All posts by Alex Smith

Making it ‘Magical’: GC drama presents Cinderella with a ‘flair

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Cinderella performances are April 28, 29, 30 at 7pm and May 1 at 2pm. Purchase tickets at www.gcdrama.org Photo Credit: https://www.theatermania.com/shows/new-york-city-theater/broadway/cinderella_194249

Cinderella has been featured in many schools and universities across the country and it’s a challenge to present the old story in a different way. GC Drama’s cast and crew proposes to put a modern spin on it.

Brynn Elliott, 12, playing Cinderella, talked about how she plans to make the musical a unique production. She said, “I think our goal for the musical is to make it magical. We all want the story of Cinderella to seem like you pulled it right out of a movie, fairy godmother and all. We want people to be stunned by the actors, but to also be stunned by the whimsical vibe that the backstage crew created with costumes, makeup, lights, paint, and of course our sets. It’ll be an amazing show, and I couldn’t be any happier to end my theatre career at GC with it!”

Zeke Holden, 11, playing Prince Topher, discussed how he plans to make the musical a unique production. He said, “I think that each individual person has a good specific vision for how they want their character to be and sound. And it’s really been entertaining to watch myself and others figure it out.” Angel Murphy, also 11, playing an Older Woman, said, “We are going to make this production unique by put our own flair on the show.”

Elliot talked about what she thinks of being in her last production of high school. She said, “I’m really sad. This theatre program has done so much for me, and it’s really upsetting that I have to leave the department and everyone I know and love. We’re all really close, so it just makes things ten times harder.” She also discussed what the biggest things she has learned by being in drama are. She said, “I have learned patience and cooperation. You have to be patient to know what is going on in a production, especially when you’re not onstage. And just being able to take notes and do what the director says is a skill that theatre often teaches you. I have also learned to love everyone no matter what and I’m just so happy with everything our program has taught me and all of the memories I made!”

Elliott discussed how being in various productions for GC has helped her learn and grow and what memories she will take with her of GC drama when she graduates this year. She said, “Being in productions at the high school has helped me grow as a person, and as an actress. Mrs. Voigt has really helped me discover who I am as an actress, and she has influenced my personality a lot. I don’t what I would do without her. I have so many fond memories with this program, and I can’t wait to make even more before I leave.” She also talked about her plans outside of high school. She said, “I am pursuing acting outside of high school. I am going into musical theatre because it is my passion and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”

Holden talked about what it means to him to be one of the leads. He said, “To get one of the leads in the musical is absolutely huge for me! I think that being on stage and acting and singing with my castmates has really opened up my eyes to how much I love performing.”

Holden commented on what his individual goals as well as cast goals for this production are. He said, “My biggest goal for the show right now is to establish my own flair for theater seeing as I am very new to it.”

Murphy talked about what her individual goals as well as cast goals for this production are: “To make it fun and try to do our best.” As for Elliott, she said, “My goal is for everyone to walk away from the show happy. I think as a whole group we just want everyone to be blown away by our whole production and for it to be remembered as one of the best shows in GC history.”

Murphy discussed what she is looking forward to the most: “The performances of course but spending that time with the cast is so much fun.” As for Holden, “As of right now, I’m really looking forward to the response from the community when they see the show.” Elliott mentioned what she is looking forward to the most, “Honestly, I think I’m really looking forward to my costume changes that are onstage. My dress will transform around me and I think that it’ll be really cool.”

Elliott mentioned what songs she enjoyed the most: “I really enjoy the songs ‘Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?’ and ‘In My Own Little Corner.’ They’re just really pretty songs and they’re so much fun to sing, I really love them.” Holden said, “My favorite song would have to either be ‘Me Who Am I’ or ‘Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?’. I love the first one because it really is MY song and it’s a song that has plenty of room for improv and comedy, and the other song is just such a beautiful duet between Brynn and I.” Murphy talked about what song she enjoyed the most: “‘Stepsisters Lament’ because it is really funny.”

Of course, every production is not without challenges. Holden talked about what has been the biggest obstacle during the process for him and how he is working to overcome it. He said, “The hardest part of being in the show for me, is trying to keep it out of EVERY conversation I have! I’m very passionate about this show and I have enjoyed it so much.” Murphy said, “My social anxiety is definitely really hard with so many people.” Elliott commented, “It was really really hard for me to find Cinderella’s character. I never realized how difficult it would be to be a character everyone knows and loves, so it made me want to not mess up. I finally realized that I needed to be more myself than looking at it as a role. I’m way more comfortable now, and I’m very confident with my character.”

Murphy commented on her favorite part of the show, “Definitely when we are in the town spinning and dancing.” Elliott talked about her favorite line in the show. She said, “My favorite I think is one of the Prince’s. He says, ‘She’s my lady’. It’s my favorite because the way Zeke says it is absolutely hysterical and makes me laugh every time.” For Holden, he said, “Right now I’m torn between two lines where after I slay an evil giant and save the day, I shout ‘I wish I was doing something more important with my life!’ I also really enjoy the line ‘I don’t even know your name!’ after a kiss scene.”

For Holden, the magic of the theater is real. He said, “I will definitely be in future shows! This experience of Cinderella has been so much fun and has really given me a love for performance.”

