2023-24 High School Confidential: Week 27

Apr. 18—***

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 .

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On to this week's report ...

Last week, the senior class visited Allerton Park. They had the opportunity to take a tour of the mansion, as well as walk around and see the gardens.

On April 6, the Knights hosted their annual track invitational, the home team enjoying a successful day with a second-place finish.


Last last week's eclipse, students spent eighth hour outside for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Pictured: science teacher Eric Butlert; students Ava Simpson and Hayden Gauna. Another exciting moment happened for the senior class last week as students received their cap and gowns for graduation. Pictured (courtesy Lynn Klopfleisch): Melanie Martinez, Kelsey Moore, Jacey Kessler and Camila Cantu.

Students Katelyn Wilken and Eli Kennel are receiving college credit by taking a Danville Area Community College chemistry 100 class. Their professor, Nathan Gayheart, takes them weekly to DACC to perform chemistry labs. Last week, the students performed experiments on electromagnetic energy and spectroscopy.

Current National Honor Society members were able to give acceptance letters to new members. They will be inducted at Honors Night on May 7.

Students were provided solar glasses and given the time to enjoy last Monday's solar eclipse on the football field.

Thespian Troupe 5290 performed the show "The Mad Tea Party" by Craig Sodaro. Students have been working on it all semester and put on a wonderful performance directed by Sarah Yeagle. The cast included Ben Manuel as the Mad Hatter, Lauren Zander and Adrianna Tetens as Dumb and Dumber, Sydney Beckman as the Doormouse, Ivy Whitehouse as the White Rabbit, Carol Phillips as the Frog-Footman, Brody Soliday as the Duchess and many more talented actors. Pictured: bottom, Sydney Beckman; top left to right, Adrianna Tetens, Ben Manuel and Lauren Zander; and, left to right, Ivy Whitehouse, Carol Phillips and Brody Soliday.

Interact Club students have been helping around the community. They participated in Austin's Day of Service, a chance to remember Austin Cloyd, a former student who lost her life in the Virginia Tech shooting. To remember her, the club does an annual day of giving back. This year, they were split into two groups. One group went to The Windsor of Savoy and played games like Uno and Connect 4 and colored with dementia patients. The second group went to Salt and Light, where they organized, sorted and priced clothes. Over 50 members volunteered.

Last Thursday started with a blood drive hosted by FFA. Over 35 students, teachers and community members stopped in throughout the day to donate. FFA members took turns attending the snack and registration tables. Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America students left for the annual State Leadership Conference, where nine members had different roles like competitors, state officers/candidates, student helpers and voting delegates. The conference was productive as 2023-2023 state Officer Serena Raimer finished out her term. New to the 2024-2025 officer team is Grayson Strange. Additionally, students Serena Raimer, Sabrina Boyer and Sara Goss received a bronze medal in their team competition. Ellie Lorton was recognized for her nationally qualifying chapter website. Strange received a gold medal in her solo competition. Other members in attendance worked hard to keep workshops in order, vote in the new state officer team and provide support to peers. Pictured: FCCLA members, left to right: Sabrina Boyer, Sara Goss, Ivie Sayre-Rich, Serena Raimer, Victoria Labaume, Grayson Strange, Ellie Lorton, Levi Crawford, Gabby Nolan and advisor Nicole Brown; former state officer Serena Raimer with new officer Grayson Strange; Principal Nicole Cox with Serena Raimer at the 2023-2024 state officer recognition banquet; and blood donors enjoying a snack and conversation with FFA members.

The FFA Parli Pro team competed at the section and district level. They won the section contest and placed third at districts. In Parli Pro, the team runs a mock meeting following Robert's Rules of Order. They worked very hard rehearsing and memorizing the material and how it all works.

Last Monday, students and staff had a chance to watch the solar eclipse during seventh hour. They were provided glasses to protect their eyes. Many classes also had solar eclipse-themed schoolwork to teach students about eclipses and the history connected to them.

The Academic Challenge team competed at state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, these students would show up early before school and practice taking different tests. It paid off, because they took home first in state! They were coached by Jake Chittick and Michelle Wagner. The band also took home first place last weekend at a competition at Rantoul Township High School. Led by Abby Freymuth, they performed three different songs.

Last Wednesday's third annual Alumni Achievement Hall of Fame induction ceremony marked the 35th anniversary of the Heritage school district. In addition to honoring our Hall of Fame inductees, the banquet also honored superintendents past and present. Pictured (top) left to right: Robert Chinn, Oris Bunn, Allen Hall, Andrew Larson, retiring Superintendent Tom Davis and incoming Superintendent Kimberly Norton. The evening started with a nice dinner. Davis read introduced each inductee and presented them with a plaque. The inductees each gave speeches and recounted memories from their time at Heritage. This year's Hall of Fame class (above), left to right: Matt Riggs, Darin Riggs, Joshua Gorminand and Mary Happ.

The drama department performed the musical "Annie" last week. The students spent weeks preparing themselves for this well-loved musical. The students and everyone else who helped with the production did a fantastic job.

