Unravel the thrilling mysteries of ‘The Maze Runner’

The mysterious and mind-boggling story of The Maze Runner, James Dashner’s dystopian novel, came to life on screen in a way that offers thrills and chills and intellectual satisfaction. The story throws a bunch of innocent boys with no memories of their pasts into a mysterious location dominated by a maze and monsters, and filled with terrors yet to be discovered.

Forced to start from scratch, the boys form a government to keep themselves safe from the Maze and each other, creating a functional society to help them find the way out. Sounds a little like Lord of the Flies, doesn’t it?

When the main character, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), wakes up in a metal box that transports him to the Maze, he meets at least 30 other boys who also have had their memories wiped. The oligarchical government imposes strong standing rules; their number one rule is: no one is ever allowed to enter the Maze at night. Ever. At this point, the viewer knows just as much as Thomas knows about the Maze and its purpose: nothing.

Thomas becomes a runner, one who maps the Maze by day to find a way out before the walls close at night. The boys haven’t had much success in the past two years, and the group suffers from frequent attacks of the Grievers, large CGI monsters that inhabit the Maze. Hope that they will ever get out is diminishing.

When the girl Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) appears, it’s a signal that the boys’ society is about to unravel.
What stood out on screen was the unbelievable CGI and the perfect casting. When the Maze appears, it’s surreal. The CGI depicts the monstrosity of the Maze as described in the book to a tee. The actors are almost as Dashner created them on paper. O’Brien really made Thomas come to life on screen, and it was nice to see him act as something other than a high school heart throb in MTV’s supernatural thriller, Teen Wolf.

The casting was outstanding and the chemistry between the actors creates sympathy in the viewers. In fact, since the boys don’t know much about their situation, viewers also feel confused and disorientated; you feel as if you are stuck in the Maze. This is especially true at the beginning of the movie when events and developments are fast and furious.
The movie never actually answers the questions you may have had at the end of movie which allows for a potentially satisfying sequel. People who enjoyed the exciting ride of the Hunger Games will enjoy the mysterious journey of The Maze Runner. The movies are similar in their dystopian set-up and involve the sacrifice of children. In the Maze Runner the reasons for the sacrifices are mysterious, but the suspense is comparable to the Hunger Games. Just try to keep up and know that “if you ain’t scared… you ain’t human”.

Having read the book, I appreciated that the movie respected the literary version. James Dashner created such an unusual dystopian world, and director Wes Ball captured it perfectly.

~Emma Spector, photography director

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“FHS Fight Week” creates fear in student community

A fight that occurred on Monday, Sept. 23, and isolated fights that followed, spurred rumors on social media that Fauquier High School is having a ‘fight week.’ According to Assistant Principal Kraig Kelican, there have been four verified fights on school grounds this week; several other fights were reported but are not yet verified. A gun threat reported by a parent was investigated and has been deemed inaccurate. Kelican discourages parents from picking up their kids from school.

“Anything we see that has merit, we’re dealing with,” Kelican said. “This is not us. Stop the rumors. It’s a sad, unfortunate thing. In the 29 years I’ve been in this building I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The hashtag FHS Fight Week and an account called FHS Fight Club is consuming social media sites. Student tweets have threatened administrators, faculty, and other students. The administrators are identifying and investigating the owner of the twitter account. Kelican believes the posts are not malicious, but are serious and will be disciplined.

“It depends what the intent was,” Kelican said. “If it continues, then there will be firm consequences.”

Athletic Trainer Bryan Grimley was threatened as a target after he broke up a fight that occurred on Sept. 24.

“I’ve heard. I think it was just people trying to be funny,” Grimley said “I think it’s a social media thing. That’s the biggest problem.”

Along with many other students, senior Claire Lindsey has heard a multitude of rumors.

“Somebody told me that if there were more than six fights, then the school would have to close, which I didn’t believe.  I heard that someone was passed out on the stairs and that someone broke their jaw; that’s horrible,” Lindsey said. “I heard that Bryan broke up a fight and he had the other kid’s blood all over his shirt, and that was true. I heard that 10 people were going to be in one big fight on Friday, which I hope doesn’t happen.”

There are rumors that today is “jump a freshman Thursday” and tomorrow is to be a “Purge Friday.”

“I’m not going to school if that’s going to happen. I thought this was a good school until now,” a freshman who wishes to remain anonymous said. “I feel bad. I feel scared to come to school. I’m afraid they’re going to take away phones because people are recording fights. It’s like the purge, but it’s a full week.”

Students involved can be disciplined with a suspension from one to 30 days. No amount of fights will result in student evacuation. Student behavior that is classified as a major school disruption may result in a 10 day suspension. This includes inappropriate posts to social media accounts.

“Other than the fact it’s sad that kids would do this, when you see posts about the zoo and then you scroll down and see a fight that happened it’s sad for you all,” Kelican said.

Senior Claire Lindsey feels scared and ashamed of how the ‘fight week’ reflects on FHS.

