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Public health officials warn that we could be in for another long, nasty flu season this year with early cases of the disease already showing up in some areas.

Thankfully, HHS isn’t one of them.

Nurse Sue Buckberry told The Ville News last week that she hasn’t seen any flu activity here yet but expects it to start soon, as the flu season begins in October, peaks between December and February, and then winds down in the spring.

“If you think you have the flu, you should go to the doctor immediately. If they catch it early, they can reduce the effects,” Buckberry said.

USA Today reports that last year’s flu season set a record as the longest-running in a decade and led to record-breaking hospitalizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that between 37.4 million and 42.9 million people had contracted the flu, according to the organization’s website.

The CDC also reports that flu season is starting to hit early this year.  The American Academy of Pediatrics and others recommend getting vaccinated by Halloween because the shot takes about two weeks to take full effect.

Buckberry offers this advice to avoid the flu, which causes fever, achiness and fatigue and could be fatal for some people: “Wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, and most importantly, if you already have the flu you shouldn’t go to school.”

Story by Talena Glover and Cayman Jackson

If you’re looking for something fun to do Saturday (Sept. 14), check out the Folk & Bluegrass Fest at Rock Castle. 

The event is organized by HHS English teacher Sam Gilbert and members of the school’s Songwriters Club.

“I have had the idea for three years,” Gilbert said of the festival. “This is the first year that the event has taken place, but the Songwriter Night has been happening for around eight or nine years now.”

He expects around 500 people to attend the festival, which runs 3:30 to 9.

Members of the Songwriter Club will perform as well as other acts from the area. Gilbert said he was most looking forward to a performance by the local band The Arcadian Wild.

Admission is $10 for adults and free for anyone under 18.

Music begins at 5, but there will be other activities including inflatables, games, a cornhole tournament and food trucks. Kona Ice of Madison will serve up icy treats on what is expected to be another hot day with highs near 90.

Story by Leilani Boleyjack

Most HHS students view Beech as their biggest rival, and for good reason.

The matchup, which continues tonight (Sept. 13) at home with kickoff at 7, has been unbelievably balanced in recent years with each team winning eight of the past 16 games.

However, if you go back to 1982, almost to when Beech High opened and the cross-town battle began, HHS holds the upper hand with a 23-14 record. Last year, HHS enjoyed a commanding 45-27 win.

The rivalry has held plenty of drama over the years with students from both schools getting into the fray.

Last year, Beech students pulled pranks like painting the HHS rock and burning an HHS flag. Beech seniors always sleep on their field the night before the big game.

This year, students from Beech and HHS are making different varieties of memes and posting them on Snapchat. One shows a giant John Wick with an “H” on his chest towering over a smaller version of the action hero labeled with a “B.”

As is usually the case with this game, HHS students don’t lack confidence about the Commandos’ chances.

“We’re definitely going to win,” proclaimed senior Kobe Whitfield. “Hopefully we’ll stop their offense and get lots of touchdowns.”

Sophomore Noah Carmean is also certain the home team will be victorious.

“We’re practicing everyday in this very hot weather, so we’re definitely going to win,” he said.

Story by Kenzie Gregory, Eva Plummer, Bayley Leonard, Corrine Mitchener and Zach Pearson

Psst … in case you haven’t heard, those pesky progress reports are out.

It’s awful easy to miss them this year, though. This semester marks the first time parents are being directed to go online to check kids’ grades on Skyward instead of having a paper copy sent home.

If all goes well, the days of HHS students taking home – or sometimes not taking home – printed progress reports to parents may be a thing of the past.

“I like it,” Principal Bob Cotter told The Ville News this week. “What we were getting as a printout didn't look good anyway, so we weren't satisfied with it.”

Cotter notified parents of the switch via the HHS website, School Messenger, the HHS Facebook page and through Twitter.

“The more we can push parents” online, the better, he said.

Guidance counselor Bobbie Caine thinks the new way encourages parents to be more involved.

