The Times are A-Changing

Alexis Miller

“School should be more flexible around the students’ schedule not so much just the school’s schedule,” sophomore Lauren Metzger said.
As summer is closing out the school year, students are flooded with plans of the beach, the never ending days under the sun, and staying up until two in the morning for no reason other than having no worry of waking up early in the morning.
But, on the other side of summer is a brand new year, a year that presents students and faculty with a lot of new changes.
“Next year your schedule will still be the same. It’s going to be an eight block pair of days,” assistant principal Frances Warnick said. “Students will just have the opportunity to take more classes because teachers will be teaching more classes.”
Even though it is an eight block plan, students’ schedules won’t be entirely the same. A 20-minute flex time will be added into the school day to accommodate travelers coming to Hanover and to the Hanover Center for Trades and Technology.
“We have to have time for them to be transported and not miss instructional time because they are coming from Patrick Henry, Lee Davis and Atlee,” Warnick said.
Flex Time also has another purpose; it can be used as a small study hall for students to finish some of their homework as well as a potential club time for students who are unable to stay after school.
“Right now, a lot of kids take study halls. The push is to take advantage of the eight blocks and take more electives,” Warnick said.
However, a lot of students are hesitant to abandon their study hall block for a full eight class schedule.
“Flex Time doesn’t give you enough time to do anything,” a sophomore student, who would like to remain nameless, said.
Though Flex Time gives more students time to come to Hanover’s Specialty Center, which accommodates about 200 kids from other schools per day, class sizes are projected to be smaller. With this added “homebase,” lunches will begin as early as 10:00 am. Seniors with senior release will therefore be allowed to leave at a later time than previous.
Classes now have an average of 26 students, according to Warnick. Though there is not yet an exact number of students per class it is expected to be smaller than this year. This is both a positive for student and faculty because it will be easier to learn in this environment.
“The teachers will have more of an individual approach,” Metzger said.
Next school year, teachers will be required to teach six classes instead of five. While this opens up more class blocks for students, it increases the work load for the teachers who will be fewer in number as budget cuts force layoffs.
“They had less classes last year and now they have more classes and they still have the same pay. That’s not right for them. And they cut more teachers so I don’t know how that’s going to work,” sophomore Alexis Anderson said.
As well as the increase in the classes teachers have, there aren’t going to be any early morning classes other than College Composition.
“Some people have work and it just works easier for some people to come to school early,” Anderson said.
The absence of early morning may be a hindrance for the students who have jobs and depend on early morning so they can get out early.
Starting with the class of 2015, senior release will no longer be offered. And, it will be harder for students to switch classes after the initial scheduling period.
Another change that has really hit home with students is the fact that they will no longer be reimbursed for making a 4 or 5 on an AP test or a 3 and up on the IB test. Junior IB students have raised a protest over the change, which forces them to pay nearly $1000 for their tests without a reimbursement or a guarantee of an IB diploma. Some worry of the future of the IB program as students may opt for the AP program instead, which does not require any exams to be taken at the end of the year, unless desired.
“It’s unfair that we have to pay for a test that public schools should provide to us,” junior Maya Shadoyan said.
Shadoyan isn’t the only one upset with this new policy. Metzger and Anderson both commented on how this is a major blunder.
“How are you going to encourage kids to take harder classes if they have to pay for it. It’s almost like a punishment for being smart,” Anderson said.
In the old rule, students were reimbursed if they passed. This incentive for passing is now naught.
“It also is a disadvantage for kids who can’t afford it. So what about those kids that can’t afford it but still want the credit? You should be able to get that in high school,” Anderson said.
When students come back from summer Hanover will almost be working under a brand new system. With a new Flex Time, larger classes, no early morning, and no reimbursements for the AP and IB tests, it is expected for this to be a very different school day for everyone.

