Sparks. Man, Myth, Legend
Andrew Sparks, a high school teacher at the NCLA, is in his twenty-fifth year teaching, and his seventh year at the school. He began his journey in teaching with fifth and sixth grade ancient history, and now teaches high school World History, Speech & Debate and Philosophy.
“I really like World History, just because I’m a history buff and I’ve taught all the histories,” Sparks said.
Sparks has created a reputation of being kind, funny, and upbeat, as he often spends class time telling stories and jokes while finding ways to apply them to academics. He often says that it was his dream to be a stand up comedian.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, I was just taking college transfer classes. I ended up having a teacher, a history teacher, that influenced me to make me want to teach,” Sparks commented.
It is often speculated that he has become an influential teacher for many students he has taught, however we were not able to interview students that have already graduated.
Along with World History, Sparks has recently been trying out new electives. Last year, he started the Philosophy class, which had one of the best turnouts of any elective this year. This year, he started a Speech and Debate elective.
“This is my first year teaching Speech and Debate. I enjoy public speaking, and letting people pick topics and hearing people give speeches on topics that are important to them,” Sparks said.
Outside of the classroom, Sparks loves announcing sports games, camping, taking his puppy, Cash, to the dog park, and traveling on student field trips. He even had plans for a week-long student trip to Los Angeles, CA for rising junior and seniors this coming summer.
“I’ve been everywhere in Europe. I’ve been to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Italy, and Greece.”
Fall Break Fun
Unlike many public schools, the NCLA is able to cherish a mid-October week off of school. This year, students enjoyed fall break from Oct. 11-15.
Etornam Agbemabiese, who visited Williamsburg for a regatta.
Agbemabiese describes a regatta as, “Basically a rowing race. A bunch of boats line up… my first race I got in a boat of eight people. We rode a 5k down. We actually won that one…It was a really fun experience. I love my team.” The teams raced down the Chickahominy river in Williamsburg, VA.
Although Agbemabiese had an exciting fall break, he was, “Getting bored to be honest. I just wanted something to do.” He was ready to return to school.
Another student who traveled over fall break was Elissa Segers, who went to Atlanta, GA. Initially visiting for a football game, Segers ended up travelling around town to see the city; “It was fun… Atlanta is really cultured. Diversity is really nice. It was just cool to see that.”
“We did eat at a fun little restaurant. It was like soul food- like Louisiana style. I had gumbo and I’ve never had it before and it was so good!”
For those looking to travel to Atlanta, Segers recommends the Busy Bee Cafe.
Segers was only able to stay in Georgia for the weekend, and she wishes she could have stayed longer.
Fall has approached and you know what that means… all your favorite fall recipes are coming back! Coffee franchises are putting their twists on their pumpkin spice foods and drinks such as pumpkin spice lattes, cookies and bread and many more treats.
Scott Stanley, a NCLA senior, goes to these coffee shops pretty frequently and loves pumpkin spice lattes because, “They remind me of my youth because when I was little my mom and I would go on adventures to Starbucks and we would get pumpkin spice lattes.”
People also like to make their own pumpkin spice lattes at home because buying them can become expensive very fast. It’s a fairly very easy drink to make.
All you need is milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, whipped cream, coffee, vanilla extract and you can decide whether you want it hot or cold. Mix the ingredients except the whipped cream into a pot and heat it up over the stove and stir. As your ingredients are in the pot, brew your coffee. Finally, pour the coffee and your pumpkin spice milk into a glass and add whip cream for a tasty drink.
One of the more famous fall recipes is the Pumpkin Spice Bread. People love this recipe, especially, a student who is an aspiring culinary artist.
“I love pumpkin bread because I like the texture and the pumpkin spice reminds me of the fall season,” Cade Shoemaker said.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Once done take them out to cool and enjoy.
Another tasty treat is the traditional apple strudel recipe is made with a simple dough that bakes up into a flaky, buttery crust and a juicy, spiced apple filling studded with rum-soaked raisins and finely chopped almonds.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, flour and raisins. Stir evenly. Then place the pastry onto the baking sheet and roll it out slightly, using a rolling pin to make it even. Spread the apple mixture evenly down the center of the pastry, lengthwise. To close the pastry, fold the sides of the dough around the apples. Seal the dough together by lightly wetting the pastry and pressing it together. Next, brush with an egg wash by whisking together the egg and the milk. Lightly brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash. Lastly, sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake your strudel for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and eat away.
Rebecca Avila, the managing editor for the NCLA falcon, says, “I love apple strudels because the gooeyness and the crisp outside paired with ice cream is very heavenly for me and I eat it weekly.”
But turning away from your “basic” recipes, the fall season includes Thanksgiving. Which consist of turkey, stuffing, rolls, cream bean casserole, cranberry sauce and mash potatoes.
Bridget Palmer, a NCLA senior, said, “I vibe with green bean casserole, Mac and Cheese, asian salad, stuffing and rolls.”
Haunted Trails Are Overrated
As we get closer to Halloween, teenagers across the country begin to flock to popular scare theme attractions. At the top of the list in NC, students often go to Woods of Terror or Spooky Woods for their fair share of frightening excitement.
Senior Nick Hurst was among a group of senior students that ventured out to SpookyWoods this year. It was his first time going to SpookyWoods instead of the usual and more popular, Woods of Terror.
“I was not a big fan of SpookyWoods”, Hurst explained. “I basically spent $40 for an attraction that lasted maybe 30 minutes, while waiting an hour and a half beforehand.”
Hurst explained that there were only four attractions. A different haunted house with jump scares from frightening characters.
“Personally I was not scared by any of the people trying to scare our group, but their costumes were really good and there was a lot of attention to detail in the different abandoned houses,” Hurst said.
The main complaints from students about haunted trails are often the same. The lines are insanely too long while the attractions are barely long enough. Hurst mentioned that while waiting in line there was a DJ booth to make time move a little faster, however the wait is still extremely long.
“I would never recommend anyone to go to SpookyWoods, simply because it is a waste of time and money. Instead I would say go to Woods of Terror because it is cheaper, lasts longer, and the waiting area is a lot more fun,” Hurst said.
There is also another popular Halloween attraction in North Carolina that is another fear inducing option. Converting Carowinds to Scarowinds, the roller coaster theme park is a better option for those looking for a thrill and a fright.
“I like Scarowinds because it has all the good attributes of Carowinds but with additions like haunted houses,” Rebecca Avila said.
Whether students are looking for a true scare from a haunted trail, or just a fun outing with friends, there are plenty of options for teens to enjoy themselves with thrill seeking attractions all season long.
Celebrating our Senior 1A Champs
If you ask anyone associated with The North Carolina Leadership Academy, they will tell you about the NCLA boys soccer team winning their first championship. The NCLA players are 20-0 and this is the first season where the team is undefeated.
“It has been a fun year and we had a lot of success. We have had some fun, but I am ready to move on and will miss the experiences I have had the past four years. This has probably been the best season the school has had, soccer wise,” said senior Scott Stanley.
Senior night was on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Seniors this year are Karston Keomalaythong, Scott Stanley, William Lee, Gabriel West, and David Truhe. They have all been playing since freshman year, which has created a sense of family among them.
This season, senior David Truhe leads the team with 35 goals on the season and with junior Anakin Leister right behind him with 32 goals. Truhe is also second on the team with assists during the season with Leister having 17.
“I am super happy with the season. I am sad that it is my last season, but I am excited for college,” exclaimed Truhe.
The Falcons have scored 122 goals this season and about six goals per match. The team has had 310 points this season, with about three assists in a match. They team has taken 372 shots and about 18 shots in a match. This season, the team has had 19 game winning goals.
“This was our best season as a team yet. I love everyone on the team and I feel as if we all play really well together. We connect well outside of school and soccer and I feel as if that benefits our play in games,” said senior Karston Keomalaythong.
The theme for the students was red, white, and blue, which attracted students to come out to the game. In the 1A conference championship game, the NCLA faithful came out to support our Falcons in big numbers.
The Falcons trample Cornerstone on senior night, winning the game 5-0. Junior Anakin Leister led the falcons with three goals. Senior David Truhe and junior Brandon Mendoza both had one goal for the night.
“I feel the season went much better than I initially expected and I am proud of what the team has done this year. I am kind of sad to be done, but at least I can continue playing outside school with friends and groups,” said senior Gabe West.
Senior Night was absolutely electric this year with students and fans filling the bleachers to support our seniors. Coming up for the team is the state playoffs. The NCHSAA has not announced who the Falcons will be playing.
“The game was a solid victory, I could feel confidence from the team going into the game. It’s kind of surprising to find myself in my last high school season. Although it’s already been four years and many things have changed, the feeling of playing soccer at NCLA is the same year after year, and I’ve gotten so used to it that I expect to be playing again next year, even though I won’t. I’m glad that soccer at NCLA has progressed and become one of the most successful sports at our school. It’s been an honor to play with such a strong team this year and I’m satisfied with such a successful final year,” replied senior William Lee.
Falcons are 1A Champs
The NCLA Boys varsity soccer team are Conference Champs. The team had a whirlwind season with a 20-0-1 win streak. They played against Bishop Mcguinness, beating them 4-3.
Before the game, there was some anxiousness in the atmosphere. “I was nervous about my own personal performance. I did not want to let the team down by making a mistake because we had all worked very hard to get to that position,” senior Karston Keomalaythong said.
“Before the game, I was excited but didn’t try to get my hopes up too much because I knew that Bishop was a dangerous team and it wasn’t going to be an easy win,” junior Troy Shoemaker said.
Troy Shoemaker and David Truhe each scored one goal and Anakin Leister scored two goals. Goalkeeper Scott Stanley had 12 saves throughout the game.
“I scored the goal, I was happy that I was able to give us an early lead but we still had to finish off the rest of the game strong,” Shoemaker said. “After we beat them, I was very relieved that we finished the team off and were able to win our conference championship. I was also happy that our team was able to pull out a great win and accomplish something that our school has never done before.”
“Scoring two goals and then having two assists is always nice especially in a conference game,” junior Anakin Leister said. “My aim is to score in every game and I’m glad I could accomplish that. Especially with the last goal in, straight off a corner which was amazing. The win was great as it was the first conference win in school history.”
NCLA’s varsity soccer has been better than ever this year with a 98% win rate and landing first in the Northwest Piedmont 1A Conference with Carver High School and Bishop McGuinness following behind. In the NC Class 1A West, the NCLA is in second place with Mount Airy in first and Christ the King Catholic High School in third.
“After we won, there was a weight off of all our shoulders and we couldn’t do anything but celebrate. I was happy for all of us because we deserved it,” Keomalaythong said.
Girls Basketball Kickoff
The 2021- 2022 winter basketball season has officially started. Girls started Monday, Oct. 29.
Basketball workouts for girls have been held periodically though from the summer time till now. Workouts were mainly for conditioning, shooting baskets, and learning a few drills that will be used during the season.
Coach Carrington, a new head coach for the girls team this year, is excited to start his first basketball season at NCLA. He has used drills such as the blazer and simple drills such as the ladders. Carrington didn’t have many preseason thoughts, but he did mention that he was looking at all aspects of a player, whether they are on the bench cheering or in the game, their character and sportsmanship is very important.
Jadyn Dewald, a current senior who has been playing here since her sophomore year, is excited to play with essentially a young group of teammates and to hopefully get more playing time. Dewald is also hopeful to take up some leadership roles on the team.
