#1StudentNWI: New Prairie High School is dusting off the textbooks and breaking out the scripts!

#1StudentNWI: New Prairie High School is dusting off the textbooks and breaking out the scripts!

What’s recently happened?

One of New Prairie High School’s (NPHS) most anticipated annual fall events has just been announced, and the Cougars cannot wait. NPHS’s fall musical was revealed as “The Wizard of Oz” within the first week of school, and auditions were held over two weeks ago. After a long wait, the cast list has been released.

The director of the musical, Tony Renwand, is a new teacher at NPHS this year, yet he is not new to the musical theatre world. While he was involved in theatre in high school and even had a minor lead role while he was in his final year of high school, Renwand did not stop his journey there.

“In college, I transitioned from being on stage to being a scholar of theatre. I took as many courses as possible ranging from literature-based studies of Elizabethan and Reformation theatre to the craft of producing shows and various styles and methods of acting,” Renwand said.

After considering the different actors auditioning for the show, Renwand made his decisions. 

Playing the lead role of Dorothy Gale, Senior Abby Scutchfield is very eager and excited for this year’s production. To those who saw NPHS’s 2022 fall musical, Scutchfield should be a familiar face. Previously playing another lead, Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” Scutchfield has become familiar to the theater. However, she wasn’t always an actor.

“I have been a part of the theatre company for five years, but I was previously in tech. I have only acted for 2 1/2 years, but it feels wonderful given the opportunity to go from working spotlight to being under it.” Scutchfield said.

The supporting character, Cowardly Lion, is played by Senior Zoë Pietrzak. Similar to Scutchfield, Pietrzak had not started acting until further into her theatre career. From controlling lights in musical and play productions to orchestrating the soundboards, Pietrzak was ready to get on stage. Auditioning for a musical is hard work though, yet Pietrzak had prepared.

“To prepare for my audition, I listened to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ by Judy Garland on repeat practicing, and I watched the movie twice a week,” she said.

Needless to say, NPHS students are working hard, and the community can’t wait for opening night!

What’s coming up?

Homecoming week at NPHS is the most eventful week in New Carlisle. While the dance and dressing up at school following the fun themes are enticing, the annual Homecoming parade through town is a highly loved event. Numerous clubs, sports teams, Homecoming Court nominees, and other sponsors come together to march in the NPHS Homecoming parade. 

NPHS Cheerleader Madison Ryans has been an active part of the Homecoming parade for the past four years and thinks it is awesome. 

“My favorite part of the parade is seeing what the clubs and teams come up with for their float. Decorating floats is a big part of the parade in general. Whether it is a team-bonding experience leading up to the parade or a way to express creativity, I think seeing the floats decorated in so many ways is super cool,” Ryans said.

Athletic teams are not the only groups represented in the parade. Kylee Benninghoff, a four-year Art Club member, loves the different opportunities the parade brings. 

“I enjoy being able to collaborate with other members of the Art Club and build designs that represent the community and what it means to be in the Art Club. I also think that the parade allows the students to express their school spirit and find a way to participate in out-of-school activities” Benninghoff said. 

NPHS’s Homecoming parade takes place on September 27 at 6 p.m. EST on S. Bray St. in New Carlisle, and everyone is encouraged to come watch.

Staff spotlight:

Christy Pietrzak has been a teacher in the New Prairie United School Corporation (NPUSC) for 19 years and is still taking impressive actions throughout NPHS. Pietrzak teaches Spanish II, III, IV, and V.

“My high school Spanish teacher, Doctora Eliana Peláez, was my absolute favorite teacher ever. She had such great stories and a boisterous laugh! She inspired me to continue learning this gorgeous language,” Pietrzak said.

After discovering her passion for Spanish, Pietrzak studied Spanish in college and even studied abroad for a semester at La Universidad de las Américas (UDLA) in Cholula, Puebla, México. While education was very important to Pietrzak, gaining memorable experiences was also valued.

“We walked behind a waterfall, climbed enormous pyramids, viewed incredible architecture from the Colonial period, bargained at the marketplaces, met talented artisans, stood in the back of a moving pickup truck on a bumpy dirt road to get to a remote village, regularly took the Mexico City subway, and more,” she said.

While teaching numerous subjects at NPHS, Pietrzak also is a co-sponsor for two organizations. Along with Spanish I and II Teacher Angela Ruiz, Pietrzak manages the NPHS Spanish Club, after school tutoring, and most notably the International Honor Society (IHS). IHS is an umbrella term that consists of the Spanish and French National Honor Societies, where students can learn about different cultures and give back to their community through service projects.

Pietrzak has been an inspiration to many students and encouraged them to further their education in Spanish.

“They are thinking long term, realizing their professional worth will increase dramatically and their personal lives can forever be bettered by all of the interesting people they will meet and places they can easily explore,” Pietrzak said.

The newest inductees of IHS are being welcomed into the organization on Saturday, October 7, and Pietrzak cannot wait to welcome new faces that share the passion of learning a new language and culture.

“No one ever said, ‘I wish I hadn't learned Spanish.’ The skill opens up countless personal and professional opportunities that can positively alter the direction of one's life,” Pietrzak said.

Student spotlight:

Senior Owen Chalik has been a frequent conversation topic throughout NPHS over the course of his four years. From his accomplishments in academics to demonstrating his talent by playing numerous sports. Chalik is an active member of NPHS’s National Honor Society (NHS), IHS, and Academic Super Bowl.

Chalik also plays Varsity Golf, Soccer, and Football. While there is no doubt that Chalik is busy, playing two fall sports simultaneously can become a lot to handle.

“Playing two sports at once can be stressful, but I know my coaches and teammates have my back when my schedule gets packed,” Chalik said. 

Chalik has had the opportunity to experience some truly extraordinary things. Being a part of the football team and winning Sectionals and Regionals twice in a row, being Semi-State Champions, and being State runners-up. While he not only got to experience these moments, Chalik had a significant impact on these events as well.

“Something I am really proud of from my four years in football is the last four minutes of the Semi-State game with the field goal, onside, and extra point. That felt amazing,” he said.

Chalik was also a part of the first-ever Boys Golf Sectional win in school history in the spring of 2023. 

However, sports aren’t the only important factor in Chalik’s life. Being an honor roll student, along with taking multiple Project Lead the Way (PLTW) classes and being a positive representative of NPHS, Chalik shows great school pride everywhere he goes. 

After high school, Chalik plans on going to college to earn a degree in dentistry. While he graduates in less than a year, NPHS can’t wait to see his accomplishments in and out of the school in the future.