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Profile: Grizzard details day in life of choir director

By Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mr. Paul Grizzard directs Concert Choir during G2.

Choir director Paul Grizzard’s favorite dad joke is a new one. He hasn’t told it on stage yet: “A local man is addicted to drinking brake fluid. He says he can stop any time,” said Grizzard, who is known for dad jokes.

Isaac Kottlowski, 12, who is in the madrigal choir, said, “My favorite dad joke that Mr. Grizzard has told is ‘What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh!’”

Grizzard has been teaching at GC for four years. Prior to coming to Greenfield, he taught high school for ten years in Rushville. He has an identical twin brother named Mark, who lives in Illinois. Grizzard and Mark didn’t find out that they were identical twins until they were both 30 years old.

Grizzard started being a choir director when he was in high school. He really likes music and feels like that’s where his talent is. But when Grizzard was in college, he didn’t go into education. He got a Bachelor’s degree in music and math at Augustana College at Rock Island, IL. After college he went back to school at Ball State and got his teaching certificate. Grizzard taught in Boston, Massachusetts for a few years while he was getting licensed and he then taught at Rushville for ten years before coming here.

Grizzard said his favorite part of being a choir director is that he likes seeing kids who come their freshman year and graduate their senior year just to see how they grow up both as singers and as young adults.  He loves seeing the progress from start to finish.

Kottlowski said he admires Grizzard for several reasons. “My favorite thing about Mr. Grizzard is how he directs others to be able to be successful because what he’s been doing is he’s making me a leader to be able to make others leaders,” said Kottlowski.

Kottlowski continued, “I am going to miss the atmosphere because every choir is different. Even if I went to college for the Purdue Glee Club it’s going to be different because there won’t be anybody directing you by yourself.”

Accompanist David Hanson, who has worked with Grizzard for four years, said, “My favorite thing about Mr. Grizzard is that he is a perfectionist and he wants to get the best from his singers. We are both compatible and perfectionists and we both want to have the best musical productions ever.”

Hanson said, “My first impression of Mr. Grizzard was at an audition so it was kind of frightening but he put me at ease and told me what I needed to do.”

Grizzard said that he gets along pretty well with his students.“My most embarrassing moment as a teacher is that I remember being on stage announcing a song and I said ‘Okay their next song is…’ and I had a senior moment and I turned around and the kids told me what song we were singing next,” he said.

Grizzard said that his least favorite part of being a choir director is that motivation is tough. It’s hard to get kids excited to be doing things and riding the line between having a strict class and having fun. It’s always a tough balance, he said.

Kottlowski said, “My favorite part of being in choir is being able to sing with my peers and to have a fun time and to be engaged within the music. My least favorite part of being in choir is that sometimes when something goes wrong during a concert you have to adapt and overcome the circumstances of what may happen.”

Outside of teaching, Grizzard likes to go running, he likes to go to concerts with his wife, he likes taking his kids to places like the museum and the zoo, and he likes to work in his garage building little projects. Grizzard talked about how he balanced his work and home life. He said it was difficult these days because he has a five year and a two year old at home, that they require a lot of attention, and that it takes scheduling, and setting time aside for both work and family.

While Grizzard helps to inspire others, he also discussed people who have influenced him. Grizzard said, “My mentor is my mom because she inspired me to get into music and she is a strong woman. My father just passed away. Even though he is gone, she still mentors my family whenever we come to her.”

Speaking of family, choir is often like family for the students. Kottlowski said that his least favorite dad joke that Mr. Grizzard has told is when someone complains, he says, ‘Hi! I’m dad.’

Profile: Gibson has high expectations for tennis, baseball

By Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo: Carson Gibson, 11, is up at bat against Southport in a game from last season. 

Greenfield-Central boasts several promising young athletes, and on that list, you will surely find Carson Gibson. Gibson, 11, is the shortstop for the varsity baseball team and is also a member of the varsity tennis team.

