An Unexpected Dinner Guest: Marine Plastic Pollution Hides a Neurological Toxin in Our Food

This essay, by Vivian Li, 16, from Montgomery Blair High School in North Potomac, Md., is one of the top eight winners of the Learning Network’s first-ever STEM Writing Contest, for which we received 1,618 entries.

Q&A with Medical Illustrator Annie Campbell

Annie Campbell is a medical illustrator, animator, and creative studio director based in Glasgow, UK. In this interview, she explains her experience with a unique career that makes the most of both artistry and science communication.

Black Friday darkens prospects of a healthy planet

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the average American trashes 70 pounds of clothing and textiles every year. As the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday takes the throne for environmental cost.

The Goodcast Episode 5: Whenever You're Ready

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the final episode of the Good Cast. We're your hosts, Shifra and Vivian, and we're a little bit sad, because today, we're covering the last ever episode of NBC's The Good Place.

Blair varsity wrestling defeats Clarksburg

Originally anticipated to be the closest meet of the month, the Blazers' (20-2) wrestling match against the Clarksburg Coyotes (7-6) on Wednesday night was ultimately a sweeping 42-24 win for Blair.

Tracking the UN's Youth Climate Delegates

From Sept 20-22, Climate Tracker ran our first High School Climate Journalism opportunity in NYC. On Sept 21, the UN organized its first UN Youth Action Summit. Our young journalists thus took this opportunity to interact with the young leaders from all around the globe.

Raising the standard for MCPS in ongoing contract negotiations

This Halloween marked the end of a momentous teacher strike that lasted 11 days in Chicago, causing chaos for 300,000 students and their families. In response, educators across the nation have been discussing teachers' working conditions and the plausibility of striking.

Marine plastic pollution hides a neurological toxicant in our food

In the mid-1950s, domesticated cats in Minamata, Japan mysteriously began to convulse and fall into the bay. The people of Minamata took on similar symptoms shortly after, losing their ability to speak, move, and think.

InfoFlow 5.097 - 2/11/20

Another winter storm is starting in the southwest and moving up toward the northeast. Many states throughout the midwest and northeast will be expecting snow, but Maryland will only see rain.

Unfiltered: a rising concern for Blair's water fountains

Behind a "green" facade, MCPS recently revealed $415,000 allotted for single-use plastic water bottles in their 2018-2019 fiscal budget. While the county preaches a stance of environmental sustainability, their newest innovation in water distribution systems goes underused for key reasons. Why?

Inside the Feminist Tech Jamboree Helping Girls Break Barriers in STEM

For students without cybersecurity knowledge, CyberSpaceX teaches password and personal data protection. Leftovers combats food waste by helping users make the most of the items in their fridge. Are you a woman in STEM looking for a digital safe space? Check out Oasis.

Michelle Feng's journey in defying math academia norms

When fifth year UCLA PhD student Michelle Feng initially entered college as a theoretical math major, she wasn’t expecting a future out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until graduate school that she discovered applied topology in the context of social justice.

InfoFlow (From Home) Episode 5.128 – 5/8/20

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, BNC would like to thank our teachers and staff at Blair for their hard work and infectious spirits all year, and especially during this quarantine.

Magnet in the Past

Magnet computer science teacher Lola Piper believes that the first Magnet students were the “real risk takers” because the Magnet was an unknown. She prides the Magnet as a space where these students have always had the ability to thrive.

InfoFlow 5.030 - 10/22/19

In the news, the last performing circus elephant of Chile has been rescued and moved to a new sanctuary to live out her golden years.

ballad i

thy antsy laughter deafening,
young, lovestruck in the crowd.
her eyes speak polite savagery,
thine anxious heartbeat loud.

thou art not but a lonely sir,
a date long o’erdue.
thine fancy o’erflowing for
a lady ne’er wooed.

a trained pet with her treat in queue,
divine skill as her trade.
she pulls out all her greatest tricks,
to strangers not too strange.

i pass ‘twixt “lover’s” hands, hundred
for a pure dine besmirched,
I’m payment for thy contrived love—
thine insincere pleasure.

