I suffer from telephobia. I was not always like this; I used to love to talk on the phone when I was young. I was excited when my parents finally taught me phone etiquette. I also have many fond memories of myself playing office and constantly answering my imaginary phone.
However, somewhere along the line, probably in those terrible tween years, I developed my debilitating phobia of the phone; as well as mottephobia, but that is another story. So what is it that is so terrifying about the phone for me? It is a pretty long list, but I could probably sum it all up in three words: it is… awkward.
I am okay when I am talking with my mom during one of her many “I’m just checking up on you” calls. I can even handle when a friend calls about a homework assignment, but if the conversation goes over five minutes I start to freak out. What do I do if I run out of things to say?
This is the worst possible thing that could happen because either the callers make very lousy small talk about the weather or some other minute topic, or have a very awkward silence. I am not sure which of these situations are worse since both make it clear that no one has an actual desire to talk.
Even simply dialing the phone gives me goosebumps. I started dreading this part after my friend and I tried to call another friend, only the number we were given was not actually hers.
We dialed the number three times, and each time a man answered and we were too freaked out to say anything. Not long after, we received a very angry phone call.
Now whenever I dial a number I have to check it three to four times before I actually make the call. However, speed dial has become a very close friend to me.
However I am making an effort to overcome my fears. No, I have not taken therapy sessions, but I have started using the phone.
Instead of having a long, drawn-out conversation via texts, I try to call people when I need to tell them something. Rather than e-mailing someone to contact them, I will pick up the phone and leave them a message.
It is a slow healing process, but I believe if I stay on my path to recovery perhaps one day I will be normal. Well, more normal.
When I was created, God thought it appropriate to provide me with his greatest creation: the human mind. With this gift, I have come to make my own ideals, morals, and virtues in the only logical way a person should. My life has been, as every life is, an interconnected web of events that each inevitably led to the next. Every moment of my life before now has defined what I am and how I think today, and how I will tomorrow. I like to explain my beginning with separate parts.
Part one: the catholic school era – The first four years of my schooling were spent at a New Albany Catholic school. It was there where I first started my higher level education and learned to shape my morals. Through my religion, I learned that it was wrong to lie and to steal, and what was considered virtuous and all the other Sunday morning, Disney channel virtues that are taught to almost every child. At this school I also had my first encounter with something that was understood by everyone except me. We went to confession about twice a week there, and I remember one confession in particular. I approached the priest and he asked me what I was sorry for. I told him, thinking I had accomplished something, that I had nothing to be sorry for this time, which I had gone the whole week without lying, steeling, or talking back to any elders, especially my parents. To my surprise, he told me to be sorry anyway: there is always something to be sorry for. I was obedient, and I prayed on my Rosary afterwards, but I wondered at the same time why. I wondered why I was supposed to repent for doing nothing wrong. They said it was because we were imperfect, and we could never be perfect.
To this day, this rubs me the wrong way. I could not understand why I could not be perfect, why I could not strive for perfection. I will repent when I have done wrong, I will admit to being imperfect, but when I accomplish something why can I not say I am perfect? When I create the perfect White Chocolate and Vanilla Iceberg at Hobknobb, why can I not say I am perfect in that moment? I found it very hard to strive for success when always in the back of my mind I knew I was imperfect, and could never be imperfect.
Part two: the public school era –Starting in the fourth grade, I attended a couple different public schools in Floyd County. It was here that under a teacher at Greenville Elementary named Mrs. Donna Emly, I first took my education seriously. She saw something that teachers had never seen before (or if they had, they did nothing to encourage it.) She saw potential. She pushed me more than I have ever been pushed, and gave me a work ethic that I have kept up to this day. She is the first and the primary reason I am in newspaper today, since she was the first to see the writer in me.
