Covering Real Issues for the Students of Portage High School
Portage High School
December 21, 2012
City welcomes in the holidays Katie Peksenak News Editor The countdown began as Portage residents gathered around for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Mayor Jim Snyder did the honor of lighting up the trees along with the faces and spirits of those who attended the event. The day started off with a Chili Lunch and Toys for Tots Drive, which was hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Portage at Willowcreek Middle School. Choir and orchestra members from the middle school performed at the event while Toys For Tots members collected donations. “We’ve been doing this for 12 years and we’re really thankful to have the opportunity of coming to the middle school. With the current economic situation, our main goal is to make sure families who are struggling the most are able to have toys for their children this Christmas. It’s been a great day and we’ve gotten a lot of donations,” Toys for
Tots member Jim Atkinson said. Atkinson is part of the Marine Corp League of Porter County and is actively involved with charities like Toys For Tots. In Porter County alone, Toys For Tots has established 108 collection sites and hopes to have a large turnout this holiday season when help is needed most. WMS eighth grader and orchestra member Tiffany Evans was excited to be a part of this event. “Performing today has been pretty awesome. Just knowing that I was involved with something that serves such a great purpose is a really rewarding feeling,” Evans said. All benefits from the Chili Lunch went toward the Toys For Tots Charity. The organization collected toys and money donations as well. After the Chili Lunch, a short parade occurred, spanning from WMS to Gilbert Park where the ceremony took place. Those involved with the parade included Portage
Portage police officer Joe Mokol reads his children’s book, “The Bottom Shelf Elf” during the ceremony as Portage Mayor James Snyder displays the illustrations. Photo by Miles Motto ROTC members, the Fire Department, Life Point Baptist Church and the WMS Choir. Before the tree lighting, pictures with Santa were available along with horse and buggy
Winter formal date moved to january, venue changed Ashley Conrad News Writer Gather around for the annual winter event of the year: the Winter Formal. Student Council has come to the conclusion there will be a Winter Formal. The Winter Formal will be held on Jan. 19.
“Finding a date is really difficult with all of the sporting events. We don’t want to leave anyone out. Jan. 19 was the only date with no sporting events going on in the evening,” Student Council adviser Candis Carey said. December is a busy month for Student Council, which plans the food drive in late November along with Secret Pals and Toys
for Tots in December. “We are working right now on securing a location. I think part of the fun of having a dance is dressing up and going somewhere fancy so we are looking for a banquet hall that won’t cause the ticket prices to go up much from last year,” Carey said.
See WINTER FORMAL, page 3
Owens to retire from school board
Owens stands with Portage Superintendent Ric Frataccia at her final board meeting on Dec. 17 as he presents her with a gift for her years of service. Owens has served on the School Board for 29 years. She will be succeeded by Jessica Bailey, who takes office on Jan. 14, 2013. Photo by Collin Czilli
Eric Mesarch Content Editor After 29 years of service on the Portage Township School Board, Glenda Owens will soon look forward to all of the traveling she plans to do. Owens will be retiring as a member of the board on her official last day of service, which is Dec. 31. She said the idea of retirement came into her mind after her husband retired from his job just two years ago. Owens plans to do a lot of traveling with her husband upon
retirement. “My husband and I recently purchased a new 28-foot travel trailer and we look forward to exploring our National Parks,” Owens said. Owens said her favorite part about her tenure as a School Board member has been giving back to the community. “I have been a contributing member of something so much bigger than myself,” Owens said. “Serving has allowed me to give back to the community in a special way. When I was in the schools and got to see the staff and kids interact and be excited about learning, I would realize, ‘That’s what it is really all
about.’ It felt really good to be a part of that experience.” In addition to what Owens has done for the community and PTS, she said her favorite memory as a member was when she had the privilege of handing her own three daughters their high school diplomas when they graduated from PHS. One of the most inspiring moments for Owens was when she attended a session during the National School Board Conference years ago and was able to speak to a former world leader.
See OWENS, page 2
rides. The Myers Elementary School Student Council hosted a bake sale as well.
See TREE LIGHTING, page 3
Ivy Tech to offer new vocational at portage Collin Czilli Opinion Editor Portage High School students that are looking for high paying jobs may have an opportunity to garner one year of a college education while still students in high school. Ivy Tech’s Steel Worker of the Future program is looking to expand to PHS and hold dual credit classes that will allow students to begin work at ArcelorMittal after the passage of a test or completion of one additional year at Ivy Tech to earn an associate degree. According to Assistant Superintendent Tom Taylor, Ivy Tech approached the schools inquiring if they would be interested in collaborating to offer select dual credit courses at the high school that would allow students to enter either ArcelorMittal’s training program or attend Ivy Tech for one additional year to earn an associate degree. Completion of either program guarantees employment at ArcelorMittal. “Dr. [E. Ric] Frataccia had a conversation with a gentleman from Ivy Tech about a couple of programs that Ivy Tech had initiated and asked if Portage would be interested in being involved with it,” Taylor said. “ArcelorMittal contacted Ivy Tech a year ago to say that due to retirements and other reasons, they were looking for about 250 to 300 mechanical techs and electrical techs per year to replace those people that are retiring, and they were unable to fill those positions.” After being contacted by ArcelorMittal, Ivy Tech began to create the curriculum for the program that is currently being taught at its East Chicago and Valparaiso campuses. The program is a combination of courses in algebra, physics, speech, welding, electrical basics and hydraulics. “Ivy Tech’s interest is that they are having trouble filling those positions as well,” Taylor said. “They [Ivy Tech] and Arcelor are somewhat troubled by the whole thing because these are programs, that if you complete them, ArcelorMittal will hire you immediately and put you in a millwright or electrician position making somewhere between $25 and $30 per hour with full benefits.”
