FFA recieves silver rating

From June 26-29, the FHS Future Farmers of America attended the Virginia FFA State Convention at Virginia Tech, where students participated in competitions ranging from floral design to agriculture mechanics. In addition to this, students were given individual awards and overall chapter awards. The Fauquier High School chapter was awarded a Silver Rating and is striving to do better next year, according to agriculture teacher Susan Hilleary. She said that their chapter received a Silver Rating because they did not write their goals in the correct format in the application. She added that the competition’s rigor took the students by surprise.
“The competition was hard,” Hilleary said. “I think a lot of them realized what they don’t know. For almost everyone, it was their first time doing this, so it’s a learning process.”
Junior Hannah Johnson competed in agriculture mechanics, where she had to take four written tests, make a working electrical system, weld, analyze a plot of land and build a structure to make it as flat as possible.
“It was my first year, so I wasn’t very [knowledgeable] with the tests and how well their welding machines were,” Johnson said. “I didn’t do that great, but I think did good for my first year. I learned that you don’t have to be great at something even if you know how to do it.”
Seniors Dylan Kezele and Ben Scaring were awarded state degrees, the highest award one can receive in high school: Kezele in aquaponics and Scaring in landscaping. In order to qualify for a state degree, students must create a Supervised Agricultural Experience, an agriculture-based project or job, where they spend 300 hours working on the project or earn $1,000 in their job in order to qualify. For his project, Kezele used fish waste in place of fertilizer, in order to test its efficiency and its ability to substitute for normal fertilizer. He said it was a relief to be recognized for his hard work after spending hours on the project.
“I used the waste that the fish produced to grow the plants without soil,” Kezele said. “The plants sat in a PVC pipe system, and the water that the fish lived in was filtered out from the pipe and ran through [to] the roots that pick up the nutrients in the water.”
Scaring has owned his own landscaping company for three years and used this as his project. He said it was a lot of fun meeting people from different FFA chapters around the state and getting to reconnect with members from previous years.
“[We] felt very accomplished to know that our chapter has done so much hard work and to succeed in getting the state degrees,” Scaring said.
In addition to building on their success in next year’s competition, Kezele,the chapter’s FFA president, said that he has other goals he wants to achieve in his last year with the organization.
“There are things called state proficiency awards, [which is] the best [project] for each section of agricultural,” Kezele said. “I’d like to win that for aquaculture.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief

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Arielle Ward competes in one-act festival

In July, senior Arielle Ward wrote and directed an original piece for the Northern Virginia Theater Alliance One-Act Play Festival competition in Falls Church. Although Ward said she wrote the play on a whim, it wound up winning for best costuming and was nominated for best ensemble.
“I’ve written a bunch of one-acts for class and scenes,” Ward said. “I decided to have fun and just write something dumb that I didn’t really care about.”
Ward originally wrote it as a class assignment for Allegro, an arts school in Warrenton. However, when her teacher read it for the students, she urged Ward to submit it to the competition.
“She really liked it,” Ward said. “She thought it could do really well in the competition, so she got me registered and I went.”
The play, titled “Two’s Company,” is a story about two girls who show up at a comic convention wearing the same Harley Quinn outfit and then get into a fight about it. Ward, who also made some of the costumes showcased in the competition, said her inspiration came from previously attending many comic conventions.
“There’s a lot of people that will dress up as the same character,” Ward said. “One of the really popular characters is Harley Quinn, and I know that there’s going to be a lot more Harley Quinns since Suicide Squad just came out.”
Still relatively new to writing and directing, Ward said she did not expect to do well in the competition against 11 other acts, and was surprised to win.
“I was really shocked; I didn’t think I was going to win anything,” Ward said.“I’ve directed before, and I’ve written before, but I’ve never done something like this; I’ve never been so independent in my directing and acting, and I’ve never worked with such a big cast. I even had a few novice actors in it, and it was their first time. It was very exciting.”
Her act featured 11 actors, including junior Alyssa Gilmore and seniors Christopher Agey, Megan McCoy and Alex Craig. When directing your friends, it can be hard to maintain focus and a serious tone, Ward said.
“It’s really fun, but sometimes productivity doesn’t come as easy because they’re your friends and you want to share fun things with [them], but you have to stay with it and be diligent,” she said.
Ward said she wants to continue to act, direct and write in the performing arts, and that she was grateful for the opportunity to compete in the festival.
“Writing wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be,” Ward said. “And the theater community, even in the bigger cities, is still very comfortable and welcoming to new people.”

