Jan 08





Covering Wayne Township since 1933




Hybrid schedule

returns Jan. 20

(Editor’s note: This schedule

information was accurate

as of January 5, 2021. Update

scheduling informatin will be

communicated via social media

channels and any changes

can be found on bdspotlight.


When second semester

begins on Wednesday, January

20, students will return to

the hybrid schedule in place

before November 16, 2020.

First semester ends on January

15 and January 18 is Martin

Luther King Day. January

19 is a work day for teachers

before second semester begins

on January 20.

The means students with

last names beginning A-K

will attend school in person

on Mondays and Tuesdays

each week and students with

last names L-Z will attend on

Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Friday will be a remote learning

day for all students.

Virtual FAFSA

event Jan. 13

INvestEd will be available

on Wednesday, January

13, 2021, from 4-7 p.m. to

virtually assist students and

families with filling out and

filing the FAFSA (Free Application

for Federal Student

Aid). Families should have

any tax and income information

for both the student and

parents available.

The registration link

is https://live.remo.co/e/


Follow us at


























Virtual * Moderna * ANTIFA * LA LAKERS * KAREN





Graphic by Atzel Nunez

2 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN January 8, 2021

How did we get here?

Butts explains the townships reaction to global pandemic

By Lexie Bordenkecher


Everyone knows about the

frustration and stress the

last year has brought, but no

one in our community knows more

about it than Wayne Township

Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Butts.

The first known case of CO-

VID-19 was discovered in Wuhan,

China in late-December of 2019.

Despite this, the first case in the

US wasn’t reported until almost a

month later in Washington State.

Cases started to steadily rise,

and soon enough, Indiana reported

its first case, in nearby Avon.

On March 6, health officials

announced that Indiana had discovered

its first. Governor Eric

Holcomb declared a public health

emergency that same day. By the

end of the next week, all Indiana

schools were to close until May 1,

and all mandatory state testing was


Cases -- and deaths -- rose at an

unsettling pace. Less than a month

after Holcomb announced schools

would be shut down until May 1,

Indiana Superintendent of Public

Instruction, Jennifer McCormick,

determined that all schools should

have remote instruction for the remainder

of the 2019-2020 school


“The pandemic became a concern

in early March,” says Wayne

Township Superintendent Dr. Jeff

Butts. “It wasn’t until then when

we really started to see the impact

here in the United States.”

Butts went on to explain that in

early March, all the Marion County

superintendents went to the Mayor’s

office downtown to talk to Dr.

Virginia Caine and figure out what

they were going to do.

“We wanted to stay unified,” he

said. “We wanted to do something

across the city of Indianapolis, not

just have one school district doing

one thing and another doing something


March 13, 2020 is a date all

Americans will probably remember

for years to come. Coincidentally, it

was Friday the 13th.

The days leading up to the 13th

were nothing short of newsworthy.

On March 11, the NBA postponed

their season, and on March 12 the

NCAA basketball tournament was


Friday, March 13 was the day

President Donald Trump declared

a national emergency. Earlier in

that week, the Marion County superintendents

decided that they

were going to close, but only until

spring break. Butts said, “we needed

a couple weeks to figure it out

BUTTS TALKS PANDEMIC Wayne Township Superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts became the unofficial spokesman for Marion County public schools when schools

were first shut down in April. Butts discusses his role with editor Lexie Bordenkecher. (Photo by Raelynn Hughes)

and to see what the pandemic was

going to do.”

Obviously a couple weeks

turned into a couple months as

we didn’t get back to school until

August. The end of the academic

year was not even close to normal.

The class of 2020 didn’t get to do

Wayne Walks, have a prom, say

bye to teachers or even a typical


The class of 2021 had to take

important AP tests online and

deal with the technical issues that

came with them. They also had to

reschedule SAT tests with the hope

they could take them in the fall.

“When we realized that we

were not coming back for school

this year, we started thinking ‘well

what about next school year’,”

Butts said.

Instead of making all the decisions

himself, a task force of

approximately 190 people was

formed. The task force consisted of

teachers, administrators, parents,

and even students. Even with all of

that help, a plan didn’t come easily.

With the number of cases going up

VIRTUAL MEETINGS Wayne Township Superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts talks

to Ben Davis staff remotely from the principal’s conference room. Butts has

spent as much as six hours a day in remote meetings since the pandemic hit in

March of 2020. (Photo by Tom Hayes)

over the summer, more restrictions

were put into place.

“Every time we thought we had

a plan, something would change,”

he said.

The decision for 6-12th grad-

“Every time we thought

we had a plan, something

would change.”

- Dr. Jeff Butts

ers to be on a hybrid schedule was

made by Dr. Caine in the middle

of July. One major issue that came

from this virus is the lack of leadership

and guidance from the federal,

state, and local governments.

Butts explained how this lack

of guidance piled onto the local

school boards and administration.

The goal right now is to be able to

give the seniors a normal ending to

their high school experience.

While most of these facts were

not the most comforting, not all

news is bad. A vaccination put out

by Pfizer is in the distribution stages

with hopes of nationwide distribution

by mid-year.

Where does that leave schools?

Right now we are beginning to

see a light at the end of this horrible

and isolating tunnel. However,

it won’t be a straight-shot there.

Cases are coming in at a recordbreaking

pace. Thanksgiving weekend

recorded the biggest number

of people flying since early March.

These numbers are not likely to

slow down anytime soon.

If we want to see the class of 2021

have a senior prom and a normal

graduation, we need to continue

to social distance, wear masks, and

stay away from large groups.

Do your part, and others will do




A year later

Class of 2020 still feeling the effects of shortened year

By Raelynn Hughes

staff writer

This year has no doubt been

a challenging year, especially

for the class of 2020.

Due to COVID-19 things

changed for these students fast.

One day they were having a normal

day at school, the next they

were at home doing everything


Games, prom, Wayne Walks

-- even their graduation -- was

robbed from them. Cokeb Gebrehiwet

was one of these students.

“When they first cancelled

school I remember we had dance

practice for our ASA night, and

we were so excited because we

thought we were just gonna have

a longer spring break,” Gebrehiwet

says. “That was until they

never let us come back.”

She didn’t believe it at first, she

simply shrugged the idea of CO-

VID off.

“I was really in denial because

I didn’t want to let myself really

What should

have been

Amina Dalal (pictured here) expected

to spend fall semester in

Chicago studying at Loyola University.

Covid-19 had other ideas.

“I think that the effects of coronavirus

have been very complicated,”

said Dalal, the Class of

2020 valedictorian. “For example,

it has kept me home bound, when

I thought that I would be in a new

city right now.

“I thought I would be in a new

environment, surrounded by new

people, and living a very different

life than the one I’m living now.”

Instead of learning the ropes of a

new city, Dalal studied from home

and made the best of her situation.

“At the same time, I’ve had a lot

of solitude, I’ve gotten to explore

lots of interests, and ultimately,

I feel like I’ve grown in a very different

way,” she said. “Of course,

Covid has had literally deadly

consequences -- I’ve experienced

this in my own family even -- I

just think it’s hard to determine if

coronavirus has made things more

difficult, because I don’t think you

can compare things like that. At the

end of the day, when you compare

your expectations to reality, it’s not

about it being harder or easier, it’s

just different”

Dalal reluctantly offers some


“Honestly, I feel bad for you

guys,” she said. “High school is

already rough enough with friendship

drama, college applications/

future planning, and just generally

struggling to manage this transitional

time. I didn’t really have

to experience being a senior during

the pandemic for very long,

so I’m not sure that I’m entirely

qualified to offer advice, but if

I had to, I would say: Be kind to

yourself. You are a high school

student right now. It might feel

like you’re missing out on a lot,

but you have your whole life still

ahead of you. For now, just save

your energy to take care of those

you love, and (perhaps more importantly)

to take care of yourselflisten

to what your needs are, and

do what feels right. I’m not a huge

fan of over-the-top optimism, but

it doesn’t hurt to look for the positives


“Living through a pandemic is hard,

especially being a teenager because

you feel like you are missing out on so

much in your life. Just make sure you

are being safe out there and know that

high school is just a glimpse of your


- 2020 BD graduate Sydney Brown

feel sad about it so I kinda just

avoided it and tried my best to

not think about the fact that we

weren’t gonna get a graduation,”

Gebrehiwet said.

