Page 1


VIKING Loudoun Valley High School / Purcellville, VA / MARCH 2018

MODERN FARMER As Loudoun County farms dwindle, students still ďŹ nd joy in caring for uncommon companions.

Above / Senior Shannon Francis (center) leads the dance team in a performance at the February 2 pep rally. (photo / Olivia deStanley)

Cover / Senior Zahl Azizi holds one of his many chickens beside his head. (photo / Madison Stiles)


VIKING Newsmagazine Staff 2017-2018

Editors-in-Chief Carleigh Rahn Griffin Hunt

Copy Editor Zach Stevenson

Online Editors Kerry Webster Brianna Henriquez

Sports Editor Claire Slook

Photo Editors Olivia de Stanley Madison Stiles

Ads Managers Sadie Grant Grace Jennings Lauren Madey Madison McIntosh

Writers, Photographers, Business and Promotional Staff Max Breitenthaler, Colin Bunn, Beau Buzzelli, Heather Feconda, Erika Gesell, Riley Green, Jordan Iwerks, Ben Keane, Ella Krug, Gillian Krug, Bailey Kuhn, Casey Marrin, Caleigh Marsh, libblPeterson, Noelle Saine, Jared Sanders, Ella Serafin, Logan Stup, Christina Thornton Adviser Paige Cox | Twitter: @lvhsviking | Instagram: lvhsviking | Snapchat: lvhsviking

Letter from the Editors

Dear Vikings, The Viking is a completely student-run and studentfunded newsmagazine, meaning that our staff is responsible for everything you see printed, unless otherwise credited. All interviews are fairly represented, and audio files are kept for reference.

Throughout the school year, our goal is to serve the student body by covering a variety of topics, ranging from serious political controversies to pop culture events. Finally, the Viking is lucky enough to have a faculty and student body overwhelmingly supportive

of our newsmagazine. Thank you for your readership and your feedback. Thanks, Carleigh Rahn and Griffin Hunt Editors-in-Chief










I was cut from my varsity sport. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Junior Sean Conway trains hours on end as he pursues his dream to represent the United States as an Olympic swimmer.

While owning a car is a natural rite of passage, these students take it a step further by fixing and customizing their own cars.

As Loudoun County farms dwindle, students still find joy in caring for uncommon companions.







Students participate in a walkout to stand in solidarity with the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Once merely an exotic dish with unusual ingredients, pho is now ascendant in the culinary world.

Logan Paul’s antics create a firestorm, but aren’t representative of the various creative content provided by the platform.

Right / Seniors Connor Miller (left) and Henry Hill cheer on the boys varsity basketball team at their February 2 game. The Vikings defeated the visiting Woodgrove Wolverines 96 - 65. (photo / Ella Serafin)

Blessing in Disguise BY CARLEIGH RAHN


leven middle school girls ran across the court chasing volleyballs. “Coach Carleigh! Did you see that one?” They shouted. I clapped when they got their first serve over the net, and laughed when they missed the ball entirely. “Yes, Hanna! That was perfect, do it again!” I cheered them on, gave them all the encouragement I could, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be the one on the court. Before I coached, I played. The summer before my junior year, I had that taken away from me. I was cut from the varsity volleyball team. For years volleyball consumed my time, my schedule, my identity. I was an athlete. Until all of a sudden I wasn’t. During the first week of school, I filled out the typical “Get to Know You” form for a teacher. The first question was “What do you do outside of school?” I didn’t have an answer. For two years, I could write “the school volleyball team,” and add a little smiley face for fun. That day I wrote “play with my dogs.” I’m not lying. Everyday I saw the bold, yellow letters of “LOUDOUN VALLEY VOLLEYBALL” glowing on the back window of my mom’s car. For two years, it was a source of pride, a symbol of my accomplishments and my aspirations. Now, the letters just glared at me, a constant reminder of my failure. I wasn’t part of that anymore. I couldn’t pretend I was. It was the little things that stung the most. The sticker on the back of my mom’s car, the passing comments about practice, the game day t-shirts, ones I owned, but sat in a drawer collecting dust and wasting space. I had an abundance of free-time and no answer to “what do you do outside of school?” I was empty, left with nothing with which to define myself. When I got cut, I didn’t just let myself down. In this small town, it was everybody’s disappointment. My neighbor rang my doorbell and gave me a hug. My middle school coach dropped off a Starbucks gift card. My defeat was theirs’. And my sorrow was too. I had based my own self-image on their praise and criticism.

