oakton high school volume 44, issue 3
BEHINDshadows The reach of domestic abuse inside the homes of students...page 20
Koorosh says buying yearbooks is cool. Be cool, like Koorosh. Yearbooks -- Room 196
look Nov. 24, 2009
05 More Budget Cuts
FCPS is forced to make another series of cuts. Proposals include charging activity fees and increasing class sizes. FEATURE
10 Engaged & Underage
Senior Hanna Choi and her boyfriend have made the choice to make the ultimate commitment. They plan to marry after college.
20 Domestic Abuse Stories of pain and hope from students and teachers who have either been the victims of domestic abuse or are working to end it.
13 Bathroom Raves
A group of junior boys start a new club at school called â€œE-tonikâ€? to share there love of music and dance.
Tips and tricks to having an enjoyable meal with those you are most thankful for.
18 Teaching Tech
33 Date Night
Fun ideas for spending time with your significant other.
38 Boys of the O-Line
For more go to www.oaktonmedia.net
cover illustration by tara gupta
nov 24 2009
Best friends through high school, the football offensive line looks back at their years on the team.
STAFF EDITORIAL A case for increasing teachnology education in the classroom by dropping technology bans and Internet censorship.
letter Learn about domestic abuse, bathroom raves and Delegate Comstock in this issue of the Outlook
hris Brown Hit Rihanna” was the headline heard round the world last February. “How could he?” asked his fans. “He seemed like such a nice guy.” This event opened the national conversation to domestic abuse. It’s not something restricted to a certain race, socio-economic class or even gender. But it is a hidden torture that many people live with on a daily basis. In this issue of the Outlook, we have an in-depth look at domestic abuse and how it affects the lives of some Oakton students. Read the testimonials, which are the real accounts of three of your peers. One student who has an abnormally combative relationship with her brother, another who is hit by her boyfriend and also a student who experiences verbal abuse from her parents. Their stories serve as a reminder that domestic abuse is really, as the headline suggests, behind closed doors. Also, hear about a teacher and several students that are working to ease the pain of the abused by volunteering their time with a local charity and a domestic abuse hotline. Home should be a refuge,
families should be loving and conflicts should be resolved peacefully. If this is not true for you or someone you know, help is out there. Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. In news this issue, take a few moments to learn about Barbara Comstock. Not only is she a newly elected member of the House of Delegates, but she is the wife of Chip Comstock. Have you been hearing what sounds like techno music coming from the bathrooms? Seen a group of boys dancing in the halls? Check out our story on these “ravers.” In our Staff Editorial we make the case for increasing technology use in the classroom and loosening the outdated restrictions on technology. Thinking of buying a Snuggie? Look to the arts and entertainment section to find reviews from your teachers and peers on the popular product. Also get out of a dinner and a movie rut with the different date ideas we have found for you. Finally, get an early look into the upcoming season in the sports section; things are looking good for this winter! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Outlook. Go Cougars!
nov 24 2009
Alex Straton Co-Editor in Chief
Erica Wohlleben Co-Editor in Chief
Outlook Staff Editors in Chief Erica Wohlleben Alex Straton News Editors Michelle Chu Elise Werner
In-Depth Editor Kirin Gupta Sports Editors Daphne Martschenko Alex Buscemi Business Managers
Opinions Editor Zoe Mitchell
Sarah Crain Philip Tam
Feature Editor Tesla Jensen
Photo Editor Sarah Kashanian
A&E Editor Katie Smith Online Editor Koorosh Massoudi Ads Sarah Crain Philip Tam
Copy Editor Vipin Reddy Photo Manager Daniel Chait Adviser Chad Rummel
Staff Lisa Baumgartner Alex Belden Owen Chesser Nikki Clemons Spencer Conley Conner Dick Charlotte Dobry Drew Harrington Morgan Harwood Kyle Hughes Matt Johnson Callum Kelton Jackson Lizardo Jordan Nieusma Michelle Oh
Christopher Papas Julia Picciotto Pasquale Prezioso Sonya Price Shannon Ragan Andrew Reed Shayda Shahbazi Rebecca Singerman Rachel Stanley Matt Steele Andrey Tretyak Nick Ward Matt Woodhouse Dorothy Yen
The Outlook is an open forum for student H[SUHVVLRQ 8QVLJQHG HGLWRULDOV UHÁHFW WKH collective opinion of the Outlook staff. Signed editorials represent the opinion of the author DQGGRQRWQHFHVVDULO\UHÁHFWWKHRSLQLRQRIWKH 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 may be sent via email to email@example.com or dropped off LQ &KDG 5XPPHO·V ER[ LQ WKH PDLQ RIÀFH RU LQ room 196. The Outlook reserves the right to edit submissions for grammar and content provided the meaning remains unchanged.
The Oakton Band recently
Driver Education • Eliminate financial support for the administration of behind the wheel • $0.3 million Test Fees for AP, IB, and SAT • Revenue generated by charging test fees • $1.0 million Class Size Increase by one student • $19.1 million Equipment Replacement Funding • 50% reduction • $2.0 million Activity and Athletic Fees • $100 per sport; per student • $1.2 million source: FCPS
$13,340 per pupil in 2009. This number will drop to $12,898 in 2010.
Winchester. Five judges gave the Cougar Band five 1’s (superior ratings, the highest at the festival). In March the
symphonic band will also perform at a similar festival. If they receive an overall superior rating as well then Oakton will have received the Honor Band award for the 17th time. Dr. Cheryl Newton, band director, said that “it was their best performance of the season.” • Leadership is working with a local charitable organization,
Our Daily Bread, to provide Thanksgiving dinners to less fortunate families. Every semester Leadership students have to do a service project and this year each “family” in Leadership is providing a meal to a specific family in need. They plan on dropping off the food a day or two before Thanksgiving.
er tg om on M
Marching Festival at Millbrook High School in
received an overall superior rating for the State
nov 24 2009
2009 cost per pupil by county
Due to the tough economy, FCPS will be cutting its budget. The county expects to have $64.4 million less in the 2010 fiscal year than in 2009 (a 3 percent decrease). The school board is still finalizing plans, but it is expected that programs will be cut, school staffs reduced and improvements postponed.
Public Schools, but you would be relocated to teach at a different school.” This cut in staff will increase class sizes which in turn will affect teaching methods. “The larger the class is, the more you design lessons differently,” said AP Economics and history teacher Hester Lawver. “You do less group work and less studentcentered work in some respects. Also, when you have 32 to 34 students in a class and one is struggling, it’s harder to help that student.” A problem students face is the chance that the quality of education won’t be the same because of this. “I would be most afraid that with the bigger classes, I might not get the same learning experience,” said junior Janine Crossman. “With larger classes, it’s not as interpersonal with the teachers; it’s not as one-on-one.” Also faced by students is the possibility that they will be required to pay for costly AP exams. “One thing they are looking at is charging for AP tests which will decrease the number of students who will take the class,” Lawver said. by Elise Werner
Ar lin g
n the upcoming 2011 school year, Fairfax County Public Schools are anticipating a budget deficit of around $100 to 200 million. Currently, the school board is creating a budget plan and will release the proposed budget on Jan. 7. To help set the priorities for the budget, the county has outlined a list of potential reductions. Among those that are proposed include cuts to equipment replacement funding and preventive maintenance. “The budget cut would affect Oakton in more than a few ways,” said Assistant Principal Chip Comstock. “It would cut into the large projects that we were planning to do in the near future, like building and renovating certain areas of the school. There are certain things that need to be fixed and updated that we aren’t going to be able to do anymore.” Another reduction that has been suggested is cuts to personnel. “We’ll lose maybe one faculty member per department,” Comstock said. “Most of the personnel getting cut aren’t getting fired, but destaffed. Destaffing means that you still have a job at Fairfax County
FCPS plans 2011 budget
The “Virgichigan” project
national convention in Washington D.C. In the end, Oakton Media Group brought
“Since we live in VA we experience [the gubernatorial race] first hand and it’s easier to understand. But when we read the comments from the MI students, we got another perspective from people who didn’t experience it first hand.”
“I learned that we can all look at the same 30 second video clips and have totally different opinions and that people’s opinions can differ so much with the same amount of information.”
What did you learn from the project? carlie
nov 24 2009
home national awards, including tenth place for the Opus literary magazine, ninth place for the Online Outlook and fifth place for the Paragon yearbook. Awards were also given to individuals within each publication. Among those were senior Katie Smith and junior Emily Bagdasarian who won first place in literary magazine design for their spread that appeared in the 2009 Opus. Also awarded were junior Chris Papas and seniors Erica Wohelleben and Rachel Sapone, who received superiors. Sophomore Shannon Ragan, juniors Zoe Mitchell, Vipin Reddy, Caroline McGrath, Leah Shamlian, Nathan Smith, Lauren Cajar, Nick Mead and senior Linda Tran who received honorable mentions.
uring the past gubernatorial “I think it was really cool because you election, AP government students got to interact with kids who weren’t in our tracked the election process, area,” said senior Stephanie LeBolt. “I think analyzed political activities and techniques the Michigan students learned a lot, too, and blogged with Michigan students about because they thought we were all farmers.” their result predictions. As they blogged about the issues, Using the social networking website students discovered they shared much in Ning.com, government teachers Eliot common with the out-of-state classes. Waxman and Joshua Henry from Oakton “I think it didn’t really make a and Tracey Van Dusen of Ann Arbor difference; it wasn’t like they saw things Michigan created a blog where both differently from us,” said senior Patricia Virginian and Michigan students could Radich. “They pretty much had the same share their ideas. opinions.” “It’s very unique; it’s never been done In the end, as Election Day drew near, before,” Waxman said. students had to make their final “Blogging applies 21st predictions. century skills to the “I wasn’t surprised about the Skype is an online curriculum and expands election results,” Radich said. “I felt software application the project beyond that Deeds conducted a retaliatory that allows users to Oakton.” campaign and McDonnell conducted communicate for “I want them to himself with perseverance and a free via video and collaborate with people calmness that actually attracted voice calls. they don’t know and learn voters.” from one another.” Although innovative and exciting, In addition, he said a lot went into the work behind the the purpose of the Government Virginiascenes. Setting up and coordinating the Michigan project was to teach students site meant back and forth phone calls and to analyze the factors that contribute to a messaging between teachers, and since the successful campaign. site was invitation only, it meant that every As the three classes began to post student had to be added. Waxman said online, senior Jacob Rakosi added a “Who he hopes to bring the two classes together Are You?” blog, a discussion board where again. students could meet each other and post “One of the ideas was to link the two their interests. classes with video conferencing which can “I needed something to get the ball be done through Skype,” Waxman said. rolling. Using this new technology [for the However, he also said the teachers would project] would either be a huge success or need to first sort out “technical difficulties” nobody would really want to do it,” Rakosi on how to set it up, since he and Van Dusen said. use different software. “Who Are You?” acted as the In respect to this past project, Waxman ice-breaker, giving both sides of the said he hopes to do it again next year. “The conversations the chance to know each biggest surprise I had was how into it the others’ backgrounds and correct general students got.” stereotypes. by Julia Picciotto
Opus, a student run literary magazine that features a variety of different art forms, has announced its theme for 2010: ink. “Much of modern communication is still done simply in ink,” said Opus Editor-inChief Charlotte Dobry. “The literary magazine is a way for students to communicate with their peers and the Oakton community.” Last week over 6,400 journalism students from across the nation attended the fall
Oakton and Michigan students blog about the VA gubernatorial race.
“I learned that what we think of ourselves isn’t what others think of us. [I also learned that] there are stereotypes that other students in other parts of the country have about us.”
“It really helped me learn more about candidates, their plans, politics and it helped me make a better informed decision.”
Seniors plan to take over the role
Wednesday, Nov. 20.
History teacher Ty Harris practices a cardiovascular boxing exercise with secretary Bethany Speed. “[In the wellness program], we incorporate the use of pedometers, and fun, easy exercises to help staff members learn how to live more actively,” Harris said.
