The Commandos play an away game tonight (Sept. 6) against one of their biggest rivals, Station Camp.
The rivalry may have a little extra intensity because two of the Bisons’ coaches - head coach Shaun Hollinsworth and assistant head coach Chris Bain - used to coach at HHS.
HHS assistant coach Anthony Lake told The Ville News this week that Station Camp is a good team that is especially tough on defense.
“Defensively, they run a 3/4, offensively they run a spread team,” Lake shared.
The Commandos are 1-1 on the season, while the Bisons are 0-2.
Story by Corrine Mitchener and Zach Pearson
It’s no secret that students are distracted by their phones. But just how distracted is what criminal justice teacher Regan Cothron wanted to find out.
“I decided I was going to see what the students’ phones do during the day to distract them from learning,” she explained in a recent email. “So, every time they got a notification during class they put a tally mark under the type of notification.”
Cothron got the idea from social media. She started her informal study at 8:50 a.m. on Aug. 29 and had students mark on a poster-sized sheet of paper each time they received a notification.
The study was far from scientific.
“Second block we were not in class the entire block, and half of my fourth block was gone to the coffeehouse show. We also had students in and out of class for pictures so this isn’t a true picture of the distractions they suffer,” Cothron said.
Even so, the data “is telling how distracting their phones can be,” she said.
A rundown of the results follows:
Story by Cynthia Maravilla
This year HHS welcomes Assistant Principal Nicole Jimenez to the staff. Jimenez (pronounced with an “H” instead of a “J”) replaces Thomas Oglesby, who left to become principal at Joe Shafer Middle School in Gallatin. The Ville News had the opportunity to sit down with Jimenez last week (Aug. 28). Her edited responses are below.
Q: Where did you work before coming to HHS?
A: For the last three years I worked at the Tennessee Department of Education (revamping curriculum standards and training teachers in the new standards), so I’ve done that most recently, but prior to that I worked in Metro Nashville Public Schools for 10 years as a teacher. I worked at Dupont Tyler Middle School, and I also worked at Madison Middle School.
Q: What will you be handling at this new position?
A: I’m still learning, but from what I know, as an assistant principal we work with the students directly, especially schedule changes, discipline, and general things like that - working directly with the students I’m responsible for (students with last names beginning K-P) and any student that comes to me. I’m also the assessment coordinator, so when you take the ACT and EOC exams, I’ll work with the teachers to create a schedule, making sure we have all of the supplies, and making sure all the students are registered. Ag classes, marketing business, computer engineering, computer animated design all fall under the CTE program, and I work closely with the teachers in the CTE program.
Q: Is the environment any different between Metro and Sumner County schools?
A: Some aspects yes and some aspects no. I mean, honestly, high schoolers are still high schoolers, kids are kids, teachers are teachers. So really, as far as relationships, there hasn’t been much of a big difference. But, I do think that there’s maybe a little more school pride in Sumner County.
Q: Why did you become an administrator?
A: I really liked the idea of being able to have that impact to a larger group of students, and also teachers. I liked working with students, but also like working with adults and other students, so as an administrator, I get to work with both groups.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the job here so far?
A: You guys! The kids!
Q: Are there any policies you’d like to see changed?
A: This year, I'm not trying to change anything. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can, and then as I learn more, I feel like I’ll be able to work with students and teachers to see what would be best for this school.
Q: Because it’s a very big problem we’re still having, do you have any ideas on how to stop the vaping issue?
A: No … just because me by myself I couldn’t do it. It definitely has to be a culture and a community. I would say we could definitely have a coordinated campaign because kids aren’t necessarily going to listen to their teachers telling them what to do all the time. I think students need to be involved as well. If they’re (vapers) feeling that pressure from their peers and their friends, why do it? We would have to work together.
Q: What’s something you want the students to know about you?
A: I am a master parallel parker. I can make cool floral arrangements. I actually really enjoy making buttons, which is kind of weird. I have the button maker in my office. I like to run, I do yoga, I do kickboxing. I try to stay pretty active. I stay current with the news; I have issues that I feel pretty passionate about, and education is one of them. Also, I am obsessed with pigs! (In addition, Jimenez is about a year away from earning a doctorate degree in education from Vanderbilt University).
Q: How is high school different now than when you were in high school?
A: Social media. As far as being a teenager and what you’re going through, the drama and all of that has not changed one bit believe it or not. The only difference now is a million people can know now instead of a handful of people because of social media.
Q: How have you adjusted to HHS?
A: I feel like I’m still adjusting. My schedule is way different; I’m waking up earlier because I didn't have to get to work this early before. My schedule has just totally changed, and I'm still working on dealing with that. I would say I’m starting to get to know students and teachers better. I've tried to meet all the teachers, but I still haven't met all the teachers face-to-face, so that's something that I’m working on.
Q: Do you feel any pressure from students or other administrators?
A: I do feel like there is because I’m the new kid on the block. The teachers have been working here a long time, the administrators have been here a long time. The students, you’ve been here a couple years, too. I definitely do feel like there’s some pressure because everybody wants to know that I can hold my own and do a good job. But it’s a healthy amount of pressure to make sure I’m doing the best I can.
Q: Do you ever want to be more than an assistant principal?
