“13 Reasons Why”: Honorable Yet Flawed

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Making television for teens is easy, making television about teens is herculean.

Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” is about the 13 reasons why a high school girl named Hannah Baker committed suicide. The events of the story are told through recorded tapes that Hannah made before her death and through her friend Clay in the aftermath of her death. It’s surprising to see entertainment aimed at teens actually tackle a subject that’s relevant to them, but it does make it inherently difficult to discuss because of its subject matter. The dodgy execution of the series doesn’t help either. Continue reading

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To Conserve and Protect

West ninth grader advances to nationals in poster competition

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Ally Klug spent three hours a night for two weeks working out every detail of her conservation poster.

The art piece was for the Conservation Poster Contest, a nationwide competition that aims to promote awareness of the environment and conservation among young Americans. The hard work paid off for the West Bend West High School ninth grader, as she received first place at the local and state levels and has advanced to the national level of competition in the division for grades 7-9. Klug has yet to find out if she placed at nationals. Continue reading

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A Bittersweet End to the Wisconsin Little Ten

By Justin Scherzer, Current Staff

The eight Wisconsin Little Ten conference teams are being sent their separate ways.

When the current spring athletic season ends, the WLT will dissolve due to conference realignments by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association in order to improve competition throughout the state. Both West Bend East and West High Schools will join the North Shore Conference. Continue reading

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West Bend’s Rising Star: Savanna Rose

East junior nominated for Wisconsin Area Music Industry award

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Many young musicians dream of winning a Grammy Award one day. Savanna Bonlender may not have received a Grammy quite yet, but she has the chance to win a prestigious award. Continue reading

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Decision 2017: Meet the Six Candidates for School Board

SchoolBoardElection_LogoThe West Bend School Board will have a new look after the election on April 4.

Three seats are on the ballot and only one incumbent, Ryan Gieryn, is running for re-election, which means the board will have at least two new faces. Leaving the board are president Rick Parks and vice-president Bart Williams.

Gieryn will be joined by Richard Cammack, Nancy Justman, Bob Miller, Joel Ongert, and Tonnie Schmidt on the ballot. The West Bend Current asked each candidate about their background. That interview material is presented below in the order that the candidates will appear on the ballot. Continue reading

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Decision 2017: Board Candidates on Why They Chose to Run

What is your motivation for running for school board and what are your intentions if elected to the board?

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Joel Ongert

The West Bend School District was once among the best in Southeast Wisconsin. “Excellence for All” was something the entire community, parents, students, teachers, alumni and business owners believed in. West Bend was the district where every parent wanted to send their child… A Destination! What happened? Unfortunately, the standard of excellence has changed over the years. This is why I am running for school board, and where my campaign slogan was born. “Restoring Excellence!” We CAN get back to “Excellence for All.” We know what it looks like and our district can achieve that again. Continue reading

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Decision 2017: Board Candidates on Galileo Testing

How do you think Galileo testing should be used in the West Bend School District?

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Joel Ongert

Galileo testing should be eliminated immediately! Our students are being tested too much and this expensive platform provides no value for students, teachers or parents. Teachers should not be held accountable to tests that do not align with what is being taught in the curriculum, and neither should our students. These tests do not help the teachers individualize learning plans or improve outcomes. The time used for testing would be much better spent on teaching. The money saved by not having to pay for these tests could be allocated to positions where a need has clearly been demonstrated, such as social workers, librarians and classroom aides. Continue reading

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Decision 2017: Board Candidates on Common Core

How do you think Common Core should be used in the West Bend School District?

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Joel Ongert

That is a complicated question because the Common Core discussion has been so politicized. I believe in high standards and Common Core is a set of standards. The confusion starts when people misunderstand standards for curriculum. Common Core is not curriculum. I believe that teachers are subject matter experts and should create curriculums. Administrators, the federal government, the school board do not have the knowledge base to build or approve curriculums. We should trust that we hire the best instructors and get out of their way to let them do their jobs! Ultimately, the race to meet Common Core has resulted in more testing and teaching to the test as well as haphazard curriculum changes here in West Bend. As a school board member, I will work diligently to stop that cycle. That doesn’t mean we lower standards, it means that we focus on putting authentic learning first again. Continue reading

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A Snapshot of Talent

Art exhibit will feature photographs by East English teacher

By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

Anthony Shafer’s classroom looks as if an actual photo bomb was let loose.

Shafer, an East English teacher, shows his passion for photography in the pictures that canvas his walls and reveal his great talent. This talent has not gone unnoticed, especially by Gallery 224, an art gallery in Port Washington where some of Shafer’s photographs will be included in an exhibit. The exhibit, “Letters to Sassnitz,” opens Friday and will run until April 29 in Port Washington. This summer the exhibit will travel to Sassnitz, Germany. Shafer is undecided as to whether or not he will travel with his artwork. Continue reading

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ABC’s “Time After Time” Won’t Stand the Test of Time

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“Time After Time” is a character-driven drama built on drama-less characters.

