Falcon Hockey Team Battles the Cougars

The hockey team continues to fight hard through every single game.

On Tuesday, December 4, the Fauquier Falcons ice hockey team took on Kettle Run High School. Before the game, the two teams had a ceremonial puck drop in honor of Theodore Warzinski, a former falcon, who passed away earlier this year. The game was a close one with Kettle Run pulling ahead with three quick goals. Then halfway through the second period, with the help of the Fauquier student section, the Falcons rallied and scored three goals, but the game was far from over. When the start of the third period came along, both teams really started to get going on offense. After a hard-fought battle, the final score of the game was 8-7, with Fauquier coming out on top. The goals were scored by Jacob Roteman, Danny Martino, Max Romeo, Patrick Kirk, Brandon Stumpf, Ian Napolitano and Hunter Barrett.

by Helena Lovell and Ella Tedeschi–Staff Reporters

The Boys’ Basketball Season is Underway

Senior Robbie Brooks dribbles the ball past the John Champe defender in a close game at home.

Fauquier High School’s Varsity Basketball team tipped off their season on November 27 against Briar Woods. They played a hard fought game, but ending up falling 58-41. However, they managed to bounce back against Park View High School, 54-44. The next game, the Falcons took on Manassas Park. In a defensive struggle, Fauquier lost to Manassas Park 33-20. The next match-up, was a home game and the Falcons took on John Champe High School from Aldie, Virginia. Fauquier took a halftime lead, but ended up falling to the Knights 59-57, in double overtime. Following the heartbreaker against John Champe, the Falcons went onto beat Brentsville High School.

“I’m just hoping that everyone works together, doesn’t put anyone down, and tries their hardest,” team manager Rylie Schmidt said when asked what she hoped for in the remainder of the season. The Falcons have 17 games left on their schedule, and get into region play soon.

“I think the team is doing great so far,” Schmidt said. Fauquier is 2-3 through five games, but the team does have their moments where they look good. The Falcons current starting lineup is Devin Lewis, Jerreco Gaskins, Kyle Dargis, Robby Brooks and Thurman Smith. Fauquier is coached by Wayne Brizzi.

In the interview with Schmidt, she made it very clear that teamwork is a huge part of the team’s plan to do well throughout the season. Schmidt wants the players to “just have a good time.”

by Tayte Mills–Staff Reporter

FHS Track and Field Team Starts Season Strong

Senior Nick Matthews leads the pack during an exciting track meet.

After closing up their cross country season, Fauquier runners began their track & field season in mid-November. The team started off their season well, already participating in two meets. The athletes practice three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for almost two hours.

“It’s been a pretty good start to the season,”said Darrien Mascall. The team received many returning athletes this season who are ready to put in their “total preparation and total effort.”  The team continues to prepare for their upcoming meets and aim at accomplishing their goals.

The team has also received many new members. Freshman Katey Bern is one of those new members and has already set goals for herself. “I want to get as far as I can and hopefully run at districts,”said Bern. She also says that she enjoys being on the team and meeting a variety of new people.   

The team also welcome a new runner from Spain. Jorge Omenaca is a foreign exchange student who is spending his junior year at Fauquier. “I really like the team, I’d say the best part would be all the nice people and making friends,” said Omenaca. “I’d like to do my best and give my best impression of Spanish runners.”

The Fauquier track and field team started their season strong by taking on first place at the NWD Millbrook meet on December 12.

The Track Meet gave athletes the opportunity to qualify for the state meet on February 20. The qualifiers include: Kayla Pavlock in the girls shot put, Patrick Atwell in the 500m dash and the boys 4x800m relay team.

