The FCPS fundraiser policy is unfair and should be changed. — See page 3
Read a review of movie “You Again.” — See page 5
Learn different ways to plan a successful homecoming. — See pages 6-7
Students attempt long-distance relationships. — See page 9
The football team preprares for Lake Braddock game. — See page 12
Valor Dictus James W. Robinson Secondary School 5035 Sideburn road, Fairfax, VA 22032
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Volume 40 Issue 1
Bravely speaking to the Robinson community valordictus.com
New policy hopes to reduce tardiness
Varsity football dominates Herndon
BY BAILEY HAASE
Quarterback senior Michael Lopresti runs the ball down the field during last Friday’s game. The team won the game 47-0. Team captain senior Jared Velasquez scored four touchdowns, leading the team to victory against the Hornets. With a winning record of 3-1 Lopresti, Velasquez and team will take on the Lake Braddock Bruin’s tomorrow Oct. 1. Visit page 12 for a preview of the upcoming game.
BY THE NUMBERS: Staff Reductions
In the last two years, our school has lost:
8 7 5 2 1
teacher positions secretarial positions custodial positions counselor positions administrative position
Information from Dan Meier and building supervisor Mark Johnson
Two minutes left. Students hustle up and down the hallways. The bell rings, and a student realizes her parents will be receiving an automated call announcing her tardiness. The new rule states that if a student is tardy more than four times, they will be referred to the administrator for an after school after school detention or a Saturday detention. “I’m glad there is a new policy in place now, because the ‘honor system’ doesn’t work out so well when it comes to teenagers and their sleep,” biology teacher Megan Thaler said. Unlike the former policy, where teachers enforced punishments for tardiness, now teachers only have to take attendance and notify the administrators if students are late more than four times, said Principal Dan Meier. “I think teachers like the new policy, because they no longer have to be the disciplinary figure. I want teachers to focus on teaching, not punishing, so all they have to do now is keep track of student tardies,” Meier said. Overall, the policy has been a positive change, Meier said. Teachers have more teaching time when students are on time, in their seats and ready to learn. Meier said, “I think in order to achieve academically, students need an orderly, structured environment, which is what this policy is providing them with. Teachers have more teaching time, and students have more time to learn.”
Budget forces staff reductions BY KATHERINE DEMPSEY Managing Editor
The Fairfax County School Board cut one clerical, or secretarial, position, from our school’s staff last May, said Principal Dan Meier. We have lost various other secretary, teacher, counselor, administrative, and custodial spots in the past two years. “We’re getting spread more and more thinly,” Meier said. These recent staff reductions result from a school revenue decline, Meier said. Real estate value has decreased in recent years, which reduces the amount of property taxes homeowners pay to their state and local governments. “It makes it more difficult for us to provide the world-class education that we’ve come to expect here,” he said. Rick Mondloch now holds the position of subschool 9 principal as well as associate principal due to administrative cuts. He has 19 distinct associate principal responsibilities, such as organizing and leading high school department chair meetings, and 12 subschool principal duties, such as supervising the high school math department. “I’m a team player,” he said. “I’ll do whatever
Mr. Meier needs me to do to keep the school running.” Our school’s budget can no longer afford to pay for substitutes when subschool secretaries cannot come to work, said subschool 9 secretary Pam Hickenbotham. Each secretary will assume her colleague’s duties in her absence. When tenth grade subschool 10 secretary Diane Jones had a personal appointment on Sept. 15, Hickenbotham said she acted as “secretary of 1,300 kids instead of 650.” Each of our school’s 28 custodians must clean an extra 15,000–square–foot area due to the reduced staff, Johnson said. The nighttime team that covers the upstairs subschools, for example, must now take on all girls’ locker rooms. Without the necessary manpower, he said, “You’re going to run into a brick wall.” The Media Center lost three clerical assistants prior to the 2009-2010 school year, said head librarian Debbie Scott. These “support staff” completed important duties, she said, such as answering phone calls and consulting with students about financial obligations. Still, Scott said, “we’re working extremely hard to minimize the impact on our students and teachers.”
Jacob Beil Custodian Maria Garcia sweeps the cafeteria floor during lunch. Our custodial staff was one of several groups to face recent personnel cuts.
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
In Brief Reader’s Book Club
The High School Reader’s Book Club will kick off its first meeting Oct. 7. Meetings are monthly in the Media Center’s computer lab. Members will have their choice from a selection of snacks and drinks provided. “[The book club] is a great way to meet people who have a common bond for their love of books and reading,” said Marianne Keith, book club sponsor and librarian. Members read and discuss genres including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, historical fiction, nonfiction and biographies. “It’s a great club to join especially since you can pick your book to read and talk about it with others. Also one of the choice books is usually a piece of classic literature and the other one is a fiction novel,” said Fatima Mubarak, senior and club vice president. Members will be given a choice of what they want to read, and next month there will be a discussion about each. Next month there are two choice books. This year book club members will sponsor the NaNo WriMo youth writing contest in November.
—MAGGIE HAYNES Senior privileges Starting Oct. 8, seniors will be excused from their sixth or seventh period class 10 minutes early every Friday. The Student Advisory Council met with Principal Dan Meier Sept. 17, where he approved the decision. Seniors will only be allowed this privilege if they are carrying proper student-ID with them. In addition to the early-release privilege, Meier approved an additional lunch privilege for seniors. The new privilege will allow seniors to bypass underclassmen to the front of the lunch lines in the Gold Cafeteria. According to senior class council member Alyssa Hard, seniors will be given a badge and lanyard to indicate their grade, so that they will be able to cut students and advance to the front of the lunch lines. The senior men’s drill team will also be allowed to perform at the powderpuff games during homecoming week, but will not be performing at the pep rally. Senior class council member Lauren Rowson said, “Parents were complaining about their behavior, especially in front of an audience that included middle-school students.”
to school events
October 01 Senior breakfast, 7:20 a.m.
Carousel meeting, 2:30 p.m.
SATs, 8 a.m.
18 SGA “Minute to Win It” in Russell Theatre, 7 p.m.
19 Homecoming powderpuff games, 6 p.m.
23 Homecoming dance, 8 p.m.
School community mourns death of Alumnus Seymour BY TIM FERRELL & KATHERINE DEMPSEY Production & Managing Editors
Class of 2010 graduate and former boys varsity soccer player Adam Seymour died Aug. 22 after he suffered from cardiac arrest during a timed run for the Lynchburg College soccer team Aug 19. He was a threeyear member of our soccer program. “His dream was to play soccer in college,” father Jim Seymour said. Seymour was always into sports and very athletic, said girlfriend and class of 2010 graduate Rebecca Holtzman. “He was just a really goofy kid and always fun to hang out with,” Holtzman said. Soccer coach Jac Cicala said Seymour’s sense of humor helped him stand out. He was always loyal to his coach, teammates and friends, Cicala added. “He was just one of those personalities that you don’t forget,” he said. “There isn’t a day I go without thinking about him,” Cicala said.
Class of 2010 graduate Kevin Murphy, who now plays for the University of Mary Washington, was Seymour’s teammate for three years on the junior varsity and varsity squads. The distance between Mary Washington and Lynchburg prevented Murphy from receiving frequent updates when his close friend was on life support at Lynchburg hospital, he said. “It definitely still hurts me every day,” he said. Holtzman said she values the support of friends during this difficulty. “If anyone wants to talk, they can Facebook me any time,” Holtzman said. “It’s always nice to talk to people that knew him really well.” Any coach would have enjoyed working with Seymour, Cicala said. His work ethic and charismatic personality earned him the respect of his teammates. “Adam was on a path to a very bright future,” Cicala said. “It’s unfortunate that his path was cut short.”
