Page 1






Teachers give too much work at the end of the quarter. — See page 6

Students strive for ‘perfection’ inside and outside school. — See pages 8-9

Freshman Cory Staton finds work and play at his job. — See page 11

The film ‘Country Strong’ tells a story of love and family. — See page 13

Michael Rice sets a school career scoring record. — See page 16

Valor Dictus James W. Robinson Secondary School 5035 Sideburn road, Fairfax, VA 22032

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bravely speaking to the Robinson community

Volume 40 Issue 5

State law requires personal finance class BY KAITLIN MACKIE Editor-in-Chief

The Virginia State Legislature will now require each successive class after 2015 will be required to earn an Economics and Personal Finance credit during their high school career. At our school, the Business Department currently offers the Econ. and Personal Finance class. It teaches “a little bit of everything that students will need to know in order to not mess up with money,” said Carol Wilt, Econ. and Personal Finance teacher. Students enrolled in the class run the Ram Branch of the Apple Federal Credit Union and learn money handling and credit. “I definitely think [the class] is beneficial…Learning how to manage money

is important to be successful,” senior Meghan Presing said. Presing takes the class this year. This is Wilt’s first year teaching here, but she has been supporting other Fairfax County teachers and administrators to help get the class up and running in the county. “I am very excited. Students can use what I’m teaching them for the rest of their life. It will have such an impact on them and their families,” Wilt said. She said many students run into credit problems in college, so it is important they learn the basics now. However, Donna Piscitelli, Director of Student Services, and IB coordinator Lisa Green said they know that scheduling will be tough. “The music and arts departments

New Diploma Requirements: Below are the changes made to the diplomas the school now offers. These will affect students entering grade 9 for the first time next year.

Credit Changes:

Diploma types:

Each student must earn one For more information about these, talk to your counselor. credit in Economics or Personal Finance • Standard Diploma The Standard Diploma now • Advanced Diploma requires that students have • Standard Technical three math credits. Diploma The Advanced Diploma now • Advanced Technical requires 26, rather than 24, Diploma credits. Information courtesy of Donna Piscitelli

• •

Graphic by Kaitlin Mackie

By the Numbers:

Student-adult communication in our school

Ninety-two students were polled during C and D lunches. They were asked how often they communicated through text or Facebook with teachers and coaches.

How often do you contact...

1-2 times a month

1-2 times a week

More than twice a week


Teachers via

text message

Teachers via


Coaches via text message

Coaches via Facebook *Differences in percentages due to rounding. Graphic by Tim Ferrell

are very concerned,” Green said. “We are concerned about IB diploma kids in music.” Kurt Waters, Social Studies Specialist in the county, said because IB students do not have a lot of room for electives, the state will try to offer an IB Econ. SL class that will “integrate the financial literary standards and will meet the graduation requirement.” For IB Diploma candidates involved in a four-year, sequential elective course such as band, chorus or journalism, this means their schedule is fixed from freshman year. “I think the idea of teaching kids about personal finance is good,” Piscitelli said. “But it is going to be a hardship working with students and making choices.” The course is currently offered online. Online courses are $800, but Green said the county is thinking about offering it for free. Piscitelli has not heard that so far. Green also said staffing “ is going to be a mess.” She used the number of seniors in this year’s graduating class to provide an example. “There are 670 seniors right now. 670 kids will have to take that class. When they are sophomores, there will be another 670 kids who will have to take the class. That is 40 sections of only Economics and Personal Finance. That is about eight full-time teachers

doing nothing but teaching Economics,” Green said. Both Wilt and Piscitelli attribute the new requirement to the economic state

of the nation. Wilt said, “People need to know how to handle money. I mean, look at the economic crisis right now.”

State proposes stricter rules on student-teacher communication

BY MOLLIE BERNER Page 2, 3 and 14 Editor

Facebook friend request accepted. Phone call made. Text message sent. These common means of communications used among students, teachers and coaches may be eliminated in Fairfax County Public Schools and throughout the state of Virginia. The Virginia Board of Education will review the proposal, “Guidelines for the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Virginia Public Schools”—a set of model policies for school divisions designed to prevent sexual misconduct and improper relationships between teachers and students. The proposal will still allow for a wide range of teacher-student interactions and communications while providing accountability and transparency, said Charles Pyle, Director of Communications for the state of Virginia. Pyle made this proposal to the Board of Education for first review Nov. 18. The Board is currently open to public comment on the proposal until Feb. 12 and will make the final decision Feb. 17. According to the proposal’s legislation, the Board of Education has revoked or cancelled the licenses of 120 educators for misconduct with students since 2000. The General Assembly directed school divisions to adopt policies on sexual misconduct in 2008. The proposed guidelines are designed

to help school divisions carry out this legislative mandate, Pyle said. If accepted, every county will be required to create “clear and reasonable” policies that govern communication, physical contact, and permissible and unacceptable social interactions between students, teachers and coaches within its school system. The proposal also creates clear procedures for reporting misconduct as well as punishment for those who violate these rules. More specifically, the proposal states conversations with students and teachers should focus on matters related to instructional and school activities, and avoid private life topics. The proposal also says private one-onone conversations need to be within potential view and earshot of other adults; for example, in a classroom with the hallway door open. Teachers and coaches must decline interacting with students through social networking sites, texting and online gaming sites. E-mails must be approved by the school principal and a student’s parents if there is continuous communication. Junior lacrosse player Katie McHugh said she texts her coach often for practice and game updates. “It would definitely be hard to communicate with my coach, and taking away those communications for what reason—to eliminate [sexual relations]? I don’t think

those inappropriate relationships even happen at our school—you only ever hear about them on the news,” she said. Although this proposal recognizes that student/teacher relations need not be inappropriate and too close, parts of this proposal unnecessarily interfere with these relationships with very little safety benefit, said Frank LoMonte, Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center. “There definitely are many legitimate instances of teachers texting, e-mailing or otherwise communicating with students outside of the traditional school day that are not only harmless but necessary,” LoMonte said. “It would be a shame if the Board of Education shut down those legitimate communications in hopes of avoiding a few inappropriate instances.” SGA and IB Topics teacher Peter Kownacki said he often uses texting to communicate with SGA members. “The texting is purely SGA related,” he said. “The majority of SGA events are extracurricular activities and texting is the easiest way to communicate during these times.” With the elimination of certain communication tools, Kownacki said it is not going to kill him, but it will make communicating tougher. He said most adults do not abuse this communication tool but said that, “If it comes down to protecting the kids, then I guess it is what should be done.”


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

In Brief

All Night Grad Party will host event at Dave & Buster’s Senior’s names line the back wall of the subschool 12 locker bay. The All Night Grad Party committee set up a banner there to promote the event. The party this year take place at Dave & Buster’s in Bethesda, Md. It will have a nightclub theme, based on the song “Bust a Move” by MC Hammer, ANGP co-chairman Nancy Rowson said. The decorations in the locker bay illustrate this theme. The cutouts in the locker bay are supposed to be silhouettes of people dancing. There will also be arcade games, a mini casino and food at the lock in, Rowson said. “It encourages kids to go to the party if they see their friend’s names on the wall and that they are going,” Rowson said. Rowson said hosting an alcohol-free party motivates kids to have fun in a safe environment, instead of getting involved in dangerous activities. “The decorations are a great way to show kids what the ANGP will be like,” Rowson said, “The pictures show how much interest we’ve generated for this awesome event.”


Nasr wins $10,000 scholarship Superintendent Jack Dale awarded the “In Hope Freedom Rings Foundation” scholarship to senior Firas Nasr for $10,000 at the Historic Blenheim and Civil War Interpretive Center in Fairfax, Va. Jan 10. James Anthony Caracoglia Nasr wins award — from Oakton High Senior earns $10,000 School was the sec- “In Hope Freedom Rings ond recipient of the Foundation” scholarship Jan. 10. scholarship. The scholarships are awarded based on financial need, academic performance, extra-curricular activities, teachercounselor recommendations and an essay, with this year’s topic, “Realizing that one person can make an extraordinary difference in the life of another, comment on who that person has been in your life, how their influence has impacted you, your goals, and plans for the future.” “When Margo Friedman, President of the ‘In Hope Freedom Rings Foundation,’ called me, I was doing homework. The call, as I told her, made my day, and I spent the next three hours jumping with joy,” Nasr said. “Yes, I agree, a bit weird, but I have to say that the feeling of winning a scholarship was quite extraordinary, and not exactly what I expected as I labored over homework!” Nasr said he looks forward to using this money to cover the cost of books for the first couple of years of his college experience.


Upcoming Events

Jan. 28

Second quarter grading — period ends. Students have two days off of school for teacher work days Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

Feb. 2

Annual Science Fair held — in the Gold Cafeteria after school. Students present projects before the Regional Fair held at our school March 18.

Feb. 7

Carousel meeting 2:30 — p.m. Partner’s Club meeting from 2:15-3 p.m. Athletic Booster meeting 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Feb. 8

Driver Education Traf— fic Safety Program for students and parents in the Gold Cafeteria from 6:15-8 p.m.

Feb. 11

Partner’s Club Valentine’s — Dance in the Gold Cafeteria from 7 p.m.- 9 p.m.


News Drama department casts roles for ‘Wizard of Oz’ musical Spring musical will be the biggest show put on in years, Rome says BY NIKKI ROBINSON Staff Writer

The drama department will produce “The Wizard of Oz” for its spring musical. This is its first classical musical since “Fiddler on the Roof” two years ago, director Chip Rome said. “This is the largest musical that we have put on in years,” Rome said. “The Wizard of Oz” will be a challenge to put on because there are 27 scenes with a total of 19 different locations that the musical and the movie take place in, Rome said. Plus, there will be several characters flying on stage including Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda the Good Witch, and the flying monkeys, he added. “Flying—we are going to do it,” Rome said. “We are bringing in a special world-class safe to install the rigging along with a company that specializes in flying, and they are going to teach us how to fly safely.” In the film the first scene is presented in blackand-white until Dorothy arrives in the Land of Oz. Rome said he also wants to present the opening scene in black and white. “The whole thing with black-and-white is that wardrobe, make-up and the scenes will have to be in black-and-white,” Rome said. When the drama department produced “Fiddler on the Roof” two years ago, live chickens were part of the set. This year for the “Wizard of Oz” Rome wants to bring in a live dog to play the part for Toto. Before the cast list was finalized, Rom said the actress they choose cannot be afraid of dogs. “If the Dorothy we choose is afraid, allergic or has any kind of problems with dogs then she will lose her role,” Rome said. “We have a strong selection of Dorothys to choose from so it will not be that big of a deal.”

