#1StudentNWI: Hebron High School is soaring, painting, and getting ready to scare

#1StudentNWI: Hebron High School is soaring, painting, and getting ready to scare

What's Recently Happened?

A student favorite across Hebron High School (HHS), the Hawks’ Nest, recently had its grand reopening from September 8 - 10. In the 13th year of the Hawks’ Nest, it is hoping to continue to be “F·R·I·E·N·D·S” to students and staff alike.

The Hawks’ Nest is a little snack and convenience shop located in HHS’s business hallway. The shop is run by Laura King’s Principles of Business Management classes. These classes work throughout the year to determine ways to improve business and what the student body would like to be offered. Profits made from the store financially support HHS’s Business Professionals of America chapter.

“I find great joy in helping run the business and enjoy the satisfaction that I contribute to something that benefits me and other BPA members," said Senior Gabby Wagoner, who regularly runs the Hawks’ Nest.

Business Professionals of America (BPA) is a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) based on Business Education. With competitive categories of finance; business administration; management information systems; digital communication and design; management, marketing and communication; and health administration, there is something offered for every student. There is also a community outreach aspect where the Torch Awards Program for individuals and the BPA Cares for chapters come into play. 

“BPA is a great way for students to develop themselves through its leadership opportunities and the competitive aspect of the organization makes BPA a fun experience overall," said Indiana BPA Region 1 President Adam Fucela, who attends Crown Point High School and represents the area at the state level.

With the opportunities Fucela mentioned, students can take action on National BPA’s theme for this academic year, “Discover Your Purpose.” 

HHS’s BPA chapter has been sponsored by King for 13 years and has been successful in those years. HHS’s BPA chapter started with eight members and peaked with 50, and has accumulated an estimated 400 members over the years. The chapter has also been recognized with the Quality Chapter Distinction Award several times.

HHS has also had several members who have achieved individual success through their participation in BPA. Steven Miskus, Class of 2018, got second place for Payroll Accounting and fourth place for Advanced Accounting at the 2018 National Leadership Conference. HHS BPA is also proud to have had three state officers: Kelly (Steffan) Gadja, Class of 2016, Claire Wiltfang, Class of 2021, and Alyanna Walsh, Class of 2023. 

HHS BPA has also had students qualify for the National Leadership Conference 24 times in the 13 years of its establishment. Those who have qualified and attended have traveled to cities around the country, including Boston, Orlando, Dallas, and Anaheim. 

Through BPA, student members are given the opportunity to travel to Leadership Conferences. The State Leadership Conference is held in downtown Indianapolis in March and the National Leadership Conference in April will be held in Anaheim, California for this school year. Of course, traveling does have its expenses, and in previous years, members would have to work hard to help offset these costs. Some examples of previous fundraisers include members selling cookies and pumpkin rolls, running a “Reuse Reduce Recycle” second-hand sale, and a county-wide dodgeball tournament. 

Now, with the Hawks’ Nest’s success, students can support BPA year-round and the money accrued is the funds raised to help sponsor members to attend leadership conferences.

“The Hawks’ Nest really helped with the expenses to go to nationals last year, and state as well. Nationals ended up costing a fraction of what it would have been if we didn’t have the Hawks’ Nest," 2022 National Qualifier and Attendee Natasha Kennedy said.

HHS seniors were also allowed to paint their parking spots for the second year in a row. As a growing trend to help stoke the fire of school spirit, seniors love the privilege to let their creativity shine. It’s an amazing opportunity to show visitors the personality of the student body and who HHS is. Allowing the students to fully embrace their interests and identities in a different avenue encourages them to let their creativity flourish.

Of course, when given a space for creativity, students are faced with inspiration and meaning when designing. Six seniors who painted have been highlighted, including one who created something outstanding. A special appreciation goes to Melissa Sickinger for capturing these students’ creativity on asphalt.

Ashley Smith’s design was inspired by artwork she found on Pinterest. Smith found that the most challenging part of painting was the storm drain she had to paint over, combined with the anxiety of accidentally dropping items down the drain. One tip Smith would give next year’s painting seniors is to pull any weeds that have grown in the pavement and sweep away any rocks and dust that are on their parking spot-turned-canvas.

Sophia Galetti’s design was inspired by an artwork she found on Pinterest, similar to Smith. She found that the most challenging part of painting was the base coat, specifically getting it opaque enough to put her design over successfully. One tip Galetti would give next year’s painting seniors is to make sure they have enough paint and supplies, as well as time to complete this project.

Olsen’s Parking Spot

Nile Olsen’s design was inspired by the fact she is frequently late to school. Olsen found that the most difficult part of painting was making sure all of her lettering was straight, as well as the excessive amount of bees harassing Olsen when she was trying to paint. One tip Olsen would give next year’s painting seniors is to bring something to sit on, as the gravel is not the most comfortable, as well as to have all of your supplies before you start.

Cole’s Parking Spot

Kylie Cole’s design was inspired by her involvement in HHS’s theater program, as her parking place is a Broadway star in lights. Cole found that the most difficult part of painting was the border of the spot, measuring things out, and making sure everything was straight. One tip Cole would give next year’s painting seniors is to plan ahead. Design your parking spot ahead of time so that when school starts, you can submit your design to get approved as soon as information is released. 

Gabby Wagoner’s artwork was inspired by her passion for bringing a bit more positivity to HHS. She likes the sunset, and how it enlightens the world, and it's a great representation of positivity. Wagoner included a Bible quote that is a great representation of what she is trying to achieve. Wagoner found that the most difficult part of painting was making it nice, neat, and symmetrical, especially because she is a perfectionist. One tip Wagoner would give next year’s painting seniors is to not procrastinate, make painting your parking spot an experience, and enjoy it.

