High School can be a difficult time for many teens, but three high school students living in Reston began their sharing experiences through a podcast in hopes of empowering others.
“The Epic Theory” began under three South Lakes High School Juniors named Anastasia Vlasova, Esha Pathi and Hannah Giusti in July of 2019. Since then, the students have produced 15 episodes of the podcast that are available for free on Spotify and other apps, according to the website.
The podcast is “focused on self-growth, venturing outside of our comfort zones, finding passion and uplifting the global community,” the students wrote in an email to Reston Now.
What began as a “curiosity-driven summer project” turned into so much more as the girls said they began to attract international followers.
In the last several months, the team built a relationship with the CORE Foundation, a non-profit that helps social entrepreneurs achieve their goals. The group is helping to boost the podcast, according to the girls.
“In addition to recording our authentic, existential conversations, we have hosted a “Dream Big” event at a local elementary school, during which we interacted with sixth graders and encouraged them to pursue their dreams,” the girls said. “We explained to them the power of brainstorming solutions in pursuit of their dreams, as they will inevitably experience obstacles.”
During the event, the trio said they helped the kids embrace optimism about their future and the power of their individual voices.
The girls were actually planning yet another upcoming “dream big” event but unfortunately had to cancel it due to concerns over COVID-19.
“But we are still moving forward with recording podcast episodes and solidifying our status as a non-profit,” the girls said about the forced cancelation. “We are using this time to brainstorm, update our website, share social media content, and record podcast episodes.”
In the latest episode of “The Epic Theory,” Vlasova hosted the podcast by herself since the girls decided to voluntarily self-quarantine. She spoke about what it means to “live your best life” during quarantine and shared tips about how to feel fulfilled during this time.
“The whole idea of stagnancy really freaks me out, and that’s why I am so motivated and eager to learn and try new things,” Vlasova said, adding that she tries to never plateau in her quest for knowledge. To avoid boredom during this time, she said she is always reading new articles or researching cool ideas.
“As news of COVID-19 is occupying most of today’s media coverage, we would love a chance to shine light on what we, as teenagers, are doing to positively contribute to the world,” the students said.
Image via The Epic Theory/Instagram
After a challenge from her sister, a local teenager decided to write a poetry book based on alcoholic drinks — without having a sip of booze herself, according to the publisher Mascot Books.
“The Drink Selection; With Something To Nibble On” by Herndon resident Nisha Shankar is a collection of poems exploring various situations around wine, hard liquor and beer, according to the book’s description.
The book is currently available for pre-sale and costs around $18 on Amazon. An official release date is set for March 3, according to a press release.
“She is an amazing artist but did not originally set out to write a book of poems about alcoholic beverages,” the publisher said about Shankar.
In the acknowledgments of the book, Shankar thanks her dad for turning her into a young whiskey connoisseur and her sister for encouraging her to step up to the challenge.
“I know it wasn’t a suitable topic, but you guys loved it and encouraged me to write more,” she continued.
The 80-page book comes in hardcover for the time being and also can be purchased at Barnes & Noble, according to the press release.
Photo via Adam Jaime/Unsplash
The end of the school year is approaching, which means that many students are thinking ahead about summer jobs.
South Lakes High School will host a job fair for teens on Thursday (March 28) to help connect students to potential employers.
The fair is set to take place in the main corridor outside of the cafeteria during the school’s four lunch sessions, according to Fairfax County Public Schools.
Reston-area employers will set up tables to offer applications and answer students’ questions about part-time employment.
Employers that have signed up already include:
- America Inline
- Autobell Car Wash
- Brightview Senior Center
- Cascade Beverage
- Continental Pools
- Einstein Bros
- Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
- Fairfax County Park Authority
- Fairfax County Democrats
- Glory Days Grill
- Goldfish Swim School
- Guardian Aquatics
- Herndon Parks and Rec
- High Sierra Pools
- Jay Vending
- Metropolitan Washington Airports
- Reston Association Aquatics
- Reston Association Camps
- Reston Association Member Services
- Nando’s Peri Peri
- Roer’s Zoofari
- Sunset Pool Management
- Town of Vienna
- Winkler Pools
- YMCA Reston
Some of the employers are looking to hire teachers during the summer, according to FCPS.
A South Lakes High School teen was among the 21 students from Fairfax County public schools who earned national medals in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program.
Gabrielle Baughman will receive a silver medal for a painted self-portrait, FCPS said in a press release.