“A lot of people are talking about it; kids from Kettle Run and Liberty. It gives a bad image to the school,” Lindsey said. “ I feel like people are fighting each other at random, for no reason, and it’s scary. I think that this is where people are getting all of their anger out, and I think if someone was mad at me for some reason, then this would be the week they’d do something.”

The administration has to report any incident resulting in discipline to the state. There are three tiers of severity, tier three being the most severe. The amount of discipline reported could ultimately affect the reputation and status of Fauquier High School as being a “Safe School”.

In a meeting this morning, senior class sponsor Paul Reynolds and administrators asked the SCA officers, class officers, and Zoo captains to help end the rumors associated with FHS fight week.

“I think it’s ridiculous, the whole concept of this fight and why. I know we’re forced together in a student community by choice, but part of going to school is learning how to function in a society. I just don’t understand it at all,” Reynolds said. “We knew administratively years ago that this social networking would be a problem, a concern with schools. Are we going to go away with these devices? No, because that’s our society.”

Kelican has hope that leaders in Fauquier High School’s student body, can diminish talk of fight week.

“I think it’s something that with the help of student leaders, this can go away quickly. We asked the SCA officers, class officers, and Zoo captains to help us stop the rumors.” Kelican said. “It’s sad for you all. It’s miscommunication and poor decisions across the board.”

~SaraRose Martin, co editor-in-chief (with contributions from Erin Conolly, Emma Spector, and Eryka Hackett)

Twitter-sparked ‘Fauquier Fight Week’ is senseless, stupid

It’s like I always say— kids are stupid.

And lately, kids have been particularly stupid. “Fauquier Fight Week” began the week following Homecoming, and with the arrival of this so-called “Fauquier fight club,” (I believe “loose-association of certified idiots” would be a more apt name) the school atmosphere has been noticeably more tense, and understandably so. Assault is not a joke. Threats are not a joke. This whole matter is absolutely not to be laughed at. I, like many other students, originally thought the whole concept was asinine and would blow over almost immediately. “It’s just a dumb Twitter trend,” I thought. “Nothing could possibly come out of it.”

But now people are scared. People have gotten hurt. And you know what comes out of mobs of panicked, scared people? Blind chaos. Rumors get created, blown out of proportion, then passed on.  Before you tweet something, set your phone down for two seconds and think, “Is this ridiculously ignorant? Am I posting this to fan the flames of some idiotic movement that could hurt people?” A modicum of forethought would be greatly appreciated.

Allow me to set the record straight: you live in Fauquier County. Not in a warzone, not in West Side Story—rural little Fauquier County. When you make threats of violence, these matters get taken seriously and reflect poorly upon FHS. Release your frustrations via civilized discourse and debate, not through knocking someone out cold. Now that’s simply uncalled for.

Ultimately, school should be a place where people feel safe. FHS is a place of learning, not a WWE arena. Nobody deserves to feel threatened here.

~Lana Heltzel, online/associate editor

Bite into Telltale’s ‘The Walking Dead: Season Two’

Despite playing a crucial part in the landscape of modern horror, zombies have always seemed excruciatingly unfrightening and lame. What is there to fear about a herd of catatonic dead people who move at a glacial pace?

However, Telltale Games injects life into an otherwise boring genre (so to speak) with The Walking Dead, a video game adaptation of the comic book and television series. The Walking Dead: Season Two reintroduces Clementine, an intelligent and resourceful 11-year-old from the first game, but this time as the protagonist. Clementine is the soul of this game—over the course of the series, players watch her evolve from a scared girl who doesn’t know how to hold a gun to the de facto leader of a group of survivors.

The Walking Dead: Season Two features a branching storyline, a characteristic it shares with its predecessor. Every single painful decision is left to the player, effectively allowing for distinctly different stories each time you play. The game is dominated by a myriad of scenes where players choose what Clementine says and does, and then must navigate her out of tricky zombie-induced situations via quick button mashing. Moments of unassisted, player-controlled exploration, however, are few and far between (and when they do appear, the controls are rather slow and clunky), but that isn’t a dealbreaker. In fact, this makes the game easier to play for those who love a good story, but aren’t necessarily gaming experts. One has to think of The Walking Dead: Season Two as more like a playable choose-your-own-adventure novel.

The faint-of-heart should beware—this game is emotionally draining. The environment is often cold and hopeless, fitting for a world populated chiefly by reanimated corpses. While it certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the setting is eerily beautiful. Taking place in the American south, largely during winter, the game’s rustic scenery and comic-inspired art creates a chilling and unique allure.

For all its ghastly brilliance, The Walking Dead: Season Two has not achieved perfection. This installment of the game has a relatively large cast of characters, but many are so woefully underdeveloped that the player can’t form any connection with them. In the case of a character death, instead of genuine sadness, it’s more, “Oh well, they’re gone.” And there are a lot of character deaths.

Additionally, the game’s endings (of which there are five!) are all relatively disappointing and open-ended. Constant tragedy and an unrewarding conclusion don’t leave the player feeling satisfied or triumphant—just empty.

The Walking Dead: Season Two is a riveting, harrowing journey. Highly recommended for zombie enthusiasts, amateur gamers, and everyone in between, Telltale Games has created a work of art.