I was cut from my varsity sport. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

I was safely defining myself, staying within the box I had created. But then the universe shut the door on me, and shoved me out of that box. Suddenly, I was lost. I became incredibly self-conscious about this and I tried to fill my life with everything I could. I took on projects in PEER, creating the gratitude wall, a project where I encouraged others to focus on the good things in life, something I desperately needed myself. I wrote more and more for the Viking. One article, “We Are the World,” contributed to the national conversation surrounding immigration and globalization. It won first place. What I wrote was important, and it made me realize I was too. I became someone others could count on, and that became a passion in itself. One night, after I came home from coaching my team, I sat down to write an article. I took a deep breath, turned on my desk lamp, and finally looked up. After keeping my head down for so long and just trying to make it through, I realized that not only was I surviving, I was thriving. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with understanding, patience, gratitude and utter exhilaration. I cried, not because I missed playing volleyball, but because at last, I didn’t. What began as a desperate attempt to keep my mind off volleyball became everything that I loved about life. I found myself. Now, the sticker on the back of my car reads “VALLEY VIKING”. Although it’s a little off-center without the word “VOLLEYBALL,” I’m proud of it. I don’t need one particular thing to define myself. I am who I am because I made myself, by myself. I’m endlessly crafting the person I want to become, and I don’t need a check on my resume or a sticker to tell me that. I’ve begun to learn that we cannot let our identities be determined by the praise and criticism of others. Rather, it is up to us to create our own. photo / Carleigh Rahn layout / Carleigh Rahn

Making a Splash Junior Sean Conway trains hours on end as he pursues his dream to represent the United States as an Olympic swimmer. BY MAX BREITENTHALER The clock strikes 4:45 AM on Tuesday get both mental and physical support.” morning. The sun has yet to peek over Conway spends hours in the pool , but the horizon and the world continues to competing at the Olympic level consists of sleep as junior Sean Conway drops into so much more than what happens in the the pool. Towering over his peers at 6’6”, water. Conway continues along his path to The National Select Camp included Olympic glory. seminars that presented its participants After falling in love with swimming with information crucial to reaching the in second grade, Sean Conway made a highest level of swimming. Among other name for himself things, Conway in his sport. learned the effect Ranked second in that a balanced A lot of people say that the nation in his diet and good swimming is an individuevent, Conway night’s sleep can al sport but really, when has a number have on one’s it comes down to it, your of wins and swimming. accomplishments “My meal plan team is the biggest thing under his belt, consists of five you need. including being smaller meals invited to the per day. It helps SEAN CONWAY National Select stretch out the Camp. energy we’re pulling from the food and “We went to the Olympic Training with our practice schedule, eating is Center in Colorado Springs and got to crucial,” Conway said. “We’re constantly find out what it means to be an Olympic eating snacks.” swimmer. We got to train with some big Sean Conway’s goals for the future are coaches and had a couple of Olympians ambitious but, for someone of his caliber, come talk to us,” Conway said. reachable. He hopes to one day qualify for At the expense of an active social life, the Olympics, and knows that hard work Conway spends the majority of his time and dedication is needed to achieve this at practice. He has 11 practices a week, dream. and averages five hours in the pool daily. “What stood out to me throughout the Conway has given his all to swimming course of the camp was that the national and he appreciates the support from his and international Olympic dream is team. something that is definitely feasible,” “A lot of people say that swimming Conway said. “It’s something I need to is an individual sport but really, when set my goals for and continue to strive for it comes down to it, your team is the everyday.” biggest thing you need,” Conway said. photo / Caleigh Marsh “It’s great to have a support group. You layout / Griffin Hunt

SHIFTING GEARS While owning a car is a natural rite of passage, these students take it a step further by fixing and customizing their own cars. BY CLAIRE SLOOK AND ZACH STEVENSON

It’s day seven of Behind The Wheel. The yellow slip of your photocopied drivers permit is about to be signed. Only a few minutes and one signature lie between childhood and adulthood. In our small town, getting a driver’s license is the rite of passage to adulthood. You don’t have to be that friend who gets dropped off by their mom anymore. No longer do you have to jump through a thousand hoops to get a ride to town. In our fifteen-minutes-to-anywhere town with no public transportation, cars are absolutely necessary. It’s not just the fact that we have a car, it’s the fact that

they’re our cars. We make them our own. We customize them. They take us places we love, with people we love. Some students are taking their interest in cars to new places: potential careers, degrees or simply a backyard operation where bringing cars back to life is the calmest part of their days.

