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Honoring faculty and parents for Veterans Day NEWS I PAGE 3 PAGES 5 AND 6







Falcon Flier

Fredericksburg Academy

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Volume XX

Issue 2

November 2011


Junior Matt Kirchner, leader of the new FA Young Democrats club, listens to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner while volunteering at a rally for State Sen. Edd Houck.

Students campaign in state senate race for candidates Houck, Reeves by LIZ BENAVIDES


the falcon flier

Reeves experience proves rewarding by FITZHUGH JOHNSON This summer I was introduced to a gentleman named Bryce Reeves. He was a strong man with a firm handshake that smiled brightly to the people around him. At a campaign kickoff to start the uphill battle to overthrow the 28 year incumbent State Sen. Edd Houck, his newly rented office space was filled with about 20 people that believed in him from the start. I told Reeves about my interest in politics and he immediately invited me to volunteer in the office. The first day, I was put to work making calls. I loved the atmosphere of the office, so I made it a daily routine to go in and make calls or walk door to door handing out campaign literature.

FALCONS FLY The girls field hockey and tennis teams will compete in the first round of the VISAA state tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

guest reporter

As the summer went on, we could tell that the Reeves’s campaign was picking up ground. From newspaper articles to endorsements, things started to pan out. At the end of the summer we had made about 30,000 calls to people all over the 17th district. Reeves went into this race with not much at all. Even though the odds have been against him, he has fought every day and has proved many people wrong. Win or lose, for the rest of my life I will remember that even if something seems impossible, they can be done. Working with Reeves on this campaign provided me with lessons I will carry with me for years to come.

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ELECTION SEASON State and Local, Nov. 8

VA Republican Primary, March 6, 2012 VA Democratic Primary, March 6, 2012


Junior FitzHugh Johnson introduces Gov. Bob McDonnell at an event for Reeves.

Heinz ’10. Thompson-Heinz has been working for Houck since July by organizing student campaign teams, and says that attending FA prepared him for the job. “I use the same program that I did for my Senior Exhibit, so it really helped to already be familiar with it,” said Thompson-Heinz, adding that because he wants to start a career in politics, he’s happy he went to a school that prepared him, and hopes Abilmona and Kirchner have the same experience. “I gained skills that will help me gain job opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Thompson-Heinz said. “Also, these jobs look really good on college resumes.” For junior Andrew Murphy, his work for FA’s Young Republicans Club is not just for preparation, but also to gain exposure for the party. “People don’t know much about [the Republican party] and it’s gained a lot of stereotypes. I wanted to help show the school the specific causes we address, so they can develop new opinions,” said Murphy.

f you were to see junior FitzHugh Johnson in the upper school commons, you’d catch him cracking jokes and goofing off. You’d rarely see Johnson being serious, except during Young Republicans meetings. “I started the Young Republicans Club because I wanted to discuss traditional

and conservative values. We also have chances to bring in cool guest speakers,” said Johnson. Over the past year, Johnson and his club have worked to learn more about the GOP. They’ve also helped with Virginia Senate candidate Bryce Reeves’s campaign by making calls to voters and helping with events. Reeves is even sponsoring a competition between FA and University of Mary Washington Young Republicans; the winner gets a fundraiser held by Reeves in support of their Young Republicans club. But Johnson is not the only FA student getting involved. Juniors Adam Abilmona and Matt Kirchner have begun interning for Reeves’s competition for District 17, Edd Houck. “Originally I wasn’t planning on doing anything, but I found out its going to be a close election. I’m a Democrat, so I don’t want a Republican control of senate,” said Abilmona. Abilmona and Kirchner have jobs similar to Johnson’s, like attending events and making calls. They have help from FA alumnus Ian Thompson-

Presidential, Nov. 6, 2012

To do this, Johnson and Murphy both support the idea of a debate between Democratic and Republican students. “It will help the school see diversity in political opinions. There are so many people who are undecided on their beliefs because they haven’t been exposed enough. A debate will... hopefully influence them to become involved in politics themselves,” said Murphy.

Houck internship teaches people skills by MATT KIRCHNER Being an intern for State Sen. Edd Houck has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Over the past month, I have been making phone calls, going door to door, and attending various events to help Houck’s reelection effort. It all started when FA alum Ian Thompson-Heinz sent me a Facebook message asking if I would like to help out the campaign. I decided to give it a shot and agreed to go canvassing. As I have slowly become more comfortable talking to these people, I realize how useful this experience will be later in life. My newly gained people skills will certainly help me with things such as college and job interviews, which are things that no- The website will go live with new, web-exclusive content you won’t find in the paper this Friday, Nov. 11. Check it out.

the falcon flier

body looks forward to. I am also more confident talking to people over the phone. The best part about working for the campaign is interacting with the actual candidates. I have had multiple conversations with Houck himself, and have even talked to his Republican Challenger Bryce Reeves when we met at an event in Louisa County. They are both fascinating politicians. Whether I decide to pursue politics in college or something else entirely, I know that my time spent in the campaign office will not be wasted. All I know is that I will be looking forward to the next election, and I will certainly be helping out in every way I can.

WHY GO ONLINE? Nothing’s wrong with the printed Falcon Flier--quite the opposite. We think this quote sums up our situation.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms.”—Colin Powell non-arms.”

