November 19



Ben Davis High School Volume 87

Ben Davis High School Volume 87

1200 N. Girls School Rd. Issue 3

1200 Indianapolis, N. Girls School IN 46214 Rd. Covering Wayne Township since 1933

November 19, Issue 2021 2

Indianapolis, IN 46214 October 8, 2021

Covering Wayne Township since 1933

Heroes and Leaders

What makes someone a


Who are your heroes?

Our preschool students

help us find out





Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN November 19, 2021

hero, noun


1. one who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities

He returned from the war a national hero.

the hero of a rescue

She was a hero for standing up to the government.

2: a person who is greatly admired

a football hero

His father has always been his hero.

He has always been a hero to his son.

3: the chief male character in a story, play, movie, etc. a person who is admired or

idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

“a war hero”

leader, noun

lead·​er |

1. the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

“the leader of a protest group”

2. (a)the principal player in a music group.

The tour leader recommended several restaurants in the area.

b(1): a person who directs a military force or unit

leaders of the army

(2): a person who has commanding authority or influence

a leader in the reform movement

c(1): the principal officer of a British political party

a party member chosen to manage party activities in a legislative body

the majority leader

(3): such a party member presiding over the whole legislative body when the party

constitutes a majority

the leader of the House

November 19, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlight


Covering Wayne Township since 1933

Whom do you admire?

4 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN November 19, 2021

Natural leader

Squire saw

early what



By Raelynn Hughes

staff writer

From teaching adaptive aquatics

to being the leader of our

high school. This is the route

Sandi Squire, Principal of Ben Davis

High school, took.

Squire started her teaching career

at age 12 helping her mom

teach people with missing limbs

how to swim. This is what sparked

her love for teaching.

She started doing individual lessons,

which eventually led to babysitting,

and then working at day


Squire would do this throughout

high school and college. She wasn’t

sure what she wanted to do with

her teaching experience until she

decided to get her license in English

literature and religious studies.

Squire then found her passion.

When she first got her teaching

degree, she taught as an intern at a

high school in Oakridge, Tennessee

just outside of Knoxville. Then

she moved and taught at a muslim

school in downtown Atlanta. She

then taught at a junior college in

Seattle until she finally made her

way to Ben Davis as a night school


“I kept calling and they wouldn’t

call me back,” Squire said. “ I finally

SCHOOL LEADER Principal Sandi Squire (right) talks with Spotlight reporter Raelynn Hughes about what it means to be a leader. Squire knew when she was 12

that teaching would be a career that alllowed her to develop her leadership skills. She started at Ben Davis as an English teacher. (Photo by Makalyn Favors)

got a hold of somebody and they

called me in for an interview. The

man who interviewed me said ‘You

know I don’t really know you and

you’ve been out of the classroom for

awhile which is a bit concerning,

but I don’t have time to interview

anyone else so you got the job.’”

Little did she know she would

one day eventually become the

leader of this high school

Growing up she had many influences

that inspired her, but her

biggest inspiration of all was her


“We had a great relationship,”

Squire said, ”which was really

great, but she also pushed me. She

expected me to do more. She didn’t

just let me sail through.”

She had great teachers growing

up, but it’s the teachers who gave

her negative feedback that motivated

her the most.

“I just felt like they didn’t know

me,” Squire said. “They didn’t recognize

me for who I am, which

motivated me to succeed and do

better. You learn as much from the

teachers that show you what not to


November 19, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlight




LEADER Dr. Jeff Butts is in his 11th year as superintendent of Wayne Township schools. His dream was to become

a superintendent. (Photo by Nicholas Morton)

Leading from

The definition of a hero is

someone who is admired

and idolized for courage,

outstanding achievements, and

noble qualities. Dr. Jeff Butts,

Superintendent of Wayne

Township, portrays these traits


Butts has known since his junior

year of high school that he

has wanted to be a superintendent,

and his goal was achieved.

He comes from a long line of

educators. His grandfather, father,

and two brothers all have

become teachers, and his uncle

is even a superintendent himself.

He feels teaching is always

something he has wanted to do.

“I enjoy working with others,”

Butts said,’’ I’ve always

wanted to utilize any talents

that I’ve had to provide greater

opportunities for others.”

Butt’s started his teaching career

as a PE, health, and drivers

the top

Butts is right where he wants to be

By Raelynn Hughes

staff writer

“Do your best

and don’t be

afraid to ask for

help when you

need it.”

