Henry County Local Articles 6/13 Newsletter

Articles Linked to June 2013 HCPS Newsletter
Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, May 8, 2013

Two local teens take talent to World comp.

By Brad Bowman

Andrew Combs and Caeleb Smith had a fascination for technology at an early age.

The two Henry County students recently competed at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, FIRST World Championship in St. Louis.

The students, part of a six county engineering team, designed, built and programmed a robot to throw Frisbees into slots on a 50 ft. X 25 ft. field and climb a 10-foot-tall pyramid.

“We had a motor driving a wheel that the Frisbee would go into with curved wall to shoot it out,” Combs said. “We used labVIEW programming, a visual programming language from National Instruments. We had vision cues for the robot on the field to shoot at the goals.”

  Brad Bowman/Local
Caeleb Smith, left, stands next to last year's robot with Andrew Combs in the Team 2738 workshop.

The students’ team, the Engineers of Tomorrow Team 2738, is part of a FIRST organization founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.

The team participated in regional competitions in Cincinnati and St. Louis before securing a place at the world championship with 300 teams from across the globe.

Team 2738 participates in engineering programs such as the FIRST Lego League for children ages 6-9 to the First Robotics Competition for high school students.

Students learn programming, mechanical engineering and use skills like Computer Aided Design to build 3-D models for their robots.

Team 2738 students work with adult mentors in the building, fabrication and programming process.

Smith gladly floats in the different compartments of the team.

“I just like being able to think of something, making it and seeing it work,” he said. “I like the creativity of making something from nothing.”

Smith first participated with the FIRST Lego League and works in his fourth year as a student leader over the mechanical and electronic teams in the building process.

Combs first participated in the FIRST Tech program in the 8th grade working with smaller robots. He started with the team two years ago and created a team of programmers where in the past the team would have only one programmer.

Past students from Team 2,738 have received scholarship money from universities to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Combs and Smith seek to do the same.

“I am going to the J.B. School of Engineering after I graduate,” Smith said. “I want to study computer engineering and computer science. I found out that my scholarship money will carry over into my fifth year so I can get my masters there too.”

Smith has one more year before he graduates and wants to go into mechanical engineering.

“I want to go into mechanical engineering after I graduate because it is the wider part of the engineering world,” Smith said. “I like using CAD and designing different things instead of singling out just one area of engineering.”

After graduating from college, Combs is unsure of what specific job he will pursue.

“I’m not 100 percent sure of what I would want to do as a dream job,” Combs said. “I want to go into control systems and possibly the space program. I guess my dream job, even though I would never see it happen, would be chief engineer on a starship.”

Team 2783 won the Engineering Inspiration Award, the Entrepreneurship Award and Industrial Safety Award at the regional competitions.

The team includes students from Henry, Bullitt, Jefferson and Oldham Counties and a student from Clark County, Indiana. The team is open to all high school students.

Team 2783 will host an open house 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 25.

For more information visit their website at: www.kyeot.org.

Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, May 8, 2013


Photos by Brad Bowman

  The Henry County High School FFA celebrated Drive Your Tractor to School Day despite the threat of rain, followed by the Burger Bash at lunch time. 

Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, May 29, 2013

Moore crosses another finish line

By Brad Bowman

  Mckenzie Moore

Mckenzie Moore never let circumstance stop her.

Moore's childhood doctors didn't have an optimistic outlook for her life.  Her graduation from Henry County High School last week exemplifies Moore's determination to not let anything stop her.

Mckenzie’s mother, Bridget Moore, said her daughter never took no for an answer.

“She had a stroke in utero that wasn’t diagnosed until she was five,” Moore said. “She was having seizures every waking moment. To see her graduate, I could just bawl my eyes out. There’s no one that has worked harder for it.”

Doctors thought Mckenzie had suffered from twin-to-twin transfusion. Physicians put Moore on large amounts of seizure medication, but she continued to seize daily. Five-year-old Mckenzie underwent a hemispherectomy where a surgeon took out the left hemisphere of her brain.

