Editor’s note: See the companion story “Seniors offer words of wisdom to freshmen: ‘Take every opportunity’"
As students get adjusted to the new school year, they're sure to notice a few changes around the building.
The hallways were painted gray, black, and gold over the summer, and new black trim was added around the doors and walls.
The project cost $150,000, according to Schools Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips.
Lucy Sims, a senior, likes the new look. She said the freshly painted walls show ”more school spirit.”
The punishment policy on juuling has also changed. Now students will receive an Out-of-School Suspension on the first offense instead of an In-School Suspension.
HHS Principal Bob Cotter said he has some reservations about the new policy, which was put in place at all Sumner County high schools.
“I don’t know how to feel about the change,” Cotter told The Ville News. “I always talk about chronic absenteeism, but now we punish students by making them absent ... I’d rather kids be in school where I know they’re doing something productive rather than sitting at home.”
The library was also remodeled to be more contemporary. Students who have senior project in the library called the room “more open, modern, and clean.”
The shelves are shorter, which leads to less space for books, but it allows the librarians to display books on top of the shelves.
Librarian Angie Woods said she likes that the shorter shelves keep students from “hiding,” as she recalled a day last year when she found a student asleep between the shelves! The student had fallen asleep during lunch, and Woods wrote the student a note for being late to class.
The computers in the library are also arranged at round tables instead of in long lines, which students said makes the library look more cohesive.
Librarian Pam Hodgeman commented, “We want the library to be a relaxing and welcoming place. We want to encourage students to come by and see the new changes.”
There are also 11 new teachers starting their first year at HHS. Be on the lookout for a story featuring the new teachers soon.
Story by Bailey Guy and Owen McClister
Editor's note: See companion story "Back to school includes fresh paint, remodeled library, tougher juuling policy"
With the start of another school year, many HHS seniors have some advice for incoming freshmen.
“Don’t let other people tell you who you are.” -Mackenzie Perger
“Don’t stand and talk in the middle of the hallway. Get involved. Pick a club and just go for it.” -Georgia Perry
“Learn to walk fast. Walk with purpose!” -Gabriel Baker
“Take every opportunity. If you like someone, tell them! If you know the answer, raise your hand. If you’re interested in a club, sign up for it. Never let anything go to waste.” -anonymous
“Don’t goof off. Have fun, but take high school seriously.” -Disha Patel
“Make upperclassmen friends.” -Emily Williams
“Don’t be dumb. Enjoy the four years you’ll have because they really fly by fast.” -Abbey Lewis
“Learn the alma mater and the pep rally chants so you can participate more during the pep rallies” -Joe Schmitz
“Take as many honors classes as you can, and keep your GPA up.” -Sydney Irons
“Dress how you want to dress. What you wear is original, not weird. People will respect you for your differences.” -Maggie Redpath
“Make every day count. Only YOU can decide if you’ll have a good day.” -Ashley Whobrey
Report by Bailey Guy and Owen McClister
Column by Abbey Lewis
In a normal classroom setting with a substitute teacher, most students would be uninterested and preoccupied with their phones while the substitute sits back and observes the class. However, this isn’t the case for Fred See.
See, who was a substitute teacher for 28 years before retiring this year, had the reputation of being many students’ favorite sub because he engaged with them and created an environment full of enjoyment and bewilderment.
What made him so unique and prominent in the classroom were the stories he told about his life. From the way he’s lived, it seems that he’s been through every possible scenario. He served in the United States Army as an officer from 1963-1996 and reached the rank of Colonel. He was deployed to numerous countries including Germany, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia where he was in many important military involvements such as the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.
Here’s a recollection of one of his well-known stories from his time in Vietnam: While See was an S2, he was instructed by his commander to teach a group of local Vietnamese villagers to grow corn. I told my sergeant I wanted my jeep and two radio operators and then three jeeps with 50 caliber machine guns when we went through the jungle. So we pulled up and I told him where I wanted the jeep to be with the radios on with the operators right next to them and then the jeeps with 50 caliber machine guns pointing each different way. As we were walking out, I was checking the soil and I was keeping my eye on the people in the rice paddies because I didn’t know if they were friends or enemies and they stopped working and were looking at us. One of them waved his arms at us and yelled at us in Vietnamese but, nobody could speak Vietnamese, so I thought maybe he could speak French. He could and I asked him what was wrong and he told us that we’ve walked in the middle of a minefield. Fortunately, I looked back at my troops and none of them could understand French. So I had to make sure none of them panicked and I told them how to get out by looking at the ground and stepping in the same footprint. We all got out without anyone getting hurt.”
There is something about See’s personality that made him an unforgettable substitute. His diverse background helped him grab students’ attention and create an intriguing-yet-productive learning environment. He allowed the students to finish their assigned work then entertained them, whether by telling stories about his time in the army or by doing magic tricks with his missing finger.
See has the same excellent reputation amongst teachers as well. Hendersonville High School math teacher Jennifer Kotler was one of See’s soccer players when he coached in 1986.
“He was very proud to be our coach and all us girls worked hard for our coaches, Mr. See and Mrs. Ayers,” said Kotler.
