Category Archives: feature

History of Winter Holidays

by Aidan Bow/Staff Writer

Photo: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=26496&picture=winter

Winter is a wonderful time of year. Many holidays occur during winter; some of the largest ones are Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. All of these holidays have a long history and are connected to many religions and cultures.

According to history.com, the Christmas holiday began in the fourth century as a Christian holiday to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth.  According to Pew Research, 65% of Americans identify as Christian. It is not known when the actual date of Jesus’ birth was, so Pope Julius I chose December 25th as the day of celebration.  The decision behind the chosen date is believed to have started as an effort to dismiss the Pagan holiday known as the Saturnalia Festival.  Christmas had spread to Europe by 432 and was well known in England by the end of the sixth century. Christmas was originally called the Feast of the Nativity.  It is now referred to as Christmas worldwide, and is usually celebrated with a decorated pine tree, gifts and a large feast, each signifying an attribute to that time. More traditionally, the story of Santa Claus and stockings are now included in the celebrations.

There are many stories of Hanukkah, but this is the most well known.  In the year 200 BC there was a large religious rebellion between Syria and Israel.  Israel was victorious, and a Jewish Priest, Judah, called on his followers to cleanse the Second Temple, rebuild the altar and light the menorah. History.com stated the menorah itself was a gold candelabrum, which stands for knowledge and creation, and was supposed to burn every night.  During this rededication of the second temple, a “miracle” was witnessed.  The menorah only had enough oil to burn for one night, but somehow, it burned for eight nights, giving them time to obtain more oil.  The Jewish sages proclaimed an eight day festival involving the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts, to celebrate this wondrous event.  Hanukkah always begins on the ninth month of the Jewish (lunar) calendar. 

Kwanzaa is a fairly new winter holiday tradition, founded in the 20th century by Dr. Maulana Karenga, in an effort to bring African Americans together as a community.  Kwanzaa is not a religious based holiday, but a cultural one.  Every family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, many celebrating Kwanzaa and Christmas together.  According to History.com, Kwanzaa celebrations often include songs, dances, African drums, storytelling, and a large traditional meal.  Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven nights, each night starting with one of the family’s children lighting the appropriate candle on the Kinara, and discussing one of the seven principals.  There are also seven symbols, both principles and symbols are used to represent different values and concepts reflective to African culture.  At the end of the seventh day, a feast called a Karamu is held on December 31st.

You might be wondering about the city of Greenfield’s winter traditions. Brigette Cook Jones, the past president and current director of the Blue River Township Hancock County Historical Society had this to say: 

Greenfield’s residents primarily celebrated Christmas, as most families were Christians.  There were a few Jewish families, but Greenfield did not have a Synagogue and their population was not large.  Greenfield was founded in 1828, at this time, celebrations were meager with each person celebrating in their home, or attending a Christmas service at their local church.  By the 1840’s and 1850’s you would start to see the German tradition of Christmas trees in several homes.  Late local poet, James Whitcomb Riley, wrote about his home Christmas traditions, which included Christmas tree’s, stockings and Santa Clause.  By the 1920’s, Greenfield was decorated with electric lights and a tree.  A nativity scene was displayed on the courthouse lawn starting in 1957.  Over the years, Greenfield has grown many Christmas traditions and outgrown others.  Some of these traditions include, the Christmas tree lighting and parade, along with Santa’s arrival, Santa Breakfast, downtown merchant decorations, gingerbread house contests, vendors, carriage rides, drive thru light shows, holiday movies at the Rick’s theater, Christmas tours at Riley’s boyhood home, school programs, as well as most churches having a candlelit service, special dinner and even elaborate presentations that bring people in from outside of the county. Hancock County has almost 90 Christian churches in the area, so there is still a lot of Christian influence in Greenfield.

Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza all have a lot of history.  They are each special in their own way.  Everybody celebrates winter differently, and that’s okay.

History.com links

Christmas link

Hanukkah link

Kwanzaa link

Image 1 link

Exchange student discuss holiday customs abroad, in US

by Dylan Ramirez/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Several exchange students hold flags from their countries at the flag ceremony during the World Language Cook-Off: Joona Hinte, 11, Annika Fischer, 11, Ainara Flores Garcia, 11, Aiala Orio San Vicente, 11, Audrey Marguet, 11, and Lorenzo Pedroni, 11, and Rozalia Golen, 11.

