Body modifications represent individuality

Everyone has a different form of self expression, whether that’s fashion sense or humor. However, some choose tattoos and piercings which, although painful, serve as tools of self-expression.

Junior Shannon Aguilar, who has 10 piercings and 13 tattoos, many she did herself, says that her body modifications make her a walking museum where she can wear her story without having to tell it.
“I like the idea of body modifications because it shows [people] that this is my body, and I’m able to do what I want with it,” Aguilar said.“My favorite tattoo is the one for my cousin [who passed away]. It is a heart that goes into a heart rate, and then it flat lines. It has his name and the day that he died on it. It’s to remind me every day of who he was as a person.”
Junior Bethany Ramey, who got her first piercing at 14, says that she second-guesses her decision before she gets her piercings, but then she overcomes that fear and goes for it. She has five piercings, including her tongue and smiley.
“I think piercings show a different sense of somebody and [show the] different levels of pain they can handle; that makes them who they are,” Ramey said. “I don’t really care about the pain much.”
English teacher Lindell Palmer, who has two cartilage piercings, says what he likes most about piercings is that they aren’t permanent.
“You can change your look or commemorate an event in your life, but you’re not stuck with it,” Palmer said. “I enjoy art in general, so I find that piercings and tattoos are art forms, but with piercings you’re not as committed to it. I’ve had several piercings, throughout the years, usually to commemorate an important time in my life that I want to remember.”
Even though piercings and tattoos are creative ways to express oneself, there is always a possibility of complications. Ramey advises anyone who is thinking about getting a piercing to research how to care for them.
“Your skin could be sensitive, and if you irritate or touch it too much, it can [be rejected] from your body,” Ramey said. “Definitely know how to take care of them; you want to think about what could happen.”
Tattoo parlors provide instructions for caring for a tattoo and what to apply to it. Senior Jewelea Shubert, who has two tattoos and 10 piercings, used a saline gel to keep her tattoo moisturized and clean. However, she was surprised at how much her tattoo scabbed and itched afterward.
“Scabbing is kind of like when a sunburn peels, but imagine it being more itchy and dry; kinda scaley,” Shubert said. “[Your piercer should] give you steps on how to keep it clean, and as long as you maintain keeping everything clean, you shouldn’t have a problem.”
Although piercing guns are frequently used, needles are the safest strategy when getting a piercing. Shubert says that she has always used needles.
“A lot of people say that if you use a gun to pierce yourself, then it shatters [all the cartilage in your ear],” Shubert said.
Despite the appeal of body modifications, there are disadvantages to having them, including disapproval from family.
“People have told me that it’s gross and that they don’t like them, but it’s on my body and it’s my choice,” Aguilar said. “We are still human [even though we] have a different sense of style; we deserve the same respect as someone who doesn’t have tattoos and piercings.”
Junior Victor Roman says that, because he is Roman Catholic, many people don’t approve of his tattoo.
“They ask, ‘Don’t you think that’s going to affect your future or look bad when you’re older?’” Roman said. “[I tell them that] I don’t care; it’s what I want to do, and I feel like if I hadn’t done it at this age, I would have regretted it when I’m older. I wanted this, and I’ll be glad that I’ve had this experience.”
Before getting a tattoo or piercing, Roman advises teens to do research on different tattoo parlors and look at the artist’s previous work for reference.

“You have to go to a clean shop, one that you’ve heard multiple good reviews of,” Roman said. “If your artist charges more, you know you’re going to someone professional. Make sure you are getting something you’re willing to put up with.”

~erica gudino, editor in chief

DJ Smitty inspires, engages students

Engaging students with his quirky smile and witty jokes, government teacher David Smith begins class with a news notes presentation on current events everyday, an idea he got from his high school teacher.

“We only did it once a week. Everyone enjoyed [them],” Smith said. “I just felt that, because of the way our society is today, news notes are extremely important [to teach students how to] determine what is the news and how it is reported.”

