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Studying Abroad

Madison Feigen Reporter



  With one term left, MHS seniors will be heading off to a new chapter in their life. As they make their future plans, it’s not too early for them to start thinking about study abroad options in college.  

  “I feel like studying abroad shouldn't even be an option for students because it is such a great opportunity to take part in,” said Senior Emma Melledy.

  Yet, the number of students studying abroad represents only about 1 percent of all students enrolled in college in the United States, according to NAFSA, an organization that advocates for study abroad opportunities for college students.

  The percentage of people who study abroad is so small because of people's interests, financial reasons or time constraints if it prevents a student from graduating on time at a four-year university.

  “I did not study abroad. I had lots of friends who did, but I was unable to because of finances, but it is something I absolutely regret,” said AP Psychology Teacher Melissa Schaefer.  

  Despite these drawbacks, studying abroad gives students a chance to experience the world while they still keep up with their studies. The experience can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a full year.  

  "I was able to study yearlong in the south of France; while I was there, I lived in an apartment with my host family and studied at a French school," said Brittany Bray, French and Spanish teacher.

  For students interested in gaining cultural awareness, many schools offer resources to help students plan for the trip.  

  "Universities have study abroad offices and programs. If you go to an out of state school, studying abroad is more reasonable than an instate school. You should look into why you want to study abroad and time frames," said Bray.

  Expanding one’s knowledge about other countries and being able to come out of one’s comfort zone can be nerve wrecking, but potentially worth it in the end.

  Melledy said she wants to study abroad because “the most amazing part is being able to see the world at such a young age. While doing so, you are able to learn about cultures and see the difference between how I’ve grown up and how other kids grow up in different countries.”

   As Melledy would say, a person has to “embrace it,” meaning the person has to take advantage of any opportunity to travel abroad.

  “I know that my mom studied abroad and said it was the best experience she’s had. She also says that most of her friends regret not studying abroad,” said Melledy.

  Some schools offer up to more than 300 countries as travel abroad options, depending on whether the student wants to learn a new language, study a certain culture or explore a destination he or she has only dreamed of.  

  “The top places that I would love to travel to would be France, Amsterdam, Greece or Ireland. I love that I applied to colleges that offer studying abroad options, and they also help students out with funding, for example, Southern Illinois, University of Iowa and University of Missouri,” said Senior Emily Samson.

  Some students specifically are choosing colleges for their study abroad programs.

  Said senior Anthony Wick, “I am looking into colleges that not only can I call home, but that offer many abroad options because that’s important to me. I can’t wait to see the world with friends and learn more about cultures and myself.”


 FBLA creates Dream Team to build community

Gillian Beginski
Staff Reporter

March 18, 2015

Senior Daniella Feijoo, a four-year FBLA participant has recently sparked interest with her role in the Future Business Leaders of America’s Dream Team’s business/philanthropy partnership.


Q: What was your role in the partnership for FBLA?

I am the Community Outreach Committee Head Chair, responsible for relations and assisting in catering, community or public events. I am also in charge of all publicity pieces of the partnership and community outreach. I run the Facebook and Twitter posts promoting The Fuller Center. In addition, I also send emails to The Dream Team and FBLA membership in regards of asking for volunteers.


Q: What was your motivation for forming the partnership?

FBLA is my favorite extracurricular activity, and I have been an active member all four years of high school.  I have served as Mundelein FBLA secretary and president, Northern Area VP and State Secretary.  This year, I really wanted to get the community and more specifically the business leaders involved in the Mundelein FBLA chapter.  Forming this partnership with a nonprofit organization has given our members knowledge and skills that will be critical and advantageous in the future.


Q: Best part of the process thus far?

The best part of the process would have to be the day we participated in the Fuller Center's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.  We had the opportunity to meet people of all ages and interact while volunteering and taking footage of the event. There were various groups at the event, including a construction company, multiple church groups and local high school and middle school kids who painted signs for the community garden and built equipment and furniture for inside the facility. It was great to see the community coming together-- people of all ages, races and backgrounds.

Q: Where do you see the future of the partnership?

I hope to get some volunteers to help build a house that The Fuller Center will be rebuilding and renovating this summer 2015.  They also have their second annual hero party coming up on March 19, so we will be attending to film and promote the event.

Q:  Why did you choose The Fuller Center?

We chose The Fuller Center because they focus on the same ideals that FBLA focuses on-- service, education and progress.  



photo submitted by Adriana Feijoo
FBLA members and parents paint decorative boxes for a garden at The Fuller Center in Waukegan.

They have multiple programs, including wellness (mental/spiritual) and housing.  They focus on creating heroes. These heroes will help communities become spiritually, physically and mentally well, strengthening families and communities.

Q: What is the current state of the partnership?

We are getting ready for the FBLA State Leadership Conference (March 27-28).  We are editing a marketing video that we created for The Fuller Center. They have already used our infographic and video about MLK Jr. Day of Service on their Facebook page. We are currently in the process of creating promotional materials to post on social media for the second annual hero party.


Q: What is the FBLA organization all about?

FBLA is an organization that strives to bridge the gap between school and work by providing members with the opportunity to try new things, get out of their comfort zones and step up to the challenges that they are faced with.  In FBLA we focus on service through projects like the March of Dimes fundraiser, which we raised $3,337.00, and Project Linus when we made 17 blankets for children in hospitals around Christmas as well as Feed My Starving Children.  Education comes into play as members compete three times a year at the Area, State and National Level in over 63 events ranging from Business Math to Sports and Entertainment Management to Social Media Campaign.  Progress is achieved as members have the opportunity to network at the National Fall Leadership Conference and many other conferences as well as have access to Professional Division members and PBL (the collegiate version of FBLA) members for internships, letters of recommendation and advice.  FBLA has helped me and over 250,000 middle and high school students around the country grow into a confident, respectful and worldly citizen and student.
How to not burn your house down
Katelyn Siltman, Features Editor
December 16, 2014

‘Tis the season to be eating, fa la la la la, la, la, la, la” seems to be the theme song of the season.  In honor of this season, here are three fun holiday recipes that require no ovens or stoves, so your parents should trust you using their kitchen with no fear of you burning down the house. 

RECIPE TO TRY: Chocolate covered pretzels


Looking for something both sweet and salty? An easy, quick recipe that is guaranteed to be gobbled up as soon as it is finished is chocolate covered pretzels. Krista Alloy, security guard, said, “Almond bark covered pretzels are nasty. However, milk chocolate covered pretzels are delicious and addicting.”  



  1. A bag of store-bought pretzels
  2. 2-3 cups of milk, dark or white chocolate chips  


  1. Place choclate into a bowl.  Place bowl into a microwave for one minute.
  2. After the minute is up, mix the chocolate; then place it back into the microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat this process until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. While the chocolate is melting, grab a roll of wax paper and rip a long sheet.
  4. After the chocolate is melted and the wax paper is laid out, dip the pretzels into the melted chocolate. Then set them on the wax paper to set.
  5. When the chocolate is set, indulge in this simple, yet delicious treat.



Fun Tip: To be decorative; dip the pretzels in the  regular chocolate. Then melt white chocolate. Grab a fork and dip the fork into the melted white chocolate. Drizzle the white chocolate over the set pretzels, creating a fun striped design. You could also reverse this by dipping the pretzels into the white chocolate and drizzling the regular on top.

RECIPE TO TRY: Homemade peanut butter rounds (allrecipies.com)  


“Peanut Butter, Chocolate, great when separate, but when they combine, they make [anytime] epic,” said the Reese’s Puffs commercial. Make any gathering epic with this recipe for homemade peanut butter rounds. Senior Destiny Sanchez, said, “[Homemade peanut butter rounds] are at least 500 calories, but I’ll eat 10 of them any day.”



  1. 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  2. 1 cup butter
  3. 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  4. 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  5. 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  6. 1 tablespoon shortening



  1. Mix together peanut butter, butter or margarine, confectioners' sugar, and graham cracker crumbs. Shape into one inch balls.
  2. Melt chocolate chips and shortening in microwave. Start with one minute and mix. Then continue with 30 seconds and mix.  Repeat 30 second process until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Dip balls into chocolate mixture and let dry on waxed paper (poke each ball with a toothpick for easier dipping). 

