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5 4 0 . 4 3 3 . 2 6 5 1 • Vo l u m e L X X X I X • I s s u e 5 • J a n u a r y 2 6 , 2 0 1 7
Caroline Flueckiger beautifies life by
Decorating the White House
Flueckiger finds career as Event Producer at HMR Designs Hannah Miller Feature Editor Carolyn Flueckiger is making America beautiful again. Leaving behind her high school ambitions of pursuing a career relating to premed or genetics, Flueckiger graduated from JMU with a major in - - that led her to where she is now: decorating the White House as an Event Producer at HMR Designs in Chicago. “One day I was [hoping to] cure genetic diseases and the next day I [wanted to] make parties really beautiful. That seemed like such a shift for me that it took me a really long time to get comfortable with that change,” Flueckiger said. “The people in your life are going to love you and think that you’re amazing no matter what it is that you do. There’s always going to be an opportunity for change; it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s definitely taken me years to get to where I am. But, if I hadn’t had the support
and the bravery to [change my mind], I wouldn’t be where I am now, doing events at the White House. It feels important to be able to make change.” This winter, Flueckiger and her design firm decorated the White House for Christmas. The project was a two-part process consisting of months of planning and predesign before the actual decorations could be put to use. Flueckiger and five of her coworkers were responsible for managing 100 volunteers selected by the Office of the Social Secretary and the Office of the
travels to Thailand to pursue filmmaking
works for a songwriting company that writes custom songs
See HOUSE page A2
Yassee Pirooz studies dentistry at Harvard
Industrial designer takes Golden Globes high dollar clients like Janet Jackson, David Beckham and Hulu. At the time when Bannister was working as a park photographer for Walt Disney World, his main focus was photography, but that interest has evolved over time. “It’s just strange because PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILLIP BANNISTER I’m a little all over the place with what I like to do. My skill set STUDENT SPEECHES. Bannister is really kind of ranged and eclectic shows off a Haunted House prop so I end up in these positions where that he created for Scream Parks it’s like a job, but it kind of stretches California. in a lot of different directions. What I do is kind of always changing,” BanOlivia Comer nister said. “When I started with deEditor-In-Chief sign and technology I was doing user experience designs, which is very foPhillip Bannister has always been cused on how people move through interested in photography. In his digital products, which is like fonts, sophomore year at Radford Universi- colors, general layout and general ty, Bannister was awarded his first real flow. So you’re focusing more on the internship as a photographer at Walt face.” After Bannister was enrolled in Disney World. He was then awardJMU’s industrial design program, he ed the JMU Centennial Scholarship which incentivised him to continue applied for numerous internships, his education at JMU as an industrial and the internship he ended up acdesign major. Today, Bannister works cepting was with Scream Parks Calito design decorations and lighting for fornia in San Francisco. “They produced and designed
What are the alumni up to?
is stationed in CA as a U.S. Marine
Brian Whitten lives in Alaska as a camera operator and photographer
A12 R-rate d haunted houses and just extreme haunted houses. You actually travel on a footpath through a haunted house and go through this immersive experience,” Bannister said. “When I was brought on, it was for design and production, so I designed the haunt with
See BANNISTER page A2
Gaston-Majors places top 6 in Mrs. World Lucie Rutherford Editor-In-Chief In late December of 2017, Charity Gaston-Majors made her way to South Africa for the Mrs. World competition. Gaston-Majors finished the competition within the top six, against 36 other contestants from around the world. Despite her success as a pageant performer, Gaston-Majors never would have thought of herself as one. “I was a sports girl, I was a personal trainer, I was in sweatpants everyday, so pageants weren’t even necessarily on my radar,” Gaston-Majors said. Graduating college with an exercise science degree and a psychology degree with a coaching minor, Gaston-Majors became a personal trainer for the next 11 years. Along with that, she started her own nutrition business and opened up
a private boutique fitness studio in downtown Boise, Idaho. After marrying and having a son, now one and a half years old, Gaston-Majors moved away from the entrepreneurial side of her career and began spreading her message. “At my gym I had sponsored a couple pageant ladies that I knew… They just kept saying, ‘Charity, you should do it, you should do it.’... I am a firm believer in doing things that are new and doing things that scare you. Instead of always staying comfortable, doing things that force you to grow. So, I talked to people and they just kept saying that every woman steps into the best version of herself,” Gaston-Majors said. “I thought they were just pretty girls in a dress and come to find out they were some of the most amazing women that I’ve ever met, the most driven women that I have ever met. They
are CEO’s, they are entrepreneurs, they own nonprofit organizations, they are moms. They’re just these great women, they are the movers and the shakers in the community, so they were my kind of people.” Gaston-Majors soon realized what competing in national and international pageants really meant, and has now fully taken that idea under her wing. “The idea for [competing in pageants] is that it’s a great way to amplify whatever message it is that you want to get across. What I like to say is that the sash and the crown, they’ll help get you in the door, but your brains and what you say and your contribution to the community is what will help keep you in the door,” Gaston-Majors said. “It has allowed me to make great connections in the community and in our state. So if I was to call a middle school
or an elementary school or high school and say, ‘Hi, I’m Charity Majors and I would love to come speak to your school,’ they may or may not know who I am, but if I call and say, ‘Hi, I’m Mrs. Idaho or I’m Mrs. of the Americas, then all the sudden they perk up and they listen. [Then] I’m able to share a message of hope or inspiration or anti-bullying to the kids, and then it allows me to really be involved in the community and be that public spokesman and that public figure for a lot of different causes that I’m passionate about. It helps bring awareness to them.” One such organization is The Shoe That Grows, a nonprofit organization that creates a shoe that grows in size for children in impoverished areas, including the US. “I was able to bring 100 of ‘The Shoe That Grows’ to
See TOP 6 page A2
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARITY GASTON-MAJORS
THE SHOE THAT GROWS. Charity Gaston-Majors hands a shoe from “The Shoe That Grows” to a child from an orphanage in South Africa during her time competing in the Mrs. World Competition.
January 26, 2017
Flueckiger lives dream job with innovative work HOUSE from A1 they are in their students’ hadn’t lost the ability to ex“It was definitely very cool and an incredible experience. It’s very surreal to walk into the Oval Office. You walk in and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy,’ but it’s also like, ‘I have to get to work.’ We had a lot to do in a very small amount of time,” Flueckiger said. Though projects like the White House are a oncein-a-lifetime experience, Flueckiger’s favorite projects are the ones where she gets to make connections with her clients. “Some of the projects that I‘ve loved the most have been weddings where I’ve just become really close with the families, whether it’s the parents or the bride and groom… You really get to know them very well, and talk with them about pretty personal details... All of those very intimate details make you get close very quickly over that course of time,” Flueckiger said. “You’re not going to see it on a magazine and you’re not going to read about it on the internet, but those are the most meaningful to me.” Connections are important to Flueckiger: with clients, family or even teachers. When attending HHS, Flueckiger found PE teacher Jennifer Thompson to be the most impactful to her. “I just feel like we’re so lucky at HHS with the incredible teachers that we have and how invested
lives. [Jennifer Thompson] was always somebody who I could talk to, who I could have conversations with. She talked to me like somebody that had thoughts and who was developing these ideas about the world,” Flueckiger said. “I always thought that was so valuable, in a way that she maybe never knew. She validated the fact that I have these thoughts and visions for the future and questions about the world. So she was always very important to me, and she still is.” Flueckiger’s visions for the future included doing bigger things; she wanted to do more, see more. She wanted her work to be beautiful, to be innovative. To satisfy these needs, Flueckiger needed to move to a big city. Searching for a place that was new and unknown, she settled on Chicago. “Part of [what pushed me to this career] was my mom always throwing parties and entertaining. When I sort of stumbled on that as a career, it just sort of made sense. It was a really great way to tie in [my] business sense with this more creative, sort of abstract career that I had in mind, which was making things beautiful, making events very thoughtful and sort of outrageous in a beautiful way,” Flueckiger said. What you do in high school is not who you are. Flueckiger wishes she
plore what else was available while she was a teenager. She urges students to appreciate what is available to them and keep open arms to the opportunities and people around them. “There are so many different ethnicities and so many different cultural backgrounds [at HHS] that [students] can get to know one another and understand their differences,” Flueckiger said. [They can] see that you can be completely different from somebody, whether it’s your culture or your race or your political beliefs, and still have something that ties you together, whether it’s your sports or the class that you’re in. It’s so nice that there’s just such a diverse collection of people there.” Flueckiger has found her dream job, but it still comes with challenges. “[A difficulty] is definitely deadlines and how those tie in with the products that I work with, which [are] generally fresh flowers. [It’s hard to] deal with shipping abilities, weather delays and with climate change. How that’s impacting the global growing economy has been really interesting… The farmers in South America will lose an entire year of products because everything freezes. Being aware of a world that is bigger than us, and how that impacts what I do can definitely be [difficult], but [it’s] something we manage,”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAROLYN FLUECKIGER
BEAUTIFUL. (Top) Flueckiger and Ryan Campbell pose outside of the Cubs World Series gala. (Left) HHS grads Heather Dunahoo, Katherine Dunahoo and Gwen Baugh pose with Flueckiger (third from left) at Katherine’s wedding in Denver. Designing her wedding was the highlight of Flueckiger’s year. Flueckiger said. Flueckiger encourages kids to stand up to any challenge that may be holding them back from pursuing a career they want, especially with the stigma surrounding design. “People hear design or design type words like interior designer, graphic designer and they think that
Majors sends voice through pageants TOP 6 from A1 a couple different orphanages [in South Africa], and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t had the opportunity to go to Mrs. World,” Gaston-Majors said. “In third world countries, they don’t have the resources to buy more than one pair of shoes every year or every couple years… so ‘The Shoe That Grows’ grows in five sizes so they are able to keep them for a year or two. It just allows them to be a kid and go to school and continue their education. It’s just shoes that we don’t really think about that we can take for granted.” Through her accomplishments and experiences in pageants, Gaston-Majors’ view of herself since high school has changed, giving her a better grasp of who she is and what her purpose in life is. “Before, I didn’t necessarily know that I was beautiful, or if I did then I would get teased for it. I was nicknamed Volleyball Barbie, and just teased for the way that I looked and so a lot of times it felt like God made a mistake in the way that he made me,” Gaston-Majors said. “Now knowing that I was made this way for a reason, I can use things like pageants [to make a difference]. I used to have a TV show, I’m a public figure and I have a big social media presence, I can use my looks to gain people’s attention and then I can insert hope and life and challenge them to become a better person, and draw potential out of them with the words that I say.”
Not only does Gaston-Majors send her message out during pageants, but has also found her voice through many other means of communication. “I have a travel blog called majorsadventures.com and I have a business blog at charitymajors. com. I am a speaker and an author now, so I just published a book called The Ugly Side of Being Beautiful. I have co-authored another book called Their Ceiling, Your Floor,” Gaston-Majors said. “Now I’m involved with an organization called Women Ignite International as a speaker, author and now I have a podcast and some online courses. In my free time, I dabble in pageants.” Looking back at her high school career, Gaston-Majors wishes she would have realized that there is so much more to life outside of high school. “There is so much more than prom and the volleyball games and the gossip that can go on or the bullying that can go on… [I wish I knew that] high school doesn’t define who you are and who you can be for the rest of your life. It’s a part of it, and you’ll take lessons with you as you go, but when you leave high school, you have a chance to create whoever it is that you want to be, and you can step into that person regardless of what people knew you as in high school,” Gaston-Majors said. “To adventure and to explore and to do things [even if you’re] afraid, those are things that I wish I would have done back then.” The message that Gaston-Majors sends to current high
schoolers is simple: be kind. “A lot of times high school kids don’t feel good enough and you just never know what they’re going through behind the scenes, you never know what they’re going through at home, you never know what’s going on with their family or with their finances or with their grades, or with the things that are pivotal in their life,” Gaston-Majors said. “Every single person on the planet, they are one in, I think the number is, like 700 trillion of a chance to be here; there will never be another person exactly like them with the gifts that they have, with the things that they’re good at, with the way that they communicate, with the way that their brain operates, with the family that they’ve been given… They’re a soul and they’re a human being and they have greatness inside of them, so draw that out of them and treat everyone with kindness.” For her future plans, Gaston-Majors is continuing to send out her message, though is focusing more on her upcoming books as her next step forward. “I am about to go into a big launch for my book, and we’re already making plans for another book as well. [I’ll be focusing on] expanding my speaking career; we’re growing Women Ignite International, we’re hoping to take it to Australia this year in 2018 and put on a big conference there,” Gaston-Majors said. “We’re potentially going to be on the Dr. Oz show and maybe Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, so cross your fingers for us.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHARITY GASTON-MAJORS
PAGEANT READY. (Left) Gaston-Majors stands with her husband, Chris, and her one-year old son Judah after the Mrs. World competition in South Africa. (Right) Gaston-Majors shows off her progression in pageantry, starting off representing women across her city, then her state, then her country.
they have to be this artistic, very good with their hands, very good at drawing [kind of person]. That type of work or those types of skills [are] so little of what makes somebody successful in this business. There’s so much more than that,” Flueckiger said. “So yes that is important; you definitely need to be creative and
have a vision or the ability to cultivate a vision, but it’s also interpersonal skills and working with different types of people, different families, different socioeconomic statuses. Being that even-keeled, interpersonal relationship builder is so key.”
Bannister creates haunted props BANNISTER from A1 Phillip Bannister has always been interested in photography. In his sophomore year at Radford University, Bannister was awarded his first real internship as a photographer at Walt Disney World. He was then awarded the JMU Centennial Scholarship which incentivised him to continue his education at JMU as an industrial design major. Today, Bannister works to design decorations and lighting for high dollar clients like Janet Jackson, David Beckham and Hulu. “When I started with design and technology I was doing user experience designs, which is very focussed on how people move through digital products, which is like fonts, colors, general layout and general flow. So you’re focusing more on the face,” Bannister said. After Bannister was enrolled in JMU’s industrial design program, he applied for numerous internships, and the internship he ended up accepting was with Scream Parks California in San Francisco. “They produced and designed R-rated haunted houses and just extreme haunted houses. You actually travel on a footpath through a haunted house and go through this immersive experience,” Bannister said. Scream Parks California brought in students from around the country from colleges including Harvard, Dartmouth and JMU. “My initial response was intimidation. Going in with people from Ivy League schools is always intimidating because there’s always that stigma. But, the program that I came from, that industrial design program at JMU was so new when I joined that the director let us pick what we were interested in and go in those directions,” Bannister said. At the moment, Bannister is with a company whose most recent project was designing floral decorations for the Golden Globes. In the past they have also done The Grammys, Oscars, People’s Choice Awards and Emmys. “The company I work for now is kind of a design and event company. They started as a floral company doing highend floral, but my role here is design, quick visual design and industrial design. [We] have very high-end clients and celebrity clients like Burberry, Selene,
PHOTO COURTESY OF BANNISTER
DESIGN IT. Bannister builds a set piece for Scream Parks California. they did the flowers for Michael Jackson’s funeral, Janet Jackson is one of their clients, David Beckham, it’s just bananas, it’s completely bananas,” Bannister said. This company is all about privacy for their clients, so Bannister was not able to provide its name. As a JMU grad fresh out of college, Bannister got his start when he moved out to Los Angeles, California to work as a publicist doing press release and brand management. It was at this job where he was first offered the opportunity to take pictures for a magazine,and the rest “snowballed” from there. “One of our clients was Fred Segal Salon, it’s a really big salon out here. They did all of the hair for the Bad Blood music video, the Taylor Swift music video that won all of those awards. Matthew Preece, the hair stylist, was one of our clients as well, and they were doing a spread for his salon opening in Santa Monica and they needed a photographer. They found out I could take pictures and then like two months later I had a spread in LA Magazine, Beauty Launchpad and American Beauty,” Bannister said. “It was just crazy. I remember in high school so badly just wanting to have my photos in a magazine and I’m in my third month of being in Los Angeles and I’m looking at my name in American Beauty Magazine. It was just such a surreal moment. High school Phillip would have been really happy.”
January 26, 2017
Sister’s sudden death pushes Weaver around the world Lucie Rutherford Editor-in-Chief She has mountain biked down one of the biggest volcanoes in the Andes mountains, repelled down waterfalls in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador, backpacked along the coast of New Zealand, swam with sea turtles in the Galapagos, harvested coffee beans in Cuba, backpacked 300 miles of the Rocky Mountains, paraglided in the Amazon and hitchhiked around the country of Iceland. It can be said that 2006 HHS graduate Hope Weaver has been around the world and back since her time in Harrisonburg, first starting off 3,907 miles away in Bolivia for a year and a half. “I volunteered at an orphanage in a kindergarten class teaching and caring for a classroom of 26 children,” Weaver said. After her most recent job working as a Trip Facilitator of the South America Semester Course for an International Gap Year program based out of New Zealand, Weaver has now made it to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, volunteering for a disaster response nonprofit rebuilding houses. “We are currently working on replacing the framing in [a house hit by the hurricane],” Weaver said. “Many of the studs were rotted due to the five feet of sitting water that was in the home.” Due to her current area of work, Weaver has had to change up her living lifestyle. “My boyfriend and I bought an old 1978 Sunlite truck camper from a friend and refurbished the interior,” Weaver said. “We live in the camper on the back of our truck. We have converted the truck camper into our permanent mobile
home.” Weaver graduated college with an Associate’s in disaster management, a passion she gained at a young age through her love of traveling and the outdoors. Through the things she has experienced, it is the stories she hears which trouble her the most. “The most challenging part of working in disaster response is hearing about all of the devastation that has happened in this area and the lack of resources available to those affected by the hurricanes,” Weaver said. Along with her disaster management degree, Weaver graduated college with a Bachelor’s in elementary education, bilingual & bicultural education, ESL education and Spanish. After graduation, she was hired at a bilingual school in Denver as a sixth grade Dual Language teacher, teaching all content in Spanish. “Unfortunately, the school district and I had differing views on how history should be taught in schools. The classrooms were restricted to teaching only American history that portrayed the U.S. in a positive light. This excluded Martin Luther King Jr., Native American history, Mexican-American history and the list goes on,” Weaver said. “There were district-wide protests about these new restrictions that I partook in. Teachers and students were walking out of classrooms in protest. When it was clear that the district was not going to rescind the changes, I turned in my resignation. It was painful for me to leave my students, my passion is teaching and working with students.” Immediately after her resignation, Weaver found a program called Wilderness Therapy where she
PHOTO COURTESY OF HOPE WEAVER
TAKING A GAP. Hope Weaver travels in Urubamba, Peru with her students from the South America semester Gap Year program working withe Llama Pack Project. The Llama Pack Project works to recover traditional uses and breeding of carrier llamas as a tool for sustainable rural development and mountain conservation. This trip marks one of the many that Weaver has taken since her time at Harrisonburg High School. found herself working in the backcountry with students struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse, addiction, self harm, suicide and other struggles. It was the sudden passing of Weaver’s younger sister which brought her on this path. “There are some moments in life that can’t be put into words or conceptually understood--the abrupt passing of my younger sister, Chloe, was one of the those moments. What an incredible light Chloe was in my life! Her goofy laugh and radiant way of being continues to shine deep inside my heart. My challenge since her passing has been to
be open to experiencing a pain that has redefined my sense of normalcy. The gift my sister has offered me in her passing is courage and the audacity to continue seeking out the wild untamed beauty in myself and in the world around me. This has manifested in many ways, pushing me into unpredictable career paths, out of my comfort zone and traveling around the world,” Weaver said. “I know what it feels like to experience life-shattering moments. The wilderness has a way of cradling us when we are vulnerable and exposing our reality.” In a paper she wrote to shed light on her work, Weaver shares one of the
stories she witnessed of her students overcoming their struggles. “The sun had set; we were hiking by moonlight when one of my students became frustrated. As we sat, we talked about the stars, how big the world is and our place in it. There were tears and expressed heartache, as I watch my student struggle through this physically challenging moment. The desert air was crisp as he stood up, one foot at a time, slung his backpack over his shoulder and we continued hiking,” Weaver wrote. Through the travels and stories she has seen, Weaver appreciates all that she has gained from seeing the
world away from her own. “Travel has changed the way I see my part in the world,” Weaver said. “In my job as a Wilderness Therapy Guide I get to show my students the wild remote parts of the Colorado mountains and the Utah desert. There is much we can learn from each other. I believe in the shift in perspective that happens as we step outside our comfort zones and the world becomes bigger. I value the discomfort that comes from having new, challenging situations. Mostly, I value hard work and the wisdom that comes from experience.”
