A “ROCK STAR” had arrived

A parent wrote a letter praising your contributions to the school. How does that make you feel?

Pretty awesome. It’s just awesome. I so glad that I make an impact.

What do you like about being a Technology Support Technician (TST)?

I’m not going to lie, being a TST is ‘meh’. But being a TST for an elementary school, is the best. It’s being able to interact with kids and say hello in the morning. I’m not typically a morning person, but when the kids are walking up to you saying, “Good morning!” you can’t help but reflect some of that back.

Something that’s mentioned in the letter we received, was origami. How did you become interested?

Origami is something I started back in middle school, and fell out of for a little while when I got older. When I started here I started getting back into it as something I could do, because, your folding paper. One day a kid came up to me and said, “That’s really cool, can I have that.” So, it’s grown and now I have this long list of requests, and there’s crazy rules of how students can get on the list.

Read the parent’s letter below.


Xander, not Alexander

What should people know about you?

First off, I want people to know that is Xander, not Alexander. That’s what I go by. I play quarterback for Ocean Lakes High School, and I strive to be a leader on and off the field. I also want people to know that I take my grades seriously and I love coming to school. I don’t want high school to end, because I’m not sure what college will bring. I have a handful of colleges and tracks that I’m looking at, but nothing pegged down yet.

I love football, but it won’t be the make or break decision for what college I attend. The education is my first priority. My dad always told me that it’s not about the four years in college, it’s about the forty years after college that matter the most.

I love animals

My family and I love traveling, but sometimes it’s hard because sometimes we have to leave our cats behind. We have two. And it’s really hard because I miss them so much. Especially my cat, Lil’ Miss. She’s like my everything. I love her so much. She even sleeps with me sometimes. When I’m sick, she’ll come sleep in the window by my bed.

I love animals, just like my dad. My mom just likes dogs. My sister too. But, me and my dad, we like all animals. This one time, when we still lived in Pennsylvania, we all went to a pet store to look. There was this cute little ferret. It was so cute! My mom said they stink and that she won’t allow it, but it was so cute! I kept telling her, I don’t care if he smells, he’s so cute.


Just be yourself

I’ve bleached my hair before, dyed it blue, shaved it off completely and now it’s pink. It’s always changing. It’s a way to express myself as an artist.

I really like being in the art program. We get a lot of assignments that you don’t expect. I mainly use pencils and colored pencils, but I’m trying to branch out to digital and watercolor.

My sense of mind has changed a lot over the past two years. Mostly since January. I’ve made a resolution to have more faith in myself and who I am, to focus on my artwork and not let negative things happening around bother me. So far it is working out pretty well. Sometimes it still gets to me, but my art really helps me get back into the right mindset.

I am an artist, I have talent and I have my own opinions about things. I hope everyone can come to the realization that it’s worth finding out who you are as an individual. Do your own thing. Don’t try to copy someone else. Just be yourself.

Something kind of magical

Being an administrative assistant where I was a teacher for 12 years has been challenging to navigate at times. But I love Princess Anne. I think there is something kind of magical about this school. We have lots of passionate teachers who are experts in their content area and experts in instruction, but what I think is really special about Princess Anne is that all of these teachers also care about their students’ development and what they’re doing outside the classroom. They want to nurture those students and help them become more confident people. That’s why I wanted to stay here.

It’s sort of like the tryout to be Assistant Principal. I had been teaching for a number of years, and I wanted to do something different. I felt like I wanted to affect change in a different way. I was the Department Chair for World Languages. I found that I really liked working with adults, and talking with adults about what good instruction looks like and how to help kids. I really enjoyed that part of my job. And so I decided to make the leap.

I’m surprised by how unpredictable the day is. As a teacher, I knew exactly where I would be at 7:20 and at 10:28, I knew what class I was teaching, what students I would see. With this position, I may come in and have my day scheduled out, and I’ll think I’m going to meet with different students, and I’m going to do classroom observations. And then some emergency arises and I spend my day doing that.