2news page two


Study hall crackdown: students sound off by ALLEGRA MASSEY-ELIM the falcon flier

Catherine Estes


“I appreciate study halls because they force me to actually do work rather than socialize in the commons.”

the falcon flier

Between mid-September and Oct. 7, internet troubles plagued FA, preventing teachers and students from accessing the internet and local servers, which are used to store and share resources such as presentations and projects. On Oct. 7, the problem was solved with a hardware upgrade to the upper school’s routers. This Susanne Nobles’s classes were disrupted by internet problems. upgrade resolved the difficulties, most importantly a customizable, multipur- firmware update would not those of the teachers and pose social network. It is fix it. After looking over students located in the se- used by upper school Eng- the situation with technolnior hallway “dead zone.” lish teacher Susanne No- ogy consultant Steve GilmHistory teacher Jeff bles for discussing topics ore, Kuckuck stated, “We Eckerson’s classroom is lo- being taught in class. Her want a solution. Not more cated in this hallway. His classroom also is located in possibilities.” On Oct. 7, the first day most affected course was what was the “dead zone.” Network administraof FA’s fall break, the routAP Government, because tor Terri Kuckuck stated ers were replaced. The new a large amount of information they use is on the in- that the main problem was routers are from the same ternet. “[The lack of inter- malfunctioning firmware manufacturer, but these net] leads to more lectures in the routers, which were routers have two radios, rather than students ex- thought to be state-of-the- compared to the one radio ploring questions using the art. The network is set up in the previous routers. While students were on internet. It’s not necessar- so that when devices move closer to a stronger Wi-Fi their first day of fall break, ily a bad thing; it just limits signal, they will connect to teachers were able to test my options as a teacher,” it. However, the firmware out the new access points said Eckerson. Senior Joe Garay said malfunction prevented this while writing their interim his two major problems from happening. As more comments. The result was were accessing the student devices tried to connect a success. “We have gone portal Veracross and the to the same access point, from zero to 100,” says upsocial networking website it would become over- per school Spanish teacher Ning. Veracross is a vital whelmed and not function Cristina Escotto. When students returned resource for all members properly. The manufacturer of the on Oct. 11, they had the of the FA community, with information on courses routers acknowledged this fast and reliable internet and assignments. Ning is problem, but said that a they need to work.


Meghan Norair


“I think they are useless. One, you can’t listen to music. Two, FA students are motivated to get their work done in unscheduled time so they don’t need study halls.” FitzHugh Johnson


“It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t like them but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re going to have them. Greer Stewart


“Study halls are fine but I like how unscheduled time forces me to manage my time.” AJ Topps


“I’d rather have unscheduled. The study hall environment is too structured. It’s really quiet, which helps me get my work done, but I still don’t like it.”



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fter weeks of waiting, the upper school was introduced to the new bell/intercom, a legacy gift to the school from the Class of 2011. Student reactions to the new bells are mixed. “I knew that what the school needed to do was put the bell system in place and experience it as is, and then debate it later,” said Head of Upper School Tony Durso. “We are not required in any form to have the bell system operating. If we get to the end of it, and people don’t want it, we don’t need to have it. We can also keep it.” Both students and teachers find that the bell system can be helpful in getting classes started and finished on time. “I think it helps because you don’t have to always look at a piece of paper to find out when the period is going to end,” said history teacher Jeff Eckerson. However, there are disadvantages. Some students find it annoying. “It’s more of a nuisance, because people get to class early, and the bell interrupts the beginning of class,” said junior Alex Hatch. Some people believe a change in the tone of the bell would make it more

interesting. “I don’t like [the bell],” said freshman Michael Murphy. “I think they should change the sound.” Eckerson feels that in addition to the bell, music should be played over the intercom. “I would be supportive of playing music during the five-minute breaks between classes,” said Eckerson. “I visited a school once that did that, and it really seems to help the mood of the students and the staff.” Unfortunately, the technology makes this extremely challenging, according to Durso. “People have asked about using things other than tones to start class,” said Durso, “but the way the system works, it’s not feasible.” The problem, he said, is that the intercom system isn’t automatic. In order to broadcast music at the end of every period, someone will actually have to go to the intercom system and play the music over it every time. “It just isn’t practical,” said Durso. Durso also wants everyone to know that their opinions matter. “As students develop their opinions, I’m always interested in hearing what they have to say,” he said. “Students should also feel free to express their views to the Student Government.”

Students speak out on class bells “I like [the bell system]. I think it helps the teachers out because they know when we’re supposed to be in class.” — senior Ryan Hudson “I feel like the bell system, while it gets some of us to class on time, some of us don’t care . . . We’re not going to change because of an annoying noise.” —senior Bryan Davis “It works pretty good although I’ve noticed some teachers still hold you over a minute sometimes, so this can ruin its purpose, but sometimes it’s pretty good.” —freshman Lars Kruus “I think it’s helpful, but it’s not available in the middle school so the classes run over a lot of the time. I sometimes have to run here [to be on time to class.]” —sophomore Rory Dunn “I think it’s helpful … It helps me remember when classes are.” —senior Imani Jones “I think that it’s pretty effective, especially for teachers that aren’t aware of the time and their classes run too long.” —junior Mary Fried “There are pros and cons. In one respect, it prevents teachers from making class too long. In another respect, it’s annoying. Teachers are reluctant to let us out [before the bell rings.]” —junior Andrew Murphy

3news page three



Service Time “I was in Germany during the Cold War so we had to protect the borders, watch the Communist areas like the Russian border or any areas that were considered ‘anti-American.’ I was attached to a regiment that was part of operating and decoding, sending messages, and listening in on phone conversations.” PHOTO COURTESY OF KAREN SILBERT

FA maintenance staff member John Silbert served in Vietnam.

Service Time

Strongest Memory

“Life became a structured routine. The possibilities and expectations at the start of each day were clearly and unmistakably defined.”