CLOE DOWDEN Senior Cloe Dowden can be spotted driving down the street in her blue and white truck with dirty orange rims. Her fashionable Craigslist find is known as The Cloud. Since purchasing The Cloud the summer before junior year, Dowden has done serious work to make the 26-year-old truck her own. “She runs rough but she still runs,” Dowden said. “She’s perfect in my eyes.” Though mechanical work is unique and impressive in its nature, Dowden is humble

about her knowledge of cars. She doesn’t plan on pursuing a mechanical degree in college right after high school. She doesn’t need to, as her auto collision class and Monroe keep her on track to earn all sorts of qualifications. “By the end of the year I will be certified in non-structural repair, structural repair, mechanical, and refinishing,” Dowden said. Although working with cars is Dowden’s full-time passion, it can’t be full-time on her schedule. Between school, cars, and work, Dowden knows where her heart truly lies. “Obviously I’d rather be working on cars, but to do that I have to make money, and for [money] I work at Home Depot.” Dowden is neutral about the benefits of being able to fix her own car. Other than simply having a car to drive, fixing up cars is something she enjoys doing during her free time. However for Dowden, her free time is truly free. Despite the loud noises of heavy machinery that most people recall when thinking about car mechanics, for Dowden it is different.

top / Senior Jeffrey Choy dispalays his grease-covered hands after working on his Corvette. Choy has grown up tinkering with cars and hopes to pursue mechanical engineering as a career. bottom left / Squeezed underneath her truck, “Cloud,” senior Cloe Dowden works to personalize her ride. When she bought her truck on Craigslist, Dowden knew it would take work, but to her, it’s worth it. right / Its hood popped open, senior Michael Leibolt works diligently on his 1973 Super Beetle. Leibolt was inspired to buy a Super Beetle after he saw the movie, Herbie. Now, he spends most weekends working on his car.

“Even though it’s pretty hectic, there’s nothing else going on around you,” Dowden said. “It’s just peaceful.”

JEFFREY CHOY Senior Jeffrey Choy inherited his love of tinkering with cars from his dad, who has been a master technician for close to forty years. Choy repaired his first car at age eight, and has had a wrench in his hand ever since. He especially enjoys the problem-solving aspect of automotive maintenance. “I was always fascinated by the mechanics of how a car works, like all those components together working as one to make this car go,” Choy said. “What’s even more fascinating is if one things goes wrong and compromises the whole system, then being able to fix that one thing to fix the system is a good skill to have.” Choy currently works at a car shop in Leesburg, where he replaces tires and changes oil, along with working on his own car. He is currently refurbishing an a 1982 Corvette that he spotted in his

grandma’s driveway a few years ago. To date, Choy has replaced the battery, fixed the fuel pump, put new tires on it, tinkered with the steering components, tweaked the engine and repainted it. He plans to complete the transformation this spring by putting exhaust pipes on the sides. Choy plans to study mechanical engineering in college, and dreams of working as an engineer for Chevy, where he would specialize in Corvettes. Choy’s background in automotive maintenance would be an invaluable skill as he designs the very cars he grew up working on.

MICHEAL LEIBOLT From a young boy with an interest in cars to a senior in high school with his own car to work on, Michael Leibolt can credit Herbie the movie for it all. “When I saw Herbie I just fell in love with the idea of a Super Beetle,” Leibolt said. Leibolt’s bright yellow 1973 Super

Beetle, one of the most distinctive vehicles in the school parking lot, has an impressive rags-to-riches story. When his parents bought it for him in the spring of 2016, the car passed inspection but wasn’t road-worthy because of a temperamental engine that kept cutting out. So Leibolt and his father got to work fixing it up. “I saw it as a good opportunity for me to learn how to work on cars, and it could be a family thing for us” Leibolt said. Cumulatively, Leibolt estimates that he’s spent 200 hours working on his car. From his perspective, not a single minute of it has been wasted. “It’s great to actually put something together with your hands and be able to use the fruits of your labor everyday,” Leibolt said. “It’s very rewarding.” photos / Caleigh Marsh and Casey Marrin layout / Carleigh Rahn


farmer As Loudoun County farms dwindle, students still find joy in caring for uncommon companions. BY NOELLE SAINE AND HEATHER FECONDA With household animals like dogs and cats constantly in the spotlight, it’s easy to forget some of our community’s most cherished company. While the majority of students go home to wagging tails and long whiskers, others are arriving at barns full of feathers and bleating goats. Initially bought for practical purposes, students have now discovered all that these unique animals have to offer. Odds and ends from wool collection to bunny baths have seeped into the very framework of these students lives, all the while proving to be as rewarding as it is time consuming. While this lifestyle brings great responsibility, it also brings great joy.

