#1StudentNWI: The Lowell Red Devils give back to the community

#1StudentNWI: The Lowell Red Devils give back to the community

What's recently happened?

Lowell High School (LHS) reopened the newly expanded Trades building on November 17. 

LHS undoubtedly provides students with an exemplary education that many use to go to college or into the military, but it also allows students to participate in trade classes. The LHS Red Devil Trades curriculum teaches students what the workforce is like so that they are fully prepared after graduation. 

This recent expansion has more than doubled the original size of the trades building and now provides students with new equipment and machines. The LHS Trades building's auto shop is one of 15 in the state of Indiana that is accredited by The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. 

The programs provided include Auto Technology, Construction Trades, Welding, Precision Machining, and Manufacturing.

In these classes, students learn how to use all types of basic machinery and begin by working on vehicles and objects as well as making real items, such as the tables used in classes. Additionally, different organizations and establishments, like Tri-Creek Lumber, provide tools and other materials to the programs. 

While this expansion has made the LHS Trades great, the programs are still growing.  

What's coming up?

Last year, LHS began a yearly service project around the holidays to give back to the community. The leadership team wanted to find a local organization that the school could support that services youth. Last year, the school raised over $11,000 for the Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids Foundation. 

This year, LHS has paired with the Angel Tree project, housed at St. Edwards Church, for the 2022 Red Devils Give Back (RDGB) project. 

Each year, those that are in charge of the Angel Tree project gather a list of community members that could use some help during this holiday season. Other members of the community then select tags from the tree and buy gifts to brighten those families' holidays. 

LHS will contribute to this year’s Angel Tree project by having each advisory sponsor one community member in need, specifically a child or teen. This is a completely anonymous exchange where the advisory only gets a brief description of their child or teen and their wish list. However, LHS will ask for monetary donations to ensure that all adolescents receive the two gifts on their wish lists. Additionally, there are designated advisory periods where money will be collected, the last day being December 7. 

As a way of encouraging all students to bring donations, there will be an advisory contest. All advisories are encouraged to set a class goal, and the three advisories that collect the highest sums of money will receive prizes. 

The LHS community hopes that enough money will be collected so that all 50+ children and teens can get all the things on their wish lists. The goal is to make an impact on those 50+ lives and allow them to have the happiest of holidays. 

Staff spotlight:

Danyelle Kozma has been the Library/Media Director at LHS for the past 18 years. It is because of her that the school library feels like a safe space for all students. 

Kozma is originally from Hammond, Indiana but moved to Lowell in 2002 and has stayed there for the past 20 years. Because she was unsure of what career she wanted to pursue after high school, she took a variety of classes in college including teaching, counseling, instructional design, and library science. 

Kozma later added library sciences to her license and received her second master's degree in educational technology from Indiana State University. That said, she started as a French teacher at River Forest High School in New Chicago and worked there for 11 years. While she deeply values the time she spent as a teacher, Kozma has always felt she was meant to be a librarian. 

“Being a librarian was meant to be. It just took me a little longer to get here,” said Kozma. 

She decorates the LHS library with a new theme every month and makes it appear very welcoming. 

“My favorite part of being a librarian is creating a space for students that encourages them to read. I love creating displays and choosing themes that revolve around reading. Being a librarian allows me to use my creative side as well. I like to create an environment that makes students want to grab a book and read,” said Kozma. 

Kozma is constantly trying to find ways to encourage the students to read as much as possible. Recently, she has become involved with a new LHS club known as the Red Devil Page Turners. 

“This summer, a colleague, Mrs. Lindsay O’Neill, suggested to me and Mrs. Brianna Mikovetz that we create a club called Red Devil Page Turners. The purpose of the club is to create a school-wide love for reading and writing. We have been working with a wonderful group of students who are avid readers and have amazing ideas. We’re just getting started, and I’m excited to see where their ideas go,” said Kozma. 

She hopes that this club inspires students to immerse themselves in the great books that the LHS library has. So far, the club has started multiple projects that include sharing some of the Page Turners favorite books and displaying a sheet in which other students can write their book recommendations. Additionally, they are getting started with reviewing different books and sharing them with the student body. 

Kozma thinks all books are “must-reads” and that reading makes great writers. She finds it impossible to pick a favorite book and says that it will always be the one she last read. She tries to take something away from every book she reads. 

Kozma loves everything about reading and writing and encouraging students to read and write, which is what makes her such an excellent librarian. 

Student spotlight:

Mia Arredondo is a junior at LHS who prides herself in her academic record and extracurricular activities. 

“My greatest accomplishment so far would be keeping a GPA above 4.0,” said Arredondo. 

Arredondo is in many honors and AP classes and participates in a handful of clubs and sports. She plays tennis in the spring, is a part of the Red Devil Mentor Program, and is on the LHS Student Council. She has a lot on her plate, but she still manages to find time for her younger siblings and to babysit as a job.

“What is largely asked in all of these is forming time management skills in order to keep my work organized,” said Arredondo. 

She truly exemplifies what it is like to be a Red Devil by making time for her schoolwork as well as everything else. Arredondo also thinks that her time at LHS so far has been truly memorable. She has made the best of it and in turn, has grown and made lifelong memories.  

“After I graduate, I plan to go to Purdue University. I either want to join the nursing program or get my degree in biology and conduct medical research as a career,” said Arredondo.