History teacher, has been releasing a Get Fit newsletter that she compiles and designs, emailing it to the staff daily. “I created the Get Fit newsletters with little tidbits of health information, recipes, and just general ‘get inspired’ information,” Hunter said. “I’ve gotten positive emails and comments from other staff members who say they really enjoy it, especially getting new, healthy recipes for the holiday season.” The success of Wellness Week with Oakton staff may next be promoted to the student body. “We’re looking to actually learn from it, expand it and figure out what works and what doesn’t work,” Speed said. “Eventually we’d like to see it filter down to the students as well, and for us to be good role models for health and fitness .” Wellness Week has evoked an enthusiastic response from the staff. Beth Blankenship, an English teacher, is especially motivated for her department to succeed in the fitness challenge. “Wellness Week Rocks,” Blankenship said. “I’m determined that English is going to win [the fitness challenge] so instead of lifting weights I’ve been running everyday and trying to help English get over the top. And having yummy food is always a good thing, although I do miss chocolate. They need some healthy chocolate, that’s my only complaint.” by Zoe Mitchell
Students were chosen through applications that were submitted on Nov. 25. Teachers were assigned students from three choices the students were required to write on application forms. Students also had to explain the reasons for their interest in participating in taking over their favorite teachers’ role. Seniors will
perform their favorite teachers’ position the entire day. • The purpose of service hours in NHS is to give back to the community. There is a minimum requirement of four hours per quarter with atleast one hour completed in school. There can also be
one hour used from another honors society group. The remaining hours could be completed outside of school including soup
kitchens, shelters, walks for specific charities, etc. The hours turned in must be completed within that quarter. No
hours may be saved
for the next quarter. Make sure signiture is from an adult related to the activity. No parent signitures will be accepted. outlook news
nov 24 2009
of teachers on
he Oakton staff was dancing in the lunch lines, counting their steps and trading donuts for granola bars, all in the promotion of fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. The start of November kicked off Oakton High School’s first ever Wellness Week, designed to showcase the importance of daily exercise and nutrition through activities for the school’s staff. “We thought it would be nice for the staff, as well as build a little motivation and excitement, to [have] a whole week of fun while getting healthy,” said Ellen Reilly, Assistant Principal. Reilly and her Administrative Assistant Beth Speed undertook the planning of activities during Wellness Week, making sure every day there was a focus on exercise and nutrition. “Each day we have something to spotlight,” Reilly said, “[including] healthy breakfasts and lunches,” “daily fitness questions” and “personal trainers donating their time.” The event that resulted in the most participation was the fitness challenge, as it encouraged friendly competition between departments. “We started it off with a fitness challenge,” Speed said. “Each department put together a team and chose a team leader. We issued pedometers provided to us by the Fairfax County Schools Wellness Program and we’re logging the steps walked or miles walked everyday. And at the end of the week the team with the highest average wins.” Staff camaraderie, one of the main goals of Wellness Week, has been one of the many positives aspects seen by Reilly. “Everybody’s mostly having fun with it, especially with the pedometer [challenge],” Reilly said. “You see teachers dancing in line while getting their lunches. Some say it’s made them more aware [of health and fitness]. Everybody seems to enjoy it.” Not only is the staff participating in The winners of the the challenges, but pedometer challege other teachers have were the custodial volunteered to host yoga, staff and maintepersonal fitness and CPR nence department classes. Megan Hunter, a
Staff participates in Wellness Week
This past week,
chorus students have
been wandering the halls, searching for a chosen “victim” to tag with their name for a game called “Chorus Manhunt.” The object of the game is to search for the person that they were assigned to and get them out by tagging them. Once the person has been tagged they have to give up their assigned name to the tagger and they are out. By the end of the game one person will be standing. Students have been seen wearing bagels, Snuggies, capes, ties and other strange articles of clothing as immunities to cause them safety for the day. Tiffany Powell, Chorus teacher, created the game to provide unity among chorus classes. • Oakton
participated in the
State competition on October 31st.
The competition was not against other schools but rather Oakton competing against itself. On a scoring from 1-4, Marching band scored the highest possible score, a one. • On
November 16 Phil Tiller announced he
nov 24 2009
will resign from his position as the cross country and track coach due to his wife’s pregnancy. In early January, Coach Tiller’s second child will be born. He expects to be back for the upcoming school year.
One in a hundred F
Barbara Comstock, wife of Assistant Principal Chip Comstock, was one of the one hundred people elected to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates
rom the Department of Justice to the Virginia House of Delegates, Barbara Comstock, wife of Oakton’s very own Assistant Principal, Chip Comstock, has been elected to serve as one of the one hundred members in the Virginia House of Delegates. After a long summer filled with hard work and campaigning, the efforts of Barbara Comstock and her supporting factions paid off. photo courtesy of chip comstock “It’s very exciting and humbling to be Barbara Comstock promotes her campaign at a part of our state legislature,” Barbara the Great Falls Parade on the fourth of July. Comstock said. “To have the opportunity to Comstock succeeded in winning and now serves as a Republican Delgate for the Virginia serve my neighbors and community is such House of Delegates. a great privilege.” The opportunity to serve as a member of effort towards advocating their campaign. the Virginia House of Delegates was no “We made over 1,000 phone calls, easy feat to achieve. knocked on over 15,000 doors “We worked like we We made over 1000 and walked through every were losing all the time,” neighborhood we could,” phone calls, knocked on said Chip Comstock. “We Chip Comstock said. “I was over 15,000 doors and knew we could do it, but walked every neighbor- the guy who handled a lot of we knew it was going to the finances, and we manbe close. We did so much hood we could. aged to raise over $500,000. work that I can’t imagine We worked so hard my wife even lost 25 the possibility of losing.” pounds in the process of walking. She fits The Comstock household alone devoted into all of her old dresses, it’s great.” over an entire summer’s worth of time and In combination with her hard work, Barbara’s previous experience in the political world was advantageous to her campaign as well. “She’s been in the political world, whether serving in the campaign, the Republican National Committee or the Department of Justice, for so long that she’s accumulated a wealth of experience,” Chip Comstock said. “She always gets the job done and wherphoto courtesy of chip comstock Barbara Comstock campaigns with Bob McDon- ever she goes, she is always sought out and people go to her to get ideas and advice.” nell outside of the McLean Family Restaurant by Michelle Chu
A Day in the Life of Comstock Chip
6 AM - Get ready for work 6 - 7 AM - Get ready for morning meetings 9 AM - Go out in the halls during break with campaign manager or constituents 12 PM - Work on student referrals and get 9 AM - Work on campaign or client issues. ready for lunch duty at 12:30 12 PM - Quick lunch - Do some client 3 PM - Sit at my desk and go through emails work and then out to the grocery stores to and check my calendar. Finish up campaign paperwork. 3 PM - Begin door-to-door campaigning. 6 PM - If I don’t have game cover6 PM - Back to campaign headquarters to age or a play or concert to watch, plan and to get ready to go to fundraising I go home. Sometimes I join event. Mrs. Comstock for an evening 9 PM - On the computer planning the next event to raise money for the day, catch up on phone messages and campaign. email. Ask Mr. Comstock, “Do you re9 PM - On the computer doally need to watch the fishing channel?” ing my bills, call my mom, or 12 AM - Usually still working on client watch the fishing channel and campaign issues and concern, 11 PM - 12 AM - Watch the reading a lot of material to become fishing channel or read a familiar with issues. Then to bed. photo courtesy of chip comstock book or go to bed.
crash. a cougar
lthough any teenager’s first car accident is a complete nightmare, what’s even worse is to Seniors Jessica Ham and Nikki Jenkins discuss have the accident occur right outside of your school. On Thursday November 12, seniors Jessica the story behind their car accident just outside Ham and Nikki Jenkins experienced just that. of Oakton grounds. Just after school ended and the students were leaving, the two girls collided at the intersection of Blake and Sutton Road, leaving their cars with significant like, ‘Oh my gosh, did that really just happen?’” damage. Luckily, both girls have received tremendous support from their “I was driving straight on Sutton, getting ready to turn left onto families and friends. Blake and I guess Jessica didn’t see me,” said Jenkins. “The people “My friends were driving right in front of me when it happened, in the other lane were blocking her and she just hit me.” so they helped out and were there for me the whole time,” said Jenkins’ car, a sturdy Mercedes Benz ML320 SUV escaped with Jenkins. “My family pretty much expected that all teenagers are repairable damage to the bumper. going to get into an accident, so they were just relieved that I wasn’t hurt.” “The front of my car is messed up, the headlights and the Ham received the same understanding from her parents. bumper,” said Jenkins. “My parents weren’t mad at me at all,” Ham said. “They were Unfortunately, Ham’s much smaller 2009 Acura TSX was not so thankful me and my sister were okay.” lucky. This is not the first time an accident like this has occured. “There was a lot of damage to the front and the side of the Students over the years have gotten into many accidents at the car,” said Ham. “We might still be able to have it repaired but the intersection of Blake and Sutton. autoshop hasn’t had time to look yet.” “Because it’s off school grounds, it’s the [Police Department] that In addition to the damage on each of their cars, the accident was deals with it,” said security specialist Wally Baranyk. “But I’d guess simply frightening. The fact that it occurred right by the school only that there are around three or four a year at that intersection.” made the experience worse. Jenkins was understanding about Ham’s mistake. “It was really embarrassing,” said Jenkins. “Like 30 people drove “One lane lets you out but you don’t realize there’s another one by and just stared at you. It happened right at 2:15 when everyone you have to merge to,” said Jenkins. “The people in the other lane was leaving school, so everyone saw.” were blocking her. It’s definitely just tough to see. Especially in the Ham was more worried by how suddenly her everyday activities rain. It was a really high traffic area at a bad time.” became so dangerous. Unfortunately, neither of the girls have been able to repair their “It was really scary that it happened in such a familiar place,” said cars yet. In the mean time, transportation has become a bit of an Ham. “I make that turn on a daily basis. That day I turned [just issue. like normal] but then suddenly my airbags were out.” “It’s hard not having a car to get around,” said Ham. “Especially Jenkins was also shocked at how quickly the accident occurred. since I have a job and do a lot of volunteer stuff. I’m using my “I didn’t even realize mom’s car to get around now but I hate not having my own.” [what was going on] In the end, the experience has pushed both girls to be more careful until after,” said with the way they drive. Jenkins. “It “I’m a much more careful driver now,” says Ham. “Even if it was just takes a longer time, I’ll make sure I’m taking the safest route I can.”
Senior Jessica Ham had a 2009 Acura TSX before her accident. “I’ve had my car for less than a year,” said Ham. “I really hope they can fix it.”
nov 24 2009
Jenkins also found the incident to have made a difference in her driving style. “I’m definitely going to to be a more careful driver,” said Jenkins. “I need to look ahead of me more and yield to other drivers.” by Kyle Hughes
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Relationship Status: Engaged
Choi and Vaughn spend quailty time together. “This was my first serious relationship,” said Vaughn. “Hanna was the only one I really hung out with.”
and Nikki Clemons
courtesy of hanna choi
Posing for a photo, Hanna Choi and Trevor Vaughn attend Vaugn’s senior prom in ‘09. “He was always there for me; he makes me smile,” Choi said.
