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Have we lost the true meaning of thanksgiving?

by Jeremiah Edwards/Staff Writer

Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans celebrating thanksgiving Photo from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Thanksgiving-Day

A holiday and tradition held by many in the United States and Canada, dating all the way back to its start in 1621: Thanksgiving. The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans would come together to celebrate one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies, though many claim to have had the “first” Thanksgiving. This day is heavily regarded by historians as the first true celebration of gratitude. Now, in the present day, it’s a good question to revisit : Do we still value the meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving, or are they buried by the excitement of the Christmas season? 

A time to give thanks for all the fortunes obtained in the past year has now turned into a rush to purchase gifts for the holiday season. Black Friday completely overshadows Thanksgiving. Once the clocks hit 12am, it seems everything about Thanksgiving is lost in memory. In a survey taken by finder.com, 28% of the surveyed American adults will participate in deals on Black Friday in 2021, while 58% say they’ll participate in other holiday deals. Countries all over the world are prepared for Christmas even before the start of December. It’s starting to seem like an obligation for some people to host a Thanksgiving dinner. 

Whether you’re religious or not, there’s still a spiritual aspect of Thanksgiving. If you just flip flop the two words that make up “Thanksgiving” you have your answer: giving thanks. In better terms, gratitude. Remember the Gratitude song from the beloved show “Spongebob Square Pants.” Yeah, that’s what it’s all about: being grateful for all the good things life’s handing you on a silver platter, though when the last Thursday of November comes people only see it as a day for a big feast and to eat as much as they want. “Turkey Day” is a nickname for the day held by many, presenting the possibility that maybe it’s the only reason they celebrate Thanksgiving. How could you show gratitude in the spirit of thanksgiving? Donating to a food pantry or charity, or inviting those who may not have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with to spend it with you is a great way to give to those who are less fortunate.

Why should you give thanks and show gratitude about the people or things around you? According to Harvard Health, showing gratitude actually makes you happier. A study carried out by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, the leading scientific expert on gratitude, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami put people into three groups to see what happened when people thought about their blessings. The first group would write about things that occurred in their week that made them grateful. The second group would write about things that irritated or displeased them during the week. The third group would write about events that affected them with context on whether or not the events were positive or negative. After 10 weeks, the first group proved to be more optimistic and felt better about their lives.

Thanksgiving is meant to give you a dose of optimism about your life, a chance to reflect on all the good present in your life, not to be the kickstart to the shopping season or being stressed about what you’re going to get someone that you only see once or twice a year. Thanksgiving is more than just a feast

“Let The Sun Come!” GC’s Jazz Band Brings New Type Of Symphony To Our Ears

With Dedication And A Dash Of Swing, The Jazz Band Brings a Fantastic Show.
  

By: Jacob Torrez/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mr. Chris Wing leads the jazz band for the jazz concert last Wednesday, Dec. 1.

  With everything in the world, people from all walks of life will always mess and fiddle with it, jazz being one of these “fiddles.” 

“Jazz band is unique in that it focuses on a more communicative type of music,” said Joseph Woodburn(12), a long time member of the jazz band. When Woodbury was asked about what he liked about the band, he responded with: “Limitations aren’t extreme, and as a drummer, I can play to my tastes and never keep things the same.” In a typical jazz band, the player has more creative freedom to do what they please. In Joseph’s case, he may play different styles or can change rhythms. His limits have been drastically reduced, same with Elias Apodaca(12) , A long time veteran of jazz bands having 6 years of experience. “Instead of playing black notes on white paper we get to be free with inflection,” stated Abodaca. 

