Month: January 2015

Outdoor classroom needs seating

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By: Carolyn Costello, Staff Writer

In May of 2014, the outdoor classroom was dedicated to JRHS health and P.E teacher, Carrie Roarty. Teachers and students gathered together for the grand opening. Although the classroom is complete, there is only one thing that’s still missing; it needs seats.

The classroom was intended to be a perfect spot for students to complete schoolwork and spark new, creative ideas. However, due to the lack of seating, students are not able to use the outdoor classroom.

“We don’t use it enough. The school needs to have more activities out there. Plus there’s nowhere to sit. I don’t want to be standing the whole time,” senior Alex Hysell said.

People want to sit on something more comfortable than concrete. They want something that will keep them off the ground, like a bench or a picnic table. There are a lot of  procedures when picking the safest benches to put out there.

“There are a lot of protocols you have to go through before we get the right benches, making sure they’re waterproof and safe. Plus there isn’t a lot of room in the outdoor classroom. So we have to remember to get benches that are easy to move and that don’t take up so much space,” former Dean of Students Robert Gifford said.

After seeing the need of seats, sophomore Robert Siemers asked English teacher Meg Heyssel, the teacher in charge of the outdoor classroom, for permission to build benches for his Eagle Scout project. As of now, Siemers is in the process of getting benches for the outdoor classroom so students and teachers have a place to sit.

“It should be done around March or April, and my Boy Scout troop and I are putting on fundraisers so we can raise money to support this project. My Boy Scout troop and I are also building the benches too,” Siemers said.

So there will be benches out there soon, just in time for spring.


Fighting the feisty flu

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by Meg Carroll, Staff Writer

As we have taken the plunge into winter, many viruses have been arising at James River. Every public place becomes a human petri dish, especially schools and workplaces. Many become ill and very thoughtfully spread their germs to everyone else. However, as caring and considerate as their actions are, how can one try to prevent illness? And why is the current flu vaccine not preventing the flu?

Although the flu vaccine has been helpful in the past, it is not as useful this season. A different strand of the flu has come about and surprised the scientists and doctors who have  decided on the composition of the current vaccine. According to the school’s nurse, Liz Klement, The vaccine will not entirely prevent the current common strand of the flu because “it is not composed of the right formula to bolster one’s immunity against the flu virus.” Thankfully, the current flu vaccine may help prevent other strands of the flu.

“…you should still get your flu shot, the second biggest thing that helps you is washing your hands- like constantly,” Klement said.

People are all told to wash their hands whenever possible, but sometimes they take this reminder too lightly. In a harsh flu season, everyone should be sure to wash up. Klement also suggests using hand sanitizer, and she recommends immediately throwing away used tissues. All possible precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Hype over Hannum: History teacher inspires students

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By: Mikayla Grumiaux, Staff Writer

From coaching baseball to teaching at James River, world history teacher, Bryan Hannum, has left an amazing imprint on many student’s lives.

After graduating from the JRHS leadership program in 2006, Hannum then went on to study history and secondary education at Randolph Macon College where he graduated in 2010. He played four years of baseball for JRHS, and in college for the Yellow Jackets where he won a Conference title in 2009.

Hannum is in his fourth year of teaching, and his fifth year of coaching baseball. His “full of life” personality has made him a favorite teacher to many students.

“His energy and enthusiasm makes learning so much more fun and enjoyable,” said freshman Mary Hatch.

Freshman Lindsey Copeland agreed: “He gets everyone involved, and makes our class feel like a family.”

“Hilarious,” “caring,” “energetic,” “supportive,” and “enthusiastic” are just some of the many ways that students have described Hannum as a teacher.

“He is one of those teachers that you know you can go to for anything, and it doesn’t have to be school related.” said ninth grade leadership student Tanya Das.

Not only does Hannum share a tight bond with his students, but he also has some very close friends that he teaches with here at James River.

“He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met. He’ll do anything for you.” said Social Studies teacher Cameron Koehler.

James River is full of many great teachers like Hannum, who create a fun learning environment that all of the students get to experience.

