The JAG leadership team is sponsoring the costume contest on Oct 29. Students will go to room 111, the JAG room and sign up in the costume contest.
The JAG Leadership team is doing a costume contest as a fundraiser for the JAG closet and a fun way to incorporate dressing up for Halloween and put a twist on dressing up at school.
“I love seeing the creative costumes students and staff come up with!” JAG Specialist Katie Cook.
To participate in the contest, any student or staff member from grades 7th through 12th will go to the JAG room In the morning on October 29 with their costumes on for the day, and pay $1 to enter the contest. The JAG team will choose winners for the funniest, scariest, best duo/couples costume, and the best costume overall and announce the winners on Monday, November 1. Doing this Contest will switch up how we normally do the Halloween dress up day while raising money.
Every Wednesday, from 5:30-6:30 p.m, the girls basketball team has been holding open gyms in the high school lower gym. Varsity Head Coach Donovan Crews helps the girls with plays and answers questions about the upcoming season while the girls split up and scrimmage for an hour.
All junior high and high school girls had the opportunity to attend, allowing the coaches to get a good idea of what the season will look like, and giving some opportunities for some extra help.
“Our open gyms have been going really well. Our attendance has been great, but I didn’t expect anything different out of this group. I think a lot of the kids are excited that the season is just around the corner. We’ve put in a lot of work this offseason and had a really good summer. Hopefully all of that will carry right into this season and make it an exciting year,” said Crews.
Open gyms end today and the first official practice begins on Oct. 18. If you are interested in playing this year, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the program.
Recently, I sent out a survey to staff and students asking two questions: on a scale of one to five, how overwhelmed are you on a day-to-day basis, and what do you do to cope with that stress. The results were concerning. Of the 169 who replied, 82.7 percent of those surveyed placed themselves at a three or higher for how overwhelmed they feel.
For the second question, “What do you do to cope with stress?” there were two common answers that really stood out. One was that many people turn to music to help them deal with their stressors and emotions.
This is not a new strategy unique to our school. According to research done by the American Psychological Association, listening to music increases the body’s production of antibodies and reduces stress hormone levels. Students may not understand the science behind it, but they know that music has a powerful effect on how they feel. As a music student, I have firsthand experience with the benefits of music. Playing my instrument is always therapeutic, as it is something I do not have to think about. I can just let my feelings flow through me and come out as something beautiful. When it is not convenient to play an instrument, just popping in my earbuds and listening to my favorite albums and instrumental music helps improve my mood and takes my mind off of things.
Our current policy prohibits headphones in the classroom and blocks most streaming services on student Chromebooks. Could a change to the headphone policy provide a resource for students who could benefit from the stress-relieving properties of listening to music?
In my opinion, yes. I believe our policy should be updated to make music more accessible to students whenever there is time to do so without the possibility of classroom disruption.
Other than listening to music, the answer that really stood out was that many students just do not know how to cope with being overwhelmed. They do not have the tools to help them get through tough situations. This is concerning, as students and teachers alike are under rigorous performance standards, and with no way to deal with that stress, it can have negative effects. There is a possible solution to this issue that has already been implemented at Throop.
Kara Schmidt, a community member and founder of SoINBody, began working with elementary students before the pandemic, teaching them mindfulness and yoga skills. She also did a trial run with Carol Fullington’s 2019- 2020 speech classes, coming in twice a week to practice mindfulness and yoga with high school students. I had the opportunity to be in that speech class, and those mindfulness lessons were some of the most helpful things I have learned in my high school career. I think this sort of experience should be available for all students at the high school, seeing as we are more vulnerable to mental strain as a result of our education. The easiest option would be to create a mindfulness club which meets once a week during homeroom or even after school, giving students a chance to take a break and practice something that could be beneficial for them.
Talking about mindfulness can be difficult because there is just not enough common knowledge on the subject for most people to really know much about it and how to practice it. However, if the school implemented new policies and programs which had students’ best interests in mind, and that engaged in mindfulness improvement, we might see our data shift in a more positive direction.
Platforms Become More Toxic When Mixed with Misinformation
Since the very birth of social media, it’s use has been a highly debated and controversial topic. It’s destructive – rotting youth’s brains, destroying their capacity for empathy, ruining people’s ability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake. We’ve heard it all. On the other hand nothing can bring people together quite like the latest Tik Tok dance trend.
