FBLA Crushes States!

On April 5-7, the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) represented Fauquier High School at the State Leadership Conference held in Reston, VA, where 15 students competed against other schools in the state. Out of these 15, five students scored high enough to move onto the national conference in San Antonio, Texas in June.

Students moving on to nationals include senior Samantha Lucas competing in Accounting 1, senior Jonah Patterson competing in Accounting 2, senior Chris Kiser competing in Economics, sophomore Rachel Singleton competing in Business Law and senior Fallon Goemmer competing in Agriculture Business.

Each individual competed at a regional level in order to have the opportunity to compete at states. If the students received a high enough placing, they moved on to the next conference.
“I was definitely really nervous before receiving the results,” said Patterson, “but once I received the results and saw I got second place, I was really happy.”

Kiser joined FBLA his sophomore year after hearing how fun the competitions were. “I was really excited when I got first place because it’s something I really wanted,” said Kiser. He hopes to have a lot of fun and place well at the upcoming national conference.
FBLA adviser Karen is very proud of her students. “I’m thrilled; this is the most individual competition contestants I’ve ever had to go to nationals,” said Chipman. “I think they are going to be great competitors.”

Going from a state level competition to a national level is no easy task. “One state, that’s great, but now they’re coming from 50 states and beginning to up their game,” said Chipman.

ore year after hearing how fun the competitions were. “I was really excited when I got first place because it’s something I really wanted,” said Kiser. He hopes to have a lot of fun and place well at the upcoming national conference.

FBLA adviser Karen is very proud of her students. “I’m thrilled; this is the most individual competition contestants I’ve ever had to go to nationals,” said Chipman. “I think they are going to be great competitors.”

Going from a state level competition to a national level is no easy task. “One state, that’s great, but now they’re coming from 50 states and beginning to up their game,” said Chipman.

By Amanda Arellano – Staff Reporter


Artist of the Month

Capturing those special moments isn’t easy, but with senior Kari Willard’s excellent photography skills, she makes the difficult task look easy. The Falcon’s Artist of the Month recognition goes to Willard, nominated by photography teacher Tom Falkowski.

Willard began Photography I junior year and then continued on to Photography II last term. However, she has been taking photos all her life, mainly at family events. “I just take the camera from the adults and take pictures,” said Willard.

Photography is mainly a hobby for Willard, and she often uses social media as a platform to share her work. She prefers to use digital cameras, specifically Canons.

One of Willard’s favorite parts about photography is editing and playing around with the colors. She edits on Adobe Photoshop which is a software the school provides.

Willard said her teachers are very supportive. “They critique me on what I can do better, or they show me tips and tricks on what I can use.”

“Kari is a hardworking photographer who takes her compositions seriously,” said Falkowski. “Kari will take time to use Digital Photo Professional and Photoshop if necessary to produce an image that truly captures the situation and the feelings she wants to express to others.”

By Rachel Singleton – News Editor

Us: A True Mental Horror Story

Jordan Peele came straight out of the gate with one of the most interesting directorial debuts in years with Get Out, and the world was waiting impatiently to see what he had in store for us next. Will his next film just be Get Out 2? Anybody who has seen his new film Us would definitely respond with a quick denial. Us and Get Out have a relatively similar tone. The similarities stop there. Peele has done the best thing possible as a fledgling director–he has charted new territory.

Us begins with a typical horror movie formula–a family travels to their Santa Cruz vacation home for the summer which is fifteen minutes away from civilization, and their house is invaded by a group of “strangers.” The mother, Adelaide (the incredible Lupita Nyong’o), is uncomfortable about being close to Santa Cruz because she can feel herself getting closer to a traumatic event from her past involving her doppelgänger. This fear manifests itself when she figures out the invaders are exactly what she was staying away from, and thus begins Jordan Peele’s new mind-bending nightmare.
Us is wildly original and goes is so many unexpected directions. Jordan Peele takes the originality and mind-bending nature that Get Out exhibits and turns it up to an eleven.

Peele utilizes a Shyamalan-esque method of structuring Us, with there being copious twists and turns throughout until the ambiguous ending. It is confusing, but in the best way possible. Us reminds viewers of a time where horror was primarily mental instead of filled with pointless jump-scares.

All the performances are great, for the film gives each person a chance to shine given their duel role, but the standout is easily Lupita Nyong’o as the lead: she is simultaneously enthralling and disturbing, sometimes both in the same scene. Most of the pivotal scenes in the film are conversations between Nyong’o and her shadow, and she would be Oscar-worthy even if she was only playing one of the two.