     Greenfield Central is hosting exchange students from all over the world, from Germany, Spain, Russia, and other countries. As most know, many kids from different countries do not celebrate the same holidays as most Americans. Some of the exchange compare holidays here and at home.

Matz Schaefer, grade 1l, is a 15 year old from Germany. He said, “Back home in Germany we celebrate Christmas, Nikolaus (6th of December to celebrate a helpful man) and St. Martin on the 11th of November and Pentecost.” Schaefer said the holidays here aren’t much different when it comes to celebrating them. He and his family and most Germans come together as a family and eat a bunch of food. He said the food is a bit different. “Usually back at home we’ll eat geese and potato soup. It’s different here because we ate turkey, ham, pie, and mashed potatoes for most of the holidays we’ve had so far, like Thanksgiving,” said Schaefer. He said the holidays he’s celebrated makes him feel like a real American because he’s living the same experience and traditions just as  everyone else around him. He loves celebrating Thanksgiving and celebrating with his host family. He concluded, “I’m glad to get to celebrate these holidays with family and friends. I’d suggest to anyone to go to different countries and celebrate their holidays their way.” 

Aiala Orio San Vicente, grade 11, is from Spain. Aiaila stated that she also celebrates New Years (Los Reyes Magos), Easter (Dia de la Hispanidad), Halloween (Dia de todos los santos), and also Christmas. Vicente said celebrating the holidays are the same, just hanging with family and eating. Aialia also said that the more popular foods to eat are meat, salads, croquetas (small cakes of meat or potatoes coated in breadcrumbs  and fried), then cakes and Spanish ham during holidays. “The holidays made me feel really happy, like Thanksgiving. The most significant tradition in Spain is eating twelve grapes during the last seconds before New Years,” says Aialia. The purpose of eating twelve grapes is to lead each month of the next year full of good luck and prosperity. 

Annika Fischer, grade 11, is from Germany. She exclaimed, “I love celebrating the holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving with my host family so far. I’m excited for Christmas.” Fischer talked about the traditions and holidays she celebrates back home. She celebrates Christmas, their thanksgiving, St. Martin,etc. Thanksgiving in Germany is celebrated on the first Sunday in October. It is more of a rural event, with gatherings with food and neighbors. “The main difference between celebrating holidays here and back home is the food and how much family come from different places to come celebrate with you. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving back home,” says Annika. Annika then explained, “But besides that, the holidays here are as common and simple as the ones back home. I love being around people, it makes me feel comfortable.” Annika ended the interview with wanting to tell everyone to go out of the country at least once and try different holidays from around the world.

Profile: Functional academics teachers share their motivations, successes

by Della Hedge/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Ms. Kathleen Burke, Ms. Emily Weaver, and Ms. Courtney Majors are ready to start the day with their students.

“My biggest motivation is the students’ success,” functional academic teacher Ms. Emily Weaver said. She has always wanted to be a teacher; she was pushed to shadow a life skills teacher in high school and she knew from the minute she walked in, “I wanted to make an impact in the lives of those with disabilities.” 

“My students are my WHY. My students are the reason I wake up each morning and come to work with a smile on my face. My students are my biggest motivation to be the best teacher I can be,” Weaver said.  She can feel the difference she makes every day in her classroom. Even if it’s little things like a student asking for help for the first time or independently following their schedule. “I specifically love being able to experience when students are able to generalize a skill that was taught in class and be able to use that skill in the community,” she said. She thrives on seeing students’ successes. That’s the main thing that keeps Ms. Weaver going. 

She thinks that building relationships with the parents as well is one of the most important things in working with students. “The relationship that you build, not just with students but with their families (is important),” she said. She values her students’ families and wants to make sure that the students’ best interest is in mind. 

The effects of the COVID pandemic, especially virtual learning through technology, hit Ms. Weaver’s classroom positively and negatively. “The amount of time on technology and knowledge of supports that we have using technology has tremendously increased. I also miss using paper and pencils as well.” She has started again with the paper and pencil this year, as she eases her students back to pre-pandemic conditions. She also mentioned that the communication and engagement has decreased tremendously. “It appears that some students do not have interest in communicating and engaging with others as much as before COVID occurred,” she said. 

