#1StudentNWI: Wheeler’s wacky “Anything But A Backpack” Day goes wild

#1StudentNWI: Wheeler’s wacky “Anything But A Backpack” Day goes wild

What's recently happened? 

Sean Springer and Landon Ruble, Wheeler High School (WHS) juniors, decided to bring shopping carts instead of backpacks to school. They weren’t the only ones to decide to bring strange objects to carry their textbooks and assignments. 

In fact, on February 24, several students brought scooters, miniature cars, baby strollers, tents, garbage cans, and more. These strange objects were brought to WHS thanks to the WHS Pep Club’s “Anything But a Backpack” Day. 

Students were encouraged to participate in this unexpected event. Anyone participating was required to buy a wristband for $1 and had to follow a set of rules that prohibited any objects that were alive or motorized. 

This allowed students to go wild with different ideas for possible objects. For instance, Ruble and Springer decided to bring shopping carts. Where they obtained these carts, or how, is a mystery to both them and others. 

Ruble and Springer each started the day with putting all of their textbooks, assignments, and laptops in each of their respective shopping carts, and began walking to their classes. Ironically enough, they were each accompanied by a bluetooth speaker that they brought from home that played frequently loud music. 

“I really enjoyed the fact that we got to do something crazy, and seeing people’s reactions made my day,” Ruble said. “I enjoyed making my peers and teachers laugh, and that’s why I decided to participate. I did it in the hopes of making someone’s day better by my funny attitude.”

Teachers were also participating in this event. Byron Faulstitch, WHS government and American history teacher, brought a baby stroller with him. Similarly, Natalie Mills, the English and digital media teacher, brought a hiking backpack and head-light with her. 

The Digital Media class decided to gather a few students who participated in the event and rate their anything but a backpack. These ratings were prioritizing three categories of the participants’ object: speed, functionality, and creativity. 

The ratings were very competitive, and the Digital Media class even decided to personally interview a few participants. It’s clear that Wheeler High School does not mess around when it comes to “Anything But A Backpack” Day. 

Unfortunately, the WHS Talent Show was canceled for February 24, but it is currently being rescheduled. Students are encouraged to email Social Studies Teacher Jessica Ball if they’re interested in participating in the event. Some students may be singing, dancing, doing magic tricks, and even reading poems on stage. 

Additionally, February 24 was the Fish and Chicken Fry at the WHS cafeteria. This event was sponsored by the WHS Softball team. Any students, and their families, interested had to show up at the cafeteria between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m to get a carryout box with their option of chicken, fish, or both. 

Why not spend that day munching on fried foods? 

What’s coming up?

The Class of 2025 is also holding a Fish and Chicken Fry in the cafeteria. It’s scheduled for Friday, March 17 between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Several past students who participated in this fry called the food absolutely amazing.

The cost of these delicacies is only $14 for adults and $17 for senior citizens. What makes this fish fry so special is the fact that it’s an all-you-can-eat event! 

For those interested in things other than fried chicken and fish, they have the opportunity to spend an entire day looking at stars, galaxies, black holes, and the mysteries of the universe. These individuals are WHS students who signed up to see the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. 

Students will be visiting the planetarium on March 4. 

Dan Kenning, head of the Science Department at WHS, will be one of the adults chaperoning this event. Coincidentally, he is also the teacher for Astronomy, a class offered to mainly juniors and seniors. 

“A planetarium enables you to see a simulated view of the night sky projected onto a circular dome,” Kenning said. “It also allows an astronomer to fly you through space and virtually teach and show you information about various objects in the solar system or universe. The planetarium also has interactive displays that teach you about physics and astronomy and other worlds in the solar system. They have a five ton rock that fell from space that you can touch.”

Kenning encourages people interested in astronomy to go and visit, regardless of their involvement with the school. If students were unable to attend this year’s visit, fret not. 

“There probably will be a trip like this one again next year, so if people couldn’t go this time around, they can go next year,” Kenning said.

Apart from the exhilarating events of analyzing the universe, the WHS Academic Teams are visiting Purdue University Northwest for their annual invitational. These teams, separated by their respective categories of English, Math, Science, Fine Arts, and Social Studies, will be participating in a “practice” competition. 

