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Freshman FAQ pg. 5 Changes in Purcellville pg. 2 Figures of the Fall pg. 9
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viking Newsmagazine Staff 2012-2013
Editors-in-Chief Rachel Boisjolie Melissa Fairfax
Managing Editors Gaelyn Foster Charles Lyons
Business Manager Sheridan Suminski
Promotional Manager Meagan Solano
Layout Editor Leigh George
Photo Editor Tierra Dongieux
Online Editors Lauren Pak Charlotte Tuohy
Staff Contributors Kelly Ashley, Jennifer Colantonio, Katherine Hall-Wurst, Brianna Jennings, Courtney Morgan, Maddie Rice, Ainsley Sierzega, Rachel Snyder, Jo Trombadore
Message from the
Dear Vikings, The Viking is a completely student-run and student-funded newsmagazine, meaning that our staff is responsible for everything that you see printed, unless otherwise credited. Our adviser, Ms. Cox, guides us through the process, but ultimately
Adviser Paige Cox everything is carried out by The Viking staff. If there is something you want us to cover, let us know! Room 135, the publications room, is always open for you to come give us suggestions. Our goal is to be able to inspire conversation amongst our student body; knowing what you all are interested in reading will help us reach this goal. While we want to entertain our readers, we also are very serious about our work. We do not tamper
with interviews; the words you give us during an interview are what you will see printed unless you tell us otherwise. Our interviews are backed up via audio files, and we promise to never intentionally place your quotes out of context. If you find that we printed something incorrectly or feel that we misrepresented you in any way, please feel free to let us know so that we can print an apology. Like we said, we work to serve you all, our student body, and do not want to misrepresent you.
Make sure to look for us throughout the yearâ€”we will be distributing five more issues before the year ends. In the meantime, support us through the publicationsâ€™ Coffee Shop every Friday morning in the mixing bowl. Also, if you are interested in submitting advertisements or shoutouts to friends or clubs, feel free to visit Room 135. Thanks! Melissa Fairfax & Rachel Boisjolie Editors-in-Chief
Obama and Romneyâ€™s fight for Virginia hits close to home with the recent Obama rally in Leesburg.
1/Political Update 2/Changes in Purcellville 3/All Summer Long
issue one, September 7, 2012
Junior Royce Lindengren immersed himself in Russian life during a VCU summer program.
Answers to the most pressing questions of a new school and the new school year.
The marching band sweats it out during their summer in order to prepare for a spirited fall sports season.
Fall sports are already underway - check out the stats for the season.
7/Conducting 8/Join the Spirit Huddle on Extracurriculars 9/Figures of the Fall
Vikingfest announced the reality of a new school year to students on August 16.
cover/Ainsley Sierzega table of contents/Tierra Dongieux, Charles Lyons, Royce Lindengren, Ainsley Sierzega
Old Battleground Virginia has historically voted Republican—until the 2008 election, when President Obama won the state. Now, Romney is posing a threat to Obama’s reelection, establishing Virginia as a true battleground state. The latest CNN poll shows Obama and Romney in a statistical dead heat among likely voters; considered moderately conservative and liberal, respectively, Romney and Obama are fighting for control of the many still-undecided swing states, including Virginia. On June 27, presumptive Republican nominee Romney gave a speech in Sterling, Virginia, and on August 11, chose another Virginia location, Norfolk, as the place to announce his vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan. "I’m glad Romney chose Paul Ryan," senior Caitlin Donohue said. "He’s a good man with a good background." However, not all students share the same opinion. There is a lot of discussion about Virginia, particularly Northern Virginia, as one of the more crucial swing states in the nation; it is also one of the states where the most money is spent on attack ads for both parties. Amid all of this, sitting President and presumptive Democratic nominee Obama chose to visit Leesburg, Virginia, to give a speech and rally his fan-base. The event was historically significant because a sitting president has not visited Leesburg since 1825. Some enthusiastic speech-goers arrived as early as 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon, knowing that the gates didn't open until 5:30 p.m. and that the speech itself was going to begin
between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Those who wished to get a good view of the president stood in the hot sun with precious little shelter overhead for hours on end. "This was my first political rally, and the first thing that struck me was that it was all so overwhelming and a lot to take in," junior Lana Vaillancourt said. In spite of the physically taxing and overwhelming environment, the atmosphere in line was generally upbeat and positive, with volunteerled chants of "Fired up, ready to go!" rousing the people. Students have mixed feelings on living in the heart of a battleground state, often resenting the conflicted nature of politics. "I don't like confrontation, and that's what generally comes from political activities," senior and rally attendee Kelsey Bledsoe said. A certain level of confrontation was unquestionably on display on August 2. An estimated 3500 people flocked to a contained space on the front lawn of Loudoun County High School in hopes of catching a glimpse of the President, while directly across the street sat a neat line of dozens of Romney campaign signs. It was an image that embodied the essence of Northern Virginia's lack of ideological unanimity. Signs for both candidates pepper lawns in equal measure across Loudoun County. Reactions to the speech among students similarly lacked consensus. "I really liked it, and I am not really the type of person who likes politics," senior Kayla Saur said. "The only thing I did not like was that some
Students speak out on the Obama rally, the presidential race, and life in one of this election’s biggest battleground states.
