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A look at the senior Winter Homecoming Court

The Winter Homecoming Court will be honored at the Homecoming Assembly on Friday, with the king being crowned at the assembly, and the queen  at halftime of the varsity Boys Basketball game on Saturday. The homecoming court includes freshmen Alex Kraft, Grace Purichia, Jaden Johnson, and Ben Kelly; sophomores Maddie Beyl, Brooklynn Nolot, Alex Barnett, and Garrett Huber; juniors Katie Beyl, Lilly Chapman, Isaac Ohlman and David Wall; and seniors Nadia Brooks, Jessica Hartlage, Avery Stumler, Brynna Walthers, Andrew Henderson, Taylor Hensley, Sterling Huber, and Bryce Hutchins.

Here is a Q&A with the Senior Court:

Nadia Brooks, House of Courage, Cheer, Student Ambassador

College Plans: Ball State University, psychology major

Question: What does being on the Homecoming Court mean to you?
Answer: I was very excited when I found out I was able to be a part of the homecoming court this year. With it being my senior year, I feel as if it’s something I will remember for a long time. It is also a good way to end my time at Providence.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester at PHS?
A: There are a lot of events I’m looking forward to this semester at Providence. I’m excited to go on senior retreat. Some of my friends and previous seniors talk very highly about this retreat, and I’m excited to experience it for myself. I’m also looking forward to going to Dallas, Texas, this year with the Cheerleading team to compete in nationals.

Q: Which teacher has had the greatest impact on you?
A: Mr. Makowsky has had a very big impact on me. He always makes himself available to support and listen to students. He makes connections with students and has taught me the importance of building other people up.

Q: What has been your favorite House activity?
A: My favorite service activity I participated in while at Providence was working at the Salvation Army homeless shelter with a few of my friends. We stayed overnight at the shelter and prepared care packages for the homeless. The experience helped me to see things in life that we take for granted. I realized what an impact just one person can have if we step outside ourselves and take time to try to help someone.

Q: What has been your favorite retreat experience at PHS?
A: I enjoyed my junior retreat very much. I was able to connect with some of my classmates beyond my circle of friends. I felt closer to God after leaving retreat. I learned hard times we experience may be similar to someone else’s, and we can help each other through it.

Jessica Hartlage, Senior Activities Rep for the House of Truth, Girls Golf, and Student Ambassador.

College Plans: Indiana University Southeast, major is undecided

Question: What are you looking forward to in your last semester at PHS
Answer: I am really looking forward to senior retreat.

Q: Which teacher has had the greatest impact on you?
A: Mr. Purichia has had a huge impact on my life. He not only taught me a lot in the classroom but many valuable life lessons as well.

Q: What is your favorite class?
A: My favorite class has been Intro to 3D Art. I took it this year to try something new, and I ended up loving it. It has been a nice break in my day and allows me to take a breath and have some fun.

Avery Stumler, Senior Executive Delegate for the House of Loyalty, Girls Soccer, Track, Student Ambassador, National Honor Society

College Plans: Major in nursing, undecided on where

Question: What does being on the Homecoming Court mean to you?
Answer: Being on the Homecoming Court means a lot to me. I’m honored that my class chose me to represent them on the court.

Q: What is your favorite class?
A: My favorite class at Providence was AP Chemistry. I loved having Mr. Hutchins as a teacher. He made learning chemistry fun and interesting. I love chemistry and loved the class as a whole, even when it was challenging.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester at PHS?
A: I am looking forward to my senior retreat and all of the senior activities we get to be a part of in this last semester. Getting to experience all of these things with my best friends will be a lot of fun.

Q: What has been your favorite House activity?
A: My favorite House activity was Guerin Day my junior year. It was my favorite because Bryce Drury and I won the Pioneer Relay, and then our house won Guerin Day, and it was so much fun.

Brynna Walthers, House of Justice, Volleyball, Green Dot Club, Pinterest Club, Bowling Team, Student Ambassador, National Honor Society Secretary, Pro-Life Club

College Plans: Purdue University; pre-law track

Question: What does being on the Homecoming Court mean to you?
Answer: Being on the homecoming court is quite an honor for me, and I am honored to have been chosen to represent my school on such an exciting night.

Q: What has been your favorite service activity?
A: My favorite service project would be the time my Volleyball team and I volunteered at Saint Elizabeth’s in New Albany. I was able to grow closer with my team and make a difference in my own community, which is a very special memory for me.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester?
A: I am looking forward to sharing unforgettable memories with my classmates in this last semester. I am excited for Senior Prom, senior retreat in February, and all of the exciting end-of-the-year senior activities.

Q: What has been your favorite retreat experience at PHS?
A: My favorite retreat opportunity thus far has been my junior retreat. I loved getting to know my classmates on a much closer level. I was also led by an amazing team of senior leaders last year who shared their very personal thoughts and stories. I am looking forward to my senior retreat in February.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subjects are my government, history, and English classes, as they helped me decide what I wanted to study in college. I have had phenomenal teachers who have pushed me to work at a high level and become the student I am today.

