Category Archives: news

Virginia Teachers Go Red for Ed in Richmond

Virginia teachers make an average $51,049, less than the national average of $59,660 according to the National Education Association. Yet, Virginia is among the wealthiest states in the U.S. Inspired by massive teacher protests around the country, hundreds of Virginia teachers decided to take professional leave on January 28 and march in Richmond.
Demands include; restoring funding for public education, increasing teacher pay and providing competitive wages, recruiting and retaining high quality and diverse teachers, help localities address school infrastructure needs and ensuring that all schools have adequate support staff, according to Virginia Educators United.

Superintendent David Jeck and school board Chairwoman Suzanne Sloane along with several Fauquier High School teachers attended. Fauquier county teachers who were at the march were given professional leave mostly thanks to superintendent Dr. Jeck. Jeck gave his full support and was given the opportunity to speak on the steps of the capital.
Among the teachers who attended was English teacher Julie Duggan. “I saw a regression when the recession began in 2008; things were going really well until that point, and I’ve just seen a gradual decline ever since,” said Duggan. “We need to get back to where we were before that point in putting education at the top of our priorities for funding in state.”

Librarian Mary Jo Sears commented on the issues in teacher pay that she personally has to face. “I have two master’s degrees, I have 25 years experience [and] if I were to go to any other county I would be making a lot more money than I am here.” She blames this on the compressed pay scale that Fauquier County Schools have to use. “The school board is doing a good job with increasing our first-year teacher pay and second-year teacher pay to be more competitive among our area and other counties, but the problem is the more experienced you are the pay scales compress [and] the percentage of increase[d] [pay] goes down.” She added, “In order to keep the best teachers in this area and in state we got to pay for that”
Duggan had the opportunity to speak to Delegate Webert who is local to Fauquier County and has a son in the Fauquier County school system. She explained to him, “the quality of the educational experience in part depends on the funding of it (…) and that families depend on quality professional staffing at schools and depend on quality buildings and those are worth the money.”

The annex has also been a topic of interest when it comes to funding. Several teachers have expressed concern over the building. “We need funding to fix up the annex; that is not an appropriate space for students,” said Duggan.

Sears also commented on the issue, “I feel like the conditions we deal with especially over in the annex are deplorable (…) Students should not have to go from one classroom to the next and have a 20 degree difference in temperature, and teachers should not have to work in classrooms that are causing allergy problems.” She added that she knows the school tries its best to maintain the issue but doesn’t like how we try to put up a good front, and as you walk towards the back of the school you start to see age and heating problems.


Jeck plans to include $8 million in a budget plan, aimed at teacher salaries, that he will present to the school board.

by Nayeli Arellano–Sports Editor

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Copperthite Lives Her Dream at Space Camp

Last year, science teacher Jennifer Copperthite resigned from Fauquier high school due to her husband’s work, and moved down south to Huntsville, Alabama. Copperthite, her students and fellow teachers were saddend by the news. However, it also brought opportunities for new adventures in her coming future.

After switching states, there was a lot of adjusting to do. “We had to get new driver’s license, change our car registration, get new doctors, set up utilities, and change our address for everything,” said Copperthite, “After living in the same house for 16 years, doing all of this for four people was very time consuming.” Unfortunately, Copperthite was diagnosed with a low stage of cancer which she went to treatments for throughout the fall. Nevertheless, Copperthite managed to make the most of her situation and spent a lot of time in her new pool at her house.

After settling in, Copperthite got a job at Space Camp which she started this past January. “I am an education presenter. My job is to teach about space travel, astronomy, heat shield design, and a variety of other topics,” said Copperthite. She said that sometimes she will just give a short lecture and other times she will be running labs, games, and other activities. “I’m actually doing a lot of the same things I did in the classroom at FHS,”

Space Camp focuses on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and aerospace technology. Campers learn about National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) history as well as the current and future status of space flight and technology. Activities include astronaut training, running simulations of shuttle missions, and team building projects. The camp also hosts astronauts who come to speak every week as well as many other surprise guests. “Last week, I saw James Corden, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, and Chris Pratt,” Copperthite said, “With this year being the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, we are expecting a lot of really cool guests.”

Space Camp is for ages 9-11. Other affiliated programs accommodates different age groups such as the Space Academy for ages 12-14, Advanced Space Academy for ages 15-18 as well as family, adult and teacher camps. Some camps are only a few days long, while others last up to a week. For more details and to sign up, visit http://www.spacecamp.com.

