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Trent Reed Editor-in-Chief

Falcon Flyer Editor-In-Chief Trent Reed Woods Editor Julianne Lewis Sports Editor Brandon Weight Culture & Arts Editor Shannon Wood Voice Editor John Klees World News Editor Clarke Williams Staff Writers First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last First Last Advisor Ms. Leigh

Briar Woods HS 23230 Belmont Ridge Rd. Ashburn, VA 20148

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yard butterfly record, and that’s just the beginning,” said Guessford. She, along with many others are going to be a necessary component to the team not only this year, but also in the future. “I think this season the girls’ team will win districts and will place very well at states,” said Farley “The guys’ team is much smaller, but I think we will still be top 4 at districts.” With the surplus of new swimmers, and the returning of the old, Briar Woods is going to be one to beat this year in the Dulles District.

By Emily Ryan

With the start of the winter sport season, most teams make their migration indoors, including boys and girls swimming who make an all to familiar trip to Claude Moore Park. A huge, unpredicted turnout during the week of tryouts excited those returning swimmers, and prepared everyone for what is sure to be a triumphant season. Briar Woods is home to many county dominating swimmers such as juniors Elise Guessford and Chris Farley. They both are returning to head the team in what is predicted to be their best season yet. “With a full girls team, we have the potential to win the district this year, and the boys are already off to a great start and are 1-1,” said Guessford. “The girls team is the team to beat in the district this year” The swim team has previously been recognized for not only its combined success, but the individual accomplishments of a number of members on the team.

Senior Tim Mittian, Guessford, Farley, in addition to a number of others hold many school records, and are also district and state qualifiers. Guessford was named MVP of the team last year, along with Farley who was awarded the title the last two seasons. With years of experience under their belt, these valued swimmers welcome a number of new members to their family. “It’s great that people want to join the team because we have never gotten that much attention in the past so maybe with the increased interest, swimming will become as big as it is at other schools in the state,” said Guessford. “When I heard that there was a ton of interest for swimming I was excited. With more people we are definitely a much stronger team,” added Farley. One of the many new swimmers is freshman Ali Haufler. Haufler has been swimming since a very young age, while holding her own fair share of records. “She has already broke the 100

Front Page

BW Swimming Looks to Have Best Season Ever



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The Woods Stressful Holiday Season Brings Community Closer By Erin Pelletier

It seems impossible to escape the horror stories about the economy. Houses all around the country are being foreclosed, people are unable to pay their mortgages, and the credit and stock markets are in an unprecedented slump. The retail world will undoubtedly have a grim quarter, but many Briar Woods High School students are worried about how the financial crisis will affect their families this holiday season. Every week, it seems as if the bank is auctioning another house in Brambleton or Broadlands. It is hard for students to find well paying jobs, and many Briar Woods families have had to cut back on some of the luxuries they had adjusted to. This holiday season will certainly be no different from the other seasons of the past year, and Briar Woods students will have to readjust to the new economic climate. The only question is just how much adjusting must occur.

Most students in Briar Woods will be receiving fewer gifts of lesser value than they perhaps received a year, or two years ago. Briar Woods families can no longer afford to buy their children the latest gadgets and fashions that they could for the past several years. Many individuals might find this fact depressing. “The crisis will mean a decrease in my amount of gifts!” said junior Tyler Kirby. “That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.” While numerous students are angry or upset about the changes that need to be made this season, some think that these changes are positive. The holidays seem to give much of the student body a chance to reevaluate their spending habits and the privileges they have been enjoying. Now, many students have to think about how they can help their families by saving money. If they did not

have this chance, many students would probably continue to spend unnecessarily. “I think the crisis has a greater effect on society during times of high spending,” said Kirby. “Because the holiday season is a time of high spending, people notice it more, and are thinking more about their habits. I think it will make for a more traditional Christmas.” In spite of the current economic slump, Briar Woods territory is rather affluent. The average annual income for families in Loudoun County is about $107,000, more than double the national average of approximately $50,000. Whatever the effects of the economy on Briar Woods will be, as a whole, they will unquestionably be worse for the rest of the country. “The changes have not yet really affected my family, but we need to not spend money as if there is an unlimited supply,” said junior Claire Bayles. “Most families here do not manage or use their money wisely because it seems so abundant.” Numerous students in Briar Woods may not be significantly impacted by the current crisis, and many are taking the opportunity to help others within the community. There is always a need for community service during the holidays, but that need is increased when times are hard for all. “I think community service is really important during this time of year,” said Key Club advisor, Mr. Bladel. “There are actually people in Loudoun County who need our help, especially during the holidays, and even more so during tough economic times.”

