All posts by Janna Hopper

Eating up the holidays

Staff Writer: Janna Hopper

We are finally falling right into the holiday season! And what is one of the first things people think of when it comes to the holidays? Food. Sandy Powell, FACS teacher here at GCHS, thinks it is because of holiday specific treats and baking traditions. Janelle Keusch, another FACS teacher, states that “Anytime people gather together, it usually centers around food.” 

There is no doubt that the holidays have food in abundance, but what are some good options for mealtime? The first important thing to remember is to not overdo it. Keusch says that a great way to stay healthier during the holidays is to have “smaller portions, everything in moderation.” Though she does agree that this is easier said than done!

It is important to eat smaller portions to stay healthy after holiday meals, because boy is there a lot of great, but not very healthy, stuff to eat! Both Powell and Keusch agree that cookies are classic holiday treats. As for the rest of the meal, Powell recommends a meat and cheese tray along with popular turkey and ham. Keusch adds casseroles and pies, while also mentioning quicker alternatives such as wings or waffles.

Powell and Keusch each offered recipes to try over the holidays; Christmas Crackle, pecan pie bars, and potato coconut bars. I made the Christmas Crackle, a four ingredient treat that was easy to make with very little hassle.

The first step was boiling two sticks of butter and a cup of brown sugar.

Then, after pouring it over a tray lined with saltine crackers on aluminum, it went into the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Once it came out, it was covered in chocolate chips. Spreading these out as they melted covered the whole thing in chocolate goodness.

Finally the hardest part: sticking it in the fridge for two hours instead of eating it right away. Tasty and fun, it’s a great way to put a dessert on the table without having to go through hours or overnights of trouble!

Of course, it is important to remember that the food isn’t the most important part of the holidays. As Powell puts it “Sharing stories and laughing together around the table” is one of the best parts of holiday meals. So whether you are eating take out or a huge homemade spread, remember to spend time with those close to you.

Have a happy holidays!

Photo caption: the process to make Christmas Crackle

Spooky season: What causes the excitement?

By: Jeremiah Edwards/Staff Writer

The beloved Spooky Season is just around the corner and that means Americans all over the country are ready to partake and collectively feed billions of dollars into the holiday’s festivities. Digging into the roots of the holiday, Halloween dates all the way back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, more than 2000 years ago. The Celts would celebrate the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. This custom would be brought to America by Irish Immigrants in the 1840s who immigrated due to a potato famine. Though the modern form of the holiday, trick-or-treating, would not be set in fine print until 1927. The first use of the phrase “Trick or Treat” was used by pranksters at houses. 

This form of Halloween is one of the most popular holidays Americans celebrate. Over 60% of the population in the country does something to do with the holiday. That 60% spent billions of dollars, $10.14 billion to be exact (in 2021), was spent on costumes, decorations, candy, and even greeting cards. What’s the psychology of this? Why do people feel the need to go all out for this holiday? 

The escape from reality may be relieving, apparently consuming all the things that come with Halloween. This is different for everyone as people differ in their chemical responses to thrilling situations. When encountering these situations dopamine is released. For those who enjoy these encounters, their brain seems to lack a brake on the dopamine release, prompting them to find the thrill enjoyable. Really it’s all up to how our brain processes fear. If you’re one of those people who find joy in everything Halloween, good for you. I’m not one of those people. At least for the scary bits. The candy and costumes are great. 

The freedom of creativity and expression is something that we all crave one way or another,  whether it’s dressing up as your favorite Disney princess or decorating your house with spookiness. It’s helpful to our minds, studies show that engagement in creativity improves mental health by reducing feelings of depression and isolation. Being artistic in any way can enhance moods, reduce anxiety and stress, and alleviate burdens associated with chronic disease.

Psychologists also note another possible reason. The act of dressing up among a group of people they call it “deindividuation.” “Deindividuated individuals do not attend to their own behaviors and lack awareness of themselves as distinct entities,” wrote James Tedeschi, a State University of New York at Albany professor, in The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral and shared by the Daily Emerald. This all comes down to experiencing a new social dynamic. A decreased sense of individuality leading to a possible increase in socializing and connecting with others you wouldn’t otherwise connect with. Of course this is a change of behavior, having this sort of anonymous effect on us. This experiment, addresses three different variables of deindividuation: anonymity vs nonanonymity, alone vs group, and groups with or without a child who was made responsible for the group’s actions. Approximately 1,300 trick or treaters were given the opportunity to steal candy and money. The experiment found that significantly more stealing was observed under conditions of anonymity and in the presence of a group.

