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Many seniors view “Senior Skip Day” as a harmless HHS tradition. Principal Bob Cotter views it as “foolishness” that needs to stop.

 

Cotter had said on social media and on school announcements that all seniors were expected to be in school as usual Monday (April 22).

 

But that apparently didn’t happen, because he fired off an email to staff at 2:42 that afternoon noting that "many seniors" were absent.

 

“You can help with this by making sure that all seniors are held accountable for work today and that you ensure you count the absence toward their exemptions,” he wrote.

 

And then the principal added, “This is how we can stop this foolishness.”

 

Some seniors who took part in “Senior Skip Day” told The Ville News on Wednesday (April 24) that they don’t see what the fuss is about. They described the day as a fun tradition that administrators and teachers probably participated in when they were in school.

 

“I feel like they kind of got worked up over nothing, like, people are gonna skip regardless,” said Rianna Waters.

 

Kaitlyn Winters agreed and said her teachers this week have been more likely than not to “just let it (the absence) slide.”

 

Beth Brody, who oversees the Credit Recovery program, where some seniors or struggling to finish classes so they can graduate, says the students are taking things too lightly.

 

“I don’t think they should have skipped,” Brody said. “I think there are many more days where seniors don’t have to come to class with the awards and picnic and things like that coming up, and I think right now it’s crunch time.

 

“A lot of students just cannot afford to miss another day of school,” she said.

 

Story by Ava Heeren and Mandy Pirtle

Pro-football fans at HHS have a few more reasons than usual to tune in to this week's NFL Draft, which begins Thursday (April 25).

For starters the draft is being held in Nashville for the first time ever, and there are a slew of related events going on downtown this week.

Another reason to be excited is JoeJuan Williams, who graduated from HHS during the 2015-2016 school year and went on to have a standout career at Vanderbilt as a cornerback. He has been projected by CBS Sports and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. as a third-round pick.

Williams transferred to HHS from Father Ryan his senior year but couldn’t compete for the Commandos because of a TSSAA rule that barred him from playing for a school within a 20-mile radius of Father Ryan.

Williams told The Ville News in 2015 that his home was only one mile short of the requirement. He appealed the TSSAA's ruling but was denied.

Still, Williams practiced with the team and made friends with many players and coaches while he was here.

The draft is Thursday through Saturday. Round one begins 7 p.m. Thursday. Rounds two and three are Friday evening.

By Anna Grace Anderson, Ava Craddock and Kennedy Payne

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Several HHS students are training for the Special Olympics on Friday (April 26).

“We have twenty athletes,” CDC teacher Shauna Beach said of the event, in which special-needs students compete for medals. “It gives them an opportunity to be involved in sports activities.”

This week’s Olympics are county-wide, Beach explained, but the winners can move on to a state competition and, if they do well there, to a national competition.

“They have a developed mental walk, 25-meter. They have a 50-meter walk. A 100-meter run, a 200-meter run. A relay. Next year they are going to introduce the javelin -- it’s a plastic javelin,” Beach said.

She added that the competition gives the students “a sense of pride.”

“They enjoy being acknowledged,” Beach said.

By Alyssa Rieger and Cheyenne Metelka

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Tennessee lawmakers are debating whether to make Daylight Saving Time permanent and do away with the “fall back” and “spring ahead” clock changes.

Some HHS students have their own thoughts on the proposal.

Kara Ellis, a junior, says she dreads turning the clocks ahead one hour in the spring for DST.

“I hate Daylight Saving,” she said, “I’d rather have my sleep.”

Mackenzie Perger, also a junior, is all for a switch to permanent DST. She likes the extra hour of daylight in the evening.

“Tell Tennessee it has my approval,” she said. “It’s just so confusing having to change your clock all the time. Just keep it at one time.”

Even if the Tennessee Legislature does vote to keep DST year-round, the switch won't take effect unless the U.S. Congress first changes federal law.

The way current federal law is set up, it is easier to opt out of DST - as Arizona and Hawaii have done - than to make it permanent.

By Nikki Pomohaci

Watching news footage of the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames was unsettling for many this week. As the iconic wooden spire collapsed, people in the streets of Paris could be heard gasping and shouting.

The response in Room 207 at HHS, 4,400 miles away, wasn’t much different.

“I was really upset,” said English teacher Carmen Watts, who has been to the cathedral about a half dozen times and says she is always struck by the beauty of its ornate stained-glass windows. “It hit me kind of hard because it felt like it is one of those monuments that will always be there.”

Parisian officials say the structure, one of the most famous in the world, will be repaired and rebuilt, though that could take decades.

As for Watts, she will be back.

“I love Paris. It is one of my favorite cities,” she said Thursday (April 18). “There are just so many big landmarks to see like the Louvre and of course Notre Dame. It’s just a really beautiful city.”

Story by Alfred Allen, Ava Heeren and Mandy Pirtle

 

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Snow is rare in Middle Tennessee this time of year, but theatre arts teacher Laurie Kerhoulas-Brown would love to spread a little of the white stuff on your spring activities.

She sent an email to Principal Bob Cotter this week letting him know that there is “snow” in Room 148 of the Theatre Department – 252 cans of it.

