Complacency is for the Conquered

Credit to Wyatt Walther

Numbers don’t lie. They just don’t. They can’t. That’s what made the Women’s Marches that took place this past weekend so powerful.  A couple people getting together to support a cause is nice. A hundred people getting together is intriguing.  A thousand people is impressive, and could even change some minds. But millions of people standing together to fight for what they believe in is undeniable.

It is estimated that almost 3 million people around the globe took part in Women’s Marches this past Saturday. More than 500,000 of those marched through Washington DC, or at least attempted to; so many people showed up that the intended route was completely filled, entirely halting the march. The Marches together were the biggest collective protest in the history of the United States, giving the Metro system the most traffic it had seen since Obama’s first inauguration.

The March was a beautiful gathering of all walks of life and a celebration of womanhood, in addition to being a protest against a new regime. The streets of D.C. were flooded with pink, and adorned with clever and candid handmade signs.  Women, and men, of every generation, race, ethnicity, sexuality and origin marched side by side. Thousands of women stood united to stare down an administration that has done everything possible to divide them.

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Credit to Wyatt Walther

When my friends and I hopped out of a car on a crowded bridge to join the river of pink headed towards Independence Avenue, a woman came up to us with a video camera, and asked us why we were marching.  I don’t remember what I said then, but I know now exactly why I marched.

I marched for all the women who have come before me, who fought and scratched and clawed so that I could have the rights that I do today.  I marched for my best friends walking next to me who are going to change the world, although I’m not even sure they know it yet. I marched for those who couldn’t. I marched for my mom. I marched for everyone’s mom. And I marched for all the women who will come after me, because they shouldn’t have to fight for basic human rights; they will have bigger battles to win.

Many members of the H-B Woodlawn community participated in the March, students and teachers alike. Women around the world banded and stood together to protect each other, and we must remember to continue to stand up for our classmates, teachers, and friends who may or may not feel safe under this new administration. The fight for equality and acceptance starts at the local level, so we must ensure that every member of our community feels welcome, heard and loved.

Credit to Wyatt Walther

The organizers and speakers at the March were very clear that the March was not an isolated moment, it was the beginning of a movement. It will be easy to grow complacent and apathetic, especially if the changes enacted in the coming months do not affect you directly.  However, if there was one thing I took away from the Women’s March, it was the idea that we must continue to fight for what we believe is right and use our voices to protest what we cannot accept.  This will not be a quick or easy task, but it will be absolutely vital.  Already, President Trump’s policies have been met with disbelief and outrage because many, including myself, feel that they do not represent the America that we want to see. We must continue to voice our concerns and our support of each other, and challenge his unjust policies. This is a movement on the rise, a movement that made an overwhelmingly powerful statement last Saturday, when millions of people around the globe stood together to say that hate and division will not unite us, only love and acceptance will.


To see more photos from the Women’s March, check out the following link to see senior Wyatt Walther’s view from behind the lens: (some photos may be NSFW)

[The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of all staff for Hippie High Headlines] 




Don Beyer Discusses Wolves and Politics

H-B Woodlawn Senior Aidan Walker meets with Congressman Don Beyer


Last month, Don Beyer was re-elected to his Congressional seat in Virginia’s 8th District with 71% of the vote.  He’s been involved in the community here for decades, working with causes and constituents as a businessman, private citizen, Lieutenant Governor, Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and now Congressman.  

Odds are, you’ve read his name while driving: either on a roadside campaign sign, or on the back of a car bought at a Beyer dealership.  His political career and conscience are rooted here in Northern Virginia, where he began selling cars in 1973.  Many of the people who work for him today on Capitol Hill have a local connection.  

28 years ago, Beyer committed to raising money for the American Cancer Society (a cause he’s been involved with for many years) and knocked on doors all down Broad Street.  He found that most of the businesses there were owned not by locals, but by people who didn’t live in the area.  He returned to his dealership, looked over the financials, and found that his was probably the largest business actually based in the area and owned locally.  This meant that as a business leader, he had the ability to influence things in a positive way—and, in his own words: “when you have influence, you also have responsibility.”      