New fundraiser policy enforced BY NIKKI ROBINSON Staff Writer
Fairfax County is stepping up enforcement on its policy which states that schools may only partake in one charity fundraising event per school year. This policy has been in place since principal Dan Meier came to our school in 2002. Assistant of Student Activities Steven Rothman said the reason for this policy is that our school is funded by taxpayer money and some parents may get upset by the charity event that their money is going into. “Any money that goes into the school account is the schools money,” Rothman said. The new enforcement of this policy will affect student groups such as DECA and the Key Club that make fundraising part of their activities. “It’s unfortunate that the rule is being enforced because there are a lot of good community services out there,” DECA sponsor George O’Brien said. “You want to teach students to be a good citizen.” The policy is not directed at DECA, but O’Brien said the en-
forcement of the policy affects this organization nonetheless. In the past DECA has worked with multiple charities such as one that supports research for cystic fibrosis. Now that our school is making sure that clubs and organizations are following the rules, it puts a limit on the many different things these groups are allowed to do. The policy also affects Key Club. Last year key club did trick or treat for UNICEF which was successful but they have had to cancel it this year due to enforcement of the policy. “Students should know that the enforcement of the policy has nothing to do with funds,” Key Club Sponsor Kimberly ReakesSmith said. School clubs and organizations are allowed to do charitable work such as volunteer work and donating blood since they are not raising money for a charity. “It’s a balancing act. You want to allow clubs and organizations to raise funds that they need,” Director of Student Activities Marty Riddle said.“But we don’t want more than one group doing the same fundraiser.”
Meet the new subschool principals Mondloch, Mukai BY MAGGIE HAYNES Staff Writer
Two new subschool principals have assumed their administrative roles as a new school year begins. Subschool 11 principal Michael Mukai is new here and was previously the assistant principal at West Springfield. “My first impression about Robinson was the main hall. With all the kids all there at once, it was a neat feeling, realizing all the people you will be working to help are right there,” Mukai said. Mukai went to Virginia Tech where he received his Master’s degree in math education. Afterward he received his administrator’s certificate at Lindsay Webb George Mason. According to junior Allison Poms, Mukai seems nice enough and she hopes he will be a fair principal. “My hope is to try and remove obstacles and help with difficult situations,” Mukai said. “I am a custodian of children. I am working toward their best welfare and I will smooth their
What is your biggest pet peeve? “When people don’t communicate— without good communication, you are left to make decisions based on rumors and hearsay.”
—Michael Mukai, Subschool 11 principal “Students who think they know it all and will not listen to advice, and people who are mean to others.”
—Rick Mondloch, Subschool 9 principal paths so they may achieve their goals.” Communication is essential to running a school that involves such a large student body, said Mukai. “I want people to communicate with me. I want the juniors to come to me when they get in trouble so we can work through it and come to a positive solution,” Mukai said. Rick Mondloch becomes subschool nine principal along with the role of associate principal took this position instead of remaining as associate principal, like years past. “[The subschool] is where the action is, and I’m an action person. I look forward to working with the students. I worked before in the main office where I did not see as many students,” Mondloch said.
Mondloch has worked here for seven years. The first year-and- a-half he was the class of 2007’s principal. He joined them as their principal in January 2004 and left them to become associate principal in the summer of 2005. “He seems like a good guy and I hope he can give us some freshman privileges like dividing up the lunch time -- like giving C Lunch to freshman, D Lunch to sophomores and juniors and E Lunch to seniors,” freshman Robert Frederick said. Before working coming to our school Mondloch was also an ESOL coordinator at the Devonshire Center in Falls Church before Lindsay Webb coming to our school. He also worked as a guidance counselor at Centerville High School and as the director of guidance at Chantilly High School for several years. Mondloch said, “I have worked at other schools, and Robinson is the best school so far. From students to the parents to the teachers— it is why I stay.”
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010 Volume 40 Issue 1 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 3
Aaron Berner - Editorials Editor
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 Valor_dictus@yahoo.com. 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 Valor_dictus@yahoo.com
FCPS fundraiser limit unjust staff editorial
According to the FCPS web site, the mission of Fairfax County Public Schools is “to educate all students to meet high academic standards and to prepare all students to be responsible citizens in the 21st century.” In that sense, the county-wide fundraiser policy which limits Fairfax County Public Schools to one charity fundraiser per school per year has failed. Schools should represent what’s good about the community around it, not the community’s inability to unite for a common purpose. By trying to limit fundraisers for charities, FCPS hinders student organizations such as DECA, FBLA and SGA, sends the wrong message to students, and is detrimental to the community because it fails to provide goodwill services which could help underprivileged people. High school should be a place where students are able to start to shape themselves as human beings and prepare themselves for college and their working lives. Student clubs and organizations serve as a way for students to gain critical real-life skills by taking part in government, marketing, business, and other types of programs. The FCPS policy hurts students involved in
these organizations and the organizations as a whole because it makes it more difficult for them to learn in a hands-on, real-world way. School Board policy 1375.3 states, “Principals shall have the authority to permit students to collect and/or donate material goods for the needy.” While this part of the policy does allow student organizations to give material objects to people in need, it fails to make the type of impact that a fundraising drive could for a charity, especially in today’s economic landscape. This policy is also sending the wrong message to students. The role of schools is to empower students to make positive changes in the community around them, not to discourage students from this because their parents may not agree with their children’s choice of charity. In the end, schools are supposed to help students to become productive citizens and good, well-rounded people; by catering to the concerns of dissenting parents instead of doing what’s best for students and the community, FCPS hinders students and student organizations from doing what is right, and, more importantly, what the students agree upon. The School Board document goes on to say that the superintendent has the authority to permit “school systemwide charity fund-rais-
What is your opinion on the limit to charity fundraisers?
