Sarah Elbeshbishi

Senior at Watkins Mill High School. News editor at The Current since 2015, Editor in-Chief since 2016.

Repeal of DACA creates problems, stress for childhood immigrants

In early September, President Donald Trump announced the repealing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that protects people that were brought to the United States illegally as children. While he later clarified that he will work with Congress over the next six months to come up with a solution, there is still concern that the full repeal will stand. “Most of these students came here when they were babies, they don’t even know their country there,” said Teresa Wright, ESOL

Security upgrades keep school, students safe after county review

Montgomery County Public Schools’ Department of Facilities Management altered 22 out of 25 high schools, including altering doors and improving blind spots by relocating or adding new cameras after a security reviews of all county schools. The security reviews consisted of school visits from a group of two outside consultants, a MCPS performance director and people from the Department of School Safety and Security. During the review the principal, staff, security and students contributed ideas

Girls basketball player benched for wearing hijab in playoff game

A Watkins Mill High School junior was unable to play in the girls basketball 3A South Regional Final because she was wearing a hijab and a referee invoked a seldom-enforced rule about documentation for religious headgear. On March 3, the Watkins Mill girls basketball team arrived at Oxon Hill High School in Prince George’s County to play them in the regional finals. Girls basketball coach Donita Adams was approached by an official stating that junior Je’Nan Hayes was not able to play without th

English teacher’s home, car vandalized after hanging ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner

On January 7, English teacher Sonya Shpilyuk’s home was vandalized and an anti-Semitic note was left on her windshield, after hanging a Black Lives Matter flag from her balcony. Shpilyuk and her husband, Mikey Franklin, woke up to to find their building covered with eggs and toilet paper. A handwritten note was left on the couple’s car with some targeted and violent terms. “I woke up [to a] hateful note with various anti-Semitic symbols,” Shpilyuk said. Within the note, the yellow star of Davi

MCPS sets 2017-2018 school calendar to follow Hogan’s mandate, keep spring break

Montgomery County Public Schools has officially determined its 2017-2018 school calendar, containing the mandatory 180 days while also fitting within Governor Larry Hogan’s time frame. The calendar was determined at the Board of Education’s meeting on December 13. The school year will begin on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 and end on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Within the calendar there are seven days that can be used as instructional days in case of emergencies. “Under Governor Hogan’s constraints

Teacher appreciation week begins Monday, thank all of your teachers

Teacher Appreciation Week begins on Monday, May 12 and ends on Friday, May 12, celebrating all teachers do for their students and community. Beginning in 1984, the National Parent, Teacher Association (PTA) has picked a week in May designated to the celebrating and thanking teachers all across the country. According to, “this year’s theme is “Teachers Deliver”…[and] from May 8-12, 2017, we would like to celebrate teachers and deliver our thanks and gratitude to them.” “It’s important t

MPSSAA responds to calls for rule change, grants exception for student athletes to wear religious garments in games

Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) granted an exception to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) uniform standards on March 21, allowing students to wear religious garments of all kinds. After junior Je’Nan Hayes was restricted from playing in the girls basketball 3A South Regional Final game due to her wearing a hijab media outlets, like the Washington Post, CNN, and Fox News, picked the story up. Hayes and her family teamed up with the C

PTSA-Booster Club scholarships offer quick college cash with only one application

Seniors will be able to apply for several scholarships before spring break, requiring no transcript or recommendation letters. Applications are due by Wednesday, April 5 in the College/Career Center at no later than 3pm. “There are a number of scholarships available for Watkins Mill HS seniors…The good news is students need to submit only one application,” scholarship committee chair Enas Elhanafi said. The PTSA-Booster Club Scholarship gives Watkins Mill High School seniors an opportunity to

MCPS Superintendent visits the Mill, learns about College Tracks

Dr. Jack R. Smith, Montgomery County Public School’s superintendent, came to Watkins Mill High School on March 16 to visit and learn more about CollegeTracks. Smith came by to see the program in actions, allowing him to speak and watch the staff, students, and volunteers. CollegeTracks, a college access and success program, helps junior and senior students with college-related opportunities and applications. “[Smith] came by to learn more about the CollegeTracks program and specifically how we

ESOL students travel to DC for performance at Shakespeare Theatre

Watkins Mill High School’s ESOL program attended a performance of King Charles III at the Shakespeare Sidney Harman Theatre in Washington DC on Wednesday, February 22. King Charles III is about the aftermath of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the current reigning monarch of England. On top of Charles III the play includes Prince Harry, William, and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. The play is a modern take of Shakespearean Theatre, with the dialogue written in Shakespearean verses.

