2017-18 High School Confidential: Week 20

2017-18 High School Confidential: Week 20

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: Armstrong-Potomac's Morgan Harding, who will take us behind the scenes on Friday:

Academy High: Mayank Hirani

ALAH: Karissa Rocke and Eusebio Briseno
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:

Academy High

In advance of the Chinese New Year, students in Mandarin class used paper plates to create zodiac symbols and animals (pictured). In the Year of the Dog, students are learning Chinese traditions and culture — even cooking fried rice in class — as well as sending letters to pen pals across the world who are learning Mandarin as a foreign language. — Mayank Hirani


Each day this month, teachers will be participating in Fabulous February in a battle against the winter blues. In the Watch What You Say Game, they put a clothespin on their shirt. When they hear another teacher say something negative, they get to take their clothespin. The teacher with the most clothespins wins a prize. Pictured: April Hart, Kathy Frye. — Karissa Rocke and Eusebio Briseno


As a 1:1 digital learning school, it was cool for students like Emma Johns, Lyssa Madlem, Taylor Spelman and Will Klopfleisch to check out a 2005 eMac that was displayed in the library on Friday. — Camille Klopfleisch


Audrey Cler received a $500 grant from the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. Pictured are her seventh-hour students: Dalton Loschen, Cameron Colunga, Grace Reynolds, Nicole Sprague, Jerid Myler and Austin Bridgman. Also, Madi Gayheart, the only senior on the girls' basketball team, advanced to sectionals in the three-point shootout. Pictured are Madi Gayheart and her mother, Nicole, after senior night. — Morgan Harding


Technology teacher Andrew Brown's computer application class joined Stephanie Eccles' fifth-grade class to make Rube Goldberg machines. Computer applications is a class for freshmen. They were broken into teams. The teams will continue to work throughout next week. Only using three machines, they must get two pieces of cereal through using at least four steps. Pictured: Chloe Greenarch helps fellow fifth-graders. — Sydney Gadbury


Ahead of Friday's annual Cancer Night basketball game against Milford, BHRA sold T-shirts, bracelets, baked goods and raffle tickets with proceeds going to the Cancer Center in Danville. Senior Hunter Keith signed with Milikin University to play golf, and the chess team took third at the IHSA competition (4-3). — Marissa Oxendine

Blue Ridge

Diane Williams was inducted into the Wall of Fame, with family and friends celebrating afterward with cake, punch and pictures. On Saturday, senior night was celebrated for cheerleaders and boys' basketball. At halftime of the JV game, girls from pre-K to sixth grade performed a dance routine that was taught by the high school cheer team that morning at a camp. — Kaitlyn Stephens

Champaign Central

The school's Social Justice Committee held Real Talk, discussing the benefits of healthy relationships and how to work through being in an unhealthy relationship. — Sarah Money

Cissna Park

Family and Consumer Sciences classes are promoting a week of kindness. Their moto: Random Acts of Kindness. Pictured are Ayiana Marquez and Brittney Koester. — Olivia Stoller


At girls' basketball senior night, the late D'Nija Parker was recognized. Family members of Parker, a talented player who died in an auto accident in 2016, joined other seniors on the court. — Barbara Westerfield


FFA member Kaitlin Marry received a $1,000 grant to work on her research. She will grow multiple types of algae and perform experiments on each growth. — Bailey Parks Moore

Georgetown-Ridge Farm

First-year teacher Zane McCorkle and second-year teacher Ellie Short are coaching the Scholastic Bowl this season. Pictured left to right: Caleb Park, Connor Cavanaugh, Dylann Hall, Willow Ray and Morgan Brady. — Willow Ray


Makayla Fults received the Daughters of the American Revolution Award from Principal/Superintendent Tom Davis. — Courtney Stewart

Hoopeston Area

The student council held its annual Sweetheart Dinner on Friday for senior citizens. On Saturday, two wrestlers advanced to state: Ezra Elliot and Eliseo Zamora. — Ariel Reeves and Daniel Bass


Seniors Noah Benedict and Erin Lenschow were named SAR and DAR for 2018. Each winner must be a senior in high school and are selected by their classmates and faculty members. They are elected based on the qualities of leadership, service, dependability and patriotism. — Kobe Partlow


