#1StudentNWI: A glimpse into Hanover Central’s triumphs, tribulations, and top graduates of the year

#1StudentNWI: A glimpse into Hanover Central’s triumphs, tribulations, and top graduates of the year

What's recently happened?

Amidst COVID-19 restrictions lifting and construction progressing, Hanover Central High School (HCHS) has had its hands full.

The students with the ten highest GPAs of their class were just announced officially this past week. Here are our esteemed role models: Olivia Tomac (10), Benjamin Voticke (9), Sophia Ponto (8), Jonathan Salata (7), Bryce Noble (6), Nathan Faraher (5), Allison Holtcamp (4), and Nicole Kane (3). The salutatorian of the senior class is Megan Wright, and the valedictorian is Brianna Kraus. Congratulations to all of these hard workers; it has finally paid off!

Additionally, a multitude of new members were inaugurated to the National Honors Society (NHS). Juniors and seniors alike, with cumulative GPAs of a 3.5 or higher, were inducted into this program ceremoniously in Hanover’s auditorium.

A community of both parents and students were present to applaud the new inductees. Each NHS officer gave a speech detailing the four main pillars: Scholarship (Leah Ridgeway), Leadership (Megan Wright), Service (Sarah Fleming), and Character (Samantha Corey). Thank you to the staff and the students for such a commemorable night.

Now that we have delved into academics, let’s take a look at athletics. These past couple of months have been very eventful, especially for athletes on the wrestling team. Congratulations to Aidan Padilla, Kyle Hoover, Colten Zableckis, Sam Chambers, and Joey Willems on advancing to the Regional Wrestling Championship match in late February.

A big congratulations goes to Sophomore Colin Foy who placed third at Regionals, advancing to the IHSAA Wrestling Semi-State Competition. Wrestling coach Andrew Bradbury exclaimed how proud he was of his boys’ fantastic season during the Winter Sports Banquet in March, where he teared up after talking about his team’s physical strength as well as their mental endurance. They sure did pin it to win it this year!

The wrestling team isn’t the only sport that’s got it going on, though. Poms - Hanover’s dance team - has had an incredibly successful season, too. In the IHSDTA State Solo and Ensemble competition in February, Maddi Paulauski earned first place with her striking Junior Solo. Maddi Paulauski and Kylee Shinkle received fifth overall with their Senior Duet. Jayden Stutsman, Zoe Gineris, Marissa Reid, and Emily Burnham placed ninth with their Small Ensemble performance.

Furthermore, the Varsity Jazz Team became Regional Champions in their bracket, overcoming longtime rival Mitchell High School! The Varsity Hip-Hop team, led by Coach Rebecca Zimmer and choreographed by Senior Megan Wright, placed third in their Regionals Competition. The Poms team placed fourth. 

All in all, the meet went extraordinarily well. The judges and the crowd alike were thoroughly impressed with the girls’ performance. The PomCats competed at State, but they unfortunately did not advance any further. Regardless, they had a phenomenal season and should be proud of themselves. Great job, ladies!

A special congratulations also goes out to Ashlyn White, Marissa Reid, Liam Rupp, Jasmyn Burton, Maria Davenport, Claudia McMahon, Ana Blagojevic, Samantha Corey, Hailey Schuhmacher, and Caroline Donaldson for bringing home the gold at their State ISSMA competition.

“As much as I love Poms, I was so grateful for the opportunity to go to ISSMA this year. It’s my last year at Hanover, and I couldn’t be happier that I got the gold; it’s just an awesome experience," Jasmyn Burton said.

What’s coming up?

Speaking of dancing, Prom tickets just went on sale on Monday, March 21. Tickets are $60 for an individual and $115 for a couple. Prom will be held at the Villa Cesare in Schererville on May 7, 2022, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. In addition, the Top Ten Dinner, a meal that celebrates Hanover’s top ten students, will be held on April 28 in the HCHS cafeteria. Each student is afforded one guest (their “most influential figure”) to invite, along with their parents.

The graduation ceremony for the class of 2022 will be taking place on June 5 in the field house. It is no doubt that the Hanover Central students, especially the seniors, are buzzing with excitement!

