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Covering Real Issues for the Students of Portage High School

Pow Wow

Portage High School

Issue 3

October 12, 2012

Teachers participate in unique hobbies Joshua Lewis Features Editor

The new University Center, located on Central Avenue, holds classes through Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University Northwest. The center houses computer labs and classrooms for students. Photo by Collin Czilli

New University Center opens for fall semester

After delays, center opens in downtown

Katie Peksenak News Editor Local campuses are common in the area, and Portage has introduced the University Center to town for its first year of classes. Ivy Tech and Indiana University are two schools currently offering classes at the center. Ivy Tech has one classroom and is The new center also provides plenty of space for students to lounge in during or between offering 11 classes, while classes. The center offers more convience for students in Portage. Photo by Collin Czilli Indiana University has a classroom and a computer building. available. The University Center has lab available. Some classes being “At the moment Indiana two tenants now and is expecting offered include Reading Strategies University and Ivy Tech are offering to create even more parking for for College, Fundamentals for classes. Purdue plans on opening students. Algebra I and II and Introduction to shop in January. We are working on Making the University Center Psychology. quite a few more colleges in hopes of known to high school students is Though these institutions are arranging many more schools in the a prime objective of the mayor’s. offering classes at the center right University Center,” Snyder said. benefits of using the Center. now, Mayor Jim Snyder has plans One main concern for the center of bringing more colleges into the is to have substantial parking See UNIVERSITY, page 2

Teachers are not locked in their classrooms all day grading papers and creating their lesson plans; the hobbies teachers have are as diverse as the students that they teach. Reinforcing what she teaches in real life, United States history teacher Catherine Nye attends Civil War reenactments across the country. Dressing in traditional 1860s clothes, Nye interactively integrates herself into the experience. “I just stand around and look pretty. Females usually serve as the sanitation crew, and it is common for them to take care of the wounded. Some serve as soldiers in the cavalry, but I just watch and shop,” Nye said. Nye said that larger events, such as the Gettysburg reenactment taking place next year, draw in more people while smaller events, such as Connor Prarie, have around 100 participants. “It’s like a real-life movie. History becomes real and more than just names and dates,” Nye said. When she is not at school, government teacher Elizabeth Wysocki can be found riding the waves of Lake Michigan out of the Chicago Yacht Club. In her freshman year of college, Wysocki decided to give the sport of sailing a shot because she had always loved the water. “We had no money and went up against rich teams from across the country. We had a lot of heart and no fancy equipment, but we made it work,” Wysocki said.

See HOBBIES, page 7 Social studies teacher Elizabeth Wysocki sails on her boat out of the Chicago Yatch Club. Wysocki began her sailing career while she was in college at Indiana University. Photo provided

Boys tennis team rounds out season Brandon Vickrey Editor-in-Chief

Senior Zach Smith serves in a match against LaPorte during the tennis season. Photo by Brandon Vickrey

The boys varsity tennis team wrapped up its strongest season in recent years with a record of 16-3, falling to Valparaiso in the sectional championship match. The Indians posted the highest win total of any Portage High School fall sport. The

Fall play set for Nov. 16-18 Page 2

storylines are available in abundance when looking back at this intriguing season. The first unique aspect of the season is that head coach Gary Hayes has concluded his four year stint as boys tennis coach at PHS. Hayes, a longtime coach for basketball and tennis in Northwest Indiana, will return to the hardwood this winter as the head boys basketball coach at Griffith High School.

“I learned a lot from Coach Hayes,” senior No. 1 singles player Jeff McElfresh said. “It’s easy to say that I wouldn’t be the same person without having been under his coaching, a lot of life lessons and determination.” McElfresh, who was named the Sept. 14 Pow Wow Most Valuable Player, is another of the noteworthy stories for the boys tennis squad. He stayed focused on the sport

What’s inside? Wright named MVP Page 5

throughout the offseason, elevating his skill level enough to take over the No. 1 singles slot. “We had a moment in the sectionals last year where we could have ended up upsetting Valpo and that really pushed me to practice over the offseason,” McElfresh said. “I realized that we’d have a very strong team this year.”

See TENNIS, page 4

Catching up with grads Page 7


News 2

Issue 3

Fall Play ‘The 39 Steps’ to be held in November Ashley Conrad News Writer

Current senior Rachel Stewart performs the role of Julia Sullivan during the 2012 spring musical, Hairspray. Stewart will be playing the lead of Pamela Edwards in ‘The 39 Steps.” Legend Stock Photo

Portage High School’s presentation of the play “The 39 Steps” next month is set to give viewers a taste of Austin Powers with a hint of Alfred Hitchcock. “The 39 Steps” contains every legendary scene from the award-winning movie, including the chase on the Flying Scotsman, the escape on the Forth Bridge, the first theatrical bi-plane crash ever staged and the sensational death-defying finale in the London Palladium. David Richardson of WOR Radio said on the radio that this show is one of the most clever shows on Broadway in a long time. “The 39 Steps” is based on the 1935

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Alfred Hitchcock film of “The 39 Steps.” It has won multiple awards and has been Broadway’s longest running comedy, first produced on the stage by North Country Theatre in April 1996 at the Georgian Theatre, Richmond, North Yorkshire and now it will be presenting itself on Portage’s stage for the first time. Auditions were Monday, Oct. 1 and Tuesday, Oct. 2. Callbacks were Wednesday, Oct. 3 and the parts were posted Thursday, Oct. 4, starting a hardworking six week preparation for the show. “I know the talent that has already graced the stage, but I am always surprised with the new talent that comes forth,” PHS Auditorium Director Kevin Giese said. Over 100 students tried out with a

variety of accents from Scottish to German to British. With 15 main roles and 13 supporting roles, the choices were based on their performances. Senior Rachel Stewart will be playing the female lead role Pamela Edwards. Junior Matt Bliss will be playing the male lead role Richard Hannay. “I expect the play to turn out phenomenal. The show has never been performed by a high school because it is originally casted with four people. It is going to be a challenge but I know we can pull it off. I think the choice was perfect. It is a fast-paced comedy and I really think people will enjoy it,” Stewart said. The play will be performed on Friday, Nov. 16; Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18.

