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So far Nicole Hudecek has created 15 blog entries.

NOTS parent viewing scheduled for March 28

Night of the Stars (NOTS) is a night for high school students to dress up and watch each class’ long-awaited film. With every weekend devoted to filming the movies, the time has come for parents to see their children’s work. The parent viewing will be held Saturday, March 28 at 9 a.m. (the morning of NOTS) and will go through 11 a.m. in the Green Room.

The theme will be following the actual event’s theme as Jardin De Fleur. Snacks and drinks will be provided and all high school parents are available to come.

Vicky Belmont, leadership director, oversees the students for NOTS and makes sure all the planning stays organized.

“It allows the parents to see what the kids have been working on and it kinda gives them a little taste of what the kids are going to do that night,” Belmont said. “They get to vote on the best picture which is called the Parents Choice Award.”

Senior Kathryn Damschen, volunteered to lead up the committee alongside Chloe Muller. She hopes to set high standards for the viewing and impress the parents.

“I wanted to make it really good this year and something that people can look back on and use it as an example for the future,” Damschen said. “Basically we’re giving the parents a little taste of NOTS. We’re going to have French themed food, just like what we’re having at actual NOTS. There’s going to have tablecloths, centerpieces, refreshments. We wanted to make it better than it’s ever been and set a precedent for the following years.”

This writer can be reached through Twitter @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

By |2015-03-26T00:00:00+00:00March 26th, 2015|Announcements, Leadership, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

WWII veteran receives long awaited medal

Brown1Courtesy Lin Brown

Jennings Brown, father of FC’s librarian Lin Brown, recently received a medal of valor for his service as a WWII veteran.

FC librarian shares story of father’s service

Jennings Brown, father of FC’s librarian Lin Brown, recently received a medal of valor for his service as a WWII veteran. The EX-POW medal was awarded to all ex-prisoners of war living in the central Valley.

It was because the Clovis VFW (Veteran’s of Foreign Wars) Chapter became aware that there were individuals who had not received their medals and worked to have them properly awarded that the ceremony took place on Feb. 2 of this year for Brown and three others, who are now at the Veteran’s Community Living Center.

Brown was stationed in June 1944 in England with a ten-man crew on the B-17, also called the Betty Jane. He became a gunner and photographer where he learned to take pictures of the bombs dropped over Germany to document how accurate the targets were hit.

On Sept. 13, 1944, the Betty Jane members were on their regular routine into Germany. While on their way out of the country they were spotted by the Germans and an air battle began. As his friends were being shot out of the sky around him his air crew suited up with parachutes.

As the pilot, Brown stayed to keep the plane steady and the rest of the crew jumped out. Brown was the last man out but before he jumped he gathered up all the sack lunches and extra supplies.

Brown’s granddaughter, Sarah Ogilvie, recalls her grandfather’s plane being found decades later. Ogilvie and her family talked about traveling to Germany, but in the end her grandfather was not up for the trip due to the emotional triggering of his past.

“A few years ago my grandfather received a phone call from a man in Germany,” Ogilvie said. “They had found the Betty Jane in a forest, and the remains of the pilot. It was very hard for my grandfather to hear that the plane had been found. We discussed going to see the wreckage but he just wasn’t up to it, it was just too painful to remember.”

When he landed he found a hollow log to hide out in to avoid capture by the Germans for as long as possible. All night he could hear gunshots and dogs barking. Brown knew he could not leave the hollow log until he came up with a plan. The survival kits he took from the plane consisted of food, water, purification tablets, a map of Europe, and French currency. To travel unseen he would have to travel at night towards the French border. During his journey he remained on the outskirts of town and witnessed a German soldier’s tearful goodbye to his girlfriend.

A few years ago my grandfather received a phone call from a man in Germany. They had found the Betty Jane in a forest, and the remains of the pilot. It was very hard for my grandfather to hear that the plane had been found. We discussed going to see the wreckage but he just wasn’t up to it, it was just too painful to remember. — Sarah Ogilvie, Lin Brown’s granddaughter

After six weeks of his time stuck in Germany, Brown became more confident with traveling through the day. One day he came across a village. When the villagers spotted him he was immediately identified as an American. They cornered him with pitchforks and rifles into a barn to be held as their prisoner until the German soldiers arrived. Before the soldiers prepared to take him away they gave him broth, which gave him really bad gas.

Brown remarks that that night he had farted the worst smelling farts he ever had. They were ordered to guard him the entire night in which he used his gas as ammunition against them.

The next day he was taken to a different location to be interrogated. He did not give anything up other than his serial number, but they still found out his information. They had clippings from Fresno Bee articles about him and information on his family including his wife’s name and mother’s home address.

“Chilling isn’t it,” Ogilvie said. “To think that someone in your home town had supplied such vital and personal information to the enemy. Imagine how he felt.”

Through the interrogation they asked Brown questions about the allies plans, missions he had taken and any information he could provide but he remained intentionally vague. Around that same time the shelter he was in was being bombed. The Germans forced their American prisoners to stand outside with dogs and guns trained on them. If they were to run they were to be shot.

Days later he was sent to a Stalag, which is what the Germans called prison camps. There they were forced to stand for hours and listen to the rules. To show their strength and intimidate each new group of prisoners coming in the Germans would take a man and let the guard dogs kill him. Brown’s background in handling guns got him a position in a guard tower just in case a breakout happened. No breakout ever did, but the guards would randomly beat him for an unknown reason. On Christmas Eve when the American soldiers were singing Christmas carols the Germans joined in singing in German. It was one of the few times that there was a moment of peace.

He was moved to a different prison camp where he met a man who had traded rations for a violin. One morning all the German soldiers had left during the night because of news of the Russian army approaching. The men gathered up their belongings and headed out to an airfield they had heard about. Throughout the journey he had passed through many German villages that were stricken with famine and poverty. When they reached the airfield Russian tanks met them there and Brown and the other American men were able to fly home.

“The impact of the war on the people of Germany made a huge impression on him,” Ogilvie said. “He knew that he was not the only one who had suffered over the last year.”

Brown married Beverly Brown in September of 1943. He returned to American in 1945 and was able to receive a college education at Fresno State. Though he relied on the GI Bill for the support of his college payments he worked three jobs in order to support his family.

Lin Brown remembers her mother’s recollection of her father return from the war. Her mother felt the jobs and schooling he received helped him adapt to regular life again.

“Though my mother says he returned from his war experiences very different from when he was first drafted,” Brown said. “These everyday duties probably brought some normalcy to his life.”

Jennings Brown attended the Church of God growing up and remained a Christian through his wartime experience and on.

“They had found the Betty Jane in a forest, and the remains of the pilot,” Ogilvie said. “It was very hard for my grandfather to hear that the plane had been found. We discussed going to see the wreckage but he just wasn’t up to it, it was just too painful to remember.”

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather,  Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more features, read the March 2 article, Where are they now? David Lee.

