Category Archives: features/arts

Students, faculty advocate at Women’s March

The day after Donald John Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the Women’s March on Washington (WMOW) brought an estimated 1.7 million protesters to the nation’s capital on Jan. 21, for the biggest inaugural protest in American history. Co-chair of WMOW and social rights activist Tamika Mallory claimed the march was “not anti-Trump, but pro-women.” Over 15 FHS students and at least eight teachers attended.

“It was such an overall positive, empowering experience,” said senior Alex Amirato, who marched for equality for all Americans. “The rhetoric of this election season was not okay, and it made a lot of people feel like their opinion didn’t matter, but coming together with like-minded people was a really good, different feeling.”

The D.C. Metro system reported that this was the second busiest weekend in its history, trailing behind Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Thousands flew in, drove, and took buses from all parts of the country. Senior Madison Luellen got up at 3 a.m. to be at the metro station when it opened at 5 a.m.

“It was definitely overwhelming, but incredible. I participated in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest in D.C. last year, and I thought there was a lot of people then,” Luellen said. “It was nothing compared to the numbers [at the march] on Saturday.”
Luellen stayed in D.C into the night as people continued to march down Independence Avenue.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I refuse to respect corrupt authority,” Luellen said. “I was there for all basic human rights, especially the importance of intersectional feminism, which supports women of color and ethnicities. This was a protest on a global level.”

There were large sister marches in downtown Los Angeles, Portland, Miami, and New York City, along with smaller marches across the country and the world, as far away as New Zealand and even on the coasts of Antarctica.

“It was amazing to see the enthusiasm and the hope that democracy in action can make a difference,” librarian Rebecca Isaac said. “Everyone, no matter what side you are on, deserves to be respected and loved. We had a peaceful march and a positive showing, and I have a deep sense of gratitude that in our country we have the privilege to do that.”
Junior Tatjana Shields advocated for the acceptance and celebration of diversity at the march and has been inspired to continue to take action in her community.

“At this march, I felt empowered like never before to stand up for what I believe in [and] for what is right,” Shields said. “Some focuses of mine were the recognition of Muslim rights; the Islamophobic reaction across the country because of someone’s religion kind of sickens me. I also believe in the Black Lives Matter movement; black Americans have been at the end of the totem pole for a very long time. It’s about strengthening the relations we have together.”

Freshman Macy Major went with her mother, English teacher Jennifer Major.

“I was really lucky to go with my mom,” Major said. “She’s very supportive, and I know not all parents are like that; it was very empowering to go with another woman in my life.”

The march was criticized in articles and social media posts from both men and women who strongly opposed the it and its platform. Junior Ben Nesbit attended the March for Life in D.C. the Friday following the women’s march and advocated for defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I think they need to get over it. The Democrats lost, and because they haven’t lost in a while, they’re just not used it,” Nesbit said. “I believe that every person has a right, and I marched for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. I feel like the women’s march kind of took that right away from people, which is sad. People are going to hate me for this, but they can hate me.”

Senior Max McDaniel-Neff, who attended the women’s march with his family and senior Aidan Kierans, viewed the march differently; he said that the protest was peaceful and everyone was supportive of each other.

“I was there to support Planned Parenthood, and that women still need to be respected,” McDaniel-Neff said. “The fact that Donald Trump even got elected shows that sexual assault is still a pretty big deal.”

Senior Victoria Rucka, who is an exchange student from the Czech Republic, was able to participate in the march and observe American politics up close and in action. Her country had its own women’s rights march in the capital city of Prague last year, but she said that it’s unlikely that her country would elect a female leader in the near future.

“I think [American politics] are going to get worse. A lot of things over here would never happen in my country,” Rucka said. “ I don’t think we’ll have a woman president [in Czech Republic] any time soon; a lot of people wouldn’t have a lot of respect for her simply because she is a woman, and most of the people in the government are men.”

Spanish teacher Karen Falcon had a unique perspective and reason for attending the women’s march with her oldest daughter. The Affordable Care Act, enacted during the Obama administration, helped Falcon’s family members obtain health care, a right that many people take for granted.

“I grew up overseas, and so I was always conscious of being an American and being patriotic,” Falcon said. “So for me, patriotism stands for democracy, freedom of expression, and diversity. To see the country pulling away from those things makes me worried. I think those things are our biggest strength. It’s important for people internationally to see that Americans can argue about opinions, yet still maintain a strong democracy.”