‘Dissecting the Material’: Students describe Berrier as ‘hands-on’, creator of ‘fun’

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mrs. Heather Berrier, biology teacher, teaches her Anatomy class about the tongue. Photo Credit: Alex Smith/Staff Writer


Mrs. Heather Berrier, who has been teaching science classes at GC for 5 years, talked about what makes teaching science worth it. She said, “Every job can be stressful if you let it. That is why it is important to find things outside of your career that you enjoy and take a break. I have had several other jobs before coming to teaching and this job is by far the most rewarding. Working with you guys and guiding you in your science education is a career like none other.” 

Berrier mentioned her favorite part of being a science teacher. She said, “I absolutely love watching students learn, and with that, it is the growth I see from getting a new topic failing with some concepts, but then learning from that. Also when I have students say ‘Wow that’s so cool!’ When it’s looking at a hydra or when they understand exactly how oxygen is used in the body.” (A hydra is a genus of invertebrate freshwater animals.)

Samantha Torres, 12, discussed what her favorite thing about Anatomy with Berrier is. She said, “The atmosphere! She always makes class a fun place to be. Not only does she incorporate labs but we also do a lot of group work, which I appreciate.”

Laney Elliott, 10, talked about her favorite aspect about Human Body Systems (HBS) with Berrier. She said, “My favorite thing about Science with Mrs. Berrier is that she always knows how to keep it fun and she tells us stories of things that have happened to her and people she knows that relate to what we are learning.”

Berrier mentioned how she has handled teaching Biology II, Human Body Systems, and Anatomy during a pandemic. She said, “ ‘If you don’t bend like a willow you will break in the wind’. This is a saying I heard my entire life from my Great Aunt Bunny. And it was so true with the pandemic. I learned so much about how to teach with technology, google meets, Nearpods, video recordings, Flipgrids, things I have never used in the past but now I don’t know how I did without them.”

Elliott talked about what Berrier does to help her learn. She said, “Mrs. Berrier is very good at making lessons hands-on and working with us to make sure we understand the material.” Torres also discussed what Berrier does to help her learn. She said, “Mrs. Berrier is always a helping hand. She often reaches out to students individually when they need help. Berrier is very approachable when you have a question, or difficulty understanding a topic.”

Torres further commented on Berrier, “I have had science class with Mrs. Berrier almost every year of high school. On the first day of my freshman year I had Bio 2 with her fourth period. I was able to go the entire day under the radar…until her class. She broke me out of my shell. She was introducing herself and her family when I saw a familiar face on her ‘Welcome’ slideshow. I had Mr. Berrier for fourth grade English. In front of the whole class she said ‘Miss Torres I’ve heard a lot about you!’ It was helpful having a teacher that welcomed me so early in my high school career.” 

Elliott also had a memorable story: “While we were in first semester we were doing an eye dissection lab and it was always so funny because when it comes to different things that we dissect, Berrier is not afraid to stick her hand into whatever it is we are dissecting, and when we were doing the eye she just took part of it and turned it inside out.”

Berrier discussed the most memorable moment in her teaching career. She said, “The first time I received a thank you card from a previous student, it was an unprovoked thank you card (not on Teacher Appreciation Week) and it caught me off guard. They were thanking me for teaching and telling me I had made such a positive impact on their life when they were in my class. Sometimes you don’t really know the impact you have, and at that moment I was like ‘Wow’.”

Additionally, funny moments happen, too. “Working in the Science department you have to have a sense of humor, we laugh all the time,” Berrier said. “But to me in class it was actually last week. A student told me, ‘Mrs. Berrier I am worried about you’ and when I asked why he said ‘You repeated two jokes twice in class….that’s why we didn’t laugh the second time.’ I immediately started laughing and told him he needed to tell me when I had a grandma moment! Teaching the same class sometimes I know I will repeat myself but him calling me out on it was so funny!”

Elliott talked about what Berrier does to make HBS fun. She said, “Mrs. Berrier tells us stories and lets us do labs to better understand what we are learning.” As for Anatomy, Torres said, “Mrs. Berrier’s attitude makes science class fun! Every other day I’m in class, she walks in the room with a smile on her face. It is contagious.”

Torres mentioned what Berrier has taught her about in Anatomy this year. She said, “This year we have had depth in everything from directional terms, root words/prefixes/suffixes, to the respiratory system and even blood!” Elliott talked about what knowledge she has gained from Berrier in HBS. She said, “We have learned a lot of things this year including the urinary system, joints, and different parts of the kidney and nephron.”

Berrier discussed her favorite lesson or activity to do with the kids. She said, “I love anything with microscopes. Especially in Bio 2 we get to look at living specimens. It is not something you usually get to experience. Looking at the diagrams is learning the structures but when you get to see them moving in real life, not just a video, it is a whole different experience!”

Elliott talked about what her least favorite thing about HBS with Berrier is. She said, “I honestly don’t have a least favorite thing about class with Mrs. Berrier. She is always so fun and personable.” As for Anatomy, Torres said, “Dissections are not my favorite thing to do in science class. Berrier does let us work [with] partners though, which is nice because most times I take notes while my partner does the actual dissection. Although they are interesting to look at, the smell is too much for me!” For her part, Berrier discussed her least favorite thing about being a Science teacher. She said, “I really cannot find anything. I go to work every single day loving what I do!”