of it seemed a bit hard, and I don't see how [some of the solutions Obama presented] are possible considering people's lack of faith in the government and its spending." Senior Kara Vaillancourt, who also attended the Obama rally, had fewer reservations and appreciated the Kara and Lana Valillancourt pose for a picture at the historic Obama Rally unifying nature of at Loudoun County, as Obama’s appearance marked the first time a sitting the President's president visited Leesburg since 1825. words. students feel that Obama has actually "I thought done the younger generation a he made his point very clear, which disservice. was, 'We're all in this together, let's "Obama has been spending finish what we started here because trillions of dollars on these it's the right thing to do for everyone,'" entitlements for Medicare and she said. everything," Donohue said. "It’s Something President Obama generational theft. It’s this generation notably focused on was bettering the right now that is spending trillions of education system and providing for dollars, not caring if it’s my generation future generations. The music that the or my kids’ generation that will have to President's administration selected to play over the loudspeakers prior to the make up for this spending." Others still are simply more speech's commencement, including forgiving. young, hip artists like Florence + the "The President is a human being, Machine and Arcade Fire, seemed to and human beings make mistakes," further the conception that they had Bledsoe said of Obama’s current term a younger generation and audience in office. "His [mistakes] are just a little in mind. more important." Lana Vaillancourt expressed Thus, even though opinions appreciation for the speech's vary as always, the first few weeks of relevance to her as a young person. August have signaled the arrival of the "What the President said about election on students' doorsteps. With how college students shouldn't have their visits to crucial Virginia locations to graduate with thousands and this summer, Romney and Obama thousands of dollars in debt really have further solidified Virginia as a stuck out as a positive thing for me as swing state. a student," she said. "The president article/Charles Lyons, Melissa Fairfax made me feel more connected to photos/Charles Lyons, Paige Cox politics and what's happening in the layout/Rachel Boisjolie news." On the other hand, some
Changes in Purcellville
New venues in the Harris Teeter complex offer a variety of options for people of every preference to explore.
IJ Canns American Grille
It’s a Saturday night, and finding the right place to get something to eat can take you to Leesburg or even Ashburn just to get some frozen yogurt. In the next month, all of that will change. With the opening of Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt and other restaurants and stores, the variety in Purcellville will greatly increase. The first restaurant is IJ Canns American Grille, which is described as a place to “enjoy fine American cuisine in a relaxed setting for all occasions.” There is already one location in Winchester which offers casual American fare with live entertainment and Sunday brunch. The menu has a wide selection that ranges from pizzas to seafood to burgers and fries. IJ Canns will be located in the barn but will also have outdoor seating overlooking the water feature.
The Wine Kitchen
Sweet Frog is a sweet tooth’s paradise. Walking in, there is a whole wall of self-serve frozen yogurt machines with flavors ranging from classics like chocolate to more eccentric flavors like cake batter and dulce de leche. Next comes the toppings bar, which is again selfserve, and has every favorite sundae topping and much more. There is fruit, cereal, candy and brownie bits which can be topped by chocolate, Nutella, hot fudge or even fruit sauce. Also, Sweet Frog is perfect for a high school budget because the price is determined only by the weight of the cup.
Located in the old, renovated house is The Wine Kitchen. The other locations are in Leesburg and Frederick, Maryland, and their menu offers upscale dishes that use local and seasonal ingredients. While the venue is fancy, it can still be approachable for students, especially on special occasions.The prices are still reasonable, with entrees ranging from nine to 25 dollars. Save room for desserts because they also offer desserts from Sweetz Bakery in Leesburg.