Gibson has had high expectations put on him as an athlete since day one of high school, as he played varsity baseball as a freshman. When asked about the experience, he admitted that he could feel the pressure. “When coach first had me in the starting lineup I was very nervous, but excited at the same time. Throughout my first couple games I struggled offensively but as time went on it became less of a challenge and I began to play in ways that I knew I was capable.” When Gibson put it all together, he became one of the best players in the conference, being named to the All-Hoosier Heritage Conference baseball team as a sophomore.

The GC baseball team performed at a high level this past season, winning the conference outright, but were eliminated in the regional finals by Avon. This year, Gibson believes the Cougars could take it up a notch. “This year I believe we could do something very special. With many returning starters and a deeper pitching staff I think we could shock many people and make a huge name for ourselves in the state tournament, we’ve put in lots of hard work and I think we have a very strong team.” Gibson’s play will be a huge factor towards how the Cougars fare this season, and he says his goal is to help his team in any way to make sure they make a deep run.

Gibson’s teammates gave positive feedback about the shortstop, which was not surprising. Lance McKee, 11, said, “Carson is a good teammate and a guy who is going to push you to be the best you can be. His work ethic is impressive.”

Jaden McGee, 10, had similar thoughts, “Carson is a great teammate and someone you want on your roster. He works hard for everything he has and deserves the success he’s had. He helped lead us to a sectional and conference title, and will lead us to much more soon.”
Along with baseball, Carson is also a member of the boys tennis team. After playing in junior high, Gibson decided to return to the sport as a junior.

He talked about how he felt about season. “I really enjoyed playing tennis this year, and am satisfied with how I performed considering I hadn’t played since 7th grade. Despite getting knocked out in the second round of sectionals, I feel like this year was a huge step for me and the team going into next season.” Gibson ended up as one of the key pieces for the squad this past year.

Balancing school and sports can be difficult, but Gibson has had no problem doing so, and his 3.7 GPA confirms that. “Balancing school and sports can be very tough, but staying ahead in the classroom is what is most important. I always make sure that I’m done with my schoolwork before anything else.” Gibson has shown time and time again that he is much more than just an athlete.

With less than half of his high school experience remaining, Gibson is working hard to collect many more accolades and be the best student athlete he can be. Cougars fans should be excited and grateful to have a talent like Gibson.

Mrs. Fields: Teaching with Creativity

by Ella Maciel/Staff Writer

  It’s hard to put into words who the teacher Rebecca Fields is. She is creative, funny and a good person to be around. Being her student means having to get used to completing crazy assignments and projects, such as learning about tectonic plates experimenting on food.

“She is the best teacher ever,” said Nikki Thomas, junior, Rebecca Fields’ student in Earth Space Science class.

Born in Allen Park, Michigan, Ms. Fields moved to Warsaw, IN while she was still very young. Rebecca has four brothers and one sister – they were called The Fieldses. At the age of 13, playing with her brother she tried to cut off a branch – to hit him with it – using a box cutting knife, she accidentally stabbed herself in the knee. Later, at her senior camp at Warsaw High School, a freshman from her swim team tried to make a ‘joke’ and to ‘scare’ them by shooting up into the air. The boy apparently didn’t realize that eventually the bullets would go down. Out of all the people there,  the only one who got hit was her. Later in life she got stabbed – again – on her hand, as a defensive wound. You might think, how crazy is this, right? Although going through these unpleasant situations. Ms. Fields handles them with optimism. “The days are hell, but the year will be good. I can either let this ruin every single day of the rest of my life or I can work through this, and recognize that these days while I am working with this will be hell, but I have to because I am choosing not to make my whole life hell,” Fields said of her experiences. She added, True growth happens when you have no idea what’s going on.” 

She mentioned Dr. Jackson and Dr. Whitaker, who taught her ecology and zoology/biology at  IUPUI. She described them as fascinating people who made her love what they were teaching. “The classes I remember the most are the classes where I do things,” she said referring to their IUPUI classes.

She has been teaching at Greenfield-Central for 12 years now. The reason why Ms. Fields became a teacher is because she is good with people and has always been, she said, and that is why she may be considered a memorable teacher. One of the things she loves the most is her coworkers at the science department, whom she describes as knowledgeable and understanding friends who can always bring something different to her life.

