Author Archives | pmcnorton


What Are You Thankful For?

By: Peyton McNorton

With Thanksgiving just in the rearview mirror, we at Giantword asked each other what are we thankful for. Here is how some journalism students responded:

Shauna Wilson, grade 11
Sam Sikora, grade 12
Macie Nester, grade 11
Ruth Fiske, grade 11

Raylene Dewhurst, grade 11
Natalie Strack, grade 9

Next, we asked students and two teachers during 1st lunch for them to write down what they are thankful for.

Emily Sweet, grade 12
Megan Phillips, grade 11
Lauren Porter, grade 12 and Iyana Wilson, grade 12
Abby Sikora, grade 11
Ben Young, grade 11 and Jack *last name* (behind Young), grade
Jack *last name*, *grade* and Ben young (to the left of Jack), grade 11
Daisy Greyer, grade 11
Mrs.Combs, math teacher
Daniela Leiva, grade 10
Sophie Sontz, grade 10
Mrs.Karp, math teacher, and Antoine Baladi (right of Karp), grade 10

Posted in Features0 Comments


Another Winless Season For The Giants

By: Peyton McNorton

How many high schools in Virginia have a twenty game losing streak? Not many, but one of the high schools, Waynesboro High School Varsity Football just finished their season with an overall record of 0-10 for the second year in a row. 

“It’s disappointing,” said WHS head coach, Shawn Moran. “But if you can handle 10-0, then you can handle 0-10.” 

Although the football team didn’t earned any wins, freshman linebacker and quarterback, Adam Jackson enjoys being with his coaches and teammates.

“I’ve made a lot of close friends and improved my skills as a QB since I’ve never played that position,” Jackson said. “My teammates and coaches encouraged me each game to do better.” 

Moran is proud of the football team with their positive attitudes throughout the whole season with losses.

“I thought the kids had great attitudes about the circumstances and they have been a pleasure to work with,” Moran said. “We have a great group of young men in our program and I’m proud of them for that.” 

Throughout this season, the team has been improving since their first football game that occurred in August.

“We definitely improved,” Jackson said. “We started working as a team and are communicating better.” 

Moran agrees with Jackson that the team has improved since their first game.

“We have like seventeen guys that never played varsity football before,” Moran said. “And those seventeen guys have been improving each game.” 

As the band performs during halftime, the football team sits in the locker room while Moran tries to inspire the team. 

“Moran tries to give us inspirational talks about who wants it more,” Jackson said. “My teammates and I are disappointed during halftime with the score, but we try our best to finish out the game strong.” 

“I think the team had pretty good spirit during halftime,” Moran said. “They have so much respect during that time.” 

On Friday, October 25th, the team was supposed to travel to Spotswood High School for an away game against the Trailblazers, but that ended up being forfeited by WHS due to not many players going to the game. 

“We only had eighteen players that were going to play at that time,” Moran said. “And it was hard to replace their positions for the game, so we had to forfeit.” 

Friday, November 8th, was the last game of the season and it was also senior night for the football players, cheerleaders, and band members. Moran is proud of the three seniors that played throughout these years and from Friday night. 

“I’m very proud of those three seniors for them to commit to play for us,” Moran said. “They have a lot of respect for the effort they have given.” 

Not only was it the last game, it was also a chance to beat Broadway High School Gobblers who was also winless at that time. 

“We still went into knowing that they were a physical team,” Jackson said. “It was a 50/50 chance to see who was gonna get their first win that night.” 

Moran thinks it was one of the winnable games the team had since they played Wilson Memorial High School.

“From a coaches perspective, you get a pretty good view of what your chances are,” Moran said. “It was one of the games we thought we would compete in, which we did and it was a big game stretch.” 

Broadway High School ended up getting their first win of the season with the score of 24-35. Although it wasn’t what the team wanted, it was probably one of the best games that season. 

Throughout this season the team either scored no touchdowns, or only one touchdown. 