Meeting Don Beyer feels like meeting a good friend’s father for the first time.  All politicians are, in some sense, likable or charismatic — but Beyer has an organic thoughtfulness and sincerity that seems as personal as it is political.  His speech is peppered with the sorts of interesting tangents that evidence a mind tuned to the world’s wavelength; like Obama, he seems to understand and communicate his “script” (the points he should make, the positions he should state and explain) while simultaneously reaching beyond it, searching for a more insightful way to get his point across or a more thorough answer to a question.

The Congressman comes across as an optimist.  On education, he recognizes persistent problems — such as the achievement gap driven by poverty — but focuses on solutions.   Beyer’s specific balm for this nation’s education system is an elevation to the status of teachers.  He cites the example of Finland, which consistently scores above the United States and other countries in rankings of student achievement.  A Finnish teaching college is “harder to get into than most American medical schools”; and in Finland, teachers are paid higher and respected more.  

Beyer also speaks of the refinancing of student debt.  Most student debt comes from private colleges which depend on federal student loan guarantees — places like “ITT, Strayer, Kaplan and Trump University.” The government is cracking down on those places.  Beyer includes Trump University with a sly grin, breaking the script again.



Pundits on both sides have gnawed on the latest election results for weeks now.  At the time I spoke to Congressman Beyer, the President-elect had only appointed Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon to his White House team.  Beyer was instrumental in his party’s opposition to the appointment of Bannon, signing a petition calling for him to step down.  

Bannon is who Hillary Clinton was talking about when she mentioned “deplorables”.  Whether he is in fact deplorable depends on the way certain Breitbart headlines are read, but to many on the left he represents a dirtying of the national discourse — racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism spilling over the White House and staining it.

The reaction of some on the left has been to call Trump supporters racists, or sexists, or any other number of beliefs which belong more comfortably in the 19th than the 21st century.  Beyer, however, says “we have to hope not all of them are racist.  That not all of them would actually do or get behind the things he’s said or done.”  Beyer analyzes Trump’s comments, which show “elements of that”, but are also characterized by a kind of stepping down.  Mexicans are rapists, but some of them are good people.  Ban all Muslims — or, rather, create a registry.  These are all phrases familiar to anyone who has glanced at a screen during the past year.  Beyer hopes, however, that the 61 million who voted for Trump didn’t tune in because of these catchphrases: “Pray that at least 55 million just wanted change — that they don’t like where their life or their country is going and are dissatisfied enough to overlook the things we found so intolerant.”           



Following this election, Democrats like Don Beyer can expect to find themselves “playing defense” in Congress.  The question is what sort of defense they intend to play: zone defense, or man-to-man defense — whether they will oppose the President-elect on specific areas of policy (zone defense), or oppose everything he is and does, blocking him from ever getting a hold of the ball (man-to-man).  Opposing everything the President is and does (what Beyer calls “the McConnell strategy”) offers certain benefits: when one purposefully makes the government not work, it reflects poorly on the person running the government and decreases his party’s chance of reelection.  The alternative—opposing the Republicans on certain policies while working with them on areas like paid maternity leave and infrastructure investment—offers benefits in the short-term (effective government) but drawbacks in the long term (a perception that government is “working”, and an increased chance for an incumbent’s re-election).  To illuminate this discussion, Beyer references this column by Jonathan Chait.

It would seem as if the Democratic Party has not yet decided which strategy to pursue.  Of course, the President-elect is not yet in office, so it isn’t really time to decide yet.  Beyer acknowledges this, and states plainly, in regard to this issue: “I know I haven’t given you a conclusion here.”



Congressman Beyer characterizes the 2016 race as a “change election”.  Large numbers of Americans “believed the country was going in the wrong direction”, and Donald Trump was the candidate who offered the most drastic change from the status quo.  It is this state of affairs, paired with lower voter turnout (which, according to Beyer, is in part due to voter suppression) that cost the Democrats the Presidency.  Hillary Clinton lost parts of America — specifically rural America — by margins of 3 to 1.  Had she lost those areas 2 to 1, “she’d be President-elect today”.  

Speaking of this America, which is far from his district — and, arguably, far from the minds of his constituency — Beyer shows a certain tenderness.  The past few decades have seen considerable prosperity and advancement, but these blessings are spread unevenly and come with plenty of questions as well: “what have we done for people in parts of rural Kansas, or even parts of rural Virginia?” Beyer asks.  In places where the story of the past few decades is more about industrial and agricultural decay than smartphones and lattes; where “small farms and businesses are being replaced”, where “even the gun shops are being replaced by Wal-Mart”; the world looks very different.  “Does anyone have a policy for that?” Beyer asks.



