#1StudentNWI: Another End to a Great Year at La Porte High School

By: Kaitlin Edquist Last Updated: June 4, 2015

Science Olympiad Champs

On May 9, the LPHS Academic Super Bowl Science Olympiad team won first place at the Indiana Association of School Principals Academic Super Bowl Competition. The Area and State team, consisting of seniors Matt Bartels and Austin Bohlin and junior Jon Ake, competed against six other Indiana Class 1 schools to take the state victory. They won within their class division, but they also had the best score out of all of the divisions.

“We were down by two for the first couple of questions, then we answered seventeen in a row correctly,” Bartels said. “We were happy to end the season with a state championship and were happy to finally bring on back to La Porte for the first time in twenty years.”

Other team members included sophomores Bree Winter and Liceth Cruz and freshman Anthony Garcia. The team is coached by teachers Mr. Messacar and Mrs. Niksch and helped by Mrs. Ulmer and Mr. Power.

Spring Performances

Spring has been an excellent example of the immense theatrical and musical talent that LPHS students possess. Orchestra, Band, and Choir ended their school year with great spring concerts, and the senior members of the groups were honored on stage.

“Performing in my senior choir concert was very memorable,” senior Lexie Cardello remembered. “Choir was such a blast, and I am really going to miss all the fun times we had! I got to learn a lot while doing what I love, which is singing. I will always cherish the great memories of choir from freshman year until now. My favorite thing about it was getting to learn all the different types of music and also being in show choir!”

In addition to the school’s musical performances, the annual spring play was held on May 22 and May 23. “Arsenic and Old Lace” is about two aunts who kill old men with no family using poison and wine, and their three nephews, one of whom is also trying to kill another. Even with a dark plotline, however, the cast and script still managed to keep the play silly and fun for the audience to watch.

“It was a lot of fun,” junior cast member Bailey Roberts said. “It was really cool because we had an actual set this time, and I got to be somebody really different and evil. [The cast] was all kind of a big family, so I had a fun time with it.” A lot of time is put into LPHS’s stage shows, whether it is musical or theatrical, and some students really begin to realize their talents of performing through participation in these groups.

‘And They’re Off’ to a Great Night May 16 was a night to remember for LPHS students as they put on their best attire and danced the night away at prom. The theme, LPHS Kentucky Derby, was shown throughout the dance as well as on the red carpet entrance, where the girls received light-up flowers.

“My favorite part about prom was my date. That may sound cheesy and cliché, but the guy wore an American flag suit!” exclaimed senior Mia Pedretti.

Principal Tonagel crowned seniors Tyler Littlejohn and Zoe Potter as Prom King and Queen, respectively, to the sounds of wild cheering by their classmates and friends. With fun music, crazy photo booths, and memories to last a lifetime, Prom 2015 was a great night all across the board.



High school is proclaimed by many to be “the best four years of your life.” While college is also given the same description by many, there is something special about the four years a person spends in high school. For one thing, the work load in high school is much easier than that in college, which may make it less stressful. But high school also carries a special sense of nostalgia that one cannot forget.

For most kids, graduating high school is the first real time that they have to say goodbye. Goodbye to their favorite teachers, goodbye to their classmates, and goodbye to the place in which they did a lot of growing up between freshman and senior year.

“I’m so excited to graduate,” exclaimed senior Sarah Menke. “I know I’m ready to move on to bigger and better things. Along with the excitement, however, I am also nervous because the future is so uncertain, and La Porte is home to me, so leaving home is terrifying. It’s a really bittersweet feeling, overall.”

When the seniors of LPHS wake up on graduation day, they prepare themselves to close a chapter of their lives that has been so familiar to them and to embark on a new journey. They are sent across a stage to accept a piece of paper which proves that all of their hard work over the years was worth it. And then the majority of the graduates are pushed out of their nests to go to college and learn how to live on their own.

“I am most excited about being able to realize that all of my hard work has allowed me to reach the end of a chapter in my life and begin a new and exciting one,” senior Brent Bellen stated. “Being able to graduate along with my best friends is great as well.”

Even after these students turn their tassels and begin their futures, they remain Slicers at heart. As LPHS Principal Benjamin Tonagel always says, “Once a Slicer, Always a Slicer.” Good luck, Class of 2015 graduates.

