HHS’ student-run Commando Court has been busy this year.
The court has heard 45 cases already this semester – nearly double the 24 it heard all last semester, according to figures obtained by The Ville News.
Criminal justice teacher Tabitha Fitzwilson, who oversees Commando Court, said more teachers are aware of the court as an option for dealing with minor disciplinary issues.
English teacher Candace Cunningham said she’s sent a handful of students to the court in recent years.
“I feel like it is a better punishment than the student sitting in detention for an hour,” Cunningham said.
Similarly, criminal justice teacher Regan Cothron said she uses Commando Court because it “gives punishments that fit the crime.”
With the growing caseload, Fitzwilson wants to make changes to the court, which is run by criminal justice students.
Mostly, she wants to start an “application process” where students would have to apply to serve on the court and then she and the assistant principals would select from the applicants.
Commando Court has been around for several years and aims “to encourage students to be accountable to themselves and to their peers,” said Fitzwilson, who acts as “judge” during court proceedings.
The court operates much like an adult court. A student is chosen to be the school representative and another is selected as the student representative. Other students function as the jury.
Once assigned, the school representative talks to the teacher who filed a complaint against the student to find out what the student did and what the teacher recommends as punishment.
Meanwhile, the student representative talks to the student in trouble to figure out ways to lessen the punishment.
Then there is a hearing where both sides present their cases and discuss the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
As Cunningham and Cothron observed, the jury sometimes comes up with creative punishments. For example, one student had to sing “the litterbug song” in front of the whole class after the student threw trash on the floor.
Another time, a student who appeared before the court for cheating had to contact area universities and find out their policies on cheating and plagiarism to see how seriously the infractions are taken in college.
Other offenders have been sentenced to do write-offs, essays, a presentation to the class, and to publicly apologize to the teacher.
If a student doesn’t do the punishment, he or she faces harsher penalty or is referred to an assistant principal for more serious discipline.
Cunningham thinks the court is effective because students say they don’t like being judged by their peers.
“I think it’s embarrassing to them,” Cunningham said.
Senior Johnathan Espinoza said he has been before the court before and didn’t care for the experience.
“If a student on the jury doesn’t like you, then there is a bias and you may get a worse punishment,” Espinoza said.
Story by Gabriel Williams and Zach Kochan
The musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” will be the HHS spring production, said theater arts teacher Carole Ann Everson.
Everson made the highly anticipated announcement to her class Thursday (Oct. 17).
The choice was largely for practical reasons. Everson said she has a lot of female students this year, and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” calls for a female-heavy cast.
“But there are some great male roles as well,” she told students.
Set in 1922 in New York during the Jazz Age, the musical is filled with daring women who wore their hair and hemlines short.
The story focuses on a woman named Millie Dillmount from Kansas who goes to New York in search of a new life. Her plan is to find a job as a secretary for a rich man and then marry him, but things do not work out in her favor.
The play should be filled with wonderful vocals, dancing and fun, so be sure to watch for dates and ticket information in the spring.
Story by Leilani Boleyjack, Zach Kochan and Ryan Ray
Assistant Principal Ray Henson's long tenure at HHS has apparently come to an end after the administrator has decided to retire, The Ville News has learned.
Today (Oct. 18) was scheduled to be Henson’s last day at the school, but he called in sick and did not report to work, Assistant Principal Nicole Jimenez told The Ville News.
Henson was not immediately available for comment, but he has told some teachers and faculty that he was planning to retire and pursue other interests.
Story by Corrine Mitchener and Zach Pearson
The HHS freshman football team is ending their season at home against Gallatin at 6 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 17).
The Commandos have a 1-4 record this year but want to end the season on a winning note.
Coach Michael Flatt said, “I think we will do pretty well. I think we match up well with them.”
Gallatin is also 1-4 on the season, Flatt said.
“We’ve got a lot of players who haven’t played a whole lot and we’re trying to get them some more experience,” the coach said.
The team’s record might not reflect it, but Flatt said he has seen a lot of improvement from his players. “From Day One to now, they’ve grown a lot,” he said.
The team’s lone win was against Station Camp. They also lost a 1-point nailbiter to Mount Juliet.
”The season didn’t go how we wanted it to,” said freshman Landon Shrader, a wide receive and strong safety. “I think we fell to our own mistakes, but it isn’t anything we can’t improve.”
Another player, left guard Austin Robillio, said he feels he improved a great deal as the season progressed.
