Notable alumni making it big

John Proctor

With the return of school comes the return of Friday night lights, or more commonly known as high school football. The smell of hot dogs and burgers and French fries, the sounds of blaring band music, cheering fans, the clashing of helmets and pads and 300 pound linemen trampling across the line of scrimmage all fill the cool autumn air. One cannot help but to feel at home as these stimulations of the senses send the mind spiraling back to successful seasons of past.

        For HHS the minds immediately go back to the glory days of Sam Rogers or maybe even Josh Wells for those that have been around longer. Separated by a year, these two never actually took the field together. However, both molded HHS football into the successful organization that it is today.

        The school itself opened in 2003, so of course the beginning was going to be a little rocky for the team. In the first season of its existence the Hawks won only one game, failing to make the playoffs. In 2004 entered Wells, completely taking the reins of the subpar program and running with them. Immediately he stood out, not just because of his 6’6” stature, but because the kid was good. Really good. In four years at HHS, Wells accumulated over 4,900 total yards and 33 touchdowns at quarterback. Most importantly he transformed this once struggling program into a competitive playoff team. He would eventually go on to make the NFL.

HHS had a big void to fill at quarterback with Wells gone. Many thought the Hawks would go back to the struggling program that it was before Wells, because honestly filling the shoes of a future NFL player is next to impossible. That is, for everyone but Sam Rogers.

        In Rogers’ first year he took the Hawks to the state semifinals, where they almost beat state powerhouse Phoebus High School out of Hampton. Phoebus was the defending state champion and on a 28 game winning streak. Needless to say HHS was about a 40 point underdog. Behind the leadership of Rogers, a freshman, they led the game until there was less than a minute to go, losing by a score of 10 to seven.

        Much like in this game, Rogers has always been a bit of an underdog in others’ eyes. He is smaller than most colleges prefer. Standing only at 5’10” he had some trouble getting big schools to recruit him despite his talent. Eventually Frank and Shane Beamer, coaches at Virginia Tech, told him he could walk on and try and compete for playing time. Rogers has always been a bit of an underdog in others’ eyes, but never his own.

“All I ever really wanted was an opportunity and that’s what they gave me. I know my expectations of myself will always be higher than the people who doubt me, but my biggest motivation is just trying to maximize my potential. At the end of the day, if I do that, it’s impossible to have regrets,” Rogers said.

        Entering his senior year Rogers is now a four year starter, a two year captain, and was put on scholarship almost immediately after arriving at Tech. His determination along with Wells’ determination is what best defines HHS football.

They branded a tradition of determination and perseverance into the identity of this program forever.

OP-ED: Dictionary twitter battle

Blake Vail-Rhodes

The bastardization of the English language is a hot topic among both scholars and language fanatics alike. The internet has popularized its own form of slang and writing style, which seems like a foreign language to anyone unfamiliar with the devolving grammar and poor sentence structure.

Language is not evolving, it’s devolving. Americans already speak a simplified form of english, and it is getting worse every year. The Oxford Dictionary word of the year in 2015 was the crying laughing emoji, and unless the american people are suddenly using hieroglyphics as our main form of communication, that seems absolutely ridiculous.

Changing a language to cater to those who misuse it is illogical. If Merriam Webster is now changing definitions, simply because people have been misusing the word, this is truly the end of english as we know it.

Frances McDaniel

As many linguists and anyone under the age of twenty who has tried to communicate with anyone over forty knows, language is a changing, growing organism that evolves depending on its use in day-to-day speech.

Language is made to communicate with other human beings; its sole purpose is to help someone else understand your thoughts and feelings. If language as it was written hundreds of years ago can no longer help other people understand you, what is the point of abiding by its ancient rules?

‘Mad’ has been used in day-to-day speech to mean ‘angry’ for years now. Kindergarteners who are just learning how to share their feelings are taught the word “mad” with a little red angry face even though it is technically improper english.

If we didn’t adjust the rules of language based on how it’s used, we would still be using words like “thine” and “bijoux”. Sorry traditionalists, but change is necessary for progress and the people who speak the language are the ones that choose how it’s used.


New academic learning center is making grades

Michelle Christian

The teachers have banded together and created a helpful center available to all students. Students can go get help with anything they need, anytime they need it. It’s available during the whole school day, so there is no need to stress about finding time to get help; simply go during your study hall.