Information: Name: Hanna Choi Network: Oakton High School ‘10 Birthday: July 24, 1992 Relationship Status: Engaged to Trevor Vaughn
Information: Name: Trevor Vaughn Network: Oakton High School ‘09 George Mason University ‘13 Birthday: April 28, 1991 nov. 24, 2009
fter three years of dating, Hannah Choi, senior, and Trevor Vaughn, 2008 alum, have decided to take their relationship to the next level. They met through marching band in 2006 as a freshman and sophomore respectively, and it wasn’t long before they became a couple. “We were best buddies on band trips,” Choi said. “During Homecoming weekend, I wanted to go to the dance with him, but there was another friend he was going with, so we all went together.” Soon after, Choi learned from a friend that Vaughn had feelings for her, and it wasn’t long before they were going steady. Until then, neither Choi nor Vaughn had held what they considered a steady relationship. “I called [them] girlfriends, but we didn’t hang out or do much together,” Vaughn said. “Hanna was the only person I’d ever hung out with on a regular basis.” Three years of commitment, hard work and love have resulted in a close relationship both felt was ready to develop beyond the usual dynamics of high school. “There’s been a lot of drama, like deaths and divorce for me, and he’s always been there,” explained Choi. “He’d be the only who would hug me and say ‘It’s okay. Things will be better.’ We’ve been going out for three years, and we’re really
Relationship Status: Engaged to Hanna Choi courtesy of hanna choi
courtesy of hanna choi
Choi and Vaughn stood in the bleachers during a football game. “We were both in marching band, until he graduated. [It’s] how we met, basically,” said Choi.
committed.” Vaughn felt similarly as he prepared to pop the question to Choi, nearing the date of their third year anniversary. “[It] was as a good of a time as any, because I was going to college,” Vaughn said. “I [decided] three years was long enough to be sure of how I felt. I love her.” With the advice of Choi’s sister, Vaughn picked out a ring and plotted out the perfect situation to propose. “It was our three year anniversary, and we went to Outback Steakhouse to eat,” Choi said. “He [asked me] if I wanted to get free ice cream, and [told me] to pretend it was my birthday. They brought a saucer out, covered by another plate, and he took a box out from [inside the plates].” Kneeling down, Vaughn revealed an engagement ring to Choi, and she said yes! “The restaurant even paid for our meal,” Choi added. Some may have been overwhelmed by this step in a relationship, but Choi made the transition smoothly. “It isn’t really new to me,” Choi said. “Nothing really seems different. I just have a rock on my hand.” With the support of their friends and family, Vaughn and Choi decided to leave the date of their wedding until after Choi graduated from college. “Everyone’s happy about that,” Choi said. “We’ve known each other for a long time, and our parents get along well. He basically lives in our house already, but we do have plans to live together in the future.” by Lisa Baumgartner
Oakton alum asks Oakton senior for her hand in marriage, and she accepts
Broadcast Journalism Students Embrace New Format by Matt Steele, Owen Chesser and Shannon Ragan
uiet please!” yells Mary Clare McKesson, broadcast journalism adviser, at 8:55am as she watches over the crew of Cougar News as they prepare to broadcast another daily news program. There’s a camera set up on a tripod facing the anchors, Lee Brinkman and Adrienne Picciotto, who are waiting at a desk backed by a giant cougar. “10 seconds!” The atmosphere is professional as the room sits in silence. “Five seconds!” Members of the team that aren’t directly involved in the broadcast spectate from the back of the room. The intro segment to the show begins on a dim TV hung in a back corner; the only audio to the episode in the room comes through Jessica Ham’s headphones as she sits before a computer. Finally, the anchors begin reading their teleprompters, their voices streaming to nearly every classroom in the school as another Cougar News begins. Students that returned to Oakton this year have noticed that Cougar News is no longer a weekly program, and instead informs the students of community news on a daily basis.
“I like that it’s more like a news program because we get to tell students what’s going on every day rather than just Friday,” said executive producer Stephanie Zadora, senior. The program’s new schedule isn’t the only difference this year; in fact, it’s caused several changes. “I feel like our staff has stepped up to being more professional. We have more leaders and executive producers,” McKesson said. “There’s a lot more structure to the class.” As adviser, McKesson is present to watch over the creation of each episode and make sure that everything runs smoothly. For the first 20 minutes of each class, McKesson teaches the students new concepts, including interview skills, editing, lighting and how to tell a story. The rest of the block is spent working on their pieces. The executive producers are in charge of almost every aspect of Cougar News, including the equipment and contests. “We have to lead the class and give out deadlines and assignments, as well as do our own separate projects and operate the morning broadcast every day,” said executive producer Markus Moore, senior.
with Mary Clare McKesson
nov 24 2009
As the advisor of Cougar News, what do you do?
I’m the teacher... so I have to ensure that a show gets on the air and that all students are learning. It’s a completely student-run production; I don’t film or edit; students do everything. I’m there to facilitate the making of the show.
What are the easiest and most difficult parts of your job?
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The easiest part [is] problem-solving with students. The hardest part is getting teenagers to meet deadlines. Some students feel like their story is never done, but it just doesn’t work that way.
Being a cheerleader for the program and working one-on-one with students to bring what they see in their minds to life.
A European dance craze makes its way to Oakton the original “bathroom ravers.” As for the club, they hope to study and analyze different styles of dance, improve their own dancing abilities, and spread European culture. They also hope students will find the club to be beneficial to their health, for Tecktonik is a very active form of dance, and it can help to improve one’s physical and mental health. Hopefully, the benefits of a clean and healthy dance style, as well as the opportunity to study European culture, will strike a chord with the county officials reviewing the club, and hopefully Oakton can keep on dancing.
by Matt Johnson and Allen Luethke
Juniors Koorosh Massoudi, Ben Volpert, Alex Bosman and Trey Manganaan, the founders of the bathroom raves. outlook feature
nov 24 2009
music. It also mixes in elements of electro and hip-hop. With this electronic music comes a very specific style of dance that focuses on rapid arm movement and less on leg movement. Originating in the suburbs of France, this dance style has swept Europe’s dance clubs, and is slowly making its way into American dance culture. Original club founder Alex Bosman spent a good deal of time with Europeans over the summer, and developed an interest in this dance style from being around them. Because of this and his newfound ability to express himself through dance, Bosman became interested in spreading Tecktonik and European culture to the students at Oakton. “It is completely different than American styles of dance and music,” he says. The current dances in American culture involve lots of, let’s say questionable, practices. However, Tecktonik is a completely clean dance style, with the only contact being an accidental bump here or there. Another reason people find Tecktonik to be so infectious is that it is out of the norm. “It’s not mainstream or anything, but it’s got a good beat. It’s just fun,” states Mihir Kamani, one of
he beats are infectious. The music is intense. The lights are pulsing. “I wish Oakton had a tecktonic club,” exclaims sponsor Tim Hudenburg. “Kids these days are bursting with stress from girl/boyfriends, AP classes, and college applications,” says Hudenburg. “I believe that it would be good for students to release their stress somehow, like through dancing.” This current Tecktonic craze at Oakton began with the infamous “bathroom raves.” Students gathered together in the bathroom in the morning before school and used the bathrooms as make-shift, and admittedly rather unsanitary, dance clubs. However, they soon discovered that their morning raves would need to have a sponsor and be listed as a legitimate club in order to continue. Determined to continue, the founders of the hopeful club-to-be sent in all the appropriate forms to the county and are eagerly awaiting approval. However, despite the popularity that the bathroom raves garnered in their short time in existence, many people are still confused as to what Tecktonik actually is. Tecktonik is associated with techno, a very broad genre of
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UNM conflict has bigger NCAA implications
or much of the American population, the Thanksgiving holiday is a time of rest, relaxation, and general gluttony. For us vegetarians, however, it easily can be the most frustrating day of the year. Don’t get me wrong—I (like most herbivores I know) don’t really miss the traditional dead bird on November 26th. I quite appreciate having a solid excuse to shirk the obligation of choking down at least one piece of Mom’s overcooked white meat. Same thing goes for gravy: I never could keep the stuff on my potatoes and out of my cranberry sauce, no matter how meticulously I’d try to arrange my plate. Trading the turkey for the trimmings was, without question, more of a victory than a sacrifice smith for me. a&e editor Yet every year, I find myself faced with the same maddening question. It’s usually from an overbearing but well-intentioned relative, and is only five words long: “But, what will you eat?!” Admittedly, this question made me a bit nervous in the weeks prior to my first meatless Thanksgiving. What if the temptation turned out to be too much? What if the smell of sizzling poultry combined with the pressure of tradition sent me into some sort of primal frenzy, causing me to revert back to my once-omnivorous ways and undermining everything I’d so proudly worked for over the last few months? I had to take some precautions. So, after an hour of wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s, I found what seemed to be the solution: a 26-ounce Tofurkey, pre-stuffed and ready to bake. The outcome? I spent a week leering at the box on the bottom shelf of the fridge, then returned the sucker unopened the day after the holiday. There is simply too much good food to waste calories (or, more importantly, stomach space) on anything sub-par on Thanksgiving. This year, like the last five, I’ll be the one snarfing my third piece of pie while everyone else is sinking into the dreaded “Turkey Coma.” Now, I acknowledge that vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, and most aren’t about to give up turkey cold turkey—but, I encourage everyone to take a look at the food pyramid before bugging their friendly neighborhood vegetarian this Thanksgiving. Or, even better—just take a look at the variety on your own dining room table.
No turkey needed for a happy Thankgiving katie
nov 24 2009
air pulling, punching, slapping in the face: sounds more like a girl fight in a school cafeteria than a NCAA semi-final conference game. Women’s sports can get catty, as naturally suspected, but there’s a line between competitiveness and downright unsportsmanlike conduct. This line has been emphasized since grade school, starting with house sports and friendship leagues. Clearly, friendship league procedures do not translate well into women’s NCAA soccer, at least for some players. Elizabeth Lambert, junior defender from the University of New Mexico, has recently gained national as well as international attention for her suspension after New Mexico’s final game. Claiming status as the player that has, without a doubt, blurred the competitive line, as a consequence, she has probably become the NCAA’s most widely-criticized women’s soccer player, and rightfully so. On more than one occasion, Lambert’s leaping face slaps as well as illegal and malicious slide tackles threaten the safety of the players she’s targeting, which unfortunately, consisted of more than one unlucky BYU player. She demonstrated her out-ofcontrol actions in reacting to an elbow nudge with a punch in the back. Continuing on her unsportsmanlike spree, Lambert’s deliberate grab of an opposing BYU player’s long braid and pulling her down to the straton editor-in-cheif ground is more than obstruction; I thought the poor girl would be suffering from whip lash for the rest of her life. And though it can be claimed that Lambert’s actions could have been provoked by previous short grabbing, her reaction is the epitome of letting fleeting emotions get the best of you. Generally no foul is fair, but in Lambert’s case, no foul is, literally, life-threatening. The limited fouls are the things that allowed Lambert’s apparent hot-headedness to proceed without fault. She’s smart in how she fouls, however, in that the ball frequently never seems to be present, which means the ref ’s eyes are focused elsewhere. Bravo, Elizabeth, but thank god for the taping of the game. Her sparse amount of fouls indicates a larger issue for soccer as sport: it needs more refs than one central and 2 side-line monitors. Even though it can be assumed that college-level players don’t need to be monitored during every second of every game, it can be inferred that Lambert has probably participated with the same intensity much more frequently than her recent stardom has exposed. Her violent stunt has brought attention to the need for more refs as well as emotional control in sports. The hiring of more refs would diminish the amount of illegal, undetected fouls in women’s soccer. More eyes means more observation, and more observation means more opportunities to correct would-be-missed actions, such as those of Lambert’s. It also provides group consultations rather than possibly-biased calls. Though it seems naïve, mandatory sessions should be held before pre-season to teach collegiate athletes how to keep their emotions in check, most beneficial if led by school or team psychologists. Because when it came down to it New Mexico didn’t beat BYU.
A daily Cougar News is a less interesting one
nov 24 2009
Cougar News provides needed information
he transition to a live, daily news show hasn’t been an easy one for Cougar News, but it has been a successful one. Two weeks of work goes into each broadcast, and the challenges of new equipment, new schedules and more content are formidable. However, our Cougar News staff has risen to the challenge and put together daily shows that are informative, interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, many students don’t have access to this important facet of the school media because their first or second period teacher dismisses the show as a waste of time, opting instead to keep the TV off and the announcements unheard. Granted, Cougar News isn’t perfect. The show is sometimes too short to fill the time allotted. This being our first year to go live and daily, there are inevitable glitches that still need to be worked out. However, if we don’t receive feedback from the faculty and students, it will be hard for us to make adjustments. Though we do ask for a bit of patience, lyons guest columnist especially during the first month or so of the broadcast, we maintain that these minor technical difficulties don’t render our broadcast “a waste of time.” Teachers who simply refuse to turn on their TVs only deprive their students of pertinent information about Oakton. Cougar News is an essential part of the school media. It is the most reliable source for up-to-date, relevant information about Oakton’s community. It is a well-known fact that the P.A. morning announcements are often lost in a flurry of conversation. Cougar News provides a format for these essential announcements that is both entertaining and informative. Though the broadcast takes a few more minutes than the P.A. announcements, we manage to cover a variety of topics. Cougar News is a school legacy, and though it has definitely gone through major changes in the last few years, it remains a valuable Oakton media zoe mitch institution and we believe that ell Oakton is well-served with a daily dose of news and humor.
he current plan is Cougar News every week, Tuesday through Friday. This simply does not work. Unfortunately, a daily Cougar News has suffered from a lack of polish and professionalism, whether it is overlapping audio, botched transitions or technical difficulties, the now daily program just seems sloppy. While it should be made apparent that the new show is a live feed and therefore mistakes occur, it should also be made apparent that conveying the news for the day should not be such an ordeal. Announcements should be quick and somewhat painless. For years, Oakton’s daily notices have come over the PA in a relatively efficient manner and Fridays have been left for a much-awaited episode of Cougar News. However, now the school is left to watch what appears to be a scramble every day for the last five minutes of first block to get very basic news and events out to the student body. Cougar News should focus its energy over the course of the two week into a single Friday show and return to a once a week luethke broadcast, a polished staffer final product. Because let’s be honest, who can honestly say they’ve been enjoying Cougar News of late? The skits are no longer as funny as they were on the weekly show and the production feels hurried and amateur. One polished show a week, with in-depth pieces on school activities or student stories, quality news briefs and some light hearted comedy skits will provide for a better show that can more easily hold the interest of students, instead of a rushed daily show. Therefore, the school needs to re-adopt its policy of PA announcements in lieu of a Cougar News on Mondays through Thursdays. Instead, a weekly Cougar News would be more professional, less rushed and more openly received by Oakton, and will make Cougar News Friday something to look foward to again.
