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VOL. 12 | ISSUE 1

Official Newspaper of Oakton High School



what oakton will look like in the months to come


senator tim kaine on how students can improve the environment of our future



how new parking regulations are impacting your favorite seniors


snailmail Dear Oakton, It’s a new school year, and that means a new Outlook staff! We are pleased to announce the new editors-in-chief, Ashleigh and Jake, as well as the new editorial board. This group of people will work hard this year to make sure the Outlook is what people expect from their school newspaper. Jake and Ashleigh are excited to put their vision into the paper to make sure that happens. This year, we want to put the emphasis on Oakton students, writing about them and what they really care about. That means that staff writers will be more involved in the school community and in documenting what’s happening with the student body. Especially, with the renovation happening, the readers going to be eager to get news about what’s happening whenever they can. That means that we’re going to be paying close attention to any information we get about it so that students, teachers, and parents can keep up to date about the building. We also want to modify the design this year, to something more attractive and streamlined. In light of that, we have redone the style guide, reworked the fonts, and will be working harder on using creative, new designs. Everyone on the editorial board and staff will be stepping it up this year to make sure that their stories are, not only informative, but also visually pleasing. In order to facilitate a sleeker reading experience, we have also replaced the “news” section with an “Oakton” section, to reflect where we really want the focus to be. Stories that previously would have gone in the “news” section will now belong in either “inDepth,” “opinion,” or “politics.” Again, we’re all incredibly excited to start the new school year, and look forward to reporting on what you care about.

Editorial Policy: The Outlook is an open forum for student expression. Unsigned editorials reflect the collective opinion of the Outlook staff. Signed editorials represent the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Outlook or Oakton High School. Reader opinions are important to the Outlook and contributions are welcome. Make your voice heard by sending us a line about what’s on your mind. Letters to the editor may be sent via e-mail to, or dropped off in Mrs. Snyder’s box in the main office or in room 258. The Outlook reserves the right to edit submissions for grammar and content provided the meaning remains unchanged.

connect with us

Jake Neuffer and Ashleigh Tain Editors-in-Chief

website instagram twitter @oaktonoutlook @OaktonOutlook

interview and photography submissions are open to all

table of


editorial board editors in chief

jake neuffer ashleigh tain

editorial board

katerina faben riya jain emily bach courtney te zoe saugar payton wozny sahithi jammulamadaka

adviser acting advisor

elizabeth snyder joanna esty

staff writers amira bashir genevieve bavisotto sara boddie portia dai madelyn flickinger andres gonzalez katie le connor maloney alexandra martschenko claudia messina sebastian osea veronica preaskorn anabelle rosse cole starmer kariann tan asher tankel

elizabeth thompson nikhil trivedi abudukadier cainaipuguli katherine zevallos olivia garrone aubrey harrell sarah jeffries conor krouse william locklin haley longfellow kartik mukalla sally park zoe saugar zoe siamon pari abdollahi brendan bellingham wendy gao jacob rutzick


UPDATES on the renovation and how it will impact students. by katarina faben + sarah jeffries


Cross country; transforming from last year and dealing with future changes.

by zoe sauger


VA Climate Crisis Forum featuring US Senator Tim Kaine, where he discusses how climate change impacts Virginia. by wendy gao


Fashion Editorial: Spanish teacher, Sra Natal, and her eclectic style in Oakton.

by ashleigh tain + katie le


OAKTON NEWS RENOVATION RECAP Updates on the Oakton Renovation and its impacts on the community

katarina faben editorial board member sarah jeffries staff writer


y now, everyone knows about the long-awaited Oakton Renovation. The blocked off hallways and unfinished ceilings are a topic of conversation currently on everyone’s minds. How does this affect Oakton students? What will the school actually look like after this over? We’re all curious to see what Oakton will look like after it’s long awaited makeover. Unfortunately, the school isn’t the only thing being altered. Current Oakton students are required to go between classes, maneuvering around these obstacles created by construction. Everyone has a difficult time getting to class, although freshman are required to take on the challenges of the renovation without prior knowledge of the floor plan of the school. Current freshman, Grace Barnhart says, “It can be confusing, but you just have to find routes that you can take. I know that there are some parts that are blocked off, but you just have to figure out a way to get around.” As a football manager, Grace stays after school almost every day. “I feel like you can hear the banging more after school,” she says, “When I leave the field, I would go through the the trailers, but there was a gate there so you couldn’t pass, so I had to walk all the way across to the other side of the school.”

“It can be confusing, but you just have to find routes that you can take.”

Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Tain

After discussing plans with school admin and construction workers, it seems to be that the school will be undergoing a variety of updates that will change the school significantly. We were lucky enough to interview Mr. Full, the Supervisor of Renovations, and to gain his input on the topic that is affecting our whole school. When asked the question of “When are the renovations expected to be finished?”, he replied, “It is a total of a four year process, the main construction part. There will still be some work done after that, finishing work is the best way to describe it, that lasts for a little bit longer as needed. According to Mr. Full, the school will grow significantly by approximately 80,000 square feet. This will accommodate for the new performing arts wing, a gymnastics and dance studio, a media center, and a new administrative/school counseling area. “Everything inside that’s not new is going to be refinished,” he says. The renovations at Oakton are what is called a “phase project”. The school will be renovated in increments, starting next with the science hallway. “As new places open, old ones will close up,” Mr. Full says. This will allow for students to spread out amongst the school rather than being clustered in one area. Overall, everyone’s experiences with the renovation will differ. Freshmen and Sophomores will see the majority of the renovation, as they will be in the school for a longer period of time. Seniors will see only what the renovation looks like now, in phase one of the process. When asked how much of the renovation students will observe, Mr. Full stated, “As phases go on, seniors won’t see much, sophomores and freshmen will see more.”

Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Tain

“Everything inside that’s not new is going to be refinished,” he says.


september issue

Why does the renovation take such a long time to complete? It is anticipated for the Oakton renovation to take an approximated four years to complete. Due to its phase type of renovation, only pieces of the school will be renovated at a time. But why did Oakton admin decide to do it this way? With such a large student body and only twenty five high schools in the FCPS school district, there aren’t enough empty schools to put students while the renovation takes place. The renovation therefore needs to be done at the same time as students are learning due to these circumstances. Three other schools are going through the same renovation process as Oakton. Herndon, West Springfield, and Langley all have the same renovation layout plan as our school. With the available land; however, each school will look different, as their available land and size of the school will come into play when undergoing construction. Oakton plans to build out with the ample amount of land we have. On the contrary, other schools are planning to build up, with some having three levels in their buildings.

Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Tain

With all these changes comes some exciting news for Oakton students. The gym will feature four sections of student seating when completed, allowing for more students to attend large volleyball and basketball games, such as the much anticipated DiG PiNK match. With the larger gym, Oakton may be able to host a single pep rally in the gym for all students to attend. No more stressing about whether you have session A or B!

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, student or staff member, we all get to be along for the ride. These long awaited renovations will be worth it in the end, with all the new features, updates, and ementities. We can’t wait to see what our newly renovated school will look like once construction is finished!

Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Tain

4 DECLASSIFIED CLUB SURVIVAL GUIDE A Guide to Some of Oakton’s Best Clubs


s the school year begins, students are looking for ways to participate in our school community. Oakton clubs are a great way for students to meet new people, explore interests, and “make their mark on Oakton”. There is something for everyone, from future teachers to passionate filmmakers. Read about some of the options below to find the perfect club for you.

MultiEd Club Do you like kids? Are you interested in becoming a teacher? Do you need service hours? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the MultiEd Club is for you. It’s a unique opportunity to interact with children in after school SACC programs at local elementary schools. Not only is this club meaningful, but it is fun, too. Grace Kim (12), president of MultiEd, likes being creative in coming up with lessons and loves talking with the elementary schoolers. There are a variety of different branches you can join depending on your interest, focusing on subjects such as art, science, and languages. You can join as many branches as you’d like. Meeting are in Mr. DePriest’s room; meeting days vary depending on the branch. Email to find out more!

“There were no limits to what I was aloowed to do,” said Akshitha Vermru(10), when talking about Steps for Humanity.

Club members work with Elementary schoolers to make cards. Photo courtesy of Jenny Wong

UNICEF If you are looking to make a difference in your community, then you should join UNICEF Club. UNICEF is an international organization that does many things, but its focus is on helping kids in need in third world countries. They have lots of exciting plans for the year; Ananya Vavilala (12), one of the club’s presidents, said that they are planning on having a new theme each month to raise awareness for different issues. UNICEF is planning on meet 2-3 times per month, afterschool Wednesdays, in room 204, Madame Brunino’s room. Everyone is welcome! If you’d like to join, email

Steps for Humanity If you like to give back to your community, you should consider joining Steps for Humanity. The club meets about twice a month in Magistra Moore-Chalko’s room, room 251, to discuss executive decisions and plan a variety of philanthropic activities. The club works to help people in need. “If you are passionate about the homeless children, you can create a project about it and execute it,” says Akshitha Vemuru(10). For more information about the club visit their website or email

Kelsey Goldwein(10), Aubrey Harrell(10), Akshitha Vemuru(10) shop for children at INOVA hospital. Photo Courtest of Sally Park(10)

Environmental Club “Environmental Club leads with the slogan ‘Maintaining the environment through service and education,’” said Sydney Rico (10), president. They focus on educating young students on the environment, as well as getting involved in helping the environment themselves. Their plans for this year include entering an environmental competition. They meet every other week. If you want to join the email list, fill out this form:


september issue Film Club If you love movies and are interested in film making, then join the film club! It’s a great chance to use your creativity, gain new skills, and have fun with friends. They work in groups to create their own short films that are screened at the end of the year. They meet every Thursday from 3-4 in Mr. Flowers’ room. If you want to join, all you have to do is come to a meeting and start making movie magic.

Best Buddies Best Buddies is a international non-profit organization that provides new opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They meet a few times a month to play games. “I made a ton of new friends, and met a lot of people I might not have, if I didn’t participate in this club,” said Annie Wolsborn (10), a student who participated in Best Buddies her freshman year.

Best Buddies Prom Photo courtesy of Katarina Faben(11)

Debate Club “Debates are structured as fast paced conversation with passionate speakers defending relevant issues,” says Maggie Sparling (12). If you would like to join a group of expressive Oakton students, you should consider Debate Club. Debate allows students to develop public speaking and critical thinking skills. They meet one to three times a week, depending on division, to practice. Members are also given the opportunity to compete in about 20 different tournaments.

Photo courtesy of Maggie Sparling(12)

DECA If you take a marketing or entrepreneurship class and would like to take your work one step further, compete in various events, or meet new people, DECA could be for you. Through DECA, students can compete, participate in community service projects, and work with other DECA members from around the world. “My favorite part of DECA has been going to all of the competitions, and I’m really excited to start competing again this year!” said Ally Silas (10), secretary. Quarterly, Oakton DECA has socials during Cougar Time, but they don’t host regular meetings. Talk to your marketing or entrepreneurship teacher if you would like to join.

Photo courtesy of Ally Silas(10)

Joining a club is a great way to get new opportunities, meet new people, and to get involved in the Oakton community. If you have any questions regarding clubs in general, email

payton wozny editoral board

olivia garrone staff writer


Who will win? Spoiler alert: It’s the renovation. veronica preaskorn staff writer

pari abdollahi staff writer

Photo courtesy to Mary Ellen Giuseppe


ith renovation comes many changes. One of those changes being the destruction of the tennis courts. What will this mean for our tennis players? The Outlook asked players and Coach Mary Ellen Giuseppe some questions to find out. One of the things that both the coaches and players struggle with is how they lose time for each practice. They practice at Nottoway which means that they need to drive there for the days that they have practice. It’s really hard for them to get there because they either walk, which takes them around 30 minutes to get there, or they carpool. They usually don’t get there on time and don’t have much time to practice, and

on the days that the weather is bad, it takes them even more time to get there. A lot of the players complain about this situation because it’s really hard and frustrating for them. The team will have to deal with this for four or five more years. When asked how this affected Coach Giuseppe and the rest of the team, she replied with, “It is difficult for the players that do not drive to get to the courts. It is also difficult because we have to bring all the tennis equipment there and sometimes it is not possible. We often need squeegees and brooms to clear the courts. Those are normally accessible in a shed next to the courts at Oakton HS.” According to her, the courts were in really bad shape

and had cracks in them. When one of the players was asked what this means for the team she told us, “We’re going to be fine. It’s just an inconvenience for the team.” Coach Giuseppe informed us that there are struggles, “There are often problems that we experience that can be taken care of much easier if we were at Oakton, such as access to equipment, access to water, having an athletic trainer, etc. There is also a problem with scheduling of the courts. There are other groups that have reserved the courts that end up kicking the Oakton Teams off, even on match days, which sometimes only leaves us with 4 courts to use for 9 matches,”


september issue


The team had many changes this year. Learn about how the team is dealing with the change.


he Oakton cross country team has always been a very special team. The team has had a long standing tradition of going to states and either winning or getting runner-up. However this year the cross country team is in a little bit of a different situation. With a large, very large, class of sophomores, and a smaller class of seniors. The cross country team is filled with runners who don’t yet have their name out there, but have so much potential it is just waiting to be used. The team went through many changes this year and one of them was the coaching staff. Sometimes the change of coaching in a team can be damaging. However, the new coach, Coach Kroetch has been an amazing coach for the team, and has created a very strong team bond. “I expected a large adjustment for all, as there was a change in coaching staff. There was an adjustment in regards to some of the training components but I was surprised how welcoming the Oakton team was,” said Kroetch on being the new coach. The team bond and closeness has been a tradition for many years. It really isn’t a tradition it is just how the team works. Multiple interviews from the athletes prove how special the team is to everyone. Garrett Woodhouse (10) said, “We have a lot of traditions and we put in a lot more work, like we did the morning practise and that is something that other teams don’t do.” Having morning practises is not an easy thing, but since the team was not able to train in the afternoon do to heat, it was the only choice. Alexandra Bowers (10) said, “We are all so supportive of one another and urge each other on during races. We are all able to continue the legacy of what Oakton cross country already is.” It’s this mind set that has been able to keep the team progressing and getting better for so long. Katya Lebert (11) said, “We’re special because of how incredibly close our team is and becomes over the season.” It does not matter how amazing the runners are on a team, what counts is the bond a team has.

