Issue 1, Volume 12

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Makerspace is open!

Science teachers switch

grades, rooms

Eighth grader shows llamas

Get behind the scenes of

‘Peter Pan, Jr.’

Get inside the cross country

runner’s mind

Seventh, eighth grade


Seventh, eighth grade

football stories


Door decorating for

College Go week

Makerspace opens at Clay

Clay’s new

classroom allows

students to use


(Left) Madilyn Delgado,

seventh grade, works on the

sewing machine. One of the

sections in the Makerspace is

devoted to fashion design.

Along with the sewing

machines, students can use

computers, make things with

cardboard and duct tape, and

learn how to code with special

electronics. Photo by Abby

Fox and Jennifer Robles

Story by Abby Fox and Sasha Frakine

“You think you know every classroom in

the whole by eighth grade,” Gabbi Pinegar,

eighth grade, said. “but there’s a new classroom

that is new to the school.”

Turns out the new classroom is called the


“I think it’s good because the teachers let

their students come up with ideas for

Makerspace,” Anna Jones, eighth grade, said.

“There’s kind of a national movement to

have makerspaces in libraries and media

centers,” Mrs. Stephanie Swartzendruber, media

specialist, said. “Even in some businesses like

Google and Eli Lilly have Makerspace-type of

places where their employees can go and make

things and invent things and tinker.

“Mr. Crosby went to a conference last year

and came back, and we talked about it. So, Mr.

Crosby and I have been working on it since

about last January,” Swartzendruber said.

Makerspace is a creative place to put your

ideas together with your friends or your group.

You can make challenges, make up your own

problems and solve them with the whole class.

“We've got a lot of different supplies and

things for building and creating,”

Swartzendruber said. “We've got a coding

station, we have a fashion design station, so we

have four sewing machines now. We’ve got

computers. We’ve got a printer. At the end of

October, we'll get a 3-D printer,”

Swartzendurber said.

Overall, she said there are many different

tools and materials to create with. “Makerspace

is a good place to go and express who you are,”

Colton Parker, seventh grader, said. “You get to

do fun activities with your friends.” Colton had

also said, “I hope we get to have this forever. I

love building challenges and having fun.”

Emma Harrington, eighth grade, said, “I

love the idea of Makerspace. It sounds so cool

and fun that you get to create and make fun

things and challenges and make your own

problems and solve them.”

Students can start getting passes to go to the

Makerspace during Core Plus time, since there

will be a teacher there to monitor. There is also

a Makerspace Club that meets Tuesdays after


“I’m looking forward to seeing some of the

projects that everyone's coming up with,”

Swartzendruber said. “I think that we're going

see some really cool things that we’ve never

even thought of before, and I think that it's

going to be neat to see kids solve problems.”

She said, right now, classes like Digital

Learning 2 are working on trying to solve

problems around the school using technology.

The end product is to make an invention, and

hopefully create the actual invention in the


Science classes have made use of the

Makerspace so far, like Mrs. Susan Fulp, Mr.

Andy Simon and Mr. Mark Weaver’s classes.

“I love to see the students reach their

creativity level in Makerspace,” Simon said.

“The staff worked hard to get Makerspace to

the school and get it here fast, and we are

fortunate enough to have it.”

(Top right) Nate Willman and Matthew Downing work on creating a disco ball out of

blank CD-Rs. (Left) A student shows off his helmet that he made using duct tape and

cardboard. Photos by Abby Fox and Jennifer Robles

Clay Middle School begins

rehearsals for

Lots of talent in ‘Peter Pan, Jr.’ the


Story by Courtney Lacy

Clay Middle School’s 2015 musical “Peter

Pan, Jr.” is off to a great start.

Many talented performers tried out for

parts in Peter Pan, several said that they got the

role they wanted.

Two of the main roles will be played by

eighth graders Piper Williams and Lauryn

Hedges. Peter Pan will be played by Williams.

Piper said, “When I first tried out for Peter

Pan, I tried out for Wendy Darling and Tinker

Bell, but when I found out I got Peter Pan, I

was really shocked and super excited.”

