Students’ hard work pays off

photo provided by chelsea valdez

The National Honor Society is an organization held in multiple schools around the country.  This society requires a 3.5 GPA, five community service hours, and a positive attitude. Over one hundred students were inducted into NHS on October 3rd.

Junior Faith Jones said, “Being inducted into NHS felt good. I work really hard in school, and it was almost like a reward for all my hard work. It’s so cool being part of an organization with great people that work hard.”  Jones was started in the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) when she was in middle school, (Middle school students can be chosen to participate and are expected to keep the same requirements as NHS.) and always hoped to be a part of NHS.

Junior Lauren Davis said, “It was very rewarding (being inducted). When you work really hard and get good grades, getting that letter is a great feeling.” Davis has also been working towards NHS since middle school. “Once I found out about the high school NHS, I knew that I wanted to work towards it because it looks great on college applications.” Many NHS students earn their community services hours by tutoring. FHS students can receive tutoring from them in all subjects during advisory in Room 325.

by chelsea valdez–staff reporter


An Inspiration to Students

Photos provided by Rachel Singleton
Woods holds up her intention that sprouted from a problem and an idea.

On November 8, local Ashburn entrepreneur Krista Woods visited Fauquier High School as a guest speaker to talk about her journey in making it in the business world as well as her experience on the national TV show, Shark Tank. Woods is the inventor of a now successful  product known as Glove Stix. Woods appeared on “Shark Tank” on November 5, 2017 and won a deal. Her one year “Shark Tankiversary” of when her episode aired recently passed, and she said that she spent a few hours looking back on her Facebook and reliving the moment.

Woods was very excited to come. She said that she loves coming out, talking to students, and being able to share some of the things she has done in the last three and a half years. “I have to say it’s one of the things I enjoy the most,” said Woods.

The business and marketing students were the main audience that came to the event and said they enjoyed it. Junior Kendon Sheppard, who came with his business law class, said that he liked how she refused to use chemicals in her products and stuck to her morals, despite possibly getting more sales or a lower price. At the end of her speech, all of the students and Woods took a group picture together to capture the moment.

Woods’ Glove Stixs are an “award winning and patented odor management system.” The plastic sticks are imbedded with an antimicrobial solution containing silver ions, and are filled with replaceable inserts containing minerals such as silica, as well as plant based essential oils. The inserts absorb moisture from sports gear, stop bacteria growth, and eliminate odor. The whole product is tied together by a paracord handle and removable clip that allows you to hang your gear while the product works.

After telling her story, Woods emphasised that her journey wasn’t easy, although it may look that way from afar. “Just because I’ve done over a million dollars of sales in the last year, doesn’t mean I don’t have issues,” Woods said.She also said that recently her business has been without a factory for five months, because after they found out she was on “Shark Tank,” they raised the price 85 cents a unit. “There are still growing pains. It never gets easier,” said Woods. “But the more you do to challenge yourself and work through that challenge, the more capable you are.”

Woods went on to say that when she was in high school, she wasn’t the best student. “I didn’t care about school, in fact, I had a 2.6 GPA.” said Woods. She said that she had a gift of public speaking and a charismatic demeanor, but she didn’t know this in high school because everything was on report cards. “They did not grade personality; I did not know personality was a gift,” said Woods. Her advice towards kids today is that maybe you’re not the best at school, but whatever way your talented in, that’s what you use to excel and find success.

The origins of her invention began four years ago with one of her sons and his smelly lacrosse gear. The issue was with his gloves, as they would stink up the house, car, and hotel rooms. “Everything stunk. You got in the car and you wanted to die. If you were in a hotel, you woke up feeling sick to your stomach,” said Woods. The inventor decided that this problem had lasted long enough and began researching. She tried every trick in the book, but nothing would work, so she decided to invent something. After doing further research, she came up with a possible solution, and that’s when Glove Stix were created.