Meet the musical cast Dorothy “I’m experienced, and I have good vocals. I feel like I could carry the role very well.” —Molly Johnson, 10

Tin Man- Understudy “It’s my dream to be this role. I was inspired by the robot.” —Jason Rath, 11

Wizard- Understudy “I am a stronger actor than I am a singer, and the Wizard doesn’t sing. I think he’s a funny character.” —Kyle Lynch, 11

Scarecrow “I just think it’s a fun role. He is my favorite. He gets to hop around—what more fun could you have?” —Ben Johnson, 12

Lion- Understudy “I’ve worked hard for this role, and I believe that I am theatrical for the lion.” —Liam Dillon, 11

Cast list posted on the school’s drama website Jan.22 Dorothy- Molly Johnson, Maya Davis Aunt Em/Glinda- Frannie Nejako, Rachel Mehaffey Scarecrow- Ben Johnson, Ivonte Milligan Tin Man- Michael Lamar, Jason Rath Lion- Daniel Bonilla, Liam Dillon Wicked Witch- Alyssa Hard, Arianna Vessal Wizard- Andrew Zylstra, Kyle Lynch Uncle Henry- Zach Sheldon, Zach Miller Mayor of Munchkinland- Hannah Sikorah Coroner in Munchkinland- Mary Cate Turgeon Winkie General- Ivonte Milligan, Nate Simpson Jitterbug- Rachel Mehaffey Nikko- Stephen Diggs Flying Monkeys- Jamie Green, Jackson Viccora

Infographic by Mollie Berner

Teachers face frozen salaries Dale proposes FCPS unfreezing salaries, granting pay raises BY NIKKI ROBINSON Staff Writer

At a journalism student press conference Dec.14, Superintendent Jake Dale said he would propose to give pay raises for school employees in next year’s budget. He is planning on a 2 percent market scale adjustment for all employees and a step increase for all eligible employees. This means they are trying to bring FCPS employees’ and teachers’ salaries up to equality with other counties. “Our employees have already gone two years without any salary increases, and yet we ask more of them each year,” School Board Member Tessie Wilson said. Over the past two years student achievement results continue to increase and it is mostly due to the hard work of our teachers. This is the reason why FCPS employee compensation is a big part of the School Board’s discussion for the next fiscal year, Wilson said. “Over the past two years test scores have gone up for different subjects, especially with more kids taking AP and IB tests and scoring higher than in the past years,” Wilson said. School employees have faced this salary freeze because of the national financial crisis that has also affected FCPS. Because the Board of Supervisors depends on property taxes for revenue, the weak housing market has led to FCPS frozen salaries, Wilson said. “The Board of Supervisors pays attention to the housing market, and then if the hous-

FCPS 194-day teacher salary scale

ing market is doing poorly that year this means that the With a bachelor’s degree, teachers earn the following Board of Supervisalaries with 0-5 years of experience sors have to make some adjustments 50000 on the pay roll even 5 years if that means that they have to freeze or cut employees 40000 4 years salaries,” Wilson said. 3 years Wilson said 30000 even with the financial crisis 2 years and the state of employees’ sala20000 ries many people 1 year would think that the schools teach10000 0 years ers and employees would leave to find better jobs. Instead the 0 teachers and employees that we have have inAs the cost of living rises in Fairfax County, teacher creased over the past two years and salaries continue to remain constant. Superintendent Dr. are continuing to Jack Dale recently proposed to give pay raises to school grow. Some ememployees in next year’s budget, a difference teachers ployees may even have not seen in two years. have a part time job, Wilson said. Information provided by the FCPS website “We have no way of knowing if Infographic by Mollie Berner the number of employees have gone down or up in the past two years or not.” Wil- they have had the money to do so in the past.” The School Board has not figured out where son said. “I am all for the increase in salaries. I mean exactly they are going to get the money from why shouldn’t be all for the pay raise?” chemis- to pay for the salary increase for all employees. try teacher Douglas Gross said. “The only ques- Wilson hopes they will think of that soon so all tion that I have is where they will get the mon- employees can get the pay raises they have been ey from to do this, since it doesn’t seem like waiting for and that they deserve, she said.


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

SGA to hold ‘Open Arms’ campaign to advocate against student bullying SGA’s campaign week in February will include class discussions, PSAs, assembly BY JASON FOCARINO Staff Writer

SGA will hold the Open Arms Campaign this February, which will advocate against school bullying. The campaign will consist of a promotion week, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, with in-class discussions, public service announcements, and an assembly at the end of the week.

“Students need to understand their actions have an impact on others, we want them to have a more open mind,” SGA adviser Peter Kownacki said. He said SGA didn’t want to call it “anti-bullying,” because the term was too generic. Senior Executive Council member Vanessa Ekeouvi said SGA wanted to try to partner with other clubs and organizations including the Gay Straight Alliance, DECA and FBLA. They want it to be an event that applies to more organizations around the school, she said, not just SGA. She said this was the first time the student government had ever done an event like this, but they wanted it to be a campaign that was bigger than the usual, smaller ones held here. Junior Rachael Blaz is part of SGA’s Club Co-

Do you think bullying is a problem at our school?

operation Committee that works with other clubs and organizations. “I want the school to take this seriously, because this is a nation-wide situation,” Blaz said. She and Kownacki both said they wanted to reach beyond SGA, perhaps with a social event that includes all of the clubs and organizations involved. “Based on the recent news and talk shows on teen suicides, we wanted to talk with the students about Robinson-specific bullying,” Kownacki said. SGA might include students in a video of some sort, he added, where they talk about their own personal bullying stories. He said this would let everyone know others have been affected, including teachers and administrators. Kownacki said, “We want to educate and help people understand what others go through.” photos and interviews by Jack Connors, Kate Rozelsky and Lauren Duffy

“I don’t think it is too severe in comparison to other schools.” —Min Ji Kim, 9

“I think there are always going to be bullies, but I don’t think it’s a big problem. People deal with it in different ways.” —Jennie Zajic, 10

“No. I don’t get bullied. I don’t think kids are dumb enough to bully other kids.” —Calvin Shade, 11

“I think it is a problem, but it isn’t very prominent because I don’t see a lot of it.” —Ashley Hunt, 11

“Yes, it is a problem. People may not see it, but there definitely is bullying.” —Courtney Hafner, 11

“No, I feel like we live in a safe environment and bullying is not a problem at our school.” —Joey Scanlon, 12

what the

kids in the hall are saying


FCPS seeks to revise calendar School may begin one week earlier with waiver BY KATHERINE DEMPSEY Managing Editor

The Fairfax County School Board may seek a waiver that would begin the school year the week before Labor Day and end the year a week earlier, said Paul Resgier, spokeperson for FCPS. If it obtains this waiver, this schedule would begin in the 2012-2013 school year. FCPS ran an online survey that ended Monday to gather parent and school employee opinion on the issue. The current “Kings Dominion Law” in Virginia prohibits schools from beginning before Labor Day, Resgier said. The School Board, however, wants “to decide for ourselves when to open school,” he said. An earlier start to the year would also provide more instructional time for teachers to prepare students for SOLs and for IB or AP tests, Reisgier added. “The pacing of the courses could relax a bit, which could also reduce student and teacher stress levels,” said Karen Miller, IB Math Studies and Algebra 2 teacher. This revised calendar would open up more options for making up snow days during the school year, Resgier said. Also, any make-up days FCPS must add to the end of the year would occur earlier in June. Sophomore Frank Camacho opposes starting the week before Labor Day because it would cut into vacation time with his family, he said. Also, his birthday is Aug. 25, so he would have to celebrate it while in school. Freshman Maggie Hyland would support the change, she said, because she wants to spend more time away from school in June, a “summer month.” “Getting out so late in June—my summer’s already over,” she said. Her father Chuck Hyland agreed. He said, “Kids are ready at the end of the school year to be finished.”

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Valor Dictus January 27, 2011


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011 Volume 40 Issue 5 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 5

Aaron Berner - Editorials Editor

Valor Dictus

ABOUT US Valor Dictus is a student-run newspaper that serves the Robinson community. All bylined articles, editorials, columns and letters are the expression of the writer and not necessarily that of the staff or the adviser. Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff. ADVERTISEMENT POLICY Email letters to Acceptance of an ad is not an endorsement of the product or services of the advertisers. Information concerning policies and advertising can be obtained by calling (703) 426-2285 or emailing

New mandatory course will create problems for incoming freshmen Jack Connors

staff editorial The state’s requirement for all rising freshmen to take an Economics and Personal Finance class sometime during their high school career will be a hassle. The requirement creates scheduling conflicts for IB students enrolled in successive-four year electives such as band, journalism and art. IB Economics and Personal Finance will fill the only elective spot that students have for their senior year. As of now, it is not even a guarantee that the class will be offered. If it is offered, staffing conflicts abound. The class is currently offered here, but we do not have the staff to accommodate the approximately 600 students who will need to complete the course.

Also, not enough teachers are available to instruct the quantity of students required. Those who are certified to teach it are not necessarily willing to. The county is debating offering the course online for free. The class needs to be offered for free, because it is a requirement and the potential scheduling and staffing conflicts surrounding it. As of now, online courses cost $800. The IB program is about delving deep into topics interesting to the candidate, not sucking it up and meeting some state requirement. For IB students, the online course is the best option. Furthermore, taking the course over the summer would alleviate stress for all students. They will have room open for a class of their choice. Families also would benefit from an online

course over the summer. This way, parents will be more involved. It is not only students who need to learn about finances. The proof of this is the current economic state. So, it is time for adults, too, to learn how to manage money. The course is beneficial, though. In a world run by cash, students still need to learn how to manage their finances so that they do not create the economic trouble they grew up in. The benefits of this class last long after their high school years. IB should work to encourage students to take the class online. Students who have enough room for the course should see it as an opportunity for enrichment, but they also need to know it is something they can learn from home. Money does make the world go round, but it should not turn schedules upside-down.

