#1StudentNWI: Winter 2015 Happenings at La Porte High School

By: Kaitlin Edquist Last Updated: February 3, 2015

AP English Students Bring Creativity to the Classroom:
Each year around this time, the students in Debora Hunter’s senior AP English classes have to get their creative juices flowing for a large creative project. This project has been in place for the past ten years, and it is one of the more fun assignments in the class. Its only content requirement is that it pertains to something learned in the course, so there is a broad spectrum of directions in which the students can go with their projects.

“The students have to read and write in a very structured way,” explained Mrs. Hunter, “And I wanted to give them an outlet to express themselves more creatively.”

This year, there were a wide variety of projects. Among them included posters, visual models, homemade food, music, handmade clothing, and even a lesson of how to dance a waltz.

Hunter shared, “I think [the projects] were wonderful. We had several teachers and six different classes of students come in to look at them, and Mr. Tonagel came in and looked at them. I think they turned out really well.”

Wolf Meat Only Half-Sliced by LPHS in Double Header:
On Friday, January 23, the Michigan City Wolves hosted the Slicers for a basketball double-header night. This allowed fans to come see both the boys’ and girls’ teams from the two rival schools play on one night in one place.

Kate Ulmer, an LPHS junior and the girls’ team captain, shared, “It was really nice getting to see the boys’ team play. Since all of our games are on the same day, it’s hard to get to their games.”

The double header resulted in a split night for the two schools; the girls’ team played first, and the Lady Slicers won by a score of 48-42, followed by the boys’ game, where Michigan City was victorious over LPHS by a score of 63-42. Many LPHS students made the trip to Michigan City High School, resulting in a lively student section complete with the theme night of “Cops and Robbers.”

“Playing Michigan City is always a big deal, and it was thrilling to see the crowd get so involved in the game,” Ulmer added.

Awards Galore:

-Winter Guard:
At the 2015 season opener held at Naperville North High School on January 25, the LPHS Winter Color Guard won first place in the Scholastic A Class, a great accomplishment. With this win, the group will move on to compete at their next contest, which will be held at Lincoln-Way East High School on February 8.

La Porte High School’s debate team competed at the district tournament at Penn High School on January 30 and 31, and they placed 2nd overall. In public forum debate, the duo of seniors Talbot Dorr and Tristen Manuszak placed 7th. In Lincoln-Douglas debate, junior Tyler Rose placed 8th, senior Nick Pearish placed 4th, and senior George Murphy placed 3rd. In policy debate, the team of freshman Genevieve McClure and junior Josh Reyes-Villa received 6th place. Also in policy debate, the sophomore pairing of Bree Winter and David Toth qualified for the National Tournament in Dallas this June.

“It all seems kind of surreal,” said Winter. “David and I set a goal that we wanted to go to Nationals by senior year, and I am beyond grateful that we’ve been blessed with the opportunity. It took a lot to get here, but we couldn’t have done it without our coaches and support systems.”

-Solo and Ensemble:
The ISSMA District Solo and Ensemble Contest for Band and Orchestra was held on January 31. Many LPHS students took part in the competition, and most of them left with very good scores; some even qualified to move on to the state competition. The ISSMA District Solo and Ensemble Contest for Vocal and Piano, which will be on February 7, will see many more of LPHS’s students competing, either by themselves or in groups.


Valentine’s Day Festivities:
While the “Day of Love” is on a Saturday this year, that will not keep the students of LPHS from celebrating it. The Hi Times newspaper staff has been selling Happy Ads, where students could write a message to their friend or special someone and have it published in the February edition of the school newspaper. Girl Reserves is going to be selling flowers during lunch periods, which will be hand-delivered to classes by the Cabinet members on the day before Valentine’s Day. Also on February 13, some students, such as those on the El Pe yearbook staff, will celebrate the special holiday by bringing valentines and snacks to share with their classmates.

Gearing Up for Finals:
With the end of the trimester rapidly approaching at the end of February, Slicers of all grades are gearing up to take—and hopefully to pass—their finals. Some students have begun to receive study packets for important finals, information for large projects they need to complete, or even opportunities to earn some extra credit before the trimester concludes. LPHS teachers are also busy preparing lesson plans for their last weeks with some of their students. Hopeful outlooks are in place for the Slicers to be successful in passing their finals with flying colors.

Girl Reserves (GR) Dance:
For a number of LPHS female students, February is mainly spent prepping for the annual Girl Reserves dance. This year, the dance will take place on Saturday, February 28, and the theme is “What Dreams Are Made Of,” which will be shown through whimsical decorations that will make the attendees feel as if they are walking on a cloud.

Many girls, if they have not done so already, spend the weeks leading up to the dance setting up hair and nail appointments, coming up with cute, creative ways to ask their dates to go with them, and looking for those perfect dresses which will make them feel like princesses for the night.

The GR Cabinet girls, along with group sponsor Ingrid Voelker, have been working very hard creating decorations and centerpieces for the dance, choosing songs for the DJ to play, and picking out giveaway prizes for the girls to take home.

It is sure to be an excellent night full of beautiful young women, handsome young men, delicious food, and hours of fun on the dancefloor.

Teacher Shout-Out: Mrs. Welling
Many teachers at La Porte High School care very dearly for their students. Somehow, though, math department head and AP calculus teacher Julie Welling stands out through her endless compassion and gratitude for her pupils. For this reason, among many others that make her an outstanding educator, she was chosen to receive LPHS’s new monthly award of “Once a Slicer, Always a Slicer Teacher of the Month” for January. She was thrilled to receive the award, and her students were thrilled for her, applauding her as she walked into her classroom the day it was announced.

Mrs. Welling began her teaching career in 1973, and she has been at LPHS since 1986. In addition to being a teacher and department leader, she is also in charge of the End of Course Assessments and the new Accuplacer testing program at the school. In the spare time that she finds, she enjoys reading, going to the gym, traveling, and spending time with her family. Also, she makes it a point to visit many sporting events, concerts, and other activities in which her students are involved, showing how much she truly cares about the young adults.

“I love getting to know the kids,” she stated. “I love the fact that I get to spend time with interesting people, learning from them, and discovering new ways to help them understand not only the material but why we need it. Every year is another opportunity for me to grow, learn, and discover something I did not know before.”

Student Shout-Out: Tina Brenda
An abundance of talent walks through the halls of LPHS on a daily basis, and senior Tina (Thuong) Brenda is no exception. Besides being a great student and person, she possesses some incredible qualities. Like many students, she enjoys watching Netflix, relaxing, and working out, but she is also extremely passionate about art and creates her own incredible artwork. In addition to her passion for drawing, she is also in the military; she has already graduated from basic training, but she has returned to school to finish her senior year.

Brenda has always been interested in art, but she first started drawing in 2010 when she was in eighth grade. Since then, her skills have grown and improved with each piece that she completes.

“I love being able to recreate images in my head and pictures that I see,” she remarked. “It’s just a great feeling to know I have the ability to be able to reach my expectations.”

Brenda plans to pursue her military career after high school graduation. She is going to attend Valparaiso University, and while she is not yet sure what she would like to be her major, she is definitely hoping to join the ROTC program while she is there.