See VOCATIONAL, page 2
Texas Roadhouse opens Joshua Lewis Features Editor
New restaurants can become a common sight as cities urbanize, but Texas Roadhouse has qualities that help it stand out from the rest of the competition. Texas Roadhouse is a sit-down restaurant located on Route 6 that opened Dec. 17. Recently, Texas Roadhouse hired senior Stephanie Upton and, despite having only been employed by the restaurant for a short time, the experience has changed her for the better. “My experience at Texas Roadhouse has been amazing. Everyone there is so nice and Portage citizens wait to be seated at the grand opening of the new Texas Roadit has made me such an outgoing person. I’m house located on Route 6 in Portage. Photo by Ian DePerio not shy to dance in front of people or be silly,” Upton said. “[Portage is] a town with few restaurants and we thought we The restaurant creates a friendly environcould come to be the place to eat in town,” Giltrap said. ment by holding line dances where employees and visitors can Recently, Texas Roadhouse was voted by the American trade join in. publication, Nation’s Restaurant News, as the number one steak According to Upton, Texas Roadhouse will attract students and Portage residents to visit through its fun atmosphere and by house in America. Upton said that Texas Roadhouse has unique foods, includhaving many students as employees. ing side-dishes and salad dressings made from scratch, ribs Managing partner Douglas Giltrap said Texas Roadhouse that fall off the bone, and fresh bread that is baked every five enjoys giving back to the community. minutes. She said all the steaks served in the restaurant are cut “We partner up with charities and try to give a great place in-house. for people to eat with entertainment. We give back to the comTexas Roadhouse has shaken up the selection of restaurants munity any way we can and have already donated $5,000 to the for students to eat at after school with its upbeat atmosphere Portage Parks,” Giltrap said. where students can line dance and enjoy fresh dishes with their Portage built the restaurant in order to accommodate the friends. city’s growing necessity for places for residents to eat and relax.
Vocationals Continued from page 1
Upon implementation of the program, junior and senior students will have the opportunity to take certain classes that would work to fulfill the first year of the two-year program. Upon completion of the first year, students in the program will have the opportunity to continue their education at Ivy Tech to earn their associate degree or enter ArcelorMittal’s in-house program and begin work immediately out of high school. According to Taylor, ArcelorMittal will hire students the summer prior to their second year in order for the students to work and pay off their second year of the program. In addition to the steel worker program, Ivy Tech is considering adding an energy technician program. “Following a similar curriculum, one year at Portage High School and one year at Ivy Tech, a student would be hired by one of the power plants or energy providers in Indiana,” Taylor said. “That could be NIPSCO, Indianapolis Public Power, Duke Energy or any other companies that participate in the program.” Energy program careers include electrical distribution, power plant operations or in gas distribution. Portage is working to create the same ability of earning an associate degree with one year of education at Ivy Tech in the energy program as it is within the steel worker program. Administrators are looking to expand the current vocational program to offer a core-curriculum that will allow students that wish to enter both the energy and steel worker programs as well as programs such as business administration and health careers. “What we are trying to come up with is a curriculum that will allow students to earn an associate degree with one year at Ivy Tech,” Taylor said. “It could be as a steel worker, energy technician, businessman, nurse or in other health careers.” Portage hopes to implement the programs by the start of the 2013 school year but are dependent on the ability to offer the select courses as dual credit.
Students pay it forward Some teachers, such as Paula Wiese and Cindy Stojic, All over Portage worked together to achieve their goal. They wanted to High School, second News Writer raise money for an Angel Tree family, and also for the mod. classes have Comfort Dog Program, and Prince’s retirement. worked as groups to “The students decided they would have a bake sale to raise money for different causes that they find important. raise money for Angel Tree and they wanted to support This year, almost all second mods are doing something Prince’s retirement and help getting the to help for the Pay It Forward project. Many new dog. Our date for the bake sale was for classes are doing things around the community, “Seventeen of my Dec. 7 during SSR. Any student in the two like Aaron Riegle’s Advanced Mixed Choir, students signed up classes could bake anything that could fit which will be singing at a Nursing Home. Some to help make this into a Ziplock bag,” Wiese said. classes are doing projects in school, and others low-cost tradition The classes raised $160, $107 of which are even taking time outside of school to raise for a safe place to was spent at WalMart on their Angel money. Carrie Martin’s second mod. did a YMCA visit Santa, eat, play Tree family. The rest of the money went visit for “An Evening With Santa.” They games and do crafts towards the Comfort Dog Program and Prince’s retirement. worked with children in the community and possible for the Jennifer Magallenes’s second mod. helped out with face painting and other community.” is taking a different approach, directly activities. The evening took place on Dec. 7. affecting the whole school. They hosted an “Seventeen of my students signed up to help -Carrie Martin, English Teacher event called “Stop The Bop,” which caused make this low-cost tradition for a safe place an annoying song to play over the public to visit Santa, eat, play games, and do crafts address system at the beginning and end of possible for the community,” Martin said. each day. Students were asked to donate money to “Stop Beth Carl’s special education second mod. is also The Bop.” Their set goal was $1,000. participating in the project. They hosted a rummage sale Other projects being done around the school for Pay It along with a bake sale so that they could raise money for Forward are family sponsorings, angel trees, Toys for Tots homeless PHS students, and money for the Hurricane and care packages to soldiers. Sandy victims.
Continued from page 1 “I was privileged to hear former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk, who served during the Apartheid, share what it was like to lead during such a difficult time,” Owens said. “His quote, ‘It is never wrong to do the right thing,’ made a lasting impression on me and comes to mind when tough “My service decisions have to has provided be made.” the opportunity Owens believes to expand my the time on School Board service has horizon, go beyond greatly influenced my comfort zone her as a person. and grow as an “In reflection individual.” of my 29 years, I -Glenda Owens, am grateful for the School Board Member friendships that have been formed and to the community for their trust given to me to be part of their children’s education,” Owens said. “My service has provided the opportunity to expand my horizon, go beyond my comfort zone and grow as an individual. I am a better person for having served.”
A student works on her class’s second mod service project. Each class worked on a project during the month of December leading up to the holiday season. Photo provided
Barnabas travels to East Coast Emily Evans Design Editor
Tim Engle (left) with Barnabas and his friends. Photo provided
While Portage High School is privileged enough to have Prince the Compassionate K-9, victims of October’s Hurricane Sandy were given the chance to meet Barnabas, another comfort dog that visited the east coast with Pastor Tim Engel for four days in November. “Barney and I went to New York and New Jersey to provide emotional and spiritual care for the survivors of the storm. We visited schools, relief centers and shelters,” Engel said. “There was a man named Mark who was probably struggling to get by before the storm hit. He met the dogs at a relief center we visited and couldn’t get enough of them.” Engle has been Barnabas’s handler for two years, after Barnabas was donated to the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in
November 2010. Engel’s main responsibilities focus on keeping Barnabas safe and healthy. “Sometimes that means looking out for wheelchair wheels when we visit a nursing home. Other times, it means keeping little children from poking him in the eye when they pet him. I often tell Barney, ‘You’re my partner. I always have your back,’” Engel said. Engel feels that his travels to help and encourage victims of Hurricane Sandy were extremely beneficial. “Barney and the other two comfort dogs on our team were always welcomed wherever we went,” Engel said. “The most rewarding part of our work was visiting a church in Forked River, N.J., that was serving meals. That’s what our trip was all about, providing emotional and spiritual comfort and care for the disaster survivors.”
