Seniors vs. Freshmen: The First Month of School

By Nick Matta

Seniors and freshmen are two very different classes, and everyone knows it. One class is preparing to leave home to go to college and start their independent lives, and the other is just beginning their grand high school experience. So what happens when you go to some seniors and some freshman and compare their feelings on the first month of school? What was the first thing that pops into a senior’s head walking into their fourth and final year of THS compared to a freshman? Two seniors and two freshmen share some of their thoughts on the first month of high school here in the Husky Nation.

Senior year is filled with its share of fun and hard work. Jordan Ogden is a senior this year and is taking Dual Enrollment English, AP Bio and AP Calculus AB as well as working two jobs. “I’m taking a lot of hard classes, so I was kinda worried to see what the course load would be like… but I think this year will be like another junior year, just a better junior year,” said Ogden.

Not all seniors came into the school year very worried though. Hunter Harmon said he was excited to meet his new teachers and see his friends, and had no worries because it was his senior year. He is taking AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, and Dual Enrollment English but he isn’t too concerned. “[My classes are]not as difficult as I thought they were going to be, concepts are easier to understand with the teachers that I have, I have good teachers.”

However, the worries for freshmen are far different from those of a senior. “I was nervous that I was gonna get lost,” said freshman Karleigh Downs. When talking about lunch, Downs shared that she was intimidated by the large cafeteria and the upperclassman around her, but was able to find some friends to eat with. She is excited about some things though: “[I’m] excited to meet new people [and] join more clubs.”

Preparing for school is an essential process in beginning the school year. Classes, teachers, and lunchtime are all very important, but what would school be without the supplies? “I first went to school and then got all my supplies the next day. [I got a lot of supplies,] like binders and other stuff,” said freshman Jason Barrionueno.

Similar to Barrionueno, Downs laughed when confessing that she too bought a lot of supplies, “[I got] a lot of binders and paper and pencils…”

On the other side of the spectrum are the almighty seniors. “I hadn’t touched my backpack since the last day of junior year. The day before [school] I took out the binders, emptied them, [and] I’m just reusing things from last year, I still have pencils and stuff. Nothing new, literally it’s the same binders, they’re nasty looking,” said Ogden.

And how did senior Hunter Harmon prepare for school? “I got a haircut… And I did my summer assignment, that’s about it!” Harmon also added that he got a couple of folders, if that.

It’s obvious to see the differences in what goes through a senior’s mind versus a freshman’s. It’s not easy to find similarities in someone from the top of the food chain to the bottom, but there did seem to be one across the board… no one uses their lockers! “I don’t use my locker at all, I don’t even know where it is,” said Harmon.

School Spirit 101


By Katie Johnson

As the school year of 2016-2017 unfolds, for some it will be the beginning and for others it’s the end. At Tuscarora High School we have 389 freshman joining our school and 379 rising seniors. With the new school year, comes new sports seasons. Tuscarora High School is known for our spirit section known as Tusky Terror. The terror section is lead by seniors Tucker Stuntz and Carder Saul, along with junior Brandon Meyer. Tusky Terror is known for going to all the sports games and having lots of school spirit. However,some feel there is a problem each year with the new freshmen and their school spirit.

School spirit is all about supporting the student body, wearing the school colors, and screaming in the stands for you own teams. As freshmen come to Tuscarora,some don’t understand the idea of school spirit and others just feel the need not to join in. The upperclassmen on the other hand feel that the freshman need to “up their game” and bring more school spirit to the games and school itself.

“I did not have much school spirit freshman year because I didn’t go to too many games,” said Saul, one of the senior leaders of Tusky Terror. Although he is one of the leaders, he admits to not having much school spirit.

The general opinion is that, ever since the school opened, no freshman class has had a lot of school spirit, but now it’s time for change and get the freshman pumped.

“We as Tusky Terror and the student body could do more to incorporate the freshman like instead of pushing them to the back of Tusky Terror put them in the front to make them feel apart of us,” said Saul.

With many plans to get freshmen involved with school spirit, the freshmen need to also want to be apart of the school.

Homecoming is October 1st, and the week that precedes it is Tuscarora’s annual spirit week. Monday will be American day, Tuesday will be tv day, Wednesday is sports day, Thursday, game board day and lastly Friday will be class color or for seniors toga day. That week seniors usually always win spirit week and that’s no surprise and freshmen stand no chance. This year, maybe freshmen will rise to the occasion with their decorative hallway and spirit days.

2016 to 2017: A NEW School Year

By Brady Bullington

A  new school year is not the only thing that’s new. We have 389 new freshmen students, new classes like Research Chemistry and Dual Enrollment US History, and 17 new teachers. Some of the best experiences in your high school life are the ones involving your relationships with your teachers. Quite a few of this year’s teachers come from different places outside of Virginia, while others are just switching into Loudoun County from another school system in the state. There are also a few brand-new teachers straight out of college.

Mrs. Cheatham, the new biology and chemistry teacher, was born and raised a Floridian. As a matter of fact, she stayed there until recently when her husband got a job offer in the area. “When I interned at a dentist’s office, that’s when I realized that I’d rather teach biology than pursue a job involving bio,” she mentioned. After she got her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Minor in Education at University of Southern Florida, she began teaching. Once she started to work here she also begun to teach Chemistry for the first time. “Teaching does run in the family,” she said after mentioning that her dad taught Chemistry. Her mom worked at a high school, and her sister works at Broad Run High School. Her hobbies include family time watching college football, doing CrossFit, and spending time with her two dogs.

