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Welcome to Year 6 of High School Confidential, an award-winning project made possible by aspiring student journalists from every corner of our circulation area. Each Friday through May, they’ll tell us what’s happening in their hallways at

Once a week, we’ll also hand over our Snapchat account (News-Gazette) to our correspondents for behind-the-scenes tours.

Feeback? Email N-G/VP Jim Rossow at

This year's panel:

Academy High: William Ding

ALAH: Sarah Rafferty

Arcola: Ariana Carmona

Armstrong: Mattie Kennel

Bement: Addie Fritz

BHRA: Paili Davis

Blue Ridge: Sarah Whitehouse

Centennial: Montez Dubose, Blake Burr

Champaign Central: Lucy Moss

Chrisman: Reese Anderson

Cissna Park: Emma Morrical

Danville: Kedzie Griffin

DeLand-Weldon: Kaitlyn Sayers

Fisher: Krista Martin

Georgetown-Ridge Farm: Chloe Brock

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley: Emily Hood

Heritage: Torie Rothermel

Hoopeston Area: Emily Ray

Judah Christian: Lydia Lowry, Abi Tapuaiga

LeRoy: Kelsey Graves

Mahomet-Seymour: Tinley Peters

Milford: Alivia Schmink

Monticello: Clara Rudolph

Oakwood: Madison Doan

Paxton-Buckley-Loda: Sydney Murphy

Rantoul: Mary Cuppernell

St. Joseph-Ogden: Regan Uden

St. Thomas More: Bailey McMahon

Salt Fork: Olivia Birge

Scharlman: Evan Sherer

Shiloh: Josephine Carroll

Tuscola: Amelia Bosch

Uni High: Aakash Vasireddy

Unity: Maddie Reed

Urbana: Park Mitchell

Villa Grove: Molly Little

Westville: Bryce Burnett

On to this week's report:

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Academy High

The school’s community outreach and service club, Caring Crew, carried its freshly painted Little Free Library to nearby Mattis Park. Thanks to donated supplies from Home Depot and books from school — plus Champaign Park District choosing a park and putting it up — the Little Free Library can now be used by anyone. Pictured: Rosie Atkinson, Yoon Freund, Dr. Gordon Brown, Sophia Libman, Baraka Culpepper, Park District Member, Nassreen Ouzidane, Caden Green, William Ding, Miles Magee, Benjamin Wells, Yara Bajis, Jack Braun, Keagan Marie Markun, Esti Ellis and Victoria Bagby.

— William Ding

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For hard work and achievement, Ava Binion and Hannah Carter were selected as November’s Student of the Month.

— Sarah Rafferty


Illinois State Scholar award winners included Luther Yoder, Rilee Hendrix and Avery Kessler.

— Ariana Carmona

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Students gathered in the gymnasium to play games to show school spirit during homecoming week, which was capped with a dance or coronation on Saturday.

— Mattie Kennel

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"You've been flocked" is a saying that has been going around the town since the beginning of November, when flamingos starting showing up in yards as part of a fundraiser to help raise money for Parent Teacher Organization. When someone gets “flocked,” they can donate to have flamingoes removed or have them remain in their yard for 48 hours. PTO is raising money through December for three new water fountains with water bottle fillers at the high school.

— Addie Fritz

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Charlie the Elf came back to visit before final exans, practicing acts of kindness in December. Teacher Susan Kentner is the mastermind behind the idea, turning the acts of kindness into a game for the students, who get a prize if they guess where Charlie is from a picture clue.

— Paili Davis

Blue Ridge

On Wednesday, Voice of Democracy participants were awarded certificates and monetary prizes for their entrees. Alex Blake (left) earned third place, Conner Otto (right) was second and Sarah Whitehouse (center) first. The awards were given out by the Fred O’Malley VFW in Farmer City.

— Sarah Whitehouse

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Senior Senior Ethan Anderson is headed on a six-month trip to Paraguay “to become fluent in Spanish and explore a culture that is often underrepresented on the global stage. … am excited to explore the cuisine and national parks.”

