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#1StudentNWI: Slicers Give back and Serve Community in December


What’s Going On: Turkey Trot

The annual Turkey Trot took place on the morning of November 23. Several people participated in the race itself and even more came to watch. The Educational Foundation has raised about $8,000 in the past, and this year raised over $8,500.

The money raised can go to any number of places. The majority goes to fund teacher grants, but depending on community events, it can go to other important events and projects.

“It typically just goes to our general fund. Last year was out of the ordinary because we decided to give it to Meyer’s Mile to finish off. So, we ended up giving about $8,000 to Meyer’s Mile,” Turkey Trot Founder Nicholas Oti said.

In past years, teacher grants have been awarded to many hardworking educators. The teachers applied ahead of time with an idea that they would like to see through, and if chosen, won up to $500.

“The grants are for things that teachers couldn’t do normally, like a one time project or a project that they intend to do every year that they can’t buy supplies for. If they have a good idea, it’s what we do,” Otis said.

Teacher grants have been extremely helpful in making education fun and rewarding. Eighth Grade History Teacher Mrs. DeWolf is one of the many grant winners, and she put it to good use.

“I got money to let my students study the 2016 Presidential Election. All of my students were able to make campaign buttons, which was really neat. It not only supported the elected officials but just the idea of the importance of voting. We also created our own voting booths and had a school wide mock election,” DeWolf said.

This was not the first time DeWolf had been awarded a grant. She is always trying to make her class as beneficial as possible, and it would not be as beneficial without the help that these grants have given her.

“Teachers often have to spend a lot of money. I know every year I spend around $500 in my classroom. With the foundation’s grants, it just helps with that. You can do a lot more for kids that do not get funded through the school corporation,” DeWolf said.

Overall, the Turkey Trot was a success and will definitely grow in future years. All grants will be awarded soon, and, with that, students will have more opportunities for hands-on learning and teachers will be assisted in making their classrooms a better place.

What’s Coming Up: Food Drive

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The Food Drive is a significant aspect of the holiday season; all of the schools in the La Porte Community School Corporation contribute to the drive in one way or another, and even those outside of the school system make an effort.

This year, canned goods and nonperishable foods are being donated left and right. Each school has a different incentive to heighten their amount of donations, and each year the students pull through to assist those less fortunate during the holiday season.

Boston Middle School orchestrated a school wide food drive counted by homerooms. All items collected were taken to the Salvation Army, and altogether, the students and staff donated over 4,664 cans. One student, Kristen Morrison, contributed over 433 cans to the school herself. She saved up all of the canned goods she had over the year just for this holiday season. All of the Bruins did a wonderful job.

La Porte High School took many different approaches. Specific teachers held their own mini food drives in their classrooms, and the Student Council also ran a school-wide one. One English teacher in particular, Mrs. Lute-Brown, started her own food drive for her classes, and those four classes alone raised over 200 items. Those items were sent to the Pax Center in La Porte.

“I feel that there are so many people in our community who are in need of the basics - we can’t even imagine how tough things can be, whether it be loss of job, cut back in hours, or tragedy in the family, and that always seems to happen around the holidays for some reason. Every year, I try to ask my classes to participate in a food drive at Thanksgiving and the Angel Tree project at Christmas to help offset some of the hardships people encounter,” Lute-Brown said.

While the Food Drive continues, more and more families are being gifted with a chance to have the greatest Christmas. Each and every school has outdone themselves, and hopefully this has given the citizens of La Porte a sense of togetherness.

Student Spotlight: Makayla Blinco

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Makayla Blinco is a LPHS senior who has extraordinary potential and even bigger dreams. She aims to become a fashion icon, and, with her attitude and motivation, she definitely has a shot at success. Blinco focuses most of her time on saving up money for clothes and college, where she hopes to attend Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising in California. She wants to study social media, which happens to be the only fashion school that holds that major.

“FIDM has always been an interest to me since I was in seventh grade. I absolutely loved the majors and the school. I have not visited the college, however, I met with a few admission officers in Chicago in October and they gave me a lot of advice, and they seemed like they really wanted me to attend their school for next year. I am still waiting for a letter from them. Praying for good news,” Blinco said.

If that plan fails, her second choice is The New School: Parsons in New York. There, she wants to engage in the fashion studies program.

“New York is where I want to go to college in general; however, schools offer different things in different places. I know New York is the city for me, especially for fashion. I know walking the streets of New York is going to inspire me everyday, and I will be able to express myself so freely,” Blinco said.

Blinco realized that fashion was her calling in seventh grade. She admired many magazines, primarily Teen Vogue, and watched YouTube videos on the subject.

“I am very interested in fashion because fashion gives me the ability to show the world who I am without saying a word. Fashion is my identity. What I wear is how I express myself without caring what other people think,” Blinco said.

Overall, Blinco has mapped out the rest of her life with so much purpose and passion. She cannot see herself pursuing anything but fashion, and she will do whatever it takes to succeed. She is truly a one of a kind student, and any school would be lucky to have her.

Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Welsh

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Boston Middle School has so many talented and passionate teachers. One of those teachers happens to be a fairly new to the school: Mrs. Welsh.

Welsh has been teaching for a total of seven years, but two of those were on-and-off, so she had time to raise her children. For the other five school years, she has taught at both Discovery Charter School and, of course, Boston Middle School.

She was not exactly set on what she wanted to do when she started college at Valparaiso University, but after studying a different major, she realized that maybe teaching was for her.

“I was told my junior year of high school by our special education coordinator at my school that I had a knack for teaching. I of course didn’t listen and started college majoring in Mass Comm. Before my sophomore year, I did a bit of soul-searching and found myself where I always knew my heart was, in teaching,” Welsh said.

Welsh team teaches with Mrs. Scott for 7th grade history. Her classroom is a space full of respect, determination, and a little bit of sarcasm.

“In our classroom we learn about the eastern world. We discover the middle east, Africa, Asia, Indonesia, and Australia. I am officially licensed to teach Social Studies and Language Arts and chose those focus areas because I enjoy the creativity they allow. You can be silly, dress like a sumo wrestler, teach the kids to wear a sari, introduce them to couscous, and create a sense of community across the world. But what I think is really special about our space is the time we put into getting to know the kids. Relationships are what it’s all about. You have to get to know these amazing young people to understand the impact they make. Their hearts are so big, and I am humbled and inspired by them everyday,” Welsh said.

Welsh does not just teach in a regular classroom setting; she engages in many different school and community activities such as the little Kindness Campaign, Mini Course, planning the Grandparents’ Dance, and many more service learning based things.

“Last school year my dear friend and colleague, Laura Kwasny, and I started an adventure in service learning. We designed a mini course where students choose, design, and implement a community service project every six weeks. This has completely changed my life. Watching students take ownership of these creative and amazing projects is so special. It brings me to tears often the way these kids care. They will give everything they have to make an impact on our community. They are world changers, every single one of them,” Welsh said.

She may be less experienced than most teachers in regards to time, but mentally and emotionally she is beyond her years.

“My life’s goal is to live in a place of kindness, to judge situations with my heart, and to make choices based on goodness. This is something I learned from my grandpa. He was the kindest man on the planet and inspires me still everyday. I find myself asking more often now than ever, ‘How would he handle this? What would he do if he were in this situation?’ Because, even though he was was the sweetest human being in history, he was a six-foot-four leader, a force to be reckoned with, and a man whom everyone respected. I want people to remember me because of my heart just like everyone remembers him,” Welsh said.

Welsh’s attitude and positivity are beams of light in Boston Middle School. No matter how long she remains there, she will, and already has been, a significant impact on the school, the students, and the staff.

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