Black History Month is important because it reminds us to appreciate our ancestors that fought for our rights. We are blessed to have a month dedicated to impacting events in history. It started off as “Negro History Week” and transcended to the whole month of February. This month is a step up from the measly week we used to have. It feels so good to see black citizens now treated equally. For at a time, they were considered property and nothing more.
This year’s Black History Month is very important because it is the 400-year anniversary of when slaves were first brought to America. The events that took place so many years ago shouldn’t be censored, but rather learned from. America should be grateful to the men and women who fought for freedom and desegregation for a long time. It is thanks to them that people of color now have to same rights as any other U.S. citizen. Realizing how far the U.S. has come in achieving equality for all puts into perspective of the sacrifices abolitionists made. This new generation has now been handed the torch of equality.
The glory days aren’t here yet, though. People are still fighting for peace and equality, and they will never throw in the towel because they are fighting for what this country needs: unity. Americans are taught to love and accept all no matter their differences. To never see color, only see the heart: All people bleed, cry, and feel the same regardless. Peoples’ lives have changed for the better because of past abolitionists who valiantly sacrificed their lives so all can be equal. If it weren’t for their determination to have racial equality, America would never have known how to love each other despite color differences.
Staff Couple Mark Scott and Johanna Scott- A Romance to Last a Life Time
Math teacher Mark Scott and guidance counselor Johanna Scott met through a set up from two people they knew. Mr. Scott was working at one school and Mrs. Scott was working as a guidance counselor at the rival school. Mr. Scott’s principal was married to a teacher at Ms. Scott’s school. They were both trying to get the two to meet. Little did they know that this small suggestion would lead to a long time relationship.
Mr. Scott made the first move by emailing Mrs. Scott. “It was very cute,” said Mrs. Scott. From there, they arranged to meet at an little Italian place in Woodstock, Virginia.
When the two first saw each other, Mr. Scott said that he was amazed by Mrs. Scott’s beauty and said he had a great time. ”We had a great conversation, a fun time and did a lot of laughing,” said Mr. Scott.
“I thought he was funny,” said Mrs. Scott, “I really didn’t plan on staying that long, but we ended up having so much fun that I ended up being late like two hours.”
With such a good first date, the pair dated for a little over half a year before they got married on July 10, 2004. They now have two girls and have been married for almost 15 years.
Both agree life with one another has never been better. “It’s been great, heavenly,” said Mr. Scott.
Because the Scotts are working on Valentine’s day, they do not have any plans for the day. However, they plan on going out to dinner the next week.
Couple John Carneckis and Ashley Halbrook- True Love at First Sight
Sophomores John Carneckis and Ashley Halbrook’s relationship began with love at first sight. The pair first met in 2017 at the homecoming football game and after hanging out that day, they knew they were the one for each other.
Carneckis made the first move said Halbrook. “He asked for my number at the homecoming game then two weeks later we went on our first date at a different football game.”
The couple have made many memories together but Halbrook says her favorite was on her birthday. “My brother took me to see Thor and surprised me by picking John up on the way,” said Halbrook. “After the movie, we went to Target and bought board games to play.”
Carneckis and Halbrook have been dating for one year and three month and their relationship has only grown. Both believe they are in a good place with one another. “It’s been very good,” said Carneckis. Halbrook added on saying, “We’ve had rough patches but it’s been good.”
The couple plan on going to a sushi place and then rent a movie this Valentine’s Day
While Valentine’s Day can be a meaningful occasion for couples, what is this day to single people who are missing a special someone? Their plans may be different compared to the average couple because of their relationship status. Many people plan days ahead to have the perfect day, while most want the day to be over. Singles can stand on either side of this viewpoint. People’s opinions might be defined by their past experiences or simply by what they have witnessed over the past years. Sophomore Makayla MacWelch said, “It’s kind of stupid to be honest, it’s just a day for candy.” Some people go about the day with a positive attitude, not letting their relationship status affect them. “I think that it’s good to have a little bit of self appreciation and love yourself instead of focusing on what others think of you,” sophomore Abby Marino said, “you can spend time with your family who are your real valentines.”
It’s not all about love for a significant other, many use this day as a way to express their gratitude and appreciation for their friends. “I still think you can give stuff to your friends,” said sophomore McKenzie Hurley. A common tradition throughout school nowadays is to give out sweet treats or handmade cards for each other. The Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization cater to this by giving out candy grams. The days prior to Valentine’s Day the students have the opportunity to purchase a candy gram for their significant other, friends, teachers or themselves. The candy grams are distributed on Valentine’s Day.
While some people are reminded of their past relationships or are reminded of their relationship status others may see it as better than being in bad company. Valentine’s Day is a day of love. Whether one is single or in a relationship, this time can be spent to celebrate loving one’s family, friends, significant other or even yourself. The true significance of Valentine’s Day is expressed in a variety of ways from person to person.
Junior Aidan Jones was nominated and selected by the art department to be the Fauquier Falcon’s Artist of the Month. Jones is currently taking art 3 2D with art teacher Charlene Root. Jones has been taking art ever since first grade of elementary school and says that he loves it. “I like letting my mind wander and creating whatever I feel like,” said Jones. Jones enjoys working with many different mediums, but he particularly enjoys using acrylics. “Acrylics mix well with one another, and it’s not water based so it doesn’t run everywhere,” Jones said. He appreciates his teachers and says that they have been supportive. “Instead of criticizing me, they try to tell me how I can improve,” Jones said. His art teachers think highly of him, art teacher Dawn Brown said Jones “has proven himself as an artist who always takes his assignments seriously. He works very hard to complete all assignments to the best of his ability, spending lots of time on the details, and adding his own creative flair.” Root agreed in saying, “He is a hard-working, self-disciplined young man who is conscientious about improving his art skills and abilities. He is respectful, mature and interacts well with classmates. He is a great role model for art students!”
Fauquier Environmental Studies Academy (FESA) classrooms will receive a mural painted by members of the FHS Art Club, that will encompass students as they enter their classes. Students began painting at the beginning of the school year and hope to finish by the end of the school year.
Six walls in total will receive personal touches of paint following the theme of tropical jungle paradise “I want the animals to look very realistic, like they are living, like when you look at [the animals] they will look through you,” junior Zita Ribeiro, contributing artist said.
Dawn Brown, art teacher and advisor of the Art Club, is excitedly anticipating the final results. “I expect it to be great because I have a great group of students who are working on it.” She also commented that the group works well together, which is not always a common occurrence with a big project. “The group is very receptive which always helps.”
“I’ve always wanted to do the mural just because it’s a brand new program, brand new classroom, brand new labs, so I wanted something,” Science teacher Jonathan Kraut said, “Everybody sees these [murals] in the hallways, and they’re really cool.”
Art club has painted several murals around the school that many would recognize stationed in the cafeteria, hallways and in multiple offices. Although this one is among the largest by far. Several animals have already been immortalized such as a large tiger, a panther resting on a log and a sloth hanging off the wall. Every week, little by little, the painting grows revealing new animals and foliage.
Several students who take classes at the site of the mural were not warned ahead of time of the proposed project and were surprised one morning when they arrived and saw pencil sketches and yellow painters tape on the walls. “I just walked in and saw it and thought it was really cool, and it fits in with everything,” sophomore Jordan Sim said. Senior Rachel Crowe commented, “I want it to represent what the classes are about and help invite people into the class.”
FESA is a four-year program stationed in Fauquier High School. The academy is fairly new to FHS and centers around environmental studies.
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.”
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
Fauquier High School's student newspaper. By the students, for the students.