Highlights of the night include: the girls 4x400m and boys 4x800m and 4x400m relay teams placing first, The boys 4x200m and4x800m girls relay teams coming in second place, Kayla Pavlock recieving first place in the shot put, Patrick Atwell receiving first in the 500m dash, Isaiah Brothers received second place in the 55m hurdles; Mark Zitzmann placing second, leading the boys in the 3200m followed by Brian Bolles in third, the girls 4x200m placing in third, Camryn Bland receiving 4th place in the 3200m, leading Fauquier Shelby Rosenberger in 5th place, followed by Bianca Cabral in 6th place, Annie DelGallo in 8th and Caity Cummins in 9th, the 500m we have Kelsey Gastley in 2nd place with Ryan McDaniel-Neff in third place and Mikhaela Ulewicz in 5th place,  in the 55m dash along with Sarah Saas in 9th and Sydney Trussell in 11th place, Morgan Pletch coming in 9th place in the 55m hurdles followed by Cammi Winston in 10th place.

With John Paccassi in 4th and Ryan Godfrey in 5th, first place followed by Nick Matthews in 4th and Justin Tersoglio in 8th, in the 55m dash Donte Grant coming in 7th place, Darrien Mascall in 14th and Geavonte Hull in 15th place,and in the shot put was Joshua Richardson in 6th place, Isaiah McNeal in 10th, and Gage Cutler in 14th.

All of the members of the track team have been constantly practicing, in preparation for their upcoming home meet on December the 22nd.

by Amanda Arellano–Contributor

Cheer Flips Into the Next Winter Season

The FHS cheerleading team cheers with pride at the basketball game.

From fall into winter, the cheer grind never stops. The cheerleaders hyped up the crowd and cheered their Fauquier’s football players throughout the fall and are continuing to do the same for the Falcon basketball teams. The team began practicing in November and currently practice two times a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The Cheerleaders have attended most of the basketball games of both the boy and girl teams. They say they are pretty happy with season so far. “We definitely started off strong,” said junior Brielle Philippe, “it has definitely been one of the best seasons so far.” Philippe has been a member of the team in the past and continues to participate in the sport into this season. Philippe says she loves being on the team and emphasised how they are all like a big family.

“[Your] not only a team but a family. We have a very strong bond which was seen and helped us compete this year” said Philippe.

While the team received many returning members, they also received many new ones as well. Sophomore Makayla Mackwelch is new to the team and said that when she first came to try outs, she was very nervous but these feelings quickly resolved after she met the team.

“Everyone was so welcoming and sweet,” said Mackwelch, “every moment was worth it.”

Mackwelch plans on continuing cheer in future seasons. “My cheer family is so great and I love them all,” said Mackwelch.

Despite the season going well, there is always room for improvement. Philippe said that she believes the team can improve technique-wise. “I think we can improve on being more consistent on some skills as well as focus on more of the little things,” said Philippe.

Mackwelch also had a few suggestions of improvement. Mackwelch said that she would love to work on and develop the team stunts. “I would love for us to do more complicated and cool stunts,” said Mackwelch.

by Rachel Singleton–Sports Editor

Lil Baby Delivers for Hip-hop Enthusiasts

On November 30th, Lil Baby, a rapper from Atlanta, Georgia,  dropped a new album called Street Gossip. Lil Baby’s last album was Drip Harder, which is a collab with Gunna. Which was released almost a month before Street Gossip.

Lil Baby has been featured on many songs with a lot of artists who are on the top of the list like Gunna and Young Thug. When he entered the game of rap, many people quickly took sight of Lil Baby. His voice was something different, and is something that fans of hip hop wanted to hear, something new. Lil Baby has been teasing fans by releasing leaks of his new album for a while.

I personally like the album, the rappers he includes make new vibes in the songs. The beats of the songs vary in the album and that’s what I enjoy in the album. My personal favorite is Ready featuring Gunna because the vibe of Lil Baby when he comes in is a new voice I have never heard before from him. What I like Lil Baby is that each song in the album gets you a different kind of vibe. When I hear the songs myself, I start to get different feelings to it. I get a chill vibe, or sometimes the beats hits hard and Lil Baby’s voice just goes on with it no matter what type of beat it produces. Street Gossip opens up with “Global” which gives the listeners a certain type of image of Lil Baby’s mental state. What is interesting in Street Gossip, is the type of instruments he adds to his songs like “Pure Cocaine”, which gives the interest of a lot of listeners.

