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Vocal spray leads to new business for ’84 grad

Gina (Summers) Emerson ’84 didn’t intend to start her own company when she went looking for a natural, organic vocal spray. The person who had previously formulated one for her was retiring, so she turned to Rob Pappas ’85, Ph.D., a chemist with expertise in essential oils formulations. She had been reading about the benefits of CBD oil and followed his research on his blog for his company, Essential Oils University. She asked if he could create a spray combining CBD oil and essential oils.

After several different attempts and few “silly” names, Emerson said, the patented spray Vocal Gold, which contains 200 milligrams of full spectrum hemp extract, was born. Emerson was so impressed she asked him to create more formulations for her and in August started the company Dew Drops CBD to share them with the public.

Emerson said she wanted to add CBD oil to her vocal spray because she had read it helped reduce inflammation. As the lead singer in several local cover bands, she sometimes had to deal with strained vocal chords. And she was taking medication that dried her throat. The spray helped with those problems – and a few other unexpected benefits, from helping calm her nerves before going on stage to improving her health.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Emerson said of the vocal spray. “It’s not only helping with vocal chords, it’s helping with colds and coughs. It’s great for allergies. It’s better than we anticipated.”

Emerson said that in the few weeks her business has been up and running, she has built a client base of more than 100 people. Some Vocal Gold users have seen relief from acid reflux and irritation from radiation from throat cancer treatments.

The company must not claim that its products have any specific health benefits, per FDA rules. But clients using Dew Drops flavored CBD oil drops have seen benefits such as relief from anxiety and insomnia. The Royal Blue Super A.I., for anti-inflammatory, helps with chronic pain and inflammation. There even is a formula for dogs that has helped with seizures and anxiety from storms.

Emerson said she was compelled to start her own business after Pappas’ formulations helped her with her own health. She was on several medications for conditions from osteoporosis to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. After taking the essential oil/CBD oil formulations, she no longer needs any medications and her positive energy has returned.

“I’m off everything,” she said. “I tell Rob, ‘You’re my hero. You saved my life.’ Because he did.”

Pappas is an independent consultant formulator supplying the formulations for Dew Drops CBD. He uses a carbon dioxide extraction process to extract the “beneficial cannabinoids” from certified organic hemp without leaving any solvents behind, he said.

He began adding CBD oil to his essential oils formulations about five years after reading about its benefits, from controlling seizures to treating cancer.

“It just seems to have a lot of beneficial properties,” he said.

There are restrictions in the industry, including keeping the THC level in the hemp products below 0.3 percent, and those restrictions as well as restrictions in the banking industry put up some hurdles, but Emerson is moving forward because she has witnessed the products helping herself and others.

She has left her previous job as a certified medical assistant and focuses full-time on running her new company. She has a handful of employees and several partners, including alumni Marty Shireman ’78, Kim Karem LaPilusa ’84, and Beth (Crone) Jones ’84, among others.

The products are bottled and labeled in a warehouse in Greenville and sold online, and plans are in the works for a downtown New Albany store to open in a couple months.

Emerson said she is going on faith – and belief in her products.

“I’d never in my 53 years would have thought if somebody came up to me and said, ‘Gina, you’re going to own a CBD company,’ I’d believe them,” she said. “I’d have laughed in your face. But God has a plan for everything.”

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Senior Court representation of student body

The Senior Fall Homecoming Court, as one student put it, represents “every spectrum of Providence.” There are House leaders, athletes, academic standouts, actors, and more. Read these Q&As to learn more about their Providence experience:

Courtney Glotzbach, House of Truth, Volleyball, National Honor Society

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: It is extremely exciting to be on Homecoming Court as a senior. The people who are on it are always a very good representation of the class, and I am glad that I was chosen to be in that group this year. The eight people on the court this year give a very strong representation of our class. Each person is involved in the school in their own way, and I think with all eight of us, we have every spectrum of Providence represented.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: Volleyball would be my favorite extracurricular activity. I, along with many others here at Providence, are consumed in it year-round and plan to continue with it after high school. I have played varsity volleyball all four years as a Pioneer. Being involved with a program like Providence Volleyball has helped me change and grow into the person/athlete I am today. It teaches more than just athletic skills. The program teaches you discipline, responsibility, the value of family, and the importance of unity within a group.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: I represent Blue Pride in a unique way. Not only do I represent it, my whole family does. A Glotzbach has gone to Providence ever since its doors opened the very first time, and there are still many to come. You will always see my family and me tailgating before, and even after, any game. The Glotzbachs will always be the largest fan section, even if there isn’t a family member on the team. I represent Blue Pride through my family, and we all have immense love for this school.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject in school would be any math class. I enjoy the feeling of knowing how to do something and knowing that in the end there is a definite answer. I like the fact that ever since I have come to Providence I have had a math teacher who teaches in a style that best suits me.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I am planning on attending Jacksonville State University to play volleyball.

