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Hammond Golf Overview: A Strong and Successful 2019 Season

By: Jenna Kreh

Staff Writer

Hammond’s golf season has already come to an end for the 2019 fall season, but both the girls and boys teams had several exciting wins and personal bests along the way!

The boys team had two major wins this year, beginning with their first win against Mount Hebron on September 19. Later in the season they also beat Long Reach at the Iron Skillet Tournament on September 24, despite a loss to Oakland Mills. Coach Osborne said that the entire boys team improved a lot throughout the season, but a few specific players really stood out. “Tim Stryker really made leaps and bounds this year in his game,” the coach said. “He came very close to qualifying for the post season and improved to the number one position by the middle of the season.” Additionally, the coach spoke very highly of sophomore Connor Walls, saying that he “really turned it on for the second half [of the season].”

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Theme Day Winners

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Kate Rossmark, Olivia Vander Putten, Emma Terry, Jenna Kreh

Hammond Renovations Get Pushed Back

By: Anna Afoakwa

Staff Writer

It has come to our attention that Hammond High School is the only school in Howard County, Maryland that has not been updated constructively since 1977, with our modern-day society and technology.     

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Photo Credit: The Baltimore Sun

There were set plans for us to finally get what our community was waiting for and deserved, but like past events, we are pushed to the side and overlooked. The school’s construction was pushed back and revised on September 5, 2019, because of the county’s funding level. There was a meeting held with the Board of Education of Howard County. High school 13 will have an additional 1,650 seats. The project is set to have a $130.7 million budget, that will be spent to build a 287,005-square-foot high school with 579 parking spaces and 34 school bus parking spaces. According to a report previously presented to the school board, It was announced that because of all their other projects, which include Talbott Springs Elementary School, Hammond High, and Middle School. Manor Woods Elementary School, Elkridge Landing Middle School, including High School #13. Hammond High School would have to wait for our renovation for an additional 3 years because the board is prioritizing the new High School that will be located in Jessup, MD and Hammond Middle School’s boiler construction it is not in the Board’s budget. 

The community is very upset about this announcement. “I feel frustrated because every other school has greater access to good quality air, to a cleaner facility, more resources, and an additional gym. I feel like we are gipping our students of doing that and by pushing it back yet again, devalues our students and their educational environment.” A teacher from Hammond High School expressed. “Students will rise to the occasion if the learning environment looks professional, clean, and demands a certain standard of work ethic. I believe students will perform, but if you work in an environment that is old and crumbling, and the carpets have Silverfish everywhere, does not promote a level of professionalism that is required for students and staff…it makes us feel like we do not matter.” With that being said, it is clear that a lot of people are not happy about this. 

Although, without renovations, Hammond is still an exceptional school, very diverse with lots of love to give. The teachers are also great. Despite the lack of resources, the students are still able to learn proficiently. As a school that encourages the saying “Where People Matter” It is expressed that in this situation they do not necessarily feel “mattered”. Hopefully, the outcome of things will turn around because this project is long overdue. It would mean the world to Hammond High School’s students, staff and community.

2019 Brings Positive Change and Student Collaboration to Hammond High School

By: Isabel Berry and Sarah Meklir

Staff Writers

The Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Leadership Cadre (SLC) will be collaborating this school year to improve student life at Hammond. The first joint Student Government Association and Student Leadership Cadre meeting took place during Beartime in the second week of school. At this meeting the two groups discussed their plans for the year. 

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Photo Credit: Avery Moe

When asked about the meeting, assistant principal, Mr. DiFato expressed his hopes for the two organizations. “I feel like it went well; we asked Dr. DiPaula to come in and speak to our student leaders about the importance of student voice. And he really reiterated that it’s their school, and we are here to help them do whatever they want to accomplish.” At the meeting, students shared their ideas for the upcoming school year with the intention of boosting spirit and encouraging communication between the students and staff.

Out of many proposed ideas, one involved implementing a new year-long extension of spirit week called “King of the Den.” Similar to the “House Cup” from the Harry Potter universe, each month there will be dress-up days and events to boost morale. Participating in these events will give each class the opportunity to earn points, which will be counted up at the end of the year. The winning class will receive a prize. 

One of the most important and well-known aspects of student life at Hammond is our Spirit Week. The President of Student Government, Malik Shuiab, expanded on a few ideas they had discussed, focusing on introducing the freshmen to Hammond’s famous Spirit Week and emphasizing its importance. “For spirit week this year, as I’m sure some of you guys have heard already, it’s going to be a bit different… SGA members are going to walk around to all of the 9th grade english classes and tell them what it means to be at Hammond, what it means to be in Hammond’s Spirit Week.” This approach would grant the underclassmen a smoother transition into all of Hammond’s traditions.

In addition to indoctrinating them into our culture, some feel Student Government and the Student Leadership Cadre should work towards improving programs that support both students’ voices and their mental health. Shuiab, a senior, supports this goal. “SGA means a lot to me because I care a lot about the school, and … I can [state] my opinion and have my voice be heard in decision making, in things that I wasn’t necessarily involved in freshman or sophomore year, and it’s really important to me. SLC is also really important as they give students a reason to believe their voice actually matters.” 

This new approach is also supported by junior Camryn Johnson. Johnson, who is both varsity soccer captain and 2021 Class President, is also involved with SGA and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Johnson spoke about the challenges that students face at the start of a new school year, “I think there’s a little bit of a mental health issue across the juniors and seniors. As it gets to be a little bit more difficult [workload-wise], as well as for the underclassmen because starting a new school is difficult.” She suggested involving students, administration, and student services in open meetings where students could share, “…the best ways that we can manage stress and how they could help us.” This could greatly assist students and could help take Hammond to the next level when it comes to mental health care for the student body. 

As classes ramp up and students adjust to new responsibilities, it is good to see groups like Student Government Association and the Student Leadership Cadre working together to provide a safe, supportive environment where students can learn to work positively and effectively with staff members. Dr. DiPaula, who presented at the first meeting, described his aspirations for the alliance between the two groups. “The premise behind this is for students to take the lead, and for the staff, adults, and principal to get them to do what it is that they want to do… The first meeting was good, but it was a lot of me talking, and I think in the future, it’s going to be more of the students talking.” They will be working together to create positive change. This year, their collaboration will benefit not only the student body, but the Hammond community as a whole.

“Where People are Important”: Bringing Our Motto to Life

By: Julia Moyer

Staff Writer

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. 

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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.