Andrew Henderson, House of Faith executive delegate, Football, Boys Golf, Bowling, Student Ambassador, Honors Council

College Plans: Seeking an appointment to the Unites States Naval Academy but currently undecided

Question: What does being on the Homecoming Court mean to you?
Answer: Being on the Homecoming Court is a great opportunity to represent my school and make some fun memories my senior year.

Q: What has been your favorite retreat experience at PHS?
A: Junior retreat was my favorite so far because it was a chance to grow in my faith and deepen my relationship with my peers.

Q: What has been your favorite House activity?
A: My favorite House activity has been helping with the Angel tree before Christmas. Shopping for children and the opportunity to help those in the community in need was amazing.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester?
A: I am looking forward to having fun this last semester of high school and making memories.

Taylor Hensley, House of Loyalty, Cheer, Track, Boys Volleyball, Dive team

Question: What is your favorite class or subject?
Answer: My favorite class is Advanced P.E. because it gives me new things to try and to also have a little workout. My favorite subject is math because the feeling I get when I get that question right is just a great feeling. It also makes my brain work. 

Q: Which teacher has had the greatest impact on you?
A: Mr. Makowski has had the greatest impact on my life because I feel like I can trust and talk to him about anything. He’s just a great person.

Q: What does being on Homecoming Court mean to you?
A: Being on Homecoming means to me that you don’t have to have a certain last name or good grades to get on, but by being yourself you can express who you really are. That’s the real crown to me.

Sterling Huber, House of Justice, Boys Basketball, Pro Life Club

College plans: Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester?
A: I’m looking forward to finishing out the basketball season with my teammates and winning sectionals. Also, just really enjoying everything that comes with senior year and making memories with my classmates.

Q: What has been your favorite retreat experience at PHS?
A: My favorite retreat at Providence is easily senior retreat. It’s hard to describe how great of an experience that was for me and how close I was able to get to some of my classmates that I never really talked to before.

Q: Which teacher has had the greatest impact on you?
A:  The teacher who has had the greatest impact on me is Mr. Makowsky. He has had a really positive impact on my faith and is someone that I enjoy talking to about sports or just anything going on in our lives. He is someone that I have a great deal of respect for.

Bryce Hutchins, The House of Spirit, Baseball, Boys Basketball

College Plans: University of Kentucky, Bellarmine University, or Indiana University; accounting major

Question: What does being on the Homecoming Court mean to you?
Answer: It is an honor to be selected to represent Providence and my class.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester?
A: I am looking forward to getting to play for Providence Baseball and Basketball for the last time, and hopefully having a lot of success.

Q: What teacher has had the greatest impact on you?
A: There are many great teachers here at Providence who have had a very positive impact on me, but if I have to choose one other than my dad, I would say Scott Hornung. Coach Hornung coached me for three years, and he has been a great example for me and someone whom I have always looked up to.

Q: What has been your favorite class at PHS?
A: Other than Advanced PE, where I get to employ my competitive spirit, I would say AP US History sophomore year with Mrs. Manning. It was an interesting class, and Mrs. Manning was a great teacher.

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Sports Spotlight: Girls Swim & Dive

The Girls Swim & Dive team has fewer members this season than the boys’ team, but they are still making a splash. Each meet, swimmers and divers continue to set personal records and improve over the season. The team will compete in the sectional preliminaries on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Highland Hills Middle School. Sophomore Cassandra Fetz is on the three-member dive team, and sophomore Sydney Lamaster is on the swim team. Read more for the Sports Spotlight Q&A.

Sydney is in her second year of focusing on competitive swimming. When she was younger, she joined her siblings on their swim team but didn’t take the sport seriously until joining the Providence team.

She is in the House of Spirit, spring musical, children’s show, Book Club, Drawing Club, and Providence Singers. She also takes part in an art class with Louisville Visual Art.

Her events are the 50-yard backstroke in the 200-yard medley relay, 50 or 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay (first leg), and 400 freestyle relay (second leg). Sometimes she will swim the 200 freestyle or 50-yard breaststroke if needed.

Question: What do you like about being on the Swim & Dive Team?
Answer:
What I like about being on the Swim & Dive Team is Coach Jim Pfeiffer’s coaching and the people on the team. Coach Jim is really casual with most practices and is really nice about telling us what we do wrong and right. It’s super easy to join even if you aren’t regularly involved in sports and can easily get you a varsity letter.

Q: What is your favorite event?
A: My favorite event is the 50 free because I’m best at freestyle, and I like trying to beat my old time. Doing a sprint is less stressful for me since it goes faster.

Q: What has been a highlight of the season for you?
A: A highlight of the season for me was when I beat my time at a meet and got first in my heat, which made me happy, since that doesn’t happen that often.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is art because I get to be creative and improve my talents.