    Jazz bands, and there are three at GC, will differ from normal bands and normal classes in that it is much more social than other bands. You have to know your players, the drummer, the soloists, and the pianist. Everyone has to be in sync for a beautiful sound to happen while in a jazz band. With all of this soloing and crazy “jazz” happening, the entire band has to be in tune with one another in order to keep it all from collapsing or sounding bad. With this, the jazz band has affected people’s lives in a positive way by helping them make friends and learning valuable social and life skills. Abodaca stated: “Jazz band has opened up many things from my taste in music and what I like doing in my free time. Jazz band has made me want to play more jazz outside of school.” Jazz band is also a place where you can come to express yourself in your playing; These notes are no longer linear, they are relative to what you the player feel like (to a limited extent), and Woodbury had to agree, saying, “Jazz band has always been my absolute favorite class because it’s the most directly expressive, collaborative facet of my week,”

    The jazz band has always been one of the most collaborative, expressive, and social classes with many styles of music and art to perform, but it all ends up with a beautiful concert for all people to attend. A typical concert consists of all 3 jazz bands performing their pieces for an audience. Elias stated: “Our performances are normally 3-5 tunes. We do a little warming up beforehand.” These pieces that were at this performance that happened last Wednesday, were “Somba, Uno Mas,” and a reprised version of the Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun.” These concerts can range from a typical auditorium visit, to a full steak dinner, with each performance being more impressive than the last. It helps keep you on your seats does it not? Waiting to hear what the band can bring with all types of songs. It does have you wanting “Uno Mas.” 

GC Wrestlers ready for season

By: Tyler Young/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Senior wrestler Dakota Herald takes down his opponent.

Ready… set… wrestle! The GC Cougars Wrestling team is on their way to the start of another season looking to repeat last year’s success. We look in on the Cougars road to success.

Last year Coach Josh Holden was named HHC Wrestling Coach of the Year and hoping to maintain that title. Here’s what Coach Holden had to say about his first impression of the team this year. “There are a lot of them. We have 63 wrestlers on our team. They are workers. When you watch us practice it is awesome to see how hard everyone goes; they are young. 46 of them are freshman and sophomores. They are fun. This team loves wrestling and loves being together. It’s pretty awesome to see.” 

Coach Holden also disclosed his team’s goal for the season. “Our goal this season is the same as it is every season, to get better at everything we do every day.  Whether it’s wrestling, or school, or life, we want to practice doing the things that successful people do.” 

Coach Holden also had thoughts on the impact of COVID for the season. “We hope none. We thought last year we did about everything we could do to prevent being affected by COVID, but we were shut down anyway. All you can do is the best you can and hope it is enough.”

Coach Holden commented on the team’s first couple of practices. “Practices have been great.  Our team works really hard and they enjoy being coached.  You can see us get better every day.” He also discussed how the absences of seniors last year will affect the team. “We had a great group of seniors last year.  It’s always hard to replace wrestlers who have been in the program for 4 or more years and know how to do things the way we expect them to be done.”

 Holden commented on the new class of wrestlers on the team. “However, graduation opens the doors for young wrestlers to come in and start becoming the next group of leaders.  Right now we have 4 freshmen and 4 sophomores in our varsity lineup.  That is a great opportunity for them to show what they can do.” He also had some words about the freshmen. “Our freshmen are tough.  Very tough.  As I said, 4 of them made the varsity team.  That says a lot about how good they are and how great they could be.”

Holden commented on improvement from last season. “Dedication!  We have always had dedicated kids who wrestle and work out year-round.  However, this offseason there was a noticeable increase in the number of wrestlers doing more.  We wrestled a ton of offseason tournaments all over the country.  We had wrestlers going to Avon 5 days a week to get special training.  We just always have wrestlers doing extra on top of what we have always done.” 

He discussed the flaws to improve on this season after last year’s success in the HHC win and regionals appearance. “We have to learn to do things the best we can and do them that way all the time.  We want to see this team improve academically.  We want to see this team improve their behavior outside of the wrestling room.  We want to see this team strive to make other peoples’ lives’ better.”

Coach also had a good point on what the team has mastered. “We don’t feel we’ve mastered anything.  I’ve been involved in this sport for 33 years now, and I still learn every day.  There is always work to be done.” Lastly he shared his dedication for the season. “We believe that no matter what you do you do it the best you can and you do it that way all the time.  You should be dedicated to all you do, or why are you doing it.” Sounds like coach Holden is really amped for this season.