Students who have previously not participated in a high school Academic Super Bowl will have the chance to experience it for the first time, while veterans have the opportunity to refresh their memories on how to compete. Food will be provided by the college, as well as drinks and some snacks.

Staff spotlight:

Child Development Teacher Tasha Woods has recently returned from teaching the Union Township Middle School (UTMS) grade levels and began teaching at WHS. 

“I have always enjoyed teaching both at the middle school and high school level,” Woods said. “I started out my career at the middle school level, then went to the high school level only to return to the middle school, and now once again, I am back at the high school.” 

Her journey into teaching began at the University of Iowa. There, she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and started her career in the business world. It wasn’t until later that she realized she wasn’t interested in the business world and began her transition into education. 

She began going to Indiana University and was able to earn her teaching license in social studies and even a Master of Science in secondary education. Since then, she’s added Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) to her long list of accomplishments. 

The students of both UTMS and WHS adore Woods. Previous students who had her in middle school have a chance to once again be in her class in high school, and Woods loves seeing how far they’ve matured in both ability and personality. 

“I truly enjoy working with children and young adults. I love teaching them new things and talking with them about what is going on in their lives,” Woods said.

Teaching Child Development A & B classes are her favorite, which is where the WHS preschool originated from. 

“Child Development A is a class where I teach prospective early childhood education teachers classroom management skills, curriculum building, and how to write lesson plans,” Woods said. “Then in Child Development B, the same group of students teach our student-led Little Bearcat Preschool. Our preschool lasts for one trimester from mid-November until mid-February.  It is an amazing experience for both the student-teachers and preschool students alike.” 

Students have described her classes as some of the most useful subjects that will help them in their adult lives. 

Her trick to teaching? Mutual kindness and respect. She claims that classroom management cannot occur without both students and teachers respecting each other as well as displaying a mutual understanding between one another. 

She states that her classroom should be a positive environment for all students, a place where they can feel welcome and safe. 

“If I could tell my current and former students something, it would be that I am and will always be proud of them, and it has been a pleasure to be their teacher,” Woods said.

Student spotlight:

Ambitious and confident Lauren Hostetler has no shortness of activities after school. Not only is she involved in WHS’s Pep Club, National Honor Society, Show Choir, and Math Academic team, but she’s also Junior Class President and part of Student Council. 

Moreover, Hostetler is vice president of the Key Club. She plays soccer and runs cross country in the fall, and in the winter she swims. In the spring, she runs track and plays tennis. With all these extracurricular activities, it's a wonder that Hostetler still has time to focus on academics.

Her plans for this year is to combine all of these skills she has learned in several different extracurriculars and develop a project that could benefit the WHS community. She also has interesting plans for this month’s Spring Break. 

“Over Spring Break, I am visiting several colleges, considering I will need to start applying in the fall. I am going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, and the University of West Virginia,” Hostetler said.

It’s Hostetler’s passion for extracurricular activities and education that makes WHS so special to her. She claims that, because of the small school atmosphere, she’s given more opportunities to try anything that her heart desires. 

Additionally, because of how close the WHS community is to the students and families, several coaches are able to work around the many school extracurricular activities and allow students to participate in two sports at once. This was exactly what Hostetler experienced. 

On the topic of where she sees herself in the future, Hostetler claims she hopes to attend college somewhere out of state. 

“I am interested in a career in the business field and may pursue marketing or management. However, I am still open to anything I could possibly study in the future,” Hostetler said. “I don't exactly have a step-by-step plan to follow after that, but I obviously want to get a stable job once I graduate from college. I have traveled to several countries throughout my teen years, so I want to continue traveling, and experience new cultures around the world.” 

It’s clear that WHS has impacted Hostetler in more ways than one. She claims that school and all of its wonders it has to offer have molded her entire perspective on life and on herself. While she’s proud and happy of the life she has, she strives for more and wants to take as many opportunities as possible. 

It’s difficult for students to get involved in school, but Hostetler has a few tips for upcoming juniors.  

“For any upcoming junior, I would recommend trying many clubs or sports to see what interests you, even if you don't think you might be the best at them,” Hostetler said. “They also help develop time management, social skills, and may introduce you to something you really love and want to pursue as a career.“

Regardless of the skillset of an individual, Hostetler has made it her life’s passion to try out any and all opportunities that the world has to offer.