The economic crisis is here to stay, most likely for a year or more. Regardless of annual income, every family within Briar Woods is probably going to have to make certain changes, especially during the holiday season. Many students will have to go without certain desires and wishes this year, and whether they find this fact inspiring or depressing, adjustments must be made.


By Kathryn Webber Can’t lose weight? No worries. All you have to do is walk in to a high school building and ask around to find something to help you out. Many girls are taking Aterol or Hydroxycut as a fast way to get rid of those extra few pounds. America’s society has created the image that people are not right the way they are now, and girls are going to desperate measures to become perfect. This type of weight loss is mostly seen in girls, but can be a problem for males as well. Males give into the uproar of steroids, to be “better conditioned than the competition” for their sport. High school does not suppress the fear of not fitting in, but creates the anxiety of morphing into the scene. Becoming desperate, the easily influential population of high school kids will do anything and everything to shape up to society’s views. Then, shows such as the Hills, Gossip Girl, 90210, show that looking nice gets you far in life. The modeling industry hands out 5’11, 98 pound girls to represent the latest fashion. The younger girls look up to these models, because they are the

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By Ryan Rather

members of the Briar Woods NHS are some of the best and brightest our school has to offer. The inductees truly demonstrate the four necessary qualities for admission: character, leadership, scholarship, and service. If they continue their hard work and dedication they will certainly make the NHS and Briar Woods proud.


(Continued from pg. 4) Between October 1 and 16, many juniors and seniors at Briar Woods High School began filling out their portfolios for the National Honor Society. The nationwide organization, known as NHS, promotes academic success, offers volunteer opportunities, and encourages the development of good character. Membership in this prestigious organization appeals to many Briar Woods students because of the various opportunities it offers. There are very few awards as coveted as admission into the NHS. Colleges and Universities around the country recognize acceptance into this exclusive club as an honor. On December 4, the NHS Induction Ceremony took place in the Briar Woods Auditorium. Before the initiation, a few key faculty members gave speeches addressing the importance of the NHS. “Admission into the National Honor Society,” said Mr. Starzenski, “is the highest honor that the faculty can bestow upon the student body.” Mrs. Armani, sponsor for the Briar Woods NHS, added that the ceremony “is testament of [the inductees’] hard work and commitment.” While freshmen

watched from their homerooms, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and proud parents cheered as 92 new members were inducted into the NHS. As part of club tradition, the excited inductees gathered together onstage, each holding their own candle. “I felt a real sense of accomplishment,” said junior Jasmine Virk about the induction. “It was an honor being recognized,” said junior Katie Ward, “but it was also awkward having your friends and family staring at you.” Following the induction ceremony, a reception was held in the auxiliary gym for the new members and their parents. According to Mrs. Armani, the new members will have plenty of volunteering to do this year. Among other activities, the Briar Woods NHS plans on holding a warm coat drive, in which you can donate new or slightly used coats to underprivileged citizens around the country. Mrs. Gross and Mrs. Greely also sponsor the Briar Woods NHS, which now has about 200 active members. The ceremony publicly recognized 92 students who consistently go all-out to achieve academic success and help the community. The

“pretty” of the world. Is it necessary to become unhealthy and stop eating to become this so-called “pretty”? Each time a student takes a pill, it makes them a little bit less of an individual and more exposed to becoming able to be swerved to new ideas. The media can easily take advantage of the naïve mind of a teenager. If the media can do this, then, the wrong crowds at school can, too. If every person succumbed to the fake promotions that have been built up, there would be disappointed faces all around. There can be no trust in a simple pill, even if it is exposed by the media or recommended by a friend. The pills are becoming an underground network of stealing and lies. The pills, never the less, are tearing up the inside of the bodies of growing girls. The side effects can change one’s metabolism and how the person acts. The diet pills over a period of time slow your metabolism making it harder to lose weight, in order to decrease your appetite. Aterol is not meant to be taken as a dietary supplement. Aterol is for the children who have a hard time concentrating and allows them

to focus. Aterol is becoming the new trick of the trade for taking long exams or if you have a lot of work to do. Then, the students have the benefit of losing their hunger for many hours on this pill. Aterol does have a way of changing your mood. When someone is taking any type of substance, they are allow themselves to be different or have a shift in their behavior. Why are students allowing themselves to get mangled into the drama of society’s vision? The culture needs to promote how we are, not to cut it down. The world should give a chance to the students, to become their own. The kids can’t be strengthened, if they are always being negatively criticized. If given the right courage, the teenagers will be able to say no and build on their self-esteem. The issue of using these substances needs to be addressed, but not in a manner of making the students feel guilty or having it come off too aggressive. Adults should want students to be able to confide in them, not as a friend, but as a guardian.

