Category Archives: School Life

Clubs, activities, school culture, policies, leadership


The senior class take a creative route on their shed design.

By Jaylen Strong ‘17, Staff Writer

The senior class of 2017 has chosen to start early on their rocket powered journey to their dreams. Rockets are not made with brakes or mirrors, they are made to blast off and never worry about the past behind them. They are powered to reach their destination, and make an impact on where they are going.

They are doing so with the senior shed (*located right near the football field on campus) and homecoming theme of the Kanye West Graduation album. Seniors have taken inspiration from the colorful album art depiction of the cartoon [Kanye] bear being shot out of a rocket into a colorful sunset.

Illustrated on the shed are four bears. The first bear is dressed in Hawaiian garments to represent their freshman theme of Lilo and Stitch. Second is a bear dressed in Chinese garments for their sophomore year theme of Chinatown. Third is the bear as a clown to represent their junior year haunted circus theme, and fourth is the graduation bear draped in robe and cap and gown with a rocket attached to his back while shooting for the stars.

On the side of the shed in white bold font says “2k17 Made It Look Yeezy,” a play on words on how the senior class will make this their own. The shed is a creative depiction of the culmination of all four years and the fast approaching future.

Some seniors shared their positive sentiments of the shed, homecoming and the upcoming year. Senior Davona Johnson said, “I love the shed, it’s different and creative. 2017 is striving and thriving to be on the top.”

It truly feels as though this theme is really one that is aimed at the idea of being on top and ascending over trials, tribulations, and doubts. Taylor Marshall said “I like the transition of the four bears that represent our past and current themes and what better theme to pick for this year than Graduation.” Ashton Reid simply adds, “It’s L’17 (lit).”

The senior class seems adamant and ready to be on top and to be the embodiment of a rocket that can push pass anything to get to where it wants to be. Dreams are as big as you make them and 2017 is trying to make their dreams colossal and achieve them in an even larger way.  

Making the Connection: McNamara parent helps start alumni mentoring program

By Jalen Wright
Staff Writer

About 16 years ago Kathy Jones met a high school student that was looking to become the first in her family to go to college.

That student is now 32 with a loving family, a job where she makes six figures and a strong and long lasting relationship with her mentor.

“The mentor program can have an invaluable and positive impact on both the mentee and mentor’s lives,” said Kathy Jones, parent of Chris Jones ’17.

She played a significant role in bringing an alumni mentoring program to McNamara this fall, in which roughly 20 alumni will be paired with students in order to expose them to different professions.

Last winter, Kathy Jones approached then-Director of Alumni Relations Michael Jones(no relation) with her idea. He loved the idea of an alumni mentoring program, because he thought that it would be “a good way to get alumni back and engaged in our school community.”

Kathy Jones and Robert Nolte, current Director of Alumni Relations, will conclude alumni interviews next week. They expect the alumni to be paired with the students in late October.

Director of Student Activities Brian Brower said mentees will include seniors and juniors.

“Next year if there is a higher number of interested alumni then we can possibly expand the program to the entire school,” Brower said.

Jorden White ’17, who will be paired with a mentor, said the program will allow guidance for students to excel and thrive.

“I feel the alumni mentoring program will be beneficial to all the students attending McNamara…,” she said.

Nolte spent the majority of this summer gathering alumni interested in being a mentor.

“We have amazing alumni that have every interest in the world to provide their experience and their story,” Nolte said.

Kathy and her team are really anxious to get this process started. She has high expectations for the program this fall.

“(The goal of the program is to) enhance and enrich the lives of our Bishop McNamara students and allow them the ability to gain experiences that they might not usually have.”





Bishop McNamara’s 2015 Spain Exchange: A Gallery

Promposals: The Charges

Makayla Tabron ‘18 | Staff Writer

Piercings, phones, and promposals. What do they all have in common? They’re all illegal here, at Bishop McNamara High School.

The juries opinion on the legality of promposals – particularly among senior girls – is, “they’re just cute, we should be allowed to do them. It’s a good way to show affection.” Cheyenne Taylor ‘15 said.

At this point, prom isn’t that far away and peoples excitement is only growing. When asked to rate their excitement on a scale from 1 – 10, most girls chose 7. And a big promposal would only make that number even higher.

So why then, is it illegal? It’s a good way for a guy to show affection for a girl, and most girls would prefer to have a big promposal than something small and private.

“With big promposals, you tend to break rules. Like the one in the lunch room the other day, people had their phones out and thats obviously not allowed.” Imani Yorker ‘15 explained her opinion on why administration doesn’t allow prom proposals on school property.

