2023-23 High School Confidential: Week 3

By Chicago 19 Min Read

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Welcome to Year 8 of High School Confidential, powered by Danville Area Community College. It’s an award-winning project made possible by aspiring student journalists from every corner of our circulation area. Each Thursday through April, they’ll tell us what’s happening in their hallways at news-gazette.com.

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

Feedback? Email N-G/VP Jim Rossow at [email protected].

On to this week’s report:

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Academy High

Last week marked the return of the Headline Wednesday program, where students choose and present current event articles to their peers. For its inaugural week, several groups presented on and engaged in passionate discussions about environmental concerns across the globe. Pictured: Emma Rypka and MiaBella Breaux.

— Cassie Patten and Eleanor Laufenberg

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On Oct. 3, 19 juniors went to the Lake Land Career Day, attending sessions supporting their interests like posychology, criminal justice, education and even a cadaver session. Also, marching band worked hard ahead of their first performance last Saturday. They have practices twice a week and come out and support the football program every home game.

— Lilian Edwards

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As part of homecoming week, spirit week consisted of theme day such as Bikers vs. Surfers and Decades Day. Friday night’s football game gave the students a chance to cheer on their team and hang out with friends. The homecoming dance theme was Decades and everyone was attired in their finest (pictured: Cecilia Lozana, Elena Garza and Bianca Arguelles). Kelsey Moore was crowned queen and Raul Guerra king.

— Bianca Arguelles

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Students dressed up in business casual attire for ESPN night and cheered on the volleyball team as they beat Tri-Point. Pictured, left to right: Hayden Johnson, Beckett Moran and Wilson Osberg.

— Eli Kennel

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Members of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America — the biggest club in the school — had their monthly meeting in the gym last Thursday. Many topics were discussed, including “Socktober,” a bake sale to benefit one of our staff members who is currently battling breast cancer, and the upcoming Foods for Families drive in November.

— Quinn Flavin

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The FFA team spent last Wednesday participating in the Section 18 Land Use and Tractor Driving contests. Members observed different soils and decided if they were lacking specific nutrients and its potential of being used for agriculture or a building. For the tractor driving contest, participants drove a John Deere 950 with a manure spreader through an obstacle course and backed it into a shed. Members present included: Gianna Ingargiola, Rileigh Allsopp, Kandace Behrends, Emily Dice, Madison Heidrick and Van Linne.

— Krislynn Kizer

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Blue Ridge

The soccer team beat Meridian on Senior Night, Zach Lewis scored the winning goal. Left to right: Ty Meeker, Brea Flannell, Lewis (back), Sydney Beckman and Tommaso Passero.

— Addison Warsaw

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Last Thursday, Rho Kappa — a social studies honor society — had its first meeting of the school year. They kicked it off with a game of “This or That” to jumpstart conversations and debates and discussed topics like universal health care and mandatory vaccines. They also debated if pineapple belongs on pizza and if mac and cheese is a main dish or side dish. Photos by Mark Sikora.

— Lydia Shaw

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Champaign Central

Illinois’ first high school-level National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter, pioneered by Shaucka Taylor, joined with NAMI Champaign on Saturday at the Strides Against Stigma Walk at Hessel Park. Central’s NAMI held its first meeting last Wednesday and looks forward to spreading awareness and reducing the stigma around mental health on campus. Pictured, left to right: Ellie Walker, Adriana Domanski, Jaelynn Dillard, Shaucka Taylor, Kristy Wilson, (Ms. Wilson’s son), Lindsay Campbell and Jaylee Elsts.

— Samaira Sandil

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On Oct. 1-2, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America students went to statewide Ignite! conference. Chrisman’s 2023-2024 Illinois state officer, Serena Raimer, took part in running the conference as members attended workshops for leadership, listened to keynote speakers for inspiration and planned for the year. Nicole Brown, chapter advisor, attended workshops for alumni development. Pictured behind Brown’s selfie are members, left to right, (back row) Sara Goss, Grayson Strange, Seth Ellis, Levi Crawford, Bradley Beck, Ellie Lorton, (front row) Sabrina Boyer, Leah Phipps, Raimer, Ivie Sayre and Gabby Nolen.

— Grayson Strange

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Cissna Park

Last week, students enjoyed their annual Yearbook Week. The yearbook staff worked hard to create an enjoyable experience for everyone. There were dress-up days, various treats, prizes and — to finish the week off — Yearbook Games on Friday.

— Brooklyn Stadeli

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Saturday marked the 49th annual Viking Invitational as marching bands from high schools across Illinois competed on Whitesell Field for awards across various categories. The night ended with an exhibition performance by the Band of Vikings under drum major Alex Cosat of their show entitled “The Outcasts of Nevermore.”

— Isaiah Easton

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At last Thursday’s annual fall festival, high schoolers helped with games and activities for younger students (pictured: English teacher Anne Anderson). Proceeds from the games will go to their class funds.

