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The website of Fauquier High School's student newspaper, the Falconer. 100% student run.

New Principal, New Policies

This 2019-20 school year, Fauquier High School underwent many changes made by new principal Kraig Kelican and the school administration. The most significant changes include those made to homeroom and hall passes. Morning homeroom now replaces last year’s midday advisory, and purple passes take the place of the old agendas and red block passes.

According to Kelican, the school moved advisory for numerous reasons. Advisory was originally set up for Standards of Learning (SOL) remediation, and for students to obtain the credits required for graduation. However, some students were not using the time constructively and often roamed the hallways and other areas they weren’t permitted to be in. Because of this, the administration met to discuss options to improve advisory productivity.

“The option that we were kind of leaning [towards] in the beginning was to completely eliminate the homeroom period or advisory,” said Kelican. “And take that time, and divide it into the four blocks. So, you would add like eight or nine minutes to each class, just eliminate homeroom altogether.”

However, this would mean the school would have to interrupt class for remediation, and travel students would lose class time as well. Therefore, the administration determined that moving homeroom to the beginning of the day was the best choice.

“It accommodates the travel kids. We had a huge problem with tardies to school last year. Many of the kids who were coming to school late were missing instruction in their first block class. Now they’re not missing the formal instruction,” said Kelican. “It also gives us the opportunity for anybody who has sports, after school activities, whatever time to make up work. So, it can still be used as a study hall.”

Since moving homeroom to the beginning of the day, the number of tardies and late arrivals to school has decreased significantly. Along with this, hall traffic significantly decreased during instructional time.

Kelican admits that the homeroom changes have their drawbacks, specifically regarding club meetings. However, he says those are things the school is currently working on in order to accommodate people who need that meeting time.

“We could have eliminated homeroom, and that would have completely eliminated any meeting of any type during the day.”

“It’s just taking some time to get everybody used to the system,” said Kelican.
The implementation of purple passes also caused commotion within the school. But, according to Kelican, the purple passes are no different than anything FHS has used before.
FHS originally issued agendas as passes, but students were not using them. Thousands of dollars were going down the drain; as a result, the school replaced the agendas with regular paper passes to save money.
“Either way you look at it, you’ve got to have a pass. [Without it] there’s no accountability of where kids are, and if we have any kind of emergency in the building, we have to account for everybody,” said Kelican.

The Reaction

The changes received both positive and negative feedback. One policy that caused chaos stated that clubs could no longer meet during homeroom. This change disappointed many students who are active within the school, and a petition initiated by seniors Kendon Sheppard and Bella Schaub began to circulate protesting against the policy.

“Once we heard that co-curricular clubs couldn’t have meetings during homeroom, that threw a wrench into all of our plans that we had for the year,” said Sheppard.
The two accumulated about 30 signatures before school staff shut down their operation, who informed Sheppard and Schaub that it was not a good idea to fight this.

While some students strongly dislike the changes, some find them more helpful than harmful which is the case for junior Camryn Bland.

“Coming to school, it’s really hard for me to wake up in the morning, so it’s a really good time for me to wake up,” said Bland.

Bland said that when she first found out about the changes, she thought that they were a very good idea. “I like the fact that they are trying to put their foot down… and make sure everyone’s in their place.”

However, Bland says she is not a fan of the purple passes. She said that originally she liked the idea. “It sounded like it was a good way to keep everyone in check and in order. But now, I feel like it’s chaotic, and teachers don’t really take it seriously and same with students.”

Teachers also expressed their feelings on the purple passes. For French teacher Nicole Goepper, the new form of passes proves to be a small inconvenience in her classroom.

“The bathroom is right across the hallway from my classroom. Yet, for consistency and compliance, I require my kids to take a pass, even though the bathroom is right across the hall.”

Still, Goepper says that she sees the advantages of the new pass system. “I do feel like there is a message, school-wide, that everybody is being held accountable, and it just seems to be pretty consistent,” said Goepper. “I have one laminated purple pass, so only one kid is out of the classroom at a time. So, I think it’s been helpful.”

To all of these reactions, Kelican says the biggest thing “is to just be patient. Let’s try to give it a chance. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

By Rachel Singleton – Editor-in-Chief

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Falcon Football Team

On Friday, September 6, Fauquier High School conquered the Brentsville Tigers with a win of 32-0. This victory ended the Falcon’s losing streak and sets an exciting tone for the rest of the season.