- Dr. Jeff Butts on leadership

ed teacher at a small school named

Prairie Central High School in Fairbury,

Illinois. Being a teacher just

wasn’t enough. He wanted to connect

with more, so he became the

coach for the football, wrestling

and track teams.

He has had many great teacher

influences growing up. He struggled

with math all throughout high

school, but ironically his Algebra 2

teacher, Mr.Tom Smith, influenced

him the most. He helped him understand

math in a way no one else


“It was at that moment I thought

that if this person could make

math enjoyable for me, then I

think that’s what I want to do

too,” Butts said.

The caring and nurturing

spirit is what really drew Butts

to these teachers, and gave him

the motivation he needed to

succeed. The ability they had

to connect him to what he was

learning really helped him see

what he wanted to do within

his career.

These teachers had such a big

influence on him throughout

school, Butt’s says he would

love to go back to school.

“If I could just find a way to

get back to school. Those were

some great times of my life.”

The teachers in Butts’ life had

a major role in his career and


“They told me to never give up

and to work hard,” Butts said.

His best advice for leadership

is simple: “Do your best and

don’t be afraid to ask for help

when you need it.”

Students in leadership

roles discuss their positions

By Mawaddah Aminou

staff writer

Lauren Vescovi, junior drum major

Give a description of what you do

“ I have lots of jobs as a drum major,

but my main jobs are being able

to keep the band in time by knowing

all the tempos, having the show

drill memorized

as well as where

the measures correspond

with the

drill, and simply

keeping a positive


by trying to eliminate

and resolve


Do you like doing it?

“I do love being a drum major.

Even though it can be very stressful

and irritating in the beginning, it is

all worth it as the show develops.

What do you think makes you qualified

for the job?

“Personally, I think that good

responsibility, empathy, and courage

are some of the most important


How do you think you contribute to the

success of the group/team?

“I’m a very energetic and supportive

person, so when it comes to

contributing to success, I don’t take

credit for how well our marching

band performs or plays their music,

I just want to boost their mentality

and confidence so everyone knows

what they are capable of.”

What’s the best/funniest thing that’s

happened in your time being in this position?

“The best thing that has happened

this season is definitely our

celebrations after a really good performance.

We always blast music

on the bus and when we change out

of our uniforms, it creates a really

fun environment with everyone.”

Alexandra Bordenkecher, senior

Spotlight editor

Give a description of what you do?

“I am the editor of the Ben Davis

Spotlight. I kind of manage what

we do in class and help assign stories

to the staff and help layout

newspaper pages.”

What do you think makes you qualified

for the job?

“I have been in the program for

three years, so I’m pretty familiar

with the design programs we use.”

What about it caught your interest?

“I love writing and I like being in

an organizational role.”

How do you think you contribute to the

success of the group/team?

“I think that I set a good example

of getting


in on time,

and answering



people need


Jackson Feasel, senior drum major

How long have you been doing it?

“This is my first and sadly, only

year of being able to do this. I was

gonna try out for the 2020 season

but due to Covid we only had the

one returning DM. So, only one

year, exactly only six months total.”

Do you like doing it?

“Being a drum major is challenging,

to say the least, but yes, I absolutely

love it. I’ve never enjoyed

being the center of attention. And

while yes, this role kinda screams

that, I prefer the behind the scenes

part more. Learning the music, conducting

it. Hearing

how each

part connects

and watching the

show as it gets

put together. It’s


What about it

caught your interest?

“Being a leader.

Above all I

wanted to prove to myself that I

could lead those who need it.”

Jenna Potter, choir

Give a description of what you do.

“I am the President of Purple

Aires, our Varsity Concert Choir.

With this position, I am almost

like our director’s right-hand man.

I make music copies, pass out important

papers, pass along important

details and information to

the choir’s members, make sure

everybody stays

organized and get

where they need to

be during concerts

and competitions

later on in the year.”

Do you like doing it?

“Yes, I love being

President. I have

wanted to be a part

of the leadership in this group since

my sophomore year.”

What do you think makes you qualified

for the job?

“I feel qualified due to the fact

that I have known Mrs. Harrison,

our director, for a long time because

of her Kids Show Choir Camp over

the summer. I was in her freshmen

show choir, and this is now my 3rd

year in Purple Aires.”

