Senior Elected Youth Mayor of D.C.

Davona Johnson ‘17 collaborates with city mayor, advocates for local youth

By Jabari Ferrell ‘17

Staff Writer

One of our very own students, Davona Johnson, strived for and now holds the position of the Youth Mayor of Washington, DC.  Davona Johnson is a senior here at Bishop McNamara in our graduating Class of 2017.  She is involved in many different clubs and activities. She hopes to soon obtain a career in African American Studies.

Davona is involved in the Youth Government of the District of the Columbia and she has been part of the program since 2015. The duties of being Youth Mayor of the District of Columbia are to represent the youth of Washington DC. She reaches out to them by doing community services projects and activities around the city, asking them what their concerns are and making an initiative to take action.

In order to make things work, Davona has developed a schedule to keep her on task.

“I first do all of my school work because education is key,” she said. “And everything else then follows.” She prioritizes and gets things done promptly, and with all her hard work behind it, it is organized and informational.

She has meetings every Monday and Tuesday as the youth mayor of DC and very seldom throughout the rest of the week. The only other days that she holds meetings are on the days where she has to speak on behalf of the youth of Washington, DC in front of higher authorities.

Davona has a plan in action to get kids in Washington, DC to achieve great success like herself. She works hand and hand with mayor Muriel Bowser and together they set out to make DC stronger than what it already is today. Her plan is to make changes in the city through not only education, but also more after school programs.

Davona would like for education to be equal through every part of the District of Columbia including some students from Bishop McNamara. She feels that it does not matter if the school is private or public, education still should remain equal.

Her hope is to bring back the arts into the schools and let them be once again recognized so that children can express themselves differently, and give the youth an exposure to these necessities of expressing themselves and becoming successful. She also would like to do more outreach in the communities between students and law enforcement.

Davona said, “Trust needs to bring back into the communities because at the end of the day all we have is each other.” Davona is a strong, devoted young woman who cares a lot about her city and the people around her community.

She has committed to this position and she will do her best to fulfill her duties. Davona says that everything will be done through her strength in God.


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.  



By Noah Whitaker ‘18 , Staff Writer

“Cheerleading a sport? The truth revealed!”

A common misconception is that cheerleading is easy, but it is in fact a very challenging sport. BMHS cheerleader Ashley Smith explains, “we honestly train as much as the football team would.” People may not know the hard work and preparation the McNamara cheerleaders put in to make the team and also show off their school spirit.

Simone Frederick pointed out, “cheerleaders do the same type of workouts as any other sport.” Tyler Muniz added, “we work harder or just as hard as a football team or basketball team would because cheerleaders want to overcome the stereotype which is all we do is say ‘go team’ and flip.

This is the stereotype that is common for people who do not know a lot about cheerleading. The cheerleaders are a hardworking group of girls that train as hard as another sport. You may not recognize it but they recognize all the hard work they’ve been putting in since earlier this year when tryouts were held. So before anybody says cheerleading is not a sport, that’s a false statement, cheerleading is a sport.

BMHS cheerleaders described their workouts as hectic and according to Kiersten Stokes, ‘DEATH!’   They run suicides, does core exercises, a lot of cardio work and they have to run a mile in the beginning of practice. You might even think that they run for the track team as much as they run. Sierra Sweeney said, “No one really knows how hard it is to actually cheer and it takes a lot of strength, endurance, stamina, and on top of that to cheer you have to actually really want to do it. A lot of my workouts are focused on abs, flexibility, and developing muscles.” To perform at a high level you, “need a lot of stamina to do what we do on the floor,” claimed Tyler Muniz.

All seven McNamara cheerleaders interviewed preferred competitive cheer to high school cheer. Was it because of the mile and hard cardio work they do majority of the week after school?

Well Simone Frederick said, I prefer competitive because it involves more traveling and you are pushed to develop better skills. Tyler Muniz also said she preferred competitive because “I like the traveling aspect and I feel there’s more drive in the girls doing competitive cheer.” When watching ESPN sometimes during the summer time they would participate in AAU (travel) cheerleading which is competitive.

The competitive cheer looked more of you needed to have a good sense of what you are doing because of all the pyramids and throwing up in the air you had to do. Compared to high school cheer where the team is no very large and less technique is being used. Competitive cheer uses more creative routines than high school cheer.

To make the cheerleading team. You need to have good back handsprings and a robust tumbling ability. Back handsprings are really important because Sierra pointed out that you must have a back handspring to make varsity.

