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Volume IV, Issue 2

The Laramie Project Fall Play Advocates Toleration, Acceptance

November 25, 2008

Photos by Michelle Jones

By Kayleigh Johnson Staff Writer This year’s fall play was “The Laramie Project,” a docudrama by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. The play ran at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, 7 and 8 and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 8. It was written after the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. Shepard was a university student who was beaten and killed because of his homosexuality. The play, which is a campaign against hate crimes, is about the murder and the town’s reaction to it. The play is considered controversial by many because the it brings awareness to hate crimes against homosexuals. “It’s a challenging subject for high school students to handle,” said Director Sherry Adams-Johnson. In the program, Adams-Johnson discussed that acceptance, understanding, and compassion are virtues that should be upheld each day. Hate has to be erased and people need to be accepted for who they are. “We all still need to look at ourselves

Left: Senior Chelsea Bracci, who played four roles, gets into character. Middle: Seniors Briana Ortiz and Kyle Freelander, Junior Erin Van Houten, and Seniors Katie Broadway and Kevin Lutz take curtain call. Right: Senior Josh Wiredu practices his monologue before opening night. and make sure we are doing all that we can on a personal level to erase hate. There is an image in the play that reads ‘Hate is not a Laramie Value.’ Let’s do all we can to make sure it is not a South County one, either,” wrote Adams-Johnson. The Gay Straight Alliance has been temporarily disbanded due to lack of interest. However, the GSA’s sponsors are hopeful that “The Laramie Project” will help to promote interest in it again. “Mr. Sampson and I are very heartened by the fact that the theatre department chose to perform “The Laramie Project,” as it proves that young people these days are concerned with ending the discrimination that still exists in our society today. We hope that the production will lead to a resurgence in student interest in our school’s GSA, and

that students willing to dedicate their time and leadership skills to our ranks will come forward to help spread a message of equality throughout our student body,” said English teacher and Gay Straight Alliance sponsor, Christine Engelen. “The Laramie Project” was like no other play that the South County Theatre Department has put on before. “The Laramie Project” had no real lead actors because it was an assemble piece, which means that each student played four to six different characters. The play also consisted of live T.V. footage and slides from other media sources. Additionally, in order to raise awareness, cast members were selling “Erase Hate” bracelets for one dollar. Students who bought the bracelet also received a picture

of Shepard and an explanation of his story. The Cappies show was on Nov. 7. Approximately 46 student critics from other high schools came to watch and review the play. “The Laramie Project” received overall good review from the critics. “South County Secondary High School executed this incredibly challenging play with great skill. “The Laramie Project” is very demanding in both technical and acting fields. The cast and crew gave the performance their all and with total success,” wrote critic Amanda Hursch from West Springfield High School. The school will not know what they’ve been nominated for until May. To read a full review by Alex Burns, a Cappies critic from Herndon High School, turn to Style, page 4.

Two Fall Sports Win Patriot District Title Volleyball

Pa g



Field Hockey

A Look Inside:

“It feels awesome to win districts! The last three years we’ve underperformed and this year we were able to show our talent.” - Captain Shannon Collins

Captains: Seniors Megan Rea, and Tierney Smith and Junior Megan Wears. Defeated Teams in the Rounds: Hayfield,West Springfield and Annandale. Exceptional Players: Kirsten Olson, Patty Rafferty, Erica Binzer and Tierney Smith played exceptionally well.

Captains: Seniors Melissa Guy and Shannon Collins and Junior Lindsay Stephens. Defeated Teams in the Rounds: West Potomac, T.C. Williams and West Springfield Exceptional Players: Melissa Guy set a record of 600 goal assists. Lindsay Stephens was awarded district MVP.


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“It feels amazing to finally win districts. It has been my personal goal for three years to win and I’m so excited that we have.” -Captain Tierney Smith


Photo Courtesy of David Prahl

Coffee fan? See a comparison of the two hottest coffee shops: Starbucks vs. Caribou.


Photo Courtesy of Leah Conte

Students get involved in the political process by launching political clubs.

10 The birthday balloon ban has sparked a lot of controversy.

2 News Mane Events Third Cold War Conference Held in November 25, 2008

National Honor Society Inductions

Honor of Future Cold War Museum

Nov. 24

All new and returning members looking to help should report to school at 7 p.m. till 9 p.m. If you have any questions about this event, contact sponsor Leslie Pratt

Thanksgiving Break Nov. 27- 28 There will be a two hour early release for middle and high school on Nov. 26.

Are You Smarter Than A Sophomore?

Dec. 4 Teachers and students will answer a series of questions to see who is smarter.

Senior Dues Dec. 5 Attention Seniors! The deadline for Senior dues is Dec. 5. If you pay before Dec. 5, the cost will be $100. After Dec. 5, the dues will increase to $130. Seniors will not be able to graduate or participate in senior activities if the dues are not paid.

Junior Class Ring Breakfast Dec. 10 All juniors will have a complimentary breakfast and receive their class rings. This will take place during their first period.

Tiny Tots Concert Dec.11 The Drama, Chorus, and Theatre department will hold their annual Tiny Tots concert. The students will perform classic songs from Disney movies.

Orchestra and Guitar Winter Concert Dec. 11 Guitar and Band students will hold a concert to showcase their pieces. The concert will start at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.

SGA Clothing Drive Dec. 8-12 Anyone interested in helping the SGA by donating new or gently used clothes should drop them off in the selected locations. Ask Kellen Scott for more information.

It’s Academic Dec. 13 SCSS defeated Oxon Hill High School and Paul VI High School in the It’s Academic competition. It’s Academic will air on Dec. 13 at 10:30 on NBC, Channel 4.

Photo courtsey of Leslie Pratt From left to right: Former U.S. Army Lieutenant Palmer McGrew was one speakers at the Cold War Conference. Vic Dymowski is the Chief Financial Officer of the Cold War Museum who helped out in the Cold War Conference. By Aimee Nguyen Staff Writer A fourth of a mile away from SCSS is the Lorton Nike Missile Base, a Cold War historical site. With everything going according to plan, community residents will soon see a Cold War Heritage Park and Cultural Museum built on this Nike Missile site. Due to its location and its educational influence, SCSS was chosen to host its third annual Cold War Conference, which took place on Sat. Oct. 11. Attendees were people of all ages from scattered parts in the northern Virginia region. Many came to see the numerous notable speakers who intended to help preserve memories of the Cold War. It is not just another chapter in a history book to them, but a prominent event from their lifetime that they can vividly remember. The Cold War occurred during the time when many attendees were growing up, which made the presentation relatable to them. The attendees were involved in many of the conversations, offering up some of their own memories occasionally. “Their stories really brought the experiences to life,” said English teacher Leslie Pratt. However, younger generations benefited from the conference, as well. It opened their eyes and allowed them a closer look at the events of this war, mostly by the vivid images painted from the speakers’ stories. The theme this year was Prague Spring and focused mainly on the events that led to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. “The respected Czech representatives there gave us insight of how it felt to have their new freedom taken away by the Soviet,” said senior Weston Lahr. The speaking panel

recalled their memories and gave the audience different perspectives regarding the same event. One of the conference participants was a student in Russia at the time and another participant was a journalist trying to enter Prague, named Arnaud de Borchgrave. They briefly spoke about their individual experiences while in different parts of the world during the outbreak of this war and its impact on their lives. To get the event started, all conference participants gathered in the auditorium. A piece of the Cold War documentary was shown and added meaning to what was discussed later. They proceeded to take questions from the audience, marking the beginning of the “conversations.” Soon afterwards, the breakout sessions began, allowing everyone to split up and have more intimate dialogue with speakers in the different classrooms. These experts each focused on a specific topic, ranging from media reactions worldwide to espionage and spy craft. “Arnaud de Borchgrave really had an impact on me because he has gone through so much in his life and accomplished even more. He was inspiring and I felt honored to hear him speak,” said senior Emily Catino. The speakers wanted to discuss their experiences so that the Cold War will be remembered. Many younger generation students will not remember the events long after studying for a history test, but adults vividly remember the images and horrifying scene they lived through. At this event, adults had the opportunity to pass down this piece of history to children of all ages. “I really liked the conversations aspect. It was good to see the younger generations interacting and conversing with the speakers because it ensures history is not being forgotten,” said Pratt.

