All posts by fhsfalconer

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

Raines brings care, compassion to work

We all know his booming voice and his calm, patient demeanor. Assistant Principal Jim Raines has been at FHS for almost 30 years, and his family has created a legacy in the Fauquier County school district.
Raines grew up in Arlington, Virginia, where he attended Washington Lee High School. He played football and wrestled, his favorite sport because of the individual competition. Raines began wrestling in seventh grade and pursued it until college.
“It’s a pretty important part of my life,” Raines said. “I know what it can do to prepare you for the tough things you face. It’s just you and the other guy. There’s no one else to rely on or blame; it teaches self-control and discipline.”
Raines met his wife, Kim, when he was 11 years old in junior high, but they did not actually start dating until college.
“We shared a locker,” Raines said. “We never dated; we were just good friends.”
Raines went to West Liberty State College; his plan was was to be a P.E. teacher, but his father persuaded him to go in to business.
“The idea of owning a business intrigued me,” Raines said. “That’s where my dad said I needed to be; he said there were too many P.E. teachers.”
In 1983 Raines married Kim, and she began teaching at FHS a year later. Kim Raines is currently a math teacher at Mountain Vista Governor’s School.
“We can talk about common things,” Kim Raines said. “We have a common language.”
Raines began coaching wrestling at FHS and was later recruited to teach business both at FHS and Liberty High Schools, which he did for 18 years.
“I don’t regret any minute of it,” Raines said. “As a teacher you have the same kids every day, and you hope you can have an influence on them.”
Raines has had three children graduate from FHS, including daughter Kaitlin, who currently works at Cedar Lee Middle School. Jill lives in North Carolina where her husband is stationed at Fort Bragg. His oldest son, Jacob, attends Shepherd University, and Raines’s youngest child, Jimmy, is currently a junior at FHS.
“He’s always here. He always knows what happens; it’s harder to get away with stuff,” Jimmy said. “But if I ever need money or anything I can just go get it.”
Raines enjoys going to school activities, especially the athletic events. He tries to get to a concert and a play at least once a year. He and his family have always been very active in their church, Warrenton Baptist, and have traveled to many states including Alaska, Alabama, and Georgia. He has also been to Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Israel on over 20 mission trips.
“One time I went to Savannah, Georgia, and I had three or four of my students there,” Raines said. “So that was pretty cool. You get to see them in a whole different setting and with a different relationship and atmosphere.”
Raines decided to apply to be an assistant principal 11 years ago.
“I like having the freedom to go into classrooms and watch students interact with each other and teachers,” Raines said. “I don’t like discipline. Suspending someone is my least favorite part of the job; I wish there was another meaningful way [to discipline students].”
Raines plans to be at FHS for a while and hopes to be a principal some day.
“He loves students,” Kim Raines said. “He thrives on who they are and trying to make them who they could be.”
Raines is passionate about helping kids plan for their future.
“Any positive influence I can be,” Raines said, “that’s what I want to do.”

