Category Archives: Features

Band Students Recognized at IMEA Conference

On January 17, eleven PHS students, ten band members and one choir member traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the Indiana Music Education Association conference. These students were a part of a few different events throughout the weekend. Students in the IMEA High School Honor Band were junior Hunter Roach, junior Noah McSpadden and senior Maggie McGowen. Students in the IMEA Junior All-State Honor band were seventh grader Braydon Crowder, eighth grader Brody Wilcox and freshmen Marissa Fleenor, Kylee Charles, Angie Ceja and Michael Hannon. Additionally, senior Breanna Ward was a part of the IMEA All-State Orchestra, and junior Megan Poe was a part of the IMEA All-State Honor Choir.

“[My favorite part was] getting the opportunity to travel and see things I wouldn’t normally have seen, and I also got to be a part of a band that is a lot bigger than ours,” said Charles.

To be selected for this honor, students had to send in recordings of the audition music to the IMEA judges, who then selected students according to their ability to play the excerpts.

During the weekend, these students participated in many rehearsals with other students from all over the state. During their breaks, students could visit many different booths set up at the convention center. There were many types of booths, from people with new instruments to colleges wanting to recruit students into their music majors.

“I met a lot of really fun people and even made a group chat with some of the people I met,” said Roach.

On Sunday, January 19, each of these honor groups got to perform the pieces of music they had been preparing. They were supposed to perform at the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne, but due to weather conditions, some honor groups had to perform in different locations.

“This year’s All-State Orchestra was probably one of the best groups I’ve ever played with. The conductor was amazing, and he taught us some valuable life lessons as well as how to dig deeper to play our music the best we could,” said Ward.


Story by Michael Hannon

Throwback Feature: Embry Continues Passions from High School

Less than a year ago, in May of 2018, Kennedy Embry graduated from Paoli High School. Being new out of PHS, Embry’s memories are still fresh in her mind, including her fondest one, senior prom.

“It was one of the last things all the seniors got to do together, and it was special,” said Embry.

Embry’s time spent as a media student was a close second, though. She found success in both her journalism and English classes, having more than one period of each subject her senior year. These were her favorite classes to attend as well.

“I was very active in the media department and excelled in English classes,” said Embry.

In media especially, Embry’s writing helped her find opportunities and take advantage of them. Her work over the years as a writer for the website, newspaper and yearbook earned her the position of Chief Writing Editor her senior year. With this title, Embry was in charge of not only her responsibilities, but other students and their responsbilities.

“I made sure everyone got their things done,” said Embry.

She had authority over and the responsibility of organizing, editing and placing stories efficiently in the Hillcrest yearbook and Paolite newspaper. However, writing was what Embry did most; a lot of the stories have her name attached to them.

The media adviser Heather Nichols played a massive role in the shaping of Embry as a person and as a writer. Nichols was her biggest influence and Embry’s favorite teacher overall.

“She was the best teacher I ever had and taught me to always go after my dreams,” said Embry.

Just like any other teenager, Embry spent her free time with her peers. She enjoyed her friends’ company in high school and spent a lot of time with them. Embry was also supporting the Paoli Rams at football and basketball games every chance she got.

“I went out with friends often and usually attended sports games,” said Embry.

Several events have taken place in Embry’s life since she took home her Core 40. She attended Indiana University Southeast as a freshman.

Embry also moved to New Albany, forming new relationships with new people in the city. In addition to those friendships, Embry also managed to stay in touch with those she was close with in high school.

“I started college, met important people and reconnected with old friends,” said Embry.

Now, she is setting her sights on the future. Embry is brainstorming what it is that she wants out of life and what boxes she would like to check off in the career department down the road.

“[I’m] focusing on finding my path and deciding what to do with my life,” said Embry.

Although nothing is for certain yet, Embry is planning on continuing her writing career through journalism. She has not stopped writing since the end of her media classes. Rather, Embry has continued to write for herself and has found contentment in the expressive outlet.

Looking back on Embry’s experience at Paoli High School, she has no regrets whatsoever.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said Embry.

She does feel that she can offer advice to those still attending PHS, since she was so recently in their positions herself.

“Don’t drop out, graduate and make lots of friends,” said Embry.

The high school career Embry had has not slipped her mind and she does not plan on forgetting the passion for writing she found in her media class; she is going to run with it.

kenafterEmbry since graduating high school.

Story by Masden Embry

Chastain’s Culinary Experience Started Local

Some students in high school start saving money for the future. One of the easiest ways to do this is by getting a job. Starting to work at a young age allows more time to start saving. For senior Jeremiah Chastain, planning for his future is at the top of the list.

During Chastain’s sophomore year, he applied for a job at Porky’s Restaurant and has been working there every since. Chastain was first inspired to start the job when his best friend’s mom, who was the manager, offered it to him. He is now a night cook, and some nights he is running the kitchen by himself. He usually starts his shift around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. after school and works until 10 p.m., later if he has to.

“My favorite part about working there is when I’m not making orders, I get to experiment with making different food dishes and my own creations,” said Chastain.

Despite the advantages of working there, Chastain tends to not enjoy working night shifts.

“My least favorite part is that I have to work nights. I’m there four or five days a week after school, so I don’t have much free time,” said Chastain.

Chastain had to take several steps in order to get to the position he’s in now. He started out as a dishwasher and worked his way up into becoming a cook. He also had to learn how to run the smoker. Chastain is not the only member of his family who works there.

“My sister actually worked there first as a server, and then I started on. My mom also works there part time as a dishwasher,” said Chastain.

Once Chastain graduates, he plans on leaving Porky’s and will soon find another job in the same field as a cook.

Throwback Feature: Street Recalls PHS

PHS alumnus Kyle Street graduated in 2016. Since graduating, Street is currently working toward earning his degree in finance from Indiana University. He plans to graduate from Indiana University in May 2019.

During his time at PHS, Street believes three specific people shaped him into the person he is today. Those people include English teacher Carol Fullington, basketball coach Dusty Cole and his mother, Pam Street.

Ms. Fullington helped prepare me for what college work would be like. Coach Cole showed me hard work pays off and made sure everyone was giving 100% at anything they did. My mom made sure I was responsible and getting my work done,” said Street.

Fullington was an influential teacher and among one of Street’s favorites. She was always understanding and willing to help any student who needed it.

“She challenged all her students with every assignment but was also fair in letting people get the work done. She was also focused on a kid’s future and would go out of her way to help anyone,” said Street.  

Throughout high school, Street was a member of the boys basketball team, the tennis team, the golf team, National Honor Society and Student Council.

My favorite memories in general were just hanging out with different groups of friends. I have a lot of moments with several different people,” said Street.

Street was extremely busy through his four years of high school. Many of his days were filled with long practices, school work and spending time with family. This busy schedule made Street realize the importance of time management, along with many other lessons, and Street took them with him when he went on to college.

“While I was in high school, I learned a lot about time management and the importance of getting school work done early,” said Street.

Street also became accustomed to going out of his way to talk to new people. All three of these things have stuck with Street as he continued his education as a finance major. He choose this path because going into finance felt as if it was a well rounded major and would allow him to work in many different areas.

After graduating from Indiana University, Street hopes to become a financial advisor or have a job in operation management in a bigger city.

Although Street participated in all activities he wanted to, he does wish he would have done some things differently.

I wish back then I would have went out of my way to talk to more people that weren’t in the same clubs or on the same teams. Coming to school taught me that people have a lot of different experiences and interests, and you can start to like the same things from hearing about them,” said Street.

Throughout his four years, Street was able to gain confidence and get involved. He hopes kids in high school today are able to do the same thing.

“If you think a club or activity sounds like fun or you just want to try it, then do it. It’s a lot easier to get involved when you know the people around the organization, so go for it. Just have the confidence to do things you want to do,” said Street.


Story by Madison Street

Street Looks Back on Accomplished Basketball Career

Many students at PHS participate in athletic organizations. A handful of these students have been playing varsity since freshman year, and senior Madison Street is one of those few.

Street has been an active member of the girls basketball teams since elementary school, and she hasn’t looked back since. Though no one has really inspired her, Street has been around the game her whole life, as her family has always been involved with the sport. When she was asked to play on a basketball team in third grade, she felt it was only right of her to play. As Street has grown and matured through the years, she has learned to love the game and understand it more.

The game of basketball brings many things to people– life lessons being one of them. Street has learned several lessons throughout her years playing, and she will be able to apply these lessons in her future.

“Basketball has taught me to be disciplined and the importance of hard work. There are a lot of things you may not want to do, but it is important to be persistent for the good of the team. It has also taught me the importance of accountability. Everyone expects you to do your job, and they need you to be able to count on you,” said Street.

Aside from life lessons, Street has also gained other things, including friendships. These bonds, like the life lessons, will last a lifetime and are irreplaceable in Street’s eyes. They provide her with something that is bigger than basketball. Though her time playing the sport she loves has come to an end, the bonds she has made will last forever.

“Basketball has brought me closer to girls I would have never otherwise talked to and gave me the opportunity to spend time with friends I have had forever. I have been playing with Jacqlyn and Keaton my whole life, and this has created a friendship that will last a lifetime. Without basketball, we may have not created the bond we have,” said Street.

Throughout her years as a player, Street has experienced her fair share of success. The most memorable season for Street has to be her junior year, when the team advanced to Semi-State. Though the girls did not come out on top against Winchester in the Final Four battle, the season was a record breaker in terms of PHS athletics. To Street personally, her favorite memory is winning the Regional of that record-breaking season in the Paoli gymnasium.

It was a great feeling to know the whole town was behind you and was happy for your success. The gym was packed, and it was overall a great atmosphere,” said Street.