Coach’s Corner is a sports bar that will feature flat screen televisions and outdoor seating. They describe themselves as “a sports-themed restaurant. We will have 16 HD TVs that will have the game package so that sports fans can catch any game. We are a family restaurant that will provide a neighborhood community environment as well as an affordable menu.” It will have casual food, and the restaurant has announced that it is opening by Labor Day. Other places coming to the Purcellville Gateway Complex include Topkick Martial Arts, Hair Cuttery, Dental Smiles, Pro Nail Spa, SunTrust Bank and perhaps even a pet store. article/Charlotte Tuohy photos/Charlotte Tuohy layout/Charlotte Tuohy
all summer long WHILE STUDENTS SLEEP IN LATE, GO ON VACATION AND RELAX WITH FRIENDS, THE ADMINISTRATION BUSTLES AWAY INSIDE THE BUILDING THAT STUDENTS DARE NOT STEP IN DURING SUMMER. By high school, students realize that teachers do have lives outside of school; teachers go home every evening and even have summers off, one of the long-standing arguments for being a teacher. However, administrators are not so lucky—they may still have the opportunity to go home overnight, but their summers are filled with wrapping up the previous year and preparing for the next. “All administrators are 12-month employees,” Principal Susan Ross said. “[We work] all day every day! While students and teachers take a much-needed break, the administration plans for the new year. Ross’s summer job includes looking at student performance from the previous year and creating meaningful professional development for teachers. Guidance Director Leeanne Johnson keeps busy running reports, finding answers, and communicating with staff, students, parents and administration; her main responsibility is to develop a program that adheres to the American School Counseling Association guidelines. However, she also does her fair share of planning. “Our team works so well together. Everything we plan for the year is a joint effort, honoring each other’s input and strengths,” Johnson said. “Last year, we spent two full days in ‘retreat’ mode where we did nothing but plan for the year.” One of these ‘joint efforts,’ bringing in Ross and counselors alike, is scheduling. One of their biggest summer jobs, it causes a lot of conflicts. “Everyone loves a smaller school, but with that comes one big headache! Because there are fewer students requesting a course, it means that perhaps only one section of a particular course, for instance AP Physics, is offered,” Johnson said. “When we have multiple one-section courses, some will naturally have to conflict with other courses requested. Thus, conflicts occur.” According to Johnson, this year there are 42 core courses that are only offered in either one or two blocks; that number does not even include all of the electives that are offered only once or twice. Counselors Candala Grim and Charles Smith had over half their students in conflict; this inordinate amount of scheduling conflicts creates problems for not just students but counselors as well. “It becomes a giant puzzle for the counselors,” Johnson said. “We want to give our students the best possible schedules and meet their requests, but sometimes the master schedule just can’t accommodate. Therefore, we spend quite a bit of time calling and meeting with students with conflicts, asking them to choose another course.” Just as getting schoolwork done early helps students when they have a
heavier workload later, planning for the new school year during the summer helps the administration stay on top of things once the year begins. “In the beginning of the summer, it is more relaxed and I do a lot of ‘clean up’ from the previous year. Then, when counselors return on August 1, it becomes hectic and overwhelming once again and pretty much stays that way throughout the school year, which is a good thing!” Johnson said. “This year, we were able to work on conflicts in June which made a huge difference for us this August. It allows us to concentrate on our Counseling Department initiatives for the year.” Summer also provides the opportunity for renovation without students constantly in the school. “[During the summer], the pace and intensity are a little lower because students and teachers are not in the building,” Ross said. “During regular summers, major cleaning [takes place]. Next summer, renovations will be in full swing in the athletic area.” According to Assistant Principal Vicki Dorsey, the school has been working on acquiring these renovations for two years. While the renovations are not yet finalized because the county board still must approve them, the planned renovations will affect both the music and athletic areas and include many exciting new additions. Students and alumni have been seeking these renovations for some time now; especially as one of the oldest high schools in the county, and in the face of new schools such as Woodgrove and Tuscarora being built, Valley is due for a much-needed facelift. Thus, these renovations planned for next summer will be a slight deviation from the administration’s usual summer agenda; however, they promise to be positive for the school, as do typical summers sans the renovations. “[A new school year means] a fresh start for students and teachers!” Ross said. “[It provides] new challenges and new opportunities for everyone to grow academically, personally, and as a community member.” Johnson echoed a similar sentiment. “Each new year brings excitement. That is one great thing about a career in education. I love the fact that we all get to ‘start fresh’ and come up with new ideas to meet the needs of our students,” Johnson said. “Once the kids return, you can bet we’re psyched to go!” article/Melissa Fairfax photo/Melissa Fairfax layout/Rachel Boisjolie
renovations planned for summer 2013 -Adding a scene room to the drama hallway -Adding an orchestra room to the drama hallway -Tennis courts moved to connect to other fields
-Adding new baseball and softball fields -New press boxes in the football stadium -Team rooms added to the football field
-Wrestling and weight rooms enlarged and attached to the gyms -Elevator installed to connect the main floor to the gymnastics room
-Training room and laundry room expanded and moved away from locker rooms -Hallway built to connect the school to the main gym without going through the auxiliary gym
A summer academy gave one boy the chance to experience a unique culture without even leaving the state.
