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out look



feature Candidates visit Oakton to discuss issues and field questions from students page 03

opinions Has Cougar spirit gone too far? Some fans display immature behavior at events page 15

sports Dig Pink: Volleyball participates in breast cancer awareness game against Centreville page 20


A Major Task

Drum Majors Lead Band to State Success page 21


Meet the Candidates

page 03

yewon kim

Local candidates discuss politics, debate positions, rally students as part of school tradition here are few things more daunting than presenting before

Above: Dan Scanlon, representing Frank Wolf, speaks to students in the auditorium about his candidate’s positions. Representatives and candidates cycled through the cafeteria, auditorium and lecture hall on Oct. 8 while juniors, sophomores and freshmen were taking the PSATs.

Below: Sajan Moktan, senior, gets an autograph from State Senator Chap Peterson, representing Democrat Mark Warner. Students had the ability to ask questions of the candidates and collect their campaign merchandise.


a room full of restless seniors watching the seconds count down before they are free from school four hours early, espe-

cougar quotes

Although it might sound like a recipe for disaster to anyone running for public office, eight candidates and representatives from local political campaigns braved the gauntlet of the annual Candidates Day presentations on Oct. 8. Five actual candidates, along with three campaign surrogates participated in this discussion to vie for young voters while educating them about the politics and the upcoming elections. “Candidates Day is an Oakton tradition. It started in 1982, and we have been doing it ever since,” said Jeff Dunson, government teacher and organizer of Candidates Day. “It is not just to get candidates running for office exposure, but to show students about political ideologies and the overall picture.” Although politics and political ideology are already on students minds due to the presidential election, local politics rarely generates the same enthusiasm. Candidates Day focuses more directly on local politicians to expose students to the races on the state and local levels. “It was cool to see some of the actual candidates running in local races,” said Adarsh Solanki, senior. “It taught me about what they all stand for and helped me put a face to the names I see on the signs that are all over the place.” What was your favorite The day featured both part of Candidates Day? senatorial candidates: Keith Fimian and Gerry Connolley as well as representatives from Learning the candidates, especially the districts 10 and 11’s House ones from the senate different points of of Representatives race. view was my favorite part. However, there was also - eduardo riviera, sr. a large focus on lesserknown candidates from The best part of Candidates Day was the Independent Green changing my decision from being an apa- and Libertarian party. thetic non-voter to deciding on Obama. I “We try to get students was uninformed but after this cool senior to recognize there are activity, I took up an interest in what the options outside the big leaders have to say two parties,” said Joseph Oddo, Independent Green - alexis chaung, sr. Congressional candidate in district 11. “Part of our I did not think Candidates Day would platform is more candibe that fun, but it turned out that a lot dates less apathy, so we of the issues these candidates deal actively ask for people to with are a lot closer to home than in the get involved whenever we national election. They affect me more. are at. The big two parties - tara hall, sr. might be shaking down

yewon kim

cially when the only topic up for discussion is politics.

people at fundraisers; we are where politics meets the streets.” The third-party candidates stole the show at times, generating excitement from some of the unconventional parts of their platform like legalization of marijuana and other drugs, elimination of income taxes and disbanding of NASA. “Some students got exposed to these third-party agendas for the first time [on Candidates Day]. They were more excited about legalizing marijuana than I have ever seen in the past, so they were happy with the Libertarians,” Dunson said. “Although some of them got upset when they heard about the libertarians doing away with programs like NASA. That is what Candidates Day is all about, learning about these positions and students reacting to them.” While some students already had their own political ideas set in stone, others found that the candidates’ presentations helped them sort out who they are going to vote for come Nov. 4. “I didn’t really know much about the local candidates coming in to Candidates Day,” said Diana Rollins, senior. “But I learned enough about them during their speeches to make a decision about who I will vote for in November” Although students will only see the event once, this was the 26 and last Candidates Day in Dunson’s career because he will be retiring at the end of this year. Dunson sees Candidates Day as part of a larger emphasis that government class puts on citizenship and activity. “Candidates day plays into the greater plan of making students into good citizens in the community and the political process,” Dunson said. “Fifteen percent of seniors can vote now, and they will all be able to vote next year, so it is important that they know who is running for office and what those offices are involved with.”

ethan doyle editor in chief

Front cover: Drum Majors junior Eric Sharer, senior Jenna George and junior Bill Fuchs salute the Westfield band, the winners of the 2008 Oakton Classic band competition on Oct. 11.


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Outlook’s tips for maximum candy intake The Four B’s — Bring a pillowcase to maximize the amount of space — Bring a younger child and dress them up (they’re cuter) — Buy more than one costume to hit the same neighboorhood over and over — Beg, beg, beg


High Schoolers Defend the Trick-Or-Treating Tradition kirin gupta asst. clubs editor


On Halloween “My favorite part of Halloween is dressing up and going out with my friends. We’ve been doing it since we were little and it’s a great tradition.” - stephanie hallock, fr. “Dressing up on Hallowen is fantastic because it’s fun and I like to see the costumes other people come up with.” - nicole jakstas, soph.

“I love trick-or-treating with my little sister on Halloween. It’s a great time to bond, and we both really enjoy it.” - adriana angulo, jr

itches, nurses, doctors, skeletons, a ketchup and mustard set, two tiny ballerinas. They all appear to be in fifth or sixth grade, and they’ve spent weeks deciding what to wear. But wait, here come the high schoolers, nostalgic and shameless, rousing both exasperated comments and patronizing jokes. Some of them tote pillowcases; others have little siblings in tow. “Maybe we are getting too old for this,” grimaces Allen Luethke, sophomore, as Justine Celli and Sam Greenlief, also sophomores, run around his basement in search of something stunning to wear on Halloween. But everyone makes allowances for a certain amount of immaturity in high schoolers, and Halloween is just an excuse to dial up the crazy. “Everybody says we’re too old for it, but I know we’re not,” Luethke said, mulling it over and smiling. “Or we’re just not mature enough to realize that we are. Probably the latter.” There are a whole range of opinions on precisely how silly a high school student looks running around in a costume, but the reactions of the parents handing out the candy appear indulgent as opposed to condescending. “People don’t stare, like some people say. And they don’t give you weird looks. They just give you candy,” Celli insisted. “Trick-or-treating in high school isn’t very different from when we were younger.” According to Celli, Luethke and Greenlief, there will be plenty of high schoolers on the streets on Oct. 31. “You know people are going to show up. They always do,” Luethke said. And why wouldn’t they?

kirin gupta

Justine Celli, sophomore, adjusts Allen Luethke’s cape as Sam Greenlief looks on. The trio were preparing for their exciting, soon-to-come trick-or-treating expedition. “They go for the candy,” Celli reported candidly, “and to hang out with friends.” Greenlief echoed the sentiment, adding that the candy is the best part of the holiday. And according to him, students who go trick-or-treating are the only ones who really benefit from that particular dubious tradition. “Hit a lot of houses and bring a big bag,” Greenlief suggested, adding that he generally favors a pillowcase. “Or hit a bunch of the same houses in different costumes and hide your face,” he laughed with Celli. Halloween also provides a day for a lot of students to loosen up at the

end of first quarter and let off a little steam, provoking the neighbors and getting creative with costumes. “My favorite part of Halloween is the dressing up and making the neighbors mad,” Luethke said. These sophomores were adamant about the legitimacy of Halloween as a student-celebrated holiday. “Halloween is the best holiday of the year,” Luethke decided. “It’s not like other holidays, like Christmas, where you have to spend a certain amount of time with your family. On Halloween, you just stay out all night and party with your friends in the street with candy.”

shayda shabazi staff writer


alloween is beloved for many reasons, including sweet candy, mouth melting chocolate, creepy costumes and scary stories. A new addition to Oct. 31, Chipotles around the nation are giving out free burritos to celebrate the holiday. “This year, Halloween is going to be even more fun than the usual candy and costumes because I know I can get a free burrito,” said Elly Iltebir, freshman. In order to get a burrito, people must come dressed in aluminum foil. Anything from a hat, mask or belt would be acceptable. But there are always a few who show all their spirit and come in as knights in shining aluminum foil. “Last year, one guy wrapped his entire body in aluminum foil; he fell over trying to get through the door,” said Heather Sasala, a sophomore who goes every year. Chipotle does not mind what you wear as long as you show your excitement. From previous years, many passed with barely wrapping an entire hand. “When I went last year, I wore aluminum foil on my

finger, and they still gave me a free burrito,” said sophomore Seth Pacheco. There will be one free burrito per person from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Some people go right after school for a quick snack; others go for a feast after trick-or-treating. “I am going after school to get pumped for Halloween,” said Alex Revel, a freshman who will be going for her first year along with many friends. Whatever the case may be, people try to fit in a time of the day just to get a free burrito. “I’m going to Chipotle to be with my friends, but more importantly to have my favorite food,” said Neda Mazaheri, senior. Each Chipotle will be watching their doors to see the most thrilling costumes. These customers will have their picture taken for their efforts, and a few will be on the Chipotle Web site. “We want to see the customers’ imagination and show others their creativity,” said Baola Valle, Herndon Chipotle manager. Getting the community to have a great time is a reason for Chipotle to keep this up every year.

kirin gupta

Trick-or-Burrito Students dress up as burritos for a hefty reward

From left: Celli, Luethke, and Greenlief laugh it off as Allen shows off his Clinton mask. An occasion originally intended for small children has become, over time, a tradition of sorts for high school students.



page 05

the dust settles on a heated redistricting, Going As those affected have successfully settled in and South? find little reason for the original controversy Junior Charlotte Dobry is one of many students at Oakton with a sibling attending a different high school after last year’s tense redistricting. Her brother, Clayton Dobry, a redistricted student, is now enjoying South Lakes and participates in the school’s cross country team.

