Hendersonville High received the royal treatment Tuesday (Oct. 23)when officials from London visited the school to formally invite the HHS band and chorus to perform in London’s 2020 New Year’s Day Parade and Festival.
“Today is a BIG event for our band, chorus, and orchestra students and our entire school and community,” HHS Band Director Jeff Phillips wrote in an email to staff.
Thousands of performers and bands from 20 countries march in the annual parade. The event, which started in 1987, also has a live TV audience of around 300 million.
“The most popular part of the parade is the American marching bands because we don’t have anything like it in England,” Bob Bone, executive director and founder of the parade, said in a presentation at HHS in which he issued the invitation.
Bone was joined by Duncan Sandys, former Lord Mayor of Westminster and the great-grandson of legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster, who serves for one year, is the ceremonial, non-partisan First Citizen of Westminster, where the parade and festival are held. Westminster, an area of central London, is home to the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.
Not only will the HHS students perform in the parade and in the multi-day festival, they also will receive musical instruction from Peter Holder, the deputy conductor at Westminster Abbey.
The 2020 parade route is 2 miles long and includes Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament Street.
Story by Kiya Whitlow and Isabella Logue
HHS’ Credit Recovery program has gone through some changes this school year, including a new look and a new supervisor.
HHS switched its Credit Recovery software this year from “Plato” to “Edgenuity.” The change was mandated by the Sumner County School Board and affects all schools in the county. The board made the switch after its contract with "Plato" expired.
The biggest problem might have been the quick turnaround from the old program to the new one. “The new program was installed July 1, so there wasn’t much time” for students and staff to become familiar with it, Principal Bob Cotter explained.
Some courses in the new program were hard to locate, and students were not always enrolled in the right courses.
“There are a lot of growing pains,” Cotter said recently.
On top of the software change, longtime Credit Recovery supervisor Tina Clem took a year off for personal reasons and was replaced by Beth Brody, so students have had to adjust on two fronts.
Credit Recovery is a program for students who fail a class with between 50 percent and 69 percent. Instead of taking the entire class over, these students can recover their lost credits by working through online tutorials and passing a series of tests.
“As with any new program, there is a learning curve,” said math teacher Jennifer Kotler, who also assists with Credit Recovery.
Kotler, Cotter, and others say “Edgenuity” will be an upgrade from “Plato” once the kinks are worked out. For one, it uses video instructions instead of text instructions. It also allows students to do some of the work at home instead of all at school, which should help them get through the courses more quickly.
“The program is absolutely more efficient than Plato,” said Scott Langford, assistant director for Sumner County Schools. “There are more options for Credit Recovery, and more courses are able to be taken.”
Story by Corrine Mitchener
Looking for an inspirational quote, a crude joke, or an angry diatribe to fit your mood? Try the girls' bathrooms.
The Ville News checked out the graffiti in every student bathroom and found that the girls are far more prolific - and creative - than the guys.
Scrawled across the girls’ stalls and walls is everything from “Love unconditionally” to “this life thing is BS.” There’s even a little poetry mixed among the vulgarities.
The boys seem more direct in their doodling with things like “Juul room” and, from the more etymologically conscious segment of the student body, “Yeet yote.”
HHS administrators say creativity is encouraged at school – just not on the walls.
“The punishment for defacing school property is ISS,” said Assistant Principal Ray Henson.
The level of punishment, though, could depend on what’s written. If the message is vulgar, Henson said, the punishment might be more severe than if it is inspirational.
Principal Bob Cotter said graffiti will be removed as part of an ongoing overhaul of school restrooms beginning with the gym lobby rooms, which are just about finished.
So when it comes to the future of bathroom graffiti at HHS, you could say that the writing is on the wall.
Story by Corrine Mitchener and Vincent Brown-Flores
HHS junior Bailey Guy has won Miss Tennessee Teen USA 2019 and will compete for the title of Miss Teen USA.
Guy has been competing in pageants for 11 years, with this year being her third trying to win Miss Tennessee Teen USA.
“It’s always been a goal of mine,” said Guy, who won the honor last weekend in Clarksville. “Before I was old enough to compete, I would go and watch the pageant every year and so I always had in my mind to win it.”
Winning the title of Miss Tennessee Teen USA does come with its perks. Guy’s prize package includes a free trip to Austin, Texas, to meet with the famous American fashion designer Sherri Hill to design her a one-of-a-kind evening gown.
