Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

By Heather Bacon

Opinion Editor

President Donald Trump announced January 31 that he will be nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Gorsuch will replace the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Gorsuch is 49 years old. He attended Harvard Law and has a Ph.D. from Oxford. Gorsuch has been a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006, when President George W. Bush nominated him. Like Justice Scalia, he is a conservative and a textualist meaning that he interprets the law based on its original meaning. He is a strong supporter of religious freedom rights,and is against legal euthanasia(assisted suicide). Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said, “Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing was a significant loss for the court and for our country. Gorsuch’s impressive background and long record of service, however, give me confidence he will carry forward Scalia’s legacy of faithfully applying the law and the Constitution.”

This election, many voters chose Trump over Clinton because they wanted another conservative justice, especially over the topic of abortion. When Trump nominated Gorsuch, he announced, “Today I am keeping another promise to the American people by nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.”

However, it may be difficult to get Democratic senators to confirm Trump’s nomination after Republican senators ignored Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland last year. Democratic Senators have not been clear if they show support for Gorsuch, however they all seem to be in agreement that he should be allowed a full hearing and vote process. Democratic senator Chris Coons said “I will push for a hearing and I will push for a vote.”

Neil Gorsuch ideals are conservative, but they are not too extreme. This, along with the fact that he has no set view on abortion, will aid him in getting American support.

Currently, on the Supreme Court there are four liberals, three conservatives, and one swing justice (Kennedy). If Gorsuch were to be appointed, there would be a balance of ideologies on the Supreme Court which I think makes him a good choice.

To Stress or Not To Stress

By Joy Petersen

Staff Writer

Were people really less stressed during Stress Less Week? It seemed like students were.

On Monday, music was played in between classes and SGA organizer, senior Christina Hernandez, received positive feedback from students, saying, “They want music all the time in between classes.” This would be especially nice for students like sophomore Gage North, who listens to music at home to relax.

Tuesday, dogs were brought in by a number of students. There was a mob to get in to see the dogs just for a few minutes. Many students got pushed around while waiting or decided to leave before seeing the dogs because the crowd was too much to handle. The situation was very stressful, I imagine for the dogs as well as us. But for the many students who did visit with the tail-wagging friends, they were ecstatic. Junior Drew Dunathan was very happy when I spoke to her. It was a good day for Dunathan because she got to play with puppies and wear pajamas to school for Tuck-In Tuesday. This made her “feel more comfortable” throughout the school day, in turn making her less stressed. But she wasn’t looking forward to anything else during the week because the puppies set the bar.

For that reason, Workout Wednesday wasn’t as big of a hit as the previous day. Only four people showed up in the small gym. One of our media specialists, Ms. Ward, was one of them. She felt nervous to join in because she wasn’t familiar with SoldierFit, a program that does boot camp workouts. Ward thought more people didn’t show up for the same reason. “I just think that people were afraid of the unknown. But I think if we maybe really tried to get more people to come, [Workout Wednesday] is a great idea,” Ward stated. She enjoys working out at home for the purpose of de-stressing and boosting her mood. After the workout at lunch Ward felt she was going to be more productive than usual because she was energized.

The rest of Stress Less Week seemed to fade out. Many students, including sophomore Jared Davis, whom I talked to early in the week on Tuesday, weren’t even aware of what the rest of the days were going to have in store for students.

While flowergrams were a nice idea, they didn’t seem to relax anyone. And as for the pep-rally on Funtastic Friday, students just wanted to go home. It looked like the seniors had taken the notion that pep rallies are overrated, and did go home, as about only a third of them showed up.

Stress Less Week wasn’t all fun and games for everyone. Mr. Bonfils, who works in the history department, felt stressed that week as always and for that reason assumed the students were too. When I asked if he had participated at all in the week’s festivities to help with that stress, he replied, “I kind of see them as something more for the students than the teachers.” And when I went to talk to Mrs. Voketitis, telling her we were doing an article on Stress Less Week, she joked, “To show how stressed we all are.” She said this while in a classroom full of students needing her help at lunch.

SGA has high hopes of Stress Less Week becoming a tradition for Damascus. Although there were high points, like the puppies, the other days fell through. Workout Wednesday would be great to have again for de-stressing, if the chosen workouts appealed to more students. And maybe next year we should think more about including our teachers. I’m sure when they’re happy, we’ll be happier, and vice versa.


Which Way Is Better To Announce Colleges’ Decisions

Punitha Weliwita

Staff Writer

Tis the season of college decisions. The time where seniors probably stress out the most while waiting for the decisions from their dream school.

When people imagine the moment they face the decision that their school has made it usually involves an envelope. Specifically a letter. More specifically a particularly important sentence in that letter that contains the decision (usually the very first sentence). That’s how it’s been for a very long time. Now that technology has developed, colleges have adopted more tech-saavy ways to inform the students on whether they got in or not. As a matter of fact, a lot colleges now don’t even send out letters, they just post the decision online.

It can be argued that finding out through mail is the better way. For one, technology can be unpredictable at times. The account that the student makes under that university can malfunction or the password or username could be forgotten. It can be a little on the tense side when it comes to being dependent with technology platforms. Especially if it’s for a huge decision that plays a big part in your future. Now with letters, the traditional way, there’s not as many possible issues. It’s a quicker way to find out. And there’s just something about having the actual acceptance, or rejection depending on your fate, letter in your hands that makes you feel so great about yourself. Senior Hannah Ward agrees that it’s better to find out through mail since it’s something that’s “more personal.”

