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Les Misérables Sneak Peak

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Mathew Mitchel and Jacob Kutsmeda perform their roles as a prisoner and guard in a run through of the musical. Cast and crew work extremely hard to make sure their performance improves with every run through. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Get ready Jaguars for Glen Allen Drama’s upcoming musical, Les Misérables! These dedicated students have been working after school and even on some Saturdays to make sure they make it their best show yet. Les Misérables takes place during the French Revolution and explores identity, love, and relationships during the time period. The musical focuses on these themes through a tear inducing plot and soundtrack.

Jacob Durbin nails a challenging solo as Jean Valjean. Without the patience and guidence of Mrs. Beckett and Ms. Garett, this challenging musical would not be possible. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Previously starring in Jaguar Drama’s productions of Legally Blonde and The Little Mermaid, Jacob Durbin and Maddie Siepe star in Les Misérables as Jean Valjean and Cosette. Also starring in this year’s production are Lauren Grob as Fantine, Tessa Eddington as Éponine, Roman Fenner as Marius and many others, both veterans and newcomers to the stage.

Behind the scenes crew works to move sets, manage sound, and control lighting. Carson Cofer and Brian Glessner are sound technicians, Lindsey Pitts runs the light board, and Dillion Burruss controls the spotlight. Picture taken by Emily Bickford.

The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard with the help of Mrs. Beckett and Ms. Garret to perform this classic musical to the best of their ability.

Come support your fellow Jaguars in Glen Allen Drama’s production of Les Misérables on April 19th, 20th, and 21st at 7:30pm! As always doors open at 7. Tickets will be sold during lunches of show week for $8 and at the door for $10.

Center and Humanities Students Explore Philadelphia

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The Humanities students visited the Rodin museum in Philadelphia. Mr. Tolbert and some of his students posed in front of “The Thinker”. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Thursday, March 1st Mr. Tolbert’s Humanities students as well as center juniors and seniors traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Center students visited the Philadelphia Constitution Center in the morning, exploring things such as the historical figures throughout the museum. The Humanities students began their day at the Rodin Museum and exploring famous sculptures such as “The Gates of Hell” and “The Kiss”.

Students walked through China Town on their way to lunch. There were numerous pieces of architecture that replicated Chinese culture. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Then, students, accompanied by teachers, Mr. Tolbert and Mr. Conway, as well as associate principal Mr. Baedke made their way through China Town over to Redding Terminal for lunch. Students were allowed to choose from the various options throughout the terminal and trusted to go off on their own and make good decisions. On the way back to the buses, Humanities students stopped by “Frozen” to enjoy a sweet treat of rolled ice cream.

The front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provided a beautiful view of the city. Students enjoyed learning about the art inside the museum. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

After lunch, all students went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Students explored the vast museum with their chaperones. Senior, Cara Crenshaw stated, “Going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art was one of the coolest experiences because all of the art was beautiful. Being able to connect what we learned in class and apply it to the real world was inspiring.” Mr. Tolbert was thrilled to have the opportunity to provide an interactive environment to teach his students and was eager to explore the museums with his students. Students were enthusiastic to spend the day in Philadelphia learning about art and history.


To Eat or Not To Eat, Meat is the Question

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More recently in popular culture, certain diet-based life style choices have gained more attention. Choices such as gluten-free, GMO-free, not eating red meat, and vegetarianism have recently gained popularity, mainly on a health-based premise.

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from animal by-products. Some people choose to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle for more than just its health advantages, such improving your heart health and lowering cholesterol. Many find being vegetarian beneficial to themselves personally, as well as the world around them.

The health advantages do make a convincing case for the lifestyle. Vegetarianism helps to keep down weight, as it is proven that people who eat less animal products have lower BMIs than those who eat more of them. Also, it helps ward off diseases and prevent cancer. People who abide by a vegetarian diet are likely to live up to six years longer as well!