College Applications and The Future
Filling out college applications is a very stressful aspect of many seniors’ lives. With college applications deadlines coming up, many students have completed the strenuous process of applying to colleges. With 55 students graduating this year, over 250 applications have been filled out. This has been a very stressful time for many seniors because this is their future and this is the first step for many in a successful career.
Some students have had great things to say about the application process as a whole.
“It was a fun experience because it made me excited for college but it was a long tedious process,” NCLA senior Mckenna Porto said.
However, other students think that the application process is the opposite of fun.
“It was super boring and dreaded doing it but the closer I got to finishing it, I got more excited,” NCLA senior Jackson Faenza said.
Common App is the place where a majority of students turn in and fill out their applications. Common App has every college application and allows students to write their essay directly on the interface for easy turn-ins.
“It was very organized and allowed me to keep caught up on deadlines and was easy to submit and it gave me confetti when I submitted it,” Faenza said.
Recommendations are a huge part of the applications. Many teachers everywhere write numerous applications for students. This can be a very stressful process for the teacher because they have to write a recommendation by a certain time (normally Nov. 1).
“I love writing recommendations but I had many I had to write, which was very intense. I think it would be better if colleges staggered their due dates. As far as the common app goes, I really like it because it allows me to submit recommendations to just one place,” NCLA history teacher, Mrs. Chelsie Orenstein said.
College applications may be a very stressful and time consuming process but without it, you cannot go to college. Once you get through it, you can enjoy the freedoms of college.
Celebrating Italian Heritage Month
Throughout the nation, October is viewed as Italian Heritage Month.
Italians celebrate this month with passion due to the many discriminations against Italians, especially from Sicilians in America during the late nineteenth century. During this period, Italians, especially Sicilians, were seen as inferior due to their darker complexions. Many were harmed through beatings and lynchings. Italian boroughs called “Little Italies” began to pop up over the East Coast as a safe haven for working families. This point in history allowed Italians in the country to become closer to each other and the love of culture has been passed down generations.
Sophomore Sophia Dolesh is half Italian. Her maternal side is from Sicily and Molfetta.
“I have heard of the past discriminations of Italians and it makes me very sad that people were treated badly because of their skin tones. I love how diverse we are in different regions,” Dolesh said.
Italian culture celebrates self-love, love for the community, and most importantly love for your family. Close knit families are common in Italian culture. It’s also common for America-based Italian families to have family members who try to preserve their beloved culture, which is the structure of some families here at The NCLA.
Elaina Pascavage, who has family from Benevento and Sicily says that she owes it to her dad.
“I feel in tune with my culture because my dad keeps our heritage alive by sometimes speaking Italian to my brother and I,” Pascavage said. “We have also visited our ancestors’ castles and we have our family crest painted. I went to Italy in seventh grade and I am going back after graduation.”
The month of October is used to celebrate a beautiful culture that was once challenged.
Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
The leaves are beginning to fall, the trees are changing colors, and there’s a new chill in the air. Hello, fall!
With the first day of fall being on Sept. 22, NCLA students have entered full fall mode. Common fall fashion trends include layering clothes, wearing cable knit sweaters, cozying up with a cardigan, and rocking some warm corduroy pants.
“I love layering clothes,” NCLA senior Abby Brannan. “Fall outfits are the best and the comfiest.”
But fall fashion means different things to everyone. Some enjoy dressing up a bit fancy, while others enjoy taking advantage of the cold weather and dressing for comfort.
“My go-to outfit for fall is anything that contains leggings/sweats, a t-shirt, sneakers, and a flannel,” NCLA senior Katie Carpenter said.
Fall weather trends typically include colder weather (55-75 degrees) with a slight breeze and low to moderate sun exposure. For many, the weather means cuddling up inside with some warm blankets and spending all day in bed, besides going to school five days a week.
“I look forward to bonfires, star watching, and movies,” Brannan said. “And above all, I love when my room is freezing and sleeping with soft blankets, quilts, and heating blankies.”
Overall, NCLA students are the most excited about the weather that fall brings. Some enjoy taking advantage of the weather and being outside.
“I look forward to camping when fall comes around and it is my favorite season because of the environment and joy it brings,” NCLA junior Colby Brown said.
Others prefer fall weather just because it offers a change to the hot and humid summers in N.C.
“I’m most excited for fall weather. The summer felt too hot. The humidity also does not do my hair justice,” NCLA senior Nora Wood said.
Pumpkin spice flavoring is arguably the most popular fall trend. Pumpkin spice is a spice put on anything that signifies that fall is in full swing. Whether it’s put in coffee or on toast, pumpkin spice is everywhere this fall season.
“My favorite fall trend is pumpkin spice! I love pumpkin spice lattes (hot or cold), honestly any kind of pumpkin-spiced coffee. Any kind of pumpkin spice food is very delicious as well,” Carpenter said.
Though fall is not every NCLA student’s favorite season, most students find something to enjoy during fall. Whether it’s camping outside or layering clothes, fall has a little something for everyone.
Kernersville Fall Folly Fun
The Spring Folly is normally held in May in Kernersville, N.C. and its an event highly anticipated and celebrated by all Kernersville residents. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this event has been cancelled consecutively for two years. The town decided to bring it back as soon as they possibly could which resulted in the new Fall Folly which took place last weekend, Sept. 24 through the 26.
Senior Karston Keomalaythong said, “I enjoyed being in the atmosphere of the majority of the community. It brings me peace knowing that we are still able to enjoy events like we used to do. Kernersville is a huge change of pace from High Point where I live.”
This beloved town event includes fair rides such as an adapted ferris wheel, games, face painting, fair food, vendors, live music, historical buildings, shops, a petting zoo, a car and tractor show and more. The event has something for everyone to enjoy.
Senior Giana Garzon said, “I went because my mom had a tent and I worked for a little bit. Walking around the other vendors was really cool and seeing all the types of businesses.”
This event takes up two blocks of the Downtown Historic District of Kernersville. Many vendors line the streets selling handmade items that range from apparel such as clothes and jewelry to foods such as homemade pickles and hot sauce. Businesses also show up to promote their services.
There were business vendors that were rooted from our school. Mrs. Jones of the elementary school, formerly known as Mrs. Garzon had a booth promoting her business, The Study Station, where she tutors kids outside of school.
“I decided to host a booth at the Folly to promote my small tutoring business I opened last year. I want to let families know what The Study Station offers. With covid, students are really falling behind and I want to help fill in the gaps so students are successful learners. I do feel the booth was helpful and effective for bringing awareness to my business,” Mrs. Jones said. “I met many amazing families that were very interested in The Study Station and what we offer. Everything at my booth was free. I had games set up for the children with prizes. I also gave out Study Station wristbands. Even if they don’t currently need Study Station services, they will hopefully remember me in the future.”
Spirit day for the NCLA Falcons
Friday, Sept. 24 was spirit day for the NCLA falcons. Spirit day is a great opportunity for students to show the pride they have in their school and it only happens once a month.
Instead of wearing the normal uniform students are able to wear t-shirts deemed as spirit wear. Spirit wear includes all NCLA sports shirts, class shirts, and any other items bought from NCLA spirit.
If a student’s family has met a $25 threshold on SCRIP they are also able to wear dress-down bottoms.
“It’s a good way to express yourself by getting to wear a different and cute outfit,” Freshman Lauren Day said.
Students are able to show their individuality with clothes while still incorporating the school.
The second part of spirit day is Kona Ice. During lunch, the Kona Ice truck is parked outside and high school students have the ability to go purchase shaved ice at 1:15 P.M.
Unlike other franchises, Kona Ice is mobile. They have a multitude of flavors on the side of their truck where students have the ability to make their own shaved ice. They are able to combine a variety of syrups to create their ideal flavor, or just stick with one.
¨I like to mix cotton candy and cherry,” Freshman Ella Lainer stated.
Spirit day was filled with excitement and really showed how much pride the students of NCLA have in their school.
Starbucks vs Dunkin Fall Drinks
Along with the fall season, seasonal drinks have returned. I tried two fall drinks from Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks, and here’s what I thought:
First, I went to Dunkin and got a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. It was very fall-like with cinnamon sprinkled over top of the pumpkin cream. In my opinion, it had just the right amount of coffee to cream ratio. The coffee taste was relatively strong for a Dunkin drink, which I enjoyed, but if you like more cream than coffee, this might not be the drink for you.
I also got the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks, and I was not impressed. While the drink itself was okay, it did not seem very seasonal or fall-like. The coffee taste was so much stronger than I expected, but I think it is because there was less pumpkin cream than I was hoping for. I would suggest this drink to anyone who enjoys a stronger coffee, and who isn’t looking for something too crazy.
My second drink from Dunkin was the signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. The Pumpkin Spice Latte has been a fall season staple for as long as I can remember, but I have not gotten around to trying it until now. In my opinion, I thought it was good, but it was not as good as I expected considering the hype it has. I could definitely taste the pumpkin spice, but I was hoping for a bit more coffee. It was pretty sweet, but not unbearable. I would recommend this coffee to anyone looking for a classic seasonal drink!
“I thought it was really good. It’s such a classic it’s hard to not love,” senior London Carter said.
The final drink I tried was the Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato. It was very pretty, and it had nice fall colors that were layered in a satisfying way. The drink itself was very sweet, to the point it gave me a bit of a headache. The apple flavor was very noticeable, which gave it a different fall vibe than the classic pumpkin.
Overall, both places did a great job at bringing the fall vibe to their drinks, but I think that Dunkin did a better job at making drinks that were not only fall-like, but tasty!
Fall Decorations in Local Stores
October 1- Fall is finally among us, which means that Halloween and general fall decorations are beginning to pop up in every store in the area.
Some stores go above and beyond to stir up the holiday spirit, while others fall short. I went to a couple of local stores to look at their fall designs and here were my thoughts.
The first store I went to was the Target on Main Street. They did not have their Halloween costumes out on display yet, and the only real decorations they had up were located in the dollar section. They had the Target mascot posed three different ways inside of a Halloween box on display. On top of this, they also had seasonal greeting cards that were fall/Halloween themed located in the card section. Overall I thought that their decorations were a little underwhelming, considering how on top of it they usually are.
The next store I went to was Reconsidered Goods on Spring Garden Street. This is a thrift store full of knick knacks, art work, records and more. They had a very strong Halloween theme that they achieved by setting up decorations throughout the store. The entrance had the best set up in my opinion, and that area of the store is what’s pictured in the photograph.
The final place I went to look at decorations was the farmers market. Different vendors have already started selling pumpkins and other fall treats which sets the stage for the feeling of fall. I highly recommend checking out stores and locations near you and taking in all the fall decor!
October 1- The 2021-2022 school year brought many new rules in the student handbook, but there is one that is causing slight controversy.
This year, NCLA students that are 18 years old or older, can now have visible tattoos.
Before the 2021-2022 school year, the Student Handbook stated that for male students, “earrings, visible body piercings and tattoos are not permitted.” For female students the rule was, “earrings are permitted. Visible body piercing and tattoos are not permitted.”
Many students such as Jacob Allen, a NCLA senior, have taken advantage of this rule change.
“I probably still would have gotten a tattoo if the rule hadn’t changed,” Allen said.
When asked why administration chose to make this change, Principal Renee Faenza said “Because it’s legal at age 18.”
“I think it’s cool, because it allows students to express themselves and have cool art on their bodies,” junior Camryn Earnhardt said.
Along with students, teachers such as Megan Weikert were also happy with this rule change. Megan Weikert, NCLA Art teacher, has an Iron Man tattoo on her arm that she is now allowed to show off.
