Category Archives: FC Bagpiper

Co-stage manager reveals behind-the-scenes look at ‘Newsies’ as performance at International Thespian Festival approaches

By Hannah Tarr

Editor’s Note: A&E reporter and copy editor Hannah Tarr is Co-Stage Manager for FC’s production of Newsies. This is a log of her day spent preparing for the show on the first day of rehearsals this summer.

7 a.m. June 4, 2018. I woke up. I ate breakfast to get fuel for the long day of Newsies work ahead of me.

7:15 I showered, then packed my bag with lunch and dinner.

7:50 I drove to school. I sang along to music to get myself hyped for the long day.

7:58 I arrived at school. To my surprise, no one else was in the parking lot except senior Jack Bishop, who was there for the lighting work session, which was scheduled to start at 8.

8 a.m. Bishop and I entered the school through the unlocked Performing Arts door. I put my lunchbox in the fridge in the theatre break room and we waited for people to show up.

8:13 Parent volunteers, the Star Boosters, had left a water cooler in the hallway for the cast to fill their water bottles with during rehearsals. Bishop and I took it to the custodial maintenance room and filled it with ice.

8:25 I texted the assistant lighting designer, junior Sam Hendrix, and found out the lighting session actually started at 9.

8:28 Bishop and I went to the picnic table outside the theatre door. I connected my laptop to my phone’s hotspot and started answering the dozen emails I had gotten in the past day. I emailed music director Angela Hampton about equipment we needed to borrow from her for recording rehearsals. I emailed a Star Booster about surprises she was planning for the cast and crew during rehearsals. I filed away some conflicts director Robbie Steiner had sent me into the spreadsheet we were keeping of when cast and crew members had scheduled absences from rehearsals. And so on.

8:56 Lighting designer Mike Nevitt, lighting mentor Sam Brown, and Crossfade (Nevitt’s lighting design company) employee Josh Robbins showed up, so we could now go back inside. They headed inside to get started while I wrapped up a few things on my computer.

9:10 Bishop went to help with lighting, and I started working in the tech office on printing paperwork.

The lighting crew were going to be doing light hang, where they hung the different lighting fixtures required by the show on their proper electrics, which are pipes that hang above the stage. During hang, some of the lighting crew would also have to be focused on cabling, to make sure each light was receiving power and information from the light board.

Meanwhile, I was printing cue sheets for every cast and crew member in the show. Cue sheets are used to tell cast and crew when and where they move set pieces during the show, including furniture pieces and our three giant towers. To clarify for them where those towers would go, we have created a transitions list, which shows who moves which tower during each of the 36 transitions of the show. This would be hung up in the hall for the cast and crew’s easy reference.

9:50 The printer had 70 jobs in its queue from all of those cue sheets and transitions, so I went onstage to start setting up the manager table and the keyboard. I set up a white table on the stage right half of the pit cover for me and my Co Stage Manager, graduate Makenna Baughman, to sit at. I put some chairs behind it, and brought the script, score, and Stage Manager Kit over to it. Our Stage Manager Kit, Franken “Stanley” Franklin, is a big Stanley brand toolbox that holds spike tape, scissors, pens, pencils, bandaids, Kleenexanything cast or crew could need during a rehearsal. On the stage left side of the pit cover went the keyboard on its stand with a chair and a music stand for our rehearsal pianist, Jess Bullock. I grabbed a speaker from the lighting storage room in the choir room, called the lighthouse, and plugged it into the keyboard. But I could not figure out where the keyboard power cord was.

10:40 The whole transition list was printed, so I took a break from working on the keyboard and got to work taping up the transition list in the hallway. I had printed each of the 36 transitions on its own sheet of paper, so I was going to tape them all in a line down the hallway.

10:43 Steiner walked in. He was pleased to see that I was working on putting up the transitions list. “Are you excited for rehearsal to start?” he asked me, enthusiastic as ever. “Heck yeah,” I said, genuinely. Even though it had already taken me a lot of work today to begin getting ready, and there were even more hours of working before the cast would even show up, I could not wait to get started.

10:50 Sophomore Frances Crim walked in to help out, so I passed off to her my current job of taping up the transitions list. I went back onstage to get set for spiking the set pieces. I got all of the colors of spike tape out of Stanley and arranged them in rainbow order. I called up all of the ground plans on my laptop, which are drawings of the stage for each scene to show where the towers are supposed to be set. I grabbed a printoff of the Spike Color Key, which showed the color we spiked each groundplan in and the two or three letter code we wrote on each tiny mark. We had created this when we did the spiking for the show back in November, and we wanted to use the same colors and codes so the cast and crew would remember their spikes easier.