Besides extracurriculars, the construction within Hanover Central’s walls has been faring very well. Vice Principal Lori Bathurst took members of the high school’s yearbook staff on a personal tour of the developing preschool area, where new classrooms, new halls, and even a new playground is in the process of being built.

“It’s coming along very nicely,” Bathurst said. “I know the entire community and school will be thrilled to see it once it’s finished.”

Although Hanover is noticeably one of the smallest schools in its district, the administration is hoping that the reconstruction will branch it out a bit to accommodate the incoming freshmen population. Plus, mask mandates have been waived for Hanover since January. The number of COVID-19 cases seem to be dwindling, and all signs are pointing to progress.

Staff spotlight:

Although many students often confuse him for his look-alike twin Bob Gustas, Spanish Teacher Stephen Gustas is one-of-a-kind.

After graduating from college and student teaching at Hanover for a year, he has been at the school ever since. As a staff member of a never-changing HCHS for 23 years, the new changes in construction and COVID-19 have definitely proven to have their own challenges. Gustas has relocated his room and reorganized his schedule seemingly every few weeks, but has come to realize that the school's changes simply signify growth.

"Change isn’t always bad; it’s a part of life that we have to just get used to," said Gustas.

Gustas teaches Spanish I, II, and III, as well as AP Spanish language and culture and AP Spanish literature. In addition to this, he is the Spell Bowl coach, Student Council sponsor, National Honors Society sponsor, and Thespian Society sponsor. It was during his junior year of college while he was an exchange student that he knew he wanted to be a Spanish teacher.

“I honestly didn’t want to do the extra three years of schooling, so I waited… but then I eventually came back to it," said Gustas.

Thank goodness that he did, because many don’t know what Hanover would do without his intellect and his willingness to always take initiative in everything he does.

If he had to leave his students with one piece of advice, it would be to stay active in school and extracurriculars.

"Get involved in everything you can. It helps to form meaningful and long-lasting relationships with one another and integrates a sense of accountability into your life in a surprisingly fun way," said Gustas. "You never know the people you could meet or the things you could accomplish if you don’t try and put yourself out there."

When asked if there was any other profession he’d want to pursue, Gustas shared how he feels he's in exactly the right place.

“There is nothing else that I’d rather be. Being a teacher is exciting because there is always something new to experience every day," said Gustas.

Gustas is not only an amazing educator, but an amazing person as well. In his free time, Gustas enjoys cuddling with his three pugs (Lenny, Squiggy, and Willy), gardening, bowling, and running. All in all, both staff and students alike admire Gustas, and HCHS is very lucky to have him as a teacher. 

Student spotlight: 

As the salutatorian of her graduating senior class, one of the team captains for Hanover Central’s Poms team, a member of student council and advanced band, and the NHS president, Senior Megan Wright has always been well-rounded in all fields. She is an exemplary role model for her peers and a delight for her teachers.  

When asked about her reaction to being salutatorian, Wright shared how special it is.

“It was very rewarding. I felt like all of my hard work and dedication had finally paid off," said Wright.

Wright has taken a total of seven AP classes, all of which she passed with flying colors. Wright has proved time and time again that she is a driven young woman, both in and out of the classroom. She was a Varsity A Jazz Regional Champion with her dance teammates, demonstrating how remarkable she is not only academically, but athletically, too.

As far as her most influential figures go, Wright strongest mentors of her high school career have been Chemistry Teacher Jennifer Kaste and Spanish Teacher Stephen Gustas.

“I have always looked up to Mrs. Kaste because she is the perfect example of a strong woman; she is dedicated, intelligent, and capable. Mr. Gustas has always been there for me, never failing to offer me words of encouragement or a helping hand," said Wright.

Wright has taken four years of Spanish and four years of science, a truly impressive feat for a top student.

One of Wright's favorite ways to spend her free time is to volunteer her time at her church, annually getting involved in events such as Vacation Bible School, Trunk or Treat, and the Easter celebration. She is one of the most wholesome and selfless people that the school has. 

If she were to give one piece of advice to her peers, it would be to be themselves.

“Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. We are all unique and have different strengths. You should never be ashamed of lacking something that someone else has," said Wright.

In college, Wright plans to major in psychology and minor in Spanish with the hopes of becoming a child psychologist with her own practice. As one of the most talented, smart, and innovative students at this school, she will most definitely have a bright future ahead of her.