Berrier discussed how she balances her work and home life. She said, “When I leave school I turn on the mom mode. I try not to look at my email or grade assignments when I am with my family. It is very important in life to not always be working. If I have to catch up on some grading I will do this after my kiddos go to bed.” She also mentioned what she does outside of teaching Science. She said, “I am a coach of soccer and volleyball with my town’s rec league. I have been coaching for about 10 years. And I have Zumba twice a week!”

Berrier talked about what she wants students to learn in Science class. She said, “That failing is NOT failure. Experiments go wrong…all…the…time. If the scientist said, ‘Well that didn’t work…moving on,’ we would not have the medications or technology we have today. Learn in life from the mistakes you made, do not let them define you.” She also mentioned how she keeps the kids engaged. She said, “I really like group and partner work where they can talk through ideas and assignments. I also tell stories…a lot. I like to try and relate subjects that we learn in class to things that have happened, maybe not to me….but I know a lot of people with interesting lives!”

Torres talked about what she will remember the most about Berrier after she graduates this year. She said, “After I graduate I will remember Mrs. Berrier as one of the first teachers to introduce me to my future career. I plan on attending Indiana University majoring in Human Biology. Her class and attitude really inspired me to look into career paths in the science field. I plan to be a dental hygienist.” Elliott commented on what she is going to remember the most about Berrier. She said, “I will always remember that at the beginning of the year I was new and Berrier just welcomed me with open arms and made sure that I was comfortable and understanding what I was doing.”

Berrier concluded by commenting on what she wants kids to remember about her. She said, “I hope they remember that you can have fun in everything you do. I know Science is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I hope they enjoyed the time in my class.”

Profile: Meredith Leads Boys Basketball to Success

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Head coach Luke Meredith and the boys basketball team cheer during the sectional semi-finals at Richmond HS on March 5, 2021 against Mt. Vernon. Photo Credit: John Kennedy

Under head coach Luke Meredith, the boys basketball team ended the 2020-2021 basketball season 14-10, which is the second highest win total since 2004. Meredith, who has been the  boys basketball head coach at GC for 3 years, talked about what makes coaching worth it. He said, “It is very stressful, but this is what I prayed for. This is what I always wanted to do with my life. It’s worth it when you see the growth/development of our players through the season, years, (and) journey of playing high school basketball. It’s never easy, but ALWAYS worth it. Everything you want is always on the other side of hard.”

Adam Lester, 12, co-captain of the team, discussed the positive aspects of being on a team for Coach Meredith. He said, “My favorite thing about playing for Coach Meredith is his passion for our team, and we can really see how bad he wants to win.”

As a head coach, building relationships is very important. Meredith said, “My favorite thing about being the boys basketball coach at GCHS is the relationship I have formed with my coaching staff (Johnson, Mullins, Bolden, Loudenburg) and more specifically the current/former players in the program. We spend a lot of time together and I feel a special bond with all current and former players through this journey of basketball. I care for them, we trust each other, and they play hard for our program, community, and school!”

 Owen Anderson, 11, has seen Meredith’s enthusiasm and spirit for the game on a daily basis. He said, “I love Coach’s energy and how badly he wants us to succeed day in and day out.” 

For his part, Meredith said what his most eventful moments in his coaching experience are. He said, “My most memorable moment in my coaching experience happens to be 3 favorite items: 1) Receiving the ‘call’ from athletic director Jared Manning when I was offered the job to come here from Avon HS to be the next MBB HC at GCHS. It was a career goal of mine to be a (head coach) in the state of Indiana and to achieve that goal was a great moment for me and my family, 2) When we defeated Mt. Vernon in January 2020 here at GC. The faces of our kids in the locker room is something that I’ll always remember. We worked so hard that year, were big underdogs, and they deserved that moment. Pure elation in the locker room,  & 3) Pre-game of New Palestine game at Richmond last year 2021- seeing the fans finally back in the stands and the GC Rage student BLACK OUT gave me chills.”

Both Lester and Anderson described this moment in the locker room as one of their most unforgettable moments in their basketball career as well.

Lester talked about what Coach Meredith does to make the sport enjoyable. He said, “He really likes to joke with us and have a good time, but when it’s time to play he’s the most well prepared and organized coach there is who instills full trust in his players.” Meredith discussed how he keeps the boys engaged and having fun. He said, “I keep the team engaged and bringing the juice by pre-practice talks, music during practice, competitions in most drills, and guest speakers. We always have fun, but work hard as well!!!” Anderson mentioned what Coach Meredith does to keep things light. He said, “Coach Meredith makes basketball fun just by telling jokes and making us laugh.”

Meredith has to carefully balance his home and coaching life. His family is invested in the sport as well, which helps. He said, “I balance home and coaching because our family loves basketball. Having my boys and wife in the stands on Friday nights watching us play is something we enjoy as a family. Both my boys love the game of basketball, play for our youth GC JUICE feeder system, and always pick their ‘favorite’ players every year to cheer for from the stands. My wife does an awesome job of being supportive of me and my dreams/goals to coach basketball. We all do it together; we moved to Greenfield 3 years ago and fell in love with the community, schools, and our TEAM.”

