#1StudentNWI: Merrillville High School students are making an impact

#1StudentNWI: Merrillville High School students are making an impact

What’s recently happened? 

Merrillville High School (MHS) has been very busy with the first trimester coming to a close. The first trimester gave many students a variety things to be preparing for, whether that meant football playoffs, the Thespian Troupe #1692 performance, or finals week. 

The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) football playoff brackets were released on October 9. MHS opponents include Munster High School, Hammond Central High School, and Valparaiso High School among others. MHS football so far has taken the title of 5A sectional champions and will continue the journey forward as the season continues.

Thespian Troupe #1692 worked on bringing MHS a fall play titled “1984.” Students had the option of seeing an in-school viewing of the show, and many attended. “1984” was described as very captivating and a fast ticket seller. Thespian Troupe encourages students and the public to attend the showing next year and further plays that will be happening.

Finals week took place the week of November 7. Many students felt the stress and anxiety due to upcoming exams, but MHS was able to provide them with resources and tips given in their respective homeroom. 

What’s coming up? 

MHS Girls Basketball recently played its first game against Andrean. The next game is at Concord High School and will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Pirates are ready to show they are capable of a winning title. 

Another winter sport that will soon be starting is Girls and Boys Swimming and Diving. The Girls Swimming team will be having its first meet on November 22 at 5:30 p.m. against Chesterton High School. The boys’ meet will be following soon after against Portage High School on November 29, 5:30 p.m. 

Staff spotlight:

Sydney Flick may be new to MHS, but she is already a favorite for many students. Flick’s class teaches students knowledge and offers real world advice. 

“I teach Intro to Business and Principles of Business Management here at MHS,” Flick said. “Some of my favorite classroom activities include review days with the students and working on projects that will further develop life skills.”

Flick feels there are certain characteristics that aid in becoming the teacher she wants to be for the future generation. 

“This trimester, I have spent a huge amount of my time just building trusting relationships with my students,” Flick said. “It has been very important to me to ensure my classroom is a welcoming and comfortable place for the students. All students show a great deal of respect to me and receive that same respect. I am not only here to ensure they are retaining information to pass their tests for each chapter, but for them to also leave with knowledge and further skills to help them succeed in life.”

Flick has taken on the role of helping others in many different ways and hopes to expand past where she is currently. 

“Teaching has always been something I longed to do since I was in elementary school,” Flick said. “Life works in weird ways, and I began a career in healthcare management for three years. While I am still in school to obtain my masters in counseling, this opportunity came up and seemed a wonderful fit to supplement my current background in business management, as well as future interactions, as I will soon become a counselor.”

Flick faced many challenges during her own time in school and wanted to be able to pay it forward by being there for students. She hopes her classroom is a space students can express themselves and come to in a time of need.

“I now want to be that trusting person for other students and help them in as many positive ways as possible,'' Flick said. “So far, one of my most memorable moments as a teacher has been all of my students stopping by to visit even when they aren't in my hour. They have a good relationship with me and can come to me for further advice and support.”

Student spotlight:

The COVID-19 pandemic allowed many people to pick up and explore new hobbies. Jalen Scoggins, Elijah Lewis-Mays, and Tyler Wheaton, seniors at MHS, explored the hobby of baking and created a small business called “In the Mix” after recognizing their skill.  

“First, it was to make a little bit of money on the side since the three of us have regular jobs that we go to and put effort in,” Wheaton said. “After a couple of months of me doing it, it became about making people happy and excited to try our product. Almost every day, I walk in school and someone asks if I made brookies.”

Starting a business has its pros and cons, but pushing through is one of the hardest parts.

“I would say the hardest part is making large amounts of food; it's just time-consuming,” Lewis-Mays said. 

As a small business, another issue that these owners have come across is getting exposure, especially during the beginning stages. 

“I'd say getting our name out there and having people take us seriously as a real business that's trying to be productive and profitable was the hardest part,” Wheaton said. 

The trio hope to expand the business and eventually grow into a large company later down the line. 

“We want to have a pop-up shop in the future,” Wheaton said. “Hopefully, we can really make In the Mix a global name and take on customers outside of Merrillville and Indiana one day.”

Lewis-Mays and Wheaton hope to give a token of advice to other people that may be afraid to take the first step in starting a small business.

“If you are baking, there are going to be so many ruined batches; baking is a science, and it is always difficult,” Wheaton said. “Sometimes, you have to be patient because people make mistakes. You can forget something as small as baking powder and ruin the whole batch.”

“Have good customer service,” Lewis-Mays said. “You'll be dealing with a lot of people from time to time.”