ETA schedule differs from previous years Joshua Lewis

row on ETA days. Mathematics Department Head Cheryl Clapp put together the new schedule and presented it at a department meeting where all department heads agreed to pilot it the first nine weeks. “A 50 minute break between exams makes sense because it gives students time to regroup. In college, there is an hour of break between exams and that extra time to look over notes is helpful,” Swickard said. After this new schedule is piloted in the first nine weeks, Swickard said teachers and students will give their input on the success of the new schedule and a decision will be made from there on whether or not the new schedule will be implemented throughout the rest of the school year.

Features Editor End of Term Assessment exam days are known as some of the most stressful days of the year, but recently teachers and faculty members have come together to alleviate some of this stress of students. Instead of having ETAs for the first four classes of the day, the ETA schedule has been changed so that day one of exams will include ETAs for modules 1, 3, 6-7 or 7-8 and 10, while the second day of exams will include the ETAs for modules 2, 4-5 or 5-6 and 9. Principal Caren Swickard said that teachers were concerned that Advanced Placement students had multiple tests in a

University

Continued from page 1

“It would be beneficial to have the city and Portage High School team up in marketing the University Center to students. We would then like to attract students from Chesterton, Hobart and Lake Station when we have fully utilized Portage High School to help with the center,” Snyder said. The University Center is planning to expand to multiple universities and bring in a larger group of students, but it will take some time. Snyder believes introduction of the University Center can only benefit the community. “Education is paramount to residents being able to find a good job. We have a challenge in filling the Center. Portage is always ready for a challenge and we will be successful in this challenge if we work together. Portage is called the Port of Opportunity and the University Center just adds to the opportunity Portage offers,” Snyder said.

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Local universities and colleges, including IUN and Ivy Tech, utilize classrooms in the University Center. Portage is looking to sign on more local 1 schools. Photo by Collin Czilli A

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4 7 Portage’s two-story University Center sits on 5 8 Central Avenue. Photo by Collin Czilli 6

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Taking PSAT early proven to improve SAT scores 1

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“I think the PSAT is a great help in imMallory Lopez proving scores. Many people have a hard News Writer time taking tests with time restrictions, so the more practice they have, the better,” Students have been hearing the same senior Briana Ammeson said. saying repeatedly since they were little: The PSAT is the “Practice makes perfect.” preliminary SAT/National Preliminary Scholastic “Many people have a Merit Scholarship Aptitude Tests are coming hard time taking tests Qualifying Test. This up soon for sophomores, with time restrictions, program is co-sponsored juniors and freshmen who by the College Board are in Pre-AP English. The so the more practice and National Merit PSAT is not required for they have, the better.” Scholarship Corporation. juniors and Pre-AP English -Briana Ammeson, It is a standardized test freshmen. Taking it is recSenior that provides firsthand ommended. practice for the SAT. It According to Indiana also gives juniors a chance Department of Education to enter into the NMSC Assistant Director for Colscholarship program and gain access lege and Career Readiness Amy B. Marsh, to college and career planning tools. students who take the PSAT their sophomore year as well as their junior year have Guidance Department Chair Jennifer Symer recommends that all sophomores a higher chance of getting a better score take the PSAT. on their SAT and getting into a better “Taking the PSAT in the tenth grade college.

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2 5 3 8 provides early feedback on 6 your strengths 9 3 4 6 7 9 1 and weaknesses on skills necessary for col4 7 5 1 8 2 Test-taking Tips 5 lege study. You6can then focus your prepa8 2 9 3 6 9 ration on those 7areas where you 1 need the 4 (Information courtesy of 34 7 1 8 most study or practice,” Symer 2said. 5 8 2 9 5 3 and 6 The PSAT covers1 math, reading College Board) 9 3 6 4 7 1 4 writing skills that are included on the SAT 2 7 5 8 2 5 8 3 as well. The PSAT covers subjects taught 6 9 3 6 4 •Sign1 up for the Official SAT Question 9 every day in high school classrooms. 7The 4 7 5 1 8 2 of the day 5 state currently pays for all sophomores 8 6 2 9 3 6 will receive9 -Those who sign up to take the test along with7juniors who 1 3 4 7 1 qualify for free or reduced 8lunch. Juniors2 practice questions 5 8 2 9 3 6 who do not qualify for free or reduced delivered to your e-mail inbox 3 9 1 4 7 1 lunch must pay a fee of $16. 2 4 every day8 5 2 5 To study for the PSAT, Symer3 6 9 •Take a practice test that is available 3 6 7 recommends paying attention in4class, 1 4 7 on the College2Board website: 5 8 since the test focuses on what students 5 8 6 9-Answer practice questions 3 6 learn in everyday high school. Students 7 9 1 4 -Read sample essay questions 7 from 1 can also use preparation booklets 8 2 5 8 2 9 previous tests 6 produced by the College Board. 3 9 1 3 4 Official SAT 7 Online Course •Try the “For both the PSAT and SAT make 2 1 4 5 8 sure you study, because if you do not, you 3 -Includes interactive lessons and2 6 9 3 4 will definitely regret it,” senior Kaitlyn 7 eight practice tests to1 help prepare 4 5 8 Adkins said. 2 for the SAT 5 A

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News 3

October 12, 2012

Local haunted house returns for third year Emily Evans Design Editor

This October, Portage residents should brace themselves for the most horrifying experience of their lives. Opening on Oct. 19 and running until Oct. 31, the Haunted Hills Hospital is a haunted house run by the family of senior Justin Hill at 6112 Old Porter Rd. The Halloween attraction is open on Fridays and Saturdays and runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The cost to enter is $5 and proceeds go to charity. “We added 75 percent more [to the Haunted Hospital], trained our actors and we will be donating most of the proceeds to charity,” Hill said. According to senior Jimmy Spence, the entire walk through of the house takes about 20 minutes and many precautions have been

taken this year. “This is our third year running the house as a business. We have permission from the police department to park at Crisman [Elementary School] and the ROTC will be doing security and making sure it is safe to cross the street,” Spence said. Most of the work for the Haunted Hills Hospital is done by Hill, his father and family friends. “We saw that people my age didn’t have anything Halloween to go to in the area; we are really trying to spread Halloween spirit,” said Hill. “We start planning in July and build everything ourselves. A very little part of it is store bought.” Any patron who is planning to attend the Haunted Hills Hospital can earn a lower admission price by dressing as a zombie on Oct. 19.