Anderson talked about some benefits of playing basketball. He said, “Some advantages of playing basketball are being able to be with a family every single day.” As for Lester’s thoughts, he said, “The experience and memories that come with it.”

Along with the highs, there can be obstacles along the way. Lester discussed some of those challenges. He said, “The biggest challenge of basketball is fitting in my school work into my schedule as well.” Anderson added, “The biggest challenge is definitely trying to be good enough to benefit your team all the time.”

Meredith mentioned what drills and strategies he plans on using to train the boys for this year’s season. He said, “The team loves one drill: MICHIGAN MONDAY.” MICHIGAN MONDAY is a 10:00 full court competition drill that they do on Mondays in practice. Meredith talked about how he prepares the boys physically and mentally when they are facing a challenging opponent. He said, “Doesn’t matter the opponent- we will do 3 things: JUICE (energy and effort); COMPETE (refuse to lose); STANDARD (play hard ALL the time-standard is the standard). Your practices ALWAYS snitch on you in games.  REPRESENT GREENFIELD.” He also talked about what he wants the boys to learn in basketball and what his number one goal is. He said, “The #1 GOAL: Represent our school, city, and basketball program the right way. Be the best person they can be, best student they can be, best basketball player they can be!!! (In that order)” 

Meredith’s inspiration for a lot of his beliefs and principles comes from someone very close to him. “My mom- Brenda Meredith- is the most influential person in my life because she is the toughest woman I know and (she) raised my sister and I with high expectations to respect teachers/school, work hard, and always try your best,” he said. 

About how he encourages confidence and team-building among the team, Meredith said, “Confidence comes from preparation. If you prepared for the moment, there is no need to become nervous. Prior planning prevents poor performance. You put in the work in the dark when no one else is watching, so you can shine when the lights are on and the popcorn is popping.” 

There is little doubt that the players have been inspired by that light. As for what he will remember from his time with Meredith, Anderson said, “I’m gonna remember that fire he brought to practice and to games everyday which is why we have been so successful. He pushes us to work harder every day.” 

Lester will graduate this year, which makes the memories bittersweet. He said, “I’ll remember most the fun he brought to every practice and workout and how his motivation only inspired me to work even harder.” 

As for Meredith, what he wants his players to take away with them is this: “I want my players to remember that I do care for them more than just on the basketball court- its more than 4 quarters. I’ve been to players’ weddings, graduations, (and) college basketball games, and will be able to continue our player/coach relationship well after their 4 years at GCHS. Once your coach, ALWAYS your coach- that’s what it’s all about.”

Christmas 2020: the year we all stayed home

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: This Christmas in the year 2020 was the year we all stayed home.

    I think it is better to be a kid than an adult at Christmastime because my family’s Christmas traditions are warm, fun and pretty low-key: we decorate the Christmas tree, hang some Christmas lights (inside the house), and sing some truly off-key but hilarious renditions of Christmas carols (everyone else is off-key but my dad and me). Usually we do so two weeks before Christmas itself, but this year, it all happened just a few days beforehand – because of a pandemic.    

My family would normally go to my mom’s parents on Christmas Eve to open presents. But this year it’s going to be different. We will sit in their garage with the garage doors open (to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus) to open presents instead. After all the presents have been opened we will leave immediately. On Christmas Day, my three siblings and I would wake up and wait patiently in the hallway in our pajamas for our parents to get up before we can go downstairs to open our presents and our stockings. Later that night, we would normally go to my dad’s parents to open presents. We don’t know what that’s going to look like this year. My dad’s three brothers and their families would normally fly into Indiana for Christmas. That’s not happening this year, either. On my grandpa’s side of the family, we would normally have what we like to call the big Smith Family Christmas at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown with all his brothers and their families. We aren’t doing that this year, either. This pandemic has changed our plans for Christmas this year drastically.


My family is strong in the Christian faith. So Christmas means a lot to us. Normally in September Realife, our church does a sermon series called “At the Movies” but because of the pandemic, that changed. On Sunday December 6, Realife kicked off a new sermon series called “Christmas at the Movies” that will uncover Biblical truths that are illustrated in clips from some of your favorite Christmas movies (that doesn’t include Die Hard) each week in December. This is the best time of the year to invite friends and family to church.

in honor of veteran’s day: Ways We Can Honor Vets

By Audrey Roberts/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: A veteran and member of the Honor Guard salutes the flag during the Veteran’s Day ceremony from 2019. Also pictured are 2019 graduate Tyler Hornaday, and Mr. Jason Cary, principal. 

As another Veteran’s Day passes, many people showed their love and appreciation for the people who fought for their country by celebrating the veterans’ accomplishments through kind acts.  But November 11 is only one day out of 365.  Many veterans end up homeless, hungry, jobless, and alone.  They need help and not many get it.

There are many times the men and women who served our country are forgotten and not given the help they deserve and need after they come back from helping us.  Many people ignore their problems or don’t know how to help.

Luckily, the second option is fixable.  There are many people and organizations that will help our veterans with what they need most.  Organizations like American Legion, Veterans Families United, Vietnam Veterans of America, and many more are out there doing all they can to help their country’s fierce protectors.

