Trine cheer squad


Trine University’s cheer squad includes Francesville native Renee Conner.

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — West Central High School graduate Matthew Poortenga received a Bachelor of Science degree from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais on Saturday, May 8.

Poortenga, the son of Robert and Linda Poortenga of Gillam Township in Jasper County, was one of 1,100 students to participate in the 108th annual commencement on May 8. Students received baccalaureate, master and doctoral degrees during the ceremony.

Poortenga double-majored in the fields of Economics and Finance and Business Administration, with a minor in Accounting.

His activities and honors while attending Olivet included two years as a member of the men’s basketball team, three years with Enactus, co-president his senior year, student council representative, Discipleship Bible study, Sigma Beta Delta member and Magna Cum Laude honoree.

Poortenga’s future plans include moving back to Indiana to begin a career with Alliance Bank, which has branches in several local communities.

Ewen inducted into honors society

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. — Tri-County High School graduate Emily Ewen was recently inducted into the Manchester University chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society.

Ewen, of Wolcott, is majoring in English/Language Arts education.

With campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., Manchester provides vibrant and transformative student experiences. Learn more at

Manchester University’s mission includes respecting the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

Trine U. cheer squad recognized

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trine University cheerleading traveled to Florida to compete in this year’s Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) College Cheerleading Nationals in the Open Small Coed division and returned home with an impressive runner-up finish.

Renee Conner of Francesville, majoring in Elementary Education/Special Education Dual Licensure at Trine, is part of the team.

The event was a two-day process with a preliminary round held on Tuesday, April 27 and finals held on Wednesday, April 28. The overall winner would be determined by averaging the two performance scores for a final event score.

In the preliminary round, the Thunder would join just two other teams from any division with a hit-zero performance. The other two teams both came out of the All Girl division and represented University of Mississippi and Western Kentucky University. Trine would also finish the finals round hit-zero which means no stunts fell, all tumbling landed cleanly and no one violated the safety rules of the competition.

In the preliminary round, the team posted a score of 79.8 good enough to enter the finals in a tie for first, the division was extremely close with the top three teams all posting scores within .4 points of each other.

The Thunder would turn in a performance score of 83.1 in the final round making their event score 81.45 just 1.5 points behind the first-place team.

“It was our goal return from Orlando with a hit-zero performance in the finals and a championship,” said head coach Shea Sims, “While we missed out on the second, I am still extremely proud of what these 18 competitors have accomplished this season despite the adversity they have been presented with.”

Trine was the only institution from the state of Indiana that was able to compete in the championship in person rather than virtually.

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