“We went to the Cleveland Clinic and they couldn’t give her any anesthesia,” Moore said. “They put the left part of her brain to sleep by injecting it and I kept trying to talk to her to see if the procedure would affect her speech. I was panicking and she finally said ‘Mom, I am trying to go to sleep’ and I was relieved. Her speech had remapped to the right side of her brain.”

Doctors told Moore that Mckenzie would have difficulty walking, most likely would never run and would remain in the hospital for another six to eight weeks.

“After surgery she only stayed one week and she was ready to go,” Moore said. “The first time she heard the word disabled she asked what it meant.”

Moore worked on walking. In the beginning, she would drag her leg and later in high school she would join track.

“I love to run. I’ve been involved in track at high school and I love to play basketball,” Mckenzie said. “I’ve been in Future Business Leaders of America, Beta Club and Pep Club.”

Mckenzie said she only has problems with her right hand, due to the operation, and math.

“I’m not very good at math and I have problems testing, but that has been my only struggle,” Moore said.

Shawn Coomes, Henry County High School counselor, said Moore is an inspiration.

“She is a young lady who never accepted a ‘no’ and continues to be the best she can be,” Coomes said. “She has been involved with track, basketball and clubs. She has blossomed and come into her own. On paper you would never know she was different than any other child.”

Mckenzie said when she was younger she ignored any criticism.

“I had some people make fun of me and I didn’t let it bother me,” Mckenzie said. “I just moved on. I had to learn how to do everything with one hand. My mom and dad taught me how to do a lot of things, and my twin sister Mckayla has helped me with math.”

Moore noticed her daughter never had difficulty when it came to music and remembering the words so she incorporated that in school lessons at home.

“She knew every song on the radio so I put her spelling words to a rhythm, “ Moore said. “She would get the beat and walk in the classroom and get a 100 on her test after that.”

No two brains are wired the same way, Moore emphasized.

“That is what makes everyone unique. Kids should never be labeled,” Moore said. “You never know what they are capable of.”

Mckenzie plans to attend Georgetown College with her sister and hasn’t decided on a major yet.

“Learning how to do things over again with one hand and walking was difficult,” she said. “But you don’t give up and if you keep trying eventually you will accomplish the things you struggle with.”

Moore said Mckenzie’s neurologist had never heard of a patient being able to run track. One side of the brain has to carry the side and compensate.

“Mckenzie doesn’t care if she crosses the finish line first but if she beats her old time,” Moore said. “A teacher said she could sit out when the class was doing push ups and she didn’t. She did sit ups instead. That’s the kind of person she is.”

Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, May 29, 2013

Outstanding Educator -- HCPS: Paula Petree

By Brad Bowman

The Henry County Chamber of Commerce honored Paula Petree as an outstanding educator for Henry County Public Schools.

  Paula Petree


Lived in Henry County since age 11.  Graduated  from Henry County High School and Cumberland College (now University of the Cumberlands). 

Taught kindergarten for half a year in Union County, Tenn., and then moved back to Henry County and spent one year at the middle school.  Twenty-seven of Petree’s 28 years have been at Campbellsburg Elementary.

What led you to being chosen?

I think that I work with a great group of educators who are very appreciative of each other.  As Instructional Coach, I am able to work with each teacher in the building, helping whenever I can.  We are a very close faculty.

Why do you like teaching? 

I like teaching because it is just fun.  I believe teaching is a calling, and that is what I have been called to do.  When you begin the year, you have a whole group of children who are looking to you for direction and instruction.  I always wanted my classroom to be a place where we could all have fun while we were learning.

What do you like to teach?

I have taught kindergarten through fourth grade.  Honestly, I don’t have a favorite.  There are good and bad things about each grade level.  You just adapt to the level of children you are teaching.

How many children do you teach a year? 

I have had as many as 30 students in a class and as few as 18.  For the last 3 years, I have been instructional coach at Campbellsburg, so I have not had a homeroom.

What are the challenges in the classroom? 

A big challenge in the classroom is that there are not enough hours in a day!!  Teachers are always evaluating what’s going on in their classroom and planning ways to improve things.  A teacher today has many responsibilities, some of which actually divert her attention from where it should be - on teaching children.  I would say that is one of the most frustrating things about being a teacher - there are many added responsibilities.