Williams has been in several plays before at

Clay but has never had as big of a role as Peter


Piper said what she’s most looking forward

to is “acting out all the roles I get to do since I

will be Peter Pan.”

Hedges is playing the part of Wendy

Darling in the musical, and she said that this is

one of the biggest roles she has ever had.

Hedges said, “I’m really looking forward to all

the great music I get to sing and act out, that is

in the musical Peter Pan.”

Lauryn also said that “a lot of my friends

are in the play and have big roles too, so I'm

really excited to perform on stage with them.”

Some of the performers are involved in

musicals and acting classes all year around,

inside and outside of school.

We have so many experienced and talented

singers and actors at Clay, that this year’s show

will be fantastic. Many talented students are

practicing several hours a week to put together

an amazing musical that will be brought to life

by our incredible students.

The musical will be held in the Clay

auditorium, November 5th through November


Overcoming stage fright for the big


Story by Spencer Pickering

The curtains are open for Clay Middle

Schools performance of “Peter Pan, Jr.”

Practices started on Tuesday, August 25th

and is every Tuesday, Wednesday, and

Thursday until 5:00 p.m. Although many of the

actors have had other small roles in plays, for

many of them, this is their biggest role.

“I have had roles in plays before, but this is

by far the biggest role I have ever had,” Lauryn

Hedges, eighth grade, who is playing Wendy

Darling, said.

A common performers issue is dealing with

stage fright. The actors in “Peter Pan” will have

to deal with performing in front of a full

auditorium several times.

“Yes, I do get very nervous before a

performance, but once I get into character and

perform it starts to gradually go away and

becomes very fun.”

Students on stage crew

begin to learn the

equipment up in the

sound room. Photos by

Spencer Pickering

Receiving big roles in ‘Peter Pan, Jr.’

Story by Kendra Perkins

Peter Pan is a classic tale that is known well

world-wide. The story has been around forever

and never lost its popularity. Because this is a

middle school production of the tale, it is Peter

Pan, Jr.

Peter Pan will be played by Piper Williams

who has been acting for a while, so stage fright

is getting better as she does more and more

plays. This is not her first large role. In fifth

grade, she starred in Prairie Trace’s school

production of “Aladdin, Jr.”

This play will make its theatre debut on

November 5th. The cast will be prepared and

very confident when they perform for audiences

that come to watch them.

“The audience should be expecting a great

show with a wonderful cast. It will be a fun time

for everyone, cast and audience.”

Make sure to get your tickets to Clay Middle

School’s production of Peter Pan JR.!

Peter Pan is in full swing! Auditions were

held the second week of school, and practice

started this week on Tuesday, August 25th.

Students in the play explained what the tryout

process was like.

“First we had to sign up for the auditions

outside of Mrs. Susie's choir room, and we

could pick any song we wanted to sing during

the tryouts,” Lauryn Hedges said. “A few days

after we tried out we got a call back, and that's

what told us our parts for the play.”

This is the biggest play anybody has ever

seen for Clay’s school plays in a long time.

Lauren Grumbacher will be playing a fairy

in the play and Hedges will be playing the lead

part of Wendy. Other roles include Kimmy

Rhea as Tinker Bell and Tanner Horrocks as

Captain Hook.

“I've been into acting for a long time so

this is nothing new,” Hedges said. “Already the

play practices have been fun and I'm excited

because many of my close friends are in the play

with me,” she said.

The play is scheduled to show on the 6th

and 7th of November, Understudy show is the

6th and The Peter Pan play is the 7th. The cast

members are putting in several hours of practice

a week for the big show.

“I’m just excited to be in the play and see

how it goes,” Hedges said.

Science teachers

By Hannah Gretz, Gracie Gilbert

The 2015-2016 Clay Middle School science department started off with a little


This year some of the teachers were moved from grade to grade and even

subject to subject. Ms. Gretchen Smiley, Mr. Mark Weaver and Mrs. Kelly Speidel

were the teachers who took part in this science switch. Although switching core

subjects can be completely daunting, switching grades is also a challenge.

Weaver has always been known for having a crazy, fun, outgoing classroom.

When moving from class to class, Weaver had a bit of trouble. His room was

filled with trinkets, stuffed animals, clocks and many different things from around

the world.