Keeping Up With Senior Projects
October 1- Every year, the senior class at the NCLA is assigned a project called the Senior Project.
The purpose of this project is to bring together all the academic and personal skills the students have learned throughout their education.
Also, the project offers the students an opportunity to expand their learning through creativity, confronting problems that impact their communities, and sharing their practical solutions.
The project includes writing a paper about an issue the students are passionate about, and it can be tied to the school community, the student’s community, or the greater world community.
Dylan Coltrane, one of the students at the NCLA, is writing about the effects of social media on young adult brains and why it’s so addicting.
“I’m passionate about this subject because the effects are prevalent in everything and everyone around us and I want to gain a better understanding of this topic,” Coltrane said.
Another student at the NCLA, Jonathan Floyd, has chosen to write about the energy efficiency of electric cars and if electric cars are better for the environment than gas cars.
“I am looking into many of the different energy resources right here in the community. Also looking into another scenario. If everyone owns an electric car, would we be able to put out the amount of energy to support it,” Floyd says.
These students will research their selected issue throughout the year and talk with their mentors every month to help guide them through the process of writing the paper.
Lastly, the students will create a multimedia presentation that highlights and reflects their research and proposed solutions for creating a better world.
Big Body Benz: Troy Shoemaker
Troy Shoemaker is 17 years old and has been attending the NCLA since he was in sixth grade. He has been involved in sports since middle school and has played soccer, basketball, and track. He has always enjoyed being active and has continued to play soccer and basketball throughout high school. He is also a star center fielder for the NCLA baseball team. Shoemaker’s fellow teammates even believe he is one of the best.
“He really filled the shoes of former NCLA greats,” NCLA athlete Nicholas Hurst said.
Shoemaker not only dominates the sports realm of NCLA but he also challenges himself in the classroom. He has taken multiple AP classes while participating in other school activities. His favorite teacher at the NCLA is Mrs. Chelsie Orenstien.
“He is a hard worker and he laughs at my horrible jokes,” Orenstien said.
Shoemaker has two brothers and a sister. Shoemaker’s younger twin brother, Cade Shoemaker, says he looks up to him. Troy Shoemaker has been not only an inspiration to his twin brother but also to many of his friends.
“Troy is very outgoing and fun to be around,” NCLA senior Kartson Keomalaythong said.
Troy Shoemaker’s favorite song is “Apparently” by Jermain Cole and his favorite album is “Astroworld” by Travis Scott. Troy Shoemaker enjoys listening to music with his twin brother, they are able to bond over their music tastes. He also enjoyed watching “The Office” with his brother on Netflix and his favorite movie is “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Troy Shoemaker hopes to continue his successful school career and go to North Carolina University to study business. His dream is to start his own shoe business and continue to help his friends and family. Shoemaker has a bright future ahead of him and the NCLA is happy to have him walking their halls. Shoemaker stays true to himself and believes that being yourself is one of the most important things in order to be successful.
“Be yourself everyone else is taken.”
Let’s Keep NCLA Beautiful
In an effort to keep our campus clean and beautiful, monthly campus cleanups have been a priority since last year. Amanda Anderson, the planner of the cleanups and the mother of a third grader at the NCLA, says that these are scheduled so students can earn community service hours and serve their school.
“The goal of the cleanup is to continue to keep our campus looking beautiful and getting students involved in beautification!” Anderson said.
Partnering with the Keep America Beautiful national campaign, the school has created the Keep NCLA Beautiful Initiative.
These monthly gatherings are planned to be consistent until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Anderson wants students to participate “So that they can earn volunteer hours as well as take pride in their school and keeping it clean. It helps give a sense of pride when the job is done!”
“We started off by walking around the baseball field and picking up trash, and then I transitioned into… the middle school gymnasium to help Ms. Richardson organize a storage closet,” NCLA sophomore Kimberly Mead, a student who attended the last cleanup, said.
Mead believes students should join in on the cleanups “Because service hours for school, but also because it’s helpful to keep our campus tidy.” Mead said she would definitely volunteer at a campus cleanup in the future.
The next cleanup is scheduled for October 23 from 9 a.m to noon. Come join your fellow students to help keep NCLA beautiful!
Bomb Threat Protocol
Due to recent events, schools have been on high alert and parents want to be sure that their kids are safe and that there is a plan for dangerous situations. A bomb threat is far from common, but because people have access to the internet they can make anything homemade. It’s just a good idea to know what to do in the case of a bomb threat.
Bomb attacks are not new to the school system. In January 1999, there was an explosion in a locker in a Kansas City school that resulted in 11 hospitalizations. In another instance, there were 10 bombs and fireworks connected to arsenal cans in an elementary school in California. Also eight boys confessed to making three homemade bombs in which they put two in an elementary school in Minnesota.
But not to worry! Schools have plans when it comes to the safety of their students. According to federal law experts focused on explosives, schools should assess the situation before making the decision to evacuate and devise a plan to make it safe for everyone.
At the NCLA, if a bomb threat were to occur, the situation would be assessed, evacuations may be put in place, and students and staff would either head to the closest fire department or towards Union Cross Elementary School.
“Our plan mainly is to don’t touch it, contact law enforcement,” the NCLA’s SRO Officer Stacey stated. “First of all we would evacuate everybody to make sure everybody is safe. I would immediately start investigating it and I would notify my chain in command which is my sergeant. If we needed extra law enforcement, that extra law enforcement would come. If we don’t and my sargent feels like we can investigate it ourselves, and we do that, we wouldn’t evacuate. In a suspicious package situation, we would probably call in extra law enforcement to handle that package but we would get the students off campus, everyone would get evacuated.”
Senior Night is a Hit
Senior night for volleyball signals the near end of the Varsity season as our Lady Falcon seniors are recognized. Seniors Nora Wood, Juliana Peters, and Emma Ware, have played volleyball all four years of high school.
“I’m honestly super sad about playing my last season and I am really gonna miss the people I’ve grown close to playing volleyball here at the school,” said senior veteran Emma Ware.
This season, the team has 120 kills with about four kills a game. Their kill percentage is about 29.6 for the season. The team has 171 serving aces and averaging about six aces per game. The team has about 17 blocks and 209 digs. The team currently has a 6-7 record which brings them to fourth in the Northwest Piedmont 1A conference.
“The season was great, I loved the girls and felt really good about how I played. It’s been a blast getting to know all of the girls,” exclaimed senior Julianna Peters.
The season has been different than usual, but the team has been able to make the most of it. “I’m very pleased with how the season went. We fought and played hard against some pretty tough teams. We also grew close as a team and I am very thankful for each and every one of my girls,” replied senior Nora Wood.
The senior night game was a big night for the seniors, their families, and the team. This was a night to celebrate the seniors for all the hard work they have put in for the team through the years. The theme of the student section, which attracted many students to want to attend the game and cheer on the seniors. This created an eccentric environment for one the senior’s last home game.
“One of the things I think I’ll miss most about playing volleyball is the friendships I made over the years and I’ll miss how well we all worked together on the court,” said Ware.
The Lady Falcons ran away with the win on senior night as they won the first three sets against Millennium Charter Academy.
“I’ve had such a great time playing with and getting to know my fellow teammates. I’m going to miss going to practice every day to work some of my emotions out. Volleyball is stress relief for me,” said Wood.
Hopes for Faculty Volleyball Game
During the 2019-2020 school year, the Falcon staff played against teams of high schoolers in the first ever faculty vs. students volleyball tournament. Three teams of students competed in a round robin to decide who gets the honor of playing against the teachers in the championship game.
“I really enjoyed the student vs staff volleyball game a lot actually. It was one of my last memories before covid hit. It was a great time to get to know people I’ve never talked to before, while also learning the game of volleyball,” said senior Jonathan Floyd.
The idea and desire to “run it back,” has grown amongst students. Players and staff are looking for a rematch, and hope that the faculty game will become an annual event at the NCLA.
“If we were to do another teacher/student game, I would like to play just to make sure the teachers won’t win,” said junior Zach Donath.
At this time, the student council has heard the demands from students and are trying to work it into this year’s events.
“The more interest from the student body for these types of activities, the more likely it is that the administration would approve for us to host these types of events,” student body president Abby Brannan stated.
“As far as the student council goes, there are some guidelines we must follow in order to plan events. However, we hear from the student body, and are in the process of planning a student vs. volleyball game towards the middle to later part of the year.”
Falcon Soccer is Soaring
Since Covid happened many things for schools especially have been changed up a bit. Sports couldn’t really meet to practice and have normal games.
Although some schools managed to have a few games, not like years past though. This year the Covid numbers are down which means soccer season is a go. Even with Covid, players have tried to improve on their own.
Sophomore Oliver Lee said, “I think I have improved over the years just by working with my team and working really hard on my own.”
This year NCLA is participating in a different conference with a lot more games. Despite Covid, the NCLA soccer team has managed to be first in their conference and third in the state this year.
A few players that were on the team last year have moved positions like junior Zach Donath. Donath was on offense being a leading scorer last year and this year he has been moved to defense.
Their record is currently 13-0-1. In the McMichael game, where they tied. Lee said. “tying up the game was amazing and celebrating with my team.”
The Return of FCA
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is finally making a comeback. Because of covid precautions, it’s been well over a year since FCA has been able to meet up, however, students and staff are thrilled about getting this club running again.
FCA is a club that allows high schoolers to encourage one another through activities such as bible studies, missions, and prayer.
Elementary school art teacher, Mrs. Saunders, and high school leadership teacher, Mr. Shoemaker will once again oversee FCA, however, they are expecting the club to look a lot different this year than it has in the past.
The first official FCA meeting will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20 in Mr. Shoemaker’s room.
One big change that is being applied to FCA is the new classroom structure that it will follow.
“In past years, either I or Mr. Shoemaker would take responsibility for leading FCA meetings, whereas this year, we will be taking student leader sign-ups. Our goal is to make FCA more of a student-led ministry,” Mrs. Saunders said.
There will be an interest meeting held for anyone interested in becoming a student leader next Wednesday 10/6 in Mr. Shoemakers’ room (HS #710).
Students who wish to be classroom leaders will be able to lead bible studies and partake in a deeper level of involvement with FCA.
“Those who want to be student leaders will meet with the district FCA leader, Jeff Barnes. Barnes will be able to provide student leaders with a lot of great advice for ministering to a class of fellow classmates,” Saunders said.
Mrs. Saunders and Mr. Shoemaker will also be available to guide students through lesson making if any kind of help is needed.
In addition to student leaders, FCA is hoping to incorporate small missions this year. Some examples of these could include:
-Supply water/Gatorade at sporting events
-host a coaches breakfast
-Donate to a charity in need
Jaiden Truhe, a senior at the NCLA recalls attending FCA her sophomore year.
“I loved how it felt like a community. It was a very encouraging and supportive atmosphere. I can’t wait for it to start back up again” Truhe said.
FCA invites anyone who is interested in the club to attend a meeting.
“Many people feel as if FCA is only open to school athletes, but being a small school we encourage anyone to join if they would like to,” Saunders said.
Covid Slams NCLA Sports
Roughly three weeks ago the North Carolina Leadership Academy Volleyball team took a devastating hit from Covid-19 sending home most of the Varsity players but luckily they were able to recuperate and pull up some of the JV players and build a new team with them.
“We went from having both a JV team and varsity team to only having one varsity team with eight players and only one substitute per game. If any of us got injured we had to teach someone a new position and play with no substitutes. Luckily the new team we had played together really well and we won all of the games we played,” Emma Ware said.
