- Editor’s Note: The following are stories written by Hoopeston Area Middle School students for the March edition of the Cornjerker Times student publication.
HAMS students take on the challenge
By Phoenix Webber
Hoopeston area students are up for a challenge — a homeroom challenge, that is — and the winners will be named champions.
Mr. Chorak said in January and February, each homeroom competed for the champion belt for participating and turning in work on time.
For the month of March, the winner will be crowned based on being prepared for each class, every day.
“This challenge will help the school to build teamwork and school pride,” said Mr. Chorak.
Mrs. Lee’s homeroom, Baked Beans, won the challenge for the month of January. The February winner was Mr. Piggush’s class, The Rockets.
Mr. Chorak says, “This will help students feel special, accomplished, and be competitive.”
This will be a continuing challenge for all of the homerooms. The winning room will get the belt. To get to the top you have to all participate. Currently, that belt is flying with the Rockets.
Taylor Page represents HAMS in honor band
By Jonathan Simonton
One HAMS student represented our school on a high level. Taylor Page, HAMS 8th grader, represented our school in the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) honor band, for which members must try out and be accepted.
Taylor says ILMEA members must practice, and then are able to perform in the musical program.
Taylor wanted to join ILMEA because she strives to become a better musician for her own goals. Luckily for her, she made it into ILMEA.
ILMEA brings the best musicians together, to practice, and perform with one another. Taylor auditioned in October 2020, giving her best in her audition.
She said, “It was pretty difficult to get into ILMEA.”
Taylor said ILMEA is important. “It’s important to me, and to others, and it’s an honor to be in ILMEA,” she said.
It’s an honor to have you as a part of our community, as well, Taylor.
HAMS volleyball spiked through a great season
By Gavin Walder
HAMS volleyball worked hard and had fun this year. Mr. Jones served as head volleyball coach, and Mrs. Walder was a volunteer assistant coach for the 8th grade team.
They practiced in the morning in the MS gym, and they worked on drills, scrimmaged, asked questions, and had fun.
The girls put in the extra work and did their best to get ready for their season and be prepared for it, even if it is way harder than normal because of Covid. Masks were also a factor this year, as they had to wear them in games and practice.
“I think it’s important to put in extra work so the girls can play, it is something normal and fun for them, and maybe it can help them do better in school, too,” said Mrs. Walder.
They also had less time than normal to prepare for games this year because of Covid.
“This group of girls is very special, they all get along, they very rarely argue, and they support each other. It is also very nice to never have to worry about grades,” said head coach Mr. Jones.
Also, since almost all the sports started up at once, gym space was a problem too, so when one coach had to go for something another had to step up.
“There are four coaches throughout the three grades, so it is very good to be able to rely on each other when you have to do something or cannot make it that day for some reason. It is also good for the kids to see them helping each other out,” Mrs. Walder said.
Mrs. Walder also thinks that showing leadership skills to the girls is also very important.
Mr. Jones says they experienced limited practice time compared to normal.
“I think that court time is super important even if it is limited. Nothing can replace court time, so I think it is very good that the girls are able to play at least some this year,” added Mr. Jones.
Some of the team’s goals were to, first, win as many games as possible; try their best; learn leadership skills, prepare for high school.
This is Mrs. Walder’s first year volunteering, and she loved it! “It has been fun teaching them, also staying busy, and I just really like the sport,” said Walder. She even played a little bit in college and refereed some too.
Mr. Jones also played sports growing up and last year was offered the high school volleyball job, so he just did 8th grade as well.
“I think it is smart to start younger so I know the girls better in high school, it is a good opportunity,” he said.
Overall, the girls worked hard to win, prepared for high school, and had fun!
HAMS boys basketball hit the courts
By Seth Goble
Basketball may have been rough during Covid-19 with new restrictions and new rules, but Coach Harbacek believed the boys adapted to the changes.
They lost their first game going 34 to 28 against Milford. They also lost the second game against Bismarck, going 56 to 52 during overtime. They lost both games but that doesn’t mean they can’t win just yet.
