#1StudentNWI: Cold days, warm hearts at Kouts High School

#1StudentNWI: Cold days, warm hearts at Kouts High School

What’s recently happened? 

On November 11, Kouts High School (KHS) hosted its annual Veterans Day program. It was the first time since 2019 due to COVID-19. The event was hosted by the Senior Class of 2023 who greeted the veterans at the door, served coffee before the event began, and escorted the honored guests to their seats in a ceremonious parade. 

There were also seniors that spoke at the event. Macy Brown opened the event with a speech thanking the veterans for their service. Desiree Hall, Nicholas Brown, and Reese DeYoung read off all of the veterans’ names, the branch they served in, and their highest rank achieved. 

Then, Caitlyn Coller, the director of the music department, led the band and choir in a medley of the anthems of each branch in the military. The song “Taps” was also played at a more somber moment as everyone in attendance remembered those that had passed since the last program, those killed in action, and those still missing in action. 

The principal of KHS, Thomas Stoner, concluded the event as the veterans and their families were invited to the American Legion for a small luncheon. As he was glad to see the program continue after a hiatus, Stoner thanked the veterans for coming and the senior class for carrying on this tradition of honor, gratitude, and respect. 

What’s coming up?

The Kouts chapter of the East Porter County Schools Honor Society is having its annual food drive. This year, they have partnered with the Kouts Athletic Department. 

From Wednesday, December 7 through Friday December 9, students that bring at least three non-perishable and non-expired food items will receive one free popcorn coupon at the upcoming Kouts versus South Central High School basketball game. Donations will also be accepted during the game.

The food items will be donated to the Pleasant Township Food Pantry just in time for the holiday season, the busiest time of the year for food pantries. 

The Honor Society students have been involved in this event from the beginning. They have been leading the charge with the planning of the event, making of the advertisements of the drive, setting up said advertisements around KHS and South Central, the sorting and dating of the collected items, and unloading the items at the food pantry. 

Hopefully, this year’s food drive will be just as successful as previous years, as the KHS Honor Society students have worked so diligently to help out the community. Service like this is what the holiday season is all about–helping others in need, without expecting anything in return. 

Staff spotlight:

Even though this is only her second year as assistant principal at KHS, Allyson Kaegi is no stranger to the education department, and has already made a lasting impression on the students and faculty. 

“I taught in Highland, Indiana for 19 years before coming to Kouts. I taught fifth and sixth grade at the elementary level for 10 years. When my school district moved our sixth graders to the middle school, I moved to the middle school as a sixth grade English Language Arts teacher for nine years. I earned my master's degree in Educational Leadership in 2020 and was hired at Kouts Middle/High School as assistant principal in July of 2021,” she said.  

There is a big change from teaching in a single classroom to helping run an entire school. The reason why Kaegi decided to become an administrator was to be able to support teachers that give so much every day to their students. 

“I wanted to become a principal so that I could be the leader I needed as a classroom teacher. I wanted to be in a position where I could support teachers and remove obstacles that prevented them from doing their jobs well, which is to teach our youth,” she said. 

There’s a lot that goes into being an assistant principal, such as instructional leadership for teachers, learning management for students, and handling student discipline, but that’s not Kaegi’s favorite part of her job. 

“The best part of my job is making connections with students and being able to support teachers and make them feel appreciated,” she said. 

KHS is a special place to be, and Kaegi’s favorite part is the people. 

“All of them: students, staff members, parents. Kouts is an amazing community, and I am blessed to be a part of it,” she said. 

Student Spotlight: 

Ashley Billingsly, a junior at KHS, has been achieving success and making happy memories as a member of KHS Color Guard team and Porter County Career and Tech Center (PC3) Media. 

Billingly has improved significantly from the beginning of the year with her vocational class. At the PC3, Billingsly is a part of the Radio & Television class which produces the “Friday Show” weekly and has broadcasted live sports through the brand name PC3 Media. 

Since August, Billingsly has learned how to operate a camera, which led to her being a lead camera operator, video editor, and sportscaster. 

Billingsly’s favorite project has been hosting one of the more recent Friday shows that was a parody of “Men in Black.”

She has many good memories of the year so far, and it’s not over yet. 

“Being there for most of the filming of the Halloween special, the late night football games, and Courtney and I doing the ‘Macarena’ during filming are some of my best memories,” she said. 

In addition to being a successful member of PC3 Media, Billingsly is also a member of KHS Color Guard team, another extracurricular that she enjoys and excels at. 

While she enjoys twirling the flag and learning the routines with her teammates, there is one memory that stands out above the rest, a memory from the first time she performed. 

“Coming out of the gym after my first routine and hearing the applause from the crowd was awesome,” she said. 

There are great things in store for Billingsly as she is dedicated and a bright light for everyone that she works with.