Continued Q&A with Diversity club

By Annalise Bassett and Destiny Love

Senior Sydney Palmer – Member of Diversity Club

The Bagpiper: How does diversity club bring students together?

Sydney Palmer: Diversity brings students together because we are able to recognize our differences and how they make us ourselves.  

BP: What does a typical meeting of this club look like?

SP: We have meetings in Mrs. Waiz’s class during fourth period, and it includes the council talking about current issues in the school, reading survey responses, and discussing experiences that have occurred at FCHS involving discrimination.

BP: How does Diversity Club bring students together?

SP: This club brings minorities together so they have a place to talk about their concerns but also connect on another level. The diversity advisory council was not meant to exclude anyone, and we just want everyone to know that it was created to educate everyone on the importance of diversity!

BP: What is your favorite celebration/event?

SP: We don’t really have events.

BP: Why is this club important to you?

SP: This club is important to me because I want to show that our school is accepting of everyone and defeats the stereotypes.

BP: How does this club affect your life?

SP: It affects my life because I’m able to empathize with the struggles minorities have gone through and understand what I can do to help.

BP: What do you like about the club?

SP: I like that it’s a place for everyone to talk about anything they need to discuss.

BP: Why did you originally join the club?

SP: I joined the club because I wanted to promote diversity in our school

BP: What other clubs are you a member of?

SP: I am in Diversity advisory council, student council, renaissance club, and interact club.


Junior Nicole Holland- Member of Diversity Club

The Bagpiper: How does diversity club bring students together?

Nicole Holland: The Diversity Advisory Council brings people together by bringing in all kinds of people. we all have different hobbies but share one end goal and that’s spreading awareness of other cultures in our school, whether you’re white or colored.

BP: What does a typical meeting of diversity club look like?

NH: A typical meeting is us gathered in a classroom, typically ms. waiz’s room and we throw out ideas of how we can grow and improve. we discuss problems in our school and how we improve them.

BP: What do you like about this club?

NH: This club makes me feel like my opinion is heard and cared about, and i know a lot of the other members feel that way as well. there are many students who felt like they were different from everyone else and this is a place where we can all relate and understand we aren’t alone in our experiences.

BP: What are your goals for next year?

NH: The Diversity Advisory Council has already experienced a lot of backlash in it’s opening stages, but we’re all fully prepared to go through it and we’ll continue until our message is heard. we’ll be expanding our council and it’s influence as time continues.

BP: What does this club mean to you?

NH: To me this council means a chance for me to make an impact. it’s been too long that my voice and opinion has been shut down, and this is my chance to help someone else experiencing discrimination.

BP: How has the club affected your life?

NH: The Diversity Advisory Council has positively affected my life. it makes me really happy to see such a diverse group of people working together to make a change.

BP: What is your favorite thing about the club?

NH: My favorite thing about it is hearing everyone else’s opinions. meeting new people and being able to share experiences without being afraid of judgement feels really nice as well.

BP: What is your favorite event?

NH: My favorite event is in the esports club. next year we’re planning for a LAN party where people outside the esports club can come join us for games and win prizes. hopefully we’ll get more members that way as well.


Q&A with multi-culti club, GSA members

Junior Fiona Grannan – President of Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

Bagpiper: How does GSA affect your life?

Fiona Grannon: “GSA has been a really wonderful place to be able to express myself and build leadership skills with other people. It’s been an amazing outlet for support and understanding throughout the two years that it’s been ongoing. Being a leader now, for two years, has definitely impacted the way that I look at responsibility and even just, like, organization, it’s forced me to stay on track and focus.”

BP: What do you like about GSA?

FG: “I love that not only is it social, like there’s a social aspect to it, but there’s also an educational aspect to it. You get to learn a lot about queer history and the historical and modern day voices in representation. There’s also a community in it. It’s just really wonderful to see people who experience the same things as you and learn together.”

BP: Why did you join GSA?

FG: “I thought that it sounded like a really great place to be myself and be around other people who I also knew [understood] the things that I was going through and understand where I was coming from on a lot of stuff, and because it’s a fun little place.”

BP: How many clubs are you in, besides GSA?

FG: “I’m also in D&D, Environmental Sustainability, I was in Art Club, GSA, and I think that’s it. If Bee Club comes back, I’m getting into that.”

BP: What celebration or event is your favorite?

FG: “Every meeting is different, and we always come up with something different and creative, but I think our Valentine’s Day meeting, where we talked about the history of LGBT+ greeting cards and anniversary cards and how those have become more and more mainstream. We showed clips of different movies and just people out in the world. We made a little poster and put our handprints on the poster in the shape of a heart.”

BP: What does a typical meeting of GSA look like?

