PRINCE GEORGE HIGH SCHOOL - 7801 LAUREL SPRING ROAD - PRINCE GEORGE, VA 23875 VOLUME XIX - ISSUE 4 - May 13, 2021 - WWW.TRNWIRED.ORG - @ROYALSMEDIANOW
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TO THE CLASS OF 2021 P.10-11
A graduate receives his diploma at the ceremony in 2019 on the football ﬁeld. The plan for the Class of 2021 is to hold three ceremonies to comply with the current Covid-19 guidelines from the state. Photo by Shelby Hayes.
What’s Inside? p. 5 Mental Health Awareness p. 9 School Plans Outside Graduation Month Hoping To Stop Stigma p. 13 Starr’s Artwork Gains Nationp. 7 Students Receive Covid-19 wide Recognition In Contests Pﬁzer Vaccinations
Who would you want as a guest speaker at graduation? - Famous Athlete 60% - Famous Musician 17% - Famous TV/Movie Star 17% - Famous Politician 6%
*Twitter Poll of 20 Votes
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ll to reﬁ r e i s a at ne t’s eve app! Find it obile i w o N E m ur FRE rmacy.com/ o h t i w a thillph u n l a w.w
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THURSDAY 5.13.21 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 3
Nothing Happens Overnight
ur mission as the school newspaper for Prince George High School is to provide a form of media that represents all aspects of student life. The goal is to present factual accounts of newsworthy events in a timely manner. Our publication will be informative, entertaining and reﬂective of the student body’s opinions. It is the desire of the staff to reach every student and tell as many of their stories as possible. We invite your commentary: The Royal News Opinion page is a forum for public discussion and shall be open to all students. The Royal News will print as many letters as space will allow. The Royal News reserves the right not to print a letter. The Royal News publishes a wide variety of opinions. Send letters to: Letters to the Editor, The Royal News, PGHS, 7801 Laurel Spring Road, Prince George, Virginia 23875, or bring them to room A2, or e-mail them to email@example.com We reserve the right to edit for clarity, brevity, accuracy, legality, spelling and grammar. Please include your name, address and phone number. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. 500 word maximum. Thank you for the support this year. Please continue to communicate on trnwired.org. Publication theft. A person commits the offense of publication theft when he or she willfully or knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over more than three copies of an edition of a publication distributed on campus or in the surrounding community [with the intent to prevent other individuals from reading that edition of the publication]. A “publication” includes any periodical that is distributed on a complimentary or compensatory basis. In addition to the imposition of other campus disciplinary penalties, a person who violates this provision is responsible for compensating the publication for all reasonable costs incurred, including, where appropriate, the refund of advertising fees.
Professional afﬁliations & awards Columbia Scholastic Press Associations Gold Medalist 2008-2016 CSPA Gold Crown Winner 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 Virginia High School Association Trophy Class 2006-2017 Col. Charles Savedge Award for Sustained Excellence 2010, 2017, 2019 NSPA Online Pacemaker Winner 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 NSPA Online Pacemaker Finalist 2020, 2021 NSPA Pacemaker Finalist Newspaper 2009 SIPA All Southern 2008-2015 The Royal News, PGHS trnwired.org 7801 Laurel Spring Road Prince George, Virginia 23875 804-733-2720 The Royal News is printed at OurNewspaper.net
Section Editors Kaylaa’ White Cover Doubletruck: Emily Hannuksela OP/ED Features Maclay Cerny A&E Sports:
Writers Makayla Hamlin, Melliah Mason, Michael Mullenix, Rebekah Lee
Editorial Cartoonist Annabelle Starr
Editor-in-Chief Kaylaa’ White
Senior Editor Katie Zevgolis
Editor Emily Hannuksela
Editor Maclay Cerney
Adviser Chris Waugaman
Illustration by Annabelle Star.
Abide By The Rules One Last Time
he pandemic has caused our school to make various changes in daily routine and traditions in order to accommodate the safety procedures of our students and teachers. Last year the Class of 2020 had “private” graduation ceremonies. The graduates had to schedule sessions to walk across the stage and were able to invite family to support them. Due to COVID-19 restrictions lifting, the Class of 2021 will be able to have bigger graduation ceremonies with roughly one hundred-twenty graduates in each of the three sections. Each graduate will be able to bring ten guests that will be randomly assigned to bleacher seating. In a time where almost everything has had to alter in some shape or form, being able to celebrate such an impactful moment with the people they’ve had
to spend the last four year of their lives with is a positive experience within the pandemic. But we also have to be weary of possible end of the year celebrations that could risk exposure at a larger event, even if it is outside. As of now, based on the CDC recommendation, Governor Ralph Norham has loosen mask restrictions when outside and around “fully vaccinated individuals or alone and in a small group of people,” but he has not lifted the restriction completely. “Wearing a mask is still required indoors and outside at concerts, sporting events, graduation ceremonies, and other situations where you’re around a crowd of people.” said Northam. This ruling should not affect our graduation ceremony, due to the restrictions that are still on bigger events. Let’s hope our community can abide by these regulations on June 17th & 18th.
