ALL STATE MUSICIANS Read all about the success of some of the best musicians in the state!
A group of Lady Indians are the first participants in an official girls wrestling season!
table of contents
03 Letter from the Editors
04 All StateMusic
07 Peers in Action
08 Upperclass Acts
11 Movie Review
’ re also very excited to welcome
some fresh faces to the writing staff this month, so you can look forward to seeing some new perspectives on life here at PTHS. As always, if you would like your article or poem featured in our next edition, or are looking to join the Chief staff, please contact either myself (firstname.lastname@example.org), co- editor Sunshine Holt (email@example.com), or our faculty sponsors Dr. Soares (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mr. Blair (email@example.com).
A NOTE FROM YOUR EDITOR
By Joe G i l mo r
Hey, everybody, thanks for tuning in to this month ’ s edition of The Chief! We at the Chief enjoyed all of our snow days off, and we hope that all of our readers did too. I ’ d like to begin this month ’ s Editor ’ s Note with a shout-out to the six students chosen to represent PTHS at the All-State Music Festival. See Gabe Travis ’ s article in this edition for more information on them and their achievements.
N O M A D I C | Without further ado, we hope you enjoy this month ’ s edition of The Chief! 2 4
BY GABRIELTRAVIS On Saturday, January 26th, some of our PTHS students performed at the All- State music convention at the Peoria Civics Center. The students consisted of five All-State chorus members and two All-State band members. The chorus members, Braden Weaver, Skyler Johnson, Collin Wonders, Gabriel Travis, and Nicholas Welshans sang songs such as “O’ Clap Your Hands,” “Bobby Shafto,” “Gaelic Blessing,” and “Desh” under the direction of Philip Lawson. The band members, Kiara Price and Samantha Merhkens, played the “Sons Florentiner March,” “Rest,” “Symphony of Fables,” and “Folk Dances” under the direction of Elizabeth Peterson. The orchestra, another large section of the All-State music convention but that no PTHS students took part in, played the songs “Millennium Canons,” “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and “Suite from Far and Away” under the direction of Mark Laycock. All three sections came together at the end of the concert to celebrate the stars and stripes with the song, “America the Beautiful.” All in all, schools from all over Illinois came together with many honored individuals to create beautiful music.
What's Happening in FCCLA
By Lauren Smith
Each year, FCCLA strives to transform members into leaders and to build strong relationships during the process. FCCLA stands for “Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.” This year the members were hard at work running the Holiday Market which took place during the wrestling tournament. Following this successful fundraiser, they will be attending the Section 11 meeting where they will participate in a variety of workshops to enhance the skills they have learned throughout their time in the club, as well as compete in STAR events which are optional projects that members can partake in. Two students, Lauren Smith and Crysta Saucedo will be competing in a STAR event where they will be talking to junior high students about healthy relationships, how to build these, and when to leave an unhealthy one. If this is a success at the Section competition, they will move on to the State level competition in Springfield Illinois. Competitions are a minor portion of the variety of activities FCCLA will be working on this year. With the help of the club advisors, Ms. Nelson and Mrs. Richardson, members hope to get themselves involved in the community this year and to show others what they have learned throughout their time in the club. This year’s theme is “Believe in Yourself,” which is a very important message for students. Members are focusing in on the importance of self-confidence and perseverance through struggles in their daily life as students, members of a team, or even a family. This message will be important for the club’s plans for the coming months as they develop as leaders and motivate others to do the same. FCCLA is looking forward to helping others in their community and to planning their upcoming projects very soon!
Wrestling Women Pave the Way in 2019
By Madison McDormand
PTHS Pep Band By Alyssa Rodriguez This year, Pontiac Township High School has opened the doors to a new chapter in its wrestling history. Special thanks to the coaches and strong women who have risen up to fight for girls wrestling to become an IHSA recognized sport! In order for women’s wrestling to become an IHSA sport, the program must continue to grow and become more recognized. Despite being a new division, the girls have already had duels, meets, and tournaments with schools also looking to set up a girls division. Setting up a woman's division opens new opportunities in an otherwise male dominated sport. The female wrestlers are proud to represent their school alongside their male peers. The program hopes to make women in wrestling a more common occurrence in the sports world. On January 10th, the Pep Band had its first appearance at a game this basketball season. Even though Pep Band started later in the season than usual, the students came to cheer loudly and proudly for their fellow Pontiac Township High School Indians. The band students also performed that Friday playing songs such as “Sweet Caroline,” “Smoke on the Water,” and the traditional color song. Going into February, the band will play during the home basketball games throughout the month. While the band enjoys playing at football games during the marching season, and the peaceful music of concert season, it is usually a favorite of the band to do solely Pep Band music. The songs played are usually more pop and or classic hits that the audience knows from the first two notes. During Pep Band performances, the band plays between JV and varsity, the beginning of the game (national anthem and line up), and finally they play all of half time. This is always a chance for members of the band to be involved with supporting other students in different activities and to just enjoy playing music.