What strengths do you have as an educator? 

I think educators need to be patient, creative, knowledgeable, and flexible.  These are qualities I believe I possess.  Above all, teachers need to have a heart for what they do.

What do you hope for the future? 

Well, as I am retiring this June, I hope to have some free time to travel with my husband.  I also hope to become more involved in the community and volunteer at school.

What do you do for fun outside of school?

My family and I are very involved in our church.  We also enjoy going camping.

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy singing with a praise band at our church.  I also enjoy playing the keyboard and reading.  I enjoy going to museums and learning about events and people from the past.

Do you have a family?

I have been married to my husband Terry for 28 1/2 years.  We have 2 children, Sarah - 20, and Matthew 18.

Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, May 29, 2013

Senior Sharpshooters repeat as YHEC state champs

Submitted by Jeannie Campbell

  Left: Jacob Yount, right: Jordan Campbell led the senior team to a 1st place finish.
  Senior team: Jonathan Pendleton, Jacob Yount, Blake Jones, Jordan Campbell, Justin Yount, Devan Hagan.
  Junior Team: Jacob Wilson, Jacob Bowen, Dylan Rankin, Colt McGuire, Matthew Sharp, Greyson Beatty.

The Henry County Sharpshooters YHEC team traveled to Jabez May 24-25 to compete for the state championship and returned the senior division trophy to Henry County for the second straight year.

The Youth Hunter Education Challenge tests the participants not only in shooting events, but also in safety and overall knowledge of hunting skills.  Events at the state competition were shotgun, muzzleloader, archery, light hunting rifle, safety trail, orienteering, wildlife identification and hunter responsibility exam.  YHEC is considered the elite program in shooting sports because participants must compete in every event, each worth 300 points.

The senior team dominated their division, beating rival Nelson County by more than 1,700 points.  Team members were Jordan Campbell, Jacob Yount, Justin Yount, Blake Jones, and Devin Hagan.  Teams are determined by the top five overall scores.

In his final competition, Senior co-captain Jordan Campbell was high overall senior for the second straight year with a score of 1885.  He won four of the eight events:  Orienteering, hunter responsibility exam, wildlife ID and muzzleloader, in which he scored a perfect 300.

Jacob Yount, the other co-captain in his final competition, finished a close second and won the archery competition with a score of 288 and safety trail with a score of 285.  He also received the prestigious Bobby Crowe Memorial Award for his leadership and commitment to the shooting sports program.

Campbell is the last remaining member of the original Henry County team, which father, Dennis, helped start eight years ago.  Yount joined the team the following year.  Both are certified junior coaches and will continue with the team as adult coaches.  They also compete on the UK Shotgun Team, along with Connor Toole, another former team member.

Devin Hagan won the shotgun event with a score of 240.  This was the first 240 ever scored in the history of the state YHEC event, which earned him the Expert designation.  He finished fourth overall.

Justin Yount placed third overall in the senior division.

The Junior team finished second in their division by a narrow margin.  Team members were Colt McGuire, Dylan Rankin, Matthew Sharp, Jacob Wilson and Greyson Beatty.

Colt McGuire turned in a solid performance and was the high overall junior with a score of 1816.  He also won the muzzleloader competition with a score of 275.

Dylan Rankin won the archery competition and the rifle competition.  Jacob Wilson placed fourth overall in the junior division.

Coach Dennis Campbell was pleased with the results.  “Our junior team is young but they’ve worked hard and shown a huge amount of improvement during this season,” he said. “I can’t help but be impressed by all our guys and couldn’t be more proud.”

Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, June 5, 2013

Mentoring program benefits all

By Brad Bowman

  Photo by Brad Bowman/Local
HCHS senior Chandler Morris

Chandler Morris went through a lot growing up and wanted to make a difference.

Morris joined the Love-A-Child mentoring program and started with one student. That soon led to more.

“I started with a kid at Eastern Elementary and they asked me to take a second,” Morris said. “I like helping kids. I moved here two years ago not really knowing anyone. The kids brightened my Fridays.”

Morris became an FFA officer, a Pleasureville Fire Department Volunteer and mentored children while working at the Pleasureville gas station and helping his uncle in tobacco.