— Emma Westray

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The student section, known as the Carrot Crew, has been a great support system for different teams this year. At the home volleyball match lasta Thursday, they sported pink outfits in support of breast cancer awareness. They also helped cheer the Bunnies to a conference win. Volleyball players included: (front row) Kira Becker, Peyton Murphy and Riley Cade; (back row) Kaylen Jones, Paige Ferguson, Jenna Clemmons, Savannah Wiese, Maylie Evans, Sadie Bruggman, Madeline Graves, Paige Hott, Zoey Carleton, Alyssa Jackson, Morgan Birkey, Ella Hazzard and Kiley Bennet. Photo by Kim Clemmons.

— Jenna Clemmons

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Georgetown-Ridge Farm

Senior football players and cheerleaders spent their last day of homecoming week with their favorite tradition: the pillow cases. Each year, seniors get pillow cases to sleep on the night before the big game for good luck. This year’s seniors, left to right, include, Libby Wersich, Dalton Arlington, Leyla Shelton, George Carswell, Ashlyn Spesard, Rylan Mosier, Claire Renaker and Maddox Kochvar. Huge shoutout to the underclassmen cheerleaders for doing such a good job on senior cheerleaders pillow cases.

— Ashlyn Spesard

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Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

The boys’ soccer team improved to a school-record 20-2-0 ahead of the postseason, which starts Saturday against St. Thomas More. Photo courtesy KDarling Photography.

— Rylie Huls

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On Oct. 1, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America officers traveled to Springfield, for the FCCLA Ignite Conference. The group was able to learn and take home many skills including: leadership, community service and professionalism. Pictured, left to right: Brandy Bishop, Arianna Ray, Madi Wilson and Kashton White.

— Lillian Montgomery

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Hoopeston Area

Last Tuesday was Senior night and the Kick Cancer Game for the boys’ soccer team, which wore pink shirts for breast cancer awareness and raised a total of $1,190 for the Sharon L. Bassett Foundation. Seniors were recognized with their families during halftime. The Cornjerkers beat BHRA 7-1 for another conference win. Photos courtesy Ginger Gonzalez.

— Emmalee Bruens

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Judah Christian

Last week’s annual National Honor Society chapel was focused on students and new inductees. Students already inducted take part in the program and pass the torch to newly accepted members. Pictured: Grant Ipsen speaking to the junior and senior high school, inductees speaking their pledge and Megan Yant accepting her certificate of membership.

— Hannah Jackson

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Spanish Club has started the year off strong with their “Dia De Donas” (donuts day) fundraiser, which takes place on the first Friday of every month. The club sells donuts for $2 in the commons before school and uses proceeds for their various projects throughout the year. Last Friday, they sold all eight dozen donuts.

— Maddie Grindley

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The school honored soccer seniors Angel Brittenham and Drake Potter and the volleyball team held Pink Night in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

— Hunter Mowery

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Every Wednesday in October — National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — students are encouraged to wear pink, playing off the phrase “On Wednesday we wear pink” from the movie “Mean Girls.” It helps to show solidarity for people fighting breast cancer. Pictured, left to right: Charlie Ball, Ava Bodine, Lynette Fenelon, Chloe Shapland, Alice Swanson and Reese Patton

— Tynley Jackson

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On Sept. 28, student council put on its first blood drive of the school year. Open to the public, it drew a great turnout, including many students who donated for the first time which is always exciting. Pictured: Belinda Clifton, Principal Kendall Huffman and Brooke Alexander.

— Lucy Krabel

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Last Friday, the cheerleading team held its annual youth clinic for kindergarteners through eighth grade. Cheerleaders created a routine for the kids, and they perform it at halftime of the home football game. After the kids learn the dance, the cheerleaders showed jumps, kicks, stunts and tumbling.

— Lily Chestnut

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Sophomore English teacher Lindsay Jordahl took on the responsibility of teaching a Journalism class for the 2023-2024 school year in hopes of restarting a school newspaper.

Last year, Jordahl challenged her junior English classes to create a “newspaper” to see who would win out of all five classes. The project created a space for students to use their imagination — and in turn inspired Jordahl to pursue a PBL newspaper once again.

This year, the class took notes, researched, did independent studies and obtained as much information as they could before starting. They created a front page and what they wanted the newspaper to look like.

Students interviewed other students and teachers in hopes of generating interest in the Panther Press.

To finish edits on the newspaper before publishing, students in journalism class voted for the sections they wanted in the newspaper, the editorial team they wanted and who they wanted in each section.

The sections voted on: Sports, Op/Ed, Arts & Entertainment and Student Life.

For editors, they voted on: Rebecca Lackey (Editor in Chief), G Sage (Assistant Editor in Chief), Breanna Letner (Op/Ed Editor), Bailey Bruns (Sports Editor), Carley Fauser (Student Life Editor) and Liam Schnebly (Arts & Entertainment Editor).