No one is more aware of the impact of social media than the most active users: teenagers (that’s us!). Because we are so often engaged in social media, we know firsthand the impact it can have on our lives. It’s no secret what’s going on in the head of a teen isn’t always pretty and the majority of us struggle with our mental stability on a daily basis. Many times, the issues can be traced back to social media and its hold on us.
Common byproducts of social media usage are not limited to depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, etc. These occur in response to the content we’re being presented with, whether it’s false narratives on issues related to health care being pushed, the consumption of overwhelmingly hateful material, or a more personal encounter of online drama and cyberbullying.
Especially now, in the midst of a pandemic, we are susceptible to a decline in emotional well-being and either the influx of new mental illness symptoms or the worsening of preexisting ones. Coupled with exposure to the toxicity of online platforms, our online world is a lethal combination with the potential to lead one down a very difficult path.
When quarantined, we spent enormous amounts of time scrolling through feeds and this increase in screen-time on social apps can be extremely detrimental to one’s state of mind – depending on what it is you’re looking at.
Since our staff consists solely of teenage students, we thought they’d be the perfect people to ask for opinions on and personal experiences with social media.
We asked which social media platform our staff found to be the most toxic and the answers were all over the place. Several students said Instagram, due to the false image many users convey and the use of editing apps like FaceTune that take it even further. Some replied with TikTok because of the diversity of views on different subjects and the tendencies of people to attack those with perspectives other than their own. Twitter and Facebook were mentioned for the seemingly constant gossip on them. Students also said Snapchat because of the anonymity of the platform and the fact users so often bash other users on it.
On Being Aware
On the contrary to the leisurely use of social media, we rely on social media to receive our news and get the latest updates – now more than ever. In the age of the coronavirus, factual accuracy is of the utmost importance. One would think that would be easy to determine, right? Wrong. So much misinformation is spread which can easily fool people, whether you’re typically naive or not. This can be extremely harmful for people who take highly liked posts as gospel and take advice for things off of platforms without checking up on the source or consulting anyone else.
People take advice everyday for physical health, mental health, etc. that could seriously hurt them. For example, someone might watch a TikTok on how someone lost a lot of weight and follow that person’s routine when it may not be right for them physically or mentally. This can lead to eating disorders and other health issues. People give mental health advice as well, making others think that professional help isn’t necessary and likely making their problems worse.
Although there are probably more negative sides of social media than you can count, it has its perks too. Mainly, people are able to stay connected with one another. This was particularly evident in 2020, when families and friends were separated all over the world without much ability to remain active in each other’s lives. So many moments were missed in-person due to the coronavirus, though they were posted on social media platforms for those people to see. It may not have been the same as if they’d been there physically, but it was better than nothing as one of the only forms of interaction available.
Social media has its upsides and downsides, but overall the emphasis should be put on the mindset and attitude of the user.
We are responsible for how we approach social media, how seriously we take it. It is our job to always be mindful of the content we’re consuming, however significant or trivial, whether it’s a news report or a TikTok gag. In order to protect our mental health and prevent ourselves from contributing to the spread of false information, we’ve got to stay aware.
I’ve always been a sucker for psychological thrillers. “Bird Box”, “Ma”, and “The Conjuring” are just a few of my favorites. Yet out of all the suspenseful shows I am madly in love with, I have recently fallen deeply for a new series, called “Behind Her Eyes”. This Netflix original is based on the novel written by Sarah Pinborough, with all the same expectations and cliffhangers. I’m not one to rewatch a show or series, but this show – especially the ending – made me restart from the beginning immediately. That’s just how surprising and jaw-dropping the finale left me. (I promise, no spoilers to follow… just reasons for you to watch.)
Louise is a single mom who works as a secretary at a psychiatrist’s office. It all started when she got stood up on her date at the pub. Just as she was about to give up and head home, she ran into a dark, handsome man named David, new in town and in need of company. The two had an undeniable spark… until their goodbye kiss was interrupted by David’s sudden regret and rushed departure. Confused and dejected, Louise continues about her days. Prior to the next day at work when she discovered the new psychiatrist was (you guessed it) David. Ignoring the inconvenient circumstances, one morning on her way home from dropping her son off at school, Louise coincidentally (or so we think) ran into David’s wife of ten years, Adele. Oddly enough, these two also hit it off, and become closer friends than Louise would have imagined. Things continue to get messier; Louise begins to have an affair with David, Adele and Louise start to spend more time together, and secrets only get worse. Keeping both of these relationships private from the other, Louise doesn’t realize what she has truly gotten herself into until it’s too late.
