Category Archives: Natalie Clare

Childhood Poverty Goes Beyond Stereotypes

Photo by Christy Avery

Story  by Natalie Clare

Money being stretched so tight it feels as though it may rip. With the bank breaking, life feels like it is falling apart.

I have dealt with money issues my whole life. With my family just being my mom and I, we have learned to be resourceful and smart, and we are navigating through poverty.

Today is May 23rd, also known as Red Nose Day. In affiliation with Walgreens, MARS Wrigley Confectionery, NBC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, this holiday is meant to raise money for childhood poverty. Over the past four years, this organization has raised over 150 million dollars. This money has given 36 million meals, helped 77 thousand homeless children, and provided 146 thousand children with sanitation, hygiene, and water access.

According to RedNoseDay.org, over 700 thousand American teens are homeless, and one in six American children do not know where their next meal will come from. This is approximately 300 students at FC.

When you think of someone being poor, visions of normal American teens that you go to high school with do not come to mind.

When researching for this column, I had heard of Red Nose Day, and participated in it in the past. However, I did not realize the extreme need for it.

I am a part of those statistics, but I am not the stereotypical model for a teenager in poverty. When thinking of organizations like this, I often associate them with countries outside of the United States. Habitat Humanity building houses in Guatemala. Water Step setting up water pumps in Costa Rica. However, Red Nose Day donates half of the total proceeds to American and Puerto Rican citizens, and the other half to the poorest nations in the world.

“Kids in the U.S. experience higher poverty rates than most developed nations. Only Greece, Mexico, Israel, and Turkey have higher poverty rates than the U.S,”  according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a 2017 report.

This is shocking, considering the photographs and videos that are associated with extreme poverty are never seem to be from the United States. However, the source of this problem is largely centered right in our home country.

This high rate of poverty is largely caused by the shrinking of the middle class. According to the Pew Research Center in a 2016 report, 61 percent of the United States population fell under the requirements for middle class in 1971. In 2016, the percentage fell to 52.

To a high school student, this may seem irrelevant and like a big jumble of numbers. However, the middle class is shrinking, the majority of citizens are falling into the lower income category, instead of the higher income. This drops the median income in America.

The Pew research report said, “present an adverse climate for economic growth. A relative decline in the incomes of lower- and middle-income families may create a drag on overall consumption in the economy, lead to excessive borrowing by these families or provide disincentives to invest in education.”

Why is this happening? Well, technology has been known to take over mundane tasks once done by a human. With factories using technology to increase efficiency of production, middle class jobs are replacing humans. According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development in a 2019 report, 17 percent of middle-income jobs face a “high risk” of automation.

In the same report, the rising costs of education, health care, and house are hitting the middle class hard.

As a child, my mom went back to college to get her Bachelor’s Degree in nursing when I was five. She is now back in school again for her Master’s. Rising education costs make it hard for low-income families to ever rise in the ranks because they cannot afford to do so.

Growing up in a household where money was tight, my mom and I have learned how to live life without breaking the bank. We do not take large summer vacations every year. We do not go to the mall and shop at high end stores every weekend. We do not own big, fancy cars that can talk.

We live a comfortable lifestyle, under stricter restrictions than most households. However, you would not look at me and think of someone in poverty. I wear normal clothes. I eat normal foods at every meal. I participate in sports and have an active social life.

I am a normal teenager, but living in poverty.

Poverty has so many faces, mine being one. Today, drop a dollar at Walgreens and pick up your red nose in support of childhood poverty. Become a face in support of poverty.

 

