New Palestine Band to commission and perform new arrangement of Star Spangled Banner at Veterans Memorial dedication

The New Palestine Band has been selected by Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre to commission and perform his new arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner in May of 2018 at the dedication of the Sugar Creek Veterans Memorial in New Palestine.

Whitacre’s concert music has been performed throughout the world by millions of amateur and professional musicians, while his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from over 110 different countries.

Grammy Award-winning composer Eric Whitacre (Photo: / Marc Royce)

In order to obtain the rights to perform this new arrangement, the band needs to raise $5,000 by Friday, December 1st. As Lead Commissioner of the arrangement, the band’s name will be displayed on all publications of the score worldwide. The original handwritten copy of the musical score will be put on display at New Palestine High School, and the NPHS Band students will get to participate a Skype session with Eric Whitacre in preparation for this performance.

Any additional funds raised for this project beyond the goal will be used to purchase new uniforms for the marching band. The band has an estimated need of 50 new uniforms next semester.

For more information on the project or to donate, click here for the band’s GoFundMe page. Donations may also be made by check. Please address them to New Palestine Band Boosters at PO Box 600, New Palestine, IN 46163.

NPHS Principal Keith Fessler Named 2017 Indiana HS Principal of the Year

New Palestine High School Principal Keith Fessler was honored Sunday, Nov. 20 with the prestigious High School Principal of the Year Award from the Indiana Association of School Principals.

Fessler was selected from a group of 12 high school principals representing each district across the state. The IASP gives the award to principals that “reflect the values and commitment essential to the performance of students and growth of our schools across the state of Indiana.” Winners are recognized for leadership in their building, school district, and community.


“This is a great honor and I owe it to the people I work with every day. They are a great group of people. I’m lucky to have them as colleagues,” Fessler said in his acceptance speech.

Fessler has brought a number of successful programs to New Palestine, including several created for students with disabilities. An Essential Skills class helps students with severe disabilities by allowing them to work with other students towards accomplishing goals while learning new tasks.

“Mr. Fessler is all about the kids,” said New Palestine Elementary Principal Katy Eastes. “He puts his entire self into being the principal at New Palestine High School.”

Through a partnership with Easter Seals Crossroads, he started Camp Ability, which New Palestine High School hosts each year. Camp Ability allows students that may not be able to attend a traditional summer camp to spend the day with the New Palestine football team, learning about the game from Dragon football players. The camp enables the kids to interact with others in an environment where they feel encouraged to be themselves.

Fessler brought the Early College program to New Palestine as part of a partnership with Vincennes University. His students have the opportunity to earn an Associate Degree from Vincennes while still in high school.FesslerAppleTrophy2

“Keith creates extraordinary opportunities for the students and staff each day,” said Dr. Lisa Lantrip, Southern Hancock Schools Superintendent. “His dedication to students, staff, and community are evident in the programs he has implemented and his vision for the future. Keith is very deserving of this recognition.”

Fessler has been the principal at NPHS since 2011. He previously served as the school’s assistant principal. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, a Master’s Degree from Ball State University, and an Education Specialist degree from Indiana State University.

Thirty-six elementary, middle, and high school principals were recognized at the event. Three were chosen as State Principals of the Year. Two years ago, New Palestine Junior High School Principal James Voelz won the Middle School Principal of the Year Award.


Name Changes Approved

On Monday, November 13th, the Southern Hancock School Board voted to change the name of two Southern Hancock school buildings. Beginning at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Doe Creek Middle School will be renamed as New Palestine Junior High with Dragons as the new mascot. New Palestine Junior High will house 7th and 8th grade students in the building that had previously been closed. Brier Creek Intermediate (5th and 6th grade students) will be renamed as well, and will reopen as New Palestine Intermediate School at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. The New Palestine Intermediate School will represent the Dragons with its mascot, too.

The future home of the New Palestine Junior High School Dragons.

Andrew Smith, New Palestine High School teacher, sums it up nicely, “From the moment all of our students come together in the same grade, they will all be New Palestine Dragons.” With that thought, Southern Hancock schools is excited to officially welcome next year’s 5th-8th graders as New Palestine Dragons!



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The future home of the New Palestine Intermediate School Dragons.

Laying The Foundation

Commemorative Brick Fundraiser for Kelso Stadium

You can help lay the foundation for a new Kelso Stadium and Shepler Field by participating in the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County commemorative brick fundraiser. These bricks will create a lasting tribute to New Palestine High School and the surrounding community.

When you purchase a personalized brick for the Kelso Stadium renovation project, you create your own piece of history that will be a part of the stadium for years to come! Each brick will be custom-engraved with a message of your choice and displayed inside the stadium. A commemorative brick at Kelso Stadium would make a great gift for friends, relatives, businesses, or someone you want to honor.


Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to assist with renovations inside the stadium, including a new turf field.

“This is a great opportunity for our alumni and community to support an upgrade that can enhance student opportunities in athletics, band, physical education, and more,” New Palestine High School athletic director Al Cooper said. “The upgrade will increase the usage of the facility by more than ten times its current usage.  I would definitely want my name on a project that will serve so many in a first class way for years to come.“

“For the performing arts department, having turf will allow our Marching Dragons the opportunity to practice and perform on a surface that we compete on 100 percent of the time,” New Palestine marching band director Shawn Humphries said. “This also allows us to host fall competition events of our own.”

Three different sized bricks are available for purchase: brick

  • A 4×8” customized brick is available for a Bronze Level donation of $250.
  • An 8×8” brick is available for a Silver Level donation of $500.
  • A 12×12” brick can be purchased for a Gold Level donation of $1000.
  • Customized engraved benches that will be placed in and around the new stadium are also available for a Platinum Level donation.

“I can say for certain there won’t be a day this field won’t be used by someone,” New Palestine head football coach Kyle Ralph said. “Once the project is unveiled, the community will have the first class athletic field that belongs to a first class school and athletic program.”

For more information or to order your brick, click here to download the “Laying the Foundation” flier.