~julia sexton, news director

Athelte-scholar, Oravec commits to Cornell

Senior Sam Oravec, who has been a prominent force on the school track team for all four years of his high school career, recently committed to Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York.

“It was definitely a goal that I’ve really wanted to meet for a while,” Oravec said. “I achieved one of my goals of being a D1 athlete, and continuing my dream on for four years, which is [continuing] jumping [events] and getting better.”

Oravec knew that Cornell’s close community was a good fit for him when he visited.

“The team up there was a lot like our high school team: very family-oriented and very close. The coaching staff is a lot like the coaching staff here at the high school: very skilled and dedicated coaches and athletes,” Oravec said. “What it really came down to was the academics. That’s what set it apart from other schools.”

At his parents urging, Oravec began track as part of a club in elementary school, but he never anticipated getting to his current level. Oravec was a member of the 4×8 relay team, which won the 2016 Outdoor State meet and secured the top time in Virginia. Oravec received all state honors in four events in the 2016 Outdoor State meet: 4×4, 4×8, 500, and triple jump.

“I started out with cross country, and I knew I wasn’t going to be a very good endurance runner because I’ve always been more of a speed, power guy,” Oravec said. “Then, I got to winter track and started doing some more of the shorter [events], and found out I excelled more at those than the distance events.”

Oravec has been a member of six championship relay teams: 2015 Indoor 4×4, 2015 Outdoor 4×4, 2015 Outdoor 4×8, 2016 Indoor 4×4, 2016 Indoor 4×8, 2016 Outdoor 4×8. After coaches got him involved in sprinting and jumping, Oravec was driven to excel.

“I started looking at college standards when I was a freshman, just to see what I should meet. That really got me motivated to be a jumper and middle-distance runner here,” Oravec said. “I [wanted] to get to the college level.”

After years of taking advantage of the science curriculum, including biology and anatomy classes, Oravec is considering majoring in biology with a focus in physiology.

“I would like to take more of a research approach, not a pre-med approach,” Oravec said. “I really like the whole idea of science. I’m really interested in the field of physiology and how the human body works, and the applications of that on the world around us. I like to figure things out for myself.”

In addition to track, Oravec has been a member of a local shooting club since sixth grade, where he shoots three-position air rifles. Oravec received the CMP Gold Standard, which is the highest honor earned through competition.

“Other than that, I don’t really have any other hobbies,” Oravec said. “It’s either track, training for track, getting ready for the next day of school, and track.”

Oravec is determined to accomplish his goals for this season.

“I would like to get into the 22.6 range for long jump. I’d also like to get 45 ft for triple jump. Those are my two goals for jumping,” Oravec said. “My 500m, I’d like to bring down to 1:06, which I’m pretty close to. The 4×4 and 4×8 relay teams, I really want to push them, and get everybody to place well in states this year, like we have in years past.”

Coach Mark Scott has known Oravec since his freshman year, and he said that Oravec is a good teammate and leader with big goals and a plan to accomplish them.

“He came in as a freshman, and we could tell he was capable of performing in a lot of different areas. He is very competitive and multi-talented; we can put him in a lot of places,” Scott said. “He has a big vision of where he wants to be. He has little and small goals of where he wants to be in track. I’m super proud of him, and he means the world to me.”

~emma dixon, copy production editor

Walker brings unique skills, outlook to classroom

In a recent yearbook poll, government teacher Tyler Walker was voted “Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Student,” a distinction that he finds amusing.

“It is funny, and I’m not that much older than my seniors,” Walker said. “I think it’s humorous, but I try to dress like an old man a lot. I did get told, that, one day when I wore a sweatshirt and jeans, that someone actually thought I was a student.”

However, Walker is most proud of his military service. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard when he was 17, after hearing about the opportunity from his best friend. Service in the National Guard combines his longtime passion for history with the desire to serve and be a part of something bigger than himself.

“When I [heard] about [the National Guard], I learned that they would pay for college,” Walker said. “So, on top of wanting to do all those other things, now there was the added bonus of paying for school.”

Walker went through basic training the summer of his junior year and attended advanced training the summer before he started college at Shippensburg University in south-central Pennsylvania in 2011. In college, he decided to join ROTC to become an officer.