Q&A with School Nurse Melissa Eldridge

By Natalie Clare

  1. Why are vaccinations important?
    1. Vaccinations are important because they keep us from getting sick.  The diseases that we have vaccinations for can ultimately kill people. They’re deadly and fatal and very contagious. They can spread and wipe out certain groups of people. Vaccinations are important ultimately to keep our population going, to keep the human race going.
  2. Do you believe vaccinations are necessary? Why or why not?
    1. I do. I’m definitely for vaccinations. I understand that some people have allergies or medical conditions where it’s not supportive that they have vaccines. I understand religious objections, those are very personal and individualized. But, I think if you are physically able to get vaccinated and it doesn’t go strongly against your beliefs, then I believe everybody should get vaccinated. In the long run, that’s what is keeping people healthy and at their optimum level.
  3. Why are students required to get vaccinations in order to come to school?
    1. Currently, there is a mumps outbreak and meningitis is coming back. They said on the news this morning that Indiana University of Bloomington has a mumps outbreak. Because we are all in such close quarters, you have to think that they are almost 2000 people in this building that are coming in contact every single day. Things spread very easily in this environment because we are all very close. Same thing with colleges, you’ve got dorms and other close quarters. So, if one person were to get a contagious disease, it’s going to be no time at all and the majority of us are probably going to have because we come in contact one way or another. If it’s not direct contact, it’s airborne or continental contact, like touching the same desks and door knobs.
  4. Can parents request to not have their child vaccinated? How? Why?
    1. Absolutely. Parents can fill out regions objection forms or they can go to a doctor and get a medical objection form. If it is against their beliefs or they have some type of medical reason that they can’t get a vaccine. They always have the option to object. But, according to our school policy, if we were to have an outbreak of something and a student wasn’t vaccinated, we would have the right to exclude them. More than anything, for their safety. It’s kind of a risk if you choose to not be vaccinated. Be aware of the risks that your are putting yourself at a chance at getting a contagious disease. Although, chicken pox isn’t necessarily a deadly disease, but you have more serious diseases like polio or meningitis.
  5. Can you really become sick by getting vaccinated? Or is that just a myth?
    1. I think it depends. I know that there are a lot of people that are anti-vaccine and talk about how they increase your risk for autism or other things. There is a small chance. You occasionally hear of somebody having an adverse reaction to a vaccine, especially if it’s a live vaccine. Which is where they do inject a small amount of the virus in you. But again, they take precautions. They always take precautions when giving vaccines, like if you’ve been sick or have recently had the flu, you’re doctor should say that this is not the right time to get a vaccine because you might be putting yourself at risk for getting sick. It’s very rare for someone to get sick after having a vaccine or contracting autism. I’ve never seen a huge amount of evidence to say that vaccines cause this, this, and this. Vaccines are here to prevent, not to cause other things. People talk about getting sick after having a vaccine, or contracting something. This is rare, it’s the exception not the rule.
  6. Are there any vaccinations that aren’t required but recommended?
    1. Right now, the CDC has recommended meningitis B, which protects against another strand of meningitis. You’re required to have your two meningitis vaccines. Because you have all of these kids that are going off to college, their going to new environments, they’re living in dorm rooms, and in close contact, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk at picking up a communicable disease. So Men. B is recommended and HPV is recommended based on research.
  7. Will the school be having a vaccination clinic? When? Where?
    1. Our vaccination clinic is Tuesday, April 23rd. It’s offered to juniors becoming seniors. This gives them an opportunity to get up to date on the required vaccines for their senior year, like the second dose of meningitis and the two Hep. A vaccines.

Students anchored to Indiana during mid-semester breaks

Art by Sam Haney

Story By Natalie Clare

Seagulls graze the wave peaks, searching for lunch. The air smells like salt, with sand being picked up in its wind. The sun beats down and… DING DING DING. The alarm clock reads 7 in the morning and we are brought back to reality. Time to go to practice.

I have been a runner since the sixth grade, and have also not been on a spring or fall break vacation since then. With the amount of work that is put into a sport, many athletes cannot afford to take spring break off.

For myself, running is a sport based on building upon speed and endurance. Taking a break can halt your progress, and even lose some. Therefore, I do not have the flexibility to take a vacation right in the middle of season. Leaving would be detrimental to my performance for outdoor season.

This is why we should have longer summer and winter breaks. Spring and fall breaks come very abruptly, right in the middle of a working period. Sports are mid-season. School is halfway through a semester. The breaks are just too long, and not beneficial to the majority of the school population.

According to a National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) study, over 7.6 million students played sports in the 2010-2011 school year. The NFHS also said that 55.5 percent of all high school students play a sport. Therefore, about 1,000 students at FC play a sport, anchoring half of the school to southern Indiana sports practices.

