All posts by Jill Bernard

Cougars Getting “rAMPed up” For This Years Newest Season


by Jacob Torrez/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Preston Holmes, 10, Dalton Evans, 11, and the trumpet section practice for upcoming marching band competition. Photo by Jacob Torrez

GREENFIELD-CENTRAL (August 30, 2021) — Last Year, 2020, was one of the most unusual and chaos ridden years this decade. Most of these problems were caused by COVID-19, the marching band being no exception with their competitive season being cancelled due to the complications of the virus. The Cougars still performed in front of an audience but not to the normal degree they would have when they would be able to do a full year. Despite all of the complications, the marching band put on a strong show during the year of 2020. 

Come 2021 and the marching band has been able to truly prepare the 2020 show “rAMPed up” for a competitive performance. “I think it’ll be a blast for people to watch,” said Jeremy Turner, one of the head directors of the marching band. “This show will be a production that will stick out in people’s minds, in a good way!” With this year’s marching band being of 140+ members, keeping social distancing and COVID safety in check has been a struggle. Turner commented on the biggest struggle of the 2021 year for the band. “It has been navigating quarantines. Looking at some days with a large number of groups out because of contract tracing.” While things still look grim in this “new” way of marching, the 2021 Cougars have been able to navigate and pull off a full show to perform in front of an audience. 

With the new year of 2021, the marching band scene has been put back to what it was before, this meaning the marching band will be able to put on “rAMPed up” in front of a large audience across Indiana. Turner then commented about how the marching band would do competitively: “When this 2021 band is cooking? They are as good as any group we’ve ever had. If we can continue to grow the way that we have then I think the year will be a special one for all involved.” With competition season approaching rapidly, the Cougars prepared to put on their first show since 2019 in which they had become state champions. When this story is being written, the Cougars are only a few days from their first competition in Brownsburg, Indiana. 

Mr. Turner also commented on what his favorite part of this year’s marching band was, He responded: “Easily one of the most fun groups we’ve had. Even on days that are tougher, there are still so many smiles and laughs. They are just generally a positive group. And perhaps more importantly, a group that enjoys being around each other.” 

Mr. Chris Wing, Gc’s primary band director and head of the marching band, commented a similar thing: “Every day, I get to hang out with some outstanding young people who are the opposite of what everyone thinks about teenagers.  It’s easy for adults who don’t interact with them every day to say teenagers are lazy, entitled, scared of working hard, etc.  Every day, I get to watch the exact opposite happen. I watch teenagers work hard, collaborate, struggle and persevere, and achieve great things.” 

One of the “great things” this group was able to achieve recently was a second place finish at the marching band competition on Sept. 11.

Profile: Amador creates environment of cultural acceptance

by Kaydence Ham/Staff Writer

Many people are well aware of the value of a teacher in their lives. For students, a teacher is the one who influences their character, habits, career, and education in life. They mold students and their futures accordingly in order to make them responsible citizens of the country. There are certain people whom one remembers throughout one’s life because that person genuinely cares. One such person may well be Mrs. Erika Amador. 

Mrs. Amador has one main goal for students who leave her class and it’s not that they will be fluent in Spanish. Cultural acceptance and knowledge are very important to Ms. Amador. “Yes, I want kids to know Spanish…but mainly if they have an open mind towards other people, groups, and cultures,” she said. “That’s a big success.” Her co-worker, Miss Sonja Jaggers agreed that World Language teachers try to make education relevant and that is part of the way Mrs. Amador relates to her students.

Amador understands that students and teachers of today have so many challenges they face. She feels that technology is the biggest challenge because it can be a huge distraction. Along with that is “all the expectations placed on students by other people,” she said. “Sometimes students feel like they have to have an A or B or else they’re failing and that’s not the case. C is average.” That is a lot of pressure to handle and it can be overwhelming for students. 

She does her best to overcome these challenges with students by communicating. “I’m very open with students and expect them to communicate openly with me as well,” Amador said. Miss Jaggers said part of the reason Mrs. Amador is such a good teacher is “relationships and trying to be positive during the challenging times.” 

Some of her students would agree that she is positive. “Mrs. Amador always had a great attitude and tries to put us in a good mood too,” Marissa Clapp, freshman, said.

Amador overcomes her own challenges by trying to find new techniques and ways to manage what she describes as her lack of time management skills and technology skills. Although Mrs. Amador recognizes her technology skills as a weakness, when interviewed, Miss Jaggers described her as, “Tech-savvy, fun, and family oriented.” Amador also recognizes that in our current COVID climate there are multiple challenges for teachers today and teachers need to, “push aside all the ‘junk’ and focus on the students and why you became a teacher to begin with.”