It is a hot Sunday afternoon at the beginning of the summer when a blue Kia Sorento pulls onto Main Street in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia Commonwealth University is flooded with out-of-towners making their way to the University dorm rooms. One might think that the carloads of teenagers wandering around and the boxes of personal belongings scattered about the sidewalks signify the beginning of a new college semester, but it is only June 24. As the Kia Sorento is parked and the contents of its trunk unloaded, a lanky, 15-year-old boy nervously glances around the college campus and heads for his dorm room. The boy’s name is Royce Lindengren, and he was the only Valley student accepted to the 2012 VCU Startalk Russian Academy. The Russian Academy is one of the four language programs offered at Virginia Commonwealth University every summer. This Federal program selects the most astute high school students to participate in a vigorous semiimmersion program. The chosen applicants engage in a variety of exotic activities for three weeks as they learn the Russian language and experience Russian culture. Lindengren is a junior in Latin V, and he is only the second rising junior from Valley to attend the Russian Academy. Lindengren feels he has an “adequate memory for learning languages” and jumped at the opportunity to apply to the Russian Academy. The hard work he put into the application process came from an honest desire to learn and speak
foreign languages. “I didn’t know it would look that good for colleges until after I was accepted,” Lindengren said. “I just want to be able to go anywhere in Europe and speak the language. I think Russian is an interesting language that is underestimated by most people in its importance.” After admissions closely examined his application, Lindengren became one of the 29 attendants of the Russian Academy and one of only three 15-year-olds admitted. While Lindengren was ecstatic to be part of such an exclusive summer program, he was nervous about how the three weeks would unravel. Apprehensions about the strictness of the instructors, the kindness of the other students, and the personality of his roommate rolled around in his head as the days leading up to June 24 dwindled. “I made myself think of the worst possible things, so that no matter what happened, I would always be pleasantly surprised,” Lindengren said. His pyschological preparations were unnecessary. According to Lindengren, the atmosphere of the Russian Academy turned out to be very relaxed, and the instructors were easygoing and insightful. The teachers taught new vocabulary every class; students first learned fundamental vocabulary and progressed to more advanced conversational phrases, encompassing location, health and emotions. For Lindengren, the Russian lessons were painless and engaging,
“Russian is a language that is underestimated by most people in its importance.” -Royce Lindengren
and he learned a lot of material with every class. According to Lindengren, the teachers played a Russian cartoon halfway through the program and instructed the students to write down any words that they understood from the conversation in the show. “We went through the video, and I kept listing things,” Lindengren said. “We got to the end, and they asked me how many words I’d written down. There were 37 words that I recognized. I didn’t know that there were that many words that I knew in Russian. That’s how much I learned in a week and a half.” Academy participants learned about and experienced Russian culture as well. According to Lindengren, students had a chance to taste bliny (блины), a thin form of Russian pancakes. They also danced to Russian songs such as the kalinka (Калинка) and played Russian games. One game, known among the students as the ‘Russian tunnel game,’ involved running through a tunnel of humans and ‘stealing’ another player’s partner by grabbing his or her arm. Academy instructors delved into Russian history and explained interesting phenomena such as the Golden Ring, a chain of ancient cities northeast of Moscow that preserves important events in Russian history. Lindengren’s favorite cultural lesson, however, involved traditional Russian superstitions. “Russians are very superstitious,” Lindengren said. “For instance, if you step on someone’s foot, they in turn have to step on yours, so it doesn’t bring bad luck. They also think it’s bad for girls to sit on the ground because then, supposedly their ovaries will freeze over, and they will never have children.” In addition to the daily lessons, academy participants enjoyed a series of lively activities and field trips. On the first field trip, the academy traveled to a Greek Orthodox Church to learn about religion in Russia. Another outing took students to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to view a renowned piece of Russian art,
the 5 Fabergé eggs, and yet another brought the students to a small European deli. A few events, such as the ‘International Market,’ involved all four of the language academies at VCU—Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese. In this activity, the academies set up a ‘market’ to ‘buy and sell’ authentic crafts made by students of each academy. According to Lindengren, these multi-academy activities became hectic; as a result, he especially enjoyed the small, informal dance for only the Russian academy. Participants at the Russian Academy had no trouble entertaining themselves in their free time. In the mornings, Lindengren and some students woke up at 5:40 a.m. to take a jog; in the evenings, friends relaxed together. However, the most engrossing pastime was pranking: boys versus girls. One morning, the boys woke bright and early to find shaving cream spread all over their dormitory door. To their surprise, the boys discovered their mattresses missing from their dorm rooms only a few nights later. The boys then took revenge by launching water balloons at the girls at every opportunity. Though both teams aimed to overpower the other, the pranking was all in good fun; while Lindengren relished learning a new language and trying new things, the relationships he formed at the academy were the highlight of his experience. “My legs were stressed every morning and my brain every day, but I really stressed my heart that last day at the Russian Academy,” Lindengren said earnestly. “I made a lot of good friends, and in one day, I left them all.” article/Gaelyn Foster photo/courtesy of Royce Lindengren layout/Rachel Boisjolie
What is the cell phone policy? Students are allowed to have their phones on them and may use them in between classes and during lunch. (Valley students gained this privilege two years ago!) However, students should not use cell phones during class.