Part three: the atheist era –in junior high, I lost my faith. I thought I was scientific and smart. I thought it was what the cutting edge person was doing. To me, a person who believed in God was aggressively ignorant and had no understanding of science and logic. I spent long hours contemplating existence and creationism, and the improbable circumstances of the “Bible” and its stories. This was obviously the time when I got myself into the most trouble. My language got worse; I was cussing a lot. I lied without reason since I knew there were no repercussions. I never did anything like as bad as steal or picking on other people for no reason, but it was no question my morals were significantly off.
Part four: Freshman year – By far the most significant year in my life, my freshman year brought me many changes. Most importantly I renewed my faith. After losing a family member, I started to think about the choices I had made. I needed a religion in that moment, and I have kept it ever since.
High school also brought along the usual changes most kids go through at that age. I found a new group of friends; a couple have remained my best friends to this day. To me, they are closer than a brother ever could be. Through them I have learned the importance of not trying love everyone: to be friends with everyone. Though I do love meeting new people and I can talk to anyone for hours, I will never love anyone as much as I love the people I have chosen to label as friends. To me, the more people I call friends, the less valuable they become.
I also met several new teachers, who without them I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today. Though all of them have remained close companions to this day (and yes, a couple I call friends), One in particular has had the most impact on how I view my high school career, and some aspects of my life as well. He was the first teacher who said to me grades aren’t what matters in high school. He said what really matters is what you learn there. Though it seems like it should be obvious to everyone, this was a totally new idea to me. I went in to high school preparing to take easier classes and get a high GPA, but after his class I changed my mind completely. When this year is over, I will have taken 6 AP or duel credit classes. If not for him, I would have a the GPA to get in to any college I want, but I would not know have the things I know today.
So at the end of this column, I know you are wondering why I wrote this. You are wondering how this should apply to you, or anything at all. This is just an introduction, a basic outline of the things I believe in. Hidden in the words above are ideals, some new and some old, that I have come to create for myself through my life. This is what is important. Not the ideals themselves, but how I came to them. I came to them through life experiences and, more importantly, logic.
A religion is important: it gives you a basis for morals at the beginning of your life, but it is not what morals should be based on later in life. Friends are important; they share similar thoughts and beliefs to you, but they are not what you should base your beliefs on. You are wondering, if morals are not based on religion, and not on your surroundings, then what should they be based on?
The gift God gave me he also gave to you. The human mind, though it has been corrupt in several instances, has created the most significant things on this earth. It created bridges and tunnels through the mountains that were too tall and rugged for us to pass through. It created boats and ships for the oceans that are too wide and wet for us to pass through. It has created medicines and vaccines for the diseases that end some lives too early. It created languages, mathematics, the arts, love, and everything that is meaningful. If it can create all those, why can it not create its own code of morals and ethics? After you are educated through high school, (not working for a GPA) your mind is prepared to rationally take instances from life and deduct them reasonably. My morals are not the code of a religion, or the code of another man. My morals and virtues are a code set by me, and it is up to me to live up to these virtues I have set for myself.
Janis Joplin was a talented, legendary singer. She had a signature voice that is well known; therefore it came as no surprise to me when I heard a film about her life is in the works entitled Janis Joplin: Get It While You Can. Amy Adams, of Enchanted, has been cast as the legendary singer.
Though Adams is a talented actress and singer, and I enjoy her movies, I do not feel she has what it takes to conquer such a large role. Joplin has a very distinguishable voice. It is unique and raspy and she created a name for herself when she was still alive. Adams on the other hand, has a sweet and delicate voice rather than the hardcore sound of Joplin.
Adams also has a princess image for herself, whereas Joplin had more of a hard-partying image. I think they are complete opposites and I do not see the delicate, sweet Adams rocking it out onstage and getting drunk backstage as Janis Joplin did.
However, when I first heard about this movie, I immediately began to think of who could tackle the role. My mind was automatically drawn to Across the Universe and the character Sadie, who was very similar to Joplin. Played by Dana Fuchs, she and Joplin have very similar voices. She even has the long, big, curly hair that Joplin had.
