Whitney Critchfield and Elijah Dale


Whitney Critchfield (left) and Elijah Dale (right)

Whitney Critchfield and Elijah Dale

By Whitney Critchfield

Staff Reporter

There is no shortage of skilled and educated writers in the world, but there are few as young and passionate as Elijah Dale. Dale is a well-rounded individual and a bright, new freshman reporter. Dale’s many interests, including politics, the outdoors and journalism, will make him an excellent addition to The Sentry staff.   

Dale’s love of writing was influenced by the members of his family, most of whom are writers. Dale hopes to be a journalist one day, and he strengthens his exceptional writing skills by reading. He is currently reading Symposium by Plato and A Very Short Introduction to Progressivism by Walter Nugent. Dale described his usual genre as pretty varied, but he has specific writing categories in mind for his future on The Sentry. 

“I am looking to write for news … more specifically … the world news section,” Dale said.

Besides journalism, Dale also has interests in politics and international affairs and was an active member of the Model United Nations Club (Model UN) at Williamsburg Middle School. Dale has aspirations of becoming a representative of the United States on the world stage. 

“I’m looking more towards international relations than running for office, but I wouldn’t ever rule it out that I might run for office. But I’d look more towards [becoming an] ambassador,” Dale said. 

In regards to a specific country Dale is interested in, he unequivocally chose Switzerland.

I really want to go to Switzerland. I want to see the UN headquarters there, and the architecture is beautiful,” Dale said. 

Not only does Dale want to visit the country recreationally, he also dreams of being an ambassador there one day.

When he is not reading about global events, Dale is probably rock climbing. He finds peace at the gym where he practices three to four times weekly, and the sport has made a significant impact on his life. 

“Climbing has really [shaped who I am]. The community around climbing … [is] a super positive community and [it is] really supportive,” Dale said.

If Dale could climb anywhere in the world, he would choose Yosemite National Park, and his love for the outdoors translates into his love for writing — his dream publication being Outside Magazine. Although Dale’s favorite animals are small birds who are active in the daytime, he loves the night time.

“[Nighttime is] much calmer; it’s much quieter, and I like the night more because … [it] feels cozier too,” Dale said. 

Dale’s wide variety of knowledge and interests make him a fascinating person and his charismatic personality shines through to all who meet him. The Sentry is lucky to have such a skilled new reporter. 


By Elijah Dale

Staff Reporter

The way Whitney Critchfield answers questions thoughtfully makes it seem almost as if she is writing a story, instead of recalling her own. Each answer connects with a previous one, or the next, almost chronologically. She starts by talking about her life in “flyover country” Iowa (her words, not mine). She lived in a small town half-an-hour east of the capital city, Des Moines, and while she feels nostalgic for her hometown of Newton, she does not necessarily prefer it.

 “I 100% prefer DC. There are just so many opportunities; there are so many clubs, and classes and enrichments…. But I certainly miss [Newton] sometimes,” Critchfield said. 

And while Newton may be a small town, Iowa’s importance in the election attracts various politicians, many of whom travel to Newton specifically. In the 2016 election cycle, both Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz campaigned in the town. The town’s vital role in politics, matched with her move to the political capital of the country, sparked Critchfield’s aspirations in politics, or rather, her former aspirations.

Last year, Critchfield wanted to be a political analyst. This year, when asked if this was still the case, her answer shifted drastically.

“My dream right now … is to be a doctor, despite my fear of blood,” Critchfield said.

She cited the two biology classes she has taken, in seventh grade and ninth grade, as her inspiration to go into the medical field. Additionally, she noted that the COVID-19 crisis has emphasized how important the medical field is. She is sure, however, that she will change her mind by this time next year.

Just because the sophomore’s career plans have changed, her interests have not. A member of Teenage Republicans (TAR), Critchfield follows politics avidly.

 “I joined the club last year because … there are not a lot of Republicans at Yorktown and I thought it would be nice to meet some others,” Critchfield said. 

However, Critchfield has not been following the news lately, naming how upsetting the news has been these last few months. Although she has not been following politics, it still clearly defines the world around her. She even used the 2016 election as a reference point when recalling when she moved from Newton, Iowa to Arlington.

 She cites her family as the main reason for her interest in politics, specifically her father, who bridged his love for politics with his love for the outdoors at the Department of the Interior (DOI), which oversees the National Parks Service. Critchfield’s father shared this love for the outdoors with her, which she reflects in her sport of choice: crew. 

“Especially this time right now with the leaves turning I just row upstream, and I look around and it’s one of the most beautiful sites, with all the trees. I remember my first time on the water, seeing the Potomac from that angle … It’s a view most people in the DMV don’t get to see. It’s a great natural experience,” Critchfield said.

As a coxswain, Critchfield’s enthusiasm for the sport, matched with her talent, brought her novice team to the state championship and she walked away with a trophy in 2019, her eighth-grade year. 

“It was a great time, an incredible moment … but then in my freshman year … pow,” Critchfield said. 

Because in her freshman year the spring season was brought to a stop only weeks in, she has had to try other positions within the sport.

“Because of COVID, we’ve had to use smaller boats, so … I’ve been rowing with the team,” Critchfield said. 

She later added that, while it is not ideal, she has had a surprisingly good time as a rower this year, and recently participated in her first race as a rower.

 Critchfield’s unique perspectives, as well as her differentiating experiences, give her an idiosyncratic position on The Sentry staff, setting her up for an incredible second year on The Sentry.