Ask any American about Washington — our friendly neighbor, that fallen Olympus on the banks of the Potomac — and they will likely say polarization is what they hate most about it.  Polarization is the inevitable product of a republic which always has and will run on debate and disagreement.  Part of the recent epidemic, however, is tied to specific practices and eccentricities of American politics.

The “ugliest time” Congressman Beyer had when he served as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (1990-1998) was watching redistricting: “there’d be bitter fights over who’d get this or that side of the street, not even across party lines: Democrats fighting Democrats, Republicans fighting Republicans.” So, in the short run, he supports independent commissions for redistricting, which seven states have so far.  The best way to get independent commissions is through a ballot initiative, as California did.  This is because independent commissions mean that “people with power have to agree to give up that power” and, as one would expect, most people would rather keep power than give it away.  No Southern states have ballot initiatives.

Congressman Beyer is interested in the thought of Maurice Duverger, a French political scientist who “postulated that single-member districts with plurality, first-past-the-post voting (which we have right now) inevitably lead to polarization.” In districts which elect only one person, the winner of the vote — be it 51-49 or 85-15 — takes everything.  Smaller parties which are not able to gain a plurality do not get representation, and neither does the party which came in second place.  Add gerrymandering and other tricks to the mix, and the result is districts where a representative is more worried about a challenge from within their own party than the other party.  

Beyer supports the concept of multi-member districts with rank-order voting, which is “what we had before 1843.”

Northern Virginia is currently composed of roughly three Congressional districts — the 8th (Beyer’s), the 10th, and the 11th.  Were it to be a multimember district, it would elect three people to the House each election, and so all parties would field three candidates and voters would vote by ranking the candidates.  A multi-member districts forces candidates to run towards the center (and, one would suppose, subsequently legislate for the center).  A Democrat wants to be ranked high (or at least not abysmally) by Republicans, and vice versa.  

As it currently stands, “when we try to co-sponsor our bills on guns or free religion with Republicans, they quietly agree with us, but can’t work with us because they’ll face a challenge in their primary, or they’ll be called a RINO.”



On the table in Don Beyer’s office is a book called Of Wolves and Men.  It is the history, as Beyer puts it, of “our incredible unkindness.”  The book was written in 1978, when wolves hadn’t yet been reintroduced, and were in danger of going extinct.  “I cried the first time I read it through,” Beyer says.  Since then, the problem of endangered species has been one of the issues he’s taken ownership of.  He’s had conversations with Edward O. Wilson, encouraged his peers in the Science committee to recognize that global warming exists (which they did, recently), and he worked on a bill recently for corridors to connect wolf packs and allow them to mingle and breed, increasing the population’s genetic diversity.

Following this election, Democrats like Don Beyer can expect to find themselves “playing defense” in Congress.  The question is what sort of defense they intend to play: zone defense, or man-to-man defense — whether they will oppose the President-elect on specific areas of policy (zone defense), or oppose everything he is and does, blocking him from ever getting a hold of the ball (man-to-man).  Opposing everything the President is and does (what Beyer calls “the McConnell strategy”) offers certain benefits: when one purposefully makes the government not work, it reflects poorly on the person running the government and decreases his party’s chance of reelection.  The alternative—opposing the Republicans on certain policies while working with them on areas like paid maternity leave and infrastructure investment—offers benefits in the short-term (effective government) but drawbacks in the long term (a perception that government is “working”, and an increased chance for an incumbent’s re-election).  To illuminate this discussion, Beyer references this column by Jonathan Chait.

It would seem as if the Democratic Party has not yet decided which strategy to pursue.  Of course, the President-elect is not yet in office, so it isn’t really time to decide yet.  Beyer acknowledges this, and states plainly, in regard to this issue: “I know I haven’t given you a conclusion here.”

I ask the Congressman about why, in a business where elections are often lost and conclusions are often hard to come by, he stills cares and doesn’t just give up.  

“Right now, I feel more necessary than ever.” he answers, with a smile.


