Category: News

Ms. Barlow: The Definition of a Golden Bear

As the 2021 Teacher of the Year prepares to retire, we look back on her 42 years teaching at Hammond.

By Marissa Yelenik and Sarah Meklir

Online Editor and Managing Editor

Pictured above: Seniors Georgia Briggs and Ama Stott surprise Ms. Barlow with Hammond’s 2021 Teacher of the Year award (left to right: Georgia Briggs, Ms. Barlow, Ama Stott).

A constant force for good at Hammond, Ms. Barlow has been teaching here for 42 years. This year, she was awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the 2021 senior class in honor of her immense impact on students and her love for teaching and Hammond. She will begin a well-deserved retirement at the end of this school year. 

The award itself was a surprise to Ms. Barlow, who didn’t expect the honor for herself. She reflected on the moment it was awarded to her, detailing the events as she sat in her classroom in the Villa, the new name for the set of portables the social studies department is in this year. “Mr. Dunlap was marching down the hall with the band playing Sweet Caroline and I thought “What’s he doing in the Villa?” I thought he had gotten lost for band practice and they were supposed to go to the field. I was just really surprised and really honored that I had gotten that award.”

With all of her years of teaching under her belt, Ms. Barlow is a wealth of knowledge regarding Hammond’s history and the changes that have taken place. She reflected on her years, saying “There have been lots of different experiences here, but it’s been great to be at one school and see what it’s been like for this long. I haven’t changed schools, it’s this school that’s changed while I’ve been here.”

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FDA approves vaccines for ages 12-15

HCPSS has stated that school will be open for in-person learning next fall and the FDA has authorized vaccines to be distributed to adolescents 12-15 years old.

By: Ada Wang

Staff Writer

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

In late April, HCPSS released a statement informing parents and students about the decision of opening schools for online learning. Students are able to request to stay at home and learn virtually but if they choose to do so, they must stay virtual all year round. 

In early May, the FDA approved the use of Pfizer vaccines for adolescents ages 12 to 15. Currently, thousands, if not more, of people in this age group have already gotten their first dose of the vaccine. Some concerns about the vaccine for adolescents have been addressed by pediatricians and immunologists, saying that the immunology of adolescents is similar to those of adults which may help alleviate some worry of 12-15 year olds getting vaccinated.

This approval by the FDA has aided in the decision of many schools countrywide to reopen for this upcoming school year. In addition, Pfizer has also released data from their Phase 3 clinical trials that show that the vaccine is 100% effective in children ages 12 to 15. Vaccines will also be distributed to pediatric offices to allow more discussion between parent and their child’s primary care physician about the concerns they may have and the safety of the vaccine.

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Senior Fest: Class of 2021 Reflects

By Marissa Yelenik

Online Editor

On April 29, the Class of 2021 Senior Class Council put on the Senior Festival. This festival was put on in lieu of prom’s cancellation due to COVID-19, and included many games, prizes, and other fun activities for the seniors that chose to attend.

Many of the seniors that participated in the festival were appreciative of the experience despite the new difficult format, with Catie Ward saying “I think they did an amazing job setting up for the event and providing fun activities for everyone.”

Ana Coman added “I think there could have been more activities, but overall it was nice to socialize with people and to play some of the games… I wanted to see friends from school that I haven’t talked to in a long time, and to talk to some of my teachers from last semester.” 

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The Disappearance of Cieha A. Taylor

Gabrielle Fernandez

Staff Editor

Pictured Above: Official Missing Person’s flier 

Cieha A. Taylor is a vibrant, loving, bubbly, and charming individual who grew up in Florida with her mom, dad, and sister. A person who would help you no matter what and be a loyal friend, a loving daughter, and a doting sister. What exactly happened to Cieha Taylor and why has no progress in the case been made? 

On February 6, 2020 Cieha Taylor dropped her boyfriend, his friend, and uncle off at their house around 4:00 PM with the intent to go to her friend’s house right afterwards, but that was the last time anyone physically saw her. 

The same day a citizen called to inform police about an abandoned car on the railroad tracks on Trapnell road. The individuals originally believed it was just a broken down car but upon closer inspection, the car was running and facing northbound on the tracks with the doors wide open. For some odd reason when the police showed up on the scene, they believed there was no foul play and secured it on the side of the road. 