It’s safe to say that Halloween has its benefits and its one of the few times of the year where people get to collectivity, express themselves creativity, encounter situations that make them happy, and/or experience a new level of social interaction, whether its good or bad (hopefully not the latter). Halloween is so big, and has so many levels  that it’s hard to not find something enjoyable about it, even for someone who doesn’t like the horror and thrill.

Daylight Saving time: should we save it?

By: Janna Hopper/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Daylight Saving Time has become a debated topic in the past years. But until something changes, make sure that all your clocks are set to the same time when this day rolls around. Photo by: Janna Hopper

When we “spring forward” with Daylight Saving Time each year, that night is full of groans and complaints; that Monday is exhausting and tedious. And when “fall back” comes around we celebrate our regained hour of sleep. But what is Daylight Saving Time for? Are the health effects worth it?

The story we are used to relating to Daylight Saving Time is that it was meant to give extra daylight time to farmers. However, this explanation makes very little sense. Scott Jacobs, the GCHS Agricultural Science and Business Teacher, remarks “Most of the farmers I know don’t care one way or the other about daylight savings time. They realize there will be a certain amount of daylight hours to complete their work. If they have to get up earlier or work later, they will just work until the job is completed.” Changing the hours on a clock would not affect their schedule in the slightest.

So why do we bother with this strange tradition? Is it more of a matter of keeping time zones consistent for better trade and communication? Yet not every state in the U.S. participates. Should we be trying to break out of this habit or is it not worth the trouble?

A healthy sleep schedule is a fragile thing, with benefits we often take for granted. Becky Robertson, the GCHS health assistant, says that there are many benefits that come with consistent sleep. She talks about how having a regular sleep schedule improves your mood, helps keep your blood pressure and sugar healthy, and also helps your heart. She mentions that “The single most effective way to start and stick to a bedtime routine is to make a commitment to yourself and your health.” Effective sleep schedules work best when you don’t use screens in the hour before bed and when you stay consistent with the times you are going to bed and getting up. Daylight saving time forces us to disregard the latter.

Daylight saving time throws off our sleep schedules all at once. This has affects far greater than just making you more tired. While Robertson admits to not being an expert on sleep, she  talks about the negative effects this schedule change can have on us. The first and most noticeable impact is that it throws off our internal clock. “When we aren’t sleeping well, it affects our whole bodies.  Most of us get grumpy, we don’t eat as well, we don’t exercise as much, and can even experience increased anxiety and/or depression” she says. She even mentions how research has found that this sudden change increases the risk for heart attack.

So indeed, this turns out to be quite the serious issue with the broad impact it has on our health and wellbeing. While Jen True from the GCHS attendance office hasn’t noticed a particular increase in tardies in the days following the time change, it is possible that we have managed to turn this into an unhealthy habit; automatically changing our clocks and just trying to work through the side effects. In the opinions of Robertson and many others, we should stop practicing Daylight Saving Time. It is no longer properly serving its original purpose and it is negatively impacting the health of those who practice it.

So as fall blows into full swing, don’t forget that tricky matter of Daylight Saving Time creeping our way once again. Perhaps it’s finally time to get rid of this outdated and unhealthy practice. Just make sure that all of us in the state agree on it; the excuse “I’m not practicing Daylight Saving Time” might not go over so well if you start showing up an hour late.

Exchange students compare, contrast US, Home Countries

by Audrey Marguet/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Ms. Jordan Mosser speaks with Ainara Flores Garcia, one of the exchange students. Photo by Audrey Marguet

“Wow, that was my dream,” said Rosalia Golen, one of the eight exchange students of Greenfield Central who left their country, family and friends to come here and live the famous American dream for the next 9 months. Coming to a new country could be exciting but sometimes the adaptation is very hard. Making new friends, speaking another language and working for school is not that easy, from what the students said.

