‘Into the Woods’ creates fairytale fantasy

If you enjoy the Grimms’ fairy tales, then you will love the theatre department’s adaptation of the broadway play and movie of Into The Woods, a production that intertwines some of the most famous fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, in a mysterious woodland setting. However, theatre teacher Emmett Bales takes the play in new directions.

“If you’re expecting the movie, you’re not going to see the movie; if you’re expecting the broadway play, you’re not going to see the broadway play,” Bales said. “The new theater technology class, is allowing us to go more in depth into the characters and nuances and inner parts of each character. We’re trying to bring out the beauty in everything.”

The complicated stage sets require 72 stage cues alone, along with music cues, such as crickets and birds and other animals, to enhance the woodland atmosphere. The tech crew will also stage flying objects for the first time in this play.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more depth to it than what people are expecting. Almost every other sentence is something you can write an essay about,” Bales said. “[I expect] each of us, including myself, to work to their full potential, which really concerns me because we are very multi-tasked now. We can only handle so much, and in my world, this is worthy of my attention.”

The play will feature 19 cast members, each of whom was required to complete an advanced character analysis of their part in order to better understand the character’s motivations and bring depth to the production.

“There’s not one player that isn’t important. You could take any character, even one who you might consider a minor character, out of the play, and it would not be the same play,” Bales said. “They’re all really interrelated and very important.”

Sophomore Johanna Huber will play Little Red Riding Hood, and her biggest concerns are learning the mannerisms and vocal qualities of a small child.

“It’s definitely a more well-known play than what we’ve done in the past, so I think it’ll get more of a positive response from the students,” Huber said. “It’s kind of like a fairy tale, and everyone loves a good fairy tale.”

Junior Tatijana Shields is one of two student directors, and she assists with rehearsals, blocking, directing, and stage work. Shields could see the beauty of the play and the dedication of the cast after only a few rehearsals.

“Our cast, crew, and the wonderful addition of our orchestra members will elevate the ‘wow’ effect our show will have in people,” Shields said. “I’m not going to settle for less than our best. Even if hiccups happen, it’ll be okay if they give us their all.”

Into the Woods will feature the pit orchestra, which will be playing the entire score of the musical from the broadway play. Music department head Andrew Paul hopes this collaboration will continue.

“[I expect] to have a great pit orchestra and to support the guys on stage so they can do what they need to do without having to worry about music,” Paul said. “I’ve been in pit orchestras before where it’s been a wonderful and positive experience for the audience and the cast members, and I’ve also seen pit orchestras that were really causing performance issues. It can make or break the production, like cast members or anything else. It’s just one component that’s got to be right.”

Altogether, this musical is a creative adventure for Bales and his students as they collectively design a cohesive fairy tale, drawing from their personal interpretations to create a work of art.

“[I love] to see the growth and development of the students that are involved. They realize, actualize, and engage themselves, and they are not the same people when it’s done,” Bales said. “Not just professionally and skill-wise theatrically, but on a personal, everyday level, they’re not the same people. That’s why I love to do this. They’re just so amazing; they’re just beautiful souls.”

