For those of you who haven’t been to the FCCTV studio, it is an area of decent sized rooms that hides under the very school we walk in. To get in, you have to enter a code, knock on the door three times and then perfect the secret handshake.
Kidding, of course; the doors are by the art room back entrance and are almost always open. The tech guy who runs the place, Michael Palmrose, was very helpful and willing to teach us TV amateurs, the staff of Lasso Online, how to perfect the art of the press conference.
It was quite an experience. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the room—besides the overwhelming amount of technology surrounding me—was how cold it is. I soon realized, however; why the air conditioning was on full blast when I started to feel the heat of the stage lights.
Students sit in their seats with pen and notebook in hand. Barely five minutes later, the Superintendents, both Dr. Berlin and Dr. Jones, arrive. Next thing you know, the teleprompters are rolling and the blinding lights are front and center on seniors Eddy Marshall and Hannah Leopold.
A few questions and answers later, the camera man gives the signal and it is all over. Everyone takes a deep breath. Journalists finish their last notes and Superintendents exchange a few light conversations.
What was the most memorable part of this Lasso adventure?
Co-news editor Allie Plata, freshman, says, “asking the questions, on TV!”
Students were most excited about the fact that they would be shown on television. Even if it is not national television, the experience is still something worth telling to grandchildren—well, maybe younger grandchildren, because no grandchildren over the age of 12 will find that very exciting.
This year, Atlantic Records held a competition for schools across America to find the best high school music program in the country. Several Mason students wrote essays describing the school’s success in the music area, including chorus members Samuel Waters and Anne Briggs and symphonic band member Annie Geren.
The winning school will get a personal performance by Jason Mraz; the date of this year’s Spring Show was planned around his appearance. It will be interesting to see how Mraz is able to adapt to such a small stage in the auditorium; students could not be more excited for the performance.
“When I wrote the essay, I did not know if we stood a chance. I was so ecstatic to find out that we won and to see Jason in person. He is really a musical inspiration,” said senior Anne Briggs.
Over 400 schools entered this contest, but ultimately, Mason was deemed as the high school with the most outstanding musical program.
“We really have a great program, especially the band which has had ten straight years of superior ratings,” said senior Annie Geren.
The schools were judged on criteria consisting of success in musical competitions, the essays submitted by the musicians, and proof of the school’s dedication to keeping the music program alive.
Students who are fans of musical artist Jason Mraz may want to buy tickets for one of the Spring Show performances. Happy April Fool’s Day.
George Mason’s Robotics team played a hard fought competition at the DC Convention Center this weekend. They ultimately came in 13th in the preliminary standings out of 62 other teams, and were picked to play in the second seeded alliance for the finals. We were eliminated in the quarter finals by two extremely close matches, losing 73 to 75 in quarter final one, and 66 to 75 in quarter final two with our minibot one foot away from scoring 20 points at the final buzzer.
The team improved dramatically over the two day competition, ultimately winning seven times and losing three. Each match taught the team something new about the robot and how to make it better. This game had a 15 second autonomous period where the robot operated entirely on its own, then 90 seconds of tele-operated play where the robot is driven by two students to score inner tubes on a scoring rack, finished by a 20 second period for deploying a small robot to climb a ten foot pole. Our robot can now score six points autonomously, place an entire logo of tubes in the tele-operated period, and deploy a mini-bot very consistently, something we could not do during most of the matches held Friday. We were the leading scorer in our alliance group every time we played Saturday morning.
The students worked extremely hard to improve between matches, frequently testing our capabilities on a practice field and making modifications in our pit area. We have now played the game as successfully as we hoped, and are eager to show our stuff at the Virginia Regional in Richmond next week (April 7, 8 and 9). If this team plays like it did on the last day of this competition, we should find ourselves in the playoffs once again against a very impressive array of mostly Virginia teams. Of the 62 teams scheduled, only nine will be from out of state.
The attention to detail, the problem solving, and the resourcefulness of this team is the real accomplishment this last weekend. Things went wrong that we did not anticipate, equipment failed, rulings went against us, but at no time did this team fail to figure out what to do next and to go back and play better the next match. It is amazing how little it takes for something to go wrong in a test like this competition. Our team did not quit, they came off the field fierce to make improvements and go back and play some more. By the end of the day, we felt like we could play against the best teams on the field. I wish you all could have witnessed the dramatic progress this team made over the three days in DC.
We look forward to starting the fourth quarter with a more triumphal match in Richmond. Nothing could exceed the intensity of what this young team did this last weekend, or better represent how they overcame setbacks, solved complex technical dilemmas with the materials on hand, and improved in speed and accuracy on the playing field. They have every reason to be congratulated and celebrated.