The truly magical thing that Jordan Peele achieves here is how many messages, themes and interpretations the main story and ending have such as major issues like social structure, free will vs. determinism, and the effects of grief. Every single shot, plot decision and character seems to mean one thing at the beginning of the movie, and ten other things when the film concludes.

I will say a second view is mandatory to a complete understanding of Us. Every viewer will have missed at least one major detail that will clarify the message even further, and these aspects surface along the second or even third viewing. The fact that Jordan Peele has gotten to this level of mastery on just his second film is unheard of. I can only imagine what he has planned for the future.

A complaint that surfaced the internet about this film is that it contains many plot holes, and while there are some moments where Peele asks the audience to suspend disbelief, the point doesn’t revolve around the plot holding up under a microscope. Peele’s ambitions run so high that the logic doesn’t need to 100 percent line up. The only complaint I have regards a large exposition dump near the end that basically explains all of the events in one scene, but I don’t see how Peele could have avoided including this scene just the way he did.

Us is the first must-see theatrical release of 2019. Jordan Peele has an acute awareness of the motifs that are exploited in the story. This is definitely the first Oscar front-runner of the year–if Get Out can receive as many nominations as it did then this one sure as hell can. Each person will have their own interpretation of this movie, which is why it is so necessary to check it out while it is still in theaters.

Fisher Wins Again!

Junior Sam Fisher, member of the Birds of Prey wrestling club, is now a national champion. He attended the 10th FloWrestling national tournament in Pennsylvania, Indiana on April 18 to 20. He won first place in the cadet division of the greco-roman class at 92 kilograms.

This year was a first for FloNationals wrestlers in competing in greco and freestyle wrestling. They claim they are “one of the toughest high school tournaments in the nation.”
“It was a good opportunity to expose myself,” Fisher said, and when asked how he feels to be a national champion he responded, “[it feels] no different.”

In addition to winning first, he placed 3rd in cadet freestyle. Currently he is the first and only member of the Birds of Prey wrestling club to become a FloNational champion.

By Nayeli Arellano – Sports Editor

Science Students Experience SKipjack Adventure

The cold winds blew in the students face as they observed the Chesapeake Bay from a wind-powered Skipjack.

On April 2, science students sailed with their teacher Jonathan Kraut out of the Annapolis Harbor into the Chesapeake Bay on a boat called a Skipjack.

During the field trip students were able to participate in many activities along with riding the Skipjack. Activities included water quality and PH testing, dissolving oxygen, oyster shucking and learning about the Chesapeake Bay.

According to Maryland Sea Grant, fishermen used the boat on the Chesapeake Bay for oyster dredging during the 19th and 20th century. However, as policies restricted oyster harvesting, the practice became almost extinct by 1960. Today, Skipjacks are an uncommon sight in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Kraut works with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in order to organize field trips and volunteer work for Fauquier to attend. Once the foundation offered a visit to the 119-year-old boat, he quickly took the opportunity.

Sophomore Sage Smith, who attended said, “It was cool experience overall. I just like boats and being out in the water.”

Freshman Sierra Theoret also enjoyed the trip and said the most memorable part was “being on the boat itself because it’s a really old boat, and it was just really cool.”

Kraut said the experience was great but the weather “was stupendously cold (…). The kids basically shut down because they were freezing but those that bucked-up should have had a very educational experience.”

By Rachel Singleton – News Editor

Girls’ Lacrosse Push Through Obstacles This Spring Season

A rough start only made this team try harder. Sticks clatter and the sound of laughing and yelling come from the fields where the Lady Falcons lacrosse players practice almost every day.
Starting the season in February, the JV team had high hopes and lots of confidence; however, they soon began to feel the hardships of having an inexperienced team. After multiple losses, they felt they were not doing the best they could and quickly became disappointed.

“It’s been rough because we are a new team and a lot of the players are new. We weren’t able to really work the field as well,” said junior Francesca Roy.

Nutrition and Wellness teacher Rebecca Hale stepped down from the position of head coach after three years of coaching JV. “I’m selling my house and getting ready to move, and it’s just a lot of time commitment. So just personal reasons,” said Hale. “It is a good thing; I enjoyed coaching. I enjoyed the girls and everything. I decided to just step away from it because he [Varsity Head Coach Mac] does have some help.”

Hale had prior experience in coaching Warrenton Youth Soccer Club where her duties included coaching volleyball, soccer and lacrosse teams. She began coaching because no one else stepped up to the plate.