~nina quiles, managing editor

Consumerism inhibits happiness: Choose experiences over materialism

A 2014 businessinsider.com study found that the average teenager spends over $9,500 a year, and that 62 percent of this money comes from their parents. According to the New York Times, one out of every 10 Americans owns so much stuff that they rent off-site storage units to store the clutter that is just too important to throw out. According to the book Affluenza, shopping malls officially outnumber high schools, and 93 percent of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime.
This information might be jarring, but shows that the excessive consumer urges of the United States are out of control. We consume, consume, consume, yet do not realize the consequences that come with a lifestyle of reckless consumerism that has been promoted by the media and society. I had a ‘lightbulb moment’ while watching a Netflix documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things, which changed my outlook on life for the better.
“Imagine a life with less stuff. Imagine a life with less clutter, less stuff, fewer distractions. What would it look like? Imagine your life with less—less stress, less debt, less discontent. What would it feel like? Now imagine your life with more—more time, more contribution, more elation. Imagine creating more than you consume. Imagine giving more than you take.” This is the message of self proclaimed minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn who has traveled the country promoting his “recipe” to living a meaningful life.
Minimalism is not just a style of art or a way to describe a simplistic concept. It has become a philosophical movement started by discontented millennials looking for a way out of a hectic lifestyle that allows people to indulge in the “pleasures of life” while making them more unhappy than ever before. The philosophy spread by word of mouth at first, and then funneled through the channels of social media, reaching people on a deeper level of meaning that resonates with the human soul.
“It’s simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly,” pioneer minimalist Leo Babauta said.
Why do we have so much stuff? Our obsession with material possessions is only getting worse. The average American today has roughly $16,000 in credit card debt, $173,000 in mortgage debt, and $30,000 in auto loans. Last year, Americans spent $10.7 trillion shopping. Frankly, we have a problem. However, this material crisis is something we buy into. The media and business concerns have been feeding this addiction since the 1950s, with images of cookie cutter houses with “perfect” families and two car garages. Every commercial on your television, iPhone, or tablet is trying to either directly or subconsciously sell you something and make you think you need their product. As Millburn said in his memoir Everything that Remains, we are all playing “the role of the moth, lured by the flame of consumerism, pop culture’s beautiful conflagration, a firestorm of lust and greed and wanting.” Minimalism is the individual’s solution to this exponentially growing pandemic.
While I have yet to establish a line of credit, take out student loans, or put a down payment on a hefty mortgage, I am not exempt from this consumer sickness that has been programed in us since we were little. When I really think about everything I own, I find it troublesome, and often times stressful. Do I really need that many pairs of shoes, that much makeup overflowing from my shelf, or all of the clothes stored in my closet that I’ve only worn a couple of times? What about the way we glorify Black Friday and getting presents at Christmas? We put things above experiences, relationships, and sometimes our own well being. In America, success is unfortunately measured by money and ownership, but ownership is merely a social construct which we have wholeheartedly embraced and prioritized. We simply use and borrow things during our time here on earth. Why let bills or success in a career take over one’s life? How we judge success should be not be tied to money.
The benefits of consuming and owning less are endless. Because you are saving money, you feel less stressed out financially, and in time you will actually be happier and more content with less. Financial freedom can lead to more time to travel and create experiences, follow and perfect passions and talents, and mend relationships by putting genuine and priceless time into friends and family. Despite the everyday temptations that encourage “quantity over quality,” we must resist the consumer urges that would deplete our financial and emotional resources.
People can tailor minimalism to their lifestyle by being more aware, consuming less excessively, and being less wasteful in their routines. Treat everyday like spring cleaning, and don’t dwell too much on the next fashion trend that may cost half of the paycheck for which you worked hard. We all crave something meaningful, but we won’t find it in getting more stuff. Meaning will fly past us if we do not shed our material shell and start truly living through experiences and relationships.

~julia sexton, new director

Hardy excels in national shooting competitions

After beginning to shoot competitively around age 11, senior Sean Hardy fell in love with the unique sport. He has shot for several competitive teams and received many awards, and he is now a distinguished expert in rifle for the National Rifle Association and the Civilian Marksmanship Program, among the highest titles in competitive shooting. Nationally, he is ranked in the top 15 percent with the American Legion and in the top three percent of the U.S. Army Marksmanship under-18 division. Hardy recently received an invitation to train and compete in the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships that will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from April 7-13.

“I’m very lucky. The people that I shoot for raised enough money to get me out there,” Hardy said. “I don’t think I’ll really get excited until I’m actually there. I’m looking forward to seeing shooters from different parts of the country and being able to shoot in the facility. For the entire month of March, I’ll be shooting three to five times a week. My scores are good, but I’d like to show up and not look like a screw up.”