photo / Olivia deStanley left / Lenya, Raina and Patches gather around Kayleigh Bryan, awaiting their daily bucket of grain. (photo / Caleigh Marsh)




enior Amber Blankenship’s farm in Middleburg, appropriately named “Sheer” Madness, is home to just about every animal from the Old McDonald song. While pigs, donkeys, and dogs can be found roaming around the barnyard, the heart of the farm lies in their beloved 3-legged goat, Norman. “My sister used to volunteer at the Middleburg Humane Society, and she met [Norman] and fell in love with him,” Blankenship said. The goats, specifically Norman, have weaved their way into Blankenship’s daily whereabouts. “They’ll follow you around the whole yard. You could run and they would just start following you,” Blankenship said, “Norman will follow you anywhere.”

photo / courtesty of Carly Campbell



photo / Olivia deStanley


or most high schoolers, handling an 80 pound dog is a big deal. For junior Carly Campbell, handling a 1200 pound steer is just everyday life. Every day after school, Campbell heads to the barn to work with her hefty counterpart, “ We brush them, we practice showmanship, and just get them used to people,” Campbell said. After months of careful training and preparation, the steer are judged, “The end goal of it all is to show at the fair,” Campbell said, “Based on how well you place in the show, you make your money back.” Despite this incentive, the experience goes far beyond counting coins for Campbell. As a natural result of working together day after day, the steer become personable partners. One of Campbell’s steers in particular developed an exceptionally friendly personality. Campbell fondly recalls not her 2017 show ribbon, but her 2017 showmate, “He just loved people,” Campbell said.

rooming and pampering as many as twenty-six bunnies for an upcoming competition is normal business for sophomore Elise Abbe. For the eight breeds that they own, Abbe has placed in eight different 4H showings. Although they now competitively campaign, the original motivation when the Abbe’s got these bunnies nearly ten years ago was to learn how to care for and appreciate animals. The goal for appreciation has grown into a true love for them. “Holding one and petting it is like therapy to me,” Abbe said. It is now safe to say that the bunnies have fully integrated themselves into Abbe’s life, “There is a connection between our family and rabbits, they’re just part of us,” Abbe said. photo / courtesty of Elise Abbe





ayleigh Bryan started her alpaca adventure in 2005, and now has a four-legged family of 14 alpacas. The alpacas live right in Bryan’s backyard, allowing her to pay detailed attention to their care and comfort. Spending time with these animals has become a positive part of Bryans daily life, “I love the animals a lot, they are very calming to be around, and they just kinda have nice vibes,” Bryan said. Caring for these alpacas is no longer a monotonous chore to the Bryan family, “Each of them have quirky personalities. As we’ve taken care of them and watched them grow and interact,” Bryan said, “They’ve become a huge part of our lives.”

photo / Madison Stiles



he presence of brightly feathered chickens meandering the barnyard is a quintessential part of country life for many people. Senior Zahl Azizi has first hand experience caring for not just chickens, but also ducks and geese. Azizi explains how while the birds have provided carton after carton of eggs for him and his family, they are also pets, “Each have individual names and personalities,” Azizi said. “Sometimes they will stand right by you as yard work is done in the hope you dig up some worms.” On a grander scale, caring for farm animals has enlightened Azizi more than he anticipated, “They have taught me a lot more about animals and what goes into caring for them, which gives me an appreciation of farmers and where our food comes from,” Azizi said.

photo / Olivia deStanley


I photo / courtesty of Donnell Cobb

n the middle of the night, senior Donnell Cobb wakes up to a high-pitched scream outside his window. Although this may remind many of the supernatural, for Cobb, this phenomena is all too ordinary. 4H brought these three goats into Cobb’s care two years ago, and since then he has learned a few things about them, including their diet, “They don’t eat everything, they are actually really picky about what they eat... they won’t eat things on the ground.” The maintenance required to upkeep these fuzzy friends extends beyond feeding and medicating, the goats hooves have to be clipped once a month to prevent splitting, which can lead to infection. Although taking care of these animals may seem tedious, Cobb had found enjoyment throughout the years, “My favorite goat is my one male goat, Grover, he’s really nice. I just remember raising him from being super small, being just a little layout / Carleigh Rahn baby.”

Junior Emily Trankovich and freshman Jonathan May show their support for student victims at the February 21 walkout.

We Stand With You On February 21, students participated in a nation-wide walkout to protest gun violence and call for more stringent firearm regulations. The walkout was inspired by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who have been vocal in their demands for gun reform in the wake of a shooting that claimed the lives of 17 of their classmates and teachers. Approximately 215 students participated in the walkout. photo / Casey Marrin


719 E Main St Purcellville, VA (703) 336-3574

Follow The Viking @lvhsviking Check out The Viking online news site Read the rest of “We Stand With You” at

Pronounced fuh, not


“Xuan Saigon, I think that’s the best place [for pho].” FRESHMAN FAITH NGUYEN

“I think people have just kind of started discovering how delicious [pho] is.”