Not only are there health advantages, but there are also environmental benefits. This is proving to be more and more important as global warming becomes a bigger issue. By contributing to a decrease in the production of animal products, you are also contributing to a decrease in the production of greenhouse gases from manure, such as carbon dioxide. Also, if everyone in the United States adopted a vegetarian diet, the country would save 35 billion dollars annually on environmental costs, which is equivalent to about 46 round trips to the moon.

By preventing diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, with a vegetarian diet, the $1 trillion dollars annually that would be spent treating those diseases would be used in numerous other ways to benefit the economy. An increase in money supply would allow for more available funding for other important areas, such as health care. By maintaining a vegetarian diet, you can even get a lower rate on some health insurance plans!

Despite abstaining from meat, Vegetarians are still able to enjoy delicious food. Vegetarian Emily Bickford prepares to dig into a delicious bowl of butternut squash soup. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Despite these facts, however, the most popular reason that vegetarianism has become more popular is for the well-being of animals. Modern agriculture commonly results in animals being enclosed in tiny cages and mistreated. By not supporting these practices economically, you are contributing to a lower production rate of these animals, which results in less deaths.

Overall, vegetarianism is a great way to make a change, whether it is for your health, for the environment, or for the wellbeing of animals. Some might argue that you are missing out by adopting this lifestyle, converting to one full of tasteless food. This could not be further from the truth; vegetarians are able to eat almost everything that anyone else can. You may find that becoming a vegetarian might be the greatest thing you do for yourself, and for the Earth.


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Courtney Lynch Runs for Board of Supervisors Brookland Seat

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Courtney Lynch is an active member of the community; she plays an important role in volunteering for one of Glen Allen High School’s feeder schools, Glen Allen Elementary. Being a mom, marine, attorney, business owner, and author of a New York Times bestselling book about leadership, Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, Mrs. Lynch feels that she has the background necessarily to be successful on the Board of Supervisors.

“I love Henrico and feel very fortunate to live in the Brookland District.  I am proud to be raising my family here.  Running for the Board of Supervisors is a way I can serve and give back to our great community,” she states about why she decided to run for the position.

Mrs. Lynch has an extensive and diverse background.

She states, “As a mom, Marine, attorney, business owner and author on leadership, I have a diverse set of experiences that I believe have prepared me well for the multidimensional challenges of leading [Henrico] county.   I understand that leadership is not about power or prestige, it’s about service and responsibility.  In past leadership roles, I have developed my ability to listen, understand complex issues, and

Courtney Lynch answers a community member’s questions about her campaign. She is always happy to interact with and serve her community. Picture taken by Emily Bickford.

create the strategies necessary to achieve results.”

She hopes to be a new, refreshing voice for the distract. She feels that she can offer a new perspective from former representatives of the Brookland district.

“Mr. Glover was a beloved leader who did many great things for our community.  Clearly, he was an effective leader for his time.   My goal is to be an effective leader for now and the future.  Our county is evolving and needs are changing.  I look forward to leading the County to its next era of success, building upon the solid foundation those that have come before built.  I do believe diversity is important.  The best ideas come from diverse groups that can see issues from a variety of vantage points.  It’s interesting to note that if elected, I’ll be only the 2nd woman to ever serve on the Board, and the only mom of school-aged children.   Those life experiences allow me to bring a different perspective from those that have served in the past and those leaders currently serving,” stated Courtney.

One of the parts of her campaign that she strongly emphasizes that she would be the only mother of school aged children on the board if elected; she stresses the importance of the involvement of moms. On the other key issues of her campaign, Mrs. Lynch stated, “I am focused on strengthening our schools, improving the planning process as our District grows so that it is more open and transparent, and working to bring new economic development to our area in the form of good paying jobs and revitalizing blighted areas.”

“I am a younger, more progressive leader than my opponent.  I think the most important issue is really about the style of leadership voters want.  Which candidate do voters feel has the right profile to lead future success?  In many ways, my race is a classic “old guard or new guard” decision,” stated Mrs. Lynch about her most important issue of her campaign.

