The Hurricane Nation Online

The Official Student Newspaper of Huntingtown High School

Key Club is the “Key” to Happiness

June 2nd, 2014

By Lyndsay Larson

Key Club Members Collecting Food for Food Drive

Key Club Members Collecting Food for Food Drive

One of the many clubs among the long list found at Huntingtown High School is the Key Club that is prominent for its time spent in the community. The members of this group all care very much about helping others and enjoy doing this work. Essentially, the goal of Key Club is to help our community in any way through fundraisers and service projects.

                The president of the club, Junior Sydney Anderson said thoughtfully, “I joined the club when my friend joined and I ended up enjoying it so much that I stayed. I love how we provide service for our community and how much fun we have.”

              

End Hunger in Calvert County Food Drive

End Hunger in Calvert County Food Drive

  The lieutenant governor who is in charge of eight schools and divisions, Junior Claire Dickson-Burke commented, “The nicest people I’ve ever met are in Key Club no matter where you go. As the lieutenant governor, I get to travel to other states to meet with other Key Clubs and every time, the kids are always the greatest. I actually joined for the same reason as Sydney: my friend joined and I ended up loving the club. I’ve got to say that to me, it’s more than a club, it’s a way of life. It’s a family.”

                When these officers were asked if they had any other comments to share they both exclaimed, “JOIN THE CLUB!”

                So, if you’re interested in Food Drive Planning or making Valentines for the Elderly or even visiting the Homeless, go and check out the Key Club in room M305 on Thursday’s B Lunch.

 

Art Field Trip With Ms. Heather Smith

May 28th, 2014
Kaneesha Keemer Enthralled at the Smithsonian

Kaneesha Keemer Enthralled at the Smithsonian

By Lyndsay Larson

Art students selected by Ms. Heather Smith, Art teacher from Huntingtown High who teaches Art & Design, Advanced Drawing & Painting and Sculpture I & II had the opportunity to leave the school premises to go to The Smithsonian Gallery of Art and the National History Museum and experience a series of multicultural and historical pieces.

On April 1, 2014, all the students were shepherded into groups of six and were then given several hours to stroll between museums and visit exquisite art rooms.

Kaitlyn Welsch "Admiring" Ancient Works

Kaitlyn Welsch “Admiring” Ancient Works

Since each group was independent from one another, each of the students had a different take on the whole field trip experience. Each had various perspectives and diverse opinions of what inspired them. One section included the Asian Art Museum or the Freer Gallery of Art.

The pieces were exquisite and allowed the viewer to experience the cultural differences that only Asian history can offer. Kaitlyn Welsh, sophomore, was particularly interested in the intricate designs engraved upon jade, marble and wood that had come from the Song and Yuan dynasties. Some fascinating pieces in particular was the “jewelry” that early Asians from the tenth century BCE would wear. They were marble bracelets, sure to be heavy, that looked like they would be the miniature wheels on a horse-drawn cart back in the Mayan or Aztec time period. It raised many eyebrows among the teenager viewers into questioning why any person would put ten pound worth of rocky marble onto their wrists.

 

An Image Found in Art and Destruction

An Image Found in Art and Destruction

The group traveled across the gravelly and rocky path to another building that contained a newer style that is currently being explored. More abstract and directed towards emotions, this art type is called Art & Destruction. It focused primarily on the artistry that destruction can bring, including the wreckage of hurricanes and the sorrow it has wrought. Other depictions of wreckage was shown in various films ranging from an exploding vase full of flowers to an electric guitar being dragged along asphalt behind a pickup truck making horrendous screeching sounds. Not to mention the ink drawings portraying very gruesome and graphic methods of torture with intricate details of blood and gore.

Although Art and Destruction seemed to give off an aura of ‘evil’, Kanesha Keemer, sophomore, was interested with this section of the museum for how it “spoke” to her. She said enthusiastically, “The Hirshwar was my favorite because on the second floor there was a lot of new and interesting art I was never exposed to. It was different from the usual norm.”