She would recommend if a student does want to ace any foreign language repetition is key but it’s also important to immerse yourself in that language.

Ms. Amador has busy days at G-C filled with back to back classes and lunch duty. She loves teaching and enjoys interacting with students and sharing her passion for Spanish. The students recognize her passion. “I actually don’t mind Spanish because she is really good at keeping us engaged and keeping us busy so time doesn’t pass so slowly in her class,” Clapp said.

She also loves that her students “always surprise me. For better or worse they always surprise me”.

Students will likely be walking the hallways of G-C a decade from now and see Mrs. Amador because she plans to stick around. “I like teaching. That’s why I’m here.” She has either been in school as a student or a teacher for 36 years and she sees many more years to come trying to instill a love of culture in students because to her “that’s a job well done.”

Profile: Business teacher lucas builds relationships with students, peers

by Joseph Phillips/Staff Writer

GC teacher Mr. Michael Lucas has been teaching business classes for 7 years. Lucas has only taught at GC for one year and he has made a positive impression on many of the students here. Students notice that he jokes a lot and lightens up the mood. He joined GCHS just a little before the pandemic. 

      Jeanna Brown, 10, said she wished more teachers were like him because, “He is so easy-going, his class runs smoothly, and he makes us feel comfortable and safe. Mr.Lucas is always willing to help us if we need it, answer whatever questions we have, though I feel like he makes us do too many slide presentations.” 

      William Henderson, also a business teacher at Greenfield-Central who has been teaching with Lucas for almost 2 years, describes Mr. Lucas as having compassion when it comes to teaching. “Mr. Lucas takes a very participative approach to education, always getting the students to interact with him and the students he is always willing to try new approaches, and I think he’s best at communicating.”

       Lucas said what he thinks his greatest strengths and weaknesses are. “I think my strengths are communicating with students in a productive way, building relationships in the classroom to identify the needs of a student. I think that I am a good team player with my peers, and my weaknesses are administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, answering phones, and maintaining organized file systems for the organization.”

       Lucas finished high school at Arsenal Technical High School in 1985 and then graduated from Marian University in 1989. He said he became a teacher because “I wanted to help young people, I have always wanted to teach. After twenty years in the business field, I was given the opportunity to be a teacher. That’s when I got my teaching certificate to teach students in the field of finance and business. That was seven years ago in 2014.” 

       His first day at GC was overwhelming as Lucas described it. He started in the middle of the school year and started over with a new school, after his last school, TC Howe closed. “(I had) New students, new procedures, new usernames & passwords. Mr. Henderson was a great help to get started and welcomed,” Lucas said. “The craziest thing that has happened since I’ve been here has been the COVID experience probably like every other school.” 

Mr. Lucas described his typical school day. He said, “I have my classroom classes, and I have the Career Exploration students who sign out before work every day. There is a lot of traffic. On most days, I have about 160 students come into my room,” 

           Lucas then began to describe what he thinks is the best and the worst part of teaching. “In my opinion the best part of teaching is working with young people and seeing them learn and mature. It is good to be in a room with young folks who are positive and optimistic with their futures ahead of them,” he said. “The hardest part for me as a teacher is so many people having an opinion on what we do as teachers with no involvement or limited involvement in the process of the classroom. These are mostly people outside of the school in different roles. There doesn’t seem to be the collaborative effort and shared accountability in the student’s success as there has been in the past.” 

           Lucas had a bit of advice for people who want to go into teaching. He said, “Relationships in the classroom are important. Students learn in different ways. Don’t judge students by what you see or what you hear from others. Ask questions of your fellow teachers who are almost always very willing to assist.”

Profile: Bernard encourages journalism skills, storytelling

by Andrew Elsbury/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mrs. Jill Bernard assists Zoey Petersen, 10, on her personality profile for the September Cougar Review issue.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”-Benjamin Franklin.  GC teacher Mrs. Jill Bernard has been teaching for over 20 years. She has helped many people in a variety of subjects, ranging from English to journalism. Although only being at Greenfield Central for nine years, she has had an important impact on the students who have had her class.

Growing up in Rensselaer, Indiana, guided by her father’s love for writing and her mother’s curiosity, Bernard got very deep into journalism. After graduating high school, she went to Indiana University, majoring in journalism. Once she graduated, Mrs. Bernard taught in Frankfort, Indiana for 7 years. After her long run in Frankfort, she taught in Arizona for the same amount of time. Finally, Bernard made her way to Greenfield Central, as this year marks her ninth year teaching in Greenfield.

