Teens Switch Out Paper for Vapor

Imagine you’re walking into the bathroom and you’re suddenly hit with the smell of cotton candy and mango. You peek around the corner and see a group of friends vaping. Well, you don’t have to imagine this because it happens daily to many high school students.

A vape is a type of electronic-cigarette (e-cigarette) that uses an e-juice usually containing flavoring, glycerin, nicotine, propylene glycol, and water. The e-juice is vaporized and, unlike tobacco smoke, an aerosol vapor is released. Popular vapes include the tiny Juul, which contains a large nicotine dose, the pod and the pen vapes.

Statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse show vaping among high school seniors has increased from 27.8 percent in 2017 to 37.3 percent in 2018. Nowadays, vaping is seen by many high school students as cool. According to a study run by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, this is often the leading reason as to why students start vaping. Either their friend is doing it and is peer pressuring them or they see others vaping and are curious to know what it’s all about.

“One of my friends pushed me to try it,” said an anonymous student. Another student said peer pressuring was not the reason for trying it but it was simply a matter of “choice and curiosity.”

Some students say it depends on the circumstances, “I think vaping or juuling is fine as long as you don’t do it for anyone but yourself,” said another anonymous student.

Many other students, however, do not see vaping as cool but are very frustrated by it. “I think it’s disgusting and gross when people do it in the bathroom and on the bus. It’s just disgusting and it smells bad,” said another anonymous student. “My grandmother died of lung cancer despite never smoking and seeing my peers do it makes me sad that they are taking risks like having lung cancer.”

Increasing popularity of this issue has caused many to step up and search for solutions. Junior Eireann Maybach, junior Katherine Warren, senior Camden Gillespie and sophomore Olivia Gulick, four students who want an end to the issue. The four attended a program known as Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP). They developed a plan that they hope will help FHS with its vaping problem. “Our plan was called Address, Prevent and Recovery (APR) Program and it’s been enacted throughout the school systems,” said Maybach.

“It’s so normalized in schools today, in our school especially. I know because people have done it right in front of me,” said Maybach. “People ask me, do you ever get vape juice on your eyes when you’re putting on your contact and it burns and it’s just so normalized that people don’t know that it’s a problem.”

One debate is on whether vaping is safer than smoking. Many believe that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking and it helps end smoking addictions while others say it is just as dangerous. The American Heart Association argues vapes still contain nicotine and produce the same harmful substances as smoking.

“E-cigarettes and vapes were originally invented to help adults get off of nicotine abuse but now they’re just normalized in society through the advertisements and the social push for it,” said Maybach. “Your right, it is less harmful than cigarettes for adults, but not for adolescents.”

The group later enacted their plan to solve the problem. They spoke to each grade level at the beginning of the year about the dangers of vaping. They also integrated “the help box” allowing students to report others who need help but can not actively get help themselves. “It was purposefully a very subtle plan. I didn’t want it to be out in the open because I didn’t want to address my friends and people that I knew who were doing this,” said Maybach.  

While the normal vape is being scrutinized, another type of vape has arisen that is argued to be perfectly safe. This vape is produced by MONQ Therapeutic Air and Vitastik. They contain essential oils rather than the normal vape ingredients. It is described as a “personal diffuser.” Their website claims the device is safe and does not contain tobacco, nicotine, artificial ingredients, GMOs, gluten, diacetyl or propylene glycol and is not tested on animals. The “diffuser” comes with 3 pods and is breathed in through the mouth and out the nose.

So is the “personal diffuser” really as safe as the website claims? The answer is uncertain. Doctors say vaping is such a new thing that they aren’t sure what to expect. One side argues that the essential oil vape is 100 percent safe and claim it is a good alternative. Meanwhile, others say there is a lot of danger with this new device, saying it has a possibility to produce formaldehyde or other dangerous substance when heated. Other debates similar to this revolve around the idea of nicotine-free vapes and whether they are what they’re labeled. Maybach said they are not and most vapes always contain nicotine.

“They use what’s called the tic-tac rule. Basically, tic-tac companies can list tic-tacs as sugar-free because they weigh less than a gram,” said Maybach. “But they are 99 percent sugar and that’s exactly what e-cigarette companies use to label their nicotine items.

Maybach said what school systems can do now is bring awareness to the problem. “[Vapes are] getting kids hooked on a drug. It is a gateway drug even though many say it isn’t.” Maybach said if she could tell the world one thing about drugs, she would say, “It isn’t as harmless as it seems.”