Senior wrestler Dakota Herald commented on building from last season’s success on his part. “I want to perform better from last year and go to state.” Herald discussed how prepared the team is. “We’ve got a great team this year, we’ve got all of our weights set, and we’re ready for this season.” 

Herald also talked about how far he’ll go this season. “I want to, and can make it to state.” Herald discussed the team’s previous flaws from season ago and what he’s done to improve, he said. “Freshman year I didn’t win a single match. So what I did was I built muscle, technique, and weight.” He commented on how hard the team has been working. “The team is going crazy. Coming into practice with tons of energy.”

Lastly, sophomore wrestler Braeden Ayres:  Ayres discussed what he has learned from last season’s disappointing and abrupt end. “I’ve learned some new moves. Petersons, sweepsingle, and hi c.” Ayres was asked about improvements. He said, “I’m really better on takedowns than I was last season.” Ayres commented on his confidence in the team this year. He said, “My confidence is 20/10, this team is capable for a lot of good things.” Ayres said how far he can make it this year, “As a team we will be county champs, and as a solo I can win conference.” 

Ayres also commented on flaws from last season. He said, “Taking dumb shots and not too terribly smart moves on opponents.” Ayres was also asked about how hard the team is working in practices. He said, “We’ve been working really hard this season and we will continue throughout the whole season.”

Sounds like this team is really confident in their capability. Who wouldn’t? This Cougar’s team is ready for the season.

Teaching: From Educating the Newest Generation to Ushering the Current Generation onto College

By: Drew C. Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: From left to right, the Weston Elementary School, Greenfield-Central Junior High School, and the Greenfield-Central High School.


Educating students in this era has its share of benefits and unfortunate realities. While teachers and school administrators have some of the most advanced forms of education available and the technology to support it, teachers also have had to use such techniques and technology to teach during turbulent times. Teachers manage an array of issues from disruptive students to tough subject material to virtual learning. Each grade and school has had its own challenges and have had to meet them uniquely. So I sought to inspect and research these differences and represent to readers the individual experiences of teachers of differing backgrounds, schools, grades, and mentalities. 

Mrs. Brittany Smith is a kindergarten teacher at Weston Elementary School who is having a strong first year as a full-time educator. She has been a long-term substitute for several different schools and was able to get a position at Weston for her successes as a substitute. When discussing the grade she taught, she detailed what she enjoyed about teaching students at that level, describing, “In kindergarten, teachers get the first opportunity to shape how students get to learn. It’s a chance to have an impact on them as a person and as a student. A big thing that is focused on in kindergarten is independence. As a teacher, you get to help students develop a skill they will use the rest of their student journey.” 

Mrs. Lisa Potter is a retired English teacher who taught for 33 years, primarily at the Greenfield-Central Junior High School in the English department where she taught Honors English and High Ability English and helped usher burgeoning students into the advanced English programs at the Greenfield-Central High School. With years of experience in the field, she mostly stuck to teaching students at the 7th and 8th grade level, elaborating that, “I knew that I didn’t have the patience for the ‘littles’ in elementary. Although I was licensed to teach grades 5-12, I always taught seventh and eighth grade. My first teaching gig, I had freshmen. Not my favorite. Junior high kids are just FULL of life. They’re fun. They keep you young. They’re so forgiving as well. You can scold them one day, and the next day they have forgotten about it and are telling you a joke!”

Mr. Jonathan Hudson is the current head of the Radio and Television department at the Greenfield-Central High School. He formerly worked as a freelance videographer as well as a video editor and went to Ball State to study film and television. He explained that he particularly enjoyed teaching high school, stating, “I think what I prefer about the grades I teach is that they usually have more maturity and experience, I think they understand our expectations in Radio TV a little bit more. They’re generally able to work on their own a little bit. They understand delegation. Most pre-High School students don’t know how to manage time very well. So in our class it can be sort of difficult to train them on how to do that. Most of those students when they come into high school do well, but there’s a large learning curve.”

