pow wow wow Portage High School • PORTAGE, IN Vol. 76 • Issue 12 • April 14, 2016
City will possibly implement Wheel Tax to fix roads, sidewalks
Students witness groundbreaking of new Sports Resort at Youth Government Day
Students face the benefits, challenges of attending online school
Performance venue, shops, apartments planned The City of Portage will meeting place for our residents,” Maletta said. “The have a new addition in the near park currently has a splash pad and [it has] been a great Kieran Newton Writer • @Kieranj1006 future with the development of draw to this area. The Performance Pavilion will bring a Performance the arts to this park and downtown.” Pavilion, Maletta said the city will be working with “The Performance expectedly similar to the amphitheater the Chamber of Commerce “to plan and located in downtown Valparaiso. schedule events and performances there Pavilion will bring Portage’s Director of Economic the arts to this park throughout the summer and fall.” Development Andrew Maletta said Maletta said the directors of the project and downtown.” construction has already begun on the hope to have the Portage High School band Andrew Maletta, pavilion and is hoped to be completed perform at the pavilion for the opening Portage Director by July. ceremony once the pavilion is completed. Maletta said the area around “This is just part of the city’s overall of Economic Founder’s Square Park, near the water plans of attracting businesses, creating jobs, Development tower, will become the new downtown improving our infrastructure and city services area containing three-story buildings that and improving our parks,” Maletta said. have apartments for residents on the top Maletta said this plan was developed to two floors and businesses on the first achieve a goal of making Portage better for floor. The construction of the new downtown area is the town’s citizens. expected to begin sometime during this summer. “Our goal is to make Portage a place where our “The purpose of adding a Performance Pavilion citizens can be proud to live, work and play,” Maletta to [Founder’s Square Park] is to help make a central said.
PAGE 3 Photo by Matt Rasnic @Matt_Rasnic
Cooper, Steers named to All-DAC Basketball Teams
OPEN CLASS NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Freshman Sanja Kirova and sophomore Connor Edwards talk at a robotics competition. Photo provided via Robotics Facebook page
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS Portage Porta-BOTZ! bring home the hardware
Pow Wow • Issue 12
EXPERIMENTAL EDUCATION Portage Township finds success in E-Learning snow makeup day
these days out. “We had well over Writer • @Darius_0609 80% log-in throughout the district, which is pretty Although Spring Break incredible for the first was a week long, students time ever doing this, and were given an extra day also to do it on the last to do class work from day of spring break is their devices at home. pretty amazing because This day is considered an there could have been E-Learning day. a lot of challenges for According to families who went on Director of Technology vacation and things of that Integration Michael nature,” DePasquale said. DePasquale, E-Learning According to is something that the state sophomore Reginald of Indiana has offered Ringgold, the assignments schools to be able to have were not hard for him to opportunities to conduct do but, having a makeup learning in a different at home right after spring way by digitally doing break was not convenient their normal daily courses for some students. work outside of Freshman school. Brittany “We hope to do E-Learning Williams is fairly new. more of these said that this This e-learning E-Learning things [like project has been E-Learning] in the activity planned for should future.” three years now not have Michael which means happened that officially DePasquale, because students can teachers Director of do these things assigned too Technology on the actual much work, Integration snow day, the and coming makeup day, to school to or on a regular school see all her friends would day where students stay have been better than at home but teachers being at home. come to school to do “This activity took a lot professional development, of planning by teachers said DePasquale. and by your principals Having this E-Learning and the technology day and showing that department, and we hope it was successful helps to do more of these things administrators and in the future,” DePasquale teachers plan more of said.
The Porta-BOTZ! team poses with their banner and machine after being named the 2016 U.S. Open Robotics Champions at the April 7-9 competition. This is the first national win for the group. Photo provided
Associate Editor • @lexy_young
When most think of Iowa they cannot picture the state on the map, but for the Portage Robotics team, the Porta-BOTZ!, they now picture a national title. The team has worked on building a robot to shoot balls into a high hoop from the third week of school and continued to make improvements on the bot up until nationals last weekend, which took place in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Senior Angel Balcacar was part of the team that brought home the hardware. Balcacar said that the process of building their robot started with getting the constraints, making
a plan and coming together as a team to see what would work best. The Porta-BOTZ! were a part of six competitions that could qualify them for state, and, according to Balcacar, the team improved from the very first competition. “Our first competition was a disaster, so we did not have the same idea going into nationals. We had to throw out our throwing mechanism. At the [first] competition you could see all these other bots and say ‘hey, I can try that,’ we just had to throw out fresh ideas and see what would work [after the first competition].” The team qualified for nationals and state in the same competition. At that compe-
tition, the Porta-BOTZ! won the Excellence Award, which is given to the team with the best scores from the judges. “It was crazy [winning first place at nationals],” Balcacar said. “We honestly thought we would do bad after the first match went terribly wrong and all of a sudden we were on a 16 winning streak.” Balcacar said that the team ended up having the first seed in the competition and soon the team had their eyes on winning the whole competition with the help of their alliances, which included schools from Omaha and New York. “Our bot carried us past a few rounds, and after that, we had our eyes set on winning it. We had a positive attitude. Then we lost the first round;
started getting nervous. We lost the first round [out of three] and decided to let our alternatives take our spot on the floor, because you can only have two from each alliance on the floor at one time. We had to work on our motor, and the alternatives did so well in the second round that we let them stay in,” Balcacar said. “They ended up winning it, but we didn’t know until they announced the score because usually you can look at the balls and tell, but this one was so close.” Balcacar said that being on the robotics team and going on to win nationals was a great achievement to his team and to himself. “It was the best experience of high school,” Balcacar said.
BREAKS HALT AT TALK OF TAX Wheel Tax could cost Portage residents $25 per car
Portage residents may soon indirectly pay to Lexy Young improve the roads of the Associate Editor • @lexy_young city. This would be through paying a fee for every car owned in each household per Portage resident. This fee is referred to as the Wheel Tax and will be collected at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The feel will be priced at $25 per passenger vehicle under 11,000 pounds and $40 per vehicle over 11,000 pounds. If Portage were to decide to take on this tax, the money will come back to Portage for road and sidewalk construction and repair. Mayor James Snyder said that the city council has been discussing imposing the Wheel Wax since the state passed the legislation allowing for the tax in early April. “We are looking to implement it relatively quickly because the language within the law will not allow us to collect this revenue until 2018 if we do not enact the tax locally by July of this year,” Snyder said. “If voted into ordinance in May, we will be able to begin collecting the tax in 2017 and put the money to use in road improvements.” Snyder said that if the tax were to be implemented in Portage, the residents could expect improved roads frequently. “The city’s annual budget is primarily used for operating expenses and employee benefits for the city services such as police, fire, parks, etcetera. We usually have less than $100,000 left for road paving, which wouldn’t even pave a half of one block. A year and a half ago, the city took out a $3.5 million loan to pave a little over 30 miles of our 154 miles of city streets. Having a consistent revenue source would
certainly make it possible to pave many streets every year and have a rotation where you could potentially have your road paved every 10 to 15 years, Snyder said. Snyder said that the state could potentially double the amount raised by Portage residents and give the money to Portage for road improvement purposes. The City Council is evaluating the pros and cons of adopting the tax, and, according to Snyder, the council is speaking with residents for feedback to help make the best decision for the city of Portage. City Councilman Collin Czilli believes that the public, for the most part, stands together on how they feel about the tax. “I can see why some would think this is a positive proposal, but, in my opinion, this is double taxing our residents,” Czilli said. “They already pay their state tax dollars, and now, in order to get their tax dollars back, they are going to have to pay another tax.” Snyder says that it may be difficult to accept the tax, but it will benefit the city in other ways. Like Snyder, City Councilman Mark Oprisko believes that the Wheel Tax will be beneficial to Portage. “It is a necessary evil. Without it [the wheel tax], the road conditions of our city will deteriorate to a gravel base,” Oprisko said. Oprisko said that Porter County Council could also decide to implement the wheel tax and if Portage did implement the tax, $1,500,000 would be raised for Portage because it would make $750,000 and the state would match the funds. “Asking residents to pay more is never easy. We must work hard to show the benefits of what they pay in taxes and fees and ensure that we are running their city efficiently. We believe that we are doing just that,” Snyder said.
