The HHS tennis season is going well despite a young team, says HHS Tennis Coach Brannon Jones.
The team has taken its losses compared to prior years, Jones said, but the players are competing hard and winning matches.
”This team is very young,” said Jones, who estimated that 75 percent of his roster is freshmen and sophomores. “I had 13 seniors last year.”
Still, despite his young roster, he sees a lot of hard work from the young players.
“A lot of them do clinics by themselves, but it's kind of a year-round sport,” the coach explained. “We’ve especially been going non-stop since the week of February 15th.”
The tennis team faces Macon County at home Thursday (April 15).
Grace Franklin, a freshman who plays on varsity, said the season has been productive.
“We’re really improving,” she said of the team.
As for her personally, she said, “I’ve won a lot and lost a lot. That’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Even though she is a freshman, Grace has played tennis for 12 years now. She prepares for her matches by going to clinics and by practicing every day after school and sometimes on Saturdays.
She said she doesn’t consider the lack of seniors a big disadvantage.
“Everyone’s the same no matter if they are under or upperclassmen,” Grace said.
Story by Genesis Carrera and Luke Scherba
The HHS wrestling team’s annual Spring Commando Craft Fair is Saturday (April 17), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the cafeteria and main hallway.
This year will have a few changes from previous years. For example, there is a 1-foot distance rule between booths, and there will be no concessions inside the school but food trucks outside in the parking lot.
The fair features a wide variety of items including jewelry, clothing, signs, pillows, hats and more.
Despite the changes, wrestling coach Ralph Gabriel said he expects this year’s event to run smoothly.
“We have a waiting list of people that want to be in the Craft Fair,’’ Gabriel said. “We’re back up to about 77 vendors. We usually get around 80 vendors, (but) some of the vendors if they’re older choose not to participate. But most of the vendors are going to come.”
Justin Mumaw, a junior wrestler who is helping with the fair, said money raised from the Craft Fair will go for equipment and other needs for the wrestling program.
Story by Isabella Swing
The Theatre II class will be hosting a Tuesday Night Live performance this Tuesday (April 13) in the HHS auditorium.
Theatre arts teacher Laurie Kerhoulas-Brown is the director of this production. It’s a free show, and all donations are welcome.
“We decided not to charge anything this year… we thought it would be okay just to ask for donations,” said Mrs. K-B, as she is commonly known.
A donation jar will be placed at the entrance of the auditorium.
A public performance is expected of every Theatre II class. Most of the time it is a one-act play, but not this year.
“Because of COVID … we decided not to do a play this time,” Mrs. K-B explained. This time she decided to do more of a showcase that includes several short duet scenes.
HHS senior Emily Smith, an MC participating in this showcase, said it has been harder to put on shows this year with COVID.
“It’s mainly because we have people out because of contact tracing. So, sometimes rehearsals are more difficult, but every show has complications,” she said. “This show just has a different set of complications.”
In light of the effects of COVID, Smith said the cast and crew want this showcase to be “fun, upbeat, and light-hearted...The goal is to have a very wholesome experience.”
Story by Allie Steele, Anna Grace Morgan and Jacob Murphy
The Derek Chauvin trial is beginning its third week (April 12), some 300 days after the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, 46, died last May when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes during his arrest. Floyd’s arrest followed his alleged attempt to pay with a $20 counterfeit bill.
Both Regan Cothron and Tabitha Fitz-Wilson, who teach Criminal Justice at HHS, have been keeping up with the trial.
In an interview, Cothron and Fitz-Wilson note that they have seen most of the 9-minute-long video of George Floyd’s arrest and have seen several clips of it while watching live coverage of the trial.
Some say that the trial is having an impact on people’s everyday lives, but to Fitz-Wilson, the trial presents a learning opportunity.
Fitz-Wilson says she regularly uses real-life trials to teach students the different court roles.
The trial, “[plays] along with what we’re learning in class,” Fitz-Wilson says. “And that’s why it’s very important to follow.”
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the death of Floyd. However, juries have consistently failed to convict police officers in similar cases.
Even though the trial has not fully examined the defense yet, Cothron is skeptical of a successful conviction.
“Let me put it this way: It wouldn’t surprise me if they did not convict him,” she says.
In a poll done by The Economist, 64 percent of Americans approve of the murder charges.
“It’s tough,” says Fitz-Wilson. “Did [Chauvin] follow policy and procedure? Maybe. His defense attorney is doing a really good job of saying he did.”
The death of George Floyd was met with uproar all across the country and even internationally. Protests were held in every state, and several memorial services were held to honor his death.