How do you think the new mandatory personal finance requirement will affect rising freshmen?

photos and interviews by Chase Bailey and Maggie Haynes

“It’s good because it helps show freshmen the responsibilities of being an adult and how they have to do it on their own.” —Sylvia Orellano, 12

“I think it’s a great idea, I wish I had the class when I got into high school.” —Katy Peterson, 12

“I think it’s helpful because it gives them the opportunity to understand the economy” —Patrick Aliff, 11

“It’s good in the long run, I don’t know anything about money. ” —Clare McGowan, 11

“We should have that. It would be great for life. ” —Denzel Wad, 10

“Not having electives is unfortunate, but [the class] will be useful.” —Gary Andrade, 10

“The smaller amount of electives will suck, it won’t be as fun for them.” —Lawrence Robinson, 10

“I think it’s good in the long run, but it sucks that they use an elective. ” —Alexis Mooney, 12

EDITORIAL POLICY Valor Dictus welcomes student opinion as an open forum. All opinion pieces must be e-mailed to Letters or columns must be signed. That is, they must contain a name, and a title All content received by the paper is subject to editing. Letters must be around 100-200 words. Guest columns must be 500 words or less. Valor Dictus reserves the right to withold the publication of letters and guest submissions. 2010-2011 Staff: Editor-In-Chief: Kaitlin Mackie Managing Editor: Katherine Dempsey Production Editor: Tim Ferrell Business Managers: Lauren Duffy Kate Rozelsky Online Editor: Tyler Walter Editorials Editor: Aaron Berner Focus Editors: Thomas Friestad Tim White Features Editors: Yae Ji Cha Kate Monick

Entertainment Editor: Shelby Gee Page 15, 16 Editor: Andrew Miller Page 2, 3, 14 Editor: Mollie Berner Photography Editor: Jacob Beil Staff Writers: Sukriti Adhikari Chase Bailey Jack Connors Sharon Corish Ian Criman Jason Focarino Bailey Haase Maggie Haynes Hailey Metzger Nikki Robinson Lindsay Webb Adviser: Stephanie Axelrod


From December 22 Issue —Staff writer Hailey Metzger took the National English Honor Society photo, page 2 —Photography Editor Jacob Beil took the photo of David Mathis and Page 2, 3, 15 Editor Mollie Berner conducted the interview, page 11 —Staff writer Jack Connors contributed to the article “Students find love in running,” page 14 —Jessica Piatt is a junior, page 14

what the

“It will help them in the future and teach them stuff. “ —Chris D’Anna, 9

kids in the hall are saying

—Rachael Blaz is a junior, page 14

Check us out online at Now including live commentaries on school sporting events



Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

End of quarter creates chaos Increased workload unfair to students

TIM WHITE The end of the quarter always brings anticipated dread for students. The constant hassle to raise grades comes hand-in-hand with the pressure of last-minute projects, tests and quizzes. These assignments cause students to feel an overwhelming amount of stress before the end of the quarter. Teachers often assign projects due for the last week of the quarter. This action forces students to

spend all their energy with these projects, which distracts them from paying much attention to their overall grades. Teachers assign the projects because there is not enough to grade and they would like more grades in. This prevents students from performing at their highest level. They rush and rush to meet the demands of their schedule, rather than focusing on the important aspects of school. With teachers assigning project after project at the end of the quarter, there is no way a student can turn in his best work for any one class at the end of the quarter. Students should spread out assignments, tests and quizzes over the course of the quarter. When the amount of work students have is low, students are under a false impression that the class requires little work. As

this workload suddenly increases during the last two weeks of the quarter, they become overwhelmed. Students, because of pressure, turn in poor work. Teachers’ ultimate goal should be to persuade students to perform at their highest level. Students cannot achieve their highest level of learning if they are constantly bombarded with tests and quizzes. On top of that, winter sports heat up at the end of the quarter. Winter districts, for instance, are right at the end of second quarter. The demand of coaches to perform is strong, and is hard to manage with the amount of projects given at the end of the quarter. Student athletes deal with the pressure of districts along with the pressure of academics. Teachers can take this into consideration and give a

little slack at the end of the quarter. Sure, teachers can call students lazy or bad at time management. They are right. Some students are lazy and are bad at time management. But this doesn’t mean teachers should overwhelm students at the end of the quarter. There comes a point in time where too much is simply too much. There is a way for students and teachers to coexist at the end of the quarter. It can make life much easier for students and teachers if assignments were spread evenly throughout the quarter. Teachers will have less of a workload, and students will have less of a workload. Teachers and students can work together in order to find a happy medium in the amount of workload. This must be the way forward.

Setting and achieving goals helps students’ work ethic dents a sense of direction and makes clear what to improve. When students make goals they they want to achieve. Students should make goals should also remember to apply them in their that are specific and also more realistic. While mak- daily lives.For example, if a student sets a goal ing goals, students should remember to start with to go to bed on time, he or she should set a spesmaller goals before they cific bedtime and make going can move on to bigger to sleep at that time a habit. goals. If students keep on following When students make their goals, it will help them imgoals that are too difficult, While making goals students prove in several different areas. it is tiring and also over- should remember that a journey When they make a resolution whelming to keep up with of a thousand miles starts from a to get enough sleep and wake them. For a student who up on time, it will help them be few steps. has a C in the class, makpunctual and avoid tardiness. ing a goal to make an imWith enough sleep, students mediate jump to straight can concentrate on their studA’s in that class for the ies, which will also help them month may not be realistic. get better grades. Once they get Instead the students should set his or her goal to better grades, they can also concentrate on other spend extra time reviewing the notes for that class. activities such as sports or music. By making small goals students can easily stick Students may encounter events that create with the goal and also feel more motivated. But challenges that keep them from working accordagain students should remember that big changes ing to their plans. Still, nobody is perfect. The always start from small actions. path to reach the goal may be full of hardships, Students should make goals that will help them but students should remember that their effort in school and also where they think they need matters the most.

SUKRITI ADHIKARI Brian Tracy, the famous author of “Eat that Frog!” said, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” So with the first month of 2011 coming to a close, students should try to follow their New Year’s resolutions. Even though the new year began a month ago, it is not too late to set new goals. The first few tries to follow goals are always difficult, but once students begin trying to reach the goal, it becomes easier. Goals and plans should be made daily as this benefits other areas of student’s lives such as work ethic and self-confidence. Making goals is important because it gives stu-

Proposal will slow flow of information

HAILEY METZGER Modern day technology provides teachers, coaches and students the ability to communicate quickly and easily on an everyday basis. The Virginia Board of Education’s proposal to eliminate many of these communications will have a negative effect on the school community. The restrictions in the proposal will forbid the forms of communication the Board feels inappropriate, such as text messages, Facebook and emails; in hopes of preventing a sexual student/teacher relationship. When a practice time is changed or a game is postponed, coaches will not be able to communicate this to athletes via text message. Communication with coaches is necessary because of frequent schedule changes that often occur during the season. It is the coach’s responsibility to inform the team when a change is made, and without these simple forms of communication it will be harder to do so. When a student falls behind on her school work and needs to stay after with a teacher to catch up, the one-on-one meeting will have restrictions, such as requiring the classroom door to be open. The open door will not give the student privacy from other students who are in the hallway and these students may overhear what struggles their peer faces. Also, a loud group or club meeting s may be taking place in nearby classrooms, which could cause disruption or distraction to the student who is trying to improve her grade. When a student has a question about a homework assignment, emailing a teacher for help will still be allowed. Emailing, though, can be just as harmful as text messaging, because students or teachers can send similar inappropriate messages via email. If The Board of Education is trying to eliminate pathways of communication that could go wrong, they should equally enforce it to all forms of communication, not just one or two. The better option, though, would to properly inform the community on how to prevent inappropriate behavior between students, teachers and coaches. Students may not know the consequences of being involved with an adult figure in the school and until something is done about it they won’t; but taking away communications without just cause will create many other problems.

IN AND OUT LIST: The newest trends, according to the Valor Dictus staff


IN Cam Newton

Tim Tebow

Nicki Minaj






Ted Leonsis

Daniel Snyder

Demi Lovato

Lindsay Lohan

Pretty Little Liars

Gossip Girl


Hannah Illustrations by Jack Connors


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011 Volume 40 Issue 5 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 7

Yae Ji Cha - Features Editor

Kate Monick - Features Editor

‘I really am going to change this year!’ With the arrival of 2011, students have made resolutions to accomplish a goal within the year. The following students agreed to share their resolutions with us and give feedback on how they came to make their resolution and how they’re doing with it so far.

Sophomore Rylie Hirst plans to wear matching socks every single day of 2011. “My friends didn’t think I could do it, but I’m going to do it.” Q: Have you ever tried to wear matching socks every day before?

A: “Me and my friends have joked about it and they didn’t think I could

Q: Do you have a favorite sock company? A: “KB DESIGNS, but Adidas are the most comfortable to me.”

Q: Will you still wear matching socks on hot days? A: “Well if I’m wearing sneakers, sure. But if I’m wearing flip flops, then no.”

Junior Sophie White wants to finish her novel this year. White says, “the goal of the book is to get across emotions that surround peoples’ lives.” Q: What is the novel about? A: “As of right now, it is about a 16-year-old girl who finds out how she has cancer and how even in the darkest of times, people can be the shining lights that brighten it up.“

Q: About how many pages have you written so far? A: “Maybe around five. It’s mostly just a skeleton of the book and a few passages so far; I plan on filling in the meat later.”

Q: How much progress have you made on your novel so far? A: “I have the basic idea of what it is going to be about. I have written key scenes that the plot will lead up to and work around.” Q: Are you writing the novel for fun or would you actually like to publish it? A: “I’m not really sure where it will take me, but if [the novel] were to be published... well, that would be great. But publishing also leads to a lot of criticism from people saying it’s a spin off — which it’s not!”

Junior Jerry Collender is on a mission to meet girls this year in hopes of sparking up a romance. Collender says, “I just want to see what happens. Whatever happens, happens.” Q: Have you met a special girl this month? Q: What do you look for in a girl? A: “Brunette, gotta be hot. But personality overall. She has to be nice. Personality is what matters in the end.”

A: “I have a girl I’m interested in — the first two weeks we flirted, but then I lost my phone so we haven’t spoken since.”

Q: Do you have a favorite pick-up line? A: “I don’t really have one — I just try to be myself. Say hi, introduce myself.”

Introductions ­— When

meeting new people, Collender suggests “just being yourself.”