BY CARSON GREGORY
There are many clubs, programs, and associations at PTHS that embody the school spirit of adaptive learning, global thinking, responsible citizenship, and collaboration as the school motto states. However, there may be no club that greater exemplifies these than Peers in Action. Peers in Action was founded in 1996 by Ms. Laura Baumgardner, making 2019 the twenty-third year for the club. Ever since then, Peers has been a program for respect, accountability, learning, and cooperation. For those who do not know, Peers is a program that allows non-special needs students to begin and continue friendships with students who have special needs. Acts of friendship and respect take place in the classroom, athletic events, outside of school, and nearly everywhere else. Peers’ biggest mission is to establish respect for ALL people as an intrinsic value in society, starting with the school culture at PTHS. Of course, this mission has evolved greatly over time. Pontiac became a Unified Champion School in 2011, the second year of the national projects’ existence. Being a Unified Champion School means that Pontiac activates the youth in order to foster respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with cognitive disabilities by utilizing different programs and initiatives of Special Olympics, according to Special Olympics Illinois. 2012 brought the first year of the annual Run for Respect. 2013 brought the first Run for Respect Virtual Run, which allows people from around the state, country, and world to participate with PTHS from a distance. For many years, Virtual Runs have taken place in all fifty states and each of the seven continents, spreading the message of respect all the while. With being a Unified Champion School, however, there are projects that must be undertaken by PTHS to further advance the message of respect. For example, the Run for Respect was started as one of these projects. Other projects include raising awareness in the community, and Peers does this through the Poster Contest. Each year for the past six years, Peers in Action travels to all grade schools of Livingston County to give a presentation on Spread the Word to End the Word and ask students to design and send in posters that demonstrate respect. Spread the Word to End the Word is a massive project with a mission to eliminate a certain “r word” and replace it with a greater “r word”: respect. Hundreds of posters are received annually. Peers in Action also hosts a school wide assembly each year to show off the Respect Video of the current year. Guest speakers are also present. On top of each of these significant projects, PTHS is home to three Unified Sports. Unified Sports are sporting competitions where non special needs athletes compete with special needs athletes. Pontiac has Unified Soccer, established in 2013, Unified Bass Fishing, established in 2014, and Unified Basketball, established in 2018. Last year, Unified Basketball won the state championship in its inaugural season, while Unified Bass Fishing also won a championship and Unified Soccer experienced great success and growth. 2018 was a pivotal year for Peers in Action. All of the great work done by the special needs teachers and Peers members came to fruition. Pontiac was named a Special Olympics and ESPN Honor Roll Unified Champion School, meaning PTHS is the top school in Illinois and is in the top thirty schools in the entire nation for its special needs and Special Olympics programs. Becoming an Honor Roll School is extremely difficult and has very stringent requirements. Pontiac not only met those requirements, but far exceeded them. Out of hundreds of thousands of schools with special needs programs, Pontiac was in the top thirty. Clearly, Peers in Action is creating a unique kind environment, both in the school and out in the community. The campaign to end the “r word” and replace it with respect has been a great success and is only growing with each year. Each part of PTHS has tremendous impacts on the school and community culture, but there is perhaps no greater impact than the effects of Peers in Action. Most students at the school have been involved with Peers in Action or Spread the Word to End the Word in some way, shape, or form. After all, society’s greatest disability is the inability to see a person as “more.”
NICKNAMES: Griff, YG
MOST POSITIVE MOMENT: Being surrounded by my friends and family on my last day of high school golf at ISU.
ROLE MODEL(S): Coach Ritter, Coach Vogt
ACTIVITIES @ PTHS: Golf, tennis, National Honor Society
PET PEEVES: Being late, being unorganized
FONDEST MEMORY OF HIGH SCHOOL SO FAR: Winning sectionals my senior year
WHAT MY FRIENDS WILL REMEMBER ABOUT ME: My competitiveness and need to work hard, but also wanting to have fun at the same time. HOW WOULD YOU SPEND $1,000,000? I would invest some of it into the stock market to take care of my family and donate the rest into a scholarship or charity fund. IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT 3 ITEMS WOULD YOU WANT WITH YOU? My phone, charger, headphones LAST WORDS OF ADVICE: “Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new or speak up for something you want or believe in. In the end you’ll probably regret staying silent more than if you had tried it.”
3 MAJOR AREAS OF INTEREST: Golf, math, finance
PLANS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL: Play golf in college, major in Business
FAVORITE MOVIE: La La Land
MOST INSPIRATIONAL SONG: “Hall of Fame” by The Script
FAVORITE TEACHER/CLASS: Mr. Shepherd – AP Stats
FAVORITE AUTHOR/BOOK: Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella
ROLE MODEL(S): Michelle Obama and my grandma
MOST POSITIVE MOMENT: My most positive moment was when I was awarded MVP as a captain on the tennis team.