“My Algebra and PreCalculus teacher, Ms. Svaty. I had her

freshman year for Algebra, didn’t have her sophomore year for

Geometry, then had her again for Algebra 2 (junior year) and

PreCalc (senior year). When I

didn’t have her sophomore year

and then had her again junior year,

I knew then and there I wanted

to be a math teacher. The teacher

I had for Geometry wasn’t very

good, and I decided then that no

student should have to struggle

through school with a bad teacher.

I work hard everyday to try to

have the kind of influence on my

students that Ms. Svaty had on me.

Not necessarily to make them want

to teach math, but to help everyone experience success in math,

and maybe even enjoy it a little bit.” - Dustin Shannon, math

“Dolly Rebecca Parton has influenced

me the most, as silly as it sounds. Of

course I am influenced everyday by

those around me that bring positiviand

valuable feedback to my life, but

at my core, Dolly guides me. She came

from a family with hardly anything,

but she still found positivity and light

those hard times. I mean come on,

she wrote a song about her “coat of

many colors” that her mom made

for her from a box of rags someone

gave her family. Everyone made fun

her coat, but she persisted. From

young age hearing that song, and

reading her book, I always tried to

find the brighter side of life too. As

a young adult in the industry she

was also taken advantage of and had


find her voice and boundaries. I too struggle with that still. If Dolly Parton was

able to kick Porter Wagoner to the curb because she didn’t want to be someone’s

‘girl singer’, then I think I can say ‘no’ to some people, places, and things in life

that don’t suit me either. The other huge reason I find Dolly to be my most influential

person in life is due to her constant kindness to others, especially within

her community. She has started so many organizations to help children who

were just like her have more resources, to help families in need, and she helped

fund a vaccine during a pandemic. Dolly did all of that on top of winning multiple

awards for her musical talent. She is a true rockstar and hero for the people.

Oh, I was also kind of named after her (her middle name) there is that cherry

on top too.” - Rebecca Hundley, art





“Of all of the people in

my life, my mother has

had the greatest impact

on me. She is selfless,

giving, thoughtful,

hardworking and very

loving. She raised me

to be the same way.” -

Lauren Wyatt, science

“As a child: Mr. Fred Rogers and Paul Ruebens. As a child of the 80s Saturday morning

programs were a must. Mr. Rogers taught

me empathy, creativity, how things were made,

introduced me to music genres, and gave me a

love for puppetry.

Paul Ruebens...more specifically PeeWee Herman.

I wanted to live ( and still do) in the

PeeWee’s Playhouse. The style, color, puppets,

imagery, and overall hilarity really shaped me

as a person. I will always want to laugh and not

take myself so seriously.

“As a teenager: my high school art teachers. Especially

Mrs. Beth Diehl and Mrs. Vicki Ayres. I

don’t think I would be alive today if it weren’t

for them helping the weirdo, moody, and emotional

kid in the back of the room. I owe them a


“As an adult: My mother for so many reasons that I cannot even write to ther. Best.

mom. periodt. and my department here at BD. My department head is the best boss

that I have ever had in my lifetime. I have had many bosses and supervisors but I feel

like he embodies leadership and friendship. He really knows how to balance the two

of those things. I feel like the art department is a beautiful mix of people who genuinely

care about each other. I could go on and on how each person brings a specific

gift to make our department great. I know it sounds silly...but they are a great group

of people. Here is a list of things that I have learned from my colleagues: Cody Haddix

(kindness and patience), Justin Allison (leadership skills, humor, sense of family),

Allison Knudsen (strength, organization, and confidence), Becca Hundley (creativity,

humor, anxiety release, sisterhood) and Kenya Rizzo (keeping calm during

a crisis, resiliency, being quiet so one can observe, thinking before speaking.” - Cara

Owens, art

“My sophomore year in high school, I had an English teacher named Ms. Wezensky.

She had this magical aura--and when we were in her classroom, everyone was a

friend. Everyone was rooting for the other person, and we knew she was genuinely

rooting for us too. She showed real concern for the students in her classroom, and

she taught us life lessons by engaging us in literature. We would dress up as characters

and do reader’s theaters, and no one was ever embarrassed or ‘too cool’ to

participate, because she made everything so fun. She was the teacher who made me

love to read and write, and she is who I hope to emulate in my own teaching style.

She taught me the power of seeing other perspectives, respecting other cultures, and

showing empathy in all situations. She was just the best.” - Katrina Dawson, English

“Both of my parents

influenced me, but

my dad had the biggest

influence on me.