“I didn’t start off that great but I’m doing a lot better now,” Robillio said.
Story by Alorah Fridley and Hannah Mailander
Rock Castle is hosting a free, two-day educational event for all Sumner County fourth graders this Thursday and Friday (Oct. 17-18).
HHS English teacher Samuel Gilbert, who is also groundskeeper at Rock Castle, says that over 2000 kids from Sumner County and surrounding schools are expected to participate in the Summer Harvest event.
Rock Castle is a local historical site that contains the oldest standing house in Middle Tennessee. Built by Daniel Smith from 1784-1796, Rock Castle is still rather large by today’s standards, and several pieces of furniture remain from the original occupants.
Now, Rock Castle is a community center that hosts events such as Summer Harvest. Gilbert hopes the festival will spark the students' interest in history.
With “lots of historical reenactors, musicians and games” Gilbert said, this event is sure to be a hit.
Volunteers will be dressed in period clothing, acting as docents and giving information about the house and its owners’ histories. Many time-appropriate games like hoop rolling, or hoop trundling, in which participants roll a wooden hoop and strike it to make it roll as far as they can, and badminton, where players hit a shuttlecock back and forth, will be set up around the spacious green area of the grounds. Several other activities are scheduled to make for a fun, busy day.
Summer Harvest used to be known as Daniel Smith Days, which was open to the community as opposed to just students, but it has recently changed to focus on education. The event is still open to others, but the focus is on educating the children who get to enjoy the day.
“I would love to bring Daniel Smith Days back,” says Gilbert. However, right now, Rock Castle’s goal is to provide a close-up experience with history to teach and inspire the next generation.
Story by Sara Amis
The HHS Coffee House concert is coming up Oct. 24, and auditions are about to get under way.
Chorus Director Elizabeth Evans said auditions will be Thursday (Oct. 17) during her 3rd block class in Room 133. If auditions run longer than expected, they will continue into Friday.
Each hopeful will be able to do a song of his or her choosing, but the performance can’t use any pre-recorded back tracks; all auditions must have live music.
In addition, Evans said, performers must know how long their songs will take because Coffee House is somewhat on a time limit. The event usually runs about an hour and 15 minutes.
Once a student is accepted to perform at Coffee House, he or she will go on at least one of the two shows (6:30 and 8:30 p.m.). If the act is exceptional, Evans said, the student has a chance to perform in both shows.
The lineup of Coffee House performers is expected to be ready by 3 p.m. Friday (Oct. 18).
Tickets are available in advance in the cafeteria for $5 and for $10 at the door.
Story by Owen McClister
Have you ever missed out on a play, show, or sporting event because you forgot to bring money for a ticket? Or maybe you forgot lunch money for the day? Never fret, because that is exactly what the HHS bank is for.
The student-run school bank is in the gym lobby and overseen by business teacher Brittany Watson, who teaches a banking class. It is open every day during 3rd block, so students can stop by during their lunch period.
Students can take out a loan of up to $5, store money in a savings account (no interest is accumulated), break change up to $50 (students are charged a service fee), or even just stop by for a piece of candy. The candy bowl, however, only had one Butterfinger left at last check.
Currently, there are seven student employees in the class who all have personal duties to help things run smoothly. Will Moss, the student bank manager, said, “I just really like helping everybody out and getting money to people who need it. Without the bank, they might not get lunch that day.”
Moss has been a part of the bank for two years now and has a great understanding of everything that has to happen in order to keep the bank going. He also stated he likes seeing frequent customers and that it makes him smile to see them walk through the door.
Customers say the bank is a great resource. Mitchell Church, a senior who also worked in the bank last year, said, “I’ve enjoyed it” but warned, “Make sure you stay up to date and pay back your loan.”
His advice is true; there’s even a no-fly list of students who have had their bank privileges revoked for not paying back a loan within a reasonable amount of time.
Senior Eric Kohls learned the hard way the importance of repaying a loan. “I took out a $4 loan, I but forgot to pay it back for almost a month, and eventually the 10-cent-a-day fee accumulated to $1, because that's the max and I had to pay back all $5.”
Earlier this semester the bank experienced its busiest day yet with a total of 39 students taking out a loan on the day of Coffee House. The bank typically gives out 4-5 loans a day.
The bank is located across the hall from the Commando Corner and is open up until the last few weeks of school. Come see what it has to offer!
Story by Cailsey Scott and Bailey Guy