On paper, especially if you have prior knowledge about the show’s concept, what I just said must seem silly. After all, how can that be true about a series featuring time travel author H.G. Wells actually traveling through time to stop Jack the Ripper from ripping in modern times? Well, you throw out any personality or perspective that those two characters might have and replace it with public enemy number one of television, teenage drama writing. Continue reading

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Like Father, Like Sons

By Auburn Larson, Current Staff

Champ or coach? What should local athletes call Brent Henschel? For two of West Bend East High School’s strongest wrestlers, it’s just easier to call him Dad. Continue reading

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Indoor Weather

Why is there a steady drip in the hallway every time it rains?

By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

Contrary to the belief of some students at the West Bend High Schools, the garbage can in the hallway by West Library is, in fact, not for garbage. Continue reading

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Cinderella Story Outta Nowhere

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Local caddie awarded full scholarship

By Shelbie Proudfoot, Current Staff

Most West Bend East High School seniors are beginning to prepare for their nerve-wracking scholarship interviews, but for Lydia Spettel, that ordeal is already over.

Spettel received the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholarship, a full tuition and housing scholarship, on Dec. 23. It came to her differently than a standard academic scholarship. The Evans Scholarship is a nationwide caddying scholarship that has been around since 1929. Continue reading

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The Music of “La La Land” Deserves Oscar Recognition

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The movie’s soundtrack is both contemporary and timeless

By Kara Conley, Current Staff

Winning seven Golden Globes is a miraculous feat in the film industry, but the success of “La La Land” doesn’t stop there.

Damien Chazelle’s modern-day musical continues to captivate audiences, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took notice of its beauty, nominating “La La Land” for 12 Academy Awards. One of the awards “La La Land” is in contention for this weekend is Best Original Music Score. The film’s composer, Justin Hurwitz, has created musical mastery with a nostalgic sound that is refreshing to ears engulfed in a contemporary cacophony. Continue reading

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The Comeback Kid

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Odness returns to the court after severe knee injury

By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff

West Bend East senior Elizabeth Odness wasn’t used to becoming emotional before a basketball game. But she had never had to wait six months to play, either. Continue reading

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Local Teacher Struggles with Travel Ban

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By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

When Patricia McIntyre first heard about President Trump’s travel ban, she was immediately concerned about how the policy might affect her family. Continue reading

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Let’s Get Technical

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Should schools be more skeptical about integrating technology into the classroom?

By Kara Conley, Current Staff

In 2017, when people think of school they no longer think of books, but computers.

Technology in the classroom is changing the way teachers must educate their students and the way students learn. Some students have evolved in their academics due to the increased technological use, but not everyone feels it is for the best. Many teachers and students at the West Bend High Schools acknowledge the value of technology, but are also aware of its downsides.

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Tom Brady Dominated the Ads, Too

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What were the most notable commercials of Super Bowl 51?

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Hello, hello, and welcome again to the annual  TV Talk article about Super Bowl commercials!  The corporate advertisers of America have united once again to entertain and frustrate millions of fans. Here are my insights on a few of the most memorable ones.

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The Adventures Continue: Proposed Course Encourages Outdoor Activities

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By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

The term “outdoor classroom” is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Wendy Wiesjahn, a physical education teacher at West Bend East High School, is in the process of creating a new class called Adventure Ed. 2. The class is on track to be introduced in the 2018-2019 school year, and will entail a strong presence of outdoor activities such as archery, trap shooting, outdoor survival skills and first aid, kayaking and snowshoeing. The course will also include more advanced rock climbing. Continue reading

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Baker Dominates the Boards

West ninth grader ranks among the state’s leading rebounders

By Lily Mottet, Current Staff

Maddison Baker never considered that before her first season of high school basketball had finished, she would be ranked as one of the best players in the state.

Baker is a West Bend West High School ninth grader who has become a valuable center for the girls varsity basketball team. Wisconsin Sports Network reports that Baker is the third best rebounder in the state. Continue reading

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‘I Think Everyone Should Be Involved’: Local Teens Protest Inequality

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West Bend students participated in the Women’s March in Madison

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Cassiy Walker and Andie Schibline may not be of voting age, but they do not let their youth prevent them from participating in American democracy.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, Walker and Schibline were compelled to take part in the Women’s March in Madison. It was the first act of protest for Walker, a West Bend East High senior who will turn 18 in February. Schibline, a senior at West High, had some experience with peaceful demonstrations, having previously protested at the Trump rally in August at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Continue reading

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Area Students Traveled for President Trump’s Inauguration

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The entire Wisconsin 4-H delegation on Inauguration Day in front of the Capitol.

By Justin Scherzer, Current Staff

Two West Bend students not only witnessed President Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, they also took part in their own election with hundreds of other 4-H members.

Libby Willkomm, a West High sophomore, Luke Schowalter, an East senior, and nine other 4-H students from Washington County joined up with 500 members from across the country for the Citizenship Washington Focus Presidential Inauguration experience. Starting Jan. 17, these students spent five days attending both the inauguration and the protest march while taking part in a multitude of other activities around D.C. Continue reading

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Big Men on Campus

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West grads help lead major university athletic programs

By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff

Two ambitious individuals from West Bend have upgraded from playing high school sports to directing big time collegiate athletics.

