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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 news-gazette.com.

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

As seen on News-Gazette Snapchat, juniors trekked to Springfield to talk to state legislators about the Clean Energy Jobs Ac. Pictured, from left, are Rana Hamdan, Evan Hill, Megan Wiarda, Jack Wiarda and Shashank Hirani. — Megan Wiarda



The football team advanced to a second-round playoff game against Greenfield on Saturday (photo by Emily Coombe). — Patty Rodriguez



Students Mathew Borden and Wesley Harper launched a pumpkin with a slingshot to the delight of onlookers from Bement elementary and middle schools. Pumpkins were decorated and supplied by the high school’s math club. — Braden Fogerson


Blue Ridge

The drama club put on “The Somewhat True Tales of Robinhood.” Pictured are Gabe Jenkins as Robin Hood, Josephine Aldrich as Town’s Guy and Rachel Umland as Friar Tuck. — Kalyn Warner



Teachers celebrated Halloween by dressing up in costumes. Pictured are student Tyler McClure and teacher Brent Bagniefski. — Hailey Choi


Champaign Central

Ensemble members of Central’s production of “The Addams Family” pose as their characters. Performances are Thursday through Sunday. — Julia Wilson



Band members, led by Jeff Nelson, provided live music for the community Halloween costume contest. — Lindsey Franz


Cissna Park

Students and teachers dressed up for Halloween. Pictured are Isabelle Nitsche (top left), Lanna and Nora Kaeb (top right), Anthony Videka (bottom left) and Evan Black (bottom right). — Abbi Kaeb

HSC Danville


Kicker Edgar Segura and holder D.J. Barnette set up for a kick during Saturday’s playoff loss at Chatham Glenwood. — Leilani Islam



Fresh off a first-round win, the football team takes on Moweauqua Central A&M in round two. — Sidney Sievers


Georgetown-Ridge Farm

Junior Hayden Copass committed to wrestle at Wisconsin. Pictured, from left, are Hayden Copass and future teammate Braxton Amos. — Chelby Hall



Students dressed up for Halloween, including a group of seniors as the cast of “Stranger Things.” Pictured, from left, are Chase Pondel (Dr. Alexei), Spencer Hazen (Jonathan Byers), Cullen Neal (Billy Hargrove), Ethan Freehill (Steve Harrington), Keegan Kutemeier (Dustin Henderson) and, in front, Payton Beach (Eleven). — Sierra Hileman



Dual-credit English class visited Parkland College to produce a commercial about a trip to Antarctica. Pictured are seniors Keegan Painter, Jada Davis, Owen Weisman, Kacie Roberts, Madi Jones, Rianna Rothermel and Maggie Marshall. — Lynnae Struck


Hoopeston Area

Members of the school’s FFA chapter attended the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis. Pictured are Clayton Hankins, Colby Burton, Erin Anderson, Kayla Goble, Sadie Drayer, Karlee Bruens, Kolin Dugle, Kennedie Olson, Drew Johnson and Jasmin Hajjar. — Erin Anderson



Fresh off a conference title, the volleyball team won a regional title for the chance to host a sectional. — Rachel Myers



Volleyball won a regional title with the help of its enthusiastic student fan section. — Sam Conley


The girls’ cross-country team won its first sectional title, and the boys defended their title. The boys’ team, pictured, from left, is made up of Jackson Grambart, Joey Weinke, Holden Miller, Morgan Dixon, Ed Mitchell, Luke Sokolowski and Josh Baysore; the girls’ team, from left, is made up of Grace Talbert, Emma Brown, Mackenzie Murphy, Kyra Welter, Mabry Bruhn, Estella Millers and Rachel Koon. — Addison Wichus



Student council hosted a food drive, proceeds going to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. Junior Eli Ronk (pictured) won grand champion at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress and made the ILMEA All-District Band. — Maecii Barabas



The girls’ cross-country team was 16th and the boys seventh at the Class 1A Effingham St. Anthony Sectional. Ryder James won the boys’ race and will compete at state. Pictured is the girls’ team of Maddie Royer, Lorena Arnett, Alexis Putnam, Jordan Parish, Alexis Gray, Kate Wilson and Mandy Muhl and the boys’ team of Nik Schnabel, Ashton Goss, Paul Cleary, Jesse Barfield, Daniel Busby and Keagan Busboom. — Emma Schuler


Red Ribbon Week spotlighted the fight against drugs. Monday’s theme was Put a Cap on Drugs as students could wear hats to school. On Tuesday, it was Team Up Against Drugs. Wednesday’s Save Yourself From Drugs had students dressed like a superhero. Thursday was Halloween (costumes), and Friday was Red Day. — Veronica Duddleston


St. Joseph-Ogden

FFA members attended the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, attending sessions, a rodeo, a concert and chapter dinners. They also participated in the National Day of Service by assisting the Indiana State Fairgrounds in cleaning up. Pictured, front row, are Grace Flessner, Tessa Smith, Audrey Short and Eliza Lewis; second row, Rachel Wilson, Mallory Ames, Alyssa Hamilton and Kat Short; and third row, Brodie Landreth, Jack Place, Emma Parkinson, Ross Booker and Aaron Lane. — Mallory Ames


St. Thomas More

Students brought in donations and helped pack boxes for the Box of Joy program that sends Christmas presents to children in need. Pictured are Nora Kelley, Sammy Miller, Kha Nguyen and Josie Carmien sorting items. — Noelle Schacht


At a pep rally ahead of the school’s eight-man football playoff game, the band played, the Toppettes performed “Thriller” and the cheer team led the football players in a three-legged race (pictured: Ainslee Johnson). — Farrah Anderson


Red Ribbon Week, dedicated to urging students to not partake in drugs, is sponsored by Students Against Destructive Decisions and includes a theme for each day. On Wednesday, students wore red. — Emma Zimmer

Uni High

On Halloween, the student council’s annual costume contest played out at lunch. Winners were chosen based on loudest cheers. Afterward, council members threw candy to the audience. Winners were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teletubbies and Tombo and Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. Pictured are juniors Rani Ramrattan, Charlotte Ebel, Raneem Saadah and Olivia Taylor. — Erin Minor



The fall play “The Curious Case of Covingston Manner” was written by student Corbin Cox. With the help of the drama director, Jessica Burke, the murder mystery came to life Nov. 1-2. Pictured, from top left to right then down: Shelby Taylor, Cody Broadfoot, Anthony Chaney, Ivy Wright, Mia Shannon, Sarah Rink, Natasha Plummer, Lindee Arrasmith, Annabelle Brett and Corbin Cox. — Kim Pruetting



Senior Olivia Rosenstein won the sectional cross-country race in Bloomington and will be joined by sophomore Celia Barbieri at state. — Molly Sweeney


Villa Grove

FFA members attended the national convention in Indianapolis. From left: Sammi Stevens, Lauren Mathews, Alexa Howard, Morgan Smith, Lydia Howard and Will Jones. — Grace Hutchison



An OA representative from Corn Belt Energy sponsored by Ameren visited for a Live Line Demonstration, showing us how power lines work, Pictured: What could happen if one part of a bird is on the live wire and another part on the insulator. — Emma Myers