RECIPE TO TRY: Puppy Chow (food.com)

Looking for something swanky and yet simple? Puppy chow can serve as a great late night snack or a treat to pass at a holiday party! Lily Simon, sophomore, said, “Puppy chow tastes so good; I can eat that all day!”


  1. 9 cups Chex cereal (any kind)
  2. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  3. 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, melted

4. 1/4 cup butter, melted

5. 1-2 teaspoon vanilla




6.  1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Measure cereal in large bowl.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter for 1 minute on high.
  4. Stir.
  5. Cook for 30 seconds longer or until smooth.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until coated.
  8. Pour mixture into large Ziploc bag and add powdered sugar.
  9. Shake until well coated.
  10. Spread on waxed paper to cool.
  11. Store in Ziploc bags or large sealed bowl.
Recipe Tip: It helps to add the cereal mixture a little at a time if you only have small bags.
Fun Fall Favorites
Hannah Koehler, Staff Reporter
November 25, 2014

    Fall is a time for family, friends and feasting. MHS students share some of their seasonal favorites for others to try on their family and friends.

RECIPE TO TRY: Old Fashioned Pecan Pie (epicurious.com) 

“My favorite fall food is pecan pie,” said Emily Gathercoal, senior. “It’s so sweet, warm and a great comfort food. It really reminds me of fall because we have pecan pie every year at Thanksgiving, and my whole family gets together.”


  1. 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  2. 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  4. 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 2 cups pecan halves (1/2 pound)
  9. Accompaniment: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with a baking sheet on middle rack.
  2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, zest, and salt. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in corn syrup mixture.
  4. Put pecans in pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them. Bake on hot baking sheet until filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely.

RECIPE TO TRY: Sesame Chicken (food.com)

   “My favorite fall food is Chinese food,” said Vanessa Aguirre, junior. “I like that it’s so warm, and it’s perfect to eat while watching ‘Pretty Little Liars.’” She also explained that “my family tends to only eat together when we have Chinese food, so eating together reminds me of Thanksgiving and the fall season.”


  1. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pat dry with paper towels
  2. 1/2 cup honey
  3. soy sauce
  4. water
  5. cornstarch
  6. ground ginger (fresh is better)
  7. 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  8. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Cut chicken breast into 1 inch strips or bite size pieces
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet that has been sprayed with Pam, over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook chicken for about 6 minutes or until no longer pink.
  4. Mix together honey, soy sauce, water, cornstarch, ginger and red pepper flakes.
  5. Whisk until no corn starch lumps appear.
  6. Pour sauce mixture into skillet with chicken.
  7. Cook until sauce thickens slightly.
  8. You can add more water if sauce is too thick.
  9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  10. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken starts to soak up the sauce.

RECIPE TO TRY: Classic Shortbread Cookies (food network)

“My favorite fall food is shortbread cookies,” said Evan Butler, senior. “They’re really good. My mom and I make them every fall, so it’s a tradition for us, and it’s our way of family bonding.”


  1. Classic Version in 4 ingredients:
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
  7. 1 teaspoon water


  1. Add the flour, salt, and powdered sugar to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the vanilla, the butter and the 1 teaspoon of water. Pulse together just until a dough is formed. Put the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 5 inches long. Tightly twist each end of the wrap in opposite directions. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks. Arrange on nonstick cookie sheets, parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just light brown, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking process. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool until room temperature. Enjoy!

How to decide on future paths

Jessica Carrasco
Staff Reporter
December 16, 2014

  When most freshmen walk into high school, they see four long, hard years of school ahead of them.  Little do they know that walking into high school is like walking into a time machine; time flies by so fast it feels like just yesterday when seniors who were once freshmen were nervous about their first day of school.  Now they are nervous about their futures--where and what they plan to study after high school.  

  “There are so many options you can choose from, so I don’t know what I want to do specifically,” said Pablo Avila, senior.

  Avila is not alone.  Many students find themselves overwhelmed, not just by the number of colleges available to them but also by the number of majors they can choose to study.  

  Some people already know what they want to do and use high school to focus on taking subjects that connect to their chosen career path.  

  “Thinking ahead is good because they aren’t going to have to waste much money, like other people might have to do in the future [when they change their major],”said Cristian Arroyo, senior.    

  While knowing one’s path has its benefits, it’s still okay if a student does not know what he or she will study after high school. 

 “The most popular major for [college] freshmen is maybe undecided,” said Aracely Lawrence, counselor.

  This could be because some students have not yet taken time to really think about what they want to do or are struggling to see a future self.   

 Lawrence said the current generation is so distracted with technology that they put off thinking about their future for later, sometimes even to the last minute.

  “You should take electives or personality tests and sit down and make time to think about these things and listen to your heart and what you are passionate about because if you really like something, you won’t have a problem with the time you spend on it,” said Lawrence.

  Naviance offers different personality and job quizzes, so students can receive individual feedback on what future plans might work for them based on their answers.  

  The site also provides information about the various college options.

  Besides using online resources, students can talk with others about their future career and college options.  One resource would be friends and relatives who have gone to college. They tend to know the advice-seeker well and already care about the person and this person’s future.  They might be able to provide insight into this person’s talents and skills and what careers might be good for them.

  Ideally, students should know what they want to do before senior year, so they won’t face as many pressures while looking at colleges and majors.  To achieve this time frame, students should expose themselves to classes that prepare them for life beyond high school.

  “You should take AP classes to see what colleges are like,” said Arroyo.

  Students find these classes give them insight into the workload and expectations of a college course.  

  Counselors are available to help students decide what high school classes would be a good fit for them. They can also provide insights into what elective classes are available that might expose students to career-related subjects.

  Finally, students should consider joining clubs that seem interesting. These activities might help them understand their strengths a bit more for when they must decide on a future career.  

Viral Trends
Katelyn Siltman
Features Editor
Decemeber 16, 2014

   Videos, including a boy putting a glow stick in a microwave, dogs dressed up like teddy bears, babies playing heavy metal songs on drums, parrots doing Matthew McConaughey impressions, are all commonly talked about through the halls of MHS.

   This is a sign that these videos have gone “viral.”     

   In order for a video to be considered viral, it has to get over a million online views.

   “It has to appeal to a lot of people and to be through a means of where it can be reached by a lot of people,” said Kori Dahlstrom, junior.

   For many, viral videos come to people through social media, such as Vine, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr.

   In order for these to be viewed on these websites, Dominic Frattura, junior, said, “The video has to be funny and relatable.”

   The video of the boy putting a glow stick in a microwave results in the glow stick exploding in the boy’s face.   

   What makes this video most memorable is the commentary from the father.

   Comments such as, “you ding-a-ling” and “you ruined your awesome shirt” caused many viewers to roll out of their seat laughing.

    “The level of stupidity and how the dad cares more about his son’s shirt than his son’s health is what makes this video funny,” said Alexandra Polyakov, sophomore.

   The video called “Munchkin the Shih Tzu teddy bear,” contains adorable footage of a Shih Tzu puppy walking around in a teddy bear costume. What makes this costume different than any other dog apparel is that the costume makes the teddy bear appear to be alive, leaving audiences adoring the walking pup.

   “I thought it was really cute. The video made my day better,” said Brooke Anderson, senior.  

   Another video made viral last May, but still commonly viewed, called “Look Up” is an inspiring poem encouraging people to look up from their screens and not miss the little things in life.

   “How disgustingly true this video is,” said Hallee Johnson, senior. “I think more people should take [the message] more seriously.”


   So whether the video is humorous, adorable or impactful, it somehow makes its way onto at least a million viewers’ computers or phone screens-- and that’s viral.  



Gettin’ the funds: Student, staff views on fundraising

Ashley Wolfe
December 16,2014

   As the year progresses and a desire for various parties and activities develops or a need for new equipment arises, many clubs and sports look to fundraisers to cover the costs. From pastry dough to chocolate bars, MHS has no shortage of fundraising projects.

  “It’s not mandatory,” said Assistant Principal’s Secretary Amanda Parola. “[Every club doesn’t] have to, [but] they all can.”

  A few of the clubs/organizations that fundraise include Band, Winter Guard, Black Student Union, and Best Buddies. There are plenty of others, of course, and their fundraisers vary widely.

  According to Parola, what makes a fundraiser most effective isn’t entirely the product sold or the amount of meals offered to hungry guests, but rather the quality of the advertising.

  “They have to get the word out to the community,” she said.