k. This is it. The monumental time in life where we teenagers become full grown adults, with bank accounts, college payments, and job applications. There are only a couple of months until high EMMA school WOODWARD-BURDETT graduation. But in all honesty I don’t believe that there will be any huge change in my nature of existence. Sure, we might be switching to a higher level of education and gaining more responsibilities. However, there is no magic switch that is going to turn us into completely different people overnight. There has always been this misconception that the transition into adulthood is like jumping off a cliff, and then falling into a world of uncertainty and anxiety before you get the hang of dealing with the “adult world.” Part of this idea may come from the fact that high school students are constantly forced to walk the line between adulthood and childhood. We are intelligent and capable enough to be socially responsible (most of the time), but not intelligent or capable enough to be left to make our own decisions. In my personal opinion this concept is meaningless because “adults” are just as uncertain and clueless as teenagers. I am by no means claiming that grownups are idiotic. What I am trying to point out is that the gap between teen life and adulthood is not nearly as large as we think it is. It is true that the older you get the more likely it is that you will gain more experience and therefore gain knowledge. It is also common for younger people to be less in control of their emotional states. However, if you look at the current state of the world it is painfully clear that adults are perfectly capable of knowing Absolutely Nothing. Adults can also be emotionally unstable and ignorant. They cannot understand basic concepts.They can be incredibly incompetent in high positions. They can also be anxious, uncertain, confused, silly, inconsiderate, unaware, and worried just like teens “transitioning” into adulthood might be. The important thing to take away from this is that no matter what, you are still your own person, and that the ridiculous parts of “growing up” are in reality just parts of existing. It is okay to feel unsure of what is to come, because that is normal as a person, not just as a teen.
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THE WEEKS AHEAD Tax Day Extension Ends Monday, May 17th
ll good things must come to an end and that includes the extension given to citizens to file their taxes this year. The deadline to file taxes of April 15th was extended to Monday, May 17th due to circumstances
surrounding Covid-19. According to the statement on irs.gov, “Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.”
Memorial Day Weekend Extended
ll Prince George County Schools will observe a four day weekend from Friday, May 28, to Monday, May 31, because of the federal holiday, Memorial Day.
Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, is celebrated on the last Monday of the month of May and is a day devoted to the remembrance of those who served in the United States Military.
Teacher & Staff Drive-In Movie Night
n recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, the Prince George School Board is inviting Prince George faculty and staff to a “Drive-In Movie” event at the high school. Attendees have the option to attend movie night on either Friday, May 14th or Saturday, May 15th.
The gates will open at 7 PM and the movie starts at sunset. Family and friends are encouraged to come along. For questions about the event, contact Matthew Weston firstname.lastname@example.org. va.us or Kim Beales email@example.com. va.us/
Last Day of School - June 16th
ith the recent updates with graduation, the School Board voted to make the last two days of school teacher workdays. The last two days had been
June 17th & 18th. Students will not report to school these days and the last day of school for the 2020-2021 school year will be Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
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FEATURES Mental Health Awareness Month Hoping To Stop The Stigma, Increase Awareness have been increasing in teenagers in this generation, in particular. “As years have progressed, I have worked with and seen an increasing number of students dealing with stress, anxiety, bullying, depression, and suicide,” Jones said. In addition to this fact, COVID-19 has presented special challenges dealing with mental health, and has caused mental health issues within people. “Awareness regarding this particular topic has become even more significant with the onset of the school shutdowns and modifications to instruction related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jones said. “My experience with students
here must be nothing worse than to have wounds to heal, especially ones that no one can see. This is because they are
not physical. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health has never historically been the forefront of concern. This month’s purpose is to highlight mental health issues, spread awareness, and show the impact of mental health. “I absolutely believe that Mental Health Awareness Month is necessary and I see it as extremely important,” said school guidance counselor Phillip Jones. “For so long, there has been a stigma attached to mental health and mental illness. As a society, we tend to view mental health as a taboo topic. I can appreciate, at minimum a month, that we set aside to acknowledge, bring awareness to, and eliminate stigma related to mental health.” By removing this taboo, others can have the courage to get the help they need or realize that they need it. It allows others the opportunity to understand what they are going through better. “In addition, I believe that making everyone more aware of mental health can raise levels of confidence for those who may be suffering from mental illness,” Jones said. Furthermore, using this time to learn and understand can help someone who desperately needs it but previously could not express what the issue was. Having others around that can understand, especially in school, can be of great help. “Education and awareness on this topic is so significant because students and faculty need to be aware of signs that a person may be suffering mental health issues,”
If you need help you can call the NAMI hotline at 1-800- 950-NAMI or in a crisis text “NAMI” to 741741.
Jones said. Including all of this, the awareness from this month is important for numerous other reasons. “Mental health awareness is of great significance,” Jones said. “I believe that we need to think about mental health in a very similar way that we think of physical health. We tend to monitor our physical health by way of doctor’s check-ups and appointments. I feel that mental health requires the same level of attention.”
