All posts by Jill Bernard

Caraval: sisters’ journey in more ways than one

by Lilly Combs/Staff Writer

This book begins with two sisters who live on a tiny island ruled by their father.  They have been trapped in this kingdom for their whole lives thanks to their abusive father.  The two sisters always had a dream that they could leave their horrible island behind and go to Caraval.  Caraval is a magical once-a-year performance.

Scarlett the older sister has written to the owner of Caraval many times before but has never gotten an answer back.  Finally, a week before her wedding she gets a letter inviting her fiance, sister, and her to attend Caraval. Little do they know that this was all planned by the games master.  Scarlett worries about getting in trouble if she left the island, so she declines the offer and tells her little sister that it is not safe. Scarlett’s little sister Tella, unfortunately has a different plan.  She along with Julian drugs Scarlett and they throw her on a boat with them.

They get to Caraval and Scarlett realizes, along with Julian that Tella is missing.  They later find out that this is all part of the “fictional” game. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance, and that she shouldn’t get to caught up in the game.  Julian, Tella’s friend, sticks with Scarlett while she tries to find Tella, and win the game.

Scarlett is an unusual heroine for this historical fantasy novel.  Tella seems like the better fit for the heroine stereotype. She is strong, independent, and has a rebellious spirit.  Scarlett lacks all of these characteristics. Scarlett is proper and prim. In this story, readers can see Scarlett grow and develop stronger characteristics and independence.  

This book is about the love between two sisters and what they would do for each other.  It also deals with getting through the challenge of abuse and how to face it.

The theme in Caraval was hard to grasp; I would have liked it to be clearer.  I also wanted to see from Tella’s point of view, not just Scarlett’s. It would have been more interesting if we could see their different paths unwind at the same time.

Overall, the novel Caraval is very interesting and a good fictional read.  It is very descriptive and emotional.


99 Nights in Logar presents unique coming-of-age story

by Andrea Lenser

99 Nights in Logar, authored by Jamil Jan Kochai, tells the story of Marwand, a twelve-year-old child visiting his family in war-ridden Afghanistan. After spending only a couple of days in his family’s village, the tip of Marwand’s finger is bitten off by the formidable but beloved guard dog, Budabash. Marwand and his cousins, Gul, Dawood, and Zia, then vow to capture the escaped beast and return him home.

The novel takes a turn from its initial storyline when Marwand is forced to return to his family’s compound. Gul went missing in a seemingly endless maze of compounds and Dawood fell sick, so Marwand forfeited the search in hope that he and his cousins could make it home alive.

The middle portions of the book outline the various occurrences and hardships that Marwand’s family endured, such as a double engagement, an outbreak of land seasickness, and tension between family members.

Later, Marwand attends a family member’s wedding dressed as a girl in an effort to snap a photo for his cousin Gul, but is then exposed as a fake. He then escapes into the maze of compounds that nearly claimed Gul’s life. In the heart of the maze, Marwand discovers a tunnel filled with bones. He crawls in this tunnel until it opens up into a cave, where further adventures ensue.

Littered throughout the novel are stories, some true and some fiction, that reveal past mistakes and the fate of Marwand’s family. One story in particular that was never completed was the tale of Marwand’s Uncle Watak. The final part of the book is the exhaustive story of Uncle Watak, written in untranslated Pashto.

While this novel is an extraordinary example of coming-of-age literature, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Cultural elements and words unique to Afghan civilizations are common occurrences in the book, making it difficult for people of different cultures to understand and relate to the characters. On the plus side, this book teaches readers about a culture different than their own. Not every detail will be understood, but it’s the immersion in a new culture that makes this book stand out from the crowd.


Personality Profile: Indiana author writes murder mysteries

by Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

He won both the Western Writers of America Spur Award and the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction twice. His books have been featured on the Best Books of Indiana list and have been translated and sold worldwide in Italian and Turkish. He has been nominated for a Derringer Award and won Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year. No, this isn’t just any given author. These are the accomplishments of Larry D. Sweazy, an author and indexer that lives nearby in Noblesville, Indiana.

