Four students who go against traditional high school customs
crimes against convention
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T CR OSS
breaking the unwritten rules DO
RO ROSS DO NOT C C T O N O D S ON S O OT C S DO NOT CROSS DO NOT CR T CRROOSS O T CROSS DO N O N SD O D S S O R C NOT ON O D S S O R C T O OT C DO N S S O R C T O N O D ROS DO NOT CROSS SD ON OT C Some days it seems that the ROS SD ON primary role of a teenager is OT C ROS obedience. We must obey the law, SD ON OT C Fairfax County’s SR&R, classroom ROS SD guidelines, the rules of our parents
and on and on. These rules dictate how we act, dress, speak. But then there are other rules, unwritten rules, that we all mutually accept. These rules dictate how we live. Rules like, “choose practicality over passion” or “don’t waver from the person you were freshman year.” However, every so often some kids decide to ignore these rules and listen to a different authority. This edition of Oakton Insight is a tribute to them and their stories.
by erica wohlleben T CROSS DO NOT CROSS DO NOT SS DO NOT CROSS DO NOT CROSS DO NO
ROSS DO NOT CROSS DO NOT CRO
March 9, 2009
CROSS DO NOT CROSS DO NOT CROSS
passion is for soap 1 # operas: be practical e l u r (and predictable)
in your hobbies and pursuits
I stephanie lebolt junior Theater accomplishments: • Works in community theater productions • Semester at UCLA Theater • KMT Musical Theater • Reston Community Theater • Captain of Improv team • Theater Lab in DC
n order to relish the glory of stepping technology, so I might major in computer graphics or onto the stage of the Patriot Center and something like that.” receiving your Oakton High School diploma, She has already begun looking at online tutorials you need either a practical arts or a fine about graphic designing and Photoshop, but Chako arts credit. There are tons of ways to appease this said she doesn’t see herself becoming strictly a requirement, and many students make the choice graphic designer. to fulfill it by actually taking a fine arts class. And “[I see myself] doing a lot of different things, not then there are some, like senior Chako Shinmoto just one thing,” Chako said. “I am pretty sure if I just and Junior Stephanie LeBolt, did one thing that I would get whose experience in the fine bored of it.” arts departments goes far Career Center specialist, There are alternative pathways to the beyond completing a graduation Marian Kendrick, encourages standard four-year college. Just because requirement. students, like Chako, who are Take Chako, who is preparing U.S. News says that it is the best college, fully aware of their passion does not mean that it is the best college to graduate this June. In her to consider pursuing it as a for you. four years at Oakton she has career. taken Art I, III and IV in “You have to ask yourself, - marian kendrick, career center ‘what do you want to do? addition to AP Art and 3-D studio art. During most lunches, specialist Where do you want to go?’” you can find her in the art room, Kendrick said, “because pedaling one of the pottery the path you decide to take wheels or putting the finishing touches on a painting. will be very different than someone else’s. There are “All of my electives have been art related,” she said. alternative pathways to the standard four-year college. “I really enjoy it. I used to love [to draw] in pencil and Just because U.S. News says that it is the best college pen, but now I am really into clay and painting. I just does not mean that it is the best college for you.” want to try out everything that I can.” Stephanie LeBolt, like most juniors, is less sure It’s no surprise that Chako sees a career in art in than Chako about the field she wants to pursue as a her future. career. However, she knows she wants to study theater “I want to major in art,” she said. “I applied to all of in college. Stephanie started acting before she began the local art schools.” high school and is passionate about theater arts. Chako’s top choice of colleges right now is George To enhance her theatrical abilities, Stephanie Mason because of its proximity to home. spent six weeks at the University of California in Los Even though she knows that art is her passion, Angeles. The summer before sophomore year, she Chako has heard all of the rhetoric before that “you completed chemistry so that she could take three can’t make money in art.” So she has adjusted her electives (advanced chorus, advanced drama and goals in order to be more practical. Spanish) during the school year. She is taking AP “I know it is really hard to make money in art Psychology online because she is interested in the right now,” Chako said. “Everything is changing to course material but wants to be able to continue with
Fine Arts Careers: By the Numbers
chako shinmoto senior • Art Classes: Art I, III, IV, AP Art, 3-D Studio Art • Top College Choice: George Mason University • Possible Career: Graphic Design “All of my electives have been art related. I really enjoy it” 04
of artists and related workers were self-employed in 2004.