Character Education Program Helps To Strengthen Life Skills

By Jamal Awan SCSS is in the process of instituting a Character EducaStaff Writer tion Program. “Currently, we are investigating a variety of character education programs. As we compare the different The Character Education Program is a program that programs we hope that one will stand out as meeting the helps students build the life skills that are necessary for fu- needs of SCSS,” said Sanders. ture success. In 1999, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislaThis program costs a considerable tion requiring all public school sysamount of money, which leads to diftems to establish character education ficulty in funding due to the FCPS programs in its schools. Character education financial debt and situation. “Character education programs are programs are developed developed to serve a common good. To help schools develop their character education programs, many Many of these programs concentrate to serve a common counties have set aside a large amount on characteristics or traits that most good. of assets for this program. people consider desirable: honesty, in-Robert Sanders “FCPS has committed funds by tegrity, reliability, respect, hard work, offering training to schools in the and fairness,” said Sanders. Associate Principal Eleven Principles of Effective CharacMany staff members have been ter Education published by the Charinvolved with program, hoping to furacter Education Partnership,” said ther its impact on the kids. Associate Principal Robert Sanders. “The aim of the character education program, acMany schools promote character education by featur- cording to the state, is to improve the learning environment, ing monthly school-wide themes such as trustworthiness, promote student achievement, reduce disciplinary problems respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship, honesty, and develop civic-minded students of high character,” said courage, diligence, and integrity. Sanders.

3 News Class of 2009 Can Expect Senior Privileges Soon November 25, 2008

By Josh Hunt Staff Writer It has become a common belief amongst the class of 2009 that because of the meager class treasury, there will not be any kind of exclusive senior privileges or special events for this school year. There was a rumor circulating concerning the class of 2009’s prom. It was rumoured to be held in the gym or cafeteria due to the absence of money to hold prom in a hotel. It’s true that the class’s treasury isn’t in the best of shape, but fortunately the SGA is not deterred; there are already several plans in the works for senior benefit. It has been decided that the senior prom will be held at the Waterford Hotel in Springfield. Currently the most definitive idea is for a planned senior skip day, set as of now for June 15, 2009. The skip day will not only get the seniors out of school,

but also take them to Kings Dominion for the day. “The exact day is tentative,” said Class of ‘09 sponsor Gina Ord, “but it will definitely be happening.” Marketing and leadership teacher Kellen Scott solidified a rumor circulating that a “Senior Patio” is in the works for this spring. “We’re currently working on getting wood donations,” said Scott. Scott further mentioned that if seniors want to help facilitate this idea, they can volunteer for both the building and designing of the patio. Dimensions are still needed and can be submitted for approval at the front office. Aside from those two major endeavors, there are a lot of smaller benefits in development, and even some that seniors might are unaware of taking part in. “Seniors have already re-painted the concession stand,” said Scott,” Students can also re-paint any of the rocks at any time,” said Ord. In addition to the rocks, the senior locker bay might get

re-painted. SGA president Philip Basnight mentioned that he would like to see some specific senior privileges enacted. “Overall, we probably won’t be seeing anything major until fourth quarter. We have to address things as they come up,” said Basnight. For the All Night Grad Party, there are provisions being made for a “Battle of the Bands.” “Though it has not been brought up yet in an SGA meeting, we want to propose that seniors be let out of school five to ten minutes early during the last quarter,” said Basnight. “It would be a nice gesture, and would also help with the parking lot congestion.” If the seniors want to help make sure these things happen, there are plenty of ways to do so. “Participation in fundraising events and attendance to senior sponsored activities is great,” said class of ‘09 president Carly Botero. “The seniors should get priority, but if they want to see privileges they need to earn them.”

Election Sparks Interest in Political Clubs By Emily Keller Copy Editor The new Teen Age Republicans (TARS) has been created for the 2008-2009 academic school year as a forum where students interested in conservative political policies and the workings of government can express their views. Along with TARS, the Young Democrats of America (YDA) was formed this year. This is YDA’s first chapter at South County. TARS and YDA are national youth-led groups that encourages teens to become involved in political processes. In order to be in the South County chapter of TARS, members must do five hours of community service, pay dues, and be a high school student at the school. The chairman of TARS, senior Caitlin Ray, decided to start the club over the summer. “I had heard that South County was the only school in Fairfax County that did not have a Republicans Club already, and I decided that I would go ahead and create the South County chapter,” said Ray. The chairman of YDA, senior Samanatha Schaefer, and Ray are planning a political debate to occur between the two clubs sometime in the future. Members of the club will meet students with similar ideas and work to get their classmates more involved in the community. TARS members will also learn how the government works through a variety of activities including discussing current events, planning any upcoming activities, and listening to guest speakers that choose to come in and discuss their views with students. “We are planning on doing fundraising for Fisher House, helping with Project Wounded Soldier, hosting guest speakers, and possibly organizing fundraising events for the club,” said Ray. Doug Jones, the GOP Chairman of the Mount Vernon District, Pat Neary, the Precinct Captain of the Saratoga and Alban Precinct, and Dave Albo, the delegate for the Virginia House of Delegates from the 42nd District, have already attended the second meeting of TARS that was on Thurs. Oct. 30. The speakers encouraged members to

Photo by Emily Keller

From left to right: Doug Jones, Dave Albo, and Pat Neary made guest appearances at the TARS meeting that was held on Oct. 30. They discussed the importance of volunteering and staying politically involved. become involved in the election process and to make sure their voices were heard on Election Day. With the added importance of politics in this presidential election, the officers of TARS hope that all students, including Democrats and Independents, will feel encouraged to get involved in the club and share their ideas. The secretary of TARS, senior Caitlyn Chalfant, believes that students should attend the meeting to share their thoughts as to why they chose the their particular political party in the first place. “I am a Republican because I believe not everyone should live on welfare. My ideas and ideals line up with Republican views and ideas about government,” said Chalfant. History teacher Thomas Demharter is the sponsor of TARS and hopes that the club will influence people to join

and understand the standpoint of the Republican Party even if they do not consider themselves a Republican. “I believe in the values of the Republican Party,” said Demharter. “I want students to understand what Republicans really stand for, not what the media says we stand for.” The officers hope that over the course of the year, they will be able to establish a good foundation for the club and encourage younger students to become interested in joining TARS. They hope that their efforts will motivate others to help the club continue and grow after they leave. “I hope that people will take a more active role in politics, especially since we are so close to D.C. I also hope that we can use TARS to help our community,” said Ray.

English Honor Society To Launch Writing Help Center By Emily Keller Copy Editor To promote the value of English at SCSS, the National English Honor Society (NEHS) is establishing a writing center and organizing a poetry slam during the 20082009 academic school year. NEHS is designed to recognize student achievement, develop the abilities of students in English, and encourage interest in English by focusing on the talents of the members and their service to others. In order to be considered eligible for membership in the society, students maintain a 3.5 GPA in English and a 3.0 GPA overall. Membership in the society is based on a point system where students must earn ten points per semester in order to remain a member. For every hour students work on the upcoming poetry slam, one point is

earned and for each publication outside of school or in Xanthus, South County’s literary magazine, two points are earned. Members also get a point for each hour they work in the developing writing center. The writing center is a developing project of NEHS, and the society hopes will prove beneficial to the overall student body. The writing center, which is designed to help students learn to write papers and cite sources, will help students in nearly every subject, not just English. “The writing center is going to be a tutoring center for anyone who needs any additional help writing essays or doing any assignments that involve writing or any English whatsoever,” said English teacher Dan Deiter, the head sponsor of NEHS. Under the leadership of junior Megan Palko, junior Marina Leary, and senior Victoria DiTomassi, many of the members

are confident that the writing center will be helpful and therefore remain a permanent project of the society. “[The writing center] is going to be an English hotline inside the school,” said senior Chelsea Bracci, president of NEHS. “Teachers will ask for tutors and whoever they need will show up.” Additionally, NEHS is already starting to organize the poetry slam scheduled for March 10 of next year. “We’re going to start early with committees for advertising and decorating,” said senior Laila Cruz, secretary of NEHS. The officers of the society have been working to create an organization where the members are responsible for most of the aspects of the activities that the NEHS coordinates. “We know that it’s good and that it’s working well, but we’re just going to fix a few kinks and make it completely student-

run,” said Bracci. When Deiter stepped up as the head sponsor, he hoped that students would take more responsibility so they could improve on activities like the poetry slam. “We’re hoping to make [the poetry slam] even bigger and better than last year. It will be the same format. We’re definitely going to spend more time preparing and we hope to get it filmed so we can sell a DVD of the performance,” said Deiter. Bracci is hopeful that all of the changes and improvements to NEHS will result in a growing society that students will be able to build upon each year. “I feel like each year we’ve made such big leaps and accomplishments. Last year we got the poetry slam started and this year we have the writing center. I hope it keeps growing and stays a serious honor society,” said Bracci.