Joplin made her debut during the summer of 1967, also called the “Summer of Love”. She performed Big Mama Thornton’s “Ball and Chain” and with her voice, people paid attention .In 1969 she performed at Woodstock. She went through three different bands during her career due to drug use getting in the way. While in Los Angeles recording “Pearl”, she overdosed in her motel and died at the young age of 27. (Source: janisjoplin.com)
Joplin’s story is a sad one, because she had so much potential and such an awesome career ahead of her. However, Joplin isn’t the only artist to get her own movie biography.
Frank Sinatra, for example, could be called one of the most famous and popular musicians of his time. Ol’ Blue Eyes created music that is very recognizable. He is well known by almost everyone. Not only did Sinatra make his mark in musical history, but also he went as far as winning an Oscar for his role in From Here to Eternity in 1953.
According to his website, (www.sinatra.com), Sinatra is long acclaimed as the world’s greatest performer of popular music, and is the artist who set the standard for all others to follow. He was a beloved entertainer for six decades. He won three Oscars, three Golden Globes, 20 total Grammys, an Emmy, and others.
Sinatra’s music is historic as well. From 1953 to 1961, he recorded more than 17 albums for Capitol Records. He was the first artist to record in the new Capitol Studios at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angelis but he formed his own recording company in 1960 called Reprise.
In fact, Martin Scorsese has been working up a Sinatra biopic. Although he has considered casting George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio as the role of Sinatra, I think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be a much better choice. The (500) Days of Summer star has a nice voice and I think there is something about him that would make him a much more suitable choice to play the role.
Since I enjoy these types of movies so much, I think there are many more artists they could make movie biographies for. Ella Fitzgerald is one of those artists.
Fitzgerald, “The First Lady of Song”, accomplished a lot in her life. According to her official website, (www.ellafitzgerald.com), she became the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. She has also won 13 Grammys and has sold over 40 million albums.
Fitzgerald had the unique talent of being able to recreate the sounds of almost every instrument in an orchestra with her voice. She reached out to a variety of people. Her fans included people of all race, gender, religion, rich, poor, young, and old.
She took on the task of becoming her own bandleader when she lost her mentor, Chick Webb. She also had to deal with discrimination when she would travel to the South.
“The First Lady of Song” is one of my role models. She had to overcome many obstacles to do what she loved and she accomplished a lot in her life. She lived in an era of discrimination and she was an African American woman. For her to have accomplished so much during that time, and to be so loved by nearly everyone, really inspires me.
Though I do not know exactly who I think should play her, a movie about her life is needed. It is unfortunate that many people do not know who she is. More people need to know exactly what she went through and more of her story.
An Ella Fitzgerald biopic would deal with the looming issues of race and gender. Her being an African American female would bring a ridiculous amount of discrimination during that time.
It would be a nice change to see a film that is concerned with these issues since we really do not see that a lot in movies today. These issues need to be brought to attention and by creating a biopic about the life of Ella Fitzgerald would be a great opportunity for that.
Classic, timeless musicians hold a special place in history. They are considered legends and movie biographies are a great way to remember them.
These genres of movies can give an inside look at the lives of some of the most influential artists of all time. They were a big deal and pretty important if they receive the privilege of having a movie made about their lives.
These movies are a way to keep an artist alive after they are gone. They can keep their legends real. They are monumental and they pay tribute to their life’s work.
Veteran employee retires after 48 years of teaching in the school system
By Jon Ferguson, online director
First-grade teacher Ellen Ruth will be retiring at the end this school year after 30 years of teaching at Pine View, and 48 years of teaching overall. Though she said she is excited to end her career, she will be missing out on a lot.
“I will definitely miss the kids. I love getting to know them and their personalities.
I’ve always loved children and I love being around children,” said Ruth.
She started teaching at age 21, just a year after graduation.