There are plenty of aspects about teaching that can be considered difficult or challenging. Mrs. Smith noted the unique challenges that come with teaching kindergartners and how she likes to manage them. She stated on the topic, “One of the challenges is finding a way to meet all students where they are based on their previous school experiences. It is an exciting challenge to help every student and shape their perspective of school.” 

Mr. Hudson had his own thoughts on some of the most challenging aspects in education, especially with his specific department which has a much more hands-on course compared to other subjects. He explained simply that the most challenging aspect was “rigor. So whenever you teach 9-12, you know, you wanna make sure you are challenging your upperclassmen, your second and third year kids, and you wanna make sure you aren’t leaving behind your freshmen. So I think it’s finding a balance of projects and the differentiation between the seniors, who are the most skilled, and the freshmen, who are the least skilled. And in the past, before, we had different classes. Sometimes it was more of a mentorship type thing, where the seniors would oftentimes mentor freshmen, and that will still happen at some point down the road. But right now, it’s just kinda different groups and we just do different projects, sometimes the same projects, but oftentimes one is just more advanced and I ask for more compared to the beginner projects for freshmen.”

Mrs. Potter elaborated that the challenges she faced had more to do with the mentality and attitudes of students at the junior high level. She illustrated, “Junior high students are just beginning to be adults. They want so badly to be adults (TURN back, guys, it’s a trap!) that they feel they know more than you at times. They like to test authority. They make impulsive, bad decisions at times. Although these are all challenges, they make up a part of what makes them fun!”

Teachers leave a fair amount of important information and lessons with their students, whether that be proper manners or the Pythagorean theorem. But, what is the most important lesson an educator can leave with their students? Mr. Hudson feels that it is accountability, stating, “Accountability, that’s the big thing. You know, we’re very particular about when things are turned in, we don’t take late work. And a lot of time parents won’t understand that, but I’m trying to teach vocational lessons that I feel like is our job to do, having worked in [the broadcasting] industry. For me, not coming from education, not studying to be a teacher, I just teach what I know about the industry. And that’s just all about accountability, about punctuality. You don’t always have to be the best or the most talented in this industry, and what we teach, you just have to be available, you have to be reliable, you have to be on time, you have to be very punctual. That’s a large part of how people get their opportunities, it’s not just your talent, it’s the kind of person you are and your character that is very important.”

“I want them to leave my classroom with a love of learning & the desire to be a good citizen,” Mrs. Smith punctuated briefly, as she went on to state traits that she hoped to help flourish in her students, listing, “respectfulness, responsibility, kind to others, caring.”

Mrs. Potter explained how she wanted to leave a simple sentiment with her students, stating, “Always do your personal best, every time, no matter what. If that doesn’t look like someone else’s personal best, that’s okay.”

Teacher-student relationships play an important role in a teacher’s success in educating their students. At different ages, student-teacher relationships have different challenges and realities, as well as attitudes and perspectives. When discussing the quality of her relationships with her students, Mrs. Smith elaborated that “I have a great relationship with my students. We have a close knit classroom with a focus on showing respect to one another. Students feel comfortable sharing with their classmates and myself. We have worked hard to create a positive classroom environment.” 

Mrs. Potter described a slightly different situation and noted that each relationship with each student was unique. She illuminated this further, explaining, “All relationships were different. Every year was different. Every student was different. I have students in their thirties now that I am friends with. I have been to weddings, college graduations,  and baby showers. I have been a confidante for some and a sworn enemy to others. My hope was always that a student could make a connection with at least one teacher, someone whom he/she could rely on and be guided by. All you can do is love kids, treat them with respect, and hope they know you’re there for them if needed.”