11 a.m. Sound mentor Brad Murphy asked me to add some sound work sessions to the Google calendar and master schedule spreadsheet, so I did. We keep a spreadsheet of the whole schedule of rehearsals and work sessions that people can look at, and it is the managers’ jobs to make sure that is synced with the Google calendar that everyone can add to their phones. By having both of these things, everyone can hopefully always know when they need to be at school.

11:07 Steiner asked me to email out the schedule for the day’s choreography review, so I did. Our choreographer, Megan Bliss, had decided to run a half dozen of the songs in show order, and I listed them for the cast. She was optimistic that if everyone came prepared, we would be able to get out early, and I let them know that, too.

11:10 I showed Crim the next step of the transitions list: taping up all of the ground plans to go with the transitions. I had the row of transitions arranged so that each would be in between a ground plan, meaning that people could see that the people assigned to the transition would take the sets from the first groundplan to the next. Hopefully, this long row of pictures and assignments helps people to visualize and understand their cues.

11:30 The lighting work session finished working on electrics, leaving the deck clear, so Crim, Baughman, Steiner, and I started spiking the set pieces. We moved the three giant metal towers to each ground plan and put the properly colored spike tape down on the floor to mark where they belonged. Then we labelled it with the code, and put packing tape over the spike to protect it from dancers and mops. We used the ground plans on my laptop in combination with the production video on Steiner’s to figure out exactly where each piece needed to go for each ground plan.

1 p.m. My brother, freshman Jason Tarr, was helping lighting cable backstage, so I asked him to heat up my leftover Chinese food that I had packed and set it on the manager table so I could eat as I walked by it. I was hungry, but we were working too hard for me to take a break until we were done.

4:40 We finally finished spiking all 19 placements! Except for some smaller furniture pieces that we decided to spike the next day.

4:41 Baughman sat down to rest. I, less civilized, laid on the floor. We talked to our former tech teacher, Evan Wise, about the crazy few weeks we had ahead of us.

4:53 I got a sandwich leftover from the weekend’s dance recital from the break room fridge and ate it on the couch in the tech office, reading Game of Thrones on my Kindle. It was nice to get to sit down and gather myself again before the 5:30 choreography review.

5:15 Break time was over. Baughman and graduate Mitchell Lewis dust mopped the deck, and I finished setting up the keyboard for Bullock. It turned out the missing cables had been in Stanley.

5:28 I took attendance through the microphone that graduate Jordan Burger had just finished setting up. I and Steiner really like having a rehearsal microphone, because it can be difficult to raise your voice above the din of a 74 member cast.

5:30 I helped people get their cue sheets from the giant stack of printoffs I had made. Some of the more prodigious of the cast and crew had kept their cue sheets from November, or printed them off again in the months between, because they had been studying them to stay prepared.

5:37 Bliss arrived and took over rehearsal from assistant choreographer Michael Hommrich, and she and Steiner talked to the cast about unity, and about the amazing journey we were starting on again. My heart swelled as I listened to their words. The managers had had meetings with Steiner, and we had had music rehearsals in the choir room, and dance captain reviews in the dance studio, but here we were again: onstage. It was so close to being real.

5:50 We started the first walkthrough of the first song of the show, “Carrying the Banner.” The actors danced through the song moment to moment, stopping whenever Bliss had a note or one of them had a question.

6:19 Bliss announced that she had just had her first tear up moment of the remount. I did not blame her. “Carrying the Banner” is an adrenaline pumped song sung when the newsies are starting their day of selling newspapers, and it shows their unity and optimism in the face of obstacles the streets of New York City threw at them. It could be a metaphor for us, starting rehearsals again. The cast did it with just as much energy and poise as they did the night we closed in November.

6:44 We finished working through “Carrying the Banner” and went back to run it again. It was even better the second time around.

7:16 We had gotten through “Carrying the Banner Tag” and “Reprise” as well, so we took a five-minute break. I set the timer on my phone,  and announced the time remaining as it ticked down.

7:20 We began working on “The World Will Know.” This was an easier song to review than “Carrying the Banner” had been, because it is not as dance-heavy. But it was just as exciting. It is the number where the newsies get really mad at the newspaper owners and decide to go on strike. I got a little scared when the cast stomped downstage in an angry line and sang right in my and Baughman’s faces, “So the World says no!”