  Others, like Junior Steven Surmin, believe there are other factors that make a fundraiser effective. A band student himself, he has participated in various fundraisers and knows firsthand what it’s like.

   “When I see someone fundraising, I try to contribute, and I think a lot of people do that,” he said, explaining that the feeling of raising funds for an important cause is well known and therefore encourages many to help out by purchasing products.

   Freshman Girls’ Basketball Coach Stephen Douglas displayed a different point of view on how effective fundraisers are.

  “They help parents more than students,” he said. “Because the more we fundraise, the less parents have to pay for things like equipment or shoes.”

  While he does believe the benefits of fundraising fall more heavily on parents, he did agree that students benefit from them, too, by saying, “[It] helps students socially [by encouraging them to] interact with students and in the community.”

  While everyone can agree on the potency of MHS fundraisers, one thing that seems to spark varying opinions is personal experiences.

  Gabby Potillo, junior, admitted there was nothing specifically she liked or enjoyed about the physical aspect of fundraising.

   “Actually going door to door and selling [items] to people [is most challenging],” she said. “You have to find the time and the courage [for that].”

  Potillo isn’t the only one with this opinion. Freshman Laura Bauman said that one of the most difficult parts is “trying to sell [items] to people and having them buy it.”

  However, she also had a few good things to say about this charitable act.

  “It’s a good way to participate in the community.”

Spotlight: Luke's

Ashley Wolfe
Decemeber 16, 2014

   “It’s the only place you can get quality cheese fries,” said Kyra Tessman, junior, who has been going to Luke’s of Mundelein for two years and knows exactly why it’s one of the places you have to visit.

  Like many other MHS students, she finds their cheese fries to be her favorite menu item.

  “There are chili fries and regular fries, but no one has just cheese fries,” she said.

  Luke’s is located just a few minutes from MHS at 551 North Lake St. They recently moved from 300 North Lake St. to this new location.

  As proof of their valued business, many of their customers moved with them.

  “[I’ve been going there] my entire life,” said Junior Brandon Swanson. “I love their hot dogs. They’re such good quality.”

  Other than hot dogs, the menu includes burgers, subs, cheese sticks, and even funnel cake. What this restaurant is most known for is the Italian beef.

  “We make it here fresh,” said Luke’s employee Adam Wunder. “It’s our own recipe.”

  It would be a crime to give away this famed recipe, but all who are interested can try Luke’s signature Italian 

beef for only $6.15 regularly priced or $8.75 as a daily deal, which includes a small fry and medium drink.  Prices range from $2-$7 for a sandwich or burger (and only a dollar or two more for a sandwich, fries and drink combo). Sides include items like onion rings, nachos, garlic bread and chili. Therefore, if you’re looking for an affordable yet hearty meal, this is the place to go.

  “[I’d say this place is] for everyone,” said Senior Suzie Paredes. “They have something that everyone in your family would want.”

  The red and white checkered table cloths and kid-friendly posters provide an atmosphere fit for a family gathering or lunch with friends.

  Senior Kelly Hamilton, too, agreed that Luke’s is a place for everyone, saying that the staff is all very nice and the food of great quality.

  “The minute you walk in, you see people of different ages,” she said.

  Even more favorable is the fact that students are treated extra special at Luke’s; they get a 10 percent discount with their student ID.

  So, if you do happen to stop by Luke’s, prepare for awesome food and service and a welcoming environment, but don’t forget your student ID.


Take time to thank a Vet

Alex Loading
Staff Reporter
December 16, 2014

  Why celebrate the people who have fought for our great country on Veterans Day--Nov. 11-- or even on Thanksgiving?

   The real question should be, why not celebrate the brave men and women who have fought for our country?

   “Veterans Day is a day to be thankful for those who have served our country and defended our freedom,” said Krista Alloy, security guard, who served four years in the U.S. army.

   Dwight D. Eisenhower set the national date, Nov. 11, for Veterans Day in 1954. This date is significant because on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there was an armistice, or ceases fire, for WWI in 1919.

   Since 1919, there have been millions of men and women who have served in the military, and every Nov. 11 we celebrate those courageous U.S. citizens who risked their lives.

   My uncle, Harry Nickel, who served In the US Marine Corps for four years, said, “Every Veterans Day, I think of the men that I served with and remember all of the great things that they accomplished.”    

   We celebrate all of the men and women who served in the Korean and Vietnamese Wars, the Iraq War, Afghanistan and the World Wars. Most importantly, we celebrate those living as well as those who died in the line of fire defending our country.

   “We celebrate Veterans Day to remember that what we have would not be possible without our veterans,” said Nickel.

   Shane Kosmach, sophomore,  has had four cousins fight for our country, all are still living, as well as his grandpa who fought in World War II.

   Kosmach added, “Veterans Day is the day that [his family and all of the veterans] are recognized and thanked the most.”
   To many U.S. citizens, veterans aren’t only caring and courageous; they are also very humble. These are people who have put their lives in danger, so we can live the life we are living right now, and they don’t expect anything in return.

   “It is a day to be remembered for their selflessness, and a day to thank one another fellow veterans for standing beside one another and always being willing to die for one another,” said Alloy.

   A simple handshake and “Thank You” is all that is needed to make a veteran’s day.

   “Veterans Day is a day to thank all of those who have served in the military. It means a lot to all of us,” said Nickel.

   But Veterans Day isn’t the only major holiday in November.

   Thanksgiving is on the 27th this year, and that is the perfect time to thank a veteran, too.

   After all, it is the day that we give thanks for everything we have in life. We’re thankful for our families, friends, and most importantly, those protecting us. Be thankful for those who return home from duty.   

   My grandpa and uncle have both served in the military, and I’m thankful every day for them protecting our freedoms and helping me live the life I have today. My grandpa was even shot during the Korean War and received the Purple Heart.

   Living, injured or deceased, we love all of our veterans, and we are grateful for everything that they have done and everything that they are doing to make the U.S the country it is today.

   We salute you, our troops! Thank you!   

Staff, students feast on tradition     

Julie Avila
Staff Reporter
November 25, 2014

   It’s that time of the year again.

   The turkey’s in the oven, dinner plates are set, and you’re starving. Thanksgiving has finally arrived.

   The staff and students of MHS can all agree that Thanksgiving is a day to look forward to. It’s a day where you spend time with loved ones and enjoy great food.

   “The food is so good because it’s homemade, and you get to enjoy it with your family and friends,” said Brian Packowitz, Spanish teacher.

   And several find that there is nothing more fun than making the food themselves.

   Sophomore Rebeca Rodriguez enjoys cooking with her family. She always helps out in the kitchen, and that’s why the “food tastes even better.”  Yet, she also enjoys her mother’s cooking.

   “I can’t wait to eat my mom’s spaghetti and tamales. Best cook ever,” she said.

   Thanksgiving also provides an abundance of food choices, which is the best part of the holiday for some.

   “All my relatives bring different plates to Thanksgiving dinner, and we have a sort of buffet. We never know what to expect, besides turkey, of course,” said Daisy Morales, senior.

   And all those food choices create some memorable aromas. 
   “It smells wonderful in the house. It’ll always smell like bacon at my parents’ house, and by the end of the 

night, [it smells] like coffee and apple pie,” said Packowitz.  
    Although Packowitz will be in California with just his wife this year, he usually has the luxury of having two Thanksgiving dinners because his wife’s family also celebrates with them.

   “We have lunch with my wife’s family; then we eat dinner with my family,” he said.

   Then Packowitz’s family enjoys some entertainment.

   “My family puts on Salsa [music], and they start dancing,” he said.  “But I don’t like it because I’m a bad dancer.”

   He enjoys watching them but nothing more.

   Rodriquez, on the other hand, enjoys the dancing after the dinner.

   “After we all eat, we put on some Cumbia [music] and dance, which I like because it’s fast and upbeat,” said Rodriguez, who added, “Regardless of what’s going on, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to share with your friends and family.”

   And so, music doesn’t necessarily need to be about the dancing but rather about the company.  

   “When we’re all done eating, we’ll put on some music and just sit and enjoy each other’s company,” said Morales.

   Additionally, many remember that the holiday isn’t just about the food and family; it’s also about giving thanks for all that is offered this time of year.

   Morales said, “We usually pray before we eat, and then we dig in.”

