2023-24 High School Confidential: Week 5

By Chicago 18 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

For the last month, the freshman and sophomore English class has been reading the play “12 Angry Men” as well as learning about social politics of the 1950s and the justice system. As a culmination of their unit, students had an in-class performance of the play’s entire second act, complete with props and costumes. Pictured (courtesy Laura Miller): Tey Eagles, Breanna Patten, Oren Akresh and Jack Klien,

— Cassie Patten and Eleanor Laufenberg

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Addison Yeakel set the school’s girls’ bench press and hang-clean max records. She topped the previous bench press record (130) by lifting 135 and the hang-clean mark (135) with 140. Jacob Tighe set the boys’ bench press max record ( 300) with 315. Congratulations to both for their amazing work in the weight room.

— Lilian Edwards

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The marching band finished first at the Dunlap Marching Band Invitational on Oct.14. Last Thursday, senior volleyball players were honored on Senior Night against ALAH. Finally, juniors took a trip to LIFT to check out their class options for the next school year.

— Bianca Arguelles

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The Trojans celebrated a Senior Night victory against Georgetown-Ridge Farm, volleyball and cross-country members recognized. Students arrived in Trojan gear to cheer them on. Pictured, left to right: Brynn Spencer, Gracie Gordon, Ellie Copper, Christine Bailey and Eli Kennel.

— Eli Kennel

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National Honor Society met during homeroom last Thursday to discuss its end-of-the-year gift. They plan on planting a tree this fall that will hopefully bloom in the spring. Of their three options, they chose an Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry tree to plant outside the school near the wooden sign donated by the class of 1983. Pictured, left to right: Joie Auth, Jacob Flach, Erin Rogers, Quinn Flavin, Caroline Hill, Skye Tieman, Gabby Block and Brayden Strack.

— Quinn Flavin

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The football team held Senior Night for its game against Oakwood. Seniors, left to right, Krislynn Kizer, Karson Stevenson, Devin Reed, Enrique Rangel Jr., Logan Hughes, Eli Godwin, Ayden Ingram, Allen Brown, Dane Dillon and Christian Walton were honored for their effort and years of work prior to kickoff. Other fall sports such as soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, golf, cross-country and Devilettes were also announced.

— Krislynn Kizer

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Blue Ridge

Students in Cullen Scurlock’s chemistry 1 class conducted a fun experiment where they used their knowledge of how light and color works. Taylyn Watterson (left) and Romero Fernandez showed their excitement for this experiment.

— Addison Warsaw

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Cerro Gordo

The volleyball team set a record for wins in a season (25), topping the mark of 24 set in 2019 in what was “an extremely important and memorable moment for these girls. With hard work and dedication, they have made this dream become a reality.” Senior outside hitter Ali Walker set records for kills in a match (18), season (336) and career (797). Skye Tieman, a senior libero, broke the record for the digs in a season (476) and career (1,261). Haylei Simpson, a senior setter, set the record for career assists with 1,040.

— Lexi Davis

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Champaign Central

On Saturday, the varsity and junior varsity swim teams won the Big 12 meet at Unit 4 Pool. By a 100-point margin, the win was a meaningful final victory for the senior JV swimmers. The varsity team is now preparing for sectionals on Nov. 4. Pictured are the team’s seniors: Julia Hopkins, Leslie Godinez, Laura Taylor, Olivia Terry, Jocelyn Hoke and Elise Ionin; the team, including head coach Katie VanHootegem Dunn and assistant coaches Abby Krows and Nina Sullivan, pose in the pool after their win.

— Samaira Sandil

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Last Thursday, Jennifer Lorton led Ecoteam to Lake Shelbyville for the annual Ecomeet. Four select students competed in three science subjects including; endangered and threatened species, birds of prey, and glaciers. Pictured: Jennifer Lorton, Addison Phipps, Ali Prisecaru, Ellie Lorton and Sara Goss with their winning faces. They placed fourth in birds of prey and glaciers with an overall standing of fifth place.

— Grayson Strange

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Cissna Park

Last Thursday, Morgan Sinn, Ava Morrical, Regan King and Brooklyn Stadeli were recognized on volleyball Senior Night. Photo courtesy Chase Petry.

— Brooklyn Stadeli

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Last week, the theatre department put on its fall production of “The Diviners.” This play tells the story of a 14-year-old boy in Zion, Ind., who suffers trauma from a near-drowning incident at a young age, causing him to fear water. The cast put on a beautiful performance and received raving, teary-eyed reviews.

