#1StudentNWI: A month full of madness at Illiana

#1StudentNWI: A month full of madness at Illiana

What’s recently happened?

Illiana Christian High School has had an exciting month of March, with the month concluding by Illiana students leaving for Spring Break until the beginning of April. 

Earlier in the month on March 8, Illiana hosted its annual preview night for prospective incoming students. This gives potential Illiana students and their families a chance to get a good look into what the environment of Illiana looks like. They are able to meet with current staff and faculty, as well as see extracurriculars going on during the visit.

The Illiana Drama Department also put on its spring musical, “The Lion King.” The show ran for three days, performing five different shows. This production was an extreme success, selling out two shows and putting on a matinee performance for a feeder school of Illiana. “The Lion King” required an extensive cast and featured seniors like Audrey Yonkman as Rafiki, Ryan Smith as Mufasa, and Kevin Truong as Simba. 

Illiana continued fundraising for its mission trips during Spring Break, which will go to Los Angeles as well as West Virginia. Mission Trip Director Sara Johnson organized the annual pulled pork fundraiser, which gives members of the Illiana community a chance to donate money to help students attend these trips with minimal cost, and enables them to go and make connection with those less fortunate as well as further their faith journey by being an instrument of Christ through service work. 

Illiana is also ending its third quarter of the school year, which will transition into the fourth and final quarter of the 2022-2023 school year. 

What’s coming up?

Although the school year may be coming to a close, Illiana has not slowed down with its list of activities.

Illiana students will return to school from Spring Break on Monday April 3 and will be only a week into the fourth quarter of the school year.

Illiana’s track and field team, Girls Tennis team, as well as Boys Golf have started their seasons. As of March 16, 2023, the Illiana Track team has only had one meet while the Girls Tennis tryout concluded on March 15. The Boys Golf team is still currently in conditioning. 

Illiana is hosting its annual Fine Arts Competition. This competition allows Illiana students to showcase their talents in the arts in many ways. Students may sing, perform instrumental pieces, write poetry or short stories, create paintings or drawings, do photography, and perform dramatic acting pieces. Students begin entering the competition during the last two weeks of March, and the judging commences from April 12-25.

Every year, Illiana participates in something called Go Day which allows Illiana homerooms to go out into the community and complete service work, and afterwards, the students usually have a cookout. This year, Go Day will take place on April 26. This activity is a great way to remind students the importance of servitude in the community, and what it means to act in the name of Christ. 

Staff spotlight:

Emily Hillegonds has been a teacher at Illiana for 11 years. She teaches freshman English as well as English for honors juniors and a creative writing class. 

“I went into teaching because I had excellent English teachers and I was inspired by them. I have always loved literature, so I wanted to do something with that,” Hillegonds said.

Although Hillegonds is a crucial part of the Illiana community, she did not begin her teaching career here. 

“I graduated from Calvin College (now Calvin University). I had a job lined up before I graduated college, and it was in Pella, Iowa. It was not a good fit, so I interviewed for two jobs and got the job here,” Hillegonds said.

Even though Hillegonds has only ever taught at Christian schools, she thinks that something that sets Christian schools apart from others is the fact that she is able to tie God into all of her lesson plans, curriculum, and the overall community.

Senior Kayla Bosman, who takes Hillegonds’ creative writing class and was previously in her freshman English class, has fond memories of her teacher.

“Mrs. Hillegonds genuinely connected with me since day one. My freshmen year was really hard, and being in her class always made it better,” Bosman said.

Student spotlight:

Caden Buxton has absolutely made his presence known at Illiana in just two short years. After transferring from being a homeschooled student just before the start of junior year, Buxton has been an integral part of the Illiana ever since his first day. 

Buxton was a big part of the 2021-2022 Varsity Soccer team that made it to the Regional finals. 

Buxton realized that he wanted to transfer to Illiana after he came to spend a day shadowing a friend. After a lot of thought and prayer on his family's part, they decided to send him and his younger sister to Illiana the following school year.

He has been able to make important connections with students and teachers and is getting more involved in outreach this year by attending the Los Angeles mission trip. 

Buxton has been able to leave his mark at Illiana with much of the student body, and has certainly solidified his impact by winning Mr. Illiana (Homecoming King) of the 2022-2023 school year.