Gillett FFA hosts annual banquet

Award winners and officers were honored at the Gillett FFA banquet May 5. Pictured are, front row, from left, Phillip Heroux, Emily Hairapetian, Elizabeth Ciancio, Haley Giese and Thayne Bjelland. Back row is FFA adviser Michele DeBauch, Matthew Rost, Blake Goodreau, Tani Lucht and Grace Wickman. (Contributed photo)

To celebrate this year’s accomplishments of the Gillett FFA, the chapter held a banquet May 5 at Romy’s Holiday Inn, Kelly Lake. Twenty members and 42 friends, family members and guests attended the awards ceremony. Amelia Hayden, Wisconsin FFA state president, was the guest speaker.

There were many awards given to celebrate the past year of accomplishments within the chapter. Discovery Degree recipients were Bradin Bjelland, Ben Matczak, Dylan Nelson, Shelby Otto and Emma Walker.

Laney DeBauch was named the 2019 Outstanding Middle School Member.

Greenhand Degree recipients included Alex Baldwin, Thayne Bjelland, Tani Lucht and Juniper Schaefer. The 2019 Star Greenhand award was presented to Thayne Bjelland.


Falls senior gets Burger King scholarship

Glenn Seyfert, owner of Burger King in Oconto Falls, presents a $5,000 Burger King McLamore Foundation scholarship to Mackenzie Staidl, along with Doug Kellogg, manager, and Jennifer Taege, director of operations for PIP Corp. (Contributed photo)

An Oconto Falls High School senior is one of just 11 students across North America to receive a Burger King Scholars Regional Employee Award from Burger King’s philanthropic foundation.

The Burger King McLamore Foundation presented the $5,000 scholarship to Mackenzie Staidl of Oconto Falls, who plans to use the award to attend University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, majoring in English and Drama.

Staidl has maintained a high GPA throughout her academic career at Oconto Falls High School, while also being an active member of several clubs and participating in several productions in her high school career.

In addition to working as a team member at the Oconto Falls Burger King, she is involved in her high school’s drama club, FFA, student council, band, jazz band, choir, vocal jazz, and forensics team. She is a class officer, president of the FFA, and a member of the National Honor Society.


Gillett forensics brings hardware home

The Gillett High School forensics team visits the state Capitol during its trip to the state tournament in Madison. Front row from left, Marissa Klein, Serenity Corona, Elizabeth Ciancio, Sylvia Hansen, Sia Billington and Jerika Heroux; second row, Joslyn Sexton, Brianna DeBauch, Emily Umentum and Angela Guzman; third row, Kallie Frank, Sydney Young, Meredith Hansen, Jenna Woelfel, Hannah Simpson and Lizzie Tebo; fourth row, KayLee Huebner, Ana Grover, Alaina Herzog, Aubrey DeBauch, Valerie VandeCorput, Bailey Pedersen and Lars Grover; top row, Anastasia Lizarraga, Derek Hanson, Cole Watts, Riley Engebretsen and Connor Hanson. (Contributed photo)

Members of the Gillett High School forensic team represented their school well in the Wisconsin High School Forensics Associate State Event, held April 12-13 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Students who scored a perfect 25 out of 25 possible points received a gold medal. Eleven top performers from Gillett earned this prestigious “Critics Choice Award,” including Anastasia Lizarraga, Sia Billington, Sydney Young, Ana Grover, Abby Peterson, Jenna Woelfel, Lizzie Tebo, Aubrey DeBauch, Brianna DeBauch, Valerie Vande Corput and Lars Grover.

Students who scored 23 or 24 points received a silver medal; 11 Gillett students earned this “All-State Award.” They are Jerika Heroux, Angela Guzman, Kallie Frank, Serenity Corona, KayLee Huebner, Emily Umentum, Elizabeth Ciancio, Sylvia Hansen, Riley Engebretsen, Derek Hanson and Connor Hanson.


Stegeman named state Future Business Leader

Suring High School senior Mitchell Stegeman with his first-place trophy after being named Wisconsin’s Future Business Leader. (Contributed photo)

A Suring High School senior qualified for national competition during the 65th annual Wisconsin State Leadership Conference on April 8-9 in Green Bay.

Mitchell Stegeman placed first in the Future Business Leader state event, qualifying him for national competition in San Antonio in June. There he will compete against members from across the country for the title of national Future Business Leader.

Stegeman was also was recognized for his completion of the Future, Business, and Leader levels of the Business Achievement Awards as well as, being a Who’s Who in Wisconsin FBLA recipient.

He was one of five members and one adviser who took part in this year’s conference. Maddy School competed in Broadcast Journalism, while Caleb Lally, Linzy Runge, and Wylee Van Bellinger completed the Legacy Academy, a one-and-a-half-day leadership workshop led by professional speaker Patti Hendrickson.


OFHS Drama Club to present classic comedy

Abby (Mackenzie Staidl), second from right, and Martha (Paige Stapleton), right, look on affectionately as their nephew Mortimer (Keith Van Dornick) celebrates his new engagement with his fiancee Elaine (Andrea Waschbisch). (Contributed photo)

The Oconto Falls High School Drama Club is finalizing preparations for its spring production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” later this month.

This classic dark comedy has been a smash hit in New York and on the road. The story tells of the charming and innocent Brewster sisters, Abby and Martha, who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously “acceptable” roomers; along with the antics of their nephews, Mortimer, a manic theater critic; Jonathan, who is on the run from the law; and Teddy, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt.

