Category Archives: Opinion

Informed commentary by staff writers or guests of The Stampede

The Rivalry Renewed: Competition in the WCAC

Brandon Joyner ’11

Staff Writer

A rivalry can mean many different things. To some, it means to strongly dislike another school. To others, it may not be a big deal. To our athletic director, Anthony Johnson, a rivalry is when those schools in a conference exchange victories and defeats as well. There are many memorable rivalries in pro sports such as the Redskins versus the Cowboys, the Celtics versus the Lakers, or the Yankees versus the Red Sox. When it comes to high school sports, it becomes a little unique.

The WCAC is widely considered one of the toughest conferences in high school sports. In the WCAC, there are rivalries all around the conference, but for some alumni, the current rivalries we have today were not what they experienced years ago.

Mr. Johnson, a 1988 graduate of McNamara, played basketball for the mustangs and said that some of the rivalries he considered back in his day are not considered rivals now. In basketball, the mustangs were rivals against St. Johns, Carroll, DeMatha, and a old conference school named Macon High School. Johnson also said that it was very different in 1988, when McNamara and many other schools in the WCAC were all boys schools and the competition was very high, but different sports have different rivals. Counselor Roland Grimes, who played football at McNamara, said that they were also rivals with DeMatha, Carroll, St. Johns and also O’Connell. When asked about how the conference is currently, he said that the conference has become more talented, competitive and wide open so that anyone can win.

There many differences between WCAC several years ago and the WCAC currently. One change Mr. Johnson has noticed around the conference is that girls basketball has become a lot more competitive. Many of the other schools throughout our conference consider McNamara a rival. Another contributor to the rivalries has been the help of the internet. Mr. Johnson said that social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, have made the rivalries more healthy and are building more with other schools. Overall, the WCAC is a very diverse conference that expects intense, more competitive games and rivalries to develop in the future.

President Obama Envisions an Exit

Megan Ardovini ’13
Staff Writer

30,000: Nearly five times the amount of Bishop McNamara graduates, and starting this past January, the number of U.S. troops President Barack Obama is sending to Afghanistan. Why? President Barack Obama wants to finish the stabilization of the Afghan government once and for all.

“We are in year nine of our time in Afghanistan. We’re not going to be there another eight or nine years,” President Obama said.

He is almost doubling the current U.S. force in Afghanistan of 32,000 to prevent an even longer military presence. On Nov. 25 of last year, President Obama made a speech to an audience of cadets, staff and guests at West Point to announce his plan to put an end to this long struggle. Making the speech at West Point allowed President Obama to announce his plan for the addition of troops to the future officers who would be directly affected by this strategy.

When President Obama took office, there were roughly 34,000 troops on the ground. Now, with the addition of these new troops, there will be close to 68,000. Obama’s plan leaves many wondering, “What are all those troops going to be doing?” Obama has three goals in mind with the deployment of 30,000 U.S. troops: “Foil the Taliban’s effort to take over Afghanistan’s government; strengthen Afghanistan’s government and security forces; avoid letting Afghanistan be a safe haven for al-Qaeda.”

Doubling the amount of troops is necessary for the success of Obama’s strategies. The outcome should include improving lives of Afghans in many areas, securing the border from invasion from Pakistan and holding Afghan government leaders responsible for corruption and problems. By doing these very essential things, President Obama’s hope is to kill two birds with one stone. By making Afghanistan stronger, the Taliban will weaken. These additional troops will allow the U.S. to hand all responsibilities to the Afghan people and the eventual withdraw of our forces beginning in the July of 2011.

President Obama shares, “As Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops…..If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.”

See President Obama’s full speech from November 25th here.

GPA = Honor Roll… Finally!

Honor roll now determined by weighted GPA

by A.C. Brown ’10
News Editor

It is the first question asked when one gets their report card: “What’s your GPA?” and “Did you make Cum Laude?” For the past couple of years at McNamara, these two items were independent of each other with students receiving honors for their work through a combination of A’s, B’s, and C’s.

from the Student Handbook
from the Student Handbook

In past years, for Summa Cum Laude, students needed five grades of A with no grades below a B. For Magna Cum Laude, students needed four grades of A- and above with no grades below a B. Finally, for Cum Laude, students needed five grades of a B or higher with no grade below a C+. But now, this year honor roll will be determined by a student’s grade point average which has been long waited by students.

Jake Allegro ’11 said he likes the change, and would have liked it to have been done earlier.

Under the current system, for Summa Cum Laude, a student needs a GPA of 3.74 or higher. For Magna Cum Laude, students need a GPA of 3.39 to 3.74, and to make Cum Laude, a student needs a GPA of 3.0 to 3.39.

This change comes as a result of an annual review among teachers to help students. As Mindi Imes de Duclos ’96, the Assistant Principal for Academics, said, “to reach their potential.” But what if a students reaches this potential and still does not get recognized for their hard work? Peter Snow ’10 recalls getting a “3.9” for his GPA last year, but he had one C on his report card, so he did not get recognition.