Students dig out their winter clothes

Julie Avila
Staff Reporter
November 25, 2014


   It’s time to say bye-bye to crop tops and hello to knitted sweaters and big puffy coats.

   MHS students acknowledge a seasonal “dress code” that both boys and girls follow during the cold weather.

   “I notice the basics like leggings, yoga pants, North Faces, Uggs. You see them everywhere you go,” said Yaxeni Sanchez, sophomore.

   Sanchez described the trends among the girl students, but guys vary from the girls in their fashion choices.  

   Freshman Angel Pacheco explained that guys “try and wear loose clothing like sweatpants and hoodies. They’re so comfy and warm.”

   Many girls dress for comfort, too, even if it might be something other than sweatpants.

   “I love wearing leggings because they’re comfortable and go with everything,” said Esperanza Nambo, junior.  She added that leggings were a simple dress option that kept her warmer than jeans.

   Like Nambo, some of the guys select what to wear for practical reasons, too.
   “My favorite things to wear in the winter are sweatpants because they keep me warm, which is a must,” said Pacheco. 

   Sanchez added that leggings and combat boots are a definite for her in the winter because they keep her “warm and make her feel secure.”

   And while warmth seemed to be the reason behind the fashion trends, students saw some downsides to the winter wear. 
 “Big fluffy coats are so annoying because you don’t know where to put them, and they take up way too much space,” said Sanchez.

   It’s this kind of inconvenience that makes her wish she still had the summer.

   Nambo also longed for summer weather when she said, “If I could, I would wear shorts in the winter because they’re easier to put on than jeans and pants in general.”

   Many students would agree that summer fashion is much simpler than winter fashion, but if people want to survive the cold weather, they recognize that there are a few fashion must-haves.

   Pacheco said, “You need to wear sweaters and scarves, because if you don’t, then you better be okay with frostbite.”


Students lend a hand for elections

Ashley Wolfe

November 25, 2014


  “I think this will be a great experience for you.”

  Undoubtedly, the words of my wise grandmother were correct. Being a student election judge for this year’s election definitely was a good experience. I found myself much more informed about the voting process and the behind-the-scenes work of those who set up, run and clean up the voting facilities throughout the state.

  I learned of this opportunity from A.P. Government Teacher Michelle Bonadies. The decision to pursue this was finalized after learning that I had to complete four hours of volunteer work for the class election project due Nov 4. With the job beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m., it was a piece of cake to fulfill those hours.

 About a month prior to this day, I and the other students participating sat through a two hour training course where we learned how to set up and clean up polling areas and process voters. Of course, between then and the day of elections, the material was well forgotten. To remedy this--and earn an extra ten dollars--an online training course was offered where each individual could go at their own pace and review the material.

  My day began at 3 a.m. I left home a little after four and arrived at my volunteer site in Gurnee, IL, about half an hour before the mandatory arrival time. Once there, I helped set up the check-in table where I was to spend the next 14 hours with a team of three others.

  We organized the signs to direct voters to their correct table, spent a few minutes getting to know each other and sharing past experiences with election judging and finally--at 6 a.m.--opened the doors for voters. During the slow times, I and my team read books, talked about high school experiences and snuck in a few snacks.

  The times when we were the busiest were the most educational. I learned that there actually are quite a few nice people in the world. Not a single person I encountered that day was rude or problematic. Each individual appeared with an enthusiastic attitude or just a polite smile, but no one caused trouble or made our job difficult. Some even thanked us for our service and told us how important we were. 

  Also, I learned that voting is an important part of life in the United States. It is up to citizens to elect officials who will run our state or country and represent the people. Many people inquired about the voter turnout at the facility, and we were proud to report that there were many who showed up. More than a few parents arrived with small children and explained to the children the voting process and why they were there. It was amazing to see so many people take advantage of an opportunity that some in other countries do not have. Thus, I made the decision that when I become eligible, I will make sure that I register and cast my ballot on Election Day.
  For our services, election judges are paid a minimum of $140 as long as they receive training. There are other options to earn even more, including serving out of your township (additional $25 pay), being a laptop judge (additional $20) or being a ballot box judge (additional $40).

  More information on election judging can be found at or through Social Studies Teachers Michelle Bonadies and Tom Kuhn who presented the idea to students in early September.

  Of her decision to present this idea to students, Bonadies said, “It’s great exposure to the political process and...to the voting experience. [It’s also an opportunity for students to] see politics in action.”

  In short, this experience gave me an improved view of elections and the importance that they hold in many communities. Being able to assist those who care enough about the political process to vote allowed me to understand why it is important to do so. Before this, I didn’t care very much about voting and picking government officials, but now I see that it’s a privilege that I should accept.

   Also, those with whom I worked were nothing short of sincere and entertaining. They kept the slow moments filled with laughter and shared a series of valuable advice. I hope to work with them again sometime, but if not, that won’t stop me from volunteering as an election judge again.


Students, staff express their thanks

Jarielys Cepeda
Staff Reporter 
November 25, 2014

   With Thanksgiving here, MHS students and staff took some time to express what they are thankful for.

  ¨I’m thankful for family, having a shelter, education, being healthy and for having food on the table every night,¨
 - Yuri Mancilla, junior

  ¨I’m thankful for food and my family.¨ - Cristian Montiel, sophomore

  ¨I am thankful for my supportive family, friends, my home and a good health.¨ - Ariez Hernandez, junior

   ¨I am thankful for my awesome kids.¨ - Jennifer Cox, math teacher

  ¨I am thankful for my soccer ball.¨ - Alfonso Gonzaga, senior

  ¨I’m thankful for my family.¨ - Rasec Chavez, sophomore

  ¨I’m thankful for family, good people around me and for a good school system.¨ - Samantha Austwick, junior

  ¨I’m thankful for food, family and a basketball.¨ - Christian Lopez, junior.

  ¨I am thankful for the people that have been there since the beginning and through all the difficulties and my family.¨ - Ivette Flores, junior.

  ¨I’m thankful for my 7-year-old daughter, 5-year-old daughter and the fact that I am their daddy. I am also thankful for my wife, but not only is she my wife, she is also my best friend. Lastly, I am thankful that I get to work with wonderful young people every day.¨ - Ryan Buck, English teacher.


Poetry Slam takes the stage at competition

Michael del Rosario
News Editor

The power of performance poetry is known for its ability to evoke a spectrum of emotions on an audience, and these emotions are more apparent than ever at “Louder than a Bomb,” the largest youth poetry festival in the world, which takes place every year in the city of Chicago.

   Hosted by Young Chicago Authors, “Louder than a Bomb,” or “LTAB,” makes it the organization’s mission to “create a culture that transforms the lives of young people and their communities by bringing together participants through writing, publication and performance education,” as stated on its website.  

   The festival, which has been taking place since 2001 and serves more than 5,000 teens a year, took place Feb. 25 to Mar. 5.

   MHS Poetry Slam team prepared to showcase their talents at this event.

   “Poetry Slam has been preparing for Louder than a Bomb by meeting weekly to read, write and practice poetry. All six team members have written original slam poems, and they are currently in the process of editing and workshopping their individual poems,” wrote MHS Poetry Slam sponsor Janey Joiner in an email.

   Joiner also emphasized that although the team will be competing with other schools in LTAB, “the main goal of Louder than a Bomb is not to ‘win’ and beat out the competition. Instead, the festival focuses on sharing ideas using the power of the written word and building connections between students.”

   The team has been working hard to prepare for LTAB, and Junior Leah Spears remarked that “it’s going really well. In terms of the group, we’re all pretty bright individuals. [On Feb. 11], we created our group poem for the first bout [of the competition.]”
   This y
ear is Spears’ first as a part of Poetry Slam, but she is “definitely close with other people on the team.” She continued, “I feel really comfortable around them.”

   On her inspirations as a poet, Spears is “most inspired by self-growth. When I hear those poems 


photo by Anna Story

Freshman Lily Martinez practices her poetry for competition. 


where [someone] starts off at a bottom place, and [the audience] sees where they are now. . . . Those kinds of poems are really relatable to me.”

   Poetic inspiration can come from just about anywhere, especially for Junior Darin Chaichitatorn.  

   “As a poet, I'm most inspired by just about all aspects of life. I think there's beauty in both love and suffering, and I want to capture that in my poetry,” said Chaichitatorn.