Bidding This School Year ‘Adieu’

As each school year comes to a close, there are many fun memories of the past year to remember and many exciting dreams of what the next year could bring to think about.

Freshmen will grow into sophomores and will no longer sit at the bottom of the school totem pole. They will start to drive, and maybe they will start to join more clubs and sports, now that they have the hang of the whole high school thing.

“I’m happy about being a sophomore next year, and I’m excited for new classes, especially the different types of English classes we take as sophomores,” freshman Kelsey Henry said.

Sophomores will make the transition from underclassmen to upperclassmen next year. Most will begin to challenge themselves with tough class schedules and sign up for their SAT and ACT tests. They will have prom to look forward to at the end of the year as well.

“I cannot believe that I will be a junior next year. Time has flown by! I am excited to be a junior, but I am also nervous because I know junior year is sometimes the hardest,” sophomore Katie Pickford shared. “Also, I hope that I will be lucky enough to have a great year in running.”

Juniors, in turn, will begin their senior year, complete with all of the perks of seniority, including leadership positions on sports teams and front row spots in the student section. They will start filling out college and scholarship applications to plan their future and start preparing themselves to say goodbye to high school as well.

“I’m excited to finally be a senior,” junior Noah Barton stated. I am most excited to have senior leadership in school and in sports. I’ll be sad to leave La Porte after graduating, but I am really excited to move on to bigger and better things.”

Seniors have both the most memories to look back on and the biggest transition to make as the school year ends. Four years of dances, sporting events, musical performances, and spending time with friends will stay in their hearts forever as they begin the next chapter of their lives, most of them away from home.

“I’m most excited about meeting new people, trying new things, challenging myself, and gaining new opportunities to improve my future. Ball State, here I come!” Senior Sarah Menke

Student Shout-Out: Joseph Tomal

The La Porte High School Class of 2015 has produced an astounding seventeen students who have maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout their four years of high school. Not only have they worked for the achievement of earning straight A’s every trimester, but many of them have also challenged themselves further by filling their schedules with difficult AP and Honors classes.

One student who knows the struggle of difficult classes very well is senior Joseph Tomal, the graduating class’s Salutatorian. His hard work and challenging class schedules have ranked him second in the entire senior class, and he, along with Valedictorian Matthew Bartels, will be giving a speech to his fellow classmates during the graduation ceremony.

“I feel very honored and grateful that LPHS recognizes its students for their hard work, and I’m excited to say some words on behalf of the entire class during commencement,” he shared.

He contributes his academic success, in part, to the competition among his classmates, the rigorous scholarship and college application requirements, and the encouragements from his family, friends, and teachers.

When he is not in school, Tomal enjoys fishing, snowboarding, riding motorcycles, spending time with friends, reading, and eating. After graduating, Tomal plans to attend Purdue West Lafayette to study Aerospace/Astronautical Engineering and Mathematics.

“I like mathematics,” he said, “because it is the one subject that really comes naturally to me and motivates me to learn more.”

Teacher Shout-Out: Mrs. Ridley

Undoubtedly one of the most caring teachers at La Porte High School, English teacher Judi Ridley is always willing to lend a helping hand or a listening ear to her students who are in need of help. Her door is always open to those who need her, and there is always a bowl of candy on her desk to brighten the day of her students.

As the school year comes to an end, Ridley has had an especially challenging time saying goodbye, since it will not only be for the summer. After thirty years of teaching (six at La Porte High School) Ridley has made the difficult decision to retire.

She shared, “I want the time to begin preparing to return to live in Ontario, Canada, where our daughter Sarah will be residing. I also believe it is time for me to begin to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ as the saying goes.”

Ridley loves her job as a teacher and loves being with her students, but at the same time, she is also extremely excited to see what retirement has to offer. “The thing that most excites me,” she admitted, “is that it will be a new chapter in my life. I hope to have more time now to pursue a few interests that I didn't have the time for while teaching.

Retirement will also give Ridley more time to do the things that she already enjoys doing in her free time, including gardening, hiking, kayaking, and traveling. Ridley will miss her time teaching, and in return, she will be missed next year by all of LPHS.

“It has been such an honor and a privilege to work for the La Porte Community School Corporation,” she said.