Sunday, April 25, 2021

Students, Faculty Open Up at Empathy Panel

Shelbyville Central Schools constituents participated in an Empathy Panel in early March.

Shelbyville native Nicole Terrell didn’t intend to return here to launch her teaching career. But Shelbyville Central Schools called first, and she soon started her first day in a split position between Pearson and Hendricks Elementary schools.

Terrell (then Miss French) was the first Black teacher hired by the corporation, and she immediately realized her potential impact.

“When I walked in (to Pearson), just to see the look on the faces (of students of color): ‘Oh my gosh, you’re a teacher.’”

She never had a teacher who looked like her - and she was the only Black female in her college graduating class - so Terrell understood how her young students felt.

“There was no way I could let these kids have the same experience,” Terrell said at Shelbyville High School’s recent Empathy Panel.

The discussion was organized by students Chaniya Williams and Izabella Schaf, with assistance from school librarian Justin Stenger. It was held in the library on the heels of Black History Month and recent nationwide conversations about marginalized groups and diversity.

“I was encouraged to see the library used for its purest purpose: a community commons to freely share knowledge that expands, challenges, and strengthens, but can sometimes be uncomfortable, unpopular or offensive,” Stenger said.

Students opened up about a variety of experiences, from hearing loaded language and seeing Confederate flag shirts in the hallways to having parents who were the only persons of color in the gymnasium at an athletic event. They also talked curriculum.

“There’s more to Black history than slavery and the civil rights movement,” Makayla Terrell, a Shelbyville High School graduate and current Indiana University student, said. “There are more accomplishments in the Black community than just our struggles.”

SHS history teacher Vince Bradburn said he strives for a holistic approach. “I believe it’s more authentic if I’m presenting our nation’s story intentionally trying to elevate as many voices as I can. I think more of us can find ourselves in that story than if I’m just highlighting (diversity) every now and then.”

Teachers such as Bradburn, Jennifer Teague, and MacKinsey Taylor - all present at the session - were mentioned by students as role models for their work on issues of diversity and inclusion.

“I firmly believe all of my colleagues and I entered into this profession because we care about students and want to contribute positively to our students' lives,” Teague said, but added that teachers need training on how to foster a healthy environment for discussing difficult but relevant social issues. “We need to continue having conversations like this, and we have to intervene. We have to use our voices.”

Bradburn agreed. “It doesn't usually happen in a school-wide assembly. It's on a personal basis. How we interact and treat one another with kindness, compassion, and love is what we value,” he said. “I was pleased to participate so that students saw that I fully support that.”

The session also featured a recording of Makayla Terrell reading her “Imagine” poem, published in the best-selling “Black Girl, White School” anthology.

The SHS library plans to host additional empathy panels covering gender identity, the LatinX and Asian communities, religious groups and other demographic segments. Students and staff also recently participated in an empathy reading challenge, in which they were encouraged to read from a writer or about a character that’s different from themselves.

“Taking the time to simply listen, with no agenda or expectation to create a follow-up plan of action, is so needed and is so lacking in our society,” Stenger said. “Yes, we need to take action but first maybe just developing empathy by listening will go a long way.”

Self- Improvement, Its Allure and Impossibility

Editor’s Note: Although I didn’t feel comfortable republishing the photo provided by Meltzer this week, you can see it here. Instead, Melter provided a royalty-free drawing as a substitute. He plans to donate his drawing for a local charity auction, I’m told. - Kristiaan Rawlings

Dear readers,

I heard from long-time reader Joy Beard this week. I have always thought of Joy as a renaissance woman and an oracle. She can always be counted on for her wisdom and insightfulness. I think the last time we heard from Joy she pointed out the health benefits of pairing palinka with goulash.

This week, Joy sent a copy of an article she spotted in Croatiaweek. As you probably guessed, Croatiaweek is a publication concerning the goings-on in Croatia. Since I am always trying to promote “The Helbing”, Joy thought I would enjoy seeing the latest giant sculpture in the northern Croatian city of Varazdin.

