Survey Says: We Need Help

Hannon is Stressed — And You Are Too

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.

Music Helps

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.

On Earbuds

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.

Mindfulness

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.

Story by Michael Hannon

Stout Returns to Classroom for Science

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.

Story by Gracie Walls

Padgett Prepares for the Road

Senior works toward CDL Career after Graduation

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.

Up Next

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.

Story by Michael Hannon

Martin Takes on New College Corp Advising Role

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 martinc@paoli.k12.in.us.

Story by Gracie Walls.