Ms. Weaver had many dreams and goals for her classroom. One of her goals is to focus on the end of high school. She has a lot of students graduating this year and she has to prepare them for the real world. Everyone’s life after high school is different and Ms.Weaver has to prepare them for whatever they will do. “Life after high school can look different for many people and figuring out what it looks like for each student is important as they go through high school,” Ms. Weaver said. 

Ms. Courtney Majors, one of Ms. Weaver’s co-teachers, has a very similar approach. They both keep going because of their students. “My biggest motivation is my students. I want to see them succeed and become the most successful and independent individuals they can be,” Ms. Majors said. 

Last year was Ms. Major’s first year in the classroom. She started during COVID and she persevered. “Starting to teach during COVID has made me a better and more adaptable teacher,” she said. She had to adapt and make it through the year, she said.

With her being a brand new teacher, reaching her goals is so important. She wants to focus on self-improvement to better connect with her students. “The main goal for this year is to continue forming relationships with my students and improving myself to be the best teacher I can be,” she said.

Ms. Kathleen Burke is another functional academics teacher who co-teaches with Ms. Weaver and Ms. Majors. Ms. Burke is also a co-sponsor with Ms. Weaver with a club called Peer Pals, formerly known as Best Buddies. 

“My biggest motivation to keep moving forward each day are the ladies whom I share teaching responsibilities with. We share ideas, support each other, and just have a lot of fun together doing our job,” Ms. Burke said. She keeps going for her co-workers. She shares a great deal of her life with them; she strives to be the best because of them.

“The students and daily experiences are definitely the best part of my job. I get to be involved in students’ journeys from freshman year through senior year. This is not something all teachers get to experience. This can make it even more difficult to say goodbye, but also more rewarding to see students graduate,” Ms. Burke said. She gets to see her students grow and leave. She gets to prepare them for the real world, and she loves that part of her job. 

All three teachers keep going for their students; they thrive under their students’ success. Many can agree, that is what makes a good teacher. If you have the opportunity to get to know them or their students, as you can tell from their positive comments, it will be a positive experience.

FCCLA Winter Bazaar bonds school, community

by Mia Harr/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: FCCLA’s Connor Griffith, 10, talks to a winter bazaar customer.

The Winter bazaar was a success this year, with the booths stretching beyond the cafeteria, around the auditorium, library, and even into some of the academic halls. The booths were from local vendors selling things they made or from direct sales companies.

The winter bazaar is a craft show for people to do some shopping from some local small businesses, but it’s also the main fundraiser for FCCLA. FCCLA president Isabelle Monsma, 10, said, “The winter bazaar helps a lot with our club fees, like it makes our state fees cheaper so more people can come and it also helps with nationals if we make it there. It also helps with other field trips and community service we do.” The winter bazaar’s main goal was to raise money for the club but also to help small businesses. 

Monsma explained what to expect. “We have lots of people attending.  We have most of FCCLA coming to work, friends, family, we have lots of local vendors, the drama club, and we even have a few people who have graduated but were in FCCLA coming.” 

FCCLA runs the entire event. This year the students from FCCLA helped set up by promoting, putting up years signs, assisting vendors in their booths, they helped move and carry items, ran booths when vendors needed breaks, baked foods to sell, helped with concessions, and at the very end they cleaned up at the end. Monsma said, “FCCLA runs the whole thing. We make the food we sell and we plan the whole thing. Mrs. (Janelle) Keusch, our adviser, does a lot, thank God.”  They stayed after school Friday till 8pm to set up and went back at 6:30 am to continue setting up. Some of the main dishes from the event were homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin rolls, cookies, and lasagna or chicken noodle soup for lunch.  

However, there were challenges to this event.  Keusch stated, “The set up is most challenging due to the quick turnaround times at the end of the day. All the planning and prep takes so many hours to do.” 

Monsma stated, “We have a limited amount of people to work with and it’s amazing that it’s expanding but also it makes it more to manage.” There was a lot of planning and challenges that went into the winter bazaar but most say it was successful. 

