#1StudentNWI: Embracing Art in the Halls of River Forest

#1StudentNWI: Embracing Art in the Halls of River Forest

The Hero’s Journey

A new form of art has taken over in the area, connecting the art room and the library by displaying beautiful art of classic literature. The huge mural was painted by Diego Gonzalez, with the help of two AP art students, Jazlynn Proctor, and Makayla Brooks. Gonzalez worked very hard with the two talented seniors to teach them the ways of airbrush. This mural served as their first piece of art with an airbrush.

The mural represents the stories of Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, and the Hero’s Journey. Alice in Wonderland displays the message of doing the impossible and dreaming big. Hero’s Journey works to display how to conquer your fears and fight your battles. Lastly, the Harry Potter owl, as well as the entire mural, is in memory of Mrs. Hunt, a long-time River Forest librarian. Gonzalez made a promise to Hunt 15 years ago that he would paint a mural for her one day. Although she is not here to see his work, Gonzalez was happy to be able to fulfill his promise.

"She [Mrs. Hunt] would always somehow catch me walking by between class and always asked me to paint her a mural for the library. She finally stopped me nicely and made me promise her that I would one day paint her a mural. Her face lit up as I said, ‘of course Mrs. Hunt.' She said I know you’re a good kid and a man of your word so I know you will do it, and gave me a free bag of chips. Fifteen years later, I finally made good on that promise. May your spirit soar high in a magical sky of beautiful shades of pastels and turquoise blues. The stories we love the best live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by book, River Forest will always be there to welcome you home," Gonzalez stated, telling his story of Mrs. Hunt.

Proctor’s and Brook’s works of art also tell the story of the ups and downs of life. First, by slaying the dragons we conquer our fears and win our battles. Next, we can raise our sword for conquering our fears and embrace the rewards. It is thanks to the hard work of our art department’s teacher, Cindy Forsell, that these two have been able to develop into such talented artists and were able to leave a beautiful mark on the school they will soon leave behind.

Men’s Basketball Gearing Up For Home Opener

The men’s basketball program came out with a bang to open up their season away from home. They finished with a 2-0 record after their first two games, defeating both LaCrosse and Highland. They would then drop a very close conference match-up to Wheeler, dropping their record to 2-1.

The team was able to take a week-long break to re-group for another conference match-up on Friday, December 7. This was the team’s first home game of the season as they took on Hanover Central. The student body came dressed for the theme, “ready for war,” to cheer on our team.

“We’re very excited to return home and see Ingot Nation loud and proud,” head coach, Derrick Milenkoff stated.

The Ingots will stay at home for another game on Monday, before getting back on the road. The junior varsity game will start at 5:30 PM, followed by the varsity game around 7:00 PM. The game will be held right at home, in the Bill Logan Gymnasium, on Coach B Court.

Student Spotlight: Fatima Avalos

Fatima Avalos is currently a sophomore at River Forest. She is involved in student council, National Honor Society, the school newspaper, and the Academic Decathlon Team. She defines herself as a very optimistic, motivated, and considerate person. What makes Avalos unique is her love for travel and exploring new places.

Avalos has really come to enjoy being a part of the Academic Decathlon Team. Despite being the youngest member of the team, she continues to push herself to better understand the material and be the best teammate possible. So far, her favorite part has been working on her speech and interview, as this helps her develop skills that will benefit her in the future.

“I would say to my future self that although there will be many transitions once I graduate high school, don’t give up, always know you can achieve anything you put your mind to. I’m excited about my future beyond high school and I look forward to graduating with the class of 2021,” Avalos stated.

While Avalos is still early in her high school career, after graduation she looks forward to attending college. Her dream school is currently Indiana University Bloomington. After college, she plans to become an orthopedic doctor. Wherever she lands in the future, her ambitions will carry her far.

Teacher Spotlight: Danielle VanderTill

In her second year at River Forest, Danielle VanderTill teaches a wide range of math classes including algebra II, pre-calculus, and dual credit calculus. Originally born and raised in Michigan, VanderTill moved away to college and earned her teaching degree at Cornerstone University. She then eventually settled down in Northwest Indiana with her husband and French bulldog, Gus.

While teaching rigorous math lessons, VanderTill still enjoys being able to make personal relationships with her students as much as possible. She works very closely with her students to help them better understand the material when they are struggling.

VanderTill is also a frequent traveler with many adventures under her belt. Over the summer she was able to bring out her passport and explore many locations in Europe. While she is home, she enjoys trips to the beach and walking along the shore with her dog.

River Forest is grateful to have such a charismatic teacher in the math department who cares so much about the success of her students. While she genuinely loves what she does now, she hopes to have kids in the future and be a stay-at-home mother. For now, her students are her kids.