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

Just Arson Defies Genre

Just Arson, a band comprised of nine students, has piqued the curiosity of students and staff. They officially formed a band in August and have released several singles and an album titled “Indus.” Although high school bands are typical, Just Arson has changed the playing field thanks to modern technology. Their music is available on most major streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify.

“Now in the modern age, you don’t have to sign to a record label to put out an album,” senior and guitar player Ben Crane said. “We just decided we wanted to do it and we did it and I think that’s really cool.”

Although their band is fairly new, some members said they have improved. “Our writing has drastically changed since we’ve begun and I look back and [think], ‘that’s so bad,’” Crane said. “We’ve learned how music actually works [and] we’re working on learning about music theory and how it all works so we can get better at writing.”

They accept there is room for improvement, “We haven’t really played together like fully so that’s what we’ve been practicing on, together, live,” said senior and manager Max Gannon.

Many of the members met by pure chance and admit they weren’t close before the formation of the band. Senior and violin player Lindsey Finks jokingly said, “It was like ‘Oh I play an instrument’ and then we just started [making music].”

Senior and guitar player Bryce Moore also remembered how senior Johanna Huber joined the band. He recounts after several failed attempts at asking her to sing with him for theatre, he finally succeeded. Moore said, “I was talking to Johanna in front of her mom and her mom was like ‘Johanna you have to sing a song with Bryce,’ so when we [were] writing a song I was like ‘Hey Johanna you know how you have to sing a song with me come sing this song,’ so she came to sing with us and we kept asking her to come back and she’s now [one of] our singers.”

Ever since their first release, they haven’t stopped making music and are pursuing new goals. “We [were] really hyped about the release of our first album in January,” said senior and manager Fell Gannon. “Right now the focus is to try and start performing live at various venues and gain a bit more recognition but we’re also hoping to get another album done by the end of the school year.” They hope to continue on after they graduate high school and over the summer where they are planning to go to Costa Rica and shoot a music video.

By Nayeli Arellano-Sports Editor

Something You Can’t Get Online

When walking through Old Town, there are shops and restaurants of all types, but notice there is no bookstore? Cammie Fuller and Rachel Sirene wanted to do something about this problem. They always had the dream and, with the relocation of Latitudes, an opportunity for the Open Book opened up.  

She heard the message from members of the community and wanted to make a change. On March 22, Old Town received a new store. A grand opening was held with a ribbon cutting and small contests. Fuller has loved reading since she was in second grade. It has led her to this adventure.

“With my role as librarian, I had people constantly asking me over the years if I would open a bookstore,” Fuller said. “‘You seem to really love books. Why don’t you open a bookstore, we really need one.’”

The Open Book is a general literature store, there are books for all ages.  There will be many genres and about 30 percent of the store will be children’s literature. Fuller believed that small bookstores were being overtaken by online retailers, but by talking with other bookstore owners she learned that bookstores are there to provide more.

“It’s not an algorithm, it’s actually somebody who is personally helping you find a book,” Fuller said.

Fuller’s personal goals for her business consist of joining the independent bookstore dialogue. She wants to create an environment where a politically divided nation might be able to be expressed and create conversation. She said a book may be able to change a life or make the world better.

However, it was not easy getting to this point. A business does not come about in a day. Fuller explained the list of people to thank goes on and on. Our librarians are on the list to thank, along with all the people in the community who gave advice and many different bookstores and their owners.

“Personally, they [family] have been an enormous support,” Fuller said.   

Fuller understands this store cannot exist without community support and hopes to educate people on how important it is to shop locally. They are going to make themselves relevant and make sure people feel heard about what type of books and events the Open Book should have.

Leading up to the big day, there was a pre-opening event.  On March 16, the Open Book held a program with the owner of Red Truck Bakery Brian Noyes.  He introduced his story and sold his book to all who attended. The Open Book wants to create a place where people love to come and find a unique read through members of our community.

By Catherine Smith-Staff Reporter

FFA Exibits the Importance to Giving Back

Giving back is not something everyone thinks to do on a regular basis, but the FFA teacher’s lunch is an example of just that. FFA is a national organization that focuses on three main aspects: leadership, personal growth and career success. Although it is centered around agriculture, they organize many other activities.

FFA has hosted many service projects including the teacher’s lunch on February 19. Many agreed that this project reflected the amount of work and thought put into planning an event to give back. Some just see this as a school tradition but there is a bigger meaning.    

“We do it every year and every year our goal is to give back to the teachers because they put in so many extra hours helping us become better students and people,” FFA President Claire Ledbetter said. “It’s just a small way to say thank you for all the work they do.”    

The teachers found this event very touching and a nice way to see the students doing something for others. It was an opportunity to come together and interact. The teachers had nothing but great things to say about the lunch.

“I thought it was very nice. The food was very good, I thought it was nice to have a chance to sit down and talk with people on different floors,” math teacher Ann Meyer said. “I don’t normally see anybody but other math teachers.”   

FFA drew attention to the fact that teachers are important and that giving back leaves a memory. Many students became interested in what FFA was during lunch because they saw teachers coming in and out of the gym with smiles and food. They wanted to know what else these students got to plan and participate in throughout the year.

“I think it very nice that they do that by reaching out and doing something nice for the teachers.” Meyer said.

The FFA Organization planned a simple way to show students and teachers that they care about their school.  They have been working to make others more involved in their own lives as well as with the school. Members of FFA believe that the teacher’s lunch achieved the goal of successfully giving back to others.

By Catherine Smith-Staff Reporter

Burton the New Nigerian Prince?

About 14.5 billion spam emails are sent globally every day, according to statistics gathered by Propeller Customer relationship management (CRM). The Information Security Office processed a total of 11,158,253 email messages in 2016 with 9,054,752 of the messages being spam in.

On March 1, a strange email was sent out to faculty. It was sent from someone claiming to be principal Clarence Burton. The email said he was in a meeting and he couldn’t talk because they weren’t allowed to have phones. The messenger wanted the recipient to buy a Google Play card and insisted they would give the money back.

“I could tell that it was not from Mr. Burton because it did not come from his email address,” said Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) Michelle Green. She said there were typos and the way that he signed the email was weird.

“I got on the phone with Mr. Burton immediately then I sent a staff email letting them know not to open up that email,” said Green.

School Security Officer (SSO) Sal Torelli also received the email and, like Green, knew it was fake immediately: “Mr. Burton would always call me on the phone if he needed something,” he said.

Torelli said the school handled the situation very well. “The school put an email out immediately saying to disregard the email,” Torelli said. “I’ll tell you that our tech people are on stuff right away.”

Shortly after the scam email involving Burton, a similar email was sent out claiming to be Dr. David Jeck. Manager of Information Resources (MIR) Todd Hickling sent out and email to all Fauquier County Public Schools concerning the mail on March 12 saying to not open the email. He advised if someone did, they should get the system they opened it on scanned and checked.

Similar to the texts students received last year saying “someone complimented you,” this email shows how crazy spam emails can be; they can reach all audiences and even write personal information to make them seem real. Luckily, the school was able to notify everyone that it was a scam before anything bad happened.

“There’s a lot of spam going on right now, (…) it’s been going around for years,” said Torelli. He said he gets spam every day, whether it’s at school or at home. “I got one the other day saying my credit card was compromised. It was Suntrust Bank, I don’t have SunTrust Bank.”

The issue has only been getting worse as technology advances and it becomes easier to do. However, advancing technology also allows for spam filter programs to be created in order to fight the problem. While this is good news, it is unknown if spamming will ever be eliminated because no one can stop a scammer from pressing that send button.

By Rachel Singleton-News Editor

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