W NEW GPA
en ow er
irst quarter was fantastic. The newly implemented 10 point grading scale has drastically improved my grades as well as others. My first thought before it came into effect was the idea that our county would lose its reputation as tough graders. However, after seeing my grade reports, however, I realized how drastically my GPA had improved. As a senior, I have lost most of the bump that the change will give, and although I wish it had been implemented sooner, I’m happy for the freshmen who are enjoying the effects of the new scale from the start. While we are losing our status as tough graders, the advantages we gain from the grade change make the new scale vastly superior to the previous one. I have gained a full point with regards to my GPA after the first quarter. I missed out on having a better transcript to send to colleges, but I still plan to give them my first quarter grades which will hopefully show them the significant chesser improvement in my studies and work ethic. photo-editor At the start of first quarter, classes seemed to be equally difficult in comparison to last year’s classes. After seeing my first progress report, I was ecstatic to see such a change in my usual trend. Classes were becoming easier thanks to a huge confidence boost from the new grading scale. My peers were having the same reaction and I noticed changes in their attitudes and grades as well. My biggest issue with the new policy comes from the scale not being retroactive, so I will still appear to have the lower grades. Luckily, the school board compromised on the topic and allowed for past honors classes to receive an additional weighted 0.5 bump. Hopefully now, when a college looks at my transcript and sees my core classes get a full letter bump, they will see it as strong push for advancement. Never since middle school have recieved such high marks on my report card. With this grade report, my confidence about getting into my college of choice has shot through the roof.
Coast easy with new FCPS grading scale owen nov 24 2009
hen I was asked by the newspaper to do an opinion piece on the grading scale changes, I debated how to truly broach the subject from a pro or con point of view. In some ways, the new grading scale is closer to a college-style system of pluses and minuses, but does it really prepare students for the rigorous environment of academics at the college level? Another point which often surfaced was how our society has come to pander and protect every minute detail of our existence. Therefore, is the 10-point grading scale and natural progression of this construct? My personal feeling on the matter is a mix of both. As a society, we are now obsessed with the idea of something that is measurable, categorical, and easily referenced. When you take that sort of obsession and impress it upon other aspects of worldly perception, you get ‘grass-root’ movements that perceive they are changing the world for the better. For instance, when the group Fairgrade became the advocate for a new, more representative greeney grading scale within Fairfax County, the guest columnist energy behind the change was expressed as a desire to help students become more competitive with today’s college admission standards. The guise of enhancing student achievement for post-secondary education is dangerous and not excessively beneficial to students preparing for college. College entrance is a difficult and lengthy process that is predicated by the thought that colleges determine eligibility solely on academic performance. In many cases, this statement is false. College selection committees take the time to read reference letters and student essays, and those parts of an application are much more telling to who a student is than any GPA. In addition, once students have been accepted into their institute of choice, the rigorous coursework begins and there is no fallback group to change the grading scale of a college or university. Our society has started to manipulate situations so as to create an environment where no one can fail and everyone gets a ribbon for doing their so-called best. Students are not stupid and are well aware of how to play the system that has been created. Some students will never be completely happy until all grades are an A. Some parents will continue to say that their child was graded unfairly. Some teachers will just blame the laziness of students, but in the end, shifting the responsibility away from ourselves is what defines today’s society. Now, no one can argue with our desire to see our children succeed, or to protect them from the harsh reality that is the ‘real world’ for as long as possible. I am just as guilty of trying to placate the masses as anyone, but does it really service our students to provide them misleading or misconstrued constructs? Maybe it is time to reassess our assessment of students and allow them to rekindle a desire to overcome their own failures and shortcomings instead of pandering, placating and protecting them from every negative in the world.
New grading scale shelters FCPS students
D E The way I N
that students use E D technology is changing:
S S CE FCPS needs to utilize these
innovations for educational purposes. have manuscripts of reading found in high-school curriculums, flashcards, and even daily SAT vocabulary words. Twitter has many academic related “tweeters,” like AP Stylebook and SAT Words, both of which can send academic themed updates to students cell phones. The internet provides students with access to so much potential learning material, all that can be found quickly and easily by the computer-literate with a few clicks of a mouse. Today’s students learn more and more through collaboration, not only with each other, but with the resources found online. FCPS should recognize that by controlling what websites students can and cannot use, helpful and innovative sites that contribute to student’s learning outside of school, limit their learning within school. If students were allowed access to email providers, they could easily send files and homework assignments to be worked on or printed off at school. Blogspot.com has posts about millions of different topics, many of which can be utilized for information for projects and resources. Of course, for the purpose of reassuring parents, some internet
The Outlook’s top three usages for technology in the classroom:
This popular social networking site has many tweeters who update with testing tips or new vocabulary words. Our favorites? AP Stylebook and SAT Words.
Powerpoint presentation can easily be made into flashcards to put on an iPod or iPhone, and the Apps store in iTune has different math, english, and vocab apps.
limitations would need to be set to block pornographic material, as certain limits are necessary to maintain an acceptable school environment. Unrestricted access would, undoubtedly, be utilized in an inappropriate manner by some students. But FCPS should also be aware that students have plenty of ways to get around the schoolfirewalls, and break The Staff Editorial is censorship rules the official opinion of already. the Outlook FCPS should keep to its mission statement and begin to introduce useful and innovative technology within the classrooms. Schools should invest in laptops, or even encourage students to bring in their own, and encourage usage in classrooms for note taking and research. Teachers should attend sessions to learn about them on how technology can be used in the classroom, and how students’ cell phones and other device can actually help them learn. The way students are learning is changing. FCPS needs to get with the times, and truly give students the “world class education” they’ve been promised.
3. Cell Phones
Teachers can use their emails to send 160 character text-messages to students, giving them study tips, exam changes or important annoucements. outlook voice
nov 24 2009
airfax County Public Schools’ goal, as stated in their mission statement, is to “provide students with a world class education that prepares them to be responsible, productive citizens of the local, regional, national and global community.” Unfortunately, restrictive policies in county guidelines prevent students from becoming acclimated with the most prominent resource in high growth industries: technology. The reality is that few students will find themselves in careers where a basic knowledge of tools like cell phones, iPods and laptops is not critical. Businesses use social networking sites for public relations, video programs like Skype for interviews to hire employees and Twitter to conduct interactive meetings. There is no reason that high school should isolate itself from the “real world” and continue dated teaching practices. Technology can actually be used to create a teaching environment that is relatable and comfortable for students, as they would be utilizing resources that are familiar to them. The iTouch has multiple applications that are geared towards learning, including e-books, many of which
Peace Day: All You Need Is Love
andy nov 24 2009
ellness Week has proven itself to be an innovative and fun way for the faculty at Oakton High School to practice healthy habits. Through the use of pedometers, physical training, and special breakfasts and lunches, fitness awareness has definitely risen among our staff. However, students should observe their own Wellness Week. We all know that the United States has a “weight problem”. For the most part, this is because exercise and eating right is presented as difficult, tedious and unrewarding. The delayed gratification we receive for our efforts often seems minimal, especially when compared to an extra-cheesy pizza or the variety of meals one can buy at any McDonalds, Wendy’s or Burger King. But what if kids started seeing the enjoyment and small wins in being healthy? Of course, it is difficult for someone with a weight problem to reach a healthier size, that’s why there are countless programs and diets in our society - that often don’t work. Nevertheless, if fitness was presented to students as Wellness Week was to the faculty, maybe a valid nieusma start towards a better lifestyle could begin. For example, staffer the pedometer competition was very popular this year – receiving immediate results of one’s own progress and the entertainment of contending against peers provides great motivation to walk or run just a little more each day. Also having a healthy breakfast or lunch that is new and interesting to someone makes eating healthy more exciting. It is true that extending this program to the student population would be difficult to organize; and many probably won’t even participate if they get the chance. In this case I believe the benefits outweigh the risks – if the program falls through then we can limit Wellness Week to the faculty once again. And if the students are properly informed of the event before it happens and are excited to participate then a good amount of kids will probably join. Honestly, why shouldn’t fitness week extend to the student population? It is clearly harmless and uncomplicated; there is no requirement to do anything. The administration shuold carry out Wellness Week directed towards students as fitness guidence can really make a difference to someone; hopefully long-term.
rom one human to another, the reality of the way things are going on Earth, is that it sucks. The current state of our planet is that we are in great turmoil from all these events spawned from hate and malevolency. There are civil wars, economic plagues and world leaders speaking to other leaders with such animosity they could kill by words alone. It is time for a revival of peace, tranquility, focus as well as inducing a temporary pause from all that is destroying humanity from the inside-out. Every year, 17 November is World Peace Day, comparable to the International Day of Peace on 21 November. Both days have no known creator, but were definitely created to bring peace into the lives of the corrupt, violent and those in need of peace in their lives. There is no set location or a time window on these days, but the idea of reed peace and realization is the most staffer important item to follow. You have a year to think about this, but some ideas to aid in your ability to revel in on this day are to grasp hands with others, listen to music or to quietly meditate. In order to make a statement powerful enough to actually reach the mental consciousness of the world’s great leaders, there must be a “mass demonstration” to show that we humans really do wish for peace to occur. There are many elephants in this room, but if one was to be pushed out, the rest would follow. Using this mindset, change must occur to better ourselves as a species, but won’t happen until the first change is made. 17 November, as well as 21 November, are days to be kind to your fellow man, shout John Lennon’s “All You Need is Love” from the rooftops and to make the first change to save humanity from its own extinction. Note this, my dear semi-annoyed reader, this is not a complete stop of all “work towards a better future,” but more like a ceasefire of what causes us to squabble with one another. A closing message I wish to leave you with is to love the species you’re in, and just maybe, we can make the change to push the first elephant out. A shout-out goes to Peaceguy, who I thank for his website on Peace Day and whose ideas I really hope will make a difference in this world.
Students should be included in Wellness Week
Yeah, Oakton! Getting fit and healthy, one step at a time! nom nom nom Class of 2010 Nina Wagner
e -d p
You see it, lurking, out of the corner of your eye, but no one is willing to put it into words. It’s victims suffer, endure, survive. Maybe one day they will remember; maybe they will speak. Maybe they will forget... The following is an in-depth examination of domestic abuse, at Oakton High School and in our larger community. Three testimonials of student experiences, as interpreted by Kirin Gupta, allow a look inside the minds of victims you may pass everyday in the halls. Interviews with psychologists, statistics and information about the programs which exist to help the victims, friends and families affected by domestic abuse also follow.
Disclaimer: This section contains potentially disturbing mature content, including violence. Read at your own discretion. nov 24 2009
*Names of the involved persons have been changed to protect privacy.