Natalie Boesing, House of Integrity, Cross Country, Girls Basketball, Girls Tennis, Student Ambassador, Eucharistic Minister, NHS

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: To be on homecoming court is an honor. I’m really excited for the opportunity and to be a part of it senior year.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: Tennis is my favorite. I’ve played since I was 5 years old. It’s my favorite because it’s challenging, fun, competitive, and a family tradition to play.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: I represent Blue Pride by showing sportsmanship while wearing the Providence name during athletics and supporting the teams that I’m not a part of.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is Spanish because it’s very interesting to me and fun to learn.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I plan to attend Butler University and play tennis and major in either business marketing or education and minor in Spanish. One of the major reasons I want to go into education is because of the impact that the teachers at Providence have made on me. I never wanted to be a teacher before coming here and meeting the great faculty. They truly have left their mark on me in many ways. I want to impact kids’ lives one day like they have here at Providence.

Ceci Rush, House of Courage, Volleyball, Track, Student Ambassadors, NHS, Pinterest Club, and Green Dot.

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: It means a lot to me to be on the homecoming court my senior year. I am very thankful to get the opportunity to represent the senior class.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: Out of all the activities I am a part of, Volleyball means the most to me. I have been playing since second grade and have had the privilege of being a four-year varsity player of the Pioneers. The volleyball program at Providence is something special.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: I represent Blue Pride by attending as many games and activities as I can and always repping Providence when I’m out in public.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is anatomy because I love learning about the human body and how it works. The material is valuable and something we can use all the time.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I plan to attend the University of Louisville to play volleyball and major in biology and go to dentistry school to be a dentist.

Maria Popson, House of Integrity senior executive delegate, Girls Soccer, Girls Tennis, Bowling Club, Student Ambassadors, National Honor Society president, ProLife Club co-president, Pinterest Club, and Cornhole Club. Plans to audition for Popcorn Players and spring musical

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: I am honored to be on the court this year and to represent my class.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: My favorite of these is probably ProLife Club, which was established just last school year. Everyone involved in it is enthusiastic, and we have lots of ideas of how to be more lively this year, such as fundraisers for our trip to the March for Life alongside Catalyst Catholic and in-school activities.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: I feel that I represent Blue Pride by immersing myself in various school activities, sports, clubs, and theater. Also, I was voted to be co-Pioneer in order to represent Blue Pride during sporting events. This is one outlet which I thoroughly enjoy because it allows me to reciprocate my love for the school.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is math because it is a very logical subject, so I understand it better than any other subject. Also, it is great because of Mr. Book and SCÜMPS.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: Right now, I am planning to go to Purdue University and go into industrial engineering. Boiler up!

Carson Happel, House of Spirit, Boys Soccer

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: To me, being on the homecoming court allows me to represent my school and show pride that I go to Providence.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: I have been involved in soccer since I decided to play it full-time freshman year.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: I represent Blue Pride by giving my all during my games in order to help my team win.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My Favorite subject in school is Environmental Science because I enjoy learning about our world and what makes it go around.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I am planning to go to IU to study business.

Caden Sidebottom, House of Faith, Baseball, and NHS

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: Anytime I have the chance to represent this senior class in anything or at any event, it’s special. What makes the homecoming court even more special is that I’m voted in by my classmates, and I consider that a huge honor.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: I’ve been involved with Providence baseball for all six years of being here and have played the sport since I was 4. It was definitely my first love.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: I am one of the leaders of our student section and try to represent Providence in the best way possible. I also take representing the Providence jersey very seriously and take a lot of pride in calling myself a Pioneer.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: I’ve always loved history, mainly thanks to Ms. Manning and Mr. Beyl. Anyone lucky enough to have had them knows how great they are.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I’m still weighing different colleges but plan to major in business and later get into studying law.

Austin Barnett, House of Spirit, Football, Boys Basketball, Boys Golf, NHS, Green Dot Club

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: I am proud to be on homecoming court, and I see it as being an overall well-rounded person who sets a good example to others and having positive relationships with my classmates.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: Basketball and Football are both my favorite sports. I enjoy the physical aspect of them and playing them with two different groups of friends. I have played basketball for four years and football for one, but I wish I would’ve came back earlier.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: Blue Pride is supporting sports events, setting a good example when outside of school. Whenever you wear a Providence shirt, you are supporting our school and are an image for them.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is math because it comes easy to me when finding ways to solve the problems

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I want to major in marketing at Indiana University.

Austin Grantz, House of Justice, Boys Basketball, Track & Field

Question: What does it mean to you to be on the homecoming court?
Answer: I feel honored that my classmates nominated me, and I am grateful that this is my second time on the court. I know that I will look back on these moments and feel proud.

Q: What is your favorite sport/extracurricular?
A: Basketball has always been my favorite sport. I am able to form close bonds with my teammates while playing a sport I have been playing since I was a toddler. It brings out the best in me and teaches me respect, leadership, and much like life, there are ups and downs, and success and failures.

Q: How do you represent Blue Pride?
A: To me, Blue Pride means supporting each other in whatever school activity they’re involved with, whether that be sports, clubs, theatre, or the classroom. Therefore, I try to go to as many events as possible to show an interest.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite school subject would be math, because I like dealing with numbers, and it is used every day in the real world.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: At this time, I’m still exploring my options but would like to attend school somewhere close to home.

