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2023-24 High School Confidential: Week 20

Feb. 29—NEW — Sign up for our High School Confidential newsletter here.

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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 news-gazette.com.

At least once a week, we'll also hand over our Snapchat account (News-Gazette) to our correspondents for behind-the-scenes tours. This Friday, we're at Mahomet-Seymour.

Feedback? Email N-G/VP Jim Rossow at jrossow@news-gazette.com.

On to this week's report ...

Academy High

Students visited Krannert Art Museum last Wednesday in honor of Black History Month. They viewed two collections — "Art Since 1948" and "Encounters: The Art of Africa" — as well as the "Jen Everett: Can You Dim the Lights?" exhibition.

— Cassie Patten and Eleanor Laufenberg

ALAH

On Feb. 16, the Science Club tagged along with the physics class to Purdue University. In the weeks leading up to the trip, each group built a bridge and created a presentation. At Purdue, they participated in the Bridge Bust.

Arcola

Last week was fun and full of accomplishments. FFA held the annual Ag Olympics assembly on Friday as students from each grade level participated in games such as an egg toss, hay-bale toss, tug of war and a 1-gallon milk chug. Seniors ended up winning the Ag Olympics trophy. Also, the boys' basketball team won a regional title against Effingham St. Anthony. Senior Jackson Miller scored his 1,000th point that same night.

— Bianca Arguellas

Armstrong

National FFA Week was put on by the school's FFA officers and adviser Destiny Gray. It consisted of dress-up days like "Western Day," "Blue & Gold Day" and "Barnyard Explosion Day." During homeroom, the annual Ag Olympics included games like round-up-the-pigs, obstacle courses and musical chairs. The sophomores took home the prize trophy made by the ag mechanics class. The week was used to kick off the online portion of the auction with many objects up for grab. The 7th Annual Armstrong FFA Alumni Scholarship Auction will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday — come and show your support. Pictured: (with balloon) Carson Hannaganand (in chair) and Levi Bridgman.

— Eli Kennel

BHRA

The school's Rockin' Blue Band and chorus took a short trip to Walt Disney World over Presidents' Day weekend to perform eight songs. Thirty members played "I Saw Her Standing There," "Lady Madonna," "Hawaii Five-O," "Soul Finger," "I Get Around," "Happy Together" and "Take On Me." Both the band and chorus are directed by Dave Schroeder. Senior Olivia Falk said: "The performance went really well. We've all been practicing the songs for such a long time, so it was really fun." Students were able to visit the four Disney theme parks. "My favorite part about the trip was getting to explore all of the different parks with my friends and classmates," Falk said.

— Krislynn Kizer

Blue Ridge

For National FFA Week, Blue Ridge had its annual Barnyard on Friday. Many FFA members brought their farm animals, including pigs, sheep, chickens, goats, a cow and much more. This event allows students from the elementary school and high school to experience farm animals in person. Lexi Winstead was in charge of reading a story to the elementary students before they got to see the animals, and Ava Paullin was in charge of showing off the animals like the sheep.

— Addison Warsaw

Centennial

The math team — Hamza Cheema, Shreya Haran, Samiha Thatikonda, Nia Bolton, Tam Do, Aiden Jones, Iris Kim, John Kim, Kayla Lee, Daniel Helvig, Matthew Jan, Aarya Patel, Matt Zheng, Makenna Beaulin and Carson Smith — competed at the ICTM Math Contest, held to recognize mathematical achievement,encourage independent study, stimulate interest in mathematics and provide a wholesome meeting ground for students and teachers of mathematics through academic competition. Highlights included: the geometry team placed second; John Kim placed third in the Algebra 2 individual competition (as a sophomore competing against juniors); the pre-calc team placed second; and the freshman/sophomore eight-person team and the junior/senior eight-person team each placed second. Photos courtesy Betsy Alderman.

— Lydia Shaw

Cerro Gordo

The boys' basketball season came to an end (13-19) with a 69-45 loss to Decatu St. Teresa. Tyson Moore, a senior, broke his record for most career points in a game with 35 at Cumberland as well as breaking the CG-Bement career scoring record with over 1,300 points.

— Lexi Davis

Champaign Central

The third Annual Winter Showcase took place in Combes Gym, featuring performances from Urbana High School's winter guard along with Central's winter guard and dance team. The event celebrated the conclusion of the competitive season and senior performers with solo routines. Pictured, courtesy Liz Brunson: Central's winter guard, Central's dance team and Urbana's winter guard; Iris Burov; Samantha Baker; and Olivia Yu.

— Samaira Sandil

Chrisman

FFA members invited the entire school to join in on celebrating their amazing organization. On Monday — even though school was not in session — FFA members visited the local food bank to help stock shelves. On Tuesday, both the junior high and high school were invited to participate in the annual volleyball tournament (pictured: FFA advisor Jennifer Honnold running the tournament). At Wednesday's chili day, FFA members woke early to host a chili lunch for the school and community. That was a great way to get everyone excited for Thursday's activity, Barnyard Day. Each year, students, staff and community members bring their farm animals to the AG Shop to be shown off — truly a crowd favorite activity. Finally, on Friday, students were allowed to drive their tractor to school. This started early in the morning with a celebratory breakfast and tractor parade. To ensure that everyone got to take part in the festivities, there were dressup days, many students enjoying their Country and Country Club outfits.