Golen is 17 years old and comes from Poland. She arrived in the US July 26, only 9 days before the beginning of school. For the moment, she really loves life in the United States. “You can choose your classes, it’s amazing!” she said. Schools in the USA are really different from the others, you can choose your classes,have to change rooms between every block…  “In Poland, every year we have the same classes with the same people.” Another different thing here is sport and the other different clubs in school. Almost every student is engaged in one of them, and most of the parents are very invested in it. In European schools, it’s pretty rare to find such a varied list of clubs and sports teams in one school.

Going on an exchange year is a big decision to take, for the student who’ll leave their home country to live in a place where they don’t know anybody but also for the parents, who won’t be able to see their child for 10 months. However this experience is exciting. It could also be very hard, family, friends, house, everything they left home, most of the students are going to miss it very much. 

“I think the hardest thing is not having public transportation,” Ms Jordan Mosser, GC’s German teacher who also works with the international students, said, “they have to be a lot more reliant on their host parent, or friends.” European students are habituated to be able to go almost everywhere by bus or trains. Coming here is a big change for them because you have to drive to get around; there’s no public transportation. 

“It usually takes about a month for them to get fully comfortable,” Ms. Mosser said.

Cultural differences are pretty big between Europe and America, in school but not just school. From what the students say, everything here is bigger: schools, roads, cities,… For them, the thing they’re probably going to miss the most is food. Living 10 months without eating the food that they ate during all their life can be difficult.

But when you have a dream, nothing can stop you. Three years ago, Lorenzo Pedroni, from Italy, came with his family to visit the USA for one month, and then, came the idea of this exchange year. Now he’s here in Greenfield, and more than happy to be. He’s even going to try out for the basketball team.

Student Profile: senior tech head reminisces over moments in drama department

By Megan Bundy/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Addie Coombs, 12, paints a wall for You Can’t Take It With You.

Addie Coombs, 12, has been the tech head of the paint crew for the drama department since her sophomore year, given the position suddenly after the cancellation of GC Drama’s 2020 spring musical, Footloose, during her freshman year. Despite the abrupt change, Coombs said she isn’t complaining; being tech head has been super fun for her. 

When Coombs started high school in August 2019, she said she didn’t know what to expect at first. “I don’t remember everything, but I think I was way more nervous for high school than I was excited.” Coombs said. She also remarks on why she decided to join theater her freshman year. “I really wanted to be involved in something, since I heard so many teachers tell me to get involved in things or else my high school career would be really boring.”

One of Coombs’ best friends since the 7th grade, Abby Morgan, 12, is also involved in the drama department as part of the paint crew to help paint the set in productions. When asked her best moments in theater with Coombs, she said, “One of my best moments with Addie in theater would be my first show, Cheaper by the Dozen. Our paint head at the time would always put us together on jobs and we’d always laugh together.” Morgan also says that she’s learned a lot of things from Coombs, including how to be more kind to herself and others around her. “She’s always been the nicest person I’ve ever known, and I’d like to think some of it has rubbed off on me.”

Carolyn Voigt, an English teacher and drama director at GC, has worked with Coombs during shows as well. Voigt describes her as passionate and a kind leader, having the ability to lead a group without being authoritative during shows. “Addie meets deadlines, and communicates and delegates tasks to her team well,” Voigt mentioned while commenting on Coombs’ leadership qualities. Voigt mentioned several reasons why Coombs was okayed to become a tech head for the program. “Addie always asked what she could do to help the production, even if it was extra work. She showed initiative, and she got along well with others. She was/is dependable.”

For her last season of shows in the drama department, Coombs is looking forward to many things with her crew. “I’ve always loved hanging out with my crew and spending hours upon hours with them, especially during tech weeks when we don’t have much to do other than talk with each other and enjoy each other’s company. So I’m really looking forward to the final few times I get to do that!”

Now as a senior, Coombs said, “Being a senior is so incredibly weird.  Obviously it’s really nice because I know the rounds of the school, teachers aren’t as cautious/strict, things like that. One of the main things I’ve noticed is that the fear and self consciousness you feel when you start out as an underclassman is completely gone.” When asked what advice Coombs would give to younger students, she said “My advice is to try and make friends! Don’t stick to just one or two people, try and branch out and really throw yourself out there. Being in high school is so much more fun when you have people by your side who you enjoy talking to.”