“I was disappointed that we didn’t come out on top. Especially for the seniors that Friday night, because we wanted to win for them.” Jackson said. “They have been leaders on our team with a lot of underclassmen.” 

As this season is over, the Giants are preparing for next season to earn some wins next year. The team still has hope into next season. 

“I hope during the off season we can get more people to come out for weightlifting,” Jackson said. “ And I hope that all the returning players can get bigger and stronger, so that we can have a chance to win some games.” 

As Moran returns another year of coaching, he also hopes to get more people to play. 

“Hopefully we can get more people to commit. Not to just to play football, but commit to program,” Moran said. “It’s more than coming out playing for three months, it’s more of an investment.” 

Posted in Features0 Comments

Community Comes Together to Support Athletes in Game of Two Undefeated Teams

Community Comes Together to Support Athletes in Game of Two Undefeated Teams

By: Raylene Dewhurst

Friday night, two high school football teams, both close in community, came together in competition each trying to keep their 9-0 win streak this season. 

It was a pretty crowded game, people from all around the Shenandoah Valley attended. Supporters from both teams were nervous about who was going to win. Stuarts Draft had an excellent season, but Riverheads pretty much had this game in the bag.

The game sold out tickets for seats last Sunday, and people were already setting up their spots last weekend. One hour before the game started, the Cougar Stadium was already packed with fans, and it was difficult to find a parking spot.

The amount of fans in the stands for both teams was immense. Both sides of the bleachers were packed. People were standing along the fence on every side. There was so much maroon and red, and you could distinguish the Cougar pride from the Red pride.

“I was shocked by how many people showed up, considering how cold it is out here. I already can’t feel my toes” said Riverheads fan Kevin Dewhurst. People had blankets, layers, and someone even brought a space heater.

After the first half people began to leave the game due to the score. By halftime, the Gladiators were already in the lead, 28-14. The people began to predict the winner of the game, and their predictions were right. 

The Gladiators defeated the Cougars 49-14 at SDHS, but both teams had the love and support from their community. Both teams will begin the playoffs this Friday, and hopefully one of them will head off to states in December.

Posted in Features0 Comments


WHS Student Wins Cross Country District Championship, Moves on as an Individual to States

By: Peyton McNorton

The Waynesboro’s High School cross country team had their district meet on Tuesday, October 22, at Rockbridge High School. Out of the 5 teams WHS competed with, WHS boys cross country team placed 2nd overall and advanced to regionals. The girls team however only had one person advancing. 

Senior, Sam Sikora, was titled the Valley District Champion and headed to regionals with his teammates. 

“It was a dream come true,” Sikora said. “It was my big goal for this season.”

Not only was Sikora happy about being the district champion, the students and staff were happy for him too. 

“I’ve got so much positive feedback,” Sikora said. “I’m happy that WHS community and the Waynesboro community is proud of me.” 

This is Sikora’s fifth year participating in cross country and is excited to continue running when he goes to college. 

“I’m planning to run for Radford university or Longwood university,” Sikora said. “I haven’t decided yet which of those two I want to go,” 

Sikora decided to join cross country when his Kate Collins Middle School gym teacher, Julie Stevens, recommended it to him. 

“She’s the reason I’m in cross country,” Sikora said. “She got me into it.” 

When Sikora first started, he wasn’t as focused than what he is now.

“I think I have improved a lot throughout these years,” Sikora said. “I’m more focused on training than my first year.”

Sikora lives, breathes, and sleeps running. He loves racing with other opponents.

“My favorite thing about cross country is the feeling when you finish your race,” Sikora said. “When you’re done racing, all of your hard work on training is paid off.” 

Although Sikora loves his sport, there are some things he doesn’t enjoy about cross country.

“It can hurt at times,” Sikora said. “It’s a mental and physical sport, and can be pretty tough.” 

Sikora also has great love and respect for his coaches and teammates. 

“It’s been great. Especially this year,” Sikora said. “Coach Stevens has always been a great coach to me.”