Courtesy of Aidan Whip


he girls team experienced the most loss with most of the top ten graduating. Even with the losses though, the girls have not given up and have the drive to go to states this year and win. In an interview with captain, Katya Lebert (11) she shared her goals for the team, “My goals for the team is for everyone to see huge prs (personal records), and to get back to states, and of course for us all to get even closer and have fun this season.” To some this may seem very optimistic, but the the girls team it’s a way of motivating one another and completely doable with all the effort they are putting in. The coach, Coach Kroetch, is also excited to see what the girls team can do this year, “The girls team’s really exciting because it’s all new faces but I think they might surprise a few people.” It is noticeable that this is theme throughout the whole girls team when asking any of them how they feel about the season. Alexandra Bowers (10) said, “Everyone is working super hard to make the invites each week by grinding during distance runs and workouts and we are all working towards the ultimate goal of making it to states.” Even though the girls team is made up of many new runners, they have the connection and the work ethic to do anything this season, and surprise many people. The boys team is in a much different situation then the girls team. Last year the boys side did not lose many seniors. However, similar to the girls team this year they don’t have a big senior class, but do have a very large sophomore class. These sophomores also make up a big part of the top ten. Because of the large group of sophomores and how deep the group is it can be competitive. In an interview with Garrett Woodhouse (10) he said, “ It’s pretty competitive , although like last year it was kind of the same because we don’t really have a strong senior team.” Even though the team might be very competitive, it is also a group of boys with a very tight bond. They work hard and motivate each other to get better and conquer their goals. Woodhouse continued to say, “Well, obviously I think we can win states if we train hard enough. So I think that should be our main goal. Also training as a team better so we can get a better bond.” The boys team has some big goals but can definitely achieve them.

zoe sauger editorial board

8 PREPARING FOR WINTER How the winter athletes are preparing for the 2018-2019 winter season.


s Oakton’s fall sports teams start up their 2018-2019 season, many of Oakton’s winter athletes are preparing for this winter’s season tryouts and competitions. These elite athletes undergo months of training to prepare for competition season. Of Oakton’s athletes, Lucas Hu(9) who has been training for years in preparation of the oakton swim tryouts, Angie(12) who is continuing her preparation to make her last year on the gymnastics team be the best one yet, and Aidan Whipp(10) who is training to go a personal record in the mile, are three extraordinary athletes demonstrating how rigorous and challenging Oakton sports can be. The Oakton boys swim team has been one of the most challenging winter sports team to make at Oakton. Lucas Hu is an aspiring freshman hoping to make the team “I’ve swum at 4 in the morning 5 days a week with machine aquatics for the past 3 years and I try to cut out sugars and junk food from my diet.” Swimming takes a lot of dedication and patience from it’s athletes and Lucas knows that all too well. “I spend a lot of time and hard work trying to prepare for this team. If I don’t make it I feel like all these sacrifices wouldn’t

really be worth anything.” Lucas is hoping that if he makes the team, the coach will be able to help him achieve his personal best times and improve his stokes. While Lucas is understandably anxious for tryouts, he’s also looking forward to hopefully making the team and having one heck of a season. Angie Zhou has been a gymnast since she was only four years old and joined the Oakton team as a sophomore. Since then she has become the gymnastics team captain and is now facing her last season as an Oakton athlete. She regularly trains to stay in shape and be ready for competition season. “I attend open gyms and condition everyday. When green days with my team start, I will be working on my skills and conditioning with the team.” Angie’s performance has also has benefited from eating a balanced diet. One of the most devastating hardships of being in intense training are the injuries. “I have knee problems and shin problems from all my years of training.” She stated, “But its all worth it in the end.” The cross country and track team are known for their rigorous training. Aidan Whipp, a sophomore and one of the athletes for the boys cross country team, knows just how hard training can be. Along with practicing with the team, Aidan goes on “high mileage runs to increase his endurance.” He states that he also is on a diet while training. Aidan, along

with many of the other winter athletes, isn’t new to the sport. He began running at the age of eleven with his dad and has been training since. “The hardest part of training is the early morning practices, but I love the bond I have from running with my team.” Being part of a sport in high school requires the athlete to make sacrifices, but Aidan thinks that they are all worth stating, “I love running the mile. My goal is to go a 4:30 in the mile this year and compete in the state championships.” All of the Oakton winter athletes show grit and determination during their training in order to achieve and reach their highest potential. Oakton wishes all these athletes luck as they tryout and compete this season! maddie flickinger staff writer

Image courtesy of Aidan Whipp

Courtesy of Angie Zhou



september issue

PARKLAND TEENS ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE While we relaxed, Parkland students workd vigorously for their cause. zoe siamon staff writer to make sure we don’t either. Their main Photo courtosy of Abby Cortez (10) mission this summer has had one goal: encourage and register young people to ast year, every student seemed to vote. Their campaign, titled “Road to be extremely passionate about gun Change,” traveled across the country and control after the Parkland shooting to over 20 states. Their mission includin February. Unlike many events of a simed rallies, public displays, and trying to ilar caliber however, we as students, and the media did not lose this passion after a few days. In fact, it was difficult to go a day without hearing a new updates for the months that followed. As everyone knows, many students who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas arranged a march to protest the laws, or lack of, regarding gun control. On March 24th, students across the nation stood together, protesting, raising awareness, and speaking out. But then came summer. Many minds turned from Emma Gonzalez to Emma Chamberlain. The thought of protesting was overshadowed by thoughts of vacation. Relaxation and apathy toengage the community. They have been wards anything school-related consumed working day and night for so long to lives. These Parkland students, howmake a change and to rally the world. ever, will never forget what happened, This leads to a question that seems to and they have been working diligently


be in the back of everyone’s mind. Why is it so important to speak out? “This issue means a lot to us and impacts future generations,” says Sydney Chen (10), head of the Oakton Demands Action club against gun violence. “By being active we show drive and motivation, and adults will take us more seriously.” It is so important that our generation learns to use our voices, to show that we won’t sit back and let injustice pass. No matter where you stand on this issue, we should all agree that our voices matter. “Young people need to vote and use their voice because not only will this raise awareness, but it will be heard by policy makers who can make legislative change,” explains Chen. These Parkland students are helping shape our future. No matter what your take on this situation is, we can all agree on that. We, as a generation, will not stay quiet. We will fight for our rights, and the Road to Change cam-

“As students we definitely have power to make change whether it’s a post on social media or walking out...We have to stand for the future we want which should be a future free of terror and paranoia.” -Sydney Chen (10)

paign is giving us a path to do just that.

10 THE BACKLASH ON INSATIABLE:WHERE ITS COMING FROM AND WHAT IT’S ABOUT Minutes after Netflix released it’s trailer for it’s upcoming show insatiable critics got upset. ing.” Writer Roxane Gay said, “the trailer’s logic states that fat women can’t stand up


n July 19th Netflix® for its new show releasing on August 10th, 2018 “Insatiable.” The first few seconds of the trailer shows the protagonist, Patty played by Debby Ryan former Jessie star in a larger body dealing with bullies, crushes, and spends her nights on the couch watching television eating ice cream. Then the trailer takes a turn, Patty gets punched in the face, after having an argument with a homeless man outside a convenience store over a chocolate bar she bought and gets her jaw wired shut as a result of the punch breaking her jaw. And putting her in a liquid-only diet, which isn’t a positive message for insecure teens, and eventually leads her into losing lots of weight turning her into a skinny and “attractive” woman. She uses her newfound popularity to seek revenge on her bullies who mocked her. The trailer has been seen has to some people as “fat-sham-

for themselves and must undergo physical trauma to become their best, skinny selves.” Which she’s basically saying is that the show unintentionally states in order to be perfect you have to literally be skinny.Many Twitter users got upset after seeing the trailer claimed this show to be fat shaming, many state that her losing weight “fixed her life” and “made it way better than before” which Netflix® stated was not the message they were giving” and in the first few episodes patty used her “skinny charm” to get out of going to jail. Her coach states that “since she is skinny and pretty she is able to do whatever she wants and get away with it”. The leading actress Debby Ryan wore a fat suit on set which upset viewers because fat suits are never used for positive reasons and it is mocking overweight people. However, the unintentional message of the show is that thin people’s stories are worth telling, while fat people are relegated to nightmarish flashbacks as cheap jokes to be mocked. Patty’s crush, brick rejected her while she was fat and as soon as she lost weight he asks her out, which is the wrong message for vulnerable insecure teens, and also spreads the message that you are open for many relationships once you are thin. There are many quotes from the show that are rude like “Pretty girls don’t have to settle” which is basically saying pretty girls get what they want whenever they want, another example is “ i still want to eat all the time but i don’t want to because I’m afraid of getting fat and no one would think I’m beautiful.” which is basically saying fat people cannot be beautiful. The series co-star Alyssa Milano always wanted to satirize beauty standards and see the negative effects of bullying she stated that “We honestly never intended to hurt anyone with the trailer. The show is so much more than what the trailer showed. We are not fat-shaming Patty at all”

she said this at the premiere screening for the show. She also said “What’s ironic is that one of the show’s thematic issues is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ and yet people were judging the entire show from a minute-and-28-second trailer” she continued with “The show is really a satirical look at what could happen if you do body-shame or bully someone and how that trauma affects their life” It’s also about how looks can be deceiving, an exploration of body image, about finding validation, and the desire to fill a void within ourselves.” Dallas Roberts who plays Bob Armstrong states “the show is not for everyone”Christopher Gorham, who plays Bob’s rival knew the show would get backlash. Debby Ryan the main character of the series took time to go on Instagram and say “As someone who cares deeply about the way our bodies, especially women, are shamed and policed in society, I was so excited to work on Insatiable because it’s a show that addresses and confronts those ideas through satire. Each cast member took time to defend the show and ask viewers to give it a chance. Some students in Oakton had some opinions on the show and their reviews were a mix of negative and positive like freshman Skylar Yoon states “I think it’s really toxic because it puts the idea that starving and dieting and becoming thin would magically make you pretty and wanted by all guys and that you’ll become popular.” Another student Zainab who is currently in tenth grade says. “it’s such an amazing show literally halfway done.” The show released on the day it was supposed to even though there many petitions to cancel the show it still aired.,the show was still a hit for some and a miss for others. Insatiable got a one out of five rating from Vox and an 8.5 rating from as Dallas Robert’s states “This show isn’t for everyone.”

amira bashir staff writer



september issue

jammulamadaka WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET A sahithi editorial board NEW SUPREME COURT NOMINEE

Brett Kavanaugh is set to join the Supreme Court


n July 10th, 2018 Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to be a justice on the United State Supreme Court. His Senate hearings took place from September 4th and lasted four days ending September 7th. The Senate confirmation voting is set to happen on Friday, September 28th. If Kavanaugh is approved by the Senate he is going to be the fifth conservative on the court, creating a shift in the balance of the court.

Most Supreme Court nominations are usually inconsequential, conservatives replace conservatives and liberals replace liberals but Kavanaugh is set to take the place of Anthony Kennedy who retired at the end of June. Anthony Kennedy was known as a swing voter, as he was put on the court as a conservative judge but voted alongside the Democrats on crucial cases such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action.

Although many Democrats are up in arms, even protesting during the Senate hearing, it is not likely that important cases like that will be abolished.The court usually has an etiquette of respecting the rulings made by the predecessors, for example, it’s not like the Supreme Court can repeal Brown vs The Board of Education”(Waxman). Recently Judge Kavanaugh has gone under fire for being

accused of sexual misconduct twice, once in high school, and the other in college. The first accuser, Cristine Blasey Ford accuses Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed during a house party in Maryland in the early 1980s. Ford’s attorneys on Sunday confirmed that Ford will appear before the committee at 10 am on Thursday The second accuser, Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a college dorm party while she was intoxicated. She said she was first reluctant to come forward and characterize Kavanaugh but after carefully re-evaluating her memories over a couple of days she decided to come forward with the accusation. Through all of the allegations, the White House has been one of the biggest supporters of Kavanaugh. President Trump saying that Kavanaugh was “a fine man with an unblemished past”, and believes that “There is a chance this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything.” He has repeatedly said that these allegations are purely political, and in some cases he is right. It began in 2013 when Senate majority leader, Harry Reid changed the Senate majority rules on confirming Supreme Court nomination, it became worse when the Republican-controlled Senate refused to approve Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat vacated by deceased Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. The changing of Senate rules confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Court by a simple majority in 2017, which further inflamed things. The partisan environment is the one which Kavanaugh was nominate into, and it has only gotten worse.

12 NIKE’S CONTROVERSIAL NEW AD Discourse arises from both sides of the spectrum after Nike’s most recent ad Nike’s positive impact leaves its mark on the world aubrey harrell staff writer

While many have shown angry reactions to the ad and demanded a boycott of Nike products, some going as far as destroying their Nike apparel, there has also been a lot of appreciation from the public towards the advertisement. When asked her opinions on the ad’s impact, Rebecca Wilson (10), stated,“ I think it’s important that an ad like this was released. I think more people should stand up for those being punished in the NFL for protesting, and this ad can start a conversation among people and possibly lead to change.” Many across social media platforms have spoken out and supported Nike’s new ad, ridiculing petulance among those boycotting and destroying their products. From what I’ve observed on social media after the ad was released, there was a large population of people so gracious thata big, household,name-brand is spreading awareness of police brutality and supporting the right for peaceful protest, which has been very heated topic of discussion in America. While shining a light on important problems occuring in America, Nike also has had a spike in business after the release of the ad. A little over a week after the ad was released,shares in Nike rebounded after an initial drop and hit a record high. Their Kaepernick ad has also caused them to have a spike of sold out items, with 61% more merchandise of theirs sold out according to the company’s online sales. Despite the initial controversy and outrage surrounding the add after its release, in the long run it was beneficial to America as a whole by supporting those protesting for a better America and, luckily to Nike, has been a good business decision for the company.

