Snow for Christmas is always a longshot in Middle Tennessee, but this year it would take a Christmas miracle for a white Christmas.
The long-range forecasts call for the high here to crack 60 much of next week including Christmas Day.
While the warmup will feel nice after this week’s frigid 20s and 30s, it’s hardly the stuff of Christmas cards and Bing Crosby songs.
In fact, it seems that this year one would have to travel all the way to the North Pole for a white Christmas. The projected high in Chicago on Christmas Day? 44; in normally snowy Buffalo? 38; in Boston? 40.
Even way up in Green Bay where you expect to see the Packers playing on ice this time of year, the Christmas Day high is a balmy 37; Christmas Eve day is even worse at 39 degrees - hardly cold enough for Santa to hook up the reindeer.
The National Climatic Data Center defines a white Christmas as one with at least 1-inch of snow on the ground Christmas morning. By that standard, Hendersonville has to be really lucky to get one, but it does happen once in a while.
The chances of having an inch or more of snow on the ground Christmas Day hovers around 2 to 3 percent for most of Middle Tennessee, says meteorologist Mary Mays of WKRN-TV in Nashville.
Far more likely is to have just a little bit of the white stuff. The National Weather Service, which puts together a map showing the entire country’s chances of snow on Christmas, reports that “there is a 19 percent chance of some snow (even if just a trace) on any given Christmas Day in Nashville and an 8 percent chance of measurable snow (0.1 inch or more).”
If you really want a white Christmas, book a flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul, which has the best odds of any major U.S. city at about 75 percent.
But don’t do it this year. Even in icy Minneapolis, highs will be in the mid to upper 30s for the days leading up to Christmas and 31 on the big day – with no hint of snow in the forecast.
Story by Andrew Maddern
The Congressional impeachment hearings of President Trump are hugely important, even historic, but that doesn’t mean HHS students are paying attention.
The Ville News asked 30 random students whether they have followed the proceedings, which have dominated the news and could lead to the president’s removal from office.
Twenty-one students answered “no,” five said “sort of” and four replied that “yes” they have been watching.
“I care about events around the world but not this particular event,” explained freshman Kristin Goodman. “I have decided to pay attention to politics when it comes closer to time for me to vote.”
Government teacher Kim Gregory said the results of The Ville News’ informal poll aren’t surprising.
“They don’t see how it’s affecting their lives because most of them can’t vote yet,” Gregory said.
But Gregory and fellow social studies teacher Amanda Elmore think students should be tuned into big political stories so they understand more when they are old enough to vote.
“If you’re not formulating opinions and if you’re not learning and knowing what’s going on, when you’re 18 you have to play all that catchup to be an educated voter,” Elmore said.
Gregory said voters have a responsibility to educate themselves on the issues, and it’s best to start early.
“You shouldn’t be voting if you don’t know anything,” Gregory said.
Too often, teens succumb to the rumor mill for their political opinions instead of investigating for themselves, said Elmore, who thinks that is a shame because today’s teens “are way more socially conscious and worldly than any past generation because of their access to information.”
“Students have everything at their fingertips,” Elmore said.
Ninth grader Michael Fusaro was among the handful of students who have tried to keep up with the impeachment hearings. He said his interest stems mostly from curiosity.
“I want to know the outcome,” Fusaro said.
Story by Emersyn Dyer, Lillian Woodward and Kayla Battista
The HHS Select Chorus will travel to London over winter break to perform in that city’s 2020 New Year’s Day Parade and Festival.
Thirty-six members of the chorus will leave Dec. 28 and return Jan. 4.
London parade officials came to HHS in 2018 to formally invite the chorus.
The annual parade features performers and bands from 20 countries and has a live TV audience of around 300 million.
Choir members had to raise money to help pay for the trip.
“The students didn’t have to raise a certain amount of money, just every amount helped,” said Select Chorus Director Elizabeth Evans. “We ended up raising about $400 for each student.”
The students sold T-shirts at the Freedom Festival, the Coffee House shows and at Spirit Night at Slim Chicken to raise the funds.
The City of Hendersonville also gave a large donation, Evans said.
The chorus will perform songs including “Let There Be Light,” “The Word Was God,” and “Death Shall Be No More.” Members also will hold floats and other decorations and do shows around London, including one at the International Choral Festival and another for city delegates.
Choir members told The Ville News that they are looking forward to the trip.
“I’m most excited to try all of the new food and to travel around,” said sophomore Madison Penn.
“I’m excited to see all of the museums, definitely the Harry Potter museum,” added senior Michelle Clark.
Megan Sewell, a 2019 HHS graduate who will be making the trip, said the performance is important “because it puts us on the map. Millions of people tune in worldwide to view the London’s New Year’s Day Parade, so all eyes will be on HHS.”
Story by Kenzie Gregory, Bayley Leonard and Eva Plummer
Feel like May of your graduation year is way too long to wait to get a head start on college or on your career? Graduating in December might be an option for you.
To graduate early, seniors must have earned all their required credits by the end of the first semester, and then they are free to use the second semester for whatever they choose outside of high school.