While there were others like

Gebrehiwet who simply ignored

it at first, there were others who

took it seriously.

“I was definitely on edge weeks

before the school got shut down,”

said Sydney Brown, yearbook editor

last year. “I remember reading

about news in other countries

like China and Italy when we had

current events in class. It kept

getting bigger each day and I

knew it was only a matter of time

before it came here.”

Students were not only concerned

about catching the virus,

but were concerned about how

people were reacting to it.

“I was concerned and immediately

fearful. Not of the virus itself,

but how much people were

Covid-19 has impacted the

lives of so many. Especially the

lives of students. Many students

have struggled with adapting to

the new school environment. One

of those students who are struggling

with these new arrangements

is Ben Davis senior class

president Yosef Solomon.

“It was a weird change from

my previous school years.” Solomon

said. “The school felt empty

with having people doing a hybrid


Solomon’s job as Senior Class

President is to get the class motto,

song, and flower, while also

helping with school fundraisers.

He also makes ideas with the

school cabinet and other senior

class officers. Covid has greatly

impacted his job.

“This pandemic has brought

me a lot of challenges for being

president. Usually presidents

would help out with fundraisers

and help date big events, but

downplaying it,” said Amina Dalal,

Class of 2020 valedictorian. “I

had teachers, friends, and more

people around me claiming that it

wasn’t a big deal, but something

told me it was.”

Students in the class of 2020

not only had to worry about the

pandemic during high school, but

life after high school as well.

“It was lonely,” said Brown,

a freshman at Butler. “You are

at a new school trying to make

with Covid going on it take all of

that away.”

Although Solomon had many

challenges, Vice President Madison

Blackwell came at it from a

different approach.

“Going to school during a pandemic

wasn’t bad,” Blackwell

said. “It definitely still was risky

because of the fact that there are

still a lot of kids in the building,

but I think we do a decent job

trying to follow guidelines.”

Blackwell’s job as vice president

is to help coordinate school

events and help raise school spirit

with other class officers.

“I haven’t really been able to

come together with all of the officers

because of the pandemic. I

have really only been able to text

new friends, but you can’t go

anywhere to actually meet new


“As a freshman in college, you

don’t know what college is supposed

to be like. You don’t have

any friends set in place like upperclassmen

do, you don’t know

if the amount of work you are

doing is normal, and you don’t

know if this is how campus life is

supposed to be like.”

It isn’t looking like Covid is

going away anytime soon. Class

of 2021 Seniors will have to go

through the same experiences as

the class of 2020 did.

“Make the best of the situation

you have.” Brown said. “Make

sure you talk to your friends

because being isolated can get

lonely, and know that you are not

alone in what you are feeling. Living

through a pandemic is hard,

especially being a teenager because

you feel like you are missing

out on so much more in life. Just

make sure you are being safe out

there and know that high school

is just a glimpse of your life.”

Class of 2021 leaders

seek return to normalcy

Solomon, Blackwell discuss Covid and school

By Raelynn Hughes

staff writer



them as we agree and disagree on

things regarding school. Other

than that, it hasn’t really affected

much,” she said.

Being senior class president

and vice president, Solomon and

Blackwell have to be involved in

how the school is dealing with


“I think the school is doing the

best they can,” Blackwell said. “I

do think that the way they are

handling it now versus in March

is better, even though I do not

want to do synchronous learning,

but I know that it will help

to create a safer environment

than us being in class and around

thousands of other students.”

Solomon thinks that the school

is doing a great job, but could do

a better job with the face masks.

“I think the school could do a

better job of reminding people to

keep their masks on,” Solomon

said. “But besides that I like how

they handle the people being socially

distanced and having hand

sanitizer everywhere.

“I just am anxious for us to return

how school use to be.”


Gen Z’s fight

far from over

How did dystopian novels become

such a heavy influence for teens?

DOWNTOWN RALLIES Thousands gathered in downtown Indianapolis to protest against a string of policeaction

incidents that killed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake in 2020. Former Spotlight editors Lauren

Chapman and Breanna Cooper captured these photographs while covering the event for their respective jobs. “This

is my city,” Chapman said of covering the events. “I understand their anger, but this is where I learned to drive.”

‘We can’t


Black Lives Matter movement rallies against

racism throughout American cities

By Mary Adams

lifestyle editor

May 25, 2020, George

Floyd was killed

by police. He was

handcuffed and pinned to the

ground with Officer Derek

Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds,

Chauvin pinned down

Floyd while he was repeatedly

saying, “I can’t breathe.”

After a video of Floyd’s

death went viral, attention was

brought to the Black Lives Matter

movement across America.

All of the officers were fired.

Chauvin was arrested, but got

out on a million dollar bail.

Breonna Taylor was an EMT

in Louisville, Kentucky.

March 13, 2020, the police

came into her apartment for an

insufficient warrant. Breonna’s

boyfriend thought he heard

something when the police entered

the apartment, and fired

shots. He hit Brett Hankinson,

who came in through their

sliding glass door. In return,

they fired off eight times and

killed Taylor.

Hankinson was charged for

the shots that went into neighboring


Stephen Clark was at his

grandparents house when he

lost his life.

March 18, 2018, Clark was

in the backyard while the police

were looking for someone

breaking into the cars. When

they approached Clark, they

thought his cell phone was

a weapon. They shot him 20

times before they realized that

it was just a phone.

While his grandmother, Sequita

Johnson, was talking to

news reporters, she said “He

was in the wrong place at the

wrong time, in his own backyard?”

Trayvon Martin was 17.

On February 26, 2012, he was

walking to his dad’s house

from the convenience store. He

had a drink and skittles with

him. The neighborhood watch

volunteer, George Zimmerman,

thought he was suspicious.

Zimmerman followed Martin

even though told not to.

Zimmerman then fired shots at

Martin, and claimed it was out

of self-defense. Because of his

claim, the police decided not to

arrest him.

This led to protests across

the countries, and people

wanting justice for Martin.

Zimmerman was later charged

with second degree murder,

but pleaded guilty.

After the jury agreed that

Zimmerman wasn’t guilty, he

was acquitted. This inspired

the Black Lives Matter organization

to form in 2013.

Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors,

and Opal Tometi are the

three women who started the

movement. Black Lives Matter

is an organization fighting

for inclusion in America, and

is working for “a world where

Black lives are no longer systematically

targeted for demise.”

Black Lives Matter stands

for and supports black queer

lives, black trans lives, and

black women.

Black Lives Matter stands

for all black lives. The organization

has been around since

2013, but has received more

publicity since the death of


Throughout 2020, people

did numerous things to make

sure that Black Lives Matter is


The NBA and other pro

sports franchises openly supported

the cause. Black Lives

Matter was painted on major

city streets across the nation.

People have been actively

sharing information on twitter

and attending protests.