It seems that Elon Musk isn’t the only Nikola Tesla fan. Croatian artist Nikola Vudrag created the world’s biggest Nikola Tesla monument. It looks like one of the giant metal towers for overhead power lines.

When I turned in my column, I included a photo of the artist standing next to his sculpture that was published along with the article. I don’t know if Skeeter will include the photo since I lifted it from another publication. I don’t know the rules about when you can use someone else’s photo and give them credit and when you can’t. If Skeeter doesn’t include the photo, as an alternative, I included a sketch I made of the sculpture.

My third choice was for Skeeter to put enough bitcoins in my expense account for me to go see it for myself. He said that we need to get a few more subscribers before he can approve any travel outside Shelbyville’s city limits.

I do hope that Skeeter can use the photograph. It has been a long time since I tried to draw anything. I think the last time I tried to draw something it was with those huge crayons we had in grade school. You know, the fat ones with one flat side so they wouldn’t roll off the desk. As I started drawing, I quickly realized that I should have used some of the extra time I had sitting around the home during the covid-19 lockdown to improve my drawing ability.

When the lockdown began last year, I planned on using the time for some self-improvement. I started by making a list. I thought it was ambitious, but I was ready for a challenge. Here, see for yourself:

  1. Learn to play the violin

  2. Read classic literature

  3. Learn a language

  4. Take up a new hobby

I showed the list to my wife Sandy. She said I should pick number 3: learn a language. She suggested English. She added, “Your readers will thank me.”

So, how did my plan for self-improvement go during this past year? Not so good. I mostly spent the lockdown in my recliner watching the Clint Eastwood movie, “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”

Editor’s note: Next week, Kris will be covering all the excitement of the Kentucky Derby from Indiana Grand. Maybe next year we will have enough gas money to send him all the way to Louisville.


  • Shelbyville defeated Southwestern in baseball action yesterday, 7-6.

  • As of yesterday, the state reported 4,828 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 3 from the previous day, out of 19,394 tests, an increase of 26 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County remained the same, at 95. The State lists 12,708 fully vaccinated people for Shelby County as of yesterday.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: Vaccination sites across Indiana were given the green light to resume administering Johnson & Johnson doses Saturday.  The Indiana Department of Health stopped administering the J&J vaccine after the FDA and CDC recommended a pause to investigate associated cases of a rare blood clotting disorder. Out of nearly 8 million who received the vaccine, 15 people have developed the condition and three have died. On Friday, after an 11-day pause, both organizations determined the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks of keeping it off the market. One of the state's mass vaccination sites, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, started offering the J&J vaccine and allowing walk-ins Saturday. Anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine who would prefer an alternative can reschedule their appointment by calling 2-1-1 or visit (The Indianapolis Star)

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    “This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.


    News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.

    20 YEARS AGO: 2001
    Southwestern Consolidated Schools board members expressed concern about the lack of public interest in a possible $1.8 million expenditure on repairs and upgrades to the high school. A tour meant to convince constituents of the need for the project attracted only three members of the public. The high school’s 43-year-old boilers needed to be replaced, as well as old windows and doors, board members said.

    30 YEARS AGO: 1991
    Fireman Allen Reff and Fireman Jayson Britt returned home from Operation Desert Storm. Both had served aboard the USS America CV-66, the only aircraft carrier that served in the war from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

    Ilene Bailey, a driving force in girls’ athletics and a teacher at Morristown High School for the previous 30 years, was given the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award. Bailey, who had moved to Morristown with her husband, Milton “Pat” Bailey, in 1961, accepted the award from former winner Lowell Spencer in front of a capacity audience at the Blue Bird Restaurant.