7:49 We finished reviewing “The World Will Know.” I got prop newspapers from Studio One to do “Seize the Day.” This was the number where the newsies actually went on strike. There is a part where the newsies tear newspapers in half, then dance on them, to really rub it in the newspaper owners’ faces. Our props master, senior Kirsten Gude, was not there, but she had told me where the newspapers were, so I got them for the cast to be able to rip up.

8:30 We finished “Seize the Day” and took another 5. The crew in attendance helped Baughman and I gather tables, benches, brooms, spoons, and trays needed for the final number, “King of New York.”

8:41 Locating all of those things had taken longer than a 5, but now we began working lifts in “King of New York.” It is always important to work lifts and fights out of context before you get to them in a song or the show, so you know that everyone involved is prepared to do it safely.

8:45 We began working the choreography of “King of New York.” This is a tap number, and tap has been FC’s forte since 42nd Street two years ago.

9:10 Rehearsal was over and the cast was dismissed. We had not gotten out early, as we had hoped, but we had gotten a lot done, so I think everyone was okay with that.

9:11 I gave a new script to sophomore Nathan Long. We had gotten brand new scripts from Music Theatre International for the remount, because we had returned our old ones, and in the months since some lines had been added and character names had been changed. I checked that number script out to Long in a spreadsheet, so we could track him down if he does not return it after we close.

9:13 Baughman and I talked to Bliss about what we would need to do for fight call for the remount. In the spaces we are remounting in, we will not have as much time to look at the fights and lifts before each show as we did when we performed in November. We decided I would email the cast to get their input on how to cut down on time, since they were the ones who would be missing out on practice.

9:15 Baughman and I began walking around the theatre doing strike: putting up props, putting away furniture, gathering abandoned water bottles, picking up left behind scripts.

9:20 Baughman and I debriefed with Lewis, since Steiner was talking to Bliss. During debrief, we typically ran through each note that would be in the night’s rehearsal report with Steiner. Lewis had been at all of the debriefs with me and the rest of the management for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, since he had been co director, so we figured we would debrief with him instead of waiting on Steiner.

9:30 Baughman and I went back to striking things.

9:42 We emptied the water cooler and left. I sang along to more jams on the way home. I had to stay awake and in a good mood because my work was not over just because I got to go home.

9:50 I got home and took a break: I ate a snack and caught up on my phone.

10:17 I typed up sent out the rehearsal report. From my student email account, I sent the report to all the members of the student production team for them to read, and from the FC Stage Manager email account I sent it to the adult production staff. I decided to take another break, and sat down and read more Game of Thrones.

11 p.m. I replied to more emails. I had gotten eight more over the course of the day that needed replies. Most were from parents of crew members wondering if their kids had to be at rehearsals in the coming days, so I had to check each tech’s cue sheet to see if they were involved in transitions that we would be running in each rehearsal, and then reply to the parent with my findings.

11:23 I started proofreading the program we were planning to use at the Kentucky Center. I had to check for typos on each page, as well as look closely at cast and crew lists to make sure they were totally accurate. I thought gravely of the four thousand people I thought would be reading this program in Whitney Hall. I did not want any typos or mistakes to slip through my fingers for them to read. I had no way to know that this audience would ultimately be in Floyd Central’s auditorium. Even if I had known, I would have combed the words just as closely. It is still a huge honor and privilege to be remounting Newsies before taking it to the International Thespian Festival. Our three sell-out shows speak to the fact that the Louisville community wants to see our show regardless of what venue it is in, or side of the river it is on. I am so thankful for that.

12:06 I finished proofing the program but decided it was too late at night to send the email with my corrections. I brushed my teeth and put on pajamas.

12:23 I read Game of Thrones in bed until I fell asleep. I had to get up at 7:45 the next day, and the day after that, to do it all again.

Newsies was slated to open tomorrow night at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, but because of the recent fire at the Kentucky Center, the show is opening tonight at Floyd Central instead. The sold-out run performs Thursday and Friday at 8 and Saturday at 2 On Sunday, the cast and crew travel to Nebraska to perform the show at the International Thespian Festival. You can follow and support their journey on social media with the hashtag #FCTANewsies.

Summer begins with interesting sports

By JD McKay

Summer break is finally here, and with it comes the worst two months in sports. Be prepared for one third of each baseball team’s regular season and Wimbledon starting at 4 a.m. in early July.  