December 21, 2012
Drill team places first, has major inspection Katie Peksenak
Master Sgt. Edwin Bowers attended the competition and was impressed with the group. “There were about 12 teams and we placed first. This is The Portage High School JROTC competed in a drill the best we’ve done in a couple years and I believe it is due meet at the Purdue University campus in Lafayette on to the dedication of our students. They have put a lot of Dec. 8. Drill meets consist of multiple extra hours in this year,” Bowers said. “Our competition performances by several teams from each Every year JROTC has an inspecschool in the area. There are different cattion. Inspectors from outside of the went surprisingly egories, including Individual Drill Routine school come to PHS and inspect the well. We were platoons, exhibition teams, inspection team as a complete group, rather than a bit nervous teams and color guards. by class. Every other year, the regional Senior Briana Ammeson competes on director comes to inspect the team. Last about how the the inspection team along with the IDR year when he visited, the team managed competition would platoon. to win the Marine Corp Reserve Officers go, considering “Our competition went surprisingly Association award, which is a very preswell. We were a bit nervous about how the tigious honor. JROTC had their most we usually have a competition would go, considering we usurecent inspection this past Wednesday. harder time at that ally have a harder time at that particular For a JROTC inspection, it is necesparticular school. school. We placed in several of our teams sary to keep a tidy uniform, making and managed to win first overall,” Ammesure it is free of loose threads or hairs. We placed in several son said Having a good grasp of basic knowledge of our teams and Junior Ashley McDaniels competes on is important as well. Cadets are given managed to win first general knowledge sheets at the beginthe armed exhibition squad along with the armed and unarmed IDR platoon. She felt ning of the year and should also know overall.” that the competition was not as strong as it facts about Marine Corp history, the flag -Senior Briana has been in previous years. and basic drill information. Ammeson “I didn’t expect to do as well as we did “During inspection, every facet of this year at the Lafayette competition. our program is examined. It is not only The competition lacked more than it has in based on the way the students dress and previous years, but we did really well overall,” McDaniels behave, but also how we run our program as a whole,” said. Bowers said.
Senior Shane Brayton practices his routine in preparation for the JROTC Drill Team Competition. Photo by Nick Jordan
Tree Lighting Continued from page 1
Winter Formal Continued from page 1
“All the children need to gather around and listen closely. This is a very, very special treat,” Snyder said. This“treat” Snyder mentioned was Portage Police Officer Joe Mokol, who recently published a children’s novel called “The Bottom Shelf Elf.” Mokol did the honor of reading his story to the children, who circled around while Snyder followed along, holding up the pictures from each page as it was read. Once the story was finished, Mokol and Snyder quizzed the children on ideas discussed in the book, giving out copies to those who answered correctly. After the questioning, everyone closed in and counted down from ten to watch Snyder light up the park and trees. “This is our first year lighting up this area. I’m anxious and excited to see what it is going
The sectional dates for athletics were not posted on the athletic calendar, which created confusion in planning the Winter Formal. After going through and picking out all the dates of athletic events for December, Winter Formal would have been a conflict for events. “I think it is very important to select a date that all students of Portage High School have an opportunity to attend. This can be difficult with all the athletic and club activities we offer throughout the year. Hopefully, great after holiday sales will provide some sales for the special outfit for the evening,” assistant principal Jennifer Sass said. Student Council wanted to make sure the dance would be during a time that all its time and attention would be devoted to
to look like,” Snyder said before the countdown. Once the countdown and ceremony was over, Snyder shared a few words. “The ceremony went really well and we expect to have even more participants next year. We have a very talented workforce here and Officer Mokol’s reading was great,” Snyder said. In regard to it being Mayor Snyder’s first year involved with the tree lighting, he switched a few things up. “We changed the direction of the lights because we want more people to be able to enjoy them,” Snyder said. “Willowcreek is the busiest road in Portage and we plan on working each year to put more and more lights up in each direction.”
making the formal a wonderful experience. With December being a very expensive month for some families, having a formal in January will help make it more affordable to attend. Sophomore Jessica Ershick attended last year’s Winter Formal and enjoyed the theme, Candy Land, and the atmosphere. However, she would have preferred the formal to be at a hall with more room and a better atmosphere, away from school. Last year’s Winter Formal was held in the East cafeteria and commons. “Last year’s Winter Formal was extraordinary but if it was in a banquet hall with room for more decorations and people would have made it better. Having it in January would be better for a more ‘winter vibe,’” Ershick said.
Students bring positivity Emily Evans Design Editor In life, a friendly compliment can go a long way. At Portage High School, two Facebook pages have taken these compliments to a whole new level. “It’s nice that there are people in our community who pay attention to more than just the bad things about people. Whoever originally thought of this, you’re a key player in what makes Portage such an amazing school,” senior David Burr said. The pages were started by senior Vanessa Benak and two sophomore girls who wish to remain nameless. “Chesterton High School created a compliment page and I saw how happy it made the students, so I decided to make one for Portage,” Benak said. PHS Compliments and Portage High School Compliments have only one rule, message a compliment and it will be posted. “When I first created the page a ton of compliments came in for about a
The Portage High School Compliments page was started by two sophomore girls to help brighten another person’s day. week, and after a while it died down and now I only get maybe 5-8 a day,” Benak said. One PHS teacher that was complimented, Richard Kretz, felt humbled at the prospect of a student posting their appreciation. “Sometimes teaching is a thankless job, but little experiences like this are the most rewarding. It’s nice to know that our work is appreciated because we as teachers appreciate all the hard work our students are willing to do,” Kretz said. Senior Marissa Prentice was one student compli-
mented. According to Prentice, this act of kindness has made a big difference in her life. “I felt that I was doing something right if I was being recognized for making a positive impact on my classmates,” Prentice said. Other schools in the area have followed suit and created their own complimenting pages, allowing PHS to set a good example this holiday season. “To anyone who hasn’t gotten a compliment yet, you’re just as deserving of one and you’re all beautiful people,” Prentice said.
