New clubs are constantly appearing at every high school. However, students noticed a unique new club at Wheeler last fall. The new club, called Project Green, was brought about to inform the school about environmental issues and ways to fix them. Saving the planet is not the easiest task for a high school club, however. The students decided to focus on ways they could start small.
“I hope that Project Green will be able to make positive, tangible impacts at Wheeler High School and in the larger Valparaiso community,” shared sponsor, Ben Boruff.
The club picked out issues they had noticed at the school. Although the school does recycle and a yellow recycling bin can be found in every teacher’s room, Project Green found an issue. Students and staff were unaware of what items were recyclable. The club found things such as tissues and styrofoam in the recycling bins. To solve this issue, the students printed out flyers to hang up above every recycling bin at the school, stating the “do’s” and “don’ts” of recycling. Every tuesday, the club picks up the recycling bins from each classroom, sorts the items into plastic and paper items, and then takes the recycling to a drop-off site.
In an effort to branch out to the community, Project Green was curious as to what the city of Valparaiso was doing. They contacted the city to meet with a city councilman. A few of the members went along with Mr. Boruff to talk about how their community is helping the environment. One thing they learned is that there are recycling posts around the city to recycle plastic bags. The club is considering putting a bin for plastic bags in the school for them to then take to the recycling sites. The club is also looking at ways they can minimize waste at school events.
“On a larger scale, I hope that Project Green can work with the Valparaiso City Council and the rest of the city government to create and legislate specific sustainability goals,” told Boruff.
Honoring the Seniors
With the end of winter sports looming, it is time again for the senior athletes to be recognized. Some of these students just picked up their sport in the past year or so, however some have been practicing for years on end.
The swim team has had much success with their group of seniors. Since they began four years ago, the team has won conference championships and individuals have advanced in the postseason. The program itself has also grown. The team will be graduating nine seniors, four girls and five boys. Their senior night was held on January 9th where the seniors each walked from one end of the pool to the other with their parents beside them.
For the wrestling team, their senior night was also their only home meet of the season. The team and program have grown greatly since its beginning just a few years ago. However, you couldn’t find the fans cheering and the team competing in the field house. Held on January 10th, the wrestling team had their first Rage on the Stage. The meet against Calumet took place in the auditorium where a spotlight was shone on each match to showplace the wrestlers in honor of senior night. Before the match began, the four seniors all walked across the stage with their parents while a short description of their achievements and goals were read off. The team still has a few weeks left of the season and is optimistic for the postseason.
For the basketball teams, senior night will be held in weeks to come.
“My classroom is filled with fantastic, entertaining, and meaningful memories of time spent with clubs: a blue Debate Club T-shirt that features a picture of a reptile; a collection of beaded bracelets made by GSA members; a stack of board games for Gaming Club; a picture of Project Green after they met with City Administrator Bill Oeding; a picture of Baymax and Batman drawn by an English Academic Team member; and a large stuffed fish named Norman that I received at Movie Club's white elephant gift exchange,” explained Ben Boruff.
English teacher Ben Boruff began teaching at Wheeler in 2013 and has since picked up several roles in the school. Boruff sponsors National Honor Society, Project Green, English Academic Team, Spell Bowl, Debate Club, the GSA, gaming club, and a movie club.
Boruff attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he received a degree in English Education. His interest in teaching started in high school when he was able to work with younger students. As for English, Boruff has always enjoyed stories and writing.
“To write well is to make every word count, and I enjoy that challenge,” told Boruff.
For Boruff, teaching is about enhancing both his own life and those of his students. He shares that his favorite part of teaching is having conversations with his students. Some of his favorites include debating whether cheesecake is a pie or a cake, and if a hotdog is a sandwich. However, he is also able to have conversations about more serious topics as well.
Outside of class, Boruff has his hands full with activities and clubs for the students.
“All the students who attend the clubs I sponsor are clever, intelligent, and entertaining,” shared Boruff, “Truly, my life is better because of our conversations.”
Senior Trey Buehler has called Wheeler home since he began kindergarten at Union Center Elementary. Buehler has been involved in wrestling, football, National Honor Society, and natural helpers. For Buehler, sports have been a huge impact throughout his life.
“They have taught me how to work hard, and be goal oriented,” shared Buehler, “They taught me respect and self representation.”
He began wrestling at age six because he thought it was WWE. Even though he quickly realized it wasn’t, he still fell in love with it. Before he entered high school his and a few other families noticed the lack of a wrestling program at Wheeler. They fundraised to start the program and were successful.
However, last year, Buehler hit an unexpected bump in the road. He tore his ACL during a wrestling tournament halfway through the season. He underwent surgery in January, but was determined to get better as soon as he could. Buehler was released in August. He stated that the injury showed him his love for wrestling, and he is now more dedicated than ever.
This season, Buehler has won county and a couple of other tournaments. He has a 27-1 record and is ranked 10th in the state.
As for his life after high school, Buehler would like to attend the University of Indianapolis where he would study exercise science and become a physical therapist. After spending his fair share of time in physical therapy, Buehler fell in love with it.
Graduating this spring, Buehler credits Wheeler for his success.
“My teachers and superiors have been hard on me, but have been encouraging and show a great example of being a successful human being,” told Buehler, “I am forever grateful for what Wheeler has given me.”