#1StudentNWI: Wheeler High School Prom lights the night up

#1StudentNWI: Wheeler High School Prom lights the night up

What's recently happened? 

The month of April included a lot of exciting events for Wheeler High School (WHS). One such event was the Academic Super Bowl Competition. Earlier in the school year, the Academic teams of Math, English, Social Studies, Fine Arts, and Science had a practice competition. In this event, they would simulate what it would be like at the actual competition. 

While all of the WHS teams did really well, two teams shone brightly in their knowledge of the material. These two teams, the Math team and Fine Arts team, will be heading to the State Competition. 

This competition is being held on the main campus of Purdue University West Lafayette on May 6.

Each year, the teams study material based on a particular theme. This year's theme involves the Age of Exploration from the 1400s to the 1650s. For those involved in Math and Fine Arts, they will be tested on math equations pertaining to that decade. 

For instance, the Math team might be questioned about how to find the distance between their location and a different location using circular trigonometry. Meanwhile, the Fine Arts team could be questioned about musicians or artists of that time period. 

Members of both teams are excited to compete. They’ve put a lot of effort and hours into studying and learning the material, so wish them luck. 

Another exciting event for WHS was the annual prom. This year’s theme was centered around the Floating Light Festival from “Tangled.” Tickets were able to be purchased for $45. 

Teachers Jessica Ball and Peter Martin were this year’s Prom Committee sponsors. The committee is primarily made up of creative WHS juniors who are interested in planning and developing prom for the school year. 

It’s thanks to the committee, as well as the sponsors, that this year’s WHS Prom was a memorable event. In addition to Ball and Martin, Auditorium Director John “Jay” Hanaway also designed the set and decorations for Grand March. 

The Grand March is an event in which prom participants are allowed to walk up onto the auditorium stage and have a backdrop behind them. Here, they can have individuals in the crowd take pictures or videos of them posing with either their date or a group of friends. 

This year’s decorations for the Grand March included a beautifully decorated arch of hanging lights. These lights were all hand made by Hanaway. 

From dancing to singing to enjoying dinner, few prom participants will forget their memorable evening. The dance and dinner were held at the County Line Orchard. The decorations inside the orchard were similar to that of the Grand March, including party favors and a backdrop with purple balloons. 

What’s coming up?

Graduation for WHS seniors is coming up shortly. More specifically, their graduation will be held on June 4. However, before they can rush off to their exciting lives, they must first order their cap and gowns. 

The cap and gowns are available thanks to Jostens, a company specializing in memorabilia. The caps and gowns will be delivered to their respective students during WHS’s resource time. 

Seniors are also encouraged to submit their Senior Spotlight. This program allows any senior to submit a picture of their choosing and what they decide to do in the future. For example, some students may include the name of their college that they’re attending and the major they’re focusing on. 

While this exciting new journey for WHS seniors is pushing them to think about their future, the rest of the school has exciting plans to wrap up the school year, such as the Bearcat Spring Fling. 

The Bearcat Spring Fling, also known as the Annual Craft and Vendor Show, is sponsored by the Wheeler Point Guard Club. Individuals who are interested in being a vendor are welcome to apply, while individuals who are interested in purchasing crafts are encouraged to come. 

Regardless of the kind of art you may enjoy, the Bearcat Spring Fling will have it!

The Spanish Club is also hosting a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on Friday, May 5. This celebration will be all about the Mexican pride holiday. Coincidentally, it is also the very last meeting for the Spanish Club of the year. 

Spanish Club members are invited to bring friends and family as they break open a pinata and enjoy a wide variety of snacks.

The WHS band and choir also have planned their concerts to end the school year. The band concert will take place on May 6 while the choir concert will be on May 16. Students can take a moment to go and enjoy their classmates playing or singing their hearts out while also supporting them. 

What better way to tie up the school year than by students supporting one another? 

Staff spotlight:

Kimberly Rios is one of WHS’s substitute teachers and has been a major help to both teachers and students. Rios is more than just a substitute teacher though. In fact, Rios is a teacher herself. 

At first, Rios dreamt of becoming a nurse practitioner and attended Purdue in hopes of pursuing this interest. As her first year of college came to an end, she realized that nursing was not her true calling. Rather, her dream shifted to that of teaching. 