wrestling program still thriving in second year under leroy vega team takes on many the state’s top Brandon Vickrey of teams to better Editor-in-Chief prepare itself for the state tournament. When Leroy Vega Last season, the returned to his alma mater Indians wrestled eight of last season to take over as the top 10 teams in the head wrestling coach, he state. This season, Portage inherited a program with competed against the third, a rich wrestling history. fourth, fifth and seventh Although Portage won its ranked team in the state. fifth consecutive wrestling “I’m a big believer of sectional championship last you having to wrestle the year, the coaching staff has best to become the best,” a desire for further success. Vega said. “I’d rather be “I don’t want to say we 12-12 wrestling all those were down, but we were teams than be 18-0 and down in Portage wrestling when we get to the state terms,” Vega said. “There tournament, we get our are a lot of sports that butts kicked. Our kids know would love to win five what big matches are.” sectionals in a row, but that According to Vega, wasn’t enough. We’re doing seniors Jake Wright and everything we can to get Jason Spence are two of the back on top.” team’s vocal leaders this The long-term plans for season. the PHS wrestling program Wright is also an center around freshman example of someone whose Gaige Torres. Torres, who record did not reflect his has national wrestling performance a year ago. He experience, will immediately was 20-18 on the season fill a leadership role for the against top tier competition Indians. when he beat a wrestler who “Gaige isn’t your typical was 36-1. freshman,” Vega said. “I’ve “We knew we were going been coaching Gaige since to win that match because he was about four years old that guy hadn’t wrestled when I had Vega Wrestling. anybody,” Vega said. His experience is huge for Senior Julian Torres, us, especially coming in as a another team leader, placed freshman. His experience is sixth in the state in his nice for us.” weight class last season. He The Portage wrestling said he has learned from
Vega on and off the mat. “He pushes all of us to become better wrestlers and better people,” Julian Torres said. “He’s always saying ‘It’s never good enough,’ and that makes us want to go harder and never settle.” Vega stressed the importance of “taking it one day at a time.” “It’s easy to look ahead and say, ‘I wish I could win it tomorrow,’ but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to put the time into your youth program and your coaching staff letting them know that you believe in them and they believe in you,” he said. The Indians opened the head-to-head season in style on Dec. 5 with a 40-24 road upset victory over Merrillville. “Every single guy in our lineup went out there and did their job, whether it was winning a swing match, getting bonus points or not giving them up,” Torres said. Julian Torres attributes the team’s early season success to the fact that it is “truly a team.” “We are a bunch of guys that go into practice every day, push each other, make each other better and work together,” Torres said. “We have each other’s back no matter what.”
Top: Junior Travis Williams shakes hands prior to his match against Michigan City. Bottom: JuniorJohnny Duque takes down a Michigan City wrestler during Portage’s first head-to-head match this season. Photos by Kiley Jones
Portage basketball teams set for holiday tournaments in Richmond and Northridge Peyton Hulse Sports Editor For the boys basketball team, the upcoming Richmond Tournament is more than just a chance for the team to shine. Head coach Rick Snodgrass said this tournament is a great opportunity for the players to not only play teams out of the Region, but to play the team that is defending a state championship. “We’re going to bond and we’re going to do everything together, it’s a great team chemistry tournament,” Snodgrass said. Portage will first play Guerin Catholic, a team from Indianapolis that snagged the 3A championship last year.
“As good as Guerin Catholic is, our DAC teams are tough and they prepare us in that aspect,” Snodgrass said. Snodgrass said although the goal is to win the tournament, there is a lot more he wants the team to take home from this weekend. “I’ve always believed and done this every year I’ve coached, I want the kids to enjoy it because this is a great experience,” Snodgrass said. Snodgrass also said that the exposure the players get, as well as the school, during this tournament is extremely positive. Most players have participated in this tournament in previous years, but for others it is their first time. Sophomore Jordan Simpson said he is excited for the tournament, and he is ready to take on the challenge. “I just want them to enjoy it, it is supposed to be fun,” Snodgrass said. “The pressure of everything in a tournament is what you put on and I think that this prepares us for the tournament at the end of the year where it’s a one and done situation. I want them to enjoy it, have fun and go there to win.”
Junior Peter Psomadelis guards Valparaiso junior Bret Boetel during a game at PHS on Dec. 7. The Indians lost the game 53-43. Photo by Jessica Marquez |PortageLife.com
Lauren Winicky Sports Writer While most students will be out enjoying their winter break, the girls varsity basketball team will be battling it out at Northridge High School. The Northridge Tournament takes place on Dec. 27-28 in Middlebury, Ind. Northridge, Columbia City and Andrean are in Portage’s pool. “This tournament will be a good measuring stick to see where we are as a team. It gives us a chance to win a championship and prepare for sectional play as well. We will get to see new competition which will challenge us,” head coach Chris Seibert said. The Indians start the tournament off Thursday morning against Northridge at 9 a.m. Including Portage, eight teams will be attending the tournament. “The competition will be tough, but as long as we play our game we should do pretty well. Getting four wins would be great and would really give us a boost right before we play the DAC teams again,” senior Alyssa Tampier said. Seibert said that every practice and every game is preparation for the tournament. Seibert also said depth is a major focus, starters will get tired so we can expect to see players that do not play as much. “The ladies play four games in two
days,” Seibert said. “It’ll be mentally and physically challenging. “We are building up to be in the best shape possible for the tournament.” Sophomore Kaitlin Doud said that seeing new competition will help them in the long run because it will help them prepare for DAC play. “It’s time to prove what we are made of,” Doud said.
Sophomore Kaitlin Doud dribbles the ball during the girls varsity basketball game against Michigan City on Nov. 30. Portage lost the game 61-47. The Indians play in the Northridge tournament Dec. 27-28. Photo by Olivia Forrester
December 21, 2012
Harlem Wizards help football raise money Alexis Coffman Sports Writer
Entertainment was brought to Portage, onSaturday Dec. 8. The Harlem Wizards came to play the teachers and faculty to fundraise for the varsity football team. The money goes to toward paying for new jerseys, pants and repainting helmets and according HarlemWizards.com, they raise millions of dollars for charities, organizations, fundraisers and for schools. At the game, head football coach Wally McCormack was handing out prizes and thought the game was well organized. “We hired the team to come play. The booster club and Jen Donohue got the team to come here and put on a great show,” McCormack said. “We nearly had 2,000 people come to the event.” Assistant football coach John Toland was happy to see the kids having a blast during the game. Although Toland did not play, he was still there for fun. “I thought the game was very good entertainment and seeing the little kids having fun was great,” Toland said. “Everyone I saw was enjoying themselves and it was a great family event.” English teacher Derek Hart cracked a joke before going against the Wizards and how they were chosen to play against a worldwide team while warming up before the game. “We were chosen to go against the Wizards by going to try out at the All State Arena,” Hart said. “What I really think they did is chose different teachers for the game, but picked the ones who were less likely to get hurt.”