Mrs. Lynch is unsatisfied with the state of the Board of Supervisors in the past. She stated, “I’d like to spend a good bit of time listening, learning and benchmarking where we are today.  There are municipalities all across the US facing similar challenges as us with poverty rates rising, schools needing greater community support and the need to reimage what we build and develop as we grow.  I look forward to learning best practices from places beyond Virginia and bringing new ideas and potential pathways forward to citizens here in Henrico.  I also want to fully engage and represent the people of the Brookland District.  I believe government should be as open, transparent, and accessible as possible.  I’d like to involve citizens in the process of determining what’s best for our community.”

Mrs. Lynch has felt extremely well-by her family throughout this process. She stated, “I think my campaign has shown my kids that it’s valuable to follow your heart, take risks and work as hard as you can to meet the goals you set out to achieve.  My kids are really curious about the political process.  In many ways, the campaign has been one big learning laboratory for them.  As for my husband Patrick, he’s been an amazing volunteer and has spent many hours working hard to make the campaign run smoothly.  We all have enjoyed meeting so many great people through this process.”

“My kids are some of my strongest supporters. They also have strong opinions on how things can be better.  I think they would love to know their mom is taking their thoughts into consideration. Through the years I’ve learned to integrate my life at work and life outside of work as well as I can, so I don’t think being on the Board will be much different to my family than other work I’ve done.  Realistically, my kids will be excited if I win the Election, yet after a day or two, that enthusiasm will wear off and I’ll just be mom again,” she states about how being on the Board of Supervisors would affect her family.

Courtney Lynch speaks at the HCCPTA’s very first Candidate Forum. She shares her views with the community and helps include the kids in the audience in the political process. Picture taken by Emily Bickford.

Courtney is extremely thankful for the role the community has played throughout her campaign and how supportive they have been. She stated, “[The community has] showed up so strongly and shared their opinions so candidly.  People have been so supportive of my run.   It’s tough to be in politics right now.  Yet, the silver lining of this entire process is the fact that on pretty much a daily basis someone in the community reaches out and encourages me to keep stepping.  I sense people want to bring change to our political system, they want the process to be more about issues and less about insults.  I’m glad my opponent and I are both committed to running a positive race that is about serving the County and meeting the needs of voters.”




No matter what, it is important that everyone who is able takes action and votes this election day, Tuesday, November 7th!

Powderpuff Comes to Glen Allen with a Surprise Ending

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On Wednesday, October 18th, Glen Allen hosted its annual Powderpuff flag football event. Girls from each class got together to form teams and represent their class with Battle of the Classes points on the line! They were coached by volunteers from their class. And, everyone was cheered on by the cheerleaders!

The first game, Seniors vs. Freshmen, ended the closest it has ever been in Glen Allen history. The Freshmen girls held their own against the Seniors, scoring 19 points to the Seniors’ 25 points.

Afterwards, the Juniors vs. Sophomore game ended even closer, with the Juniors persevering by only one point! The friendly competition showcased the comparative team work of the two classes. The game ending 21 to 20 led the Juniors to victory and into the final game against the Seniors.

The final game, Juniors vs. Seniors, ended unexpectedly with the Juniors crushing the Seniors, 20 to 0!

Throughout all three games, the four teams were kept motivated by the cheerleaders, led by Brian Glessner. The boys dress up as cheerleaders in their best pinkout gear to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness month. They kept spirits up with the cheers everyone knows and loves!

This is a competition, but at the end of the day, we’re one big family and this even brought out and united so many Jaguars.

Photos by Emily Bickford.


Van Valkenburg Runs for Delegate

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Mr. Van Valkenburg stands proudly by his poster of the Constitution in his classroom. He values the Constitutional ideologies and encourages his students to do the same. Photo by Emily Bickford.

Mr. Van Valkenburg is a history teacher here at Glen Allen High School, who teaches World History 1, AP European History, and AP Government. He also coaches the “We the People” participants for Glen Allen High School and is a sponsor for the Glen Allen chapter Social Studies National Honor Society, Rho Kappa, where he encourages students to get involved in their local government. After the most recent  presidential election did not go as he had hoped, and after following state politics over the years, he decided to “finally practice what he preached and get involved, because change is necessary.”