The production is once again under the direction of faculty member Gayle Gander, assisted by senior student director Addy Hatch. Club members making up the cast include Mackenzie Staidl, Paige Stapleton, Keith Van Dornick, Connor Romandine, Aidan Spillane, Andrea Waschbisch, Khloe Van Dornick, Gabby Wellnitz, Allison Grzelak, Katelyn Staidl, Lydia Murphy-Hendricks, Carli Fischer and Alex Waschbisch.


OFHS artist receives national recognition

Adeline Pumplun is Oconto Falls High School’s first-ever national medalist in the annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She will be traveling with her mom to New York to receive her award at Carnegie Hall, and her work will be exhibited around the U.S. for the next two years. Pumplun had three art pieces accepted into the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, earning two silver keys and one gold key.


Veteran teachers call it a career

Sports teams always face the challenge of moving on as veteran players retire, sometimes several at the same time.

Everyday work teams can face the same challenge. The Oconto Falls School District is no exception.

The Oconto Falls School Board on March 11 accepted retirement requests from four teachers with a combined 125 years of service to their students.

Retiring at the end of this school year are Todd Peterson, elementary teacher at Oconto Falls Elementary School; Charles Seidl, science teacher at Washington Middle School; JoAnn Peters, seventh-grade English teacher at Washington Middle School; and Jan Wallrich, art teacher at Oconto Falls High School.

“To say that they have been extremely dedicated to our school district is an understatement of epic proportions,” Superintendent Dean Hess told the board. “We greatly appreciate the work that they have each done, ranging from the elementary school to middle school and the high school.”


STEM Symposium showcases student research

Kids belly up to the “Alien Juice Bar” run by, from left, Trinady Vorpahl, Willamina Peterson and Navalee Bauer at the Oconto Falls High School STEM Symposium on Monday. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

More than 150 science, technology, engineering and math projects are on display at the annual STEM Symposium at Oconto Falls High School on March 4. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Kailey VanLanen, left, and Lydia Murphy-Hendricks demonstrate with a tennis ball the trebuchet they used to measure trajectory and distance in their “Orange Smackdown” experiment. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics ruled the day Monday evening in the gymnasium and commons of Oconto Falls High School, where hundreds of students shared the results of their research in the school’s annual STEM Symposium.

Seniors Kailey VanLanen and Lydia Murphy-Hendricks explained the results of their “Orange Smackdown” experiment, using their hand-crafted trebuchet — a catapult-like device that uses a heavy counterweight to hurl its payload — to determine the launch angle needed to throw an orange the farthest.

Their attempts showed that the “sweet spot” is when the trebuchet was pulled 80 to 100 degrees off center. A greater or lesser angle was less effective.


OFHS dance team qualifies for state

Oconto Falls School Board President Ron Leja, standing at left, congratulates the high school dance team for advancing to the state championships. Front row from left, Abby Decker, Ali Brown, Gabby Konop, Emma Howey and Lindsey Schuster; middle row, Haylee Whiting, Brett Norling, Karen Mielke, Cedar Olson, McKenzie Jackson and Sami Drews; back row, Ari Kubsh, Loryn Wolf, Ashley Britton, Cameron Mercier, Autumn Payette, Isabella Clausen and head coach Laura Kostreva. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

The Oconto Falls High School dance team competed Feb. 2 at the Wisconsin Association of Cheer/Pom Coaches state dance championships in La Crosse, capping one of the most successful seasons in the team’s history.

The team performed a jazz routine titled “Clearly” and a hip hop routine titled “BZRK” at the regional competition at Kimberly High School in late January, advancing to compete in hip hop at the state level.

“Oconto Falls has never competed in hip hop before; it’s kind of a challenging style,” head coach Laura Kostreva told the Oconto Falls School Board when the team was recognized at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting. “Our girls did fantastic. They did an amazing job, and I’m so proud.”

The state judges announce only the top five finishers, and the Panthers team did not place, Kostreva said. “We’re hoping in the future that we can make one of those coveted spots.”


Stop Spreading the News

Newsies Mike (Adrian Caylor), Crutchie (Alyssa Bruckert), Davey (Marcus Moss), Jack (Caleb Miller) and Les (T.J. Hock) perform a dance number as they vow to strike against the New York World in a scene from “Newsies.” Pulaski High School is performing the musical for the next two weekends. (Times Herald photo by Lee Pulaski)

Newsie Romeo (Connor Heezen) tries to charm newspaper reporter Katherine (Ava Baenen) in a scene from “Newsies,” but Katherine is having none of it. (Times Herald photo by Lee Pulaski)

Medda Larkin (Jessica Goska) performs a song for the newsies, including, from left, Jack (Caleb Miller) and Davey (Marcus Moss) in the first act of “Newsies.” The musical is not only a first for Pulaski High School, but for most schools as Disney extended performing rights to high schools in 2018. (Times Herald photo by Lee Pulaski)

Newspaper subscribers tend to get irritated when they don’t get the news delivered on time, but imagine that the late deliveries are on purpose.

That scenario is at the center of “Newsies,” a musical being performed by Pulaski High School this weekend and next. The musical is based on the 1992 film, which was based on the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City.

The show follows a ragtag band of newspaper delivery boys as they struggle to make a living delivering the news. Many of them are living on the streets, and others are delivering papers to help their families put food on the table. That living is put in jeopardy when Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, hikes the price for the newsies to purchase their papers to sell. After finding that the other papers in the city are planning to follow suit, the newsies, led by Jack Kelly, decide to go on strike.


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