“I feel like I’m very close with my students, I feel like I am a very real teacher. I feel like I am very consistent, my personality is the same day-to-day,” Mr. Hudson stated on the subject, further detailing his thoughts, explaining, “I think if you were to ask all my students, they’re very clear about what I expect, very clear about how I want things done. So, I think I have a very good relationship [with my students]. I’m still young so I understand a lot of how kids think, you know, I myself was not a great high school student, so I understand how to motivate and reach certain kids that struggle, that’s why we have very few people who get less than a C in Radio TV. We’re able to pick them up when they need the help. So, I feel like my relationship with my students is very, very strong and one of the things that most people don’t know is that I’m very good about communication after they graduate. I check up on students all the time. I was just texting one [not too long ago] about a Halloween project she did two years ago and sent her a screenshot of it. So, I stay in contact with everyone and I try to help people well after they graduate.” 

Discipline and misbehavior are an unfortunate reality of teaching from daycare to even college. Teachers have their own individual ways of managing misbehaviour and handing out discipline, some having particularly strong ways of straightening out troublemaking, or some finding creative ways to work with devious behaviour. Mrs. Potter described her very straightforward manner of discipline, stating, “Honestly, I had very few discipline issues over the years. My students knew my expectations and that I meant what I said. I also made a point not to ‘major in the minors.’ I chose my battles. No pencil? Go grab one. Your phone went off on accident? Silence it and don’t let it happen again. Kids in my room knew I expected them to do their best.”

Mr. Hudson elaborated on a similar approach to discipline, explaining, “Well, we don’t have a lot of misbehaving, just because I don’t put up with it, I’ll just put you out. I think what we have a lot of times is just freshmen who think they can kinda skate by and not do the work. So, when you have a class of 8-10 people, it’s just easily noticed, you can’t slip through the cracks. One of the things about me is that I’ll deal with a problem sooner rather than later, so I have no problem pulling people aside, asking where things are, saying you need to pick it up, you need to do this, this, and that. But as far as immaturity and people running around, we don’t deal with that kind of stuff. From day one, we are very stern about that kind of thing, but there’s always kids who want to do as little as possible and you kind of have to encourage them to do more, encourage being a nice way of saying it, but, you know, we like to get more out of them.”

Mrs. Smith detailed a particularly structured technique with disciplining her young group of kindergarteners, stating, “In our classroom, we have a calming corner where students can reflect, identify their feelings, brainstorm strategies to self-regulate and then return to the lesson or activity.”

Generations consistently shift and bring in new cultures, attitudes, and philosophies. For teachers this can be an interesting aspect of their profession, as they most closely see how kids shift overtime. Mrs. Smith, being in her first year as a full time teacher, was unable to comment on this, but Mrs. Potter, having taught for 33 years, had some interesting thoughts on the subject. She explained, “Most definitely students have changed. I began teaching in 1987. Students in general used to be more respectful, hardworking, and kind. I think, though, people in general have gotten worse. People are so into the ‘ME.’ Students also. They are so focused on themselves, that it’s someone else’s fault. They make excuses. I also feel that students don’t know how to be bored anymore, to use their time to reflect or to imagine. They expect to be entertained all the time. They want it now.”

“I think kids are mostly kids,” Mr. Hudson elaborated, “I think that with what we teach, because of Snapchat and filters and that kind of thing, I think some of the allure has been lost with true storytelling. Because it is just very easy now to do special effects and lip-sync video, whereas before you had to dedicate a whole lot of time to being very skilled at that kind of thing. I’m old school in the way that I still teach traditional framing of shots and traditional editing. I’m not disregarding mobile technology because I think it’s fantastic and it’s obviously the future, but I think there’s something to be said about learning how to write scripts, how to storyboard, how to sequence things and thinking things through.”

 Parents play an important role in a student’s relationship with their teacher and helping reinforce what an educator teaches at school, whether that be through helping their child with homework or generally supporting their child through hardships in the classroom and working with teachers in an effective manner. So, it can be troublesome when parents are upset with teachers for how they teach or hand out discipline. Mrs. Potter described how her perspective on the subject changed overtime, explaining, “I changed a great deal as a teacher when I had my own children. I always tried to imagine a teacher reprimanding or speaking to my child as I was about to with a student of mine. It’s amazing the perspective this gave. I tried to understand the perspective of parents before I had conversations.”