Building Bye Bye Birdie

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By: Melissa Rau, Staff Writer

Theatre on the James has been preparing for their winter musical performance of Bye Bye Birdie. Many students have been combining their talents to create this story to light up the stage in late January; the cast has been hard at work memorizing their lines and blocking, but another group of students have been working just as hard: the stage crew.

The stage crew meets during class periods and on Mondays after school. They have only seven rehearsals to complete all of their work in contribution to the show.

The stage crew “is responsible for all of the backstage scenic, costume, prop, lighting, and sound elements of a show,” Drama teacher and director Mrs. Allison Oyler said. “They move scenery, help actors get into costume, organize and set up props, run light cues, and run sound cues. The crew also works before the show on building and painting the set, gathering and creating costumes and props, and setting up stage lights and microphones.”

Crew members do the majority of their work in secret. They complete their tasks completely unnoticed. Mrs. Oyler describes the crew members as “the magic behind theatre,” and “unsung heroes,” being able to make amazing things happen within several seconds, in darkness and in silence.

Bye Bye Birdie Co-Stage Manager Anna Uitvlucht is on her third year as a crew member. She explains the routine of theater production class.

“Usually we go in, we sit down, we do a pre-show, which is when we go over something within technical design,” Uitvlucht said. “And then we have a project that we work on for the show. Right now we’re making chairs for Bye Bye Birdie.”

Although different responsibilities are divided up among members, Uitvlucht describes the crew as “a team effort.” This team is one that she has grown close to, as she talks about how they’ve come to make her theatre experience so special.

For Uitvlucht, the best part of being on the stage crew is “the people. It’s just really fun, you get to meet everybody and get to work with really cool people and really creative people, and it’s just a lot of fun.”

Despite the fun times that Uitvlucht has with her team members, it can be challenging as well.

“The most challenging part would probably be tech week,” Uitvlucht said. “It’s pretty much just 6-10 every night for a week right before the show, and we just run through the show and we make sure that everything’s perfect and that everything runs smoothly.”

Another difficulty of being on the crew is the necessity of their precision.

“If they do something wrong, it is immediately noticeable by the audience,” Oyler said. “If a sound effect of a gunshot is late or early, the audience immediately knows. If a crew member is left on stage when lights come up after a scene change, his or her mad dash into the wings makes the audience chuckle.”

Even though the stage crew is not recognized with a curtain call or with a standing ovation, they are imperative to the product of a show.

“If we didn’t have a crew, scenery wouldn’t change, lighting wouldn’t change, and sound cues and microphones just wouldn’t happen,” Oyler said. “Those responsibilities, if we still wanted them, would lie in the hands of the actors and they often do not have the time to do those things as they are preparing for their time on stage.”

Through the ups and downs of being a crew member, the experience as a whole can be very rewarding.

“The adrenaline rush crew members get when they complete their scene change/costume change/light or sound cues correctly is like nothing else,” Oyler said.

Be sure not to miss Theatre on the James’ Bye Bye Birdie, January 29th through 31st at 7 pm. Come to support both the cast and the crew that have both put hours of work into their masterpiece.

JRHS offers Ethics in Film next year

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By: Kayla Kirk, Staff Writer

For the following school year, Ethics in Film class will be available to rising ninth and tenth graders who are interested. All year long students will analyze, discuss and decide if our cultural morals and ethics are shaped by films or if our movies are made as a reflection of current behaviors and mindsets. This class isn’t meant for students who aren’t relaxed with doing things in front of the class.

“Students in the class must be comfortable in small groups as well as expressing themselves in front of the class. Often there will be homework assignments that require watching movies at home,” said Jessica Sanchez, teacher of English 10 and the Ethics in Film class.

The year will begin with the foundations of film so students will know what to look for beyond what we all just naturally “like” about movies. The next area of study with be genres; for example, students will watch three horror films and see how films change over time. Students will also have multiple opportunities for discussions, creative responses, and analysis.

“I am looking for a lively class that can formulate opinions and support them!” said Sanchez.

To find out more information about the Ethics in Film Class it will be available to attend at the Elective Round Robin on Thursday, January 22nd.