Watching news footage of the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames was unsettling for many this week. As the iconic wooden spire collapsed, people in the streets of Paris could be heard gasping and shouting.

The response in Room 207 at HHS, 4,400 miles away, wasn’t much different.

“I was really upset,” said English teacher Carmen Watts, who has been to the cathedral about a half dozen times and says she is always struck by the beauty of its ornate stained-glass windows. “It hit me kind of hard because it felt like it is one of those monuments that will always be there.”

Parisian officials say the structure, one of the most famous in the world, will be repaired and rebuilt, though that could take decades.

As for Watts, she will be back.

“I love Paris. It is one of my favorite cities,” she said Thursday (April 18). “There are just so many big landmarks to see like the Louvre and of course Notre Dame. It’s just a really beautiful city.”

Story by Alfred Allen, Ava Heeren and Mandy Pirtle




Snow is rare in Middle Tennessee this time of year, but theatre arts teacher Laurie Kerhoulas-Brown would love to spread a little of the white stuff on your spring activities.

She sent an email to Principal Bob Cotter this week letting him know that there is “snow” in Room 148 of the Theatre Department – 252 cans of it.

“We have been given the gift of snow from Walmart,” Mrs. KB wrote of the faux snow, which is packed in 9-ounce spray cans. “It might not get us out of school, but maybe your class needs this for a project.”

Cotter shared the email with faculty along with a photo. The subject heading? “Snow days!”

It’s a sure bet more than a few teachers opened that one.

Story by Kennedy Payne and Savannah Vaughn


The 2019 HHS Prom is behind us, and by many accounts it was a success, though art teacher Sandy Kandros said attendance could have been better.

“I was disappointed that more students didn’t come,” said Kandros, who worked with family and consumer science teacher Beverly Parrott to organize the April 12 event in the gymnasium.

Kandros and Parrott estimated that as many as 70 fewer students attended this year compared to last year. Specific numbers were not immediately available.

Seniors who spoke to The Ville News this week gave the prom mixed reviews.

“I went my junior year, and I will say that junior year was a lot more fun than this past year,” said Rianna Waters.

“It was fun. I expected it to be a lot worse,” remarked Gabby Atkinson.

“You just have to hang out with the right people to have the time of your life,” observed Tariyah Pierce

Annsley Hubbard said she was particularly pleased that Derek Kincaid and Caroline Craighead were chosen Prom King and Queen.

“I voted for them,” Hubbard said.

Story by AnnaGrace Anderson, Ava Craddock and Kennedy Payne


Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” serves as inspiration for tonight’s (April 12) prom. The famous painting covers an entire wall and grabs your attention as soon as you step foot in the newly transformed gym.

Royal blue and golden curtains create a pathway leading into the main area, and the garden-like setup is full of overflowing bouquets featuring some of Van Gogh’s favorites: sunflowers.

Preparation for this year’s prom actually began last year, said art teacher Sandy Kandros, who oversees the annual conversion of the gymnasium.

“We usually reserve our place ahead of time, for the events company that does it, so it starts a year ahead of time. I've already reserved a spot for next year,” Kandros told The Ville News.

 “We get the junior class together sometime in February,” she continued, “and we decide what the theme is, what the colors will be, who we want to DJ. They get together and make committees.”

But prom week is crunch time, a mad sprint after which the gym is barely recognizable as a gym.

“JROTC puts the floor down on Monday, and we spend the rest of the week on it,” Kandros said. “It’s always exciting to see it go up.”

Story by Emily Smith


The HHS Greenhouse Sale opens Saturday (April 13) with a large selection of plants for the house and yard.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The sale, which is in the greenhouse outside the fine arts hall, will continue until the plants are gone, probably into May. Prices range from $3 to $25

A variety of colors and species are available, including vegetable plants, said agricultural teacher Hailey Gates.

The sale is sponsored by FFA (Future Farmers of America). Proceeds will go to the organization for scholarships, travel and other expenses.

Gates said all the plants were grown by students on the Horticulture Team.

Story by Ava Craddock, AnnaGrace Anderson and Kennedy Payne



Hendersonville High’s JROTC drill team will compete Saturday (April 13) at Vanderbilt University.

The team has been preparing for the 28th Annual Vanderbilt University JROTC Drill Meet for about three weeks, said William Colligan, commander of the HHS JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) program.

Drill events include Platoon Inspection, Color Guard, Platoon Armed Exhibition, Platoon Armed and Unarmed Basic, Physical Fitness Challenge, and Knock Out.

Ten schools are expected to compete in the meet, which begins at 8 a.m. in the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center field house.

“I am very confident in our ability to win,” Colligan said.

Story by Samantha Vickers, Lesley Parrotta and Ava Kobus

HHS will soon become one of only about two dozen schools in Tennessee offering the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity,” Principal Bob Cotter told The Ville News recently. “It will put you way ahead of the game if you’re going to college.”