“When I was a platoon leader in Korea. It was when I was most directly involved with the soldiers. It was my biggest project; we were working to build a helipad unit. I was in charge of overseeing the construction of it and I acted as the go-between the company ordering the FAARP (Ford Area Ammunition Refueling Pad) and the platoon building it. I got to interact both with outside elements and be involved with the soldiers.”

Strongest Memory “Being told on my first day of boot camp San Diego—by a very unfriendly Chief Petty Officer—that “the Navy is a … dictatorship.”

Service Time “I was stationed in Nuremberg, and it was impressive because it was so huge… That was where Hitler used to give his speeches and I realized how big the crowds must have been.”

by ISABEL STEVEN the falcon flier

Service Time

Moulton could not actually answer questions about his time in the military due to security reasons. He is not permitted to discuss where he was stationed, nor the contents of his missions.

Effects of Service on Civilian Life “It made me go into the same fields I worked in when I was in the military. It’s why I work Rescue (United States Mountaineering Rescue Team).”

Upper School family members in service ARMY: Phil Harry, father of junior Kirstie Harry • Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Roger Combs*, father of sophomore Sabrina Combs • Sgt. Brandon Sasnett, brother of sophomore Jase Davis • MARINE CORPS: Gunnery Sgt. Ismael Armando DelaRosa, father of freshman Ismael DelaRosa • John Barth, father of senior Natalie Ducharme-Barth • Cpl. John Lemaster*, father of sophomore Abby Lemaster• Lance Cpl. Lauren Kohls, sister of junior Meredith Kohls • Col. Roger Anthony Garay, father of junior Erin Garay and senior Joe Garay • NATIONAL GUARD: Col. James Bacon*, father of sophomore Anna Bacon • NAVY: Capt. Charles A. Davis*, father of sophomore Jase Davis *no longer serving

Families at War


brings us together more,” she said. Lance Cpl. Lauren Kohls cofounded a non-profit Not many people know organization this year called what it’s like to welcome an “Hayla International,” which immediate family member promotes hope and educahome from months in Afganition around the world. Merstan. edith Kohls has supported her Among upper school stusister’s endeavor by collectdents, quite a few familiar facing blankets for es do. Hayla with the SophoFA Young Remore Jase publicans Club. Davis’s While brother, Sgt. closeness and Brandon patriotism stand Sasnett, is out for military returning families, they to serve in are also accomthe Middle panied by fear. East for the Freshfourth time man Alina Arthis Non a t t - N e s t o r ’s vember. —Freshman Alina Arnatt-Nestor twin brothers Juserve in the Manior Mererine Corps. dith Kohls’s sister, Lance Cpl. “The only thing that Lauren Kohls, is currently is different with having a famserving in Afganistan, having ily member in the military is returned after a short vacation when they are deployed and in September. you are dreading every knock For almost 10 upper on the door … because you school students, Veterans Day never know if it is going to be on Nov. 11 brings special sigthe call that you never want to nificance. These students have, hear,” said Arnatt-Nestor. or have had, immediate family members serve in the military. FA will hold an assembly Having a sister in the honoring parents who are vetMarine Corps is, “kind of erans on Friday, November 11 awesome,” said Kohls, who sends cookies to her sister with at the end of the school day. her family twice a month. “It the falcon flier

When they are deployed . . . you are dreading every knock at the door.

4Feature p a g e

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FA parent reveals FBI cases on new TV show by Matt Kirchner the falcon flier

Every Saturday night, junior Justin Safarik tunes into the Cloo network to watch the show “Killer Instinct”, a show about the most famous cases of a world renowned FBI profiler. That profiler is Mark Safarik, Justin’s father. The premier of “Killer Instinct” was not the first time that Mark Safarik was on TV though. He has been on shows such as “Forensic Files”, “The New Detectives”, “Dateline”, “Criminal Mindscapes”, and various shows on the Discovery Channel. After his second appearance on Criminal Mindscapes in early 2010, he was approached by Cloo with the idea of having his own show. “Killer Instinct” now airs every Saturday at 9:00 p.m., and is followed by Dateline on Cloo at 10:00 p.m., which is hosted by Safarik. Mark Safarik has worked in the FBI for 23 years. Before he worked in the behavioral analysis unit as a profiler for 12 years, he worked as a violent crimes agent. His work moved him all around the country. His first office was located on an Indian reservation in Wyoming, which he said was “pretty weird, coming from Southern California.” Safarik says that there are misconceptions about who profilers are and what they do, which is mainly caused by what is represented in shows like “Criminal Minds.”

“I assess human behavior. I look at the forensics in a crime and the behavioral dynamics, and I integrate those into looking at what type of person could have done this, and what is happening at the crime,” he said. Safarik works in the adult crimes section with only eight other profilers. He has helped make a name for himself by mostly dealing with the larger cases or ones that were out of the ordinary. “The vast majority of homicides do not lend themselves to be behaviorally analyzed because there is not enough going on between the victim and the offender. [With] drive-by shootings, gang killings, and drug killings, there’s just not much interaction. It’s only when you really get multiple victims, or you have really strange types of cases with a lot of weird behavior, those are the best types of cases to be behaviorally analyzed,” said Safarik. Safarik said that in order to become known and well respected, a profiler needs to have at least five years experience just to build up the background of cases. In his career, Safarik has worked on over 4,000 homicide cases. He also won the Jefferson Award for Excellence in Publication from the University of Virginia for his published works on sexual assault of elderly women. Safarik also said that a big difference between him and other profilers is that he likes to testify in cases, which is something not many profilers do.