Another senior, Alexis Rivera, also has the preference of decisions “coming in the mail due to them seeming more personal.”

In some cases though, the traditional way isn’t always the better way. Finding out college decisions through mail could be a headache as well. The student is already stressed out enough about whether or not they got in, but they also have to worry about whether the envelope went through the right shipment path. It can happen where mail gets misplaced or even somehow disappears. Although knowing that’s the method everyone’s used for so long, it can be assumed that this method can still be reliable. On the other hand, it can still be stressful for the student to keep track of the mail every day and go through that mini panic attack when they approach their mailbox. I’m sure parents are getting the benefit out of this since this’ll be the few months that their kids would actually be willing to go outside and get the mail for the household.

Knowing how fast technology is changing the world, it can easily be predicted that at some point all colleges will fully adopt the method of using technology for not only applications but for decisions as well. If you’re a person who likes the traditional way and prefers getting letters, all that can be said is that at some point you’ll get used to it.

Ugly Christmas Sweater

Salomon Zelaya

By Staff Writer

With the holiday season coming up, people are beginning to show their festive side. Decorations are slowly popping up on houses, stores are beginning to advertise their sales, and radio stations are starting to spin more holiday music. One of the most popular traditions is coming back as well: ugly Christmas sweaters.

This idea has grown popular over the past couple years and has given people a chance their creative side of the holidays. This tradition has people wearing pullover sweaters with corny or humorous designs on them that their grandparents or their aging uncle would wear.

Stores are starting to sell their own versions of these sweaters that already have designs, but you can make your own sweater if you have an idea too. Just go to any store and buy a comfy sweater. Then, go to an arts and craft store and buy the right supplies: pipe cleaners, poof balls, glitter, felt, or whatever your heart desires. Add your own crazy design and you can be the talk of the town. Maybe even throw an ugly sweater party to show off your great new clothes to your friends and family.

Holiday traditions are a very fun and easy way to keep the holiday spirit alive and many new ones are starting to pop up. These sweaters and other traditions are something that seem almost timeless, and are a must for the upcoming holiday season.

MCPS Students Join in Nationwide Protests After Election Results

By Heather Bacon

Opinion Editor

When Donald Trump was announced the president elect on November 9th the reactions of Americans varied from joy to anger and anxiety for some. These election results have sparked a series of nationwide protests that Montgomery County Public School students have joined in on.

The student fueled protests started on November 14 when about 800 Montgomery Blair High School students walked onto their football field around 10 a.m. While most of these students returned back to class, around 100 students turned this into a march so that they could fully demonstrate their concern with the president elect. Students from Albert Einstein High School, Northwood High School, and John F. Kennedy High School joined Blair students as they marched north on Route 29 to University Boulevard. Students chanted and held signs saying “we reject the president elect”, “not our president”, “black lives matter”, and more.

Blair students had organized the protest on school grounds with their principal and got permission to do so, but were not allowed to leave school grounds. On wednesday November 16 MCPS superintendent Jack Smith sent out a message for students warning that they could face consequences for staging walkouts during school. Smith said “Our goal is to keep our students safe under adult supervision and engaged in the learning process. It is for this reason that I am asking and expecting all students to remain in school and participate.”

The protests had been at most non-violent, except for a fight that broke out between a Richard Montgomery student and a Trump supporter. This being a possible reason Smith urged students to remain in school, though the implications of the fight are unknown.

The idea of protesting an election is controversial to some. A Damascus student who will remain anonymous said “students who left class to protest should be suspended. There’s no point in protesting a fair election they were not old enough to vote in anyways.” However many don’t feel this way, another student said “It’s nice to see young people using their voice because many people, especially minorities feel scared and want to have their opinions represented.”

Nationwide protests still continue on, however these are most likely the last MCPS student protests we will see due to Jack Smiths warning of punishment students will face.







Montgomery County Public Schools on Forbes Lists

#31 America’s Best Employers

According to Forbes, our county’s school district is the “17th largest in the U.S.” with an attending of 156,000 students in 202 schools and an annual budget of $2.39 billion.

Industries                            Education

Country                                United States

Employees                           22,586

Headquarters                      Rockville, Maryland

Courtesy of Forbes Magazine

La La Land Preview

By Arianna Agarwal

Features Editor

La La Land is a 2016 American romantic-comedy musical inspired film starring well-known actors such as Ryan Gosling, Emma stone, and John Legend. The plot follows an aspiring actress, Mia, and a musician, Sebastian, who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles (LA), California.

Mia is stuck serving lattes to movie stars in between auditions, while Sebastian plays in drab bars earning just enough money to get by. Slowly but surely they begin to fall in love, but, as their success begins to thrive the dreams they worked hard to maintain threaten to tear them apart.

The title of the film is a reference to both being out of touch with reality and to the nickname of the city of LA. This is the third film to have Gosling and Stone cast as the two main characters, following Crazy, Stupid, Love, and Gangster Squad.

La La Land was met with widespread critical acclaim, with main praise aimed toward the screenplay and director, Damien Chazelle. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 97 percent based on 62 reviews, and views have come to the consensus that the film, “breathes a new life into a bygone genre with thrillingly assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible excess of the heart.”

La La Land is set to release December 9th, 2016. Grab a friend and be sure to catch the show in a theatre near you.