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Members Initiate New Plans for the Environmental Sustainability Club

Photo by Olivia Anderson

Story by Chloe Finn and Brianna Waggoner

Senior Kylie Bostock stands at the front of AP environmental science teacher Randy Hein’s room as she grabs the attention of everyone there. Though she expected there to be at least a few interested students, she was surprised at how full the classroom looked. Desks were full of bustling people as everyone quieted down to listen to the club president.

“I think it’s fabulous to see so many people interested in the environment,” said Hein. “To see people at the grass-roots level–especially young people–it’s reassuring. It gives me hope.”

The Environmental Sustainability Club has two major projects starting this year: creating a garden and initiating a compost.

“I’m very excited about the composting program. I worked on that all summer,” said Bostock. “I was at IU for a week, and I learned about how they do composting [and] about all of their sustainability efforts, so I kind of took that knowledge down here. I can’t wait to start our transformation into a more sustainable school.”

Along with beginning projects, the Environmental Sustainability Club is adding an executive council to assist Bostock with responsibilities she previously handled on her own.

“I have been working hours every day contacting all of these different people to get this done. They’ll kind of take some of those responsibilities away from just one person or a couple people,” said Bostock. “It’ll be several grades of kids to where we can keep this club running for several years to come rather than just a group of seniors.”

Already, students are interested in joining the new council.

“I think that being put in a leadership position, I could make more of a difference than I would [to] be able to…help better the cause,” said senior Emma Kerr.

The club, which was founded late in the year, plans to carry out more action this year compared to last.

“Last year we began in the spring, so we didn’t necessarily have any government positions, and we didn’t have enough time to create any projects that we wanted to initiate,”  said Bostock.

The Environmental Sustainability Club encourages students to research and educate themselves on environmental issues and learn how they can combat those issues.

“I was in Mr. Hein’s AP environmental [science] class, and I’d always been into a more sustainable lifestyle as I was growing up,” said Bostock. “Once you learn about climate change and how our environment is being harmed every single day, it’s kind of hard not to take action, and so I looked to see what I could do and decided to start with the school.”

Through the club, students can improve upon the school’s sustainability efforts, especially for the younger children growing up now.

“Future generations are going to have to deal with what our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents have done, and we need to be the generation that stops that and starts moving in the right direction,” said Kerr.

Even outside of the club, students have chosen to take part in the community.

“This past year I have gotten very interested in sustainability, [such as] making the most out of the products that I own, and so I just wanted to get into a group of people that were going to extend that branch into different types of elements,” said senior Natalie Hartman.

Many students are interested in assisting the environment because of their own local environmental issues. Senior Garrett Martin joined the club because he believes FC lacks an earth-friendly atmosphere.

 “We’re trying as a club to take initiative and go places as groups to clean up [when] opportunities in the club arise,” said Martin. 

Senior Claire Elmore joined the club because of how poor she felt the environment might have become.

“The agriculture that we have locally, we need to watch to take care of that. Even the beach front where the Ohio River is, it’s so messed up, and the river is [very] polluted, and there’s trash surrounding all of that,” said Elmore. “I think having monthly cleanups just in that area would get the community involved.”

Although the club is relatively new still, members have already put in effort into helping the environment.

“Over the summer, we did [help] Purdue in a pollinating day and clean up at the Falls of the Ohio and things like that,” said Martin.

In creating an Environmental Sustainability Club, students hope to inspire others to help the environment around them.

“I think that people just seeing [that] educators and students are interested in living more sustainably and having resources that are shared such as a community garden…it might make other people think, or they might be able to see how that’s modeled, and then they might be able to implement that themselves,” said Hein.

Hartman hopes for the club to continue to grow through the years.

“[The club] will affect people generationally, not be one of those things where a senior starts it and senior finishes it. It’s not a one-year thing, it’s a continuous thing we’d like to keep,” said Hartman.

Martin is looking forward to share his experiences with others within the club.

“The club is important to me because it can leave a lasting impact on the school, and while we move on, we can still hand it down to the people behind us. I look forward to having a wide range of students, not just students fully in science classes, fully in that science route, because I’m not on that science route myself. So I’m just excited to bring a bunch of people together from this school; different grades, different atmospheres, and come together,” said Martin.

The club groups students together and allows them to form their own ideas.

“[I like] being in connection with people with similar ideas that I have, and it’s really nice to hear the ideas of professors and people above me that have been working in this field for a very long time, since I want to pursue a field in most likely environmental law and sciences in general. I’m really interested in it, and this is a way to educate myself so that I’m more prepared for the classes and just anything I do in college and in the future,” said Hartman.

Unfortunately, the club mostly consists of seniors, which puts it at risk of losing most of the members by next year. Kerr mentioned that if underclassmen do not join soon, the club may disappear.

“If you guys are underclassmen, definitely get your friends to sign up. We need more underclassmen [because] a lot of us are seniors, so once we graduate it might be a smaller club, unless we get underclassmen,” said Kerr.

Elmore, however, is excited to see the future of the club in the coming years.

“I look forward to hopefully seeing this community–this club–grow, like once we get divided into committees, I look forward to seeing those individual committees grow,” said Elmore. “The number one thing I’m looking forward to is seeing the student body get more involved.”

Elmore is hopeful that the club can improve the sustainability for the future generations.

“We’re the future generations, we’re the future adults, the future politicians, presidents, doctors, [and] it’s our job to watch what we’re doing now because it’s going to affect how we live later,” said Elmore.

 

Student Spotlight April 2018

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.”