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What Is It Like Working in the FBI?

By Brooke Bandy

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an FBI agent? To work closely with the people who help to protect our nation?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, more commonly known as the FBI, is a government agency that protects the people of America and the Constitution from “foreign  intelligence operation” (, spying and cyber crimes. They also combat terrorism on the national and international level, as well as national white collar crimes, violent crimes, and criminal organizations here and abroad.

Getting into the FBI is definitely a process. You have to be at least 23, have a college degree, three years of work experience, and be a U.S. citizen. In order to be hired, there are many steps: an application, a test similar to the SAT, a formal interview with four current agents, a writing test, the fitness test, a drug test, a polygraph test, and finally, a huge background check (which could take up to a year).

The fitness test is one of the most known steps during the hiring process. There are four events, which consist of 1 minute of sit-ups, a 300 meter sprint, as many consecutive push-ups as you can do, then a 1.5 mile run. There is a five minute break between each event. You get scored on a scale 1-10 for each event and must have a minimum of 12 points total.

“I think the fitness test is a very challenging test,” says Matt O., a current FBI Special Agent and Fitness Advisor.

Matt is a supervisor of a counterintelligence and cyber squad. This means that they work to prevent espionage and spying.

“Right now, I am a supervisor of a squad, which a squad is our basic unit of agents that do investigations, and that’s the main thing the FBI does is investigate crimes, federal crimes, and what we would call threats to national security,” he says.

Prior to being a squad supervisor, he was a regular agent investigator, who are the people that open and work on cases and solve the crime. “This May will be 15 years, it’s hard to believe,” said Matt, talking about how long he’s been with the agency.

There are many jobs within the FBI one could look into. “Not everybody’s a special agent, I  know in the movies that’s all they ever focus on, but there’s actually quite a few more employees in the FBI who are not agents, than those who are, and they do a lot of really good work that doesn’t really get recognized in those TV shows and movies,” said Kevin M., another FBI special agent.

Kevin specializes in counterterrorism, but there are many other opportunities if you wanted to go down the special agent path. “There’s various other things you can work as a special agent like white collar crime, or counterintelligence, or drugs, many different areas that you can choose from,” says Kevin.fbi

Being a special agent requires some pretty good people skills. “One day you could be talking to a drug dealer, or a Congressman, the next day I might be talking to a neuroscientist, then the next day I might be talking to the ex-wife of someone who’s gotten themselves into some trouble, and all of those people have different motivations for why they might want to talk to us or might not, but the most important job of an FBI agent is to be able to talk to anyone under any circumstance,” said Matt.

Special agents sometimes have to travel for extended periods of time. “Right now, my job entails going overseas quite a bit, I’ve been to Iraq with the FBI as well as the army. Now I’m getting ready to go to southeast Asia for three months with the FBI,” said Kevin.

A misconception people get about the FBI is that they are trying to hurt certain political parties. “Almost everyone in the FBI wants to stay completely out of politics and just do investigations and take bad people off the streets,” said Matt.

Despite travelling and being away from home for so long, the effect of the work is very rewarding. “The stuff that we’re doing in my unit is very important and very impactful, so it makes you feel good about yourself because you’re doing work that really makes a difference,” says Kevin.

Being in the FBI has many ups and downs, but one thing remains consistent: their drive to protect America. “The thing that I like most about the FBI is the mission we have, which is basically to protect the American people, to protect the Constitution, and provide protection to citizens by whatever methods we need to. That is always done through some sort of investigation,” says Matt, “I’ve been fortunate to work with good people in every job I’ve had.”

If someone didn’t want to go into the federal law enforcement business but were interested in what the FBI does, state and local police stations might have special task forces that work closely with the FBI. Tom S., a Louisville Metro Police Officer, became one of these task force officers in 2004.

“I was never a federal agent,” he said, “I had all the powers of a federal agent.” At the federal level, FBI agents can only enforce federal laws, so if they need to arrest someone under a state law, they don’t have the authority. The state or local police come in and may be able to help arrest the suspect under a state law.

There was only one downside to working so closely with the FBI – paperwork. “We do a lot of police reports, but the FBI functions on a much higher level of documentation and you don’t do just one report of what you did, sometimes there’s three or four versions of that report depending on the information you get,” says Tom.

Sometimes, people watch TV shows about the FBI and automatically assume everything is correct and accurate. This is definitely not the case. “No, and I should preface that with saying that I don’t watch a whole lot of them because they’re so inaccurate, but the ones I have watched they don’t get right,” Kevin says, “They always show the FBI agents showing their badge and their gun. That’s almost never the case in real life. We try to hide the fact that we’re an FBI agent until it’s time to reveal that.”

They also show agents in suits only, but according to Kevin, they try to blend in as well as they can. “Anything I’ve ever seen is overdramatized … I’ve heard Quantico was awful and that it was nothing like Quantico, the FBI Academy, really. I’ve seen a couple episodes of White Collar, that’s okay, it’s about solving crimes, it is overdramatic,” says Matt.

