Category Archives: News

Moore, New Albany, FC: phone policies at a glance

By Shari Rowe
With technology being deeply rooted in today’s culture, many schools have developed phone policies to keep phone usage. The schools’ policies vary, some banning the use of cell phone use entirely, with others allowing phone use during certain times.

FC’s official policy is that phones are prohibited during class time. During lunch in the cafeteria and the spine, however, students are permitted to take their phones out.

The policy at FC is not as enforced as it could be. Many teachers have said that students still take out their phones, and Latin teacher Lesley Austin said that she sees students bumping into things during passing period because they are on their phones.

The policy also has become somewhat lax with the introduction of the iPads. Many teachers use the iPads to access learning programs online. Sometimes students use their phones as stand-ins when they can not use their school issued iPads, such as if they are lost or not charged.

Similar to FC, Moore High School also allows students to use their phones in the halls in addition to the lunch room. It was changed to this version after problems arose with phone usage last year.

“It was out of hand last year, which is why we changed the policy,” said Moore principal Rob Fulk.

Currently, at Moore, even after one offense, students will get a phone call home as well as In-School Adjustment Program (ISAP) for the rest of the day and the next. Moore is also determined to crack down on phone usage in the classrooms.

“We have really harped on them (teachers) being consistent in the policy. It’s the only way it works,” said Fulk. “We have explained to staff we will hold them accountable if they bend the policy.

For New Albany High School, phones are dealt with by the teachers. They decide if they are allowed in their specific classroom.

“The way that the policy is written that it is up to a staff member on how or when it can be used in their classroom,” said NA principal Michelle Ginkins. “Some teachers completely handle that themselves.”

Ginkins also said that if students work hard, they may be able to use their phones in study halls.

As technology becomes more advanced, schools have been integrating technology into their curriculum and teaching methods, as seen with the iPads at FC and the 1700 Chromebooks at Moore. That does not mean, however, that they will let phones distract students from their work.

“We did this policy to increase engagement in class,” said Fulk. “Hard to teach when kids are on Insta[gram] live, Fortnite, or watching Netflix.”

Nike uses Colin Kaepernick’s ‘Sacrifice’ in newest ad campaign

By J.D. McKay

On Aug. 26, 2016 the 49ers lost to the Packers in what should have been a meaningless preseason game. Two years later the recoil from that game can still be seen in the game and weekly in the news. 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. Players began to join together in the protest, hitting a crescendo on Sept. 24, 2017. Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva stood outside of the Steelers tunnel alone for the national anthem.

After the 2016 season ended, Kaepernick, who had been riding the bench, opted out of his contract to pursue more money he assumed he would get. However, there were no buyers for a washed up quarterback that would lose his team’s fan support and money. Kaepernick is still unemployed and now is suing the NFL because he believes the owners are colluding to keep him out of the league.

Since then, he has won and been finalists for several Man of the Year awards. He won GQ’s 2017 Man of the Year where he was described as one of the best football players in the world in 2013. Then, in 2017 he was a finalist for Time’s Person of the Year. He also won Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in December of 2017.

Now, his face is a part of the view in San Francisco. Nike posted the first Kaepernick billboard over Union Square. The Billboard is Kaepernick’s face in a close up, so all you can see is his face. In front of his face are the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.”

That statement is incredibly ironic. His net worth is still over 20 million dollars, according to He is still alive, and he can still visit his family.

Meanwhile, the men and women who are sacrificing everything do not always have what Kaepernick has. For example, a Private First Class in the Army is making 26,000 dollars a year if he or she has been serving for six years, according to For that Private First Class to make the equivalent of Kaepernick’s net worth, they would need to work for 769 years. That Private First Class could also be deployed, unable to see his or her family and potential in life threatening situations.

The results of this ad campaign probably will not be completely clear immediately. Americans have be outraged about it recently, their stock has dropped two dollars from $82 to $80, and videos of people burning their Nike gear or cutting the swooshes off of socks and shorts. However, their online sales also increased 31 percent over that time. One of two things could come from this. Americans could forget about this ad and go back to buying their Jordans in just a few months, or Americans could show how they really feel about these protests and stop buying Nike.

Nike and Kaepernick might think that he has sacrificed something. What he sacrificed is unclear to me, but apparently he sacrificed something. If he truly want to see sacrifice, he should go visit with American Soldiers in another country, soldiers that have not seen their families for close to a year and have seen friends and fellow soldiers die, or children who lost their mother or father because they wanted to protect their children, family, and fellow American citizens.

Editor’s Note: What do you think? Feel free to express your thoughts in the comments section and vote on our Twitter poll.

How the death of one child has shaped the lives of others for 25 years

Auction goers bid on donated items to support Brandon’s House on Aug. 26. The fundraiser included a meal, a silent auction, and a live auction. Volunteers from Trinity United Methodist shuffled around throughout the evening to help out. Photo by Hannah Clere

By Hannah Clere

He saw his father murder his mother. Scarred from a young age, Brandon Dukes met many struggles in his life. He needed help and he got it. But not long after getting that help, he met the end of his life.

“It was on a Friday night at a softball game and Brandon died right there on that field,” said Bob Lane, volunteer and member at Trinity United Methodist.

Lane was at the game when Brandon had a heart attack in 1993. After everything he had been through, no one saw that coming. Since that day, an effort to help kids like Brandon has been underway: Brandon’s House.

“We are a mental health counseling agency that provides counseling for teenagers and their families. We’re a non-profit. Because we are a non-profit, we do get a high demand of people needing counseling,” said Kathleen Randelia, director of Brandon’s House.

Brandon’s House is an organization founded by Susan Parr. She was the director up until her retirement last year. Parr met Brandon when she was finishing her master’s degree. She saw a teenager who needed help, so she worked with her church to help others like him.

“They provide counseling for those who cannot afford it. A lot of the counselors and staff give a lot of their time to make that happen and make that possible,” said Chris Neikirk, pastor at Trinity United Methodist.

Last Sunday, Aug. 26, Brandon’s House held an auction as a fundraiser at Trinity United Methodist. Randelia is a member there and saw an opportunity to get volunteers as well as a perfect location. Rebecca Snider, a member of the church and a volunteer at the auction, was glad to be able to help Brandon’s House out in any way she could.

“It’s just a great organization and we love Kate [Randelia] and we want to support her. I just hope everybody supports the work they’re doing at Brandon’s House,” said Snider.

She explained how much preparation had to go into organizing the evening — from seeking donations to figuring out what food to buy. Not only that, but preparing the food was a project in and of itself.

“There were four of us that fixed the steaks — 200 steaks today. We had an oversized grill and we started at two o’clock and finished right at five. We wanted to do this because we are very appreciative of the work that’s done at Brandon’s House,” said Lane.

After figuring out the food and donations, the rest came down to who they had as volunteers. Nathan Bleecker, the youth director at Trinity United Methodist, reached out to children of the church as well as all members for help.

“It’s a really cool example of how a church can be a church, not just people going to church,” said Bleecker.

The congregation at Trinity United Methodist showed great compassion as they ran the event Sunday night. Many attendees were able to see what it really means to be involved with Brandon’s House.

“It’s really opened my eyes to how grateful I am to grow up the way I did. A lot of teens don’t want to talk to their mom or dad,” said Chelsea Getty, administrative assistant at Brandon’s House.

To Getty, joining the organization has been a learning experience.

“[Brandon’s House gives] hope. Hope and a safe place to communicate. I’m just glad that we’re there for teens with broken families. We’re a free service,” said Getty.

A counselor at Brandon’s House, Terri Apple, shares views similar to Getty. Apple views her work as nothing terribly extraordinary, but simply as the right thing to do.

“Hope. Relief. We give people relief. It’s not magic, it’s just being supportive at a hard time in their life,” said Apple.

Those who have worked with Brandon’s House have seen the struggles and hardships that many families and young people experience.

“There are so many things that young people go through — all the things they are tempted with and things with families,” said Lane.

Even though the volunteers know that there are many people out there whom struggle, they themselves have difficulty getting the word out about their organization.

“A thing we’ve struggled with is very few people know about Brandon’s House and then you have trouble and you wonder, ‘Where are the resources?’” said Eric Schansberg, president of the Brandon’s House board.

