The Orange and Black

Martinsburg High School 2022 March Issue

Martinsburg Basketball Season Wrap-up

By: K'Marion Dowe

The Martinsburg boys’ basketball team had their season ended earlier than usual when they lost a heartbreaker to Musselman High School on March 9, 2022 by a score of 58-54. This was the regional championship game with a bid to the WVSSAC 4A state championship tournament.

The Bulldogs finished the season 12-12 after a rough start to their season. They started 0-2, and had a record of 5-9 at the worst, with losses to regional rivals Hedgesville, Musselman, Spring Mills, and Jefferson. Towards the end of the season, the team seemed to find themselves and started to produce on the court. They received the second seed in the sectional playoffs and went on to beat Spring Mills 56-39 in round one and defeated Hedgesville 44-41 to win the sectional championship. Although they could not overcome Musselman in the regional championship to make it to Charleston, the bulldogs showed resilience, bouncing back from a negative record and making a strong playoff push.

When asked about the season as a whole, Martinsburg senior Cyrile Ngassa said, “We had a lot of ups, downs, and injuries but I loved every moment of it and created a bunch of long lasting relationships. I wouldn’t trade that team for the world.”

The Bulldogs had 4 players make all-EPAC conference teams, with Jess Sutherland and Cyrile Ngassa making the second team while K’Marion Dowe and Avion Blackwood received first team honors.

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Martinsburg High 2022 Varsity Boys' Basketball Team; Stephon Barclay, Chayse Shipley, Jess Sutherland, Adyn Jackson, Danrico Boardley, K'Marion Dowe, Avion Blackwood, Cyrille Ngassa, Jerin Adkins, Noah Young, Lequae Clark, Luke Fowler

March Madness Sweet Sixteen To Begin March 24th

By: K'Marion Dowe

The NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, also known as March Madness began on March 17th with the first round of 64. Over 40 million brackets were filled out around the world seeking to become the first perfect bracket in history. After the first 16 games of round one, there were 4 perfect brackets in the world. The second 16 games of the first round eliminated these perfect brackets. The round of 32, the tournament’s second round, further busted every bracket in the world.

Some notable upsets from the tournament include the 12 seed New Mexico State defeating the 5th seeded Uconn, Number 11 seeded Notre Dame beating the 6th seed Alabama, number 8 seeded North Carolina beating number 1 seeded Baylor, and number 10 seeded Miami defeating number 2 Auburn, a favorite to win the National Championship.

Every year of March Madness, there seems to be a higher seeded team that makes it far in the tournament labeled the Cinderella team. This year is no different, as the 15 seed St. Peters, a small school in New Jersey, has made a name for themselves in the tournament by defeating number 2 seeded Kentucky and number 7 seeded Murray State to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. If they win the Sweet Sixteen matchup against Purdue, they will be the first 15 seed to make the Elite Eight.

Martinsburg Senior Jake Zittle was asked about how his bracket was doing and what he’s excited to see in the Sweet Sixteen, and he said, “My bracket isn’t doing too hot. I’m in last place or close to it in every bracket pool that I’m in. I’m excited to see if St. Peter’s can be the first 15 seed to ever make the Elite 8, and I’m really excited to see the Gonzaga-Arkansas matchup as I can see Arkansas knocking off the number one overall seed.” Jake and many others are excited to see what unfolds in the third round of the tournament.

The first game of the Sweet Sixteen starts at 7:09 ET on Thursday, March 24, 2022 with 4 seeded Arkansas and 1 seeded Gonzaga facing off.

MHS Students Make It To All State Choir

By: Margarita Salvador

Martinsburg High School had an audition for students for the All- State Choir and had six students qualify for the WVMEA All state Chorus. The students who qualified were Ellie Davis, Keagan Livingston, Layne Butturff, Ava Dipasquale and Xerxees Yancey. The MHS students went to Charleston, West Virginia for 3 days with their guest conductor Dr. Scott Glysson. There were over 200 people who were selected for the All-State Choir. The students got to meet the composer of two of the pieces they were singing, Gweneth Walker.