   Similarly to Spears, Chaichitatorn has also never been to Louder than a Bomb before.

   I've always loved watching videos of these amazing poets on YouTube,” she said, “And I guess I've never worked up the nerve to do spoken word until this year.”

   Getting up on a stage in front of a large crowd is a daunting task no matter what the occasion may be.

   “I've mostly been saying my poetry aloud,” Chaichitatorn said about how she’s prepared, “but I'm still incredibly nervous to get on stage.”

   For the young poets on the MHS Poetry Slam team, LTAB is a unique chance to get used to performing in an atmosphere of their peers.  

   Joiner wrote, “We have some amazing writers at this school, and this is such a great outlet for them.”

Community organizations offer ways to gain service hours

Stefani Zeiger
Entertainment Editor
December 16, 2014


Whether you’re in National Honor Society or just looking to give back to the community, here are some service ideas that can help to better the world. Keep in mind that some opportunities require a certain age and a driver’s license.


Feed My Starving Children

Location: 742 E. Park Ave, Libertyville 60048


Time: 2 hours per session


About: Spend time giving back by packing meals for children and others in need in third world countries. Any number of people can go in a group, so friends and family could join each other in participating.


Contact: (847) 984-3846


Requirements: No requirements necessary

Pet Volunteer at Transitions Hospice

Location: 901 Florsheim Drive, Libertyville 60048


Time: 1-2 hours per week


About: Dogs are joyful animals, and at Transitions Hospice, they are needed as loving companions for its patients. Bring your furry friend along as you get service hours!


Contact: (877) 726-6494


Requirements: Be at least 16 and have a driver’s license

Companionship at Transitions Hospice

Location: 901 Florsheim Drive, Libertyville 60048


Time: 1 hour per week


About: Don’t fret if you don’t have a pet, Transitions Hospice is also in need of volunteers to keep patients company. You can play music, watch television or make small talk with them.


Contact: (877) 726-6494


Requirements: Be at least 16 and have a driver’s license


Location: 23525 W. Milton Road, Wauconda 60084


Time: 1 hour per week


About: If you enjoy horses and assisting kids with disabilities, then Partners For Progress is the place to go. Volunteering here means leading horses for groups and side walking with riders.


Contact: (847) 226-1300


Requirements: No requirements necessary

Condell Medical Center

Location: 801 S. Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville 60048


Time: N/A


About: Help out by assisting patients, passing out mail and flowers or doing office work.


Contact: (847) 990-5268


Requirements: No requirements necessary

Northern Illinois Food Bank

Location: 440 Keller Drive, Park City 60085



  • Tues: 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Thurs: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wed: 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Wed: 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


About: Help to sort and pack food, offer administrative or professional support, or assist with special events. Volunteer as often or as little as you’d like; this organization takes as many hours as you’re willing to give.


Contact: (630) 443-6910


Requirements: No requirements necessary

Get involved in an MHS club
Katelyn Siltman 
Features Editor 
October 7, 2014

Looking for something to do? Here is a list of activities offered at MHS.


Club Name:


After School Coalition:

The goal of the club is to serve the community of Mundelein, whether it is hosting dances for middle school students or providing a year round food pantry.  Students must maintain good grades, be responsible and continue their time and effort into this club after joining. The first meeting took place on Sept. 18; however, there are no deadlines by which students have to join. Students are free to participate anytime throughout the school year. If students have questions about After School Coalition, they can speak to Vice Principal James Ongtengco, the club’s sponsor.

Art Club:

Art club is for anyone who wants to gain art experience. In this club, there will be multiple activities that include paper mache, sculpey beads, airbrushing, free drawing, and more. Nara Chong, sophomore, said, “It’s a fun experience, and you get to do fun activities that you do not need artistics to do them.” This club meets Thursdays after school in room C04. If a student is not signed up for art club but wants to be a part of it, he or she can speak to Art Teacher Rebecca Reed.

Best Buddies:

Best Buddies creates a place to hang out, have fun and provide social opportunities that all students might not have. Some activities offered include shopping, bowling, movies, bonfires and pizza parties.  To become a member of Best Buddies, students are required to register online. Students are also required to see their “buddy” outside of school and include them in school activities. For more information about online registration, contact Maureen Baker, club sponsor.

Black Student Union:

This club offers outside of school experiences, such as trips to colleges and universities and visits to other BSU chapters at area high schools/colleges.  The club also plans events for Black History Month and various fundraisers to support club trips. Andriana Cyprian, senior, said, “I feel as though students should join BSU because it’s a great organization to become a member of a great family that accepts new members with open arms, and [you get to] learn about things you may have never known.” Black Student Union meets every Friday morning from 7:20 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. The focus of this club is unity. Anyone of any race can join.

Book Club:

Book Club meets every Wednesday morning from 7:10-7:35 in the Staff Workroom. Book Club discusses the book the club is currently reading. Any student can join at any time. For more information, speak with Autumn Graef, the club’s sponsor.

Chess Team:

Starting in October, Chess Team will meet in the library after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone can join at any time; however, only consistent attendees to practices will be able to participate in tournaments or matches. When chess team meets, it is to both play and prepare for future tournaments. If there are enough members, the Chess Team will participate in the state tournament in February.

Diversity Club:

Kaitlyn Watkins, sophomore, said, “People should join because we get to talk about actual social issues going on in the world and even in our school.” Diversity Club meets every other Tuesday after school in room D03. This club discusses topics of any social or inequality issues, for example, feminism and gender inequality. If students are interested or want more information, they can contact the Club Sponsor Blair Winters.

Economics Team:

“Economics is amazing! Nothing else need be said,” said Andy Hirshman, sponsor.  The Economics Team will start meeting in December. This club lasts until May. Meeting in A02, students will prepare for two different competitions. One is called the Euro Challenge and the other is the FED Challenge. The Euro Challenge is when students pick a country in Europe and advise on a specific economic challenge. The FED Challenge is where students offer advice about the US macro economy. Anyone can come to the meetings to help with research; however, since this is a competitive club, there are limited spots for the competitions. For any further questions, students can contact Hirshman.


Interact sponsors and coordinates multiple events during the school year, such as Adopt-a-Family, Super Seniors’ night (senior citizens who live in Mundelein can come for a dinner before school events, such as the school play) and PADS shelter lunch making.  They also work with their sponsoring Rotary Club to raise money to eradicate polio. Interact meets in room B102 on Wednesdays after school. If students have further questions or want to join Interact, they can speak with Joan Hornby.


Ryan Heidner, adviser, said, “If you are looking for fun and fellowship, it’s a fun place to hang out with some super people.” Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets the first day of every school week at 7:00 a.m. Anyone can join; there are no requirements to join this club. This club provides opportunities to listen to speakers, watch videos, hangout and pray. The club also provides food to eat. This is a student-led group with a really strong leadership that is excited for this year.


This club is for students who want to learn business skills. Students pick an event in which they’d like to compete in at national competitions.  They also learn how to market and manage a business. Lucy Renz, sophomore, said, “It’s a good organization that helps to teach students skills that are useful for the future.” This club meets once a month on Tuesdays after school until 4:30. Meeting areas change, so for more information, contact Chris Hoster or Amy Amber.

French Club:

“I think [students] should open [their] minds to new cultures,” said Martha Ambrey who is the French Club’s sponsor. French Club met for the first time ever on Sept. 30 to discuss what days would work best for meetings. French Club is for any student who has an interest in French culture; no previous French background is needed. Some of the activities this club offers are watching movies, cookie decorating during the holidays and going to a Christmas Market in Chicago.

Gaming Club:

This club meets every Tuesday after school in room C04 until 4:30. This club is for anyone who wants to play card games, board games, console games, tabletop games, etc.   Christopher Gutierrez, sophomore, said, “People should join gaming club because we are playing Pokemon.”


GSA meets in the Assessment Center after school on Monday. This club focuses on spreading the awareness of the different sexualities. Its goal is to provide a fun and safe place to meet and discuss topics. If a student has any questions, he or she can contact Donalie Bolke. Jade Green, senior, said, “Someone should join GSA because it is important for us as a generation to wipe clean of oppression towards those who love differently from heterosexuals.”

