#1StudentNWI: A Year in Review at Kouts High School

By: Nicole Fackelman Last Updated: June 26, 2015

Sports, Sports, and You Guessed It, More Sports!


The girls’ soccer season started their season against Michigan Marquette the night of August 20th. In the first half, the score had come to 2-and-0 in Kouts favor. Joslyn Hemdal and Gracie Birmingham both scored in the game earning Kouts the lead. In the second half, Maranda Birmingham and Gabby Rogers added three goals making the Filles impossible to beat! This was an amazing start to the Fillies season.

As school began practice become more intense and the games began to heat up. By the time PCC came around the Fillies were on their game! They finished undefeated 5-to-0. As the Fillies advanced further in the season and the first sectional match felt like a piece of cake. And it was! The Fillies defeated Hanover Central 4-and-3 in a had to be seen storm to victory. The Fillies continued their stampede of winning when they versed Hebron and seized a win 3-to-1 in the IHSAA Sectional Championship for the first time in Fillies soccer history! After advancing to 1A regionals on October 18th against Wheeler, the Fillies season unfortunately came to a rumbling halt in a penalty shootout 4-to-3.

Even though they lost they made history and had fun doing it and that’s the most important thing! Shoutout to the seniors Maranda Birmingham, McKenzie Ehrlich, Katlyn Collinsworth, Savanna LaPrad, and Kayla Moyer and the rest of the team for your hard work! Good job, girls!

The Mustangs soccer team had a good run of wins in their soccer season as well. The Mustangs began their season on the night of August 18th against Westville. With a bucket of games lost and wins by the time PCC came along the Mustangs were ready and determined to win. Unfortunately, the boys lost a PCC match against Hebron, but brought home a win with the match against the Cherokees on October 1st.

In another match against Washington Township the boys defeated the Senators 2 to 1. The Mustangs, then were 3 and 3 and 2 and 1 in PCC. Eventually, the Mustangs were 8-and-7. This lead to a broken record, just like the girls. The conference record is 4-and-1. This was the best conference record and finish in the history of Mustangs soccer. The boys then advanced to sectionals where sadly, their season came to a close after a loss against Hebron 4-to-0. Shoutout to the seniors of the 2014 season: Alex Sanders, Nate Anweiler, and Jake Hamann. Great job, guys!


The girls’ volleyball team started their season with a rocky start, but managed to pull in a win against Rensselaer on August 28th. The girls were the underdogs after getting behind in the first game, then came back with a boom of three straight wins to claim the match. Shoutout to the top hitters of the first winning match: Kaylee Heimberg, Hannah Maier, and Jayla Crump who totaled together 25 kills. Fast forward to the weekend of September 20th. The varsity girls had a beautiful tournament in central Indiana. Undefeated, they advanced into the championship match. They brought their A-game where they battled multiple, lengthy games that came to the result of a fall 16-to-18 in a 15 point game. Highlights of that tournament were: Jayla Crump with 25 kills, Lauren with 44 assists, Megan with 26 digs, and Hannah who served magnificently the whole day. The JV girls had a victory in the round robin tournament September 11th. They defeated Boone Grove in two games. Unfortunately, Hebron did take the second match from Kouts in two games.

The varsity girls ended their regular season by beating Oregon Davis in three sets on the Saturday, October 9th. Highlights from the game were Chloe Koedyker that led with 14 kills, Paige Gurley who also contributed perfect kills, and good defense, Lauren Yager had 35 assists, and Madison Clinton served 6 aces with no errors. The varsity girls had a great run at sectionals the weekend of October 25th. They played three beautiful matches. The first match was versing Covenant Christian. Then came the semi-finals which was against Marquette. Sadly, Washington was a little too competitive and strong for the Fillies to overcome. Shoutout to the three seniors: Megan Heinold, Jayla Crump, and Olivia Birky. Your hard work and dedication for the past four years has been a huge inspiration to players in every sport! Great job, girls! Both JV and Varsity had an amazing season!


