks, in the front and back of the school in order to illuminate the parking areas. Lastly, there are security cameras in room 306 currently undergoing testing. “We are testing them to see whether they will be beneficial to us or not,” stated William Cassidy, IT Coordinator. The results of this testing will determine whether or not the cameras are to be added. These improvements are being drawn from consultation of a recently hired safety expert who took a walk through our school and made security recommendations.

These new features are in addition to a highly effective alarm system, the outdoor gates that don’t allow intruders in, and also the cameras that are already installed and monitored from the main office. President Heather Gossart says, “Don’t be reactive people, be proactive people.”  In fact, she says that preventative measures are taken in almost every decision, from the flower pots in front of the school to the disability accessible features. Believe it or not, the large concrete pots that hold flowers in front of the building are not just for aesthetic purposes — they actually act as a boundary between students and the cars, in the event that a car goes astray.

Nourishing hydro-chloro-diph-paraben what??? …Don’t Be Fooled.

The Price of Beauty

OPINION by Brandi Bottalico ’10, Staff Reporter

After discovering my moisturizing lotion was a gyp, I decided to switch to organic face care. I had no clue where to start so I researched and discovered the huge difference that ingredients make. After schooling myself on what to look for and what to avoid, I took a trip to CVS. When walking down the lotion aisle, an orange box caught my eye. It was a moisturizer I had seen online. The name was Yes to Carrots. Sounds organic enough right? Remembering it was made with more natural ingredients and only few unpronounceable words, I took it to the counter, then reluctantly said farewell to my fifteen dollars. Yes. Fifteen dollars for my 1.7 fl oz tub. As opposed to my 3.4 fl oz moisturizer that was half the price.

So my experimenting began. There was definitely a noticeable difference. I only needed to put it on once and my skin was fine all day. No more little emergency lotion in my purse for when my skin felt dry. No girl should waste that valuable purse space for back up lotion. I was in love.

Once my Yes to Carrots began running low I would skim my finger around the bottom of the container in every nook and cranny to get all I could before having to admit that it was gone. I was no longer fooled by Biore’s Nourish lotion because it did nothing of the sort. I had said Yes! to Carrots and that was that. I would have to buy more. I couldn’t go back. I was a changed girl. My eyes were opened. Fifteen bucks well spent. Organic was definitely better.

Not only does it have the benefits for your looks, it is better for your health and our environment. Every day we wake up to put on our layers of foundation, gel our hair so that the curl has just the right amount of bounce and spritz our wrists with that new fragrance. But have we ever considered the results of this? Of course we have… duh! We look gorgeous all day. But seriously we don’t think any further about the consequences. I mean think about all those chemicals in our shampoos, soaps, makeup, lotion, hair dye, etc. when you wash them down the drain at the end of the day do you seriously consider where they go? or the effects they had on your body?

By using these hair products, dyes, and makeups we are expelling harmful chemicals into our environment. If these chemicals are so harmful to the environment we can also consider their side effects on our bodies and health. Chemicals such as carcinogens (cancer causing substances) are included in many of these products. We put many chemicals on our bodies daily and they go down the drain, affecting our wildlife, streams and rivers. If you can’t picture this then imagine the effect of you throwing a carrot in your yard everyday as opposed to a bottle of nail polish remover. Clearly there will be some consequences on the environment with the latter.

Also consider the same example for your skin. If your applying these harsh chemicals to them everyday than the body’s largest organ will be effected. Oh and don’t be surprised to know that your skin is not the only part of your body effected by these beauty products. These chemicals are expelled into the air that you breath and this could effect you in other ways — causing breathing difficulties or worse.

Students interviewed admitted to using at least 5 to 10, if not more, products a day.But if the soap, body and face wash used is organic then skin would reap the benefits.There would be no need for the extra expenses to cover up the negative effects of the harsh products. Buying that unnecessary glump of concealer for that emerging zit — $7. Paying for heavy duty lotion to ease dry skin-$8. Saying, “oh no I’m not wearing makeup” when asked why your skin looks so amazing — Priceless.

