#1StudentNWI: Wheeler Showcases Academics in April

#1StudentNWI: Wheeler Showcases Academics in April

Showcasing Academics

On April 12th, four students at Wheeler were invited to participate in the first round of Making the Grade. This is a trivia-type competition where two panels of students face each other. The announcer asks a questions about science, math, english, or history. Any student on the panel can ‘buzz-in’ to attempt an answer. Each correct answer is awarded with 5 points.

The team from Wheeler was made up of four seniors: Delaney Bath, Marcos Buslon, Rachel Gerbick, and Abby Santos. The team won the first round against Bowman Academy and lost in the second round.

The 2018 Purdue Academic Super Bowl district competition will be held on Tuesday, March 17th. The event will take place in the WHS auditorium. The school has been holding the district competition for the past several years.

The competition has five categories: math, science, English, fine arts, and interdisciplinary. Wheeler will have a team for each subject. Each round consists of 24 questions. Participants are given between 20 seconds and one minute, depending on the difficulty, to answer the question presented. In the middle of each round, teams are able to sub in team members. Three students are allowed to be at the table at one time, including the captain.

The scores for each school are ranked with schools from other districts around the state. The top scoring teams are invited to participate in the state competition at Purdue University in West Lafayette on May 5th.

Captain Fantastic

This year’s spring production was Captain Fantastic, a play about a student at Paul Bunyan High School who is the editor for his school paper and obsessed with comic books. The main character, played by senior Remington Hess, is named Waldo. He is faced with a series of conflicts including contestants for Prom Queen dropping out of the running, failing a test on the anatomy of a cat, and being accused of stealing a trophy from a fencing competition. Waldo is knocked out and falls into a dream where he becomes Captain Fantastic, who will save Paul Bunyan high school from its problems.

The production included freshman through seniors at Wheeler, every member being vital to the play’s success. Some of the cast have been participating in the school’s productions since they could remember. However, for some, this is just the beginning.

Senior Hayley Johnson has been involved in Wheeler’s theater since she was in sixth grade.

“It has been a long journey and it is very upsetting to think that next year I won’t be participating in these productions, but rather coming to watch them,” Johnson said, “But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.”

The play was directed by Jessica Ball, a teacher at Wheeler. This was the first she has directed alongside the new auditorium director, Austin Germain, a Wheeler graduate.

Captain Fantastic ran from April 13th to April 15th. This was the last production for the school year. However, the Bearcat Theatre Company will be putting on Words during the summer. The production will be open to all community members.

Teacher Highlight

Daniel Kenning graduated from Wheeler High School in 1999 with an academic honors diploma. He then went on to Valparaiso University where he received a B.S. in Physics and a M.S. in secondary education from Indiana University Northwest.

Since a young age, Kenning has had a passion for helping people. As a high school student, he was a tutor.

“When you teach, it gives you a chance to do something you love everyday,” told Kenning.

Kenning has taught physics, integrated chemistry and physics, and earth and space science at Wheeler. He feels it is important for students to use science, not only in the classroom, but in their everyday lives.

“The scientific method teaches you to observe, gather data, and analyze results; if you can do that in your life, you’re more likely to be successful,” shared Kenning.

Coming back to Wheeler as a teacher was odd for Kenning at first, sharing that he was still scared of some of the teachers. However, he feels it is rewarding to have his former teachers, now coworkers, as mentors. They have not only taught him knowledge in different subjects, but they have taught him how to be an adult and a good educator.

Outside of the classroom, Kenning has his hands full. Kenning coaches the science academic team, advises activities such as Making the Grade and the TEAM competition, has helped with a wetland grant the school is receiving, is a building representative for Union Township Teachers Association, and has three sons.

Kenning shared that being a building representative gives him a leadership role within the school. He is able to help the school be productive and prosper.

In regards to Wheeler’s school system, Kenning feels it is a great place to be because of how teachers and students push each other to be better all while receiving support from the community.

“What sets us apart is our high expectations for teachers and students,” explained Kenning. “Teachers expect high performance, and students get a lot of help from teachers.”

Student Highlight

Senior Jackson Stephens’ time at Wheeler is coming to an end, as he will be graduating in June. After high school, he will attend the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington.

At Wheeler, Stephens has constantly kept himself busy and taken leadership roles.

“A leader to me is someone who can organize and effectively utilize a combination of people with different skill sets toward a common goal,” shared Stephens.

He has been involved in National Honor Society, is involved with Champions Together, cross country, swim team, basketball, baseball, and academic teams. He will be competing with the science academic team on April 17th.

Stephens’ is a part of the Academic Hall of Fame, a program at Wheeler that recognizes seniors that have a GPA of 3.9 or higher. With both of his parents as educators, academics have always played a major role in Stephens’ life.

“Academics reflect knowledge, and to me the world has always respected those with knowledge,” explained Stephens.

For Stephens, sports have made a great impact in his life as well, sharing that the memories are everlasting.

“Sports have impacted my life by letting me learn how to fail and succeed, and become a reliable teammate and leader,” told Stephens.

Among Stephens favorite memories at Wheeler are the dog piles after big victories in baseball.

“Wheeler has helped me succeed by providing a multitude of opportunities that work together, rather than forcing me to choose too early,” explained Stephens.

Outside of school, Stephens enjoys going to the beach and playing with his puppy.