“I was teaching at Galena when Floyd Central was first being built,” she said.
After a long career of teaching, Ruth said that it was just time to retire.
“After 48 years I think I needed time to myself. Everything is getting more complicated towards computers, and I am not very computer literate,” said Ruth.
Thirty years of teaching at Pine View has given Ruth a chance to see what the school is all about. She said that the school is definitely a large family.
“They are number one for the kids. They really take care of their kids and their families,” she said.
Ruth said she has also noticed how children are reacting to the school closing, and how teachers’ reactions affect kids.
“It’s not the excitement of going somewhere new, it’s ‘I’m going to miss Pine View’,” said Ruth
Almost five decades of teaching has taught Ruth something about how the children learn.
“Always try to be as positive as you can be, and when you find something they are having trouble with, work with it as much as you can. Do things over and over,” she said.
Children’s Academy feeds New Albany through Blessings in a Backpack
By Chelsey Carr
According to Blessings in a Backpack website, in the United States one out of every six children is at risk of going hungry. This is almost 12.4 million children.
Children’s Academy of New Albany (CANA) is an early education school which consists of students in grades preschool through third grade. Founder of Kentucky Harvest and USA Harvest Stan Curtis started a branch of the program Blessings in a Backpack in 2005. It is an organization that sends home food in a backpack over the weekend with impoverished kids. He had been told that CANA’s surrounding area was extremely needy. CANA principal Terri Boutin was called to former superintendent Dennis Brooks office to discuss the Blessings in a Backpack program with Curtis after he ran the idea by Brooks.
“Stan told me he wanted to send canned goods home in backpacks on weekends. He gave us the backpacks and food and we provided every kid with one,” said Boutin
Out of the 300 children that attend CANA most live in some form of public housing. Also, three percent of them eat lunch and breakfast at a reduced price and 93 percent eat for free, according to Boutin.
Blessingsinabackpack.com informs that hungry children are sick more frequently and have lower academic achievement, as well. Poor nutrition early in life can impair neural development, leading to lower IQ. Before Blessings in a Backpack many of the students at CANA were underfed over the weekends because they did not have the school to provide a meal for them.
“People plan their weekend meals around the backpacks. They will get the backpack Friday and go to the store Saturday and fill in the missing holes,” said Boutin.
Stan Curtis founded Kentucky Harvest and USA Harvest to combat the hunger that plagues America as a nation. He wants to help future generations and those suffering in our own country,
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me ‘We as Americans need to take care of our own. These programs are a way to take care of our own children without spending a lot of money,” said Curtis.
CANA includes one seventh of Indiana’s population involved in the Blessings in a Backpack program because only seven schools in the state of Indiana are participating in this supportive program.
This important program has received substantial support from Kentucky Harvest and its affiliates. However, locating funding has been an issue in Southern Indiana.
“It has been really rough finding funding in Southern Indiana. If it weren’t for Horseshoe Casino we would be bad news. I wish more people cared. The program is so simple. All you need is a backpack and 80 dollars. That will feed one child for an entire year,” said Curtis.
In order to aid the program, Horseshoe Casino raffles off guitars when a band comes to the casino to play a concert and the money earned from the raffle tickets is donated to Blessings in a Backpack. If Horseshoe did not help fund this program, it would be unavailable to the hungry children in Southern Indiana.
There are two main ways to help support the program. The first is to hold a backpack raiser, where many backpacks are collected to give to the children. The second option is to raise money and donate 80 dollars at a time to feed children one at a time. Blessings in a Backpack has received support from local high schools as well as major corporations, such as Meijer. The high schools will fundraise for the program with what they call “jeans day.”
“The students have to pay one dollar to wear a pair of jeans to school on a Friday. They make around 800 dollars, which will feed 10 kids for a whole year. The food makes a difference in attendance and grades,” said Curtis.
The program has had so much influence and success that it is anticipated every week. For some, it is the highlight of their week.