November 25, 2008


Cappies Review: Laramie Project Erases Hate

Cappies Choice Sound Josh Wiredu, the Sound Team Lighting Justin Alderson, Nathan Thomas Sets Chelsea Chansen, Samantha Schaefer, Sarah Stephens Make-up Maggie Dickenson Props & Effects Samantha Franklin, Laura Jones, Mariah Khan, Brent Martin Stage Crew Natalie Best, the LP Tech Team Ensemble in a Play First Responders Cameo Actress Allison Harting Cameo Actor Josh Wiredu Comic Actress in a Play Jodie Awudetsey Comic Actor in a Play Corbin Stewart Featured Actress in a Play Ally Barrale Featured Actor in a Play Kyle O’Connor Lead Actress in a Play Samantha Franklin Lead Actor in a Play Kevin Lutz Play The Laramie Project

By Alex Burns Cappie Critic from Herndon High School

Note: These Cappies Choice selections are NOT nominations. These names will be the names on the ballot from which the top five nominees will be selected.

Photo by Michelle Jones

In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a twenty-one-year-old gay student from the University of Wyoming, was tied to a cattle fence, beaten, robbed, and left to die in the October cold. “The Laramie Project,” Moises Kaufman’s internationally successful play, is based on a set of interviews conducted in the wake of the attack by Kaufman’s theatrical group, the Tectonic Theatre Project. South County Secondary’s recent performance did justice to the serious source material, and even brought tears to the eyes of some of the audience. The ensemble nature of the show meant there were no true leading characters; however, there were several standout performers. One was Kyle O’Connor who most notably played Jonas Slonacker, a gay man living in Laramie at the time of the incident. His vocal command and understated physicality was incredibly impressive; his scenes were some of the most captivating of the night. Another notable performance was delivered by Kevin Lutz. As the outspoken limousine driver, Doc O’Connor, Lutz’s prolific energy and comic timing helped alleviate some of the sadness and tension the rest of the play’s events inspire. The large ensemble took to their roles with enthusiasm and skill, and many managed to capture multiple characters extremely well. Taimur Sohrab was especially effective as Doctor Cantway and as Rob Debree, chief investigator of the Matthew Shepard murder. He captured the audience’s emotion every time he stepped on stage. Both of his characters were detailed and realistic. Also notable is the duo of Jodie Awudetsey and Samantha Franklin. The duo, as Marge and her daughter Reggie, exhibited incredible chemistry and an ability to draw the audience in and captivate the audience. Technically, the show was also impressive. Three video screens behind the performers constantly showed pictures relating to the events being enacted on stage, for example, a photo of the actual fence was shown during a monologue about finding Matthew’s beaten body. The screens were an outstanding technical achievement. Sound was well done, with musical underscoring adding another aspect to the play. South County Secondary’s production of “The Laramie Project” was an exceptional experience, one that will not soon be forgotten by anyone who sat in the audience.

Brandname Backpacks Inspire Student Fashion Got Style? By Corinn Bernarding Style Columnist Since the beginning of the school year, it has become apparent that the South County student population is either wearing Jansport or North Face backpacks. I guess I understand since they are probably one of the most comfortable backpacks out there. By far. I definitely have nothing against either because I’ve sported the same Jansport backpack since fifth grade. And that’s the important thing I’d like to stress: I’ve had mine SINCE fifth grade. I have never had to buy a new backpack; I just thought that it was never really necessary to buy a new one. My backpack has no rips nor does it have any issues with the zippers. But that’s not the point of this story. I want to figure out why these two backpacks are somehow so fashionable in our school. Are the straps comfortable, or is it a fashion statement? Did you buy your North Face backpack just to fit in? In my opinion, the items pose

more of an acceptance throughout the student population. This perspective is what seems most apparent. What about the decorative image of the backpack? We all know that a Jansport isn’t a Jansport until we have added our own little flavor. I’ve noticed how many students sport those tiny DECA shoes, and they’re not even in DECA. To me, this situation is hilarious. What’s the point in wearing it if you’re not even in DECA? Most would think it is for support of the club, but in this case, I highly doubt this is the rationale. I do have to admit, for now, we have no truth behind the real reason. Everything materialistic in high school seems to only be used for a fashion statement. When walking around South County, I see at least one person wearing something North Face. Usually, it’s the black North Face sweaters. I mean, I don’t want to say anything negative about it because I’ve recently succumbed to the trend as well. I immediately want to laugh at myself because I fell into the fashion craze of these sweaters. Mainly, I want to point out how most of us just have to buy name brandname things. When it comes to the Jansport backpacks, North Face sweaters and backpacks, and UGG boots, we have to have the best.

When I see the outrageous prices of these so called teenage fashion “necessities,” I question if we are truly getting the best. I have seen several “knock off” products of the UGG boots and North Face fleeces. The only thing that’s missing from the products is the labels. If I were to walk up to someone with a North Face fleece and rip off their label, they may no longer be seen as fashion forward. To everyone else, it is now just a plain fleece jacket. Before, it was shoes, jeans, shirts and even hats. Now, we have begun focusing our attention from what people see in the front, as well strut the halls of South County, to a more fashionable display of our backside. To some, these backpacks serve as a means to carry their books from class to class, but to others they are an accessory and an important element to their daily ensemble. In this school, students see an article of clothing for their label, not color or design. The label apparently makes the outfit more desirable, and most students will have to immediately purchase the item. I would say that price doesn’t matter here at South County. But of course, we can’t neglect to remember that we do live in one of the richest counties in Virginia. I guess we all have a standard to uphold.


November 25, 2008





Need to study? Need a little pick-me-up before school in the morning? Need a chill place to go on a date? Where better than a coffee house? Now the question is....Starbucks or Caribou? Both offer unqiue customized options on traditional classics. With a drink menu board taking up the entire back wall, Starbucks gives customers a variety of options. Caribou offers a coffeehouse experience with friendly service and a warm atmosphere.


Pike’s Place Roast: 5 calories- 330 mg of caffeine Espresso: 5 calories- 75 mg of caffeine Latte: 190 calories- 150 mg of caffeine Coffee Frappuccino: 240 calories- 110 mg of caffeine


Coffee of the Day: 5 calories- 200 mg of caffeine Latte: 200 calories- 180 mg of caffeine Espresso: 0 calories- 270 mg of caffeine Coffee Coolers: 320 calories- 100.7 mg of caffeine

Excessive Coffee Drinking May Affect Students By Ben Maldonato and Alexandra Morrison Staff Writers Rich. Bold. Smooth. Coffee. There is something about coffee that seperates it from other drinks. There is a certain quailty that makes adults run to their stash of folgers three times a day. It’s the caffeine. defines the effects of caffeine as a temporary energy boost and mood elevator. The major problem with caffeine is that so many people are addicted to it. Most caffeine addictions begin in the teenage years because many teens are unaware of the dangers. Caffeine is a legal drug which can interfere with sleep and create headaches, jitters, dizziness, and anxiety in high doses. Caffeine can make the body lose calcium which can even lead to osteoporosis, which makes bones brittle because holes are formed in the structure of the bone. Two large competing distributors that are local to the South County area are Starbucks and Caribou Coffee. According to both websites’ nutritional facts pages, Starbucks contains much more caffeine in one “Grande Star-

bucks Brewed Coffee” than one “Large Caribou Coffee of the Day.” On the other hand, Caribou Coffee boasts almost more than twice the amount of caffeine in one small espresso than in a Starbucks espresso. Many students at SCSS are seen toting coffee cups around the halls in first period to help them wake up and get ready to seize the day. After interviewing a fervent coffee drinker and a non-coffee believer, both have confessed to say that they feel fine in the morning. The only difference is that sometimes, headaches can plague the coffee drinker if their caffeine content drops too low. Therefore, just like any other habit, coffee drinking may not be the miracle waker-upper, but it also does not inhibit a person’s usefulness before all of the connections in their brain are up, firing and functioning. Some may say that coffee stunts your growth and has a lot of negative effects, the difference however is that in moderation coffee just as any other habit is fine and can be benificial when used sparingly. Regardless of all the benefits or dangers coffee remains at the top of obession lists everywhere.