The JV boys’ basketball team started their season with a win against West Central on Friday, November 21st. The score was a ten-point lead nobody could beat- 33 to 23. Highlights from the first victory include Kameron Rentschler who scored 13 points, Tyler Aiken and Dillan Matthes who both scored a combined total of 12 points, and Tyler Heimberg who grabbed 9 rebounds. On an exciting Friday, December 5th to be exact, the varsity boys stomped Covenant Christian in an unbelievable come back from 23 points to a final score of 64-60. Highlights of this heart-stopping game were Alex Garavalia and Trevor McCormick leading way with 15 point, Nathan Ballesteros with 8 assists, and Ethan Ketchmark with 7 rebounds. Unfortunately, the next day was a loss against Kankakee Valley 60-47, but the Mustangs were determined for a comeback.

The Mustangs won their first round in the PCC the night of January 21st against LaCrosse. The score resulted in an astounding 55-39. Highlights were Dylan Bruce leading the way with 25 points and 7 rebounds, Trevor McCormick and Alex Sanders both adding 9 points, Ethan Ketchmark had 8 rebounds, and Alex Garavalia contributed 4 steals.

On Saturday, January 24th, the Mustangs lost to Morgan in the PCC semifinals 47-36. Highlights include: Dylan Bruce added 8 points and had 7 rebounds, Ethan Ketchmark had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals, Trevor McCormick, Alex Sanders, and Jared Birky added a combined total of 9 points. The Mustangs ended their regular season with a 77-69 win against LaCrosse. A big shoutout to Tyler Heimberg who finished his first JV season with 131 rebounds and 39 blocked shots! Amazing!

The Mustangs ended their season with a forlorn loss against Washington Township with a final score of 53-35 in the semifinals of the sectional. Highlights include: Dylan Bruce carved a path for the Mustangs with 16 points, Trevor McCormick added 7 points, and Alex Garavalia had 6 points. Great job and thanks for an amazing season, boys!

The girls’ basketball also had an amazing season! The girls opened their season with a couple of wins the weekend of November 15th. They conquered Whiting 57-17. On Saturday, the Fillies defeated Kankakee Valley with a score of 39-33. The varsity girls keep their winning streak known as November turns into December and believe that the number seven is their lucky number as they defeat Washington on December 2nd 66 to 61. As a unit, the Fillies had 7 turnovers and forced Washington to turn over the ball 15 different times. The varsity Fillies suffered their first loss of the season on December 8th against Lowell. Highlights of that game include: Bella Wireman leading with 16 points, Megan Heinold with a double/double with 11 points, Jayla Crump with 10 points, and Olivia Birky added 9 points.

The JV Fillies picked up their 12th win of the season after defeating River Forest 34-27 on January 29th. Further in the season, the Fillies defeated Boone Grove advancing themselves to the championship game of the PCC tourney. They unfortunately lost to South Central in the title game by 8. The Fillies stormed their way to victory in their sectional championship! They led with a 15 to 0 against Covenant Christian on February 16th. Highlights from this exciting game included: Bella Wireman with 18 points, Jayla Crump with 17 points, Megan Heinhold had 7 points, Olivia Birky added 4 points, and Emma Leatherman and Chloe Koedyker had 3 points each.

As the Fillies advanced to regionals resulting from a beautiful win against North White 53-41, they battled Oregon Davis, but were unable to seize the victory with a score of 60-46. The Fillies overall scores for the whole season were 22 wins and 4 losses. Thanks for a great season, girls!

Cross Country:

Cross Country action started to stir up on September 4th. The boys defeated North Judson, but lost to North Newton. Grant Hamstra led the boys to victory with his 3rd place finish followed closely by Jay Heinold, Waco Sebastian, Drew Saulsgiver, Connor Gustafson, and Kyer Kneifel. Kylie Kuebler, on the other hand, finished 4th. Following close behind Kylie was Kayla Moyer, Savanna LaPrad, and Lauren Yager. Further in the month of September, Kylie Kuebler earned herself a 5th place medal at the Kouts Invite. On September 24th, the cross country team ran their best race of the whole season! Grant Hamstra came in 3rd, followed by Jay Heinold in 4th. Kylie Kuebler led the girls. Fast forward to the Culver Invitational where the boys cross country finished 14 out of 31 teams. Jay Heinold and Grant Hamstra medaled placing 29th and 30th out of 234 runners.