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Sports Spotlight: Volleyball

This issue’s Sports Spotlight features two Volleyball players, junior Miranda Harley and senior Brynna Walthers. Their Q&As are below:

Miranda Harley, defensive specialist, is a junior in the House of Faith and a Student Ambassador. She has been playing volleyball since third grade and is in her third year on the Providence team.

Question: How did you get interested in the sport?
Answer: I just wanted to try something new in third grade and actually ended up loving the sport, making me want to play club volleyball as well.

Q: What do you like about being part of the PHS Volleyball team?
A: I love that being on the Providence team is like being a part of a second  family. I’m so close with every person on the team and have made so many good friends through the program.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
A: I’m really looking forward to postseason and the road to state!

Q: What has been your favorite service activity?
A: My favorite service project I’ve done is when the volleyball team all went to St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Charities Women and Children’s Home to help clean up the living space for the mothers and their kids. I really liked interacting with the women there and seeing how our simple actions brightened their day.

Q: What is your favorite subject in school?
A: My favorite subject is Spanish because I find it really interesting to learn the language as well as the culture.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Pioneer?
A: My favorite part about being a Pioneer is the overall atmosphere here at Providence. Anyone can see that this is a school that values not only education, but also emphasizes all other aspects of student life.

Q: What are your college plans at this point?
A: Currently, I’m thinking about attending the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington.

Brynna Walthers, senior defensive specialist, is in the House of Justice, a Student Ambassador, and a member of the Pinterest, ProLife, and Corn Hole clubs, the National Honor Society, and several service organizations. She has been playing volleyball since fourth grade and has played year round with club and school ever since.

Question: How did you get interested in the sport?
Answer: A lot of my friends were wanting to play, and I immediately loved it.

Q: What do you like about being part of the PHS Volleyball team?
A: I love being part of the PHS volleyball team because it is a second family with my teammates and coaches. We spend so much time together as we compete together, study together, do service together, and generally support each other constantly. It’s an amazing group of people!

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
A: I’m looking forward to our volleyball team being really successful in our postseason, my senior retreat, and senior year-end activities with all my close friends.

Q: What has been your favorite service activity?
A: This year, my favorite service activity was when the volleyball team spent a day of service for St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Charities, and it was really special working together and accomplishing a lot of very helpful tasks for the residents and workers there.

Q: What is your favorite subject in school and why?
A: My favorite subjects in school would be a tie between language arts and history classes because I’ve had amazing teachers in both areas who have taught me so much about what I’m interested in long-term.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Pioneer?
A: My favorite parts of being a Pioneer are the friends I’ve made and the faith-filled environment and awesome spirit of our school.

Q: What are your college plans at this point?
A: At this time, I’ve not decided which college I plan on attending, but I’m planning a career in law.

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Cast enjoys challenge of this year’s fall show

This year’s fall show will showcase the depth of our students’ acting abilities. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time debuts Friday, Sept. 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ray Day Little Theatre. Additional show times are Sept. 21, 28 and 29 at 7:00 p.m., as well as one matinee on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 2:00 p.m.

The Tony Award-winning play, based on the novel by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simon Stephens, seeks to reveal the complexities of the human spirit. Using a non-traditional dramatic structure, it explores the inner world and perspective of the main character, Christopher. The people in Christopher’s world are not perfect, and they must reckon with their failings and all too human frailties to come together and support him. Due to its mature subject matter, this production is recommended for audiences 14 and older. 

Director Mrs. Lynne Miller said she chose the play because the last few years were comedies, and this drama appealed to her because it won Best Play in 2015 and would be “challenging for our students.”

The ensemble play requires the entire cast to remain on stage for the length of the show – but also uses imaginative techniques to portray the world inside Christopher’s mind. Although not specifically stated, his thought pattern and actions imply that he is on the autism spectrum. To make his world believable and authentic, the cast will have to draw on a “depth of emotion” as their characters interact with him, Mrs. Miller said.

“It’s about understanding that we’re all different and adapting to that,” she said. “It’s also about a family that makes some pretty heavy mistakes and in the end can reconcile” bringing the play to end “on an upbeat note.”

Senior Luke Rodski plays Christopher and  said his character is unlike any other he’s ever played before – or anyone he knows. So he did a lot of research and watched other versions of the show in order to portray his character in a way that is authentic and sensitive to his disability.

“I really like that for a lead character, he’s not an ‘average Joe,’” Luke said. “He’s got his own unique character traits. But it definitely isn’t easy.”

Senior Stephen Wilson plays Ed, Christopher’s father. For Stephen, who’s used to playing the comic relief, being a lead character in a dramatic play is “an interesting challenge,” he said. His goal is to “put myself in Ed’s shoes and try to experience how hard it is to be a father to someone like Christopher.”

Senior Claire Reyes plays Judy, Christopher’s mother. She said she has had to push herself to understand her character and her frame of mind because she doesn’t know anyone like Christopher – and her character isn’t in his life much.

“I’m much different than her personality,” Claire said. “It’s difficult putting myself into all that turmoil she’s going through.”

But the experience is still fun, Claire said, and she likes how the cast has all come together.

Senior Regan Elias is Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher. Her character isn’t in many scenes, but she is also the narrator, allowing her to voice Christopher’s emotions — meaning she must be ready to switch between two different characters.

“I just put myself in a mode where I can know Siobhan’s emotions and also Christopher’s emotions,” Regan said.