Cassandra is in her first year diving and also plays Softball and Girls Golf. She is in the House of Loyalty.

Question: What do you like about being on the Swim & Dive Team?
Answer: I like the Dive Team because not all practices are serious but also fun. We sometimes play water polo.

Q: What is your favorite dive?
A: My favorite dive is probably my reverse because it is my cleanest dive.

Q: What has been a highlight of the season for you?
A: A highlight of my season is probably getting second place in a big meet.

Q: What do you like about being a Pioneer?
A: You meet so many nice people and great friends and teachers. Being a Pioneer is the best!

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Travel nursing pays off for alumni

Have job, will travel. Several of our alumni are taking this adage to heart by taking part in the growing need for travel nurses and health professionals, filling in gaps in staffing at hospitals around the country. From the outside, it looks like a chance to be paid to travel and to work on short-term assignments. And while the travel certainly is an allure, there are professional benefits as well, said Hannah Fontan ’12, a registered nurse specializing in post-anesthetic care; Ashley (Ricks) Hebner ’11, a registered nurse with a certification in pediatric emergency care; and Jacob Golembeski ’10, an occupational therapist.

Hebner has been a travel nurse for about two years and is fulfilling a goal she has had since becoming a nurse, having earned her bachelor’s in nursing in 2016 from Galen College. She worked for two years at a hospital in Louisville to gain experience and set out on her travel career. Since she receives a stipend to cover her living expenses, she is able to pay off debt – and travel with her husband, Gavan, whom she married in June 2019.

She has worked in Connecticut, Alabama, and Missouri and especially liked working on the East Coast and at Yale Children’s Hospital. As a travel nurse, she enjoys not having the responsibility that she did in a permanent assignment – attending staff meetings and dealing with management, for example – as well as being somewhat empowered in her work. If she were to encounter unsafe practices or unprofessional conduct while on assignment, for example, she has the freedom to report it to her assigning company and cancel the contract if necessary.

“You can’t cancel every contract or you’re going to have a hard time finding work, but to say, ‘This is unsafe; please fix it, or I’m leaving’ is pretty nice,” Hebner said.

Being a travel nurse does have its challenges. Openings in her specialty are sometimes limited, and the pay isn’t the same everywhere. Some locations may seem desirable because she’d love to visit there, but their desirability as vacations destinations actually lowers the pay rate.

“Most of the places that sound really great to get to work in don’t pay as well because they’re considered vacation spots,” Hebner said. “If you’re not doing it to make the extra money, then by all means, go for those vacation spots. But the majority of people do it for the love of traveling and the extra cash.”

Another challenge is being so far away from her husband during the work week, but when he visits, they can enjoy sightseeing and seeing a place they might not have been able to afford otherwise.

“He has thoroughly enjoyed getting to visit the different cities I’m in and make fun memories with me,” Hebner said. “I plan to stay as a travel nurse for as long as it works for myself and my husband. We love to travel, and this is such an awesome way to get to go places we might not have or afford things we maybe would’ve had to save a long time for. I love getting to be a pediatric nurse all over the country!”

Travel nursing leads to professional growth

Hannah Fontan ’12 in Joshua Tree, Calif. She says: “My best friend, Clarissa, wanted to have a photo shoot with her mustangs, and we had the best time. I’m so thankful that travel nursing has brought me the best lifelong friends and pictures like this that I get to treasure forever. “

Fontan also likes the opportunity to travel and visit different places with her fiancé, Evan Hutt ’12. But it wasn’t just the travel that attracted her to the job. She actually was afraid of taking on a travel nurse job because of the need to change jobs every few months.

“I’m a very introverted person, and the thought of having a new job every three months terrified me,” Fontan said. “As I grew as a nurse and got more comfortable with my skills, I decided I needed to push myself to meet new people, see new places, and get myself out of my comfort zone. I am so happy I made that decision for myself because I have grown so much as a person and nurse.”

Fontan earned her bachelor’s in nursing at Spalding University in 2016 and worked for a couple years at a local hospital before deciding to become a travel nurse. As a travel nurse, she finds that it forces her to do her best because she only has “a limited to show the coworkers and doctors I work around what I’m worth as a nurse,” she said. It also allows her “to learn different patient populations, policies, and procedures” at each hospital. She still works in the PACU assisting patients as they recover from the effects of anesthesia post-surgery, but each hospital is a little different.

As far as the travel, she’s worked in Seattle, Wash., Palm Springs and San Francisco, Calif., Bangor, Maine, and Knoxville, Tenn. She has loved visiting places in each location with her fiancé. Their favorite spot was San Juan Island, Wash., where they rented mopeds, took in the scenery, saw dolphins, and took a whale watching tour and spotted a pod of orcas.

“It was one of the best weekend trips we have taken while traveling,” Fontan said.

