Snow Emergency Plan

Olivia Brooks – Staff Writer

An abundance of snow this year has given Howard County students several days of no school on November 15, January 14 and 30, and February 11 and 20. The school calendar, however, is built only with four inclement weather days and five have already been used. In order to compensate, the academic year has now been stretched to June 21, much to the exasperation of students.

Romina Daraei Baf, a ninth grade student, says, “I don’t think they should extend it to that long since we want to spend our summers freely.”

Making an academic calendar flexible enough to include all of the expected and unexpected circumstances surrounding schools, such as inclement weather, exams, state mandated testing, and even construction, is no easy task, as shown by the process necessary to construct one. The calendar is first developed by a Calendar Committee comprised of representatives for every position in the school system, from parents to principals. The calendar is then presented to the Superintendent, often amended or altered, and is finally given to the Board of Education for approval. It is the Board that makes the final decision.

One important rule factored in is that the state of Maryland mandates that students attend school for a minimum of 180 days, though local Boards of Education can require more days. Teachers, however, often have professional days during the academic year, and according to the Howard County Public School System website, the “current negotiated agreement between the Howard County Board of Education and the Howard County Education Association calls for teachers to work 192 days.”

Even though the intellectual performance of students is of utmost importance, many students point out that cutting into summer vacation is actually detrimental. As eleventh grader Kenneth Haraham points out, “I think that school should not be extended to June 21st, reason being, many people have other important activities to attend (internships, programs, and various other curriculars).”

What occurs in the school building is only a small piece of a student’s overall scholastic career. Many students have outside commitments that require attention over the summer, and denying them this could cause a loss of monetary or academic benefits.

MRHS Parking Lot Thief

Madison Costigan -Staff Writer

Many students at Marriotts Ridge choose to drive to school, but leaving their cars vulnerable during the day may be a problem.

Many students at Marriotts Ridge choose to drive to school, but leaving their cars vulnerable during the day may be a problem.

Students have reported missing items from their cars, as well as seeing someone in the parking lot that they do not recognize. Marriotts Ridge staff have warned students to stay vigilant and lock their cars, so that no one has access to the belongings inside.

In an interview with Marriotts Ridge School Resource Officer, Officer Willingham, he warned students to “always lock and secure your vehicle and do not leave your belongings in plain sight.” Students need to be conscious of how they are leaving their car for the day. “If you take away the opportunity for a crime to be committed, you will not be a target of a crime,” explained Officer Willingham. So by locking cars and putting things away so that no one can see them, students can decrease their chances of being a victim to a thief. And this vigilance can stand for any situation of crime, so students should always be careful and protect themselves and their property to their best ability. Officer Willingham also claimed that the investigation is ongoing, and if any students have any information or see anything unusual, they should tell him or a staff member.

Junior Megan Hughes had a story regarding the thief in the parking lot. “I had left school early one day, and a few days later I was called down to the office, and they asked if I had seen someone in the parking lot,” recalled Hughes. “I had not, but they showed me a video of someone getting into a random car when I came outside, and then getting out and leaving in another car.” It is nerve-wracking to think of a strange person on school property, especially if they have access to students’ cars. Students should be sure to secure their cars and follow the directions of Officer Willingham in order to keep their cars and belonging safe in the parking lot.

Get Healthier and Happier in Time for Warmer Weather

Claire Giannino – Opinions Editor

It’s that time of the year again with prom coming up and spring break a little closer than you think. It’s time to whip your mind and body back into shape! Here are some effective tips on how to live a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Exercising. It’s a tricky thing to say the least. You either love it or you hate it. Regardless of your immediate thoughts when you think about any form of exercise, it is good for you. Not only to remain an active healthy person, but to make you happier. There have been numerous studies that show physical activity will raise your serotonin levels, subsequently making you more motivated and less irritable. Senior, Clare Reynolds, says “I try to work out as much as I possibly can. Although there are times where I just don’t feel like it, once I’m out there I feel much better about myself.” Do yourself a favor and hit the gym, your body will thank you later. Don’t feel like getting up and going to the gym? Well, lucky for you, in this day and age, you have absolutely no excuses. There are apps, YouTube videos, tapes, and so much more that you can use to exercise in the comforts of your very own home.