Advertisements

Biggest School, Smallest Classes

Matthew Odom

Walking the halls of Hanover High School, you may notice that the school feels a little empty. The parking lot is half-full. Some of the lockers have been empty since the school opened.
Compared to other high schools in the county, Hanover has the fewest students but the largest square footage. Why has this happened?
Hanover High School was built in 2003 when the housing market was booming. Farms and forests in Mechanicsville were being transformed into cul-de-sacs and swimming pools. The new school was meant to handle the expected rise in population as more people moved to Hanover County.
When the recession hit, growth slowed and Hanover High School now stands less than full. Hanover’s student-to-teacher ratio is 16-to-1. By comparison, Atlee’s and Lee-Davis’ are 19-to-1 and Patrick Henry’s is 18-to-1.
Now some school board members are wondering if redistricting is necessary in order to even out the student-to-teacher ratio.
Opponents of redistricting argue that moving students to different High Schools is emotionally distressing and could conflict with their loyalties, especially when it comes to sports.
An Atlee High School football player could end up playing for Hanover next year, something that isn’t necessarily the easiest transition.
“I think it is going to be challenging because the schools that are really overcrowded, Patrick Henry and Lee-Davis, are far from Hanover,” history teacher Caroline Bare said
Proponents of redistricting argue that it will allow for a more even distribution of students throughout the county high schools and not give student at Hanover High School an advantage over schools in the county.
“I think it would be good idea, especially for other high schools,” Bare said. “I think the other high schools are really overcrowded and I feel bad for those teachers who have larger class sizes than we do.”
However, not all are ready to welcome students from other districts.
“The only effect that would come from redistricting would be angering students at Hanover because we would have kids from Atlee and Lee-Davis here,” junior Devin Ryan said.
Redistricting isn’t as easy as it sounds though. Many students and parents have developed strong connections to their schools. They develop loyalties to their schools, especially when it comes to sports.
A sophomore at Atlee could be a junior at Hanover if the schools were redistricted. A freshman at Lee Davis could end up a sophomore at Atlee.
Any attempt to redistrict would likely be met with protests. The fight could drag out all summer and into next school year.
Whatever decision the school board comes to, it won’t be perfect. Both sides of the argument will have to compromise, and not everyone will be happy.
“No matter what [the school board] does, somebody is going to be upset,” Bare said.

SOL Test Score Results Decline

Chace Blackburn

SOL test scores have recently come back, with inconclusive results. Hanover had a relatively good year last year, but this year that testing success appears less certain. Dina Pulley said that this year’s test scores were relatively lower than those her students received last year. “We received more questions to prepare, but our scores sadly did not reflect that.” When asked why, she blamed the amount of school days the students missed.
Sharla Godfrey, who is supervising the SOL testing this year, has indicated lower test scores result from changing test formats. “We don’t have a very clear idea, as some scores didn’t come (yet). This is a problem that happens every year. The    Chemistry, Biology, and English Reading and Writing SOLs have all changed this year, which is what happened with the Algebra, Algebra 2, and Geometry SOLs last year. Teachers worry that the rigor of the tests will show in the scores, but I guess we have to wait and see.”

English Teacher Leaves

Ian Rose

English teacher Greenlee Naughton is one step away from earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership. Credit: Alexis Miller
English teacher Greenlee Naughton is one step away from earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Credit: Alexis Miller

As the school year comes to an end, faculty, students and parents prepare to say goodbye to English teacher Greenlee Naughton. Naughton, who teaches 11th grade English and AP Literature and Composition, will take a leave of absence next year.
Many teachers are thinking of leaving due to schedule changes, but Naughton plans to use her leave of absence to complete her dissertation for a Doctorate in Educational Leadership through Virginia Commonwealth University.
As she enters the final year to complete her dissertation, she has been forced to dedicate more time and energy into finishing it.
Her dissertation, which deals with the intricate debate over teachers’ uses of social media in their personal lives, is the final step between her and a PhD.
In addition to the imminence of dissertation’s due date, the new six class requirement for teachers was an immediate factor in her decision to take a leave of absence.
“I knew I couldn’t finish it with six classes,” Naughton said, “as soon as that schedule change looked like it would take place, I put in the paperwork to take a leave of absence.”
Though she is excited to finish her dissertation and earn her PhD, she will find it difficult to leave behind some of the perks of teaching at Hanover High School.
“I will miss the students and I will miss teaching great literature,” Naughton said.
An announcement as to who will be teaching the great literature of her AP English classes in her place next year has yet to be made.
“I want to make sure AP English ends up in good hands,” Naughton said.
Though teaching these challenging works of literature at a college level is in itself challenging, whoever takes on the role of teaching AP Literature and Composition will additionally face the daunting task of measuring up to Naughton’s lauded teaching methods.
Though Hanover High School will be losing such an invaluable teacher, students and faculty wish her the best next year as she pursues her doctoral degree.

News Briefs

IRS RESIGNATION: IRS Acting Commissioner Steve Miller resigned from his post after a report emerged showing the tax agency had been targeting conservative groups.