“Our kids look forward to Blessings in a Backpack. It’s such a wonderful program. New parents [new to the school] are so surprised when they see their children with these special backpacks every weekend,” said 21st century community learning center project assistant Denise Barber.
However, CANA will be closed at the end of this school year.
“Unfortunately, Children’s Academy will not be a school serviced next year. We are going to have another school take place of it next year. We want to expand it to another school next year and feed another 300 children,” said Curtis
How has the Blessings in a Backpack program helped your students?
After spending 39 years of teaching in one building, a person learns many names and faces. Galena Elementary fifth-grade teacher Steven Smith has many memories from the years he has taught at the school.
Teaching for so long takes a lot of effort to remember one memorable event.
“I remember one year, I don’ remember specifically, but the Becht boys rode their horses to school on the last day,” chuckles Smith.
The boys had to tie the horses to a tree in front of the building.
Smith said there have been various physical changes at the school as well. Before Galena was remodeled, the cafeteria was also the gym.
“The school was being remodeled, and everything was connected by ‘hamster tubes’. There was this guy, Jack Skaymel, building a new wing for the teachers. Then the cafeteria was filled with empty boxes, so this guy Jack decides to make a classroom. He stacked all the boxes in the cafeteria and we called him ‘Jack in the box’,” laughs Smith.
Throughout renovations, new teachers, and new students, Smith has remained in the exact same room in the building.
“I have been in this room for 39 years,” said Smith, “they told me I couldn’t rearrange things because I may get a new room. I have been here for 39 years. I’ve never moved!”
Smith’s classroom has never changed location; which makes it easier for former students to locate him.
“I had a former student come into a job at my house. He was in his early 30’s, and told me he had a funny story from my class. He told me he had his first kiss while we were watching the science channel. We had those old-time projectors where you had to turn off the lights, and he told me he was kissed in the dark,” giggled Smith.
Former students of Smith remember his bubbly attitude and positive outlook on teaching. Staff members at Galena also place the same feelings toward him.
“He is Galena! He has been here forever, and he always gives 110 percent. He is always helping, and truly cares about everyone,” says kindergarten teacher Amy Shanks.
“Mr. Smith is a great guy. He is very hardworking and dedicated. He always keeps us going and a positive way with a smile on his face,” said fourth-grade teacher Tammy Fancher.
The reactions from students and staff to the question: ‘What do you think of Mr. Smith’, tend to have the same outcome of buoyant comments.
Smith has built many relationships over his course of teaching. He can recall the younger years of his teaching career with a clear memory.
“It was my third year teaching, and we were all lining up to go on a field trip. I had told one student if he couldn’t behave then he needed to have a seat. So we arrived at the field trip, and on our way back I took attendance: I was one count short. So I had to walk around to find a phone to call the school, because we didn’t have cellphones, and I asked the secretary to check my room. She told me he was sitting there at his desk. He really sat down and stayed there because I told him if he couldn’t behave himself he needed to have a seat,” reflected Smith.
Any person who has witnessed the character of Smith knows he is a humorous individual. Every Friday, Smith has a ‘happy Friday’ song that he sings before students load the buses. Smith always has a smile on his face and jokes waiting to be told.
“I like to think of myself as more of a serious teacher,” joked Smith.
While Smith may joke of having a serious personality, there are former students who would disagree.
“Mr. Smith was an awesome teacher. He always had something fun planned for class, and he was also pretty funny. My fifth grade year was great and I’m glad I had Mr. Smith as a teacher,” stated sophomore Brittany Murray.
Smith will always hold title as ‘king of Galena’. The passion Smith carries for teaching has been seen through the countless years of his profession. He shows that 39 years of educating students has not yet come to and end in the form of retirement. Smith plans to continue teaching and continue to make memories.
“I’m not gonna retire when they close the building, I am gonna show them. I love teaching too much to quit,” said Smith.
The official news source of Floyd Central High School