HHS senior Presley Eastwood has two tattoos to remember lost loved ones. One is the initials of her cousin, who passed in May, and the other is a saying her grandmother, who passed in September, always said to her.

Presley said the tattoos have helped her with her grief. Asked if she planned to get more, she said, “Yes, they are very addicting.”

Presley is among a growing number of HHS students with tattoos. HHS Nurse Sue Buckberry told The Ville News recently that she has noticed more tattoos and at younger ages.

“I’ve seen kids under 18 have tattoos,” she said. “They just keep getting younger and younger.”

In Tennessee young people under 18 cannot get a tattoo, in most cases. A teen who is at least 16 can be tattooed to cover up an existing tattoo but only with the consent of a parent or guardian, who also must be present during the procedure, according to state law.

Some neighboring states, however, have more lenient laws, and many Tennessee teens get their tattoos there. In Kentucky, for instance, anyone under 18 can get a tattoo with parental consent.

HHS senior Clarye Alderson has four tattoos: a semicolon representing suicide prevention that she got when she was just 16, a hair bow, a Norwegian symbol to always be brave, and a symbol for a car crash. Each has special significance to her.

Clarye thinks tattoos are becoming more popular because they are so meaningful. “It just depends on what you’ve gone through,” she said.

The popularity of tattoos with teens seems to mirror a lager trend among all Americans. Once a symbol of rebellion, tattoos are more accepted than they once were. The Atlantic magazine reported in 2016 that nearly one in five people in the U.S. have one, and they are even more common among Millennials, nearly 40 percent of whom have one.

It is little surprise then that young people are also drawn to them. A 2018 survey by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that 27 percent of parents of teens 16-18 years and 11 percent of parents of teens 13-15 years reported that their child had asked permission to get a tattoo, while 5 percent said that their teen had already gotten one.

HHS senior Elijah Kinsfather has three tattoos: angel wings, three roses honoring his family, and an octopus to represent his childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist. Elijah said he plans on getting many more.

Autumn Bale, also a senior, got her first tattoo when she was 18. She wanted something to mark her for adventure so she picked the symbol that Gandalf the Grey put on Bilbo Baggins’ door from her favorite book “The Hobbit.”

While tattoos can be expressive and stylish, they also can be dangerous. Buckberry, the HHS nurse, said she has had students come in with painful, infected, or sunburned tattoos. The American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed concerns and advises doctors to talk to young patients about safety.

AAP doctor Cora C. Breuner said in a related news release, “When counseling teens, I tell them to do some research and to think hard about why they want a tattoo.”

Even so, tattoos remain popular at HHS, and not just among students. Family and consumer science teacher Gianna Larson has 10 of them, including tattoos of her mother’s handwriting and her children’s initials. She got her first one at 28 and her most recent at 38.

“Tattoos are very addicting but very meaningful,” Larson said.

Story by Bella McBride and Owen McClister

Only 20 of 104 HHS students surveyed recently said they used Juuls or other vaping devices, though 75 admitted that they know someone who puffs the popular e-cigarettes.

Created by health science teacher Paul Good’s third-block class, the electronic survey collected responses from 34 freshmen, 15 sophomores, 34 juniors and 21 seniors. The results were compiled Thursday (Nov. 29).

Eighty-four students said they don’t vape, and 29 said they don’t know anyone who does.

The purpose of the survey was to gauge students’ knowledge of Juuling and other forms of vaping. The survey was taken by phone or other electronic device and required students to enter their email addresses to access it, raising questions about the data’s reliability.

Even Good was a little skeptical of the findings.

“I don’t think we will get back honest answers – unless they live under a rock,” he said the day before the data was compiled.

A lot of attention has been placed on teen vaping and its consequences. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this year that the issue has reached “epidemic proportions” with more than 2 million middle and high school students regular users of Juuls and other e-cigarettes.

At HHS, one to three students are placed in ISS weekly for the offense, according to Assistant Principal Dr. Ron Sarver.

Story by Corrine Mitchener, Vincent Brown-Flores and Johnny Espinoza

Freshman Allison Moreno hasn’t been herself this week.

 “I haven’t been feeling very well; my sinuses have been acting up,” she said Thursday (Nov. 29).

She’s not alone. HHS nurse Sue Buckberry has had a line outside her clinic all week.

“Everybody right now seems to have the sinus head-cold, sore throat, nausea-kind of thing going around,” Buckberry said.

It’s not flu season yet – that comes later. Still, this round of nastiness is enough to make students feel lousy in the middle of EOC tests and just before final exams.

“Not many kids have been missing, but a handful have been out sick, and when they’re out they’re out for a while,” said Spanish teacher Sarah Wolf.

For students who’ve managed to avoid getting sick so far, Buckberry offers a few tips to help keep the doctor away.

“Wash your hands, drink lots of water, don’t drink or eat after anybody else, and try not to touch your face and mouth,” she said.