news briefs

“Everyone on the team is friendly,” Clayton said. No one was disrespectful and everyone was welcoming. I wasn’t really mad with redistricting because I knew a lot of my friends would be going. I had no doubts. I think South Lakes is a great school.” The redistricting of South Lakes, a school perceived by some to be academically weaker because of its larger population of lower-income students, unleashed numerous petitions, lawsuits, and heated arguments between the Fairfax County School board and families. “Our students have always been open to new students,” said South Lakes junior Emma Volpe . “For the most part people were excited about getting a whole new crowd in. The only negative feeling I felt towards students would be if I felt they didn’t want to be there. I love my school and it makes me sad when people don’t give it a chance. Whenever we get new or foreign exchange students they are welcomed with open arms. It’s really hard not to fit in because we’re one giant family.” The plan hopes to fill the 700 empty seats at South Lakes by 2012 and ease the strain on over-crowded high schools such as Westfield and Chantilly. Unfortunately, county board meetings were characterized by the anger of redistricted families, who argued that the disruption of students and the negative reputation of South Lakes’ curricula would prove detrimental to student development. “My parents were cool with it.” Charlotte said. “They had heard about the renovations, but we were frustrated. The input the board got didn’t seem to be utilized,” Dobry said “The process could have been handled better, but my brother is enjoying his time at South Lakes. It worked out in the end.” On the other end of the spectrum were

upset South of the areas in Lakes stuwhich South dents, who Lakes leads. felt their The $48.2 milWhat is the greatest difference between school was lion renovaSouth Lakes and Oakton? misintertion includes We have the FLEX program, and you guys preted and a complete have Collaboration Wednesday. underappreciremodeling of What is your favorite class at South Lakes? ated. Porbably my elective, which is information systems. It’s a computer the section of Many the school near class where you learn how to use computers and programs sought to South Lakes What is the most unique aspect of South Lakes in terms of classes? prove that drive and the We have an auto shop class where you get to fix cars, motorcycles, South Lakes orange and was no differ- and other automotive vehicles. yellow subdivient from any sions. Furtherother schools, more, South and its renovations surpassed the facilities at Lakes currently stands as one of the leaders many other high schools. in Fairfax County Public Schools, with year“The school welcomed the new students end IB assessments averaging 82%. like any other,” said South Lakes junior “I went inside South Lakes once while Drucilla Jackson. “They were treated no picking up my brother from cross country differently, [and] are now part of the South practice,” Charlotte said “It looks like a Lakes Community. Of course there were much nicer school than Oakton. Everything many teachers, students, and other facis brand new.” ulty members to help the new students get Despite Dobry’s approval of South Lakes, around the newly renovated building. the hassle of having two students at different Junior Nisa Katz, a student at South high schools has created some obstacles. Lakes, attended most of the county board “We did have to get another car, and I meetings, talking to reluctant families about have to drive myself, which works great for the positive qualities that characterize the me, but not so much [ for ] our budget,” school. Dobry said. “I don’t really notice it though “At the board meetings we basically all because we are both doing sports.” shared our perspective on the situation and Students notice class size and improved tried to reason,” Katz said. “There were a learning environment as visible changes at lot of angry parents. Everyone has their South Lakes. Tensions between redistricted own opinion, but you don’t have to present students and the rest of the school have yourself the way it was done. They fought nearly dissolved. and argued. It was awful. Not all the parents “There’s no rivalry between the students were this way, but a good percentage were. who were redistricted and the students who I understand both sides though. It wouldn’t would have gone to South Lakes regardless,” have been as stressful for the kids if their Volpe said. “We have a lot of new teachers parents didn’t make as big of a [deal] as they this year, as well as new students, so it feels did. Our school isn’t as bad as it’s hyped up like a fresh start. I feel like the educational to be.” atmosphere has actually gotten better beThe remodeling of the school is just one cause we adopted a new schedule this year

Science Olympiad will be meeting on Nov. 4 in the planetarium Oakton Crew forms for new and returning members are due by Nov. 1 Math Honor Society will hold its next meeting on Nov. 17 Yearbook purchases can still be made. Forms are available in room 196. WAT Balloon Shop Fall Sale is

clayton dobry

which includes ‘learning seminars’.” Known as the FLEX program, the seminars provide students with opportunities to make up work they’ve missed and seek help from teachers. These blocks make South Lakes unique in comparison to other high schools. “We go to two designated classes every other day and it’s like a study hall. Having this has allowed students to keep up [with] their studies because we don’t have to stay after school as frequently or go out of our way to talk to a teacher.” Volpe said. In addition the school seeks to encourage active participation and academic achievement through its Success Program in which students are rewarded with “success passes” for outstanding accomplishments. “You put [the success pass] in a subschool office,” Clayton said. “Every Friday a winner is drawn and they get a $15 gift card.” Ultimately the redistricting process has lifted South Lakes from the swarm of rumors that damaged its capacity to flourish. Many families have recognized the potential of the school, and its ability to provide a crucial education and strong school spirit. “I think once parents or students saw our school their views changed right away. Since our renovations are pretty much done the school is beautiful. It’s so clean, and a nice learning environment” Volpe said. “Once people see how enthusiastic and spirited everyone is they realized that it’s a great place. Otherwise, people wouldn’t have put in all the hard work to defend it.” In many ways the redistricting process is on the path to achieving its goal, uniting communities and providing an exceptional education to all students.

daphne martschenko staff writer

occurring in room 141

$75. First-come-first-serve basis

Woo Your Boos are being sold for $1 in the Cafeteria by Current Events/ Econ students

PAS Club meets every Wednesday after school to take Bus 19 to Mosby Woods Elementary School

Hope 4 Humanity is collecting bedsheets throughout October and Novermber in room 190

Oakton Ultimate Frisbee Club meets every Monday and Wednesday after school in the gym lobby and plays on the lower field. No experience needed.

Club Fair in Cafeteria will be held on Nov. 12

Improv Club will be meeting today, Oct. 29, in the drama room from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.

Free Chick-fil-a Lunch will be given to seniors on Halloween. Seniors must bring student ID’s

Girls Indoor Soccer begins November 11th. See Coach Alexander or Coach Hopkins for formsmust be signed up and paid by Oct. 31 to play. Cost per player is

Octagon Club Bake Sale will be held today, Oct. 29 in the gym lobby after school. Money and donations go to UNICEF

PAS Club Bake Sale will take place Nov. 8


page 06


1 program, 2 teachers, 5946 Miles


news briefs

hile trying to become accustomed to the ten hour time difference, Kazakhstani teachers Marina Fomicheva and Svetlana Shirshova have been visiting different classes around Oakton in order to observe new teaching methods. Fomicheva and Shirshova are both English as a Second Language teachers from Kazakhstan. Fomicheva and Shirshova are in a program called the Eurasia/South Asia Teaching Excellence of Achievement. They were chosen out of a large group of applicants to come to America to study our schools and culture for eight weeks. “When [we had to send in applications], there were 900 teachers from different countries [applying], but there were only 60 that could come to the United States,” Shirshova said. The TEA program sends teachers from eleven different countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to all over the U.S. “Of the 60 teachers [that were sent to America, TEA] sent 20 to Alabama, 20 to Nebraska, and 20 to George Mason University,” said Lora Bates, ESOL teacher and mentor of the visiting teachers. One difference that struck Shirshova was the fact that Oakton does not have a dress code, unlike at Shirshova’s school, which requires students to wear a uniform. However, that was not the only difference she encountered. “I work in a school that is rather small compared to yours,” Shirshova said. “As far as I know, there are 2, 400 students in your school and your school is very large. But I work in a small school; there are 700 students in our school.” Fomicheva and Shirshova have both encountered some form of culture shock. One surprise they found was how easy going Americans all are. They also don’t understand some of the things Americans do in their free time as well. However, there is one thing about Fairfax both teachers find

The Foreigner Oakton drama will be performing The Foreigner from Nov. 5-8 at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium for $10 per person. The Odd Couple Oakton drama has another fall show, The Odd Couple, which will be performed from Nov. 19-22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium for $10 per person. Fairfax County Youth Leadership Program applications

The Fairfax County Youth Leadership Program (FCYLP) is currently accepting applications due Oct. 31 for juniors. FCYLP is a year-long program that educates rising seniors about county government. Part of the program includes a three-week long summer internship with a stipend of $1000. National Merit Scholarship Program names 194 FCPS semifinalists were named on

Two Kazakhstani teachers cross the globe to teach and learn within the American education system as part of the Teaching Excellence of Acheivement program.

extremely peculiar. “One cultural shock we have is that there are no people on the sidewalks. I live in the big city where there are lots of people, crowded people, so it’s natural when you’re walking to meet someone just to ask which way to go,” Fomicheva said. “But here, it’s impossible to find someone to ask which way to go. That’s why we have the experi- Svetlana Shirshova ence of getting lost.” Although Fomicheva works at a school for gifted students Marina Fomicheva in Kazakhstan, she found the program for disabled students here extremely interesting. “One thing that is really impressive to me about your educational system is the opportunities for disabled children. If there are some in the school [in Kazakhstan], we have to go to their houses [to give them a lesson],” Fomicheva said. “But here I just admire the opportunity for the disabled children.” Shirshova and Fomicheva are also doing more than just observing classes in America; they are also taking courses themselves. “They are taking seminars and classes at George Mason where they are learning about American teaching methods and studying it,” Bates said. “They are also taking computer classes [in order] to upgrade their technology skills.” At the end of their visit to America, Shirshova and Fomicheva are going to meet up with the other 58 teachers in Alabama. Here they will be able to share the knowledge they have obtained from their observations as well as here about experiences from the other teachers.

jessica klaber staff writer

Sept. 10, 2008. Oakton’s semifinalists are seniors Matthew Ellis, Adarsh Kallakury, Daniel Metcalf, Michael Raust, and Adarsh Solanki. They will be competing with other national finalists for 8,200 scholarships. The scholarship winners will be announced in spring 2009. Journalism students place in VHSL competition The VHSL Writing, Photo, and Design judges named three Oakton students as finalists. Senior Chris Weil

won first place in the Straight News, News Feature, and Sports News category for his story on the county’s budget. Matt Johnson and Erica Wohlleben won first place in the Feature: InDepth, Informative (Including Sports) category for their story on the South Lakes boundary crisis. Erica Wohlleben won second place for her story on a student who moved to Oakton from Baghdad. The Paragon Yearbook for 2007-2008 won in the Concept Packaging category.


10.29.08 What should you be doing to further your college process? alex straton copy editor alex.

• • • • •


• •

Looking through the college books offered in the Career Center, senior Alexis Chaung looks up questions she has regarding college, taking advantage of the resources. “I normally go [to the Career Center] during lunch with a couple of friends to read,” Chaung said. “I think that reading the material will give you the answers, so I’ve been reading basic books about colleges.”


