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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

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

On Wednesday night, Mahomet-Seymour student Campbell Cruse will take us behind-the-scenes at the school's job fair. On Thursday, we'll accompany the school's chess team to a possible conference-clinching match.

This year’s crew:

Academy - Megan Wiarda

ALAH - Kaylee Yeakel

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 - Jordin Lucht

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:



Using a ramp system in class, Darren Pascavage showed how various balls go faster or slower depending on their mass. Pictured left to right: Cassie Colmenares, Paige Dahl, Briana Ballard and Colette Tichenor. — Megan Wiarda



Students involved in the America Field Service club spent the night at the school last Friday, playing various activities to pass the time. The Rock-A-Thon fundraiser helps the club make an annual field trip to the East Coast. — Patty Rodriguez


Blue Ridge

The Scholastic Bowl Team went 3-0 against Argenta-Oreana, Cerro Gordo, and Bement, improving to 13-0. The girls’ basketball team beat Uni High 36-25. Brady Masengale (pictured with teammates) signed a letter of intent to play football for St. Ambrose University. — Kalyn Warner



Students in Education to Careers & Professions class discussed the course with teacher Susan Thomas (left). Students are given the opportunity to participate in an internship and research careers. Pictured left to right: Abbie Mondala, Manan Patel and Adam Youssef. — Hailey Choi



During break, members of the boys’ swimming and diving rang bells to help raise money for Salvation Army. Pictured: freshman Nolan Miller as well as seniors Ryan Wierschem, Jack Hummel and Nik Johnson. — Julia Wilson


English teacher Carrie Mason re-introduced Scholastic Bowl, a welcome addition for interested students. — Lindsey Franz


Cissna Park

The boys’ basketball team dressed up for their Friday night game against Iroquois West in Gilman. — Abbi Kaeb

Erin Houpt


Junior Erin Houpt was named to all-tournament girls’ basketball team at the Charleston Holiday Tournament. — Leilani Islam


Junior wrestler Cale Horsch won first place at the Princeton Invitational in the 126-pound weight class. — Sidney Sievers



Heritage graduates (Class of 2019) returned to school to speak to the First Year Experience class about college life. Pictured: (back row) Aliya Holloman, Kailee Eldridge, Madi Jones, Bree Buck, Kacie Roberts, Rianna Rothermel and Lynnae Struck; (front row) Evan Wilson, Bryce Dalle, Olivia Sorensen, Nicole Cheatham, Fiona Ely and Misty Robinson. — Lynnae Struck


Hoopeston Area

In Friday night’s win against Armstrong-Potomac, Lucas Hofer scored his 1,000th point of his high school career. Afterward, he received the game ball. — Erin Anderson



The school’s chess team is off to a 16-0 start as part of the Central Illinois Chess League. If the Bulldogs beat Bloomington Central Catholic on Thursday, they will be league champions. At least weekend’s Illini Classic Tournament, Nathan Nagy won the Open Section and Jonah Singer was the top Board 4. The roster includes Ethan Grinberg, Clayton Burkhalter, Tony Huang, Jonah Singer, Gabe Wisnasky, Dalen Elliott, Dylan Goble, Nathan Nagy, Levi Frost, Wayne Schwaiger and Laith Shihabi.



The cheerleading team performed at Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Association State last weekend, placing 27th. Pictured: Josie Smith and Trinity Bonds. — Addison Wichus



The January Comet of the Month was Allie Plotner, Sam Howie took Character Trait of the Month for “bravery,” and Kade Anderson was named Athlete of the Month. — Maecii Barabas



In the first week back after break, the boys’ basketball team beat Momence and Shelbyville. Pictured: Colton Coy, Sam Penicook, Drake Schrodt, Dalton Busboom and Jarrad Debusky. — Emma Schuler


St. Joseph-Ogden

FFA officers gathered at Brainstorm Escapes in Champaign to complete an escape room before heading to the Champaign County Farm Bureau to plan events for the rest of the school year. The officers escaped the room with approximately one minute left. Pictured left to right: (back row) Darcy Nekolny (adviser), Brock Loschen and Ross Booker; (front row) Tessa Smith, Brodie Landreth, Mallory Ames, Lindsey Aden and Rachel Wilson. — Mallory Ames


St. Thomas More

Last weekend, the drama department traveled to Illinois State for the state’s annual Theatre Fest, Students saw other high schools put on musicals and plays and took part in classes ranging from ballroom dance and costume design to stage lighting and audition tips. Pictured left to right: (back) Becca Hege, Grace Kreps, Anna Craddock, Ben Croft, Abby Deptula, Emily Ritter and MaKayla Wright; (front) Melissa Marquart, Flynn Marquart and Miia Popovics. — Noelle Schacht


Salt Fork

The cheer team, despite learning a new routine at the last minute, participated in the ICCA State last weekend, placing 13th in a field of more than 30 teams. Said Gracie Jessup: “It was such a great feeling of relief because all of our hard work had paid off.” Pictured, left to right: (back row) Riley McCrae, Olivia Birge and Paxton Fisher; (middle row) Carlie Thompson, Gracie Jessup and Grace Church; (bottom row) Gracie Labaw and Niki Jones. — Autumn Lange



Junior Jack Girouard completed his season as the sole member of the cross-country team. “When you’re the only one on a team you’re not trying to compete against others, you are competing against yourself. Being faster than others comes second. Beating yourself comes first,” he said. — Farrah Anderson



Junior Dustin Hale joined principal Steve Fiscus, who nominated him for the Breakfast Club award. Each student is hand-picked by members of the high school staff for being an outstanding, helpful, kind, hard- working and dedicated in class. Every quarter the chosen students are rewarded with a breakfast provided to them and their parents. — Emma Zimmer


Show Choir held a successful preview performance Saturday before a large turnout. The lively group performed songs with the theme “The Complexity of High School Relationships” as a peek into what this year’s competition will hold. — Kimberly Pruetting



Several students went to Illinois State University last weekend for the Illinois High School Theatre Festival. They attended workshops and shows before joining other students from around Illinois in the All-State Production. Two Urbana students, Diego Carrillo and Matilde Fernandes, were a part of the production. — Molly Sweeney


Villa Grove

The state award-winning Devilettes earned first place in Class A IDTA competition at the Charleston and Villa Grove competitions. — Grace Hutchison


The wrestling team celebrated with senior Dawson Pruitt as he hit 100 wins in his high school career. — Emma Myers