Weaver explained, “It took students and I about a month to move all my

stuff from room to room.” Throughout the month of June, Weaver and others

spent hours in the school. Weaver put stuff in personal storage, cabinets, shared

it, and even gave some things away.

Compared to Weaver, Speidel only took a couple of days to move her stuff

from room to room with help from her past students. It took her longer to pack

her stuff than it did to move it.

Speidel has been teaching humanities for years, but this year she is teaching

science for the first time.

“It is a refreshing change. Being a science teacher is great and I love it,” she


Speidel also said that science is a lot different from humanities, especially

since it is more hands-on.

Recently, the science classes have been doing smaller labs in their class

periods, but are going to start doing bigger labs in the near future.

“We are doing chemistry and physics this year,” Weaver explained. “Because

of this the labs are a lot different from seventh grade, since we are studying

different units."

Many people may wonder when the famous seventh grade Survival Week will

be taking place.

Smiley assured us by explaining that even though there is a brand

new curriculum this year, the seventh grade survival week will

continue. However the science teachers do not know who will be

taking it over. Speidel and her sixth grade science

classes are also planning on doing larger labs in the

future but for now they have done a few smaller

ones in their class periods.

This 2015-2016 school year Smiley is only

teaching seventh grade compared to last year

when she taught both sixth and eighth grade.

“With only one subject, I can focus

more on my classes and content, and it

is a lot easier because of the new block

schedule,” she said.

Weaver also explained that

because of being an eighth grade


“The intensity level changed

because of the new curriculum,”

he said.

This year Weaver would have

to use more intensity in his classes

along with a different teaching style.

Science is a very important subject

that we can use in our everyday life skills.

Clay Middle School is advantageous to have

such great teachers that can adjust to their new

classrooms while still being

able to teach science.


Weaver, Speidel, Smiley all switch grades and rooms

Get to know the

science teachers

it up

(Top) Mr. Weaver helping students

understand their notes. Photo by

Megan Grasso

(Bottom) Ms. Smiley’s seventh grade

science class works on a unit quiz.

Photo by Hannah Gretz



Dominated By


By Morgen Ludwig

The sounds of hoof stomps could be heard

echoing out from the Indiana State

Fairgrounds during the month of August, from

the 7 th to the 15 th .

The thundering noise was the result of, not

cows or sheep, but llamas.

Dozens of llamas of all shapes, sizes, and

colors could be found trotting around the

fairgrounds, guided by their owners.

The llamas partake in different types of

competitions, ranging from obstacle courses to

llama showings.

Thirteen year old student, Cooper Sims,

lives and breathes llamas. He and his llama,

Valario, have competed in

multiple competitions together,

mostly at state or county fairs.

“I started in third grade,”

Cooper said. “My sister was in

it before me, she found it from

an article.”

Valario stays at the Wild

Feather Farm when he and

Cooper are not competing.

Cooper visits Valario two or

three times in the summer, and

two times in the winter to train

and take care of Valario. They

also compete in multiple llama

competitions each year.

A llama competition is

mainly judged off of four

d i f f e r e n t c a t e g o r i e s ;

S h o w m a n s h i p , P u b l i c

Relations, Obstacle and Pack.

“Showmanship is how well the

shower shows their animal,” Cooper explained.

“Public relations is stuff like petting and

mirrors, and Obstacle and Pack are both just

obstacle courses.”

Cooper and Valario competed at the

Indiana State Fair just this

August. They had also

competed at the Hamilton

County Fair before that.

“I scored second

in Showmanship, fourth in

Public Relations, fifth in

Obstacle, and fifth in

Pack,” Cooper said. “I

would have done better,

except that he’s a young

llama; he doesn’t quite

know what he’s doing yet.”

According to Cooper, the

crowd loved him. “Half of

them were scared, scared

that the llama would spit on

them,” laughed Cooper.

“The other half just wanted

to pet and take pictures

Valario at the Wild Feather Farm with him.”

Cooper will continue to both

raise and train Valario, and he will also

continue to perform in competitions for as

long as he can.

He speaks French and Wolof.

He has 1 brother.

He enjoys “everything” about Indiana and


Francis is from Senegal, Africa.