So in your consideration to switch to all organic beauty products remember its benefits to your health — and to the environment’s.

Senior Lawrence Manley Honored for Outstanding Service Project

Ryan Magruder ’10
Staff Reporter

An avid tennis player, Lawrence Manley Jr. ’09 spent his past summer working at the Fort Davis Recreation Center in Washington D.C. helping kids play the sport. Quickly, Lawrence realized that the young players were having trouble with the drills he was instructing. “They couldn’t keep the numbers in their heads,” Lawrence commented, “They couldn’t keep score.” The senior discovered that the problem was their lack of basic math skills.

Lawrence sought to volunteer at the kid’s school’s tutoring program. However, he quickly learned of the lack thereof. This became the inspiration for his Senior Service Project. Lawrence decided to start his own tutoring program for the kids to learn the math skills they needed.

After learning about what Lawrence had successfully done, Jodi Dean, a junior religion teacher in charge of the Dorthy Day Service Program, encouraged him to submit his project to the Prudential Service Award for consideration. At first, the five 500 word essays were enough to deter the senior, but he eventually complied with some pushing from his parents.

Several weeks later, Lawrence found out that his work was not in vain. His project was chosen along with one other student in the D.C. area for the top prize. Along with the recognition, the award grants its winners a $1,000 scholarship.

On the night of Sunday May 3rd, Lawrence, along with the two top students from every state, attended a celebratory banquet at the National Museum of Natural History. Former First Lady Laura Bush gave a speech honoring all of the winners. Jason Ritter, an actor who starred in Freddy vs. Jason alongside many other movies too, gave a motivational speech.

Throughout the entire process of planning, implementing and then reflecting on the project, Lawrence remained modest. Ms. Dean asserted that, “He is extremely humble…his humility is really impressive.”

Lawrence reflected on the experience saying, “At first the kids were a pain, but I grew to really like them.” In the end, Lawrence’s work and persistence did him and the young students well earning him national recognition and teaching them life skills.

STAFF EDITORIAL: Earth Conscious or Fashion Forward?

Julia Weaver '09 sits with her fashion forward bag. Photo by Jacqueline Wills '10.
Julia Weaver '09 sits with her fashion forward bag. Photo by Jacqueline Wills '10.

STAFF EDITORIAL

She’s strolling down the hall with her eco-friendly tote slung on her shoulder, and he sits at the lunch table dressed in his global warming awareness tee.  They sit down together and have lunch.  As they leave the cafeteria, she tosses her plastic bottle of water into the trash can and he throws away his Styrofoam cup. Wait, judging by their attire, aren’t they both living “Green” lives? Clearly, they are advocates for the Going Green Movement. But in recent years, the staff agrees that “going Green” has become a fashion trend more than anything.

People should back up their trends and not be posers.  Someone started it and everyone followed.  There are people who are concerned for the environment and its issues but for the majority of the people, that is not their main reason for doing it.  One day a person could be polluting, and the next day, you are Green. Everything’s a trend. Right now, going green is vogue because of the whole global warming crisis.  It is publicized with figures like Al Gore, celebrities and pop culture in general, so people naturally embraced it.   Some people are losing sight of the real meaning behind the movement. They want to seem like they care, and plus, Green stuff is cute.  It’s like the new definition of being a hippie.  They want to be seen like this and you can be considered eco-conscious if you put on a hippie headband, some sandals and a going Green bag; even if you do not have the knowledge to back up the fashion.  It has become just about buying Green clothes and bags because it is the new thing. However, it makes the problem more relevant.  The fashion brings attention to the environment.  By being ignorant and just following the trend, they are still spreading the issues.