When the features are introduced in the songs, they all have a different tone in each song. And how Lil Baby approaches after, gives the listeners a hype feeling. When Lil Baby approaches, he approaches in a different type of way on every feature in a song. This is what we want to hear. I like personally how Lil Baby’s voice changes in certain type of songs. It gives us what we want.

2018 has been the ultimate come up for Lil Baby, releasing large amount of songs with different quantity of beats. There is no doubt that Lil Baby is one of the top breakout artist in Hip-Hop 2018.

by Luis Rodriguez–Staff Reporter

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali create comedy, emotion in Green Book

We’ve seen it before. An Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) in New York becomes the driver for a famous black pianist (Mahershala Ali) who is touring the South. As their journey through America begins their friendship grows and blah, blah, blah. Having seen the trailers and knowing the general plot going in, I thought I knew exactly what to expect, and in some respects I was correct. Green Book, however, blew any and all expectations out of the water.

This is easily one of the most heartwarming and charming films of the year so far. Peter Farrelly, the writer/director, typically does not take on films with even remotely serious subject matters. He was one of the people who did Dumb and Dumber, for Pete’s sake. However, he writes this movie better than any seasoned dramatic screenwriter could have possibly done. Farrelly injects his sense of humor into the script, and makes this drama one of the funniest movies of the season.

The screenplay may be excellent, but that is not what should be getting the Oscar buzz. Viggo Mortensen delivers a typically great performance as Tony Lip, the lower-middle class Italian whose favorite hobby is eating as much as humanly possible. The character is straight out of The Sopranos, which fits perfectly since the real-life Tony Lip had a minor role in the iconic television show, as well as iconic films like Goodfellas and The Godfather. Lip was a real-life Tony Soprano, just without the murder and mob killings. Mortensen has every single mannerism about Lip down, from the way he talks to all of the small gestures he makes. Lip was a heavyset man who loved food, so naturally Mortensen gained upwards of forty pounds for the role. Ever since The Lord of the Rings Mortensen has been hitting home run after home run, and his role in Green Book is no exception.

The glue that holds this film together is the chemistry between Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as real-life piano player Don Shirley. Mortensen gives a more comedic performance, while Ali brings the emotion. His character is a very isolated man who has no family or friends to rely on despite his many riches. He lives all alone in a kingly apartment directly above Carnegie Hall, and he feels as though he doesn’t belong in his own African-American culture. Shirley was truly a genius piano player, and Ali absolutely nails every facet of his personality. Shirley’s personality contrasted with Lip’s is why Green Book works wonders. I could’ve watched Ali and Mortensen joke around with each other for far longer than the two hours and ten minutes that this film covers.

One of the biggest responsibilities of any biopic is representing its characters and events with relative accuracy. A major reason as to why I despise films like Bohemian Rhapsody is because all of the events were fabricated for Hollywood purposes and the subject of the biopic was not represented accurately at all. Green Book, however, gets almost everything about this unique story correct. Having researched the actual story after watching the film, it is staggering how much the writers got correct. After all, Tony Lip’s son, Nick Vallelonga, co-wrote the movie based off of stories his father told him while growing up. It is easy to see how much effort all of the filmmakers put into making the film as accurate as possible, which is exactly how every biopic should be helmed.