With her wedding coming up in July, Fontan said she plans to keep taking travel assignments for about six months. She and Hutt planned from the beginning to pick their favorite locale and settle down there when they married, and that’s still the plan.

“I am so thankful I made myself jump into this career,” Fontan said. “We have had the adventure of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”

Due diligence needed

Golembeski is an occupational therapist who has been taking travel assignments since July 2018 after earning his master’s in occupational therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, Texas, in December 2017. Like Hebner and Fontan, he enjoys the opportunity to travel as well as the professional growth he has experienced.

While Hebner and Fontan work in the same type of unit in each hospital where they’re assigned, his assignments are in various types of settings and specialties. He would prefer to work in inpatient neurological or outpatient hand care, but waiting for openings in those specialties limits his assignments. So he finds himself choosing to work in acute care, outpatient, home health, or skilled nursing settings and has learned from each type while affirming his original preference.

“It’s allowed me the realize that’s what I want to do, without a doubt,” Golembeski said. “It helps me become a more rounded therapist because now I’m seeing the clinical reason for each and every setting.”

Being a traveling OT has limitations, however. Nurses and physical therapists can take advantage of a licensure compact between states, meaning as long as they are applying to work in states that are members with their original licensing state, a new license is not required if they pay for that type of licensing. As an OT, he must apply for a license to work in each state, and the application process varies by state. California has one of the longest application approval periods, while others are much faster. He recently missed out on an assignment in Louisiana because he is still waiting for his license to be approved in that state. After waiting several weeks, he’s now applying to an assignment on the Texas-Louisiana border because he is licensed in Texas.

His goal with this assignment is to be near his fiancée, Ashlyn, who is a physical therapist working in Louisiana as she finalizes plans for their April wedding. If he gets this assignment, he’ll be a few hours away. Once they are married, they will look for travel assignments that need an OT and PT in the same location, at least through the end of the year. Then they will probably settle down in Tennessee, partway between their two families. Being close to family is important to them, he said, even though their travels have tempted them to settle elsewhere.

Golembeski’s first travel assignment was in Redding, Calif., when the area was undergoing large, uncontrolled fires. His fiancée and four other classmates from St. Augustine were assigned to the same area, and that helped him get acclimated to the travel healthcare life.

“We might have been in the middle of the mountains in the middle of nowhere in beautiful California, but we had a tight-knit group that we were really close to,” he said.

His assignments have been in remote areas and busy urban areas, from Berkley, Calif, to Colorado Springs, Colo. Most assignments are 13 weeks, although the first assignment was extended to 32. Picking up and moving to a new location – and waiting for licensing – can be stressful, but the ability to travel and to earn a tax-free stipend for living expenses makes up for it, he said. He can focus on paying off his college loans and paying for the wedding while living in a new region every few months. For example, his fiancé earned twice as much in a week in a travel assignment as in her current permanent assignment, he said. For him, the higher pay rate helped tied him over as he waited for the approval on his Louisiana license.

But he stresses that working in travel healthcare can have its pitfalls. It’s important for those considering such a career to fully investigate the field to ensure a positive experience. There are Facebook groups that share information and insights, such as tips on how to find living accommodations at a cost below the stipend. With such temporary assignments, travel healthcare providers tend to look for fully furnished units, which can be limited in some areas. Golembeski scours Airbnb, Craigslist, and Apartment Finder for the best deal.

“It’s kind of a gamble (looking for housing), but it works out,” noting one stay was in a mother-in-law suite where the landlord provided fresh fruits and vegetables. Another was in the basement of a mansion owned by an elderly couple in Broadmoor Estates in Colorado.

It’s also important to realize that the companies that manage the assignments are businesses looking to make a profit, he said. One tip he shares is being sure to negotiate a more flexible cancellation date in order to cancel a contract if necessary without penalty.

“It is a business for the recruiters, so negotiating is extremely important,” Golembeski said. “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but if you ask the right questions and you do your due diligence, it can be very profitable and beneficial.”

Being open to different options and being flexible also are important, he said. It’s also key to have a good support system. For him, it’s his family — and the reason he wants to settle down near his parents and brother and his children who live in Southern Indiana. It also helps having been prepared for such opportunities as he was by attending Providence.

“Providence really did help prepare me for everything,” he said. “The teachers were there. There’s always a great support system. They set you up with the skills needed to navigate life. They really do.”

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Students learn engineering skills

Intro to Engineering class gives students the opportunity to learn basic engineering concepts by applying them to real life problems. This year, the first semester class worked to solve a problem with the Heliponix GroPod unit in Mrs. Laura Swessel’s classroom.

Mrs. Laura Swessel shows parents who attended their students’ final presentation one of the reservoirs designed by the Intro to Engineering students.

Her hydroponic unit is a prototype and has a flaw in the design that causes intermittent water leakage and failure of the unit. The bottom drawer contains a tub of water from which water is fed to the plants in the unit. But if care is not taken when closing the drawer, the water can splash out and lead to the plants drying out and dying. So the Intro to Engineering class was assigned to design new water reservoirs.