However, the first week gives sports fans some hope. The Cleveland Cavaliers will be playing the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. This series will not be close. The Cavs haven’t had anything going besides Lebron James this postseason. The Warriors will take care of business in four, putting them in a class with the other great NBA teams.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season are playing the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Knights have been a team made up of mostly scrubs from previous teams. However, when they play together, they are obviously playing very well and have a chance to win a championship in their first season. I think they will finish their magical run and win the Stanley Cup in six games.

This is my last column of this school year. I have enjoyed writing this and will be back to publishing my weekly sports columns starting August 1, the first Wednesday of next school year.

COLUMN: REFLECTING ON THE ’17-’18 SCHOOL YEAR’S SPORTS

By JD McKay

I know I have said this a lot throughout this year, but this has been a historic year for FC. Our sports teams have torn up the competition and rivals Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Providence.

Boys’ cross country season was respectable, finishing in fifth sectionals, and sophomore David Heinemann finished eighth. The girls had more success. They won sectionals behind a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place finishes from senior Faith Barba, senior Kyley Sorg, senior Erica Batliner, and freshman Natalie Clare, respectively. The girls beat both New Albany and Jeff in sectionals. In regionals, Sorg finished first, and sophomore Sydney Liddle finished third. They won the regional, with all seven runners finishing in the top twelve.

The football team performed above expectations. The Highlanders were expected to have a pretty average season, but ended up finishing 8-3. The team was injury plagued but fought through and eventually finished second in conference. Losing to Louisville Male and state champion Columbus East twice. However, the Highlanders beat beat Jeff once, thumped New Albany twice, and destroyed Providence once.

Girls’ golf had another good season. Senior Jillian Moorefield’s sectional victory helped boost the Lady Highlanders to a sectional championship, beating New Albany, Jeff, and Providence in sectionals.
The Lady Highlander soccer team also won sectionals. The girls soccer team beat New Albany in the sectional championship because of a shootout goal from sophomore Marlea Ferber after finishing regulation at 0-0. They beat Jeff 5-0 and tied Providence 0-0. Boys’ soccer lost to Columbus East in the first round of sectionals, but beat New Albany 5-1, Providence 2-0, and tied with Jeff.

Volleyball had a solid season, but came up short against Providence in the second round of sectionals. However, they beat New Albany in straight sets twice, and beat Jeff in straight sets twice.

Boys’ tennis had a sectional title winning season. They won three straight matches in straight sets to advance to regionals, where they lost in the second round. However, they had  a winning record this season against Jeff, New Albany, and Providence.

Girls’ basketball was the one sport that didn’t have a great season. Injuries plagued the Lady Highlanders for most of the season. However, they won the Southern Lady Trojans Holiday Jamboree.

Boys’ basketball had a year rivaling the Superhicks or Pat Graham-led teams. They went 7-0 in conference and were conference champions. However, didn’t win sectionals, but had an excitement revolving around them the whole season. They beat New Albany at home by two because of 17 points from senior Luke Gohmann and 14 points from junior Cobie Barnes. They lost to New Albany in sectionals, to finish 1-1 against the Bulldogs, swept Jeff, and beat Providence once.

Boys’ and girls’ swimming both had undefeated seasons. Boys won sectionals by 211 points over Jeff, 332 points over New Albany, and 455 over Providence. The girls won sectionals as well, but their results were much closer. They beat Jeff by 24 points, New Albany by 306.5, and Providence by 424.5 points.

Wrestling piled on to our successful winter sports. They won sectionals and beat New Albany in sectionals by 68.5 points. Freshman Gavinn Alstott lost in the first round of the state meet, and senior Tristan Sellmer finished fourth in state.

Softball is having a season similar to the rest of the teams on here. They beat Jeff and New Albany and won conference. They are currently on path to win sectionals and play in regionals.

Just a few weeks into baseball season, it looked liked the baseball team was going to have bad year. But, they beat New Albany 3-2 behind a complete game gem from junior Adam Spalding two weeks ago and could use his performance to spring into the postseason.

Boys’ golf is having a perfect season. They won conference and could potentially win sectionals over New Albany, Jeff, and Providence.

The girls’ tennis team won sectionals again this season. The Lady Highlanders also won conference over New Albany and Jeff.