Coach Harbacek said, “Basketball provided an opportunity to get back into sports, and some normalcy back in their lives,” as Covid-19 took away most of the season.
Covid-19 shrunk the basketball season to six games.
Coach Harbacek has been coaching for 28 years. He played four years in high school and two years of college basketball.
There’s been a story going around, about how he made a half court shot during practice. It sounds like all of those years of basketball paid off!
Chorus and Show Choir showdown
By Briley Longest
Mr. Sperry is the middle school chorus director and show choir teacher, so he clearly has his hands full.
The show choir held tryouts from February 16 to February 28 with a virtual tryout production.
Rehearsals start Thursday, March 19, and the performances will be completely virtual.
This year the show choir will be virtually performing the traditional “Farmer Tan” as a high school/middle school combination.
The chorus, on the other hand, has already been getting their practice all year and will also have a virtual show.
If you are interested in chorus that is great. You can choose to sign up for the class for the 2021-22 school year.
HAMS band prepares for winter concert
By Nevaeh Mitchell
The excitement is building for band instructor, Steven Kurk, as the day approaches for the winter concert in March.
Although being held remotely from the high school auditorium, it’s still an event sure to please.
The winter concert has been, in the past, one of the highlights of the school year. The work put into the performances of each student is not to be underestimated. It is not only enjoyable, but it is a time for each student to show their awesome abilities and talents. The pandemic has, of course, hindered the attendance of people in the auditorium but has not stifled this performance.
In reality, it has actually opened up the possibilities for more people to view this amazing concert than before, as some may have never been able to physically attend otherwise.
Mr. Kurk shows his own talent with how well he’s able to deal with the pandemic and able to teach his students.
The shortened school days have made practicing harder than usual due to the crunch for time. Likewise, making an exact date virtually impossible at this time. March 2021 is the month that the goal is set for and hard work is being done to make this possible. Be assured the show will go on.
Accommodations beyond the remote display have also been added to this endeavor for the safety of the students and faculty involved. Six-foot spacing between all participants is a must and the fact that each student has their own instrument is a plus.
Stay tuned for further information as it arrives.
HAMS Student Council prepares for new leadership
By Isabella Shepherd
The HAMS Student Council will change leadership soon, as officer elections will occur in March or April. Please contact Advisor Mrs. Judy if you’re interested in running for office.
Current officers are President Daizy Robinson, Vice-President Lillie Elliot, and Work Coupon Recorder Nolan Lee.
Each month, Student Council coordinates the Student of the Month Assembly. In February, he 6th grade winners were Heidi Walder and Cy Tuggle. Cole Miller and Mylee Pyle won for 7th grade, and the 8th grade winners were Alexia Makemson and Alex Mclure.
Another recent event was Valentine’s Day Tootsie Pop and Crush can sales.
Student Council sold around 180 Tootsie Pops, 85 orange Crush cans, and about 30 purple Crush cans. The money from those purchases go toward school needs.
Mrs. Judy would like to thank Mrs. Fesser for her help throough this year.
“Shoutout to Mrs. Fesser for all her help this year,” Mrs. Judy said.
Concert Band completes recitals
By Noah Gonzalez
This is not a normal year for extracurricular activities, but the 5th and 6th Grade Concert Band is handling it well.
The 5th and 6th Grade Concert Band held recitals on Monday, February 22, and Thursday, February 25. The recitals an be viewed on the school website or on school district social media.
Band director Mrs. Mandel said some of her best performers and leaders are Heidi Walder, Jillian Miller, and Neveah Sipra.
Mrs. Mandel and other staff and board members kept the band going because they thought it was important to keep playing, especially for the people who are just beginning in band. Also, they keep the concerts going virtually because it’s motivating and important to participate in concerts.
Although they’re together playing their instruments, they still follow the safety precautions by wearing a special mask with a mouth hole and spacing apart from each other.
Mrs. Mandel has been directing bands for 14 years. She performed in band as a kid, which she started in 4th grade, 1994.
