2023-24 High School Confidential: Week 24

Mar. 28—***

Welcome to Year 8 of High School Confidential, powered by Danville Area Community College. It's an award-winning project made possible by aspiring student journalists from every corner of our circulation area. Each Thursday through April, they'll tell us what's happening in their hallways at .

At least once a week, we'll also hand over our Snapchat account (News-Gazette) to our correspondents for behind-the-scenes tours. This week, Danville's Isaiah Easton gave us a tour of New Orleans, where the school's show choir performed.

Feedback? Email N-G/VP Jim Rossow at .

On to this week's report ...

The student body traveled to Chicago to watch the Shakespeare Theater's production of "Romeo and Juliet." Students enjoyed eating lunch at Navy Pier and watching the adaption of the play, which had a 1980s twist. Pictured: Ray Scifres and Aurora Johnston.

Band and choir students got to take a break from school last week. The group, along with music teacher Kevin Boyle, took a four-day trip to Tennessee to learn more about music and some of the greats in Nashville and Memphis. The group even got to perform at the Grand Ole Opry and Elvis Presley's Graceland. Additionally, students in advanced speech have started the debate portion of their class. Students will soon be participating in a debate version of March Madness. This will entail daily logic-based debates.

Student council took a trip to the annual KDASC district convention hosted by St. Joesph-Ogden. Two council members serve the district executive board: Eli Kennel and Tierney Moran. The convention was at the Illini Union Hotel with guest speaker Champaign Mayor Deb Fienen. The future leaders enjoyed a day full of activities with their adviser, Margie Ashcraft. Pictured, left to right: Moran, Cooper McCarty, Kennel, Mia Carpenter, Gracie Gordon and Kayla Crull.

It was an eventful week. First, senior Mackenzie Roberts served as an election judge during the Illinois primary election on Tuesday. Also, band students participated in the Lincoln Prairie Conference Honor Band on Thursday at Cerro Gordo. They spent all day practicing brand new music and performed it later that night, along with their directors performing a piece as well. Also on Thursday afternoon, our Pi Week celebration assembly took place. In honor of our high school getting 79.5 points in Pi Week trivia, with the senior class getting the most, Math Club officers pied faculty in the face, but all was fair when faculty members were able to pie the students back.

Students in child development and parenting were given the opportunity to bring home an infant simulator for either five days and five nights or seven days and seven nights. These "babies" needed to be rocked, fed, burped and changed. They also cried if they just wanted to be held.

Band members attended the LPC Honor Band at Cerro Gordo. They spent the day preparing music, meeting other students and becoming better musicians. Band director Chris Mitchell even performed on the bongos, the cowbell and the wind chimes. Pictured (courtesy Annette Warsaw), left to right: Lily Enger, A.J. Johnson, Ben Manuel, Rylee Burnett and Addison Warsaw.

In the library, snakes are brought in to show they aren't dangerous. These slithery creatures are held and petted just like fluffy house pets. Pictured: Isabelle Campbell, Aiden Jones, Harrison Terry, Gavin Sheppard and Jonathan Harrell.

Champaign Central

Last week, senior class officers partnered with Interact Club to organize an International Festival Night. The event featured 23 countries represented by volunteering students and their families. Guests enjoyed eating specialty foods, participating in cultural activities and learning about traditions at each booth. Additionally, five special performances by students and teachers were staged in Decker Theatre. The festival was highly successful in collecting ticket sales (and the alternative of paying with five cans of food) to donate to the Eastern Central Illinois Refugee Center.

It is not every day that students get to go on a field trip. But Nicole Brown and Brittaney Truppa made it happen. Housing and interior design and Art 3 students visited the Dana Thomas House in Springfield. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the house allowed students an opportunity to see many mediums of art work together to make a structure. Students were particularly impressed with the stained-glass aspects of the home.


Band and chorus members took a three-day trip to Memphis, Tenn., to learn about its musical history last weekend. They visited multiple museums, historical sites and even Graceland. Not only did they learn a lot, but they were able to have fun together and grow closer.

For National Ag Week, members of the Fisher FFA hosted a petting zoo for kids at the grade school and high school to visit. Six members also drove their tractors to school to show off in the parking lot while kids were visiting the zoo. A few of the favorite animals there included the ferrets, ducklings and a puppy named Goose. Pictured: Grace Morgan (left) and Emily Lone; Kesiah Musick; Aubrie Murray (left) and Asher Litman; Addilyn Bent-Perzee; Aiden Cheek; and Zeke Walters. Also, members of the FYE-101 class and English-102 class visited Parkland College to tour the campus and get their own student IDs. Matt Vogel led the trip along with Patti VerStrat.