Television also misrepresents the way FBI officers talk to the criminals or people they’re dealing with. “They’re also really disrespectful in the movies and TV shows in the way they talk to people. We’re very respectful and polite. We don’t berate the criminals when we’re talking to them and tell them how bad they are,” says Kevin.

Instead, the FBI agents talk very logically to the people they pick up and speak to them as people. “Unlike sometimes you see in the movies or tv shows, FBI agents are always very respectful to even the worst criminals. We’re very respectful to them, we’re very polite when we talk to them.” said Kevin.

Speaking respectfully and calmly to criminals or the people has its payoffs. “By the time we made it to the jail, in my car, she had invited me to eat at her restaurant in Hawaii because she was, I guess, taken aback by the respect that I showed her,” said Kevin, talking about a time he arrested a woman at an airport.

Overall, the FBI is a great long term career. They have a huge variety of jobs and fields one could go into. “The good thing is it’s really fun work, and really good work,” said Matt.


New Hampshire Feminine Hygiene Bill Should be Implemented

By Jessica Zhong

“Period poverty” is where people are forced to miss work or school because they can’t afford feminine hygiene products. For example, students may have to make frequent trips to the nurse’s office in order to get more pads.

“Per month, I’d say I spend 10 bucks on feminine hygiene,” said Mrs. Faenza.

That is $90 in an entire school year spent solely on pads and tampons.

In New Hampshire, a new bill is being created that would make middle and high school provide feminine hygiene products for free in girl’s bathrooms. Usually, you have to pay for those products.

“That would be nice and it would also be helpful to make it not cost a quarter,” said Julia Nolen.

The NCLA has already begun implementing this in the girls’ bathrooms, but there are questions as to whether or not this gesture can be abused.

Students may never replace pads or tampons and it was mentioned by Mrs. Shoemaker that middle school boys might take some and goof off.

“That would be pretty convenient, I’m not sure if it should be signed into law but it’s a nice courtesy,” said Ashlynn Day.

But for many, school resources can be their only source of feminine hygiene products. Some girls have to go through 8-hour school days with one pad, and if there is a stain it is embarrassing.

“It’s embarrassing because then people know. Because women have been so stigmatized and we make them out to be more hormonal and on-edge,” said Mrs. Faenza.

It is true that periods are taboo, and hopefully this legislation will change that in New Hampshire and the rest of the country.

Should our tax dollars go towards this? We certainly don’t expect people to bring their own toilet paper to work or school, and hygiene should be a basic right.

“I don’t think it’s the government’s responsibility,” said Mrs. Gibson.

Will this system be overused? Most likely, as when there are free things people are bound to abuse it.

Girls can continue going to the nurse’s office several times a day, but this isn’t ideal. Leaks can get worse as they wait to get help. Females deserve human dignity and to not have to worry about getting through the day.


Less teachers in NC are quitting; but more are moving

By Ellison Schuman

Fewer teachers in North Carolina have quit their jobs in the 2017-2018 school year compared to the last few years. But instead of quitting their public school job, teachers have begun to relocate at NC charter schools. According to the latest report from The Department of Public Instruction, 8,201 teachers stopped teaching in the state’s public schools between March 2016 and March 2017.

Most teachers who have relocated say that it is due to dissatisfaction in the public school workplace. This is why many teachers in the past few years have been experimenting with the environment of a charter school. Below are some top reasons why teaching at a charter school is more beneficial.

Pros of teaching at a charter school:

1. Empowering environment
Typically being smaller schools, the more intimate environment creates a kind of family atmosphere that allows teachers to have a little more leeway with their teaching style and curriculum
2. Smaller environment
Charter schools have less than half the student population of a public school. Most teachers say they feel safer with smaller classroom sizes and experience great moral and respect from the students
3. Commitment
Most teachers find more commitment from parents because they are often looking for an alternative education path for their child. There is an open line of communication between teachers and parents to help their child succeed.

Here at NCLA, most teachers seem to be content with their job and how the school operates. Teachers such as Mrs. Orenstein believe that they are in a good environment and don’t see many problems with their surroundings.

“I enjoy teaching here more than at a public school because the students are more dedicated. And with the smaller classrooms, there is less babysitting that I have to do. I don’t have to worry about the students too much.”

NCLA Juniors ACT Like They Care

By Kelsey Wiley

Wednesday February 20, the Juniors will be taking the ACT during school. The ACT is one of the big tests students take that can be extremely helpful when applying to college.

Taking the ACT is helpful to take several times to improve your score. One easy way to study for the ACT is using Khan Academy to take a pretest and help study for each subject that would be on the test.

Ellison Schuman, a Junior at the NCLA says she has no feelings about it. ¨Nobody else is stressing about it so I’m not too concerned.”

Some other good tips are: get a good night sleep, eat a big breakfast, and make sure you have several pencils and your calculator fully charged and new batteries, or bring spares with you just in case.


Photo Credit: Eastern Kentucky University website

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