Going Green is a fashionable and trendy, but at the same time, it makes people feel good because they believe that they are doing something helpful. It is a trend but it is like a good trend. When the fashion goes out of style, people will still remember the message that started it.  Since it is becoming a mindset and lifestyle, it will not die out like other trends.  Also, education has a lot to do with keeping the going Green movement alive.  People cannot be told, “Just put your cardboard in this bin,” without any idea of what they are actually doing.  If information about environmental conditions and concerns are spread to the youth generation through the celebrities, fashions and the media, then it will stick with them not just as a fashion statement but as a movement that will affect generations to follow.

Note: Staff Editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff, as debated in the newsroom.  The final editorial is then authored by Samantha Ahwah ’09, Op-Ed Editor.

Vegetarianism

Julia Weaver ’09
Features Editor

It seems that nowadays meat is just going out of style. On a recent trip to a restaurant known for its meat and potatoes, I was surprised to find the first few pages of the menu dedicated to vegetarian options. Days later, I saw an advertisement “veg is the new black.” My biggest question, why? Vegetarianism has become a craze, phase or simply a way of life for a reported 15 million people in the United States alone. Vegetarian cafes, cookbooks and meal options have become more than commonplace; they’re expected. But why have so many individuals decided that “veg” is the way to go? And furthermore, what exactly is a vegetarian?

The term is thrown around loosely in popular culture, but a vegetarian is simply a person who abstains from eating meat and fish. A pescetarian is someone that refrains from eating land animals, but eats any type of seafood in addition to all other food products. Finally, a vegan is someone that refrains from consuming or using any meat or dairy products. According to the American Dietetic Association, a vegetarian diet is believed to be beneficial because it increases one’s energy, contributes to weight loss and helps lower one’s risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. McNamara student and former vegetarian Eron Bryant said, “I became a vegetarian because I had low energy,” and accredited her increased energy levels during her stint as a vegetarian to her meat-free diet. Sophomore Kaitlin Thompson, a vegetarian for the past five years, agreed with Eron, discussing how vegetarianism has had positive effects on her health and describing it as “a way of life.”

While its health benefits draw many individuals to a vegetarian lifestyle, the stress that the meat industry places on the environment is reason enough for others. Studies published by goveg.com claim animals raised for slaughter produce 130 times more waste then the human population and require one-third of all of the raw materials and fossil fuels in the United States alone. Yet another popular reason for dropping meat products altogether is the highly publicized harsh treatment of animals raised for the food industry. Organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have launched hundreds of campaigns against the meat industry and in favor of vegetarian lifestyles, including the infamous “veggie love” campaign, which was banned for the 2009 Superbowl. According to studies published on goveg.com, the meat industry kills 27 billion animals per year, many of which are subject to physical abuse and dangerous growth hormones. Junior Renata Malionek became a vegetarian three years ago for similar reasons. “I read a poem about the life of a commercial fish from the fish’s perspective. That night we were eating fish for dinner and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, so I decided to give up meat altogether.”

But perhaps “veg” isn’t always the best way to go. Studies conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) regarding the prevention of chronic disease showed the intake of meat to be beneficial, as it helps boost the immune system and lowers one’s risk of heart disease. Another up and coming pro-meat lifestyle is The Body Ecology, which cites meat as an essential part of one’s diet, which when coupled with the proper combination of food groups, is crucial to staying healthy. Further studies published by the CDC highlighted the negative effects the chemicals and preservatives in “veggie burgers” and other soy or tofu based products have on one’s health. When asked what he thought about a vegetarian lifestyle, Dean Harris ’09 replied, “It’s a bad idea. You’ll starve and you’re not getting enough proteins.”

So, with all of this is mind, is “veg” still the best way to? When asked this question, Renata Malionek replied, “Yeah, I think so. I mean it helps to have a balance, but it was the best thing for me.”

EDITORIAL: Who’s Responsible for Healthy Choices?

