You are on page 1of 12

April 2013

Special Print Edition

The Official Student Newspaper of George Mason High School

Lasso staff returns from journalism conference in NYC, inspired to attempt print medium By Alexandre Misenheimer
Although they did not return with any awards, the Lasso staff returned from the annual Columbia Scholastic Press Association Conference at Columbia University with a greater sense of unity and commitment to creating a better publication. George Mason was but one of the schools from all over the country in attendance. The Conference consisted of 45 minute workshop style presentations hosted in the numerous academic buildings on Columbias campus in uptown Manhattan. Although some workshops were more interesting than others, every student took away ideas shared by the diverse range of presenters and audience members. Ive been taking the Lasso staff to this conference for three years now, and each year we come back even more energized and united. The newsroom will be abuzz with excitement for the remainder of the school year, said Lasso Adviser Joy Wagener. While the academic portion of the trip was no doubt fascinating, the most memorable experiences came from other activities, including shopping and visiting New York landmarks such as the recently opened 9/11 Memorial and Macys department store. The last night of the trip culminated in seeing the Broadway musical Nice Work If You Can Get It starring Matthew Broderick. It was refreshing to be in a different learning environment and also a wonderful experience

IN THIS ISSUE NEWS ( p g 1- 2) Pa str y Wa r s New F a c i l i t i e s FEATURES ( p g 3- 5) Ma son a lu mn i GMHS L e s Mis f l a s h m o b SPOTLIGHTS ( p g6) Ma son s r e a l he r oe s SPORTS ( p g 8- 9) Sof tballs ma kove r Ma son r u n n e r ma ke s h is to r y REVIEW S ( p g 10) The Ho b b it EDITORI A LS & COM ICS ( p g 11- 12) Power o f a nony mo u s Keep up with us on Social Media

On the last day of the conference, student journalists met in front of Low Library to take a group photo. Eighteen members of The Lasso staff and three chaperones attended workshop classes at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association spring conference in New York City. Photo Credit: Peter Laub to be able to bond with my peers and teachers outside of the classroom said senior staff member Daria Butler. Throughout this special print edition of Lasso you can see photos from the trip. You can also visit us online at www. to view Ryan Ogden and Daria Butlers vlog Taking a bite out of the Big Apple with Daria Butler.

Editor s desk: Why the print edition?

All year long our staff works hard to improve on their journalistic skills. This year, Lasso has decided to make a special print edition to show off a culmination of our best work. As members of the FCCPS community may know, Lasso Online has been exclusively online since 2001, so our staff is not able to experience a major part of the journalistic experience: writing for print. Although modern journalism has been transitioning into

a more tech-focused world with the downfall of print and an increasing amount of news sources being exclusively online, it is still important for our staff to work with the print medium. We hope to create another special print edition before the end of the school year so make sure to keep a lookout for it. The overall theme of this edition will be change. The Mason and (Continued on page 12)



P a s t r y Wa r s b r i n g o u t c h e f s w i t h i n M a s o n
By Andrea Philbin
A buzz of excitement surrounded the Mustang cafeteria after school. Students flooded into the doors eager to give their money up in exchange for sweet treats. Pastry Wars was a fundraiser run by the junior class, with all proceeds going to the 2013 Prom. The competition was held after school, February 22. Students paid for tickets to taste and judge different desserts prepared by Mason students and faculty. Many students came hungry and prepared to sample delicious food. Some treats in the competition were New York style cheese cake, made by junior Maeve Curtin; chocolate chip banana muffins, made by junior Nate Jones; salted caramel cupcakes, made by freshman Callie Gaskins; Pecan Pie, made by eighth grader Kate Karstens; junior Allie Platas marshmallow crunch peanut butter brownies; and Ms. Harringtons Mustang munchies cookies. Junior Peggy Brozi summed up the competition, I think its a really close call between Mimi, Kate, and Callie. Many of the recipes used were acquired from family members and friends. Gaskins told Lasso Online how she got the recipe for her triple salted caramel cupcakes: I didnt come up with the recipe myself, a family friend gave it to me. Officer Rau explained his sour cream walnut cake, saying, Ive been making this as holiday gifts for the staff for years. Junior Juliette Hegadorn said she got her recipe for chocolate cake with butter cream frosting, in a food and wine magazine and found this recipe! While students enjoyed the treats, they voted on taste, pre-