Life on Your Own class practiced cooking. Throughout the week, they prepared different meals like paninis, spaghetti, chicken burrito bowls and bruschetta. Pictured are the students prepping their food, Judah Ruhlig and Klementine Davis cutting their apples, Grace Maxwell posing with the panini press and Grant Ipsen showing off his finished product.

Senior Thomas Jackson was joined by friends and family at a signing ceremony. He will be attending Knox College and playing football in the fall. Also recognized: junior Finley Howard, who is currently attending BACC for cosmetology.

Drama Club has been hard at work for the past several months on their spring musical, "Hello, Dolly!" During tech week, students had their final dress rehearsals. There are two casts: the New York cast and the Yonkers cast. The New York cast performed on Saturday and at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Yonkers cast performed last Friday and Sunday. Pictured (left to right): Lainey Boughton and DeAndre Hughey; and Levi Avery, Anna Hensley, Lucas Rovey and Macy McDonough.

National Honor Society and student council put on a GROOVY Senior Citizen Banquet. Community members join students for Name That Tune, bingo and a meal prepped by wonderful cooks Michelle and Dylan Payne.

AP calculus students celebrated the end of their final unit with Eggplant Day. Students received half of an eggplant and were challenged to find the volume of the entire eggplant. The exercise gives the class an opportunity to review skills and apply what they have learned throughout the year. After successfully finding the volume of their eggplant, Rylan Good (left) and Ryder Schwoerer (right) celebrated with a photo.


The track and field team set up at Oakwood's fire station, accepting donations during a car wash meant to raise money for post-prom. The Comets washed cars after making signs to stand up by the road to bring as many people in as possible.

The choral department was proud to present this year's spring musical, "Once Upon A Mattress." Last year's production — "Charlie Brown" — marked the first time in years that a musical was performed by the high school, and this year was even more spectacular. Chorus director and teacher Christopher Lerch helped fundraise and acquire more equipment for the program. Local businesses donated money and supplies, and PBL's ag and art departments helped build and paint the sets. "Once Upon A Mattress" is a spirited retelling of the story of the princess and the pea. From auditions to practices and finishing off with tech week, students and staff worked hard to put on an amazing show. The three showings sold out and received rave reviews.

Lauren Herbert was named Athlete of the Week. She plays softball and volleyball, hitting three home runs in three games. The bass fishing team had two tournaments: Saturday at Clinton Lake (eighth place) and Sunday at Newton Lake.

For International Week, students played international games, enjoyed food from all sorts of different countries and also recited a rosary in languages from all over the world.

They welded, surveyed, cut rafters, analyzed engines and wired up lights as the FFA team took part in the Section 18 FFA Ag Mechanics competition. Salt Fork placed first overall to advance to state. Brianna Filicsky was first in surveying, Carter Chambliss first in carpentry, Grant Wilson first in electrical, Nolan Miller first in engines and Hayden Chew second in welding.

In light of eclipse activities, students immersed themselves in scientific endeavors. Chemistry and physics classes went to observe the eclipse at the Indianapolis Zoo. Also, human anatomy class began their dissection unit. Pictured:junior Evy Kelsey in anatomy during the dissection unit; junior Emma Osterbur enjoying the zoo before the eclipse; and junior Peyton Kuemmerle in anatomy during the dissection unit.

A community service day was held for students to gain hours and help out. Activities were done at the school, such as landscaping and painting. In Hume, Mayor Seth Eads allowed students to help with many projects, such as painting the church steps, cleaning and updating park equipment, powerwashing and spreading mulch around the community building. The Newman Nursing Home residents were visited by students as well and were able to play fun games.

Alyson Brucker's "Tightening Gyre" piece, constructed in Christy Hoel's creative expressions class, received a first-place finish in the Highland Park Poetry Contest. Her work was published in the 2024 Poetry Challenge Book.

While other students were occupied with state testing, members of the senior class volunteered around the Champaign-Urbana community. Students volunteered at ClarkLindsey to play music, helped organize food at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, got rid of certain bad plants in Busey Woods and helped out at many community gardens around town (pictured: Sophie Anderson and Kelby Svendsen working at a community garden).

Students headed to the football field to watch the solar eclipse. The next day, FFA hosted their annual petting zoo, welcoming over 500 local grade school and preschool students as well as the community to view horses, goats and sheep — as well as trucks and tractors. Last Wednesday was schoolwide PSAT and SAT testing, followed by a fun afternoon where students could watch a movie, play games and cards, utilize a quiet study hall or watch and play in a students vs. staff volleyball game.

Gearing up for prom is every high-schooler's favorite — and most stressful — time. But at Urbana, students let loose and celebrated with a Spirit Week, including "Country vs. Country Club Day" and "Barbecue Dad vs. Soccer Mom Day." Pictured: Kwale Johnson, Shaniyah Lucas and Kierra Moten; Asaph Lokango, Jack Perry, Hudson Coady, Jesse Wald and Ian Peters; and Lillian Hall, Jalen Johnson and Citlali Cortes Alvarez.

On April 5, the softball team took its annual trip to Kentucky to play different teams in the state. The team stopped at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where they got to see the steps of how the bats are made and how they got shipped out.