22 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
to our readers
IN THE MIDDLE OF her junior year of high school, my
stepdaughter, Amy, put up a bulletin board in our home office
and decorated it with the logos of all the colleges to which
she would apply. Under each logo, she posted application
deadlines and other important information.
She was self-motivated and organized. And totally stressed out.
Amy’s life was a whirlwind of Advanced Placement and
International Baccalaureate courses, an SAT prep class, the
constant pressure to get perfect grades, sports practices and
games, yearbook meetings and deadlines, and college visits.
Amy, of course, was not alone. Every year, thousands of
Bethesda-area high school students go through the college
prep gauntlet, which begins the first day of freshman year
for many and ends when the last acceptance or rejection letter arrives. (Some say the process and the pressure really start
earlier. Last year, in fact, I met with someone who was thinking of starting a college counseling practice for parents of
For many students—and their parents—high school has
become four years of hell. But does it have to be?
In this issue, we examine that question in two stories. In
“Getting In” on page 84, writer Julie Rasicot looks at where
the pressure comes from and what can be done to ease it. The
challenge is that the pressure comes from so many sources—
including the students themselves.
In “Beyond Brand Names” on page 96, writer Caralee
Adams makes the case for students attending the school that’s
the right fit for them, rather than the one with the biggest
The latter topic was certainly much discussed in our house.
Amy and my stepson, Alex, were excellent students who both
decided to go to the University of Florida (UF). Although it’s
a terrific school that they both love, UF isn’t usually on the
radar of the top Bethesda-area students. When Amy and Alex
told their friends and teachers where they were going, many
couldn’t understand why they would go there.
The pressure on students to perform in high school and
then to go to a college on the “approved” list is unrelenting.
For our kids’ sake—and for ours—we need to find a way to
change that. I hope that our stories will encourage discussions.
IN THE “FAST AND FURIOUS” story on weekend warrior
bike riders in the July/August issue, we attributed to John
Ourisman a quote that our writer had heard from a friend
of Ourisman’s. We reached out to Ourisman to confirm the
quote, but ran it in the story without receiving confirmation
from him. That was a mistake.
After the story came out, Ourisman told us that he never
said the words that were attributed to him. We regret having
made the error and apologize to Mr. Ourisman and his family
for any consternation and embarrassment the quote caused.
EVERY SUMMER WE ARE fortunate to have interns work in
our office. This year’s group was the best yet. Kelly Seegers of
Potomac, now a senior at the University of Virginia, was our
editorial intern. Kelly is a good reporter with a natural writing
style; readers will notice her byline attached to a large number of stories in this issue. Mara Corbett of McLean, Virginia,
was our design intern. The graphic design major and junior at
Syracuse University is skilled and mature beyond her years.
Finally, Katie Edgar of Bethesda was our Web intern. A public
relations major and junior at the University of Miami, Katie
helped produce the content on BethesdaMagazine.com this
summer and handled other projects.
Over the course of just a few months, Kelly, Mara and Katie
became part of our staff. We are sorry to see them go.
A REMINDER THAT THE “Best of Bethesda” Readers’ Poll
is open until Sept. 21. To vote, go to BethesdaMagazine.
com. The results will appear in the January/February “Best of
I hope you enjoy this issue of Bethesda Magazine. Please
send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
TOO MUCH PRESSURE?