2017-18 High School Confidential: Week 5

2017-18 High School Confidential: Week 5

Welcome to Year 2 of High School Confidential, a project involving 34 area high school students who will write weekly for The News-Gazette and news-gazette.com. We’ll introduce each of the budding journalists throughout the school year, and let each student take over our Snapchat account 'news-gazette' on a Thursday. The panel:

ALAH: Paige Davis
Arcola: Camille Klopfleish
Armstrong: Morgan Harding
Bement: Sydney Gadbury
Bismarck-Henning: Marissa Oxendine
Blue Ridge: Kaitlyn Stephens
Centennial: D’Iojanae Terry
Champaign Central: Ally Francois
Chrisman: Robbie Rollins
Cissna Park: Olivia Stoller
Danville: Barbara Westerfield
DeLand-Weldon: Alexis Gatterer
Fisher: Bailey Parks-Moore
Georgetwn-Ridge Farm: Willow Ray
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley: Hailey Rutledge
Heritage: Courtney Stewart
Hoopeston Area: Daniel Bass, Ariel Reeves
Judah Christian: Kim Dillman
Mahomet-Seymour: Kobe Partlow
Monticello: Faith Rund
Oakwood: Kelsey Blackford
Paxton-Buckley-Loda: Madison Grohler
Rantoul: Hannah Combs
Salt Fork: Kade Bennett
Shiloh: Kayla Thurston
St. Joseph-Ogden: Kenzie Pence
St. Thomas More: Emily Halcomb
Tuscola: Gemini Pettry
Uni High: Umar Hanif
Unity: Annalea Hines
Urbana: Joey Wright
Villa Grove: Jessica Rose
Westville: Charlie Dumach

Does your high school want to participate? Email N-G Media’s Jim Rossow at jrossow@news-gazette.com

On to this week's report:


Emily Coombe's speech classes gave demonstrations ranging from teaching students how to pick-and-roll in basketball to making healthy fruit smoothies to proper ways to meditate (above). — Camille Klopfleisch


Bement teamed with volleyball rival Cerro Gordo for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The teams and the crowd wore pink — even at the admissions table — and ribbon tattoos and leis were handed out. Each player wrote who they are supporting as the teams come together for Volley for the Cure. — Sydney Gadbury


At Friday's Fall Sports Senior Night, seniors who participated in football, soccer, volleyball, golf, cross-country, Devilettes and marching band were announced with their parents on the field before the football game against Milford. — Marissa Oxendine

Blue Ridge

Students celebrated homecoming week with dress-up days, float building and games. Seniors had plenty to celebrate, winning spirit week as well as best float. — Kaitlyn Stephens

Champaign Central

The Scholastic Bowl team placed second at the Illinois High School Scholastic Bowl Coaches Association Novice Tournament. Hadi Ahmad placed sixth in individual average points per game.



Senior night at the season's final home football game saw senior band members honored on the field with family and friends. The dance team — supporting breast cancer awareness with pink shirts — watched from the sidelines. — Terry Diojanae


Members of the boys' basketball team took time to baby-sit a group of kids at the high school on Oct. 13. The event featured pizza and games like dodge ball, kickball and frisbie. — Robbie Rollins

Cissna Park

The Cissna Park High School volleyball team played one of its last regular season home games in support of breast cancer awareness. Both teams wore pink for the Volley for a Cure game. There was a silent auction, with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. — Olivia Stoller


Capping off a short week — Columbus Day on Monday, parent-teacher conferences on Friday — Lauren Ellis and Erin Houpt placed first and second in singles at tennis sectionals to qualify for state. — Barbara Westerfield


A Fisher teacher for more than 30 years, Thomas Swengel spoke to academic letter recipients about "Epiphany" and how motivation comes from within. Academic letter award winners must obtain a 3.5 grade point average or better throughout high school. — Bailey Parks-Moore

Georgetown-Ridge Farm

To promote positive thinking during the PSAT, teacher Marva Fitzwater-Moore puts up a banner that allows students and staff to write whatever makes them feel extraordinary. Pictured: Senior Rachel Winslow shares what makes her feel "at the pinnacle" of happiness. — Willow Ray


The senior class joined king Stuart Wolf and queen Morgan Rothermel in their final homecoming dance, swaying along to "I Hope You Dance" as a message to take chances and enjoy life's opportunities. — Courtney Stewart

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

Last week, students heard from motivational speaker Brad Hurtig and the band The Stray. Hurtig's message: No matter the challenge, always find a way, also the title of his new book. — Hailey Rutledge


Hoopeston Area

On Thursday, sophomores attended Manufacturing Day at Danville Area Community College, where they heard from speakers and learned aspects of the manufacturing field. Trey Houmes (left) won the Vermilion Valley Conference cross-country meet for the second year in a row. — Daniel Bass, Ariel Reeves

Judah Christian

To raise money for hurricane relief in Florida and Puerto Rico, students were encouraged to bring in spare change and put it in the bucket of a teacher. The teacher who wound up with the most money got a pie in the face. There was a four-way tie between Katy McCue, Sheila Kirby Wendy Kapp and Principal Bryan Mead (above). Right: Students Michelle Miller and Tory Clevenger got to pie their teachers. — Kim Dillman