It is helpful and necessary to set aside this placement in time in order to educate the public. Information gained from this month can educate and help others, like fellow peers, dealing with mental health issues. “Raising awareness of mental health related issues and concerns can assist people in becoming aware of warning signs for mental illness, as well as helping to create a better understanding of how mental illness can impact a person’s life,” Jones said. Various mental health issues
over the past year and a half has yielded that their mental health and wellbeing has been challenged in ways like never before.” The purpose of mental health awareness is and should continue to be to educate the public, fight stigmas and misconceptions about mental illness, in addition to promoting policies that support those who suffer from mental illness, as well as their families. Mental health challenges will most likely plague every person at one point in their lives. However, the first step of preventing, understanding, and healing is education. A great resource for education and help is at Hopewell/ Prince George Counseling located on 4910 Prince George Drive, Prince George VA. -
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FEATURES IB STUDENTS FINALIZE END OF YEAR PROJECTS FOR JOINT CEREMONY Emily Hannuksela
OP/ED & Features Editor
or most students, the final months of the school year are meant for easing up on assignments and relaxing. For students in the International Baccalaureate/ Middle Years Program (IB/MYP), however, the month of May becomes a month full of stress due to finalizing their Personal Projects. After concluding their projects, students will attend a certificate ceremony in which they will present their final project. As part of the Class of 2023, these students are the last group that will be able to take IB classes in Prince George. Nonetheless, they worked hard to finish their projects. Sophomore Carter Stevenson is an IB student who has been inherently preparing for his project and the final ceremony since the beginning of the program. “My IB Project was centered around self-expression through the medium of photography and how it can affect others’ perceptions of reality,” Stevenson said. “Starting in sixth grade, we were given a more projectheavy workload and slowly phased out in-class time to complete them over the years as a way to prepare us for this project.” Stevenson’s years in IB were stressful at times, but it was a positive and beneficial program overall. “My experience was very anxietyinducing for about the first two years but afterwards I learned to adapt and be more efficient with my time,” Stevenson said. Despite focusing on their large amount of homework and assignments, students are also given the opportunity to have experiences that incorporate both learning and fun. “The thing that I enjoyed most about IB was the field trips in the first couple of years,” sophomore Josh Bredikin said. “We were able to go to many historical and cultural places that pertained to the classes that we went with.” Throughout the years, IB students have formed close bonds with one another. These friendships will last even after the program has ended. “I’ll miss my classmates the most,” Stevenson said. “We’ve been in the
same class for every block for the last five years. Some of us have been together for even longer.” In addition to student bonds, teachers that work alongside these IB students also form connections with them during the five years of the program. “I am in the unique position that I have had many of the students in my sixth grade Social Studies class so I always have enjoyed reconnecting with them for the Personal Project,” said IB coordinator Michelle Bowen. The final certificate ceremony is made possible by Bowen’s work with students. “My main responsibility this year was to guide students through the Personal Project,” Bowen said. “The challenge being that about half of the students were in person and half virtual, but the students did a great job under these circumstances.” The process to finishing Personal
Projects has been difficult, due to virtual adjustments, but the students and advisers persevered, even under these circumstances. “The components to the Personal Project are the same as in the past years, but the difference is that this year all information has been delivered using Google Classroom and Zoom meetings,” Bowen said. “It has been a learning experience for me as the coordinator because I had never used Google Classroom prior to this year. I had to figure out how to deliver the information in an easy to use format. I uploaded all the information and used Screencastify to record videos to explain the process of completing the project. Then, we would Zoom every couple of weeks to clarify any information and opportunities to ask questions.” In addition to the virtual hardships, students also had to face the challenge of not having a lot of time
Sophomore IB student Makayla Hamlin works on finalizing her end of year project. Hamlin wrote a play because she was inspired by her love for theater and writing. Photo by Makiyah Hamlin.
to plan for their Personal Projects due to COVID-19 shutting down schools in 2020. “I didn’t have a lot of preparation for the IB project as we were not able to see any examples last year and the pandemic had disrupted all of the plans,” Bredikin said. In spite of these difficulties, Bowen’s commitment as the coordinator helps the students finish their projects and conclude the IB/MYP program. “I love to see how the students have grown as people and then get to show what they are passionate about by doing the Personal Project,” Bowen said. “I love to see how proud students are of themselves when they complete it.”
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STUDENTS RECEIVE COVID-19 PFIZER VACCINATIONS Vaccine Manufacturers Allow 16 And Older To Get Vaccinated, Students Jump on Opportunity Makayla Hamlin
ophomore Ramey Hamlin waits anxiously for the technician to come and give her her first vaccine shot in the Walgreens lobby. Virginia recently made the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine available to individuals who are 16 years of age or older. Some students at PGHS have taken advantage of this opportunity. They all received the vaccine for different reasons whether for personal safety or something else. “I have a compromised immune system [so I got the vaccine],” junior Caitlyn McCallister said. For some, their family members also took advantage of the opportunity and that helped to sway their opinion. “I got it because of my parents but also because I know it’s important to stay safe and [being vaccinated] is one step closer to being safe,” sophomore Ramey Hamlin said. Another driving reason is that they wish to protect someone they love. “It’s also because of the fact that I want to go to Puerto Rico again, and my grandmother lives there and if I’m going to go that’s
where I’m going to be at- her house,” senior Emily Rolon said. None had strong, personal reservations against the vaccine, but for some it took deliberation. “I was somewhere in the middle- the side effects and the need for it,” McCallister said. In order to make this decision, some relied on others to help sway them one way or the other. “Others told me about their own concerns like how the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has that rare condition, but they really weren’t warning me about it, more expressing concern,” Rolon said. Despite all of this, the ending decision was unanimous between them all. “It was an easy decision,” Hamlin said. All did various levels of research. Rolon received information from the news, McCallister asked her doctor and Hamlin relied on her parents. “[My information came from] my doctor, they gave me the rundown on it and answered any of my questions,” McCallister said. Hamlin and Rolon received their vaccines at the drugstore Walgreens but McCallister received hers elsewhere. “I got my vaccine at the King’s and Daughter’s hospital,” McCallister said. And when asked if they would encourage other students to get the vaccine, they all gave the same answer. “Yes, I would,” Hamlin said.