On June 2, everyone paused to

bring awareness to the death of

Floyd and Black Lives Matter.

It started with companies

such as Spotify, Apple, and Tik

Tok saying that they would

put a halt on operations for a

day. This then led to many artists,

such as Rihanna, Cardi B,

and Justin Bieber joining.

People would post a blank

black screen to show their support.

Many people also took a

break from their online presence

for a day. Columbia Records

made a statement that

said “This is not a day off. Instead,

this is a day to reflect

and figure out ways to move

forward in solidarity.”

People also made themselves

heard through protests.

This has been one of the largest

movements in history, having

protests in all 50 states. On

June 6, nearly half a million

people protested across the


Throughout June, there

were protests almost everyday

across the country. Voices were

heard during this time. Louisville

made a new law, the Breonna

Taylor law. This law bans

no-knock warrants, which was

used that night of her death.

Black Lives Matter has

changed America in different

ways. Even though changes

have been made, the fight for

racial equality isn’t over.

By Lexie Bordenkecher


Generation Z.

The most anxious generation,

but also the most politically

aware and accepting.

Growing up in the early

2000s and 2010s was

a new and different

experience from our

parent’s childhoods.

Social media has

been a huge part of our

upbringing, much to

the dismay of our older

generations. However,

social media has made

us more aware of current


Gen Z is the term given those

born between roughly 1996

and 2010. It is our generation

and 2020 is historic because

it is the first time many of

this generation could vote in

a presidential election. This

generation is maturing and

features roughly 72 million

of the U.S. population.

As we reach our teenage

years, we become more socially

and politically aware. This

is important in today’s society

because everything is political.

This generation is ambitious

in its desire to deconstruct

the current


Many adults have

expressed curiosity

about where this desire

comes from.

Well, when you

look at the books and

movies we grew up

with, you might understand.

Books like

The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The

Maze Runner have inspired Gen Z

to protest against their government

with little fear.

Generation Z

Many teenagers pointed out

similarities between The Hunger

Games universe, published in 2008

with the movie coming out in

2012, and the U.S. government.

In the books, the main character

sparks a revolution to

dismantle their corrupt

government. Some of the

similarities were shocking.

The “peacekeepers” in

the books protected the

privileged from the people

trying to use their voice,

instead of protecting the

innocent. People compared

these to the police

in America. The fictional

President, President

Snow, has also been compared to

Donald Trump.

Not all of

these books are

read voluntarily

either. Divergent,

published in 2011,

and The Maze Runner,

published in 2009,

are both books that

were read in some elementary


Another question

we have to ask is, why

the desire to change the world?

This could also come from

those books. Most dystopian

novels that we read growing

up are set in the distant

future. And although these

books are obviously fictional,

there’s always a small

possibility that at some

point they will no longer

just be made up stories.

Yes, some of the plotlines

will always be a bit too

extreme for real life, but

the overall message isn’t.

These books are just a warning of

what the world could become if

we can’t work together and improve

our planet.

• Born between 1997-2012

• Very tech-savvy

• Believes strongly in diversity

• Competitive and entrepreneurial

• Likes to have a voice

• 65% of eligible voters voted for Joe


• In U.S., 50% of generation is white,

25% is Hispanic and 15% is black

January 8, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlght


In Wayne, community counts

Plenty of efforts during pandemic helped bring westsiders together

By Lexie Bordenkecher


As with many communities

around the country, Wayne

Township has had to come

together in new and unexpected


At the beginning of the pandemic,

many families were left to wonder

how they would be able to provide

food for their children. In our

community, so many parents rely

on the distribution of free lunches

from schools.

Our administration has done an

incredible job at providing meals

for students working completely

remote, and also for the hybrid

students. Sara Gasiorowski is in

charge of food services in Wayne


“Prior to going remote learning,

we were providing meal bags

for our hybrid and Wayne@Home

students, but now we have ramped

up to provide meals for seven days/

week,” Gasiorowski said.

Every Tuesday and Thursday

there are meal pickups from six

different locations. The Tuesday

bags provided three days worth of

meals, and the Thursday bags provide


Since going completely remote in

November, Wayne Township has

served nearly 60,000 meals, including

both breakfast and lunch. The

people providing the meals have

become efficient as they have been

repeating the process since early


Meals have to be carefully

packed. They must be able to be

easily transported, and they must

come with heating instructions (if

needed). Some menu items go in

and out of stock, which has provided

a setback.

“You have to think through the

process on a step by step basis from

creating the menu, packaging the

meal bags and then thinking about

how the family will use those items

at home”, Gasiorowski said.

In early January, 10 or 11 apartment

complexes in the area will

become new meal pickup locations.

Along with meal distributions,

Wayne Township also had it’s annual

Thanksgiving food drive. For

the first time ever, the Indiana National

Guard assisted in sorting the

donated food.

Melissa Edwards, the coordinator

of the event, said, “They were

amazing. A BD alumni was in

charge of the group which made

it even more special. We have

reached out to them to assist in the

years to come.”

The food drive served 438 families

this year.

“I feel like our community is always

supportive of whatever happens

within our schools and our

HELPING OUT Members of the National Guard stepped up and helped organize

the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive that fed more than 400 Wayne Township

families. (Submitted photo)

district,” Edwards said. “The community

this year came together

after Dr. Butts posted about the

Thanksgiving Drive challenges by

donating funds and food items.”

She said this had never happened

before. Ben Davis also set a record

this year by providing Christmas

presents to 130 Wayne Township


Another thing that parents had

to think about was how their child

would be able to do their online

school work. Many families in

Wayne Township do not have internet

access from their homes, so

they had to find somewhere their

child could work from.

At the end of the 2019-2020

school year, not every student was

sent home with a chromebook

they would be able to use for their

school work.

Wayne Township did distribute

some, but not every student could

get one. Other students were left

with chromebooks they already

had in their possession, but some

were more than five years old.

The beginning of the 2020-2021

school year was different. Every

student in Wayne Township was

provided their own new chromebook.

“This year we distributed over

4,000 chrome tablets to primary

students, and over 6,000 chromebooks

to other students”, said Pete

Just, who is in charge of technology

services in Wayne.

Teachers had to learn how to fix

minor issues with the devices, and

technology assistants are available

to help with larger issues. A service

called “Myfi” has been provided to

students without internet access

from their homes.

“It’s simply a small access point

that is connected to a cellular network

and provides Internet access

for up to ten devices,” Just said.

Other community efforts during

the pandemic included a Facebook

group that adoped more than 800

seniors in the spring and helped

them celebrate their high school

careers and teachers who donated

therir time and talent to help with


While the pandemic has brought

lots of hardship and frustration, the

Wayne Township community has

provided a light in all of the darkness.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT A group of Wayne Township food

service employees (left) served daily meals during the early stage

of the pandemic. Two neighborhood men (above) shake hands

after cleaning up the dumpsters on the noirth side of Ben Davis

High School. Career center teacher Aaron Moss (right) makes 3-D

face shields. (File photos)

SERVING AVON Ricky’s Pancake House off of 10th Street on Highway 267 in

Avon has expanded business during the pandemic. (Photo by Tom Hayes)

Ricky’s expands during pandemic

Avon restaurant

goes against trend

By Frida Foncesca

staff writer

According to national statistics,

at least one in three restaurants in

America will not survive the pandemic.

Then’s there Ricky’s Pancake

House in Avon.

“Our mission is to create a great

dining expereince,” said Enrique

Rosas, owner of Ricky’s Pancake

House just off of 10th Street in


Salas, better known as Ricky to

his loyal customer base, not only

has survived during the pandemic,

but he opened a second restaurant

in Pittsboro.

