Category Archives: LIFE

Fascinating and fun stories that educate and entertain

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


**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.

Comic: Bad Puns

Story by Alex Vinci ’11, Staff Writer
Illustration by Colleen Fleming ’10, Special to The Stampede

Click for Full Size


**Update Dec. 2009 — This comic won Honorable Mention for Comics in the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Individual Writing and Editing Contest Awards, Newspaper Division.

Jaron (J.J.) Henderson, music producer

There really is not a clear definition of what a Music Producer is, but there are two types. One is someone who develops an artist’s sound and image, and helps them grow into a marketable product. This column focuses on the other type — an Audio Producer, like Jaron Henderson ’10. Audio producers are responsible for conducting musicians, engineers, and artists during recording sessions. It is their job to compose, arrange, mix, and master the music into a final audio product. Some notable producers that may come to mind are Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, The Neptunes, and Timbaland.

Interview by Soleil Grant ’10 | Special to The Stampede


BMHS STAR: Jaron (J.J.) Henderson
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a great artist in our midst, right here at Bishop McNamara. He is a talented music producer aspiring to break into the music industry. If you have not yet gotten to know this month’s BMHS Music Star, Jaron “J.J.” Henderson, you should definitely add it to your “to do” list.jaron1
You might not know him, but if you attended Sankofa Night or BMHS’s Talent Show you’ve certainly heard him. One of his beats was used in a rap performance. Also, he performed himself, playing the piano, alongside a singing act. Now he still drums in Afican Dance III and IV. Most recently, his outgoing personality charmed the Class of 2010 to vote him as their Homecoming Prince.

Soleil: Hey Jaron!
Jaron: Hey Soleil-lay! Wussup!
Soleil: Nothing, How are you?
Jaron: Good
Soleil: Okay, so let’s get this started…Where are you from?
Jaron: I was born in D.C. When I was two I moved to Clinton, MD, and I’ve lived there ever since.
Soleil: What producers inspire you?
Jaron: I have a top three, with no specific order: Timbaland, Kanye West, and the Neptunes.
Soleil : Why are these people inspring to you?
Jaron: They are all on their own level. They are unique, They branch out to all genres, and they have a lot of experience in the game. (Music industry)
Soleil: Do remember the time, place, how old you were, etc. of your life when you decided that producing is what you want to do?
Jaron: I was in the 5th grade and school just got out, and I heard “Grindin’” by the Clipse for the first time. That was when I decided to make beats. (“Grindin” was produced by the Neptunes)
Soleil: How much of your daily time do you devote to producing?
Jaron: When I get home and finish all my homework, I’m just at it until late at night.
Soleil: I know this type of commitment can be a costly one. How much money have you invested into studio equipment, etc.?
Jaron: All together, about $935.00.
Soleil: Wow! Is it hard to persuade your parents into letting you spend this kind of money?
Jaron: Yes, very hard. They would rather me do things more practical.
Soleil: Like what?
Jaron: Like business, something that I can fall back on if the music doesn’t work out.
Soleil: I remember you telling me about a manager and studio time. So what’s going on with that?
Jaron: I am waiting to find the right people who will spend money and time to pay for studio time, people who are dedicated to putting projects together.
Soleil: On average, how much does studio time cost at studios that you look at?
Jaron: Like $60.00 an hour. I don’t always go to the same studio, though. It’s different everytime.
Soleil: At home on your computer, that’s where you work right?
Jaron: Yeah.

Jaron Henderson talks about his passion for music.
"Determination" says Jaron, about what a producer needs to be succesful.

Soleil: What software do you use?
Jaron: I use a combination. They’re called Reason 4 and FL Studio 8.
Soleil: How do you find the softwares you use and how do you know if they’re good or not before you buy them?
Jaron: I get demos of the software from friends of mine, and then I go on the internet and research on the stuff I’m looking at to know if it’s good or not.
Soleil: How much does the software cost?
Jaron: Reason 4 was about $300.00 and the same for FL Studio 8.
Soleil: In general, how do your parents feel about you devoting so much time and money into this? Do they support you?
Jaron: They like it because it’s something constructive. It keeps me out of trouble and it keeps me busy. They like jammin’ to my stuff, my mom likes the stuff.
Soleil: Who would be your dream artist to work with? You can give more than one…
Jaron: Right now, definitely Lupe Fiasco.
Soleil: Why?
Jaron: because his style of lyricism is completely different from everything else that you’re hearing.
Soleil: Anybody else?
Jaron: T.I. and Jay-Z.
Soleil: (Laughs)
Jaron: The reason for Jay-z is because, he’s Jay-z. He’s timeless!
Soleil: Yayyyyy!!! Ok, so who would be your dream producer to apprentice?
Jaron: Timbaland.
Soleil: Why?
Jaron: Because he’s been around it all. He’s worked with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake, T.I., he’s worked with everybody.
Soleil: What instruments can you play?
Jaron: I basically just play the piano.
Soleil: Can you describe your style?
Jaron: It varies, but most of the time it’s dark.
Soleil: What do you mean by dark?
Jaron: Like an ugly, like ugly face beats.
Soleil: (Laughs) OK, so give 5 adjectives that describe your style of production.
Jaron: I don’t have beats in my head like some people, I just sit down and go. Whatever happens happens. One word I can think of is complex: you hear a lot of sounds in my beats, I use a lot of different sounds, and you notice new sounds the more you listen to them.
Soleil: Cool. So, have you ever heard a beat and tried to make a beat that basically mimicked the one you heard?
Jaron: Oh man, I remade “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” in like forty five minutes. And I remade “Foolish” by Shawty Lo.
Soleil: In your opinion what skills set does a person need to be a good producer?
Jaron: Determination definitely. When I first started out I was pretty bad. But now I’m at a pretty decent level, for my age and everything. Also, they need an ear for what sounds good.
Soleil: This is all so cool. Lastly where can people hear your beats?
Jaron: The “base” part of “basement” is spelled “bass”, like the sound in music…

It’s obvious, that Jaron is passionate about his dreams, and that making music is more than just a hobby. He is not stingy when it comes to sharing his music. So after you listen to his sound on his Myspace page, ask him for a demo. It would be best to get a hold of his beats now before he becomes grammy award winning, because then, he’ll be getting paid thousands of dollars just to make one!

by Soliel Grant