By: Chris Parris
The COVID-19 pandemic has been responsible for shutting down many locations within the past two months; malls, restaurants, businesses, and schools. For Hammond High School and other schools in Maryland, the last time we had regular classes was on March 13th. Everybody left school that day with the mindset that life was going to resume within a few weeks. But that wasn’t the case. School has been canceled for the rest of the academic year and all classes are now virtual.
By Emma Terry
Being stuck at home during the COVID-19 outbreak has brought a lot of stress upon our whole country for a various number of reasons. Although this is a hard time for everyone, it is important to stay productive and occupied. Many Hammond High School students have found different activities, other than watching Netflix or playing video games, that have made their quarantine more enjoyable. If fighting the urge to stay in bed and binge-watch a show has been hard, try a few of these fun activities to make quarantine less overwhelming and bothersome.
Other than making sure schoolwork is finished, staying active is a top priority. For example, taking a walk along local trails is an easy and fun way to stay in shape along with getting fresh air. Additionally, with sports programs being canceled, many travel and club teams have sent out at-home workouts. Even Hammond High School coaches have been ensuring that their teams are just as ready as they would be for their next season. Anne Corey, the Hammond High School varsity volleyball coach, has been emailing at-home conditioning routines weekly for all three of the volleyball teams to use to stay in shape. Brenna Reilly, who is a part of the Hammond volleyball team, has used the workouts to continue to be prepared for their fall season. Brenna states that “they are really helpful and some of them are things that we have done in practice.” Other than what coaches are sending out, YouTube has a wide variety of at-home workout videos ranging in skill level. It is highly encouraged to keep your body moving and healthy at this time, so find something active to keep yourself busy!
By: Jenna Kreh and Emma Terry
This 2019-2020 school year, two Hammond students have taken the initiative to start a new club. The goal of this club is for students to learn American Sign Language, a program that had the potential to become a class, but failed to find a teacher and therefore is not offered here at Hammond. This group meets every Wednesday after school in room 517, currently Mrs. Jones’ room, to go over the basics of sign language. It is a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests and learn something new!
This club was created by Sarah England, who is not fluent in ASL, but expressed an interest in it and wanted to make it more accessible to others. “I learned over the summer that they weren’t offering an ASL class at the school- they couldn’t get a teacher- and I knew a lot of people were interested in it,” Sarah explained. “They had enough people to start a class, so I wanted to start a club.” Sarah’s interest in the subject stemmed from the large differences between ASL and other languages. “You don’t realize how different American Sign Language is- it’s completely different from English- and it interested me so much and I wanted to kind of share that.”
While Sarah took an interest in the subject without a specific connection to the language, another student, Ayo Aina, did have a connection. Ayo has deaf or hard of hearing parents, leading to him learning the language and becoming fluent. Because of this, Ayo teaches the club at Hammond, and he and Sarah work together to coordinate the class.
This club is open to all students at Hammond who are interested. One student, Joseph Lee, currently has a job as a cashier and realized that learning sign language would help to improve his work experience when communicating with those that cannot speak. For these reasons, Joseph thought he would give the ASL club a try. “I decided to join because I thought it would be cool to learn about what to do in a situation where deaf or hard of hearing people can’t speak and come into a place like Starbucks,” he said. “It makes their day if the cashier knows how to sign back to them.” He also added that the club is relaxed and fun, without the stress of the class. He encouraged others to join, saying, “It’s a cool way to meet new people, and to be able to learn together when it is something that you have an interest in rather than it being mandatory like how Spanish and French are in school.”
The club is fairly new to Hammond, so there have not been many meetings so far, but Joseph has already had a very positive experience. “The two meetings so far have been where we all come in and sit down while Sarah and Ayo lead the class and go over what we learned last class and then start teaching basic ASL words and terms.” It is very low-key and fun, and there is no pressure to learn at a certain pace, creating a welcoming working environment for all students.
Hammond loves to see students taking their own initiative to start something they are passionate about, and Sarah and Ayo have done just that. It is amazing to see such passion in our students, and Hammond encourages you to find your passion and pursue it. And who knows- maybe its sign language! So come check out the ASL club next Wednesday in room 517!
By: Sydney Phillips
The topic of food controversies has been a very present topic in our society today. With the rise of social media, these conversations about food have become headlines, and we are seeing more and more of them everyday. There are many people who form strong arguments about these food controversies, and it can cause a lot of turmoil on the Internet.
One of the most popular food controversies, pineapple on pizza, has been addressed everywhere we go. When we asked whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza, 61% of those who voted on our Instagram page said that pineapple does not belong on pizza. When on the Internet, you can see all sorts of articles and heated debates about why pineapple belongs on pizza, or vice versa. I believe that pineapple does belong on pizza, because of the savory taste of the pizza alone, and the sweet taste of the pineapple on top. When you combine sweet and savory, you get an explosion of flavor in your mouth, therefore making pineapple on pizza a delicious concept.
By: Isabel Berry
At Hammond, there are many students that work hard to clean up our school and our environment. Hammond’s Green Team is composed of students from all grades, and they strive to educate people in the community on how to be environmentally friendly.