Eventually everyone who had to quarantine came back and the Varsity team is back together playing well. The Volleyball team has their Senior Night on Thursday, Sept. 30, with a student section theme of white out.
Another team that was hit hard from Covid-19 was the NCLA fall baseball team who just started playing together two weeks ago. Since they had limited players due to other sports going on they had to pull up some middle schoolers to make up a team which was hard trying to build a team with players that haven’t played with one another at all.
“I think it’s mainly hurting the development of the younger players since they are losing practice time and losing reps on the field. Also it’s hard to build team chemistry when you all have to quarantine so this was a major hit,” Jonathan Floyd said. But the team will be able to return after everyone tests negative and start playing again soon.
A New Year for College Football
A hundred and seventy football games full of fans have been played thus far in college football. Last year many college teams had to play in empty stadiums with no atmosphere. The roaring of the crowds in the past two weeks has been not only a blessing to players and coaches but also to fans. Fans such as Cade Shoemaker and Jackson Faenza said this:
“I’m blessed that fans are back, it’s a new type of game,” Shoemaker said.
“Exciting to watch the games because there are actually fans now, it’s no longer quiet and boring,” Faenza said.
The first week of the season was very exciting and was considered the best week one in college football history. There were five ranked matches and one top ranked matchup between Clemson and Georgia. College Gameday was in Charlotte NC, to cover the exciting matchup. Georgia would eventually go on to beat Clemson in a tough defensive battle. Many fans were excited to finally go back to college gameday. I was one of those people.
I went to college gameday and was able to feel the excitement of the new college football season. I had to get up early and wait in a long line just to get into the packed group of fans in Charlotte. I got a great view of not only the gameday set but also got to the famous Lee Corso headgear selection which was an amazing experience. It reminded me of what college football is all about.
There have been plenty of exciting storylines in the early weeks of this season. Already through two weeks 13 teams that were ranked in the preseason top 25 have losts, this is most in the history of college football. There has already been a coach fired; Clay Hilton got the boot at the University of Southern California. This was a shocking decision given the fact that the season is so young. Many upsets have occurred whether it was; Jacksonville State defeating Florida State, or Pennsylvania State defeating Wisconsin, college football fans love upsets. Whatever happens this season in college football it should be exciting, and with fans in the stands anything is possible.
Predictions for college football season:
Big five conference winners:
Big Ten Champion: Ohio State
SEC Champion: Alabama
Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma
Pac 12 Champion: Oregon
ACC Champion: Virginia Tech
Heisman Trophy winner: Matt Coral (Ole’ Miss Quarterback)
College Football Playoff Teams:
- Texas A&M
National Champion: Alabama
Powderpuff: A Battle of the Classes
Anticipation builds at the North Carolina Leadership Academy as students wait to hear about one of the biggest events of the school year, the powderpuff football game. This year the game is scheduled for Oct. 29.
At this spirited event, traditional “gender roles” that are commonplace in sports switch, the girls throw the football, and the boys wield the pompoms. Student body president Abby Brannan describes the game, “It is lower classmen versus upperclassmen, the boys will be the cheerleaders, girls will be playing on the team.”
Teams will have the opportunity to choose a mascot. Brannan explains that, “The upperclassmen were the bears, they’re always the bears. It’s safe to assume that there may be special appearances from four-legged visitors, as there’s typically animals involved,” Brannan said.
According to Brannan, this flag-football competition requires judges; “They’re typically admin or teachers.” NCLA history says that juniors and seniors have the upper hand, according to senior Jaiden Truhe, “Upperclassmen always win.The last time the lowerclassmen won was the year of 2018, when the class of 2022 were freshmen.”
Instead of expecting tackles and injuries, this competition implements the rules of flag football in favor of the traditional game, “We don’t condone violence at the NCLA. It’s not in accordance with the Honor Code” Truhe says.
Safety at NCLA
Following the deadly school shooting at Mount Tabor High School that occured on Sept. 1, schools in the Triad area are now talking more about what safety precautions are put in place in their school.
“All doors are locked at all times, everyone has to come though the front office to gain access to the building,” said Principal Mrs. Renee Faenza.
The North Carolina Leadership Academy has always been doing things to keep the students and staff safe. Our school resource officer, Officer Stacey, has been at the school for quite some time now and her main priority is the safety of students and staff.
“I have started periodically riding around the campus versus just walking to ensure no person or vehicle is on the campus that doesn’t belong here,” Officer Stacy said. “I also check the exterior doors to ensure they are locked throughout the day. However the staff and students are asked to report anything that looks suspicious or to report anything they hear that may be a threat to school safety. The safety of the school has to be a team effort between Law Enforcement, Teachers, and Students in order to work efficiently for the school as a whole.”
Officer Stacy goes on to explain that the school will be practicing a lockdown drill once a month to ensure that everyone knows the procedures of what to do incase of a situation. There is one thing that may be a little harder about our school. The NCLA has three buildings, which may cause some difficulties in keeping kids safe.
“The hardest thing about having three schools is the evacuation procedures or lock down procedures are going to be different for each building,” said Officer Stacy. “Due to the layouts/structures of each building and the locations of each building on the campus the evacuation procedures have to be looked at from the standpoint of each building. It’s also a lot more area to cover when I’m checking doors or just checking on each building for security purposes.”
To Officer Stacy, it is important for schools to have an SRO because it can keep safety in dire situations. “Number one is safety for students and staff. If a threat does present itself it can be stopped immediately. It could take 5 to 10 minutes for Patrol Officers to arrive if they receive a call of a threat. There’s a lot that could take place during that 5 to 10 minute wait time. The presence of the Officer can deter a threat as well just by being present and being seen.”
20 Years After 9/11
Last Saturday, the world grieved together as the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, passed by.
Twenty years ago, a terrorist group called Al Qaeda hit the World Trade Center in New York City with two Boeing 767 aircrafts. Members of Al Qaeda hijacked four planes, two heading to the twin towers in New York, one heading to the Pentagon, and one that crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers took control of the plane. Even after 20 years, Americans everywhere reflected on the events that changed the nation forever.
Many people gathered all over the nation to remember the September 11 attacks. Crowds gathered at the September 11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan to remember and commemorate those who lost their lives. Current President Joe Biden, and well as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton attended the memorial with their wives. A procession marched flags through the memorial and those affected by the attacks read off the names and favorite memories of the attack victims.
Every year, the state of New York remembers the attacks by lighting up Ground Zero in a way that makes the towers look as if they were still there. They also have an annual moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., when the first hijacked airline hit the north tower 20 years ago. Another moment of silence occurs at 9:03 a.m. when the second plane hit the south tower, at 9:59 a.m. when the south tower collapsed, and at 10:28 a.m. when the north tower collapsed.
A moment of silence was also observed at the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., which was the time when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the west side of the Pentagon. The Biden family attended both ceremonies, as well as another in Shanksville, P.A.
There was a remembrance ceremony in Pennsylvania where former President George W. Bush gave a speech remembering the day that “the world was loud with carnage and sirens.”
Current vice president Kamala Harris was also in Shanksville where United Flight 93 (a hijacked plane) was overrun by passengers and crashed in a field before it could do any more damage.
United Flight 93 taught us “about the courage of those on board, who gave everything,” she said. “About the resolve of the first responders, who risked everything. About the resilience of the American people.”
The September 11 attacks will always be remembered as a time of great despair and tragedy, but also as a time of unity and togetherness in a nation usually separated. Whether people are coming together to remember fallen victims or tell the stories of those who survived, the nation is united as one.
On Sept. 10, 2001, nobody could’ve ever imagined what would happen the next day. On September 12, everyone would find it hard to forget.
NCLA Virtual Days
Last school year was anything but predictable, and the North Carolina Leadership Academy is doing anything they can to make this year as normal as possible.
To attempt to prevent another shut down, the NCLA has planned six virtual days this year.
“Last year, the state of NC required us to build some into our days,” assistant principal Mrs. Amal Wood said. “We thought they worked well and have kept them. I’m not positive that’s still a state requirement.”
The virtual days will occur on September 15, October 8, November 1, January 26, February 9, and March 9. They are marked on the school calendar with an “R.”
During these virtual days, students will be required to do school from home. They will access assignments through Canvas.
“It will vary by teacher, some may have asynchronous assignments for students to complete, but it’s up to each individual teacher as to what they are going to expect,” Wood said.
While students are at home, teachers will still be in the building. The teachers will be available for questions, and some teachers may be willing to hop on a Zoom or Google Meet with students who are struggling.
“All the teachers will be here in the building, this is an opportunity for them to work with students who need extra attention and help, they may even meet with families,” Wood said.
Eating out for Education
Eating out for Education is a fundraiser hosted by restaurants in Kernersville who give a percentage of their proceeds from a night to local schools.
“The restaurant will donate to the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber gives donations, through grants, to schools,” NCLA teacher, Chelsie Orenstein said.
Teachers can apply for these grants and ask for equipment, field trips, classroom supplies, or even direct money.
“Since the program was established in 2004, more than $236,056 has been awarded through 552 grants to teachers at schools in the Kernersville area,” a WSFCS article stated.
“I think it’s a really important program. I am really glad it’s one of the things our county does. Because for a teacher, a lot of times, you spend your own money trying to get things for your students, and it’s nice that people are willing to donate money to the Chamber and support teachers,” Orenstein said.
This past year, neither the Town of Kernersville, nor The NCLA has promoted the latest event, held on September 8, and it seemed to have an effect on the turnout.
After being a host for Eating for Education at Giadas Trattoria, Orenstein said, “It was good, a little slow. I think I greeted for two hours, and maybe greeted a total of seven people. It was a Wednesday night, so it was a little slower than usual.”
New Fire Apple Products
Apple is a popular technology brand that is favored among teens and young adults. Apple uses their business to cater to this large age demographic which has allowed them to be objectively one of the most favored cell phone and personal device brands.
Many people around the school use Apple products for many different reasons including quality, fame, and its user friendly features.
Nora Wood, a senior, said “For the most part I’ve been pretty happy with the Apple products. I have an iPhone XR right now and I really like how much faster it runs than my old iPhone 6s.”
Throughout the rest of this year Apple will be releasing a total of seven new products. Apple expects to drop the iPhone Thirteen, the Apple Watch Series Seven and Airpods Three throughout the rest of this month.
Sophomore Nick Swisher said “I’ve heard about the new releases that apple is launching this month. I am fairly excited about them, I like to see what new features they put in their products.”
Apple is also releasing new products into October and November as well. These drops include the Macbook Pro, Mac Mini, iPad Mini Six, and the Low-Cost iPad. Apple is a very popular company and many people are anticipating these products.
“I am really looking forward to the new Macbook. I recently got a Macbook so I am interested in seeing what features are different and how they are similar. I also am really looking forward to the new make of the Airpod Three’s because the Airpod Two’s were so different as well,” said senior Jackson Faenza, when questioned on his interest in the new products.
Apple is constantly dropping new products big or small. They always have many different features and qualities added to their products from the previous model.
The iPhone Thirteen is causing a stir for its new unique features. Most importantly the model is changing. Although it will mimic the iPhone Twelve in shape and size, it will come in different colors. Apple is bringing back pink which they have not had on an iPhone since the rose gold iPhone Seven. Apple is also updating the battery life and adding significantly more storage.
There is a lot of hope for this phone in the student body.
“The iPhone Thirteen does speak to my interest. I think with the new technology included in this phone is something very interesting. The iPhone is the one I see myself getting out of all the products. The phone is something that always makes me excited and I think this one will be even better,” said Swisher.