Whether or not the death of Floyd and the trial will bring changes to policing is another unclear question. Members of the Minneapolis Police Department have told the court that police training does not teach the practice of kneeling on a person’s neck during an arrest.
“I don’t know that the trail will do anything as far as the training of officers is concerned,” says Cothron. “But, hopefully, officers individually will realize what they are doing when the situation arises.”
However, Fitz-Wilson hopes that all police agencies will start asking themselves whether they are training officers the right way.
“Not one day of training, but a long-time training,” says Fitz-Wilson.
Story by Ricki Heerdt
More than a hundred HHS students helped put on this year’s Easter egg hunt at Rock Castle.
The community-run event was April 3 with the theme of Alice in Wonderland. The hunt was named “The Wonderland Egg hunt.”
There were actually three egg hunts that were separated by age. There were also many other fun events including face painting and bouncy houses for the children to play.
The main goal of the free egg hunt is to bring families together for Easter and help them form fond memories.
Samuel Gilbert, executive director of Historic Rock Castle and an English teacher at HHS, is one of the key figures in putting on the annual event.
The Easter egg hunt “has grown into the largest egg hunt, I think, in Tennessee,” Gilbert said. “Certainly, it is one the biggest in Tennessee and definitely the biggest in Middle Tennessee.”
During the last three years, organizers have hidden more than 100,000 eggs per year, he said.
HHS plays a big role in the egg hunt. HHS clubs such as NHS, Beta, Skills USA, National Art Honor Society, and various other clubs help out to buy candy and to fill the eggs.
This year HHS students helped fill 103,900 eggs. Then some students helped Gilbert divide the eggs into three piles of 33,000 for the three separate egg hunts.
On the day of the Easter Egg hunt, students from all over Hendersonville came to assist. In addition to HHS, schools represented included Pope John Paul II, Ellis Middle School and Station Camp High.
Cindy Jaramillo, an HHS junior and member of NHS, said the hunt kept her busy.
“Mr. Gilbert gave us some bunny ears to wear and we got the eggs and we had to hide them, then we stuck them back together after the hunt so we can use them for next year,” she explained.
Leslie Jaramillo, an HHS sophomore and SkillsUSA member, said of the experience: “I really enjoyed it; it was really fun watching all the kids over there collecting the eggs!”
Gilbert said he likes that the egg hunt is a community effort.
“I love that there are so many different people working together to make it happen,” Gilbert said. “I love that families make memories there and that is the result of Hendersonville High School students.”
This year there were 141 HHS students involved in the whole Easter egg project. There were also 48 JP II students, 14 Ellis students and two Station Camp students.
Story by Michelle Khoury
The HHS Marine Corp Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp Raider Team will compete Saturday (April 10) in Station Camp High’s annual Bison Blitz Raider Meet.
Raider is a sport that tests a cadet’s strength, endurance, technical expertise and mental agility.
Cadets train in groups of 10-15 and are expected to complete a two-mile run; make and cross a rope bridge; and go over, through and under obstacles with a 35-pound ruck sack.
A co-ed raider team consists of 10 cadets, with at least one of them being female, and up to five alternates.
At the Bison Blitz Raider meet, there will be seven events: Endurance Run, Obstacle Course, Rope Bridge, Ruck Run, Stretcher Relay, Strength Test, and Tire Stacker. In total, a team of Raiders is expected to compete these tasks in less than six hours.
Lt. Col. Jeff Stone said seven other schools will attend the meet, including Clarkrange, Jefferson County, Ravenwood, Warren County and Franklin.
Stone and team captains Cadet 2nd Lt. Greydon Bleau and Cadet Sgt. Maj. Justin Mumaw all expect HHS’ strongest competitor to be Clarkrange, which has a history of success in these meets.
Mumaw expressed concern that the minimal training HHS has had recently with running could hurt its performance in the Endurance Run, a two-mile event where the cadets must stay close together as they circle a mile-long route.
Mumaw hopes the team can make up any lost time in Rope Bridge, an event they have been practicing daily that requires crossing a body of water using only a 120-foot-long rope, 10 10-foot-long ropes and 10 carabiners. Currently, the team is clocking in on this event at 1 minute and 23 second.
No matter what happens, Mumaw added, “It’s gonna be fun.”
Bleau said that as a team captain, he must “prepare for the worst [and] hope for the best."
Lt. Col. Stone described the competition as a “fun off-season meet, where we are not so much worried about winning but just having fun.”
Story by Victoria Petersen