— Grayson Strange

Cissna Park

For National FFA Week, members had a great time participating in various events like truck day, tractor day, chicken dodgeball, a petting zoo and dressup days.

— Brooklyn Stadelli

Danville

Last weekend at the high school field house, the DHS JROTC put on their second annual archery tournament, co-hosted by Armstrong-Potomac High School. It was Danville's first 3D tournament, where participants shoot at fake animals from different distances — rather than targets. The tournament was also the archery team's Senior Night. Congratulations to Kyna Corley, Sophia Sasseen and Jillian Potts on their final season!

— Isaiah Easton

DeLand-Weldon

Tiffany Dirksmeyer's advanced foods and nutrition class did an experiment based around different food flavors. There were multiple cups laid out for them, filled with food, sauces or spices of different flavors. They got to try them, and then they tried different combinations of the foods to see how different flavors combine or accentuate each other.

— Emma Westray

Fisher

Students celebrated National FFA Week with fun activities at school. FFA officers held different contests during lunch, including pig-calling and sack-racing. Students were encouraged to follow the dressup days and, on Thursday's Blue and Gold Day, many FFA members showed up in their official dress. Officers raised money and collected supplies for the Department of Children and Family Services bag drive they were holding. Their favorite way they did this was setting out jars with their faces on them, and having students put money in the jar of the officer they wanted to see get pied. By the end of the week, they had gathered lots of supplies, and raised $125. The officer who got pied was vice president Victoria Cullotta. Pictured, left to right: (back row): Kesiah Musick, Emily McClure, Alex Elwood, Caleb Zwilling, Asher Litman, Levi Hurley and Emily Lone; (front row) Addilyn Bent-Perzee, Victoria Cullotta, Jenna Clemmons, Aubrie Murray and Levi Scheurich.

— Jenna Clemmons

Georgetown-Ridge Farm

After finishing an amazing National FFA Wee, Justin Howard was announced to be th District 4 Golden Owl award finalis. Howard is involved in his student's lives and leaves them with lifelong memories and friendship. He provides opportunities for new accomplishments, leadership skill, and knowledge in the ag world.

— Ashlyn Spesard

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

A wrap on basketball seasons: The girls' team (23-10) made it to the sectional championship game for the first time since 2005; and the boys' team (20-13) reached the regional championship game for the first time since 2019.

— Rylie Huls

Heritage

Last weekend, Heritage's theater crew performed its winter play, "Mandate for Murder." The hour-and-a-half performance showcased crime, humor and a talented group of kids.

— Lillian Montgomery

Hoopeston Area

The Scholastic Bowl team won both of its matches last Thursday night, beating against Salt Fork and Iroquois West. They also celebrated their seniors: Sean Hudson, Ava Anderson, Dallas Boolman and Alleyna Zamora. On tap: the Vermilion Valley Conference tournament.

— Emmalee Bruens

Judah Christian

Honors and AP Calculus class enjoyed an edible visual representation of their lesson. Their teacher, Marlene Behrends, provided donuts as "washers and disks," encouraging students with a boost of sugar. Pictured: Rachel Divan, Josh Fredrick, Grant Ipsen and Caleb McCullough enjoying their sweet surprise, as well as Behrends with donut in hand.

— Hannah Jackson

LeRoy

Art students will participate in the 2024 HOIC Art Festival at Illinois State University on Friday. The exhibition opened Feb. 20, and LeRoy students won awards in the following categories: Isabel Vance (best in sculpture), Aeris LaBounty (honorable mention 2D mixed nedia) and Ash Osborn (honorable mention photography and video). Artwork by Adie Hahn, Kendra Douthitt, Kayden Wallen, Emma Hankins and Katie Masterson were also featured.

— Emily Bogema

Mahomet-Seymour

Jazz Band ended their 2023-2024 season last weekend with the annual Jazz Night. Parents and community members bought tickets for the event, where not only the high school jazz band performed but also both junior high jazz bands. The show included performances from all three bands, a special solo performance from Isaac Hanson, and dessert as well.

— Maddie Grindley

Milford

National FFA Week was celebrated with various dressup days, a corn hole tournament, a teachers' breakfast on Wednesday, a potluck lunch for FFA members on Thursday and truck and tractor day on Friday. Pictured: Ryleigh Rieches, Hailey Rieches, Stephanie Sterrenberg, Sydney Seyfert, Hunter Mowrey, Colt Halpin, Zaiden Koester, Gracelin Gregory and Daytin Thompson. Also, the FFA chapter had its 11th Annual Alumni Scholarship Auction on Feb. 3, setting a new record in the process.