So why is tumbling important? Sweeney said, the tumbling piece is what makes the performance exciting for the audience. But the tumbling is one of the most important parts in a performance.

Kiersten expressed, tumbling gives a ooh & aah to the performance. So what else were the requirements or process to making the cheerleading team? Kiersten Stokes indicated, “you also had to have some sort of memorizations to do the cheer and dance.” Veteran Charle Robinson said, “some of the requirements were your ability to do a variety of jumps, tumbling, memorization of cheers and choreographed dances.”

Lastly you also have to have the mental edge added to the athletic edge needed to make the team. Tyler Muniz pointed out, “workouts are very intense, not a lot of people are strong enough mentally or physically to do what most cheerleaders do in workouts.” That is a key factor into making the team and not being able to make the team.

The McNamara cheerleaders have the full basketball season left. They have been working hard and they have high expectations. Kala Washington pointed out that she would like to go to cheer events with this team. Stokes said confidently, “this team has a lot of potential.” They cheerleaders have high expectations for themselves and the team as a whole. It is time to take notice of the great things the cheerleaders are doing.

Big Mac is Back

School year starts with significant changes to daily routines

By Wesley Bowers’17,  Editor-In-Chief

Bishop McNamara High School is back in action opening its doors on September 1st to start the 2016-2017 school year. With the new year, comes new changes that will significantly affect McNamara’s community.

There are new additions that will and have already affected the daily routine of the McNamara student. Changes include new start and end times, extended period between classes, new class courses, and a new look for the 2nd semester.

Dr. Robert Van der Waag, principal of Bishop McNamara High school said, “This proved to be a very productive summer. Mcnamara will see a lot of changes in the right direction.”

With the productive summer the renovation of Mount Calvary classrooms was amongst said changes. “ I would like to thank Mr. Keithline and the Facility team and also Jim Dillon  for all the technology work,” said Van der Waag.  

The new school day starts at 8:15am and ends at 3:05pm.

Victoria Patterson class of ‘17 said, “8:15 is a good change. Being late won’t be a frequent problem like last year.”

While many appreciate the new school start time some do not favor the new change due to the 15 minute shift from last year.

Some students had other opinions, such as senior Melayna Harley who said, “I don’t like the 8:15 start time [because] it pushes back the school end time.”

Van der Waag said, “the new start time comprehensively made an impact. The arrival time is less hectic and there’s less build up in the parking lot. Also with Mt. Calvary as a drop off spot, it helps distribute the traffic flow.”

In addition to the time change, students now have 10 minutes between classes, which is a four minute increase from years prior.

Many students say the 10 minutes is very helpful. The halls are not as crowded, and the pressure to run through the halls is not as high, giving an opportunity to have civil hallways and decreased tardiness to class.

However, some interviewees said that 10 minutes is too much because their bodies are acclimated to getting to class in five minutes. Now there is a wait when they arrive with the popular comment, “it will take sometime to adjust.”

There was a lot of time spent on the new ideas of how to accommodate the students and teachers to have a better smooth running  school year.

According to Van der Waag, the 10 minute period between classes was put in action because with the addition of Mt. Calvary students would have to go farther, also it was used to decrease stress levels in the halls rushing from one class to another. He said, “The teachers who may teach back to back classes have prep time, a time to decompress and prepare for their next class.”

Another significant change from last year is the hour delay every Thursday that served as meeting time for administration and teachers is no longer in the McNamara schedule.  

“I miss the hour delay,” said Patterson and Brandon Myrthil ‘17.

Van der Waag said the second semester the lunches will be held in the fine arts building.

The cafeteria is being totally renovated and modernized being equipped with new seating areas, food stations, lounging areas, and makerspaces for extra classrooms. This design will complete the Andy Mona ‘82 Student Center which will open its doors in the fall of 2017.  

St. Joseph’s teacher plans to create special education program

Tenia Jordan ’16
Staff Writer

When St. Joseph’s Teacher Elaine Greene thinks of McNamara’s expansion, she sees an opportunity to serve more students with learning disabilities.

“The students always had a special place in my heart,” Greene said.

She’s creating a new program, the Saint Andre Academy, separate from the St. Joseph’s program. The difference between the St. Joseph’s program and the new academy is this is for students with learning disabilities, such as autism, while the St. Joseph’s program is for students with learning differences.

The program has been approved and supported by McNamara’s administration and the Archdiocese of Washington. The only similar school in the archdiocese is Catholic Coalition for Special Education, which is also assisting Greene in her efforts of the new school.