Both Craig Pintens and Mike Houck are highly respected officials at their respective universities. Pintens, a 1994 West High School graduate, is now at the University of Oregon and is the Senior Associate Athletic Director. Houck, a 1990 West graduate, is at the University of Oklahoma and serves as the Assistant Athletics Director/Strategic Communications. Continue reading

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“Nosedive” Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

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There’s something off about the buzzed-about episode of “Black Mirror”

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At what point does satire become propaganda?

Simply put, satire is caustic criticism, whereas propaganda is the demonization of a target in order to push what the author views as “good.” The two can be hard to separate at times (especially since satire of propaganda is pretty popular), but it’s important to know what’s what.

Which brings me to “Black Mirror.” Continue reading

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East National Honor Society Raises Money for Habitat for Humanity

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By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

Habitat for Humanity dedicated its latest house to the Komp family, amid many of the dedicated volunteers who have helped with the building.

In addition to the home, the Komp family received a check of $1,085.94, which was raised by the West Bend East National Honor Society through a holiday loose-coin drive. Continue reading

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Baby, It’s Chile Outside

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By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

One West Bend student is about to experience his very first white Christmas.

Juan Pablo Cofré, a Chilean foreign exchange student who attends East High School, is used to being warm for the holidays.

“I have never had Christmas in the snow. It is always really, really hot for Christmas [in Chile],” Cofré said. Continue reading

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Thiesfeldt Will Focus on Education

Former teacher will serve a fourth term in the Wisconsin State Assembly

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt has always had a passion for politics and education, and he had a chance to combine both those interests as a government teacher at Fond du Lac High School.

Now, Thiesfeldt will continue to translate his educational positions into policy. He was re-elected to a fourth term as the Republican representative for Assembly District 52 on Nov. 8. Continue reading

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The Magic of Giving

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By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

Unlike a wizard, you don’t need a wand to save lives, just a needle.

The West Bend High Schools’ Student Council hosted a blood drive Wednesday with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin. It was held in the south gym, with students, teachers, and community members all coming in to donate blood.

The blood drive has been held in years past, but this year StuCo added some extra spirit by creating a Harry Potter theme. For Kelly Sorce, a family and consumer teacher and StuCo adviser, it was a dream come true. Continue reading

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Independent Film “Another Yesterday” Has West Bend Connections

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By Kaitlyn Von Behren, Current Staff

As six-year-old Saleem Soden tried to sink a putt at a mini golf course, the cameras were rolling, the lights were on, and everyone was watching.

Saleem and his mother Hadwat acted as extras in “Another Yesterday,” a feature film directed by Steven Heil in Oshkosh throughout the month of October. Hadwat and Saleem are the wife and son of Joel Soden, a math teacher at West Bend East High School. Continue reading

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End of an Era

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Ruth Ruh, long-time administrative assistant, will retire Dec. 22

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Ruth Ruh has been going to high school for nearly 30 years.

This streak will come to an end Dec. 22 when Ruh will retire as the administrative assistant to the principal, a job she has had since 1992. Ruh was a high school student herself at West Bend High School, and she graduated in 1969. Continue reading

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Looking for the Right Angle

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Math courses are trying a new student-led curriculum

By Abby Gawrych and Lily Mottet, Current Staff

East ninth grader Jordan Jentsch never expected to act as the teacher in her math class.

The WBHS curriculum for algebra and geometry was altered this year, moving to a group-based learning style. Some of the high school teachers believed that a group approach would be beneficial to the students. They started their research a year ago but the plan was first implemented after observing the teaching style in person at a high school in Oshkosh. Continue reading

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Drumline Sticks the Landing

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By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

The West Bend High Schools drumline beat out their competition, literally.

The drumline traveled to Milwaukee Nov. 26 for the annual Fresh Coast Drumline and Basketball Competition. The competition was held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with the drumline placing second out of seven schools. The competition was judged by professional percussionists.

Besides bragging rights, another perk to placing in the competition was the prize money. The drumline received $500 for their second place finish. This money is used to directly benefit the drumline through the purchase of new equipment. Continue reading

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New Music Teachers Start on a Good Note

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By Lilian Velez and Mattie Zautner, Current Staff

The music program at West Bend High Schools is experiencing a new era.

Seth Matuszak and David Pecsi are the new faces of the music department. Matuszak teaches orchestra while Pecsi teaches choir, and as new teachers, they have been learning right along with the students as the year continues. Now that each has a concert or two under the belt, they are thinking about combining the skills of the choir and orchestra for some of the upcoming shows. Continue reading

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Forensic Scientist: Sexton Begins 45th Season

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Hall of Fame coach has guided generations of local talent

By Justin Scherzer, Current Staff

Not many NFL coaches can claim a 45-year tenure, but there’s one living in West Bend.

Of course, the NFL in question is the National Forensics League, and the coach is Doris Sexton, who has served as a forensics and debate coach for East High School since 1971. Continue reading

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Not All Semester Exams Will Include Galileo Testing

Changes are in store for January exams

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

For students enrolled in year-long courses, Galileo tests will not be used as part of their exam scores in January. Continue reading

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