— Isaiah Easton

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Last Thursday’s volleyball game was Senior Night. The theme was pink to support breast cancer awareness. Hallways were decorated, fans wore pink and both the junior varsity and varsity teams won their matches.

— Emma Westray

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The students of both Fisher Grade School and Fisher Jr/Sr. High School participated in Socktober last week. Between the two schools, 379 pairs of socks were donated for the homeless community in Champaign-Urbana through the Canteen Run Program. The senior class brought in the most socks an is being rewarded with an ice cream float party. Pictured, student council members with socks collected: (left to right, front row) Melina Luyando, Lizbeth Ramos and Cedar Powell; (middle row) Peyton Sapp, Jenna Clemmons, Eve Detweiler, Morgan Birkey and Conner Diorio; (back row) Daniel Bein, Noah Hurley, Aiden Cheek, Luke Brozenec, Drayton Lutz and Emily Lone.

— Jenna Clemmons

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Georgetown-Ridge Farm

Last Thursday, cheerleaders and football players celebrated Senior Night. It was a bittersweet moment for everyone reminiscing on the last four years. Pictured: Ashlyn Spesard, Leyla Shelton, Maddox Kochvar, George Carswell, Rylan Mosier, Claire Renaker and Libby Wersich.

— Ashlyn Spesard

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Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

National Honor Society inductees were announced ahead of the program on Nov. 7 at the High School. Also, the football team made it to the playoffs and will travel to Aurora Christian for Round 1.

— Rylie Huls

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At last Friday’s monthly meeting, FFA students spent the evening painting pumpkins (pictured: Joshua Stierwalt), eating lots of donuts and sipping apple cider.

— Lillian Montgomery

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Hoopeston Area

The boys’ soccer team beat Watseka 2-1 for a regional title. They finished their season later in the week with a record of 19-6.

— Emmalee Bruens

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Senior involved in golf, football, band and cheerleading were recognized before last Friday night’s home football game against Fieldcrest. Photos courtesy Wendy Brent

— Emily Bogema

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Physics classes worked in groups on building towers for a project. Each group was given the same materials: wood, glue and scissors. The goal was to make the tallest tower that holds at least 5 pounds. The group with the tallest tower received extra credit and, of course, bragging rights. This project focused not only on the coursework, but teamwork as well. Pictured courtesy Olivia Kinney: (left to right): seniors Bjorn Lindsey, Claire Johnson and DeAngelo Hughey; and junior Mike Bambenek.

— Maddie Grindley

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In celebration of Principals Appreciation Week, student council and National Honor Society members wrote positive messages on post-it notes and balloons in a show of appreciation. Pictured: assistant Principal Colin Flaherty (blue) and Principal Steve Totheroh.

— Hunter Mowrey

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Friday’s pep assembly marked the end of the Kiss the Goat competition where senior football captains compete to raise money for charity. Students and staff had two weeks to put money in the bucket of the senior they wanted to kiss the goat. Senior Raiden Colbert (pictured) raised $237.15 and had to kiss the goat. Along with Colbert, Principal Travis Courson (pictured) also had to kiss the goat. Overall, students and staff raised $555.28 to bring the total raised to $3,114.35 for Paint Piatt Pink. Pictured: senior football captains Luke Teschke, Raiden Colbert, Charlie Moore and Trey Welter.

— Tynley Jackson

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On Friday, 14 senior athletes from golf, cheer, cross-country and football were celebrated for their hard work and accomplishments. Picture by Jesse Jones.

— Lucy Krabel

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Art club, along with art 3 and art 4 students, went on a field trip to the Negangard Pumpkin patch, The Idea Store and Meadowbrook Park in Urbana to see the art on the walkways. The students had a great time learning about the sculptures made from different artists. They also made purchases at The Idea Store to bring back to class for a project.

— Lily Chestnut

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Last Friday, PBL celebrated Senior Night for football, band, golf, cross-country and cheer at the football game. There were six cheerleaders announced — and one in spirit. Honorary member Keegynn Martinek and boyfriend Joe Stallone tragically passed away in a car accident last summer. Keegynn had previously cheered for PBL alongside the six students honored on Friday. The girls and everyone at school are remembering them in every way they can: senior sashes on with the back saying Martinek; and two girls wearing pins on the sash with a picture of Martinek and Stallone on it. Cheerleaders will continue to remember Keegynn throughout the school year. Pictured courtesy Madison Warner: (left to right) Brynah Johnson, Chloe Price, Rebecca Lackey, Carley Fauser, Ava King and Caliaynna Jones; and Caliaynna Jones, Crystal Martinek and Chloe Price.

