2018-19 High School Confidential: Week 1

2018-19 High School Confidential: Week 1

Today kicks off Year 3 of High School Confidential, an ambitious project made possible by aspiring student journalists from every corner of our circulation area. Each Wednesday through May, they’ll tell us what’s happening in their hallways at news-gazette.com.

Once a week, we’ll hand over our Snapchat account (News-Gazette) to our correspondents for behind-the-scenes tours. First up: Cissna Park on Thursday.

This year's panelists:

ALAH — Taylor Powell
Arcola — Molly Mahannah
Armstrong — Sydney O’Brien
Bement—Dylan Upton
Bismarck-Henning —Annie Nelson
Blue Ridge—Avery Fisher
Centennial —Thomas Green
Champaign Central —Julia Wilson
Chrisman—Lindsey Franz
Cissna Park—Taya Kissack, Brenna Ferguson
Danville—Lauren Ellis
DeLand-Weldon—Amanda Graeser
Fisher—Andrew Zook
Georgetown-Ridge Farm—Raine Ray
GCMS—Gabby Dammkoehler
Heritage—Fiona Ely
Hoopeston—Raven Rutherford
Judah Christian—Lauren Hutchison
Mahomet-Seymour—Claire Burns
Monticello—Nick Wolter
Oakwood—Paiton Frerichs
PBL—Tim Hewerdine
Rantoul —Ocean Beard
St. Joseph-Ogden—Keely McCorkle,
St. Thomas More —Lia Znaniecki
Salt Fork—Shea Richards
Schlarman —Farrah Anderson
Tuscola—J.D. Barrett
Uni High—Annette Lee, Nathalie Stein
Unity —Miranda Fairbanks
Urbana —Zoey LaVigne
Villa Grove —Sophia  Wegeng
Westville— Sadee Scaggs, Maggie Quick

This week's report:


Heat days — there is no air conditioning with the exception of computer labs at ALAH — have resulted in several 1 p.m. dismissals. Teachers try to cool off their rooms by plugging in fans, closing window shades in the afternoon and opening the windows in the morning. The fans do create an air flow for students, but the fans are loud and make hearing lectures and focusing difficult. The third floor of the high school is the most unbearable as the rooms exceed 80 degrees. — Taylor Powell


The cheerleading team held its annual Lil' Rider Kiddie Camp that included two practices, snacks and lots of hair glitter. The team had more than 80 students — preschool through sixth grade — on the field for the halftime performance. — Molly Mahannah


Last Tuesday, the yearbook staff visited Eastern Illinois University for theme ideas and attended a presentation on picture-taking techniques. Staff members also toured EIU's TV and radio station. Pictured, from left, are Olivia Logue, Violet McCool, Capri Colunga, Sarah Porter, Jenna Muench, Sydney O'Brien, Samantha Kelsch, Onnasti McCall and Mackenzie Wernigk. — Sydney O'Brien


To kick off homecoming week, students wore pajamas to school on Monday. The fun continued with themed days throughout the week, capped by Friday's Spirit Day. — Dylan Upton

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge students on Thursday gathered in the library to kick off the Read for a Lifetime program. Librarians Amy Brokaw and Elizabeth Raines set up several puzzles, games and snacks. — Avery Fisher


Friday's parade introduced the homecoming court: freshmen Alexander Grumish and Emma Rosenstein, sophomores Walker Smith and Byrianna Vaughns, juniors Joe Simmons and Sarah Cleveland and seniors Viniya Darnell, Tyson Burton, Jenna Woods, Armani Dugar, Aleena Pettigrew, Anterio Allen, Kasinda Williams, Shavan Patel, Katie Bell and Jake Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum and Woods were crowned king and queen at Saturday's football game. — Thomas Green


As homecoming excitement grew — the dance is Oct. 6 — heat days resulted in several early dismissals. — Julia Wilson


About 24 students participate in the school's Future Farmers of America program. Sophomore Eli Johnson and a few others have handpicked about 1,050 pumpkins on 5 acres he planted, putting hard work, determination and sweat on display. — Lindsey Franz

Cissna Park

On Saturday, seniors and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members put on a pumpkin pancake breakfast that included Pumpkins in the Park, which featured a dunk tank and games for children. — Taya Kissack


A three-year strategic plan is in place that includes the following all-student goals: career awareness and increased opportunities; increasing equity and access to advanced placement courses; and social-emotional learning and support. Last week, students in the Work Experience & Career Exploration program with jobs at Culver's and McDonald's were spotlighted — with special thanks to WECEP coordinator Dan Hile. — Lauren Ellis


In the British literature class, students were assigned a character — wardrobe included — in conjunction with reading "The Canterbury Tales." Students then "pilgrimaged" from the classroom to the first-grade room and presented characters. Pictured are, top row, from left, Brock Garrett, John Talbert, Caleb Cunningham, Alea Landers, Billy Schmidt, Carlie Britz, Emilee Fenton, MacKenzie Merreighn and Ryielee Buggar; and bottom row, from left, Amanda Graeser, Kaylee Wegrich and Savannah Stukins. — Amanda Graeser