He was a high school

social studies teacher

as well (my mom was

also a teacher). I swore

off teaching when I

was young because

I didn’t want to be

like my parents. High

school me wouldn’t

believe that I turned

out to be a teacher. So,

it’s slightly ironic that

my dad had the biggest

influence. But, later in

life, when I was in a

transition professionally

and decided I needed a new challenge, it was my

dad who turned me towards public education and gave

me the confidence I needed to pursue a career change.” -

Ben. Neikirk, social studies

“My biggest inspiration

to become a teacher was

my high school Algebra

II teacher, Mr. Aufderheide.

Mr. Aufderheide

had a great way of

engaging his students

and bringing positivity

to the classroom. I

remember how after

Thanksgiving break it

was Sweater-vest season

until Spring break and

how our basketball team had such a respect for him that game day

became sweater-vest day in school. In terms of his classroom, he

would always approach everything with a love of the subject and

you could tell that even students who struggled in math found his

personality enjoyable and valued their time in his classroom.” -

Matt Mills, math

Who led our leaders

BD staff share

their biggest


By Mary Adams

managing ditor

Everyone has someon who has made an impact on their


This could be a teacher, a parent or even a celebrity.

Someone who could have influenced their career, someone who

influenced their interests, their thoughts, and how they viewed

the world. These teachers share who their greatest influencers are.

8 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN November 19, 2021

Learning leadership

Miller embraces mentoring role wherever she goes

By Nadia Rivera

staff writer

When we think of a leader,

we think of someone

who inspires others

and someone who works hard.

Anyone who has attended the

Ninth Grade Center or is fortunate

enough to have met her, knows

that Kristina Miller displays all

the traits of a classroom and school


With good reason.

Miller has more than impacted

the lives of her students. She is

supportive, encouraging, kind and

a hard working teacher. As some

of her previous students have said

“Mrs. Miller is a very encouraging

teacher, she always makes sure I’m

doing my best inside and outside of

the classroom.”

Miller teaches honors English at

the Ninth Grade Center. She stays

away from calling herself a school


“That’s tough,” she said of the

word leader. “We have so many

outstanding leaders at the Ninth

Grade Center.

“I would say because I try to

push limits, have involved and real

conversations, and focus on building

relationships with students

which are genuine -- if that is being

a leader, then maybe.”

Miller is honored that so many

of her former students remember

her as a school leader. For her part,

she just wants to be remembered as

someone who cares.

“By building relationships, relating

to my kids, and making sure

that they know they are more than

just a grade, that’s how I lead,” she

said. “They are more than just a

name on my roster. They are more

than what they think. They pave

their way.

“They have to push, be dedicated

and have direction. Oh, and I will be

there with them the whole time.”

Miller is more than just a teacher.

She is a Navy veteran who proudly

claims her past.

“I was in the Navy Reserves for 15

years,” Miller siad. “I loved it. I still

have friends I keep in contact with

and serve in the community here in


“The camaraderie is something

no one would understand, unless

they too served. It’s exciting to

serve and know that you have a

greater purpose and duty.”

If you have been in her class, you

know she wears the veteran badge


“I know that there are many misconceptions

when it comes to the

military, so I like to share stories

of my journey,” Miller said. “It was

different from most and extremely


Having 15 years of service experience

has certainly shaped how she

views life.

“I think that serving in the Reserves

and formerly being married

to an active duty veteran changed

my perspective on what the military’s

purpose really was,” Miller

said. “At first, I thought like most

NINTH GRADE LEADER Kristina Miller teaches honors English at the Ninth

Grace Center and is viewed as a school leader. (Photo by Frank Drisdell)

of the students I have, it’s about

war, guns, and destruction. But let

me tell you, it is not.

“Yes, these things are a reality,

but it is so much more than that.

Our military is about hope. It is

about dedication to others, whether

within our country or in another.

It is about showing up and being


Miller has proven that she is capable

of being anything and truly

has a certain perspective on the

world and how to interact with

people that makes them look up to

her. Miller is someone to look up

to and appreciate.

Miller has inspired many students

to try their best, a trait she

learned while a child.

“Growing up, I don’t remember

looking up to anyone as a leadermaybe

Bobby Knight,” she said of

the legendary IU basketball coach.

“I always wanted to play basketball

at IU.