Copperthite enjoys working at Space Camp; however, she says she still misses FHS. “Every time I go out, I think I see someone from ‘home.’”
Her son Alex Copperthite, who attended FHS, has mutual feelings. “He misses his FHS friends, but he has found a great group of friends here too.” Copperthite said she is happy, there is social media so she and her family can still keep in touch with friends and family from Fauquier.

by Rachel Singleton–News Editor

FHS Appreciating History

at Fauquier High School. This spring semester, the main lobby will take students through time with a bright yellow timeline that spans from 1000 B.C.E to today. Students go down to the lobby and learn as well as contribute to the timeline. The events placed on the timeline are color coded based on the study they fall under.

English and literature are gray, math is red, history is blue, art and music are purple, sports are orange, technology is tan, science is green and foreign languages are pink. Science teacher, George Murphy is the originator and planner of this project and said that he had been thinking about doing it for several years. “Initially, for AP Biology, we do a timeline like this for DNA,” said Murphy, “But I’ve always had an interest in something more cross-curricular.” After coming up with the plan, he put his idea into motion, placing the timeline with the help of the AP Biology students for all the school to see. Many teachers have already began taking their students down to the timeline such as Dr. Croft with her anatomy and physiology class, agriculture, physical education, and many others. Murphy is very happy with this new addition to the school and says “it can involve the whole school: It’s really cool and just to see how everything we study in school is related in some way.” The timeline will stay up until the end of May, and Murphy hopes to continue putting it up every semester.

by Rachel Singleton–News Editor

Love Is in the Air

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

by Rachel Singleton–News Editor

Long-time Teacher Mcguinn is Retiring

This year, one long-time teacher and driver’s education teacher Terri McGuinn will be retiring after 40 years of teaching and 45 years of being at this school.

McGuinn first came to FHS in 1970 when she was in the eighth grade. When Marshall Middle School burned down, her class and the other middle schoolers had to move to FHS. However, most of their time was not spent in the school but rather outside the school in trailers. McGuinn then attended the school as a freshman and graduated four years later in 1975. From there, McGuinn attended college at Appalachian State University for four years and earned her bachelor’s in science and physical education k-12.
McGuinn had not planned to come back to the school but instead, after graduating college, signed a contract to work at an elementary school. Plans changed when her old high school coach called to inform her about a job opening at FHS. McGuinn had been wanting to coach for a while so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. “I went up to the school board office and spoke with the superintendent,” said McGuinn, “and asked him ‘was this available, could I move from school to school?’ and he said yes.” McGuinn has been with the school ever since.

McGuinn has always been the driver’s education teacher, but she also did many other things with the school. “My first 11 years here, I coached. I was the head coach of softball, and I actually started the volleyball program,” said McGuinn. The first year she started teaching at Fauquier, they did not have a volleyball program while most of the other schools in the district did. “I went to the principal and approached him about starting a program and he said ‘see if you have enough girls interested,’” McGuinn said “so I ran an intramural program before school, and I had about 60 girls show up.” The principle stayed true to his word, and the next year, he let McGuinn begin the program.

Although McGuinn was happy to start the new program, she said that it was very hard to manage. “I coached jv and varsity and drove the bus for the first couple years. I had no assistance, […] which made for a long day.” McGuinn decided to stop coaching when she got married and had kids; and later upon her husband dying in a car accident, she decided there was no chance she was getting back to coaching.

McGuinn says that one thing she loves the most about the school is the relationships she has with her students and faculty members. “I have students that I taught my first couple of years that I still am in touch with,” said McGuinn. She said she will miss the school when she leaves, especially the people. “I’m going to miss my department a great deal,” she said. “I mean it’s been my life for 40 years, 5 as a student and 40 as teaching.”

McGuinn says that she is not sure what she plans on doing after retirement. She plans on doing a few things with one of her close college friends: “We’re going to do a road trip,” said McGuinn, “I have a son that lives in California, and she has one that lives in Colorado, so we’re going to kind of do the trek across and see our kids.” One thing McGuinn is sure she will do after leaving the school is get a part-time job. “I can’t not work, I mean I’ve worked all my life,” said McGuinn, “ I don’t see myself sitting at home doing gardening.” Some have even asked her if she plans on working as a substitute teacher to which McGuinn says she is unsure. “I don’t think [I will], and if I do, it won’t be here.”

Being a teacher at Fauquier for so long, McGuinn has taught a few people that are now staff at the school. A few she could list include business department chair Diana Story, ITRT Michelle Green, and SSO Sal Torelli. Torelli had many kind words to say about McGuinn. “I enjoyed her, I still do now,” said Torelli, “one of my favorite teachers growing up in high school.”
Torelli said that she was and is a very kind and pleasant person to be around. Although Torelli is happy for her and her retirement, he says that he is still very sad to see her go. He said that it will be very different walking down the 700s hallway in the morning, “When I look to the left and I smile and say good morning, the biggest difference is she won’t be there to say good morning to me in the doorway when I walk by.”