What we praise, we encourage. Be careful what you define as activism. emily bach editor

It’s important to recognize that sports players like Colin Kaepernick exist at the apex of privilege. For many people that are affected by racism, whether explicit or implicit, speaking out against injustice requires massive amounts of sacrifice that Kaepernick simply does not have to encounter. Though Kaepernick ultimately was dropped from the 49ers, which may or may not have even been the result of his protests, he was paid nearly $40 million before his contract ended. He only began protesting after sitting the bench for nearly an entire season. He turned down a different contract with the Browns and instead chose to be paid generously by a massive multinational corporation. The notion that Kaepernick has sacrificed anything, much less everything, is simply misplaced. There are a number of people that have truly sacrificed something in the name of justice, both inside and outside of the sports realm. Take Muhammad Ali as an example, who was sentenced to 5 years in jail for protesting. Regardless of how you feel about the specifics of his protest, he was undeniably willing to sacrifice something. Or, outside of sports, influential activists like Alejandra Pablos and Heather Heyer that have sacrificed their freedom or their lives for what they believe in. As said by Junior Riley Beeman, “People like veterans actually protect us and put their lives on the line for their beliefs. I just don’t think that Kaepernick did that.” Situating Kaepernick as a national hero, however valid his protests, is irresponsible and paints a dangerous picture for the future of activism. If activism looks like $40 million contracts and national praise, I think we’d all be willing to ‘sacrifice everything’, but the truth of the matter is, sacrificing anything requires loss, and Kaepernick has lost nothing.



september issue

FRESHMAN FOOTBALL TEAM What to know about the team this year asher tankel staff writer


reshman Football at Oakton is a great opportunity for freshmen with prior experience in football. It helps to prepare the players for junior varsity or more experienced teams in competitive football. This season will help the coaches find freshmen who will be suited to junior varsity. Yasha Tadayon is a freshman at Oakton high school who is on the Freshman Football Team. He plays the positions of fullback and/or outside linebacker for the team. Most days of the week, Yasha has to stay after school for two hours, 3 days a week, as well as a game every week. The team lost their first game, but hopefully things will turn for the better in coming games. The freshman will be facing Centreville on 10/4 and Westfield 10/11 (both games are at Oakton). Even though the team didn’t win, they still managed to win the first two scrimmages against Battlefield and West Springfield. Tadayon thinks that the team is very good this year, and believes that they have amazing potential. He said, “Everyone on the team works hard, and we work together very well. I think we definitely have the potential to have an amazing season.” Yasha is just one of the many good players on the Oakton team. He can often be found helping his teammates if they struggle with anything, on or off the field. Practice usually consists of run throughs of both the offensive and defensive sets. The freshmen are well-coordinated with each other, and look as if they have been playing together for much longer than they actually have. Mitch Kehoe, a lineman on the team, says, “I think the team looks really good this year and I am hoping for some good games!” Overall, the team is set for a great season. Go to the sports section of the Oakton website for more information about coming games.


will locklin staff-writer


ver the past couple months, the teams and players in the WNBA were in the midst of a long and grueling season, the NBA players were in a pleasurable offseason where they enjoyed vacations and got considerably large contracts. As a result, the pro female players have sparked a lot of backlash through social media towards the apparent pay gap between men and women’s basketball. While the pay gap is an evident fact, is the criticism that NBA players get too much money fair? On the surface, it would seem that the answer would be yes, 40 million dollars to dribble a basketball. However, through deeper reasoning and research the argument that NBA players get paid relatively starts to become more logical. Each NBA team has a value, the teams with the biggest market, biggest brand and best arena will have the highest value. Teams like the Lakers and Bulls have incredibly high value, which is why they bring in the most money and have historically been most successful. Teams in the NBA get their money in a variety of different ways, but ultimately it boils down to teams generating revenue through there games (ticket sales, merchandise, etc.) and advertising such as tv contracts. Through all this money that they generate teams can now afford to pay players more significant contracts. A team pays players on a per year salary which means a player can get 200 million dollars over the course of 5 seasons, which is 40 million dollars a year. In the NBA there is a salary cap, which limits the total amount of money that a team can pay their players. This season the approximate salary cap is set at just over 100 million dollars. Typically the term used is “soft cap” because teams can still go over the cap but not without a luxury tax. If a team goes over the cap, then they will pay the penalty for each

An in depth look on why there is a pay gap between NBA and NFL players dollar their team exceeds in tax level. Conclusively the NBA is a very entertaining sport, and the team values are a significant factor in why they can pay players high amounts of money compared to other leagues. So if the NBA is getting all this money and able to dish out so much cash then why don’t other leagues like the NFL do the same? Recently, the coach of the Oakton varsity basketball team, coach Books told said “In the NBA players last longer due to the sport being less strenuous and NBA player unions are stronger than other leagues.” These ideas give evidence as to the explanation to why players in the NBA get paid more than other leagues. With regards to player unions, the National Basketball Players Association ensures that the rights of players are protected, and they have as much opportunity as possible. These player unions have created labor deals that give players a bigger chunk of the total NBA revenue than in football. Given an estimated $6 billion in total NBA league revenue, the players receive about $3 billion in total. The collective bargaining agreement makes sure that player gets their fair share of basketball-related income. In football, the revenue split can vary due to a difference in non-football related income sources. Football teams typically sign more lucrative sponsorships and TV network deals. All in all the difference in the amount of revenue that players make in these two sports is not very substantial but enough to contribute to the argument. Football is known for being a rough sport and as the years go by more and more information on player injuries is being discovered. With basketball, there is not as much contact, so naturally, the game is less taxing on the body. So due to injuries football players, careers are shorter than most other sports. Therefore salaries tend to escalate as they reach their athletic prime. Furthermore, the NBA salary structure

emphasizes more years of play with players maximum salaries. Also, there are 52 roster spots for each NFL team and likewise 15 roster spots for each NBA team. In the NFL there are many different kinds of athletes: short, tall, strong, fast, etc. but the key factor is that there is plenty of variety whereas there is variety in the NBA due to there only being so many positions a player can play. A final big difference in football and basketball players contracts is that only a certain amount of an NFL’s players contract is guaranteed. Most NBA contracts are fully guaranteed or could include a player option. Some of these issues mean that there is a lot of money to be spread and you can’t pay the best players more even if you wanted to. The power for agents and players to reject non guaranteed contracts does not exist in the NFL as it does in the NBA. However, some NFL teams can give out signing bonuses to the best players, which leaves the NFL”s middle-class players without that power. Additionally, basketball superstars maximum deals can inflate the salaries of the middle class. For example, Lebron James could be offered 50 million dollars but due to the salary cap teams could only give him maybe $33 million which means that extra money has to go somewhere. Eventually, this all leads to average to below average players getting more money than you would think they should receive. The NFL does not have this problem as they don’t get as big of a chunk of total revenue and the NFL does not place high importance on years of service. The NFL and NBA are the best leagues for comparison for the reason that they both make a similar amount of revenue and are the most popular sports to date. To summarize, the NBA league financials and dynamics of the sport are the most significant contributing factors as to why NBA players get paid more than football.


september issue

THE U.S. OPEN CONTROVERSY Heated arguments arise due to a dispute between Serena Williams and Carlos Ramos nikhil trivedi staff writer


he Women’s Tennis Championship, with a matchup between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, may have been the most twisted, confusing, and speculated game in U.S Open history. Why? Because Serena Williams, one of the top tennis players in the game, had not one, not two, but three penalties against her, which deducted points from her overall score. The big question everyone was asking was whether or not the penalties were justified. First, let’s talk about Carlos Ramos, the man who was the umpire of the game, making all the calls. He is a well respected umpire, but has a history of rarely bending the rules, which tends to result in more penalties called. In order to understand the severity of the penalties, you must first understand how the scoring system in tennis works. In a tennis match, there are points, games, and sets. Every time someone wins a rally in tennis, they have earned a point.

If a player wins four rallies, they have won a game. Whoever wins six games first wins the set. In women’s tennis, whoever wins two sets first wins the match. Now, let’s break down each penalty. Williams was first penalized for receiving coaching during a point, which is against the rules. She denies ever coming up with coaching signals, and her coach said she wasn’t even looking at him. This penalty resulted in a warning, which had no consequences. Williams was penalized a second time for abusing and destroying her racket. There isn’t much to discuss about this penalty, as it was an obvious violation of the rules. Because this was her second offense, Williams was penalized with a loss of a point. The third penalty called on Williams was for calling Ramos a thief. She called him this because she was angry at him for “stealing” a point

from her, which helped Osaka win that particular game. Since this was her third offense, the entire game was deducted from Williams. “I think that it is good to stick by the rules, but in a game as important as the championship, you should be a bit more flexible, and allow players to get a little fired up,” said Jimmy Bach, and freshman at OHS. Harry Shield, another freshman, thinks that the penalty for coaching was fair, but that she shouldn’t have been penalized for yelling at Ramos. It all comes down to whether or not the umpire believes they should stick to the rules no matter what, or be more lenient, especially during the championship. Ramos wanted to stick firmly to the rules, which led to more penalties called, for better or for the worse.


OPINION FEAR: A BOB WOODWARD BOOK REVIEW “Real power is - I don’t even want to use the word - fear.” Trump, 2016.


inutes. Hours. Days. Changes are happening within the realms of the Hill, and they are happening on a rapid level that civilians like us would likely have a hard time keeping up with. Bob Woodward’s Fear, as a result, manages to capture the fiery and frictional essence that encompasses the supposed current atmosphere of our political administration. Instead of the readers being obliged to slew through the usual jargon, we are instantly thrown into the mix of our reality today - filled with not only the ever growing bureaucracy of our government but the intensity of Trump’s back-and-forth ramblings as well. What most don’t realize is the background of the Bob Woodward, our author/investigative journalist, who penned this book. Our history of him stretches back into the early 70s, when he and partner journalist Carl Bernstein released the damning reports on the Watergate scandal. Much of the intensity surrounding this infamous event was wholly attributed to their coverage which eventually played a part in the influence of media within politics. Suffice to say, his credibility is certainly substantiated due to these, along with a handful of published books covering the nation’s previous presidents. To affirm that he is a reporting from a level of bias would be formidable. So here we are, submerged within the constraints of this political non-fiction. At the very most, some situations seem fictional for our liking: our leading example taking us straight to the prologue, where economic advisor Gary Cohn removed an important letter draft that would have led to the dissipation of our relations with South Korea. However at the very least, the cynical part of me says that it borders on dark comedy. A president that did not know what the difference between “popularist” and “populist”? Or the basic strands of the constitution? A shocking notion, we must realize this is. Woodward’s book represents a fair measure of how loosely attached we are to the standards of democracy during these times. It is evidently clear that Trump is a huge dissenter of the formal processors and duties that revolves around being a President. Based on the amount of times that his staffers has had to come to his aid numerous times, it is also clear that he is very much unaware of some ideals that must be understood before he even jumped into the world of politics. As our assumptions and preconceived notions about the instability within the White House are finally confirmed, more questions began to develop for me as I journeyed deeper into the mayhem. The presumed sources that Woodward was pulling from only ever seemed to have come from a small collection of names including but not limited to: Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, Lindsey Graham, John Dowd, so on and so forth. How sure are we that the situation presented in the book accurately depicts the entire atmosphere? A majority of these names seem to resonate with the fact that they had resigned during this administration. These questions, unfortunately, will have to be picked up at another time, as Woodward had asserted that he had invoked the concept of “deep background” while writing this.

Bob Woodward’s Fear, as a result, manages to capture the fiery and frictional essence that encompasses the supposed current atmosphere of our political administration. Senior year student Maggie Sparling definitely had something to say with Sregards to the issue. “In general, I feel that the Trump administration is failing to properly do their job. Technically, many of his actions and decisions are legal and debatably constitutional. However, he is doing a terrible job of uniting the nation. A leader is suppose to unite their people, to bring them to a better place, to improve the lives of everyone. Yet in the Trump administration, they seem to deliberately divide people, to make people angry, to split the population in two. How can a nation “become great once again” if it is simultaneously crumbling to pieces?” she asserts. “I haven’t read the book yet, but I honestly don’t think this book is going to have long-term ramifications for the Trump administration. Yes there are key insights. But will it be to the detriment of the administration? If this was a parliamentary government, the congress could call a no-confidence vote and Trump could have cause for worry. However, because we live in a presidential system, Trump has less to lose until 2020. There are the midterms, and the book could impact their outcome. But overall, I feel that the book’s ramifications will be short-lived. None of the insights it provides should be too much of a surprise to the American public who is already growing desensitized from Trump’s misgivings. “ “You’re a f******* liar.” affirmed John Dowd, former lawyer to Trump, ending the book on a powerfully redolent note. Whether you agree or not with the aforementioned statement, this book is a fantastic and interesting ode to the disarray and divide that we live in now. I highly suggest that you give it a read if you are interested in the ongoings within the White House today as well.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

kariann tan staff writer


september issue

WHY ‘THE HATE U GIVE’ IS A SOCIAL IMPACTOR The book follows the straining, social journey of a sixteen year old, African-American girl named Starr Carter. Throughout her life, Star has experienced many accounts of gun violence, police brutality, and gang-related dangers in her predominantly black neighborhood. At age 10, she witnessed the death of her friend Natasha. Natasha was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. Since, Starr’s family has saved up a large sum of money to send Starr and her two brothers to an upscale, mostly white private school located far away from her Garden Heights neighborhood. There, she creates a new persona in order to better blend into the privileged atmosphere. For a while, Starr manages to keep the two worlds separate, but that all changes when her childhood friend, Khali is a fatal victim of police brutality. That traumatizing event sends Starr’s world into pieces as she is thrust in the difficult spiral of politics, family drama, and activism. This book is something important to everyone; old people, young people, people of color, and most importantly, people who need a new insight into America’s pressing social issues.


n order to get another perspective on the significance of this book, The Oakton Outlook chose to interview a teacher from Oakton High School. Mrs. Sheehan, who currently teaches AP Language and English 9, has previously read the book and has also been invited to a special educators’ pre-screening of the movie adaptation. The Outlook was intrigued on how she would react to a world that was a polar opposite of her own. Being both a mother and a teacher, we wanted to see how the book made her feel. After listening to response, it was obvious the book had made her feel an array of emotions, most of them being sadness and hopefulness. Like most readers, she was saddened by the fact that “now, in 2018, we are still struggling with this magnitude of race issues,” such as racial bias, inequality, and profiling. However, she was hopeful for how younger generations now have the power and confidence to “spark and create good change” and to make a so-called “social revelation.” When asked a question on the dangers of assumptions, she stated, “assumptions are always problematic.” She then elaborated further, explaining how “people should try and see if there is any truth or fact behind their assumptions,” which could closely connect with the ongoing social issue of racial profiling. Mrs. Sheehan also added that in times such as these, with lives ending just because of a wrong assumption, “before anyone can change how they think, they have to think about the way they think.” This signifies how within the book, many people think of the black community as a definite danger to themselves and their communities. Those people can’t seem to change their minds on that opinion because that’s what they’ve been told their whole lives. Towards the conclusion of our interview, Mrs. Sheehan was asked about why she would rec-

ommend this book to her students and her colleges and said the book tells “an important story and narrative about things that really are happening in America,” and that “those issues are things that a lot of people are removed from.” She also added,“a lot of people don’t see how serious the issue of police brutality really is, and that’s probably because they don’t experience it within their own neighborhoods.” Another reason she would recommend the book to almost everyone was the power that it gave young people to “make their voices heard” and showed “how important young people’s voices are and how much they matter, even when they leave [high school].”