I was apprehensive about doing discipline and interacting with students who were having difficulty in the classroom, but it’s actually been my favorite part of the job. Just having the opportunity to sit down and talk with students and really listen to them and hear what is happening and why they’re having these problems, and to help them come up with self-management strategies has been really rewarding for me. #WeAreVBSchools

Earth’s core

My dad retired from the Navy. He worked with computers.

I think my dad is going to get a job where he has to turn on something before it goes off. And if it goes off the company has to pay $1.2 million to turn it back on. It’s a really easy job if you don’t fall asleep or get tired of it.

No it’s not easy. He has to look at every single program in the whole shipyard. He’ll be the one protecting the system.

Every single system has it’s properties, so a bunch of stuff goes on, and he’s responsible for monitoring all these things at once.

I’ll probably not join the Navy, but I want to travel.

When I grow up I want to be a miner.

That’s not a good idea. They don’t do that anymore, because they have drills.

Yes, they do. I’ll control the drills.

Oh, you have to be really good at computers to do that.

I’m good at computers, or I’ll just use a pickaxe. I’m going to mine and then sell.

You’ll have to make a pretty large area to keep on going, because it could collapse.

Or, I could just build things. Be a scavenger. Get things. Build something with it. Sell it and get money.

I once heard a kid had a dream that he could mine to Africa, but you can’t do that.

Yes, you can.

You’ll need a drill. It will need to be waterproof and heatproof. But be careful to not hit Earth’s core! If you put anything, even a tiny pebble, in the core, the whole planet would just collapse. The core is surrounded by lava, so if you have enough power to get to the core you will have the ability to destroy the world.

Yes, all it takes is a pebble, or even a stick!

Self-taught gymnast

On Wednesdays I go to ODS and do my gifted dance education. I like modern and ballet the most and dancing with the whole group. I like dancing to fast, medium and slow music. One of my favorite singers is Ariana Grande – she makes good dancing music.

I’m also a self-taught gymnast. I’ve learned a lot of skills by myself. I can do a back-handspring, an aerial, a back-walkover, front-handspring step-out and a handstand. I mostly learn them from YouTube and practice. The aerial and the back-handspring took the longest to learn.


To uplift others

You two are the drum majors for the marching band. What does that mean to you?

I like to think of myself as a leader. I like to serve others as a leader. Nobody really wants to be a leader, and that’s why they are so important.

To uplift others in our band. We got more people to come out of there shells and talk to people. That’s the best part of it – to help everyone emerge, so we can collectively be better. With freshman or new members to the band, it’s important to help them feel like part of the team. The band is kind of weird. We hang out outside of practice, which is crazy because they are so long, but we have parties, pool parties, just talk to each other. Slowly they get to know everyone – after that initial shock.

You show them that it’s okay to be out of your shell. You can be silly with your friends and be serious with your music.

How did you first get involved in band?

My mom played flute in marching band, so when sixth grade came along I thought I’d give it a try and I ended up loving it. I’m in so many band things now. I play trumpet in the top group and French horn in intermediate – I’m learning a new instrument so, kind of hard.

I started in band because a bunch of my friends were a part of it, so I thought I’d join too.

What makes this band different?

Our members dedication. We have a lot of hours. When we were in the marching competition season a big group of us were staying at school from when we got here at 7 a.m. until sometimes as late at 9 p.m. at night. We’re really dedicated to what we do and we really enjoy what we do.

We just love each other, too. Every time we go out on the field together we are preforming our best for each other. Everyone gets along. We have dinners together before football games or competitions and everyone is just goofing around. There’s not drama or anything – for the most part. It’s a fun and really cool group to be a part of.

I like having brothers…most of the time

I like a lot of sports. I like basketball. I like lacrosse. I’ve played football, baseball, soccer and a lot more. Basketball, I’m really good at. I play point guard and defensive point guard. I’m about to start my season and I’m playing with a new team. I like basketball because on defense I can get a little aggressive. I have fouled out a couple times. This year I’m playing on a team that’s one the championship, like, three times in a row, because the coaches are really good at coaching.