While in Colorado Springs, Hardy will train in the U.S. Olympic Shooting Center.

“I will be training alongside other shooters who qualified, which means that we are all in the pool that the Olympic team pulls from,” Hardy said. “[The event] is a mixture of training and matches to apply new techniques.”

Hardy qualified for the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships when he shot a 564 out of 600 possible points at the Izaak Walton League of America (IWL) match in Centerville.

“I was very nervous about my score, and I wasn’t really happy with it. This event was 60 shots standing, which is the least stable and most difficult position. It was also only the second time I’d ever shot this type of match,” Hardy said. “Normally, I do three position—prone, standing, and kneeling—where I’ve shot scores of 583 out of 600, and 294 out of 300 as a split.”

The procedures and rules for competitive shooting require Hardy to use a special modified rifle to shoot at very small targets from different distances and positions. He must wear a special suit and use special gear to support him and improve his accuracy as he remains in each position for 20 to 25 minutes.

“I do three-position air rifle, so I take 60 shots, which is 20 from each position: standing, kneeling, and prone. Then, there’s a time limit for each of them, so I’m competing against the people next to me,” Hardy said.”Right now, I’m shooting for two teams.”

Finding teams to shoot with can be challenging since the sport is not as widely available as other high school sports. Since FHS does not have a team, Hardy joined a team in Centreville for a chance to compete. He also shoots with the local American Legion, where he practices three to five times a week.

“The original team I shot with is American Legion Post 72. Those are the guys that come by on the motorcycles to pick up the cards every year,” Hardy said. “I just recently joined a team in Centreville; they just started up a couple years ago. They’re basically a replacement because most of the high schools out there have teams, but since we don’t have one here I’m allowed to shoot for them.”

There are several different stages in competitive shooting, and Hardy has risen through the ranks to become a precision shooter after starting at the lowest rank, which is supportive row.

“I’m shooting precision now. I used to shoot supporter, and I wasn’t allowed to use any gear,” Hardy said. “Now, I get to wear the big goofy suit and moon boots, but shooting, it improves the score.”

Competitive shooting is not a team sport, but instead showcases the individual’s shooting ability. Since he is by himself, Hardy must remain very calm and not worry about the pressure during the competition.

“When I was on the supporter team, I had other people on the team, but now that I moved up to precision, it’s all individual,” Hardy said. “I don’t really feel anything because you have to empty everything. There will just be TV static in my head, or if there is a song stuck in my head, that’s all I’m thinking about.”

Hardy enjoys the aspects of his sport that make it unique, such as the ability to remain still and mentally focused, and that allow him to stand out with his skill.

“I was attracted to swimming for the same reason because there aren’t any politics behind it. Your score can’t lie; you can’t be put into a game because of favoritism or anything,” Hardy said. “It’s much easier to see where you stand compared to other people, and it’s kind of an individual thing where you’re in control of everything you do.”

Hardy’s dad encouraged him to join the American Legion Post 72’s team.

“My favorite thing about shooting would probably be knowing that I have a skill that very few people possess, even if it’s pretty obscure,” Hardy said. “There is nothing as mentally challenging as shooting. A ‘10’ dot is the size of a 12-font period, and at my level, missing one can literally destroy my score.”

Hardy plans to attend Coastal Carolina University, and he hopes to continue shooting of the college.

“I’m not sure if I want to do anything right out of high school. I’ll go to college first,” Hardy said. “But I plan on joining the Navy and shooting for them.”

~emma dixon and nate thomason, copy production editor and staff reporter

Goemmer twins ride in competitive rodeos

Sophomores Fallon and Kade Goemmer grew up in New Mexico, attending rodeos every weekend. When they were four, they began riding horses, and by the time they were eight, they were competing in rodeos themselves.

“We grew up on a ranch, so there were horses everywhere,” Fallon said. “Everybody roped, so it just seemed natural to go to rodeos. It was a pretty common thing.”