Caffeine is a legal drug “which can interfere with sleep and create headaches, jitters, dizziness, and anxiety in high doses.

Hall Talk: How Often Do You Drink Coffee?

Compiled by Nick Hill and Kat Pudecay

“About twice a week.” Kiana Smith Freshman

“One or two cups a week.”

“Never.” Josh Noll Sophomore

Deondra Wilkins Junior

“One cup everyday.” Scott Morgan Senior



November 25, 2008

Young Life Sponsored SeniorJulie Medrano Weekend at Rockbridge Enlists in U.S. Marines By Megan Palko Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Michelle Jones

Jessica Young, Alex Yastishock, Michelle Jones, Kayleigh Johnson, Jordon Blair are sitting in the game room waiting for club to start. Here many of the attendees played games like pool, fball, ping pong, and many different card games. by Michelle Jones Assistant Front Editor Rockbridge Alum Springs is owned and operated by Young Life. This event was not just open to Young life club members; any one in high school was welcomed to attend. Along with many other Rockbridge attendee’s Jessica Young rode with many others on the charter bus form University mall to Rockbridge. After arriving everyone in the camp collected into the club room. During evening club students danced and sung as well as watched a skit performed by leaders. Afterwards a quest speaker explained to the crowd Rockbridge mission, the night was toped off by a action filled dodge ball game.Saturday was filled with games, led by a Red vs. Yellow challenge where teens tackled each other in packs trying to tear pieces of tape off each other. Afterwards they played a Young Life favorite, the guys all grouped together on the ground holding on to one another with all there might as the girls fought to pull them apart. The team activities ended with a running game of sharks and minnows where sharks tackled minnows to the ground preventing them from crossing the field. Its not just SCSS that attended Rockbridge, students from schools across the state attended.

As citizens, we are expected to serve in a jury, pay taxes, vote, and, if necessary, serve as a member of the armed forces in times of war. Senior Julia Medrano joined the approximately 250,000 women who are currently serving in the U.S. Military. She enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on July 17, and she will be leaving for boot camp June 29, 2009, 11 days after graduation. Once in the compound the recruits are cut off from the civilian world, and must become fully immersed in the Marine lifestyle. The process of boot camp lasts ten weeks. As the marines build you up physically, they break you down mentally, taking your individuality and building upon it from the bottom up. “The fact that they do [this] makes me a little nervous,” said Medrano. To prepare for the rigor of bootcamp, Medrano trains on the weekends. All of her training makes her constantly busy. “[The toughest thing is] the obstacle course at the Quantico Base. It’s really physically demanding,” said Medrano. As with the rest of the armed forces, the Marine Corps offer career and college opportunities. Her contract is for eight years. Four of those years will be active and the other four in the reserves. While serving as an active member, Medrano will be attending night classes or attending courses at a college near the base where she will be stationed. Medrano wants to be part of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit. They are technicians that diffuse bombs and make sure the territory is safe. They are also the first responders in. She has wanted to be part of the military since middle school. “I’ve always wanted to do something in the military. My cousin and friend talked a lot about it, and my friend, Thomas Garret, is an active Marine. He inspired me to do what I wanted to,” she said. “I wouldn’t Photo by Megan Palko change my mind or quit. It’s a great responsibility.”

Social Experiments Continued, Club Exploration Quarter Begins The Way It Is Ben Maldonato People Columnist

Clubs are a big part of our school society, but nobody seems to be interested in them. It seems that more people avoid staying after school for something as trivial as a club than people avoided the Black Death in medieval Europe. Clubs have gone underappreciated and unknown for most of this school’s life and will probably keep on going like that forever. What most people don’t know is that clubs can actually be fun and are not just eye candy for your college applications. In fact, most people don’t even know all the clubs that are present at our school. Not only are there many clubs so far, but there are also more clubs being created that are still not populated by active members. Of course, people might be interested in a club and just not have enough time to attend the meetings regularly. I find this excuse to be false, and it really gives the idea that you are

just lazy and can’t manage your time well enough. Unfortunately, some people really are too busy with homework from too many AP classes to stay after, even if it is for only one hour. I believe that, like at Thomas Jefferson HS, there should be an extra period added to the end of the day where each student is forced to attend a particular club meeting. This is not counted for a grade, but students can receive punishments if found wandering in the hallway and skipping their extracurricular period. Some clubs that nobody might know about need to be given the spotlight. For the next three issues, I will go to a meeting of a particular club that has very few members and get an interview. So, in the next three issues, you should expect a new or unknown club summary in this place. The three clubs that I will be visiting will be in this order. First shall be the Technology Engineering Club, sponsored by Jim Jo. Second, I will visit the Debate Team, which is sponsored by Mercades Allen. My final visit will be to the Forensics Club, which is sponsored by no one, therefore the club does not com-

pete but still meets after school. So, look forward to these interviews because you might just find out about an interesting club that you would not have known about. The reason that I feel that I must bring these clubs to the forefront of everyone’s attention is that because people are not fully aware that these clubs exist, let alone contain interesting members. I would like to showcase these three clubs because they most likely do not have many members, and are interesting. As promised from last issue, here are the results from the email survey. So far, after three weeks from when the first issue came out, I have received emails from three students. These three students are Flint Sisson, Jordan Baird, and Melanie Richardson. If I left anyone out who told me in the hallway, sorry about that. I hope that this result may have shown everyone that people do actually read the newspaper, yet still there are very few. Hopefully, people will start reading the paper. Overall, about six students told me that they read my column. If you are reading this one, you should try out one of the aforementioned clubs.

Rest in peace Christa Thompson. Christa was born on Sept. 30, 1991 and passed away on Oct. 24, 2008. She was a junior and a member of the South County swim team, softball team and orchestra. To share or read memories about Christa you can visit: http://RememberingKrista



November 25, 2008

Check Up on the New Tech on Deck Are the New School-Wide Purchases Beneficial or Unnecessary? By Jessica Arienti and Tara Shaw Spread Editors Imagine life without technology such as cell phones, iPods, TVs, microwaves, computers, etc. Now think about South County without any of these things. We probably wouldn’t be able to function. The Stallion Spotlight wouldn’t exist; handing in assignments via Blackboard wouldn’t be possible; this newspaper wouldn’t be published; and in fact, this story wouldn’t be written. So the question remains. Is this school too dependent on technology, or is all of the technology we have necessary? Computers and printers might be necessary for certain classes to accomplish their curriculums, however, some may feel that other aspects are an inconvenience or simply an unnecessary cost. For example, this school year there are new security cameras and monitors set up in each lunch line in order to prevent stealing. According to some

students, the intentions were good, but the purchase was a little unnecessary. “I think that they’re an unnecessary waste of money. Stealing is not that big of a problem here,” said junior Brendan Carmichael. In a different perspective, other students feel that the security cameras are not only necessary, but a benefit. “I think that the new lunch line security cameras are a good idea because they prevent thievery,” said senior Michelle Halsted. “The cameras were installed across the county, and we’re actually the last to get them,” said security guard Matt Longwood. “They were purchased because there was a significant loss of inventory with the cafeteria products.” The ultimate question is if the juice is worth the squeeze. Is the expense of these security cameras going to consequently save the money that would have been lost due to stealing? In the midst of a county wide budget crisis, perhaps the money thrown into such extraneous technology should be reconsidered.

Photo by Tara Shaw

The monitor in the lunchline keeps an account of the students as well as the food. They are normally on during all high school and middle school lunches.

Poll: What’s Your Dream Phone?

“The new iPhone.” Carlos Gomez Freshman

Photo by Nick Hill

Compiled by Nick Hill and Kathrina Puducay

“The iPhone.” Raelyn Layne Sophomore Photo by Kathrina Pudacay


November 25, 2008


Tech Photo courtesy of Google

What’s In Your Pocket?

