Top of the Morning, Jan. 17, 2024

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On Wednesdays, we'll introduce the students who make up Year 8 of High School Confidential, powered by Danville Area Community College. Next up: Armstrong's Eli Kennel. Follow him on Snapchat (@eli.kennel), Instagram (@elikennel) and X (@KennelEli).

Eli is the second in his family to write for High School Confidential, following the footsteps of Mattie Kennel, now a sophomore at the University of Illinois who is majoring in advertising.

"It is going to be very cool to look back at high school and remember us both writing for The News-Gazette," Eli said. "I would consider her my best friend. She has always been pushing me to be the best version of myself and let me learn from her so I can do better. I've always looked up to and appreciated her."

Eli is a jack-of-all-trades at Armstrong: president of both student council and National Honor Society; Fellowship of Christian Athlete huddle leader; member of Future Farmers of America and Students Against Destructive Decisions; and cross-country and track participant; and "I also was persuaded to join the cheer team where we just competed in the Vermilion County Cheer Competition at DACC."

"To me the best part of being Armstrong's reporter is to experience and report all the activities and groups — even the ones i'm not involved in — and show it off for people to see," he said. "I love to be able to show the great things that happen at ATHS."

At home, he raises two peacocks he acquired at a bird swap meet in Kankakee on the advice of ag teacher Destiny Gray. "It has been quite a challenge throughout this cold winter since they are tropical birds," he said. "I hope to see them grow out their beautiful feathers in a couple years."

Eli has two brothers and two sisters.

"It's really fun to have a full house, it never gets boring," he said. "There tends to be a lot of fighting but for the most part we all love each other and enjoy the company."