Fallon competes in four different events. In pole bending, a rider must weave her horse around a line of poles, while in barrel racing, the rider completes a cloverleaf pattern around a set of barrels. In goat tying, the rider catches a goat and ties its legs together, and in breakaway roping, the rider ropes a calf and then breaks the rope off from where it’s tied to the saddle. Kade competes in calf-roping, in which the rider lassos a calf, dismounts from the horse, and then ties its legs together.

Fallon and Kade compete together in team roping, which requires them to rope a steer and tie its hind legs. According to Kade, competing together in team-roping helps them to succeed.

“It helps us because we can practice together at home, and if you had a partner who lived somewhere else, you’d have to drive there to practice,” Kade said. “You’re not afraid to tell them what they’re doing wrong [so you communicate better].”

The twins compete with the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), and since there aren’t many rodeos in northern Virginia, they often have to travel far to attend events. The closest rodeos are usually in the Richmond area, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and they sometimes attend larger rodeos out west. According to Fallon, rodeo is both an individual and a team sport.

“We represent Team Virginia [in national final competitions], but when you’re rodeoing in the state, you’re rodeoing for yourself and for your own points,” Fallon said.
Kade and Fallon attend rodeos with the rest of their family, sharing the experience and strengthening their relationships.

“Being in such tight quarters for the weekend gets a little hectic, but it’s definitely a tie to my family that I’ll always have, and a lot of memories are made,” Fallon said.

Preparing for rodeos requires the twins to not only develop their own skills, but train their horses. They train on their farm, where they practice their roping and riding.

“Practicing what we do helps [the horses] practice what they do,” Kade said.

It is essential to keep horses well-fed and healthy. The age and experience of a horse plays a role in how they train.

“You’re training [the horses] at the same time you’re training yourself,” Kade said. “I would say with the horses I have right now, I’m training myself more, but if you get a younger horse, you’re training them more.”

Kade stays in shape for rodeos through the other sports he participates in, including track and lacrosse. Fallon, who also plays field hockey and soccer, practices roping nearly every day, since muscle memory is important for success in rodeos.

According to Kade, rodeo differs from other sports because it’s a lifestyle; it requires participants to devote time to preparation, practice, and competition all year long.

“You’re spending most of your time around it, taking care of horses and practicing, because if you’re going to drive far [to compete], you want to do well.”

Fallon finds that the competition does not prevent the participants from being friends and helping one another.

“When I’m inside the arena, I’m competing, I’m in the zone, and I’m doing the best that I can do, but if someone comes up and asks me for help [or advice], I’m going to help them,” Fallon said. “You’re not going to sabotage them; you’re going to help them so that they can do the best they can.”

Rodeo has the potential to be very dangerous. At the state finals two years ago, Fallon’s horse slipped during barrel races, and she missed hitting her head on a barrel by only an inch. Some events are more risky than others, such as bull-riding.

“Anything with horses provides a risk,” Fallon said. “Whatever happens is going to happen, and you can safety-check, but there’s no real way to prevent it. I don’t myself compete in [rough stock], but we have had state bull-riders get hurt.”

Rodeos can also be expensive, with travel costs and the expenses of horses and their maintenance.

“Any sport’s expensive if you put your time into it,” Fallon said. “Rodeo can be expensive if you buy the best horses and try to [attend] the most rodeos, but you can [raise and train] your own horses and you can get sponsors, so it really depends on how much you’re willing to do and what level you compete at.”

Balancing school work, rodeoing, and other sports often proves challenging for Kade and Fallon. Since they miss a lot of school to compete, they have to make sure they stay caught up.

“Academics is a huge part of rodeo,” Fallon said. “For NHSRA, you have to submit your grades, and if you don’t’ have good grades, you can’t rodeo. It’s all about organization [and time management].”