ing drives deemed necessary to support business partners or meet a unique need relating to children.” The goal of the policy as a whole is to limit the fundraisers for charities carried out by schools and school organizations because it might offend some taxpayers who disagree with the students’ choice of charity. By including a clause in the policy which safeguards the county’s and specific school’s ability to fundraise in conjunction with business partners or contribute to the type of charity which the school board deems more necessary than others contradicts the idea of the entire policy. The school board leaves the door open to fundraising with business partners likely because of its lucrativeness. It also attempts to define a completely necessary charity, which could be just as easily argued against as a charity chosen by a student organization for a fundraiser. Finally, this policy is frankly detrimental to the community as a whole. Instead of standing for students and their ability to learn in a positive environment, it stands to protect its economic and political interests— Instead of showing students it is commendable to stand up for those in need, it shows that the school board takes more care in covering its own best interest than the students’. photos and interviews by Maggie Haynes and Sharon Corish
“I think it’s kind of lame, if people want to try they should be allowed to fundraise as many times as they want.” —Kayla Secriot, 11
“It’s a pretty good thing for a school activity. I think it should be mandatory if you’re in a club. ” —Hyuk Jung, 12
“Every organization should be able to have their own [fundraiser].” —Jordan Buzzell, 10
“I think that’s wrong. I think we should fundraise for anything the students want to support. ” —Ethan Reish, 12
“I don’t agree with that because if we are fundraising for charity we should have as many fundraisers as we want.” —Zahra Sanie, 10
“I think we should be able to do more than one. We should be able to benefit charities since we have higher class people here and it’s necessary to help people in need. “
—Christina Dougherty, 9
kids in the hall are saying
EDITORIAL POLICY Valor Dictus welcomes student opinion as an open forum. All opinion pieces must be e-mailed to email@example.com. 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
Entertainment Editor: Shelby Gee Page 2 and 11 Editor Mollie Berner Back Page Editor: Andrew Miller Photography Editor: Jacob Beil Staff Writers: Chase Bailey Jack Connors Sharon Corish Ian Criman Bailey Haase Maggie Haynes Hailey Metzger Nikki Robinson Lindsay Webb Adviser: Stephanie Axelrod
Features Editors: Yae Ji Cha Kate Monick
REQUESTING READER FEEDBACK To submit a letter to the editor, e-mail a signed, 100-200 word letter to valor_dictus@ yahoo.com or drop it off in room 503. Check us out online at www.valordictus.com The Valor Dictus accepts all corrections from prior issues. Please submit to room 503 or e-mail to Valor_Dictus@yahoo.com
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
Raffling for money forbidden
FCPS raffle ban hinders student clubs, organizations BY YAE JI CHA Features Editor
Student organizations should be allowed to raffle tickets for money to fundraise because it is a lucrative and productive method. There is an FCPS policy banning student organizations from raffling tickets for money. The primary reason behind this is the workload that comes with the organization and collection of data of a raffle; the work is quite daunting and difficult to manage. Another reason to consider is the opinion that raffling for money is gambling because both activities are a game of chance with stakes at hand. These reasons alone are not strong enough to support the policy of banning raffling, and the basis as to why this policy exists needs to be re-evaluated. “The Virginia Department of Charitable Gaming has very strict laws on raffling. It is also burden-
some for FCPS to get the permit to raffle and then to report the financial data. It’s a lot of work for the Risk Management Board to handle in addition to everything else we must manage,” said Mary Jane Fick, Risk Management Coordinator. This is a complex issue to fix however, the workload could be decreased by giving more responsibility to the student organization. The organization can work more closely with the risk management board though this is easier said than done. “Gambling is defined as a game of chance and when a student organization sells raffle tickets for money, it is considered gambling,” said Steven Rothman, assistant director of student activities. Another reason to be addressed is the opinion that raffling tickets for money is gambling and should
not be allowed at school. There are differing opinions that vary in severity on this notion. “The PTA and other parent organizations raffle items for money, so I don’t believe the risk is very high, but opinions on this matter vary from each person and some people feel very strongly about it,” Fick said. To compare raffling for money in a school environment to gambling is true only in the political sense. However, “gambling” in a safe, protected environment like school is not similar to gambling in the outside world. The stereotype for gamblers is they will squander away their money, begin to lie and steal from others to continue their habit, and eventually become addicts. This will not occur within a school environment because raffles are usually short term and the stakes for winning a raffle are not high.
Another point is that parent organizations and third party groups can raffle items for money on school grounds to the student population. This is because they have the means and resources to go through the legal process of obtaining a permit and collecting the financial data unlike student organizations. “This rule has been in place for a very long time and I doubt that will change,” Rothman said. Even if this policy is not overruled completely, it is possible to make small changes to allow student organizations to raffle items to fundraise. Integrating the student organization into the work of the risk management board and also limiting the amount of tickets and price of the raffle will significantly reduce the issues of the workload and gambling notion.
New tardy policy more efficient, beneficial for students and teachers BY IAN CRIMAN Staff Writer
Excessive student tardiness has been a problem at our school, and a new tardy policy has been created to help discourage student tardiness. Every time a student is late to class, a call is made to the student’s parents. This policy is a good change, and it is more lenient. This policy optimizes class time, because students are keen on getting to class on time. “I expect teachers to begin teaching as soon as the bell rings,” Principal Daniel Meier said. “We have ten minutes in between each class period, and we give ample time for students to get to class. Students need a break in between classes, but I expect students to be in class when the bell rings.” This policy is better than the one last year, because now teachers don’t have to wait for students to get to class. “It’s been very positive, especially for teachers. It’s a lot easier for us because students are not late as often, and we don’t have to worry about assigning detentions to students,” Spanish 4 and IB teacher Susan Chandler said. “It’s working really well; I’m very pleased with it.” Because of
the countdown clocks last year, and the students are walking into class after the new tardy policy this year, students have bell rings. not been late as often as previous years. Another major positive change about Students have been a lot better about get- the tardy policy is students no longer ting on time to class. fail classes due to excessive tardiness. An “The fact that the phone call goes out argument against the new policy would when a student is late means that the be that it is too strict and a call should parents will be involved right away and not be sent home to parents; however the the students know there will be a conse- policy is actually less strict than the one quence, “Chandler said. “They are defi- last year. Now, after four tardy’s a student nitely getting here earlier.” This is effec- will have detention. In the previous tive, because now students plan whether system, nine tardies equals a failure. Also, they can go to their the policy is less strict locker or not and because last year, three are using their time unexcused tardies equals in between classes an unexcused absence, and better. three unexcused absences This policy is better than “The biggest change the one last year, because equals a failure of that this year with the particular class. now teachers don’t have to “Everyone thinks it’s a policy is that the administration has wait for students to get to stricter policy, but really, taken on the role of class. it’s just we’ve changed assigning detention. how we deal with exNow, teachers cessive tardiness. We’ve don’t have to just changed the way we worry about giving handle punishments (dedetentions,” Meier tentions) instead having said. “Students have been more punctual the student fail the class,” Meier said. this year.” Students are also less distracted “I think everyone appreciates an orderly at the start of class, because not as many environment.”
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
FCYLP presents unique opportunity for students Around this time last year, I heard an announcement on GMR about a meeting. I could barely hear over the chatter of my TOK class, but I caught some words such as “internship” and “Fairfax County government.” I cautiously walked into Mrs. Hoppock’s room where two members of the class of 2010 were talking about “one of the coolest experiences in their high school career.” This program was the Fairfax County Youth Leadership Program and I knew I had to apply. What they described was a program in which the participants would learn about the Fairfax County Government, be introduced to influential government workers and students from across the county, and complete a three week long internship within the government. I found out in January that I was accepted into the program. It is fascinating to make friends from all different areas and social groups- we all have this one thing in common. The program has afforded me some extremely unique opportunities including meeting with Superintendent Jack Dale. My internship over the summer was easily the highlight. I was chosen to intern in the Fairfax County Animal Shelter which turned out to be one of the most fantastic three weeks in my life. As someone aspiring to be a veterinarian, it was entirely invaluable. If you are a junior, apply to the Fairfax County Youth Leadership Program. I honestly can’t give you much better advice for the year. You never know how much you don’t know until you know it. The FCYLP exposed to new adventures that I will take with me far into the rest of my life. Take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity.