The fact that this film can be as true to real life as it is and still be so entertaining is a lesson to all other filmmakers who simply fabricate events and treat them as if they were real. The only slight flaw I have with Green Book is that yes, it is pretty predictable. The movie handles the plot with such expertise that it doesn’t matter most of the time, but from the beginning of the story arc it isn’t terribly difficult to see what direction the film is taking us. However, when a movie is this entertaining, whether or not the plot is predictable gets shoved into the background. Green Book is getting plenty of Oscar buzz, and it is easy to see why. Very few films this year put viewers in as good of spirits as this one does in the last few minutes. This film proves that you don’t need explosions or a big budget in order to have fun at the movie theater this holiday season. Green Book should be shown to families and schools everywhere, as it makes a better case against racism than most films, while also giving a fun and heartwarming experience that the whole family should be able to enjoy.

by Joel Alexander–Entertainment Editor

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse easily outranks predecessors with humor, depth

Ever since comic book movies and TV shows have become popularized, there have been numerous Spider-Man releases; from the good Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi Spider-Man films to the mediocre Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man films, a wide range of releases have captured the character in many different styles and fashions. Therefore, when the new Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was announced, I, like many others, was very neutral on the subject. The trailers looked promising, but as of the last few years, a bit of a Spider-Man fatigue had set in, for I had seen the story told so many times before. Spider-Man: Homecoming was very good, but how many times can the same story be delivered to audiences in a slightly different manner?

An endless amount of times apparently, because Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an absolute masterwork. All of the other Spider-Man films have focused on the character of Peter Parker, but this is the first to introduce Miles Morales as the protagonist. Yes, you’ve heard the story before: kid gets bitten by radioactive spider, his hands start sticking to random objects, he must learn to control his powers, etc, etc. This film, however, gives itself a considerable leg up from the other Spider-Man feature-length films by letting the audience know straight out the gate that they are aware the story has been told before. The filmmakers are more than aware that they are not the first to pave this territory, which means they are able to build off the conventional material to create more original extensions of the main characters.

By the way, Peter Parker is actually featured in this film via parallel universe along with Gwen Stacy, Noir Peter Parker, and Peter Porker (don’t ask). All of these characters are wonderfully introduced with sequences that reflect each other in structure, but add their own unique situation and humor depending on the character. Every character’s motivations are understandable, because they are all so similar, given they have the typical superhero backgrounds but just slightly altered due to the parallel universes.

However, these minor characters from other universes rightfully take a backseat to Miles Morales, who is one of the more likeable superhero protagonists in the last couple years. His relationship with his father and his uncle are beautifully realized, and have brilliantly executed story arcs. The film also explores Morales’ inability to fit in, whether it be with his peers in the private school he doesn’t want to attend, or the fellow Spider-Men (and Women) who are more experienced than he is. Some of the arcs can be a little predictable, but as stated before, the movie isn’t about the predictability of the story, but the personal ralizations along the way.

Not only does Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse succeed as a superhero movie, but it is also a tremendous comedy and animation film. This is far and away one of the funniest films of the year, having more self-aware humor than Deadpool 2 and better slapstick comedy than the last five Adam Sandler movies combined. I will be unnecessarily quoting this film out of nowhere at social situations for months, and I will never run out of funny moments to spout. There’s not a joke in the entire two hour runtime that doesn’t land, which is rare for any Marvel movie given their track record of injecting unnecessary humor into serious situations.

If Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse doesn’t win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year then there is no justice in the world, for this is the finest animation I’ve seen in years. The city scapes have so much detail in them that it’s hard to tell if it’s animated or if it’s really good CGI; the neon-lit color palette of the nighttime scenes creates a visceral experience that is unparalleled in today’s cinema. The action scenes are enthralling and have filmed Spider-Man in ways never even conceived of in live-action alternatives. While shown in the trailer, the shot where Spider-Man falls upside-down is magnificent, and there are similarly great shots when Peter B. Parker casually walks on the side of buildings.

There is not one misstep that the directors make here. The end message is perfect, and will make many kids seeing this with their parents feel special — like they can achieve anything if they try. The directors of this film also know exactly when to cut a scene. No scene lingers too long or goes by too fast, everything is executed in the exact perfect time. Whenever I finish a movie that I think is exceptional in every way, I always go looking for flaws, for no movie is perfect. Only a couple films have been released this year where I haven’t found any, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of themThis new Spider-Man outing is easily the best of all the Spider-Man films, and is also my personal favorite movie of this year so far (yes, I like this better than Avengers: Infinity War). Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the biggest surprises of 2018, and will give moviegoers of all ages a cinematic experience that they will remember for years. See this on the biggest screen possible in order to get the full experience, and definitely stick around for the end credits, because this film has the funniest after-credits scene in years.