The FIRST Team 1418 is made up by team members Matt Butkiewicz, Andrew Emmons, Kal Stankov, Vlad Utchin, Chris Wakeley, Andrew Finein, Adam Martin, Boon Sakprayoonpong, Teran Peterson, Daniel Suh, Daniel Nette, Shayne Ensign, Beamlak Hallemariam, Jade Womak, and Marc Forbes.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, mind racing at a million miles per second; George Mason seniors know this feeling all too well. Logging onto email accounts and checking the mailbox frantically everyday are common signs of college acceptance anxiety, present especially in these next few months.
However, students who applied early decision or early action found out mid-December, meaning senioritis kicked in before many seniors even began stressing over college acceptances. And if you are lucky enough to be a star athlete, your college decision could have been made as early as the end of junior year. From personal experience, I can attest that yes, the waiting time is just as horrible as everyone makes it sound. The month before that acceptance or rejection letter was to arrive, paranoia kicked in and I began coming up with other options for next year if I got that envelope with “rejected, you suck” in big red letters. Maybe I could work at McDonalds? Or take a year off, just to chill at home? I had days where I would feel very relaxed and certain that I would make it into my top choice; of course I wouldn’t let anyone know about these thoughts because I didn’t want to jinx myself. Mostly, though, I suffered through the bad days of “What if I don’t get in??? My life will be over!!”
Just like anticipating the college decisions is as horrible as everyone says it is, senioritis is just as great, or even better, than what all seniors make it out to be. The day before a big test, most juniors and underclassmen would be cramming and freaking out; but as a senior, you have the perk of not caring and leaving grades up to a little thing called fate. Senior year also gives students open campus passes and a free pass out of any class via the form for 18 year old students to sign themselves out. Teachers are also more lenient, factoring in students’ stress over completing numerous college apps and essays; this is where whining about not having enough time to complete an assignment works like magic.
For those students still waiting to hear back from colleges, the wait is almost over, so keep faking those distraught puppy-dog faces in front of teachers while you can get away with it. As college acceptances arrive in the mailbox, post your senior picture along with your college logo on the college map outside of the library. There really is no better feeling than knowing that you are on your way to a new step in life to get experience in the real world, leaving the high school drama and immaturity behind.
-Giulia Hjort, senior
The cast of Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School’s “High School Musical, Junior” definitely had their heads in the game during their final performance last Saturday night.
If you don’t already know the plot of the Disney hit “High School Musical,” here’s a recap: basketball star Troy Bolton meets new kid and champion braniac Gabriella Montez over winter break when the two share a duet in a karaoke contest. Their friendship is forbidden and they are forced to “stick to the status quo” by drama club president Sharpay Evans and her brother Ryan. In the end, though, they realize that they are “all in this together” and become friends. Basically, it’s a modern version of “Grease.”
George Castillo and Lydia Gomper sang their hearts out as Troy and Gabriella, while Brian Nelson and Annie Washa shined as the despicable Sharpay and Ryan. With a cast consisting of kids ages 11 to 13, there was no shortage of smiles and energy onstage. The play stuck to the original movie for the most part, with just a few changes here and there and a few new songs, like “Counting on You.”
The talented cast didn’t let a few technical difficulties ruin their night; they continued on through microphone failures and early music cues. Though the show only lasted an hour, the cast was greeting with a standing ovation at the end of the show, while Castillo and the rest of the cast presented MEH theatre teacher and play director Barbara Piscopo with a bouquet of flowers to express their thanks. George Mason High School students Andrew Finein and Shannon Upton also lent a hand with the performance, with Upton as choreographer and Finein as technical director.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll see some of the seventh grade performers in a Mason musical next year.
Unfortunately, it has become all too common in the past few months to see police cars in front of George Mason High School and cops in the main office talking to Principal Byrd. It has become apparent that George Mason has a bit of a drug problem. Numerous students have been caught with contraband of some sort: marijuana, smoking paraphernalia or the substance known as K2, a synthetic version of marijuana mentioned in a previous Lasso article.
But it seems students have finally crossed the line; drug dogs are now being introduced to George Mason. Yes, drug dogs. Like the kind that sniff out marijuana and other contraband items.
If it’s true that more drugs have been found on students this year than in the past three years combined, bringing dogs to school doesn’t mean “the man is bringing us down,” it means that Mason stoners need to start being smart and stop smoking weed in school; it's common sense, school is not the place to satisfy your drug urges.