–Aidan Walker



“Loot” Recap

“Loot” Recap

Last Friday, I went to see H-B’s black box production of Loot, written by Joe Orton and directed by H-B senior, Siena Grevatt. When I walked in, the lights were already dim and I immediately noticed a huge, open, wooden coffin with a life-sized doll inside. The coffin sat on two stools in the middle of a traditional, tidy living room painted light blue with two doors on either side. The set created a sense of suspense and discomfort leaving me eager for the play to start.

The play opens with Mr. McLeavy (Emerson Parker-Simkin) sitting in his living room next to the coffin, mourning the death of his wife. Nurse Fay (McKinley Dyer) walks in and tries to comfort Mr. McLeavy as they have to get ready to go to the funeral. Mr. McLeavy’s son, Hal (Nick Kampeas), enters with his friend Dennis (Wyatt Walther), both appearing to be indifferent about Mrs. McLeavy’s death. Mr. McLeavy and Fay leave for the funeral first, leaving Hal and Dennis to transport the coffin to the funeral.

Then, we learn the two are partners in crime who seek money that they had stolen and hidden in a large chest. They realize  the chest isn’t a good place to keep the money, and after some consideration, they decide to switch Mrs. McLeavy’s body and the money. Hal opens the chest and he and Dennis throw the stash of cash into the coffin, then shoves Mrs. McLeavy’s corpse into the chest. Afterwards, they act natural and take the coffin to the funeral as instructed.

Upon returning home, a mysterious man named Truscott (Dave Price) shows up. At first, he claims to be from the City Water Board under vaguely described circumstances; his intentions and purpose for being at the McLeavy household remain unclear. After talking to Fay about her poor life choices we realize that Truscott is some sort of undercover detective.

Truscott continues to interrogate Fay and the others throughout the rest of the play. Eventually, the truth about the stolen money and the cause of Mrs. McLeavy’s death comes out. Truscott correctly accuses Fay for poisoning Mrs. McLeavy  with the intention to marry Mr. McLeavy for his money. Truscott has police officer Meadows (Isabel Mondshine) come and try to arrest Fay; however, there is no concrete proof so she’s off the hook even though she admits to committing the crime. Truscott then accuses Hal and Dennis for the stolen money, but Mr. McLeavy ends up taking the fall for the both of them, which indicates  they do have some sort of father-son relationship after all.

All of the actors in Loot did a spectacular job. I was particularly impressed with Price’s enthusiasm and passion invested in his role. He did a fantastic job portraying Truscott’s mysteriousness which was extremely entertaining. Additionally, Dyer effectively brought out Fay’s sarcasm and cruelness. When Truscott questioned Fay the first time, the tension between the two of them was extremely expressive and intriguing.

Lastly, I’d like to compliment the actors for their professionalism, especially Dyer and Kampeas. Towards the end of the first half, there was a prop malfunction, and the actors continued to stay in character and work things out. Everyone handled the situation  very well and in turn, exemplified their acting prowesses. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed H-B’s production of Loot. Congratulations to the cast and crew for putting on such an amazing show!

–Lucy Core*

— photography courtesy of Lindsey Wilkin

Words from the Walls: The Turkey Bowl

The class of 2017 wins their game against the class of 2018The Turkey Bowl is a long-treasured tradition at H-B Woodlawn. It’s a way to build pride for your grade and school spirit, all while enjoying a competitive game of flag football before Thanksgiving break.


The high schoolers play flag football in a Turkey Bowl. On Monday, the eighth and seventh graders play two hand touch football in the Chicken Bowl. The sixth graders also already played their “Pigeon Bowl” on Friday, facing off against other sixth grade teams in a game of capture the flag.

“It was okay; it wasn’t very exciting. It was very not fair,” expresses Lauren, a sixth grader who played on Friday. “Two class periods faced off against one and it just kept rotating.” Despite the stacked teams, Lauren reflects back and says that the experience as a whole was very fun.

“The eighth graders came onto the field and high-fived and complimented us,” she recalls. It is this supportive and encouraging environment that keeps the Turkey Bowl going, year after year.