I want to get into a great college, and I want to start preparing now—how can I make myself stand out to colleges? Take challenging classes, do well in those classes, and get involved. Take the most difficult classes that you think you can handle without feeling overwhelmed. Make sure to stay on top of the work in those classes and get help if you need it; most teachers at Valley are more than willing to meet with you in the mornings, after school, or during your study hall if you really want to give the effort. Too many students don’t care and don’t worry about their grades until they are already thinking about colleges, and by then it is often a little too late—your freshman grades set the foundation for your GPA in later years! Lastly, don’t forget extracurricular activities; join a few clubs, try out for a sport, play an instrument or do volunteer work—whatever interests you. The rest will fall into place later.
What is the Jungle? What does it do, where can I stand in it, and what should I wear? The Jungle is Valley’s student section. It is a cheering section at sports games, especially football and basketball, but extends beyond cheering for sports. It also represents the school and Valley students as a whole; it unifies students through school pride. Seniors generally stand at the front of the Jungle, juniors behind seniors, and so on; freshmen usually stand towards the back. Valley’s spirit wear includes its school colors green, white and gold but is known for its hunter’s camouflage and neon orange hunting hats. Camo overalls tend to be reserved for seniors, but everything else is open to all grades. The Jungle encourages everyone to participate!
Questions are in abundance at the beginning of the school year; finally, here are some answers.
Are gym uniforms the same as the ones at Blue Ridge? Do people take showers after gym class? Yes, they are the same uniforms, and the gym teachers do require students to change clothes for PE. However, the rules about uniforms are not as strict as the rules at Blue Ridge; according to PE teacher and Department Head Joyce Phillips, they are not worried about “the little things” like tucking in your shirt, but they do require students to remove jewelry that could cause injury, such as a lot of bracelets or necklaces. Some students take showers after class, and teachers will allow students to leave a few minutes early from class in order to shower. However, the PE department does not provide towels and do not want students leaving wet towels in their lockers.
Can I eat outside during lunch? Can I go off-campus? There are two courtyards for eating outside during lunch. The one directly outside of the cafeteria is for seniors; the one across the hallway from the cafeteria is for anyone to use. However, students must keep the courtyards clean by picking up after themselves or else the administration may suspend courtyard lunchtime privileges. Students are not allowed to go off-campus for lunch.
Can I eat or drink during class? Can I chew gum? It depends on the teacher. Many teachers allow students to eat during class, but make sure to ask your teachers before doing so. Students should only have water in a clear bottle—other beverages, especially in solid bottles, are technically not allowed. Chewing gum in class also depends on each teacher, but teachers at Valley are much more tolerant of gum than they are at Blue Ridge.
What are the different hallways? What is the mixing bowl? There are four main hallways in Valley. If facing the school, the hallways from left to right are Freshman Hall (gym/cafeteria hallway), Sophomore Hall (math hall), Senior Hall (English hall), and Junior Hall (science hall). There is also the elbow (or L) hallway where the nurse is located and where some freshmen have lockers. The mixing bowl is the round area at the back of the school where most of these hallways converge. There are senior benches, SCA’s displays, and it is often a location for various sales (such as prom ticket sales or The Viking Coffee Shop).
How many years of a foreign language are required? If I took foreign language in middle school, do those grades count? To graduate with an advanced diploma, students are required to take either four years of one language or two years of one language and two years of another. However, colleges seem to prefer when students take four years of one language because it shows dedication and consistency. If you took foreign language in middle school, those grades DO count. Just like if you are ahead in math and took a high school math course in middle school, those foreign language classes are actual high school courses.
Are there any reserved senior privileges that I should know about?? Well, technically the benches in the mixing bowl are reserved for seniors, especially in the morning. Also, the courtyard directly adjacent to the cafeteria is designated for seniors. However, the courtyard across the hallway from the cafeteria is for all grades. Camouflage overalls are reserved for seniors as spirit wear, especially in the Jungle. The Friday during Homecoming Spirit Week is also reserved for Senior Toga Day, a Valley senior tradition!
What should I do with my bags for sports practices? Do I get my own locker for sports? Only varsity sports players are given lockers in the sports locker rooms (down the hallway from the regular gym lockers). However, even some varsity sports do not give sports lockers, or players may have to share their locker with another team member; ask your coach. If you do not have a sports locker (because it’s during preseason, you are on a JV team, or your varsity team doesn’t get a locker), you may put your sports bags on top of the lockers in the regular gym locker room. However, do not leave valuables in them because they may not be locked up during the day.
Can I put up flyers? Can I decorate my friends’ lockers on their birthdays? If you want to put up flyers, make sure to ask the main office—they may or may not allow it depending on the cause. Don’t just go around putting up flyers; students must use proper tape as per the administration’s instructions so it does not damage the paint on the walls. Yes, you may decorate your friends’ lockers! Be aware though—the janitors sometimes take it down after a little bit!
