Month: September 2013

What It Takes to be a Football Player

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By A.J. Hysell, Staff Writer

The James River football team is known for their heart and ability to keep going no matter what the circumstances. Anytime they are faced with a challenge that may seem impossible to overcome, they somehow push through it and come out on top.

Junior Todd Gay said that he has played football ever since he was a kid. After joining the James River football team in his freshman year, Gay has shown the heart that comes with football players.  Gay believes that football is one of the most physically demanding sports in the school and that it requires a lot of dedication in order to excel in it.

Junior Todd Gay. Photo by A.J. Hysell.

Gay believes that football is such a great sport because “The feeling of winning is overpowering; there is nothing like the feeling of scoring a touchdown even if it wasn’t you [who] scored it.”

He then goes on to talk about how the football team is extremely close and are much like a family. They push each other to the brink of their capabilities and have each other’s back in and out of practice. Without this relationship, the team wouldn’t be able to trust each other so much on the field and play so smoothly.

Football is known as one of the hardest sports at James River, and not many people actually get to play on the field even if they make the team.

When interviewed, junior Isaiah Christmas said, “Practice is already as hard as it should be, and sometimes I think it’s overboard; But in the end, I guess it’s for the best.”

Junior Isaiah Christmas. Photo by A.J. Hysell.

Even though the practices may be hard at the time, but all of their practices are designed to “break” the athletes.  Coaches Greg DeFrancesco and Tony Yonta, push their athletes to their limits so that when they get out on the field, they will be able to play as hard as they can for as long as they can. If they so much as falter during an actual game, it could be the loss for not only themselves the entire team.

This may not be something that everyone on the varsity team is thinking about, but the JV team is eventually going to be taking their place. This means that they need to live up to the expectations of the varsity team now. Sometimes, sports have an underlying problem of not showing as much attention to their JV team as their varsity team.  At James River, the JV team is just as important as the varsity team.

According to Gay, “The JV team definitely has potential, but with Coach Riley leaving next year, I’m not sure where exactly they are going to go.”

Altogether, according to this writer, James River has an excellent football team and are a definite contender in this year’s districts. With all of our great players, they should have a great chance of winning.


Q&A with Abigail Belcher: the Next Kevin Powers

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By Alejandro Lucero, Copy Editor

Abigail Belcher, a senior here at James River High School, has been mastering her talents in writing by both completing two books and getting them published. She has been part of the creative writing class, and has expressed her feelings and identity by using the art of literature and composition as her medium. Both of Belcher’s books are available for purchase online on Amazon, and you can order them and read the stories for yourself. She personally recommends that you read Sunsets and Sandcastles, whose first chapter is available on Amazon for free for a sneak peek. I have begun reading her book and I personally like it. If you’re looking for a new book to read, support our local author.

Alejandro Lucero: When did you publish both books?

Abigail Belcher: I published my first book, Dear Catherine, in June of 2012, and the second book, Sunsets and Sandcastles, in June of 2013


A.L: What’s your motivation to keep writing and publishing?

A.B: My motivation for writing is more for myself than anyone else. It is the satisfaction of taking ideas and splattering the page with words strung together that only I may claim as my own.


A.L: How did you feel about the first book you wrote/published? And second one?

A.B: My first book was nowhere near as advanced as my second. I learned from a lot from my mistakes the first time around, and I am proud of both of them, but especially my second.


A.L: How does the second book differ from the first one?

A.B: Sunsets and Sandcastles differs from Dear Catherine in the fact it has multiple stories to follow, whereas Dear Catherine was only one plot. Also, the second has deeper characterizations and hidden meanings and interpretations of life throughout.


A.L: What made you take the chance to go ahead and write books?

A.B: Writing has been my passion since I’ve been able to pick up a pencil. I’ve written so many short stories and poems, and I’ve loved it, but I always knew I wouldn’t be living up to the full potential of my gift if I didn’t at least take a chance to take countless ideas and fill the pages of books.


A.L: Were you influenced by anything or anyone to write? If so, how?

A.B: I always thought writing was just a hobby; I had no idea I was any good at it or even that people enjoyed reading my writing. In eighth grade, Marina Bletsos (now a senior) continuously told me what a great writer i was, and she was always asking to read my poems and essays for English class. She made me realize that maybe I could turn my passion into more than just a hobby, and she was right.


A.L: What are your plans for future books?

A.B: I have many, MANY ideas for future novels, but my goal is to pick one and begin writing by October. Hopefully, I can have my third book published shortly after graduation.


Abigail Belcher is currently in the process of writing her third book. Next to her journal, is a copy of her latest book, Sunsets and Sandcastles.  Picture by: Alejandro Lucero
Abigail Belcher is currently in the process of writing her third book. Next to her journal, is a copy of her latest book, Sunsets and Sandcastles.
Picture by: Alejandro Lucero

A.L: What inspires you?

A.B: Music definitely inspires me, or the breeze that whispers quietly while I’m sitting outside. I always have one or the other while I’m writing; Music gives me ideas when I’m stuck, and the wind reminds me that I’m not alone during the process of writing a book, because sometimes writing a novel can feel like the loneliest thing in the world.


A.L: What has shaped your writing style?

A.B: I think the things that have happened in my life and my friends’/family’s lives has shaped my writing style. I take pieces from our individual stories, happy and sad, and use them to create something magical. I believe sometimes the only way to heal something painful that has happened in my life is to write about it; I believe that through writing comes the power and promise of healing.


A.L: For how long have you been writing?

A.B: I started writing more than school required me to in fifth grade.Through the years, I’ve filled up journal after journal, and if anybody knows me well enough, they know that for Christmas or for my birthday I am going to ask for another journal.


A.L: Is there a third book coming up?

A.B: My hope is that there will be a third book published in 2014. Senior year is going to be crazy busy, but if you haven’t got time for your dreams then how important of a passion can it be to you?

Theatre on the James presents: Pride and Prejudice

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By Sidney Davis, Staff Writer

The “Theatre on the James” cast members are putting a fresh twist to Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, starring Claire Whelen as Elizabeth Bennett, Cory Williams as Mr. Darcy and Grayson Carter as Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Members of the cast of Pride and Prejudice prepare during rehearsal. Photo by Sidney Davis
Members of the cast of Pride and Prejudice prepare during rehearsal. Photo by Sidney Davis

Theater teacher and director Ms. Allison Oyler was inspired to produce Pride and Prejudice because it was one of her favorite novels. She described it as “serious with some comedic elements, and we [Theater on the James] have mostly done comedies”

When asked if the crew had any surprises in store, Oyler replied “No real surprises with this one…I think what we will attempt is making the show fresh, making our audience fall in love with the characters as they fall in love.”

Rehearsals started on Tuesday, and will continue weekly on Tuesday through Friday after school until four o’clock.

Performances are scheduled for October 24, 25, and 26 at seven o’clock. Come support James River’s talent in Pride and Prejudice!