Meet with college representatives who visit the school during the fall by obtaining passes in the Career Center. Establish good initial relation with teachers; they will be writing recommendations next year. Make interview appointments for the early fall for potential schools. Begin the search or find a part-time volunteer job or experience related to your career plan.

• • •

• •

Alum wins Virginia AP Award katherine telford staff writer


t’s almost November and many students are already feeling pressure from their AP classes and worrying about the exam they will take at the end of the school year. The highest score a student can receive on an AP exam is a 5, which is doubtlessly the goal of those who have spent their entire year preparing. Tom Nysetvold, a 2008 Oakton graduate, took 19 AP exams throughout his four years at Oakton and received fives on all of them. Due to this outstanding achievement he received the AP State Scholar Award for the state of Virginia. Of the 19 exams he took, Tom learned 7 of the subjects on his own, a decision he made after his AP World teacher, Mrs. Knight, suggested he take the AP Euro exam during his sophomore year. “I knew you had to get AP credits so it would get a lot of work out of the way in college and it was something to do,” Tom said. Tom graduated with 96 college

credits, more than triple the credits needed to graduate. “I found out about the AP State Scholar Exam during my junior year and thought it sounded cool. I just said, ok, I’ll do a few this year and see how it’s going next year,” Tom said. This is enough to make many AP students jealous as many spend so much time preparing for just one

that by the time I’d already studied those there was not much left to study,” Tom said. Teachers would probably like to think that taking the actual course is necessary but Tom disagreed. “It didn’t really make a difference for me because of how I study,” Tom said. “If you read a lot on your own, you’ll do better in the classroom. A long time before I was doing this stuff I was just reading People probably overestimate how much like crazy.” work I was doing. For example, I spent A lot of AP students are probably about five hours studying for AP wondering if taking these English. classes will help them when they get to university or not - tom nysetvold, class of ‘08 and whether or not the stress pays off. exam. “You definitely get a lot of “People probably overestimate how experience taking tests but the thing much work I was doing. For example, that helps the most is being able I spent probably about five hours to learn things without a teacher studying for AP English,” Tom said. teaching myself learning things Being that Tom took so many outside of class.” exams, he was able to compare the Tom is now attending Brigham exams and which ones he found Young University in Utah. easiest and hardest. “I didn’t find out I’d won [the “I think the easiest one was award] until about 2 weeks ago,” Tom probably AP Environmental Science said. “I hadn’t even taken all the tests because there is so much overlap with until I was committed to a college so biology, chemistry and government it didn’t really help with applications.”

Photography students visit Torpedo Factory in Alexandria

Continue activities begun freshman year such as volunteer jobs, clubs and sports. Focus on solidifying or bringing up your first quarter grades.

• Evaluate your GPA. • Take the Learning Styles Inventory on Family

gladys manzur


• Get acquainted with the Career Center, open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on school days.

news briefs

fresh soph

Continue development of résumé and personal preferences. Continue activities begun in previous years. Attend college fair and college night programs in October. Meet with college representatives who visit the school in the fall. Register and take the SAT, the ACT, the TOEFL and the SAT Subject Tests by December. Continue or begin working on college appliations. For early decision, early action or ROTC scholarships, submit application by October or November deadlines.

page 07

Oakton Drama Scary Story Night will take place at on Oct. 30. A picnic will be held at 6:00 p.m. and the event at 7:00 p.m. Participants must bring their own dinner to the picnic. Paragon Yearbook senior baby ads are due by Oct. 30. Practice ACT/SAT will be held on Nov. 8 for juniors. Boys Soccer Meeting will be held on Wed., Oct. 29, and 2:10 p.m. in room 195. Career Center Open House will be held on

Nov. 11 all day. Parents are welcome to come in at any time. Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery will take place on Nov. 13 in the career center, career interest inventory. Underclass Academic Awards Ceremony will be held on Nov. 19, personal invitation required. Upcoming College Visits • Oct. 29 - Bowdoin College, Ohio Wesleyan University

With thousands of different genres and subjects to concentrate on, deciding on a photography focus is not easy. This is why the AP Photo students took a field trip to Old Town Alexandria on Oct. 21. The class left to the metro after first period, and after explaining the metro schedule, they departed. They arrived in Alexandria around 11 a.m. and broke into groups. They took the King Street trolleys down to the water, where they took pictures and ate lunch. “It was really casual and laid back,” said Alan Fisher, photo teacher. “The weather was perfect, and the metro went fine.” They then met up and began their tour of the Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. “It’s a member gallery owned and run by 14 photographers,” Fisher said. “They take turns sitting in for a day talking about their galleries.” The students met at the gallery of Colleen Spenser Henderson, an art photographer specializing in the D.C. cityscape after dark.

• Oct. 30 - College of William and Mary ­• Oct. 31 - Hobart and William Smith Colleges • Nov. 5 - Suffolk University, Eastern University • Nov. 6 - Elizabethtown College • Nov. 10 - Smith College, University of Rochester, Purdue University • Nov. 13 - Ferrum College • Nov. 17 - Washington and Lee University • Dec. 4 - Ringling College of Art and Design, University of Hartford

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To conclude DECA week, marketing students and DECA members listened to a guest speaker from the Redskins about future careers.

Rediger said. the fashion show theme. The nationally mandated event was “Since July and attending the summer leadership held to accomplish key goals and to set the conference, I think we’ve increased awareness and tone for DECA for the rest of the year. The worked with other departments of the school to three main goals of DECA week were to publicize show connections to marketing.” marketing careers, to strengthen ties to the comAlthough trips and competitions can be exhilamunity and to publicize the program in the school. rating, many students participate in DECA to gain These goals seek to strengthen the DECA program experience for potential future careers. Through in schools and communities across the country. DECA, marketing students have the opportunities “We attract a wide variety of people and we want to gain valuable business skills. to grow as a program to be one of the best in the “I want to go into business in college, so I think states,” Gehrki said. “That has to start with seeing DECA helps you learn about marketing and more marketing as a fun and worthwhile elective.” about how the business world works,” Rediger said. In order to emphasize growth in this year’s Gehrki also feels that DECA DECA chapter, Rediger and senior Vice President can provide valuable knowlTaylor Thomas attended a summer leadership edge, regardless of your future conference at George Washington University in career path. July. Oakton was the only VA school to attend the “DECA is a club that conference. everyone can get some“Going to a summer leadership conference thing out of,” Gehrki helped us plan ahead so that we can have said. more people compete at district, state and international levels,” Gerhki said. Throughout the year, DECA participates in a variety of competitions at all levels that are held across the country. At these competitions, students learn valuable business skills. “We do role plays or manual competitions where we are given a business situation, and you have to figure out what to do with it,” said senior Kelsey Wiley. Other upcoming club events include a field trip to New York City in early November. The trip will allow marketing students to view the city from a marketing angle and give them new insight into the advertising industry. s y “We are going to see the tic ve n to c I a t Big Apple sites from the ie e at list ar t). ng reci marketing perspective. We are s ,y K llo ts m (lef et- st ti di going to Radio City and Broadway. m er ss t). ile ine por try ark ue d v rt o We will ask ourselves, ‘how do they y W rm e s us M a g an ad ine igh A ols ut bus m (r DEC le se e Te t th g ind r of ave ses eh advertise?’” Gehrki said. “I hope they l o l e K in u n to g s 7 b a a n ub ni think like marketing professionals.” rs rist abo tisi rec ns, cla ct. 1 ke a of s te ed i e cl da o i Although the first quarter has not yet n h h er Di ki ng O po ife rt at th Se nd C eec adv er, eds keti s on er s ay l spo icip ize oup finished, DECA has already accomplished a sp ng nn e R ar er nn ryd jor art lic gr many activities and has gotten a jump-start on the a eti Ne th m mb Ne ve ma s p ub ter k od for to e ). e e a er o p ls year ahead. It has also incorporated the school in R g ure A m ve th for b k t bo y. ways ranging from library showcases of political in ct EC abo nd or em ee nd nit le D ( a t M w a u advertising to an upcoming school-wide vote on









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hile other clubs are holding their first interest meetings and getting prepared for the new school year, DECA, an organization for marketing students, has been hard at work promoting and strengthening the club since July. In order to raise club spirits and promote it throughout the school, DECA celebrated nationally-mandated DECA week from Oct. 13-17. As part of the celebrations, club members showed their unity by sporting their DECA shirts and spirit day clothes throughout the week. The club also celebrated by listening to a guest speaker, the vice president of marketing for the Redskins, Rod Nenner. “He showed students how Redskins marketing is focused on building a brand and an experience,” said marketing teacher and DECA adviser Kristina Gehrki. “He told the kids about the real daily life of a marketing director.” Marketing students and DECA members listened to Nenner speak about the ins and outs of marketing and how to make customers keep coming back, even if the team looses. “It was interesting that he was able to be so successful in the sports marketing industry without intentionally going into the field,” said senior DECA president Katie Rediger. “Even though he didn’t specifically study sports marketing in college, he was able to take something he loved and be successful.” Nenner’s presentation was an entertaining way to end DECA week festivities. Although DECA week has been held before, this year club members attempted to publicize it more effectively. “We have had DECA week before, but this year we tried to advertise it better and make it more fun so more marketing students would participate,”


u n ti y


le a r n s

ellie kaufman academics editor



tea m

page 09

club strives to reach new goals

hange is in the air as the Hip Hop club strives to become a more recognizable force through numerous changes, which include performances at basketball games and pep rallies. “We’re [more mayura iyer strict] and more Hip Hop club members practice serious this year,” said sophomore new steps at one of their and Hip Hop weekly practices. club captain Iqbal Saeed. “The clothing and the attitude [we’re bringing] is different.” While currently at a club status at Oakton, Hip Hop club hopes to step out of that shadow this year through the commitment each member of

the club brings. “Everyone is welcome because it is a club,” Saeed said. “But they have to have the commitment and time to do it. We want someone who will pick up the steps fast, because we don’t have that much time, [as well as] someone who asks for help when they have trouble so they can get the steps right. [They] need dedication.” The Hip Hop club hopes to improve itself this year with the help of two previous students serving as choreographers for the club. David Hughes and Jennifer Graves plan to help this year’s team reach higher achievements. “The biggest change that I’m going to make is the choreography is not going to be just simple dance steps that people have seen before,” Hughes said. “I want the club to become a performing team for Oakton, not just a club after school.” Not everyone can learn complicated steps in a short amounts of time so Hughes and Graves have made sure that everyone can learn their steps within the short amount of time they are given.