—Carly Gordon, 12
New Tardy Policy —1st unexcused tardyautomated message to the primary number listed in the system (parent/ guardian)
—2nd unexcused tardyautomated message to the primary number listed in the system (parent/ guardian)
—3rd unexcused tardyautomated message to the primary number listed in the system (parent/ guardian)
—4th unexcused tardydisciplinary referral goes to Subschool Principal for action
—5th unexcused tardydisciplinary referral goes to student’s Subschool & subsequent Principal for action
Graphic by Aaron Berner
DICTUS DECISION: IN AND OUT LIST
RAISE Wed. & Thurs. Michael Vick Pretty Boy Swag Mr. Mukai Sperry’s Halo Reach Oxygen
RAISE every day PETA Turn My Swag On Mr. Yarborough Birkenstocks Halo 3 Carbon Dioxide
Entertainment Valor Dictus September 30, 2010 Volume 40 Issue 1 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 5
Shelby Gee - Entertainment Editor
‘You Again’ hits hard
‘...Funny Story’ goes deeper
BY SHARON CORISH
BY SHELBY GEE
“Two scoops of crazy with a side of kookoocachoo,” – spoken by the dance instructor Georgia (played by Kristin Chenoweth)—is a perfect summary of the laugh-out-loud, yet inspirational movie “You Again.” When the main character Marni (played by Kristen Bell), who was a tortured high school student before becoming a successful PR pro, realizes her older brother is about to marry her high school nemesis, her life takes a turn for the insane. She begins scheming and plotting to stop the wedding and expose Joanna’s true colors. As Marni is dealing with this, her mother Gail (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) meets her high school best friend turned enemy, Ramona (played by Sigourney Weaver) who is the Aunt of Joanna, and the two of them start trying to one up each other. The film keeps the audience laughing with the characters’ crazy antics, and it also touches hearts with its sentimental family moments, and makes the viewer want to cry when they see the main character Marni’s sufferance in high school. At times viewers will grow angry with Joanna, the head cheerleader who ruined Marni’s life, (played by Odette Yustman). Other characters such as
Craig is a depressed teenage boy who admits himself into the psychiatric ward of his local hospital. There he meets a medley of interesting characters, most prominently Bobby and Noelle, with whom he develops close relationships. And so goes the plot of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”, an upcoming comedydrama by Focus Features (“Brokeback Mountain”), based on the novel of the same title by Ned Vizzini, to be released Oct. 8. The film touches on some very serious topics like teen depression and suicide without abandoning the comedic aspects that make it “…a Funny
Photo reprinted courtesy of Touchstone Pictures
Bell and Yustman square off as Marni and Joanna, two rivals from high school who meet again as Joanna marries Marni’s brother. Grandma Bunny (Betty White) keep the audience laughing nonstop with her clever remarks and odd, cougar-like behavior. The actors are all very good at maintaining their characters and keeping the story flowing with their witty dialogue and making the audience want more and more of the drama. Some viewers may find some parts of the film excessive or cheesy with exaggeration, due to some scenes such as when the
football team, led by Joanna, push Marni out of the school, calling her a loser. All in all, the movie shows the viewers that no matter what may have happened in the past, it does not control what will happen in the future. It also shows the audience that everyone has a little high school drama in them wherever they go. Rated PG for brief mild language and rude behavior, length: 1 hour, 45 minutes, directed by Andy Fickman (“She’s the Man” ), by Touchstone Pictures.
Photo reprinted with permission from Focus Features Gilchrist as Craig, a teenage boy who decides he needs to check into a psychiatric ward
Story.” Craig finds out with his new friends at the hospital that he does not have to run away from life, and that in fact he should be running towards it.
To read the full preview check out valordictus.com
Ram Faves: A Kid In the Hall Decides We all have our favorites. Favorite movies, music, television, stores, etc. Here are sophomore Samantha Zarek’s picks.
Samantha Zarek 10
Listening to new music coming in October
Favorite Song: “Love the Way You Lie” Eminem
BY SHELBY GEE
Favorite Movie: “The Hangover”
Favorite TV Show: “Jersey Shore”
Favorite Musician: Eminem
October will make many fans of music want to pump up the volume to the newest albums by musicians from many genres. With pop singers like David Archuleta, R&B musicians like Bruno Mars, rock bands like Kings of Leon, and country superstars like Sugarland all set to release their latest work, it could be difficult to decide which to spend your money on. David Archuleta “The Other Side of Down” One of the first albums released in October will be pop singer David Archuleta’s third studio album, “The Other Side of Down.” The album will feature many songs with positive messages and feelgood melodies, including the title track. Archuleta sticks to the positive pop tunes that made his debut album “David Archuleta” reach number 2 on the Billboard 200, but goes for a more mature approach this time around, with songs like “Stomping on Roses” that show a different sound than before. The album’s first single “Something ‘Bout Love” showcases the catchy melodies that are found throughout the album as Archuleta sings about the idea of love and how great it can be. The album’s second single was released to radio in September and is titled “Elevator.” Based on a dream Archuleta had, it has an almost folk kind of feel that is different than anything he has done before. “The Other Side of Down” will be released Oct. 5 by Jive Records and will feature twelve new songs by the “American Idol” alum. Bruno Mars “DooWops and Hooli-
gans” On October 5, pop/R&B singer Bruno Mars will be releasing his debut album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” featuring the hit single “Just the Way You Are” along with three songs previously heard on his EP, “It’s Better If You Don’t Understand” which was released earlier this year. Mars is mainly known for his collaborations with B.o.B. and Travie McCoy, but his own single, the previously mentioned “Just the Way You Are” has garnered its own success, reaching number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs like “Just the Way You Are”,” Talking to the Moon” and “Grenade” show off Mars’s heartfelt lyrics and falsetto voice, while other songs like “Marry You” and “Count on Me” sound more playful. Collaborations with Damian Marley on “Liquor Store Blues” and B.o.B. and Cee Lo Green on “The Other Side” are featured on the album. The album has ten tracks total and will be a strong start for Mars as an artist. For fans of Bruno Mars, other albums coming out in October include “Libra Scale” by Ne-Yo Oct. 19 and “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” by Kid Cudi Oct. 26. Kings of Leon “Come Around Sundown” The Kings of Leon are also gearing up to release an album as well. The southern rockers will be releasing their fifth studio album, “Come Around Sundown” on Oct. 19. The album features thirteen new songs, including “Radioactive,” the lead single from the album which was released on Sept. 14 and immediately began climbing the charts. They hit the mainstream in 2008 with their hit songs “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” off their last album. “Ra-
dioactive” has a similar sound to those two tracks, with raw-sounding vocals from the lead singer and chanting background vocals. “The Immortals” is a slower song while “Pickup Truck” goes from slow verses to a fast-paced chorus. There are also some variations with the sound. “Back Down South” is a little more country than most of the songs while “Mary” is a little more rock. All together, however, they stick to the sound that they have developed over the years to create an album that old and new fans can enjoy. Sugarland “The Incredible Machine” Country music fans can enjoy new albums by Toby Keith, Darius Rucker, Sugarland and Taylor Swift this month. Sugarland’s fourth studio album, “The Incredible Machine” will be released Oct. 19. It is preceded by the hit single “Stuck Like Glue” which peaked at number 20 on the Hot 100 chart. The single is a light-hearted song about love which features a catchy chorus with a memorable “Whoa oh whoa oh.” The whole album features a tone similar to that of their previous album, “Love On the Inside” with some meaningful lyrics like those of “Wide Open” and “Stand Up.” “Find the Beat Again” is a song that is almost as catchy as the first single, while the title track is just a bit slowed down for a nice mid-tempo track. There are 11 fun new tracks total on the album. Other albums for country fans include Toby Keith’s fourteenth studio album, “Bullets In the Gun” to be released Oct. 5, Darius Rucker’s second country album, “Charleston, SC 1966” to be released Oct. 12 and Taylor Swift’s third studio album “Speak Now” which will be released Oct. 26.
by Photo by Sharon Corish Website:
Information compiled by Shelby Gee
Flip the Channel: Need a new idea for a show to watch this fall? Here are a few. Sunday:
PM Boardwalk Empire on HBO PM Mad Men on AMC
PM Life Unexpected on The CW
PM Sons of Anarchy on FX
PM Fringe on Fox PM Nikita on The CW
PM The Event on NBC PM Castle on ABC
PM The Middle on ABC PM Better With You on ABC
PM Outlaw on NBC PM Sanctuary on SyFy
Information compiled by Shelby Gee
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
Homecoming for Dummies Students recount homecoming experience BY NIKKI ROBINSON AND BAILEY HASSE Staff Writers
To many students, homecoming week is a silver lining in the otherwise dull fall. “Homecoming is a nice little way to take a break from the work school presents, and have a good time,” sophore Isshaan Sachdeva said. Among the most major of homecoming traditions are the homecoming game, as well as the lavish dance. “My perfect homecoming is one where our football team beats the opposing team and everybody just goes crazy,” said junior Courtney Leonardo. “Cheering when our team defeats the other team is downright fun, especially when the other team is Lake Braddock.”
For the many students who attend the dance, preparing for the homecoming dance is a laborious yet enjoyable process. For girls, the most important step in this process is selecting the perfect dress to wear to the dance. “It can take some time to find and choose the right dress to dance in,” sophomore Sam Morani said. “Once you find the one that’s right for you individually, though, it’s very fulfilling.” Although a stylish dress is the foundation for a girl’s outfit, it is far from the only preparation girls make for the dance. “Once you’ve chosen your dress, getting your nails and hair done, as well as complementing your outfit
“The dance is a great experience for you and your girlfriend.” —Eric Reisch, 12
“If you’re new, the dance is 40 people in a group dancing” --Joe Lafalce,12
“ I spent the first part at my friend’s house before I went to the dance” —Katrina Seaver, 10
what the compiled by Ian Criman, Tim White and Thomas Friestad
kids in the hall are saying
st i L o
new ing of k i r st e se a he stor o o t h 1. C s from . ur s e c oi e ent yo dr h c r f you mplem pair o o a C 2. s with s. with s dre fy shoe ur look ake m o com p off y y and r l o 3. T y jewe fanc up.
tlem n e G
y lass irt c a t n sh ess elec 1. S on-dow arp dr h t but some s zzy and s. sna t. t a n t n a p k ou pleme c i P m 2. o co to tie t outfit r hair u r you mb yo o C y t le 3. ur s o y fit
General Homecoming Info Here’s what you need to know...
-- The dance will take place in the Field House. -- Tickets will go on sale two weeks in advance. -- Although ticket prices have yet to be determined, they will be cheaper if you buy them earlier.
5. There will be a line at the gym entrance, so have your ticket ready at the door.
-D o T ng
“The larger the group you go with, the more fun you can have” --Dinma Onyekwere, 11
1. The dance takes place in the Field House. 2. Hundreds of students buy dance tickets; expect it to be crowded! 3. Tickets are more expensive at the door, so be sure to purchase them several days in advance. 4. Make plans to attend the dance with a group of friends; it’ll be more fun for everyone.
Burke,” Leonardo said. “The waiters cook the food on a large stove everyone is seated around. They’re highly skilled at handling all their kitchen utensils, and it’s a blast to watch.” Other popular local restaurants include Outback Steakhouse and Angie’s, in Twinbrook Shopping Center, as well as Sushi Jin and La Tolteca, in Fairfax Station Shopping Center. Students are sure to choose a wide variety of both outfits and restaurants for their homecoming experience. No matter what, the choices they make are ones they are sure to look back on as fond memories. Sachdeva said homecoming is a great experience, especially if you are able to share it with your friends.
with some fancy jewelry, is like the icing on the cake,” Morani said. Meanwhile, most guys, while not stressing the little details of their outfit, still care about their appearance, especially if they’re going to the dance with a date. “I think that guys are less preoccupied about what they wear to homecoming, because they have less to lose,” Sachdeva said. “Guys don’t have to worry about other guys judging them based on what they wear.” Selecting a suitable restaurant to eat dinner at is another important choice for those planning on attending the dance. “Last year, my friends and I decided to eat out at Shiro Japanese Steakhouse in
m o c me
What advice would you give for this homecoming?
What to Expect
... t u ko
ec restauran6t2; 3 h c to r-end 266-1
s t ighe 0. 703 se H n : ) a n $3 hine o C r d t f c n i i t u l u
ta on Mainco(Csting aro yet authe0n00 s e l, R mer’s rees 50-8 sua
Freshmen look forward to prosprect of homecoming BY JASON FOCARINO Staff Writer Homecoming is on the minds of many freshmen as they begin their high school experience. Despite some being under the impression that most new freshmen won’t be attending the dance, many are planning to go on, Oct. 23. For some, it may even be their first high school dance. “My old school didn’t ever have any dances to attend,” freshman Tyler Beacom said. “I’m very excited to be able to go to homecoming. It will be a terrific new opportunity.”
For other freshmen, the entire homecoming week will be exciting for them, rather than just the dance on Saturday. “I’m excited for a chance to spray my hair!” freshman Lindsey Rubin said. She said she and friend Anna Barr look forward to the spirit days and dressing up in blue and gold in order to show their school spirit. Freshmen are not the only ones excited for their first homecoming experience. Older students have high hopes for the new underclassmen as well. Sophomore Jenn Weaver said she
would be glad to see the new freshmen experiencing their first high school, and said she remembers her first homecoming dance last year vividly. Weaver’s friend and fellow Sophomore Cori Ansick, said she thought the homecoming dance was an essential part of a student’s high school experience. “I hope the freshman have a great time this year! I’m excited for them to go through this rite of passage,” Ansick said. Whether or not a freshman is going to the dance or not, they all said the week was very important to them.
t Ca 3-2 Trum isite en ke): es. 70 r u u B ish exq ty ( nas nsive d y D e Ho’s ; inexp d o fo
Fairfax Limousine and Charter/Mini Bus Service 4020 University Drive, Suite 420 Fairfax, VA 22032 (571) 437-1613 washingtonflyersedan.com
All Events Majestic Limousine 4406 Eastwood Ct Fairfax, VA 22032-1838 (703) 273-4222 majesticlimoservice.com
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010 Volume 40 Issue 1 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 9
Yae Ji Cha - Features Editor
Kate Monick - Features Editor
Nasr works for a purpose BY KATE MONICK Features Editor
Yae Ji Cha
Above, Nasr helps a student work on his kick. To the right, Nasr works with a student to help improve his Tae Kwon Do skills.
Whether he’s refereeing a soccer game, instructing Tae Kwon Do, or making jewelry for his company, Luna’s Jewelers, senior Firas Nasr is always working diligently. Nasr manages three jobs in addition to taking IB Diploma classes and participating in numerous extracurricular activities. He was 14 when his Tae Kwon Do instructor offered him his first job as a part-time instructor at TopKick Martial Arts. “That’s really why I started working – I had the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do,” Nasr said. On top of teaching Tae Kwon Do, Nasr is a certified soccer referee. Both of Nasr’s younger sisters play, and he played from age five to age seven. Nasr has also co-founded his own organization with the help of a close friend. “The Open Perspectives Organization” (www.openperspectives. webs.com) is focused on promoting openness to new ideas and being non-judgmental towards other people and other things. “It’s all about being confident and being yourself in order to make a difference,” he said. Nasr set up the website and runs the
Yae Ji Cha business management side of it. He is currently in search of new members. Furthermore, Nasr is an IB Diploma candidate. Although the IB curriculum is intense and a lot of work, Nasr said it is manageable. “It’s one thing to think about IB, and another thing to do IB. When you think about it you over-think and stress yourself with your thoughts, but when you’re actually doing it, it’s not that bad, as long as you can manage your time appropriately,” he said. For students seeking jobs, Nasr said they should find a job that relates to one of their main interests. “When you’re put in a place that you like, you will definitely thrive and be
Going the extra mile: Students engage in long distance relationships
BY JACK CONNORS
we started hanging out, and now we’re dating.” One of the most common hardships All relationships, like rubber associated with relationships spread bands, have a breaking point. When over a distance is an inability to see stretched over distances, even lesser the significant other in person every ones, dating can become difficult, day. Schumpp said he considered even next to impossible. Trust issues himself lucky since he and Noone can come into play, as well lack of worked together. This enabled somecommunication. It evolves into a lit- thing close to spending time with mus test, an ordeal that determines each other more often, as long as how devoted two people are to each their schedules were similar. Kim Schumpp, other. Collin’s mother, said Two couples she supported the have entered relationship, but did this test one say she felt it imcurrent, the I couldn’t see him [my boypacted their time as other former friend] every day. Some days a family. and both were we couldn’t talk because our “Since they don’t willing to talk schedules were a problem. go to the same about their exKim school and can’t periences deal- Senior Griffin see each other on a ing with the daily basis, he tends hardships of to see her more and long distance spend less time with his family,” Kim relationships. Referring to his girlfriend of about Schumpp said, addressing another a month, Fairfax junior Danielle reoccurring issue that comes up in Noone, junior Collin Schumpp said, long distance relationships. Senior Kim Griffin and Mount Ver“Not seeing her every day is terrible.” Describing their first encounter, non graduate Wes Rabusseau enNoon said, “I met him at Chick-fil- countered another problem associa [where we both worked]. I knew ated with couples who lived farther [our mutual friend] David, and I away and had different schedules. “I couldn’t see him [Rabusseau] evasked him if he knew him. After that, Staff Writer
ery day. Some days we couldn’t talk because our schedules were a problem,” Griffin said. This lack of communication could lead to a lack of trust, and in some cases, the unfortunate break up. On the other hand, long distance couples have benefits that others did not. One benefit being the lack of communication. Too much communication can be just as destructive. According to CNet News, the more teenage girls text their friends about their love lives, the more likely they were to develop clinical depression. Noone addressed the issue, saying, “You don’t have to make awkward small talk in the hallways.” Instead of having to force casual conversations and putting possible strains on their relationship, Schumpp and Noone said they enjoyed each other’s company more when they had the opportunity to see one another. Noone remarked on the casual nature of their courtship: “I see him often enough.” Schumpp expressed a desire for more time spent visiting, even with the added burden of needing money to pay for gas. Schumpp summed up his feelings with one sentence, saying “seeing her smiling face is worth it.”
happy with what you’re doing. You’re never really going to get tired of your job,” he said. For Nasr, making a difference in people’s lives is what makes his work meaningful. Job satisfaction differs for each person, but for Nasr, the payoff is seeing how his work directly benefits others. “With my instructing of Tae Kwon Do, I have been able to see progress, and I know I love my job because of the effect my teaching has on people. I like seeing people benefit out of what I’m helping them with.It’s all about finding your niche,” Nasr said. Although Nasr admits his social life is cut down from being focused on school and work, he said he still is able to find time to spend with friends. Much of his social life is rooted in his Tae Kwon Do job because many of his friends are also instructors. Additionally, Nasr met many of his friends through academic camps such as Governor’s School and Pulsar Search camp. “Honestly, I really enjoy [having three jobs]. I love making jewelry, I love reffing soccer, and I love teaching Tae Kwon Do. Every time I work, I know that my work is going to make an impact on somebody. I feel so good when I see people succeed, and if I can make a bit of money and help out - I love that feeling,” he said.
How do you feel about long distance relationships? “I don’t think it’s a good idea. High school students should take time to meet other people .” —Haley Warmuth, 11 “Long distance relationships are pointless and should not be worth having. You will never see the other person.” —Naveed Freshtvadi 10 “I feel they won’t last. It only works if you’re mature.” —Katrina Seaver, 10 “They’re kind of ridiculous. They’re not realistic cause you don’t see the other person. ” —Lauren Lebien, 11 “They shouldn’t exist; there needs to be close emotional accounts —Brian Kropaczek , 11 “I feel like at our age, they’re rather pointless. You’re what? 14 to 16 years old? ” —Emily Nice, 12 photos and interviews by Jack Connors and Tyler Walter
kids in the hall
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
Meeting SRO Wright
Kim Wright is the newest Student Resource Officer. She said she is very excited to meet kids, be a good influence, and take on a whole new career path. Here are some facts to help you get to know her:
How did you find this job?
– Job was announced county wide through the Fairfax County Police Department
What is a quality you need in order to succeed at this job?
– “You have to be a people person [for – Patrol officer at Franconia for six years. this job]. You have to enjoy working with – Past job did not require much interac- kids.” tion with juveniles - now working with juveniles is her job’s main focus
Why did you take this job?
– Job was a good opportunity to try something different – Spending time with friends and family – Heard positive feedback about the – Working out school – Enjoys going on cruises (has been to – Needed a change from her former job Nag’s Head, Rehoboth Beach, Florida, and many other places)
What are you looking forward to [with this job]?
Advice for students
– “Treat other people how you want to be treated.” – “You don’t have to be mean in order to be popular.”
– “Being a female [with this job] will help bring a different perspective and help to better understand girls’ problems” – to be a good role model – to meet new students
Sharon Corish Information compiled by Sharon Corish. Graphic by Yae Ji Cha and Kate Monick
counselors explain the benefits SAT vs ACT: College and disadvantages of taking each test BY JASON FOCARINO
Most students do not think about exams and finals as they start the year off. For juniors and seniors, however, the whole year is exam season. There are multiple opportunities to take college entry exams throughout the many months of school. Two particular tests, the SAT Reasoning Test and American College Testing (ACT), are big events for a student’s career. Each test has a set point system, and runs for a specific amount of time. The highest possible score for the SAT is 2400, and the test runs for four hours and 30 minutes, breaks included. The ACT is four hours, having a high score of 36. “Getting 500 points on each section for the SAT would be an average score,”Career Center Specialist Eileen Doyle. Certain colleges prefer one test to the other. On the west and east coasts, the SAT is much
more popular. The ACT, on the other hand, has become more popular in the Midwest and north, though, according to the official ACT website. Each test leans toward certain subjects, as well. “The SAT is more math-related while the ACT tends to have a lot on social sciences,” Guidance Counselor Tami Marcheski said. “The difficulty of it depends on your strengths,” Marcheski said. According to Marcheski, most colleges in the United States take either test, especially on the east coast. The SAT is based around more logic-related questions. It gives all of the student’s test scores to the college, even if they did worse on one compared to the other. A student gets to choose their best score for the ACT. “Colleges usually take whatever you did best on. They want high averages and test scores, so it benefits you and them,” Marcheski said. In 1901, the Educational Test-
ing Service developed the SAT. It was created to test a student’s readiness for college, and is usually taken by sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 58 years later, Everett Franklin Lindquist produced the ACT as competition. The tests are equal in the benefits they bring when applying for colleges, both Doyle and Marcheski said. All scores go to the college, even if they do not accept them. “If you find you’re better on one test, you can take that again,” Doyle said. Students who have taken either of the tests have their own opinions. “The ACT wasn’t as big a deal. No one here really cared about it,” senior DJ Palmer said. Palmer has taken both the SAT and ACT. Taking them multiple times is recommended, as the second tries may produce better outcomes, according to both Doyle and Marcheski.
Women’s Ensemble to perform at VMEA BY TIM FERRELL Production Editor
Since she was in 7th grade, senior Lauren Falkenstein has been singing at our school, in different chorus classes of varying levels. As a sophomore, she was chosen for the Select Women’s Ensemble (SWE). Now in her final year here, her experience has culminated as the Virginia Music Educators’ Association (VMEA) has selected the group to sing at their upcoming Virginia Music Educators’ Association Convention Nov. 18-20. The Select Women’s Ensemble is one of only five choruses in Virginia chosen to perform at the convention. According to Director of High School Choral Activities Mike Horanski, it is the first choir from this school invited to attend in his memory. Horanski submitted recordings of the group from the past two years to the VMEA, to show the choir is continually improving and performing at a high level, and received the successful news at the end of last school year. “I was pleased for the students because they have been working hard for [the selection]. The best part was telling the students that they had been chosen,” Horanski said. The process just to join the SWE is rigorous, said Horanski, as ap-
plicants must complete an individual oral evaluation. Horanski added that the students must be proficient at sight-reading. There are 45 SWE members this year. The choir meets during sixth period, but the members also put in work outside of school into singing. The group met and began to rehearse two weeks before school. According to Horanski, the selection is an honor, but it also means extra work for the group members. “We have to prepare six pieces, mostly in other languages, and they all have to be memorized,” Horanski said. “Normally, we have until March or April to do something like this, and now we have to do it by November.” According to Parsons, the community atmosphere the selection created is one of the best aspects of the experience. “When you’re into music with other people you get a sense of connection and you all work together to create this beautiful piece of music,” Parsons said. Parsons said the choir has had to work harder than they have ever worked before, but despite the extra work, she and Horanski agree the honor is definitely worth it. Horanski said, “I’m pleased that we will be able to represent Robinson and its music department and all the good work that happens here.”
Above: Select Women’s Ensemble practices for the VMEA. Five choruses in Virginia are chosen to perform at this convention.
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010 Volume 40 Issue 1 Bravely speaking to the Robinson Community 11
Mollie Berner - Page 2 & 11 Editor
In Brief Budget Cuts Suffering from a budget shortfall, the Athletic Department has implemented a $100 fee for all student athletes. “The school itself has to use its own funds to pay for the team’s equipment and uniforms,” said Edna Clark, Athletic Administrative Assistant. “So that [the Athletic Department] could close the gap from the shortfall, we needed to place this fee.” The fee will be required for each student this school year, regardless of sport and level. According to Clark, each student will have to pay the same fee for every sport in which they participate.
for the next games September 30 Field Hockey at Falls Church, 7:30 p.m. Volleyball v. Lake Braddock, 7:15 p.m.
October 01 Cross Country in North Carolina all day
Field Hockey v. Centreville, 4 p.m. Volleyball v. Loudon County, 7:15 p.m.
Golf regional at Twin Lakes, 9 a.m.
06 Volleyball v. South County, 7:15 p.m.
07 Field Hockey v. Oakton, 4 p.m.
11 Golf states in Virginia Beach
12 Volleyball at Herndon, 7:30 p.m. Field Hockey at Chantilly, 7:30 p.m.
14 Cross Country districts at Burke Lake
18 Field Hockey districts, 7:30 p.m.
20 Field Hockey district semis , 7:30 p.m.
21 Volleyball v. Oakton, 7:15 p.m.
22 Field hockey district finals, 7:30 p.m.
26 Volleyball v. Oakton, 7:15 p.m.
Andrew Miller - Back Page Editor
Field hockey working to revamp: Team trying to rebuild with lack of seniors BY HAILEY METZGER Staff Writer
After the loss of seven returning players and arrival of a new coach, the field hockey program has a 2-8 record so far this season. Former coach Katy Garvey left at the end of last year and is now the Assistant Principal at Dominion High School in Loudon County. New coach Jennifer Depoto said she came here because she was interested in a head varsity coach position and she was drawn to the athletic programs at our school. “I have liked how great everyone has been here,” Depoto said. Depoto said she has brought energy, dedication and commitment not only to the team but also to the program. A change Depoto brought to the program this year is the offseason conditioning, which is a priority for the team, she said. “Any good championship team stays in shape all year long,” Depoto said. For junior Lauren Stapleton, the conditioning has only brought benefits to her play, she said. “Everyone on the team is really close, we worked together a
Reprinted with permission from Yvonne Landis
Senior Katie Karas works to steal the ball from West Springfield opponent where the team came out with a 2-1 victory Sep 16. With the loss of 7 senior players this season, the remaining three seniors have taken a lead role in guiding the squad, along with new head coach Jennifer Depoto. lot on the off-season as a team,” Stapleton said. “We are in a lot better shape now.” For some, the off-season conditioning was too much of a commitment. “It was good to start condi-
Alumnus Courtney makes first appearance in US Open BY LINDSAY WEBB Staff Writer
Class of 2008 graduate and former boys varsity tennis player Drew Courtney made his first professional tennis appearance at the 2010 Legg Mason Classic in Washington, D.C. August 5. Courtney and his doubles partner and University of Virginia teammate Michael Shabaz faced off against American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, currently the number-one ranked doubles team in the world. With a score of 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, Courtney and Shabaz lost, but their close match earned them a wild card into the US Open. “We really had a lot of chances to win that match and it gave us a ton of confidence going into the US Open,” Courtney said. The doubles pair appeared in the
US Open tournament in Queens, New York Aug. 31. They fell in the first round to Wesley Moodie of Russia and Dick Norman of Belgium. Despite the loss, Courtney hopes to return to the tournament next year to play again, he said. “The whole experience was nothing short of amazing. The only nerve-wracking part was being surrounded by such accomplished players. Getting ready in the locker room with players like [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal, and [Fernando] Verdasco was amazing,” Courtney said. Bob Bolan, head coach at the U.Va, said he believes Drew has a bright future ahead of him. “Since day one at U.Va. he has had tons of potential. He is eager to get better and works tirelessly. He is definitely getting the most out of his opportunity to become
tioning before the season, but the schedule was unreasonable because it was every day,” senior Kiley Johnson said. Johnson stopped playing for the team on the last day of tryouts. Similarly to Johnson, senior
Erika Herrera said she left the team after the season began because of how different the program was this year. “Field hockey was something I did because I enjoyed the sport and being with my friends. Honestly, I didn’t like it anymore because of how serious it became,” Herrera said. Junior Megan Gallogly said even though Depoto is really strict and disciplined, she is also really nice. “We have to bring our tennis shoes everywhere we go because we run a lot—and on the day of our West Springfield game, we had to be in front of the weight room at 6:45 a.m. with our tennis shoes,” Gallogly said. “But we got muffins from Coach Depoto as a surprise.” Gallogly said the team also passes around field hockey balls with inspirational quotes from Depoto on the day of games. Despite the fact that the team only carries three seniors, Depoto said she has been able to teach the younger players the fundamentals and create new opportunities. Depoto said, “The team has not really felt too much of the losses—we continue to move forward.”
Left: Drew Courtney serves the ball over the net at the 2010 Legg Mason Classic in Washington, D.C. Aug. 5. Right: Courtney celebrates after a point. He made his first professional tennis appearance at Legg Mason, as well as playing in the U.S. Open. a better tennis player,” Boland said. William Adcock, high school tennis coach, worked with Courtney when he played at our school. “He came on as the number one player on the team his freshman year,” Adcock said. “He was a one-of-a-kind player at the high school level. He always kept his composure even in the toughest matches.”
Courtney said he hopes in the future he will be able to make the transition into professional tennis, just as he made the transition from high school to college. Courtney said, “Just as any player, I would love to be able to play tennis at the professional level once I graduate school, and I feel like I am surrounding myself with the right people and doing the right things to make professional tennis a reality.”
12 Football looks for retribution in week five
Valor Dictus September 30, 2010
BY CHASE BAILEY Staff Writer
Robinson Football Schedule 10/1/10 7:30 PM Lake Braddock A 10/8/10 7:30 PM Chantilly H 10/15/10 7:30 PM Westfield A 10/22/10 7:30 PM Madison (Homecoming) H 10/29/10 7:30 PM Oakton A 11/05/10 7:30 PM Centreville (Senior Night) H
Week five— A term that has consumed Facebook statuses and conversations in the hallways since school began. The week the football team will take on long-time rival Lake Braddock and has the opportunity to avenge itself from its post-season loss to the Bruins last year. Lake Braddock football coach James Poythress said he is hoping his team can deliver at home. His team is really looking forward to the game and is focusing on coming up victorious, Polythress said. “We have only beat Robinson once during my tenure, we have never beat them at home. I hope to end the home drought against them and win,” Poythress said. “This rivalry is big in the area; my team hopes to deliver.” Another factor in the growth of this rivalry is the transfer of senior Matt Zanellato. When Zanellato,
the starting Lake Braddock wide receiver and former Robinson wide receiver, made the decision to move to the Lake Braddock district, senior running back Jared Velasquez said it gets the team to a boiling point. Bendorf said he does not feel his presence on the opposing sideline will be a mental issue for the team. “I don’t think he will play a huge factor in the game. Move ins and move outs occur all the time,” Bendorf said. While Bendorf shows a clear opinion on the matter, it is unclear how the players are reacting to their ex-teammate’s role on a rival squad. All players declined to comment further on Zanellato and his absence from the program. According to Poythress, Zanellato has helped out his squad and made strides in his game in the process. “He is currently the leading receiver in the All-Met countdown. He has all of the tools to be a great wide receiver and his arrival has
Graphic by Andrew Miller and Tim Ferrell
The Robinson Marching Rams
significantly helped the team. He has not only helped the team, but he has been given an opportunity to showcase his own abilities as well,” Poythress said. The team will be making the 4.33 mile trip to Lake Braddock Secondary School tomorrow. Coach Mark Bendorf said the game atmosphere will not affect the performance level of the team. “Our team blocks out all distractions,” Bendorf said. “The fans, weather, refs and other factors of that sort should not impact how we play, and we always do the best we can regardless.” Velasquez said the game atmosphere is going to be wild and loud. “It is a big rivalry in the area, and the stands are going to be packed,” Velasquez said. “Both sides are going to have a good show out and the game atmosphere is going to be intense.” According to senior cornerback Chris Garcia, the team will be preparing the whole week leading up to the Friday. Garcia said they will watch film to prepare. Junior defensive back Ethan Steen said the Thursday before the game the team will just do their normal pre game practice routine. Steen said, “It’s the seniors last chance for redemption. This game means a lot. Our focus will be put towards beating Lake Braddock.”
Back Page Editor
Senior Matt Zanellato tries to catch a pass that is broken up by a Lake Braddock player during the regional quarterfinal game last season. Lake Braddock advanced to the regional semifinals after knocking the Rams out of the playoffs with a 37-7 win.
Students commit to play in college BY ANDREW MILLER
Senior Drum Major Alex Emmons directs the Robinson Marching Rams at the football game against Herndon Sept. 24. The Marching Rams perform every Friday at the home football games in addition to their seasonal competitions. “No performance is perfect, each time we perform, we have the mentality to make each performance better then the last. I think everyone in the band gave a lot of effort on Friday night,” Emmons said.
Reprinted with permission from Yvonne Landis
A select few senior athletes have already been recruited to play in college. Hobart University recruited senior midfielder Thomas Petrocci after watching him play in lacrosse tournaments this summer. He received an email from a Hobart scout who attended the tournament, who said he was impressed with Petrocci performance and was interested in him playing for their school. Petrocci committed over the summer after his recruiting visit, he said. While Petrocci started getting contacted during the summer, senior volleyball player Susie Murach was first contacted in eighth grade. Murach committed to Wingate University last March. “I used to be hard set on playing for a big Division 1 school. Penn State was a top choice. Now, I am going to a smaller school, and I’m ok with that,” Murach said. The recruited student must display to a coach their desire to play for a certain school, Petrocci said. “A lot of the work to be recruited falls on you, if you don’t want to go to a certain school, then you don’t reply to an email. But the other part of that is making sure a coach knows you are interested in playing for their program,” Petrocci said. Senior volleyball player Tiffany Connatser contacted the coach of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylva-
nia to express her interest. “I told the coach that I wanted to play for him, so he came to a tournament and watched me play,” Connatser said. “After that, our relationship was established and he told me I would have a spot saved on the team.” Petrocci, though, took a different route to reach his final decision. “I had a sit-down meeting with the coach,” Petrocci said. “He said, ‘I’m not gonna let you leave today without making you an offer.’” Petrocci’s parents were present for the meeting, and he said they were thrilled. “I told the coach that I had to think about it. After thinking about it, I decided to accept his offer,” Petrocci said. Petrocci went on his first official visit the weekend of Sept. 18. “I flew up to New York and the assistant coach picked me up at the airport. I stayed overnight with a player,” Petrocci said. “We went out to dinner; we hung out, and got to know the campus.” Petrocci says the visit solidified any doubts that he had about going to Hobart. “Academics were a big factor for me, Hobart just happens to have the people, campus, location, and lacrosse. Lacrosse helped me get into a better school,” Petrocci said. Many athletes can only dream about playing in college; but for Connatser, her dream has come true. “I’m excited to play for Temple. I never imagined I’d be getting a full scholarship to play [Division 1] volleyball,” she
Senior volleyball player Tiffany Connatser sets the ball for teammate Chance Rye in a match against Stonebridge on Sept. 13. The Rams lost 3-0. The team’s record is now 4-3. said. “I always did gymnastics up until eighth grade so I always thought if I played anything in college, it would be that.” Petrocci only visited the University of Mary Washington, besides Hobart. He needs to apply early decision and keep his grades up, he said. If his grades drop significantly, he could get his acceptance rescinded. Connatser said she plans on studying audiology at Temple. The other college she was considering was DePaul, but it did not offer her major.
Volume 40, Issue 1 of the Valor Dictus. The first issue of the 2010-11 school year.