Safarik believes that his TV career is going well. Right now they are waiting on the ratings for “Killer Instinct,” but no matter what he still wants to continue working on TV. “There is no doubt that I will continue to do some filming. Now I am pretty

well known at NBC, so they know what I can do. I would like to do another season of Killer Instinct and I would like to do another season of Dateline, but even if I don’t, I will still be doing some filming,” he said. Justin has been watch-

Photo Courtesy of Mark Safarik

ing his dad on TV for a number of years, but it’s different now that he has his own show. “It’s weird now because it’s like every week we tune in and watch him for two hours straight. It’s sort of surreal,” said Justin.

“Race to Nowhere” displays high expectations of students by Samantha King the falcon flier

Throughout America, schools and communities have been pressing play on the documentary “Race to Nowhere.” Produced by Vicki Abeles, a mother of three addresses the failure of the American education system in the film, and the growing issue of today’s teens being over-scheduled. Now more than ever teenagers are feeling pressure mounting on them, which has overwhelmed many. “Race to Nowhere” highlights students

and families’ firsthand stories about overly high expectations that have been set. “‘Race to Nowhere” points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired,” states FA showed “Race to Nowhere” to the staff in August, and the Parent Faculty Association held a screening earlier this month. “The movie showed

one side of the issue, and we want to look at it and say ‘Okay, well how does this relate to us at FA? What changes should we make?’” said Head of School Karen Moschetto. It is obvious that there has been a shift in what is expected out of teenagers. Students are being asked to produce and perform at an almost nonstop rate. “We have a lot of students that stretch themselves thin. Not just in upper school, also in middle and lower, from music to sports. But it’s the way of the world,” said Moschetto. “The Race to Nowhere” describes the

changes in the education through the past century; showing that in the early 1900s there wasn’t a focus on education, due to the labor laws. When the 50s came, along with the cold war, there was an upswing in homework and school to create a generation able to beat the Russians. During the 60s and 70s there was a lull in education due to radical social changes of the time. But from the late 80s till now there has been an explosion of homework and school, partly because of the extremely competitive job market. Unnecessary amounts of stress are

put on students from teachers, parents, coaches, friends, and colleges. “My teachers and my advisor put the most pressure on me,” said senior Sydney Hawkins. Hawkins, like many other FA students, is taking three AP classes this year, plays varsity field hockey, and is an active member in FA’s chorus. “I have so much work, I’m pretty sure I’ve had more work already [this year] than in freshman and sophomore year combined,” she said. Adding the process of finding and applying to colleges and any

other activities she may participate in, leaves Hawkins with little to no down time. On a national scale, this issue has not been fixed. But those who feel passionate about this problem are working to find a lasting resolution. On a smaller scale FA is doing its part to help reduce the students’ stress, while also maintaining a 100 percent college acceptance rate. Melissa Blasiol, a new guidance counselor, has been hired to help students not only with stress, but she is also “helping them deal with life, family, personal, and school issues as well,” Moschetto said.


Phone: (540) 372-2033 Fax: (540) 372-2033 E-mail: Christine Bemko Kril, NCTM Piano Instructor

1712 Augustine Avenue Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

5opinion pa g e f i v e

Thanksgiving through Finnish eyes

Exchange student looks forward to her first American holiday

Photo by Beth Hunley

by Roosa Berg the falcon flier

“We are celebrating Thanksgiving for the pilgrims and Indians who had a feast because they were celebrating the new settlement. They came together and shared customs with each other. That happened in early autumn of 1621, with 53 surviving pilgrims. That’s why we celebrate Thanksgiving,” said my host-sister, Sarah. I need to admit that actually I didn’t even know that. Since now I know and I also got to know about my hostfamily’s traditions, I have a better sense of how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving nowadays.

“For the past two years we have spent Thanksgiving on our beach house in Okracoke Island, NC and we will be doing that again this year. We will put the turkey in the oven and then go to the beach for a couple of hours to play while it is cooking. We always take our family picture for our Christmas card while on the beach. Then, we return to the beach house and eat our feast. We are establishing these events as our family traditions,” my host-mother explained. Wow, okay. Sounds great! I feel a little bit embarrassed, because I don’t know a lot about Thanksgiving. In Finland, everybody at least knows the name and the

meaning of Thanksgiving, but I don’t know if they really celebrate it. I remember when I was 5 years old. It was Thanksgiving and my sister and I were watching “Winnie the Pooh’s Thanksgiving” on TV. We also had a turkey; well, kind of turkey, it was a part of it. I think some of our friends came for a visit during that day too. That’s basically all I remember about Thanksgiving days I have spent in Finland. Anyway, I just found out that actually some people do celebrate Thanksgiving in Finland, even if it is not such a common occasion there. They do eat turkey and tell things that they are thankful

about and meet friends. Once again, Finns are little bit more reserved than Americans. Because of that I would say Thanksgiving in Finland is restful and thoughtful occasion. I have no experience with America’s Thanksgiving yet, but I am really looking forward it! I think it is awesome to see how excited most of the people are about Thanksgiving. Stores are full pumpkins, turkeys and ornaments! There are also some postcards that say: “Have a happy Thanksgiving!” I think it is great. I am going to send some postcards to Finland to show how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It is also little bit funny, because there still is Halloween,

for example, before Thanksgiving. They are selling Thanksgiving things already. In Finland, they usually sell Halloween stuff and after Halloween, it is time for Christmas. In America I can see Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff in the stores already! Actually that is what I was hoping to see before I came to America. I have always wanted to see how you celebrate Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have only heard and seen in movies how you spend those events. Generally, it is great to see how Americans are excited about events and other things, like school activities.

