#1StudentNWI: Washington Township Spreads the Spirit of Halloween

#1StudentNWI: Washington Township Spreads the Spirit of Halloween

What’s Recently Happened?
Spooktacular Festivities
Dinosaurs, princesses, and superheroes filed excitedly into the Washington Township Elementary Dold Gym this past weekend to celebrate the season of Halloween.

Spook Night is a day students of all elementary ages look forward to because they are free to dress up as they please, eat candy, be with friends, play games, and craft. Followed by Fall Break, Spook Night was Thursday night, kicking off the start to a fantastic long weekend.

The Junior Class of 2020 collaborated with the Washington Township High School Student Council to put on a spooky fun night for the children. All proceeds from this event are put toward funding the Junior Senior prom of 2019.

Spook Night is a few-hour event that houses games and crafts. Craft tables allow little artists to create Halloween cards, color pictures, and do word puzzles. Games are set up around the gymnasium for the kids. Candy corn hole, pin the nose on the pumpkin, and Halloween mini golf are some favorites.

Halloween spirit was in the air, candy littered the floor, and laughter rang throughout. Costumes came in all shapes, sizes, and colors; some were scary, some were silly, while others were cutesy.

Students came to the event all dressed up and ready to have fun, and they left with sugar in their bellies and smiles on their faces.

What’s Coming Up?
One Life Lost, Many Saved
Months after Mr. Spitler walked into the bathroom of his home to find his daughter dead due to a heroin overdose, he knew it was his job to teach others to protect teenagers and young adults from losing their own life too soon.

March 30, 2002, Phyllis and Mann Spitler lost their 20-year-old daughter, Manda Spitler, when she injected herself with a lethal dose of heroin. A few short months following the death of their daughter, Mann Spitler was telling Manda’s story to teach generations about the dangers of addictive drugs.

Time after time, Mr. Spitler would begin his speeches the same way, talking about the tragic story of his daughter and each time the audience would react in the same manner: Pin. Drop. Silent. Groups of rowdy teens would file into their auditorium for another assembly, but as soon as Spitler began to discuss why he was standing before them in a high school, the side chatter would stop, the eerie silence would fall, and the somber atmosphere would arise.

Halloween was Manda’s favorite holiday, so in her honor, “Manda’s Race” was invented. The runners are encouraged to run and be a part of the festivities in wacky and goofy costumes. All proceeds go to support the prevention and treatment of self-abuse with drugs.

Year after year, the Washington Township High School has been a large advocate for the Spitler family through encouraging participation for Manda’s Race both with the runners and volunteers for the event.

Student Spotlight!
Beautiful Blessing: Tiffany Gavrilos
Ms. Tiffany Gavrilos is a grounded, authentic, faithful, warm-hearted daughter, bestie, and girlfriend.

After attending Washington Township High school for the past 13 years, Tiffany will be saying her goodbyes on May 29 to a major chapter in her life as she walks across the stage to be awarded her diploma. Tiffany has enjoyed her second home and all the memories she has created with her peers. Tiffany loves the one-on-one opportunities she is able to experience with all her teachers, and thrives on the idea of each teacher knowing her personally rather than just being a number in the crowd.

Tiffany is not only determined in her academics but has excelled in her sports career. Freshman year, Tiffany was a part of the track team and volleyball team. Tiffany continued her involvement with volleyball sophomore year, but after the season ended she decided to become more involved with her church and find a job to save for college!

Tiffany worked at McAllisters for over a year until she was hired at Kelsey’s Steakhouse to be a hostess, where she enjoys the atmosphere of the clientele much more.

The tender and compassionate heart that Tiffany possesses has allowed her to recognize her desire to work and connect with people in her future career path. After being involved in the dental vocational program at the Portage High School, she concluded dentistry is not only her calling but her passion. Tiffany loves the idea that she will be able to change the lives of those around her by giving them the confidence to smile again. She enjoys learning the material, doing treatments, working with patients, and cannot wait until the spring to start her onsite clinicals! Tiffany will be attending college at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana to be a Dental Hygienist.

Throughout her career, Tiffany would also like to continue her love for writing. Tiffany loves constructing young adult books about dystopian societies. Novels about dystopian societies amaze her in the way they evaluate the surrounding society, and they never fail to draw her attention with ease.

Tiffany’s love of exploring cities is always quenched, with help from her loving boyfriend. Together, they travel and explore cities all over Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. Visiting little family-owned vintage and art shops are her favorite parts of the experience. Tiffany also loves trying new foods and photoshoot opportunities are never far since she always has a camera in hand.

Tiffany’s advice is to, “Continue to believe that you were created to make a difference for the better, stop at nothing.”

Teacher Spotlight!
Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Oh My!: Barbara Rea
Mrs. Barbara Rea has been touching the lives of students for 16 years and making an impact on the community her whole life. Mrs. Rea is more than just a mom and wife, more than just a teacher, mentor, or advisor: she is all of those things!

Mrs. Rea started and completed her high school career at Andrean High School in Merrillville. She moved on to her college education at Indiana University. While studying at Indiana University, Mrs. Rea obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. Mrs. Rea had a deeper desire to learn about science, so she attended Purdue University and received her Master’s degree in Microbiology and Molecular Biology.

Upon obtaining both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, Mrs. Rea worked at the Vista Chemical Company as an Assistant Laboratory Supervisor and Assistant Environmental Supervisor until she shifted career paths to the New Energy Company. At New Energy Company, Mrs. Rea became the Environmental Coordinator, where she worked with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Although Mrs. Rea had a passion and loved both jobs, she realized family had so much more importance. Upon the birth of her son, Steven, and daughter, Terilyn, Mrs. Rea became a stay-at-home mother to cherish her children until they began to attend school. When both kids were in school, Mrs. Rea was ignited with the thought of teaching. In both industrial jobs she had taught seminars to employees, and while obtaining her Master’s she taught Chemistry at Indiana University.

“I really have a passion for science and realized that I would like to teach high school science and hopefully spark an interest in other people, like my high school chemistry teacher, Mrs. Giorgio, had done for me,” she said.

Mrs. Rea began teaching science at Washington Township 16 years ago, loving the family atmosphere and school spirit that Washington possesses. Having taught Biology I, Dual Credit Biology II, Anatomy, Physiology, Environmental Science, Integrated Chemistry and Physics and being licensed to teach Chemistry, Mrs. Rea is an asset to the Washington Township High School.

Mrs. Rea is constantly blown away by the eagerness of the students when it comes to volunteering. Mrs. Rea is the advisor for the Washington Township Key Club, stating that, “I greatly enjoy sponsoring the clubs I do because I love getting to know the students better and providing them with opportunities they may not otherwise have. I'm especially proud of our Key Club… having our students volunteering hundreds of hours of community service, and having fun doing it!”

Mrs. Rea describes the students in Key Club as being “dedicated” and “...not being afraid of greater responsibility.”

Mrs. Rea is proud of her Polish heritage; she travels to Poland to meet her family and they Skype periodically to keep in touch and share Polish recipes!