She said it is an intense experience being on stage with the full cast but she looks forward to audiences seeing it.

“It’s much more serious, but there are upbeat moments and moments of suspense,” Regan said.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance via the Providence website or by calling 812-945-2538 x 314 or at the box office prior to the show. Limited seating is available.

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September Scholars excel in math, theology, English

New this year is the Leaders and Scholars program. Each month, students will be recognized by their teachers or House leaders. This month, one student from each grade was nominated by their teachers in English, math, and theology. This month’s September Scholars for English are freshman Audrey Howell, sophomore Craig Bratcher, junior Drew Jones, and senior Joey Banet; for math freshman Casey Kaelin, sophomore Maddie Beyl, junior Laura Strahm, and senior Austin Grantz; and for theology freshman KB Merchant, sophomore Jake Miller, junior Sam Bowles, and senior Nolan Banet

English:
Freshman Audrey Howell, House of Spirit, Quick Recall, Book Club, Swim & Dive, and Track & Field

Question: What do you like about English class?
Answer: I love to read new books, discuss them, and write.

Q: What is your favorite book/short story?
A: I don’t think I could choose just one book, but the best book I’ve read recently is called Throne of Glass because there were so many different plot twists throughout the story. It was well thought out, and it was overall an interesting book.

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: Sarah J. Maas because the books that I’ve read from her have been planned well and enthralling.

Sophomore Craig Bratcher, House of Faith, Football, and Track

Question: What do you like about English class?
Answer: My favorite thing about English class is the group discussions.

Q: What is your favorite book/short story?
A: My favorite book would have to be the Harry Potter series because of the amazing world it creates.

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: My favorite author is J. K. Rowling, because she created my favorite book series.

Junior Drew Jones, House of Spirit, plans to be in Green Dot and National Honor Society and start up a spikeball club

Question: What do you like about English class?
Answer: I enjoy that English class is somewhat opinionated, and allows you to express your thoughts and feelings about various subjects.

Q: What is your favorite book/short story?
A: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. We read it in 10th grade English, and it’s a very touching, intense story about the lives of people (especially women) in Afghanistan during the late 20th century.

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: My favorite author is Stephen King because of how creative and unique all of his stories are. I also find it very interesting that a lot of his stories have been made into very successful films. Some of these include The Shining, Carrie, and It.

Senior Joey Banet, House of Integrity
Question: What do you like about English class?
Answer: It gives me a chance to fully express myself though my writing.

Q: What is your favorite book/short story?
A: “I, Me, Mine” By George Harrison

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: My favorite author is Timothy Zahn because I really enjoy science fiction novels, especially the Star Wars novels, which he has written a lot of, and his novels do a great job in making you feel like you’re in a whole other world.

Math:
Freshman Casey Kaelin, House of Integrity, travel/school baseball and basketball

Question: What do you like about math class?
Answer: I like math because there is one definitive answer, it doesn’t involve a lot of writing, and I’m good with numbers.

Q: What is your favorite type of math?
A: My favorite subject is algebra because it is like putting pieces together to solve a puzzle.

Q: What’s the most unusual way you have used math in everyday life?
A: I always figure out the tip when we go to different restaurants. I also like to calculate my stats in basketball and baseball.

Sophomore Maddie Beyl, House of Justice, and JV and varsity Volleyball teams

Question: What do you like about math class?
Answer: I like math class because there is always a correct answer, which gives me stability in knowing I have been successful in something that isn’t up for debate.

Q: What is your favorite type of math?
A: My favorite type of math class is algebra because solving for variables is more intriguing than that of a shape or something in another form of math.

Q: What’s the most unusual way you have used math in everyday life?
A: I use math to calculate scores of sports games, times, and test scores.

Junior Laura Strahm, House of Courage, Cheerleading

Question: What do you like about math class?
Answer: I like math class because I enjoy working with numbers and getting one specific answer unlike some other subjects.

Q: What is your favorite type of math?
A: My favorite type of math is algebra because a lot of algebra has pattern,s and this year in Algebra 2 I’ve already learned how algebra is connected to so many different things in everyday life.

Q: What’s the most unusual way you have used math in everyday life?
A: The most unusual way I’ve used math in everyday life is when I’m planning my day. I wake up at a certain time and figure out how much time I have to get ready before leaving. I balance cheer, work, and homework and see when and how much time I have to do my homework every day.

Senior Austin Grantz, House of Justice, Boys Basketball, Track, and community service for In Heaven’s Eyes

Question: What do you like about Math class?
Answer: Numbers are practical and for the most part, there’s only one definite answer.

Q: What is your favorite type of math?
A: My favorite math subject is algebra, not only because it’s my strongest area, but also because it can be used in everyday life, and it’s helpful in many careers that interest me.

Q: What’s the most unusual way you have used math in everyday life?
A: I would say I eat more at lunch than the average student, which means I have to calculate the number of servings (which has been up to four) and the cost per serving so that I don’t run up my lunch account.

Theology:
Freshman KB Merchant, House of Integrity, Dance Team, and theatre, including community theatre at Clarksville Little Theatre and Derby Dinner Playhouse

Question: What do you like about theology class?
Answer: I get to widen my faith and learn about the different parts of the Bible.