One of Bernard’s students this year, Lauren Blasko, 11, said about the teaching veteran, “(Mrs. Bernard) is really understanding, and she gives amazing criticisms that help to better our writing.” 

Another one of Mrs. Bernard’s students, Jeanna Brown, 10, said the following about the former Who’s Who of American Teachers nominee: “The way Mrs. Bernard teaches is so free-flowing and confident, it really gives her lessons that extra step into helping her students, better than her teaching peers.” 

The reasoning behind Mrs. Bernard’s career choices are very intriguing. For example, the reason she loves journalism so much is because she loves to tell other people’s stories. “Everyone has a story,” Bernard stated, “and relaying those stories to the world is an important job.” The veteran teacher is also very humble, given her answers when asked about how her friends would describe her: “I HOPE they would say kind, funny, and helpful.” 

Bernard fills many students’ hearts with HOPE, as if she did not, there would be no one writing the GC newspaper, the Cougar Review. Bernard also talked about her students, and how she feels about them; specifically the misbehaving ones: “Most of the kids are good students. I like seeing kids develop, and I love helping students through their struggles.”

“Her overall personality.” This quote from student Jeanna Brown sums up her favorite part of Jill Bernard. Mrs. Bernard shows this “overall personality” by her response to her hobbies/reasonings for writing: “I enjoy making jewelry in my free time. I like to spend time with my family more, however.” Mrs. Bernard also stated a reason as to why she enjoys journalism so much. “I like writing about people. I like to tell their stories, and I like to get my opinion on certain events out there.”

Bernard states that her biggest achievement in life is having a family, a sentiment that is shared by many men and women alike, here in the U.S. Academically, however, Mrs. Bernard states that one of her biggest achievements is being nominated twice for “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers,” in which a teacher, along with their picture, is put in a large book of America’s best teachers, nominated by America’s best students (the top 10% of students in their respective classes).

Bernard’s caring attitude towards all people, specifically her students, is shown in her way of teaching and her love for storytelling in writing. “A great teacher can teach Calculus with a paperclip and literature in an empty field. Technology is just another tool, not a destination”-Unknown.

Cougars start season in full force

by Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Senior Larry Bellows, #60, runs on to the field with the Cougars.

The Cougars Football team is off to a solid start this season at 2-2 for both varsity and junior varsity.

Jackson Maciejewski-Haston, 9, who plays quarterback on offense and safety on defense, talked about what his goals,  personally and as a team, are for this season. He said, “My personal and team goals are the same — get better each week. We never want to dwell on the past or look too far ahead. We are focused on going 1-0 each week, and for me, I’m just trying to improve each week as a football player.” 

Isaiah Sitton, 9, who plays left Guard and D Guard, had a very specific focus.He said, “My goal for this season is to beat New Palestine as a team.”

 Joey Roland, 12, has been versatile with different positions, other than the offensive line. This year he will be playing running back and defensive end. He said, “The main goal is always to get better day by day and to obviously achieve a county championship trophy and a sectional championship trophy. A personal goal is to make the teammates around me a better person and a better football player. Playing football isn’t always about winning but more of becoming a better person and getting ready for your future.” 

Travis Nolting, head coach, who has been coaching football for a total of 17 years (10 years as a head coach and 7 years as an assistant coach) talked about growing skills in the players that they can use in their own lives. He said, “My goal is always to try and develop a team that can handle adversity on and off the field and teach our players to be successful men of character.”

Nolting talked about who has stepped in to take the place of the seniors who graduated last year on the team. He said, “Since having seniors graduate last year, lots of players have stepped up to take their place on the team. High school football is all about stepping up and getting the job done. We have had a great group of hard-working guys step up and work hard this year.”

Sitton talked about what he thinks the strengths of the team are. He said, “We keep each other up.” Nolting added: “Strengths of the team would be our experience. We returned a lot of seasoned players and we will always work on trying to get better and better every day. The strength of our coaching staff is also experience. We have a great group of coaches with a wealth of experience. Some guys on our staff have been head coaches before and others could be. That makes my job a lot easier when I can delegate work to guys who I can trust.” 

Roland also discussed the stability of the team. He said, “The biggest strength would most definitely be the defense. We have 9 starting seniors and all who have been a part of the program every year, and we all have 2-3+ years of varsity experience.” Maciejewski-Haston commented as well, saying, “I feel we have really strong senior leadership. Guys have worked really hard and are committed to moving GC in the right direction. We have a system that’s tough to defend and guys have really bought into it.” 