When he was a little boy, his favorite pastime was reading. This immense love for reading eventually sparked an interest in writing. “I loved books when I was a kid because I could escape and disappear, so I wanted to at some point figure out how I could do that for other people,” he said.

While he was in middle school and then high school, he discovered his interest in writing. The first piece of writing he ever wrote was a poem in eighth grade. His teacher told him, “You know, you’re a really good writer. You should pursue this, and get better at it.” This was the beginning of a pathway that would lead to a career.

As of now, Sweazy has published 14 books, eight westerns and six mysteries. Some of his most popular books are the ones included in the Marjorie Trumaine series, which include See Also Murder, See Also Deception, and See Also Proof. Allison Lenser, a freshman, has read this trilogy and loves how diverse these books are compared to other mystery books of this era. “Each one was unique in its own way,” she said.

Lenser then went on to explain how other murder mysteries take place in modern-day cities, but the Marjorie series is set in the 1960’s on a farm. This one simple element that was altered caused these books to stand out when compared to other mystery books of this era.

A unique aspect of Sweazy’s is his rather distinct writing style. Most authors make an outline before writing and mull over details until they have created the perfect storyline. Sweazy chooses to instead immerse himself in writing and see where the story takes him. “I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants… So I kind of know what’s going to happen, but I don’t know everything. I don’t want to know everything,” he said.

Writing books isn’t the only activity that Sweazy focuses on. He is also a freelance indexer. Cheryl Lenser, a friend of Sweazy’s, also indexes books for a living. “In several of Larry’s novels, he references his other skill–indexing books. Larry has the organizational ability to keep the characters, events, and timeline in mind as he crafts his stories,” she said. Larry’s exquisite indexing skills help organize his writing so his storyline makes sense.

Aside from writing and indexing, Sweazy also reviews books for a magazine, he is on the board of directors for the Midwest Writers Workshop, and he teaches writing courses at the Indiana Writing Center. “Usually everything I do is related to writing, in one way or another… [but] I do quite a bit of other things other than write.”

Sweazy has plans in the future to write and publish more books, as well as add to his current series. He doesn’t plan on slowing down and aims to feed his craving to write for as long as he can.

“I’ve got some young adult ideas I’d like to do, or some science fiction, or some literary novels. It just depends on if I ever get to them,” he said.


Wrestlers wrap up season at state

by Schyler Slunaker/Staff Writer

The Cougar Wrestling Team has had two wrestlers Scott Stanley, 10, and Cooper Noehre, 11, make it all the way to Semi-State. With Stanley winning 5th place in his weight class of 182 lbs, he was not able to move on to state but Noehre made the cut, and on he went to state winning second place out of his weight division at 152 lbs, with a score of 9-7.

Noehre defeated a Bloomington South opponent, a Prairie Heights wrestler, and a Mater Dei grappler at state. He lost in overtime to a Cathedral opponent.

Coach Josh Holden spoke about the season.Our team is very young, 29 freshman and sophomores.  The transition from junior high wrestling to high school wrestling is very difficult.  We demand so much more time at this level. However, I think those young wrestlers did an outstanding job of coming to work every day with a goal, being coachable, and following the process.  Now, we will see if they follow the offseason process.”

Holden went on about how the team is like a second family to him. “I love them!  When I first got into coaching I thought I was going to change the world. I thought I would be the one that made my athletes better people.  But that’s not how it worked out. The program makes them better people and they make me a better man.”

Jacob Blevens, 10, spoke about the team spirit and why he joined this year. “My three brothers are involved in wrestling and I spent most of my time watching the sport or being their drill partner and it seemed a lot of fun so I thought I would try it for myself. After going through a season with them I can honestly say that I have grown to respect and love all of the wrestlers and coaches. ”

The team is all about getting better everyday and is more like a family. “No matter if you are the best wrestler on the team or the worst, you earn respect because of what you go through every day.  Sweating and bleeding together creates a special bond,” Holden said.

