All posts by stampedenews

Essential Ways to have an Incredible Freshman Year

Taylor Pennington 19′

Freshman year can either be a really challenging year or more of an easy chapter of your life. Either way, it’s a new experience filled with fun and entertainment, with memories to last a lifetime. With these simple steps, you’ll have a fantastic year in no time!

  1. Ask Questions: At certain points in class, you might feel overwhelmed. Just remember that at the end of the day you survived. Although in that current moment you might get anxiety and want to walk out the class, all you have to do is breathe and ask some questions about the topics you are unfamiliar with. After you ask a couple of questions, I promise you that you’ll be just that much closer to acing the test.
  2. Stay Open-Minded: This tip can go for anything. Stay open-minded about people you meet because they likely could be your future friends. Stay open-minded about different clubs and school activities because chances are if you go you’ll have a very fun time. If you stay open-minded and try new things then you’ll definitely make some exciting memories or dive into a new experience.
  3. Stay organized: Staying Organized is the key to having a successful school year. When you’re organized you’ll be much more prepared for assignments which in turn will make you ready for assessments. You won’t be able to get anything done successfully without being organized.
  4. Stay focused: Being focused will help you to achieve your goals and be in time for certain deadlines you may have. This tip also includes completing your homework the day it was assigned. When you do that you’ll feel so much more prepared and less stressed.
  5. Have fun: This is the most important tip. You should have fun in all aspects of the year. Spend time with your friends and participate in activities also show tons of school spirit.


Lindsey Bayes 21′

“How does Mass benefit me as a student? Why must I attend Mass if I’m not Catholic?” Not everyone here at Bishop McNamara is Catholic, but we all come together once a month, as a community to be in the presence of Christ. Why is Mass important, you ask? Mr. Paul O’Brien, theology teacher said, “It’s crucial to our Catholic identity. If the central prayer at action is not a part of what we are doing here, then what are we doing here?” This perfectly summed up the reasons for everyone’s attendance and participation at Mass. We go to a Catholic school. Why are we here if we are not willing to participate in Catholic practices? Whether a student is Catholic, Christian, Muslim, or non-Christian, they may benefit from Mass in some way. Anastazio Caballero ‘21, said, “It opens our eyes to a different point of view and a different style of our faith.” This is another great reason behind the required attendance at Mass. Some students do not attend Mass to be in the presence of Christ, but instead, to witness a different style of prayer.

When asked, several faculty members stated that the point of Mass is to bring everyone together as a community to pray, but if students who feel uncomfortable in Mass are required to attend, how are we building community? Most students have shown their support in the required attendance of Mass, but there are some who do not feel comfortable in Mass because of their different religious backgrounds. It could be a lack of understanding, a commitment to their own personal faith, or the feeling of being an outsider. What if we could all come together to pray in a nondenominational way? Mr. Brower, Dean of Students stated, “I would like to see more opportunities for us to have an ecumenical prayer.” If one educator is open to this idea, perhaps there are more. Imagine a peaceful place where we could all express our own individual religious beliefs. Not everyone has a religious identity, but we all may benefit from religious expression.

There are so many wonderful opportunities here at Bishop McNamara, you might overlook the fact that Mass is a requirement. Especially, if you are not familiar with the Catholic faith. Everyone must acknowledge that Mass is required and it is a safe place where you may find family, pray with friends, and build your relationships with God.


The Mona Center

Zane Mosby 20′

Bishop McNamara’s brand new 4.5 million dollar student center is the latest edition to the growing list of changes at the school. The student center is dedicated to the late Andy Mona class of 82. The cafeteria official opened to students, faculty, and staff on Friday, September 8th. On Thursday, September 14th space was officially dedicated by Cardinal Wuerl. The event was significant for the school having an esteemed member of the archdioceses of Washington come for mass and a special ceremony, along with NBC 4 news covering the cafeteria earlier in the day.


The Mona center began construction halfway through last school year in January, lunch was held in the fine arts gym. Many students are happy to be back in a proper a proper cafeteria, not to say that the news ones haven’t developed problems. An apparent problem that has already arisen is the lines. Due to the new P.R.I.M.E. Time schedule the entire student body can occupy the cafeteria at once creating long lines that seem to last the entire period. The administration has suggested that students should wait to go to lunch later to combat this. Senior students have also been voicing their complaints that there is not a proper senior lounge area like the previous cafeteria.