Everything from the settings and actors to the plot kept me hooked until the very end. The foreshadowing is insanely clever, and the last episode will leave you sitting in silence trying to process everything you just absorbed. I totally recommend this show to people who like magical, majestic mysteries. This is one of those shows where the conspiracy theories are endless and you won’t be able to stop talking about it.
Since the start of the school year, PHS has been on the hunt for a new seventh grade science teacher.
With no luck so far, the administration continues to advertise this opening on both the school’s website and with the Indiana Department of Education. In the meantime, Retired Math Teacher Cindy Stout has been covering the role. As luck would have it, Stout is a licensed science teacher, the perfect fill-in until a permanent teacher can be hired.
“Mrs. Stout is an amazing teacher. She has a track record of excellence! Her willingness to fill in until a replacement can be found is truly an asset to Paoli Schools. I am confident that our seventh graders are receiving science instruction equivalent to what a permanent teacher would provide,” said Principal Sherry Wise.
According to Superintendent Greg Walker, at this time there are currently no applications for the position Stout is filling.
For more information on the open position visit the corporation website.
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a program which focuses on helping students to become college and career ready during their junior high and high school years. English teacher Tamera Noble has taken on the role of AVID training this summer and officially became the AVID site coordinator and elective teacher this school year.
“AVID is a great program with many benefits for students and teachers. I love teaching the AVID elective and can’t wait to share more strategies with teachers throughout this school year,” said Noble.
During the class, the students get the chance to learn strategic preparations to help further their education as they go throughout school. These include strategies in taking notes and tests, time management, studying, and using WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading to Learn) for exploring college and career options. This year, Noble is hoping to be able to plan extra activities for the students who are in the course so they can get more experience and familiarity with the program, including field trips and guest speakers who share their career experiences.
If you are interested in joining AVID, you may apply at the end of the school year for the 2022-2023 school year. Since AVID is new this year, students who are in AVID currently have been hand selected by their previous teachers.
“AVID targets students in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard. These are students who are capable of completing a rigorous curriculum but may be falling short of their potential. AVID’s goal is for these students to reach their full potential through the support AVID offers,” said Noble.
If you have any questions or comments about AVID, you can learn more by contacting Noble for more information.
Athletes, Coaches Adjust Programs to Continue Ram Activities
At the start of the 2020 school year the Indiana High School Athletic Association provided a detailed list of how schools should manage their sports programs in the unknown time of the coronavirus pandemic. A year later, the virus is still impacting schools but the IHSAA guidelines have changed, allowing schools to set their own guidelines.
“We just have to keep following the guidelines we are given and adapt, adjust and overcome as things change,” said Athletic Director Darek Newkirk.
For football, guidelines lessened moderately, but some, however, remained the same. Athletes and coaches are still expected to maintain a distance of six feet from another person when in locker rooms if possible, face masks and gloves are permissible and hand-shaking during introductions and post-game have been suspended.
Washing hands should still be done thoroughly and frequently. Games have also been opened to an unlimited number of people this year, rather than an occupancy limit like last season.
At the start of the school year many students faced the challenge of quarantine, which in turn impacted players time at practice.
“If you miss eight to 14, days you must makeup four practices before you can play. If you miss more than 14 days, you will have to make-up six practices. This is different from last season, in that it is days missed and not days of practice missed,” said Varsity Football Coach Neil Dittmer.
Girls cheerleaders for football games have had guidelines loosened for them as well. Last football season, the girls cheering had to wear masks when performing stunts, which is not a mandated requirement for this football season.
“So far we have dealt with quarantined athletes as best we can – moving girls around and adjusting to still allow our cheerleaders to cheer. I think forcing us to constantly adjust is exhausting, but ultimately it may make us better. We have to constantly problemsolve and that’s a skill that everyone can benefit from,” said Varsity Cheer Coach Heather Nichols.
For volleyball, there were only slight changes to guidelines from previous years. Due to how many athletes that were quarantined, or out completely for having Covid-19 last year, the IHSAA adjusted their rules and regulations of practices. The athletes now have to have four practices in. Pre-game warm-ups no longer count as practices. There was also a recommendation list that provided ideas that would best benefit the team, yet these were not official changes.