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What You Need to Know: The Senior Awards Ceremony and Senior Festival

By Marissa Yelenik

Online Editor

A flyer for the upcoming Senior Festival from @hahs2021

This Thursday, April 29, there will be both an awards ceremony and festival put on for the seniors of Hammond high school. Both events are free, and open to all seniors. The award ceremony will be from 1-3 pm in Hammond’s auditorium, while the Senior Festival, put on by the PTSA for the Class of 2021, will take place from 5-9 pm on the football field.

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In-Person Learning: An Interview With Hammond Students

By Uma Ribeiro, Marissa Yelenik, and Sarah Meklir

Editor-in-Chief, Online Editor, and Managing Editor

Pictured left to right: Saim Rizvi, Shivani Modi, and Julia Moyer, standing in front of their class’s work.

Freshman and seniors (9th and 12th grade) students as well as Application and Research Laboratory (ARL) students in group A for hybrid learning returned to the building on Monday, March 29th. Group B students returned on Thursday, April 1st. 

High school students in grades 10 and 11 who chose hybrid learning will be returning the week of April 12th, with those in hybrid group A returning on the 12th and those in group B on the 15th. 

The Bear Press (BP) interviewed 9th and 12th grade students who chose the hybrid learning model and returned to school the week of March 29th. 

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Working in a Pandemic: Columbia Employees Share Their Stories

By Jordan Rodriguez 

Staff Writer

By Ella Koeze. Employment rates are seasonally adjusted. | Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment: Prior to Covid-19, the unemployment rate was 3.5% to 4.0% from 2018 to 2019. But since then, over 20.5 million people have lost their job and the unemployment rates have jumped to 14.7% in April of 2020, which is the highest rate of unemployment since The Great Depression. 

Covid-19, the pandemic that took everyone by storm. It has impacted many over the past year and has taken away millions of jobs. For many, this led to returning to work with greater responsibility in the same job title, but with cut hours and cut pay. Some people stated that because of Covid-19, they fear for their financial and physical safety. Some people say that they would rather take the unemployment benefits than go to work everyday. Wages were cut due to the lack of business that was coming in and caused them to lose tons of money. Driving apps such as Uber and Lyft have been declining rides due to too little or no one wanting to be in the car with a stranger and risking the safety of both rider and driver. 

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Climate Change: Texas Snowstorms and the Polar Vortex

By Lydia Jensen

Staff Writer

Montinique Monroe-Getty Images

Though the Texas snowstorms are over, there are lasting effects from the event. The timeline for the storm varies from area to area, but massive power outages were experienced all throughout the state during the event, and for some time after.

Specifically, about 4.3 million power outages were experienced throughout the state, with 14.9 million residents in counties that reported weather-related operational disruptions, as reported by ABC 13.

Regular Texan citizens were not prepared for heavy snowfall, but neither was the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, who operate 90% of Texas’s deregulated power grid, as their internal meeting only discussed the storm for 40 seconds prior to the event. Many later resigned (KSAT 12 San Antonio).

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The 2020 Maryland Census Delay

And how this impacts funding for the Hammond Community 

By Lizzy Hughes

Staff Writer

Image Source: CNN

The Hammond community is represented by the Maryland State Governor, as well as the state representatives in Congress. The population of Hammond students is largely impacted by the state census that is collected once every decade, as the census determines how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed to the public school systems in Maryland. If the data is inaccurate, communities with large populations of minorities might not be represented and the public schools in those districts would not receive the resources they need. 

The US Census Bureau planned to get the results of the 2020 census data by the end of March, but in the last few weeks, officials said they would not release the data until the end of September. This decision delay means that Maryland lawmakers will not be able to redraw the state’s political boundaries before 2022. The Bureau stated that the delay was because they had a difficult time surveying every household in the nation face to face due to COVID-19. 

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Vaccine Rollout for Teachers in Howard County

By Bella Kaguyutan

Staff Writer

HCEA Protest
Image Source: Baltimore Sun 

As the return to school has fallen upon us, teachers across Howard County have expressed concern and discontent with the hybrid model. On January 21st, Governor Larry Hogan made a call to action for all Maryland schools to return by March 1st. Following this announcement, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) created a hybrid plan in which all students who want to return to in-person learning will be in the classroom by April. As the reopening of schools approached, more and more questions of safety came to light. 

Maryland is one of 28 states where educators are listed as a specific group to receive the COVID-19  vaccine if they choose to do so. Educators were a part of Maryland’s 1B Phase of vaccine rollout, but according to an unnamed member of Hammond High School staff, receiving the vaccine was, “Extremely challenging for teachers where for a while it was like a poorly run lottery system, where it was first come first served in who could claim the vaccines the fastest.”

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