The CDC has been actively campaigning to get everyone vaccinated. They provide social media material such as these posters to encourage everyone to schedule a vaccination. Posters found at https://www.cdc. gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ communication/vaccinationtoolkit.html
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FEATURES WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY BRINGS AWARENESS TO JOURNALISTS Michael Mullinex
reedom of the press is one of the most important founding principles of the United States. This cherished tradition of unrestricted media has at many times been violated, yet it has managed to persevere. In order to celebrate, journalists and other members of the press have declared May 3rd as World Press Freedom Day. To many, this day is important as it symbolizes the struggle that journalists go through in order to get the truth out to the public. Valerie Kibler is an AP English and Journalism teacher who helps run the national award winning newspaper Newsstreak and received National High School Teacher of the Year in 2010. She believes it is important to recognize the struggle journalists go through. “I think it’s a lot harder work to get the truth out and it’s even harder to not include bias,” Kibler said. “There are no set requirements to become a journalist, so some individuals may not use the most ethical of practices as a journalist. Another problem that has occured comes from the impact of social media on journalism, since misinformation often spreads quickly and tends to give journalists a bad reputation.” Freedom of the press is a broad subject, and can mean slightly different things to everyone. “I think [freedom of the press] means you’re allowed to print confirmed truth without government interference or suppression,” Kibler said. “Often, places that do not have freedom of the press use government interference to prevent verifiable facts from getting out.” There are some examples of modern day oppression and censoring of the press around the world. “The first one that pops into my head is in China, as the government often suppresses journalists,” Kibler said. “I’ve actually had some acquaintances and friends of mine go over to China to teach about western journalistic practices and talk about the differences that we have in how government plays a role in the media.” It is important to fight this censor-
ship. Kibler feels that media literacy and using credible sources can help resolve this problem. “I think one of the strongest things we can do is practice better media literacy,” Kibler said. “We should view things with critical or analytical eyes. We should look into not just the media company or newspaper, but also into the writers to find biases. We should also look into the sources of these newspapers to see if they are credible.” Junior Emily Hannuksela is a journalist and World Press Freedom Day has a special meaning to her. “Journalists conduct interviews and research in order to report on a story with as little bias as possible,” Hannuksela said. “I think it’s important to recognize the struggle journalists go through to deliver the truth because their hard work allows the public to become more aware of important events
or new policies. They also tackle controversial issues to deliver news to the public, but could face suppression and censorship when covering these issues.” Hannuksela uses her past experience to also add special meaning to this month. “Possessing the freedom of the press means that journalists have the right to publish stories without censorship,” Hannuksela said. “This liberty is extended to high school journalists, which protects them from censorship in most cases.” While some may believe that censorship is not a big issue in the U.S., it is happening all over the country. “In some high schools around the country, principals are withholding the publication of stories because they don’t necessarily like the message they convey,” Hannuksela said.
Royals Media staff members pose for a group photo with Del. Chris Hurst, and students and advisers from Thomas Jefferson H.S. for Science & Technology and Colonial Forge H.S. at the Virginia General Assembly. In 2019, staff members fought to pass New Voices legislation, which would protect students from censorship. Photo by Royals Media.
Hannuksela believes that individuals acting together can help to encourage better journalism. “I think that the majority of people begin to look down upon a certain media service if they don’t agree with a particular story,” Hannuksela said. “They can either mark the article as false information or boycott the organization overall because they have a different opinion than what the work portrays.”
