Category: Features

Easing Up on the Code: Students Welcome New Year Changes

By Chinaza Ezeh

Staff Writer

The beginning of the 2019-2020 school year was brought in with a significant new change: major revisions to the Howard County Public School System dress code.

For the past ten years, the dress code remained the same. Now, the new code states: “Students are permitted to wear: Hats, hoods and headwear […] Tank tops, including spaghetti straps, halter tops, and strapless tops” (HCPSS Student Code of Conduct 2019-2020). The biggest grievances that were outlined in the former dress code were the prohibition of tank tops; halter tops; tops that are strapless, hats, and hoods (HCPSS Student Code of Conduct). Despite these clothing outlines being clearly stated in the dress code, the guidelines were broken on an almost daily basis by a number of students. 

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Seniors Ali Khalid and Jidechi Eluchie exercising their rights as outlined in the new dress code. Photo Credit Bear Press.

Senior Bhumi Patel, who has attended Hammond High School since her freshman year, has observed over the years that the “original dress code was not being followed at all.”  She believes that the new dress code has “helped people just do what they originally did without getting in trouble […] No one really cares.” The lack of adherence to the dress code is a significant reason that Patel believes the dress code was changed in the first place.

One student who had personal issues with the former dress code is junior Jasmine Britt. She stated that before the change, the only way it impacted her was “whether or not I decided to bring a jacket to school [to cover my shoulders].” Now, that is no longer something she has to deal with, which she appreciates, due to her limited clothing options in other areas of her life. “I have so many outfits that I can’t wear because I have to go to work, and that [requires] uniform,” Britt shared, “So, school is the only place I can really express my clothing choices.”

One big question among certain students is why it took so long to finally bring about a new dress code. Junior Makayla Laurents shared her thoughts on the subject, stating that one of the reasons she believed it took so long for the dress code to be updated because of men. “My dad gave me this speech, like, if you wear [a certain] outfit then you’re going to be [harassed].” She believes if this was not a concern, the dress code would have looked different a long time ago.

When asked if the new dress code would impact the way she dressed for school, Patel responded that “her [personal] dress code originally fitted the old dress code.” However, other students do not feel the same way. A prime example is senior Ali Khalid, who has also attended Hammond High School for all four years of his high school experience. “I like to wear hats and caps, but because of the dress code I was often told to take them off. Now, with the new dress code, I’m allowed to wear these things. So honestly, I’m happy with it.” It is safe to say that the rest of the Hammond student community is just as happy with the change as well.

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Creating a Safe Space for Everyone: Hammond’s New All-Gender Restroom

By Anna Taché

Editorials Editor

It’s a new year, and Hammond has lots of changes. A large freshman class, new sports coaches, more crowding in hallways, etc. Hammond also has another change that has peaked the attention of many: a new gender-neutral bathroom. Hammond’s new “all-gender” restroom, which now replaces the former boys’ bathroom situated near Mrs. Osborne’s room, has already created a bit of controversy within the time that school has been in session. Some people believe that a gender-neutral restroom could cause issues with both boys and girls using the bathroom at the same time, while others believe that it is a necessary accommodation for nonbinary and trans students. 

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Photo Courtesy of The Bear Press

The gender-neutral restroom was originally created for nonbinary and trans students who don’t feel comfortable using bathrooms that are for the gender that they don’t identify with. 

But to some students, that meaning has become misconstrued. Some students feel uncomfortable using that restroom, due to the fact that different genders can use the bathroom at the same time. “I think that I wouldn’t be comfortable using the bathroom because both boys and girls can use it,” says Junior Han Le. “One of my family members here at school used it, and they said it was bad.” 