By |2015-03-03T00:00:00+00:00March 3rd, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BREAKING: Course requests due, Feb. 20

FCSLogoFCS file illustrations

Grades 6-11 will select their course requests for the 2015-2016 school year, using their Google Plus account by Feb. 20.

Students complete forms for ’15-’16 school year

Halfway through the second semester administration begins preparation for the 2015-2016 school year. This includes course requests. Junior high and high school will complete their course requests during advisory.

Grades 6-11 will select their course requests for the 2015-2016 school year. Students will complete their forms digitally. This form can be accessed through this link. When finished, students must check the box “Send me a copy of my responses” to receive an email of their responses and a link for possible editing. The deadline for submission is Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.

A preview of next year’s courses will be provided under News and Events on the Fresno Christian website. To access the form, students must log into their FCS Google Account (name.last name.graduation [email protected]).

Michael Fenton, Director of Academics, reflects on the positives of starting schedule planning early. He says that it helps the admin team plan for students and parents questions and revisions for each student’s schedule.

“In the past we’ve saved a lot of the schedule revisions for summertime,” Fenton said. “And I’d rather actually do that toward the end of the semester while everyone is accessible and it’s easier to talk in email or in person.”

Fenton urges that student sign up earlier to make the process easier.

“Sign up earlier, then we as an admin team will try to build a schedule earlier and try to let everyone know their courses earlier so that people can let us know their course request changes,” Fenton said. “Overall I think in the long run it will be great. This year the major change was logging in and we upgraded the server so it has graphics for required classes.”

In the past we’ve saved a lot of the schedule revisions for summertime. And I’d rather actually do that toward the end of the semester while everyone is accessible and it’s easier to talk in email or in person. –Michael Fenton, Director of Academics

Sophomore Katy Blankenship, felt the digital form was very useful and easier to navigate in terms of choosing the right class.

“I liked having the online option,” Blankenship said. “I thought it made it easier and clearer to see what options I had for classes. It wasn’t particularly good or bad.”

Freshman Mariana Fikse, liked the easy access the virtual sign up offered.

“I thought it was good,” Fikse said. “It was pretty easy to sign up. I think I will get all the classes I signed up for.”

For more information contact Michael Fenton in person or by email at [email protected]

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather and Instagram @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

By |2015-02-19T00:00:00+00:00February 19th, 2015|Announcements, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BRIEF: Tulare hosts annual World Ag Expo

ajennyJenny King

Sophomore Jenny King gives impression to Tulare’s World Agriculture Exposition.

Annual Tulare fair showcases technology for farmers in the Central Valley

Another year of farming and dairy has begun, and for farmers it means to check out the biggest advancements and tools. Since 1968, World Ag Expo in Tulare has been in motion; starting out with 157 exhibitors and 28,000 to 100,000 attendees. Every year it continues to expand and attract more viewers.

World Ag Expo is held every year at the Tulare County Fairgrounds in Tulare, California. From all around the world, visitors come to experience different technologies and the latest equipment for farming. After years of growing popularity, the show has outgrown its grounds, leading to a shortage of space. In spite of the space shortage, the show directors decided to form an association that would establish an international agribusiness show within Tulare. This lead to the formation of International Agri-Center, Inc. The new location became the first facility in the Western United States to hold an agricultural show.

Each year, the Expo showcases the newest top ten products. This year, DairyProQ, shows off their first fully automated robotic rotary milking parlor; with this invention it changes the future for milking. The show features agricultural tours, seminars, top ten products and delicious food sponsored from different locations.

Pete DeGroot, local farmer in the Central Valley, has gone to the expo for more than 30 years. He enjoyed the time spent with family and friends and looks forward to the new technology the show displays for farmers in search of new equipment.

“The expo is a place farmers can go and see a lot of new equipment and technology in one place, which helps us make decisions when looking for new equipment,” DeGroot said. “It’s a long and tiring day, but worth the time. It is also a good time to see and meet new people and say hello to old friends. My family and I have attended for over 30 years. I took my Grandson, Blake, yesterday to educate him on what was going on in the farming and dairy world.”

The expo is a place farmers can go and see a lot of new equipment and technology in one place, which helps us make decisions when looking for new equipment. It’s a long and tiring day, but worth the time. It is also a good time to see and meet new people and say hello to old friends. My family and I have attended for over 30 years. I took my Grandson, Blake, yesterday to educate him on what was going on in the farming and dairy world.–Pete DeGroot

Popular food vendors surround the grounds, supporting local schools or non-profit organizations. Everything from barbecue tri-tip, peach cobbler to nachos are served throughout the walkways of the Expo.

The show also provides high school students scholarship for those majoring in agricultural education. E.M. Tharp and World Ag Expo have paired up to provide the “We Believe in Growing” scholarships for high school students. Two $10,000 scholarships are awarded to those who want to attend a four-year university and who major in agricultural education.

Sophomore Hannah Nale and her family go every year to the show. This year was her first year going and looks forward to attending next year.

“My dad usually takes siblings every year but this was my first year going, which was really fun,” Nale said. “There were lots of booths. I got this lotion from this dairy booth that you put on the utters to make them softer. I saw Joseph Lange. I walked by him and I thought I don’t talk to you at school so I’m not going to talk to you here. If I go again I would probably look at the map beforehand because I got really lost.”

Blake Deffenbacher, ’19, toured the grounds with his grandpa, Pete DeGroot, this year. He took a special interest in the new robotic milking equipment presented.

“There was a lot of farm equipment like tractors, plows and harvesters to look at,” Deffenbacher said. “I saw some milking machines. They were pretty cool. They now have machines that milk the cow automatically so a person doesn’t have to do it. It?s just a robot that makes the work a lot easier. A person doesn’t have to go through and milk the cow.”

These writers can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email [email protected] and @jennypenny8835 or [email protected].

For more news, read the Feb. 6 article, Students chosen for honor choir, perform with community.

By |2015-02-12T00:00:00+00:00February 12th, 2015|Community Events, News, Uncategorized|2 Comments

BRIEF: Winter guard scheduled to compete, Feb. 7

IMG_5950rFC file photo

Winter guard readies to perform on Feb. 7, in local competition.

Winter sports kick off color guard schedule

Winterguard will be performing at a local circuit, the San Joaquin Valley Color Guard and Percussion Review (SJVCGPR), Sat., Feb. 7. There they will be doing multiple sets working with flags, rifles, sabres and dances with music. Local schools between the Merced and Lemoore areas will be split up into divisions and classes and be competing against FC.

Divisions in the competition make up scholastic performers who belong to a junior high or high school. Independent divisions consist of members who are not associated with a particular school. FC’s team is in Regional A, which is for the beginning performers, in the Bronze subcategory.