Freshman Ben Ellis works on his assigned iPad during class. The freshman class used their devices on the district’s scheduled E-Learning Day on March 28. Photo by Hope Anderson
Pow Wow • Issue 12
STUDENTS FIND SOLACE ONLINE Juniors opt out of traditional schooling to take classes via internet
With the growth of technology, many Writer • @jaden_pucka people are choosing alternative ways to attend school. This year, three juniors decided to attend public school online instead of participate in traditional school. Juniors Jacob Altgilbers, Abigail Neff and Alec Rizley have left Portage High School and now attend public school online. Neff and Altgilbers attend Connections Academy and Rizley attends Indiana Virtual School. The only thing that these three students have in common is that they did not feel that traditional high school was the best fit for them. After Altgilbers’ younger brother enrolled in online school last year, he became interested in who n and was curious if online school would work for him, too. “I chose to do online school because it was just much more convenient and has a lot more resources to use as far as learning goes, and plus much more teacher assistance,” said Altgilbers. “It’s nice to not have to be stuck in
a building all day, and I can just do my classes back to back and then go on about my day.” Rizley left Portage after the first quarter after struggling with several different aspects of school. “Regular school is a very depressing environment for me,” said Rizley. “People everywhere were disrespectful and derogatory. I would go to school without any sleep just to get my homework done.” Rizley’s grades have improved since he switched to online schooling, and he says this has to do with the new styles of learning he is being exposed to in traditional high school. “Online school gives me the chance to be happy,” said Rizley. “I can do my homework at the beach if I want, or at Starbucks. I’m not tied down to a teacher’s typical method, I get to learn new things and challenge myself.” Although Rizley now has the freedom to study where he pleases and work more, he also does not get to be president of the junior class like he was when he was at Portage High School, nor is he able to participate in any club
or sport at any high school. Altgilbers feels especially impacted by the lack of social events, but he does not regret his decision to leave traditional high school. “I definitely feel like I’ll miss out on certain things such as attending an actual prom or graduating with my class, but at the end of the day it was just something I needed to do that was going to benefit me in the long run,” said Altgilbers. There has been an 80% increase in students who choose to enroll in classes online over the past four years, according to Connections Academy, and these numbers are expected to grow due to many more states offering free online education for students. Indiana is one of 30 states in the U.S. that give students the chance to attend public school online through kindergarten to twelfth grade. Along with the growth of the number of students taking courses online, the number of courses students are able to take has increased. Altgilbers’ enjoys the more electives he is taking, and Rizley enrolled in five Advanced
Placement courses and one honors course. Rizley said online schooling has given him more chances to take more Advanced Placement courses than what is offered at Portage High School. When it is time for the AP Exams, Rizley is able to choose any school nearby to be a testing site for him. Neff said that she was failing multiple classes in traditional school, but after transferring to Connections Academy, her grades have changed. “I think [I was failing] because of lack of help from teachers,” said Neff. “I needed a little more one-on one-time, and I wasn’t getting that. Now that I do, my grades are almost all A’s.” Although both Neff and Rizley have seen improvement in their grades, Altgilbers’ have remained the same. “I managed to get all A’s while I was [at Portage,] and I still have the same grades now, but that just depends on the type of student you are.”