The players are all encouraged to help out in the community. For example, as a team they all helped out the local soup kitchen by moving boxes of clothes and toys being donated to the soup kitchen by a local citizen.

Addie Coil, 11, a  trainer for the team, explained why she chose to be a part of it. “My brother, Tyler, wrestled all through junior high and high school. While being dragged to wrestling meets when I was younger, I guess I just started to love it. It was a family back then that I felt a part of and now it’s a family that I am a part of.”


Choir heads to ISSMA competition soon

by Zoe Castle/Staff Writer

GC’s choir program will be participating in the ISSMA (Indiana State School Music Association) competition soon.  Of the six choirs, four will be competing on April 6. Bella Voce, Concert Choir, Freshman Women’s and Freshman Men’s will be those competing. Madrigal will be competing on April 27 and Pop Swing will compete in a show choir competition on March 9.

All of the choirs are getting ready for the competitions and are going to give it their best shot. “I think as a choir we are pretty prepared for ISSMA. We have spent a lot of time working on the songs we are preparing to do and we sound good when we are together,” Peyton Bridges, freshman women’s choir.  

Choir teacher Paul Grizzard believes that his students are ready for the competition and will do well. “All choirs this year are on track for a solid performance.  We will be performing our ISSMA songs for the GCHS Spring Choir Concert on March 7th which serves as good preparation for the competitions,” said Grizzard.

ISSMA contest has two parts. One part of the competition is for the choir to perform three memorized songs on stage in front of a panel of judges. The other part is performing sight reading examples in front of other judges. ISSMA has five different divisions choirs can choose to compete in, one being the hardest and five being the easiest. “All choirs competing on April 6 are going Division 3.  Madrigal is going Division 1 State-Qualifier, which is the most difficult level possible.  At this competition, the best choirs are selected to go to State,” said Grizzard.

Bridges believes her choir is ready for the challenge.  “I think if we work hard during the class time we are given to prepare for our songs then we could have a chance of winning, We as a whole group have to push ourselves to the best of our abilities and work hard to be able to win,” said Bridges.

For some of the students, this is their first choir competition. “I’m excited because this feels like a real choir competition compared to when I was in the junior high choir,” said Melony Chappell, freshman women’s choir.

Being in an extracurricular activity for school and competing together can be very beneficial to students and can have positive effects on them. It can help students to feel like they’re part of a team or another family.  “I love choir and it’s one of the only reasons I like to come to school, it’s a great place to be,” said Ella Cloud, 10, Bella Voce. Many Students who start choir freshman year stick with it throughout their high school life. “This is my second competition, and it’s certainly not my last,” said Cloud.




Personality Profile: Teacher accommodates different learning styles

by Allison Hughey/Staff Writer

   Mrs. Julie Young has been teaching for 34 years, and she loves her job. “All my students are my favorite students,’’ she said.

Young loves “helping students understand what they are working on. I think of way to help it make sense, and it takes a lot of practice. When teaching students sometimes they don’t understand what you are teaching them, so I may break it into little parts to help students understand what they are working on,”  she said. She said she likes to see how the students progress and how her students have changed overtime.

She enjoys helping her students with their school work every day, she said.   She wanted to be a teacher to because she wanted to help students learn as much as she loves to learn, she said.

Her students also enjoy her class. “She explains things so well,” said Danny Reier, 9.  

Her peers also appreciate her efforts. “I like that she is quiet but knows how keep control of the class,” said Hannah Linn, teacher’s assistant in the Special Education department. 

Over Young’s career, there have been some changes. She has moved schools a few times. The way she has had to grade papers and do work has also changed over the years. Her least favorite part about her job is “all the paperwork,” said Young.


Personality Profile: French teacher encourages confidence with language

by Zoe Castle/Staff Writer

There are three different choices of languages to take at Greenfield-Central. If you chose or have chosen to take French, then you have met Mme. Amanda Brown, French teacher.  

Brown has taught French for 16 years. This is her third year at GC. Brown believes that it is important that students learn a different language in high school. “We live in a global society. Being aware of other languages and cultures can help you in the job field. Learning a different language gives students cultural sensitivity and can help you to put yourself  in other people’s shoes.”

