Falcons make a difference, an inside look

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We know our Falcon family strives for excellence both in and out of the classroom, and while many student-athletes are recognized for the many accomplishments they make within the school’s walls, there are many students whose variety of talents extend into the surrounding community and are notable as well.

 

Ann Staskin

Senior Ann Staskin is not only a studious and hardworking student in school, she also spends countless hours perfecting her Irish dancing at home or in a studio.  Ann started dancing when she was in second grade, around eight years old.

“I started because my mom wanted one of her children to dance, and since my sister was already playing softball, I was the only one left,” Staskin said. 

She attended a summer camp that year and realized how much she enjoyed dancing. To practice, she spends three hours two to three days a week at a dance class where they review her dances and give feedback. However, nine hours a week isn’t enough practice for Ann, in fact; she often spends another four extra hours a week perfecting the harder routines at home.  Throughout the year, Ann competes in Irish Dancing competitions called Feis where she competes with girls her age from all over the country. Through the years she has worked her way up to the Open Champion Level, the highest level a dancer can reach, and winning several of them. Last year, Ann qualified for the World National Championships in Vancouver, Canada.  Currently she is training for Oireachtas, a regional competition, in hopes of qualifying for the World National Championship again. She has a true passion and talent for the sport and hopes to do great things in the future.  

 

Emma Landis

Emma Landis is currently a senior and was on the Golf Team and Swim Team.  Emma takes her hard work from school into her daily life. In the past few years Emma has done a lot of amazing things in the work field including creating and selling a cookbook of family made recipes and helping to run her very own family gym, FitLab.  However, her business skills haven’t stopped there, she now runs her very own cookie business called Crumble.

“I started my cookie business because I really enjoy cooking.” Landis said.

She started the “company” about two years ago and it is still going strong.  Her special recipe only includes four ingredients instead of the usual 9 or 10, which saves time and money. So far Emma has made a total of at least 400 hundred dollars. She hopes to continue to promote her business and come up with ideas to improve it. Especially with her recent commitment to Longwood University as a Business Major.       

 

Audra Chaffinch 

Audra Chaffinch is currently a senior.  Although she is very successful and involved in school, her true passion is Horse-Back Riding.  She started riding when she was nine years old when she would visit her aunt, who had horses, and would play with them. 

“The thing that really got me hooked with riding horses was when I went on my first pony ride,” Chaffinch said.

After that, she began going to the barn once a week, then twice a week, and that was how her passion grew.  Today she trains at Crafty Fox Farm for four hours about four to five days a week to prepare for this years Regional and National Championship. In previous years, Chaffinch has been to IEA Regionals for five years in a row, been to Nationals in 2018, and qualified for Zone Finals in 2016.  Four years ago, she also won the HRHSS Student Equitation Championship. She hopes to do well in her last upcoming competitions before college.   

 

Brynn Brazukas

Senior Brynn Brazukas is a member of the Falcon Swim Team but is also known for her impressive skills in the Equestrian world, or Horse-Back Riding. She started riding when she was just seven years old. 

“My desire started when my grandparents bought me riding lessons for my birthday.” Brazukas said.

In order to stay on top, Brazukas attends Fox Tall Farms in Pungo three hours a day five times a week.  Throughout her years competing she has won second at the National Equestrian championship, as well as  multiple championship wins.  

 

Emily Price 

Emily Price is currently a senior and is president of the school’s refurbished Photography Club.  Outside of school, she is a phenomenal photographer and has been published through her mom’s photography business- Cutees Photography- where she is the second shooter.  Price has been taking pictures with her mom since she was 11-years-old and her photography experience has grown due to her constant involvement in photo sessions and regular hands on experience.

“I love taking pictures of people because you get to capture the raw emotions and reactions of people, which I find very beautiful,” Price said. “Photography has allowed her to interact with various people and see a glimpse into the lives of each one.”    

She is known for her magnificent landscape photos, especially ones of sunset and the sky.  Recently, Emily was featured in The Virginia Pilot for her donations to  families in need. She organized a fundraiser called Students for Students Dance Showcase that was held at the school last month. Her end goal was to raise a total of $5,000 to provide Thanksgiving dinner to 165 families.  

 

Operation Smile (Gracie Holroyd, Hannah Prince and Kate Wilkins)

Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that allows students to travel to third world countries and help care for those suffering from illnesses or poverty.  Several of our fellow students have been fortunate enough to participate in this program and have changed the lives of hundreds. 

 

Hannah Prince

Hannah is currently a freshman and has been involved in Operation Smile since she was in 6th grade. 

“I decided to work with operation smile because my family has been very involved since the start of the company and their hard work is great for the cause,”  Prince said.

Out of school, Hannah volunteers at Operation Smile Headquarters writing thank you letters to companies who have donated as well as traveling to local schools to talk to about the program.  This past August, Prince went on a peace mission to Panama where she visited local communities and schools to spread the word about Operation Smile. In total, they reached the entire city of David and talked to 12 schools.  They introduced proper hygiene, CPR, and washing hands to children.  

 

Sophomore Grace Holroyd

Holroyd has been involved in the Operation Smile organization since she was in elementary school. She has also worked at the Ulead conferences at  Operation Smile Headquarters and has attended a peace mission in Panama along with Hannah Prince.  

“My brother was involved before me and I thought that he was doing was a really good thing and so I wanted to join him,” Holroyd said.  

 

Kate Wilkins

Kate Wilkins is currently a senior and has been a part of Operation Smile for seven years. 

“I didn’t take Operation Smile seriously when I was in middle school, but when I reached high school I learned more about it and wanted to be involved in the change that they were making,” Wilkins said. 

Each year, Wilkins sets a goal  for how much money she hopes to earn through fundraisers in order to pay for childrens’ surgeries. Wilkins has also planned the International Student Leader Conference, in which she travels out of the country to meet students from 20 other countries to discuss goals for upcoming missions.  Through Operation Smile, she has had the opportunity  to visit Rome, Seattle, Wake Forest, and this year she will be traveling to Peru and Ghana. She hangs out with kids and their families before they go into surgery.

According to Wilkins, she loves bringing joy to the children and watching their families show rejoice as their babies are brought back to health.         

 

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