What's Coming Up?

As Halloween creeps closer, so does the 21st annual Hebron Haunted House, which raises funds for the Hebron Lions’ Club Angel Tree. Well-known across The Region, anticipation for what this year’s spooky experience will hold builds among the community. This year’s theme was announced to be Stephen King Stories during Hebron’s Fourth of July Parade, and the community responded positively and excitedly, some counting the days down to late October.

The annual Hebron Haunted House has been scaring and caring for charity since 2001. In the last two decades, the project has raised over $125,000 for the community. Proceeds are then primarily used to purchase presents for many of the Angel Tree children in the community. In recent years, success of the annual event has been astronomical; proceeds have been used for other benefits, such as scholarships for the seniors involved with Haunted House, needs for the Fourth of July Haunted House parade float, and local community opportunity, such as helping the food pantry. HHS students have a lot to say about Haunted House as well.

Melissa Summerville, who teaches Spanish at HHS, has helped in the Haunted House with her children, being involved for five years.

“It's a lot of work, but it is so worthwhile knowing what it goes towards," she said. "Some of the children may not receive Christmas presents otherwise, so it creates such a good feeling in the individual.”

Sophomore Addison Waddell is in her fourth year of scaring.

“I think the Haunted House brings everyone together for a good cause with the Angel Tree, and even though it is a lot of fun, it makes it even better since it’s for a good cause," Waddell said.

Freshman Hadley Donovan has volunteered for the Hebron Haunted House for five years, but has been exposed to the project for much longer due to her older sibling’s involvement.

“I think it benefits the community by giving the people that we raise money an opportunity to do things that we can do," she said.

Senior Sidney Elijah, who is in her tenth year overall of working the Haunted House, is returning for a second year as one of the student directors of the Haunted House.

“It helps bring the community together, whether volunteering or visiting. You are very aware of the positive impact you are making, you can really feel it and you know what your efforts go towards and how it will benefit certain people. It's simultaneously the worst, but best two nights," Elijah said.

Junior Riley Asher was an active volunteer for the Haunted House for four years, but now makes it a point to visit the Haunted House every year.

“It makes me happy to see what the proceeds go to, and now walking through the Haunted House," Asher said. "I enjoy seeing how passionate the middle schoolers are about the project and helping the community.”

Staff Spotlight:

Dan Pastrick, who teaches grade right science at Hebron Middle School (HMS), has also directed the Hebron Haunted House for the 21 years of the service project. Even though the Hebron Haunted House is led by HMS’s National Junior Honor Society chapter, many HHS students reprise their role in the Haunted House after middle school, and some juniors and seniors who have participated over the years are even given the opportunity to help Pastrick direct the project.

Throughout the years and with the numerous students who have volunteered, some things will always remain the same.

"It's the willingness of the Hebron student body and their parents to volunteer for this project, in many cases for multiple years. They know they are giving up their fall break, and so much time outside of that; yet, so many workers are so devoted to the project," said Pastrick.

The community devotion and passion for the project are factors Pastrick loves about Haunted House. 

Pastrick finds that the most exciting part of the experience each year is the time right before opening night. There is such a growing nervousness completing the final walk-through and building anticipation of opening up the doors for the first group. Seeing the involvement of so many families and how it brings them together, with the final numbers helping their neighbors, gives him the boost of energy needed to make it through an exhausting fall break.

With a volunteer project like this, there are of course challenges throughout the years. 

Developing new, exciting, and original additions and replacements for the Haunted House every year does not always come easily. It can take lots of brainstorming to come up with something that will work and be worth the effort, with planning starting several months before the actual event. Losing great workers each year due to graduation also can be tough, not only because the individual will be missed, but their creativity, passion, and devotion to the project moves on as well. The specific, most difficult, feature of all would be the 2020 Haunted House event, when COVID-19 forced the event to shift gears into a ”Haunted Drive-Thru.” Balancing the safety of all with the consistent desire to provide a scary fun time forced a change in plans, but the event was still a resounding success. 

“I love this project so much," Pastrick said. "My station where I keep my own specific items for the event always includes tons of candy and Dr. Pepper.”

Pastrick is well known among students for his love of Dr. Pepper, and would not be caught anywhere without the beverage somewhere nearby. 

To be the sponsor of a service project for 21 years, something has to be bringing Pastrick back. 

“A sense of pride for what so many have done before us and wanting to keep the tradition alive. But most importantly, the opportunity it gives our kids to help others in need at Christmas," he said.

Student Spotlight:

Senior Song Galvin, who is one of several seniors who painted their parking spots, is one of HHS’s most artistic students. So, when it came to her parking spot, she of course shined and did not disappoint. As such a creative and artistic individual, what excited Galvin most was making something that represents herself and having the freedom to paint what she wanted on her asphalt canvas.

Like other students, Galvin, of course, had some inspiration behind her design.

“I wanted something to do with both my sister and my zodiac signs," Galvin said. "I stayed up till late at night deciding how to incorporate our zodiac signs. At first, it was a sunset by the ocean, but that did not work out. Then, finally, I thought about flowers so I searched for flowers for our zodiac signs. I decided on sunflowers and an interpretation of an orchid.”

Similar to her peers, Galvin did face some challenges when tackling painting her parking spot. For Galvin specifically, it was sketching the design outline, due to making sure her proportions were correct on her painting outline. If she got a do-over, she wouldn’t do anything differently. It made Galvin happy to hear the compliments from strangers passing by. 

Galvin wants next year’s seniors who paint their parking spot to hear a special message

“Have something that makes you happy,” she said.

Galvin was ultimately very happy with how her parking spot turned out as well.

“I am really proud of myself for what I had created from my mind," she said.