“There wasn’t enough helping I could do,” Walker said. “I wanted to do more to serve. I wanted to be an officer to serve as a leader.”

Walker is commissioned as a lieutenant, and although he originally enlisted to assist in natural disaster relief, he’s currently training to go into combat.

“My units have been able to go and help with natural disasters, but as infantry, we’re a combat brigade,” Walker said. “We’re [constantly] preparing for deployments to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s an amazing opportunity that we could go fight terrorism.”

Being a young leader can be challenging since many of the soldiers Walker commands are more experienced, with 10-20 years of service and multiple deployments. According to Walker, commanding a mechanized infantry unit is a big challenge.

“I’ve got four Bradley Fighting Vehicles that are like armored personnel carriers that I have to train and know how to use,” Walker said. “I have to know the armored side of things and know the infantry side of things, while still learning how to be in the Bradley and command it myself and lead soldiers. It’s a lot of things to juggle.”

Although Walker had an opportunity for deployment in 2013, it was canceled due to budget cuts.

“Right now we have a potential deployment in 2018, that I can’t really talk too much about,” Walker said. “It’s been fortunate because I’ve been able to finish my education. I would like to go, to be able to serve, because I feel like I haven’t done anything. It’s been years and I’ve just been training so much. I want to do more, to earn being called a veteran before I get out, because I’ve only got a couple of years left.”

Walker trains over the summer and one weekend every month; he occasionally needs to take a day off work to fulfill his duties. Working as a teacher while serving in the military has proved challenging, especially when he was also coaching football last year.

“When everybody else is lesson-planning Saturday and Sunday, I’m training and leading soldiers,” Walker said. “When I was coaching football, and doing that and teaching, I thought I was going to die. So, I had to take a step back from coaching to focus on teaching, but it is incredibly challenging.”

Walker’s commission ends in 2020, and although he could stay in the military longer, he hopes to settle down.

“I feel like, especially now as a teacher, I’d like to get settled here, and eventually start a family and slow things down,” Walker said. “A deployment would kind of make that a little bit more challenging.”

Walker knew he wanted to be a teacher in his junior year in high school, after moving to a new school where he was picked on.

“My history class was the one place where my teacher made it an atmosphere of inclusion,” Walker said. “It was just a comfortable place to be, and so it was that year that decided I would be a teacher because I wanted to create that same atmosphere for other people.”

Walker is passionate about history; he believes that a foundation in history is critical for understanding and solving current problems.

“I think that you need to understand history to prepare for future problems and for what’s going on today,” Walker said. ”I wanted to explain [history] and have it make sense for other people, so they can better understand what’s happening today and in today’s society.”

Both of Walker’s parents graduated from FHS, and he lived in Warrenton until he was eight, so he knew he wanted a position here. He eventually came across a position as assistant football coach, and later, an opening for a social studies teacher.

“As soon as I saw [the opening for] assistant coach, I knew this was God telling me I need to be there,” Walker said.

Both teaching and his service in the National Guard have helped him develop skills in leadership, communication, and organization; he has also developed the ability to understand people and how they need to be taught. His experiences in the military allow him to share perspectives on world events with his students.

“I think it’s really cool because any time I show a video from the news, I can explain to these kids why it happened, and then I can give them first-hand experience of what we’re doing to combat it, and why we’re doing that,” Walker said. “I think that adds a really cool twist to things that you don’t usually get from a teacher.”

~katie johnston, features director

Theater students deliver superior performances

From Feb. 3-5, eight theater students attended the International Thespian Society (ITS) Festival at Virginia Tech University, performing musical numbers for judges to qualify for a spot at nationals this summer.

Chaperoned by theater teacher Emmet Bales, seniors Peyton Evans, Ben Rawlins, Luisa Turner, and Owen Connolly and juniors Tatjana Shields, Charlotte Langford, Arielle Ward and Andrew Perrius represented the school in its first ITS competition.

“I sang “Bobbles, Bangles and Beads” from Kismet,” Langford said. “That’s one of those songs where people ask, ‘What if opera didn’t only have singing? What if it had lyrics, too?’”

In addition to performing, the students could choose from 120 workshops to attend that covered a variety of topics relating to theater, including costuming and tech design.

“So, in our downtime from performing, we were attending workshops about auditions, education, technique, careers in theater,” Evans said.

Rawlins, Evans, Langford, Shields, and Perrius all received superior medals; however, Rawlins not only qualified for his individual performance but also in a duet with Perrius from Les Miserables. These students have qualified to attend nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska, during the summer.

“We all qualified for individual events, which means we’ll take what we did at Tech, perfect it even more to fit the national rubric, and see if we can get a superior on the national level, which is even harder,” Evans said. “It has over 500 workshops per day and is a huge event. It would be great if we could go.”

While at the conference, Evans learned about the other options in the theater field and gained a better understanding of her capabilities in each area.

“Everything I did there helped with my flexibility, personability, and the abilities that I can take to the other areas of my life even if I don’t pursue theater,” Evans said.

Bales said that each student performed music from each genre of theater; he couldn’t be more proud of his students, considering this is their first year of attending the program.

“That’s what theater is about: bringing your best to the game and doing what you can,” Bales said. “As a teacher, you sit back and think, this is worth the 15 cents [I’m being paid] to do this.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief

Verdun encourages teamwork

Sophomores Tessa Skirsky, Alyssa Gilmore, Lauren Burrell, Hope Burnett, Kevin McGeeching and Daniel Mclinden were challenged to use two-by-fours to create a bridge from one side of a ‘lava pit’ to the other. 

 

Experiential learning, a popular teaching trend, gives students the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities, followed by reflection on their work, to achieve a higher level of learning. On Oct. 28, English teacher Cynthia Pryor took her sophomore English classes to Verdun, a team building retreat, to explore themes from the novel Lord of the Flies.

“I thought it might be interesting to take students to Verdun to experience a situation similar to those of the boys on the island to force them to work in groups to problem solve to ‘survive’ difficult challenges,” Pryor said.

Verdun provides a safe environment for the students to consider the relationship between the physical activities and the disturbing events depicted in the novel. Pryor split the students into random groups to force them out of their comfort zones and then let the Verdun facilitators take over. Sophomore Sydney Stafford said that the groupings required students to exercise skills they didn’t know they had.

“We were all very inclusive and supportive of one another. I think it was the teamwork and trust that we built throughout the day that got us to the end,” Stafford said. “It’s a good thing to be reminded every once in a while that you still have potential.”

The activities were designed to place students in the survival mindset of the boys stranded on the island. Some activities required students to collaborate to scale a 10 foot wall or lift a tire off a 10 foot pole without touching the pole, while others required teams to solve problems in complete silence.

Sophomore Sydney Stafford’s favorite obstacle was the Walk of Life, where the students were required to help each other walk across a thin cable suspended between two wooden poles over the ground.

“[I like how] we all got to work together; we all had to be able to trust each other to get one another across and hold onto each other’s arms and stuff,” Stafford said. “Personal boundaries were out the window.”

Pryor described this field trip as a high-yield experience in that students gained invaluable insights into themselves and the novel. Sophomore Jake Sadowski learned valuable life lessons from the experience.

“I learned that everyone, no matter their status or appearance, does have something to offer. Many times we will overlook their potential based on clothes they wear or the friends they have,” Sadowski said. “If school is truly about learning, shouldn’t it be more important for children, the next generation and the inheritors of the earth, to learn practical information? I learned more about myself in team building in just a few hours at Verdun than I have [while] at school for a year.”

~nina quiles, managing editor

Palmer’s achievements in coaching winter guard receive accolades, recognition

In addition to a teaching load of three AP English Literature classes, and his administrative duties as the English department head, Lindell Palmer has a demanding schedule as coach, teacher, and director of two winter guard teams. He also consults with two other high school teams, and he volunteers to choreograph and teach routines to the FHS color guard.

Palmer directs the Stonewall Independent winter guard, a team that is currently ranked sixth in the world by Winter Guard International (WGI). Moreover, Palmer coaches Westfield High School’s winter guard team, which in 2015, its first year, took a gold medal at the Atlantic Indoor Association competition. He estimates that he works an additional 36 hours each week from November to mid-April, coaching his teams to reach their highest potential and hoping to spread the sport’s popularity.
Palmer became interested in the sport as a sophomore in high school because he had a crush on a girl who did color guard.