by Joel Alexander–Entertainment Editor

Red Dead Redemption 2 Claims Spot as the Best Game of 2018

Red Dead Redemption 2 is an instant classic and fine successor to the first. The game starts off with a snowy scene, and depicts the main character as a part of a small cowboy gang running from the law and fighting for their lives. This prologue stands around two hours, and takes place in a winterous environment. The intro drags on at a slower, yet enjoyable pace; after that, the game throws you into the massive open world. It gives you the option to play main missions and experience the cowboy life, or to just explore the massive open world and experience its many wonders.

One of the ways you can truly see the density and richness of the open world is by going into one of the many towns. Once you enter a town, you can see npcs living their everyday life: drunkards in the saloons, builders building houses, and shepherds leading sheep. You can step into the general store and buy anything you see, go to the gun store and customize your rifle,  you can do nearly anything. And the best part is, you can interact and talk to anyone you see. But with the jam packed towns comes a spacious, yet full wilderness. When exploring the less populated wilderness, your surroundings feel vibrant and alive. With many random events and hidden characters, it gives you a variety of things to do while exploring this thriving open world and makes the world of Read Dead Redemption 2 feel just that much more full.

With this being a cowboy game, you would only expect a hard and unforgiving desert, yet you get quite the opposite. In Red Dead Redemption 2, you can explore great snowy mountains, dense forests, flooded swamps, and open plains. In these biomes there are a variety of animals ranging from bears to snakes, but with this open world comes a rich story. Though you would think the old cowboy western would be stale and dry, with meticulously crafted dialogue and clever character development, the story stands as the cherry on top. With the game’s realism and its ability to keep you entertained no matter what, I believe that it has easily taken the spot of the best game of 2018.

by Vincent Fanelli–Contributor

Tree Choice Strikes Debate

Rachel Harrington loves the tradition of decorating her Christmas tree.

When one thinks of Christmas, one big motif that comes to mind is the Christmas tree. It has a place of great importance in many people’s memories around the holidays. Recently, certain debate has gained more heat as we reach another year of practicing this christmas tradition, this debate being, real versus artificial trees.

While real trees have been a long time tradition for families, the world has modernized and artificial trees provide new opportunities to compete against the evergreens. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 81 percent of christmas tree consumers ar using artificial trees while 19 percent are using real trees. However, real trees are not going down without a fight and are still a favorite among many.

Real trees come with many pros and cons. Beginning with the pros, real trees provide a very a traditional experience for people. Junior Rachel Harrington says that she prefers real trees over artificial trees for this reason.

“It’s fun to pick a new and different tree each year,” she says, “I like going out with my family and getting excited for the holidays.”

Another benefit includes the environmental benefit, some argue that cutting down real trees is not environmental friendly at all but christmas tree sellers and the American Christmas Tree Association combats this by saying that the trees are grown mainly on farms so they are not causing deforestation.

They also argue that real trees are a better option environmentally as they are 100 percent biodegradable, lead and chemical free, recyclable and created from renewable resources; all which artificial trees are not.

However, there are some cons that have been brought up to argue against real trees. One argument is that they are very dangerous as they are a possible fire hazard and people also comment that many are allergic to the pine trees. Sophomore Gillian Royal is one of these people so she has an artificial tree that she brings down from her attic every year.

Other arguments include the mess and maintenance as real trees constantly drop pine needles and require to be watered every day. Consumers also comment that real trees are too expensive and since you only have them for about a month and then throw them out, the prices are unreasonable.

Artificial trees come with their pros and cons as well. One pro that many enjoy is the wide variety that the artificial tree provides. Because, the trees are man made, consumers can buy them in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Royal says that it’s fun to have a variety of things to choose from and sophomore Cammi Winston says that her family puts up a white tree and “it makes a tree unique.”

