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#1StudentNWI: Kouts' Pomp with a Splash of Circumstance


Memorial Day Weekend Festivities
The Pleasant Township pool kicked off its 46th season on May 27. Opening day was a bit cloudy and cool for swimmers, but there was plenty of sun the next day. Kids were having a blast swimming, while teenagers were getting a tan when I arrived at the pool. Lifeguards on duty included Nate Anweiler, Grace Birmingham, Serena Birmingham, and Austin Bushore. The lifeguards enjoy the opportunity to get to know the kids on a one-to-one level.

Pleasant Township Trustee Jean Oehlman was also there to greet swimmers. Oehlman said she’s always pleased with how many people from outside of Kouts come to enjoy the pool. Swimming lessons will be offered again this year for ages 5 and up. The session times have not been set, but interested parents can call (219) 766-3794 for more information. The pool (located at 812 Sunset Dr.) is open daily from 12:30 to 8:00 weather permitting.

The Kouts High School Band and Color Guard had a beautiful day to march and honor those who have fallen serving our country in the annual Kouts Memorial Day Parade. The band was under the direction of Frank Gast, and the Color Guard routine was choreographed by upcoming Kouts junior Hannah Krueger.

Gast will be transferring to Michigan City Schools this coming school year.

Gast stated “It’s definitely bittersweet moving on, but I know that the Kouts music program will be in good hands.”

Parade goers were also entertained with firetrucks, llamas, and old cars.

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Upcoming Summer Fun
Kouts students’ busy lives don’t stop when summer begins. Upcoming seniors Truitt Anweiler and Amanda Gardin are performing in Memorial Opera House’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Truitt says Director Kurt Gillans is putting a twist on the classic story so audience members can be ready for something new and exciting. These thespians both started their theatrical careers in sixth grade. Amanda continues to perform because she loves seeing all of the different arts come together in one show.

“As funny as it sounds, theatre people are some of the most real people even though they always have to pretend to be someone else.” said Truitt.

Joseph runs weekends July 14 through July 30. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.

Upcoming Senior Mitchell Sech has been participating in the SLYCE student leadership program this past school year. Mitchell was selected by Principal Tom Stoner to be a representative for Kouts High School.

Sech stated “To me, leadership is about helping guide a group of individuals to achieving a goal that helps others or makes a beneficial impact.”

He and other students from surrounding schools have been planning an event for teens to spread awareness about diversity in our region. Mitchell and his committee are in charge of operations and making sure the event is executed smoothly. The event will be held on June 30th at the Valparaiso Porter Health Amphitheater from 5:00 to 10:00 pm. It will feature foods from different cultures, speakers, and live music. Admission is $5.

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Farewell to Three Teachers
The end of the school year marked the beginning of three Kouts teachers’ retirements. Middle School teacher Kathy Press has been teaching at Kouts since 1980. She’s had the opportunity to teach all subjects and create long-lasting bonds with her students. Press is looking forward to spending more time with her grandsons and granddogs. The next retiring teacher is SueAnn Benham who started her career teaching business and computer applications at Kouts in 1988.

Benham says her favorite part of teaching is “sneaking in those things that are not in the textbook, not a “state standard” but kind of a life lesson about how we treat one another...I love when I can do that!”

She’s looking forward to not setting an alarm clock and traveling the country.

She added “I learned a long time ago that tomorrow is not promised so trust me, I will cherish every single day!” Rich Otto is the last teacher retiring this year. He started teaching traditional woodworking, printing, and drafting classes in 1995. The curriculum eventually shifted to construction, manufacturing, and transportation classes.

Along with teaching, Otto was the sponsor of the Rube Goldberg team which qualified for the national competition the past thirteen out of fourteen years. His favorite part of teaching was being able to see students think on their own and solve problems. Otto plans to continue his stoneworking hobby, go to the beach, and enjoy spending with his family and new granddaughter. The Kouts students and staff wish these teachers the best in retirement.

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Graduation - Click Here for More Photos from Graduation!
The 110th Annual Commencement Exercises took place on June 10th. The festivities began with the Baccalaureate Service with address by Pastor Matt Willingham from Heartland Christian Center.

Pastor Matt began by posing this question to the Class of 2017: “What will be your story?”.

He said you can either make history or become history. He urged the graduates to make more than just a resumé for themselves and to make a legacy full of meaningful relationships and positive impacts. The welcome address was delivered by Gabrielle Conway, class salutatorian. She spoke of how the value of friendships and family was instilled in her because of attending a small school. She ended her address with these last words of encouragement to her classmates: “May the force be with you.”

Kylee Martin, class valedictorian, then gave her address building on Pastor Matt’s idea of creating your story. She took audience members on a walk through the Class of 2017’s time at Kouts. Kylee urged her classmates to fill the blank pages wisely and to not be the character in your book that just sits on the sidelines. Last to speak was superintendent, Dr. Rod Gardin. He cautioned the graduates to use their words wisely because after all, “words have the power to create or destroy life.” Finally, the long awaited moment came, and the Class of 2017 processed to the classic tune of Pomp and Circumstance. Cards were read listing the graduates’ favorite memories and future plans as they walked across the stage and received their diplomas.

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

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