5 Love Stories Only Academy Nerds Understand

by: Saanvi Gutta

Parallel Lines

So similar, but never meet. They could be one beautiful line together, but never get the opportunity to.

Tangent Lines

Meet once, then part ways forever. A love that lasted once, but never again, one point in time.

Intersecting Lines

Cross paths, but too dissimilar. Their interests and lives led them through different points that the other wouldn’t be able to.


Always close, but never together. They were best friends for so long, they were afraid to love one another.

Sin and Cosine Functions

In and out of love. No matter the ups and downs, the breaks and the intersections, they kept finding themselves with each other.

The Need for Supportive Counselors

by Prajanya Prabakaran

Guidance counselors should be known as the friendly faces who help students. You can see most of them roaming the halls, greeting students, and sitting in their offices. We’ve all had experiences with them, good or bad. While some counselors are helpful and supportive, I believe there are too many who aren’t. Perhaps this is due to sub-par training or some other circumstance, but either way, it is an issue that should be addressed.

Some guidance counselors do an astounding job at going above and beyond to help students. They are supportive, caring, will listen to what you have to say, and are extremely considerate to anyone who approaches them. 

When I needed help with course selections and brought it up with my counselor, she happily responded with all the possible options for courses and kept in touch with me about courses. 

Unfortunately, there are other guidance counselors that do nothing about problems you take the time to express, which tarnishes the reputation of guidance counselors as a whole. 

For example, a friend of mine reported a serious issue that should have warranted action to a guidance counselor at their school. The guidance counselor brushed them off, saying, “If there’s no proof, there’s nothing that can be done.”  Eventually, the friend did find help, but if the guidance counselor had at least made an attempt to console and help them, the problem could have been resolved faster. Another friend of mine had a different guidance counselor who they reported a threat to. The guidance counselor apparently did nothing. 

It is important to recognize counseling issues so that future guidance counselors can be better trained to help students, resulting in more trust from student to counselor. Issues that aren’t brought up lead to ignorance, and by educating others on this issue, something can be done. Also, if we experience these problems, maybe we can help future generations by improving guidance counseling. 

This article is meant to educate on the room for improvement in school counseling departments. This does not mean all guidance counselors are bad. Please do not form an opinion of a guidance counselor until getting to know them or assume all guidance counselors do nothing about problems. This article does not mean to call out or target guidance counselors. All testimonies from friends are real and are kept anonymous in order to protect identity.

Let’s Reduce our Litter with Literati

By: Ansuman Rath

The constant growth of Litter in the United States is gradually getting worse. Over 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roads each year. The threat of waste is detrimental to the environment, health, and safety.

Literati is an app that offers challenges to pick up certain amounts of trash in specific areas to help clean them. The total trash count for the app as of now is 4.8 million pieces. This app also offers global and local challenges and sets a goal amount of trash. It also explains how each project will help the environment.

#Loudoun Litterbugs is a group composed of students at the Academies of Loudoun. The goal of this group is to raise awareness for the emerging  issue  of litter and to pick up 10,000 pieces of trash by the end of the school year. So far, through the first 2 months, this group has collectively picked up 651 pieces of trash. Encouraging others in Loudoun County to pick up and document trash that they see is also a priority of Loudoun Litterbugs.

Academies of Loudoun Pond: A Modern Masterpiece of Stormwater Management

By Chief Investigative Journalist Jack Dunleavy

The pond at the Academies of Loudoun, built approximately two years ago, serves as a key element in stormwater management on campus. Ponds like these serve to provide a middle point between storm runoff and major watersheds and ecosystems. These ponds collect sediment and other pollutants and allow them to settle before being put back into the water supply and are a reservoir of water to prevent flooding during times of intense rainfall. The pond at the Academies of Loudoun can be described only as the Mona Lisa of stormwater management ponds. With beautifully integrated sewage pipes pictured above, and a stunningly put together dam pictured below, one could only stand in awe at the amazing work done by the engineers who worked on the ACL campus. The pond today still stands as a representation of the Academies of Loudoun as a whole. The pond life, rich with diversity, is almost a physical metaphor of the students on the campus. While as individuals we all have a purpose, together we create a wonderful synergistic system.

Escape the Vape

Since 2014 there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of youth and teens utilizing vapes and electronic cigarettes. This increase is primarily attributed due the variety of flavorings available, its portability and discretion in use, as well as its over accessibility and ease of use. So, what can be done to stop this trend? When a poll was conducted amongst teens in Loudoun County by MATA students Rohitha Akkaraju, Sabrina Sokol, Rhea Sarang, and Afrah Nirar, it was found that 69% of students were unaware of resources to seek help to stop vaping. This overwhelming statistic promoted them to write to the US Surgeon General in addition to state and local legislature about the need to promote these types of resources.

On January 24, 2020 Dr. David Goodfriend, the director of the Loudoun County Health Department and Shannon Raines, the coordinator of Northern Virginia’s Tobacco Control joined these students to present to the Academies of Loudoun the dangers of vaping.

According to the FDA vapes are classified as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The primary function of a vape is to deliver nicotine. Flavoring and additives are added to the solution to mask the nicotine (nicotine’s primary function in the tobacco plant is to act as a natural insecticide and has an off taste.

So, what is the danger with vaping?

Vaping isn’t just water vapor. The method of delivery for vape is more equivalent to that of an aerosol product than that of a cloud. This increases the amount of risk for lung infection and disease.

Nicotine is an addictive substance the impacts impulse control. Because the brain isn’t fully developed until roughly age 26, exposure to nicotine at younger ages has a huge impact on brain development.

