Category: News

What Will Our Schedules Look Like if We Return to In-Person Learning?

By Sarah Linthicum

Staff Writer

The four model schedule has been something extremely new for all of us, and it has taken some getting used to. There are currently four online classes a day 45 minutes each, a 15 minute break in between classes, and a two hour time slot in the middle of the day to allow room for lunch and extra work time with teachers.

Once the first semester has ended, a new possibly hybrid plan for the second semester is to return to in person classes while continuing with the four class model, which is still subject to change. There are many questions we all have regarding the four class schedule for the second semester, and how it will affect a typical day if we do go back seeing as we have never had this schedule before. 

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Your 2020 voting guide: Here’s what you need to know to vote in Maryland

By Sarah Meklir

Managing Editor

Source: WPRG 2020 Voter Guide

Voting is a fundamental responsibility to uphold our democracy. The Hammond community can play a huge role in both voter participation and the education of voters. Here’s what you need to know to vote this November.

Mark your calendars, voting day is November 3.


Potential voters need to be registered before they can cast a ballot. You can register in person while early voting or on November 3rd at your local voting location.

There are two ways to vote in Maryland: in-person or by mail. 

Mail-in and absentee voting steps:

  1. Request an absentee ballot. All registered voters were mailed forms to request a mail-in ballot. You can also fill it out online, here. October 20 is the deadline for ballot requests.
  2. Fill out your ballot. To make sure it’s counted, follow the directions on the ballot to select your candidate and validate your form. Do not tear or leave stray marks on the ballot.
  3. Seal the ballot according to its accompanying instructions, add postage, and mail it back through the approved drop-box system for your area. You can use this resource to find your Maryland ballot drop-box.
  4. Make sure to send your ballot as soon as possible to ensure your vote is counted. When your vote is received, you will receive a success message through your preferred method of communication (likely email). View this Washington Post article for more resources and tips to make sure your vote counts.
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The Plague in Our Country

By Ali Ahmed

Staff Writer

Source: The New York Times

The USA has been rocked by a virus that was initially underestimated. Going from 2,000 cases to 124,000 cases in the span of a few months, students expressed their own fears with High School Junior Muhammad Masood commenting, “It’s scary how fast it grew and how we had to sit back and just watch as it swept our country.” 

As of right now, in both America and Maryland itself, this virus is slowing down, with an estimated 563 new cases per day in Maryland alone in comparison to the 1,275 new cases a day we received back in May and June. With almost 130,000 cases and almost 4000 deaths, Maryland has a mortality rate of 3%, which may sound small but when talking about death, is actually extreme. For comparison, the Influenza Pandemic in 1918 had a mortality rate of about 2.5%, as reported by Stanford. 

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COVID-19’s Impact on College Sports

How colleges are keeping their players and students safe while playing during the pandemic

By Leah Russell

Sports Editor

Associated Press/News Tribune

Covid-19 has affected all aspects of our lives, and with fall sports season upon us, there are many different tactics that sports teams are using to keep their players and staff safe during the pandemic. The NBA went out of the box to create a bubble for all of their players during the games. The NFL is playing in full swing, but many of the stadiums do not have fans, like Maryland’s own Baltimore Ravens. While some college leagues have decided to postpone or cancel their football seasons, many are just not ready to do that yet. 

As of September 26th, all ten of the conferences in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision have plans to play this fall. The Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference being the latest ones added to this list. With so many conferences playing college football currently, it is important to keep players and workers safe. For the Mid-American Conference, keeping players safe involves four mandatory antigen tests a week, and not allowing the general public to attend games.

 The Mountain West Conference however, is allowing individual colleges to determine fan attendance. The Big Ten have decided to have no fans in the stadium for this fall season like the Mid’American Conference. It will be a shock to see Ohio State’s 102,780 capacity stadium or Penn State’s 106,572 capacity stadium empty, but it is a smart move to keep everyone at their schools safer during this pandemic.

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passes away at age 87

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an advocate for women’s rights and fought against gender discrimination for 27 years on the Supreme Court

By Isabel Sinnot

Arts and Entertainment Editor

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
           Former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (

Former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, passed away on the 18th of September from complications due to cancer after serving for 27 years on the Supreme Court. Ginsberg was a liberal Justice who, over the course of her career, fought against gender discrimination and for equal rights for women, always standing with the liberal section of the court on her decisions. 

Ginsberg attended first Harvard and then Columbia Law School, serving on the Law Review at both schools, and continuing her education while facing challenges such as gender discrimination and being a mother. At Harvard, out of the 500 people in her class, there were only eight other women. Even after graduating from Columbia, first in her class, Ruth Bader Ginsberg faced discrimination based on her gender, but continued working. She first became a clerk for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri before later becoming a professor at Rutgers University Law School and then Columbia, where she was the first tenured female professor. Regarding her motivation to pursue law, Ms. Lovaas, a US History teacher at Hammond High School, states that, “RBG saw first-hand how women were not only treated differently studying law, they were treated differently BY law.” Before being appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsberg also served for 13 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia from 1980 until 1993. 

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Three Local Ways to Get Involved with the Black Lives Matter Movement

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

Youth-led march in Columbia, Maryland back in June 2020
Image Source: The Baltimore Sun

Amidst the racial inequality and police brutality that occurs far too often, it is not unusual to begin to question your role in these issues. If something hasn’t happened directly to you, are you still able to help? If you want to speak up and say something, does your voice truly have power? It is easy to say no to these questions, especially if you’re only in high school.

But, that should not keep you from making use of the power that you have. After all, the future advancements in racial equality will eventually land on your shoulders. This task may seem daunting, but don’t worry; there are so many young people of this generation standing with you.