Fine artists earn a median annual salary of
Actors and Actresses work an average of
hours a week Conventions
Focusing on the clay pot before her, Chako Shinmoto works on a pottery wheel. Chako has made the unconventional choice to pursue a career in art.
her drama electives. She is captain of the improv team and active in community theater. The list goes on. While obviously active in working to make herself a better actress, Stephanie has a wide variety of interests and does not want to pursue theater exclusively. “I don’t want to go to a conservatory,” she said. “I want to go to a liberal arts school for a total foundation.” Right now, her top choice for college is Brown University because it has a strong theater program in addition to strong academics. “I have a lot of interests,” Stephanie said. “Brown has a more flexible core curriculum. I want to be able to double major or have a major and a minor.” Kendrick also emphasized that with students like Stephanie who aren’t sure quite yet where they want to be in 20 years, a more traditional, four-year college offers more choices and flexibility. “If you decide to go to the Corcoran [art school] to study art and then after a year decide you want to study American History, you have to transfer,” she said. “We want to try to help you avoid doing that. If someone is not sure what they want to do, trade school or art school is not the best place for them.” To get an idea of what college may be like, Stephanie applied to Governor’s school where she will both work on her acting and go to academic classes that focus on the humanities. She believes that the two very different fields complement each other. “I know whatever I end up doing, theater will definitely be a big part of my life,” she said. “I know I will be somehow working with people in the future. Theater really helps develop your people skills and helps you with public speaking. The skills from drama are not exclusive to theater.”
A starting salary for an actor or actress is
source: princeton review
March 9, 2009
school starts everyday at 7:20 and ends everyday at 2:05, flexibility is not an option
E blair keffer senior • Was dual enrolled at NOVA in the fall to take Spanish and Calculus • Takes Animal Science academy class at Chantilly High School • Works as a veterinarian’s assistant on weekends • Plays varsity lacrosse
very class has one; someone whose leg starts tapping towards the end of class. Someone who looks up at the clock every several moments to ensure that no miracle occurred which sped up time. Someone who is tired of the 7:20 to 2:05 school day. Senior Blair Keffer was one of those students. After three years of the same schedule, she was ready for a change from the mundane. This year she has a completely unique daily routine, because she was ready for a change. “I needed something different so I wasn’t at Oakton all of the time,” she said, “and it really helped to prepare me for college.” Rather than the normal seven class schedule, Blair only takes two classes at Oakton: English and Physics. To fulfill the credits needed for a diploma, she also dual enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College in the fall, where she completed Calculus and Spanish. Guidance counselor Brooke Alexander said she thinks that a unique schedule would not work for everyone. “The type of student recommended [to have an alternative schedule] would be a highly independent student who is self-motivated,” she said. “Someone who can do well without having someone there to monitor them and make sure they are on track. Not many students have the motivation or the time management abilities to do this.” You may be thinking, “Wow, how lucky, she’s done for the day by nine a.m.,” but that’s not exactly how it
works. After attending first block at Oakton, Blair heads over to Chantilly High School where she has a daily academy class. Because she wants to be a veterinarian, Blair is enrolled in a class called Animal Science, which is an introductory course to animal health care. “The problem with academy classes is that they take a lot of time from a student’s schedule,” said Alexander, “but I do love the option for students who have an interest in something to take a specialized program.” Blair also works at a local animal hospital. “I used to work as a vet’s assistant on weekdays at 3 o’clock,” she said, “but now that I have lacrosse after school, I only work on weekends. It’s pretty busy.” - blair keffer, sr. It wasn’t hard for Blair to adjust her schedule because her older brother decided to have a similar schedule two years ago. “I had to talk to my parents and then talk to my counselor,” she said. Alexander said that for the majority of students, a schedule like this would not be as effective as staying in class all day. “I recommend that students are at Oakton for the whole day,” she said. “It’s a special student that can handle it. For the most part, students need to have the time and convenience to be able to see their teachers and talk with their peers.” Although Blair acknowledges that not going to school on a normal schedule has meant major changes for her, she is happy with it and the flexibility it allows. “It’s weird [not having the same schedule as my friends’], but I keep in touch with the people I want to.”