Q: Which saint do you most admire?
A: Saint Genesuis. Because he is the patron saint of actors, dancers, singers, and musicians. It’s pretty cool knowing I have a saint who watches over me while I do what I love!

Q: What is your favorite retreat experience while at PHS?
A: I loved doing written affirmations. You don’t know who writes them, but when people say good things about you and you can go back and read them, it’s a pretty good feeling!

Sophomore Jake Miller, House of Integrity, Swim & Dive

Question: What do you like about theology class?
Answer: I like to learn about God and my relationship with him.

Q: Which saint do you most admire?
A: Saint Peregrine Laziosi. He is the patron saint of healing, and I look to him whenever I am sick and/or injured.

Q: What is your favorite retreat experience while at PHS?
A. My favorite retreat experience is my freshman year retreat. I learned so much about my relationship with God on this retreat.

Junior Sam Bowles, House of Humility junior executive delegate, Student Ambassador, Church Connect group, Boys Tennis

Question: What do you like about theology class?
Answer: I can delve deeper into my faith beliefs and learn more about the Church and its history that I didn’t know before.

Q: Which saint do you most admire?
A: St. Michael because I really appreciate the work he does for me considering turning me away from sin and the devil and closer to God. St. Anthony is up there too because he has helped me find multiple lost objects in my life.

Q: What is your favorite retreat experience while at PHS?
A: I really liked the sophomore retreat because I felt a lot of God’s presence in my life and knew he was with me in every minute. I also established a strong connection with Mary there.

Senior Nolan Banet, House of Loyalty, Volleyball videographer, Quick Recall, National Honor Society, Student Ambassador, and spring musical.

Question: What do you like about theology class?
Answer: It gives me a lot of opportunities to participate. I enjoy responding to questions and sharing my thoughts about the faith with the class.

Q: Which saint do you most admire?
A: I admire Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky because he was very dedicated to his work like I feel that I am and he was willing to interact with people he didn’t know. He is a model for me in the way that he adapted to new situations.

Q: What is your favorite retreat experience while at PHS?
A: My favorite retreat was sophomore retreat because I had the opportunity to help the poor and get a better understanding of the less fortunate. I was empowered to participate in service afterward.

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Brothers enjoy once-in-a-lifetime vacation

For the three oldest Harper brothers, finding time to spend together is rare. Tony ’02 is a data engineering manager at Facebook living in Foster City, Calif., Paul ’07 is a reconnaissance system trainer for Raytheon in Honolulu, Hawaii, after recently leaving a six-year career in the U.S. Air Force – most recently as an imagery intelligence analyst stationed at Osan Air Base near Seoul, South Korea – and Stephen ’13 is an English teacher at a private academy in Seoul. This past spring as Paul was considering leaving the military, Tony decided it was a good time to travel to Asia and see the sites with his brothers as his guides. They spent a week traveling, sightseeing, and enjoying time with each other, and all three treasure the experience.

“It’s sometimes difficult to get together, and we never know when our next chance will be, so I’m happy we had the opportunity,” Stephen said.

Stephen and Paul also enjoyed sharing their love of Seoul with their brother. They took Tony to the main tourist sites, from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea and the Korean War Museum to the Lotte World Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and Olympic Park, home to the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Tony said he enjoyed the sights, meeting Stephen’s friends, taking photos around the city, and eating at many different restaurants.

“One of my favorite experiences was walking into an off-the-beaten path restaurant and the owner asking Paul and me if we were twins,” Tony said. “He was so amused to have three American brothers in his store and was amazed that Stephen spoke Korean so well!”

Stephen and Paul said they love Seoul because despite its size and population of 11 million people, the city is safe, the people are polite, and transportation is affordable and efficient, allowing them to easily travel from one area of the city to another. They also enjoy the metropolitan feel, which offers a varieties of cultures, food, and people.

“One of the best parts of living in Seoul is the food,” Paul said. “You can get anything ranging from Outback Steakhouse all the way to grilled squid the length of your arm from a street vendor, all of which is very delicious, although the more exotic dishes can be a little shocking for the uninitiated.”

Stephen said he likes meeting people from many cultures.

Stephen Harper ’13 teaches English in Seoul, South Korea, which gave him the chance to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“Aside from all the Korean friends that I’ve made here, I’ve also had the chance to meet and work with people from all over Europe, and through some of my Korean classes, I’ve been able to meet people from Vietnam, Myanmar, Russia, China, Mongolia, and even North Korea,” Stephen said. “Seoul is a hub for a lot of East Asian business and immigration, and the pop culture pulls a lot of exchange students and tourists who I get to meet sometimes.”

For the past two years, he has taught English as a foreign language (EFL), working in an English academy that the students attend for three to four hours a day after their regular school day, a job he really enjoys, he said. The South Korean school system is more intense than the traditional American system, and the students attend such academies several days a week, whether the English academy to improve their conversational skills or ones that offer math, computer coding, Chinese, and science.

“My job isn’t so much to teach them as it is to try and get them to talk, help them with their pronunciation and word usage, and most importantly get them to feel comfortable speaking English,” Stephen said. “A lot of them are very shy.”