April 29, 2013

First place winner Kate Karstens (left) and second place winner Mimi Nemec (right) pose with pastries donated by Natalias Elegant Creations. The fierce competition brought out the pastry chef in Mason students and faculty. Photo Credit: Andrea Philbin sentation, and creativity of each dessert. Coming in third place was junior Juliette Hegadorn (not pictured) with her Chocolate butter cream frosted cake. Second place was junior Mimi Nemec with her Nutella and Ferrero Rocher cupcakes. Finally, coming in first place was eighth grader Kate Karstens classic pecan bars. Overall the fundraiser and competition was a success. The junior class made over 250 dollars on tickets sold for the competition. This goes towards costs for the Junior-Senior Prom, making the overall price of each Prom ticket less. Prom is May 18 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The theme is A Red Carpet Affair and tickets are $40.

Photo Credit: Andrea Philbin

classroom violates the fire code. A major renovation or rebuild would be necessary [...] to accommodate our student population growth, said Dr. Toni Jones, superintendent. Its not a rumor, its a reality. The signs of George Mason busting at the seams are already evident in the daily lives of students and teachers. Teach(Continued on page 4)

FCCPS pushes for newer facilites

By Ryan Odgen
Dubbed the Master Plan, FCCPS is aiming to renovate or replace the deteriorating George Mason High School building to serve the needs of a growing student populous. In fact, the Master Plan is the #1 infrastructure priority for FCCPS. It works for the students that we have now, but as our population continues to grow were going to need more space, said Susan Cassidy, special education teacher. The clock is ticking. By September 2016, assuming that the portable trailer classrooms are kept, the school will be filled to its 900-student capacity or 24 students per classroom. Any more is not considered an appropriate learning environment and more than 35 students per

April 29, 2013

Mason alumni come back to teach



Mr. Joseph Martinez, class of 99, returned to Mason as a security guard after serving in the military.

Mr. Peter Laub, class of 98, was an editor for Lasso when it was originally called The Lasso.
When Clinton went to school here, things were very different. Students had much more freedom. For example, there was a smoking section for students outside the building. People always roamed the halls, even during class. I remember one year they tried out a new system for the English department, Clinton said. They let us pick a different course each quarter instead of our regular English class, she laughed. I remember one quarter I took a class on Russian literature. She said, The variety show was also a much bigger deal then than it is now. Everyone wanted to be in the show and they all wanted to do something different. There were bands, the football team did a skit, and people sang. Everyone wanted to go see it. Years later, Laub attended GMHS. He graduated in 1998, the year many of our freshmen were born. He served as editor of The Lasso

Mrs. Dorothy Clinton, class of 75, now serves as secretary to the assistant principals.
and left his mark on GMHS. I didnt specifically plan to get a job here. I was coming back from Turkey to the D.C., Northern Virginia area and I applied for many jobs. George Mason just hired me the fastest. Some of my old teachers like Mrs. Dean-Pratt, Mrs. Weber, Mrs. Hawkesworth and Coach Greene still work here, Laub said. It was weird coming back and working with them. Since he came to school here, technology has changed a lot. For example, there were no lights on the football field. The Homecoming game, as with other games, took place Saturday afternoon and the dance was held that night. There were also no projectors. Classes watched videos on VHS or, for a short time, laser discs (similar to records). The school has also expanded since then. There was no auxiliary gym and he had an 89 student graduating class.

Mr. Will Stewart, class of 07, returned in 2012 to teach science.

Photo Credit: A. Lewis, H. Manlowe

By Erin McFall

Theyre back! Some of Masons faculty and staff used to attend GMHS as students. Mrs. Dorothy Clinton (secretary to the assistant principals), Mr. Peter Laub (English and creative writing), and Mr. Will Stewart (science) all used to come to school here. They used to go here? Kate Mills, freshman, asked, a shocked look on her face. Ew. Thats weird. I would never come back. The alumni probably thought the same thing when they went here. But, nonetheless, they came to work here. Clinton graduated in 1975. She has worked at our school for 25 years. She decided to get a job here because, after working in a law firm in D.C., she did not want to commute. Her sister worked for the school board at the time so she got an interview (with her old principal) and was hired.

