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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 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 (this week it'll be Danville's Barb Westerfield). 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

On to this week's report:

Academy High

Last week's Halloween party included a haunted house in the school. Reading teacher Amanda Heinsman said, "I think what was fun about it was that when you have a smaller group, it is more fun to see what costumes others bring. The haunted house maze had around 200 people, so I think that was very cool, too." — Mayank Hirani


The third-annual Cardboard City, hosted by FCCLA, saw 20 students spend Friday night in boxes ahead of Homeless Awareness Week (Nov. 11-19). Before the event, 35 members went from Bement to Ivesdale to Milmine collecting nonperishable food items for the food pantry. Pictured: Richie Hicks helps Sadie Peeler and her friend make their shelter for the night. — Sydney Gadbury


At this year's Halloween contest, awards were given for most creative, scary and funny costumes. The best group costume went to The Heathers (pictured above). The Key Club also hosted a Halloween blood drive. — Marissa Oxendine

Blue Ridge

The Key Club sold temporary tattoos to elementary students on Halloween. Jacalyn Meisner received an award from the IAA Foundation for first-year ag teachers (pictured). Last weekend, the Drama Troupe presented "The Mad Tea Party." — Kaitlyn Stephens


A Q&A with student Sharon Laby (right, with friend Kylie Lafi):

What clubs are you involved in? Best Buddies, Dance Marathon, AAC, French club, FHS, NHS, student council and Interact.

What's your favorite part about Centennial? Spirit week and football and basketball games.

Hardest class? Calculus.

Where are you thinking about going to college? Illinois, Illinois State, Howard, Ball State, Purdue, Missouri, Minnesota or Iowa.

Major? Biology and pre-med.

— Diojanae Terry

Champaign Central

All three jazz bands drew an energetic crowd when they performed for four hours last Monday at Jupiter's in Champaign. Pictured: The Jazz Ensemble, the most senior of the bands, with Ian Wilkey on guitar and soloists (from left) Micah Patton, Max Hubbard and Max Baloun. — Sarah Money


The Junior Carnival weekend was a great success. At Friday's Small Town Throw Down, each class had a vollyball team and a team of parents. The seniors beat the freshmen in the final game. A day later was a dinner and variety show. Then the king and queen were revealed, followed by a dance. — Robbie Rollins

Cissna Park

FFA attended the 90th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, touring Indianapolis Motor Speedway, attending many sessions and taking in speakers like Laila Ali. — Olivia Stoller


The cross-country team held a read-a-thon at Southwest Elementary in Tilton. Each team member went to a classroom to read to students. Pictured: Quemarii Williams, Sincere Davis, Phillip Hall, Shanice Garbutt, Madison Smith, Christina Oakley and coach Todd Orvis. — Barb Westerfield


Students are encouraged to put up there own artwork or pictures in a designated area in the hallways, allowing for fun and expression. — Alexis Gatterer


Five FFA members attended Asmark in Bloomington — a seminar supported by the Champaign County Farm Bureau — to learn about grain bin safety, hauling anhydrous ammonia and technology in agriculture. — Bailey Parks-Moore

Georgetown-Ridge Farm

Seniors have started the first student-run newspaper. Evan Shade, Dylann Hall, Haylee Watson, Phoebe Abernathey and Payton Baker spend free time writing articles and finding fun information to print every Monday. The newspaper team is sponsored by Project Success. — Willow Ray

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

The annual variety show saw students entertain the community. On tap is the musical production of "Beauty and the Beast," which will be performed in March. Pictured: the high school choir. — Hailey Rutledge

Hoopeston Area

The fall play, "The Babbling Brooks," directed by Ashley Beauvois, was presented by students on Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday, Trey Houmes placed 16th and earned all-state honors at the state cross-country meet in Peoria. — Ariel Reeves, Daniel Bass

Judah Christian

A new drama club has started at the school, and they're shooting for the stars. Stargazers, a student-run organization, was started by senior Ruth Zielke. This week, they debuted with a variety of songs from musicals and plays on Broadway. — Kim Dillman


