Wednesday, December 16, 2009

America's Next Top Blogger - Week Two Winner - Kyle Holley

This week, America's Next Top Blogger asked students to write about an issue of concern in their communities. We received some incredibly insightful submissions, with eclectic topics ranging from homelessness to neighborhood cleanliness, from poverty to health reform. The winner, however, really moved us with his poignant and eloquent account of the cycle of violence is his community. This week's winner is junior Kyle Holley. His exposition is reprinted below:

A seemingly ever present issue in my community of Southeast D.C. is the violence and sense of security in that of its residents. People that have been residents of the area for years even don't seem necessarily comfortable in the places they reside. Violence takes place on an almost daily basis in my area; so much so it is almost seen as the normal or accepted. This is an issue plaguing our community whether people see it or not. "Home" is supposed to be a place comfort and peace, not paranoia and fright.
Though there have been a number of events to improve the community by way of children services, jobs and things that raise the spirits of its residents, nothing has been done to "increase the peace" by the residents! It may sound a bit cliche, but at days end, when I enter my community I want to be able to say, "There's no place like home" and mean it. If I could suggest a solution to the problem, I would tell the residents not to shy away from the issue but embrace it for what it is. Because the truth of the matter is, no one will involve themselves in an issue that's being ignored!

Be on the lookout for our next winner when we come back in 2010. After two weeks of blogging, Nadean Talley and Kyle Holley have each received one nomination. The first student to earn three nominations will be named America's Next Top Blogger. Keep those submissions flying off the presses and you could find yourself crowned top student blogger.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

warriors win! warriors win! warriors win!

At the end of the first quarter of each of the first three Warrior games, the scoreboard looked vastly different. After one quarter on Homecoming Friday, the Warriors were locked in a tight battle in a boys basketball game against Maya Angelou (Shaw). On Tuesday, the first eight minutes left the girls down six. And just Thursday, fans in our new gym saw a scoreboard reading Home: 28 Visitor: 2 at the end of one. Basketball games, however, are a full four quarters.  And at the end of four quarters in each of these games, the result was the same: Warriors Win. Here's a closer look at the Warriors undefeated start:

Friday, December 4
TMA 59 - Maya Angelou 51 (Boys)
The first game of the season was an instant classic, with the capacity crowd storming the court after the final horn. James Trice led all scorers with 27 points and made 13 of 16 free throws, including his final ten in a row. Rayvon Sorrell and Tim Raynor provided a spark off the bench and point guard Evan Mabry added seven points and three assists.

Tuesday, December 8
TMA 33 - Cesar Chavez 25 (Girls)
This one looked to be all Chavez at first. They pressured the ball well, converted on the other end, and for one quarter did not give the Lady Warriors a clear look at the basket. In the second quarter, however, T.M.A. switched into a new gear. Led by Ni'Asia Bond's relentless defense and the poise of Chelsea Tesheira, the Warriors went into half time with a 21-17 lead and never looked back. Six Warriors scored in all, with Chanae Watson, Raynyl Cox, Ya'Vondai Covington, and Shatericka Turman joining Bond and Tesheira in the books. It was truly a team effort and a phenomenal comeback victory.

Thursday, December 10
TMA 71 - Young America Works 34
In this contest, the Warriors simply proved to be too much for the Trailblazers to handle. The frontcourt of Mark Greene, Josh Crawford, and Aris Morrison controlled the game from the opening tip and James Trice continued his hot shooting, scoring 17 in the first quarter. The Warriors got significant contributions off the bench again with Stephon Proctor, Matt Thomas, and Jordan Burns all logging valuable minutes.

We'll keep you posted throughout the season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ADL Peer Training Night

This past Tuesday, 5 students dedicated to spreading a message of tolerance, inclusion and diversity traveled to the Rayburn Building of the House of Representitives to lead a group of young professionals in a variety of eye-opening activities. The program, under the direction of the Anti-Defamation League's A World of Difference, aims to highlight diversity among a group of individuals while still showing the more unexpected commonalities among that same group.

TMA's own Abdi Hashi, Justine Kelly, Deycha Robinson, India Young and Malek Latney led the group of about 30 young professionals wonderfully. Their poised direction helped the group confront deep and complex issues regarding bias, prejudice, fear and individuality. Everyone came away from the night with a reinvigorated sense of hope; that while bias is universal, thoughtful reflection and concerted action can help make our communities more tolerant. One of the young professionals summed up the evening best: "I came skeptical. I leave hopeful."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Homecoming Recap!

