Penny wars made cents

Story by: Allison Yoder, staff writer
Photo by: Caty McGovern, staff photographer

penny wars

This past February, Mt. Vernon High School held the Penny Wars, which raised money for Riley Children’s Hospital, and gave interesting prizes to the winning class, including the privilege of getting to eat lunch outside for the entire fourth quarter. Usually this is a very competitive week at Mt. Vernon. This year, the donations were steady.

As NHS members were walking around the cafeteria, reminding everyone of Penny Wars, they stopped at each table to explain a little tidbit to students about where the donations would go and how good of a cause this was. They explained that throughout the week, the money raised was growing steadily. They stated that last year they raised over $1,000, and hoped to raise that or more this year.

“Penny Wars was pretty successful. We raised over $1,000, but it was definitely not as good as past years,” said Lauren Matson, 12.

Mt, Vernon High School fortunately pulled out with a good amount of donations. In the end, the fundraiser was a success. The senior class won by a landslide, and NHS ended up raising $1,241.39, with $1,087.52 being donated by the seniors.

Penny Wars made a difference, and helped give to Riley Children’s Hospital. This made the fundraiser a prosperous event.

 

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Beloved author dies

Story by: Hannah Warfel, staff writer

Last month, the world lost a beloved and talented author. Harper Lee was the author of the prestigious prize winning book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which is one of the books that freshman are required to read at Mt. Vernon.  She also wrote the book “Go Set a Watchman.”

In 2007, Harper Lee suffered from a stroke. This stroke was followed by quite a few health problems, such as hearing, vision, and short-term memory loss. She was put into an assisted living facility because of these problems. It was at this facility on February 19 that Harper Lee, who was eighty-nine years old, departed from this world peacefully while she slept.

“Harper Lee was an amazing author who wrote amazing novels,” said Alyssa Boilanger-Dean, 10. “She inspired people for many generations with her literary work. Her death was very tragic.”

Chromebook check up

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photo by: Mackenzie Carpenter, Photo Editor

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Mt. Vernon High School students received Chromebooks this year to improve the educational environment. Students are able to work on homework, schoolwork, and personal work. High school students will continue to use these throughout their high school career and in years to come.

¨We will continue to expand the number of access points in the building to minimize dead spots in the building. The biggest change will be to continue to encourage innovation and research into ways to engage students and empower students in their courses,¨ said Dr. Robbins.

¨When students and staff adapt to operating in a blended environment we should see greater examples of project based learning,” said Dr. Robbins. “Some courses are naturally designed for PBL, however, the use of technology encourages that approach across the content areas.  We hope to see greater examples of teachers not only facilitating information, but learning along with students.¨

Only the middle schoolers and high schoolers use Chromebooks, while the elementary students use iPads. When the fifth graders move on to sixth grade they will be receiving Chromebooks.

Dr. Robbins explained how the use of the laptops will start to change over the years,especially when fifth graders become sixth graders and move to the middle school. They also are used differently whether in high school, middle school, or eighth grade academy.

¨While the device will change, the operational environment such as the use of Google Tools and the EdMentum products will not change. There is some screen tapping as the touch screen is not a feature on the Chromebook. However, Dell has developed a new chromebook that does have a touch screen, so that might be a natural evolution for us as a district.¨

He continued, ¨The main difference is the use of a keyboard. Our goal with the primary grades was to introduce them to academics in a digital environment. However, we also felt that the lack of keyboarding skills would be a limiting factor; therefore the iPad was the obvious decision. As students get older and begin typing and researching at greater levels, the iPad really becomes limited. It does not operate as well in a Google environment thus limiting the collaboration capabilities.¨

Even though Mount Vernon students have only had Chromebooks for a year, they have become beneficial for successful learning at Mt. Vernon. These computers run faster and work more effectively than the older computers most teachers used to have in their classrooms.

Dr. Robbins said, ¨I am convinced the lightweight nature of Chrome OS is a big reason why most students enjoy using the Chromebook. They can do everything the students need to do with fewer problems. There are no driver issues and no software glitches to deal with. Hit the power button, sign in, and you can be productive in seconds. That is what computing should be like all the time.