“I get them organized with their homework and rewarded them for a good week if they did what they were supposed to do and a better reward if they had a good month,” Morris said. “One of the students had gotten suspended so there were behavior issues, but I love seeing the then and now of where the kids are now and where they were.”

Morris had family complications growing up and moved to Henry County two years before he graduated last week. He plans to go in to the National Guard. He will attend basic training at Ft. Jackson, S.C.

“I want to get my EMT and paramedic training, “Morris said. “I want to help my country any way I can.“

Morris hopes to keep in contact with the students he mentored and hopes to see them before he leaves for six months of basic training.

Amber Manns, Nikki Buckley, Jessie Carothers and Shannah Lay also participated in the mentoring program . Manns said the program influenced her decision to pursue a career involving children.

“Because of the mentoring program, I have decided to become a pediatric surgeon,” Manns said. “I believe that I have chosen this career because it involves helping a child in a drastic way. I want to help and I feel that I have found my calling.”

Teens      Drive      Moore      Petree      Sharpshooters      Mentoring      Fassio

Henry County Local, New Castle, June 12, 2013

Fassio doesn't ask why

By Brad Bowman

Lt. Col. Mark Fassio didn't feel sorry for himself when, on his birthday in 2012, he learned he had a rare form of cancer.

Fassio — in a demeanor usual to those who know him — never asked why, but why not?


In May 2012, Fassio went to Baptist Hospital Northeast in La Grange due to rectal bleeding. Physicians thought Fassio had an inflamed bowel and that an ulcer caused the bleeding and sent him home.

From June to August 2012, Fassio made regular visits to the emergency room, feeling like shards of glass were continuously stabbing him in the abdomen. He would rock in the recliner at his home due to the pain. After spending three to four days in the hospital, doctors sent him home with medicine to reduce the swelling in his bowel.

Physicians suspected everything from Crohn’s disease to irritable bowel syndrome.

A CT scan and colonoscopy later, it would take a dye test not running properly through Fassio’s system to end a long, frustrating trail of misdiagnoses.

“They realized the dye wasn’t running through me like it should,” Fassio said. “After eight hours, they realized I had to have some kind of blockage.”

Fassio underwent surgery and woke up on his birthday.

“I woke up after the surgery from the anesthesia and I heard people crying,” Fassio said. “I heard someone say the word cancer.”

  Photo by Brad Bowman/Local
Lt. Col. Mark Fassio shares an emotional moment with 2012 JROTC senior Elizabeth Tingle at the JROTC Dines Out event.

Doctors diagnosed Fassio with a rare form of appendix cancer. This type of cancer doesn’t grow like a lesion, Fassio said, but looks like thousands of splotches from a paintbrush or shotgun pellets.

“You can’t say, ‘Why me?’ you have to say ‘Why not?’. Cancer is so prevalent there is no fault to it,” Fassio said. “They say you go through those seven stages. I never went through those phases. I looked at it like ‘Well, I’ve got cancer,’ and we started think about this. The immediate word association game is cancer equals death. I am a dead man walking and you wonder how long you have. I have to give credit to my wife Margie; she started looking into the disease.”

Time and treatment

Fassio’s doctor wasn’t familiar with appendix cancer and he asked the doctor to cut to the chase. The doctor gave him six months to live.

“It has affected about only 2,500 in the state,” Fassio said. “I would’ve had a better chance of winning the lottery.”

Another source states that Signet ring cell carcinoma of the appendix lists only 75 cases in the nation between 1973 and 1998.

Margie Fassio researched the disease, the doctors who treated it and the couple made the move to the Brown Cancer Center. According to Fassio, through research his wife found a doctor in Washington, D.C., who had treated the same type of cancer that Fassio had with a surgical procedure followed by a heated chemotherapy treatment.

“It’s not like breast cancer that has a lot research behind it,” Fassio said. “The thing with appendix cancer is there no official treatment for it. Appendix cancer is like chump change, they treat it like colon cancer which is kind of dopey.”

The Fassios went to Pittsburgh for surgical treatment where surgeons did the surgical procedure regularly and to be near family.