A: Yes. I definitely want to be a principal someday. I think it’d be cool to open up my own school because then I can implement my own rules. So maybe open up my own school or keep moving up and be the superintendent of an entire district someday.
Q: What ideas would you want to implement at your own school?
A: I really like the CTE program,so I think it’d be cool to have an entire school with a CTE focus. I think social justice is really important, and I think it’d be cool to have an entire school where the focus is on this idea of social justice and social activism, and then get students involved in organizations that they’re passionate about and that they believe in. I would also give teachers a lot more planning time than they get now. I would master a schedule where students have more electives so that their teachers have more planning time for themselves. I would definitely like to make physical activity part of it. More physical activity would be involved during the day. That’s the tip of the iceberg. I could talk about that for a long time.
Q: Do you have any advice for seniors?
A: Finish school and just be serious about school because you can be serious AND have fun. And I’m going to say the same about whatever you want to do after high school.
Q: What is your worst fear about this job?
A: My worst fear is probably anyone else’s fear. Some pretty bad things have happened in our high schools across this country. My worst fear would be anything or anyone coming in and trying to harm students, or even students being harmed during the day by their peers. That’s my worst fear, that something bad could happen to any of you.
Q: Have you learned something from the students?
A: I’ve learned so much from the students! About life, about school, about things that they’re interested in. I always feel like I have the opportunity to learn just as much from my students as they do from me, or as they do from their teachers.
Story by Rain Adams, Bridget Bireley, Sara Amis and Cailsey Scott
We’ve all heard the old saying, “High school is the best time of your life.” But is it true? The Ville News put that question to some of HHS’ 11 new educators. Their remarks, along with a few tidbits we thought you should know about each educator, appear below.
Norma Lawler, a Spanish teacher, said college, more so than high school, was the best time for her.
“I got to meet people from all different countries. I really found what I wanted to do when I was in college. I was very inspired by my professors who spoke different languages.”
She also told us her favorite thing about HHS so far. “I love how motivated the students are. They really want to learn the language and the culture, and that’s very inspiring to me.”
Lawler has been teaching for 23 years, but she sure looks younger than her age. She said she follows a no-carbonated drinks, no-gum or excessive sugar, and no-meat diet along with working out and staying hydrated. As a vegetarian, she said staying healthy is very important to her.
Assistant Principal Nicole Jimenez said your high school experience is what you make it.
“It’s going to be what you want it to be. You decide for yourself,” Jimenez explained. “If you show up with a good attitude, I can say it definitely won’t be the worst four years! It’s all up to you.”
Jimenez’s positive attitude and quirky personality are apparent. With an upbeat voice, animated hand gestures and a polka dot top, she shared that her office already includes Christmas lights, a button-making machine and homemade salsa from her pepper-and-tomato garden. Oh, and she’s also a self-proclaimed “master parallel parker” and pig enthusiast.
Jessica Hall, a lead educator who observes teachers and gives them feedback and structural support, said she thinks the old saying is true, high school really is the best time of your life.
“I didn’t realize it when I was in high school, but looking back now I can see that it was,” Hall said. “I got to do all the fun stuff without the responsibility. High school is your last chance to just enjoy life without having to take care of other people.”
An HHS graduate, Hall said her graduating class has remained close and still watches out for each other. The biggest difference between HHS now versus when she was a student? Social media. “I can’t believe the speed that news travels now. I didn’t have to always be aware that someone could be recording or taking pictures of me.”
Denise Cable, an interventionist, also said her high school years were the best of her life.
“HHS is really unique,” Cable added. “No other school has the same sense of ownership that I’ve seen here. This is everybody’s school, not just a school everybody goes to. It’s really special.”
Cable was a little nervous about walking into the unknown at HHS. But then something happened.
“You know what came on the radio as I pulled into the parking lot to interview for my job? A Taylor Swift song!”
Swift, of course, is a former HHS student, and the irony eased Cable's nerves a bit.
Story by Bailey Guy and Owen McClister
The HHS Commandos open the season at home Friday (Aug. 23) with a stiff test: a game against defending state champion Oakland High.
Assistant Coach Donnie LaFleur said Oakland is a good team, but so is HHS.
“Oakland is a well-coached team and has a great school/community behind them, but so do we," LaFleur told The Ville News this week. "We have a great community behind our student athletes and [whoever wins the game] depends on who wants it more.
"I think we match up pretty well against them, and we will have a ton of chances to win a ball game," he continued. "It all depends on if our kids want to focus on that win”.
The Commandos finished the regular season with a 7-3 record last year and advanced to the state playoffs. The Patriots compiled a 14-1 record on their way to the state 6A Division title.
Friday's game starts at 7 p.m., so come hang out with friends, paint up and show your Commando pride.
Story by Corrine Mitchener
Attention health-conscious diners: The HHS cafeteria staff heard your requests and will begin offering a loaded salad bar Monday (Aug. 19).
The bar will cost $3 and come with a side of fruit. It features a romaine blend and a spinach blend and tasty toppings such as broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, sweet peppers, fruits, chicken and ham.
The salad bar is a pilot program - basically, a short-term experiment - to see if the healthier offerings are a hit with high schoolers.
So if you want to keep the salad bar around for good, make a healthy choice and buy a salad for lunch!
Story by Corrine Mitchener