The track seasons for both boys’ and girls’ is going almost as planned. The girls’ team lost conference to New Albany, but beat Jeff. Then, one week later, they beat the Bulldogs and Pioneers in sectionals. Yesterday, the Lady Highlanders won regionals over New Albany by seven points.

The boys have performed above predictions. The boys went into the conference meet predicted to lose to Jeff by 20 points, 143 points later, and the Highlanders were conference champions by 20 points. Then, a week later, the Highlanders won sectionals over New Albany and Providence with total control.

Unified track is having a season similar to the other track teams. They finished second in sectionals, and are advancing to regionals. They beat the New Albany team by 30.5 points.

This has been a great year to be a Highlander. We have dominated our big three rivals in almost every sport, and have won several conference and sectional titles. Hopefully this success will carry over into next year.

Q&A: ‘Bagpiper’ past editors reflect on their time on staff

By Allie Lincoln

Lea Downing: 2002
What year did you graduate and what was your position?
“I graduated in 2002 and was co-editor-in-chief with Angela Horn.”
What did you learn from your time on staff?
“I learned an incredible amount during my time on staff – much of which I wasn’t aware at the time would be so useful in my future endeavors. In terms of hard skills, I learned graphic design and layout approaches that provided a base for much of my design work in my professional life post-academia. I also honed a solid battery of copy editing skills that allowed my writing to grow from a grammatically and syntactically sound foundation. And of course, I wrote! A lot! And the practice of writing large amounts of text while paying mind to certain content elements like objectivity/subjectivity, clarity, direction, etc., helped me develop into a strong writer. Regarding soft skills that I learned, I learned responsibility and what it meant to feel proud of something successful that I was responsible for. I also learned how to work well in a team and that it is almost always true that we can do much, much more in a group than we can do by ourselves. Finally, and possibly most importantly, I developed a belief in the power of writing to affect change. Through this I developed confidence in my own writing and learned the power of my own words. This ‘lesson’ has served me every day of my life since I graduated from Floyd Central.”
How has the Bagpiper changed since you were editor?
“While I haven’t had much exposure to the current Bagpiper, from what I’ve seen here and there, it seems that one of the main ways in which the actual publication has changed has to do with printing and layout technology and format, given that now there are print and online versions. When I was co-editor, I think that toward the very end, we were able to bring in one color on the front page, which we used as an accent color; full color of any number of pages was a total dream. If I remember correctly, the Carmel H.S. paper had a full color front page with accent colors inside, and that seemed completely unattainable to us at that time. Also, while I don’t know with certainty that this is true, I am pretty sure that the current paper doesn’t have to manually cut out and paste together the quadrants of each page to be sent to the printer. There were many days at the end of our production cycles where we would be frantically pasting things up until the last possible second – catching a stray typo and then cutting out that tiny word and pasting it over the one with an error, lightening photos, etc.”
What is your most memorable experience from being on staff?
“While I had many memorable experiences on staff, I’d say that co-winning the Harvey Award for best news article with Angela Horn likely tops the list – coupled with actually writing the article that won the award. It was a complete surprise to both Angela and I. I’m not even sure that we were aware that our article had been entered for the award. The article itself dealt with a hot-button issue at that time: posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including schools. We conducted somewhere around 30-40 interviews in order to be able to explore the issue in a broad and balanced manner. It was a huge undertaking, but both Angela and I cared about the subject matter and wanted to make sure that it was being both confronted head-on and dealt with fairly.”
What advice do you have for current/future staff members?
“Jim Lang will likely be one of the most influential mentors you’ll have in your entire academic career. He strikes that very rare balance of being wholly supportive of students and their growth as writers, thinkers, and human beings while also knowing precisely when and how to push and challenge them. The class culture that he creates allows for intellectual exploration, creative experimentation, and full ownership over the final product. I encourage you to be present in your journalism work at Floyd Central, appreciate and utilize the incredible mentorship offered by Jim, and use the creative and expressive agency you’re afforded at The Bagpiper to become a stronger, braver writer. We are all always in a state of “becoming” writers, and – spoiler alert! – that state doesn’t really ever resolve into “arrival.” Collaborative workshops and writing projects (like working on The Bagpiper) allow us to be able to learn from one another and “become” the writers we are in a more punctuated manner. Post-high school life will likely not offer up such environments with great frequency, and if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself in your mid-30s occasionally daydreaming about how much more might be possible in x, y, or z academic, professional, or creative engagements if they were more like your high school journalism classes. My ultimate advice is simply to soak up as much as you can of what’s around you right now. The things you’re learning right now at The Bagpiper will help your future self in ways that are impossible to predict, so just dive in, trust the journey, and know that you’re investing in something great within yourself.”
How did you time on staff impact your current career?