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FEATURES SCHOOL PLANS OUTSIDE GRADUATION Adjustments Made To Graduation Ceremony To Accommodate For COVID-19 Rules, Regulations Makayla Hamlin
s the final months of the school year are coming to a close, students steam their caps and gowns, take a deep breath, and prepare themselves for one of the most important and awaited events of their life: graduation. Fortunately, despite it being a nonconventional year, graduation will still go on, but there will be changes due to COVID-19. The main adjustment is that there will be three separate ceremonies. “On June 17th, we will have two ceremonies,” Assistant Principal Donna Branch-Harris said in a Zoom interview. “One will start at 9 A.M. and the second will start at 1 P.M. We will have one on June 18th at 9 A.M.” There is also a set number of people who can graduate each ceremony, factoring in the guests that are allowed and the amount of graduates. “We are able to have roughly 130 graduates per ceremony,” said Beth Andersen, graduation committee member and English department chair. “We’ll start with the honors graduates, including valedictorian and salutatorian. After that, the ceremonies will be assigned alphabetically, so we have lists coming out this coming week, with assignments to those ceremonies. Mr. Nelson has departed, but the three assistant principals have taken on the graduation responsibilities.” “We have combined as a team, as a power team to take care of all that,” Branch-Harris said. “We certainly do miss Mr. Nelson; he is going to be there with us in spirit. I know he will be checking on us. We have come together as a really strong team, we were already a strong team but we’ve come together to be even stronger so we will be taking on, all three of us, will be taking on that role. We’ll be calling each day, as you know we have to confer the diplomas, we’ll be taking part in that.” To make up for lost causes like prom, there will also be additional entertainment activities scheduled for seniors, including a spirit week and a drive-in. “We will have a senior spirit week, the week of the 7th of June, so there will be some special dress up days that week,” Andersen said. “On the 10th, there will be a senior sunset drive-in in the parking lot very similar to the drive-in movie that DECA hosted earlier in the year, but especially for seniors.” There will also be a senior parade to celebrate the Class of 2021. “On the afternoon of June 12th, there’s going to be a senior car parade,” Andersen said. “This will give seniors the opportunity to gather in the school parking lot and have their cars decorated with streamers
and balloons signs. And then we’ll have a parade, down Laurel Spring, through the courthouse.” Finally, seniors will also get the opportunity to attend a senior trip this year. “We are also able to have a senior trip this year to Busch Gardens on June 4th, and tickets are available from Mrs. McSherry, one of the senior sponsors,” Andersen said. “For one day, tickets will be sold for 35 dollars.” However, not all things will change as there will be some sense of normalcy for the seniors. “I think I’m excited that we are going to be out on the football field and the traditions that it brings,” Assistant Principal Christina Pope said. “We are returning to a lot of our traditions that we had prior to COVID-19.” There will be the traditional baccalaureate service for graduation, except it will be virtual. “There is a baccalaureate service, which is a religious service that honors our graduates, and that’s a tradition that we’ve always had,” Andersen said. “That is
going to be virtual this year again, instead of in person, but that will be posted on June 12th at noon and we have some information coming out about that, to honor our graduates.” Excitement floods not only graduates, but educators and faculty as well. “I cannot wait to see that wave of green, white and gold cap and gowns on that field and can not wait to call all of the students’ names to receive their diplomas,” Branch-Harris said. “And to see what they all are to do next; these graduates are the next trail blazers. I can’t wait for graduation. I cannot wait to see everyone’s smiling faces.” Graduation this year is focused on returning to normal in hopes to re-establish routine for the seniors that have overcome many challenges this school year. “There’s an excitement about trying to restore some sense of normalcy to this year and to this ceremony,” Andersen said. “I’m excited to have students participate in some of those traditions that are so special. As everyone says, in every interview, or discussion of the Class of 2021, you guys
2020 graduate Madison Cleveland receives her diploma in last year’s ceremony. The graduation ceremonies, both this year and last year, have several adjustments to accommodate for social distancing guidelines. Photo by Royals Media. have lost so much but this is a unique opportunity to be able to give you something special in the midst of such challenges and trying to properly mark the end of this school year.” Graduation overall is an amazing event in a student’s life and it is an incredible opportunity to be able to attend in person. “I think this is just a major life event for the class of 2021 and so I am so excited for this event for each of everyone and that students will be able to celebrate it with their family and friends,” Pope said. “It’s an amazing feeling as an educator when students walk across the stage whether they are an honors graduate or someone that is just barely squeaking by and making it across the stage, so it’s an emotional day for many and that’s what I’m most looking forward to. I just love seeing everyone celebrate this amazing life accomplishment.”
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THURSDAY 5.13.21 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 13
Starr’s Artwork Gains Nationwide Recognition In Contests
enior Annabelle Starr sat in a crowded PGHS Commons at Spring Fling 2020, with lines of students all around. She started a painting which she would later title “Anachronism.” That painting would later win third place in the region. Her piece was the only one to place in the region in 2021 & 2020. “I usually determine what tools and media to use for a certain piece depending on what exactly I’d like to emphasize,” Starr said. “If I believe I can express an interesting set of colors, or lighting, or something particularly eye-catching, I generally use acrylic paint - in my opinion, acrylic paint it is the easiest way to employ a vast pallet of colors.” Starr gets her inspiration, like most artists, from themes that come from the world around her. “I find myself drawn to different perceptions of beauty, mostly in human subjects,” Starr said. “I was fascinated with how an artist’s ideal ‘beauty’ had changed since Renaissance times, so the idea was to portray a more modern muse against a background of cherubs, which were common aesthetically-pleasing subjects in older eras of art. Because of the stark contrast of a contemporary figure with a seemingly ancient motif, I entitled the piece ‘Anachronism’ - something set in a time period to which it does not belong.” Starr entered a second work into the 2021 Congressional Art Competition for Virginia’s 4th District and took second place in the congressional district. The piece, “The King Will Come,” was just shy of being showcased in quite the national setting. The 1st place winner won the opportunity to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol. The piece was created using acrylic paint on canvas board and was a part of her AP Studio Art portfolio. “I decided my theme was to illustrate my interpretations of different songs - either my personal associations, how I envision the songs’ imagery, etc. So ‘The King Will Come’ is a song by the fairly obscure band Wishbone Ash,” Starr said. “This song had always had such striking imagery and specific descriptions that it was very
During Spring Fling 2020 Annabelle Starr began the initial steps of creating the painting that would later go on to win high honors.