To be able to participate in auditions, students had to prepare 5 pieces of music and be able to hold their own parts. The students had a couple of rehearsals after school to rehearse with people in their region. If the students know their music and practice a lot, they’’ll do great.

Two Seniors who qualified for the All-State Choir talked about their experience. Ihanna West talked about her experience in the states. She said” It was a lot of fun, you meet a lot of people that you wouldn’t meet, and you learn a lot of things that will just stick with you in life." Another senior Ellie Davis also stated "It was one of the best experiences of my life. You get to meet other people from all over the state who share the same interest in music as you, and it’s so easy to connect with them.”

MHS ACE Team Takes Second Place in Berkeley County

By: Laya Chennuru

The Martinsburg High School Academic Competition of Excellence (ACE) quiz bowl team placed second overall in the county following Spring Mills High School. Coached by Yvonne Lantz, the ACE Team is comprised of 14 members who play in the categories of Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, English, and General in a buzzer system. Throughout the season, the four schools in the county compete for the lead in one-on-one matches each week. As the season comes to an end, Martinsburg’s ACE Team celebrates their victories in an upcoming team banquet.

The captain of the ACE Team, Emma Engle, states, “I was a bit worried at the beginning of the season, as it was not looking up for us. Fortunately, we studied hard and found new strategies to turn the season around.” The team had initially struggled to win the first few matches against Spring Mills High School and Musselman High School, slightly discouraging the members early in the season. Consequently, the players had several meetings and practices in order to improve their speed and gain knowledge in the team’s weaker areas of English and Science in particular.

Though this year’s team was admittedly smaller than past years, the cohesiveness and bond the members shared played an important role in rallying the team for their championship season. Millie Cushwa, a player on the math team, says, “We really worked on becoming a team this year and made an effort to share our talents with the group. I really think that is what helped us achieve second place.” With the season ending on a positive note, returning members are enthusiastic for the upcoming year and continue to scout for potential players!

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2022 Ace Team

Insight Into Martinsburg High’s Dangerous Student Parking Lot

By: Valerie Clabaugh

Martinsburg High School is home to the smallest high school student parking lot in all of Berkeley County. This has led to many issues that students face daily, such as unfilled potholes, car accidents, and no parking spots. The student parking lot only has 132 spaces, which is not nearly enough for all the parking passes bought yearly. Many Martinsburg High students have voiced their concerns about the issues and the actions of administration.

Martinsburg High Students pay 40 dollars to the school for a parking pass. This means that the school receives at least 5,280 dollars every year. Principal Sherman stated, “The money goes to multiple things, such as student incentives and supplies for the school.” He also stated that repainting the parking lot is very costly and would take three years' worth of parking pass money to achieve. A main issue for most students is not the repainting of the parking lot, but the huge potholes. MHS Junior, Madison Fishel, stated, “My car is low to the ground and I have to be careful when turning into the parking lot. The potholes in the entrance are very steep and get worse after heavy rain. I wish they would get filled so I don’t have to worry about damaging my car.” When Mr. Sherman was asked about the status of the potholes, he stated, “The potholes are dealt with by our maintenance department, which requires a work order and is fairly expensive.”

The student parking lots size has also created many problems for MHS students. Many car accidents have happened due to the lack of space in the lot. The lot also gets extremely backed up during the end of the school day. It takes around 10 minutes or more for the average student to get out of the parking lot. The property could be used to expand solving the issue. Principal Sherman stated, “The empty property is from the county but there are no plans to expand.” It was stated that the parking lot is not a priority for Berkeley County, but it has now become a hazard for MHS students. Lots of questions have been raised by students and parents about the lack of action by Martinsburg High Administrators. MHS Junior Josephine Mesich, stated, “I don’t understand why the student parking lot is not a priority for the county because it has now become dangerous place to park. I am also concerned why we must pay 40 dollars for a space that is not guaranteed or in a good condition.” The student parking lot issues were also brought up at MHS Student Council’s meeting for student concerns.