She eventually obtained a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and began teaching elementary school students. Currently, she is on disability and has decided to substitute rather than teach. 

“For those interested in teaching, it was never about the amount of money,” Rios said. “You hear that all the time from teachers. You just enjoy working with the students and helping them grow and thrive. It’s very rewarding internally for teachers to see how someone grows thanks to a teacher’s guidance.” 

Rios says the key to finding out where your passion lies is knowing what occupation you won't see as a job. She argues that, if you choose an occupation that you truly enjoy, then it can’t be seen as a job but more so an extension of your interests. 

This mindset is exactly what led her to begin teaching. 

Apart from substituting as the current part-time teacher for world history, Rios has several interests and hobbies that she loves to participate in, like crocheting. 

“I probably started that around four years ago. I taught myself how to do it on YouTube,” Rios said. “You can find anything and everything to do on YouTube. I usually watch the more educational things, so I just taught myself how to crochet.” 

Rios says that she’s a very energetic person who likes to constantly move around. She can’t sit there and do nothing for a few hours. That’s exactly why crocheting is one of her favorite activities to do. 

Apart from being a self-taught crocheter and professional teacher, Rios also loves to garden. When her body allows her, she tends to her garden and enjoys the time she spends outside. 

However, her most important occupation, as she defines it, is being a mother. Her son, Isaac Rios, is a WHS sophomore known for his renowned theatrical abilities and sense of musical capabilities. 

“I was never involved in theatre growing up. That was all Isaac. However, I was aware of band and involved in it, so I urged him to pursue some kind of instrument, but Isaac wanted to pursue theatre all by himself, and it’s amazing getting to see him up there,” Rios said.

The roles that Rios plays everyday may be great, but she knows that her most important role is to enjoy life to the fullest. Whether it be being a gardener, crocheter, teacher, substitute teacher, or even a mother, nothing will deter her from enjoying life’s wonderful gifts. 

Student spotlight:

WHS Senior Carli De Jesus can be summed up as an excellent student, actor, and singer. Not only has De Jesus been a massive part of the Bearcat Theatre Company, but she’s also been a part of the Regional Performing Arts and Memorial Opera House. 

In WHS alone, she’s starred in several musicals and plays. From acting as villains to acting as heroes, De Jesus has done it all. 

“I am so thankful to work with the people I have,” De Jesus said. “All of those directors I consider mentors and will continue to work with them when I can.” 

De Jesus also has aspirations to one day help with youth theatre. She states that, if given the opportunity, she’d like to do more for the community that’s helped her blossom into an amazing actor. 

“Music is what I was born for,” she said. 

As to her plan after high school, De Jesus plans on going to Columbia College Chicago to major in radio broadcast and vocal performance. De Jesus believes that big cities are the lands of opportunity, and with big dreams, it would not hurt to live in such an area. 

“That’s where my family wants to live, and I want to be close to them,” De Jesus said.

In 10 years, she hopes she’s either succeeded in her dream of being on Broadway or working at a radio station with her own show. Regardless of whichever path she takes, De Jesus states that she’ll eternally be grateful. 

“Wherever I go, I go. I just want to be surrounded by who and what I love,” she said.

De Jesus says that WHS can be described in three words: Faith, Courage, Enthusiasm. She carries these three words with her whenever she performs and will continue to see these characteristics of WHS as part of her. 

More importantly, she sees the Bearcat Theatre Company as the biggest part of her WHS journey. 

“As a student, it also means that I have the faith, courage, and enthusiasm to achieve any goal I have now and in the future. Wheeler’s theatre program has shown me my worth, and the amount of power I actually have inside of me to make my dreams become a reality,” De Jesus said.

She attests her desire to succeed in life to two major influential teachers in her life: Ball and Hanaway. She describes them as the sole inspirations that have supported her and shown her what true talent is. 

She states that they have made her a better person in more ways than one. For instance, Hanaway has always been a great model for De Jesus when she was growing up, and she will always remember wanting to be just like Hanaway. And while she claims to only have gotten closer with Ball these past two years she still sees every moment with her as a blessing. 

”I hope to take their knowledge with me in the future,” De Jesus said.

Regardless of what the future holds for De Jesus, one cannot argue that she’s more than prepared to take on whatever life throws her way.