Category Archives: Academics

Kerley Gears up for College Go Week

From September 23 through 28, Paoli High School will be celebrating College Go Week. Guidance Counselor Brandi Kerley will be organizing a week of fun contests and activities to get students excited about their futures.

There will be dress-up days throughout the week for different career paths, a door decorating contest for teachers, a special message on the announcements every day and a fun trivia game on Friday, September 28.

“This is a time when colleges begin to wave their application fees. This week is to just really get everyone excited and thinking about what they want to do after high school,” said Kerley. 

This week will also give students an opportunity to win a cash prize by participating in the Learn More Indiana Writing Contest. The essays will be about the students’ future plans and will be hosted by the CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan. All participants will be entered into a raffle. One student from each grade, 7 through 12, will be chosen to win $529 to put toward college fees.

Any student grades 7-12 who participates and turns in a complete essay to the guidance office by Friday, September 27 will be entered into a drawing for prizes. The grade level that has the highest percentage of completed essays will receive a pizza party,” said Kerley. 

To learn more about College Go Week, go to or contact Kerley at

Story by Jozalyn Kempf

College Fair to Take Place on October 23

This year, the annual College Fair at PHS will be held on October 23. The event will take place in the auxiliary gym during all lunches. At the time guidance counselor Brandi Kerley was interviewed, 24 colleges had confirmed their attendance. A total of 80 schools were invited, and Kerley hopes to see at least 50 present at the fair.

“[The College Fair is a way] to expose students to many colleges and careers in Indiana and surrounding states. We want students to be able to speak with college representatives and talk about what their University has to offer in terms of majors, degrees, housing, scholarships and many more topics. It is also a great opportunity to speak with college reps about admissions requirements and what to do to prepare,” said Kerley.

Story by Faith Wilder

Higgins and Stout Hope for Another Successful Year of Study Tables

National Honor Society sponsor Melissa Higgins, along with NHS members, will be sponsoring study tables for another school year. 

“Study tables is a quiet environment where students can come and finish their homework for the day. It is also a place where they can get some extra help to be successful in their classes,” said study tables supervisor Cindy Stout. 

Study tables are available to all students Monday through Thursday 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the PHS Library. Stout supervises study tables on Monday and Tuesday, while Higgins oversees it Wednesday and Thursday. Honor Society students sign up to work at study tables and are there for free tutoring and help.

“Hopefully this year is another successful year with study tables and students will take advantage of the service and help we provide,” said Higgins.

For more information about study tables, contact Higgins at

Story by Gracie Walls


PHS Welcomes New Face to the Hallways

Paoli High School was fortunate enough to have former Spanish teacher Rachel Carter teach students for 32 years. Every end brings a new beginning, and in this case, it brought new Spanish teacher Crystal Shellenberger.

“When I heard Señora Carter was retiring, I knew the position would be difficult to fill. I loved teaching fourth graders at Throop, but I felt excited about doing something new. I have loved learning about language and cultures since I was a teenager,” said Shellenberger. 

Shellenberger attended Goshen College where she participated in a semester abroad, called study-service term (SST), in Costa Rica. 

“I had a great experience living with a Costa Rican family, studying Spanish and working with a speech pathologist in the beautiful mountains of Alajuela, Costa Rica. I knew I wanted to continue learning about the Spanish language and diverse cultures of Central America,” said Shellenberger. 

After Shellenberger married her husband, Jon, they teamed up with a church organization doing community development work in a small town called La Ceiba in El Salvador, Central America. 

“We experienced amazing hospitality and generosity during the three years we lived there. We even had one-on-one language teachers in both Guatemala City and San Salvador for the first several months before starting our work. There were definitely challenges like homesickness and cultural differences that took a while to get used to, but it was a really important time in our lives,” said Shellenberger. 

During the summer of 2018, Shellenberger and her family spent six weeks in Puerto Rico working for the Mennonite Disaster Service. 

“We organized groups of North American volunteers to work on reconstruction projects in Utuado, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Jon led the building projects, and I worked as the office manager, translator and part time cook! I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the Latin American culture and introducing my kids to a different way of life. They enjoyed knocking fresh mangoes down from trees, eating passion fruit off the vines and going to the ocean every weekend,” said Shellenberger.

Shellenberger looks forward to sharing photos, stories and the Spanish language with her students.

Story by Gracie Walls

Mrs. Shellenburger

Wilson Tackles History

Former PE teacher Brian Wilson has switched teaching positions for the 2019-2020 school year. This year, Wilson will be teaching Geography and World History.

Wilson attended Indiana University, where he got his bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Through college, Wilson taught US History at different schools and was a student teacher at PHS under U.S. history teacher Chris Lindley.

Wilson has endured a few challenges associated with switching positions, but with each new week of experience, he enjoys the learning process more and more. 

“The students in my classes have made the transition easier on me with their great behavior and willingness to be my guinea pigs for the year.  Even my rowdy 7th period makes it enjoyable,” said Wilson.

Although the year has begun, Wilson is still working on his plans. He is looking to make new routines and connect more with his students. 

“Classroom management is easier because the kids aren’t so spread out. It is easier to connect with my students,” said Wilson.

Wilson is ready to take on this new experience and have a great year with his students. 

Story by Makiya Russelburg

Studio Art AP Class Supports Creativity

One of the many classes offered at Paoli High School is Studio Art AP, taught by Chris Jones. Drawing 1, Drawing 2, and Studio Art Pre AP are prerequisites to enroll in AP Studio Drawing. Students in this class have higher expectations and are given more freedom and creativity to express themselves. 

“Students must be responsible and stay on top of the expectations of the class. Each student has their own set of projects for AP Studio Drawing, letting every artist do their own individual portfolio,” said Jones.

Each student’s portfolio has to meet specific requirements. 

“Students have two sections of quality and sustained investigation. For quality, students must send the AP College Board 5 physical pieces of art that are scored. In the sustained investigation, 15 slides of student’s art that share a common theme or thread are again sent to the Board,” said Jones.

Current students appreciate the freedom they get to express themselves while completing their portfolios. 

I get college credits and it’s a great opportunity to get colleges interested in you. I feel like a bigger door has been opened for me to choose ideas and mediums I want to use,” said Junior Brycen Long. 

Story by Amanda Bowles

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