“But now that you have me

thinking, I would say Mr. Hohman,

my chemistry teacher. He was witty,

brilliant, loved, and tough! He

didn’t care about who you were,

what you looked like, or why you

failed a test -- he just wanted to

make you laugh, learn, and push


It is said that the people who you

look up to are also the same people

who help you grow and see the

world a little differently than others.

That’s what makes others see

you as a leader.

Building a bond with your students

is important. It reminds them

that school can also be fun and nonstrict.

It also shows the students

that their teacher is there to engage

with them and not just teach them.

Miller is a successful, hard working,

and responsible leader in the

community in many different ways.

“I am actually honored that people

view me as a leader,” she said.

“That sounds so cliche, doesn’t it?

But it is true. I am honored that students

remember me and see me as

a leader. I feel loved and hope that

they know I appreciate them.

“I want each of them to realize

their gifts. Each student I have

ever had has gifts in life. They have


“Each one of my students has influenced

my life and played a role

in my development and growth as

a teacher and person. It’s pretty

amazing that I get to work with

so many amazing people- adults

and students. I am extremely appreciative

and moved by the love.

Tell them all, I will pay you later....

wink, wink!”

Miller never forgets to show her

appreciation to her fellow coworkers

and students as she shares a

heartwarming message to them.

Miller is truly the perfect example

of being a leader and her students

couldn’t agree more.

November 19, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlight


Leader by example


knows how

to help

By Jalen Flowers

staff writer

It is not unusual to find Teresa

Williams sweeping the floor after

lunch periods or carrying a

table to the gym or picking up trash

outside the building.

Or instructing her staff of 20

plus custodians on what it takes to

keep Ben Davis clean and running


Being a leader requires trust and

faith from everyone under you.

Trust from others is earned through

a leader’s actions and experience,

and Williams has proven that she

deserves the respect she is given.

Through humble beginnings,

Williams worked her way to her

role. After 11 years as a custodian,

starting in 1995, Williams became

the head custodian at Ben Davis.

She credits her longevity at Ben

Davis from her ability to remain

grateful for all the opportunities

and experiences she has faced here.

Students around the school can see

her leading and working with pride

and humility.

Williams describes herself as a

person always willing to learn and

grow. Williams relishes the opportunity

to learn from coworkers.

“We had a custodian that spoke

spanish and wasn’t very fluent in

English,” she recalled. “We made

KEEP UP WITH HER Teresa Williams can be found sweeping the cafeteria just as easy as she can be found leading her custodial staff to keeping the building

clean. Williams has led the custodial staff since 1995. (Photo by Tabby Lane)

him more comfortable speaking

English by teaching him more

about the language and we were

able to learn some Spanish through


For Williams, that’s just one

example of her positive impact on

others. While meeting many people

over her decades at Ben Davis,

Williams goal is to have a positive

impact on as many lives as possible.

Her positivity and good nature has

been noticed by her peers.

“Students and other custodians

describe me as someone who is authentic

and always treats people

fair and kind,” She said.

Williams takes pride in being a

role model, and someone students

can trust and depend on.

“I have been told by students and

custodians that they appreciate me

for always giving them a chance

when no one else would and they

like how I always keep it real,” she


Everyone from staff to students

is starting to take notice of this

hero on campus. Her wisdom and

positivity shines.

Teachers inspire in leadership role


Duley follow

similar path

By Zoe Harris

staff writer

Teachers are very important

leaders in our society. They provide

the power of education and supply

so many valuable resources and lessons

to today’s youth.

Good teachers can inspire and

help students reach levels they never

imagined. English teachers Beth

Duley and Ashley Bonzani have

been there and are currently doing

what they love best.

“I became a teacher for similar

reasons to most educators; I was

lucky enough to have incredible

teachers of my own,” Bonzani said.

HELPING OUT English teacher Ashley Bonzani says helping students is the

reason she became a teacher. (Photo by Drew Evans)

“Specifically, my sophomore English

teacher, Mr. Cavan, helped me

find my voice and encouraged my

passions. I was a quiet kid in class,

and he was one of the first teachers

to make me feel ‘seen’.”

Bonzani remembers those lessons

as a teenager and thinks of

them often in her own classroom.

“I think it’s easy for people to

dismiss teenagers and their concerns,”

she said. “I want to help my

students find their own voices and

support them in being the best versions

of themselves.”

Becoming a teacher puts you in

an influential position. It is always

refreshing to have teachers who

can remember how it felt to be a

student and use those experiences

to empower young minds.