Roland also talked about changes from last year that need to be enhanced. He said, “The weaknesses (of the team) would most likely be the offense. We lost almost all our starting O-Line from last year and the starting QB, so we have some guys playing in some new varsity spots this year.” Maciejewski-Haston said, “I wouldn’t consider us to have weaknesses, just areas of improvement. Our coaches do a great job of focusing our time on things we need to get better at. It’s early in the season so we just need to improve our timing on certain plays or recognize things on defense quicker. I’m confident we’ll get better at these things every week.”

Nolting talked about how they prepare the boys physically and mentally when they are facing a challenging opponent. He said, “The same way you prepare for every game. We prepare the same each week. Consistency is something we feel helps our guys grow and develop.” Maciejewski-Haston commented about what he does when he’s heading into a very competitive game. He said, “We try to approach every game the same because they’re all important. Personally, I just try to focus on my assignments for my position. If I know my job, then it allows me to go out and play fast and have fun.” 

Roland’s take on the topic was, “Personally, you need to just focus and lock in, not hours or minutes before the game but almost days before the game. I start focusing on the big game mainly on that Monday of the game week. I have to be focused in practice mainly and I still have to be focused in the classroom.” Sitton said, “When I’m heading into a very competitive game, I pop in earbuds and think of the plays we run.”

Roland talked about how they build team-building skills among the team. He said, “Obviously, we have teammates in classes and we are always chatting and getting along, but for the seniors we have team dinners at a seniors’ house every Thursday and that is a main way we build team-building skills.” Nolting discussed how the coaches instill determination and tenacity among the team. He said, “We spend a lot of time teaching our system and schemes to encourage confidence and team-building among the team. We have found that when players know exactly what to do and how to do it, they play faster and harder.” 

Sitton said, “We build team-building skills among the team by trying our hardest during drills and build skill when we all work together.” Maciejewski-Haston said, “I think that a way we build as a team is picking each other up when we are struggling and are in a situation that might be bad. We also build as a team when we are hyped up and are ready to play together as a team. 

Nolting concluded with a final comment about coaching this group of boys this season. He said, “The experience we return makes it really fun this year. Our players understand the basic system which allows us to be more diverse on both sides of the ball.”

Girls soccer surges forward with two consecutive wins

by Devin Evanoff/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Callie Means, 10, makes a free kick after a foul. Photo: Submitted

The girls soccer team was off to somewhat of a rocky start this year, but they still focused on their goals, and are moving forward with two wins in a row. Centerback Callie Means, sophomore, stated, “We talk about goals often on the team. We always focus on one thing at a time, so normally we prepare for the certain team we are playing for the week. As far as a major goal, we all would love to go far in sectionals.” 

She also commented on how her second year on the team is going, stating “It’s been great so far. The team is more connected and closer with each other this year.” 

Means discussed the differences from last year to this year, saying “We play more as a passing team rather than be physically focused.” 

Means described what her position does for the team. She stated, “Our continuous job is to be the last line of defense and most physical people on the field. We also have to communicate well and constantly with our teammates.” 

As far as preparation for the games, Means said, “We all like to listen to rap music for a better performance and have a pregame huddle right before kickoff. Myself, Carly (Means), and (Claire Davidson, freshman) all write “AO1” on our legs or wrist to remind us that we only play for an audience of 1 and it centers our focus.” 

With all the pressure expectations can bring, standing out from the pack can be challenging. Means discussed what she does to stand out from everyone else, saying,  “I have been told that I can be physical but know where to find the good passes. I sometimes play in the midfield. My focus, game-play and role has to completely switch.” 

Callie’s sister Carly Means, freshman, also discussed her thoughts about the season. She stated, “I’m really excited for the high school season. I think if we stay healthy we can be successful this year.” 

Performing well as a player is a priority for Carly. “I plan to go out every game and give 100%,” Carly said.  “I will do my best to do what my team needs whenever they need it.” 

As far as her role on the team, she stated, “I’m hoping I can be impactul for the offense. I’d bring a lot of speed to the team and make a lot of outside runs.” Means also spoke about how the transition was from junior high to high school. “The transition was good because I was super excited to play with my sister again. Our coach was also my club coach a couple of years ago,” she said. 

COVID did affect the season, unfortunately. Davidson stated, “There have been players taken out and there has been at least one girl who  is missing most of the season. Also, there was no student section at first but in the past few games there have been more people.” She also spoke about how travel is different. She stated, “We still get to ride a team bus but we don’t get to pick where we sit and we have to wear masks on the bus.”

The girls team may have started off with a rocky start but there are still plenty of games left to have a good comeback season. The girls seem ready and know what they have to do to reach their goals.

