Posted at 6:26 PM ET, 03/ 1/2007

Please Disregard the Bell

By Ugochi Onyeukwu and Shawntika Johnson

Imagine this: A fire alarm goes off. No one lifts a finger or bats an eye. Teachers continue to teach. Students continue to talk. No one seems to care as we wait for the inevitable announcement that follows almost every fire alarm at Cardozo: "Please disregard the bell." We've all become so used to this; we've become immune to the fire alarm.

The lack of regard for our fire alarm system could prove to be very dangerous. In fact, a few weeks ago, on Dec. 12, someone lit a fire in a trash can in the boys' bathroom. No alarm warned us about the situation, and the school was not evacuated. Maybe the administration thought they didn't need to sound the alarm because no one would have believed that there was a real fire anyway. If the administration had sounded the alarm, how many times would we have to be told, "This one's real" before we reacted?

After all, we have been programmed to ignore the daily false alarms. People's lives are saved everyday by fire alarms. When no one cares about when, how or why these alarms are being pulled, there is a problem.
We all know the reason why most students pull fire alarms. They want to get out of class or possibly, out of school. But they are putting the rest of us at risk. Fire alarms are installed in schools to keep us safe, but with so many false alarms, they don't have much effect on us anymore. The question is: What does the administration think it's proving by teaching us all to ignore fire bells? Do they think this means they're winning the battle of wills with the alarm pullers?

The administration needs to take this problem more seriously. They need to come up with a plan to monitor the fire alarms around the school more closely. Maybe they could use cameras to catch "the pullers" in the act. Students who pull the alarm as a prank should get a proper punishment. By doing so, the administration would send a message that they won't tolerate this kind of misbehavior. Once the situation is under control, students and staff will also need to be retrained to take fire alarms seriously. School-wide fire drills, including evacuation of all classrooms, should be scheduled periodically.

When we can find a solution for these false alarms, we will all finally know that when the fire bell rings we are actually in danger, and it is not just a prank that will be disregarded.

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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 11/30/2006

Lupe's " Food and Liquor": Far From a Fiasco

By Steven Belk


Hip-hop artists rap about the same three subjects over and over: sex, money, and violence. It's undeniable that these topics sell records and few artists are creative or brave enough to stray away from them. Only a few rare artists such as Lupe Fiasco have the creativity and the courage to do something different.

Lupe uses a cd as his canvas and a mic as his brush to paint a picture of society as he sees it. He challenges the typical hip-hop image in his song "Daydreamin," where he sarcastically promotes alcohol, cocaine, and degrading women. While most of the tracks are high quality, a few of them could use a better beat.

We need more artists like Lupe to show urban kids something other than half dressed women and rolls of money. Nothing can be perfect but "Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor"
comes close. I give it a four out of five.

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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 11/30/2006

Analyze Before You Criticize

By Akua Danqua

Does Cardozo deserve the negative reputation it has? As a new student I don't think it does, because I haven't had any negative experiences so far.

Too often the people who put down Cardozo don't know about Cardozo first hand. All they know are the negative things that they have heard about from other people. Visitors don't stay in the environment long enough to form an unbiased opinion about Cardozo.

Another reason why people have negative views of Cardozo is because they expect the worst-case scenario before they even come on the school grounds. I think the two major reasons for these low expectations are because of where the school is located, and the ethnicities of the students. So it doesn't really matter what they see because the people who negatively criticize Cardozo already have their minds made up and they block out the reality of the situation.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the students were friendlier than I expected and the teachers were very efficient at teaching their lesson plans. Contrary to what you might think or have heard I feel very safe while I am in the school building or on its grounds.

It is not a perfect school for example the building could use some remodeling but I appreciate being able to be a pupil at Cardozo because it is a great experience. Cardozo is a school that is rising to the top and people should stop putting it down because it's not so bad after all.

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Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 11/30/2006

Cardozo Pride?

By: Mariah Stanley

As I walked up the steps of Cardozo Senior High School for the first time I thought to myself how overwhelming this new school would be. With a bad impression from my sister already set in my mind, I was upset I would be attending this school also known as "Cardirty." I went to orientation upset but left sort of relieved that the staff I had met was so welcoming. What I also noticed about Cardozo was the beautiful architecture that had been so poorly taken care of, it surely did live up to its well known nickname. My mother and I looked around and knew I went from bad to worse.