The American Legion aims to help veterans and their families.  They raise money to support veterans and their families, for scholarships, and in times of need.  They accept ‘resolutions,’ which are ideas for change a member or group of members hopes to make to the organization to make it better.

The Veterans Families United is focused on helping veterans heal and recover from their service.  Many veterans and their families can’t afford help, but Veterans Families United is focused on getting them the help they need.  They raise funds to get the tools and extra help they need to support the veterans in need.

Likewise, the Vietnam Veterans of America organization seeks to help veterans heal and recover.  They also work hard to hold the government accountable for following or not following laws that deal with veterans’ health care and try to spread awareness and get people to acknowledge their veterans.  What really makes them stand out, however, is that they focus on changing the people’s mindset towards Vietnam veterans.  Because so many people disliked the Vietnam War, many blamed the US servicemen and women who served during this time.  To fix this, the Vietnam Veterans of America works towards convincing people to acknowledge that their Vietnam veterans are not to blame.

While these organizations and many more are working hard to help the veterans, there are still ways to help veterans with smaller acts, though that doesn’t make their impact small.  There are many stories about someone taking the time out of their carefree lives to help a veteran in need.

For instance, a man on a trip to Maryland saw a man on the street with a sign that said, “I am a homeless veteran please help,” while he was driving.  He pulled over the car and gave this veteran a twenty dollar bill.  The veteran said he was moved by his kindness and extremely grateful (“Kindness Starts With One”).

Willis Bryant, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was living under a bridge in Dothan, Alabama.  When he turned to a homeless shelter, he was told about the Priority Veteran program which is possible through a grant from the Department of Veteran Affairs.  When he got in touch, they helped him get medical help and found him an apartment to live in.

John Traffanstedt is a Vietnam veteran who is a part of Mustang American Legion Post 353 in Mustang, Oklahoma.  He owns a van which he uses to transport himself and the rest of the Mustang Legion Post 353 to other veterans’ funerals.  They work to honor other veterans in the hope that their courage and lives are not forgotten.

Some ways people can help veterans in their area range from getting together with some friends to build a house for a homeless veteran to just stopping to say “thank you for your service” to another veteran.  These small acts may seem inconsequential to the person doing them, but they really will mean a lot to the veterans.

The American Legion

Veterans Families United

Vietnam Veterans of America

A list of Veteran Support Organizations

Random Acts of Kindness: Helping a Homeless Veteran

Veteran’s Stories

Something Good:Mustang Veteran Uses Van To Honor Fellow Vets

For more ways to help veterans:

The Story of Pearl Harbor

By Tyler Young/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: This was a live Photo of the attack on Pearl Harbor from a reporter in Hawaii on Dec. 7. 1941.

On Sunday December 7, 1941 7:50 a.m., the course of American history was about to change. It was a normal day in the territory of Hawaii, specifically Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Let’s get some background information to learn about the attack. Hawaii was not yet a state but just a large group of islands occupied by the US naval fleet. World War II was happening at the time in Europe and Asia. With Germany, Japan, and Italy seeking world domination, Hitler did not want America to get involved, but Japan had other plans. Back to the main story.

    Japan knew that if the U.S. entered the war now, the US would have complete control of the seas and Japan had control of mainly islands so they knew we could easily take control. So they launched the surprise attack to destroy our naval fleet in order to prevent us from fighting back in the oceans. They succeeded in destroying a big majority of our fleet.

The First Wave: At 8:00, the kamikaze pilots showed up, all 183 of them, and struck at the airfields. “This first attack wave began bombing the hangars and parked aircraft of the island’s airfields while at the same time launching torpedoes against the US warships moored in the harbour.” (ivm.org.uk) After 5 minutes, they destroyed four US battleships with torpedoes and dropped a bomb on the USS Arizona and killed 1,177 crew.

The Second Wave: Half an hour later, a larger wave of kamikaze pilots returned to Pearl Harbor and inflicted even more damage than the last. “Within two hours, 18 US warships had been sunk or damaged, 188 aircraft destroyed and 2,403 total American servicemen and women killed.” (ivm.org.uk)

    “They destroyed 8 of our battleships: the USS Arizona, Oklahoma, California, West Virginia, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Nevada. After the bullets of the Kamikaze pilots shot at the vessels.” (History.com editors) The Japanese pilots targeted our battleships and flew straight into them. We were eventually available to save all except the USS Arizona and Utah. Casualties: A total of 2,403 American service men and women were killed; and over 1,000 were wounded. America soon declared war on Japan and Germany declared war on us. But, through four years of gruesome war in Europe and Asia and two nuclear bombs dropped on Nagasaki, Japan and Hiroshima, Japan, the Axis powers surrendered and the war was over on September 2, 1945. This is the story of Pearl Harbor.

Profile: Amador emphasizes communication, culture in Spanish class

By Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo caption: Señora Erika Amador talks to Destinee Roberts, 11, about Spanish during G1.

Señora Erika Amador has some very important goals for her World Language Spanish class. She said, “Of course I would love for my kids to be able to communicate well in Spanish with native speakers and others. However, my number one goal for my kids as a Spanish teacher is for them to have a more open mind toward people and cultures different from their own.”