It was so small when I went here, Laub reminisced. Everyone literally knew everyone. Take the size of the school now, cut it in half and thats what it was. Since Mr. Stewart graduated in 2007, not much has changed. But since its only been five years, he knows some of the students and many of the teachers. I think the weirdest part coming back is calling my old teachers by their first names. Mr. Snyder, Ms. Goss, Ms. Tooze, Mme. Mah and many others still work here. Weird or not, the Mason alumni enjoy teaching here and think its cool coming back.

Editors Note: There are many other employees at GMHS who are also alumni, including: Luis Sorto, Norma Sorto, and Ryan Larcamp.

4 Newer facilities
ers are sharing classrooms, the wrestling and basketball teams are using the facilities at MEH, and there must be an abnormal four lunches a day just to feed students. Mr. Bob Nissen, head of maintenance, has been working in the maintenance department for the past 20 years. Looking frankly through his spectacles, he said, The building has served the district well and given a lot to the people of Falls Church. I really think that its time to look at not just a renovation or an addition, but a replacement. Although Nissens sentiment is shared by others, including Principal Ty Byrd, the city council has not decided if they want a renovation or a reconstruction. In the 90s and before, a cheap and less disruptive renovation would have been the obvious solution. Within the past decade though, construction models have been developed which provide ways for the city to cost-efficiently replace George Mason without closing the school. The issue is still up in the air. Despite the fact that time is running out, the process is still sluggishly slow. In fact, FCCPS has been gathering the necessary data and waiting for the city council to have a sense of economic security since the spring of 2009. And the atmosphere is still cautious because, even though the city council did have a recent surplus of $3.6 million, improving facilities would take an estimated $80 to $90 million. Therefore, all of this will take time-- time to get the master plan approved, time to get enough money to enact it, and time to carry it out. The years collect rapidly, making 2016, when George Mason will be filled to capacity, seem not so far away.


April 29, 2013

Bob Nissen, head of maintenance, reviews the original 1951 blueprints for the George Mason High School building. The archaic, stale blueprints are a testament to the age of the school building they depict. I really think that its time to look at not just a renovation or an addition, but a replacement, he put frankly. Photo Credit: Ryan Ogden

Thanks to the P T SA Grant Committee for funding the production of this special print edition of T he Lasso !


Charles and Laura Dixon, Jamie Lahy, Ash and Mona Johnson, Environmental Club, Susan Cassidy, Patricia Johnson, Steve Blancq, Teresa and James Manlowe, Edwin Fields, Samantha Byrd, Debbie Flanigan, John and Robin Plata, Joseph Martinez, Peggy Monahan, Dennis Butler, Jen Jayson, Wendi Adkins, Sean Tucker, Elizabeth Siebel, Brandon Dye, Brian Walsh, Brad McAdam, Kesha Legagneur, Sally Larish, Bryan Harris, Gwen Pasch, Lindsay Fedder, Amanda Helfrich, Judy Knoke, John Carr

Thanks to our loyal patrons:

April 29, 2013

Life imitates art as GM rebel students perform flashmob

see the movie. Zoe Goodwin, class of 2012, who was also a part of the 2010 cast gushes, It was great to see everyone again, even if we werent all in our original parts, and it was awesome to be actually singing the music that we bonded over together again. However, she admits that it didnt go down quite as planned, due to pesky security guards, but it also reminded me of how strong we are as an ensemble, because we actually sounded pretty good even though we couldnt use our microphones. Senior Elizabeth Siebel who sang the part of Eponine in the flashmob comments, Ive always wanted to be in a dancing flashmob but since I cant dance to save my life its a good thing I was able to be in a singing one. It was really fun to sing Eponine because I got to make a lot of noise and wear a hat. Although, things didnt run quite as smoothly as hoped, the cast of Les Mis rolled with the punches, defied authority just like in the story, and put on a flashmob to remember.