German continues passion for politics Journalism career surprises Cappell
Noah Siderhurst Feature Editor Justin German has always been interested in politics. “I remember being in elementary school and wanting to run for class council,” German said. “I remember when I was in seventh grade I was just obsessed with learning about the presidential primaries... I always kind of knew it was the world I wanted to be a part of.” In high school, German and a friend founded a young Democrats club. “It was 2004, so we would do debate watch parties and we had the house of delegates candidate come in and talk to everyone. We had a presidential watch party night.” It was no surprise, then, that German decided to major in political science when at the University of Mary Washington, and eventually got the job as a fellow in former Virginia governor Tim Kane’s office. After that, German moved to Washington, D.C. for an internship with senator Ted Kaufman. Even though he had interned in the House of Representatives during college, German found it hard to make it into congress. “I literally knew no one on the Hill,” German said. “I had no connections to a member of congress that I really wanted to work for... I got this internship totally randomly and then a job opened up a few months in the front office, being a staff assistant.” Kaufman was the appointment to fill former Vice President Joe Biden’s senate seat, so when Kaufman’s term ran out, German was able to stay on with the next senator, Chris Coons. In this position, German was in charge of responding to letters and emails from voters and working with policy. He stayed in the senate until 2012, when he switched over to the House of Representatives with representative John Carney. With Carney, German was a policy adviser in the areas of energy, the environment, agriculture, trade, immigration, judiciary and patents. “In a congressional office, particularly in the house, there’s only like a couple staff, so you get to work on a lot of different issues, which is cool,” German said. “It’s cool to get a big base of knowledge and expertise.” From there German transferred to the office of another representative, Annie Kuster of New Hampshire. For
Ellie Hammond Staff Reporter
PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN GERMAN
RUNNING THINGS. Justin German ran for the track team and also created and ran the Young Democrats Club while at HHS. the last two and a half years he has been her legislative director on Capitol Hill. “[She] is a really awesome boss and a really effective member of congress and it’s been a great opportunity to work for her and I have a really good team around me,” German said. “It’s a really fun, fulfilling thing to be a part of even though the broader political dialogue right now is very frustrating.” D.C. has been German’s home for the past eight years and he has no plans of leaving soon. Basically all the major jobs for him are in there and he enjoys the environment. “What I love about D.C. is that it’s this mixing pot of the whole country,” German said. “You get a really diverse group of people with different backgrounds and perspectives.” Kuster’s five main areas of focus are the heroin and opioid epidemic, veterans affairs, ending sexual violence, agriculture and economic development. German has had the opportunity to work on all of these. He is particularly proud of his work on Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “Last congress we were able to pass 18 bills in the House of Representatives on [opioids] in a single week. We then turned [that] into a broader piece of legislation that was passed by congress and then later president Obama signed it into law,” German said. “We’re hopeful we can replicate that later this year. The big thing is we need money for treatment and prevention and for law enforcement.” German was involved in the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, modeled after the heroin task force.
Bipartisanship is something German prides his office on working towards, although it’s not always easy. “[Kuster] has a very bipartisan focus in her work, in all the stuff that we do,” German said. “I think that’s a little bit unique in the type of dialogue that we have right now nationally. I think there’s a lot more bipartisanship now than people realize.” However, German still sees things that need improvement. “I think the dialogue is very frustrating as far as the negativity and the partisanship,” German said. “I wish the broader public had an opportunity to see through how frustrating our dialogue is to realize that the members of congress are real people, too. They have real lives and they are just trying to do the best job they can for the people they represent. People are going to have real policy disagreements, which is fine and good and we should talk about those disagreements and have a real dialogue, but I think because of the way things play out, it’s hard to have an accurate representation of who members of congress actually are. I don’t know how we change that, but that’s something that’s definitely challenging for me.” Working as a staffer, German has gained a lot of experience in the 13 years since he’s been at HHS, but he’s not sure what the future holds or if he would consider running for any kind of political office. “If an opportunity like that presents itself at some point, it’s something I would be interested in,” German said, “but at the same time I’m comfortable in the same type of role I’m in now.”
Cappell never thought of journalism as a long lasting career option, although she was a part of the Newsstreak at HHS. It wasn’t until a keynote speaker at a journalism convention changed her mind. After graduating with the class of 2015, Cappell is now attending Virginia State University and majoring in print and online journalism as well as running a website and logo business. “I never thought of [journalism] as a career. I was so compelled to this speaker and it really just switched my decision on choosing this as a career,” Cappell said. Due to this new inspiration for a journalistic career, Cappell searched for any opportunity to help immerse herself in writing while in college. She was then introduced to Bonnie Winston, an editor for the Richmond Free Press her freshman year at VSU. An internship there seemed like the a perfect option to help gain more experience for a real career after college. The summer before her junior year, Cappell received a call from Winston asking if she would be interested in working throughout the summer. “[The internship] was crappy pay but [it] gave me valuable and priceless experience,” Cappell said. After accepting the job offer, Cappell worked as an intern, in which she obtained countless stories, though remembers one in particular because of the lesson that was applied with it: stand by your writing. “I was assigned to write a piece about how VSU had suddenly fired ten professors, a handful of them actually came from my department. The story went to print the week before classes started. I remember being so shook to go to class because of what I had written, but that piece really toughened me up as a young journalist because I had to stand my ground and stand by what I wrote… the truth,” Cappell said. Cappell also maintains a website and media management business called JC Creations at VSU. Her business manages social media accounts, creates graphics and builds websites. The responsibilities accounted with her company are numerous due to having to produce custom and personalized creations. “The client enlists you because they can not build a website themselves, so you have to build a nice looking website according to what they want. [The final product] really depends on what a client asks me to do. It really is just a lot of time management and consistency,” Through her high school experience, Capell learned multiple valuable lessons that apply to her everyday journalism class.
January 26, 2017
High school sweethearts take cinematography, writing Garrett Cash Online Editor Alex and Emily Rendon took a rowdy AP English Language class with English and journalism teacher Valerie Kibler in their junior year of high school. Since the class was wildly talkative, Kibler moved students around all the time to quiet down the room. Little known to Kibler, sitting Alex and Emily Rendon together sparked a relationship that lead to marriage and a strong friendship. Their relationship continued to develop after leaving the English class as they pursued their majors in college. Alex Rendon followed Emily Rendon to Virginia Commonwealth University, where they went for their undergraduate degrees. From high school through college to their post-graduate degrees, the couple has been taking life one step at a time and encourages current and future HHS students to do the same. “Enjoy it. College is great, and you’re going to like it, but enjoy high school as well… just take it stepby-step and trust that you will get into the right pro-
gram or career path,” Emily Rendon said. Kibler also influenced Alex and Emily Rendon to pursue media related careers. It was when Kibler had Alex Rendon start writing editorials that he found his love in writing, and he went on to become an English major. With Emily Rendon, it was taking a class with the broadcasting teacher at the time, Seth Stratford, that piqued her interest in cinematography. “I’m very interested in video and I had the chance through his class to practice,” Emily Rendon said. Along with her interest in cinematography, Emily also enjoys web design and wants to take her skills to work with activism in some way. In fact, she participated in the Women’s March on D.C. in 2017, saying that, “It was one of the most supportive and inclusive environments I’ve ever been in.” Taking her passion for activism and media, she hopes to help women and people in need. “I’d really like to work in a non-profit and help [the organization] with their communication, either their website or flyers,” Emily Rendon said.
Also interested in a media-based career, Alex Rendon wants to pursue writing, but he is now working at his father’s store while Emily Rendon finishes her master’s degree at James Madison University. In his life, Alex Rendon likes to keep a level head, maintaining balance throughout everything, which contributes to his ability to take his life one step at a time. “I like to stay steady… so now I’m trying to become more a middle-ground person,” Alex Rendon said. Passionate about literature, he delves into his reading, especially in biographies about Abraham Lincoln, who, coincidentally, shares a birthday with his wife. Lincoln has been a shared experience for the couple, with Emily Rendon actually getting to work on the film “Lincoln” and Alex Rendon sharing a birthday with the day the movie came out. In their lives, the Rendons value living life stepby-step and hope to continue studying their interests, waiting to see where their lives take them career and family-wise.
PHOTO COURTESY OR ARIK KNAPP
A LONG HISTORY. (TOP) Alex and Emily Rendon stand with Valerie Kibler in high school. (BOTTOM) The two are shown during their wedding photoshoot.
Brother’s leukemia inspires Mestre debates career in CA Harman’s RMH nursing career
Jesus Cortes Staff Reporter
Eddie Mestre was once a student at Harrisonburg High School, just like everyone he had to think of what he wanted his career to be. Mestre is now twenty one and living in Los Angeles, California studying film at the university of Southern California (USC). “Profession-wise I wouldn’t say I’m a filmmaker, I’m a student honestly trying to dazzle in many different things and trying to figure out what I exactly want to do,” Mestre said. Mestre was always into stories and epic narratives, which is what has turned him toward the movie-making direction. “The stuff like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars would really get to me,” Mestre said. Mestre’s movie and theatrical interest started around his sophomore year with the help of drama teacher Stanley Swartz “I did theater and I did the musical in tenth grade,” and “I really fell in love with that and Mr.
Swartz is just the man, he changed my life.” When Mestre was school he took marching band and played a lot of instruments which lead him to his love of music. “I play the pan flute and the drums, I also produce all my stuff on my computer,” Mestre said. Though Mestre is studying film, he but really isn’t that interested in it. He would like to dabble more into music and video archiving. During his time in California, Mestre had made a big accomplishment in his musical interest aspect. “I won a hackathon that was sponsored by the LA Philharmonic Orchestra, and we developed this web app that turns your phone into an instrument. We are currently developing that with the LA orchestra and trying to see if that can be used in a concert setting,” Mestre said “A hackathon is when a bunch of coders and programmers come together to make programs or do a specific task in a limited amount of time. All the programmers stay
up at night and code, trying to complete the task they were given.” “I’m not normally a coder so it was intriguing to me trying to work with a coder and make music from an app. We would’ve never thought that we would have won,” Mestre said. Another thing that Mestre is proud of making is a lot of music with his creative partner Sicar. “He’s kind of the poet and I dictate all his poetry,” Mestre said. Though Mestre did very well at this “hackathon”, it is not his usual scene. When Mestre was school he took marching band and played a lot of instruments which lead him to his love of music.“I play the pan flute and the drums, I also produce all my stuff on my computer,” Mestre said. When producing music his stage name is DjStinkBug, producing extreme pop. Mestre is still trying to figure out what he wants his career to be, though right now he is really liking the thought of doing music while still studying film.
John Breeden Staff Reporter Carla Meyerhoeffer-Harman graduated from HHS in 2005, and then went on to college to pursue a career in nursing. Harman now works at the Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital Medical Center. Though she is back in the Harrisonburg area, Harman first attended the University of Mary Washington before transferring to Blue Ridge Community College. In college, Harman enjoyed all the opportunities that college life brings. She also made sure to keep a good balance between her studies and her social life. “[In college], I had an apartment, I lived with two guys and another girl. We had parties, we studied, I feel like we had a good balance between college life and fun. But then, my nursing school was no fun. It was all studying, no partying. It meant more to me, it was like a career so I was more focused,” Harman said. Harman now lives in Weyers Cave, which is about 30 minutes from Har-
risonburg. Despite being a half-hour drive from her, she enjoys living outside the city. “[Weyers Cave is] quiet, less traffic. I just like living there because it’s close to my husband’s job and it’s kind of close to Harrisonburg,” Harman said. Harman is a registered nurse at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, where she works 12-hour daily shifts. Although the work days are long, Harman loves her job and wouldn’t want to have an ordinary office job. “It’s challenging. You never know one day to the next what you’re going to see, what kind of day you’re going to have. We work 12 hours, but I like it. I think it’s rewarding, I like that I don’t come to work and sit in an office. I feel like I’m making a difference,” Harman said. Harman didn’t always want to become a nurse, but it was when her brother was battling leukemia that she made up her mind to go to nursing school. “My brother was diagnosed with leukemia his freshman year of college. I was already thinking about going into nursing, but he was treated at UVA and just
watching the way the nurses took care of him and seeing how they treated him, I thought ‘This is cool, these people are making a difference, coming to work every day and doing something rewarding.’ I knew I wanted to do something like that,” Harman said. Harman graduated 13 years ago, and since then, she was able to find a job that she loves. Her advice to current HHS students is to make sure to stay on top of schoolwork, but enjoy all the different perks of being a high school student. “I think it’s important to have a good balance between a social life and getting good grades. I think there’s something to be said to those students who get As and Bs because I feel like those are the students that have figured out a balance. Once you graduate, you do want to get into a good college, but at the end of the day, it just matters that you got your degree. People should take the time to enjoy things like prom and senior trip because those are the things you’re going to look back on and remember,” Harman said
Melton uses sociology at texting platform startup Oziel Valdez Staff Reporter Nick Melton has been using his experience and education to his advantage. He has been recently working at a startup company named “Hustle”, a texting platform for local campaigns and non-profit groups so that they can interact and plan events. “Working for a startup [company] can be exempt. Sometimes there can be long hours. I’m on the sales side [of the company], that can mean tricky hours and there’s a lot of traveling. All these things together can be difficult. [A startup company may] not always be the most highly resourced type of organization,” Melton said. “On the flip side, it’s also a very flexible work style. It’s more casual and you can work at home when you need to. The challenges are usually in the work itself. Goals we’re trying to reach or whatever projects we’re working on
PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK MELTON
CATCHAFIRE. Nick Melton (middle) with the rest of the career section of “Catchafire”, the technology company that Melton worked at before moving to “Hustle”, where he is now. can be excruciatingly painful, but that’s also what makes it fun.” Melton graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor’s degree. While attending the College of William and
Mary, Melton majored in history and minored in sociology. Melton is currently using his education in sociology to impact his performance at “Hustle.” “I wanted to get into work in the social impact
space, but I’m also interested in technology subjects. I was lucky enough to cross an organization [that] is exactly in that intersection [of social impact and technology]. Career paths aren’t always fully intention-
al while you navigate your way and you try something new,” Melton said. “I don’t necessarily plan on staying in this exact state for my entire career, but it’s really interesting for now [while] gaining skills and learning
while having a good time. It’s what I’m interested in for the time being.” Melton’s previous and current jobs both offered him traveling opportunities. Melton has traveled to San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Mexico and more locations due to the needs and enjoyments of the companies he worked at. With the inclusion of travel, these two jobs have other similarities that he has experienced. “Before I worked [at Hustle], I worked at a company called Catchafire for three years in New York City. Hustle and Catchafire are somewhat similar. They’re both technology companies and they both work in the nonprofit area. It’s great doing work that is interesting work itself, but is also meaningful, is having an impact and is supporting social groups. [They’re also enjoyable] because I get to work with passionate and intelligent people.”
January 26, 2017
Peace Corps, law takes DiNapoli around world Sophie Sallah Staff Reporter From Harrisonburg to Tanzania to Mongolia, Emma DiNapoli hasn’t stayed put since her high school graduation in 2010. Her travels have led her to the far corners of the world, while working with others and venturing on her own. Almost eight years later, she finds herself in New York City studying law in her first semester at Columbia Law School. “I’ve always wanted to live in New York City, so now here I am,” DiNapoli said. DiNapoli attended Harrisonburg High School from 2006 to 2010. In high school, DiNapoli was a part of the cross country team, among other things. “I think the skills I learned during cross country, being able to persevere, dedication... [are] really valuable skills. You definitely get that when you’re being yelled at to run miles on the track,” Domonoske said. After graduating from HHS, DiNapoli received a full scholarship to UVA as a Jefferson Scholar. While in college, DiNapoli’s majors changed multiple times as she dove more deeply into new ideas. “[The Jefferson Scholars program] provides a ton of opportunities to travel and take interesting classes. My first couple years I thought I was going to be an environmental science or geology major. I dabbled in political and social thought and ended up being an English and religious studies major. I became really interested in questions of government power, how you can relate things like AIDS narratives and the sense of power through film and literature,” DiNapoli said.
While in college, DiNapoli had the opportunity to explore Tanzania on a volunteerism trip working for Jifundishe. DiNapoli had thought about being in the Peace Corps before, but it was soon after that she became more serious about the idea. “I was walking across the lawn at UVA one day, and I was like ‘You know what, I’m going to apply to the Peace Corps.’ It was sort of on a whim, honestly. I had really liked working internationally while in Tanzania. I was like ‘This is the time for me to apply’. I wasn’t firmly committed to the idea of doing it at that point because I had taken a job offer and then was able to differ, so that ended up really working out,” DiNapoli said. “I had always sort of thought about [being in the Peace Corps], but it wasn’t like a childhood dream. It wasn’t a conscious decision, so much as the fact that I really liked working internationally, I really liked volunteerism. I thought it would be a good chance to build some skills and contacts that you can’t really get in the United States.” DiNapoli was accepted, so after graduation she was sent to work in Jordan as a community youth development volunteer. “The majority of the work I was doing was with women and children, I didn’t really work with males at all. I lived in a tiny village of around 700 to 900 people. It was really beautiful, I was on the side of a mountain overlooking the Jordan Valley. While I was there, we were actually evacuated midway through our service. The US government closed down the Peace Corps program in Jordan for security reasons. So, I chose to transfer to Mongolia,” DiNapoli said.