This change will also help students at home when parents strive for their student to achieve awards of their academics. Peter recalls his parents asking the question, “Why didn’t you make honor roll?” Now, he will not have to face that question if his GPA remains around the 3.9 range.Ms. Imes de Duclos said the reasoning behind the change was to, “Help motivate students.” This new approach seems to be working based on the increase in amount of names on this year’s first quarter honor roll compared to last year’s first quarter honor roll. This year there were 587 names on the honor roll, but last year there were only 359 names. For the first time, Courtney Young ’10 has made Magna Cum Luade after three consecutive years of receiving Cum Laude honors. This is proof that giving honors based on GPA has increased the student’s ability to break barriers while feeling proud that their hard work paid off.

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.

Recycling or Not?

AC Brown ’10
Staff Reporter

Why are all of the recycle bins used as trash cans? Don’t we have a way of disposing of bottles without throwing them in the trash? The answer to these questions lies in the reality that last year the company, Abitibi, collected our recyclables, but did not live up to their expectations.

“The company did not pick up the trash as often as promised,” said President Heather Gossart. Other things that lead to this was the fact that people kept dumping their recyclables into a recycle bin that was already filled.  Mice and other small animals started to appear around the school, and the company only picked up once a week instead of the necessary two to three times a week due to high gas prices.

recycling_ac
Why are all the recycling bins being used for trash cans?

Victor Shin, Assistant Principal of student life, added “We just fell out of the pickup radius for the company.”

When we did not have a recycling company helping us with dumping, other people offered to dump the recycling instead. This effort did not pan out because these people would not follow through with the execution of actually dumping. This issue was a topic of discussion during the summer reconstruction, but it was decided that the school would wait until all the work was done to fully resolve this problem.

I asked about having a new company help us revive our recycling program and Mrs. Gossart said, “This time, we are ready.” She also talked about the school’s responsibility to recycle, saying “We need full support from everyone.”

Plans for next year’s return of our recycling programs are being lead by Mr. Shin. He hopes to have the program up and running by the beginning of the school year, instead of continuing to put it off. “I began talks early with government officials,” he said, when asked if the subject came up during summer reconstruction.  When we spoke, this issue seemed very important for him.  He wanted to resolve it as soon as possible.

One thing the school still needs is a dumpster for the new company, PG Waste Management.  This is so they have a location for the pickup of recyclables.

Other goals Mr. Shin looks forward to is the expansion of recycling materials — not just paper, but can and plastics. When asked who will be lead the recycling front, Mr. Shin said, “Project Earth and Student council would be spearheading the program.” When i talked to Mrs.Steeger, moderator of the Project Earth about plans next year she said, “Nothing has been really discussed yet.”

A.C. Brown

The Green Bible

by Jacqueline Wills ’10
Staff Writer

The book that is read every day by millions across the country has gone green! “The Green Bible” earned its title not only because of the fact that it is made from recycled materials but also because of the content it includes! This version of the Bible has a cotton/linen cover, recycled paper, soy-based ink, as well as water-based coating, and has special essays by scholars and leaders that root down to the Bible’s relation to the Earth, specifically in Genesis. Also, this version of the Bible has over 1,000 verses highlighted in green that tie into Earth. There is also a foreword by Desmond Tutu that gives this bible a unique touch. On the inside cover there is a qoute, “The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth should not only be a calling but a lifestyle.”

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.

Just Do It?

Joshua Crockett ’10
Managing Editor

Today is the day! After multiple off-season workouts, nerve wrecking tryouts, and grueling first week of practice; it is finally time to get your uniform. Your eyes get big and your heart subtly skips a beat as you ponder what number will grace your person for the upcoming season. For returning players, a defensive posture is taken in order to protect what is rightfully theirs. Newcomers look on with optimistic hopes that decent options will be left for you to choose. Whichever person you are, the sense of excitement is heightened every three to four years when used uniforms are replaced with brand new apparel. But have you ever stopped and thought of where those new jerseys or your new shoes came from? Furthermore, have you thought of how much a worker was paid to make the t-shirts you practice in?

On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Wooten High School senior Ethan Miller spoke at McNamara about the importance of worker’s rights awareness. With representatives from McNamara, Gonzaga and John Carroll high school in attendance, Miller broke down the true reality of overseas sweatshop workers. At the heart of his presentation was the present battle of many organizations like USAS (united students against sweatshops) who are against Russell athletics for their sweatshop practices in Honduras.

Many schools have terminated their contracts with Russell Athletics due to student lead pressure.  In tough economic climates, the loss of contracts from nationally respected institutions like Georgetown, Michigan, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and Marquette, have made proposals for the improvement of worker’s rights over in Honduras vital. In an attempt to somewhat save face, they have invited representatives from some of these schools in order to show how they have already began making work for Russell athletics a more humane working environment.

Even though Nike presents a sense of quality and style, there is a dark and unjust side of the company that some consumers don’t know or even care to know. Consumers see their favorite million dollar athletes on television commercials and magazine covers with Nike apparel and wish to have the same athletic wardrobe. What they don’t know is Nike pays factory workers poverty wages for long and grueling hours. The exploitation of these workers seems quite selfish due to the vast amount of revenue gained from the finished product.sweatshop story

To be completely fair to these major companies, the employment offered overseas does provide occupation for many citizens in their respective countries. The problem is that they have cut the worker salary to an unlivable wage in order to attain maximum profit.

