wow Portage High School • PORTAGE, IN Vol. 76 • Issue 5 • November 20, 2015
robust ROBOTICS PHS STUDENTS FIND THEIR NICHE BUILDING ROBOTS PAGE 2
Photo by Grace Steorts
4 5 7 PROM MUST GO ON
City of Portage breaks ground on new fire station, located near Founders Square Park
Social Studies teacher Cathy Nye describes her experiences as a civil war reenactor
Twitter’s new “Like” button inspires students to think of other changes
A new girls head basketball coach brings new changes to practice
Lack of interest from juniors brings seniors to prom committee
Even though it is months away, preparations Editor-In-Chief • @clarinotist for Prom 2016 have already begun, even if they began with a rocky start. Additionally, the class of 2016 is assisting the junior class in preparations for the first time in recent years. Traditionally, the junior class is responsible for the prom planning process, but class sponsor Lisa Melendez said that at the initial call out meeting a total of three people attended. “That’s pretty bad,” Melendez said, “and I need at least 25 to 30 [people] to plan, because we break up into committees, and I need at least six people on each committee.” Juniors Abbey Seberger and Sofia Serano, along with class president Ethan Davenport, were the three who attended the first meeting. While Melendez was frustrated with the lack of attendance, the three chose a theme for prom regardless, and selected “A Night in the City.” They were told that this theme would be secured and permanent due to their attendance at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Melendez took her concerns dealing with a lack of numbers at the meeting to principal Jen Sass. “She said ‘Well if we don’t have anyone then there’s a problem,’” Melendez said. “So I asked if I could open it up and have juniors and seniors help plan, and when I did that call out I had a greater response.” Melendez said that at this next meeting, she had a much greater response, and now has a “good mix” of juniors and seniors helping in the planning process. “It’s cool to have the juniors and seniors collaborating on prom,” Melendez said. “After all, the seniors have gone already, they know what it’s like, they know what the room looks like. The juniors haven’t gone, so they don’t know.” Even though prom is a generally anticipated event for the average high school student, Melendez said that canceling the event did enter her mind for a time, but, if need be, she would have figured out a way for the dance to go on as planned. “I can’t plan a prom with three people, that couldn’t happen, and had that continued, I would have canceled prom,” Melendez said. “In the end, I wouldn’t have let that
happen, I would have done something. I’m also the sponsor of the Business Professionals of America, and they probably would have ended up helping me, [even though] that wouldn’t be fair to them [because] it would have taken away from preparing for their contests and state meet.” In the end, Melendez is satisfied with the increase in interest. “I did need the junior class to step up,” Melendez said, “and they did.” While Melendez said the numbers of those helping plan are now upwards of 35, Seberger, who is the student body secretary, was frustrated at the conclusion of the next call out meeting, because the theme that she had been told was secure was re-voted upon and vetoed for a different theme. Because of this frustration, Seberger is no longer involved in the planning process. Melendez said that the theme is now “Masquerade Ball,” and that this was a unanimous decision at the second call out meeting.
See PROM | page 2
Porta-Botz Robotics Club begins season Kieran Newton Writer • @Kieranj1006
The “Porta-Bots” Robotics Teams began their competitive season on Nov. 7 at Crown Point. Robotics instructor John Kappes said the theme is VEX Nothing But Net. “The goal is to score as many points as possible during the robotics competition,” Kappes said. “The challenge is to design a bot that can launch a ball across the ring, that can scoop them up and put them into another goal, that can lift another bot or be a bot that can be lifted by another bot.” This season is senior Zachary Hughes’s second participating with robotics. “I really love building,” Hughes said. “I want to be in Engineering and Technology, and it’s really hands-on. I love the handson stuff.”
Junior Cruz Rosales is a novice, competing for the first time as of this year. “I’m really into programming stuff, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn a new language and put it on my college application,” Rosales said. “I like building things with my hands as well.” Kappes said robotics is “a place to get your geek on.” “They get so competitive and so motivated,” Kappes said. “Probably one of the most important things is we experience repeated failures. We fail often, to ultimately succeed. It takes a special kid to take failure, after failure, after failure, after failure, knowing that at the end they’re going to succeed, and having the persistence to stick it out.” Rosales said it’s a “really good atmosphere to be in.” “Our number one goal is to get experience at competition,” Kappes said.
3 1) Members of the “Porta-Botz” Robotics team construct their robot for their upcoming competition. 2) Robotics Club members discuss the mechanics of their robot. 3) Senior Lindsey Miles works on her robot. Photos by Grace Steorts
CORRECTION In the Nov. 5 issue of the Pow Wow, the staff ran a story titled “A great run of ‘The Bad Seed” by staff writer Darius Owens. However, the Pow Wow staff would also like to credit staff writer Kieran Newton for contributing to the story. The Pow Wow staff regrets the error.
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“I cannot substitute anything in the classroom that’s going to give them that experience that they can learn from.” Hughes agreed that the classroom environment is different than the competition environment. “In class, it’s kind of slow, and no ideas really pop in your head at first,” Hughes said. “But once you get to competition, the adrenaline hits you. And it’s very crazy, unorganized at some parts, and you realize what you need to fix.” Kappes said the team is open to anybody who expresses an interest in robotics. Rosales, however, only had one word to describe Robotics. “It’s definitely a challenge,” Rosales said. “That’s the one word I have for it. There’s always something coming up. It’s always solving the next problem.”
Pow Wow • Issue 5
FIRE STATION MOVES FORWARD Construction begins on tested grounds Shelby Ford
Associate Editor • @ShelbyFord9
After tests on land that formerly housed a Clark gas station found no traces of toxic elements, the city has broken ground there on the new fire station. The new fire station is being built on the 6200 block of Central Avenue in Portage, which is Founders Park. The construction began in September 2015, and the city’s goal is for it to end in August of 2016. According to Calhoun, before the city even bought the property, the company that previously owned the property had to make sure that the ground was not toxic before they sold it to the city. Once this property had been
cleared, the city bought the land. Calhoun said that, in order for the ground to be cleared, pumps are put into the ground to clean out any liquid that may have gotten into the ground. Lines go in the ground and suck out all the liquid until the liquid comes out clean. Since the city of Portage bought it, they have not run across any bad land, Calhoun said. Currently, the oldest fire station in Portage is located at 6070 Central Ave. and has been there since 1967. According to Calhoun, this fire station was once useful, but in today’s day and age, it is not. “It was a good fire station for it’s day,” Calhoun said. “Now it’s too old and small.
We want our trucks and ladder trucks to be able to fit into the station. Also, the old fire station doesn’t have the right corridors that we need for today.” The city has four main goals for the new fire station. They wants to replace the corridors that the firefights need today and house larger fire trucks. In order to get their largest ladder truck all over the city they will move it from the north end of the city to the center, or downtown. Additionally, the city wants to make their presence known, which will ideally occur after the move. Calhoun said that the fire station’s new location will help the city develop their new downtown area near Founder’s Square.
PROM | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Melendez said that the planning process is coming along very well, and that a color scheme, ticket design and picture backgrounds have already been chosen. Serano, who is student body vice president in charge of event planning, said that even though the beginning of the process had a rocky start, it has improved over time. “It’s gotten better, we probably won’t meet again until December, [because] we have almost everything picked out,” Serano said. “It was rough, but now it’s going smoothly and I’m sure it’ll be a great prom.” Serano, too, agrees that the theme mix up was frustrating. “We didn’t know that we were supposed to have new theme [ideas] ready for the next meeting, because we were told ‘Night in the City’ was going to be our theme no matter what,” Serano said. Melendez, who succeeded previous junior class sponsor Joe Bachan, assures PHS that nothing about prom has changed from previous years, save the theme. “The one thing I need people to understand [is] nothing has changed. It’s still in the same hall, it’s still on Saturday night, it’s still from 7:00 to 11:00, the only thing that changed was the sponsor,” Melendez said. “And the ticket price.” Melendez attributes the price change, which has gone from $25 to $35, to a lack of attendance at last year’s “Red Carpet Affair”
prom. “Last year we didn’t have as many children attend [as we had hoped]. Normally, we have 800 go, [but] last year we barely had 700 go,” Melendez said. “We pay for a hall that’s going to fulfill 800, and if we have less than 700 go again, we need to make a profit.” Even though the price change might upset some, Melendez says that compared to other area schools, PHS still has one of the cheapest prom ticket prices, and that everything aside from the price has remained the same. “You don’t reinvent the wheel,” Melendez said, “you go with what’s working.” Even though this is her first year as sponsor, Melendez has helped Bachan plan prom in previous years, which has proved valuable this year. “The last three years as Bachan was doing it, I was the person in the shadow helping him, so I already knew how to do everything because I had already helping him with the last three,” Melendez said. “The transition was smooth.” Melendez said that PHS has not put on a Masquerade Ball prom in “four or five years,” and encourages attendees to wear masks in true masquerade ball fashion. “I just hope that everybody comes out and has a great time,” Melendez said. “The theme is going to be beautiful.”
Pow Wow • Issue 5
BAD SEED BLOSSOMS FUTURISTIC FURNITURE PHS thespians prepare to take the stage for opening weekend performances 1
Various classrooms recieve new desks, chairs, couches in aims of promoting group learning activities
While students were on Writer • @flamboyant_rich their fall break, five classrooms and the school media center received new desks, whiteboards, chairs,couches and televisions. Steelcase Production Company furnished the classroom of math teachers John Hall and Andrew Lipowski, English teachers Allison Morphis and Marzena Dziura, and social studies teacher Elizabeth Wysocki with new desks, tables and chairs and other piece of furniture. The five classrooms were chosen for new furniture because would take full advantage of the use of the new furniture to engage in group learning activities. The goal of the new furniture, according to Dr. Richard Weigel , is for students to be able to easily interact with each other while participating in classroom activities. In addition to receiving portable desks, teachers also may have received cabinets, couches and whiteboards. The students have the opportunity to work in a mobile environment, whether it is as individuals or in small or large groups. In math teacher Andrew Lipowski’s class, he tried a couple of arrangements before finding it best to let students choose how they utilize the desks throughout the class. Wysocki said she is excited for the new furniture as she uses it to increase student participation in her classes.
1) Tara Nava, 11, applies makeup on Jessic Creators', 10, face in preparation for Monday's dress rehearsal of "The Bad Seed." 2) Junior Valerie Plinovich ages Kendrick Horton, 11, for his role as Tasker. 3) The sound board is prepared with cues for this weekend's performances. 4) Senior Chris Rohaley makes a face to assist junior Alyson Ponda in applying his aging makeup for Monday's dress rehearsal. 5) As junior Abigail Seberger looks to the balcony, she gives directions to the sound and light crew. 6) Freshman Antonio Guzman receives his makeup application. 7) Conrad Kapcia, 10, makes final touches on the set for "The Bad Seed." 8) Xander Walker, 10, reads through cues for the sound plan. 9) Ari Scott, 11, applies makeup to Horton. Photos by Matt Rasnic
“My goal is to try and have 100 percent of the students engaged 100 percent of the time,” Wysocki said. “I believe the furniture, including the mobile seating and whiteboards, will help me achieve this goal.” The school’s media center also received new furniture. At the front entrance, there is a media lounge, which includes a new couch, flat-screen television, and bar-stool chairs. “I like it, we’ve had it for a week in a half now, we tested it with a couple of classes like Ethnic Studies with Mr. Erickson, he had done a couple of presentations for his class using the lounge.” Library Media Specialist Richard Horn said. Senior Ryan Malarik thinks the new furniture has a positive impact on students.“ I think the new furniture give us kids a great way to learn in a whole new experience, and I feel it is a very positive learning experience tool, which will affect the classroom greatly.” Senior Shampayn Lacy believes that the desks makes moving into groups easier. ” If my teacher wants to have a class project together, it is easier to do, because the desk moves without any problems,”. At later date, Portage High School wishes to have all classrooms furnished with new furniture. The school hopes to make it a goal to have at least five classroom per school-year receive new furniture.
While working on an assignment in their Literature books, seniors in Allison Morphis' English 12 class utilize the new desks to form a circle in order to discuss the text. Morphis received new desks, tables, and a couch. Photo by Alex Stack
TAKING HOME FIRST PLACE FOR THE FIRST TIME New Speech Team members compete in novice-level competition
For senior Jake Rocha, placing first at this pre- seaWriter • @Darius_0609 son Novice competition is foreshadowing his season as well as his partners season because they also placed second and third. Rocha placed first at the LaPorte invite pre-season competition against Munster,Chesterton, and five other schools, making him feel that he was made to be on the speech team. “To be honest I have been good at this my entire life, and I'm a very good speaker,” Rocha said, “so it’s natural
for me now.” Rocha also said that he plans to continue to participate in the broadcasting competition, which is one of the events that he competed in and placed first in. According to Speech Team coach Stacy Bachman, novice competition is reserved for students on the team who have not competed on the team before. Varsity competitors have also started their season and they competed at LaPorte High School for the first time this year on Nov. 14. While Bachman said that novice competitors will not attend the La Porte invite, four returning members will be
competing there. Bachman has one goal in mind for all of her Speech Team members this season. “If I was to have a goal, I would say that I would want to keep Portage on the map as far as the event discussion goes,” Bachman said. Rocha is looking forward to competing this year because he enjoys the benefits that being on the team offers. “I think speaking is fun and more people should do it, because, if you enjoy talking in front of people, it is fantastic for you and also boosts your confidence,” Rocha said.
Pow Wow • Issue 5
GIRLS SWIM FOCUSES ON TECHNIQUE
Swimmers look toward first meet, focus shifts from yardage to method
In preparation for her first meet, senior Ali Sobkowski practices a stroke. Coach Greg Mundt says that this year the focus is on technique, not yardage. Photo by Alex Stack
In a change from last season, the girls swim Shelby Ford team is focusing on Associate Editor • @ShelbyFord9 quality over quantity as they will be working on their techniques instead of their yardage. The team’s first official practice was Oct. 26, but, according to head coach Greg Mundt, some of the girls have been training since the season ended last year, which was in February. Others started training again in August. “Some of the girls have already set PR’s in practice, so our first meet should be a good one,” Mundt said. Since in-season practice began, the team has practiced every weekday afternoon, every Wednesday morning and every Saturday morning. At their practices, they focus on their pace work so that they can built their speed and endurance, senior and varsity swimmer Ali Sobkowski said. According to Mundt, the team has not made many changes since last season besides focusing their attention on getting their yardage the right way. “I’d rather have the girls swim less yards the right way than more yards incorrectly,” Mundt said. According to Sobkowski, the team has many strengths and only one downfall that she hopes they will work on. “I definitely think our team has strengths,” Sobkowski said. “One of our strengths is that we always
support one another and motivate each other. Also, we have a large number of girls returning from last season so there is a lot of talent and experience in the group.” The only weakness that the team has is that they need to regain their confidence for the season and work on staying focused and motivated on working hard, Sobkowski said. According to Mundt, there are two girls who have especially caught his attention for this season. “Ali Sobkowski has put in an amazing off-season,” Mundt said. “She’s starting this season as fast, if not faster, than she ended last year. She will have a great senior year. Nancy Michko is also one to look out for. She’s our returning MVP from last year and is a sectional finalist in four events.” Mundt is most excited to see how the first meet goes. “We had a lot of great swims at Sectionals last year from our underclassmen,” Mundt said. “Sophomores like Dani Demko, Trinity Benedict, and Lea Deyoung are going to play a huge role in the success of the team. They’ve had great practices so far, so I can’t wait to see how the first meet goes.” Sobkowski hopes the team will continue to grow close and support one another and that the team will place better than they did last year in their Conference. Mundt wants to be over .500 in their dual meets, rank top five in the DAC, and top three in Sectionals, but mostly he hopes that the girls have a fast, fun and successful year, Mundt said.