Three members of the high school's Retro Yearbook created a bulletin board to promote yearbook sales. From left: Seniors Ariel Rawley and Kaylyn Stone and junior Jada Moseley. — Kobe Partlow


Spanish 12 students prepared for the Day of the Dead by creating altars to honor a person they know. Altars were decorated with construction paper and flowers and contained many pictures and small trinkets. Said senior Grace Bailey (above): "I had a lot of fun making the project. We spent an entire class period decorating. It was a relaxing, fun day of class." Meanwhile, 31 juniors in Chelsea Ehrhardt's Spanish 11 class started their second annual penpal letter exchange with a class in Seville, Spain. Monticello students will not know who their penpal is until they receive letters back. Junior Maggie Schlabach said, "I told them what we like to do for fun here, what the trees look like this time of year because they don't have the color-changing-tree thing there." Spanish class for sophomores has students doing partner activities to help them practice. Sophomore Sam Haugen said, "One person wrote down two things and the other person had to compare them. I had to compare 'Dora the Explorer' and Fox News, and I wrote 'Dora the Explorer' has more information than Fox News." Freshmen are just starting to glance into Spanish culture, even trying salsa dancing in class. Freshmen also started watching a TV show in Spanish called "Mi Vida Loca." Student Sarah Hissong said, "I don't find watching Spanish TV shows difficult to watch in class. They are really entertaining and dramatic so they're fun to watch with the class." — Faith Fund


At the fourth annual Paint the Field Pink night, stocking caps and ear warmers were for sale, along with basket raffles. The event raised money for the Comet Power of Pink fund, which is used to help local families that are battling cancer. — Kelsey Blackford


Senior fall athletes have been preparing for their special senior nights by creating posters and recalling memories. Cross-country member Marissa Arnett said, "I'm really sad that the season is ending because this sport has been such a blessing to me and I'm so glad I've met all these amazing people." — Madison Grohler


The Eagle Mentor Program allows freshmen to learn about the school from peers. Mentors are selected and assigned a study hall, where they answer questions and help freshmen with homework, aimed at helping with the transition from junior high to high school. — Hannah Combs

Salt Fork

Preston Fisher and Baily Fathauer were crowned homecoming king and queen on Saturday. They were joined on stage by senior court members Karsyn Foster, Caleb McNew, Rachyl Anderson, Evan Baird, Karley Weaver, Noah Hepburn, Kamryn Hinkle and Kade Bennett; junior attendants Shea Richards and Max Branigin; sophomore attendants Anuka Marazewska and Josh Weller; freshmen attendants Carsyn Todd and Brady Tevebaugh; prince and princess Braeden Kunkel and Journey Wantland; and retiring 2016 king and queen Larry Hubbard Jr. and Amanda Darr. — Kade Bennett


The varsity ecology team competed against 18 other schools last Thursday at Sullivan, placing fifth overall. After their tests were turned in, the varsity and JV teams cooked s'mores and walked trails with their coaches, Kendra Saddoris (varsity) and Tim Hendershot (junior varsity), before heading back to the school. — Kayla Thurston

St. Joseph-Ogden

The installation of new science labs — here enjoyed by AP chemistry students John Acklin and Mason Housenga — involved completely redoing two classrooms and lasted approximately four months. — Kenzie Pence

St. Thomas More

Seniors headed to the UI's Newman Center for their final class retreat this week for a day filled with food, laughs, class bonding and a scavenger hunt. Here, students pose as they are "leaping into the future with the Lord" — the theme of the retreat. — Emily Halcomb


The Scholastic Bowl team is prepping for competitions that start later this month. Suzanne Rominger's class, studying fire safety prevention, was visited by probationary firefighter Dalton Donnals and Tuscola Fire Department Assistant Chief Chip Haake. Finally, teams celebrated pink night for a breast cancer awareness month. — Gemini Pettry

Uni High

At swimming and diving's senior night last Wednesday, Ha Tran, Ema Rajic, Sarah Matatov, Elizabeth Atkinson and Ellie Breen were honored with posters by their friends. The team also kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. On Saturday, seniors Lindsay Huang and Grace Qiu finished first and second, respectively, at tennis sectionals to advance to state. — Umar Hanif


Seniors from the Vocal Rush Show Choir performed at the annual fall dinner theater fundraiser showcase benefitting upcoming competitions. Parents and volunteers were quick to chip in at the event at Savoy Recreation Center. — Annalea Hines


The girls' cross-country team, which placed second in Saturday's Big 12 Conference meet, is led by standouts Olivia Rosenstein and Libby Cultra. Cultra, a senior, became the latest Urbana athlete to commit to a Division 1 program when she announced for Syracuse last week. — Joey Wright

Villa Grove

Villa Grove's Future Farmers of America sponsored an Ag Day on Oct. 12, featuring a petting zoo, apple cider demonstration, soil testing and tractor safety. Junior Sophie Wegeng helped with the petting zoo with her miniature horse, Patty. "The day was very successful and it was such a blessing to educate the elementary kids about ag," she said. — Jessica Rose


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