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2news Staff wins Pacemaker • The Wingspan received a Pacemaker Award from the National Scholastic Press Association at the recent NSPA fall convention. The Wingspan staff also won a second-place best of show award. The Westwind yearbook staff won a fifth place best of show award. In the national write-off competition, five students earned awards: Krista Van Giesen, yearbook cover/ endsheets; Brandi Martin, newswriting; Katie King, feature writing; Meredith Cole, sports writing; and Josh Wentzel, review writing. • S.A.V.E. Club is currently collecting old batteries, light bulbs and cell phones for recycling. Items may be brought to room V-6. • Foreign Language Club officers for the year are senior Katie King, president; senior Brandi Martin, vice president; and senior Audrey Huff, secretary. • Senior Eric English received an Outstanding Excellence in Acting award and seniors Katie O’Shea and Donny Turner and junior Andrew Hayes received an Excellence in Acting award at the North Carolina Theater Conference competition in October. • FCCLA officers for the year are co-presidents seniors Shelbie English and Kayla Gibbs, senior Melissa Elliot and Krystal Crook, vice presidents; senior Lauren Reneau, treasurer; senior Rachel Bollinger, secretary; senior Hannah Wilson, chaplain; senior Carly Owenby, historian; and junior Brittany Fairbairn, community leader. • Mountain Biking Club co-presidents for the year are seniors Adam Steurer and Bo Philips. Meetings are held every Tuesday afternoon. For more information, see Derek Nagreen in Y-8. • A.I. officers include seniors Caleb Dalton and Morgan Lovell.

‘Wild and Crazy’

Flying Falcons march to the beat of a successful season


how to play their instruments, but it’s 10 percent knowledge and 90 percent effort. Everybody’s got the knowledge, but the ones who are giving the effort are the ones who are winning.” According to Woody, the marching band made many improvements from when she was a freshman. The marching band participated in four competitions this fall at Enka, North Henderson, Owen and Newton-Conover. The band also hosted the county band festival, a non-competitive showcase for the bands in the county. The marching band made several modifications to their sound this year and added a pit and a drum set on the field. “We have non-marching percussion instruments which add a lot of color to the sound. They add a lot of impact to the sound with a big base drum and a gong to come in at some big impact points,” Klaes said. “It adds a whole other dimension to our show with a different kind of sound that a lot of bands don’t take outside. We are definitely starting to find our own style of playing that is kind of becoming our trademark for West.” Although Woody conducts the band on the field, Klaes is the band director. He designs drills and the shows, selects music and tells the band when to stop and start and what to work on. Klaes first creates a show and gathers music before the school year begins its session. The marching band holds a band camp where they learn the music Klaes has selected and begin practicing for their halftime show. “The show came together really

Hailey Johns Asst. Opinion Editor

t was August of Samantha L. Woody’s sophomore year, and everything in marching band was different — new freshmen, her new position as drum major and a new band director. But two years later, Woody believes the changes and the adjustments that followed have benefited the Flying Falcon Marching Band. The band experienced a period of change when Allen Klaes replaced longtime director John Dickson in August 2008. At the last competition of the marching season at Newton-Conover on Nov. 6, the band showed significant improvement when they took first place in drum line, second place in music, second place in drum major, second place in color guard and second place overall, Woody said. In a similar competition at North Henderson, the marching band brought home second place in every category but color guard, which took first place. “We were successful this year just like we were last year. I think the band is better than last year’s band. Having the extra members helps, but the show design is better,” Klaes said. “It’s a good show design for us, and the show design is allowing us to do some more things and achieve better scores and achieve better audience appeal. I think it really comes down to the effort that is put out on the field everyday and put out for performances. All the marching bands in the area and in the state, they all know how to march and

Photo by Heidi Brickhouse

In Flight

wingspan • december 16, 2010

At the homecoming football game in October, drumline member Austin Baker, a sophomore, prepares for the next marching band competiton by performing in the halftime show. “We got first place in drumline in every competiton except one. I felt pretty great; our drum instructor worked us pretty hard, so I think we deserved it,” Baker said. quickly,” Klaes said. “We were able to put everything on the field and learn all the music really quickly because we had some very good musicians and quick learners.” With band members coming and going, the marching band and its sound change from year to year. The marching band currently has 14 seniors that will be graduating. “We’re losing a lot of our seniors so it’s going to continue to be very different,”

Woody said. “Seniors tend to know what they’re doing more than freshmen because of their experience.” According to Klaes, the future of the marching band looks bright. “I hope it gets bigger and bigger every year because that’s one of the great things about marching band. The color guard has been growing consistently, so that’s really good to get more flags out on the field; it makes us look a lot bigger,” Klaes said.