My name is Mariah Stanley. I have lived in the D.C area my entire life. Last year I attended Duval high school in Prince George's County. From there to Cardozo was not a huge transition. My old school also had a bad reputation its nickname was similar to Carodozo's it was called "Dirty Duval." But I've noticed a difference between Cardozo and Duval is the pride the students have for their school. In Duval, even with the bad reputation, many students participate in activities and clubs. There was a club for almost anything you could think. You could also suggest a new club if you wanted. Teachers who promoted these clubs did not have a deadline in which you could join. They were open to anyone who was interested, even with no prior experience in whatever that club or sport was about.

I've witnessed here in Cardozo that many students do not take pride in their school, many do not participate in activities and a lot of children do not even try to learn. There are many clubs here but it seems that no one really wants to participate. I think the staff and student body government need to come together and find ways to help the students of Cardozo take pride in this school, and also take pride in them selves. It's time for everyone in Cardozo to wake up and find some motivation to take pride in their so called "EXCELelerator School."

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Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 01/10/2007

Ready or Not, Here We Come? Announced Hall Sweeps Don't Work

By Bianca Williams

During the first ten minutes of fourth period, Mr. Crayton made an announcement over the loud speaker. "Teachers please step into the hallway to assist students to their class... because we are about to have a hall sweep." But why is he announcing that there will be a hall sweep?

Students in the hall during 4th period.(George Telzrow)

The main purpose of a hall sweep is to stop students from walking the halls during class. If hall sweeps happen consistently, students will think twice before skipping class. To be an effective deterrent, hall sweeps should catch hall walkers off-guard and result in punishment. Hall sweeps should be a way for the administration to have some type of control over students. Announcing the hall sweeps defeats the purpose of having them at all. Instead, administrators are giving students a reason to not take them seriously and to do whatever they please.

As a result, students are running this school. Too often, students say when they're going to walk the halls, what classes they'll attend, and tell the teachers what they are and aren't going to do in class. The tragic part about it is that the teachers are accepting this type of behavior. Why are the administrators tolerating this type of nonsense from students? If they want students to respect them, then they should show students that they are serious and follow through with their actions. Instead of announcing when the hall sweeps are about to occur, the administrators should show students the seriousness of hall sweeps and make examples of those who are disobeying them.
Bianca Williams

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Posted at 5:37 PM ET, 02/20/2007

Chocolate City: Not So Chocolate Anymore

Housing Boom Displaces Long Time Residents

by Ugochi Onyeukwu

Some may say that gentrification is helping the city because low-cost and deteriorated neighborhoods are being torn down and new buildings are being put in their place, but it is actually hurting D.C. Gentrification is the redevelopment of urban, usually low-income areas (often where African-Americans live) followed by the increase of wealthier (often Caucasian) residents that displaces the poorer residents. Gentrification is unfair and shows that, although we have come a long way, racism and classism are still rampant today. D.C. is going through gentrification right now with old apartment buildings being torn down and high-priced condominiums being built in their place. In some areas of D.C., sometimes called "Chocolate City," there isn't much chocolate left anymore. With gentrification on the rise, D.C.'s culture is being changed along with it.

Condos being built very close to Cardozo Senior High. (Ugochi Onyeukwu)

Gentrification began to affect D.C. after the 1968 riots sparked by Martin Luther King's assassination. The riots caused many businesses to close and left many areas in shambles. The riots greatly affected the inner city. There was an increase in the departure of all races to suburban areas. But many people stayed. Even when crime rates were high and a lot of people lost their jobs, they stayed. And now what? The city is beginning to become better, and the people who stayed and kept D.C. alive are now being displaced.

The District of Columbia is one of the most powerful cities in the United States, but its longtime residents are being treated like they don't matter. The people living in areas that are being gentrified often don't have an organized voice, like the people who are buying these low-income houses and flipping them. Gentrification can be a good thing because it does fix up the neighborhoods, but kicking out old residents that can't afford the better housing is just wrong. Allowing gentrification to go on is only going to result in one thing, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to have to move.

To fix the problem the D.C. government should ensure that a mix of housing is included in each new building so that families of different incomes can live in the city. If we provide more opportunities for work in the area it would reduce poverty that is plaguing parts of D.C. Also, the minimum wage should be increased, because the minimum wage now is not enough to be able to live in D.C. The city should also provide houses for the elderly who don't have the ability to work and earn money. This would protect them from the harmful side effects of gentrification.

