Make the Grade or Miss the Game

**Update DEC. 2009 — This story won Honorable Mention for Sports News or Feature Writing in the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Individual Writing and Editing Contest Awards, Newspaper Division.

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Joshua Crockett ’10
SPORTS EDITOR

“You are academically ineligible.” Variations of this phrase are spoken all across the nation to very talented athletes. Countless seasons have been derailed by intricate players not meeting the expectations of the school’s academic standards.

In the past, those that couldn’t make the grade in private school resorted to continuing their careers in a less rigorous public school academic requirement. Now, due to the “no E” policy put in place by public school, there is no escaping fulfilling a certain requirement in order to enjoy the privilege of participating in extra curricular activities.

Ironically, private school standards have become easier to maintain academic eligibility. Many of the schools within the conference, including the Mustangs, allow up to two failing grades on the report card as long as the student’s GPA has met a certain standard. These college preparatory schools have come to realize that the pressures and abundance of responsibility placed on these students could be overwhelming and in turn cause slightly uncharacteristic, academic performance. However, they never lose sight of the first priority which is educating the mind. That is why an academic probation system is put in place. Regardless of how entertaining, and in some cases profitable, the success of the team could be for the school, there is an always present interest in being able to perform in the classroom. This interest is often forgotten by the fans that enjoy seeing their favorite high school athletes.

Student athlete Brandon Coleman ‘10 illustrates the struggle between the gymnasium and the classroom.

McNamara requires a 2.0 grade point average with no more than two failing grades. When a student has not met these requirements, they are prohibited from participating in practices and games for the next four weeks. If an individual’s grades have improved after the probational period, they are cleared to begin playing and practicing with the team.

What about those students that fail to meet the academic standards during playoffs? Principal Marco Clark says, “There are definitely exceptions. He or she has played the whole season long and it would really hurt the team.” However, these players are not off the hook that easy. They must display commitment to improving and maintaining their grades even after the season has come to an end.

All around the WCAC, the academic standards differ. Some have adopted the “no failing grades” policy similar to PG. public schools. Others have lowered the minimum grade point average for freshman and have made it easier for the students to raise their grades as they progress in years and academic maturity.

This raises the question, should freshmen be expected to perform at the same level as a senior? It is sure that everyone has experienced or is currently experiencing the huge change from high school to middle school. Freshman athletes usually have a tendency to lose sight of the goal, which is education. A junior or senior has experienced the pressures of a full season and know what they must do in order to remain available to their team mates.

With long days due to practices and away games, is there a realistic opportunity for student athletes to perform on and off the playing field? Men’s Head Varsity Basketball Coach, Marty Keithline says,”Time management is important.” When asked how academic probation alters his team’s chemistry, he said, “It doesn’t affect the kids that do their homework and study in study hall at all.” As a teacher and a Coach, he understands the importance of getting homework done. You wouldn’t find him making excuses for any player that falls below the school’s standards, saying bluntly, “This is a college preparatory high school, when work is given they [students] are expected to do it.”

Mr. Clark says, “I think there has to be an acceptable standard to enjoy the privileges of participating in extra curricular activities. The standard we have here at Bishop McNamara is [for the student athlete] acceptable, not perfect or great but acceptable.” Despite what many students feel, the teachers have an overwhelming amount of confidence in the academic capabilities here at McNamara. When I asked if he thought he would ever lower the standard, he says, “It is human nature to rise to the occasion. If we set the bar lower they will go lower.” He goes on to say, “If we raised the bar to a 2.5 GPA, I truly believe that our students will rise to the occasion.”

Comic: Bailout

Comic by Alex Vinci ’11, Staff Writer

Click for Full Size
Click for Full Size

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**Update Dec. 2009 — This comic won 1st Place for Editorial Cartoon in the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Individual Writing and Editing Contest Awards, Newspaper Division.

Comic: Bad Puns

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

BAD PUNS
Click for Full Size

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

Obama Speaks in Virginia Before Election (Photos)

Photos by Melissa August ’09 and Marli Washington ’10, Design Chief and Staff Photographer

BMHS students were in the crowd that gathered in Manassas, Virginia when President Obama spoke the night before the election. Near the end of his speech, he said “Here’s my point, Virginia. That’s how this thing started. It shows you what one voice can do. That one voice can change a room. And if a voice can change a room, it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it can change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world.”
Crowd in Manassas, Virginia when President Obama spoke the night before the election.
PHOTOS BY MELISSA AUGUST '09 and MARLI WASHINGTON '10 for THE STAMPEDE

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**Update DEC. 2009 — The lead photo in this series won Honorable Mention for Photography in the Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s 2009 Individual Writing and Editing Contest Awards, Newspaper Division.

Jaron (J.J.) Henderson, music producer

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

Interview by Soleil Grant ’10 | Special to The Stampede

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

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

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

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

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

by Soliel Grant

Sweeney Todd the Musical (Photos)

Photos by Grant Hill ’10 for The Stampede

See our Review of Sweeney Todd the Musical for the complete story.

The chorus from Sweeney Todd kills the audience with their powerful voices and outstanding energy.

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PHOTO GALLERY. Click on image to see caption.  Scroll with arrow keys or mouse.

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**Update DEC. 2009 — The lead photo in this series won Honorable Mention for Photography 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!