#1StudentNWI: Hebron High School Dance Team brings home Porter County Conference title

#1StudentNWI: Hebron High School Dance Team brings home Porter County Conference title

What’s recently happened?

Class is back in session during the sometimes dreary days of January, but at Hebron High School (HHS), conference competitions brought some excitement and spirit. 

Eight school corporations form the Porter County Conference (PCC) in Porter County: Hebron, Boone Grove, Kouts, Morgan Township, Washington Township, Tri-Township, Westville, and South Central. On January 14, the PCC held its competition for the dance and cheer teams at Boone Grove High School, and from January 16 through 21, the PCC held its tournament for high school basketball teams.

The PCC Dance and Cheer Competition requires teams to follow a chosen theme for their choreography. This year, HHS Dance and Cheer brought the heat with ‘Fight Night’ inspiration, sporting silk robes and boxing shorts and gloves. 

“I loved the choreography we came up with this year! We definitely turned it up a notch since our last PCC competition by adding a lot of harder skills; the girls really left it all on the floor out there, and I could not be more proud,” said HHS’s Dance Team Coach Zoe Parsons (who is also a 2020 HHS graduate). “On top of that, their facials and energy made the performance 10 times better. They definitely had a few things working against them, but they are such a strong, dedicated group. The progress they have made since last year, seeing how excited they were to perform, and watching them grow as people as well as performers is what it’s all about.”

“The Hebron Cheerleaders took the floor with intense enthusiasm,” HHS’s Cheer Team Coach Amber Parsons said. “They had advanced-level stunts, the longest jump sequence of all the PCC teams, great motions, and you could feel the energy from all of them. They were so much fun to watch. I could not be more proud of this team. They have worked hard to overcome so many obstacles thrown at them. The Hebron Cheerleaders had an amazing performance. They are strong competitors and displayed a fantastic representation of sportsmanship cheering on other schools throughout the spirit competition.” 

HHS took home the PCC Championship titles for Dance Routine and Spirit.

What’s coming up?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, HHS Yearbook started the annual Suckers and Flowers Fundraiser. The money raised contributes to adding more pages to the yearbook, as well as the opportunity to have a fancier cover for the yearbook. 

“It’s a good way to raise money. It involves the students and helps keep the cost of the yearbooks low,” said Junior Jae’Yanna Little, who is on the yearbook staff.

The fundraiser traditionally gives out carnations for the flowers, usually in shades of pink and red, and suckers in the shape of a pair of lips that come in a variety of flavors. 

“I like that the selling for the fundraiser is in the student’s hands; we also get to think about marketing strategies throughout the year for the Valentine’s Day fundraiser,” Yearbook Sponsor Kathleen Estrada said.

The Yearbook staff will be selling their suckers and flowers for $1 each until January 31. 

Staff spotlight:

Wayne Straka teaches history and specializes in American history. He is in his eighth year teaching, with four of those years spent teaching at HHS. Back in the day, Straka was an HHS student himself. 

Straka’s interest in social studies flourished in the eighth grade, and he found his niche in U.S. history. When Straka’s sophomore year of high school came around, he considered teaching the subject, which led him to where he is now.

Straka’s favorite class to teach is U.S. History, and he enjoys teaching the AP U.S. History class as well.

“I really enjoy teaching the AP U.S. History class, almost even more than standard U.S. History. The kids chose to be in that class and learn more in-depth, and we always have really good discussions.“

In the classroom, no matter the subject, Straka really enjoys interacting with students and having good discussions. When the students are engaged and class runs out of time, Straka thinks of it as a win and appreciates the participation that made time fly. 

Straka chose to teach at the high school he attended, extending his personal connection to the school.

“I have many good memories here, and it feels like home. When there was an open position in the history department, I jumped on the opportunity. Hebron Public Schools is a good school corporation, and I feel like this is a job I could stay at for a long time and then retire.”

Beyond the classroom, Straka is involved with many of HHS’s sports. In the 2022-2023 school year, Straka is serving as a coach for the Girls Basketball team and Junior Varsity Baseball. He is also coaching baseball at Hebron Middle School and fifth grade Girls Basketball at Hebron Elementary School. Straka will also occasionally serve as the announcer for basketball games hosted at HHS. 

“The girls already played South Central High School this year and knew it was a tough team to play. We had our work cut out for us, and the goal was to stay positive. There were definitely struggles, but there were positives that came out of it. The team is looking forward to a good end of the season.” 

Student Spotlight

Sophomore Brooke Smith is on both HHS’s cheer and dance teams. Smith is one of the several athletes that inspires spirit at HHS’s basketball games. She is a star on both the cheer and dance teams. 

Smith has been a longtime cheerleader, this being her ninth year in the sport. While relatively new to dance, as this is her second year, she is just as skilled in the discipline. Spectators can always spot Smith in the front lines of the cheer or dance teams.

“I loved the routine we choreographed this year, it's one of my favorites so far,” said Smith.

Smith is hopeful that during high school, through the vocational program, she will be able to earn her cosmetology license.