Category Archives: Features

Korsmo Jumps to Success

Eighth grader Chloe Korsmo has had an interest in horses since a young age. She has known how to ride a horse since she was five years old.

“I have had a passion for horses ever since I was little. My aunt has two horses I have known and loved since I was a baby. I started taking lessons when I was five, and I absolutely fell in love. Ever since then, I have had a need to always be on a horse,” said Korsmo.

Korsmo started training horses since she was 11 years old. She works with a barn that buys, retrains and sells horses. She mainly trains horses to jump, but she can help with any type of training. A normal day for Korsmo is going straight to work after coming home from school. She gets a list of which horses needs what kind of training. Then, she tacks up and heads down to the arena to get to work.

“I mostly do jumping if they need a horse to be trained to jump because I am the smallest rider, and I have the most experience in jumping. Sometimes, if the horse needs trail experience, we will go out on their trails,” said Korsmo.

Korsmo had to make a lot of adjustments after moving to Indiana. In California, where she used to live, there were more English horses to train than in Indiana.

“Since I moved here, things have been tremendously different in the horse world. There are not nearly as many English barns around here as there were in California. The barns are also a lot more laid back, and there are less rules. I’m riding far less English and jumper than I used to,” said Korsmo.

Korsmo is wanting to make a career out of working with horses. She wants to go to Ohio State University to get a degree in equine business and become a large animal veterinarian. Working with horses has had a huge impact on Korsmo’s life. She has learned many skills from working with horses.

“Working with horses has taught me patience, improved my work ethic and greatly improved my balance. They bring happiness and satisfaction when they finally click with something I’ve been trying to teach them for a while. I will definitely continue to work with horses. It pays well, and I enjoy doing it very much,” said Korsmo.


Story by Angie Ceja

Collins Connects with Music

Sophomore Gracie Collins enjoys writing songs in her free time. Collins has been interested in music since she was young, and her mom inspired her to take the next step to begin writing music.

“[My mom] was in a band, writes songs, sings and plays instruments,” said Collins.

After learning music from her mom, Collins fell in love with it. She enjoys both music and songwriting because of how many possibilities there are.

“You can turn whatever you’re thinking in your mind into a song. I love to be able to get my point of view across with my music,” said Collins.

Collins has written six original songs but has others she either has not finished or doesn’t like. Collins has performed one original song as well as covers. Her favorite songs to cover are “Riptide” by Vance Joy and “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. She was nervous to perform for the first time, but she enjoyed the experience. Collins first performed at Paoli Fest in 2018.

“My favorite thing about performing my songs is everything. I don’t have a least favorite thing about performing, but the first time you perform is very nerve-racking,” said Collins.

All of her songs include some kind of instrument. She first taught herself how to play the guitar, but she can now play the guitar, ukulele and some piano. She looks to her mom for advice on songwriting, and she looks to bands for inspiration.

“The bands that inspire me the most are basically punk rock bands; they just have so many thoughts and feelings that are put into their songs, which I try to do with my own songs,” said Collins.

Collins’s advice for someone who wants to get into songwriting is to persevere, even if it gets frustrating or seems hopeless. Collins thinks everyone can connect and fall in love with music just as she did.

“There are no rules with music, you can do whatever you want with it, and no one can tell you it is wrong. I connect with it, and there isn’t much more I feel as connected with as I do with music,” said Collins.


Story by Faith Wilder

Keen Sings to the Beat

Senior Jillian Keen has a very special and important role in the Pride of Paoli’s show this year. In the first part of the show, Jillian sings while junior Hunter Roach plays the soprano saxophone. The song she sings in the duet is called “Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby” from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Band director Ben Werne knew Keen had an amazing voice from hearing her perform with the jazz band and had the idea of using a lullaby for Keen to sing in the show.

“When I was picking music for the show, I needed to find a mysterious, dark sounding beginning, and I kept coming back to the Lullaby from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. It has a female voice singing the tune, and I decided to use it and have Jillian sing it,” said Werne.

Keen uses a recording of the lullaby to help her improve on her singing. On competition days, she drinks a lot of water and tries to save her voice. Keen also hums softly on the way to warm-ups and the performance to prepare her voice before she starts singing. She makes sure she’s well rehearsed so she’s not as nervous when it comes time to perform.

“Singing in front of audiences has always made me nervous, but at the same time, I live for the feeling, especially when I’m well-rehearsed. It makes me feel as though I can help people connect to what I am singing,” said Keen.

Keen’s solo adds an effect in part one that creates a certain mood. The lullaby has a dark and mysterious sound, which works perfectly for the beginning of the show. Werne wanted to add something unique in the show that other class D bands did not have.

“I think the vocal and soprano saxophone duet provides a very interesting timbre and texture in the opening of our show that not a lot of other class D bands can create. It is something unique to us and impacts the show positively,” said Werne.

Having a vocalist in the show is something new for POP and its audience. Audience members can be more interested by an actual person portraying the notes rather than an instrument. A vocalist can give an effect to the show that instruments cannot.

“I believe that having a vocalist play the part can connect many on such a great level. Playing an instrument is one thing, but you can do so much with singing to get people intrigued and connected to what is being performed,” said Keen.

Keen’s vocalist skills add effect and create the right mood for the beginning of the show, which will continue to impact the performance throughout the season.


Story by Angie Ceja

Magner Learns Life Lessons from Tennis

Senior Noah Magner has been playing tennis since he joined the junior high team in sixth grade. He was introduced to tennis as child through playing with his dad, and this experience influenced him to join the sport when he was old enough to play on the school team.

Since his freshman year, Magner has been on the varsity team and played in the number three singles position. Throughout his time in tennis, Magner believes his team has been the biggest reason behind his improvements. However, he is also proud of how much they have achieved together.

“My biggest accomplishment in tennis really isn’t an individual thing but more of how we have grown as an entire team over the years,” said Magner.

For Magner, the tennis team is closer to being a family than just teammates. His favorite part after every game was the time he got to spend with his team.

“When it comes to tennis, we have made so many memories, but I would say my favorite memories usually come from when we all go out to eat after each match,” said Magner.

Magner’s greatest moments come from when he gets to see that his team has improved or won a victory.

“My favorite part is the feeling you get when all of the different positions win with a 5-0 victory,” said Magner.

Not only have his teammates helped him grow, but so has his coach. Head coach Jim O’Connell is well known in Orange County for actively helping with the food pantry and volunteering in the community.

“Coach O has taught us to not only be humble on the court but to also go out and help our community,” said Magner.

Magner does not plan on playing tennis on a college team instead intends to focus on his schooling and future. However, he will miss the team he has now.

“I did not realize how fast it actually goes until my last full regular season week,” said Magner.

Magner recommends that students wanting to play check it out.

“It really is a fun time with enjoyable coaches,” said Magner.


Story by Rebekah Reeves

Minton Reflects on Years in Tennis

When sports seasons come to a close, senior athletes reflect on their time playing their sport. For senior Ashton Minton, this feeling held true for his final year of tennis. Minton started playing seven years ago because he needed a fall sport to complete his goal of playing three sports in high school.

“Tennis is enjoyable for me because it is just yourself out there, and whatever goes right or wrong is on yourself,” said Minton.

Throughout his tennis career, Minton has played number one singles and has advanced in Sectional his junior and senior years. When it comes to improvement, Minton believes he has improved on his ground strokes and his first serve percentage.

“My best memory in tennis was my senior year going 9-3 in regular season, which is the best record in quite a while,” said Minton.

Looking back, Minton is going to miss his coaches, especially the varsity boys tennis coach Jim O’Connell.

“Coach O is my biggest inspiration because he teaches you not only to be a good tennis player, but to be an even better person off the court,” said Minton.

Additionally, Minton will miss his best friends who have played alongside him as well as the long bus rides.

“Being with the other five seniors every day getting better was a great time,” said Minton.  

Minton not only gained memories from playing tennis but advice he use throughout life. Most of all, Minton learned how to be confident in everything he does.