Though it was different than Jordan, in Mongolia DiNapoli served under the same title, working with children and social workers there as well. “Mongolia is a really fascinating place, most people will never have the opportunity to go there. There are more livestock than people in Mongolia, so you just have these wide expanses of open space. I lived in a really small village right off the border of Russia, so that was a fascinating experience,” DiNapoli said. Then, DiNapoli decided to leave Mongolia to work in the West Bank. “I lived a couple hours south of Jerusalem, about 30 minutes from Bethlehem. I was working and doing a lot of capacity building for youth, doing a lot of trainings on employment. They had a radio station so we helped set that up. They had a debate club, I helped design a curriculum for environmental sciences,” DiNapoli said. “That was a really great experience. Hebron is a pretty conflicted place in the West Bank. You can really see a lot of the issues between Israel and Palestine in Hebron. I became more interested in how development work is challenging in the face of legal issues, the question of human rights in general.” DiNapoli’s interest in human rights led her to apply for law school, ending up at the Columbia School of Law in New York City. “The [application] process is really long, so I left the West Bank to work for a consulting firm in DC. I worked on projects with refugee resettlement agencies [with] the Department of Defense and Customs and Border Protection while I was applying to law school,” DiNapoli said. After being accepted
PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMA DiNAPOLI
PEACE CORPS. Emma DiNapoli with her host family in Jordan. into law school, DiNapoli decided to travel to Peru and Bolivia before starting at Columbia University. DiNapoli enjoys law school and is currently studying human rights law. “It’s not the most interesting stuff, but the way you learn in college, at least as an English major, is so different from the approach you take in law school. It’s a lot more regimented. Creativity is valued a little less, critical thinking is maybe valued a little more. It’s been challenging, but great. I want to do human rights law and Columbia and New York is the seat of the [United Nations]. There are tons of people coming
Domonoske provides immigrant outreach Samantha Little Feature Editor With a major in global studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Alison Domonoske spent the summer after her 2015 graduation abroad in Ramallah in the West Bank. Wanting to travel and improve her Arabic language skills, she worked as a teaching assistant at the “I Know I Can” summer academy where she tutored Palestinian high school students in SAT prep. After returning to the U.S., Domonoske began working at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Charlottesville, Virginia through AmeriCorps, a voluntary service program. There, Domonoske helped place newly-arrived refugees into their first jobs in the Charlottesville area. She also taught job readiness and financial literacy classes to every adult who
went through the IRC. “Before my job I didn’t have that understanding that even going to a job interview, especially your first job interview in a new country, how daunting that can be for people,” Domonoske said. Because her time at the IRC coincided with the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s initial policies, she was also able to see the impact it had firsthand. “I think that if I hadn’t been working at the IRC at that time, I would have much less understanding of the very human impact that some of these policies, such as the travel ban or refugee ban, have,” Domonoske said. “The day after Trump won, we sat down with our clients and explained, ‘Yes you may have many family members back in your home country, but now they may never or for a long time won’t be able to join you here in the U.S.’” Though Domonoske’s
year-long AmeriCorps position lasted until September of 2016, she stayed with the IRC for three more months helping their clients with any social services or life needs. She then took on a job search looking for work in that similar field. “Working with my clients at the IRC, seeing how the refugee resettlement program works and seeing all of the political backlash around immigration and refugees... made me realize that immigration, in my mind, is a very fundamental human right,” Domonoske said. “In my mind, I thought that if I could help in this country to make sure we respect everybody no matter where they’re from, then I wanted to continue doing that.” She found herself in Arlington, Virginia after taking her current job at the Tahirih Justice Center. With it being an immigration law nonprofit organization, Domonoske works
PHOTO BY EMMA DiNAPOLI
VISITING THE CAPITOL. Alison Domonske (second from the left) is pictured during high school touring sites and monuments in D.C. while on a Newsstreak trip.
with many attorneys who help immigrant women and children who are survivors of violence or abuse. One of her roles is to coordinate outreach to the immigrant community in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, and attend community events where she speaks with other organizations that serve immigrant women and seeks out anyone who could be a potential Tahirih client. “I really enjoy going to community events. I like just being able to talk to people and explain the work that Tahirih does... Being able to introduce people to our work and hearing other people’s stories is what I really enjoy,” Domonoske said. Though she doesn’t work directly with the clients at Tahirih, she has come to know their stories through her close work with the attorneys and social service workers and has increasingly had her eyes opened to the reality of many of their situations. Growing up with a grandfather who emigrated from the Philippines and was able to get a good job and send his kids to college, Domonoske’s view on immigration in the United States has changed because of her work experiences. “As a white, native-born American, I didn’t see that much racial or ethnic tension or hatred towards immigrants…. Harrisonburg was this wonderful place to live with people from all over the world, [so I thought] of course anyone can come to the U.S. and have a good life and be accepted,” Domoske said. “I think that working at the IRC and with all of the politics of 2015 and 2016, made me realize that’s not necessarily true, and that realization was very upsetting to me and made me want to do something about it, so that’s why I’m still doing this work.”
in all the time; I’ve been able to meet people who head chair committees at the UN and [have worked] with activists, so that’s been really great,” DiNapoli said. As for what she would tell high school students now, DiNapoli mainly said to be more open to things outside of your comfort zone, because you will never know until you take a chance. “I thought I knew what I wanted to study and spent a long time my first year not really sure that I liked what I was studying. I didn’t really take the leap into a bunch of other classes. I think being really
intellectually curious in my first year of college, taking chances just in general, college is just a time where you don’t have a lot to lose,” DiNapoli said. “Grades are important, but college is really a place where you should do a bunch of different activities, take a bunch of leadership roles, explore, take chances, travel and meet new people. I think that’s good advice in any point in life. Take some risks because you learn a lot. For me, taking the leap to work in Palestine was a huge one. I’d never been, I didn’t know anyone working there and it turned out to be great.”
Rolon makes move from teacher to asst. principal Ethan Power Staff Reporter Born in 1988, Sean Rolon and his grandfather were very close. This was the first reason he wanted to become a teacher. “My grandfather was a teacher for 40 years, a very well respected teacher. I always kind of thought about being a teacher growing up,” Rolon said. “[I] love working with kids so I went to school and majored in history and minored in secondary education; [I] really enjoyed it. I found out that the real thing outside of college was even better... working with students and helping shape them, watching them grow and believing in them is the highest reward in life that you can have.” According to himself, Rolon was a very laid back student while attending HHS, starting in 2002. “I didn’t prioritize at school as well as I should have; that’s one of the few regrets that I have. I regret not taking more of an opportunity with my high school time and education. My grades were fine but I didn’t push myself as hard as I should have,” Rolon said. In 2004, while still in high school, Rolon got his first job at Arby’s which taught him how the real world worked. Through his work experience and the influence of his parents and close friends, Rolon got the drive to go to attend James Madison University. “While I didn’t push myself as hard as I should have in high school, I really strived to do my best in college to make sure I had the life I wanted,” Rolon said. “I started thinking long term.” Rolon started his first teaching job in 2011, and since then has had one experience that he marks as the best. “I was asked to give the graduation speech for the Marshall senior class of 2015; that was a great honor for me and meant a lot,” Rolon said. Rolon went from being a history teacher at George C. Marshall High School to becoming the assistant principal at McLean High School. After much experience with high school students, Rolon now has advice he wishes he could have given himself many years ago. “Don’t care what other people think about you, recognize that you are who you are and there is no shame in that... Never change yourself to make yourself fit in for any reason,” Rolon said. Along with the advice he gives current students, Rolon is happy to have grown up not in the technological era. “I had a cell phone once I became a junior in high school, [and] it was an old flip phone. I’m really grateful I went to high school without the pressure of a smart phone and without social media,” Rolon said. “I think that makes high school even more difficult to cope and sometimes it takes away from the important things like interpersonal relationships and learning to talk to people face to face.”
January 26, 2017 The Harrisonburg High School Newsstreak The Policy The Newsstreak is published by the students of Harrisonburg High School every month. Reproduction of any material from the newspaper is prohibited without the written permission from the editorial board. Advertising rates are available upon request. It is the policy of the Harrisonburg City Public School Board to comply with all applicable state and federal laws regarding non-discrimination in employment and educational programs and services. The Harrisonburg High School City Public Schools will not discriminate illegally on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, disability or age as to employment or educational programs and activities. Editorials appearing without a byline represent the majority opinion of the staff, but not necessarily the opinion of the adviser, school administration, or the school system. Signed editorials are accepted from people on the staff, but are subject to editing according to published guidelines and policies. Editorials may be edited for special reasons. Letters to the editor are encouraged and must be signed and a telephone number must be given. Names may be withheld if the editorial board feels there is a just cause. The Newsstreak reserves the right to edit and may refuse to publish ads or letters deemed inappropriate, libelous, or obscene. Please drop your letter by room 444 or give them to any staff member. Letters may also be sent to the high school. The Editors and Staff Editor-in-Chiefs: Lucie Rutherford, Theo Yoder, Olivia Comer, Garrett Cash Advertising Managers: Madison Varner, Audrey Knupp, Photographers: Sam Heie, Theo Yoder, Olivia Comer Page Editors: Theo Yoder, Lucie Rutherford, Sarah Earle, Forest Matter, Garrett Cash, Samantha Little, Audrey Knupp, Nyah Phengsitthy, Sam Heie, Noah Siderhurst, Hannah Miller, Owen Stewart, Owen Marshall, Jackson Hook, Sweta Kunver, David Beck, Holly Bill Staff Reporters: Carlos Arevalo, Jenifer Bautista-Lopez, Simon Beach, Martin Beck, Madely Blas, John Breeden, Ryan Caricofe, Garrett Cash, Olivia Comer, Mia Constantin, Marvin Copeland, Jesus Cortes, Sarah Earle, Karleigh Gentry, Caleb Goss, Ariyah Green, Ellie Hammond, Sam Heie, Andrea Holgui, Jackson Hook, Ashley Iscoa, Lare Jalal, Adriana Jimenez, Shyann Keier-Litwin, Audrey Knupp, Josie Koogler, Emma Lankford, Jessica Lawson, Samantha Little, Somaia Mallek, Owen Marshall, Forrest Matter, Nicole Mayorga, Hannah Miller, Ni’Kiah MoatsBryce Mullins, Nyah Phengsitthy, Ethan Power, Betsy Quimby, Edwin Rios, Emmanuel Franco, Lucie Rutherford, Sophie Sallah, Noah Siderhurst, Jalyn Sneary, Owen Stewart, Dany T Medhin, Sid Tandel, Oziel Valdez, Madison Varner, Na’Diha Whitelow, Theo Yoder Professional Affiliations The Newsstreak participates as a member of several journalistic evaluation services including the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA-2010 Gold Evaluation and 2005, 2009 and 2015 Silver Crown Winner), Quill&Scroll Journalism Honor Society (2012 Gallup Award), National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) All-American, the Virginia High School League, Inc. Trophy Class Award, and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association All Southern Ranking and 2010 Scroggins Award winner. hhsmedia.com Opt Out Notice: If you do not want to allow your student’s full name or image to appear on the school newspaper site, please send an email to vkibler@harrisonburg. k12.va.us stating: I DO NOT want my son/daughter (place student’s name here) to have his or her name or image published on the new online version of the newspaper, www. hhsmedia.com.
Coffey brings filmmaking passion to Thailand Garrett Cash Editor-in-Chief A hobby that started with making stop-motion movies on his mother’s snap camera turned into an area of work and study for HHS alumnus Benjamin Coffey. Coffey is a firm believer in the idea that one should take charge of their education, and that’s exactly what he did; he left HHS and went to finish up his high school education and get his associate’s degree at Liberty University through online programs. “I like their handson aspect of things, being able to actually do things I want to do, while at the same time having an education,” Coffey said. Since he moved into working on film sets and studying at
the same time, Coffey has had the opportunity to travel across his community and the world to do film work with different organizations. His most recent venture included a trip to Thailand to film for an organization that trains individuals to fight the sex trade there. “I felt like I was kind of in a dream to be honest because it didn’t feel real. The undercover stuff was pretty legit,” Coffey said. Due to confidentiality reasons, Coffey could not share the details of his undercover cinematography experience in Thailand. In addition to filming with the organization in Thailand, Coffey has also worked with Chick-Fil-A and businesses around the community in his
town of Lenoir, North Carolina to bring light to the lives and experiences of the individuals he covers. “It’s definitely a way I can express myself and even tell other people’s stories. I love telling people’s stories, just going and shooting the lives that people have, the lives they’ve experienced, everything they’ve experienced, and it’s just cool seeing stuff I’ve never seen before,” Coffey said. Until this point in his life, Coffey feels he has had a wild ride finding his place in the world as an individual and as a filmmaker. During that wild ride, he found that being who you are and not changing that is one of the most important parts of life along with taking his days stepby-step.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AUSTIN COFFEY
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION. Benjamin Coffey shoots a scene in a film for the Sundance Film Festival By living life one day at a time, Coffey has found that he was able to use what he has on any given day for that specific day. He started with a snap camera and used it
to make stop motion, and now with professional equipment, Coffey creates professional films. With this in mind, he believes that this work-ethic will bring people clos-
er to their goals in life. “Don’t try to force yourself into your dream. Your dream will come to you, in my opinion,” Coffey said.
Love for journalism inspires Knight’s career Jackson Hook Sports Editor Preston Knight’s entire career has revolved around journalism in some way, shape or form. He graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Richmond 2004 where he worked for the college newspaper. His writing and editing for the paper showed him that journalism was the career he wanted to follow. Knight applied to many different publications after leaving Richmond, eventually landing a gig at the Northern Virginia Daily. “After college I applied to a bunch of different places, I would have liked to stay in the Richmond area, but I hooked up with the Northern Virginia Daily based out of Strasburg but I worked at Woodstock. I worked there for seven years, long time small daily. I enjoyed my editors and being from around here kept me around. I covered town councils, schools, courts, breaking news, whatever popped up which made it kind of fun,” Knight said. After working at NVD for seven years, Knight moved to a job that was closer to his hometown
PHOTO COURTESY OF PRESTON KNIGHT
HARD AT WORK. Preston Knight teaches a group of children about electrical safety
PHOTO COURTESY OF PRESTON KNIGHT
HARD AT WORK. Preston Knight teaches a group of children about electrical safety. in the Daily News Record located Harrisonburg. The job at both publications were similar, but the way they were run had some differences. “NVD was smaller. The setup was different because there were,
at that time at least, branches or bureau offices. It was only like three of us in woodstock, everybody else mostly in Strasburg or somewhere else,” Knight said. “When you come to Harrisonburg everyone is in one newsroom.
The environment was different, not better or worse just different. The general nature of the job was the same. No matter what paper somebody works for the job is the same. It’s just a matter of connecting with people and treating your sources right and just going from there and writing something that makes sense.” Knight’s inspiration for following a career in writing and journalism was sparked from two different courses he enrolled in during high school. His participation in the Newsstreak with wisdom from instructor Valerie Kibler, as well as a creative writing course taught by Jim Nipe, helped him to find his writing voice and be creative. “[Valerie] Kibler with the Newsstreak [influenced me]. She would help you if you needed it but also gave you liberty to do your own thing which is huge,” Knight said. “There was also Jim Nipe who retired… I think it was a creative writing class and I really enjoyed that class and having the freedom to take things where you want to take them and I think that helped push me this direction.”
Sound designer makes it to Broadway with Hamilton David Beck Sports Editor Annie-Lee Craig did not pursue a career she expected after high school. Although her new career corresponded with the field she wanted to major in, events took her into a different aspect of theatrical production. Craig graduated from high school in 2007. Immediately after, she attended James Madison University, where she discovered her passion for sound design. While in high school, Craig took part in the theatre department and forensics team. She loved to perform. “I started classes at James Madison University as a Theatre Major intending to pursue an acting career,” Craig said. In Craig’s first semester she helped with a strike (the breaking down of a theatrical set and technical elements). While this occured, she was told to help
with sound equipment. When helping with sound, she met Jared Pickett, a senior sound designer. Craig then became the assistant sound designer for Pickett and other designers throughout the semester. By the spring, she found that she preferred to pursue sound design over her previous intentions of acting. “I found the creative process of building the world of a show so rewarding. I still do. The early morning conversations with directors and other designers fueled my passion as I was learning more about my craft in the classroom. Every new production, every new skill I learned reassured me that I was on the right career path,” Craig said. JMU contributed to her success as a sound designer. “JMU’s School of Theatre and Dance is rooted in a liberal arts foundation coupled with technical training,” Craig said. “That ethos had a huge impact on
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNIE-LEE CRAIG
SHOWTIME. Annie Lee Craig applies lipstick before the 2007 spring play.
the kind of artist and engineer that I am. Their program allowed/encouraged me to take classes outside of my discipline. As a result, I learned to examine my own work in context of the script and other design elements of a show. I found that my liberal arts experience has given me a breadth of knowledge that helped me excel beyond some of my peers with strictly technical training,” Craig pursued sound design to the fullest, taking her all the way into the Broadway spotlight. Currently, Craig is the A2 on “Hamilton: An American Musical”. The A2 is in charge of the backstage sound system and microphones rigged to actors. They work with the department in charge of hair to help hide microphones in hair and wigs. Craig individually designs and builds each of the microphones used by the actors. “I also assess and monitor the show as it happens, replacing broken mics mid show, and swapping out actors at a moment’s notice when there are injuries. As the sub mixer I mix the sound levels of the show from the sound booth which is out in the audience,” Craig said. Craig does not underrate the success that her career has had. “I made my Broadway Debut on ‘Hamilton!’ That’s crazy! Also, it was so amazing to be at the mixing board during the Tony’s, I literally had to pinch myself,” Craig said. The schedule being on “Hamilton” has presented
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNIE-LEE CRAIG
CUE THE MUSIC. Annie Lee Craig poses by the mixing board at Brodway’s Hamilton. Craig with many struggles. “I work every day except Mondays and I work nights, so I miss out on a lot of things like holidays and family gatherings. My husband works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and my schedule is different depending on the day, so Mondays are sacred,” Craig said. Craig couldn’t find just a single influence that drove her to her career now. “My boss, Nevin Steinberg, [the sound designer of ‘Hamilton’], is someone I really look up to. His philosophy on sound design is rooted in storytelling which aligns with my artistic views. I’m learning from him as I pursue my goals,” Craig said.
Craig recently married and owns two cats, coincidentally, in Hamilton Heights, New York City, where she lives. Working on “Hamilton” has changed Craig’s life. It’s affected who she interacts with, where she lives and more. The high school version of Craig didn’t expect her life to turn out like it is at all. “I think High School Annie Craig would be surprised at how far I’ve come so quickly. And perhaps she’d be even more surprised to know that ‘Hamilton’ is just the beginning; I have much farther to go,” Craig said.