Peacock Displays from the "Peacock Room Comes to America" Exhibition

Peacock Displays from the “Peacock Room Comes to America” Exhibition

Another member of the trip, Freshman Josie Hall, when asked what her favorite part of the museum was, said, “I liked the prints and the peacock room at the Asian Art Museum.” The peacock room definitely was a point of interest. Unique pieces of art imported from Japan included intricate paintings of peacocks upon Asian bookshelves and, the best part, accented with a bit of gold leaf. The room displayed vases, also with complex designs, lining the bookshelves orderly, but artistically.

Vases Seen in the Peacock Room (Flier courtesy of www.asia.si.edu)

Vases Seen in the Peacock Room (Flier courtesy of www.asia.si.edu)

Every year, Ms. Heather Smith and several students put their heads together for new and exciting places to visit and appreciate art. It seems that this year’s selection has proved an excellent choice with exceptional results and reactions from the students. They were genuinely engaged in their interactions with the art and it seems that through this experience, the students have been inspired in their own works for the future.

 

Education Moving Forward

May 6th, 2014

By Chloe O’Dell

Lyndsay Larson signs up for online Hogwarts classes. Picture taken by Chloe O'Dell

Lyndsay Larson signs up for online Hogwarts classes. Picture taken by Chloe O’Dell

This past April, a group of wizards joined together to create a free online Hogwarts Witchcraft and Wizardry school where other wizards and witches (yes, your acceptance letter really must’ve been lost) can enroll for legitimate Hogwarts courses. Classes such as Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, and Transfiguration are provided where people can enroll in their Hogwarts house and turn in assignments and essays based on actual lessons and reading material. Turning a fantasy (but it’s actually reality) world into the most popular technological use creates a new community, a new advance in education, and it’s not only happening with magical folk.

Schools have started introducing online courses for students to enroll. For most students, this becomes convenient, especially in college and high school years when students are working and needing to make money. Online courses tend to be the most popular among college students due to more flexibility, not paying for transportation, and more self-reliant while  working off student loans and being at distance.  Introducing high school and college level courses online could change everything. This is the beginning of shifting away from the traditional education system of real-time classes, to relying on the student in their free time to complete assignments of mastery online, using books and written lectures given to educate themselves.

This seems convenient, but could it possibly damage education and lessen intelligence? There is no definite answer as to which is more productive. Some argue that online is the new innovation, controlling society and used on daily basis currently, so overall should be more productive and student-reliable. However, the other side of the argument stands on the traditional classroom based learning because it is proven that education the traditional way results in growth of people and knowledge of having contact with the fellow students and teachers.

Mr. Morris, an English teacher, is against shifting away from the traditional classroom as he says, “I’m mainly against it because students need that face to face interaction with the teacher. The personal teacher feedback is more essential than online communication. They build the relationship with the student and the student is exposed to social learning and a more broad education than it would be online. Education the traditional way just results in a richer experience for both the teacher and the student. Plus, it’s easier to correct misunderstandings efficiently.”

However, Mr. Weber, our principal, is “very much in favor” of online education. After talking with him for some time, he expresses that he believes students just don’t work the best being stuck in a building for so many hours sitting in a desk. He is in favor of the flexibility that online classes give and believes that individuals have potential to make the alternative way of education successful. He doesn’t support every class being offered online, personal interaction and discussion is essential to learning in some classes. He doesn’t recommend all high school students take online courses because some need the personal interaction more than others, and can’t learn as independently as some. Although some might think our principal would be “old-school” fashioned, having the combination of online and face-to-face is a progressive system of education that he fully supports.

As society progresses in technological advances, many opportunities appear that will benefit the learning of students. We may enter a time where we abandon the traditional classroom learning environment and start adapting to a new online experience for students to learn on their own. As full school subjects are starting to appear online, this begins the opening to a new world of new and progressive learning. But will we be able to get the same out of it as we will stuck in school?

2016 SAT Change?

April 24th, 2014

By Kirsten Niosi

As many seniors, juniors, and even some sophomores at Huntingtown High School prepare for the SAT, they have most likely heard of the plans to majorly change this challenging and demanding standardized assessment in the upcoming years. Since these modifications are scheduled to take place in 2016, it should not impact the upperclassmen, but will transform the way freshmen and incoming students go about the test. But what are these changes and why? As guidance counselor, Mrs. Gall, simply put it, “…we are returning to the 1600 scoring scale. College Board has recognized how difficult these tests are and that most of the time they are not an accurate representation of how a student performs in school.” However, when looking deeper into few details given about the new tests, it is still clear that there is more than meets the eye. These changes are taking place for a variety of new reasons.