1 JUUL pod is equivalent to 20 cigarettes. While JUUL was originally marketed as a device to stop smoking, ease of access may actual be increasing the amount smoked.

5700 new youth and teens start vaping every day. This is over 5 million teens nationwide – significantly more than teens who would have been smoking.

Ready to Quit?

One of the leading programs is This is Quitting, which can be reached by texting DITCHJUUL to 88709. This program works to provide text messages and set up a support network to help you ditch your vaping habit.

Local resources include the Loudoun County Health Department – Dr. Goodfriend can be reached 703 771-5829 or health@loudoun.gov


How VR Happens by Jivom Sharavanah

So how does VR happen?

Many things are involved with VR. First off, measurements need to be taken of six vital things in order for the screens you see to look real.

Image resolution, the number of pixels in an image, and field of view, the amount of the image you can see, need to be decided. Then the refresh rate, the rate in hertz at which the screen refreshes, and motion delays need to be calculated. Not to mention that pixel persistence, the amount of time the display is lit rather than dark per frame, has to be taken account of and audio/video synchronization, connecting the audio to the video, should be sorted out.

A VR headset has a setup of two screens, one for each eye. By looking through two lenses (screens), it gives users a sense of depth, stereoscopic display, explained in the VR development section above.

The VR headset contains motion sensors to detect the user’s motion by measuring positions and angles. For example, if the user turns to the left, then he or she may see a store. But if the user turns to the right, then he or she may see a library. The images are in place the whole time. The user is just changing his or her perspective relative to space.

Some VR headsets have an infrared controller which monitors the direction of your eyes inside a virtual environment. With this, users receive an even deeper and realistic field of view. VR headsets also include auditory technology, like the Frights Nightmare Roller Coaster, to stimulate your other senses. From there, other VR technology can impact your sense of smell, touch, and taste.

VR is a very STEM influenced technology, and you can try your hand at VR here at ACL. To learn more about how VR works in depth, click the source https://thinkmobiles.com/blog/what-is-vr/ and watch a cool interactive video that covers the facts.

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!

A Look Into VR Development by Jivom Sharavanah

It all began in 1838, when Sir Charles Wheatstone coined the term “stereopsis,”  the perception of depth produced by the reception in the brain of visual stimuli from both eyes. In his research of building a stereoscope, he showed that the brain conjoined two photographs of the same object taken from different points to make the image 3D.

In 1965, Ivan Sutherland publized the “Ultimate Display,” a concept of a virtual world through HMD where users could interact with objects. This was considered “the fundamental blueprint for VR.” Three years later, he and his student Bob Sproull created the first virtual reality HMD named “The Sword of Damocles.” Whenever the user moved his or her head, the perspective changed with them using the head-tracking system first developed in 1962 by Morton Heilig.

In 1969, Myron Krueger developed a series of “artificial reality” experiences, computer-generated environments responding to the users, leading to VIDEO PLACE technology. Krueger’s VIDEO PLACE gave users in other dark rooms, where large screens were set up, the ability to communicate with other users in the same virtual world. Between 1986 and 1989, the Super Cockpit, a flight simulator with 3D maps, advanced imagery, and a tracking system and sensors, was created by Furness. This allowed the pilot to drive the aircraft with gestures, utilizing gesture recognition introduced in 1982, and voice commands.

In 1989, Scott Foster’s company, _________, developed real-time binaural 3D audio processing for NASA’s astronaut program. Then two years later, Antonio Medina designed a VR system to drive the Mars robot rovers from Earth in as real-time the distance between the planets allowed.

Finally, in 2015, VR became available to the public. Since then, VR was being innovated by numerous companies. A majority of these headsets involved dynamic binaural audio, undermining haptic interfaces, systems that allowed users to interact with a computer using their touch and movements. Due to this, handsets were almost always operated with buttons.

VR has gone through a lot of changes, and more changes and innovations lie in its future as well. To learn more and in depth about VR’s history, use the source https://virtualspeech.com/blog/history-of-vr.

The VR Experience by Saanvi Gutta – Part 2

We’ve all heard of virtual reality, otherwise known as VR. VR for sick students to continue school, medical students to experience surgery and examination beforehand, airplane simulators for trainees, and just the appeal of it for fun. It’s so advanced, being one of the technologies that mark our tech age today. VR- it sounds futuristic and so advanced, but an opportunity you may not experience. However, that isn’t the case. The Academies of Loudoun now offers students an opportunity to use these VR headsets, and like every opportunity, it’s important to take it. It’s unique to ACL, and it’s a fun thing you can try for just about five minutes of your time.

To be honest, when the Frights Nightmare Roller Coaster began, I was so overwhelmed I crumpled to the floor. I had been standing initially, and standing on a roller coaster (which you never want to do) made me feel vulnerable and panicked (hence the panic cited in the glimpse section). I went from standing by the windows near the library to the top of a roller coaster that seemed very, very real. My stomach just dropped, and I had nothing to hold on to. Anxiety, fear, surprise, you name it. All at once. Of course, after I got used to the sensation overload, I was able to enjoy the simulation a little easier and standing up. As a forewarning, some others who tried the roller coaster felt dizzy afterwards.

The simulation was truly an experience. After I took the headset off, I was so excited. I’ve heard of the impact VR can bring to this world, but it was more personal when I tried it. All at once I realized the potential of this little yet incredible thing, and all the future possibilities in using these VRs in science, medicine, and education. I felt its future impact, rather than just know of it. And I recommend coming to the library and asking one of our wonderful librarians to try on a headset during your lunch period.