FG: “We show up, we take attendance, we run through a list of things that Ms. Shaffer, Mrs. Conway, [and I] have planned beforehand, ‘The Gay Agenda.’ We almost always put ‘Gay Agenda’ up there. We go through what we’re going to do that day and usually we have a central topic that we go over, like a specific icon or movement in history. We’ve done the Stonewall Riots…we did Josephine Baker. We haven’t done Frida Kahlo, but I’m going to make sure we do that next year. We make quizlets a lot, so it’s a lot of fun and interactive games. Often, we color our own posters, because we can. Sometimes we have snacks. We’re going to get better at that next year.”

BP: How does GSA help students feel more at home in a huge school like FC?

FG: “It just provides an area where you know you are safe. I try to enforce the ‘Don’t be mean, don’t be rude, don’t be disrespectful.’ [rule]. It’s supposed to be a safe place for everyone to come together and just be in the presence of like-minded people where you know you can be yourself. So, we try to make it very comfortable and very understanding.”

BP: What are your plans, as president, for next year in GSA?

FG: “I want to do a winter fundraiser, so badly, and I need to talk to Willman about it to make sure that it’s going to happen. I want to get involved in raising money for a charity, like the Trevor Project, to help LGBT youth in need. I really want to make sure that people know this is a call for everyone. [GSA] is a safe space, it’s for allies and identifiers alike. It just is a place to be safe and not have to worry about gender expectations, societal norms, questioning your sexuality, it’s just a place to be. So, I really want to get people who are allies to know about the club and to join the club because I don’t feel like they know what it is. I want to just listen to what people have to offer and see what we can do about it, because I don’t know how much we can do, but I want to do as much as we can. I know that Highland Hills has their own GSA and a bunch of people want to get in contact with them and make sure they’re doing alright and have open communication between the two.”

Junior Megan Biggerstaff – Member of Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

Bagpiper: How does GSA affect your life?

Megan Biggerstaff: “The GSA club affects my life by helping me better understand what my closest friends go through on a day to day basis. I like to think my support helps other members of GSA feel supported and safe while being themselves.”

BP: What do you like about GSA?

MB: “I like the club because it welcomes and supports everyone! Something I like about GSA club is being able to vote for a leader without discouraging others. I just love that there are students willing to step up to lead and support the entire group.”

BP: Why did you join GSA?

MB: “I joined the GSA club after my good friend Sam invited me. I enjoyed the meeting and was happy to be there to show my support. Everyone in GSA shares a common dream to be accepted for who they are what they believe. I think the club does an amazing job in bringing students who feel out of place into a comfortable environment that fulfills their need of acceptance.”

BP: How does GSA allow students to feel at home in such a large school like FC?

MB: “The clubs helps students feel more at home by giving them a safe place to be themselves while knowing there are other people just like them.”

BP: What is something everyone should know about GSA?

MB: “Something you should know about the club is that they truly accept everyone! So if you’re scared to participate in a meeting, don’t be. Everyone is there to show support and love and it’s a really great and positive environment. To me, GSA is a place I can support and show how much I love my friends for who they are. For others, this club can mean as much as a second family or even a home which all the more reason people should attend!”

Sophomore Wyatt Crain – Member of Multi-Culti Club

Bagpiper: How does Multi-Culti Club affect your life?

Wyatt Crain: “It’s a very interactive club that I’ve been a part of. I’ve learned a lot about the different cultures and languages being part of Multi-Culti Club. I’ve learned a lot of historical facts about different things, like Germany and things about Latin and French and Spanish.”

BP: What do you like about the club?

WC: “I like how during the meetings you can experience the culture based off of the different food they have there. So, in the Spanish meeting, you’d have Spanish [or Mexican] food, in the French meeting, you’d have French food, and you get to have a taste of each different culture. You get to goof around and do different art projects based off of what that culture is about.”

BP: Why did you join the club?

WC: “I originally joined because I was already in French Club, and all of my other friends that were in Spanish Club wanted to join Multi-Culti, so I decided to join.”

BP: How many clubs are you in, and which ones?

WC: “I’m in three clubs. I’m in French Club, Multi-Culti Club, and Science Olympiad.”

BP: Which celebration or event of Multi-Culti is your favorite?

WC: “My favorite was the Spanish one, because there was just a lot to do, and I enjoyed the food.”

Sophomore Gracie Leitner – Member of Multi-Culti Club

Bagpiper: How does Multi-Culti Club affect your life?

Gracie Leitner: “I think it’s a really good opportunity for everyone to get involved, because you can have an opportunity to see what other cultures are like in different countries. I think that’s something that’s really important and that we may not get a lot of living in southern Indiana. So, I just think it’s a great opportunity to really experience some of the things that other people do around the globe.”

BP: What do you like about the club?

GL: “Well, that kind of ties in with [the first question]. It’s just a really good opportunity, and we have an opportunity to really experience other cultures that we might not get the opportunity to in southern Indiana. Overall, it’s just a really good opportunity.”

BP: Why did you join the club?

GL: “I enjoy learning about other cultures, and I feel like, again, we don’t have many options to really learn about other cultures living in the middle of the United States. I think that this is a really good opportunity [to do that].