According to the Huffington Post, President of the College Board, David Coleman has been “not so forthcoming with concrete details,” about the exact changes. It has been said in a 2012 appearance from Coleman at the Brookings Institution that the test was going to be altered in two main techniques. One of which is making the vocabulary less obscure and more focused on words that are familiar and easily used in everyday conversation. They want to introduce students to words that they can and will use in college life and beyond. This includes discipline-specific language, meaning terms that one would need to know to function in the classes they are going to take. Secondly, there are plans to make the essay section of the SAT optional. Continuing from that, the optional essay will change its format as well. It will become more of a synthesis essay, which is an essay where sources are provided and need to be evaluated and incorporated into the essay. Given that, there is still a vast amount of suspicions arising from officials in higher education that these changes are just as much about the finical aspect as improving the quality of the test. These suspicious come from the fact that if the test modifications were solely based on the examination, at least some changes should have been made by now, yet no progress has been made. With an easier exam, more students will be willing to make an attempt at the test.

While interviewing students around the school about their thoughts on the change, there were a lot of ranging opinions. Some included, “…I wish these changes had been there when I took the test. It doesn’t seem fair to us upperclassmen!” (Senior Nathan Bailey) to “I’m glad the test will be more approachable for the freshmen class and other coming into high school.” (Sophomore Camryn Bittner) While it may have been a shock to students to hear about the alterations to the test, it is not something that is unheard of. The SAT changed its content once in 1994 and again in 2005, so change in 2016 is right on schedule. Even so, there was one question that both sides tended to ask, “How do we prepare?” Well, a little known fact is, David Coleman is also a member of Common Core. He was chosen, along with other members, to write the standards of the curriculum. This results in classes that are more directed towards the material that will be tested on the SAT. Also, according to CNN News, Coleman has plans of releasing more free practice tests and preparation programs to College Board’s Khan Academy. This Academy is designed to help students no matter their level of understanding; there will be lessons starting from the very beginning to the very end. Khan highlighted that the program is “…planning to challenge the existing test prep industry by offering high quality, easily accessible tools.”

Will students "achieve more?"

Will students “achieve more?”

El Nino

February 28th, 2014

By Kirsten Niosi

“Mother Nature may be forgiving this year, or next year, but eventually she’s going to come around and whack you. You’ve got to be prepared.” –Geraldo Rivera

El nino

We have seen all around the world the wonders and the destruction of nature, and it’s safe to say that you can never be completely sure of what is to come next. However, when it comes to the weather, researchers and experts have a way of attempting to predict future weather based on previous patterns. One of the methods used to accomplish this task is through the study of the La Nina and El Nino windstorms. As many of HHS Spanish students know, la niña and el niño are the Spanish words for the young girl/boy, or more traditionally “The Christ Child.” The name of this storm is not coincidently similar to these Spanish words. The name of this phenomenon is credited to a South American fisherman whose reasoning was that the winds begin during Christmas time. But can we credit the crazy cold and snowy winter we are in now to one of them?

Mr. Rigney, HHS science teacher and secret WeatherBug, says that we are currently in the El Nino wind cycle, and it does directly affects us here in Maryland. This is because these winds are associated with the ocean currents. The East and West coast are experiencing the effects of these winds because of their location near either the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. According to NASA, El Nino is scientifically “an abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific” and is a crucial part of the Southern Oscillation. The Southern Oscillation is a pattern of changing the surface air pressure between the eastern and western Pacific. All of this means is that when there is high pressure in the east, there is low pressure in the west. When El Nino is taking place, it is often that the nation can experience massive amounts of snow in the winter, and during the summer, floods and hurricanes in one part of the nation while intense droughts in the other.

However, according to NOAA, “…not all El Nino’s are the same nor does the atmosphere always react in the same way from one El Nino to another.” And for this reason, Earth Scientists are still trying to discover the real cause of the winds and take part in international efforts to understand El Nino events. They can only study patterns of previous years and take into consideration what may happen next. Through their research so far, a crucial piece of information has been discovered. This is that the cold La Niña events sometimes follow El Niño events. What does this have to do with Huntingtown? This means that this cold is possibly here to stay for a while longer. Even when the wetter, snowier El Nino winds leave, the blistering old La Nina winds could be on their way. From this, senior, Nathan Bailey, says, “When I was asked if I knew about the winds, I had no idea what I was being asked. But I decided to look some information up and it turns out if these predictions are right, I’m going be buying winter clothes for WAY longer than I want to!”