Winter guard performs for a panel of five judges. One movement judge which judges movement skills and the teams consecutive movements as one. An equipment judge looks at the depth and challenges of each routine with the equipment. Design and ensemble judges critique the show’s layout, theme, staging and performer?s emotions and two general judges observe the staging effect, musicality, imagination and entertainment quality.

Winter guard Instructor, Megan Stewart, wants to organize a rally for the team in hopes to build the team’s spirit. She feels they have put in a lot of work that needs to be recognized.

“Our program this year is entitled ‘Into Oblivion,'” Stewert said. “We’ve been trying to do a rally this year. We will see how that goes. I like the whole school to be able to see just how hard these girls work and how much time and dedication they put into it.”

“Our program this year is entitled ‘Into Oblivion.’ We’ve been trying to do a rally this year. We will see how that goes. I like the whole school to be able to see just how hard these girls work and how much time and dedication they put into it.”–Megan Stewart

The team’s season starts in the fall and ends in March. Here is the schedule up to the end of the season.

Show 2: Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. Lemoore High School. Performance time: 4:30PM.

Show 3: Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Buchanan High School.
Fresno State Winterguard Invitational: Saturday, Feb. 28th, 2015. Hoover High School.

Show 5: Friday, March 13, 2015. Clovis East High School.
JH and HS and Regional A Championships: Friday, March 27th, 2015 at Clovis North High School.

Tickets for the shows are $8 {$10 for championships} for adults, students {with ID}/children 12 and under: $5 {$7 for championships}, and Seniors {55+}: $6 {$7 championships}.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more news, read the Feb. 5 article, Students chosen for honor choir, perform with community.

By |2015-02-06T00:00:00+00:00February 6th, 2015|News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Air quality affects campus, valley

FCS file photoFC file photo

Superintendent Jeremy Brown believes the air quality is a much bigger problem than some realize.

Health issues arise among student body as air conditions worsen

Many health issues in the Central Valley revolve around the air quality. It creates random flu seasons, allergy shots in the middle of May and a third of FC students missing from classes. Recently, Superintendent Jeremy Brown released a plan for hazardous air quality days which states the danger in certain air levels and what FC is going to do to make the environment safer for the students.

FC Athletics have already taken the task under way, using a subscription that provides the correct air status and the readings from partnering school districts. The elementary, junior high and high school departments are notified, and if the day affects sports games or practices, parents will be notified through email.

Brown believes the air quality is a much bigger problem than some realize. His job is one that must oversee all aspects of a successful working environment and declining such knowledge on the issue would be a failure on his part.

“It is a point of emphasis this year,” Brown said. “It does have impact on our students and if you have ever experienced someone struggling with breathing properly it makes you very aware of the issue. If FC isn’t a safe place emotionally, spiritually and physically then I have failed in my number one job.”

Air quality is measured in color levels. The orange level is unhealthy for sensitive groups, the red level is unhealthy for everyone and purple and maroon air quality levels are hazardous for everyone. The quality can change throughout the day. On red level hours, physical education classes will be moved to the FC gym opposed to outside. Children with asthma may stay indoors with a parent’s request and are advised to make their medicine available at school.

Amber Wilson, ’17, struggles with moderate asthma especially on red or purple levels. She believes that it is a big problem, specifically for the athletes.

“Even though we live in Fresno its usually fine for me because I don’t have severe asthma, as long as I’m not running around,” Wilson said. “I play sports and it’s really hard because we do have bad air quality and it is a problem. When its red or purple it affects me. If I just walk around I get tired and it’s hard to breath.”

Even though we live in Fresno its usually fine for me because I don’t have severe asthma, as long as I’m not running around. I play sports and it’s really hard because we do have bad air quality and it is a problem. When its red or purple it affects me. If I just walk around I get tired and it’s hard to breath. –Amber Wilson

Freshman Joshua Villa, does not care about the air quality. He does not have any history with asthma and the quality of air does not matter to him.

“I have not had any problems with asthma before,” Villa said. “So the levels of air doesn’t help me. Its not something important to me.”

For more information on healthy air living visit this website: Why Healthy Air Living?.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more features, the Jan. 23 article, Student of the Month: Poojan Gopal strives toward profession in mechanical engineering.

By |2015-01-28T00:00:00+00:00January 28th, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BRIEF: CSF applications due, Jan. 21

FeatherBriefLogoSmFC File photo

CSF applications along with their $5 fee are due Jan. 21.

Second semester signals re-registration for clubs

With the start of the second semester, extracurricular clubs ready themselves to regroup. The California Scholarship Federation (CSF) calls just for that. CSF applications must be picked up in the high school office from Vickey Belmont with the student’s current transcript and an application fee of five dollars are due by Jan. 21. Freshmen are now eligible to sign up and former members must re-enroll.

CSF encourages and promotes academic achievement and service toward others. It requires five hours of volunteering to be finished by the end of each semester, an almost truant free record for meetings and no grade under a C in any core classes.

Academic advisor Michelle Warkentin manages the meetings. The academic challenges the club poses prompts students to become proactive in their school and environment. It also helps gain college attention for future goals.

“I encourage students to join in order to challenge themselves academically and allow them to become involved in our school and community,” Warkentin said. “It is a way to be acknowledged for their academic achievements. Membership in CSF is also viewed in high regard by colleges and professionals and being involved allows students the opportunity to earn scholarship money for college.”

CSF president Aaron Dewolf believes the club is a great opportunity for community appreciation. Involvement in the club creates a way for positive outreach that may not always be accessible to everyone.

“It’s a service opportunity to go out into the community and do something you don’t always get a chance to do or you don’t always get the opportunity to do,” Dewolf said. “A lot of times people want to serve but they can’t find a way or they can’t fit it in with their schedules. In CSF a lot of the work is done for you and you just have to come out with a service attitude and do the rest.”

It’s a service opportunity to go out into the community and do something you don’t always get a chance to do or you don’t always get the opportunity to do. A lot of times people want to serve but they can’t find a way or they can’t fit it in with their schedules. In CSF a lot of the work is done for you and you just have to come out with a service attitude and do the rest. –Aaron Dewolf

Freshman Juliana Lozano looks forward to beginning the club for the options it provides.

“I’m planning on joining CSF because it looks nice on college applications and I like to help out with service clubs,” Lozano said. “I’m hoping to become closer to God through serving others and to become closer to other high school students.”

California Junior Scholarship Federation (CJSF) for the junior high will also begin meetings. Applications are due Friday, Jan. 16.

Junior high history, Leadership and Bible teacher Hallie Rojeski supervises the meetings. She feels the club uses students skills to learn experience from and learn valuable skills.

“Students learn valuable lessons about serving others through working at Stuff Mart and helping with our Candy Gram Project which includes selling and packaging the Candy Grams,” Rojeski said. “The motto for CJSF is ‘scholarship for service;’ therefore, it is hoped the students would discover the value and joy of serving others.”

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more news, read the Jan. 7 article, Student Leadership: Prepares for winter formal.