“Before anyone can change how they think, they have to think about the way they think.” Finally Mrs. Sheehan stated that the most important lesson is “just how important our voices are and the ability they have to make significant impacts on our communities.” She also explained how some ideas are not expressed in the right ways. “Young people have so many great ideas,” she said, splaying her hands out for emphasis, “but sometimes they just aren’t heard or they aren’t heard in the way that they need to be. You know, maybe tweeting about it won’t be All of what Mrs. Sheehan said really made deep connections into why the book is so important to communities of all social types. The book portrays a whole range of emotions that can be seen in any human being. It also shows that within underprivileged communities, you see so many wrongful assumptions about the

people who live there, which is exactly what the book’s plot lays on. Within those 464 pages lie important life lessons and inspiration to anyone that wants their voice to be heard. People need to see how much of a problem racial profiling and police brutality really is. They need to make their voices loud and clear, instead of standing aside and letting hate run through our country. As Starr Carter said, “what’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in moments you shouldn’t be?” Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give.

annabelle rosse staff writer

18 IT’S RAINING RATS HERE AT OAKTON An opinion piece on the recent renovation

sally park staff writer

To whom it may concern, Picture this. The light flickered on and off, illuminating the strands of bright yellow caution tape knotted around clumps of tubes and wires on the ceiling. An unknown liquid trickled down the crevices of the tubes, forming a puddle on the linoleum flooring. The rats quietly slipped through the wires, dodging the strange substance and sliding through the hallway with ease. One might think that this may be an abandoned building or perhaps a scene from my favorite horror movie. But this is no figment of my imagination, it’s our beloved school, Oakton High School. Our football field, hallway, and cafeteria have been cluttered with dead rats, and so far, there has been no updates on the current effort to exterminate such pests from our school. From the beginning of my freshmen year to the beginning of my sophomore year, our school’s current rat situation has not improved. If anything, it has gotten worse as there have been multiple reports of rats falling out of the ceiling. “It’s kind of unsanitary in a way, but there are limits on how much we can endure the process of the school being renovated with these situations that definitely affect our school environment,” says Jammy Luo (10). So I ask you this, how am I supposed to walk through the hallway without constantly worrying about rats falling down on me due to the recent renovation? Furthermore, students have been venting their opinions on these pests through multiple social media outlets, implicating that Oakton is a rat-infested school. In effect of this, other students are underneath the impression that Oakton is really just a rat-infested school. Is this really what we want to be known for?

courtesy of ashleigh tain

Secondly, due to the renovation, there has been an abundance of dust floating in the air. I, for one, have gotten into the habit of tightening my lips together when entering certain hallways as it seems like the air has thickened with dust. But as I walk through these halls, I couldn’t help wonder about those who have certain conditions that could potentially be harmful to them when exposed to large amounts of dust. Specifically, those who have asthma. So, I plead to you, in the stead of those with such conditions, that the school would take action to avoid any serious harm to the students of Oakton High School. Thirdly, on multiple occasions, I have been touched by a mysterious substance leaking out of the ceiling. It seems to be just muddy water due to the brown pigment. However, I’m not certain of the content of this strange liquid, and I suggest that there should be a test done on this substance to see if there are potential, any harmful components in it. After all, there are rats up there! It has been a common sight to see large plastic buckets on the floor collecting this liquid, or vibrant yellow caution signs, warning us of the dangers of this substance. So on behalf of the entirety of the Oakton community, please consider making changes around the school as these renovations may be harmful to the students. As we all know, renovations are expected to be completed in four years. Which is four years of facing the same problems Oakton students are currently facing. So please make a change. Sincerely, A concerned student


september issue

AMERICA IS GETTING TRUMPED An opinion on Trump’s America today


onald Trump is one of the most criticized people in the United States. First things first, I do not like Donald Trump as a human being; I think he is cruel and mean to people. I am here to simply defend some of the policy decisions he has made thus far. The main issue with any given anti-Trump comment is that they’re rarely backed up with facts. Most are that he is a bad person and he is a racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, etc. These are fair criticisms, but we as American citizens should try and focus more on Trump’s policies and political decisions than his personality. The first indicator that Trump hasn’t failed is the United States economy. On January 11, 2016 the S&P 500 was worth $1,880 and now on September 9, 2018 it is worth $2,907. All that was during the Trump presidency, give or take a few days. Unemployment rates are very low and the average American is doing better financially than during Obama’s time in office. One of the main reasons I believe Donald Trump will be re-elected is that the average American is doing much better than in say 2015. Similarly to 2016 Trump’s poll numbers will be low, but when blue collar workers get into the booth they will think about that new watch they could buy or

jacob rutzick staff writer

their new phone. The blue collar workers will vote for Trump in numbers much higher then they will be polled to do. Another reason Trump is underrated as a president is his Instructure plan and his tax plan. Trump slightly raised the gasoline tax to create 200 billion dollars of funds to improve the U.S. roadways. The increase in taxes was offset by the one and a half trillion dollar tax cut that Trump promised he would do in his state of the union address. I interviewed a few left leaning anti-Trump Oakton students about what they think of Donald Trump. “I think Trump has done nothing beneficial to this country and he has had a very negative effect on the culture of the U.S., said Ethan Sifers (11). I also asked Jay Aghanya (11) of his opinion. “Trump is one of the worst presidents in American history because he has made politics all about him.” Most of the complaints I have heard about Donald Trump are about his personality. I agree that Trump is a bad person and he should try to bring the focus of the U.S. political sphere back to actual politics. However, Trump’s personality should not be a major factor when judging his political decisions or the nominations he makes for cabinet or supreme court.


jake neuffer editor-in-chief

The value of crowdfunding in today’s politics


supreme court justice dies, and is quickly and smoothly replaced by another, presidentially nominated and congressionally confirmed. At least, that’s how the system is supposed to work. The fight to confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the justiceship previously held by Anthony Kennedy has been brutal. Republicans, over the past few weeks, have been eager to slip the DC circuit judge into the position while Democrats have grasped at straws to stop them. There are two ways for them to do this: either Democrats prove that Kavanaugh is unfit for the position, or they convince key Republican swing votes to give his confirmation a ‘no.’ Senator Susan Collins of Maine is one such swing vote. She is a pro-choice Republican politician, putting her in the unique position of either voting against Kavanaugh on the grounds of his anti Roe v. Wade stance, or voting yes to keep in lock-step with her party. In comes Crowdpac. About two weeks before Labor Day, it set up an online campaign for Susan Collins to vote ‘no’ on Brett Kavanaugh. The campaign itself was spearheaded by grassroots organizer Ady Barker, the Maine People’s Alliance, and the Mainers for Accountable leadership. The strategy: either she votes no, or the organization donates whatever proceedings they collected during the campaign to whomever runs against her in her next race. Their strategy just might work as, since the writing of this article, they’ve raised over $[]. Crowdpac is a relatively new organization, founded in 2014 as a Silicon Valley startup. The organization’s San Fransisco roots are obvious when visiting its webpage, which is plastered with young, smiling minorities next to minimalist web designs.The page says that Crowdpac wants to help lesser known political candidates jump into races by hosting a sort of “Kickstarter” for them. Simple pastel illustrations on white backgrounds guide would-be candidates through the process of setting up their own page, as well as through the other ways in which they can raise money with the website. There’s one catch, though. Crowdpac won’t host Republicans. The website announced in May of 2018 that it would suspend fundraising for Republican candidates after the ascension of Jesse Thomas to the position of CEO. Thomas said the platform could no longer be affiliated with Republicans

because, “Trumpism is so heavily linked with the modern national Republican Party, and because very few leaders in the Republican party have meaningfully rejected Trumpism.” The move would be temporary, said the CEO. Considering the organization is now explicitly anti-Trump, it makes sense for them to begin putting more pressure on Republican politicians. After all, the veil of bipartisanship is now gone. This new strategy, though, is unprecedented. Susan Collins called it “bribery” in a statement to Newsmax. Mitch McConnell echoed that idea. A prominent Republican elections lawyer also called for an investigation into the over $1 million raised to threaten Collins’ seat. All this, despite the fact that Susan Collins has accepted over $8 million in donations from corporations and PACs, or Political Action Committees. Yes, crowdfunding has its moral issues. Chief among them being: If significant money is being brought in by out-of-state donors to sway a politician one way or the other on some issue, then that politician isn’t truly serving their local constituents, they’re serving the interests of those out of state donors. That same moral failing applies even more intensely to corporate donations, though. The NRA, which is a de facto front for the arms industry, single handedly sways Senators on policy issues, and has been known to aggressively fund ad campaigns against politicians in favor of gun control. Yet, Senator Collins hasn’t commented on that practice. At the very least, any crowdfunding effort has the will of everyday people behind it. Corporate PAC donations, on the other hand, only serve the interests of a select few. So yes, in an ideal world, neither of these things should exist. But, in the era of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision which allows politicians to accumulate vast sums of campaign money from corporate entities, the people need a way to fight back. Appealing to Collins’ sense of morality on the issue hasn’t done that, since the boxes of wirecoat hangers she’s received in the mail (a reference to Kavanaugh’s stance on Roe v. Wade) haven’t changed her mind. It’s dirty and unfair, but so is Citizens United. And, frankly, I’d rather my politicians be bribed by the people than the rich. Republican Susan Collins of Maine



september issue

andres gonzalez staff writer

Update on Puerto Rico’s Recovery and its Current State



uerto Rico, a .S. territory in the Caribbean, has been in a difficult situation ever since the island was struck by Hurricane Maria. This catastrophic storm devastated Puerto Rico, causing the deaths of three thousand Puerto Ricans. In spite of the territory being crippled, the island’s recovery hasn’t been widely discussed. It seems the only thing of importance that has been mentioned by multiple media outlets is the recently released death toll. While this is very important information, the current state of the island itself hasn’t been addressed in much detail. However, the recently released death toll has allowed for new information to be revealed, especially the specifics of the island’s recovery and its condition as of this moment.

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO HELP PUERTO RICO? The recovery process for Puerto Rico has been a slow one, for many reasons. One of the main causes of Puerto Rico’s slow recovery was its inadequate infrastructure, the result of many years of neglect, was unable to withstand the full force of a Category 5 hurricane. Unfortunately, the federal government has not provided much assistance beyond the relief effort that was handled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s initial relief effort was slow and ineffective since there were not enough supplies and personnel due to Hurricane Harvey and Imra. Half of the personnel were either trainees/recruits or were grossly unqualified, FEMA continued to assist Puerto Rico in the following months, but a few Puerto Ricans have stated that the territory’s recovery process has been hindered by the agency’s incompetence. Fortunately, Puerto Rico has recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, $1.5 billion for home reparations and $18.5 billion to rebuild homes to withstand further storms.


Despite the numerous difficulties and setbacks, along with the slow recovery process, that Puerto Rico has experienced ever since it was devastated by Hurricane Maira; the territory is now beginning to some improvements. Even though these improvements are welcomed, Puerto Rico is still dealing with many issues. In order to obtain information about Puerto Rico’s condition, the Oakton Outlook decided to interview Michelle Santiago, a Puerto Rican who went to help her family twice this year. In order to obtain information about Puerto Rico’s condition, the Oakton Outlook decided to interview Michelle Santiago, a Puerto Rican who went to help her family twice this year. She described what she saw during her first visit, which took place in February and mainly consisted of Puerto Rico’s urban areas. Throughout her first visit Ms. Santiago explained that entire roads, buildings and houses were either partially or completely destroyed; with multiple piles of debris covering everything The remaining houses and facilities that were still intact were in disarray as a result of the power grid being crippled. On her second visit, early this August, she said that while things are still far from ideal, there have been improvements.

She goes on to say that there are still many families without housing or power, while the countryside and mountainous regions are most likely still in the same state as they were last year. Finally, Ms. Santiago remarked how she hopes that Puerto Rico would eventually recover from the monstrosity that was Hurricane Maria.



his past year has been difficult for Puerto Rico and its people. Although the territory has somewhat recuperated, this is just the first step of many in a long recovery process. Puerto Rico’s future is uncertain, with many believing that the island would continue to resemble a Third World country, while others continue to hope that the territory will emerge stronger than it was before. Either of these possibilities could happen, or something entirely unexpected could happen. In the end one thing remains certain; things will never be the same again.