The jokes against the two teams did not stop for the rest of the game. During the game, while the Portage P.E.A.K. team was losing to the Wizards, teachers received bonus points because the Wizards “felt generous that night.” The Wizards did slam dunks and tricks and defeated the teachers and faculty 80-71. According to David “DP” Paul, he has been playing for the Wizards since he was in college. Ever since then, he has been going worldwide. “We are very similar to the Globetrotters, but very different,” Paul said. “We are having a nice time; we are looking forward to raising money for the football team. Seeing all the schools join for this event is awesome and I am excited to meet some of the people who showed up tonight.” James “Roadrunner” Tyndal was open to talk before the game and to see all the kids getting pumped. “We always have a good time. We get everybody involved, but most of all we want to make the kids happy,” Tyndal said. The Wizards handed out prizes and souvenirs during the game. They also had Portage Township School students of all ages come down to the court to do “Simon Says.” The Harlem Wizards have been a basketball team for 50 years and are kicking it off with a 50 year anniversary tour. The leader of the Wizards, Eric “Broadway” Jones, has been doing all he can for the team and the fans since he began 15 years ago. “Playing for 15 years and fortunately being a professional team is a great experience, but seeing everyone having a blast is awesome. Seeing a turnout this big, we try to give them the best show possible and let them know we appreciate being here,” Jones said.
Harlem Wizards argue with Portage Township Schools Superintendent Ric Frataccia over a play during the game. Frataccia served as the game’s official.Photo by Taylor Mlynski
Simpson starts varsity career on high note Peyton Hulse Sports Editor
Sophomore Jordan Simpson looks for a teammate in Portage’s game against Chesterton on Dec. 14. Photo by Taylor Searcy
Many athletes start participating in sports at a young age, but sophomore Jordan Simpson does not let his late start hold him back. It was not until fifth grade when one of Simpson’s teachers pointed out his talents during a competitive free game of basketball. “I just love shooting the ball, and the game in general,” Simpson said. Head coach, Rick Snodgrass said the whole team has grown substantially, including Simpson. Snodgrass said Simpson had time to prepare for varsity when he moved from the freshmen team to the junior varsity team last season, and that he matured greatly over the summer. “His teammates have done a great job of getting the ball to him when he is open and he has done a great job knocking the shots down for us,” Snodgrass said. Snodgrass said that Simpson’s biggest strength as a player is his work ethic and determination to improve on a day-to-day basis. “He wants to get better every day and knows there’s areas of his game he needs to improve,” Snodgrass said. “I think he’s taken everything
that the coaching staff has given him from the teaching aspect as well as putting extra work in on his own. I think that’s the biggest key to his success so far.” Snodgrass said that as Simpson goes on he is going to face more challenges. “Now everyone knows about him. He’s a marked man, other teams are going to put a lot more pressure on him,” Snodgrass said. Snodgrass said Simpson can counter act this by improving on shooting off the dribble and getting rebounds. “It’s going to make him a more complete ball player, he has the ability to do that,” Snodgrass said. Simpson may have accomplished a lot as a sophomore, but he still plans on improveming his game. “My main goal for the season is to get better and improve as a player,” Simpson said. Simpson started off his season strong by scoring 17 points against Highland, 18 points against Michigan City and 20 points against Hobart. Simpson said he also plans on continuing playing basketball throughout high school and even plans to play at a college level at Kentucky State University.
Mulroe gains unique perspective as umpire When Portage High School Editor-in-Chief social studies teacher and assistant golf coach Phil Mulroe flipped on the television to watch afternoon Cubs games on WGN during his childhood, his perspective was a little different from most children his age. While others idolized the players on the field, Mulroe’s attention was focused on the umpiring crews. At age 13, he already knew that he wanted to become an umpire. Mulroe’s dreams were realized when he spent four years as a minor league baseball umpire in the affiliated ranks from 2004 to 2007. “Umpiring guys that are now on TV every night [playing Major League Baseball] is a cool thing,” Mulroe said. “Some more than others because there are some guys that are nice guys and some that aren’t.” Current MLB players that Mulroe umpired for include Jay Bruce, Hunster Pence, Ben Zobrist, Neil Walker, Ian Desmond and Danny Valencia. After graduating from Portage High School, Mulroe attended one year of college studying elementary education, but he knew that his heart was in umpiring. He eventually decided to travel to Kissimmee, Fla. for umpiring school, which was a demanding five week course with six days of classes and training per week.
They spent half of each day inside doing rules and tests, while the afternoon was spent outside. He was featured in a photo in a newspaper in Auburn, N.Y. the day after an argument with a team’s manager on a call at second base. “That was a prime example of when nothing happens for nine innings and then all of the sudden it blows up,” Mulroe said. “We have an ejection and the [the argument] happens. I wake up, get the paper and the picture is the sports section teaser and then it appears bigger in the sports section.” Mulroe, who started his career as a recreational softball umpire in 1998, left umpiring and returned to school to become a teacher. Minor League Baseball released him after he suffered a concussion in 2005 and again in 2007. “The concussions were sustained while working the plate and being struck by foul balls,” he said. “It was not one single blow, but the impact of being struck by a ball once every other night for about 10 days did the trick. They (MiLB) made my decision easier, because my health was at risk every time I got behind the plate.” Although he no longer umpires baseball, he remains active as a basketball official for high school, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Division-III and junior college (JUCO). He also serves as an assigner for local high school baseball games, a role that entails assigning umpires and organizing
meetings. He will step down from that role after this season to focus on basketball. His basketball slate includes approximately 45 games this season, which is relatively light compared to about 70 games in past years. Mulroe said he has a unique perspective when he watches games on television or from the stands. “I’ll flip on the TV to see who’s umpiring,” he said. “If it’s someone who I don’t think is too exciting to watch, I won’t watch the game. In basketball, the fans watch where the ball is at. That’s their focus. I watch off the ball, the lead official, the guy who’s under the basket or watch what the other officials are looking at off the ball.” Mulroe said his favorite Major League umpire to watch is Dale Scott. He also enjoys watching some of the “younger” umpires such as Dan Iassogna, Jeff Nelson, Rob Drake and Christ Guccione. Mulroe encourages high school students who are looking for a way to stay active in sports and make some money to take up umpiring or officiating. “Officials are definitely not getting any younger,” he said. “We’re at a point where I don’t know how we’re going to get younger people involved, honestly. It’s a great way to college, and intermural programs need officials. Making $50 to go work a JV basketball game for about an hour of work is not terrible money at all; it’s better than flipping burgers. I would encourage anybody who has interest in the sport to check it out.”