By |2015-01-14T00:00:00+00:00January 14th, 2015|News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Central High School students connect with French pop star

IMG_4219Courtesy of Scott Donaghe

French singer Kayne Samet Skypes Central High School students.

Central High teacher contacts French pop star for Student’s benefits

The American music industry has been infiltrated by many internationally known artists including The Beatles, Shakira, ABBA and many more. To meet any of those artist is rare and many take advantage of the first chance they can get. Scott Donaghe did just that.

French teacher at Central High School, Scott Donaghe and French singer, Kayna Samet came in contact when Donaghe sent her a Facebook message, asking if she would be willing to Skype his students. When they singer accepted, a date was picked and the agenda was planned. The session was held on Dec. 10 with 150 students and seven city officials packed into a classroom. The students connected with the French pop star during one of his classes.

Donaghe’s wife and FC English teacher, Andrea Donaghe, recalls meeting the French singer for the first time in her kitchen.

“He likes her music so he was following her career,” Andrea said. “We had a foreign exchange student stay with us this summer. My husband asked him if she was a legitimate artist or if she was just an underground artist. Felix said she was legit and she was like Beyonce over there.

“So my husband found her on Facebook and asked to friend her,” Andrea continued. “Then he sent her a message asking if she would want to Skype with his students and she agreed. My husband, wanting to make sure it was legitimate asked if they could Skype first. We set up a Skyping session at our home and she Skyped from her home in France. It was really cute. I was in my kitchen talking to French Beyonce.”

Kayna Samet, formally known as Malika, plunged into the music industry at 15, first as a singer than as a rapper. She started as a model and performed as an opening act. In 1999, she came out with her first demo, “Le Parcours d?une Goutte d?Eau.” The tape was sent to several record labels and finally the opportunities she was looking for came. In 2000, she performed the song, “Jeune Fille d?en Bas” on the soundtrack for the movie “La Squale.”

I have never heard a group of that many students in one place so quiet. Don’t get me wrong though, there was a lot of laughter and tender moments of thoughtfulness. She is a very humorous person and very genuine.— Scott Donaghe, Spouse

The decision to change her name from Malika to Kayna Samet honored Kahina, a well-known Berber queen, and her grandmother, of whom she was very close to. A collaborative chance to tour with Matt Houston, established French singer, arrived and she took it. In 2002, Samet came out with the solo song, “Blazee D’la Life.” She signed on with record label “Voix Publik” and released her first album, “Entre Deux Je” in 2005. She has recently released a second album, “Thug Wife.”

Scott Donaghe’s push to contact French singers started with past foreign exchange students. The success he saw through those skypings encouraged him to reach out and try something new.

“I had already had my classes successfully skyped with three French friends in Paris,” Donaghe said. “The result of those Skype sessions were thrilling to see on my students faces. Since our school implemented a new tablet program technology that was not previously available was now ready to use in the classroom and actually worked. I thought what if I push this Skype experience to the next level? So I contacted four famous French singers and Kayna Samet actually responded. I was beyond thrilled!”

During the session, Central students asked her their rehearsed questions in which she answered in French. Then Donaghe would translate for the media’s sake.

“The entire group sat and watched in complete silence,” Donaghe said. “I have never heard a group of that many students in one place so quiet. Don’t get me wrong though, there was a lot of laughter and tender moments of thoughtfulness. She is a very humorous person and very genuine.”

His plan went as organized and the success he felt afterwords could not compare to any other teacher in the country.

“I knew that what had been accomplished was something that no other French teacher in the United States had ever done,” Donaghe said. “It was a proud and exciting moment. I knew that as a teacher I was about to provide to my students a once in a lifetime experience.”

Central student, Jose Serrano, never fully appreciated the honor he felt in Skyping the famous French singer until after the media coverage it was receiving. His taste for her music encouraged him further into the session and he began to admire her loving personality which impacted the whole room.

“I was very excited to know that we would Skype with the famous Kayna Samet,” Serrano said. “Her music is wonderful and sends a positive message. After seeing all the media and how it quickly spread that Kayna would be skyping with us, I realized the enormous honor it was going to be being able to directly observe the session with a superstar. She was very sweet and honest and has a positive vibe whom spread to us as well.”

Imani Johnson appreciated the singer’s time spent on her fans. The experience she received left an impact and she owes all her thanks to her teacher, Scott Donaghe.

“The experience was crazy cool,” Johnson said. “I didn’t expect to be so nervous but I was. It was literally insane and she is just so beautiful and really talented. It’s crazy that we even got to experience this but it’s all because of Mr. {Scott} Donaghe who is a really great teacher. I love her music and just her as a person. She really does care about her fans and you can tell just by how she took the time out to Skype with us. She is amazing and she is going to do big things in America.”

People’s reactions to the Skyping took him by surprise. The amount of notifications were all from people impressed with his work. ABC 30 covered a news story, reporting about the events that went on that day. Many people from the valley and France contacted him and he has been invited to two different conferences, one which at which he will be speaking about his experience.

“The response was overwhelming,” Donaghe said. “The very next day my e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and cell phone were blowing up. I took the day off from work for a couple of doctor appointments and using my cell phone, tablet and laptop spent my day answering the myriad of questions and congratulatory messages. I literally spent 8 a.m. in the morning the following day after the Skype session until 1:30 a.m. writing responses.”

Kayna Samet plans to make a dent in the American music industry in 2015. The session with these kids was just the start for her.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16.

By |2014-12-23T00:00:00+00:00December 23rd, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Learning to live with type one diabetes

Attachment-1Sydney Belmont

Vickey Belmont, mother of Sydney, and Shannon Briggs are the primary go to people for their daughter’s diabetes.

Diabetes affects society, FC students and faculty share their stories

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to kidney disease, vision loss, loss of limbs, heart problems and even death. 48.3 percent of the U.S. population, 25.8 million people are learning to live with diabetes. Seven million of these people do not know they have the disease.

Though we might not know it, there are several families in our school who have faced the daily struggle of diabetes.

Staff member, Valentine Rivera, was diagnosed with type two diabetes at age 50. He took the diagnosis as a sign he needed to change his lifestyle and start living up to better health expectations.

“There are many members in my family that are diabetic,” Rivera said. “It was scary at first because of the fact that several of my relatives had passed away being diabetic. At that point I knew I had to change my life.”

Rivera began classes at Kaiser Medical Center where he was taught to cope with diabetes by exercising, and dieting. He learned when and what to eat, and when to take his medication. He thanks the Lord for the continual blessings and preserves to take advantage of the days he has been given.

“It’s hard to diet and stay in shape but it takes a lot of determination and willpower to stick to this regiment,” Rivera said. “There were times where I would do well and times where I wouldn’t. For instance with the holidays coming up I have to watch what I eat. My wife helps me with a chart that we have to record what I?m doing and what my intake is. I test my blood twice a day daily. Type two diabetes is a disease that you can cope with and there?s no reason that you can?t live a long, normal life. I?m blessed that I have been able to tackle this on the positive side. Some people dwell on it and give up. I believe that the Lord has a reason for me to be here and that’s how I take it.”