Green Team is led by Ms. Niland and Ms. Cotton, as well as senior Katie Marshall. Green Team is one of Hammond’s lesser known clubs, so when asked to describe it, senior Olivia Reed stated, “It’s a fun way to make friends and help the environment.” Green Team, like many Hammond clubs, seems like a great place to meet new people and do something productive in the process.
Photo Credits: Ms. Du Puis
By: Julia Moyer
Living Our Motto (LOM) is a new initiative at Hammond that started at the end of last school year by students and staff. Our school’s motto is “Where People are Important.” Recognizing that Hammond is a very diverse school in not only race and ethnicity but also belief systems, abilities, and more, LOM’s goal is, “ to move Hammond as close as we can to a place where that motto actually is a reality for every person who walks through our doors,” said Danielle Dunn, a staff advisor of LOM.
Photo Credit Julia Moyer
LOM was created after student discussions occurred both within and outside of Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) about targeted bullying and judgement that has been going on within the school. “I think overall Hammond is pretty good but there is still a little bit that is happening for certain groups. Recognizing that, we wanted to do something about it, we needed to make some changes,” Dunn said.
LOM had two work group sessions over the summer to conduct the starting steps. The first step was to create and mission statement and identify what the goals of the team were. Living Our Motto’s mission statement is
To make everyone of how they identify themselves along with their abilities and disabilities, so that everyone feels equal and safe in order to create a diverse and welcoming community.
Student member Sydney Finger, a current junior says,” we are still developing it so over the next couple of years it’s going to get better and better. This is the first year doing it so it’s about getting our ideas together.”
LOM has many ideas for activities to bring people together as a Hammond community and potentially reduce bullying. First are acceptance days, “a day one per month about embracing different cultures and groups,” Finger said. Some examples of acceptance days include pride day, religion day, autism awareness day, and language day. On these days, “we are going to work with teachers and just have different things going on that builds some awareness around [the focus]…so in class you might talk about different religions,” Dunn says. The ultimate goal “is to celebrate some of the richness and diversity that is here,” she adds.
In addition to cultural awareness on acceptance days, LOM will host games at lunch. “We are all very excited about game day!,” Finger says, “different tables will have different games so people can come together and play together and that will help them bond and get to know each other.”
A student member, junior Rachel Osei says the goal of LOM is to “open more opportunities for students, grow stronger connections with teachers and students and increase the love and value for the school by students.”
The Living Our Motto team hopes to make its goals a reality at Hammond in the coming years. More information about their initiatives will be forthcoming during Beartime on September 25th. If anyone is interested in joining, contact Ms. Dunn. LOM welcomes new members or anyone that would like to provide information and opinions to them.
By: Ekene Ezeh
On September 25th, students in Ms. DuPuis Video Production class, Ms. Lovaas’ AP US History class and Mr Livieratos’ AP Government class, are going to the Flight 93 memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. On September 11th, 2001 the passengers on Flight 93 crashed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania. The terrorists hijacked the plane with the intention of crashing the flight into building. The target of the plane was unknown. To honor the bravery of the passengers, a memorial was built on the sight of crash. On September 24th, 2002, congress passed the Flight 93 National Memorial Act. To ensure that the Flight 93 memorial would be built Congress passed this act.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The memorial is very important for students to go see. Many students today grow up in a post 9/11 world and they don’t know what happened. Ms. Lovass agreed with this point saying, “At this point, my students were either newborns or not alive during September 11, 2001. When we discuss 9/11 in class, to many, it is a historical event.”
Many students today don’t have a personal connection to 9/11. Most students were not born when the attacks took place. So when 9/11 comes up in class many people just look at it like date on a timeline. But 9/11 is bigger than just a date. But what is even bigger are the passengers on Flight 93. It is a story of heroism that many people don’t get to hear. “Many students have had the ability to visit the New York memorials,” Ms. Lovaas said, “but not this memorial, even though it’s closer.” Students don’t truly hear the story of Flight 93 the way they hear the other stories about 9/11. Because of this students tend to not understand courage that these passengers had during the attacks. They don’t seem to have a full understanding of the bravery and the impact Flight 93 has on them today. But this field trip can give students a greater appreciation for the passengers and how they have affected their lives today.
9/11 may have happened eighteen years ago, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t remember those who have fallen in during 9/11. There are many ways that we as community can honor those who died during 9/11. The Flight 93 memorial field trip is one way that the men and women who died in the terrorist attacks can be honored. When asked how the victims can be honored Ms. Lovaas suggested, “I think all people can look at what happened on Flight 93 and be inspired to make small changes in their everyday life:” She said, “small acts of kindness can go a long way to honor those who gave their lives to ensure other people were saved.” Treating others with kindness will go a long way to making our world better. If we treat people around us with respect and dignity we can not only honor the people who died in 9/11 but, prevent another attack of that magnitude from happening again.
By Chinaza Ezeh
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.
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.
By Anna Taché
It’s a new year, and Hammond has undergone lots of changes. A large freshman class, new sports coaches, and more crowding in hallways. Hammond recently introduced another change that has piqued 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.
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 for a gender 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.
By: Brian Paul
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.
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…”