Record Freeze is Deadly! (Literally)

January 15th, 2014

by Chloe O’Dell

Monday January 7, 2014, all Calvert County students dread the awful fact that school isn’t delayed or cancelled. Some students think that we should’ve had a delay or cancel. Sophomore Ayla Gurbuz comments, “There was no reason to not have school, since everyone assumed we wouldn’t. However, there were people in the beach areas who lost their power, so I think we should’ve had a delay so they could fix the power and have more time to get ready for school.” A junior added, “I definitely think we should’ve had a delay. I lost power because I live in the beach and it was awful to have to wake up and get ready. I used a flashlight to light up my bathroom in order to get ready. Everything was cold in my home, I went to bed with layers on, and I definitely wasn’t happy to go to school. It was even hard to concentrate because I was worried if I was going to have heat when I got home and I was constantly cold.” Taking a look outside in the crisp morning, the ground is frozen solid, any water turned to ice, waiting for the bus and the air seems to burn your skin, and the weather channels say it is 10 degrees outside, but it really feels like -10. The blast of cold weather is, by far, the strangest weather we’ve experienced yet and taking everyone into practical hibernation. Welcome to 2014.

This arctic-cold air is also unbelievably deadly. Since the cold front, there have been a reported nine deaths throughout the area impacted. “This particular cold is far-reaching, and most of our neighbors are experiencing the extreme conditions we are,” said the executive vice president for operations at PJM Interconnection, Michael Kormos. Along the east coast, the lowest temperature reported was in New York Central Park, reaching 4 degrees Fahrenheit and rising to 9 degrees midday; thanks to the cold breeze, the temperature felt much colder. Cleveland school were closed until Wednesday January 9th and remained below freezing to temperatures at -11 degrees Fahrenheit and breaking a 130-year record. Other state records were broken, ending their over-40 year streak.

Many people faced power outages, and even oil refiners were struck. In Oklahoma, the supply of propane faced a terrible shortage, causing the governor to declare a state of emergency and calling neighboring states to help supply them. Homeless people were brought into shelters to stay warm and alive and were given extra blankets and warm food. A Boston shelter, that usually beds 80, had a full 179 people and the place was insanely packed, but thankfully, the people were safe from the weather.

And if you think going outside at 7 degrees Fahrenheit was bad enough, some literally couldn’t survive the weather. At least 9 deaths have been reported and linked to the blizzard-cold weather and snowstorms in the Midwest. This caused a large number of states to undergo cold weather advisory and wind chill warnings, being the worst it’s been in years. Among the deaths were homeless men and women, spending nights outside in the frigid cold air. Another reported were two men in Westerport, Massachusetts, while duck hunting on Tuesday when their boat capsized, dropping them into a near frozen river. The third man was rescued in time.

Luckily, we just need to get through this week. The blizzard air won’t last much longer. According to AccuWeather.com, this awful weather that impacted Southern Canada and 240 million people in the U.S. will soon be gone and the weather will return to average January weather temperatures. And if you’re a summer lover, just keep your head up for summer, while wearing tons of layers.

Scholarships

January 15th, 2014

by Kirsten Niosi

It has been proven that high school students today are under an immense amount of pressure due to the increasing competition for jobs in a worldwide market. However, most high school students experience even more stress when focusing on a much closer goal; getting into college. Colleges can be very selective and very expensive. Even students with high academic and extracurricular success do not always attend college because they cannot afford the tuition, books, and/or meal plan. However, there are opportunities for all types of students to afford college and further expand their education. Scholarships.com claims that even though it is a common belief that college scholarships and grants are only available to the most active and best test scoring students, it is not true. Scholarship searching websites such as scholarships.com and collegeboard.com offer scholarships for students who are “average”.  “Average” meaning those how obtain 70% or higher grades in all there classes and do not perform several activities in or out of school. There are scholarships for essay writing, adult students, minorities, women, business majors, education majors, journalism majors, and so much more. Many students from high schools all over the world are eligible to apply for these grants but have one major problem. They are not aware that these types of scholarships even exist.