Photos by Yae Ji Cha, Kate Monick, and Hailey Metzger Graphic by Yae Ji Cha and Kate Monick

Walton follows father’s hobby Build-a-car

Senior Wade Walton builds his own car from scratch BY SHARON CORISH Staff Writer

Senior Wade Walton has a colorchanging car he built himself. He has been working on the car for five years, he said, and he enjoys repairing old cars. “It’s kind of in his blood,” his father Richard Walton said. Richard Walton said his son removed the transmission, bought a new V-8 engine, sanded the car down, and repainted it with a translucent paint that changes colors depending on how the sun hits it. Its colors vary from

pearl metal flake root beer to pearl metal flake green. Richard Walton said the car was a “disaster” when he bought it, said Richard Walton. It had no interior. The down side of Wade Walton’s car, is that it only gets 12 miles to the gallon, he said. Wade Walton said his dad had worked on cars since he was a kid, and his dad has always had an interest in working on cars. Wade’s mother Leeny Walton said she has been impressed with her son’s effort. He never gave up even though building the car was hard work and very expensive. Richard Walton said his son’s pastime has brought the two of them closer together because Wade Walton will often ask his father for help on how to fix the car when something

goes wrong. Wade Walton said he wanted a nice “muscle car,”— a car with a lot of power. He enjoys adding lots of parts he can find for a cheap price. He gets some of them from junkyards in Maryland rural areas, and in Woodbridge, Va. Despite using junkyard parts, working on his car is very expensive still. He bought the car for $300 when he was 13 years old, and is still working on it now. Altogether, he said he believes he has spent around $8000 working on the car. “The car took all my money,” Wade Walton said. Wade Walton said he bought new parts from shops like Speed Unlimited in Maryland, which sells mostly performance racing vehicle parts. “[Working on the car] takes a lot of

time, so I can’t hang out with friends as much, but they also love to get rides, so it goes both ways,” Wade Walton said. Despite this time-consuming hobby, Richard Walton said, it makes his son popular with his friends, because they love to get rides from him. Richard Walton said his son’s friends like to come over and watch him build his car and help him. For Wade Walton, the car is very important, but he makes sure to not let it affect his school work. If it did, he would lose the privilege on fixing it. “Wade knows that if his grades go down, the car is the first thing to go.” With all the work Wade Walton has put into the car, Leeny Walton said, she believes it is worth all his hard work and money. Leeny Walton said, “The car is now well worth what he paid for.”

If you’re looking to building your own car like Walton, underneath are a few resources to use.

1. Make sure it has a working engine.

If you’re in need of an engine, visit Fairfax Auto Parts, located at 5663 Burke Centre Parkway Burke, VA 22015.

2. Need to revamp the interior?

Check out the following trusted websites for merchandise: or

3. Missing a few auto parts?

Check out the following junkyards: Banks Truck and Auto Salvage (14821 Dumfries Road Manassas, Virginia 20110) or Northern Virginia Metals (32 Eskimo Hills Rd Stafford, VA 22554). Information compiled by Jason Focarino Graphic by Yae Ji Cha


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

What the Rams Say: “Striving for academic perfection can aid you in high school, but if you push yourself beyond realistic expectations, not only is it unhealthy, but you won’t be nearly as satisfied with the results you achieve.” —Mitch Aydlette, counselor


IN SEARCH OF PERFECTION defines “perfect” as: conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type. But how do Rams define perfection? Students, teachers and administrators give their own definitions.

Students strive to achieve perfection through work, work, and more work

Excess perfectionism leads to highly imperfect way of life



Staff Writer

“The easy definition of perfection is statistical perfection; a statistically perfect player makes all the shots they take, gets every rebound, and blocks all opponent shots. The more complicated definition is personal perfection; this applies to players who play at the best of their ability and live up to their potential at every game.” —Brian Nelson, basketball coach

“The idea of a perfect picture is different for each individual photographer. Some believe that there is no such thing as a perfect image, although there are certain things that move an image toward perfection. Personally, I feel my best pictures are the ones that move viewers by invoking emotion with their contents.” —Erin Kelley, photography teacher

School ends at 2:10, piano starts at 4:30, and an hour later dance class starts. Home again by 8:30, then homework. At midnight freshman Marissa Schatz’s Monday ends as she falls into bed, asleep. Schatz is not alone. Students go from class to class, and as soon as the final bell rings many head to an after-school activity, sport or job, sometimes not returning home until late that night. In a time when more and more students are leaving high school with the path set for college ahead of them, informed students know they have to excel to stand out from the rest of the applicants. Even as a freshman, Ariana Missar focuses not on not only her grades but also on extracurricular activities to impress the college admissions board. “I began crew, piano and Latin Club so I could put them on my college resume,” she said.   Schatz, for now, said she just wants to live her life without all the pressures for perfection that people feel. “You have to think about the big picture,” she said. “Don’t get caught up in the little things. Just think, in 10 years will it really matter whether you got a D on a biology test? I want to spend this time with friends.” Still, Schatz said, she doesn’t believe in perfection. She participates in activities not to impress anyone, but because she enjoys them. Schatz said she calls her activities “my ‘me time.’” Senior Jocelyn Rojas said she does not believe in perfection either. She said she gets good grades, volunteers, and is very involved in her art. “I put my whole effort into things that are

important to me, and I never like turning in papers or art pieces that I know I could have done better on,” she said. Career Center Specialist Eileen Doyle said having more activities won’t “necessarily help you get into college—it’s a myth.” She said colleges want students to be involved in only a few activities as long as they are very involved in them. But students continue to overload themselves, Doyle said. Depending on the student, this can be if his or her grades suffer because of time spent on extracurriculars, she added. Sophomore Ishaan Sachdeva said he is a straight-A student and participates in multiple activities, such as Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl and swimming, because he said he “focuses on work instead of going on Facebook.” But it is not Facebook that has students’ grades suffering, it is a time management issue. Both Missar and Schatz said they do a poor job managing their time but Schatz said, “I’ll get homework done eventually; I just might lose some sleep because of it.” Numerous activities are cutting into the time students have to spend with family and friends said Missar. She said she finds her life overwhelming at times. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to hang out with friends,” she said. She is taking Geometry Honors and Algebra 2 Honors, plus managing her other school work and four time-consuming activities. “It’s a lot to fit into my week,” Missar said. Whether a student is categorized at an over-achiever or a slacker, Rojas said, “To be healthy and happy you need to be involved in activities and your grades. They complement each other; you shouldn’t have to choose between the two.”

Staff Writers

The hall clock ticks down the time before the bell rings to start first period. While most students find one another and socialize, freshman Timothy Rodriguez is already sitting in class, with his book open and homework out. Academic perfection is a state of mind for students, although its definition varies between students. “Perfection is making very few mistakes and beating everyone else,” Rodriguez said. Many students just want to get good grades to make their parents happy, to be able to try out for a sports team, or to make it to the next grade. There are a select few students who feel the need to go above and beyond. They feel a need to strive to be on top. “Academic perfection is when you try really hard, get straight A’s, and when you make school your life,” sophomore Madeleine Gaiser said. However, some overachieving students suffer from burnout and come to counselor Kirsten Wiley for advice. When they do, Wiley pulls out quote cards from Whole Foods. One of them is by Uta Hagen. It states, “Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.” Wiley said burnout occurs when students are so exhausted from stress they shut down entirely, both emotion-

“In wrestling, you can score in all three periods, escape from your opponent successfully, and take him down. However, through training you can always improve your skills, so there is no perfection in any wrestling match.” —Jake Smith, 11

“You cannot have perfection in a day of your life unless you do a good deed for someone who will never be able to repay you.” —Dan Meier, principal

ally and academically. Wily said compared to other counties, Fairfax County has to be the most competitive. Students must fight to get on top in a time when more and more students are leaving high school with the path set for college ahead of them. Wiley said informed students know they have to do more to set them apart from the rest of the college applicants, but many students feel competition from parents, relatives, siblings, peers and even within themselves, and this does more damage than good. However, some students are able to motivate themselves to excel in their classes. One of the important reasons Rodriguez puts so much effort into academic perfection is the incentive of future academic opportunities. “I want to go to a really good college and keep my options open,” Rodriguez said. “I also want to set myself up for success in the future and have a good life.” College is the normal incentive for striving for perfection, but junior Kelly Frost disagrees. Frost wants to take harder classes, in addition to getting accepted into college. “I take IB English, IB Physics, HL Biology, IB Social Anthropology, HOTA [History of the Americas], and IB Art,” Frost said. “The reason I take all these classes isn’t just for college, but because I would get bored in lower classes.” Gaiser said she believes college is sufficient motivation for academic perfection, but she also has another incentive that is a personal goal. “My incentive is getting straight A’s in school and maintaining them,” Gaiser said. “I had never got straight A’s before in my life, and if I end up getting it then it would be a milestone in my school life.”

Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

What the Rams Say: “A perfect teacher is a teacher who is nice to me and my classmates, and helps us in our times of need. He or she also jokes around with us, but doesn’t try too hard to be funny.” —Benjie Canady, 10

“A perfect student has great interpersonal skills; he or she knows how to get along with classmates. In addition, many high-achieving students are very well-organized. The ones with the good grades are the ones with the clean binders.” —Genevieve Boulanger, math teacher

“A perfect homework assignment is something that is enjoyable to complete while also presenting me with a challenge. For example, I prefer math assignments to essays because math is easier than writing while still being moderately difficult.” —Amber Seager, 12

“The perfect IB student is someone who exceeds expectations in all of their subjects, as well as in all forms of IB. They complete their IB hours and essays in order to receive their diploma at the end of their high school career.” —Miranda Wang, 11



Interviews and Photos by Sharon Corish, Ian Criman, Thomas Friestad, Hailey Metzger, and Tim White Graphic by Jacob Beil and Kaitlin Mackie



“The perfect student has personality. He or she stays awake in class. The ideal student also has imagination, dares to ask questions, and also completes homework so I don’t have to call their parents.” —Randi Adleberg, English teacher


Features Using the past to progress to the future Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

Four teachers obtained Ph.D’s for a deeper understanding of their respective subjects

Dr. Osgood “The world is my oyster…” Meet Dr. Jayne Osgood, IB English and World Religions teacher, who has a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in International Education, Leadership and Conflict resolution from University of Virginia. “I was always interested in why people do what they do, how they do it and why they do or don’t get along,” Osgood said. Even though Osgood is passionate about understanding the human mind and heart, Osgood Dr. Jayne Osgood — Osgood said, she did not start teaches IB English and IB World out her career in this Religions. She obtained her PhD in philosphy at UVA. “One day it just hit area. “I had such a boring me,” Osgood said. “I knew what my job dusting off and idennext move was.”

All articles and photos by Hailey Metzger

tifying pottery shards in a museum,” Osgood said. “I thought I would die there and no one would find me for 1000 years.” She was studying archeology when her transition into teaching happened, Osgood said. “One day it just hit me,” Osgood said. “I knew what my next move was.” She decided to get her PhD, Osgood said, which required a lot of courage and support. She was single and had a lot of money and no obligations, so she just “followed her dream,” she added. Osgood said. “As I got to the finish line I knew I had fulfilled my

dream.” The time put into getting her PhD has made her really passionate about learning, and has also given her an understanding of how to commit to a task, Osgood said. “I know what it takes to stay with something, fully understand it and realize the depth and precision we bring into completing it,” Osgood said. She loves learning and every class she teaches she learns something new. Osgood said, “I am stimulated every day by the companionship of my students in a place of great excitement.”