¨Furthermore, there is little overhead required,” Dr. Robbins added. “In regards to the previous computers in the classroom I would simply say this…It is pretty hard to carry a desktop home, therefore the digital environment was limited to only those classrooms.¨

MV hopes to head toward Spain

Story compiled by MV Current staff

Ever wanted to visit Spain? On Tuesday, March 8th at 6 pm in A106 there will be a meeting to discuss a potential trip to Spain and Morocco in July of 2017. Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Laughlin are hoping to lead this group.

Here is an excerpt from the letter they created for interested students: “We’re pleased to announce an exciting trip coming up during July 2017 for any interested students who are or will be high school age at the time of the trip.  We will explore Barcelona, the Mediterranean Coast, and southern Spain on an EF Educational Tour. During our tour, we will visit many of Spain’s most famous landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia cathedral, the Alhambra, the Mezquita, the Sevilla cathedral, and the Prado museum. We will also take a day trip to Morocco in Africa.”

Interested students and their parents should plan to attend.

Science Olympiad moves on to state

Story compiled by MVHS staff

The Science Olympiad team placed 3rd in their regional competition held at Butler University on Saturday, February 27th. This win qualifies them to advance to the state competition which will be held on Saturday, March 19th in Bloomington.

The following students are members of the team. Wish them luck and congratulate them on their road to state:

Drew Bluethmann
Brian Bozymski
Darius Chargualaf
Nathan Grandstaff
Matthew Hays
Paige Hughes
Eric Larson
Lauren Matson
Elizabeth May
Ciera McCann
James McGowan
Brett Meyer
Brendan O’Bryhim
Brianna Partin
Aaron Rush
Olivia Spicer
Elisabeth Waucquez

Upcoming Events: Choir plans to swing the night away

Story compiled by MVHS staff

This Thursday the MVHS cafeteria will be filled with the sweet sounds of the 1920’s as the choir department presents their annual Jazz and Swing concert. There will be folk and jazz music, a live swing band and swing dancing.

Ticket are $5 at the door and refreshments are provided at no additional charge.

 

ATM: You can take your money with you, but leave the machine

Story by: Baylie Clevenger, Managing Editor

On Saturday, January 9, a man in downtown Indy stole a forklift from a construction site, drove it down the road about a mile, and stole an ATM from a bank.

The bank the ATM was stolen from is Kemba Credit Union on the East side of Indianapolis. The machine was lifted off of the ground and the forklift was left close to the bank, still running.

At this point in time, the culprit has not been caught, and authorities do not know what his intentions are with the stolen machine.

While the idea of taking an ATM may sound genius, it usually does not end well for the perpetrator. Not only do some ATMs have location devices installed now, but ATMs are actually very hard to break into. Along with the difficulty opening the machine, since ATM robberies are on the rise around the nation, some companies have invested in software that, even if the machine is broken into, destroys the money so it cannot be used.

There is also the possibility that the thief could access card information from the users of the machine, however, this is unlikely as the breach of information from ATMs is a sophisticated and difficult process.

“No card holder information was compromised.  The hard drive and card reader were retrieved intact.” said a Kemba Credit Union representative.

Authorities are hoping to catch the thief and locate the machine before any damage can be done.

El nino

Story by: Maggie Brown, News/Copy Editor
Photos by: Amanda Wiggins, staff photographer

el nino 1

The drought in California has been going on for nearly five years, but the West Coast has recently gotten some rain. Quite a lot of rain, actually.

El nino, which occurs every three to six years, is a change in the temperature of surface water in the Pacific that has brought unreasonably warm weather to the entire country and massive amounts of precipitation to southern and central California.

el nino 2While the rain will most certainly help put some water in California’s dusty reservoirs, it is not an end to the dry spell from which they suffer.

Meteorologists have been examining the patterns of El Nino since fall of 2014. They have observed that it began to grow steadily more intense in the beginning of 2015. The 2015-2016 El nino is one of the three strongest ever recorded, after 82-83 and 97-98, and there have been noticeably warmer temperatures all over the eastern half of the country.

In Buffalo NY, the first snowfall was the latest it had been since 1899. In addition, Hurricane Patricia, which devastated Mexico earlier this winter, was the largest storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.

Many have been worried that this is due to global warming, but there is no evidence that the odd weather patterns, especially those in the US Northeast, are influenced by any singular factor.

