Sheila Stewert reflects on importance of her job as principal’s secretary

By Alli Kling

Principal secretary Sheila Stewart sits behind her desk in the office, taking calls, talking to her coworkers, and organizing the various files, classes, and records that are vital to the school.

Stewart has worked in the school system for over three decades. Before this, however, she worked at several businesses in Southern Indiana.

“I had other jobs before I came to the school system. I worked for American Air Filter and Target, and then I came here. I’ve been here for 32 years,” said Stewart.

During this time at FC, she has become the caregiver, the mother, and now the grandmother to the staff and students, Stewart explained jokingly. As explained by attendance clerk Laura Shaffer, Stewart has become like family.

“Her nickname is Spanky, so that explains it all,” Shaffer said with a laugh. “When she’s feeling well, [she is] very fun and energetic. So, on her good days, she is Spanky.”

Shaffer and Stewart have known each other for over 20 years, collecting a variety of good memories and sharing multiple laughs. One in particular stood out to Shaffer.

“We had a shower for a coworker when she got married, and we did a skit where we all sang. That was a pretty good memory,” said Shaffer.

Being the principal’s secretary, she also meets with new students and their families upon their arrival at FC, helping them make new memories as well. Introducing new students to the school environment is one of her favorite jobs.

“I think it’s really important for new kids who come here, that they feel comfortable and their parents feel comfortable. So, I’m kind of a light-hearted, crazy kind of person and I really try hard to make those kids feel at home,” she said.

The home atmosphere can completely affect how well a new student fits into their new school. In Stewart’s case, she wants to give the kids a relaxed and homey environment here at school as well.  

“We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re coming to a new school and going to be left alone. Many times, we talk to parents. If the parents are relaxed, the home atmosphere is relaxed as well. It’s hard changing schools. That’s probably one of the most difficult things our kids’ face.”

Likewise, it is sometimes difficult to not get involved in the students’ lives.

“[The hardest part is] trying not to worry about some of my kids. I really struggle, and I don’t think people realize that there are many, many kids who are broken at home, and many kids come to school with a lot on their heart and mind,” she said.

Her philosophy is that if you can make a difference in one kid’s life, you’ve made a big difference. She goes everyday with this in mind.

“God has blessed me so many times. I don’t think he wants me anywhere else,” said Stewart.

Those who are impacted daily by Stewart couldn’t agree more. Principal Rob Willman has known Stewart since 1999, and claimed that having her as his secretary has impacted how he and the school goes about the day.

“Oh, yeah. It would be very different without her. She makes things run a lot more smoothly than people understand. She’s involved in a lot of details,” said Willman. “Typing things up, making sure people are notified of things–that’s what she does, and she is very good at it, very detail-oriented.”

Outside of school, Stewart has been married for nearly 50 years, living a happy life with her family.

“I have a very good home life. I’ve been married for 45 years, and it’s just a peaceful place. God is the center of our heart.”

She has two children, both fully grown. Her first recently turned 43 and the other is 38. Both are FC graduates.

Although Stewart’s favorite vacation spot is Gatlinburg, the whole family may be found heading to Patoka Lake.

“I don’t do it very much, but we go boat riding and fishing.”

Even in her spare time, when she can find it, one will not find Stewart dallying about. Never having been a reader, and not one for movies, Stewart is always on the move. But, when forced to sit down, she will switch to the Food Network for entertainment.

“I don’t watch movies. I don’t have time for that! I do like Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. I watch cooking shows, go to work, come home, sleep, and watch cooking shows,” Stewart said with a laugh.

However, at the end of the day, Stewart finds her job to be her happy place.

“I love it. On Sunday nights, I still get anxious to come to school on Monday, just like I did when I was in school,” she said. “When you stop loving your job, it’s time to look for something else…I love my job–it is my life.”

National Honor Society inducts fall members

Photos by Shelby Pennington

Fidget spinner fad creates distractions for some, focus for others

By Savannah Schroering

The characteristic whirr of the popular device echoes from classroom to classroom. It spins effortlessly between two fingertips, supposedly helping students focus on their work more. As they have become more mainstream, the fidget spinner has slowly converted into a toy.