It would be great if they were celebrating Thanksgiving in Finland too. I think it is a great idea to have a day when you can think and tell about what you are thankful for and how is it going. When I first saw Thanksgiving ornaments in stores in early September, I thought Thanksgiving is right around the corner. When I heard that it is actually a couple of months away, I was really surprised. Still, I can thank you all already for being so lovely and great people. You really are people that everybody would like to get to know and have fun with. Have a happy Thanksgiving! I hope it is going to be like I have heard it is!

New policy leaves students in cold Senior reflects on choosing colleges by Courtney Hoffman the falcon flier

Cartoon by isabel steven



Mary Gray Johnson editor-in-chief

Simone Wicker managing editor

Lauren Falkenberg assistant editor

Staff 11-12

Elizabeth Benavides assistant editor

Courtney Hoffman business manager

Beth Hunley adviser

staff reporters

Allegra Massey-Elim

Isabel Steven

Matt Kirchner

Meggie Roche

Roosa Berg

Samantha King

Wyatt Davies

Wyatt Falcone

The Falcon Flier is produced by the Upper School newspaper class for middle and upper school students. The publication is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association.

Ask anyone; I am always ahead of the game. So when senior year approached, I needed to know which schools I liked and where I was applying as soon as possible. I probably hold the senior class record for the most colleges visited; I have visited 12 since junior year. That number is crazy especially when compared to other classmates who have not visited a single school yet. I think the reason behind our class’s vast diversity in the college search is due to the fact that we were stuck

in the middle of the new college counselor hunt. Our sophomore year, Susanne Nobles, upper school English teacher, announced her final year as the college counselor. We had Tony Durso, head of upper school, fill in during our junior year. Then, as seniors, we were introduced to our new college counselor, David Weiner. We’ve had different counselors every important year during the process. I remember all of us worrying about Mrs. Nobles stepping down because she was known for her college expertise. She was the face of college counseling for years, and although Mr. Durso and Mr. Weiner were extremely helpful throughout the process, the inconsistency was a challenge. continued on page 6

6Opinion p a g e

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Clarifications to Staff ’s Stand •

Stress over college applications coming from all different areas STAFFER CONCERNED ABOUT APPLICATION PROCESS DOMINATING OTHER SENIOR SCHOOL-YEAR PRIORITIES terrifying because it’s like sealing your identity in an envelope for a stranger to evaluate. They judge some of the most sensitive and intangible aspects of our lives: if we’ve pushed ourselves hard enough, if we are contributing members of a community, and if our mentalities match that of a successful student. Each of us tries to write a 500-word essay that reflects something real, impressive, genuine, caring and perfect about ourselves. The trick is, that’s impossible. Despite this reality, we write in fear that we’ll come up short, and the essay is only the first hurdle. In a perfect world, after hours of SAT class, students’ scores would increase to reflect their effort, but that isn’t always the case. When the October SAT scores were released, some people were confounded b y t h e i r p e r c e i ve d “failure.” They moped around school the next day, devastated by the measly

numbers that had come of their long October morning. With early application deadlines quickly approaching, many feel obligated to somehow rapidly improve their critical thinking skills, which isn’t exactly an easy feat. It may seem unusual, but the par t of the application I am most content with is the transcript. It’s simple— it’s the most honest, all-encompassing representation of my work up to this point. There are no surprises in the shor t list of letters on paper, just a fair evaluation of my academic life. This isn’t to say that my grades are perfect, just that I know what they are, and that I’ve earned each one. The rest of the application has become phony. I t’s bec om e a superficial plea for attention, turning what should be a positive, memorable fall of senior year into an emotional, frightening one.

The word ‘simply’ in the fourth paragraph was not said or implied by Head of Upper School Tony Durso. The partial quotation “nothing can be done” in the sixth paragraph was not used in the context in which it was intended by Durso.