Story by Eryn Petty, Claire Grandlienard and Savannah Kane

While HHS band and chorus members are thrilled about being invited to London’s New Year's Parade in 2020, the invite does have a hitch, and it’s a biggie: money.

The trip costs about $3,500 per student.

“I just know that a lot of our students are going to be financially limited, and this is literally the trip of a lifetime, so I’m going to try to do anything I can to get them there,” HHS Chorus Director Elizabeth Evans said.

Evans hopes to knock the expense down by $1,000 per student through sponsorships and fundraisers.

“I’m definitely going to be going to local businesses to see if they would want to donate to sponsor the trip,” she said. “Also, the mayor of Hendersonville said he’s going to try to do stuff to help us out.”

The HHS band will perform during the parade while the chorus will hold floats and other decorations and do several shows around London, including one at the International Choral Festival and another for city delegates. The trip runs Dec. 28, 2019, to Jan. 4, 2020.

Although the experience is pricey, Evans, a former student at England’s Oxford University, said it is well worth the cost.

 “The itinerary is amazing. Everything that’s huge over there, we’re going to do...They're busy from the beginning of the day to end of the day almost every single day. That cost pays for airfare, all meals, all tours they would’ve had to pay for,” she said.

Ashley Baez, a junior and member of the chorus, is already putting in extra hours at her job at McDonald’s.

 “I’m excited and grateful to have this opportunity,” Baez said. “Money-wise, I have a lot to save, but I’ve been working extra to be able to save up enough money on time.”

Story by Yvette Vargas

HHS will host six students from Germany this winter while sending six of its own to a German high school in the spring.

Organizers say this is the first time in recent memory that HHS has had a German exchange program.

“I am excited for the opportunity and the experiences,” said sophomore Tony Heerdt, who is among the HHS students headed to Ingelheim, Germany, for one month beginning in late May.

Heerdt and the others will stay with host families in Ingelheim, while the German students will do the same while in Hendersonville this February.

A city of about 25,000, Ingelheim is on the Rhine River about 30 miles west of Frankfurt. The name of the high school in the exchange is Integrierte Gesamtschule Kurt Schumacher.

HHS is the second Sumner County school to participate in the program. Station Camp High started last year and will take part again this year. The two local schools are working together to organize the swap.

"We truly are excited to make our German journey,” said English teacher Andrew Martin, the coordinator at HHS. “I'm proud that HHS is able to offer a month-long exchange with IGS. There's no better way to experience another country than to live there with its citizens, breathing in its culture.

“Hopefully, HHS will be able to continue this program for many years to come," Martin added.

Story by Eryn Petty, Claire Grandlienard and Savannah Kane

Turkey or ham? It’s an age-old question, and The Ville News has finally gotten to the bottom of it.

In a random survey of 22 HHS students, 14 chose turkey over ham as their Thanksgiving favorite.

And that’s not all. Eighteen picked mashed potatoes over sweet potatoes, and 11 chose pumpkin pie over apple pie.

We didn’t include green beans in our survey, but they definitely deserve a shout out. Several students volunteered them as their favorite side dish:

  • “Green beans, for sure.”
  • “Green beans, because they’re easy.”
  • “Green beans; they’re so easy and yummy.”

There you have it. A traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie is the way to go - especially if you throw in a little gravy, stuffing, hot rolls and apple cider.

Story by The Ville News staff


This year’s HHS United Way drive surpassed its goal of $11,000 by more than $1,000.

“I’m not a gushy kind of person when it comes to this, but I was sure proud last week to see the participation from our faculty,” music teacher Dr. Jeff Phillips, who helped with this year’s drive, wrote in a staff email. “Whether it was the incentives or my harassing announcements or just your sense of goodness, HHS made a huge statement to the community.”

Every teacher at HHS donated to this year’s drive.

“The 100 percent participation is a MAJOR thing,” Phillips wrote. “Whether it’s a classroom activity or any other organization (civic, church), getting 100 percent ‘buy-in’ and participation is just never done.”

Last year, HHS raised about $10,300 for United Way, which funds a variety of community services and programs.

Story by Vincent Brown-Flores and Corrine Mitchener


HHS’ Marketing II class recently returned from their fun-filled trip to Chicago.

Taught by Lisa Baugh and Christy Brown, 23 students from both Retail and Sports Management senior classes were able to take the trip as an incentive for taking the class.

The four-day trip consisted of a variety of activities ranging from taking pictures at the famous Bean sculpture to taking a behind-the-scenes look into Chicago’s largest Nordstrom store.

Maddie Gardner said, “We shopped a lot, ate at some pretty cool restaurants and got to explore too.”

Because it was a semi-educational trip, the class learned marketing and business tools, according to Abby Myers.

“We went to the Field Museum and listened to a girl talk about the marketing aspects of a non-profit,” she said.

The group also had some fun including going on a tour of the Blackhawks hockey team arena and getting tickets to the Chicago Bulls basketball game.

Story by Rianna Waters, Gracie Eastman and Elena Giordiani

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