“The state level is an area that has a lot of impact on people’s lives and that often goes under the radar, but I think [running for delegate] is very important for the things that I care about. Things like education, [and] making sure people have opportunities to succeed. Things like making sure everyone’s rights are respected and protected. I do not think the Virginia state legislature has done a good job with that, and so that is what pushed me toward the specific office of delegate,” he said.

Coming from an education background, Van Valkenburg hopes to create change in Virginia’s education system, as well as other areas of legislation.

He stated, “There are a lot of places that we could focus on improving, such as our educational system. I think the state has been very neglectful of education with funding, which has caused a big burden on local governments that can’t necessarily handle it, as well as curriculum. Whether that’s testing or its providing kids with opportunities, like apprenticeships, or making it so when schools are accredited, it’s not just based on the tests from core curriculum, but based on: Are the schools safe? Do they create a healthy environment? Do they have good music and arts programs? Do they provide apprenticeships?, taking the whole picture into place.”

He continued by saying, “Also, I think the state could do a much better job at incentivizing our economy; what can be done in the future, whether that’s things like green energy, because these things are coming and we should continue to be a leader on that, or things like the medical field. Expanding Medicaid in our district alone would insure 2,000 people and create 150 jobs. The medical industry is only getting bigger, and as baby boomers retire, there are a lot of openings in that field as well for people to succeed. Creating opportunities for people, creating an awesome education, making sure people have access to affordable health care, and connecting those things to the economy that we are moving into is a way that we can ensure that all people have opportunities for success.”

Mr. Van Valkenburg is running as a democratic delegate for the 72nd district. He is very passionate about his democratic values and making a positive difference for the people he would represent. On the key issues of his campaign, he stated “Education is a huge one. I am a teacher, and schools are a reason why people move to Henrico, so making sure we can maintain an excellent education system here, but also foster it across the state is extremely important. Attaching that education system, and ensuring that young people, when they move into the economy, have access to good middle class jobs. It is important to plan for the future. Also, connecting businesses to school apprenticeships, or connecting seniors to these jobs. Healthcare is a big thing, and making sure that Virginia is playing its part.”

Coming from a background in education, the issue is personal to Van Valkenburg and, he claims it is the most important issue to him.

He states, “Education, I think it is the best way for everyone to reach their full potential and have what they need to succeed.”

If elected, Mr. Van Valkenburg plans to continue teaching at Glen Allen High School.

“I plan on maintaining both jobs with lots of coffee! It would be a lot of work, but I think I can do both.”

As a government teacher, being a delegate would allow Van Valkenburg to bring real world experience into the classroom.

“It already has helped because a lot of the things I am doing I have known in the abstract and taught in the abstract for a long time, so, when I did them, it was not exactly shocking because I knew what I was getting into, ” he said. “But, it creates a concrete example; you can talk about things in concrete, that make it more real for students.”

Emily Bickford shows her support of Mr. Van Valkenburg by showing off her “Van Valkenburg for Delegate” sign. She, along with Glen Allen students and faculty is a supporter of Van Valkenburg. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Maintaining both being a teacher and a delegate would also help Mr. VanValkenburg to achieve his goal of bringing apprenticeships to Seniors, “if we can convince enough delegates and senators to vote for the law.”

Many of Mr. VanValkenburg’s students are cheering him on throughout his journey. AP Government student Aaliyah Charania is an intern for his campaign. She stays after school daily and has participated in campaigning events, such as going door-to-door for the campaign. Several residents of the community, including students, have shown their support by participating in his campaign events or putting up his sign in their yard.

This year’s election is on November 7th. For those able to vote, be sure to exercise your right to make a well-informed decision regarding your representatives!

Everything, Everything is Everything

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Maddie and Nick simulate touching each other’s’ hands through the glass. This is the movie poster. Photo taken from

Everything, Everything is a drama released on May 19th about a girl named Maddie who is unable to go outside because of a disease. She is stuck inside her house with no connection to the outside world besides her mom, her nurse, and her nurse’s daughter until a new family moves in next with their son, Olly. They make eye contact through her window and sparks fly. Olly does not let the fact that Maddie cannot leave her house to keep them from being together.