The East pool is currently receiving maintenance to repair broken tiles. Teams that utilize the pool are using the facilities in the West building. Photo by Taylor Mlynski

School closes East pool, repairs currently underway Collin czilli Opinion Editor

Haunted Hills Hospital actors pose in their costumes. Photos provided by Justin Hill

Swimmers at Portage High School have been unable to use the pool at East as the tiling in the pool is being completely replaced. According to Athletic Director Kelly Bermes, the situation of chipped tiles was brought to the attention of the Athletic Department by the high school swim coaches and the Portage Porpoise Swim Club. “This was a safety concern for the swimmers,” Bermes said. “We were worried about them cutting their knees or feet.” Bermes also said that there were holes in the pool where tile was missing.

The entire pool has been drained while the walls of the pool are being stripped, tiled and grouted. According to Bermes, the tiling should be finished within a week. However, the grout must be given time to cure properly. Once the grout cures, the pool will be able to be refilled and be used again. While the pool is being refinished, both high school teams are practicing after school in the West pool while the Porpoises and the YMCA share the pool in the evenings. “We are luckier than most schools in that we do have two pools,” Bermes said. The pool is receiving more than just new tiling. The Athletic Department has also decided to outfit the pool with new lane ropes and flag poles.

PTS installs new upgrades to computer system Eric Mesarch Content Editor

Kiss those four different versions of the same essay goodbye. Portage Township Schools implemented a new computer system this year complete with upgrades to different networks and programs. According to Informational Technology Systems Coordinator Cynthia Natalie, the main purpose of implementing the system was to “get into the future.” “We had old equipment; schools aren’t rich so we had to make our equipment last as long as it could. Our software was old; our e-mail was old; our network was old. So, we were able to take advantage of some loan

money available to do a number of upgrades,” Natalie said. Natalie said these upgrades include a new network system and e-mail package. The network system provides students in grades 6-12 with a log-in identification number and password. In addition, Natalie hopes that, eventually, students will be able to have their own school e-mail addresses. “We just tried to make the system run faster and better, and I think we’re doing that,” Natalie said. Another benefit that Natalie explained is the purchasing of an open license for all of the school’s Microsoft products. This would mean that every computer in the school would be equipped with the 2010 version of

the Microsoft Office suite. “As you go everywhere, you get what you get, no matter what computer you are on,” Natalie said. “And we’re hoping that soon, we can offer that to you [students] for at-home use as well.” Natalie said that one of the only detriments to a new system is the fact that it will be a “learning curve,” and that “there’s always bumps in the road.” Natalie also said that a challenge about the project was that it was an immense amount of work that had to be done in a short amount of time. “If you talk to our consultant that we worked with over the summer, we tried to initiate a nine-month project in about a three-

month period of time and we came really close to getting there. We missed the mark by a few weeks,” Natalie said. Another challenge Natalie mentioned is that there is a vast number of users in the system, which made it more difficult to install the system in such a short amount of time. “Portage Township Schools is like a large city,” Natalie said. “You’re talking about between 7,000 and 9,000 kids; you’re talking about an employee base of 1,500 people working in the district. That’s like implementing a network in a small city. I think it was not only necessary, but I think we could have been in a horrible state of affairs had we not done it now,” Natalie said. “We were well beyond the point where we needed to have this happen.”

Portage residents see new businesses in town Katie Peksenak News Editor

Thriving would be an understatement when describing Portage within the past few years. The town has seen a Smoothie Factory, multiple physical therapy centers, a new and improved Walgreens and the everpopular Panda Express. Texas Roadhouse is in the process of being built and the old Kmart will be a newly renovated Meijer, which will include a gas station in the parking lot. The newest business expected to hit Portage in the near future is Family Express. “I have a petition for a Family Express that is planned on a piece of property that is just west of the old Portage 9 Theater,” Portage Planner and Development Review member Kurt Knutsen said. For businesses to come into Portage, they typically have to inquire that they would like to bring their business to town,

go through the process of acquiring a piece “I would definitely like to see a sit-down of property and speak with the Portage restaurant verses another fast food place. Economic Development Corporation. We made some changes in our ordinance This is not a quick process. Knutsen’s that make it a little more difficult for fast position does not food restaurants to come involve marketing, into town because they “I have a petition for usually want a drive but deals with businesses after they through, which has to a Family Express that have gone through the go through approval is planned on a piece construction phase. through the Board He explained that of Zoning Appeals,” of property that is just U.S Highway 6 is Knutsen said. designed mainly for Correct Construction west of the old Portage the retail market and is also planning to 9 Theater.” restaurants. Problems build another training -Kurt Knutsen, center that will be held often dealt with include restaurants Developement Board on Southport Road. It being developed on too Review Member teaches construction small of lots. Knutsen classes and focuses on also added that the construction training. Panda Express and Texas Roadhouse A trucking outfit is also coming back to will sport more landscaping compared to the Plan Commission for reapproval. This many of the older restaurants and that he will be an improvement on Route 20. As of is hoping to see more sit-down restaurants right now there are no other businesses in hit Portage. the process of coming to Portage.