Model United Nations:

The Model UN Club meets in the mornings a couple of times each month.  These meetings are to prepare students for their trip to the Model United Nations conference in Chicago on Feb. 5-8, 2015.  Model United Nations is a Mock United Nations in which students discuss global issues and policies while representing different nations. Shannon Heiberger, sophomore, said, “It’s a lot of fun, and you get to meet a lot of new people during the conference.”  For more information about these meetings, contact Stacey Darcy.

Newspaper/ Yearbook:

Natalie Stuckslager, senior and the editor-in-chief of the yearbook, said, “The main reason why I joined was it got me active in the school. Students should join if they are interested in photography, design and want to meet people in our community.” To get involved with the school’s newspaper or yearbook, students should discuss with their counselors about joining the journalism program for one of their elective classes. In this class, students will learn how to write publication-worthy articles, how to create pages for yearbook, and how to photograph school events.  

Science Club:

Science Club wants to connect students to the topics of science while expanding their knowledge. Neoneela Boevets, sophomore, said, “All science freaks should join the club.”  The meetings are still to be determined. If students have any questions, they should contact Victoria Siwak.


Calling all creative writers, artists, photographers and editors! The club needs anyone who is willing to help with the production of this creative writing and arts magazine. For more information, students can contact Laura Garcia or Meredith Teuber. If you have something you want to submit, e-mail it to mhsvoices@d120.org.  

People share what they like best about MHS

MHS students Kyle Guzzio, Allison Kolosick,
Meghan Eheman, Julia Vicik and Humberto Huerta 
all pose for a photo on the last day of spirit week.
Photo by Stefani Zeiger

Elizabeth Ramer
Staff Reporter 
October 1, 2014

 As another school year starts, so does our time spent here for another 180 until summer begins once again. But until that time comes, many staff and students think it’s best to look at the good features at MHS and appreciate what we have.

   “The students are my favorite part of it,” said Bookstore Attendant KC Olson. “I love being a part of the gathering here every day. Also, it’s fun to have my kids go here.”

   For many, being at Mundelein means having school spirit, and it doesn’t take long for students to feel it.

   “I love the atmosphere here,” said Ryan Hill, freshman. “It makes you want to go to school because it’s so fun.  It makes me want to be a part of Red Rage and go to the assemblies.”


Many students said they don’t find themselves 

bored because there are so many sports or clubs that are offered.
   “I really like all the activities people can get involved in,” said Junior Kelly Vander Ploeg.

What also make Mundelein special are the teachers who have reached out to students and done their part to help their students enjoy the subjects they teach.

   “Ms. [Victoria] Siwak treated me like her daughter... I didn’t like science until I had her as a teacher,” said Junior Diana Guliyeva.

   Even though Mundelein has not always had the best reputation with the surrounding towns, what we do have that others schools don’t is the way students treat each other well and act unified.

Social Studies Teacher Susan Theotokatos said,    “I think we have the most normal, nice, respectful kids. Not snobby or hill rats... I really enjoy teaching the kids here as I have for 19 years. Our kids have stayed the same and been grounded.” 

Freshmen share first impressions of high school

Freshman and Link Crew at orientation
Link Crew welcomes incoming freshmen
at Freshmen Orientation.
Photo by Ashley Nensel

Julie Avila
Staff Reporter
October 2, 2014

   Everyone has had their experience with starting high school; the class of 2018 is no different.  Freshmen Cristian Brito, Angelina Vega and Ricardo Guzman share what their experience was like upon entering MHS.  

   “There were lots of people in the hallways. It made for lots of traffic, and I didn’t like it,” said Brito.   

   While he knew there would be more people here than in middle school, he didn’t expect this many.

   For some, though, the larger amount of people is a positive.

   Vega said she loves to interact with people, especially at sporting events.

   “I was very excited for the football games to start coming in and games in general,” she said because it is a great opportunity to make new friends and to have fun.


   While Brito also was looking forward to the high school sports, particularly soccer, his year started off 

with an injury. Brito broke his elbow during his 

P.E. class while he was fighting for a ball and fell on his arm. 
   This means that he’ll be out for the rest of the soccer season. But even after this, he still has a positive attitude. 

   “I can’t wait until the next soccer season,” he said.
   In the meantime, he is still very excited for his teammates and supports them 100 percent.   

   Brito’s incident shows that high school isn’t perfect; it can have its struggles, too.

   Vega expressed her dislikes. “When you meet someone new, there’s always that awkward moment when you don’t know what to say,” she said.

   But worse than that for her was the temperature in the main gym. It was too hot and a “major problem,” she said.


   Guzman, on the other hand, hates that third period is always the same length, whether it’s late start or early dismissal.  

However, he shared some positives as well.

   “I like that we get five minutes for passing period and that we get to take a shower after gym,” said Guzman. 

Staff Members show school spirit in attitude

Michael Del Rosario
News Editor
October 3, 2014

   School spirit is an integral part of any high school, and MHS is no exception. Many students throughout the school are proud of being Mustangs, but they are not the only ones. Staff members here are just as enthusiastic about working at MHS, and their love for the school shows in how they interact with students every day.

   “I love the diversity here,” said Elizabeth Willis, who has been teaching at MHS for the past two years and previously taught at Carl Sandburg Middle School, “And the students are very accepting of each other’s differences.”

   Willis, who also teaches sci-fi fantasy and AP language courses, noted that she sees fewer cliques of students at MHS and that everybody gets along well.
Another aspect of life at MHS that staff members seem to enjoy is the 



English Teacher Elizabeth Willis works with a student.
Photo by Katelyn Siltman

from other high schools.      
   Helping students grow and 
goals are other important aspects of working at a high school, and this is especially apparent in the guidance office, where Secretary Jean Davis works.

   Davis has been at MHS for sixteen years and has never worked at any other school. Aside from the counselor’s office, Davis has worked in the Career and College Resource Center and in the Adult Education Department in the school.

   “I enjoy working with the kids and other staff members,” said Davis. She also mentioned that the guidance office was her favorite office in the school to work in because “a lot of students come in every day.”


   Regardless of how long they have been working at MHS or what part of the school they may work in, MHS staff members are proud to be Mustangs.

ability to develop close relationships with the students. 
   Krista Alloy, who is in her second year as a security guard at the school, previously worked in security at Grant High School and Grayslake North High School.  

   The communication and interaction that staff members have with students are important factors at MHS daily. For staff members, like Alloy, it is something that makes this school stand out 

Homecoming Olympics

Leg Race
Juniors Zach Green and Emily Hay race to the finish line while
competeing in a three-legged race at the Homecoming Olympics.
Photo by Natalie Stuckslager
Julie Avila
Staff Reporter 
October 7, 2014

   Let the games begin!
   Homecoming week kicked off with the annual Homecoming Olympics. This is the second year these games have taken place.
   Schuyler McKinley, junior, and Lucy Renz, sophomore, talk about what it was like participating in round two of this new, annual tradition.
   “It was really fun spending a few hours with my friends doing a bunch of cool activities,” said McKinley.
   McKinley had always wanted to do them but never had a team to do it with. This year, though, one of her friend’s team was short a player, and she joined right away.
   Like McKinley, Renz liked the social aspect of the games as well. 
   “I enjoyed [the Olympics] because I got to hang out with my friends all day and have fun with them,” she said.  “Plus we got to make awesome team shirts.” 
   The difficulty of the events varied for the different teams.
   “The easier event was football, which was punting, passing, and kicking, and dodgeball,” said Renz.
   According to Renz, Dodgeball involved the whole team, therefore making it easier for everyone.       
   For McKinley’s team, Dodgeball was one of the tougher events.
   “It was difficult because we were against the seniors, and they’re in it to win it,” she said.
   But they flew through knock out and Baggo. 
   In total, 29 teams participated. Renz’s team, Super Mario Bros and Extended Family, received 27th place. McKinley’s team placed 22nd.
   McKinley knew from the start that the seniors would win, and win they did.  A senior team called Chrome Crooks earned the winning trophy.  
   “I knew it was going to be a senior team to win, but after seeing them at some of the events, I could tell they were going to place top three at least,” she explained.
   Even though her team didn’t win, she enjoyed goofing around with them and hanging out with some good friends.
   “If you’re thinking about doing it next year, I would definitely encourage you to do so,” said McKinley.
   Because for her and Renz, in the end, the goal wasn’t winning or losing; it was just about enjoying themselves while having a great time with friends.
What are the students of MHS doing in art class?