Teams do not switch benches in between sets, bench personnel are limited to observe from a three to six foot distance, a player is to remain three to six feet apart from the referee when substituting in, sanitize equipment during and after the warm-up period and eliminate the shaking of hands between teams.
“This has affected our team because it makes it difficult for us to get four practices in when we are playing three nights a week,” said Varsity Volleyball Coach Alexis Speer.
Girl’s golf also remains the same for their 2021 season, with no restrictive Covid protocols.
“I think this whole ordeal will make everyone aware of staying healthy and safe,” said Varsity Girls Golf Coach Brad Bledsoe.
Cross Country guidelines are also very similar to last year. Athletes still have to maintain a distance of six feet from another athlete, no hand shakes, fist bumps or hugging for encouragement is allowed and sanitization of frequently touched surfaces is mandatory.
“These athletes, or runners, are missing races because of being quarantined. They won’t get to compete and those are races they won’t ever get back or be able to do again,” said Varsity Cross Country Coach Summer Hudelson.
Covid has taken its toll on athletes, students, coaches, parents and Paoli’s school system as a whole in the past couple of years. This year, however, is the year students are looking forward to being back to a bit of normalcy within their sports.
The post-pandemic job market has proven to be very difficult thing to navigate. Lost River Career Co-op has implemented a new program into their curriculum to help students start strong in careers after high school. LRCC is now offering a Certified Driver’s License program for high school students to take.
Currently senior Jericho Padgett is the only student enrolled in the program.
“It is a lot of hard work, but it is going to be very rewarding for me in the future,” said Padgett.
The class is taught by Tim Golden, an experienced tractor trailer driver. The program focuses on tractor trailers, which are the typical semi trucks you would see on the highway, and all of the skills needed to operate one, such as basic operation and on-road and parking skills. The class is a one-semester course that takes place during fifth, sixth, and seventh period each day, but can also be a two semester course.
“The class sounds overwhelming, but it’s not. It’s a lot more fun than a person would think. There is a lot of work, but once you get that CDL, you get it for life and you will always have a job available,” said Golden.
In the fall, students work towards earning their learner’s permit and eventually their operating license. They have to complete three exams throughout the semester, as well as an in-person pre-trip exam.
Once completed, students can begin work-based learning in the spring. This allows students to not only get experience during their spring semester, but also allows them to make money during the school day. Padgett has already received offers from local trucking companies.
“A student can be making money during their senior year and still get three credit hours for taking the class. It’s nice to have some spending money to use on the weekends,” said Golden.
For More Information
In February of 2022, the requirements to obtain a CDL in Indiana will be changing. In the past, anyone wanting to get their CDL would just have to complete a test at the local BMV. However, starting in February, they will be required to take a three week CDL course, which can cost anywhere between three to five thousand dollars. Since LRCC offers this program, students can obtain their license without any additional costs.
For more information about joining the program speak to the guidance department.
One of the many new faces this school year is College Advising Corps Adviser Cody Martin. Partnered through Indiana University and AmeriCorps, Martin took the place of 2020-21 staff member, Mary Lechner. Martin’s job here at PHS is to help seniors find the best path for their lives after high school.
“Whether you want to become a mechanic, a manager at Walmart, a doctor, or anything in between, I’m here to help find your best options for getting where you want to go. The goal of my position is to improve the socioeconomic statuses of communities, starting with upcoming graduates,” said Martin.
Though Martin’s main focus is with seniors, he is eager and willing to meet with any student who has questions about postsecondary options. He also works at Crawford County Schools with the same position and splits his time equally between both schools.
“I am a resource to help find goals for students, find financial aid and scholarships, and navigate the college admissions process (applications, award letters, you name it), whether that be a seventh grader having no idea what college is, or a freshman wondering how to set themselves up for success,” said Martin.
Martin graduated from Wilmington College in Ohio with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. He has a four-year-old daughter named Callie and is newly married as of this past July.
“I love spending my free time disc golfing, cooking, doing trivia, playing cards, doing crosswords and watching sporting events. I plan on beginning to work on my Master’s Degree in the fall, and I hope to have a Ph.D. by the time I am 30,” said Martin. “Some fun facts about me are that I have been published in Athletic Business magazine, I’ve attended two Super Bowls, and I have been to 13 states and five countries.”
Martin is at PHS all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with the second and fourth Friday of every month. To schedule a meeting with him, email him at email@example.com.