“Parents can access it at any time instead of waiting on a kid to bring home a piece of paper,” Caine said. “Some kids don’t bring home their papers, while others may not see their parents as much due to busy schedules.”

Assistant Principal Ray Henson is another supporter.

“I think it’s a really good idea because people will have access to it,” Henson said.  “A lot of times (kids or parents) will say, ‘Well, we didn’t get the progress report,’ or some students would not want their parents to see the grades.”

Henson suspects the change will become permanent.

“I’m not a decision-maker, but as long as there is no overly negative feedback, we will keep it,” he predicted.

No word yet whether it would extend to report cards.

Not everyone is a fan of the new method. Math teacher Lesley Fisher worries that some parents won’t get around to going online to check grades.

“Lots of kids may think ‘YES! Now I won't get into trouble because my parents won’t look,'” said Fisher, who has insight not only as a teacher but also as a parent with children in school.

“I do like the fact that we aren't wasting paper, but I am concerned that some parents won’t go on there and check,” she continued. “I think it is going to be surprising to some parents when they receive a report card but never received a progress report.”

 Students are also a little wary of the change, saying they don’t like being blindsided if they have less-than-stellar grades.

“I prefer the paper because then you can prepare for what’s going to happen,” remarked freshman Gavin McLeod.

Fellow freshman Drake Dyer added, “If we get the progress report online, we never know when it will pop up. It’s better if we have a piece of paper – not a random (online) report.”

Story by Corrine Mitchener and Zachary Pearson

At the recent Club Rush, students might have noticed a large poster for a new group on campus called GSA.

GSA stands for “Gay Straight Alliance,” and the GSA Club at HHS aims to serve as a support group for members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as for their supporters.

GSAs are commonly student-led and -organized and are often founded to create a safe place for students of all sexual orientations. There are three types of GSAs, according to websites about the groups:

  • Social: students meet and connect with people in the LGBTQ+ community 
  • Support: students meet and talk about their struggles, history of the LGBTQ+ community and various types of discrimination 
  • Activist: students take charge and attempt to improve their school’s climate through campaigns and events.

The GSA here will focus on support, said Kathryn Reagan, one of the club leaders.

“We have a pretty decent community of people that care about the same values as we do” Reagan told The Ville News last week.

She also said that on school surveys done each year students report being bullied.

“We thought it was important to give them a place to talk to each other and talk to people who understand and not have to worry about thinking ‘Oh, they’ll hate me if I tell them this,’” Reagan explained.

She added, “This club is for everyone in general. Yes, it is for people of the LGBTQ community, but if you aren’t part of that community but you’re still facing issues or need a place to go, we’re here.”  

The club plans to meet the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Story by Corrine Mitchener

Another HHS magazine sale is in the books with students raising $54,824 for equipment and improvements to the school.

Collections were down from $69,516 last year, but there were still plenty of bright spots.

The top seller was senior McKenzie Matheson, who pulled in $2,083. She said she was motivated by the cash incentive, which for her ended up being $548.24.

“I knew I would get money for being at least in the top three,” she said.

Savanna Hall was the second-leading seller with $987. She’ll receive a $274 check, but she also is looking forward to the Chick-fil-A prize and enjoyed her teacher’s incentive of donut holes for the class.

Other teachers offered incentives as well. Resource teacher Andrew White, for example, promised sausage biscuits and donut holes, and it appears to have worked because he had 100 percent participation and the fourth-top selling class when averaged per student to adjust for class size.

“It’s fun when you’re on the list that high and when everybody in the class sold something,” said White, whose 11 students – all freshmen - raised $1,346.

Social studies teacher Alex Tummons’ class was the third-place finisher by average with $4,212. The class of 29 freshmen had 100 percent participation. Tummons sprung for donuts as a reward.

“I’m happy all of my freshmen contributed and had pride for their school,” he said.

Story by Alorah Fridley and Hannah Mailander

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