During the PCC tourney the boys defeated both LaCrosse and Boone. Shoutout to Grant Hamstra and Jay Heinold for placing 6th and 9th and earning all-conference in the PCC meet. Shoutout also to Kylie Kuebler who barely missed all conference by finishing 16th. The boys cross country team and Kylie Kuebler, however, got to advance to the New Prairie Regional. The boys were led by Grant Hamstra and Jay Heinold who placed 9th and 10th place, finishing apart of the all-sectional team. Drew Saulsgiver and Waco Sebastian also ran incredibly finishing in 24th and 25th place. All runners gave it their all this season and ran incredible times- their personal best, actually! Thanks for a great season!


The softball team had an amazing year this year, starting strong and ending even stronger at sectionals where they pummeled Covenant Christian and Morgan, but sadly lost against Westville in the championship. The end of the year awards included Best Pitcher earned by Kaylee Heimberg, Best Batting Average and Most Improved earned by Lauren Yager, and Most RBI’s, MVP, and All Conference was earned by Sadie Leatherman. Home runs were also fairly common in this year’s season. Lauren Yager hit 1 out of the park, Jayla Crump hit 1, and Sadie Leatherman hit 2. Shoutout to Sadie Leatherman who made all conference her freshman year of softball! Thanks for a great season, girls!

Concentric Circles:

This year’s Concentric Circles was more than just a hoot, but a hollar, too! Concentric circles is a day where the whole high school, 9th-12th grade, get to job shadow different jobs within certain limits. For example, the freshmen had a wonderful time in town, overseeing jobs at The Depot, the fire station, and the police station. The sophomores took it one step further and made their way into Valpo where they viewed jobs at the animal hospital and the Porter County Jail. Juniors stepped further outside of Kouts and went to the South Lake Mall in Merrillville. Seniors went the furthest all the way to Chicago. By viewing this as a whole it makes a concentric circle. For those of you who aren’t familiar with geometry references, a concentric circle is like a dart board, or archery target. It’s a series of circles inside other circles. Which is why this day is called Concentric Circles.

Spell Bowl Destroys at State!:

This year’s Spell Bowl team covered great bounds in all areas of Indiana. Each competition their scores improved and the team became better as a unit. As state strolled around, every member was determined to win! The team not only scored high enough to send them to state finals, but high enough to have qualified them in all divisions! They scored higher than Chesterton, Valpo , Portage, Merrillville, and Lowell High School. The team placed 9th out of 174 schools. At state, the Spell Bowl team destroyed! They didn’t just go to state, but won it, too! They upped their area score by 16 points! Almost perfect spellers include Sydney Kuchenmeister, Nicole Fackelman, Bailie Fraizer, Maddy Garcia, and Victoria Cross. Perfect spellers were Cheyenne Wray, Lauren Moser, Grace Higbie, Kailee Saulsgiver, and Karl Wehner.. Other members who came and supported spellers were Sammie Paulus, Faith Crowley, Nathan Ballesteros, Erik Garcia, Kyer Kneifel, and Josh Osterhout. The Spell Bowl team out-beat their closest competitor by 15 points and scored 85 points, the highest any Kouts Spell Bowl team has ever scored! They would have won in three of four divisions! Great job!

Academic Teams:

On April 21th the Academic teams had an amazing competition even though most were a little under the weather. Shoutout to the Science, Social Studies, and Math teams of Megan Heinold, Ray Tong, Taylor Ferrell, Aled Garavalia, Karl Wehner, Bailie Frazier, Amanda Gardin, Sami Ison, Kyer Kneifel, Kailee Saulsgiver, and Matt Woodbury as they placed third in the competition. In second place, was the Interdisciplinary team of Victoria Cross, Bailie Frazier, Kailee Saulsgiver, Megan Heinold, Karl Wehner, and Kayla Moyer.

Music Monday:

Top 10 Charts, Beatles Day, Popular Movie Theme songs, and Popular Patriotic songs are some examples of music that floats down the halls of Kouts High School every Monday. Mr. Stoner, the principal at Kouts, had this idea at the beginning of the year as a picker upper to all the students who hate on Mondays. Everyone really took to the idea and enjoyed Mondays a lot more. People even began to look forward to what Music Monday had in store. Mr. Stoner made Music Mondays even more interesting by adding a trivia question to every Music Monday and had a Top Prize Tuesday segment for whoever got the answer correct.