“[Graves] will help the students learn the basic moves. Even beginners that have never danced in their life can perform these steps and do well,” Hughes said. Other changes to the club include the introduction of a boy member to join the group of all girls that has made up the club in previous years. Manager of the club and junior Allison Ho hopes that these changes will help the group expand from its status as a club. “[I] hope that everyone has more fun with [these changes], because the club is really more like an alternative, so you don’t need to join the dance team or cheerleaders,” Ho said. “We want to be really different, but not exactly a freestyle club.” Despite making changes to the club this year, the club is confident that these changes are for the better and that they will benefit the team.

Mayura Iyer staff writer



page 10


zoe mitchell asst. opinions editor


i, my name is Read. I’m with the Barack Obama campaign for change,” said junior Read Bavely. The man on the other line quickly and forcefully slammed the phone down, before Bavely could say another word. He silently hung up the phone and scanned the list for the next number. Bavely and 11 other Young Democrats experienced a political campaign firsthand at the Arlington Democratic Headquarters, and discovered the reality of a political campaign: the forceful slams of telephones. Phone banking forced students to call many strangers on the phone to ask them about their political views, which can put some students, like junior Read Bavely, in uncomfortable situations. “It was nerve-wracking, because you didn’t know who you were calling or who was going to pick up.” Bavely said. Along with phone banking, the Young Democrats helped throughout the office with other tasks. “[The center] made us call people and ask who they were voting for, and whether they were going to vote, but we also shredded paper and sent e-mails,” said Kate Allen, junior. Although the Young Democrats talked to people over the phone, Bavely felt they were not very successful. “We made a little bit [of a difference], but we did it from 3 [p.m.] to 5 [p.m. when] most people are at work,” Bavely said. “I have also gone canvassing, and I feel that has more of an effect since it’s face-to-face.” The club arranged the trip to introduce the Young Democrats to ways they could help and to show them how easily they can get involved in the campaign.

zoe mitchell

Sophomore Morgan Harwood has a young democratic supportor sign a pledge card at the Fairfax Fall Festival. “I felt motivated to get out there and make sure people are voicing their votes,” Harwood said.

“I wanted [the student] to get involved in the political process as our founding fathers had intended,” Clark said. The trip to the Democratic Headquarters encouraged the Young Democrats to continue with their involvement in the campaign. “[Individually] we’re going to continue going down there and do some canvassing door to door,” Capozolla said. “The sponsor encouraged us to do it. Mr. Clark wants us to get involved in politics and keep going [to the headquarters].” The club has been sending out e-mails giving students opportunities to get involved in events and campaigning. “The students are informally going on Thursday to Fairfax to have pizza and work for Obama at the Fairfax headquarters,” said Clark. Other students have independently arranged campaign opportunities for themselves as well. Junior Stuart Rock has volunteered multiple times for Gerry Connolly, the democratic candidate for Congress in the 11th district. “I like Gerry Connelly’s opinions, and I am a member of his student advisory,” Stuart said. “I feel like he’s helped a lot, and [I] wanted to pay him back by helping him out [in his campaign].” Rock worked with friends at the Fairfax Fall Festival on Oct. 15, by handing out various campaign signs for Connolly and Obama. “We handed out balloons, stickers, yard signs and pamphlets,” Rock said. “It was supposed to be for Gerry Connelly, but it turned out to be both Connolly and Obama.” Sophomore Holly Kelly also volunteered at the festival, which was her first time being a part of a political campaign. “At first I was anxious, because I didn’t know what we were doing, but once I got there and figured everything out it was really fun. It felt good to influence others to vote,” Kelly said. “Since it [was] my first time campaigning, it made me feel accomplished and proud [that] I could actually be a part of the election this year.” Kelly brought along a friend to the festival to work with her and make the experience more enjoyable. “I was more comfortable with a friend,” Kelly said. “We

zoe mitchell

zoe zoemitchell mitchell

Young Democrats volunteer for presidential and state campaigns by phone-banking, canvassing and participating in political events.

zoe mitchell

At the Fairfax Fall Festival Juniors, Amelia Smith, Staurt Rock and Andrew Daniels pass out balloons in support of Gerry Connelly. “This is the first year I’ve actually cared about politics, and it felt cool to be out there,” Daniels said, were more confident, and it made it more fun because we set up a competition to see who get more pledge cards signed.” Student’s who are not 18 made a point to involve themselves in the campaign to express and enforce their opinions and beliefs. “I’m really into politics and concerned about the election,” Capazolla said. “I’m not old enough to vote, so I want to make a point to persuade the undecided voters.”

Octagon Club creates a cleaner road for service

r er staffmedwiari.nte et elise wern on kt oa r@ ne



rossing the road on Oct. 8, students wearing orange jackets, occasionally pausing to pick up a Pepsi bottle or Utz wrapper, received a loud surprise. A car attempting to turn out of the street had grown impatient with the large number of kids crossing the road and promptly honked their horn to get them to speed up. Members of the Octagon Club participated in the first of two activities in which the students clean Blake Lane from Oakton to the 7-11 and back as part of the Adopt-A-High-

way program. By the time the students returned to school, they had picked up about six bags of trash. “It helps keep the community cleaner and gets rid of things that aren’t biodegradable and are harmful to animals,” said junior Octagon Historian Chelsea Durant. “It just helps the community. That is our mission.” Adopt-A-Highway is a volunteer cleaning program in which participants clean a specific stretch of road twice a year. The benefits of this program extend to the entire community, giving students a positive outlook on the experience. “When you’re doing it, it’s frustrating picking up all the trash,” Durant said. “As a whole, it makes me feel good helping a greater cause.” While contributing to this greater cause, students realize how easy it is to participate, and it sends a message to the community about the school itself. “It is important to recognize how helping the community directly benefits the school,” said senior Octagon President Betsy O’Brien. “It’s a perfect example of how the school isn’t just focused on the students but on the community as well. Also, the students can see that you don’t have to dedicate so

much time to [community service], but that you can help by just picking up trash.” Even by giving a little time out of your schedule makes a difference on the way the people in the community act. “I’m a big advocator of community service,” Fernandez said. “When you see something clean, it looks good even if it’s old. When you see something dirty, it promotes bad behavior. I hope it makes people think twice about throwing trash on the ground.”

Junior Andy Kim and seniors Stina Kang and Betsy O’Brien help pick up trash along Blake Lane as part of the Octagon Club Adopta-Highway program.

elise werner



Halloween Picture Find

page 11

Try to find all the O’s in the picture

3 things...

halloween Jack o’lanterns The Jack O’Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. A man named Jack tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up the tree, Jack placed crosses around its trunk. The Devil was unable to get down. In exchange for removing the crosses Jack made the Devil promise he wouldn’t take his soul when he died. Once Jack passed away he had no final resting place because he wasnt allowed in Heaven and the Devil kept his promise and wouldnt let him into hell. On Halloween the Irish placed a light in pumpkins to keep the wandering Jack away.


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Match the embarassing moment to the Cougar below. Email your embarassing moments to Ethan Doyle, senior

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Tesla Jensen, junior


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Answers will be posted on tesla jensen clubs editor

The Witch is one of the main symbols of Halloween. The name comes from the Saxon wica, which means wise one. Legends tell of witches gathering twice a year when the seasons changed, on April 30 - the eve of May Day and on the eve of October 31 - All Hallow’s Eve. On Halloween witches rubbed a sacred ointment onto their skin, which made them feel as if they were flying. Some witches rode on horseback, but poor witches went on foot and carried a broom to aid in vaulting over streams.

Superstitions Young women believed that on Halloween they could use tricks to identify their future husbands. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that eligible young women name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding represented the girl’s future husband. Young women would also toss apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials.

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page 13

SGA competes against Centreville in Glory Days Bowl to raise spirits and canned food for charity michelle chu staff writer


he winner of the canned food drive contest was announced at the Glory Days Bowl on Oct. 10. Oakton succeeded in defeating Centreville collecting nearly 800 cans, while Centreville collected under 500. “Any and every single can is considered a success,” said SGA member and senior Kasey Dezelick. “We’ve already heard a lot of good feedback from teachers and lots of parents brought in cans. Even if we hadn’t won this competition, this canned food drive was definitely a victory for Oakton.” Oakton and Centreville High Schools hosted a canned food drive on Oct. 9 and 10, geared towards raising provisions for the needy. All cans went toward funding the Economic Council Helping Others, or ECHO, a food bank in Springfield. “We were actually approached by Centreville High School’s leadership program to see who could collect the most cans,” Dezelick said. “Having a competition between the two schools adds an interesting twist to helping the less fortunate and hopefully this motivated people to donate even more cans.” Along with the chance to help the

disadvantaged or win a competition, the SGA formulated other ways to motivate students to bring in more cans. “The top two classes that [brought] in the most cans received an ice cream party for their donations,” said John Glufing, leadership teacher. “We also held a raffle, and for every five cans

Although some students do not think that the prizes given out are appropriate, members of the SGA believe that the most important facet is to get as many cans donated as possible. “I don’t think it’s wrong at all for students to be motivated to donate cans in return for a reward,” Dezelick said. “The cans they donate help the people who need them anyhow, regardless of whether a reward is involved.” Members of the SGA took steps Having a competition between the two to raise awareness for the canned food drive. schools adds an interesting twist to helping “We went to each seventh the less fortunate and hopefully this motiperiod class, hung up posters, sent vated people to donate even more cans. out flyers and emails and made - kasey dezelick, sr. announcements over the PA system. We [did] everything we [could] to ensure that students were aware of the canned food drive going on,” a student brought to the Glory Days Glufing said. Bowl, [a football game between Oakton Oakton had another chance to win and Centreville] the student received a competition geared towards helping one raffle ticket and the chance to win a the less fortunate, but unfortunately lost gift card to Outback Steakhouse.” that one. Sophomore Sophia Yeam was “We [competed] with Robinson in concerned with the motives and prizes another competition that’s supposed regarding the canned food drive. to help people in need,” Glufing said. “I think the ice cream party and all “For every burger or coke [purchased] the little prizes act more as an incentive at Chick-Fil-A, one dollar [went] to get people to donate,” Yeam said. towards helping the needy. The school “Students should donate cans because that [collected the most money won they feel an obligation to help their the competition] and the one that society, not for food or some other [didn’t] win still [won] the experience reward.” of helping their society.”

