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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

 

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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

Jane Banks: “It’s as if the wind blew you in!”

Mary Poppins: “It did.” 

- From the HHS production of “Mary Poppins”

 

Mary Poppins’ timely arrival not only changed the lives of the Banks family; it also made waves within the HHS student body Wednesday afternoon (April 3).

The performance - a trial run for students with public shows Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - seemed to excite everyone as it rekindled the childlike-wonder of this classic story.

So what makes “Mary Poppins” so special? “The story about the changes that take place and the importance of family,” said theatre arts teacher Carole Ann Everson, who directs the musical.

And then there is the flying. “Mary flies, Bert flies,” Everson said. “That’s something we have never done before, and that has been quite the experience.”

The show stars Cleo Graham and Carlye Morris as the “practically perfect” Mary Poppins and Aaron Brewer as Bert, the lovable chimney sweep.

Presley Calonge and Sergei Wright also star as Jane and Michael Banks, as well as Tyler Edwards and Carson Jackson as George and Winifred Banks.

“These kids - they are just incredible,” Everson remarked.

“Mary Poppins” also features Hendersonville High’s very own orchestra. All music, and many sound effects, are courtesy of the orchestra with help from Tim Ferguson and Thomas Spears.

The Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening shows will be 7-9:30. A Sunday afternoon performance will begin at 2:30. All tickets are $10 at the door. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time or come early to guarantee a seat.

Story by Emma Henley and Emily Smith

The HHS Spanish Club held its annual Salsa Night on Tuesday (April 2) to raise money for a Yuda Bands scholarship for a Guatemalan girl.

The Yuda Bands organization provides educational scholarships to students in Guatemala and Africa. The group raises funds by selling handcrafted braclets through schools.

HHS raised about $800 from the braclet sales, and the Salsa Night brought in about $100 more, said Spanish teacher Jessica de Araujo Jorge, who helped organize the event.

The scholarship will help Rosalinda Balan Pumay, who lives in Xesuj, Guatemala, according to a biography on the Yuda Bands website.

"Here my family and I live with very few possibilities for professional success," Rosalinda says in the bio. "I work weekdays and go to school on Saturdays and Sundays. My parents cannot help me pay for school because my dad doesn't earn much and so I need to work and pay for myself.

"Unfortunately, in our country, there is a lot of delinquency among young people," she continues. "That is why I want to contribute to the improvement of my country, and I believe that is possible through education."

During Salsa Night, several students learned to dance Salsa with volunteers from World Champion Productions here in Hendersonville. Casa Vieja donated chips and salsa.

More than 60 students attended the fundraiser. Tickets were $3.

The idea for Salsa Night came from Mrs. Jorge.

“I had a friend who was a Salsa dance instructor when I first began teaching and we decided to give it a try,” she said.

Story by Nikki Pomohaci

If teachers see students glued to their phones this afternoon – more glued than usual, that is – they shouldn't panic: It’s probably not because kids are trying to cheat.

March Madness has struck, and HHS has got it bad.

The 19-day, 67-game Men’s NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament has already had its share of thrills (How about that Auburn-New Mexico game yesterday?), and there’s more in store when Tennessee (No. 2) takes on Colgate (No. 15) today (March 22) at 1:45.

“We talk about it all first block,” sophomore Keion Stafford said of the tournament. “I check the action between classes, whenever I can - sometimes during classes.”

It’s not just students, either; teachers are in on it too.

Science teacher Brannon Jones allows his classes to make their own brackets. Winners get a candy prize.

History teacher Alex Tummons goes even further.

“I offer extra credit to students if they win or beat me in the bracket, which they won’t,” Tummons said.

Game on.

Story by Kyra Hodge, Savannah Vaughn, Savanah Williamson and Carson Briscoe

 

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