An Amazing Bet Lost:

To the Poms team, no bet is too big. With a crazy idea, and a willing principal the Poms team set forward an insane bet. The Poms bet Mr. Stoner that if they could raise around 800 dollars that Mr. Stoner, the vice principal, Mr.Owney, and Officer Marshall would all have to paint their faces in traditional Poms makeup. The Poms raised an outstanding $832 to send to Riley’s Children’s Hospital! The losers of the bet pulled off the Poms look just perfectly!


A chance to dance, laugh, and spend time with a chosen Mr. Right or close friends. Who could deny the call of Homecoming? This year’s homecoming theme was ‘Takin’ it to the Streets’ with the tickets starting at $15 each. It was filled with fun and dancing that any high school teenager could tweet and post about! Participants had a ball listening to music and being able to take creativity to a new level with a tablecloth where they could doodle and draw on as much as they please. Homecoming also had a fake, breakdancing cardboard corner and graffiti-stained decorations. Kouts homecoming truly took it to the streets! It was a blast!


“You get three, four times to get married, but Prom is a once in a lifetime experience.” And Prom this year at Kouts was truly was once in a lifetime. Can you just imagine it? The Great Gatsby theme, the mood, the high energies, and amazing friends. What could make it any more perfect? For Gavin Hammerberg and Kylie Kuebler it was about to get ten times better. For one moment it was dancing, and in the next it was nervous excitement as suddenly Gavin’s and Kylie’s names were announced.

“Oh, it was an awesome surprise. Honestly, I would’ve never expected it. I didn’t realize people even liked me” Gavin commented jokingly.

The night from there only got better as the seniors celebrated their senior song “See You Again” by Charlie Ruth, and danced the night away.

“It was amazing. I had such a fun time at my senior prom and I’m so glad I got to spend it with my friends...The staff in charge of making it did a great job...It was a very memorable night that I wish I could relive… My favorite part was dancing with my senior class to “See You Again’” Kaylee Ross, a senior at Kouts, said.

Another senior, Nate Anweiler said, “It was a really fun night! Got to be with so many good friends!” Prom, overall, was a beautiful success!

Congrats Are in Order

Congratulations to Megan Heinold who was honored as an Indiana Regional Academic All-Star April 15th at the Indiana Rooftop Ballroom in Indianapolis. Megan has showed hardwork and dedication her whole high school career with sports, and academics. It’s no surprise that she graduated as valedictorian. Shoutout to Megan Heinold!

Drama Club Presents: Merchant of Venice

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? If you wrong us shall we not revenge?” (Shakespeare). This quote was one of many thrown across the Kouts High School stage as the drama club presented The Merchant of Venice. The first performance was displayed on Saturday, April 11th. With the stage set, and the script memorized perfectly, the drama club put on a performance that captured Shakespeare’s ideas and thoughts as perfectly as he wrote them to be. Good job, drama club!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:

Kouts began an annual Ice Bucket Challenge last year when the hype about the challenge raged all over Facebook and other social media. Students sold challenge tickets to other students and faculty and Kouts even challenged other schools to get involved in the event. Kouts said that whoever challenged the most people and had those people accept would get to dump a bucket of water on the principal’s, Mr. Stoner, head. Last year it was such a success that Kouts decided this year we would do it again. This year Kouts had it at the beginning of the year and had people donate at least $5 to participate. Pledge sheets were distributed and this year’s Ice Bucket Challenge was a huge success! Mr. Stoner definitely got soaked!


The bowling team ended their regular second season beautifully! Caitlin Roe bowled her highest score of 163 and Erin Drang bowled her season high of 402 two game-series. Shoutout to Erin Drang for competing and winning in the Quad County Sectional Girls Individual Bowling Championship! Placing 2nd in the qualifiers round and defeating two opponents in the semifinals, Erin was unstoppable as she reached up and latched onto the title!