Martinsburg High Students are looking for change in our school. Our safety should be the number one priority. Students will continue to deal with accidents and damages if the issues are not solved. Students in MHS Student Council will also be voicing concerns to administrators and staff about the status of the parking lot and possible solutions that can be achieved. Other students will be bringing up the conversation of potential donors for the renovations, so we can have a safe and new student parking lot.

Olivia Travis’ “The Prom Connection” Comes to Martinsburg April 2, 2022

By: Quinn Hughes

MHS Junior, Olivia Travis, is proud to announce the opening of her own shop that will ensure the excitement of prom to all high school students in Berkeley County! She has partnered with Main Street Martinsburg to start an initiative called The Prom Connection. This organization provides students with the experience of prom night. Travis understands that prom can be very expensive and impossible for tons of students. The goal of The Prom Connection is to “provide free prom essentials to those who need it most and to help make the unforgettable, core memory of prom accessible to those who may not be able to make it possible for themselves.” She says, “Donations from community members of dresses, shoes, jewelry, suits, dress shirts, and more is what made this all possible. On top of the support from so many community members, Oliverio’s Boutique, which is located in Clarksburg, WV, has donated 15 brand new gowns and SunDaze Tanning 24/7, located in Shepherdstown, is providing free spray tans to everyone who utilizes The Prom Connection.” Travis is accepting donations until the end of April. She has just recently received exciting news from the head of Mainstreet Martinsburg that her shop will be located at 120 N Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV 25401. The Prom Connection will be open every Saturday and Sunday in April, starting April 2nd, however, hours have not been confirmed yet.

Due to this being a nonprofit organization, this project will be done on a referral basis. Travis says, “I’ve made connections with every high school in Berkeley County so that they are equipped with flyers and referral forms for students. All students must go to their counselor, administrator, teacher, or other staff member and have them sign for them. After that, the student or student’s parents email or a picture of the completed form and set up an appointment.”

Travis has wanted to start this project for years now, but due to covid, she was unable to make it happen. She believes that it is truly a magical night and “no one should be overlooked”. This project is so important to Travis, as well as service in general. “I find it important when it comes to fun school events such as prom, no student should have to sit back wishing they could be there. While some high schools have resources like The Bulldog Boutique or Becca’s Closet, it is vital we provide as many resources as possible. I hope to have many people who come to utilize all that The Prom Connection has to offer!”

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Banning of "The Bluest Eye" Ignites Controversy

By: Laya Chennuru

The recent banning of books within schools across the country has instigated controversial debates regarding education, social issues, and relevance among the youth. Following a parental complaint about the contents of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Berkeley County has sought to remove the novel from school libraries and classrooms across the area in an attempt to diffuse the criticism centered around creating a safe and appropriate school environment for students. Though permission slips and a clear choice was given to students in deciding whether or not to read the book, the teachers and school board received immense backlash in the matter.

As prominent issues such as racial inequity, LGBTQ+ awareness, and sexual misconduct continue to be discussed more openly among adolescents in school settings, there is still a significant stigma surrounding these topics. In particular, several novels in English class curriculums are administered in order to expose students to real world issues and the history present within their country. The Bluest Eye was no different, however its mentions of incestual rape between a father and child and graphic descriptions ultimately led to its ban in Berkeley County schools and several others throughout the country. According to a concerned parent, the novel displayed “an underlying socialist-communist agenda” that would not be deemed appropriate to discuss in schools.

In Tennessee, another historical novel, Maus by Art Spiegelman has been banned after concerns were raised regarding the nudity, derogatory characters, and graphic violence displayed in this story about the Holocaust. The depictions of only cats and mice as characters representing the Nazis and Jewish people upset several parents and community members, leading to a consensus of removing it from school curriculums all together. Although it is a prominent and tragic part of history, this information is now unable to be shared in order to conceal the rather horrific details of what truly happened at the time.

