What’s Happened?: Gaming to Raise Money for NHS Scholarships
On December 7, the Highland High School National Honor Society hosted its second annual Mario Kart Wii Tournament. The tournament raises money for NHS scholarships.
There were 28 people signed up to participate in the tournament, but out of that number, a few did not attend. The whole tournament was set up by the committee and all of the equipment needed was brought in by committee members. There was three consoles set up with projectors in the high school cafeteria.
Each player was guaranteed at least two races. The point system was set up to where first place received 40 points, second received 30, third received 20, and fourth received 10. The players with the highest points moved on to try and receive more to be the champions in the tournament.
The final four consisted of sophomores Victor Cruz, Kyla Baker, James Tugerson, and senior Lee Smith. The four battled for first place while playing Moonview Highway, DKs’ Summit, Bowser’s Castle, and Rainbow Road.
Many students joined to hang out and have a fun time with friends while the competitors played. Some joined the tournament because they have been playing Marothers because they have been playing Mario Kart since they were little and wanted some friendly competition.
Despite it being up to the new committee and president each year to decide whether or not they continue this tournament, we hope that the tournament continues annually for years to come.
The last race played was Rainbow Road, and the winner of the tournament was James Tugerson. His prize was a $15 gift card to Gamestop.
“When I was four years old, my first game was Mario Kart Wii, and I have played it ever since. I’ve always had an enjoyment to play this game, playing each and every course, and the feeling for this game is really, really makes me happy,” Tugerson said.
Fourth place was Baker, third place was Cruz, and second place was Smith. The four finalists together got Cakes by Karen, Pizza from Langel’s, and Dairy Queen gift cards.
What’s Coming Up?: Medieval Fun
On December 15 and 16, the Highland High School Varsity Choir, the Not Your Mother’s Improv Team, and the Theatre Arts Department performed at the Madrigal Dinner. The feast was held at 6 PM on Saturday, December 15, and at 4:30 PM on Sunday, December 16 in the high school cafeteria.
This year was the first year that the Improv Team joined the dinner. Another new thing this year was the Varsity Choir singing the songs for the performance. Choir students have always sang the songs, but this year it was a class project for varsity only. Prior to this, you had to try out as a choir in order to join the Madrigal. The Remarkables group, which includes 12 girls from the varsity and advanced girls’ classes, performed a couple of songs alone as well.
Sixty students were included, and there were around 15-20 adults helping out. The choir students had practiced every day, and this included rehearsals during and after school. Some of the songs that were performed at the dinner were also performed at the choir concert on December 7.
At the dinner, there was a toast that the students came up with. This was intended to keep up the laughter throughout the night. There was also a stuffed boar head which added to the medieval theme.
“The whole medieval feeling of it, the feast and the music, is something I’ve never experienced before,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Tiemens.
Madrigal dinners can be different at any school. Some schools have religious carols, but at Highland, we were more known for our Christmas carols.
“I did it at Valpo University and we didn’t have a play, just a performance, and we [the choir] sang during dinner,” said choir teacher David Markley.
The dinner was a success thanks to advertisements on Facebook and other social media platforms encouraging students, teachers, and the whole community to join in on the fun. Students also hung posters around town to reach more people.
Teacher Spotlight: David Markley
Mr. David Markley grew up and went to school in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, a small town just North of Allentown. His school was filled with people from the surrounding areas of the county.
The first couple of years at his high school did not feature a real choir class. Instead, it was all volunteer, and once-a-week he and his classmates would go down to the choir room and practice. After his sophomore year, that changed. Choir was made into an actual class that you could take. Markley’s choir class is very different from the way it was when he was in high school. Now his classes learn about music theory and do sight reading, which is where students are given a staff with notes and they have to sing and record themselves to sound correct. In his school there was none of this. It was strictly singing and teaching.
He moved to the Midwest and went to Valparaiso University. During his years at Valpo, he was in the choir and performed in the Madrigal. He talked about his experiences in the Madrigal: “There was more religious music, because Valpo is a religious institution. There wasn’t much pomp and circumstance like we do. We retold the story of the Birth of Christ from the Bible, and sang songs sort of interspersed throughout the evening.”
Another aspect he was able to recall is that after the dinner was over, there was always leftover bread rings that were “the size of a car tire,” and all of the performers would leave with bread from the evening.
His teaching has consisted of being at Highland High School for 21 years. He has taught mostly high school choir, but has also spent time teaching middle school classes. His favorite part of being at Highland has been working with the students to get them excited about music.
Student Spotlight: Erin Perry
Erin Perry is a junior that has been involved in choir since she started middle school. Since that time she has been in twelve concerts and three musical productions. However, these are not the only shows that she has been in. She has also participated at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso as well as the La Traviata in Dupage, Illinois. Currently she is playing a role in Die Fledermaus in Dupage.
“It felt great to be involved in musical assembles it felt like I was taking a step closer to professionalism working at a fast pace and getting so much done in a short time not just think about singing well.” Perry said.
She wants to go to college for musical performances to bring shows and musical to life with other people. She knows that when she steps on stage, all of her worries from the day will wash away. Perry focuses on bringing her characters to life both personally and for her audiences.
Her favorite performance at Highland was in Les Misérables. This was our spring musical in 2018. This show, along with Little Shop of Horrors, which was the fall production in 2017, made her into the performer that she is today.
“When people say they are bitten by the theater bug, it’s not just an expression,” Perry said. Music has been her life since she was young, and she wants to continue this and possible be a part of classical music or even stage production.
“No matter what happens in my life I want to keep performing” shared Perry.