What’s recently happened?
One of Michigan City Area School’s (MCAS) biggest and best known events took place on December 8. “One City One Sound” is important to the music students throughout the community because it brings together all of the music programs throughout MCAS.
Choirs from Michigan City High School (MCHS), Barker Middle School, Krueger Middle School, and all of the elementary schools performed alongside bands from MCHS, Barker, Krueger, and a joined sixth grade elementary band to put on a show for their community that was filled with Christmas cheer.
After years of the concert being canceled due to COVID-19, students were excited for its long awaited return.
“I was happy to be able to play together again after COVID,” Sophia Barczak, a junior at MCHS, said.
The concert's return was certainly enjoyed. There was a large turn out for the concert as well as several people who enjoyed the YouTube livestream from the comfort of their own homes.
All in all, the event’s return was a memorable one, but it was not the only long-running event that was widely celebrated this year.
Also taking place in December was the World Language Banquet, an exciting and enjoyable event for students of the world language classes throughout MCHS. At the Banquet, students from MCHS’s Spanish, French, German, and Japanese classes brought foods to share that pay tribute to the cultures they are learning about as well as the cultures they come from.
Students from the Japanese program brought unique Japanese foods such as Japanese curry, chicken teriyaki, pot stickers, and sushi, while students from the German program brought uniquely German foods such as spaetzle and potato salad, bratwurst, and sauerkraut. French students brought classic staples such as French cassoulet and beignets, and Spanish students brought specialties such as Mexican hot chocolate, enchiladas, and Spanish rice.
While this is yet another event that has had to wait to make a return, it is no doubt that, so long as circumstances don’t take another surprising turn, it will come back again next year.
Even though most events and activities came to a halt with the Christmas break, January brought the return of school, and in relation, the multitude of opportunities, experiences, and achievements MCHS students and staff bring to the table on a regular basis.
What’s coming up?
MCHS is preparing for the Winter Formal, which will take place on January 28. Students will be able to attend the event and enjoy themselves while getting to dress up and dance.
Before the Winter Formal, MCHS students can show their pride in their school by participating in a spirit week. Specific days have yet to be announced, but past spirit days have included class shirt days, decade days, and many more.
“Our goal for the week is to bring the school together. After COVID, everybody was separated, but now with bringing back our Winter Formal and the spirit week, we will hopefully bring our school together and everybody can get that fire back for our school," Hannah Parker, a student council member, said.
Students Brooklynn Accardi and Makalinn Jenks were accepted into State Honor Choir a few months ago, but the time where their hard work and achievements will be on display is quickly approaching. They will be in Fort Wayne, working and performing, on January 13 and 14. They have worked hard to prepare for this opportunity, where they will be performing as some of the top choir students in the state.
Activities and opportunities are starting slowly again after the winter break, but MCHS students will have plenty to do in the upcoming weeks and months.
Susan Cleveland has been a teacher at MCHS for 16 years. Through those years, she has had the opportunity to teach a variety of classes that tailor to her specialties. Perhaps this is why she is well known as an art teacher throughout the school, as a vast amount of the student body has been in one of her classes at some point or another.
“I love the variety of teaching different classes. I’ve especially enjoyed teaching our new Fiber Art class because fiber is so versatile,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland’s classes range across the possibilities that art offers, including unique options such as the aforementioned Fiber Arts, as well as different levels of Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, and Advanced Art. Cleveland has always had a natural draw to the arts.
“I’ve always been interested in art, even at a young age. I like working in mixed media, collage, painting, drawing, encaustic, ceramics, and fiber. I am currently teaching myself how to crochet,” Cleveland said.
While art was always a part of Cleveland’s life, teaching also came to her from her youth.
“My mother was an elementary art teacher. She would also teach portrait painting to the ladies in our neighborhood,” Cleveland said.
With art playing such an important part in her life, Cleveland believes firmly in its involvement in people’s lives, young or old.
“You are never too young or old to learn new things. I always have students telling me they are glad they took one of the art classes because they didn’t know how much they would like it,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland enjoys teaching art for many reasons, but as many teachers can certainly agree, it frequently comes back to the students.
“I really like working with the students and seeing what they create. I’m always learning new things from them,” Cleveland said.
It is important to Cleveland that her students get as much as they can from her classes, but her hopes for what those things could possibly be can be summarized simplistically.
“I hope students are proud of their work and that they enjoyed the experience of making art. I also hope that they want to continue trying new art classes and having new experiences that they enjoy,” Cleveland said.
When it comes to the arts, the possibilities are endless, and Susan Cleveland is a strong example of the many ways art can take place in, and sometimes shape, our lives.
Sophia Barczak is a junior at MCHS. She is involved in a plethora of extracurricular activities, rigorous courses, and other opportunities throughout the school.
“I am in Jazz Band, Pep Band, Marching Band, Drama Club, Rho Kappa, National Honor Society, and French Club. I also work at Horizon Bank’s MCHS branch as a student teller,” Barczak said.
An avid member of the community, Barczak covers a wide range of interests and activities on her resume. Through it all, she remains a strong, hardworking student. This being her third year as a student at MCHS, she has had plenty of time to reflect upon the courses which have affected her the most and hold promise for her future.
“Human Geography was a very rigorous course with lots of work in it, and it was my first A.P. class. It gave me an eye-opening experience into how most college classes are. Also, English Composition, because writing college-level essays that I will use the rest of my life has been extremely beneficial,” Barczak said.
Barczak tends to most enjoy classes with similar topics. While she enjoys STEM classes, her favorites are elsewhere found. If you were to ask her what her preference is, the answer would be clear.
“Definitely humanities. Science has never been my forte, but I’ve had many great humanities teachers that made me fall in love with them,” Barczak said.
With all of her many experiences, Barczak has gained some wisdom and insight into the essentials, and the not-so essentials, of the high school experience. It can be difficult to choose which courses and activities to participate in during high school, as it can be quite overwhelming, but Barczak had some wisdom on the subject.
“I think it’s really important to think about job experience. Extracurriculars are really important. Also, it’s important to branch yourself out. Try new things. Try to discover what you might like in high school. It’s a time where you are given many opportunities. Take all the opportunities you can and discover yourself,” Barczak said.
All of this hard work and time leads to big dreams for Barczak. She sees a future that starts with college.
“My first pick right now is University of Michigan, but I would also like to go to Butler University,” Barczak said.
Knowledge comes with hard work and patience, and Barczak has put forth plenty of both to gain the knowledge she has today. To any incoming freshmen, or even freshman of the distant future, she has simple advice.
“I think that it’s important for high schoolers to experience the arts. I would encourage anybody to join Marching Band, Drama Club, and our Ceramics and Arts classes. They’re very important to make you a well-rounded person. I would also recommend just being responsible and organized and making sure you’re on track to graduate,” Barczak said.
The future is bright for Sophia Barczak, a rising star of a student who has worked hard for her achievements.