Comparing the iPhone, Dare, and Vu

By Catherine Kellogg Asst. Spread Editor Near the beginning of the cell phone era, it was a big deal category due if your phone had the ability to text. Now, the expectation in to its comthe mobile world goes far beyond that due to touch screens and bination of unlimited internet-access. phone and iPod. With the iPhone being all the rage, it was difficult for other But the Vu is companies to develop a good competitive product t h e for a while. But, as the iPhone 3G came out, LG next best, also released the Dare and the Vu with the hopes followed that they would be able to steal some sales. by the Dare, While they all hold similar features such as according to touch screens, multimedia, and web browsing, phoneArena. their functionality within these categories differ, com, giving the Vu making them more or less popular. a 2 and the Dare a ne ho According to, the rating on 1.5 because they tend P i le the touch screens of these select phones (on a to have problems recogpp A scale of 1-5) rates the iPhone as the best with a 5, nizing tracks and album then the Dare and the Vu both with a 2.5. artwork. Also falling into This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Dare this category is the camera, in which the Dare is and the Vu’s touch screens the best due to its 3.2-megapixel and auto focus don’t work very well. “I features. have the Dare, and I love By far, the main reason for getting a touch screen it because the touch phone is the web-browsing interface. screen works great. While all three phones feature the “full” HTML And it’s really cool browsers, the iPhone gives the best experience beAT&T Vu because the keycause it has the fastest web browser and multi-touch board can switch surface. from ‘QWERTY’ to a regular The next best is the Dare, then the Vu; the main reason for keypad,” says junior Lindsay their low rating is that they often bring up errors when trying to Gordon. load websites. But when all else fails, all three phones support One of the most pop- Wi-Fi which is rapidly growing in hotspots. ular features among Overall, the iPhone, Dare, and Vu all hold similar features, these phones is the but are three separate phones. Each has benefits and downfalls, multimedia func- but all three are functional and create competition in the cellular e r tion. The iPhone technology industry. Da n rates the highest in this So which one is in your pocket? zo

ri Ve

“Any free phone.” Arianna Beard Junior Photo by Kathrina Pudacay

What’s New With Apple? Apple is one of the largest-producing companies in the technology industry. 13-inch MacBook -Ultrathin backlit display -5x faster graphics performance -Smooth glass Multi-Touch trackpad 15-inch MacBook Pro -Bigger screen -Ultrathin backlit display -5x faster graphics performance -Smooth glass Multi-Touch trackpad New iPod Touch -Thin and stainless steal, sleek new design -Genius feature -Built in speaker -Longer battery life -Volume controls New iPod Nano -Genius feature -Accelerometer -- give it a shake to shuffle your music -9 colors (silver, black, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink) New iPod Shuffle -4 colors (silver, blue, green, red, pink) -Up to 500 songs Compiled by Catherine Kellogg

“The Voyager.” Mike Bromley Senior

Photo by Nick Hill



November 25, 2008

Staff Editorial

Bursting Birthday Fun: Balloon Policy Full of Hot Air One of the more excessive new policies adopted this year is the school administration’s decision regarding balloons. It was customary for students to bring in balloons and decorations to celebrate the birthdays of their friends. Recently, the administration has put a ban on balloons and locker decorations. This is unreasonable. Bringing in balloons for a friend is a generally harmless practice, and it is one that does not really require administrative attention at all. The school’s administration cites allergies to latex when arguing against the balloons. While it is true that latex allergy is an actual, genuine condition, it really just seems like its severity has been greatly over exaggerated. At most, 6.5% of the population is sensitive to latex. That doesn’t even necessarily imply allergic reactions, just sensitivity. Moreover, allergies to latex is not a sufficient reason to enact a school wide ban on celebratory behavior. It is equivalent to banning peanut butter because there are many recorded allergies to the substance. Many people are allergic to many different substances, but these substances are still prevalent in nature and in controlled environments like schools. Also, not all balloons are made from latex. Balloons can be made from a variety of different materials. If allergies to latex were the sole cause of this proclamation, then balloons made

from rubber and nylon should be allowed. Clearly, it seems like this proclamation is about more than just a simple health concern, otherwise other balloons would still be allowed. Either that, or there are widespread allergies to nylon as well...And if that is the case, then certain articles of clothing need to be banned as well. The information about balloons was contained in a letter to students and parents sent home Oct. 9 along with the periodic interim reports. There was only one paragraph pertinent to balloons and latex in a letter that also discussed the homecoming dance and the PSAT schedule. It mentioned not only the ban on balloons but also the administration’s request that locker decorations be contained to the actual locker door of the individual student who is celebrating his or her birthday. Those two new policies were enacted to “promote a healthier and more focused environment for all concerned.” The root of these new measures, it seems, is to limit “distracting” student behavior and activity. Otherwise, why extend the ban to all balloons? And why mention the locker decorations? Banning all balloons seems to be just a little too excessive, and should be limited just only latex.

Cartoon by Kimberly Ta

2008 Election Will Be One for the History Books By Devlin Reardon Staff Writer The November elections were the most critical elections in the last few decades. This year, almost all seats in the national government were open to change, including both the House of Representatives and the Senate. As you should already know, after a long and hard political battle from both Democrats and Republicans, Barack Obama clinched the presidency. Virginia ended up “turning Blue” on Nov. 4 and also voted in Mark Warner (D) for Senate and Gerry Connolly (D) for the House in the 11th district, which encompasses SCSS territory. As expected, Warner won by a landslide, but Connolly and Obama’s races were a bit closer than expected in our state. McCain conceded defeat to Obama fairly quickly as the election numbers came in; so the result was all but decided before midnight on election night. The campaigns for both parties faced an uphill battle since the presidential primaries. While Obama had led in the polls for the last couple of months before the election, the election still came down to the swing states. Both candidates focused immensely on the states of

Virginia, Ohio and Florida: the swing states that eventually decided the election. This election saw a record voter turnout with 122,155,890 citizens turning up, though worries about lines were both confirmed in some places, but proven false in others. A number of states, including Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, changed their allegiance to the Democrats. McCain’s hopeful path to victory was a narrow one and required the Republican candidate to win almost all of the crucial swing states, but his hope was cut short when Obama won almost every state in question. With Obama’s election victory comes a wave of policies wholly different from those of the past eight years. Obama’s plans include tax breaks for citizens making under $200,000 a year and tax raises for those making over $250,000 a year, a plan that critics, and the mascot of the campaign Joe the Plumber, call “redistributing the wealth.” I prefer to call it “evening the odds.” Other issues on the policy agenda will be healthcare reform, energy independence, and social welfare programs, if Obama and the administration are able to find the money. Obama has run the past year and a half on the idea of change, so we can expect his policies on almost everything, from taxes to environmental legislation,

November 21, 2008 Volume IV, Issue 2 Management Editor-in-Chief Allison Schulhof Managing Editors Jason Galliger Daniel Masakayan Salma Nabi Business Department Head Maegan McGoff Photography Manager Ashley Makarsky Photoshop Editor Jordan Keitelman Copy Editor Emily Keller

Online Nadeem Ahmed Front Editor Navita Khatri Assistant Editor Michelle Jones News Editors Sonia Malik Grace Jeon Style Editors Leah Canales Soha Jameel Columnist Corinn Bernarding People People Editors Anna Leftwich Erin Portare

Published approximately once a month, The South County Courier is the Spread student-run newspaper Editors of South County. The Jessica Arienti Courier is an independent Tara Shaw newspaper serving the Assistant Editor students, faculty and Catherine Kellogg community as a forum for student expression. It is an Editorial/Opinion open forum for student Editors expression produced David Jordan by the High School Adam Turay Journalism Department. Columnist It is distributed free to Vianne Rifareal every student. Families who wish to have their Sports newspaper mailed home Editors can buy a subscription to Jennifer Berghold the publication for $15 per Kirsten Olson year. The Courier is located Assistant Editor in Room B134 and can be Jeff McDaniels reached by calling 703-4461843 or e-mail at Carol. Adviser Carol Floto Columnist Ben Maldonato

to differ from President George W. Bush’s policies. One of the foremost issues at hand this year will be Obama’s actions regarding the Iraq War. One of the cornerstones of Obama’s campaign was his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq and place more troops in Afganistan to quell the reemerging Al Qaeda threat. The idea of withdrawing troops from Iraq has long been extremely controversial, so no matter what move Obama makes, he will in all likelihood be criticized for it. Obama’s plan is to remove troops from Iraq in phases of about one or two brigades a month, a plan that would result in the removal of almost all forces from the country in 16 months. A residual force would remain in Iraq to protect American personnel and train Iraqi security forces. Whatever Obama’s decisions are, this is an historical election in that Obama will be the first bi-racial president in the history of the United States, a huge step forward in the last 200 years. Many people hope that this will bring along an era of tolerance in America. Obama’s campaign was plagued with accusations of being a Muslim and simple racism, which makes his victory only more incredible. Hopefully, Obama will lead us into a new age of trust in our government and prosperity in the nation.

