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#1StudentNWI: Fall in Full Swing at Kouts High School


The Leave Are Changing, but Tradition Continues

October has been a busy month at Kouts High School. The jazz band and Kouts Singers performed for the first time at the Fall Fling concert on October 20.

Both groups are under new direction this year. They welcomed back Ray Jansma to the jazz band and Sandy Birky to the Kouts Singers. Both directors had previously directed these groups and decided to return this year. The ensembles had been rehearsing since the start of the school year for this performance. The ensembles transported the audience back to the good old days with classic hits like “Sound of Silence” and “September.” The groups were happy to be back on stage after their summer break.

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The fall fun did not stop there. To celebrate Halloween, the Student Council hosted the second annual elementary trick-or-treating on October 31. High school volunteers dressed up in costumes and passed out candy to elementary students and their families. It provided a safe, warm way for the little ones to experience Halloween.

The Kouts Music Boosters also joined in the festivities and hosted the 64th Annual Ham and Turkey dinner on November 4. Preparations for the dinner started the Friday before. Band and choir students and parents teamed up to decorate the cafeteria and prepare the food. Superintendent Dr. Rod Gardin carves the turkeys every year. This year, due to a broken turkey slicer, he assisted in the coleslaw-making process instead. The dinner is a wonderful way for the community to gather together and share a meal.

Aaarrggh You Going to Homecoming?

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Basketball season is gearing up, which means Kouts Homecoming is right around the corner. Homecoming week is November 27 through December 1. The homecoming game is against Covenant Christian at 5:30 on December 1, and the dance will be the next Saturday on December 9. This year’s homecoming is taking Kouts students to the Caribbean in a pirate-themed extravaganza. The Student Council plans the activities for the week, but many groups get involved in performing and making the week a success.

Students will be participating in dress-up days all week, as well as decorating their respective hallways. Class relays will kick off the competition on November 29. The following day, classes will compete against each other in the Powder Puff basketball game. At the end of the week, points will be tallied from the competitions, and the winning class will be announced at the Pep Rally on December 1. The Homecoming dance will stray away from traditional pirate skull and crossbones and will feature elegant decorations and metallic accents.

A bike drive is also on the calendar for this month. On November 18, Student Council is partnering with Working Bikes, a nonprofit organization based out of Chicago. Bring these items to Door 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

  • Bikes (any size or condition)
  • Tag-a-longs
  • Bike racks 
  • Bike tools 
  • Sewing machines (no cabinets)
  • Crutches
  • Wheelchairs

The bikes will be refurbished and distributed across Chicagoland or shipped internationally to provide transportation for those in need.

Teacher Spotlight: Lauren Angeles

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Lauren Angeles didn’t always dream of becoming a Spanish teacher. She attended Valparaiso University to become an astronomer and analyze data for the Hubble Telescope.

During her time at VU, Angeles had a roommate from Peru and Ecuador, which sparked her interest in Spanish. She was not enjoying her classes, so she changed her major to Spanish her junior year.

Angeles has always had a knack for teaching from a very young age. From playing school as a child to tutoring in high school and college, Angeles has always been teaching. After taking an education class, she realized teaching was her passion. After graduation, Angeles began her master’s work by studying two summers in Spain and two in Mexico through the University of Northern Iowa. She accredits this program to immersing her in the Spanish culture and language.

This is Angeles’s twentieth year teaching at Kouts. She acknowledges that teaching can be a stressful job, but she says, “I don’t make money. I make a difference. I like to think that besides teaching a subject that I love, I demonstrate how to be a lifelong learner.”

Angeles certainly does in her classroom by sharing her life experiences with her students. She adds creativity to her lessons and brings in a show-and-tell of pictures and mementos from her travels. Angeles also engages students with stories about her husband, Hugo, who is from Mexico City. By sharing her adventures of life as student in Spain and Mexico, she hopes to not only teach a language but share a culture.

Student Spotlight: Paula Horstkotte

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KHS is currently participating in the American Exchange Program, through which 12 German students are visiting for two weeks to learn about American culture. Exchange student Paula Horstkotte, however, is our year-long exchange student from Germany.

Horstkotte lives near Frankfurt and attends the Karl-Rehbein-Schule. A high school diploma from there will allow her to attend university or college. She is the only one from her school to participate in an exchange program.

Since her arrival in August, Horstkotte mentioned one of the biggest adjustments has been American food.

She said, “The food portions are bigger, and you can get almost everything deep fried. I think I couldn’t finish one meal from a restaurant since I’ve been here.”

In Germany, McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC are the only fast food options. All the other restaurants are traditional, family-owned establishments. Horstkotte said she sometimes misses sitting down in a real restaurant.

Horstkotte has also been pleasantly surprised by Americans’ politeness.

“In Germany everybody minds their own business. We would never think about saying hello to a cashier at a supermarket. I like that in America better,” Horstkotte said.

After Horstkotte receives her high school degree from her school in Germany, she plans to take a gap year to travel, or maybe even two to do social work. She is currently thinking about a career in the medical field.

Horstkotte continues to fit in very well at Kouts, and the student body looks forward to spending more time with her.

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