Category: News

Mr. HHS — The Greatest Show of the Year!

By Kylie Potter
Staff Writer

On Thursday night, Hammond seniors competed for the title of Mr. HHS, performing a variety of entertaining and hilarious skits that definitely made a memorable impression on the audience and broke the record for the longest-running Mr. HHS to date.

The show was eventually narrowed down to four final contestants: Armin “Hammer” Najafabadi, escorted by “Sydyeeyee” Monthe, Nick “fil-a” Zuelsdorf, escorted by “Sha(kira) Hips Don’t Lie”  Bennett, Jason “Schweddy Balls” Walls, escorted by Kel “Si Se Puede” Fuentes, and Ryan “Peanut Butter and” Ridgell-y, escorted by Kate “Take Me to the Tailgate” Lastova.

Kunal Single Ladies

Kunal Thapar performs his “Single Ladies” dance, accompanied by Kira Bennett (left) and Seun Aina (right).

After many spectacular performances and laughs from the crowd, senior Armin Najafabadi won the title of Mr. HHS, accompanied by his escort Sydney Monthe.

Hammond students are still reflecting on the memorable performances they witnessed last night by the seniors, discussing their favorite skits and the funniest moments of the show.

“[My favorite part was] all the seniors dancing [and] all the choreography that went into Mr. HHS,” states senior Ty Walburger. Meanwhile, junior Isabelle Dyson states that her favorite part was “probably Ryan’s rose ceremony or the ‘deep sea creatures’ at the aquarium.”

Ms. Filipiak says that her favorite part of the show was “probably Armin and the roller skates because of his head twitching,” while senior Madison Pisone recalls that her favorite skit was the “Movie theater skit… I thought it was very clever and the twist at the end made it funny.”

Mr. Osborne, who took part in judging Mr. HHS, remarks on how well-done Kunal Thapar’s dancing was. “I think he really knocked the ‘Single Ladies’ dance out of the park.”

Overall, students and parents seemed to really enjoy the show and the seniors successfully managed to conduct a memorable performance that no one at Hammond is likely to forget.


VHS Recycling Program Benefits Students and Community

By: Laura Van Hasselt and Caroleen Anderson

Staff Writer and Co-Editor in Chief

The students of Hammond’s special education department have been the first to dive into a program that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. One of Hammond’s special education teachers, Mr.

recycle bin.jpg

Parts of VHS tapes disassembled and ready for recycle

Reisman, who leads the VHS recycling program has started the recycling initiative to teach his students skills they can use throughout their professional careers and beyond.  Through the program, Mr.Reisman is able to provide an opportunity for the students with disabilities in his program to develop the skills they will need to increase their independence and go on to find successful jobs in their futures.

Through the VHS disassembling process, students in the recycling program are developing skills such as organization, understanding chronological patterns, following directions, and patience. Mr.Reisman, who has been a special education teacher at Hammond for 16 years now, knows how well these fundamental skills will translate into the workplace for his students in the future.

Mr.Reisman has been dreaming of creating a recycling group that will not only benefit the Earth but the students who partake in it, and last year that goal became a reality when he got the program underway.

The students in the program start out by being taught and guided by a staff member, and are eventually expected to be able to disassemble the VHS tapes on their own and organize the various parts. This can be a project for a single student or a group of students working together. Working in a group enables the members to be able to work on their individual skills and strengths and find what they’re best at as well as the opportunity to establish teamwork skills. The intent of this program is to train these students to eventually receive an internship and therefore get a head start on their professional careers.

Mr. Reisman expresses how important it is for people in the community to donate their old VHS tapes by describing it as an “absolute win-win situation.” Hammond will recycle all the disassembled parts to ensure they won’t end up in a landfill. Mr.Reisman is completely willing to drive to a house to box up the VHS tapes and take them to Hammond. Not only would this reduce clutter in a household, but the program is dependent on the community to donate old VHS tapes in order to continue. If you have some old VHS tapes lying around the house, please create a purpose for them and donate it to this enriching program.

Healthy Communities, Healthy Kids with Indoor Environmental Quality

By: Caroleen Anderson


On October 7, 2016, Hammond hosted a press conference celebrating the start of the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) initiative with special guest Shawn Garvin, Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The IEQ protocols focus around the indoor school environment, which could be everything from the structural quality of the building to open food containers being present in classrooms to the air quality of different areas of the school.


Ms. Leonard welcomes EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin as well as the assembled members of the IEQ committee, Hammond Green Team, and HCPSS personnel to a press conference centered on the initiative.

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Hammond Students Speak Up On the Presidential Election

By: Taylor Smith
Staff Writer
@tharealtaysmith on Twitter


With the current presidential election quickly approaching, candidates are doing everything they can to win the public’s vote. It is important for high school students to become informed on what is going on with their government because within the coming years of their lives they will be able to vote on pressing issues.

“It is imperative for all people in the United States to be aware of what’s going on in the election, regardless of whether they’re old enough to vote or not,” says Mrs. Leonard, Hammond’s principal. “Any time we have an election we are selecting the representatives of our voice in government and government makes policy and law, and these policies and laws impact each of us every single day.”