Profile: buchanan makes learning about universe entertaining

by Ben Brunsting/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mr. Jeremy Buchanan, GC Physics Teacher teaches his class a new equation. Photo by Ben Brunsting

The rules of the universe: an interesting concept in theory but the process of learning the rules can become monotonous and tedious. Thankfully here at Greenfield Central we have great teachers capable of keeping people both interested and intrigued in the subject. One such teacher is Mr. Jeremy Buchanan, physics teacher in room 1139.

Buchanan began his teaching career in 2005 working at Bishop Chatard High School until 2007 when he moved to Franklin Central High School. After working there for five years Buchanan then moved once more to Greenfield Central in 2012. Buchanan commented on his reasoning for becoming a teacher, “I never wanted to be a schoolteacher. In my teens, I wanted to be a scientist – a physicist or an astronomer – but by the time I graduated college I was focused on family and children. Grad school didn’t seem a very practical course of action for me. Eventually, I figured out that teaching was a profession that suited my family life well without being boring. I think it’s worked out okay.”

Of course we all know Buchanan as the physics teacher, but what you might not know is that physics isn’t the only subject he specializes in. For instance, he also has minors in astronomy, computer science, mathematics and even English Literature. “A class in English literature each semester helped to give my education the variety that made it enjoyable. Natural sciences and the humanities are also more closely connected than you might think. Consider, for example, that one of the first professional achievements of Galileo was a pair of lectures delivered to the Florentine Academy on the science of Dante’s Inferno.”

A break from the daily monotony is what Mr. Buchanan gives to his students. One such student is junior Peyton Willits who said about Buchanan’s methods of teaching, “I feel that his style of teaching is really nice since he makes sure you’re engaged, which is pretty good when you have ADHD.” A common occurrence seemingly, with junior Dominic Smith saying something similar: “One of my favorite things about his teaching is how into it he gets.” 

With such a wide love for his teaching, Mr. Buchanan clearly interacts well with students. He said of this ability, “Like a lot of people who are introverted and socially awkward, I find that a setting where I have a specific role makes interacting with people much more comfortable. It took me a lot of practice to be comfortable speaking in front of a classroom, but now I’m reasonably at home with it.” Another notable characteristic of Mr. Buchanan is his willingness to let himself get lost on tangents that keep his students engaged with him and keeps the feel of the classroom fresh. “ I love wordplay and storytelling in general, but I also try to consciously cultivate a style and a presentation that engages students and helps to keep things interesting,” Mr. Buchanan said.

With students using words like, “Quirky,” (Peyton Willits) and, “Goofy,” (Dominic Smith) to describe him, it’s pretty easy to understand he isn’t just your average teacher. When Mr. Buchanan was asked to tell a physics joke to conclude our story, he said, “I’m sorry. I only tell bad jokes. I’ll leave you with a limerick:

“There was a young lady named Bright

Whose speed was much faster than light

She set out one day

In a relative way

And returned on the previous night.”

Profile: Math teacher Marler helps to turn negatives to positives

by Jeanna Brown/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mrs. Michelle Marler dresses to support her school. She loves using the white board to encourage student learning as well. Photo by Jeanna Brown

“Life is a math equation. In order to gain the most, you have to know how to convert negatives into positives.” – Anonymous.

Mrs. Michelle Marler, GC math teacher has a way of turning the negatives into positives, in the case, a positive attitude. Nathan Schrieber, a GC graduate, said that Mrs. Marler was his favorite teacher in high school. “She would always help me when I needed help and provided a safe and comforting environment. She never got mad, or acted frustrated when asking for help. She always made little jokes to help motivate me. Even if I wasn’t understanding something, she would always help me until I understood it. She was the nicest teacher I had.”

  Mrs. Marler has been teaching for many years. Mrs. Marler ensures her students get the best learning experience, by helping them relate everyday life things to math. 

Marler decided she would like to be a math teacher her senior year of high school. She originally applied to colleges to be a physical therapist, but she decided since she enjoyed helping her classmates with AP Calc, that she would pursue math education instead. 

Mrs. Marler stated that her mom inspired her to become a math teacher. “My mother was an elementary teacher, and while I had no desire to teach at the elementary level, I saw how much she loved teaching.” Mrs. Marler also stated that her students were the ones who inspire her to continue teaching every day. “They are the ones who make this job interesting and rewarding. I love getting to know who they are and hopefully help them learn and grow.” 

Mr. Todd Degler, also in the math department with Marler, has been teaching with Mrs. Marler for 10 years. They even went to the same college. Even though they didn’t know each other in college, they graduated a semester apart in the Math Education department. Mr. Degler described Mrs. Marler as reliable, steady, and a confident professional. “She is willing to stop what she is doing to help anyone who needs it,” Degler said.  Degler also stated that he would feel comfortable letting Mrs. Marler teach his own children.

