Patriot Portraits ’21-’22
After years of isolation, A-Town is back! Get to know the people at Albemarle through Patriot Portraits: snapshots of your fellow Patriots accompanied by a few quick quotes. Explore our community’s greatest passions, worst struggles, unique talents, brightest aspirations and more — all that defines us.
Junior Kameran Henderson
“The thing I’m going to miss the most about this school year is all the great connections and friendships that I’ve had made.”
Junior Travis Afriyie
“One positive thing about this year was being able to see all my friends."
Freshman John Joesil
“The most challenging thing about this year is going from middle school virtually to high school in person.”
Junior Alvin Cabell
"One thing that is making me the happiest right now is help from teachers to get my grade up."
Sophomore Emily Warren
"I'm happy that all of the exams such as APs and SOLs are finished, and I'm looking forward to summer."
Astronomy Teacher Roni Jennings
"I'm just having the regular end of the year stress, helping students to finish their final projects, and helping with the standardized tests."
Sophomore Gloire Prince
"Something that makes me happy is knowing that my family and everyone I care about is okay and doing great."
Sophomore John Houlahan
"My favorite sport is definitely soccer, I've played it my entire life and being able to play on my school's team feels good. It is a great environment to be around and I'm gonna keep up with it after high school."
Senior Luke Davis
"My biggest inspiration is probably my mom. She really pushes me through hard times and helps me be a better person."
Junior Landon Grady
"I struggle with my disorder and bullying. However, I’m more open to my issues than I was before, which allows me to be more confident. As far as my autism, I usually like to express what I need in the best ways possible. But if I’m scared to do so, I won’t do it. And as far as bullying, I get made fun of and humiliated because I want to play soccer in college, which is very hard to do, an...
Attendance Staff Beth Bunts
"I'm just struggling with the day to day stress of being in school with all of the COVID-19 still among the building."
Senior Katie Fitzgerald
"I've been struggling with senioritis, it's hard to keep up with my classes and motivation, but teachers have been nice and they let me turn in work late."
School Counselor Jamie Sherwell
"[I am happiest about] warmer weather, warm coffee, good education, and looking forward to the summer."
Sophomore Logan Pleso
“I like to do synchronized swimming. We are currently training for the Junior Olympics this summer and I’m really excited about it but a little nervous. We are focused on making our routines tight and clean, and ready for competition.”
Senior Emma Paitrick
“I've played tennis for four years in high school. This being my last year, we are trying to make it to states again. We've had a good season so far and we are excited to play Western again.”
Sophomore Bella DiCarlo
“I love taking time for myself, whether it’s taking time outside or reading a good book. I think that time is really helpful for me to decompress, especially after a long week or after school. It’s a nice way to just focus on me.”
Senior Alec Simpson
"This year I've struggled with heightened stress and math class."
Freshman Gloria Kim
“My family and I celebrate both a religious and candy-filled Easter. My immediate family and I go to church in the morning before having an Easter meal for lunch: ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, etc. We sometimes do Easter baskets when we get home and always have a sweet treat like cinnamon rolls or blueberry pie to eat after lunch. Afterward, we have an Easter egg hunt outside. The egg hunts...
Junior Sophia Levine
“Working on the musical makes me happiest, especially during choreography and working on hair and makeup. I just love spending time with so many people who have a shared goal and I really look forward to our performances.”
VA/US Government Teacher Chris Ceglar
"I'd rather not talk so much. I appreciate the one or two students who talk in class, but I'd like more to participate."
Senior Phoebe Giordano
“What makes me happy is taking care of my plants. I have a bunch of them and I try my hardest to take care of them. Sometimes I forget to water them but that's ok. I love them all very much and they all have fun names.”
Sophomore Olivia Kim
“Right before we moved [from Korea to America] we had to move into a hotel because we lost our apartment in Korea. That day was, unfortunately, my birthday — I couldn’t do anything. I had to just help move boxes; the only [special] thing I got to eat was the traditional seaweed soup that Koreans eat on their birthdays, miyeok guk. It’s ox bone broth, and you cook it for a whole day. It has rice c...
Junior Brenna Shifflett
“I like to bake. My favorite things to bake are snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, and oatmeal cookies.”
Sophomore Ty’Rhon Johnson
"Money makes me happy because I think it's the key to happiness."
Junior Junhao Lin
“I do a few things after school. I read a lot and watch YouTube videos. I read fantasy books mostly and watch random YouTube videos for gaming.”
Senior Jill Collier
"It is hard to focus on school, and motivation is difficult to come by."
