East/West Gym Closed for Safety Concerns

Until last last week, students enjoyed the luxury of sitting and socializing in the gyms before school started in the morning. But since last week, the gym has been closed.

Students must either stay in the cafeteria or a classroom. The main reason for this decision has been the lack of teacher supervision in the gym.

““The biggest reason is that there is no supervision in there. In the main gym, the Vandy Gym, kids were just hanging out,” assistant principal Benji Betts said. “But we had been hearing things, especially about the west gym.”

The stairwells near the Vandermeer Gym were of concern because students were able to hide within them, allowing for what Betts referred to as “private time.” There were also students playing basketball and throwing frisbee in both gyms, further influencing the administration’s decision.

“Student safety was a concern,” Betts said. “If somebody gets hurt while no one is around, that will not look good. Parents will be asking who was there to help their child, and we would have to answer: a hundred other students, with no teacher.”

Betts expressed uncertainty about whether or not the administration would be able to find teachers who could watch over students in the gym. According to Betts, the administration has considered asking teachers to come in early; however, they were unsure if this would happen during this school year.

“It is a challenge to do it because we need teachers willing to come in early and their contract time is not 7:15, I believe it is 7:20 or 7:25, so we have to find someone willing to watch students,” Betts said.

Students From Around The World: Chinese Exchange Students

Last week, Center Grove had a few extra students roaming the halls. Foreign exchange students from China arrived to Center Grove as part of the Sino-American Youth Ambassador Exchange Program (SAYA).

The SAYA students originally were supposed to arrive Monday, February 9, but a series of misfortunate events delayed their arrival. Once they finally came to Center Grove, their schedule had to be packed down from five days into a mere three days. The exchange students found Center Grove and American culture to be quite different from theirs. Each of the students took on a different name for their visit.

“My favorite part was the people,” a student who took the name of Elvin said. “They are more talkative and more friendly.”

The band of students were part of an international studies group in their school. According to Jessie, the name chosen by another student, in China they have eight classes in one day. Classes take place in a single classroom and the school day lasts from 7 a.m until 9 p.m.

While these students were experiencing new things, they affected the Center Grove environment as well.  According to Christopher Blackburn, Chinese foreign language teacher, the experience he had with the exchange students would be useful to his teaching in the future. The SAYA students also impacted his teaching within the classroom.

“Having my students actually being able to interact with the Chinese students was very beneficial to their learning of the language,” said Blackburn.

John Frank, Advanced Placement United States History teacher, housed Liu Jia, the teacher of the group of SAYA students, during their time here. The students’ daily routine was very different than what they were used to at home.

“Liu was fascinated with the different colors of paint on houses and how we individually own homes,” Frank said. “She was also surprised at the number and size of the churches in America.”

Junior Andrew Cheng helped the foreign exchange students find their way around the school. Cheng related the feelings he had when he first came to America as a young child to the foreign exchange students. “Interacting with them reminded me of myself when I had lived in China,” said Cheng.

The students will travel to Washington D.C as well as New York City next  as a part of their trip. A student who chose the name Anastasia summarized the experience for the group saying, “I have enjoyed all aspects of the trip”.

Preventing the Flu

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is experiencing “elevated levels” of flu cases this year. As with any flu season, it is important for one to wash their hands and be aware of sneezing or coughing away from others. School nurse, Kim Gardner, gives advice on how to prevent spreading the sickness to fellow students.