QUANTUM EFFECTS: NASA installed a $15 million computer that is reported to be 3,600 times faster than conventional computers.

FAULTY WHEEL: NASA telescope Kepler is hobbled by two borken wheels. NASA says the planet-hunting telescope needs at least three wheels working in order to be oriented properly.

TEXAS TORNADO: Six deaths resulted from a tornado that hit Granbury, Texas, 70 miles west of Dallas.

VACCINE FOR ROTAVIRUS: Scientists in India unveiled a low-cost vaccine for Rotavirus, which is spread through contaminated hands and kills half a million children around the world each year.

MILITARY MILESTONE: the US Navy launched an unmanned drone, which the Navy hopes will lead the way for a new era of unmanned aircraft.

DIALECT IS DYING: The Texas German dialect, originated from regional German and a mix of English, is in its last generation.

The Most Dangerous Game

Jaqueline Arechiga

Junior Tyler Sigmon is seen here soaking his assigned target. Credit: Jaqueline Arechiga
Junior Tyler Sigmon is seen here soaking his assigned target.
Credit: Jaqueline Arechiga

The competition is fierce with water shooting from every direction during Band Assassins. On its seventh-year go-around, 36 band members submitted $5 each into the stack that would eventually become the grand prize of $180. Senior Cassie Davis has organized all the targets, written the guidelines, and even made a Facebook page to aid in the battle that started May 2nd.
“I’m running it and not being in it because it’s kind of stressful because every time you go someplace, you have to worry about ‘is my assassin going to me here?’” Davis said. Davis knows everyone’s target and is aware of the determination of some people to assassinate their target, or, in other words, get them wet with water.
The strategies that are being used are top secret, but can be inspired by past events. Band Assassins is notorious for getting the inner spy out of the most introverted people. Last year, sixpeople were involved in the game, and with six times as many players, the game has become even more intense.
“I like to see students who are really quiet in the band that get really excited and they’re the ones who are going to win,” Amy Birdsong, the band teacher, said. “I try not to stay involved because I don’t want to be partial to anyone or be in anything that involves student gambling.”
Although Birdsong may not get the chance to be a part of this, parents join in on the fun and look out for their kids when stepping outside, lend them their cars while out to avoid being identified, and stake out homes at 3 o’clock in the morning. It’s no wonder people get so into the event from the start.
“Some people get huge super soakers and some of us get one dollar water guns from the dollar store and some people go and hide behind people’s cars before they walk out or at the bus stop,” junior Peyton Robinson said, “Some people are taking it seriously because there is a big cash reward at the end.”
Stories such as band members disguising themselves as trash in front of a home, plotting to attack during someone’s date, or hiding behind cars and popping out are the ones that keep the spirit of the game alive.
Although this type of event raises the anticipation and energy of those involved, some have a hard time juggling their schoolwork with the pressures of staying in the game. First round lasts two weeks and then after the first, the next rounds have a limit of a week to get their assigned target.
“It’s a terrible distraction from school,” junior Emily Turner said, “Mostly because people get so paranoid and won’t go anywhere. They sit in their house and do nothing because they’re scared that people will get them. It distracts them from their schoolwork and their studies.”
Especially with SOLs, AP and IB testing, this is a crucial time of the year for the students to stay focused and not have unnecessary distractions. This may be the best time of the year for the band program, though, as it hits a rough patch around early springtime.
“It’s definitely fun at this time of year. I think if it happened earlier, I’d be a little concerned about it distracting the students from our assessment we have back in March,” Birdsong said.
Although stress is involved with the risk of being caught at any moment by the assassin, the game is worth the thrill. Distraction or no distraction, band assassins is a strategic game of stealth that is difficult not to enjoy.
“Its lots of fun, it can be stressful, but we are all friends and it’s a blast.” Turner said.