ACTIVITIES @ PTHS: Tennis, tutoring, National Technical Honor Society
PET PEEVES: People chewing with their mouth open and arriving late.
FONDEST MEMORY OF HIGH SCHOOL SO FAR: Homecoming week, football games, and tennis practice
WHAT MY FRIENDS WILL REMEMBER ABOUT ME: I try to see the best in everyone.
3 MAJOR AREAS OF INTEREST: Early Childhood Education, photography, and music
HOW WOULD YOU SPEND $1,000,000? : Travel the world, donate, and purchase an oceanfront mansion. IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT 3 ITEMS WOULD YOU WANT WITH YOU? My dog, a hammock, and an endless supply of Panera Bread. LAST WORDS OF ADVICE: “Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once.”
PLANS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL: Major in Early Childhood Education at Eastern Florida State or Heartland
FAVORITE MOVIE: Bird Box
MOST INSPIRATIONAL SONG: “Glorious” by Macklemore
FAVORITE TEACHER/CLASS: Art class with Mr. Vogt
FAVORITE AUTHOR: John Green
FFA By Lukas Morrissette
Disney Choir We had many events going on in February! We had our annual FFA auction on February 16. A meal was served at 3 and the auction began at 5. Many came to support their peers as those in our Ag Science and Landscaping classes built projects made out of wood. We are also had our annual Proficiency Awards on the 13th. For anyone who does not know, the FFA Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through their Supervised Agricultural Experiences or SAE’s, have developed skills that they can apply to their future careers either in or out of the Agriculture field. Thank you from all of us here at your Pontiac FFA Chapter! With the Music department trip to Disney coming up, Choir has started to really go after their Disney pieces that they will be performing at Disneyworld. The choir students range from freshmen all the way through seniors, and everyone is looking forward to the once in a lifetime opportunity to sing at the amusement park. Most of the songs chosen are four parts containing a soprano, alto, tenor, and bass set of notes. Some student favorites of the songs being worked on are titled “Walk in Jerusalem,” “Vox Populi,” and “The Storm is Passing Over.” The songs range from fairly easy to quite challenging, but all students are going headstrong into the songs and putting as much effort as they can to perfect it before spring break. While the break may seem far away for many students, for the students of the Music department, it is only a handful of rehearsals away. By Alyssa Rodriguez
Jurassic Park Movie Review: By: Jasmine White
The movie Jurassic Park is an old movie, but it has sure stood against time. This movie is so good that it has sparked a long chain of movies afterwards to add more of its series. The movie has good special effects, good animatronics, demonstrated by how good they made the dinosaurs look like and sound. In a scene where Dr. Ellie Sattler had found a sick dinosaur in the beginning, you can see how good they made the animatronic and good sound effects to make it so realistic. Jurassic Park also has good actors. The actors playing their roles in this movie are really good that they make you feel like you are right there next to them. An example of this is when they are heading to the island, and you feel like you are heading to the island with them because how good their acting is. With all of this said, I rate this movie 5 out of 5.
Book Review Devil in the White City By: Caitlyn Cotter
I know what I was expecting when I began reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: just another crime story, full of fact after fact, with an author hoping and praying that the crime itself will be enough to make you continue reading despite the drab writing and overall dreary plot of the story. However, the main subject of the story, H.H. Holmes, is a pretty intriguing person, making the reader question the limits of humanity, morality, and evil itself. Furthermore, Holmes was not even the most exciting part of the book! Larson was able to get into the minds of people who lived over a hundred years ago as if he knew them personally. The book describes in detail not only Holmes’ story but also how hopes, dreams, and blood helped shape the city of Chicago and the United States as a whole. While reading the book, you learn so much and feel suddenly swept back into the Gilded Age and as if you understand the Era perfectly. Not only is the book filled completely with facts that you will not believe, but Larson also wrote in a way that makes you feel like you are turning the pages of a fiction novel: full of cliffhangers, emotion, and surprises. Even if you consider yourself an expert on Herman Mudgett himself (a.k.a. H.H. Holmes) and the Columbian Exposition of 1893, you will still love reading this book. Larson wrote in a way that people of all interest would enjoy and even if you aren’t a fan of crime fiction or of historical fiction, there is still a good chance that you will enjoy this book!
The Chief Staff Sunny Holt: Co Editor-in-Chief Joe Gilmor: Co Editor-in-Chief
the hopeless romantic By: Sunshine Holt
Caitlyn Cotter Carson Gregory Clay Miller Luke Morrissette Madison McDormand Alyssa Rodriguez Crysta Saucedo
you. happiness. the joy you make me feel is out of this world the energy you give me is unmatched you. free-spirit. the freedom you make me feel is unbearable i want to be with you every second every hour always. you. happiness.
Lauren Smith Gabriel Travis Becca True Jasmine White
Mr. Blair, Faculty Sponsor Dr. Soares, Faculty Sponsor
Enjoy creative writing? If you ever would ever like to see your creative pieces in The Chief , contact Mr. Soares or Mr. Blair!