Their hard work has paid off. Fallon holds multiple state titles, including three-time state champ in barrel racing and 2016 Rookie of the Year. Fallon and Kade are also fourth in the state for team roping.

Looking forward, Fallon plans to continue to rodeo in high school. She hopes to get a rodeo scholarship for college and compete on the school’s team.

“I don’t really know where I want to go after that,” Fallon said. “I’ll definitely continue rodeoing; I just don’t know if I’ll go all the way to pro-rodeo or just train horses.”

~katie johnston, features director

Burton keeps FHS legacy alive

After a full day of attending meetings, observing classrooms, and having conversations with students, Principal Clarence Burton is usually found running his four children to their various after-school activities or making a quick stop at Wal-Mart before going home. In fact, the well-being of his children drives his decisions as an educator. He evaluates every aspect of the school’s programs against the gold-standard of whether he would want his own child to be in that educational environment.

When he attended James Madison University, Burton majored in political science and secondary education; he even managed the JMU basketball team. After graduating college, he taught government, world history and U.S. history at his old high school, North Stafford High School, then at Douglass Alternative School in Loudoun County. After attending George Mason University for an educational leadership program he became an eighth grade dean at Simpson Middle School to gain some administrative experience before moving to Fauquier County to become an assistant principal at Kettle Run.

Burton says that he enjoys teaching government because he misses student interaction and thinks that current events make the class more engaged. He loves seeing students become passionate about taking certain points of views.

“I like seeing kids develop arguments without becoming disagreeable,” Burton said. “We’re all affected by government everyday, and it changes all the time.”

Burton says he likes both politics and sports because they correlate. There is always a scoreboard and a bigger goal than working for oneself.

“A lot of the time you have winners and losers, and in the end it doesn’t really matter,” Burton said. “They’re competitions; people try to do the best they can, and sometimes you learn more from when you lose than when you win.”

After becoming the principal in 2013, Burton spent his first year trying to get a feel for the school and its environment. He says that he’s still learning everyday and just hopes to make a difference in the students’ lives.

“This was a preexisting school, and I had to learn what the Romans do in Rome,” Burton said. “When you go into a new school, you have to be mindful of the traditions that are there and really immerse yourself in that. The majority of the staff was here before I was, so I had to learn their strengths and hear what they want; I had to develop trust from them through performance.”

His main goal for his students is to keep them safe and to hire quality teachers who will make an impression on the student body.

“Our staff feel so strongly about this place,” Burton said. “They could work at other places, but they choose to work here. I’m honored to be a part of that.”
One of his favorite aspects of being principal is experiencing the tradition and history that this school has within the community.

“People care about this school,” Burton said. “Our athletics booster club has many members that don’t have children in this school, haven’t in years, but they want to give back. That’s a responsibility, on one hand, because you mean so much to so many people, but it’s also very unique because you don’t find that everywhere.”

Although he can’t pinpoint only one favorite moment, Burton says that graduations are always a powerful part of the year because he loves seeing the joy of the students and parents.

“I’m really looking forward to this year’s graduation because it is the first class I’ve been with all years,” Burton said. “I was here when they were freshmen, and they had to suffer through my mistakes and continued learning curve.”

In the years to come, Burton hopes the school will offer more real life experiences to students to broaden their horizons before college.

“I think we’re going to have more internships; I see that exploding in the next five to 10 years,” Burton said. “[I see students] learning what they like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. I think the days of sitting at a desk and spitting facts back to a teacher are leaving us fast, but the days of using that information is where we’re headed.”

Seeing students succeed is Burton’s favorite part of being principal. Whether it’s as simple as getting a problem right in class or winning the state championship, he loves how much the students care about each other.

“The main part of the job is the students; you always learn things from them, the energy, the hope, the change. It’s not about the leader, it’s about the whole organization,” Burton said. “My philosophy of my classrooms is: ‘If it’s not good enough for my children, it’s not good enough for anyone’s child.’”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief