What just happened?
The first semester of the year is finally complete and students are relaxing at home or on a special vacation away from home. After finals, every student was happy to get their break. All students, excluding the winter athletes, of course.
Not even winter break halts the basketball season for Whiting’s Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams. Whiting’s girls most recent game was played on December 9 at Westville. As of this game, the team was reported to have a 8-7 record, with a 4-2 record in conference. As for Whiting’s boys, their previous game also took place on December 29 against Hammond’s Gavit High School. Their record is reported at 3-9, and in conference it is 0-4.
Each home game still features Whiting’s very own pep band, filling intermissions, half-time, and time-outs with popular songs for the crowd in attendance. Also in the month, the band had their winter concert. The concert was held on December 18 and featured the bands of Nathan Hale Elementary, Whiting Middle School, and Whiting High School as well as the high school choir. There was a selection of holiday favorites and they closed the night with a special performance, grouping the high school band and choir together, as well as welcoming alumni on stage to play instruments and sing along. On December 22, the band went as a group for breakfast and gift exchange hosted in town at Dos Sabores, a new diner to the city. In years past, the group would go to a different restaurant in town, Sunrise, but the switch was made this year to support Clarinet player Josemiguel Haro, as his family owns and runs Dos Sabores.
For lovers of science, Science Olympiad hosted their first invite on December 2. The invite featured 24 teams from around the state and was an excellent start to the season. Whiting’s Varsity placed 2nd of the 24 teams, and Whiting’s Junior Varsity placed 11th of the 24 teams.
In January, the excitement continues. Whiting’s Girls’ Basketball has their next game slated for January 5 at Lake Station, and it is another game within conference. Whiting’s Boys’ Basketball team’s next game is also against Lake Station at Lake Station, but on January 6. The band is also planned to keep playing at each home game throughout January and February up until the sectional rounds begin.
Science Olympiad is preparing even through their winter break as they await their next invites leading up to the regional and state competitions. It’s important for the team to complete as much preparation as possible now because around mid-to-late January, the team has the invitational competitions almost every weekend from there until mid-March. This year has a slightly different line-up versus the fairly consistent roster in years past. The team has chosen to visit Lake Central’s invite instead of attending the invitational at Northridge High School. The team has also frequented the invitational at Wright State in Ohio, however there will not be one hosted there this year, so the team has added a brand new trip into the mix, being the University of Michigan.
Academic team is in preparation for their upcoming season as well, but their first competition is still a ways off. Wrestling is hard at work getting stronger and improving their skills for their next meets, however with some resistance as a few members have been injured. This month will also see preparation and planning for next month’s Sectional dance.
Teacher Spotlight: Tom Ehrlich
Tom Ehrlich is a brand new teacher at Whiting High School. Ehrlich has been in the area most his life and he graduated from Valparaiso University in 2015 with a degree in secondary math education. He is working on getting his master’s degree from Lindenwood University.
Ehrlich teaches Finite Math among other things to different grade levels. It is a favorite for his senior class fifth hour, which is an impressive feat to overcome a high schooler’s general dislike for math as well as the omnipresent senioritis.
Finite Math is described as “catch-all title for a collection of topics that are anything but calculus” according to sscc.edu. This means there are a lot of topics to cover in his class which keeps it challenging for students. The key to success in his classroom is his connection with the students. While the course’s topics can be hard to grasp and daunting to most students, his friendly and supportive nature keeps students willing to work through the problems. He is a friend to his students and the trust and positivity lend greatly to maintaining an efficient and low-stress learning environment, even through finals week.
Different than some teachers approach math, he strays from assigning long lists of problems from the book and prefers to take on the harder real-world application problems as a class and will even have his students present and teach how to solve the problems of the lesson. He’s warned that even as troubling as the Gauss-Jordan method and matrices had been, the class is going to tackle even harder topics next semester. If his first semester of teaching is any indication, it will be a fun semester of growth and learning, no matter what lessons await.
Julianna Scivinsky is has been a high achiever all throughout her high school career. She is Valedictorian of the 2018 Senior class and was the class president in her freshman year at Whiting, as well as being selected as freshman homecoming attendant.
She is a member of the school’s choir and has competed and medalled at the ISSMA solo and ensemble competition. She was also representative of the school after her Junior year when she went to Hoosier Girls' State, where she also won scholarships.
She is an athlete, having been a volleyball player her first few years at the school and continuing on with the Tennis team into her Senior year. She was a valuable piece of the team as they went to their meets. She has been a member of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society for the last two years, volunteering at events like the St. John pancake breakfast, Whiting's Safety day at the fire and police station, Whiting High School’s first and second blood drives, and the St. Baldrick’s cancer benefit. Scivinsky has also been a very active member of Science Olympiad. Fall through Spring, each year of high school, she can be found alongside fellow students as she studies, takes tests, and builds airplanes in preparation for competition. She has been a member of the Varsity team for them since early in her career at Whiting, winning numerous gold and silver medals at invitationals and regionals for the school as her peers were only just starting to get into the rhythm of the team. Though it was for another school until freshman year, she has been a part of this team for years before her arrival at Whiting, following in her sister’s footsteps.