Monsma was asked about the winter bazaar and her response was, “The winter bazaar is about community. Without local vendors and local shoppers we wouldn’t be able to do it. It reminds me a lot of Riley Days.  Lots of people come together and support each other.” The winter bazaar is an event that’s involved with the community and support from others. Keusch, when asked if she was excited, stated, “Of course! It is crazy busy, chaotic and fun.” Monsma was excited about the winter bazaar being a lot bigger this year. She described it as a very stressful thought but she knew all the hard work would pay off and it would be amazing. 

GC students discuss favorite holiday traditions

by Megan Bundy/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Decorating a Christmas tree is a popular holiday tradition for many. Photo by Megan Bundy

It’s that time of year again where it begins to get colder outside and the holidays are the biggest thing on people’s minds. It’s a time for family and friends to come together and get ready to end the year with joy and look forward to the next one. A special aspect of the holidays is participating in traditions with your family and friends, and G-CHS students were asked about their own holiday traditions that they celebrate.

Not surprisingly, celebrating the holidays with family and friends was a big one shared amongst the students. “The holidays are very fun for me, not just the presents or anything but just being with everyone. We usually go to my grandma’s and eat some sort of dinner, hang out and open presents,” 10th grader Bella Corsaro-Ferge said about her own traditions.

“The holidays are pretty fun for me. I enjoy the break and hanging out with friends and getting into the Christmas spirit,” Alek Plisinski, 10, said. Lynn Bye, 10, also commented, “(I) definitely prefer to hangout with friends during the holidays. With friends, plans are easier and more flexible.” It seems like a reasonable number of students at G-CHS value connection with loved ones during the holiday season. 

When the students were asked what holiday traditions they like to do, there was a plentiful variety. “My favorite holiday tradition would probably be going to Utah to visit my aunt and uncle and celebrate the holidays there with them,” Chloe Davidson, 10, said. Davidson also mentioned that she has an Advent calendar tradition. Jo Cooper, 10, said “My favorite tradition is decorating my tree. I have had it since I was a child.” Bye also added, “Playing dreidel and betting on who will win is my favorite Hanukkah tradition while my favorite Christmas tradition is watching a movie on Christmas Eve while drinking hot chocolate.” Other students have also said that decorating their Christmas tree with family or watching Christmas movies was their preferred holiday tradition. These two traditions are one of the most common ones, so it is no surprise that many students at G-CHS like to participate in them.

As the year begins to draw to a close, the holidays are reminders of what we have to be thankful for during this year. The holidays are generally a time for joy and peace as well as spending time with family and friends. 

Profile: Henderson’s best teaching assets “compassion for all,” connections with students

by Madi Short/Staff Writer

A vital staff member and teacher of GCHS is William Henderson, or as some students and staff know him, Sarge. Mr. Henderson, before he ever became a teacher, was in the military, and decided after seeing the amount of soldiers who hadn’t been prepared for life out of high school, to become a teacher. “When I was in the Army, I saw so many soldiers come into the Army that were not prepared for life after graduating high school. Many of these young soldiers lacked firm, fair and consistent role models and leadership in their lives. I thought I could assist in helping the youth of our society become more prepared for life after they leave the protection of their parents’ home.”

    Mr. Henderson has many great stories and memories with other staff, including Mr. Will Bolden and Mr. Eric Robertson. When asked what was your best memory of Mr. Henderson, Mr. Robertson replied, “When he interviewed me for a job in my driver’s education office some 10 years ago.”

    Mr. Henderson’s advice to teenagers would be, “The concept of working hard is a fallacy. You should strive to work smarter. Hard working people fail every day because they do not accomplish their goal, mission, or job. Working smarter will allow you to maximize your time and allow you to find a healthy work life balance.” 

    Many people learn from Mr. Henderson, and that includes students and staff. Mr. Bolden described some of the things he learned. “I’ve learned several things from Mr. Henderson. A lot of those things stem from his direction for a new teacher: how to set up Google Classroom, structuring lessons, communication with parents and students, connecting with students, etc.” Mr. Roberson, though he did not get into detail, stated he has learned many things from Mr. Henderson, however many he couldn’t put into writing or discuss.

    Mr. Robertson, when asked what he thought Mr. Henderson’s greatest quality was, he stated, “His care and compassion for all; he truly cares about everyone.” Mr. Bolden shared a similar thinking, as he said, “Connecting with students and communication.” Another similar statement from Mr. Robertson and Mr. Bolden was when asked what their favorite thing about him was, Mr. Robertson replied, “He is so funny. His one-liners are the greatest ever.” Mr. Bolden replied, “His no nonsense approach but it’s paired with a sense of understanding and humor.” 