“I decided to start this program when I found out that there were families in the Archdiocese of Washington and they were being turned away,” Greene said. “So students didn’t have anywhere to go to school.”

The Archdiocese of Washington was unable to provide the number of families that couldn’t attend Catholic high schools because a lack of training to teach children with learning disabilities.

Greene wants to have an environment where students with disabilities who are capable of being in a school environment can learn, as well as interact with students outside of the program.

“The students will be included in any classes they can manage, specifically fine arts, gym, lunch periods, school masses, clubs and athletics,” she said.

Greene wants to keep all the students involved and help get them get into college at schools that will accept them.

“I want to promote all types of programs and colleges,” she said.

The program was named after Brother Andre, who was a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Canada and fostered devotion to Saint Joseph, caring for the sick and afflicted.

Freshman Perspective: McNamara already feels like home

By Varonika Ware
Staff Writer

Knowing too many people seems to be my main problem now that I’m at McNamara. In the beginning of my shadow day I was shy and didn’t think anyone would speak to me because many people called me “unapproachable” in the past. But at McNamara it just seemed different and I didn’t feel the need to be shy anymore. I found that I didn’t have to force myself into getting to know others because people genuinely wanted to know me.

To say that I didn’t already feel at home here would be a lie. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who treat me like family despite not being related by blood and I felt that connection during my shadow day as I watched how the students at McNamara interacted with one another. As a middle schooler at that time I didn’t understand how all these people could be so connected and now that I am a student at McNamara I finally understand.

I hadn’t met a lot of people in the summer during track practices while most of my friends from my old school who also attend McNamara had and I felt left out. Things turned around during freshmen week (freshman orientation, retreat and seminar). I had connected with people who were experiencing the same feelings as me coming into high school. I didn’t feel alone by feeling nervous or shy because so many other students felt the same way and it was easy to get to know my classmates. As soon as I got to school I was surprised that so many people welcomed me and remembered me from freshmen week. I had built a bond with more people than I thought I would and it excited me. I had no problem talking to new people (mostly freshmen) because I felt comfortable around my new family and it’s made me a more outgoing person.

For example, my new best friend, Drake and I had originally met in track. However, we weren’t close at the time until school had started. I asked for his name before giving my own. Our bond grows more and more every day mostly because we have classes together but also because we have common interests. Not long after I met him we became best friends. It wasn’t hard to talk to him and become closer because I knew he was family already.

Now I feel like I’ve been in school for months yet it’s only been a few weeks. It seems like I’ve been friends with some people for years when I’ve only known them for a short time. It’s been an amazing start to freshman year and it can only get better.

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.”





Lady Mustangs Basketball

Profile on Girls’ Basketball Team

Chase Ellington ’16 | Staff Writer

Building family and showing respect are the two McNamara pillars that describe the 2014-2015 girls basketball team. The success of this season caused a huge uproar.

Compared to last year, this team formed an unbreakable bond — a sisterhood grown through working together. Although minor faults affected the season outcome, the outcome was stronger than expected.

“I think where it all goes downhill is when it comes to us finishing,” shooting guard Simone Smith said. “We started off better than ever but not everything ended the way we expected.”

A case of when the team worked together is the Riverdale Baptist game. The team was down by seventeen with four minutes remaining, and a technical foul was called on the opposing team due to their lack of knowledge of how many times out remained.

Senior Kholby Oliver ‘15 was called to the foul line, isolated and full of pressure, to pull off a remarkable victory. Missing one out of two of the game winning shots, she still lead the team to an extraordinary win.

The game showed that when working together, any obstacle formed against these strong young women could be conquered. After meeting with the team it was clear to see that there love and passion for the sport is overwhelming. The sisterhood formed slowly, because of the need to build trust and not let outside attributes get in the way of major success.

Their motivation, directed by Coach Frank Oliver, was well noticed. “He never gave up on us,” said Mangela Ngandjui ‘16, power forward and a leading scorer.

The outcome of the season was not in the favor of the crowd. A sad loss against Seton will go down in Mustang history, because of the closing remarks of the game itself. A crunch time situation game result of 41 to 40 left fans with dropped hearts and distraught faces.

The fight for victory was clearly stated, and the loss formed so much positivity amongst the team, because they are ready to come back better than ever and leave with the gold.

As we patiently wait for the 2015-2016 season, the current team expects to take it all next year and give our school another championship.

Look out for our Lady Mustangs as the uproar continues.

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.