I needed something different so I wasn’t at Oakton all of the time.
blair’s fall schedule monday • Oakton until 9 a.m., home for homework • Animal Science at Chantilly from 12-1:20 p.m. • Work at Pender Veterinary Centre from 3-9 p.m.
tuesday • Oakton until 9 a.m., home for homework • Animal Science at Chantilly from 12-1:20 p.m. • Calculus at Nova from 4-7 p.m. • Spanish at Nova from 7:3010:30 p.m.
wednesday thursday • Oakton until 9a.m., home for homework • Animal Science at Chantilly from 12-1:20 p.m. • Work at Pender Veterinary Centre from 3-9 p.m.
• Oakton until 9a.m., home for homework • Animal Science at Chantilly from 12-1:20 p.m. • Work at Pender Veterinary Centre from 3-9 p.m.
friday • Oakton until 9 a.m. home for homework • Animal Science at Chantilly from 121:20p.m. • Hang out with friends
saturday • Work at Pender Veterinary Centre 6:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
sunday • Homework and relaxing
3 # e l u r
you must with activities started as a
uitting is traditionally frowned upon. The act of quitting is associated with laziness or defiance, but often quitting is the smartest choice we can make. Junior Nicole Nikolich recently made the decision to quit lacrosse after two successful seasons, but Nicole is neither lazy nor defiant. One of the most prevalent conventions of high school is that if you start something freshman year, you keep doing it throughout your senior year. Sports, band, drama, clubs-- no extracurricular is exempt from this notion. However, this rule that is ingrained in our minds makes the assumption that in the four years at Oakton, you will not change. That your interests will not change. Who doesn’t change in high school? Nicole came to Oakton as a highly competitive After two seasons of playing lacrosse, Junior Nicole Nikolich made the decision to quit in order to pursue her art hobby and have time to find employment.
courtesy of nicole nikolich
March 9, 2009
student-athlete. Freshman year she picked up lacrosse and made the junior varsity team. “Freshman year, lacrosse was so much fun,” she said. “I was really close with all of my teammates and I got a lot of playing time. I loved it.” Nicole quickly became a stand-out on the team, and the next year she was one of two sophomores to make the varsity team. “I’m really glad I got to play varsity because I was able to see the gap between jv and varsity,” she said. “Practices and games were so much more intense [on varsity]. I also got to play with [former Oakton lacrosse star] Ashley Kimener, which was amazing because she is so good.” While initially varsity lacrosse was a great experience for Nicole, eventually, because of a loss in playing time and a gradual boredom in the monotonous daily practices, her interest began to decline. During the off-season, Nicole made the decision to spend her spring differently this year. “I still really support girls’ lacrosse,” she said, “but I wasn’t as into it, and I wanted to do some other things.” She’s taking advantage of the free time that she has in the upcoming months to do some things that she wouldn’t have the opportunity to do if she was busy with a sport. “Because of the economy and how bad it is,” she said, “I am getting a job so that I can go out to dinner on weekends and stuff. I want to be an elementary school teacher when I grow up, so I want to get a job where I can work with kids, like the Little Gym or something.” In addition to a job, Nicole hopes to develop an interest that she gained in high school: art. “I’ve really gotten interested in art,” she said. “My mom said that I can take some art classes now. I want to take a studio class of some kind.” Nicole’s interest changed and consequently she changed the activities that she is involved in. While she knows that there might be times that she is going to wish she didn’t quit lacrosse, she is happy with her decision. “I’m sure when all of the girls come to school on game day in their uniforms that I am going to miss it,” she said, “but overall I think I made the right choice for me.”
continue the same that you freshman
nicole nikolich junior Freshman Year: • Started playing lacrosse • Made JV • Pulled up to varsity for the post-season Sophomore Year: • Was one of two Sophomores to make varsity • Played alongside All-American Ashley Kimener • Played in the state championship Junior Year: • Decided to quit lacrosse • Hopes to take art classes and find a job
courtesy of nicole nikolich