He does share some of the same struggles that American teachers have in trying to interest his middle-school aged students in learning a foreign language.

“For the most part though, they’re very sweet and excited to be talking to someone from a different country, and they’re amazingly smart and talented,” Stephen said. “It’s truly amazing that I can have a near fluent conversation in English with a 12-year-old Korean student. They work very hard, and it definitely shows. They’re some of the smartest kids I’ve ever met.”

Stephen himself is a student of language, having been taking classes on how to speak Korean, giving him an insight into his students’ experience with him – and bringing amusement to his students when he practices on them.

“It’s fun to see myself going through the same mistakes and difficulties as my students go through while learning English, even though their English is way better than my Korean,” Stephen said. “Sometimes I’ll try to speak Korean to them, and they either laugh at me because of my accent or are totally amazed to hear a foreigner speaking their language. They’re also amazed that American students don’t have to go to after school academies every day and they’re very jealous.”

Stephen and Paul will miss living an hour away and being able to visit once a month, but Paul is glad to be back living in the United States if just for the option of being able to drive a car.

“Military personnel for the most part are not allowed to drive cars in Korea,” Paul said. “I missed the ability to jump in my car and go anywhere I want instead of having to wait for a train and stand amongst hundreds of people to get where I need to go.”

Paul Harper ’07 is returning to work in Hawaii, this time as a civilian.

For Paul, moving to Hawaii and leaving the military brings mixed feelings. As an officer, he had a sense of security knowing that his health insurance, housing, and ability to support himself were covered. He won’t have to miss the sense of community, though. Before his most recent stint in South Korea, he was stationed in Hawaii and worked at Hickam Air Force Base at Pearl Harbor, where he will now work as a civilian.

“Many of my old friends and co-workers will be once again working with me,” Paul said. “The biggest difference will be that I will be wearing a Hawaiian shirt on Friday’s instead of my military uniform.”

The people of Hawaii also have a sense of community that Paul felt a part of while he lived there previously. The awe of the beauty of the island may wear off over time, but the real reason to love living there does not, he said.

“What truly made me fall in love with Hawaii is the ‘Ohana’ culture,” Paul said. “Once you are welcomed into a community here, you are family. Life in Hawaii can be challenging, but people reach out to support each other with everything they have, even if they themselves don’t have very much to offer. This is a true definition of community, and it has captured my heart.”

Tony Harper ’02 and his wife, Anastasia, enjoy the sites in San Francisco, having moved to California after he was recruited to work for Facebook.

Tony is back in California with his wife, Anastasia. He moved to California last year, having been recruited by Facebook via LinkedIn. He previously served as data engineer for Humana in Louisville for 11 years, including modernizing its analytics systems. During that time, he had built up a network in Silicon Valley while learning a lot about software engineering and data warehousing practices, he said.

He likes the Facebook corporate culture, which encourages innovation, and is inspired by the opportunity to “work to solve problems that affect billions of people,” he said. The mild, sunny weather is great too, and he appreciates the abundance of opportunities in the STEM fields, but living in the San Francisco area where so many people have transferred in from somewhere he hasn’t quite found what Paul has in Hawaii.

“I still miss home a lot,” Tony said, noting that he’s able to visit about two or three times a year. “There’s something to be said for the close-knit community that I grew up in.”

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Senior creates film at summer workshop

Senior Faith Oakley has enjoyed watching movies since her childhood. When she was in middle school, she began watching behind-the-scenes clips of her favorite shows and expressed the desire to be an extra in a movie. After her mom helped her get that chance when she was a freshman, her desire to have a career in the film industry has grown. This summer, she explored that interest by attending DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media’s Summer Academy for Game, Cinema and Animation – and now has an interest in pursuing film studies in college.

“I was nervous I might not like it, but once I got there, it was very enjoyable,” Faith said. “It was fun to be on set and do what we did.”

She was part of a group of four students who created a five-minute film. After a one-day introduction to the concept, the group spent two days working with another group, each taking turns acting their film and filming the group’s film. Then, they spent two days editing the footage to create the short film. The final day, the students watched each group’s finished project.

“It was interesting,” Faith said. “They were able to briefly teach us each aspect of film.”

Faith, who is a member of the House of Integrity, said she learned about the summer film academy during a previous campus tour. DePaul is now on top of her list, and she is excited for the possibility of going to college in Chicago. Her parents met there, and her family has visited the city several times, so she is familiar with it, she said.

She is also applying to six other schools as a back up and is beginning to create films on her own now that she has learned the process. She plans to be on the tech crew for spring musical, which this year will be Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, to gain more backstage experience.

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Welcome, Mrs. Marisela Belmonte

Mrs. Marisela Belmonte is the new Spanish teacher, teaching ACP Spanish III, IV, and V, Honors Spanish II, and Spanish III. For Mrs. Belmonte, a native of Mexico, teaching Spanish is a joy because she is able to teach in her first language and to share her love of her culture with her students.

In Mexico, Mrs. Belmonte taught computer science and business, but when her husband, Jose Luis, was transferred to Oklahoma in 2005 to work in a concrete plant, she saw the opportunity to teach Spanish, she said. She obtained her master’s of education from East Central University in Ada, Okla., and was offered a position to teach Spanish while earning her degree. After earning her degree, she taught full time at the University of Oklahoma while also teaching in a public high school in Norman, Okla.

