#1StudentNWI: CHS dodgeball game fundraises money for Turkey and Syria earthquake victims

#1StudentNWI: CHS dodgeball game fundraises money for Turkey and Syria earthquake victims

What’s recently happened? 

Chesterton High School’s (CHS) Red Cross Club held a dodgeball game to help raise money for the victims of the recent series of earthquakes that swept through Turkey and Syria.

Photo credits to Audrey White

The dodgeball game was a laid-back affair that displayed a heart-warming bond between the participants. The following teams, entirely made up of student volunteers, each participated: The Deols, Yung Studs, Winners, All Dodge No Balls, and Bad Bunnies. While the game unfolded without masses of on-lookers, the participants were able to blow off steam for a charitable cause.

Despite Spring Break approaching, among other extracurriculars consuming students’ time, president of Red Cross Club Saanya Agarwal remained grateful for those who were able to make the dodgeball game a reality. 

“I’m really happy to see how well the dodgeball tournament went. While we didn’t get as many people as before due to sports and Spring Break being as near as it is, I'm still so glad that we were able to raise even a little money for such an important cause,” Agarwal said.

A series of deadly earthquakes affected Turkey and parts of Syria back in early February. With a magnitude of 7.8, the earthquakes have devastated the land, leaving many people in need. With the help of donations, even from small-scale fundraising, large changes can grow.

“It was really fun; I liked all the people there. As a group, it was great. My team didn’t do that well – we went 0-4 and we lost quick in all of our games – but it was super fun. Even though we lost, I had a lot of fun there and the people there did a great job running the game. It’s a great event for the Red Cross and I love the way it’s run,” Sophomore and Member of the ‘Winners’ Team Dominic Rhed said.

As the game concluded, the Bad Bunnies were declared the winners after a spirited showdown against The Deols; leaving the final score at 3-2, and a sum of $125 for the Turkish and Syrian earthquake victims.

“The most intense moment of the game was definitely during the final championship game between the Deols and the Bad Bunnies. They both won two games each, so we didn’t really know who would end up winning,” Agarwal said.

What’s coming up? 

CHS will be presenting the 2023 IB Art Exhibit in the upper gym. The IB Art Exhibit allows for the International Baccalaureate (IB) art students to host a collective art show where each student displays his or her own artwork produced throughout the school year. 

Photo credits to Audrey White

The exhibit will take place on Wednesday, April 12 and Thursday April 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for those within the local community to come and share support for CHS’s gifted artists. For those interested in attending, admission is free. Throughout the school day, students are also encouraged to take in the artwork and express encouragement for their peers. Some students will also be selling prints of their artwork.

Each student in the IB class will have their own exhibit showing off eight to 11 pieces from this past school year. Many student’s follow a general theme for their exhibit and will choose artworks that fit within their chosen theme. While the exhibit showcases the efforts of the student’s work throughout the school year, it also contributes to the student’s final IB grade. 

“My exhibit focuses on how I used different and new mediums to show self-expression and depictions of nature. My absolute favorite piece I’ve done is a watercolor painting of a waterfall I saw in Tennessee. It was one of my first fully completed watercolor paintings I’ve ever done in my life. I’m very proud of it,” Senior Sydney Orsburn said.

Staff spotlight:

Anna Zervos has been an educator for the past 37 years. She teaches both Advanced Placement (AP) United States History and general United States History to CHS juniors. 

“This is my 37th year of teaching, and I’m still excited about getting up in the morning,” Zervos said.

During her time as a teacher, Zervos has greatly influenced her environment. In the past, she has been involved with plays, National Honor Society (NHS), Quiz Bowl, Academic Superbowl, numerous fundraisers – one such being a fundraiser for the Red Cross for victims of 9/11 – among other activities.

Having come from a family of teachers, Zervos felt drawn to the profession, with her passions of cultural development, history, and social studies fueling her interest in education. 

Zervos earned her undergraduate degree in social work in addition to sociology with an emphasis on criminal justice at Valparaiso University. Over time, she decided to return to college to become a social studies teacher. 

When she returned to school, she utilized her opportunity to take additional classes to earn her social studies degree. Zervos is qualified to teach everything with the exception of economics. Zervos earned her master’s degree in United States history.