The class then proceeds to take lecture notes on information students are required to learn for the curriculum, followed by a documentary or movie that pertains to government.
“[I like how] he jokes throughout his lessons. He is very laid back and friendly, which is a nice switch from the usually more professional tone of some teachers,” said senior Delaney Jooris, who has Smith for AP government. “He’s very understanding of how the average student functions. He understands we have other classes with equally strenuous work loads, and knows we can only pay close attention for so long.”
Through the years of teaching government, it becomes easier for Smith to appear politically neutral while teaching.
“It used to be really difficult [to be neutral],” Smith said. “I have learned, over time, how to say things without being [biased] to one side or the other. Sometimes, it’s very difficult; probably more so in this recent [election].”
Smith has lived in Fauquier County since he was born in 1953 in the county hospital, which is now the social security office. After graduating from FHS in 1971, Smith attended Mary Washington College where he majored in history and minored in economics. After graduating, Smith returned to Fauquier County to become a teacher. Over the past 42 years, Smith has taught a variety of social studies courses, including U.S. history, government, and economics.
“I have always had a tremendous love for the legal system. That naturally lends itself to the law and government. The judicial system [is my favorite part], without a doubt,” Smith said.
Over 30 years ago, Smith began incorporating mock trials into his classroom in the early 1980s. He participated in one during a pre-law class in college and thought the experience was powerful.
“We were doing the judicial system in one of my first government classes, and I really felt that students were not understanding the system; there had to be a different way of doing instructing,” Smith said. “I had heard about simulations for elections, so I thought I’d try a simulation of trial. It was just a one day activity, and it evolved into what it is today. I really didn’t know if it would work, and I was really shocked at how powerful it became.”
Every year, students in his AP and core government classes participate in numerous trials, which Smith records and saves. State police officers and members of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have been witnesses in the trial.
“Because students do [the trials] themselves, they take ownership of whatever role they play. It becomes extremely important to them; they want to win and do well.” Smith said. “[Students] will even talk to me 15 or 20 years [later]. I’ll see them in a store, and the first thing they talk about are the trials. Of course, I’m trying to remember what it was like 20 years ago.”
Smith was influenced to become a teacher by Jim Wilson, one of the first black teachers at FHS.
“He was my supervisory teacher, and he showed me the way to care for students,” Smith said. “He was really active and involved with the students, which I thought was wonderful.”
Math teacher Wayne Leavell, who has known Smith for 19 years, believes Smith’s laid back attitude is a positive attribute to his teaching style.
“Mr. Smith is very, very knowledgeable,” Leavell said. “He has the appearance of being laid back, but he’s very precise and to the point and expects his students to be the same way.”
Smith’s favorite memory from his teaching career was a prank the senior class pulled when he first started teaching.
“Someone put a Volkswagen on top of the [overhang of the] bus ramp. I had a room in the 200s, so I looked out the window that morning, and I saw a Volkswagen sitting on the bus ramp. I hadn’t even noticed it when I came in,” Smith said. “I never knew how they did it.”
Smith’s hobbies and outside interests include the Warrenton Baptist Church, where he has been a member for 50 years, sports, computers and web design, and reading. In October, 2014, Smith published The Alluring Path, a 229 page historical mystery novel. The setting of the book is the Shenandoah Valley during the Great Depression.
“I began it as a short story during free time I had between [teaching] homebound students,” Smith said. “What inspired me to keep on writing was the students in my class. They would hear about it, and kept saying, ‘You can do it! Keep on trying!’ It was historical, and it was about an area I love: the Shenandoah Valley.”
Smith plans on continuing to teach for at least three more years.
“The biggest thing I want students to have is a questioning mind — not accepting anything at its face value,” Smith said. “My favorite part of teaching is when I can see students progress through their senior year and go into either work or further education. I love that.”