“There were a few teachers and classes I had while attending Floyd Central that I see as having been instrumental in getting me going on the path I’m on now, and Jim Lang and journalism definitely fall into that category. The path I took to my current work was at times meandering and circuitous, but writing, interview/conversation, and visual design have always been central to getting me there.

“I started college at a very unique school with a fixed course path, St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, but after my freshman year of college, I wasn’t doing well, and it became clear that it wasn’t the right school for me – in no small part due to the fact that there were no outlets for creative writing within my academics. I spent a semester at the Santa Fe Community College to get my GPA up and then I transferred to Sarah Lawrence College where I had a dual concentration on writing and ethnomusicology. During that time, I had my first experience teaching writing. As a sophomore, I began volunteering with an organization called Right to Write, which offered creative writing classes at the Valhalla Women’s Correctional Facility outside New York City. It was a deeply formative experience for me as a future educator, and as many of the other teachers shared lesson plans around grammar and sentence structure, I made the decision to focus on one thing: helping the women to develop a sense of ownership and pride over their words and stories. As prisoners, they had little-to-nothing that was actually theirs. I wanted to create an unconditionally supportive environment, as the best of my teachers, such as Jim, had provided for me as a novice writer. At the beginning of the first class, there were students who refused to participate, even pulling their chairs a few feet away from our workshop table, making snarky comments at a distance. By the end of our semester together, everyone was at the table, engaged, writing together, listening to each other’s stories.
“While at Sarah Lawrence, I also spent a semester studying urban ethnomusicology at the University of Ghana and focused my fieldwork there on intercultural education. The interviewing skills I learned at The Bagpiper no doubt formed a solid base for the development of my fieldwork interview techniques.
“In 2005, one of my closest friends from college lost her father in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and after coming to visit her in New Orleans shortly after that, I fell in love with the soul of the city, even in her battered state, and decided that I would move there as soon as I graduated to do what I could to aid in the city’s recovery. Indeed, in 2007, I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and moved to New Orleans. I focused the first year and a half of my time there on doing relief work with musicians in the city through an organization called Sweet Home New Orleans: doing one-on-one intake interviews to figure out what the musicians needed, advocating on musicians’ behalves to organizations distributing resources, writing grants, etc. Again – interviewing and writing were tools that helped me do the work that I was being called to do. I soon was connected with another organization called the Neighborhood Story Project, which worked with neighborhood writers throughout the city to produce collaborative ethnographic books about their own lives and communities. I served as their development coordinator and then program director for four years, and in that time I had the opportunity to help people in my community develop deeper connections to their families and neighbors through producing interviews, photo essays, and creative nonfiction that went on to be published in very successful books that reached national distribution while I was there. Additionally, I taught and collaborated on several adult creative writing workshops that produced zines, theatrical shows, and public readings. It probably goes without saying at this point, but interviewing, writing, and photography were key elements to my work, and my understanding of them undoubtedly had roots in my time on The Bagpiper.
“I attended the University of New Orleans for graduate school and received my MFA in creative writing in 2014. A period of professional struggle came after that: working as an adjunct professor teaching freshman composition, tutoring in a college writing lab, doing front desk work at a dentist’s office, editing books, researching for museums…it goes on and on. At times I had five jobs at once. It was exhausting and discouraging, but it was during this period of time that I found I had interest in an arm of education that I never would have considered being involved in: adult education (programs that help adults get their high school equivalency diploma and/or complete career-pathway coursework/certificates).
“For a year and a half now, I have been the lead English/language arts instructor in the adult education department at Delgado Community College here in New Orleans. My focus continues to be on creating supportive learning environments that encourage students to empower themselves through developing the writing and communication skills that matter to them – and leading my team of teachers to do the same. Teaching adults has allowed me to remain a student as well as a teacher; while some students are only a year or so post-dropping out of high school, most range from mid 30s to mid 50s, and they come with a whole body of adult life experiences and totally valid and effective knowledge, wisdom, and systems of logic that continually expand my understanding of the human experience. Key to nurturing my relationships with my students are maintaining good communication with them, being able to ask the right questions, and showing support through both the mistakes and the successes that come with learning new things. Additionally, I am working on a larger project with some of my colleagues to create a fully-free, fully-online adult education program that has already grown from about 100 students to over 1000 students in just over one year. All of the primary activities that I currently focus on for work have direct lines back my experience working on The Bagpiper. I am pretty sure I would not have found the kind of professional soul-satisfaction that I have had it not been for a few key experiences along the way, and one of the most influential ones, no doubt, was working with Jim and my friends on The Bagpiper.”
Chris Loop: 2005

What did you learn from your time on staff?