He opened Ricky’s after buying

the former Ella’s Panckae House

from his boss when Ella’s decided

to close. This helped him fulfill a

dream he’s had since he was a teenager.

Ricky’s survived on “to-go” orders

during the early stages of the

pandemic and follows Hendricks

County guidelines when it comes

to in-person customers.

“I am very proud of the work we

have already done, the customers

we have gained and the changes we

have made since we have taken over

in August,” Ricky said. “I appreciate

every customer who has noticed

the changes and continue to

support us in our mission, which is

to create the best dining experience

in Avon.”

Ricky has worked in both large

and small restaurants and he enjoys

cooking food that his customers

will keep returning for.

His second shop was a leap of

faith and that leap has paid off.

“We’re busy and that’s good,” he





As seen in this meme, transportation

items became less popular and

essential items are more needed

during the pandemic era. Coffee

remains the same before and during

the pandemic.

This meme expresses how unprepared

people are for 2020 as the arrow

pierced the knight in an exposed area.

It may have symbolized how society

is already weak in some areas and the

pandemic hit our vulnerable areas in

our weak points.

People have expressed how long each

month felt to them in this meme and

each month has so far felt longer than

its predecessor. It may be due to how

bored some of us feel being forced

into lockdown and the longer we

wait for the lockdown to be over, the

slower time seems for us.

2020 being compared to colonoscopy

prep may be describing the torture people

undergo through drinking it and how

many procedures there are to it as there

are several events that occurred this year.

Colonoscopy prep may have also portrayed

the pandemic.

With several negative events occuring in 2020,

time travelers need to be specific if they ask

whether a disaster has occurred or not.

Samara Morgan may not seem weird due to

the creator’s perspective of how she matches

each person wearing black, thus making the

setting in this photo look like a horror film.

As the meme indicates, we do lose our patience and

become bored of staying home, seeking something

else. Perhaps the meme has described the George

Floyd riots due to mentioning abolishing the police.

Despite being under lockdown, certain people

wouldn’t mind emerging and rioting.

History class being a nightmare from all the calamities

occurring in 2020 sure is accurate honestly.

Not everyone’s a fan of tests, especially ones that

require lots of memorizing.

Wouldn’t blame whoever

made this meme parodizing

ratings. Several of us can relate

to hating 2020 and not

recommending that year to

exist again.

This meme shows a



the events

that occurred



The debate has already begun:

Is 2020 the worst year in the

history of the United States?

Social media is filled with people

discussing why 2020 has to be the

worst year ever.

Humanity has endured torment,

especially in 2020, and supposedly

the rising statistics of incidents

are what reveal conflicts becoming

seemingly worse.

We’ve paid attention to what

social media argues about society

plummeting from one disaster piling

onto another, suffocating our

optimism to death. Here are the

reasons why many people believe

2020 is the worst year:

• The coronavirus continues

to plague the world with its

madness and the death toll

surpassed 300,000 in early December.

• Some schools, like Ben Davis,

have closed down and students

return to elearning.

• While the vaccine was approved

in early December,

nearly 35% of Americans do

not trust the vaccine and have

said they will not take it.

• The virus has exposed the

flaws of our social system, it

destroyed the economy, divorced

us from routines we

rely on and people we love,

Everything’s changing

By Mary Adams

lifestyle editor

In December 2019, everyone was

talking about how “2020 will be

their year.”

What we didn’t know was that

in three months our lives would

completely change -- at home, at

work, at school, and just everywhere.

Everyone used to hate going to

school. Waking up early, getting

on the bus, being in class all day,

and too-loud lunches didn’t seem

worth the time.

Now people are begging to go

back to what we were doing.

Something everyone took for

granted was being able to see each

other’s faces.

Wearing masks, half of our face

is covered. This year we didn’t

know what half of our teachers’

faces looked like. We don’t get to

Is 2020 the

worst year ever?

While bad, how does it compare to other years

By Sophie Dorrance-Minch

staff writer

2020 had:

More than 300,000 deaths in

the U.S. due to the coronavirus

Record number of hurricanes

hit North America

Riots throughout America due

to racism

An election that divided the


and the government has mismanaged

the pandemic.

• As explained in the “Natural

Disaster Records of 2020” article,

quite a few natural disasters

have broken many records

in 2020 and made it seem like

our world is rapidly degrading

toward imminent doomsday.

• George Floyd’s death led to

legitimate and important protests

that sometimes resulted

in looting across the country.

• Crimes related to homicide

and non-negligent homicide

increased by about 15% according

to preliminary FBI

data. Marion County alone

surpassed 200 homicides for

the first time ever.

• Gun Violence Archive recorded

13,641 homicides, murder,

and unintentional gun-related

deaths as of September 28

• The CDC reported 40% of

overall U.S. adults struggling

with mental health or substance

abuse during late June

• The 2020 election divided the

nation due to the contested

How 2020 has interrupted our academic lives

see facial expressions anymore.

This can make it hard for teachers

to tell if we’re confused or not.

Classrooms used to have conversations,

people would move

around throughout class and it was

as much fun and games as it was


This year, the conversations are

limited, we can’t walk around as

much, and we have to make sure

we get all of this week’s notes in

the two days we are in class.

People used to see their friends

during passing periods and catch

up on what’s going on. With staggered

passing periods and going to

school different days, we don’t get

to see anybody any more.

Lunch used to be the highlight

of the day. We used to get a break,

talk to our friends and eat.

Now, we’re all spread out at

individual desks throughout the

school. People rarely talk, so the

majority of lunch is silent. Most

battle between Joe Biden and

Donald Trump and the negative

attack ads in nearly all

campaigns wore voters down.

Despite that, the 2020 election

had a record turnout with

more than 150 million voters.

No doubt 2020 was a difficult

year, but how does it compare to

the following years:

1968 -- The assassinations of

Martin Luther King and Robert

Kennedy, riots during the Democratic

convention in Chicago and a

year of civil unrest while the country

battled an unpopular war in


1942 -- The height of the Holocaust,

most of Europe, parts of Asia

and the United States in a World

War, and the Bataan Death March.

1932 -- The Great Depression left

millions homeless and hungry.

1919 -- The end of the Spanish

flu -- the last global pandemic -- a

World War and the Untied States

in a great recession.

Or how about 1862, 1863 or 1864

-- Many historians feel that any

year your country is at war with

itself are the worst years in a country’s


Sometimes when we say “worst”

what we really mean is strange. This

is a very strange year, and frightening

in its unfamiliarity. Only history,

however, can say what year is

the worst ever.

Here’s hoping 2021 isn’t in the


students spend lunch time staring

at their phone.

We thought with all of the precautions

we took, we would be

able to see the end of the semester,

but the health department told all

schools to go online in November.

Now we see teachers every other

day on a block schedule. We still

have to follow a specific schedule,

but classes don’t start until 9:30

a.m. and end at 2:45 p.m. With

Google Meetings all day, some students

are falling behind. However,

we have specific time periods to get

help from our teachers.

Our teachers want us to pass as

much as we do, and they want to

help us. Everyone has a different

home situation, which can greatly

impact their online school.

We get office hours at 2:45 everyday

Monday through Thursday,

and in the mornings and afternoons

on Fridays. School definitely is different.

January 8, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlght


Where did it go wrong?