The students used programs such as tinkercad and a 3D printer to complete their project. They said they enjoyed being able to develop a practical solution instead of simply studying a hypothetical situation.

“It didn’t feel like class sometimes,” senior Sterling Huber said, noting how they were able to contact the unit’s inventors and discuss ideas with them.

The groups did hit snags along the way and had to use the engineering method to address and solve the problem. For example, one group found the cap they created with the 3D printer was the wrong size and had to try again. Another group didn’t make sure the printer was started in time in order for it to complete the part for their final presentation.

Senior Jacob Sullivan, who was on a team with senior Olivia McCurdy and juniors Jackson Sanders and Michael Vaughn, said he liked the class and will find it useful if he decides to major in engineering in college. He is undecided right now and is hoping to attend Purdue University or Butler University. Even if engineering isn’t his major, the problem-solving skills he learned can be carried forward even beyond college.

“It helps you formulate ideas and work with other group members,” Jacob said.

Senior Alex Perkinson, who was in a group with Sterling and senior Ryan Drury, had been planning to major in audio production and engineering at Indiana University or Middle Tennessee State University – or business at Bellarmine University. Taking the class helped him see that engineering would be a good fit, he said.

“It helped me get in the mindset of making things and understanding the process rather than just winging it,” Alex said.

Sterling said he still is unsure if he will major in engineering and has applied to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Louisville as well as the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University-Bloomington. But if he does choose engineering, he has received a strong foundation.

“It was a great experience,” Sterling said. “It was a great way to collaborate with each other.”

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Sports Spotlight: Wrestling

This issue’s Sports Spotlight focuses on two members of the Wrestling Team. Senior Chase Aldridge has been wrestling for about 10 years and is expected to advance in the postseason in the 132-pound weight class. He also plays football and is in the House of Courage. Freshman Luke French is in his first year of wrestling at Providence, having gotten interested in the sport at his cousins’ encouragement. He is in the 126-pound weight class. He is in the House of Faith and in the offseason likes to do CrossFit. Read their Q&As below:

Question: What do you like about being on the Wrestling Team?
Chase: I like the small team, the close bond that we have.

Q: What is your favorite service activity?
A: I like participating in the Penny Wars against the other classes because it really brings out the competitiveness throughout the school.

Q: What is your favorite House activity?
A: My favorite House activity is Guerin Day because of the fun activities I’ve participated in the last four years.

Q: What has been your favorite retreat experience?
A: My favorite retreat was Junior Retreat because of the bonds and friendships I made with my classmates.

Q: What do you like about being a Pioneer?
A: I really love the Blue Pride at Providence, and I will really miss it.

Question: What do you like about being on the Wrestling Team?
Luke: The thing I like most about being on the Wrestling Team is that it has put a mental toughness and fearless, confident attitude in my life.

Q: What is your favorite House activity?
A: My favorite House activity was playing dodgeball on Guerin day because I just enjoyed when the different Houses competed in different events.

Q: What do you like about being a Pioneer?
A: The thing I like best about being a Pioneer is that I like the bonds and friendships that I’m able to have with other Pioneers.

Q: What is your favorite school subject?
A: My favorite subject is biology because I love learning about the many different things that make up our body.

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Providence friendships last a lifetime

Many of our alumni comment on how much they value the lifelong friendships they made while students here. With students coming from three counties and even Louisville, these friendships may not have been made without their attending Providence. The small school and strong community enhance these connections and forge bonds that last for decades.

In the next Vision magazine, scheduled to mail later this month, several of these friend groups will be highlighted, including two groups from the Class of 1969, which will celebrate its 50th reunion this year. If you are part of an enduring friend group, please email a photo and description to news@providencehigh.net to be considered for inclusion in a future eVision.

1969 Golfers

The late Mike Naville ’69 was a driving force in his class. He rallied his classmates to share in his continued love for their alma mater long after graduation. And he loved to have an excuse to spend time with them. Soon after the class’s 10-year reunion, the Class of 1969 Golfers began an annual three-day golf marathon at Naville’s urging.

For 40 years, the group has played a full 18 holes or more on each of three successive days once a year. It’s not serious golf, but “various forms of best ball, which I believe keeps the focus on having a fun time with great friends,” Tom Raidy explained.

Naville was good at organizing such golf scrambles, and even created one for the Alumni Association. For his classmates, he took the time to pair each one with different classmates each day – and grouped them by skill level. Richard Young and Tommy Blair carry on the task now that Naville has passed.

Raidy, Young, Blair, Steve Detenber, Jerry Wayne, Stan Farrell, Jeff Jones, Mark MeGraw, Cary Williams, Dale Popp, Ron Posante, Richard Andres, Gary Engle, Eddie Kruer, Mike Day, Pat Teives, Cletus Kochert, Ray Schulz, and Mike McKay make up this group of golf buddies.

