#1StudentNWI: Chesterton High School extracurriculars persist through changes

#1StudentNWI: Chesterton High School extracurriculars persist through changes

WDSO Radio Program

Chesterton High School operates its own FM radio station, 88.3. Student DJ’s can play music and participate in interviews and various programs that go on the air. WDSO is known for its diverse catalog of music and coverage of local events.

Radiothon is an event that will be making its return this April, which gives seniors an entire day to broadcast. Previously, COVID-19 had prevented this event from taking place, so this year will be a great comeback to the tradition that features events and giveaways.

Over the summer, WDSO’s Operations Manager for over 35 years, Michele Stipanovich, passed away. Fortunately, WDSO has welcomed Emily Fletcher as the new operations manager, and she has worked very hard to bring the station back to full operation after a long period of inactivity. 

WDSO hosts a number of programs to add variety to the round-the-clock music the station provides. Porter County Perspective is a program that brings a community member from Porter County to discuss what their role is and gives them a platform to present messages to listeners. Guests have included politicians, department leaders, such as firefighters and police, and other local leaders.

The Community Bulletin Board is another program that highlights local events, but has fallen on hard times due to the lack of gatherings; however, it plans to make a return in the near future.

Historically Speaking is presented by the Westchester Township History Museum in Chesterton and gives short presentations on historical events for the Duneland area, as well as upcoming exhibits at the museum. 

There is more than just local events that WDSO presents. Profile America is a program sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau that gives updates on notable happenings and trends nationwide. Talkie Talk is a movie-centered program that tackles all sides of questions that anyone might have on the movie-making process, as well as how A-List actors operate and how box-office hits come about. 

When presented about challenges in recent times, WDSO Manager Matt Waters explained how processes have changed.

“There are no visitors in the radio station, so most interviews are via Zoom or Google Meet, which creates a slightly different experience but allows programs to be continued,” said Waters.

When prompted about what positive things have come about, Waters surprisingly mentioned remote learning.

“Some hate it, but I think it is good; it reminds me of working in a TV control room,” said Waters.

With April approaching, Radiothon will be one of the largest events for the station. The event will begin a period of fundraising within CHS and will feature giveaways for listeners of the station. This year, T-shirts, gift cards, stickers, pins, and more will be up for grabs. Warm weather is approaching, so roll down the windows and crank up the radio with WDSO.

CHS Track & Field

This spring, Chesterton High School is beginning its first full Track and Field season since the COVID-19 lockdown. Luckily, excellent weather appears to be the trend at the start of the season, which will allow meets to permit spectators to view the events.

Regarding this season, Head Coach Bryan Nallenweg commented on his excitement to be back on the track.

“After losing last season, it’s just nice to be back. The coaching staff is excited to be coaching again, and the boys are happy to be competing again,” said Nallenweg. “We are just taking this season one day at a time. I think we should have a successful season. We have a lot of talent coming back in just about every event, and I look forward to seeing how everyone continues to improve.”

Athletes in the program participate in a wide range of events from long distance and sprints in track to pole vault, shot put, and discus in the field events.

When asked about his role as a coach, Nallenweg mentioned his participation in the sport as a student himself.

“Track is a great sport. I ran track in school, and my dad was also the head track coach years ago. Track has been in my DNA for a long time now,” he said. “When I started teaching, track was one of the sports I wanted to coach. When the opportunity arrived to become the head coach, I was thrilled to get the job.”

Moving forward has been key, and both coaches and athletes have persisted in order to enjoy this sport. Nallenweg continued by explaining how he and the team are grateful for finally having the chance to do what they love.

“I tell the team often that we are lucky to get a season this year, and we just need to make sure we continue to do everything right in order to ensure that we finish the season,” Nallenweg said. “The state finals are going to be moved out of Bloomington, but the IHSAA is looking for another site and we hope to get some athletes to state.”

For goals for the team as a whole, Nallenweg mentioned a few key items that he wants to motivate his team to accomplish.

“Winning Sectionals is always the goal for the team, but I just want the boys to go out and compete every time they step on the track,” he said. “All that I ask is they do their best and represent the school and community in a way that makes everyone proud. In the end, that is what is most important.”

The Chesterton Track and Field team hopes to put on a great season and will make every effort to represent Chesterton well in each of their events.

Russian Club

CHS Russian Club is beginning this March and is sponsored by Steve Lombardo, who teaches Spanish in the World Language Department at Chesterton.

Chesterton is one of the only schools in the area to have a Russian-centered club. When asked why Russian Club, Lombardo shared how the uniqueness of Russia is what he is most interested in.

“It is not uncommon for folks to have their opinions about Russia narrowly shaped by political reporting alone. Russia is a country undergoing tremendous societal change, and the young people of Russia are leading the way,” Lombardo said. “They are more worldly, more broad-minded, and more innovative than those generations who were shaped by the Soviet Union. It’s important that our young people understand just how rich contemporary Russia is in its technological and cultural offerings. In Russian Club, our members can expect to pursue their interests in this little understood, often misinterpreted country.”

In a time with less restrictions, events would normally culminate to a trip to Chicago to enjoy Russian related-sites and have dinner at a Russian restaurant. Until then, the class will concentrate on film, social media, and it’s specialty - unique food, drinks, and sweets. With this club, students will have a special opportunity to learn about a significant culture present both in our country and the world.