As Miss Tennessee Teen USA, Guy will represent Tennessee at the Miss Teen USA Pageant. A date and location for the national pageant hasn’t been set yet. The 2018 contest was held in May in Shreveport, La.
Story by Kyra Hodge
HHS’ new Sign Language Club is off to a strong start with around 50 people getting involved, organizers say.
“There was a sign language club last year but they never actually met … so we’re starting over again this year,” explained club sponsor Debra Conn, who teaches deaf education at HHS as well as Ellis and Hawkins middle schools.
“I just want there to be a lot more awareness of deafness and the culture and more people knowing basic sign language so that when we’ve got deaf students in the school, they have friends who can talk to them so there’s not as much as a barrier,” Conn said.
The club began Sept. 27 and meets most Thursday mornings in Room 118.
Some activities in the works include silent dinners where club members go out to eat and practice signing.
Story by Yvette Vargas
Reporters usually have to find news, but sometimes news comes to them. That is what happened to Brinson Martin and Sloane Wright, two reporters for The Ville News who ended up in the path of Hurricane Michael during fall break.
Their first-person accounts of the experience are below, beginning with Brinson’s narrative of a family vacation gone wrong in Destin, Fla.
I went to Destin on an early Saturday morning (Oct. 6). As we were driving down, we were so excited about a week at the beach that we had no idea Michael was headed straight for us. We checked into our condo that day and it was sunny and warm.
That Saturday we just hung out with friends and went to the beach and to the pool. Even the next morning was sunny, so I still had no idea about the hurricane’s whereabouts. I didn’t learn about Michael’s path until the second full day I was there.
We didn’t know many details about the storm. We didn’t know what category it was, or how severe it would be. We had no plan of what we were going to do. We just decided to wait and see.
By Tuesday morning, mandatory evacuations were under way, and we knew our family vacation was going to be cut short by five days. Even when we left the condo that morning, though, the weather was still okay – nothing like the startling images of destruction that would flash across the TV after the hurricane hit.
The trip home took 11 hours because of all the people fleeing the coast. The mood in our car was far more somber than it was when we were driving down only a few days earlier. I hated having to leave because I love Florida, but we got our money back on the condo and we knew things could have been much worse for us. And there is always spring break!
Story by Brinson Martin
My family and I arrived in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., on Friday (Oct. 5). It was a clear, beautiful day, but there was a red tide (a toxic algae bloom) and it had caused a lot of dead fish to be washed up on the beach.
Once we were in Florida, we began to receive messages about Hurricane Michael on our phones. It wasn’t long before a sheriff’s car went around our neighborhood telling us to evacuate, so we headed to Orange Beach, Ala., which is about 90 miles to the west.
As we were leaving Santa Rosa Beach, everyone was boarding up their homes and businesses. It was strange to see how hurricanes are a way of life for people who live on the coast, something they are used to and accept.
We rode out the hurricane in Orange Beach. The wind was really strong and the waves were big, especially farther out to sea, but I was with my family and we still managed to have a good time. The only really bad thing was that my friend was supposed to fly down and join us on Wednesday, but her flight was cancelled because of the storm.
It was disappointing to have to change our vacation plans, but it was certainly a vacation I’ll always remember.
Story by Sloane Wright
As much fun as Homecoming Week was for many HHS students, some say they are glad one part of it is over: Junior-Senior Wars.
“Junior-Senior Wars is always a Homecoming Week tradition," explained senior Dylan Cunningham. "Usually the seniors start it off, but everybody knows the first Monday night of Homecoming somebody’s house is getting rolled or somebody’s house is getting egged.”
Although the pranks are supposed to be harmless and fun, a few students told The Ville News that things went too far this year, even getting parents involved.
“We hit his (an unnamed senior's) house and his dad caught us at a red light while we were leaving and chased us around Hendersonville for 15 minutes,” said a junior who asked not to be identified.
Most of the pranks involve egging and rolling houses, but some students took them to another level by throwing dead animals, damaging cars and firing airsoft guns.
Senior Luke McClendon said lines were crossed. "Yes, 100 perecent," he said. "I’m glad it's over.”
Not everyone agrees, saying that if they have the chance to participate next year, they will elevate the pranking even more.
School Resource Officer Kyle Pierce believes that harmless fun is “beneficial for both classes to create a tighter group ... but the problem I do have is when it becomes a law enforcement issue.”
Story by Brinson Martin, Elena Giordani, Rianna Waters, Gracie Eastman