2021 or 2022: According to Students
The 2021-2022 school year is very different from every other school year in history.
Last school year was anything but normal. Half the school year, students would go to school two days a week and even go remote for a long period of time due to Covid-19 exposures.
“Last year was very strange, and it was weird not going to school for long periods of time,” senior Tyler Hanes said.
This school year, we are back to five days a week. The North Carolina Leadership Academy has not been back to five days a week since March 2020.
“Kids have been doing pretty well with masks so far. The only big problem we have come across this school year is tracking the kids with Covid and making sure they are not coming to school and staying home if they are showing symptoms or have come into contact with Covid,” Principal Renee Faenza said.
Students are required to wear masks at all times during the school day, besides eating lunch in the cafeteria. When students are not eating or drinking, their mask should be above their mouth and nose.
Another difference from the previous school year is that there is no social distancing between students in the classroom. The school hallway is also not one-way like before, so it can cause some unlikeable traffic jams.
Some students think this new change of coming back to school five days a week has come to be really sudden.
“The first week was stressful because it was a lot at once. After adjusting, it’s been good,” senior Nora Wood said.
With all this change comes some really great things. Students will get to see their teachers and friends every day this school year. Students may also get back on track with their work while being face-to-face with their teachers.
“I think going to school full of people has helped me become more motivated and seeing my teachers everyday has also helped me get back on track with my school work,” senior Lauren Maness said.
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
September 17- The newest Marvel movie, “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, was released on Sept. 3. Shang Chi is the newest MCU character. According to Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 92% rating with an audience score of 98%.
Shang Chi is played by Simu Liu who is known for his role in the TV show, “Kim’s
Convenience”. Liu landed the spot as the first asian superhero in the Marvel movies. Meng’er Zhang plays Chi’s sister, Xialang, in her first major big screen dayview. Awkwafina plays Katy, Shang’s best friend and love interest. Tony Leung plays Zheng Zu, the father of Shang Chi and the villain of the movie.
The movie is a broad scene into the future of the Marvel universe, when “Black Widow” was a look into the past of the Marvel universe. There are guest stars in “Shang Chi ” connecting the other characters into what is happening.
In my opinion, “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is an outstanding movie with amazing action scenes and the perfect amount of comic relief.
Awkwafina, Simu Liu, Meng’er Zhang and Zheng Zu really carry the movie. The movie is different for Marvel and I’m excited to see what becomes of it.
Fashion’s Biggest Night: Covid Style
September 17- This year’s Met Gala red carpet was held on Monday, Sept. 13 and was hosted by actress and TV personality Keke Palmer along with director IIana Glazer.
The guest list for this A-list event included Jennifer Lopez, Lil Nas X and Kim Kardashian. The theme for The Met according, to Vogue.com’s Insider Andrew Bolton, is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
Bolton referred to the theme as, “a new vocabulary that’s more relevant and more reflective of the times in which we’re living.”
Rihanna (left) and A$AP Rocky (right) at the Met Gala (Getty Images)
Rhianna and her boyfriend ASAP Rocky came fashionably late with Balenciaga Couture and ERL. They were dressed in what seemed to be fancy blankets, inspired by what everyone was doing during Covid, but billionaire style.
Jennifer Lopez arrived with Ralph Lauren in a western themed look, with a long ragged ponytail that completed the fabulous look.
Lil Nas X at the Met Gala (Getty Images)
The shiniest look goes to Lil Nas X, who was wearing a long cape with a gold Iron Man underneath. To top it off he had another gold ensemble underneath the Iron Man suit.
The Kardashian family showed up and showed out in their very unique outfits.
Kim Kardashian had an all black look that covered her entire face, legs and arms.
Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala (Getty Images)
Kendall Kardashian arrived in a see through diamond dress that really made her the star of the Met. Kris Jenner went for a detailed black suit.
The night ended with various after parties held by celebrities like Rihanna, and the The Standard Hotel club, the Boom Boom Room.
CLB Album Review
September 17- Following the anticipated release of Kanye West’s Donda, Drake finally dropped his promised summer album, Certified Lover Boy. Also known as CLB for short, the album is Drake’s sixth studio album release, and features 17 different artists over 21 tracks.
“I enjoyed all the features and new music in general is always exciting,” Karston Keomalaythong said. “However, a project with plenty of popular artists is always better.”
CLB felt like another Drake classic, as production was top tier, and the samples he chose fit nicely with the Drake aesthetic that most people know him for. The
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/Shutterstock
Toronto rapper used classic samples from songs by The Notorious B.I.G., Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, and other famous artists.
With this new age of Tik Tok culture, it was inevitable for the album to become trendy on the app, one of which popularized “For You” pages. The song, “Way 2 Sexy” featuring Young Thug and Future, has been popularized by the song’s outlandish youtube video and trendy dance.
“That music video was probably the most stupid, hilariously, funny thing I have ever seen. It was just full of dumb creativity,” Scott Stanley said.
Of course the biggest critics of Drake’s album are fueled by debates about which release was better: Donda or CLB.
“Personally, I enjoy music with deep meanings and for me, it wasn’t there in CLB,” Maria Fleak explained. “In Donda, the whole album was dedicated to his mother’s death, and the music had much more meaning.”
“Drake is mid and his hype is dead. Kanye on the other hand brought out some absolute ragers in his recent album,” said David Truhe.
All 21 songs from the album made it on the billboard top 100 the week of its release. Drake also debuted at the #1 spot with, “Way 2 Sexy” being his tenth #1 track. The album also did phenomenally in the market, accounting for over 600k copies sold in just the first week.
Personally I think this album will only get better over time, and the songs will continue to grow on the public much like his previous albums have done. I would still rank this album below Drake’s other better albums such as Views and Scorpion, but it should sit comfortably in his top three.
My personal favorite songs from the album:
– Way 2 Sexy ft. Young Thug & Future
– Fair Trade ft. Travis Scott
– No Friends in the Industry
– Girls Want Girls ft. Lil Baby
– Knife Talk ft. 21 Savage & Project Pat
– Yebba’s Heartbreak
New Falcons Learn to Soar
Sophia Haley is a 16-year-old junior at the North Carolina Leadership Academy. This is her first year attending the NCLA after being at Southwest last year.
Haley is one of 10 siblings. She loves the outdoors but is also a homebody. She’s also addicted to Netflix and watches many TV shows. Yet her time is limited because she works at a golf course in River Landing being their star employee.
Being new at the NCLA, she enjoys the inviting environment.
“The atmosphere is welcoming and is better than Southwest,” Haley said
She expressed how the people at the NCLA are more open to new ideas and to new people like herself. Haley is taking very challenging classes such as AP United States History, AP Language, AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, Art , and Teacher Cadet. Haley hopes these classes can prepare her for Wake Forest’s Medical School.
“Even though the classes are difficult, I believe they will prepare me for the future,” Haley said.
Haley has made many friends and has already left a good impression on the NCLA. She hopes to continue to grow and soar here at the NCLA.
Summer in a Nutshell
As summer comes to a close, NCLA students reflect on what they did this summer.
A majority of high school students occupied their summers with new jobs. NCLA junior Rebecca Avila spent her summer working at Hollister in Hanes Mall.
“It was fun because it gave me a new change of pace and I got to meet a lot of new people,” Avila said.
NCLA junior Maria Fleak also got a job over the summer at Chicken Salad Chick in High Point.
“I also got a job and learned how to make a mean sandwich,” Fleak said.
Senior Abby Brannan said, “I worked nearly every night this past summer and the days that I didn’t, I volunteered at my Church, so it was pretty busy but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
NCLA senior Jonathan Floyd got the opportunity to figure out what he wanted to do after high school over his summer.
“I looked forward to having to get up and be at work by 6:45 everyday. This summer I got the job offer of a lifetime. I was asked to work at a family friend’s car shop,” Floyd said. “And it actually made me decide what I wanted to do after high school, which is to go to school to become a mechanic. And I learned a ton while working in the shop and on the farm, things that will be with me the rest of my life.”
Lots of other students went vacationing all across the state and some even traveled around the country! Brannan said she went on lots of adventures with friends, went to Oregon for her brother’s college graduation/commission into the Navy, along with his wedding. She also got to try Dutch Bros coffee for the first time!
“Got to see some amazing sights while road tripping,” NCLA senior Abby Brannan said. “My favorite was getting to see the west coast ocean. The water comes from the Arctic so the water is pretty cold. The shore has white sand and big rocks. Whereas on the East Coast, I feel like we have shorter banks, tan sand/dunes, and more grass.”
NCLA junior Ellie Gibhardt actually went out of the country to visit Turks and Caicos!
“I really enjoyed this past summer!! For the most part I was either traveling or spending time with my friends,” Gibhardt said. “I went to Turks and Caicos in June, Kiawah Island in July, and spent a lot of time at the lake. Other than that, I would drive around with my friends since this was our first summer having our licenses. It was really good!”
COVID restrictions eased up over the summer, so many students took advantage of the time and spent it traveling with their friends.
“This summer I spent a lot of time with my friends,” Fleak said. “I went to Charleston with my friend Ellie and the Outer Banks with Jenna and Lexi. It was really fun. I enjoyed my summer as much as possible even though I had to worry about COVID.”
NCLA junior Camryn Earnhardt also went to Charleston with her family. She said they went sightseeing and shopping while they were there.
Lots of students also went to visit the Outer Banks this summer, including NCLA senior Nora Wood.
“I went to the Outer Banks this summer with my family. We stayed in Avon and had a great time going to the sand dunes and Ocracoke,” Wood said.
Despite COVID, NCLA students found a way to make their summers fun and worthwhile. This past summer worked as a great time to relax, rejuvenate, and get excited for the new year!
Fresh Start for the NCLA
The NCLA, along with the rest of the world, has gone through many changes throughout 2020 and 2021. Many differences can be seen between last school year and the current one.
Last school year students were split into two groups, red and blue. Half of the school was going on Mondays and Tuesdays while the other half was going on Tuesdays and Fridays. All students would be at home learning remotely on Wednesdays.
Students would stay six feet apart from each other while every other desk remained empty.
Teachers would wipe down desks after every period before the next group of students arrived. The hallways were also one-way. Upstairs would move towards the front of the school while downstairs traffic would move towards the gym.
This year, things are a lot different. All students are learning in person five days a week. Students can sit next to each other and teachers no longer have to sanitize desks. Students can also walk both ways in the halls making it easier to get to class.
After quarantining for so long, students have become more independent and feel assured in their abilities.
Senior Callie Foust, previously all online stated, “The biggest change is the attitude, mostly. I feel like because everyone was off by themselves for so long, they seem more confident. They went through a whole pandemic.”
One thing is for sure, the school as a whole feels more connected.
“Before there was no relationship. I was just words on a page and doing assignments they were posting,” Foust said.
Instead of staring at a screen all-day students have the opportunity to be in the classroom interacting with their teachers and classmates. It’s all more personable. The 2021-22 school year is looking a lot brighter than last and is off to a great start.
Who Gets the Vote?
Student Council- the heart of the North Carolina Leadership Academy’s student body. Anticipation rises as students wait for election day to be held on Wednesday, Sept.1.
The process began Monday, Aug. 23, as prospective candidates met to outline and understand the mission of the student council. In summary, the council will strive to up student morale and help the climate of the school. According to NCLA high school English teacher Ms. Kerr, they will do this by organizing events like Powder Puff football, spirit weeks, and creating a student section at sporting events.