Some parts of Puerto Rico are still in a state of disrepair. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Santiago)

“Things started to look much better, but not back to normal. There was power, less debris, the traffic lights started to work. Some areas still had debris; and there were empty and destroyed buildings. The offices, restaurants, and small businesses were functioning. Government offices had opened and services had been restored, finally allowing residents to receive the services they need. Schools and universities were open. Things dramatically improved in the six months between my visits but were not close to being back to normal.” - Ms. Santiago

22 THE CULTURE OF THRIFTING AT OAKTON Students at Oakton talk about their experiences with thrifting and the impact of thrifting on the community around them.


hrifting, a common culture spread by YouTubers and people with a passion of fashion, has become not only a popular phenomenon in the country, but also at Oakton. Thrifting is shopping at thrift shops and second-hand stores in hopes of finding trendy or unique clothing for cheap prices. The stores hold clothes that are from donations. Michelle Liang (12), who also started to thrift after seeing many people on YouTube buying so many clothes for a such a little price, recommends that you shouldn’t buy something from a thrift store if you wouldn’t buy it at a real store. “Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you should get it!” She says that in general some people really like thrifting because “thrifting lets you find old stuff and bring it back which is completely against what the culture normally is.”

After seeing many YouTubers thrift, Gigi Phamton (11) thrifts because she says that not only does she find clothes that she would buy at regular stores for half the price and that she is helping the environment, but also as the 90s comes back into fashion, she is able to buy actual clothing from that time period. Gigi explains, “ my opinion [buying genuine clothes from a time period] is sometimes better than buying a reproduced style that’s meant to mock vintage clothes.” She says that her favorite places to thrift at Virginia are Unique, Goodwill, and Plato’s Closet. She recommends going to Unique for winter clothes as they have nice oversized sweaters and says that you will not always find clothing that you will like at thrift stores. If you are consistent with going to thrift stores, “then you’re bound to find a diamond in the rough. The feeling of finding something for $10 that urban outfitters probably would’ve sold for $80 is definitely worth it.” She says that just a few years ago, the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes held a lot of negative connotation and was only for people with lesser incomes. But now, thrift stores have been accepted to be for everyone and “the system of system of reselling clothes is one that’s here to stay.”

photo courtesy of Michelle Liang

riya jain editorial board

photo courtsey of Gigi Phamton



september issue

Headphones or Earbuds? The Debate. Students at Oakton share their opinions on whether prefer headphones or earbuds.


f you go out in public, such as school or a restaurant, you might have noticed that people around you wear headphones or earbuds. But what have you seen people wearing the most? and have you ever thought about the consequences? Headphones and earbuds have both their ups and downs. I did a interview on a sophomore and asked if they preferred headphones or earbuds and why. A Sophomore said, I think earbuds are better because they have better sound and they’re able to block out people if you don’t feel like socializing. They’re easy to carry around and people can’t notice them that well. A sophomore doesn’t like headphones because they’re heavy and bulky and are easy to break. I did another interview on a Junior who likes headphones and he said “Headphones are more comfortable for your ears. They’re more attached and secured and they’re outside of your ear which doesn’t cause hearing loss. They have better sound quality and they don’t get tangled just like earbuds.” A Jsaid that they don’t like earbuds because it can cause someone to lose their hearing over time and even though they’re easy to carry around, they become loose and tangled. As headphones have their ups and downs, did you know headphones can actually cause hearing loss just like earbuds? They both can also distract you in dangerous surroundings too if your music is too loud. The eardrum plays an important and serious role in sound transmission. The tympanic membrane is tough and flexible and yet it can still get damaged. In some situations, the eardrum can tear or rupture. With a significant rupture or tear, hearing is reduced. Plus, the risk

for a middle ear infection increases since the membrane also helps keep bacteria out of the middle ear. Because headphones and earbuds can have bacteria on them, make sure to clean them. You might wonder whether loud noises can rupture an eardrum. A sudden very loud noise can cause an eardrum to tear or rupture, which can come from earbuds or headphones. The noise intensity to rupture an eardrum would have to be very loud, usually 165 decibels or more. This would happen by a gunshot at close range, fireworks, or extremely loud music. Although the eardrum will heal, damage to the inner ear is often permanent. Some people who suffer inner ear damage due to sudden, intense noise exposure also suffer from ongoing tinnitus or ringing of the ears. Yes, earbuds and headphones may seem different in cool ways, but they both can also hurt your ears. As earbuds and headphones have their ups and downs,think that the most important thing to know is how to use both of them carefully.

katherine zevallos staff writer


Courtesy of Terry Goplerud.


ore than 400 Virginia residents gathered in the auditorium of James Madison High School on the evening of September 18. The event they awaited in anticipated was the Virginia Climate Crisis Forum: Solutions to Climate Change. Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, an organization of religious congregations dedicated to fighting climate change in Northern Virginia, organized and hosted the event. The forum featured U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart alongside other prominent speakers to discuss how Virginia is currently being and will be affected by climate change. Coastlines, internal waterways, and various industrial sites pose challenges that make Virginia especially susceptible to the dangers of climate change. Rising sea levels along coastlines plague the surrounding cities and residential areas with floods, storm surges, and high tides. The 1.6 million residents of Hampton Roads, an area consisting of seven cities on the coast of Virginia, bear witness to these effects with regular flooding and water damage. One doesn’t have to live by the sea to see the immediate impacts of climate change in Virginia. In fact, one really only needs to step outside or peer out a window. Recently, Virginia has received unusually high

amounts of rainfall along with extreme heat waves. A few years ago, Snowmageddon froze over the DC metropolitan area, followed by Snowzilla in 2015. Just this month, Hurricane Florence crashed through the Carolinas. While the storm just missed Fairfax County and Northern Virginia, it still had an impact on the community. The prospective hurricane prompted Fairfax County government officials to take precautionary actions throughout the county. Fairfax County Supervisor and panelist Dan Storck directed county officials in preparing sandbags in case Hurricane Florence came this far. Extreme weather is increasing in frequency and slowly integrating itself as a “norm”

in Virginia residents’ lives. In 2007, Fairfax County signed the “Cool Counties” Climate Stabilization Declaration.The “Cool Counties” pledge asks three elements of local governments. It asks them to create an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions and then work to reduce these emissions. The pledge also requests counties to work with local, state, and federal governments to reduce the D.C. region’s overall greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2050. Lastly, it requires county governments to urge Congress and the President to pass market-based limits and incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enact a fuel


september issue

economy standard of at least 35 miles per gallon for cars and trucks. The Fairfax County initiative continues to make progress toward resolving climate change in the D.C. region. On the national scale, climate change also presents threats to the United States’ national security. According to panelist and former Director of Operational Planning, Policy & Strategy Rick Devereaux, climate change endangers national security in a multitude of ways. Changing weather patterns destabilize economies and cultures, which increase the risk of conflict between nations. Extreme weather events trigger humanitarian crises, placing response duties on the United States’ already overtaxed military. Closer to United States home soil, sea level rise as a result of warming temperatures jeopardizes the security of military bases and installations along coasts. In 2015, Senator Kaine urged Pres-

ident Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. While the pipeline was rejected, Senator Kaine was dissatisfied with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting process for pipelines. “I do not believe there should never again be a pipeline built in the United States. I think there should be significant standards to determine what the need is and where it should be built.” In terms of a renewable future, Senator Kaine believes low-andno carbon is in the near future. If the United States could fairly price energy without subsidies, low and no carbon energy would prove to be both the environmentally and economically sustainable choice. “You will hear people tell you that you cannot tackle climate or other environmental issues without damaging the economy, but that is completely fake and false,” says Senator Kaine. Modern innovation

has driven down the cost of renewable energy, making it cheaper than carbon-emitting sources of energy - an unachievable feat until the past decade. In the Senate, Senator Kaine has already voted once and plans to continue to support a National Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires power production throughout the United States to use increasing percentages of low-and-no carbon energy sources. To all the young people and prospective voters, Senator Kaine says, “We need you now more than ever.” History testifies moments in time that young people have been ceiling breakers and torchbearers. For the next generation of voters and policymakers: the time is now. “Often, young people leading is exactly what’s needed to shake society out of complacency and challenge us to new ideas. I think today is one of those moments.”

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and other panelists discusse how climate change is affecting Virginia at the Virginia Climate Crisis Forum.

wendy gao staff writer

Courtesy of Terry Goplerud.


A things.


re ethnicity and race the same? We use these terms interchangeably to frame a large group together. Ethnicity and race may share common ancestry; however, they mean very different


It is based on observable physical traits, such as skin color, eye color, jaw and bone structures. Race differers a group of population from the other. It is inherited biological characteristics that can’t be changed. U.S. Census divides people into five minimum racial categories: white, black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. This kind of racial grouping have been found to exclude many other factors, and has led many sociologists to believe no clear-cut races exist.


An ethnic is a group that practices the same culture, with similar values and beliefs. Unlike race, ethnicity doesn’t necessarily provide visual cues. It depends on how people define themselves. Christian E.(2012) found that “Ethnicity is based on a group that is normally based on similar traits, such as a common language, common heritage, and cultural similarities within the group.” Most ethnic groups possess a shared history. Ethnicity is based on learned cultural behaviors, they are nowt inherited. It’s difficult to explain ethnicity, since its meaning has changed over time.





f Mr tesy o

Photo coutesy of Mrs.McCord

“Definitions (of race and ethnicity) can be something that is really personal to people, it’s important to find out what others definition of it’s before you make any assumptions.” - Mrs. McCord Contrast

People of the same race can be in different ethnicities. For example, Egyptian and Somalis are both considered African, but they come from different cultural backgrounds. Additionally, a person born of Asian descent who grew up in Italy may identify racially as Asian and ethnically as Italian. Race is regarded as a social construct. It may change Racial categories and ethnic categories have changed over time. Today, most countries consist of many different race and ethnicities, and individuals with multiple ethnic and racial backgrounds are becoming more and more common. Ethnic and racial designation can be confusing, there are many similarities and differences, but we can associate race with biology and ethnicity with culture.

abudukadier zainaipuguli staff writer


september issue

WHAT INFLUENCES IMMIGRANTS COMING TO AMERICA TODAY? Discussing the overlooked factors surround immigration


mmigration has played such a huge role in shaping the world what we live in today. For many generations, it has affected the way the economy and the specific society works in significant ways. The United States would definitely not be the way it is, if the concept of foreigners setting up shop in this country did not exist at all. As that is such, it is important to understand and really reflect on the reasons why immigration is such an important idea, as well as know what might persuade a foreigner or a potential immigrant to come to a country like the US today. That being said, I, myself, come from an immigrant background which is why this topic is very important to me. Moreover, today’s political climate allows for a much more varied discussion over the concept of immigration. You could see this being the case on social media such as Twitter and Instagram, where those from all walks of life would come together to talk about this hot-button topic. Although that may be so, it is obvious that there have been some misconstrued ideas as to why one might immigrate. Moreover, these social media elements and the media tend to just showcase one main reason: seeking asylum as a refugee. While that may be true, it definitely does not apply to all immigrants that come to America today, like myself. As mentioned, it is imperative to consider the different perspectives that a foreigner might hold, concerning why they would come to a whole new different realm like the US. With the matter at hand, here are couple other overlooked factors that contribute to one immigrating to the US in the current days. 1. Refuge from cultural practices Surprisingly, there has been a myriad of cultural practices occurring in different regions of the world that can still be seen as questionable to many. In an email interview conducted with Mary Beth Cubberly, an immigration attorney at a law firm in New York, she asserts the notion that “people who feel like their only option is immigration due to the possibility of them being killed as an honor symbol” plays into one of the reasons that will tempt someone to move to a country like the US today. This is espe-

cially brought about by the fact that the United States is a country that most these foreigners will recognize due to its presence in our daily culture, and media globally. 2. Propaganda It’s interesting really, how propaganda holds a negative connotation within many of the citizens living in the US today, however, it most certainly is something that was utilized by the country itself in other nations. While it is not prevalent in many countries directly in today’s day and age, it is something that has influenced many others perception of the country. An example of such would be the Philippines, that was actually a country under the United States’ watch back during and before World War 2. Yen Le Espiritu, assistant professor at the Department of Ethnic Studies in UC San Diego, emphasises in her book Filipino American Lives that many of the Filipinos who immigrated to the United States did so partly due to the increased idealism that the United States would present many beneficial opportunities to them. They’re definitely not wrong, however, it is the propaganda held by the US through the use of books, editorials, radio, etc that would lend a helping hand to this factor being a case. 3. Family reunification and chain migration This is slightly related to what you will see on mainstream media with regards to why refugees are coming to the US. To clarify on that, many refugees are coming to the US to seek asylum alongside with their families, in hopes of living a better life as opposed to where they originally came from. In some cases, however, many of these families are torn apart; some are able to migrate to the US, whereas some don’t. Because this is a problem, many potential immigrants with family in the US would then want to come to this particular country just for the sole purpose of reuniting with their loved ones. After the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was approved, which adopted the idea of allowing immigrants already living in the US then to reunite with their families here, the concept of family reunification prospered

kariann tan staff writer

successfully. However, the reason as to why this is overlooked to an extent is because a lot of people tend to just bunch this up with the notion that refugees are the ones to just follow this concept when instead, immigrants from all walks of life are confronted with this issue too. 4. Global warming Believe or not, climate change plays a pretty monumental amount in persuading a foreigner to move to a country like the United States. It is pretty evident that the average temperature in areas around the world is rising, which is not a good thing at all as it leads to a plethora of consequences of which consist of but are not limited to droughts, famine, food shortages, etc. Many researchers have concluded that due to this issue specifically, many families are forced to relocate elsewhere – the US being one primary option to many. This was also mentioned by lawyer Mary Jane Cubberly in which she affirms that “immigration (legal or illegal) may seem like the only option” if this is the case. In a 2010 study conducted by Michael Oppenheimer who is a climate scientist at Princeton University, results showed that the amount of Mexican immigrants coming to the US will mostly likely soar up to a whopping 6.7 million by the year 2080. What makes this even more significant is the fact that this is just brought about by global warming alone. This is an incredibly daunting information, and because climate change takes generations to revert and reduce, this is a factor to immigration that will last for years to come. These overlooked factors are not to be ignored or as mentioned – overlooked especially in today’s political and social climate. More people are starting to jump in on the conversation surrounding immigration, and because this is a rising topic, we must understand the many perplexing influences that urge those living abroad to come to a country like the US. Hopefully, this article has served as a source of extra knowledge to help you cultivate your thoughts on the issues surrounding this concept, and allow you to make informed opinions on a hot-button issue such as this.

