The Fencing Freshman

Ian Schunk, Staff

Fencing is a sport that dates back to the renaissance, the modern mechanics of which developed in an Italian fencing school in the eighteenth century. The artFullSizeRender (2) or sport of fencing consists of three different duels which take place between two opposing fencers. “You will see two people on the strip with their blades, the referee will say on guard, ready, fence and they would fence and whoever gets the touch first, they would get that point.”, said freshman Jacob Bowie.

Bowie being a fencer himself has heard this three word command hundreds of times. The three different forms of fencing duels are characterized by the unique kind of sword used in each.

“There’s three different blades, saber, foil, and epee, and each one has a different target, and a different way of getting a touch.”, said Bowie.

The duel is measured and scored by the number of blows each fencer has on the other, which in the sport is referred to as “touches”. The fencer who ends up having inflicted the most touches is proclaimed the winner. This requires a great deal of skill and agility.

“It’s more of a strategy game compared to other sports, it’s kind of like a game of chess you gotta figure out the right moves to do, figure out where to go, when to go and how to do it.”, said Bowie.

Druid Hills High School’s feature, fencing, freshman, Jacob Bowie has been in the game for a stunning six years. Bowie, however, has only just started playing in tournaments for the past two years of his career as a fencer. He trains at the Atlanta Fencers Club which is located in East Point where he is constantly challenging himself to become better.

The fencing freshman is an expert on the sport and he was able to relate to us in full detail the rules and atmosphere of fencing and the impact is has had on him as a person. “I was a young little boy watching Nickelodeon and an ICarly episode came on and in it was the Fencing Vincent , (IFence, S1, EP 22), and I saw it and I was like that seems interesting and I asked my mom, I was like I wanna try that, I wanna do sword fighting, and she was like okay and we got a groupon for it and I started doing it and fell in love with it.”, said Bowie.

The “Fencing Vincent” was a main character in the tv show who took up fencing.  Bowie had the courage and guts to pursue this childhood dream and is living it still today. The rankings in fencing consists of A, B, C, D, E and U. “A” being the best and “U” being the worst. Bowie ranked in a tournament at Clemson University and he is confident that through hard work and dedication that he will be able to fence and duel his way to the top.

Bowie likes the looks of Druid Hills remarking that, “This place is pretty cool, it’s actually really cool, it’s very diverse and the teachers are cool too!”. The fencing freshman will continue to dedicate himself to the art of fencing. “I’m going to practice as much as possible.” Bowie said.


Blowing off steam with Adopt-A-Stream

Violet Covey, Staff

After last year’s lead contamination of the school’s water fountains, the regular testing of water has proven to be vital. Not only do we rely on these water sources, but so do entire ecosystems. Colette McCarty, Environmental Club Captain and leader of Druid Hill’s Adopt-A-Stream organization, heads a of group of three other devoted students— Huytom Nguyen, James Shirk, and Patrick Welter— to help chemically measure our local stream’s health. “[Adopt-A-Stream] really has provided a great experience to everybody involved by learning how to work with other people efficiently as well as helping the environment at the same time,” Shirk said. McCarty has been an active participant in Adopt-A-Stream for three years while Welter previously participated in his sophomore year. Now, as a senior, McCarty leads Druid Hill’s 2017-2018 Adopt-A-Stream crew.

Adopt-A-Stream is a volunteer organization dedicated to monitoring water quality  all over parts of the southeastern United States— with one active site in Mexico as well.  These people pledge to monitoring different streams, lakes, and rivers all around North America. Adopt-A-Stream keeps bodies of water healthy and clean thanks to the thousands of enthusiastic volunteers they receive every year.

Once every month, the Druid Hills “stream team” takes it upon themselves to collect data comprised of pH levels and dissolved oxygen levels from the Peavine Creek. These meetings can last as long as 90 minutes— including the 15-minute walk from the school to the creek.

Once the group has recorded their data, they immediately submit their findings to the Adopt-A-Stream’s government database. This data indicates to water specialists if the water’s quality is or is not in check. “A normal range of pH in water systems can be anywhere from 6.5-8.5.” McCarty said. Data collected within the past few months shows the average pH of Peavine Creek to be around 6.5-7, while the recent data of dissolved oxygen shows it to be 1.4-2.75 ppm. “It is important to know that levels below 2 ppm will not support fish or any other marine life. There are many different environmental factors that can lead to a change in dissolved oxygen, such as rain water or autumn leaves falling into the stream. These factors can help increase the oxygen levels,” McCarty said.