Hays • It’s almost Thanksgiving! • Snow days may be coming soon... hopefully... • Seniors are becoming prouder of their class • The Basketball season will start soon • We will be able to see the SCSS It’s Academic team win on TV on December 13th

Neighs • The lights were left on at the dance, ruining the atmosphere • Daylight savings time makes the day too short • People have less money to spoil their kids this year due to the economic crisis • College deadlines are looming over seniors

Opinion Honor Society Dues Cost Too Much By Allison Schulhof Editor-in-Chief Honor societies recognize and reward students for academic achievement; however, these days the price to join a society is interfering with the credibility of the honor society system. Currently, there are ten honor societies at SCSS and each charges a fee for dues. The price of dues varies by honor society, and ranges anywhere from $5 per year (German and Science) to $25 dollars per year (Tri-M Music Honor Society). Typically, dues cover the cost of the National Charter, graduation cords, pins and certificates. It is understandable that honor societies have to charge fees in order to cover the cost of the aforementioned items. However, for students who are members of multiple honor societies and must pay the dues for each, honor society fees are steep and numerous. In this time of economic crisis, it is unreasonable to ask students to pay such high fees just to be distinguished as a member of the academic elite. Senior Jamie Swogger is an active member of five honor societies including Science Honor Society ($5), MuAlpha Theta ($10), National English Honor Society ($15), National Honor Society ($20), and Tri-M ($25). This year alone she must pay $75 to avoid getting kicked out. In addition to this hefty price tag, Swogger is responsible for covering the cost of other basic student expenses such as senior dues ($100), yearbook, class shirts and fundraisers, and event tickets. The issue is not that the societies charge due fees—the issue is that most societies overcharge with excessive due fees. National Honor Society (NHS), the largest society at

SCSS with approximately 400 members, charged $20 for dues for both new and existing members. That means the society raked in about $8,000. The national charter renewal fee is only $76. While some of the remaining $7,900 goes toward graduation cords ($8 per member) and membership card/pins ($7.15 per member), there is still a large sum of money left over. This money is used to pay for induction ceremony refreshments and programs as well as service projects such as the talent show. However, students should be able to choose to donate their own money to the service projects— such contributions should not be a mandatory component of the membership dues. Each honor society should charge each member the absolute minimum amount possible to cover the cost of the charter fee. Swogger agrees that there should be some semblance of balance among the price of honor society dues. “I don’t know why the dues for NHS and Tri-M have to be so high, because the other honor societies have no problem keeping the dues low.” A society that follows this design is the National Science Honor Society. One of the smallest honor societies with only 45 members, National Science Honor Society can get by with just $5 for dues. Since National Science Honor Society can scrape together enough money for the charter, then NHS, which requires students to pay $20, must be inflating the price of dues for a reason that we don’t exactly know. In this time of economic crisis, it is necessary that honor societies lower their fees to cover the cost of only that which is absolutely essential to the function of the society (ie. National charter, pins, certificates, graduation cords).

Students Cannot Ignore Technological Distractions By Nadeem Ahmed Online Editor Ten notifications. Three new messages. Two new friend requests. Wasting time has become a hobby for many people nowadays. The way that people waste time has also become more intense and technological. These ways may not seem like addictions or problems, but many people suffer from a chronic syndrome known as “Facebookingitis.” This is a very controlling disease that has taken over the lives of many students and adults, as well. Facebook, Myspace, and other social networks are taking over society as users waste numerous hours infront of the computer screen each day. Other ways to waste time nowadays is by senselessly watching YouTube videos. These videos usually have no importance in the lives of viewers but the videos are still watched with great enthusiasm. Videos of people can be viewed in sharing networks.

Facebook and Myspace are just some of the others where videos can be viewed. Overall, random YouTube videos have taken over the lives of some kids who have too much time on their hands. Social networks are the main causes for internet addiction. These new networks attract newcomers through peer pressure because so many of their friends are members. Once a member, new friends are made, new ideas can be heard, and everyone is connected with just a couple of clicks. The two biggest networks, Facebook and Myspace, are very well known and almost everyone has one. These networks are becoming old and overused. Adjustments and repairs have been made to old social networks so that they can appeal more to the users. Chatting software have been added to Facebook and other gizmos have been inserted as well. Instead of adding to old networks and enhancing them, some inventors are starting off fresh with more improved

techniques. New and more enhanced social networks are mostly likely being created by technological entrepreneurs. Generally the creation of any more of the networks should be reconsidered in that they waste massive amounts of time of teenagers and other users. You may say that teens can control themselves, but it is indeed an addiction for some poor souls. The time they waste is forever gone. They could have spent this time doing homework, playing outside, or spending time with family. None of these networks, though, take time away from spending time with friends. This shows that teens nowadays just want to spend a lot of time with their friends. That is one of the positive reasons for this time wasting. Another positive result from this is that teens can improve their typing speed, but this is a small reward for the higher consequence of wasting time on the Internet.

November 25, 2008


Maintain Your Morals In All Honesty By Vianne Rifareal Ed/Op Columnist

My eyes were straying over toward the desk sitting to my right. I caught myself and abruptly readjusted my sight back to my own quiz. Did he really have to keep his scantron answers so perfectly in my peripheral vision? It was distracting. The prospect of comparing his quiz with my own was dripping with temptation. Stop. Focus. Don’t glance back over there with wandering eyes. It’s a reoccurring situation. I’ve had to battle with myself over cheating several times while I’ve been in high school, as I am sure all students have done in the past. But the depressing part is that most students will guiltlessly let themselves go through with the act anyway. And it doesn’t end with just cheating, either. The student’s package of low morals comes complete with lying and stealing too, adding another level of unashamed dishonesty to their behavior. We are just way too good. It’s not like adolescence keeps students from knowing the difference between right and wrong. The standards for moral ethics have simply become shockingly low for the student population. Really, it’s sort of embarrassing. I can’t help but feel a bit ashamed about the lack of morals that reflect the values of students today. For example, we have all seen firsthand how students will lie about almost anything just to save face in front of a teacher or administrator. Students will cheat just to earn those few extra points to maintain or achieve a grade. And most of us are guilty of committing these acts, so it’s pretty easy to relate. But if you take a step back and evaluate the real motives of this behavior, it’s also easy to realize that it all only adds up to futility. If those grades were honestly that important to you, then shouldn’t you make the effort to do actual work for that grade? I mean, is the price of your time and work at the expense of your own morality worth the cost? Moral principles for students are ultimately lower, and this shouldn’t be accepted as natural. But it’s become the status quo. What does that say about the standards that weas students, teenagers, and simply as human beings- have set for ourselves? It just disappoints me. Doesn’t anyone else read inspirational quotes that teachers use to decorate their classroomscome on, we’re supposed make good choices in life; decisions we make today affect who we will become tomorrow, remember? I know, it’s so cliché. But after you strip away all the cheesy undertones, it’s kind of true. The choices you make now are the ones that create your character; it determines the person you will become when you leave SCSS and step into your future. It’s not just cheating and lying in school either; it’s about choosing to do what you know is right in any setting and in any circumstances. Too many of us are making the wrong choices. Too many are comfortable with their lack of principles and just setting themselves up for failed character. Students should forget the world and listen to morals instead. Today’s choices reflect the values of tomorrow. You may not want to make those decisions now, but for the sake of the person you end up becoming in the future, set your moral standards a little higher. Trust me, tomorrow will thank you.

Hall Talk: What Are You Most Thankful For?