Mr. Hudson detailed a slightly different approach to this, elaborating, “I just try to explain the standard we are trying to accomplish. I think a lot of people, especially parents, don’t really know what it is we’re trying to do. They don’t really know that we’re responsible for live programming, that our radio station is government licensed and is really no different than any large radio station, or that our TV station is like any local small TV station, you know, we have to do professional-type work. And, typically when parents are upset about a grade I’ll send them an example of what [their student’s done] and then some other students work and explain that this is the quality of work we’re looking for. Almost every single time I’ve done that, they understand. And, you know, I really don’t punish kids, as far as grading goes, by giving them an F. It is very rare, as long as you have given a pretty good effort. If you’re a freshman the technical ability is gonna come down the road, but you know if you just throw something together that’s a different story. So, I think it’s just trying to get them to understand the quality of work we do, the quality of our upperclassmen, and the quality of what we’re trying to do.”

To manage these aspects can be extremely difficult. So what about teaching drew these individuals to the profession? What made them willing to push through and tolerate these challenges so they could work in this profession? Mrs. Smith explained that growing up and going through the school system, “I had teachers throughout my education journey that instilled the love of learning in me. I have always wanted to do the same for our future generations.”

“I don’t know that I was drawn so much as born knowing it was my calling,” Mrs. Potter elaborated on the topic, further stating, “I absolutely love sharing knowledge and watching someone else’s ‘lightbulb’ turn on!”

Mr. Hudson had a unique experience as he spent several years within the videography industry before he became a teacher. He described what made him become a teacher after initially being a freelance video editor, illustrating, “It’s just fun to work with kids. It’s just great to have kids who are always excited about what you’re trying to do. Having worked in the industry, being a video editor is kind of a lonely-type deal. You just kind of come in, do your work, you don’t really talk to a lot of people. Socially, it’s not great, the hours weren’t great, and the deadlines I didn’t think were particularly fair. So, with teaching, I feel like I can control a little bit more of the environment and the curriculum. Most aspects of what we do in here, the administration just respects that we’re going to be teaching the right things, so they don’t really hammer down on us for what we’re doing, they just allow us to do what we do. So, I like that idea, and I love radio, I just love radio and television. I love seeing kids excited about it, and it was something that I didn’t have [in high school], I was self-taught mostly and did a lot of things at church. Now that I’m in a position to teach kids who have it, it makes me super excited.”

Teachers spend a lot of time in their profession and consistently come back to teach the same class again for another year. Improving their skills as an educator can be an important part of furthering their career and finding more joy in their position. Mrs. Potter, despite being retired, illuminated that she felt she could always improve, stating, “I truly feel that as good as I might be, I can always be better. I consider it a good day when I learn something new. I had taught so long that it might’ve been easy to just grab a file or repeat what I did the prior year. I never did. I was always reflecting and tweaking. Self-reflection is so important. A willingness to grow is key. Over the last ten years, I knew that I had to learn technology and new ways of reaching kids or lose them.”

“Well, I think you always have to improve, and we found that out when COVID hit,” Mr. Hudson detailed on his personal struggles with the COVID-19 virtual/hybrid year, further explaining, “You know, I think [Mr. McKenna] (another Radio and TV instructor in Mr. Hudson’s department) and I, just as good as any teacher, figured out how to make it work, figured out how to send a radio feed to kids so we could still do live news. I think we had pretty cool projects from home. We found a way to balance what kids were doing at home and what kids were doing here. When kids got quarantined, we had projects in place for them to do at home. But, it wasn’t like that at first, you know, we were all scrambling! So, it wasn’t like I had this master plan and even now we’re still going week-to-week, I’m not planning entire units anymore. So, I would say, obviously, my planning could be improved, but that was a struggle even before COVID. Nowadays, I’m better at understanding situations, understanding how to keep kids engaged when they’re not here, understanding the work load, you know, should I lay off or give them a little bit more. And that’s for every individual student, some kids need less time to do things, some need more time. So, that’s something that kind of comes with age and something you don’t have right away.”