Washington DC March brings community together to support women, immigrants, LGBTQ community

On Saturday January 21, an estimated 4.8 million people marched worldwide to protest the stances of President Donald Trump, which became know as the Women’s March.  Worldwide, 673 marches took place, with roughly 343 of them within the United States. According to the New Yorker, the idea for the March came from Teresa Shook, a grandmother from Hawaii, who “created a Facebook page suggesting a protest” after the 2016 Presidential Election. The next day she received more than 10,000 RSVPs. “The

New Muslim Student Association provides forum, safe space for kids

Students formed a new Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Watkins Mill this year, helping to offer some solidarity during the current political climate. Last year, the association lacked a sponsor, preventing  it from being an official organization. However, this year the school was able to find a teacher willing to take the position. “[Athletic director Reggie] Spears [asked] if some teachers would be interested in sponsoring two different organizations,” MSA sponsor Chris Smith said. “I felt

C-SPAN bus visits Watkins Mill, gives tours to government, journalism students

Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) came to Watkins Mill High School on December 5, allowing students to learn more about the channel and give students a tour of the C-SPAN news bus. Social studies teacher Maxwell Bero contacted C-SPAN after receiving an email asking if they wanted a visit. “It was a real great opportunity for my students to come check this out. We have been talking about the campaign since the school year started… [visiting the bus] gives a hands-on experience with

MCPS will follow Hogan’s mandate to begin school after Labor Day and end by June 15

Montgomery County Public Schools will have a post-Labor Day start for the 2017-2018 school year and end school by June 15 as required by Governor Larry Hogan’s mandate that was released in September. Though in September the Board of Education’s major concern was how to fit in 180 instructional days, emergency days, breaks and holidays into the governor’s time-frame, the Board decided on Tuesday that MCPS will comply and will not apply for a waiver. According to, “[The] school cal

Chipotle donates coupons to boost summer reading enthusiasm

Chipotle Mexican Grill donated roughly 700 free entrée coupons to Watkins Mill High School as an incentive for students that completed their summer reading for the 2016-2017 school year. In previous years students who completed their summer reading on time were added to a raffle to win a Chipotle lunch. “[Two] years [ago] we did a drawing for summer reading,” English resource teacher Wendy Farmer said. “The school paid for 20 lunches for kids who finished their summer reading.” This year all s

Football team hosts military night to show support

Tonight’s Watkins Mill High School football game against the Seneca Valley Screamin’ Eagles will have a military theme in honor of staff and community members in the military or with military families. Military appreciation night is “mainly to show support for…those that have served our country and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives,” science teacher Matthew Johnson said. Many Watkins Mill staff members have served in the military, including security guard Brian Johns

Governor mandates post-Labor Day start to school for 2017-2018

Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order on August 31, requiring all Maryland school to begin after Labor Day and end by June 15. According to, “’Starting Maryland public schools after Labor Day is not just a family issue – it’s an economic and public safety issue that draws clear, strong, bipartisan support among an overwhelming majority of Marylanders,’ said Governor Hogan.” There are 24 counties in the state of Maryland, and only one currently starts after Labor Day. Many

Class of 2016 finishes high school with graduation at DAR Constitution Hall

Watkins Mill High School’s class of 2016 graduated from DAR Constitution Hall yesterday at 2:30pm, with speeches from principal Carol Goddard, social studies teacher Jim Torrence, senior class sponsor Sandy Young, senior class president Hayley Myren, and senior Jeanellie Ludena. Goddard addressed the assembled crowd saying that graduation is one of her very favorite parts of being a high school principal. “When I first met [the class of 2016] it was all about the love of this school for the div

Young, Stackhouse, Taffo chosen as annual PTSA Bell Award winners

PTSA’s Bell Award, the most prestigious award given each year to members of the Watkins Mill Staff, was given to social studies teacher Sandy Young, counseling secretary Ana Taffo, and ESOL teacher Mary Stackhouse on May 26. The Watkins Mill PTSA established the Bell Award program in 1993.  The name “Bell Award” was chosen after the decision was made to present an engraved school bell as a gift.  The award pays tribute to members of our faculty and staff, recipients are chosen based on the cont

Programming club codes at Lockheed Martin CodeQuest

Members of the Watkins Mill High School programming club attended the Lockheed Martin Code Quest, a programming competition for high school students. On April 30, the Watkins Mill programing club entered as a novice team and coded five of the problems. The Lockheed Martin competition is an opportunity to “see what really goes on in the industry where problem solving via Software Engineering is concerned,” programming club sponsor Tanesha Forbes said. “ I want to setup a program where we establi
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