— Montez Dubose

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Champaign Central

Starting Nov. 29, students were expected to wear IDs to help with security and identify students who have open or closed lunch. Freshman and sophomores were given black lanyards and juniors and seniors were given maroon lanyards. Students had to show their IDs to get into school at the beginning of the day. If they don’t have their ID they write their name on a name tag. Pictured, left to right: Sierra Smith, Jaylee Elsts, Lizzie Johnson and Maaike Niekerk.

— Lucy Moss

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Members of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America volunteered to help wrap gifts for the Chrisman Area Community Club. There was also a Christmas parade that many businesses, groups and teams took part in. Pictured: Serena Raimer, Kaylee Ruff, and Tori Labaume.

— Reese Anderson

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Cissna Park

The school’s Future Farmers of American officer team held its yearly auction, which raises money for scholarships, travel expenses and classroom supplies. Thanks to the generous support of the community, more than $40,000 was raised. Pictured: (back row) Emma Morrical, Brooklyn Stadeli, Bryce Sluis, Carter Ferguson, Noah Phelan, Tanner Garrison, Sam Kaeb, Tyler Kaeb and Joel Yergler; (front row) Riley Maul, KayLee McWethy, Lyssa Kaeb, Regan King and Morgan Sinn.

— Emma Morrical

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Choir department put on its 46th annual Madrigal performance last week. A tradition since 1975, the show included 28 singers, five band members and four orchestra members. The show was held at the St. James Methodist Church and included dinner.

— Kedzie Griffin

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Student council’s Leadership Team and National Honor Society teamed to collect coats for the Salvation Army’s Canteen Run. Pictured: Emma McFarling.

— Krista Martin

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Georgetown-Ridge Farm

Students in shop class helped install a sidewalk for the preschoolers’ playground.

— Chloe Brock

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Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

In preparation for this weekend's event, members of Prairieland CEO put up posters detailing the celebration. The student-run organization helps juniors and seniors learn entrepreneurship skills — and the downtown ice skating rink is a part of this year's class business. Pictured, left to right: Brock Phillips, Anneliese Kerchenfaut and Aiden Phillips.

— Emily Hood

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Students in animal science agriculture class dissected a deer heart. Pictured: Maddy Mahaffey, Kiley Knoll and Konner Pearman.

— Torie Rothermel

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Judah Christian

The senior class held a bake sale to fundraise for this year’s senior trip, offering brownies, snickerdoodles and many other sweets and goodies. Even our high school principal, Jim Moxley was caught buying a delicious treat from Hunter Fazio and Summer Hollis.

— Lydia Lowry, Abi Tapuaiga

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Senior cheerleaders had reason to smile during last Friday’s win against Ridgeview. Pictured, left to right: Kamryn Graves, Kelsey Graves, Katie Toohill, Abby Toohill and Karlee Eastham.

— Kelsey Graves

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Senior Nolan Nierenhausen referees a Bitty Ball game at halftime of last Thursday’s junior varsity basketball game. Fifth-graders involved in the school’s youth program have the opportunity to play at halftime of M-S boys’ and girls’ games as well as run out with starters during pregame introductions.

— Tinley Peters

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The golf and volleyball teams hosted banquets. Golfers pictured, left to right: Salym Estes, Adin Portwood, Anna Hagan, Kirstyn Lucht, Payton Harwood, RJ Mann and Owen Halpin. Volleyball awards went to Jahni Lavicka (Bearcat award), Caley Mowrey (offensive play of the year), Hunter Mowrey (most versatile player), Emmaleah Marshino (defensive player of the year) and Anna McEwen (most valuable practice player).

— Alivia Schmink

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The school’s Future Educators of America had a group-bonding field trip to the ice skating rink at the University of Illinois. Left to right: (back row) Rylee Kurth, Lauren Dunnett, Taylor Dyer, Christina Miller, Megan Heistand, Megan LeJeune, Cody Ball and Hannah Evans; (front row) Emily Steffes, Rachel Koon, Kylie Cherry, Lynnsey Trybom, Maya Cremeens and Laila Miller.