Another point is that it may leave people out, or make people feel bad. “Administration doesn’t want anyone feeling left out, just because they don’t get a big promposal.” Imani added.

“There is a lot of chaos involved, administration probably just doesn’t like it,” Simone Murphy ‘15 said.

Mrs.Hayes agreed to most of these allegations and more, “While they are fun and exciting, they are disruptive. You have to remember that not everyone receives one, and we want to make sure that everyone feels involved and no one feels excluded.”

Another reason that Mrs.Hayes included is, non-Bishop McNamara students, coming onto campus. “We want to make sure all our students are safe, and we can’t do that with visitors coming onto our campus without signing in. They should be in school anyway.”

So according to Mrs.Hayes, the charges for promposals include: excluding people, unsafe circumstances, and disrupting the order.

Based on these charges, it’s safe to say promposals will be spending their life in a cold hard jail cell, far, far away from BMHS.


Dean of Programs: Mr. Brower

Mr. Brian Brower, dean of programs (Source:BMHS)
Mr. Brian Brower, dean of programs (Source:BMHS)

by Amber Smith ‘15 | Editor

The new man who holds the title dean of programs is making a name for himself. He’s often seen overlooking the hallways, lunchroom, and various other parts of the school. The Stampede caught up with him sitting in his office to take time out of his busy day in order to get to know more about the man in the mirror, Brian Brower.

Mr. Brower comes to us from upstate New York, Albany to be exact. Growing up around dairy farms and attending a small, Catholic boys military school, Mr. Brower had big dreams that would lead him elsewhere. He attended the University of Richmond where he studied history, and later received his master’s degree from Notre Dame in Catholic education.

Before embarking on his journey here at McNamara, Mr. Brower was a social studies teacher at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Maryland. Although Mr. Brower enjoyed teaching, he had his eyes set on another goal: administration.

Mr. Brower had vocalized his ambitions before, so it came as no surprise when a fellow colleague of his sent him the information about the position here, and he jumped at the opportunity. Mr.Brower had always admired the McNamara community and fell in love even more when he had the opportunity to come and really get to know the school on a more personal level.

“The interactions with the students and teachers were warm and welcoming,” Mr. Brower said.

Students are also in agreement that the interactions they have with him are very warm and friendly. “He always has a smile on his face and greets me when I walk past him” said Riley Holbert ‘15. Another student, Morgan Anderson said “He’s a very nice guy and I really like his laidback personality.”

Students and teachers alike can both agree that he has been a great edition to the BMHS family. Mr. Brower also appreciates the fact that there is a wide range of diversity in the Mustang community.

Mr. Brower is currently very happy with his job and credits one of his proudest moments as an educator as never being more excited to start the school year than he was coming into McNamara this past summer.


Stresses of Prom/Graduation

by Tenia Jordan’16 | Staff Writer

While most seniors are ready to leave, but will miss their friends at McNamara, some students have other fears.

Getting a date. Writing a senior thesis. Buying a suit or dress. Preparing for graduation.

This is an exciting but stressful time for seniors. How does it feel to almost graduate?

“I am ready to leave, but scared for college,” Taylor Singleton’15 said. “Prom is also stressful because of getting ready, hair and makeup, finding a dress, and organizing graduation cookouts.”

Not everyone is dreading the day.

“It feels great to finally leave the school,” Kennie May’15 said. “The most stressful things are expenses, getting through school finals, and senior thesis.”

Not everyone is ready to leave just yet.

However when speaking to Charles Willis Jr.’15 he had a sadder approach to graduation. He said “It’s bittersweet getting ready to leave but I will miss the people here.” For stresses he said “prom, suit, shoes, finding the money, graduation and finishing my senior thesis.”

Some students are ready to get a fresh start.

However there are some students who are just ready to start a new life.

Mckenzie Clinkscale’15 said “Graduating feels amazing, I am just ready to start a new life style. Also ready to see what it is like to do something different.”

Although senior year is a stressful year, it can be a very exciting year filled with memories that  will last a lifetime.

36th Annual Black History Assembly Amazes and Inspires All

by Makayla Tabron ‘18 | Staff Writer

The Black History Month Assembly was inspiring and eventful, but was it relevant? After a series of delays that moved it into March, “It’s not even black history month,” students commented as they walked down the hallway. Guest speaker Dr. Marcia Chatelain jokingly called it “black history month part two.”

But after a program that included student performances, profiles of notable history-makers, and a riveting question and answer with a Georgetown professor, the answer was yes. An assembly on black history is still relevant, even if it’s not held during black history month.