28 CLIQUES VS. ELITISM THE SOCIAL DYNAMIC OF THE MODERN HIGH SCHOOL What’s the difference between what we’ve been taught to perceive popularity as, and what it really is?


he word “clique” comes with a negative connotation. Upon hearing the word, one may envision what it’s like in the movies— cheerleaders, jocks, and nerds. Anyone who has spent more than a day in a modern high school, however, is quick to find that situation simply unrealistic. In reality, cliques are more often defined by similar interests, and are rarely found being pitted against each other by involved members or externalities. At Oakton High School, there are many distinctive cliques, a few examples being the marching band, the debate team, and the crew team. In those cases, cliques are just a group of students that bond over their shared passions and activities. “Cliques are real, but not inherently bad,” said a female Oakton student (11). “Unless they believe they’re better than others.” In that case, the stereotype of a popular clique is less of a “clique”, per say, and more of an example of elitism. What is elitism? Google defines it as “the attitude or behavior of a person or group who regard themselves as belonging to an elite”. It sounds like something out of world history— Oakton is not pre-revolution France. What most don’t understand, though, is that it’s common to see through a lens as small as high school. Forbes lists Fairfax county as 3rd on the list of highest-income counties in the United States, with a median household income of $115,717 a year. It has been established, then, that subjectively, we live in a “rich” county where wealth is widespread rather than consolidated in a top

percentage. Rich households in the county mean only one thing to the high school social dynamic; rich students. In some cases, not all, with money comes privilege and a feeling of superiority. That is where you will find what the media, and student culture, establishes as the “popular” group. ‘Popular’ in its rawest definition means “liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group”. To many students, it means something very different. “It’s a subjective placement of where you lie on a social scale, according to the views of yourself and others,” said an Oakton junior. “It’s only important depending on who you are, and what your priorities are.” What this writer is then insinuating is that there are basically two ways to be considered “popular” in this sense; by being an amicable person who is friendly with many different types of people if not many people individually, or by being entitled enough to consider yourself as “popular” and placing yourself above others. There are no accusations being thrown*, for it is not the students themselves fault for feeling entitled to power and superiority— our capitalistic society has done this for them, placing the rich in positions of power and prestige (see President Donald Trump). For example, some of the most prestigious schools in the country, the Ivy Leagues, have tuitions sitting in the 40 and 50 thousands. The American median income is about $53,000 (as of 2016). They are an opportunity almost exclusive to the rich, and the prices mentioned do not even touch on the many expenses that are paid in preparation for admittance to those

schools. Technology, standardized test preparation courses and tutors, standardized testing fees, tuition to elite private high schools… to name a few. Academic success is designed for those who can pay. In short, we as a society have been taught that the rich are superior in more ways than not. We’ve accepted it, and, subconsciously, they know it. It can be said, then, that yes, “popular cliques” may exist, but their essence is not that of what a clique really is. Rather, what a clique should be— which is a group of people who can form a meaningful bond over a commonality.

emily richardson editorial board *DISCLAIMER

The intent of this article is not to arraign any Oakton student in particular. All ideas are the opinion of the writer and the writer alone, not that of the entire Oakton Outlook staff. This piece is based on the ideas of generalization, not marginalization.


september issue

IS TROPICAL SMOOTHIE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU? How healthy is the ‘healthy’ smoothy shop, really


ropical Smoothie has recently become one of the most popular places for people to eat at. It is well known for the healthy options that they offer, but the real question is if it is actually healthy. In recent years, Tropical Smoothie’s health standards have taken a turn for the worse. I say this because of the sanitation issue that happened on August 8, 2016. If you had purchased a smoothie prior to this date from stores in Maryland, Virginia, or North Carolina you could have been exposed to hepatitis A. If you aren’t familiar with this disease, it is a virus that targets your liver, depriving you of energy for about three months at a time. Around 115 people were affected. The outbreak was caused by strawberries that the company had purchased from Egypt. I had an opportunity to talk with one of the people who was affected. When asked what they had suffered from they said, “I couldn’t get out of bed until 12:00 PM every day because

of my lack of energy. I was getting sick at work, and eventually had to take weeks off. I honestly don’t think that I will ever touch a smoothie from anywhere ever again.” As you can tell this was a very traumatic experience for them by the way that they speak about their experience. This is just some of the things that affected them. You may be fooled by the ingredients that you know about. Though the ingredients listed in the smoothies or foods have a healthy connotation, some of the so called healthy ingredients have hidden calories that actually make them not as good for you. For example the ultimate club sandwich is a prime example of how their foods aren’t actually healthy. The sandwich is 680 calories. In my opinion that is a little high for a meal claiming to be healthy. I’m not saying that you should never eat at Tropical Smoothie, but you should definitely be more cautious ye next time that you go out.

lizzie thompson staff writer



he time I’ve spent in America is very different from my home. You start to get a little bit of success, and then you eventually get to America. At first you’re really excited cause you’ve seen these things on TV your whole life. This place is crazy. There are roads without potholes, buildings from the 19th century, sports cars, celebrities, Netflix. You’re so excited, because you’re in America but the closer you look, you’re gonna see that this place is weird. Some are not educated about Africa, and the dating is weird. People from both cultures live in different environments and are educated differently. This is shown in the people’s behavior. Maybe this is what they call the ‘culture shock’ that people from the Eastern culture experience. I arrived at Oakton, and it was nothing like I had ever seen. They have this thing called Gold and Burgundy Days and there’s eight periods. I can count the people that look like me with my fingers. There’s hundreds of classes, thousands of lockers. I see at least one new student everyday. I used to watch this stuff in TV shows like iCarly and Victorious. I thought high school in America was supposed to be this place where you walk with your group of friends and “live happily ever after”. I look down the hallway with hundreds of lockers, with my schedule in hand, trying to find my first class. My counsellor assigns me a student to show me where my classes are located. Her name is Sarah. She has blue eyes and as she talks I’m not even listening, I’m just focused on how blue her eyes are. By the time she’s done, I don’t know where any of my classes are but I don’t worry about it. Eventually, I make it to one of my classes and it’s Algebra. I get assigned a seat and as the class progresses, I mostly try to comprehend what Google Classroom and Blackboard are, not mentioning the scientific calculators, which I’m not used to. Also, they use projectors instead of the chalkboard behind them and the assignments are done on the computer. The bell goes and it’s lunch time, and apparently there are four types of lunches. A, B, C and D. I have C lunch. I’m basically lost but a girl comes up to me and offers to help me find my way to the cafeteria. Her name is Paige. She’s slim and has long blonde hair. Her hand is full of bracelets, and she has a hoodie that says Oakton Soccer. I remember earlier in the day some announcements through the microphone about green days and it dawned on me I had to get ready for tryouts. The cafeteria is a large room,

filled with lots of tables and chairs, a couple of vending machines, and of course, students. People line up to get their food, so do I. As I’m looking for a place to sit, I remember an episode of Victorious about how kids in high school sit according to social status. I try to identify the highest ranking to the lowest ranking. As I look around, Paige signals to me to come sit with her. I can see she saved a seat for me. I greet the other people at the table as I prepare to eat. Most of them have apples or salads. I have fries and a hamburger. I’m used to eating fries with my hands, but everyone is using forks and knives, so I try to blend in. Ten minutes in and I’m still struggling to get my fries. It’s as if they are running away from my plate. “You can eat them with your hands,” Paige uttered. I felt a huge sigh of relief as I got comfortable. At least I could be myself. That was day one. This new high school experience was quite different. Weeks went by and eventually I realized I had never seen my neighbors. The neighbourhood was oddly quiet. Back in Africa, we all knew each other. In fact, you could just walk into the house next door, go to the fridge, take food and eat. That was the kind of brotherhood that existed. We used to play soccer in the streets. The goals were made of rocks and we had one ball for the whole neighborhood. at 6 pm we would show up, divide teams in a fair way, and play. We had our own mini world cup and took it very seriously. Most of us didn’t have the suitable shoes so we played with sandals and crocs. Up to this day, I can play soccer better in crocs than cleats. The game was set up that, if a car suddenly came and hit you it was ‘every man for himself’. With such high stakes, we naturally got better. Also, if one broke a neighbours window with a miskick, we would disappear from the scene like roaches in a matter of seconds. For the punishment was cruel as one’s parents would be forced to pay for the damage. If the ball went to just the compound, the kicker was responsible for getting it risking getting attacked by dogs and by the owner. The previous day, I had signed up for Oakton Soccer tryouts. I had saved some money for cleats. In addition to cleats I also bought other things like compression gear, which I’ve never owned before. Here, four seasons exist.Winter was coming and it was surely getting colder, at least for me. I was looking forward to seeing snow for the first time in my life! I was as ready as ever. I had dreamt for the opportunity to play on a soccer team for my whole life. I hadn’t prayed for

sebastian osea staff writer

much, just to play somewhere for a team where we all loved and cared for each other. I didn’t care about the level, so long as there was the brotherhood. The field had turf. I had only ever played on dirt or a few patches of yellow grass occasionally covering a few yards. It was also evenly flat, unlike the hilly type I was used to They also had cones and mannequins. I had trouble using them then and in future drills. To my relief, I made Varsity and the feeling inside was priceless. My first ever official team. I called my mom out of excitement and even celebrated with the activities officers. We went on that season to become undefeated, won districts, regionals, but unfortunately lost the state final 2-1. What made us so special is that we didn’t just play, we were friends, knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses like the palm of our hands. What’s most concerning is that stories have become identity makers. Individual life contains a heterogeneous compilation of stories and should not be based on one particular stories. Africans are treated solely as poor, pitiful, starv-

ing victims and are reduced to a single narrative while instead, they are complex human beings just like everyone else. Some people ask me where I learned to speak English so well and are surprised when I tell them that English is one of the national languages in Kenya. Once my soccer friends asked to listen to traditional Kenyan music, and were confused when I gave them an example of an artist who sang in English and used a beat similar to the western culture. They were more disappointed when I told them I listen to rappers such as J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Meek Mill. It seems as if they felt sorry for me from the minute they saw me, for just being an African. One time I asked a caucasian person what comes to mind when they think of Africa. You would be surprised as they said something to the effect of a beautiful landscape with animals where people die from poverty and aids. This is taking away the humanity of the people and should stop.


september issue

PAINTING A PICTURE OF DIVERSITY Looking into the ethnic stories and backgrounds of our beloved teachers of Oakton.



espite all the stereotypes and rumors that say Oakton is white-washed and only caters to a white student body, we’re actually an extremely diverse community. Think about it—why would a school with little to no diversity have clubs and organizations such as the Muslim Student Association, Asian Student Association, and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)? So it’s established—Oakton is a pretty diverse school. The student body here consists of people of all cultures and backgrounds; but what about the teachers? Can we really say Oakton is diverse without looking at everyone who spends 8+ hours of their day here?


Mr. Eslami—you might’ve heard about his famous chocolate malt shakes or his kindhearted reputation around Oakton. Even if you don’t take

Spain, she was born in Venezuela but grew up in Chile. Her cause for moving around a lot was that her parents were immigrants from Spain to escape war, later moving to Chile to be with other family. “Venezuela was a place everyone wanted to go in the 50’s because they were going through an oil boom,” she explains. Later on, she moved to the U.S. to attend graduate school, stating that she “wanted to get out of the country and go to a better place.” While attending school, she met her husband and had her kids, and passed on various traditions and aspects of culture. “There are some things where I didn’t know if it was a Spanish tradition, a Venezuelan tradition, a Chile tradition. Everything blended together!” Her family seemed to pick the best, most fun things out of each. One thing she noted to do every year with her family and with friends on New Years is eat exactly twelve grapes. Each one represented a month of the year, and eating all of them represented good luck for the upcoming year. She also adores American traditions, from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. Coming from multiple backgrounds and nation-

Spanish like myself, he still is very approachable and always willing to strike up a conversation. Turns out, some of Mr. Eslami’s compassion stems from his cultural background. Although born in the United States, he is ethnically Iranian where hospitality is one of the key parts of their culture. It’s not too far off to say we Americans are exposed to a lot of stereotypes of Iranians through the news, but Mr. Eslami is just one prime example of how stereotypes can be harmful and inaccurate. “Iranians are very hospitable. I always say government is not who people are, as you always see in the news. [...] When I see a famous reporter like Diane Sawyer in Iran, almost always the first thing they say is how shocked they are about how hospitable, friendly, and kind the people are.,” says Mr. Eslami. He later goes on to talk about how not only has his Iranian background shaped him, but also other cultures. “I think I’ve taken

from other his knowledge of other cultures other ways to live and ways to think,” he says. Even with his roots as a Spanish teacher at Oakton and an Iranian-American who speaks Farsi and English, he reveals that he can speak a wide variety of languages that would probably come to quite a shock to most people. He reports that knows how to speak proficient Japanese and French. “I spent three summers in Japan,” he explains, although he later notes that his Japanese is much better than his French, despite studying it for 5 years throughout middle school and high

alities, Dr. Fernandez comments that she feels immensely grateful for having the opportunity to be in the United States. Everytime she feels stressed, she thinks about what it’s like back home. “Our problems here are little problems in comparison to what other people face in other countries,” she says.

they call ‘Konglish’ where they just mix Korean and English together.” Her family also loosely celebrate Korean traditions such as Seollal (설날/ Korean New Year), but most of her associations with the culture stem from her attendance at Catholic church, something she still does today. Although you may ask how Catholic church can be reflect culture, Ms. Cho talks about how attending a Korean-based church was one of her biggest exposures to the Korean community. Ms. Cho admits later that she was never very much involved with the Korean community in her area. She tended to shy away from the culture when she was in high school as she didn’t want to generalized by peers or teachers. “I felt like I didn’t fit in with the Koreans but I didn’t fit in with I guess, Americans, in a way. I felt like I was in-between both,” says Ms. Cho. Eventually she grew out of that way of thinking, stating that even though she thought she was so open-minded her view on Koreans in high school showed her narrowed mindset.