As Long as I Breathe In A portrait of a sibling abuse victim Her face is bright, even as he stands beside her. Her tone is forcibly light when he touches her hand to get her attention. He disregards the rigidity which flashes up her spine like an electrical jolt of awareness. He tells her he is leaving for an hour, and will be back. She nods a stiff assent and wonders silently where her father is. Not that he would help. When Henry* returns, she is sitting in the kitchen. He is early. She wonders quickly if she can evade him, and leaves the pasta on the stove as she picks up her books as quietly as possible. He sees her gathering her notebook and stops her with a look. Ask me what’s for dinner. Ask me to fetch something. Don’t remind me, Henry. Don’t. He doesn’t ask her any of the things she prayed he would. He asks her what she thinks she’s doing and forcibly turns her head to watch the overflowing pot. She mouths an apology. He is already distracted. She gets up to stir and wishes her father was home. Henry waits, flipping on the TV, switching a magazine for a book, looking for a CD. He kicks her things aside and stares at her. She can feel his eyes following her actions. Drilling, cold, thin spears of light that make her numb, that penetrate her skin and reach inside her with icy fingers. His grip on her wrist when she goes to pack her bag is not as cold as those eyes. And when his fist makes contact with her stomach, the way her inner organs move makes her feel sick with relief. He has begun. And she knows, once it has started, that the worst of it has passed. The chill dread of anticipation is the only feeling she ever sustains in this house when she is alone with her brother and he is not hitting her. When he is hitting her, she is in familiar territory. She can see the next step. He never goes so far as to inflict a pain she cannot cover up, the kind of pain she wouldn’t handle herself.
She wishes she were anything other than “small, useless, and weak,” the way he spits at her that she is. She moves away from him, attempting to remedy the problem, trying desperately not to be “always worthless and in [his] way.” Henry’s fists have an innate magnetism toward her. His right hook bruises her rib, and she doesn’t cry. She takes his swift uppercut hard and kneels, perfectly still before him. Her lip begins dripping blood onto the unpacked bag and she licks the wound, refusing to waver. She is being useful. This is how he makes use of her. This is why he lets her live. He shares with her a family: a father, a house, a dog, and all the necessities of life. Henry allows her the faculty to live like a normal girl, allows her to make her way to practice and to drive home. He grants her several days a week without assault. This is how she must pay for his privileges. They are not his to give, but she reminds herself of everything she does have, and how she deserves this. He does. He brings me pain. But I deserve this. My father may see, but he will not lay a hand on either of us, nor say a word against my brother. He would not ignore it if there wasn’t something honest about why Henry hits me. My father’s silence hurts. But my brother’s smile, when he hears a rib crack in my side and stand up, satisfied, is ten thousand times that. The comments on my inability to dress myself when people notice my heavy application of concealer… those comfort me, because it means they haven’t noticed the bruises underneath. The sting of soap in a shallow cut is more familiar than a hug. But it doesn’t really matter. This could last as long as I can live. As long as he teaches me my lessons. As long as I let him. This could last for as long as I believe I can live this by myself. As long as I remember to crawl away when he’s finished and wash carefully… This could last. But I will last, too. As long as I can breathe in... as long as I can breathe out...
will not let you hear me scream. I return your smile, defiant. You cannot know how much it costs me. One hand behind my hip supports me against the wall. You watch me stand, shakily. It is something you will not like. I know you. You are waiting for my diffidence. But it will not come. I am not yours. I will not kneel. I will not slide to the floor simply because my body says to crumple. When my spine wants to collapse, I will not obey a bodily impulse that has less force than my will. I will not fall to you.
I have not. And I will not. I will find a way out. But for now, I will pay dearly for my desire to escape. You twist your hand in my hair and yank my head back. Needing my hand behind me for support, I cannot stop you; immobilized and exposed, I almost believe that your kiss will finally kill me. You whisper to me
what a mess I look. There are tears burning in my throat which I will not let you taste. I nod, imagining the smudged eyeliner and smeared lipstick. You drop your hand from my hair, letting my head fall to my chest, and wrap your arms around me. You are not sorry. But you have finished your act of possession. I sink into your shoulder, hating myself for breathing deep to reassure myself that it is still you. It is the most frightening of any reassurance I have ever sought. Perhaps, it is because I can still remember when your love was new to me. I realize it was not the beautiful illusion you painted for me. There is something that lives inside of you. And you have written it all over me. With the scars on my side, with the bruises that line my wrist. You wanted to possess me, and you claimed me by writing your name in my blood. I will not breathe a word. I can barely breathe at all. I have no energy to do anything but stand. our fingers on my pulse and the flash of your eyes brand fire into every movement I make throughout the day. Not because pain lances through my side every time I bend to pick something up, but because I can feel the sting of your slap as though it was seconds ago. Because I feel that despite my long sleeves, my scars are visible to everyone... But in front of the rest, you will wrap an arm around my waist and smile serenely, and no one will see the hard flint of possession in the pupils of your eyes. I know I am the only one aware that when you kiss me, you are killing me. On the brink of oblivion, you can leave me, and we will resume tomorrow. Sweetheart, I will survive you. I will. And listen when I swear to you that, until then, I will not surrender.
1.3 million women and
men are physically assualted by an intimate partner in the United States each year.
1 in 5
high school girls report experiencing physical or sexual abuse in a dating relationship. Amongst girls who experienced abuse, more reported smoking (26% vs. 10%), drinking (22% vs. 12%) and using illegal drugs than the average teenage girl (30% vs. 13%).
sexual violence victims are women.
of sexual assaults of adolescent and college age girls can be attributed to date rape.
of these women are minors between the ages of
14 and 17.
nov 24 2009
You are everything I do not understand. I do not belong to you. Hold me, baby. Cradle me like you care. Your arms around me like a vice., restraining my breath. I rub gingerly over a cut from last week. But you keep my wrist in a firm grip, three fingers over my pulse; I know you can feel my heart beating because I am already dizzy with the sense of excess blood flow. My heart slams out a beat at double its normal rhythm against my bruised ribcage, and I have a wild impulse to laugh at myself. For still enduring such agonizing anticipation, when we both know what will come. You drum your fingers impatiently on my wrist, which twitches in your grip. And then your eyes flash. You are ready. One corner of your mouth lifts, and you kiss me momentarily. I remember when being in your arms would thrill me. When it was not a moment of fearful anticipation. It is seconds before I am flung away from you. I wish the distance would keep, but I can feel you advancing. I know my parents wonâ€™t be home for hours. I know by then I will have cleaned up, and you will have left. I know the way you play your game: no one will suspect. My knees shake when you knock the air straight out of my lungs. I gasp audibly. You ask me if thereâ€™s something wrong. The familiar, metallic taste of blood comes from somewhere, and I think I must have bitten my own lip. The room spins. I remember holding these hands once. You throw me hard, and I hit the wall. My hip smashes into the doorknob and I bite back a sharp cry. You smile, inviting me to finish the noise. I refuse. Because I
A reflection on abuse in a relationship
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I Will Never Surrender
of abusers were childhood victims or witnesses of household violence.
of adult women have been raped by a father or stepfather in their lifetimes. Nearly
of batterers saw violence in the household as kids, and many were victims of it themselves. Habits of domestic violence are frequently passed down from parent to child. Almost
Americans know of someone who is/has been a victim of domestic violence.
nov 24 2009
of Americans know a woman who has been abused physically by her intimate partner in the past twelve months.
Your Words Leave Me
A testimonial of parental abuse She realized she would never be good enough. The most she could ever do was try and trying is not accomplishing, not when you were as incapable as this. She had been taught that. I have been drilled. I have been seasoned. I have been cared for. They did care for her. With the same attitude one has when roughly polishing a piece of wood furniture, they expected her to shine for company, to sit quietly and unobtrusively amidst all the accomplishments that they felt were necessary. She sits. She suffers in a silence made eloquent with agony. She suffers for not being fast enough. “If you can’t win the race,” her mother tells her after her first meet, “those legs are useless anyway.” Her mother offers to solve the problem and snap them in half. She nods quietly, signifying her obedience, and concentrates on keeping her knees steady. Her mother glares at her in disgust. Sarcastic words bite at her as she backs out the door, unwilling to turn her back to her mother. “Slow and mute. Oh, excellent. Everything you could ask for in a child.” She suffers for her selfishness. Nothing she ever does is for others; her mother screams.
She cowers under the piercing screams. You’re wrong. Everything I do, mom, everything is for you. The dish flies at the sink and the tormented shriek that follows shatters everything inside her in sync with the flying glass. Thousands and thousands of pieces more brittle than the broken plate tear at her insides. Her mother shrieks that she never wanted children. How no one would ask for this. And the girl steps back quickly, shoved out of the room by her father, who goes to clean the broken glass on the floor. She holds her head high and pretends she, like the wine glasses kept safe under lock and key, is not the shattered soul on the ground, but proud and strong, still unbroken. She suffers for her ugliness. She feels the heat of her mother’s stare and it’s almost enough to knock her down when she steps over the threshold of the living room for a final inspection. She dreads going out; though her careful eyeliner and impressive taste garner compliments from friends, they never fail to find fault in her mother’s eyes. The skirt is too long, now too short. The shirt hangs wrong on her frame, but her mother throws up her hands in frustration and tells her to drag her disgusting self out the door. Nothing can actually be done to recover from such a state
of disrepair. She is too wrong to be fixed. She suffers for how much she cares about her mother’s opinion. Suffers for listening, for taking it to heart. Suffers for wishing away the pain, willing strength and improvement for herself into being. She tells herself it is possible. I wanted to believe that her words had lost their power. I wanted to believe they were no longer strong enough to affect me more than my father’s admonishing slap. I wanted to tell her I wasn’t moved. Not even bothered by the things she said. But it would be a lie. So I accept it. I listen, even though I know how much it will hurt. I let the salt spill into reopened wounds because it soothes her to know I will be the one filled with searing pain, not her. I do not know where her pain comes from, but it falls to me to absorb the sharp edges of her hurt. I am cut into a million pieces by those phrases, each syllable like an icy razor drawn over the same gash, time and time again. The brush-offs, the names, the accurate perception of my biggest insecurities. Each time she speaks, she drips fire into my veins, branding me with her venomous opinions. I am blistering, burning, struggling, when every word from her tastes like poison. Every syllable cripples me with more strength than a blow. Her words leave me broken.
Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM), located in Chantilly, Virginia, is an organization dedicated to ending the cycle of abuse and homelessness. It attacks both problems at their core, offering assistance in the form of food, clothing, educational services and emergency financing to the homeless, who in many cases are driven to leave their homes by domestic violence.WFCM aided 2,117 victims of domestic violence and homelessness in 2008 alone, a testament not only to its success in the pursuit of its mission, but also to the need a proportion of the county’s population has for such aid. Oakton juniors Erica Riddle, Jennifer Riddle and Grace Newman dedicated their time to help the Ministries end the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness in Fairfax County. Erica and Jennifer volunteered
in the Ministries thrift shop, each developing a similar attitude towards their work with the organization. “I volunteered the summer before freshman year,” said Erica. “It was mostly busy work, but I knew I was contributing to the community.” “I felt like I was helpful because I made it easier for people to afford basic needs,” Jennifer relayed about her experiences with the Ministries. Not only do the Ministries provide the homeless with tools as they reconstruct their lives; it also provides them with elements that create comfortable atmospheres in their new homes. Jennifer described these as “non-necessities, like furniture and things a person can put around his or her home.” These comfort items are especially beneficial for those who have been victims of domestic violence.
Grace Newman developed identical feelings towards the work she did for the Ministries’ soup kitchen. Though she was assigned “non-contact tasks like sorting food and organizing office documents”, Newman was well aware that her time spent in the soup kitchen helped feed many empty stomachs while keeping the homeless off the streets and saving some from the domestic abuse that awaited them within the walls of their old homes. Though Erica, Jennifer, and Newman admittedly had little to no contact with the people they were aiding, their passion to end homelessness and domestic violence was charged by their learning experiences with the Ministries. “I learned a lot about people in general while volunteering,” said Newman. “I’m glad that I could do my little part to stop homelessness and domestic violence.”
National and Local Help Centers
Domestic abuse victims are not alone: a wide variety of help hotlines, centers, and websites are available, all with relatively easy access on national and local levels, most with the option of remaining anonymous. Victims or those who suspect someone they know may be a victim are encouraged to call and seek couseling. National Domestic Violence Hotline Phone: 1-800-799-SAFE The 24-hour hotline is for victims and those calling in their stead and provides safety information, intervention options, and information.
Fairfax County Artemis House Phone: 703-360-7273
The 24-hour hotline provides information and support for both victims of sexual and domestic abuse and those concerned for them.