Having good teachers shapes the

course of your life. Even something

as simple as having classes with a

good atmosphere can have a positive

effect on education.

“The highlight of teaching is exploring

ideas and establishing relationships

with young adults,” Duley

said. “I love the moments when

students ‘get’ a concept, when they

understand how to complete a task

for the first time, or when they see

an issue from another point of view.

“When students truly invest

themselves in a story or a poem or

a play and see how it connects with

their life outside of class, I know

I’m in the right career. Those moments

are the true compensation

for my work.”

INVESTMENT English teacher Beth

Duley says the investment in kids in

how she shows her leadership. (Photo

by Netzaly Torres)

Having inspiring and understanding

teachers is something all

students seek. Bonzani and Duley

offer us that comfort.

10 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN November 19, 2021

Defining hero

By Anaiah Wright

staff writer

The official definition for the word hero is “a person who is

admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements,

or noble qualities.” However, I don’t think it stops there.

In my eyes, a hero is more than just someone who is brave.

A hero is more than just someone who has outstanding


My personal definition of a hero is someone who acts in

the best interest of others in any given moment to prevent a

group or just a single person, from any slight or major inconvenience.

This can be true for both major and minor situations.

Here are how some students define hero:

“What makes a person a hero is being able to

value my worth and be someone I can look up

to.” - junior Alexia Cruze

“A hero is someone who can

protect me, and makes others feel safe.” - junior

Andrik Cruze

“To me, a hero is someone who is always willing

to help people, or a person, no matter the situation.”

- senior Mealat Hailu

“A hero is someone who takes risks and shows

people why there is a reason to keep hope.” -

sophomore Jorge Peraza

“To be a hero means to just simply put others’

needs before your own.” - sophomore Korbin


“To me, a hero is someone who is reliable,

responsible, and always a role model.” - senior

Kimani Robertson

“A hero is a person whose purpose is to lend

courage and comfort to other people, and is

idolized.” - senior Ke’Maurion Scanlon

“My definition of a hero is someone who holds

courage and has the strength to overcome any

obstacle.” - senior Rakya Snow

“Heroes are those who do things selflessly without

the expectation of getting something back.”

- senior Liz Waltermire

Thrive heroes

Reed, Hendrix make connections

By Raelynn Hughes

staff writer

The Thrive program at Ben

Davis has some of the most

remarkable teachers in the

school. The ability to work with

special needs students and the time

and p[atience they take to perform

their job gives them the title of a


Takeshia Reed and Karen Hendrix

are two of the amazing teachers

who work in the program.

Reed wanted to be an elementary

teacher, but a college professor

told she would be more qualified if

she double majored and went into

special education as well. What

they didn’t tell her was how much

hard work and time she had to put

into it, but in the end the time and

energy was all worth it.

“What my professors also neglected

to mention is the amount of

love and compassion it takes to do

this profession.” Reed said,” Needless

to say, I fell in love with the students,

their families, and their stories.

I am in my 9th year as a Special

Education teacher and I love what I

do. I love helping people.”

On the other hand, Hendrix has

always wanted to go into special

ed. She had a brother who had special

needs, so it hit close to home.

Her and her family always treated

Having an impact

Students say

Cook leaves

an impression

By Raelynn Hughes

staff writer


When many students hear the

two syllables, they minds automatically

gos to Gage Cook. He is

a teacher who has really accepted

every student for who they are.

His classroom is a space where

people can be themselves without

any judgments. Students are really

lucky to have met a teacher like

him in their lifetime. He has helped

and has always been there for me,

and others. He makes class fun,

and makes sure everyone is putting

their mental health first. Most

students are thankful for the time

spent in his class, as witnessed by

the following quotes.

“He’s one of the few teachers I’ve

ever had who cares about me past

just a kid in his class. He always

checked on me if I was upset or

just didn’t seem like myself. He’s

Takeshia Reed

her brother like every other kid.

She feels that this treatment is

what caused her brother to excel so

well even with special needs. She

wanted to use this knowledge and

experience to help others with the

same needs.

Both teachers had major teacher

influences growing up. Their

teachers were all kind, caring, and

pushed them to do their absolute


“The best advice given to me as a

teacher is to always remember why

you are doing this.” Reed said,” I

am motivated by the idea that I can

make a difference in someone’s life.