Construction on Texas Roadhouse, which has already began. It will be located in front of Menards on U.S. Highway 6. Photo by Miles Motto


Sports 4

Issue 3

Football draws Lake Central for sectional opener Peyton Hulse Sports Editor With sectionals around the corner, the football team is continuing to work hard and aim for success. Varsity player and senior Devin Kludt said he is going into sectionals feeling confident and prepared. For the team, the goal for sectionals is simple. “My priority for sectionals is going into the final game and winning the sectional championship,” Kludt said. Varsity head coach Wally McCormack said that even though the team’s record does not show it, the boys have been improving each and every week. Kludt said that the team has not shown what they are really capable of yet this season, but the team has already improved tremendously, and there is still time left to turn the season around. “All these games are quizzes; we are being quizzed on a week-to-week basis,” McCormack said. The real test is sectionals, and

McCormack is not letting the overall record of 2-6 discourage the team. He said he is very confident going into sectionals. The team will be playing against Lake Central Friday, Oct. 19. LC has an overall record of 6-2. McCormack said that it does not matter who the team plays in sectionals, Portage will fight hard to win and go into the game with confidence. Only time will tell how successful the team will be, but for now, the players are focusing on what is left of their season, because for some, it is their last. McCormack said that this season is “all about the seniors.” “It’s important for the returning guys to work as hard as possible. The last thing you want is for it to be your senior year and be standing in my shoes thinking you could’ve done more, or you could’ve done better,” Kludt said. McCormack said that he is looking forward to getting an early start for next season. He said getting the team in the weight room early and keeping up with working out will help out tremendously next season.

Top: The Portage offensive line prepares to block against Michigan City in the Homecoming game on Sept. 28. Bottom: The football team gathers prior to the Homecoming game against the Wolves. The Indians won the game 24-21. Photos by Ian DePerio really well,” Klenk said. That chemistry was another theme of the entire boys tennis team. Continued from page 1 As reported in the Sept. 28 Pow Wow, most of the The No. 2 doubles players are close friends on combination of senior CJ Haupt and off the court. and junior Chris Klenk earned “It was great. I’ve never the only Portage win in the been on a sports team like this,” regular season and sectional McElfresh said. “We were a matches against Valparaiso, family. Everyone was friends both 4-1 losses. Haupt and with each other and everyone Klenk finished the year with the got along great. We just gelled.” dominating record of 24-1. The 3-2 upset of La Porte on “The chemistry that me and Aug. 28 propelled the Indians CJ had was not like anybody else to the stellar year. It was the on the team,” Klenk said. “We first time Portage defeated the didn’t play very fundamentally, Slicers in boys tennis in 12 but we knew where we were on years. the count, so we never really “The realization that we had had to talk the whole time and a special team was in the La any time one of us got down, we Porte match when we ended up were able to pick each other up pulling it out,” Klenk said.

Tennis

Patrick Derr focuses during a tennis match against LaPorte. The Indians finished the season with a record of 16-2. Photo by Brandon Vickrey for PortageLife.com

On Sept. 26, Portage defeated Wheeler 3-2 in the opener of the Portage Sectional to punch its ticket to the championship on Sept. 27 against Valparaiso. The Vikings escaped with narrow victories at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles to secure their seventeenth consecutive sectional title. Klenk and junior No. 2 singles player John Fannin will be the only two varsity returnees in 2013 with the graduation of seniors Haupt, McElfresh, Zach Smith, Tyler Soberg and Patrick Derr. “Next season I expect that we’re going to work hard to get back to where we were this year,” Klenk said. “It will be a little bit more difficult, but I feel that we’ll have a solid team like this year.”

Portage High School provides student athletes with quality trainers at no cost Peyton Hulse Sports Editor Sports have become more than just a seasonal hobby, however, most sports practice nearly all year round and many students participate in more than one sport. More physical activity increases an athlete’s chance of wear and tear on the body. Treatments for the PHS athletes injuries can often be pricey, but Katrina Clark and Erika Vorel work hard as physical trainers to provide student athletes with free and convenient treatment for sport related injuries. Clark attended the University of Indianapolis for four years to become an athletic trainer. Vorel

attended Western Illinois University for four years and then Valparaiso University for sports administration. On a day-to-day basis, Clark and Vorel see about 50 student athletes. Their job includes everything from distributing water at the games to administering pregame and postgame treatments. Varsity soccer player and senior Taylor Felinski suffered a knee injury from soccer. He visited the trainers on a daily basis to receive treatments. “The trainers help tremendously. Katrina is very nice, and I couldn’t play soccer without her,” Felinski said The treatments Felinski administers can be very pricey. Clark said he has saved thousands of dollars by receiving the

treatment at the school versus anywhere else. Felinski is not the only student saving money by visiting the trainers. Varsity football player and senior Devin Kludt said between his every day ankle wrappings and treatments on his shoulder, he saves at least over $100 a week. “During my games, I don’t feel any pain. They stabilize my ankle, and treat my shoulder with a muscle stimulator,” Kludt said. Clark said that the best part about the job is making a difference. For the athletes, the trainers’ office is more than just a place to receive treatment. “It’s such a fun environment, and they always do a phenomenal job. We really do have the best trainers,” Kludt said.