Meditation is another perfect way to calm the mind, body, and soul. This falls more under the category of a happy a lifestyle. Keeping up and maintaining a positive attitude leaves a ripple effect of good fortune in one’s life. Meditation is known to reduce negative thoughts, increase imagination and creativity, and more importantly, increase patience and tolerance, which we all need towards the end of the school year. Just like exercising, there are plenty of ways to learn how to meditate properly. Free apps like Aura: Calm Anxiety & Sleep have different types of meditation exercises that require only 3 minutes from your day, and they can help reduce any kind of negativity in your life and guide you on your new spiritual journey.

Lastly, and probably the hardest, eating healthy! We all know how the temptations go, especially when you’re on route 40. A Big Mac sounds so good in almost every scenario, but for the sake of this article let’s try not to think about it. The way you eat has almost a direct relationship with how you feel mentally. If your diet consists of fried food that is  rich in saturated fats, you’re not going to feel so great about yourself. From eating like this, you will most likely gain a significant amount of weight that could lower your health and happiness. Avoiding fast food at all costs and trying to eat more fruits and veggies will surely make you feel better about yourself and will make you look good too! Definitely a win-win situation.

When thinking about the next couple of months, keep these things in mind if you want to feel better about yourself in the warm weather!

Girls Lacrosse Hopes to Continue Dominating

Jack Liparini

As the flowers start to bloom and the rainy season comes, we are all getting ready for girls lacrosse season.  With each season comes new challenges and things to overcome.

    A prominent Junior Player, Gracie Kennedy had this to say looking forward to the season, “The upcoming lacrosse season has a really good outlook. We have a returning senior captain, Victoria Hensh, getting us back into the grind of things and the team is looking great. After our disappointing loss to Glenelg in playoffs, we’re ready to come back and give everything we have to not experience that again!” This positivity runs deep throughout the team.

    There seems to be a lot of returning stars this season including our very own Victoria Hensh. The team should have a good shot at the State Championship as in the past they have been a pretty reputable team in this girls lacrosse landscape. The team definitely seems highly motivated and ready to work this coming season. There should be a lot to see out of this team.

     This year’s Girls Lacrosse team will have the willpower to overcome any obstacles and  bring in another State Championship for our Mustangs!

Boys Lacrosse Hopes to Build off of Last Year’s Success

Matt Hendershot – Sports Editor

The 2018 season ended with a win for the first time in the schools history and they hope this will not be the last. The team finished with a 17-2 record, a Regional championship and a State championship.

Offense

The team was filled with talent on the offensive side of the field. This included 6 seniors and 1 freshman. This years offense will be filled with a lot of new faces as they hope to continue the success they had last year. The team received two transfers, John Miller from Loyola Blakefield and Tommy Ruddo from Glenelg. Both play attack and look to help out the team immediately. The midfield position will not return one player from last year. This group looks to step up and fill the shoes of the players before them.

This side of the field will have a lot of new faces and they look build off of the success that recent Marriotts Ridge teams have had.

Defense

This side of the ball returns every player from last year and more. They will have a 4 year varsity starter, Colin Kelley, in goal. They return Senior Ricky Fedorchak and Juniors Andrew Page and Patrick Greene. They also added another transfer form Loyola Blakefield, Senior Ben Ward and he looks to make an immediate impact. At long stick middie, Quinn Kelley looks to continue his success from freshman year. The defense was one of the strongest position groups this team has had in recent years and they look to be even stronger this year.

Head coach, Coach Incontrera will have a new challenge this year as his team will have a target on their back day in and day out. Every team will be looking to knock off the Mustangs after winning a state title a year ago. The road will not be easy for the Mustangs but they look to weather the storm and end their season with a win, 2 years in a row.