But after a program that included student performances, profiles of notable history-makers, and a riveting question and answer with a Georgetown professor, the answer was clear: an assembly on black history is still relevant, even if it’s not held during black history month.

“It [black history month] is part of an effort to make sure that the past is not lost on us,” Dr. Chatelain said. The history of African Americans does not cease to be important just because it is no longer February.

Many students showed this to be true with their enthusiasm during the assembly. Both those who performed, and those who watched showed great passion in participating.

When the floor was open for students to ask questions of Dr. Chatelain, they weren’t shy. They offered questions about Ferguson, racism, black history month as a whole, and Dr. Chatelain’s personal experiences. “What ways can communities build trust after Ferguson?” a student asked. Another questioned, “Why do you think when we think about black history, we think about slavery and not other things?”

Both African Dance IV and Tap I performed, showing their passion in different and unique ways.

Dana McCoy ‘16 and Ceandria Mars ’15 sung a breathtaking song from the movie Dreamgirls, ‘And I Am Telling You,’ to show the influence African Americans have had on music over the years.

Another duo, Dana Hentz ‘17 and Jaia Gillette ‘17, performed their original, sensational spoken word piece, entitled ‘Scandal.’ The resounding applause of the students were enough to show how much they truly enjoyed this performance.

Eric Powell ‘15 rapped his clean version of a Kanye West song, to show his view on the history of African Americans.

With such amazing performances, it’s clear how much passion the students have. This passion had to have grown from the first Black History assembly here, to what we have now.

This year’s celebration was the 36th annual Black History Month assembly. Black history month as a whole and in school, has progressed a lot over the years.

The first recorded Black History Assembly at Bishop McNamara happened on February 17, 1980. It was undertaken by the Black Student Union, and the ceremony involved Children of the Father Interdenominational, Robert’s Revival, Gospel Choir of Christ United Methodist Church, and the Tabernacle Echoes. Holy Cross Brother Walter Kramar spoke, and the B.S.U. had readings.

Although it was only their first black history month assembly, black history itself didn’t go unnoticed. In the same year another article was written about the role of African American students here at school.

Although Black History month has progressed in many ways since the beginning, the student passion and participation has always been the same.

Poetry Club Speaks Their Truth

Amber Smith ‘15 | Staff Writer |


Roses are red, violets are blue, two snaps for poetry club speaking their truth. “Untitled,” a simple yet cool name created collectively by the members of the club, but what does the word really mean?

“Untitled” actually stands for the club being non-monolithic because it allows for different types of expressions and stories; leaving it without a title is to make sure that each individual can bring something different to the table.

Initiated last year by former student and president of the club Kosi Dunn ’13, who saw the different direction revisioned for the club. “He came to me and said he wanted to separate the spoken word part of poetry club from the Inkwell part of it, so I agreed,” said Mr. Darrell Holloman who has been the moderator for two years now and was a member when he attended McNamara in 1997-2000. Holloman also sees a big change in the direction that the club is going from when he last was a part of it himself.

The format of a typical club meeting is as follows: Tuesdays are writing workshops and Thursdays are open mic. On Tuesdays the writing workshops are a time when the individual can work on a writing exercise or free write. Then they share to the club and get feedback. On Thursdays members or non members are allowed to come and share their poetry. The club is always open to anyone, no formal membership is required to attend. The poetry club doesn’t just have talented students, but ones who are truly dedicated. In 2012, the current club went all the way to the semi-finals in the annual D.C. Metropolitan Poetry Youth competition “Louder than a Bomb,” also known as LTAB, finishing fourth place overall against more than 20 schools  in the D.C. Metropolitan area.

Eric Powell ’15, one of the club’s rising stars says “Don’t be afraid of whatever standards someone puts on poetry. Poetry is power and you can always refine it later.” Powell exclaims that anyone who sits in on one of the meetings will receive helpful tips and advice on how to write a good poem.

Other good tips on writing a poem with emotion and feeling are start with how you feel or maybe an idea that you had and work from there. Give yourself a prompt, the prompt can give you a sense of direction, states Mr. Darrell Holloman. Roses are red, violets are blue, “Untitled” welcomes you.

Stop the Fourth Lunch Crunch

Clarissa Corey-Bey ‘14 | Staff Writer 

I remember the long wait for the lunch bell my freshman year. Nearly every class, my growling stomach would scatter my concentration. I had the legendary Mr. O teaching me English fifth period, but it didn’t stop the seconds from dragging by until the blessed bell dismissed us to third lunch.

