#1StudentNWI: ¡Ellos están aquí!

#1StudentNWI: ¡Ellos están aquí!

What’s recently happened?

John Adams High School welcomed twelve exchange students from Spain on September 1, where they met with their host families. The students have come from all over Spain to come live in South Bend for three weeks, to be able to share their culture, as well as experience other cultures as well.

“I am really enjoying my time in America. It is so surreal, and I cannot actually believe that I am here right now. It feels like I am living in an American high school movie,” said Marina García Costela. 

The students were assigned an International Baccalaureate (IB) student to shadow at Adams during their time here. The students have the opportunity to experience American high school classes, as well as a different school atmosphere while being able to meet new people.

Due to only staying for three weeks, there are activities planned by Stacee Gehring, IB Coordinator at Adams, for the students to take group trips to learn more about what South Bend has to offer. So far, the students have visited the Civil Rights Heritage Center, Indiana University of South Bend, Notre Dame University, and the Studebaker Museum. 

“I met a lot of people on the journey over, and being able to speak the same language bonded us immediately,” said García Costela. “I hope that our friendships do not end when we go back to Spain, with the people that I met at Adams, and the other students in the program.”

The agency that was in charge of the arrival in America was called Aston Herencia, and the scholarships were offered through Unicaja Banco. Many received a partial scholarship, which depended on grades, and an English interview, which judged how prepared each student was for their trip to America. 

“Estamos tristes porque el tiempo pasa muy rápido,” dijo García Costela. 

What’s coming up?

Football season is upon John Adams High School, and just around the corner is Homecoming. The student body is preparing for an exciting week of costumes and props in their annual Spirit Week. 

This year the football team will be playing against Elkhart High School with a theme of red, white, and blue for Eagle Pride. The parade before the game will display Adams' multitude of clubs and sports, and the students will be handing out candy and holding signs as they make their way from the starting point to School Field. 

The big game is September 29, and many are expected to show up and support the Eagles.

Another exciting aspect of Homecoming is the Homecoming Court. Seniors will have an opportunity to enter, and the student body will vote for a king and queen. The participants will be recognized during halftime where the winners will be announced. 

“I joined because I thought it would be a fun experience, and I wanted to make the best of my senior year,” said Daniella Morales, a member of the Homecoming Court. “I also wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone a little. I am also running with some of my friends, which creates another bonding experience.”

Staff Spotlight:

Maria Caponigro is entering her seventh year as a Spanish teacher at John Adams, and the community that surrounds her could not be more supportive. Caponigro has lived in South Bend since she was seven years old and has grown up immersed in all that South Bend has to offer. 

Caponigro attended John Adams High School and after graduating in 2013, she attended the University of Notre Dame. Caponigro studied political science with a focus on education policy. During her time at Notre Dame, she spent her freshman summer interning at the Chamber of Commerce, and the next summer was spent in Washington D.C. at the Office of the Secretary of Education. Caponigro also had the opportunity during her junior year to study abroad in Santiago, Chile. 

“While I was there [the Office of the Secretary of Education], I met some phenomenal leaders who had started their careers as teachers, which continued to inform their work years later,” Caponigro said. “That planted the seed for my interest in teaching after graduation.”

In 2017, Cecilia Stanton-Verduzco reached out to Caponigro to offer a teaching position at Adams. While Caponigro did not have much experience teaching Stanton-Verduzco supported and had faith in her. Caponigro would accept the position. 

“My colleagues and students are truly the reason I decided to make South Bend my home,” said Caponigro. “The outpouring of love I’ve experienced has proven to me that I made the right decision when I chose to stay in South Bend.”

One of Caponigro’s favorite aspects about her job is being able to get to know her students and watch them grow during their time at Adams, especially the students whom she has taught for multiple years, and is able to watch them become leaders in their community, and improve upon their skill sets.

The Adams community, and more specifically the World Language Department, has embraced the collaborative work environment, allowing Caponigro to push herself to try new approaches and strategies throughout the classroom. 

“My favorite part about teaching Spanish is that I get to connect what I’m teaching to other subjects because the class is really about communicating with people from other countries & cultures (we just happen to focus on Spanish-speaking countries), which is such an important skill in the 21st century,” said Caponigro.

Lastly, Caponigro also enjoys what the surrounding area has to offer, and a few of her favorite places to go are Franky’s Tacos, The South Bend Farmer’s Market, and Battell Park.

Student Spotlight:

Adele Zyniewicz is a very involved senior at John Adams High School, participating in the student body, Model UN, and South Bend Bears Lacrosse. Zyniewicz is a partial International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate and is currently taking four IB classes, including IB Psychology, IB Biology, IB English, and IB Spanish. 

“As an IB student, although the classes are tough, the IB community here involving teachers and students allows the students to truly prosper,” Zyniewicz said. 

Zyniewicz has immensely enjoyed her time at Adams and has found the diversity encouraging, as well as the courses that Adams has to offer. She believes that the support system that her teachers and peers offer allows students to truly become engaged in what they are learning. A couple of the teachers who have created a large impact on Zyniewicz’s life include biology teacher Jacob Timmons, Spanish teacher Maria Caponigro, and English teacher Jordan Tafelski. 

“The diversity of individuals is beautiful to me and the support system is very encouraging,” Zyniewicz said. “Attending Adams has definitely influenced a few ideas about the world including the way I see people and how applying yourself to academics really does help.”

Zyniewicz holds the title of student body president at Adams and is excited to kick start her ideas in motion for the upcoming school year. She promises exciting Spirit Day themes that everyone will be able to look forward to, as well as a memorable prom. 

Some of her favorite memories during her time at Adams include the football game against St. Joseph High School in 2022, where the Eagles secured a win, and the Adams student section stormed the field. Another memorable time was junior year biology class, where she was able to learn many new concepts, while also hanging out with her friends. 

“Being able to thrive in an environment where everyone cheers you on is very exciting, and it immediately taught me that it is never too late for anything,” Zyniewicz said. 

Lastly, Zyniewicz looks back upon her four years at Adams, and how it no longer feels real that she is graduating this year. 

“As the youngest of four, there have always been the “big kids” to look up to, but now the class of 2024 is in that position,” Zyniewicz said. “I am definitely excited about the future and looking forward to seeing my classmates succeed.”