SENIORS WITNESS GROUNDBREAKING OF SPORT RESORT Youth Government Day participants get variety of experiences Kieran Newton Writer • @Kieranj1006
Youth Government Day appears to be a popular running tradition among the senior classes at Portage
High School. Social studies teachers Mark Marvin and Elizabeth Wysocki help orchestrate the event for select seniors with Portage Mayor Jim Snyder’s secretary, Amanda Lackie. Marvin said the annual event, which took place on April 5 this year, has been going on since before he was Social Studies Department Chair and will “probably [go on] long after [he’s] gone”. Marvin said the day gives students a chance to job shadow city officials. Students may have the opportunity to shadow as a mayor, Chief of Police, Fire Chief, city council people and Director of Emergency Management, along with a few others. Senior Kyle Hawkins was elected to shadow Snyder. “I was thinking about running for it, but one of my friends told me I should run for it and I ended up winning,” Hawkins said. “That was a surprise.” Senior Lucas Lavendusky shadowed the Director of Administration and Emergency Management, Joe Calhoun. “I’ve debated about becoming a hospital manager or something like that, and I could use it as a credit or a reference or something like that for it, maybe,” Lavendusky said. Senior Christina Kargol shadowed Ralph Mundt, Sports Director of the Parks Department. “I didn’t get to pick [who I shadowed], it was just
random,” Kargol said. “We went around the city and we looked at the different parks and how they have bettered them and paved trails and other different advancements they’ve done in the parks.” Hawkins, Kargol and Lavendusky said that, collectively, they went to town hall and city council meetings along with touring and doing specific activities their government officials do. Kargol said the experience “was kind of eye-opening”. “I didn’t really know much about the city government,” Kargol said. “Going to the city meetings and seeing how it’s run and seeing all the different new things we’re doing in Portage kind of opened my eyes and made me want to maybe participate in government, like city government, when I’m older depending on where I live.” Hawkins said he “kind of wants to go back”. “It was really fun,” Hawkins said. “I kind of want to go back and do it again because we got to run a city council meeting with actual people of Portage. It was a great experience to learn about what all is going on and all the exciting things Portage is having to offer soon.” Marvin said the event is popular among seniors each year. “It’s a pretty cool deal,” Marvin said. “The kids love it, it’s one of the most popular things of the year for the seniors to do. Kids still talk about it that I’m friends with on Facebook and Twitter. This year, the twelve seniors were initially supposed to go out on the city fireboat. However, this part of the day was canceled due to cold temperatures. “I’m kind of depressed we didn’t get to go on the
Seniors look on as Mayor James Snyder discusses the new Sport Resort at the groundbreaking last week. Students were elected by their peers to take part in this event. Photo by Matt Rasnic
fireboat because it was too cold, but we did get to go to the groundbreaking ceremony [for the Sports Resort] and we’re probably the only people who get to do that,” Hawkins said. Hawkins, Kargol and Lavendusky all said their favorite part of the day was the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Sports Resort. “The Sports Resort is going to be a huge development for Portage and it was nice to see everyone come out and support that,” Kargol said. Lavendusky said he plans to use his experience for application processes. “[Calhoun] said he would be a credential. I could use him as a reference and he’d make a pretty good reference as a director of Portage,” Lavendusky said.
BROADCASTING ADVISER STEPS DOWN FROM SPONSORING INN Deavers-Lowie says she plans to focus on newspaper and yearbook programs The Indians News Network will be under the sponsorship of a new teacher next year as Editor-In-Chief • @clarinotist current sponsor, Publications Adviser Melissa Deavers-Lowie, is stepping away from the broadcast program in order to focus on the Pow Wow and Legend. Deavers-Lowie said that the program first started about six years ago when a group of students, including the original INN anchors Brandon Vickrey and Eric Mesarch, asked for her assistance in beginning a broadcast show, but since then several factors have contributed to her decision to step away. “I had a really good time with it [for the first few years]. I had help from another teacher, Mr. Bob Beigh, and he retired a couple of years ago, so I’ve just been doing it on my own,” Deavers-Lowie said. “Taking on that extra
responsibility added more time onto the job. I really want to be able to just focus on newspaper and yearbook, and making those two publications the best they can be, and I think that by having somebody else advise the [broadcasting] program will allow me to do that. And then somebody else can take the time to make INN the best it can be as well.” While a new sponsor has not officially been named, Deavers-Lowie says that several teachers have approached her looking for information on what taking it over would entail. In terms of assisting the new sponsor here and there, Deavers-Lowie said she is more than happy to do so. “I am willing to [help out a little bit here and there], just to get the person acclimated,” she said. Even though no sponsor has been named as of the time of publication, Deavers-Lowie is confident that somebody will step forward in time, and that the program is too important to
let die. “I don’t think the school would ever let INN just fade away, to be honest. I think it is kind of a big deal in the school, I think a lot of people depend on it, it’s not something we could do without,” Deavers-Lowie said. “Somebody will want to take it over because it is a lot of fun, it’s a very cool program and it’s nice because you have students all four years of their high school career and you get to watch them grow and learn during that time. It’s probably one of the best parts of the job.” All in all, Deavers-Lowie is confident with where she is leaving the program and also with whoever her successor may be. “It’s in a good place. I think that whoever takes it over won’t have to make a whole lot of changes or do a whole lot to be able to take it up the next steps,” she said.