    Family means a lot to Mr. Henderson. When asked what his inspiration was, Mr. Henderson said, “My wife inspires me. She inspires me to be the best I can be.” The greatest advice he’d ever received was, “to marry my wife. My father gave me that advice and like most advice he gave, he wasn’t wrong.” And when asked about his greatest accomplishment, Mr. Henderson replied, “Being a father to two outstanding young men. I have held a lot of titles in my life, but none as great as Dad.”

    In addition to family, students mean a lot to Mr. Henderson as well. Mr. Henderson has learned a lot from teaching, having said, “First, my students taught me how to be a better parent (I will always be grateful for that). Also, that every student is not the same because they all have different challenges, backgrounds, and support systems. However, all students require the same four things: A positive role model, to be protected from harm, to be treated with respect, and to be loved unconditionally regardless of their faults.”

    A feeling Mr. Henderson will never forget while  teaching would be, “watching a student graduate that many thought wouldn’t and knowing you played a part in that change.”

    From the military to teaching, Mr. Henderson shared his thoughts on the difficulty of switching from one to the other. “Initially it was hard, yes, but not as hard of a transition for many of my peers who become teachers. I was fortunate enough to start my teaching career at the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Childrens Home in Knightstown where I was an Army JROTC instructor. I left the Army on Friday and started teaching on Monday and I still wore a uniform. The structure at the home was much like the military. It was a lot like training soldiers except for they had not been to basic training.”

    On another military note, Mr. Henderson, when asked if he could do anything else, what would you do, he stated, “I believe I am exactly where I am meant to be.  However, if I had to do something else, I would have become a Transitional Assistance Program Counselor for Veterans. I know how difficult it is to transition from the military. I have always had a desire to serve others, and this would allow me to assist our heroes’ transition into the next phase of life.”

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

Seasonal Affective Disorder: How can it Affect your mental health?

By Izabelle Monsma /Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Days like this gray December day may be something that can affect SAD. Photo by Izabelle Monsma

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, can include a more frequent depressive mood for people who deal with depression, low energy levels, low self-esteem, over or under sleeping, less interest in activities that normally bring enjoyment, changes in weight, craving certain foods such as carbohydrates and sweets, and more. Mr. Joshua Holden (health teacher and coach) talked about other symptoms: “withdrawing from others, lack of joy in things that they used to enjoy or most kids would enjoy, extreme fatigue,  mood swings, drop in school performance, etc…”

Most of the time it will start early in fall and get worse through winter getting its worst in December through February and getting better as it gets warm again.  Ms. Jennifer Haston (GOAL Classroom and Behavior Coach) said, “We do usually see a spike of people coming throughout the winter.” SAD is most common in women but is also seen in men. It is unknown why it’s more common in women. It normally starts in young adulthood and will go throughout the adult years. 

Some studies show that GPAs drop in most fall semesters. They show good grades at first, but as it gets colder they drop, then in the spring semester they come back up to normal. Holden said, “I still struggle sometimes.  Now, think about how many 14 or 15-year-old students we have who have not been diagnosed.  They receive no form of treatment.  They struggle alone without people understanding why they feel the way they do.  It is incredibly hard for these students.  They need people in their lives who understand what they are going through and how to help them.”

Some people say it has nothing to do with SAD but information from Paradigm Treatment Centers, paradigmtreatment.com, who help teens and young adults, says that depression in teens can cause difficulty in concentration, planning and organizing, hypersensitivity, and more and all of those things affect grades. The same article says that teens will often refuse tasks if seen as too difficult because they doubt their ability, so that means that it can cause people to think they are just not trying but they are capable of doing the task and will affect their self esteem more than it already is.

SAD can also really affect relationships. It’s important to make sure that you are thinking about things before you do them to protect your relationships with a person affected by SAD. It can be hard for you and the person to get along and understand each other but it’s important to show compassion. An article from health.com says that there is a good chance a person dealing with SAD might cancel plans and it will take them longer to complete tasks than it normally would. (https://www.health.com/condition/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-relationships) It may seem like laziness or lack of interest but if you give them time and space while also showing you are here for them and you care they will eventually come around. It may seem confusing and know that it’s not your responsibility to make others happy but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to show you are there for them. Always remember that your mental and physical health always come first.

