Category Archives: features/arts

December 2018 Artist of the Month

Caroline brings her ideas to life in the form of art through different mediums and colors.

Junior Caroline Austin was nominated by the art department to be the Fauquier Falcon’s Artist of the Month. Austin is currently taking Art 3 with art teacher Charlene Root. Austin said that she loves art and just being able to sit down and express herself. She said her favorite mediums to work with are water colors and painting with acrylics. Her art teachers, Dawn Brown and Root, have been very supportive as well said Austin. “Mrs. Brown is amazing and Mrs. Root has really helped me learn,” Austin said. Both teachers agree that Austin is an exceptional art student. “[She] is a very creative, hard-working artist who enjoys the challenge of every assignment,” said Root. Brown said that Caroline is one of the best art students she’s ever had. “She is creative, innovative, and original in her thought process and project production,” said Brown. “I can always count on her for Art Club, often working on community projects on her own time.”

by Rachel Singleton–Sports Editor


FHS Introduced to the Art of Dance

Arttacgo Luckett impressed many FHS students during his brief time teaching them dance.

Acclaimed dance choreographer Arttacgo Luckett from Indianapolis, Indiana came to Fauquier High School on Monday, November 26, on an invitation from drama teacher Emmett Bales. Mr. Bales invited him to come give the students a dance experience as Luckett is a professional choreographer. Mr. Bales was Arttacgo’s drama teacher back in 2002 when he was a senior in high school.

The students react positively to his spirited energy, fun personality, and insightful criticism.  “He is very cool, chill and smooth,” sophomore Dayvonte Hill said. “Its kinda like he is just one of the boys.”

Luckett was excited to come to FHS to teach the theater classes. “I’m here to share my gifts with the wonderful students of Fauquier,” Luckett said. “My favorite thing is definitely seeing the growth in the kids, and everyone having fun and getting introduced to new things that they haven’t been exposed to necessarily.”

The theater classes break up their lessons into about a week and a half to get a feel for different experiences of theater. Each class is being taught how to waltz, afro funk (a fusion between hip-hop, jazz and African dancing), and the students are working on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as well. The dances are based upon how Luckett is feeling and the energy the students give off. Luckett has worked with professional recording artists, who are in development.

Along with being a talented choreographer, Arttacgo is gifted in other fields in the arts including hair styling, wig design, staging for musicals, painting, drawing, singing, writing music, and costume design. He has been choreographing and teaching dance since he was twelve years old–about 21 years.

Luckett gets to travel often and he has the opportunity to meet new people since he doesn’t have a studio keeping him to one city. “I don’t have my own studio because I like the freedom to not be tied down to one place so I can go share my gifts to other places,” Luckett said. “Having my own place is a lot of responsibility so I like to not have to worry about that.”

Arttacgo travels all over the country and continues to teach dance and share his gifts.

by Dakota Santee and Emilee Korent–Staff Reporter

Dr. Croft Talks About Life Outside of FHS

Science teacher Dr. Croft helps students with an experiment.

For three years Dr. Catherine Croft has been teaching biology and anatomy at Fauquier High School. But she also has an extensive and interesting life out of Fauquier High School including experience in neurology research labs, a game board company, various scientific papers, and many more. Her classes are always bumbling with engaging experiments and excited students.

Croft states, “I love teaching, I love explaining things to people, I like bridging the gap between scientists and the public because there’s such a huge gap. Some people don’t know what scientists do, and scientists don’t usually like talking to people, so I feel like it’s my calling to do that.”

Teaching was not her first calling though, she recalls that in high school she loved history and wanted to pursue it.  She admits, “I hated science with a passion because it was taught so badly, and it was really boring, and I didn’t understand. And then I happened to tour a lab when I was in college at Duke [where] they were cutting up brains. I thought ‘that’s amazing’ and ‘I really want to do that.’ So I took all these classes, and I really liked neuroscience.” This slice of inspiration led her to start a path towards being a research professor. She continued her four years at Duke University and went into graduate school for a PhD. in science and attended UVA for six years in neuroscience. But she didn’t stop there; she continued for a post-doctorate and went into the National Institute of Health with a focus on how the brain develops.