America’s response to the pandemic left much unanswered

By Brentton Wharton

staff writer

“Forty-five days before the announcement

of the first suspected

case of what would

become known as COVID-19, the

Global Health Security Index was

published. The project—led by the

Nuclear Threat Initiative and the

Johns Hopkins Center for Health

Security—assessed 195 countries

on their perceived ability to handle

a major disease outbreak. The U.S.

ranked first.” - TIME

It is quite clear that the conductors

of that study were way overconfident

in the United States, as

we have failed to get this virus under


The number of confirmed coronavirus-related

deaths in the U.S.

passed 300,000 in December, more

than in any other country by far.

If, early in the spring, the U.S.

had engaged its resources and expertise

in a coherent national effort

to prepare for the virus, things

might have turned out differently.

If, in midsummer, the country

had doubled down on the measures

(masks, social-distancing rules, restricted

indoor activities and public

gatherings) that seemed to be

working, instead of prematurely

declaring victory, things might

have turned out differently.

The tragedy is that if science and

common sense solutions were united

in a national, coordinated response,

the U.S. could have avoided

many thousands of deaths this

summer. But instead, our leaders

thought themselves smarter, more

fit to handle this with their own


Rather than take the advice of

scientists, or the Centers for Disease

Control, our President and his

camp did it their way, which obviously

was not the most effective


Indeed, many other countries in

similar situations were able to face

this challenge where the U.S. apparently

could not. Italy, for example,

had a similar rate of cases per

capita as the U.S. in April.

By enforcing their safety mea-










sures, emerging slowly from lockdowns,

limiting domestic and

foreign travel, and allowing its government

response to be guided and

aided by scientists, Italy has kept

COVID-19 almost entirely at bay.

In that same time period, U.S.

daily cases doubled. Case rates

would eventually fall in late summer,

only to begin another rise in


Data current as of December, 2020


332,002,651 16,678,134 301,678

1,380,004,385 9,910,008 144,354

212,559,417 6,930,546 182,433

145,934,462 2,667,893 46,846

FRANCE 65,273,511 2,387,987 58,282

November. Among the world’s

wealthiest nations, only the U.S.

has an outbreak that continues to

spin out of control.

Even countries with a fraction

of the resources America has, were

able to manage this on a daily basis.

Some countries, like New Zealand,

have even come close to eradicating

COVID-19 entirely.

Vietnam, where officials implemented

particularly intense lockdown

measures, didn’t record a single

virus-related death until July 31.

Australia recently reported 45

active Covid cases in a country of

25 million people. Australia has

lifted its mask mandate and has

opened up sporting events and has

allowed businesses to return to

pre-pandemic ways of conducting


At this point, we can start to see

why the U.S. floundered: a failure

of leadership at many levels and

across all parties; a distrust of scientists,

the media and expertise in

general; and deeply ingrained cultural

attitudes about individuality

and how we value human lives

have all combined to result in a

horrifically inadequate pandemic


COVID-19 has weakened the

U.S. and exposed the systemic fractures

in the country, and the bridge

between what this nation promises

its citizens and what it actually delivers

is long and wide. Let’s hope

America has learned.

Some greats left us in 2020

From Bryant to Ginsburg,

we lost some of America’s best

By Brentton Wharton

staff writer

The year 2020 has definitely been

a tumultuous year for everyone.

Dealing with the Coronavirus

pandemic has taken a toll on everyone,

but every time we’ve thought

things couldn’t possibly get worse

they have.

On top of Covid-19 deaths, we

have lost numerous celebrities and

public figures. Saying goodbye is

never easy, especially when it’s

someone we grew up watching on

television or when it’s someone we

idolized as our hero or when it’s

someone we grew to love.

A number of such celebrities

have passed away in 2020 including

Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman

and Naya Rivera.

Bryant passed away in a helicopter

crash, on January

26, alongside

his 13-year-old

daughter Gianna.

He was 41. The

aircraft was carrying

seven passengers

to the former

Los Angeles Lakers

player’s Mamba Academy for a

basketball practice near Thousand

Oaks, California, when the pilot

lost control.

In his career the NBA legend

totaled five championships, 15 All-

Star Game appearances, four All-

Star Game MVP Awards, two NBA

Finals MVP Awards and a single

regular-season MVP Award. His

legacy will live forever, as he was

the superhero of many young athletes

around the world.

Naya Rivera was pronounced

dead at age 33 in July after she

took her 4-yearold

son, Josey out

on a boat at Lake

Piru in California.

The Glee star was

at first declared

a missing person

on July 8 when

her son was found

alone on the boat.

Officials later announced that she

was presumed dead, and her body

was recovered five days later. Rivera

is the third of the Glee cast members

to pass away since the shows

end in 2015.

Boseman, died on August 28

at age 43 following a secret fouryear

battle with colon cancer. This

one may have been an even bigger

shock than Kobe

Bryant’s death, as

the news was so

sudden, and the

reason being so

unknown to the


Through his

battle with cancer,

Boseman appears as the Marvel

character, Black Panther in four

movies. Captain America: Civil

War in 2016, Avengers: Infinity

War in 2018, Avengers: Endgame in

2019, and even his stand alone box

office hit, Black Panther in 2018.

Most recent of them all was Alex

Trebek’s passing.

The Jeopardy! host

died at age 80 on

November 8 after

battling stage IV

pancreatic cancer.

After his passing

the game show’s

account tweeted,

“Jeopardy! is saddened

to share that Alex Trebek

passed away peacefully at home

early this morning, surrounded

by family and friends. Thank you,

Alex.” Trebek hosted the show

for 30 years and was probably the

best known host of telvision game

shows in history.

Sean Connery,

best known for

his portrayal of

James Bond, died

in October at age

90 following a

long illness. Eon

Productions, the

film studio that

produced the James Bond films, officially

confirmed the news on October


Johnny Nash,

The singersongwriter


known for the

1972 hit “I Can See

Clearly Now” died

on October 6 at

the age of 80 at his

home in Houston.

It is believed Nash died of natural

causes, he wasn’t reported ill.

Former Chicago Bears running

back Gale Sayers

died on September

23, at age 77.

His health had

been declining for

years, and he was

diagnosed with

dementia back in


Sayers is an NFL Hall of Famer,

and one of the greatest players of

all time.

Supreme Court justice Ruth

Bader Ginsburg was confirmed to

have passed away on September 18,

from “complications of metastatic

pancreas cancer.” Ginsburg was

87 years old and

had served as a

justice on the Supreme

Court for

27 years.

Ginsburg was

the first Jewish

woman and the

second woman

to serve on the Court, after Sandra

Day O’Connor. Ginsburg received

attention in American popular

culture for her passionate dissents

in numerous cases, widely seen as

reflecting paradigmatically liberal

views of the law. She was dubbed

“The Notorious R.B.G.”, and she

later embraced the moniker.

Other notable celebrities who

passed away in 2020 include baseball

greats Tom Seaver and Joe

Morgan, pilot Chuck Yeager, international

soccer star Diego Maradona,

rock guitarist Eddie Van

Halen, pop singer Helen Reddy,

basketball coach John Thompson,

television star Regis Philbin, Congressman

John Lewis and country

music legend Charlie Daniels.

8 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN January 8, 2021



Lexie Bordenkecher

Lessons learned in 2020

Opinions editor:

Denise Gimlich

Lifestyle editor:

Mary Adams

Sports editor:

Zion Brown

Photo editor:

Isli Trejo



Aaron Ayala, Choyce Cephus,

Allison Flores, Sophie Dorrance-

Minch, Frida Fonseca, Laura

Fowler, Raelynn Hughes, Atzel

Nunez, James McNeal, Jaylyn

Patrick, Corbin Robinson,

Brooklynn Sharp, Nick Wert,

Brentton Wharton


Tom Hayes


Sandra Squire

Spotlight is the official newspaper of

Ben Davis High School. It was created

and is maintained by the Board of

Education of the Metropolitan School

District of Wayne Township as part of

the curriculum of the school district.

