HHS will host six students from Germany this winter while sending six of its own to a German high school in the spring.

Organizers say this is the first time in recent memory that HHS has had a German exchange program.

“I am excited for the opportunity and the experiences,” said sophomore Tony Heerdt, who is among the HHS students headed to Ingelheim, Germany, for one month beginning in late May.

Heerdt and the others will stay with host families in Ingelheim, while the German students will do the same while in Hendersonville this February.

A city of about 25,000, Ingelheim is on the Rhine River about 30 miles west of Frankfurt. The name of the high school in the exchange is Integrierte Gesamtschule Kurt Schumacher.

HHS is the second Sumner County school to participate in the program. Station Camp High started last year and will take part again this year. The two local schools are working together to organize the swap.

"We truly are excited to make our German journey,” said English teacher Andrew Martin, the coordinator at HHS. “I'm proud that HHS is able to offer a month-long exchange with IGS. There's no better way to experience another country than to live there with its citizens, breathing in its culture.

“Hopefully, HHS will be able to continue this program for many years to come," Martin added.

Story by Eryn Petty, Claire Grandlienard and Savannah Kane

Turkey or ham? It’s an age-old question, and The Ville News has finally gotten to the bottom of it.

In a random survey of 22 HHS students, 14 chose turkey over ham as their Thanksgiving favorite.

And that’s not all. Eighteen picked mashed potatoes over sweet potatoes, and 11 chose pumpkin pie over apple pie.

We didn’t include green beans in our survey, but they definitely deserve a shout out. Several students volunteered them as their favorite side dish:

  • “Green beans, for sure.”
  • “Green beans, because they’re easy.”
  • “Green beans; they’re so easy and yummy.”

There you have it. A traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie is the way to go - especially if you throw in a little gravy, stuffing, hot rolls and apple cider.

Story by The Ville News staff


This year’s HHS United Way drive surpassed its goal of $11,000 by more than $1,000.

“I’m not a gushy kind of person when it comes to this, but I was sure proud last week to see the participation from our faculty,” music teacher Dr. Jeff Phillips, who helped with this year’s drive, wrote in a staff email. “Whether it was the incentives or my harassing announcements or just your sense of goodness, HHS made a huge statement to the community.”

Every teacher at HHS donated to this year’s drive.

“The 100 percent participation is a MAJOR thing,” Phillips wrote. “Whether it’s a classroom activity or any other organization (civic, church), getting 100 percent ‘buy-in’ and participation is just never done.”

Last year, HHS raised about $10,300 for United Way, which funds a variety of community services and programs.

Story by Vincent Brown-Flores and Corrine Mitchener


HHS’ Marketing II class recently returned from their fun-filled trip to Chicago.

Taught by Lisa Baugh and Christy Brown, 23 students from both Retail and Sports Management senior classes were able to take the trip as an incentive for taking the class.

The four-day trip consisted of a variety of activities ranging from taking pictures at the famous Bean sculpture to taking a behind-the-scenes look into Chicago’s largest Nordstrom store.

Maddie Gardner said, “We shopped a lot, ate at some pretty cool restaurants and got to explore too.”

Because it was a semi-educational trip, the class learned marketing and business tools, according to Abby Myers.

“We went to the Field Museum and listened to a girl talk about the marketing aspects of a non-profit,” she said.

The group also had some fun including going on a tour of the Blackhawks hockey team arena and getting tickets to the Chicago Bulls basketball game.

Story by Rianna Waters, Gracie Eastman and Elena Giordiani

Forget about easing back into school after a lazy Thanksgiving break. The End Of Course testing schedule is out, and it’s about as student-friendly as leftover cranberry sauce.


HHS freshmen with English this semester will have to take the writing portion of the high-stakes test on Monday (Nov. 26), the same morning they return from a five-day break.


Things aren’t much better for English II and U.S. history students. They take the writing portion that first week back as well, with English II testing Tuesday (Nov. 27) and U.S. history Thursday (Nov. 29), according to the schedule released to teachers this week.


The second part of those tests, the multiple-choice part, will be the following week, the week of Dec. 3. Math students test the week of Dec. 10.


Teachers are particularly anxious about that Nov. 26 test date, when students are sure to be in a Thanksgiving funk after the long stretch off.


"Testing immediately after a holiday definitely makes motivating students a challenge,” said English teacher Andrew Martin. “After a break, students are tired and have to adjust back to the school schedule which is far from ideal for such an important test.”


Martin also worries about students who are traveling for the holiday.


“There are probably students who will miss the first test or be exhausted from traveling all day before, which only adds to the difficulty and stress of testing," he said.