At first, she just a made a pair for her son, but then his entire team began to want one. This is when she decided to start selling the sticks. Woods called multiple manufacturers, hearing the word “no” and laughter through every phone call, until finally a company said yes. However, the company’s price point was not what Woods wanted, so she finally found another manufacturer in China. Woods had even more setbacks after this. There were issues with getting the wrong shipment, packaging issues, power outages, weather problems, and tournaments that she planned to sell at being canceled. Through all this, she forged ahead and at a certain point, applied to Shark Tank and got accepted. Woods said that although she got accepted, it did not guarantee she would actually appear on the show. “50,000 people apply to Shark Tank every year. 140-130 get flown to LA for filming, but only 80-90 get aired in a season,” said Woods. She later found out October 30, 2017 that her episode would air in six days. Woods was very nervous about this because she knew she wasn’t perfect and that she made mistakes. She then decided to not worry too much about it, “I’ve come this far, I’m celebrating this feat,” said Woods. With a party of over 100 people, they watched the episode together and it turned out great according to Woods.

by rachel singleton–sports editor

It’s Not Just Sadness

FHS Guidance counselors Mrs. Heather Harris and Mrs. Johanna Scott say depression is the most common issue brought to their attention. Scott describes this disorder as “an intense sadness or lack of enjoyment in anything like sports or hanging out with friends.” She added, “Depression is different for everyone; some people actually seem depressed, some people don’t care about the things they did before, some people sleep a lot, everybody’s a little bit different.” A frequent question asked is ‘What does my friend want from me? What do I say to them?,’ Scott recommends, “Tell them you care about them and that you will aid them in getting some help.” Although it’s tempting to do so, pressing for information and making them spill their feelings will not make them feel better. Listening is better medicine than advice.
Living with depression may be hard, but being friends with someone with depression is no easy feat. Being supportative and not overwhelmed with their conditon can be exhausting. A friend who is going through this and wishes to remain anonymous to protect her friend’s privacy recommend to not “remove yourself from them just because you’re feeling drained. They need you. However, you shouldn’t completely deprive yourself of care. Take some time to do self-care and try your best to stick by them. Ask them periodically if they’re ok- don’t pry. My friend sometimes wants to be alone, sometimes she wants to talk. I just try to listen to what she wants as best I can.”
Everyone has days where they feel sad, anxious, guilty, hopeless or tired- but when these feelings become cosistently frequently, the posibility is that the person is suffering from clincal depression. Described as “a never-ending turmoil of negative emotions that imitate being stuck in the depths of the ocean, fighting an invisible enemy, or being encased in a tornado.” American author Mary Roach says, “I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those… death presents like a holiday at the beach.”
When asked to describe depression, sophomore Cheyenne Erris says its “not having motivation. Freshman Shelby Rochez says it can mean “not being content with yourself” or “extreme sadness” according to sophomore Joe Tucker.
About nine out of ten of the students interviewed said that they knew someone who is or has been depressed. Freshman Catherine Harris says, “I wouldn’t be surprised if half the school had it; it’s just so common.” None of these students say that their loved ones have gotten help. Because the condition is internal, many people don’t know that someone is affected.
Studies show that depression, although it affects physical health as well, tortures the mind. Signs of depression are easy to miss. A student that wishes to remain anonymous says, “Lots of times, people with depression don’t want their illness to be a big deal, so they make their friends promise to keep it a secret.” She recommends getting outside help if the person could possibly be putting herself in harm’s way.
Another anonomys suffer shared, “Depression is invisible ink; sometimes you can see it’s there, but other times it is what it’s supposed to be… invisible. It leaves marks sometimes and isn’t exactly erasable or irreversible; you have to acknowledge it’s there and try to decipher the message.” When asked what she wants when she is depressed, she said, “Sometimes it’s nice when they listen and aren’t going ‘just be happy’ like.” Although there are different types of depression, she feels the most prominent feelings for her are “loneliness, anger, and self-loathing.” Recently she started talking with guidance counselor Julie Kirk, and reports that she’s “been doing better. I’m glad she intervened with my life, gave me a slightly better perspective, and showed me everything good. I hardly ever get sad anymore and when I do, I rarely wish harm on myself as I would have a month ago. Getting help was a good decision, and I encourage others to do so too before it’s too late.”
If you or a loved one needs help, call or text these numbers:
Hopeline: 1-800-784-2433 (Call for help with addiction, mental health, relationships, self-esteem and self-care, faith, parental issues, loneliness, anger, abuse, etc.)
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Counselor’s Office: 540-422-7307 (or talk to them in person)