At Oakton, you’ve probably overheard former and current chemistry students talk all about Ms. Cho. Why you may ask? Coming from my own personal experience, I’m happy to say that Ms. Cho has been one of the most amiable and loving teachers I’ve ever had. Being a younger teacher, she relates to her students in ways that others simply can’t. For example, Ms. Cho comes from an Asian-American background that I’m sure many others at Oakton could relate too given the demographic of our student body. Ms. Cho was originally born in the Virginia and is ethnically Korean. She admits that she does not speak fluent Korean and can only pick up bits and pieces of it. “My brother and I didn’t pick it up very well,” she explains. “My family uses what


Dr. Fernandez, the one and only beloved AP Biology teacher at Oakton, comes from a unique upbringing in South America. When asked about where she’s from, she laughs, “It’s a complicated story.” Although her parents are originally from

courtney te editorial board

32 THE SCOURGE OF THE SENIOR PARKING “PRIVILEGE” The parking situation for Oakton’s seniors is everything but a privilege


enior year is the year of have begun to ride scooters freedoms. It is the year across the parking lot to kill you get your privileges, time! your parking spot… you’re ofIt has come to the point that ficially on top. However, with if you dawdle long enough, the the ongoing construction, there buses will be long gone by the is one challenge that not only time you’re out of the parking the seniors face, but the school lot. The form of transportation as a whole. that the senior class loathes the The senior class cannot stress mostand openly avoids is now enough the pride of having a parking spot, yet it Q: How do you feel on the sehas turned into a zealous competinior parking lot situation this tion. With so limyear? ited spots, and so many seniors, cars are now jam A: It’s extremely dangerous, packed— to the and puts inexperienced drivers point where it is in situations that they’re not yet almost comical. Usually, we nevready for. er see more than three students at - Abel Berrocal (12th) the max in a senior car, yet now the average is up to five. It’s like we’re being stuffed into clown seeming like a viable option. cars, far too many in one car. This is a position I, personally, Not only are there limited never thought I would take. I spots, but the construction has mean, it’s the bus for goodness been extremely detrimental to sake. the flow of traffic entering and Senior students have many exiting campus. Traffic is simi- strong opinions regarding the lar to the DMV in the sense that parking situation, particularit’s not over until it’s over. The ly because it has broken the line seems to continue endless- norms. And yet, there continly, and never changes besides ues to be more problems arisgaining in number. ing, cars cutting each other off, Some senior students have blocking flows of traffic, and even accepted this line, and physical aggression to fellow

students. Change needs to happen in order for this system to run smoothly. Faculty needs to do something, and fast. Patience is running out.

conor krouse staff writer


september issue haley longfellow staff writer


Oakton Teachers Share Insight on Career Path

Ms. Newland smiling, excited to be at the Library of Congress. Photo courtesy of Ms. Newland.

Mr. Kroetch enjoyed running in college. Photo courtesy of Mr. Kroetch.


e’ve all heard it. We’ve all listened to our parents try to convince us that we do not need to know exactly what we want to do with our lives, and that our futures will eventually work out. Although we’d love for this perspective of what’s coming to be accurate, it is difficult to believe it when the road beyond high school seems so vast and uncertain. Taking our next steps sometimes seems incredibly complicated. But, is it really? Must it be so complicated to move forward and find enjoyable jobs? Oakton’s very own teachers can speak to that. English teacher Mr. Lawless was given some valuable advice in the midst of his own career stresses: he was told that when you least expect it to, a new opportunity will present itself. Oddly enough, that approach, or lack of an approach, landed Mr. Lawless his job at Oakton. “I ended up in a job that actually kind of suited me,” he says. The class lesson is a medium on which he can express his many passions instead of settling for just one. “I can delve into that part of my past that I was kind of interested in but didn’t really get to pursue,” says Mr. Lawless. Librarian Ms. Newland suggests that high

school is just the beginning of discovering interests. “We always put the ‘what I want to do when I grow up’ on a pedestal, and it doesn’t need to be,” she says. Having shifted her career 15 years into it, Ms. Newland has learned to be mindful of her instincts and preferences, such as her love of books. “Don’t worry so much about what you want to do because you can try something and if it doesn’t work you can try

“The reality is that most people don’t know what they want to be until they actually start getting out in the working world and realizing what their true passion is. I mean, for me, my life has been a constant evolution of interests,” says Mr. Kroetch.

something different,” she says. Another believer in being guided by interests is Mr. Kroetch, a history teacher with a career that integrates many things he has found pleasure in, among them running, teaching, and real estate. “The reality is that most people don’t know what they want to be until they actually start getting out in the working world and realizing what their true passion is. I mean, for me, my life has been a constant evolution of interests,” says Mr. Kroetch. He advises students to let their paths change and be unconventional. The key to choosing a niche, apparently, may be to not choose at all. Allow your path to evolve and unfold, and let yourself live. Embrace opportunities with open arms, accept change, and trust in who you are. Although we may all still be doubtful about the road ahead, it is nice to see the happiness it has led to for some of Oakton’s very own teachers.



NEW TEACHERS: AN INTRODUCTION With a new school year comes new teachers. Four of Oakton’s new staff additions introduce themselves. Mrs. Sheehan is an English teacher at Oakton High School, and this is her first year teaching in Virginia. She has worked as a teacher for seven years and has taught in three states. She is originally from Oklahoma where she taught for 5 years, then moved to Texas and taught for another year. She moved to Virginia to teach because her husband got a job working on education policy with Congress. Mrs. Sheehan says that students at Oakton are “more respectful and have a deeper desire to learn.” As a teacher, Mrs. Sheehan wants students to know that she is “genuinely concerned about their learning and growing as individuals” and that growing as a reader and writer is more important than a grade in the gradebook. Outside of school, Mrs. Sheehan has a daughter, enjoys doing things with her family, and is excited to get outside more since the states that she has lived in before had higher temperatures. Mrs. Sheehan plans to teach as long as she can in the future and is considering going into administrative work or curriculum writing as she has a masters in instructional leadership. Mrs. Sheehan says that all the students and teachers have been very welcoming, and that she enjoys working at Oakton.

Mrs. Sheehan “Sometimes kids are more concerned about their grade in the gradebook than actually growing as a writer and a reader.” - Mrs. Sheehan

Mr. Barrow Mr. Barrow is a marketing teacher at Oakton. He is originally from Chica-

go, Illinois and became a teacher after he graduated college. He has been a teacher for eleven years and has previously taught at seven schools. He took a break from teaching in 2012 and worked as a Target executive, but didn’t like the job very much since it restricted the amount of time he got to spend with his family, so he went back to teaching. Mr. Barrow’s approach to teaching involves fun and he says that “I truly think if you don’t enjoy what you’re learning, you don’t retain that information very well, so I try to figure out really cool ways to trick my students into learning.” Aside from teaching, Mr. Barrow collects sneakers, having around 7,000 pairs which he keeps in storage units and around his house. When asked about what he doesn’t like about teaching, Mr. Barrow responded, “the pay.”

portia dai staff writer


september issue

Ms. O’Neill Ms. O’Neill is a new math teacher here at Oakton. She is originally from

Ashburn, and she graduated from James Madison university for undergrad, and she got a masters in the arts of teaching as well. Before coming to Oakton, she taught at Briar Woods High School for her first year teaching, making this her second year as a teacher. When asked how other schools compare to Oakton, she replied, “Oakton thus far has been super supportive and welcoming. I think the environment here between the staff and the students is one of a kind and hard to find.” Outside of teaching, Ms. O’Neill’s interests include reading, hiking, hanging out with her friends, and going to OrangeTheory Fitness. In terms of her plans for teaching in the future, she stated, “In the future, I hope to have grown as a teacher in general and to take on leadership opportunities when they arise,” and when asked about what impression she wants to leave on Oakton, she said, “I want to help inspire kids to find their passion and help them reach their goals. Math is a subject not a lot of students enjoy, but I want to help equip my students with the critical thinking skills you learn in a math class to be successful in the future.”

“I like to see students grow and I want to help my students think for themselves and develop passions.” Mrs. McCormick

Mrs. McCormick is a history teacher here at Oakton, but before she began teaching as an adult, she was a student who went to school here as well. She is originally from Herndon, right here in Northern Virginia, and this is her eighth year as a teacher. Her husband is in the military, which has lead to her moving around and teaching in places such as Cheyenne, Wyoming, to which she stated that she really enjoyed the school system there, as it was similar to Oakton. Aside from spending time with her children, she enjoys cooking and baking, as well as home decor and making crafts. When asked, “What do you want your lasting impression to be on Oakton?”, she responded, “I like to see students grow and I want to help my students think for themselves and develop passions.” Overall, Mrs. McCormick said that the Oakton staff and students have been very welcoming and that in terms of her future in teaching, she wants to stay here at Oakton and teach as long as she can.

cole starmer staff writer

Mrs. McCormick

36 THE UNDERCOVERED STORY OF BASEBALL claudia messina staff writer


hen you think of Oakton Sports, the first things you may think of might be sports like football or basketball the sports that have more publicity. What doesn’t usually come to mind is a spring sport like baseball. Although this sport is loved by many in the national stadium, it doesn’t get much coverage as a high school sport. Baseball originated in the early 1800’s, with the idea based off of two English games, rounders and cricket. It was played informally and mostly by men living in newly industrialized cities. It didn’t come to the public eye until a group of men in New York City founded the Knickerbocker Baseball Club. From there, rules were developed and eventually became the basis of our modern day sport. Coach Kaplan has been coaching the baseball team for six years and is also a history teacher here at Oakton. He feels as though coaching keeps him close and connected to the sport he loves most. When asked about the team, Coach Kaplan reported,

“When picking guys for the team, there’s obviously a set of skills being looked for.”

“Like can they run fast, do they have strong arms, do they hit the ball hard, do they hit it consistently? But we also look for good character, like if they’re doing well in school and if they get in[to] trouble or not?” Based on the team’s successes, looking for these kinds of players has a very positive influence on the team. In previous years, the baseball team has won three conference titles, won regionals, and has made it to states twice. According to Coach Kaplan, the level that the Oakton Baseball team competes at is very competitive. To most coaches, high competition may make it difficult to fulfill the goals of the team, but Coach Kaplan sees it as a great opportunity to better themselves. This year, the goal of the team is, of course, to win more titles, but also to better the team members as a whole. A lot of the same people have been on the team for the past few years, so this year, helping them become better players as well as better people is a big focus. In order to reach these goals, lots of work has to be put in. “Average practices are pretty intense, which I know is kind of surprising for baseball because it’s a lot of stopping and starting,” says Coach Kaplan. Keeping the players competitive, at high energy, and positive at these two hours practices tends to result in an overall better performance during the games that matter most. In addition to building their skills, these kinds of practices also build character. Luckily for the baseball

team, practice and game time won’t be affected by the renovations at Oakton High School because the field used to practice on is located relatively far away. Overall, besides the fact that they are completely different sports, the Oakton baseball team could receive the same amount of hype as football if baseball received more coverage. People love watching both sports at the national level, so why not spread the love of both at the high school level? Regardless of the coverage or hype, the Oakton baseball team and coaches are so excited to start yet another fun year. With their hopes up and their heads held high, the Oakton baseball team has big plans for this season and they fully intend to give it their all.

The Baseball team stands respectfully for the national anthem at the beginning of each game

courtesy of Coach Benjamin Kaplan


september issue


alexandra martschenko staff writer

A Glimmer of Light in a Dark Time


hile it’s been a great year for rap music, the rap community has found itself in the midst of a crisis. Numerous popular and up-and-coming artists dropped albums that elevated the already popular genre, but with this advancement came heavy blows due in turn to the loss of a great many talented rappers. We entered 2018 on a low note after the death of rising young rapper Lil Peep in November, and continued on this downhill slope with the deaths of rappers like XXXTentacian and more recently, Mac Miller. The rap industry has been facing an abundance of backlash, and not without good reason. Drugs, sex and rock and roll have evolved into drugs, violence, and rap, and the industry has begun to suffer the effects. So what do the deaths of young rappers mean for the industry? It’s hard to say at the moment, but change is definitely underway. Hip-hop music is a relatively recent development, beginning only in the early 1970’s with artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow who shaped rap music into the product that we have today. However, the violence and drug use associated with rap music have been there since the beginning. Young rapper Tupac Shakur, who is still considered to be one of the greatest rappers in history, faced an untimely demise at age 25 when he was shot down by a member of the Crips, a prominent gang on the west coast. XXXTentacian faced a similar death when he was robbed and shot down in his car for a reason still unclear. Mac Miller, a rapper considered one of the most influential and innovative of our time, overdosed on an addictive drink called ‘lean’ and died in his own home. The rap world stood still after the death of Tupac and again for XXXTentacion and Mac Miller, and it will again for every rapper to come. It’s not a new concept that many rappers suffer the effects of drug abuse and addiction at some point in their lives, but it’s still a tragedy that rappers are seeing their demises at such a young age. We listen to songs about artists taking xanax and drinking lean and don’t think about the story behind the lyrics. Having been so desensitized to the severity of these lyrics, we don’t stop to think that many of these rappers are actually suffering. It’s a difficult life to be subjected to so much pressure to produce music and upkeep the ‘rebel’ persona that the audience looks for that once an artist starts going down a path of trying to please the audience it’s difficult to

say how far they will be willing to go. Rappers often brag about their drug use and violence and yet we still support them and their not-so-safe choices.“I feel like it makes people more aware of how they are treating artists.” says Fairfax High School senior Adam Benlemlih “You don’t know what people go through”. As the awareness of the negative side of the industry rises, hopefully the recognition and intolerance of these issues rises as well. Rap music has always been a solace for the lost and a place

“I feel like it makes people more aware of how they are treating artists.”

of unity for people of all different races, genders, and economic standings to come together and appreciate one another’s culture and background. Through the unfortunate losses of life and the difficulties facing the genre, we must remember the light within these times of confusion and darkness: the community that has been created throughout the years and the songs, and artists, we can lean against in our times of need. The deaths of young rappers has reminded the artist’s why they produce music, and the listeners why they listen. To maintain this balance of support and entertainment we must give way to a new system of beliefs and toleration. Change is coming, whether artists and audience are willing to accept it is still up in the air.