Mrs. Smith illustrated a very direct approach to improvement as a teacher, elaborating, “As a first year teacher, there are many things that I would like to work on and improve on. I have a great mentor teacher this year and look forward to future professional development opportunities that the school district provides to us as teachers.”

Each year students shuffle in and out, whether they’re moving onto the next grade or even into adulthood. Even if teachers are only with their students for a short period of time, they still can have a large, positive impact on their students as they enter the next phase of their lives. These three teachers pondered the impact they hoped to leave on their students and on their school as a greater whole. Mrs. Smith, only being a first year teacher, did not have any thoughts on the subject. Mr. Hudson had a simple sentiment, stating, “[I just hope] that they enjoyed their time. This class is important to me because I didn’t really enjoy high school, I didn’t really have anything or a reason that I really wanted to come to school every day. So, that’s first and foremost, is to make their educational experience enjoyable. And, second, the relationships I form with them, I really hope to help them at some point down the road. I’ve been able to establish a lot of connections, and get people internships, and get people freelance jobs, and I write a whole lot of recommendation letters that have gotten kids scholarships, so that makes me feel really great. So, those kinds of things are the most important things, I don’t think it’s anything that I’ll do personally, it’s what my students go on to do once they leave here. I feel like I’m a very small piece in their success and really it’s up to them for what they do once they leave here.”

Mrs. Potter closed it, explaining simply, “I hope that students know that I had all the hopes for them. My goal was for them to not close doors of opportunity. I wanted students to know that I was a cheerleader for their lives.”

9/11, War in Afghanistan continue to have after-effects

by Jeremiah Edwards/Staff Writer

Photo from: https://www.wdrb.com/news/indianas-camp-atterbury-to-be-used-as-temporary-housing-for-afghanistan-evacuees/article_56855236-0a6c-11ec-87c0-b7b6227f1178.html

Twenty years ago, one of the most devastating events in American history took place. A casual morning turned into chaos and turmoil, an event we’ll never forget. Not only did it affect the United States in the moments and the moments after but it caused a ripple effect of 20 years and counting.

One of the concerns plaguing survivors of 9/11 are the health issues caused by the event. 74% of emergency responders that were enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program have at least one health issue caused by 9/11, including 20% having cancer and 28% having mental health conditions. From 2003 to 2013, 29,000 first responders had traces of cancer. Due to the link between 9/11 and the long link of chronic health problems, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2015. The act would provide funding for the conditions caused by 9/11 through 2090. The FDNY (New York City Fire Department) were hit the hardest with a total of more than 15,000 firefighters, emergency medical services staff and civilians enrolled in the WTC Health Program. 343 people belonging to the FDNY died on the day of 9/11. by 2021, more than 200 have lost their lives to various health issues. 9%  percent of the FDNY veterans still have PTSD and 18% have depression. Zeig-Owens, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, made a statement to Scientific American.com as to why the veterans have these health issues. “Most of the fire department was exposed to the heavy dust right at the beginning, and they were invested in trying to help find everybody and do the rescue and recovery work.” Zeig Owen’s findings consisted of the long term health effects and their links to 9/11. 