The main character, Maddie, is excellently portrayed by Amandla Spenberg. She encompasses Maddie’s personality, displaying her as a fun-loving teenage girl. She is easily sympathized with and hard not to love. Olly, as played by Nick Robinson, is portrayed as the bad boy who lives next door. They not only have to overcome obstacles like Maddie’s illness to be together, they also have to get through Maddie’s overprotective mom as well as her nurse. She, more than anything, wants to leave her house and see the ocean.

The film shows what it is like for Maddie before she meets Olly, wearing her “standard uniform” of a white t-shirt every day. She has no connection to the outside beside her mom, nurse, nurse’s daughter, and the internet. After she meets Olly, who wears all black, she begins to strengthen her desire to go outside.

Everything, Everything contains a lot of symbolism that creates another level of entertainment for the movie. This symbolism strengthens the importance of small things, such as the color of Maddie’s clothing. It was exciting to figure out the meaning behind these symbols throughout the movie.

Senior Joshua Burks said, “It was a fun story about love in an unexpected situation.”

Overall, I give Everything, Everything a 4.5 rating.

A Sneak Peek at This Year’s Musical: The Little Mermaid

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Since January, the cast and crew of this year’s musical, The Little Mermaid, have been working tirelessly to put on one their best performances yet. From spending late nights in the auditorium to giving up their Saturdays for rehearsals, the cast and crew have given everything to make this a great show. They have built most of the sets by hand under the direction of Ms. Wilde and the artistic team manager, junior, Paxton O’Bryen. The drama department is also incredibly fortunate to be able to borrow a few sets, costumes, and props from the theatre company, Networks. These additions are sure to add an element to the musical that will wow the audience.

Ms. Wilde directing the Mer-sisters during their featured scene. There is a great deal of thought and planning that goes into every scene.
Photo by Emily Bickford.

The Little Mermaid  is based on the movie is about a young girl named Ariel who struggles with finding herself and fighting her attraction to land. It showcases her journey of falling love with a human, Prince Eric and the obstacles she faces. The lead roles are played by juniors Maddie Siepe, who plays Ariel, and Jacob Durbin, who plays Prince Eric. The cast also consists of Ariel’s partner in crime, Flounder played by freshman Mark Titus, as well as other various protagonist sea creatures including Sebastian played by junior Roman Fenner, and her father King Triton played by senior Nick Drake. Also featured is the infamous, Ursula, portrayed by Colette Morlino.

Directors, Ms. Wilde and Ms. Garrette have devoted a tremendous amount of time, planning, and energy into helping the cast and crew make the show as great as it can be

The tech crew works extremely hard to make sure they hit their cues. Junior Lindsey Pitts is booth manager and does lighting, sophomore, Dillon Burruss does spot light, junior Emily Bickford is lighting assistant, senior Jullian Durr is in charge of sound cues, and senior Sam Tiller moderates the sound board.
Photo by Emily Bickford.

Senior, Joshua Burks said, “The Little Mermaid has been especially fun because it is Disney, and who doesn’t love Disney! Also, this show is special to me because it is my last show, so I am trying to have as much fun as I can.”

You can see The Little Mermaid Thursday (4/28), Friday (4/29), and Saturday (4/30) at 7pm. Tickets will be sold at all lunches starting Monday, April 24th for $6 and sold at the door for $8.

How to Be More Mindful

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Emily Bickford

It is human nature to look for the worst in things. This pessimistic attitude leads us to be unhappy and ungrateful. Making small changes to be more mindful in our day-to-day lives will lead to a greater overall sense of wellbeing. Taking the time to focus on the important things in your life and choosing to let go of the bad will give you a sense of serenity.

Senior Alyssa Roman said, “I make sure I appreciate the little privileges in life like: being able to see, having food to eat, having a car, living in the country I do, etc. I try to do this every morning when I wake up. It makes me humble.”