English Department Chair Carmen Watts said students will be ready to test as soon as they return from break “because we have all been getting them prepared” to test.


But she also said the schedule could be more favorable.


“I just think that sometimes once they have had a break and then come right in that first day and get hit with testing, it’s a little much,” Watts said. “I almost feel like we need to ease back into coming to school.”


Story by Brinson Martin, Sloane Wright and Kyra Hodge

The HHS Commandos’ season ended last week with a loss to Murfreesboro Oakland in the second round of the state football playoffs. It was the first season at the helm for head Coach James Beasley, an HHS graduate who was also a player and, later, an assistant under former Coach Bruce Hatfield. The Ville News recently spoke with Coach Beasley about his first year. His edited remarks are below.


Q. What is the biggest difference between being a head coach and an assistant coach? 

A. The biggest difference is having to worry about everything instead of having one role. I’m having to be more involved with the team.


Q. How would you describe your first season as head coach?

A. It was a good first season. I felt like we had a successful season. My goal was for the players to develop and learn to be good people and to work hard – not just for the team but for themselves.


Q. What would you identify as the high point and the low point of the season?

A. The high point was beating Gallatin 35-0. The low point was losing to Franklin 24-7, a team we should have beaten.


Q. What is the biggest lesson you learned from your first year as head coach?

A. I learned that it is harder than I thought to make sure everyone is doing their best and to keep everyone motivated.

Story by Thomas Matchell and Hudson Mortimer

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

- From “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost


The only snowy woods in store for Sumner County this week will likely be the ones in those annoyingly early Christmas commercials.

Even so, with the first flakes of the season in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 14 and 15), it seems fitting to check the winter predictions for our area. Are we bound to be buried knee deep and miss weeks of school? Or will it be shorts and T-shirts for New Year’s.

As usual, it all depends on whom you ask. Back in August the Old Farmer’s Almanac called for a warm, wet winter for Middle Tennessee, only to have its rival, the Farmers' Almanac, come out a few days later and predict “teeth-chattering” cold and above-average snow.

With this year’s chilly autumn, we can all hope for the latter. The National Weather Service expects the unusually cool temps to hold for at least the next 6 to 10 days, which probably means a nippy Thanksgiving.

As for the long-term forecast, the NWS says our area will have near-normal temperatures and precipitation this winter. “Normal” for Nashville is 6 or 7 inches of snow on average – meaning some years can see more and some less. Sumner County, especially northern Sumner County, typically receives more frozen precipitation than Nashville.

Whatever winter has in store for us, the Sumner County school system should have more than enough snow days to handle it with 13 of them stockpiled.

Story by Isabella McBride


Members of the HHS Faculty Book Club have chosen their next book for discussion: “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The club is a new feature at HHS. Earlier this year, it focused on “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, which was recently adapted into a movie.

“I think that there’s a lot going on right now in society, and it’s just a good choice because it deals with women’s rights,” Assistant Principal Lisa Jaskot said of the club’s latest selection.

“We Should All Be Feminists” is a short story that is more of an essay than a book. The work is adapted from a TEDx talk and is based on the author’s personal experiences and ideas.

Jaskot, who started the Faculty Book Club, said she hopes male faculty will not be turned off by the title. One lesson she learned from the book, Jaskot said, is that a feminist is a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

“Based on that definition, a feminist could be a man or a woman,” she said.

Story by Kyra Hodge

Hmm … 950 guests for a Thanksgiving meal of turkey and dressing, ham, two kinds of potatoes, brown gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, two types of cake, peach cobbler and fruit salad.

No problem for the women in the HHS cafeteria! They did it again Thursday (Nov. 8) for the school’s annual holiday lunch.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth it,” assistant cafeteria manager Becky Heflin told The Ville News on Thursday, about an hour before the feast was to begin.

If she and manager Dawnette Jolly were nervous about

things going well, they sure didn’t show it. They glided around the kitchen showing off the neatly organized trays of food and answering reporters’ questions.

“We have 700 servings of turkey and 500 servings of ham,” Heflin said as she ladled juice over a big tray of sliced turkey.

A lot of preparation goes into a meal like this, including cleaning and bleaching equipment and surfaces, cooking all the food and slicing the turkeys and hams, and arranging everything so the lines move quickly.

“It’s a long process,” Jolly said.

About three days, in fact. The women began preparing Monday and were in the kitchen at 6 this morning to finish up.

This is by far their largest meal of the year.

It’s also one where Principal Bob Cotter picks up the tab for teachers.

“We’re going to see teachers we’ve never seen before,” Heflin joked.

Story by The Ville News staff

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