Listen to this article

Molly Sweeney

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 Friday, Urbana senior Molly Sweeney (Snapchat: runnergurl55; Twitter: @msweeney5599; Instagram: @molly.marie55) will take us behind the scenes at homecoming, which includes a pep rally, parade and football game against Peoria Richwoods. After college, she plans to "move to Boston and work as a journalist or travel for a few years and freelance."

First up: Watch this video of a cool moment at Heritage High that is included in this week's report.

On to 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 - Addison Pickett

Cissna Park - Abbi Kaeb

Danville - Leilani Islam

DeLand-Weldon - Peyton Lappin

Fisher - Sidney Sievers

G-RF - Chelby Hall

GCMS - Sierra Hileman

Heritage - Lynnae Struck

Hoopeston - Erin Anderson

Judah Christian - Brayden Riesberg

Mahomet-Seymour  - Rachel Myers

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:



Dr. Darren Pascavage engaged the physics class using wooden blocks as a representation of gravity. Pictured, from left, are Cassie Colmenares, Mayank Hirani, Pascavage, Nik Gritten and Caleb Moore. — Megan Wiarda



The cross-country team became the first Lincoln Prairie Conference champions. Pictured, back row, from left, are Cade Hendrickson, Jace Green, Layton Hall, Logan Beckmier, Justin Miller and Emma Edwards; and front row, from left, Jacob Adcock, Conner Edmonds and Lyle Adcock. — Kenli Nettles


Five Arcola students, joining peers from Tuscola and ALAH, participated in the Douglas County CEO class, including Jakob Sullivan, Lyssa Madlem, Victoria Schuman, Mariana Corona and Patty Rodriguez. — Patty Rodriguez



Students and faculty wore blue to honor the life of Sullivan’s Tyson Mendoza, a 5-year-old who was killed in a school bus crash. Armstrong teacher Wade Rogers, student-taught at Sullivan. — Emily Rogers



Football players lined up on Friday to be introduced by coach Nick Walker. While there, Sam Dalton and Blain Burns were named captains for the week. — Braden Fogerson



Seniors gathered as Aaron Jayne and Zach Stephens continued the lifesaver pass for a class competition. Each class also participated in a line dance, a series of relays and dress-up days, seniors winning the homecoming championship trophy. — Kalyn Warner


At the homecoming football game against Urbana, Molly Frey and Max Wallace were announced as queen and king. — Hailey Choi



A this photo by senior Maroon Marching Band section leader Jordan Simons shows, section leaders visited a Marching Illini rehearsal last week for pointers to bring back to high school. — Julia Wilson


Spirit week included student council helping set up for homecoming. Pictured, from left, are Terriana Reed, Allison Bartniz, Danielle English, Leilani Islam and Victoria Rangel. — Leilani Islam



The homecoming court at coronation Saturday, from left: Aundreha Kelley and Austin Whitton, Riley Parks and Jacob Hansens, Lacey Cotter and Andrew Ferguson, Queen Daneigh Burk and King Will Delaney, Claire Hortin and Caleb Liestman, Sidney Hood and Hunter Coon, and Kylee Bishop and Jed Chow. – Sidney Sievers



Lane Harvey (Illinois FFA state vice president), Andrew Davis (Section 18 president), Cheyenne Haltiwanger (Section 18 secretary) and Phoebe Allen (Section 18 reporter) visited G-RF, encouraging members to set personal goals. Davis attends G-RF. Top row, from left, are Lane Harvey, Lane Spray, Layton Starnes and Tyler Adkins; and bottom row, from left, Cheyenne Haltiwanger, Ally Cobble, Sydney Key, Phoebe Allen and Andrew Davis. — Chelby Hall



The girls’ tennis team celebrated Senior Night. From left, are Summer Roesch, Payton Beach, Lanie Celeschi and Riley Cushman. — Sierra Hileman



Students raised $500 in a Soak the Principal fundraiser, presenting a check to freshman Maureen Daly (above) during an assembly. Student council members were excited to present Maureen with the check to sponsor her in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk on Saturday. Daly is going to join the cheer squad during home basketball games this season. At the assembly, she took the court with cheerleaders while they performed the school song. — Lynnae Struck


Homecoming week included daily dress-up days, a bonfire, a parade, a pep rally and a fairytale-themed dance. Seniors won the class competition. Pictured is the student body in homecoming T-shirts on Class Color Day. The photo was taken by Ginger Gonzalez. — Erin Anderson


At the school’s National Honors Society induction ceremony. current members who spoke included Laura Poetzel, Juyoung Choi, Isaac Noteboom, Kyle Stone and Amelia Nelson. — Brayden Riesberg


The Marching Bulldogs took first place in Division 5A at Saturday’s Eastern Illinois Panther Marching Band Festival in Charleston.


Fourth-grade students at Washington Elementary made a banner supporting high school students, also writing on the topic “When I’m in high school I want to ...” — Mary Grace Ross



On Thursday, students from several schools heard from suicide-prevention speaker Kevin Hines, who shared a powerful message inside Westville’s gym, “giving us the reality of what some people go through in their daily lives.” — Maecii Barabas and Emma Myers


The school’s FFA chapter celebrated its 90th anniversary. This year’s officers: Autumn Bruens (president), Austin Jones (VP), Jasmine Miles (secretary), Landon Wilson (treasurer), Lizzy Reutter (reporter), Dalton Busboom (sentinel), Christina White (historian), Maci Kingren (second VP) and Gracie Wagner (third VP). The Poultry Evaluation, Novice Parliamentary Procedure CDE and Agriscience (national finalist) teams have won the state. — Emma Schuler



Hannah Rajlich and Eric Poe were chosen by coach Jason Retz as athletes of September. Candidates participate in cross-country and track and are active in clubs and extra-curriculars. — Mallory Ames



The girls’ golf team celebrated Senior Night with a nine-hole score of 158, with seniors Alaina Bowie (36) and Sammy Miller (41) leading the way. Mia Kirby and Brooke Erhard also played well with scores of 40 and 42. — Noelle Schacht


Juniors and seniors visited Danville Area Community College’s Bremer Auditorium for Kevin Hine’s speech on suicide awareness. — Farrah Anderson



During the FFA Fall Festival, FFA officers took a pie in the face from community members for a fundraiser. Pictured are Morgan Jones, chapter president, and FFA officers, from left, Olivia Fulk, Blake Cruzan, Morgan Jones, Hans Goodmann, Hannah Lemay, Coulson Poffenberger and Caleigh Parsley. — Emma Zimmer


Ahead of last weekend’s gala fundraiser, alumni returned Friday to teach “Alumni Agora” classes and tell of their careers and journey since high school. It is also an opportunity for students to explore future career options and paths. Classes varied from “Truths and Myths of Emergency Medicine” about an alum’s experience working in the ER to “How to Land an Internship in Washington, D.C.” about an alum’s journey from public policy to teaching history. — Erin Minor


Senior Night saw Sanjana Paul win in singles and doubles wins by Devangana Rana and Paul as well as Serena Palacios and Sophia Solava. Pictured, from left, are Stuuti Sharma, Devangana Rana, Sophia Solava, Serena Palacios, Amaris Rodriquez, Daniella Coleman and Sanjana Paul. — Molly Sweeney



Between T-shirt sales, donations, bake sales and other activities, the school donated $4,323.53 to Mills Breast Cancer Institute. It was Year 6 of the Fight Like a Blue Devil campaign to promote breast cancer awareness. Pictured are Haley Sappenfield, Maci Clodfelder, Molly Mixell and Sydney Eisenmenger during the school song at Friday’s pep assembly. — Grace Hutchison