“We have been given the gift of snow from Walmart,” Mrs. KB wrote of the faux snow, which is packed in 9-ounce spray cans. “It might not get us out of school, but maybe your class needs this for a project.”

Cotter shared the email with faculty along with a photo. The subject heading? “Snow days!”

It’s a sure bet more than a few teachers opened that one.

Story by Kennedy Payne and Savannah Vaughn

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The 2019 HHS Prom is behind us, and by many accounts it was a success, though art teacher Sandy Kandros said attendance could have been better.

“I was disappointed that more students didn’t come,” said Kandros, who worked with family and consumer science teacher Beverly Parrott to organize the April 12 event in the gymnasium.

Kandros and Parrott estimated that as many as 70 fewer students attended this year compared to last year. Specific numbers were not immediately available.

Seniors who spoke to The Ville News this week gave the prom mixed reviews.

“I went my junior year, and I will say that junior year was a lot more fun than this past year,” said Rianna Waters.

“It was fun. I expected it to be a lot worse,” remarked Gabby Atkinson.

“You just have to hang out with the right people to have the time of your life,” observed Tariyah Pierce

Annsley Hubbard said she was particularly pleased that Derek Kincaid and Caroline Craighead were chosen Prom King and Queen.

“I voted for them,” Hubbard said.

Story by AnnaGrace Anderson, Ava Craddock and Kennedy Payne

 

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” serves as inspiration for tonight’s (April 12) prom. The famous painting covers an entire wall and grabs your attention as soon as you step foot in the newly transformed gym.

Royal blue and gold curtains create a pathway leading into the main area, and the garden-like setup is full of overflowing bouquets featuring some of Van Gogh’s favorites: sunflowers.

Preparation for this year’s prom actually began last year, said art teacher Sandy Kandros, who oversees the annual conversion of the gymnasium.

“We usually reserve our place ahead of time, for the events company that does it, so it starts a year ahead of time. I've already reserved a spot for next year,” Kandros told The Ville News.

 “We get the junior class together sometime in February,” she continued, “and we decide what the theme is, what the colors will be, who we want to DJ. They get together and make committees.”

But prom week is crunch time, a mad sprint after which the gym is barely recognizable as a gym.

“JROTC puts the floor down on Monday, and we spend the rest of the week on it,” Kandros said. “It’s always exciting to see it go up.”

Story by Emily Smith

 

The HHS Greenhouse Sale opens Saturday (April 13) with a large selection of plants for the house and yard.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The sale, which is in the greenhouse outside the fine arts hall, will continue until the plants are gone, probably into May. Prices range from $3 to $25

A variety of colors and species are available, including vegetable plants, said agricultural teacher Hailey Gates.

The sale is sponsored by FFA (Future Farmers of America). Proceeds will go to the organization for scholarships, travel and other expenses.

Gates said all the plants were grown by students on the Horticulture Team.

Story by Ava Craddock, AnnaGrace Anderson and Kennedy Payne

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Hendersonville High’s JROTC drill team will compete Saturday (April 13) at Vanderbilt University.

The team has been preparing for the 28th Annual Vanderbilt University JROTC Drill Meet for about three weeks, said William Colligan, commander of the HHS JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) program.

Drill events include Platoon Inspection, Color Guard, Platoon Armed Exhibition, Platoon Armed and Unarmed Basic, Physical Fitness Challenge, and Knock Out.

Ten schools are expected to compete in the meet, which begins at 8 a.m. in the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center field house.

“I am very confident in our ability to win,” Colligan said.

Story by Samantha Vickers, Lesley Parrotta and Ava Kobus

HHS will soon become one of only about two dozen schools in Tennessee offering the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity,” Principal Bob Cotter told The Ville News recently. “It will put you way ahead of the game if you’re going to college.”

Set to begin next school year, the program will be led by English teacher Taylor Coleman. HHS will be the only school in Sumner County to offer it.

To earn the AP Capstone Diploma, which is a second diploma in addition to the regular HHS Diploma, students take two special yearlong AP (Advanced Placement) courses - AP Seminar and AP Research – plus four other AP classes of their choosing.

AP Seminar is a prerequisite to AP Research and must be taken in the 10th or 11th grade; students are not allowed to take both classes in the same school year.

AP Seminar focuses on building and assessing an argument, Coleman explained. First, students view persuasive materials (articles, speeches, videos, etc.) and assess the way arguments are presented and what makes them effective. Once they learn those skills, she said, students can choose their own topic and build their own presentation, using research and essay writing skills. 

If students score a 3 or higher on all six of their AP class exams, they earn the AP Capstone Diploma. If they get a 3 or higher in AP Research and AP Seminar but don’t take the four other AP classes or don’t score a 3 in the other classes, they receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate, which is not as select as the Capstone Diploma but still highly sought by colleges.

Coleman said the AP Seminar and Research classes “give students the chance to work on skills that are touched on in other classes but aren’t the main focus.”

The College Board’s AP website says the two classes are designed to “complement other AP courses.”

“Instead of teaching specific subject knowledge, AP Seminar and AP Research use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management and presentation skills students need for college-level work,” the site states.

Cotter called the AP Capstone Diploma “a great credential” for HHS students.

Story by Ava Heeren and Mandy Pirtle

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