Portage athletic trainers Katrina Clark (right) and Erika Vorel (left) pose for a photo. Clark and Vorel ensure that athletes have quality medical care. Photo by Miles Motto


Sports5

October 12, 2012

What is the best thing about participating in PHS athletics? “The best part of high school sports is being with my team and getting better and interacting with the coaches. -Freshman Danielle Schultz

“Bus rides to and from soccer games are my favorite part of high school sports because the rides are always fun and full of energy. -Sophomore Nick Bell

“For me, the best part of participating

in high school sports is when we have pasta parties for soccer. We all get together and bond and it’s a really good time. -Junior Kayla Burns

“My best memory from sports has to be

the friends that are made. The bonds created there are ones that take a lot to be broken. These guys are the ones that I’ll be friends with for a long time. They are some of my best friends and they’ve made such an impact on my life. I’ll never forget these guys. -Senior Logan Cole

Junior Mariah Wright celebrates after Portage scores a point in a match against Valparaiso on Oct. 4. Photo by Brandon Vickrey for PortageLife.com

Wright continues to work hard while improving leadership skills Alexis Coffman Sports Writer Volleyball is what junior Mariah Wright calls, “her life.” Wright has played since her middle school years and does not plan on quitting anytime soon. “I am 100 percent sure I would not be who I am today without volleyball in my life. Volleyball is pretty much my whole world. Without volleyball, I would be a bum with no idea of where I wanted to go in

life. Being in this sport has taught me so much more to life than anyone could possibly experience and I plan not to take it for granted,” Wright said. Wright thinks that the sport has changed her for the better. Her teammates have taught each other to keep commitment and stick together. Head coach Brian Zofkie thinks of Wright as a team leader. “Mariah has been a great team leader since this past summer. With some

of the injuries we had early on, she really stepped up and filled many different roles, including a bigger leadership role. Wright is committed and expects her teammates to do the same,” Zofkie said. Wright said next year makes her nervous, and she does not want to think of being a senior. Wright won Most Improved Player last season, which has made Wright move into a leadership role for the team. “My coach has helped me become a better player

in so many ways. He is the best coach I have ever had and I’m grateful for it. He has taught me many skills and techniques that I will need for later on in my volleyball career. I have also learned to be very dedicated in volleyball,” Wright said. Wright has moved to a new position this year that she has never played before, according to Zofkie. For next season, Wright said she will give it her all and cannot wait to play with the team for one more season.

Volleyball to play Hobart in sectional Caleb Ingersoll Sports Writer

LEFT: AJ Laramie (right) and Emilio Blackwell (left) cross the finish line in a meet against Valpo. RIGHT: Erin Reynolds (left) and Keanna Crum (right) push through a meet against Merrillville. Photos by Legend Staff

Cross country poised to continue postseason play Lauren Winicky Sports Writer The boys and girls cross country teams may be very different, however, they both are satisfied with their teams as the season comes to an end. “The most promising part of the 2012 season to date has been the development of the underclassmen. The freshman girls have stepped into varsity racing roles. Even without the presence of seniors, the team has great leadership,” assistant girls cross country coach Melissa Miller said. The season is not over yet. The Duneland Athletic Conference alone has four girls teams ranked in the top 25 in the state and the Portage cross country team has compiled a 4-3 record against tough competition. The girls and boys sectionals took

place on Oct. 9 at Sunset Hill Park. With the boys cross country team beginning sectional play, junior David Clegg expects to come out on top. “I expect to be one of the top teams in Indiana,” Clegg said. The captains on the boys team this year are Tim Huber and Jacob Thielbar. “We had eight runners break 17:00, so I am pretty happy thus far,” boys cross country head coach Tom Erickson said. With the season coming to an end, the runners are starting to think about next season. “With our talent, I have high expectations for our season next year as well as sectional play,” Clegg said. Qualifying teams and individuals will compete in the New Prairie Regional on Oct. 13. Semistate is slated for Oct. 20 at New Prairie with state on Oct. 27 in Terre Haute.

In the upcoming varsity girls volleyball sectionals, Portage will compete against Hobart in Valparaiso. “I expect us to go pretty far in sectionals and hopefully advance to regionals. If we play how we’ve been playing the past two weeks, we will have a chance,” sophomore Abby Alexander said. The lady-Indians have high hopes and expectations for their next match. They put lots of time and effort into their practices and games that is why they made their team saying, “commitment to excellence.” “All our girls have commitment and if our hearts and minds are set to win, I can see us going far,” Alexander said. The past few weeks the team has had some very close matches with teams in the Duneland Athletic Conference. One of Portage’s most recent matches was on Oct. 2 against Crown Point. The Indians dropped a tight one by the score of 3-2. “We have been preparing for sectionals with our long, hard practices and by going out on the court during our matches giving 110 percent against these tough teams,” senior Michaela Miller said. Portage’s close match with Crown Point showed them that they should not be taken lightly. “Everything is really starting to come together and the team has come a really long way since the beginning of the

season. Hopefully we can win the first round of sectionals and show everyone how far Portage Volleyball has come,” Miller said. If Portage defeats Hobart, it will face the winner of Michigan City against Merrillville in the second round.

Senior Bri Gibson prepares to serve in a match at Valparasio on Oct. 4. The team will play Hobart in the first round of the sectionals. Photo by Brandon Vickrey for PortageLife.com


6 Opinion 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

Issue 3

Local media deserves praise for coverage of high school sports Brandon Vickrey Editor-in-Chief

bwvickrey@gmail.com Northwest Indiana athletes, coaches, parents and fans should take the time to appreciate the tremendous media coverage that high school sports in Northwest Indiana receive. The extensive coverage provided by numerous outlets gives the athletes attention and exposure. The plethora of local sports media in the Region also attests to the interest level of the fans. People in this area, perhaps more so than in any other portion of the state, care about prep sports. Fans, coaches, athletes and school administrators should be as supportive of local media outlets as possible. With few exceptions, the media members understand the importance of representing high school athletics in a positive light. After all, these are high school athletes who are playing for the love of the game. For that same reason, high school sports can be more enjoyable to read about, follow, watch, listen to and support than professional sports, where the players are motivated by bloated contracts, or even Division I college football and basketball, where student-athletes are rewarded with large scholarships and sometimes allowed to