— Hunter Mowrey

Monticello

A jam-packed National FFA Week included dressup days like Blue & Gold, Camo, Country and USA. The FFA group also hosted an ice cream social, provided lunch for members, held a talent show, sold root beer floats, held line dancing lessons and cooked breakfast for all students. Last Wednesday, members were encouraged to drive their tractors to school. FFA President Brayden Robson made sure not to miss the opportunity and later posed for a picture with fellow FFA members Gavin Ridings and Jerremy Sebens.

— Tynley Jackson

Oakland

National FFA Week was an absolute hit. Tuesday saw two students — Jonika Nickles and Lucy Krabel — visit WCIA in Champaign to talk about the school's Barnyard. Wednesday was official dress day and a teacher lunch as FFA students served teachers and explained all the things the chapter has done this year. Thursday was the most exciting day — the petting zoo. On Friday: Bring Your Tractor To School Day and Ag Olympics. Thanks to Birkeys and John Deere for supplying farm equipment to show students. Photos courtesy Kendall Huffman and Jordyn Veach.

— Lucy Krabel

Oakwood

The new "AGG week" included dressup days as well as a corn hole tournament against the classes. On Friday, it was FFA Ag Olympics put on by Avery Sandiford's FFA class.

— Lily Chesnut

Paxton-Buckley-Loda

Friday of National FFA Week means it's time for Petting Zoo, open to all schools and day cares in Paxton, busses shuttling students from the elementary school to the high school and back. FFA students ask local farmers to donate bedding, gates, tractors and animals like alpacas, cows, horses, donkeys, pigs, bunnies and chicks. A schedule is created so it's not too crowded — while one group is walking the petting zoo, another is in the classroom hearing student-run lessons.

— Becca Lackey

Rantoul

It was National FFA Week with dressup days, a school-wide dodge ball game, a lunch provided for all FFA members and a teacher breakfast provided by the FFA members. The FFA also attended the Section 17 volleyball game last Wednesda. Some spring athletes went to The News-Gazette's Faces of Spring on Sunday. Finally, an FCA group went to JW Eater to connect with the new FCA huddle there.

— Ashlee Freeman

St. Joseph-Ogden

National FFA Week include Drive Your Tractor to School Day (FFA president Cole Pruitt with green tractor, sophomore Coy Hayes with red tractor).

— Mya Bott

St. Thomas More

Congratulations to the boys' basketball team, which won a regional title to take home the plaque.

— Suhani Garg

Salt Fork

National FFA Week was celebrated through a number of activities, from trivia, drive your tractor to school day and an assembly with games.

— Macie Russell

Schlarman

The varsity Scholastic Bowl team finished an undefeated regular season. The archery team hosted an invitational tournament and Senior Night. Congratulations to senior Cheyenne Lutz (pictured with her parents).

— Anna Lehmann

Shiloh

The school's chapter celebrated National FFA Week with the help of adviso Emma Ennis. To start the week, members wore official dress and took agricultural lessons to classrooms. More than 10 tractors took part in Drive Your Tractor To Schoo, A barnyard was held in the ag shop for classes to visit and learn about farm animals like pigs, chickens, goats, rabbits and a horse. At the end of the week, all FFA members celebrated teacher appreciation. Pictured, left to right: Emily Milburn, Maggie Milburn, Landon Gerberding, Briana Reese and Charlie North.

— Lydia Richardson

Tuscola

Last Monday, Michelle Reese and Cole Mcalister visited WCIA in Champaign to talk about their personal history and experience with the FFA.

— Brayden Gough

Uni High

Junior Willie Fowler led a presentation on Ballroom Culture and Voguing as part of a series of events surrounding Black History Month. More events in the series include an open mic and an artist talk.

— Knox Mynatt

Unity

National FFA Week included dressup days like Tuesday's Carhartt Day, Wednesday's Dress Lke A Cowboy and Thursday's Dress Like A Farmer. FFA members also sold pork chop sandwiches during lunch on Wednesday, and on Thursday many students drove their tractors to school.

— Tatum Meyer

Urbana

Friday marked the return of the Black History assembly. Pictured: Royal Diamonds dance team, Samiah Goines performing a poem, Nicholas Lehman on guitar, Danyla Nash performing a poem and Jaiden Burgess-Davis singing a solo with the concert choir.

— Eisla Madigan

Villa Grove

Of all the good things that happened during National FFA Week — from a Drive Your Tractor to School Day to an appreciation breakfast — nothing topped the reaction that Callie Wegeng got when she planted a kiss on a pig at last week's all-school assembly.

"I think the elementary kids were shocked," she said.

Wegeng, the school's ag teacher and FFA advisor, happily puckered up after students and staff showed their support with monetary donations. "It was tons of fun and the pig was cute as a button," she said.

The ag program she resurrected delivered in a big way, raising $500 for Villa Grove's PTO and another $1,112 for Rural Grace Food Pantry in Murdock. "FFA Week is an amazing opportunity for our members to recognize and gi ve back to our community and in general have a lot of fun," Wegeng said.

— Alexandria Brown