To be on the council, candidates must first acquire a teacher recommendation and student signatures, confirming their campaign’s legitimacy. Students can then choose how they campaign further. Some popular choices are punny posters or candy hand-outs.
When asked what to be looking for in candidates, Kerr answered, “I think the best candidates are the ones who really care about the student body, and want to represent them and their wants. I’m looking for people who value leadership and who are able to make decisions, even in tough situations.”
The process may seem as though it will be finished after the election, but the work will continue all year. The council has the ability to make the NCLA a school that students want to come to, with a positive and spirited environment.
To be involved in who has a say, Kerr believes students should “talk to people who you know are running. Voice and express your opinions to those who will be representing you, and vote. That’s the most important thing to do.”
The Wingman Program
By Lindsey Allen
The Wingman Program is a new program that is offered to students in grades 1-5 and students in grades 9-12.
It is designed to bring the different grade levels at the NCLA together to create a closer knit community like there was before grade levels were separated into different buildings.
NCLA junior Julie Davis, who created the program, said, “We were talking in Leadership about how we used to do the assemblies with the elementary and the high schoolers and do little activities with them, but now that we’ve moved to the new building we don’t spend as much time with them.”
To be involved in the program, high school students must fill out an interest form and be approved by administration.
When you are assigned a Wingman (an elementary school student), you are required to write a letter to them at least once every two weeks, have at least one lunch with them per month, and attend any other events planned by the school for the program.
“Since it is a new program, we want to start small. We are hoping to eventually add Kindergarten and Middle School to the program,” said Davis.
Students will also receive a small amount of service hours for participating in the program.
“High Schoolers who are part of the program will receive some service hours, but we haven’t figured out how many,” said Davis. “It’s probably not going to be a huge amount because we want the people involved to be involved for the kids and the program, and not for the hours.”
What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
After years of protection from the United States military, Afghanistan is officially under the Taliban’s rule. Some Afghans are hiding in their homes, while others are desperate for escape.
“I think it’s really sad. I wish there was more I could do,” NCLA junior Sylvia Sellmer said.
Most of the violence has taken place in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The Taliban has told women to stay home after admitting that the soldiers were not trained to protect women. They have removed the right for girls to go to school, and most women are killed on sight by soldiers.
According to CNN, the Taliban’s spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid has claimed that they are more likely to respect women when they are the least powerful.
Afghans are beginning to storm the airport and climb on the wings of the airplanes. According to Reuters, as many as 20 people have died in and around the Kabul airport in the past week, due to shootings, fires, and falls from the wings of the planes.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, president Joe Biden sent in thousands of American troops to help evacuate soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and to help settle the chaos at the airport. Thirteen American service members were killed outside of the Kabul airport, being the first United States members killed in Afghanistan since February of 2020.
Biden decided to officially withdraw all American troops by Sept. 11, 2021, rather than the originally planned removal date of May 1, 2021.
While the crisis in Afghanistan has gained sympathy from all Americans, there has been controversy surrounding Biden’s decision making. Many people are angry at Biden for withdrawing the troops during a time of need in Afghanistan, and some are thankful for Biden protecting American troops.
During these crucial times, you may feel useless, wondering what you can do to help. The biggest thing you can do is spread awareness and truthful information. Also, donating to organizations working on helping Afghans in need, such as the Islamic Relief U.S.A, or the International Rescue Committee, is a great way to show support and to help save Afghanistan.
Links to Donate:
This year NCLA is welcoming a new Middle School Assistant Principal, Mrs. Kimberly AsKew.
AsKew went to the University of Georgia and majored in Music Education. She has taught music, English, and has been a Band Director.
“I have taught everything from Kindergarten to College. I found that I love middle school,” Askew said.
Within the school, AsKew has a goal of starting a middle school library.
“I really would like to work in a middle school library,” AsKew said. “Being an English teacher, I really want everybody to be able to just come in and sit down and grab a book and read. It’s really important to me that people find their way to enjoy reading. Sometimes reading is made really hard in school, and we need to find the fun.”
Something else that is very important to AsKew is having a good relationship with the middle school students.
“I want them to know that I’m very friendly, I do want them to do their best everyday, and that I’m here to listen,” AsKew said.
Outside of school, AsKew enjoys traveling, reading Harry Potter, and spending time with her two black labs.
“I love to travel, my favorite place is Europe,” AsKew said. “I absolutely love France and I’ve been to Poland and Italy and Scotland.”
New Faces at the NCLA
By Rebecca Avila
The 2021-2022 school year is off to a great start! There are some new teachers that have joined the high school facility team.
Mrs. Tucker, Chef Don McMillan, Dr. Pisapia, Mr. Heckstall and Mrs. Stanley are all new NCLA teachers this year and are excited to be here.
Tucker is the new high school guidance counselor this year. She achieved her Bachelor’s degree and then put all her time and effort into her family. After a couple of years, she went back to grad school to get her M.Ed. in school counseling.
“The number one thing about being a counselor at the NCLA is working with students. Being able to help guide and answer questions is my favorite part,” Tucker said. “One of the hardest parts of being a counselor is also one of the most rewarding parts: seeing others going through painful experiences is hard, but also getting to help them in the process of healing is rewarding.”
Venturing away from school, Tucker enjoys snow/waterskiing, hiking and rollerblading. She also enjoys traveling, one of her favorite places being Acadia National Park in Maine.
Pisapia is the new civics teacher this year. He studied social and political thought for four years and then studied for another six years to obtain his PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Before the NCLA, Pisapia taught American politics and political philosophy at Wake Forest. He still teaches at Wake Forest during the summer, and he also is the academic director for a summer Politics and Policy Institute which he helped create for interested high school students. Last year, he taught seventh grade social studies virtually at the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Virtual Academy.
“Civics is really a political science class, more so than a history class. I love the subject, not politics per se, but I love thinking about freedom, justice and equality. I want to understand who has power and how people become empowered,” Pisapia said.
Aside from his love for teaching and his wanting to share big ideas and to learn from his students, Pisapia loves the game of soccer. He also enjoys playing the saxophone as well as being a father of five.
Stanley is the new Spanish teacher and the new high school volleyball coach. Before the NCLA, she was a history teacher in West Virginia. This is her third year of teaching Spanish and she has played volleyball for 11 years.
“I enjoy reading, hanging out with my four doggos and going to concerts,” Stanley said.
McMillan is the new culinary teacher. He has been cooking professionally for 66 years. He did not go to culinary school but he learned his trade working with many different chefs and cooks as well as attending many culinary conferences and having wonderful mentors to guide him along the way.
He previously worked at GTCC as their culinary instructor for five semesters. He also owned The Stock Pot Cooking School until 1985, owned two restaurants, and owned a catering service before he retired.
“I have a YouTube Channel called Simple and Delicious Recipes and so far have over 70 cooking videos posted,” McMillan said. “I have led an interesting life, serving athletes at two olympics, cooking for many dognitaries, cooking aboard a oceanographic yacht for 27 months as part of The International Indian Ocean Expedition, managing food services for stadiums, arenasm fine dining, restaurants, historic venues, personal chef for Dr. Maya Angelou and so much more.”
Heckstall is the new English teacher. He has been teaching for five years. Before the NCLA, he worked at Farmville Central High School. Coming to the NCLA was an easy move for him because his friends and family are in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area. He also likes to game and catch up on TV shows and movies in his freetime.
“I’ve always loved reading and have been a strong writer, but I never wanted to teach,” Heckstall said. “After spending four years as a writing center tutor in college, I fell in love with helping people and decided to teach high school students the elements (citations, quoting, formatting) that I wished my high school teacher taught me.”
Falcons Men Soccer Obliterates Chatham
By Nick Hurst
The NCLA Men’s soccer team took on the Chatham Charter Knights last Friday, August 28.
Beating them 10-1, the Falcons started red hot, scoring 7 goals in just the first half of the game.
Early in the second half however, the Falcons conceded their first goal of the season. “I took it personally because their school scored on us and championship teams don’t get scored on,” Scott Stanley said.
After that goal the attitude of the team changed and they kicked it into high gear and scored 3 goals ending the game 23 minutes early with a mercy rule.
“I feel as if we played well together as a team. We like to have fun because we are all good friends but we also like to play good soccer,” left back Kartson Keomalaythong said.
This year’s men’s soccer team is looking to become the first conference championship team in NCLA history.
“This year our goal is winning our conference and potentially being contenders in states,” said Keomalaytohng.
- David Truhe (3)
- Donovan Roberts (2)
- Brandon Mendoza (1)
- Cade Shoemaker (1)
- William Blake (2)
- Troy Shoemaker (1)
- Karston Keomalaythong (1)
- Anakin Leister (1)
First Year With JV and Varsity Teams
This year, the North Carolina Leadership Academy will have a Junior-Varsity and a Varsity team participating in Volleyball. It is very exciting because it creates more opportunities for more girls to come out and play.
“I am super excited for this volleyball season! It’s bittersweet because it is my last season, but I am ready to make the best of it. The team already feels like a family. I’m excited to watch us grow and get better together,” said senior player Nora Wood.
Both teams will play until the beginning of October and then conference play will start. With this being the first year the NCLA is in a conference, we will be playing a variety of teams in our 1A conference. We will be hosting and playing away against Bishop McGuinness, Forsyth Country Day, Greensboro Homeschool, Bethany, Triad Baptist, and many others.
This year is also the first year of our new head coach Ms. Stanley. This is Stanley’s first year at NCLA and she is a Spanish teacher at the NCLA. “This is my 2nd year coaching volleyball. Yes it is a little different at NCLA, but only at the player’s level. I coached middle school before this,” Stanley said.
When asked the difference between the JV and Varsity teams Stanley replied, “There is a difference between JV and Varsity. JV is still working on skills and working on being a cohesive team. Varsity is improving known skills and playing to the opponents’ levels, not just our own level.”
One goal Head Coach Stanley has for both teams is to be able to master and finish the drill in seven minutes by the end of the season, “We have a drill that we do, called the seven minute run. All of the girls on the team are to complete this drill in its entirety by the end of the season.”
Currently, the two teams are dealing with some Covid issues amongst the team. Hopefully the team can get back to practicing and playing their games. “Our team motto is, the loudest team wins, we can always improve on our communication on the court and energy. We are doing a great job at it, but it never hurts to keep working at it.”
Introducing the New Varsity Cheer Coach
The North Carolina Leadership Academy is introducing a new varsity cheer coach for the first time in four years. Courtney Ross, an operations manager for a housing facility in Greensboro, NC is also the mother of a six-year-old who attends first grade at the NCLA.
“I have been cheering since I was six. It was a vital part of my life growing up. It taught me motivation, passion, and perseverance. My coaches were such positive role models for me, so it was always in the back of my mind to one day be able to make an impact for someone else like that through cheerleading,” said Ross when questioned on her intentions after taking on the heavy role.
Tryouts were held for the varsity cheer team for the second time on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 in the high school gym. The first tryouts, which were held in May, had an amazing turnout but the squad was forced to suddenly dissolve due to complications with coaches. Although the second round of tryouts had a smaller turn out, Ross believes the cheer team is still promising.
“I knew going into the season that the athletes were going to be apprehensive about trying out for the team given that I am a new coach and have a high level of expectations. I know that by executing the plan I have in place, the athletes who want to be ‘all in’ for this program will grow as cheerleaders, student-athletes, and leaders. We’re building a fresh team and I’m excited to see what this season and the future holds for the NCLA cheerleading program” Ross said in relation to tryouts.