Canned food drive contest results

Oakton HS Centreville HS 1 can = 100 cans collected





page 14


Orchestra students compete in regional auditions


michelle chu

ension dominates the atmosphere as students file into the audition room. A thin screen conceals them from the critical glares of the judges. They prepare their instruments and begin to play. 283 auditions later, the competition is finished, their fates resting in the hands of their evaluators. In Oct. members of Sophomore Andrew Lankenau plays his cello the orchestra competed as he prepares for All-State competitions. Like freshman Mikey Lankenau, eight other in a regional competition students qualified for Senior Regionals, a consisting of prerequisite for competing in All-State. 283 students, 82 of whom were selected to perform in an exclusive orchestra representing the elite performers of Fairfax County. “I felt confident the whole time I was practicing my music, but the minute I went in front of the judges I got nervous and my fingers just couldn’t stop shaking,” said viola player Wendy Xue, sophomore. “It’s not the best feeling

performance and whether I messed up or not.” The audition process was consistent for all students competing in the Senior Regionals. They were given similar pieces to perform and were evaluated by the same judges. “A bunch of students from different schools met up at [Jeb] Stuart high school to audition,” said junior Evan Cannon, who plays the string base. “We were given three excerpts and some scales to practice in advance. It was a ‘blind audition,’ and a screen separated us from the judges so they wouldn’t be able to differentiate between gender or race. After that we were ranked based on our performance, and the best got chosen.” Members who made the cut to the Senior Regionals include Xue, Cannon, seniors Adam Celli and Sarah Toy, juniors Danny Song and Jungwook Jin, sophomore Andrew Lankenau and freshmen Stacy Ham and Mikey Lankenau. In addition to performing with an elite group of artists, they will have the opportunity to compete in an All-State competition between qualifying members in VA. “It’s definitely an honor to be able to compete because it feels like the state is almost acknowledging our accomplishments in the musical field, but at the same time, it’s a lot of pressure,” Xue said. “The pressure from the All-State is a lot more than Regionals because everyone competing now has already proved themselves to be talented musicians. From this point on, every single person competing is gifted.” There are several benefits that accompany winning Regionals and participating with a group of elite musicians. “The best part of competing is being able to perform alongside other talented musicians [as well as] being able to learn music that is more challenging than we’re accustomed to at school,” Jin said. Despite the positive aspects of being accepted into a privileged group of musicians, members of the Regional

Health students view open-heart surgery daniel chait staff writer


atching a heart beat right in front of you was really exciting,” said sophomore Mackenzie Lynn enthusiastically. On Oct. 10, tenth grade health students went to see an open-heart surgery performed at Inova Fairfax Hospital’s surgical dome. The trip to the dome educated students on the human body by allowing them to see the procedure live. “Every time I see [the procedure], it’s always incredible to witness an actual heart beating in the chest,” said tenth grade health teacher Jeanne Samuel, who organizes the trip and has seen the procedure four times. Although the trip is popular with students, only 25 are allowed into the dome. Students who are more interested usually sign up to go. “More always want to go than can go,” Samuel said. During the procedure, a trained nurse walks around and answers any questions students may have. The nurse also goes over the procedure in-depth and gives the students a pre-test before the surgery. “We knew exactly what was happening, and she answered all our questions,” said sophomore Mackenzie Lynn. Besides expanding their knowledge of the heart, the experience benefited students in more lasting ways. “It hits home in a visual and graphic

way that makes [the students] realize that they’re responsible for their body,” Samuel said. During the procedure, the nurse passed around vials filled with the amount of fat contained in certain fast food items. “It showed you the risks of bad behavior like smoking, drinking and having a bad diet,” Lynn said. The students saw a quadruple bypass surgery on the patient, which is even more comprehensive than other bypass surgeries. “I had only seen a triple bypass before,” Samuel said. The patient being operated on always has their identity protected and gives consent to be viewed. “The patient being operated on smoked one to two packs a day for 23 years and had a 100 percent blockage in three of of his arteries,” said sophomore Jeffrey Abed. Abed, who attended the trip, had surgery on his cancerous eye when he was young. “It was interesting to see what it was like since I had surgery when I was six,” Abed said. Watching the TV screens, which had a live-feed of the operation, Abed drew diagrams of what the heart looked like. The cameras showed the heart in detail, which helped Abed make the pictures look realistic. These cameras were so tiny they were able to fit inside the body. “Cameras were on the ends of operating tools and on the surgeon’s head looking down,” said Abed.

Orchestra seem to agree on one negative aspect. “There aren’t many negative aspects to getting accepted into Regionals,” Cannon said. “The one major one I can think of is time. The amount of time and effort that you have to put into music is consuming, and you don’t always get to practice as much as you’d like to.” The Senior Regional Competition has not only given students the opportunity to demonstrate their talent, but has also provided them with chance to bond with classmates outFreshman Mikey Lankenau rehearses side of school. a piece given to him during orchestra “When you practice. Lankenau performed for a series perform in the of judges in a competition held in October, Regional Orches- and qualified to compete in All-State. tra you get to meet a side of people you don’t normally see in school,” Cannon said. “We are consistently improving our abilities as musicians by being around each other.”

Senior Class Update n t-shirts on sale for $10, go to for order form n bring your student IDs for free food on Halloween n email any graduation gift ideas to matt johnson | senior class president

michelle chu

in the world. I couldn’t sleep that night because all I

michelle chu staff writer could think about was what [the judges] thought of my

Going too Far?

Cougar fans are becoming disrespectful on and off the field

page 15


he football team is undefeated. The field hockey girls are looking to supporting our school at the highest level, not tearing others’ down. win regionals even though they are out of the running for districts. Leadership classes have been doing a great job of advertising games and The cross country team is blowing other runners off the track and the getting information to the students, but fans are not reciprocating the effort. volleyball team is putting up an impressive front. However, for some fans and Wherever there is a sign around the school, there is someone who has written athletes, they’ve got a lot of work to do before they can be deemed winners. a negative comment on it. Whenever there is friendly competition, between This year’s Friday night game turnout has undoubtedly risen from last schools or among students, there is someone who thinks it’s funny to mock year, but so has the number of “boos” and curses from the ever-increasing the participants. burgundy and gold-clad crowd. At one of the biggest games of the year so At the Powderpuff game, a group of shirtless senior football players ocfar, the faceoff between rivals Oakton and Chantilly on Oct. 4, Cougar fans cupied the stands, with “JUNIORS” painted across their chests. Mocking trumped the Chargers. “Phone Home ‘Tilly” shirts the senior girls did not motivate them to put up a were made by SGA to duplicate the Chantilly “We greater fight against the juniors. The fact that they this staff editorial is the official are not the same, I am a Charger” shirts and the had painted “SENIORS” on their backs was only opinion of the Oakton Outloook stands were overflowing with students, parents and more patronizing. alumni ready to see Oakton take away its sixth win. This misconduct has moved from on the field to It could have stopped there; although the Toff the field as well. Students have gone so far as to shirts were borderline over-the-top, it was still a clear display of school spirit. interrupt assemblies, guest speakers and disrupt drama performances. During But when Chantilly’s band members filtered into the Oakton stands to watch last year’s preview of “Into the Woods,” audience members began a collective our band take the field, a sign of respect from one group to another, two fans “shh” that disrupted the performers and even during Candidates Day on Oct. emerged from the mob and proceeded to stomp over to the rival band, stand 15, seniors were making loud, rude comments while the representatives were beside their director and yell obscenities and insults in the Chargers’ faces talking. We simply have lost respect for our peers and our school. It is not while beating a drum. only uncalled for, but unfathomable that a group of 14 to 18-year-olds thinks In front of a full stand of parents, a few students and even some nearby it is OK to act like they’re still in elementary school. teachers, it was shocking to see something so unexpected coming from But not all hope is lost. With the formation of the “Cougar Clique,” more Cougar fans. It was even more shocking when not five minutes later, a pack of students are coming out to cheer on an array of sports teams, not just the gold supporters leapt off the stands and sprinted to the opposite side to throw football team. The volleyball girls have said that the support has helped motiout more insults faster than you can say, “’09 is our time!” vate them to win a few more games. The overall lack of sportsmanship this fall and in the past has been What students say and do not only affects themselves or their friends but astounding. The “Oakton BlOHS?” T-shirts that were made in others, as well. These childish antics may seem funny and clever at first, but in response to Westfield T-shirts promoted the same childish bethe long run they affect’s everyone’s reputation. Sportsmanship has to reflect havior the Bulldogs initiated. Even last year’s “BAMFS” shirts the school as a whole. With a little pride and a lot more respect, we can make took school pride to a disrespectful and inapour attitude one other schools will want to emupropriate level. Sportsmanship is late, not eliminate. about

Do you think Oakton sports fans go too far in cheering for their team? No, not at all, because all they’re doing is showing as much support as possible for the team they love.

It’s okay to cheer and have signs for support, but once they begin doing inappropriate behavior, they’ve gone too far. - Maia Roberson,soph.


- Renuka Rao, jr.

Editors in Chief

Academics Editor

Ethan Doyle Danielle Holstrom Matt Johnson

Elena Kaufman

News Editor Chris Weil Opinions Editor Nia Roberson Zoe Mitchell (Asst.) Clubs Editor Tesla Jensen Kirin Gupta (Asst.)

Nyssa Wratschko Yenni Tan (Asst.)

Insight Editor


Erica Wohlleben

Alex Buscemi Daniel Chait Michelle Chu Victoria Doxey Erik Gunther Amanda Herman Kyle Hughes Mayura Iyer Sarah Kashanian Gladys Manzur Daphne Martschenko

Sports Editor Alena Schwarz Copy Editor Alex Straton Photo Editor Drew Gunther Business Manager

No, becaese if anything we could show more school spirit and support.

