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#1StudentNWI: The start of the 2019-2020 school year at Bishop Noll

By: Mary Buksa Last Updated: September 2, 2019

What’s happened?

On August 16th, 465 students walked through the doors of 1519 Hoffman Street, and marked the first day of the 2019-2020 school year. The first thing students noticed was new lockers. These huge, royal blue lockers are definitely an upgrade from the previous school year. 

“I like this year’s lockers much better than previous years’. They are much more spacious, and I can fit all of my bags and books easily. The new lockers have improved the look of the hallways as well,” said junior Abbie Kawalec. 

Prior to the start of the school day, the majority of this year’s senior class came to school extremely early to watch the sun rise either in the parking lot or at Whihala Beach County Park in Whiting, Ind. The seniors who gathered around the parking lot were seen in Hawaiian clothes and wearing colorful leis.

The school day started off with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then students received their iPads and officially started their day. All grade levels went to all of their classes and met their teachers. Most classes consisted of reading over the syllabus and class expectations. Some classes also played “icebreakers”, which are different games to get to know a teacher or a classmate. 

The school day ended with prayer and afternoon announcements. After the final bell rang, students got their belongings and either left school or got ready for their sport’s practices. Overall, the first day to the start of the new school year was successful. 

What’s coming up?

The annual back to school picnic will take place on September 14th. The picnic is pot-luck style, where BNI families bring one dish to share with other families. The picnic is a great way to meet other BNI families and share some great food. 

Student Spotlight: Olivia Baczkowski

Junior Olivia Baczkowski puts her all into everything she does at Bishop Noll. As a freshman, she was involved in the knitting, creative writing, drama, Chinese, and Biology Clubs. Her sophomore year, Baczkowski was a tutor in the Writing Center, secretary of Chinese Club, and helped out in the school’s drama productions. She also helped knit scarves for the Special Olympics.

At the end of her sophomore year, she was officially inducted into the National Honor Society as well as the Chinese National Honor Society.This year, Baczkowski remains a Writing Center tutor and part of the drama productions. 

“My favorite thing about drama and theatre are the friends you make. You become such a tight-knit group of friends, which also expands your friend group. I also love the environment because it has a homey feel, but is also always full of good vibes that will genuinely make your day,” said Baczkowski.

Making the choice to attend Bishop Noll was easy for Baczkowski. She wanted a school to help her grow in her faith. She also loved the family environment. Most importantly, she felt that Bishop Noll is where she belonged.

“My favorite part about BNI is the numerous opportunities that I get — from the travel abroad opportunities to theater competitions, to even offering blood drives. Even opportunities I never knew I might have an interest in, like painting a mural in the Senior hallway, create an even more interesting high school experience,” said Baczkowski. 

When Baczkowski is not tutoring her peers or assisting the theatre director, she likes to read and write. She also likes to research random topics such as the psychology of habit-making.

The BNI community is very lucky to have Baczkowski as a student because of her dedication and commitment to her peers as well as her teachers.

Staff Spotlight: Mr. Eric Klocek

Mr. Eric Klocek, a Bishop Noll alum, can be seen at Bishop Noll doing several different jobs. Before the school day even starts, he is seen driving the Warrior van to drop students off at school.

During the school day, he is teaches a few classes including English and mass media. Klocek is still finishing college, but achieved his associates degree and is able to work as a PT Educator for the Diocese of Gary. Once the final dismissal bell rings, he is seen setting up for the athletic events for the evening or is getting ready to coach a practice. 

“One of the best things about my employment is that I get to educate our students at Bishop Noll through all three pillars of the school in MIND, BODY, and SOUL. As an educator and coach, I also get the opportunity to go on a student retreat as an adult leader. The retreat that I chose to go on is the Junior Kairos retreat, a retreat that is very much eye opening and inspirational for the students as they prepare for the greatest challenges of their high school career: senior year,” said Klocek.

An avid sports fan and former Warrior, Klocek coaches three Bishop Noll teams. Klocek has coached varsity and JV soccer for the past three years. He has coached boys track and field for four years and girls track and field for two years. This year he will also be coaching his first season of basketball as the head freshman coach and assistant coach for both JV and Varsity. In his few years of coaching, he has captured several titles with the most recent being the 2A State Championship in 2018 for boys soccer. 

“Aside from winning championships and watching these young student athletes accomplish so much at the varsity level, my favorite thing about coaching has to be the relationships that I make with the student athletes over the course of their four years. Even the students that I don’t coach in a sport, a relationship is still made to where it becomes emotional going to the graduation ceremony every spring and watching these young men and women walk across the stage, join the Bishop Noll Alumni Family, and continue on with their lives,” said Klocek.

When Klocek is not at Bishop Noll, which is very irregular, he likes to watch Norte Dame football and the Chicago Cubs. During his short off-season in the summer, his family spends time on their speed boat in Michigan. The Bishop Noll family is extremely grateful for all that Klocek has done and will continue to do at BNI.