National Sexual Assualt Hotline Phone: 1-800-656-HOPE Web: www.rainn.org
As the largest anti-sexual assualt organization in the US, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) endeavors to prevent assault and help victims of sexual assault; it also seeks to bring offenders to justice.
Bethany House of Northern Virginia Phone: 703-658-6500 Bethany House offers emergency housing and serices for domestic violence victims. Staff is available to assist English, Spanish and French speakers.
Looking for more local or national help? Check out http://www.fairfaxcounty. gov/dsm/dviolence/rscorganizationsatoz.htm
Abuse victims are not the only ones with help available. Abusers ready to correct their behavior also have help available. Fairfax County Anger and Domestic Abuse Prevention & Treatment Phone: 703-968-4052 Aides abusers with learning anger management and provides domestic abuse intervention.
Violence Intervention Program Phone: 703-246-3033
This program offers psychological help and self evaluation classes for batterers in Fairfax County.
all homeless women and children are escaping domestic violence.
Over of the women harmed by domestic violence are harmed again by the same abuser, even after seperation. For both the victimizer and the victim, domestic abuse is destructive. Those with incomes below
$25K are three times more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse than those with incomes over
$50K. On average, urban areas have about
higher rates of domestic violence between intimate partners than rural areas. The National Domestic Violence Hotline rescieves about
10,000 calls per month.
nov 24 2009
by morgan harwood and charlotte dobry
Western Fairfax Christian Ministries works to prevent homelessness and domestic abuse and in Fairfax County: three Oakton students have joined the fight
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Aiding those in Need
A Sympathetic Ear
How did you begin volunteering with a crisis intervention hotline?
Who would you recommend to join this type of organization?
The average high school kid isn’t usually allowed now, but in college there are opportunities. The type of person who is involved in this work is an active listener, is open-minded, and empathetic.
Why did you stop working on the volunteer hotlines?
After about 10 years, it got hard and it got scary. It’s not like a stranger doing this. I did also work with police training in approaching a victim, and worked as an administrator for about five years after, but I stopped answering the phones.
What did you learn from this volunteer experience?
Something that I learned from this experience, was that men and boys are victims, too, not just women and girls. I also found that the attitude of the police and hospital personnel can make differences in the victim’s well-being. There were lots of different types of calls, everyone there was trained but none were specialist, so we had to know our limits and almost always offered the name of therapist the caller could see. Something else I did learn was that the victim of sexual assault loses control and needs to gain their sense of control as soon as possible – you never give an opinion to them, such as calling the police, whether to pursue criminal proceedings: it’s their choice.
“Abuse”: The Word From an Expert Rebecca Bernotas
in nov 24 2009
Abusers are typically hyper-aware of slights because their sense low selfesteem.
What do you know about domestic abuse? Are women are the only targets? Does it only happen to people of a certain ethnicity? School psychologist Rebecca Bernotas explains the answers.
A spouse may irrationally or immaturely expect a partner to behave, think or respond a certain way, increasing emotional tension.
buse could [happen to] anyone, any race, any gender,” said Rebecca Bernotas, Oakton’s school psychologist. “When I think about the few cases I’ve dealt with, they have spanned all grades, sexes, cultures. [There is no] one socioeconomic class or culture [affected] more than any others.” While abuse cases have may have only “come up a few times,” Bernotas is well aware of how abuse affects a student’s performance in school. “If [a student is] the victim of abuse, it’s obvi-
I was in high school when I first started volunteering [at the Victim Assistance Hotline], around 17 or 18. I was the youngest there, and went through the training to take calls and worked eight-hours at a time in a nice room with a TV and phones. Sometimes we worked with a partner. One of the important things we learned was how to identify calls: sometimes the caller was just someone who needed a listener. If they appeared to be suicidal, however, we had to respond in a specific way.
Feelings of guilt, rejection, inadequacy, disrespect, powerlessness, or of being disregarded and unloved can all lead to partner abuse.
Sue Anna Clark
Believing that the loss of a relationship will ruin them, an abuser’s reaction will reflect that belief, even if it’s untrue. Some reactions lead to mental, physical or emotional abuse.
Psychology teacher Sue Anna Clark answers questions about her experience and memories of volunteering for a crisis intervention hotline
Abusers generally have low selfesteem and little respect or compassion. When feeling threatened, they typically react with aggression and anger, to eliminate their own selfdoubt.
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ously going to affect them. If you’re being abused in any way,” Bernotas explained, “it’s going to affect every aspect of your life. You might be more stressed at school, making it harder to study, maybe making you have a harder time with your relationships— peers and teachers and school— making you more emotional.” While some students may show signs of abuse, victims don’t always show signs or step up and report a problem. Sometimes, they don’t need to. “If teachers notice, they might make a report to us. Sometimes friends of the students come in and say ‘I think my friend is being abused,’ or ‘I heard a rumor that my friend was [being abused].’ Sometimes it’s other students, sometimes it’s teachers, sometimes it’s even other parents calling in. There’s numerous ways.”
Alice Sebold (author of “Lucky”)
Alice Sebold is a world-renowned American novelist, author of international bestselling novels such as “The Almost Moon” and “The Lovely Bones.” However, it’s her first published novel, a memoir titled Lucky, that reflects the tragedy of abuse that Sebold was forced to endure. While a freshman at Syracuse University, Sebold was attacked by an unknown assailant whom she later identified following months of police efforts with no leads. After the ordeal had ended, an officer working on her case told her that after enduring such an assault, the fact that she was alive made her “lucky,” her memoir’s namesake. Following her attack, Sebold found that she could heal from the abuse by expressing her emotions through writing, and she wrote her debut novel as a symbol of her personal triumph.
The media amplified it and headlines around the nation proclaimed the shocking news. In February 2009, music superstar Rihanna was beaten by hip-hop star Chris Brown, her boyfriend during the time of the abuse. The assault occurred in a car being driven by Brown, and was allegedly instigated by a dispute that had erupted between the couple. Despite Brown’s being sentenced to community service and surveillance in his home state of Virginia, the emotional scarring he inflicted on Rihanna was seemingly pervasive. However, Rihanna has publicly asserted that she has healed from the abuse, become a stronger woman, and will utilize experience from her ordeal to aid other victims in healing and progressing from the dismay and disillusionment of domestic abuse.
Tyler Perry As a child residing in New Orleans, Louisiana, director, producer, screenwriter, author and Hollywood powerhouse Tyler Perry and his mother were persistently beaten by Perry’s father, Emmitt Perry Sr. Oftentimes, Perry was forced to escape his father’s abuse, primarily instigated by Perry Sr.’s repeated alcohol abuse and anger management difficulties, by hiding in a cupboard beneath the porch of his Louisiana home. Now, Perry has miraculously developed into one of the richest men in Hollywood. By weathering and overcoming his abuse as a child, Perry often states that he developed an awareness of progression even in the face of adversity and was able to overcome his unpleasant childhood and progress into the star he has become.
“Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” “Precious” was released on Nov. 6, 2009 to rave reviews and enormous Oscar buzz and broke the world record for the most profit made while opening in the smallest amount of theaters: 1.8 million dollars while playing on only 18 screens. Precious follows the fictional yet seemingly real tragic tale of an illiterate and overweight teenager living in the inner-city misery of Harlem, New York, her tribulations concerning parental abuse and her journey to redemption as she perseveres, with help from a sympathetic teacher, to escape her unsolicited circumstance and acquire a better life.
Oprah Winfrey While many envision Oprah Winfrey as the entertainment mogul that she has become, most of the public neglects to see past the wealthy and charitable superstar to understand how an abused and neglected child progressed through the abuse she had to endure and came to engulf the entertainment industry. As a young girl growing up in rural Mississippi and then Wisconsin, Winfrey was repeatedly abused by various family members and unintentionally became pregnant at the age of fourteen, though her son died shortly after birth. Her uncle, cousin and a family friend allegedly assaulted her to no avail, both verbally and physically. However, Oprah weathered the abuse and eventually went on to work in entertainment and establish her internationally syndicated television program.
of teens report that their significant other has threatened them with violent or self-harming behavior.
of women have been the victims of domestic abuse at some point in their life. Women are
to times more likely to report being the victim of severe physical assaults from a significant other. Domestic abuse can lead to anxiety and/or panic attacks, depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. It may also cause suicide attempts or psychotic episodes.
nov 24 2009
by vipin reddy
The tragedy of abuse as reflected through entertainment and media
Many studies show that as a relationship becomes more serious, the possibility of violent behavior also increases.
Statistics from: [www.bellaonline.com] [www.dvrc-or.org] [www.abanet.org] [www.idph.state.il.us] [www.psychologyinfo.com] [psychologytoday.com] [psychcentral.com] [www.articlesbase.com]
in Pop Culture
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an increase in premarital sex. The book is a testament to the fact that numbers don’t lie. The offbeat kinds of questions that Dubner and Levitt are asking are rarely ones being answered anywhere else through an economic lense. Are car seats effective enough for children that they make up for the fact that they are more expensive and less convenient than adult seatbelts? It turns out, that in terms of preventing car-crash fatalities in children older than two, adult seatbelts are equally as effective as car seats. Yet, state laws dictate that children must be in car seats. Many of the questions in the book are controversial and unpopular. Dubner and Levitt even try to tackle global warm-
“Super Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Economics is boring. And confusing. And not something that too many people want to read a 270 page book about. However, in the same spirit as its prequel, Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics’s authors Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt apply the dull science to thought-provoking topics. For instance, prostitutes in Chicago earn only $27 an hour thanks in large part to the sexual revolution which has created
In 2007, game developer Infinity Ward released Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The title quickly rocketed to the top of the sales charts, worshipped by gamers for its intense multiplayer and praised by critics for being the most realistic shooter ever. Since then, the gaming community has been
anxiously awaiting a Modern Warfare sequel, scavenging the web for trailers and whetting its Call of Duty appetite with Treyarch’s World at War. At long last, the series is back where it belongs with Infinity Ward, and the product is a thing of sheer beauty. Dedicated students camped out at midnight for the highly coveted release, some even staying home from school to play what’s shaping up to be the biggest release in years. Social lives will be ruined. Grades will be tarnished. Hours of sleep will be lost. Ladies and gentleman, Call of Duty:
nov 24 2009
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
ing, which they believe is being handled all wrong. Where as Al Gore and the “Going Green” movement encourage individuals to reduce their personal carbon footprint, the “freakonomists” think it would be easier and more effective to create solutions that cool the earth to combat climate change. This measure takes responsibility off the individual, which isn’t a popular philosophy now a days. Agree with it or not, SuperFreakonomics makes for an interesting read that will make you question some of the facts that you have accepted in the past. The studies in this book are surprising, controversial and at times just plain freaky. — by Erica Wohlleben
Modern Warfare 2 is upon us. The campaign is visceral and intense from start to finish, playing out like a highlight reel of awesome scenarios. In one instance I was racing downhill on a snowmobile, picking off Russians with a pistol as they tried to run me off the side of a 90-story cliff. In another mission I was thrown into the streets of Rio de Janeiro, running for my life through the narrow and dirty alleyways of the favela amidst a hail of gunfire. These extremely diverse environments are made all the more breathtaking coated in that “Call of Duty” layer of polish the series has become known for. Every locale, from deep sea to outer space is dripping with graphical advancements- hundreds
Almost all, except “twangy country”
Top 5 Artists:
Sting, Chris Botti, Pink Floyd, R.E.M., and The Eagles
Top Five Tracks: 1) Losing My Religion - R.E.M 2) Desperado - The Eagles 3) Your Song - Elton John 4) Another Brick in the Wall Pink Floyd
Adagio for Strings - Samuel Barber
upcoming movies you should see
The Twilight Saga: New Moon November 20th The highly anticipated Twilight sequel is finally here, and if the trailers are any indication, it looks to be better than the first film.
