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Welcome to Year 4 of High School Confidential, an award-winning 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

This year’s panelists:

Academy - Megan Wiarda

ALAH - Kenli Nettles

Arcola - Patty Rodriguez

Armstrong-Potomac - Emily Rogers

Bement - Braden Fogerson

BHRA - Gabe Martinez 

Blue Ridge - Kalyn Warner

Centennial - Hailey Choi

Central - Julia Wilson

Chrisman - Lindsey Franz

Cissna Park - Abbi Kaeb

Danville - Leilani Islam

DeLand-Weldon - Tori Billingsley

Fisher - Sidney Sievers

G-RF - Chelby Hall

GCMS - Sierra Hileman

Heritage - Lynnae Struck

Hoopeston - Erin Anderson

Judah Christian - Brayden Riesberg

Mahomet-Seymour  - Rachel Myers

Milford - Sam Conley

Monticello - Addison Wichus

Monticello - Mary Grace Ross

Oakwood - Maecii Barabas

PBL - Emma Schuler

Rantoul - Veronica Duddleston

St. Joseph-Ogden - Mallory Ames

St. Thomas More - Noelle Schacht

Salt Fork - Autumn Lange

Schlarman - Farrah Anderson

Tuscola - Emma Zimmer

Uni High - Samaia Jones 

Uni High - Erin Minor 

Unity - Kimberly Pruetting

Urbana - Molly Sweeney 

Villa Grove - Grace Hutchison

Westville - Emma Myers

On to this week's report:

Academy High

During a Qualitative Foundations class, freshmen engaged in an egg-dropping activity where they were provided budget to buy what would help protect the egg. Pictured from lef: Xander Dennis, Ian Weible, Teo Sehitoglu and Rachel Reon. — Megan Wiarda



On Friday, students performed mock trials at the Douglas County Courthouse in Tuscola. — Patty Rodriguez



Luke Rogers delivered a speech at the school’s Veterans Day assembly, attended by students, faculty and staff as well as veterans from the area. — Braden Fogerson


Blue Ridge

Band members attended Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis. Also, Key Club hosted a successful blood drive at the school. — Kalyn Warner


Students and faculty celebrated Academic Letter Night on Thursday. Sophomores through seniors who passed criteria for selection were invited and allowed to invite a teacher who they admired most. — Hailey Choi

Champaign Central

Interact Club — led by officers Anya Shannon and Katrina Schideman — held its annual 5K on Saturday. Central chemistry teacher Tom Gelsthorpe clocked in with the fastest time while the club raised $2,200 for Salt & Light. “I’m glad that we were able to help the community and have fun while doing it,” Shannon said. — Julia Wilson



As a prom fundraiser, the junior class hosted the annual Junior Carnival Variety Show and Dance at the high school. Sophomores Kendrew Greene and Clara Wheeler won king and queen for raising the most money. — Lyndsey Franz

Cissna Park

On Fridays, the seniors work on Genius Hour Projects to help make a difference to those around them. Pictured (top): Lanna Kaeb, Nora Kaeb and Abbi Kaeb teaching first-graders about Tanzania; (bottom left) Payton Kaeb and Micah Waldbeser building a to-scale barn; (bottom right) Keegan Boyle and Penn Stoller building new work tables for the Ag Shop. — Abbi Kaeb



Model UN decorated a veterans-themed tree for Danville’s annual Festival Of Trees. Pictured: Roselyn Ramos, Leilani Islam, Makenna Fletcher. — Leilani Islam



Students were inducted into National Honors Society at the annual fall sports awards. NHS also had a food drive for a local pantry. Pictured, left to right (front row); Shelby Zahnd, Elizabeth Hallden, Kyleigh Kiogima, Addison Musick, Cale Horsch, Andrew Ferguson and Sidney Sievers; (back row) William Shook, Carson Brozenec, Jake Cochran, Jed Chow, Will Delaney, Ashley Smith, Bradley Grieser, Emily Cheek, Claire Hortin and Karly Kiogima. — Sidney Sievers


Georgetown-Ridge Farm

Varsity basketball players — Gavan Shelton, Kaden Mingee and Cale Steinbaugh — took part in The News-Gazette’s Faces of the Winter project on Sunday in Champaign. — Chelby Hall



On Saturday, Villa Grove and Heritage athletes and band members honored area veterans at Meet the Player Night. — Lynnae Struck