The Zoo played a significant role in making the game a memorable night. The moment the game ended, The Zoo rushed onto the field. The student body surrounded the football team with excitement after their first victory of the season.

“We want to get everyone involved in cheering on their school,” said sophomore Zoo captain Rachel Puckett. “I think the support they got from us encouraged them to push harder in the home game.”

Another highlight of the game was the colored powder The Zoo threw up into the air before half time. Junior Camryn Bland suggested the idea. After principal Kraig Kelican approved the proposal, the Student Council Association (SCA) officers and their sponsors brought the idea to life during the game. “It was such a memorable moment that I would love to be able to do it again if the student body would be willing,” said Bland.

By Amanda Arellano – Sports Editor

New Tech in the Science Department

jing.fm

The science department has recieved a new addition in the form of high tech machinery. Two Thermal Cyclers (aka PCR machines) and a DNA sequencer from the National Institute of Health will now be implemented into science classes, primarily biology and marine biology. “Our mission in the Biology Department this year is to have every student do gel electrophoresis and then use the PCR machine because we want them to [use] cutting edge [technology],” said biology teacher Dr. Catherine Croft.

PCR machines, rapidly replicate DNA using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This amplified DNA can be used for genotyping, cloning and sequencing. This technology is used in forensics and companies such as Ancestry and 23andMe.

DNA sequencers are exactly what they sound like, they sequence our DNA. Many students remember writing out the G’s, C’s, A’s and T’s when learning about DNA. This is exactly what this machine does except it’s automated and much more efficient. Unfortunately, the DNA sequencer is missing a part so cannot be used until the part is replaced.

The school acquired this technology thanks to Croft. “I used to work [at the National Institute of Health] and heard they have a surplus. One of our connections gave us a form for the surplus warehouse, so I submitted that and we got approved as a school,” said Croft. “I got to this huge warehouse, and I showed my form, and I got to walk around and pick out whatever I wanted.”

This technology is considered “old” to big science institutes such as the NIH. “It’s really high end cutting edge stuff [but] to them it’s old,” said Croft. Much of this “old” technology in these surplus warehouses is only three or four years old.

With the arrival of this new technology, students are excited to use it. Senior, Zita Ribeiro plans on using the PCR machine to do research for her independent study. She is focusing on Alzheimer’s disease and the P. Gingivalis bacteria.

“I will be culturing [the bacteria] on blood agar plates. I will actually get to actually see the DNA sequence for the bacteria and go through the process and really learn what it’s like to be in the science field,” Rebeiro said.

Croft plans on doing a forensics lab in her classes and marine biology teacher George Murphey is plans on using the equipment on saltwater fish.

By Nayeli Arellano – News Editor

Evan Rose: From Arabia to America

Rose returns home after almost two years in Saudi Arabia

“Riding a camel…that was something I’d say is exciting,” said Junior Evan Rose. He left for Jubail, Saudi Arabia during his freshman year, starting a new life in the Middle East. After adjusting to another culture, Rose is back to finish high school in America.

In November of 2017, Rose moved to Saudi Arabia with his family because of his father’s work. Jubail is located on the East Coast near Bahrain in the Middle East. “I was a little surprised and a little scared. I mean it’s cool to go to a new place, but sad that I was leaving my friends, I hoped to come back [to the U.S].,” said Rose.

Rose went to an American private school located on a compound while he was in Jubail. To Rose, depending on location, much of life in Saudi Arabia was no different than life in Virginia.

“In some respects, it seemed like you’re walking into an American grocery store, other than everything’s in Arabic,” said Rose. “Other times, you will definitely see physical differences, as in men and women wearing cultural dress or street markets.”

The new lifestyle change came with its benefits. Rose said, “My dad’s company gave us the chance every six months to go on home leave. You could fly back to wherever you lived before, and they would pay for that ticket. But most people didn’t fly home, they would fly to anywhere in the area between Saudi Arabia and their home. So during the summer, we went to Amsterdam. One time we went to Egypt and then around the Mediterranean.”

For Rose, the hardest part about moving away was leaving behind friends and family for a long period of time. But the experience made a good lasting impression on his life. He made new friends, saw new people and learned from all his experiences.

Adjusting to the culture and language was the hardest part and came as a surprise to Rose at times. He said, “I was able to learn some Arabic so it made it a little easier; but in a sense, it’s much more communication without words for us U.S. people moving there. Communication without words was a really big part of it because in a grocery store you would either point or say something that you knew in Arabic that they might know.”