On December 27, 2012, the cast of GMs 2010 production of Les Miserables reunited at the Tysons Corner Centers food court following a viewing of the acclaimed movie. After a few setbacks, the cast performed a flashmob of the musicals Act I finale One Day More. Photo Credit: Daria Butler By Daria Butler The 2010 GM Les Miserables cast faced a few obstacles (not to mention a threat of arrest) when trying to execute their well-planned and rehearsed flashmob of the musicals rousing Act I finale One Day More on December 27, 2012. Following the casts reunion at the film adaptation of Les Mis, they gathered in the Tysons Corner food court to give people a show. Unfortunately, the microphones and speakers werent exactly inconspicuous and a security guard caught them before they even began. Determined to follow through with their plans, the cast attempted a different spot only to be quelled again. Finally, the persistent cast mates performed their flashmob sans microphones and speakers to a raving audience. Samuel Waters, GMHS alumni of 2011, who played the lead role of Jean Valjean in GMs production of Les Mis and organized the reunion and flashmob, said of the experience It was a great opportunity to reunite with the cast and also to spread the word about how fantastic Les Miserables is. Hopefully people saw our flashmob and were inspired to

Ed i t o r s i n Chi ef Mimi Nemec Allie Plata Advertising Manager and Social Media Coordinator Paula ORourke B ro a dc a st Ryan Ogden News Annie Dixon, Editor Alexandre Misenheimer, Interim Editor Melissa Johnson Matt Lowery Erin McFall Simone Tucker


F e a tu res Tara Holman, Editor Andrea Philbin, Editor Daria Butler Shelby Fields Sophia Jungenberg Alexander Lewis Hailey Manlowe Harry Slonim Laila Zoghi

S p o r ts Camilla Alsobrook, Editor Paul Darmstadter Ryan Short A d v is er s Mrs. Joy Wagener Mr. Steve Knight

The Lasso staff, 2012-2013. Photo Credit: Joy Wagener Special thanks to Mr. Laub for his help with our first print edition!

Custodians are Masons Get to know the lady checking the hallways behind the front desk true heroes room, to make sure they are clean,
By Alexander Lewis Students may be surprised to know that some of the most hardworking people at George Mason High School are the custodians. Throughout the day, custodians are cleaning up mess after mess left behind by students. One custodian, Alejandrina Sanchez, works an eight-hour shift every weekday. Sanchez moved to the United States from Honduras 15 years ago, and has worked tirelessly at our school for 13 years. Sanchez is one of the two custodians who work during the school day. Her duties may include opening up the school, setting up the tables in the cafeteria, cleaning the bathrooms and conference vacuuming, and more. At the time of the interview with Sanchez, bystanders piped up commending her on all her hard work. Attendance Secretary Peggy Monahan describes Sanchez as, The happiest person I know that works here. She always has a smile. They [custodians] like to know they are appreciated by students as well as staff. The next time you walk through Masons well kept premises, please remember that this is only possible because of the dedication of the custodians at our school. Also, please take the time to stop and tell them you appreciate them and their service to Mason.



April 29, 2013

Mrs. Peggy Monahan is busy with parents, students and the many phone calls that come through every day. Photo Credit: Erin McFall Monahan? Monahan started working as the attendance secretary in October of 2011. Monahan adores her job, and went on to say that working as an attendance secretary is her dream job. Monahan smiled and said she loves her job because It isnt the average desk job and everyday is a little different than the next. Before Monahan started working at Mason, she was in the Navy . In the Navy, her job was to drive the big ships. I also earned a gold medal in pistol shooting, Monahan added with a proud smile on her face. Mrs. Monahan tends to bring cheerfulness and smiles to our faces, and she also does all the holiday decorations in the office, commented Counseling Secretary Heather Richardson. Monahan is more than just the lady at the front desk and she is just one of the many great administrative assistants who contributes to the positive Mason atmosphere.