Dr. Turner “I don’t get into things and not finish them…” Meet Dr. Scot Turner, subschool 10 principal, who has a Doctorate of Education degree from Virginia Tech. “I was encouraged by mentors who already had one,” Turner said. “I enjoy the idea of further challenging myself.” He was already a principal, Turner said, and thought it was good for career development. “At first I did not really know what I was going to concentrate my studies on,” Turner said. “Soon my area of research was the impact principals have on struggling students.” According to the Salary Scale on the FCPS website, teachers with a PhD degree are paid more than teachers with just their Masters

Dr. McLean “I spent a year not working with academics, and I was not happy…” Meet Dr. McLean, Chemistry teacher, who has her Doctorate of Philosophy in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “I was planning to on doing a research science, and I needed a PhD to do it,” McLean said. “I loved the idea of being a part of a team making new medicine.” Though she followed her first dream of researching medicines in chemistry, she realized it was not for her. “I wanted to be a part of academics, but was not sure exactly what field,” McLean said. “I went into teaching high school because I would be able to focus more on students and their work.”

Dr. Karen McLean — ­ McLean currently teaches IB Chem I and HL and the Theory of Knowledge courses. She obtained her PhD in organic chemistry at the Virginia Commonwealth University. McLean said, “I spent a year not working with academics, and I was not happy.”

McLean said liked making new things or taking something and creating a whole new product and chemistry provides that ability to do both.

Dr. Frenck

Dr. Scot Turner — ­ Turner is the current subschool 10 principal, possesses a PhD from Virginia Tech. Turner said, “I enjoy the idea of further challenging myself.”

degree. For Turner it was not a financial motivation for getting this degree, he said, as a principal in Fairfax County he does not get a penny more. “It has payed off having this because it could qualify me for open doors later on

in life,” Turner said. Along with the benefits from having his EDD, he has the feeling of accomplishment, Turner said. “It has given me more of an appreciation for education,” Turner said.

“I met people from all over the world…” Meet Dr. Susan Frenck, English teacher, who has her Doctorate of Philosophy in Linguistics from the University of Illinois. “Linguistics is the study of language,” Frenck said. “It brought people from so many different countries to the little town of Urbana, Illinois.” From studying Linguistics, Frenck said, as well as having family in educa-

tion, she was attracted to teaching. “I was a teaching assistant in my undergrad program, which was a full time job for me,” Frenck said. “I really enjoyed it was fun to get up in front and teach.” After realizing her passion for teaching, she decided to further pursue her masters and get a Phd. “My father had an EDD and it was neat having him help me through the process of achiev-

ing such a major step in my life,” Frenck said. “My husband also helped through a lot of it, and it was really nice having all the family support.” Frenck said she really enjoys being involved the school as a teacher and getting to work with new students every year. Frenck said. “As a high school teacher you get to learn what each one of your students is like and really get to Dr. Susan Frenck — Frenck is an English teacher know them on who has her PhD in Linguistics.“I met people a personal level, from all over the world,” Frenck said. which I really

Students consider single sex schools Single sex schools boost confidence within classes BY MAGGIE HAYNES Staff Writer

Senior Emily Nice walks under the trees on the campus of Mount Holyoke College and as she passes a group of girls, she imagines striding down the sidewalk as a college freshman in an all-girls college. Nice plans to attend either Mount Holyoke College or Wellesley College. Both schools are all-girls colleges in Massachusetts. “I applied to Mount Holyoke College and Wellesley College in spite of, not because, they are all-girls schools,” Nice said. “I am not super enthused, but I am also not bothered by the fact that the schools are all-girls.” But attending an all-girls school is not for everyone. Senior Min Hong has visited Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. It is not her

She had once thought medicine was what she to do wanted, McLean said, she is extremely happy with the life she chose as a teacher.

first choice, she said, because of its poor first impression. “My college advisor recommended the college to me, and I only visited because my parents forced me to go,” Hong said. “I don’t want to attend because of the impression it had given me. The college students I encountered on my campus tour had odd behavior. ” Senior Noelia Perez also applied to an all-girls college, Mary Baldwin College, but she said it is not her first choice. “I heard about the school on the Family Connection, but it is an expensive private women’s college and I would rather the school be mixed gender,” Perez said. “My top choices are James Madison University and George Mason University.” Sweet Briar College, Mary Baldwin College and Hollins College are female in-state colleges. “Female students can be distracted or feel intimidated by the opposite sex,” Career Specialist Eileen Doyle said. “An all-girls college lets them stand up and take a more leadership role in the classroom. Over the

past five y e a r s t h r e e students have attended M a r y Baldwin College, one has attended Mt. Photo courtesy of Sweet Briar website Holyoke Sweet Briar College ­— This is an all girls 4-year College, two have college, founded in 1901. “An all-girls college lets them stand up and take more leadership in the classroom,” a t t e n d - Eileen Doyle, Career Specialist, said. ed Bryn Mawr College, two have attend- our school and graduated from ed Wellesley College, and one Sweet Briar College in 1978, rehas attended Sweet Briar Col- counts her days at Sweet Briar lege.” and how they changed her life. Senior Briana Banks applied “I didn’t plan to go to a Sweet to Sweet Briar College as her sec- Briar, but I heard about it from a ond choice, she said. friend of mine who was interest“I really like Sweet Briar and ed, and I decided to take a private their honor code. The girls are tour,” Brown said. “I ended up so trusting and if you need help staying the weekend and falling most teachers are there because in love with the college, from the they live on campus,” Banks said. riding program to the beautiful “It was originally my first choice, campus. It was a good fit and I but I want to play softball in col- was ready for a change, somelege and schools have looked at thing different from Robinson.” me, so I put athletics first.” Paula Brown, who attended

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Find a better deal and save money! Today’s Ram Receipt compares the prices of concessions at University Mall and Fairfax Corner. Small popcorn Price comparisons: University Mall: $3.25 Fairfax Corner: $5.25

Small drink Price comparisons: University Mall: $3.25 Fairfax Corner: $4.25

Information compiled by MK Koszycki. Cartoon and pictures by Sharon Corish.


F0 0 D

Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

Cafe Ima We sampled numerous dishes at Cafe Ima in University Mall. This cafe specializes in Japanese cuisine. Read on to find out what to order and what to avoid.

Ram Rater


Top Pick: Chicken Bento Box

Get it again! Average Trash it


Location: 10645 Braddock Rd Fairfax, VA 22032

Hours: Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. Friday: 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. - 12 a.m. Sunday: 9 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Hibachi Chicken

Taste: This meal is delicious and a great sampler. It combines multiple entrees in smaller portions to result in a great mix of foods! The box includes soft sushi rolls, crunchy shrimp, white sticky rice and a sweet chicken. Price: $11 for lunch/dinner

Fried rice with chicken Rating:


Taste: The chicken is sweet and cooked in front of customers on the restaurant’s hibachi grill. The meal additionally comes with rice and a generous amount of vegtables fried in a sweet teriyaki sauce. Prices: $10 for lunch, $18 for dinner

Taste: The chicken is tender and cooked in a sweet teriyaki sauce. The rice is a bit dry but full of egg and vegtables. Prices: $8 for lunch, $12 for dinner

Photos and graphic by Yae Ji Cha and Kate Monick

Staton finds work and play in Domino’s job Freshman Cory Staton has been working since age 14 BY ANDREW IOOSS Staff Writer It’s Friday night, and while everybody else is going home or hanging out with friends, freshman Cory Staton is going to work. From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Staton is an employee at the Domino’s Pizza in University Mall. “I got a job so I could have money because my parents don’t buy me a lot of things I want,” Staton said. A week after turning 14, Staton started working to save for college as well as to have a little spending money in his pocket. Staton has accumulated a little over $1000 since mid-July. He said he saves around 60 percent of his earnings. It was very easy to get a job, Staton said. “I just told my sister I wanted a job and I got one,” Staton said, sharing after that his sister also works at the Domino’s. “It seemed pretty fun and it was easy to get,” Staton said. Staton had to get permission from the Domino’s Photos by Kate Monick manager, his parents and Stacked up ­— Staton must move the school before he was empty pizza boxes closer to the cooking allowed to accept his job offer. area. “I think that it is awesome...I have “The student has to be at no intention of quitting any time soon,” least 14 years old, and on the Staton said. day of his or her birthday he or she should ‘shop’ for a job. The student must have a com-

plete agreement with the employer before he or she comes to me to get a work permit,” subschool 9 secretary Pam Hickenbotham said. Hickenbotham gives out the work permits for the freshmen. Hickenbotham is legally allowed to give out work permits for anyone between the ages 14-16. “If someone who is homeschooled comes in and asks for a work permit I have to give them one,” Hickenbo- Up front ­— Staton is often positioned in the front of Domino’s to answer tham said. His favorite phones. “I hate dealing with customers part of his job is that have attitude issues.” Staton said. taking out the he is on the ‘making line.’ trash, Staton said. Not old enough to drive “We use the shopping carts from Giant and ride around in yet, Staton must find means of transportation to get to work. them,” Staton said. “A lot of the time my sister These stress relievers help Staton relax after a busy day. It or my parents drive me. Other is really stressful when we are times I walk, ride my bike, or call other Domino’s drivers to really busy, Staton said. “I hate dealing with cus- come pick me up,” he said. They are pretty flexible tomers that have attitude isabout being on time, Staton sues.” Staton said. His job description changes said. “First I would call and say every day he said. “I take orders over the phone and in per- I can’t get a ride and that I am son as well as make the pizzas, going to be late. They just say clean the store and fold boxes,” to come in as soon as possible,” Staton said. Staton said. Having a part-time job can Staton said he and fellow employees work in an assem- really cut down on his free bly line fashion with people time but it is worth his time taking orders when needed because it’s not that hard and and the other employees sauc- the pay is good, Staton said. “I ing, cheesing, and slapping. think that it is awesome and Staton must wear the Domi- fun and I have no intention of no’s hat and shirt, khaki pants quitting any time soon.” Staton or shorts, a belt and an apron if said.

Calling all seniors! Our school is holding a senior essay competition this year. The winner will speak at graduation with their essay. Below is a Q&A with senior class sponsors Lindsay Burgess and Emily Hall.