“I’ve been ready to graduate since freshman year when my sister graduated,” said Billy Hampton, one of 27 seniors who will graduate after this semester. “And I really wanted to get a jumpstart on my career, so I figured I’d go to Vol State for the spring semester so I can graduate college early.”
Hampton’s long-term plans are to attend Western Kentucky University and attain a doctorate in anesthesia. He and the other early graduates still have the option to walk in the graduation ceremony in May.
Emma Sneed is another HHS senior getting a head start on college. During what would be her second semester here, she will instead be a non-degree student at Belmont before continuing there in the fall to become an architect.
“I just want to design things, design buildings, houses,” she said.
Not all early graduates are going off to college right away. Maggie Redpath, for example, will be moving to Australia for three months in February.
“I’m going with a Christian organization called Youth with a Mission, which is a program that bases itself in different countries to evangelize and preach the gospel to people around the world,” she said.
Although excited for Australia, Redpath isn’t looking forward to leaving the people at HHS.
“I’ll definitely miss the connectivity of high school and how everyone is so close. Just the fact that you can go to your teachers for anything, and I know it won’t be the same in college, so I’ll definitely miss that,” she said.
Cooper Griffith plans to leave HHS this month so he can save money for college.
“I’ve realized that if I want to make progress towards my future I’ll have to go to college, and to do that, I have to be able to afford it,” he explained. “Another semester here wouldn’t necessarily help me, so I’ve decided to go the route of working so I can earn enough money to afford college by the time August rolls around.”
There is perhaps another good reason to graduate early, and Sneed touched on it: “... I’m tired of the high school drama,” she said with a laugh.
Whatever the reasons, if you’re interested in graduating after the first semester of your senior year you should talk to your guidance counselor and begin planning.
Story by Bailey Guy and Owen McClister
EOC testing wraps up Friday (Dec. 13) at HHS. The Ville News recently spoke with Assistant Principal Nicole Jimenez, who coordinated this semester’s tests.
The EOCs are required by the state and weigh heavily in student, teacher and school performance. Jimenez’s edited remarks are below.
Q: Why are EOCs on paper this year and will they stay that way? Teachers and students seem to prefer them on paper.
A: They’ve had it on computers in the past, but there were a lot of technical and logistical issues, so the state decided to switch back to paper to hopefully get those issues resolved. I believe that we’ll probably go back to taking it on computers, but I couldn’t say when that will be.
Q: Why are the exams stretched out over so many days? Wouldn’t it better to condense the testing time and get it over with?
A: We feel that rather than make students sit for three hours in one day, we can do it an hour over three separate days and make it less stressful. That also gives students a mental and physical break.
Q: Do you have students come to you because they are stressed about EOCs?
A: I haven’t had any come to me personally, but teachers will tell me that some are stressed. Not all students are stressed, but it does stress some students out. I do agree that it is stressful because it does take a lot of time; the testing is really long. And especially for freshman and sophomores, they take the most tests and so I think it can be stressful.
Q: Why can’t students be exempt from EOCs?
A: You can be exempt from final exams, but you cannot be exempt from EOCs. It’s like taking TCAP in middle school - it’s required and it doesn’t matter about your attendance or grades. Everyone must take it.
Story by Emerysn Dyer and Lillian Woodward
Alright ladies, we all know how inconvenient our “time of the month” might be.
After realizing how much more difficult menstrual cycles are when a girl doesn’t have the proper care she needs, senior Abbey Lewis decided to take action. You’ve probably seen signs everywhere around HHS for the Period Drive, a fundraiser started by Lewis.
The Period Drive will be collecting tampons(regular), sanitary pads(regular) and monetary donations to give girls in Sumner County access to the feminine care they need. Donations can be brought to health science teacher Julia MacFarland in Room 138 through Friday (Dec. 13).
The Period Drive began as a research project, according to Lewis.
“I had been wanting to do some type of donation drive for a while now, I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do,” she said. “I started doing more research around menstrual equity here in the United States, and that’s what got me interested in doing it.”
Lewis planned this fundraiser with the help of Mike Shelton, coordinator of the Sumner County Family Resource Center. All collected items will be donated to the center.
“I’ve been in contact with him for a couple weeks about it, and he helped me get the whole thing started,'' Lewis said.
HHS Assistant Principal Nicole Jimenez is also involved.
“I just volunteered to help because it’s something that I’m passionate about and it’s a cause that I’m interested in,” Jimenez shared. “So, I was sort of volunteered to help Abbey to make it happen.”
Girls missing school because of a lack of feminine health products is a bigger problem than many would imagine, according to Lewis.
“As of now, it’s hard to see how many days of school a girl will miss because of her period,” Lewis explained. “Most girls will call in sick from school saying they have a really bad headache … so it’s hard to hold that number accountable. Right now that number’s one in five, but it’s probably a lot more than that.”
Although the goal is to collect 1,000 of each item, Lewis hopes to get as many as possible. After the first week, 358 pads and 436 tampons have already been donated.
Story by Bridget Bireley and Rain Adams