The men became friends while in the same classes or on the same sports teams. They may not speak on a regular basis or even see each other in between the annual golf outing, but when they reunite, the men slip easily back into the connection made more than 50 years ago.

“While I only see most of my classmates at the reunions, there is something special that makes it seem we just saw each other yesterday,” Raidy said, noting he was only able to become part of the golf outing five years ago when he moved closer to Southern Indiana after decades in California. “On our annual golf weekend, we come together and have a great time, and it is obvious neither time nor distance has any effect on our friendships.

“It is a great, fun time. Golf, old friends, old stories, with some new ones mixed in. My only regrets are that I missed all the prior years from when they started until I finally joined up and missed being there with Mike. I love these guys and getting to spend time with them. These friendships have lasted since high school, and while I made lots of friends since then, I never made any better friends. The Class of ‘69 are a group of very special people.”

1969 Lunch Group

The 1969 Lunch Group at West Baden, left to right, are Paula (Cleveland) Bertloff, Karen (Gettelfinger) Book, Sandy (Lynn) Mason, Rita (Litch) Stocksdale, Barb (Miller) Schindler, Brenda (Speth) Sweet, and Rosie Miller.

The women in the Class of 1969 have their own tradition, one that started more recently. They gather for lunch about every other month, usually choosing a new spot or place of interest. Up to 13 women, including Barb (Miller) Schindler, Beckee (Olson) Blair, Brenda (Speth) Sweet, Karen (Gettelfinger) Book, Marilyn (Stumler) Pinnick, Pam (Schueler) Beerbower, Paula (Cleveland) Bertloff, Rita (Litch) Stocksdale, Rosie Miller, Sandy (Lynn) Mason, Vicki (Andres) Prince, Virginia (Gogel) Hyde, and Marguerite (Book) Mayfield, attend each time.

The tradition started in 2006 after one of the women’s father died and the desire to meet somewhere other than a funeral home sparked a lunch date, Mayfield said. The group started with just four or five women meeting on Saturdays for lunch, and the number grew over time. As the women retired, the day moved to Wednesday. The classmates don’t all live locally, with some driving in from Brownsburg and Indianapolis. But that gives the group the excuse to travel farther afield.

Their destinations have included local attractions such as Churchill Downs, Culbertson Mansion, and Speed Art Museum as well as road trips to Conner Prairie and an annual trip to Café Batar in Seymour.

“We talk about our families, trips, memories, and news,” Mayfield said. “We are never at a loss for conversation topics. It has been great staying connected to these ‘girls’ 50 years after graduating from Providence.”

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Students deepen faith in God at NCYC

In mid-November, a number of our students traveled with their parish youth group to Indianapolis to participate in NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference). The event is held every two years, and our students who attended found it meaningful whether it was their first or second trip.

Junior Aaron Burke made his first trip to NCYC and was touched by the experience. He also was impressed to see the 20,000 youth and leaders gathered to celebrate their faith. On a personal level, he felt himself grow closer to God.

“I could feel God’s presence all around,” Aaron said. “For example, when we celebrated the Mass and had Adoration with all of the attendees, it was just so powerful…. My relationship with God grew immensely on this trip.”

It was also the first trip for junior Anna Isler. She said she wanted to go because she hoped it would be a good opportunity to strengthen her relationship with God. She was not disappointed. She was inspired by a talk by a Louisiana pastor and his students on how to have big dreams for the future and most enjoyed the closing Mass.

“I really enjoyed being with so many young people like me that genuinely cared about their faith,” Anna said. “Going forward I know I’ll have a deeper relationship with God because of what I experienced on this trip.”

Junior Clayton Furnish enjoyed his second trip to the conference. He enjoyed seeing so many Catholic youths gathered to share their faith – and meeting them in the Thematic Village. He liked attending the different sessions and listening to people speak on different topics, especially one on encouraging understanding and kindness.

“That is something that I plan to work on in my everyday life moving forward from this great experience of attending the National Catholic Youth Conference,” Clayton said.

Senior Avery Stumler was excited to return to NCYC because she found herself grow closer to God and her friends on her first trip. Like Aaron, she enjoyed sharing her faith with the multitude of Catholic teenagers. Like Anna, she found the closing liturgy very powerful.

“Having Mass with 20,000 other teenagers is such an amazing experience, and everyone is always so lively during it,” Avery said. This experience makes me want to grow in my faith even more after hearing and seeing how God has touched and impacted so many people’s lives.

Senior Liberty Russell also was excited to return to the conference and share her faith with so many teens from around the country. The sense of community was her favorite part.

“I love the way that so many Catholics come together and love one another so fully just because of the way we love Jesus,” Liberty said.

