HHS’ annual canned food drive has stirred up more than donations this year.

Principal Bob Cotter sent a heated email to staff Wednesday (Oct. 24) to address a “terrible rumor” going around that some classes are not participating in the drive “because there are no incentives for students or teachers.”

“Can you believe that! I told those that have brought it to my attention that there is NO WAY that can be possible as HHS has always been satisfied with the INCENTIVE that we are helping our own community prosper!!” the principal wrote.

Cotter’s news riled some staff. Wellness teacher Stacia Dean sent a public reply in which she admonished teachers who may not be participating because of the lack of incentives.

“I am very ashamed of this email!!!,” Dean wrote. “Obviously, we have teachers in our building that have never been hungry? I HAVE BEEN HUNGRY and if you need to hear my story feel free to contact me.  

“Here is an incentive for you... how about YOU go for a weekend or even a day without eating,” she wrote, closing with, “… as you are picking up dinner tonight at your local restaurant, how about you pick up some canned food” for those less fortunate.

In an interview Thursday, Dean said the rumor “upset me tremendously.” She said everyone in the school should want to help others in need, regardless of incentives.

The HHS canned food drive began Monday and runs through Friday (Oct. 22-26). The drive helps feed people at the Samaritan Center in Hendersonville. HHS gathered 66,000 cans of food last year, and the goal is to surpass 75,000 this year. Organizers said they will not have totals for this year’s drive until Saturday.

Story by Sloane Wright, Kiya Whitlow, Isabella Logue, Brittney Towe, Brinson Martin



Criminal Justice teacher Tabitha Fitzwilson is dealing with a widespread cheating incident that involves multiple blocks of her class.

Fitzwilson said she noticed students in one block nudging each other and looking down at their phones during a recent test.

According to Fitzwilson, in preparation for the test, she had given students a study guide identical to the test. Some apparently took a picture of the study guide and passed it around, she said.

The teacher also received a tip that students in another block had cheated in the same way on the same test. When confronted, she said, several students in the block also confessed to using their phones to cheat.

Fitzwilson said she was disappointed to say the least.

 “Students aren’t really accountable for their own actions, it kind of just gets pushed under the rug, so they think they can do it,” she said.

As a result, Fitzwilson said both classes are “retaking the test until everybody gets an 80 percent or higher. So far, we have taken it three times.”

Her students also now have to place their phones in a bucket until class is over.

Story by Savannah Kane and Lillie Franks



A drug bust gone wrong turned into a week of remembrance and a way of helping students stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, agent who was killed in a drug bust in Mexico in the 1980s.

In honor of his fight against drugs, his friends and family wore red badges, thus leading to Red Ribbon Week, which wrapped up at HHS on Friday (Oct. 26).

HHS has been participating in the Red Ribbon Campaign since it began in 1988.

“Schools across the country recognize Red Ribbon Week" as a way to help fight against alcohol and drug abuse, said Debbie Sheets, the STARS (Students Taking A Right Stand) leader at HHS. "Our county has been really active with Red Ribbon.” 

Schools across Sumner County participate by doing activities and awareness campaigns. At HHS, there were dress-up days and STARS peer leaders, students who pledge to refrain from drugs and alcohol, visited classes around the school to share their stories of why they’ve chosen to stay alcohol and drug-free.

“We found that to be the most successful thing - peers talking to peers about why they chose not to, instead of us, as adults, telling them not to," Sheets said.

Story by Kyra Hodge




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