The Woods

NHS Recognizes Tomorrow’s Leaders



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New Sport? No, Its Gymnastics! By Kierra Chinn

When the winter sports season rolls around, many students overlook one sport: gymnastics. With two hour practices from Monday through Saturday, the team at Briar Woods High School deserves recognition. This year, the team is doing things a little bit differently to reach their ultimate goal: placing at least fourth at Dulles Districts. Last year, with only four team members competing at districts, Briar Woods was not able to show either the school or their competition what their true ability was. This year, the team has some new ideas that will put them at the top. In previous years, the team practiced at Broad Run High School, with their gymnastics team while under Broad Run’s head coach. With the number of girls participating through BRHS and BWHS, one gym was not enough space. This season, the school has made space for them in the auxiliary gym, giving them plenty of

practice room. Replacing Broad Run’s head coach is Ms. Oliver, World History teacher at Briar Woods. “This year’s team is going to be a lot better because they have their own practice space and coach,” said Brooke Medeiros a sophomore and member of the 2007-2008 Varsity team. With new uniforms, new coaches, and a new practice location, “this team is destined for greatness,” said Kathryn Davidson, a new and eager member of the BWHS 2008-2009 Varsity team. The gymnastics team does not cut candidates, and currently consists of eleven members. They now have enough members to participate in every event. These events include floor, vault, uneven bars, and beam. The floor embraces the blending of choreographed exercises and music. The creativity and total body control of the gymnast is shown in this event. Vault is judged on height from

the springboard and landing, with no additional steps taken after the landing. Uneven bars are judged on continuous movement without breaks or pauses. The beam, only four inches wide, requires the gymnast to perform a full routine with balance and grace. “Gymnastics requires creativity and lots of dedication,” said Jenny Chase, member of the BWHS 2008-2009 Varsity team. “It’s not for everyone, which would explain the reason why not many participate and know about the team.” Gymnastics is not like many other sports. There are no announcements about their achievements at competitions, no posters around the school wishing them the best, no stadium of screaming fans. This team’s future looks bright, so come and be part of the winning moment.

BCS Madness By Tom Borkowski

Over the past few years, the BCS standings have aroused heavy debates between sports fanatics. Many think that the system of rankings in unfair or biased and, in some ways it is. If the #1 team loses to an unranked team, the top team could fall ten places in the rankings, which could seem to be unfair. There are three components to the rankings: USA Today Coaches Poll, Harris

Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings. Each of these components count as one-third of the final rank. All of these components come in to play when the BCS ranks teams. The USA Today Coaches Poll is comprised of points that determine the team’s rank. The maximum number of points is 1500 points and the more points a team has, the higher the rank. The Harris Interactive College Football Poll is also point based and the maximum amount of points a team can receive is 2850. The Harris Interactive College Football Poll is based on voting by different sports editors who write for newspapers. This all seems like it would be an organized and fair process, but there is one aspect of the voting that seems to be a bit off. That factor that plays into those processes is that they are both decided in polls taken by people. The problem with a human poll is that the voter can be biased and favor a certain team, which could determine the team’s BCS rankings. For example: Penn State’s Nittany Lions were undefeated in the Big Ten but they where not given the top spot in the BCS rankings. The highest Penn State got was the #3 spot. Penn State played unranked Iowa and lost, which put them down nine ranks. Even though the team was 9-1, they didn’t get pass the top 5. This just shows how biased people are towards certain teams and that can decide on which rank they get and ultimately what bowl game they will play in. The last component, the computer system, ranks

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By Jamal Hill When the dust settles and the clock ticks down to zero, there is one team and one team only that can walk away with a win. This describes the yearly gridiron battle between Briar Woods and Freedom. From the first year the schools opened, Briar Woods and Freedom have been colliding with each other in a game nicknamed the Bird Bowl. Along with the homecoming game, the Bird Bowl is believed to be the highlight of the season. In this year’s bowl game, the Falcons came out on top with an outstanding performance, scoring 61 points to the Eagles’ 23 points. The competition began with a kick return by the captain of the squad, senior Andrew Davidson. Another impressive

BCS Madness

(Continued from pg. 6) the teams based on wins and loses. Six computers pick the top and lowest rating of each team and two of the computers have their vote discarded