Staff Editorial

This year when you go into the lunch line all you ever want is pizza, French fries and a soda, skip the salad, hold the dressing, and keep the extra change for the same lunch tomorrow. But do you jump into line thinking that you’re going to buy the most unhealthy, artery clogging, greasy food? Because it is also cheap and so delicious. You could possibly be thinking, “I would love to buy something healthy, but there are only two types of salad and they are way too expensive for me; I’ll just stick with the fries…”

It is our responsibility, if we are given options, to make smart choices. The healthy food shouldn’t be more expensive, and the fries should not be so much cheaper. It is the students’ responsibility because the cafeteria currently has a light system to display healthy choices. The bad foods have a red light while the healthier foods have green ones. Therefore, students are fully aware of what kind of food they are purchasing when they pick it up.

However, it is a communal effort. All the food should be priced reasonably priced, but it’s our responsibility to make the right choice and the school’s responsibility to provide a health conscious lunch provider. There are two types of salad in the cafeteria and yet many more unhealthy choices, you can have your pick of fries, ham or cheese burgers, maybe even a chicken sandwich or some pizza. Students are limited in their nutritional choices, and the unhealthy foods always seem to be more favorable, in terms of cost, taste and presentation. A lot of kids in America have this same problem because the choice is there but the decision is so hard to make. The cafeteria needs more choices not just pizza, French fries or a Caesar salad. Sure, it is our responsibility, but if we have no healthy options then what are we supposed to do? There are only two types of salad, garden or Caesar but there can be more choices like rice, baked chicken and vegetables. The school needs to provide us with the options so that we can make the choice to eat healthier. Students are never happy when options are limited. Last year, the cafeteria limited us to choosing fries only two times a week, but at least we were forced to eat healthier.

Of course, the salads are expensive because fresh vegetables will always be more expensive than grease soaked fries and a lot of this has to do with the state of the economy. In the cafeteria, you can buy a chicken sandwich, soda and fries or a Caesar salad. The healthier option? The salad, of course. The cheaper option? The unhealthier choice, no doubt, the chicken sandwich with fries plus a soda. It is more food and less money but a lot more calories, fat and definitely less healthier than the salad option.

In our cafeteria, the bad stuff looks better. You walk into the cafeteria; the pizza is glowing radiantly under a light while the healthier options sit on top looking a lot less appetizing. You even have to make a conscience effort to stop and look for those healthy little entrees. Do you want a healthy meal? How about just a few pieces from it, like just the chicken or the vegetables alone? Sorry, you can’t, try buying the whole meal because that’s your only option. Collectively, the staff thinks that Sage wants our money for those cost effective, unhealthy foods they provide, but the school really is concerned about our health which is why the administration changed to this company.

The biggest thing that the staff was concerned about was the options provided and the variety of the healthy foods given. What ever happened to the Paninis?! If a wider variety was given, then we would not be arguing about this in the first place. Ultimately, students need to take care of themselves; you cannot rely on someone to hold your hand and make the right decision for you. Grow up and make a decision. Bring your lunch, pay the extra few dollars for a salad, or even talk to administration about having some more healthy choices in the cafeteria. You could even opt to buy the unhealthiness, because health costs. Bottom line, it really is your choice and although the healthy options are limited, they are available, so make the best decision for yourself!

A Hole In the System – Piercings

Ann Czecha ’10
Feature Writer

Christine Stubbs 11' displays her piercings.
Christine Stubbs 11' displays her piercings.

Sitting in a cold chair, my mother to my right, holding her breath, awaiting what is about to happen nervously. As the gun is cleaned, loaded and raised closer and closer to my head, I count my heart beats and take three deep breaths. As the woman who looks like this may hurt her more than me raises the gun and says, “okay are you ready?” I have to quickly remind myself that this is something I wanted. One, two, three. she takes the piercing gun through my cartilage as a diamond stud is placed, and I feel the cold stud in my warm skin. I have joined the masses in a time old tradition of self expression.

