Category Archives: features/arts

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

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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

Fresh Opportunity for Healthier Generation

Students and staff get a good stretch and work out while in Yoga Club

One huge national trend towards better health and wellness has resulted in many new organizations and programs. Fauquier joined the craze with its county-wide program Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health program (FRESH). A few years ago, Fauquier joined the the craze through a country-wide program known as the Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health program, also known as the FRESH program. The county started with the elementary schools, and just recently has moved the program into the middle schools and high schools.

One of the main aspects of FRESH the school has started to organize are the clubs. These clubs each plan to run for eight weeks in each semester and are funded by a grant from the Piedmont Action to Health (PATH) Foundation, reviving $300 per club and $75 for supplies. The clubs revolve around the general focuses of FRESH such as fitness, nutrition, gardening and cooking.

 Currently three clubs are in the making with two that have begun this semester. Yoga Club is one of the clubs that is running during the first semester, and is sponsored by French teacher Florence Lamirand. The club mainly practices yoga poses that require a combination of strength, flexibility, relaxation and breathing.

“It provides students with an alternate mode of exercise different from school sports while still getting the benefits of remaining active,” said Lamirand.
Lamirand chose to sponsor the club as she said she “started practicing yoga as a part of [her] triathlon training and wanted to share the benefits of it with students.” The club started on October 24 and meets every Wednesday in room 600 after school from 2:45- 3:45. “It has been really great so far,” said Lamirand. “Students seem happy and motivated to learn more poses.”

The students who have attended Yoga Club so far have been enjoying the experience and the club overall. Senior Jerry Bejger said he joined the club in order to improve his flexibility. He said that he’s really excited to see what yoga club has in store for him and it “inspires [him] to become one with [his] inner self.”

The second club created is the Vertical Gardening Club run by science teacher, Debbie Fisher and agriculture department chair, Susan Hilleary. The two started the club in order to show students how to grow their own vegetables and learn more about the food they eat.

“Everyone should know where their food comes from and be able to have a role in producing it,” said Hilleary. The club started on November 13 in the horticulture building during A+.

The third FRESH club that is currently being set up is the the Foodie Club or the Healthy Cooking Club. It will be sponsored by Stephanie Strong and was planned to be placed in the first semester, however, not many showed interest in it, so it is planned to start in January of the second semester.

FRESH wellness leader and guidance counselor, Johanna Scott, has been responsible for setting up the program in the school and has been a major part in the advertising and organization of it throughout the school. Scott is very excited for the running of this program at Fauquier High School and emphasizes how important it is to students.

“Being healthy and fit is how we’re going to feel good longer into our lives and […] just be healthier people in general,” says Scott.

by rachel singleton–sports editor

Human Trafficking: A World Crisis

Via wikimedia commons
The Just Ask organization bringing awareness to Northern Virginia.

Most people, when hearing “human trafficking,” will think of some far off narrative dictated to them by Hollywood movies. They may also think of far-away countries, where young women don’t have the rights afforded to them here in the United States. Regardless, no one will think of home; no one will think of their own daughter, girlfriend, niece, etc. as being in in possible peril. This is where most people are wrong, and this is what Just Ask is trying to fight against. Just Ask is a human trafficking prevention organization that focuses on warning people of the unknown dangers and ways in which someone can fall victim to the vicious circle. They have brought their message to Fauquier – speaking at FHS, Taylor Middle, Marshall Middle, and the WARF. At these meetings, they explain that human trafficking does not just happen to a famous actress in a Hollywood thriller or a poor girl in a third world country, but to anyone and everyone who falls prey to trafficker’s trickery. As they make intelligible to their audiences, “human trafficking can occur in any community where there are teens to manipulate and an illegal black market place to service.” They elaborate on this point by explaining that the majority of human trafficking victims continue to live at home while being trafficked, and that the majority of the time no one notices a change in the victim. Human traffickers usually come under the guise of an older boyfriend or online friend. They come into a young girls life, build a trusting relationship with her, and simply bully and/or manipulate her into taking part in the circle. Although never done willingly, most human trafficking cases aren’t the dramatic kidnappings the majority see on television; they are happening right under everyone’s noses, in the comfort of their own homes. “Every 30 seconds, a child or teen is sold into slavery.” This fact coupled with “Only 1% of human trafficking victims are ever rescued” are some of the more than perturbing actualities one is faced with when attending a Just Ask seminar. There are approximately 60,000 current victims of human trafficking in the US, and these are simply approximations. One can say, almost with certainty, that there are many more than that. Even so, human trafficking is obviously a real-world problem that constantly occurs at home. The majority of people will think, “That will happen to others, not me; that could never happen to my family.” This is where most people are wrong. It can and will happen to them if they are not careful. It can and will continue to happen unless people start taking a stand and making a change, like the people of the Just Ask foundation are doing. One last thing to remember is if anyone ever has a question about, or is struggling with human trafficking themselves in any way, just ask: Ask a teacher, ask a friend, ask a parent/guardian. Anyone and everyone will be willing and able to help, all one must do is ask; just ask.