~SaraRose Martin, staff reporter


Sub-tweeting is sub-intelligent

Scrolling through the average student’s Twitter feed, one finds that the majority of teenage tweeters seem to be talking to someone – but without any names.
Sometimes these tweets are directed to “#oomf,” which is an acronym for ‘one of my followers’ or ‘one of my friends.’ Other times, these tweets are vague jabs that offer no clue as to what or who they are about. In Twitter slang, the name for this type of tweet is a “subtweet,” and it is an indirect way of calling someone out without mentioning names. Although subtweets can be totally harmless, the trend is shifting to a more hurtful style – and can even be considered cyberbullying.
“Once this girl tweeted about getting in trouble for a party, and I tweeted something later on about how if something got you in trouble, you shouldn’t have done it in the first place,” senior Christie Brown said. “It was totally unrelated, but she and her friends blew up at me and subtweeted me, even though I wasn’t involved at all. Subtweeting is just unnecessary drama.”
The vagueness of subtweeting provides the perfect avenue for teens to say the mean things that they think about others, without fear of reciprocation.
“The consequences to the sender seem to be minimal,” ITRT teacher Gail Matthews said. “But the consequences to the person who is the subject of the posting can be irreparable damage. Once something negative is out in the world and in the minds of people, it is almost impossible to change it.”
So how often does the average student subtweet? Senior Nicole Layton says that many of the tweets she sees on her daily feed are tweets directed to specific people.
“I think about a third of the tweets that I see are subtweets, but a lot of them aren’t bad. They’re just things like, ‘one of my followers is gorgeous,’or things like that,” Layton said. “But the bad ones are an easy track to get pulled into. The drama of Twitter can be enticing.”
Senior Makenzie Reid admitted that, although most of the subtweets he sees or tweets himself are just inside jokes, a lot of negative tweets are posted daily, by both boys and girls.
“Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to subtweets, because everyone has problems that they want to vent about,” Reid said. “But I think the type of person that does it is usually afraid to confront other people in person, and they’re attention-getters. It’s just a passive-aggressive way of getting your point across.”
Unfortunately, the online forum makes it all too simple for this passive-aggressiveness to take place.
“Technological media makes it easier to be a bully because it’s more available, more immediate, and draws a wider audience,” Matthews said. “The sender doesn’t want to take a stand or deal with the backlash from his or her comments.”
Although some question how subtweeting can be considered cyberbullying, since no names are mentioned, the tweets are often designed to subtly indicate to whom they are directed.
“Most of the time it’s so obvious,” Brown said. “When two people are mad at each other, and they just post one tweet after the other, who else would it be about? You might as well just be having a conversation.”
Subtweets have become such a regular part of teens’ social media life that for some, they have no importance.
“I don’t take them seriously,” Layton said. “Half the time I’m not subtweeting about anyone in particular, and it’s funny to see people’s reactions when they try to figure out who I’m talking about.”
Layton conceded, however, that even though she might not personally see the harm in subtweets, a message can have a broader impact than originally intended.
“I don’t think we realize how many people we reach or how it affects them,” Layton said. “I think of it as venting to a friend, but it’s public. I post something and 300 people immediately see it and can form judgments from it. It’s hard to imagine that when I post something, and I know exactly who it’s about, that tons of other people might think that it’s about them. I hope that doesn’t happen.”
There is, however, a simple solution to the problem of subtweets, and that is to ignore them.
“Since the subtweet has no identifying information about who the message is meant for, it’s like a hook looking for a fish,” Matthews said. “Don’t take the bait.”

~Fiona McCarthy, staff reporter

OPINION: Drone attacks: bad policy, inhumane, unconstitutional

Turn on the news and chances are there will be a report of terrorist casualties due to a drone strike. Many will be pleased that the military and the CIA are simultaneously taking out enemy combatants and keeping troops out of harm’s way. Although this was also my initial reaction to drone attacks, recent developments have changed my perception of the drone program.
The Department of Justice recently released a 16-page memo detailing their legal reasoning for the government’s ability to coordinate strategic assassinations of U.S. citizens with a drone strike. In order for drones to be used, a citizen must be an “imminent threat” to the United States and “senior operational leaders of Al-Qaeda.” The government already put this rationale to use in September, 2011, when it killed Al-Qaeda operative, 9/11 co-conspirator, and American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki in a drone strike. There was no attempt to capture him once his location was confirmed, and no trial, just an aerial assassination coordinated by the CIA and U.S. Air Force.
I am not defending terrorists, nor am I proposing the complete elimination of drones in warfare, but I am merely pointing out the dangers of allowing the government to assassinate citizens.
The Constitution gives American citizens a right to a fair trial, and there is no exception. The government cannot justify the intentional elimination of an American citizen where capture is possible, or in this case, not even attempted. The governments’ legal rationale is completely arbitrary and is subject to the interpretation of the executive branch. Since all of the information on Al-Qaeda comes from the CIA, no one, no media entity or activist group, can challenge whether someone is actually a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda. Since the memo is a DOJ policy statement, Congress cannot challenge it; it is up to the Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality and that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.
Further research on the history of the drone program has made me realize the problem runs much deeper.
The drone has become President Obama’s weapon of choice in the War on Terror. His administration accounts for over 370 of the 420 strikes in Pakistan and Yemen since 2004. Although no official numbers have been released of the total estimated casualties caused by U.S. drone strikes, Senator Lindsey Graham recently estimated the number to be around 4,700, with more than a quarter of these deaths described as non-militant civilians.
How does a weapon praised for its accuracy have such a large percentage of civilians in its kill totals? What was originally used as an alternative to the insertion of special forces teams has now become a full-fledged tool of destruction. In kill-or-capture situations, drones are at a huge disadvantage because they are incapable of taking hostages and have difficulty distinguishing between enemies and civilians. Special forces operations may involve more risk to U.S. soldiers, but they can perform valuable tasks drones can’t, and they are substantially less likely to cause civilian casualties.
The large number of civilian deaths caused by these drone strikes has been met with protest from all over the Middle East. Perhaps the country most affected by these operations is Pakistan. Recently, during a speech in New York, Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said, “If they’re going for terrorists, we do not disagree. But we have to find ways which are lawful, which are legal. The use of unilateral strikes on Pakistani territory is illegal.” Obviously the drone policies are not doing our foreign relationships any favors, and President Obama is in danger of damaging his reputation.
This administration’s drone program is based on an indiscriminate and militaristic policy that kills innocent civilians of other countries, threatens international relations, and infringes upon the rights of American citizens, all in the name of safety. First it was the Patriot Act under President Bush, and now it is the justification of drone strikes that include the assassination of U.S. citizens. It’s time for the president to reconsider the abuse of human rights and how it’s impacting our already poor relationships with governments in the Middle East. He also needs to realize that the DOJ memo shows him following right in his predecessor’s footsteps, something I’m sure he’d prefer not to do. As for the American people, it’s about time for us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and ask, “How much more of my freedom am I willing to sacrifice in order to feel safe?”