“I think it probably varies from child to child, and from situation to situation. For most students, probably distracting, because it’s something else they have to focus on and pay attention to. Instead of maybe being fully focused and fully engaged on what we’re talking about in class,” said psychology teacher Chad Clunie. “There are some psychologists and psychiatrists and doctors out there that are prescribing [fidget spinners] to those young kids who have ADD or ADHD, because it help them when it comes to fiddling or fidgeting. By fiddling or fidgeting with something, it helps them focus.”

Some students are annoyed by the fact that they have become popular.

“I feel that people just sit there and spin it the entire time and do not listen to the teacher, because they’re trying to figure out how long their fidget spinner will spin,” said sophomore Carter Blessing. “I believe that people who don’t have problems with focusing started using them as a distraction instead of a tool.”

Blessing also does not believe there is a psychological effect to using the spinner. “I’ve used one, and I’ve noticed no psychological effect for me, I just thought “oh, it spins.”

Science teacher Michelle Harbison agreed with Blessing. “I would be interested in seeing the person who is claiming that it helps people focus. I would like to see their empirical evidence to support the claim.”

Harbison offered some alternatives to using fidget spinners, which can make a lot of noise. “I honestly believe that there are probably alternatives to the spinners that would be useful and helpful to an individual student but not be distracting to others around. I would be a fan of looking for those alternatives. You know, stress balls and things that don’t make noise.”

Carter also expressed how noisy they can be in the classroom. “I don’t see them as much as last year, but last year they got pretty annoying. They began to rust and get dirty so they made a lot of noise in the classroom.”

While the original fidget spinners were made with the intent of helping people focus, they have turned into toys in the classroom and even memes.

“I get that they’re kinda cool, but I would like to see the empirical evidence that they are actually helping people,” said Harbison. “I really do think if you’re helping one person and distracting somebody else, that’s not a great solution. There are probably other things people can use if you’re going to claim that is what somebody needs. Toys are fun, but not in school.”

Senior Libby Sobieski argued for the side of fidget spinners being helpful. “This is where it gets to where the adults have to decide ‘should they be allowed’, and I think that people should have them if they do have ADD or anxiety.”

Clunie explained how fidgeting is an often occurrence with students that has certain disorders, and how these spinners could potentially help.

“We don’t have a cure for ADHD, but there was some research in the past that shows that manipulation of objects in the hands helped, so that’s where the fidget spinner came from. However, now you’ve seen it explode from there.”

The spinners can be distracting to a student’s selective attention, but there has been research that spinning the, can help students with some mental disorders focus. “And so, for most students, the more you have going on, the more you’re thinking about, and the more you’re messing with, the more difficult it is to have selective attention,” said Clunie. “Now, students who have ADD or ADHD, there is some research that shows that when they can manipulate things with their hands, that helps them focus a little bit more.

The focusing aspect of the fidget spinner attracted a lot of people to use them.

“I think that’s where the concept came from. Obviously it’s become more of a pop cultural popular thing than what it is for a more medical purpose,” said Clunie.

In order to market a product to everyone, it must be generalized to a wider audience. This has made the fidget spinner become more of a toy, and it has received negative attention for that.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with them if people weren’t misusing them as much,” said Blessing.

Sobieski agreed with Blessing. “That’s what most people think about them these days. ‘They’re just toys to have fun with’, and that’s not the case. They’re a tool to keep you in line to help you focus. To not play with an object like a pencil. Fidget spinners should be used properly as what they were made to be.”

Column: New club strives to promote tolerance among all students

Art by Savannah Schroering

By Ky Haney

A new community flourished under the guidance of students. Questions, answers, and undecided feelings lay behind the entry. As soon as a hand touches the door of the anatomy and IB biology teacher Amy Shaffer’s classroom, they are welcomed with large smiles.

This new club was called the Gay Straight Alliance. The new title, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, changed to be more inclusive. GSA is a club devoted to bring the LGBT community together with allies or people who do not quite understand what is going on in the community.