Senior Trevor Beal found out the news when he went in for an appointment for a broken ankle in 2009. The routine blood tests and blood sugar evaluation he received came back with a new discovery-he had diabetes.

“In the coming days and weeks, I learned that I was in a battle for my life that could only be won through discipline and hard work,” Beal said. “There is no easy fix for our disease, current methods of management are very functional and will provide great A1C results if used properly. It is up to us individually to not lose the fight and to maintain a life of medical normality.”

Sophomore, Sydney Belmont, was diagnosed with type one diabetes at 22 months.

She receives daily blood sugar tests three to four times a day but goes through her day as any other high schooler would. She feels that testing so frequently is bothersome.

“When I was younger pricking my finger would be slightly painful,” Belmont said, “But now it doesn’t affect me because my fingers are callused.”

First grader, Julianna Briggs is another student who was diagnosed with type one diabetes at a very young age. Shannon Briggs, Julianna’s mother, praises God for sparing her life.

“Lala {Julianna} was tested every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day,” Briggs said. “We were afraid her blood glucose level would go low, causing a seizure and effecting her overall brain development. She received about 6-9 shots of insulin a day, but adjusted and never complained.”

Lala {Julianna} was tested every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day. We were afraid her blood glucose level would go low, causing a seizure and effecting her overall brain development. She received about 6-9 shots of insulin a day, but adjusted and never complained. –Shannon Briggs

Vickey Belmont, mother of Sydney, and Shannon Briggs are the primary go to person for their daughter’s diabetes. Their stories are similar and both can relate with the struggle of wanting their child to have a normal life.

“Sydney was an active toddler,” Vickey said. “For the first 22 months, she was a normal girl and wanted to play all the time. One day her whole life was changed in a blink of an eye. I started to notice that something was different with Sydney. One day she would be up running around like a normal two year old and the next day she would be laying around lethargic. My mother’s intuition told me that something wasn’t right.”

This was almost the same exact situation for, at the time, one year old Julianna Briggs.

“Julianna was a very healthy five pound baby,” Shannon said. “Two weeks after her first birthday my husband and I noticed a change in her health and behavior. For three consecutive days she was sleeping more than usual, nursing more frequently, and overall very weak. At one point, she couldn’t lift her head off of my shoulder. Following a doctor’s visit that gave us no real diagnosis, we felt like she needed to go to Valley Children’s Hospital.

These two families found out about their daughter’s diagnosis in a way that was said to be terrifying. The conditions that Sydney and Lala were in was daunting.

On September 4, 2001, Sydney started her day throwing up. The previous week she had been taken into the doctors three separate times. Vickey was to give her the medicine if she still seemed sick, but she did not get any better.

“When I took her back to the doctor, he said it was just a reaction to the medicine,” Vickey said. “Being the mother I am, I knew that Sydney was not acting like her normal self and I took her home, knowing something was terribly wrong. By the time I got a hold of another doctor and rushed her in, she was gray, lifeless, and throwing up blood.”

“I was scared to death that I would lose my baby girl. She was so dehydrated that the doctor had to use a needle to extract urine from her bladder. The doctor came and said, ‘She is in ketoacidosis and you need to rush her to the hospital; we don?t have time for an ambulance.'”

With her husband still at work, Vickey’s parents drove them to the hospital going at speeds of 90 miles an hour. Vickey, in total apprehension, was in the front seat shaking Sydney to keep her awake, screaming to her father that he needed to go faster. She called her husband, Scott, to tell him that she was rushing to the hospital.

“When we arrived at the emergency, I swooped Sydney up in my arms and ran to the door,” Vickey said. “It did not open so I banged on the glass door trying to get them to open it up. They opened the door and took my seemingly lifeless daughter from my arms. I remember seeing her little body on this huge bed and it made me sad seeing her just lying there.”

Vickey’s uncle, Steve, heard her husband’s call over the radio because Scott and him work for the same company. Scott came five minutes after Steve did. She was relieved she was not alone, but was saddened again when having to retell her husband what was happening. Then the doctor walked out and told the Belmont family that Sydney was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The Briggs family had a faster diagnosis but was still frightened of what was happening with their child. Shortly after they arrived to the emergency room, a finger prick indicated that Lala had type 1 diabetes. At diagnosis her blood sugar level was seven times higher than a normal blood sugar level. She was severely dehydrated and hours away from a coma. She spent three days in the intensive care unit and two more days on the regular hospital floor.

“We praised God for sparing her life, but left the hospital feeling completely overwhelmed and ill equipped to begin the intensive insulin therapy required daily for Lala’s well-being,” Briggs said. “We went from feeling confident and secure in providing care for our three children, to wondering if we could keep our daughter alive.

“Less than 1% of type 1 diabetics are diagnosed as young as Lala. She was not walking or talking which made her treatment even more difficult. Because she was so small when she was diagnosed she was given diluted insulin. At that time only two labs in the Central Valley could produce diluted insulin.”

Both girls stayed in the hospital for a few days and their parents were given diabetes education and training. In both cases after they were trained, they were sent home to live this new way of life, feeling completely overwhelmed and under trained.

“We have cried lots of tears and gone through many trials as well as needles, vials and all the other paraphernalia that goes with being a diabetic,” Vickey said. “Having a child with diabetes is scary, exhausting, and stressful. Although it is something you can live with, it changes the lives of the family lifestyle.”

These girls have lived their whole life with diabetes and continue to grow and go along with everyday life as any normal person would. Sydney likes to play volleyball and is currently on the FC cheer team. Lala loves horseback riding and also does horse vaulting.

“As difficult as this diagnosis was to grasp, it has been a blessing,” Shannon said. “Our family has become advocates for people living with type 1 diabetes. I started a support group for parents of newly diagnosed children and also serve as a mentor and advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

“In 2013 Lala was selected to attend Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C., in order to push Congress to continue funding type 1 diabetes. She was able to tell her story to U.S. Congress members, and she met the Vice President, Joe Biden. We also participate in the JDRF’s walk for the cure held annually at Woodward Park.”

The Feather staff and those interviewed encourage students to not fear the disease but find those who can share their experience, helping with new diagnosis.

These writers can be reached via Twitter: @_nataliatorres1 or through email at [email protected] and @nhudecek16 and [email protected].

For more features, read the Dec. 1 article, Fall Festivus offers fellowship, camaraderie.

By |2014-12-03T00:00:00+00:00December 3rd, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BRIEF: Educational Enrichment Program offers opportunities to students

FeatherBriefLogoSmFC File photo

The Educational Enrichment Program is an opportunity for students who are looking to get some college units out of the way while still in high school.