    Abby Morgan, 10, who has been taking Spanish since eighth grade, discussed what Señora Amador does to help her learn. She said, “Amador gives us plenty of notes and time to study when it’s time for a test or quiz. I never feel unprepared for anything.” Mason Poole, 11, who has been taking Spanish for three years, also talked about what Señora Amador does to help him learn. He said, “Amador helps make sure we understand before we move on.”

    There have been many moments along her teaching career that have stood out. Amador, Spanish teacher, who has been teaching Spanish for 17 years, commented on what makes teaching worth it. She said, “When I see one of my kids’ faces light up because they understand a concept, when one of my kids tells me that they understand something that a native speaker said, or when one of my kids contacts me years after graduating to share how he/she is currently using Spanish that makes it worth all of the stresses that come along with teaching.”

    Poole commented on what Amador does to make Spanish class fun. He said, “Amador does activities that keep you engaged and learning.” Amador talked about the funniest thing to happen while teaching. She said, “Several years back, a student mispronounced a word and misread its meaning. I can’t share what he said because it was inappropriate but it was also extremely funny. It was an honest mistake on the kid’s part that still has me laughing today.” Morgan also discussed what Amador does to make Spanish class fun. She said, “We always play lots of games in Amador’s class. It personally makes me want to study Spanish more when it’s fun.”

    Amador commented on her favorite lesson to do with the kids. She said, “Teaching about the Dominican Republic is one of my favorite lessons to share with kids. Because I lived there for 2 ½ years it brings back a lot of great memories. The kids also enjoy learning about the culture and hearing about my personal experiences in the country.” She also talked about what her favorite activity to do with the kids is. She said, “One of my favorite activities to do with kids are conversation circles, where we practice a conversation entirely in Spanish, changing partners each time we finish the conversation. I love hearing the students speak Spanish and watching their confidence grow as the activity progresses.” 

    Morgan said that her favorite thing about Spanish with Amador is that she gives them lots of resources (such as games, Quizlets, Kahoots, etc.) to make sure that they know the material. Poole discussed what he enjoys about Spanish with Amador. He said, “My favorite thing about Spanish with Amador is her fun touch she adds to everything.” Amador’s favorite aspect of teaching Spanish is that she loves getting to share her love for the Spanish language and Hispanic culture with her kids and seeing them get as excited about it as she is. Helping students succeed and find their own passion is also very rewarding to her. 

    Amador commented on some of the challenges of teaching Spanish. She said, “That is a difficult question. I guess it would have to be when my kids don’t take advantage of the time that I give them to complete work in class.” Poole said that his least favorite thing about Spanish with Amador is that sometimes they can get sidetracked talking. Morgan discussed her least favorite thing about Spanish with Amador. She said, “My least favorite thing about Spanish in Amador’s class would probably be the homework. I don’t think anyone really likes doing it, but it has to be done.” 

    Amador discussed her own mentor who inspired her. She said, “Señora K, Mrs. Patricia Knasinski, was one of my many mentors. Sra. K was my high school Spanish teacher for all four years. In class she was always very passionate about teaching and found new and exciting ways to get her students speaking Spanish without fear of embarrassment when we made mistakes.”

    Poole said he has gained meaningful things about the Spanish language. He said, “I have learned a lot about the culture and its roots in different places.” Morgan also discussed what she has acquired from the Spanish language. She said, “I’ve learned lots of things about the Spanish language. I think it’s fairly easy to learn and understand if you study it and actually want to succeed in speaking it.” 

    Amador discussed how she keeps the kids’ attention. She said, “I try to keep the kids engaged by using a variety of instructional strategies, including games and real-life examples of the concepts we are studying.” 

    Amador also commented on how she balanced her work and home life. She said, “I love my kids at school but my family comes first. When I am not at school, I try to put school work away and focus on my home life. Then if I have some ‘free time’ at home I sneak in a little school work here and there until I hear ‘Mommy!’ ” Amador has two sons. Her oldest son is 10 years old and his name is Benji; her youngest son is 5 years old and his name is Lucas.

    Morgan told a story she will remember about Amador. She said, “A memorable story about Amador would probably be when she lived in the Dominican Republic and danced with the famous baseball player, she didn’t know who he was but everyone around her did.” Amador couldn’t isolate only one memorable moment in her teaching experience. She said, “There are way too many for me to pick just one.”

Poole said that he will remember Amador’s love for her kids and for her students the most. Morgan discussed what she will remember the most about Amador. She said, “I’ll probably remember Amador’s stories the most. I feel like her always starting the class off with a story of something that has happened to her is a good way to start my morning.” As for what she wants the kids to remember about her, Amador said, “It’s not about me. It’s about them. Each one of my kids is an incredible, unique individual who has worth and a purpose. There is no one else that can be the people who they are meant to be. That is what I want them to remember.”

Profile: brown details day in life of french teacher

By Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Madame Brown talks to Mya Wilcher, 10, about what she did over Fall Break. Photo by Alex Smith

    Teaching can be a stressful job. Madame Amanda Brown, French teacher, who has been teaching French for 18 years, talked about what makes teaching worth it. She said, “My students make it worth it. Getting to know them. Getting to see that moment where they ‘get it.’ Getting to experience them making connections between topics and subjects. Getting to laugh with them.” 