NEW SEASON, NEW COACH CHAMPIONS TOGETHER
Marc Bruner takes over, hopes to “increase tempo” of game The Bruner said. “I think the biggest thing is girls the tempo of the game. We want it to be Sierra Judy basketball faster than it was in the past. We are trying Social Media • @Sierrajudy389 team is to accentuate our strengths and not limit already ourselves.” facing the challenge of a new coach this year, Junior Kaitlyn Shafer says that the biggest but the program will not stop the changes change in the past year has become one of here. They also hope to change how the the team’s strengths. Shafer also says that program is run. other changes will just take time to get right. With the departure of former girls coach “I feel our strength is that we are able to Chris Seibert, English teacher Marc Bruner play a fast tempo,” Shafer said. “Another has taken his place as head coach of the weakness would be learning new plays will team. Bruner was an take time to perfect but will assistant coach for four become one of our strengths.” “We are trying to years prior to accepting Bruner recognizes that the accentuate our the position of head changes are difficult, but believes coach. strengths and not limit his team will improve with time. Bruner explains “We are a smallish team, but ourselves.” how being head of the we play pretty hard,” Bruner Marc Bruner, Girls program is different than said. “We like to run and get Basketball Head Coach up and down the floor. We his previous seasons as assistant coach. are trying to adapt a new style “I am responsible of play, so I expect there to be for more now,” Bruner said. “But I have some mistakes early, but we’d like to get consulted a lot with my staff on finding a new better and play our best at the end of the direction for what we want to do. I also let year.” my assistant coaches coach a lot.” So far this season, the team is 3-1, Senior Kaitlyn Galey has faith in this including a one-point loss on the road in the season. first game. Bruner said he has been happy Galey said. “Some practices are rough, with the way the team has started but is not but that is just because we are trying a lot satisfied with anything. more different stuff from last year.” Galey believes that the changes Bruner With Bruner now having access to change has made this year will lead to a great season. the program, he is changing the speed of the “This year is our year to prove to people game. that Portage girls basketball is not what “Just about everything has changed,” everyone thinks we are,” Galey said.
wow Portage High School • 6450 U.S. HWY 6 PORTAGE, IN • Volume 76• Issue 5
The First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Seniors start program to provide athletic exerience for special needs students
This year, Portage High Jaden Amos School is Writer • @jaden_pucka beginning to introduce many new sports teams. Starting this winter, seniors Aaron Brehmer and Cody Simmons are leading the way for Champions Together. Champions Together is a partnership between the Special Olympics and the Indiana High School Athletic Association that began in 2012. It allows special needs students to participate in a number of sports alongside other students. While students were either on a schoolsponsored visit or taking the PSAT, Lee Lonzo, a representative from IHSAA, talked to the freshman class about Champions together on Oct. 15. After hearing about this, Brehmer and Simmons were instantly interested in taking part. During the boys’ basketball season, there was a basketball game that was similar to the program Portage is beginning this year, and being in the student section for this game inspired Simmons to want to make Portage a part of Champions Together. At a boys basketball game last winter, students with disabilities received the chance to play a game of basketball at halftime alongside other students. Simmons said that the group will host a basketball game in the winter and a track meet in the spring. Simmons is excited to see how the student body responds to this. “I’m looking forward to the student
Editors-in-Chief Nick Blue Lydia Gerike Managing Editor Sam Smith Photography Editor Matt Rasnic
Design Editor Taylor Clemens News/Opinion Editor Lexy Young Features/Sports Editor Shelby Ford
section during the unified game at both the boys and the girls game,” said Simmons. “Just the game last year [made me want to get involved] and I really loved watching them play.” This program is hosted by many schools throughout Indiana, and Portage will be the third school in the DAC to take part in this, along with LaPorte and Michigan City. Currently, rubber bracelets will be sold in the athletic office and from Brehmer and Simmons. The money raised from the wristbands and money from the game, will be donated to Champions Together which creates even more opportunities for these students to have chances at playing sports. In order for Portage to be considered a Champions Together school, student leaders must plan all events, there needs to be one activity that includes the entire school, the school needs to organize a Unified practice, clinic or competition and the schools has to fundraise at least $1,500 to donate to Champions Together. “I know they’re going to need money to get the Unified Track and Field and other Unified sports going.” Simmons said, “I thought it would be sweet if Portage High did and received a banner.” Brehmer is excited to see these students have a chance to play a game of basketball. “It lets them get the chance to be kings and queens of the school instead of us,” Brehmer said. “It’s a real chance to see them smile and play something they love.”
Staff Writers Jaden Amos Alexis Christlieb Haley Mergl Amber Nelson Kieran Newton Darius Owens Shuntay Rivera
Social Media Coordinator Sierra Judy Photographers Alex Stack Corrine Burton
November 20, 2015