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Baddude writes final column in high school career

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

It is crazy that after a little over two and a half years I’m writing my last column. Last week was my 100th column, and I think that this is the 120th story I published — that includes all columns and stories published in the paper. That could be a few higher, but I think that it is a pretty safe estimate. I am also going to declare myself the record holder for most stories published during anyone’s time on the Bagpiper staff, or at least while Mr. Lang has been in charge. 

The next thing I want to hit in this column is that I think it is time to retire the baddude mantra I have taken up throughout my high school career. The first simple reason is that at Wheaton the term used is dudes not baddudes. The idea kind of started as a joke because Coach Brian Glesing used that term a lot and I thought it was a funny nickname. But it kind of became a name you earned by your play on the field. If you made a pancake block, you are called a baddude. Had a big hit, baddude. Interception, baddude. Break a tackle, baddude. So it was kind of something you earned, and at Wheaton, I have not earned it yet. Might it come back late in my time at Wheaton? Maybe, but probably not.

Next, I thought I would hit a topic I wrote about a lot. My two and a half years I got to write about how FC dominated New Albany, as well as Jeff and Providence, a lot. So I thought I would just mention that the school year ended with FC as sectional champions over Jeff and New Albany. I also thought I would point out that we were undefeated against the three schools in football, tied the record for largest margin of victory against the Dogs after we scored 50 unanswered earlier this school year, and won sectionals for the first time in 10 years that included both Jeff and New Albany in it. 

I appreciate everyone who has read my column over the past couple of years, and I have enjoyed writing them. I really liked interviewing my fellow Highlander students and giving them credit for their athletic achievements. I am glad I decided to take Mr. Lang’s journalism class my freshman year so I got the chance to write for the paper while in high school. It has been a fun time and I am excited for my future as a Wheaton Thunder. 

J.D. McKay, signing off.

An unconventional but memorable senior year

Story by Gracie Vanover

Like every other senior at FC I never thought I would be finishing my senior year digitally. I expected to be leaning back in my special editor-in-chief swivel chair and counting down the days until I pass the torch. But I did not get to do that the normal way editors before me did. Although these last three months have made my senior year unconventional, to say the least, I would never trade this time for the world.

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 2.27.07 PM
Back in the summer of 2019 when I went to the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University Bloomington. I made tons of friends and still keep in touch with them.

Senior year was not my “picture perfect” dream. I had dreamed of marching band state. I had dreamed of the tears of happiness after my final live show in radio and tv. I dreamed of all the crying and hugging as the bell rang during my last news period of high school. I dreamed of enjoying my last “eighth period” after school with my friends and radio and tv teacher Brian Shaw. Although my dreams did not or will not come true, I am still content with my senior year.

In my time as a senior and team leader I learned so many life lessons. I learned concepts that sometimes I still struggle with. Although I am a work driven person, I learned sometimes you just have to step back and examine life. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing and editing. And that is okay. I am human and not a robot, so I deserve a day or two of doing nothing. 

Not only did this year teach me lessons, but I accomplished so much, unlike any other

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My first year on staff during the 2018-19 school year where I served as the Assistant A&E Editor.

years of high school. If you would have told freshman me that I would be leading an award-winning staff or be a section leader in a band program I had been a part of for years, I would have said you were bluffing. I could have never imagined that I would be standing in front of a news staff every day yelling “Good morning!” and leading a team through our routine. I mean, last year as a junior I would have never imagined being the top dog. 

Normally I feel like people who are in my position would brag or be proud about their work, but that is not me. I never “flex” my awards or scholarships or tell people to read my work. Although I am not ashamed of my work, I have never felt it was anything special or award worthy. I have always been harsh on my writing and felt it was subpar at best. Luckily, I have had amazing advisors and peers to push me to appreciate my own work and see how extraordinary it could be. Without them I would not be in this position. I never even really considered it until my friends told me I would be perfect for the job. Although I was never perfect for this role, it was one I will never forget.

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One of my graduation medals was for completing the journalism path. I never intended on completing this path but now I am glad I did.

Of course, memories are a huge part of any experience. I will never forget laughs while helping during the fifth hour journalism class. I will never forget awarding the members of staff on our “Good Noodle” board. I will never forget comforting people who had outside the newsroom issues. I will never forget reading college admissions essays for people on my staff, and so much more. I will carry memories of every person on my two years of staff, especially ones with our amazing adviser, Jim Lang.

Lang has been through thick and thin with me in my time in this program. He helped me make some of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. He reassured me of the excellent work I was doing and made sure I did not undermine myself. He recommended me for countless scholarships and awards I would have never thought I deserved. He has not only been an adviser and role model but he has also been a true friend who I can never thank enough.

All I can say is, thank you FC. Your programs have pushed me to be the best I can be. Without the journalism programs led by two great men, I would not be where I am today. So, thank you FC. I will miss you more than you will ever know.

 

Baddude reflects over favorite stories in 100th column

By J.D. McKay

After about 2.5 years of writing my column I have two left. Today’s column, from May 13, and next Wednesday’s, the day before my last day of school. During my three years in newspaper and 2.5 years writing this column, we have done some impressive things as Highlanders. So, I thought in my 100th column I would look back on my favorite columns and stories I have written for the newspaper.

 

Boys’ basketball wins sectionals for the first time in 31 years 

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/boys-basketball-wins-sectionals-for-the-first-time-in-31-years/

This one was an easy number 1 for me. This was either my favorite or second favorite memory from my senior year. To me, though, this was an awesome moment in FC history and was awesome to cover. 

As a student, I was celebrating, but as a writer, I immediately was ready to interview guys after the game. And while the players I talked to knew I was interviewing them for the Bagpiper, we were just students at a school that had just won sectionals for the first time in 31 years. Crazy excited and completely themselves. They did not overthink the answer and told me exactly what they were feeling. That produced some great quotes, which made writing the story easy for me. 