    Shaun Hughes, 10, who just started taking French this year, talked about what Madame Brown does to help him learn. He said, “She helps me learn by taking the time to individually help me get better.” Christopher O’Connor, 12, who has been taking French for the last four years, also talked about what Madame Brown does to help him learn. He said, “Madame helps me learn by understanding that I have a lot in life to focus on alongside school, so she gives me leniency.” 

Brown discussed what she wants students to learn in French class and what her number one goal is. She said, “I hope that kids leave my class with a bit wider perspective and understanding of the world as a whole.”

O’Connor commented on what Brown does to make French class fun. He said, “Madame brings her energy to class every day, and always tries to keep us engaged. That’s the most fun thing, is that it’s never boring.” Brown talked about the funniest thing to happen while teaching. She said, “I can’t think of a specific moment, but there are so many inside jokes with the classes. When you have the same group of kids for four years, it’s impossible to narrow the funny and ridiculous down.” Hughes also talked about what Brown does to make French class fun. He said, “Madame makes things fun for class by telling us funny stories about some of the different things we learn in class and by just creating an overall pleasant mood in class.”

Hughes said that his favorite thing about French with Brown is that he gets to learn so much about different cultures and different countries. O’Connor discussed his favorite thing about French with Brown. He said, “My favorite thing about French with Madame is the vibe of the classroom. All of us have been in that class with her for four years, so it’s a comfortable environment.” Brown’s favorite thing about teaching French is that she loves discussing cultural differences with her students. 

Brown talked about her least favorite thing about teaching French. She said, “I asked my French 4 class because I really couldn’t think of anything. Chris O’Connor’s contribution is ‘When someone asks you how to do something or does it wrong and you just warned someone to be careful about making that mistake or JUST taught it. That doesn’t go over well.’ Tara Powell’s,12,  contribution (in loving sarcasm) is ‘Having Chris as a student.’“ O’Connor said that his least favorite thing about French with Brown is that she’s always on them if they don’t give their best effort, that it can be frustrating, but he gets it. Hughes talked about his least favorite thing about French with Brown. He said, “I don’t really have a least favorite thing in French since I like the culture and mostly everything about it.” 

O’Connor talked about what he has learned about the French language. He said, “French is a beautiful language, but it’s a pain in the butt half the time.” Hughes also talked about what he has learned about the French language. He said, “The French language is quite difficult but like I said I get to enjoy learning about the different cultures and more about the French culture.” 

Hughes told a memorable story about Brown. He said, “Madame tells us lots of memorable stories so I don’t know which one to do but it seems like she has so much fun teaching French to students.” O’Connor also told a memorable story about Brown. He said, “Madame would let me sleep in her classroom before school when I was tired from early morning football workouts. She gave me bean bags to sleep on so I was comfortable. That was when I knew she was different.” Brown talked about a memorable moment in her teaching experience. She said, “ I teach Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) second semester of French 4. Everytime I teach Chapter 21….it’s the most memorable experience of the 4 years I have with each group.” 

Brown talked about how she keeps the kids engaged. She said, “I try to be as weird, obnoxious, and goofy as my students are (and in some cases, more). Being overly dramatic, using funny voices, telling stories … all part of my game plan.” 

Hughes talked about what he will remember the most about Brown. He said, “I will always remember her smile, her kindness, and her unique personality.” O’Connor commented on what he is going to miss about Brown when he graduates. He said, “I’ll miss how much she cares about me and all of her other students.” Brown talked about what she wants the kids to remember about her. She said, “I hope they remember me as someone who is always rooting for them.” 

Brown talked about who her mentor is. She said, “I don’t really have a mentor, per se, but I refer to Mrs. Stoeffler, Mrs. Anderson, and Mrs. Berger-Harmon as who I want to be when I grow up.”

Brown talked about her favorite lesson to do with the kids. She said, “The ‘DR MRS P VANDERTRAMP’ story, regarding French verbs, for example,  Devenir – To Become, Revenir – To Come Back, and Monter – To Climb.  (This is my favorite) because I get to draw (poorly), I get to be overly dramatic (always), and I get to talk about soccer and food and the circle of life.”

She also talked about what her favorite activity to do with the kids is. She said, “My favorite activity to do is teach the ‘Avoir Rap’.” The “Avoir Rap” is how Madame Brown teaches her students the verb “Avoir” or “To Have” in French class. Brown said about the “Avoir Rap”: “We usually have a lot of fun with it. It’s catchy. It has a lot of call and response elements to it. And it’s one of those things the students tend to remember. Plus, I get to be a TOUCH obnoxious which always makes me have fun.”

Soccer Team hustles into new season

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer  

Photo Caption: Hunter Stine, #17,  tries to stop #19 on the Pendleton Heights boys varsity soccer team from scoring a goal during a game last season. Photo by John Kennedy

    The boys varsity soccer team, four-peat sectional champs, have gotten off to a bit of a slower start this season with two wins, four losses and two ties so far. This season they are facing tougher teams such as the Lawrence North Bobcats, and the team did not get to have the club soccer experience in the off-season like they usually do due to the pandemic.