Its purpose is to allow students to

develop and refine their skills as

journalists under the supervision of the

principal, Sandra Squire, and faculty

of Ben Davis High School.

Spotlight represents and exemplifies

Ben Davis High School and is not a

public or open forum. The principal

and faculty of Ben Davis High School

are therefore charged by the Board of

Education with the responsibility of

exercising editorial oversight to ensure

that contents of Spotlight reflect

Wayne Westside Community Values,

which may be found on the Wayne

website and are available upon request

from Ben Davis High School.

It is the policy of Spotlight to accept

letters to the editor from all readers.

All readers must be signed and

verified for permission. The editor

reserves the right to edit the letter for

journalistic and grammar purposes as

well as to maintain a safe environment

and to exempt prohibited material.

Letters to the editor can be submitted

to Tom Hayes in room X109 or to the

editors. Letters can also be e-mailed to

Tom Hayes at tom.hayes@wayne.k12.

in.us or to the editors.

Readers who submit letters sent via

e-mail must see either Tom Hayes or

the editors for verification if they wish

to be published.

Businesses interested in advertising

in Spotlight should contact Tom Hayes

at 317-988-7148. Spotlight publishes

at least six issues per school year and

the online version can be found at

www.bdspotlight.com Advertising

rates are available upon request.

Despite the pandemic, some positives to remember

Not everything that happened

during the Covid

pandemic can be viewed

as bad.

Depending on your point of view,

some good things developed during

the last nine months of 2020 that

can help change your view of life

in a positive way. Spotlight staffers

took a hard look at the positives

that came out of the nine months

that Covid overtook the world in

2020 and found the following five

take-aways from Covid that we feel

represent a brighter side of the pandemic.


Perserverance. One of the

constants throughout the

past nine months was getting

things done. When schools were

sent home in March and it finally

was announced that all schools

would be doing remote learning,

perserveance became a must.

In order to get through classes,

both teachers and students had to

learn new ways to do things and it

was difficult.

“One thing that I had to learn

was how to adapt to this new learning

environment,” junior Ricardo

Torres said. “I had to learn pretty

quickly how to submit things online.

And then going to school was

a whole new environment.”

When students returned to

school, they were greeted with a

new hybrid schedule and then in

November they returned to remote

learning. Perserverances was required

to get through these changes.


Self-motivation. Much like

perserverance, students and

teachers -- heck everyone --

had to learn how to self-motivate.

At home, it became easy to wake

up and start your daily life and put

things like school work on the back


Covid gave me reasons for thanks

Some good

came from this

By Allison Flores

staff writer

I’ve heard people ask, if you could

have had Covid not happen at all

-- for it to never have happened --

would you take it back or continue

as is?

A few months ago I would have

said that I’d take it back, but now

I don’t want to have these months

taken away.

During quarantine I spent most

of my time scrolling through Tik-

Tok and trying to find something

to watch on Netflix. I tried learning

new things with what little I had

and failed due to lack of motivation.

I would try to find things to keep

me busy every day. I didn’t talk to

anyone other

than my family.

I didn’t leave the

house unless I

had to.

All I did was

chores, eat, and

see my family.

I did the same

things every day.

Of course, it wasnt healthy spending

months without communicating

to others outside of my family.

I would read, watch tv, and download

random games on my phone

hoping it would distract me or

keep me busy.

But at some point I realized

something had to change. And


Graphic by Atzel Nunez

Many students reported that being

at home in April and May felt

more like a vacation then it did

school work. Zoom meetings were

held throughout the day and many

students battled Internet issues,

family concerns and work schedules

to stay up at school.

Motivation became a huge factor

for everyone. Teachers also worked

from home and they had to balance

work life with home issues as almost

everyone in the country was

sent home during the first months

of Covid.

“During quarantine I found myself

being unmotivated to do my

daily tasks,” senior Liberty Webb

said. “It was hard at first, but once

I got a grip of what was happening

globally, it made things make

sense. The reason why I was feeling

those things was because we were

stuck in the house, loss of money in

my household, and school. I didn’t

know how this was going to play

out but I had to realize everything

was going to be OK.”



importance of health. In

addition to battling a global

pandemic, mental health became

a big issue for those who felt

extreme isolation being stuck at


In fact, health concerns was

one of the top topics mentioned

by everyone during the past nine


“I have learned that we need to

be more aware of our health and

I decided to change my lack of

socializing or communication by

trying to talk more to people.

I said hi to my friends for the

first time in seven months. We

talked about everything that had

happened in those months. It was

really nice to know that they were

doing well.

I didn’t like the fact that I had

been wasting my time doing nothing.

Thanks to that I decided to act

how I used to and be the extroverted


I talked to people when I needed

help and that helped me make new

friends -- ones who have helped me

out and have made memories with.

I also decided to continue trying

to talk to my friends rather than

stop communication with them.

My relationships with my friends

keepings things clean,” senior Jordyn

Coleman said. “This pandemic

has taught us how important your

health is -- every day.”



what you have.

“I definitely took going to

school, the gym, working,

and going out for granted,” senior

Melanie Cuevas said. “I thought we

would pass through this pandemic

like nothing, but I was wrong. I

missed out on a lot of things this

year. It has affected me because I

went through some struggles but

realized that I miss many things

that covid took away from me.”

This pandemic has taught us all

to appreciate what you do have because

it can be gone in an instant.


Family. When you are stuck

at home for several months in

a row, when schools across the

country close, when restaurants are

told to close and when people are

being told when and where they

can shop, one thing remains constant

-- your family is there for you.

“We need each other,” senior

Brentton Wharton said of the biggest

lesson he learned. “:A lot of

people dealt with extreme isolation

during the initial quarantine period

of the pandemic, and that made me

realize how important it is to stay

in touch with peers and family.

“We live in a world full of technology

that allows us to talk, and

even see each other without even

needing to be close. Now more than

ever it’s important to stay connected

to each other.”

A pandemic takes away the ability

to be with other people frequently.

Many missed out on family

weddings, family reunions and

gatherings that once were taken for


When this pandemic ends, family

gatherings will likely be at the

forefront for everyone.

have gotten better by a lot.

I learned to rely on others more

and to trust others more.

If Covid never happened then

I wouldn’t have met most of my

friends. It would have taken far

more time to go to others and count

on them.

I learned things about myself because

of Covid. I learned to trust

myself more.

If i were to be asked if I could

have had Covid not happen at all

and have these months taken away

I would not take that offer.

These past nine months helped

me change into a better me and

learn more about myself.

I have probably made the best

memories in these months than I

have had in other months and for

that I am thankful.

January 8, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlght


The year

in sports


Graphic by Atzel Nunez

From bubbles to sectional champs, 2020 was full of highlights and Covid

By Zion Brown

sports editor

2020 has been a wild year in

sports around the world and

at Ben Davis. Let’s recap what

an amazing year this was in the

sports world.

Chiefs’ epic playoff run

Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes,

and the Kansas City Chiefs did the

impossible in January and February

to win Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs

trailed by double digits in all three

of their playoff matchups, yet they

were still able to come back and

win every game and eventually defeat

the San Francisco 49ers 31-20

in the Super Bowl. This was the

franchise’s first championship in

49 years and it led to quarterback

Patrick Mahomes receiving a 10-

year contract extension in the offseason.

