What’s recently happened?
The Valparaiso High School (VHS) student council hosted its annual Mr. VHS pageant on Friday, April 28. The pageant consisted of four different rounds where senior boys competed for the coveted titles of Mr. VHS, second runner up, and best dressed. This year each round corresponded with the theme, Mr. Decades.
“Our first round includes theme wear, where the boys dress according to their selected decade. It is fun to see how the boys bring the decades to life,” said Student Body President Leah Ribordy.
The second round is a question and answer session where each participant answers two questions. The answers must align with the chosen decade. The third round showcases talent and the fourth round consists of formal wear.
“The talent portion is the best round for sure. It's the part of the show that really gets the audience rolling,” said Student Council Member Brody Nelson.
This year 10 senior boys took on the challenge of Mr. VHS. The talent acts performed where as follows: Evan Roberts, Mr. Early 50’s, performed “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis. Andrew Reyes, Mr. Late 50’s, performed a comedy act while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the judges. TJ Kay, Mr. 60’s, played some tunes with his band. Micheal Wickstrom, Mr. 70’s, painted a beautiful portrait. Lamarr Williams, Mr. Early 80’s, danced to Micheal Jackson. Graham Gibson, Mr. Late 80’s, showed the judges how to work out. Peyton Griffith, Mr. Early 90’s, rapped the song “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Nick Gring, Mr. Late 90’s lip synced popular 90’s hits. Connor O’dell, Mr. 2000’s, danced the stage away. Jack Buinicki, Mr. 2010’s played “Ophelia” by The Lumineers on the piano.
The judges for the show are teachers elected by the students to ensure unbiased voting. This year’s panel consisted of Spanish Teacher Robert Cespedes, Math Teachers Micheal Enghofer and Karen Koelm, and Special Education Teacher Megan Lawrence.
“I wanted to give a big thanks to our judges panel. They take time out of their busy teaching schedule to be a part of the pageant,” said Ribordy.
The winner of Mr. VHS 2023 was Peyton Griffith, runner up was TJ Kay, and the best dress award went to Michael Wickstrom. Congratulations to all who participated.
What’s coming up?
Teacher appreciation week is May 2 through May 6. Student council has been working with the VHS National Honor Society (NHS) to prepare for the upcoming week. Student council members have been tasked with getting gift cards and other knick knacks to create goody bags for teachers, while NHS members work on posters and finalizing the execution of delivery of the goody bags.
“It is cool to see two clubs work together for the amazing VHS teachers,” said Senior President Aiden Cole.
Student council hopes to go above and beyond this year to thank the VHS teachers.
Special Education English Teacher Liz Waldon is very passionate about her job. Even though she has only been teaching for three years, she has worked in the education field for nine. She currently teaches English 10 and a basic skills class at VHS.
“I was influenced to become a teacher by a student I was helping before I was a teacher. He had Autism and had a hard time being able to go to school. We worked together to where he could attend school and learn like all of his peers,” said Waldon.
The staff at VHS really take the time to help students grow academically through their high school career.
“Every teacher has so much to offer, more than just their specialty area. So many teachers help students in more than just academics, they help with their social and emotional needs,” said Waldon.
Alongside teaching, Waldon is also a huge part of the VHS student council. She recently helped coordinate the successful Mr. VHS show.
“Mr. VHS gives students a creative outlet, especially as seniors. Usually they are focused on colleges, grades, scholarships. This allows them to have a little fun,” said Waldon.
Waldon appreciates the support that Valparaiso Community Schools has for the show. Waldon and the students work hard to ensure Mr. VHS showcases talent all ages would enjoy.
“I love watching the students' talent portion. Every student is so talented and creative! I know I couldn't come up with these creative ideas,” said Waldon.
Outside of school, Waldon likes to travel, hike, read, and binge watch crime shows.
“When I retire, I want to read all of the books that I have bought and never have had a chance to read and visit every National Park in the US,” said Waldon.
Being busy with family and work, Waldon misses being able to hang out with her friends like she did in high school. She encourages every student to join clubs like the student council to meet new people and make the best of what VHS has to offer.
Peyton Griffith, this year’s Mr. VHS, is a kindhearted individual who is always ready to give his all. Next year Griffith plans to attend Ball State University to study architecture.
“I’m hyped to start a new chapter in my life. I am excited to live on my own and take on more responsibilities,” said Griffith.
Griffith participates in the VHS Unified Sports programs as much as he can. He is an outstanding bowler, as well as a speedster on the track.
“Being a part of the VHS community and unified programs positively impacted my high school experience by making it easy to fit in after moving here from out of state,” he said.
A little nervous to enter into the pageant, Griffith's family and friends urged him to go for it.
“Participating in Mr. VHS was an awesome experience. It is great doing something that gets me out of my comfort zone. I have never performed in front of my high school friends,” he said.
High school is hard, but Griffith encourages kids to keep working through the obstacles. He believes having a hobby to put your energy into when school gets tough is the way to go. When needing to refresh his head from homework, Griffith likes to play the guitar.
“My biggest regret was having a bad freshman year, I had to play catch up the rest of my high school career. Keep working but don’t burnout. My guitar is therapeutic to me as I worked through that,” said Griffith.
In five years Griffith sees himself working at a smaller architectural firm working to build more sustainable buildings and structures.