After six wins and eight loses, only three matches are left in the season. Junior Isaac McBride has been a key player for the singles part of the team, and juniors Lucus Stroud and Treyvin Street have had a strong doubles season. The team’s best match was against Salem on August 17.
“They are a team that beat us last year and lost no starters. We were able to jump over that hurdle and beat them this year and set the tone for some good early season wins because of that confidence I believe,” said Head Coach Matt Wolfe.
Although the junior high tennis team has had multiple games cancelled, they still hold a winning record of 4-1.
As of September 18, the girls golf team ended their season with sectionals at Otis Park. Their best match was on August 17 at the Valley Links, where they scored 220 points as a team.
Some players that stood out this year are junior Serenity Sweet, averaging 56 per meet, and senior Hayley Taylor, averaging 59 per meet.
“We had five players this year with two of them being freshmen and I knew we would struggle some. We started the season pretty well and I could see improvement from everyone. However, as we finished the last several matches, including the sectional, we actually began to shoot poorer as a team. I think we kind of wore down physically and mentally,” said Coach Brad Bledsoe.
As of September 21, the varsity football team has a record of 2-1, and JV’s record is 1-1.
“We have had a lot of guys who have stepped up on offense and defense. Too many to count our best ones,” said Head Coach Neil Dittmer.
Some players who have stood out this season for JV are freshman Johnny Shellenberger and Ian Drake. One of the best games they have played was on September 17 against West Washington.
“We have never had to question effort, they always put forth good effort,” said JV Head Coach Brian Wilson.
The eighth grade football team has a record of 2-0, and seventh grade’s record is 2-1.
“We had initial setbacks due to [COVID19], but as we have returned the team’s effort has been more focused on winning the games that we get to play. There are always things to fix, but our athletes show up everyday looking to improve,” said Head Coach J.D. Emerick.
As of September 21, the Varsity volleyball team has a record of 7-4, and the JV’s record is 7-3. Some players who have stood out this season for junior varsity are sophomores Gracie Brown and Stella Windhorst, who have both stepped up this season, not only with skill but with attitude as well.
“We’ve improved from last season, and we are working more as a team this year than last year. This has made games and our season overall more enjoyable as a player,” said senior Emma McCrary.
As of September 21, the eighth grade volleyball team has a record of 1-4, and seventh grade’s record is 0-5. Some players who have stood out this season for the eighth grade team are setter Maddie Vernon and middle hitter Charli Chastain, and for the seventh grade team are setter Marci Carter and middle hitter Allie Kumpf. One of the best games they have played was on September 16 against Northeast Dubois.
“The junior high volleyball program is coming along as expected. It’s been a tough season for the seventh graders due to missing the entire last season due to Covid. However, I have seen great improvement from many players,” said seventh grade Coach Jennifer Coleman.
With the season coming close to an end, the XC teams have been doing really well. Their best meet was the county meet at Orleans, where senior Hannah Albertson placed first. Sophomore Luke Oldham, and juniors Cailyn Baechle, Abby Bruner, and Jacob Workman have been working hard throughout the season.
“The girls are doing really well this season.Hannah and Cailyn put in a lot of miles over the summer and their preseason work is paying off,” said Coach Summer Hudleson.
As for JH XC, star runners this year include seventh grader Zaden Taylo and sixth grader Jordan Albertson, and seventh grader Addy Moffatt and fifth grader Aubrey Burris.
“Each kid is dedicated and has made improvements. They all should be very proud of what they have accomplished individually and as a team,” said Coach Missy Bostock.
Created by Carley Higgins, Gracie Walls, and Peyton Baker.
Saturday, September 11, The Pride of Paoli traveled to Columbus for their first competition of the year. This was the first time the band competed since November 9, 2019, at State Finals. At Columbus the band placed first in Music, General Effect, Visual Effect, and Auxiliary and first overall in their class. This year, the show is titled “On The Waterfront” with music is based on Leonard Bernstein’s symphonic suite “On The Waterfront”.
There are three movements in this year’s show. The first movement starts off with a storm ominously coming in from the coastline and as the storm hits, the music gets very loud and intense. As the storm begins to die down in the second movement, the music is soft and pleasant. At this point of the show, the storm has passed and the band expresses the aftermath of it. In the final movement, the band wraps up the show with upbeat music signifying the revival after the storm.