Though these concerns are important to address, it is just as important to educate students on pertinent social issues in a safe and appropriate manner. Given the choice, students should feel as though they have a say in determining their own beliefs and values when it comes to participating not only in English class, but understanding the drastic differences of those beliefs in the real world. Melissa Elliott, an English teacher at Martinsburg High School, says, “While it is important to know how to handle things, teenagers are smart and can deal with difficult topics. Those things challenge us and intellectual freedom is so important because it gives us a look into worlds we would not have known otherwise.”

As these opposing sides continue to express their opinions, the school board will likely be forced to ban more intellectually-stimulating books and ultimately desensitize the youth when it comes to controversial socioeconomic topics. How many more novels can be banned among schools? The extinction of reading these books in an English class will not stop students from learning about them on their own terms. The difference is, kids will not be guided or truly educated about these complex issues and eventually feel lonesome or conflicted about their individual thoughts. Thus, it is paramount that students and faculty bring awareness to this trend and work to ensure a quality education for future generations.

Minnie Buckingham: A First for West Virginia

By: Jason Bednarski

Coals and Trains: the history of African Americans in West Virginia stems from the state's rich economy in coal mining and railroads. Over time, the lures of economic opportunity brought massive migration of not only African Americans but various other ethnicities into the southern portion of West Virginia. This boom in population made it inevitable for African Americans to take a position in state policy. Among these West Virginian pioneers is Minnie Buckingham-- the first African American Woman to serve in any American legislature.

Born on May 15, 1886, in Winfield, Putnam County, West Virginia, Minnie Buckingham was the first African American woman ever to serve in not only West Virginia's state legislature, but in the United States. Following the death of her husband, delegate E. Howard Harper, the Putnam County Republican executive committee unanimously nominated Mrs. Buckingham. Thereafter, she was appointed to the position by Governor Howard Gore in 1928 to take Harper's seat. Minnie's position occurred just eight years after the 19th Amendment (women's right to vote) was passed and thirty-six years prior to the Civil Rights Act (ending segregation), making her an astonishment in West Virginian and American History.

Although Minnie Buckingham chose not to run for reelection after her term, she set the stage for more women of color to pursue politics and be heard. Her legacy can be noted with Elizabeth Simpson Drewery's accomplishments as being the first African American woman to be elected into the legislature and as one of the first delegates to introduce legislation allowing women to serve on the jury. Buckinghams' greatness would inspire Maire Redd, the first African American (man and woman) to serve for years in the US Senate. Though her political presence was short-lived, Minnie had an undeniable impact on the course of African American and Women's history. She also represents West Virginia's often disregarded history. Her later days would be back in Putnam County, with her death at age 91 on February 10, 1978.

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WV Delegate Minnie Buckingham Harper

Ukrainians Who Have Led The Charge Against Russia

By: Antonio Diaz

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was devastating for the nation, but some Ukrainians have stepped up and have taken charge to boost Ukrainian morale and deny Russian advances.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Russia’s number one target, has been seen on the front lines with his troops on multiple occasions. It is believed he has shown up to the frontlines to boost his troops’ morale and actively partake in strategic meetings. Though, most pictures going around of President Zelenskyy in the frontlines are multiple months old, well before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Ghost of Kyiv was a Ukrainian ace pilot who had supposedly shot down five Russian planes alongside a Russian helicopter. He pilots a MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet which, notably, was created by the Soviet Union in the 1970’s. It is unsure, though, if the Ghost of Kyiv is a fabrication of the Ukrainian government as propaganda for the war. MHS teacher, Mr. Parker believes that the Ghost of Kyiv isn’t real, stating “It’s one of those things you want to believe, but there’s just not enough evidence for it to be believable.” There have been many social media posts featuring the yet unidentified pilot. Reports have claimed that the Ukrainian ace pilot has been shot down, but those claims are unconfirmed as of now.