“Working on the staff was really my first perspective of why time management is so important. We all know that writing a paper and turning in homework have time constraints attached. I knew it before joining the Bagpiper. But working on the newspaper staff was different; it wasn’t just your grade that was at risk, but it was your reputation and relationships with with others that were at risk. If you didn’t do your assignment or task, the paper could look terrible or even worse – miss the print deadline. You don’t want to be the one to let the staff down. At the same time, you can’t do everything yourself. Our best issues were very collaborative and got perspective from the whole team. These takeaways translate to the workplace.”

How has the Bagpiper changed since you were editor?

“Certainly the technology is biggest and most exciting change, especially the online presence the Bagpiper now has. We would have to wait weeks to publish content. That’s laughable now. The drawback with being able to publish nearly instantly is that you have to work insanely fast to verify your sources, content, check grammar, etc. We may not have realized it back then but we had an eternity to correct mistakes before publishing compared to today’s newsrooms.”

What is your most memorable experience from being on staff?

“There are a few things that stand out. But mostly it was the evenings I’d spend after school in the journalism lab with Mr. Lang and the Bagpiper staff, putting together layouts and editing our work from the previous weeks. It was always a sigh of relief and sense of pride and accomplishment after hitting the ‘Send’ button to the publisher.”

What advice do you have for current/future staff members?

“I think understanding and fighting media bias, both within yourself and others on your staff is huge. We are seeing some many media outlets leaning right or left and it’s destroying our society. Being able to take criticism for your work without taking it personal and using that criticism to get better.”

How did your time on staff impact your current life and career?

“Working on the Bagpiper was some of the most challenging and rewarding work from my time in high school. Following the tenets of journalism – being objective, telling the truth, verifying your work, all while being interesting and relevant are incredible foundations in which to grow personally and professionally. These tenets are important no matter whether a person chooses journalism as a career or something else entirely. After college I landed in banking. I am currently a Vice President for a regional bank with a focus on sales and management. I believe that my time spent working on the Bagpiper and honing my communication skills, both written and verbal, have been critical to my success in the workplace.”

Jennifer London: 2007

What did you learn from your time on staff?
“One of the most important things I learned from my time on the Bagpiper staff is that there is more to school—more to learning—than just what can be found in books or on tests. Some of my most vivd memories of high school took place in the newsroom building relationships with others and learning how to be a leader myself. You can’t always find those kinds of “real-world” learning moments by filling in a bubble on the Scantron. I learned how to lead, to concede, to build others up, and to keep myself from being torn down by criticism.”
How has the Bagpiper changed since you were editor?
“The Bagpiper has changed in some pretty important ways since I was editor in 2006-2007. We were strictly a print-only publication back then, so we had the luxury of being able to really scrutinize what we published without the looming pressure of having to turn out a piece within 24 or 48 hours. I’m truly impressed at how well the staffs of the last several years have taken on the extra work of publishing online more regularly but also taking on the bear that is social media. How the audience interacts with the newspaper is so different today than 10 years ago because your work extends beyond the school building.
“Also, until my junior year, we had been somewhere around a tabloid or Berliner size, and when I became co-editor, we really wanted to push ourselves to do full broadsheet printing. It was a challenge—both with producing more content and better design. But it was something that I left feeling really proud of. We spent a lot of time at the IU summer workshop planning for those changes, so it’s a little weird to see it now in more of a compact format again.”
What is your most memorable experience from being on staff?
“Mr. Lang can probably speak for me in saying that the ‘duct tape incident’ is my most memorable experience from being on staff. In my 17-year-old wisdom, I published a somewhat tongue-in-cheek column criticizing the “hardcore/emo” kid look that was rampant at the time. In response to an illustration I created to go with the column (which depicted a “hardcore kid” sporting a black t-shirt with a duct tape “X” on it), dozens of kids showed up the next day sporting their duct tape “X” in protest of what I wrote. I was bombarded at lunch with angry students who then followed me back to the newsroom to make sure I knew I had upset them. There were also a few kids who wrote letters to the editor trying to parody what I wrote for the opposing viewpoint. Since all we had at the time was MySpace, I guess that was the 2007 version of going viral.”
What advice do you have for current/future staff members?