The long-awaited Andy Mona center is here and of to a great start. Students and faculty are enjoying the new space so far.


Prime Time Is Our Time

Cayla Cade 19′

Prime Time was very hectic during the first week but now students are starting to become adapted to the new change. They have more time to eat and do homework, unlike last year. Anna Irwin ‘20 states, “It’s easier to take my time to eat lunch”. Last year, students felt as if they were being rushed. The lunch period is more organized than the past years.

A few teachers, such as Mr.Vazzana feels as if the day makes more sense. They like having a break. However, some do feel as if their students are sleepier and the same students are constantly missing their class because of their sports. Teachers have a duty, whether it is the first half or second half of PRIMETIME. They might help out in the resource center, Andy Mona center, lead the freshmen Anchor group or have hallway duty. PRIMETIME is more of a college scene, according to Mr. Vazzana. Several students believe that there should be more office hours for teachers. Since that has been a problem a lot of people eat during that time at once.

Many students think that it’s best to divide the time we eat by upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. Other students stated that they wish we still had a bell to dismiss us to go back to class. While a couple of students feel as if the bells were unnecessary. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the time. There is always room for improvement and feedback. Mr. Vazzana thinks it is best if the students were put in focus groups and discuss their feedback every quarter. As everyone knows, there are a lot of places where you can eat such as the Andy Mona center, Fine Arts building, or the bleachers. A lot of the students think it is best to bring lunch because of the long lines and a lot of the students like Brianna Davis ‘19, think it would be better if the microwaves were put on the other side of the cafeteria, away from the lunch line. Overall, Prime Time has been a great addition to our school.

Stresses of College

Spencer Anderson 18′


(12 Ways to Better Handle Stress in College)

College. What a term of paranoia and constant stress for those just entering the 12th grade. Seniors in high school often feel pressured to apply to colleges and even in some cases, they feel rushed to get an application in. Students and counselors across McNamara were interviewed and all of their responses beat around the same bush. Students deemed the college application process stressful and fast-paced, whereas the counselors feel the same tension and anxiety just as the students. Although some counselors see it more as busy rather than a hassle, as one counselor stated: “I feel the highs and all the lows of each student when they are accepted and or if they are denied”. It is safe to say college is a stressful process for the upcoming class of 18’ but it can all be a much smoother process with the help of counselors, teachers, and administrative staff. It will be interesting to see how things shake up this 2017-2018 school year but the Mustangs are destined for nothing but success!

The First Dance of the Year

Jalyn Williamson 21′

Bishop McNamara held their annual Back to School Dance on September 16th. The dance which was held in the Fine Arts Gym, included a DJ, strobe lights, small refreshments, but sadly no food. Anyone who attended McNamara could go only if they paid $5 dollars. A lot of students attended: seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.

          The freshmen and transfer students experienced their first Back to School Dance. Everyone was dancing, jumping around, enjoying themselves and overall was just happy to be there, some students even started running around the gym during the dance. The music was great at times but it didn’t manage to fulfill everyone’s taste, like some of the students that were interviewed.

  Some students were interviewed about how they felt about the dance. A few of those students obviously complained about the fact there was no food and some wished that there were more refreshments. A 9th grader even stated, “The dance was hot and it didn’t help when there was no water.” Some even stated that the music could’ve been better, that they wished there could’ve been more “crankage”. Another downside was the water being thrown from the bottles because no one enjoyed being wet while they’re trying to dance. A lot of freshmen commented about the dance saying that they enjoyed their first dance of the year, and can’t wait for the next one.

  Overall the dance was a great way to start off the year. Kudos to the seniors, they planned this amazing dance, this also being their last dance. And because this is their last dance, there were a few comments on their leaving: “Sad to see them go, but they did great on the dance.”, “I wish them good luck for the future!”, “I believe they can make their last year the best year!”, “I have faith that you guys will do great in the future!”. Hopefully, there can be another dance later this year that many more people will enjoy.