Two track athletes advanced and competed at last weekend's indoor state tournament: Kale Holzhauer and Shawn Schlickman. Holzhauer placed eighth in shot put, and Schlickman tied for 10th in pole vault.

Carrying on a school tradition, a group of juniors and seniors flew to Washington, D.C., for a four-day trip that is made available to students every two years. There, the Hawks had a great tour, going to the U.S. Capitol, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Tidal Basin Library of Congress, the U.S. Botanic Garden and many other monuments and attractions. Pictured: (left to right) senior Destanee Morgan, junior Olivia Wallace, senior Gwen Happ and senior Riley Miller at the Botanic Garden.

Student council hosted their spring blood drive with ImpactLife. The donor bus was full all day from appointments, and we had one double red donation. The student council members always look forward to helping the community with the blood drives. As for those who donated, they enjoy being able to help save lives.

The ACES team traveled to Eastern Illinois University to compete in sectionals, where they placed fifth out of 21 teams to advance to state in April. They are only the second ACES or WYSE team from LeRoy to advance to the state competition. Top finishers included: Kaitlyn Cox (fifth in chemistry), Thomas Jackson (fifth in physics), Brady Grizzle (fifth in engineering graphics), Izzy Pray (eighth in computer science), Izzy Shivers (ninth in biology and 10th in English) and Emily Bogema (12th in math).


Spanish Club participated in Project Linus during last week's meetings. They made tie blankets as gifts for children in need. The blankets are collected locally and given to kids around the area who are in hospitals, social service agencies, shelters or anywhere else that a child may be in need of a comfort item. They made several different blankets with all different colors and patterns in hopes to give the children something special.

The baseball and softball seasons are in full swing with both teams in action.

Students (left to right) Lexi Knerr, Cadence Reffett, Christina Miller, Taylor Dyer, Megan Heistand, Shelby Valentine, Sierrah Downey and Brianna Morgan traveled alongside teacher Stephanie Young to the I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center in Champaign for the Future Educators Conference. While there, the group heard from the Illinois Teacher of the Year winner and participated in break-out sessions.

Last Thursday, businesses and entrepreneurs filled the gym as part of a career fair. Juniors and seniors asked questions about the job they desired during the school day. Some teachers also brought underclassmen classes. At each booth, students filled out a bingo card to be entered into a raffle. It was a great opportunity for aspiring students to learn about all the different kinds of jobs that they might not have even known existed.

Preston Seal, who runs track, was named Athlete of the Week. Teachers Shana Calhoun and Hunter Clifton — both Rantoul grads — presented at the Future Educators Conference. Finally, student and Miss Rantoul Hannah Shields served at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield.

The softball team played IVC over the weekend. The girls won the game 4-0.

The spring play, "Moriarty's Daughters," took place last weekend. Seven seniors were celebrated: Jason Ballard, Ashanty Contreras, Kaleb Dively, Suhani Garg, Katherine McMillan, Elizabeth Stubbers and Jeongin Yoo. Pictured: Dively, Noelle Taylor, Abigail Vavrik, Elliot Neault, Annie Jimenez, Lily Velchek, Ashanty Contreras, Rebekah Goebel, Elizabeth Stubbers, Rebekah Taylor, Garg and McMillan.

FFA member Wyatt DeAth made chapter history. The junior won state in forage. It had been 53 years since the school had a state proficiency winner.

Students attended a retreat to see the Shrine of Christ's Passion and Millennium Mary in St. John, Ind. That was part of a week of outdoor activities as track and baseball teams competed as well.

During the junior high regional play, eighth-grader Kaylynn Key received the IESA Outstanding Sportsmanship Award. Haylee Buckler, an eighth-grade regional player, received the award as well. Both demonstrated a positive attitude on and off the court and were recognized for their respectfulness.

Students celebrated March Madness by hosting their own basketball tournament. Participants played four-on-four games to determine tournament winners. The excellent officiating crew was geometry teacher Mike Rosenbaum and Spanish teacher Lacy Diaz.

On Friday, Uni High's and Urbana's girls' soccer teams faced off — and collaborated on a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. At halftime, the schools participated in a penalty shootout, where Uni students faced off against Urbana students. Uni came out on top for the penalty shootout but fell to Urbana in the actual game.

Family and consumer sciences foods classes studied the pies and cakes unit. For pie week, students got to enjoy baking many different kinds of pies, which they brought to teachers around school.

On March 19, students and history teacher Eric Brooks went to the I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center in Champaign for a Future Teachers of America conference. The group said they learned a lot and are excited for the future. Pictured, left to right: Brooks, Owen Kneer, Alex Brown, Claryssa Gray and Sarah Gilliland.