Gymnastics flips into action
The gymnastics team was 5-2 last year, losing to Valparaiso and Portage. They look forward to a fresh start to their new season and gaining back the confidence the team had as a whole.
“I think we need to work on our inner gymnast,” Senior Hunter Kaiser said. “We need to become stronger mentally as individuals and as a team.”
Junior Heather Osorio was the only member from the team to advance through sectionals and regionals last year. They are expecting more members to advance this year especially senior Bethany Rochefort who tore her ACL last year during a meet.
“It’s my last season,” Rochefort said. “I want to come back from my setback last year.”
They have been working hard in practice to get everyone back to speed this year.
“Well since competition is right around the corner, the team and I have been mostly working on perfecting our routines and making sure we receive our bonus and connections in our routines,” Kaiser said.
The team sets high standards for floor and beam, which both teammates agreed are their strong points in the competition.
Kaiser said that they are, “solid” on beam.
“We are strong on the floor because we know how to perform and we have great presentations. Judges love our floor routines because they are unique.”
As they start their season, they plan to have positive attitudes and mental toughness.
Rochefort said, ”We have meet rituals: pray, get hype, and I imagine that I will do my routine perfectly.”
Teacher of the month: Mr. Jeff Eaton
Mr. Eaton is an Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 teacher and has been teaching at Merrillville High School for 10 years.
Mr. Eaton said he enjoys, “the daily interactions with the diverse students we have at Merrillville High School.”
Many students tend to be successful in Mr. Eaton’s Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes.
“I set high expectations for the students and help give them the tools necessary to meet those expectations,” Mr. Eaton said.
He said that he teaches with student lead instruction. When he asks questions, he will never directly give the students answers if they do not know.
“I will ask them questions that lead them to give the answer,” Mr. Eaton said. “And if they ask me a question, I will ask them a series of questions that will eventually lead them to the answer again."
Besides teaching, Mr. Eaton happened to be one of the people who stayed late at night on the day of the movie theater released Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“Most people do not know that I have an extensive collection of Lego Star Wars. I am a huge Star Wars fan,” Mr. Eaton said. “One day I was at the mall and they had a bunch of Star War sets so I bought one and kept buying more.”
Mr. Eaton also enjoys working out on the elliptical, reading and coaching football.
He has coached football for 11 years off and on and is now the defensive line coach for the football team who was named sectional champions last year.
“I like the diversity of the students we have and the different interactions that come from having a diverse student body,” Mr. Eaton said.
Student of the month
Senior David Hinton is ranked number two in the senior class and is involved in Quiz Bowl, Academic Super Bowl, Freshman Mentoring, Thespian Troupe and Advanced Orchestra in school.
“I like to be involved in school and community because it makes me feel like I’m doing something with my life,” Hinton said.
Out of school, he is a member of the Chic-Fil-A Leadership Academy, the South Shore Orchestra and the Northwest Indiana Youth Symphony (NISYO).
“My favorite is NISYO because we play much more interesting music and it’s a really good experience to be able to play the music,” Hinton said.
The symphony performs about four to five times a year and Hinton is a part of the opus quartet for NISYO.
“We are requested to play at various events and as a prelude to the Northwest Indiana Symphony [the adult symphony],” Hinton said.
The Chic-Fil-A Leadership Academy is a community service group sponsored by Chic-Fil-A.
“We develop community service projects and work on them together,” Hinton said. “We actually just completed the ‘Do Good December’ project. My group raised money for animal shelters and then bought blankets towels, shampoo, soap etcetera to make sure they had the supplies they needed the most.”
IMPACT Day for NWI high schools
On January 18, Merrillville High School will be having IMPACT Day, which stands for Inclusion Meaning Progress Action Community Transformation, shared with many high schools around Northwest Indiana. This is a unique day once a trimester that many people look forward to at the high school.
“This day is to try to bring people together and allow them to get to know each other on a personal level,” Co-Leader, Mrs. Beverly Van Drunen said.
IMPACT Day can be compared to the popular TV show called “If You Really Knew Me” on MTV. This day became so impactful and enjoyable to the students at MHS that it is going to be open to high schools around Northwest Indiana.
“We’ve always done this with STAND (Socially Together and Naturally Diverse) for the MLK youth workshop and we did this a couple years ago with IMPACT Day,” Mrs. Van Drunen said. “It was really well so we will do it every two years now and keep the tradition going.”