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Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 02/20/2007

Have You Caught The Bug?

by Ugochi Onyeukwu

The Symptoms of Senioritis

Every senior has felt it, that urge to just drop all your books and scream "I can't do this anymore." Most cases of senioritis begin after college applications and mid-year reports have been sent in, but in extreme cases it might start the first day of senior year or earlier. Senioritis affects everyone, regardless of sex, age, height, race etc. Senioritis can be deadly to ones grades and may be contagious. Keep an eye out for that nasty problem
The symptoms of this virus are:
* Laziness
* Over-excessive wearing of overly comfortable clothing (including but not limited to sweatpants and track suits)
* Lack of studying
* Not doing any work
* Repeated Absences
* Skipping classes
* Dismissive attitude
* Playing pranks on others

With new cases of senioritis occurring every day, the only known way of curing this virus is the wonderful event known as Graduation. Rasheda Foster said, " Its just stressful, with college applications, grades, and my job. I have to put in extra work." Some seniors think that senioritis is about fear, an unnamed senior sad that he does not have senioritis, because he has nothing to be afraid of in the work department. Takia Williams says that after working so hard to get here she thought that senior year would be a breeze; she has found that to be very false. When asked if she sees senioritis among the seniors in Cardozo, Ms. April Copes replied, "Heck yes, for some people its the fear of moving on to the real world and some other people its the same laziness they had all the other years. On the other hand there are some seniors working very hard to get into the colleges of their choice and to win scholarships."

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Posted at 11:31 AM ET, 03/ 1/2007

Eating Your Words in Style at Busboys and Poets

by Zenani Bishop

Busboys and Poets is a chaotic clash of a bookstore, restaurant, and beat poem reading hall, internet café and much more. Located on the corner of 14th and V, Busboys and Poets attracts many creative minds and aspiring poets as well as those who simply enjoy the artistic intellect of others. They hold several events a week including book readings by authors, writer's workshops, poet nights, cinema night (showing indie films) and tons of other things that you can attend free of charge.

Busboys and Poets is named after the Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. Poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay called Langston a "Negro busboy poet" because Langston placed several of his poems beside Lindsay's plate when serving him one night in a restaurant. Busboys and Poets is an amazing place to eat, serving fine cuisine from modern chefs. Though they may seem weird, these dishes surprise your taste buds and satisfy your hunger. I found the pink Salmon on sweet pancakes with syrup. This new age hang out is homey and nestled right into the busy U street scene and I love it. Oh, and don't forget to stop by the wonder machine, drop in your quarter and collect your random piece of garbage.

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Posted at 6:16 PM ET, 03/ 1/2007

Mayor Fenty, Now Hear This! Cardozo Speaks Out on Mayoral Priorities

If you were the new mayor in D.C what would be your two priorities?

by Maria Aguilar

Ms. Barron: I would provide more low-income housing in the city by forming a partnership with companies that offer low wage jobs, such as Starbucks, Pot Belly Sandwich, and others. These companies would contribute money to a city housing account to provide subsidies to workers employed at low wage jobs.

Mr. Elbouhnini:
I would do what ever I could to stop violence. I would make sure all students stay in school. As mayor I would make sure parents come to teacher conferences. If a teacher has a problem with a student and they call home, the parent needs to come or parents will receive a letter asking for a reason why they didn't attend. Also I would give more money to schools, that way students could get their materials and get a better education. I would manage all the money that goes to schools so it doesn't get to the wrong hands.

D'Quedia: I would try to clean the city, because Washington needs to look like a real city. I would add more street sweepers to clean the streets.

Dewayne: I would build new schools and put all the bad kids in one school and kids that have special needs in one school that can pay attention to them and have equipment just for their needs.

Rony: In every city office I would have Spanish people to help people that need help with the language.

Ms. Sylvia:
We need to get a public hospital east of the Anacostia River because all hospitals are all together in one area. I would invest money to open a new hospital. I would also improve human services for the less fortunate people and children. I would focus on housing for people with lower incomes and improve drug treatment centers in the city.

Kibbles: I would make gay rights in the U.S. legal. I feel as though no matter what your sexuality is, you should be treated equal.

Edwin: I would get more money for all D.C public schools. I would fix all D.C schools, because they are falling down. Some of the schools even have rats and cucarachas. I would also make all jobs pay more money.

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Posted at 6:20 PM ET, 03/ 1/2007

Just Like Us: Cardozo and South African Students Find Common Ground

Cardozo students and their South African visitors on the stage of Cardozo Senior High School. (Photo by Mr. Telzrow)

By Ugochi Onyeukwu

You might think meeting South African students would be a stretch, and that teenage South Africans are way different then DC teens. But when you start to talk to them you see that we are all the same. With tongue rings, belly button rings, partying, and love for the opposite sex, its safe to say the only thing that separated us were our accents.