“I would do lots of self-biology like growing neurons [and] lots of microscopy to look at them. I would alter the DNA of the neurons and see what happened, like [with] different pathways. I would do electrophysiology, which is when you [seal] electrodes [onto neurons] using a microscope, and then you measure the activity of the neurons. [I did] lots of biochemistry to see what kind of proteins were expressed in different neurons.” She did this for five years. She then spent three years in a bioinformatics lab. Croft explains, “It’s up and coming so it’s all computer-based research. We would take all of the known genes linked to autism, so [there are] thousands of them. Then we would do network analysis to see where in the brain they are expressed how they interact with each other and we would try and predict new genes for autism. It was really fascinating.”

She was on the brink of fulfilling her dream, but it took a turn when she had kids. “It sounds like a cliché, but it’s really hard for women in science because it’s really really [hard] to have your own lab and to have babies. If you want to spend any time with your babies it’s not possible. It was really sad and heartbreaking for me.” She pushed on and decided to become a writer after her colleagues tried to convince her to stop her search for teaching. Writing, however, didn’t allow her to do what she loved: Interacting with people. So she decided to get her feet wet: Tam Pouler convinced her to be a long-term sub for Mrs. Copperthite and she was officially lured into the teaching game.

Experiments such as pulling DNA from strawberries and various dissections engage students and make them eager to learn. She says that she tries to be the teacher she never had. She admits she only had one good science teacher but every other teacher didn’t do relevant things. “I never really understood what scientists did or why we were doing anything. There was always an answer to the lab and [you were] supposed to get [a specific] answer and that’s not fun. I like making little mysteries and [therefore] you have to [learn] how to think, not just get an answer.”

Croft is also co-coach of Fauquier High Schools Academic Team. “We’re really strong; we’re really really smart. They are very assertive; I think they are growing in confidence.” Her ties to Academic Team stretch back to when she was in high school. She was part of her school’s academic decathlon but explains that it was different from the academic team. “It was ten different subjects and we took tests on them and then there’s one of them called a super quiz that’s in front of people, [and] you don’t buzz in your answers. I was really competitive with that so I kinda want to give back. It was so fun for me.”

Croft’s enthusiastic personality and engaging teaching style sets her apart from the average teacher. When asked what her favorite thing about teaching is her answer was simple, “My students, I like when they excited about experiments, that makes me happy.”

by Nayeli Arellano–Staff Reporter

To shop or not to shop:

Graphic created by Hannah Singleton

Black Friday: An American “holiday” of sorts which takes place the day after Thanksgiving every year. A day which is considered the first day of Christmas shopping, for which many (if not all), retailers offer phenomenal deals and/or discounts. Many Americans celebrate this day by spending their time shopping at their favorite stores, taking advantage of the discounts offered. Others, more hardcore shoppers, start the holiday the night of Thanksgiving by camping outside of their favorite stores, and lying in wait for their selected store to open. There are a few issues, however, with the Black Friday tradition. The first being many shoppers become very aggressive on this day to buy their Christmas gifts, and it is very hard to get anything anywhere without stooping to their level of aggression. Another flaw, as junior Savannah Snider points out, is that: “Black Friday is too inconvenient. The traffic is usually crazy, so is getting a parking spot. Plus you have to weave your way through thick crowds to get to where you want to go.”