Taking small amounts of time out of your day to do a few of these mindful things will make you happier and help you become more grateful.

This journal is empty and full of potential. Journaling is a great way to practice being mindful. Photo by Emily Bickford.

This journal is empty and full of potential. Journaling is a great way to practice being mindful.
Photo by Emily Bickford.

-Take some time, about ten minutes, to yourself to reflect on your day. For example, you could sit in your car on the way to school and listen to what is around you, or take the time while you are eating breakfast.

-Meditation is a common form of mindfulness. Reflecting on yourself and your life is a good way to be mindful of everything you are blessed with. Using mediation to focus on everything you have been gifted with in your life and to realize that the negative things do not matter in the long run is a great way to become more grateful.

-Journaling on a regular basis is also a great way to reflect on life as well. A good way to be mindful is to write about instances in your life that are important to you. Making lists about all the good things you have in your life is another great way to become even more consciously grateful.

Doing these things and others like them will make you happier in the long run!


Check out the following link for more tips!,happify&gclid=CjwKEAjwwcjGBRDj-P7TwcinyBkSJADymblTlWc0wt9pUH5dASYLIV2LxNamaP4xwpJ2bEw1R7F7exoCuw_w_wcB 


What Has Trump Done So Far in Office?

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Emily Bickford

Junior Chanelle Williams catches up on the most recent Donald Trump news. Many are becoming increasingly on edge with Trump’s most recent actions. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Junior Chanelle Williams catches up on the most recent Donald Trump news. Many are becoming increasingly on edge with Trump’s most recent actions.
Photo taken by Emily Bickford.

Donald Trump has been president for three weeks now, and has wasted no time taking action. He has made several changes, possibly taking the country backwards progressively. Since his inauguration, he has attempted to follow through on a lot of his campaign promises. Many of those who were not excited about his term but wanted to remain hopeful. Many believed that Trump was all bark and no bite and did not believe that he would actually follow through on some of the detrimental actions he promised throughout his campaign.

Senior Noah Mason said, “He’s made some strange decisions so far. I do appreciate that he’s trying to follow up with campaign promises, even if they don’t hold over too well with the populous. He is obviously putting in serious effort, even if he may go about doing some things the wrong way.”

Junior Rachel Greif said, “Within the first days of his presidency it seemed like he was ruining everything by trying to undo what the Obama administration had worked towards the last eight years. On election night Trump got the lead in electoral votes and I knew Hilary could not catch up and I wrote in my journal that if we elected the next Hitler I would be deeply saddened. But it happened. He doesn’t want immigrants and the US was dumb enough to turn away eastern European Jews in the 1930s and 40s, which resulted in their death. I really don’t understand how he doesn’t see that this could all happen again.”

One of the first things Trump did in his initial days in office was to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he regularly criticized his campaign. The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a trade deal between the United States and several countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Since it had yet to be approved by congress, the partnership is simply becoming nullified.

On his first full day in office, Trump froze federal government hiring, aiming to decrease the overall federal workforce and sub sequential debt. This is supposed to last for 90 days and will not include military spending. Fortunately, the order does include exceptions for broader categories and case-by-case expectations by the Office of Management and Budget.

Soon after the Women’s March on Washington, Trump took action to repeal Roe V. Wade. His goal is to fulfill his campaign promise of defunding Planned Parenthood, because of its close associating with abortion, which would take away from the rest of the health care opportunities that the organization offers. Only 3% of what Planned Parenthood offers is abortion related. Defunding this organization and others like it that offer incredible amounts of health care for women who could otherwise not afford it, is detrimental to the overall American population. Removing the care that was offered to women who would otherwise not be able to afford it means they would no longer have access to many much-needed things. STI testing, more affordable or free contraception, and annual exams would become luxuries no longer attainable for many women.

This policy is said to come into place once it is written by the Secretaries of state and health, and is meant to apply to renewals and new grants. Some organizations such as the Guttmacher Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation believe the order will apply to all global health funding by the United States instead of just organizations for family planning or reproductive health., which would take away the funding of similar organizations in countries funded by US as well.