Set to begin next school year, the program will be led by English teacher Taylor Coleman. HHS will be the only school in Sumner County to offer it.

To earn the AP Capstone Diploma, which is a second diploma in addition to the regular HHS Diploma, students take two special yearlong AP (Advanced Placement) courses - AP Seminar and AP Research – plus four other AP classes of their choosing.

AP Seminar is a prerequisite to AP Research and must be taken in the 10th or 11th grade; students are not allowed to take both classes in the same school year.

AP Seminar focuses on building and assessing an argument, Coleman explained. First, students view persuasive materials (articles, speeches, videos, etc.) and assess the way arguments are presented and what makes them effective. Once they learn those skills, she said, students can choose their own topic and build their own presentation, using research and essay writing skills. 

If students score a 3 or higher on all six of their AP class exams, they earn the AP Capstone Diploma. If they get a 3 or higher in AP Research and AP Seminar but don’t take the four other AP classes or don’t score a 3 in the other classes, they receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate, which is not as select as the Capstone Diploma but still highly sought by colleges.

Coleman said the AP Seminar and Research classes “give students the chance to work on skills that are touched on in other classes but aren’t the main focus.”

The College Board’s AP website says the two classes are designed to “complement other AP courses.”

“Instead of teaching specific subject knowledge, AP Seminar and AP Research use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management and presentation skills students need for college-level work,” the site states.

Cotter called the AP Capstone Diploma “a great credential” for HHS students.

Story by Ava Heeren and Mandy Pirtle

Along with the pleasure of spring comes a little pain for students and teachers with seasonal allergies, and this year might be worse than usual.

“We didn’t really have a prolonged, cold winter and it’s been really damp,” observed HHS nurse Sue Buckberry. “I think the weather just has a whole lot to do with it. Things are blooming now, so we know that’s why it’s happening now.”

Buckberry estimates that she is seeing six to eight students a day with allergy symptoms. Nationally, more than 50 million Americans suffer from various allergies each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Although a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sinus pressure can get really annoying, they won’t get you sent home from school, not at HHS.

“Unfortunately, that’s just one of those things that you just have to learn to put up with,” Buckberry said.

The most effective way to treat allergies, she said, is to drink lots of water, take allergy medication as prescribed if you have it and – this is a tough one this time of year - keep the windows shut at home.

“It’s tempting to raise our windows and let the fresh air come in, but when you do that you’re also bringing pollen and everything in your room,” the nurse said.

Story by Alyssa Rieger and Cheyenne Metelka



If you’re short on cash and in need of a prom dress, STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand) counselor Debbie Sheets might be able to help.

She has dresses of different sizes and colors that were donated to her. She invites students to stop by her office (across from Room 104 in the social studies hall) to take a look but asks that they check with her between classes first and then plan to come by after school.

Normally, Sheets has more than 100 dresses, but this year she wasn’t able to keep them all so she just kept the ones she thought most students would like.

“Some of them are brand new - they still have the tags on them - but most of them are dresses that have been worn once and, like, taken to be dry cleaned,” she explained.

If you don’t need a dress but have one to donate, you should also stop by Sheets’ office.

Story by Anna Grace Anderson, Ava Craddock and Kennedy Payne   

HHS junior Cleo Graham received the kind of news last week that would put anybody on edge.


Graham, the understudy to “Mary Poppins” lead actress Carlye Morris, learned that Morris would not be able to do the Wednesday afternoon (April 3) school performance because of illness, and she would have to fill the star role of Mary Poppins.


“Once they told me I was doing that, like, I had to get my act together and I only had the weekend to do that,” Graham recalled.


And get her act together she did. By all accounts, she did a wonderful job filling in for Morris, a senior with significant theatre experience.


“I put so much work into being an understudy and it actually paid off,” Graham told The Ville News Thursday.


Understudy is a tough job. The actor or actress must be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Oftentimes, it is a lot of work without much reward.


“My expectation for an understudy is that they’re ready, if something happens, to go on immediately,” said theatre arts teacher Carole Ann Everson.


“During rehearsals, Cleo would stand behind Carlye and she would mouth the words and sing the songs and do the dance moves,” Everson recalled.


Morris is on the mend and expected to return as Mary Poppins in tonight’s (April 5) public performance at 7. She’s also in the Sunday afternoon show at 2:30.


Graham will play the lead in the Saturday evening performance, also at 7.


The two actresses have been a source of encouragement to each other.


“They had a really and still do have a really good relationship and want each other to succeed,” Everson said. “Carlye will be there to encourage her, just like Cleo is encouraging Carlye. They’re very good friends.”

Story by Many Pirtle and Ava Heeren

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