Category Archives: Community

‘I Never Had a Non-White Teacher’: New Group Seeks Change at the West Bend School District

By Elena Chamberlain, Current Staff

Former West Bend students have started a group that advocates for racial justice in both the community and school district. Continue reading

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A Beautiful Deed in the Neighborhood

By Elise Marlett, Current Staff

As of Tuesday, Diane Malicki has sewn an estimated 75 face masks for her neighbors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Continue reading

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Decision 2020: Board Candidates on Another Referendum

What are your thoughts about asking voters to consider another referendum?

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Tonnie Schmidt (incumbent)

The West Bend School District is very conservative. It is one of the reasons I choose to live here. I appreciate the need to be responsible with our spending and ensuring that responsibility is one of the reasons I sought to run for school board three years ago and it is still a reason why I chose to run for another term. Continue reading

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Decision 2020: Board Candidates on Why They Want to Serve

What is your motivation for wanting to serve on the school board?

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Tonnie Schmidt (incumbent)

The gratitude I feel for the education I received as a child and young adult as well as the ability to serve the community that has welcomed the success of my business, Delta Defense, is what motivates me to serve on the school board. Continue reading

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Decision 2020: Board Candidates on How to Improve the District

What areas of the district do you seek to change or improve?

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Tonnie Schmidt (incumbent)

In the immediate future, I would like to be directly responsible for hiring a new superintendent to replace resigning Don Kirkegaard.

I also would like to ensure that our facilities are in good shape going forward while not disregarding the declining birthrate and its effect on enrollment in the future. I have a commitment to neighborhood schools as is feasible, including incorporating central administration into existing vacant space in them as an alternative to closing multiple elementary schools. I believe in the priceless power of families to support one another in neighborhood elementary schools over a large centralized structure where children can feel lost and overwhelmed. Continue reading

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Decision 2020: Board Candidates on Their Experience with the District

What has been your experience with the West Bend School District?

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Tonnie Schmidt (incumbent)

As a school board, we removed an inexperienced and toxic superintendent and conducted a thorough search for a new superintendent, which included input from the community, resulting in hiring a nationally recognized superintendent who has brought stability to our district. Continue reading

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New York’s Coronavirus Outbreak ‘Feels Like a Nightmare’

West Bend graduate is a public health scientist in New York City

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

The City That Never Sleeps now resembles a ghost town.

That’s what Kacie Seil, a former West Bender now living in New York City, says about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected her current home.

Seil, an epidemiologist who attended Yale University after graduating from West Bend East High School in 2006, serves as a research scientist for data integrity at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As a resident and analyst, Seil has seen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic up close. Continue reading

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West Bend Teachers Miss Their Students

VIDEO

Teachers at Decorah Elementary School organized a car parade today to connect with their students. Students haven’t seen their teachers since schools were closed March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade started on Vine Street and traveled through several neighborhoods. Staff members from Silverbrook Intermediate School will parade Monday starting at 5 p.m. Distance learning starts Tuesday.

 

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Former Exchange Student Reports from Italy

Andrea Sargentoni says he “underestimated” the virus at first

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

Italian student Andrea Sargentoni, like many people around the world, underestimated the severity and swift spread of the coronavirus.

Sargentoni was working through his fifth and final year of high school in Ancona, Italy, when his country’s first cases of COVID-19 were reported in late January and early February. The number of coronavirus cases and deaths rapidly escalated to the point that Sargentoni, who spent last year studying at West Bend West High School, now lives under a national lockdown. Continue reading

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‘Everyone Was Freaking Out’: Sisters with Local Ties Return from Europe

Twins were in Spain when President Trump announced new travel restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

Last week, two West Bend graduates were uncertain that they would be able to return home to the United States. Continue reading

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Two Helping Hands and a Microphone

By Annika Olson, Current Staff

The West Bend Student Council has asked DJay Mando to put a new spin on Charity Week. Continue reading

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Innovative Dance Company Headlines Black History Month Event

Celebrate with food and entertainment

By Megan Landvatter, Current Staff

For the third annual Black History Month Celebration, the West Bend High Schools are welcoming the Water Street Dancers. Continue reading

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Mindel Named Wisconsin’s Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars

School board will recognize East teacher who won a state award for his many activities on behalf of local veterans

By Darick Fait, Current Staff

Honoring veterans is one of the things that Scott Mindel has chosen to spend much of his time doing. It was just a matter of time before he received the recognition he deserves. Continue reading

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‘It Felt Like I Wasn’t Doing Enough’: Interview with Climate Activist Ally Bubb

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

Ally Bubb had her children in mind when she began volunteering with the Climate Reality Project. Continue reading

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Veterans Day Assembly 2019

PHOTO ESSAY

Friday’s Veterans Day assembly at the West Bend High Schools featured many area veterans and a rare visit by the U.S. Army Drill Team from Fort Meyer in Arlington, Virginia. Photos by Olivia Langdon, Current Staff.