Starr explains that her title for the finished painting came from, “something set in a time period to which it does not belong.” .
easy to imagine in my head. The idea was to illustrate a benevolent kingly figure in the foreground of a confused, battle-worn, burning, ruined country.” Starr has been drawing as she says, “ever since I was able to hold a pencil.” And she plans to continue her love of art into the future. “I did not seriously practice until about middle school, and it came naturally to me, so I liked to keep doing it. It’s rewarding to have a finished product and to actually see yourself improve over time. I love it partly because of the satisfaction in a finished product, but also because of what it teaches me,” Starr said. Starr has been accepted into VCUarts, and plans to study studio art there. Ultimately, she hopes to
Senior Annabelle Starr begins the painting that would later become “Anachronism” at the Spring Fling 2020. Starr plans to attend VCUarts to study studio art in Fall 2021. Photo by Royals Media. pursue a professorship teaching art at the collegiate level. She feels that is the best career fit for her, as it blends her inclination toward both art and academia. “You have to have the discipline to push yourself and keep practicing. More importantly, I have become so much more attuned to detail and nuance in the world after learning to study it and draw from observation. These are very helpful skills, I think.”
“THE KING WILL COME” The title and inspiration for this painting is from a song by the fairly obscure band Wishbone Ash according to Starr.
Artwork photos contributed by art teacher Cindy Bell.
14 | THE ROYAL NEWS | THURSDAY 5.13.21
SPORTS NEW FOOTBALL COACH STARTS TENURE Scott Grimolo Joins Staff As New Head Coach Following Carroll’s Move To AD Emily Hannuksela
Features & OP/ED Editor
s the 2021 spring sports season enters its final stretch, it is time to look ahead to fall sports. One big change which hasn’t happened for the past 11 years is the hiring of a new varsity head football coach. Scott Girolmo will be replacing Coach Bruce Carroll who has taken over the Athletic Director’s position. Previously from Battlefield High School, GiScott Girolmo rolmo heard about the job opening from his wife, a 2006 PG graduate, and jumped on the opportunity. He decided to take the job after careful consideration. “Prince George has been a home away from home for me since I moved to Virginia in 2011,” Girolmo said. “My wife and I prayed and pondered the decision and we believe that it is what is best for our family.” The future of the football team looks promising to Girolmo and he is hopeful for the fall season. “I see tremendous potential for growth here, along with an opportunity to get students and faculty involved in the growth of the program,” Girolmo said. “I also hope to continue building on the success Coach Carroll and the team had in 2019.” Change is always difficult, especially coming to a new school. Girolmo has to face challenges, but continues to stay positive. “Gaining the trust of the players and coaches is very hard and takes a long time when you take over a program,” Girolmo said. “It takes consistent effort and depth of care for each person. The process is years long, and it’s what is most important. I think getting to know the amazing players and coaches and community members at PG will be a fun challenge, and I can’t wait to get after it.” Despite the difficulties, Girolmo is looking forward to meeting new people.
“I am excited to be with so many of my family members and be surrounded by folks we love and who support us so much,” Girolmo said. “I am pumped to meet all of the players, and coaches and hear their stories and build new relationships.” He is also anticipating several aspects of football that he has not been able to experience since COVID-19 shutdowns. “I am looking forward to the Friday night lights, the competition, the struggles, and the joys of growth within a team,” Girolmo said. “It’s been a hard year without football, and I can’t wait to get back to it.” With his experience and expertise, he hopes to better the team, both mentally and physically.
“I want to bring a fearless and relentless pursuit of better,” Girolmo said. “I want to help them focus on being the best person they can be first and being football players second. I want to bring a ‘fail hard, never quit’ mentality, where our players aren’t afraid to make mistakes on the road to growth. I want to bring the fastest paced coaching I can give them, and hopefully a fun and empowering atmosphere for our coaches to work in and players to play in.” Girolmo keeps a positive mindset going into football seasons and always has motivational words for the players. “If you love what you are doing and if you have love for the people that you are doing it for or with, then you do not need to be concerned about fears or potential failure,” Girolmo said at a
Prince George football saw its most successful season this year with only one regular season loss. Coach Scott Girolmo takes over a roster which promises to return several key position players in fall 2021. Photo by Emily Rolon.
football interest meeting on May 26, 2021. Overall, Girolmo has a special place in his heart for football and knows how the sport will benefit all players on the team. “Football is unlike anything else in this whole world,” Girolmo said. “High school football especially is an opportunity for us, an arena for us to see what we are made of. It’s an opportunity to bring what we think is the absolute best man that’s in us.”