GC men’s tennis team prepares for county

by Ryley O’Brian/Staff Writer

Photo caption: Junior CJ Michalek prepares to serve against a Scecina player.

The GC men’s tennis team is nearing the halfway point of their season. There are three meets left before county and nine meets before sectionals. They have already made a mark on the season with an 8-1 record.

Greenfield Central junior Caden Robertson has helped the team push to achieve this record. “I think we are doing very well,” Robertson stated. “We are performing above expectations.” The tennis team’s record last year was 13-4. With an 8-1 record this season they are looking to beat last year’s record and maybe even win county. They have even beaten multiple teams that they fell to last season.

Delta High School was a team that beat the tennis players last year. The Cougars suffered a heartbreaking 4-1 defeat with only one of the doubles’ teams winning. This year the tables have turned. Greenfield Central powered through to beat Delta for the first time in GC men’s tennis History. The score was 3-2 with a singles sweep. Junior Chris Long was one of these singles’ players. Long accredits this success to the coaching staff. “Over the off-season we have all worked hard and gotten better thanks to Coach (Michael) Turpin’s advice and Coach Lawhorn’s great coaching,” Long stated. 

The Cougars have already beaten multiple conference rivals including New Palestine and New Castle. Greenfield recently upset New Castle. The victory was 4-1 with every match being hard fought. Another conference rival, New Palestine, has recently fallen to the Cougars. The Cougars won against New Palestine 3-2. This pushes the tennis team’s record to be undefeated by conference rivals this season. The next conference rival the tennis team faces will be Mt. Vernon.

Junior CJ Michalek is undefeated going into this last week before county. “It took hours of very hard work to come this far,” Michalek responded. “All the effort I put into getting better has really helped me this season.”

Robertson’s goals this season are to win sectionals and county. This seems to be a common goal among GC mens tennis players. Long said, “I hope we can win county or sectionals this year.” Long thinks this is a very real possibility because they are having the best season he has been a part of according to him. Robertson believes Mt. Vernon or New Palestine may be the toughest opponents in the county tournament. With an 8-1 record all seems possible to these Cougars. 

Profile: A closer look at GC’s lunch ladies

by Madi Burns/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Lunch ladies prepare lunch for students and staff at GC.

Lunch ladies and cafeteria workers, who normally get lesser recognition, have stories to tell, just like teachers and staff. An example would be Ali Stine, dishroom worker and former cashier, who has been a part of Greenfield Central for 8 years. 

Ali Stine, a mother of 3 and dishroom worker, cares a lot about GC students. “I love the interaction with the kids. Probably way too much. I’m in the dish-room now, and I so miss it. I miss the interaction with my kids. I call you guys [students] my kids,” Stine said.

When Stine was young, she wanted to live in Florida, become an accountant, and drive a really nice car. However, when she took finite math, she realized that maybe accounting wasn’t for her. So she came to Greenfield Central, and became a cashier for the lunch line. 

Stine is inspired by being kind, and making a difference. “I want to be nice, like I want to make people happy.” She went on to say, “When I first started here, I was a cashier, and my goal was to get kids to talk. I wanted everyone to say hi. I started with maybe 5 kids saying it, and by the end of the year, I had 50 kids that said hi. I just wanted to make a difference.” 

Lunch ladies prepare lunch for students and staff at GC.

Stine shared the best advice she’d ever received. “There’s a difference between being kind and showing kindness. You have to know the difference. You have to truly be kind to people.” And her advice to younger generations here at GC and everywhere else, is to just be present. 

One thing Stine wishes people knew about her is that, “I care about everybody. I care too much.” A favorite of her personality is pretty much the same. “I’m always happy. I always smile. I’m always happy. Again, I care too much.” And it all wraps around to her love of GC. Stine’s favorite movie is the Notebook. “I love the Notebook. It reminds me of my grandparents.” She went on to tell her favorite book, which is the Bible. “I started reading the Bible, going to Bible studies, and I’m learning all about that, because it’s very life changing, and it’s something you can live on.” Stine also stated that her hero is her grandpa.