Experiencing College Life

Devon Altman

This school year, various members of the student body were selected to attend Virginia’s Summer Residential Governor’s School Program. The program offers students across Virginia the chance to stay at a college for an entire month and take classes while learning information about their preferred subject area.
The spots for the Summer Governor’s School are limited, and students have to go through a strenuous application process after being nominated in order to apply. Some nominees even have to audition for their spot at one of the summer programs held each year.
A plethora of rising juniors and seniors applied to Governor’s School programs The programs offered are a once in a lifetime opportunity for high school students, and are a major accomplishment that should be recognized.
Junior David Bogaev will be attending Radford University’s School for Visual and Performing Arts this summer for Vocal Music. Other attendees of Radford’s Visual and Performing Arts Program include junior Chace Blackburn for Humanities, and junior Chris Pennington for Instrumental Music.
“I was so excited, surprised and even shocked when I found out I made it in,” Pennington revealed. Pennington plays the clarinet for band, and is a member of the Marching Hawks. He was nominated by Amy Birdsong, head of the music department, and after filling out his application, Pennington had to audition for his place at Governor’s School.
“I believed I had a good audition. There were so many people there, but it was a great experience overall because it was run like a college audition,” Pennington added. Pennington is looking forward to the program.
Junior Mckenzie York was selected to attend Virginia Tech for their Agriculture Program. York was nominated but English teacher Michael Goodrich-Stuart, and was very excited about the opportunity at hand.
“I live on a farm and I love it, so I know I am interested in agriculture. I want to do something with that area in the future, and I know that Governor’s School will help me decide what field to study in college,” York said.
York is not nervous about being away from home for so long, and she cannot wait for her month-long adventure.
Alongside the Virginia‘s Summer Residential Governor’s School is the Virginia Governor’s Foreign Languages Academies. There are programs offered for French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Latin, and the students who attend have to speak a foreign language for an entire month. The foreign language academies are very prestigious and only a limited number of students are chosen to attend.
Junior Jaqui Arechiga with be attending the French Academy, while junior Brendan Geer will be attending the Latin Academy. In addition sophomore Catherine Holl was selected to attend the German Academy.
The students stay at the Governor’s School program will open many doors and opportunities for its attendees, and many of the members from our student body are excited for the experiences just down the road.

Teacher of the Month

Ashley Richardson

Mrs. Tejnecky
Mrs. Tejnecky

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

A: The call to become a teacher started as a small voice my junior year in college when I found myself leading more study groups and tutoring other students in my science and math classes. When my husband and I began a family, the curiosity of my own girls renewed my interest in pursuing teaching as a career. I am so proud of my students here and see great futures for them as they continue to pursue their dreams.

Q: What advice do you have for graduating seniors?

A: Keep your mind open to change. It’s good to embrace opportunities instead of fighting them, but it won’t be easy or comfortable.

Great Gatsby Gets Green Light

Devon Altman

The Great Gatsby, full of all the glitz and glamour, made $20 million from sales opening day.  Credit: Warner Bros
The Great Gatsby, full of all the glitz and glamour, made $20 million from sales opening day.
Credit: Warner Bros

“Who is this Gatsby anyway?”
Considered the greatest American classic, “The Great Gatsby” arrives to the theaters, transferring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece from paper to the big screen.
Baz Luhrmann, director of “Moulin Rouge!“ (2001) and “Romeo and Juliet” (1996), takes his past experiences and talents, while adding his artistic vision, to revamp the novel.
The roaring twenties was a time influenced by music, money, and alcohol. The parties were grand, and the scandals were huge. Gossip was a main way of communication, and big was definitely better. Luhrmann took this into account when directing “The Great Gatsby,” and represented the time period with lavishness and luxury.
The motion picture was an extravagant story filled with glitz, glamour and heartbreak. Although new events were created and some were left out, the overall production of the film was very true to Fitzgerald’s work.
The focus of the film, Jay Gatsby, is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio shows both the soft side and distraught side of the wealthy war veteran. He captures Gatsby’s desire and drive to be united once again with the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, whom is played by Carey Mulligan. DiCaprio’s acting was superb, and his first look at his co-star Mulligan says it all.
In addition, Luhrmann casted Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. Carraway, who befriends Gatsby, is a young awkward man with a passion for writing, but a career in the bond market.
The movie starts out with an unusual twist concerning Maguire’s character; however, the new storyline helps bring the entire story of Gatsby to the viewer’s attention and wraps all the chaos up in just under three hours.
Other actors casted include Joel Edgerton, who played as Tom Buchanan, and Elizabeth Debicki, who starred as Jordan Baker.
The acting among the cast was great, and the quotation references to the actual novel were a smart addition. The soundtrack to the film, however, has received mixed reviews since the music is from the present day and it not representative of the 1920s.
Overall, the film was a success across America. The movie almost received $20 million in ticket sales alone on opening day.
Although critics have contradicting opinions over the film, the majority of   “The Great Gatsby’s” audience, who have read Fitzgerald’s classic, loved the motion picture.

Up ↑