Building a Football Dynasty
Former North Carolina Leadership Academy civics teacher and high school golf coach, Christopher Walsh, became the new South Rowan head football coach at the end of last year. Walsh was a devoted teacher in the classroom, having a great sense of humor and genuine desire for his students to succeed.
“I loved Mr. Walsh as a journalism teacher because he was very easy going and allowed us to learn on our own before giving us guidance,” Becca Avila said.
Before landing the head job at South Rowan, Walsh has coached at multiple high schools with 15 years of experience. As a result, Walsh was able to bring in a full coaching staff with him to South, composed of coaches he has worked with throughout his career.
“Our coaches have made my life so much easier since coming to South. The atmosphere and excitement is the most it’s been over here in a while,” Walsh said.
The emotion is definitely bubbling over for the Red Raiders, as both the varsity and jv football teams have had the most athletes come to tryouts in years. To take it a step further, the Raiders will be using lockeroom and weight room additions, as well as rocking new throwback threads all season long.
“We’ve preached about making everything new,” Walsh stated. “The community has donated us a new locker room floor, and our administration has brought in new uniforms and equipment.”
Since arriving as head coach, Walsh has wanted to build an attitude/mindset of success. He has been a big fan of the A team, and is getting everyone to reflect their values.
“Our seniors have really bought in and want to see this team succeed in their last season,” Walsh mentioned. “We also teach the principles of being the A team: Attitude first, Academics second which leads to Athletics. Athletics are a privilege, not a right.”
Since the high school is stationed in the middle of such a small town, there is also a big community atmosphere around the team.
“Everyone from our town knows the players, so we talk a lot about having a big reputation at our school,” Walsh explained.
The football season has been underway since early July workouts, but South has brought the intensity since day one.
“If you want to play you have to come out with your helmet strapped up really really tight,” Walsh said. “We preach hard hitting, tenacious defense, and our kids have really embraced that energy.”
Rowan opened their season at home against the Parkland Mustangs on August 20, and posted the first home shutout victory since 1994. Walsh was extremely satisfied with how his team played, and praised his squad’s execution on both sides of the ball.
“We had a tremendous crowd Friday night that really brought the energy,” Walsh mentioned. “About five thousand people filled our six thousand seat stadium. It was absolutely packed.
With the new NCHSAA conferences for the next couple of years, South Rowan is looking to claim a conference title in football.
“Our goal is to win the conference,” Walsh stated, “But the goal l tell my kids the most is for us to be practicing on Thanksgiving. For a team to have practice on or around thanksgiving, means we are competing in the second and third round of the state playoffs.”
Of course it’s not all about winning on the gridiron. Walsh has continued his charismatic teaching style in the classroom, and wants to see his team succeed off the field just as much as on it.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about love and brotherhood. I hear a lot of “I love you’s” from one guy to another in the hallways,” Walsh said. “I tell people all the time, I have 1 daughter and 99 sons. So to live my dream of being a head coach, and to give my family the opportunity to be home makes everything even sweeter.”
Need for a Student Section
School spirit is very important and with all the craziness that our students have been through because of COVID, school spirit is needed now more than ever.
Our school spirit is sometimes lacking when it comes to support from students at our games. Having a student section and having themes for every game for all the sports would boost morale and increase awareness of games played.
“It would be a good thing. We just need to get people to come out to games,” junior Anakin Leister said.
The atmosphere would also lessen the athletes stress to just go out and have a good time.
“I think that a student section would be a good thing for home games. It would help to bring more people to games and help make the environment better,” junior Troy Shoemaker said.
Making sure all the sports are recognized is the challenge.
“I feel like people think only basketball has a student section at our school but it can be for any sport. It reminds me of when the volleyball team did neon night and a lot of people came out and it was a lot of fun,” junior Jenna Clayton said. “Especially now that more people can come to the games, it’s just a really good opportunity to support the school and have a good time.”
Making the student section possible would have to be up to the students to come together and make a plan.
“As we continue to grow with athletics, and now in a conference, I think the students getting together and coming up with a student spirit group and having a student section would be an excellent idea. I’d be more than happy to help work out the logistics with that,” Coach Mac said.
“I think it really gives the students something to all hold onto for their school years before graduation.”
Upcoming Home Games:
Varsity Soccer vs. Triad Baptist – 9/3 7:00pm
Varsity Volleyball vs. Triad Baptist – 9/3 6:00pm
Varsity Volleyball vs. Carver HS – 9/9 6:00pm
Falcon Golfer Makes it to Regionals
Freshman Dain Crnojevic on the varsity golf team made his way to golf regionals this year to compete in the NCHSAA 1A Midwest regional.
He was the lowest independent golfer in the state of North Carolina, and finished 35th on the leaderboard for the Piney Point Golf Club on Monday, May 3.
“It was a great experience and I’m happy that I qualified for regionals this year and was able to compete,” Crnojevic said. “I think I played really well under pressure at the competition, but I’m going to keep working and strive to make top-10 in state by my senior year.”
Sadly, the day of the meet there was rainy and unfavorable conditions but Crnojevic was able to shoot a 94.
“I was really impressed with the work he put in for the competition, especially with the bad weather,” said Mr. Walsh, the golf coach. “Competing as a freshman is tough and if he keeps going he’s going to be really good, I’m really proud of all of his hard work that he’s put in this season.”
“I don’t think the rain was that much of a downside, really, I think it helped to put me in my element and focus on golfing,” Crnojevic said.
This is the golf team’s second time qualifying for the regional since two years ago. Dain is also the lowest score the team’s had at regionals.
“It was a great way to end the season, making regionals was a great accomplishment and I definitely want to work hard to be able to qualify again next year.”, Crnojevic said. “If I had any advice for other players it would be to keep your composure and don’t get mad, be a good sport, be humble, and play your game.”
Laura Richie: Softball Superhero
Laura Richie, sophomore at the NCLA, is an avid softball player and led the softball team in many places this season.
“I started playing tee ball when I was about four years old. I have grown up watching my brother playing baseball and then my mom played softball in college at UNC- Greensboro. My dad also played a little slowpitch in high school also,” Laura Richie said.
She has played for the school ever since middle school and is also involved in a travel ball team. She plays second base and right field usually, but in school ball, she pitches.
“I only pitch in school ball, when I was younger I learned how to pitch and then I did that in rec ball also. So when they asked if anyone could pitch I said I could do it because then we would not be able to have a team if I didn’t do it. But for travel ball I play second base and right field.”
During this NCLA falcon season, Richie had a batting average of .850 and an on base average of .933. She batted 20 times and had 17 runs and 12 hits. She hit three doubles and had 7 RBI’s. During her phenomenal season, she threw 78 strike outs and walked 59.
“This season I was really surprised by it because we came out and won our first five games and we had very little experience. We had two girls including me who have ever played before. So I would say it was a good season overall, a lot of the girls were able to learn and did better throughout the season.”
One of the biggest struggles from this season was the lack of experience on the team and for Richie having to adjust to playing a new position every game. One sport Richie said she would play if not softball, would be Cross Country.
“I think I could be a double sport athlete in College. I really enjoy Cross Country and it helps keep me in shape for softball. But I would love to play softball in college. I have shown interest in Appalachian State and then playing at Indiana University at some point also,” Richie explained.
Falcon Fun Run
Sports Year in Review
What a crazy year most people will say for our NCLA Sports world, but it is now complete with very few upsetting situations. Having to adjust to many changes throughout the year, it was hard as many students and coaches have said.
The Pandemic really did put a change to all of the student-athletes, especially the seniors, having some seasons cancelled, senior nights cancelled, condensed seasons all because of COVID.
Athletic Director Coach Mac says, “There where probably two things that were truly just hard this year due to our pandemic, the first one being the rest of the High School Basketball season being canceled not being able to finish their season nor be able to have a senior night and then the second one being that because of COVID circumstances one of our Highschool girls seniors was not allowed to play nor attend her senior night. Yea we were still able to do a whole celebration for the basketball team to make up for their cancelled season, but for the one girl who missed her senior night we couldn’t do anything for her and it was one of the hardest things this year.”
But this year wasn’t all that bad, The HS Boys Soccer team had a really good season this year going 7-3 and tying once. The team ended up being number one in their independent Conference this year.
Head Coach, Coach Shoemaker says, “There was not just a single person who helped the team, it’s tough because we were better as a group than individuals. But because our top 11 guys were really important and losing one of them changed how we play.”
David Truhe ended the season off being the leading scorer, William Lee being the best defender and Scott Stanley the goalkeeper.
Also having a very impressive and great season was the HS girls Volleyball team going 7-4, finishing number one in their independent conference and fifth in the Central Carolina-West Conference.
Our Seniors go out with a bang
Many 2021 graduates got the short of the stick this year with their sports seasons. Although they were cut our seniors made the most out of their last season playing.
Senior Jackson Shaw played basketball and soccer. He rated the basketball season a 5/10. “It was tough because we had to end early,” Shaw said. Jackson’s soccer season went better than his basketball season with a rating of 9/10. The only thing he would change is being able to participate in state playoffs.
“Masks on the field and court, and games getting canceled all the time got pretty old. But I still had a great time,” Shaw said.
Even though this year wasn’t ideal, the seniors still had good parts of their season. “My favorite thing this year was the same as my entire high school athletic career, which is eating and hanging out with the team at restaurants and on the bus,” Shaw said.
Ally Mattingly plays golf and she would rate her season a 9/10. “It was a lot shorter than I wanted but it was just amazing to be playing with everyone,” Mattingly said.
Seniors also had to not only get adjusted to their season being shortened but as well as wearing masks while playing their sports.”The masks were definitely new and our season was squished into three weeks which is so much different,” Mattingly said.
Ally’s favorite thing about this season was meeting people from different schools and learning about what they’re doing after high school.
5/17 @ Bethany
5/19 against Cornerstone
5/24 against Chatham
News May 2021:
The Class of ‘21 Reflects on the Year
The Class of 2021 has had quite a historic senior year. It definitely is not one that was expected or particularly fantastic, but it had its moments of normalcy.
“Overall senior year was definitely one to remember. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was certainly unique,” said Megan Queen.
“Senior year is what I had dreamed of for as long as I could remember … Senior Nights, Senior Skip Day, senior prank, cap and gown pictures, and many more things. Obviously my dream did not become my reality. But, because of that, my senior year taught me many more things that I would have not learned if it was a “normal year,” said Mollie Lomax.
This year has taught the seniors so many lessons about patience, discipline, and the importance of friendship.
“It taught me to cherish friendships and every moment spent with my friends. It taught me to be thankful for my school and the importance of an education. It taught me to appreciate the small things and give thanks to those who go out of their way. It taught me to focus on what’s important,” said Lomax.
Though there were many lessons learned, the school year still had its rollercoaster of emotions.
“I had been training hard for soccer season all summer just to find out they had moved the season to January. Then, it becomes stressful because of college applications, even though I only applied to four. After college applications, it was alright. I was pretty tired from four applications and two Forsyth Tech classes … And then all of the sudden soccer season started. It started off okay, but then it went downhill. I had lost all of my preparation from before and some things happened so the season didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. It was still fun for the most part. Then, I got accepted into every school other than Duke, so that was pretty good, but then I had to start prepping for AP exams so it became stressful again. Now I got two more tests left before I’m out, so it’s exciting,” said senior Wen-Shin Lee.
With these lessons comes a lot of newfound wisdom within yourself. Even though this year was extremely challenging, the seniors are grateful for what they were able to have this year, especially the little things.