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US Army Drill Team Coming to West Bend

Veterans Day assembly will feature internationally recognized drill team

By Darick Fait, Current Staff

While sitting in his tree stand last November, Scott Mindel decided that in 2019, Veterans Day at the West Bend High Schools would be bigger and better than ever. Continue reading

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One Thousand Pairs of Shoes

Soles4Souls will send donated shoes to those who need them

By Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff

This year, the Spanish program’s usual Day of the Dead celebration at the West Bend High Schools will have a global impact. Continue reading

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East Grad Worked Behind the Scenes at the Milwaukee Film Festival

Twenty short film collections are included in this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

Moviegoers may have a West Bend graduate to thank for the forthcoming Milwaukee Film Festival’s setlist of short films. Continue reading

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Local Students Demand Government Action on Climate Change

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

With cars racing past them on Main Street, a group of local students raised homemade signs to call for change. Continue reading

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Rise Together to Prevent Addiction

Students give standing ovation to 13-year-old speaker

By Elise Marlett, Current Staff

Walking into the auditorium, students were expecting a drug and alcohol presentation like any other, but were pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

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Remembering Local Heroes Lost to War

As a Memorial Day tribute, this video honors the 29 graduates from the West Bend High Schools who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The video, which was produced by East social studies teacher Scott Mindel, was shown Friday to all WBHS students in their resource period.

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Jackson Elementary Feels Like Home

New job for area mom leads to a surprising reunion

By Kael Beltmann, Current Staff

Karen Carlson is back on the playground at Jackson Elementary School, this time with a whistle. Continue reading

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Schools Must Encourage the Youth Vote

VIEWPOINT

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

I will likely be one of the few local teens participating in our American democracy on Tuesday. Continue reading

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Decision 2019: Meet the Three Candidates for School Board

SchoolBoardElection_LogoThe West Bend School Board will soon have two new faces.

With no incumbents on the April 2 ballot, voters will choose among newcomers Paul Fischer, Christopher Bach and Erin Dove to fill two open seats. Leaving the board are Tiffany Larson and Ken Schmidt. Both chose not to seek re-election.

The West Bend Current asked the candidates 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 2019: Board Candidates on the Referendum

What are your thoughts about the referendum?

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Paul Fischer

I am in support of the referendum. I, like most people, don’t enjoy paying more taxes, but at the same time, I recognize that it costs money to operate and maintain buildings. We are a large school district, and there’s a lot to manage here, a lot to maintain. You take a look at the age of the high school specifically—a lot of the mechanicals are at the end of life, they needed to be replaced at some point in the past, most likely. But because of the conservative nature of this community, we’ve done what we can to maintain investments in the classroom, potentially sometimes at the expense on the maintenance things, above the ceiling, below the floor, and so forth that you don’t always see. But the time has come where we need to address those things. Continue reading

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Decision 2019: Board Candidates on Their Vision for the District

What are the unique goals you would seek to achieve while on the school board?

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Paul Fischer

My goal is to see the stability of the school district that they’ve attained in the last 12 months, to see that continue for the next 36 months. Beyond that, I really don’t have goals, per se, because I’m not bringing an agenda to the table. I think that’s maybe happened in the past, and that’s been part of our challenges as a community. We all want the same thing: to have well-rounded students coming out that are well-prepared for their post high school experience, whether that’s the workforce or secondary education. And our job is to support that, in the best way possible. Continue reading

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Decision 2019: Board Candidates on the Importance of Education

Why is education important to you and what is your current experience with education?

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Paul Fischer

From a priority perspective, education is the foundation that’s going to set our students up for everything else that happens in life, whether it’s formal classroom education, hands-on job experience, whatever the case may be. It’s giving students that opportunity, and then the onus is on the student to make the best of those situations that they possibly can. Continue reading

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That’s the Ticket

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

Two former West Bend students have partnered in a run for office. Continue reading

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Band of Neighbors

West Bend’s Charity Week will help fund a 9/11 memorial in nearby Kewaskum

By Grace Peplinski, Current Staff

The rumors were floating around school: Was West Bend really inviting Kewaskum to its charity dance? And was it because of low turnout in the past? Continue reading

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The Voice of West Bend Snow Days

By Kael Beltmann, Current Staff

Everyone knows his voice, but few know his name. Continue reading

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Breaking the News: Why the Shakeup at the Local Paper Matters

VIEWPOINT

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

After what happened at the Daily News, I am concerned for the future of local journalism in West Bend. Continue reading

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‘Did You Hear Anything?’: Shutdown Keeps Area Family in Limbo

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

The ongoing U.S. government shutdown has led a woman with local ties to worry about her husband’s travel visa application. Continue reading

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A Path for Political Discussions in the Classroom at West Bend

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

According to definitions in “The Political Classroom,” West Bend is a politically diverse community [1] (Hess, Mcavoy, 2014). What that means is there are different points of view of sufficient magnitude from the community and parents to detect political bias in schools and the political power to stop it. As you can imagine, “Like minded schools” had no trouble implementing politics in the classroom as only one point of view was allowed, and parents who do see bias do not have the political power to allow different points of view. So, the nice thing with being in a politically diverse community is multiple points of view are available, the challenging part is dealing with political bias. Continue reading

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Welcome to the Dollhouse

WBHS graduate designed the artwork for this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival

By Samantha Dietel, Editor in Chief

For Melissa Johnson, working with the Milwaukee Film Festival meant designing a dollhouse. Continue reading

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Sweatin’ to the Oldies

Proposed renovations will help control WBHS temperatures

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

As summer draws nearer students seem to be sweating to get out of school, literally.

The West Bend High Schools air conditioning system needed repair during the week of April 30. Officials advised teachers to bring fans from home. The air conditioning was turned on May 23, but many students report that some classrooms remain too warm.

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