Fairbanks Panther Pause

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Senior of the Month
April’s senior of the month is Cole Shepherd. Cole is the son of Del and Kris Shepherd of Marysville. He is the student council president and treasurer of National Honor Society. He has also been involved with football, powerlifting, Interact Club, Ski Club, Mock Trial, and Science Club. He was named a National Merit Commended Scholar and attended American Legion Buckeye Boys State. Cole volunteers with the Union County Humane Society and the Whitehall Fire Department. He is a member of his church’s youth group and is employed at Dairy Queen. After graduation Cole will be attending Duke University and will major in Mechanical Engineering. When asked what advice he has for the underclassmen, he replied, “Enjoy every moment of high school while you can, because you never know when it will be taken away from you.” (Photo submitted)

Students share perspectives of online classes, pandemic
By: Livvy Bellas

This past month has been an unprecedented period of history, with many businesses and public organizations forced to close. Fairbanks is responding to the ongoing pandemic as most other schools are, with online courses supplementing what the students would have learned had physical classes continued. Both students and teachers have found this online transition very challenging, teaching and learning in a way that they never have before. Fortunately, Fairbanks students have access to technology via their school issued chromebooks, making online work much easier. Over the past few years, Fairbanks teachers have experimented more and more with technology in the classroom, so many of them are already familiar with the online learning system Schoology, making this whole transition much simpler. Despite the familiarity of technology in the classroom, it has been difficult for many students to access their courses, find their assignments, and understand the learning material. The largest issue with online learning is the lack of a student-teacher interaction. Fairbanks teachers have been incredibly accommodating, with office hours each day for questions that help this issue. Despite the online availability of the teachers, this is still a far less personal learning experience than found in the classroom, making it much harder to ask questions and discuss content openly. Fairbanks teachers care greatly for their students and have been very understanding of their students, often pushing back deadlines and shortening assignments in order to accommodate any issues that have arisen. As a student, being put in a situation where you can no longer interact with your friends or even leave your house is incredibly difficult. Teachers understand the personal issues that students are experiencing throughout this difficult time, and are doing their best to calm their students’ worries and keep them connected. Many teachers, such as Mrs. Smeenk (the AP English teacher), are even offering optional daily Google Hangout video chat sessions, in order to continue communication between them and their students. These are incredibly helpful, for they keep everyone informed and connected to their peers. It is difficult to keep a positive attitude when so much is going on in the world right now, but these efforts to communicate with students remind everyone to continue interacting and maintaining their relationships, which are even more important in this difficult time.

Gatekeepers club keeps in touch
By: Madeline Conroy

Since school has been closed at Fairbanks High School, many clubs have had to meet online to hold meetings and to continue to organize projects from their homes. Gatekeepers is one of these clubs. They have been having virtual zoom meetings every other week. For the past couple of weeks they have been discussing ways to be there for others during this time, and just to reach out and make sure that friends are doing well. Their goal is to keep talking with friends and others online, and to respect the stay at home order from the governor.
They have also organized a project to make cards for residents in the nursing homes in Union County. There are a total of 6 nursing homes with about 400 residents. The Fairbanks Advisor asked all of the Gatekeeper groups in Union County to participate so that they can get as many cards as possible. For the past two weeks, the Fairbanks Gatekeepers group has been making cards. They gave their cards to their advisor last Friday so the advisor could deliver them for everybody. The group is also planning on buying pizza for the staff that will be working. They want to have a positive impact on the community during this hard time and also to support people that may be going through a difficult time during this stay at home order.