pass classes without meeting the regular requirements. At the high school level, the student-athletes are pouring in hours of hard work and they deserve every bit of attention they receive. However, the people that are giving them that attention should also be commended. Some parents and fans are not even aware of the variety of outlets available. Locally, football, boys basketball and girls basketball are king, but the newspapers, websites and radio stations do a solid job making sure that the other 17 sports are also recognized. The Times of Northwest Indiana and the Post-Tribune feature weekly polls of the top teams for each sport, at least one athlete feature per week per sport and thoroughly cover the biggest sporting events in the Region. On fall Friday nights, 89.1 FM The Lakeshore’s “Lakeshore Gamenight” delivers four and a half hours of comprehensive football coverage The hosts chat with correspondents who call in to report live from all of the high school football games in the area. The show is perfect for fans to listen to on their way to and from games, or if they cannot make it out to the field. Lakeshore Public Television’s “Prep Football Report” with Joe Arredondo and Wayne Svetanoff airs every Thursday at 7

p.m. with a look ahead to Friday night’s action, plus a review of the previous week’s games and players of the week. On Friday nights at 10:30, “PFR Scoreboard” includes video highlights from many contests and scores from every game in the Region. The football coverage does not end there. A large number of local radio stations and websites broadcast play-by-play from games each week, including the Regional Radio Sports Network, Regionsports.com and Mid America Broadcasting. RRSN also calls regular season and postseason soccer, while MAB brings listeners into gymnasiums with live volleyball action. During the winter season, the weekly “Prep Sports Report” on Lakeshore Public Television covers primarily basketball, along with gymnastics and wrestling. Lakeshore Public Radio broadcasts several basketball games per week over the airwaves. The all positive news organization Ideas in Motion Media (ValpoLife.com, PortageLife. com and LaPorteCountyLife.com) captures large photo galleries from many local sporting events throughout the school year in addition to posting any photos, scores, recaps or stories submitted by parents, coaches and athletes. When fans pour into the Warpath or any other high school football stadium tonight, they should drop by the press box to thank the newspaper correspondents, radio broadcasters and photographers for their unwavering support of high school athletics.

Seek help for depression issues Ian DePerio Photographer

According to the Center for Disease Control, around 60 percent of high school students have thought about it, and about nine percent have tried it at least once. Suicide: The elephant in the room, the third leading cause of death in people ages 15-24, one of the worst plagues that we face in our lives. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Most people who are depressed or suicidal see the obstacles in their lives as something they will never be able to overcome, and see suicide as the only way out. They do not realize how loved they are, and how their deaths would affect so many family members, friends, teachers and peers. No one is alone. I have battled depression for years, and I thought about suicide often. When I was in elementary school, I attempted for the first time, not

because life was terrible, but because I felt I did not fit in. As I grew older, my passion for suicide awareness and prevention grew because no one should have to feel like that and have those thoughts. This summer was the hardest for me; I thought about it more and more frequently. Last month, I attempted and, luckily, failed. I spent three days in Porter Starke Services, and that time changed my life. The night is darkest just before the dawn. I realized how great of a support system I have, who my true friends are, how amazing life can be and how anyone’s death would leave behind a terribly unforgettable mark on the lives of the people around them. I know that things are not always easy, and there will be future obstacles to overcome, but nothing is so terrible that anyone should

end his or her life prematurely. I have been pretty blessed with my life, and I will not ever take that for granted again. To those people out there who are fighting depression, and do not see this beautiful world: do not give up. I promise that no matter what the situation is, the problems will be solved with time. There are so many resources for help in this world, do take advantage of them. The last thing anyone wants to see is someone’s life taken by his or her own hands. There are so many great services out there, including therapists, clinics and doctors. Porter Starke offers inpatient and outpatient services for people of all ages. Just in Portage High School, Jennifer Reilly is the home school adviser for the freshmen, while Tim Kunstek is the adviser for sophomores, juniors and seniors. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255. The Porter Starke Services website is www.porterstarke.org.

Portage High School deserves more credit Collin Czilli Opinion Editor

cczilli@phsnewsonline.com On Sep. 19, the Department of Education released the state wide grades for each public school as well as school district. Surprisingly to some, Portage High School received an A grading from the state, but yet students complain that Portage is a terrible place and that the school is less of a school just because there are some students that chose to make bad decisions. It is quite depressing that Portage students do not take pride in their school. Granted, there are problems at Portage, but every school has problems. Every high school deals with drugs, alcohol and fake gang members. If you look at a news website such as nwi.com, there is always a story about another school dealing with students being arrested or being caught with drugs. Just because it happens at Portage, does not mean our school is less than what it is. There are students and groups at Portage

that are doing phenomenal activities. The school’s marching band won gold at the Indiana State School Music Association annual competition, but they never receive the praise it deserves. Take, for example, the Marine Corp Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. This group does countless community activities for this school but never receives the recognition it deserves. During home football games, the ROTC closes the roadways to make it safer for people coming to games. During the holiday season, ROTC collects thousands of food items from the community to hand out to needy people in our community. Some students seem to always forget about the teams there are at Portage. Not athletic teams, but the academic teams. These groups of students spend hours studying a subject to compete in competitions. Last year, the academic superbowl team competed on Lakeshore Public Television’s “Making the Grade”

game show. The Student Council has been a member of Honor Council for the past 26 years. Honor Council is recognition that the Student Council is very active in the school and local community through service projects and charity fundraisers. The National Honor Society is very dedicated to making the school the best it can be. Through its continued focus on bettering the school and the community, Honor Society raised money for autism research, sent care packages to battered women’s shelters, sent appreciation packages to the teachers and organized the making of blankets for the Linus Project. Finally, the teachers do not receive the praise that they deserve. Too often students criticize their teachers as being merely adequate, but they proved that they know what they are doing through Portage’s test scores. In the past year, there has been an increase in Math and English ECA passage, more graduating students and more preparation for students going to college. The teachers do not receive enough, not nearly enough, commendation for the job they do. They spend hours

of their own time planning for classes. They spend their own money to ensure that each student has the materials he or she needs and deserves in a classroom. No teachers go into education for the money or cushy lounges, they go into it because they love what they do and want to see students learn. There are countless groups at this school that do so much, and receive little to no recognition from local media. However, when one student is caught with drugs, it becomes a major headline in the newspaper. As Portage students, it is a responsibility to boost the school’s reputation and not bring it down. When people from other schools hear someone talk about Portage, they should hear that it is one of the best schools in the state. They should not hear about a few bad actions that occur; they should hear about countless good things that happen in the school. They should hear that Portage has teachers that are of top quality. They should hear that in the face of poverty, the district has risen to the top. They should hear that Portage places a high emphasis on academic success and is committed to making the school and community better every day.


