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Mason alumni come back to teach

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They’re back! Some of Mason’s 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. That’s weird. I would never come back.

The alumni probably thought the same thing when they went here. But, nonetheless, they came to work here.

Dorothy 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.

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.”

“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, Peter Laub attended GMHS. He graduated in 1998, the year many of our freshmen were born. He served as editor of Lasso Online and left his mark on GMHS.

“I didn’t 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.

“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 that’s what it was.”

Since Mr. Stewart graduated in 2007, not much has changed. But since it’s 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 it’s cool coming back.


Assistive technology is helpful

By Zoe Allen-Lewis 

Over the the past few months, I interviewed Mr. Byrd, the principal of George Mason High school, Ms. McKee, the speech-language pathologist at George Mason High School, and Mr. Lands, the technology specialist and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) teacher at Mary Ellen Henderson middle school.  We talked about assistive technology and what it means for my classmates.

Assistive technology is technology that helps people do things that they may not be able to do.  Mr. Byrd said, “Assistive technology can be any piece of equipment or item or something that’s going to be used to help a student to maintain or improve the level of functionality of their capabilities within any given class.  It’s for students with disabilities.” Assistive technology can help students do everyday things. Mr. Lands said, “So for example ... a wheelchair is technically assistive technology because it allows people who have difficulty walking to be able to move.” Being able to move around and do everyday things is important.

Mr. Byrd says there has been a rise in assistive technology.  He used to teach self-contained special education classes at Yorkt...


2014 Mr. and Ms. Mason, one of the best

2014 Mr. and Ms. Mason, one of the best

By Megan Butler  

There are many anticipated events that happen during the school year. The Mr. and Ms. Mason competition is one of those anticipated events of the year. The contestants of the annual Mr. and Ms. Mason competition are nominated by teachers and are seen as students who represent the ideals of Mason. This year’s competition was said to be one of the best, far better from previous years with a handful of Mason students participating and performing creative and comical acts.

“It was definitely better this year, the performances were a good amount of time and didn’t lose people’s interest. Contestants also included a lot of their peers, which was cool,” said Science teacher Will Stewart, a judge for the competition and previous Mr. Mason victor. “Mr. Knight also helped a lot to make the scoring on iPads so we could score faster and then the show went smoother.”

Some featured performances that got competitors into the finals were original dances from senior Preston Custer, senior Truman Custer, junior Arijeet Sensharma, and sophomore Blaise Sevier. Senior Maeve Curtin’s “The Weekend Update” making fun of problems at GM and Claire Trevisan’s Ellen DeGeneres impersonation h...


The IB Diploma decision: life changing?

The IB Diploma decision: life changing?

By Erin McFall 

While seniors are anticipating graduation, all other students are anticipating the beginning of summer, and many are also are stressing about picking courses for the next year. Throughout students’ sophomore year, all students are approached about pursuing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma during their junior/senior year. As a sophomore, I know the stresses of making decisions far in advance of the “most important year of your high school career” as touted by NoVa’s notoriously high population of high-achievers and involved parents.


Since the beginning of high school students have been told that every year matters, but the pressure is really laid on junior year and the big decision sophomores must make: will you do the IB diploma?


The choice to do the IB diploma, though maybe not earth shattering, can have a big impact on sophomores high school experience.  Numerous questions swarm in the thoughts of students, and many questions revolve around: Will it help me get into college? Is all the work really worth it? Do I have time? What happens if I don’t do it? Does that mean I’m not smart enough?


One of the biggest fears of possible IB ...


Yik Yak goes down like all other passing fads

One of the hottest mobile phone apps this year disappeared from the halls of George Mason as fast as it came

By Julie Smith 

Yik Yak, a fad that tore through the halls of George Mason and high schools all across the country like rapid fire. Originally designed to spread information to college students, the app serves as a bulletin board where small communities can anonymously post whatever they want. Anonymous viewers can upvote, downvote, and even reply to the post. After the controversies over cyber bullying the app seemed to vanish as quickly as it spread.

In a CNN story about the app, co-founder Brooks Buffington said the anonymous posts are designed to give “…people a blank slate to work from, so you’re not judged on your race or sexuality or gender. On Yik Yak you are purely judged on content you create.”

Easy to use and completely anonymous, it’s no surprise the app quickly became the year’s hottest high school bullying outlet. Frustrated with being stuck in the same cramped building every single day for seven hours, students were able to cyber-attack the people physically closest to them as the app only broadcasts posts to your geographic location. It’s like downloading the...