Liberty’s younger brother Josh, who is a junior, was invited to be a member of the schola, which performed Gregorian chant during morning prayer at the conference, after participating in One Bread, One Cup this summer. The Criterion interviewed him and asked what he thought of the opportunity, and he said he found it eye opening to share his faith with so many youth.

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Player Profile: Girls Basketball

The Girls Basketball season is in full swing with the team’s next game on Saturday at Borden High School. This issue, we profile two players:  sophomore Brooklynn Nolot and junior Lauren Castleberry. Lauren has been playing for 13 years having first started playing on Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s biddy ball team, and Brooklynn also has played most of her life, having begun before starting school and throughout elementary and middle school.

Here is a Q&A with each of them:

Lauren Castleberry, guard, House of Courage, Student Ambassador, Pro Life Club, Girls Soccer. Played basketball most of her life, starting with Our Lady’s biddy ball team.

Question: What do you like about playing basketball?
Answer: What I love about playing basketball is how positive my team and coaching staff is. I also love working hard every day after school with my teammates.

Q: What has been your favorite service activity at PHS?
A: Shanty Town. I loved getting to stay up all night in prayer and service to those who aren’t as fortunate as me.

Q: What do you like about being a Pioneer?
A: I like being a Pioneer because I’m always surrounded by students and faculty who share in my love for God. Everyone at Providence loves being here and always has a good attitude.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is AP Chemistry because it always challenges me and I never get bored.

Brooklynn Nolot, point guard, House of Spirit, and Softball. Played most of her life, having started before starting school because of her dad’s encouragement and fell in love with the game.

Question: What do you like about playing basketball?
Answer: I like playing basketball because I love the people and the coaches. I like the competition and just trying to win.

Q: What has been your favorite service activity at PHS?
A: New Albany National Cemetery with my team. We put pennies on the soldiers’ graves to show we are thankful for them.

Q: What is your favorite House activity you’ve participated in while at PHS?
A: The bonfire and having fun with my friends.

Q: What has been your favorite retreat experience while at PHS?
A: My sophomore retreat was amazing. It really brought me closer to God, and I realized I wanted to be closer to him.

Q: What do you like about being a Pioneer?
A: I like being a Pioneer because we all are family and we all want the same thing.

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Hornung, Boilermakers head to NCAA Sweet 16

Marissa Hornung ’18, a Purdue University sophomore, is having a great season as libero for the school’s women’s volleyball team. In the final two weeks of the regular season, she repeated as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Her accomplishments over those two weeks included a total 46 digs in one week in wins over No. 22 Michigan and Michigan State, including a career high 29 in the Michigan matchup. She also was named to the Academic All-Big Ten.

The team earned a Top 16-seed for the NCAA Tournament, giving Purdue the opportunity to host the opening round, during which the No. 14 Boilermakers beat Wright State and No. 16 Marquette. On Friday, Hornung and her team head to Texas to face No. 1 Baylor at noon on ESPNU.

We caught up with Hornung before the first two rounds of the tournament last weekend:

Question: What has been the highlight of the season so far?
Answer: Two of the games that stick out to me as turning points in our season are the Nebraska game (at home) and the Michigan game (at home). The Nebraska game was a big momentum changer for us because taking down a Top 5 team drew a lot of national attention towards our program. We didn’t like how we felt when we left their place a couple weeks earlier with a 1-3 loss, so when we won that game, it gave my teammates and me confidence that we could compete with any team in the country. Not to mention, the atmosphere in our gym was CRAZY because we had a sold-out crowd and the five-set match was filled with amazing plays. Also, our Michigan game was a highlight of the season for me because it was senior day, and we hadn’t beat Michigan in 3 years. It was evident through our play that we were competing for Blake Mohler and Shavona Cuttino (our two seniors), and the win speaks to the level of respect and chemistry this team has for each other. We weren’t willing to lose to Michigan again, especially on senior day when we were honoring two people who have given so much to the program.

Q: What do you like about being a Boilermaker?
A: Right now, I like being a Boilermaker because I believe there are so many positive things happening on our campus. Since I stepped foot on campus in June 2018, I have witnessed and been a part of so many great moments. Some of these things include: Meeting Tyler Trent and getting to hear his life story through his perspective, being a student when Purdue celebrated 150 years of excellence as a university, playing on a team that just finished with the second most wins in the Big 10 at Purdue (14) in 32 years, witnessing amazing sports upsets and runs in the tournament such as Purdue football vs. Ohio State last year or our men’s basketball team making it to the Elite 8, watching any of our sports teams succeed because our athletic program is very successful right now, and being a part of a new major (Human Resources Development) (also my major) that the university has implemented, so I can earn the best degree possible. I could go on and on, but at the end of the day, I am proud to be a Boilermaker right now because I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

Q: What did you think when you heard you were Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week – twice?
A: Honestly, I didn’t think much about the award itself but more about how happy I was with the wins the following weeks. Those recognitions came after some very emotional, intense, and crucial matches so it was nice to reflect on those. Besides, everyone knows that in a team sport you don’t receive individual accolades without the help of your teammates and coaches. I am just grateful to still be playing at this point, to be surrounded by an amazing volleyball family, and the fact that I still have time to keep learning about the game I love.