    40 YEARS AGO: 1981

    Todd Anderson was named Shelbyville Boys Club “Boy of the Year” at the annual awards program. The Donald L. Richmond Memorial Scholarships were given to Pat Hartnett and Kris Leming. Jack Banker received the Past President Award. Mark Brown received the Golden Boy Award, G. Robert Griffey won the National Keystone Award, and Donald L. Brunner Leadership Awards were given to Anderson, Jay Cherry, J.D. Lux and Tony McClain.

    50 YEARS AGO: 1971
    Mayor Ralph VanNatta gave a proclamation regarding the regional Special Olympics, to be held at Shelbyville High School. Mrs. Bird, special education teacher, Bob Plymate and Carol Mounce attended the Mayor’s signing. Honorary coaches at the event were VanNatta, Jack Wood, Clarence Myer, Don Oneal, Mildred Wagoner, Wayne Thomas, Phil Milholland and Dorothy Molder.

    Shelbyville long jumpers Bob Zerr and Jeff Gibson set a record for the Shelbyville Relays, besting the total compiled by Zerr and Bill Johnson a year prior. Quarter-miler Commodore Bradford also set a school record. Morristown’s best finish in a team event at the meet was in the shotput with Paul Stewart and Tony Shepardson. Shelby’s Greg Scofield and Dave Hauk also earned a top finish.

    60 YEARS AGO: 1961

    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Crosby announced their purchase of residential property at 718 S. Harrison St. The location would be remodeled to serve as the future location of the Crosby Barber Shop. The barbershop had been located at 236 1/2 E. Broadway for the previous two and one-half years.

    70 YEARS AGO: 1951

    An ex-Shelby County farmer refused to leave the Indiana State Farm. For more than two years, the 38-year-old man had had the power to free himself from the institution - by paying $8 a week in support for his two children - but he said, “I’ll rot in jail before I pay it,” The Indianapolis Star reported. The man said he liked the “farm” and planned to stay. Officials of the state said they were satisfied with the man’s work as a cook.

    80 YEARS AGO: 1941
    The Shelbyville school board announced plans to expand Paul Cross gymnasium to provide space for training young people in metal-working trades. A board member noted that “we have not laid enough stress on the training of students who do not intend to go on to college. While we have no inclination to neglect the traditional academic field, it is the desire of the school authorities to offer a well-rounded program, one that will be as helpful to the young man or woman who is not going to college as it is to those who are.”

    90 YEARS AGO: 1931

    Seven Indiana University graduates were from Shelby County, including Frederick V. Cramer, Morristown; Jean Fox, Shelbyville; Lemuel Gatewood, Shelbyville; Gilbert Clendening, Geneva; Hubert Marshall, Shelbyville; Bernard Miller, Waldron; and Leonard Miller, Waldron.

    100 YEARS AGO: 1921
    The Greensburg Eagles defeated the Shelbyville Nationals in an 11-inning battle at the Nationals Park.


    Mary E. Carson, 88 of Columbus, Indiana passed away April 20, 2021 at Christina Place in Franklin, Indiana. She was born April 28, 1932 in Flat Rock, Indiana. She was the daughter of Frank and Artie Mae (Kerlin) Brannan. She married Franklin Snyder and later married Gerald Carson and they both preceded her in death. She is survived by daughters, Debilynne Hoodsnyder of Columbus, Indiana and Diana (Gary) Blankenhorn of Johnson County, Indiana, four grandchildren, and eight great–grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, both husbands, brother, Roy Lee Brannan, and sister, Jeanette Taylor.

    Mary received a Master’s Degree from IU in business administration. She worked as an accountant for the state of Indiana. She later retired from Fort Benjamin Harrison Department of Defense as an accountant. She was a member of Wesleyan Chapel Church in Columbus. She did mission work in Bogota, Mexico, Kenya, and Bahama Islands.

    A funeral service will be conducted by Reverend Gary Cave at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at Eskew-Eaton Funeral Home in Edinburgh, Indiana. Calling is from 1 p.m. until time of service. Burial will be at Rest Haven Cemetery in Edinburgh.