Although students are not forced to stay, FC is a competitive school. It would be detrimental to not practice with teammates. For track, competing against teammates helps to push you into a faster time, something that is extremely hard to do alone. But in the summer and winter, running is in its off-season and our schedule is much more flexible.

This does not just apply to athletics, but academics are halted because of spring and fall breaks. With a semester being cumulative, having a break between each quarter is difficult to come back from. Students are expected to come back from break ready to move on to the next lesson, or even to pick up from where they left off. There are also teachers who give homework over break. Instead of dragging ourselves into school, we are forced to do homework “from the comfort of our own bed.” Our brains and body never get to use spring and fall break for what they are intended for: giving students a time to rejuvenate and finish the second half of the semester.  

What is the point in a break if we do not actually get to take one? We should shorten both spring and fall break to one week and lengthen summer and winter.

There are many benefits to having long breaks after each semester. In the eyes of an athlete, we are in off season and just conditioning. Therefore, we would actually be able to let our bodies and minds rest. For academics, the semester is ended with finals, so the vast majority of teachers will not assign additional homework over the breaks.

Additionally, colleges are designed to have long summer and winter breaks already. So, if high school is meant to prepare students for college, why not have similar schedules as well? It seems redundant to have the several breaks throughout your whole high school career and then be thrown into a brand new schedule cold turkey once graduated.

With colleges in mind, a longer summer would mean more time to complete college courses early, as well as participate in other activities. Students could get a summer job and learn how to save money before going to college.

The purpose of a break is to allow students, and educators, a much-needed time away from school and allow our bodies and minds time to rest. With each semester being so demanding and mentally taxing, a true break is needed in order to excel to the full extent the whole school year.

As an active student, participating in a demanding sport, honors and high-level classes, and many other after school activities, a longer summer and winter break would be very beneficial to my needs. My schedule mirrors that of many students at FC.

“Longer summer and winter breaks would allow me more time to train for the season. It would also give me a chance to take summer classes,” said sophomore Sarah Langdon. “I have to take personal finance over the summer, but with such a short summer I’m not sure when I can take it. So, I’m going to have to do it over vacation and probably won’t do as well. If we had longer summers, I wouldn’t have to rush through training and summer classes and then finally get a break for a quick vacation.”

Short breaks are redundant in the fact that they are too short to accomplish anything. Spring and fall breaks result in homework because they cut right in the middle of lessons. Summer and winter breaks are too short to participate in summer jobs, camps, or additional classes all at the same time.

So, for those of you going on a sunbathing on a beach in Florida, or hiking up the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina this week, remember those who are anchored to Indiana, turning off that annoying alarm clock, getting up and putting in the work—all while supposedly having a break.  