Out of the hundred high schoolers in H-B surveyed for the Turkey Bowl, almost half plan to play in the Turkey Bowl or support from the field. This is a good turn out for a school event, especially considering about ten percent are going to be out of town or absent on Tuesday. A quarter of the students don’t know what they plan to do during the Turkey Bowl and fifteen percent already know that they are not going to watch or play in the Turkey Bowl, listing activities such as homework or gaming as alternatives.

“I enjoy the Turkey Bowl because I like the opportunity to get to work with other people in your class you otherwise wouldn’t see,” says Lily P., a tenth grader planning to play this year. Other students enjoy the opportunity to play football on a gorgeous fall day.

Meghan French, the high school biology teacher, also comes to the game to meet others, “I’m looking forward to seeing the alumni come back. I always go to cheer on the freshman.”

Though there are many that support the Turkey Bowl, others are not so enthusiastic. For two years now in Town Meeting, Eleanor Reed has voted against the Turkey Bowl motions, to protest teachers bringing the motion up instead of students taking the initiative.

“It’s a protest vote,” Eleanor clarifies, “I love the Turkey Bowl, I think it’s a great tradition. However the last two years teachers have brought up the motion. If it didn’t pass in Town Meeting one year, students would protest; if students want to continue this tradition, they shouldn’t take it for granted.”

Regardless of the motivation, Turkey Bowl is always a fun H-B tradition to play or cheer from the sidelines. It’s time to get out there and root for your grade! Win or lose, the Turkey Bowl will always be a staple of H-B’s unique culture.

— Brooke Tanner

H-B Woodlawn’s Newest Tradition: Community Day

On October 27, 2016, H-B Woodlawn students were found throughout Arlington County volunteering at over forty different projects. Community Day, which is in its second year of operation at H-B, is an opportunity for every student at H-B to get a taste of how rewarding giving back to our community can be. Activities ranged from clearing invasive plants, making sandwiches, reading to elementary school students, or organizing H-B’s book room. Regardless of what the students participated in, each and every one of us gave back to our community in some way, shape, or form.

Community Day is unique to H-B, as it was initiated last year by students with a passion for giving back. Upperclassmen, during both years, have taken on great leadership positions for this event. Responsibilities such as organizing bus routes and parents transportation as well as regulating permission slip collection were all the tasks of the National Honor Society student leaders. Not only were students volunteering, but many were also given the chance to learn valuable leadership and organizational skills. Community Day is a perfect representation of what H-B’s mantra Verbum Sap Sat stands for: student-led, compassionate, and motivated.

While some aspects of Community Day could without a doubt be improved upon (such as the signup process) the idea of Community Day is one that will hopefully be carried on for years to come!

Here are some examples of what H-B students were participating in on Community Day:

  • Worked on H-B’s AFAC Garden
  • Wrote letters for Amnesty International
  • Helped organize Arlington Free Clinic’s annual gala
  • Cleared invasives for Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Made sandwiches for ASPAN
  • Taught frisbee to elementary school students
  • Made placemats for Meals on Wheels
  • Stripped bikes for Phoenix Bikes
  • Digitized information about APS tutoring and parent programs for the Parent Resource Center for Arlington Public Schools
  • Sanded and stained a wooden ramp, raked leaves, and tore out a massive amount of invasive species at H-B
  • Sang for residents of the Cherrydale Rehabilitation Center
  • Led a jazz band clinic at Drew Elementary School
  • Taught improv exercises at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School
  • And many more!

–Erin Claeys



Political Participation at H-B Woodlawn and Beyond


The magic of election day is upon us. With the polarization of this Presidential election, it’s impossible not to feel the political buzz. For some, this will be their first opportunity to vote. However, for others who are not eligible to vote there are many opportunities at H-B to be politically active.

Being politically active goes far beyond casting a ballot in an election. At H-B there are numerous clubs that have a focus on government and politics. For high school students, there is Young Democrats, Model General Assembly, Harvard Model Congress, and Inspire-VA. New this year is the Young Democrats Club, who recently held a meeting with a representative from the Clinton campaign. Model General Assembly, open to all high school students, focuses on the Virginia legislative process by writing legislation to debate on throughout the Mock Assembly in Richmond. Harvard Model Congress, open to upperclassmen, operates also as a mock assembly. At Harvard Model Congress you are able to participate in a variety of programs from political journalism to being a Representative in Congress. All programs meet at the mock assembly held in Boston, MA. Additionally, students participating in Harvard Model Congress get the opportunity to see the surrounding Boston area, and even tour nearby colleges!