There are multiple solos featured throughout the show including an alto sax solo by senior Michael Hannon, a baritone solo by senior Elijah MacDonald, and a color guard solo by sophomore Nena Gaona. There are also many show-themed props and musical attributes that are used to create an engaging atmosphere that drives the storm concept home. These include water and wind sound effects, backdrops with water pictures on them, movable docks and fake birds.
The band still has a lot more to add onto the show this season, with plans for further choreography, props and general and music effects.
“The show is not complete yet and there’s still a lot more to add, that’s the exciting part. I’m looking forward to seeing what the band can accomplish,” said senior Kylee Charles.
Because of the cancellation of last year’s marching band competitive season and the constant change in the staffing, one goal new Band Director Chris Karkosky has for this year is to create a sense of normalcy for the band.
“My goal is to create that sense of normalcy’ that I think everyone is craving. I want to create an environment where all members can work hard, have a good time, and feel good about their performance at the end of each day,” said Karkosky.
On September 18, the band hosted their 40th annual Pride of Paoli Invitational at the Cook Field. There were 15 bands who competed that day. All of the money made from the invitational will be going towards the Pride’s marching band season.
“I definitely enjoyed the Invitational. It was great hosting so many fine bands. It was a lot of hard work, but it will really pay off for the program,” said Karkosky.
The drama club hosted a murder mystery entitled “Alibis” on Friday, September 10, in the PHS Auditorium. The show consisted of eight people who were invited to a birthday party who became suspects in a murder. Each character was to give an alibi. The members were reluctant to give their alibis, but finally each of them confessed to the detective where they were when the crime happened. Each alibi was turned into a short play.
There were 18 actors involved in this show, along with eight crew members. Of the eight crew members, five were new members. Aside from the five new members, there were four new board members inducted during the cast party. Junior Dawson Poe, sophomore Cameron Apple, and freshmen Riley Belcher and Kelly Royer joined veteran board members seniors Angie Ceja, Kylee Charles, Haley Cox, Michael Hannon and A.J. Lopez.
“We were excited to be together doing a live performance. It gave us a chance to get back on the stage again. We had several students participating with us for the first time, so that was wonderful too,” said Drama Director Maria Wishart.
Any student interested in becoming a part of Drama Club and activities similar to the Murder Mystery should contact Mrs. Wishart, or check the Activities List in their email which has the Google Classroom join code.
Students Participate in Groundbreaking Event for House
On September 7, the construction students took part in the ground breaking ceremony for a new construction project on E. Water Street in Paoli.
The construction classes working on the project include students in Intro to construction, construction tech 1 and construction tech 2.
This will be the construction trades program’s 15th housing project in Paoli. The homes being built for this project will benefit the community with quality housing at more affordable prices.
“We are incorporating a lot of advanced building techniques to make the home very energy efficient, storm resistant, and more affordable for the future homeowners,” said Building and Trades teacher Jon Shellenberger.
Junior Chris Nunez is in his third year in the program.
“I chose this class because I feel like this is the right thing for me and I’m really excited about getting this house done because watching it all come together is pretty neat,” said Nunez.
According to a press release, “The Paoli Housing Task Force strives to build and renovate 25 homes by 2025 through partnerships with community organizations, developers and builders, financial institutions and local, state and federal programs.”
During the groundbreaking ceremony, numerous representatives from the Orange County Economic Development Partnership, the Orange County Community Foundation and the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement were also in attendance.
“One person can make a difference, but together we can make an impact. That is what we are doing today,” said Imojean Dedrick, Executive Director of the Orange County Community Foundation said in a press release.
In addition to working on the local home, the students are currently working on other projects for the school.
“We are also working on different projects in the shop at school such as building a 15 foot shuffleboard table made out of a piece of the old PHS gym floor,” said Shellenberger. “There will be many more projects that we’ll build throughout the school year but these are several that we’re currently working on.”
School Board Makes Changes to PCSC ‘Return to Person’ Plan
On Wednesday, September 1, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced an incentive allowing schools to require face masks in hopes of slowing the number of cases and quarantines among staff and students across the state. Tuesday, September 14 was the first day Paoli Community School Corporation students returned with a temporary mask requirement, decided at the previous night at the monthly school board meeting.