Opinion 6 Editor-in-Chief Brandon Vickrey Content Editor Eric Mesarch Design Editor Emily Evans Opinion Editor Collin Czilli News Editor Katie Peksenak Features Editor Joshua Lewis Sports Editor Peyton Hulse Photo Editor Olivia Forrester Sports Writers Alexis Coffman Caleb Ingersoll Lauren Winicky News Writers Ashley Conrad Angela Dornbos Mallory Lopez Brandon Weis Features Writers Tyra Allen Emily Hensley Alexis Sosa Photographers Ian DePerio Taylor Mlynski Miles Motto Taylor Searcy Adviser Melissa Deavers-Lowie Pow Wow Editorial Policy The Pow Wow is a student-produced newspaper. As an open-forum publication, we do accept lettersto-the-editor. All letters must be grammatically correct, free from errors and 200 words or less. Letters must include your name. E-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters will be run in the next available issue of the newspaper.
Do not blame tragedy on lack of religion in schools Collin Czilli Opinion Editor
email@example.com Dec. 14, 2012 is a day that will be remembered in history along with Sept. 11, 2001 and April 20, 1999. Dec. 14 was a day that 20 children and six adults were killed inside the walls of Sandy Hook Elementary. By now, most, if not all, know about the tragedy and what occurred just 10 minutes into the start of the school day. Police reports indicate that Adam Lanza entered the school and shot the principal and the school psychologist. Lanza then went on to shoot 25 other people. Unfortunately, some have blamed the government, and not the shooter, for this tragedy. Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee believes that the reason these school shootings occur is because the United States has removed God and religion from the schools and public discussion, thus it should be no surprise that massacres, like the one that happened in Newtown, are because God is no
longer in the schools. “We ask why there’s violence in our school but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability.” These senseless killings have nothing to do with religion or the so-called removal of God from the classroom. If the shootings could have been prevented by religion in public schools, the same should be true of Sept. 11 or the Sikh temple shootings in Wisconsin. Of the 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11, some must have been religious. Six people died within the walls of a religious house of worship in Wisconsin; I would hope that they would be religious and with God. “We don’t have a crime problem, or a gun problem, or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem,” Huckabee said after the July shooting in Aurora, Colo. on Fox News. “And since we’ve ordered God out of
our schools and communities; the military and public conversations, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.” Governor Huckabee’s claim has absolutely no merit. He fails to remember that shootings have occurred at religious schools as well. On Oct. 2, 2006 Charles Roberts walked into the West Nickel Mines School, a one room Amish school house and killed five of the students; not one them was older than 13. If an Amish school house does not qualify as a place where religion is present, what does? These shootings could happen anywhere and at any time. The only person who knows that something like this is going to happen is the perpetrator himself. These terrible events have nothing to do with God and religion. If he honestly believes that none of the children involved were religious and that the teachers killed did not believe in God, that is his right to believe in that view, but the Constitution also says that there is a separation of church and state. If God were in the school, this would have still happened, because it has before. His comments are distasteful and do not help a grieving nation, parents or students. We must honor the memory of those killed, not direct blame on the “removal” of God from public institutions.
Show more respect for teachers Eric Mesarch Content Editor
firstname.lastname@example.org So many times during the week, I see students during class that are blatantly rude to their teachers for absolutely no reason. This personally grinds my gears. The whole purpose of coming to school is to obtain a good education and prepare yourself for college and the working world, not to play games on your phones when the teacher is not looking, take naps every single day and talk condescendingly toward your teacher for no apparent reason. When a teacher catches you doing something that you are not supposed to be, simply accept defeat and move on. Do not proceed to make the situation worse for yourself by talking back or trying to make it seem like you were not doing anything wrong. On the other hand, teachers make mistakes, too, so if they were to accuse you of doing something you are really not doing, do not get so offended that you proceed to get snotty and rude. Just simply tell them you were not doing that and explain what was mistaken. “It’s sort of on the ridiculous side because
by arguing with the teacher, you are just digging yourself a bigger hole,” social studies teacher Cathy Nye said. “Whether or not you like a teacher or don’t like a teacher, it really doesn’t matter; it all goes back to the idea of respect and that as your teacher, I deserve your respect.” I will admit to taking naps during class, but this is simply because there was nothing going on that day. I was not being instructed during that time. However, I have never lashed back at a teacher if they caught me doing something wrong. It’s simply a matter of respect as a person and the idea that they are using their time to help all of us prepare for our lives that are ahead of us, only to eventually get disrespected. English teacher James Downes said students lashing back at their teachers bring out the idea that you should “never bite the hand that feeds you.” “It is a complete and total lack of respect for human dignity, whether it’s a teacher’s dignity, a fellow student’s and, more importantly, themselves to take advantage of what’s being handed to them,” Downes said. “We’re in this job never to get rich; money is not the consideration. It’s because we believe
in a life of service to others, so our whole method of being here is to help students. And when they lash back like that, it’s horrendous to me, and it’s not the way I was raised.” English teacher Josh Cavan said he believes situations like these represent larger issues that we have in society. “A lot of people don’t want to take responsibility for their actions,” Cavan said. “For example, when it comes to a poor grade in a class, the easiest thing to do is say, ‘You gave me that poor grade,’ rather than saying, ‘How am I earning this poor grade?’” Assistant principal John Zack said consequences on talking back to teachers depend on how long the situation lasts and how severe the situation gets. He said that if students gets caught with their cell phones and it is their first offense, a Wednesday class will be issued. However, if a student starts talking back or cursing at a teacher, these actions could result in a suspension of up to five days. So, I do not see why people even try to argue with the staff, whether they get caught doing something wrong or just out of the blue. My request is simple: Accept the fact that you did something wrong, move on with it and be respectful to the staff. All they are doing is helping you in the long run. “You respect your elders. That’s kind of the end of the story,” Nye said. No pun intended there.
National Honor Society pillars of scholarship, service, leadership, character each equally important traits Maj. John Johnston PHS MCJROTC Instructor
I am responding to the Nov. 2, 2012 Pow Wow topic “NHS Reworks Appeal Process.” When studying the stated purpose of NHS “to create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership and to develop character in the students of secondary schools,” I see nothing about “community service” being defined as “participating in a sport.” Although participation in a sport is commendable, shows a degree of self-discipline and it taken into consideration when determining NHS selection, it is not, in my opinion, the altruistic measure that
Dr. Edward Rynearson, the principal founder, had in mind. The NHS is more than scholarship, ergo the requirement to only maintain a 3.3 GPA. The other three pillars of the organization… service, leadership and character are equally important. I stress “equally” important. An added purpose of the organization is to encourage citizenship. All considered together, it is easy to select to NHS those who have “balanced” their resume as a student and clearly stand out. Being the star athlete, and star student, although admirable, does not, in itself, obviate other standards required for selection. What the organization looks for are those who have the five strong spokes of the NHS wheel: scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship. Being selected depends on each spoke having notable significance. The organization
is, in fact, “exclusive” and should never be “inclusive,” except for those students who have demonstrated excellence in all criteria. Let’s not water down an organization whose reputation has historically been so well understood and admired. Not being selected to NHS should never be construed as a “lack of appreciation” for a student’s other achievements or talents. That is not even in the equation when selection takes place. My advice to those not selected is to balance out your wheel. Demonstrable character is not simply brains, athleticism or charisma. It is a “combination” of those and many less obvious qualities. The opinion expressed in this article is the writer’s and not necessarily that of The Pow Wow.
