Category Archives: staff memo

Volleyball sets up for new season

In her 23rd season as volleyball head coach, Diana Story will face the challenging task of improving on last season’s grand success. In 2016, the Fauquier Falcons volleyball team secured a Conference 22 title, advanced to regionals and broke the school record for most wins in a season, with a record 23-4. However, with eight returners, all-state senior captain Maddie Carter said she is confident in the Falcons’ ability to use their experience and rise to the occasion.

“Most of us have played together before,” Carter said. “We know the court very well as a team, so working together will help us be successful. We have already been working very hard to get back into the groove of playing together, and everyone’s doing a great job of syncing as a team, which will play a huge role in how far we advance [with] our tougher regular season schedule.”

That schedule will feature the new 13-team Northwestern District implemented this season, which includes 4A members FHS, Kettle Run, Liberty, James Wood, John Handley, Millbrook and Sherando. Junior Jules Oravec, who received all-conference honors last season, said she is excited to compete in the district and work toward the goal of advancing past regionals.

“We just want to play to the best of our ability and give 100 percent every game,” Oravec said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we match up with the new teams. I know it will be a challenging season, but I think we can compete consistently throughout it. [Last] season was very successful, so it’ll take a lot of hard work to match that record and to make it to states.”

Story said she had high expectations for her close-knit team heading into the season, hoping to win the new district and move onward in postseason play.

“We’re always working on basic skills and getting better at passing, setting, hitting and serving well,” Story said. “If we can have all that in one big package every night, we will be on point to do well.”

The starting lineup for the Falcons features senior co-captains Yvie Frazier and Carter, rounded off by juniors Rachel Crowe, Megan Constantino, Kayla Pavlock and Oravec.

“They are a great group of girls together and individually, which makes my job that much as their coach because I know them very well.” Story said.

As conference play approaches, Story, who was named 2016 Conference 22 coach of the year, said the team is promising and multidimensional, with each athlete playing an important role.

“It’s a well-rounded team. We had things that we did well and things that we need to work on—that’s how every scrimmage is supposed to be,” Story said.  “There’s six girls on the court at any time, and they all play integral spots on the court, depending on what we need that night.”

Some strong returners this season include seniors Carter and Frazier, along with juniors Kiki Scott, Crowe, Constantino, Pavlock and Oravec. New this season is freshman Kate Wilvert, who competed with the Falcons in summer camps, landing a spot on the varsity team.

“They’re a pleasure to be around daily,” Story said. “They step up to the challenge, and they’re willing to get out there and fight and play at a high level every day”

The Falcons enter the season 7-3, after securing a 2-0 victory versus county rival Liberty Sept. 12. On Sept. 9, the Falcons placed second, with a record of 2-2 in the Albemarle Invitational in Charlottesville. The team secured 2-1 and 2-0 victories versus Western Albemarle and Albemarle, however, failed to defeat Stone Bridge in both games, losing 2-1 and 2-0. The Falcons will face off against conference opponent Millbrook, Sept. 19 at 7:15 pm.

~alex wright, sports director


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

It offers haunting adventures

It is the highly-anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel and the remake of the 1990 television miniseries of the same name. The film centers around a group of unpopular middle-schoolers who begin to see a monster that takes the shape of a clown named Pennywise. This monster also feeds off of the kids’ fears. Whether it be a scary painting or an abusive father, these lingering thoughts are used to the monster’s advantage.

This film has been on film-lovers’ radars for years, so to say that there is a good amount of anticipation from audiences is an understatement. Gratefully, for those looking for a fun, haunted-house-like adventure, It does not disappoint. The movie does justice to the book and the original film adaptation while paving its own path all the same.

What It does right that most horror movies recently seem to be missing is the personal aspect of the story. Where most would rely on creepy imagery and suspense, It combines the fantastical terror with elements that are all too real. Using the victim’s fears adds a realness to the horror that elevates It above other conventional scary movies. The demon in the film is played unsettlingly by Bill Skarsgård. In addition to Skarsgård’s unnerving performance, the acting from the ensemble cast is surprisingly solid, especially given all of the actors are under the legal age to see the movie they are in. Special recognition goes to Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Jaeden Lieberher, who both captured the lightheartedness of their characters with expertise.

However, there are times where the film can be a bit heavy-handed with its scares. At the end of the first act, in order to give each character a reason to be in the movie, they show each character running into the demon in some way. They show roughly six or seven scenes consecutively of the terrorizing these children, and after one or two it gets old and predictable. There may not have been a clear way to avoid this from a storytelling perspective, but it still could have been improved by either implying some of the scenes or by spreading them out within the narrative.

This movie also carries the same flaw that the majority of horror films contain: Why doesn’t the demon just kill the protagonists to begin with? There are countless scenes that involve the demon scaring the kids and the audience, but for some reason it always lets the kids escape. This is never explained, but it seems like the screenwriters needed the film to last, so they had to mask scenes with enough creepy imagery to distract the audience from the flaws of each situation. That being said, these scenes are for the most part very effective, and they give the film plenty of material to keep the audience’s eyes glued to the screen.