Once her four kids become stable adults she plans on moving and going to new places. She wants to meet the Lord of The Ring’s world, New Zealand, travel with the All Blacks the best rugby team ever,” she noted; experience a shark cage, see the Game of Thrones landscapes and the list goes on. Until then she still has many years left in her educational career.

Creative is a great word to describe Rebecca Fields. You can see that in her classes, where she encourages her students to apply the things learned in class on projects you would never even think about doing. The best evidence of that is the way she sees life as an uncarved block. “You get a piece of marble, inside of that is one of the greatest sculptures ever. You just have to find it,” Fields said.


Profile: Mr. Henderson

by Austin Tserlentakis/Staff Writer

Mr. William Henderson is a business teacher, but that is not all. Henderson is also a veteran who served our country. Henderson started off his military career in the army by enlisting. Henderson said, “My father served during World War II and my brother also had just joined the army. In a way (I was) following my family’s footsteps, but I didn’t particularly leave myself any other option.” 

 His first days of service were almost like any other, but still different. The military put him on a bus, flew him to bootcamp, he got his uniform, and then he was right in the thick of it. It took a whole 16 weeks for the bootcamp to come to an end. Henderson said, “I had to learn my squad mates like the back of my hand.” He learned how to fire weapon systems, how to seek the enemy, and anything a reconnaissance job would do. The army staff handpicked all his training for his specific job,  everything that suited him best for reconnaissance, he said.

Henderson served in the first Gulf War in 1991. The first Gulf War was caused by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s longing for the oil reserves in Kuwait. Hussein attempted to justify it by saying that Kuwait initially belonged to Iraq. This is false as Kuwait was established before Iraq’s sovereignty. This caused an international uproar when Hussein started his siege with America being the loudest voice. The USA and allied forces gave Iraq a chance to stop, but they did not so the Gulf conflict ensued.

During his time in Iraq, the weather presented challenges. Iraq had up to 107 degree temperatures with the lowest being only 83 degrees. Henderson said, “I remember it feeling like the air was being sucked out of your lungs when you first arrived.” 

Henderson ended his last day of service on September 3, 2011. Going back into civilian life was a difficult thing for him. Henderson said, “The army in a way institutionalized me.” All his basic needs were provided for: housing, food, water, clothes, ect. They were all already there. Henderson said, “It was hard for me, but I came out as a better person.”

Henderson’s teaching style was also affected by the military. Teaching was difficult at first because of how different it was from the military, he said. Henderson said, “In the military troops will follow orders when told by their superiors, but kids and teenagers tend to be more difficult in following directions.” It has made him have a more strict and also a more disciplinary teaching style, he said.

All in all, Henderson stresses how much he just wants students to learn. Henderson said, “I really want to be a teacher to them. I want them to go out of my class and take that lesson we learned, and then turn it into something even greater.” 


Profile: Mrs. Laura Mann

Trinity Fields/Staff Writer

       Laura Mann is an algebra and geometry teacher. She also is an assistant coach for the girl’s soccer team. Her home life includes her son, daughter, and husband. As you can tell, Mrs. Mann has a very busy life. She has many things she has to do throughout the day. However, she finds a way to balance her teaching, family, and soccer life. 

        Mrs. Mann has a supportive husband that takes care of their kids, and she likes to plan. Mrs. Mann said, “ I plan out my schedule and I make sure I have time for everything. I would say I am organized.” 

    So why did Mrs. Mann become a math teacher? The answer is simple. She loves math. She has loved math all of her life. Mrs. Mann said, “My favorite thing  about being a teacher is getting to know the students.” She teaches geometry and algebra. She said, “I enjoy teaching algebra over geometry.”

    What inspired Mrs. Mann to teach? She went to college to study engineering. In her senior year of college, one of the soccer head coaches asked her to help him coach the girl’s varsity soccer team. After coaching the team, she realized she wanted to teach. So she finished her senior year, then she got into teaching. Now she is a high school math teacher.