Teacher changes create adjustment issues for students The Staff’s Stand

Students are greatly affected by everything that surrounds them in their learning environment. But when changes are being made behind the scenes, it’s almost inevitable that a panic Dickinson College was one of the frenzy may occur. FA lost by Mary Gray Johnson eight members of upper 12 schools Hoffman visted . the falcon flier school faculty alone last year and gained 4 new upper school teachers My juvenile, pink starting at the end of last desk is covered in SAT year. Last year was a parregistration materials, ticular spike, considering college essay outlines, the amount of young and a print-out of teachers that wanted to my transcript, which continued from page 5 continue further in their balances on the highest own education track. L u c k i ly, we h ave stack of books, dominant With the loss of eight overcome our obstacles over the other pieces of and gain of four, we are and are finally beginning my application. left a student body of the application process. Since passing the over 100 attempting to Even though we have daunting threshold of adjust, some of whom been a bit annoyed by application madness, adjusting to the 3rd teachthe many changes, it fear, urgency, and selfer in a year. is a satisfying feeling c on s c i o u s n ess have Head of Upper School knowing that we were become my norm. And Tony Durso has been able to conquer them. it’s not the completion observing what impact N ow my c l a s s i s of applications the loss of teachers has facing the challenge of t h a t h a r ve s t s s u c h had on students. dealing with the differing negativity: essays, letters “There is nothing opinions among our of recommendation, wrong with being frusparents, Weiner, friends, a n d e ve r y - s o - o f t e n trated with a departure g r a n d p a r e n t s, a n d standardized testing are of a teacher with whom siblings. The brawl over just tedious. you felt a connection,” he in-state and out-of-state Compiling a college said, “there is no greater colleges is a common application is absolutely desire to have [qualified] challenge between these teachers come to FA and influential people. stay.” The most important The work the adminopinion is our own. istration does in order Though this may seem to minimize the teacher like a dorky idea, turnover has only been making a pro and con influential to a certain chart might be the best point. One-year conway for us to see our true tracts are awarded to all feelings about colleges faculty members who are and which one truly simply “doing their job” comes out on the top of because FA particularly our list. values the consistency We need to continue from year-to-year. Acremembering that cording to Durso, teachwe had a voice in the ers leave the school for a beginning of the search variety of reasons. Often process and we still times, a teacher joins the have one at the end. community with a firstFA should look out for time teaching job and the Class of 2012. Our then realizes that what college acceptance list they want for themselves is going to be impressive personally and profesand what we do after sionally doesn’t fit with PHOTO BY ROOSA BERG college graduation will College Counselor David Weiner and Lisa Walsh prepare early-decision applications for mailing. being a teacher. While leave you in awe. this instance is out of the control of the administration, Durso has made reaching efforts to strengthen the holes in the faculty. “If a teacher is struggling, I don’t abandon Letters to the Editor them. I make observations for every course, Dear Falcon Flier Staff, whether the teacher is new or a veteran, I I enjoyed reading your first paper of 2011-2012. You have covered important happenings for FA, work with the teachers and I always learn something new about our community from your strong coverage – for example, the to make them better,” effects of the locker changes this year plus the differences between Finland and here. Durso said. It is an especially I want to respond to the “Back Back Back It Off ” article, as my perspective as the Student Government unfortunate situation sponsor can provide some background on the dancing issue.  Mr. Durso did bring this issue to the Student when the students are Government last year.  Clearly, the 2010-2011 Student Government did not relay this to the committee told “nothing can be members, as Blair’s and Adam’s comments about not getting student opinion show.  I am sorry this done.” The students are happened.  One of the downsides of Student Government mostly consisting of seniors is that at times affected in more ways “institutional knowledge” gets lost as brand new members come in at the end of the year.  I wanted to than one, including overbe sure the student body as a whole knew that Mr. Durso did try to work out a solution with the student all satisfaction of the leaders.  Mr. Durso and the 2010-2011 Student Government talked about the dancing issue and were not school, AP scores, bond able to come to a solution.  Yes, he could have asked this year’s Student Government, but at times, the with their advisor, and administration does have to ultimately act on what it feels is right, and that is what Mr. Durso has done morale. Some students this fall.  Last year’s Student Government did not give him a sense that this was an issue the students and struggle because of the administration could come to middle ground on, and, as you all showed in this article, the administration lack of consistency and felt it was an issue that had to be dealt with from the school’s broader perspective. having to build a new relationship with a teacher Each year, the Student Government works on improving its processes, and I know that Mary Gray, mid-year. The most apas President, and the rest of the 2011-2012 Student Government will work to make the transition from parent effect teacher year to year even smoother. turnover has had on AP scores is simply that difSincerely, ferent teachers have different ways of preparSusanne Nobles ing for the test, and that Student Government Sponsor

College search process

Nobles clears up communication breakdown on “freak dancing”


sometimes doesn’t translate to a student, resulting in lower test scores. The Spanish and science department in the Upper School has been hit the hardest, particularly because continuity in those courses is crucial. Last year, the Spanish department went through 3 different teachers. Students were in a frenzy attempting to find stability to prep for their tests and mid-term exam. Multiple Spanish students believe the inconsistency of a teacher is to blame for their drop in their grades. In the science department, particularly AP Biology, the switch from one teacher, to another teacher, back to the original teacher was a confusing circumstance. The styles of both teachers differed just enough to put the students off track in a course where it is important to get as much material covered as possible. The advisory program plays a huge role in the success of the students. Every teacher who leaves, leaves a spot of discomfort. The advisees of a departing teacher are left attempting to trust a new person, and in the case of last year, sometimes trusting 2 new people. It is difficult to discuss grades and issues with someone who has not only just met you, but additionally, has not been ‘trained’ as an advisor to teenagers. Although it may seem like a promising way to resolve the issue, hiring only experienced teachers who will likely not leave is not the solution. Durso believes that some variation is needed in order to run a school successfully because every teacher brings different skills to the classroom. “We are part of a profession that is to educate,” Durso said, “We have a job to bring qualified, capable teachers into the business and when they leave [after their experience at FA], we send out one more good teacher out into the world.” While the job opportunities elsewhere may be a better option for some of our teachers, that does not solve inconsistency at FA. We acknowledge that we’re going to lose teachers, but also recognize that some teachers would stay if they had a better reason to. The support within the first few months of employment is not enough to keep a teacher for years to come and the focus should now be evaluating what is missing from the retention plan. The administration needs to get down to the root of this issue and identify it as an actual problem that has been left unresolved. The urgency for this crisis should become top-ofthe-list, simply because we as students are struggling to find balance.

7 sports Work hard, run harder page seven

The cross country team did a lot of time work this season with new coach Sue Jensen. The chart below shows the top runners’ times as they progressed through the season. by Wyatt Falcone


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Devin Holladay

absent due to injury


Michael Crombie





Alex Workman





Erika Boggs



22:53 (Oct.7)


Brooke West





Allison Hansen




(Sept. 20, returning from injury)