He has learned basic English.

His favorite sport is


Francis Agbo,

eighth grade,

shares some facts

about himself and

his move to


Infographic by Peyton Sandlin

If he had to rate

how much he

misses his

friends, Africa,

and his School

he would say 9

out of 10

Cross country

is a mental,



Getting inside the cross

country runner’s mind

Story by William Gatte

Cross country isn't all about just

running laps, it's about what you’re

thinking and how much you want to


Cross country meets every day

after school. The cross country

coaches are Mr. Patane, Mr. Carter,

Mr. Ramsey and Miss Martin.

"I like cross country because it

gets me active and it's fun to run with

friends," Andrew Szymanski, eighth

grade cross country runner, said.

Running is a mental sport for

Symanski. He has to be tough

mentally and physically to do well in

the sport.

Cross country’s a mental sport

because it’s a lot about endurance and

you have to pace yourself and know

when to sprint and when to take it


Peyton Sandlin, eighth grade, also

thinks running is a mental sport.

"If you don't think you will do

well, you won't do well,” Sandlin said.

"I jam out to tunes to get in the

zone before each race," Symanski


After the race kids get blow pops

and encouraging words from coaches

and parents.

"All of the Clay cross country

runners get blow pops after their

races as a prize for doing well.”

"I think the coaches giving blow

pops are a great way to get people

motivated to run faster and try to get

a faster time.”

“More people are joining cross

country because it’s fun to compete

with your friends and a great way to

get active,” Kelsie James, eighth

grade cross country runner said.

Cross country is a sport where

you have to be motivated to keep


You can see the cross country

team race at any meet but sadly there

are no home meets so you are going

to have to drive.

Tennis team hopes for another undefeated season

Story By Lauren Wolcott

The Clay tennis team was undefeated last

year. Help from Isabel Brandt, Wyatt Reasor,

Olivia Hakes, and others made that happen. The

tennis teams are hoping for another

undefeated season this year, too.

Sixth, seventh and eighth graders

can be on the tennis team. The team is

led by Mr. Steven Sturgis and Ms. Sydnee


The team practices everyday after school .

They have matches two to three matches a week

once the season start.

This year, 36 boys and 21 girls tried out, but

only 12 boys and 12 girls made the team.

Isabel Brandt, eighth grade, who's on varsity

said, "I have been with the team for three years

and now it has changed my life in a positive way.”

The tennis team’s first game was on September

2nd at home versus Creekside.

Some of the girls on the

team are Isabel Brandt, Olivia Hakes,

and Ellen Gardner.

Some of the boys on the team are Wyatt

Reasor, Corbin king, and Griffin Scott.

Brandt started loving tennis when she was 9

years old, and she said "I've grown so close to

these girls, they are kind of like sisters to me."

The tennis team was undefeated last year and

they're hoping for another undefeated season this


Tennis photos by Max Engelking


Eighth Grade Cheer

By Emily Devir

Busy cheerleaders, Ali Dulin and

Estella Ruiz, eighth grade students, practice

twice a week. Dulin as a base performer

and Ruiz as a flyer.

While Ruiz in in the air Dulin think

about her technique and stays aware of

what's going on around her. They are both

part of Clay Cheer and also do tumbling

twice a week with Indiana Elite. All of this

is to prepare them for Carmel High School

Cheer. They are hoping to achieve varsity


Dulin also has other hobbies out of

Clay Cheer; she is also a dancer. Dulin does

all kinds of dance. She has danced

competitively for five years and noncompetitively

since she was three years old.

She dances at 24/7 Dance.

Dulin did Carmel Dad’s Club cheer for

three seasons in second grade and has been

doing competitive cheer for five years

now . She also devotes eight hours a week

for cheer and tumbling.

They are also busy in cheer, but they

are involved in other sports as well. Ruiz is

a flyer on Clay Cheer and also does track in

the spring with clay; Ruiz does tumbling

with Dulin at Indiana Elite. Ruiz started

cheerleading because she likes team sports,

and she also likes all the bright lights on


Ruiz has been a cheerleader for two

years and is going to keep on tumbling to

prepare for high school cheer.