Mikael, better known as the Panther of Kharkiv, is a housecat trained to spot Russian snipers. The cat, working with Ukraine’s ground troops, has been able to spot five Russian snipers in Ukrainian cities. Similarly to the Ghost of Kyiv, the Panther of Kharkiv is claimed to be propaganda created by the Ukrainian government as propaganda with multiple social media posts to go along with it. Whereas the Ghost of Kyiv’s existence is more disputable, the Panther of Kharkiv is more fiction than fact.

The Snake Island soldiers were 13 Ukrainian soldiers defending Snake Island, and island belonging to Ukraine. The 13 soldiers were approached by a Russian warship who promptly asked the soldiers to surrender. The Ukrainians however, refused to surrender which prompted an immediate bombardment by the Russian warship. All 13 soldiers were thought to have been killed, but later statements indicated that all the soldiers were alive and taken prisoner.

Whether it be propaganda like the Ghost of Kyiv and Panther of Kharkiv or more factual like the 13 defiant Snake Island soldiers, all these soldiers, as well as President Zelenskyy himself, have done their best to protect their nation and boost the morale of its citizens.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shaking hands with Ukranian soldier.

Gas prices Continue to Fluctuate

By: Karlee Domenico

The recent jump in gas prices worldwide has left people with their mouths hanging open. This is the highest the gas prices have been since 2008. In early 2008, the gas prices were around $4.16, now they are currently $4.091 for regular gas and around $5.021 for diesel. Although the rise of the gas prices have affected almost everyone, Mark Burkhart, Martinsburg High School’s 10th grade history teacher says ,“ I would say the gas prices are affecting people who are on a more fixed income, or living check to check. These spikes in gas can have a hard impact on people who live within a certain means, and the impact can determine where money once allocated for something such as groceries might now be needed to pay gas."

The gas prices have and will continue to rise as they usually would around this time of year. Mark Burkhart also states, “As with anything when demand increases, price increases. With the world coming out of the pandemic more and more everyday, more cars begin to hit the road and the prices continue to go up. The current situation between Russia and Ukraine has caused some stress at the pump for sure, but our imports of oil are little to none from Russia. This is just the ebb and flow of the market, the price of oil has gone down some recently so prices of gas should drop. Retailers are still keeping the prices at the level they are at right now to offset the price they paid when it was high.”

The gas prices have always been constantly fluctuating over the years due to the cost of oil, taxes, refining costs and profits, warmer weather, etc. The pandemic and Russia's conflict with Ukraine are just adding on to the reasons the gas is fluctuating. People are realizing the gas prices are rising now, but forget they usually rise around this time of year anyways. The U.S. depends mostly on Canada to get their gas from, then Mexico, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. We only import about 3% of our oil from Russia. According to Mark Burkhart, we are depending on other countries for oil and gas because "we honestly do not tap into our resources here, and it is just a part of the interaction in a global economy buying and selling of products.” There are bigger problems such as taxes, and paying for costs and profits for oil that are causing gas prices to rise, and Ukraine and Russia's conflict is not the main focus of the rising gas prices.

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WV Current Gas Prices

Da Na Na Na Batman!

By: Colin O'Kelley

This year's new movie, The Batman, had a very bold take on what the Dark Knight looks like in the cinematic scene. The film had great cinematography, actors, and storylines.

This rendition of Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, puts the ‘dark’ in Dark Knight. Robert Pattinson, who plays the role of Batman, differed very much from previous iterations of this character. Every scene in or out of his suit, you could see the pain Bruce Wayne really had and Pattinson portrays it in a true way. You could see that his trauma from the past truly stuck with him throughout this movie. Cannon Evans, MHS senior said, “Robert Pattinson plays a grueling and real Batman who uses fear like a tool.”