“My teammates are great as well,” Sikora said. “They’ve made it so much more enjoyable.”

Although Sikora is going to run again in college soon, he is going to miss the WHS team. 

“Going to states has always been memorable,” Sikora said. “And being with my whole team.” 

The boys cross country team headed to Rockingham County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, November 6th to compete in the regional tournament. It was an incredibly competitive meet. Unfortunately, the WHS team lost in a tie breaker to Spotswood. Despite this, Sikora advanced individually to states and will be competing in the VHSL class 3A boys cross country championship on November 16th.

“I’m just excited for our team,” Sikora said. “I’m also excited for the younger kids to come and see what’s it all about when they advance to regionals in later years.” 

Posted in Features0 Comments

New Faces at WHS Part 4: Emilee Sawyers

New Faces at WHS Part 4: Emilee Sawyers

By: Peyton McNorton

This is the fourth in our series of a new teacher profiles.

I interviewed Emilee Sawyers, a new CTE teacher who teaches human services and leadership. I asked her how it has been so far this school year. 

Q: Have you had a previous experience with teaching?

Sawyers: This is my first year in the classroom, but I have worked with youth in different ways over the past ten years. Prior to coming to Waynesboro High School, I worked for Juvenile Court Services and the Department of Social Services. I have always had a strong interest in both teaching and human services. I recently finished up the state’s requirements to obtain my teaching  licensure. I am a previous WHS graduate so it is exciting for me to return to my old school. Go GIANTS!!!

Q: How do you plan on becoming involved in the school beyond just teaching? 

Sawyers: I am excited to get students out in the community for service-learning projects.  My 4th period is currently working with the Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth and the WARM Shelter. I hope to help motivate students to be involved in their community. I am also excited to watch my students who are involved in sports. 

Q: What has been challenging so far?

Sawyers: Since this is my first year, I spend a lot of time lesson planning.  It has been fun but very time consuming. 

Q: What’s been good and how is the relationship with other teachers?

Sawyers: I love my students and all of the staff at Waynesboro High School have been so welcoming and helpful.  I appreciate everyone’s kindness and willingness to share their knowledge with me. 

Q: What are you most excited about this year?

Sawyers: I am excited to get to know the students at WHS.  I am also excited about teaching human services. I have a strong passion for helping others and am excited to share that with my students. 

Posted in Features0 Comments

New Faces at WHS Part 3: Stacy Rider

New Faces at WHS Part 3: Stacy Rider

This is the third in our series of a new teacher profiles.

I interviewed Stacy Rider, a new CTE teacher who teaches intro to health and medical sciences, nutrition and wellness, and sports medicine. I asked her how it has been so far this school year. 

Q: Have you had a previous experience with teaching?

Rider: I taught for one year when I worked at a private school – Anatomy and Physiology.  But that was 3 years ago! I’m starting as a full time teacher now because my last job required working a lot of late nights and weekends and was hard to balance with family.

Q: How do you plan on becoming involved in the school beyond just teaching? 

Rider: I am a Licensed Athletic Trainer so I will help with providing Sports Medicine coverage for Waynesboro High School athletics.

Q: What has been challenging so far?

Rider: I’m trying to learn how to juggle lesson planning, managing a classroom, finding interesting material to help the students learn, and still learn everyone’s names!

Q: What’s been good and how is the relationship with other teachers? 

Rider: It’s been good! The other teachers have been very welcoming and helpful!  I’m looking forward to getting into a routine and getting to know everyone!

Q: What are you most excited about this year?

Rider: This new role is a new adventure.  I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and hoping that the students will find these to be good classes.

Posted in Features0 Comments

Homecoming 2019

Homecoming 2019

By: Jaydn Wood and Peyton McNorton

Homecoming was on Saturday, September 21st. There were many changes for the dance this year. Some of these changes included a new location for the dance itself, and new music options.