By Erin Mcfall When students walk into the front office they are greeted by Mrs. Peggy Monahan asking, What can I help you with? When The Lasso approached Monahan about her job, her face lit up, and she became increasingly enthusiastic. Midway through the interview, a parent came in franticly looking to pick up a student, and asked Monahan to find the missing student. Moments later the phone blares loudly, but Monahan doesnt miss a beat. Still writing the pass, and talking to The Lasso and the parent, Monahan answered the phone with a professional, Hello, George Mason High school, this is Peggy Monahan speaking. When told that the student body doesnt know her too well, Monahan laughed and said jokingly, Thats a good thing! For those who dont know her, shes the lady at the front Hardworking custodian Alejandrina Sanchez cleans windows at desk, there when students are George Mason High School. Custodians work tirelessly every day to tardy or when a student needs to keep Mason a sanitary and safe place to learn. Sanchez has worked leave early for something. Howfaithfully at Mason for 13 years. Photo Credit: Alexander Lewis ever, do you really know Peggy

April 29, 2013

Sharing classrooms proves setback for teachers

By Tara Holman In order to keep up with the rising student population, the administration has hired more teachers. Although the student and teacher sizes have increased, the George Mason building has not, and due to its old age, no renovations can be expected anytime soon. Consequently, some teachers are classroom-less and left to share with co-workers. Constantly moving, always unpacking and repacking into different classrooms, how does this affect their teaching? Although English teacher Melissa Raeder teaches parttime, her schedule designates no set location as she teaches all three of her classes in separate rooms. She shares rooms with history teacher Holly Herrington, and English teachers Karin Tooze and Al DeFazio. While Raeder describes herself as very organized, it costs [her] about 5-10 minutes of teaching time ... to unpack, repack, figure out what needs to come with [her] to each room


and write an agenda. Among those who share classrooms is history teacher Tracey VanderNaald who states one of the challenges of sharing a classroom is staying organized. Jokingly sharing that the location of her office prevents her from obtaining materials she may have forgotten, VanderNaald explained my office is on the other side of the building. So if I dont have something, I dont have something. The inability to display student work, make seating arrangements and the difficulty for students to receive help outside of the classroom are three setbacks of sharing classrooms. Teachers feel less productive as they spend most of their time moving from room to room. Teachers such as Raeder and VanderNaald [are] very lucky [their colleagues] have opened up their spaces for [them], however, they do hope to see the situation improve next year.

Lasso staff enjoys sights, sounds of New York City, Columbia University

Editors in Chief Allie Plata and Mimi Nemec mug for the camera in Central Parks Belvedere Castle. Photo Credit: Joy Wagener

History teacher Tracey VanderNaald uses fellow teacher Holly Herringtons room as a home base during Mustang Block in order to help her students in a designated location where they will be able to find her on a regular basis. Photo Credit: Tara Holman

News Editor Andrea Philbin snapped a selfie with actor Matthew Broderick. Broderick stars in Nice Work if You Can Get It on Broadway. Photo Credit: Andrea Philbin

Girls fall short in state semis

By Ryan Short Following an impressive season, the Lady Mustangs came up just short of the State title losing to Floyd County, Friday, March 8 in the VHSL Girls Basketball State Semi-Finals.It was a close game to the very end with players working their hardest and fans cheering their loudest. But, just like in any sport, there was heartbreak. Although Mason students have gotten used to winning the State title, this year was a little different and the team lost in a close game. All players worked hard and did everything they could to try and secure a spot in the next round of the State tournament. Following State title wins in the past few years, the team was not able to repeat and now must say farewell to graduating players and get ready for next year.The game was tight and the Lady Mustangs left it all out on the court, putting in a great performance. Unfortunately, the team could not beat the Floyd



April 29, 2013

Lights installed on Mason baseball, softball fields

By Allie Plata
After decades of not having any lights on the Mason baseball or softball fields, the teams finally got to play under the lights for the 2013 spring season. Considering that baseball and softball games go on for about two hours, in previous years, all home games for the Mason baseball and softball teams were scheduled for 5:00 pm or earlier. It was impossible to schedule the games any later, because it would get too dark for the players to see the ball. As of last season, George Mason and Clarke County were the only teams in the Bull Run District who didnt have lights. Since

County press resulting in rushed passing which forced several turnovers. The Mustangs could not handle the excellent pressure that the Floyd County girls put on and after the final buzzer the fans stood and applauded the valiant effort put forth by the Lady Mustangs. The girls played a great game and we support them no matter what, too bad they lost, said Evan Davis, sophomore, after the game.In addition to the turnovers, Floyd County was in the bonus before the end of the third quarter which allowed for easy extra points from free throws, putting the girls down and unable to come back. Although the team faced a heartbreaking loss, the girls had a positive outlook on their season and those to come. At first we were all really sad about the loss, and although we all wish we still had won, we quickly realized how amazing of a year we had and how close we got as a team, said senior Em-