El nino is expected to calm down by spring of this year, which will hopefully bring el nino 3milder weather in 2016. Weather prediction is a very tricky and inexact science, and so they have no real way of knowing what the weather may do in the future. It is meteorologist’s best guess, however, that this odd weather too shall pass.

Man behind last year’s bomb threat sentenced

Story by: Claire Dorsch, Features Editor
Photos by: Elizabeth Miller, staff photographer

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On March 20th of 2015 at 10:30 a.m., a man by the name of Matthew Irwin, 30, made the students and faculty at Mt. Vernon High School feel unsafe in their own building by phoning in a false bomb threat to the school office and robbing Fortville Bank.

Students from the high school and eighth grade academy, who were in the midst of taking finals, were instructed to move to the two nearest buildings.

Irwin has since been sentenced to five years and received 278 days of credit for time already served, which is lower than the 10 years average sentence for bank robbery and up to 25 years for making a bomb threat. He was charged with robbery, false informing, conspiracy to commit robbery, intimidation and being a habitual offender.

Irwin’s accomplice, Brittany Krieg, 20, of Anderson, also faces counts of false informing, conspiracy to commit robbery and intimidation.

Since his bomb threat nearly a year ago, there has been another bomb threat on Mt. Vernon, which took place during the first nine weeks of the school year.

Plainfield and Avon have also received bomb threats. Both were dismissed as non-credible, but both schools were shut down for the day as a precaution. Many schools in Ohio have also received bomb threats as well in the past month.

“I think that the increase in threats made to schools has to do with the publicity of the threats,” said Braydon Titley, 10. “People who want to harm schools see how big of a reaction [the schools] make so they take advantage of that.”

The police of Fortville have done their best to help the school deal with the recent threats.

bank robbery“I appreciate all of the help from the citizens and businesses in both communities and the hard work of the dedicated officers of the Fortville Police Department, Anderson Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the officer’s assigned to Community Hospital,” said Lieutenant Patrick Bratton of Fortville Police. “We had overwhelming community support with the tips and just kept following up on them until it led us to our suspects.”

The students and staff of Mt. Vernon are also beginning to wonder if the threats are results from spikes of violence or if school corporations are taking threats more seriously.

“The last two years have been a bit unusual as we went some 2-3 years without any threats to the general student population,” said Principal Bernie Campbell about the topic of the increased amount of threats made on MVHS. “On the surface I do not see any common threads, but with the increased use of social media, there are more opportunities for students to make reckless and dangerous comments. Secondly, students have grown much more responsible about reporting threats to an adult.”

The suggestion that students are getting better at reporting potential threats may be a the reason for the entire country seeing an increase in threats

These kinds of occurrences are happening all over the country. Twenty-six schools in New Jersey have received bomb and shooting threats in the past two weeks, so have fifteen in Massachusetts and three in Iowa.

These increased occurrences could be linked to students and other members of the community becoming less careful with their words or more knowledgeable in the fact that these threats are taken so seriously that the school can give students permission to stay home that day with a parent’s or guardian’s permission.

Over six-hundred students stayed home because of the most recent threat made to Mt. Vernon. There was a shooting threat made on Friday, January 15. Bags and backpacks were checked upon students’ arrival on Tuesday, January 19. There was a heavy police presence in the building, but thankfully the student responsible was taken into custody and confessed.

MVHS faces off with a potential threat

Story by: Dakota Fisher, Sports Editor

2016 is in full swing, and already MVHS has been the center of  a school threat. An MVHS parent made a post on Facebook, and it quickly became the talk of the hallway. She claimed that her son was approached by a boy he did not recognize and was asked if he wanted to help “shoot up the school’ the following Tuesday.

Dr. Robbins was notified of the incident Monday night and immediately sprung into action. Law enforcement began to investigate and security measures were taken so school could continue as regularly as possible for the following day. Officers and teachers were stationed at the front, rear, and side doors of the building and preformed bag and locker checks.

No deadly weapons were found and the day continued.

At 2:00, MVHS principal Bernie Campbell sent out an email explaining the entire situation and announcing that the student who had made the alleged threat was identified. The MVHS junior has since been suspended, is facing expulsion, and is in police custody facing a felony intimidation charge, which according to Indiana law, warrants a maximum of up to two years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.