As big as changing the trajectory of

Gage Cook

truly the goat.” - Junior Will Underwood

“Mr. Cook has influenced me a

lot so far this year. He has taught

me my mental health comes first.

And when it comes to Spanish 3

work, being understood is not always

correct.” - Junior Jim’Myiah


“The way he teaches. He makes

learning fun for everyone. He makes

learning fun for everyone. He has so

much energy, it makes people want

to listen when he is teaching.” - Junior

Danielle Benson

“He makes me believe in my

abilities and sees them before I do.

He’s the type of teacher you can

Karen Hendrix

their future from negative to positive.”

Hendrix agrees.

“My teachers told me to always

believe in yourself.” Hendrix said.

“Even if something is really hard,

you keep persistence and work

hard, and you’ll achieve your goals.”

Both teachers have amazing

leadership qualities. Not only do

they teach students with disabilities,

but they do it with love and

passion, which isn’t something

every teacher does. They have the

same common goal that makes

them both heros. The goal of helping

and connecting with others no

matter the circumstance.

tell loves being a teacher.” - Junior

Ta’Nya Williams

“He has influenced me by making

me feel very comfortable and

treating me and the rest of the

class,very nicely and carelessly. He

is always laughing and puts a smile

on our faces, he’s always making

jokes, and he makes class really fun.

He is just all around a really great

teacher.” - Junior Minna Beckner

“He cares so much about us. He

would really do anything for us

no matter how far he has to go.” -

-Sophomore Johanna Lobos

“Mr. Cook is one of the best

teachers and people you will ever

meet. He is insanely considerate

and attentive. He has always been

able to help students including

myself and help me and others advance

in Spanish as well.” -Junior

Aniah Robinson

“Mr. Cook is a great teacher because

he is really understanding

and really is all about the kids. Unlike

some other teachers, Mr.Cook

doesn’t stretch his authority with

his students. Most of the time he

gives us a 2 minute period in the

beginning of class to prepare our

brains for what we are about to

learn.” - Junior Shaun Arnold

November 19, 2021 Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN Spotlight

Superhero or superjerk?

How much good do these characters actually do?



Lexie Bordenkecher


By Lexie Bordenkecher


In April of 2021, a Twitter user

tweeted out, “I feel like if the

Avengers were real, we’d all really

hate them.”

This tweet started a lot of conversations

about the groups “heroic

acts”, and how some of them don’t

necessarily reek of heroism.

Many comic book superheroes

start their endeavors out of incredibly

selfish desires, not to mention

the wealth that many of these characters

come from.

Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, and

Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, were

both incredibly wealthy men. They

capitalized on that by making

themselves “heroes”, when really

they were just smart and innovative

people with money and decent


Vengeance is also a common motivator

for these heroes. Many of

them start out their adventures by

killing those who have wronged

them or their family, and then eventually

turn out to be loved community


But why should they be forgiven

for their actions? Why should

Hawkeye get to redeem himself after

going on a murderous rampage

in Japan during Avengers: Endgame?

Another big problem with these

heroes is that sometimes they create

more destruction than what

they solve.

In the Avengers movies, the large

battles typically take place in very

public spaces.

In the first movie, the city of New

York was torn apart. Yes, the “villains”

had a major part in the destruction,

but the heroes certainly

did their fair share of damage too.

In the second movie, they unintentionally

destroyed an entire

foreign city, killing many innocent

people and leaving billions of dollars

in repairs, and then refused to

take responsibility for it.

Now this isn’t to say that all of

the superheroes of whom children

admire are bad.

Heroes like Spiderman and The

Flash are just normal people who

got gifted with a special ability and

use it for good.

While it’s fun to be transported

to an imaginary world where all of

the world’s problems are solved by

magic and superpowers, it’s also

funny to think about how much

damage those powers cause.

So yes, if groups like the Avengers

were real, we probably would

have some disdain for them.

Managing editor:

Mary Adams



Mawaddah Aminou, Aaron Ayala,

Anyolina Contreras, Lily Davis,

Briana Del Rio Drew Evans,

Taubah Elebute, Makalyn Favors,

Jalen Flowers, Leslie Hernandez,

Zoe Harris, Raelynn Hughes,

Drake Johnson, Nicholas Morton,

Aesha Patel, Mistura Oketokun,

Aunesty Owens, Marques Reese,

Yanelis Rivera, Nadia Rivera,

Brooklynn Sharp, Anaiah Wright


Tom Hayes


Sandra Squire

Don’t meet your heroes

Most would

be surprised at

what you learn

By Lexie Bordenkecher


Everyone has a hero. It could be

a political leader, a teacher, a coach,

a celebrity, an activist, or even a

relative. However, we don’t always

have the chance to meet these people.