Getting students to put themselves out there and try to learn a different language can be tough. If students feel comfortable in a classroom, they are more likely to not be as afraid to speak French. How does Mme. Brown motivate students to learn?  She answered, “By trying to build relationship with students to where they feel supported. I like to make things fun and goofy in my class.”

Steisha Gary, 12, has been positively influenced by Mme. Brown’s philosophy. “Mme. Brown has helped me to feel more confident when speaking a different language,” said Gary.

Brown has always wanted to be a teacher. “I can remember being in kindergarten and knowing I wanted to teach. I always did well in school, so teaching sounded like the best thing for me.” Although Brown  wanted to teach, she didn’t think she would teach French. “ I always knew I wanted to teach. In college I majored in Chemistry and minored in French. I hated Labs and changed my major to Math, still minoring in French. Then I met Calculus. I then finally decided to major in French.”

Brown has been to France twice, once when she was in high school and once when she was in college. Brown loved French culture, which influenced her decision.

Being a good teacher is about more than just teaching. It’s about the relationships you build with students and how you can help them along the way. “My ability to build good relationships with my students to where they know me and can have fun in my classroom is important to me. I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself or be goofy in front of my students.”   

   Some students on Mme. Brown and her teaching.  “Mme. Brown is a good teacher because she is willing to push her students to be successful. She makes her classroom a fun and inviting place to be,” Gary said.

“Madame actually makes school enjoyable, even to those who don’t like school to begin with,” said Gavin Sims, 10.

Teachers are the sculptors of minds, having a teacher that you can feel comfortable around and be silly with is good. “My favorite thing about Madame is that she’s funny and caring. If you seem upset, she’ll check to make sure you’re doing okay. That’s what makes her a good teacher,” said Gary.   

Brown loves to teach all students, but if she had to choose her favorite year to teach, it’s sophomores. “Sophomores are my favorite to teach. They’re still goofy like freshmen, but have matured more.”



Personality profile: Instructor shares joys, challenges of teaching

by Zoe Starks/Staff Writer

          Mindy Weaver-Flask, English teacher, has been teaching for about 19 years. She has taught in both private and public schools in Ohio and Indiana. Before teaching she was in the military as a member of the Ohio National Guard.            

          Flask talked about why she wanted to become a teacher.  “The reason I wanted to become a English teacher was because when I was in school I had an amazing English teacher. That teacher changed the trajectory of my life.”  

          She added, “My favorite thing about teaching is building relationships with my students. I love seeing their growth of reading and writing throughout the years.”

          Flask discussed why she wanted to work at Greenfield-Central. “I chose to work at GCHS because I wanted a change,” she said.

She said, “The most frustrating thing about teaching is the policies of the state of Indiana because of the amount of state testing and the negative outcomes for many of our students.”

 “Some of the everyday challenges I go through are time management. It never feels like there is enough time to look through scores and help my students with all their work.”

        Lauren Silcox, 9, said, “I like how she is very interactive with the class and willing to help anyone.”

        Audrey Pechin, 9, said, “I like how she is helpful and kind to everyone.” Pechin said Mrs. Flask is a very understanding person.

          Silcox said Flask’s teaching style is easy to comprehend and thinks that she is a very helpful teacher.            

      Mrs. Flask said she may not be a classroom teacher in five years. Instead, she will pursue guidance counseling so she can help children in a different capacity.            

Personality Profile: Soccer coach, mom balances activities

by Schyler Slunaker/Staff Writer

Though Erin Clark is a soccer coach, she is also a mom and a second grade teacher.  Balancing all of these is pretty tough, but she said she figures it out a majority of the time.

“Balance for me is key. My family always comes first and then from there I have to prioritize what’s most important. For me, being healthy for my kids is so important. I want them to see me being healthy so they will lead healthy, active lives,” Clark said.