First responders like James Canham, Thomas Spinard, and Joseph Meola have their stories and recollections of that day. James Canham, a New York firefighter was meant to have the day off on 9/11, but when getting a call of the airplane hit the north tower, he instantly rushed into action. During a call with his wife Canham told her, “This is real bad, I’m going to be here awhile,” and “Go home, get the kids, stay out of Manhattan.” Canham would go on to save a woman and a police officer. Later during the 14th anniversary of 9/11 he was interviewed by The Guardian, saying: “For those who survived that day it was luck, not skill,” he said to the reporter. Thomas Spinard, the driver of Engine 7 stationed at a firehouse on Duane Street in lower Manhattan. While responding to another call, Spinard recalls seeing a plane flying really low. “A plane passes us overhead real low,” he said. “You could hear it; you could feel it. We turned around, and it just impacted the building, building one. With that, everybody got on the rig. We started driving.” While pumping water onto the first tower, Spinard would witness another event. “While we were still in the middle of the street, another plane comes in, makes a big circle, comes around from like the Statue of Liberty direction, and hits (Tower) 2.” Joseph Meola, a firefighter recalls the conversations heard over the radio. “You heard guys — firemen, chiefs, lieutenants, I don’t know who — yelling conflicting reports, some saying — most saying, ‘Get the h— out of the tower. Get out of Tower 1.’ You know, Tower 2 fell.” 

The War in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, lasted twenty whole years before the eventual extraction of American troops in August earlier this year. President Trump talked about the idea back in 2019 and kept his word when his administration began. The withdrawal negotiations are in February of 2020 with the deadline of the final withdrawal being aimed at May 1st, 2021. The most recent withdrawal was no short of messy. Nevertheless all American troops were brought back home. Twenty years ago the international conflict in Afghanistan began, that was triggered by the September 11 attacks and consisted of three phases. The first phase was toppling the Taliban who controlled Afghanistan at the time of the invasion. This phase was the quickest of the three, lasting only two months.

From 2002-2008, the second phase took place. The ideal solution was to completely dismantle the Taliban militarily and establish a core of institutions of the Afghan state. The third phase began in 2009, when president Obama made the decision to temporarily increase presence in Afghanistan to protect the population. Later on in 2011, security responsibilities would be gradually handed over to the Afghan military and police. This approach failed, insurgent attacks and civilian casualties were still high. 

Here’s some data on the overall casualties resulting from the war provided by apnews.com: 

American service members killed in Afghanistan through Apri (2021): 2,448.

U.S. contractors: 3,846.

Afghan national military and police: 66,000.

Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144.

Afghan civilians: 47,245.

Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191.

Aid workers: 444.

Journalists: 72.

The last twenty years have been nonetheless haunting. The country continues to be heavily affected by the events of September 11, 2001, a date forever marked in our everyday lives

Girls Volleyball focuses on team bond, strengths

by Andrew Elsbury/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Senior Morgan Hornaday goes to serve in a home volleyball game.

Even though the GC High School volleyball team season record is not what they planned, the girls on the team have high hopes for the future in general, as well as each other.

The players themselves have a positive outlook on how they’ve been playing, stated junior Emma Berty. Berty stated on the fact of improving, “We have improved a lot over the past few months so far, and we are going to improve over the offseason to be better next year.”

She also commented on the closeness of the team, saying, “Everyone on our team gets along really well. I would say that we are all friends.”

Another GCHS volleyball player, Harper Holden, freshman, also had this to say on the friendly nature of their team. “We are all so loving of each other and have developed relationships outside of the sport and school. I am always excited for our next match. It gives us all another opportunity to prove ourselves to each other and to ourselves.”

The mindsets that the volleyball team has towards each other, along with the sport, helps them be striking and courageous on the court. They can go out there and play there all, along with supporting our school, because of each other.

The volleyball team has been faced with many challenges this year, with some changes in coaching. Because of this, Ms. Elizabeth Mercer, Mrs. Joni Hornaday, and Mr. Phil Leswing have stepped up to do the job. Berty had this to say on how the replacement coaches have done thus far.

“They create a really great environment and we love having them as our temporary coaches!”

Although this season might not have gone as expected, both for the players themselves and for fans, the GCHS Volleyball Cougars are going to work hard during the offseason and will only improve and get closer.

Profile: Amador creates environment of cultural acceptance

by Kaydence Ham/Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Profile: Business teacher lucas builds relationships with students, peers

by Joseph Phillips/Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Profile: Bernard encourages journalism skills, storytelling

by Andrew Elsbury/Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Profile: Math teacher Marler helps to turn negatives to positives

by Jeanna Brown/Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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