The homecoming court included freshmen Abby Jokisch and Ryan Grieser, sophomores Leah McCoy and Russell Burrows, juniors Daneigh Burk and Will Delaney and seniors Jayde Parks, Sydney Bell, Olivea Grandy, Casey Wagner, Sydney Eichelberger, Andrew Zook, Tanner Diorio, Cory Hicks, Tyler Martin and Dalton Burk. Crowned king and queen on Saturday: Burk and Wagner. — Andrew Zook

Georgetown-Ridge Farm

For the first time since the late 1980s, updates have been made to the gym: new wall padding, floor mats and a fresh finish on the gym floor, showcasing the new Buffalo logo in the center of the court. — Raine Ray


To kick off their final year, seniors posed outside of the school for a picture on the first day. — Fiona Ely


Six girls' golfers were recognized on senior night, including three-year captain Shannon Spangler and two-year captain Sydney Funk. After senior Katie Johnson gave a speech, senior Hattie Parsons summed things up by saying: "I guess you could say that I was adopted to a family. It wasn't just a team, it was a family and I will have that family for a lifetime." — Gabby Dammkoehler

Judah Christian

Homecoming week ended with a mega-relay that determined the winning class, with the seniors capturing the spirit stick. — Lauren Hutchison


Friday's annual homecoming spirit week assembly included a performance of the school song, a presentation of the spirit week days and the announcement of the homecoming court. — Claire Burns


Art 12 students have been working on their murals for homecoming since last year, when they were told the theme would be Star Wars. Senior Lauren Mitchell said the favorite part of creating the mural was “the satisfaction and gratification i received once i finished it. Everyone worked so incredibly hard on their respective murals, and being able to look at all of them once they were hung up was so rewarding.” — Nick Wolter


Homecoming king and queen — seniors Antonio Carrion and Haven Harrison — were crowned Saturday. — Paiton Frerichs


New this year: First Tech Challenge, organized by math teacher Ted Powers, business teacher Leann McPike and industrial technology teacher Ryan Anderson. The intention: bring students together to design, build and program a robot to do a certain task. Pictured, from left, are Leann McPike, Ted Powers, Sara Hewerdine, Liam McMullin, Bridget McMullin, Paul Cleary, Bridget McMullin, Robert Worstell, Zoey San Diego, Dylan Crank and Ryan Anderson. — Timothy Hewerdine


The Rantoul Marching Eagles presented "Out of Oz" at Saturday's football game at Memorial Stadium. Earlier that day, the band played at the Monticello Marching Band Competition. Pictured in the front line are Alshya Kesler, Ezekiel Mullings, Alexandra Crawford, Vincent Loosa, Elaina Baugher, Kayla Pilarski and Evan Bock, with guard member Autumn Kennedy and drum major Ocean Beard. — Ocean Beard

Salt Fork

Seniors Shea Richards and Reighan Barr chest bumped after receiving third place in powderpuff, helping the senior class win homecoming week activities. — Shea Richards

St. Joseph-Ogden

Seniors Maclayne Taylor, Erinn Miller, Kabe Schuster and Jacob Shaw decorated windows for homecoming week, extending a tradition for student council to visit — and paint the windows of — local businesses. — Keely McCorkle


During homecoming week, the seniors put on a successful dance and won powderpuff for the second year in a row. Pictured are junior court attendants Mae Grace Medlin and Quenton Pratt. — Farrah Anderson

St. Thomas More

Students kicked off homecoming week with the annual chili cook-off, followed by games of macho volleyball and powderpuff football. Congratulations to the senior class, which won both volleyball and powderpuff. — Lia Znaniecki


Homecoming coronation will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in the high school gym. The court, from left: Caroline Rominger, J.D. Barrett, Jackie Watson, Turner Hastings, Natalie Bates, Cade Kresin, McKinlee Miller, Brayden VonLanken, Grace Dietrich and Will Little. — J.D. Barrett

Uni High

The faculty union, known as the Uni Faculty Organization, held an information session for students in the library. Board members Melissa Schoeplein, Juan Socarras, Phillip Ernstmeyer and Matthew Mitchell discussed the union's negotiations with the University of Illinois, the difficulty of getting a contract and the UFO's goals. "Let people in authority know your feelings on this issue, if you are moved to do so," Mitchell said. — Annette Lee


Last Saturday, student council members attended the Kickapoo District's fall picnic in Tuscola, bringing donations for Courage Connection and working on their team-building skills with other schools. The theme: Through the holidays. — Miranda Fairbanks


Seniors with the Habitat for Humanity Club held their first build on Sept. 20, helping construction crews build houses for Urbana residents. Pictured is Grace Yepez-Connors. — Zoe Lavigne

Villa Grove

On Friday, members of the Villa Grove FFA chapter filled close to 20 bags of trash from under a bridge and by the Embarrass River just south of the school. The chapter hopes to do it again later this fall. — Sophia Wegeng


Congratulations to the Senior homecoming court: Aiyana Austin, Madison Brown, Kia Burke, Grace Hathaway, Emily Jordan, Trey Bryant, Kyle Carrell, Jonathan Gilbreath, Parker Gross and Jake Lutchka. For spirit week, the court showed up wearing their PJs/twin attire. — Sadee Scaggs


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