She played clarinet, which is her favorite, saxophone, and the flute. She also said that the French horn is the most difficult.
Writers in the spotlight at first-ever Writers’ Cafe
By Cecelia Haton
HAMS Students exhibited their writing and musical talents during the first-ever HAMS Writers’ Cafe.
During the first week of February, 13 middle school students participated and showed off their talents, recording their poetry readings, short stories, and vocal solos. The Hoopeston Area music teachers also performed a jazz ensemble, with Jerky serving as director.
This year, organizer Mrs. Lee said an in-person event, which would have been ideal, could not happen because of Coronavirus. So they recorded it in the chorus room, instead of doing it in person.
“I am really proud of the students who participated in the Writers’ Cafe,” said Mrs. Lee.
The presentation can be viewed on the school website, as well as on the Hoopeston Area CUSD social media outlets.
Word on the Street: What are you doing for spring break?
By Aubrie Cannon and Ayden Larkin
“What are you doing for spring break?” We asked that to the students at HAMS.
Some are going on vacation and others are hanging out with friends and family.
“Probably hanging out with friends and family and basketball doing random stuff,” Trenton Montez said.
“I think I’m going on vacation,” said Cole Miller. “Probably hanging out with people and wrestling,” said Owen Garrett.
“I am going to Wisconsin for spring break for a family trip,” said Olivia Swartz.
“I think I have a softball tournament for my travel team,” said Maddie Barnes.
“I’m not doing anything for spring break this year because of COVID, so I will probably hang out with friends and family,” Abby Alwardt said.
OPINION: Hot lunches, please!
By Bella Weber
Cold lunches just aren’t great. Let’s change that!
We should have hot lunches instead of the cold lunches we have now. Understanding the current Covid situation, I know that we can’t have sit-down lunches. We could still solve the problem by having hot lunch in to-go boxes. So, what is the problem?
Well first, the lunch we get now isn’t very flavorful. Which means kids are less likely to eat it, resulting in not getting the nutrients they need.
For example, we get a cold ham sandwich that personally doesn’t look appealing. I think we should get to-go boxes with hot lunch in them. This way the kids at this school can have a filling lunch and actually enjoy it.
The lunch staff already make the lunch for John Greer and Maple schools.
It doesn’t really make sense that we don’t get it. I mean, if our school makes it, shouldn’t we get it too? I certainly miss school food and I know the majority of kids that go to HAMS do, too.
There would also probably be less trash because the kids would enjoy their food and eat it, rather than throwing it on their way home.
I honestly see no faults to this easy change suggestion. The students would be a lot more satisfied and I think that people would actually start to look forward to school lunches if they know they would get food they will enjoy at the end of the day.
This school year has been hard and confusing for all of us, so let’s have one thing that can remind us of when school wasn’t so hectic.
OPINION: Pandemic: A mixture of good and bad
By Andre Mendoza
In my opinion this pandemic is a mixed bag of good and the bad things, but mostly bad.
One thing I have mixed feelings with is the face masks. I have never felt comfortable being around people, especially in school. Then the pandemic hit and we needed to wear face masks. It felt weird wearing a mask at first. But then I realized that with a face mask no one can see my face obviously. But not everyone feels the same way.
The first thing that became hard to do was read the emotions of others’ faces, and try to convey your own. Some say they can’t breathe or they don’t think others can’t hear them but I think they are just over reacting.
On another note, I think hat, in the end, the pandemic disposable mask will make up a large percentage of trash on earth, so much so that we’ll have another big problem right after this big problem.
Shopping is another thing that’s changed from what it used to be.
When was the last time you’ve gone shopping?
Whether it’s for clothes or for groceries, it’s easy to feel the change. One way that stores fend off the virus is to limit the amount of shoppers they could allow in their stores.
If there’s less people to get it, the better off we are.
If you’re somehow too afraid to leave your home, then your next option would be to order online.
There are some problems with this form of shopping too. If someone orders online for their groceries, there’s the possibility that they get mixed up with someone else’s.
There really isn’t a good way to defend against this, so the best thing to do is hope for the best.