PH TO GALLERY
THURSDAY 5.13.21 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 15
SOFTBALL SEES OPPORTUNITY
With Only One Senior On Squad, Softball Wins Opener Against Dale & Hasn’t Looked Back At 3-0
1. Senior Rachael Blumenschine turns on an inside pitch to drive it to left ﬁeld. Blumenschine is the only senior on the squad this year. Photo by Emily Rolon. 2. Sophomore Jaylan Powroznick winds up to ﬁre a fastball down the middle. Powroznick has been given more time on the mound this season with two senior pitchers graduating last year. Photo by Emily Rolon. 3. Junior inﬁelder Hailey Fields warms up before the inning with a game of catch with the ﬁrst baseman. Photo by Emily Rolon. 4. Junior Kensley Vohun checks with Coach Nealan Chandler for the pitch. As the catcher, Vohun relayed all signals from the dugout to the pitcher during the game. Photo by Emily Rolon. 5. Sophomore Abbie McGee checks on the runner at second base during the game again Thomas Dale. The Royals defeated Dale 4-3. Photo by Emily Rolon.
For more photos of softball and other spring sports go to https://trnwired.smugmug.com/Sports/SpringSports-2021/ Photos taken by Emily Rolon.
16 | THE ROYAL NEWS | THURSDAY 5.13.21
TENNIS RETURNS TO SEASON OF CHANGE
s the sound of tennis balls hitting rackets echoes across the court, the tennis team practices for upcoming matches in the season. With the new tennis season starting up, the challenges that COVID-19 has presented the players with are quickly being overcome. Senior T’Angela Munoz discusses how COVID-19 hasn’t gotten in her way of performing her best. “Due to COVID-19, we had a
whole year off of tennis,” Munoz said. “So, some of my skills were rusty, but I had been practicing since February to prepare for the season.” COVID-19 has also put guidelines and restrictions on the players for their practices. However, with the sport being outdoors, they are less than some of the other indoor sports, and the more contact ones as well. “The only guidelines we have are the mask coverings while walking around the court, but they do not have to be on while we play,” Munoz said. Staying motivated in hard times is very difficult, especially with the nationwide pandemic. Players have to ensure that they personally stay motivated, and find the things that will help them accomplish this.
“I stay motivated by the team, my coach, teachers, family, and friends,” Munoz said. As the new season began, so did things like pre-match routines. Many players have specific things they do to mentally and physically prepare themselves. Sophomore Bradon Meeks has a few things that have become part of his routine. “I prepare by warming up with fellow teammates and getting in some play time with them,” Meeks said. “I also usually drink lots of water and stretch.” Munoz also has a unique tradition of her own. “Before a game, I practice a breathing technique in order to calm my nerves,” Munoz said. “I also do a couple stretches to ensure my mus-
Senior T’Angela Munoz concentrates on her serve during the first match of the season. Tennis has seen fewer Covid-19 restrictions due to the distancing with the sport. Photo by Emily Rolon. cles are warm.” One part of the season that remains majorly unchanged is the matches. While there are some requirements for distancing between players and teams, the matches themselves remain the same. “This is my first year playing official matches, but I know I will do my very best,” Munoz said. “I know that playing as number one means I have to play the best player of every team, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
THURSDAY 5.13.21 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 17
No Rest For Girls Soccer Maclay Cerny
A&E & Sports Editor
s seasons overlap, the girls soccer team waits for the field hockey team to finish their practice so they can begin conditioning. With all of the sports seasons being modified, it created very small time gaps from the end of the fall sports and the beginning of the spring sports. Due to this, soccer conditioning was moved to later in the day. This is just one of many challenges that the team faced going into their season. “There are a number of issues that we are dealing with this season,” Coach Thomas Harrison said. “We abruptly ended last season before playing one game. A lot of experience and teamwork was lost when the season was canceled.” While rebuilding the team was critical, this was made difficult with shorter prep time. This led the coaches into looking to a new strategy and way to prepare the team. “We really limited the amount of team pre-season conditioning due to the COVID pandemic,” Harrison said. “Like most programs, we have chosen not to scrimmage to avoid contact in an unofficial contest. We also start games after two weeks instead of four. Due to all of these factors, we wanted to concentrate on the basic fundamentals. We kept it simple to begin with and then built toward more complex strategies and tactics.” Coming into the season this year, the team has had to incorporate new players. This allows for younger players to shine. “We lost eight seniors from last year’s team so many players will have an opportunity to make
their mark,” Harrison said. However, there are still returning players. These players in particular were required to step up and contribute more than just their skills. “The players without varsity experience will need a lot of support from our experienced players,” Harrison said. “These veteran players will need to provide a lot of encouragement and communication on the field.” Every team has important components that they rely on. It is important to recognize these strengths and use them as much as possible. “The team we have has a lot of new players on it, and we have this close bond which I think separates us from other teams,” junior Gracie Knisely said. “I think that this year our team is also going to be very competitive and will fight to win our game for each other.” Districts are also affected by the pandemic. Teams are only allowed to play teams in their district. “I think we have a solid chance to be the best team in the district this year,” Powroznik said. “My junior class has been together for a long time so I think we’re all just ready to pick up back where we left off and we are looking forward to the season, especially the Colonial Heights games.” It is important that even amongst a crazy season, the positives are still recognized. “I think that our biggest challenge this year will be making it to regionals, but I am looking forward to making so many new memories with my teammates,” Knisely said.