What’s in Site for the C.I.T.E

Ian Lynch ’17

Bishop McNamara is on the road to new beginnings through technology and creativity. The maker space idea has now taken its first steps in the McNamara community, with the new C.I.T.E lab, introduced by Mr. Buckley in August 2016. The idea for the C.I.T.E lab has been around for a few years and is now on the rise. Drawing inspiration from the maker movement, it is a space that lets you explore your horizon of innovative ideas.
Gabby Oglesby ’17 said “The cite lab is a place that lets students express their creativity through innovative learning activities such as the use of 3D printers and mine craft.” Students are encouraged to make use of the C.I.T.E lab when given projects and assignments from a teacher. There are many fascinating materials and machinery inside of the maker space where you can bring your ideas to life through things such as modelling clay, markers, 3D printing, mine craft, and the new Raspberry Pi microcomputer which is physical computing technology. Mr. Buckley has personal workshops that students are able to attend and gain more knowledge of the gadgets and electronics. He also advises a Making Club and hopes to spark interest in a Girls Coding Club for next year.
Many students throughout Bishop McNamara are not aware of all the lab has to offer and the help that it provides. (Give a quote from someone here.) Steps are being taken to promote the CITE Lab for increased use by teachers and students alike next year.
The C.I.T.E lab holds a lot for the future. Creativity is sky rocketing through the roof with new inventions and ideas. Well what exactly does the future for the C.I.T.E lab look like? According to Mr. Buckley “Next year we are starting a making lab where students are dedicated to being in here and in the future with the La Reine Science Center and its further expansion we hope to put a making lab there as well.” Mr. Buckley is starting his own class called “Making Lab: Create Hack Play” to introduce new ideas to students in a more physical and interactive way. He also encourages teachers to get more involved with projects and assignments where students have to use the making lab for things like twitter bots, Minecraft, etc. We are looking towards a bright future in technology, trying to introduce new gadgets in the making lab such as laser cutters. A world of creativity and brilliance is in store for McNamara!


Dr. Van Der Waag Steps Down

By Jabari Ferrell ’17

You’ve listened, you heard, and now it is happening. Our very own Bishop McNamara High School Principal Dr. Robert Van der Waag is stepping down as principal of the school to return to the classroom. Dr. Van Der Waag has been a part of the Bishop McNamara community since 2011. He was given the title Principal at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. The 2013-2014 school year was his first academic year as principal of the school. He is considered a strong representative of our school community.
When asked “why the switch”,rather than a long pause he instead answered without hesitation. His biggest reason that he gave for the switch back into the classroom is time .
“Time is the biggest thing, and finding a balance between life and work” said Van der Waag. Being newly married a month and a half before taken the position of Principal was tough but he says his wife helped make the process easier. He believes that his four years of service was a great foundation to help McNamara acclimated and evolve into the new ways of life. Now it is time to strengthen his life and relationships outside of work, especially with his wife.
The challenges that McNamara faces with this switch coming about, is finding someone who can step up and be just as great as Dr. Van de Waag was, if not better. Dr. Van de Waag’s greatest achievements as principal at McNamara were hiring more than 50 outstanding educators, helping write the graduate profile, and creating the school code. All of these things to him are his greatest achievements because they all are things that will live on longer than him within the school community.
These educators that he put in place will give students quality education that will help them reach higher education after graduating high school. The graduate profile gives students the confidence in their academic excellence and achievements at McNamara prior to graduation. The school code was written to give basic structure and establishment of what the BMHS community is all about.
Dr. Van der Waag and all his great accomplishments of principal for the past four years will always send McNamara to a higher place. When the Class of 2017 stepped foot into McNamara it was his first year, and now they are graduating and he is heading back into the classroom. Dr. Van der Waag says that to him, “The Class of 2017 has definitely had an impact on him in the past four years of serving as principal”. He feels that they are graduating together, they are going onto higher education and he is going onto better himself as well. He has seen them and watched them grow, and achieve everything we have set ourselves to do inside and outside of McNamara.
Dr. Robert Van der Waag was a great principal and he really has made a great impact on the school. His position of principal during this years will never been forgotten. He will still be seen around the McNamara community. The new principal, Dr. Traylor will definitely fulfill the duties and take the school to even a better place, and Dr. Van der Waag has made sure this will happen. Dr. Van der Waag will be missed as principal of Bishop McNamara and even though he will not be in office he will still have significant impact on the community.