Mrs. Marler always tries to get her point across in many different ways.“Mrs. Marler gets to the point quickly, while explaining needed information,” stated Mr. Degler. “She uses visuals and examples to demonstrate the process of math concepts. She is also very good at checking for understanding throughout her lesson by giving problems for students to explain orally, on paper, or to demonstrate.” 

As like every teacher, Mrs. Marler is not perfect. She has flaws like everyone else, but her flaws don’t really seem like flaws. They are more like high expectations.  “I feel one thing Mrs. Marler could improve on is saying no. She often will agree to an extra workload to help others or give up her prep period to work with students,” stated Mr. Degler. “I feel one thing Mrs. Marler could work on is not giving out as much homework. I used to have  homework in her class every night,” stated Schrieber. 

When you first begin teaching, things can be difficult. You have to learn how the school functions, Marler said. “Things are much more relaxed now versus when I first started teaching. Education is much more personalized and not as black and white as it used to be,” Marler said. “Students have many more choices and resources available to them. When I first started teaching, I would have students begging me to accept late homework. Now I’m the one begging them to turn in late work. Technology has also changed a lot in education, both for better and worse. While technology has increased opportunities for communication and online resources, it has also created serious barriers to classroom engagement.”

Teaching can be difficult with a normal school year, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. “Teaching those who are out with COVID or who were contact-traced is tough. You have students in class with you, but a group of students who may or may not be watching you on a google meet. COVID has made it tough to do what I have planned because I like to do group activities and hands-on things.” 

Mrs. Marler has made a positive reputation for herself. “Overall, I would recommend Mrs. Marler to anyone,” stated Mr. Degler. 

“Mrs. Marler is the best teacher I have ever had, and I would recommend her to anyone because she is willing to help others, before she helps herself,” stated Schrieber. 

Mrs. Marler summed it up, “I love my job and being able to help kids in any way I can.”  

Crumlin, known for “energy,” “love of life” teaches students “math is your power”

by Zoey Petersen/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Angela Crumlin, math teacher at GCHS, stays after school to help her students succeed in math.

Some math teachers have reverted to the good old whiteboard and markers to teach this subject most people would call complicated. Not Mrs. Angela Crumlin. She has bubbles that she blows to help kids de-stress. She has a tool belt around her waist to ensure she has everything she could need at any given moment. Not everyone can be happy when they are going into math class, but when students are on their way to Mrs. Crumlin’s room, their opinion changes.

Mrs. Crumlin’s love for math came from a struggle with spelling. That might not make sense, but to elaborate, she never wrote her spelling words down to practice them; she would always practice vocally. Practicing vocally didn’t help her to succeed in spelling, but writing everything down made her realize her love for problem solving. Once she realized that writing math down helped her to solve the problem, her love for it grew. After that, helping people was just instinct.

Mrs. Crumlin refers to herself as the “Energizer Bunny” and some of her co-workers agree. “I admire her energy. She has so much of it,” Ms. Kristin Harker, fellow math teacher, said.

Mrs. Michelle Marler, another math teacher, concurred. “Her energy makes her a good teacher, and how she really cares about her students. She’s really aware of what kids need.” 

Not only is she a great teacher, she’s a good friend. Mrs. Marler recounted how she has gone to Mrs. Crumlin for advice when it comes to her kids. “She’s got more experience than me,” Marler noted. Mrs. Marler has worked with Mrs. Crumlin for 18 years now, and what she admires most is her “love of life.” Mrs. Marler has learned how to be a great teacher while working with Mrs. Crumlin. “She works really hard and sets a great example on what it means to be a great teacher.” 

Ms. Harker has learned a thing or two from Mrs. Crumlin as well, like better organizational skills. Better yet, Ms. Harker has asked Mrs. Crumlin, “about specific student situations, to see if she would’ve made the same decision. She has a lot more experience than me.” It seems that Mrs. Crumlin is a go-to for advice on professional and personal situations. Mrs. Harker has also noticed how Mrs. Crumlin was able to “adapt to different environments” when the pandemic made everything electronic. “She learned how to use the technology in order to be there for her students. She provides a lot of resources,” Harker said.

Mrs. Crumlin has clearly influenced others in her department and one can see her dedication and love for her craft. One may walk into her classroom apprehensive about math, but one will likely walk out with confidence. She helps students to realize, “Math is your power. iIf you can do math you can do anything,” as Mrs. Crumlin says.