~Lana Heltzel, online/associate editor

ALS ice bucket challenge promotes tentative awareness

The ALS ice bucket challenge has been sweeping the nation for over a month. The idea is to dump a bucket of freezing ice water over one’s head and then nominate or challenge friends, family, or co-workers to do the same. After the new group is nominated, they have 24 hours to either complete the challenge or donate $100 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association.

The trend started when golfer Charles Kennedy, whose cousin suffers from ALS, completed the challenge and decided the money raised should go towards fighting ALS. The challenge spread by social media before it came to former Boston College baseball star Pete Frates who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 27 in March, 2012. Frates called out multiple celebrities, including Tom Brady, and other Boston athletes. The challenge then went viral. LeBron James, Kevin Hart, and Tom Cruise all participated and chipped in. The fad swept the nation on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Vine. But that’s exactly what it is, a fad. And that’s the problem.

Kony 2012

The video Kony 2012, produced by Invisible Children, was released in March, 2012. War criminal Joseph Kony became infamous due to his abduction of children to become sex slaves and soldiers. The video received nearly 100 million views and over one million “likes” on YouTube. But as the views began to rise, the focus started to shift from Kony to Invisible Children, especially after Invisible Children co-founder, Jason Russell, was seen naked outside his home in San Diego, California, spewing f-bombs and raging about the iPhone. By April, 2012, the movement to capture Kony had waned significantly. Invisible Children attempted to mend critics’ hearts by releasing a second video with a clearer objective, but the damage was done. The momentum that Invisible Children once had disappeared, while Kony still roams in Uganda with the Lord’s Resistance Army and tens of thousands of captured children.

Bring Back Our Girls

On April 15, 2014, a convoy of terrorists rolled into a small town in northern Nigeria and abducted nearly 300 high school girls age 15 to 18. The terrorist group, Boko Haram, opposes western education, as well as the education of women, and abducted the girls as punishment. People began to use the phrase “Bring Back Our Girls” on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even the first lady Michelle Obama participated by posting a famous picture with the phrase written on a piece of paper. The United States sent troops to Nigeria and used surveillance planes to look for the women. But after a few short weeks, the powerful phrase fell out of use. What seemed like great activism turned to apathy. The world became indifferent and over 200 women are still missing.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ice bucket challenge is the current trend that narcissistic social media participants are using for likes, favorites, and retweets. The majority of participants aren’t even aware of what ALS is, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The disease affects cells of the brain and spin, slowly decreasing a patient’s ability to use his or her muscles. Soon after diagnosis, the patient has trouble walking, and as the atrophy progresses, victims begin having trouble speaking or eating. The disease is not curable, and respiratory failure eventually occurs. While it lasts, the Ice Bucket Challenge is undoubtedly a great thing for ALS. It’s clean, it’s fun, and it has raised awareness significantly. The donations have grown to over 15 million. Just like previous trends, however, the participants are often slacktivists who complete their “obligations” to receive a feel-good experience about this social cause without actually making much difference. The ice bucket challenge will fade, but the serious illness that is ALS will remain.

~Gavin Cranford, co-editor-in-chief

Mental illness is no laughing matter

The suicide of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams caused an outpouring of grief and shock. The immediate reaction to William’s decision to take his own life was to ask the question, why? Robin Williams generated positive energy; he spent his life spreading joy to others. He embodied a warmth and spirit that few people possess. He was talented and successful. He had a family and financial security. So, why?

Robin Williams had been public for years about his struggle with substance abuse and bipolar disorder, a disease that affects approximately 5.7 million Americans and causes a series of severe mood changes and often depression.

Reactions to William’s death highlight the misconceptions and stigmas associated with depression, suicide, and mental health. People are afraid to talk about mental illness, yet it affects many Americans. According to the Huffington Post there were approximately 40,000 suicides in the United States in 2011, making it the 10th leading cause of death, above car accidents. Approximately 1 million people attempt suicide each year. Mental illness is a brain disease, as real as cancer, or any other deadly disease. According to government statistics from 2010, 60 percent of Americans with mental illness did not seek treatment because they couldn’t pay for it, they thought they would be fine, or they didn’t want others to find out about it.

Despite the misconceptions that still exist, there has been progression in the understanding of mental illness. Those with mental illness are no longer treated like freaks, blamed for their condition, or hidden away in institutions. There is a greater understanding of the tie between mental illness and addiction.
We will never know what was going on in the mind of Robin Williams, and we will never know exactly what made him act on the decision to end his life. If anything good will come from his death, it is the increase in mental health awareness. With the news of his death, social networking flooded with tributes and calls for greater awareness of mental illness. Typically 90,000 people a day visit the Facebook page of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); the day after William’s death, the website had 1.1 million visitors. Direct messages, blogs, and tumblers exploded with people searching for and offering help for mental illness.

What is important is keeping this awareness alive. His suicide affected people around the world. Robin Williams spent his life spreading joy when he had none. If such a beautiful, joyous and selfless man could be so strongly affected by this illness, how many others also suffer in silence?

~SaraRose Martin, co-editor-in-chief

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