Taking away a woman’s right to make important decisions about her body by defunding these organizations is taking away one of her most basic human rights. Trump’s sexist attitude towards women has catalyzed a large concern from many women and men across the country. From sexualizing his own daughter to appointing two men to advise him on women in the work place instead of women to his requirement for the women around him to “dress like women,” he has continuously shows an extremely backwards attitude towards women.

Another goal that Trump has acted upon is to amend the Affordable Care Act also known as Obama care. He aims to get rid of any parts of the act that cause a financial burden on the states, healthcare providers, or individuals. His directive sent to the Department of Health and Human Services will not have much impact other than influencing how Congress goes forward with their decision making processes.

One of Trump’s more popularly discussed executive actions is his effort toward boarder security. His widely discussed plan of building a wall has been extremely controversial. The wall will cost around $12- $15 billion dollars and the Department of Homeland Security says that there is about 100 million dollars available to use immediately. Trying to get funding for this outrageous project would cause opposition from many Democrats and Republicans. Also, the department will need to appeal to Congress for funding to hire even more immigration officers. Cities and private lands that the wall would potentially be built on will likely offer legal challenges as well.

Another one of Trump’s outrageous actions is his travel ban of seven countries thought to be “terror” threats. This resulted in several cases of complications for several individuals living in the United States legally. After it was in place, Washington and Minnesota showed opposition to the order. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart has since issued a restraining order on the executive action. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the restraining order will remain in place until action is decided in the scheduled hearings.

“The ban on immigration is not what this country stands for. Although it is in the process of being stopped and it only technically called out seven countries, the fact that it happened at all completely baffles me,” said Rachel.

Along with the hiring freeze, Trump imposed a freeze on EPA grants and contracts. It is currently unclear if this applies to future grants and contracts, or how long the freeze will last. The EPA has been actively fighting against Trump’s nominee for the EPA Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. In the past, Pruitt has fought the EPA on many issues, including the organization’s legal authority to regulate power plant emissions.

Some of Trump’s picks for cabinet have also been criticized. It has been confirmed that Rex W. Tillerson will stand as the security of state, who has been accused numerous times of having suspicious ties to Russia. Another more popularly discussed confirmation is his choice for the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, who is said to have controversial opinions over the current education system.

“His choice Betsy DeVos of all people to be the secretary of education was a poor decision. She has no experience and will not be good for us as students or for the country as a whole. People have repeatedly told me to ‘give him a chance,’ but guess what—I have, and it hasn’t worked out,” said Rachel Greif.

The fact that the majority of the Senate is Republican enables Trump and his outrageous executive actions to go unopposed. Since he is able to go through with his extremist executive actions, a large amount of the progress Obama made is being counteracted. The country had become so much more progressive and open-minded under his administration, especially with some of generation z growing old enough to be aware of the depth of the political world and adopting more liberal views.

It is extremely disconcerting that Trump continues to be rampantly dishonest and blatantly hypocritical, especially by constantly slamming Hillary for her ties to wall street, then bringing in many billionaire Wall Street executives into his cabinet. His and Tillerson’s ties to Russia also continue to leave many on edge. Trump continues to act mainly in his own self-interest instead of the good of the country, making it hard to believe that he genuinely cares about the good of the people. He likely only cares about himself and gaining recognition, praise, and money.

Rachel said, “He continues to make horrible decisions, only thinking about these issues from his own perspective. I feel like America as a whole has made intense progress in the last eight years and Trump seems to have his sights set on taking the country backwards. He doesn’t care for the people of America. Anyone who voted for him should have looked more closely at the lies and ‘alternative facts’ he told in order to seem like a good candidate. He contradicts himself constantly and doesn’t stand for the constitution or democracy. In the end, the only thing I know I can do is fight for what is right with the little time and resources I have.”

Donald Trump is under fire for various other executive actions from his first few weeks in office.