“I’m thankful for everything we have had the opportunity to do from playing an actual volleyball season to going in person to school. It was very hard, very challenging. Senioritis is no joke. But if I had to sum it all up in one word, it would be grateful. For every little thing that was a small bit of what I wanted to do senior year. Road trips with friends, getting in and deciding my dream school, and getting a senior night to say goodbye to my years of volleyball. I’m grateful,” said Queen.
“I am extremely grateful that I got two months of a “normal” senior year. Although crazy, I will never forget my senior year and all of the people that made it memorable,” said Lomax.
Graduation Looks Different Again
by Lexi Antieau
As this school year comes to a close, seniors are faced with another obstacle: their graduation ceremony.
Rumors have been circulating as to what the NCLA graduation ceremony will look like this year. I was given the chance to talk to NCLA Assistant Principal Wood and a couple of NCLA seniors, who all gave me some insight into what this year’s ceremony will look like.
The ceremony will take place in the high school gym, just like it did last year. Each graduate’s family is allotted three tickets for floor seating, and if they need more, they are allowed to purchase up to three more tickets for bleacher seating. The main concern among parents and senior students is that their family will not be able to be together during the ceremony.
“Families may not be able to sit together in large groups if students are bringing more than 3 people,” assistant principal Wood said.
Senior Levi Antieau explains that he’s sad that he won’t have a large group of family members there as he walks across the stage. A lot of other NCLA seniors feel this way too and wish that the school would live stream the event for the family members who have to stay home.
Another concern among the NCLA community is whether or not the ceremony will be live-streamed. Wood explained that this year’s ceremony will not be live-streamed because the school feels it is not necessary. It was live-streamed last year because the school felt it was a necessity since they weren’t permitted many people in the gym. However, this year they are allowed more people, hence why the live stream will not occur.
“I do wish we were allowed a few more tickets. Many of us are having to choose family members and that is difficult when you love them all the same. I believe if we can have 800+ kids attend school for 8 hours, 300 people can come to our graduation for 2 hours. Because that is not happening, I wish they could simply live stream the graduation for our family members that were left at home,” senior Mollie Lomax said.
“This year we will do like we have in the past. We will create and edit a nice version of the graduation ceremony and share it with the graduates a few days later,” Wood said.
Wood later explained that there are no alternative plans for the ceremony and that it will definitely take place in the high school gym. Some families have suggested the ceremony take place on the high school soccer field so that it’s outside and families can sit closer together, but it doesn’t look like that option is being considered.
As of right now, there are no other special surprises planned for the seniors this year. However, seniors do have the option to go on the camping trip to Hanging Rock, and be adopted by an NCLA family. They were also given a prom and they will all be receiving a class t-shirt.
“I feel like they’ve walked all over us this year and not lived up to any of the promises they made at the beginning of the year,” Antieau said.
A few NCLA parents have been putting together a special book for the class of 2021. This book will most likely include cap and gown pictures taken by NCLA parents, senior pictures sent in by each senior, and some senior quotes that are typically included in a traditional yearbook.
“At first I was disappointed with no yearbook or senior pictures but I am so grateful for the parents for doing all that they can for us,” Lomax said.
“To our seniors, if you could make it through these last two years of school, you will be able to make it through ANYTHING that this life throws at you,” Wood said.
Our Year In Review
It is hard to believe that this historic school year is almost over. The 2020-21 school year has had many ups and downs, but there have been many good parts. Through all the bad that has happened in the last year the school has done its best to make life feel more normal again.
The year started with two groups. One group went on Mondays and Tuesdays while the other group went to school on Thursday and Friday. In the first week of school, there was a Covid scare and it caused the school to close for two weeks. With the school closing on the first day of school many people thought the in-school learning would be a flop, but the school prevailed.
“My favorite part of this school year is that the teachers seem to be much more understanding if you have late work,” said Calvin Zoelinger, a Junior.
The school stayed stable for many months after that with a few Covid scares here and there. As a school, we had the privilege to play sports against other schools this year with a few different rules.
“I am glad our coaches and everyone involved did what they could to get us the seasons we wanted. I automatically thought it was a win based on the fact we were able to play at all in this crazy year,” said junior Jonathan Floyd, basketball and baseball player.
For the first quarter of the year, online students were not required to join Zoom calls and were only supposed to do the work as it was assigned. This changed after the first quarter. After coming back from fall break we started having Zoom meetings for every class each period. This was a big change to how the school year worked up to that point. I feel it was a great change because I was getting the same education and direction as the in-person students but from the safety of my home.
“I got to work at home instead of only in class, letting me work at my own pace.” said junior Hunter Fox.
The group system continued along with the Zoom meetings up until the fourth quarter. Due to new rules and Covid regulations, the state allowed schools to go back to One hundred percent capacity while wearing masks. This was a big change for all of the students, even the ones that decided to stay home. The at-home students changed to only having Zoom classes one day of the week instead of the five days it was before.
Due to the size of The NCLA, we are able to do things other schools are not able to. Our school is one of the only schools able to have been able to keep students in person all year. The small size of our school also lets us still be able to do things like have a prom and other school events.
Lots of schools are not able to host their own proms this year due to Covid. Most schools would have too many people that would go and the crowd would be too large. Thanks to the small size of our school, we are able to have a prom and both juniors and seniors are able to go.
I feel this year has been a success for our school as a whole. Things will always go wrong, especially in the midst of a global pandemic but I feel we turned it around and made it a pretty good year.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
One in five Americans, live with a mental health condition. 50% of all lifetime cases begin by the age of 14.
“Taking care of our mental health is so important,” said NCLA’s on-site counselor, Mrs. Tucker.
This year the NFL has launched a series of videos, started by Michael Robinson, to address players, fans, and the general public about prioritizing mental health and wellness. Active players have branched out of their comfort zone by making videos to be posted, talking about their personal experiences with mental illnesses.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle, Solomon Thomas, shared his personal struggle with depression after losing his sister to suicide in 2018. Other players like Joey Bosa and Ali Marpet, have also shared their experiences in order to try and “Kick the Stigma.” Aside from the release of this series, NFL teams, like the Indianapolis Colts, have launched their own fundraisers to raise awareness.
“Just like physical ailments can affect anyone, so can mental challenges,” continued Tucker.
Mental challenges can affect anyone no matter race, age, where they live, family, or faith. When one faces mental challenges, there is nothing to be ashamed of. An important part of personal mental health is being able to look at ourselves realistically.
Everyone has days where they do not feel themselves, and it is normal. But, if those feelings go one for a few weeks it is important to seek help. Also, if the feelings you’re having begin to impact your daily life it is important to try and talk to someone about the way you are feeling. NCLA has on-site school counselors who are more than happy to help in any way.
“This year has impacted my mental health more than any other year,” said senior Becca Nordstrom.
If you are questioning some activities that can contribute to a positive mental health, here are a few daily things you can do!
- Deep Breathing- deep breathing helps send a message to your brain to help it calm down and relax especially when you may feel out of control or in a chaotic situation.
- Spending more time in nature- walking in sunshine and soaking up Vitamin D are great for your mood.
- Gratitude- turning our focus away from what we don’t have to what we do have helps us refocus and energizes us.
- Monitoring technology and social media- having a healthy relationship with technology usage and social media can have a huge affect on our mental health. The endless feed of fun, filtered photos can often leave us feeling isolated and empty.
- Positive affirmations- the way we talk to ourselves has a powerful impact on how we feel. Start by choosing one positive, simple phrase that you can repeat to yourself when you feel negativity creeping in.
“Self care is more important than ever! Investing in your mental health is never a waste,” continued Tucker.
Pfizer Vaccine Available for Children 12-15 Years Old
As a crucial step towards COVID-19 recovery, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15. Rumors of this surfaced late last week when a government official announced that the FDA was considering the approval after months of trials.
Late Monday afternoon, the vaccine was approved, and now another wave of individuals are eligible for the vaccine, leading the country one step closer to safety.
During the vaccine trials in children ages 12-15, the vaccine “demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses, exceeding those reported in the trial of vaccinated 16-25-year-old participants in an earlier analysis, and was well tolerated,” according to the Pfizer-BioNTech website,
While the company continues to research how younger age groups will react to the vaccine, the recent approval is exceptional news for those who are eager to get the shot- including some of our own NCLA Falcons.
“I really want the vaccine,” sophomore Lindsey Allen said. “It’ll make me feel safer because people in my house are immunocompromised.”
“I really want to get [the vaccine] to be safe,” freshman Nick Swisher added. “I might feel a little more protected, but I will still wear my mask and take precautions until it is safe again.”
Because of mass vaccination, CDC guidelines are shifting for those who are fully vaccinated. However, precautions while indoors still include the usual masking and distancing that we all should be used to by now.
While some families have been more affected by the pandemic than others, it has been challenging to find comfort in normalcy, especially everyday tasks like going to the grocery store.
“I do not go anywhere,” Allen said. “I do not like eating in restaurants or going to the grocery store. My family usually picks up our groceries now. I think this will change once I am vaccinated.”
“I do not think my life will change any,” Swisher said. “I am a little nervous about [the vaccine] though because I do not want to get sick from it. But, I think it will do more good than bad in the long run.”
Concerns regarding the vaccines side effects are normal. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before and after the vaccine, keep your arm moving, and avoid taking pain relievers before getting the shot.
While nationwide progress is looking great, White House pandemic advisor Andy Slavitt warns the country that, “the worst thing we can do right now would be to mistake progress for victory.”
Upcoming Senior Feelings
Being a senior is one of the most exciting things teens look forward to. Many juniors at the NCLA that are getting ready for the upcoming school year are mentally preparing for the last year of their high school careers.
“I’m mostly excited about memories. There’s a lot of significant stories to tell my children that can come from my senior year, like the senior prank, senior assassins, and proms. I also look forward to having a student council again,” said NCLA Junior Abby Brannan.
Many juniors are excited to not have to worry about the next year of high school, and being able to enjoy being a senior.
“I am most excited about graduating, for sure. I can’t wait to have so many more options for school and to be able to figure out what I wanna do,” said Haley Frias.
Senior year brings many new opportunities and responsibilities for students. They have to juggle their last year of high school, taking the final steps to prepare for college, and sometimes even a job. It is a stressful, but enjoyable time for many teens.
This past school year has brought several changes to school life, and students are looking forward to some possible positive change in the coming year. Some students such as junior Jasmine Cook are hoping for some easier restrictions, like the return of two way hallways..
“I can only hope that the times in which we are living in will change. I know we have done the best we can given the situation, but I hope that sickness is gone, and restrictions are lifted. It has been so hard learning and staying motivated and disciplined this past year, and I think this would make everyone’s lives easier, more fruitful, and less stressful,” Brannan said.
“Adjusting to school in a pandemic was stressful, but that was to be expected. I do wish that I hadn’t been as nervous for the pandemic as I was at the beginning,” Frias said.
“So far I have enjoyed my high school experience with great educators, hard classes, and great encouragement from faculty and friends…. but what I do expect to change is when we near the end of senior year, the heartbreak that will come as we all go our separate ways,” Brannan said.
Overall, juniors seem pretty hopeful for the future, even if there is some anxiety surrounding leaving home.
“I am nervous, but not about the actual school year. It has more to do with what is to come after that,” Cook said.
“The future is a little like diving in the deep end and though I do not have it all figured out, there is no need to. Life is a journey and even once you have a set career, there’s more to it,” Brannan said. “I have so many facets of my life to explore and many doors of opportunities.”