College classes provide head start for high school students interested

The Educational Enrichment Program is a program offered at Clovis Community College which gives students a head start for their college careers. The classes are offered for free and count towards the student’s college credit.

To qualify for the program Juniors and Seniors must have a GPA of at least 2.5 Sophomores at 3.0. Approval from the high school counselor, principal and parent is required for acceptance. Although classes are free, students are responsible for paying for any supplies needed for the class.

Students are required to have an online State Center Community College District Admissions Application, Educational Enrichment application with signatures from a high school counselor, principal and parent, a copy of the students current high school transcripts and if requested, a Clovis Community College Center Placement Exam for a student to register for classes. They also must submit the complete application each semester.

FC Academic Advisor, Michelle Warkentin believes the program is a great opportunity for students who are planning to finish college units while still in high school.

“The Educational Enrichment Program is great for students who are looking to get some college units out of the way while still in high school,” Warkentin says. “The biggest challenge to the program is finding a class that will work with a student’s high school schedule. It is probably not the ideal option for students who are highly involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. However some night classes are offered which may work for some students.”

The last meeting will be on at the Herndon Campus, Building B-308, Nov. 13.

For more information please contact Dr. Erica Johnson Clovis Community College Center Counselor at (559) 325-5230, Counselor Courtney Sparrow (559) 325-5230 or the Advantage Program, Rachel Garcia (559) 325-5230.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more news, read the Nov. 12 article, BREAKING: CSPA names Feather Gold Crown Finalist.

 

By |2014-11-13T00:00:00+00:00November 13th, 2014|News, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Photojournalism advisor adjusts to new position, offers professional experience

IMG_2795Kori Friesen

After a disappointing photo shoot, Friesen, taught herself photography through trail and error.

History teacher steps up to strengthen photojournalism program

Kori Friesen began her time at FC last year. She filled the gap left behind in the history department and taught every available history class. Now she accepts the role as photojournalism advisor and hopes to lead the class into a greater understanding in the art of photography.

Her time spent on photography started unexpectedly. After her son, Micah Friesen, was born she found more time to take up the hobby and begin practicing it daily.

“I was a teacher and we decided I would stay home once my first child was born,” Friesen said. “That was literally the first year digital cameras were coming out {2004} and I was not convinced digital would stick around. When he was born I used my very nice film camera.”

Her first try with JCPenny Portraits did not meet her standards. The one pose she paid for turned out to her disliking and she left with the idea of doing her own photography for her son.

“After my first photo session at JCPennys, I left feeling disappointed and broke at the time and investment I made,” Friesen said. “I decided to do my own photos of my growing baby boy.”

After a disappointing photo shoot, Friesen, taught herself photography through trail and error.

“Through trial and error I spent months teaching myself,” Friesen said, “photographing anyone who would let me. After about 6-9 months, I had built a good enough portfolio to make my first website.”

Friesen’s step up to this role did not come easy. She did not realize the amount of advising she would take in The Feather, but was excited to make the concept of all the media classes {yearbook, video productions and The Feather} one.

“I’ll be honest,” Friesen said, “I took a look at the photo quality from the last few years representing the school and, from a photographer’s perspective, there was, in my mind, room for improvement. My hope was to teach kids how to use a camera so good they could literally leave school and have a side job if they needed to. I wanted their resume to be a a valuable resource for any future employer.”

I’ll be honest. I took a look at the photo quality from the last few years representing the school and, from a photographer’s perspective, there was, in my mind, room for improvement. My hope was to teach kids how to use a camera so good they could literally leave school and have a side job if they needed to. I wanted their resume to be a a valuable resource for any future employer. –Kori Friesen

Journalism adviser, Greg Stobbe, believes Friesen is the one thing that has been missing from the journalism team. He says she brings a strong understanding to the table and fills the empty spot that and helps the team achieve a higher standard.

“Without Kori I was ready to walk away because I brought the kids as far as I could by myself without having someone else to talk to,” Stobbe said. “She really is the missing link to help move The Feather to another standard of excellence that I probably couldn’t do by myself. She brings a whole new expertise to what we need. She brings the passion for photos and, besides that, she brings an understanding of design that I don’t have time for. I’m dealing with reporters, deadlines and community people. I have less and less time to spend with video productions or photos and it’s really imperative for The Feather to advance.”

The media team takes care of all the pictures needed for the school. Their pictures not only contribute to the daily posting on The Feather but will also be used in the yearbook, The Shield, and FC’s new website.

“I didn’t realize how big that was because if we’re photographing and trying to capture the life and times of Fresno Christian,” Friesen said, “then that means we pretty much have to be shooting almost every event. So that was a different transition. I wanna take The Feather to the next level beyond anywhere we’ve been. Stobbe and I make a good team. I balance his ‘crazy.’ It’s a blast!”

The world of The Feather was at first, a new concept for her, but now she has grown used to the crazy world that is The Feather.

“In my head it’s always, ‘What’s coming next? What’s happening?’ and there’s a constant stream of people needing my keys and needing to get into the lab and deadlines,” Friesen said. “So I try and make sure when I’m doing history I’m doing history. I love history but I definitely feel like I’m straddling two worlds, which is a little bit tricky at times.”

Sophomore Jarrod Markarian, shares his favorite things about being in the class.

“It’s a lot of work,” Markarian said. “I love it; it’s fun. This year’s photos have more of a higher standard because Mrs. [/fusion_builder_column]

[Kori] Friesen is a professional so she brings a higher standard to the photojournalism world.”

Carlee Whipple, ’18, enjoys the whole student body showing up in pictures.

“I think that they’re actually including all of the high school instead of just more of one class,” Whipple said. “This year’s photos are better than last year’s in my opinion.”

After owning Captured Moments Photography for 10 years, Friesen shares her goals for her business for the next 10 years.

“The next 10 years, who knows where I’ll take it next,” Friesen said. “I love the idea of traveling the world capturing the stories of non profits and mission work. Using my gifts to bring glory and honor to the Lord is most important and I will go wherever he leads.”

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more features, read the Nov. 4 article, Featured App: Quora.

By |2014-11-04T00:00:00+00:00November 4th, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

High ponytails and pom poms: Cheer clinic engages, salutes youth

IMG_0257FC File photo

Through their time spent practicing, they learn skills taught by the high school cheerleaders including: stunting, dancing and game cheers

High school cheer lead elementary girls toward cheering for football game

The field lights up with football players darting around, focusing on their last play before a break. Whoever scores will determine the outcome of the first half of the game. The opposing team’s minor support becomes inaudible compared to the FC side.

The noise roots for the home football players through loud screaming, clapping and chants. Some players, standing on the sidelines begin to fist pump in the air, mimicking the crowd behind them.

As the ball is hiked, the Eagles make an interception and the crowd roars. Pom poms rustle and organized chants are lead with a certain spunk that only a few people have. These cheerleaders, with their high ponytails and unforgettable smiles stand below the bleachers, leading the crowd in a trademark chant everyone knows, but this time with a twist.