While a student at Valparaiso University, Zervos participated in theatre, intramurals, and student government while also exploring art and philosophy classes. As a student, Zervos was able to visit Italy and Greece through a study abroad program. While abroad, she studied Greek mythology, European history, and ruins.

Zervos also spent a semester in Chicago while participating in an urban studies program. While living in Chicago, she had the opportunity to work in the assistant District Attorney’s office to help victims of crimes cope with the system. Similarly, Zervos has also worked with Porter-Starke Services and Lake County Mental Health Services.

The thing Zervos is most proud of in her career has been the relationships she has built with her students over the years. 

“I really try to create a positive environment where hopefully everyone feels included, welcomed, and challenged. Teaching AP is a very challenging course; I know it’s a challenging course. I'm very empathetic for the difficulty, but I really do think I’ve helped to elevate students’ work to a large extent,” Zervos said.

Zervos’ road to teaching at CHS was rather unique. Every social studies teacher at CHS was required to coach. Zervos did not coach and worked for other schools, both private and alternative, as she continued to apply to a variety of schools. Eventually, she was able to teach government for summer school at CHS and did so for three years. A position opened, and Zervos was the first woman to be hired directly into the Social Studies Department.

Outside of being an educator, Zervos loves scuba diving and traveling, with her favorite locations being Greece and Australia, where she was able to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

Zervos is retiring when the 2022-2023 school year concludes. After retirement, she wants to spend more time with her husband of 37 years, her son, and her mother. She also would like to volunteer to be an advocate for children involved in court systems. As a volunteer, she will be trained and go to court for the child’s benefit. Likewise, she is also considering tutoring at Westchester Public Library and also being a substitute teacher at CHS.

As for her hobbies, Zervos enjoys painting, weaving, reading, hiking, camping, sailing, and seeing plays – primarily Shakespearean plays.

“I’m excited for the next phase of my life and seeing what happens,” Zervos said.

Student spotlight:

Junior Sarah Bennett is deeply involved with music, horses, and her faith. Bennett is a member of CHS’s band and pep band, where she plays the clarinet. 

While she is an active musician in CHS’s band, she is also a trusted student. Recently, Bennett went on the Natural Helpers Retreat. The Natural Helpers Program is a way for a school’s students who are trustworthy and supportive of other students to grow together in the understanding of the importance of relying on others during times of need. 

“I really appreciate programs like Natural Helpers where teachers can take students on retreats and the staff can go and there’s students and past students who went on it who are now in college. I appreciate things like this,” Bennett said.

Her favorite classes this school year include band, American Sign Language (ASL) 1, and math. Bennett grew interested in ASL a few years ago and has since learned through YouTube videos. This year, she decided to add ASL 1 to her schedule. 

As for her enthusiasm for horses, Bennett has regularly attended True North Training Stables for the past three years. There, she has learned how to care for horses, pigs, and goats, among other animals. Bennett has been able to gain horse-riding experience in addition to receiving Biblical counseling. She also enjoys taking horse-riding lessons in Valparaiso as well.

Bennett began riding horses on a red-and-white paint horse named Cody and currently takes lessons on a quarter horse dun named Bear. Aside from horse-riding, Bennett works at Chesterton’s Duneland Family YMCA, particularly in the Funzone where she is able to babysit. 

For her post-high school ambitions, Bennett plans to attend Grace College, which is located outside of Warsaw, Indiana.

“Grace College has an integrated major with special education and elementary education. With education, there is something that people typically have a concentration on, and I am wanting to have a concentration in mathematics potentially,” Bennett said.

In college, Bennett hopes to continue playing the clarinet in band in addition to playing intramural sports. 

Outside of school, Bennett is an active member of her church. Bennett’s faith is a central part of her life. She attends Calvary Church of Valparaiso and works in the children’s ministry. She participates in her church’s Motion Team, where she helps engage the kids in worship through dance. Likewise, Bennett also participates in her church youth group and is close to others.

“I get to connect with so many of my friends and we get to hear a sermon and do some worship and then we head to small groups and just talk about what we heard and what we think,” Bennett said.