“Tennis has taught me to be myself and confident. If you aren’t confident, you aren’t going to produce the way your team needs you to,” said Minton.

Based on personal experience, Minton would tell anyone who wishes to play a sport to listen to the coaches, work hard every day and appreciate the time you have playing the sport because it “goes by faster than you think.”

After high school, Minton hopes to study exercise science at IUPUI with the intention of becoming a physical therapist.


Story by Sara Kesterson

Lawson Learns Life Lessons from Football

Senior Tyson Lawson has imagined playing football under the lights on Friday nights since he was in elementary school, and this dream finally became a reality when he entered high school four short years ago.  Lawson was first introduced to the game he has grown to love through flag football in second grade. Football was always a sport Lawson was interested in, and this was his first opportunity to try it out.

“I decided to start playing because it was always something I wanted to do. From the day I was old enough to understand the game, I wanted to play. The thought of being able to hit someone and not get in trouble excited me when I was little,” said Lawson.

Through football, Lawson has been fortunate to have created bonds that will last a lifetime. He and his teammates have all endured off-season workouts, practices and games, and this is something Lawson has not taken for granted.

“I always develop a very close relationship with everyone on the team. Eventually, they are not your teammates anymore but your brothers. I’d do anything for those guys, and I know they would do the same for me,” said Lawson.

Through playing flag football, youth league and varsity football, Lawson is able to look back on all the memories he has made.

“The feeling you get right before kick off is something I love; there is nothing in the world like it, especially when the crowd is a nice size. Your blood gets flowing, and your adrenaline level goes through the roof.  Then, you get to go out there and play high school football, the best sport in the world,” said Lawson.

A lot of hard work goes into the summer workouts and everyday practices, and after a win, Lawson feels accomplished that all his previous hard work is paying off. He realizes that he didn’t get up at six every morning or endure three hour practices every day for nothing.

As his time in the football program comes to a close, Lawson stresses the importance of enjoying all the memories as they come because not everyone gets the opportunity to play high school football.  

“I would tell all the underclassmen to always give it your all and enjoy the time you have. You can’t give it half effort and expect to be successful. Every sprint, bench rep, pass, route, block or tackle has to be 100%. Play every game like it’s your last because you never know what could happen. The time flies by, so you need to cherish the time you have,” said Lawson.

Upon graduation, Lawson hopes to major in criminal justice but is undecided on which college he will attend next fall.


Story by Madison Street

Umpleby Races to the Finish

Senior Rachel Umpleby has been a member of the cross country team since elementary school. Running four years of junior high cross country and four years in high school, Umpleby loved it from the start.

“I joined cross country in fifth grade because I wasn’t good at any other sports, so I decided to give cross country a chance. I loved it, so I continued running every year,” said Umpleby.

Not only does Umpleby love cross country, she is also very skilled at it.

“My freshman year, I won Most Valuable Runner and the Rookie Award, and I qualified for Regional. I won Most Improved Runner my sophomore and junior years. My best time during a meet is 21:43, but my best 5k time is 21:19. To attain those times, I worked hard in the off-season and every day in practice. I also had an excellent diet and overall took care of my body,” said Umpleby.

Aside from all seriousness of running cross country, Umpleby still manages to have fun with her team.

“My favorite memories from cross country come from freshman year. We were a small team, but we were a family. I also have always liked the laid back atmosphere of cross country. You don’t have to be a good runner to feel like you’re part of the team,” said Umpleby.

Umpleby also loves her team traditions.

“We eat popsicles after every practice, which is especially nice after a hard practice or if it’s really hot. We also eat pizza and watch funny YouTube videos at our end-of-year banquet,” said Umpleby.

Although Umpleby has enjoyed her past eight years of cross country, she does not plan on continuing running when she goes to college.

“I don’t think I will have enough time for it because I plan to dedicate a large portion of my time to school and studying,” said Umpleby.

Umpleby intends to attend Purdue University with a major in chemical engineering following graduation.


Story by Gracie Walls

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