Senior Seth Deepak
"Unfortunately, there are still laws in 46% of states in America that allow queers to be discriminated against in foster homes and the adoption process. I created a bill to advocate for that for model congress in my government class. Other than that, I'm most passionate about listening to music. I mainly listen to experimental pop, hyper pop, indie, alternative, and Avant-reggaeton."
Freshman Ny Jaylah Feggans
"My favorite person is Jada Feggans. She is my cousin and also goes to the school. She is always there for me and I love her, I love her so much. We spend a lot of time together outside of school, especially at work [Kroger]. When we aren't at work we go to her house or our other friend Caroline's house to hang out."
Sophomore Gabe Alms
"I'm passionate about being good at sports. I don't want to do a sport that I'm bad at. If I'm good at something, I'll reach a lot of goals and I'll have more fun."
Freshman Colleen Crawford
"I definitely spend more time with my friends than with my family. The thing that makes me the happiest is being with my friends. We hang out together a lot, mostly at Caroline's house. We go to the movies sometimes too. We all went recently to go see the new Tom Holland movie together which was fun."
Senior Iris Papin
"I'm most passionate about the literary art magazine and my own writing at the moment. As far as accomplishments go, I'd like to contribute something good to the world and make it a better place as well as learn a lot of languages and improve my writing. I want to travel the world to experience everything and meet people who are different from me and hear their stories."
Sophomore Zomari Davis
"My favorite holiday is my birthday because, although all the holidays mean something to me, my birthday is by far the most important and my favorite. My favorite thing I have ever done for my birthday was get a tattoo. The tattoo is of a bible scripture."
Senior Ruth Eddo
"My struggle right now is trying to keep my grades up because I am graduating soon and I want to go to college."
Freshman Maria Arellano
"My biggest accomplishment is definitely being more of an open person. What has helped me with being more open is the people that I surround myself with."
Juniors Harrison Sugerman and Cole Bruen
"We play Clash of Clans both in school and after school, seven days a week. We have a group of players in Clash of Clans and we work together to meet goals such as winning clan wars against other groups of players. We've been in the same clan for a couple of months, but the game requires years to get good. There are 26 members in our clan and we're a pretty close-knit community. Join the Young Money...
English Teacher Abby Sprague
"I'm struggling with putting too much pressure on myself and not giving myself the same grace I give others."
Senior Brandon Richmond
"My favorite thing to watch is Birds of Prey from 2002; it's a show that I grew up on. When I was living here [Virginia] the first time, my dad went to the store—just saw it there—and he grabbed it just for me. We watched it as a family, and I thought it was a really cool bonding experience. Then, from there, that's what progressed into my interest in superheroes. [Now, I watch] A lot of superhero shows...
Freshman Seng Myitung
"I’m not sure I really have a passion. Honestly, for me, it has always been hard to find one single thing that I’m passionate about. I feel like most people would define passion as a love for a certain thing or hobby but I haven’t found anything like that. I like to do a whole bunch of things. Maybe I’m passionate about them, maybe I’m not but either way, I do them as best I can. I try m...
Science Teacher Karen Power
"My favorite part of my job is this right here, my relationship with kids. I love kids, I love helping them grow up and learn new things; I also love science and I love teaching it."
Sophomore Wilson Forloines
"I'm most afraid of being buried or cremated alive. The thought is scary to think about."
Senior Eleanor Harris
"I would have to say that one thing that impacted my view on life is my mental health. I’ve gone through a lot these past few years, and there have been moments where it was hard to get up in the morning and just be a person. Anxiety used to play the biggest role in my life, and I had a lot of trouble accepting myself and the love people had for me. I think that’s true for a lot of kids my age....
Junior Max Hathaway
“I listen to a lot of different types of music. Rap, Folk, and House are some of my tops. Rap and Folk are definitely my favorite genres. I look for good vibes in new artists when listening to them for the first time. I listen to music the most when I am driving my car alone at night. Sometimes I sing along. I don't play any instruments but I wish I played the drums.”
Senior Mackenzie Elward
"Senior Citizens Service Club is about helping connect young kids and older nursing home residents in the community because COVID has been very isolating and has created a lot of generational gaps."
English Teacher Ayesha Ahmad
“Right now, what’s making me happiest are little things: hot tea with a good book on a cold morning, my son passing his learner’s permit exam, and good neighbors who help each other out during snowstorms!”
Senior Chloe Thompson
"My favorite class is sports marketing because it teaches me about branding and marketing. I am interested in going into a career that involves what we talk about in class."