- Neal Pania, jr.

Koorosh Massoudi Emily Mills Ryan O’Gorman Alex Perry Vipin Reddy Rachel Sapone Shayda Shahbazi Sarah Kashanian Owen Chesser Drew Harrington Jessica Klaber Maria Robles Elise Werner Alex Zanin

Adviser Chad Rummel Mary Clare McKesson The Outlook is an open forum for student expression. Unsigned editorials reflect the collective opinion of the Outlook staff. Signed editorials represent the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Outlook or Oakton High School. Reader opinions are important to the Outlook and contributions are welcome. Make your voice heard by sending us a line about what’s on your mind. Letters to the editor may be may be sent via email to or dropped off in Chad Rummel’s box in the main office or in room 228. The Outlook reserves the right to edit submissions for grammar and content provided the meaning remains unchanged.



Counselor connections are vital amanda herman staff writer


he bare minimum most colleges require is a recommendation from a counselor. The application provides more than enough information about the applicant and what activities they’re involved in, but the admissions counselors have to know what someone else thinks of that student before they admit him or her into the school. The counselor recommendation could be very important in deciding whether to accept or deny an applicant. It shouldn’t be hard for a counselor to write a recommendation about a student he or she has known for three years. Yet, the assignment of a four-page profile comes across as a sign that these counselors don’t know their seniors well enough to be able to write freely. The packet even includes a question asking seniors to write the first paragraph of their own recommendation. Meeting with your counselor once a year should be helpful. You talk about classes, colleges that you might apply to and your grade point average. But is it really enough? These meetings happen with everyone else in

your grade during a certain block. That only leaves a few minutes to map out a schedule that could prove to be critical for your future career plans. So that leaves the beginning of senior year to talk about future plans with your counselor. By then, your GPA is set, and you know where you want to go, only to realize when you get to your counselor’s office that you have a few months or, in some cases, a couple of weeks to pull it all together. That simply isn’t enough time to get to know someone with such an impact on your future. Instead of only meeting briefly to assign classes, you should set time aside to meet with counselors to really talk about your interests and goals. Take advantage of the time they schedule you for a college interview. The best way that they can learn what you’re interested in is by what you bring up during these meetings. You could ask them to attend your games or concerts. The more time you spend getting to know your counselor, the better the recomendation for college and the more solid the student-counselor bond will be.

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Student-athletes should focus on academics and sports when considering scholarships ellie kaufman academics editor


or seniors the next two months will be the most stressful of their high school career. College applications are due and their futures are hanging in the balance. While fellow classmates are struggling with difficult essay prompts and confusing forms, select athletically-inclined seniors are already enjoying the warm embrace of acceptance from college recruiters. A year from now, when those student-athletes wind up injured from an accident or unfortunate circumstance and their scholarship is revoked, will they regret taking the early acceptance? When their fellow classmates have moved on to a stable secondary education and they are looking at being expelled because they cannot play the sport any longer, will they question their decision to agree to play a sport in college for scholarship money? Unfortunately, for many student-athletes, accidents happen and they wind up injured. The problem with this is many colleges are unsympathetic to their inability to play and revoke their scholarships after injuries occur. When they no longer are able to play, and lack academic qualifications and proper funding for their secondary education, colleges are quick to revoke their enrollment in the university altogether. With such a shaky foundation, student-athletes put themselves in a vulnerable position when accepting early admission into a college in exchange for an athletic scholarship. Although early acceptance into college for sports may

seem like a win-win situation, the potential ramifications greatly outweigh the benefits. Colleges recruiting students for athletic scholarships are accepting them for just that reason, their athletic capabilities. When those athletic capabilities are lost due to injury or illness, colleges are quick to repeal scholarships and, in some cases, enrollment in the college altogether. This reality seems cruel, but is a common practice in the harsh world of college athletics. Student-athletes should consider their options before committing to a college based solely on athletic ability. They need to make sure that they can continue to attend a university if the athletic scholarship is rescinded and apply to other colleges based on academic accomplishments, not simply athletic accomplishments. Student-athletes should also greatly consider the price of a university before agreeing to attend with scholarships. If you weren’t an athlete, would you still be accepted? Could you pay for it? Many high school athletes go on to play college sports for scholarships and are very successful. Athletic scholarships can also be positive solutions for those who cannot afford college. However, athletic scholarships are based on a skill that cannot always be guaranteed due to occasionally uncontrollable circumstances. For this reason, it is important for student-athletes to err on the side of caution when accepting athletic scholarships. When gambling with a college degree and potentially a future career, it is critical to ensure that athletes weigh all of their options before accepting athletic scholarships.

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10.29.08 Nerve-wracking audition for the spring musical vipin reddy staff writer


hen I first decided to audition for the musical, I was determined to do my best on stage and not back out as I did last year due to high nerves. On Sept. 8, the choral and drama departments held an open audition call for individuals in the school wishing to perform, myself included. To audition for the musical, I had to complete a simple process that consisted of performing 32 bars of a song and a one minute monologue of any topic in the auditorium in front of Tiffany Powell, the choral director, Vanessa Gelinas, the drama teacher, and other students that were auditioning. Audition Wednesday, as I had come to call it, finally came. That entire day I was practicing the memorization of my monologue and reciting the words to “Seasons of Love” from Rent, the song I had decided to perform. After the final bell rang that day, I made my way downstairs, - vipin reddy, sophomore saying goodbye to friends along the way How long have you been performing in who quickly yelled chorus? “break a leg.” Taking a From sixth grade up through Cougar Chorus last year. deep breath, I entered What has been your favorite play to the auditorium. watch? I immediately felt I saw the play “Jersey Boys” last sumfar more nervous mer on Broadway and enjoyed it. than I had the two How many plasys have you performed in? weeks before the Just one. I played the phantom in my audition, despite having seventh grade production of “Phanfocused solely on my tom of the Opera.” monologue and song Favorite food? for such a long time. Sushi The other students who were auditioning were standing on the stage and signing in on the form that was on the podium, and there were about 20 students, a far larger turnout than I was expecting. I filled out one of the audition forms, completing my pre-audition process. My hands began to sweat and my forehead began to feel clammy, but I calmly went to the front row and sat down to watch the auditions that were to come before me, 11 of them total, as I whispered my monologue phrases to myself. After they were done, it was my turn to audition in front of the two directors and the others crowd students. I held my monologue and climbed onto the stage, nervous and scared. I took a deep breath and faced the audience. After stating my name, what song I was going to sing and what monologue I was performing, I began with a small nervous wink and smile. Singing “Seasons of Love” was not as hard as I thought it would be, perhaps due to my prior musical experience from chorus in elementary and middle school, as well as last year. The song just came out, and the snaps of the audience urged me on. Then it was time for the monologue I had been dreading. I hadn’t yet memorized it, so I tried to improvise with what little I did know. Though this was effective for one line, the rest of the monologue was a series of hesitations and doubts about what to say next. Throughout the entire acting portion, I stuttered and had to constantly glance at my sheet. Finally I finished and walked off the stage. At the end of the day on the Friday after the auditions, I made headed down to the drama room to check the audition results for the final cuts, my hands cold with anxiousness. After skimming through the list, I realized my name wasn’t there, but realized this was logical due to my derailed audition. I knew my monologue had not gone well, but I realized that it was my first audition, and without any acting experience and with an abundance of nerves, I felt ok. My song had gone well, for the minute I began to sing, all my nerves disappeared because of my earlier singing ventures. In the end, I walked away content and despite messing up on the monologue, I had completed the singing portion well. I now had the emotional experience for future auditions to come.

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page 17

A right to write?

Are teacher recommendations earned or bought? ethan doyle editor in chief


eacher and counselor recommendations are a right that any student can take advantage of as long as there is a positive relationship between the two parties. If that does not exist, a teacher holds no obligations to the student and should not betray his or her integrity by writing a recommendation for any other reason. It is important that teachers are involved in students efforts to reach higher education and to refuse a recommendation without substantial reasoning is not only harming the student now, it could be harming their opportunities in the future. I am applying to nine colleges, all of which require at least two teacher recommendations along with a counselor recommendation. I chose to use my Latin teacher, a teacher who I have had for a four years, to write me a recommendation because she knows me better than anyone alex perry else in the building. I presented her with my resume, preexpenses-paid lunch or a gift of any other addressed and stamped envelopes and a sort. If an interview is required, it can senior profile so that she could write one be taken care of during or directly after recommendation and send each school a school, not at a noisy restaurant or over copy. A simple transaction that will hopethe scent of ill-gotten gifts. fully hold great results Recommendations do take time; time I asked another teacher, one who I had that many teachers may not have to spend. formed a relationship with over one year If a teacher does not have the time to and who had repeatedly guaranteed a spend on a student that has spent time recommendation for anyone who achieved building a relationship with him or her a certain benchmark of achievement in and is performing well in his or her class, his class. I brought the required materials, then there is nothing wrong with saying requested a recommendation and was imso. However time, like appreciation and mediately referred friendship, should to a calendar filled not be bought and with lunch dates It is a students’ right to have his or her sold. for students who Furthermore, teachers involved in the effort to reach had also requested the time it takes recommendations. higher education. to write a recomThe teacher mendation can be told me that since greatly decreased by recommendations the counselor-distributed senior profiles. were not directly in the job contract, they These “cheat sheets” define the qualities were a privilege that only a free lunch, not and interests of the student to answer any a years worth of hard work, would afford. questions a recommendation writer might I had hoped that my accomplishments have. By making these sheets mandatory and our relationship was worthy of less than an hour of free time; apparently I was for counselors and readily available for students to give to teachers, the guidmistaken. ance office has greatly aided students and That teacher was partially right; recomteachers in the recommendation writing mendations are not a contractual obligaprocess. tion. And a teacher has every right to reThe purpose of recommendations is so fuse recommendation writing on a general the university can learn about your ability or personal level as long as they have apt to forge relationships and excel inside the reasoning. However, a years worth of work classroom from those who know you best. fills any student’s obligation of the quidThey should be a right to any student who pro-quo agreement that any recommendaa teacher feels has achieved success. They tion should be based upon. should be personal, not purchased; and If a teacher does not want to help a stuanything less detracts from their signifident in attaining a higher education, that cance as an admissions tool. is his or her own prerogative. However, it is wrong for teachers to advertise recomhave something to say? mendations in direct exchange for an all comment on

