Hey Kiddo – a tale of Addiction and Awareness

Hey Kiddo – a tale of addiction and awareness

This year’s 1B1C choice by Loudoun County Public Library was unique in many ways. Hey Kiddo: How I Lost my Mother, Found my Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a graphic memoir, two mediums that usually don’t coincide, depicting the difficulties Jarrett experienced growing up with his less than traditional family dynamics. Despite his trials, Jarrett triumphs – you may recognize his name from the Jedi Academies, the Lunch Ladies series, and a multitude of picture books of which he is the author/illustrator. With 21 new VERSO standards for our MATA health and medical science students addressing the opioid crisis and science of addiction, books like Hey Kiddo are timely and necessary.

The Academies of Loudoun, among many of the local high schools, was a recipient of 100 copies of the book to distribute among students and staff. As limited copies were available this year (the cost of the book was more than years past due to its full color), all were encouraged to pay it forward when they were done reading. Due to its popularity, we set 25 copies aside as a class set; Lt. Henry’s EMT class was the first to read it together and come up with promotional materials. Below are a few of her students’ creations:

Click here to listen to a podcast created by student Nadina Erkin.

Healthy Hydration Event

The Academies PTSA is one of only a handful of schools nationwide to be awarded a $1000 grant to bring awareness to students and the community about Healthy Lifestyles, and in particular Healthy Hydration.  We will be celebrating this event with an awareness campaign about choosing water for hydration over other sugary drinks.  There will be activity centers and free giveaways!  Please join us at the Academies on November 21st and 22nd during lunchtime in the Dining Commons!

Dr. Rivets returns!

RoboLoCo competed in their first off-season event for this season the IROC – Ilite Robotics Off-Season Challenge. The team hosted two new drive teams – and their performances were outstanding. Despite some battery challenges and a brownout, the team advanced to the Quarterfinals and had lots of fun!

2019 SkillsUSA Graphic Arts Competition


In today’s rapidly changing graphic arts industry, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and keep up-to-date with the newest creative software. Adobe’s Creative Suite is a top of the line package that mixes all the programs needed of today’s graphic designed. Students in the Graphic Design program at the Academies competed today in a two and half hour challenge as part of the 2019 SkillsUSA Graphic Arts Competition to test their use and knowledge of Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat.


Students had to create a full color one-page print advertisement for the “Print Grows Trees” campaign, which is a strategic effort to raise awareness that printing on paper actually helps to grow trees and keeps our forests from being sold for development. It’s counter-intuitive, but by connecting the dots between print and private landowners, who own almost 60 percent of our nation’s woodlands, we’ll come to understand that the existing forestland with all its biodiversity could be better sustained if growing trees was a more profitable endeavor. This will only happen if there is more demand for paper. “Print Grows Trees” challenges the widely held belief that by using less paper, trees will be saved.

Students are to conceive, design, and execute a one page (8.5” x 11”) full-color print ad for the campaign. Students are allowed to choose from the supporting artwork provided to incorporate in their ad or else they can come up with some original art or background to use. They will also be provided some text copy that can be used as body copy for their ad. Finally, they must come up with an original slogan, used in the ad.


Below are the four top designs, created by Julia Spewak, Paravi Das, Sarah Sheikhnureldin, and Ashley Ayeri.  These competitors have earned a place in the state competition this spring in Virginia Beach.


Pizza Anyone?

There is a huge focus on authenticity when it comes to education, and you can’t get any more authentic than high schoolers and their connection to pizza.  So why not build a brick oven? Our masonry class did just that.

When constructing a project of this magnitude there are several factors to take into consideration – the two largest challenges being the overall weight of the brick oven and the structural integrity of the arch. Traditionally bricks are laid and held in place with mortar to prevent them from shifting.  Not in a brick oven – no mortar equates to no grit in your pizza. Using a wooden arch as a scaffolding, the bricks are laid at such an angle that when the support is removed they remain in place – defying gravity. Careful calculations and planning ensured we will be enjoying pizza at the Academies of Loudoun for years to come.

