‘Believe’ is more bad Bieber

The last time I listened to Justin Bieber, he was the newly discovered 15-year-old YouTube phenomenon, well on his way to making both millions of dollars and millions of 12-year-old hearts melt with his bouncy pop dance tune, “One Time.” The adoration of his pre-teen fan base, self-dubbed “Beliebers,” has caused near-riots in public places and vicious cyber attacks toward any girl who dares come near, let alone date, the Biebs.
Now, after releasing three studio albums, Bieber-swooners have Believe Acoustic to add to their collection. With eight unplugged reissues of songs from his 2012 album, Believe, and three new songs, Bieber continues to be one of those artists that you either love or hate. For me, listening to this album was like driving past a bad car pileup: you don’t want to witness the horror, but you can’t help but slow down to look.
The opening track, “Boyfriend” is perhaps just as sultry as the original studio version, and with lyrics that suggest an evening of eating fondue by the fireplace, listening to this song would pair well with watching a Nicholas Sparks film or reading a Harlequin novel. The next song, “As Long as You Love Me,” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Each song incorporates the same pick-up line lyrics, cheesy love themes, and monotonous guitar strum patterns. “Beauty and the Beat” was an impressive track – compared up to the original version, that is. While the original song featured overwhelming synths and an electronic solo that feels all wrong, the acoustic version isn’t all that bad.
Although Bieber is pictured on the album cover holding a guitar, most of the guitar work is done by studio professionals, further diminishing his credibility as a serious musician. The guitar tracks don’t vary much, and the only relief from the monotony comes from moments of piano in “Be Alright” and “Nothing like Us.” His vocals, however, tinted with R&B and hints of Justin Timberlake post N-sync, are impressive, despite his use of auto-tune and heavy production. Believe Acoustic is successful in reminding fans why he was originally scouted on YouTube in the first place – his raw vocal ability.
Overall, Believe Acoustic is uninventive and layered with heavy production and auto-tune, and features invariably bland lyrics. It feels more a like a calculated move geared toward all the teenage “shawtys” than a genuine artistic release. Beliebers will no doubt enjoy the all-new renderings of his signature teen-love ballads, and this album’s emotional characteristic and turned-down quality might be enough to make it to some hardcore fans’ favorites lists. However, for anyone else, Believe Acoustic is exactly what you’d expect it to be – a collection of forgettable pop songs.

~Michelle Daniek, staff reporter

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Vexavoid: Portal’s brutal CD vexes fans

Australian metal outfit Portal’s latest otherworldly bone-crusher, Vexovoid, is the perfect record for any metal-junkie looking to have their ear drums plunged. Despite its flaws, Vexovoid is without a doubt the tastiest piece of bloody, blast-beat meat released so far this year, sure to please anybody willing to sink their teeth into it.
Portal avoids the comical image that plagues so many metals bands by utilizing an artsy interpretation of blackened death metal, fusing the thickest, muddiest, and most alligator-infested swamps of death metal with the deepest, darkest, and most despairing pits of black metal. The result is a noisy, relentlessly brutal onslaught of drop-tuned distortion, pummeling blast-beats, impenetrable bass, and vocals that sound like a mix between an uncharacteristically deep-voiced banshee, a peculiarly aggressive warthog, and a generator. No description could be more complimentary to a truly crushing metal band, and Portal is, above all else, crushing.
Throughout Vexovoid, Portal takes strategically brainy steps to avoid falling into the ditch so many of their peers fail to leap. The ironically off-kilter polyrhythms on the opening track, “Kilter,” keep things interesting while complimenting the guitar lines flawlessly. “Curtain” is a stand-out track, delivering straight-forward, aggressive blackened death as tastefully as it comes. As the album progresses, ambient textures start to show up towards the ends of the heaviest tracks on the record. After raging through three minutes of devastatingly earth-shattering pulverization, “Plasm” drifts into a two and a half minute break of eerie, atmospheric feed-back reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. “Awryeon” follows a similar path, finishing with a fluctuating, hair-raising melody.
Vexovoid’s true vice is its lack of effectively potent diversity. After 30 minutes of sonic punishment, the fancy time signatures and tremolo-picked guitars start to meld into giant chunk of nastiness. Perhaps if Portal put a little more effort into song-writing, instead of focusing all of their energy on texture and attitude, this pitfall could be avoided. Alas, one can only ask for so much
Regardless, Vexovoid is exactly what it should be – a lusciously brutal slab of metal mayhem heavy enough to satisfy even the most skeptical of long-haired, denim-wielding, metal-heads, and smart enough to please even the most pretentious metal intellectuals.