There are numerous ways to express yourself without saying words. This epidemic has spread through all ages, countries and peoples. It may stand for tribal ranking, a memorable experience, or just something you thought was interesting. It is performed in many different ways and shapes; it is the art of piercing.

After taking a look around, it is noticeable that our Bishop McNamara society is not excluded from this expression of self through this trend. The McNamara administration is known throughout the student body for being strict on, what and how all students present themselves through clothing on a day to day basis. But the student body has found a hole in the system (pun intended). Most girls (and quite a few boys) have their ears pierced, sometimes multiple times. Each part of the ear has a different name, such as cartilage (the upper ear), the rook (which is the outer fold of the ear) or the daith (the inner fold of the ear).

From teachers to students alike, each piercing has its own unique story. Christine Stubbs ’11 has a total of six piercings and stands out with her loud personality and personal expression. Three of them she has done herself. Her piercings started with a first hole in her lower lobe, which is typical for many girls to get as babies. Christine has pierced her own naval and cartilage. “I used a safety pin, don’t do that!” she recommended. Christine is very happy with all of her piercings, and there is no doubt she plans on getting more. This seems to be a common theme, many people say it is like an addiction.

Every piercing has a story. After interviewing different students, it was evident that some times the piercing was not only an act of expression but an act of rebellion. Randi Ayala ’11 believes, “Piercings let you express yourself and make you look attractive.” In Nov. 2008, she had badly wanted to get her belly button pierced, but her mother strongly disagreed. Randi then had her boyfriend’s mother take her to Mystics in Crofton, and sign as her guardian to get the piercing done. Her mother made Randi remove the piercing, but Randi says she fully intends on getting it redone when she is 18.

Max Allegro ’10 is one of many boys who have taken to the ear piercing trend that has become popularized during our generation. “People seem to like it,” said Max. “I got it done last spring at a pharmacy in Spain with Allison Baden and Allie Baumgartner as my chaperons.” When Max returned home, his mother was not upset but was pleased to hear when Max confirmed that it was just a way to remember Spain, and that no other piercings are in his future.

Faculty members are no exception to the craze. Few know that even principal Marco Clark wanted his ear pierced at one time. “I was at beach week my senior week of high school in Ocean City. I sat down to get my ear pierced, and at the last minute, wimped out.” Mr. Clark wants students to know that body jewelery can be a good way of expression and may look cute when you’re young, but teenagers should think about their future image too and what marks the piercings may leave.

Kari Bergman, Spanish teacher, has her cartilage pierced as well. She said she got it during her mid twenty’s in her left ear. Ms. Bergman was in Paris, France with her cousin and a friend, both who planned on getting their noses pierced. After paying, one girl chickened out. Instead of wasting the money, Ms. Bergman decided why not! “I could hardly understand the man that was piercing me! I just kept saying left ear? Yes? Cartilage? Hoping he would know what I was talking about,” she said jokingly.

Teachers Gretchen Harrison, Jenny Klimzack and Matthew Buckley also revealed that they had (or have!) naval or ear lobe piercings, but there was one teacher that stood out the most. Angela De Leonibus, chemistry teacher, has a total of seven piercings covering both her ears. Ms. D started getting them when she was a baby and as she got older saw it as a way to express herself, “you could say I’m a rebel..not really…but really,” laughed Ms. DeLeonibus. Teacher Laura Keller would love to add a piercing to her nose, maybe even eyebrow. The main thing stopping her? “Are teachers here even allowed to do that?” As the rules here and in society get stricter, teenagers and adults alike are trying to find new and creative ways to express their beliefs and who they are under the uniform.

Comic: Bailout

Comic by Alex Vinci ’11, Staff Writer

Click for Full Size
Click for Full Size

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**Update Dec. 2009 — This comic won 1st Place for Editorial Cartoon in the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Individual Writing and Editing Contest Awards, Newspaper Division.