Northwest Indiana Regional and Local Science Fair:

Shoutout to the 1st place winners of this year’s local science fair! In 9th grade Behavioral Science:” Mariela Nabarro and Mackenzie Taulbee. In 10th & 11th grade Behavioral Science: Delilah Miranda and Makenna O’Dea. 9th grade Grade Materials: Marissa Lindsey. In 10th grade Materials: Jason Shutske and Josie Crider. In Physics: Emmalee Deardurff and Weston Norman. In Honors Plants: Jayson Heinold and Kyler Gudeman. In Honors Behavioral Science: Kylee Martin and Harlee Satoski (shown in picture). In Medicine and Health: Gabe Conway. Congratulations 1st place winners! Congrats to the people who also participated in the Northwest Indiana Regional Science Fair. Kyler Kneifel won the Instrumentation award earning himself $50. Delilah Miranda and Mackenna O’Dea won $50 American Psychological Association award. Elizabeth Palmer won the Club Educate Honorable Mention. Harlee Satoski and Kylee Martin won third place overall which comes with a $1,000 renewable scholarship to VU and $75 each. Shoutout to Harlee and Kylee for taking it further and presenting their projects at the Hoosier Science Fair. Last, but not least Jay Heinold and Kyer Kneifel are changing science history! They won not only the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration away, but also earned themselves $200 each, a gold medal, and certificate of achievement. Shoutout also to Kyler Gudeman and Jay Heinold for presenting their science fair project “Compaction Compromise” at the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair and also competing to present at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, PA!

Fun Friday:

Fun Friday is an idea Kouts started about more than halfway through the year. The idea began from Kouts’ very own teacher, Mr. Schwartz. He commented to the principal, Mr. Stoner, about how he thought the students needed an hour to do activities they wanted to do and would enjoy. So, with all the gears in place the idea began to turn and the teachers began to ask students what they would like to learn. Activities ranged from yoga to knitting to even cake decorating! The teacher then took all of the students’ ideas and made a sign-up sheet in the cafeteria and the students got to choose what they would be learning about every other week. And thus, the Fun Friday classes began and every other week classes would be shortened on Friday and you’d report to the room assigned with whatever activity you wanted! It was a blast and the students really enjoyed it and can’t wait for next year to pick another!

Senior Trip: A Peek inside Washington, D.C.

The seniors rode on hour bus ride to see the nation’s capital as it stands tall, and beautiful today. The seniors had a wonderful time, exploring the capital, visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, seeing the Lincoln memorial, and remembering those at the Arlington national cemetery. The seniors had a long bus ride, had a taste of history, and loved every second.

A Series of Small Steps Results in Monumental Strides:

The Rube Goldberg team traveled to Pewaukee, Wisconsin on April 18th to compete in the national competition. Kouts battled against 18 other schools, but only one could be the victor! Sadly, the competition was very fierce, and the team did not come home with an award, but the team’s machine was close to incredible. The task this year was to use several steps to have an end result of an eraser erasing a chalkboard. The theme this year was also carnival. The Rube Goldberg team used only 32 steps to complete this task. The people who traveled to the national competition were Erik Garcia, Jake Nix, Noah Miller, Cody Hill, Kyer Kneifel, Tristan Lane, Tyler Ross, and Devon Strom.


This is the senior’s worst and best moment. The moment they get to walk across the stage and the moment they get to wave goodbye on the other side. The seniors played back a slideshow of memories from years past and shared a few tears. The seniors also voted that their color this year would be royal blue, their flower would be the blue daisy, and their quote would be the famous quote from the movie Up. “Thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one” was displayed on a blue banner above the stage set up in the gym as the seniors proudly and rather sadly shook the hands of the administrative board and crossed to the other side into adulthood. This is it, graduates! Make your next adventure an amazing one!

Student Shout-out:

This month’s student shout-out is to the amazing Jayla Crump! Jayla Crump scored her 1000th point this year on January 13th in a game against LaCrosse. She didn’t stop there either, after the game was won and over she had 1012! Jayla led the team with 23 points and 8 rebounds! Jayla currently sits in the 5th position for highest career scoring in Kouts history! 8 points away from 4th position!