— Clara Rudolph

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The boys’ basketball team went 3-1 and finished third at St. Joseph-Ogden’s Toyota of Danville Classic tournament, defeating Georgetown-Ridge Farm, Cissna Park, and Schlarman. Pictured: Dalton Hobbick, Gaven Clouse and Joshua Ruch.

— Madison Doan


Past members of the school’s yearbook staff (Victoria Reck and Kendall Compton) pose with the Walsworth Gallery of Excellence Award for the 2020-2021 school year. They received the award because of their profile style yearbook, which highlighted every student by featuring their answers to questions next to their picture. Members of the crew include Lacey Bice, Kendall Compton, Ella Curry, Yamileth Domingo, Mallorie Ecker, Lisette Gomez, Abi Jones, Victoria Reck, Reese San Diego and McKendra Sheldrake.

— Sydney Murphy

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Throughout COVID and other tribulations, students have continued to show support. Case in point: the Rantoul Rowdies came out in force for Friday’s first boys’ basketball home game of the season.

— Mary Cuppernell

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St. Joseph-Ogden

Students in ag classes constructed 27 Christmas tree cuffs to sell to parents. Pictured: Hayden Brazelton and Ramsey Primmer.

— Regan Uden

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St. Thomas More

The school’s chapter of National Honors Society, led by Caroline Kerr, Anna McClure, Elie Dixon and Amelia Case, held a ceremony to award academic letters to students who met the grade requirements for their classes. Guest speaker Paul Hergenrother shared academic advice with the students before letters were passed out. NHS also hosted a ceremony to induct new members, inviting alum Kennedy Record to speak.

— Bailey McMahon

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Salt Fork

Herb Wilkins was named the Illinois Track And Cross Country Association “Assistant Coach of The Year.” He has coached 64 state qualifiers, 31 all-state performances and one state champion. He’s pictured with, left to right, all-state throwers Garret Taylor, Olivia Birge and Lane Tate.

— Olivia Birge

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Family, Career and Community Leaders of America made 40 tie-blankets for residents at Newman Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. Pictured, left to right: Dallas Cary, Heaven Sims and Lydia Richardson.

— Josephine Carroll

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Sophomore Elle Jones won the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy contest at the post level. The topic:” "America: Where Do We Go from Here?" Her entry now goes to the district level for judging.

— Amelia Bosch

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Uni High

On Dec. 3, Uni’s Subbie Buddies — upperclassmen who help new students adjust — hosted their annual Tri-Holiday Event for the Class of 2026. The Subbies Buddies led the Subbies through four main stations which included gingerbread house crafting, toilet paper mummies, paper snowflakes and hot chocolate, as well as a turkey scavenger hunt. The night concluded with all the lights in the school turned off for Subbies and Subbie Buddies to play a game of sardines. Pictured, left to right: Tucker Gergen, Citlali Rundall Madrigal and Julia Smith work on a gingerbread house.

— Aakash Vasireddy

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Senior Grant Albaugh was among the speakers at a schoolwide celebration for the football team’s runner-up finish in the Class 3A playoffs.

— Maddie Reed

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The annual Richard Milhouse Nixon Title IX Memorial Volleyball Match was a nail-biter. The first match saw the seniors eke out a 2-1 victory against the juniors, setting up their matchup with the staff. Ahead 24-22 in the second set, the staff looked like they were going to take home the win against a fatigued opponent before momentum shifted. The seniorsw stormed back for a 2-1 win. Pictured, left to right: (back row) Michael Bales, Jaylin Ward, Park Mitchell, Andre Hunt and Zach Menard; (middle row) Jacie Owens, Chico Wilson, Caleb Gollings, Colin Schiff, Chase Mandra and Maisie Pines; and (sitting) Willem Alleyne and Noah Barkley.

— Park Mitchell

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Villa Grove

Kirstyn Jones is enjoying her first year as a basketball cheerleader. It’s the first year without the Heritage co-op since 2013, and the cheer team is using old uniforms until new ones arrive.

— Molly Little

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A year after COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel the event, the school’s annual senior citizens holiday dinner drew a crowd to the old gym (more at

— Bryce Burnett

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