#1StudentNWI: Esquivel becomes leading scorer for Griffith girls basketball, surpasses 1,000 points

#1StudentNWI: Esquivel becomes leading scorer for Griffith girls basketball, surpasses 1,000 points

What’s Recently Happened

Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day to celebrate and encourage random acts of kindness, fell on Thursday, February 17 this year. 

Griffith Jr./Sr. High School dedicated the entire week to motivating middle and high school students to show their peers, teachers, and other staff members some genuine kindness, no matter how big or how small the random act may be. The FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) came up with all kinds of special activities for the school to partake in, including a random acts of kindness challenge and finding suckers hidden around the school with positive affirmations written on them.

On Monday, January 14, the FCCLA introduced the Random Acts of Kindness Challenge which consisted of a bingo sheet where each square suggested activities like “give a compliment to your favorite teacher” or “give a friend a compliment." 

Each student was able to give a compliment to many people throughout the week while having everyone who was receiving the compliments sign their own square. 

Once each task was completed with the appropriate signature, students were able to turn their sheets into Sara Jongsma, a Family and Consumer Science (FACS) teacher and head sponsor for FCCLA. This entered them into a raffle where they were eligible to win a $25 Visa gift card. There was one winner from the high school and one winner from the middle school. 

On Tuesday, February 15 and Wednesday, February 16 after school, members from FCCLA assembled heart suckers with positive affirmations on them and then divided and conquered throughout the school. They decorated the school with positive affirmation signs, colorful streamers, and hid the suckers around the school. They also wrote positive affirmations on all of the bathroom mirrors with window markers.

This was the first year Griffith decided to do something related to Random Acts of Kindness Day, and they did everything they could to spread as much kindness around the school as possible. 

What’s Coming Up

Starting in May, all Advanced Placement (AP) students will be taking AP exams with hopes to earn college credits. The mock AP exams will be taken in late February, which will allow students in AP courses to get a look into what they will experience in May. 

Classes such as AP English literature and composition, AP English language, AP calculus AB and BC, and AP biology will take the exams the week of February 25 until March 1. 

The mocks, carried out like the real tests, take the full time, and some will even last the whole day. By taking the mock exam now, students are receiving valuable test taking skills, namely to learn time management. 

On the exam, students have a limited amount of time to look over all the information given, whether it is a chart or passage, and answer all of the questions. By taking the mock exam, students are able to determine if they must slow down and pace themselves or take less time on each question. 

Students can also learn their overall strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the topic they are testing in. For example, when taking a mock exam for an English class, students must do essays and multiple choice questions. 

After taking the mock exam, students will know what they need to practice and study, like expanding their writing skills to score better on the essays. 

Although not every AP class does a mock exam, most students feel more confident in their preparation for the exam. If a student gets a one or two on the mock exam, they can take time to review necessary materials before taking the actual exam. If a student gets a three, four, or five on the mock exam, they can go into to test overall feeling more confident. 

Teachers will go to Indianapolis in early March to grade partial sections of the free response sections of each test. Some students will be able to see what their scores were on the multiple choice options, but will not be able to see their free response grades yet. However, some mock exam grades are will not be accurate because most courses haven’t covered all of the material needed for the exam yet.

Staff Spotlight:

This is Julie Martoccio’s second year as a middle school guidance counselor for grades six and seven at Griffith Jr./Sr. High School.

She previously worked as a teacher for the Lake Ridge School District for many years, but her vested interest in the Griffith community made her want to help the students there. By trying to build relationships and meet one-on-one with her students more often, Martoccio has already built rapport and developed connections with them. 

“I was an elementary and middle school teacher for many years. I loved both, but I often found that many middle school students were reaching out to me for advice. That’s when I decided to go into counseling, and now I love the fact that I am able to help students resolve conflicts. I really feel like I’m making a difference in their lives,” said Martoccio. 

This school year, Martoccio is very keen on getting back to normal after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic forced multiple students to remain in virtual school for the duration of the 2020/2021 school year. She is excited that everything at Griffith Jr./Sr. High School is returning to almost normalcy, and the one concept that she’s trying to stress to her students is the importance of establishing routines and setting expectations again during school.

Martoccio is also working on remembering all of her students’ names, because she wants to develop that personal connection with them. 

Letting her students know that they’re not in trouble when they’re being called down to her office is extremely important to her. The only thing that she wants to do is talk with them and support them so they can be successful, and it makes her feel happy when her students are comfortable sharing all of the good and bad things going on in their lives. 

“I love working with the middle school students at Griffith because they are developing their sense of identities and are making new friends based on their interests. They are truly becoming their own, and the fun-loving, light-hearted interactions I have with them on a daily basis proves this,” said Martoccio. 

Student Spotlight:

Senior, athlete, and lifelong resident of Griffith Marisa Esquivel has officially become the leading scorer for the girls' basketball program when she recently surpassed 1,000 points within her basketball career. This is a large achievement, as she’s the first ever girl in Griffith girls' basketball history to get to 1,000.

Esquivel has been a part of the Griffith girls basketball team for all four years of her high school career, but her interests in the sport go further back than that. She remembers her father introducing her to the sport at a very young age and helping her get to where she is today by always working with her and her sisters, who also happen to play basketball. Her older sister, Ariel Esquivel, actually held the leading scoring record before Marisa knocked her out of the top spot. 

“My dad is the one who has helped me the most throughout my whole entire basketball career," said Esquivel. "He is definitely my biggest support system and my number one fan, because he’s done so much for me and has helped me so much along the way. He has done everything that he could to help me get better so I can achieve a lot of my goals. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to the sport, and after every game he always helps me and gives me advice as to what I can do better and what I need to work on. My dad has taught me everything I know when it comes to how I play the game."

Esquivel recently led her team to win the sectional championship game against River Forest High School with a final score of 46-28, which is the second consecutive time the Griffith girls'  basketball team has secured the title. This is no surprise considering Esquivel plays basketball year-round. In the summer she works on getting better at the sport so she can be successful during each school year. 

“My favorite thing about playing basketball is the competitiveness of the game and playing the sport in general. I just think it’s a really exciting sport to play, and I like how fast-paced it is. You’re always doing something whether you’re playing offense or defense,” said Esquivel. 

If she doesn’t end up playing in college, Esquivel said what she’ll miss the most after high school graduation is playing basketball everyday and all summer. It’s a huge part of her life, and it has taken up a lot of her energy and time. 

She’ll also miss playing with her team, because she has enjoyed being around them everyday. In Esquivel’s eyes, they made the season 100% better for her this school year.

Esquivel also participates in the National Honor Society and played on the girls' volleyball team this year. 

She plans to go to college and possibly play basketball, as she’s had two different schools approach her about playing for them. She’s still deciding where she definitively wants to attend, but she does know that she wants to study within the medical field.