A few special guests have arrived and their cuteness factor breaks the scale. A chorus of “awes” sounds from the crowd and many parents with cameras accessible stand to see their child.

The elementary girls in full cheerleader clothing and pom poms ready suck in a deep breath and follow the older girl’s dance moves. Their ponytails bob up and down as they shake their pom poms and step in rhythm with each other.

More “awes” sound from the crowd and a wave of cheering and clapping vibrates the bleachers. Grins, some with missing front teeth, and waves thank the crowd and walk off to greet proud parents. These are the cheerleaders-in-training. The elementary girls that have big dreams to become just like the high school cheerleaders.

FC’s annual Cheer Clinic begins, Oct. 6. It provides a unique opportunity for elementary girls to become cheerleaders for a week. Through their time spent practicing, they learn skills taught by the high school cheerleaders including: stunting, dancing and game cheers.

Cheer coach, Courtney Raymundo, oversees the program and has loved it ever since she joined three years ago.

“I love cheer clinic,” Raymundo said. “It takes a lot of preparation before hand, but when you get to see these young girls perform on Friday night it is completely worth it! I also enjoy watching my girls become leaders.”

I love cheer clinic, It takes a lot of preparation before hand, but when you get to see these young girls perform on Friday night it is completely worth it! I also enjoy watching my girls become leaders. –Courtney Raymundo

The clinic gives young girls training for future varsity cheerleader goals. At the end of the week they will be able to cheer along side the older girls at a high school football game.

Tami Grimmius, mother of Amanda Grimmius, ’19, enjoys the program and sees it as a way for younger girls to receive first hand experience.

“It’s wonderful to see the interaction between the younger and older girls,” Grimmius said. “My oldest daughter, Amanda, developed a love for cheering because of her participation in past cheer clinics.”

First grader, Tatianna Arezaga, enjoyed her first time at the clinic last year.

“It was really fun,” Arezaga said. “We did cheers. ‘Go Bananas’ was my favorite cheer.”

Brooklynn Ainley, ’17, described her time last year. She enjoyed being a teacher to the younger girls and liked seeing them get so excited over it. This year she will take on a new job: teaching stunting.

“I liked being able to teach something and have the little girls get so excited about being a cheerleader and being able to cheer at a football game,” Ainley said. “This year I don’t have an age group I’m teaching stunting so that’s going to be different because I didn’t do that last year so that’ll be exciting.”

The game will be held on the FC north field, Oct. 10. The elementary girls will be cheering for the first half of the game.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

By |2014-10-03T00:00:00+00:00October 3rd, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Book Buddies program begins, Sept. 26

IMG_0013FC file photo

In 2003, the year Amparano returned to Pinedale, the connections between Pinedale and Fresno Christian have been steadfast ever since.

Program strengthens FC students community involvement

The annual Book Buddies program at FC will begin, Sept. 26. Run by Linda Amparano, volunteer coordinator, Book Buddies provides a chance for high school students to connect with elementary students through reading. Their weekly time spent together allows for children and teenagers to form close bonds with eachother.

The program was created by Diane Dillie, and is held at Pinedale Elementary. The original name for the program was “Literacy in Neighborhood Churches, (LINC)” but after a request to change it it became “Book Buddies” in order to to fit in with the school.

In 1996, the program was introduced to the campus but came to a stop after Amperano left Pinedale. All connections with the school and any Book Buddy programs were broken, until 2003. That year Amparano returned to Pinedale and the connections have been steadfast ever since.

Amparano’s volunteer work has extended farther out than just book buddies. She helps families during Thanksgiving and Christmas with food and clothing. She has started networking with various churches, non-profit organizations, businesses and city officials.

Amparano’s major involvement in the club has created many memorable stories. She adores many things about it but really enjoys the chances given to people to form close friendships.

“One of the things that mean the most to me besides the reading is the mentorship,” Amparano says. “I was raised in Pinedale and I was blessed with some incredible mentors. I want to be able to bring quality mentors to our children through the various programs I facilitate.”

One of the things that mean the most to me besides the reading is the mentorship. I was raised in Pinedale and I was blessed with some incredible mentors. I want to be able to bring quality mentors to our children through the various programs I facilitate. –Linda Amparano

Students across the FC campus have grown fond of the program. They too believe that it is a wonderful opportunity to mentor young kids.

Senior Caitlin Gaines, joined for the extracurricular credit. She also enjoys being a positive role model in the kids lives.

“I like it because I can use it for service for college applications and its fun to read to them,” Gaines says. “Its not hard but you’re also impacting these kids in a positive way by being like a role model once a week to them.”

Sierra Duffy,’16, has devoted her time and love to the children since freshman year.

“I did it the other two years, freshman and sophomore year,” Duffy said. “I am seriously in love with it. I love the kids, they’re so sweet and they just look forward so much to just something as simple as having someone reading to them. It’s just the cutest thing to me.”

Any students interested in joining meet in room 603 for a manditory informational meeting, Sept. 26.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected]. Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

By |2014-09-26T00:00:00+00:00September 26th, 2014|News, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Teacher seeks to fulfill vision, receives new job

IMG_0580 rJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

The new challenges this year brings for Susan Ainley is exciting. She has big dreams for the music department and knows that being in charge will enable her to accomplish them.

Music department gap is filled with enthusiastic attitude

With a large gap left in the teaching system on campus, FC administration scrambled to hire new teachers. The high school music department was left completely open and Susan Ainley was asked to fill the role that was left by former music director, Michael Ogdon.

Ainley seeks to fulfill vision and receives new job. She adds high school choir and ensemble to her list of classes. Her other major involvements across campus include: K-6th choir, 5th and 6th drama and junior high/high school choir and drama.

Even at a young age Ainley knew her calling was to be a teacher; that or a ballerina. At age six she began piano lessons and took on the flute in the fourth grade.

Throughout college she continued to study both instruments as well. She graduated in 1988 from Fresno Pacific University with a Bachelor’s degree in music education. She also studied for additional music education at Fresno State.

Ainley owes her success to the teachers she met in college, which she later considered to be her mentors.

“I remember singing in choir with Dr. Roy Klassen and the ‘light went on’ that this is what I wanted to do,” Ainley said. “He mentored me throughout my college years, and continues to keep in touch. I credit him for my work ethic. He ran rehearsals like a race, but our choirs were always fantastic.”

After graduating college, a high school teaching position opened up at the campus.

“I always wanted to teach here at FC, even before I had children who attended school here,” Ainley says. “I had many nieces and nephews come to Fresno Christian and I would often come to the Christmas concerts and different productions. I saw the things that they were teaching even just through their singing and the spirit of Jesus that was alive and well.”

