Category Archives: Features

Griffith Heads to Home Base

For senior Tyler Griffith, the 2019 baseball season marks the end of a great high school career. His love for baseball was first discovered when he was eight years old. When Griffith had first moved to Paoli, he started in little league, and his love for baseball continued.

He currently plays many positions for Paoli’s baseball team, including pitcher, catcher and outfielder. The training required to get to where he is now gave him the opportunity to travel across the country playing baseball.

“Playing in high school has been a great experience, but I have a lot more memories playing travel baseball. I still have friends today from travel baseball that I would practically consider family. Growing up playing travel baseball has brought me closer to my family and teammates, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything else,” said Griffith.

While Griffith has been apart of baseball, he has accomplished a lot. In 2018,  the team won PLAC conference for the first time since 1994. Griffith has also earned individual awards.

I have been all-conference at the high school level. I have also won the top defensive player award. During two years of travel baseball, I played for the Indiana Rawlings Tigers located in Clarksville, Indiana. I won the All-Tiger award. This award is granted to two outstanding players on each team. Playing travel ball, I have also helped my teams win multiple tournament championships across the United States,” said Griffith.

Griffith has learned valuable life lessons during his baseball experience.

“Baseball has taught me a lot about what it means to be apart of a team and how to work together in certain situations. I have developed a lot as a player playing travel ball through my high school career, but also as a person because I have learned how to be a good teammate and to always be supportive of others,” said Griffith.

With his many years of experience, Griffith would advise younger players to do their best, work hard and never give up.

Griffith is looking forward to his last year of high school baseball, but is sad to see it come to an end. Griffith strives for another conference title and a sectional title before he has to put high school baseball behind him.

“I’m pretty disappointed that this is my last year, but I’ve had some great memories. I will miss being apart of the sport more because I had made some many memories with different teammates over the years,” said Griffith.

Story by: Faith Wilder

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Photo by: Karyas Slaten

Patton’s Recovery Continues

On July 17, 2018, the summer before his freshman year, freshmen Landon Padgett, Dexter Brown and Bladen Patton had an ATV accident in Padgett’s backyard. As a result of the accident, Patton had a broken ankle and arm. Through six surgeries, emotional turmoil and missing out on multiple sports seasons, the experience is something Patton will never forget.

“I have had a rod placed in my right arm and two screws put in my right ankle. The screws later had to be taken out because they were too long. I also had an emergency surgery on my arm because of a blood clot,” said Patton.

Patton has had a slow recovery, but to him, how far he has come is a big deal.

At first, Patton started off in a wheelchair and had casts on his arm and ankle. He was barely able to move his arm on his own. By January 2019, Patton was able to straighten his elbow out, and the feeling in his fingers was starting to come back.

“Now, I am back to being independent on most things, but I think the biggest difference for me is that I can finally sleep on my stomach. I couldn’t do that at the beginning,” said Patton.

Though Patton is not far enough along in the recovery process to know of any permanent restrictions, some temporary ones include playing certain sports, writing, tying his shoes and lifting weights.

Patton is also unsure of when he will be fully recovered, but he is still determined to play basketball and football as soon as he is released to do so. One major milestone Patton has accomplished is the fact that he is now able to play baseball again. 

Because of all the obstacles that have been put in his way, having a good attitude is extremely important.

“I could’ve very easily given up by now, but that’s not me. I want to get back to doing the things I love. I look at life in general quite differently now. It can be over in the snap of a finger, and you have to be very careful. I understand that anything can happen so fast and change your life, but I know God always has a plan,” said Patton.

Story by: Gracie Walls

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Photo by: Addison Wells

Leone Reflects on Tennis Career

For senior Emily Leone, the 2019 tennis season is her last of high school. Leone discovered her love of the sport in fifth grade.

Several of my friends were going to play tennis so I thought I would try it out as well.  Also, my cousin had played tennis and enjoyed it so I figured I would probably enjoy it, too,” said Leone.

Leone has enjoyed the memories and friendships she has made because of tennis throughout her years.

“There have been a lot of different stories and memories come from tennis over the years,” said Leone.