Pow Wow • Issue 12
JUNIORS TAKE FIRST AT TOTAL MADNESS INDOOR STATE Drew Guth winner of Finley and Farley place first in hurdles and shotput respectively “For outdoor state, I hope up with different drills and
Social Media • @Sierrajudy389
Juniors Victoria Farley and Daveon Finley took first place at indoor track state. Farley won shotput with a 44’2” and Finley won the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.33. This is Farley’s second consecutive year winning indoor state, while coming in first place last year at state. Farley was surprised, but excited, that she won indoor this year. “I was really happy,” Farley said. “I was also really surprised because my competitor was really close to me during the meet. She beat me in all throwers meet during indoor, so I was really happy winning for two consecutive years.” Senior Royce Johnson says that Farley is always working hard to get where she is today. “She doesn't need to be asked to work harder or put in more time,” Johnson said. “She is very self-motivated and her hard work paid off.” To prepare for state Farley continued to keep lifting and throwing numerous hours at practice. Farley’s goal for outdoor state include winning outdoor state as well. She plans to keep working on her form and strength.
to beat my PR of a 46’1” and improve my throwing in general,” Farley sad. “To win outdoor state two years in a row would be amazing, and I just need to keep pushing to make myself better.” Finley came to state with the mindset of winning, and he was not going to accept anything less. “Going into the meet I was thinking it's time to come out and win,” Finley said. “Last year I was in the same position and I only got sixth in indoor state, so this year I wanted to win it [indoor state]. A lot of colleges are looking at me so I knew I had to win to open the door to new opportunities.” Senior Jeremiah Ratliff knew Finley would win. “Honestly, to me, it was no surprise he won indoor state,” said Ratliff. “He's been working harder than any other athlete competing in the 60m hurdles in the off season.” Finley says this was definitely not a good race for him. “My time was slow,” Finley said. “I was all over the place and had a bad start. I ran a 8.06 and my best is a 7.99, if that tells you anything.” Head coach Nicholas Haas says it’s fun and challenging to coach Finley. “He is such a talent that it is fun to watch him run,” Haas said. “It is challenging to come
technique changes to make him even faster.” Finley said that he cannot wait until outdoor state. “I felt great winning now it's time to carry this indoor victory to outdoor season to the 110 hurdles,” Finley said. Finley enjoys outdoor hurdles more because they are longer and not as fast. “The race for outdoor is longer so it allows me to go into my full spirit,” Finley said. “Since indoor races are so fast, I do not get to my top speed.” Ratliff has high expectations considering Finley still has another year. “He's done nothing yet, indoor season just the start,” said Ratliff. “He has a entire outdoor season to go. I hope he is happy but never satisfied. Time to get back to work, no letting up for him; he still has an entire year left.” Haas agrees with Ratliff that he cannot let up. “I was happy for him that he won indoor state,” Haas said. “He had that set as a goal since the end of last season. A lot of hurdlers have either really good form or have a lot of speed with average form. Daveon has both. I hope that he is not satisfied with his indoor season. I hope he keeps working hard towards his ultimate goal.”
March Madness bracket
How did you pick your teams for the bracket? “I picked the teams just based on what I’ve seen throughout the regular season from them and what I remember of them from last years in the tournament”
Did you watch all the games in March Madness or see just the final scores?