~alex wright, sports director

Cheer team prepares for upcoming season

When most people think of cheerleaders, they picture a line of peppy, teenage girls jumping up and down, waving their pompoms in the air at a Friday night football game. What they don’t see, however, are the long, painful hours put into practice, fierce competitions and exhaustion from pushing the body to its breaking point.
“Some people take it as a joke sometimes, just because it’s not a very orthodox sport,” senior Kavena Flores said. “They don’t really think about how much work and effort you have to put into it. It’s like any other sport; you go to practices and have games and team bonding.”
The team practices around 11 hours each week to perfect cheers, tumbling and stunts. According to senior Rachel DeRosa, the team captain, practice is also essential in making sure everyone is on the same page.
“You have to make sure everyone works together, because cheer is the kind of sport where if one person falls or if everyone isn’t getting along [it doesn’t work],” DeRosa said.
Cheerleading requires athletes to execute physically strenuous stunts that often involve throwing or holding team members up in the air or maintaining balance for long periods of time
“You have to go through a lot of training to be able to do the tumbling that you have in cheer,” Flores said. “It’s a lot harder than it looks.”
Besides the difficulty of the stunts, Flores said that many people don’t realize how dangerous the sport can be. One flaw can have severe consequences.
“There’s a big injury risk, especially in stunting, since we’re tossing girls 10 feet in the air,” Flores said. “The flyers expect to be caught and not hit the ground, because a lot of concussions can happen that way.”
With the sideline cheer season in full swing, the team members are representing the school with every bit of enthusiasm they have. DeRosa said she particularly loves being able to contribute to the Friday night football game atmosphere.
“I feel like everyone loves football games, and to get to be a part of the experience is really fun,” she said. “When everyone imagines a Friday night football game, it’s the football players on the field and cheerleaders on the sidelines. I feel like it’s kind of what everyone knows as a football game.”
While the team continues to cheer at football games during the sideline cheer season, it also is preparing to compete at meets, where the team is judged on routines. Last year, they ended the competition season at regionals, where they placed seventh. According to sophomore Brielle Phillippe, competition is much more rigorous than sideline.
“Competition is much harder; it’s fast-paced and you’re getting judged on it,” Phillippe said. “You have to mix in tumbling, dancing, and harder stunts.”
In anticipation of the start of this year’s competition season on Sept. 19, they prepared by brushing up on the essentials throughout the preseason.
“We’re really just focusing on the basics,” DeRosa said. “Like anything, before you excel in it you have to get the basics down.”

~katie johnston, managing editor

Young Life provides safe space for adventure

For the past three summers, junior Emma Gorg has been a camp counselor at Capernaum, one of many Young Life camps. Young Life is a Christian group focused on improving the lives of teenagers by spreading their message of faith. Capernaum is focused on students with intellectual and physical disabilities, where they can participate in activities ranging from horseback riding to zip-lining to swimming. The camp lasted for five days and took place in Rockbridge County. Gorg had two buddies for the week, one of them a student at FHS.
“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for special-needs kids, and I have been to many Young Life camps myself so I wanted to give [them] an opportunity to do what I’ve always loved to do [at] these camp,” Gorg said.
This summer was junior Aleeya Hodul’s first time attending Camp Capernaum. Being that her little brother has Down syndrome, Hodul said she wanted to be a part of the impact that Young Life makes on these teenagers lives.
“It was a lot of fun, and I definitely learned a lot about the campers and how much like us they actually are,” Hodul said.
The camp’s main priority is to give these campers the ultimate summer experience, one where their disabilities don’t overshadow their abilities to have fun and be adventurous, while also tying these activities in with daily messages of God.
“[The camp is centered around] having fun and making sure they’re OK, helping them grow spiritually and hear the message that they had each week,” Gorg said. “Another part was encouraging them to get out of their shell. You don’t necessarily want to get them out of their comfort zone, because then they’ll get scared, but allowing themselves [to realize] they are capable of doing all the same stuff.”
One of the camp’s main objectives is to incorporate sermons in a way that the campers can comprehend. The campers learn about the basic story of Christ, his death for the people’s sins, his resurrection and how he loves each of them personally.
“We related how Jesus forgives us for our sins to [them being able to] forgive their friends, by a hug,” Gorg said. “We say, ‘You can trust that you’re not going to fall, just like you can trust Jesus to be there for you.’ Most of the time, I tried to incorporate the [message] into each activity.”
Before becoming a camp counselor, students must go through basic training and fill out a questionnaire. Through this, they learn how to care for the campers properly and how to respond to over stimulation.
“You learn wheelchair etiquette, to not kneel down and not touch someone else’s wheelchair,” Gorg said. “[I was also taught] how to help someone when they get uncomfortable and overstimulated. We always have a set of earplugs on us; or if they just need a quiet moment, we’re taught to pull them out and talk to them.”
Because each camper had a different challenge, Hodul was able to learn how to care for each camper depending on the individual needs.
“You had to see the differences [in each diagnosis] and adjust to how you would approach situations,” Hodul said. “You just have to comforting and encourage them and be there for them, more than anything.”
Gorg said personality and attitude were key factors in making the campers comfortable and engaged. She found that she had to overcome her shy demeanor in order to do the best for them.
“Originally, I was always quiet and never was outgoing, but I’ve learned to be more outgoing. If you’re outgoing, then they will be, too, because they see [that example],” Gorg said.
Hodul said being a part of this camp made her more aware of students with special needs, and she has begun to befriend them more than she would prior to the camp.
“There was a lot of positivity and everyone there was so helpful; if you looked like you needed help, everyone was there to help you out and help the campers,” Hodul said. “[People need to learn that the campers] are different, but they’re more like us than you realize.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief

Golf tees up for postseason

The Fauquier Falcons golf team continues to improve each year. The team’s latest achievement was winning the recently created Fauquier Cup, which took place at Fauquier Springs Country Club on Aug. 9. Competing against Handley, Millbrook, Sherando, James Wood, Liberty and Kettle Run, the Falcons’ first-place finish gave them the confidence needed to begin the season and hit the ground running. Senior Cameron Lee echoed his teammates’ optimism going into the season.

“We won back-to-back the last two years,” Lee said. “At this point it’s like we know what to expect.”

After already claiming a brand-new trophy, it’s easy to see that anything is possible for the Falcons this year.The Falcons did not finish the way they wanted to last season, however. High expectations and confidence led to the team winning the regular season and winning the conference championship, but coming up short at regionals.

“We didn’t really do that well in regionals. I see it as something we can build off of, though,” senior Michael Patchett said. “I think that since we made it last year, there’s no doubt we’ll make it this year. Only difference is, we’re going all the way this time.”

Team members all have done their part in preparing for the season. Different methods of practice distinguish each player in his own way. Senior Cameron Lee said he believes that repetition is the key.

“I’ve gotten better by tanking balls on the course pretty much all summer,” Lee said. “I just spend hours and hours perfecting my stroke.”

Some players, like Patchett and Frankie Strano, oftentimes even play together to strengthen their bonds on and off the course. Having a teammate to face off against also helped Patchett get into the competitive mindset and more, he said.

“We’ve all practiced a lot more,” Patchett said. “Like, Frankie and I have seen a lot more hours on the course together. Practicing with someone you normally play with just prepares you both equally and gets you ready for anything.”

Along with practice, the Falcons have another advantage going into this season: With seven seniors in the main lineup, experience is not a problem. These seven all have been with the team since their freshman year. Averna said he believes the cohesiveness of the group will help make this the best year yet.

“I think it gives us a better shot at going to states,” Averna said. “Being with these guys since freshman year has taught me a lot about teamwork. We’ve all worked so hard to get to the top.”

~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director

Anderson will join Vikings lacrosse at Cleveland State

Senior lacrosse player Cole Anderson has seen his fair share of fame in the papers for his athletic achievements, but his most recent accomplishment might top the rest. Over the summer, Anderson committed to Ohio’s Cleveland State University to play Division I lacrosse.

Anderson has been playing lacrosse for only four years, beginning the sport his freshman year of high school. Even early on, he knew he wanted to continue playing the sport after high school.

“I knew I always wanted to play lacrosse in college ever since I picked up a lacrosse stick,” Anderson said. “It’s been my dream ever since then. It should be the dream for everyone no matter what sport they’re playing. It’s always a big deal when someone finally does it.”

For Anderson, the hardest part of the recruitment process may have been getting noticed. He played on a popular travel team over the summer called the Cavaliers to get recognition from certain colleges he wanted to attend. Schools such as Christopher Newport, Roanoke, and Cattawba made offers to Anderson, but none of them were Division I like he wanted. Eventually, Cleveland State recognized Anderson’s talented and sought him out.

“They actually reached out to me, I’m not sure how they found me, but they reached out to my coach at Fauquier, and he talked to them and set me up for a phone call with their coach,” Anderson said. “Then they invited me to their prospect camp, so I went and played. Then, a week later, they gave me an offer.”