On the more athletic side of things, there is a brand new physical education teacher, Mrs. Shepard. Mrs. Shepard has been waiting for a change for quite a while, and when the position of being a physical education teacher at Tuscarora was open, she went in to interview for the job. After 6 years of Adapted P.E. for special ed kids and 2 years in elementary school, she’s never never taught high school and considers it, “An amazing experience to work with you teenagers.” Specifically what brought her here is the fact that she knew Coach Fortune when he was a teenager because her dad was his football coach. During her childhood, she was raised in West Virginia. Her parents were both educators and she knew that she wanted to teach one day. She has been into sports her whole life, and enjoys camping, spending time with her twin boy and girl, and rescuing pit bulls.

Lastly, our new counselor, Ms. Bissell,  is fresh out of college. Ms. Bissell graduated just this past year in the class of 2016 at Virginia Tech. Her original job involved Human Resources which then led to becoming a secretary at an elementary school. “I love seeing students and helping them with whatever they need!” said Bissell. With that, she signed up for a class at Virginia Tech and hoped for the best. “If I make it, then it’s meant to be. If not, then I’ll go from there. That was my mindset when I signed up for the class.” She made it,, and after taking the class she became an intern counselor in Prince William county. Some hobbies she has are cooking and eating, binging Netflix shows, and enjoying downtime on the weekends with her pug, Roxy.

With a school year filled with new and exciting changes, there are so many more opportunities for students to learn, grow, and achieve their goals. With brand new insight that comes along with new teachers, anything is possible.

AET Arrives at Tuscarora

By Anya Sczerzenie

A new STEM program, known as the Academy of Engineering and Technology, has established itself at Tuscarora for the 2016-2017 school year. This program, which is usually abbreviated as AET, is similar to the Academy of Science (AOS) in that students from various schools in the county apply in eighth grade; starting the program in their freshman year. Application to AET is selective; out of 700 students who applied for AOS, only 150 were accepted. Since the program is brand-new, all of the 150 students this year are freshmen.

The students spend every other day at AET, which is headquartered in the L400 wing of Tuscarora, following one of three educational pathways: Information Technology, Engineering, or Entrepreneurship. AET students must commit to at least 2 years of study in the program as a freshman and sophomore. After these two years are completed, an AET student can choose whether or not to remain in the program and pursue additional pathways.

Students in AET are educated in subjects related the track they select– all three of which are equally popular within the program. Their classes are taught through mostly project-based learning; from science labs for those on the engineering track to coding projects for the IT students. “Each of the different pathways will have an overarching project that will be ‘due’ at the end of the year,” said Dr. Gregory Gallagher, the teacher of AET’s Integrated Science 1 course.

Although students in the AET program also learn regular subjects such as physics, chemistry, and math, the way they are taught is different than in an ordinary classroom. “This program is a little different from AOS because it’s geared towards business” said Mr. John Chapin, who teaches information technology and math to AET students. “AOS trains students to be researchers, and AET tries to mimic the work world as much as possible. What we do is less about telling students how to do something, and more about giving them the tools they need to get where they want to go.”

Local Café and Market Opening in Lucketts


By Nick Matta

Richard Rosendale, a highly regarded chef, is opening up Roots 657, the first café-market hybrid in Lucketts. The new café is currently accepting applications at their location off of route 15, just past the Little Rock Motel; and is set to open in the fall.

The goal of Roots is to bring local produce and traditional Virginia dishes to an area that seriously lacks places to eat and shop. They will be offering house-made soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods, available for dining in or out. Roots will also feature a market where locals can buy gifts and produce. They will be open daily from 10:30am to 9:00pm.

Chef Rosendale, who will be head of the kitchen, left his prestigious job at the Greenbrier Resort to come to Roots in hopes of a more meaningful culinary experience. He’ll be bringing his years of expertise and his passion for local and home-style cuisine to the Lucketts area.

Muriel Sarmadi owns the property where Roots is located, and has owned it for many years. This property also includes the Motel next door. It has been a dream of hers to open a café in the area since before 2013.

You can find more information on the opening of Roots 657, their concept behind the café as well as their menu online at You can also pick up applications on-site.

Football Charges into the New Season

By Abby Fletcher


The whole squad stretches in the blistering summer heat on the first day of varsity practice. Senior wide receiver Aaron Bowser thought the heat was, “less painful because it was my last summer practices so I had to cherish them and make them enjoyable.”


Sophomore defensive back Zachary Dillard regains his breath after the first drill of his first varsity practice. While Coach Brandon Wheelbarger teaches the players the new play they will use in the upcoming season. This is Dillard’s first season on the varsity team, “The guys are bigger and stronger and they present more of a challenge than compared to the JV team,” Dillard said regarding the differences of the two levels of competition. The sophomore said he “really wasn’t nervous about anything,” during the first practice of the redounded Tuscarora football team.


Senior wide receiver Gunnar Biebighauser reaches to catch a pass as sophomore defensive back Taye Davis charges toward him to make the tackle. Biebighauser is a very experienced Tuscarora football player this is his third consecutive year on the varsity team while this is Davis’ first. The two are a dynamic pair on the field Friday nights.

img_1436Junior tight end Tyler Kijak, senior running back Jeremy Sampson, and sophomore wide receiver Taye Davis get ready at the line of scrimmage for the next play in the annual intersquad scrimmage.  The players all have mixed amounts of experience on the football team but all together create a powerhouse on the field.


Coach Wheelbarger embraces senior running back Derek Larson. The coach has a lot of experience playing and coaching the game so he knows what to do to get the results he wants. “Personal relationships are important because it gives the student athletes a reason to push themselves.” said Wheelbarger. ” When they see their coaches have a passion not only what they coach but also the players themselves, it creates an environment where they want to succeed.”