I have almost three brothers. One isn’t born yet. His name is going to be Chase. I wanted a girl, but my mom says she’s done trying. My oldest brother’s name is Elijah and my youngest brother’s name is Logan, he’s two. My mom’s the only girl.

My oldest brother gets in fights with me a lot, but since I’m younger there’s nothing I can really do. But he also sticks up for me too. He plays football and basketball with me, and we keep playing the same sports. I like having brothers…most of the time. #WeAreVBSchools

I stand out from other people

I play piano, saxophone, ukulele, cello and violin. My dad’s side of the family always plays music and it interested. Also, because of this, I stand out from other people. I’ve played saxophone longer, but recently I’ve been learning cello. I’m going to apply to the academy. I like learning music and play as many instruments as I can, but I also really, really love math and science. If you think of a job that combines science, math and music let me know.

I want to be something and make something of myself. I want to be known. I want everyone to be happy.

I want to help people

I like middle school so much. I didn’t know that we would take so many classes, but I’m glad that I get to choose some of them. My electives this year are French, Teen Living, Computer Solutions and Art. I already did French and it was a lot of fun. I’m in Teen Living right now and we’ll starting the sewing and cooking soon. I’m hoping to learn cook and help more at home.

When I’m not at school I spend time with my friends in the neighborhood, we have a lot of fun together. We go to the park or in the summer to my friends pool. I also read a lot. I really enjoy reading.

Have you thought about what you would like to be when you grow up?

I’m looking at being a teacher when I grow up. Maybe teach math. Or maybe I’ll be a dentist. I want to help people and make sure they are safe doing whatever I decide to do. #WeAreVBSchools

A banana costume falls from the ceiling

Me and my friend Evan made a stop-motion about a superhero. We thought of the most generic mode name, Cornman. He made a comic of it as a joke then we made a stop-motion of it for the talent show. It took us three weeks to make two minutes of footage, because for each movement you take one picture, so it took a while.

It takes place in a newsroom with Steve Stevenson – creative naming- he was in the newsroom when a robot-toilet-thing breaks in, then he goes to his secret lair, the Corn Lair, and becomes Cornman and saves the day. We also kept changing our story. In another version, Steve Stevenson, again is in the newsroom, and somebody breaks in. Something in a banana costume falls from the ceiling – for obvious reasons – Steve Stevenson becomes Cornman and busts open the banana. It’s Dr. Wolfenstein.

I really liked doing the voices and creating the characters.  With Dr. Wolfenstein, we combined a werwolf and a scientist, and there was only one way it could go. Perfect. #WeAreVBSchools


Here I am listening to Joy Division

I draw quit a bit. I would say I started drawing seriously in the summer of fifth grade. I also like to paint and I like drawing traditionally and digitally. I like fashion. I have weird hair. It’s a mullet. This is the most normal I’ve dressed in a while. It was cold this morning. I really, really like 70’s fashion and music from the early 80’s. The Talking Heads, Joy Division, the Cure and being an artist I like the Gorillaz.

I’m also into the horror genre. Psychological thrillers. I like surrealism horror. On another side, I like Fantastic Mr. Fox. I like how orange it is. One of the reasons I don’t like modern movies is because a lot of them are blue. Next time you’re watching a movie, really pay attention and you’ll see how blue they are. Especially those Avengers movies – they are so blue. But, Fantastic Mr. Fox, the whole movie is orange and I really like that.

It’s funny, all my friends listen to hip hop and K-pop, but here I am listening to Joy Division.

Show people what I see in the world

I’ve been drawing for a really long time. My aunts on my dad’s side are artists and they always gave us art projects and things to paint and draw growing up. Recently I have taken to sewing and I’m still learning but I really enjoy it.

As an art student, it might be surprising that I don’t care much about designing clothes at all, and instead would rather be going through the work to create something. This probably heavily influences my artwork, as fabric is something you see throughout them.