Compiled by Nadeem Ahmed

“I’m thankful that Barack Obama is our new president.” -Nageen Ahmed Freshman

“I’m thankful for food.” -Mike Herman Sophomore

“I’m thankful for the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.” -Jasdev Sing Junior

“I’m thankful for the ability to walk.” -Victoria DiTomassi Senior


Stallion Sports Swim/Dive Team Enters New Season With a Splash November 25, 2008

By Phoebe McPherson and Nisha Ansari Staff Writers The Swim and Dive team is unlike most other teams at SCSS in that it is coed. There is one varsity team for both boys and girls. Head coach Robert Jones is assisted by Maura McGuire and dive coach, Jacob Gomez. The team is bused from school to South Run for practices Monday through Thursday. Swimmers are there from 3:30-4:30 p.m. After, they come back to school for an hour of lifting and core training. Divers practice at South Run from 4:30-5:30 p.m. This season, returning swimmers and divers include seniors Nick Mastrengeli, Tim Higgins, Phillip Basnight, Laura Tamburelli, juniors Carlin Tettlebach and Courtney Walsh, and sophomores Allison Smith andTyler Jones. The team’s overall record last year was four wins and three losses for girls and boys, Photo by Erin Portare a winning record. Nichole Sbardella takes her mark in preparation for 100 yd Freestyle. Swim tryouts were Also, the relay team, that Basnight was a part of, went to Regionals. held from Nov. 10-14.

One of the team’s returning divers, junior Colin Cavoto, was injured last season. “He might not dive this season,” said fellow diver Mastrengeli. After finishing 3rd in girls and 4th in boys last season in the district, Jones hopes to improve this season in both the girls and boys programs. “My ultimate goal is always to win district championships,” said Jones. To help prepare for the season, Swim and Dive has conditioning twice a week in the weight rooms. Like some swimmers, freshman Stephanie Phillips, conditions by herself. “I swim with my summer coach twice a week,” said Phillips. Freshman Natalie Kryza is striving to make the team and has high goals. “[I hope] to get 28 seconds on 50 freestyle,” said Kryza. Many of the swimmers are multi-sport athletes. In the off season, Mastrangeli, Basnight, and Tamburelli all play lacrosse. Kryza and Mastrangeli also participate on the Crosspointe Swim and Dive team.

NCAA Night Held For Aspiring College Athletes By Kirsten Olson Sports Editor NCAA Night was held in the auditorium on Tues., Oct. 21 to inform prospective collegiate athletes. A compliant officer came to SCSS and gave interested student athletes a presentation concerning the NCAA and eligability rules. “[The most important topics discussed at NCAA Night were] what it actually takes to get into school: SATs, GPAs, and the relationship between the two,” said Varsity Baseball coach Mark Luther, who coordinated the event. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) serves as the athletics governing body for more than 1,280 colleges, universities, conferences and organizations. The colleges and universities that are members of the NCAA make rules and guidelines for eligibility and competition for each of the three NCAA divisions. There are 331 Division I members, 291 Division II members, and 429 Division III members. The requirements for playing in a Division I sport are a completion of 16 core courses. There is a minimum required grade point average in each course, and athletes must get a combined SAT or ACT sum score that matches the core-course GPA. Being a Division I qualifier entitles students to receive an athletics scholarship for their first year of college and

play for four seasons in their sport including their first year, so long as eligibility is upheld. To play in a Division II sport, students must have completed 14 core courses with a grade point average of at least a 2.000 in each course. In addition, they must earn a combined SAT score of 820 or an ACT score of 68. Qualifying for a Division II sport allows students to practice or compete for their college during their first year, receive an athletics scholarship during the first year, and play for four seasons if they maintain their eligibility. Division III sports do not use the Eligibility Center. Each school has its own policy and may be found by contacting the colleges. Division I and II sports require freshman and transferred students to be certified as an amateur athlete. The amateurism eligibility is determined by the Eligibility Center when students register with the center and answer questions about involvement in athletics. After responding to the questions and submitting them, the answers are reviewed and the amateurism is determined of whether or not someone should be certified. Even if a certification is denied, the decision can still be appealed. Students who want to play a sport in college should plan for it as early as possible. They should try to get good grades in their classes and sign up for courses that are required by the NCAA list of approved core courses from the school

Basketball Season Set to Tip Off By Sangji Lee and Lauren Katz Staff Writers History teacher Wendell Johnson is the new coach for the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team. The basketball team needed a new coach after Coach Michael Pflugrath became the head of student activities. Johnson will hopefully be able to help the team reach new limits and improve as much as possible. Johnson had worked under Pflugrath as an assistant coach, and coaching was something that he had always wanted to do. “I enjoyed coaching with Coach Pflugrath, and I wanted to move up. SCSS is a great place to coach basketball with really great kids,” said Johnson. He has many expectations for his team this upcoming season. “I expect my team to be competitive and to play hard each game. I am also expecting them to do well on and off the court,” said Johnson. He believes that their hardest opponent this season will be T.C. Williams, the returning state champions. He also believes that any other team in the Patriot District will be a challenge. “I want my athletes to believe in themselves and also in the team. I want them to

be willing to help out in any way they can and grow as a family,” said Johnson. Junior Gabe Jackson will be a returning varsity player this season. “I think Coach Johnson has good coaching skills, and he’ll bring our team to victory,” said Jackson. He and his teammates think that having a new coach will be different, but it can help them to improve their season. “One change I’m hoping for is that we’ll win more than we lose this season,” said Jackson. Assisting Johnson will be Coaches Gary Morris and Mike Grant. The assistant coaches were people who formerly worked under Pflugrath as well. Tryouts were held on Nov. 10 through Nov. 14. Approximately 30 athletes tried out, and 12 players to made the team. Tryouts centered on the technical aspect of the game. Players took part in timed running drills, shooting drills, passing drills, and defensive concepts. In addition, players reviewed their offensive schemes. Practices are be held every day from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., giving the players time to complete homework before practice. Boys varsity basketball will experience many changes this season under the leadership of a new coach. They are looking to be victorious during the entire season, in and out of school.

they wish to attend. The list can be viewed at Juniors should register at that website and answer the amateurism questions. They should also take the SATs, ACTs, or both and try to take it as many times as possible and aim to get a high score. Seniors should also take the SATs or ACTs again, take college prep courses, and request amateurism certification starting on Apr. 1 of their graduating year. After graduating, students should request for their guidance counselor to send their transcripts with proof of graduation. Colleges may not try to recruit students to play a sport for them until after Sept. 1 of the student’s junior year. Students may contact the college of their choice before then, or receive brochures for camps and questionnaires before a student’s junior year. “Colleges can email your coaches as much as they want, and you can contact them. They’re allowed to email you and see you play,” said junior, Alex Reed, a varsity soccer player who colleges have started to recruit. “I’m allowed to visit the college and stay with the girls in the dorms, and I can see them play,” said Reed when talking about Loyola University. Eligability rules for the NCAA are complicated, but should not intimitade potential college athletes.

Dance Class Now Offered

Photo by Kirsten Olson A new elective is being offered at SCSS this year: a dance class. This elective takes place in the multi-purpose room and is taught by Health and P.E teacher Tanya Smith. Only five other schools in FCPS offer this course. The school has Dance 1 for now, but next year they will offer Dance 2 as well for students who want to go on to a higher level. The students in this class learn all different types of dances, including modern, hip hop, and ballet. The students are graded on participation and effort. Girls must wear leotards and boys must wear sweatpants and a t-shirt; if they do not points will be taken off their grade. “I love this class, and I’m glad they decided to have it here at South County, but I think more students should join it,” said senior Juwante Vaughan.