Not only that, but they need counselors. Anyone interested in volunteering and who has studied mental health practices should call (812) 949-2499 or send an email to for more information.

“I started at Brandon’s House in 2011 as an intern. I wanted to help others and was drawn to the counseling world. So I volunteered as a counselor when I graduated. I took over in January as director,” said Randelia.

Through her experience volunteering, Randelia has learned quite a bit. Twenty-five years after the death of Brandon Dukes, the memory of his life remains a strong force for helping others. Randelia sums up what Brandon’s House means to the community pretty well:

“Brandon’s House to me means hope.”

New nutrition policy creates changes in corporation

By Aurora Robinson

The classroom door opens and a cart full of goodies pushes through with familiar faces behind it. Many students immediately rummage through their school bags to grab a dollar or two in exchange for treats from the cookie cart.

On May 14, 2018, a policy called 8510-WELLNESS was issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was updated. This update has changed the kinds of foods that can be brought to or sold at schools in the NAFCS.

“Well, mainly it covers a lot on nutrition. What is accepted and what’s not. Basically, it says that we need to adhere to federal nutrition guidelines when students get fed during school. Things like cookies, things like the candy and stuff like that have to be, I guess, discouraged, but it doesn’t have to be altogether eliminated,” said principal Rob Willman.

The wellness policy does not only cover the nutrition guidelines for students in NAFCS, but it also goes over physical health, education, and the wellness of others within the school facility.

“It talks about nutrition education in schools, it  talks about physical activity in schools, and physical activity education in schools. There are parts of it that demand that there can’t be unhealthy foods that are competing with our healthier food options in the cafeteria. There’s a part that dictates when food can be sold at fundraisers and the health components of those foods and there is even a part that addresses the foods that can be served or given in class parties and classroom activities. There are parts of it that affects our staff wellness as well,” said coordinator of NAFCS health services Andrea Tanner.

The updated wellness policy caused the cookie cart to be on hiatus until details in the policy could be tweaked. The NAFCS Director of Food and Nutrition Services Pam Casey has been working with the FC special education program to find a solution to their fundraising cookie cart.

“They have a formula you have to follow for snacks, main courses, anything like that. She (Casey) had to follow that formula and once you put the nutrition in, how many calories, how many ounces, and if at the end it says ‘yes’ then it’s okay. If it says ‘no’, then you move on to the next one. Since there was so many, she’s the one that did that. Which was a big help to us because it was like a needle in a haystack,” said Mary Ann Borrego, a special education aide.

With the new additions to the federal guidelines, this caused certain privileges the school had, such as the foreign language food days, to be changed to compensate the policy or all together taken away.

“It doesn’t just affect me. That’s why there is no more catered foods in for student of the month because it has to be healthy. There’s no more Chick-fil-A or Subway. That has already taken place, but it’s going to affect the PTO who gives out the snacks for the success cards, it affects them, it affects teachers who cannot give candy to kids. Pi Day — it affects all of that as well,” said special education teacher DeAnn Thrasher.

It was said for a while that the cookie cart was not going to return this school year, but the special education program has many people supporting them and their fundraising strategies. They helped find a solution to keep the cookie cart going at FC.

“We’re going to make every effort to keep that going, because it gets those kids out in the school community, its good for them. I know that Mrs. Thrasher really likes it, so I can’t see that not continuing,” said Willman.

Fundraising was not the original reason that the special education program started the cookie cart. They originally started it for their students so that they could get out and become familiar with the school. However, the money is still used to benefit the students.

“Our parents love it because when they have their children out, kids like you all can speak to them and say ‘hi’ and know their first name. They really like that, they feel like their kids are getting a good school experience, by their getting out. That’s really why we started it, just to get them out in the building and let them know that we’re here. Not really for the money, but the money is awesome because a lot of these kids don’t have the money to go out to eat or to the movies. We have gone to the Galt House for their Christmas show and we’ve done really cool things that we’ve been able to expose them by having this money,” said Thrasher. So everybody it rooting for it, everybody is working really hard to try and find a product so that we can continue on.”