The action scenes in this movie were also solid. Whenever there was a fight scene where Batman was throwing punches, it almost makes you want to go, “ooo that hurt”. The main antagonist, the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, was a very chilling character to witness in the cinematic scene. His appearance was quite different from what you would think the Riddler would look like. Although, it does add to his chilling factor. The Riddler is always testing his knowledge against Batman in gruesome ways that are quite odd. The way the Riddler’s character was written in this film was great. He was Batman’s vice, and you could see it.

Another character who I would like to highlight is Catwoman, played by Zoé Kravitz. She also does a fantastic job of acting her character. In this movie, her and Batman team up but also serve each other as a love interest. Catwoman, aka Salina Kyle, is always trying to do the right things but in the wrong ways. In the end though she adds a lot of significance to this movie and to Batman himself. Jim Gordon (actor Jeffrey Wright) was a police officer, who worked with the Batman, had a valuable relationship and knew that the Batman wanted to do good. It gave the movie a detective noire kind of feel whenever the two were around.

Overall, the pace of this The Batman was good. With it being three hours long, there were a lot of interesting scenes. This movie did not feel like any of the other Batman movies. From early on the tone of this movie was set. The feeling of spine-tingling fear and a chilling darkness was at play. The action, the film noire feel, the cinematography all makes The Batman a worthy film to sit through.

What Is Wordle?

By: Kamaya Denson

Wordle is a popular word game that very quickly gained traction. It was created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer, with a play on his name as a surprise for his partner who loved word games. He introduced the game to friends and family and because they loved it so much, he made it open to the public in October of 2021. The game became popular in December of 2021 and was sold to the New York Times Company the following January. The New York Times stated they would keep the game free and moved it to their website in February.

Wordle is a game where the player has six chances to guess a random five letter word. Letters that are in the word and in the correct position are green. Letters that are in the word and in the wrong position are yellow and gray letter aren’t in the word. There is one puzzle available every day that’s the same for everyone, and the goal is to get the word in as little guesses as possible. Simply Google Wordle and the game will be available to you.

Triniti W, a student at MHS says, “I think the Wordle craze is cool because people actually care about expanding their vocabulary.” Emrys Dawson, another student says, “It’s interesting and can actually be a challenge.” There are many people who enjoy the game and become competitive with friends and family, and it can introduce us to new words. Wordle can be fun for everyone and is something to look forward to every day.

Disney+ Adding Mature Titles

By: Aden Reid

Disney+ has taken the first steps to expand their catalog with more mature content. After this past Wednesday all subscribers will have the option to modify their account to TV-MA. Some new parental features will also be added to moderate this. With these new updates the Disney+ library can be less selective with the type of content they show. Several mature rated Marvel series, previously on Netflix will also be added alongside these changes.

The movie and TV series streaming service Netflix, recently lost a large amount of live action marvel inspired TV series. Those shows are Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, The Defenders, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and are all now on Disney+. All of which are rated TV-MA except for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that is rated TV-14. After updating your age rating to mature all of these titles will be available to watch as long as you have an active subscription. Since TV shows rated TV-MA are for more mature audiences Disney+ has added some parental features to secure accounts for young kids. You now have to input your password when changing the age rating over TV-14 and can lock any account that is using a 4-digit pin.

But this update isn’t just for protective parents, Disney+ is now opening their catalog to a whole new host of potential. There’s nothing holding them back from making a Disney+ original for Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic, or Disney that is rated TV-MA. If you don’t already have a subscription then this is the reason you’ve been waiting for. Zach Cole, a Sophomore at MHS and Disney+ subscriber said “They are making Disney+ better for all ages” Don’t miss out on what could be your new favorite show.


Back Row- Antonio Diaz, Aden Reid, Colin O'Kelley, K'Marion Dowe, Kaitlyn Dudley, and Advisor Ms. Foreman.

Second Row- Laya Chennuru, Editor- Valerie Clabaugh, Karlee Domenico, Quinn Hughes

Front Row- Margarita Salvador, Jason Bednarski, Kamaya Denson.

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