CD “Waking Up” by OneRepublic
The Colorado band is back with their second album and they’ve managed to avoid the sophomore slump. The album brings OneRepublic’s characteristic sound and thumping beats, while adding in some more unusual characteristics like children’s choruses. The group’s exciting sound is on display in songs like “Made for You” and their lead single “All the
of millions of dollars worth. Topped off with an original score composed by Hans Zimmer, and you’ve got a single-player experience that’s nothing short of epic. Certain points in Modern Warfare 2 are ripe with controversy, and are sure to cause a stir amongst those already against violence in video games. For starters, a few levels hit pretty close to home—maybe a little too close for some. One level has players fighting through the ruined suburbs of Northern Virginia, taking cover in a local burger joint and firing at enemies ducked behind minivans. In another level the player takes control of an agent working undercover with a top-tier terrorist organization. The level’s content is so graphic that a “Disturbing Content Notice” pops up before the main screen is even reached, giving players the option of skipping the level entirely when they reach it. After all is said and done, however,
Right Moves.” Frontman Ryan Tedder’s rich vocals are enhanced by the band’s instrumental prowess. The album, for the most part, is catchy, up-tempo, and fun to listen to. There are some exceptions where the band strays from its signature dance—worthy style into slower and more philosophic territory and the record becomes boring. While these songs hinder the album’s overall integrity and make it somewhat uneven, they are temporary and the band quickly gets back into the swing of things. It’s a good sign from a good band that OneRepublic can continually produce a quality product and it is an even better sign of things to come from these rockers. — by Chris Papas
it’s the online versus modes that will keep players coming back for more. Players earn rewards for getting multiple kills in a row without dying, such as the ability to call in supply drops and stealth bombers, or guide predator missiles. If a player gets 25 kills, they will even have the option of dropping a match-ending “Tactical Nuke”, resulting in an instant win. If a player is struggling, they unlock “deathstreak” rewards, giving them temporary handicaps like increased health. This helps keep the matches close and exciting, while allowing players of all skill levels to get in on the action. This game is a must-have for fans of shooting games- it’s simply the best one out there. Whether you’re a loyal to the Call of Duty franchise or just someone looking to blow stuff up, buy this game today—don’t even wait for the holidays.
Fantastic Mr. Fox November 25th Critically acclaimed director Wes Anderson brings Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book to life in stop-motion.
Me and Orson Welles November 25th Though currently only in limited release, this film features Zac Efron breaking free from his usual teenage heartthrob roles to play an actor in director Orson Welles’ theater adaptation of Julius Ceaser.
The Princess and the Frog December 11th The newest addition to the Disney Princess collection features Princess Tiana on an adventure through jazz-age New Orleans. James Cameron’s highly anticipated new film is the product of years of film technology development. It is the story of a former U.S. Marine given the chance to walk again in a mission to an planet inhabbited by aliens.
Avatar December 18th nov 24 2009
AP English Teacher/ Lit Mag Advisor
— by Alex Buscemi
Name: Susan Sullivan
by Becky Singerman
“Snuggies” or blankets with sleeves, have appeared in many forms: the Slanket, the Snuggler, the Toasty Wrap, and now as the Snuggie. A highly mockable infomercial popularized the Snuggie to such an extent that the Snugglette (Snuggie for kids!) and the dog Snuggie have been introduced.Take a look at how the staff and students of Oakton feel about the new product.
Catherine Manner and Hannah Nelson, juniors, discuss the Snuggie. HN: They look like backwards robes. It’s ridiculous that they can sell it as a new product. CM: I want it. It’s really soft and warm. I need one now. I should get my boyfriend one. HN: It’s a robe... It even has pockets. I’m telling you, it’s a robe. It is really soft though. CM: It looks like I’m in Harry Potter. HN: I would definitely spend fifteen dollars on it. I’d wear it to school. CM: I would definitely wear it in the halls. HN: They’re going to be like Vera Bradley bags.
Most people, when asked to try on a Snuggie, shot the blanket with sleeves a disgusted look, shook their head and looked to see if anyone was around before reluctantly slipping their arms into it. Some took quite a bit of coaxing. Others ran up in the halls asking to wear it. Max Harrison, sophmore, did in fact run down the hall to ask to wear it. He is the proud owner of his own burgundy Snuggie. Harrison called it “the best investment I have ever seen.” Hannah Nelson and Catherine Manner, juniors, were just as eager. Both insisted that Snuggies were “ridiculous” and “pointless” but after putting it on (together) they decided it was well worth their 15 dollars. Everyone agreed that Snuggies were very soft and comfy, though it being too big and too long was a common complaint. Most agreed that if given a Snuggie as a gift, they would use it. Jason Lucus, history teacher, said that if he were given one he would “re-gift it to [his] wife, or Dolores Peck.” Though Chip Comstock did not run down the hall in excitement at the chance to wear a Snuggie, he enthusiastically said “I think they’re a great invention; the best since sliced bread.”
Many people were rather apprehensive. They didn’t see the appeal of the Snuggie. Jason Lucus thought he would never need to use one. “I’m never cold. Realistically, they don’t make a lot of sense. Males, temperature wise, are higher than females. Also, if it’s too comfy it’s too dangerous.” Carlie Robbins, senior, is a female who would theoretically find it more useful, but failed to see the appeal. “I saw someone wearing one in one of my classes today. It looked like they were napping. I understand wearing them at home if it’s comfy, but it’s like wearing pajamas. Get the energy to put jack kearns on real clothes!” Her sentiments that one ought to not be lazy were echoed with Jack Kearns, sophmore. “People need to stop being lazy and just grab their remote,” said Kearns. Even after trying the Snuggie on Robbins and Lucus were not convinced. Kearns conceded that he “kind of want[ed] one for the privacy of [his] home.” Kearns also said that he “wouldn’t wear it to a party.” He seemed uncomfortable in it and said that he felt like “Jesus, or a hospital patient.” Chip Comstock, on the other hand, was initially sold on the snuggie, but trying it on changed his mind. He said, “If someone gave me one I’d throw it on the couch and use it as a blanket.”
max harrison carlie robbins
8 nov. 24, 2009 2
Taurus (April 21 - May 21)
Watch out for when your teacher wears green shoes, because they will be very angry with you. Appease them with a gift such as chocolates or an apple.
nov 24 2009
6 8 3 4
5 8 7 6 9
The Outlook Horoscopes are for entertainment purposes only. They are not scientifically calculated.
by Owen Chesser and Andy Reed
Difficulty: Medium Time to Beat: 7 minutes
Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)
This Thanksgiving, give thanks for the friends and family you have, because you really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
This is your month for the sense of complete happiness. Everything will go your way, this is the perfect opportunity to try something you’ve never done before.
5 2 6 3 5 3 9 7 6 8 8
Sagitarius (November 23 - December 21)
3 4 9
Scorpio (October 24 - November 22) Don’t open your locker this month; the Turkey of Detention is lurking in there. Avoid it at all costs if you want to stay out of trouble and keep your weekends free.
Libra (September 24 - October 23) Look, in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s an A+ — that’s when it’ll all fades away and you realize the only way you are going to get straight A’s is in your dreams.
Virgo (August 24 - September 23)
Keep your ear to the ground and your eyes all around, for Mr. Hutchinson is on your trail. He’s looking for any excuse to pull you in to the office and give you a stern talking to.
Turn up the volume and sing to your favorite songs. Your musical aptitude will be tested when you call your favorite radio station in order to win tickets to an awesome concert.
Leo (July 23 - August 23)
Mad Libs 3 6 1 2 6 1 6 3 2 5 1 3 3
Cancer (June 22 - July 22)
Be sure to spend time with your friends this Thanksgiving and treat them with as much love as you possibly can, soon you will be reminded of why you are thankful for them. And don’t forget to enjoy the break!
The P.A. system will beckon you to the office, but don’t fear for Dr. Banbury will present you with an award and a brand new Lexus. Rejoice for this is the luckiest day of your life.
Gemini (May 22 - June 21)
Remember the first quarter and how you kept your head on straight. You will need this again to maintain your GPA. If you don’t focus the unexpected will happen.
Aries (March 20 - April 20)
After leaving school for the ritual of stuffing your face full Thanksgiving goodness remember to enjoy your break. This is your time to refuel your mind for when you go back to class.
t was the first day of winter when Best Friend’s Name was walking towards school. There were Plural Noun on the ground and there was Adjective smelling air. Best Friend’s Name was –ing Verb when (s)he fell into a/ an Noun where (s)he fell into the basement of Oakton high school. While –ing Verb down the hall to find the stairs Mr./Ms. Favorite Teacher’s Name Past Tense Verb out of the in front of Best Friend’s Name. Mr./Ms. Favorite Teacher’s Name shouted from across the hall “Best Friend’s Name, you are my Adjective student, and for that you will now become the teacher’s pet.” “No you never take me Adjective teacher,” said Best Friend’s Name. –ing Verb as fast as (s)he could, Best Friend’ Name tripped over a/an Object Found In School. Best Friend’s Name fell into the Body Parts of Mr./Ms. Favorite Teacher’s Name. It was the next day of school when Your Name walked into the class of Favorite Teacher’s Name. Your Name sat down at his/her desk noticing the Favorite Animal sitting next to the teacher’s desk. Written on the collar of the Favorite Animal was “Best Friend’s Name.”
Pisces (February 19 - March 19)
Be careful with your math classes for the stars may prevent you from solving problems logically, especially when it comes to mathematics.
Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)
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Eat More Veggies!
Thanksgiving isn’t just for meat lovers, with Cranberry Juice this recipe even the vegetarians can enjoy An elegant yet fun drink, their thanksgiving feast.
Just pour some apple cider, add some whip cream and add a stick of cinnamon.
perfect for both little kids and adults!
House Salad 1 bag of lettuce 8 asparagus spears 1/2 cup red cabbage 10 cherry tomatos 1 cup cobination red, green, yellow peppers
Drink up! Create the perfect
Thanksgiving Dinner With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to start planning the perfect holiday dinner. With these tips and recipes you can’t go wrong. Enjoy! By Tesla Jensen
Break-up the Bickering!
Sweet Treats Sweet Treats
For more details visit http://www.brightideas.com.
Enjoy an argument free Thanksgiving by using name cards to assign seats.
Dip apples in caramel, add chocolate frosting to the bottom and stick on bits of Snickers.
Crispy Pumpkin Treat
Stick half a Twix Bar in the middle of a cupcake, place a thin mint cookie in the back. Use frosting to decorate the face of your turkey.
Guest N Here ame
Custom Name Card Write the name of each guest on a fake leaf and place the leaf on the plate of their assigned seat. outlook a&e
Make circular rice crispy treats. While cooling place a stick in the bottom. Ice with orange and brown frosting to make a pumpkin.
nov 24 2009
Gobbled Up Cupcakes
Join us after games!
10940 Fairfax Boulevard Fairfax, VA 22030 703-591-0591 703-591-0576 (fax orders) From Oakton High School, go right on Sutton Road, then right on Blake Lane. Go left on Route 123 and then right on Fairfax Boulevard (Route 50/Lee Highway). We are 他 mile on the right hand side (near the Starbucks)!
ie v o m a d n a r e n in Not just d
Amphora Cake Frosting: With locations in Vienna and Herndon, decorating a cake will help people get to know each other. What a person chooses to put on his or her cake shows preferences to turn into conversation.
Great Falls National Park: Only $5 per vehicle, entering the park offers a day of activity. With paths and overhangs that look out onto the water, bring a picnic to enjoy in the surrounding nature near the Potomac River.
Budget Date Romantic
IMAX Theate r: For $10 a person with movies ranging from new releases to Discovery-cha nnel-like features, IMA X theater movies are al ternatives to the typica l movie theater setting, making the experience m emorable.
W&OD Trail: With access in Vienna on Church Street, a bike ride is a free way to spend time w ith someone. Pa ck up the car w ith home-made lunch and eat it on one of your breaks at the various pit stops .
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: Featuring various Creative celebrities, political figures National Zoo : Only a and historical individuals, metro ride aw ay, a by and located in near zoo visit is fr ee . Take is D.C., a wax museum pictures and w at ch the a to a great alternative animals year-r o un d withrical boring histo out feeling pr essed for museum. ti me, but choo se a warm day, and kno w your way around the metro.
by Alex Straton
Double Date Romantic
Salsa Lessons: Available as close as the Born 2 Dance Studio in Vienna, learning how to move together while laughing at mistakes are sure to increase comfort levels. Complete the date with a Mexicanthemed meal.
Shenandoah River Rafting or Tubing: Sure to get your adrenaline racing, cooperatively working as a group will,without a doubt, bring couples closer together. Reserve an entire day for this time-consuming activity.