According to HOLA, a cut of less than 1% of Nike’s advertising budget could double wages for all workers making Nike apparel.

Honestly, as one of the world most famous apparel company they could easily afford to give up 1% of advertising to support those that make them billions of dollars a year.

Over the years, styles and even the company preferred among high school students constantly changes. McNamara teams of the past did not typically feature well known designers like the teams of today. In fact, McNamara Alumni and current Athletic Director, Mr. Anthony Johnson says, “There really wasn’t an outward showing of a brand. Most of the uniforms were generic brand. The most common brand names were Champion and Rawlings.”  For the most part, these brands have been out-shined by more innovative and revolutionary athletic apparel with companies like New Balance, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Nike, and Russell.

Mr. Johnson says, “As a fan, I like Nike’s style of clothing and gear. The quality of equipment speaks to the quality of the program.” Many athletes from around the school shared Mr. Johnson’s opinion and would prefer Nike apparel.  However, the school is not officially sponsored by the apparel powerhouse known by its trademark “swoosh”.  Teams like men’s and women’s lacrosse team wear uniforms made by Russell.

I am not saying in any way that supporting these athletic companies is immoral. However, as long as we continue to wear these overpriced products shouldn’t we make conscience efforts to think beyond the ‘label’?  If the label doesn’t change their stance, are we strong enough as a generation to discontinue supporting their product?

Would the school consider discontinuing wearing such apparel produced by these companies?

Principal Marco Clark says, “It is definitely possible. We all have responsibility to respect ethical practices. We will always attempt to make sound and just decisions.”

In honor of the stampede’s Going Green initiative, take some time to educate yourself on the subject more in depth. If you find it interesting, try to become actively involved in the fight for global worker’s rights. Who knows, when you are in line to purchase those new cleats you shouldn’t JUST DO IT!

On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Wooten High School senior Ethan Miller spoke at McNamara about the importance of worker’s rights awareness. With representatives from McNamara, Gonzaga and John Carroll high school in attendance, Miller broke down the true reality of overseas sweatshop workers. At the heart of his presentation was the present battle of many organizations like USAS (united students against sweatshops) who are against Russell athletics for their sweatshop practices in Honduras.

Many schools have terminated their contracts with Russell Athletics due to student lead pressure.  In tough economic climates, the loss of contracts from nationally respected institutions like Georgetown, Michigan, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and Marquette, have made proposals for the improvement of worker’s rights over in Honduras vital. In an attempt to somewhat save face, they have invited representatives from some of these schools in order to show how they have already began making work for Russell athletics a more humane working environment.

Even though Nike presents a sense of quality and style, there is a dark and unjust side of the company that some consumers don’t know or even care to know. Consumers see their favorite million dollar athletes on television commercials and magazine covers with Nike apparel and wish to have the same athletic wardrobe. What they don’t know is Nike pays factory workers poverty wages for long and grueling hours. The exploitation of these workers seems quite selfish due to the vast amount of revenue gained from the finished product.

To be completely fair to these major companies, the employment offered overseas does provide occupation for many citizens in their respective countries. The problem is that they have cut the worker salary to an unlivable wage in order to attain maximum profit.

According to HOLA, a cut of less than 1% of Nike’s advertising budget could double wages for all workers making Nike apparel.

Honestly, as one of the world most famous apparel company they could easily afford to give up 1% of advertising to support those that make them billions of dollars a year.

Over the years, styles and even the company preferred among high school students constantly changes. McNamara teams of the past did not typically feature well known designers like the teams of today. In fact, McNamara Alumni and current Athletic Director, Mr. Anthony Johnson says, “There really wasn’t an outward showing of a brand. Most of the uniforms were generic brand. The most common brand names were Champion and Rawlings.”  For the most part, these brands have been out-shined by more innovative and revolutionary athletic apparel with companies like New Balance, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Nike, and Russell.

Mr. Johnson says, “As a fan, I like Nike’s style of clothing and gear. The quality of equipment speaks to the quality of the program.” Many athletes from around the school shared Mr. Johnson’s opinion and would prefer Nike apparel.  However, the school is not officially sponsored by the apparel powerhouse known by its trademark “swoosh”.  Teams like men’s and women’s lacrosse team wear uniforms made by Russell.

I am not saying in any way that supporting these athletic companies is immoral. However, as long as we continue to wear these overpriced products shouldn’t we make conscience efforts to think beyond the ‘label’?  If the label doesn’t change their stance, are we strong enough as a generation to discontinue supporting their product?

Would the school consider discontinuing wearing such apparel produced by these companies?

Principal Marco Clark says, “It is definitely possible. We all have responsibility to respect ethical practices. We will always attempt to make sound and just decisions.”

In honor of the stampede’s Going Green initiative, take some time to educate yourself on the subject more in depth. If you find it interesting, try to become actively involved in the fight for global worker’s rights. Who knows, when you are in line to purchase those new cleats you shouldn’t JUST DO IT!