A Spoonful of Salt

Mary Poppins has been a classic ever since it was brought into the world through P.L. Travers’ book series in 1934, followed by Walt Disney’s film adaptation. The 1964 film was very successful, winning five academy awards and becoming the highest grossing film of the year. With the film carrying such popularity, filmmakers though to put out a sequel. On December 19, 2018, “Mary Poppins Returns” debuted in theatres all over the US. Despite the excitement surrounding the follow up film, questions have been raised as to if the sequel can match the classic.

The story follows the lives of now-grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw). The two follow in their parents footsteps, with Jane being an activist and Michael working at the bank. Michael continues to live in the house that belonged to his parents where he raises his children, Annabel, John and George Banks (Joel Dawson, Nathanael Saleh and Pixie Davies), alone due to his wife’s death. As certain conflicts arise, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to aid the Banks family. Holding true to the original, Mary Poppins, the kids go on magical adventures along with lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda).

Mary Poppins Returns is full of references from the first movie. All the hidden and obvious details brought on a lot of nostalgia. It was especially exciting to see Dick Van Dyke’s guest appearance. While all this is good, it came to a point at which the general plot and characters basically matched the first film. The storyline was almost an exact replica of Disney’s original Mary Poppins. The only difference was a slight variation in conflict.
One could say the details differed, but like the plot, only slightly. Each character is basically a doppelgänger of the original cast. The songs were decent musical numbers, but it also felt like they were trying too hard to mirror the original film. A number sung by Jack and the leeries called “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” was supposed to be the newer version of the famous “Step in Time.” While the song was decent, no song could ever compare to “Step in Time,” and this goes for almost all other songs when compared to their original counterparts.

Some may believe mimicking the original is vital to keeping the magic and mystery that was the original film. While this is true to a certain extent, here it was overdone. It felt like I was watching a cheesier remake of the first movie.
One particular scene that I didn’t mind them bringing back however was the 2D animation chalk scene found in the original Mary Poppins, which came out better than before. Today’s new technology combined with the calling in of the original animators of the movie allowed for a truly amazing scene. The scene was colorful, detailed, and evoked a real feeling of nostalgia.


Another observation regarding the animated scene is the costume design. According to costume designer Sandy Powell, she wanted to do something new and unique for this scene. She felt that the characters in the original didn’t blend well with the scene, and wanted a better blend. Powell came up with the genius idea of painting the costumes. Although it took a lot of work, I believe it was well worth it. The costumes were colorful and blended well with the scene while also contrasting enough to allow the characters to stand out.

I was a bit worried for Emily Blunt, wondering how she was going to pull off the timeless role of Mary Poppins. After watching the film, I believe she did her best. Blunt did maintain the essence of the original Mary Poppins while adding a few things of her own. For one, she added a slight snarkiness to the character. While it made the film slightly more comedic, it also took away from the amiable nature of Mary Poppins. While some may prefer this, I was saddened because as a kid, I always saw Mary Poppins as a kindly, motherly figure and seeing her change was painful. Despite this, Blunt still did very well playing Mary Poppins as it is a very hard role to live up to.

On its own, the movie was average. It didn’t stand out as exceptional, but wasn’t completely terrible despite it being a bit underwhelming. I didn’t have extremely high expectations in the first place, but I did have a small hope that this sequel would not be as bad as most sequels are. I would recommend seeing the movie if you are feeling nostalgic. However, I wouldn’t set my expectations too high, unless you are new to Mary Poppins altogether.

by Rachel Singleton–News Editor

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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

FHS Supports Wrestling Team at In-School Pep Rally

On January 25, Fauquier High School hosted a pep-rally featuring the Falcon wrestling team’s final match. The event began at 1:30 pm in the new gym. The Fauquier Falcons faced the Brentsville Tigers in a hard fought match, ending in the Falcons claiming the victory with a score of 33-29.
The match was different from most the wrestlers have experienced. Although the team has competed in front of big crowds before, this time Fauquier students and staff were all behind the wrestlers, cheering them on. “It was nice to have the schools support,” said senior wrestler Kevin McEachin, “everyone was cheering, it got really loud.” McEachin won his match with a score of 5-3. “It could have been better, but I ended up winning, so I guess that’s all that matters,” he said. McEachin hopes to pursue wrestling in college but said it depends on where he gets into.
Sophomore Eric Dewald also competed in front of the crowd. He ended up winning his match by fall. Dewald said that he was very nervous before the match. He prepared by weighing in and then warming up like the rest of the team, but also internally prepared. “I just thought in my head and got myself mentally prepared,” said Dewald. After his match, Dewald said that he believed it went well, saying “[it was] pretty good, I pinned my kid.”
Head coach Doug Fisher said he is proud of his athletes and performance. “It was a great learning experience for them,” said Fisher. He added that the results of the match were both expected and unexpected. He said, “we had some guys that did not completely wrestle to their potential, while we had others rise to the occasion.” Fisher was very happy that the school was able to have the pep rally, saying “it was a great opportunity for the student body to see us compete. Our guys do not get that opportunity often and I was concerned a little about how they would react.” Fisher also wanted to thank the administration for making it happen. “I hope we are able to do it again next year,” he said.
FHS Wrestling has a reputation for being state champions. In the last five years, they have either been first or second in States. The process moves along with one starter in each of the 14 weight classes being entered into the District Tournament. Following this, the top four placers continue to Regionals, and then the top four placers from Regionals go to States. The team attended Districts on February 2, Regionals on February 9 and will attend states the following weekend.
Fisher said that the season has flown by very quickly. “We travel almost every weekend and see great competition,” said Fisher. “ Although it is an extremely tough schedule, it prepares us for the tough matches in the postseason.”

by Rachel Singleton– New Editor

Birdbox Offers Thrill

Apparently, what you cannot see CAN hurt you. Or at least that’s what the new Netflix original film Bird Box claims. Starring Sandra Bullock, this sci-fi thriller was highly anticipated for many Netflix subscribers, seeing as how it has the highest starting viewership of any original Netflix film. The plot is intriguing: An unknown entity spreads across the world and forces those who look at it to kill themselves. What the affected people see is left unknown, but it is implied to be their greatest fear, thus causing them to find the easiest way to end their life.