December 21, 2012
Former PHS mid-term graduates offer advice to current students Graduating Features Writer midterm is a choice this year’s seniors will be making to get a head start on life. Leaving high school earlier than others can be the perfect remedy for those with a serious case of senioritis. Last year, Payton Watson graduated midterm because she felt she had experienced all high school could offer. “I wanted to graduate midterm because it was time for the real world. I wanted to grow up and get out of the high school atmosphere,” Watson said. Watson used her free time to get straight into the swing of life after high school. “Graduating midterm gave me the advantage of starting the normal ‘adult’ work hours. I didn’t have to wake up to go to school, which was a huge bonus. I started taking college courses while working two jobs,” Watson said. Watson’s decision to graduate midterm did have its drawbacks. “Leaving the rest of my class was bittersweet. You miss seeing the kids you’ve known since Pre-K. It is weird not seeing the same
group of kids hoarding the hallway after 5/6,” Watson said. Making the decision to graduate midterm benefited Watson greatly in the long run, but she knows that this choice comes at a cost. “I would only advise a student to graduate midterm if they are really, really wanting to give up their last semester of senior year. It is not something you can take back. You have to be committed to your future because I have seen students graduate midterm and become lazy and stop going to school,” Watson said. By keeping on task and balancing a social life, Watson believes students can graduate midterm and still enjoy their final days of high school. “Stay motivated. A social life is important, but we have our entire life to go crazy and do all the things we like to take part in. You only have four years to make an impression to colleges for the real world. Make something of it,” Watson said. Like Watson, Brittney Hopper graduated midterm last year as well. Unlike Watson, Hopper is considerably less reminiscent of her final high school moments. “Honestly, I was not a big fan of high
school. It’s unrealistic in comparison to the real world. I felt that graduating midterm gave me a chance to better my education. I only had to take a few required classes my senior year, so it seemed pretty senseless for me to stay a full year,” Hopper said. After graduating, Hopper enrolled at Indiana University Northwest. She began her freshman year as a nutrition science major in hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant. Like many freshman, she later changed her major to secondary education focusing on English with a minor in creative writing. Hopper understands that graduating midterm is not suited for every student. “From my experience, yes, I would recommend others to attempt graduating midterm. However, I do not believe every student will benefit from it as much as I did. When you leave high school you have much more responsibility, and for some students this is too much to take on. It really matters how mentally prepared you are to step into the real world,” Hopper said. Being so close to the finish was a challenge in itself for Hopper. Staying focused on her future kept her from cutting it short.
“Remember that it’s almost over and the way you end your high school career largely impacts the way others think of you and how you will soon think of yourself. If you constantly remind yourself of the reward, it is really not that big of a struggle,” said Hopper. After graduating, Hopper still did not feel the urge to take a little time off. She continued to press on relentless. “Advice I would give to students graduating midterm is; do not take any time off. This is the time to get things done whether that is in terms of bettering your education, beginning a career, or enlisting in the armed forces. If you use this time to relax and do nothing, college will be a thousand times harder,” Hopper said. Hopper proudly owes much of her success to the teachers who were able to help her excel at Portage High School. “This goes for any student; be grateful for the attention and assistance your teachers are willing to give you. Be sure to use these teachers as resources and always be considerate of their time and knowledge. They do not have to help you in any extra way and if you don’t believe me now, you are in for a harsh reality,” Hopper said.
quiz bowl prepares for upcoming competitions These students sure know how to show their academic skills as the quiz bowl won their first competition for the season. The quiz bowl is an academic competition, which includes other schools in the region. Portage’s team consists of only six students, all of which are juniors and seniors. Quiz bowl sponsor Catherine Nye hopes to include more students that are sophomores and freshmen. Nye is also working on getting more students to join in general. “I was in a type of quiz bowl team back
Mallory Lopez News Writer
Hawkins remains a committed member of the PHS cafeteria staff. Photo by Miles Motto
Hawkins serves lunch to ‘army’ of students each day with a smile Tyra Allen Features Writer
While Eric Mesarch and Brandon Vickrey are on INN giving the lunch choices for the day, Lisa Hawkins is hard at work preparing the food. Hawkins has been a part of the cafeteria staff for four years. This year, she has been moved up to assistant manager of the East Kitchen. She arrives here at 6 a.m. every day, with the exception of Tuesdays, when she arrives at 5:30 a.m., and she does not leave until 1:15 p.m.. “Some ladies are here at 5 a.m.,” Hawkins said. “It takes us all day to prepare breakfast and lunch.” A lot of prep work goes into the meals. Having the correct numbers, to ensure that everyone gets what they want, is a big part of it.” After Hawkins arrives, she immediately begins making breakfast sandwiches until about 7 a.m., then
she cashiers. After the said. breakfast rush, they begin The Thanksgiving dinner cleaning up the mess and involved about 80 turkeys preparing for lunch. and the ladies hand-sliced ev“We’re almost feeding an ery piece of it. It took them army here; we have roughly about three weeks for them three lines. When you divide to prepare all of it. that up, that’s a lot of kids “That really puts it into you’re perspective trying as to how “The majority of to feed,” many kids the students are very Hawkins there are. nice. I come off said. It really is as having a lot of There like feeding kindness, but I just are an army,” accidents Hawkins treat the students like that said. they were my own.” result in Hawkins -Lisa Hawkins, injury makes a cafeteria staff in the special effort kitchen. to say “good member Some of morning” the ladies and “have a get cut by sharp objects nice day” to every student. from the big machines. More “The majority of the often, there are burns from students are very nice. I the large ovens. come off as having a lot of “For the French fries, we kindness, but I just treat the usually do about 30 pans for students like they were my each line. When they come own,” she said. “If they are out they are extremely hot. polite, I say something nice. I, myself, have gotten burned It they are being rude, I tell on them before,” Hawkins them.”
when I was in high school,” Nye said. Every Monday, the team practices by using sample questions that Nye has used from previous years. On Tuesday Dec. 11, the team had its first competition in Hobart. The competitions are buzz-in trivia questions. According to Nye, the competitions are like jeopardy. The team won 72-46 against Hobart and 46-26 against Marquette. “I think this quiz bowl season will go very well. We have a strong group of students who know and understand much of what we’ll be quizzed on, and our motivation is high,” junior Matt Bliss said.