(in the style of Shakespeare. DM me on Twitter if you know what it's about...)


that's how i like my

that's how i like our
noodle arms
macaroni elbows

we're inseparable
there's too much cheese
our macaroni elbows are forever stuck
but i like it that way

messy encounter

the silpat slip slaps
chocolate chip cookies tumble on to the chicory counter
you scramble for the crisp cracked crumbles that fly forward
they're already long gone.

the mess carelessly caresses your world at present
tucked beneath your left cornea or behind the flap of your right ear
perched on the pantry shelf, married to the marble floor—
you've jinxed this jittering jigsaw puzzle!

flying orange

it was cold and sunny
cold like shaved ice
sunny like the carnival it came from.

you flung an orange at the afternoon sun
it flung itself back at you
bouncing off the window on the third floor.
the people on which approached
their window and looked
down at us
wreaking muted havoc on the pavement
just two lackadaisical teenagers
they should be in the classroom.

but who cares?
in that moment
your laughter was so beautiful
the world paled in comparison.

sillies are for today

worries are for tomorrow
so why are you worrying already?
you've got it all mixed up
today is for running wild in the sunflower fields
we're racing the clock
chasing the now
and i'm out of breath!
so let's just be silly willy today

yard sale

i am once more lying prostrate on your doorstep.

so we meet again
me, beaten as i am and even dustier than you remember
you, embarrassed— a thing of your past
turning your nose up at my desperation
you hastily shut the door. (i expected nothing more)

you have rejected me
nine hundred, ninety-nine thousand
nine hundred, ninety-nine times
and i have broken myself over my
broken heart
just as many (999,999)

yet if you came back
even the one millionth time
even empty-handed
i would gladly hold you
in my empty, dusty embrace.

note to self

don’t worry about
writing a bad poem. write
a good one later

on the arduous voyage of embroidery

light that comes to a point upon
the silver needle
tip to ceiling

he who makes a nosedive into
the folds of fabric
which billow with the immortality of waves at sea

the valiant needle who pricks
carefully breaching the white picket fence
passing through the gates with a curtsy of courtesy

in and out
the needle weaves headfirst
and the tip of the iceberg extends to become a sleek rocket

as he turns to revisit his trail thus far
he who moves from point a to point b knows
the beauty is in the journey
in the art that lay behind him,
stretching for miles and miles and miles.

the pity party

the pity party
is a party for one.
the sweet punch bowl holds my sour tears
the crumbs of my used tissues—scrunched up like roses—
populate the cookie plate.

at the pity party
the banner is lopsided
the music is slow
and the strobe light peruses like
a hovering therapist

i have not invited anyone to the pity party
because from the outside
it seems a regular party and
no one needs to know about
the pity part of the party.

like paper

everything is fine until it isn’t
the external pressure that she can’t handle is visible from the
way her shoulder blades cave

she crumples like paper
the one million pieces of her fragile, ripped soul are visible from the
sheen gathering in her eyes that she tries to hide

when you’re not looking
she wipes tears with the dog-eared corner of her wrinkly shirt
she gasps for air

the tears feed her sadness
fattening the misery
replenishing her tormenter

her shining qualities are deeply entrenched now
buried in the grooves of the soggy paper ball she’s collapsed into
to protect the scraps that remain light.

with gentle hands,
you hold her caving shoulder blades,
you pick up the one million pieces of her fragile, ripped soul
you embrace the wrinkles and the ridges
you wipe away the bleeding words

it doesn’t have to be this way, you say
being happy isn’t about
not being sad
they can coexist, you know?

an infamous tune

in a cozy cup of cocoa
notes flow like lava, warming the soul
accompaniment seeps to the heart
unnoticed by all but a fuzzy nook of the conscience
melodies twinkle, sparkling at the throat’s edge.

after the merciless icy wind sweeps my mood,
casts it aside and leaves it trembling,
i stumble
home and collapse at the dinner table, shakily bringing to my lips

a cozy cup of cocoa
the harmony envelops me in a long hug
smoothes the jittering nerves in my wind-whipped hand
erases the gray
the storm of society seems harmless from a distance.

the snug embrace seems to note
constant conflict highlights divine resolution.
the exquisite rainbow waits beyond the rainstorm;
the lullaby eagerly awaits to sing me to sleep.


Since July, I've been working on an online climate course for middle and high school students (with a team of 20 other awesome people!). We're in the peer-editing stage right now, but you can check out our weekly infographics on Instagram @climateduteam. We're launching in January 2021!

ORACLE of Blair

Our senior Political Statistics class built our own model leading up to the 2020 presidential election. For me, designing the website with my friend was the ray of sunshine amid a very nervewracking election season.

Blair Network Communications website re-design

As our broadcast studio program's Co-Executive Producer, I recently gave our site a complete overhaul—from boooring Wordpress theme to... dark mode? Either way, our staff is constantly producing amazing content. Check it out!

Fruit & vegetable blob emojis for Discord

A friend of mine gifted me Discord Nitro for my birthday, which ultimately prompted the creation of these fruit and vegetable blob emojis.

The Hidden Link Between Bats, COVID-19, and Climate Change

I made a short video describing the intricacies of the bat immune system and the animal agriculture industry, and how they lead to pandemics like COVID-19.