Washington, D.C. Dinner Cruise: A little bit pricey, reserve this for a big occasion. Set with dinner and dancing, a cruise can provide views of the monuments and other historical sites from the Potomac River.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Skating: Generally lit up in the , peak of the holiday season up ed ow foll ting ice ska by hot chocolate from a vendor or a ride on the merry-go-round would complete the date.
National Aquarium: Though it’s a little bit of a drive to is Baltimore, the aquarium t’s tha a dark, intimate place in. perfect to walk around The longer drive will make the occasion seem more special.
Creative Washignton D.C. Ghost Tour: For only $15 a person, this walking tour features darker sides of Washington’s historic areas through ghost stories. Tours in December through February need to be scheduled ahead.
nov 24 2009
n Tired of goinl,g roedundant stereotypica gh there seems dates? Thou lways nothing like there’s a a few ideas to do, here’s o the regular before you d routine.
The Daily Double: Twins In Athletics Pushing each other to the next level on the field and in the court, Oakton’s twins excell and develop a deeper bond with each other through friendly competition. By Matt Woodhouse and Conner Dick The Coyer twins have competed together for their entire lives, playing basketball and soccer. “We’re like a package,” Caroline said. While many seek to compare the two sisters’ performances, the Coyers have their own unique identities as athletes. They play different positions with different focuses. “We’re different kinds of players that feed off each other,” Katherine said. “Neither wants to be considered the ‘worse’ twin.” Neither feels pressure to outdo the other, as they’ve developed a deep sense of camaraderie from playing together for so long. “We only feel tense during the heat of the moment,” Caroline said. “[We’re] like anyone else.”
The Coyer Twins
nT w ins
As fraternal twins, Brandon and Matt Henton have much in common. Both compete in indoor and outdoor Track and Field. Despite the fact that they compete in the same events, the Hentons don’t feel an extreme desire to beat one another. “I want to beat him, but just for fun,” Brandon said. “We’ve had a lot of fun together because of our inside jokes from the team.” By training and competing together, they push each other to perform at a higher level. Despite the fact that some people may try to compare the brothers based on their times, they don’t sense a rift between them. “It’s really cool to run with [Brandon],” Matt said. “It’s brought us closer together.”
Volleyball digs in to end great season
“It was our best season in seven years; it was the furthest we had gone [in the championship season] Next season will probably be very successful, maybe even more.”
-Lee Brinkman, Sr. captain
11/2 District 1st Round vs. Centreville Won 3-1 11/3 District Semi vs. Chantilly Loss 0-3 11/9 Region 1st Round Loss2-3
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nov 24 2009
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Why We Compete
As the senior kicker and a wide reciever, Ray Goins knows what it’s like to perform under pressure. Though he plays a sport driven by cooperation, only Goins can propel the team to that extra point.
“Sometimes it can get nerve-wracking,” Goins said. “To calm myself down I just focus on where the wind is blowing and where the rest of the team is [on the field]. Before the game I walk around the field.” As a three-sport athlete, Goins has often had to choose between football, basketball and soccer. Nevertheless, the decision to pursue football in college means the ultimate sacrifice: giving up all other sports. “I started football in seventh grade with Chantilly Youth,” Goins said. “It was something I always wanted to do. Choosing which sport to play in college really came down to people looking at me for football The driven senior driven senior [more than] for basketball and soccer. Colleges were more kicker thrives on team interested in me playing football.” work. The unity After a solid 2008 football season, Goins football creates has began preparations for the shift to higher level always been a maathletics. A summer filled with college-run Ray’s jor factor in Goins’ football camps offered plenty of post-secondary love for football. Playlist school opportunities. “I’m a really com“Some [of the camps] were instructional. I petitive person,” Goins went to camps at the University of Pennsylsaid. “I like being part vania, Cornell, Princeton, Ohio State and the of a team and winning University of Maryland,” Goins said. “I went a lot. I just don’t like to some invitational camps held at smaller losing. I would never schools and a kicking camp at Lafayette. not give my best if For football the speed of the game and my coaches and the expectations [will increase in teammates were college]. In high school you are counting on me.” 1. Chop Suey - System Of A always expected to be in your top Down by Daphne Martschenko performing position, but in college 2. Toxicity - System Of A its times two.” Down Despite the numerous options 3. One- Metallica athletics provide, a solid educa4. Till I Collapse - Eminem tion has always been Goins’ 5. Welcome to Rainbow -2008 Northern Regiom Championship Team priority. Basshunter -2008 Concord District Championship Team “Some of the schools I’m 6.Sandstorm - Darude -Part of 2008, 1st undefeated regular season team looking at don’t offer scholar7. Remember the Titans ship,” Goins said. “A scholarship -2009 1st team All-district Kicker Soundtrack would be nice, but if I really -2009 Honorable Mention All-district punter 8. Pretender - Foo Fighters like a school that doesn’t offer 9. Sandman - Metallica -2009 Honorable Mention All-district wide reciever scholarship I’ll go there. Football 10. I’m Your Base Creator -1st team all district 2008 is up there, but academics is the Basshunter -Honorable Mention 2008 All-Region kicker number one thing.” outlook sports
nov 24 2009
mplishmen ts Acco
Part 2: Ray Goins
This is part two of a four-part series examining the motivations behind athletes’ reasons for competing.
the winter lineup nov. 24, 2009
The season’s top athletes talk about their goals
bradley phillips, sr. “Our goal is to win the state championship, improve our times, and have fun doing it. It will be a challenge replacing last year’s seniors.”
ack Indoor Tr
matt henton, jr. “It will be a challenge since we lost coach Tiller, but it’s my goal to keep the team disciplined and take track seriously, but have fun too.”
nick koutris, sr. “I’m looking forward to hangin’ with the guys again and just having fun playing basketball. Our goal is to improve over last season.”
laura Lyons, sr.
wade kostkan, sr.
“Our goal this season is to win Districts. We lost some seniors, but have a lot of Freshman talent to help make up for it.”
“Our goal is to push each other to beating teams like Robinson and Westfield, and send the majority of our guys to Regionals.”
georgina crookes, sr.
danielle brown, Sr.
“Our goal is to win Indoor Districts and Regionals, last year we came so close. Our team’s weakness is not having enough people in field”
“My goal is to help push the team to do the best we can at Nationals and improve from last year’s 10th place finish.”
zora stephenson, jr.
“Our team is out to prove to everybody outside of Oakton that we can compete despite our size.”
“Our team’s goal this season is to make the crowd more involved. It’s going to be a challenge tumbling on the hardwood floor.”
nov. 24, 2009
ack Indoor Tr
walking the line...
Varsity offensive line finishes off their last season
n 2006, Trevor Yarnall, Sam Strauss, Nick Koutris, Jon Hart and Austin Mayhugh started their high school football career. Throughout the next four years, they improved their skills and eventually started alongside each other on the offensive line. About a week and a half ago, they concluded their final season together as close friends. Over the years, they spent countless hours with each other, both on and off the field. “We hang out and are all good friends with each other,” said offensive right tackle Koutris. “We have basically grown up together for the last four years.” All the members of the O-line agree that their junior year was the one in which their friendship grew the most. “We definitely bonded the most junior year,” Koutris said. “It was the first year we all started.” Hart, right guard, said “Last year, it was such a fun ride. Winning all those games and protecting such a great back-field helped us to bond.” Many of the Olinemen knew each other even before Oakton football.
“All of us, except for Nick, knew each other from CYA and we spent all fall together in the weight room,” Hart said. Off the field, the members of the O-line spend a lot of time with each other bonding and having fun. “We basically watch movies, play a lot of video games, order pizza and just hang out,” Koutris said. Strauss, left guard, said “We usually just hang out at somebody’s house and play some Call of Duty.” Through their bond, the members of the O-line help each other fight through the hardships of two-a-days and everyday practice. “I think two-a-days help everyone get closer. Everyone knows they
have to get through it and you kind of push each other,” Strauss said. Their friendship also allows the members of the O-line to perform better on the field. “Being friends with the [the other Olinemen] allows you to know their tendencies,” Strauss said. “You know they are going to block their man and you don’t have to worry about it.” Koutris continued. “We care about each other so much. We will help each other out on the field.” Even though Nick, Sam, Austin, John and Trevor are all ending their high school football careers, they plan on keeping in touch. “We will definitely stay in touch,” Hart said. “Having friends like that isn’t something you give up.”
Football Ends Season 5-6
by Jackson Lizardo and Spencer Conley
nov 24 2009
9/04 Madison Win - Score: 14-0 9/11 West Springfield Win - Score: 35-34 9/17 T.C. Williams Loss - Score 15-9 9/25 Annandal Win - Score: 27-14 10/02 Edison Loss - Score: 18-14 10/09 Westfield Loss - Score 35-13 10/19 Herndon Win - Score: 38-13 10/23 Centreville Loss - Score: 21-7 10/30 Robinson Loss - Score: 35-17 11/06 Chantilly Win - Score: 21-7 cristina harrell cristina harrell 11/13 Regional Quarterfinals V. In their 18-14 loss against Edison, the Tacking the comeptition, Varsity football Woodson Loss - Score: 31-16 Oakton defensive line pressures the Edison players assist in the 21-7 win over Chantilly offensive line.
XC States, Boys place 2nd The boys cross country team closed a dominating season with a strong second place finish at the State Championships at Great Meadows in the Plains.
Top 5 Sports Movies By Callum Kelton
fter winning the 2008 Virginia state title, the boys’ cross country team went to Great Meadows on November 14 hoping to defend their title. Although the cougars didn’t acheive the hoped-for victory, the high level of competition was a welcomed opportunity. “It was awesome to get another chance to compete,” said senior captain Andrew McCullen. Winning a fifth straight district title and yet another regional title set the team on a solid foundation for the state meet. “[Oakton] is generally viewed as one of the best teams in the state,” McCulcourtesy of charles fulghum len said. “We have a tradition where each member of the team takes a bite out of a pineapple after they cross the Powering through the mud and cold, senio Andrew McCullen leads boys xc to a statefinish line.” A season filled with races in states runner up finish. such as North Carolina and New York exposed the team to high intensity run- there.” Coach Phil Tiller recently stepped ning. “[Competing in events in other down as the head indoor and outdoor states] helps prepare us for districts be- track coach. Throughout the running cause of the better teams and competi- community Tiller is known for sucessfully taking advantage of an excellent tion,” McCullen said. After last year’s championship sea- depth of running ability. “Many teams think we have an exson, the team lost several key runners to graduation. Several freshman and cellent coach,” McCullen said, referring to head coach Phil Tiller. sophomores helped to bridge the gap. Over the years, Oakton has estab“Our younger runners worked hard to step up and replace them,” said Mc- lished a reputation as having one of the most prestigious cross country teams Cullen. The boys’ team was not the only rep- in the state. “We have a saying in cross country resentative at states for Oakton. Senior Lanie Smith, ran in the girls 5K and that ‘if it’s not first, it’s not good,’” sophomore Patrick Eberhart said. “It finished 36th out of 140 runners. “Running in states was both good was disappointing not to win, but we and bad,” Smith said.”I was happy realized how lucky we were to have finto be in states, but I lost motivation ished second in the state.” because none of my teammates were by Pasquale Prezioso
“Remember the Titans” is about the integration of the T.C. Williams football team. The movie is unpredictable until the end and the great football scenes make it the clear number one movie.
“Miracle” is an inspiring true story of the 1980 U.S. olympic hockey team. The final scene against the U.S.S.R. is possibly the best single game in any sports movie.
“Hoosiers” is about Norman Dale, a basketball coach for tiny Hickory High School. It’s a story of how a hardworking team overcomes all of their obstacles and comes together to win a state title.
“The Natural” is the dark but ultimately triumphant story of Roy Hobbs and his journey to succeed in the major leagues despite being shot and overcoming problems with gamblers.
“Any Given Sunday” is a look inside the drama and intensity of professional football. Adding to the intensity is Al Pacino’s motivaltional “Inches” speech.
rachel sapone sarah kashanian
10/16 Robinson Win- Score: 4-0 10/20 Westfield Loss- Score: 0-3 10/27 Mount Vernon Win- Score: 3-2 10/29 Langley Win- Score: 2-1 11/3 Woodson Loss- Score Score: 0-1
nov 24 2009
Girl’s field hockey makes it regional semi-finals in championship season.
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