    Mrs. Mann has two kids. She said they are amazing. Mrs. Mann said the best part about teaching them is, “I like to help them develop their problem-solving skills. I like to teach them, and watch them learn. For example, I taught my son, Brody, how to share with others.” Mrs. Mann said the hardest part about raising her kids is, “Letting my kids make mistakes so they can learn from them.” 

    Mrs. Mann has two kids. Does she want to have anymore kids? Mrs. Mann has had two miscarriages. So she doesn’t think emotionally that is her path to take; however she said she would like to adopt. She said, “My husband and I have been thinking about adopting a baby in the future. I wouldn’t want to adopt now, but possibly in the future.” She continued, “Someone asked me what I would do if I had all of the money in the world, and I said I would adopt all of the babies in the world.” Mrs. Mann loves babies.

    Mrs. Mann likes soccer, and we know this because she is an assistant coach. She played soccer from the ages of three to 18. Her son plays soccer, and her daughter will play soccer when she turns eighteen months. As you can tell, Mrs. Mann is definitely a soccer mom.

    Emma Denny, 9, is a current student in Mrs. Mann’s class. Denny said, “My favorite thing about Mrs. Mann’s class is how Mrs. Mann helps us one on one if we need it.” Denny added, “She is a good teacher because she makes sure the class fully understand something and she is very involved.” 

    Mya Wilcher, 9, is a former student of Mrs. Mann. Wilcher considers this the most memorable part of Mrs. Mann’s class, ”All of the jokes everyone made that would make everyone, including Mrs. Mann, laugh.” Wilcher continued, “I enjoyed Mrs. Mann’s class very much. Mrs. Mann is a good teacher because she taught efficiently and was able to connect with the students.” 

April brings Autism Awareness

by Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

The start of April is the beginning of a transition period from bitter cold temperatures to warm, sunlight-filled days, but another important time also kicks off on the first of April: Autism Awareness Month.

Autism Awareness Month was created to further research about autism and educate people about the disorder. Webinars, learning sessions, and fundraisers are put on during the month of April so that the public can expand their knowledge on the subject and join the movement to educate more people about the effects of the disease.

So, what is autism anyway? According to, autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. What follows is a personal story about the experiences of someone with autism.

Contrary to popular belief, autism is not a mental illness. Maureen Jackson, a Greenfield resident, 75, has a now adult son named Paul who was diagnosed with autism at age 35. “[Autism] is a neurological disease. Most people think especially because he’s going to a psychiatrist and does take medication that it’s a mental illness and it’s not, it’s biological really, like diabetes.” she said.

Mental illness, as described by, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. A mental illness is a disorder that one acquires later in life, while autism is a biological syndrome that affects a person from birth.

Understanding autism and its effects on the brain is not a simple task. There are many different types of autism; some forms are severe while other forms are hardly noticeable. “Autism is not a one-size-fits-all,” said Kathleen Burke, a special education teacher at GC. “Autism is on a spectrum… students can need little to no support or they can need significant support. It depends on the person themselves.”

For those with severe cases of autism, understanding other people’s emotions and recognizing sarcasm does not come as easily to them as the standard person. One struggle in particular for children with autism is being able to learn in a traditional school environment.

Paul Jackson, 48, had a rough school experience due to his autism. “It was terrible. I got bullied a lot and the teachers did not understand my disability.” he said. Maureen, Paul’s mother, then explained how Paul’s teachers had the impression that he was a troublemaker. “Starting in first grade, the teachers would tell the kids to get their math books out, and he wouldn’t, and the teacher would finally realize that she had to distinguish and say ‘Class, get your math books out now. Paul, get your math book out now.’ It was like he didn’t feel like a part of the group.”

Because Paul appeared to be unengaged during class, his teachers would set up conferences to meet with his parents and the principal to correct his behavior, but because autism was virtually unknown at the time, no one knew why Paul couldn’t stay engaged in conversations and class discussions. Doctors couldn’t even connect Paul’s struggles in school to autism. Maureen said, “When Paul was in school, doctors didn’t even have a clue. Paul had one of the best-known pediatricians, certainly in the state of Indiana, and he just blew it off. He said the teacher didn’t know what she was talking about, that Paul’s quiet and he’s fine.”