By Rachel Singleton-News Editor

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Heelys, Are They Back?

The year is 2006, life is good, London Bridge by Fergie is playing on the radio, Happy Feet is in theatres and you have what kids envied the most, Heelys. Yeah Heelys, those shoes with wheels in them, if you didn’t have them you wanted them and probably begged your parents for them. Kids zipped down the hallways and rolled across the mall floor. When someone wore them they were ten times cooler, but that was 2006 it’s all in the past…right? Recently teens have been bringing back these timeless shoes and can be seen cruising the hallways of FHS.

“They’re really fun, and it’s really good in school because it’s super smooth instead of super bumpy and it helps to get in class on time when I’m running late,” sophomore Will Bagli said. He explained that he got them simply because he spotted one of his friends wearing them. Shortly after he decided to get a pair for Christmas.

When Heelys rose in popularity in the early ‘00s they were quickly banned in malls and schools. The reason for this was the risk of injury and liability issues. Now, more than 10 years later, the rules are still applicable. Shortly after students brought Heelys back onto the FHS floors they were swiftly reminded of the previous ban on the coveted shoes. Senior Shane Cross was approached by faculty after a few weeks of sporting his Heelys.  “It’s stupid [they don’t] want me wearing them and I want to wear them,” Cross added, “They’re fun [and they] make me feel like a kid again.”

Assistant principal Kraig Kelican was quick to provide a reason on the ban on Heelys. “They aren’t allowed,” Kelican said. “The biggest reason is because they are a safety issue particularly with all the steps and sidewalks we have we are afraid that someone will slip on the steps, or if they’re using Heelys out on the sidewalks they hit a crack and fall down.” Regardless, students are bringing Heelys back from the dead and having fun doing so.

By Nayeli Arellano

Snow Days or Stress Days?

Ask any fifth grader, they would jump for joy at the whisper of the words snow day. But this isn’t fifth grade anymore and in high school, snow days have been less exciting and more stressful.

Snow days can be a time to rest, procrastinate or be productive. “I enjoy snow days because they let me relax,” said sophomore Abby Marino. “If I need to finish work or study, I have more time (…) Dr. Jeck is a blessing.”

Many know our superintendent Dr. David Jeck from his twitter account where he posts about school cancellations along with other things. “I think it’s informative and effective for people who have social media,” said sophomore McKenzie Hurley. “But it’s also really cool because kids can tweet him and he responds.” While many enjoy the excitement of receiving the no-school notification, some do not.

When you add creeping deadlines and tests on to the loads of work, stress becomes common among students. With constant snow days, some students feel like they need to spend more time in class to grasp the material.

“Snow days are great when they are really needed but when the superintendent calls off school for a little bit of snow that hasn’t affected the roads is kind of ridiculous,” said senior Hannah Johnson. “We could be using those days to go into school and save the built in snow days for a much larger storm.”

Teachers are also feeling the pressure from the lack of time in class. “They’re nice to have a day off and relax,” said math teacher Roseanna Lantz, “but it causes the instruction to fall behind….so it really hurts the students as far as having consistency in learning the material.”

With interrupted curriculum, teachers and classes  fall behind and have to re-learn the material after being out of class for several days because of snow days.

A question among students is whether spring break will be shortened because of constant snow days. The Fauquier County Public School (FCPS) Administration have not agreed to shorten our spring break up until now, although there are built in make up days, May 29 and May 30 along with banked hours.

“I am very thankful that the state allows us to ‘bank’ time,” said Dr. Jeck. “If they didn’t, we’d have real problems from year to year…especially in years like this wherein we have missed a lot of days.”

With unexpected events caused by snow days, we now know how to prepare. Is it time to tweet Dr. Jeck or sleep in?

By Amanda Arellano-Staff Reporter

Mika Wilkening Experiences Life at FHS

As you walk the halls you might notice some outstanding accents and faces. Fauquier  welcomed many foreign exchange students this school year. Some students staying for a couple weeks while some complete the year her, among them Mika Wilkening.

As you walk the halls you might notice some outstanding accents and faces. Fauquier  welcomed many foreign exchange students this school year. Some students staying for a couple weeks while some complete the year her, among them Mika Wilkening.