At Huntingtown, the guidance counselors and the assistants are very helpful if you are inquiring information about local scholarships. Guidance counselor, Mrs. Gall, said, “There are many available options in financial aid when it comes to applying to colleges. Here we have an abundance of scholarships but I only see a select group of students take advantage of them. If more students were searching and applying for scholarships, more students would receive them.” If a student wanted to receive the exact requirements for specific scholarships, they would merely have to enter the guidance office and turn to the table on their right. This is where the forms are kept for all the scholarships Huntingtown has information on. There are several chances for students of all kinds even in these scholarships alone. The Burger King Scholars Program offers money to any U.S. citizen that is employed with a GPA of 2.5 or greater. Or even scholarships that require more qualifications such as the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship. However, when it comes to scholarships, the most important things are to be aware of the scholarship and applying yourself. College Board’s Scholarship say that they “offer scholarships, other financial aid and internships from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion.” The opportunities are out there.

Knowing now that there are so many scholarships out there, a question arose. Did Huntingtown adequately prepare and inform students of these scholarships? To find an answer, Senior Taylor Murphy voiced her opinion, “Having spent high school here, I always felt that throughout every grade, guidance was there to help. While it does take a while to make an appointment, if you have a question about anything and everything, they are there to answer it. I had always been aware of the scholarships and websites to discover them.”

Winter Extravaganza

January 15th, 2014

By Hope Louizes

Huntingtown High School is unique from the other four schools in Calvert County for a variety of reasons, one of which being the Winter Extravaganza Concert, performed annually by the performing arts students. In addition to the nightly concert that is put on the week before Winter Break, Huntingtown’s band, orchestra, chorus, and drama departments all join together in a two part performance during the last day of school. This year, the concert took place on 20 December, with the juniors and seniors watching the morning performance and the freshman and sophomore classes attending in the afternoon.

There are many people to thank for this production, but a few most important are the directors of each department involved. Mr. Nauman is in charge of all of the bands at HHS, including the jazz band and our incredibly award-winning marching band. In all of which, every instrument from trombones to trumpets to flutes and drums are collectively coordinated by Mr. Nauman. In the orchestra department, Mrs. Moran conducts her Freshman, Advanced, and Symphony Orchestras in at least eight performances every year, including the State Festival, where the advanced and symphonic orchestras travel to the statewide competition after qualifying at the district level. She also splits her day of instruction between the students at Huntingtown and the students at Northern. The chorus director is Mr. Boyer, a highly qualified performer himself. He also conducts multiple factions, including his award winning chamber choir, the top level singers of Huntingtown High. Last but not least is the theater director, Mr. Anderson. He is the main man in every production Huntingtown puts on, including spring performances of Aida, In the Heights, this year’s upcoming version of Les Miserables, and many more. An anonymous student performer told how fun it the experience was, including how “the overall experience of working with so many people on a common goal helped me meet new friends who like the same things I do.”

The concert itself consisted of individual performances by the chorus, followed by the orchestra, then the band, and finally a short skit by the drama department. Each musical section played a few songs before the skit, which was a comedy that followed the chronicles of a lower class family and the generosity of one policeman at Christmastime. After the individual groups performed, the band, orchestra and chorus all came together to perform three songs, A Vaughan William’s Christmas, We Need A Little Christmas, and a combination of selections from the ever popular holiday movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas (titled The Grinch Medley). Jenna McGuire, a relative watching the shows commented on “how nice it was to see both the separate and combined performances of the student body.”

The entire school came together in one event this season, including the students who worked hard on stage, the administrators who helped put on the show, and the students in the audience, showing support for the year long work their peers put into what they do, truly capturing the solidarity of the population of Huntingtown High School.

Should Standardized Tests be Standard?

January 15th, 2014

by Lyndsay Larson

            As of recently, the United States has become increasingly concerned at the level of IQ’s that a majority of students have. All the competing countries tend to have students with a higher level of understanding and intelligence. Some people feel that the solution lies in extending the school year to year-long school in which summer vacation will only be six weeks and breaks throughout the year would be extended. Many of the students at Huntingtown High School have strong feelings against year-long school. But the problem remains that kids are not taking in as much information as they need to be.