October 12, 2012 “Blacksmithing is relaxing and fun. You are able to take something you normally would not be able to change its shape and turn it into something you can use.” -Jay Drew, Science Teacher “It was a pretty natural progression for me to transition into my spot as a football radio show host. I was a member of the pep band and marching band in high school and I naturally paid attention to the games.” -Andy Schultz, Jazz Band Teacher

HOBBIES Continued from page 1 Being thrust into the sport, Wysocki did not receive formal training before her first race. According to Wysocki, she first learned how to sail with a seat belt on the car ride there. Worms may seem entirely disgusting to most, but to guidance counselor Shirley Bustos, worms are a source of rich soil. “It was the most unromantic birthday gift my husband has ever given me. I said one time that it would be fun and he took me seriously,” Bustos said. Bustos keeps a compost bin in her basement where she raises super red wiggler worms to produce compost soil for her garden. “To start a compost bin, add 50 percent leaves, paper, etc. and 50 percent vegetable scraps. As you keep adding these ingredients, it turns into a rich soil called compost which can be mixed with other soil to make fertilizer for gardens and plants,” Bustos said. Having a compost bin actually requires some amount of maintenance, despite its numerous benefits. Bustos said it takes about 15 minutes a week

to put the vegetable scraps in the bin, but the real work is after three to four months when worms need to be sorted out, new bedding needs to be made and the compost needs to be extracted. In an age where goods can be easily bought at Walmart, blacksmithing has become a dying art. Science teacher Jay Drew, however, crafts items out of steel as a hobby. Drew first learned how to blacksmith from his father five years ago, and ever since he has being making steel tools whenever he can. “I make knives, farm tools, hooks, kitchen tools, basically anything I need made out of steel that I am able to make,” Drew said. Blacksmithing is a potentially dangerous activity and requires many safety precautions. Drew said that when dealing with steel at 1,500°F, wearing gloves, safety glasses and hearing protection are essential, as well as making sure nothing flammable is around. Despite the medieval connotations with blacksmithing, the hobby has a calming effect on Drew. “Blacksmithing is relaxing and fun. You are

able to take something you normally would not be able to change its shape and turn it into something you can use,” Drew said. Making the shift from the band room to the radio microphone is an easy task for jazz band teacher Andy Schultz. Schultz is the host of “Lakeshore Gamenight” on 89.1 FM, a scoreboard show for high school football. Schultz also broadcasts high school basketball games during the winter season and is the voice of the Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League during the summer. As a member of his high school golf team, sports, as well as music, have always interested Schultz “It was a pretty natural progression for me to transition into my spot as a football radio show host. I was a member of the pep band and marching band in high school and I naturally paid attention to the games,” Schultz said. “Lakeshore Gamenight” lasts from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday nights. During its broadcast, listeners receive a variety of information about high school football including live updates from every game in the Region.

Features7 Nye poses with fellow participants at a reenactment. Photo provided

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PHS Rewind: graduates find success in post high school lives Emily Hensley

classes,” Carpenter said. Class of 2011 graduate Mike Zmija, currently a Every year Portage High sophomore at Ball State School gains new students, University, has learned a lot but graduates go on to after leaving Portage High their own futures. Whether School. they move on to college or “Since high school I’ve straight to a career, they all had friends and people I have information to share. consider family pass away College and it’s helped life keeps “In the future me better realmany people I plan to start ize that we only busy with have so much a nonprofit their classes, organization to help time here and jobs and we need [to] families affected by figuring unite and be cancer and provided there for one out how to services like babybalance life another in our sitting during cancer worst times,” with school. treatments, free The choices Zmija said. are endless family, individual Class of when gradu2012 graduate therapies and ates leave Jacob Cherry exercise classes.” high school his working way -Emily Carpenter, and each through the 2010 graduate chooses his world of theatre or her own art. He is curpath to folrently attending low. Some graduates even Indiana University Northuse their free time in order west as a theatre major to help others, such as class and keeping well involved of 2010 graduate Emily in the university’s theatre Carpenter. program. “In the future I plan to “In the very near future start a nonprofit organizaI have ‘The Rocky Horror tion to help families affected Show’ at the Dunes Summer by cancer and provide Theatre in Michigan City, services like baby-sitting where I will be playing Brad during cancer treatments, Majors. Opening night is free family [and] individOct. 5, and that will run for ual therapies and exercise two weekends,” Cherry said.

Features Writer

Horn helps a student find a book in the library. He has been working in the Portage Township Schools System for over 20 years. Photo by Olivia Forrester

Horn adjusts to new role as PHS Library Media Specialist “I am loud, but not very good at being quiet. I don’t view libraries in the old school sense; sterile, controlled and quiet. I view them as a dynamic place. With the constant motion of people in and out, that makes a good library.” -Richard Horn, Library Media Specialist

Tyra Allen

helping encourage literature in all its forms. “It’s not as different as Noticing new students you would think. Yes, the may not be easy, but new students are more mature, staff members and teachers but my job is still workalways stand out. ing with the students and Richard staff to Horn has been match their “My job is still a part of the interests working with Portage Townwith our ship Schools the students and resources,” System for over working with the Horn said. 20 years, seven Coming to a students and staff of which were new school to match their spent in the can be hard Willowcreek interests with our on anyMiddle School one, even resources.” Media Center. teachers. -Richard Horn, Deciding he Navigating Library Media was ready for a around the Specialist change and to school and take on more getting acresponsibilcustomed to ity, Horn took it is not an advantage of an opportueasy task. nity that had opened, and “Overall the entire staff is now in his first year as has been really friendly the Portage High School and flexible. [Lorrie] CoLibrary Media Specialist hen has been a life saver,