The rest of the students voted which section they would like to be in plus their editors. Section Op/Ed has Breanna Letner and Ava King; Sports has Bailey Bruns, Andrew Martinez, CJ Boston and Brynah Johnson; Student Life has Carley Fauser, Peyton Duffin, Ariana Coe, Mykielah Diaz and Gretta Inman; and Arts & Entertainment has Liam Schnebly, Ben McPherson, Casen Gallagher and Gray York.

The first publication of the Panther Press comes out this week.

Pictured courtesy Lindsay Jordahl: (front row) Breanna Letner, Bailey Bruns, Carley Fauser and Liam Schnebly; (middle) Rebecca Lackey, Ava King, Brynah Johnson, Peyton Duffin, Ariana Coe, Gray York and G Sage; (back) Andrew Martinez, CJ Boston, Ben McPherson, Gretta Inman and Casen Gallagher. Not pictured: Mykielah Diaz.

— Rebecca Lackey

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Band, football players, cheerleaders, and the flag corp put on a pep rally for the city’s elementary schools. The kids loved it and it made them excited for their future. FFA went to the University of Illinois green hand conference (pictured: Connor King, Lore isaacs, Alex Vance, Cody Culbertson, Jon Couture, Caleb Ward, Ava Martinez, Yovanny solorzano Fuentes, Brynn Nugent, Evelynn Graham, Addyson Sherrick and Khloee McMorris). Finally, at the “Volley for the Cure” volleyball game, the program raised over $500 and donated it to the Mills Breast Cancer Institute at Carle.

— Ashlee Freeman

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St. Thomas More

Students got their school spirit on in an extremely festive homecoming week. It kicked off with House Hallway decorating, continued with spirit week outfits before Sabers “pumped it up” at the pep assembly. Additionally, volleyball honored its only senior, Julia Johnson, on Senior Night.

— Suhani Garg

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Salt Fork

FFA leader Stacey Rickard took members Macie Russell, Brianna Filicsky, Anna McCollum, Michelle Ford, Lily Haga and Kaylee Talbott to volunteer at Catlin Museum for the annual soup supper — aong with the setup crew: Sailor Pacot, Amelia Birge, Wyatt, Shae Cunningham, Myli Hiser, Lilly and Libby. It was a great turnout with amazing food thanks to men and women who volunteered.

— Macie Russell

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Soccer and girls’ tennis teams celebrated Senior Nights. Congratulations to Marquez Davis, Salvador Guerrero, Maya Jenny and Anna Lehmann. The tennis team competes in sectional this week.

— Anna Lehmann

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Students in grades 4-12 heard from guest speakers and the band Attaboy, a group based out of Fort Wayne, Ind., that formed in their college years. They are a faith based band that spoke on the subjects of dealing with anxiety, learning how to deal with rejection, releasing hate and focusing on love. A non-related school event concert was held later that afternoon as students were invited with a ticket and parents could accompany their child.

— Lydia Richardson

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Next up for the boys’ cross-country team: The Central Illinois Conference meet today at Shelbyville. Left to right: Blake McLeese, Xander Neamtu, Will Foltz, Josiah Hortin and Jackson Barrett.

— Brayden Gough

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Uni High

For homecoming Spirit Week, students showed off their highest levels of fashion, highlighted by Twin Day (pictured: Ivy Pullen-Heuman and Jane McCumber), Dress Like a Teacher Day (pictured: Luca Zepeda-Flores and Leon Bromberg) and Barbie/Oppenheimer Day (pictured: Josie Stierwalt, Lisa Spencer, Tessa Waldhoff and Eleanor Kraatz), where a majority of participating students were decked out head to toe in bright pink clothes.

— Knox Mynatt

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Unity Athletic Hall of Famer Gayle Thompson donated the oars he used in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Thompson graduated in 1957 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. The oars will be displayed in the athletic trophy case soon.

— Tatum Meyer

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Marching band competed at the Viking Invitational at Danville, showing their Tiger pride by winning Outstanding Color Guard in Class 4A and Outstanding Percussion in Class 4A and placing second in Class 4A.

— Eisla Madigan

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Villa Grove

As a senior, I asked Principal Sara Jones if I could be a teacher’s aid. She gladly said yes and I’m working with Marci Howard’s kindergarten class on a daily basis. They have shown me that I will love my future job.

— Alex Brown

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Randy Hird asked his Illinois History and his Mystery of History classes to research Westville’s mining past, ask pertinent questions and examine the essence of Westville. Hird and the students explored the Westville Depot museum and then interviewed Mayor Mike Weese as well as miners Fred Burks and Robert (Porky) Sandlin. At the end of the project, students had a newfound appreciation for the town’s proud heritage. Pictured: Hird, Sandlin, Weese and Burks.

— Irelynn Phelps

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