“Mr. Burton had actually been the one that had asked me to help out and he likes having a teacher [run the program],” said Hale.
The girls felt that coaching was not Hale’s main priority this year, but they were sad to see her go. With the arrival of new Head Coach Kelli Munoz they did find a glimmer of hope. “We got off to a bad start, but Coach Munoz re-taught us everything, and now we are doing a lot better,” said freshman Jessica Summers.

The team saw improvement after one game. The communication between the girls became more intense, and they were proud of how they played as a team. They feel the season can only get better from now on.

“[In] our last game, our defense improved a lot more, and we were able to seal it in and not have any gaps,” said sophomore Paige Keith. “So now we can start working on our offense and shooting and really getting aggressive.”

Munoz formed an attachment to the girls and the team itself. In the beginning, they felt they weren’t being heard, so they wrote a letter to Activity Director Mark Holmes to see what he would say. The next day he called some of them into his office, and they were able to express their feelings on behalf of the team. Their parents also attended and were proud of the girls for speaking out.

Hale supports the girls and still plays a role in a team tradition. They make energy bites, flax seed fiber snacks, the day before the game to prepare. Hale likes to make them with the girls to promote nutrition and wellness since they are healthy and protein filled but also because it helps her stay connected with the girls.

“I didn’t want to leave them because I have a relationship with the girls,” said Hale. “I want them to know they are always welcome to come and see me. I wish both teams a great season.”

By Catherine Smith – Staff Reporter

Shazam! Is Both Funny and Fresh

Ever since the Dark Knight Trilogy concluded and the attempt to create a DC Cinematic Universe began, the DC brand has diminished in the wake of multiple mediocre superhero films and the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, their new offering, Shazam!, is a breath of fresh air for DC fans everywhere. As it turns out, all DC needed to do to catch up to Marvel was embrace the comedy in these inherently absurd superhero stories.

The audience is introduced to Billy Batson (Asher Angel), an orphaned foster kid who is still searching for his mom. After locking two police officers in an appliance store and embarking on another unsuccessful trip to find his parent, the foster care system finds him and sends him to a tightly knit group of foster children who treat each other like-as a real family. Soon after his arrival, Batson is transported to another realm while escaping from some local school bullies on a subway train. There he meets a wizard called Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) who transports his powers to Batson, changing him into an adult version of himself (Zachary Levi) and beginning the hijinks that come with being a superhero.

Running parallel to the main storyline for the first half of the narrative is that of the villain–Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). As a child, he was treated terribly by his father and older brother, and was then rejected by the wizard for not having a strong will. This turns him into an obsessive and lost man who takes control of the Seven Deadly Sins in order to eventually gain the power that Shazam holds. Strong’s villain is very well set-up and has a fully-fleshed-out back-story, but unfortunately, he is the sole cause of a few random tonal shifts that seem quite jarring. The film flashes between Batson and his “sidekick” Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) cracking jokes, to Sivana murdering rooms full of people.

Fortunately, Shazam! is fun enough to supersede the tonal shifts.
The tone of this movie could be described as derivative, and my biggest fear going in was that it would feel like a knockoff of superhero movies that have attempted to strike this same balance between comedy and adventure previously. Fortunately, director David F. Sandberg, knows how to strike that chord while also creating fresh perspectives.

For example, a main thread that runs through most of the film is how Batson refuses to conform to other people’s expectations of him. This theme extends to when he actually gains his superpowers. In most, if not all, superhero movies the main character immediately attempts to solve a crime of some sort or do some sort of good in the community. Not Billy Batson. He uses his powers to have fun with his friends and make money as a pseudo-street-magician.
Many aspects of Shazam! could have gone wrong in retrospect. However, the film never fails at anything even though some things, like plot and tone, ride the middle of the road as far as superhero tropes go.

The most conflicting part of the narrative for me is the villain. Strong’s character is a missed opportunity due to his potential back-story. For the entire first act, the narrative has the audience believing that his personal struggle has significance in the long run of the story, but near the end, the film forgets about his motivation and treats him as a forgettable villain as opposed to completing his story arc.

This movie reflects the early and inexperienced Marvel Cinematic Universe films in that the villain isn’t the strongest, but the movie supersedes the limitations of just one character. Shazam! is another “funny” superhero movie, but it manages to make the genre feel fresh in a time where all society seems to be seeing is varying degrees of a similar story, which is an accomplishment worthy of praise.

By Joel Alexander – Entertainment Editor

Fauquier High School's student newspaper. By the students, for the students.