The Newest Trend You Can’t Pronounce BY GRIFFIN HUNT


nce merely an exotic dish with unusual ingredients, pho is now ascendant in the culinary world. Before the trend took off, shops specializing in this classic Vietnamese soup were considered niche and off the beaten path. Now, in the age of ramen shops and eight-dollar coffee, specialty pho shops are finding their footing as this classic dish becomes more mainstream. Pho is a hearty, broth-based soup typically served with beef. At first glance this dish looks like a simple noodle soup, but don’t be fooled. The real beauty lies in the garnishes that typically accompany the dish. Fresh mint, cilantro, bean sprouts, chili peppers, lime, Hoisin and its more popular cousin Sriracha sauce are just a few. These allow the diner to customize their dish according to their personal tastes. For those who haven’t tried it, it’s a delicious new experience that won’t break the bank and makes for a great meal on a rainy day.

Photo / Madison Stiles Layout / Griffin Hunt


YouTube’s Bottom Feeder Logan Paul’s antics create a firestorm, but they aren’t representative of the platform’s potential. In January 2018 YouTube garnered more press than usual. One of its most popular stars, and one of its most consistent ad-revenue generators, Logan Paul, took advantage of his loyal audience and didn’t just cross the line but redefined it. Logan Paul is known for his immaturity and his lack of creative content. Unfortunately, it wasn’t surprising when he went into Japan’s revered Aokigahara Forest and videoed a dead man for his vlog, posting it for millions to see. This insensitive and completely inappropriate action should have raised red flags and jeopardized his career, but it didn’t. Instead, he is now more popular than ever. In 2016, Youtube, under pressure from advertisers angered by the content their ads were being paired with, implemented an algorithm that detected offensive content and ruled it unsuitable for advertisers. This algorithm not only let Logan Paul’s graphic vlog slip through, but also allowed it to be featured on YouTube’s trending page. Paul’s manipulation of his viewers allows

him to get away with his tasteless content. His videos are packed with brands that he is financially affiliated with, and he constantly pushes his merchandise down his viewers’ throats. They don’t seem to understand that they are essentially watching an advertisement.

As consumers, all the power is in our hands. Paul’s actions reflect poorly on Youtube, but the platform’s promise still outweighs its drawbacks. The toxic commercialism and lackluster production that Logan Paul represents makes it easy to view YouTube as a problematic platform. However, the most important aspect of Youtube still remains: it provide persons with the opportunity to develop their art and, sometimes, make a career of it. Adolescents who don’t see themselves pursuing higher education can use the platform as a forum to display their

work and jumpstart their artistic career. As consumers, all the power is in our hands. Accessibility to quality content is at an all-time high. It’s our responsibility to support hard-working creators, and not overemphasize the shortcomings of YouTube and select creators. Promoting creativity is as important as denouncing wrongdoing. There are creators that make the most of the opportunity YouTube provides, and produce great content for their subscribers. For example, Cody Ko, a YouTube comedian, offers insightful and humorous commentary on the platform’s problems. Drew Gooden does this as well, and supplements his opinions with original skits. These two creators have found a balance between showing what is awesome about YouTube, and also noting its flaws. Refreshing content like this is a reminder of the imaginative environment that YouTube aimed to create in the first place. photo / Creative Commons layout / Ben Keane and Kerry Webster





5 1 Junior Olivia Badura attempts to squeeze her way through two Woodgrove defenders at a February 2 basketball game. The Vikings defeated the visiting Wolverines 58 - 27. (photo / Olivia deStanley)


Focusing on a new technique, Mr. Hagerty learns how to knit during a Wellness Wednesday activity. (photo / Olivia deStanley)

3 Knee-hopping her way across the gym floor, senior McKenna Magoffin represents the gymnastics team in an activity at the February 2 pep rally. (photo / Olivia deStanley)


Senior Emily Sayles is knocked to the floor in the final round of musical chairs at the February 2 pep rally. Despite junior Moses Freedom’s best efforts, Sayles claimed the title. (photo / Casey Marrin)

5 Preparing a bag of icing, sophomore Megan Campbell decorates cookies during her Wellness Wednesday activity. (photo / Olivia deStanley)

layout / Olivia deStanley

The Viking / Issue IV / March 2018  

The 4th issue of the Viking-- the official news magazine of Loudoun Valley HS-- for the 2017-2018 school year

The Viking / Issue IV / March 2018  

The 4th issue of the Viking-- the official news magazine of Loudoun Valley HS-- for the 2017-2018 school year