Return to “normal”:students cautiously optimistic about return to class

by Drew Smith/Staff Writer

The destructive path of COVID-19 has been undeniably immense within schools and the education department as a whole. From entirely virtual periods, several different hybrid schedules, contact tracing and more, the inconsistent and messy past year and a half has had an undeniable effect on teachers and the students they teach. Greenfield-Central High School had its own difficulties in that stretch of time, from a quickly ended 2019-20 school year to a quickly shifted first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, it has been shifting and changing consistently. Staff and students had done their best to manage and keep up with the increasing difficulties of the ever-changing schedules, but many fell behind. Now, as the school returns to a sense of normalcy with a fully in-person schedule (excluding individual cases wherein students opted to stay home completely), the question on many people’s minds is how are students handling the return and how long can it last?

Each student has been affected in their own individual way, depending on the programs they’re involved in, classes they participate in, and jobs outside of school. These three students had vastly different while also closely similar experiences throughout this pandemic period: Mario Steverson, a junior involved in several advanced courses as well as a member of the NineStar Films crew; Makenna Hansen, a junior heavily involved in marching band; Zane Bundy, a senior whose schedule could not get busier from juggling a job at Planet Fitness on the weekends, a major position in the theatre’s lighting and sound department, as well as another job with the aforementioned NineStar Films crew. These students have extremely differing schedules and duties, but they share in common their absolute busyness. Over the course of this time, they have seen some of the most drastic changes as they’ve whiplashed back and forth between a normal and hybrid schedule. 

The return to a full schedule has been impactful on all students, whether positive or negative. “Coming back, being a senior, it’s been pretty interesting. There’s a lot of different avenues and different choices you get to have as a senior. With that, it’s been pretty nice, it’s been pretty normal to come back and be with everybody. But, anything’s better than last year. Last year was pretty tough,” explained Bundy when discussing the return to a full schedule. 

Seniors at the school had one full year as freshmen in the 2018-19 school year and of course their sophomore year was cut short, as well as a junior year dominated by hybrid schedules. “Each has their own opinion on the varying schedules we sampled, and while I’ll say that virtual schedules were a challenge, coming back has been something to readjust to, and while different, no less daunting,” Hansen remarked on the return. “It’s not so much the work that’s changed, but rather the way we must now live out our day to day lives compared to before. Last year, we were given extensions on most deadlines, we often got to attend class from the comfort of our own homes, and getting everything done was a little more manageable.” Steverson didn’t have much to say on the return, noting, “I’ve adjusted pretty much to the regular school year. Not much has changed about how I feel, a bit nervous of what’s to come.” The return for students seems to have been a mostly positive experience and excitement to finally have some consistency. But the experience of coming back still has left some a little out of place and discomposed. 

“I’ve enjoyed coming back and having a somewhat regular school year in what seems like ages. One thing that has been jarring is just how ‘regular’ it seems to be. It’s almost like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, you know, too good to be true. I feel like this point was further pushed by how many people were knocked out within the first couple of weeks,” Steverson explained timidly. For context, Steverson’s freshmen year was cut off in the last quarter and his sophomore year was bridled with a semi-virtual schedule. “Personally, I think coming back has been refreshing. It’s nice to finally see a glimpse of the world we once knew; a light at the end of the tunnel,” Hansen distinguished briefly. Bundy mostly agreed with Hansen’s sentiment, stating, “It’s been satisfying to get back, hasn’t really been too jarring. (I had) [So] many years prior of having school and having had the high school experience before. Being a senior, I got to have some normal years beforehand, but I can see freshmen and sophomores having more trouble coming back.” While the light of the tunnel is starting to become visible, the looming threat of the pandemic has not vanished. There is still the unfortunate threat of a return to a hybrid schedule as more and more people test positive and are contact-traced. 

Bundy punctuated it very clearly, remarking, “Yes, I see all that getting worse, but it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, that’s how it goes. With all the new variants and just being around people more, the vaccines are becoming less effective and things in general are not going so good, but unfortunately it’s the way it’s gonna go.” 

Steverson possessed a bit more of a relaxed attitude on the matter, noting, “I only worry about my family and friends as rude as that may seem. If you want to wear it, go for it, if not it’s whatever. I think our students actually are really nice when it comes to ‘mask etiquette.’ I’ve had kids in class with me have no mask on and put one on when they start to feel sick.” Hansen, out of the group, had the most positive outlook, simply explaining, “I’m not worried about COVID-19 spreading now that the majority are unmasked.” It seems as though the concern of COVID-19 ranges between students from seriously worrying to nothing to sweat over. 