This new addition to Hanover High School is the Academic Learning Center. The Academic Learning Center is located next to the library, in room 200, and it’s available to students primarily during flex or their study hall.

Students can get help with any topic, including reviewing what they’ve learned in class that day, assistance with homework and even pre-teaching upcoming units. SOL remediation is also available.

Tracey Milligan, one of the available teachers in the center, commented that, “Students can benefit from the Academic Learning Center because it increases their independence by having them sign-up for a spot in the mornings.”

Students also have independence while using computers. Some students who use read-aloud accommodations have complete control of the tool, being able to choose which questions get repeated, being able to fast forward, rewind, increase the volume and decrease the volume.

Available resources in the Academic Learning Center include various textbooks, dictionaries and access to computers. Students who wish to receive help should sign up in the Academic Learning Center, providing their name, teacher, and desired subject of focus.

The Career Center, as well as Karla Taylor, is available to students on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and alternating Fridays, with an advisor coming in to help students each Monday. It’s current location is in the 300’s pod.

Improvements to the career center include a new seating arrangement in the pod, an employment binder with a list of jobs available to students, and an updated website. Students wishing to consult with Taylor, the head of the career center, should sign up on the updated Career Center website, available through the Hanover High School homepage.

An available feature in the pod area is books for students to check out, including college information, preparation for upcoming SAT’s and getting financial assistance for attending the college of your choice.

A favorite feature of Taylor’s is the calendar of events tab. Students can sync this calendar with their own personal Google calendar, or even subscribe for notifications.

During November, which is career development month, Taylor will be meeting with classes to review the sixteen career clusters. Students will get the chance to take quizzes regarding their career interests, skills, and values.

Taylor would like to inform students that college visits are open to all students, however seniors will get priority if spaces become limited. Taylor encourages students from all grade levels to participate in the college visits. Students should not wait until their senior year to prepare for college, they should plan well before then.

It’s important for students to utilize the Career Center. “Whatever the students need, it’s here, they just need to take advantage of it,” Taylor said. Taylor is looking forward to seeing all of the new faces come to the career center.


Survival guide for baby hawks

Madison Lee

Let’s face it, “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” lied to us. There are no maniacal science teachers or weasel chasing janitor’s and eighth graders are not as evil as they were made out to be.  However, to flourish in HHS there are a few do’s and don’ts to be aware of.

  1. Don’t stop in the middle of the hallway.  For some unknown reason this is not common sense to a lot of people.  You will frequently see large groups talking in a circle blocking the main hallway, but for the sake of everyone’s sanity don’t follow these people’s lead.  If you want to talk to your friends, step into a pod or by the lockers.
  2. Don’t go up the down stairs or vice versa. This may be very tempting, but don’t do it! Of course if the hallways are clear you can run the risk, but if the stairs are in use don’t disrupt the flow of traffic. There really is no advantage to breaking this unspoken rule. It does not make you thug or a rebel, just inconsiderate.
  3. Do bring ones to school.  One thing you’ll quickly learn, if you haven’t already, is that high schoolers are hungry, all of the time. Plan ahead and be prepared to buy snacks from the vending machine with one dollar bills. This will be important to the survival of your high school years. This will be especially useful for days when you have after school activities. Bringing singles will save you from being that kid who is always asking for change.
  4. Don´t go into the senior lunch line if you´re not a senior. Wow, those who do this are so cool. You know, breaking the rules and all. But not really, that was complete sarcasm. There aren’t any real consequences to breaking this rule, it’s just irritating.  Your wait is just as long and you annoy a lot more people. And plot twist, you don’t blend in with the seniors, especially you freshman.  It´s easy to spot. Just follow common courtesy and respect the senior lunch line.
  5. Always walk on the right side of the hallway. There is a natural flow to things and staying to the right is a part of it. This will prevent traffic jams and get you where you need to be faster. Not to mention it will save you that awkward moment when you and another person walk straight into each other and neither can decide which way to pass. Simply pass to the right.
  6. Don’t overcrowd the lunch tables.  This is just uncomfortable for everyone.  First of all, you block traffic.  Innocent civilians are unable to make their way from one side of the lunchroom to the other because you’ve made the decision to block the aisles.  Is it really worth it to have that many “friends” at the lunch table.  There’s no way to include everyone in the conversation and you inevitably end up excluding those who are at the outer edge of the circle.  You’re probably not even good friends with the majority of the people sitting around you so you might as well break it up.  For those of you who are in the outer edge of the circle my advice is to go make your own table.  You don’t need to sit there fighting for a seat at the table.  Take the other outer edge squad and make your own cooler table where everyone can be involved in the conversation and you don’t disturb lunchroom traffic.  You are awesome and don’t need to be limited to the outer circle, just make your own inner circle.
  7. Lastly, and most importantly, absolutely be kind to your teachers.  This rule  is not limited to the beginning of school, but the whole year. Despite just making you a good human being it can also really benefit you. Let’s think about this practically. Your teachers will be grading your assignments for the rest of the year, do you really want to be on their bad side? Creating a good relationship with your teachers and proving that you are responsible will really help if you ever need an extension.