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Political Clubs at Hammond

By: Kylie Potter
Staff Writer
@irrelevantseal on Twitter

Ever since the 2016 presidential nominees were announced back in July, interest in politics has skyrocketed, especially among Hammond students, and now their voices can be heard. The Young Democrats of America club (YDA) and the Young Republicans Club (YRC) hapolitical-symbols-democrat-republican-ove returned this year in full force, and are ready to make a difference. The Young Republicans Club will meet every Tuesday after school in Mr. Kagan’s room, room 606, and the Young Democrats of America will meet in Ms. Scott’s portable.

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Hammond’s STEM Fair: A Display of Knowledge and Dedication


Freshman Akash Chauhan celebrates his Overall Award win at Hammond’s STEM Fair with his Biology GT teacher Mr. Griffin and Science team leader Ms. Brown!

By: Kevin Baker

@Kevin_B_Baker on Twitter

On Friday, February 12, 2016, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fair allowed students in particular advanced science classes to present their efforts in an original science experiment over the course of the year to local professionals in the Hammond scientific community.

Mr. Griffin, Biology GT teacher and annual organizer of the event, says that this fair offers a unique complement to the normal HCPSS Science curriculum.  “The purpose is to expose students to state-of-the-art science experimentation and giving students the opportunity to incorporate technology into science experimentation.”  Griffin knows that the nature of STEM means that this concept is more important than ever to living a Good Job and Great Life, as Hammond’s Success Pyramid states.  “Obviously with the technology we have today, students need to focus more on the Technology and Engineering piece of [STEM] so that we can stay abreast with the rest of the world,” Mr. Griffin mused when asked about the importance of STEM careers and experimentation.  “The rest of the world spends a lot more on [those] pieces than the US.  That’s why it’s important, so that students coming up will be more apt to the technology and engineering fields.”

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Seniors Olivia Boateng, Katelyn Haggerty, Keyara Overton, and Alexis Stratton-Bracher on the ground ready to express themselves.  (Credit Keyara Overton)

By Kavitha Brunner

@lemonjaded on Twitter

A week ago, on February 3rd, Hammond students poured out of the school building and populated the parking lot as they conducted a rally promoting the Black Lives Matter campaign during 4th period. Although the day was dreary and cold, Hammond’s powerful speakers were able to shed light on the resonating issue of racism that perpetuates the county – notably, in a recent online video. Hammond seniors Katelyn Haggerty, Alexis Stratton-Bratcher, Olivia Boateng, and Keyara Overton organized the peaceful walkout dialogue following Mt. Hebron’s Feb. 2nd rally.

At the rally, students gathered around the parking lot carrying signs scribed with impactful statements, such as “No one is free when others are oppressed” and “Am I next?”, and spoke on the issue of systematic oppression. Only four of the two hundred plus attendants of Hebron’s rally, Hammond’s organizers consequently felt inspired by the unity and advocacy demonstrated by Hebron. “We couldn’t stop there,” Boateng stated. “We decided we had more to say.”

Whether reciting original poetry, delivering a concise speech, or singing with passion, students held the microphone from 10:15 all the way up to the 12:20 bell. Nothing uttered on stage degraded any race, but rather built up races that have been traditionally oppressed. “[Our] job is to create a safe place for all students,” Ms. Leonard told ABC News. “We need to create a space where all opinions can be heard respectfully.”

Stratton-Bratcher and Overton stand side-by-side before the growing audience. “When we say ‘Stop the silence!”, we want you to reply with ‘Start the conversation!’” they instruct. The domino movement of anti-racist rallies held in Howard County has adopted the name (and hashtag) “#StopTheSilenceStartAConversation.”

But why now? What silence are we stopping – and what are we supposed to talk about? As you may have heard, a recent video was released by a Hebron student that openly demeaned the black community as a whole, slurring ideas like “Abraham Lincoln was a traitor to the white race,” and “Black lives don’t matter.” Howard County School officials, to many students’ disbelief, instructed us to ignore the video, delete the video, and avoid spreading the video.

In light of this, students at Hebron decided that the time is now. Robert Jett, a senior involved with organizing the rally at Hebron, gives The Bear Press insight into what exactly the catalyst was. “That video was indeed an example of hatred and racism, but what most concerned students at Hebron was the idea that nobody had really addressed the issue of racial prejudice in schools head-on,” says Jett. “A lot of the minority communities at Hebron had decided they’d had enough of being forced to glaze over things like [the video] and excusing causal racism as nothing more than jokes.”

The students’ aim is to spread raw awareness of an age-old cause.  Instead of learning about racism in history class each year, we want to make sure everybody knows that, as Overton stated, “Racism is not a joke; it is real, and it is happening.”

Do you have a thought about #StopTheSilenceStartAConversation?  Share it with us @hhsbearpress on Twitter with that hashtag, and you could be featured in an upcoming Bear Press story!