~Patrick Duggan, news director

CPR brings the breath of life

If you’ve ever applied for a position as a lifeguard or babysitter, you may have been asked to revive a dummy to receive an official CPR certification. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing used to restore the circulation of oxygen to the brain to prevent permanent brain damage or death.
CPR is vital in emergencies, and many FHS students are taking their first steps into the world of emergency medical training. Warrenton Fire Department’s Jim Farkas, who has been in fire service for 45 years, stresses the importance of CPR knowledge in many careers, including work as a firefighter.
“When you’restarting in the firefighting business, the first thing they make you learn is CPR,” Farkas said. “It’s such an important part of emergency response. Even as a trainee, they won’t let you ride a fire truck without having basic CPR knowledge.”
Fellow firefighter Adam Dunaway agrees with Farkas and believes emergancy training is an important facet of rescuing.
“Those are the people that help you if you are cut and bleeding,” Dunaway said. “If you are in an accident and something happens to your body, those will be the people that will be taking care of you.”
While the fire department assists in showing trainees the ropes, EMT training is offered in high schools throughout the county.
“The quickest way to get involved would be volunteering for your local station,” Dunaway said. “To kids who want to try it out and kids who haven’t even thought about it, it’s an adrenaline rush. You get to help your community, and it really shows you how to be selfless and more involved with other people. It’s a great feeling to be able to help somebody out in their worst moment.”
Another way to become CPR certified as a student is through the Introduction to Health and Nursing Aid classes offered at FHS, which include CPR, AED (Automatic External Defibrillator), and first aid in their curriculum.
“[Certification] is through the American Heart Association,” said nursing teacher Margaret Blevins, who is also a registered nurse and consultant at Fauquier Hospital. “It is a very prescribed course that, as an instructor, you can’t really vary from it. You have to go through the practice, learn the theory, and at the end, there is a skills check-off with the instructor,”
Blevins has applied her CPR skills in real life situations, both in and out of the hospital.
“I’ve come across accidents in real life, and used CPR once in an airport when a man [was in need],” Blevins said. “I’ve used it in several settings on infants, as well as adults.”
Historically, CPR used to involve a combination of pulse-checking and regulated mouth-to-mouth, but recent discoveries have shown that chest compressions alone are enough to save somebody’s life.
Senior Samantha Donahue was recently certified for CPR through the nursing class.
“[I took the class because] I figured it could always be useful,” Donahue said. “You could save so many lives with it; it’s a really good thing to know.”
Blevins agrees with Donahue that the benefits of CPR knowledge are worth the time and patience it takes to learn it.
“People who don’t know how to do it are at a disadvantage in helping their loved ones,” Blevins said.

~Michelle Daniek, staff reporter

Students think outside the box

Destination Imagination is a program that runs from elementary through college levels, dedicated to promoting critical problem-solving skills and encouraging kids to step outside the box. Faced with an array of challenges, from technical tests of science to the visionary fine arts, students have to put their heads together to find solutions to complex problems. This year, the Destination Imagination (D.I.) team placed third in the district with their “Change In RealiTee” sketch.
“[D.I.] is basically just a lot of random challenges, improvisation, and a little bit of everything,” freshman Chris Perrios said. “[The meetings consist of] things like building and improvising sketches.”
Freshman Kayla Land, who has participated in D.I. before and is no beginner to the many challenges, enjoys the club.
“It has a lot to do with creativity and imagination,” Land said. “I’ve really enjoyed it in the past, so I chose to do it again. [Meetings] are usually a little bit wild because of all the improv we do, but it’s a lot of fun.”
At the beginning of each season, teams, usually consisting of seven people, choose a challenge from a national list to showcase their skills at local competition. D.I. practice sessions were held on Mondays and became more frequent as the competition date neared. This year, the competition was on March 9 at Winchester’s John Handley High School. Although the team did not make it to states, history and psychology teacher Lou Ann Spear, who serves as the co-team manager, is satisfied with the results.
“The kids did really well,” Spear said. “The audience really enjoyed their skit, and I thought it was one of the funniest ones there.”
Spear works alongside Librarian Becca Isaac to help prepare students for the competition.
“[Students] engage in the main challenge and then the instant challenges, which involve getting materials like mailing labels and string and participating in challenges using them,” Spear said. “They always have a building challenge, where you build something, and they usually have an improv one. Sometimes the challenges are more theatrical.”
Although the majority of the teams compete at the elementary and middle school levels, high school and college levels play a significant role. Senior Adam Warren says that besides being educational and fun, D.I. is also a convenient activity to add to a resume.
“It’s really fun because it’s something to do during the week, and it’s something I can find time to do in my busy schedule,” Warren said. “It’s really easy to get into; you don’t have to have any prior experience.”
Isaac says that besides the educational aspect, D.I. offers creative students an outlet and chance to get involved. Spear agrees that the benefits are well worth the time.
“It’s a great way to meet people; it’s always a lot of fun,” Spear said. “It’s a way to stretch your brain to new things and be more creative.”