The day that sports

shut down

In what is usually one of the best

sports months of the year, March

2020 may have been the worst

month in sports history. The 11th

began like any other March day in

sports. NCAA basketball conference

tournaments, the NBA regular

season, MLB spring training,

and the NFL offseason were all in

full swing. But when Rudy Gobert

tested positive for COVID-19 moments

before his Utah Jazz were

supposed to tip off on the road

against the Oklahoma City Thunder,

the entire climate of sports was

shifted. This positive test set off a

multitude of postponements and

cancellations of sporting events.

Some contests still took place later

in the year while others (the Olympic,

March Madness, etc) were put

on hold for the entirety of the year.

The barons of the


After a chaotic season that included

the death of Kobe Bryant,

a suspended season, and playing

games at Disney World, the Los

Angeles Lakers rose victorious in

the NBA Finals in six games against

the Miami Heat. LeBron James won

his fourth NBA championship

along with his fourth Finals MVP.

This was the Lakers’ first ring in

a decade when they were led by

Kobe Bryant over the Boston Celtics.

The championship also tied the

Lakers in rings with the Celtics,

both having 17.

City of champions

Just 16 days after the Lakers’

title, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated

the Tampa Bay Rays in the

World Series in six games. The

MLB played a shortened 60 game


In the league’s first-ever 16-team

postseason, LA beat the Brewers,

Padres, and Braves in the NL on the

way to the World Series. Shortstop

Corey Seager was named World

Series MVP in the Dodger’s first

ring since 1988.

Sectional champs

For the second season in a row,

the Ben Davis Lady Giants basketball

team won the sectional championship.

In the sectional semifinal, BD defeated

Roncalli 58-56 at the buzzer

thanks to a Natalie Howard layup.

Roncalli was coached by Stan

Benge, who would return to the BD

bench after coach Joe Lentz retired

following the season.

Ben Davis went on to beat Decatur

Central the next night to win

sectionals. The Giants’ season ended

in the regional semifinal against

Lawrence North, 38-31. In March,

Khera Goss became the third member

of the Goss family to be named

an Indiana All-Star, following her

sisters DeAirra (2009) and Bria

(2011). Benge returned to the Lady

Giants in April.


helped the lady Giants to a second

straight sectional crown in 2020 before

becoming the third girl in her family

to earn Indiana All-Star status. Goss is

now a freshman at Toledo. (Photo by

Crystal Williams)

Turnaround year

The football team got off to a 1-5

start in the regular season. The Giants

then tallied off five consecutive

victories on their way to winning

a regional championship over

Carmel. Undefeated Center Grove

beat Ben Davis in the semistate

as the Trojans would win the 6A

state championship the following

week. Head coach Jason Simmons

was named Marion County Coach

of the Year and the Giants had

an abundance of players receive

awards around the city and state.

Spring sports halted

On April 2, the IHSAA officially

canceled the playing of the spring

sports season. That meant that

baseball, boys golf, track and field,

softball, and girls tennis were all

called off for the 2019-20 school

year. This was a very shocking and

disappointing end for several seniors

across Ben Davis sports. Boys

basketball was also shut down before

the regional round.

Running the fall

The boys cross country team

placed third out of 10 teams in the

regional, advancing to semistate.

The Giants’ season ended in the

semistate as they came in 10th.

Yosef Solomon was just one place

short of making it to state. Solomon

was later named an All-MIC



Teachers, students reflect on the year

Elizabeth Waltermire

Junior, Ben Davis High School

What has changed for you during

this pandemic?

“Really the only thing that

has changed for me during the

pandemic has been how much

time I spend doing my extracurricular

activities and being

around friends.”

What has been ther toughest adjustment

you have had to make?

“My hardest adjustment has

been staying at home. I enjoy

going and doing things and

making plans and now I really


What has the pandemic taught you

about yourself?

“I have learned how much

I enjoy school when we don’t

have to show up five days a

week. It’s more calming and it

gives me more time to do my

work and study.”

What do you miss the most from

your pre-pandemic days?

“I miss our guard season the

most. I think that everything

will go back to normal. People

are already trying to act like

its ok to be back in public

spaces, like the pandemic isn’t


Deanna York

Science teacher, Ben Davis High School

What have been the biggest challenges

you have faced during the hybird and remote


“Getting students to unmute

themselves and participate during

meet times and working daily online

to complete homework assignments

in It’s Learning.”

What have you learned about yourself

during the pandemic?

“I prefer being at BD teaching

online compared to being at home


“I have better focus at school and

the opportunity to learn from other

co-workers. I have also learned

how to incorporate more technology

into my curriculum.

What has changed the most for you

during the pandemic?

“In a normal school year I spend

most of my time preparing/setting

up labs, instructing/supervising

during labs and grading labs.

“The pandemic has caused a

loss of laboratory experiences and

hands-on experiences for the students.

I now spend most of my time

lecturing and creating video’s for

online instruction.”

What do you think the future of education

looks like post-pandemic?

“I think teachers will have less

paper homework and more online

homework. I think teachers will

have more materials available online

for students to access and use

during the school year even if the

students are back in class five days

a week.”

Dana Farrell

Language arts teacher, Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center

What have been the biggest challenges

you have faced teaching remotely and on

a hybrid schedule?

“The biggest challenge teaching

remotely and on a hybrid schedule

is low engagement. Kids have so

much more going on at home, that

it’s more difficult for them to fully

focus on the content being taught.

“It’s also been hard not accepting

late work. I usually do, but I have to

hold students accountable to coming

to the Google Meets and completing

the assignments/learning.”

What have you learned about yourself

as a teacher and your profession during

the pandemic?

“I’ve learned that organization

Monika Muhler

Math teacher, Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center

What have been the biggest challenges

you have faced teaching remotely and on

a hybrid schedule?

“My biggest challenge teaching

remotely has been seeing my students’

work throughout a lesson

and addressing miscommunications

right away. I miss having the

one on one conversations with students

either in the classroom or in

the hallways.

“My biggest challenge teaching

on a hybrid schedule was trying

to interact with both my students

who were learning remotely and

those that were in the classroom

that day. Some of my classes were

extremely small making conversations

and hearing different students

perspectives challenging.”

What have you learned about yourself

as a teacher and your profession during

the pandemic?

“I have learned that I am better

with technology than I thought I

was. I have also enjoyed learning

and parent contact is key.”

Has the pandemic allowed you to expand

your teaching style?

“Not really. I really miss the

conversations and engagement

we used to have. I’m trying to figure

out ways to do that (breakout

rooms/collaborating in the chats)

but students said they don’t like


What do you think the future of education

looks like post-pandemic?

“I have no idea. My 2020 Motto is

‘We just have to wait and see.’ It’s

my hope that we can get back to

school full time soon. I really miss

teaching in a classroom directly to


new strategies and new resources

that I can use with my students

during this time.

“The MSD of Wayne Township

provides us with multiple opportunities

to grow and learn as educators.

I have been extremely impressed

with my profession during

the pandemic. We have been challenged

in so many ways and have

not lost our focus of making sure

that our students receive the best


Has the pandemic allowed you to expand

your teaching style?

“I have learned so much.

“My preference is to have students

learn and work in cooperative

groups and I have learned several

new strategies to continue this


What do you think the future of education

looks like post-pandemic?

“I have thought about this a lot...

I think it will definitely look different

than pre-pandemic. I think

Jasmine Hatcher

Junior, Ben Davis High School

What has been your biggest challenge

during the pandemic?

“The biggest challenge I faced

was staying motivated to do classes

at home. I typically would put my

work off until the weekend and

struggle to finish it all.”

