Makerspace is open!
Science teachers switch
Eighth grader shows llamas
Get behind the scenes of
‘Peter Pan, Jr.’
Get inside the cross country
Seventh, eighth grade
Seventh, eighth grade
Door decorating for
College Go week
Makerspace opens at Clay
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,”
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
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
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
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
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
“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.
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
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
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,”
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
(Top) Mr. Weaver helping students
understand their notes. Photo by
(Bottom) Ms. Smiley’s seventh grade
science class works on a unit quiz.
Photo by Hannah Gretz
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
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
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
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
shares some facts
about himself and
his move to
Infographic by Peyton Sandlin
If he had to rate
how much he
and his School
he would say 9
out of 10
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
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
"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
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
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
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
“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
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.
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.
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
Player Danny Rhoad
said that practices
were going really
well, but are filled
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
“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
team,” Dial explained.
Compared to last year,
Coach Dial thinks this
G #3: team is going to do
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