Is the world going to end and why? “No, they said the world would end at the turn of the century in 2000 and it didn’t, but it will be interesting on Dec. 21 to see what everyone is doing.” -Junior Patrick Sobkowski “Anybody who believes that [the world is going to end] is nuts.” -Junior Alyssa Wozniak “No, ain’t nobody got time for that.” -Senior Nicole Thomas
Order your yearbook
The Back Page 8
Issue 7 | December 21, 2012
Meet the Indian: Luisa Ferroz Laragnoit Emily Hensley Features Writer School is hard for American students, but imagine learning a new language along with moving 5,000 miles away from home. Junior Luzia Ferroz Laragnoit came to the United States as a foreign exchange student. Besides the obvious language barriers and time changes, Laragnoit feels there a big
difference between the countries. “I think the time, not the time zone, but in Brazil everyone is always late [to school],” Laragnoit said. Laragnoit moved to the United States as a foreign exchange student for her junior year of high school like many of her classmates in an attempt to learn English. She came to America for a year in
hopes of improving her chances at getting a proper college education and well-paying career. She came to learn a new culture while expanding what she has been learning since kindergarten. “I have been learning English since kindergarten,” Laragnoit said. With moving 5,000 miles from home change is an expected part of the experience. She realized that her home may be
What Grinds Your Gears? “When you get the hottest peppers in the world in the Kung Pao chicken at Panda. Then, it is very difficult to enjoy the rest of your Panda experience.” -Senior Eric Mesarch “When people don’t like watching INN and Channel One.” -Senior Yanitza Soto
better than the America all of her friends talked about. Laragnoit keeps a happy outlook being here with practicing with PHS gymnastics team, and making new friends to keep herself busy while living here. “I used to complain a lot about my life in Brazil, [and] people are like whoa America is great [and] I like it here but Brazil had so much going on,” Laragnoit said.
Junior Luisa Ferroz Laragnoit came to the United States from Brazil as a foreign exchange student. Photo by Taylor Searcy
PHS News Briefs Viera enters retirement mid-year Portage High School health teacher Juanita Viera has announced her retirement, effective immediately, after spending over 40 years teaching in Portage Township Schools. Portage High School Principal Caren Swickard confirmed Viera’s retirement but declined a request for an interview on the circumstances of the mid-year departure. Viera agreed to do an interview with the Pow Wow about her decision to retire, but multiple subsequent phone calls to her home were not returned. -Brandon Vickrey
“When people say our sport teams suck. What are you doing to make us better?” -Senior Alyssa Tampier
NHS participates in Project Linus
“ Economics in general.”
On Dec. 15, Portage High School’s National Honor Society participated in the Linus Project, a charity organization that helps children in need by making fleece blankets. For the project, juniors Chris Klenk and Noah Volk took a lead role by chairing the event. As a chair, Klenk had to help buy the fleece and have it cut. Klenk described being involved with the Linus Project as a “truly rewarding experience” and was happy to be a part of it. “My favorite part was making the blankets with everyone. We all made at least three blankets a piece and it was just a really fun day,” Klenk said. Senior NHS member Heather Zengler was also involved with the Linus Project. “Making blankets for the children was awesome. I know these blankets will bring the kids joy and knowing I contributed to that feeling is great,” Zengler said. Klenk plans on taking the blankets to the Linus Club Organization to have them donated as soon as possible in time for Christmas.
-Senior Alex Silva
“ When underclassmen stand in the middle of the hallway.” -Junior Amanda Pogue
Photo of the week See story on page 5
StuCo advertises candygrams
A member of the Portage P.E.A.K. team catches one of the Harlem Wizards during the game against Wizards on Dec. 8. The Wizards defeated the staff 80-71. Photo by Taylor Mlynski
Planning and hosting events requires money, and there can never be too much money in the Student Council bank account. To raise money for upcoming events, the Student Council decided to have a candy gram fundraiser that took place this week. “We really needed fundraiser ideas to help pay for the Riley Dance Marathon, Winter Formal and the other events we have to pay for,” Student Council Adviser Candice Carey said. The candy grams were sold during lunches for $1 and will be distributed during Silent Sustained Reading today. Students had the option to attach a message to each candy gram to the person that they are sending it to in order to make the gift more personal. Students should ascertain their friends will receive a candy cane gram in class by purchasing them and supporting the Student Council in the process.
Alaniz and Upton to continue softball careers Caleb Ingersoll Sports Writer Many student athletes dream of one day playing at college level. For senior softball players Jena Alaniz and Stephanie Upton, this has become a reality. Sisterly bonds start out early and grow stronger in their futures. Alaniz and her sister Sabrina plan to play softball together, but that is nothing new to them since they have already played together before. Upton has signed to play softball at Purdue North Central in Westville, Ind. “I think that it is important to get noticed for signing with a college and taking their sports even further,” Upton said. Alaniz plans to attend Taylor University Christian College of Upland, Ind., with her sister. “My sister and I have enjoyed playing together during our Portage High School careers. It made us feel more comfortable with our team,” Alaniz said. ”We have always motivated each other, which made Sabrina and I play much better than if we were not on the same team.” Alaniz has been involved in sports and playing soft-
ball since she was only five years old. She has also been a cheerleader for four years. Upton decided to take a different route with her college education as a softball player. “I decided to go to PNC because they have what I want to go to school for and they have a very nice campus. It was an amazing opportunity and it was close to home,” Upton said. Upton has played at Portage Junior Miss ever since she was little. She still plays there but in the Senior League. Upton’s father, Steve Rosenbaum, coached there and has coached her before. She tried out for the high school softball team where Portage head coach Lisa Hayes has been her coach every year so far. “Coach Hayes is an amazing coach. She has taught me so much and brought the team really close together and made us a great team,” Upton said. PNC softball coach Denny King asked Upton to join the team. Upton said she accepted because it was more practical for her to stay at home and play while she attends school instead of staying in a dormitory.
Top: Jena Alaniz signs her letter of intent with Taylor University. She will play softball with her sister, Sabrina. Bottom: Stephanie Upton signs her letter of intent with Purdue North Central. Photos provided