Gap year proves valuable, yet risky option for students when I could take all of my necessary classes in the first semester,” Hayes said. “I thought this would be a cool opportunity because I would get more hands-on experience racticing his German with his senior project men- than I would receive in a classroom. Also, when I come tor, senior Ben Hayes prepared for the three months back to the states it’s going to look really good to colleges.” Gap years don’t have to be spent watching reruns of he plans to spend abroad after graduation. In one month, Hayes will have graduated early and be on a plane “Grey’s Anatomy,” and in fact most of them are not. Many students spend their gap year traveling, headed for Germany. volunteering or getting a job to offset the There he will spend his time as a If you take a year bills from the following years of college. business intern with Arvato Digital and “Students have the opportunity to as an international club soccer player. off and you start gain knowledge through study abroad “If all goes well, when I come back working, you have and volunteer programs. They also give from Germany, I plan to work for the them time to mature and to be better company that I did the internship with responsibilities, prepared for the upcoming challengin their Weaverville facility and take and it’s hard to es they will face in college,” Melanie night classes at the University of North take off and get Redding, the Carson-Newman College Carolina at Asheville,” Hayes said. officer said. While Hayes does not plan to take off back in the groove admissions According to The Gap-Year an entire year before continuing his eduof college. Advantage by Karl Haigler and Rae cation, a growing number of high school graduates are looking at a “gap year” opGlenda Lancaster Nelson, a gap year teaches valuable skills tion. A “gap year” is a period of time beguidance counselor such as stress and money management, communication and problem solving. tween high school and college that stuAlthough not advised, some students dents use as a hiatus before continuing their education. In the past, gap years have been most also use their year off bumping up SAT scores and reapcommon in Australia and the United Kingdom. However, plying to colleges that they were not accepted to initially. A gap year does not necessarily have to be in bewith the current college freshman drop out rate at 30 pertween high school and college. Another common period cent, the option is becoming increasingly popular. There are many reasons why students take a gap year, of time for a gap year is after college before pursuing a cawhether they are tired of taking classes, not ready for col- reer or before attending graduate school. Nor does a gap year have to be an actual year. It can be a summer before lege or just wanting some experience in the “real” world. “I decided to do this because I didn’t want to stay for college or any number of months abroad like Hayes’ three a second semester of school and take pointless classes months.

Natalie Rice

Junior Editor


Some colleges are now designing their own form of gap year programs. Princeton has a new program called “bridge year” in which newly accepted students spend nine months of the year in one of four international locations volunteering as a university-sponsored service. Now, Harvard also offers a gap year opportunity to every admitted freshman in their acceptance letter. According to Guidance Counselor Glenda Lancaster, the main concern with taking a year off is that many students don’t return to attend college as initially intended because of fiscal restrictions or lack of focus. “The disadvantage is that if you take a year off and you start working, you have responsibilities, and it’s hard to take off and get back in the groove of college,” Lancaster said. “If you take off and you have a car and insurance to pay for, it’s very difficult to drop everything and go back to school, unless of course you have support from home.” To ensure that students return to school, it is encouraged that they plan out their gap year from their schedule to their budget. In a study by Haigler, results suggested that the majority of students who take an intentional, planned gap year return to school. Students who have applied to a college should specify that they intend to take a year off. Generally, colleges will grant these requests provided that the student has specific goals for that year. “Our recommendations for students wanting to take a gap year would be to check with a college and make sure it’s something that they’re going to be supportive of and make sure that you still will be admitted when you complete your activities. Have something in writing,” Guidance Counselor Shannon Auten said.


Natalie Rice Junior Editor wingspan • december 16, 2010 If you take a year off and you start working, you have responsibilities, and it’s ha...

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