January 26, 2017
Fitch powers through law school at Wash. & Lee
Holly Bill Feature Editor “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who are doing what you want to do.” This piece of advice is what pointed Jackie Fitch’s career in the direction of applying to law school. It wasn’t until after Fitch talked to attorneys and law school students that she knew law school was in her future. After graduating from Harrisonburg High School in 2009, Fitch went to college at Virginia Tech, majored in international studies and minored in French. But after college, Fitch still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, so she took a few years off to work in Washington, D.C. “I took a couple years off to work and I think that was really important. Working for a couple of years and seeing attorneys that I worked with and seeing their careers [made me start] thinking I could really start doing this,” Fitch said. Fitch worked for a consulting firm in D.C. for this three-year period. After reaching out to D.C. attorneys that she knew through mutual friends and through the consulting firm, Fitch secured the decision to attend Washington and Lee University School of Law. “It has been life changing. My job before was great, but it wasn’t what I
wanted to do long term. It didn’t have much room for advancement and now I feel like I can do whatever I want with my law degree. I can go to lots of different places and have lots of different types of work,” Fitch said. Fitch is deep into her second year of law school. The classes are harder than college and there is a lot more work, according to Fitch. However, her classes have a lot of student involvement rather than a typical classroom setting. “I go to class anywhere from 2-4 hours a day. The teacher doesn’t do a lot of teaching. It’s mostly the students who are speaking, arguing and debating. It’s a lot of involvement, [but] it’s a ton of reading and a ton of work,” Fitch said. If you’re not a fan of reading and writing, law school may not be for you, according to Fitch. For every hour of class she has per day, she has to spend an additional 3 to 4 hours reading to prepare for her next class. Since law school is so reading and writing heavy, Fitch’s English classes still significantly influence her writing today. “All of my English classes [helped me]. Anything that had to do with writing is very serious in law school. You can never start too early learning how to be a good writer and developing
those skills,” Fitch said. Fitch had teacher Valerie Kibler for multiple classes in high school, including English and Newsstreak. Fitch was an Editor-in-Chief for the Newsstreak and she has even taken journalism with her to law school, and being part of the Newsstreak was something she had on her resume for a number of years. “We have a law newspaper, sort of similar to the Newsstreak and sometimes I’ll write an article or two for that. They’re usually profiles on professors or something that’s going on around town that we’re covering,” Fitch said. The speaking part of law school is the most difficult part for Fitch. Performing a mock trial in front of a panel of professors and a group of students was the most challenging thing Fitch has ever done. “I had to give an oral argument in front of a very big group of people, and I don’t like public speaking. It makes me very nervous and law school has helped that, but I still get very anxious when having to debate one of my classmates for one of my class grades,” Fitch said. “It takes hours of preparation for 15 minutes. But, it ended up being okay. [I have] very supportive professors and very supportive classmates.” Law school has opened up a window of opportuni-
PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKIE FITCH
CLIMB. Law student Jackie Fitch reaches the top of a hike in Lexington with her dog Storm. Fitch hopes to have a job at a law firm that focuses on business litigations. ties for Fitch. This past summer, she worked for the Virginia Supreme Court and presented to the Supreme
Court Justices. Next summer, she will be working for a law firm doing mostly business litigations, which
she hopes to continue doing after she graduates.
Ehrenpreis works to mend Duda assists refugees upon governmental policies arrival to United States Martin Beck Staff Reporter The Trump administration has recently announced it intends to repeal many Obama era climate regulations, chiefly restrictions on offshore gas and oil drilling imposed after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Spill. Trump claims that lifting these restrictions will encourage domestic energy production and decrease the country’s reliance on foreign oil. If the proposal goes through, the 94 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf placed under protection by President Obama, which includes areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, would become available for offshore drilling. Environmental experts have decried the decision as irresponsible. The increased license that it would grant the private sector would make U.S. waters and their ecosystems vulnerable to exploitation. “It’s a little depressing right now,” said Vanessa Ehrenpreis, an HHS alumnus and research associate specializing in environmental policy. “It’s disappointing that all that science and critical thinking has been put on the back burner in ser-
vice of political objectives.” Ehrenpreis works for the consulting firm Abt Associates in Durham, North Carolina. She assists government agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, for example – in developing sensible regulations. Federal policymaking of this nature requires an intricate knowledge of pre-existing legislation, as Ehrenpreis attests. “Such an intricate system of research and technical assessments develops over decades,” Ehrenpreis said. “[The Trump administration] can’t really repeal a regulation without redoing all that technical stuff. So in some ways it’s going to be really hard for them to do what they want to do, which is encouraging.” Ehrenpreis graduated from HHS in 2012. She attended an affiliate academy, Massanutten Regional Governor’s School, for her junior and senior years, where her fascination with the environment blossomed. With course offerings in environmental science and agroecology, the curriculum at MRGS focuses on green living through the implementation of clean energy sources, sustainable farming and responsible waste management.
She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a degree in environmental sciences. Along the way, Ehrenpreis had even studied abroad for a semester in Nepal researching biodiversity and community forest management. “It was amazing,” Ehrenpreis said. “We got to do some really cool research on Tibetan tigers.” Today, Ehrenpreis can be found at Abt, hard at work reviewing fuel economy regulations that the Trump administration plans to relax. Under the standards introduced by the Obama administration in 2012, automakers would have to increase their fleet-wide fuel efficiency to 52.5 miles per gallon by 2025, a 48% increase from the 2016 standard of 35.5 mpg. President Trump’s proposed regulations would lower this goal, saving the auto industry billions, while costing the consumer, who must contend with rising gas prices. “I think this is one of the conservations we’re not having,” Ehrenpreis said. “People don’t think about fuel economy standards and, for the most part, have very little understanding of what they mean and how they relate to their daily lives.”
Theo Yoder Editor-In-Chief
of the Congo, Butan, Burma and Syria. Duda has found challenges with his job interacting with people from all over Finding a job is one of the first chal- the world. “It’s tough when someone is in a lenges refugees face when coming to crisis trying to find a job urgently to the United States. Working with the pay rent and I feel like there is only International Rescue Committee, HHS so much that I can personally do, and alum, Mark Duda, provides assistance even the IRC can do given limited reto immigrants and refugees looking for sources,” Duda said. employment. Duda and the IRC try to find emDuda graduated high school in 2013 ployment as fast as possible for the imand continued his education at the migrants and refugees. These types of University of Virginia studying English jobs can vary. Recently, the IRC found and global development. Duda just renumerous jobs for people in the cafecently graduated in 2017. teria at the UVA health campus. Duda “I liked the culture and that [UVA] is also a facilitator for an interpreter was close to home, but not too close. I who will be present for the first few also had a pretty good days the new employidea I wanted to major ee is on the job. in English and UVA’s It’s tough when In law school and English department is someone is in a the future, Duda wants pretty strong,” Duda to continue working crisis trying to said. non-profits revolvAfter graduating find a job urgently for ing around immigrants and taking a year to to pay rent. and refugees. apply to law school, “I really enjoy imDuda joined the IRC migrant and refugee Mark Duda with a focus on emlaw and even with my ployment. Duda’s rejob now I have gotten sponsibilities include into employment and helping refugees fill out applications labor law which I also enjoy. One of the and resumes and find potential emreasons I like those things is because ployers. “I really enjoy meeting people soon they’re realms of common exploitaafter they arrive in the U.S. I enjoy the tion. I enjoy the idea of being involved conversations I have with them within with those from a public interest pertheir first week or two of living here spective,” Duda said. Duda’s long term goal is to teach because there is a really short honin a law clinic that is housed in a law eymoon period when they get to the school or be a law professor. However, U.S before financial obligations and in high school and even early college, the difficulties of everyday life set in,” Duda did not have any career path in Duda said. mind. Due to current foreign relations “I think the first year of college is policies, there are very few refugees tough in certain ways for everyone, coming in from anywhere, according and it helps knowing that it is tough for to Duda. The vast majority of new everyone and it’s not just you. Knowarrivals are not technically refugees ing you’re not in it alone is helpful,” but people called special immigrants. Duda said. These people are similar to refugees Duda is currently living with his in that they are eligible for the IRC’s roommates in Charlottesville but is services. They are mostly from Afghanopen to going anywhere if needed for istan, though other substantial refugee the future. populations in Charlottesville include
people from the Democratic Republic
PHOTO COURTESY OF VANESSA EHERNPREIS
SMILE. Vanessa Ehrenpreis stands above Tibet, a region in China. On this trip, Ehrenpreis was studying abroad for a semester in Nepal researching biodiversity and community forest management. She was also able to conduct research on Tibetan tigers. During this time, Ehrenpreis was attending the University of Virgina, studying environmental sciences.
January 26, 2017
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January 26, 2017
Pirooz pursues dentistry career through Harvard Dany T-Medhin Staff Reporter After saying goodbye to her high school years in 2007, Yassee Pirooz went to the University of Virginia (UVA) to do her Bachelors of science and then continued on to Harvard University to do her doctorate in dental medicine. UVA appealed to Pirooz because she liked the size and location. She was able to gain a small scholarship for both UVA and Harvard University. Dentistry hasn’t always been Pirooz’s first choice of study, though she did always want to be in the medical field. “I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but never really felt passionate enough about the lifestyle and amount of schooling I would have to do to pursue it, which is why dentistry was a great choice for me. I’m still providing invaluable health service to patients, and can focus on preventing disease rather than treating, and am able to use my artistic side during my work day, which I love,” Pirooz said. “Having good experiences with my dentists growing up and wanting to be involved in healthcare, and exposure to public health dentistry while in college also helped with choosing my career path.” After finishing up her bachelor’s of science at UVA, Pirooz was able to get herself to Harvard University with another small schol-
arship. “[I chose Harvard because] the dental school is integrated into the medical school, and the way the curriculum was set up made a lot of sense to me since I was initially so interested in medicine and the connection between medicine and dentistry. I was in the Harvard medical program for my first two years. I wanted that medical understanding of my patients so that I wouldn’t be so focused only on what is going on in the mouth. Also, Harvard has incredible global health and public health opportunities, which I have pursued during my time here,” Pirooz said. “Harvard has proven to be amazing. I could not be happier with my choice in graduate programs. The Harvard network is unbeatable in the opportunities one can pursue and I have had so many amazing experiences and met incredible people while here.” Today, Pirooz lives in Brookline, MA, which is about a mile away from her dental school. According to Pirooz, her day-to-day activities are not terribly exciting, but the interactions she has with her patients and her friends always keeps her smiling. “[I] wake up around 6:30 a.m., drink coffee, eat breakfast, leave for school around 7:15 a.m., start setting up to see patients at 7:40 a.m. and see patients from 8:00 a.m. to noon [between 2 to 4 patients].
PHOTO BY YASSEE PIROOZ TECHNICAL WITH TEETH. When she realized her passion for being a doctor wasn’t strong anymore, alumni Yassee Pirooz found herself choosing dentistry as a choice of study for her future career. [After lunch], from noon to 1:00 p.m. [I’m] at the school of public health or at our dental school cafeteria with classmates and friends, then see patients again from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. I usually have some lab work to finish up after 5:00 p.m. and head home around 5:30 p.m.” Pirooz said. According to Pirooz, life after high school is never easy, and there are always challenges along the way. “I was a teacher through Teach for America between UVA and Harvard and taught high school physics. To say it was challenging is an understatement; I want-
ed to quit every day my first year. I buckled down and somehow got through it and the second year was much better, but trying to lesson plan for a course that had never been taught, to students with math and reading skills across the board (from first grade to twelfth grade reading levels) was endlessly difficult,” Pirooz said. “Not to mention having to manage the behavior of 30 plus hormonal teens each period. Teachers don’t get enough credit for how much they do and how hard they work. Especially after being one myself, I am thankful for my teachers every single day.”
In her high school years, some teachers, Valerie Kibler, Mark Tueting and Chuck Green were able to leave a lasting impression on Pirooz. “I would say that they were all just so supportive of me in my academics and extracurriculars and having that support meant the world to me. I didn’t recognize it then, but I completely believe it gave me the confidence to pursue my true aspirations in life,” Pirooz said. “My overall high school experience was amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a more well-rounded high-school experience.”
If Pirooz could go back in time, she would give herself and other high school students the following advice. “It doesn’t matter what people think about you; the most important thing is your happiness. You’ll still be discovering yourself, your passions, your strengths and weaknesses, your goals, etc.,” Pirooz said. “Well into your 20’s, you recognize how fluid your youth is and how each experience will continue to change you. So much of how you may define yourself now is likely to change, so keep an open mind and be in the present.”
Media production leads Gibson to pursue filmmaking
PHOTO COURTESY OF LUKE GIBSON NITE SHIFT. An actor from Luke Gibson’s thesis film works the deserted night shift featured in the film.
Sam Heie Feature Editor After spending almost his entire childhood life in England, Luke Gibson packed up his clothes, miscellaneous items and all of his memories and moved to an unknown world of Harrisonburg. Gibson, entirely new to the community and school, joined the fall oneact and the Newsstreak staff to connect to his new school but found his passion elsewhere: film. “Towards my senior year of high school, I started applying to schools that had
good film programs. I had no idea what that would become at the time. It was sort of instinctive, but now it’s more serious,” Gibson said. Gibson is now a junior at Emerson College studying media production with a focus on post production directing. Although his original choice to go into film being instinctive, he discovered he decided right when he began college. “I definitely just thrived in college. You’re so exposed to your major and it kind of affirms your decision every day,” Gibson said.
Gibson faced criticism after declaring his major in the arts instead of a typically high-paying major. “A lot of people told me that it might be hard to find a job after film school but I think it’s one of those guaranteed things that we’re going to consume every day. The amount of videos we passively watch is hundreds per week, so I think [film] is very relevant and useful. It just feels very productive and relevant,” Gibson said. Gibson primarily uses YouTube and Vimeo to promote his work. He makes videos and advertisements
for startups that his colleagues are involved in, but tries focusing on short films and music videos. “I have a passion for short films and music videos, but I’m also working with promo reals and marketing advertisements with the short films and music videos which is very transferable,” Gibson said. At the end of his first semester of his junior year, Gibson was finishing his most proud work: his thesis film. “It’s the culmination of everything that I’ve practiced and learned in college. All the people I’ve met
were involved. It’s a short film and music video called ‘NITE SHIFT.’ We had a crew of 25 really hard workers and that gave me a taste of what a career would look like,” Gibson said. “NITE SHIFT” is about a barista named Eli who is called into cover a night shift at his employer’s cafe when all of the sudden he’s ambushed by a group of demons. The demons turn out to not be as formidable as expected and Eli forms a bond with them. The song featured in the video is produced by Gibson’s friend, Iglooghost. The inspiration for the video comes from two main sources. “I mainly just get my inspiration from watching a ton of other music videos. I look for pieces I like from one music video and connect that with another piece from another music video and you eventually get a unique new video. My films are also inspired by music. I listen to songs and imagine video sequences to them,” Gibson said. In the upcoming semester, Gibson is set to travel to Los Angeles, California, where Emerson has a second campus, and intern for a professional media production company. “Every student who does the LA program gets
an internship one way or another, so I’m going to be interning at Doomsday Entertainment. They do music videos and commercials, so it’s perfect for what I want to do. I’m going to be getting some industry experience which is what I’m looking forward to,” Gibson said. Gibson doesn’t yet know the exact specifications of his internship, just that he will be working under professionals with big names. “I’m most likely going to be doing smaller tasks around the studios, but working in a professional and competitive environment like that is going to be some of the best experience I can get,” Gibson said. The move to Los Angeles follows Gibson’s philosophy about college, which is to support your choice of major and your studies every day. “As college goes on, you need to affirm what you’re studying,” Gibson said. “Each day you do it, you need to make it your world and surround yourself in it. I don’t have an established career yet and it’ll be interesting to [see] what happens after college. I’ll be starting from the ground up again and [my success] will be more affirmation that I was right about being in film.”
Quach transitions love for medicine into real life career Garrett Cash Editor in Chief After taking biology classes and participating in envirothon, being editor-in-chief of the Newsstreak and a member of Key Club, Olivia Quach found her passion for medicine. Quach is currently in a medical residency at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. When she did her rotation for dermatology, she fell in love with the branch of medicine. She enjoys dermatology because she has the opportunity to work with and help everybody, regardless of who they are. “Skin issues really affect people of all ages, all colors, all races, and so it’s really great to be able to help someone with some-
thing that affects their life so much,” Quach said. Quach completed her undergraduate degree in molecular biology at Princeton University. She then came back to Virginia to go to medical school at the University of Virginia before moving to Chicago with her husband, who she met in medical school. Her interest in medicine stemmed from her exposure to the medical field and affinity for sciences throughout her life. Her grandfather practiced herbal medicine in Vietnam, and Quach stated that she loved science growing up. However, one of the deciding factors that really pushed her into the medical field came from her sister. Her sister was studying at medical school, and
Quach had the opportunity to see what that was like. “I went to visit her once and went to class with her and was like, ‘This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,’” Quach said. Working with patients during her intern year of medical residency in internal medicine, she found passion and joy in taking care of the health of the patients that she came across. Even though some of the patients were difficult to treat, she was proud of her year, and she plans to continue studying medicine. “Overall, being able to take care of patients oneon-one is the most incredible experience,” Quach said. “Having really thankful patients, very difficult, medically complex patients in the ICU, all of that com-
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA QUACH PRE-MED. Quach (second from left) with her friends before going to college. bined together, made it a really hectic, stressful, but
January 26, 2017
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January 26, 2017
Runnells set to intern with Bank of America Merrill Lynch Oziel Valdez Staff Reporter Faith Runnells is using her newfound passions to better increase her life skills and work experience. Directly following her graduation in June of 2016, Runnells attended the University of Virginia (UVA), where she plans on graduating from in May of 2020. “As a college student, my top responsibility right now is to learn a lot at my university. Going to college is my full-time job currently so I take that very seriously. I’m really focused on the different classes I can take,” Runnells said. “UVA is really nice because you have so many opportunities for classes to take that aren’t necessarily your major. I’m in classes like anthropology and philosophy and psychology and I’m getting this diverse array of knowledge.” Runnells currently takes many opportunities at UVA, trying to expand her learning and resources. One of these opportunities that Runnells has taken hold of is being a tour guide at UVA, allowing her to learn new things everyday. “I think one of the things I’ve learned from the most
[at UVA], which is an opportunity that UVA gave me, was being a tour guide. We give people normal tours and admission tours, and I have learned so much from the people who come in every single day,” Runnells said. “Three days ago I gave a tour, and one of the women from the first class of women to go to UVA was on my tour. There I was on my historical women stop [on the tour] talking about the first class of women, and after I stop she goes, ‘I was one of those women.’ It’s been really cool to meet all the people who come on my tours.” Runnells is on track to major in finance, and has recently received a tenweek internship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City. Even while using her college experience in her internship and her future career, Runnells is also planning on using her knowledge and teachings from Newsstreak in her future. “I worked in Newsstreak when I was in high school and I was actually the print-editor-in-chief in my senior year. I think that even [with] Newsstreak as a high schooler I learned so much because when you’re a freshman and have
PHOTO COURTESY OF FAITH RUNNELLS
ALL BUSINESS. Faith Runnells (right) poses in front of the sign presenting the National Women’s Case Competition in Austin, Texas with the University of Texas’s McCombs School of Business. Held from April 2 to April 8, 12 teams developed their own business strategy to help a beverage and bottling industry client with its presence in Africa. to interview a senior or adult, sometimes that can be scary. I think that right off the bat Newsstreak was teaching me how to get out of my comfort zone and really go for whatever I wanted,” Runnells said. “When I
Sharrer utilizes writing passion at Christmas company Elf on the Shelf Emma Lankford Staff Reporter
alive, even in the cubicles. “We work at the southern branch of the North Pole, so they’ve done a lot to make the office [reflect that]. There are elves, quite literally, everywhere. In everyone’s cubicle, all of the conference rooms and in the break room. There is a touch of fun throughout the office,” Sharrer said.