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The Verdict on Midterms

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Emily Bickford

In the days following Henrico’s snow-caused absences January 9th-11th , students, teachers, and administration across the Henrico County Public School district waited anxiously for a verdict on this year’s midterm exams. Every January, midterm exams can be a hassle for teachers to make and they have the potential to significantly harm (or help) a student’s grade in nearly every class. They require numerous days of studying, especially on top of all of the other new material that is being learned up until the day of the exams, in addition to all the homework that comes with that new material.
As students waited eagerly, they tweeted the Henrico County Public Schools twitter account begging for the midterm exams to be canceled. Many said that they felt that missing school days took away from their instructional time leaving them under-prepared for their midterm exams. Some students went as far as making petitions in order to get their points across to the head of the Henrico County Public Schools by addressing Superintendent, Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw.
County administrators held various meetings in order to discuss the course of actions for having and not having midterms. Many teachers expressed their discontent with having to wait in suspense on the midterm verdict, saying that this meant that they would still have to make a midterm in case midterms were canceled despite popular beliefs that they would be.

The official verdict of 2017 midterm exams was posted on twitter Friday 13th. Many students shared this tweet with others in order to spread the news once it was posted. Picture from @HenricoSchools Twitter page.

The official verdict of 2017 midterm exams was posted on twitter Friday 13th. Many students shared this tweet with others in order to spread the news once it was posted. Image taken from @HenricoSchools Twitter page.

Finally, at the end of the school day on Friday, January 13th, Henrico County Public Schools released their verdict on midterms, many students receiving the news via their twitter page. The verdict read, “Henrico County Public Schools has decided to cancel the January 24th-27th 2017 midterm exams for high school credit courses.”
Senior Lucas Aparicio said, “If I had to take midterms, I would have taken them. But, not having to take them means a lot fewer late nights studying and stressing.”
Junior Chelsea Crayton said, “I feel like it is smart not to have midterms because instead of focusing on a cumulative test in the middle of the year, our teachers can continue teaching their students.”

Junior Chelsea Crayton and Senior Emily Hachey show their excitement for not having midterms. They are relieved that they no longer have to spend many stressful nights staying up late to study. Photo taken by Emily Bickford.







Although many students are excited about no longer having midterms, some teachers are not as thrilled. Math teacher, Mr. Baber said, “I disagree with the decision. I think that a cumulative assessment at the half way point of the school work is important for both students and teachers in order to gage what their areas of weaknesses are. I think this is important, especially prior to the end of the year assessment such as the SOL or the AP exam.”

Santa Lights up the Night

By | Entertainment | No Comments

Emily Bickford

The tree lighting has been a tradition at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center for 18 years. Every year people gather to enjoy cookies, hot chocolate, and music. Typically, elementary students from Glen Allen Elementary perform at this event for their families and the community to enjoy, which is a great way to start off the Christmas season. After several performances from elementary students and bands, around the time when the cookies are almost gone, Santa Claus rides in on a fire truck to join the fun. He is joined by his elves, all the way from the North Pole! They hand out candy canes to all the little kids and brighten up the Christmas season for the whole community.

Families enjoy the Christmas spirit with one another. They admire the beautiful lights on the tree lit by Santa. Photo from

Families enjoy the Christmas spirit with one another. They admired the beautiful lights on the tree lit by Santa. Photo from

This year, fifth-grade students from Glen Allen Elementary School sang songs such as “Frosty the Snowman” and “Here Comes Santa Clause”. When Santa Claus rode in on the fire truck, the children were ecstatic. He was joined by Mrs. Claus and their elves.  It was a great time for the whole community to enjoy refreshments and music with one another. After some music and fun, and when the sun started to set, Santa prepared to light the giant tree behind the Culture Arts Center. It was truly the highlight of the night.

When he lit the tree, everyone admired the beautiful display of lights. Junior, Lindsey Pitts stated, “It was really cool to see all the lights on the giant tree and to see all the wowed reactions from the little kids.” Families enjoyed the company of one another and the joy that filled their children by being able to meet Santa. It was a marvelous time for everyone and a wonderful way to start off the Holiday season.


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