MRHS Hockey Takes Home Serio Cup in Dramatic Fashion

Matt Hendershot – Sports Editor

The Glenelg Marriotts Ridge rivalry added another action packed game, this time on the ice. Marriotts Ridge and Glenelg took center stage on February 7th at the Columbia Ice Rink. Marriotts Ridge took home the cup in overtime 2-1.

Marriotts Ridge has already beaten the Gladiators twice this season but this game was neck and neck the entire way. After the first period the two teams were scoreless.

In the middle of the second period Glenelg struck first after a shot was rebounded into the back of the net. Marriotts Ridge looked stunned and went into a 10 min intermission down a goal. Things were not looking good for the Mustangs and the fans were losing hope.

The final period began and it seemed that nothing had changed, Glenelg was dominating the game and was slowly running out the clock. Marriotts Ridge began to pull their goalie with 2 minutes remaining as desperation time was kicking in. With 30 seconds to go Glenelg was ready to celebrate back to back Serio Cups, but not so fast. Two penalties gave the Mustangs a 5 on 3 advantage and with the goalie pulled, it was 6 on 3. The Mustangs had hope and knew this was their chance to capitalize, and they did just that. Sophomore Ben Watson put the puck in the back of the net with 12 seconds to go and the Marriotts Ridge student section erupted. After the goal a Glenelg player was ejected and left their team down 2 men going into overtime.

With new life in the Mustangs and a two man advantage, Marriotts Ridge knew they had to win it here. The Mustangs momentum carried over to overtime and they struck the winning goal in front of the Mustang faithful. Ben Watson, the player who scored the game tying goal also scored the goal to win it all.

This game was action packed and filled with excitement from start to finish. The Mustangs lost this game last year to Glenelg and were not going to let it slip away again. The Cup returned home to the Mustangs and they did it in the most dramatic fashion possible.

It’s Time To Register For Classes

Shay Salyer – Staff Writer

Attention Underclassmen: Are you or someone you know struggling to find the perfect classes for your future at Ridge? For your future in college and beyond? Well, look no further! Here’s some advice on registering for classes that suit your interests and possible career paths.

If you are looking to incorporate the social sciences into your future, there’s a wide variety of classes at the Ridge, including Psychology, World History, US History, Human Geography, and Sociology. Future psychologists, as an example, would benefit greatly from taking Psychology AP. Other classes that would be beneficial for a future psychologist could include Anatomy and Physiology or Statistics AP.

Looking to have a career in business? Whether you want to move up and be a manager at your current restaurant job, want to open your own nail salon, or anything in between, there are classes here that will help you get to where you want to be. Take Economics, Marketing, and Finance classes.

Are the arts your thing? Sign up for dance, theater, band, or chorus! We also offer a variety of art classes, including Art and Photo, that may be a great addition to your schedule, while also helping you reach your graduation requirements. Don’t forget about cooking classes – yum!

Want to be a Physical Education teacher or do something involving exercise? Maybe take Sport For Life, or aid for one of the P.E. teachers during your senior year.

Let’s also keep in mind the great opportunities we have in our language department. The variety of languages that we are able to learn here at Marriotts Ridge is incredible. There’s German, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin, and Chinese. Ever wanted to study abroad? Taking these classes, at any level but especially advanced, will help tremendously if you decide to study abroad through college.

Are you still unsure about what you want to accomplish with your gift of life? Take Career Research and Development with Mrs. Moulds. This class is a great tool for learning what you are good at and what skills you might utilize in the future.

In general, choose classes that are challenging, but do not push yourself too much. School can be fun and useful for your future, so make the most out of it!

New Plan For Old Ellicott City

Photo Credit: Fie Klementsen

Brice Handel – News Editor

Less than a month into his administration, Calvin Ball has rolled out his “Safe and Sound” initiative with the goal of finding solutions to the deadly flooding that has tarnished Old Ellicott City. Ball’s predecessor, Alan Kittleman, had drafted a plan that called for the demolition of ten buildings along historic Main Street, but Ball fears that demolition is, “using a sledgehammer when only a scalpel is necessary.” He still plans on honoring the offers that have been made to Ellicott City business owners to buy their properties, but, for now, he’s holding back on demolition.

