In Valparaiso, the Popcorn Fest is a tradition. People from all throughout the community come together to celebrate. Community organizations, school sports, clubs, and many others march in the parade down Lincoln Way. People young and old run in the Popcorn Panic and enjoy themselves at the festival to follow.
Each year, the Wheeler High School Key Club begins the school year by volunteering at the Popcorn Panic. Students wake up to meet the runners during their races.
Volunteers line up along the course and cheer on the participants. They also hand out water for the runners.
Junior Madisyn Perry was among volunteers at the Popcorn Panic, along with fellow classmates for her Health Science vocational class she takes at the Porter County Career Center. This was her first year volunteering at the race, and she is excited to go back next year.
Perry said, “I volunteered with my Health Science vocational class; not only did I bond with them, but, at the same time, we were having fun giving back to our community.”
The Wheeler High School Marching Band and Color Guard took part in the parade. They performed their new routine while they walked.
Senior Hollie Coto has been apart of color guard for the past three years. Coto shared that, because of nerves, the performers sometimes make mistakes in the routines.
However, Coto said, “When I hear fellow peers, teachers, parents, and random people cheer for us, I feel proud of all of the hard work that the rest of the team and I have put into color guard.”
A Night in the Secret Garden
Student Council would not imagine skipping a beat when it comes to homecoming preparation. As soon as school started for the year, the group dove into their homecoming plans.
The 2018 Homecoming dance is themed A Night in the Secret Garden. Decorations will include flowers and garden lights to make guests feel they are within the walls of the garden.
Last year’s homecoming dance took place outside. After a flood of positive feedback, the dance will be held outside once again.
Although the glamorous dance is usually the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of homecoming, there are several other factors that contribute. The week leading up to the dance is filled with activities and spirit.
Each day has its own theme for students to dress according to. Monday will be pajama day, so students are welcome to dress in their comfiest attire. Next, Tuesday’s theme will be twin day. Everyone is encouraged to dress the same as a friend or a group of friends. Wednesday’s theme will be college apparel, and Thursday’s theme will be western day. Finally, Friday will be spirit day. Each class is to wear their assigned school color.
On Friday afternoon, classes will end an hour or so early for the pep rally. During the pep rally, each class will compete against the other for the Spirit Stick. Students will partake in a series of games and activities that will earn them points. These may include tug-of-war, a scavenger hunt, a banner decorating contest, a class chant, and a few other things.
Once the school day is over, athletes and club members will make their way to the elementary school where the homecoming parade begins. Following the parade will be a fish fry in the WHS cafeteria.
Finally, at 7 PM, the homecoming football game will take place. At halftime, the homecoming king and queen will be announced.
Mallori Lucas is a 7th grade Literature teacher at Union Township Middle School. Her job, however, goes far beyond the classroom. Lucas has found herself amidst several extracurriculars. Lucas coaches 7th grade volleyball, high school track, the English academic team, sponsors the middle school yearbook club, and is the sophomore class sponsor.
Lucas wasn’t always set on being a teacher; she actually wanted to do anything but teaching. Lucas’s family had a long history of teachers and professors, so she was determined to be different. Lucas originally studied to be a pediatric nurse at Ball State University. However, she quickly realized her passion lay in teaching.
“I’ve always liked working with children, and I love literature so I changed my major in college,” Lucas said.
Lucas stated that her favorite part of teaching is most definitely her students.
Because of her involvement in numerous activities outside of the classroom, Lucas is always with students. She enjoys being able to see what current and past students are interested in. Lucas is able to interact with them in a different environment.
“It lets me see my students outside of the classroom to see what they like to do,” Lucas shared, “I like keeping connections between high school and middle school.”
This year, Lucas has returned to coaching volleyball after several years of being away from it. She took a break from it when her children started playing sports. Her daughter, who graduated this past year, played volleyball at Wheeler. Lucas shared that she wanted to wait to continue coaching until her daughter was done playing; so, when the opportunity arose this year, she didn’t hesitate to take it.
“It is a learning process; some things have changed,” explained Lucas, “I love volleyball, so I’m enjoying being a part of it.”
With all of her involvement, Lucas still manages to find some free time. She has recently began leasing a horse, so a lot of her free time is spent at a barn where she rides her horse. Lucas also enjoys yoga, and is planning to travel more often.
Josh Mangnall just started his senior year at Wheeler, and he already has a full schedule. Mangnall hasn’t hesitated to join any activities after school. He seems to have a role in every aspect of Wheeler’s student life. Mangnall is a part of the soccer team, swim team, debate club, robotics club, drama club, game club, movie club, NHS, student council, senior class president, spell bowl, and reading academic team.
Leadership is obviously something very important to Mangnall. He believes it allows us to be productive and organized.
“Leadership gives us the ability to organize and control situations that we wouldn't be able to otherwise and be able to be as productive members of society when confronted with these situations,” said Mangnall.
Mangnall hasn’t always been a student at Wheeler. He has gone to schools with both bigger and smaller enrollment. Mangnall feels that the size of Wheeler is just right.
Mangnall shared, “It's small enough that you can know everyone in the school and be able to talk with them, but it's big enough that there is still a huge variety of clubs, sports, friend groups that no matter who you are or what you are into, there is a place for you here.”
As Mangnall begins his senior year, he is very focused on his academics. His goal is to graduate with an academic honors diploma and go on to Purdue University West Lafayette to study engineering.