Wilkening came from Berlin, Germany to complete his senior year. Once he settled into the new country he noticed a great amount of differences between here and his hometown, “I really like the people,” said Wilkening. “If you compare them to Germany they’re really tolerant here.” He described the people here as more open towards the actions and preferences of others rather than in Germany. For example, Wilkening said “dye[ing] your hair or walk[ing] around with weird clothes and in Germany you won’t see that.”

Another difference is the block schedule. “The school system in Germany is like, here each semester you have 4 classes, in Germany you have like 30.” Wilkening added although it’s not 30 classes everyday, they rotate classes each day.

When asked to describe Virginia in one word he said, “unexciting.” The main reason being the difference in population. “I live in a big city and here you don’t have things to do,” said Wilkening

The food also being a great difference. “Here you eat more fast food and stuff,” said Wilkening. In Berlin, the people eat healthier and less fast food.

An interesting fact not many know is Wilkening has a twin sister also in the foreign exchange program. She does not go to Fauquier, but Culpeper.

With the arrival of Wilkening, the students were eager to meet the foreign exchange student. “He’s a great friend,” said freshman Ethan Polster. “He’s always there if you need something.” The foreign exchange program gives the students an opportunity to meet new people you wouldn’t encounter on a daily basis. As Fauquier continues to welcome students from around the world, the students and staff will have the chance to learn about different cultures and arts.

Wilkening came from Berlin, Germany to complete his senior year. Once he settled into the new country he noticed a great amount of differences between here and his hometown, “I really like the people,” said Wilkening. “If you compare them to Germany they’re really tolerant here.” He described the people here as more open towards the actions and preferences of others rather than in Germany. For example, Wilkening said “dye[ing] your hair or walk[ing] around with weird clothes and in Germany you won’t see that.”

Another difference is the block schedule. “The school system in Germany is like, here each semester you have 4 classes, in Germany you have like 30.” Wilkening added although it’s not 30 classes everyday, they rotate classes each day.

When asked to describe Virginia in one word he said, “unexciting.” The main reason being the difference in population. “I live in a big city and here you don’t have things to do,” said Wilkening

The food also being a great difference. “Here you eat more fast food and stuff,” said Wilkening. In Berlin, the people eat healthier and less fast food.

An interesting fact not many know is Wilkening has a twin sister also in the foreign exchange program. She does not go to Fauquier, but Culpeper.

With the arrival of Wilkening, the students were eager to meet the foreign exchange student. “He’s a great friend,” said freshman Ethan Polster. “He’s always there if you need something.” The foreign exchange program gives the students an opportunity to meet new people you wouldn’t encounter on a daily basis. As Fauquier continues to welcome students from around the world, the students and staff will have the chance to learn about different cultures and arts.

By Amanda Arellano-Staff Reporter

Fashion Spotlight

Rachel Wait

Sophomore

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: “I think it’s like going back to the nice ol’ ‘90s. It grew a lot in eighth grade, just lot’s of thrift shopping.”

Q: Where do you shop?

A: “Brandy Melville, the Salvation Army, and the Goodwill in Manassas”

Q: What’s a trend that you incorporate in your style?

A: “Recently a lot of people [are] going back [in] time to like the ‘90s or/and ‘80s. [That] has really influenced me, I really like how everything has a vintage feel to it.”

Q: Who is your fashion inspiration?

A: “Jennifer Aniston, definitely”

Q: What’s your staple outfit?

A: “Mom jeans, ankle socks, Dr. Martens, and a cropped shirt”

Humans of Fauquier

I have autism, so basically, it’s harder for me to communicate with other people and other people don’t really know about it so it’s hard. It’s hard socially and in school settings, it’s like stressful. Usually, people who are quiet like me are easier to talk to. Asking for help from teachers is hard and making friends obviously. It feels like anxiety overload.

Artist of the Month

Eye-catching art and intricate detail in Gillian Fanning’s artwork exhibits creativity and distinction. The Falcon’s Artist of the Month recognition goes to Gillian Fanning nominated by the art department. She has been interested in art ever since the beginning of high school. Fanning is currently enrolled in functional art II with art teacher Charlene Root. “Mrs. Root is the best, I love having her as my art teacher,” Fanning said. “I like that in the class, it’s more arts and crafts than pressured drawing. We have a basic project, but you can do whatever you want with your project and you [be] really creative with how you do it.”

Root has many good things to say about the young artist. “She is an extremely meticulous crafter,” Root said. “Her work always shows great attention to detail, well thought-out ideas, and superb craftsmanship.” She enjoys having Fanning in the class and is always excited to see her work when she finishes.

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