As for drawing, my motivation for drawing realistically is to show people what I see in the world, and I feel that realism is the best way to convey it. If people can identify what I’ve drawn, then I consider it a success. It’s also sort of a learning process for me, as you can only get better at drawing realistically. #WeAreVBSchools

Lucky number 11

I play baseball and I’m really good at it. I’m an outfielder, pitcher, catcher and sometimes I do left and right field. Catcher is my favorite even though I don’t catch a lot. It’s because I’m a lefty – lefties don’t catch as much as righties do. We have another catcher on my team that catches a lot and he’s a righty.

My family comes to my games all the time. I have games almost every weekend.
My uncle, my dad’s brother, when he played baseball he was number 11 and now I’m number 11. It’s a lucky number because it runs in the family. It’s lucky, but, if I ever make to the major leagues I’m going to change my number to 34. Bryce Harper from the Nationals is number 34. #WeAreVBSchools

I’m a wanderer

My sculptures are not the most normal looking things. I tend to have a biological connotation to my art, so I use natural materials. I think it makes my sculptures unique and different from anyone else’s because I go that extra mile to find my materials rather than use traditional ones. Why try to make it look real when you can use the real thing?

I’m a wanderer. I scavenge. It’s one of my favorite things to do. You’ll be surprised by the things you can find in thrift stores, random antique stores. I can find cheap items that nobody wants and bring a new life to them in my sculptures.

I was awarded at this year’s Neptune Festival for my sculpture collection. It’s on display right now in our Commons.

Is art something you want to keep doing after you graduate?

My number one college, as of right now, is attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY for interior design. I like putting things together, mixing and matching. Finding the new “in” thing. There are so many places I could go with it.

A new way to learn

Math is my favorite subject. It used to be really hard for me, then my teacher in seventh grade taught me a new way to learn and solve the problems. Since then I’ve really enjoyed math.

What is unique about you and/or your family?

I’m bilingual. I speak Spanish and English. My mom was born in Honduras and so was I, so I picked it up when I was there. When we came here, I learned English. I’m really proud to know two languages and have that history with my family.

My family, we have family days throughout the week to make sure we have time together. We watch movies, go to the park, or go to the beach and spend the day together. It’s a lot of fun.


Did I mention snacks

I like being hard working. I like riding my hover board in the street. I like eating snacks. I’ll eat all the snacks in the house. I like playing Madden with my dad. I like football. I like playing catch. I like riding my scooter and doing tricks. I like to swing and jumping off the swing. And I like swinging with my stepsister. My dad and his girlfriend really like each other so they got married and I always wished for a baby brother, and then I got one. And I like pushing him in the swing.

And snacks. Did I mention snacks?

Creative freedom

I love the arts. When I grow up I’ll be something in the arts like a singer, songwriter or maybe a visual arts teacher. I like having creative freedom and working with you hands. I also really like helping people and working with kids. It makes me happy. I have a baby cousin and I really enjoy spending time with her.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in school?

My mom got me into horseback riding a couple years ago.  She used to be a rider, but now she just comes to watch me. I prefer Western because I can hold on to the horn if anything goes wrong.

Nobody is holding you back

I love soccer. I’m trying to go pro.  My favorite teams are Manchester United and LA Galaxy. I used to play basketball, but I’m way better at soccer so now I only play soccer. When you’re on the field you feel like you can do anything. Nobody is holding you back. You’re free.

What’s your plan for high school next year?

I’m going to try and go to Kempsville High School’s Entrepreneurship and Business Academy next year. I’m really good at designing stuff, like t-shirts and banners. If I don’t go pro for soccer, I’ll be a designer.

Field Hockey Forward to Neurosurgeon

I play field hockey for the school. I’m a forward – right in the middle of everything. I like it. It’s actually a funny story how I started. I was at a restaurant, saw the coach and we started talking. Coach said “you should get started in field hockey,” so, I did.

I want to be a neurosurgeon. I really want to help people. I started to watch Gray’s Anatomy and learn more about the medical field and it helped me determine what sort of surgeon I wanted to be. Watching the show made me want to learn more.