Lindsay Burgess

Emily Hall

Q: What are the requirements? A: Typed speech 5-7 minutes in length Q: How will the speech be chosen? A: Burgess and Hall will pick the top five speeches. Each person will speak in front of a group of liberal arts teachers, then it will be sorted into the top three speeches, and the winning speech will be chosen by the Senior Class Council. Q: What is an ideal speech? A: Inspiring without being cliché, strong, speaking to the universal student body. Q: What are you not looking for? A: We don’t want a college essay, and we don’t want it to be too personal. Q: What would you say to inspire seniors to write? A: Move more than just your body, move the student body.

“Move more than just your body — move the student body”

Work and play unite:

Information compiled by Jason Focarino, and Kate Monick Cartoon by Jack Connors

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: FEB. 18 submit to your subschool office! Graphic by Yae Ji ChaInformation compiled by Jason Focarino Photos by Bailey Haase

Entertainment Valor Dictus January 27, 2011 Volume 40 Issue 5 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 12

Shelby Gee - Entertainment Editor

And the Grammy goes to...

Students voted from a list of nominees to decide who should win the prestigious award Album of the Year: “Recovery” by Eminem Record of the Year: “F--- You” by Cee-Lo Green Song of the Year: “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem & Rihanna Best New Artist: Drake

Best Pop Vocal Album: “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry Best Electronic/ Dance Album: La Roux” by La Roux

Best Country Album: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum

Best Contemporary R&B Album: “Raymond v Raymond” by Usher Best Rap Album: “Recovery” by Eminem

Best Alternative Music Album: “Contra” by Vampire Weekend Best Rock Album: “The Resistance” by Muse Photos reprinted courtesy of respective production companies. 130 Students and teachers surveyed between Jan. 16 and Jan. 24 at Watch the Grammys Feb. 13 on CBS

Kindle v. Nook: Read up on the newest gadgets BY KAITLYN HINES Guest Writer

The Kindle is a great device for avid readers who do not have time to go to the library or bookstore. As long as Wi-Fi is availab le, users can access to purcha se books, magazines, and newsprints for und er $10. The Kindle has new features such as “di gital ink.” The ink appears on what seems like a real book page, making the Kindle loo k as close to a book as possible. This is a great device that is necessary for all. The Kindle features: * Allows readers to highlight quotes and insert comments * Font size can change and reads in landscape( horizontal) or regular (vertical) mo de * Buy books from onl y * Can hold up to 3,500 books * Over 1.8 million free books availab le from * Has built-in Wi-Fi * Has 3G global coverage and wir eless connection to the internet * Book purchased are automatically stored in the Kindle library on * Cost: $189


The NookColor vs. the Kindle: The ultimate technological battle! The NookColor is a great way to read, no matter the time of day. It is small, lightweight device and its stylish cover case makes it hard to break. It doesn’t hurt the reader’s eyes from normal strain like paper books. The NookColor features: * Font size can change and reads in landscape( horizontal) or regular (vertical) mode * Allows readers to highlight quotes and insert comments * Wi-Fi internet access is available * Users buy books online at the Barnes & Noble website only * User’s books are saved to a Barnes & Noble account * Nook owners do not need to be a member of Barnes & Noble to have an account * More than two million titles available in all genres. * Over 400 free books are available. * Touch screen * Multiple shades of brightness on the backlight * Plays music, movies and games, like Sudoku and Chess, for free * Cost: $249


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011


January Films: What to see ‘Country Strong’ sings a sweet song BY SHARON CORISH AND SHELBY GEE Staff Writers

“Love and fame can’t live in the same place.” This line describes the main dilemma of the film “Country Strong,” which plays out to be a very touching film. The story revolves around fictional country music superstar Kelly Canter, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and her three concert stops following an early release from rehab. The main storyline involves Kelly and her husband James, played by Tim McGraw as they struggle to overcome the obstacles of Kelly’s alcoholism. Neither character develops and the story becomes saddening as James emotionally pushes Kelly to perform, and she repeatedly gets drunk. James does not show any emotion until the end of the film, making it seem as though he only cares about his job, not his wife. This role added very little to the film, as it did not develop throughout the film. This plotline would have been more satisfying to the viewers had it gone into more detail about the incident at Dallas, which so deeply affects both Kelly and James. It appears to be the heart of this storyline, and yet it is only touched upon, never truly explored. The truly heartfelt moments of the film come from the storyline involving two newcomers on the country music scene: Chiles Stanton and Beau Hutton, played by Leighton Meester

known for roles in “Gossip Girl” and “The Roommate” and Garrett Hedlund from “Friday Night Lights” and “Tron: Legacy.” As their love story and their characters develop, the viewers see softer sides of the tough-around-the-edges character of Beau as he sees a humbler side of the former beauty queen that is Chiles. The lead characters’ acting is superb, and the film’s newer actors Meester, Hedlund and McGraw truly immerse themselves in their characters and show their acting talents. They were each very believable in their roles. The music creates a strong feeling of the down-home attitude many of the characters have. It is a fitting soundtrack to the moving story, with Paltrow, Meester and Hedlund singing covers of real country songs throughout the film. The film is a pleasure for viewers, despite some shortcomings in the plot, like Paltrow’s self-centered character and McGraw’s heartless character, pushing a drunken alcoholic to perform. Sweet lines, powerful music and superb acting cancelled out any shortcomings to create an intricate story that manages to play with the audience’s emotions.

MPAA Rating:

PG-13 for thematic events involving alcohol abuse and some sexual content Run-Time: 117 minutes

Photo reprinted courtesy of Sony Pictures May I have this dance? Gwyneth Paltrow plays Kelly Canter, a country singer who recently was released from a stint at rehab, following an incident at her show in Dallas a year earlier. Beau, played by Garret Hedlund, is an aspiring country singer she met at rehab. As they go on tour together, and Kelly struggles with her crumbling relationship with her husband, Kelly teaches Beau and Chiles (not pictured), “Don’t be afraid to fall in love. It’s the only thing that matters in life.”

‘The Dilemma’ seeks the truth BY JASON FOCARINO Staff Writer

Photo reprinted courtesy of Sony Pictures Will you come with me on this adventure? Seth Rogen as the Green Horneta modern superhero with his sidekick Kato, played by Jay Chou They take leaps to save the world from the evil Chudnofsky. “The city needs our help.”

See a super film with ‘The Green Hornet’ BY JACK CONNORS Staff Writer

Although “The Green Hornet” is no “Dark Knight,” it still remains a superhero film worth seeing. It may lack the fundamental moral debates about a vigilante’s role in society and the question and the question of who is the alter ego and who is the mask; it captures something most lack: fun. Simply stated, “The Green Hornet” is about having an awesome car, a cool friend who knows “crazy focus karate,” and using it to beat the snot out of drug dealers and gang bangers. Despite its light feel, the film kicks off with the main villain, Christoph Waltz’s character, Benjamin Chudnofsky (whose name’s unpronounceability is a running joke) threaten and murder a meth dealer, during which he is neatly characterized as someone who just

really wants to be feared. This desire drives his blood lust throughout the movie, and leads to the murder of several secondary characters. While Chudnofsky does a good enough job as the antagonist of the piece, the biggest problem with the entire movie is the flatness of the character. Waltz’s superb acting skills are almost wasted on Chudnofsky’s basic violent control freak character. His origin and motives are never explored or explained, and this leaves a huge gap in the character. Without knowing who he is or where he came from, the audience can hardly expect to understand or sympathize with him, much unlike the likable Colonel Hans Landa, Waltz’ character from “Inglorious Basterds.” The only really strong scene featuring Chudnofsky barely shows him at all, but instead shows his grave order of mass murder being carried out across Los Angeles. The sequence not only shows off

director Michel Gondry’s talent for showing multiple stories on screen simultaneously, though this can be disorienting at times, but also the true extent of Chudnofsky’s power and ruthlessness. That being said, Seth Rogen and newcomer Jay Chou’s performances as Britt Reid/Green Hornet and Kato/Unnamed Sidekick, respectively, are exceptional. The film itself is a shout-out to the superheroic days of Adam West and Burt Ward in the slapstick and campy Batman serials, which make the lack of “pow” and “bang” balloons almost suspicious. Read the full review at

MPAA Rating:

PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug

Run-Time: 119 minutes

It was going to be another pointless love film with a lesson that had already been learned. Audience members walked into the theater expecting lead actors Vince Vaughn and Kevin James to ruin yet another movie with their hilarious shenanigans. This film contained a healthy dose of comedy coupled along with serious undertones, and it is definitely a movie to see twice so the viewer can soak up all the love. “The Dilemma,” released Jan. 14. Directed by Ron Howard, also stars Winona Ryder and Channing Tatum. Howard surprises the movie market by directing a comedy after all of his dramatic successes such as “Angels and Demons” and “Frost/Nixon.” He brings his serious tones from past movies into this comedy, creating an efficient mix of good film. Despite audience doubts that Howard would create a serious comedy, viewers reacted with laughter at the first few scenes. “I don’t know if you ever really know someone entirely,” Vaughn says at the beginning of the movie, foreshadowing, almost too much, the unfortunate events to come. His character catches his best friend’s wife cheating with a younger man, and embarks on a lost cause to help his friend’s marriage. Vaughn makes the mistake of not telling his best friend the truth at first, putting the message of the story into motion, and truly living up to the dilemma that is the film’s title.

Surprisingly, Vaughn pulled off this dilemma with success, making the audience laugh and smile at the right moments. The cast showed amazing cohesion, all of them working together so well it seemed each couple was married in real life. Ryder, who plays the cheating wife, does an outstanding job as a supporting actress, creating anger and frustration at her actions when she tries to stop Vaughn from telling James the truth. Vaughn easily works with her, causing true feelings of annoyance between him and Ryder. By the end of the movie, the audience is left smiling and hoping that Vaughn and James’ characters are successful in their business endeavors. The moral of the film really hits home with the audience in the end. It speaks of being honest no matter what, even if it hurts the ones you love. The viewer does not need to be married or in a relationship, to understand what the film is trying to say. “Yes, but honesty, even above love, is most important,” Vaughn says during his monologue halfway through the film. “The Dilemma” explains, through comedy and heartbreak, that honesty, along with love, is a core part of a relationship.

MPAA Rating:

PG-13 for mature thematic events involving sexual content Run-Time: 111 minutes


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011 Volume 40 Issue 5 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 14

Mollie Berner - Page 2, 3 & 14 Editor

Andrew Miller - Page 15 & 16 Editor

In Brief Wrestling suits up for districts The wrestling team heads into the postseason with an undefeated district record. Its main goal is to go to and win states, varsity team member freshman Jack Bass said. “The team has gotten very close to winning in the past,” Bass said. “This year we are really determined and have a good shot.” The team has well balanced talent and very few weak spots, said sophomore Buck Bouchard, also a varsity team member. He said, “In the lower weight classes there are some very advanced wrestlers, but the team as a whole is really strong.”