Stallion Sports

November 25, 2008

Girls Basketball Team Conditions with Wrestlers to Prepare for Season


Behind the Lines

1st and 10 By Jeff McDaniels

Photo by Kirsten Olson

Photo by Jennifer Berghold

(Leftt) Junior basketball players Marina Leary shoots for the basket during girls’ basketball tryouts. The girls did a series of drills to show off their abilities to get them onto the team. (Right) Junior wrestler Alex Abdelnour is doing tricep-dips to build up muscle strength for the new season. By Anthony Fahim Staff Writer Both the girls’ basketball team and the wrestling team share the same facility for their sports’ conditioning. Both teams are great teams, have high expectations, and expect to be competitive all throughout their seasons. The girls’ basketball team, despite losing many key senior contributors, expects to have better success in the district and region this year. The wrestling team, however, has far greater expectation as they have meets and matches against some of the top wrestlers in the nation This stark difference has made this joint conditioning very interesting and different. Neither team is a co-ed team so there is no need to share the facilities. Also, because of the greater physical demand, the wrestling team’s conditioning is expected to be far greater than that of the girls’ team. This is not taking away any credit from the girls’ team, but it just gives greater respect to the physical needs and demands of the tough wrestling competition. This, however, might be of great benefit to the basketball team. The increased intensity in conditioning and practice might and probably will add endurance and durability for the long basketball season. Girls’ varsity basketball coach Kristina Kelly saw this as a great opportunity for her team to improve its conditioning. From the beginning of the season when she found out that she would be conditioning with the team, she made her team a goal. “This was a great opportunity for my girls and my coaches to work with someone as good as Coach Jimmo and hard working as his kids. They have modeled a great standard for my girls and I’m

extremely grateful to all of them for allowing us to be part of something so special,” said Kelly. This new conditioning should help a team that struggled in the fourth quarter their of games last year to finish their games the right way. The team lost many close games last year, and although no one made it an excuse, the lack of conditioning was evident. The girls know that this might be the thing that gets them to the next level in their play, but they also recognize that this conditioning is not easy. “It’s hard,” said Rachel Peasant, a junior player on the team. “But it allows you to be better conditioned and more prepared for games.” The team was surprised at the coach’s decision to condition with the wrestling team, but the coach made it clear that this was not optional. “I feel the pre-season is for building a tough mentality-it’s the hardest part of the sport. You learn a lot about which kids can handle being pushed to their limits and ones that can’t. My kids didn’t have a chance to respond. It wasn’t optional,” said Kelly. This made it clear from the very beginning that this year was going to be different. With the loss of many key players due to graduation, the coach recognized right away that something needed to be done in order for the team to become even better than in the past. This is something that will probably have a great effect on the team and its play. Whether it allows them to become stronger down the stretch or weakens them due to the toughness of the work remains to be seen. However, this thing will not be without effect on the team. Whether it will be success or failure this year, the girls will always remember this hard work and hopefully, it will pay off as the season progresses.

As the NBA season starts up, dreams are shaped, stars are bound to be found, and rookies start to emerge. This year seems to have plenty in store for NBA fans. The Boston Three Party is still intact (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen). Kobe Bryant is still flying high and of course “King” James is still making it look like he is playing at the Rec Center against a bunch of high school kids. Off-season moves will be sure to reshape some of the playoff pictures, and foreign talent will fill NBA rosters again. I will look at some of the biggest topics and make predictions for the upcoming seasons, because so far, I am 100% confident with predictions I’ll make in this column. As for my first topic, I would stay at home for all you Wizards fans. Once again, your franchise player gets hurt and will miss half the season. Talk about an injury prone player. He hasn’t played a full season since SCSS has become a school. However, the Wizards other rising star, Caron Butler, will have the weight of the team on his shoulders, along with veteran, Antwan Jamison. Rookie addition JaVale McGee, a seven footer from Nevada, looks like he will instantly contribute solid minutes for the Wizards as they open the season. The Wizards are a hard team to predict since Gilbert Arenas is out until early 2009. I still think the Wizards will crawl into the playoffs mainly because of Butler who has shown he can carry the load, and will do it again this year. The MVP race is open to all, from James, to Chris Paul, to Bryant as usual. There still is the chance that someone out of nowhere moves into contention, but don’t count on it. The NBA has never had this many superstars in the primes of their career. Not even when there was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. If I were a betting man, which of course I’m not, then my money would be on Mr. James. How can you not give it to him? The only thing reason he wouldn’t get it is if Bryant leads the Lakers to a great season record wise. Other than that, the new #23 will finally get his first MVP title. BEHIND THE LINES PREDICTIONS East Finals: Boston Celtics over Cleveland Cavilers West Finals: LA Lakers over New Orleans Hornets NBA Finals: LA Lakers over the Boston Celtics MVP: Lebron James (Cavaliers) Rookie of the Year: Michael Beasley (Bulls) The Bottom Line: The NBA season will be full of surprises, trades, and of course, the occasional dramatic playoff series only the NBA can produce.

All Eyes On... Jamel Gonzalez Varsity Basketball

“The best teams have chemistry, communicate with each other, and sacrifice personal glory for a common goal.” Grade: Senior Position: Forward College Possibilities: George Mason University Inspiration: Carmelo Anthony. Goals: To play basketball at GMU Photo by Tiffany Qreitem

Kelly Miles

Varsity Cheer “Cheer is a fun way to support my school.” Grade: Senior Position: Flyer College Possibilities: Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Tech, James Madison Inspiration: My teammates and coaches Achievements: All-District 2007 & 2008

Compiled by Tiffany Qreitem

Photo by Tara Shaw


November 25, 2008

FOOTBALL Varsity 10/4/2008 TC Williams Won 20 - 14 10/10/2008 West Springfield Lost 42 - 52 10/17/2008 West Potomac Won 38 - 0 10/24/2008 Hayfield Won 28 - 21 10/31/2008 Annandale Lost 7-28 JV 10/02/2008 TC Williams Won 13 - 7 10/07/2008 West Springfield Won 39 - 20 10/15/2008 West Potomac Lost 7 - 21 10/23/2008 Hayfield Won 42 - 0 10/30/2008 Annandale Lost 23 - 26 Freshman 10/02/2008 TC Williams Won 34 - 6 10/07/2008 West Springfield Won 39 - 0 10/15/2008 West Potomac Won 49 - 8 10/23/2008 Hayfield Won 48 - 0 10/30/2008 Annandale Won 33 - 20 FIELD HOCKEY Varsity 09/25/2008 TC Williams Won 2 - 1 10/01/2008 Lee Won 3 - 0 10/03/2008 Hayfield Won 3 - 0 10/07/2008 Lake Braddock Lost 2 - 3

Stallion Sports

10/13/2008 West Springfield Won 2 - 1 10/20/2008 Hayfield: PATRIOT DISTRICT TOURNAMENT Won 5 - 0 10/21/2008 West Springfield: PATRIOT DISTRICT TOURNAMENT Won 3 - 1 10/23/2008 Annandale: PATRIOT DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIP Won 2 - 1 10/28/2008 Oakton: REGIONAL TOURNAMENT(2OT/penalty strokes) Won 1 - 0 10/30/2008 McLean: NORTHERN REGION TOURNAMENT Won 4 - 2 11/03/2008 Westfield: NORTHERN REGION SEMI-FINALS Lost 0 - 1

10/07/2008 Lee Won 3 - 0 10/13/2008 West Springfield Won 3 - 1 10/15/2008TC Williams Won 3 - 0 10/20/2008 Hayfield Won 3 - 2 10/23/2008 Annandale Won 3 - 0 10/27/2008 West Potomac: DISTRICT QUARTERFINALS Won 3 - 0 10/29/2008 TC Williams: DISTRICT SEMIFINALS Won 3 - 0 10/30/2008 West Springfield: DISTRICT FINALS Won 3 - 1 11/03/2008 Herndon: REGIONAL TOURNAMENT Lost 2 - 3

JV 10/01/2008 Lee Won 2 - 0 10/03/2008 Hayfield Won 3 - 0 10/07/2008 Lake Braddock Won 2 - 0 10/13/2008 West Springfield Won 1 - 0

JV 10/06/2008 Fairfax Won 2 - 0 10/07/2008 Lee Won 2 - 0 10/13/2008 West Springfield Won 2 - 0 10/15/2008 TC Williams Won 2 - 0 10/20/2008 Hayfield Won 2 - 1 10/23/2008 Annandale Won 2 - 0

Freshman 10/03/2008 Chantilly Tied 1 - 1 10/07/2008 Fairfax Won 2 - 0 VOLLEYBALL Varsity 09/23/2008 Oakton Won 3 - 0 09/25/2008 Westfield Lost 0 - 3 10/01/2008 Lake Braddock Won 3 - 0 10/06/2008 Fairfax Lost 2 - 3

Freshman 10/06/2008 Fairfax Won 2 - 0 10/07/2008 Lee Won 2 - 0 10/13/2008 West Springfield Lost 0 - 2 10/15/2008 TC Williams Lost 1 - 2 10/20/2008 Hayfield Won 2 - 0 10/23/2008 Annandale Won 2 - 0 Compiled by Kirsten Olson


Lorton, Fairfax Station, Burke, Springfield and Alexandria

Issue 2  

Second Issue of the year!

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