If you think you might have SAD or any other mental illness it’s important to get it diagnosed as soon as you can. Going without treatment can make things worse so talk to your doctor about any worries you may have. After being diagnosed there are lots of treatment options. There’s light exposure, phototherapy (light therapy), talk therapy, medications and if none of those things work you can work with your doctor to find a better solution for you. 

There are things that you can do to ease the effects of SAD. It’s important to find the pattern as soon as possible and then you can prepare yourself in the fall. You can try a UV light “sun” exposure can help a lot. Haston has some of these lamps in the break room.

It’s really important to pay attention to how you’re feeling so you don’t get stuck in a cycle. Holden said, “I suffer from depression and it is really tough when winter comes.  The weather changes, it’s gloomy out all of the time, and it’s dark when I get to school and dark when I leave school.  I really have to pay attention to how I feel this time of year.”

Lots of people may deny the fact that they are feeling these ways. Haston says, “Denial is the biggest thing. (Students) will say they are okay but then be skipping because they just can’t handle the class.” She also talked about finding an outlet. If you can’t talk to family, get to the doctor, maybe a trusted adult or a teacher you think you can trust. Even though it’s much better to talk to adults, if you don’t have any adults, a friend that is okay with you talking to them about it could even help to listen.

So just overall whether it’s seasonal depression, anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses, it’s important to get help as soon as you can. If you go untreated it can be harder to deal with and understand later in life. It’s also important to know the signs whether it’s for you or others, and just because someone says they are okay does not always mean they are. Mental illnesses are real and they are not just something you make up or that you can control. It’s also not a joking matter. Making jokes about these things is why some people don’t take it seriously and mental illnesses are very harmful, something to keep in mind when thinking about how to approach others during this season.

Madrigal dinner continues proud tradition

by Esther Bell/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: From left to right, Tyler Swango, 12, Zeke Holden, 12, Matthew Royster, 12, Ethan Bittinger, 12, Hunter Stine, 12, Bryce Kinnaman, 12, Ethan Hollis, 12, Michael Runions, 12 and others rehearse “Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl” in the choir room. Photo taken by Ariana Bell.

The Madrigal dinner is a yearly tradition the Madrigal choir does, which consists of a funny medieval skit with songs to go with it, the dinner itself, and a five-song concert at the end. There is a lot that goes into it, and it is something that means a lot to many people. “It is a big tradition,” says Paul Grizzard, the GC choir director, “and so a lot of people have been coming to these for years and years. They were in it when they were in high school, and now their kids are in it, and so it is a huge deal and it’s just so cool to see that carry on from generation to generation.” 

For some of the choir members, it is a joy to simply see the audience’s reactions to their performance. Jaclyn Layton, this year’s Queen of the dinner and senior, says that her favorite part of it is “being part of the skit and performing for a different group of people each night, and just seeing everybody’s faces light up whenever we’re singing or laughing at ourselves.”

There is a lot that goes into the dinner, though. The preparations start immediately after the fall concert. “Even though we had tons of time,” says Grizzard, “I auditioned this dinner in September so that we knew who’s doing what part.” On top of that, the costumes have to be ready early. “I’ve had plenty of these,” Grizzard explains, “where you have somebody who’s trying on their dress the first time, the opening night, and then everybody’s freaking out. So, I’ve learned you gotta give people time.”

Many people help with the preparation and making of the Madrigal dinner. “I do have a nice army of parents who help out,” says Grizzard. “This year we have Mrs. Jen Steele, who is our music department secretary. This is her first year of doing it, so she’s already asking me, sending me all these emails about questions, because she has never done one before (and she wants to make sure it goes smoothly).” Grizzard continues on about the parents who help with the dinner. “It’s usually just Madrigal parents,” he says, “but we do need a lot of support, that often we have parents of freshmen and sophomores who might not have kids in the Madrigal choir who still help out.” Grizzard finishes by saying that without these parents, they could not pull it off.

The main part of it, though, is the choir’s songs and skit. There is even a drinking song in the show that the gentlemen sing. “It’s called ‘Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl’,” says Grizzard, “and it’s all about filling the flowing bowl.”

