TJ’s Priya Shah-A Young Entrepreneur and Artist


Born into an Indian family, Priya Shah, Senior, has always been fascinated by her culture and is interested in many things Indian. An Indian tradition that captured her attention is the act of applying henna on a bride’s hands a few days before the wedding ceremony. Since a little girl, Shah has been a guest at many Henna Ceremonies in her life. Each provided her opportunity to watch professional henna artists create their magic.
“It amazed me to see her [Henna professional] whip out those designs effortlessly and beautifully, and I thought,” said Shah, “that’s what I want to be able to do.”
Shah practiced and studied the art that she dreamt of doing. She trained herself. She applied henna on her own hands and on her closest friends’ hands. She practiced her art even at school. Once she was applying henna on a friend’s hand in school, and a teacher saw her work. The teacher appreciated Shah’s talent, and later asked her to practice on her too, but after school. So impressed by Shah’s work, the teacher told Shah she should start a business. And that’s how our 17-year-old Shah became a business woman.
Shah, who is dually enrolled in TJHS and Frederick Community College, is a busy entrepreneur. She is the Vice President of TJHS’s National Honor Society, an intern with an orthodontist, and an assistant dance coach at the Arya Dance Academy where she also dances. She also takes voice lessons.
How does one manage school, extra-curricular activities, internship and a busy henna business? “I compromise on sleep,” Shah said. She admits that being her own boss helps with the workload; she schedules appointments on the dates and times she is free. Her family is also supportive.
Business was hard at first she said. She is young and people would ask the older and more experienced henna artists to do their hands rather than her, but Shah worked to get the word out about her business. She took out ads and she made sure to fulfill her commitments. Her artistic talent started to circulate, and customers eventually turned to her.
Often Shah makes her henna at home using henna powder and organic materials, for she believes the chemicals some henna dyes have may be the reason why some people are allergic to henna. She said the quality of the henna is important because the best quality gives the best results. That is why she uses only fresh henna without harmful chemicals.
Shah sets up an exhibitor stall every year at the Annual Indian Festival at the Armory where she continues to expand her customer list. She has also set up business at TJ’s tailgates. The most popular occasions for henna applications are weddings, Holi, and other Indian festivals.
At this point, Shah does not see this business as her lifelong career. It is a stepping-stone to fulfill her dream of being a doctor, but she said, “I am never going to quit henna. [It will] always be a side business.”

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Spirit’s in the air!


By Sean Kenney

The start-of-school buzz is dying down, but school spirit is just starting to build up; it is Homecoming season. It is a time for spirit days and pep rallies, for touchdowns and tuxedos, and for a true expression of our school’s identity. It is a time for unity—so naturally, students are as divided as ever on the subject of Homecoming.

Many students are pumped up for the upcoming spirit week, game, and dance. The week will include several spirit days, a pep rally, Powder Puff, a festival Friday night, the Homecoming football game, and the Homecoming dance.
Red/White/Blue spirit day, a common favorite, is on Friday.  Freshman wear blue, Sophomores wear white, Juniors wear red, and Seniors wear red, white and blue.  Thursday all students dress as twins with their baes, and Wacky tacky day, another favorite, is Wednesday’s theme.
Students love the spirit of homecoming. Senior Sonia Agu called it “pretty amazing because we all come together.”

TJ’s school spirit is pretty impressive, but some students feel that some improvement is in order. At the Oakdale game earlier in the season, school spirit and attendance was not as good as it could have been, says Senior Alexis Burton, “ We could add more cheers, get more pumped up.” When asked if she was attending the homecoming football game, she responded with a resounding “Yes!”

Experimentation with red-out and white-out themes for football games has revealed promising potential for our school spirit—yet a large amount of students simply did not participate. As Homecoming season nears its climax, students will have to decide whether to assimilate into the spirit culture, or remain detached from the school’s identity.

A close contender for favorite event of the week is the Homecoming dance. The “buzz” leading up to it has been building for weeks. Senior Steven Zickafoose commented that Homecoming is a time to “get with friends in a safe environment…something to look forward to.”
Homecoming traditionally is one of the highlights of the school year, but when it comes to school spirit, Homecoming is only an event along the journey.


By Cody Boteler


Recently, President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders in an effort to curb gun violence. Opponents to the orders believe that they will restrict the Second Amendment – or else start the country on a path that will. This is not the case, however. Here is a brief description of the 23 orders President Obama recently enacted:

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The Silver Patriot Café

By Carm Saimbre

Making its debut at TJ this year, The Silver Patriot Café is held during all lunch shifts on the last Friday of every month for staff members, courtesy of the Learning for Life program. Taught by Mrs. Roberts and Mrs. O’Sullivan, Learning for Life is a program dedicated to students with severe disabilities.

So how exactly did The Silver Patriot Café come to be?

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Snowhere to be Found

By Sean Dennis


(image from flickr)

“Farmers’ Almanacs predict cold winter for East,” read an article headline on from earlier this year. Unfortunately, that headline is hard to believe when it’s in the mid-sixties outside in January. After last year’s disappointing lack of snow,

we’re all ready to get blasted but it doesn’t seem like the snow is coming just yet from the looks of things now.

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Student Profile: Airon Dakhulezt

By Claire Scott


$20,000 dollars. That’s enough cash to fund your whole college education (or half a year of college at a really expensive school), or a used Ferris wheel! With $20,000, you could buy about 400,000 pieces of gum! If you chew one piece of gum a day, that is enough gum for 1,095 years.  What could be more fantastic than almost half a million sticks of gum? How about winning the nationwide Poetry Out Loud contest that offers up twenty thousand dollars to its winner!

Poetry Out Loud, a contest for students in grades nine through twelve, invites students to recite and perform poetry; the best performance wins. Contestants are judged on a multitude of merits: accuracy, voice and articulation, physical presence and dramatic appropriateness.  While many teenagers love poetry, they do not think it is cool to share their interest, humor, or connection – out loud. That $20,000 cash prize though, like Harry Potter under his invisibility cloak, usually makes that concern disappear .

Airon Dakhulezt, a Junior at TJ, moved one step closer to this fabulous prize on January 4, 2013, when he beat out students from all of the other Frederick County schools in county competition. Continue reading


By Jasmine Pelaez


“It’s a miracle I even made it to school today,” Senior Will Holtzinger admitted, “I dread it every morning.”

Around this time of year, a majority of high school seniors develop senioritis: an illness that inevitably results in lack of motivation, tardiness and complete disregard for all school subjects. Senioritis inhibits the day-to-day moods of almost all seniors, who, at this point, could care less about their high school responsibilities.

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