If everyone follows these spoken and unspoken rules we will all be able to learn in a much happier and healthier environment. Have a great year. Have fun, make friends, be engaged, learn a lot, and make the most of everything. We only have so many years as high schoolers and should savor every moment.

Stranger Things have happened

Courtney Carroll

If you have Netflix, then you’ve probably seen the new summer series Stranger Things as you’ve scrolled through the show and movie choices.

The directors, Matt and Ross Duffer, often referred to as the Duffer Brothers, who have collaborated on other film projects such as Hidden, Eater, and We All Fall Down. The US Cross-Platform Audience established the show to be the most popular digital original series in the United States during the week of July 17th, and 8.2 million people have watched it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 95% critic rating, and it was given four out of five stars on Common Sense media. TV Guide refers to Stranger Things as a “Steven Spielberg meets Stephen King sci-fi thriller”. It has already been renewed for a season two.

The show depicts a small town in Indiana in 1983 where a young boy, Will (Noah Schnapp) is abducted. Will’s mother (Winona Ryder) and brother (Charlie Heaton) cope with his disappearance in different ways as the town’s police chief investigates the case as it becomes stranger and more intense. Will’s friends, Mike, Lucas and Dustin (Finn Wolfhard, Caleb Mclaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo) are greatly affected by the boy’s disappearance and try to aid in solving the mystery as well, where they meet Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who tries to help them. As the search goes on, mysteries such as failed government experiments and supernatural monsters unravel as the show progresses.

Nostalgic viewers continue to watch and recommend Stranger Things because of its 80’s vibe and soundtrack including “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash, “Africa” by Toto, as well as songs by Joy Division, New Order and Dolly Parton. The 80’s atmosphere was  inspired by movies and television programs like E.T., The Goonies, Firestarter, The Thing, Poltergeist, The X-Files, Twin Peaks and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The show was scored by two members of the band S U R V I V E, Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon.

Sophomore Ali Woodward had a lot to say on the subject of the show. “I managed to sympathize with characters after just the first episode, and that is a hard thing to achieve. Each character is incredibly singular in their own way, and even the ones that died early on made a fantastic impression on the show itself, but no one won my heart like the children did. I fell in love with every single one right off the bat, and I don’t even like kids.”

Sophomore Marina Hernandez said, “I like everything about Stranger Things. It is addicting without having much action in it. The story plot is brilliant and the character development was done amazingly. You get so in touch with them since they are made more realistic than most TV show characters.”

“I like that it’s horror but not cheesy horror,” sophomore Grace Bost said. “They don’t overuse jump scares and they lead up to big moments really well.”

Viewers want a Season 2. They can’t wait for more from the Duffer Brothers and the talented cast.

Newbies in the art departments

Brooke Foster

Admit it, you’ve seen them. The arts kids. Walking down that dark hallway at the end of the school. What do they learn in there? Who teaches them?

Debra Clinton, an astounding director, play writer, and now Hanover High’s inspiring theatre art’s teacher, may be recognized in the hallway after long term subbing for the department last year.

“I feel very invested,” Clinton said. “The reason I was interested in the job is because I was very inspired by the students. When I got here, there seemed to be a real desire for a stronger theatre program and I responded to that. As a theatre artist, I’m very passionate about what I do and as an educator, I want to share that with kids so to come to an environment where all that fit together, that seemed like a good place to be,” Clinton continued in response to being asked why she decided to stick with the program after subbing last year.

