Category Archives: News

Q&A: FC Hall of Fame inductees share their stories

By Aurora Robinson

Editor’s Note: This weekend FC graduates Julie Collings, Amy Hutchinson, and Danny Mefford will be inducted into the Floyd Central Hall of Fame. For more coverage of this weekend’s ceremony, check out today’s print Bagpiper.

Julie Collings, school nurse

B: Anything you would like to add about your induction?

J: “I feel extremely honored to receive this award! The education I received at Floyd Central prepared me to be successful in college and in my career.”

 

Amy Hutchison, opera director

B: Why do you think you were chosen to be inducted?  

A: “My professional work as a theatre and opera director is directly tied to my work at FCHS in the Theatre Department! Glenn Edwards was a great inspiration and mentor to me and so many lucky students at FC. I first took summer theatre classes with Mr. Edwards when I was just 10 years old (back when FC still performed in the school cafeteria). I stayed connected to theatre: writing, directing and performing in all types of skits and plays throughout grade school, middle school and high school. In HS, Mr. Edwards recognized I may be better suited to directing than acting, and gave me a mainstage show, The Mousetrap.  I went on to study directing at the Conservatory for Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis, where I was introduced to opera. Being brought up on the large scale musical extravaganzas at FCHS and playing in the orchestra during junior high school, and loving language study made opera a perfect fit for me!”

Danny Mefford, choreographer

B: What got you started?

D: “I went to one of Bette Weber Flock’s Saturday morning musical theater dance classes because I knew that she was the woman who choreographed all of the musicals. My sister was also in the musicals before she graduated in 1996, before I went into high school. I was always very jealous, I wanted to be in them too. I went to Bette Weber Flock’s Saturday morning dance class and we were learning to tap dance and at the end of it, Bette Weber took me aside and she said ‘You really have a gift, I hope you keep coming back’. That’s how I started dancing and how I got involved in the theater in the first place. I spent all four years of high school just obsessed with it, one of those true die hard theater kids at Floyd Central, and was in a ton of things.”

Floyd County Sheriff Frank Loop speaks about school safety

By Hannah Clere

What you do concerning school safety?

“Well, school safety has been a priority for [the] Floyd County Sheriff’s Department since the Columbine shooting in 1999. At that time I was the SWAT commander here for our SWAT team and I was also the training officer. So I attended trainings across the country on how to train officers and how to respond to school shootings. I also assisted the Floyd County school system in writing their protocols in the school. So we trained in the school, we trained the staff, we helped the school system write their policies and procedures. We have continued that. Since then, every year we do training for the police officers and how to respond to school shootings. It’s not just school shootings, it doesn’t matter to us whether it’s a school or it’s a business; if it is an active shooter, we want to be able to respond.”

 

What advice would you give to schools to ensure intruder safety?

“First thing that we advise the schools is to be proactive. Note your red flag issues. If you have a student that has gone out of social media, let us know. If you have a student that says something, let us know. Another thing is we need to harden the building. So when I say harden the building, we need to make sure that the building is secure, that intruders can’t get in. When you look at your school building and you know you can only go in one door, that is called hardening the building. Then there are levels of security inside the door. So you have to check in, you have to give your driver’s license, they scan your driver’s license to see who you are, is there a protective order on file or anything like that. We also have the doors numbered, and that is very important because we want to be able to say that there is a problem at Door 4, and everybody knows when they get there they’re going to Door 4.”

 

What opinions do you have concerning the gun regulations?

“I think that there’s enough laws about gun regulations. Keep in mind that my personal opinion is the gun didn’t kill anybody, the person that had the gun killed somebody. I could take a gun and I can lay it right in the middle of the floor in the cafeteria in your school and it will be fine laying right there, until somebody touches it, picks it up, and points it at somebody else, and puts their finger in the trigger. Then that’s a problem. The gun itself didn’t hurt anybody, it’s the person that had it. We see a large number of people injured on a regular basis with baseball bats, with knives, with all other kinds of weaponry. So the gun’s not the issue. There are plenty of gun laws that are out there. The biggest issue that you have out there that involves school shootings are mental illnesses. So you have to stop and think about the person that is going to do that, most of them don’t think past the killing itself. They don’t think they’re going to survive, they’re willing to die, so you’ve got to say, ‘What is their mental capacity?’ So it’s a mental illness issue. One of the important things that I stress to people on a regular basis, is that we have conflicting laws in this country. So if you have a bad day, and you’re having a time of your life, maybe you’re dealing with a death or you’re dealing with whatever and you check into a hospital for mental illness. Maybe it’s just temporary, maybe you’re just there for a couple of days and you get out and you’re taking medication for a little while, and everything is fine. Then three or four years later you decide to go buy a gun. There is no way to know that you were in the hospital because of the HIPPA laws, no one can tell us that you were in the hospital for mental illness that you had some kind of psychotic behavior or that you were on any kind of treatment. So you have to think about that, that there are things in the way. They won’t show up on a firearms background check. That’s the problem. I’ve been telling legislators and other people, ‘Look we need to fix that.’ Law enforcement and background checks need to know if there was some mental illness in there. The only thing that you can see in a background check is criminal behavior. Well, if you don’t commit any criminal behavior until that day, then there’s no reason to sell you a gun.”