If a mock/model program doesn’t fit your interests, try a serviced based club like Inspire-VA. Run as a 501c(3) nonprofit, Inspire-VA enables high school students to get out and vote through voter registration run by upperclassmen. In addition to registering your peers, you can gain leadership and event organization experience. Although leadership positions are limited to upperclassmen the organization is open to helping school-based clubs that are open to students of all ages!

Still haven’t found something that fits your interests? Make your own club! It’s a simple process, grab a teacher as a sponsor, a few friends, and go to Town Meeting for approval. Now is the time for YOU to get involved in politics and let your voice be heard!


–Caroline Greenhalgh


(Image from

The Amish Project: Review

The Amish Project: Review

Man enters Amish schoolhouse and opens fire”.

In the small town of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in Lancaster County, ten young girls in an Amish schoolhouse were shot, followed by the shooter committing suicide. Senior director Chloe Dillon’s recent production, The Amish Project, written by Jessica Dickey, was spectacular. Her opportunity to direct this performance “in the round” (a style of interactive theater with arena-style seating) was especially appealing and allowed the audience to feel like they were not only onlookers of a previous event, but enveloped within the ongoing action.

When I attended opening night on Thursday, I was immediately struck by the beautiful artwork on the cover of the playbill, illustrated by Priya Kral. The image depicts two angels hovering above a praying woman, which portrays the chief themes of the play: forgiveness and repentance. I chose a seat on the opposite side of the entrance in order to have the widest scope of the scenes played below. However, I had only seen dress rehearsals for the purpose of taking photography for advertising, and was reemerged into the depths of the story, now able to focus on the emotions instead of the aperture of my lens.

The extremely talented Erin Claeys portrays Carol, the wife of the shooter. Carol nearly loses her mind, as she is caught between loving her husband and hating him for leaving her. As my father commented after the show, Claeys became so enveloped in her role that it was scarily realistic. Mia Farmer and Lily Pond played the role of the outsiders looking in, not knowing Carol personally, but observing her reactions and obtaining insight on her situation. Mia, who played a sassy cashier named America, knew Carol as a customer, and attempted to comfort her after a brutal attack by Sherry (Paloma Mallan). Mia perfectly portrays the independent Latina young adult, and is sympathetic to Carol, even after she lashes out on her. I applaud both Paloma and Mia for their immense acting skills, and they are sure to be some of H-B Woodlawn’s up and coming actresses to watch out for.

Bradley Schurtz (Bill), Lily Kleymeyer (Aaron’s wife), Nick Kampeas (Aaron), and Wyatt Walther (Fireman) provided background to the plot, by explaining the ways of the Amish and portraying the welcoming arms they extended in the most grievous situations. This sub-plot parallels the themes of the path to forgiveness, as the Amish comforted Carol and forgave the shooter, even though he had shot their daughters.

The Amish Project can sometimes confuse audience members as it seems to jump between past and present, but I have come to the conclusion that the production takes place in the present (2006), while the young Amish girls and Eddie, the shooter, on stage are ghosts of themselves, watching over the scene, and providing their own input on events. While the young girls on the floor of the stage play quietly, Anna (Vivienne Blouin) and Velda (Ari Shenkman) steal the audience’s attention which their sweet innocence and carefree attitudes, which devolve into fear and panic as they detail the shooting.

Aidan Walker plays Eddie, the shooter. Eddie descends from a man seeking the deeper meaning in life to a frustrated, crazed, and panicky manic who decides the only way to escape himself is shooting the young girls and himself.  My grandmother lived in the area where the 2006 shooting took place, and remembers this event plastered all over the news. Because the performance hit so close to home, she was able to compare the factual events and the production. After seeing the play, she gushed at how well the performance portrayed the events.

Chloe Dillon, assisted by Talia Miller, worked for months to perfect this show, and their hard labor paid off tremendously– the show was sold out all three nights, and Saturday night had racked up 20 people on the waiting list. Chloe Dillon and Talia Miller should be extremely proud of this production, as it was truly one of the most engaging shows of the season.

— Lindsey Wilkin