Clinton is not the only person excited about having a new face in the theatre department. Along with her, many student have expressed how much they are looking forward to this year. Between writing, directing, and teaching, she is more than experienced and ready for the job.

“I have a lot of faith in her because I know that she’s really successful in the theater community in Richmond. So I definitely know that she’s going to produce good things at Hanover theatre company and that she knows what she’s doing. She’s really ready and excited and it feels good,” senior Becka Russo said.

Along with Clinton, another teacher has joined the fine arts staff. Carol Ann Dickerson, the new director of Hanover’s award winning choir, has worked here before as well as a part time director.

“It’s been wonderful. Everybody has been very welcoming and I love the community. It’s nice to be back,” Dickerson said,  “I think the art’s are extremely important for the students to be able to express themselves. So many times, sitting in a class doing other activities that wouldn’t be of interest to them, they know that they have to do those activities. But, they come down here because it’s something that they love to do.”

Overall, both the students and teachers are looking forward to an amazing year in the arts department. “Mrs. Clinton is very passionate about what she does, not only in the theatrics, but she cares about all the students and has our best interests in her mind. I’m excited to work with her in class and in Hanover Theatre Company’s productions this year,” freshman Abby Todd said.

Other students have expressed how they appreciate not only the way their new teachers conduct the classroom, but also in the way that they accept all their students and have embraced the program and the students involved.

“She’s a really nice teacher and she welcomes everyone with open arms. She’s a very understanding person. And I’m excited to sing and perform in the winter concert,” freshman Savana Watts said, “I’m looking forward to all the songs we will be singing this year.”

Between new teachers and new students, the arts department is sure to be a success this year. The performing Hawks will continue on their tradition of giving their all and leaving audiences in awe. This year, the dark hallway at the end of the school is definitely in the spotlight.


Callie Robinson

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Kristina Reece talks to students about new football game rules. Photo by Giles Vanhuss.

This year the freshmen aren’t the
only new faces in the hallways. The
student body and faculty had the
privilege of greeting new principal
Kristina Reece as she joined HHS,
ready to begin a year full of promise
and potential.
Before arriving at Hanover, Reece
spent 13 years teaching and working
as an assistant principal at schools
around Henrico County, including
Godwin and Glen Allen. Hailing
from Lee-Davis High School, Reece
knew the reputation that HHS held
and was drawn to elements such as
our variety of course offerings and
fantastic faculty. She knew that her
passion for specialty centers, which
would enrich programs such as EMT,
pharmacy, nursing, biotechnology
and sports medicine, could thrive at
More than anything, she knew
that she missed the experience of
interacting with students every day
and that HHS would be the right fit
for her. The first day at such a school
can be an intimidating feat for some,
but Reece was excited and ready to
get going.
Reece spent her summer hopping
back and forth between her sons’
various football and baseball games.
She also enjoyed time at the lake
with family and friends.
While the Reece family is rarely
without a busy schedule, Reece uses
any free time to play with her new
puppy, exercise with a few close
friends or just catch up with her
family. One of her favorite activities
in the fall is attending Friday night
football games.
“It’s such a fun time and a great
way for the community to come together.”
Reece said.
Before attending a combination of
Virginia Commonwealth University,
James Madison University and the
University of Virginia for her various
levels of degrees, Reece recalls
spending her years as a high school
“I was one of those kids that liked
to try everything out.” Reece said
about her high school self. Her extensive
list of activities included
participating in musicals and plays,
running track, cheerleading, playing
tennis and swimming. Reece was a
member of Hanover County’s very
first swim team.
“My advice to freshmen is to find
your niche and realize that while it
might be intimidating at first, there’s
a place for everyone. Teachers, counselors
and other faculty aren’t just
here to give you grades or build your
schedule, they’re here for you to lean
on and help you succeed.” Reece said.
Already an adapted and enthusiastic
part of the HHS community,
Reece looks forward to an excellent
2015-2016 school year. She hopes
the student body will find her to be
an approachable and caring person
who believes in following the rules
and doing what needs to be done in
order for Hanover to be a welcoming
and successful environment for all.
Reece wants to personally meet as
many students as she can, as well as
build good relationships with the seniors
in order to provide them with
the best opportunities for their last
year as HHS students. She strongly
feels that she is here for the right
reasons and looks forward to learning
everything she can about being a
Hanover Hawk.