Photo by liz benavides

Photo by Lauren Falkenberg

Varsity tennis team brings the heat out to the courts by Courtney Hoffman

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Confidence has been the key ingredient in the girls varsity tennis team’s positive record this season. Their record of 8-2 (as of Nov. 1) has proven that even though they’re a young team, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Senior co-captain Anne Goforth says the team is filled with talented, dedicated players. “People like to play tennis. They play outside [of FA]. They work hard,” she said. The team beat its conference rival, Highland, in two matches this season and had advanced to the Delaney Athletic Conference finals as of press time. Goforth said the team is focused on preparing for the state tournament, which begins on November 8 with the first-round match. “We’ll work on singles and doubles strategies and point play, getting in good practice time, and getting ready and focused,” she said. The team has also started a new tradition this year. “[Coach William Moss] came into practice with a LeBron James shirt on and told us we needed the confidence he had out on the court,” said Goforth. That began “The LBJ award.” After each match, the LeBron James jersey is given to a player who “played hard and did well”. The chosen player then gets to wear the jersey the rest of the night and the next day. This new tradition has helped the team to “visualize success,” said co-captain Mary Gray Johnson. “We’ve adopted [LeBron James’s] mentality as our own.” During Spirit Week the team displayed their pride in the talent show and at the pep rally. They threw up baby powder at the end of each of their performances, mimicking James’s infamous powder throw, as he powders his hands before a game. “The shirt is a picture of [LeBron James] with the powder, which explains our spirit week powder,” said Goforth. Currently, the team is ranked third in the state but realize their competition is skilled. “The two teams above us are really good and talented and their whole team is really good, so I’m happy to be right behind them,” said Goforth.

photo by liz benavides

Co-captains Anne Goforth and Mary Gray Johnson hold up the LBJ jersey a player earns after a hard-fought match.

Boys basketball preps for season Sports Center awaits improvements


Every boy on the 2011-2012 varsity boys basketball team has the same goal in mind: to win the DAC Championship. With a record of 11-6, last year’s varsity boys basketball team had no seniors and was still able to win more games than ever in FA history. The group is the same except for a few new faces. Sophomore Matt King, who transferred to FA from Chancellor High School, is one of them. King, who previously played varsity basketball at Chancellor, is excited for the season because he knows the group has a lot of talent. He has seen and played with some of them before through travel basketball and the summer program. Freshman player Matt Vance believes in this year’s team. “This group has good chemistry and gets along. I think Matt King will fit in well and bring a lot to the team,” he said.

addition will be added. A glass bump-out will the falcon flier emerge from either the brick wall near the The Campaign for lobby or from the back Tomorrow is a $1.5 of the gym to house million campaign the fitness room, freethat was created two ing up the current fityears ago. Since then, ness room in the upper $800,000 dollars has school. been raised for FA. “It will help efficienThe money cy to have is going toeverything ward two consolidatcategories. ed in one A portion building. of the money It will also goes to the help with bank, which s e c u r i t y,” will free up said Direcdollars for tor of Favarious procilities and grams. Operations The rest Mathew goes to imDawson. —Director of Development prove the T h e Linda Catullo Sports CenCampaign ter. There are for Tomorfour main projects of The next two projects row first began because improvement: a new are maintenance-relat- an opportunity was HVAC system, the ed. The gym floor needs seen. The Board decidgym floor, pool main- to be refinished and the ed to take the risk, and tenance, and an addi- pool ceiling needs to be they have seen a lot of tion. painted. While these support. Air conditioning are maintenance is“We have just been was installed in the sues, they are also for really excited about FA gym as of Aug. appearance. According the show of support 26. This was not only to Catullo, nothing in within the communicompleted for the stu- the gym is unsafe, just ty,” said Catullo. dents, but for the out- “worn-down looking.” Catullo hopes to finside of the community After those three proj- ish the campaign in as well. ects are completed, an June 2012.

by Lauren Falkenberg

“We have a lot of people who wouldn’t rent [the gym] because there was no AC,” explained Director of Development Linda Catullo. Having the gym fully air-conditioned will generate income, and allow the summer program to expand.

We have just been really excited about the show of support.

Photo by Lauren Falkenberg

Sophomore Matt King attends an open practice.

Assistant Coach Todd Pristas agrees that it is important to have a good team bond. “I’m looking for team unity this year. I want them to form a good bond. There is a lot of talent but they need to work together,” he said. Staying focused is another thing the team needs to work on. “Take one game on at a time, and continue to win every game,”

said Pristas. Junior AJ Topps, previous captain, said the basketball coaches are encouraging those who do not participate in a fall sport to join fitness, so players can come into the season already in shape. Pristas’s outlook for this team is bright. “We won’t settle for anything less than to be the DAC Championship winners,” he said.



Thrillers, chillers, and killers: your ultimate scary movie guide by LAUREN FALKENBERG


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Halloween may have passed right before our eyes, but the scare is never ending. Your most feared panic and paranoia is shortly arriving. Only the most daring will watch these three horrific films. Every nerve in your body will be tested and every topic will be covered. From freak occurrences to aliens, horror houses to killers, your scream cells will be begging for more, and they can get just that with these three films. Happy screaming and good luck sleeping.

Joseph Crone, a famous American author, travels to Barcelona after the horrifying death of his wife and child. In Barcelona, Joseph’s plan is to reunite with his brother Samuel and dying father… however, as time goes on, strange occurrences with the number 11 take over Joseph’s life. At first, curiosity is his only emotion… but as things continue and worsen, Joseph soon becomes paranoid and obsessed. The number represents a horrific meaning… what could it be?

Cast List Release Date November 11, 2011

A young lawyer named Arthur Kipps is ordered to travel to a remote village so he can sort out papers of a recently deceased client. He works alone in the client’s secluded house and begins to discover extremely tragic secrets. He becomes increasingly uneasy when he sees a mysterious woman who is dressed only in black. Turning to locals for information, no one tells him anything. Kipps has to find out who the woman in black is on his own. When he realizes the woman’s intentions, the movie leads to a desperate race against time.