In 2017, her husband was transferred to Sellersburg, and she began teaching Spanish at Indiana University Southeast, where she still teaches Spanish part-time. Mrs. Belmonte also taught at Parkwood Elementary in Clarksville as teacher for English Language Learners. Although she enjoyed working with young students, she missed teaching in Spanish and was thrilled when she learned about the job opening here.

“Teaching in Spanish is my passion,” Mrs. Belmonte said. “I can speak in my language and teach my culture, and that fills my heart. Learning the culture is a key to learning the language.”

It’s only been a few weeks, but already she said she feels “at home,” she said. The teachers have all welcomed her and are ready to help her if she needs anything, and the students are eager to learn. She enjoys the positive environment and the respect the students show to their teachers.

“I love the quality that I see in the students,” Mrs. Belmonte said. “They really want to learn, and they are really well prepared. They can have a conversation in Spanish with me, and I feel sure that if they continue, they will become fluent Spanish speakers.”

Mrs. Belmonte is part of a group of Latina women from 26 different countries who share their culture with each other, which gives her an opportunity to learn other Spanish-speaking cultures – and to share what she learns with her students. She also enjoys playing tennis and hiking with her three children, ages 17 to 22. Each one graduated from high school a year early, and the oldest is, Memo, is a chemical engineer. Her son Rogrido and daughter Michelle attend the University of Louisville.

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1979 alumnae connect via CASA, foster parenting

In May 29, 2019, edition, the eVision profiled three classmates from the Class of 1981 and a 1980 alumna who were involved with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program also known as CASA. That story prompted these two 1979 alumnae to share their stories.

Mary (Saam) DeHart ’79 and Michele (Peak) Lewallen ’79 each felt a calling to help children in need. For Lewallen, it was an ad for CASA volunteers during a jury trial that started the pull on her heart. For DeHart, it was a continuing call from God to become a foster parent. The two live in different states and play different roles in the child welfare system, but both have witnessed how the CASA program changes lives.

Lewallen is retired from a career teaching Health and Stress Management at Antelope Valley College and living in Salinas, Caif. She moved to Salinas with her husband, Willard, when they retired in 2014. Soon after they moved, she was called up for jury duty and that day repeatedly watched the public service announcement seeking volunteers for the CASA program. She knew it was something she could do, but it took a few years before she had time to complete the six-week training program, she said. In 2016, she took the training and received her first of two cases.

DeHart transferred to the Indianapolis area four years ago, taking a job in the health care division of Philips. Her previous role required a lot of travel, and this move was supposed to take her off the road, she said. Within a couple of years, she was once again traveling for work, but looking back she realizes the move was for a different purpose — to allow her to become foster mom to the 5-year-old girl she will soon adopt and name Desi Elizabeth, the middle name after DeHart’s mother.

“In retrospect, I thought the move was to get me off the road for my job, but really it was to get the kids and to be involved,” DeHart said. “Here we all try to control our destiny, but it’s always in someone else’s hands.”

DeHart is raising her teenage godson and became a foster parent a year after moving to Noblesville. Desi was 2, and her half-brother was 4. She fostered them both for awhile until the boy’s needs were more than she could handle as a single parent. In recent months, she has felt the call to adopt Desi and is looking forward to the day when it will be final.

The journey hasn’t been easy, and she’s grateful for the local CASA volunteers who advocated for Desi and her half-brother. As a foster parent, she is bound to follow state regulations and even to return a foster child to his or her parents if ordered to do so. The CASA volunteers work hard to ensure the court, the system, and the foster families do what’s best for the child, she said.

“Hats off to anyone who’s helping care or however they’re paying their talents forward to help another human being,” DeHart said. “It’s very challenging at times, but it’s very rewarding. I’m just so lucky to be a part of it.”

In recent months, she said she felt called to adopt Desi, a decision that is continually validated by those who’ve witnessed how the little girl has blossomed into a happy, outgoing child – a far cry from the quiet, withdrawn toddler who first came into her home.

“When she looks up at you with those eyes and talks about (DeHart as) her family, I know no different,” DeHart said. “I don’t know any different way, and that’s why I know I’ve got to do this because she is my family, maybe not by blood but by every other means. I would never want her to feel any other way.”

DeHart and Lewallen reconnected via Facebook in recent years and look forward to catching up in person at their 40th class reunion Sept. 6-7. DeHart drew on Lewallen’s experience as a CASA volunteer when she had various questions as a foster parent.

Lewallen is on her second CASA assignment, and both girls were about 10 years old when she became their volunteer advocate. She spends about 20 to 30 hours a month on her CASA duties, from outings like going to the movies or out for ice cream to attending court hearings or team meetings for the child. Most of the time is spent on those fun activities, which “gives us the important opportunity to have fun and let the kid enjoy being a kid, even while their family is in crisis,” she said.

She has found that as a CASA she builds a relationship with the child as well as her foster parents, social workers, attorneys, and to some degree, her parents.

“I always felt like I played an important role,” Lewallen said. “I guess it’s because you’re a volunteer, people trust you more or talk to you more because they know you don’t have a vested interest in the outcome. You’re there because you care.”