“There are lots of characteristics of water that are used to indicate the quality of water in our streams. Some of these indicators are characterized by pH, dissolved oxygen, water and air temperature, as well as the turbidity in a body of water,” McCarty said. Chemicals such as alkaline potassium iodide azide, manganous sulfate solution, sulfuric acid, starch indicator solution, and sodium thiosulfate (0.025N) are used to conduct chemical monitoring tests. Although these chemicals can be extremely dangerous if handled improperly, McCarty ensures that the “stream team” follows all of the precautions necessary to protect everybody while collecting their data.

In keeping with their Environmental Club affiliates, Adopt-A-Stream not only tests water, but they also clean up and recycle the waste they find around the bank in order to keep the surrounding area clean. “A group of three can divide up the stream testing evenly. So, if we have four volunteers, I take the opportunity to clean up litter near the stream,” Welter said.

The current problem facing McCarty is finding somebody to take over the next school year’s Adopt-A-Stream. Because all of the students who participate in Adopt-A-Stream are seniors, there is no one yet assigned to continue Adopt-A-Stream next school year. McCarty urges every student interested in the science field to take part in this fun, fulfilling, and beneficial environmental project. “Adopt-A-Stream in general is very rewarding. Usually, it’s a small walk to the nearby creek to test the water and the surrounding area. My favorite thing to do is to test the dissolved oxygen with the various dangerous chemicals,” said Nguyen, who has been an active member of Adopt-A-Stream for three years. In fact, many of the current Adopt-A-Stream volunteers began as sophomores after being introduced to the organization in Ms. Brown’s chemistry class.

Adopt-A-Stream is a great opportunity for environmental activists to undertake, whether they are members of Environmental Club or not. “I want Adopt-A-Stream to be a welcoming environment for any and all students interested,” McCarty said. She welcomes all interested underclassmen to speak to her or Ms. Montooth before certification, which begins on February 9th. The current “stream-team” guarantees Adopt-A-Stream will be an interactive and enjoyable experience for anyone interested in “taking a dive” into the opportunity.

Soccer Star Jamie Orson Sidesteps The Competition

Photo by Diana Luna

 Augie McQuaig, Staff

   Sophomore Jamie Orson is on the rise in his soccer career. Orson has played soccer since he was about 2 years old. “My dad says that I just picked flowers,” Orson said. He began playing soccer competitively with 8 year olds when he was 7. Until recently, Orson played other sports- like basketball. Orson started on the Druid Hills Middle School basketball team when he was in 8th grade.

     Last year, Orson tried out for the Atlanta United Academy, a team that feeds into the MLS professional team, and didn’t make it. Instead, he began playing with Georgia United, which is a club said to be as prestigious as Atlanta United. His team played Atlanta United three times and beat them twice. “We felt that, maybe we were better than the players that they had picked over us,” Orson said. Orson said that he and other players on Georgia United that didn’t make Atlanta United felt that they had proved themselves to the team who turned them down.  

     Playing Atlanta United three times ended up giving Orson a chance to show the Atlanta United coaches what they had missed out on. After his season with Georgia United ended, he was invited to try out for Atlanta United.

     This time, Orson made the team. Orson has grown close with his teammates and met Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and founder/owner of Atlanta United. Orson believes that Blank, even being busy owning two major professional sports franchises, is very involved in all of the Academy level teams of Atlanta United.

     “Getting home late from practice on weeknights and spending all day at tournaments on weekends is worth it,” Orson said.  “The thing taking the biggest hit is definitely my sleep schedule,” Orson said.

     School is very important and the lack of sleep is making it hard to juggle all of his responsibilities. Orson believes that because of all of his activities, his time management skills have improved greatly.  

     Starting out in recreational soccer, Orson didn’t think much of his future in soccer. However, after seeing his teammates and friends leave his recreational league and go to bigger clubs, it made him think about it. This is what led him to playing on the U16 Atlanta United team.  

     Orson thinks that the position he plays, center back (CB), is one of the main factors in his success in soccer. “It is rare in soccer to be a left-footed center back, which is to my advantage and I am valued because of that,” Orson said. Atlanta United scouts and watches players every time they are on the field.

     Andrew Carleton, a 16-year-old, was called up to the MLS team in Atlanta on a Homegrown Contract. A Homegrown Contract gives an MLS team the ability to call-up players to the professional team from their developmental teams.  This is a possibility for any player at Atlanta United, including Orson. “Andrew Carleton is something else,” Orson said. Orson said he thinks Carleton has had the advantage of  being home-schooled, which has given him more time to train.

     Atlanta United doesn’t allow their players to play any other sports, including high school soccer, so don’t expect to see Orson on the playing field this Spring. “It’s frustrating that I can’t play for Coach Bodnar because I have grown close with him after playing for his middle school team for 3 years and the team is a lot more successful than they used to be,” Orson said.

     Orson plans to graduate and continue playing soccer in college.