38 THE ORIGINALS YOU DON’T kartik mukalla KNOW ABOUT staff writer Netflix shows are disappearing, but the reason may surprise you...


f you watch Netflix frequently, you might have noticed something. Many shows, including fan favorites such as Family Guy, 30 Rock, Psych, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother, have been promptly removed, and it seems like there are no new shows that have come to replace the vast amount of content those removed shows had. What you have noticed is a common feeling for Netflix users in 2018. Netflix has unquestionably been leading the charge in this recent movement by streaming services by removing shows and movies from other production companies in favor of producing their own original content. The reason Netflix has been so aggressive in removing shows and movies to replace them with their own is because of the massive success they’ve had with their original content. Hulu has some originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Futureman and Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video has scored some original hits such as Bosch and the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle Goliath, but the quality and quantity of their orig-

Horseman, there’s a dozen original shows and movies that are so bad that they are stuck in the back of Netflix’s catalog, hidden in plain sight. Hey, have you ever seen the mockumentary about YouTube personality Miranda Sings called Haterz Back Off??? Or the post-apocalyptic Jennette McCurdy-starring Between? Or Rob Schneider’s version of Seinfeld, Real Rob??? I’m guessing you haven’t. Netflix themselves have worked extremely hard to hide the lack of quality of the majority of their originals, removing users’ abilities to write reviews and leave ratings for shows, in favor of an algorithm-mandated “Recommended If You Like” section. Instead of the quality of the show, this algorithm shows how much you would like a show based on what you’ve watched. Naturally, if you’re interested in comedies, every comedy will seem appealing to the algorithm, be it BoJack Horseman or Insatiable, a Debby Ryan vehicle about a fat girl who goes on a diet and decides to get revenge on all the people who bullied her over the school year that happened to get 11% on Rotten Tomatoes and shocked critics and audiences alike with

Image courtesy of Netflix inals pale in comparison to what Netflix has to offer, and that’s a good and bad thing. Of course, as a Netflix user, you might have seen some of the high quality originals they have to offer. Shows such as House of Cards, BoJack Horseman, Last Chance U, Stranger Things, Narcos and more have all either won or been nominated for an emmy and have received rave reviews from various media critic’s publications. Netflix has even revived or rebooted a host of fan favorite shows such as Arrested Development, Black Mirror, and Gilmore Girls, albeit to varying critical success. All these notable originals, and you can see why Netflix might be phasing out so many shows from other networks in order to save time and space and money for more of these shows. It seems like a good business model, right? Netflix keeps making these quality originals and other streaming services pick up many of the shows Netflix has to boot out as a consequence of their endeavor! It’s not. See, for every show that racks up emmys and fan love like Bojack

how unfunny it was. The public opinion of Netflix’s business decisions has not been favorable. Out of 60 FCPS students asked about their opinion on Netflix’s original programming-focused business model, 71% said that they would just prefer fan favorite shows back instead of all these originals. Netflix is in a rough spot quality-wise. They went all in on their original programing, hoping a majority of it would be as high-quality as their first run of shows in 2014, and most of them haven’t been. Aside from the many shows you see racking up emmys and good reviews, Netflix originals generally vary from mediocre to bad. People keep watching them and they keep making money, however, Their predictably bad Adam Sandler collaborations and the Will Smith misfire Bright were the biggest and most popular movies they produced according to them. Reed Hastings will keep picking up shows to produce and reproduce, whether it be the next emmy-winning masterpiece or season 2 of Lucifer, as long as people watch it.


september issue


brendan bellingham staff writer

A brief look at three up and coming artists

Despite her lack of a name, Noname is the best female rapper I’ve listened to in recent memory. Noname made her break with a feature on a Chance the Rapper mixtape in 2013 and has since dropped two full length albums that have been described as “a

Zack Villere is a Louisiana based experimental R&B musician with a small but powerful discography. Villere blends the use of synthesizers and the six string guitar beautifully with distorted, repetitive vocals to create a unique sound that is identifiably his

own. Among single releases, Villere only has one album streaming right now titled Little World. His sound is slowly evolving and the recent two track EP, “2 Songs”, proves well for an evolved sound on the second album. The current album titled “Little World” is

Whitney is a folk influenced indie rock band composed of members formerly apart of the band Smith Westerns that split in late 2014. The group’s lead

great blend of R&B and hip hop sounds” by Oakton student Brendan Dolan. Her first mixtape titled “Telefone” debuted in 2016 and features her most streamed song to date “Diddy Bop” alongside other priceless other tracks like “Forever” featuring Ravyn Le-

nae. After the mixtape in 2016, Noname went silence working on her first album “Room 25” that just dropped this past Friday the 14th. The album features established names such as Ravyn Lenae, Smino, and Saba on instant hits like “Ace” and “Self”.

30 minutes flat with 12 tracks averaging about two minutes each. Without any features Villere’s first album still brings noteworthy tracks including “Cool”, “You don’t care”, and “Minivan”

singer Julien Ehrlich delivers beautiful falsettos over killer guitar licks to make nearly every track on the group’s first album “Light Upon the Lake”

a hit. Each song off “Light Upon the Lake” is worth a listen, but songs that jump out to me include “No woman” and “No matter where we go”.



FASHION: A CULTURAL PHENOMENON Sra. Natal on how growing up in Spain has influeced her style.


e interviewed Ms. Natal to find out how her style has changed throughout the years and what influenced it. She told us that her environment was a big factor and talked about spending her childhood in her home country of Spain. Also, we received advice from Ms.Natal about students trying new styles out. First question, could you give me a quick breakdown of what you’re wearing right now? I’m wearing… a lace cardigan, a top, and flare pants— which I bought in the Canary Islands, in a street market-boutique. I like the flare in the pants; they’re different, original, and very comfortable. I think the most important accessory is jewelry; earrings are a must. In Spain, when we’re born, we get our ears pierced immediately; they pierce your ears automatically. It’s like something else that’s part of you because it’s something you first get that you never take off.

Where do you buy your jewelry? I like Native American jewelry a lot. This is actually from a Native American artist. I like stuff that’s different, but I don’t like jewelry that’s… commercial. You know, like when they produce a hundred thousands rings that are all the same. I like that how it’s one of a kind. What or who inspires your style? I like things that are different, and a mix of styles. In Spain, everyone pays a lot of attention to the way people are dressed when they go out. Even when they’re just going out to the market or doing their daily routine, everyone tries to dress nicely, because everybody likes to critique and gossip. You want to look good when you’re out of your house. In Spain, we don’t have many designers, brand name shops, or chain stores. Instead, we have a lot of independent stores, so you can buy clothes there that you wouldn’t find here.

How would you say living in Spain has influenced your personal style? In Spain, people are very fashion conscious. People there want to look good because they go out a lot. In words, how would you describe your style? It’s like a mix of different styles. If I go somewhere and I see something I like that’s also a unique or different item, I get it. Also, I think my style is really courageous, because my style stands out a bit, especially at this school. For example, yesterday I had a kimono. … It’s kind of risky, or maybe people wouldn’t consider wearing a kimono as a fashion choice. Right, I agree with that because you dress for yourself. Yes, you dress for yourself to feel good.


september issue

How has your style changed over the years? As a teacher, because I’m a public person and when I’m outside school, at any time, I can run into a student! So I try to dress appropriately. When I was younger, I would dress more adventurously like maybe showing a little bit more … I think that my style hasn’t changed much in the sense that, or maybe when I was a teenager and something was fashionable, you know, we all wanted to have it. Or a brand name was fashionable, we all wanted to get something from that brand name. I’m might not be as trend oriented. What would you consider the most exotic thing you’ve worn, in the years you’ve been teaching here? Probably these pants with bows. I use to wear them when I taught at another school in Prince William County. They’re very accentuated. On the other hand, the kimono is pretty exotic, or the tutu.

ashleigh tain editor-in-chief

katie le staff writer

You’ve worn a tutu before? I have a skirt that has a similar material as a tutu … You can make it look normal if you wear it and combine it with the right thing, which makes it looks fine. How have students affected your style? I’m careful with what I wear. I think, “Oh, my students are going to see me with this” … I don’t want to dress in a way that makes me look older than what I am … Students influence you because they wear fashionable things too. But, if I see a student with hot pants I’m obviously not going to wear it, I’m not going to say “Oh, that would look good on me”. But definitely, when you see what students are wearing, you think that must be in fashion now. What is like one message you want to relay to students who are trying to be more adventurous with fashion or wanting trying to try

more things? What is your advice to them? I would say do it. I remember that when I was a teenager in high school, torn pants started to be fashionable. Like, you would take a pair of scissors and then cut them, like the ones that are in style here right now. I had a pair of pants and I decided to, with a pair of scissors, rip them and cut them. And I went to school with those pants and one of the assistant principals told me during recess, “please don’t come back with those pants on”. So, be adventurous but not too adventurous! Yes, be adventurous, find your own style, and don’t worry about what other people are going to say. If you feel comfortable wearing those clothes, just wear them— as long as they’re appropriate. In conclusion, wear what makes you feel comfortable, try new things, be appropriate, and be fashionable.


Radio music isn’t what it used to be. Here’s why.


ack when MoTown was booming, it took artists months, if not years, to make a record. People only heard what the record company’s wanted them to hear. Since the start of Soundcloud in 2007, it has had a major impact on music ever since. SoundCloud is an app where anybody can listen to or create sounds and share them everywhere. When most hear Soundcloud, they think of instrumental

musicians searching to be discovered, but there’s a whole new world of music in this one simple app. The SoundCloud rappers that come to mind are LilPump, Tay K, XXX Tentacion, etc. All of these rappers started their career at around 20092011, but they became known in 2017. For example, when Lil Pump was 13, his cousin introduced him to Omar Pineiro,

“Nowadays things are not the same” -Lil Skies Photo courtesy of Mijosdzdw

The general population voted that SoundCloud had changed music. “I think SoundCloud has had a major impact on music, new rappers are being found every day and it has introduced a new style into the rap world,” said Big Body (11), an upcoming SoundCloud rapper with a pile full of heat ready to drop. “I’ve been a part of SoundCloud for years now, and it until this year have all these new singers come out with new music on SoundCloud, some of them are just cover rappers who have been influenced by other artists”.

Photo courtesy of The Come Up Show

Artist usually start up in SoundCloud because it is difficult to start a career on the radio. New songs are introduced over the past 2 years. Due to the fame in these new rappers brought by SoundCloud such as Lil Yachty, Quavo, Lil Wayne, and more, artists including Chris brown, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, and more have written songs featuring these rappers, to attract more attention. Therefore, causing a change in basic radio music.

EDITORIAL BOARD: A series of monthly picks from the editorial board to our readers.

ARTIST: ED SHEERAN “Ed Sheeran’s upbeat songs instantly put me in a better mood and relieve my stress. I just saw him in concert and it was the best night of my life.” - Payton Wozny

SONG: EASTSIDE BY BENNY BLANCO “Eastside by Benny Blanco. Just into the song, you get introduced to the next sense of pop-r&b mixed with meaning and rhythm. Eastside is one of the few songs that’s changing the vibe of mainstream music, by articulating complex feelings and mixing other genres with pop.” - Riya Jain

BOOK: A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS “Like diamonds and roses hidden under bomb rubble, this is a story of intense beauty and strength buried under the surface of the cruel and unpredictable life imposed upon two Afghani women.” - Sahithi Jammulamadaka

MOVIE: MAMMA MIA “Mamma Mia, every time I watch it I get a strong urge to drop everything and go to Greece. It is the perfect movie to make some popcorn and sing your heart out with all your friends.” Zoe Sauger

COFFEESHOP: MOM & POP “Upon entering, you are hit with a delicate aroma of fresh croissants and spiced lattes. Amidst the madness of Mosaic, Mom & Pop is an industrial serenity that makes you feel comfortable and work-inclined, the ideal combination for a productive study sessions.” - Ashleigh Tain

ALBUM: SOFT SOUNDS FROM ANOTHER PLANET BY JAPANESE BREAKFAST “Soft Sounds is romantic and atmospheric, perfectly embracing the angst of being in love. It’s about Michelle Zauner’s relationship with her passed mother and her love life. Gently delivering gauzy guitar tracks alongside catchy staccato beats, the album blends these two seemingly unrelated things into a journey of punk rock highs and happy-sad lows.” - Jake Neuffer

MOVIE: PONYO “The magic of Studio Ghibli precedes every work they put out. This is reflected particularly well in the 2008 animation Ponyo, a beautiful platonic love story that transcends reality and evokes a feeling of nostalgia for nothing in particular. This movie is a favorite of mine, and has been since the first time I watched it years ago.” - Emily Richardson


SONG: GOODNIGHT N GO BY ARIANA GRANDE “The kind of song that makes you feel dreamy and lovesick— a compromise between a love song and a lullaby. It touches your heart in all the right places and just fills it with an unexplainable want.” - Courtney Te

RESTAURANT: CAVA, A MEDITERRANEAN STYLE EATERY “The healthy foods and assortment of choices make it difficult for one to choose an option. With all the allergen friendly dishes, even those with gluten intolerances find it tough to decide on just one dish.” - Katarina Faben

September Digital Magazine  
September Digital Magazine