by kylie gordon–contributor

Fresh Opportunity for Healthier Generation

Students and staff get a good stretch and work out while in Yoga Club

One huge national trend towards better health and wellness has resulted in many new organizations and programs. Fauquier joined the craze with its county-wide program Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health program (FRESH). A few years ago, Fauquier joined the the craze through a country-wide program known as the Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health program, also known as the FRESH program. The county started with the elementary schools, and just recently has moved the program into the middle schools and high schools.

One of the main aspects of FRESH the school has started to organize are the clubs. These clubs each plan to run for eight weeks in each semester and are funded by a grant from the Piedmont Action to Health (PATH) Foundation, reviving $300 per club and $75 for supplies. The clubs revolve around the general focuses of FRESH such as fitness, nutrition, gardening and cooking.

 Currently three clubs are in the making with two that have begun this semester. Yoga Club is one of the clubs that is running during the first semester, and is sponsored by French teacher Florence Lamirand. The club mainly practices yoga poses that require a combination of strength, flexibility, relaxation and breathing.

“It provides students with an alternate mode of exercise different from school sports while still getting the benefits of remaining active,” said Lamirand.
Lamirand chose to sponsor the club as she said she “started practicing yoga as a part of [her] triathlon training and wanted to share the benefits of it with students.” The club started on October 24 and meets every Wednesday in room 600 after school from 2:45- 3:45. “It has been really great so far,” said Lamirand. “Students seem happy and motivated to learn more poses.”

The students who have attended Yoga Club so far have been enjoying the experience and the club overall. Senior Jerry Bejger said he joined the club in order to improve his flexibility. He said that he’s really excited to see what yoga club has in store for him and it “inspires [him] to become one with [his] inner self.”

The second club created is the Vertical Gardening Club run by science teacher, Debbie Fisher and agriculture department chair, Susan Hilleary. The two started the club in order to show students how to grow their own vegetables and learn more about the food they eat.

“Everyone should know where their food comes from and be able to have a role in producing it,” said Hilleary. The club started on November 13 in the horticulture building during A+.

The third FRESH club that is currently being set up is the the Foodie Club or the Healthy Cooking Club. It will be sponsored by Stephanie Strong and was planned to be placed in the first semester, however, not many showed interest in it, so it is planned to start in January of the second semester.

FRESH wellness leader and guidance counselor, Johanna Scott, has been responsible for setting up the program in the school and has been a major part in the advertising and organization of it throughout the school. Scott is very excited for the running of this program at Fauquier High School and emphasizes how important it is to students.

“Being healthy and fit is how we’re going to feel good longer into our lives and […] just be healthier people in general,” says Scott.

by rachel singleton–sports editor

Human Trafficking: A World Crisis

Via wikimedia commons
The Just Ask organization bringing awareness to Northern Virginia.