Lewallen said it is rewarding knowing she is making a “difference in the child’s life.”

It was especially rewarding recently when the girl she was been working with asked the judge to allow Lewallen to become one of her permanent relationships, she said.

“As long as she’s willing, I could be involved in her life for the rest of her life,” Lewallen said.

Lewallen said it was a special moment to hear of that request, but it was even more touching when the girl expressed the desire to one day serve in the same role.

“I knew during the case with her that I really made a difference in her life when she told everybody that when she grows up she wants to be a CASA,” Lewallen said.

For both women, helping those in need is a matter of living out their faith – and continuing what they learned while students at Providence. And they both encourage others to do the same.

For those considering becoming a CASA volunteer, Lewallen offers this advice: “Each child is different, each case is different. You’re thinking on your feet. But think with your heart.

“Common sense would tell you it’s time to cut your losses and it’s time to get out. Sometimes it really seems hopeless, and that’s where faith comes in. You have to use your heart and everything pretty much instilled in us at Providence. A lot of this is a leap of faith, trusting that you’re doing the right thing.”

DeHart has lived that advice out too as a foster parent.

“I don’t think I’d be anywhere I am today if it wasn’t for the love and support of my family and faith and things that I continue to do to live my Fourth Day out, and that all started at Providence,” DeHart said.

Sports Spotlight: Cross Country, Boys Tennis

This Sports Spotlight features student-athletes from Cross Country and Boys Tennis.

Senior Alex Perkinson has been running cross country since third grade while a student at St. Mary of the Knobs. He has been on the Providence Cross Country team all four years and is now the team captain of the boys’ team. He also runs Boys Track in the spring.

Question: How did you get interested in the sport?
Answer: My cousin, Luke Shroering ’17, used to be a Cross Country runner at Providence too, and he brought me out to the Cross Country team my freshman year. I quickly made friends on the team and decided to be dedicated.

Q: What do you like about being part of the Cross Country team?
A: I like that everyone gets a chance to actually participate. There’s no bench, and since the team has smaller numbers, pretty much everyone is a varsity runner too.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
A: This team has lots of new talent this year, and I have a good feeling that we will make it to semi-state.

Q: What has your favorite service activity been?
A: My favorite service activity at PHS is helping out at kids’ cross country meets with my teammates. We do it once a year, and it’s fun.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Pioneer?
A: My favorite part of being a Pioneer is the Blue Pride. I think our school has really good school spirit, and my favorite memories are definitely the pep rallies for football.

Q: Do you plan to run cross country after high school?
A: I am not sure if I want to run in college. It’s very fun when you have great people around you, but I’ve heard it’s twice the commitment in college than it is in high school, and it’s probably difficult to balance that and school. We’ll see, though.

House: Truth

Senior Gavin Galligan has been playing tennis since sixth grade. He has played all four years at Providence and now plays varsity No. 1 doubles.

Question: How did you get interested in the sport?
Answer: I started just out of curiosity

Q: What do you like about being part of the Boys Tennis team?
A: Meeting new people in different grades and spending time with them.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
A: I look forward to being with my teammates a lot the next month and a half and winning the sectional title.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Pioneer?
A: My favorite part of being a Pioneer is all of the great people I am surrounded by.

House: Humility

Senior Claire Reyes started running cross country last season and is a senior leader on the team who says, “Even though I’m not the fastest, I cheer on my team and will always be there for them!” She also is in Spanish Club, Pro-Life Club, Green Dot, Quick Recall, Math Team, Providence Singers, Girls Track, and theatre.

Question: How did you get interested in the sport?
Answer: I became interested in Cross Country freshman year, actually. I started the conditioning over the summer but ultimately decided I didn’t like it and did soccer instead. However, junior year I did the fall show which conflicted with soccer so I returned to cross country! I’m really glad I did because the people in our small team are incredibly friendly and we always have a good time!

Q: What do you like about being part of the Cross Country  team?
A: One of my favorite things about Cross Country are the people you meet and the mental challenge that comes with running. The Cross Country team doesn’t have any sort of clique and everyone has fun, no matter how tired we are. Running is a tough sport because the only thing holding you back is yourself. You have to mentally push through each run as well as physically. Running helps strengthen your spirit, mind, and body and it’s a great way to make some friends!

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
A: This season I’m looking forward to finally having a girls’ team! Having a girls’ team means we have a better chance of going to regionals together.

Q: What has your favorite service activity been?
A: My favorite service activity has been helping Mrs. Swessel pick up trash at the Falls of the Ohio because it was great to actually see the fossil beds being cleared of garbage.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a Pioneer?
A: My favorite part of being a Pioneer is having a giant family that I can always turn to! All the teachers and students have a close relationship because we are a small school. I consider some of the staff members my family. The friends you make here are also long lasting because the relationships are rooted in faith and spirit.

Q: Do you plan to run cross country after high school?
A: I don’t plan on running Cross Country after high school, but I plan to continue running on my own when I get the chance to! It will help keep me in shape and focused on my goals.

House: Spirit

More school news

Freshmen strengthen bonds on retreat

Freshman wins most votes at local singing contest

 

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