~Kerian McDonald, staff reporter

OPINION: School rivalries exasperate

School rivalries are inevitable. One sports team starts talking smack about a team from another school; then the rival players get involved, followed by the fans. At FHS, we have the privilege of having not one, but TWO schools to constantly gripe with, so one would think the students would divide the animosity, right? Wrong. We multiply it – and it’s getting out of hand.
It seems that since Kettle Run High School opened in 2008, the county rivalries have escalated to more than just talking big at sports games. Nowadays, we compete daily to see who has the better students, better classes, and even better buildings. Why would anyone even argue about that? Unless the students secretly built the new addition, I don’t think we have any control over the design. And sure, one can argue about which school has the best students, but what is the standard unit for measuring the coolness of the student body anyways?
Students here compare themselves to Kettle Run and Liberty simply based on broad stereotypes. I’m not saying that Kettle Run and Liberty students don’t make stereotyped judgements; goodness knows every time I scroll through my Twitter feed after any sports game with rivals, it’s full of people from all three schools arguing about how their school is sooooooo much better and the other schools are soooooo awful. There’s nothing wrong with saying you love your school or how excited you are about a team’s victory – I’m all for school pride. I have a vicious bias, however, against people who celebrate personal victory by putting down everyone else, and I have seen countless people from all three schools being arrogant, rude, and unnecessarily insulting. Ask almost anyone here and they’ll say Kettle Run is the worst in regards to this, but I’d say we’re all pretty bad.
I can understand feeling a little prejudice towards other schools. I have a tiny bit of a personal vendetta against Liberty for stealing the 2010 Bird Bowl from us, and honestly, Kettle Run just annoys me and I have no logical reason for that. Now, does that mean I’m going to repeat ad nauseam how much I “hate” them, or tell those students that their existence is somehow worth less because they live in an area that happened to be zoned for that school? Maybe I’ll privately think that while I wallow in bitterness when either school beats us in football, but I will never say that out loud and mean it, and if I ever become that idiotic, somebody please kick some sense into me.
Recently, our county rivalries have included daily Twitter drama and the pointless practice of rock painting. Really, guys? Painting each other’s rocks? Sometimes I feel like Freud would have a field day with us. Why does absolutely everything have to become a competition? I can barely breathe Kettle Run’s name without some belligerent jerk yelling, “I hate those arrogant…,” followed by a string of words not suitable to be printed. And heaven knows if I went to Kettle Run or Liberty any given day, I might get spit on for saying I loved FHS. I get it. We all love our schools. Awesome. There’s just no reason to take ourselves so seriously, because no one else in the world does. We’re here for four years, and then we leave. Let’s all calm down a bit.