 

What would you say is the importance of having a resource officer in a school building?

“Well, I’m the one that started the school resource officer program in New Albany Floyd County schools. I was the one that wrote the grant and started that program and in the beginning we saw such a huge connection that was made prior to having a police officer in the school everyday. Students would be very standoffish to police officers and police officers really didn’t know how to deal with students, with younger people. Once we saw how the interaction was with police officers in the building, number one the administration came to love it that they knew that there was a police officer there to help them with the difficult situations of a daily basis. Difficult parents, difficult kids, difficult situations. It took a lot off of their plate. Number two, over the years that we started that — which its been probably 15 or 20 years now that we’ve had police officers in school –we’ve seen a whole culture of young people now relating to law enforcement. So there’s a positive relationship there. The parents love it. There is no way in this community that the parents would stand still for taking police officers out of the building. There’s just no way. They love having an officer there. They know their child is safe and they want that officer there. It’s given us a great relationship with the school system. Were connecting better with the community. A lot of these officers are also involved in coaching and orchestra and different things because of course their kids go there. So there is a connection there, and that is positive for everybody in the community. Not only schools have an officer, but, like, SAM Tech pays a police officer to be out there all the time. They wanted that same relationship. So even in a business they found positive things to have an officer in the building. So SAM Tech pays for a police officer to be there. Almost every Sunday we’ve got almost 10 churches that pay for a police officer to be at church because they’re worried about the same thing that you are. They’re worried about church shootings, which have increased as well.”

 

Students Participate in Nation-Wide Walkouts

Photos by Shelby Pennington

Senior Isabelle Langford earns Girl Scouts Gold Award

Photo by Shelby Pennington

By Ky Haney

Senior Isabelle Langford recently accepted her Gold Award for Girl Scouts, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The Girl Scouts describe it as “the most difficult to to earn” and challenges winners to “change the world — or at least your corner of it.”

Langford has been involved with Girl Scouts since she was in first grade. “Girl Scouts stand for building a better, more accepting world. People can still help out with a lot of different things. I’ve always had fun in it,” said Langford.

She heard other girls call themselves Daisies, but she was not sure what that meant until she asked and signed up for Girl Scouts. She stayed in this for years and eventually her troop started leaving. However, Langford did not.

“I’m proud to be in this because of what it stands for. It’s something girls can get involved with, it doesn’t really require talent. It just requires commitment, being human and helping other humans out,” said Langford.

Girl Scouts is full of many valuable activities that help members learn lifelong skills, including just being kind to each other. Langford really liked getting patches when she was younger, saying it felt like going on adventures.

This feeling continued with her Gold Award, which recognizes her commitment and requires honorees to to identify an issue, investigate it, create a plan, present the plan and gather feedback, take action, and educate and inspire.

“When getting the Gold Award, you go on something called a journey, and it is where you get a book. You answer all these questions about different things. You have to do the journey before you can even start on getting your Gold Award,” she said.

Langford is very proud of this award and worked hard to earn it. Her dedication is shown with the fact that she does many other activities outside of school, along with Girl Scouts. She is in handbells, choir, dance, and theatre. Many of her big festivals in Girl Scouts are actually on Saturdays, when her dance class takes place.

Her dedication was not for nothing. Langford wanted to start sophomore year, but she had to think of a plan for her first step. She started on her Gold Award in August of her junior year. It took her until March to get it approved, though.

She made a timeline of every single time FC went to the International Thespian Festival. Since many people did not know what this festival was, Langford made a PowerPoint and a timeline showing how important this was, highlighting the accomplishments of FC Theatre.

“When you get your Gold Award, you are supposed to branch out to different communities. I needed different playbills and I asked on Twitter for people to send it, and they did. People from Georgia, people from Florida, it just sparked this whole network of people reminiscing of their times in theatre,” said Langford. “They kept saying ‘Whoever this girl is, stay in Girl Scouts’.”

NJROTC’s Annual Military Inspection

Photos by Lexi Sapp