BP: How many clubs are you in, and which ones?

GL: “I am in French Club and Multi-Culti, and that’s pretty much it this year.”

BP: Which celebration or event of Multi-Culti is your favorite?

GL: “I enjoy the Multi-Culti Picnic at the end of the year, because everybody brings food, and it’s a really good time to expand your [horizons] and eat food that you may not eat on a daily basis.”

*Editor’s Note: Diversity Club interviews will be posted early next week.


Q&A with FC scoliosis patients

by Annalise Bassett

Anonymous Sophomore

How does scoliosis affect your life?

“Well scoliosis, for me, my curve isn’t extremely bad, so it doesn’t affect me too much on a day-to-day basis. However, I have to do Schroth therapy at home, so I try to do that a couple times a week. That kind of affects my nightly routine. Usually after I do my exercises, my back is really sore. Sometimes during class, my back will just be kind of sore from sitting awhile, [especially] during long tests, like ISTEP or something.”

How does Schroth therapy work?

“At first, I had to go, once a week, over to Louisville where they have specialized physical therapy. It’s just a bunch of exercises to try to strengthen the muscles along your back, I’m not for sure exactly what muscles they are, and try to get tension on the opposite side [of the curve] to try to correct the curve. My curve is to my right, so I try to get tension on my left to try to reverse it. At home, I just do the same exercises.”


Sophomore Reagan Schneidau

How does scoliosis affect your life?

“It made a lot of things really difficult. Like, hiking, that was really rough on me. There were a lot of things I couldn’t do because my back hurt so bad. It was kind of immobilizing, but not like, extremely.”


What kinds of things did you have to do to keep it from getting worse, or to correct it?

“I was in my brace for two-and-a-half years, I think. While I was in my brace, and even while I was out of my brace, I did a lot of physical therapy. I was supposed to do my physical therapy exercises. It kind of hurt for me to do them. Before freshman year, I had my surgery, and that kind of changed everything. I was really scared about it at first, but then it happened. Now, I’m flexible, and I can do things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do. I think it was the right decision for me.


Sophomore Eric Haney

How does scoliosis affect your life?

“It’s mostly just mild pains, because of the spine being off it makes your back hurt from a lot of stuff.”


What kinds of things did you have to do to keep it from getting worse, or to correct it?

“I’m lucky to where mine’s not really that bad, so I don’t have to do much to [fix it]. Basically, whatever would damage your spine, [I] don’t do that.”


Q&A with Master Gunnery Sergeant Lyn Akermon, Naval Science Instructor at New Albany High School

By Aurora Robinson

Bagpiper: Can you describe to me what Basic Leadership Training is?

Lyn Akermon: “Basic Leadership Training in my opinion is character development. We take cadets from different schools around the local area— Louisville, Southern Indiana—and we mix them all together, they are all strangers. They have to be functional as one, as a unit. We make it stressful. It’s a stressful environment, stressful mentally and physically because we do a lot of physical training in it. The mental aspect is we teach classes, we put them in leadership roles. They all have to try a leadership role during the week. They have to learn each other’s weaknesses, each other’s strengths. To be a good leader you have to be a good follower. But some people have more leadership abilities than others. Basic Leadership Training is, to me, character development. It shows the individual what are my weaknesses what are my strengths? Am I better physically than others? It teaches me about teamwork, comradery, it teaches me how to give certain people tasks. You can’t task just anybody on anything until you know their strengths and weaknesses. So you wouldn’t give somebody a job, in other words, that you knew they were weak in that job and they could not accomplish that job or that mission. So it’s not just about you learning about you, it’s learning about others around you and in life you have to play the hand that you’re dealt. So, Basic Leadership Training teaches you strengths, weaknesses, not just yours, but your teammates and it teaches you how to accomplish goals, or the military calls it accomplish a mission together with what you have at hand. That’s what basic leadership training is.”

“We do it using the military style of training. Physical training, lots of marching. We have team events because we are huge on building teams, uniform inspections, and a lot of it, too, we just have fun events because we teach them that there’s time that you have to work and there’s time that you need to relax and enjoy yourself, too. That’s a lot how the military deals with stress. Everyone is human you’ve got to have some down time.”

BP: Why would you push your cadets to do BLT?

LA: “I don’t do this job to put people in the military. I do this job to make them productive citizens, to make them good citizens. Basically, to teach them that all through life there’s going to be leaders, there’s going to be followers, there’s going to be a lot of stress in your life and the sooner you learn to deal with the stresses of life, the better you can handle the tough situations in anything you do. If you go to college, if you go to the military, if you go to the workforce, family, no matter what happens, you can deal with stress in your life and you have got to learn how to accept it and you have got to learn how to overcome it. And that’s the main reason for leadership training.”

BP: Is there anything else you would like to add?

LA: “I think the most it does for them—it’s a confidence builder and it’s extremely good for those cadets who always doubt themselves. It just shows them that they can overcome obstacles in life. That’s the main thing.”