Local students march on Washington

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Students march on CapitolStudents march on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZWASHINGTON, D.C.Thousands of students walked out of their high schools today in the Washington D.C. area. Students first walked out of their high schools, marched towards the nearest metro stops, rallied at the White House, and then finished their protest at the United States Capitol. 

"I protested today because I know there are a lot of students, children, and people who feel unsafe in their school," said Honor Kalala, 17, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School and one of the student leaders today. "It's not only about kids in school; it's about people on the street. I’m just not okay with it!" she said.


Survivors of Florida school shooting inspire audience at Blair High School event

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Congressmen Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stand with survivors of the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The survivors met with local high school students at Montgomery Blair High School Monday night.  PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ Congressmen Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stand with survivors of the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The survivors met with local high school students at Montgomery Blair High School Monday night. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ  SILVER SPRING — Students from various high schools in Montgomery County filled the auditorium at Montgomery Blair High School last night to welcome survivors from the Valentine’s Day shooting that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

As media waited outside during the event, a black van pulled up in front of the school at 7:52 p.m. and one by one, the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made their way into the building. Also in attendance was Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) representing the Parkland community, and Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the organizer of the event. While media were not allowed inside at the request of Montgomery County high school students in attendance, Raskin said survivors would speak with reporters after the event. However, the Parkland survivors left afterwards without speaking to reporters, claiming fatigue.

Around 9:30 p.m., students began to leave the event, some deeply concerned. Sophie Holt, 16, a sophomore at Albert Einstein High School said she attended last week’s school walkout protest and attended this event at Blair because she believes the Parkland survivors’ movement is important and hopefully will change current gun laws.

“There has been so many mass shootings in the past 10 years in this country, we need a change in this country,” said Holt. “The fact that they’re [survivors] willing to stand up there and like, make a difference and get the message across to the country that we really need to make a change, I think that’s really cool,” she said.


Blair senior pins down school’s all-time wins mark.

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Blair BlazersSenior Ryan Holland (160) decked Einstein’s Nehemias Salgado in two minutes, 38 seconds for his 97th victory during a 72-8 triumph on Thursday, becoming Montgomery Blair’s all-time career wins leader.

A fourth-place finisher at counties and states last season who was third at regions, Holland surpassed Billy Santurno, a 125-pound regional champion who graduated in 2012 with 96 wins.

“Ryan Holland is simply an outstanding young man,” said coach Tim Grover. “Being Blair’s career wins leader is a culmination of four years of dedication and daily hard work.”


Holland blazing trail toward Blair’s all-time career victories mark

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Blair BlazersSeniors Ryan Holland (152) and Rudy Ngougni (220) and sophomore Mervin Mancia are undefeated in eight bouts, all of them pins, for the Montgomery Blair Blazers, who are off to an 8-0 start in dual meets under second-year coach Tim Grover.

Holland was fourth at counties and states and third at regions, and Ngougni, fourth at counties and third at regions for the Blazers, whose biggest county victories were over Clarksburg, 35-29, and, Quince Orchard, 36-30.

Mancia has decked Walter Johnson senior Leo Saucedo and Clarksburg junior Austin Smith. Saucedo was county runner-up and third at regions, Smith went 24-10 at 220 last season, and Mancia, 13-12.

“Our best performances of the season so far were probably against Walter Johnson and River Hill [Howard County]. We beat WJ, 53-16, on December 6 and River Hill, 42-19, on December 21. Last year WJ beat us, 52-18, and River Hill beat us, 49-17, and we all brought back similar teams this year,” said Grover, whose Blazers were 16-5 last year and 9-12 two seasons ago.


RM Rockets clinch playoff spot with victory over Blair, 38-13

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Blair vs. RM FB 11 3 17Rockets QB Spencer Silverstein (5) is taken down by Blair’s Jason Amboo (76). Silverstein would go on to lead RM to victory, earning them a playoff spot. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  ROCKVILLE – Friday night at Roy Lester Stadium, Richard Montgomery clinched a playoff spot and made history in the process.

Richard Montgomery seniors Spencer Silverstein and Daryn Alexander guided the Rockets to a 38-13 victory over the visiting Blair Blazers on Senior Night and helped the program earn its third consecutive winning season for the first time in 45 years.