The motive for GSA is simple. One bolded word shows up before the rest. Awareness. “When he [her cousin] came out as a gay man, we kind of already knew. He was just giving us that confrontation. Watching him grow up and being around him my whole life, and seeing him kind of struggle that people won’t accept him, then saying it out loud was a really big step for him. So whenever I see other kids, I wonder if they have accepted themselves. My heart goes out to them, after watching him,” said Spanish teacher Lillian Conway.

The coming out story of her cousin made a lot of sense and plucked at my heartstrings. Whenever I came out to my parents, I simply stated “gay.” It made them more comfortable than having to explain pansexuality. Conway decided upon sponsoring the club to bring people to not only come together and be educated, but for a safe place for the children.

“It’s one of those things where you want so badly to just tell people it will be okay, but really sometimes, it is easier said than done,” said Conway.

GSA is not only for the LGBT community. Their goal is to make the outlook on the community to be in a more positive light, this including the straight community.

“I want my role to be whenever you are there, and you are coming across things, I can be the help. That’s why whenever I heard we are redoing it again this year, I said ‘count me in’.”

Much like Conway, many other kids believe awareness will improve the outlook. The alliance, obviously, is there for more than the improvement. It is to make kids feel safe. Many kids, like Conway’s cousin, are afraid to come out. In the club, they can finally be themselves knowing that the people in the room would not judge them.

The first meeting was on Friday, Aug. 25. The class started with the simple things, rules and introductions. Everybody was so incredibly sweet, large smiles pulled on everyone’s lips. We felt safe and knew nobody in the room would let the cat out the bag. This progressed into making friendships and watching short films that made us think differently. During the short film, each kid colored a poster. These posters are hanging around the school, so you have most likely seen them.

It stands with two hands, shaking in alliance. The hands are colored with pride flags, not only straight and gay hand holding, but many others. The posters show pride, but also togetherness. These posters were crafted with happy hands. The post I crafted was made with so much love, each color stroke hitting my heart. I felt warm and accepted just by the different flags holding hands. Art goes a long way to me, especially for the LGBT+ community.

As the last posters are hung and cars are coming around to pick up their kids, I could already can see what has happened. We have created life long friends, and caring space for their friends. We will see each other in the hallways and know that through the hate or disrespect, we had each other.

Just like Conway said, “Let’s normalize this community.”

Highlanders face Columbus East in significant conference game tonight

Photo by Taylor Watt

By JD McKay

Tonight the Highlanders will face their toughest foe this season. Floyd is ranked fifteenth going into the game and the Columbus East Olympians are ranked ninth in 5A, according to The Olympians have dominated the football history winning 25 of 40 games and have not lost to the Highlanders since 2003.

This season, the team has been hit hard with injuries, particularly in their offensive line. They have lost both starting guards Reid Suer and Jarrett Laduke to torn ACLs and backup Tyler Milliner to ligament damage in his thumb.

Aside from injuries, they have four first-year offensive linemen.

“I’m expecting us to fire out as usual, and even though we don’t have the size advantage I know that we are fast and have got our plays down,” said returning starter Clay Miller.

However, the FC offensive backs think they have the keys to success this week.

“We need to run hard this week, and don’t let one guy tackle you,” said senior fullback Zack Rodgers.

Led by Jason Cundiff’s 376 yards and 9 touchdowns, the Highlanders have the right backs to get the job done. Floyd’s defense will have to step up to win this week.

“I put it on our defense. We need our linebackers  to read the ball very well, we need our d-line to do a great job getting hands on people, and our defensive backs to keep the ball in front of them,” said defensive coordinator Alan Hess.

Rodgers reiterated Hess’ point about how important the defense will be.

“Wrap up, and just make plays. You can’t wait for the running back or receiver to get to you, you’ve got to meet them at the line of scrimmage,” said Rodgers.

A Highlander win should mean Floyd wins conference, ending East’s dominance in the Hoosier Hills Conference. Not to mention handing the Olympians their first loss since 2006 to a team in the conference.

Bottom Line- Due to a young offensive line, points for the Highlanders will not come as easily as they did against Providence. For Floyd to beat East, their defense will need to step up big time. If the game gets out of hand, it will not be good for the Highlanders, but in a defensive showdown, the Highlanders seem to have the upper-hand.


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