Drama Teacher Salvatore Giordano
“I like to work outside. I live in the woods and enjoy building trails or doing work on my tractor. I try to be outside as much as possible.”
Senior Lou Marshall
'"My friends make me the most happy. They are very supportive with my life, and that's been great."
Junior Ny’Asia Magruder
"Money is what's making me the happiest right now, because I can get what I want for myself."
Sophomore Drew Thorndike
“I’d say that setting goals for the future and remembering each day is a step toward those goals keeps me motivated daily.”
Sophomore Dylan Holland
“I was thinking of joining the Mental Health Awareness Club or starting one. I know there’s one that exists. I was just thinking like, I feel like it’d be nice to join it or help out around there. I know there’s a bulletin board near the counseling offices with breathing techniques and stuff and I’d love to do presentations of that and also just be a more enthusiastic person in general. That’s my ...
Sophomore Oak Granger
"My biggest struggle is being a ginger because people mistake me for Ron Weasley. People make fun of my hair and I get sunburnt easily."
Freshman Spozhmai Haqpaul
“I prefer in person school over virtual school because I can't stand to be on my computer that long. It starts to hurt my eyes."
Sophomore Cora Hammer
"I am passionate about getting schools to recycle in Albemarle County because I'm a Girl Scout and that is what I want to do for my gold award."
Freshmen Sam Guiffre and Alex Harpin
Sam Guiffre: “My parents aren't mad at me right now which is a big accomplishment. They are often mad at me for my grades in school but I’m doing better which I am proud of. I wish it was still winter break though.” Alex Harpin: "My favorite question is when people ask me my favorite question because then it becomes an endless loop and the interview never ends."...
Senior Lucy Eisenberg
"I've been doing marching band for four years and I really love it. It's a really good experience and teaches skills like discipline and leadership."
Senior Kiwi Moneymaker
"I'd say I'm most passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, especially Trans issues recently. Discovering my identity as queer and non-binary over these past few years was really important for me and I feel empathetic towards those who can't be open about their sexuality or gender identity because of the repercussions they could likely face. I want to educate myself and others on acceptance of different identities...
Librarian Monica Laux
"Coming back from COVID has definitely been a weird adjustment. Everyone is on very different schedules and has figured out their own way of doing things by themselves. It's been a big adjustment, but I think everyone's handled it pretty well, and we're getting back into the swing of things now.
Junior Anna Scharnbeck
"Music makes me the most happy, because no matter what mood I'm in, it always has the right answer."
Sophomore Riley Farmer
“Writing stories, being with my family and friends, and just being around the people I love around the holidays is what brings me the most joy.”
Senior Sydney Eubanks
"Cheer has helped me grow as a person, and has helped me learn how to be a leader and shine a positive light at school. I am so excited for this season! A-Town or die baby!"
Senior Avery Huang
"I didn't really choose swimming. My sister was already in it and my mom thought I should learn how to swim. I quickly fell in love with it and decided to make it my goal to be the best swimmer I could be. I love swimming because when I am in the water, all my problems disappear and I am able to do what I love without worrying about anything else."
Sophomore Florence Myers
“My favorite thing to do outside of school would probably be to write music. I write songs and play the guitar, and I’ve been doing it a lot more recently. It’s a good way to channel negative and expressive feelings into or just to document how I’m feeling. It’s nice to look back on and see my growth.”
Junior George Vavrik
“Right now [the thing that is making me the happiest] is texting with my friend who I have gotten really close with over the past eight months. He is just super nice and understands me really well. He is always willing to listen to me rant about situations and vent about my day. I talk to him over text, Snapchat, and FaceTime. We talk about relationships. We talk about food. We talk about everything ...
Junior Leilani Lopez
"I'd say I'm most afraid of what the future holds. Nothing is more scary than reality and what's coming next. I try to tell myself to focus on the present, but I can't stop thinking about the things that could go wrong or things I won't get accepted to. I guess it has to do with the fear of rejection."
Junior Sarai Bryant-Davis
"I'm happy about getting an A on my Spanish test."
Driver’s Ed Teacher Charles Townsend
“My big sister is the most influential person in my life. She has always been the glue of my siblings. At some point in our lives we all lived with her, trying to find our way. Her generosity and hospitality kept all of our siblings together. Now we’re all spread across the U.S.”
School Nurse Carol Jansens
"What keeps me motivated is just pursuing things that make me happy and in order to do that you need a job, friends, money, and you have to find pleasure with what you're doing."
Junior Anda Armond
"I'm passionate about working towards getting scholarships for higher education and plan on majoring in health sciences to eventually become a physician assistant. I love being a part of the volleyball team and I first started getting into the sport because I saw how each team became a family over something they all love." "Something I changed my view on recently is the conflict between democrats...