Another pro is the financial benefit. Winston says that her family gets their tree from Walmart. “They usually have a good variety of colors and prices,” she says. Although they can be found to be more expensive than the average real tree, consumers can use the tree every year, therefore, they save more money every year.

Unlike real trees, artificial trees are argued to be safer and cleaner as most are argued to be non-flammable, do not drop needles and do not require watering.

However, like real trees, artificial trees also have their cons. For one, they are not very environmental friendly, according to tree sellers across America. They are created from non-renewable resources such as petroleum and contain lead. They are also not recyclable and many end up in landfill when thrown away.

Artificial trees also do not provide the annual tradition of going out picking a christmas tree and do not have any other traditional factor such as the smell. Royal says that real trees “smell nice and it’s like growing a tree in your house,” but due to her allergies, she can not have a real tree.

While people claim that artificial trees are non-flammable, tree sellers debate this is not true and allege that when the lights burn out or blow on an artificial tree, they have a high chance of catching fire.

Despite the hot debate, one thing most can agree on is that the christmas tree is a beautiful part of the holiday which brings both sides together. “You can still celebrate christmas without a tree but it’s a big part of the holiday,” say Winston. Royal agrees in saying “it brings spirit, joy, light, and happiness; it just makes Christmas better.”

by Rachel Singleton–Sports Editor

Wrapping Up for Christmas

Emma Anderson always puts he love and time into every gift she wraps.

Gift-giving has been a long time holiday tradition that started as a mainly religious rite in which Christianity used it in remembrance of the three wise men gifting gold, frankincense, and mure to the baby Jesus. The rite quickly spread and is now a popular christmas tradition that is practiced by many.

As the Christmas season comes around for it’s annual visit, so does the holiday stresses. While the holiday comes with feelings of joy and celebration, it is also accompanied by many expectations that many feel may be unreachable. According to a poll taken by the American Psychological Association, 61 percent of Americans experience holiday stress due to the financial and time strain, specifically around one expectation which is gift-giving.

This stress can be especially impactful on students who don’t always have the time or money to practice this tradition. According to a survey taken by the Falconer,  52 percent of Fauquier students experience gift-giving stress while 15 percent do not and 33 percent said sometimes.

Freshman Ellie Henry says that christmas shopping can be stressful when you don’t have enough money and when you don’t know if they’ll like the gift. She says that it’s always ok to just give a nice card because it shows you thought of them. “Christmas gifts should not always be expected, it’s the appreciation you show on a daily basis that matters,” Henry says.

Sophomore Aidan Stanton also experiences holiday stress and says that he loves giving gifts but sometimes shopping is difficult when you don’t have enough money. “Sometimes you might want to give someone a big gift but you have lots of other people to gift things to,” said Stanton. Stanton says that he usually shops midway through December because he needs to get all the money for shopping first.

Stanton does not believe gift-giving should be expected as some people don’t have the time or money to do so. “But that’s ok,” said Stanton, “the best and easiest gifts to give someone is a big hug or a nice text… because it shows you care.”

Students also say that gift-giving is not stressful. Sophomore Emma Anderson says that gift-giving is not stressful for her because she can usually afford to buy the gifts and she enjoys giving gifts to the people she loves. She, however, still plans in advance and shops weeks in before christmas so she has time to wrap and give them.

Anderson believes that it should be expected to give gifts on christmas, “it is a tradition… but it’s understandable if something conflicts that.”

Senior Nick Furr agrees with Anderson in saying gift shopping is not stressful but also says that he can’t but anyone any expensive gifts as he like to give gifts to a lot of people.

No matter if gift giving is stressful for you or not, Christmas is a period of celebration where one can spend time with family and friends and enjoy life and should not be a time of stress and anxiety. If any student is feeling stressed about the holidays, talk to someone; whether it be friend, a trusted teacher, or guidance counselor. Make sure the holidays this year are full of joy and memories and not stress and negativity.

by Rachel Singleton–Sports Editor