Different setbacks for Paul came as he entered adulthood. Even though Paul scored extraordinarily high on the standardized tests, his inability to succeed in a classroom kept him from receiving a high school diploma. However, he overcame this hindrance and earned his General Educational Development (GED). Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only setback that he endured upon becoming an adult.

Job hunting proved to be an arduous ordeal because finding a job that suited Paul’s needs was difficult to come by. While he is much more intelligent than the average person, his lack of social skills due to his autism kept him from being getting any job higher than a position at a convenience store. Maureen said, “It’s frustrating, really frustrating, for him to be stuck in a job where he sweeps the floor and stocks the shelves, but he can’t put together and work with other people and take instructions because there is some misconnection.”

It is frustrating for people with autism to endure rejection simply because their minds work differently than most people’s minds. However, many autistic people have hidden capabilities because of the unique way their brains function. For example, some people with autism might be able to calculate math equations more swiftly than other people and they can have exceptional memories. Maureen marvels at Paul when he mentions a memory and can tell her the exact date the event took place. “He would say, ‘Do you remember when we went to Taco Bell on June the third of 1997, right after we went to the zoo? Remember that?’ and I would say no. I used to think he was making it up. I still can’t explain that, it’s weird that he would have that memory.” she said.

Because autism was an unknown disorder when Paul was a child, there wasn’t any resources available to him that would have made his school experience more enjoyable and successful. Now that autism and its effects have been researched, new resources have been discovered to help autistic students to understand the material and the emotions and feelings of the other students around them. “One method that tends to work for a lot of people is anything visual, so like visual schedules, organizational plans, planners, etc.” Burke said.

Another teaching method that works well for students with autism is having access to a quiet space, so going down to a break room or simply spending some alone time in the hallway could help soothe students that might feel overwhelmed, Burke said. Stress gets the better of everyone at some point, so having quiet areas in schools for students to calm down in is beneficial, she said.

It’s important to know that there isn’t anything wrong with people with autism; their brains are just wired differently than most people’s brains. Consider taking part in Autism Awareness Month by joining in on a seminar or webinar, donating to a fundraiser that furthers autism study, and spreading the word to others.

“I’m not crazy, I’m not retarded.” Paul said. “It’s just certain parts of my brain work different.”


Personality Profile: Indiana author writes murder mysteries

by Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

He won both the Western Writers of America Spur Award and the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction twice. His books have been featured on the Best Books of Indiana list and have been translated and sold worldwide in Italian and Turkish. He has been nominated for a Derringer Award and won Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year. No, this isn’t just any given author. These are the accomplishments of Larry D. Sweazy, an author and indexer that lives nearby in Noblesville, Indiana.

When he was a little boy, his favorite pastime was reading. This immense love for reading eventually sparked an interest in writing. “I loved books when I was a kid because I could escape and disappear, so I wanted to at some point figure out how I could do that for other people,” he said.

While he was in middle school and then high school, he discovered his interest in writing. The first piece of writing he ever wrote was a poem in eighth grade. His teacher told him, “You know, you’re a really good writer. You should pursue this, and get better at it.” This was the beginning of a pathway that would lead to a career.

As of now, Sweazy has published 14 books, eight westerns and six mysteries. Some of his most popular books are the ones included in the Marjorie Trumaine series, which include See Also Murder, See Also Deception, and See Also Proof. Allison Lenser, a freshman, has read this trilogy and loves how diverse these books are compared to other mystery books of this era. “Each one was unique in its own way,” she said.

Lenser then went on to explain how other murder mysteries take place in modern-day cities, but the Marjorie series is set in the 1960’s on a farm. This one simple element that was altered caused these books to stand out when compared to other mystery books of this era.

A unique aspect of Sweazy’s is his rather distinct writing style. Most authors make an outline before writing and mull over details until they have created the perfect storyline. Sweazy chooses to instead immerse himself in writing and see where the story takes him. “I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants… So I kind of know what’s going to happen, but I don’t know everything. I don’t want to know everything,” he said.

