#1StudentNWI: Washington Township High School academic team competes in final competition

#1StudentNWI: Washington Township High School academic team competes in final competition

What’s recently happened?

On April 16, students from Washington Township High School (WTHS) attended the final academic team competition at Wheeler High School. These students have worked hard for months learning about their different subjects, all of which go back to the 1980s.

The Science Team was the first to compete, led by junior Camden Bell. This year the team learned about nuclear reactions, planetary motions, DNA synthesis, and cloning. Bell and his team members, Madelyn Richardson, Alex Lutin, Oliver Rodd, and Breanna Flint took home the first win of the night, getting first place.

Next was the Fine Arts team, which placed second. Emma Howard acted as captain with her team members Jasmine Estrada-Bateman and Ellie Siefert. Howard is very competitive and spent a lot of time helping her teammates learn everything they could about 80s music.

“I like being on the Fine Arts team because I can learn about things that I would not know otherwise. I studied for the competition by looking at the presentation Emma made for us.” said Estrada-Bateman.

After that came the social studies round, which studied the heart of the 80s theme, and the students learned everything about its history. The team, which included Drew Gschwind, Oliver Rodd, Liam Powell, and Alex Lutin, came in second place at the competition.

Math team went fourth, which was also led by Bell. Bell, Ella Kodicek, and Abigail Vermillion spent their time answering questions about logarithms and statistics and came in third place.

Finally, the English team went. The team consisted of Drew Gschwind, Katie Richardson, and Breanna Flint. This year the group read “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros and answered questions about the famous movie, “The Dead Poet’s Society”. After a lot of hard work, they came in first place.

“My favorite thing about being a part of the academic teams is being able to compete against schools and normally winning,” said Flint.

The WTHS kids were very proud of how they did. Because of their overall score, select students will be traveling to West Lafayette to compete on an interdisciplinary team at the state competition.  

What’s coming up?

The school year is almost over, and WTHS students (specifically seniors) are ready for summer.

The seniors have a lot coming up. The Top 10 Banquet will be held on May 5 in Purdue University Northwest’s Great Hall. Senior awards night is soon after, taking place in May as well. The elementary walk for seniors will be on May 24, followed by the senior breakfast. Graduation will take place on June 4.

Prom is also nearing. This year's prom will be held at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton on May 11, and the theme is “Tangled.”

The last day of school is approaching, which will be May 30. Finals will take place from May 28 through May 30

 Staff spotlight:

Jennifer Symer has been a middle and high school guidance counselor at Washington Township Schools (WTS) for 11 years. Originally from the Northwest Indiana area, Symer attended Valparaiso University for a degree in education, and after teaching for a couple of years decided to get her master's degree in guidance counseling from Purdue University.

“I started as a teacher and noticed that my students needed to talk sometimes more than they needed to learn,” said Symer. “I felt led to go back to school when I found myself counseling students as a teacher.”

Overall, Symer has spent 26 years as a guidance counselor. Symer’s office is known to be a safe space for students, and she continuously goes out of her way to help students with whatever they’re struggling with.

“My job is different every single day. There’s a lot of testing and meetings and scheduling, but I am also able to help students with personal issues. That’s one of the things I like about this job. No two days are ever the same,” said Symer.

Along with that, Symer has a minor in music and plays piano for band and choir concerts or when they compete in the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) contests. She is also the organist at her church and plays at weddings and funerals.

Outside of school, Symer can often be found at her son’s sporting events. Symer has one dog named Casey, a black lab, and after she retires, Symer wants to travel a lot with her husband, Bob.

Student spotlight: 

Senior Emma Howard has attended WTS since kindergarten. She is very involved in school activities, participating in band, jazz band, district honor band, Key Club, the National Honor Society, and the Fine Arts Academic team. Howard has been the captain of the Fine Arts Academic team for three years, and led her team to victory her sophomore year, winning the first academic team championship title in WTHS history.  

Howard is incredibly creative and has big dreams. After she graduates, she plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington to study cinematic arts in its Media School Scholars Honors program, hoping to eventually be a film director. Over the course of her education, she will learn about film in places like New York City, London, and Los Angeles. 

“I would like to live in Los Angeles. Not only is it very beautiful, but it is one of the best places in the world for the career I want to pursue,” said Howard.

Outside of school, Howard likes to keep busy. She enjoys listening to music, including her favorite singer Taylor Swift. She also loves to read, and her favorite author is Jane Austen. She enjoys reading lots of classic literature, drawing, making videos, and planning out her outfits every day. Howard is considering minoring in fashion design and was voted Best Dressed for the WTHS Senior Superlatives.

“I am an only child, but my parents did get me a dog to keep me company, and she acts like a small child anyway. I love spending time with her and my parents. They have always been so supportive of my activities, interests, and career choices. I am very fortunate to have them in my life,” said Howard.

Howard is enjoying the end of the school year as a senior and is excited about activities such as prom and hanging out with her friends.