Sophomore, Junior and Senior FAQ SOPHOMORE What’s my first AP going to be like?? It is different for every student; there are various ways to go about an AP course and unfortunately, every student has to figure out for himself what works best. Don’t be too worried, but don’t take it too easy—advanced placement courses require effort and dedication. Keep up with the reading, take notes, and make sure to study for reactive reading quizzes and tests. If you do poorly on one quiz or test, just make sure to focus on doing better for the next one. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher for tips or extra practice.
JUNIOR Why is this year considered so much harder than last year? Junior year has the connotation of being difficult because it is the year when most students begin taking more than one AP course; inevitably, it is going to be more work. Not only that, but juniors must start thinking about college; their junior year grades count the most when it comes to their GPA, class rank, and sending transcripts to colleges. Even more, juniors must start taking or studying for SATs, all around the time when they must be studying for multiple AP exams. It is a lot to worry about, which is why junior year seems so much more stressful; however, just make sure to stay on top of your work, ask for help if needed, and study up. You’ll survive!
SENIOR How do I make a toga?? Buy some fabric from a fabric store; tell them it is for a toga, and they should be able to help you get the right amount of fabric. Then, either play around with it until you figure out the way you want it, or search for tutorial videos online! Don’t forget the Grecian sandals and accessories! What are the requirements that I need to meet in order to not take final exams? According to biology teacher and Science Department Chair Patricia Sutor, for final exam exemption, seniors must: 1. have a minimum of a C- (70) average in the second semester 2. have missed no more than two days of class in the second semester 3. have no honor violations (cheating cancels all exam exemptions for all classes) article/Melissa Fairfax photos/Ainsley Sierzega layout/Leigh George
Spirit They are the young, the weary, the sweaty. They are the tapping, the humming, the clicking. They are the mass of 70 students, marching to the sound of chanted numbers, playing instruments like professionals. They are the marching band. They don’t get the glory of scoring the winning touchdown, the cheers of serving an ace or the stardom of hitting a hole-in-one. But the hours they spend sweating under the weight of tubas, drums, trombones, clarinets, and flutes on the practice football field prove pivotal when it comes to pumping up their classmates. “The marching band pumps people up even when they don’t realize we do,” Kenzie Tuck, a junior in the marching band, said. “When I mess up, I feel like I’ve let everyone down, even though most of the time they don’t even know I’ve done it.” By the end of the marching band’s halftime show, chanting and cheering from the entire home stadium pounds in the chests of every athlete on the field. Rain or shine, heat or cold, the marching band performs three songs for the crowd and circles across the field in a flurry of movement that is at once artistic and perfectly calculated. Their performances spawn from countless hours of practice time, sweating it out from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from July 30 to August 10 during ‘band camp.’ Players do not have to wear their uniforms except for pictures, and they break up the tedium of practice by participating in spirit days such as ‘movie Monday,’ ‘tacky Tuesday,’ ‘western Wednesday’ and ‘team jersey Thursday.’ Tactics like these create entertainment for band members during the four-hour span in the morning when they do nothing but march. “The outside part of the day is the hardest, when we are marching our show from beginning to end and then running
Drum major Alex Nixon works with band director Rick Reaves during marching band practices to conduct the band through its pieces.