when your senior year rolls around as long as you take the time to get to know your teachers and give them a reason to want to recommend you. I got lucky with the two teachers I asked because most of my junior year teachers are not at Oakton anymore. I asked my drama teacher because I’ve known her since my freshman year. She is the teacher that knows me better than any other teacher. Theater is what I plan to study in college, so I felt that she would be the best person to write about me. She is also an alum of one of my top choice colleges. We have a personal and positive student-teacher relationship, so she accepted my request. Had I not been an active theater student, it would have been completely in her right to choose not to write a recommendation for me. I also asked my AP US History teacher for a recommendation. He had told us from the beginning of the year that he would only give recommendations to students who got a five or four on the AP exam at the end of the year. The students who got a five would be the first priority. He usually has many requests for recomamanda herman staff writer mendations because of the spirit and sonality he uses as a teacher to motivate students while still teaching them. I asked ou’ve written your essays, filled in him to write a letter of recommendation your academic information and for me because I got a five on the AP exam identified your extra curricular and a decent grade in the class. Now I am activities. You’re done applying to college, a teaching assistant for one of this year’s right? Wrong. There is still another impor- AP US History classes. tant factor that you can’t control: teacher His system for recommendations is a litrecommendations. tle different but ensures that he will write Many colleges ask for two letters of a good recommendation for the student. recommendation from teachers. While He has students sign up on a calendar it’s nice that some teachers write them for to come in after school for an interview. their students, it isn’t something that is The student brings lunch for both and at required of them. Why the end of the should it be? After the session, he writes work teachers have the recommendaYou should not be entitled to a recomwith the current year’s tion letters. This mendation if you didn’t meet the students and lesson is a good system teacher’s standards... It would not be planning, they can’t because it allows possibly write a letter him to spend the right to make them write a recommenfor every student who time to write an dation for every student that asks. asks. It would also appropriate and be unfair to make comprehensive them write about the letter. students they don’t If teachers had to write a recommendafeel would be a good match for a certain tion for each student who asked, it would college. hurt students who the teacher wouldn’t You should not be entitled to a recomrecommend strongly because they mendation if you didn’t meet the teacher’s wouldn’t have the time to write as much of standards or if all of your interests are an in-depth letter about a stellar student. backed by a fake motive. Students should make sure they don’t It is an extra commitment for a teacher face an entitlement issue regarding recomto recommend you on their part, so treat mendations. There’s always that kid who them with respect. They’re taking time out whines about doing every activity and uses of their family life and job for your future. college applications as a motive to join It would not be right to make them write clubs or sports, wanting every teacher to a recommendation for every student that write them an amazing letter. The letters asks. teachers write will always reflect on the Teacher recommendations are a crucial student’s relationship to them. part of the college application process; have something to say? however, there is no reason to dread them


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From Soccer to Futbol...

Varsity Soccer Player Competes in United States, London alex perry staff writer


oarding his flight to London, England, sophomore Noah Merlin did not consider anything to be unusual since this trip would mark his third international venture within five years. While most people travel abroad for vacations and various interests, Merlin’s purpose was quite different. Arriving in London, he was already acclimated to playing soccer at an accelerated skill level as he had previously flown to play in other nations. “I’ve played in England, Italy and France,” Merlin said. “When I was 11, I went to France and played in a tournament there. I also played in a tournament in Italy when I was 14.” In only his second year at Oakton, Merlin has already been playing soccer for the last decade and has excelled enough to play internationally since 2004. Yet at an older age, he met stiff competition in London, facing a very talented pool of players and teams. Some of the clubs and their members have been internationally recognized for their abilities. “I played with a team there for two months,” Merlin said. “I trained with a team there and played against clubs based in London. I also played against Fulham, which is a club in the Premiership. Playing against Crystal Palace [another team], I went against Victor Moses who’s on the U21 [under 21] England national team.” While overseas this summer, he had other opportunities to be involved with soccer. When he wasn’t practicing with his team, he had the chance to participate in an audition to be trained by premier players. “I did a freestyle competition sponsored by Wayne Rooney, Coke Zero and Nike,” Merlin said. “I completed in Birmingham and advanced with seven other kids out of 250. After that, we seven got an opportunity to film with famous players on a street course. Then one of us was picked to train with Wayne Rooney along with 10 other kids, and there is a TV show about it now in London.” Upon returning to the United States, Merlin was invited to play for the U16 [under 16] D.C. United Team, a club that is part of an academy that was just recently developed. “The main goal of our team isn’t to win our league or our tournaments but rather to develop players on our team to eventually play for DC United or professionally elsewhere,” Merlin said. “There is a U16, U18 and a U20 team. It’s a club where I get to go across the country and play different teams. For instance, we’re going to Los Angeles in December. It’s also free, and you get the best training and the best exposure in pretty much the whole country. We have national teams’ coaches at almost all of our games and there’s always college coaches watching us play. ” Additionally, he plays alongside his brother, senior Jacob Merlin, for Oakton’s varsity boys team.

fast facts


— Favorite food is Chipotle — Favorite soccer team is Olympique Marseille — Favorite musical artist is Lupe Fiasco or The Kooks — Favorite soccer players are Samir Nasri and Alex Davani — Favorite tv show is House

The pair has been playing soccer for the majority of their lives and continues to support one another in their numerous exhibitions. “It’s been really fun since we’ve always been competitive with each other and always push each other. Though we have brotherly competition and get in fights over soccer, I enjoy watching him play. In the end I know he’s better than me in some aspects of soccer, but not in general,” Jacob Merlin said. “He’s always played at the most competitive level possible. His club team won the state championship in both 2006 and 2007.” While Noah has had remarkable success in soccer and asserts that the best part about it has been “traveling and spending time with his parents,” there have been moments stricken with difficulty. “Last March, I was playing state ODP (Olympic Development Program), and our team won the regional tournament as we qualified for nationals in Texas,” Noah Merlin said. “Our first game was against Southern California, and they were basically shoe-ins to win the whole tournament. We beat them 3-2. In the finals we played Indiana, and we were winning the game 2-1, but in the last minute of regular time, we got scored on so we went into extra time. In the 105th minute of extra time, our team was awarded a penalty kick. I took the penalty and hit the post, and then in the last minute of stoppage time we ended up losing 3-2.” These adverse experiences have contributed to his development as a player over the years. Though he played the position of goalie early on, he is now a field player. “Noah starts for Oakton’s varsity and does really well,” Jacob Merlin said. “He can basically play any position.” His talent has shown through in these games as noted by coaches for the varsity team. Despite his age, he has provided veteran skill and leadership that could result in an extended career. “[He has shown] good effort in practices and games, displaying knowledge and talent,” Assistant Coach Doug Kaltenbaugh said. “I believe that Noah can play in college as long as he keeps playing at a high level and has the motivation to improve at all times.” Playing after high school has been a dream of Merlin’s for most of his life. While he does not know exactly where he will pursue this potential career, he remains optimistic. “Hopefully, I can play professionally out of high school,” Noah Merlin said. “If that doesn’t happen, I hope to play in college and then professionally and, if at all possible, overseas.”

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k n P


The varsity girls volleyball team participated in the “Dig Pink” event for breast cancer awareness sponsored by Stride-Out during its game against Centreville on Oct. 16. Oakton was just one of over 800 other high schools and colleges that participated in the event all over the nation, including one game in Canada and one in Germany.

alena schw arz

alena schwarz sports editor



sch wa rz

alena schwarz

“We want to get involved with some volley— 800 teams total ball club teams and take — 62 from Virginia Dig Pink on the National — $137,060 raised in Tour which holds some of the biggest matches in online donations the nations, some events — Overall goal: playing 1000 teams,” $350,000.00 Dunetz said. “We want the Dig Pink name to — Oakton’s contributions: be going on through the $405.00 off season and blow up — 100,000 individual again next October like a chain reaction.” donations Overall, the Dig Pink rally has been a success based on the eagerness of teams to get involved. “If we had gotten only 50 teams I would have been happy, but 800 is over the top,” Dunetz said. Even from the perspective of the players, the event was seen as a success. “It was something new and different,” said senior side hitter Kelsey Rowley. “It was a good idea for raising money.” Compared to other breast cancer awareness organizations, the Dig Pink rally has done well. “We’re the second biggest organization out there right now,” Dunetz said. Not only did the event promote breast cancer, but it temporarily subsided a school rivavlry. “Instead of being against each other, we came together to play for a cause,” Rowley said. “We were unified.”

fast facts

he stands in the Centreville High School’s main gym were filled with fans wearing pink for the girl’s volleyball game on Oct. 16. While most fans were there for their home team, Centreville, there were scattered Oakton fans on the benches. However, whether cheering for the Wildcats or the Cougars, all the fans had one thing in common: they were there to support breast cancer awareness at the match sponsored by Dig Pink. Dig Pink is an event sponsored by the Side-Out foundation to help promote awareness for breast cancer. All throughout Oct. matches have been held throughout the US at both the college and high school level, as well as one game in Canada and Germany. Side-Out was founded by Annandale’s volleyball Head Coach, Rick Dunetz. He created the organization based on a personal experience that affected him during the 2004 season where, at that time, he was the coach at West Springfield. “At that time I was only the assistant coach,” Dunetz said. “But at the same time that the head coach retired, I found out my mom was diagnosed with Stage four breast cancer. I was nervous and kind of stressed, so I spoke to the team about my situation and about how my head wasn’t really in it. They ended up rallying around it, turning it into a miracle season. “We started to really win and ended up goBumping the ball ing to the District back over the net towards the finals. My father Centreville side, dragged my mom junior Sally Wrenn to the match and tries to prevent in a way I think the opposing team those matches from getting another got her in the mindset point at the game to fight back because held at Centreville before she kind of just High School. The accepted the fact that she team now has might not get better.” a record of 6-9. After its In his opinion, the inspiragame against tional story of his mother’s Herndon on fight against breast cancer Oct. 23, the sets a better tone to rally team hopes awareness for breast canto move on cer research. to the first “It’s better to round of start with a positive Districts story rather than a on sad story,” he said. “You Oct. 23 can show people that there’s hope.” So far, this Dig Pink event is the first. However, the founders are hoping that it can turn into an annual and, possibly, year round event.