Although there were changes, and there were some people that loved homecoming 2019, there were also some people that didn’t enjoy the experience as much as in previous years.

Many people said they did have a fun time at the dance. They enjoyed dancing and chatting with their friends. However, several people did not like it due to the music and the location. This year, the dance was in the gym instead of the cafeteria.

“I think having the dance in the cafeteria would be better,” Sam Sikora said. “Because, you were allowed to go outside on the court yard to cool off.”

Homecoming king, Mckinley Bell, had mixed feelings about the dance.

“I mean I liked it. I had a good time,” Bell said. “Just the one thing I would change is the music selection.” 

Although Bell had a good experience at his last homecoming dance, he also had a good experience as being homecoming king. 

“My experience as homecoming king was pretty cool,” Bell said. “I got a lot of positive comments from my classmates, teachers, and even community members.” 

Bell wasn’t surprised that the won the homecoming king title.

“I don’t really have a good explanation for why I wasn’t surprised,” Bell said. “I just kind of knew.”

WHS senior, Kristen Wagner, is proud for Bell.

“I love Mckinley to death,” Wagner said. “The best moment was when his name and the homecoming queen’s name was announced and hearing my senior homecoming court friends cheering so loud.”

Wagner was one of the nominees for homecoming queen. Although she wasn’t the winner, she didn’t care that she lost.

“I would’ve felt like a winner even if I wasn’t on court,” Wagner said. “Because, being a part of the senior class is a win by itself.”

Wagner is going to miss seeing all of her friends being happy and having a good time at the dance.

“I think another thing I’ll miss is everybody uniting and everyone else, as well as me just having a good time dancing,” Wagner said. “There’s nothing like it.”

Bell is going to miss the experiences he had at his last homecoming dance.

“I’m probably going to miss the fun times with my friends,” Bell said. “It’s crazy to think that I’ll never be at WHS homecoming dances and events ever again.”

Posted in Features0 Comments

New Faces At WHS Part 2: Brandon Shields

New Faces At WHS Part 2: Brandon Shields

By: Peyton McNorton

This is the second in our series of a new teacher profiles.

I interviewed Brandon Shields, a new English teacher, and asked him how it has been so far this school year.

Q: Have you had a previous experience with teaching? If yes, why did you decide to come here? If no, how did you start?

Shields: This is my fifth year teaching.  I’ve taught two years as a high school teacher and two years as a middle school teacher.  I taught at Kate Collins Middle School the last two school years and really missed teaching on the high school level.  When there was an opening at WHS, I applied immediately!

Q: How do you plan on becoming involved in the school beyond just teaching? 

Shields: I have a lot of school pride and am looking forward to being more than just a teacher at Waynesboro.  I’m currently helping out with Pep Club. I’ll also be getting my hands into a lot of other things around the school as the year progresses.  I’m going to be coaching the middle school basketball team at KCMS this winter as well.

Q: What has been challenging so far?

Shields: The most challenging part has been learning how everything works.  When you switch jobs, you also switch routines, protocols, procedures, etc. I’m still learning names, locations, and ways of doing things.

Q: What has been good so far?

Shields: I’ve been enjoying my classes, lessons, and peers.  WHS is a great place.

Q: How has the relationship been with other teachers?

Shields: The teachers have been more than welcoming.  I’m traveling this year, so I’m sharing classrooms. All the teachers I’ve been working with have been more than helpful this school year.  I truly appreciate them giving up things like their room and planning time in order for me to have a place to teach my classes.

Q: What are you most excited about this year?

Shields: I’m excited to get to know a lot of the students I don’t already know.  I’m also excited about being involved with as many things as I can. Overall, I’m just beyond excited to be teaching at WHS.  It’s going to be a great year!

Posted in Features0 Comments

New Faces At WHS Part 1: Lori Henderson

New Faces At WHS Part 1: Lori Henderson

By: Peyton McNorton

There are many new changes this 2019-2020 school year at Waynesboro High School. Building changes, new students, new classes, and even new teachers. Some of these new faces have been teaching for many years and some are fairly new to the profession. This is the first of a series of new teacher profiles.