While this might be disappointing,

actually meeting them might

be even more disappointing.

It’s incredibly easy to watch

someone portray a character on TV

and create an idea of who that person

really is, when in reality they

don’t align with the person created

in our mind. Of course it’s important

to have someone to look up to,

and most of the time famous leaders

are actually good people. However,

they sometimes become a God-like

figure, and they’re thought of as

someone who can do no wrong.

Having the mindset that someone

can literally do nothing wrong

is a dangerous way to think. That’s

something we see a lot these days

-- people blindly follow their heros

without considering that they

might not always have the right


Meeting your heroes sounds like

a good idea. That is until you do

meet them and they’re nothing like

you imagine them to be.

If you meet the person that

you’ve based your whole life

around, and they end up not being

the person you thought they’d be, it

can completely wreck your perception

of leadership.

With all that being said, there

may be some people who meet

their heroes and get everything

they could ever want out of it.

Many children (and adults) need

someone to look up to and follow.

But if you get the opportunity to

meet your hero, carefully consider

that your perception of them could


It’s important to have someone

to look up to, but try to not create

an imaginary version of them.

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. 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 Advertising

rates are available upon request.

12 Spotlight Ben Davis High School Indianapolis, IN November 19, 2021

BRANDON SHIPP, Social Studies teacher

and boys cross country coach

“You know it when you see it. In

my coaching experience we have

always said that ‘Leaders Lead’.

Our leaders don’t need to be

seniors, an elected captain, or our

fastest runner. They are the ones

that people listen too, confide in,

trust and follow. You have to remember

that the direction of that

leadership is really important. Not everyone is always headed in

the right direction.”

DAVE COLE, Band director

“Leadership is dedicating yourself to something that is

larger and more grand than

yourself. Leading means

providing members of the collaboration

what they need to

be successful. A leader must

be a humble, servant oriented

person that actively participates

with his or her group

members and is continually

working on their own initiative

to complete the work

that must be done. Leaders are always personally prepared

so they can help others improve themselves.”


BDTV advisor

“Everything rises and falls on





have a



an attitude that values the

interest of others above their

own, and will focus on engaging,

equipping, and empowering

people to unite, inspire, and

change the world.”

CARMEN CRUZ, Paraprofessional

“Being a leader means to help

navigate a group of people

on the right path for success.

Every person has a different

dream in life and has to take

certain steps to get there.

Taking into account how each

individual would be able to get

their based off of their needs

and or special requirements is important to be a leader.”


“To me, being a leader means modeling the behavior others will

follow or the behavior you expect others to follow. Leading by

example, being a clear communicator

about your expectations, and addressing

concerns when they come up. Being

friendly, approachable, open-minded,

thoughtful, understanding (yet firm),

are some important things to me as

I lead my classroom. A good friend

once said to me, ‘an expectation must

be communicated and agreed upon’

or how are you truly able to have that



Science teacher

“I think a leader is someone who pays


to others

so they

can help.

They are

able to



and set a

good example. They step up and meet

challenges head on and learn from their



Physical Education teacher

and football coach

“Doing the right thing for the situation

and guiding people to a place

they may not otherwise get on their


JESSICA EARNEST, Assistant Prinicpal

“A leader is someone who sets the example of what others should

follow. They communicate well,

are a team player, and highlight

others’ successes.”

MATT TUXHORN, World Languages


“A leader to me means modeling the way each day. Leaders

show grace, they are forgiving, they teach, promote collaboration,

and they don’t let anything stop

them from reaching their goals. They

include all stakeholders in the decision

making process when necessary and

provide ongoing support. A strong

leader is a great listener. They do more

listening than they do talking. They

are trustworthy and can keep information

confidential. They don’t like

being in the spotlight, instead they

want to give others praise. They have

excellent communication skills and

promote collaboration. They are not afraid to ask for help because

they realize that in order to meet a goal is always a team

effort. They realize their staff’s strengths/gifts and put them

in positions where they can flourish and better the organization.

They are passionate about their mission and they genuinely

love/care for the people on their team regardless of their


What is a leader?

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