#1StudentNWI: Portage High School’s last month of school promises summer, graduations, and fun

#1StudentNWI: Portage High School’s last month of school promises summer, graduations, and fun

What's recently happened?

With the last month of school coming to a close, the PHS Music Department put on their annual end of the year music festivals. On May 5, the PHS Orchestra performed their final concert of the year and their senior members wore their prom dresses as tradition. Then on May 12, the PHS Band performed at their last concert with great style.

The final musical concert of the PHS school year was performed by the PHS choir. Unlike the other two musical PHS groups, the PHS Choir has a theme every year. This year's theme was BritBash and featured a variety of composers and musicians who came from Britain and made great success in the United States.

What's coming up?

On June 5, the class of 2022 will be in attendance of their high school graduation. For some seniors, this gradation is a relief, and for others it’s a moment of clarity. One senior, Ethan Whiteman, is excited and perplexed about graduating. While another senior, Kaitlyn Penrod is joyful to graduate but has a few mixed emotions.

For Penrod, graduation means seeing her friends walk across the stage and see them succeed. As for Whiteman, it’s a chance to celebrate his honors accomplishments and look toward the future. On the last day of school Penrod plans to celebrate her accomplishments by partying with her friends, while Whiteman plans to relax and take some much needed chill time.

Whiteman is excited to begin the next chapter of his life at Purdue West Lafayette, where he plans to study Computer Science. Penrod plans to take her next step in education at Indiana University in Bloomington for Public Health.

Penrod would like to say to the upcoming graduates: “Enjoy every moment, the time goes by very fast.” Whiteman adds, “Don’t be afraid to put in the hard work for advanced placement classes. It’s worth it in the long run and you really do learn a lot of interesting stuff."

Teacher spotlight

“I became a teacher because I love sharing different stories and cultures with students. I also enjoy sharing how powerful writing can be. Being able to create relationships and give students a safe and friendly environment is also what drives me to be an educator,” said Rachel Calderone.

This year PHS gained a new English and Legend Publication teacher, Mrs. Calderone. This school year, Calderone taught English 12, Developmental Reading, Legend, and PHS’ night school. During her next year at PHS, Calderone plans to begin teaching Spanish classes, as well as her current courses.

Since she was little, Calderone knew she wanted to be a teacher. When she was able to begin teaching, she started by tutoring, subbing, and teaching part time to prepare her for the real deal. With her career in education, Calderone became an English educator because that has always been a big passion of hers.

When considering the many aspects of teaching, Calderone believes that the best part has to be giving her students a safe environment and a place to look forward to coming to. Also at PHS, English teachers are required to read their students a few books over the school year to discuss and analyze. One of her favorite books to analyze with her freshman students this year has been With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. Acevedo’s book has been her favorite to discuss due to the fact that it mixes cultures, provides representation, and engages students in topics relatable to them as they follow the main character navigate high school and its challenges. This book has had such an impact on some of Calderone’s freshmen that those who have never enjoyed it before, have finally realized that reading is for them.

Calderone is excited for her next year of education but has bittersweet feelings about her seniors leaving. She feels like this school year has gone by fast but has come to value all her students and fellow educators.

“I feel like I’ve finally found a school where I have a family and a place where I can build a long career,” Calderone said.

Student spotlight

In the last few moments of the 2021-2022 PHS school year, one PHS junior, Emerson Ross, is awaiting her senior year with high hopes. However, before her senior year begins in the fall, Ross is ready to work and play travel softball this summer. She also hopes to catch up on her much needed sleep and be stress-free.

Ross has high hopes and aspirations for her senior year due to the fact that she’s starting a teaching vocational in the fall. She is also ready to say goodbye to PHS and graduate to her next level of education, college.

With all the hopes and aspirations Ross has, one of her biggest ones is the anticipation of her upcoming senior softball season in 2023. Since she was able to talk and walk, Ross has been playing softball, and she began travel softball at age 12. For Ross, softball goes hand in hand with sports and companionship.

“I play softball because I enjoy the game and the people who play. The best part is the people I play with. I’m excited for my senior season of softball because I’m so excited to play with my best friends,” said Ross.

One piece of advice Ross would like to give to the upcoming upperclassmen is to try your best and don’t let the stress of grades get to you. Ross knows that one D or F won’t ruin your academic career.