Hannah Tegan, senior, works on an acrylic
tissue paper canyon painting. 
Photo by Caitlin Ryan
Alissa Angelo 
Staff Reporter
October 7, 2014

      With the school year more than a month in, the art room during fourth period is full of life with about 25 ninth through twelfth grade students.
  Many are there because of a love for art, which can be heard in the chatter among the young artists.
  “[It’s] one of those things I've been doing,” Sydnee Siver, sophomore, said about her love for art, which she has been doing since she was a young child.
  Siver and other students are painting murals on a large cabinet in the art room. Currently, the mural includes a jellyfish and a space cat.
  Rebecca Reed, this class’s art teacher, lets the students take the creative reigns with the old cabinets-- an incentive for the advanced students who finish relatively quicker than the other students in the class.  
 Several students in the class have won art contests. Some have been in art shows in school and outside of school and have been displayed in Starbucks.  
  “It’s nice to look at your work, saying, ‘I did this’,” Krystal Calanca, junior, said.
  The pride and enjoyment can be shown in the students’ artwork and on their faces.  
  Besides the pride that comes from a finished product, many people do art as an escape. Whether it’s for personal or social-related problems, art allows them to express their feelings through drawings and paintings.
  Whenever Jenna Geary, sophomore, is down or upset, she can pick up a pencil and some paper and make a masterpiece. 
  She said, “It makes me feel better, kind of like therapy.”


Students, staff share hopes for new year 
 Juniors feel pressure of future too
Alissa Angelo
Staff Reporter 
October 8, 2014

  Students and staff alike have very high hopes for the 2014-2015 school year. Many hopes include making new friends, joining a sports team, and having a successful year overall.

  Vanessa Prorok, math teacher, teaches Algebra 1 and hopes that her students have a successful year both academically and socially.

   “I just enjoy teaching,” she said and strives to help all her students with their work.  

   Many students said they hope to graduate high school with good grades and high honors.

   “I want to make my parents proud,” Viviana Gonzalez, freshman, said. She wants to get straight As.

Besides academic goals, some students have set goals related to athletics.  

 Derek Kendall, freshman, said, “I want to make JV lacrosse.” He added that he also “wants to meet new people.”  

  Some MHS members’ goals revolve around the new 2016 addition planned for the school.

  “There will be lots more ground to cover,” Security Guard Nathan Pratt said. 
   He hopes that more security guards will be hired to help patrol the halls of the school.

Natale Fiocchi 
Staff Reporter
October 8, 2014


 When we think about our future, we think about our goals and how our lives will be or what type of people we will turn into. Believe it or not, the future is already here for some MHS students.  While it might feel closer for the seniors, the juniors, however, are starting to feel the approaching future, too.  

  Junior Reid Rubio knows exactly what he would like to accomplish in his future.

  “I really want to be a history teacher when I’m older. History is my favorite subject in school because it’s pretty easy and fun,” said Rubio.

  Rubio is open-minded to most colleges but hopes to play baseball wherever he decides to go.

  Not only does he know what he wants to be, but he also has a vision of where he sees himself in fifteen years.     

“Hopefully teaching,” he said, “And having a wife and three kids.”

  While Rubio may have his future planned out already, that is not the case for everyone.

  Junior Jack Kekstadt is not 100 percent   


sure what he wants to be. He has some ideas in mind but may change them along the road.   
  Sports are very important to him, so he would like to do something involving that.

  “I’m thinking about being a physical trainer. Having my own practice would be pretty cool, too,” said Kekstadt.

  Kekstadt has his mind set on attending Michigan State. He hopes to play hockey while there because “it’s a big part of [his] life.”

  In fifteen years Kekstadt pictures himself having a successful job with a family by his side.

  Junior Ashley Adams, just like Rubio, plans on teaching in the future. She has her eyes set on University of Illinois.

  “University of Illinois has a very good education program that I hope to get to be a part of,” said Adams, who wants to teach elementary school.   

  Adams isn’t all about her career in the future, though; she also has goals for her personal life.

  “I plan on having a family and being happy in the future,” she said.  

  Rubio and Kekstadt shared the same desire for a happy future.  

Get to know the new staff of MHS

Jarielys Cepeda
September 29, 2014


 MHS welcomed 19 new staff members to the school this year. Get to know them by learning a fun fact about them.



Fun Fact

Jamie Adkins

Physical Education Teacher

She was the most outgoing and athletic in high school, but she was also known as the class clown who knew the limits.

Julie Block

Math Teacher

In her family, everyone is a teacher.

Braden Cretacci

English Teacher

He is an alum of ‘02 and will be a father in October.

Jose Gonzalez

Spanish Teacher

He loves to play golf and plays Fifa, the videogame.

Kelly Hall

Business Education

She has gone skydiving two times.

Janey Joiner

English Instructional Aide

She is originally from a town with fewer than 500 people.

Ethan Karolczak

Social Studies

He is an alum of ‘94, and he can juggle.

Christopher Lagioia

Social Studies Department Chair

He married his high school crush, and they now have two boys ages 3 and 4.

Amber Malone

Special Education Instructional Aide

She has worked at Buffalo Grove High School and Evanston High School before MHS. Also, she enjoys country music.

Michelle Musial

Social Worker

She enjoys traveling; her best trip was six months in Australia.

Kevin Myers


He was homecoming king of his senior year of high school.

Isela Ocampo

MHS Receptionist

She is bilingual and likes to help the Latino community. She helps with the parents who only speak Spanish.

Marc Popovici

Special Education Instructional Aide

He loves scuba diving. His goal is to be a master diver and start instructing future scuba divers. He’d love to retire in the Caribbean and just do exploration dives.

Jonathan Pruc

Art Teacher

He has played hockey his whole life and still plays on three different teams.

Susana Ramirez

Spanish Teacher

During her senior year of high school, she performed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in CPS Shakespeare’s adaptation of ¨Macbeth.”

Alison Stephans

Physical Education Department

She enjoys fishing and being outside. She also fosters dogs as a hobby and as a way to give back.

Janette Swanston

School Nurse

She lived in Spanish-speaking countries for 13 years--Spain and Colombia.

Jessica Upchurch

Assistant Athletic Director

She competed in two Ironman Triathlons and wants to do a third by next year.

Valerie Riley

Special Education

She has taught students from all ages, 2 to 18, and loves to read and learn about astronomy.


Mundelein Spotlight: Greg's Frozen Custard scoops out satisfying treats
Marybeth Stone
Staff Reporter 
October 3, 2014

   Almost everyone loves the taste of a cool, creamy treat on a hot summer’s day.  For some, it’s savored even when the air isn’t as warm.
   One place in particular within the confines of Mundelein is a hot spot for residents of all ages--Greg’s Frozen Custard.

   Located at 1490 S. Lake Street, it’s about three miles from the high school, so it’s a popular place for teenagers to go and purchase a delicious sundae, milkshake or other custard-oriented treats.

   “It’s good ice cream. Some of the best ice cream I’ve tasted,” said Junior Victor Casas.

   Unlike normal ice cream, frozen custard is made with a touch of egg yolk, which may sound a little gross but actually makes the dessert richer and creamier. This small detail has had consumers abandoning regular ice cream in exchange for custard since it was invented in 1919.

   Greg’s has an old-school appeal that draws in customers.

   While driving by, one might notice the white building with its neon-lit roof that takes on the shape of an upturned umbrella. 

   If one’s car actually pulls into the parking lot in search of the shop’s delicious product, the aroma of sweet cream and various toppings is enough to make one’s mouth water.
   “I like that you can eat outside. It’s a lot more people friendly [than other places],” said Junior Allison Wallace.

   The quality of custard offered by Greg’s has customers in line weekly, not to mention all the different flavors, which range from Turtle Brownie Sundae to PB&J Sundae and Banana Split. Greg’s lists roughly 25 different kinds of sundaes on the menu, as well as milkshakes and the option of just plain cups or cones.

   In comparison with other local ice cream selling establishments, Greg’s is higher up on the pricing scale.   However, many faithful customers believe it’s worth every penny.
   “It’s so good; it’s worth the price,” said regular customer Megan Nugent, junior.

    So if you’re in the mood for a cold treat, drive on over to Greg’s, grab a seat at a picnic table and enjoy the delicious frozen custard that has so many MHS students craving it.
   It’s open daily at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and to 11 p.m. on weekends. Greg’s closes for the season on Nov. 23--make sure to stop by b
efore then.   

