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#1StudentNWI: A Whirlwind of Activities at Kouts


Good Eats

In a typical movie set in a school, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a grumpy lunch lady slopping some mystery food on a student’s tray. This is not the case at Kouts, though. The cafeteria staff take pride in the work they do to help the students. After all, students wouldn’t be able to focus during the day without a good lunch. Their goal is to “serve with a smile.”

The group of eleven women is led by cafeteria manager, Nicole O’Donnel. As manager, her job is to plan how much food to make so the least amount is wasted. Each of the women has a specific area of the kitchen they are in charge of. Jobs range from general cook to pizza maker to dishwasher, and they all cashier or serve students in the lunch line.

Even though it can be a time crunch to get all of the food prepared for lunch, the staff is rewarded with seeing all of the students. The elementary students especially brighten their days with their unfiltered remarks.

The Health Department periodically visits the cafeteria to make sure standards are being met. On Thursday, February 22, the ladies received an A+ rating on their cafeteria, meaning they met the highest level of cleanliness.

Mary Kneifel, whose two children attend Kouts, stressed the importance of caring about the kids she serves. This smiling bunch of women feed hundreds of kids each day and are sure to have a laugh or two along the way.

Changing the World with Art

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Everyone has a talent, whether it be the ability to run the fastest or make someone laugh. Senior Lauren Royter shines when she has a paintbrush in her hand. Royter originally attended a small elementary school where there wasn’t a big emphasis on art. When she transferred to Kouts, Royter attended her first art class and fell in love.

Royter said, “Art to me is an outlet to express myself; it lets me get the images and thoughts I have in my head and turn them into something real.”

This year, Royter is taking Advanced 3D art. Her favorite art to make, however, is realistic pencil drawings. Royter’s work has been showcased at an art show in Munster, and she has won three Arts-a-Budding awards at Valparaiso University.

Her interest in art led Royter to develop a passion for makeup, which she calls “art you get to wipe off your face at the end of the day.” Royter will be attending IUPUI in the fall and plans to major in International Studies. With this knowledge, she plans to create her own cosmetics company that will donate a portion of its profits to organizations that help victims of human and sex trafficking.

Royter is using her artistic talents to improve the world.

She said, “Changing the world and making makeup is my dream, and I would be over the moon if that becomes a reality. I will fail and succeed, but I will never stop believing that it can happen.”

Shakespeare and Orwell

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Freshmen, sophomores, and seniors travelled to Chicago’s Navy Pier on March 2 to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This much anticipated trip provided students with a glimpse of professional theater and an opportunity to travel into the city.

Students were one of the first audiences to watch a show in the newly opened auditorium called ‘The Yard.’ The Yard is completely customizable, so the director can choose how to arrange the seats and stage to best fit the play’s needs. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was arranged in the traditional courtyard style with floor and balcony seating on three sides of the stage.

Before the play began, one of the actors stepped onstage to ease the students’ fears of Shakespeare. He explained that by listening to the actors’ tone and watching body language, the plot will naturally emerge. Shakespeare’s works were really meant to be performed instead of simply being read. His works, though hundreds of years old, are still relevant to our lives today.

After the show, students enjoyed eating at Navy Pier and getting photos of the city with their friends.

This trip was a nice way for English 12 students to relax after the dystopian simulation with English teacher, Elizabeth Chatwell. Chatwell modeled the dystopian society after Orwell’s 1984, which seniors recently read. Students had to follow strict rules so they didn’t receive demerits for disobeying ‘The Party.’ Although Orwell is much different from Shakespeare, both experiences connected students to the works they have read in their literature classes.

Upcoming Events

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The East Porter Honor Society will be holding its annual food drive on March 17. The committee, headed by senior Jay Heinold, is hoping this will be their biggest year yet. Last year’s collection was just under one thousand items. On March 10, Honor Society students will drive around Kouts to pass empty bags out and spread the word to community members about the food drive. On March 17, students will collect what they hope to be bags full of food to support the Pleasant Township Food Pantry.

The spring sports season is gearing up, as well. The track and field team, coached by Kevin Duzan, has been conditioning the past couple of weeks as their official season starts soon. Here is a list of their upcoming meets.

  • April 5, 18, 24, 28 at Kouts
  • April 10 at Morgan
  • April 14 at North White
  • April 21 at Hanover Central
  • May 5 at Kouts (PCC)

The juniors may not have been able to attend the Shakespeare field trip, but they’ve been staying busy in English class. They have been preparing for their upcoming job shadow on April 12. It is the hope of English teacher Carol Flanigan that the job shadow will help prepare students for the interview process and also give them an idea of what they’d like to do in the future. Juniors have also been working on a family tree project, where they trace one side of their family’s history and present their findings.

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