Seven South African students came to America in a student exchange program and are peer educators for HIV/AIDS. They got tested for HIV/AIDS and were happy to tell us that they were all negative, and they wanted us all to go and get tested too.

We met at the Blackburn Center of Howard University where there is a bowling alley. Which was fun, but the South African students had never bowled before. While bowling on his first ever bowling experience, Gladwin Mabebe got a strike.

We asked about one of the students belly rings and tongue ring and asked her what her parents thought of it "In my culture no one takes that seriously" said Elreeza Myers. They said that there is no adult approval needed to get piercings. "It's my body," said Refiloe Kekana .

The South African students are music lovers to the fullest. We had discussions over Go-Go. They implied that Go-Go was weak saying " that is the kind of music that we clean the house to." This led to a heated argument between the South African students and the Cardozo students. They prefer South African house music, they said that it is more interactive, more alive. But they do like other American music."Have you ever met Chris Brown?" said one of the South African girls and "Chingy is hot, if you ever meet him tell him I said hello" said Refiloe. They listen to all the same songs as we do and sang along with us as we sang Irreplaceable by Beyonce and Unfaithful by Rihanna.

We also had the love of the opposite sex. We asked them what boys in South Africa are like and they also had their impressions of American boys. They said that in South Africa boys don't really wear baggy clothes and if they do then they are referred to as "niggas" or "punks." But they like all kinds of boys. When Refiloe Kekana saw a cute Howard male student she exclaimed "Hallelujah," which made the whole group giggle.

We gave them a tour of our school and Elreeza Myers exclaimed "This is one big school." After spending a day with the South African teenagers, and finding that we had a lot in common. I realized that this is a small world after all.

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Posted at 6:23 PM ET, 03/ 1/2007

My Adventure In Liberia

By Leon Lee

According to, Liberia, which means "land of the free," was founded by freed slaves from the United States in 1820. These freed slaves were part of the American Colonization Society. They first arrived in Liberia and established a settlement in Christopolis, now Monrovia (named after U.S. President James Monroe), on February 6, 1820. This group of 86 immigrants formed the beginning of the settler population of what became known as the Republic of Liberia. Thousands of freed slaves from America soon arrived during the following years, leading to the formation of more settlements and resulting in a declaration of independence on July 26, 1847 of the Republic of Liberia.

In 1999, when I was nine years old, my father, who is an African citizen, told my younger brother and I that we were going to take a trip to visit our relatives in Liberia, which is on the western side of Africa. But that wasn't really true. My father thought we were bad as hell and wanted his family to discipline us. My father did not come with us to Liberia because he said he had important things to do, so he let his friends who were going back to Africa take us.

We were on the plane to Africa for two and half days. We stopped in Ghana, another country in Africa, for breakfast and then got back on the plane and finished our trip to Liberia. When we arrived, we landed in Harbel, Liberia which looked a lot like Washington D.C. It had movie theaters, clubs, one-story red-brick houses, schools, and dirty streets.

My father's family was waiting at the airport. "Are you Bill's sons?" they said, and we said, "Yeah" and they started laughing and hugging us. We got in a taxicab and went to a big village call Harbel Firestone. We got to the house and outside there were a bunch of African kids looking at me from the doorway. I looked back and then I bucked at them. They got scared and most of them ran away. My uncle took us for a walk and the Liberian kids followed us. I said something to the kids and my uncle slapped me upside my head. That's how my life in Liberia began.

Liberia is a country that you would love to stay in if there was no war going down. It is almost like the U.S. because they have Mc Donald's, beaches, and banks and Liberia has some beautiful girls and coconut trees. Liberia is a country where, if you are lucky, you can find gold dust and some little diamonds too. One of the biggest differences was that there where 15 different languages and they did not have any showers in the houses. Before I left America, I thought it was going to be a safari but it turned out to be little villages and houses.

I liked it there in Liberia because it is like you are free to do any thing you want. My first night there my cousins took my brother and I to a soccer field to play "football," which is what they call soccer. They said they called it football because you kick the ball with your foot. Other things we did for fun were play hide and seek catch the bird, we went to the movies, and we told scary stories in the night or tried to go hookup with some girls.

My brother and I spent four years in Liberia. . I ended up coming back because there was a war in Liberia and also for other family reasons. I felt sad because I was having fun in Liberia and I didn't want to leave. When it was time to leave my uncle, my cousin's boyfriend, and my cousins were crying. When we came back to the United States I felt relieved. My trip to Liberia was a great experience, but my home is in the United States.

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