Please stop going in random stairwells, bathrooms and hallways of the school assuming that no one is going to smell the “dank” and prominent aroma of your good friend Mary Joanna. And saying that “K2 is legal. I won’t get in trouble” is just really naïve. You will get in trouble, you will probably get suspended--if not expelled--and you might even be arrested.
Section 9.37 of the FCCPS School Board Policies and Legal Information Packet clearly states that “Cloves, herbs, or any other product packaged for smoking are prohibited to the same extent as tobacco... ‘Smoking’ means the carrying or holding of any lighted pipe, cigar or cigarette of any kind, or any other lighted smoking equipment, or the lighting, inhaling, or exhaling of smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind. ‘Use’ includes but is not limited to chewing any tobacco product. For students under 18 years old, ‘use’ shall also include possession.”
K2 is not legal at school and by the end of the year, it probably will not be legal anywhere in Virginia. And just in case you also forgot, when you go to school, you automatically give up some of your constitutional rights. It’s not “The Man,” it’s just how it is. Deal with it.
Just a quick reminder, “stoners”: we live in a two-square mile town. The Falls Church Police Department has nothing better to do but give out speeding tickets and arrest stupid teenagers who are being irresponsible. I have lived here for six years and the only epic thing that the FCPD has ever had to deal with is the one time they shot out a car-jacker’s tires in front of OHOP. Falls Church stoners seem to constantly forget that this is a tight-knit community, and they really seem to forget that the school system is the center of all things Falls Church-related.
The school is not out to get us. They are not required to tell us in advance if they are bringing dogs to the school. If they really wanted to, they could have locked us all in the auditorium and sent Fido out from backstage to search us on the spot. And I’m 99% sure a good chunk of the students would have started digging through their backpacks and dumping their contraband on the person next to them.
I have no sympathy for the students caught at school. None whatsoever. Now don’t get me wrong, getting expelled sucks, but when you decide that getting high on school grounds is a good idea, you deserve it, plain and simple. If you take that risk, be prepared to get completely destroyed. By the administration, your parents, the police. Everyone.
Now that that’s all said and done, I’m going to step on some toes; Thomas Jones and Brian Pike's specifically. [Editor’s note: These names belong to Facebook profiles of mysterious “students” who do not attend GMHS. It is suspected that they are adults spying on the internet behaviors of GM students. These “students” have been harassed online for their mysterious nature.] I’m certainly not condoning the harassment that they have apparently been receiving via inbox, wall posts, status comments, etc. on Facebook, but I’m offended that whoever these people are, they think that most teenagers are stupid enough to fall for those poorly-made, fake profiles.
Let’s start with Tom. Your name is Tom Jones. You might as well have just named yourself something as obvious as Joe Brown or Bob Smith. Your favorite movies are
“Fight Club” and “Inception.” Who doesn’t like “Fight Club” and “Inception”? You enjoy listening to Lady Gaga, Drake and Bob Marley. Name one teenager in Falls Church who doesn’t have at least one Lady Gaga song on their iPod. Your favorite athletes are Kobe Bryant and Brett Favre. I have never been coordinated enough to enjoy sports, but even I have heard of both of them.
What teenager in their right mind has ever used the phrase, “…being thrown into high school without a paddle"? We are not that eloquent on Facebook. We use words like “lol” and forget punctuation and capitalization. Tom Jones, you look like a pretty chill guy. In one of your pictures, you are sitting on what looks like a lawn chair, holding a soda. So, why are you so behind on the Facebook trend? It’s hard to believe that such a chill guy like you would wait so long to sign up. Also, why do you apparently not have any friends in Reno, Nevada, where you used to live?
Onto Brian; Wow. You’re a huge Packers fan. Didn’t they just win the Super Bowl the same day that you started friending everyone? Most normal teenage boys would not be caught dead with your profile picture. It resembles Justin Bieber too much. Your very first status was something along the lines of “Where da party at, FC?” I don’t even have a comment for that. Your interests include “Drinking beer." Now you are just getting sloppy.
I do not know who you are, Tom Jones and Brian Pike, but I do know that you are not real teenagers trying to make friends in Falls Church. Maybe you are a cop, maybe you are a worried parent or maybe you are a pedophile. But please, do not insult our intelligence when trying to trick us into admitting all of our wrongdoings to some random kid who friended us on Facebook. If you are trying to catch us, please put a little more time and effort into it.
Also, a note on Facebook safety; how many times have teachers, parents and any adult on the face of the earth drilled it into our heads that we should never accept friend requests from strangers? You wonder why adults always worry about our judgment and decision-making skills. It’s because students accept friend requests from random, sketchy people on Facebook.