In June, an award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City will honor the national medalists, according to the press release.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards recognize student artists with categories including architecture, ceramics and glass, comic art, design, digital art, drawing, editorial cartoon, fashion and more.
Image via Scholastic Art & Writing Awards/Facebook
Weekend track work on Metro — Silver, Blue and Yellow Line trains are scheduled to run every 24 minutes on Saturday and Sunday. Largo Town Center Metro station will be closed. [WTOP]
Reston Association Board meets tonight — A vision for the future of Hidden Creek Country Club, one of two golf courses in Reston, will be unveiled by the owner. The developer plans to convert the golf course into a public park with residential development. [Reston Association]
Book sale begins for Reston friends — Members of the Friends of Reston Regional Library get first dibs on the Friend’s book sale today. The sale is open to the public on Friday and into the weekend. [Fairfax County Government]
Teen Advisory Board meeting tonight — The board will meet today to discuss how to make the library a wonderful place for teenagers. The board is open to volunteers between the age of 13 and 18. Volunteer hours are also offered for participation. [Reston Regional Library]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
Teens and young adults in Reston can attend the free job fair at South Lakes High School on April 21 to meet potential employers and get tips on building their resumes.
More than 40 potential employers have signed up to meet young job seekers at the event, according to Connection Newspapers, one of the sponsors of the job fair. Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Reston Chamber of Commerce and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity will also be sponsoring the event
The event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is aimed toward student job seekers between the ages of 16 and 18 who are looking for full-time employment, internships, after school employment, volunteer opportunities and seasonal work. Younger students may seek volunteer work and attend the resume building workshop.
The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County will present “Saturday Night in the Suburbs” on Wednesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. in the school’s lecture hall. The event will feature a panel of high school seniors talking about drug and alcohol use, teen parties, parent supervision, social media, and teen-parent communication and resiliency.
Jennifer Lewis-Cooper of the Unified Prevention Coalition will facilitate.
“Parents find this to be somewhat eye-opening,” Lewis-Cooper has said about the event. “We will not ask the panel specific names, dates, places of events or put them on the spot — their job is not to ‘snitch’ on others, but to educate parents to understand what teens are dealing with and help parents to set better limits.”
Parents of middle school and high school students are encouraged to attend, and only adults will be admitted. Exhibit tables with information and local resource materials will be available.
For more information about the event, call 703-938-8723 or email [email protected].
Drinking and smoking are at their lowest rates in five years among Fairfax County teens.
That’s the findings of the newest Fairfax County Youth Survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders.
The annual survey, whose 2015-2016 results were recently released, examines behaviors, experiences, and other factors that influence the health and wellbeing of the county’s youth.
Students’ participation in the survey was voluntary and anonymous.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board co-sponsor the survey to collect information about youth behaviors, both positive as well as those that are harmful.
The survey was administered in November, 2015, and resulted in valid responses from 33,276 students.
Some of the key findings:
More than one-third of Fairfax County students (35.8%) reported drinking alcohol at least once in their lifetime, ranging from 16.9% of eighth-grade students to over half of twelfth-grade students
All of the overall rates for alcohol use (lifetime, past month, and binge drinking) were the lowest reported in the past five years. The lifetime prevalence rate decreased 9.7 percentage points since 2011, while the past month rate decreased by 5.6 percentage points and binge drinking in the past two weeks decreased by 3.4 percentage points.
Thirteen percent of the students (13.1%) reported smoking cigarettes at least once in their lifetime, ranging from 5.4% of eighth-grade students to over one-fifth of twelfth-grade students (22.4%).
Lifetime and past month prevalence rates for cigarette use were the lowest reported in the past five years. The lifetime prevalence rate decreased 7.5 percentage points since 2011, while the past month rate decreased by 4.1 percentage points.
Marijuana was the second most commonly used substance by Fairfax County students overall. One-fifth of the students reported using marijuana in their lifetime (19.2%), ranging from 4.4% of eighth-grade students to over one-third of twelfth-grade students (36.4%).
Ten percent of the students (10.3%) reported using marijuana in the past month, ranging from 2.0% of eighth-grade students to one-fifth of the twelfth-grade students (20.0%).
Both lifetime and past month prevalence rates for Fairfax County students overall were lower than the national comparison data for alcohol, marijuana, cigarette, and inhalant use.
The overall rate for binge drinking also was below the national rate, as were the past month prevalence rates for e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and Ecstasy use.
To see more stats on sexual activity, physical activity, depression and other public health issues, read the entire youth survey on Fairfax County’s website.