Caslavka joins boys, girls teams New swim and dive head coach Phil Caslavka recently joined the New swim coach— team following the Phil Caslavka joins dismissal of previous our school’s team coaches Clayton Joiner from Oakton. and Kevin Nolan. It has been a good transition for the team, Caslavka said. “I don’t think the team has had very many problems about the coaching change,” Caslavka said. “I have not heard any complaints.” With the arrival of Coach Caslavka, the practices have become tougher, senior Matt Osiecki said. “The practices are more intense,” Osiecki said. “These practices are helping us improve and have made us better as a team.” Before he became the head coach at our school, Caslavka also held coaching positions at Oakton and Chantilly as well. Caslavka said, “It has been really fun getting to know the talent that we have. Becoming the coach here makes me feel like I am a part of this school.”


Upcoming Events

Jan. 28

Indoor track — districts meet at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Md. at 4 p.m.

Jan. 29 Feb. 1

Boys and girls swim — and dive team districts at Cub Run at 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 5

Boys and girls swim — and dive regional finals at Oak Marr at 5:30 p.m.

Basketball v. Westfield. — Girls home, boys away at 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 8

Old Creek Elementary — students jump rope at halftime of the varsity basketball game v. Herndon at 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 10

Gymnastics regionals — at Lake Braddock from 3:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

Feb. 11

Wrestling regionals at — Fairfax High School from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

Feb. 15

Boys and girls — basketball districts at top seed at 7:30 p.m.


Gymnasts become a family Team record now 5-2 as team grows closer, senior Jessi Marco says BY SHELBY GEE

Entertainment Editor

As she ran down the mat, junior Amanda Famiglietti prepared for her vault. She hit the box, twirled through the air and stuck a perfect landing on the mat below. This last vault completed the last regular season meet for the girls varsity gymnastics team. With a score of 9.175 out of 10 on her vault, Famiglietti helped our team clench its fifth victory against Lake Braddock, Thomas Jefferson, Lee, West Potomac and Edison. Having only lost to Chantilly from the district, leading up to yesterday’s district competition at Centreville High School, the girls varsity gymnastics team finished the regular season with a record of 5-2 and is seeded second in the district. Junior Kyla Mauro said the team worked hard going into districts. Besides just practicing, the team participated in a “mock district” meet on Jan. 10 where it suffered its single district loss to Chantilly, with a close score of 140.125 to 133.85. “We came in second to Chantilly, so I’m expecting second at districts. Our goal this year was to beat Herndon, since they have always beat us in the past, and we did that, so I am expecting to do well at districts,” senior captain Jessi Marco said. Mauro said all of the girls are really competitive and have higher skills than some other schools.

Photos by Jacob Beil Gymnasts find success — Left, junior Alex Ffield propels onto the vault at the meet Jan.10. Above, Marco hugs teammate Ffield. “We don’t have any cliques on the team. We’re like a family— coming to practices and knowing they are there is the best aspect,” Marco said.

The team demonstrated this at the Jan. 20 meet, where all of their scores were higher than seven, while on most other teams they went back and forth from as high as nine to as low as five. As districts approached, the team practiced new skills and worked on cleaning up their routines for districts, in hopes of placing first or second, in order to move on as a team to regionals. “I hope that with some of the changes we have been working on, we will be able to close the gap we had between Chantilly when we saw them during the regular season,” Head coach Megan Smiley said. Freshman Kenna Malone attributed the team’s success to its chemistry. “What makes a good team is if everyone gets along, and supports each other at the meets by cheering for each other,” said Malone.

This year’s team consists of mostly underclassmen, with only two seniors on the roster. “We have a lot of freshmen talent this year, which is a good sign for the future,” Marco said. “Some of our really good junior girls are hurt, so having all the talented freshmen step up and help the team is good. I’m proud of them.” Famiglietti and junior captain Sarah Paul were both out for most of the season—Paul with an injured back and Famiglietti with multiple injuries. In past seasons both girls have competed all-around for the team, but were unable to this season due to their injuries. Famiglietti recently returned to competition for the Lady Rams, but is still unable to compete at her full capacity. She said, “Hopefully by districts I can suck up the pain and give it my all.”

A slam dunk in the community Boys basketball participates in ‘Readers are Leaders’ program, give back to young children BY LAUREN DUFFY Business Manager

The Monday dismissal bell rings. Junior boys basketball guard Chris Calcador and his fellow teammate senior forward Erwin Go drive to the Pinn Community Center on Zion Road for the “Readers are Leaders” Program. Calcador and Go sit at a small table with four children and begin to take turns reading ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ quickly passing the time. Wendell Byrd, former South Lakes varsity basketball coach created the ‘Readers are Leaders’ program in fall 2003. According to the program’s website, the programs goals include at-risk elementary students new reading strategies while providing high school students the opportunity to become role models. Our school has participated in the program since 2007. Head coach Brian Nelson said the team participated in the program before he coached, but chose to continue the team’s participation. Senior guard Ian Evancho has participated for three years with the varsity basketball

team in the Readers are Leaders program. “My favorite memory with the team and the kids was when we were just all talking,” Evancho said. “We went around the table talking about our favorite hobbies, and this young kid stood up and shouted ‘I like to drink Kool-Aid and eat fried chicken,’ It really showed the kid’s personality and was fun to talk to him.” Nelson said he supports the program and feels as if it is a good experience for his team. He said one coach is always there to supervise the players. “It seems like the players have their routines. They split up in pairs with two or three players per table and read with the kids. They generally work with the same children,” Nelson said. Calcador is participating in the program for the first time and said he finds the program to help build team spirit. “I feel like us going together helps us build a chemistry and more attached to one another,” he said. According to the Students Activities and Athletic Programs website on FCPS, student athletes are to participate in both school and their outside community in a way that benefits both. “Readers are Leaders is a way for the players to give back,” Nelson said. “Student athletes need to represent the school in a positive light. This is something for the team to do together.”

Photo by Lauren Duffy


Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

Indoor track looks to finish season strong BY CHASE BAILEY Staff Writer

Photo by Jacob Beil 200 meter freestyle, ready, go!- Senior Tori Baker placed first place in in the race, while also placing second in the 500 meter freestlye. The girls won 177-133, making their overall record 5-2. The boys team lost 145-170. The next meet is the Concorde District tournament on Thursday, Jan. 27. “I really like the racing part. Just the excitement and having the team watching you is great,” Baker said.

Baker continues family swimming tradition Mother, sisters all swam competitively in high school BY LINDSAY WEBB Staff Writer

Senior Tori Baker crouched on the block and waited for the buzzer; the signal to dive into the water. “I knew I had to give it my all if I wanted to make it to states,” she said, “so during the fifth and sixth laps of the 200 freestyle race I pushed myself and did the best I had ever done.” Baker qualified for the state competition in regionals last year with time of 1.57:88 in the 200-meter freestyle. This was her best time yet. A senior co-captain, Baker has been on the girls varsity swim team for four years. During the state competition last year, she placed eleventh in her individual event, the 200-meter freestyle, and second in both the 200 and 400-meter freestyle relays. She attributes much of her success to her racing strategy. “I like to pace myself in the beginning and then sprint it in at the end, it gives me a chance to catch people, rather than killing myself the whole way through,” Baker said. Baker said she believes her first inspiration for swimming came from her mother who swam at Penn State and her two older sisters who also swim. “I don’t feel like I have to [swim]. My parents are cool with whatever we want to do; we just all


kind of stuck to the water,” Baker said. Recently admitted to Grove City College in Pennsylvania, where she will swim next year, Baker said she is excited to compete at the college level. Head swim coach Phil Caslavka said he believes Baker will have her greatest success at districts and regionals. Her relay is expected to receive the best time in the state. “I think she’s going to go to states this year and I have high hopes for her at states. Tori’s awesome,” Caslavka said.  Caslavka said he believes Baker’s strong work ethic not only benefits her, but has helped him transition into the coaching job here. “Her work ethic is really good. She’s a very hard worker. She does like five practices a week. When I first came in she came and helped me get organized at her own will. She’s a very reliable captain,” Caslavka said. Caslavaka is not the only one who notices Baker’s dedication. “Tori goes to practice faithfully. She rarely misses and is rarely sick. She often has to miss out on things she would like to do because of practice and meets. She has made a commitment and she is following through.She makes swimming a priority,” mother Cindy Baker said. Tori Baker said all the practice is necessary to compete in meets. “You have to practice every single day so you can swim for two minutes in a race”, said Tori Baker. While Tori Baker makes practice a priority, all the work is for her favorite part of the sport: the racing. “I really like the racing part. Just the excitement and having the team watching you is great,” Baker said. “I like winning especially.”

As the pack falls behind him, senior sprinter Matt Ridenour pushes his physical limits, sprinting towards the finish in a dash that may determine the victor of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Invitational. The indoor track team has been performing well at some invitational events this season thus far, Ridenour said, the invitationals the team has participated in are preparing them for district and regional meets. The concorde district meets will be held on Jan. 28 and Feb. 3. The northern region championships will be held on Feb. 19.The winter track team is hoping to repeat and build upon its performance from last year as well, as they have flourished in postseason competition. The girls team came in second at the district and regional meets last year. The team lost some key seniors from the previous year, Ridenour said, but is still looking to succeed under the circumstances. “The seniors last year were really good,” Ridenour said. “It’s going to be difficult to replace them.”

Photo by Jacob Beil PR Holiday Invitational- Senior Nick Reed ran a 4:54.56 in the 1600 meter run, a new personal record Dec. 18.

With the loss of these seniors, the remaining team members were worried they would be unable to live up to our school’s track team standards, senior Hyten Davidson said. With late success following the regular season for the track team, their post season capabilities would be tested significantly this year. As the team has lost some key seniors, a new head coach has joined the team this season, Coach Mike Kiernan, who replaced former coach Mark Gleason. Although the new coach specializes in sprints, he also really helps the distance runners as well, Davidson said. “He is really involved with the distance runners,” Davidson said. “He has helped me personally, and we have really gotten on the same page.” With the end of the regular season approaching, the team will be participating in postseason meets. “The team is ready for district meets,” Davidson said. “We are returning from some very good meet performances, and we are going to send as many people possible to regionals and states.”