Following an impressive season, the Lady Mustangs came up just short of the State title losing to Floyd County, Friday, March 8 in the VHSL Girls Basketball State Semi-Finals. Photo Credit: Araba Ankuma ily Garrett in regards to the loss. Even though this season was cut short, there is a bright future for this young team. With a J.V. team that finished 17-0 pay for the lights, which cost $450, 000 in total. The majority of the money came from donations. The baseball programs dugouts also be underwent construction. The dugouts, which used to be below ground level, were raised three feet. They have a new concrete floor and new benches as well. The softball program is also breathing new life into the upcoming 2013 season. Under (Continued on page 9) and plenty of returning players, the Lady Mustangs will remain tough competition for any team trying to claim the State title next season.

most teams in the Bull Run District are so far apart from each other, this meant that teams had to leave school extremely early to get to the field in time to warmup for a 5 oclock game. I never looked forward to playing at Clarke because I would miss my last class of the day each time we went there then I realized that every team probably feels the same way about playing us, said senior softball player, Nicole Iraheta. The light installation was ready for the teams debut home games against Madison County April 2 at 7p.m. The FCCPS school board approved a $110, 000 grant to help

One of the six lights being installed on the Mason softball field gets placed along the first base line. Photo Credit: Allie Plata

April 29, 2013

Redistricting changes the VHSL norm

up of Single A schools. The class of each school is determined by the population. George Mason is a small high school, so we are put in the Single A class. However, this can be deceiving. The class system is based off of a population spread, not exact numbers. So a Single A school, like Mason, is roughly 900 students whereas a school like William Monroe, which has competed in a Double A district, has a little over 1000. With this in mind, the VHSL has taken strides to even the playing field come playoff time. The current format will remain similar up to the point of regional tournaments, where it changes in a very big way. Beginning next year, regional tournaments will be grouped based on an almost exact population, leveling the playing field for smaller schools and also increasing travel for all schools. With the upcoming changes

By Ryan Short and Paul Darmstadter Every two years, there are redistricting meetings with all of the athletic directors in the Virginia High School League (VHSL) to address the constant changes in school populations, and the athletic abilities within the schools. At this years meeting there were huge changes for all the teams in Virginia high schools. In regards to the new districts, Athletic Director Tom Horn said that they would be the biggest changes in 40 years. Previously, VHSL rules stated that each district must be made up of high schools that are all in the same class. For example, the Bull Run District is only made

The VHSL is celebrating a century of work with their new logo. Photo Credit:
it will be interesting to see if the playoffs become more fair and maybe even more competitive. knew it I was leading the pack. The adrenaline rush you get when you charge towards the finish line with fans cheering is awesome. After the race Schaffer stated It was good to win and a great way to end my last district race. It took me a while to realize I had even won!

Mason runner makes history

By Ryan Short Following the district cross country meet October 24, senior Jesse Schaffer was awarded the title of District Runner of the Year. This award is given to the best runner in the Bull Run district, decided by the winner of the district race. This is a huge honor for any runner and he clearly earned it passing the top two runners in the district early in the race and holding the lead throughout and finishing strong. To get an idea of how Jesse won the race, it is good to start off with how he preps for the race. I start off by doing some stretching and warm-ups, then I listen to some music to calm my nerves, nothing in particular, just whatever comes on my iPod. I spend a lot of time thinking about my strategy for

Softball fields

Jesse Schaffer, senior, made Mason history last fall when he was named District Runner of the Year. Photo Credit: Carol Sly the race and getting in the zone. I just like to keep it simple and do my best, said Schaffer. During the race, Schaffer said I felt good and confident, I started off patiently and after about the first mile I began to pass people and sooner than I

an almost entirely new coaching staff, the girls hope to build on last years success. The teams batting cage, which was only 30-feet long last season, has been torn down and a new 70-foot cage has been constructed. The girls also sport brand new uniforms this season. I expect renewed interest from the fans and for the players to be well rested and prepared to play this season, said junior baseball player, Grant Hagler. Visit to help donate to the Mustangs new lights.


Commuter The Hobbit is a classic Otterbox cases: When I got the Otterbox, I had my doubts and just wonand Defender dered if it would just be like
By Melissa Johnson Most students are seen speed walking through the hallways, with three binders, one textbook, a pencil bag, and a beloved iPhone in their hands. One of those objects is bound to drop, and it seems to be the smallest object is the first to go. If you have a good case, your iPhone can survive the long drop from your overfilled hands to the hard ground. While there are so many options for cases, with so many different designs, the safest case arguably is the iPhone Otterbox, Defender or Commuter. I have gone through so many cases with my iPhone and as I have tried them, some crack, some wear down too quickly, and some just dont give any protection to my phone but yet have a fashionable design. Later, my friends and the convincing salespeople at the Apple Store told me the case to buy is the Otterbox. There are two main kinds of the Otterbox cases for the iPhone, one called the Defender and the other called the Commuter. While they both are very protective, the Defender is known to be a little more protective with three layers. The Commuter is a little less bulky than the defender and has one less layer. Both cases come with a screen protector that helps prevent scratches. The Commuter and Defender both protect the iPhone if the phone is dropped and prevents dust from getting into the little nooks and crannies of the phone. Both the Commuter and the Defender have different designs like flowers and solid colors. The defender also comes with a holster to buckle on your pants while the Commuter does not.



April 29, 2013

Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo in Peter Jacksons film adaptation of the classic Tolkien adventure. Photo Credit: Newline Cinema By Alexandre Misenheimer J.R.R. Tolkiens books have long been a favorite of audiences. However, the wide array of scenery, creatures and action sequences has presented difficulties for filmmakers for generations. Not until Peter Jacksons first Lord of the Rings movie did technology finally catch up with Tolkiens vivid imagination. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was widely hailed as staying true to the book while capturing the epic sense of adventure. The Hobbit is a different kind of story, but Jackson accomplished the same brilliant result. The scenery is amazing throughout the whole movie. From the small farms of the Shire, to the jagged peaks dotting the plains of Middle Earth, the scenery adds greatly to the feel of the story. Aerial pans over mountains look wonderful on the big screen especially in the new 48-frames-per-second capture speed used to make the movie. One major change to the film production was increased use of CGI for the creature models. It looked sharp, but there was a noticeable difference between the appearance of orcs in this movie and the costume-andmakeup designs of past films. This change may be somewhat bothersome to older fans, but rest assured, they dont look bad at all. In regards to the actual story, the film retains the themes of the story that the book used while sometimes incorporating identical dialogue from the book. The way scenes are set up is very true to the book. Jackson did incorporate scenes and interactions that were not part of the book, but that were happening concurrently according to Tolkiens later writings. The amount of narration and back-story given is sufficient enough to make newcomers understand what is going on, without boring people who already read the book. Combining all these elements with a memorable soundtrack composed and directed by Howard Shore adds up to a truly awesome theater experience. I personally cannot wait for the next iteration of this trilogy set to be released next summer.

the other cases that would wear down very quickly. Although the Otterbox is a great product, there are some qualities that are not very good. Both Otterbox cases dont fit into a dock of an iHome, so to play your music out loud you have to take the whole case off. Both Otterbox cases are not easy to clean, they get dirty quickly and it is not easy to scrub all the dirt off because of the texture of the case. The Commuter and the Defender Otterbox cases take time to put on and off, because you have to match all the plug ins together and make sure everything is aligned, so after you play your music in your iHome you have to be careful when you put your case back on the phone. Other than those bad qualities of both the Otterbox cases, the good qualities make up for them. The hunt to find an Otterbox can be a little stressful. Many local phone stores like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint sell these at their stores but they can run pretty expensive. Their Otterbox cases can run about $50 for a Defender case and about $35 for Commuter case. You can also get an Otterbox at the actual Otterbox website, and they are about the same prices as the local phone stores. If you want to find a good priced Otterbox, go to Amazon. They have both the Defender and Commuter Otterbox cases and you can get them cheaper than local phone stores or the Otterbox website. There all different prices ranging from $15-$25 for the Commuter and $25-45 for the Defender. Although the hunt for an Otterbox can be exhausting, if you know the design and (Continued on page 12)