Senior hosts Easter card project for nursing homes

FHS student Rose Arend poses with cards she created for local nursing homes. (Photo submitted)
By: Gage Garlinghouse
Despite the loss of many special events for Fairbanks seniors, one student is not letting this stop her from putting good out in the world. Rose Arend, a Fairbanks senior participating in College Credit Plus classes full time, is spreading good to the world. Rose, who works at Brookdale Senior Living Center organized a project to collect Easter cards for the residents.
Rose said, “It was a rough day coming home from work. Isolation has proven to be its own battle, and the residents have been fighting hard against it.” She went on to say that she wanted to let the residents know that they were not forgotten and cared for, even in this time of increased distancing. Rose says the actual idea for the cards came from her mother, but she had always wanted to help them. So by the evening, after getting permission from her manager, and having her mother write a letter to the community, the project was started.
On April 6th the school district was alerted to the Easter Card Project. A request was sent out for cards to come in, be they store bought or homemade. The goal was to receive 70 cards, one for each resident to have something to read come Easter morning. However, enough cards were received for each of them to have four cards, with new cards coming in for a week after the delivery date of Easter.
The response to this was much greater than Rose expected saying that it “blew me away.” And it did for the residents as well as they reportedly kept asking for more cards in the next week. One resident said to Rose “I don’t know who wrote me this letter, but I just want to give them a big hug.”
This has been a very positive thing at the nursing home despite the quarantine. Rose, who works in the dining room, has been changed to serving rooms and has enjoyed it greatly. Citing it as “a change of pace,” and “rewarding” to have the one on one time with residents. She is very happy that the community took part in this project because right now all the interaction the residents get is with the nurses, aids, and severs.
Rose wants to say thank you to everyone in the community who has been supporting Brookdale, and wants to remind everyone, as she was once told, “one smile lifts everyone’s mood in the room.”

FFA adjusts to COVID-19
By: Linsey Eddy

In a time where the world seems to stop, Fairbanks FFA members remain hard at work. Major events that the chapter members have been looking forward to all school year, such as the Ohio FFA State Convention, and the chapter’s annual banquet have been cancelled or postponed. Regardless, members stay hopeful for other events, like county and state fairs, to show off their hard work. The chapter’s advisor, Mr. Riddle, is looking for alternative ways to reward members for their success and dedication in CDEs and other FFA events throughout the year. The chapter also encourages the community to watch the Fairbanks FFA social media pages (Twitter @fairbanks_ffa and Instagram @fairbanksffa) for senior highlights to honor the graduating members. Lastly, the Fairbanks FFA Chapter would like to thank all essential workers in and out of the agricultural industry for their dedication, and wishes everyone good health in these times.

Online quiz about staff hosted
By: Lexi Murray

On March 27th, Fairbanks students had just begun their virtual learning experience and a bright idea from a student added some fun and competition to their day. Sophomore Anna Poling thought it would be fun if students could all participate in an online Quizizz where they would be tested on their knowledge of the Fairbanks staff. Anna emailed the staff asking for 3-5 fun facts each and narrowed the facts she received down to 50. Some of these questions were true or false, and some were multiple choice such as “Who was a professional Santa” (Answer – Mr. Montgomery). Other examples of questions were: “What’s Mrs. Smeenk’s favorite food?” (Answer – hot wings), “Who hit a jogger with their car at an intersection?” (Answer – Mr. Schirg), and “Which teacher named their dog Stanley after the character from the office?” (Answer – Mrs. Hawkey). The quiz was a fun way for the students of Fairbanks to get to know their teachers a little better. David Montgomery came in first, Mary Weisburn came in second, and Gracie Pyers came in third. They each got to choose a gift card of their choice. Big thanks to Anna Poling for taking initiative during this time and making the most of the online learning experience.

NHS holds elections
By: Megan Stallings

With the end of the school year in sight, NHS held their officer elections on March 3. Amelia Cameron was elected to be next year’s president, Sam Keller as the vice president, Linsey Eddy as secretary, Jeremy Ziegler as treasurer, and Hunter Jackson as reporter. The new officers were to be introduced as well as new members inducted on March 12 at the induction ceremony but the event had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. Despite the cancellation, there is still hope for some form of event for the inductees and new officers at some time in the future. New and returning members and new officers look forward to starting fresh next school year and to fulfilling the needs of the community through service opportunities.

Fairbanks working to stay connected
By: Grace Koenig

In these hard times of quarantine and social distancing many people are having to be apart from friends and loved ones. But even apart, Fairbanks Panthers are still staying in touch with one another. The majority of students are using general texting, Snapchat, Instagram, and phone calls as their main ways of communication while Zoom and Google Chats are the next leading communication tools. A lot of students are not enjoying this separation but are checking in on friends daily and spending the average of between 3-6 hours chatting with friends and relatives on the phone, which would be about the same amount of time spent with friends in school.



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