Photo by Jacob Beil Just another hurdle- Sophomore Jamy Vogel posted the team’s best time in the 55 meter hurdles Dec. 18, running in 9.62 seconds.

Participation not affected by new athletic fees FCPS examining effects of new fees implemented

QuickFactson Budget Below are important statistics and facts regarding the new athletic fees. Information from FCPS posted Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

Production Editor

Facing a budget crisis for the second time in as many years, the school board voted to adopt a $100 athletic fee last year, applicable to all participants in a VHSL sanctioned sport. Through the first half of the school year, officials around the area agree this fee seems to be a necessary evil, and not an excessive hindrance. Director of Student Activities Marty Riddle said in the fall, participation was not impacted. “It’s too early to tell if, over time, [participation] numbers will change countywide. Our football numbers were up a little. Now, they might have gone up a lot more without the fees, but it’s impossible to say,” Riddle said. Loudoun County Public Schools implemented a $100 athletic fee two years ago, and has seen little participation change across the board, said Les Cummings, the Supervisor of Athletics for LCPS. “From 2008 through last year, we maintained the same number of participation. This year, we’re about at the same level again, proportionally. Our total numbers are actually up, but we opened two new high schools, so there are more teams,” Cummings said. Jerry Carter, athletic director at Briar Woods High School in Loudoun County, said he believes constant participation can be attributed


About of high school population participates in sports

Cut 2010, budget

Athletic fees generated


$500,000 or 2% of the FY



• • •


coaching FCPS eliminated positions FY 2011 budget fiscal forecast includes the elimination of sports fees by FY 2014 Consolidation of transportation, winter

25% reduc-

cheer, drill team advisor, tion in swim/dive practice time

Graphic by Kaitlin Mackie

to the general affluence in many Fairfax and ly involved with the transaction is if a student doesn’t pay. In that case, the county will send Loudoun areas. “Here at Briar Woods, participation hasn’t an unpaid obligation notice to our finance office. Riddle added that a sepabeen an issue. Of course, we rate company handles the are a fairly wealthy district,” payments for the county. Carter said. The money from Individual schools have the fees goes to FCPS, but very little to do with col- It’s too early to tell if, over not strictly to athletics. lecting the fees. Once a Instead, it will help offset coach finalizes a team’s time, [participation] other expenses countywide. roster, it is put into a com- numbers will change Athletic costs include transputer system and reported countywide, portation, field preparation to the county. From there, and equipment expenses. the county pulls athletes’ Director of Marty “They help with the mailing information from costs that athletics bring,” its records and mails them Student Riddle School board member Tesa notice. Athletes can either Activities sie Wilson said. “We spend pay through a mailed check much more on athletics or through an online paythan these fees alone are ment transaction, according bringing in, but it helps. The budget situation is to the FCPS home page. Riddle said the only time the school is direct- such that we felt we had to do something.”

Carter and Cummings both said going into the second year of the fees in Loudoun, the benefits of the program have outweighed the negative aspects. “The key to this [program] was we were able to keep all of our sports. It was one of those things we had to go to because of the economy. It came down to budget issues, and implementing the fees saved programs,” Cummings said. Riddle said an athletic fee was a better choice than totally eliminating freshman sports, one of the other proposed options. With sports now coming at an inherent cost for all the athletes, tennis coach Paul Fisher said it becomes even more important to keep other costs low. These include expenses the athletic budget does not support, such as uniforms, team trips and spirit wear. “As far as the tennis program goes, we have always bought our own uniforms, so [the fee] is just one more cost,” he said. Fisher said the team does fundraising every year to help defray the costs of uniforms and other expenses, but fundraising will not go towards the athletic fees. He said with the budget tight, and the team expected to cover more costs by themselves, fundraising has become more important. However, he did add, “The boosters have always helped us out if we’ve asked for something.” Wilson said she believes because participation has not changed, implementing athletic fees was the right decision, although in a perfect world Fairfax would not need them. Other officials echoed these sentiments, from Fairfax and Loudoun alike. Carter said, “No one’s happy about paying the $100, but in order to keep programs running they don’t have an issue with it.”



Valor Dictus January 27, 2011

Spotlight on

Mike Rice

Basketball player sets school record BY KATE ROZELSKY Business Manager

Senior Michael Rice shoots the ball and scores. The buzzer sounds and the game stops. Rice scored his 1000th point at the game at Herndon Jan. 19. He is the first basketball player to ever score 1000 points at our school. Rice has been the top scorer on the boys basketball team for the last three years, said varsity coach Brian Nelson. He met his career high in scoring this season. He scored 39 points in the game against Oakton Jan. 15. Rice said he has been having a good season this year and is looking for the team to compete in districts and win the region. “It’s been our best year this year. There’s more senior leadership [than in previous years] and everyone really wants to win,” Rice said. Rice played on the freshmen team and has started on varsity since sophomore year. He is a forward and captain this year. “Mike isn’t a big talker, so he’s not the leader who is telling everyone what to do. He is a leader by example,” Nelson said. “He is always working hard whether he is in the weight room, playing or practicing. He can demonstrate hard work for the other players, and they can learn from

Photo by Andrew Miller

Class: Senior How it felt to score 1,000 points: “It feels really good. I was looking forward to breaking it. Getting the game ball was cool.” Future plans: Unsure. “Maybe Roanoke or Marymount basketball.” Team Chemistry: “The team chemistry is good when we’re winning.” Favorite memory: “Being around the guys and playing the sport I love the most.”

Michael Rice scores 1000th career point

Senior Michael Rice has been on the varsity basketball team for three years. In the Jan. 19 game against Herndon, Rice scored his 1000th career point. Rice is the first ever player here to achieve this milestone. Rice averages 29 points per game this season. Information compiled by Kate Rozelsky

By the numbers 13 games

Mike Rice

in which Rice has scored over 20 points

39 points Mike Rice’s season high against Oakton 130+ foul This season, according to the shot

how hard he goes all the time.” Rice is still deciding whether he would like to play basketball in college, but he has had offers from multiple schools to play. His top two choices of schools to play for are Marymount University and Roanoke College, and if he decides not to play he said he would still like to attend Roanoke, he said. “I’m just looking forward to college and going to school and I don’t know if I want to do both [college and basketball,]” Rice said. “I want to take my time to decide whether I want to play in college or not. I don’t want to rush my decision.” He plans to make his decision in the spring. Nelson said Rice has a good work ethic and is a strong offensive player. His strongest skills are in his shooting. He has had weaknesses with ball handling and outside shooting, but has definitely improved. “I just keep my energy up [during the game] and play as hard as I can,” Rice said. “I work on shooting and ball handling drills at practice to improve.” Rice’s teammates also praised his strong scoring. “He knows how to find ways to score; he’s our main scorer. Without him we definitely would not be as good,” senior forward Erwin Go said. Rice said he is able to score often because he gets himself open by always moving around when he doesn’t have the ball, which leaves him open for a pass. His teammates also commented on his small hands. Senior guard Dan Lee said he has unusually small hands, especially for a basketball player. “His hands don’t seem to affect his playing very much, but opposing teams try to attack and exploit his small hands because they give him a lack of control,” Lee said. Rice said he began playing basketball when he was seven and started out playing in local leagues, such as the BRYC Cobras and Burke Basketball, and moved to more competitive teams as he improved. He played baseball in elementary school, but sticks to basketball now. “Basketball is the most fun and competitive sport,” Rice said. “I like how it keeps you in good shape, I like running up and down the court, and I like how it takes the whole team to win.”

Photo by Andrew Miller

Ice hockey team struggles in varsity league Higher level of competition proves challenging BY IAN CRIMAN Staff Writer

photo reprinted with permission by Shannon George Junior Brady George snowboards with him family in Whitetail, PA- “Usually we just go to the park and mess around and try new jumps, it gives us a lot more experience,” George said.

Students seize the slopes BY LINDSAY WEBB Staff Writer

Juniors Brady George and Sean McShea take advantage of Whitetail’s empty slopes during the weekdays after school to improve their snowboarding skills. “There are normally lines because everyone wants to try the jumps, but during the week there’s no one there so have the freedom to do whatever you want,” McShea said. “It’s more comfortable because no one’s watching or judging you.” The boys both have season passes and have used them at least two times per week since their first trip up in mid-December. “We both have season passes so we’ve been trying to get good use out of them,” George said. George said Whitetail’s relatively short twohour drive to Whitetail, PA, allows them to make

it up to the resort at 5 p.m., snowboard until 8 p.m., and get home by 10 p.m. Not wanting to fall back on their school work, they figured out a system to get their work done while making the trip, McShea said. “Usually I’ll drive up and Sean will do his homework on the way up and then he’ll drive back down while I do my homework,” George said. McShea said he believes going to Whitetail during the week when the slopes are empty has improved their snowboarding skills. “The runs are always empty so you get more runs in, and there’s no line so we can do the terrain park as much as we want,” McShea said. George said it allows them to practice tricks as well. George said, “Usually we just go to the park and mess around and try new jumps, it gives us a lot more experience.”

Despite a tough schedule opening up the season, our hockey team has high expectations for the remainder of the season, according to junior left wing Nathan Crow. “We played the two hardest teams in our two first games this year, so it was really tough,” Crow said. “We also moved up from a JV league to a varsity league so it’s been more difficult than it was last year.” Crow said the team went 10-0 last year, but has gone 0-3-1 in their first four regular season games due to the harder schedule. “I’m optimistic about the rest of the season, it’s a tougher league than it was last year but I think we can still play well,” Crow said. The hockey team has also had several scrimmages to go along with their opening three games, Crow said. Senior left wing Will Kennerly said our hockey team has also been working hard to get faster and more physical than they are currently. “I’m confident we can pull out several wins this season,” Kennerly said. “The league we moved into is a lot faster and more physical, so

it’s been difficult adjusting to that.” Junior center Hunter Valenzuela said the team has been more aggressive than they were last year. “There was a power play a couple games ago where we just hammered the team we were playing,” Valenzuela said. “In our first game against Stonebridge, every time we touched the puck we had to dump it off because of how quick they were.” Valenzuela said the team has also had to change their offensive strategy. “This year, we’re playing all three of our forwards closer up,” Valenzuela said. “We also use a new breakout that we didn’t use last year.” Valenzuela said the overall mood of the team is optimistic, and the team is confident about their chances for the rest of the season. “We have really good chemistry right now, I think we’ve really started to come together as a team,” Valenzuela said. “I think we can definitely play a lot better in our next couple games.”

The ice hockey team will play Langley on Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. at Reston Skatequest.

Volume 40, Issue 5  

The Jan. 27, 2011 print edition of the Valor Dictus

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