“It feels amazing just to have a great game and come out with a dub and clinch a playoff spot,” said Silverstein, who ran for two touchdowns in the first half to help the Rockets jump out to a 31-0 advantage at the intermission.


Blair HS security investigating race-related fliers found on campus

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Montgomery Blair High School LogoAdministrators at Montgomery Blair High School are investigating how fliers reading “It’s okay to be white” came to be around the Silver Spring school.

Security cameras captured an unknown person whose face was obscured by a hooded sweatshirt posting one of the inflammatory fliers -- which appeared at numerous schools across the United States and Canada – before they were discovered by staff members early Wednesday morning.

In a letter sent to parents of Montgomery Blair students, Blair Principal Renay Johnson explained that the fliers were found when staff arrived at the school at 5:45 am that morning, but were immediately removed before students arrived for school that day.

Johnson assured parents that she and her staff – whose research has found the fliers to be part of a national campaign to foment racial tensions – are taking the seriously and are continuing to investigate.

“I want you to know that Montgomery Blair is a very smart, diverse and inclusive community and we will not fall victim to attempts to divide us,” Johnson said. “We are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for every student.”


Two Arrested

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Local educators charged with child sex abuse in separate cases

Cory Boatman Roy SimmonsCory Boatman (left) and Roy Simmons (right). COURTESY PHOTOS  Police arrested two Montgomery County Public Schools staff members last week in separate incidents involving child sex abuse charges. 

Police charged Cory Boatman, 27, a teacher and an assistant football coach at Montgomery Blair High School, Oct. 6 with sexual abuse of a minor for an alleged sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student.

According to police, Boatman began sending the student "suggestive text messages" in early August. In late August, Boatman allegedly picked up the victim at her residence and drove her to his address where they engaged in sexual intercourse. Boatman was placed on administrative leave Monday, Sept. 25. A preliminary court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Roy A. Simmons III, a 41-year-old afterschool program facilitator for Kids Adventure, was charged Oct. 3 with one count of second-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree sex offense involving a 10-year-old girl at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Bethesda, according to a police report.

The alleged offense occurred in November 2016 when Simmons, a group leader, inappropriately touched the child when she was separated from students. Police said Simmons admitted to the inappropriate contact during a police interview. At the time of the incident, Simmons was also employed as a temporary para-educator at Carderock, a job he had held since the fall of 2015, according to MCPS.


Paint Branch holds on late against Blair to remain undefeated

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PB Panthers teamPaint Branch Panthers following their win over Blair. PHOTO BY MATT COHEN  BURTONSVILLE — The Paint Branch Panthers were able to keep their perfect record alive as they beat the Blair Blazers 20-14 on their home turf.

Blair started the game very quickly, finding the end zone on their first play of the game. Blazers quarterback Matt Siff threw a screen pass to wide receiver Rudy Ngougni, Ngougni turned upfield and blew past the Panthers’ defense for a 68-yard touchdown.


Blair graduate joins staff of Terp basketball

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Montgomery Blair High School graduate Kevin Broadus has joined the Maryland men’s basketball program as an assistant coach.

Broadus, who spent nine years at Georgetown, brings more than two decades of coaching and recruiting experience to Maryland.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to the Maryland Basketball family,” said Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. “Kevin has a strong reputation as a tireless recruiter and is passionate about developing players on and off the court. He has extensive knowledge and experience as a coach, and I am confident his ties to this region will be extremely valuable to our program.”


Blair High School students reach final round in national math competition

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A team of five Montgomery Blair high school students is headed to New York City next week to compete in the final round of the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, a national competition where juniors and seniors apply math and creative-thinking skills to solve complex, real-world challenges.

In the previous round, the Blair team — made up of Eshan Tewari, James Vinson, Andrew Komo, Siddharth Taneja and Annie Zhao — spent 14 hours one weekend developing a mathematical model for the National Park Service to address sustainability and growth challenges at five national parks. Out of 1,100 teams that competed, the Blair team was chosen as one of six finalists.

The six teams will present their final papers to a judging panel of Ph.D.-level mathematicians in New York on April 24, where judges will decide which teams place in the competition and will award $150,000 worth of scholarships.

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