Tag Archives: Leah Ellis

Recent RFRA law creates controversy within differing communities

By Leah Ellis and Natalie Allen

As religious freedom becomes a rising topic of discussion, Indiana’s recently passed Senate Enrolled Act No. 101 forced many people take a stance on the issue concerning civil procedure. Debates over the topic have included citizens disagreeing with the law finding it to be discriminatory to certain groups while others find it to be a simple misunderstanding of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA]. The legislation which was recently at the center of national debate, permits Indiana business owners to refuse service in some circumstances based on their religious beliefs.

Continue reading Recent RFRA law creates controversy within differing communities

Educators evaluate aspects of salary

By Haley Palmer and Leah Ellis

*Editor’s note: For additional coverage of teacher salaries, please read today’s issue of the Bagpiper.

Chemistry teacher Michelle Harbison gestures to the test tube and explains to students how to capture the gas released in their experiment.  While she is concentrated on helping her students, there  is a bigger concern running through her mind: the teacher salary. Continue reading Educators evaluate aspects of salary

Financial aid officers offer advice on how to help with tuition costs

By Leah Ellis

A tear in an envelope breaks the seal that contained the anticipation and sleepless nights over college tuition.

With the new year comes resolutions and dieting for most, but for college bound students, it is all about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid [FASFA]. FASFA helps students entering college receive financial aid based on all aspects of home life in order to ease the burden of paying for college.

“In addition to scholarships, filling out FASFA will increase the chances of receiving more money from the state and federal governments,” said associate director of financial aid at Bellarmine University Kate Brabandt.

It is no secret that the cost of college has been on the rise; according to College Board, tuition for a four-year public school has risen 18 percent in the last five years. Most colleges recognize this change and try to adjust to fit the demand of incoming students.

“At Bellarmine we take a very individualized approach and look at every possible situation that could help everyone,” said Brabandt.

Helping students individually is not the only way to mend the situation, however, a certain strategy is used to incentivize students and make them feel like they are getting more value for the education they pay for.

“The recruitment strategy is a program that guarantees a student will graduate in four years; otherwise, the fifth year is free,” said associate dean of admission at Bellarmine University David Kline.

Although many incentives are offered, a worry for money still lingers. Many types of scholarships are given such as academic and athletic; grants can be given as well and applying  for them is all one process.

“Every student who applies and is accepted gets a merit scholarship, they can also receive additional scholarships depending on GPA, test scores, etc., but it is determined all at once,” said Brabandt.



What should you choose?



-Funded mostly from state government

-On average cost cost less than private colleges

-Generally have more students and degree offerings

-Usually larger class sizes

-Possible higher acceptance rate





-Funded mostly from private contributions, donations, and tuition

-Usually costs more than a public school

-Typically offer smaller class sizes

Scholarship winner shares summer experience in Germany

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By Leah Ellis

“I was shocked. After I sent in my application, I honestly did not expect to make it, much less a response,” said senior Hank Duncan.

This past summer, Duncan received a study/travel scholarship to Germany which allowed him to stay with a host family and attend a German school. The award was given to him by the American Association of Teachers of German [AATG], which is a board of examiners from the national office who judge applicants on speaking, reading, and writing skills and on an overall test score of 90 percent or higher.

Once Duncan was chosen, the process was not finished yet.

“After that [the test], I had to interview with three German teachers and professors over the phone in German, which was probably the most nervous  I had ever been,” said Duncan.

As the nerves began to fade, shock set in.

“I was actually in an airport coming back from spring break vacation when I got an email saying that I received the Study Trip Award. My parents, who had even less confidence than I did, joined me in simply sitting there in shock and disbelief,” said Duncan.

Although Duncan was shocked, German teacher Noel McRae was not.

“He is a hard worker and tries to speak a lot in class. He is open to a lot of things and has a good personality, which certainly helps in a foreign environment,” said McRae.

Duncan was accompanied by roughly 30 other kids from across the country and gone for about  four weeks.

“He is the first one we have had that I know of to win this award. I have had students qualify before but some did not have the desire or GPA, etc.,” said McRae.

Not only was this a first for an FC student, but for Duncan, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that led to some realizations for him.

“It made me realize what true freedom and responsibility is. I walked everywhere, took the subway, and roamed the city,” said Duncan.

Aside from being in Germany to experience school life, Duncan also got to absorb the cultural life.

“My [other] favorite part was experiencing Germany win the World Cup. When I was in Berlin, we went to the Brandenburg Gate for the public viewing of the Germany vs Brazil match with 150,000 other people. When Germany scored five goals in the first 30 minutes, it was absolute mayhem. For the finale I went to a small party with my host brother and his friends. After Germany won, we walked to the main train station and celebrated among the honking cars and screaming fans,” said Duncan.

Duncan, who hopes to attend Indiana University Bloomington and double major in international business and finance said this opportunity will benefit future plans.

“Since I would like to study German in college, this trip provided me with a head start on the language. Also, this program made me realize that I want to go back to Germany and perhaps eventually live there.

McRae also sees a significant benefit for his future.

“Travel is always an enriching opportunity when you can see new things and meet new people, you will grow as a person. It also allows you to view your own culture in a whole new perspective,” said McRae.