Junior Ali Powroznik steals the ball from the Meadowbrook player. The soccer team is now 4-0 after their win over the Monarchs. Photo by Kailey Garner.
How long have you been running track? I started running track in 8th grade, so I have ran with the team for ﬁve years. What is your favorite part about track? For me, it’s the people you always meet and the team. The whole team always feels like another family to me because we work out and get tired together. Even meeting people at meets, we always go through similar workouts and things with each other and relate with one another. Without the team, I don’t know what I would be doing. I will always be grateful for my time there. What are your plans for post high school? Even though I played sports for a long time and love track, I plan on attending VCU studying physical therapy after high school. What is your favorite movie? I love the movie Train to Busan. It is a Korean movie and it actually made me cry a little in the end. I truly recommend this movie because its heartwarming, scary, and even more.
18 | THE ROYAL NEWS | THURSDAY 5.13.21
PH TO GALLERY Royals Overcome Monarchs Boys Soccer Wins Big With 1-0 Home Victory Against Meadowbrook
5. For more photos of the event go to https://trnwired.smugmug.com/ Sports/Spring-Sports-2021/BoysSoccer-vs-Meadowbrook/ Photos taken by Kailey Garner.
1. Junior Chris Brown catches his breath after warming up in goal before the home match against Meadowbrook. The boys soccer team defeated the Monarchs 1-0 in a shutout. Photo by Kailey Garner. 2. Senior Logan McQuiggan dribbles the ball up the ﬁeld from near his own goal. McQuiggan played a strong game on the defensive end. Photo by Kailey Garner. 3. Junior Riley Newbold controls the ball with Meadowbrook’s defense chasing him across midﬁeld. Possession of the ball was key in the victory. Photo by Kailey Garner.
4. Sophomore Luke Rozier (8), with help from freshman Isaac Lopez, steals the ball from the Meadowbrook forward. Prince George only needed the one goal to defeat Meadowbrook. Photo by Kailey Garner. 5. Sophomore Jalen Kohler avoids the defender to maintain control of the ball. Kohler has been asked to be the ﬁeld captain as a sophomore. Photo by Kailey Garner.
THURSDAY 5.13.21 | THE ROYAL NEWS | 19
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>> Baseball plays at home >> Softball plays at home >> Girls tennis takes on >> Girls & boys soccer travel vs. Colonial Heights on Tuesday, May 18th at 5:00 PM.
vs. Colonial Heights on Tuesday, May 18th at 5:00 PM.
Matoaca at Prince George, while the boys travel to Matoaca on Tuesday, May 18th.
to Meadowbrook on May 25th to take on the Monarchs at 5:30 PM & 7 PM.
Royals Return To Diamond Melliah Mason
ith the s o u n d s of cheers coming from the crowd, the baseball team continues to thrive in their new season. Things have changed for the baseball team due to COVID-19, as it has with all sports this year. While the seniors are grateful for a season, it is bittersweet due to it being shortened. The seniors have also had to step up and help their underclassmen teammates. One of these seniors is David Johnson. “So far this season is more difficult than last season,” Johnson said. “We all have to sit separately on the bus and wear masks to every away game, but other than that it’s pretty much the same.” With the changes to the season, it definitely made a lot of things more difficult. “For me the season is difficult because I’m a senior,” Johnson said. “I have to be on my ‘A’ game every game because it’s my last year representing the Royals.” While for some players, like Johnson, COVID-19 has majorly affected them. For others, like senior Konner Eaton, it hasn’t changed their outlook on the season. “This season for me, isn’t difficult at all,” Eaton said. “This is my last year as a high school baseball player and I’m just here to have fun and do a job
Sophomore Marcus Bradshaw smashes the ball into the outﬁeld at a rain-shortened game at Hopewell. Bradshaw and the other young players have learned from the four remaining seniors this year. Photo taken by Katherine Thacker. For more photos of sports, scan this QR code.
for my teammates and coaches.” Motivation plays a major role in all of the boys’ lives. It can come in many different forms and from different people for each payer. “My parents keep me motivated because they helped me since I started playing baseball and they also helped me get to the next level after high school,” Johnson said. Along with motivation, having a pre-game routine or traditions also assist the players in doing their best each game. “Personally, before a game I like to listen to music to get me focused and I do a lot of individual work like stretching with our assistant coach,” Eaton said. The seniors on the team have a big responsibility this season. It is important that they show the newer varsity players the full experience of the varsity team. “Personally I think this season will be harder just because we have lost so many of our seniors last year, so captains have to show the younger guys what it’s like to play at a varsity level,” Eaton said. “We still play good and we play as a team... we have been playing together since we were little.” The new guidelines that the players have had to follow are having an effect from practices to games. “Our guidelines are pretty simple, we wear masks when we are around each other and we make sure we do every precaution to make sure we are all okay,” Johnson said. “During games, the players on the bench are to sit 6 ft. apart from each other and wear their masks.”