She describes See as a coach who was always positive and encouraging - qualities that haven’t changed in over 30 years.
When he was serving in the reserves, 1969-1990, he spent his time working in an Oscar Meyer factory. Outside of Oscar Meyer, he started becoming more involved in the school system. He was a head coach for the Hendersonville High School girls’ soccer team in 1986 and an assistant coach for the boys’ soccer team in 1987.
After coaching, he was asked to be a substitute teacher. From 1988-2016, he subbed at many Sumner County schools, such as Hendersonville High, Ellis Middle, Hawkins Middle, T.W. Hunter Middle, and Merrol Hyde Magnet School.
He now volunteers at the office for Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) where he interviews veterans and assists them to make sure they receive all eligible military benefits. He also serves as a mentor for a few students at Merrol Hyde Magnet School, helping prepare them for college.
See has two sons and five grandsons. His eldest son, as well as three of his grandsons, one who is currently in Army ROTC, followed in his footsteps and served in the United States Army. When he’s not at the VFW, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Karen.
A note from the writer
Over the period of time I spent interviewing Mr. See and with every time we met, he never failed to amaze me with his humility and fascinating life, whether it was his accomplishments in the Army or his continuous service to people outside of the military. I didn’t realize what a life dedicated to helping others was until I had the privilege to learn about that of Mr. See’s – a life that inspired me to live one full of helping others. I chose to write about Mr. See because I always enjoyed hearing his stories when he would substitute for my class at school. He has the ability to bring a smile to everyone’s face wherever he goes. In addition to that, I believe our society lacks the very traits that he is full of: selflessness and kindness. He is a joyful individual full of characteristics that show he has lived a life dedicated to the service of others. Thus, while I believe that this man deserves more than a small article written about him, I hope his story inspires others to live a selfless life and give the gift of kindness to others.
This column also appeared in the Hendersonville Standard newspaper.
Summer jobs, summer vacations, summer tans … HHS students and teachers have big plans for summer.
“Summer break is the best part of the year – no school, no worries, and I can sleep in and do whatever I want,” remarked freshman Jayden Boyles.
Sophomore Gracie Croyle says she will be on the lake a lot with friends and will probably squeeze in a trip to the beach.
Sydney Irons, a junior, will also be on the road. “I’m going to this cheer camp at Ole Miss, and I’m going to California and to Gatlinburg,” she said.
Others have obligations closer to home. Visual arts teacher Lisa Chreene usually works a part-time job in the summer. Algebra teacher Christopher Imber spends the time with his family.
Some students have to skip summer break altogether, or at least a part of it.
“I honestly thought I was going to have to go to summer school this year, but thankfully I as able to pull my grades up just in time,” said junior Cameron Berkers.
Not everyone was as fortunate, though. Several students will be in the Edgenuity Lab making up lost credits.
Whatever you have planned for the summer, computer teacher Jeffrey Jones offers this advice: “Summer blows by quick, enjoy it while you can.”
Story by Eja Hollis, Ava Kobus and Lesley Parrotta
Rising senior Isabella Patterson was elected student body president last week, while classmate Georgia Perry was chosen vice-president.
HHS students also elected upcoming seniors Lucy Sims for secretary and Ashley Whobrey for treasurer.
Students voted for class officers as well with the winners below. Freshmen officers will be selected in the fall.
Story by Kennedy Payne, Ava Craddock, Eja Hollis
The 2019 HHS graduation was Friday (May 17) with 361 students receiving diplomas.
Three hundred ten students – 86 percent of the class – will attend college or trade school, according to the school guidance office.
Fifty-five percent will utilize the Hope Scholarship, while 25 percent will take advantage of Tennessee Promise, the office reports.
The total scholarship amount offered to HHS students is $4.2 million.
Nine students from the Class of 2019 will enter the military.
Story by Kennedy Payne and Eja Hollis
Juuling has been an ongoing problem at HHS - and at most other high schools in America - and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
“We’re doing about all we can,” School Resource Officer Joseph Hutcherson told The Ville News recently. “The only way to really 100 percent stop it would be to pull teachers out of the classrooms during each break and place them throughout the school in their own assigned restrooms and hallways, but of course that isn’t going to happen.”
Beth Brody, who overseas detentions and suspensions, said 13 students received in-school suspension for Juuling this semester, while two repeat offenders were given out-of-school suspension.
But the SRO said those numbers barely scratch the surface.
“In my time here, we have only caught a few, but there is guaranteed four times that many or more that are doing it and getting away with it,” Hutcherson said.
Indeed, in at least one boys’ bathroom, it seems students don’t even bother to go in a stall anymore to puff on the electronic cigarettes, instead openly using the vaping devices for anyone to see.
An informal check of girls’ bathrooms last week during second block revealed at least five students Juuling.
Even if teachers were assigned hall and bathroom duty, Hucherson said, students would still find a way to vape (the devices are small and often odorless).
“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.
Sumner County high school principals are responding with tougher penalties. Beginning next school year, students caught using Juuls or other electronic smoking devices on campus will receive immediate out-of-school suspension.
“I think we really are doing about all we can,” Hutcherson said.
Story by Savannah Vaughn and Savanah Williamson