“In the first 24 days of school, a total of 760 students were classified as close contacts and quarantined or required to wear masks as a result,” said Superintendent Greg Walker. “Using the minimum number of eight days to quarantine for each student, that’s 6,000 days and over 36,000 hours lost of in-person instruction. Out of all of these students quarantined, less than five percent of them actually tested positive for the coronavirus. So, for the most part, we are quarantining completely healthy kids and I hate having to do that.”
With the new mask mandate, students and staff are not required to quarantine unless they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Those who are close contacts will also be able to stay for in-person instruction.
“[The week of September 13-17], we had three positive cases in the building and we didn’t have to quarantine anyone as a result,” said Walker.
The changes made to the PCSC “Return to In-Person Instruction” Plan, with the motion passing 6-1. School Board member Craig Starr was the only individual to vote against these changes.
In a comment to the Paoli News Republican, Starr said, “Division is not good for the school corporation or our community. While I hope the temporary mask mandate is brief, I would ask people, regardless of what the position is, to try and respect it.”
This new mask mandate will be revisited during the next board meeting on October 18, where members will decide whether it is necessary to keep it or lift it. They will take into consideration the community coronavirus spread data as well as the county color on the COVID-19 map. “I am hopeful that we will be able to lift it by then, but no matter what I do not want to have to send kids home if I do not have to, so we’ll just have to see,” said Walker.
This week, the PHS Guidance Department is hosting College Go Week.
“College Go Week is a state wide event that focuses on promoting two and four year college enrollment and many colleges during this event waive their application fees,” said PCCA Guide Ginny Nelson.
To promote the event the guidance department has arranged visits from IU Southeast and the University of Indianapolis. They have also planned a game of trivia for the morning announcements and for the social media page. A scavenger hunt has also been planned with items around the school. They will have prizes for the winners.
College Go Week is for grades 7-12, working to help students obtain as much information as possible to help make a plan for their future. For more information you can contact any staff in the guidance department.
On Tuesday September 21, juniors and seniors will go to the auditorium to watch the play, “We the People” performed by Kentucky Shakespeare, an organization from Louisville that works to bring dramatic events to students. In 50 minutes, students will experience key moments of American history through a “dramatic retelling”.
The production will last throughout third period and during a portion of homeroom. If there is time afterward, some discussion questions will be facilitated for the students to better apply themselves to the storyline and deeper meanings.
“[We are excited] for the connections we hope this makes for them in the U.S. Government, U.S. History, and English, and perhaps other parts of our curriculum as well,”said U.S. history teacher Chris Lindley.
After seeing a mention of the show in the Kentucky Shakespeare newsletter, Drama teacher Maria Wishart shared the event with Lindley. The two saw it as a good opportunity to introduce some fun back into school following the COVID19 pandemic and can offer key insights you can receive from simply reading out of a textbook.
Starting on Wednesday, August 18, applications will be available for students in grades 10-12 to apply to NHS, and students in grades 8-9 to apply to NJHS. Applications can be found in NHS Sponsor Melissa Higgins’ room or eighth grade English teacher Mariah Buchanan’s room. Applications must be turned in to Higgins by Wednesday, August 25, and late applications will not be accepted.
All students can apply, but only students who have: attended PHS or PJHS for at least one semester, and have a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher will be considered. After that, the school faculty will have a meeting and decide if the student is accepted or not.
For those thinking about becoming a member, Higgins suggests that you check the list of eligible students posted on her door.
“Be thoughtful and careful in filling out your application. Make sure there are no spelling errors or grammar errors, fill the entire application out and do not put ‘I don’t know’ as an answer. Always have something, ” said Higgins.
Those who are accepted into NHS or NJHS will be inducted during the tapping ceremony as well as the actual induction ceremony on Sunday, September 26.
Those who are not accepted, can meet with Higgins one on one to discuss what they need to do differently to get accepted the following year.