Another significant part of this story for me was how quickly I wrote it and got it out. It was the only story I wrote in all three years on the Bagpiper staff that got out the same night as the event happened. It was the first story published about the game by any news source and I was very proud of the work I put into it. 

 

FC’s best athletes reflect over their success

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/05/18/fcs-best-athletes-reflect-over-their-success/

I got to interview some of the people that are hanging all over the FC athletic wing. That included Pat Graham, Mr. Basketball; Jeffrey Thompson, pro-baseball player and college World Series pitcher; Jill Schuler, an All-American and three sport all-state athlete; and Codie Hamsley, the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as well as six others. It was interesting to put a story to a face on the All-State wall and tell their stories to a lot of students who may never have heard of them. 

 

Previewing New Albany basketball regular season games

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/12/11/fc-plays-new-albany-friday-in-continuation-of-historic-rivalry/

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/20447/

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/column-highlanders-face-toughest-task-this-friday/

I wrote three of these and I didn’t have one that stuck out, so I just included all of them. I wanted to flex a little but because my scoring predictions for these games were almost always pretty close. And that came from almost no knowledge of the Dogs. I never watched them play before writing the column and only looked at the scores of their previous games. 

Last year, my final score prediction was not very close but the margin of victory was. This year, the final score was 52-48, I predicted 53-51. My favorite game against New Albany was my sophomore year when they had Romeo Langford on their team. I predicted 51-50 and the final score was 49-47. That was an awesome game that played overtime and inspired my fourth favorite column to write. 

 

FC win against New Albany captured old Indiana basketball emotions

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/fc-win-against-new-albany-captured-old-indiana-basketball-emotions/

This was a cool column to write because I got to mention Indiana high school basketball history. If you read my columns very consistently you would see that came up in a lot of my basketball columns. But I enjoyed recapping the game and crediting Matt Weimer’s stellar defense on a player who is now in the NBA. I also got to proclaim the game an “Indiana high school basketball classic.” 

 

Baddude reflects on football career before college

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/baddude-reflects-on-football-career-before-college/

This one I enjoyed writing because it is always kind of fun to reflect on something. But it also reminded me of a lot of good memories I hadn’t thought about in a long time. It was also cool to really look back and see how all the football I played and was around as a little kid to success in my FC career and specifically senior season. 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Baddude prepares to roll on to Wheaton

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/baddude-prepares-to-roll-on-to-wheaton/

This was fun to write because I committed in it. I had a place to do a cool commitment instead of the typical Twitter commitment. It was also fun to put out what I got to do as a college student-athlete for a weekend. 

 

Football coach Brian Glesing steps down

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/column-football-coach-brian-glesing-steps-down/

I liked writing this because I have known Glesing for a while. I worked with him a lot as a writer and he was very helpful. I also liked giving him his recognition that I thought he earned and a lot of people ignored because they did not like him.

 

Sports directly influence higher grades

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/sports-directly-influence-higher-grades/

I never really viewed myself as a dumb jock so I enjoyed arguing that the dumb jock stereotype was false. 

 

Tiger roars back to the top after Masters Win

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/tiger-roars-back-to-the-top-after-masters-win/

I have enjoyed trying to rank sports events for a long time. Here was a column where I finally got to do it so it was fun. Plus, writing about Tiger Woods was cool to do after he finally got back on top.

 

Louisville should be AAF Expansion City

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/louisville-should-be-aaf-expansion-city/

This was just kind of a fun story to write. I got to use my imagination to make a plan for Louisville. Obviously, the AAF did not work out, though. 

 

High school basketball is better without a shot clock

https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/high-school-basketball-is-better-without-a-shot-clock/

I published this after we lost to Jeff on a buzzer beater early in the season. Many students were complaining that high school did not have a shot clock and were worried about Jeff using this again to impact a potential sectional game. It ended up not mattering in sectionals at all.

A Baddude’s Journal senior athlete spotlight: Chloe Loftus

By J.D. McKay

Last season, senior Chloe Loftus and her 4 by 800 meter team finished 10th at the state meet. This year, the team made up of sophomore Jaydon Cirincione, junior Natalie Clare, and Sydney Baxter were aiming to finish top eight and get on the podium. Loftus’ hard work was certainly helping to lead the team to a top eight finish.

“On an average week, I spend about 20 hours running and strength training,” said Loftus. 

On top of the hours she has put in, Loftus has been running for a long time. 

“I started doing track in fifth grade, the first year I could.” 

Along with the 4 by 800, she runs the 800 and 2 mile. 

“My goals for the season were to PR in the 2 mile and individual 800,” said Loftus. “I also wanted to be all-state with my 4 by 800 team.”

Loftus is getting to run at Division 1 Indiana State next year. One reason is her work ethic, but she believes the mental aspect of being a good runner is important, too. 

“I have had successes and get to run at ISU because I stay positive, work hard, and stay committed,” said Loftus.

As a D-1 athlete, she knows she cannot just sit back and get upset by the fact that she is losing a lot of her senior year, and plans to continue training for college. 

“My goals past track season and into the summer are to work hard and prepare for my freshman cross country season at ISU.” 

Even though she is excited about her future as a runner, that does not mean she is just fine with missing her senior season. 

“My favorite part of track is getting to compete and hanging out with my friends,” said Loftus. “So the thing that I am most sad about when it comes to track season is having to miss out on all of the memories that I would have made with my teammates.”

But the best advice ever given to Loftus has helped her push through this tough time and become a talented runner. 

“The best advice someone has ever given me is to set your eye on a goal and never give up until you achieve it,” she said. “Even if it seems impossible.”