Along with the perks of tennis, Leone admits the hard work involved with participating. She also mentions that rain is an obstacle for both her and her team.

Through the difficulties, Leone has had the opportunity to grow as a player. She has noticed the placement of her tennis balls are better and she has been playing smarter.

Along with winning matches, tennis has brought Leone lessons that will stay with her into her future. Leone mentions the mental toughness she has because of the sport, and she will be able to use that later in her life.

This season, the team started off with a 7-0 record with Leone playing number two singles. She has hopes that they will continue to have a successful year. However, Leone is no stranger to success. She has accomplished winning tournaments and was part of the team her freshman year when the varsity won sectional.

With her years of experience, Leone has words of advice to young players.

“Be patient with your progress. The only way to get better is by practicing and not paying too much attention to your mistakes,” said Leone.

With her last season coming to a close, Leone is preparing to say goodbye to a big part of her life.

“This being my last year of tennis feels pretty odd. It’s weird to think that I won’t be playing next year since I have been doing it for so long. I’ve made a lot of friendships with people I wouldn’t think I would, as well as made a lot of memories with people I have been friends with forever.  Tennis is the only sport I have ever been apart of, so I’m sure I will miss playing it,” said Leone.

Story by: Faith Wilder

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Photo by: Rebekah Reeves

Throwback Feature: Padgett’s Time at PHS

Not a lot of people stay in their hometown their entire life, but this is not the case for PHS graduate David Padgett. Padgett attended Paoli from kindergarten to senior year and graduated in 1977. Following graduation, he went to work at Brittany Factory for 8 years. Padgett was then a student at Indiana University Southeast and earned his teaching degree. With his degree, he returned to Paoli High School and became a fourth grade teacher at Throop Elementary.

Padgett got married to his wife, Kathy, on June 21, 1997 and has two children. His oldest child is Nick, a senior, and the youngest is Libby, a sophomore.

Having spent a lot of time at PHS, Padgett has the ability to offer important advice to the students here.

“Enjoy school as much as you can and participate in everything that you can,” said Padgett.

In high school, Padgett was involved in FFA and really enjoyed going to the football games, basketball games and cheering on the Rams. Padgett’s biggest regret was not playing sports in school.

“You may not think it is, but school is one of the best things in your life. So enjoy it while you can and make many friends and memories before you graduate,” said Padgett.

Padgett has been teaching at PHS for 22 years, and at the end of year he will be retiring.

“I am looking forward to retirement. I hope to be able to go camping more, working in my yard and doing things with the family. I am going to also try to find a job so I can work some to help with the bills,” said Padgett.

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Story by: Haley Owens

Throwback Feature: Laswell Impacted by PHS

Paoli High School alumna Lora Laswell graduated in 1982. Laswell attended Paoli from kindergarten through graduation, and stayed even after graduating for her job and her family. While in high school, Laswell played volleyball as a setter and basketball as a guard. During Laswell’s high school years, sports had more of an impact on her compared to the actual school material, as well as her coaches more than her teachers.

“Ms. Baker and Ms. Phillips made an impact on my life when I was in high school. They were both my coaches, and I could go to them for anything, and still could. Ms. Phillips was my coach when my dad died. I was 13 when he died, and she helped me through that a lot,” said Laswell.

Besides volleyball and basketball, Laswell was also in chess club and worked in the summer at the vocational school in Rego for low income families.

“I didn’t really have high school jobs; I just worked through the summer. I worked at the vocational school when I was 14, and I got paid $3.65 an hour,” said Laswell.

Laswell now works for Paoli High School, acting as a groundskeeper, doing bus maintenance and helping coach girls basketball. She is married to her husband of 28 years, David Laswell, and has two kids, Logan and McKinzie.

Laswell doesn’t have any regrets from high school, but she did enjoy her time as a student.

“I loved attending PHS. I cried at graduation because I knew I would have to work full time and I would miss my friends. My advice to students today is to enjoy your life as a teenager and choose something you love to do as your career because if you love what you do, it makes it easier to go to work,” said Laswell.

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Story by Gracie Walls

Throwback Feature: Sanders After PHS

It is a given that people go their separate ways after graduating high school. For former PHS graduate Hannah Sanders, “separate ways” was completely leaving the state of Indiana. Sanders graduated from PHS in 2017, and she was an avid participant in tennis and cheerleading. Being on each of those teams, especially tennis, is what she misses the most from PHS.

After graduation, Sanders attended Ivy Tech Community College and majored in Graphic Design. After some time at Ivy Tech, Sanders made the decision to transfer to University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando. While still studying graphic design at UCF, Sanders is registered in Disney World’s College Program which provides internships for students. Making all of these life changing decisions did not come easy to Sanders, especially being so young.

“It was really hard at first, and I do miss my family a lot, but I have made so many great friends here and that really helps,” said Sanders.

Sanders’s internship lasts from January until May, but because Sanders loves working there so much, she has decided to continue working at Disney World part time until she graduates from school. Currently, Sanders works in the custodial department for Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. Her job is to help keep the different complexes clean for the athletes and fans who come to watch. Once the internship program officially ends in May, Sanders will be moved to “quick serve” food and beverage. Lastly, because Sanders’s major is Graphic Design, she can draw water art as a part of her job. Drawing Disney characters on the ground for park goers to view would be an example of a job she would have.

“Working at the most magical place on Earth makes life a little easier,” said Sanders.

Disney’s College Program experience will help Sanders with her future career in graphic design. Sanders plans to do a professional internship with Disney and eventually do graphic design work for The Walt Disney Company.

Looking back at her life at PHS, Sanders definitely has things that she misses. As aforementioned, Sanders misses playing tennis and being able to play with her teammates. Not being able to see her friends every day, as she lives in a different state, is hard too. Most of all, Sanders misses media teacher Heather Nichols the most.

Sanders’s life in Florida with attending UCF and working for one of the most popular theme parks in the world will prepare her for future work in graphic design, and she is excited about the future work that will come.

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Story by Sara Kesterson

Throwback Feature: Oceguera Reflects on PHS Memories

PHS graduate Marixa Oceguera was involved with a lot of activities in high school. She ran track, was a cheerleader, marched in the Pride of Paoli band and earned a couple of crowns throughout her senior year. She can still remember all the fun times at PHS when life was a little bit easier.

Oceguera was a cheerleader most of her years at Paoli. She started her seventh grade year and continued to be involved until her sophomore year. She was the cheer captain along with her best friend, Michala Robertson, and enjoyed going to football games on Friday and cheering on her fellow classmates to victory.     

“My favorite thing about cheer was learning new stunts. I miss cheering with my friends, and Friday night games were always fun,” said Oceguera.

She also ran track her freshman and sophomore years with Robertson. Oceguera would usually run the 100 meter dash, 1600 meter run and hurdles.

Oceguera’s senior year was the most royal of them all. She participated in a pageant, and although she didn’t win queen, Oceguera enjoyed the experience. She was also nominated for Homecoming Queen. She and one of her best friends, Keegan Anderson, were the Homecoming King and Queen that year. She was also the Prom Queen her senior year with Anderson as well.

The one activity Oceguera stuck with throughout her high school years was marching in the Pride of Paoli. She marched the saxophone, and it was her favorite activity during her high school experience. She looked up to the seniors each year and tried to set a good example for her section. Her very first year of marching band was 2012, and the show was “The Phoenix.” Her last show was “A View From The Top.”

“My favorite marching band show was ‘A View From The Top’ because it was my senior year and the most memorable,” said Oceguera

Oceguera was in band for a total of eight years and was in the marching band for six years. Along the way, Oceguera learned a lot of life lessons from former band director Bill Laughlin.

“Mr. Laughlin taught me lots of life lessons that I’m very thankful for,” said Oceguera.

Oceguera is now a student at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. She is working for her degree in psychology. She is open to many different career paths within the field of psychology. She faces all the new challenges every college student faces. At one point, she had three jobs at once to try to keep up with all her financial needs. She now has her own apartment in New Albany and works at Texas Roadhouse as a waitress. She shares the apartment with her high school sweetheart Cyrus Dodson and their two dogs.

Although Oceguera graduated not long ago, her life has completely changed from high school to college.

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Story by Angie Cejá

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