Even current students at the school are saddened by her leaving. Sophomore Allison Migliaccio said she enjoyed her class and thought it was very informative and interesting, “the content was engaging and really brought out the realities of how mature and attentive you have to be when driving on the road.” Migliaccio says that she is sad to see McGuinn go after just meeting her but is happy that she can enjoy retirement after her long service at the school.

Mrs. Mcguinn, thank you for 45 years of service. The hard work you have put into educating has truly made an impact on this town. You will truly be missed!

by Rachel Singleton–News Editor

FESA Receives Mural

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.

by Nayeli Arellano–Sports Editor

Sorry, We’re Shutdown

This year, the U.S. government broke records by holding the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The shutdown began last year on December 22, 2018 and lasted 35 days, ending January 25, 2019. The shutdown caused chaos throughout the nation; 800,000 federal workers, and many more government contractors were left without pay as they were either furloughed or still working but with out pay. As the effects piled up, the shutdown continued to affect Americans across the nation.

It all began with President Donald campaign promise. Trump wanted to improve border security between the US and Mexico by building a wall. He began putting his plan into action once he became President. He hit a bump when Congress refused to fund his $5.7 billion wall, according to US Today. Without an agreement on spending, the government went into a shutdown.

Many of the effects hit on a national level. Multiple government agencies partially shut down such as the FDA, SEC, EPA, TSA and DHS. This caused a halt in everyday routines such as food inspections by the FDA and airport safety procedures from the TSA. National museums were also closed during the shutdown. January 11 hit hard for many; federal employees missed their first paycheck and on January 25, the Federal District Court ran out of funds.

After 35 days of federal workers going unpaid, many issues arose for both the workers and their families. Soon, some could not pay their mortgages, rent, or other bills and some could not even afford food. Due to this, many businesses and organizations rose up to support those affected by the shut down. A few local businesses include Arlie, Field Main, Great Harvest, and Mod Pizza that have offered free or discounted food to government workers and organization such as Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) and For Immediate Sympathetic Help (FISH) that have offered meals and help in paying bills.

The Local Impact

The shutdown affected people all over the country, including locals here at Fauquier. Sophomore Evan Hamilton was one of those who was affected. Hamilton’s dad works for the government and according to Hamilton, it had been difficult. “It’s hard because my dad makes most of the family’s money so we [hadn’t] been making as much,” said Hamilton. Hamilton said that while his dad was able to get stuff done at the house, both of them wanted his dad to go back to work. “I do think the shutdown [was] for a good reason but [it got] a little out of hand,” said Hamilton.

Junior Megan Macwelch is another student who had been struggling due to the shutdown. “My mom [was] furloughed,” she said, “we [didn’t] really have a lot of money for food,” Macwelch says that she is frustrated with the government and believes they need to compromise and stop being stubborn.

Freshman Niamh Kierans was also frustrated as her dad works for the government in Nairobi, Kenya. “When I was there over Christmas, we had to be very careful with our money because we didn’t know when he was going to get paid next,” Kierans said. Kierans agrees with the other students impacted and says she believes the shutdown was very unnecessary. “[It’s] kind of ignorant of how many people lives are being affected and I think it’s cruel,” said Kierans. She said her dad was very worried about supporting himself and his family and the country was very worried as well. “I wish that our Congress could communicate better with the president but I also wish he would just drop the whole thing because the country obviously doesn’t want it to happen,” Kierans said.

The shutdown has hit teachers at FHS as well. Photojournalism teacher Phillip Nobblitt was impacted through his wife who is a government contractor and due to the shutdown, was without a job. Nobblitt says the shutdown hasn’t had serious effects. However, his wife was not being paid and he believes that if the shutdown had continued into the spring, his wife may have needed to get a new job. If that’s in a different state, he would of had to go with her. Nobblitt says that he has doubts Trump is really going to pay back some of the workers. “I don’t think a lot of the country understand that doesn’t mean everyone who is impacted by the shutdown is going to get paid back,” said Nobblitt, “my wife is not going to get paid back for the time that she missed, she’s probably not going to get her paid time of either.
The government shutdown ended on January 25, however, it will only be temporary. Trump signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government until February 15 to allow for negotiation on the spending bill. Trump spoke at the Rose Garden about his decision, explaining his ability to call a national emergency to have the wall built but said, “I didn’t want to use it at this time. Hopefully it would be unnecessary.”

by Rachel Singleton–News Editor