Although some students aren’t very comfortable with the gender-neutral bathroom, others are very supportive of the bathroom, like Junior Iman Tura. “We have a lot of nonbinary and non-gender conforming students that go to Hammond that should have access to a bathroom that they feel comfortable using.” Another supporter of the all-gender restroom is Senior Liya Kebede. “I feel that it’ll have a positive impact on those who have been waiting for a bathroom like this, or even a space like this, where they can feel safe, and that they don’t have to double-think about which bathroom they’re quote-unquote ‘supposed’ to use,” says Kebede. Although she is supportive of the bathroom, she still worries about the treatment and use of the bathroom, stating that she “think[s]that there are some people at Hammond who may take advantage of the fact that it’s an all-gender restroom.”

Overall, many students at Hammond are supportive of the new all-gender restroom, but they still have their worries. In order for the bathroom to be used in the way that it was originally intended to be, it should be publicized more as a restroom where nonbinary and trans people can feel safe. 

Origen Grear: A Hammond Treasure

By: Brian Paul

Sports Editor

Dear Hammond High, we have a new state champion. Junior tennis player Origen Grear defeated the best of the best high school tennis players. After becoming the champion of the South region, facing competition from other Howard County schools such as Marriotts Ridge, River Hill, and Oakland Mills, Origen went on to the state tournament, facing other regional tennis champions across the state of Maryland. He defeated three champions in the tournament, making his goal of becoming the state champion a reality. The Bear Press recently caught up with Origen in order to discuss his emotions about his amazing accomplishment.

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Photo Credit: Tim Schwartz/Baltimore Sun

Origen stated that the biggest contributor to his success was his brother, Trinity, who is also an outstanding tennis player. Origen commented that his brother is able to push him in training, which in turn makes him a better player, saying, “He’s always training with me, pushing me, so that I can be the best player possible…”

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Hammond Provides Opportunities for Students With Special Needs

Claire O’Rourke

Features Editor

Hammond has long been providing opportunities for its students with special needs, but for the 2018-2019 school year, educators and students have worked together to expand the opportunities that are offered.

This school year has seen the return of the well-loved Best Buddies program, along with additions of brand new opportunities for students with special needs like the Book Buddies program and the ALS Coffee Delivery Service.

Best Buddies, a club where students in special education programs can meet with fellow Hammond students and participate in fun thematic activities, started a new chapter this year that proved to be the club’s revival. After a few years of the club’s absence, Senior Katie Rees saw a chance for the club to come back, and quickly sprung into action.

“I saw a huge need for it. There are a ton of incredible students with special needs at Hammond, and a ton of people I know are very interested in being friends, so I think what we needed was a space where we could all be together and just have fun and make friendships, so I wanted to be a part of that—to initiate that,” Rees shared.

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Writer’s League Offers a Space to Create

ByAmanda Weirich
Staff Writer

Hammond Writer’s League is a private and safe space to write for students interested in free and creative writing. The club is run by President Ian Pinkerton and Vice President Claire O’Rourke after school from 2:10 to 3:15 in Ms. Isch’s room.

O’Rourke’s dream is to become a novelist and write young adult novels. She believes that Hammond Writers League is the best way to write what you enjoy and pursue any writing dreams you may have. According to O’Rourke, Writer’s League’s normal routine is to come in and have a snack and follow the prompt on the board. They usually have thirty minutes of writing time, and at the end they all share.

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All About Facial Recognition

By: Amina Jamil
Managing Editor
We all have heard of the new iPhone X, and its’ most prominent feature: facial recognition. Users are able to use facial recognition to unlock their phones and even to use Apple pay. But, how exactly does facial recognition work? What even is facial recognition? It is a relatively new technology, so there are still some unknown aspects to it, but the overall software is simple.
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Reflecting on The Trip of a Lifetime

By: Caitlin Pettengill
Staff Writer

A  dedicated group of Hammond High School teachers organized a trip to England, Ireland, Wales, and France for HCPSS students for the Spring of 2017. I was disappointed when I first saw the itinerary and noticed that we were spending the most time in Ireland.
It’s not that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Ireland, I’d just heard so many amazing things from people who had been to London and Paris and would have rather maximized my time at those European landmarks. Regardless, I was quick to sign up the day Educational
Foundation opened our trip. Continue reading