2017-18 High School Confidential: Week 16

2017-18 High School Confidential: Week 16

Welcome to Year 2 of High School Confidential, a project involving 35 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.' This week's host: Georgetown-Ridge Farm's Willow Ray, who will take us behind the scenes on Thursday. The panel:

Academy High: Mayank Hirani

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: Sarah Money
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:


On Saturday, the school's competitive cheerleading team performed in the Paris Cheer Challenge, placing fourth in the Small Varsity Division to advance to sectionals. — Camille Klopfleisch


Turnout was great at Friday's annual blood drive, put on by the student council. Chairs were filled with Bement alumni, current students and community members. "There was a great amount of people, and I hope next year, more volunteer to donate," freshman student council member Hailey Gadbury said. Pictured: Junior Wes McDermith donates for the first time. — Sydney Gadbury


Bismarck-Henning Elementary School Principal Laura Girton has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The community and high school have banded together to begin the fundraising efforts to help Girton with medical expenses. — Marissa Oxendine

Blue Ridge

Parker Otto was the top scorer at the Mattoon Scholastic Bowl Tournament, also recording his 1,000th career varsity tossup. The school's band will be holding a talent show on Feb. 16 as a fundraiser for a trip to Washington D.C, where they will march in a Memorial Day parade. — Kaitlyn Stephens

Champaign Central

On Saturday, the cross-country teams hosted a flapjack breakfast at Applebee's in north Champaign. Students helped make the food and then served it, with proceeds going to the program. Pictured: Cross-country members prepare food during the event. — Sarah Money

Cissna Park

The high school hosts an in-school volleyball tournament each year on the day before Christmas break. Each class makes T-shirts and creates two teams. Part of the day is spent playing a round-robin tournament, the winning team getting a chance to play against staff. This year, one of the senior teams (the Saucin Seniors) won the round-robin, played the staff and ended up winning the entire tournament. Picured is Dustin Schleef. — Olivia Stoller


Pictured: Senior class officers, including Nick Harness, pose for a yearbook photo. The officers plan future class reunions. — Bailey Parks Moore

Georgetown-Ridge Farm

As students and staff settle into their routine, National Honor Society members have started a crush-can fundraiser, where participants send a can of soda to anyone in the district for $1. — Willow Ray

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

Under the guidance of coach Keri Dornbusch, the girls' basketball program has been making leaps and bounds this season, including winning the McLean County traveling trophy. — Hailey Rutledge


Prior to Christmas break, a Breakfast Club gathering honored students who showed extra effort and positive attitudes. They were nominated by teachers. Pictured, back row, from left, are Quincy Roberts, Kane Davison, Jack Rushing, Daniel Gilbert and Jacob Dohme; and front row, from left, Rianna Rothermel, Kailee Eldridge, Dylan Ploents and Skyler Chesnut. — Courtney Stewart

Judah Christian

The school held its annual family skating night at the University of Illinois Ice Arena. — Kimberly Dillman


The Astronomy Club was created and introduced last year by senior Will Clodfelder. "I started it because I have a passion for astronomy and wanted to share it with others. In addition, I am fortunate enough to have two telescopes and wanted to provide others with a view of the universe that they haven't seen before," he said. The club meets every other week and has quadrupled in size. Clodfelder wrote a letter to the CEO of Celestron, and the company donated more than $3,000 worth of telescope equipment to the school. — Kobe Partlow


Musical season is here. The thespians will put on "Legally Blonde the Musical" at 7 tonight and 2 p.m. Thursday. Around 40 students are involved. They have been practicing daily after school. Senior Olivia Bales said, "This is my last musical at MHS, and it's a really bittersweet moment. I love this show, and it's fun to do it with such great people. I'm sad to leave this group, but I've gained so many good memories." — Faith Rund

St. Joseph-Ogden

Before Monday's game against Monticello, girls' basketball seniors Sydney Kelso, Brooke Berry, Alyssa Wilcoxin and Sarah Acklin were recognized for their accomplishments and commitment to the program for the last four years. — Kenzie Pence

St. Thomas More

On Friday, students paid $5 to dress out of their school uniform for a good cause. More than $1,000 was raised and went to former St. Thomas More student Tori McCoy, who is battling a rare kidney disease. — Emily Halcomb


FFA members are selling strawberries through Feb. 16. F&N I students made cookie cakes in the form of Disney characters. Also, students attended the All-State Theatre Festival production of Big Fish at Illinois State. Pictured, top row, from left, are Connor Baer, Sydney Hoel, Ashton Smith, J.D. Barrett and Jacob Craddock; and bottom row, from left, Caroline Rominger, Ellen Brown, Hannah Saril, Sara Kremitzki and Sabrina Alcorn. — Gemini Pettry

Uni High

Unlike other schools, Uni started the week off last Monday — much to the dismay of its students. On Tuesday, the Spanish Club, led by Kevin Grosman, held a nachos sale, which was advertised as having "prices ranging from $0 to $0." On Wednesday, the Student Services Office held a Jeopardy game for students to get to know new counselor Donzell Lampkins and new office manager Courtney Von Holton." — Umar Hanif


It's a tradition at Urbana High School for a group of students to head to Colorado over the holiday weekend, and this year was no different. The annual trip, sponsored by Venture Crew 104, sent 34 students to Keystone, Colo., for skiing and comradery. The group left Thursday and arrived Friday afternoon, a slight mechanical issue with the bus the only setback. Senior Calvin Gatewood said, "The trip was absolutely worth it. Even though there were a few bumps in the road, I ended up hitting the slopes and having a good time with my friends." — Joey Wright


Over the long weekend, the Drama Club visited Illinois State for its theater festival. Eleven students, including three seniors who were able to go for free by fundraising, made the trip to watch students from all over the state perform shows. They also attended workshops. — Charlie Dumach

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