“One day I was talking to her after school, and she was spinning a rifle. She said it was really hard, but I said it looked really simple, so I started doing it. I had a natural talent at it,” Palmer said. “She was impressed, so she went and got her guard instructor. He came and watched me do it; then he got the band director, and they all watched me do it. They were all impressed that I could do it with no training, so that’s how I began.”

In a strange twist, after Palmer agreed to join the team, the girl dropped out of color guard, but he had already found his love for the sport. Palmer joined an independent team called Revelation, located in Richmond, while attending William and Mary. He also began coaching teams.

“My first coaching gig was Denbigh High School,” Palmer said. “I taught them a routine, and I got a little money for that, so I thought, ‘Hey, this is nice.’ After that I went and taught at several different schools in Williamsburg while I was in college, and then I started working at Liberty High School.”

Although color guard is traditionally performed outdoors and accompanies the marching band, winter guard is performed indoors to recorded music. Teams are divided into Scholastic or Independent divisions by WGI classifications. Scholastic winter guard teams consist of members who all attend the same high school, while Independent teams are not connected to a school and membership is more selective.

Palmer’s specialty is winter guard. Described by WGI as the “sport of the arts,” winter guard is based on military ceremonies and combines many different skills, including choreography and dance, theatre, gymnastics, costuming, and the spinning of flags, swords, and rifles.

“Today’s top winter guards really are giving you an entire performance, and it involves a lot of dance and acting,” Palmer said. “When you watch some of the best color guards in the world, it is art; they are producing art. They are taking stories that you know or famous art pieces and making them come alive on the floor right in front of you. It’s like watching the rhythmic gymnasts you see at the Olympics. It’s hard to believe what they’re doing.”
According to Palmer, although winter guard is very popular in Texas and the northeast, it is slowly receiving recognition locally.

“There are independent teams that are treated like professional sports players, so there are people that follow them and buy their gear, [but] people that don’t hear about it, don’t even know that it exists,” Palmer said. “A couple years ago, there was a major competition here at Fauquier High School. Most of the students didn’t even know that it occurred, and didn’t realize the caliber of the performers here at their school.”

Palmer enjoys working with the high school teams, including the FHS color guard, Westfield, Pride of Prince William County, and Herndon High School, because of the bonds he forms with students as he watches them progress through four years of training. However, from an artistic standpoint, he has found that independent teams are more satisfying to coach.

“First of all, the ages vary, so independent teams normally go from age 15 to 23, and so you have a lot more mature individuals participating in it. That makes a big difference,” Palmer said. “They are more focused; they come there because they already love what they’re doing. You can push them harder, so we have more intense rehearsals, longer rehearsals, because they are there for a purpose, and they enjoy what they do.”

Palmer began directing at Stonewall Jackson High School in 2004. In 2013, Palmer’s high school team transitioned to Independent class, and he took them to the largest competition in the country to compete at the WGI world championships. He had been coaching some members of the team for three years, so the team had progressed and formed very tight bonds.

“I didn’t want to separate them because they were so good,” Palmer said. “Some kids were getting ready to graduate, so I said, ‘Let’s try to go as far as we can.’ The kids themselves did not believe they could do that well because they were from a small school from Virginia.”

Some parents were concerned that these ambitions would result in failure and that Palmer was setting them up for disappointment. However, these fears disappeared when the team placed first at regionals.

“We went to our first regional, and we won it without question. It was just funny because I went in and told the kids that our goal was to make finals at the regional, but not only did we make finals, we went first place across the world,” Palmer said. “At that point I realized that we had something special, and we could probably medal at world championships.”

The team went on to capture the silver medal at the WGI world championship in its first year of competition, and it has made it to the finals every year since 2013.
Palmer’s reputation has grown along with the success he has brought to the teams he has coached. Since his start with Stonewall, all of his coaching jobs have resulted from schools or programs contacting and recruiting him. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the AIA Hall of Honor for his contributions to the sport.

“It was quite the honor; I wasn’t expecting it at all. They don’t tell you ahead of time, so I had no clue it was coming, but when they called my name I realized that my parents were there and all of my friends that had been notified,” Palmer said. “There were several students that I had taught in the past who are now directors, as well. It was a nice feeling seeing all of my students out there supporting me and people that I had marched with when I was much younger.”