Q: What’s your goal going into each game?
A: I have two goals going into each game that have helped me throughout this year.

1) Give it my all so I don’t have regrets. There is no feeling worse than going back and watching film and realizing that I didn’t try hard enough on a play. I have a lot of passion for the game, and my years left of playing are starting to shorten, so I want to make sure I give it everything I have while I still can.

2) Remember that volleyball is just a game and I am here to have fun. Playing in the Big 10 is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. It is the toughest league by far, and there is NO game that I feel comfortable going into. Every team is capable of beating you, if you don’t show up. To take away from some of that pressure, I try to remind myself that competing is fun. I tell myself that I have been playing competitively since I was 8 years old, and it helps me not to overthink things.

Q: What is the team looking forward to in the tournament? 
A: Our team is most looking forward to hosting the first and second rounds of the tournament. It has been a long time since our program has hosted, and we are excited to show teams what Holloway is all about. Our gym is truly one of the hardest places to play in the country, and our fanbase has continued to grow throughout the past couple of years. Our tickets for the games sold out within the first couple of hours, and our website even shut down from so much activity at one point. We are motivated to give the Boilermaker community our best effort to say “thank you” for all the love and support they have shown us.

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Underclassman scholars excel in art, science, Spanish

The November Scholars are outstanding students in Spanish, science, and visual arts. The Q&A below features the freshman and sophomore scholars. The juniors and seniors were featured in the previous issue.

The scholars featured in this issue are

  • Science: freshman Alcindor Smith and sophomore Chloe Brown
  • Spanish: freshman Jackson Bettler and sophomore Cade Carver
  • Visual Arts: freshman Ana Cabezas and sophomore Maya Paris

Freshman Alcindor Smith, Science Scholar, House of Truth, JV Boys Soccer, Drawing Club, Track & Field

Question: What do you like about science?
Answer: I like that with science we discover new things that we didn’t know before, and we can use it to better humanity.

Q: What is your favorite science subject?
A:  My favorite is definitely genetics. I just love reading and learning about them. Genetics you can predict future traits with two people, and I love predicting the future also.

Q: What has been your favorite lab?
A: Back in middle school we did a ton. My favorite was when we did one on tectonic plate movement. We had graham crackers and chocolate frosting, and we crushed graham crackers and moved them as if they were tectonic plates.

Sophomore Chloe Brown, Science Scholar, House of Justice

Question: What do you like about science?
Answer: It is constantly all around us, but we don’t always see it.

Q: What is your favorite science subject?
A: I like chemistry because it is a lot of math, but I like biology because we learn about things happening all over our bodies and all around us all the time.

Q: What has been your favorite lab?
A: My favorite lab was the elephant’s toothpaste lab in chemistry [which created a foamy substance caused by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide using potassium iodide or yeast and warm water as a catalyst].

Freshman Ana Cabezas, Visual Arts Scholar, House of Humility, Dance Team

Question: What do you like about art?
Answer: I like how you can express yourself in many unique ways. Art can be really calming and fun to do.

Q: What is your favorite form of art?
A: Sketching. It is really cool to draw objects and have them look as if it is real. Although it takes a lot of work, it is really satisfying to see my drawing in the end.

Q: Who is your favorite artist?
A: My favorite artist is my oldest brother Steven. He is one of the reasons I always liked to draw. He always drew pictures for my family, and he does for fun and has taught me a lot of skills.

Sophomore Maya Paris, House of Spirit, Dance Team, Girls Tennis

Question: What do you like about art?
Answer: I like having freedom to make what I want in art class, and I like being able to keep my projects.

Q: What is your favorite art class?
A: My favorite art class is ceramics because I like to work with clay and make bowls.

Q: Who is your favorite artist?
A: My favorite artist is Andy Warhol because his style is colorful.

Freshman Jackson Bettler, Spanish Scholar, House of Truth, Cross Country, Track, Theatre

Question: What do you like about Spanish?
Answer: I like that I can learn a new language and possibly be able to use it in the future.

Q: What has been your favorite Spanish project?
A: My favorite Spanish project so far has been learning about day of the dead.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned this year, and why does it stand out to you?
A: We learned about a lot of grammar, and I didn’t know how to talk [in Spanish] but now I can form simple sentences.

Sophomore Cade Carver, Spanish Scholar, House of Truth, Boys Basketball

Question: What do you like about Spanish?
Answer: I like being able to learn something new every day of class.

Q: What has been your favorite Spanish project?
A: My favorite Spanish project was the Dia de Muertos project. This was my favorite because I was able to bake food.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned this year, and why does it stand out to you?
A: Direct Object Pronouns have stood out to me the most because they have been the most challenging.

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