back to the beginning and doing it all over again, and again, and again,” sophomore Tim Savage said. These drill movements are originally written by a professional show writer, and members must spend hours repeating each movement until every step is memorized perfectly. “We get sheets showing the field positions and what the forms look like, and then we get coordinate sheets for the students that show them positions by yard lines and steps relating to the yard lines and hash marks,” band director Rick Reaves said. Any dancer can understand how difficult it can be to learn and memorize moves. Add up to 40 pounds of instrumental equipment and nine layers of wool, and the combination becomes physical as well as mental. Members must prepare their lungs for playing instruments for prolonged periods of time, and they participate in breathing exercises to inhale and then exhale for as long as they can. Savage holds the record (a full minute of exhalation) in this exercise, mentioning that breathing during marching band is like “jogging while blowing a whistle for long periods of time.” Although the band members spend a lot of their time practicing movements without their instruments, once playing is entered into the equation, the result becomes deafening— literally. Thinking of the booming sounds of the band’s pep rally performances conjures up memories of gut-pounding sensations for even those seated farthest away from the instruments in the auditorium. “I’ve played drums for three years now,” Tuck said. “I lose my hearing all the time.” Amongst the noise, members
focus in on the drum line and the tubas, as they are easiest to hear and help keep everyone at the same tempo. When hearing fails, there is always the drum major to focus on, seen on top of his stand waving his arms to the beat of the music. Drum majors are the marching band equivalent of sports captains. Every year, beginning in May, interested members speak to Reaves and enter in auditions for the position. The members teach groups of the bands as a test for leadership abilities and talent. They write papers about why they are right for the job and conduct The Star Spangled Banner to the Wind Ensemble of the band. This year’s drum major, senior Alex Nixon, fought against senior Sophia Wade for the title. “I am glad to be drum major because it allows me to have a greater role in helping to guide the band into getting superior ratings, all while having a great time with a fun group of people,” Nixon said. Yet no matter how much Nixon leads the band, no matter how much each member practices, no matter how many times Reaves points out and corrects mistakes, there are always factors outside of the band’s control to consider. Weather, to Reaves, is the hardest part of being director of the band . “Woodwind and Concert Percussion instruments don’t do well in wet weather, and in Loudoun it’s like, ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes,’” Reaves said. “Or you can have snow in October on States day.” Despite the travails of marching band, members still manage to give the organization their dedication. The band fosters a passionate culture of 100 percent effort from all members every day, no matter how many times they’ve walked from yard line to yard line, no matter how many times they’ve played the same song, no matter how many times they’ve lost their breath or their hearing. One of their mantras is “Better Each Time,” which is carried out with the mentoring of Reaves as well as the help of every member. “It’s not as easy as people think, and while it may not be football, it still requires a lot of effort and hard work,” Nixon said. “I would like to see more people come try to play an instrument, then on top of that move, while staying in time with everyone else all while watching the drum major. It can be hard, but definitely a lot of fun.” article/Rachel Boisjolie photos/Rachel Boisjolie, Tierra Dongieux layout/Charlotte Tuohy left/Sophomore Rachel Rood makes up one of six saxophone players in the band of 70 members.
When seniors start stressing over filling their college applications with sports and activities, it’s time to
join the huddle on
It takes hours, days, months, and years; it takes a helmet, shoulder pads, cleats, and a jersey; it takes passion, commitment, team work, and perseverance; but does it take a student to college? Upon entering high school freshman year, students are taught that each action taken is merely a stepping stone on the way to that ever-nearing dream of college. Especially around junior year, most students begin their attempts to ‘fluff up’ their transcripts in the hopes of impressing colleges; some choose volunteer work, some get jobs, some become involved in their community. However, what is there to do for the students so involved in school sports that their time is extremely limited? Football players specifically may find it almost impossible during the training months of the summer to accomplish such things as maintaining a job or volunteer hours, but some don’t seem to mind. It is late after a grueling football practice when senior Max Castelli walks up to me holding a bag bulging with football gear. As I start the interview, he warns me that he “just got done hitting heads with everyone,” but his answers make sense and help to see it from a player’s point of view. Castelli is one of the players who believe that the summertime commitment is imperative, but he is also one who consequently does not have time for a job. “I realize that with the amount of time football is, finding a job would be kind of a hassle, and I’d rather spend my time volunteering and getting
ready for college than choosing a job,” he says. Castelli is not dismayed by the lack of time; in fact, he believes that “football not only shows the amount of time committed to it but also personal growth throughout the years, leadership skills, and the fact that you were able to commit yourself to the varsity-level athletics and maintain a certain grade point average.” Every player is critical to the flow of practice, and the time spent during it is essential because of the everchanging plays; each practice focuses on something different, which makes missing even one a major setback. Because of this, there is a certain week in the summer when the players and their families are expected to take their vacation; even camps should be attended only early in the summer when the team is still mostly just conditioning. “During the summer when we have conditioning, [the coach] says other sports shouldn’t take away from football because that is football time,” Castelli says. This means that players are encouraged to stay away from basketball camps or travel lacrosse, as each may detract from the attention a player gives to football. Athletic Director Kris Kelican agrees that the time is definitely necessary to make the team stronger. “Football is different than a lot of sports. In cross country you go out and put your miles in and then that’s a good practice; football has a lot of the dynamic plays, strategies, and there’s a different opponent every week,” he says. “That’s why it’s such a greater
