#1StudentNWI: HC’s female wrestlers qualify for Semi-State

#1StudentNWI: HC’s female wrestlers qualify for Semi-State

What’s recently happened?

Junior female wrestlers from Hammond Central High School (HC), Diana Hernandez and Arely Amador, placed in Regionals at Hobart High School which began on December 30.

Hernandez, initially unfamiliar with wrestling, found motivation to join the sport, challenging herself to overcome skepticism and gain confidence due to joining wrestling. 

“I'm definitely way more confident and less shy. During cross country, I barely talked to any of my teammates and only talked to my coach. In the beginning of wrestling, it was also the same, but then people there started talking to me. I feel like that made me less shy, so that has definitely helped my confidence,“ said Hernandez. 

Hernandez's dedication to wrestling dominates her schedule, but she values the confidence and social benefits it brings. She aspires to academic success and considers a career as a forensic scientist while keeping some aspects of her life private.

Amador, inspired by a childhood wrestling match, joined the team in high school, driven more by curiosity than gender challenges of the team having a majority of males.

Balancing academics and wrestling, she adopts a resilient mindset and advises aspiring wrestlers to take risks. 

“Close your eyes and do it; the worst you can do is fail. Even then, that's the first step to success, so go and try it. I had no experience in wrestling, team camaraderie, or even working out other than the activities we did in the gym. Somehow I still did it, so if I can do it, you can do it,“ said Amador. 

Amador cherishes the camaraderie with Hernandez and vice versa, and together, they push the boundaries for personal improvement.

What’s coming up?

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is the day to show how much you appreciate your significant other or another special person in your life. 

HC is showcasing Valentine's Day in various ways, with a Valentine’s Dance taking place at HC on the Saturday before Valentine's Day from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The dance will be hosted by the senior class priced at $15 for students, $10 for seniors, and $20 at the door if not ordered beforehand. 

On Valentine's Day, the yearbook club is offering to take photos of people’s Valentines for $5. There are also other activities ranging from Crush for a Crush to buying carnations to pre-ordering teddy bears.   

James Bryant, a physics teacher at HC, has been with his significant other for over 19 years. Bryant is celebrating Valentine's day as well as his partner’s birthday two days later.  

“We will probably go out to eat and then maybe go home and watch a movie, or maybe go out for a movie. She's adorable. I love her. Her birthday is two days after Valentine's Day. For her birthday, I'm going to pay for the trip that she took to Vietnam,” said Bryant.

Staff spotlight:

Wrestling Coach Kevin Persley, the architect behind the wrestling program at HC, has a strong coaching philosophy, as well as a commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for female wrestlers and the challenges and triumphs of the team.

Persley’s journey with the sport began with three years of high school wrestling. He then transitioned into coaching after his younger brother took up the sport. 

"I didn't start until my sophomore year, and it was my brother's entry into wrestling that led me into coaching," Persley said. “Then a couple of years after I graduated, my younger brother started wrestling. The program was small, and it opened up a window for me to come in. I started at the middle school level for one year, and then I moved to a high school's assistant coach,” said Persley.

Persley outlined core principles of commitment, hard work, integrity, honesty, and accountability, emphasizing their roles in both wrestling skills and personal growth.

"I don't know any secrets to wrestling, but I know hard work works," said Persley.

Handling conflicts within the team or against other schools, Persley emphasized representing the school and community with class and respect. While encouraging calm resolution, he doesn't shy away from holding his team accountable to high standards.

Persley expressed his preference for a low-key presence, attributing the team's success to the hard work of his wrestlers. 

"I like to be behind the scenes and lay low. I like people not to know who we are until it's too late. I don't do anything special; these guys do all the work. I point them in the right direction and show them which way to run, and they go with it. So far, it has worked for us. I don't like to flaunt or announce how successful we are. I just believe in hard work," said Persley. 

Persley and HC’s wrestling team stand as a testament to the transformative power of hard work, inclusivity, and a commitment to excellence on and off the mat.

Student spotlight:

Mauricio Morin, president of HC's Class of 2025, has decided to graduate early with an Academic Honors Diploma. Morin's rise to the class presidency was marked by a commitment to students' preferences and a desire to enhance school events through innovative initiatives and he’ll be missed when he graduates. 

His leadership style emphasized collaboration and acknowledged the importance of teamwork over individual work. 

“It is not necessary to be a leader and handle everything on your own to be the class president. My team and I needed to communicate and collaborate to achieve our goals. People are seeking a partner who can work with them to achieve their goals. As the class president, I was responsible for assisting various groups with any assistance they required. I intended to organize fundraising events for the class of 2025,” said Morin. “Once you have a vision, it requires determination to achieve it. These abilities will be beneficial to me in the future when it comes to being approachable, organized, and resourceful with students and my team.”

One of Morin's notable achievements during his presidency was the Go Green Project, a successful fundraising effort that raised over $1000 in just three days. The project aimed to make HC more sustainable by adorning the school with numerous plants, fostering a positive environmental impact and boosting students' morale.

Despite facing challenges, Morin's increased fundraising activities and student engagement initiatives proved successful and boosted school spirit. These experiences, he believes, have prepared him for the challenges of college life, emphasizing the importance of commitment to one's identity and reputation.

For high school students aspiring to follow in Morin's footsteps, he advises cultivating a passion that pushes their limits. 

“Have a passion that drives you beyond your limits is imperative. If one desires something really badly, one will readily pursue it without any hesitation. This drive will get you through high school, exceeding in all aspects of school, work, and learning,” said Morin. 

As Morin approaches graduation, his short-term goals involve mental preparedness for college, while his long-term aspirations include becoming an aerospace engineer and eventually working as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or SpaceX. 

“I am interested in space exploration and aerospace engineering because I am interested in experimenting with new technologies. Particularly noteworthy is the flying component, as this exploits the ability to defy gravity and perceive the world from a completely different perspective,” said Morin. “The sensation of ascending through the air, enjoying the exhilaration of flight and the unrestricted feeling of being above the clouds, is exhilarating. The utilization of flying has the potential to enable us to reach remote locations in a fraction of the time required by conventional modes of transportation. Whether for fun, exploration, or even interstellar travel, flying brings us a world of possibilities and countless adventures,” said Morin. 

Morin's interest in writing has played a significant role in his life as a student. Writing, he reveals, has been a therapeutic outlet, aiding in mental health and fostering creative thinking. This hobby has contributed to his memorable mindset and improved communication with teachers.