She became a soccer coach just over four years ago, and wants to show her team the passion and dedication she has for the game. Clark said, “Soccer was my life for so long and I truly love the game. I hope that by coaching, I can help the girls love the game and everything that comes with it.” A freshman team member Haley Arthur, 9, says “she always shows up to practice, and puts an effort in to help me become a better soccer player.”

Impacting players is a big part of the team as a whole, if you’re the coach, senior, or even a freshman. They all impact each other to be their best. Alex Rupley, 12, says “I will be graduated, but I am looking forward to seeing how the team will be and how they will work together this upcoming season. Hopefully they will continue to have a good record, win sectionals this year, and continue to get closer as a team.”

As if teaching, coaching, and motherhood weren’t enough, Clark practices CrossFit as a hobby and uses it to improve the soccer team. She said, “Crossfit is a high intensity sport that involves cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and much more. It is designed to prepare your body for the unexpected.”

Clark has been doing CrossFit for just about six years and has brought what she has learned into the girls routine, such as during the off-season scheduling weight training and applying such exercises during practice.

A soccer team member told us a little more in depth about how Clark incorporates her hobby into the soccer schedule.  Rupley said, “She had one of her CrossFit partners come in for a soccer season. Clark and Tristan (crossfit partner) made workouts for the soccer team based on what they’ve been doing at CrossFit. We even went to where she does crossfit to train as a team a few times.”

CrossFit is like any other sport, so they have competitions and tournaments. Clark competes in these competitions with her CrossFit team. She said, “I have always been an athlete so I do love the competitive side and I enjoy competing in crossfit competitions. I enjoy the way CrossFit makes me feel. I feel healthy when I am able to keep up with my kids and have energy to do what I need to as a mom.”

Not only is Crossfit a hobby of Clark’s but it’s also a way for her to make new friends and enjoy what she loves with other people other than her family. She said, “I love the social aspect of CrossFit, too. When you go to CrossFit, it’s a social time as well. I have made so many very good friends through CrossFit.”

Erin Clark


VEX teams aim for state

by Adam Bright/Staff Writer

The VEX robotics team’s almost four-month season end is coming up.  One team, out of the five high school and three junior high teams GC has,  is currently ranked third in the state and also third in the world with Indiana having the top three robot teams in the world.

To be ranked third in the world takes lots of time and practicing. Caleb Stoeffler, 11, said “Our club has practice every Tuesday and Thursday for about two hours. However, throughout the entire season my team comes in an hour and half before school starts, giving us more time. Since I have sports at the beginning of the season it is important to get in early and get the robot ready for my programmer.”

A strong team like VEX has many strengths, and also often skills that can be improved. Austin Robinson, 12, said “I think our biggest strengths are being able to do more at once with the design we came up with.”

Stoeffler said, “We all have great communication within the team. We all have our own jobs and ideas to work on and we get things done faster.” Stoeffler also said, “Our communication with other teams outside our school is a little weak. We have some weakness with deciding on ideas as well.”

Nick Kerkhof, VEX sponsor, commented on the team’s goals. “If you asked our team, I think Goal 1 is to qualify for state and then we start to work our way up from there to winning the world championship. Having the opportunity to play and compete in front of 10,000 people would be something that is pretty special.”

Robinson talked about the aspect of the team he handles. “My personal favorite part about VEX is the programming.” He also said, “My favorite part about building is finding tricks and using parts for other purposes than what they were intended for.”

Kerkhof said he enjoyed watching all the long hours pay off for the students. “ My favorite part of VEX is competing and watching students succeed in something that they put so much time and effort into.” Stoeffler said, “I do enjoy whenever something works the first time and it works all the time, knowing that something I build is making the robot work to the best of its ability.”

The VEX team has state competitions coming up, then the U.S. Open, and then the World competition. Kerkhof said, “I think the easiest way to reach that ultimate goal is to continually work hard and look to improve.  Ultimately by doing that you will get the opportunity to achieve that goal.”

Students can learn many skills from VEX. Kerkhof said, “I want the students to have a good time and learn.  There is a lot more to learn than just engineering. Robotics, like many other sports or activities, teaches a lot of the life skill that are needed to succeed.”