Until this school year, the longest wait a student would experience before they could eat again was third lunch, but with the implementation of a fourth lunch period starting at 12:54 PM, students are eating later than ever before. According to administration, the new four lunch system was supposed to alleviate long food lines and make the cafeteria less crowded.

The change is having unintended side effects. Many students and teachers aren’t used to the long wait for lunch. They are finding it more difficult to focus during class time. A study conducted by the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management in 2002 concluded that there is a direct correlation between how well students can focus and the last time they ate.

Some teachers are even allowing students to snack during classes stuck with the fourth lunch, to help improve focus and cope with the wait. They’ve realized it’s just too long to be waiting for lunch.

Another unintended consequence of fourth lunch is the decreased amount of time students have to eat. Lunch periods are now only 32 minutes long, and this does not provide much time for students to travel to the cafeteria and wait in line if they purchase food from the dining service. According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership the American Academy of Family Physicians, the average high school student needs about 24 minutes to socialize and consume their food. This leaves just eight minutes to go to lockers, get to the cafeteria and wait in lines.

Ultimately,I applaud our administrators for heeding the cries of the students who got caught in the crowded lunch lines. But this fourth lunch crunch is not the answer to the problem.

Decorating with Acceptance

Seniors begin to receive letters from colleges

by Danielle Gibson ‘13 | Staff Writer

Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision. These are terms that seniors learn when they begin applying to colleges, sometimes as early as November 1st for the first early action deadline.

And while some have not heard back from their schools yet, seniors have begun decorating their lockers with admission letters. Walk down the hallway and in addition to the birthday wishes or prom invites, you’ll see papers posted as proof of their acceptances into colleges.

“I got my letter in December,” Alexis Alvarez ‘13 said, “It was like an early Christmas gift.”

According to Senior Guidance Counselor Ms. Clare Treichel, this tradition ‘just sort of happened.’ Two years ago one student was so excited about getting into college that he posted his acceptance letter on his locker. After that it just caught on. “I think it’s cute,” Ms. Treichel said. “It’s a good way to show accomplishment.”

Administrative Assistant Ms. Susanne Mendiola pointed out how it serves as a motivator for underclassmen as well. They walk down the senior hallway and see something to strive for. Especially this year, as this practice has heavily caught on.

In total there are four types of letters students can receive from colleges. The different letters can have four different effects on a student. These letters can defer them, wait list them, reject them or accept them. Deferrals are becoming more common and more stressful as they lengthen the waiting time. When asked why this was so, Ms. Treichel explained that applying early action to schools used to be unique. What she believes is happening is that other schools are beginning to catch on to the advantage of applying ‘Early Action’ as opposed to regular decision. Because of this, colleges cannot fill up all of their seats without waiting to see regular decision applicants, which results in numerous deferrals. Although being deferred is not the best feeling in the world, being waitlisted makes the college process harder because the actual acceptance or rejection cannot happen until after everyone puts in their final deposits to their first choice school. Rejection, although painful, proves to be a more merciful pain.

Photo by Emily Magruder '13
Photo by Emily Magruder ’13

Seniors were encouraged to apply early so that they would have an advantage, but the application process is not over yet. There are still decisions to be made, scholarships to apply for and futures to be planned. These letters serve only as keys for whichever vehicles seniors will ride to start a life.The idea of life outside of high school often comes with distracting influences. Hobbies, jobs, Beach Week, prom, and graduation all contribute to an ugly effect dubbed ‘senioritis’. That’s right, ‘senioritis’; the contagious mindset that seems to attack some point after January. When the idea of change comes up, seniors often slack off, saying they are too preoccupied with the future. However, the “I Am” themed Senior Retreat on February 8th aimed to refocus seniors on the present rather than the past or future.

While it is important to work toward college, seniors sometimes forget the obvious: they are still in high school, and there are still grades, projects and thesis papers due. “It’s stressful trying to meet requirements and graduate with honors,” Darian Brown ‘13 said, “Senioritis happens.”

This, however, does not seem to stop acceptance celebrations. When asked about the effects of senioritis, Lucas Gepert ‘13 replied, “I feel it big time, but I feel like since I’m going to trade school for two years, I feel like it doesn’t affect me as much.”

The tradition of seniors decorating their lockers with acceptance and scholarship letters is continued with the class of 2013. Some posted their first ones back in December, while some are still awaiting the news. Not only is this a good way to share great news with peers, but it also opens the door for a well deserved congratulations.

Want to hear more? Check out the Senior Acceptances video online here.