~Fiona McCarthy, staff reporter

Senior’s speech succeeds

Senior Imogen Sherrit tied for first place in the Rotary Club’s annual speech contest on Feb. 21. The yearly competition invites high school students around the county to write, memorize, and perform a speech, generally about a community topic, to the Warrenton branch of the Rotary Club. Sherrit was more than surprised at her first-place tie.
“I was considering it an achievement if I even memorized the whole thing,” Sherrit said. “Especially since we didn’t hear the other contestant’s speeches, [the competition] was daunting.”
According to sponsor and English teacher Julie Duggan, Sherrit entered the contest to battle her phobia of public speaking. A presentation on her Scottish hometown in Duggan’s English class awakened Sherrit to her abilities in public speaking, and she was the only student to follow through when Duggan offered the Rotary Club’s prompt in class.
“She wrote it, and I just provided some editorial feedback with [student teacher] Jana Patterson,” Duggan said. “We went through several rounds of that, and I was pretty amazed because we were still making little changes when Imogen had entered the practice phase of memorizing her speech.”
Prompted by the theme of “peace through service,” Sherrit constructed the speech around her own experience and perspective.
“Even though there are people who are really, really dedicated to service to others, it’s just the small things that count,” Sherrit said. “Sometimes you don’t always have the time and money for service, and by chain reaction, those little things benefit a lot of people.”
Duggan was thrilled when Sherritt tied for first place.
“She just wasn’t expecting to win,” Duggan said. “Walking out of that room with a $250 check was just a gift. It fell out of the sky for her.”
Because contestants in both Fauquier and Orange Counties tied for first place, the four winners from the two counties are all participating in the area contest held on March 21. Sherrit feels more prepared for this second round of competition.
“I’m pretty comfortable now I know I can do it,” Sherrit said. “I think it helps that [the speech] is memorized – I don’t need to make anything up on the spot. I just need to deliver it calmly.”

~Sophie Byvik, editor-in-chief


FFA raises chickens

There’s nothing quite like a homemade, farm fresh meal. The comforting smells of Saturday morning eggs and toast can wake up the deepest sleepers and bring them running to the table. This weekend, why not try some fresh eggs from the FFA to get a taste of what fresh really means? FFA is currently keeping 13 hens on the agricultural field and collecting and selling eggs.
“All FFA members in Mr. [Dennis] Pearson’s agriculture class feed them and water them,” freshman Haley Clegg said. “When they lay the eggs, we place them in the cartons to sell.”
About half of the laying chickens were purchased from the Warrenton co-op as pullets (female chickens about 20 weeks old, which have not begun to lay eggs), but the other half came from closer to home.
“We also hatched some of our eggs last year, and raised them in the incubator in the horticulture room,” Pearson said. “But since we’re in the town of Warrenton, we don’t have a rooster [to prevent] noise complaints.”
The eggs, collected two to three times daily, are sold to teachers and students willing to buy. The hens currently lay 10-12 eggs per day, which are sold for $3 a dozen and $4 for an 18-pack. Flyers around the school advertise the sales. During the summer months, eggs are sold to the school board office.
“Whenever we bring in the eggs, they usually sell pretty quickly. They are usually gone by that day,” junior Elizabeth Barron said.
The chickens are fed a “balanced ration” of corn and soy beans also purchased at the Warrenton Co-op, according to Pearson. FFA has ensured that their birds remain cooped, but some feisty chickens rebel.
“We have electric poultry netting surrounding the coop that’s about three feet tall,” Pearson said. “Before they were clipped – you can actually clip a chicken’s wing to prevent them from flying– they were flying out. But we were able to catch them.”
While Pearson and FFA co-sponsor Susan Hilleary care for the chickens on weekends, Pearson’s agriculture class is currently preparing for the chickens’ summer vacation – freshman Kiersten Ball will care for the chickens over the summer. During vacation, eggs will be sold weekly to the School Board.
“You just need to make sure you manage them carefully, feed them, and water them properly,” Barron said. “It’s important because it teaches you how to raise animals and take responsibility.”

~Erycka Hackett, staff reporter

New club encourages elevated discourse

The annual regional TSA competition was held March 9 at Mount Vernon High School. Eight FHS participants placed within the top 10 positions, and three placed within the top three. All participants within the top three positions will be moving on to the state competition on May 3 at the Richmond Convention Center.
“We’d been preparing for the competition since September,” technology department head Harold Mullins said. “We would meet every week on Thursday. [Jamell Newman and I] would give them opportunities to come in and prepare for the contest. They had to go through all the rubrics for all the different levels of competition. The students learn a lot on their own, and we just point them in the direction they need to take.”
Students participated in five different categories of the competition. Senior Tony Frank placed first in the category of promotional graphics; he used Photoshop to create a poster advertising one of the other competitive categories.
“I didn’t totally expect to win at first, but my friends saw all the other entries, and they told me I was a shoe-in,” Frank said. “I’ve been participating in TSA for two years now, and this is my second time placing within the top three positions in a regional competition.”
Also receiving top placements were sophomores Dana Lahman (first in CAD 2D Architecture), Zoe Waide (second in CAD 2D Architecture), and Elle DelGallo (second in promotional graphics).

~Kerian McDonald, staff reporter