Q&A with Miles for Merry Miracles project manager Teresa Hebert

Natalie Clare

Teresa Hebert Q&A

  1. What is the organization and how long has FC raised money for this charity?
    1. “Miles for Merry Miracles was founded in 2008 by FC sophomore class president Nick Hebert, who at that time was working on his Eagle Scout Project. In 2009, Nick and fellow students Ryan Smith and Kendra Mifflin, who were on the first M4MM leadership board, also served on the inaugural Executive Board of Dance Marathon.”
  2. What fundraisers do you do to raise money?
    1. “Miles for Merry Miracles does not consider itself to be raising money. Instead, it works primarily to partner with Angel Tree Sponsors to provide gifts of clothing, shoes, toys and food to create a miraculous experience to children who might not otherwise receive these blessings. Our youth leadership board is based on an application and interview process. They receive training and have even been successful at writing grants for over $35,000. Those funds have been used to offset the costs to host runs, shopping sprees, dinners, etc. that have served over 7,150 meals, provided over 40,000 non-perishable food items, purchased craft supplies and photo supplies for Santa Pictures at the Christmas dinner, and host other large scale community service projects.”
  3. How much money have you raised in the past?
    1. “Considering the average spent on the Angel Tree gifts and costs associated with the large scale service projects, the value would exceed well over $900,000. Additionally, more than 21,000 volunteer hours have been logged. After this year, Miles for Merry Miracles will have collaborated with the community to provide gifts to nearly 5,000 Angel Tree and Kentucky Refugee Ministries children. We have also provided gifts to children at Haven House, Wayside Christian Ministries, Family Ark (Foster Children)  and provided toys for Norton Children’s Hospital. We have also partnered with other youth led, youth serving non-profits like Makenzie’s Coat Closet where we collected over 1,000 gently used coats We also are partnering with Brianna’s Silly Socks this year.”
  4. What is your goal for this year?
    1. “Our goal is to provides gifts of clothing, shoes, toys, and food to 350 children and their families. Through a partnership with Salvation Army and some of our sponsors, we will also provide about 100 new bikes, one to each of the families we are serving.”
  5. How have you helped the community? What specific stories?
    1. “As a result of a food drive in Dec. 2016 to benefit M4MM families being served, about 8,500 food items were collected. Unfortunately, 3,466 of those items were packs of Ramen Noodles. M4MM youth leaders set out to partner with a girl scout who was working on her Gold Award. Anna Perkins, a then senior at Floyd Central, led us to educate our community that unhealthily food is not what should be donated during a food drive. Good to Grow Green, another youth inspired alliteration, was launched. Good to Grow Green (G2GG) promotes student responsibility, healthy eating and community service by setting up gardens in the classroom. These gardens are not ordinary crops; they are vertical aeroponic gardens provided by the local student leaders who created this nationally-recognized, non-profit project. This earth-friendly approach to gardening uses less water and space than soil gardens, without the use of chemicals like herbicides and pesticides. Plus, we can grow our plants year-round and 30 percent faster. We were fortunate to place in the top 10 of almost 300 projects nationwide and received an all expense paid trip to Chicago to compete for a $10,000 prize. We did not win the top prize in terms of money. We did receive some top notch training from industry leaders. Since our first garden was installed in April of 2017, we have taught about 500 students in 25 NAFCS classrooms about food, nutrition, gardening and philanthropy. There are currently two gardens in Ms. McGowan’s class at Floyd Central. Her FBLA students are learning about branding, presentation skills, cost analysis, research, and development among other business skills.”

Dance Marathon continues fundraising

By Natalie Clare

When: February 23, 2019

Never sit down, never stop dancing. Throughout the night of dance marathon, hundreds of FC students dance for those who cannot.

“Dance Marathon is an organization for Riley Children’s Hospital that raises money to support research, help support families while they are there,” said FCDM sponsor Ashley Faith. “Dance Marathon at Floyd Central is just a fundraising opportunity to help move in that bigger direction.”

FCDM does not just give during the holiday season, but year round. Medical bills and hospital stays can build up. So, Dance Marathon raises tens of thousands of dollars to help families focus on what is important: the quality of their child’s life.

It all started with Ryan White, said Faith. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS after a faulty blood transfusion in December, 1984. Ryan was subjected to AIDS-related hatred and his story went viral. The first Dance Marathon was held in honor of Ryan White.

“It was mainly a college thing, and it sort of branched out from there,” said Faith. “Floyd Central Dance Marathon is a part of IU Bloomington. Although, they all go together in the end.”

Over the years, FCDM has also had a growing monetary goal. This year, Faith said the school goal is $75,000. Having this goal gives fundraising a finish line, so students should set individual goals to help with their fundraising.

“My personal monetary goals this year is $2,500,” said FCDM executive member Kelby Rippy. “That would put my individual total raised funds at $7,000 over the last four years.”

It is easy to get caught up in the money aspect of fundraising. Sometimes, when we take a step back and remembering who is being fundraised for, we are refocused on our main goal.

“[Dance Marathon] is not a dance, like many people think it is,” said Faith. “It’s meant to bring awareness and raise money. That’s why we bring the Riley families in, so that the kids from our school can see who this is impacting. They can put a face and a name to where their money is going.”

Because Faith’s daughter was a premie, she connects on a personal level to the organization. Having her own experiences is a motivator, so she wanted to participate in a group that helped other families going through what she had.

FCDM has raised over $500,000 in total from all the years of fundraising. This money has helped many families in the hardest of times.

“Giving back to the community is important to me because it allows me to help someone other than myself,” said Rippy. “I love having the opportunity to give to someone who needs it.”