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#1StudentNWI: A fair way to end the summer

By: Sylvia Rotole Last Updated: August 1, 2022

What’s happened?

For the past ten days, everyone in Valparaiso and surrounding towns hopped on Highway 49 and headed to the fairgrounds. The annual Porter County Fair took place from July 21 to July 30 and hosted loads of entertainment. 

From concerts, to animals, to rides, the Porter County Fair was a can’t-miss event. 

“I love the fair, it gives me something to look forward to in the summer,'' said Valparaiso Highschool (VHS) Senior Hailey Stemple. 

There are many ways to get involved in the fair, but for high school students, 4-H is a favorite. 

4-H is a non-profit organization that provides kids with community, mentors, and learning opportunities to develop the skills they need to create positive change in their lives. 

“4-H has helped me break out of my shell socially and has allowed me to make all types of friends from across Porter County. It has made it easier for me to meet new people and become more comfortable with public speaking,” said VHS Senior Evyenia Lawley. 

Lawley has participated in 4-H since she was a little girl. She loves showing her rabbits and looks forward to the fair every year. 

Not only does 4-H work with a student’s animals, but members also take pride in their imaginative craftsmanship. 

Morgan Township Senior Sophia Lesko entered a pineapple sculpture made out of Ferrero Rocher chocolate and received an A award. 

“4-H has positively affected my high school career by helping me meet new people that have ended up having such a big impact on my life,” said Lesko. 

One thing about the Porter County Fair is that no matter the weather, the show must go on. 

“My favorite part of the fair was running around in the rain with all my friends trying to find a ride that was open. We had a blast and made the best of the moment we were in," said Stemple. 

Porter County fair will be missed but don’t worry these remarkable 10 days of fun will be back next July. 

What’s coming up?

With the end of summer around the corner, students everywhere are planning their last hurrah. These last few weekends will be filled with end-of-summer pool parties and bonfires.

“I love hosting and getting my friends together before everyone goes their separate ways for school. Bonfires are a good way to recap the summer and just reminisce over all the fun we had,” stated Washington Township Senior Brooke Hiller. 

Registration for the upcoming 2022-23 school year is now open. Valparaiso Community Schools will resume on August 10.

For incoming high school freshmen, VHS holds a freshman orientation on August 9 where students will be able to walk through their schedules and get a feel for the big leagues.  

“I am super excited for high school. I know that the football and basketball games will be so much fun, and the student section is awesome. I can’t wait for all the different opportunities I'll have in high school,” said incoming VHS Freshman Daniel Nathan. 

With the VHS start date only being a little over a week away, students rush to get in the last of their summer fun. VHS can’t wait to see all its students and expects to have a great school year. 

Community member spotlight

This month’s spotlight is Porter County’s 2022 Miss Photogenic, Paige Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh graduated from Washington Township High School this past spring and will be attending Indiana University Fort Wayne in the fall to study nursing. 

Cavanaugh loves the fair and is super thankful for everyone that supported her in the Miss Porter County Fair pageant. 

“I love the fair. My favorite part is eating fair food and definitely attending the concerts," said Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh really appreciated the relationships she formed through working with the other pageant contestants. 

“The pageant helped me get connected by introducing me to so many people within the community. Whether I am helping at the fair or just coming and walking around the fair, I love getting to know new friends," said Cavanaugh.

Pageants required a lot of effort and dedication, and Cavanaugh did not fall short in these areas. With her perfect smile, Cavanaugh was able to win Miss Photogenic. She claims it's not easy being a pageant girl, but the experiences she has gained are worth every minute. 

“I learned to always keep going and to never give up. It’s important to just have fun and to be the best role model for little girls," said Cavanaugh.

It warms Cavanaugh's heart to know that in the Valparaiso community, people work together to make the Porter County fair happen.

“Some advice I would give is to go to every fair event that you can. It's so worth it to get involved," said Cavanaugh. 

Cavanaugh hopes all little girls' pageant dreams come true as hers did.