Cast List

3 1 PG


5 young adults are stranded in Moscow, Russia where a shocking alien attack forces them to fight for their own survival.

Cast List Emile Hirsch Olivia Thirlby Max Minghella Rachael Taylor

Release Date December 23, 2011


watch this if you liked...

 A Nightmare on elm street (1989)    Taken (2002)

Release Date February 3, 2012

watch this if you liked...  “The Descent: Part 2” (2009)  “Eden Lake” (2008)  “My Little Eye” (2002)

Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds

Local bookstores prove successful With Borders and Joseph-Beth Booksellers going out of business, many people are at a loss as to where to buy books. Yet, there are plenty of independent new and used bookstores in the Fredericksburg area. Many small bookstores have been around for years with a loyal customer base, even when Borders was the main bookseller in the area. These stores each house a unique library filled with first editions, rare copies of books, plenty of fiction and new releases. However, for those who don’t have the time or the desire to search, Books-a-Million, the U.S.’s third largest book retailer, moved into the space previously occupied by Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Spotsylvania Towne Center in August. The store also sells DVDs, video games, electronics, and the Nook e-reader. For those who do enjoy book-hunting, one of the bigger independent bookshops is Riverby Books, located on Caroline Street. With three floors, the store has everything from histories and biographies to myths and fantasies. The classics and new fiction are all


“The Darkest Hour”

“The Woman in Black”

Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn, Lluis Soler, Benjamin Cook

watch this if you liked...


around $10 to $15. The main floor’s walls are lined with shelves with dictionaries, encyclopedias, and assorted books and pamphlets as old as the 16th century. What makes Riverby Books unique is the book-binding equipment that the owner, Paul Cymrot, uses on a regular basis, repairing broken spines and rebinding faded copies of books. The store has a 15 percent student discount and warm atmosphere, both from the comfortable armchairs and the knowledgeable staff. Also owned by Cymrot is Read All Over, another used bookshop that opened on William Street early in 2010. While Riverby Books has more research material, Read All Over sells more bargain fiction, varying from sciencefiction to Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. It has a wide selection of Penguin classics. At the front of the store is a display featuring a particular subject, be it a person, event, or place, that is changed every few weeks. The back room of the store houses hundreds of fiction books all priced two for $5, and every six weeks a new batch is cycled in. Read

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All Over offers a 25 percent student discount, free WiFi, and hosts local events like concerts and art exhibits. It’s just a short walk from Hyperion Espresso. While many have wondered about the future of the small bookstore with the advent of the e-reader and Amazon, Cymrot remains optimistic. “We’ve survived; we were here before Amazon, before JosephBeth, before the IPad and the Kindle. Each one was considered to be the death of small bookstores and some of those things have come and gone and we’re still here . . . People who have always read [books] will continue to. The book is a beautiful thing,” said Cymrot. A third bookstore located in downtown Fredericksburg, The Griffin, on Caroline Street, is both a bookshop and coffee bar. The store has the widest variety of used books, however, 25 percent of the books are new; a customer is more likely to find the latest release than in Read All Over or Riverby Books. All of The Griffin’s books are in very good condition; all are cleaned before they’re put on the shelves. The

Grill impresses


Griffin also sells organic fair trade coffee, greeting cards, and gifts. The 10 percent student discount, free WiFi, friendly staff, and coffee make this shop a great study spot for students. Eileen Griffin, owner of The Griffin, shares a similar outlook to Cymrot on the future of small bookstores. “We have lost quite a few regular customers to the IPad and Kindle, but I think there will always be a market for the printed word and I kind of quit worrying about that . . . I have a lot of optimism and that wasn’t true two years ago,” said Griffin. The independent bookstore community is a close-knit one, with friendly competition at the most. Storeowners genuinely want a customer to find the book they are looking for, whether they are the ones who sell it to them, or not. Cymrot and Griffin both send customers to the other’s establishment if a book cannot be found in their shelves. “We’re book people and that means we love paper and ink and binding … and what that means to them through literature and books,” said Griffin.

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There’s some new competition in town for quick tex-mex. Moe’s Southwest Grill opened up at Cosner’s Corner this past summer and it’s already creating some buzz. The restaurant claims to offer “southwest fare,” but in my opinion it seems to just be Mexican food. Their menu offers everything from burritos to nachos to salads. The food is made for a customer as they stand in line. The setup is a lot like Subway or Salsaritas. This makes it very easy to customize your order. Another convenient thing about their menu is that they make it very easy to mix and match your sides and entrees. The food was full of flavor and tasted very fresh. A huge part of Moe’s is that there are no microwaves, and there are no trans fats or MSGs in any of their food. I could immediately tell when I walked in that it was family friendly and perfect for young children. Not only did it have the kid’s menu placed right at a child’s height, but the whole establishment had a youthful vibe. All of the employees shout out “Welcome to Moe’s!” as soon as a new customer walks in. The walls are adorned with paintings that are reminiscent of something Andy Warhol might paint, complementing the funky light fixtures perfectly. Adding to the convenient elements, there is a salsa bar that comes free with every order, as well as chips. I ordered the chicken tacos with a side of rice and found it to be delicious. The only complaint I have is that the food did start to get a little too spicy after a Quesadillas while. -$4.49 - $7.59 There was always  Burritos a good sized line, but it moved very -$5.29 - $7.59 efficiently. I think  Nachos that this restaurant -$5.59 - $7.59 will be extremely  Tacos successful in its loca-$2.59 - $3.39 tion. It already has hundreds of other locations throughout the U.S.

The Falcon Flier, November 2011  
The Falcon Flier, November 2011  

The November 2011 issue of Fredericksburg Academy's student newspaper