Junior Jazil Chaudhry
"I'm going to go to Maryland for Thanksgiving and go stay with my cousins for a few days and we might just go out and eat something or we might just cook turkey at our place and yeah I'm so excited to see them and looking forward to it as well as the five-day weekend."
Junior Josh Browning
"For Thanksgiving food, we eat a lot of turkey and stuffing. My grandparents are coming to visit us and even though we get to see them often I'm still happy I get to see them."
Senior Lara Medders
"I know everyone is worried and disappointed that the show is postponed but we are all ready to perform as soon as we can. Our actors and crew have put so much into this show and I'm so excited for people to come and watch it. I really want to thank all of the actors and the production crew because those onstage and offstage are equally important, especially our lighting and sound crew because ...
Junior Danté Curry El
“I’m excited to ball out this season. Our football team had a good season; hopefully, we will play up to them."
Sophomore Ben Hersman
“I’ve been playing guitar a lot lately and trying to learn new songs. It feels like it gives me meaning to learn songs and do something that makes me feel good about myself. [I’ve been playing guitar] for about three years. I take lessons, but I teach myself most of the songs I know. I like learning acoustic songs that are slower and prettier to listen to, that sort of thing. I listened to...
Senior Jaden Shelton
"My inspiration is my mom because she has helped me a lot through my life to stay on task for all my schoolwork and my academic career. She has helped me develop my character and she has helped guide me through hard challenges throughout my life."
Junior Nasiah Young
"I like going to CATEC because I do cosmetology and I've always wanted to do hair. Learning how to do new hairstyles is fun. I learned how to do a roller set, which is a shampoo and conditioning and give the hair volume by putting it in rollers. It's my favorite because its a fun process to do and watch."
Sophomore Abby Taylor
“I do cheer after school. Our practice is going good. We just finished our competition season, we went to sub regionals. I’m excited to start winter cheer too. Tryouts are on November 8th!”
Junior Lidia Burruss
"Something I recently changed my opinion about was that I used to be really scared of driving because that’s how my brother had passed away. But now that I have been driving, I realized it wasn’t that bad and now I actually find it fun.” "[I have enjoyed driving myself] Downtown for sure because that’s the main place my mom hates driving me to since it’s further.”...
Peer Tutoring Teacher Hannah Baran
“What makes me happiest is enjoying the change in the seasons, playing with my kids, and being back in school with my students."
Junior Atlas Richardson
“Last year for spirit buddies for the spring musical, I gave the instructions to find me the weirdest collection of items you can find in the thrift store. And my spirit buddy found me creepy, porcelain clown dolls that sit on my shelf and make me very happy. They are terrifying but I love them so much.”
MESA Teacher Kevin Huff
“I had a 35+ year corporate career where I met one of the most influential people in my life. For many many years, I worked for someone who was my boss. He and I worked together at about a dozen different companies all up and down the east coast, mainly working with technology companies. During this time I was able to observe and learn from his leadership skills and ability to work with people. He...
Junior Maggie Leroux
“I’ve been doing robotics for three years at Albemarle High School and I competed for two years at Lakeside Middle School as well. We build robots and compete in competitions against teams from all over the state and then against teams from all over the country and around the world.”
Junior Ella Burtram
"Quarantine changed my look on life because I learned what it’s like living outside of social structures. I kind of had to learn how to take care of myself again."
History Teacher Chris Alba-Cantone
"I'd say my philosophy is that the best way to go through life is through a community with others as imperfect as we are. If we go through life building community, we will find fulfillment and joy."
Senior Kat Skeens
"I'm struggling with friendships and platonic relationships. I have problems seeing friends and spending time with others. I miss certain things which seem common and I have trouble understanding."
Spanish Teacher Erin Verham
“I’ve always wanted to travel more in my life. Travel to South America, but Spain… Spain is really my number one. When I travel, I’m looking for a mix of just seeing all the tourist sites but then also just being able to take it slow and walk around and eat food and enjoy and not be too stressed out. It’s kind of a mix of the highs of traveling and then just being somewhere. This summer,...
ESOL Teacher Krista Rush
ESOL 3 teacher and collaborator with Ecology and World History 2 for grades 9-12. Teaching since 2007, starting with English at WAHS, becoming a stay-at-home mother, then a preschool teacher. Returned to high school as a teach assistant at MHS. "My grandmother wanted to be a teacher at a time when it was not proper for a married woman to work. My grandfather was a teacher, and my gra...