— Rebecca Lackey

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It was volleyball, golf, soccer, football, band, cheerleading and cross-country’s Senior Night last Thursday and Friday nights. The rowdy section was packed for volleyball.

— Ashlee Freeman


St. Joseph-Ogden

The fall play, “Puffs,” played to a great turnout last Saturday and Sunday in school auditorium. It’s one of two student-led productions this year, the spring musical taking in place March.

— Mya Bott

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St. Thomas More

Last Thursday, St. Thomas More hosted a town hall meeting to show support for the Invest in Kids Act. State Sen. Paul Faraci, D-Champaign, and state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, were invited. Faraci accepted the invitation and heard from students and families from families from Bloomington, Champaign and Danville — among others.

— Suhani Garg

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Salt Fork

Student council members volunteered at the North Elementary Book Fair, helping younger students pick out books and toys to take home.

— Macie Russell

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Senior Madison Belton (pictured) celebrated her volleyball Senior Night. Also, congratulations to Maya Jenny for competing at state tennis for the fourth year in a row. Schlarman also is fundraising for breast cancer awareness and the fight against the deadly disease, including several pink nights and an in-school fundraiser.

— Anna Lehmann

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Biology I, biology II and environmental biology classes ventured to Walnut Point in Oakland to observe nature. Students were able to fish, learn about invasive species and hike trails. Teachers Pam Evans and Kendra Saddoris supervised. Water samples were also collected to find invasive species. Pictured, left to right:Kendra Saddoris, Chloe Thompson, Ryder Johnson and Eyan Keys.

— Lydia Richardson

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Fall senior athletes were celebrated at Friday night’s football game. Seniors, left to right: (cheer) Jillian Alexander and Zoe Hochstetler; (cross-country) Jackson Barrett, Will Foltz, Josiah Hortin, Elias Hyld, Lucas Coll-Rubio and Carson Smith; (golf) Christopher Atwater, Brayden Gough, Addisyn Pettry, Addyson Ring, Tyler Thomason and Zoey Thomason. Photo courtesy Tracy Hornaday.

— Brayden Gough

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Uni High

The semi-annual Sprabitat Halloween Haunted House and Carnival on Friday night at historic Kenney Gymnasium was filled with carnival games, pumpkin painting and the traditional cake walk, where students have a chance to win a whole cake. The haunted house took place in one of the locker rooms in Kenney, and many screams were heard throughout the building. Toward the end of the night, attendees who bought a raffle ticket had the chance to pie one of three chosen students in the face. Pictured: Jane Mccumber has her face painted; Walter Kraatz gets pied; and Swapnil Kumar and Gabe Davis get spooky.

— Knox Mynatt

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Student council held their annual Haunted House to kick off their Thanksgiving Food Drive. As always, there was a kid-friendly haunt in the afternoon, followed by a “real” haunted house in the evening. The event raised over $1,500 which will go toward purchasing food to be delivered the weekend before Thanksgiving.

— Tatum Meyer

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Foreigner and Concert Choir students blew the roof off the State Farm Center on Sunday night. The choir joined the band on stage for “I Want to Know What Love Is” in front of thousands to help bring awareness to the lack of funding for music education programs in public schools. “It was a really fun experience,” choir director Becky Park said. “This is definitely the biggest crowd the students have sung for, and they said it really hit them when they were standing on the stage with all the lights in their faces and everyone’s phones waving in the air.”

— Eisla Madigan

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Villa Grove

Last Wednesday, elementary students celebrated the Day of Awesomeness. It gives the kids something to look forward to and also makes them want to be great students so they can be rewarded.

— Alex Brown

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Student council chose Oct. 12 to participate in It’s All in the Jeans Day. Staff paid $5 to wear jeans while students paid $1 to wear PJs or hats. The volleyball team joined the cause with a Pack the Gym Pink Night. Monetary donations of $157 went to the OSF Bobette Steely Hegeler Cancer Care Center. Pictured, right to left: Teacher Matthew Reynolds paid Faith Kinney $5 to wear jeans as sophomores Bleighten Irelan, Carter Ghibaudy, Zach Sloan, Landon Coon, Brandon Sellers and Andres Delatorre paid to wear hats and PJs.

— Irelynn Phelps

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