Dear President Trump,

By The Staff of the Stampede

Dear President Trump,

We the Stampede, we the youth, we the future, we the people are watching. We are watching with our eyes wide and our minds surging. We have a voice that is oftentimes overlooked but we have much to say. With our heads high and our voices magnified we want to inform you that our future is not a pawn in a political game. Our future is utterly and completely important. Our future will be the basis of what this country will build off of in the years to come. With this being said, we believe that as commander in chief you are obliged to hold your office with prestigious honor. You should display a character opposite of what we as young people feared during your campaign run. We hope that you will be a man who will uphold positive values that are rooted in unity, love, and equality. Despite all of the concerning issues we have we only pray that you will not continue to promote bigotry, hate, and division amongst people. We want this country to be a progressive land that will continue to take steps toward a clear future. Instead of building barriers it is better to destroy them. Instead of living in fear we should live harmoniously. We expect nothing but dignity for our country. You must not disrespect or shame the American youth by creating a desolate future. We want positive change, we want peace and we want security. As journalist we will tell the outright and absolute truth. In a time when an influx amount of information is at the reach of a fingertip it is hard to find truth in the darkness, we will deliver truth as it should be. As we have since the establishment of our publication in 1964 we will continue to report the principle of truth. We will also continue to uphold the values of our Holy Cross tradition and find hope in the cross. We will do all this because if today is not the time for truth and hope; then when will it be? So as you say Mr. Trump, Yes let’s make America great again…The right way. Let us remind you that America is the Land of The Free, The Home of the Brave and we will continue to search for complete freedom and stand in solidarity and bravery forever.

May God Bless You,

The Stampede

Signing Day

Stampede athletes announce college athletic decisions.

By Noah Whitaker ’18

First off the Stampede would like to congratulate all McNamara signees and any signees across the nation for getting into college for more than athletics. Not only did it take hard work, but  it took blood, sweat, and tears.

National Signing Day is an event that occurs on the first Wednesday of February. It is the first day in which the NCAA allows athletes to sign the National Letter of Intent to play in college. Usually football players get all the buzz, but the other athletes should get just as much praise for getting a scholarship to go to college. There is another signing day in April for athletes who play spring sports like lacrosse, track and field, baseball, etc.

People were anxious to see where two of the biggest athletes at McNamara , Braedon Domino and Wes Bowers were going to sign. Many people had predictions for where they were going. There was a feeling of unease in the gym because you did not know where those two would sign. Domino and Bowers were the only ones that had not signed prior to the event. When it was their turn to sign it would be a sense of excitement, all those anxious feelings out the door.

There was a huge turnout for the ceremony, a shockingly large amount of people. Not saying that there was an expectancy of nobody or not that many people to come but it was like every coach, parent, friend of the athlete, family member, teacher, McNamara student and alumni from McNamara was in the gym. You would think a basketball game was happening during the middle of the day. It was a great atmosphere overall. Also a great feeling was in the air, the whole McNamara community was there to celebrate the hard work of the 15 athletes who signed.

When each athlete was giving their speech there was a loud applause for each athlete. Congratulating them on their hard work. Each athlete thanked God, their coaches, and family. They wanted to give thanks back to the ones help them to get to this point. Also each athlete had their own story, and all the stories were inspirational.

In the end the ceremony turned out to be a successful event. 15 athletes were signing to further their academic and athletic career in college. The stories of each athlete was moving and inspirational to those who play sports. Each got a scholarship to help ease the finances on their parents.

On behalf of the McNamara community we would like to congratulate the athletes: Taylor Wilson (University of Maryland), Maceo Campbell (Longwood University), Nick Washington (Harford Community College), Tim Hanible (Delaware State University), Jamir Moultrie (LaSalle University), Anissa Mose (University of Maryland), Keith Sherald Jr. (Kent State University), Justin Burns (Stony Brook University), Mark Murphy (Bowie State University), Raina Cooper (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Kyara Frames (University at Albany), Imani Bey (Virginia Military Institute), Micah Dixon (Mount Saint Mary’s University), Wes Bowers (Georgetown University) and Braedon Domino (Air Force Academy). Unfortunately Xavier Williams could not make the ceremony but he had committed to Kent State University.

The McNamara community looks forward to celebrating the spring sports signees and future McNamara athletes in college. Lastly the McNamara community also wants to wish the best of luck to our Mustang athletes in college.