In this pandemic period, many opportunities were closed for several students, whether it be sports, theatre, or band. So after a year and a half of those extracurricular activities being either postponed or shortened, how have students managed a return to those activities being in full? “The only differences I experienced with [band and my job] were the restrictions enforced on the activities and my job, which ended up cutting last year’s season short and limited the hours I could work,” described Hansen on the subject. Steverson elaborated that it didn’t have much of an effect on him, stating, “I haven’t really ventured into any extracurricular activities since freshman year, but I do plan on it. Work hasn’t really been affected, although this could all change [this year].” Bundy described the hectic schedule he’s been experiencing this year, explaining, “Being a senior, this is the busiest year I’ve had, with all the extracurriculars I have and having a job and stuff. I’ve had a lot extra besides school but honestly balancing that around schedule has honestly been fine. I feel like that’s part of the high school experience, learning how to do that.” So while the three students all have dealt with the shift, they all have a positive attitude about the challenge or even hope to add more to their schedule.

One of the largest motivations and most substantial improvements behind the return to a full schedule is the social lives of the school’s students. In a fully virtual schedule, students were unable to see each other, in a hybrid schedule, students could only see each other twice a week and only half the student body was there. The return has absolutely guaranteed that students would be more active in their social lives and would be able to engage more with their friends. “It’s been very nice to come back and talk with people, I could feel myself last, last few years, kinda slipping away since COVID started. Personally, just talking with people, it just kinda slowly disappeared. But coming back with people it’s nice and it reminds me that I like to talk with and be around people,” Bundy said happily, describing his personal return to full. 

Steverson was absolutely ecstatic when he described his return, joking, “As they say, business is boomin’! I feel like I’ve gotten to know my classmates more because we’ve all got an experience with this pandemic that we can relate to. I feel like our sophomores and our juniors can really relate especially since neither of us had a complete freshman year.” Hansen had less of an excited attitude, but for good reason, simply explaining, “My social life never changed much. I kept in touch with my small group of friends throughout our time on a virtual schedule, and now that we’re back in school, I get to see them in person more than I did when it was just outside of school.” 

While many celebrate and rejoice at the end of a chaotic virtual and hybrid school year, the damage that year has done on many students’ paths to graduation is undeniable. “I feel like with the way hybrid went, grades definitely weren’t as high, and a lot of people are having to redo classes, or schedule new ones. There’s not a lot we can do about the past, but hopefully we have all learned how we learned, but more importantly, how we don’t,” Steverson poignantly elaborated on the subject. 

Hansen noted that the year may have not had an effect on her path to graduation, but it still affected her grades and social life, mentioning, “I feel like being virtual had very little effect on how I’m going to graduate. The only things that changed were the experiences that I missed with last year being so abnormal, and my grades also slipped a little bit.” 

Bundy remarked on his experience with the messy year, noting, “I feel like the virtual learning was very difficult, especially with the hybrid schedule and how they were trying to have class time and virtual time. I found it difficult to stay on track and go through online learning then. But with coming back and doing all that, it’s been nice to get back on track. Luckily, I never got off pace like some had during that hybrid time.” While these students were not drastically thrown off track, they were still affected whether it be slipping grades or slipping social lives, and they were certainly conscious of those who were utterly thrashed by the year. 

The last pandemic to take over the world like COVID-19 was the Spanish Flu over a century ago, during 1918-1921. So, understandably, many people, students and teachers alike, were undeniably lost when in early 2020 we were faced with a pandemic that sent both demographics home. This experience is unique to this generation and its impact on school and outside of school has been life-shifting. As the light at the end of the tunnel appears to get just a little closer, these students pondered on how the pandemic has affected their lives and their futures. Steverson made it clear humorously, simply stating, “I’m going to have a couple of stories to tell the grandkids, I guess. I’ve definitely grown as a person, and I’ve learned some things about myself that I will carry on into the future.”

 Bundy had different thoughts and described how the pandemic affected his philosophy a little and his hopes for an evolution in how day-to-day processes were handled, elaborating, “It’s really shown me the power of information and teaching yourself and just educating oneself. I think a lot of people learned that. I feel like just hopefully through all this more technology and being able to work from home is implemented.”

Hansen illuminated her experience, touchingly describing, “I feel like this last year and a half has impacted me permanently. I’ve grown a lot as a person, be it that I took the time to calm myself down and I also learned a lot about people and what beliefs I hold most dear. I also feel like I’ve really grown to appreciate the small things and be happy solely because I’m breathing.” Hansen wrapped up her thoughts with a simple sentiment, expressing, “I think that the things I’ve experienced, both good and bad, will guide me through whatever else I may face in my lifetime.”