A different possible solution could be to change the testing method. In Japan, top third country, distributes exams that are one-word answers and the student has to come up with the correct answer all on his or her own.

Multiple choice is the standardized testing used in United States and it is questionable whether it really is an effective way to get students to learn the material.

It is possible that if students had to come up with the answers themselves, they would spend a lot more time studying and reviewing the topics given to them before an exam so that the information stuck into their heads much easier for later use.

Erin McPhillips, an eleventh grader who is currently an AP Biolody student, commented, “I think a better way of testing would be to connect the questions to real life applications so that people would be more thoughtful in responding.”

Another eleventh grader, also an AP Biology student, Rachel Cole, added, “I feel that standardized testing is effective only for specific subjects like Math where there is one answer. But for classes like Language or Theater there should be a different method of testing that allows more fluidity and flexibility for students to answer since questions are so abstract.”

Cole certainly has a point. Some questions are based on a matter of opinion and if it is merely multiple choice, they cannot know for sure what input should be given to answer the question. Testing in this other way would allow students to open their minds a little farther onto another level of thinking and could help them connect concepts together into actual creative and applicable substances.

The one drawback to a more thoughtful process of testing would be the time consumption. Students would have to set aside even more time for study, teachers would have a lot more to grade and everything would essentially create a lot more work for everyone. However, other countries do this and somehow are able to manage. The kids are harder workers and in the grand scheme of things, it is more important to help students learn life lessons and become hard working.

The question remains, would ridding the United States of standardize testing and replacing it with a more complex system improve the learning experience to its students or would it hinder their progress?

Autism in High School

January 15th, 2014

by Connor Kimball

Do you know anyone with autism? Do any of them go to school with you? Are a few your classmates? While people may think that they’d never see an autistic child in a public school setting, this is actually fairly common. Autism is a mental disability that can hinder someone socially, verbally, and sometimes locomotively. However, each person is affected differently, so it can be hard to pinpoint. You may not realize it, but you just might have an autistic classmate.

High School is a very active place, full of opportunity and achievement. It is also a place where social function can be important, whether its having friends or speaking in front of a crowd. This is where autistic children can begin to languish. A common characteristic of autism is the inability to make sense of facial expressions, which leads to miscommunication, and a lack of understanding a person’s intent and emotion. This can lead to classmates taking advantage of an autistic child’s inability to know of their intent. Thus, bullying can occur.

Luckily, there are school programs that help these autistic children, with something known as an IEP (Individual Education Program) which are tailored to fit the child’s needs. I used to have an IEP, which consisted of having a Neo, a kind of typing device, and extended time on important tests. The IEP’s benefits differ per person, and provides from a classroom assistant, to getting some sort of object to mess with to help you cool down.

In Huntingtown High, there are two teachers/staff members that deal with these programs. Mrs. Morton, the Senior Vice Principal, and Ms. Cleary, who has a specific class consisted of these children.  Upon speaking with them both, they agree that one major issue found between autistic children are the social interactions that are so vital to high school life.

As you can see, with a socially impairing disability, high school can be a major hindrance, causing great emotional negativity. The inability to socially function is frustrating, and only leads to more and more problems. The best way to help these students is to befriend them, and listen when they speak. Not all autistic children are to have their hands held all throughout life, though. Some need help while others don’t. I fall a bit into the latter, but this is only because of the help I’m getting.

Its sad that not all schools have a program to aid students with autism or IEPs. In these environments, they are usually sent to a school that is specifically tailored to help those who can’t function within a typical high school environment. Another large problem that can occur is caused by having staff meant to aid these students, but are not made aware of how. This can lead to, for example, putting a child inside a bag to calm him/her down. Or even put into an empty, quiet room and held there against their own will.

As you can imagine, getting children under control using those methods typically ends in a lawsuit, as it can cause traumatic damage to the child. While this may not seem like something that someone would get traumatized over, but for children with Autism or other learning disorders, being stuck into a bag or forced into an empty room without leave can be very, very disturbing.

Thankfully for us, the staff and teachers that deal with these students know exactly how to handle these students and keep them under control. This allows our students to go through their normal classes and clubs without needing assistance from teachers and/or other adults.