Have you learned anything about

yourself through all this?

“During the pandemic, I learned

a lot about my mental health. I used

to be able to ignore it, but being

at home with my thoughts really

forced me to pay attention to what

I was feeling.”

What challenges have you faced while

teaching during a pandemic?

“-When teaching in person I can

feed off the energy of the class to

determine my pacing/whose getting

it/whose lost/etc. (reading faces,

body language). These things

become incredibly difficult while

teaching virtually.”

What have you learned about yourself

under the teaching conditions over the

past nine months?

“I have learned to be ready for

change at any given moment. I

am learning to prepare and expect

problems so I do not become frustrated

when they happen.”

Have you changed anything about your

teaching style during the pandemic?

“Setting goals to make ones

teaching better each and every day

is something teachers already do,

despite COVID.”

there will continue to be more

online learning opportunities for

families that are not comfortable

sending their students to school in


“I think that the main focus of

educating and doing what is best

for students is going to remain...

the procedures and the ways we do

that are going to change.”

What do you see the future of school

looking like?

“I think the future of education

will drastically


I think that

there will be

more lenient


policies on

sicknesses. I

don’t think

school will ever look the same, and

we will still be distanced to avoid

spreading illnesses.”

Donald Cave

Fourth Grade, McClelland Elementary

Do you see many changes in education

after the pandemic is over?

“Post-pandemic teaching will allow

teachers to return to comfort

levels/zones. Teachers will have

more confidence with their flexibility

in the art of teaching.

“Teaching is something that is always

changing and growing.”



Kyle Cox

Ninth Grade Center

What have been the biggest challenges

you have faced teaching remotely and on

a hybrid schedule?

“The biggest challenge is feeling

connected to students. Having

that connection/bond is the best

part about teaching and the hybrid

schedule made it difficult. But I’m

thankful we at least had that because

teaching remotely makes it

feel impossible to create those personal


“Our time is so limited and we

are having to do so many new and

different things, it’s hard to create

those personal bonds that you

would under normal circumstances.”

What have you learned about yourself

as a teacher and your profession during

the pandemic?

“I have learned that I am capable

of a lot more than I thought. I’ve

always viewed myself as flexible

and someone willing to go with the

flow. I think teaching during a pandemic

has forced that in not just me

but a majority of our profession.

“While it’s not something I’ve

learned, I think this pandemic just

has highlighted, at least here in

Wayne Township, how compassionate

and caring teachers are.

Our district has gone above and beyond

to help students and families

during all of this. Administrators

are making house calls to check

in on people. Teachers are making

themselves available at all hours

of the day just to help students. I

couldn’t be prouder of my school or


Has the pandemic allowed you to expand

your teaching style?

“I think everyone is going to a

better teacher moving forward. I

know personally, I’ve learned so

many new programs and skills during

this time. I’ve also had or felt

more freedom to just try new and

different things. If it works, great.

If it doesn’t, I go back to the drawing


What do you think the future of education

looks like post-pandemic?

“It has to be better, right? I imagine

everyone will be more appreciative

of the time we have together in

classrooms, and the ability to collaborate

and discuss and do things

that have just been so much more

difficult in the hybrid or virtual format.”

Michelle Hine

Sixth grade, McClelland Elementary

What have been the biggest challenges

you have faced teaching remotely and

on a hybrid schedule?

“The year has definitely been

a challenge. Even for veteran

teachers, we have had to completely

change the way that we

deliver instruction, assess, and

interact with students. The hybrid

schedule was difficult because,

even though you would

have students in person two

days per week, you were still

in communication with them

when they were at home to

ensure that they were learning

and understanding any asynchronous

work that they had

been assigned.

“It was also difficult to ever

feel like you had a routine, and

generally past the first few days

of a school year, routines are essential

to making sure a classroom

is successful. My Mon/

Tues group was also double in



Junior, Ben Davis HS

“The challenges I face during

the hybrid schedule is getting

motivated to do my work, and

getting to class on time.

“The thing that changed me

the most during the pandemic

for me is not being able to

spend time with my family and

friends as much as I used to.”

Carmen De

Los Santos

Junior, Ben Davis HS

“I’m a full time online student,

and personally the biggest

challenge I have faced is

my lack of motivation.

“I believe that in the future

there will be no need for snow

days because teachers have

learned how to use zoom and

google meets. So the school

day would just be online.”

size compared to my Wed/Thurs

group which provided all kinds

of challenges. Virtual learning

has been actually nice to have

them all on the same schedule

and not having to assign so much

asynchronous work. The challenges

there are what you would

expect, staying online for most of

the day can be a tiring. I encourage

my students at the last few

minutes of each “Meet” to get up,

stretch their legs, get some water,

look away from the computer (I

am also reminding myself to all of

that as well). Building relationships

and keeping those relationships

strong has been even more

essential this school year than

ever before.

What have you learned about yourself

as a teacher and your profession during

the pandemic?

“I have learned that I can do

hard things and that I (and my

students) are more resilient than

Karen Pineda-


Junior, Ben Davis HS

“The biggest challenges for

me have been trying to learn

everything without a teacher’s

instruction, and having to help

my younger siblings at the same


“I learned that I tend to get

distracted very easily.

“My mental health has

changed the most.”

I ever could have imagined. I also

learned that we all crave “normal”

and that many students

have even told me that they miss

coming to the brick and mortar

school, which was surprising,

but also refreshing. I also realized

that this year, it’s like we are

all first year teachers, regardless

of the number of years we have

taught. No one has ever tackled

anything like this. To know that

we are doing it and being successful

makes me proud.”

Abby Abimbola

Junior, Ben Davis High School

Andrew Aspaas

Athletic director and teacher,

Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center

What has been your biggest challenge

teaching during this pandemic?

“My biggest challenge is getting

students to actively participate in

the Google Meet classes and getting

students to do work assigned

to them that they have to do independently

on their own time.”

Did you learn anything new about

yourself while teaching remotely?

“I am not sure I have learned anything

new about myself. I have always

just “rolled with the punches”

and let’s just say we have had to do

that a lot as teachers during this


What do you think the future of education

looks like post-pandemic?

“I definitely think education

will look different as we move forward.

I think some students thrive

in the virtual environment but

some do much better in the tradi-

Has the pandemic allowed you to

expand your teaching style?

“I have definitely gotten

more creative with how I have

delivered lessons. So much of

teaching is modeling and then

gradually releasing that responsibility

to the students. I

feel that gets a little fast forwarded

in the remote world.

“Teachers across the globe

have come together on social

platforms to share successes

and missteps. That has been a

comfort to know that we are

all in this together.”

What do you think the future of education

looks like post-pandemic?

“I think that some of the

tools we have come to use

digitally have really enhanced

my teaching and my students

learning. I think those tools

are here to stay and can hope

that they will be continually

improved on.

“I hope the sense of collaboration

will also continue. The

free flow of ideas and resources

has been wonderful.

What has been your biggest challenge

during this pandemic?

“One of the biggest challenges I









not to

p r o -


Have you learned anything about yourself?

“I have learned that I should really

sleep more and come up with a

sleep schedule for my benefit long


Have you changed at all during this

stay-at-home learning?

“What has changed the most for

me is just waking up getting ready

for school, but not actually going

because it’s all remote.”

What do you think the future of education

looks like?

“-I think the future of education

post pandemic is going back

to how it was pre pandemic. The

exact same way but I think some

implementations will be taking in

terms of being more safe in case of


tional school environment. I think

schools will need to continue to

give students both options. However,

I still think the traditional setting

is best for most students.”

12 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN January 8, 2021

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