— Side-Out Foundation: — Donations: mainevent/minievent/CentrevilleHigh/

alena schwarz

Giving directions to her teammates, junior captain Lee Brinkman (top) commands the game and regulates the next play. Oakton ended up losing the game to Centreville in the Dig Pink event 0-3. The loss was the second straight 0-3 loss, previous one coming from its game agaist Westfield at home. Heading toward the stands, freshman Kelsey Wildman, junior Lee Brinkman and senior Christy Hite (bottom) hand out pink flowers to those who know someone who was affected by breast cancer. The event was sponsored by the Side-Out foundation founded by Annandale Head Coach, Rick Dunetz.



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A Major Task: Band Majors Lead the Way anthony barba staff writer

Band majors senior Jenna George and junior Eric Sharer stand over the the marching band making sure everyone is on key and in step. They have have continued this practice of conducting the band every day through the month of August and after school during the school year.

The three band majors flaunt their trophies after the annual Oakton Classic. Senior Jenna George and juniors Bill Fuchs and Eric Sharer stand displaying what their tremendous effort over the past weeks has achieved.

Awards and Honors: Marching Band (9/22/08) Congratulations to all members of the Cougar Marching Band and Guard on a superior performance at the Millbrook Showcase on Saturday. The band won first place in class 4A, Best Music, Best Marching, Best General Effect, Best Drum Major, Best Drumline and 2nd place guard in class 4A and won the grand championship for receiving the highest score of the day for all bands. These students have been working very hard since August 4. Marching Band (10/6/08) The Cougar Marching Band won first place in Class 6A at the Marine Corps Invitational in Annapolis, Maryland on Sat. In addition, they won Best Music, Best Visual, Best Color Guard and Best Percussion. Congratulations to all members. Marching Band (10/27/08) Congratulations to the Cougar Marching Band for their Superior Rating at the State Marching Festival. These 165 students have been hard at work since Aug. 4.


tanding with their backs to thousands of cheering fans, understanding that they are responsible for every precise movement, lifting their hands the Oakton drum majors conduct their band with exact hand movements making sure every note, beat, step and transition is in perfect harmony in order to produce another stunning performance. “All of them have strong leadership potential, all of them are role models, good musicians and have respect of their peers,” said Band Director Cheryl Newton. Senior Jenna George, and juniors Eric Sharer and Bill Fuchs are the 2008-2009 drum majors of the marching band. This position is the highest honor you can receive while in band. “They have more control over the marching band than leaders from the past,” said four-year band member Jim Braudaway, senior. “They lead by example rather than [lecturing], and all of them are fair and just.” The drum majors hold an Junior Band Major Bill Fuchs shakes important responsibility within the hands with a major from another school band. They are not only leaders after the Oakton Classic. This event but also role models. Additionally, proved to be a success as Oakton it is their responsibility to conduct brought home a majority of the awarded the band during performances trophies. and make sure everyone is where but [George] especially,” Braudaway they are supposed to be. The band said. “She has great, smooth looks towards the drum majors for technique.” instruction during performances and Nobody knows what the future without the drum majors’ guide, it becomes possible for a marcher to lose holds for these select students, but Sharer already knows he certainly their mark. “I enjoy teaching skills, assisting the wants to pursue his musical career in college. director and conducting,” Sharer said. “I will probably minor or possibly It is also important that they are even major in music in college,” Sharer well-liked by their peers and that said. they have done so by acquiring With the marching band season respect through compassion and understanding rather than fear. People winding down, it is a time of sorrow are more willing to follow a leader who for most of the graduating seniors. Dedicating four years to the marching shows them band during the same kind her high of respect that They lead by example rather than [lecturing], school they expect. career, “They’re and all of them are fair and just. George is role models, and we look - jim braudaway, sr. hopeful for the future of up to them,” the band. said freshman “Each band member individual brings something special Natalie Bien. “They’re easy to talk to to the group, and it’s exciting sharing because they’ve been in our position things such as competitions and before and know what we’re going awards with each of them,” George through.” said. “They are an awesome group of It is evident that each of the drum kids who have worked really hard all majors work very hard and take season. Everyone’s dedication is really their jobs seriously, but out of this strong, and I’m sad to see the season prestigious group, George has taken coming to an end because this is my on an even larger role as the most last year being a part of band.” experienced member of the group. “All three are solid drum majors,

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XC controls east meets, ready for district brother or help the team capitalize on their success. “I’ll be out for the rest of the cross country season, but hopefully I’ll be back by the end of winter for indoor he highly ranked cross country team track and for spring track and field,” Brian said. continues to dominate all over the east A week later, the Cougars set out to leave their mark coast. The boys placed first in the Wendy’s on the Manhattan College Invit. Though still not at Invitational in N.C. while the girls took the top spot full strength, the boys varsity team finished seventh in NY at the Manhattan College Invitational. The out of more than one hundred schools, but team proves that they can trump the best of they weren’t the ones in the spotlight. The girls the best on a national level regardless of some varsity team set the tone with senior Jenna physical shortcomings. Cahill and sophomores Nora Udler Ky-Tran On Oct. 4, the boys and girls headed down Vo finishing in the top 20. to Charlotte, N.C. to take on top teams “Varsity girls and JV girls did really [well,]” from around the east coast in the Wendy’s said sophomore Sam McKinley. “They both got Invitational 5K. first place in their races.” “It was important to go because it’s one of Last year, things didn’t quite end the way the the most competitive meets on the east coast,” said team had hoped with a disappointing fourth junior Andrew McCullen. place finish at states for the boys. This year Despite being short of front-runners seniors they’ve taken some new approaches towards Brian Hendricks and Dante Morales, the boys staying healthy and avoiding a repeat of that managed to pull out a win by 15 points. The upset. win was largely due to the efforts of four runners: “This year we didn’t train so hard at the seniors Neal Hendricks and Chris Weil and juniors beginning of the season and took a more steady Patrick Fulghum, and Andrew McCullen, who approach to practice,” said junior Patrick Fulghum, stepped up in place of their injured teammates to finish “We are also more cautious in what we do to avoid in the top 20 and put up some of the fastest times the becoming sick.” event has ever seen. The girls team also did extremely Injuries and sickness aren’t the only hurdles that well at the meet. Led by junior Lane E. Smith, the girls the team has had to jump over this year. The loss of finished third overall. last year’s seniors has also been a huge challenge to “It felt pretty good to be in the top 20,” McCullen said. overcome, particularly with the graduation of star “Being that it’s such an important meet.” runner Joe LoRusso. At the Wendy’s Invitational, the team fought hard to “Losing Joe was a big deal, but we still recovered,” represent Oakton, but found itself racing for much more Neal said. “We’ve all than that. Keeping his pace, senior Karlan Cruz races at the Outlands improved and our scores “We were the only team meet on Sept. 20. Overall, Cruz finished 37th with a time of are so close that it’s almost from Virginia to take the race, 17.07. He placed 5th out of the seven Oakton boys participatlike having three Joe’s. This so it was pretty easy to find ing. year’s seniors have had to each other,” said senior Neal step up and lead the team, Hendricks. “In Manhattan the race was and it’s been a pretty smooth transition.” Wendy’s 5K Inv. 1000 meters shorter so we lost each other After losing states last year, the team is — Neal Hendricks 8th, as soon as it started.” coming back stronger than ever and they This became an issue for a team that is 16:03 are ready to go all the way. used to running with one another, and it “We’ve been using last year’s loss as a — Patrick Fulghum 10th was especially hard for Neal, who didn’t motivation to stay healthy and work really 16:05 have his twin brother and running mate, hard,” Neal said. Brian. Manhattan College The team’s biggest rival on both the “We run better when we’re together,” — Andrew McCullen 17th, district and state levels this season is Neal said. “Losing Brian was a huge thing Robinson, who has also been their toughest 12:51 because I always run with him. He still opponent in the past. While Robinson came to support us, though.” — Neal Hendricks 13:11, has been running in the shadows of larger Unfortunately, because of his injuries 34th schools for some time now, some are saying Brian won’t be returning to run with his they could have a break-out win later in the

alex buscemi staff writer


season. However, Oakton’s cross country team is convinced that this is not going to happen. “This year we’re the best the team has been in years,” Fulghum said. “This year we’re going to win states.”

on the books

fast facts



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Girls Volleyball

Oct. 10 at Centerville W (47-14) Oct. 17 v. Robinson W (43-31) Oct. 24 at Westfield W (30-18)

Oct. 20 at Fairfax L (0-3) Oct. 22 v. Chantilly L (0-3) Oct. 23 v. Herndon L (1-3)

record: 9-0 upcoming games: Oct. 31 v. Herndon Senior Night

record: 6-11 upcoming games: Oct. 27 Districts 1st Round

Field Hockey Oct. 15 at Robinson W (2-0) Oct. 20 Districts 1st Round W (2-1) Oct. 21 Districts Semis L (0-2) record: 10-6-1 upcoming games: Oct. 30 Region 2nd Round (Possible)

Golf Oct. 7-8 Northern Regional Tournament: freshman Jackson Lizardo and junior Amanda Steinhagen Oct. 20-21 States: junior Amanda Steinhagen, finished 8th overall, 1st among girls Season Over

rachel sapone

Running past his competition, junior Andrew McCullen strains to finish high at the Outlands meet on Sept. 20. Out of all the Oakton boys, McCullen finished first with an overall time of 16:34. He placed 15th overall. As a whole, the boys team placed first, over Robinson, with 133 points. This was the second invitational in which the boys ranked first overall.

Cross Country Oct. 11 Manhattan Invitational Boys 7th (292 pts.) Oct. 22 Concord Districts Boys 1st (45pts.) Girls 3rd (55 pts.) upcoming games: Oct. 30 Northern Regionals at Burke Lake

Sports Briefs Coverage of Varsity Football’s 30-18 win at Westfield on Friday, Oct. 24th can be found online at

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Oakton Outlook 2008-2009 Issue 3  
Oakton Outlook 2008-2009 Issue 3  

Issue 3 of the oakton outlook for 2008-2009