Palmer still works with former students through Stonewall Independent and as a mentor for those who have gone on to coach. Devon Robinson first met Palmer when he joined the winter guard at Stonewall Jackson. Palmer’s teaching allowed Robinson to excel in winter guard, and after graduating, he now works as Palmer’s assistant.

“I think Mr. Palmer’s strengths as a coach are his limitless creativity and composure during the hectic and stressful moments of rehearsal,” Robinson said. “I am astounded whenever I see his choreography for the group. When Mr. Palmer works with our group, he’s building a foundation for excellence and opportunity for the future.”

~nathaniel thomason, staff reporter

Top left: Lindell Palmer does a warm up routine in 2011 with the Stonewall High School winter guard before competition to help the performers breathe, stretch, and relax. Several performers went on to join Stonewall Independent (below left), who are shown in the final pose of the 2016 World Championship at which the team placed sixth in the world. Right: Stonewall Independent strikes the opening pose for their 2015 World Championship performance. The team placed ninth in the world.

Students study Civil War history, culture

Junior Travis Frost falls to the ground after “being shot” during drilling exercises at the National Guard Armory. “We [did] Civil War company drills,”  Frost said. “[It helped us understand] how the [battle] formations worked.”

 

In the required U.S. history class, students must learn over 400 years of material, allowing little time to focus on a time period that interests them. However, students in the American Civil War elective have the opportunity to study in depth the political and social causes of the conflict, the military actions, and the results of the battles during this critical time in American history. According to teacher Liz Monseur, students realize how complicated the Civil War really was.

“I want my students to embrace the fact that the war is much more complex than what teachers have time to cover in a typical history class,” Monseur said. “It has left us, as Virginians, living in the middle of its history and trying to preserve the memory of it, bad and good.”

The class had been offered at FHS for years, but registration waned when the previous instructor, Richard Deardoff, left to teach at Kettle Run. Interest in the class renewed, however, and currently 13 students are enrolled. The course begins with the colonial era, rather than the opening shots at Fort Sumter, to help students understand the deep-rooted differences between the north and the south that would ultimately lead to war.

“I think that’s what really surprises students; they have no idea how much these people thought of each other as almost a different species,” Monseur said. “Their value systems were so different.”

Students study Victorian culture and customs, Civil War photography, and soldiering, as well. According to senior William Usrey, the class also provides insight into the parallels between the 1860s and today; racial tensions still exist, and the division between the north and south is still clearly seen.

“[Living] here and living in Georgia, you can see cultural differences, and the tension is still there towards the north. A lot of people in Virginia and Georgia still hate the northerners just as much, but not necessarily for the same reasons, that they did [during the Civil War]. We just see them as very different; the culture is completely different.Everything is a lot more fast-paced the farther you go up north.”

To help students gain a deeper understanding of the war, Monseur uses maps from the era, letters, diary entries and books, and hands-on experience. Monseur brought in a reenactor to teach the class how to drill, using yardsticks instead of weapons. In a field trip to Clark Brothers Gun Shop, students were able to shoot replica Springfield .58 caliber rifled muskets from 1861, and Monseur plans to teach dances from the era later in the course. The class took a walking tour of Warrenton, which changed hands 67 times over the course of the conflict, to learn about the Civil War’s impact on local history.

Most recently, the class took a field trip to Gettysburg, the site of one of the most important and pivotal battles of the war. Deardoff accompanied the class to give students a greater understanding of the battle.

“He knows everything about the Civil War,” senior Sarah Kamphuis said. “Hearing him tell all of these funny stories about it, and actually being there on the battlefield and seeing the monuments, was just really interesting. It just kind of ties everything that you’ve learned together.”

According to Kamphuis, the class increased her knowledge of the Civil War and her understanding of the two sides.

“We kind of live in an awkward location because we’re not like the north and we’re not like the south,” Kamphuis said. “We are kind of in the middle, and it’s hard for us to understand both sides, but now I feel like I understand both sides and the Civil War makes a lot more sense to me.”

The class has helped Usrey understand the complexity of the war, since there wasn’t a true “good” or “bad” side.

“You grow up in elementary school with them saying the north was good and the south was bad, and the south had slavery and that’s why they were bad, but that’s not it at all,” Usrey said. “The [northerners were] still horrible racists; they just didn’t have slavery. It’s just a much bigger understanding of the reasons they did what they did.”

~katie johnston, features/arts director