Ruiz said the most difficult part of

cheer is when all eyes are on her, and she

hopes she doesn't fall. Both of them are on

4/5 tumbling at Indiana Elite, this is their

second year on Clay Cheer.

Dulin has had many injuries from

cheer. She has hyperextended her arm by

catching a flyer before hitting the ground.

She also got two black eyes when her knees

hit her face by landing wrong doing a

standing back tuck.

Ruiz, luckily, has not had any injuries.

So far, she has only pulled a couple of

muscles and banged her head a couple of

times, but she has thankfully had no


Dulin and Ruiz are going to keep on

tumbling and keep up on their skills to get

ready for high school cheer. You can see

Clay Cheer and the football team at any

home game.

Seventh Grade Cheer

By Avery Williams

You can hear them at games whether

you are playing or not, and you can count

on them being there rain or shine. They

keep the rhythm of the game by stomping

their feet on the bleachers shouting about

thunder or lightning. Cheer is a sport that

these girls have fallen in love with.

Seventh graders Brooke Herring and

Emma Harper are just two of many who

participate in the sport.

Herring has been cheering since she

was five with the Carmel Dad’s Club

recreational cheer. Then in third grade, she

decided to tryout for Carmel Pups Cheer.

And then, she kept going back during

fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. Herring then

decided to try out for Clay because she

loves the sport.

She said Pups prepared her for Clay

because, “A lot of the cheers are the same

and just the experience.”

Brooke also mentions that

the difference between Pups and Clay is, “

you cheer for middle school instead of

elementary, and she likes the crowd

better.” Herring plans to for the CHS

cheer when that time comes.

Emma Harper is also a Clay seventh

grade cheerleader who is one of many that

loves the sport. Harper has been cheering

since she was five years old. She has since

then been cheering at Speed Athletics,

Pups, Clay, and plans for CHS.

Along with Clay cheer she also cheers

for Indiana Elite all year round. Harper,

like Herring, stated that Pups has prepared

her for Clay because, “The cheers are the

same and the Pups try-outs has made her

comfortable in front of a crowd and


Harper believes the difference between

Pups and Clay is, “ Pups is more controlled

and Clay lets you have more freedom.”

Harper however has had an injury in

her cheer career very recently. Harper was

attempting an ariel and fell on her right

foot which lead to a break. Although this

set her back, she turned it into a major

comeback. She had to take two tumbling

classes a week and she just had to work

harder to get back to where she was.

These girls practice together one to two

days after school every week, either in the

main hallway or in the east gym with the

rest of their squad. Although, this group of

girls has to have ten practices in before they

attend their first game. Their season

consists of only eight games, so make sure

you make the effort to come out to their

next game and support your very own Clay


Coaching opportunity allows brothers to work together

Story by Zach Gish

The smell of fresh cut grass is in their air

during practice.

Mr. Josh Cole, Mr. Todd

Stewart, and Mr. Jordan Cole

are on the field for another

year here at Clay, coaching the

eighth grade football team.

These coaches are not just

ordinary coaches, Clay has a

pair of brothers on the

coaching staff.

The Cole brothers grew up

in different times according

Mr. Josh Cole.

Coach Josh Cole and Coach Todd

Stewart stand on the sidelines during

a home game. Photo by Max


“When I was 13, (Mr. Jordan Cole) was

going into kindergarten," he said. They didn’t

interact a lot as kids. They have a

unique situation with their

teaching jobs that have enabled

them to coach together for Clay.

“When there was an opportunity

to coach with my brother, there

was no thinking about it,” Mr.

Josh Cole said.

Mr. Josh Cole played

quarterback in high school, and at

Taylor University in college.

With all the coaches’

experience, they have lead their

seven teams to a 41-15 overall record.

Mr. Josh Cole explains to the players over

and over again that the coaches at Clay like to

win games.

“As a coach, it’s my job to push the team

harder and get better day in and day out,” he


Mr. Josh Cole wants the team to understand

that life is short and that you will remember

middle school games for a long time.

“The coaching is very helpful,” Peyton

Brown, eighth grade, said, adding that their

feedback is always consistent with each other.