Ashton. Ashton is one of the most essential players on the team. When asked how he prepared before the game, Ashton replied with, “I usually get away from my teammates and pray that we can have a great game and to make sure everyone stays safe.” With his leadership and guidance to help the program, Ashton will be truly missed next season. Last year’s game was similar to this season’s Bird Bowl. The Falcons hosted the Eagles and the outcome was a win for Briar Woods. When the last whistle blew, Captain John Maghamez hoisted the ceremonial Bird Bowl in the air following the team’s 49-14 win over Freedom. Now that Maghamez has gone to University of Virginia, four year player Jamie Caldwell has filled his position very well. and the remaining four will have their vote counted. This is the most four part of the system because it cannot be biased. The BCS ranking system needs to be repaired and become more organized because good teams that

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was the 54Clash Between touchdown yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Edthe Birds win Mends to senior Jake

“The last three years, I used to become nervous before our game against Freedom, but this year’s game was like every other one,” Caldwell said. The Briar Woods football program has been greatly coached and played each year. In the middle of the season, the Falcons lost their starting quarterback Austin Frattali to an unorthodox event. Junior-Varsity quarterback, freshman Edwin Mends, took on the pressure and enormous duties

of being the leader of the team. Mends threw for 194 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes. When asked how he was able to take on such colossal responsibility, he answered, “Well, I had a lot of help from my teammates and my coaches to help me with the new plays; Coach Pierce and Coach Tomlinson especially though. I still think it’s hard to believe.”

lose one game shouldn’t lose their top ten spot in the ranks. Because there are so many college teams, it will be a tough task to make the ranking system fair, but it can be done. A possible solution is to have playoffs next year which will decide which team is the really the best. Human

votes ruin the system because of the bias that play a big role in what rank a team gets. All the voting should be done via computer so its fair and no bias votes will be cast. Hopefully the BCS figures out a new way to do the rankings to eliminate future problems.


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Culture&Arts Fashion’s Youngest Face By Casey Fabris

Parents are always telling their children to reach for their dreams, that nothing is impossible, that if they set their minds to something, they can do it. The beautiful thing about children is that they believe they are destined for greatness and have yet to become jaded by the everyday. Their faith in themselves can even lead them to fame at a young age. No one is a better example of this than Kira Plastinina, the sixteen year old Russian designer who has taken the fashion world by storm. Plastinina’s dreams have resulted in a worldwide fashion empire with selftitled Kira Plastinina stores in multiple countries. There are fifty-nine stores alone in her homeland of Russia, four stores in Kazakhstan, five

stores in Ukraine, and twelve stores in the United States. At the mere age of sixteen, she has accomplished more than some designers have in a lifetime. The fashion world opened its doors to Kira at the age of fourteen when she would sketch in her school notebooks. Her orange juice mogul father, the owner of a $5.6 billion business, Sergei Plastinin, saw his daughter’s talent. Sergei Plastinin’s prominence in Russia may have helped Kira enter the fashion world, but ultimately the brand and the designs developed and inspired by Kira are what have made her a fashion icon. “I think teenagers are all the same everywhere,” said Plastinina. This mentality along with the feminine, pink,

Deerhunter’s Eclipsing New By Abbe Ramanan Album Though the album doesn’t embrace 1950s and 60s pop quite as intensely as lead singer Bradford Cox intimated in early interviews, the sound it produces still carries undertones of off-kilter indie pop. On the second track, Agoraphobia, lead guitarist Lockett Pundt’s comforting, repetitive wordplay- “Cover me, come for me, comfort me” rolls languidly through a pool of sunlit dream-pop. Nothing Ever Happened, written mostly by bass player Josh Fauver, is filled with bright, bouncing guitars, including an enticing solo. Microcastle is built out of imaginative, stirring

songs that induce images darkly drawn and brightly colored. Yet the idea of a unified album is not lost here. Themes are repeated; in the wry Little Kids, aging is only a means to an end. Later, Neither of Us, Certainly, asserts that it’s an enviable fate. And throughout the entire production, there is the barest note of that 50s and 60s pop, which ties together what would be an otherwise eclectic collection of songs, from the wistful Green Jacket to Saved by Old Times, which plays out with an adolescent smirk. The end result is thoroughly enjoyable album.