    Despite a few struggles, they are seeing some success in leadership and growth. Assistant Coach Micah Gerike said, “The biggest thing that has led to the soccer team’s success is that the players have bought into the program. They listen to the coaching staff and believe in the information that they are being coached.” Gerike said, “We have had several players step up to fill roles of last year’s seniors. Many of these players have not had much experience at the varsity level, but they are able to still have the support from the other players.”

    John Halvorsen, 11, number 15 on the team who plays center midfielder on the team, had several things that he enjoys about the soccer season. He said, “I would say the bond between my teammates that I have is my favorite thing. It brings a certain level of security knowing that I have brothers next to me at all times.” Soccer is often like a family for the coaches and players. Gerike said, “I think that the biggest strength is the “family” mentality. Everyone on the team and in our program is treated as a family member. Family members don’t always get along with each other, but they will always be there for each other when needed. A needed improvement in my opinion is that they need to make this season their own and not try to compare it to previous seasons.” 

 Hunter Stine, 10,  number 17 on the team who plays center back on the team, said there are many benefits to being on the soccer team. Soccer also has a main benefit. Halvorsen said, “The main advantage of playing soccer is just being in shape. It’s really good for your physical health and I think that is a big role in feeling good about yourself.” 

Coaching has some advantages to it. Gerike said, “Networking. Because of coaching soccer: I got my teaching job, I have met friends, I have traveled the country and I have met professional athletes.” 

    Playing soccer also has many challenges at times. Halvorsen said, “I would say the biggest challenge is playing through adversity, meaning a team could be better than us or the refs just are not the best refs out there. You have to have a strong mindset to be able to do so.” Playing soccer has another challenge to it. Stine said, “Being in shape is one of the many challenges in soccer. In high school varsity matches, we play 40 minute halves. You are running up and down the field the entire time, so you have to be in very good shape. Another challenge is being able to keep your head up. Sometimes you could be getting beat 4-0, and you just have got to keep your head up and keep playing, no matter the score.” 

Coaching soccer can also have obstacles to it. Gerike said, “One challenge I have as a coach/teacher is being able to draw the line between being in the classroom and being on the field. Another challenge that I think most coaches face is being able to keep a positive and energetic attitude at practice after a long day at work.”

    Gerike said, “My favorite thing about coaching soccer is being able to share my knowledge and passion for soccer with others.” Stine’s least favorite thing about playing soccer is the constant risk of injury. But it doesn’t slow him down. Halvorsen said, “I focus on getting my mind set on the game and the game only. I listen to music and get pumped up to play. I make sure I am fully stretched out and loose so I know I’m ready to go.”

    Stine said, “I usually focus my mind and listen to some music, and just think of game-like situations in my head to prepare. I also try to keep myself calm because if I’m nervous I make mistakes.” 

Gerike and the other coaches let the players set individual and team goals they would like to achieve. His goal for this season is to have players step up and take vacant roles on their own. 

    Gerike said, “I enjoy watching players develop over time and seeing how their thought  process evolves with their style of play. I also miss playing soccer and for me coaching is the next best way to stay involved.” Gerike said, “My least favorite thing about coaching soccer is handling the paperwork and the more organizational tasks that are required.” 

Stine summed up what makes all the challenges and ups and downs worth it.  “When I play, I forget about all my problems and hardships of the day. It’s my stress reliever.”

Coach Wiley helps girls golf team in another successful year

By: Tyler Young/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Coach Wiley is focused at his desk while doing virtual teaching. Photo by: Tyler Young

Head coach of the varsity girls and boys golf team Russ Wiley is looking for more outstanding seasons to add to his belt of previous successes. Coach Wiley is not only a teacher and golf coach, but also a family man. He lives with his wife and three daughters.

Coach Wiley is from the south side of Indianapolis and graduated in 2001 from Roncalli High School. Coach Wiley attended Indiana University of Bloomington where he had a major in Secondary Education and returned to Ball State in 2011 for his M.A. in Political Science. In his fourteenth year of teaching World History, Wiley has been the head coach of girls’ varsity golf for 11 years now, and in his seventh year of coaching boys’ golf. Coach Wiley has been the head coach of Greenfield Central’s girls’ varsity for 11 years now and in his 7th year for the varsity boys’ golf.

Coach Wiley has had past success and showed coaching skill with both golf teams, including a 16-1 season last year with the girls and a regional appearance with the boys golf team. “The girls have been working really hard and showed me their potential, talents, and love for the game of golf. They  have no doubt that all that hard work is put into practice and off time.” That was Coach Wiley on the topic of the girls’ hard work and hopes for the coming season.

Caroline Gibson, 12, had positive comments to say about Coach Wiley. “Coach Wiley is a wonderful coach; he has put a lot of confidence into my talents and that is what makes him a great coach and person,” Gibson  said.

Coach Wiley said, “This pandemic is new to all of us. The girls are doing their utmost best to get some practice and playing time even if we don’t finish this season.”  The work that this team has put in has shown as Gibson is leading her team in a promising way this fall. They are 13-3 as they head into Sectionals on Monday, Sept. 21.

 Boys’ golf team member Josh Alley, grade 10,  also had positive words to say about Coach Wiley’s leadership. He stated, “Coach Wiley is an amazing person and coach. He has been calm and patient through the pandemic and cancellation of our season last year. He had a really good team and is hoping to go for the state title this year.”