At the southern branch of the North Pole, Emily Sharrer writes about Santa, elves and reindeer all year long. In August 2014, Sharrer moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she began her career with Elf on the Shelf, a Christmas company. “I work at the Elf on the Shelf, which is known as Creatively Classic Activities and Books,” Sharrer said. “I’m a marketing specialist who runs content and digital programs, so I run our blog and our email program. I started out with them as their copywriter, so I wrote their catalog and all of their packaging; basically anything that had writing on it.” Sharrer has had mainly two jobs, and while both centered around writing, they hold few similarities. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMILY SHARRER “Before this job, LIFE SIZE. Emily Sharrer poses with a I’ve really only worked life-size Elf on the Shelf doll. at the Daily News Record in Harrisonburg. [My job now] is very different beAs one may be able to imagine, cause with journalism, I was cover- a typical day at the North Pole is ing local news and education. The likely much different than it would biggest difference and challenge be at other offices. [with the transition] has been go“There are times when we liting from news and article writing erally have conversations talking to a much more whimsical writing about the difference between style,” Sharrer said. Christmas spirit and Christmas Although she knew early on that magic, how those help Santa’s writing was her passion, Sharrer’s sleigh fly and which jobs are done current position was not someby the elves versus Santa. It’s very thing that she anticipated. difficult to nail “I’ve always down because known that I wantMy favorite part is there are a lot of ed to be a writer, getting to see the joy things that hapand I started out that it brings to families pen at the North in journalism, but throughout the year... Pole,” Sharrer when I moved to said. Just being a part of that Atlanta it took a Upon discovmagical Christmas different turn,” ering where she moment kids is so Sharrer said, ”I had works, Sharrer awesome to see. an opportunity to says that many -Sharrer work for a publishpeople have a ing company on a similar reaction. temporary basis. I “[When I tell told them I really love to write, and people where I work], I’ve found asked if there was anything I could that most everybody has an elf stowrite for them, which is when I ry. People always talk about how started writing for our marketing [their families elf], and how much department, [writing] some of the their kids love it. They just want to blogs. They really liked what I was tell you everything that they’ve exwriting, and it just worked out that perienced or seen about the elves they brought me on full-time.” and the company,” Sharrer said. While Elf on the Shelf is a comOverall, Sharrer’s favorite part pany focused on Christmas, Sharrer of working for Elf on the Shelf is and her coworkers are working on the joy that she helps to provide to the product throughout the year. families everywhere. “As our company has grown, “My favorite part is getting to it has become busy year-round,” see the joy that it brings to families Sharrer said, “There used to be a throughout the year,” Sharrer said, much bigger Christmas rush, but “When the elves start coming back since [the elves] have become so [in November and December], it is popular with families, we’re con- just such a joy to see the kids get stantly getting ready for the Christ- so excited about their elves commas season. From January to Oc- ing back. [Sometimes they] send us tober, we’re mainly planning and messages asking about what Santa getting everything prepared. After is up to and what we’re doing at that, we just work on executing our the North Pole. Just being a part of programs during the peak season.” that magical Christmas moment for At the office, there is a large kids is so awesome to see.” effort to keep the Christmas spirit
was on the editorial board, eventually [becoming] an editor-in-chief, I was the one who really would come up with new and innovative stories and pushing the paper to be the best it could be. That was always fun
and I always liked working in teams in Newsstreak and that’s actually why I eventually decided to go into business, because I learned how much I love working in a team.” Runnells will be thrown
directly into the workforce as an intern, starting out as an investment breaker, with odds showing that she will be the youngest on her team. Runnells plans to use what she learned as a tour guide in her internship to better improve her work effort. “The tour guide aspect has taught me how to present myself and material, and most of the stuff I talk about is touchy, because it represents history and UVA’s history. It’s really taught me how to approach situations and it’s taught me how to answer questions on my feet. Also, just the amount of people and resources and knowledge at UVA has taught me how to take advantage of things that are right in front of you, and it taught me how important it is to take every opportunity and use it to the most potential that you can,” Runnells said. “Really anything can turn into something crazy. [For example], me sending an application for an emerging women’s program that would last twenty-four hours has led me to go to New York and work this summer for ten weeks, working on Wall Street with some of the most intelligent people in the world.”
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Burke finds direction, discipline through military Noah Siderhurst Feature Editor
third battalion, fifth Marines. In 2015, he was deployed. “We went to the [demilitarized zone between North and When Marine corporal Shane South Korea] and we stayed Burke was in high school, he was there for months on end just wild. waiting for something to hap“I liked to party a lot, I got pen,” Burke said. “Then, we in a lot of fights,” Burke said. “I went to Fuji to train with the was hanging out with the older Japanese. Then we went to Okicrowd… I just like partying and I nawa for a little bit.” love adrenaline rushes. I was just His first deployment passed a handful.” uneventfully and soon it was Burke wasn’t sure if college back to Camp Pendleton for was the right thing for him. The more training. military, however, seemed at“We just train, train, train,” tractive. Burke said. “The military let me step back Next, he transferred to a snipfrom all this pressure of going er platoon and deployed with to college and needing to know them in 2016 as part of the 31st what you wanted to do,” Burke Marine Expeditionary Unit. said. “The military just let me “[For] this one, we were on a find myself and helped me figure boat,” Burke said. “Same exact out what I wanted to do in life thing with Korea, we were standand what direction I wanted to ing by for whatever was going on go. It gave me a lot of discipline there.” and maturity, because when I Burke and his battalion startwas in high school I was kind of ed in Japan, sailed around for out of control. I was crazy.” three months, went to train AusAfter graduating a semester tralian troops and then sailed early in 2014, Burke headed off around some more. Unfortuto Marine Corps boot camp at nately, all that time on board the Camp Pendleton in California. ship was not ideal. “Camp Pendleton is huge,” “The ship was absolutely Burke said. “It goes from San Cleterrible, not fun at all,” Burke mente all the way to Oceanside. said. “You were sitting in really It’s about 30, 40 miles long.” small quarters. You’re packed in After attending the school of like sardines and to eat you had infantry, he was assigned to the to wait two hours… Glad it’s over with.” Although being in conditions like that may not have been the best, Burke still thinks that joining the Marines was the right decision. “I always want to explore. I always want to travel. I always want to get out of my comfort zone, and that’s how I’ve always felt,” said. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHANE BURKE Burke “The military SEMPER FI. Marine corporal Shane Burke definitely lets poses while in Okinawa, Japan doing pa- you do that.”
trol operations for training in June 2017.
For his next assignment, Burke will be teaching new recruits how to do basic tasks such as shoot and clear rooms. As always, he is looking forward to the change. “I love teaching people,” Burke said. “I love just having an effect on other people, especially guys that are going to be Marines… I’m really looking forward to it.” Following a year of that, Burke hopes to attend school at either Arizona State or Florida State to major in construction management with a minor in entrepreneurship. The long-term vision for Burke is to start his own roofing and construction company, something that should be easier with the help of veteran’s loans. Another perk of military service is that Burke will not have to pay for college tuition at a public university. “I feel like if you go straight into college, you’re kind of wasting money, because not a lot of seventeen year olds know what they really want to do with themselves,” Burke said. Looking back, Burke would recommend the Marines. “I feel likes it’s good for pretty much anyone, it just gives you discipline and respect for authority,” Burke said. “That’s what I wanted to see in myself and I definitely got what I wanted out of it… I always liked shooting guns… I wanted to be a Marine. I just wanted to earn that title and have that title for the rest of my life. I wanted direction in my life. I had no idea what I really wanted besides I wanted to go to school, but it was a lot of money.” His advice for those still in high school and wondering about the future is derived from experience in the same situation. “Stay focused. Take everything seriously because even though it doesn’t seem so relevant at the time, it will make a huge difference in the outcome of your life and how successful you are,” Burke said. “Try to mature and every day you should try to learn something. Open your eyes, stop being so close-minded.”
January 26, 2017
North to the
Future PHOTO COURTESY OF BRYAN WHITTEN
GET THE SHOT. Whitten works on filming for a documentary in Nome, AK.
Whitten settles in Alaska after life of travel Theo Yoder Editor-in-Chief After fighting wildfires in the West and touring the East Coast with his band and traveling to Guatemala to study Spanish and working on a fishing boat in Alaska, HHS Alum, Bryan Witten, works as a camera operator in Fairbanks, Alaska. Witten graduated high school in 2001 and attended James Madison University studying public communications and political science. While in college, he continued to be an active member in his band, called the Matlock Four, which was formed in high school. After putting in a large amount of time into the band, they began to travel and perform as far north as New York City and as far west as Indiana. The band was originally formed by Whitten’s twin brother, the drummer for the band, and their catch was for every performance they dressed up as old people. “[The original band] was called the Matlocks and we sort of co-opted the name because we wanted a nonsense, abstract thing and it just stuck,” Witten said. The members of Matlock Four eventually parted ways, some traveling as far as Berklee College of Music in Boston and others, like Whitten’s twin brother, stayed in Harrisonburg where he is still involved with various bands in the area. However, for Whitten it was a different story. Wanting something new and a change of scenery, Witten and his girlfriend packed their bags and drove out west to the city of Reno, Nevada after graduating from JMU. Witten joined a wildfire crew where he fought wildfires
4,176 miles 69 hr drive for several years. “I just wanted to do something different. I was out of school and I hadn’t been out to the West Coast before. I had a friend out there that had talked about it a little bit and just seemed like the place to go.” Whitten said. Whitten and the wildfire crew mostly spent their days working around the lake and in the desert where they would camp and spend up to 15 days out at a time. “It was pretty intense, trial by fire so to speak. It was definitely the best job that I had ever had up to that point. I loved the hard
work and the comradery of the crew. You really get to know people in those kind of situations where you are together for every hour of the day and depending on each other for your safety and for your survival,” Whitten said. Looking back at his high school self, Whitten never thought at any point that he would be doing any of the things that he ended up pursuing. “That was my story for many years, collecting traits as I went along, anything that kept me traveling. Seeing new things and learning new things is what
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRYAN WHITTEN
SIDE BY SIDE. Whitten and co-editor Josh Sundquist pose with Helen Thomas, an American reporter, during the 2001 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in Washington D.C. Thomas was known for her time in the White House Press Correspondents’ Association where she has covered the White House during the administration of 10 U.S presidents.
I got into,” Whitten said. Whitten’s wildfire career came to an end when he moved back to Virginia and worked an office job in Washington D.C. Whitten moved from D.C. to Richmond where he worked similar types of jobs such as playing music, working for tree removal services and even working as an assistant airplane mechanic. His stay in Richmond was cut short when he decided to follow his high school and college passion in Spanish and move to Guatemala “I brought my guitar with me and I met other musicians pretty quickly and just fell in with a great group of people who found me a really good job teaching math and English, so I stuck around,” Whitten said. Whitten then, once again, moved back to Virginia after spending five months in Guatemala. After being back in Virginia for only two months, Whitten continued to follow his passion of traveling and seeing new things and decided to move to Alaska. “Maybe my dad read me too much Jack London as a kid, but for me it just seemed like another interesting place that I had never been,” Whitten said. While in Alaska, Whitten’s interests had come full circle. In high school, he had developed an interest in the career prospects
of photography and photojournalism. However, with many people in his life telling him that, at the time, this was not an actual career, Whitten decided to put these interests on hold and pursue other career prospects. Now, Whitten is a camera operator for a production company located in Fairbanks, Alaska. “Family, friends and even professionals were saying that by the mid 2000’s, everybody was going to have a camera and everyone was going to be journalist, so there wouldn’t be a place for photographers,” Whitten said. “I used to think there was this gate that was really difficult to break through into the industry, but it really isn’t.” Whitten now spends days at a time interviewing, collecting and filming footage for various assignments. This footage is then sent to different companies located in places like Los Angeles and New York City. Whitten is currently working on a documentary for a filmmaker in New York. He has traveled to remote locations like St. Lawrence island which is mainly inhabited by Alaskan natives. Whitten’s current home, Fairbanks, Alaska, is home to about 32,000 people and has an average high temperature of 1.1 degree F and average low temperature of -16.9
degrees F in January occasionally dipping down to 50 below zero. During the winter, the sun usually rises around 10:50 am and sets around 2:40 pm making only a little less than four hours of daylight. “It was always Fairbanks for me, it is very different from the rest of Alaska. All of Alaska is different and there are so many different places go and not anywhere is the same. Fairbanks has a lot of character, its an old pioneer town but it still has the feeling. It almost feels like the wild west in a way even though there are many thousands of people here,” Whitten said. Many of Whitten’s neighbors live in what are called dry cabins. Dry cabins do not have running water because in Fairbanks, the water will freeze in pipes. “There are a lot of things that remind you where you are. You can’t really ignore those things. You step outside and you never forget where you are here, you can’t go on autopilot you always have to be paying attention,” Whitten said. Whitten is currently working on multiple documentaries as well as a pilot series about the Fairbanks Ladies of Wrestling. He is also planning to conduct a live broadcast of a rocket launch by NASA at the end of January.
January 26, 2017
Baker works in graphic design
Sam Heie Feature Editor
Molly Baker has single handedly illustrated a 112-page children’s book, collaborated with Disney for graphic design of the latest Star Wars movie and designed comic books for titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ant-Man. Despite Baker’s prosperous career as a graphic designer, she ended high school and began college undecided about a career path. “I didn’t have a clear path or a solid idea of what I wanted to do for a career in high school. I knew I was i n terested in the arts but I wasn’t dedicated to anything. I did a bit of work in drawing cartoons for the Newsstreak but besides that, I didn’t do anything with graphic design,” Baker said.
B a ke r graduated from HHS in 2002. She decided to atte n d Virginia Commonwealth University where she entered as a sculpture major. However, sculpture lost its appeal to Baker who switched majors. “Coming into VCU, I was excited and interested in sculpture, but I lost interest and
felt like I was wasting money. A few of my friends switched majors and that kind of helped as the final push to switch to communication arts and design,” Baker said. This change in studies allowed Baker to reclaim her interest in graphic design. Baker graduated from VCU in 2006, packed her bags and headed to Chronicle Publishing Company in San Francisco, California. “I worked hard at Chronicle and eventually was handed the role of lead illustrator for ‘The Secret World of Whales.’ I spent so much time on that book and it was the first time I was able to apply all my knowledge and skills into a project. The illustrations blended in specific anatomy while keeping it at a child’s level
which was a fun challenge,” Baker said. After producing her first book and other projects at Chronicle, Baker once again packed her bags and moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she began work with one of the biggest media companies in the world. “I started out working for Disney Publishing [Worldwide] and for Marvel. The main workload was design for Star Wars and other movies they were releasing. I would look at what the movie designers had done for their concept art, get a feel for the plot line and just roll with it. When I had that feel, I’d start sketching for their comics and books,” Baker said. Baker rolled with it, using a sketching tablet and Adobe products. She uses the same methodology today of sketching, uploading and illustrating. The extensive reach of Baker’s work at Disney caused gratification for her. “It’s really satisfying to see the finished product when you’re working on something that’s going to be so widely publicized. The Disney graphics I worked on have been featured in the recent Star Wars collections… Being a part of a project that big was satisfying,” Baker said. After projects with Disney and Marvel had concluded, Baker decided to break from the company and begin freelancing.
ART COURTESY OF DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE AND MOLLY BAKER
Graphic design. Molly Baker, class of 2002, designed for companies such as Disney (Star Wars), Marvel (Spider-Man) and Martha Stewart. She now works as an independent contractor. All the art seen here is hers. Baker freelanced as a retail packager and art director for Martha Stewart and other big names and brands. “Freelancing allowed me to have a lot more freedom with my workload. I’m still able to work on bigger projects with companies I had already worked with but I also have time to work on website design with my husband and other projects I couldn’t have worked,” Baker said. When creating designs for companies, Baker approaches concept art on websites such as Dribble and Behance. Baker uses
Byrd pursues life-long love of dentistry Audrey Knupp Feature Editor In Charleston, South Carolina, an HHS graduate lives in the historic downtown area. Dental student Ali Byrd graduated in 2011 and now attends the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (MUSC). “Charlestown is located on the water near the beaches. It is a lot warmer and more humid than Harrisonburg,” Byrd said. As a dental student, her day starts by putting on scrubs and going to class from eight to five in the evening. “Some of that time is spent sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures. The other part of my day is working in a simulation lab with the mannequin,” Byrd said. “In the lab we learn how to prep cavities and fill them.” For Byrd, this is a great opportunity for her to get real hands-on experience that she learns a lot from. Dental school varies week by week, but it can be overwhelming as students are taking 27 and a half credit hours at MUSC. “As a student, you are very busy, being in class from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., then going home and studying. It has been an adjustment balancing my school and outside [life]. I like to work out and hang out with my friends,” Byrd said. As a young girl, she knew that a career in dentistry was what she wanted to do. “I was in the first grade at Spotswood Element a r y, and I drew it in my journal. My mom had saved it, and right before college, I had found it in my closet,” Byrd said. S h e had already been interested in medicine but doesn’t like hospitals. She didn’t think that she wanted to become a doctor, but she always loved to going to the dentist. “My whole family is really weird. We all love going to the dentist. I’m actually more afraid of doctors. I’ve always had a good experience with going to the dentist,” Byrd said. “I really like how science can relate to the human body and the technology associated with it and everything you can do with medicine.” While attending HHS and Spotswood Elementary she had two science teachers, Mr. Zook and Mr. Bair, that made science fun and entertaining for her. “I definitely want to thank the science depart-
design ideas from these and implements them into her own work. Finding inspiration for her work has not always been as easy as a URL. “When I was in high school, I was using a Nokia block phone and the computers we had were limited,” Baker said. “Your generation has computers with practically unlimited power that can fit in your hand. I started doing cartooning back when I had to use pencil and paper. Every single day, there is new information in the digital world that we can access and create something new.”
Blackwell enjoys career in finance Sid Tandel Staff Reporter
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALI BYRD Let’s go to the dentist. Ali Byrd, class of 2011, works on a dummy at the Medical University of South Carolina. She has always enjoyed going to the dentist. “My whole family is really weird. We all love going to the dentist, I’m actually more afraid of doctors. I’ve always had a good experience with going to the dentist,” Byrd said. ment for my current love of science,” Byrd said. “I also want to thank the Spanish department for [inspiring] me to further my education, pursue a Spanish minor and encourage me to study abroad for a semester.” She did not start off her after college plans in Charleston. Byrd attended James Madison University in 2011 and received a degree in Biology and minored in Spanish and Economics. “I’d really hope that I can use my Spanish education to treat and help Spanish-speaking families in my own practice one day. I would love to go do some mission work in a Spanish speaking countries to keep up my skills and put that to a good use,” Byrd said. “Especially with the changing demographics of our country, people are learning English, but I want them to be able to feel comfortable when going to the doctor or the dentist.” While attending HHS, Byrd was on the varsity soccer team for four years. In addition, she was elected to be the class president her senior year. Some of her memories of high school include the football team going to states and the soccer team’s appearance in regionals her freshman year. “High school is definitely important because it helps you determine where you go to college. Your college choice will not really affect your future; you can do anything that you put your mind to,” Byrd said. “I didn’t get in the first year that I applied to dental school, but I tried and changed a few things on my application. The second time I got accepted, but that’s not uncommon. Make sure you are willing to try again and ask for help.”
Ethan Blackwell is an associate that works for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC), living in Arlington right outside of D.C. with friends from college. Blackwell graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 2010 and later attended James Madison University (JMU) for five years with a full scholarship, where he majored in finance and minored in economics. Blackwell is close with his family, including his mom who is still working at Harrisonburg High School. “I have a very loving and supportive family. Currently everyone, besides myself and my sister, lives in either Harrisonburg or Staunton,” Blackwell said. Blackwell presently works for a firm specializing in structured finance and commercial real estate. “I currently work for PWC in the Financial Markets practice... Given the wide array of services provided by PWC, I’ve also had the opportunity to work within specialty sub-groups of the firm which have a focus on corporate restructuring which I do in my spare time during the summer,” Blackwell said. “At my job I primarily work with a focus on commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS). I work both to value CMBS holdings for large institutions such as banks and insurance companies, as well as in an advisory role of new CMBS issuances to the market.” Blackwell has been working toward this career ever since middle school when he read a book that inspired him to pursue a career in finance. “[The books was] on the Wall Street crash of 1929. I always liked working with numbers and patterns and found it interesting that numbers themselves can imply a lot more than just a simple value, and this is especially true in finance or any applied mathematics field,” Blackwell
said. Blackwell feels that communication helps the world function and regrets his inability to do so in his early years. “I was pretty quiet in my early years and was typically afraid to ask questions or really draw any sort of attention to myself. In life, communication is everything and sets the foundation for relationships that can last a lifetime,” Blackwell said. “Never feel uncomfortable to ask questions and if someone ever says you ask too many, find someone else to ask. More often than not, people have a propensity to help, whether it’s a teacher or professor, family member or coworker, but no one is going to know how much you have to offer or what help you may need if you never speak up.” Although his decision to work in something related to finance was established in middle school, there were contributing factors during high school. “I think to this day, Mr. Estes’s pre-calculus class had the most impact on me. As mentioned previously, I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers, [and] I think Mr. Estes provided examples in that course that showed just how important numbers and patterns can be,” Blackwell said. ”Additionally, every single English class I’ve ever taken has been incredibly impactful. Granted, my grammar is still sloppy from time to time. English classes provided me with ability to accurately articulate and communicate with friend, teams, clients, etcetera.” Blackwell has one piece of advice to offer for Harrisonburg High School students. “Life can be stressful at times, [so] surround yourself with good people who make good decisions and never be afraid to seek out a mentor,” Blackwell said. “One of the main reasons I am where I am today is a result of seeking out people who are more knowledgeable than me and asking questions.”
January 26, 2017
Brown applies childhood pastime in daily career
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BROUGAN BROWN
TROT, CANTER, GALLOP. (Left) Brown poses for a photoshoot with one of the horses on her farm. (Center) Brown jumps with her horse during a competition in high school. (Right) Brown poses with one of her horses, her dog and her fiance, Travis, whom she will be marrying in June.
Sarah Earle News Editor Not many people can say they wake up every morning looking forward to work, but Brougan Brown can. While it was not an easy decision, Brown had to choose between two possible careers that would determine the fate of her future. After graduating in 2014 from HHS, Brown had everything figured out. Since she graduated high school with her Associate’s Degree in Science, Brown attended Mary Baldwin University to get her Bachelor of Biology and Health Sciences. From there, Brown was set to go to physical therapy school, until a promising opportunity to buy a horse farm emerged, which refueled her lifelong love for equestrian, evolving into a successful, million dollar business. “I really loved [physical therapy] and did all of my internships and put everything into it. I actually got in to the Doctor and Physical Therapy program at Murphy Deming. I was set 100% to go into school [there] and I put my deposit down. When it came time to enroll, this farm was for sale and I realized that this is what I always wanted to do, so I deferred my acceptance to Doctorate school and bought this place instead,” Brown said. “I thought about [purchasing the
farm] for months... I think me and teaches you responsibility, self- ning smoothly. Not only does she my fiancé definitely, had to think lessness, dedication and courage. maintain and train horses, but she about what we wanted for our life The riding world is different from also has to run her entire business. because when you’re with some- any other world. People say that “[My schedule is] really busy. body else, it’s not just about your- horse people are crazy, and [we] We start feeding the horses around self anymore, it’s about another kind of are. I’m twenty one years 6:30 or 7 a.m. It takes three to four person. Trying to figure out what old, I own a million dollar farm hours to feed [because] we have we both wanted, what I wanted in and I run a successful business... fifty horses on the property. I’m myself and what really mattered It’s almost like my self identity is in lucky enough to have feeders, so to me. I just can’t imagine my life it. My best friends have four legs, I usually just supervise. We end at without the horses in it.” which is really weird to say, but I about nine or ten o’clock, so that’s Brown began riding horses can see horses that I sold over the when we start riding and working at the age of five. There always years, the horse that I was number with the younger horses,” Brown seemed to be a fascination in one in the country with and I can said. “This entire place sits on my horses from the very shoulders. I ride probeginning of her life, and train. I can honestly say that riding horses fessionally so much that her first I also teach lessons... has shaped me into the person I am today; I have an assistant word was “horse”. Once she fulfilled her trainer who is absoit teaches you responsibility, selflessness, desire to take lessons, lutely wonderful and dedication and courage. Brown eventually befills in the gaps for Brougan Brown came serious about me when I’m unavailriding while particiable.” pating in competitions While success has and horse shows all over the coun- without a doubt think that they prevailed in her farm’s business, try. After graduating high school, would recognize me. I have always along the way there have been she became a professional horse self identified with animals more some obstacles for Brown. As a trainer, training for different farms, than I have with people. I enjoy twenty-one year old female runtraveling and showing horses, all being around them and I have a ning a business and farm, Brown while getting paid to do what she connection that I can’t get with has found herself in situations loved. people. It’s just really special. For where her gender, age and tat“I had done [horse training] my me growing up as a little girl, I just toos have been held against her. whole life. It was something that I enjoyed being around them so Even though she faced discrimiwas gifted, talented in and I love it much and I just want to share that nation in the workplace, Brown too. My job is my passion. They say, with other people.” has not let it affect her business, ‘If you love your job, you’ll never Brown describes her sched- as she found it helpful to know work a day in your life’, and that’s ule as chaotic. While teaching how to work with difficult people true,” Brown said. “I can honestly between fifty and sixty lessons a and has also applied that to the say that riding horses has shaped week, Brown has helpers on her type of environment her farm will me into the person I am today; it farm, in order to keep things run- entail.
“I usually don’t tell people my age unless they ask, but I don’t lie. I just let it slip in the conversation if somebody asks me about it. I’ve definitely been discriminated [against]... One time, I shook hands with somebody that I was going to get a sponsorship for and I have a tattoo in memory of my dad. I shook his hand and he looked at me and said, ‘My daughter is out of the house now, but if I had a young girl, I wouldn’t send her to your place to ride because you have tattoos.’ When I was trying to get the business loan, they held my age against me. As a woman and as somebody who is a very strong and independent person, that was extremely shocking. It was kind of disheartening,” Brown said. “This is a very elite sport, in the sense that it takes a lot of money, time, commitment and it’s very competitive. When you mix all of those four things together, things can get heated between people; I think that was one thing for me, that I [wanted to] have a very supportive farm environment. I have almost sixty clients, so it’s super important to me that... even though we may be competing against each other, that we are competing as a team. I don’t really tolerate drama in my barn, harsh words, anything like that. It’s really important that my barn is a supportive environment for everybody who competes.”
PURSUING PASSIONS Domonoske finds career working for National Public Radio
Olivia Comer Editor-in-Chief The very last thing Camila Domonoske wanted to do after her 2009 high school graduation was go back to school for four more years. Instead, she found that joining AmeriCorps’ Habitat for Humanity was a more appealing way to spend her first year post-high school. Since then, Domonoske has gone on to become a breaking news reporter for National Press Association (NPR) which started as an internship perfectly tailored to a poetry specializing English major. Domonoske was accepted to Davidson College in North Carolina, but instead of transitioning from four years of formal education to four more years of formal education, Domonoske deferred her offer from Davidson and took a gap year. “I did that in part because I was super tired after high school. I worked really hard, I cared a lot about my grades, I worked really hard to stay on top of everything and I was really dedicated to all my extra curricular activities and the thought of doing four more years of that level, I was like ‘I can’t, it’s too much,’” Domonoske said. “So I went and I worked for a year at a job where I worked eight hours a day and when I was done, I was done and there wasn’t any homework. I learned a lot working at a nonprofit, working with volunteers, working in an office for the first time and I really believed in the work that we were doing which was great. It was a great experience.” In the summer before her junior year at Davidson, Domonoske decided to travel to the Philippines to conduct a research proj-
ect on Filipino activism and how activists differ now from one generation prior. “The Philippines had what’s called a people’s power revolution. They had a complete overthrow of the government, an authoritarian government, that was launched by popular protest and some very courageous protesters including some people who wound up dying. It was a big historical moment in the Philippines,” Domonoske said. “My question was, ‘What is it like to be an activist and specifically a women’s rights activist now?’ People talked about being treated differently than the previous generation and trying to uphold some of the same things, but also trying to push for different things, like women weren’t a central focus of the previous sort of generation of activism.” After months of stitching together interviews, Domonoske was able to turn her information into a narrative that was eventually published in an undergraduate journal about young women’s rights activists in the Philippines. “It took months and months and it was really difficult, so it was great to have the support of the college... I applied, I got funding and then did the trip. I had a great instructor at college who helped me go through all of the interviews and think about what to do with them; how to shape it into a final project,” Domonoske said. She didn’t know it at the time, but the Philippines was not the only place Domonoske would travel to write and report. After college, Domonoske was unsure of what her next step would be. She graduated Davidson with a degree in English and a specialization
But you have to keep moving forward anyway, that’s the trick of it. When you don’t know what you need to do next, you still have to do something next. -Camila Domonoske
in poetry, but how to translate that into a long-term career was not yet a clear path, so Domonoske and her boyfriend, now a boyfriend of twelve years, went to Upstate New York to work at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival. However, uncertainty of future plans was not unusual for Domonoske by this point.“The absolute certainty of knowing what you need to do next has been always elusive for me and I feel like realizing how to move forward with my life without that certainty has been one of the big projects of growing up for me. I was always hoping that I would just turn a corner and it would be clear exactly what I needed to do next and if there is such a corner I still haven’t turned it,” Domonoske said. Once Domonoske’s time at the Opera Festival was finished, she and her boyfriend moved to Washing-
ton D.C. where Domonoske applied to internships in various fields besides journalism. “I applied for at least 50 different internship fellowships and entry level jobs in D.C. and they weren’t all journalism. Some of the were advocacy focused, some of them were in the nonprofit space. I applied all over and I wound up getting an internship at the New Republic, which is a political magazine,” Domonoske said. “Then from there I got an internship at NPR with the books team, so that was a great job. I was working at NPR, which I love, and I was obviously very excited about that. I worked on poetry coverage so it was perfect, it was wonderful, it was beautiful and it also wasn’t being a reporter. I was totally like ‘This is it, this is what I’m doing and it’s wonderful.’” After about a year, NPR
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAMILA DOMONOSKE
A DAY IN THE OFFICE. Domonske works at her desk in her NPR office.
was no longer able to keep Domonoske as a poetry specialist on the books team, so in order to stay at NPR, she chose to transition to the route of breaking news. “I switched to news kind of as a way to stay at NPR. I worked weekend evening shifts for a while doing, not just writing, but all kinds of things at NPR. I was doing updates on the homepage and fixing mistakes and editing things and adding photos, you know, doing all of the things at a time that nobody wanted to work as a way of getting more opportunities. I did that for more than a year before I became a reporter,” Domonoske said. In college finding a major was uncertain, after college finding a career path was uncertain, and now in her current job at NPR, every day to an extent is uncertain. Daily common denominators include writing or broadcasting, but certainty does not deviate far from those two things. “I’m not often sent out into the field, I am sometimes, but almost never do I know what I’m going to be doing in a day because it does depend on what’s happened, and what’s happening, and what other people are doing. It is always changing,” Domonoske said. “I do breaking news, I don’t focus on one subject in particular so it appeals to the generalist in me, the same girl who had trouble picking a major. That’s kind of fun that I get to write about everything under the sun.” An expected day for Domonoske is showing up to work and finding a story to write that can be done from NPR headquarters, but when hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, Domonoske was given only a few days to pack her bags
and get out into the field. “It was really complicated because the people had an incredible amount of resilience, and strength and courage. They would respond in really hopeful ways to really difficult situations, and you wanted to write about it in a way that both honored their strength and resilience without making it seem like it was okay, because it wasn’t okay,” Domonoske said. “Even if they didn’t want to say they needed help, FEMA trucks still weren’t there providing bottled water. There was help that they deserved that wasn’t coming and even if they were making due without, how to balance the tragedy of the situation with not making them seem helpless when they were in fact really resilient, but in a way that also didn’t make it seem like they had everything under control and no one [needed] to worry when there was a complete unfairness in the way the response was being handled.” Since high school, Domonoske has gone from AmeriCorps volunteer, to Philippines activism expert, to opera festival intern, and then lastly a breaking news reporter for one of the most trusted news stations in the United States. Domonoske’s high school extracurriculars directly translate to her work now. “When I was painstakingly learning all of those skills, I didn’t necessarily think, or certainly I didn’t assume, that they would be helpful in the way that they were, but they serve me every day,” Domonoske said. “That’s the dream, to have a job where you do the things that you would want to do even if you weren’t getting paid for them, and that’s literally what I do isn’t it?”
January 26, 2017
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January 26, 2017
January 26, 2017
Every Person Has A Story
Sundquist takes charge from Facebook to SCOTUS blog Holly Bill Staff Reporter Matthew Sundquist has worked in occupations all across the spectrum of job fields. From working on the Facebook Privacy Team to writing for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Blog, Sundquist believes the best way to learn about a particular field is to work in it, rather than learn about it. “When I was working at Facebook, I had this experience of realizing that I probably knew more about privacy and the law than lawyers and professors who were supposedly privacy experts. Not because they weren’t experts, but because they were experts in theoretical aspects of it and I had to work in real privacy everyday,” Sundquist said. What brought Sundquist to working at Facebook was just pure interest. He was interested in the problem of privacy and he knew that applying for a job at Facebook would help him explore and even potentially solve that problem. This is the philosophy Sundquist has held for all of his job positions. Sundquist started his journey at Harvard after graduating from HHS in 2005. Harvard is ranked as the second best university in the country according to U.S. News and currently has a 5.4% acceptance rate. Since Harvard is such an esteemed and exclusive school, when Sundquist received his acceptance letter, he wanted to make sure
PHOTO COURTESY OF MATTHEW SUNDQUIST
ON THE WAY TO POWER. Alumni Matthew Sundquist at a press conference to campaign for youth governor in Virginia in 2005. that the school meant to accept him. “I emailed them back and asked them to double check to make sure I was the Matt Sundquist that they meant to let in. I didn’t really believe it myself,” Sundquist said. Sundquist majored in philosophy while he was dual enrolled with Harvard’s education school. He obtained a teaching certification for high school history and English. While at Harvard, Sundquist was both the student body president and vice president, the supreme court chair for Harvard Model Congress,
the dorm crew captain (in charge of cleaning bathrooms), and a member of the ultimate frisbee team. After college, Sundquist’s fascination of the Supreme Court drew him to writing for the SCOTUSblog website. The SCOTUSblog provides reliable coverage of the Supreme Court, and Sundquist wanted to write for it because of his interest in the law and the possibility of becoming a lawyer. “I was interested in the Supreme Court [and] I still am. I published some journal articles about it and I wanted to see what it would be like to have an
experience working in a law firm, so I worked for their Supreme Court practice and their law firm while I was writing for the blog. I helped write briefs for the court,” Sundquist said. While Sundquist is still interested in the Supreme Court and has since published more articles about it, he discovered that being a lawyer was not something that he could see himself doing for the rest of his life. A year later, Sundquist received a teaching Fulbright to study and research in Argentina. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants to students to
allow them to study and research a topic of their choosing while immersing themselves in the culture of the chosen country. Sundquist chose to travel to Argentina and both teach and research there. “I wanted to go somewhere that had a comparable government to the U.S. because I was also doing research there about law and education. I taught history, philosophy, linguistics, Spanish and English. Then, [I] worked as a translator for a gold mine,” Sundquist said. In addition to teaching there, Sundquist re-
searched sundials and their education system. Since Sundquist traveled to a very remote part of Argentina, the language barrier was difficult for him since very few people spoke English. “It was really hard at first because I didn’t take any Spanish while I was in college. I took AP Spanish [in high school], but it’s not like that prepares you for conversational fluency,” Sundquist said. Though he didn’t take any Spanish in college, Sundquist was part of the Virginia Spanish Governor’s School while attending HHS. His Spanish classes were part of what led him to Argentina, including classes taught by teachers Philip Yutzy and Kim Hook. Now, seven years after Sundquist’s Fulbright in Argentina, he has taken many jobs since then, including founding plot.ly, a multimillion-dollar data company. It’s used by Google and NASA and is ranked one of the top three data visualization tools. Currently, Sundquist is the General Manager of Fly Ranch, located in Washoe County, Nevada. It is the permanent home for Burning Man, an annual summer art gathering where a temporary city is built in the middle of Black Rock Desert. Participants come together to celebrate self-reliance, self-expression and art. Sundquist enjoys taking the public on nature walks to view the three geysers on site and plans on doing multiple sustainable energy experiments with the property.