~Michelle Daniek, staff reporter

Sadie Carr takes spotlight

Senior Sadie Carr’s characters have left their mark on the theatre scene. She has brought to the stage the regal Queen Elizabeth of Richard III, the spunky Bertha Bumiller of Red, White, and Tuna, and the pretentious Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, all to amuse and entertain the community.
Carr has been involved in theatre and with singing since she was in sixth grade. However, Carr was never quick to show off her talent.
“My sixth-grade orchestra teacher got me to start singing,” Carr said. “He told me that I looked like I could sing, so I did.I started taking chorus when I got to FHS.”
In addition to singing in the choir, Carr became ensconced in the theatre program, where she realized she had a passion and talent for acting.
“I always liked musicals,” Carr said. “I love to sing and acting was just kind of the gateway to get to musicals. But now I really enjoy doing both normal stage productions, as well as musicals. Plus, in normal stage productions I don’t have to dance, which is good, because I’m not a dancer.”
Since her first role as Alma Hix in The Music Man her freshman year, Carr has become more comfortable with herself and more open to the characters she is given.
“The types of characters I can play has definitely expanded,” Carr said. “I don’t get nervous anymore and am able to step out of my comfort zone more.”
Carr has also been involved in shows at Fauquier Community Theatre and through the FHS Shakespeare Troupe. She favors Troupe over her other theatre endeavors because it strengthens her acting abilities.
“I wish I had auditioned for Shakespeare Troupe sooner,” Carr said. “The cast is always so much closer, and we work well together. Doing Troupe has really broadened my abilities; I always believed the theory that if you can act Shakespeare, you can act anything.”
Her favorite roles include the two she was cast in this year, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest and Queen Elizabeth in Richard III.
“Lady Bracknell was definitely a change for me, but a good one,” Carr said. “Queen Elizabeth was a challenge, primarily in memorizing all the lines; it gets very intense and takes a lot of focus.”
Theatre teacher Melanie Ankney is proud of Carr’s development.
“Passionate would be the word I would use to describe her,” Ankney said. “She has taken huge steps forward this year and presented more challenges for herself.”
Carr directed a one act last fall, entitled When Shakespeare’s Ladies Met, an endeavor that displayed her in-depth understanding of theatre, and persuaded Ankney to cast her as Lady Braknell.
“She was exactly what I was looking for in Braknell,” Ankney said. “Her interpretation was the most unique and entertaining version of the character I have ever seen.”
Ankney also attended the Richard III performance and was impressed by Carr’s performance.
“Acting in black-box theatre requires tremendous focus and honesty,” Ankney said. “I believe that Sadie captured that perfectly and with great strength.”
Carr will attend Christopher Newport University and hopes to pursue acting. But before then, you’ll have one last chance to see her as Dolly in Hello, Dolly this spring.
“I am proud of my accomplishments in the music and theatre department,” Carr said. “I hope to go out with a bang in Dolly, and I’m so excited to have been cast.”