Writing books isn’t the only activity that Sweazy focuses on. He is also a freelance indexer. Cheryl Lenser, a friend of Sweazy’s, also indexes books for a living. “In several of Larry’s novels, he references his other skill–indexing books. Larry has the organizational ability to keep the characters, events, and timeline in mind as he crafts his stories,” she said. Larry’s exquisite indexing skills help organize his writing so his storyline makes sense.

Aside from writing and indexing, Sweazy also reviews books for a magazine, he is on the board of directors for the Midwest Writers Workshop, and he teaches writing courses at the Indiana Writing Center. “Usually everything I do is related to writing, in one way or another… [but] I do quite a bit of other things other than write.”

Sweazy has plans in the future to write and publish more books, as well as add to his current series. He doesn’t plan on slowing down and aims to feed his craving to write for as long as he can.

“I’ve got some young adult ideas I’d like to do, or some science fiction, or some literary novels. It just depends on if I ever get to them,” he said.


Personality profile: Instructor shares joys, challenges of teaching

by Zoe Starks/Staff Writer

          Mindy Weaver-Flask, English teacher, has been teaching for about 19 years. She has taught in both private and public schools in Ohio and Indiana. Before teaching she was in the military as a member of the Ohio National Guard.            

          Flask talked about why she wanted to become a teacher.  “The reason I wanted to become a English teacher was because when I was in school I had an amazing English teacher. That teacher changed the trajectory of my life.”  

          She added, “My favorite thing about teaching is building relationships with my students. I love seeing their growth of reading and writing throughout the years.”

          Flask discussed why she wanted to work at Greenfield-Central. “I chose to work at GCHS because I wanted a change,” she said.

She said, “The most frustrating thing about teaching is the policies of the state of Indiana because of the amount of state testing and the negative outcomes for many of our students.”

 “Some of the everyday challenges I go through are time management. It never feels like there is enough time to look through scores and help my students with all their work.”

        Lauren Silcox, 9, said, “I like how she is very interactive with the class and willing to help anyone.”

        Audrey Pechin, 9, said, “I like how she is helpful and kind to everyone.” Pechin said Mrs. Flask is a very understanding person.

          Silcox said Flask’s teaching style is easy to comprehend and thinks that she is a very helpful teacher.            

      Mrs. Flask said she may not be a classroom teacher in five years. Instead, she will pursue guidance counseling so she can help children in a different capacity.            

Profile: O’Neal balances golf, bowling

by Rachael Gilkison/Staff Writer

Photo: Tandess O’Neal, first on left, 10, pauses for a moment on the golf course with her team and Coach Russell Wily. 

GC golf player Tandess O’Neal has a heart for golf. O’Neal has been playing golf since she was eight, though she did take a break during her freshman year. She has been playing for GC since her seventh grade year.

Even though it seems like she is best known for her golf, she also bowls. When asked about how dedicated she was to golf, Tandess replied, “When I first started this season, I was not really sure where my heart was with bowling and golf.  As the season went on, I realized I actually enjoyed golf. All of my golf friends opened up my eyes a little bit. I am pretty dedicated now.”

One of her golf goals is “to see where I am in two years (my senior season) and then I will really know what I want to do in college. Like I said, I am a bowler and that is my passion. But who knows, in two years I may want to golf in college.” And since she has had quite the season, playing the number five spot on the team all year, these goals seem pretty realistic.

Not only is she a team player on the green, but she is also a “supportive and great friend,” as described by Caroline Gibson, her friend for almost four years. Gibson said that her favorite thing about her is “her personality how she is always there is listen to me if I needed to tell her something.” Haley Hoagland, a friend of Tandess’s for almost ten years, described her as “always willing to help anyone who needs it.” Hoagland said her favorite thing about O’Neal is her commitment to bowling. One common thing that both Hoagland and Gibson brought up is that she seems to always be golfing or bowling.

According to O’Neal, “Golf is an important part of my life. I have met my best friends in golf. Haley Hoagland and Caroline Gibson have been a couple of my best friends since 7th grade. That is when we started golfing together, and I am so glad they talked me into playing this year. I have also made a lot of friends outside of the Greenfield team.”