As Street retires from basketball following her graduation, she wants to leave the current girls basketball players some words of wisdom for years to come.

“The practices are going to be hard, and things may not always go your way, but when things get tough, you need to be able to count on your teammates, and they need to be able to do the same with you. If you continue to work hard and do the things you need to do, good things will happen,” said Street.

Following high school graduation, Street plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington and major in psychology, specifically child psychology.


Story by Jace Ingle

Slaten Improves Skills in Offseason

Everyone has a passion. No matter the scenario, it takes motivation and practice to improve in that passion. For freshman Karyas Slaten, she has found her motivation in volleyball, more specifically travel volleyball.

Slaten has played travel volleyball for three years with two different club organizations, Aspire and Union. At Aspire, she played for the 14s and 15s team, and this year she is part of the 16s Regional White team. Teams are made based on the players’ ages. In travel, athletes can play with any age group older than them but they can never play down an age group.

Through her years of experience, Slaten has learned a lot from her coaches. In volleyball, only six people to play at a time. Each position is important to playing the game, and Slaten started out with back row passing and outside hitting. An outside hitter will hit on the top left side position at the net, and back row players typically do not play the front row. At Union, Slaten has been able to work on other positions she has not played in the past.

“This year, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, so I’m now playing middle hitter and blocker full time, and I’m loving it,” said Slaten.

In school volleyball, she has played the right side, or the hitting position on the top right side at the net. Those who are left handed have a greater advantage of playing right side. Although school volleyball can be a fun learning experience, Slaten learns a lot from playing travel volleyball.

“Travel has really helped me better understand the game in all aspects. It especially helps with improving basic skills, and I think my skills [have] improved a lot,” said Slaten.

Slaten typically gets home at 10:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. She practices for around two hours and then drives back to Paoli from Pine View High School. However, she manages her school work and volleyball so she can still succeed in both the classroom and on the court.

Goals are important to Slaten, so she has set some goals to work on and eventually complete. One of her goals is to learn and understand all aspects of the middle hitting position. Along with this, she hopes to successfully run a slide, which is a type of hit for the front row hitters.

“I do plan on always playing travel volleyball, definitely for Union. I would even love to travel to bigger cities with bigger tournaments or even join a sand volleyball team,” said Slaten.

One of her favorite things about travel is improving her skills and knowledge in preparation of her sophomore year of school volleyball. This allows her to work with different girls and a new coach to get their perspective on the game.

After Slaten graduates high school, she hopes to attend Indiana State University to play volleyball. Travel and high school volleyball inspire her to want to continue her passion as long as she can.


Story by Kinley Block

Hays Hones Guitar Skills

Tackling the challenge of learning something as complex as a guitar can be daunting, but eighth grader Keenan Hays was up for the challenge.

Hays first picked up a guitar in September of 2017. Hays had dreamed of playing the instrument for as long as he can remember, and his father turned his dream into a reality.

“Playing guitar was always something I wanted to do, so my dad introduced it to me,” said Hays.

The first step Hays took to learn the guitar was to first rely on his father’s teachings. Then, he reached the point of being able to play a little bit on his own and educate himself on the skills he needed and wanted to learn.

“My dad taught me the basics, but after a while, I just started teaching myself,” said Hays.

For Hays, starting to play guitar came with some mild difficulty; however, he did not have any particular hardships. He did have certain things he depended on when he needed help.

“The most helpful things are my dad, tablature websites and a chord library,” said Hays.

Hays decided that his first song would be Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” This song was the very first he ever learned, his father being the one to teach him. First, Hays went over the notes in the melody. Next, he moved towards mastering the power chords, and then he finished the song off with added muted notes.

“This is a song that helped me play better as I learned more technique,” said Hays.

Although “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was his first, Hays has taken a particular liking to the song “Holiday” by Green Day. Hays finds himself enjoying playing the song, and the “awesome guitar solo” only adds to the reasons for his favoritism.

Along with playing covers, he creates his own songs. He is in a band called Stoked with three of his friends. In the group, Hays is on lead guitar. He creates songs for his band by using an effects pedal with a looper. With this, Hays is able to play several parts and layer them over one another. Once he is happy with the product, he teaches his bandmates the parts.

“I love to make new songs, and I try to make and perfect a new one each week,” said Hays.

In the year and four months Hays has been playing, he has absorbed a lot of information and gained knowledge on guitar that has helped him play more easily. He has improved greatly from when he began and will continue to advance in the future.

In the future, Hays would like to make guitar his expertise. In an ideal world, he would be known for his skills on the instrument like some of his favorite guitarists, Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Angus Young of AC/DC.

For his band, he has similar plans. With Stoked, Hays would like to establish success, an obvious goal. He wants the group to make a name for themselves, getting noticed and being acknowledged for songs they write.

Hays’s ambition and his motivation to go somewhere with his band could be the very thing that gets him and the other members of Stoked a following of their own, along with a future in music.


Story by Masden Embry

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