Last year, the popular Netflix film was Bright, which was another disappointment; it’s good to see that Netflix has learned their lesson and released a good film. Bird Box is a fun, fast-paced, and tense thriller that is absolutely perfect for viewers to watch. The film stars Sandra Bullock as a pregnant mother who gets caught up in the disaster, and who eventually gets stuck in a house with a number of strangers she doesn’t know. The film cuts back and forth between this plot line and one five years in the future, in which Bullock and two children are trying to get to a sanctuary via river while blindfolded.

Compliments to give this film go to Bullock’s electric performance. She is great in all of her other works, and this is no exception. In a scene near the end, she elevates the writing given to her in a powerful scene in a forest, and does this all without the use of her eyes. The other standout is Trevante Rhodes as one of the more prominent characters in the house that the majority of the film is set in. He was magnificent in Moonlight, and he shines just as much here.

Luckily, the film’s overall plot and tense nature are more than enough to get the audience through any slowness. No performance in Bird Box is lackluster, but the writing for some of the characters can be trite. In particular, Machine Gun Kelly and Rosa Salazar are both given very little material to work with, and their presence is a hindrance to the progress of the film. I understand why they were included, but I felt little empathy for their situation. Some characters are just thrown in the script, like Jacki Weaver, who has no reason to be in the film. Others are just cliché, like John Malkovich’s character. Malkovich plays the jerk, and it just feels like he’s included in the film in order to create unnecessary conflict. Later in the film, he does get redemption, which makes up for many of the cliche writing earlier on, but it still feels like the writers were trying to make the film longer for no reason.

Luckily, the film’s overall plot and tense nature are more than enough to get the audience through any slowness, and it never gets boring.
One aspect of Bird Box that I especially appreciate is the lack of CGI and tired green screen effects. Almost the entirety of the film is done with only one exception, and this adds to the authenticity of the situation. Even the scenes on the raging river with a blindfolded Sandra Bullock have no green screen to be found, which contributes to the gorgeous cinematography.
However, this leads me to my biggest issue with Bird Box: The structure degrades the suspense. When the audience is shown Bullock five years in the future with two kids, they know exactly who is going to live and die. This does add a bit of dread to the narrative since the deaths are predictable, but this also lessens the impact of scenes that could have been riveting, but are passable. The film eventually catches up to itself, and that is where it gets the most exciting for me, which was around the final thirty minutes.

Bird Box is still a very well-made thriller, but I feel certain aspects of the story could have been rearranged in order to make a more non-stop thrill ride. The film is still a fun watch, and I definitely recommend taking the time to give you and some friends an anxiety-filled two hours.

by Joel Alexander–Student Life 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

Falcon Hockey Team Battles the Cougars

The hockey team continues to fight hard through every single game.

On Tuesday, December 4, the Fauquier Falcons ice hockey team took on Kettle Run High School. Before the game, the two teams had a ceremonial puck drop in honor of Theodore Warzinski, a former falcon, who passed away earlier this year. The game was a close one with Kettle Run pulling ahead with three quick goals. Then halfway through the second period, with the help of the Fauquier student section, the Falcons rallied and scored three goals, but the game was far from over. When the start of the third period came along, both teams really started to get going on offense. After a hard-fought battle, the final score of the game was 8-7, with Fauquier coming out on top. The goals were scored by Jacob Roteman, Danny Martino, Max Romeo, Patrick Kirk, Brandon Stumpf, Ian Napolitano and Hunter Barrett.

by Helena Lovell and Ella Tedeschi–Staff Reporters

The Boys’ Basketball Season is Underway

Senior Robbie Brooks dribbles the ball past the John Champe defender in a close game at home.

Fauquier High School’s Varsity Basketball team tipped off their season on November 27 against Briar Woods. They played a hard fought game, but ending up falling 58-41. However, they managed to bounce back against Park View High School, 54-44. The next game, the Falcons took on Manassas Park. In a defensive struggle, Fauquier lost to Manassas Park 33-20. The next match-up, was a home game and the Falcons took on John Champe High School from Aldie, Virginia. Fauquier took a halftime lead, but ended up falling to the Knights 59-57, in double overtime. Following the heartbreaker against John Champe, the Falcons went onto beat Brentsville High School.

“I’m just hoping that everyone works together, doesn’t put anyone down, and tries their hardest,” team manager Rylie Schmidt said when asked what she hoped for in the remainder of the season. The Falcons have 17 games left on their schedule, and get into region play soon.

“I think the team is doing great so far,” Schmidt said. Fauquier is 2-3 through five games, but the team does have their moments where they look good. The Falcons current starting lineup is Devin Lewis, Jerreco Gaskins, Kyle Dargis, Robby Brooks and Thurman Smith. Fauquier is coached by Wayne Brizzi.

In the interview with Schmidt, she made it very clear that teamwork is a huge part of the team’s plan to do well throughout the season. Schmidt wants the players to “just have a good time.”

by Tayte Mills–Staff Reporter

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