Features Writer

and [Brett] Gorden, the new media clerk is a great addition to the library,” Horn said. Horn’s day starts at 7 a.m. and does not end until after 3 p.m. Horn spends his day reorganizing the library, helping students find books and assisting classes on fulfilling their literature needs. Horn comes to school every day with a smile on his face. “I just really enjoy my job,” Horn said. The big characteristic that separates him from other librarians is his view on the job. “I am loud, and not very good at being quiet. I don’t view libraries in the old school sense; sterile, controlled, quiet. I view them as a dynamic place. With the constant motion of people in and out, that makes a good library,” Horn said.

“Since high school I’ve had friends and people I consider family pass away and it’s helped me better realize that we only have so much time here and need [to] unite and be there for one another in the worse of times.” -Mike Zmija, 2011 graduate “In the very near future I have ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ at the Dunes Summer Theatre in Michigan City, where I will be playing Brad Majors. Opening night is Oct. 5, and that will run for two weekends.” -Jacob Cherry, 2012 graduate


The Back Page 8

PHS News Briefs

Meet the Indian De’Sheanna Harvey

Junior Da’Sheanna Harvey was last year’s Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program essay contest winner. Harvey was required to write about leadership. Photo by Taylor Searcy impacted me dramatically. creating a better you. It Alexis Sosa I found new ways to deal gives you the opportunity to Features Writer with the constant change of meet peers from around the life,” said Harvey. state that share some comPortage High School HOBY builds leadermon goals,” said Harvey. junior Da’Sheanna Harvey ship skills for students and Harvey is also involved won the Hugh O’Brian opens doors to the fields in HOSA and plans on Youth Leadership Program of government, business, joining the medical field essay contest. The essay’s media and education. after her time at Portage criteria were to write about English teacher Jodi High School is complete. the important aspects of Barney informed Harvey She is also working on getleadership in 100 words about the contest. This esting inducted into the Naor fewer. HOBY is an say allowed Harvey to meet tional Honor Society. Harorganization dedicated to other students with similar vey encourages students at motivating young leaders interests and aspirations. PHS to get involved in the both nationally and interMany students from around Hugh O’Brian program nationally. the state and country parand continues her own Harvey is enthusiastic ticipate in HOBY programs. involvement in it. Students about the affect HOBY can “The HOBY program is who are interested in enterhave on students who get a fun spirited, phenomenal ing next year’s contest can involved. association that allows you get more information from “The organization has to learn more about life and their English teachers.

Porter County Career Center

Do you know what you want to do after high school? Try one of the following career areas WHILE STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL: Auto Mechanics • Cisco Networking • CAD Animation • Construction • Cosmetology • Culinary Science • Dental Health • Early Childhood Education • Electronics • Emergency Rescue • Health Careers • Health Occupations • Industrial Mechanics • Landscaping • Law Enforcement • Medical Terminology • Modern Machining • Printing • Sports Marketing • Sports Medicine • Video Productions • Welding • Work Study

Issue 3 | October 12, 2012

Hodges awarded academic all-state for girls golf

Senior golfer Haley Hodges was one of fifteen in the state of Indiana who won the Academic All-State award for girls golf. The Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association presented her with this award. The Academic All-State award commends high school girls who play a varsity sport and maintain superior grades in the process. Hodges qualified because of her high grade point average and test scores. “It’s difficult balancing academics and sports, but I really just try and stay on top

of my homework and study hard because without academics, you can’t get anywhere,” Hodges said. In regard to receiving the award, Hodges said she was excited and honored to be recognized for her grades. Right now she is verbally committed to the University of Southern Indiana to play softball. She will be able to sign the national letter of intent in November, and then it will be official. - Katie Peksenak

Hearts in Motion sponsors a Christmas in Guatemala This October, Hearts in Motion is hosting Christmas in Guatemala in order to send a 40 foot semi-container filled with life changing medical supplies to the people of Guatemala. Hearts in Motion is asking all Portage Township Schools to participate. To donate, HIM

is asking students to bring in any stuffed animal with $1 pinned to it or attached with a rubber band in order to ship medical supplies and stuffed animals to bring health and happiness to a country in need. - Peyton Hulse

Navardauskas qualifies as a National Merit Scholar One in a million are not exactly the odds, but this does not mean his accomplishment is not outstanding. Senior DerekNavardauskas became one of 50,000 students in the United States recognized by the National Merit Scholars for his Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test scores. Navardauskas was informed of his scores by guidance counselor Shirley Bustos. In order to move onto the NMS competition, students must be one in 16,000, which was not in Navardauskas’s range. “It’s nice to be recognized, but on the

other hand I wish I would’ve performed well enough to be able to move ahead in the NMS competition,” Navardauskas said. He prepared for the test by studying the basic information for a while, and went into it not expecting such great results. Navardauskas scored a 200 on his PSAT, which translates to approximately 2000 on the regular Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is what qualified him as the one in 50,000, along with an 1860 on his actual SAT. - Brandon Weis

What Grinds Your Gears?

When teachers can’t read the clock or forget what time the bell rings, making you

late.

-Senior Lyndsey Cunningham

I seriously cannot stand when people turn onto Lute after turning onto Airport. Take

the back roads that go directly to Lute. DUH.”

Contact your counselor and visit www.PCCTE.org

Mondays.

-Senior Lauryn Sanders

-Junior Mackenzie Jones

www.PHSNewsOnline.com

Portage Pow Wow  

The student newspaper of Portage High School in Portage, Indiana.

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