#1StudentNWI: December Happenings at Chesterton High School

#1StudentNWI: December Happenings at Chesterton High School
By: Claire Bailey Last Updated: December 26, 2019

Teacher Spotlight:

English teacher Rebecca Uehling is co-directing the annual children's Winter Play alongside fellow English teacher Anne Sharp.

This year the co-directors have decided the play will be Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Students will perform for the school as well as all third graders in the district. 

“It was between Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and Peter Pan. I chose Charlie & The Chocolate Factory because it’s a favorite of mine. I thought it would be a fun time to direct it and that the kids would really enjoy it,” Uehling said.

The cast received their parts in a special delivery made by Uehling. They were handed a tasty candy bar with a golden ticket tucked inside. As the cast pulled their golden ticket out, not only were their parts revealed, but they were permitted to revisit their own childhood by working on this play.

“So far my favorite part was passing out the candy bars with golden tickets revealing the parts,” Uehling said. “For Snow White, we passed out apples and seeing the faces of the people as they received their part was such fun.”

The month prior to finals is stressful for all teachers, but especially stressful to those who start a new, huge task during that month.

“I mean, I’m spread thin as it is and it’s very stressful,” Uehling said, “but it’s all about time management. It’s nice that Mrs. Sharp and I can split rehearsals so that I can spend time with my kids.”

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory will be performed for all audiences on February 28 & 29 at 7 p.m. and March 1 at 2 p.m.

“In the end, seeing the looks on the third graders' faces as they watch the play during their annual visit makes it worth it,” Uehling said, “as well as seeing the entire cast grow.”

Student Spotlight:

Senior Zane Trent recently auditioned for a role in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and received the lead role of Willy Wonka.

“It feels awesome. It has become a somewhat career arch even though I haven't made any money,” Trent said. “I started off as a comic relief who got cast because someone dropped out and now I am the lead role.”

Along with performing in the winter play, Trent takes place in many other activities and clubs at Chesterton High School.

“I am also in the Creative Writers Club and Dungeons & Dragons Club. I’m in Pride Club, but I mainly go because my sister goes and I want to be supportive,” Trent said. “I have done theatre all four years of my high school career, taking place in all winter and spring plays. I did the fall play once but it wasn’t a fit.”

With a play that is exceedingly fun to perform in, the cast is bound to have a few favorite parts for rehearsing.

“I like showing up and getting in all this awesome characterization,” Trent said.

There is much to look forward to for the entire cast and crew and many opportunities to make memories and form friendships, as well as relish in the thrill of performing for a live audience.

“I am looking forward to the shows we perform for the third graders. Even though we always screw up, it's a great run through with a live audience,” Trent said. “There’s always a mistake and it allows us to fix it before opening night Friday night.”

What’s happened:

The annual food drive took place at Chesterton High School from December 2 through the 12 with English teacher Jennifer Jendrzejczk organizing and spreading the word throughout the hallways in order to gather much-needed donations for the community.

“The food drive is an opportunity for Duneland students, faculty, and staff to give to those in need in their community,” Jendrzejczk said.

With the overall success of the holiday food drive, there is anticipation for a continuation of food drives to take place throughout the year to give students more opportunities to give to those in need.

“We have been talking about doing a spring drive as well,” Jendrzejczk said. “From talking to the food bank, we know that stores from this drive ran out in the spring, so we're thinking about ways to help restock.”

With the food drive taking place the week before finals, many students and staff felt the pressure to give to those in need as well as stay on top of their own work.

“This time of year is stressful, but it is also magical,” Jendrzejczk said. “There are so many opportunities to bring joy, to serve others, to be an elf. I love this time of year.”

There were many other fun activities going on at CHS that brought the entire school together, making everyone feel loved and supported in the holiday season.

“We just finished our school-wide connected activity and I love it,” Jendrzejczk said. “There is one ring for each student, faculty, and staff member at CHS hanging from the balcony of CHS. “

What’s happening:

With winter break has already started for the entire Duneland School Corporation, most students have put school far from their mind and are taking time to rest and spend time with their family, forgetting that they will soon be back in their desks come January 6. Students often find it hard to return to school after the holiday break.

“I would say starting a new semester and getting back into it after the holidays and dealing with the tricky weather makes coming back after winter break harder,” said Danielle Konopasek, counselor at CHS.

“Getting back into a routine like waking up early and doing assignments is hard when coming back from winter break for students and staff alike,” said Gretchen Arthur, counselor at CHS.

There are ways to stay on track over winter break in order to make the transition back into daily school life easier.

“My advice is to get your rest now and start the new year off strong by turning in your assignments and using your resources wisely,” Konopasek said.

“I would say use your time over break to get plenty of rest and enjoy your time out of school,” said counselor James Moore. “Surround yourself with positive people, get away from devices, and engage in activities outside of those devices.”

“I recommend engaging your brain by staying away from Netflix and YouTube and reading. Start looking ahead at the next quarter and get a head start,” Arthur said.

Once school resumes on January 6, students find themselves knee deep in planning courses for their next school year and taking on more responsibility when it comes to their future.

“Some things that students should be doing once they return to school is planning for their next year,” Konopasek said. “It’s important to think about your schedule by looking at the course guide, getting involved in activities, and planning for the following year.”

“Go in there ready to work more closely with your teachers, finding ways to be more organized, and get all your homework done,” Moore said.

“For seniors, you definitely need to request transcripts and begin to think of scholarships, for juniors, it's time to think about testing for the ACT and SAT,” Arthur said. “For underclassmen, just keep doing well in your classes and continue to try for the best grades possible.”