April 29, 2013

The power of anonymous

By Paula ORourke Social networking sites and media of all kinds have had an enormous impact on society for years, especially on the younger generations as sites such as Twitter and Facebook become a crucial piece of our everyday lives. Though as great as these sites can be, they can also be equally as bad when abused by a select few. There has been a Twitter account made that takes after the hit show Gossip Girl, where an anonymous character blogs about the lives of teenagers living in Manhattan, blackmailing and creating drama around their personal lives. This show is one of the most popular and talked about T.V. shows that recently had its series finale and has apparently influenced an anonymous student at George




Screen shots taken of the Twitter accounts show the amount of followers the accounts are receiving. Picture #1 is the second account that was made which states that they are here to stay. Picture #2 is the newest account made stating that the other one is not real enough, and seems to be a bit more ballsy. Photo Credit: Paula ORourke Mason to become a copycat and among Mason students who humor and a source of enterspoke out to the anonymous try to recreate a show in Falls tainment, even though there creator of the account. Church. have been personal public atMason students spoke out Back in December, the actacks against students and their saying, this is so embarrasscount, @FCGossipGirl16, was personal business. created for the first time but was ing, and who would ever Many students claim that all create thisso stupid #whatar- the things that are posted are quickly deleted after receiving an outburst of rage and disbelief eyouthinking. false or made up because people I was are sending in false informaproud to see tion in hopes to make fun of the my fellow person who created it, showing Mustangs them that no one will take it stand up seriously. against However true or false this something information may be, it is not that could going to be known or received potentially as a joke to everyone that reads cause someit, and can especially make one personal someone who it is directed at harm. feel victimized. UnfortuI would just like to take a nately, the moment to remind the person account reap- who is behind this account, and peared with to anyone who has encouraged a different this person by tweeting at them, username just sending in (false) informaa few weeks tion, favoriting the Tweets, ago, and is or even just following that the claiming that laws about cyber bullying in the its here for state of Virginia as well as in good. This the United States are extremely time around, serious. Screen shots from the Facebook account that was created in order to boost self esteem and the account The National Conference share thoughtful and kind things about students at Mason. The picture on the right explains has been of State Legislatures defines the purpose of the page and displays contact information. Photo Credit: Paula ORourke praised for (Continued on page 12)

12 Gossip Girl Twitter Editorial

cyberbullying/cyber harassment as sending threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or blog entries or websites dedicated solely to tormenting an individual. According to the Virginia Code 18.2-152.7:1, If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. I would also like to point out how easy it is to track an I.P. address back to the computer that was used in order to figure out who is behind the account as well as the G-mail email account that was provided for anonymous tips. I think that whoever is behind this account should realize that this Twitter account is not a made-up television series about rich kids in Manhattan; its dealing with real people in real life with real emotions who could really end up feeling

hurt and/or victimized from any Tweets, no matter how true or false they may be. I sincerely hope that those students who have encouraged the anonymous Mustang hiding behind this Twitter account think before they act, and when interacting with the account, remember how much of an influence an abundance of feedback from Mason students could have on his/her decision to keep this account active. To end on a positive note, I would like to point out the advantages to social networking sites, such as GMHS Compliments, a Facebook page dedicated solely to compliment and say nice things about students from our school for all to see. The Facebook page was just recently created and has been praised among the George Mason student body. If you have compliments to share or would like to see if youve been mentioned, you can visit the page and friend them at https:// compliments, or search GMHS Compliments on Facebook.


April 29, 2013

Q u i e t i n t h e l i b r a r y. . .

U se at your ow n r isk...

Otterbox Cases

Why the print edition?

FCCPS websites have undergone many changes over the course of the 2012-2013 school year and the Lasso website will soon be undergoing an update as well. We hoped you enjoyed our first print edition for this year and keep supporting Lasso Online by reading our content, leaving comments, and writing letters to the editor. Mimi Nemec and Allie Plata Editors In 2012-2013 Chief

price range you want to spend, it can be a lot easier of a job. The Otterbox Defender and Commuter is a great product that protects iPhones, is very stylish, and can be a great investment. The Otterbox is great because I never have to worry that if I drop my phone that it will crack and break, commented freshman Ginger Villamar who owns an Otterbox Defender.

There are starving children...

Photo Credit: Melissa Johnson

Harry Slonim