Eighth grade players reflect on season so far

Story by Will Pippen

Westfield, Noblesville, Carmel, Creekside,

Fishers, Riverside you better buckle up and hold

on tight because the 8th grade Trojan football

team is coming for you.

"We have worked hard so far this season,

practicing about 11 hours a week," Clay QB,

Peyton Brown explained. Eleven hours a week

is a lot of practice. Brown said that he needs to

work on his feet work a lot during practice.

Brown has been working all summer and still is


Zach Gish, cornerback and wide receiver

for Clay, explains that he wants the younger kids

to look up to his record and wants his legacy for

middle school to end on a good note.

Gish says that Coach Cole pushes the team

hard and expects good things out of them. Time

management is hard for Zach but he does well

and works hard.

Sam Saliba, wide receiver and linebacker for

Clay says that his favorite part of football is

stapling people to the ground.

The team has 8 games this year and are

hoping for a winning record. Peyton says that he

wishes to go 7 and one this year. Gish also says

that coach Cole takes coaching very seriously

and is good at what he does.

Jake Weaver, linebacker for Clay explains,

“it's 0-0, we are losing.” He says the quote

means that if the team isn't winning, their losing.

Gish and Saliba say that that the quote Jake

came up with is very inspirational and really gets

them motivated.

So far, the Trojans have won against Carmel

Middle and Noblesville East. They have lost to


The Trojans look forward to having a good

season under a coaching staff that takes pride in

their work and they think it'll be a ton of fun.

Seventh grade

football coach

joins Clay’s staff

By Peyton Brown

He coaches football. He is the special

education department chair, and he is a

very familiar face to Clay, his name is Mr.

Jeff Nass.

Nass has taught at the high school for

Story by Caitlyn Burns and Jessica Mackey

The weather of the last week of August

wasn’t too intense, but the seventh grader’s

G #1:

Good Numbers

football practices

definitely were.

Player Danny Rhoad

said that practices

were going really

well, but are filled

with conditioning

and many other new drills.

Dominick Padjen, one of the team captains,

said, “The practices are tough, but we learn

plays and get good technique.”

At practice, they do a lot of conditioning.

They just started brand new tackling

the past nine years but now he's right here

in Clay Middle School.

Nass joined Clay this year as

the Special Ed. department

chair. Nass is also the head

coach for the Clay Middle

School seventh grade football


As with most teachers, he

teaches and coaches because he

enjoys interacting and working

with students on a daily basis.

"Teachers and coaches can have an

fundamentals. The fundamentals are the same

ones the Seattle Seahawks do. After that, they

do position groups. At the end, they play 11 on


Mr. Derek Dial, seventh grade football

coach, has been coaching for a total of seven

years. He coached for two years at Carmel

Middle School and this is his fifth year coaching

at Clay Middle School.

Last year, the seventh

grade team didn’t do

very well.

“Having low numbers

was a big challenge.

When you don’t have many kids that are

interested in football, it’s hard to have a great

opportunity to make a lasting impact on

students and athletes both in and out of the

classroom. I hope I can be a

small cog in the wheel that leads

them on a path to success and

happiness," he explained.

Nass plans to continue

with both coaching and teaching

next year, as he leads the Clay

Trojans on and off the field.

The 3 G’s of the Season

G #2:

Good Players

team,” Dial explained.

Compared to last year,

Coach Dial thinks this

G #3: team is going to do

good things.

Great Team “We have good talent

on both sides of the

ball, on offense and

d e f e n s e , ” D i a l

said. The team is working great together

through all of it.

“Overall, I’m really excited,” he said. “We

have good numbers, good players, and we have

a really great team.”

Students decorate teacher doors for College Go! week

The Clay Classic is Clay Middle School’s student

newspaper. It is written, photographed, edited, and

designed by the students in Mr. Evan Williams’

newspaper classes. The newspaper comes out

twice a quarter. You can also find updates about

Clay on Twitter: @ClayClassic and visit us at

Clay Middle School

5150 E. 12sixth St.

Carmel, IN 46011


Mr. Todd Crosby, principal

Mr. Mark Smith, assistant principal

Mrs. Lori Harmas, assistant principal

Mr. John Corcoran, Jr., activities director

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