A proposed alternative to Black Friday, however, has recently risen from the ashes: Cyber Monday; the Monday after Thanksgiving during which stores offer the same incredible discounts, simply online instead. So one is able to shop for the same things with the same discounts, from the comfort of their own home. Many people, such as junior Ethan Hawes, prefer this to its alternative (Black Friday): “I prefer Cyber Monday, because there is a much wider variety online than in stores.” Hannah Robbins, also a junior, tends to disagree with Hawes: “ I prefer Black Friday, because I am able to see what I’m getting: It’s right in front of me. I can easily try it on right there and see if it fits. Also, I love going out late at night to shop: Everyone is outside with you, and it’s really crazy, and you just spend hours shopping with hundreds of other people in the same store. It’s just fun.”

As seen from the quotes above, both days have their respective positives and negatives. However, some believe that there aren’t enough people in the world who enjoy the thrill of shopping like Robbins. They fear that Cyber Monday will soon render Black Friday obsolete, since to so many, waiting out in the cold, dark, night for exceptional deals can in no way compete with the world of online, where you can receive the exact same deals from the comfort of home. Junior Nicola Tressler, is one of these people. When asked if she fears that Black Friday will one day be swallowed whole by the ever-expanding online market, her answer was clear: “I believe it definitely has the potential, because Americans tend to be more lazy when it comes to stuff like that. (They prefer) like staying inside, and (being) on electronics instead of going out and experiencing things.” Others, like junior Jillian Keilholtz, believe the tradition will stay long standing: “I don’t think it will because Black Friday is not just about the deals. Most of the time the deals aren’t that good. It’s just the whole experience of waking up early and going out with your friends shopping that makes Black Friday what it is.”

Although everyone may not agree on which day to spend shopping, there is one thing all Americans can agree on: Deals like those offered on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are once a year, and should most definitely be taken advantage of. So, whether it’s from the comfort of one’s home, or out late at night with hundreds of others, make sure to shop til’ you drop!

by celeste pollack–news editor

Thanksgiving Reaches the Culture of Students

Photo provided by Jamie McCloud
Jamie McCloud gets to have the best of both worlds with a half-American, half-Dominican Thanksgiving experience.

I moved to America from France at age ten; I was foreign to the country as well as its native traditions. Amongst these traditions was the one of Thanksgiving: (in North America) an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November, as defined by Google Dictionary. So, when my family moved here, the “Thanksgiving tradition” was unlike anything we already knew. We have, over time however, adapted to the American way of life and now happily spend Thanksgiving with our immediate family. We still, however, have added a European twist to how we celebrate the holiday, mainly in the form of traditional foods. We still have the traditional turkey, but it is usually coupled with another meat, such as beef. We also do not have the traditional yam casserole or stuffing, but instead we have asparagus and broccoli coupled with different salads. Lastly, for dessert, instead of an assortment of pies, we have the traditional Buche, which is a chocolate cake rolled up with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Freshmen Jamie McCloud and Ariane Drakic-Cuéllar are in the same boat as I, both having a culture diverging from the American norm. Jamie Mccloud is half Dominican. Because of this, she also eats a wide variety of non-American foods for her family’s Thanksgiving: “We have chicken, ham, and turkey, empanadas, rice and beans, flan, and tres leches.” Ariane, who is Bolivian, also has a diverse food selection for her family’s Thanksgiving: “We usually eat about the same things but with a mix of either Cuban or Bolivian food like croquetas, frijoles, milanesa and salads.” When asked if they have any traditions differing from Americans, Drakic-Cuéllar responded, “Not really, we just have a lot of people who come over,” McCloud added: “It’s a party!”

When asked about her culture, Freshman Paige Shorey had the perfect way to describe hers: “My family is as American as it gets!”  They are, what one might call the perfect model for a “traditional American family.” So when asked what her family traditionally eats at Thanksgiving dinner, the answer proved her original claim true: “The normal turkey, cranberry sauce, we always bring the Waldorf salad, rolls, mashed potatoes… I always get extra helpings of rolls.” One couldn’t find a more traditional Thanksgiving meal if Googling it! When asked of her Thanksgiving traditions, her answer was concise: “We always go to my Nana’s house. She bakes like most of the stuff.” So, whether you are French, Dominican, Bolivian, or plain American, everyone can pull away from this that Thanksgiving is a delicious holiday. One which should be celebrated in giving thanks to your loved ones, as well as enjoying the multitude of foods your family makes.

by celeste pollack–news editor

An Inspiration to Students

Photos provided by Rachel Singleton
Woods holds up her intention that sprouted from a problem and an idea.