Cleveland State is big on soccer and basketball, but only recently stepped up to the DI level in lacrosse. Anderson said he hoped to help make a name for Cleveland in the early years of its organization.

“Cleveland is a newer team. They just started out in Division I last year, so they have mostly freshmen on their team,” Anderson said. “They play a lot of big-name schools like Penn State, Ohio St., U.Va. Hopefully they’re getting better through the next couple of years so when I get there I can do my best to help.”

Of course many questions come with such a decision, a big one being: Why Cleveland? Anderson said the city is a good fit for a life after college and lacrosse.

“The city itself is really cool, the campus around the city. The coaching staff really liked me—and I really liked them, so it was a perfect fit,” Anderson said. “I’m going to major in sports management. There are a lot of intern opportunities in Cleveland like interning with the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Cleveland Indians. There are just a lot of opportunities for what I want to do in Cleveland. I also just want to stay around sports too.”

Although Anderson said he cannot tell how his first season with the team will go, he has an idea of how he wants to eventually impact the program.“I want to do as much as I can to help our team,” Anderson said.

“I know freshmen don’t  play that much their first year. I’m just gonna try my best—work hard and try my best every day.”

~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director

O’Saben ready to swing into college baseball at UMBC

Over the summer, senior Blaze O’Saben accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The UMBC Retrievers are an NCAA Division I baseball program, competing in the America East Conference.
O’Saben, who verbally committed to UMBC on July 5, began playing 12 years ago, at the age of 5. He said he became intrigued with playing in college during middle school, when his older friends and teammates began to talk about it. Since arriving at FHS, O’Saben has been a member of the varsity baseball team for four years, starting at shortstop. He said he hopes to achieve his sole goal of earning first team 4A all-state honors this season.
Senior teammate Dustin Donner said O’Saben adds tremendous value to the team as a whole.
“[He’s] a great teammate, and can make a team better on and off the field,” Donner said. “Blaze’s work ethic is incredible; he’s always at the cages taking grounders.”
Along with the Falcons varsity baseball team, O’Saben is a member of the Stars showcase baseball team. The Stars are the No. 2 organization from Virginia that puts players into college.
Matt O’Saben, Blaze’s father and coach at FHS, said he has enjoyed watching Blaze grow as an athlete throughout his life.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach him through most of his baseball playing days,” Matt O’Saben said. “It has been fun to watch him go from tee-ball to high school, to grow and develop, to see him work day-in and day-out.”
A week before Blaze O’Saben committed, he visited UMBC for the first time after the coach invited him for an official visit to see the campus and facilities. However, O’Saben said he already felt comfortable and ready to call it home.
“I liked the environment,” he said. “All the buildings are open, and there’s a lot [to do] everywhere. I felt like I had been there before, even though I hadn’t; it was just a really friendly atmosphere.”
The recruiting process was very fast-paced. Blaze O’Saben received significant interest from Radford University, also an NCAA Division I program, located in southwest Virginia. However, UMBC offered a scholarship quickly, playing part into why he committed.
“It was a little hectic,” he said. “A couple colleges notified me all at the same time, and [UMBC] just got to me first. I was talking to Radford longer than [UMBC], but [UMBC] got to me with a scholarship before Radford did, so I went.”
Matt O’Saben said the family was at a baseball tournament in Atlanta when Blaze made his final decision to commit to UMBC.
“We were in our hotel room and the UMBC coach called him,” Matt O’Saben said. “We could hear the excitement in both Blaze’s and the coach’s voice through the phone. It was fun seeing and hearing the excitement. We [couldn’t] be prouder of him.”
Blaze, who is planning to major in business, will receive a 37 percent athletic scholarship his freshman year, with a 51 percent scholarship guaranteed for the following three years.
An attractive component of the process for Blaze O’Saben was the success of the program. Along with their conference tournament champonship, the Retrievers finished 23-25 last season, in their final game, losing to Maryland in the NCAA Regionals.
“I liked their record—it has been pretty good recently,” he said “They’re in a rebuilding stage and they’re still successful and they’re getting all new facilities.”
Matt O’Saben said UMBC’s philosophy as a university and baseball program fits Blaze well.
“We like UMBC’s academic programs and the straightforward nature and approach of their coaching staff,” Matt O’Saben said. “UMBC plays with a chip on their shoulder. They bring guys in that love to play and are willing to outwork their opponents. That fits Blaze’s style, attitude and personality.”

~alex wright, sports director

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