Surgeons removed the visible pellet-sized areas throughout the body. Fassio said the procedure is considered the ‘Mother of all Surgeries’.

“They picked out every BB pellet and took out any organ they were on, too,” Fassio said. “I lost my gall bladder, my spleen, half of my diaphragm and my omentum. Then put some chemo through me at 104 degrees while I laid on a rotating table like a car wash.”

Fassio has undergone 12 months of chemotherapy treatment to ensure wiping any microscopic cancer from his system. A preliminary scan showed that the cancer hasn’t spread.

“I like to say it is better to be NED than dead,” Fassio said. “NED stands for no evidence of disease. I will do my last chemo treatment in June and then do another scan in July.”


Fassio didn’t suffer the typical symptoms of chemotherapy: loss appetite and loss of hair, but the therapy would cause him to become emotional.

“I never questioned ‘Why God,’ but I became more religious and I don’t mean that in a hypocritical way. I never had the amount of faith my wife does and like the saying in the military, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ it is the same with cancer patients. You need a firm foundation and my wife was my rock.”

Fassio said he would wake up and thank God for another day. He played out the worst-case scenarios in his head. He started a blog about his story and his journey as a cathartic release for himself and everyone else.

Mark Fassio poses with “JerBone,” in a photo posted on his CaringBridge blog.  

“Nobody wants to read something depressing so I tried to give people insight into what it was like,” Fassio said. “I might write about taking Benadryl and hitting my head against a wall. I did a lot of writing and I still get on everyday. I give updates, post poems and bible quotes. I tried to make it as funny as possible. I even wrote about a vision I had where my cancer went away and I called it ‘The Arc of the Casserole’ because that’s what it looked was a casserole.”

Fassio said the support from the county, the communities and the people and correspondence he received from his CaringBridge blog has been overwhelming. Other people with cancer would relate to his situation and find normalcy where they thought they may be experiencing things alone.

“I kept cancer out of my mind as much as possible, “ Fassio said. “I wouldn’t let the thought of cancer eat me. I lost it sometimes and I bargained with God, but what’s the alternative other than being positive? You have to keep a positive attitude, have a firm foundation and you have to have perseverance to stick it out. I feel like I am clean.”


Fassio acted as the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor for Henry County High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC program.  He started the program with Sgt. Larry ‘Sarge’ McClure almost 13 years ago.

“The last year it’s like being without your right hand,” McClure said. “I’ve learned a lot from him and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I think of him like an older brother. He’s always had the cadets’ best interest in mind.”

McClure said Fassio arrived in Henry County for a brief period before him and assured him the two could start something good with program.

“We bonded with kids here and made a family just like the military,” McClure said. “He wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself and I think we’ve made a difference.”

Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Tim Abrams agreed.

“He has had a positive impact on countless students, teaching them responsibility, leadership and the value of service,” Abrams said. “Mark has worked tirelessly in the community and is well respected throughout Henry County. Many will remember the moving Veterans Day programs, the numerous color guard appearances, and many other community service activities that he led.  His work with the Air Force JROTC unit has garnered countless distinguished unit awards from the Air Force. Mark’s presence in our school will truly be missed.”

  Mark and Margie Fassio at a Pittsburgh Steelers game.

McClure said there he remembers many humorous times with Fassio.

“He would pull his sweatpants way down like the students wear them nowadays,” McClure said. “He likes to be the center of attention in a good way. He’s very quick on the cuff and would change the words around in songs to make fun of someone we worked with —I won’t mention any names.”

Fassio will keep the future open and see what life holds.

“Right now we’re a cork on the ocean, waiting to see what divine intervention has in store for us,” Fassio said. “I am going to plumb the local job market and see what’s out there.”

Fassio will try to return to work after early September in a part-time job.

“With the pay cut coming, I need at least a part-time job to keep me in beer money and DirecTv subscriptions to NFL Sunday Ticket so I can watch the Steelers each week.”

Before teaching at HCHS Fassio served 22 years in the military as an Army tank crewman and in the Air Force as an Intelligence Officer and Russian Foreign Area Officer.

Follow Fassio’s blog at www.caringbridge.org/visit/markfassio.