Most people, when hearing “human trafficking,” will think of some far off narrative dictated to them by Hollywood movies. They may also think of far-away countries, where young women don’t have the rights afforded to them here in the United States. Regardless, no one will think of home; no one will think of their own daughter, girlfriend, niece, etc. as being in in possible peril. This is where most people are wrong, and this is what Just Ask is trying to fight against. Just Ask is a human trafficking prevention organization that focuses on warning people of the unknown dangers and ways in which someone can fall victim to the vicious circle. They have brought their message to Fauquier – speaking at FHS, Taylor Middle, Marshall Middle, and the WARF. At these meetings, they explain that human trafficking does not just happen to a famous actress in a Hollywood thriller or a poor girl in a third world country, but to anyone and everyone who falls prey to trafficker’s trickery. As they make intelligible to their audiences, “human trafficking can occur in any community where there are teens to manipulate and an illegal black market place to service.” They elaborate on this point by explaining that the majority of human trafficking victims continue to live at home while being trafficked, and that the majority of the time no one notices a change in the victim. Human traffickers usually come under the guise of an older boyfriend or online friend. They come into a young girls life, build a trusting relationship with her, and simply bully and/or manipulate her into taking part in the circle. Although never done willingly, most human trafficking cases aren’t the dramatic kidnappings the majority see on television; they are happening right under everyone’s noses, in the comfort of their own homes. “Every 30 seconds, a child or teen is sold into slavery.” This fact coupled with “Only 1% of human trafficking victims are ever rescued” are some of the more than perturbing actualities one is faced with when attending a Just Ask seminar. There are approximately 60,000 current victims of human trafficking in the US, and these are simply approximations. One can say, almost with certainty, that there are many more than that. Even so, human trafficking is obviously a real-world problem that constantly occurs at home. The majority of people will think, “That will happen to others, not me; that could never happen to my family.” This is where most people are wrong. It can and will happen to them if they are not careful. It can and will continue to happen unless people start taking a stand and making a change, like the people of the Just Ask foundation are doing. One last thing to remember is if anyone ever has a question about, or is struggling with human trafficking themselves in any way, just ask: Ask a teacher, ask a friend, ask a parent/guardian. Anyone and everyone will be willing and able to help, all one must do is ask; just ask.

by celeste pollack

In Memory of a Hero Who Created Heroes

Via wikimedia commons
Beloved comic book pioneer Stan Lee meant the world to his millions of fans.

Stan Lee was an American iconic comic book writer, editor, and publisher. Lee passed away November 12, 2018, of Pneumonia at the ripe old age of 95 years. Stanley Martin Lieber was born on Dec. 28, 1922. He grew up poor in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in New York City. In 1939, Lee took a position at Timely Comics and contributed a story that helped jumpstart his comic writing career. Lee went on to write, edit and publish in his lengthy lifelong love of superheroes and mold many of the characters we know today.

Stan Lee will be remembered for writing comic book stories for well known Marvel characters such as Captain America, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man as well as for his contribution to pushing the boundaries on censorship of comics and focusing on more serious subject matters. Stan Lee’s catchphrase “Excelsior”, latin word meaning ‘upward and onward to greater glory’, demonstrated how he felt about not only his work, but his life as well. He’s considered a  real-life superhero by his fans.

Actor Chris Evans (Captain America) tweeted 11/12/18 “There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship, and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives.”

Hugh Jackman also had kind words to say about Stan when he went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “I remember Stan as a true gentleman who had this glint in his eye. He’s a creative genius… He created a whole universe that changed the lives of so many people, mine included…Stan, god bless you; you’re one of the greats.”

The passing of Stan has trickled down on a local level to affect the Fauquier High School student body. Junior Olivia Rogers had this to say about Lee, “My favorite work of his is definitely Captain America. The movies he’s created have been a huge part of my childhood. I’ll never forget the legend that is Stan Lee.”

Senior Bennett Morella also had some things to say, “He’s one of the greatest writers and producers of our time. If I could say one thing about Stan, it would be he taught us that not all heroes wear capes and he’ll be apart of the legacy that is Marvel forever.”

The imagination and artistic demonstration Stan Lee created throughout his career influenced the lives of countless young adults. Stan gifted the universe full of adventure, places of escape from reality, and a world where good triumphs over evil. As quoted by Stan “The Man” Lee himself, “We’re all part of one big family, the human family, and we all come together in the body of Marvel.”

by mattison morella–staff reporter

New SOL Requirements Cause Controversy

photo provided by Rachel Singleton
Sophomore Hannah Singleton studies for her upcoming history SOL.