by celeste pollack

Young Life provides safe space for adventure

For the past three summers, junior Emma Gorg has been a camp counselor at Capernaum, one of many Young Life camps. Young Life is a Christian group focused on improving the lives of teenagers by spreading their message of faith. Capernaum is focused on students with intellectual and physical disabilities, where they can participate in activities ranging from horseback riding to zip-lining to swimming. The camp lasted for five days and took place in Rockbridge County. Gorg had two buddies for the week, one of them a student at FHS.
“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for special-needs kids, and I have been to many Young Life camps myself so I wanted to give [them] an opportunity to do what I’ve always loved to do [at] these camp,” Gorg said.
This summer was junior Aleeya Hodul’s first time attending Camp Capernaum. Being that her little brother has Down syndrome, Hodul said she wanted to be a part of the impact that Young Life makes on these teenagers lives.
“It was a lot of fun, and I definitely learned a lot about the campers and how much like us they actually are,” Hodul said.
The camp’s main priority is to give these campers the ultimate summer experience, one where their disabilities don’t overshadow their abilities to have fun and be adventurous, while also tying these activities in with daily messages of God.
“[The camp is centered around] having fun and making sure they’re OK, helping them grow spiritually and hear the message that they had each week,” Gorg said. “Another part was encouraging them to get out of their shell. You don’t necessarily want to get them out of their comfort zone, because then they’ll get scared, but allowing themselves [to realize] they are capable of doing all the same stuff.”
One of the camp’s main objectives is to incorporate sermons in a way that the campers can comprehend. The campers learn about the basic story of Christ, his death for the people’s sins, his resurrection and how he loves each of them personally.
“We related how Jesus forgives us for our sins to [them being able to] forgive their friends, by a hug,” Gorg said. “We say, ‘You can trust that you’re not going to fall, just like you can trust Jesus to be there for you.’ Most of the time, I tried to incorporate the [message] into each activity.”
Before becoming a camp counselor, students must go through basic training and fill out a questionnaire. Through this, they learn how to care for the campers properly and how to respond to over stimulation.
“You learn wheelchair etiquette, to not kneel down and not touch someone else’s wheelchair,” Gorg said. “[I was also taught] how to help someone when they get uncomfortable and overstimulated. We always have a set of earplugs on us; or if they just need a quiet moment, we’re taught to pull them out and talk to them.”
Because each camper had a different challenge, Hodul was able to learn how to care for each camper depending on the individual needs.
“You had to see the differences [in each diagnosis] and adjust to how you would approach situations,” Hodul said. “You just have to comforting and encourage them and be there for them, more than anything.”
Gorg said personality and attitude were key factors in making the campers comfortable and engaged. She found that she had to overcome her shy demeanor in order to do the best for them.
“Originally, I was always quiet and never was outgoing, but I’ve learned to be more outgoing. If you’re outgoing, then they will be, too, because they see [that example],” Gorg said.
Hodul said being a part of this camp made her more aware of students with special needs, and she has begun to befriend them more than she would prior to the camp.
“There was a lot of positivity and everyone there was so helpful; if you looked like you needed help, everyone was there to help you out and help the campers,” Hodul said. “[People need to learn that the campers] are different, but they’re more like us than you realize.”

~erica gudino, editor-in-chief

Martinez tours the country with Drum Corps International

This past summer, one exceptional student from Fauquier High School made the cut to join the Drum Corps International Tour, a marching band that traveled the U.S. playing in shows and competitions in various big name cities. Junior Alex Martinez spent over 2 months with the group learning about band and the realities of how it works.

“We’re basically just a band on a tour bus. We did competitions at High Schools and big football stadiums,” Martinez said.

Alex Martinez plays the euphonium for Fauquier’s marching band, and has only been playing since his sophomore year. Even though he has only been playing for a short time, Martinez has already developed enough skill to play at such a high level. Martinez had to go through an application, and audition just to get a spot.

“My friend Mason did it last year and told me about it, and he told me there was a hole I could probably fill, and I said let’s go for it,” Martinez said. “I was not confident whatsoever. I wasn’t confident because of lack of skill, I’ve only been playing for a year.”

To be selected for the group, Martinez had to try out for his spot. He went through various tests to see how he would compare with such a talented group.

“I signed up for a membership, signed up for the camp fee, then I went to their place in New Jersey and they saw how I was with the band playing wise, how I could march, how I looked visually, and then they take you out and hear you play,” Martinez said. “The next day I found out that I was contracted for the summer.”

Once Martinez was selected to join, he met up with the other 150 members to prepare for the journey. There they began their vigorous training.  

“We were in New Jersey for 2 days, then we went to Pennsylvania for most of Spring training where we get physically and mentally ready for it all,” Martinez said. “Training wise, we do 3 weeks of spring training, which are basically the hardest days, because instead of being on the bus for 1 day, it’s just 3 weeks of getting up doing practice and all of that hard stuff.”

After the band started the trip, they began a cycle of driving to a city, stopping, playing, then moving on again.

“We traveled as far as Texas, we went pretty south like Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, we finished finals week in Indiana,” Martinez said. “When we stopped we would have a rehearsal day or two, then we would have the show day.”

Practicing with such a highly talented group allowed Martinez to build skills he could take back to Fauquier with him. Playing with this skill level also allowed Martinez to see the differences with the school’s band.

“I learned that it’s all mental, you learn how hard you can push yourself and get up and do the same thing over and over again,” Martinez said. “It actually sounded good when we played. It’s a lot different from the school’s band just because of the size alone. Also the age gap was different because it was a lot of twenty year olds.”

Traveling with such a large group over this amount of time led to Martinez forming bonds and friendships with the other members.

“Playing with these people is indescribable, because you see them everyday,” Martinez said. “You’re going through some of the hardest days of your life, and they’re always there for you, and you’re there for them.”

~nathaniel thomason, entertainment director

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