On November 8, local Ashburn entrepreneur Krista Woods visited Fauquier High School as a guest speaker to talk about her journey in making it in the business world as well as her experience on the national TV show, Shark Tank. Woods is the inventor of a now successful  product known as Glove Stix. Woods appeared on “Shark Tank” on November 5, 2017 and won a deal. Her one year “Shark Tankiversary” of when her episode aired recently passed, and she said that she spent a few hours looking back on her Facebook and reliving the moment.

Woods was very excited to come. She said that she loves coming out, talking to students, and being able to share some of the things she has done in the last three and a half years. “I have to say it’s one of the things I enjoy the most,” said Woods.

The business and marketing students were the main audience that came to the event and said they enjoyed it. Junior Kendon Sheppard, who came with his business law class, said that he liked how she refused to use chemicals in her products and stuck to her morals, despite possibly getting more sales or a lower price. At the end of her speech, all of the students and Woods took a group picture together to capture the moment.

Woods’ Glove Stixs are an “award winning and patented odor management system.” The plastic sticks are imbedded with an antimicrobial solution containing silver ions, and are filled with replaceable inserts containing minerals such as silica, as well as plant based essential oils. The inserts absorb moisture from sports gear, stop bacteria growth, and eliminate odor. The whole product is tied together by a paracord handle and removable clip that allows you to hang your gear while the product works.

After telling her story, Woods emphasised that her journey wasn’t easy, although it may look that way from afar. “Just because I’ve done over a million dollars of sales in the last year, doesn’t mean I don’t have issues,” Woods said.She also said that recently her business has been without a factory for five months, because after they found out she was on “Shark Tank,” they raised the price 85 cents a unit. “There are still growing pains. It never gets easier,” said Woods. “But the more you do to challenge yourself and work through that challenge, the more capable you are.”

Woods went on to say that when she was in high school, she wasn’t the best student. “I didn’t care about school, in fact, I had a 2.6 GPA.” said Woods. She said that she had a gift of public speaking and a charismatic demeanor, but she didn’t know this in high school because everything was on report cards. “They did not grade personality; I did not know personality was a gift,” said Woods. Her advice towards kids today is that maybe you’re not the best at school, but whatever way your talented in, that’s what you use to excel and find success.

The origins of her invention began four years ago with one of her sons and his smelly lacrosse gear. The issue was with his gloves, as they would stink up the house, car, and hotel rooms. “Everything stunk. You got in the car and you wanted to die. If you were in a hotel, you woke up feeling sick to your stomach,” said Woods. The inventor decided that this problem had lasted long enough and began researching. She tried every trick in the book, but nothing would work, so she decided to invent something. After doing further research, she came up with a possible solution, and that’s when Glove Stix were created.

At first, she just a made a pair for her son, but then his entire team began to want one. This is when she decided to start selling the sticks. Woods called multiple manufacturers, hearing the word “no” and laughter through every phone call, until finally a company said yes. However, the company’s price point was not what Woods wanted, so she finally found another manufacturer in China. Woods had even more setbacks after this. There were issues with getting the wrong shipment, packaging issues, power outages, weather problems, and tournaments that she planned to sell at being canceled. Through all this, she forged ahead and at a certain point, applied to Shark Tank and got accepted. Woods said that although she got accepted, it did not guarantee she would actually appear on the show. “50,000 people apply to Shark Tank every year. 140-130 get flown to LA for filming, but only 80-90 get aired in a season,” said Woods. She later found out October 30, 2017 that her episode would air in six days. Woods was very nervous about this because she knew she wasn’t perfect and that she made mistakes. She then decided to not worry too much about it, “I’ve come this far, I’m celebrating this feat,” said Woods. With a party of over 100 people, they watched the episode together and it turned out great according to Woods.