That isn’t the only type of song being performed, though. “We also have a lot of songs,” says Ethan Bittinger, this year’s King of the dinner, “that are really pretty and melodic songs, which I do enjoy listening to a good, melodic slow piece.” 

“Adoramus Te” is one of these, a song sung every year, and what Grizzard says is his all-time favorite song. “Like the blessing before the meal,” he explains. Along with that, Madrigal sings “Silent Night,” surrounding the audience. “We get candles,” says Grizzard, “and then we kill the lights to the place so that you just see candlelight, and it’s such a cool effect.”

The main attraction of the dinner is, of course, the skit performed for the “peasants,” or the audience. “The Madrigal dinners is a concert as well as a play,” says Grizzard, “and so there’s a theater part in there.” He goes on to talk about the funny skit with jester as the main character. Along with that, two seniors in Madrigal take the roles of King and Queen. “This year,” says Layton, “I am the Queen, so that is a big difference than last year’s Fredrica Ferducci (the character she played last year), and even though it’s not as big of a speaking part I’m very excited to sit back and watch the skit play out, and just see how things go, being in that leader role.”

Bittinger adds on to this. “I think [the skit] is where we have the most fun with being ourselves,” he says, “because you can really do whatever you want, and you get to portray someone who you’re not used to doing, and it’s a good outlet for being safe, and understanding: ‘Hey, I can go be whoever I want here, fit in with this dinner.’ It’s also a really good way to connect with the community, because you see a lot of people from other counties that hear about these dinners, and they’ll come, and they’ll watch, and I think it’s overall just a really good bonding time, especially with the fellow people in the choirs, just to get closer together,” he finishes.

There’s one part that Bittinger really enjoys. “I really like how during our intermission times we have a time where all of the cast and singers are allowed to walk around the dinners, and interact with the peasants, the people who showed up to watch the performance,” Bittinger says. He goes on to talk about a fun tradition that happens when someone pulls out modern technology during the dinner. “And it’s always good, because there’s always someone in the audience [we call a “witch,”] with their phone out, and it’s really good just to interact with them and that’s probably the most fun part about it.”

There are some difficulties that go along with doing the dinner, too. Some of that, as Layton and Bittinger say, is keeping expression and trusting those around them to do their jobs, but another one is singing in a different environment than usual. “For [the Madrigal Dinner],” says Grizzard, “if you’re a soprano, you’d have a tenor in one ear, you’d have a bass in another ear, and I’m nowhere to be seen.” He explains that the whole performance is done without him.

Even with these difficulties, Grizzard says he feels great about the dinner. “I get everybody,” he says, “I give them a little pep talk, and then I give the cue for the first song, and then off they go.” He builds on this later. “Teaching is a stressful job,” Grizzard explains, “and it is a lot of work for me, but then to just be able to sit back and to see kids tear up for the last concert and to see how much it means to them just makes it worthwhile.”

Girls basketball is ready for season

by Kynleigh Martin/Staff Writer

Girls Basketball at GCHS is about to start their season on October 27, scrimmaging against Anderson. Coach Bradley Key is hoping for a fun and successful season. He is very proud of the fun and upbeat atmosphere the team has created. A lot of girls on the team have spoken about the family-like bond. Addi Herron is a Sophomore returning to the team this year and she mentioned one of her favorite parts of being on the team is the family dinners they do. “We have a lot of fun and we’re all really close,” Addi Heron said. 

Kaycie Moles is a freshman who will be playing basketball this year. She is eager to learn more about the game and really likes the girls. Moles said, “I’m really excited to progress my skills and get better as a player and a person.” Coach Key mentioned how he is looking forward to really working with the freshmen and developing their skills. Coach Key thinks this is the year they can really turn the team around and he is excited to win more games. 

Madi Moss is a freshman who is playing basketball this year. Coach Megan Dawson has really had an impact on Moss. “I am excited to learn from Dawson and Key and have a great season,” said Moss.  A lot of the freshmen playing this year are excited to take the jump from middle school and start playing more competitively. Coach Key is ready to work with hard-workers and competitors players: “If you put in the work and are competitive, I can do something with you,” he said.

The season officially starts on Nov. 3 when the girls will travel to Greenwood.