The people were friendly where Rose was staying. He said, “The media has portrayed the Middle East to be terrorists everywhere, but where I was, and almost every single part of Saudi, you have friendly Arabic people who would be willing to help you and communicate with you.”

Although Rose was nervous to live a new lifestyle, he accepted this new way of life and enjoyed his time there while learning about a new culture.

By Catherine Smith – Student Life Editor

Fashion Spotlight

Mikey Goultry

Sophomore

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I guess I would describe it as pretty alternative like jeans, a band t-shirt, and the chains.

Q: What stores do you like to shop at?
A: I like online shopping so like Amazon is really great for the band t-shirts and Hollister for the jeans.

Q: Is there a trend going around that you personally like, and would like to wear as one of your everyday outfits?
A: I feel like my style is pretty much its own and I kind of just put it together myself and like to wear that.

Q: What’s one trend going around that you don’t like?
A: Mom jeans

Q: If you could pick a go-to outfit, what would it be?
A: It would be what I’m wearing right now so probably black jeans, band t-shirt, and some chains.

Q: Where do you get your style inspirations from?
A: From social media like Instagram

Humans of Fauquier

Charles “Chaz” Woodson

photo by Nayeli Arellano

[Growing up], I thought it was normal to have two mothers because I had my biological mother and her nurse that took care of her. [My mom] has cerebral palsy. So, from her waist down, her legs don’t work at all, and that made it hard [for her] to take care of me and my sister.

She also got a lot of blood clots and had quite a few health problems. It was difficult trying to learn how to fend for yourself, we moved around a lot, but we made do with what we had.
My sister was really the one who took care of her a lot [with tasks] like going to the bathroom because mom had a lot of difficulty with that.

Mostly, if I do help anybody it would be my great grandmother. She’s 101 or 102 years old now, and she broke her hip recently so she needs help walking around.

My grandparents [influenced me the most]. Because my mom couldn’t take care of me much my grandparents would always step in and help out a little bit. We would always go to their place.
We were unhealthy little children, and they would always make us eat. I remember when [we would have to leave], my sister and I would always cling to our grandpa’s feet, and he would pretend he was a big monster.

B.L.U.E. Provides a Safe Environment for Students

B.L.U.E. stands for Everyone Deserves to Belong, be Loved, be Understood and be Encouraged. Seniors Eireann Maybach, Kendon Sheppard, Katie Warren and English teacher Lyn Good run this emotional support group.

Good originally wanted to start an Alateen club, which supports those who have family or friends with an alcohol or drug addiction. However, the National Board wouldn’t approve this due to no close-by Alateen group location.

Good’s goal was to help FHS teens. When she heard about B.L.U.E., she thought, “One door’s closing and another one’s opening,” and she decided to sponsor it. It’s been an overall positive experience for her.

“It’s basically a club where students can come and feel comfortable. They can share issues, they can get help. We’re trying to build relationships,” said Good.

“[It] originally started for students who struggle with substance abuse, or other mental health issues,” said Maybach.

Some of the activities include various crafts, projects and volunteer work. The main purpose is for students to discuss and understand the issues in their life instead of going to drugs or alcohol.

Good wants students to know they have people they can rely on that aren’t going to judge them. “We want our students to understand that there are places they can go to just chill and feel comfortable without the pressure of performing. It isn’t an athletic or academic club, just with the purpose of supporting the students.”

“Its a safe space for students where there is no stigma of going to teachers or guidance counselors,” said Warren.

There are currently 15 students in the club. It is the first year and the first BLUE group in Fauquier County. It is a nationwide organization just starting to gain ground, partnered with the Mental Health Association.

“We’re losing students. We’re losing them not coming to school. We’re losing them to issues they have at home. We’re losing them to drugs and alcohol. We’re losing students and their capability for their education because of all these external forces,” said Good.

“What we want is for them to understand is that a lot of us go through those things and while we do, we want to all be there and support each other.”

One in five teens experiences clinical depression. Mrs. Harris in guidance is also assisting with this group. They received a $250 grant to help get recognition for the club. If they demonstrate how they’ve helped the students, they may be eligible to receive a $500 grant next year.

The BLUE club meets on Wednesdays from 2:45 to 3:30 in room 304.

By Keira Fenner – Staff Reporter