by rachel singleton–sports editor

It’s Not Just Sadness

FHS Guidance counselors Mrs. Heather Harris and Mrs. Johanna Scott say depression is the most common issue brought to their attention. Scott describes this disorder as “an intense sadness or lack of enjoyment in anything like sports or hanging out with friends.” She added, “Depression is different for everyone; some people actually seem depressed, some people don’t care about the things they did before, some people sleep a lot, everybody’s a little bit different.” A frequent question asked is ‘What does my friend want from me? What do I say to them?,’ Scott recommends, “Tell them you care about them and that you will aid them in getting some help.” Although it’s tempting to do so, pressing for information and making them spill their feelings will not make them feel better. Listening is better medicine than advice.
Living with depression may be hard, but being friends with someone with depression is no easy feat. Being supportative and not overwhelmed with their conditon can be exhausting. A friend who is going through this and wishes to remain anonymous to protect her friend’s privacy recommend to not “remove yourself from them just because you’re feeling drained. They need you. However, you shouldn’t completely deprive yourself of care. Take some time to do self-care and try your best to stick by them. Ask them periodically if they’re ok- don’t pry. My friend sometimes wants to be alone, sometimes she wants to talk. I just try to listen to what she wants as best I can.”
Everyone has days where they feel sad, anxious, guilty, hopeless or tired- but when these feelings become cosistently frequently, the posibility is that the person is suffering from clincal depression. Described as “a never-ending turmoil of negative emotions that imitate being stuck in the depths of the ocean, fighting an invisible enemy, or being encased in a tornado.” American author Mary Roach says, “I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those… death presents like a holiday at the beach.”
When asked to describe depression, sophomore Cheyenne Erris says its “not having motivation. Freshman Shelby Rochez says it can mean “not being content with yourself” or “extreme sadness” according to sophomore Joe Tucker.
About nine out of ten of the students interviewed said that they knew someone who is or has been depressed. Freshman Catherine Harris says, “I wouldn’t be surprised if half the school had it; it’s just so common.” None of these students say that their loved ones have gotten help. Because the condition is internal, many people don’t know that someone is affected.
Studies show that depression, although it affects physical health as well, tortures the mind. Signs of depression are easy to miss. A student that wishes to remain anonymous says, “Lots of times, people with depression don’t want their illness to be a big deal, so they make their friends promise to keep it a secret.” She recommends getting outside help if the person could possibly be putting herself in harm’s way.
Another anonomys suffer shared, “Depression is invisible ink; sometimes you can see it’s there, but other times it is what it’s supposed to be… invisible. It leaves marks sometimes and isn’t exactly erasable or irreversible; you have to acknowledge it’s there and try to decipher the message.” When asked what she wants when she is depressed, she said, “Sometimes it’s nice when they listen and aren’t going ‘just be happy’ like.” Although there are different types of depression, she feels the most prominent feelings for her are “loneliness, anger, and self-loathing.” Recently she started talking with guidance counselor Julie Kirk, and reports that she’s “been doing better. I’m glad she intervened with my life, gave me a slightly better perspective, and showed me everything good. I hardly ever get sad anymore and when I do, I rarely wish harm on myself as I would have a month ago. Getting help was a good decision, and I encourage others to do so too before it’s too late.”
If you or a loved one needs help, call or text these numbers:
Hopeline: 1-800-784-2433 (Call for help with addiction, mental health, relationships, self-esteem and self-care, faith, parental issues, loneliness, anger, abuse, etc.)
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Counselor’s Office: 540-422-7307 (or talk to them in person)

by kylie gordon–contributor