Riner twins contribute to community with donations Karleigh Gentry Staff Reporter In 1983, Paul Riner and his family moved to Harrisonburg where he and his twin brother Carter Riner attended HHS. After graduating, Carter Riner decided to stay in Harrisonburg to attend James Madison University (JMU), and study integrated science and technology. On the other hand, Paul Riner left Harrisonburg to attend University of South Carolina (USC) until he graduated in 2005. “[I] got my undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of South Carolina in sports and entertainment management,” Paul Riner said. Although he studied sports and entertainment management during his time as a college student, he is now the owner of Riner Rentals here in Harri-
sonburg, which manages properties and rents houses. The knowledge Paul Riner had gained in college has helped him while working for his dad’s business. “I think the management aspect of what I do works great with what I learned at USC,” Paul Riner said. Since Paul Riner and his family spent many years in Harrisonburg, he has found various methods to give back to the community through Riner Rentals. “We give two scholarships to graduating seniors on the Newsstreak staff and support the STEM academy’s annual experiential learning trip to the Chesapeake Bay,” Paul Riner said. “It’s great to be able to live and work in Harrisonburg, but also continue to give back whenever possible.” Paul Riner’s brother and dad were not participants of the “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign, however,
they still support him and what he was doing to raise awareness for his mother. “[I] love that he was doing it and honoring our mom… I was excited to see so many join his team as well,” Carter Riner said. Although Paul Riner is grown up, the teachers at HHS are still in his mind. While at HHS, his teachers influenced him in many ways, but the two that stood out to him were Valerie Kibler and Myron Blosser. “Valerie taught me that something doesn’t come out of nothing, it takes hard work to produce something that you can be proud of and it’s not always easy,” Paul Riner said. “Myron taught me that learning is more than a classroom, it’s a lifestyle. [It’s] something we should always be doing.” In addition to the teacher influences, life as an HHS student remains in
PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL RINER
TWINS. Paul and Carter Riner during their younger years. Paul is the owner of Riner Rentals in Harrisonburg. his thoughts. Through the years spent out of school, he has gained knowledge, which is why he is a great source for high school ad-
vice. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something that you want to do; be your own person, don’t let anyone else make
decisions for you… steer your own ship,” Paul Riner said.
Garrison discovers love for teaching after graduate school
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROSS GARRISON
STRIKE. 2003 HHS graduate Ross Garrison attends a baseball game.
Karleigh Gentry Staff Reporter Ross Garrison was born in Harrisonburg, but is now living in Greensboro,
North Carolina. He began teaching in the fall of 2016 at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG). Garrison enjoys his life in Greensboro. However,
he still misses the beautiful city where he lived for many years and attended schools including Keister, Thomas Harrison and Harrisonburg High School. “It doesn’t have any-
where near Harrisonburg’s beauty… the mountains on either side, the hills and the surrounding farmland,” Garrison said. “It’s easy to take all that for granted when you’re from [Harrisonburg].” After graduating from HHS in May of 2003, Garrison applied to multiple colleges, but he was only accepted into one: Hampden-Sydney College, which is located in Virginia. Although he didn’t get accepted into the other colleges he applied to, he enjoyed attending the same college his dad attended and meeting new people during the four years he spent at Hampden-Sydney College. In 2007, he became a college graduate, and he later worked different jobs like waiting tables in Snowshoe, West Virginia. During this time, he applied to different graduate schools and got into the University of Memphis, which he then dropped out of after
a year and a half. When he left graduate school, he went back home to be with his family. “I lived at home for a year; my mom was sick at the time, so I stayed home and helped a little,” Garrison said. “Those were valuable years, [and] they helped me grow up.” He later decided to return to graduate school, however, this time he didn’t go back to the University of Memphis. “When I went back to graduate school, this time to UNC Greensboro where I teach now, I was much more focused and disciplined,” Garrison said. After graduating from UNCG, Garrison began his teaching career. UNCG allows former students to apply to be a teacher at the school. “They allow graduates of their PhD and MFA program to apply for a lecturer position, and I was fortunate to get one of these positions,” Garrison said.
While growing up, Garrison was read to a lot by his father. Since he loves reading and books, he teaches English, where his students learn literature, composition and creative writing. “It’s what I teach because it’s what I’m most passionate about,” Garrison said. In addition, he teaches argumentation, where he holds fake trials. The trials are significant because they teach his students to articulate ideas that they may not agree with. “I have a mock trial every semester, where I make them argue and present witnesses on a topic we vote on,” Garrison said. “I randomly assign teams, so often they’re forced to argue for a position they personally disagree with.” After leaving high school and attending various schools, Garrison has found his passion for teaching and continues to pursue the career today.
January 26, 2017
Krech humbled by continuation of Red Sea Owen Marshall Sports Editor Harrisonburg has been home to Jason Krech most of his life, graduating from Harrisonburg High School in 2007, James Madison University in 2011 and continuing to work for JMU after he graduated. “I went straight to James Madison University where I got my degree in sports and recreation management with two minors in business and sport communications,” Krech said. Krech now works as the Assistant Director for Athletic Communications for JMU and works primarily with the men’s basketball team. “I am member of a ten person department and we are responsible for broadcasting and informing the public and media about James Madison athletics. We are in charge of everything on jmusports. com: the stats, the history, rosters, schedules, all the social media,” Krech said. “We are also the department’s liaisons to the local and national media. We travel with most of our bigger name sports. Basically, we are public relations for the athletics department, but it ends up being a lot more than that.” Krech has been a part of the two College Gameday shows that have been hosted in Harrisonburg. He believes that this experience is one of the coolest parts of his job. “Our department and the communication department for the university have been their main contacts at JMU. The week of the show we work directly
with them to get set up on the Quad and to get them confident with the football team. Then we get essentially front row seats to College Gameday backstage and that’s been really cool. Especially growing up in Harrisonburg and going to JMU to see all that stuff happen at a place I’ve been around almost my entire life.”
That makes me “really happy and
it’s really humbling that people are still doing that. Jason Krech
Covering the men’s basketball team involves traveling with them. Krech enjoys visiting many places alongside the team. “I work with the men’s basketball team so I get to go to some cool places. I go to Charleston, South Carolina a lot and Boston and New York, I got to go to the Bahamas this year so that was pretty fun too,” Krech said. People in Krech’s department often find themselves working well over the normal 40 hour week. He believes this is the most difficult part of his job. “We work a lot. One of the biggest myths in the world is that a full time job is 40 hours a week and that goes for anything you do after college. It is not uncommon in the late fall and early spring when we have both fall sports and winter sports going on at one time, or both winter sports and spring sports going on
RED SEA LEADERS 2017: Lucie Rutherford, Marley Adamek 2016: Jessica Denton, Cade Templeton 2015: Chase Berkshire, Parker Strickland, Faith Runnells, Josh Byrd 2014: Maddie Dodd, Sam Imeson
at one time,” Krech said. “That can be exhausting, but at the end of the day you are working in sports and I get the best seat at every basketball game and I get to sit in the press box at every football game so it makes up for it.” Krech was to follow the career path he is in now back when he was in high school. “They had a mentorship class and I did mine in the department I’m in now which back then was called media relations. I got my foot in the door there, and my sophomore year at JMU you were looking for paid positions for students and I applied and had more experience than anyone else applying.” Sports have always been apart of Krech’s life playing basketball, baseball, and cross country throughout high school. Although Krech did not play football, he was still was apart of the games starting the student section. “The Red Sea didn’t really start until my senior year. I designed the logo, I think I might have borrowed heavily from an air force squadron somewhere, and made the t-shirts and the sold a lot faster than we thought they would. I guess you could technically say Logan and I started it, but there was a dozen people who helped out. It was fun it was a thing where pretty much everyone would come out on friday nights. I see Red Sea t-shirt still out sometimes and it’s fun to see something last.” Krech likes that although his name isn’t necessarily associated with the Red Sea he has left his legacy on the school. “One of the things I’ve loved about Harrisonburg High School is it felt like a great place to go to high school because it has one student body and it was so incredibly diverse and people from all walks of life [and] all nationalities. It was a place, from my view, where people came together. They have kind
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JASON KRECH
(TOP) Jason Krech (middle), founder of the the Red Sea, tailagates with co-founder Logan Whitehouse (left) and fellow senior Kelsey Craun (right). (BOTTOM) Jason Krech (second from the right) and his team stand on set of ESPN College Gameday that took place of the Quad at James Madison University. of thrown full force of the school behind it to bring people together. I think that is something Harrisonburg can be a model for and broadcast [togetherness] and send people out into the world with that message. That makes me really happy and it’s really humbling that people are still doing that.” Over the years the Red Sea has dwindled in num-
bers, but Krech believes all students should attend a game in the student section just for the experience. “I would encourage them to go to football games. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I totally get that,” Krech said. “The experience in the student section whether it’s tailgating before the game, being in the student section during a really exciting
game, it goes beyond the stuff on the field. You are out with your friends and it sounds super cliche, but its the memories. I still remember cooking cheeseburgers and having fun before games. I think there is a lot of people out in the working world that would like that care free Friday night, so I would encourage people to just give it a try.”
Sarver finds career path in Orioles front office
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA SARVER
HALL OF FAME. Amanda Sarver leads Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver around the statue of retired outfielder Frank Robinson. education, as she graduFollowing her time at timore. She started off in Owen Stewart ated from James Madison HHS, Sarver faced a tough Nags Head, North Carolina Sports Editor University in 2008. Sarver decision on where to at- working at a restaurant, praised not only her ed- tend college, but eventual- and then decided to go In fourteen years since ucation, but her partici- ly chose JMU despite nev- backpacking in Europe, visher graduation from HHS pation in volleyball, soft- er thinking she would. iting 14 cities in nine counin 2004, Amanda Sarver ball and cheerleading, for “I didn’t know exactly tries over two and a half has come a long way. Her preparing her for the real what I wanted to do when years. Her escapades in first job was a part-time world. I graduated, but I knew I baseball began soon after. position at Jess’ Quick “In high school and enjoyed my communica“After [backpacking], I Lunch in downtown Har- throughout my life, sports tions classes my freshman went back to working in a risonburg, but she is now helped to teach me how year and that I may want restaurant and began lookworking in Baltimore, to work as a member of to work in sports, so the ing for job opportunities in Maryland in the public re- a team. It also helped me major/minor combination the sports world. One of lations department of the practice self-discipline and fit,” Sarver said. the first jobs I applied for Baltimore Orioles, a Major shape my work ethic since While Sarver eventually was in the Orioles Career I was balancing normal ended up with the Orioles, Introductory League Baseball team. Program,” In the middle of that school work with sports she held many other jobs Sarver said. extracurriculars,” after graduating college transition was Sarver’s and Sarver ended up in a high school and college Sarver said. prior to hooking on in Bal- position as the marketing
research assistant for the Orioles, living in Northern Virginia and making an hour and a half commute on game days. Her main job was to interview fans about their experience and report back to the front office. While in the position, she continued to search for new opportunities for work. “While there, I met as many people as I could and looked for ways to connect. I was introduced to the Orioles Public Relations Director, the late Monica Pence Barlow, who happened to be from Harrisonburg and attended Spotswood High School,” Sarver said. Barlow suggested to Sarver that she should attend the MLB’s Winter Meetings, and agreed to serve as a reference for her. At the meetings, which took place in Indianapolis, Sarver interviewed for many jobs in baseball, but one team showed more interest than the others. “The only full-time offer was from the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. I picked up my life and moved to Buffalo, a place where I didn’t know a soul. I think everyone should do that once in their life,” Sarver said. “I grew to love Buffalo and the people in it. Working for the Bisons gave me the experience I needed to prove that I could [make] it in an industry known for its intense hours, low pay and rigorous demands.” After a while working with the Bisons, Barlow alerted Sarver about a new job opening with the Orioles. While some things about the new opportunity meant a downgrade, the positives out-weighed the negatives for her.
“Accepting the job meant giving up my health benefits and my 401K, moving to yet another new city in which I knew basically no one, and taking a pay cut. But it was the major leagues, my dream, and with the support of my parents, I was able to make the move. Within less than two years, the Orioles made me fulltime and asked me to take over the digital aspects. I’ve continued to grow in my role and have taken on new responsibilities each year as the realm of digital communication evolves,” Sarver said. Over her years with the Orioles, Sarver has gotten to be a part of a celebration when Baltimore clinched the AL East division title in 2014, has met Orioles legends such as Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson, and has gotten a private tour with the White House. Even with all of these experiences, Sarver’s favorite part of her job has nothing to do with them. “I love that I get to be a voice of the Orioles. Through our social channels, mainly Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I get to connect with the fans and show a side of our organization and the players that they might otherwise not see. It’s a huge responsibility, [a] delicate balancing act and an area you can easily get into trouble. Luckily, I haven’t tweeted anything that’s gotten me fired, though that is always in the back of my mind. It’s an incredible privilege to be trusted with our digital voice and I have had a lot of fun learning, thinking creatively and developing this position,” Sarver said.
January 26, 2017
Gardner goes by ‘Common Jack’ as folk artist
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTHONY MULCAHY
JAMMIN’. Harrisonburg High School alumnus John Gardner holds a concert for a crowd. He typically play folk style music while going by the name of ‘Common Jack’.
Sid Tandel Staff Reporter John Gardner is a folksy song artist who lives in Queens, New York City. Gardner graduated from HHS in 2008, then proceeded to Ithaca’s College of Theatre Arts in upstate New York. Presently, Gardner works for a songwriting company that writes custom songs. Gardner has one main goal in his music career in order for him to
achieve personal success. “Before I am unable to continue with my music career, I would like to have my music and the band able to support me financially,” Gardner said. Gardner is more formally known by his stage name ‘Common Jack.’ “My parents almost named me Jack, and ever since the day my parents told me this, the name Jack always stood out to me… I also am not the biggest fan of the name John, so being
called Common Jack has been more of a frequent name,” Gardner said. Gardner has faced many high notes and dry spells throughout his career. “Most people think that being a musician is easy and you can just make whatever music you want to whenever you want, but coming up with creative songs is one of the hardest things to do… [Additionally], doing what I do is a day to day job, so when work dries up there’s not much I
can do,” Gardner said. Gardner’s favorite memory at his job was a National Broadway tour of the “Once” show. “This show in particular was special to me because I love playing the guitar, and while offstage not performing directly for the audience, you would sit backstage and play the background music that took place during the show… The experience of being with strangers and becoming close with them
and putting on a show for other strangers is a feeling like no other,” Gardner said. Musical talent runs in the family for Gardner whose mother was an opera singer. “Listening to my mom sing as a child was one of the main things that inspired me to become a musician,” Gardner said. After much experience in the music industry Gardner has one thing to say to the students of Harrison-
burg High School who wish to become song artists. “Work as hard as you can, then when you think you’ve reached your limit and you can’t work any harder, find a way to work harder,” Gardner said. “[In music], you will at some point in your career have to realize that you will never be the most talented, but you can be the hardest worker.”
Traveling lands Muan in Boston for job opportunity Betsy Quimby Staff Reporter After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2017, Gina Muan moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Muan is currently working as a process development engineer for Seres Therapeutics, a microbiome company that focuses on clostridium difficile (an inflammation of the colon). On a typical day you can find her working on bioprocesses in the lab. “I was always interested in math and science, so that’s why I decided on an engineering path. I wouldn’t say it’s my passion, that’s a little extreme, but I was always very interested in it. I knew it would give me a solid career choice, and it was something I could build my mind with. Also, I’d always been interested in bioprocesses, and helping people out in their health,” Muan said. While she did move from Harrisonburg to Boston to pursue her career, Muan has also traveled out-
side the United States. “When I traveled to Australia for the first time to see one of my relatives, I think I kind of got bit by a traveling bug; it’s what made me want to go completely out of my comfort zone and take a whack at being in a different state for a little while,” Muan said. “I think if I hadn’t traveled, I would have just gotten a job somewhere in Virginia, close to home… but I really just wanted to see new places.” Although Muan is doing a job that she likes to do, she would’ve liked to give herself some advice during high school. “I wish I could tell myself to just not feel bad if what you do isn’t your passion. I feel like a lot of people go to their job and think that it isn’t really what they live to do, and I don’t think it’s realistic to have that kind of point of view. I guess it would’ve saved me a couple of years of questioning myself if I’d known that ahead of time. And, I would
PHOTO COURTESY OF GINA MUAN
PICKING APPLES. Muan spends some time away from her job and picks some apples. say to stop straightening my hair in the morning, because that took way too much time,” Muan said. While she took time to focus on school work, Muan also participated in extracurricular activities. “I did band for a while, and I was part of a scholastic bowl. That sort of started out as a joke, but that was interesting, but definitely the most memorable
thing, and the activity that I spent the most time on was tennis,” Muan said. In Muan’s experience, Boston has a different vibe from Harrisonburg, in both the emotion and the opportunities. “Harrisonburg is cool and all, but it never really felt like there was much excitement or passion in the place, and I feel like [in Boston], even just catching
PHOTO COURTESY OF GINA MUAN
SNACK BREAK. Muan receives tips from her tennis coach before her varsity tennis match in 2013. lunch with a friend, it’s really fun to feel that energy, and that’s one of the things
I enjoy the most about living [in Boston],” Muan said.
Lopez gets inspiration from experience with hurricane Adriana Jimenez Staff Writer After high school, Yeimarie Lopez attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and majored in social work. Right after she graduated from VCU, she went to the University of Michigan and earned a master’s degree in social work. Lopez’s passion for this area of study began when she did volunteer work after a hurricane. “During high school, I volunteered to help clean up areas of New Orleans that had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. During that trip, we helped clean properties that had flooded and also helped with some rebuilding. My personal experiences plus that trip to New Orleans really sparked my passion for social justice which is why I majored in social work,” Lopez said. Currently, Lopez mainly conducts consultations and trainings for her social work programs. She thinks that it is all about support-
PHOTO COURTESY OF YEIMARIE LOPEZ
GRADUATION. Yeimarie Lopez stands with her brothers after her graduation from Harrisonburg High School in 2008. ing programs with their accreditation needs. Before doing this task, Lopez experienced another job that had her working with a few varieties of organizations. “Before my current job, I worked in a variety of orga-
nizations that served survivors of domestic and sexual violence, refugees, individuals experiencing homelessness and older adults. That work is often emotionally draining but they’re experiences I wouldn’t trade
for the world. In those jobs, I worked directly with clients and I can say that is humbling when an individual or family allows you to be a small part of their journey,” Lopez said. Lopez graduated from
Harrisonburg High School in 2008, then went on a trip with her best friend to Paris and London. She also traveled to Accra, Ghana, with a group of VCU students, and they all volunteered at a grade school right outside of Accra. In addition, they were able to spend time with community members and experience Ghanaian cuisine, music, art and culture. “I traveled to Paris and London in 2011 with my best friend. I never imagined I’d be able to travel there so it was so exciting to take that trip. The highlights from that trip were visiting Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower of course, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben,” Lopez said. Family is important to everyone, and Lopez has done everything to make them proud. Her parents raised her and her siblings to work harder because they wanted a better life for their children. She grew up in Harrisonburg with her mom, dad and brothers. Now she lives right outside
of Washington, D.C. with her husband. “Absolutely [my parents are proud of me] I came from a very hardworking family who didn’t always have a lot of resources. My parents raised us to work hard in school because they wanted a better life for us. Like a lot of people in Harrisonburg, my parents worked in turkey factories. I am in awe of their sacrifices and determination to help us succeed. I think I might be more proud of them than they are of me,” Lopez said. During high school, Lopez participated in Key Club and Spanish Club and worked a part-time job at a shoe store. Other than that, she connected with Mr. Yutzy, and she felt his classroom environment honored her experiences, language and culture. “Know that your path after high school may be different than that of your peers and that’s perfectly okay. Honor your experiences and take them as an opportunity to learn and grow,” Lopez advised.