Last week, Fauquier County Public Schools rolled out a newsletter to all teachers explaining that the longstanding Standards of Learning (SOL) requirements have changed. These changes include a dramatic decrease in the number of SOL tests that each student will have to take in order to graduate. Along with the decrease, the new policy alters the final exam exemption policies already in place by adding passing the SOL tests as a factor to whether students must take a final exam.

Before this policy, students had to complete six SOL tests to achieve a standard diploma and nine SOL tests for an advanced diploma. However, this new policy lowers both numbers down to five. The number of courses that students have to take is the same, but the number of SOL tests has been drastically reduced.

“What the state School Board has passed does limit and reduce the number of tests that the current Freshmen will have to take,” Superintendent David Jeck said. “The new Profile of a Virginia Graduate requires far fewer tests. For the incoming Freshmen, it will be a very different landscape for them.”

Most people, including Jeck, see the benefits that reducing the burden of SOL test-taking could create. Jeck has been very outspoken in his skepticism for the multiple-choice standardized test system of operation.

“A multiple-choice standardized test is one way to measure learning. We get that,” Jeck said. “What’s happened nationwide is it’s on steroids. We’ve taken one measure of learning and made it the thing that we judge everything by. That’s not right because students learn differently and they show what they learn differently.”

Jeck’s sentiments are shared by many of the students at Fauquier High School. Senior Charlie Mulliss appreciates the benefits that SOL tests bring, but agrees upon the skepticism regarding the schools’ reliance on them.

“The idea of a standardized set of what people should be taught is a good idea to advance knowledge,” Mulliss said. “The tests are the problem, since they have a narrow landscape of what good test-taking skills are.”

Following this logic, many people support the policy because it will reduce the amount of testing that, in their opinion, exhibits bias. However, Jeck has also stated that teachers need to keep their priorities straight when it comes to the new policy.

“We are always going to have the standards. That’s what’s supposed to be taught.” Jeck said. “The way we assess them, that’s what’s changed. If there’s a catch to this it’s that teachers got to remember, and principals and superintendents have to remember that we still have to teach to 1,865 standards.”

The other facet of the new SOL policy regarding the exam exemptions is far more controversial than the decreasing of required SOL tests for graduates. Many teachers and students prefer the previous policy based off of absences and grades than the new one that includes the SOL test.

“If we’re going to go with this policy, I’d still like to see it tied to absences,” Pfeiffer said. “So let’s say you pass the SOL, and you have three or four absences, maybe you’re exempt. But it does seem a little unfair to have someone with a boatload of absences and a very low grade get out of the exam by passing the SOL.”

Many students and teachers do not consider themselves fans of the SOL testing system, so this comes as good news to many of them. However, some teachers have criticized the new program for not treating all subjects with equal importance.

“I see why it’s necessary in some fields,” Fauquier High School history teacher Ron Pfeiffer said. “I vehemently disagree with it as a blanket policy. I think there should have been some level of flexibility with regards to subject.”

This is a valid complaint that is not addressed by the newsletter that was sent out last week to all staff of Fauquier County High Schools. Jeck also realizes that this is an issue that needs to be looked into.

“I don’t see the exemption policy changing,” Jeck said. “When I was a principal, and this is going back nearly 20 years, if you passed the SOL, then you passed the exam, and then we had a scale. If you got a 400 to a 450, then you got an 80; if you got a 450 to a 500 then you got a 90–it was kind of like that. We were way ahead of the game, even back then.”

The new SOL policies still contain many facets that need to be worked out, but many still agree that it will be a step in the right direction for the future of standardized testing in FCPS.

“This means that for incoming freshman, their teachers should have more flexibility in terms of the way they teach–giving kids more opportunities to be active learners, collaborate with their classmates, and to participate in authentic service-based projects or project-based learning.” Jeck said. “There should be more opportunities for those current freshmen as they move through to do different things, to learn differently, etc. That should be the biggest change.”

by joel alexander– entertainment editor