#1StudentNWI: In the basket with Valpo Girls Basketball

#1StudentNWI: In the basket with Valpo Girls Basketball

What’s recently happened?

Giving their best at every game this ongoing season, the Valparaiso High School (VHS) Varsity Girls Basketball team is working hard to secure their spot in the Sectional tournament. The girls have won 19 of their 21 games played, ranking them second in their conference. 

“Our team has grown so much this season. We were hitting our stride and really clicking on the front end of the season and then suffered three big blows to our line up during the holiday break. We had to regroup and have some other players step up and fill in the gaps for us which is not an easy task. They did a phenomenal job and showed how well we can handle adversity as a group,” said Head Varsity Coach Candance Wilson. 

Senior night was held on January 14 to appreciate the team's seven seniors. These seven girls have all been playing since their freshman year. VHS played West Side Leadership Academy, taking the win with a final score of 71 to 14. The senior girls are super thankful for the Valpo community that came out to support them on their big night. 

“Our community is the backbone of our school. When they come out to support us, it brings so much to the environment of the game and fuels our team. This season in particular, I have had so many people come up and tell me that our team is fun to watch. I have to agree with them. I think people don’t always realize how far female athletics have come through the years,” said Wilson. 

The girls are up against Crown Point High School on February 1 for their Sectional game. Don’t miss it! 

What’s coming up?

The VHS Key Club is hosting their annual Winter Formal dance on February 11. Students can dance the night away in a snowy wonderland thanks to this year's theme, Winter Night Lights. Tickets will be available Feb 1 through 9, and proceeds will be donated to Riley’s Children’s Hospital. 

“I can’t wait to see how the Key Club pulls together this year's theme with all the decorations. I love how decorations can really transform the night away,” said sophomore Addison Foxx. 

The VHS Key Club will be working hard these next few weeks to work on all the final touches to ensure that the dance is a success. 

Staff spotlight:

Candace Wilson has been teaching since 1994 with a wide range of positions in the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. She graduated from Purdue University with her bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education as well as an endorsement in reading. Wilson then continued her education at Valparaiso University where she obtained a minor in science. Finally, she earned a master’s degree in curriculum, assessment, and instruction from Walden University.  

“I always enjoyed school and can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a teacher and a coach,” said Wilson. “I am a very social person and enjoy interacting with the kids each day. Teaching and coaching allowed me to combine the things that I really enjoy into one profession. I was also very fortunate to have a lot of incredible teachers and coaches that made an early impact on my life. Each day I come to work, it’s always exciting because there is never a dull moment. You meet and work with people from all walks of life.” 

Wilson appreciates how tight-knit the Valparaiso community is. She feels that the community works to nurture and elevate their schools. Many surrounding towns have multiple high schools where the town doesn’t necessarily identify with any single school. In Valparaiso, the school and the community are one entity, working together, making VHS a very unique place to teach. 

“I have taught and coached at several different corporations throughout my career, and I think sometimes it’s taken for granted what a wonderful place Valpo is to grow up, work, and raise a family,” said Wilson. “The staff here, from the top down, are truly dedicated to making this place the best it can be.”

Aside from teaching, Wilson has held many different coaching positions. She has been coaching for the past 30 years in multiple sports. Most recently, she has taken the position of head Varsity Girls Basketball coach at VHS for the past nine seasons as well as the Junior Varsity coach for one season. 

“My biggest piece of advice for students and athletes is always the same when preparing for the future: be a doer, not a talker,” said Wilson. “Many people like to talk about success and what they expect out of life, but few are willing to put in the time and effort to obtain it. Be a reliable, daily grinder and have a great work ethic in everything you do. Learn time management skills and have a growth mindset because the best lessons are often from failures and working through the process. If you can develop those skills and habits, you will be successful at anything life can throw at you.” 

Wilson would appreciate it if the Valparaiso community came out to support the Varsity Girls Basketball team at their Sectional game on February 1. 

Student spotlight:

Outstanding player and loyal teammate Senior Campbell MacLagan has been a part of the Girls Basketball team for all four years of high school. MacLagan is still thinking about college next year and is thankful for all the support she has received from her VHS coaches and teammates. 

“I am excited to graduate, but time definitely did fly,” she said. “I don’t wish I had another year, I just wish I had more time. Valpo really has been a great place to grow up.” 

Inside and outside of school, MacLagan is a very social individual. She loves hanging out with friends and meeting new people. She advises making new friends to help excite your high school years. She believes the connections you make are important. 

“My advice to younger students is to include everyone, be close with everyone, and be involved as much as you can in any way possible,” said MacLagan. “I will miss seeing all of my friends that I grew up with everyday, spending time with my basketball team each day and most of the year, going to sporting events to support my friends, and the teachers who got me through four years.” 

MacLagan is destined to excel at whatever she chooses to do next year. One thing’s for sure, she is looking forward to a lot of new experiences and meeting many new people along the way.Like this commentReply