~emma dixon, copy production editor

Leary pursues science field at UNC Wilmington

Senior Gordon Leary is passionate about the field because of it’s relevance in the real world, and he has spent the past four years of high school preparing himself to pursue his interest in science in college.  

“Science is important to everyday [life], and it helps improve the the world,” Leary said. “It improves everyday life, and it helps us have a better understanding of the world around us and why things happen.”

Leary will be attending University of North Carolina-Wilmington in the fall to major in biology, an interest he’s had since a young age.

“I’ve just always enjoyed finding out new things,” Leary said.  “[When] I was young, I would just want to go out and play outside and figure out why thing happen. I would watch Discovery Channel and Animal Planet instead of Cartoon Network and Nick.”

Leary’s favorite branch of science is genetics because of its role in hereditary diseases and the field’s possibilities in cancer research. He became interested after learning more about the topic in Biology and reading DNA by James Watson, who helped discover the structure of DNA. According to Leary, cancer and genetics go hand in hand.

“Now, they’re figuring out that there are a lot of cancers related to genetics,” Leary said.  “It’s such a dark field; there’s a lot of unknowns. I want to be one of the people to be on the forefront of cancer research and just help improve the world and medical science.”

Leary developed a love for teaching science by teaching elementary schoolers at Oceans and Motions and by planning and teaching lessons with a group in class. He hopes to get his doctoral degree and become a research professor at a university.

“There’s always things that can be improved on and new things that can be [discovered] in science,” Leary said. “I just like to teach people what I know and transferring my knowledge to them.”

Leary is concerned about the anti-science stance that has been adopted by many politicians and policies and what it might mean for the future of the environment.

“We can’t avoid climate change; it’s inevitable,” Leary said. “I think we are accelerating the rate at which the climate is changing due to our extremely high greenhouse gas putout. I think that we’re almost to a point where we can’t reverse it, and we need to start doing something now. Donald Trump is really threatening that.”

According to Leary, biology teacher George Murphy’s classes have had the biggest impact on his passion for science. He took honors biology I and II and AP Biology with him.

“He hasn’t given me the answers,” Leary said.  “He’s helped me come up with [answers], and think intuitively about science, and discover solutions that I may not have thought of before.”

~katie johnston, features director

Delavergne immersed in sports, leadership


Cleats, bats, and helmets fill senior Henry Delavergne’s locker. Sports have always been a prominent force in Delavergne’s life. Since age seven, he has played competitive baseball, and he grew watching his older brothers play.

“We would always play baseball in the front yard since I was four,” Delavergne said. “My dad is a baseball enthusiast; he just loves it. I think we were kind of forced into [playing baseball], and then we developed our own love for it.”

Delavergne has been an unstoppable force on the school baseball team during his four years and believes having a relaxed attitude is a key component to success.

“The thing about baseball is you’ve got to have the right mindset for it. You’re going to get out a bunch of times; that’s just kind of the way baseball works,” Delavergne said. “A good hitter gets on [base] three out of 10 times, which is 30 percent. If you don’t have a calm mindset, it’s frustrating. I think sometimes the hardest thing is just being able to keep your cool and know you’re okay.”

This past fall, Delavergne joined the football team for his first season ever.

“I have never played football before until this year. This is my first year,” Delavergne. “I got talked into it because coach Bailey called me soft, and I didn’t like that. He said, ‘Why don’t you play football, then?’ and I was like, ‘I will,’ and then I did.”

Off of the sports fields, Delavergne is the senior class president, in addition to being a Zoo captain.

“I love the announcements and having some extra responsibility. I like that when people want something done, they’ll come to me and ask me to talk to coach Story.”

Coach Ryan Bailey believes Delavergne’s personality sets him apart from other students.

“He is a character. Henry’s always been very hardworking,” Bailey said. “He’s able to pick up things relatively easily. Knowing he was athletic and a good kid, I knew he would be a positive addition to the football team whether it was his playing, his leadership, or spirit.”

~emma dixon, copy production editor