January 26, 2017
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January 26, 2017
FROM THE ‘BURG TO THE BIG EASY
Turner wraps up second season with NFL’s Saints
READY TO BLOCK. Landon Turner prepares to block a defender from Amherst County during a game in his senior year of high school. Turner went on to sign with the University of North Carolina.
Jackson Hook Sports Editor Landon Turner was in the tenth grade when he first started gaining attention of major NCAA Division I football teams. The 6’4”, 300 pound offensive lineman continued to grab attention into his junior year when he began receiving offers from many of the schools that had been interested in him. “I got my first scholarship offer my junior year. That was the most concrete thing when it came to knowing I could go. Before that I had received some letters and had some coaches come and see me at the end of my sophomore year. I think the beginning of my junior year was when I realized I really had a chance to go,” Turner
said. During his senior year he was recognized as an All-American, ultimately picking up offers from the UNC, WVU, Virginia Tech, UVA, Clemson, Stanford, Maryland, LSU, and Florida. He ended up choosing UNC on his signing day because of the history of the prestigious school and the rise of their football program. “At the end of the day I was the most excited about UNC everytime I went. The guy who actually recruited me, him and his brother were both groomsmen at my wedding. We were really good friends off the bat. They had a really good program and the school was very prestigious and it was really humbling to be a part of. The biggest thing was, I would ask myself if I could see myself living here for four or five years and I
BRICK WALL. Landon Turner (#78) blocks a Baltimore Ravens defender in an NFL game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Turner, despite going undrafted, played in seven games and started one as a rookie in 2016.
loved the atmosphere and it was the best one that fit that question for me,” Turner said. He continued to play well at UNC after redshirting his first year. He ended his time as a Tar Heel with 1st-Team All-ACC and 1st Team All-American honors as well as the Jim Parker Trophy awarded to the top collegiate offensive lineman in the country in 2015. This set Turner up well for a spot in the NFL draft. After a shaky performance in the Draft Combine due to a strain in his leg, his value in the draft dropped. Once the actual draft came, Turner ended up going undrafted but signing as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints. “Whether you’re getting drafted or not, you’re powerless once the draft actually comes. You’ve done ev-
erything you could up until that point and now it’s out of your hands whether you get drafted or not. It was a rough couple of days but after the draft ended, not even five minutes after that I got a call from the Saints,” Turner said. “Then right after the Saints I talked to the [Kansas City] Chiefs. After a couple of minutes talking with my agent, we went back and looked at the research he had done with each team and decided that the Saints was the better opportunity. About 30 minutes after the draft I was officially signed with the Saints to the 90 man roster.” Turner is still a member of the Saints organization on the practice squad
which brings a lot of excitement as well as risks. “The scariest part about my job is that it could end at anytime in so many different ways. They could tell you they don’t want you on the team anymore, you could get hurt, injury can push you out of the game. There’s just a lot of risk factors and urgencies in this profession and it’s just an emotionless industry. As far as never knowing where you’re going to be, it’s year-to-year and even for some guys day-to-day. It’s tough to deal with but it’s part of it. That’s just how it is,” Turner said. Turner got through
everything in his life with the help of his parents and step-parents. His mother and step-father reside in Harrisonburg where they raised Landon. His father and step-mother do not live in Harrisonburg but still made it a point to be apart of his life and play important roles as parents. “I have had four parents which has been an unbelievable blessing,” Turner said. “It’s kind of like having four pillars my whole life to fall back on and I owe a lot of my mannerisms and how I act and how I treat other people to all four of those people.”
Landon’s NFL Combine Results 40 Yard Dash
All Across the Map
Landon’s Offers Out of High School
Kiser moves on to WVWC for baseball, training school Owen Stewart Sports Editor The 2015 graduating class of the HHS baseball team produced three college baseball players, one of them being Ryan Kiser, a left-handed swinging, right-handed throwing first baseman. After his time at HHS, from which he is remembered for launching a mammoth home run onto Garbers Church Road, he moved on to West Virginia Wesleyan College, a Division II school in Buckhannon, WV. Kiser, now a junior, believes attending HHS allowed him to be ready for college from the moment he arrived on campus, both academically and athletically. “Practicing every day with baseball and dong a lot of the offseason stuff there [helped prepare me]. Also, Harrisonburg offers a ton of college credit [classes] and a lot of stuff to prepare me for college as far as exams,” Kiser said. Two other colleges, West Virginia Tech and Bridgewa-
ter College, also pursued Kiser when he was a high schooler, but in the end, it was the academics offered by WVWC that drew him to Buckhannon. “I chose WVWC because the education there was a lot better, and my advisor had talked me into coming there for athletic training,” Kiser said. For a long time, Kiser has wanted his job to put him around athletes, but his specific major of athletic training was a newly acquired taste for him. “I’ve always liked sports and wanted to be around sports. I liked the idea of being an athletic trainer, but one of my friends kind of talked me out of it because the hours are very weird, and being a physical therapist pays a lot more,” Kiser said. “[Now], I want to be a sports physical therapist. I want to do physical therapy and rehab on strictly athletes, not so much hip replacements and stuff like that, but athletes that get injured. Athletics is definitely my pas-
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBIN KISER
CHUCK IT. Ryan Kiser , a 2015 HHS grad, throws the ball across the diamond during a game his senior year. He now plays at West Virginia Wesleyan. sion. [That job] at a bigger college would probably be my dream job.” After he finishes his schooling at West Virginia Wesleyan, Kiser hopes to move on to another school, such as Duke, East Carolina or Arcadia for physical therapy school, which he will attend for three years to obtain a doctorate degree in his field. While he
is still at WVWC however, Kiser can focus some of his attention to the ballfield. After playing sparingly as a freshman, he stepped into a starting role as the team’s first baseman during his sophomore year. Acknowledging that retaining his starting spot wasn’t guaranteed, he noted he has higher expectations for the next two seasons.
“Hopefully, I’ll start again this year and next year. [My biggest expectation] is just to improve my batting average. Defensively, I think that’s what got me into the starting position last year, and then I didn’t hit too bad, but there’s always room for improvement there. Becoming more of a power hitter in the next two years would be another important thing,” Kiser said. One of the challenges that face a college athlete is the time crunch created between practices, games and classes. At WVWC specifically, the baseball team has three intrasquads, two practices, three lifting sessions and one team run per week in the fall. In the spring, that workload increases, as the team practices six times a week and there are doubleheaders on the weekends. While most athletes have a tough time managing their time, Kiser hasn’t found it all that difficult. “The coaches work really well with you in college,
and the NCAA too, because you have to maintain a certain GPA to play. They make sure you get to study halls if your GPA is low, but if you don’t have a problem with academics, you don’t have to go to that stuff. You spend about three hours a day with athletics and at least three hours a day in class, but as long as you manage your time wisely, it’s not that hard,” Kiser said. After his college season wraps up, Kiser returns home to Harrisonburg for the summer, but his participation in baseball doesn’t stop, as he plays for the Montezuma Braves of the amateur Rockingham County Baseball League. “I think I’ve played [RCBL baseball for] four years now. It’s mainly just to not lose my swing,” Kiser said. “Since I’ve gotten to college I’ve realized that if you take time off, you lose your swing real quick. That muscle memory just goes. It’s just to keep on swinging and see the ball all summer.”
January 26, 2017
Newcity siblings discover own paths Lucie Rutherford Editor-In-Chief Cumulatively, all three Newcity siblings attended Harrisonburg High School for 12 years. Now six years after the youngest graduated, the three have gone through their own journeys, though have ventured back to Harrisonburg and are creating lives of their own. The middle of the three, Colin Newcity, graduated in 2009 and has since been to Australia and back. “After graduating [from JMU] I decided to travel a bit and pursue passions, so I left for Sydney, Australia to become a certified PADI scuba diving instructor. After about a month I was certified and began teaching and leading dives there in Sydney,” Colin Newcity said. It was after graduating from JMU with degrees in Kinesiology and Education that Colin Newcity changed his original career path of becoming a Physical Education teacher. “After graduating and getting more experience in the field I realized it may not have been completely what I had made it out to be, so from there and after pursuing scuba diving, I began working in the field of parks and recreation which I found to be a much better fit,” Colin Newcity said. Now eight years after his college graduation, Colin Newcity is working at the White Oak Lavender Farm and Purple WOLF Vineyard. “I have been there since October,” Colin Newcity
said. “I have responsibilities in all areas of the farm: farm work, tasting room [and] gift shop. After some time I will be responsible for managing all of the outdoor staff, general operations, as well as some educational events.” Like her older brother, Aidan Newcity changed her career path after coming out of college, and is now a Registered Nurse in the orthopedic and observation unit at nearby Rockingham Memorial Hospital. “I actually didn’t chose nursing until after graduating from JMU. I should have been more honest with myself about the future and switched before spending four years getting another bachelors,” Aidan Newcity said. “But, everything happens for a reason and I am glad I got the nursing education at EMU!” Looking back on her high school and college years, the advice Aidan Newcity has for herself and for current high school students comes from the experience she went through with changing careers. “I would want myself to think through what I wanted to pursue more intently, and don’t be afraid to change your mind or direction,” Aidan Newcity said. “HHS offers so many wonderful things, whether it be sports, theater, art, science or many more. You have to experience some of it all. It will really help shape the future if you find activities or interests that you are passionate about.” The oldest of the three siblings, HHS 2007 graduate
PHOTOS COURTESY OF AIDAN NEWCITY
GRADUATION. Colin Newcity poses with his two sisters Aidan Newcity (left) and Allison Newcity after his high school graduation in 2009. All three siblings graduated from HHS, and currently live near one another in the area. Allison Newcity has always known what kind of field she wanted to go into: massage therapy. “I have had an interest in it since about the eighth grade. I have family members that would go see a massage therapist for chronic pains. I was amazed that after about an hour I would see them again and they would have less pain and feel more energetic,” Allison Newcity said. On top of starting her own LLC called Revive Therapeutic Massage Center in Harrisonburg, Allison is also a fitness assistant at the Wellness Center at Virgin-
ia Mennonite Retirement Community. Here, she develops exercise prescriptions for their elderly members of various conditions. “The small victories make me smile… I love hearing that the exercise and guidance we give to our members helps them become healthier and happier,” Allison Newcity said. Though she is successful now, there are still things that Allison Newcity wishes she would’ve have done
back in high school. “If I could go back I would tell younger me not to be so afraid of trying new things. I would tell myself that is
Rose pursues environmental issues Jenifer Bautista-Lopez Staff Reporter Maria Rose started taking interest in environmental issues in middle school. After watching “An Inconvenient Truth”, a documentary by Al Gore, everything clicked in place for Rose. Once college came along, Rose attended Vassar College in New York where she majored in environmental science and English, and graduated in 2015. “I chose [to major in] environmental science because it was something I had been deeply interested in from high school onwards. I really wanted to, and still intend to pursue, environmental journalism, so the combination of environmental science and English were two things that went hand-in-hand to get me towards environmental journalism. I wanted to have more of a specific understanding of what I was going to write about,” Rose
said. While in college, Rose received a scholarship to go to Thailand and work with a small nonprofit organization that focuses on child rights and migrant rights. Rose spent two and a half years in Thailand doing situational analysis. Not knowing how to speak Thai made it harder for Rose to do basic things. “[Working in Thailand] was a really challenging job for a wide variety of reasons, but it was really powerful. The first eight or nine months I was there I mostly listened, and I think that is a hugely important thing in any kind of service work, to be an empathetic listener,” Rose said. “Not listening to respond, not listening to solve a problem, but just listening really hard to try to understand what’s going on. [Not knowing how to speak Thai] definitely made it harder.” Rose currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she is a part of Coro Pittsburgh
Fellowship in Public Affairs. Coro is a leadership and professional development program where students gain experience in different structures. Coro has a goal to help people develop their leadership skills so they can enter the workforce with a better understanding of how things work. “I was coming back from Thailand and [Coro] was a scholarship that I thought I would try and get, and I got it. I think for me, because I am pursuing environmental journalism, there is no set way to do it, like being a doctor who just goes to medical school,” Rose said. “You can get there by going to journalism school, you can start working, or you can do all of these things. There is this one quote [by Benjamin Franklin] that says, ‘Write something worth reading or do something worth writing’, so for me I just wanted to build my skills, if I wasn’t going to start writing immediately.” said Rose. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARIA ROSE
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE. (Top) Rose was in Thailand representing the Life Skills Development Foundation, she got received a scholarship to travel. (Left) Rose attended Vassar College In New York. There she majored in environmental science, and English. “I chose [to major in] environmental science because it was something I had been deeply interested in from high school onwards,” Rose said.
okay to not be the best and that is the experience that is most meaningful,” Allison Newcity said. For Colin Newcity, it wasn’t trying new things that he wishes he would have changed, but the amount of effort he put into what he did. “I was very fortunate that I ended up going to the school I wanted and got the opportunity to fulfill a dream of playing college athletics. But, I would say I should have applied myself more in school and in classes,” Colin Newcity said. “I was doing what I had to get by. It would have better pre-
pared me for college and my future, I do think high school is the age where you really start to build habits that will stay with you.” Because of his college experience, Colin Newcity urges high school students to step out of their comfort zone and mindset. “It is very easy to have an idea of what life will look like, but at that age try as many things as possible and experience as much as you can,” Colin Newcity said. “You will find new interests and passions that will challenge that mindset you have. Which is a good thing.”
Barge finds passion in leading Big Brothers Big Sisters Ashley Acosta-Iscoa Staff Reporter Born and raised in Latin America, Rebeca Barge is now program director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. She has settled down and is married to Boris Ozuna, her high school sweetheart. “While I was an HHS student, I traveled. One summer I did a missions trip to Columbia [which is where I met him] and we became really good friends. A lot of my high school friends heard me talk about him when I came back,” Barge said. During early fall of Barge’s senior year, she already knew where she wanted to attend for college, Eastern Mennonite University. Throughout her four years at EMU, she discovered the career that she would take off with after her college career. ¨[In my freshman year in college], I was taking classes in psychology and social work. It encompassed a really wide array of different aspects that I liked,¨ Barge said. ¨ I decided to pursue a Master’s in social work because of the wide range of knowledge and opportunity it can provide. I work directly with clients, counseling, management, social justice and community organizing.¨ The Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization is a program where children are matched one-on-one with a mentor that volunteers and commits to a one year contract with their ‘brother or sister.’ Throughout the duration of the year, mentors bond with their ‘little’ and help them out, whether it is on school work or having a person that can be their role model. Barge has been the program director at BBBS for the past three and a half years. ¨I oversee all of the programmatic aspects of BBBS: recruitment, enrollment and matching of children in our community and children that live in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County,¨ Barge said. ¨I
oversee six program staff and make sure that we ensure child safety, support our team and make sure everyone is completing their job.¨ The age range of children that take part in this program is 5-14. It is up to the mentor if they’d like to stick with their ‘little’ up to the age of 18. Mentors are required to visit their ‘sibling’ at least once a week. There are two programs that take place in this organization: community-based and schoolbased. Children are either visited throughout school or outside of school. According to Barge, finding a child a mentor who shares similar traits can be challenging to do so. ¨We do a pretty big enrollment piece. We interview the child and their family, we interview the volunteers. We ask a lot of different questions and actually base [the pairing] off similar interests, personality characteristics,” Barge said. ¨So it really is like a matching game we do.¨ Barge feels that it is important for the youth to have a positive person in their life to look up to, that will influence them to make positive decisions in life instead of the negatives one may fall to. ¨Research shows that children who are influenced by a positive role model will improve significantly in various areas. We measure success in their academics, grades, different reading levels, increased self confidence, and they stay away from the risky behaviors that may come along or are prone to in high school and adulthood,¨ Barge said. Barge has learned a significant lesson throughout the job she has been doing, and through her high school and college experiences that have stuck with her. ¨How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you,” Barge said. “I try to be that kind of director and leader.¨
January 26, 2017
Humans of HHS-B12
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Burden sings for Obama, Oprah Caleb Goss Staff Reporter Over the course of decades, millions of people have grown to love the arts and all it has to offer. JMU student and 2015 HHS graduate Isabelle Burden is one of them. Throughout Burden’s life, her passion for the arts has only grown, especially when it comes to acting and performing. “When I was like four, I was sent to a lot of acting camps and then I realized that I was good at it in high school. Before that, I [thought], ‘I just like doing this, but I’m probably really bad at it and no one’s telling me.’ But then in high school I started realizing I was getting bigger parts and leads and I was
Isabelle Burden sings to Obama and Oprah with JMU a capella
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Owen Marshall Sports Editor
sticks with Young Life
like, ‘Oh, I’m okay at this,’” Burden said. Influenced by her mother, Burden found that going after what you’re passionate about trumps the amount of money you earn any day. Taking this into account, Burden decided to follow her passion in pursuing the arts. “My mom was a real estate agent for around ten years, but before that she was an art history teacher for JMU. She kind of decided after ten years of doing real estate that she didn’t like it anymore, so she applied for this non-profit organization called the Arts Council of the Valley and she applied for the executive director,” Burden said. “I think that [by] seeing her follow the path that didn’t make her the most money, but she was passionate about, made me feel like I could do that with my career,” Burden said. For the duration of being a high school student, Burden and her passion for the arts were impacted by the help from Stanley Swartz, who helped Burden see her full potential. “[Mr. Swartz] was the theatre teacher and had a big impact on me. He just showed me that I was good. He kind of fostered creativity around the board,” Burden said. With the advice of many others, Burden gives her own advice to students still experiencing high school. “I’d say that junior year academics really do matter. Let them matter and try to do as well as you can for at least that year, [because] a lot of colleges look at that year. Then senior year, don’t overload yourself. [Don’t try] to be friends
Weston Reynolds did not plan on having the job position he is in currently as Senior Associate at Greycroft, but after being in the technology field for a while he found the career he believes is fit for him. “I have always been interested in technology. The combination of working to solve challenging problems in the context of
technology with really smart interesting people always appealed to me,” Reynolds said. “I didn’t know this was a job when I was your age but through the culmination of a lot of years of reading and exploring I stumbled into this opportunity and I really enjoyed it.” After college Reynolds moved to New York city where he began to immerse himself in the technology community. “While I was doing consulting I started doing work on the side with different tech startups. One
Miller survives Virginia Tech shooting Nyah Phengsitthy Social Media Coordinator It’s been 10 and a half years since Heidi Miller was hiding under a desk trying to cover her head and spinal cord when a shooter had entered her
classroom. In 2007, Miller was one of the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre after being shot in her left leg three times. After graduating from HHS in 2006 and moving onto the next chapter of her life, Miller’s freshman year of college was something she’ll never forget. To expand her surround-
ings after high school, Miller had applied to places such as University of Virginia and University of Mary Washington, but Virginia Tech made its way to the top of her list. “I wanted to get out of Harrisonburg for a little while because around fifteen years ago, it wasn’t as cool as it
Special edition featuring Harrisonburg High School alumni