I always wanted to teach here at FC, even before I had children who attended school here. I had many nieces and nephews come to Fresno Christian and I would often come to the Christmas concerts and different productions. I saw the things that they were teaching even just through their singing and the spirit of Jesus that was alive and well. –Susan Ainley

She then told principal, Gary Schultz, retired, about a goal she envisioned for the school. It included the start of a whole new music program. In order to produce a superior high school choir, music classes would start in kindergarten and continuously strengthen talents throughout the students’ time in school. The job offered did not appeal to her ideas and in the end she did not take up the position.

She received a job in Clovis Unified and taught there for four years. The music program there gave her more experience, which prepared her for future responsibility in the music field.

In 1998, her oldest daughter, Bree Ainley, began kindergarten at FC and another opportunity at the school of her dreams popped up. Her desire to be involved with the school opened up the possibility of her original music plan and she offered to teach music to her daughter’s class for free.

As her daughter grew up, she began to continuously teach that class with the addition of new classes each year. This happened for three years until principal Pat Unruh, retired, created a solid position for her. The job grew each year, adding fourth grade recorders, and elementary drama.

“Six years ago the junior high and high school choir position opened up and I was given the junior high,” Ainley said. “One of my favorite memories was our first choral festival at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. We were obviously the smallest group, singing in a festival with choirs of 60. I’m not sure I can describe it, but they were fantastic that day. When it was time to leave the festival, it took 30 minutes to get to the door, so many parents, teachers and festival workers stopped to tell me how beautiful my choir was.”

Senior Kim Ward, reflects on her past experience in choir with Ogdon and now with Ainley.

“I had him {Ogdon} for the first three years of high school so I grew very close and fond to him,” Ward said. “Mrs. Ainley is just as good and I think that this is going to be a great year for choir.”

For Zachary Passmore, ’17, this is his first year in choir. He looks forward to having Ainley as a teacher.

“I like just figuring out where my voice is and just kind of learning more about my ability to sing,” Passmore says. “She’s really nice and really fun and makes us really good food sometimes.”

Juliana Rosik, ’16, spent all of elementary with Ainley as a music teacher. She took a break from choir during junior high, but rejoined it at the start of high school. The musical lessons she was taught in elementary proved to be useful now, in her ensemble class.

“I’ve been reading music since I was little and I’ve played piano for a long time,” Rosik said. I don’t think I could do choir without that musical structure.”

The new challenges this year brings for Ainley is exciting. She has big dreams for the music department and knows that being in charge will enable her to accomplish them.

“I have amazing students that make teaching a joy,” Ainley says. “I love my job! It has requirements, but I don’t feel stressed, I feel blessed. I would love to see FC become a ‘magnet’ for students who love music. This is a dream of mine, to have every student in each grade be trained in voice and instrument. It just makes perfect sense to me for a Christian school to specialize in music.”

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

For more features, read the Sept. 17 article, New blogger shares expierences in Haiti

By |2014-09-19T00:00:00+00:00September 19th, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Previous teacher assumes new position, Dean of Students

Deffan-on-golf-cartFC file photo

Amy Deffenbacher’s new and improved position fills her with enthusiasm and motivation. She hopes for the school and student body to grow academically and spiritually.

Dean of Students connects ministry to job

Amy Deffenbacher began attending FC as a first grader in 1982, graduating as a campus lifer in 1994. Throughout high school, she immersed herself in the music program: joining ensemble, choir and worship team. Beyond that, she became Valedictorian of her graduating class. Her hard work and perseverance in the past proved to be a key element in her new job.

Since being married for 18 years to pastor, Brent Deffenbacher, she learned early on that a pastor’s wife had no room for timidity. Her strong willpower would become another valued attribute as she steps into a more administrative role.

In 2013, she returned to FC not only as a teacher, but as a parent. Many of the classes she taught kept her busy. Any free time she managed to take she dedicated to her two children, Paige and Blake, and her husband.

By the end of the school year she planned to return home permanently, but God hatched a whole new plan: one that kept her at school and helped create the new role: Dean of Students.

New Superintendent Jeremy Brown began his involvement at the campus this summer, signaling the start of changes and a chance for new beginnings. New teaching positions opened up and an advanced administration, starting a process of restoration. Brown hoped for the transitions to go smoothly. With her background and experience in the school he felt that she provided a different perspective.

“I really wanted to make sure that I put my impression, style, and my character on the campus along with what’s been established with what is Fresno Christian,” Superintendent Brown said. “So in order to do that you need someone that’s very confident in themselves, they have a skill base that they could do a lot of different things, a problem solver. I knew she had those skills, so the next level was, ‘Are you willing to do it?'”

I really wanted to make sure that I put my impression, style, and my character on the campus along with what’s been established with what is Fresno Christian. So in order to do that you need someone that’s very confident in themselves, they have a skill base that they could do a lot of different things, a problem solver. I knew she had those skills, so the next level was, ‘Are you willing to do it?’ –Jeremy Brown

Her experience in teaching extends it’s reach farther than high school English classes. After graduating with her post-graduate from Fresno Pacific she began her career teaching at Turner Elementary School and made her way into secondary school for five years at El Capitan Middle School. In 2002 she moved to an administrative position.

“I’m able to see needs and immediately respond to them whereas in the classroom it takes time to see the fruit of your labor,” Deffenbacher said. “Here, I get immediate feedback.”

Her new and improved position fills her with enthusiasm and motivation. She hopes for the school and student body to grow academically and spiritually. Her goal for the year includes becoming a community of faith all standing together as one. Although the resignation of former Principal, Todd Bennett, caused stress and dislike in some of the students she remains confident and knows the school will prosper throughout the year.

Junior Alexis Kalugin, compares her first week to the second. She feels the new changes around school will bring excitement.

“It was definitely overwhelming the first week,” Kalugin said, “But now that it’s the second week, everything is starting to settle; it’s been a nice week.”

Andrew Moore, ’16, sat in Deffenbacher’s Sophomore English Honors class last year. He talks about her new position.

“I think that it’s a good thing because someone needed to pick up the slack now that we don?t have a principal,” Moore said. “She’s well suited for the job, since everyone likes her.”

When asked why Deffenbacher was chosen for the role, Superintendent Brown says that her compassionate personality and capabilities set her apart.

“A lot of what we do as administrators should be behind the scenes supporting and you need to find someone that understands that and has a servant’s heart,” Brown said. “We have a lot of servant hearts on staff but Mrs. {Amy} Deffenbacher was a combination of both the skill set and the servant’s heart that made that a great fit.”

Her role as a pastor’s wife continues to prove it’s experience in her job. As Dean of Students, she recognizes the needs of staff, students and families. She connects all three groups and unifies them together to form the Eagle community.

“I’m called to do my job, but to do it lovingly,” Deffenbacher says. “This role is as much a ministry as being a pastor’s wife.”

For more features, read the Aug. 28 article, First year teacher appreciates small school environment.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nhudecek16 or through email at [email protected].

By |2014-09-02T00:00:00+00:00September 2nd, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments