Category: Features

Hammond’s “Bump It Up” Initiative

By Zahraa Aslam

Staff Writer

 Alternative Learning Program Coordinator, Mr. Hawkins, created an event called “Bump It Up.” This event allowed students to come to school and talk to their teachers, giving them an opportunity to communicate about ways to improve their grades.

Mr. Hawkins explains the event as, “An opportunity for a few different things. Bringing grades up…teachers are available to help students with their issues. Another thing [is that] it helps the relationship between staff and parents and gives us an opportunity to communicate with parents and talk about expectations. It also betters the relationship between student and teacher.” 

 He continued as he talked about what the first bump it up event was like: “It was intense. A lot of students were working, and teachers were helping students…everyone was busy for 3 hours. A lot of students bumped up their grade. Some teachers said it was their first opportunity to work one-on-one and meet with students.”

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Classes You Might Not Know About

By Joseph Lee

Staff Writer

Pictured above: Combined Music Tech and Musical Theatre GT students hard at work

A student’s school schedule is an important part of their high school experience. This is how most student days are spent during the school year, to learn and to interact with others. There are various classes Hammond offers that aim to reach the wide array of interests the student body has.

With most schedules consisting of seven classes, however, more than half of that is usually taken up by the required courses needed to graduate. This allows for a lesser chance to fit in all the electives a student might be interested in. 

The wide range of electives offered can be great in the fact that there are more available classes for students’ different interest, but it also ends up filtering more popular electives at the forefront. A lot of students don’t know about the different classes offered at Hammond like our Speech, Music Tech, and Women’s Studies classes. 

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Ms. Barlow: The Definition of a Golden Bear

As the 2021 Teacher of the Year prepares to retire, we look back on her 42 years teaching at Hammond.

By Marissa Yelenik and Sarah Meklir

Online Editor and Managing Editor

Pictured above: Seniors Georgia Briggs and Ama Stott surprise Ms. Barlow with Hammond’s 2021 Teacher of the Year award (left to right: Georgia Briggs, Ms. Barlow, Ama Stott).

A constant force for good at Hammond, Ms. Barlow has been teaching here for 42 years. This year, she was awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the 2021 senior class in honor of her immense impact on students and her love for teaching and Hammond. She will begin a well-deserved retirement at the end of this school year. 

The award itself was a surprise to Ms. Barlow, who didn’t expect the honor for herself. She reflected on the moment it was awarded to her, detailing the events as she sat in her classroom in the Villa, the new name for the set of portables the social studies department is in this year. “Mr. Dunlap was marching down the hall with the band playing Sweet Caroline and I thought “What’s he doing in the Villa?” I thought he had gotten lost for band practice and they were supposed to go to the field. I was just really surprised and really honored that I had gotten that award.”

With all of her years of teaching under her belt, Ms. Barlow is a wealth of knowledge regarding Hammond’s history and the changes that have taken place. She reflected on her years, saying “There have been lots of different experiences here, but it’s been great to be at one school and see what it’s been like for this long. I haven’t changed schools, it’s this school that’s changed while I’ve been here.”

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A Preview of this Year’s Culture Fest

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

Hammond’s Culture Fest 2019

Hammond is still making attempts to hold true to traditions even in the online school setting. Culture Fest, a cultural showcase event that usually takes place in early spring, is moving online this year as well. This year’s Culture Fest is a completely different approach to what Hammond has been used to in previous years. In prior years, it was a two-day event, with a potluck dinner the night before and in school the next day, a showcase of poster boards, cultural attire, dances, and more. But, for the 2020-2021 school year, things had to be adjusted.

“We are hoping to have students submit pictures and videos,” Hammond Spanish teacher Ms. Hart says. “Our goal is to take those submissions and put them into a slideshow.”

In terms of submissions, they are looking for different displays of culture from students and staff. That includes videos, music, dancing, pictures, recipes, interesting information, and more along those lines. Ms. Hart has coordinated Hammond’s Culture Fest in previous years and has been trying to get more students to participate in the event this year as well. However, there have been a limited number of people reaching out. 

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Refugee Resettlement and Acceptance: A Roundtable Discussion with Former International Rescue Committee President, George Rupp

Pictured Above: Ngun Par, Andrew Oh, and Helen Sgouros having a discussion with former IRC President George Rupp

By Uma Ribeiro


On March 27th, Hammond junior class SGA president Ngun Par was part of a discussion with former president of the International Rescue Committee (from 2002-2013) and current visiting scholar and adjunct professor at Columbia University, George Rupp, through a Zoom video call. Par, who escaped the Burmese military and immigrated to the United States as a refugee, has personal experience with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The organization helped her family immigrate to the United States in November 2007. 

Par is one of the Executive Directors of the English Kids to Kids and Bridging Cultures (EK2KBC) program. She, as well as volunteer Andrew Oh and mentor and EK2KBC co-founder Helen Sgouros, had the opportunity to ask Rupp questions about his personal experiences which led to his work helping refugees. They discussed their personal experiences as well. Given the current situation in Myanmar, in which the military is brutally killing peaceful protesters following the sudden military coup, the discussion Par, Oh, and Sgouros had with Rupp is more relevant than ever. 

The three of them discussed Rupp’s time working as president of the IRC (which is a partner of EK2KBC) in an interview that was just over an hour long. The two highly-accomplished high school students and mentor Helen Sgouros engaged in a lively discussion with George Rupp. Outlined below are the contents of the conversation: 

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Ingenuity Takes Flight on Mars

By Daniel Mapemba

Staff Writer

The Mars rover, Perseverance, landing safely on Mars on February 18 this year was a momentous occasion. Arguably the detachment and subsequent flight of its 19-inch piggy-backing helicopter, Ingenuity, was an even more exciting event. On April 3, the helicopter was deployed (detached), and on April 19 the copter took to the Martian skies, hovering three meters in the air for approximately 30 seconds. Live-streaming video to NASA three hours later confirmed Ingenuity’s success. The flight was power-controlled from sonar panels on the back of the Perseverance rover. The flight provided data on the differences in gravitational force between Mars and Earth (one-third of Earth’s) and the atmospheric conditions on Mars.

NASA explained, “This means there are relatively few air molecules with which Ingenuity’s two 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades can interact to achieve flight.” Ingenuity is made up from unique parts that were tested by this flight to see if it can hold up in space.

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A Closer Look at Hammond’s Project Linus Chapter

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

A Project Linus meeting from the 2020-2021 school year

Hammond’s Project Linus chapter is a club dedicated to not only community service, but also to building friendships and camaraderie. Meetings, which occur over Google Meet every Tuesday at 3 pm, are a safe and comfortable space for Hammond students to come and engage in various discussions or activities.

“People don’t really understand that we don’t want to just be the club that can get you some quick service hours,” senior Feben Abiy says. “We essentially want to be a place for students to just vent and be creative; sometimes we watch shows/movies, give each other advice, or just encourage people to come and socialize.”

Feben is the president of Project Linus this year and shares insights into how the club has had to change due to the new virtual environment.

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Hammond’s Online Opportunities: A Guide for Students

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

Hammond High School on Twitter: "Golden Bears: what is One Thing you can do  today to show your commitment to your academic goals? #OneThingWednesday"
Image Source: Hammond High School Twitter

This online school year has provided unique opportunities for students to engage with their teachers and peers from home. There are so many ways to stay active with clubs or even get extra help with academics all using Google Meet. 

“I’ve participated in the Afterschool Tutoring program three times this year, one of them as a tutor,” says senior Jac’ey Wynn-Ogunbode. “All three times were for one subject and I would rate it as effective. I got one-on-one support and ample time to ask questions.”

Even though the opportunities are available, it doesn’t seem like many students are reaching out and taking advantage of them. With the Afterschool Tutoring program in particular, there are times when few students are in attendance.

“Not many students attended the support session. There were 2-4 students at most whenever I went, but I can’t complain because I got a chance to learn and practice problems in a small environment,” Jac’ey adds.

No matter the reason why many students aren’t coming, it’s still important to get the word out for those who are interested in coming in after afterschool for any reason. Thus, here are some of the ways for students to receive help or engage with the Hammond Community with the click of a button:

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Snowfall in Howard County: Is it all we hoped for?

Maryland Sees First Major Snow Of Season – CBS Baltimore

Image Source: CBS Baltimore

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

When it comes to winters here in Maryland, the average winter temperature hasn’t changed much in the last five years, but the same can’t be said when thinking about snow. This season, the amount of snowfall has surpassed the total amount that we received in Maryland last winter. It was a pretty low bar to beat, seeing as how last year’s total was 1.8 inches. An amount like that has only been seen twice since the year 1973.

For those who love snow, hearing that we are well into a snowy winter this year is good news. 

“I’ve enjoyed the snowfall. It provides a nice change of scenery,” senior Jac’ey Wynn-Ogunbode says. “These are unprecedented times, so it’s nice to feel ‘normal’ and curl up with some hot chocolate while watching the snow.”

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Looking Towards a “Post-Corona” Future

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

Comment: Law firm leaders already know a lot about the post-Corona world  but dare they take advantage? - Legal Business

Image Source:

If you have been alive for the last 10 months, at some point, you have probably heard the words:

“Once COVID is over…” followed by some kind of expectation for the far and distant future. This phrase arose in those first few weeks of March before it was known that the two-week vacation from school would turn into a year-long one. At that point, there was still the hope that life would return to normal; these days, that hope is pretty hard to come by. 

“I feel like it’s going to take a while to get back to completely normal,” senior Katie Mason says. “Some people are still gonna be paranoid about it for years, which is understandable.”

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