NameAscending SortJob TitlePhoneContact
Sibery, Michelle Teacher 847-949-2200 Ext. 1533
 Who will be king?

by Jenni Nguyen, Staff Reporter



  As the end of February drew near, only one thing was on the minds of 13 of the senior class boys: Who would be crowned Mr. Mustang 2015?

  Mr. Mustang is a competition between a select number of senior boys. Before winter break, the senior class girls nominated 20 senior boys as potential candidates. This number was then narrowed down to 13 through auditions in front of adults involved with the Mundelein Parent Group, the event’s sponsor.

   Comprised of a talent competition, a partner dance, an introduction video, a parent speech and then a top five Q&A, the event sometimes is compared to a pageant.   

  “I have nothing against it [being called a pageant],” said Aaron Banez, senior and Top Five Mr. Mustang candidate. “I’ve actually been calling it that as well; that’s just the easiest way to explain it.”

   In even more of a reversal of roles, senior girls were the candidates’ escorts.

   “Junior year, girls are allowed to sign up [to] help put the show together. Senior year, you’re then allowed to be a part of Mr. Mustang,” said Chloe Lemerand, senior and Mr. Mustang escort. “The candidates pick their top five escorts. [Escorts and candidates] get matched as best as possible, and then you’re told who your candidate is.”  

   An escort’s main duties include creating the 50-60 second introduction dance and walking the candidates across the stage to perform the dance with them.

  Every year, Mr. Mustang is a highly-anticipated event. This year, the auditorium was packed with students, parents and teachers alike as they tried to catch a glimpse of the selected candidates.

  “The whole school is able to see talents from the senior boys that are unique. You get to see what kind of talents they have, and you get a good laugh,” said Lemerand. “The parent speeches are always very interesting, and you get to see them from a more personal level.”

  The audience was impressed with what the show had to offer, exploding with applause after each performance.

   The highlight was Eugene Kim’s talent, entitled “When You Wish upon a Star,” which featured Kim’s piano playing talent alongside a Disney movie scenes medley. Kim received a standing ovation from a moved audience.

   What they didn’t see was all the behind-the-scenes preparation that went into putting the show together.

  “Because so much goes into this event, including [all the various parts of the competition,] alongside the advertising we have to do for the event, it’s definitely been a hefty time commitment,” said Banez.

  Despite all the time and effort, the senior boys, escorts, and audience were presented with an evening of entertainment from singing to dancing to comedic skits.

  As Banez puts it, “Who [wouldn’t] want to see a bunch of pretty well-known senior guys get up on stage to dance, sing or whatever other talent they have to compete with?”

  Eugene Kim took home the crown of Mr. Mustang 2015.

photo by Jenni Nguyen
Senior Eugene Kim dances with his escort Senior Kayla Humbert. He was crowned Mr. Mustang 2015 by the end of the evening.


 Teens disconnect from politics

Stephen Wald, staff reporter



   According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), only 45 percent of 18-29 year olds voted in 2012; the next lowest age group was still 15 percentage points higher.

   The CIRCLE study shows that low voter turnout for our country’s younger generation is evident, and many constituents are concerned as to what causes teens to be so deterred from politics.

   “There’s a lot of reasons for that. I think part of it is they don’t see the relevance in their lives at that point. It’s becoming less and less of an importance as far as curriculum when they’re younger [and] getting involved in this stuff. So when they’re older, it hasn’t affected them to that point,” said Thomas Kuhn, AP Government teacher.

   He also pointed out that teens might get frustrated when they compare how the system works in real life to what they were taught growing up. 

   “When they’re kids, we teach them that this is really simple in how it works-- bill passes the House, bill passes the Senate, goes to the president-- and when you get older and it doesn’t work the way you always thought it does, it becomes really frustrating...so we just become cynical and shut down,” said Kuhn.

   As a government and politics teacher, Kuhn sees the lack of political interest in many high school students every time he gets a new class. A way he has found to help combat this issue is to require students to volunteer for politicians and/or attend political events to experience politics firsthand. He believes learning through early experiences is the key to a politically- interested future for students.

   “Having engaging teachers, having a positive experience when you’re young, being forced to get involved when you’re younger... then it becomes that much easier to do it later on,” he said.  “We’re really trying hard in our class now to try to get all the seniors in the school registered to vote because I believe, and a lot of the studies show, that if you vote as soon  as you’re eligible to in the very first election you can vote in, that you’re going to vote the rest of your life.”   

   Kuhn may be right; many of the students at MHS have had great experiences volunteering, and some have even continued volunteering after the class was over.

   Senior Justin Fernandez is a prime example. He became politically involved and worked on several political campaigns, including those of Illinois District 10 Representative Bob Dold and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. He spent hours canvassing door-to-door, making phone calls, walking in parades and helping with yards signs. He said that a job in politics could be in his future.  

   “It is a duty as a citizen of America that we must follow our politics and political news… because we need to know who is in charge and who is making decisions on our behalf,” said Fernandez, who stays up to date on our country’s current events but also understands that, for many teens, CNN just isn’t appealing.

   “There are many great news outlets, such as Comedy Central’s Daily Show, which provide great insight into the political world in a satirical and funny way,” Fernandez said.  He proposed this as one way to help get teens more interested in politics.

   Fernandez added that he hopes to see more students and young adults participating in politics as he has done and recognizes the importance of the youth vote.

   But many teens do not view following politics as a priority.

   For 17-year-old Kayla Fritz, senior, tracking the recent elections wasn’t on her mind because she wasn’t able to vote.

   She also added she doesn’t follow politics much because of her ineligible status, but “when [she] was in journalism class, [she] did follow politics, and then [she] found it more interesting.”

   Fritz said she recognizes the importance of the younger generation becoming more politically interested because they are essentially the future of America, and they need to understand what’s going on.

   “People our age are more caught up in the social media stuff because it’s so readily available, and they’re more interested in celebrities and their news than they are in actual real news,” said Fritz.

   But she had one idea on how politicians could get teens more interested.

   “I think that more political appearances in social media would catch more attention,” she said.

   Perhaps Fritz is right. As technology continues to advance and as the next generation continues to grow as a tech-savvy but social media-crazed  population, maybe politicians who spend their time reaching out through teen-friendly platforms have a greater chance of hooking them and getting them on board with their campaigns, beliefs and politics in general.

   For example, Speaker of the House John Boehner recently used Taylor Swift Gifs to criticize Obama’s education funding ideas in an effort to connect in a satirical way through technology.

   Or maybe students should attend the candidate forum to meet potential village board members in the MHS auditorium on March 31, as would be suggested by Kuhn.  

Q&A with contestant before big event CHANGE!
 Eugene Kim Mr. Mustang


What will you do with the prize money if you win?

Actually, I wasn’t really doing this for the prize money. I didn’t even know there was prize money when I got in. So, if I win the prize money, I would find some way to give back in Mundelein because I love Mundy Pride so much, you know?

What do you want to be when you’re older, career wise?

Being a cancer doctor so that I could give back to the community and help people in need
What word best describes you?


Ryan Schwaar First Runner Up


What’s your favorite pickup line?

Pull a Joey Tribbiani and say, “How you doing?”

What T.V. show character do you most relate to?

If I was a “Friends’” character, I would be either Chandler or Ross. If we’re being honest, I would probably be Ross even though he’s super annoying… [dramatic pause]… or Chandler; oh, It’s so hard to decide.

Anything to add?

Well, my favorite TV show is “Friends,” and I love making pizza; oh, and I love driving. Oh, and shout out to Mr. Morse.

Colton Schroetter Second Runner Up

If you could rename Mr. Mustang, what would you name it?

I would name it “Master of Mundelein” and let the winner run the town for the rest of the year.

What are you most looking forward to about Mr. Mustang?

Just having fun; we put a lot of work in, and now I think it’s time to enjoy the moment. All the guys get along so well, and we have a lot of laughs together, so I’m looking forward to more laughter and good times.

If you could date any celebrity, who would it be, and why?

Lorde, she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s our age, so there isn’t that creepy age gap, and she’s one of the few teen stars that makes good music.

© 2009 Mundelein High School District 120. All Rights Reserved|1350 W. Hawley Street, Mundelein, IL 60060|Phone: 847-949-2200|Fax: 847-949-4756