#1StudentNWI: Kouts High School Teachers and Students Bring Holiday Season to People in Need

#1StudentNWI: Kouts High School Teachers and Students Bring Holiday Season to People in Need

Basketball Managers Extraordinaire

In high school, athletics oftentimes takes the forefront in news. Typically, though, we only see what is being shown to the public. The players, formations, coaches, and awards are always on the minds of those paying attention. Unfortunately, we don’t often see what is happening behind the scenes of the stardum.

I briefly spoke with the Kouts High School Boys’ Basketball Team managers: Emily, Elly, Brielle, and Olivia. These young women are responsible for washing jerseys, giving players water, keeping track using the scoreboard, loading the bus for travel, and organizing their equipment. Many of the girls chose to be managers in an attempt to feel closer to the players, and to also feel like part of a team, as some of them do not feel confident in their actual playing abilities.

Becoming managers has also helped the girls to discover the behind-the-scenes work that goes into maintaining a team. The role has given them a slight glimpse into the lives of the idolized basketball stars, allowing the girls to experience some of the player’s true, fun, and carefree personalities.

Unfortunately, though, the job is not meant for anyone. Organization skills, a large attention span, and the ability to adapt to different situations, especially stressful ones, are qualities that managers should possess. You should also be open to change and ready to hear other people’s perspectives; “even though you are the manager, you are not the boss,” shared one insightful manager.

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Flanigan

As November ends, we remember all of the things that we are thankful for. For many of us, our family, friends, jobs, and opportunities venture into our mind and weave their way into our hearts. For many Kouts students, spending time with the ones we love and appreciate is a huge part of our winter season. Although some may imagine mothers, fathers, or siblings, those we appreciate include our teachers and staff.

At Kouts, there is an overwhelming abundance of creative and fantastic teachers. A poll was sent out to students in the high school, and everyone was asked to vote for the teacher they are most thankful for. For many students, it was difficult to decide, but Mrs. Carol Flanigan, a teacher over 35 years in the making, prevailed above the others.

Currently, she is an English teacher for freshman and juniors at the high school, but she has spent teaming teaching grades 8 through 12. For someone with that much experience, there must be ups and downs to her occupation. Nonetheless, Flan has always tried to keep a positive attitude toward her work. She believes that she has never gone to work, and she has only gone to school because of the love that she has for her job.

“We continue to grow, develop, and learn, just like you guys do,” said Flanigan.

The students keep her motivated to keep teaching and pushing her limits. As one continues to grow and change, so does the environment around them. From taking attendance by hand to putting grades into a computer program, there is no room to slow down. You have to be ready for the punches.

“Embrace the changes or you’re done, and I don’t want to be done,” Flan said.

On behalf of Kouts High School, thank you, Flan!

What’s Happening?

As Christmas quickly approaches, many families are scrambling to find last-minute presents for the special ones in their life. For some families, though, they struggle to find presents for their friends and family that fit into their price range. Many schools have chosen to participate in a program that assists those families in need. An Angel Tree has been placed within the Kouts Elementary Office, which is where families can place their names in an attempt to receive assistance during the holiday season. I was able to speak with Chelsea Winder, the social worker at Kouts Elementary School, to ask questions about the program this year.

Ms. Winder has worked at Kouts for the past two years. Over the previous six years, she worked at Valpo, Portage, and South Bend schools, assisting kids from grades K-12. The tree is essentially for “...families who could use a little help at Christmas time,” said Winder.

Some families receive clothes, toys, or food. Some families have reached out to Ms.Winder, while others were contacted by the school. Others have also talked to Ms. Winder about families they know that she should get into contact with, and discuss possible options. The program has been running for a couple of years now, and takes place in many other schools including Washington Township and various Valparaiso schools. Families from all over the Northwest Indiana area are helping other families to have the best Christmas possible.

If you or someone you know is interested in this program, make a call to Kouts Elementary School at (219)-766-2231. To speak directly to Ms. Chelsea Winder, ask for extension 2303. Also, feel free to email Ms. Winder at chelsea.winder@eastporter.k12.in.us.

Upcoming Events

Eastporter is known for housing an array of smaller schools, with most graduating classes at Kouts ranging between 60 and 80 students. A smaller number of students per class means that there are even tinier numbers making up the clubs and sports offered at the school. The Kouts High School Cheer Team is no exception.

Fortunately, even though there are only four girls on the team this year, the hype that follows the basketball games is extremely evident. I spoke with the Co-Captain of the team, a cheerleader two years in the making, Zoe Sherer.

The girls have been working hard since October, perfecting their hope-filled cheers twice a week in an attempt to assist the players in their wins. Although the aura the girls bring is not as big as the love they brought in previous years, the team is still thriving, and learning to communicate well with others while still having fun.

“Last year, we had a rather large team, so making bonds was more difficult. I hope that by the end of the season, each member will have made new friendships,” said Sherer.

Although the team is miniscule, intense pressure rests on these young women’s shoulders. Coach Bev Stewart has made sure to incorporate fun into their difficult schedules.

“My favorite part of being on the cheer team is the laughs and all of the amazing memories that I have made just this season alone,” says Sherer.

If you are interested in watching the girls in action, come visit Kouts! On December 11, the Kouts Fillies will take on Lowell at 5:30 PM. Additionally, on December 14, the Mustangs will play Westville, also at 5:30 PM.