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Tragic accident leaves basketball star paralyzed

Jenelle Whitman
Editor in Chief

Springbrook alum from the class of 2011, and current student of Goucher College Damone Brooks suffered an accident on April 20 which misaligned his C-4 and C-5 vertebrae in his neck and bruised his spinal cord. Following this accident, he was diagnosed as a level C4- C5 quadriplegic, and has been hospitalized at University of Maryland Medical Center. He was told he would never walk again.

After his first surgery, in which the surgeons fused his C-4 and C-5 vertebrae back in line, they were still unable to determine his prognosis. Later that night, he was able to control movement in his right arm. The next morning, he was able to move his left arm. Even though the movement in his left arm is not as controlled and mobile as his right arm, the doctors told his family they were still very impressed with his progression and because he is so young, strong, and healthy, those characteristics could all work in his favor for a full recovery.

On April 21, 2012, he had his second surgery in which the surgeon operated on the back of his neck and added pins and rods to the neck to help prevent more damage to his spinal cord from the natural swelling that occurs. They removed bone spurs between C2 and C3 along with bone fragments to allow the expansion of the swelling of the spinal cord. The doctors advised that because he was so strong and they had to go thru the muscle to get to his bones, that surgery and recovery would be more painful than the previous one. On April 22, 2012, his 19th birthday, the surgeon gave us great news that he was able to feel sensation in his bottom area. We later learned that the sensation the surgeon observed could have been from sporadic neurons in his back and not actual communication with his brain, but that could also be wrong. From the looks of his X-Rays, MRI’s, and CT scans, the doctors informed him that they predict he will not be able to walk again.

“His physical state is slowly getting better. He smiles but still cannot talk real well. He gets really happy when people visit like his coaches or teammates. They told him he wouldn’t walk but knowing Damone he is going to fight it,” assistant basketball coach Darnell Myers said.

Brooks developed a good reputation during the time he spent at Springbrook and still holds many strong relationships with the Springbrook community today.

“He is a really good-natured, fun kid. Teachers often talk about students and all of us teachers shared the idea that he is really fun and positive,” his former English teacher Andy Leddy said. “I always had a positive interaction with him.”

Teachers agree that Brooks is a kind-hearted, respectful student.

“He’s funny, hardworking, and selfless. He’s the kind of kid who always puts the team over his ego. He’s the kind of kid a parent would like their daughter to date,” former English teacher Adam Bahr said. 

Damone Brooks was a part of the 2009 and 2010 state championship basketball teams. Myers and Senior Lindsay Pinckney are organizing the “Damone Brooks Charity Tournament” on Saturday June 2 at 4:00 p.m.

This tournament will include two games featuring Springbrook Alumni from the 2008, 2009 and 2010 state championship teams in the Springbrook gymnasium. This tournament will also feature the cheerleaders and poms teams from 2008, 2009 and 2010. The poms teams and the current drumline will perform during halftime. During the tournament volunteers will sell food, wristbands and t-shirts. All of the proceeds will benefit Damone Brooks.

Posted on: 05/23/12


Question & Answer Principal Rivera

Mihdi Afnan
Staff Writer

Q: What were your biggest expectations coming into Springbrook?

A: I think anytime you come into a new situation your biggest expectation is that you’re well received and that people understand that your vision for the school is the right one. So really the expectation is that you hope that people will get you and they understand where you’re coming from. Every building, every school has its own culture and traditions and I wanted to honor all that.

Q: What was the biggest difference at Springbrook?

A: Well, it’s been eight years since I’ve been at the high school, before I was a principal of a middle school. So high school is very different today than it was even eight years ago. The biggest learning curve for me was really to try to get a handle on everything that needs to be monitored and everything that needs to get done and how do you manage a staff of 190 people because that’s the size of the staff here. That’s been the biggest eye opener for me.

Q: What your first impressions of Springbrook?

A: Lovely. From the minute I walked in. I came over the summer - actually before the school year ended - I came to meet with the National Honors Society. I just had a wonderful meeting with them. Of course, I went to last year’s graduation so I had a chance to experience that. I loved it from the minute I started; I really fell in love with the kids. I think we’ve got some wonderful kids.

Q: What’s your fondest memory from this year?

A: The welcoming environment. The kids have been so welcoming – so accepting. They just received me so well, for me I felt at home from day one. I think that’s probably the best way to put that.

Q: What do you want to accomplish for next year?

A: Well, really, along the same lines as that. We have an opportunity to take a look at what worked. We just finished interviewing over 1100 kids on what works for them and what doesn’t, so student voices are very important to me. We can go around and collect all the data we want, you know, instructional data. What are we seeing in a classroom? Really that’s where it starts, if there’s poor instruction in the classroom, that’s just tough for the kids. I often tell adults they ought to pull out a schedule and just follow a student for an entire day. But we learned a lot from the student voices, and I think we’re really well on our way to identifying what our instructional focus is for next year, and I’m really excited for that.

Posted on: 05/23/12

Awards ceremony honors students

Travis Bauer
Will Johnson
Staff Writers

The school year is coming to a close soon for all students at the Brook, but the end is approaching especially quickly for the seniors graduating this year.  Students of the class of 2012 end exams on May 25, and only a matter of days later, on June 1, they will graduate from Springbrook High School.

It would only be appropriate to honor the top scholars of the student body, which is excactly what administration plans to do beginning with and awards ceremony that was held on May 10.  After the awards ceremony, a special dinner will be held on May 23 for the schools top achievers. The awards ceremony was a spectacle of a night, honoring many of Springbrook’s model students, for all facets of learning.  The awards ceremony was run by the staff, and directed by guidance counselor Madonna Brown-Miles. 

The 6:30 reception and greeting was followed by the doling of awards to students.  Some of the more memorable moments include the awarding of the Michael A. Durso Award, to Charline Ngweh and Ronny Ortiz, for their growth and maturity over their four-year tenure at Springbrook.  Some other notable “Distinguished Awards”, which were voted on by the staff, included the Richard C. Ahlberg Award, and the Dr. Thomas P. Marshall Award, which were awarded to Kendra Reid and Gregory Ridgeway respectively.  Another distinguished award, the David Cooper Robin Award, was awarded to Nicole Mair.  The “Distinguished Awards” came with a plaque and in some cases, a cash award ranging from 250 to 500 dollars.

“I think it is a great thing that many students were recognized for their achievements during high school, whether they are academic, athletic or otherwise.  We have worked hard to get to where we are now, and it’s a great feeling to know that somebody appreciates it,” senior Wesley Carter said.

The Distinguished Scholars Dinner will be held on Wednesday of next week for the most accomplished scholars in the school.  The dinner will being at 6:00p.m., and only students who were able to maintain and end their high school careers with a 3.5 unweighted GPA will be able to partake in the event.  The event will consist of a dinner, guest speakers of the event and the recognition of those students honored in the ceremony with speeches by teachers.

Posted on: 05/23/12

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