Before any permanent decisions are made, he is bringing in structural engineers to assess damages and determine the integrity of the buildings affected by the flooding. Ball’s plan also includes improvements to Howard County’s emergency public alert system and efforts to clean debris out of waterways. To fund these improvements, a matching grant program has been setup that includes $150,000 in funding, but Ball feels that won’t be enough to help all those affected. To secure more funding, he is collaborating with Delegate-Elect Courtney Watson and State Senator-Elect Katie Fry Hester to introduce legislation into the General Assembly that will secure more funding for the county.

Ellicott City business owners are grateful for Ball’s swift execution of his plan, stating that it’s difficult to remain open with the reduced foot traffic in Old Ellicott City. Many people are weary of visiting Old Ellicott City given the dangerous flooding that has occurred, but Ball hopes that his “Safe and Sound” initiative will restore the area to what it once was.

Midterm Madness: Tips and Tricks To Get Through Midterms

Grace Underwood – Features Editor

Following the week after winter break, students are thrown back into the school year with Midterms coming up in just a few weeks. Whether you’re a Freshmen or a Senior, these tips and tricks will help you deal with the stress of Midterms and manage your time.

With regard to your diet and sleep, you should try to stay as healthy as possible before and during Midterms. Always remember to get enough sleep and maybe cut back on the junk food for a bit just to give your body that extra boost of nutrition from fruits and vegetables. “Get a lot of sleep. It’s way more important than most people realize,” advices Junior Tess Dandridge. Sleep helps your brain remember what you learned that day, so if you aren’t getting enough sleep your brain isn’t getting enough time to process and remember all that you learned for the day. Besides helping you remember what you have learned, getting enough sleep is crucial to helping you stay awake and focused during the test. Since you will be taking your Midterms so early in the morning an extra few hours of sleep than normal will go a long way.

The closer you get to Midterm week, the more stressed out your friends and peers will be. A good way to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed is to plan out your free time to accommodate for extra study time. Go to your calendar and mark what times you plan to study, whether that’s an hour every night before bed or blocking off a couple hours every day on the weekends. Also, cramming for a test as big as the Midterm the night before will only stress you out more and you won’t remember as much as you think you will. “If you just tell yourself to not worry about them [Midterms] and really don’t get stressed about them, it helps calm you during testing season and you’ll find it’s much nicer to study for them while calm and relaxed versus all tense and stressed out,” advices Senior Emily Wood.

If you’re a Freshman and don’t know what to expect, your teachers will be talking about Midterms in your classes, and you should feel free to ask any upperclassmen about Midterms. The week before Midterms, your teacher will inform you about after school study sessions where they will go over important subjects and let you ask questions. Also, don’t ignore the study guides they give you. Even though you may have notes you’ve taken, going through a study guide will help remind you of what to remember and help you figure out what you will need to study more.

Good luck to all students!

Calvin Ball’s Email Hacked

Brice Handel – News Editor

Days before Christmas, about 35,000 Howard County residents received emails from Netflix stating that their accounts would be cancelled if they didn’t update their payment information. However, this turned out to be an elaborate phishing scam that was orchestrated by hackers targeting Calvin Ball.

The Sunday before Christmas, hackers signed into Ball’s Constant Contact account which contained email distribution lists with thousands of emails. Hackers used these email lists to distribute emails that appeared to come from Netflix with the subject line “Account Cancellation.” Upon opening the email, recipients were greeted with a message explaining that in order for their subscription to remain in effect they needed to re-enter their payment details. It was a typical phishing scam where hackers posed as a credible business in order to gather sensitive information. The email included a link to a phony Netflix website where people could enter their payment details. Thankfully, less than 700 people clicked on the link out of the 35,000 that received the email.

Within about two hours, Constant Contact had suspended Ball’s account and deactivated the scam link contained in the email. Howard County Officials have ensured residents that no government databases were compromised and no confidential personal information was released. At this time, Ball’s Constant Contact account has been restored and there have been no more repercussions as a result of this incident.