“My advice for current and future staff members is to give the publication everything you’ve got. Give it your time. Give it your energy. Give it your dedication. Those are the things that have helped build a legacy of journalistic excellence for decades. Even though the medium has changed and evolved, what goes into producing it hasn’t. The staff needs people of all talents with different passions, but what makes it work best is people who constantly want to make it better. Find your niche—whether it’s writing, creating interactive content online, editing, or (my favorite) designing.”

How did you time on staff impact your current career?

“When I left high school, I went to Ball State with every intention of majoring in journalism graphics. I did design and graphics for the student newspaper The Daily News. I interned at The Star Press and The Courier-Journal. I was made managing editor briefly for the DN. For a variety of reasons, I ended up switching my major to teaching, and I now teach English at Scribner Middle School and also supervise our yearbook and online newspaper. On one hand, my time on staff has lead me to think outside the box with my teaching so that I can give my students more of those “real world” experiences that I had in journalism. It has also pushed me to do more to teach my students how important it is to find something you’re passionate about in school. On the other hand, my time on staff has lead me to embrace my student media kids in middle school in hopes that many of them go on to high school with an interest in taking Journalism 1 or working for the yearbook and newspaper at New Albany High School.”

 

Darian Eswine: 2012

What did you learn from your time on staff?
“I learned so much from my time on staff, but I think the biggest thing was how to be an effective leader. I grew a lot in those three years thanks to Mr. Lang really showing me what it means to lead and to encourage a staff. I always remember he told me my senior year that you know you’ve been a successful leader when the group succeeds without you and I remember that each and every time I’m in a leadership role. I think I also learned the importance of being your own style of leader. Everyone’s personality is different and it’s important you lead how it comes naturally as opposed to trying to be a specific type of leader.”
How has the Bagpiper changed since you were editor?
“I think the design has changed quite a bit as it usual does over the years. When I was editor I think it was the first year print and web were split into two classes and I believe they’re one class now, which I think is great for team-building. Overall, I’ve seen it grow and cover more serious issues and I’m always excited to hear about the staff from Mr. Lang or see what they’re posting online.”
What is your most memorable experience from being on staff?
“Well, I have a real one that’s the most memorable that should not be printed so I’ll just say ‘Red Carpet Inn, IHSPA’ and let Mr. Lang tell you the rest of that story. For print purposes, my favorite memory was seeing the Avengers as a staff my senior year. We had a staff picnic where we played relay games and had little contests, water balloon fights, and food and then a lot of us went to see a movie after. It was a lot of fun at the end of the year, especially senior year, to hang out together outside of newspaper and just have fun. That was the closest staff of my three years. We really liked being together.”
What advice do you have for current/future staff members?
“Really enjoy the experience as cheesy as it sounds. High school newspaper is one of those experiences you can’t replicate – those three years are all you get to have fun with your staff, be creative, take risks and learn as much as you possibly can. Also, I think I would say to try to be really receptive to advice and lessons – take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow from experiences not only as a journalist, but as a person.”

Column: Boys’ track and field set to win sectionals for the 16th straight time tonight

By JD McKay

Last week the Highlanders went into their conference meet, projected to lose by 20 to Jeffersonville, and pulled off the upset, eventually winning by 20 points.

The keys to success in that meet were athletes moving up in seeds and winning the field events and long distance events that they were projected to win.

In the meet tonight, the keys to success do not change. Win the events they are projected to win and move up in seeding in other events.

Throwing events have high expectations. Junior Cam Sturgeon should win discus, and finished first or second in shot put. Sturgeon’s counterpart, senior Clay Miller, should take top two in shot put as well.

The long distance events should have several victories as well. Senior Noah Mets should win the 800-meter run, sophomore David Heinemann will finish top three in the two mile, and his twin, Luke Heinemann will win the one mile.

The sprinters stole a lot of points in conference in their events. Behind junior Jon Gunn in the 100, junior Zach Little in the 200, sophomore Talon Hutto in hurdles, they should win several sprint events.

Bottom Line- The girls’ team won conference Tuesday night, and the boys should be able to match.  After a surprise victory in conference, the momentum boost should play a big part in the victory. The Highlander’s have won 15 sectional championships in row, and I see no reason why that number will end this year.