~Maddie Lemelin, features/arts director

Musicians make melodies down in the pit

The musicians of the orchestra pit are every musical’s unsung heroes. Hidden away from the audience deep in the pit, woodwinds, strings and brass horns all work together to toot out the twist to which the stars on stage shout.
Senior Emma Nobile is directing the orchestra pit for the second year in a row. Nobile played her first note when she was three years old, and has been playing music ever since.
“I started seriously playing piano when I was seven; then I started playing trumpet when I was in fourth grade, and after that, that’s all I played,” Nobile said. “I played in the orchestra pit as a freshman and a sophomore, and then the vocal director, Meredith Schmall, asked me if I wanted to direct, so I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Nobile considers the musicians her peers, regardless of the authority she’s been granted. Senior William Stribling has been a close friend of Nobile’s since sixth grade, and plays trumpet for pit under her direction.
“Emma’s really, really great,” Stribling said. “She’s had a lot of practice throughout the years working on conducting, and because she got the practice last year, she’s even better this year. When Mr. [Andrew] Paul isn’t in band class, she usually conducts. The musicians know her as a friend, but they also recognize that she’s their leader, and without her they wouldn’t get anywhere.”
Stribling has been participating in school band since the sixth grade, and has been a part of the orchestra pit since he started high school.
“The pit is very different than band,” Stribling said. “First of all, the style of music is very, very different. In band, usually an instrument will have the melody, and in pit the actors have the melody while we act as underlying themes and rhythms. We also have to downplay ourselves and really work with the actors because we’re so much louder.”
The orchestra pit is a conglomerated effort between both band and orchestra students. Although they have conducted a few collaborations, the band and the orchestra rarely work together.
“Working with the orchestra students isn’t all that strange,” Stribling said. “I mean they play an instrument like any other. Maybe if there was some super technical string part, but for the most part we’re all playing the same music, so we just stick together.”
Junior Maya Payne plays piano with longstanding participant and seasoned pianist Laurie Bersack, who also plays for Taylor and Marshall middle school choral programs.
“Dolly’s music is a lot faster than what we normally play, and we don’t have as much rehearsal time,” Payne said. “It’s really helpful, especially since she has more experience than I have.”
Given Dolly’s challenging score and the limited rehearsal time the orchestra pit has to work with, Payne is unsure of the pit’s ability to master the music before opening night.
“I really can’t say now, because we just need to practice more with the actors,” Payne said. “It’s difficult getting the dance and the music together.”

~Patrick Duggan, news director

ADHD makes focus a challenge

Some days, having to sit in class is a struggle. Your teacher seems to like the sound of her own voice, and the only thing you can think about is all the things you would rather be doing. Imagine having a disorder that made this common teenage struggle even more difficult.
Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a behavioral and genetic disorder that causes students to have difficulties with paying attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
“It can be difficult to keep thoughts organized [for students with ADHD],” counselor Julie Kirk said. “The key is learning to compensate.”
ADHD affects three to five percent of adolescents. Depending on the severity, students that are diagnosed with ADHD may have accommodations in the form of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan that state their disorder, what it entails, and how to accommodate it. Some teachers recognize the disorder without a plan.
“I think they kind of pick up on it,” freshmen Tyler Pavlock said. “I’m so loud and I don’t focus.”
Math teacher Paul Reynolds has an understanding way of approaching the disorder.
“I have a student that can’t pay attention to me for more than 12 seconds,” Reynolds said. “I’m not going to punish him for it; I have a really small class and I can tell him to go do something different for three minutes and come back.”
Stimulants, like Adderall, are most commonly prescribed to treat ADHD because they have an opposite effect on people with the disorder; it calms them down. However, the side effects include loss of appetite, sleep problems and mood swings.
Sophomore Jessie Dawson was diagnosed with ADHD in the eighth grade. She said she always knew she had it, but her mom didn’t feel medication would be helpful.
“When I took medication it helped so much and then my mom felt really bad.” Dawson said. “[Without medication] I can’t focus. I’m not energetic; tt’s hard to get words for it.”
However, Dawson explained that the medication affects her mood, sometimes causing her to become depressed. Freshmen Nick Jacobus was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade when he had problems focusing.
“Sometimes I forget to take my pills and it irks me,” Jacobus said. “Like today I forgot, and I’ve gotten in trouble a few times; it doesn’t really bother me though.”
Kirk said that learning to cope puts a great deal of responsibility on students. Depending on the severity of a person’s ADHD, it can be controlled through medication, a different learning environment, or a combination of both. Others can control symptoms on their own.
“[Medication] made me too calm, so I stopped taking it,” Pavlock said. “I don’t do anything to control [ADHD]. I just go with it.”
ADHD medication is a weak amphetamine that, taken without the actual condition, produces a high. One anonymous student buys ADHD medication from students at school with the disorder. He explained what the drugs do for him.
“I can concentrate; it gives me a numbed out feeling that weed doesn’t,” the student said. “I think so much clearer, and it’s safer than other drugs if you’re smart about it.”
ADHD medications are subject to abuse by high school students. A person with ADHD may sell medication instead of taking it, and in some cases, people will tell a doctor the right symptoms in order to get a prescription. In 2012, 7.6 percent of high school seniors abused Adderall, according to a study by the University of Michigan.
When medication and other accommodations are used properly, having ADHD is not all bad for teenagers. Symptoms can be positive and give people unique qualities, like creativity and intuition.
“Without medication my mind goes everywhere,” Dawson said. “You’re thinking about so many things it’s easier to get new ideas and think outside the box.”

~SaraRose Martin, staff reporter

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