“I watched as many of the games as I could but a lot of them I just caught the final scores or like the last minute or so of the games.”
Was there a game that stood out to you?
“The game that stood out the most was the Michigan State/ Midd Tenn game which probably broke a lot of brackets because a lot of people had MSU as a favorite to win.”
Did you think there was an upset , if so what game?
“The two big upsets I thought were that Midd Ten beat MSU and Northern Iowa.”
Graphic by Sierra Judy and Sam Smith. Photo by Hope Anderson
SENIOR BASKETBALL PLAYERS GO OUT ON TOP Steers and Cooper named to All-DAC basketball team in their senior years
Only ten playSierra Judy ers from Social Media • @Sierrajudy389 each gender in the whole Duneland Athletic Conference are honored with the title of All-DAC. Seniors Kaitlyn Steers and Canaan Cooper were named allDAC to leave with a big “shot.” To become All-DAC, other coaches have to vote on who is named to the All-DAC team. Players are submitted by their coach and the conference coaches vote for the ten players they think are most deserving. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players, and there is no second team or honorable mention, says girls head basketball coach Marc Bruner. Head coach Richard Snodgrass was proud of Cooper for his success. “The DAC has eight teams, so it is very hard to make the DAC All-Conference basketball team, as only ten players make it,” Snodgrass said. “Canaan had a good year in the conference and was voted on the team by the other coaches.” Cooper was glad that his hard work paid off. “I felt like all the hard work during the season paid off, and coaches and athletes noticed enough to give me the honor of making All-DAC,” Cooper said. Steers was excited and happy when she found out she was named All-DAC.
“It was really exciting,” Steers said. “I have out,” White said. “He could kill you from worked really hard for the past four years and the three-point line or he could take it to the it's an honor to be named All-DAC.” basket. There was no stopping him.” Both Steers and Copper said that their Along with Cooper, Steers was also a teammates and coaches helped tremendously natural scorer, says coach Bruner. with their success. “Katy was one of the league's “My team and lots of hard work helped leading scorers, but what me get to where I am,” Copper said. “Special made her stand out thanks to coach Snodgrass, without him I was her versatility,” wouldn't be the player I am today.” Bruner said. “She Senior Justin Bates says that Cooper was could handle the always gave the team the points when they ball, shoot the ball or go to the needed it. “I felt like he basket. She is deserved it, he lead an outstanding us to countless wins rebounder and over the years I a very good played with him,” defender. Bates said. “He She had a was an offensive complete threat each time game that not he touch the many others floor and was in the DAC just reliable had.” teammate.” White says Senior Cooper has Maquis White a passion for says Cooper the game was such a well and always rounded player. pushes “I think his his teamnatural ability mates to score was to the one thing beast Seniors Katy Steers and Canaan Cooper earn spots on All-DAC Teams. Photo by Matt Rasnic @Matt_Rasnic that stood they
can. “Being his teammate was an honor, Canaan is like a brother to me and it's definitely something I'm going to miss,” White said. “He always kept you laughing and he was the perfect example of somebody who loves the game of basketball. So when I saw him working hard it made me want to up my level of play too.” Bruner said coaching Steers was a great opportunity and she was a great athlete. “Coaching her was great,” Bruner said. “She doesn't need to be asked to work harder or put in more time. She is very self-motivated, if you aren't, you'll never succeed like you could. She is a very team-first type of player. She never worried about her stats or anything like that. She just wanted to win” Junior Kaitlyn Shafer says that she was so proud of Steers and that next year will not be the same without her. “Steers is such a hard worker,” Shafer said. “She always does things above and beyond, and she just amazes everyone, not only on the court but in school as well. She is a super talented girl who is also extremely smart. I'm sad to see her leave the team but I wish her luck in college.” Cooper and Steers both agree that is was the best season ever. “The spirit the school has, there is nothing like it.,” Steers said. “The pep band, the cheerleaders, the dancers, the coaches and the fans helped me become the person I am today. I am going to miss this season.”