At halftime of Friday's Red Out game — put on by student council and the American Heart Association — student council members walked around for one minute to collect donations, saying how in just one minute your life could change forever. After lively tunes from the pep band, it was announced the girls' basketball team had won the IHSA Class 2A regional title, with the crowd erupting in applause. Senior Emily Wilson said: "Afterward, everyone was super emotional because it was the fifth time in a row we've won. Most of us have all been playing together for four years and we've all just become a super tight family throughout. It's just been so much fun." At Saturday's senior night, basketball players Johnny Dawson, Cameron Dyson, Luke Stokowski, Calvin Fisher and Noah Wright, as well as cheerleaders Aly Day, Emma Helferich, Hallie Luck and Devin Walden, were recognized. — Faith Rund


Student council members hosted hospitality night for those in the Kickapoo District. Organized by senior Emily Simonich, student council members were kept busy with an assortment of activities ranging from Twister to four-court volleyball. — Kelsey Blackford


Senior Liberty Jamison scored her 1,000 career point, becoming the second Panther in program history to reach the milestone. — Madison Grohler


At Friday's senior night for boys' basketball, cheerleading and band against Prairie Central, fourth-year manager (football, baseball, basketball) Joel Pilarski dressed and was part of the starting lineup. Pilarski scored the game-ending shot as the student section, both teams and cheerleaders stormed the court. Senior basketball player Meech Hudson said, "I wanted him to play because he's been working hard for this basketball program since he been here, so he deserves to be on the court with us. When he hit that shot, I was very excited for him and it made me so happy." — Hannah Combs

Salt Fork

Before Friday's varsity boys' basketball game against Chrisman, 22 seniors who were members of the boys' basketball team, cheerleading squad, dance team and pep band were honored with their parents. The festivities also included a farewell performance from the dance team, cheers with only the senior cheerleaders and a seniors-only pep band performance. — Kade Bennett

St. Joseph-Ogden

Riley Baker and Zea Maroon represented St. Joseph-Ogden at the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution luncheon on Friday. — Kenzie Pence

St. Thomas More

National Honor Society hosted its annual blood drive, students donating 33 pints. — Emily Halcomb


During activity period, students work through murder-mystery puzzles. Sarah Bush's Body Electric Van visited the high school to inform and encourage healthy lifestyle choices through arts. Pictured are, on the left, front to back, Hannah Saril and Ellen Brown and, on the right, front to back, Emily Lambrecht and Sydney Hoel. — Gemini Pettry

Uni High

On Friday, Professor Erik McDuffie hosted an all-school assembly educating students on stereotypes of African history. The Uni High Thespian Troupe performed two plays: "Black Comedy" and "Actor's Nightmare." Black Comedy featured Umar Hanif as Brindsley Miller, Xanthe Brown as Carol Melkett, Vikram Perry as Harold Gorringe, Betsy Ruckman as Col. Melkett and Alice Afonso as Clea. "Actor's Nightmare" featured Bella Solis as George, Kate Snyder as Sarah, Nika Cooper as Ellen and Solomia Dzhaman as Meg. Pictured is the cast after rehearsal, taken by Lili Banihashem. — Umar Hanif


Student council members put on the annual Senior Citizen Valentine Dinner. Pictured are student council members playing bingo alongside the dinner guests. — Annalea Hines


Vocal Harmony Supplied, one of two a capella groups at the high school, placed second out of nine teams at the ICHSA competition on Feb. 10, Senior Anna Lubienski won the best arrangement award for "Killing Me Softly." It's also opening week for the winter musical, "Blithe Spirit." — Richard Wright

Villa Grove

The Villa Grove Devilettes were named Class A Hip-Hop State Champions at Saturday's IDTA State Finals in Springfield. The high school program has earned six titles since 2012, and the junior high program has been undefeated since its founding in 2013. The seniors this season are the first to have completed six championship seasons as Devilettes. The team was coached by Cami Renfrow and Ashlee Turner. — Jessica Rose


On Thursday, the school hosted voting registration for students who turn 18 by Nov. 6. — Charlie Dumach

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