During a typical year, PHS journalism students would head to Indiana University Southeast in the fall for the annual High School Media Day Contests. For this event, the students would send in different articles and content to be rated in their class for all student publications in the region, as well as having the chance to take classes with journalists and media advisors in the area. Both individual students and the entire organization can win awards based on what the category is. Due to the pandemic, the event was not able to be held in person, but the contest still occurred. The awards our journalism department received are:
Best Column – Masden Embry
Best Feature Photo – Mackenzie Robertson
Best Feature Story – Michael Hannon
Best Photo Essay/Picture Story – Maddie DeCarlo
Best Sports Photo – Faith Wilder
Best Unsigned Staff Editorial – Paolite Staff
Best Yearbook Copy – Hillcrest
Best Yearbook Cover – Hillcrest
Best Coverage of Clubs and Organizations – Hillcrest
Best Opening Section – Hillcrest
Best People Section – Hillcrest
Best Theme and Divisional Pages – Hillcrest
Yearbook of the Year – Hillcrest
TV/Video Newscast – Kaulen Turner, Producer
Best Multimedia Package – Emma McCrary
Best Overall Design in One Issue – Maggie Vincent and Payton Ashley
News Organization of the Year – Paolite
Best Coverage of Academics – Hillcrest
Best Coverage of Student Life – Hillcrest
Best Design – Hillcrest
Bets Photography – Hillcrest
Best Sports Coverage – Hillcrest
Broadcast Organization of the Year – PHS News Today
Best Multimedia Package – Karyas Slaten
Best News Story – Jozalyn Kempf
Best Overall Social Media Presence – PHS Media News Staff
This year, with all of the new virtual options the school has been using, students have the option to purchase a yearbook online. Staff, students, and parents are able to go to the school’s website and buy their yearbook from there instead of having to send in money with students to purchase one. There will still be the alternative option of buying the yearbook in person.
To purchase a yearbook online, you can go to the Paoli High School website and click on the link that says ‘Pay Online Here.’ There will then be an option to add the 2020-2021 Hillcrest.
Yearbook prices are still $40 and can also be purchased in person with check or cash. The money can be brought to the office or to Heather Nichols in Room 106.
With the new semester starting up, PHS administration came up with a way to use homeroom time to help students and teachers build relationships.
During homeroom, teachers and students do different relationship building activities together. Some of these activities are from a purchased program called SEL while others are just fun relationship building activities. Administration decided to start up these activities to help students and teachers create a bond.
“Everyone knows the importance of building relationships, especially between teachers and students. The SEL activities will hopefully help students to deal with the emotional strains they may be experiencing,” said Principal Dr. Sherry Wise.
WIth all of the stress both staff and students have dealt with, especially with COVID, these activities can help relieve that stress and make the school day more enjoyable.
“Covid is weighing on everyone. Hopefully, students will feel more comfortable opening up to teachers and asking for help if they need it. Also, I felt we needed to add a little ‘fun’ to our days with the relationship activities,” said Wise.
Throughout the school year, COVID-19 policies and guidelines for schools have changed very frequently. The newest change made it possible for schools in Orange County, Paoli Community Schools more specifically, to attend in-school learning even when the county is at a Red Advisory level.
In order for virtual schooling to be required, the number of students quarantined has to be critically high, making it difficult to continue in-person learning.
“There is no magic ‘number’ or ‘color’ that dictates when we are in school or not in school. Lots of factors go into it. When we went virtual prior to Thanksgiving, we did so because we had over 110 students out due to contact tracing and after discussing with Dr. Lopez, that was his recommendation. When we went virtual prior to Christmas, we did so because we had around 20 staff members out that we could not operate without. Again, this situation was discussed with Dr. Lopez. We are not at either of those levels now. I spoke with him prior to coming back on January 4 and have spoken to him weekly since then. His recommendation is for schools to be open and for students to be in school,” said Superintendent Greg Walker.
Walker proposed using January 14-15, 2021, as hybrid days in order to troubleshoot any unforeseen issues in case we need to transfer to the hybrid model in the future. After reviewing all the information available for the following week, he decided that Tuesday, January 19 and Wednesday, January 20, Paoli schools would be 100% virtual and follow the same procedures that were used prior to Christmas break. Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22, Paoli schools transitioned to the Hybrid model with Thursday being a Purple day and Friday being a Gold day.
“Even though our county is in the Red Category, I want students to be in school,” said Orange County Health Official Jose Lopez.
As of October 2020, the SAT is now a standardized test for Indiana high school students.
“All juniors will be required to take the SAT, however, it won’t be a graduation qualifying exam like the ISTEP+ has been. [It] will instead be a school accountability exam,” said Corporation Testing CoordinatorBrenda Eubank.
This spring, juniors will still be required to retake the ISTEP+ as part of their graduation requirements. It is required to determine a school’s federal accountability rating. A school accountability exam is a test for a school to administer and students to take.
“[The federal accountability rating] is a score given to schools based on whether or not they are on track. The formula used takes into account test scores, graduation rates, growth scores, etcetera,” said principle Sherry Wise.