time commitment than other sports.” While Kelican realizes the great time commitment that football requires, he shares the common belief that football shouldn’t entirely monopolize an athlete’s time. He also believes it comes down to choices, whether it’s more important to a student to get a job, do harder classes, or join a sport like football; but it should be possible to do multiple. Kelican also informs me that it isn’t mandatory to go in before July 30; players should have their summers too. He does mention, though, that “we encourage all sports to come in and lift and get better if they want to be at the top of their game. It is a commitment, but when you choose to be an athlete that’s what happens.” Thinking of the way in which football players give so much of their freedom to one aspect of their lives made me curious to what extent their commitment would pay off. In Division I-A of college football, in which 120 schools are a member, there are 25 scholarships awarded, all full rides; that means there are about 3000 scholarships for college football. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 26,407 public high schools – not to mention the private schools. Assuming that each school has a football team of around 45 students, then that is about 1,188,315 high school football players all vying for the same 3,000 spots. Thankfully, not all the players are looking for college football. Maybe there was truth to what Castelli said in how the football
commitment would look good to an admissions officer regardless. I decided to ask one. Over the phone, Tim Wolfe, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions at the College of William and Mary, pauses a moment upon hearing my question of whether it is more impressive to see a student who participates on the football team all four years as opposed to one who volunteers and holds a job each summer. He then explains that there aren’t any ranking of activities, but instead they look at the whole picture. “We will never be in a position where we can say choosing this activity over the other is better,” Wolfe says. “What students should do is participate in things that they are interested in, have passion for, and are able to succeed in while still balancing academic work.” Wolfe also states the belief that showing leadership and talent will be more likely to occur when a student finds a few specific things through high school and sticks to them, as opposed to doing multiple things just to look well-rounded. “We like to see students that have shown commitment, talent, and leadership; when we see that a student has done that in more than one area, that is even better,” Wolfe says. “It is very rare to find a student that is so involved with one activity that in the course of the calendar year they aren’t able to find any other opportunities to be involved.” article/Meagan Solano photo/Ainsley Sierzega layout/Rachel Boisjolie
Nine seniors return to the team this year (one manager and eight runners) to help the team advance to Regionals as a team. Coach Erin Grzeda hopes that some of those runners as well as the underclassmen can advance to States as well. These goals are more difficult as the district is challenging, but it is possible with the amount of talent on the team. “Our goal as a team is to all make it to the regionals race; it means that we have to work extra hard and everybody needs to try their best, but we could win a spot!” junior Molly Polizotto said.
With seven seniors returning to the team this year, the team’s goal is to go to Regionals and create even more school spirit. As long as team members can stay healthy and overcome their injuries, the team has “a great potential to go all the way,” according to cheerleading coach Jenna Stickman. If watching their routines, be sure to look out for more tumbling; the team has been working on adding more of it as compared to previous years. “If we take our time and really think about what we’re doing, I know we’re going to do great at every competition,” senior Quinn Brummell said.
Football is calling the Jungle for support this season. The team won’t have any easy games, as their schedule puts them up against schools such as Loudoun County, Briar Woods and Tuscarora. The “support of a raucous jungle can fire up the guys” according to freshman football coach Kenyamo McFarlane. While the team will also face difficulties with their consistency, there are a lot of returning players who have put in a lot of work that will produce on the field. The team’s hard work since December will make for exciting performances from enthusiastic and energetic players. “This team has put in a lot of work ever since we lost at Woodgrove last year. We’re excited to see where we can go,” senior Neill Frazier said.
Swing, set and step your way into all of the details of your favorite fall sports.
Golf’s season started on July 30 and has been going well. A unique feature of the team this year is that a female golfer, sophomore Jolie Richards, is on the team; generally the team is all-male. Senior Scott Mumpower medaled in two tournaments so far, and junior Ian Hildebrand continues to live up to his previous record of fourth in the state. Coach Troy Mezzetesta hopes to advance the entire team to states instead of just individual players this year. While the district is tough, Mezzetesta thinks his chances of being successful are “pretty good with that type of experience.”
In a sport where only six people play on the court at once, 14 team members is a lot. The volleyball team this year will have to adjust to having that many people, but it has the opportunity to go far with so much talent. There are plenty of seniors and returning players to lead the team to success, as well as new varsity members to spice things up. For the seniors, the goal is to advance to Regionals, and they feel this goal is possible because the team is unified both on and off the court. “We have a lot of people on the team, but it just means a bigger family,” junior Megan Thackaberry said. “I really just want to have a great season, especially against County and Woodgrove.” article/Rachel Boisjolie photos/Rachel Boisjolie, Tierra Dongieux, Ainsley Sierzega layout/Leigh George
Cross Country # on the boys team: 33 # on the girls team: 21 Captains: Carrie Conley, Caitlin Donohue, Molly Polizotto, Meagan Solano, Sean McCann, Adam Stevenson, Vaibhav Tadepalli, Matthew Weinstein Coach: Erin Grzeda Next home meet: September 19 at Franklin Park at 5:30 p.m.
Golf # on the team: 13 Captains: Trevor Colby, Scott Mumpower Coach: Troy Mezzetesta
Varsity Cheerleading # on the team: 25 Senior captains: Molly Allen, Rebecca Ciafre Junior captains: Brittany Raffa, Alivia Yorchisan Coach: Jenna Stickman Next home competition: September 22 at 2p.m. Varsity Volleyball # on the team: 14 Coach: Laird Johnson Next home game: September 11 against Potomac Falls at 7p.m.
Varsity Football # on the team: 50 Coach: Daniel McGrath Next home game: September 7 against Loudoun County at 7p.m.
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