Overall, It conjures up some good scares even though it sometimes reverts back to the typical cliches that come with the genre. It gives each character a good arc and backstory, and uses that to make the scenes of horror all that more creepy.  While the jump scares don’t work for the majority of the time, the overall horror will leave you terrified and captivated.  It is now playing in theaters everywhere.   

~joel alexander, staff reporter

New teacher profile: Christine Stiles

Position?: 1st and 2nd blocks are certified nursing classes and 3rd block is intro to health and medicine.

What made you decide to go into teaching?: “Always wanted to teach,” Enjoyed skill lab which was nursing skills.

What was your first impression of FHS?:I love it here, it was friendly and welcoming.”

What are some of your hobbies?: Hiking and Gardening.

How do you think your students would describe what kind of teacher you are?: Her students think she’s very laid back but she thinks she’s more on the strict side.

New teacher profile: Lyn Good

Position?: She is a English teacher.

What are some of your hobbies or interests?Good was a professional photographer, she loves to cook, and she participates in all water sports.

What do students students need to know to be successful in your class?: They need to pay attention and be open minded.

First impressions of FHS?: Very different because she came from a small middle school.

Education?: She went to Christopher Newport University and Virginia Tech.

What made you decide to go into teaching?: A teacher from high school inspired her to become a teacher.

What’s something that not many people know about you:?:She was born pre-mature.


New teacher profile: Jonathan Kraut

Positon: Environmental Science, Marine Science teacher and Center Director for Environmental Studies

What are some of your hobbies or interests?: Scuba diving, frisbee golf, working on cars, hiking, fishing; anything outdoors

What do students need to know to be successful in your class?:  “Respect my policies, and do the work I give you. I’m easy going, but don’t take advantage of that.”

First impressions at FHS?:  “I likes everything about FHS so far.”

Education (college, degrees, etc.): He attended Mary Washington University and has degrees in Environmental science and Marine science.

What made you decide to go into teaching?: “My dad and my English teacher.”


Nobblitt creates lighthearted, energetic environment

Yearbook advisor Phil Nobblitt came to a career in teaching through a circuitous route that eventually led to journalism and becoming a publications advisor. After two years as an undergraduate at Old Dominion University, took a break from school to work as a Nuclear Security Officer at the North Anna Power Station for five and a half years. He credits his wife with motivating him to go back to college and graduate.

“I carried a rifle on my shoulder, a pistol on my hip, and a novel in my vest for 12 hours a day, four days a week,” Nobblitt said. “If it wasn’t for my wife being so supportive and confident in me, I’m not certain I would have finished college at all. I would have just kept my job at the power plant until the radiation killed me.”

According to Nobblitt, he has always been an avid reader and writer. When he returned to college at the University of Mary Washington, he began an online literary magazine called The Tomfoolery Review with four of his friends.

“We would take in humourous student-created microfiction, poetry, and short films,” Nobblitt said. “It was a fun experience because again it was all humor-based, which is what I think gravitated students to it. After graduation, we considered sticking with it, but that was a pipe dream.”

Nobblitt continues to write short stories, and his ultimate dream would be to produce enough short stories to create a collection.

“I write short stories all the time, and most of them are about life occurrences. I had a professor who said, ‘There’s no point in making anything up because life is so interesting there is enough material to write forever,’ and that really resonated with me,” Nobblitt said. “And the fact that I was a little bit older, that I had experienced more, it gave me some new tools and ideas that were usable.”

Nobblitt thanks his father, who was a teacher at Madison County High School, for being his inspiration to begin his teaching career.

“Former students would walk up to him and let him know how much they learned from him, or that they appreciated everything he ever did for them,” Noblitt said. “That made me so proud to have him as a father. I found how rewarding the profession of teaching could be through him.”

Senior Anna Hiner was on the yearbook staff when Nobblitt made the transition to take over from Nicole Schiffhauer. Now, a year later, his class has become her favorite class of the day.

“I was really nervous at first because he had different ideas from our previous yearbook teacher, but it’s clear now that he definitely knows what he’s doing,” Hiner said. “[He] is a great teacher. He’s put up with so much from us, but he still respects us. We can talk to him about a personal problem or politics or just a funny story, so it’s cool that we can confide in him.”

After graduating with a master’s in education from UMW, Noblitt got a job at Madison County High Schools for four years where he advised the yearbook and newspaper and also taught English and creative writing. He says that transferring to FHS has been his best employment decision. After working with publications, he can no longer see himself teaching without being the yearbook advisor.

“I love the fact that [yearbook] is something new every single year. There is no way to become stagnant in being a yearbook advisor. It’s a new crew, a new theme every single year. It sounds really cliché and everything, but it’s interesting to watch the staff evolve over the course of the year,” Nobblitt said. “It’s fun watching the kids grow and almost become a family with each other, and that’s what makes it tough. The toughest part of this position is to know these guys literally for two, sometimes three years and towards the end of the year, I develop this kind of separation anxiety. But that’s one of the more rewarding parts of the job.”

~nina quiles, managing editor