Third degree black belt

I do taekwondo. I’m a third degree black belt. I’ve been doing it for almost seven years. I actually have a tournament up in Maryland this weekend. My parents started me in it when I was little. I really enjoy it.

I also like art. I got into ODS for the arts program and I start this week and I’m going to go to Virginia Beach Middle to continue art there. We had a summer project and I did my piece in colored pencils and oil pastels, and I just finished that last night. It was a bunch of flowers. It was really colorful. I like things that are colorful.

I knew I wanted to play

I love music and art. Those are two things I absolutely love to do. In second grade I figured out that I loved the instrument, the violin. People from a band came to school and brought a bunch of different instruments and let us play with them. As soon as I touched the violin, I knew I wanted to play it. I had to wait until fifth grade, then I was able to take Strings, and I haven’t stopped playing since. I’m hoping that I’m able to take orchestra as an elective, to continue doing that, because I really love it.

For me, music helps me a lot with memorizing. I’m not usually good at memorizing dates or stories, so I memorize songs that contain the information that I need.  That’s how I remember things.

I’m a sneaker head

My dad was in the marines, and I want to join too. My sister is going to Navy boot camp in February, but I want to go in the Marines because they are the first ones in and last ones out.

I play a lot of games that help me prepare for boot camp. People say it rots your brain, but I think it helps you prepare for certain scenarios. I’m really picky about my games. I like high quality graphics. I hate when a game is pixelated.

I’m a huge sneakerhead. I love sneakers and I keep the ones I own in good condition. I also draw sneakers that I really like or that I would like to buy some day. I draw them and put them on my binder.

Decorating with Duct Tape

I’m in the Spanish Immersion Program. The teachers don’t really teach you Spanish, but they speak in it so that you pick it up. I knew a little Spanish before I started the program because my brother went through it before me and taught me some.

Did you enjoy your summer break?

We went to Colorado the week before school started. My family has an R.V., we don’t like camping in a tent. I also did a camp in August called Decorating with Duct Tape! and made a pair of slides, it was a lot of fun.  The soles were made with a piece of cardboard and the rest was just Duck Tape. We got to pick each day what we wanted to make.

I did soccer and swim team, too.

I’m a Seminoles fan

I have two boys.  My oldest is into baseball and soccer, so I do a lot of driving to baseball and soccer. I’m a soccer mom! Our family also enjoys watching sports on T.V., so we watch football on Saturdays and Sundays.  I went to Florida State University so I’m a Seminoles fan.

My husband is in the Navy. We been moving between Florida and Virginia Beach.  We started out in Florida, got orders to Virginia Beach, then went back to Panama City for three years, now we are back here.

Virginia Beach is a great place to teach because of the supports put in place and resources that they have. In my experience elsewhere, you are on your own for certain things and have to go out and find, but here all you have to do is ask, and you have a lot more of what you need provided for you.

That’s really my day

I’m new to Christopher Farms Elementary this year. There is a lot of school spirit here. It feels like a family.  Being new to a school and trying to figure out how things are handled and the different way they do things – everyone’s been so helpful.  It’s been amazing.

What do you do outside of work?

I love to play tennis. If I’m not playing tennis, I’m hanging out with my new baby or my two dogs.  That’s really my day.

I started playing tennis since I was seven. I played all through high school and was recruited for college, but didn’t play.  Then I picked it back up when I moved down here – I’m originally from Michigan.  After college I got a job and moved down here.  The weather here is much better than Michigan.

Baseball and diamonds

I went to Camp Silver Beach this summer. You stay there for a week and you zip line, archery, riflery and a bunch of other stuff.  I really liked riflery, I shot a dog tag. A BB bounced back and hit me in the leg. It hit off of the wood. It hurt, well, it just stings.

I went to Myrtle Beach this summer for a baseball tournament. We got first place.  We all got a trophy.  It has a baseball and diamonds on in. Diamonds, like, from a jewelry store. We crushed one team 27 to nothing.  I started in that game.