This begs the question: why is it so important that students in Howard County fight against racial injustice? The divide in this county is evident and affects all who live in it. The only thing left to ask is what you can do to fight this division. Here are three easy ways that students like you can get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement:

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What’s Going on with College Applications?

By Marissa Yelenik

Online Editor


In the wake of COVID-19, countless things have changed both academically and socially for each and every person. As the early action and early decision deadlines grow near for the seniors of 2021, many students have a similar question: What’s going on with college applications?

Colleges understand that this year is different, and that certain factors they considered important cannot be held in the same light as they were in previous years. This has resulted in a change in how they present themselves, what is required on applications, and the overall process.

Due to a lack of availability for many seniors, a significant number of colleges have switched to test optional, meaning they will not require SAT or ACT scores, with even the Ivy League schools switching for this academic year. This allows students who were unable to get to take their test in time to apply regardless of their situation. It is important for each student applying this year to check if their colleges of choice are test optional, and figure out what this means for them. Test optional does not mean test blind, so those with good scores should feel confident in submitting them, despite their new label. 

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Howard County Council votes in favor of Bill CB 51, County Executive Vetoes

By Uma Ribeiro


Howard County Residents show Support for CB 51

The Howard County Council voted on Council Bill Number 51 (CB-51), introduced by councilmember Liz Walsh, on Monday, October 5. The bill prohibits “…the Howard County Department of Corrections from accepting into its custody persons detained by federal immigration law enforcement agencies and housing those persons as they await disposition of exclusively immigration-related proceedings.” In other words, it called for the end of a contract between the county and the federal agency that allows ICE to hold immigrant detainees in the county’s Jessup detention center.

The bill was written by the District One Councilwoman after significant criticism and outrage was expressed by Howard County Residents upon the county executive’s refusal to end the contract with ICE. The Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Rights is one group of community members among many that has been advocating for the bill to be passed. With an increased likelihood for those detained by ICE to get the virus, the COVID-19 outbreak made it even harder for members of the community to turn away from the fact that the agency houses immigrants within Howard County. 

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Congratulations Class of 2020: A Look Into the Online Ceremony

unnamedBy Jenna Kreh

Co-Features Editor

Senior year for the class of 2020 was not what anyone expected. These students left their school in March for a temporary “break” to keep students and teachers safe from COVID-19, which then turned into online schooling for the rest of the year. It is heartbreaking that our seniors did not get to finish out their high school experience the way they intended, and many are very disappointed. However, the Howard County Public School System has hundreds of amazing teachers that were not going to give up on the class of 2020. Teachers, students, and parents worked together to pull off a spectacular online graduation ceremony for the seniors this past Monday, June 8, at 3:00 PM.

The ceremony aired live on YouTube and could be viewed by each senior and their family in their own home. The commencement began with Hammond’s own Wind Ensemble playing various tunes, including the famous “Pomp and Circumstance. Hammond’s choir then took the screen to sing the National Anthem. Senior Kayla Hendershot remarked how incredible it was to see the band and choir come together online. Each talented student recorded their own piece of the music in their own home, keeping time with a sample in their headphones. Each video was then pieced together to show everyone on one screen at the same time. 

After the choir, senior Jaden Freshwater welcomed everyone to the ceremony with a charming and humorous speech. Next, viewers watched Seniors Juanita Mackey and Abdulmalik Shuaib introduce a few special guests. After that, it was back to another impressive performance of “Deep River” by Hammond’s Senior Choir and Chamber Singers. This performance was followed by two more Senior student speakers, Esmerelda Puga and Ananda Annan, and then two more performances: “When You Are Smiling,” by a Hammond Jazz Combo with Carlos O’Ryan singing, and “The Greatest Love of All,” sung by Torera Aloyinlapa and accompanied on the piano by Sarah England.

Calvin Ball, the County Executive of Howard County, then made a few commencement remarks, followed by Hammond Principal John DiPaula, with a presentation of the class of 2020. Howard County’s Superintendent, Micheal J. Martirano, gave a speech including a recognition of the graduates, and finally it was time for the presentation of the diplomas by Vicky Cutroneo, the Vice Chair of the Board of Education. Each student’s name was read while either a picture or video sent in by each of them was displayed on screen. Some students took quite an interesting take on their videos: one student even edited himself to look as though he was flying with a bunch of balloons! After each senior had their moment to shine, Senior David Aodu led the class of 2020 in the turning of the tassels. Each senior was asked to stand in their own home, and lift their tassel from the right side of their hat to the left. 

Finally, the Hammond Wind Ensemble played “Pomp and Circumstance” one last time, finishing off the ceremony. It was a bit sad to see Hammond’s seniors have to leave this way, but they are extremely grateful to have had such a fantastic staff to support them during this time. Senior Jordan Kreh even remarked that, while she would have liked a real graduation, it was nice to be able to watch from her own home. Students can also send the ceremony to friends and family, as the link will remain active. If you would like to join in on congratulating our Hammond seniors, here is the link to their commencement ceremony: A huge thank you goes out to Hammond’s amazing teachers, parents, and especially seniors. Congratulations, class of 2020! You did it!

Changes in Class Rank Coming for Class of 2021

By: Julia Moyer

News Co-Editor

Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, class rank will no longer be calculated and published according to Howard County Public School System’s policy 8020. This makes the Class of 2021 the first graduating class without rank on their transcripts. On behalf of HCPSS, Kami Wagner, Instructional Facilitator for School Counseling, said, “In talking with students across the county, there were clear connections between class rank and student stress levels.” she added that “while students also articulated that class rank can be a motivator, students were more in support of removal rather than support for continuing to rank.”

Changes in Class Rank

Class rank can become a label for some students. Image Source: The Hawkeye

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