This past weekend, the TMA community wrapped up the week-long celebration of our first homecoming. And, as student India Young demonstrates above, we were fired up. After a week's worth of dress up days including pajama day, decades day, twin day and Mache Chase's personal favorite, mismatch day, we came together in our new gym to hold our first-ever pep rally.

Student hip-hop group 4Ever Martian kicked off the pep rally which went on to include class cheers, spirited introductions to the TMA athletic teams (see coaches Edge and Preston, left), class competitions, and performances by our fantastic pep squad and cheerleading team. Things concluded with the first public performance by TMA's own Go-Go band, M.u.B.

After returning to school and academics for an hour or so, the students came back to the gym for a ribbon cutting ceremony officially commemorating the grand opening of our new gym. Former Mayor Williams graced us with his presence and former Mayor Barry even gave a hand with those GIGANTIC scissors.

At 5:00, the boys basketball team took the stage for our first-ever home basketball game. Somehow the cheerleading team, after being on call all day and performing twice already, found the energy to cheer hard all game AND perform during the halftime show. I won't give away the details of the game; we'll keep you updated when we post our end of the week sports recap.

On Saturday after a long and joyous Friday we once again gathered in the gym to host our first annual Homecoming dance. Students came dressed to the nines and ready to get down to not one, but two live bands AND a DJ. All in all, it was a great way to cap an already amazing week of events. We came together, reflected, celebrated one another, and at the end of the day grew as a community. Needless to say, we'll all be looking forward to Homecoming 2010.

Who Rocks the House?

Last Friday, as part of our 2009 homecoming festivities, the TMA Cheerleaders showed off an incredible routine. We'll have a homecoming recap up soon, but for now stand up and cheer along with this:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ten Questions,Two Minutes. Homecoming Edition

Check out the inaugural episode of a new weekly feature here at The Other 17 Hours: TMA, Ten Questions, Two Minutes. This weeks guest: senior Mache Chase. We would love to hear your ideas about new topics for upcoming episodes, feel free to post them in the comment section. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A conversation with debate team member Tamara Johnson

After an award-winning inaugural season (being celebrated by Markus Batchelor and Demetrius Suggs in the picture above), the TMA debate team is back at it.  The November debate featured a revamped team with Brittany McGhee and Markieta Johnson making their debuts.  In the competition, Tamara Johnson placed 5th overall.  Recently I had a chance to sit down with the one-and-only Tamara, and here are some of her thoughts:
On her favorite topic from last year...
We have so many topics each year, but the one that really stuck with me was the debate about whether all high school students should be required to get the HPV vaccine.  Since we have to be ready to argue both sides we get to view the topic in two different ways.  I support not taking the vaccine, but [in the debate] I had to argue that taking it was beneficial.

On how debate is preparing her for college...
Debate consists of reasoning and argumentation and college papers will require that.  For example, I take Philosophy at Trinity College and it connects to debate a lot.

On debate preparation...
After we get the topic, the team as a whole goes over the history and the background.  We develop arguments, do research and find evidence to support each side.

On her secret to success...
I try to remember all of the feedback that I get and keep or enhance the things that the judges thought were really good.  However, understanding the argument is also key.
Last season, Tamara was recognized as the top debater in the DC Urban Debate League.  We are so proud of her and the entire debate team.  This year's team members are Demetrius Suggs, Tamara Johnson, Markieta Johnson, Deycha Robinson, Brittany McGhee, Seren Snow,  and Brian Crawford. We'll keep you posted on their success throughout the year.

Students at Patuxent get a full hour for lunch!

Over the weekend, the Washington Post featured an article about a school that gives students a full 60 minutes for lunch time. And it got me to thinking. Should TMA consider some variation of an extended lunch? The image of the girl above was taken during her lunch period!  And it's not all study sessions:
"Students lounge in hallways and classrooms with sack lunches and trays of food. They play Frisbee, get dating advice from teachers, hold club meetings, cram for afternoon quizzes, play video games or catch up on sleep."
How exciting to think about an entire school spending the middle of the day engaged in clubs, homework, and relaxation.

But of course, it's not that easy. Our lunch periods are carefully crafted so that all 385 students have a chance to eat in the cafeteria. The academic rigor at our school demands that every minute of available class time be used effectively. And major changes like this rarely happen without significant support.

If you have a minute, read the article and let us know what you think. Should we have one huge lunch period? Students - if we had an hour for lunch, how would you use it? Would you be willing to extend the school day in order to have a longer lunch?