I interviewed Lori Henderson, a new Algebra teacher, and asked her how it has been so far this school year.

Q: Have you had a previous experience with teaching? If yes, why did you decide to come here? If no, how did you start?

Henderson: This is my sixth year teaching. I spent the past five years teaching in Danville, VA. My husband and I decided to move to Waynesboro for his job and I wanted to find a teaching job that is ten minutes away from my house.

Q: How do you plan on becoming involved in the school beyond just teaching? 

Henderson: I am currently one of the co-sponsors of pep club. I’m also getting involved with the staff committee that I am on and just going to games, events, and things that this school has.

Q: What has been challenging so far?

Henderson: Just getting adjusted to how a different school does things differently. There’s a lot more freedom here as a teacher. 

Q: What has been good so far?

Henderson: Students have been positive, respectful, and flexible with all of the construction going on.

Q: How has the relationship been with other teachers?

Henderson: Really wonderful. Everybody has been really supportive and has been checking up on me and seeing if I needed anything. 

Q: What are you most excited about this year?

Henderson: I’m most excited to see the changes in the building. 

Posted in Features0 Comments

New Year, New Position

New Year, New Position

By: Peyton McNorton

After recent administrative changes, Katie Ford is now an assistant principal at Waynesboro High School.      

Ford started out as a James Madison University student and was majoring in business, but she hated it. 

“I didn’t like my classes,” Ford said. “I wasn’t good at it.” 

Ford figured she should switch to a major that made more sense for her. She switched to English as a major with a minor in education.

“I loved it. I loved every education class that I took,” Ford said. “And after that, I got hooked on becoming a teacher.” 

Although Ms. Ford is excited about her new position at WHS, she claims she will miss teaching English to many students.

“I’m going to miss having a class full of kids that are mine,” Ford said. “Getting to know kids, lesson planning, doing cool activities with kids. I’m going to miss that a lot.”

New Waynesboro High School principal Bryan Stamm believes there are many strengths Ford might have transitioning from an English teacher to an administrator.

“From her being a teacher, it gives her more opportunities to understand things more,” Stamm said. “She knows the building more, the staff more, the students more.”

Ms. Ford loves her assistant principal position. She loves being able to do a lot more things than she used to.

“I get to do more large projects and help teachers a lot than before,” Ford said. “And I get to help guide the direction of the school. It’s really satisfying.” 

Ms. Ford already planned on becoming an assistant principal about three or four years ago and she went to school to get her master’s degree for administration.

“It was something I was working towards,” Ford said. “But I did not go into teaching thinking I was going to be a principal.”

Being an assistant principal can be challenging in the first year, as Ms. Ford is learning.

“Managing everything that comes along has been challenging,” Ford said. “I’m in charge of maintenance, custodial, but also some of the discipline and teacher observations. So it’s been a lot.”   

Although the new position has new challenges, Ms. Ford has had positive experiences so far this school year.

“Getting to help make decisions for the school has been exciting,” Ford said. “And getting to talk to kids that are struggling. That has been satisfying.” 

Ford’s relationship with the other administrators and teachers has been amazing so far this school year.

“We laugh a lot. Which I think is important,” Ford said. “But we also have a similar vision of the direction of the school.”

Amber Loyacano, an English teacher at WHS, is very close friend and colleague of Ms.Ford.

Loyacano feels like Ford is doing a great job in the role of an administrator. 

“Instead of just being a colleague, now she is also like a supporter,” Loyacano said. “Instead of being far away from the classrooms, she still comes to us asking us what’s going on.”  

Ms. Ford can’t wait to see what she will accomplish this school year.

“I get to finally be a principal! This is so exciting!” Ford exclaimed. “But I think I’m just excited to see the school year from a different perspective is exciting.”

Posted in Features1 Comment