lightheartedness of Kira’s enterprise helps explain why thousands of teenage girls relate to and love the line. Not only do the fashion lines have a fun and entertaining feel, but the stores do as well. Each store is centered on a pink piece of furniture known as a “pouf” and is decorated in Kira’s favorite color pink. These stores and products make shopping something more than a teenage girl’s favorite pastime, they make it an experience. “Her clothes, with an average $48 price point, are fast fashion moving from East to West,”The Los Angeles Times said of Plastinina’s growing empire, “[It is] Targeting teens who live their lives online, where image is reality more so even than in Hollywood, and cultural and

international borders are nonexistent.” Despite Kira’s young age, she holds her own against other designers. She hosts fashion shows for her lines and designs clothes, shoes, and accessories. She travels the world to promote the opening of her stores, as it is a tradition that she be the first to purchase anything from each of her new stores. She not only measures up to other designers, she goes beyond what they do, as she is also a full time student in Russia. Although Kira’s success among her elders has been a great feat in and of itself, the fact that she began in Russia also shows her immense talent. Russia may not appear to be an obvi-

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2008: Year In Review Brandon Weight

Duane Minnick

Trent Reed

Abbe Ramanan

Albums of the Year 1. Conor Oberst- Conor Oberst 2. Flight of the ConchordsFlight of the Conchords 3. Jenny Lewis- Acid Tongue 4. Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend 5. Coldplay- Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends

Albums of the Year 1. The Eagles- Long Road out of Edan 2. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss- Raising Sand 3. Take 6- The Standard 4. Steven Curtis ChapmanThis Moment 5. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones- Jingle all the Way

Albums of the Year 1. Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes 2. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago 3. No Age- Nouns 4. Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend 5. TV on the Radio- Dear Science

Albums of the Year 1. No Age- Nouns 2. Beach House- Devotion 3. Esau Mwamwaya and Radio***t are the Very BestThe Very Best 4. Wavves- Wavves 5. Cut Copy- In Ghost Colours

Songs of the Year 1. “Milk Thistle”- Conor Oberst 2. “Oxford Comma”- Vampire Weekend 3. “Love Lockdown”Kanye West 4. “Violet Hill”- Coldplay 5. “Business Time”- Flight of the Conchords

Songs of the Year 1. “Cinderella”- Steven Curtis Chapman 2. “Please Read the Letter”- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss 3. “Waiting in the Weeds”The Eagles 4. “Gravity”- John Mayer 5. “What Life Would Be Like”- Big Daddy Weave

Songs of the Year 1. “White Winter Hymnal”- Fleet Foxes 2. “Skinny Love”- Bon Iver 3. “D.A.R.L.I.N.G.”- Beach House 4. “Tell the World”- Vivian Girls 5. “The New Year”- The Walkmen

Songs of the Year 1. “D.A.R.L.I.N.G”- Beach House 2. “Eraser”- No Age 3. “The New Year”- The Walkmen 4. “Strangers in the Wind”Cut Copy 5. “No One Does it Like You”- Department of Eagles

Films of the Year 1. Burn After Reading 2. The Dark Knight 3. Zach and Miri Make a Porno 4. Pineapple Express 5. 27 Dresses

Films of the Year 1. The Dark Knight 2. Iron Man 3. Fireproof 4. Rouge 5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Amanda Fisher

Shannon Wood

Films of the Year 1. The Dark Knight 2. Charlie Bartlett 3. Definitely, Maybe 4. Pineapple Express 5. Sex and the City: The Movie

Albums of the Year 1. No Age- Nouns 2. Beach House- Devotion 3. Esau Mwamwaya and Radio***t are the Very BestThe Very Best 4. Wavves- Wavves 5. Cut Copy- In Ghost Colours Films of the Year 1. The Counterfeiters 2. Man on Wire 3. Frozen River 4. Rachel Getting Married 5. Milk

Films of the Year 1. Wall-E 2. Milk 3. Slumdog Millionaire 4. The Dark Knight 5. Synecdoche, New York


(Continued from pg. 8) ous fashion capital like New York, Paris, or Milan, but this is a misconception. In the past few years, Russia’s Fashion Week has become a major event in the fashion world. The popularity of Russian Fashion Week is quickly catching up with the fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Plastinina was able to build her career in a country where fashion is quickly progressing and evolving while establishing herself in the major fashion capital of the United States, New York. This is proof that she belongs right where she is: on top of the fashion world.

Films of the Year 1. The Counterfeiters 2. Man on Wire 3. Frozen River 4. Rachel Getting Married 5. Milk The world of fashion is not always kind and accepting, in fact, it can be cruel and difficult. It can require years of clawing at the seams to finally enter the realm of success and possibly have a shot at making it big as a designer, model, or stylist. It takes something huge, something phenomenal, something that is an obvious sensation and asset to this world of exclusivity for immediate acceptance and recognition. To simply fall into the lap of a world this posh and elite is nearly unheard of, unless of course you have the sparkle and passion of someone like Kira Plastinina, which simply can not be ignored.

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