Five students were honored at the Breakfast of Champions — not for academic or athletic achievement, but for their positive attitudes and willingness to help those around them. The breakfast is held each semester by the PBIS team, which recognizes students for good citizenship and positive behavior. Senior Cory Noe said, "It was a really big honor to be able to be a part of the Breakfast of Champions. It was super cool to hear all the amazing stories about how other students have made MSHS a better place." Each student was nominated by a teacher. Pictured: Back, senior Cory Noe, sophomore Ethan Thomas, junior Corey Cebulski; front, seniors Erin Lenschow and Emily Hollar. — Kobe Partlow


The girls' cross-country team finished third and the boys fourth at state, led by senior Alex Helmuth (fourth) and sophomore Garrett Dixon (11th). — Faith Rund


Cameron Lee, an Oakwood alum who is a member of the Chicago Bears practice squad, spoke to the student body on Friday. He provided insight on his success and encouragd students to make and accomplish their own goals — no matter how big or small. — Kelsey Blackford


Senior Angel Nava and junior Nathan Waterson have been working on their Eagle Scout project for Boy Scouts. Nava is building a pavilion at Howard Park to provide shade for the community and draw attention to the site. Waterson hosted a benefit concert for the school's backpack program, bringing in enough food for about three weeks and $800. — Madison Grohler


The school's Future Business Leaders of America Club (FBLA) puts on a Halloween Extravaganza as children from the community trick-or-treat in the high school halls. Members of student council, FBLA and National Honor Society dressed in costumes and passed out candy. — Hannah Combs

Salt Fork

Chorus combined with the Salt Fork Junior High Chorus for a musical Fall Festival. Led by high school choral director Amanda Bellerud and junior high choral director Gary Schumann, the combined performance featured students from grades 6-12 and showcased the talent of the Salt Fork music program. — Kade Bennett


Students celebrated the Spanish holiday of Día de Los Muertos last week. The Spanish Club painted faces, made an altar for those who had passed away and cooked traditional foods for the holiday. In addition to the activities, the club added interesting facts about the holiday to the daily announcements. Pictured: Shiloh’s Spanish Club. — Kayla Thurston

St. Joseph-Ogden

On Monday, Edwin Yohnka, director of communications and public policy of the Illinois ACLU, spoke to the members of Marshall Schacht’s advanced civics class. Yohnka serves as a primary spokesperson for the civil rights advocacy organization and touched on many of the topics Schacht’s class is learning in "We the People" units. — Kenzie Pence

St. Thomas More

The school celebrated Dia de Los Muertos, praying and remembering the deceased through the making of STM’s Family Altar of Remembrance (pictured) by Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. — Emily Halcomb


The Scholastic Bowl team beat Clinton for the season’s first win. The science department has 30 new Chromebooks thanks to Robert Johnson’s generous donation. Also, congratulations to Jackie Watson and Brodey Kramer for being Tuscola PowWows Warriors of the Week. — Gemini Pettry

Uni High

The annual Halloween costume contest saw students gather in the gym for treats. The winners were Adi and Yamini Yedetore as Blue and Magenta from "Blue’s Clues," Henry Kraatz and Joel Armas as Simon and Garfunkel, Tony Li as a banana and Alice Afonso as Wonder Woman. — Umar Hanif


Seniors who participated in fall sports visited Unity East Elementary School to read and talk to the kids about what junior high and high school is like. — Annalea Hines


Urbana High School Theatre’s fall musical, "The Addams Family," runs Wednesday through Sunday (tickets $5 for students, $10 for adults). Also, the girls’ cross-country team was seventh at state. The boys’ and girls’ basketball teams and wrestling team start their seasons on Nov. 21. — Joey Wright

Villa Grove

Choir and band students are given the opportunity to audition for the Illinois Music Educators Association’s District V Honor Ensembles. This year, seven students were selected to perform on Nov. 18 at Eastern Illinois University: Back row, from left, Caleb Wiessing (junior high choir), Abigail Hopkins (orchestra), Jessica Rose (high school choir), Daniel Olson (high school choir) and Luke Buchholz (high school jazz choir); front row, from left, Amelia Williams and Allison Kneer (junior high choir). — Jessica Rose

Vice President of News

Jim Rossow is vice president of news at The News-Gazette. His email is