Hoopeston Area

Tghe annual Community Veteran’s Day Assembly featured a keynote address and performances by the Hoopeston Community Children’s Choir and the high school band and chorus. Photo by Carl Ankenbrand. – Erin Anderson

Judah Christian

During a Veteran’s Day chapel, the student choir (led by Naro Anderson) and band (led by Ralph Whitsitt) honored those who served by performing songs such as Hymn to the Fallen, Star-Spangled Banner and Procession of the Patriots. — Brayden Riesberg


Sports award-winners were recognized for strong performances this season on Nov. 13. Pictured from left: Nathaniel Lundstrom, Joseph Scheele, Brandon Collins, Noah Crowley, Sera Lane, Isabella Davenport, Annie Bao, Kayin Garner, Jade Harms and Elizabeth Sims. — Rachel Myers



Cooper Frerichs, Cara Warren and Reagan Hanson of the “Talk About A Murder” cast members took time to pose for a picture. — Jakai Martin


Emelia Ness (right center) and Mattie Lieb (left center) were joined by family members to announce their commitment to Illinois State. Both played a major role in the success of the school’s track program. — Addison Wichus


Comet Madness kicked off the start of girls’ and boys’ basketball season on Friday. Also, senior Katelyn Young signed her National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Murray State. — Maecii Barabas



Band held its annual Veteran’s Day concert for students and members of the communit, playing music that honored those who have served and those who are serving. Band director Timothy Hess told the history of “Taps.” Officers of FFA folded the flag during the song “Hymn to the Fallen.” — Emma Schuler


Salt Fork

Students made gingerbread houses for the Festival of Trees. Pictured: Cassie Ferber, Tate Johnson and Brady Tevebaugh. — Autumn Lange


St. Joseph-Ogden

National Honor Society completed its Fall Service Project. The school raised money to purchase fleece so that the NHS members could make tie blankets to be donated to Carle Foundation Hospital NICU. Pictured: (front row) Payton Cain, Drew Coursey, Hannah Rajilich, Faith Dahman, Hannah Dukeman, Taylor Barnes, Kristen Costa, Issy Brooks, Tessa Smith, Mazie Ronk, Indira Robinson and Mallory Ames; middle row) Brayden Wendt, Tyson Madsen, Josh Sexton, Zoey Witruk, Atleigh Hamilton, Eliza Lewis, Shelby Kofoot and Sophia Martlage; (back row) Evan Schmitz, Brendan Cooperider, Eric Poe, Jared Lofrano (NHS Sponsor), Flannery McCorkle, Lucas Grindley, Erica Guelfi and Jenna Schaefer. — Mallory Ames

St. Thomas More

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the drama department is putting on “Puffs,” a story about the Hufflepuffs from everyone’s favorite wizarding school. Among those in starring roles: Ben Croft, Abby Deptula and Aidan Beckett. — Noelle Schacht


The Class of 2020 congratulated one of its own, Capria Brown, on signing to play basketball at Dayton. Brown is a back-to-back state champion and made her 1,000th point last season. — Farrah Anderson



During a lunch meeting, more than 50 Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathered for a picture after each member wrote an encouraging message to then hand to other students. — Emma Zimmer

Uni High

On Saturday, the girls’ swim team placed second at the IHSA sectional meet in Urbana. Reed Broaders set a pool record with her wins in the 100-yard butterfly and backstroke, and Sally Ma set pool records with her wins in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Pictured: Zoey Muller-Hinnant, Alice Gao, Reed Broaders, Sally Ma, Angelynn Huang, Elise Maurer, Andrea Torelli, Stefania Dzhaman and Pomona Carrington-Hoekstra. — Erin Minor


History and Civis teacher Roger Kleiss caved into Ashlyn Yeazel’s request to do her own filibuster, challenging him to being able to talk for four hours straight. Betting a gift card to Taco Bell, she spoke about anything and everything between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m., winning the bet and impressing Unity students and herself as well. — Kim Pruetting


AP Psychology classes took a field trip to Chicago to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. Pictured left to right: Tabeeb Khandaker, Isaac Sosnoff, Jacob Barker, Emma Fristoe, Johnny Wright and Alyssa Pankau. — Molly Sweeney

Villa Grove

On Friday, students wore blue and gold to support the snack pack program, which provides snacks to students who do not have food at home for the weekends. — Grace Hutchison



Board Game Club was introduced last year as a part of Project Success. It’s an opportunity for students who might not be interested in sports or academic clubs to join others with the same interests. — Emma Myers