Prior to baking the first pie the oven will need to be fired at least three times, allowing the bricks to cure and any residual dust to be burnt off. Reaching temperatures up over 1000°, that inaugural pizza cannot be left unattended; it only takes a minute for pizza perfection.

Pictured below are students Jackson Donahue and Logan McKinney with the finished product.

Age of the Chicken

The age of man.  How will we be remembered?  Sometime in the future, long after we are gone, researchers at the University of Leicester predict our rotisserie chicken bones will be all that is left behind to mark our existence on the geological timescale.  How exactly did they calculate this to be our defining moment?  The current epoch, the Anthropocene, began in the 1950s, which the researchers argue is when man started to have a lasting impact on the planet. They then investigated what they felt would be the biggest indicator of our time on the planet through the lens of largest change (evolution) and most remains (fossils).

Previous fossil records began in the Cambrian period (roughly 550 million years ago) when organisms developed hard shells, and ever since then each new epoch and era was marked by a key species indicating a change had occurred (try to visualize the model with the trilobites, dinosaurs, and ice age mammals from your early earth science classes). Currently there are 21 billion chickens in existence worldwide, with roughly 3 times that being consumed annually. With this scale it’s easy to see why these researchers are ready to call this the Age of the Chicken – nothing else exists to this quantity. Add in the traditional landfill model, and the normally brittle bones of the chicken are not subject to decay, preserving them nicely for future generations.

Another reason the scientists argue that chickens may be a good marker for our generation is due to the changes we have done to the species through domestication.  There was a large push starting in the 1940’s for meatier birds which lead to massive breeding efforts. In addition, there is a current push for designer birds (chickens are becoming increasingly popular pets) which have led to many different cross-breeds. This has created a huge change in the bone structure, genetics, and skeleton of the modern-day chicken.

Knapton, S. (2018, December 12). Age of the chicken: why the Anthropocene will be geologically egg-                  ceptional. The Telegraph. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

The Curious Case of Percival Wright

It was 10 AM when Dr. Browning watched the cadaver disappear into a metal tube.

Ten hours later, she was having dinner with him.

“So, what it like?” she asked, leaning forward eagerly.

“Which part?” the former-cadaver in question, Percival Wright, teased. “The dying part, the being dead part, or the coming back to life part?”

“All of it!” Dr. Browning grinned. “Your experience is remarkable.”

“You know, all the details are already in the report Dr. Metrich wrote. Asked me every question under the sun. And wrote down every answer.” Percival shrugged tiredly. Already, fatigue was wearing him down.

“I understand, but I would also like to collect information firsthand.” She smiled. “Excited to get back home?”

Percival nodded eagerly. “My girlfriend. She’ll be so excited to see me. Does she know I’m not dead?”

“She was the one who volunteered you, so she’s most likely been informed.” Dr. Browning looked down at her plate.

Percival’s face lit up. He reached into his pocket, presumably to get his phone, but looked confused when he came up empty-handed.

“Your phone was destroyed in the accident,” she explained.

Percival nodded slowly. “Dr. Metrich said my brother was driving?”

Dr. Browning held back a sigh; of course, Metrich would use the same cause of death each time. Constraints mattered, even if they were dull.

“You know, it’s quite strange. I … I don’t remember much of anything, but whenever someone says something, it feels like it clicks and makes sense.” He looked stricken for a moment. “I can’t remember my girlfriend’s name.”

“Maria,” she supplied.

“That sounds right, but … would it really matter what you told me?” Percival’s fingers danced on the table, making a weak attempt to mask his heavy breathing.

Dr. Browning cocked her head to the side, observing the way Percival’s eyelids seemed to be drooping, despite the fury that swept through the rest of him. “Is everything alright, Mr. Wright?”

“Nothing should make sense, but it does!” He stood up suddenly. “You – “

The table rattled as he fell against it.

Dr. Browning sighed as she watched the man collapse to the floor.

Fourteen hours later, Dr. Browning watched Percival disappear into the metal tube.