Category Archives: Community

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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West Bend School Board Has New President

Larson happy to pass the gavel to Ongert

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

After serving only one year in the position, Tiffany Larson will not continue as president of the West Bend School Board.

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Members of the school board changed roles Monday in an annual process that occurs after new members are sworn in. Because Chris Zwygart and Kurt Rebholz secured their seats on the board during the April 3 spring election, it was time for the board to reorganize. Larson was replaced by Joel Ongert as president and was not re-elected into an officer position.

That turn of events led a local blogger to interpret the shift as an effort to expel Larson from board leadership. Continue reading

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‘Our Thoughts Are Our Own’: Walkout Organizers Respond to School Board Candidate’s Criticisms

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

On Wednesday, March 14th, hundreds of students poured onto the West Bend High School’s football field to honor the seventeen lives that were taken on the Valentine’s Day Parkland shooting. In light of the recent discussion on school safety, we would like to respond to Mary Weigand’s blog post directed at “the protesting students and supportive administration” regarding the walkout. Mrs. Weigand is currently running for school board. We would also like to clarify and enlighten our community members on the events of the day. The following response does not reflect the views of the high school administration. Continue reading

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Decision 2018: Meet the Four Candidates for School Board

SchoolBoardElection_LogoTwo seats on the West Bend School Board will be up for grabs in an at-large election on April 3.

Joining incumbent Monte Schmiege on the ballot are three challengers, Chris Zwygart, Kurt Rebholz and Mary Weigand. Leaving the board is Tim Stellmacher, who was appointed to the board mid-term and did not file for 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 2018: Board Candidates on Why They Chose to Run

Why are you running for school board?

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Monte Schmiege

Well, I have three years of experience in the district. I think it is important to have some experience on the board rather than new members every single year because it does take some time to get acclimated to the business of the school board and what it’s all like, what the responsibilities are, what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. So it takes quite a bit of time to get acquainted to all of that. Continue reading

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Decision 2018: Board Candidates on Spending Money

What are your budgeting priorities for the school district?

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Monte Schmiege

Seventy-five percent of the money goes towards staffing so that is a big component of that and then you’ve got a component which would be for construction materials and all of that. The district is putting 1.4 million dollars into retaining the school grounds. Those are the primary ones and we also have debt that we have to pay for. Continue reading

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Decision 2018: Board Candidates on District Curriculum

What is the board’s role when it comes to curriculum changes?

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Monte Schmiege

That’s an interesting question because I have a different opinion on that. Some people will say that we need to leave that to the experts and I don’t necessarily believe that. If we had policies or some way to describe what curriculum should look like that would be one thing, but we really don’t. And things change so much that it is difficult to do that. I think the board’s role is oversight. But I worked with administration to update our policy to allow the board to approve standards and curriculum and this is modeled after what Green Bay does, as a matter of fact. And the board is also responsible by law and action in August to authorize a list of board-approved standards so there is a precedent of the board approving standards.   Continue reading

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Come for No Nonsense, Stay for Coffee

Student band will perform at the Hub’s ribbon cutting ceremony

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

No Nonsense is making its big break into the community.

The band will help kick off the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hub Thursday at noon. The Hub is a coffee shop opened by the Washington County Volunteer Center on Water Street in West Bend. There have been several soft openings, and a weekend-long Grand Opening will begin May 17. The ribbon cutting marks the beginning of regular business hours. Continue reading

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There’s Always Time for Charity

Playoff basketball might interfere with Saturday’s Charity Ball

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

Scheduling Charity Week proved much more difficult this year as compared to the past. Continue reading

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High School Program Prepares Students for the Job Olympics

By Lauren Oppermann, Current Staff

Right now, one can enjoy the thrilling Winter Olympics on TV. However, in the middle of May, students from the West Bend High Schools will be participating in their own Olympics.

Students with special needs have the chance to participate in the Job Olympics. Though it is comparable to the Special Olympics, the event focuses on career-related competitions rather than sports. Ten different local schools participate in this event. Continue reading

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It’s in Their Blood

When the Blood Center of Wisconsin asked for help, WBHS anatomy students answered the call

By Priyanka Trivedi, Current Staff

As southeastern Wisconsin is running low on blood, the West Bend High Schools’ anatomy classes are coming to the rescue.

After Slinger High School dropped out of their annual blood drive due to construction at their school, West Bend science teachers David Clark and Kara Petzold decided to create a blood drive revolving around the anatomy classes they teach. Each student in anatomy class is responsible for bringing at least one person to donate blood, taking over Slinger High School’s obligation of donating at least 100 pints of blood to the Blood Center of Wisconsin. Continue reading

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‘They Have Been Through the Worst’: Two WBHS Seniors Help Refugees

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

Not long ago, local student Olivia McClain was reading picture books with Syrian refugees. Continue reading

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West Staff Gives Back to the Community

Book-giving event is just one of many planned service projects

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

For the West Bend West High School staff, the ‘giving season’ began before a single Christmas ornament was prematurely sold.

On Tuesday the West staff hosted a book-giving event in the West Library. Prior to the event the school ran a book drive lasting from October to November. During this time over 2,000 books were collected, which were then offered at the book-giving event. Local organizations Family Promise, Boys and Girls Club, Friends Incorporated, Youth Treatment Center, and the Youth and Family Project attended the event, with an open invitation to their clients. Continue reading

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The Bench Player

By Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff

When there wasn’t enough space for the community to sit, a local student decided to take a stand.

Evan Beekman, a junior at West Bend West High School, built two circular benches in Jackson Park for his Eagle Scout project. Although the project was completed in the fall of 2016, he was recognized for his achievement in October of this year. Continue reading

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West Bend Theatre Company Begins Its Christmas Future at WBHS

‘A Christmas Carol’ is coming to the Silver Lining Arts Center

By Sydney Spaeth and Priyanka Trivedi, Current Staff

After seven years of performances at the Masonic Lodge, the West Bend Theatre Company is moving its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” to the West Bend High Schools.

By joining with WBHS, the producers hope the show will become an annual fundraiser for high school students. Fifty percent of the proceeds from “A Christmas Carol” will benefit WBHS choir students by allowing them to travel and produce high-level musicals and performances. Both the directors and students participating in the performance are excited to see how the show will turn out now that it has been moved to the high school. Continue reading

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Student Artist Honored by Area Foundation

The West Bend Public Schools Foundation Gala and Auction will feature a painting by Haley Ehn

By Lily Mottet, Current Staff

It was a shock for West Bend West senior Haley Ehn to learn she was selected as a featured artist for an art gala.

The West Bend Public Schools Foundation Gala and Auction will be held at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the West Bend Mutual Prairie Center.  Ehn is the second WBHS student to be chosen as the featured artist since WBPSF instituted the Imagine Student Artwork Series last year. Ehn’s artwork is showcased on the WBPSF Gala and Auction invitation and will be auctioned off during the event. Continue reading

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‘He’s the Hero of Our Family’: Local Teacher Has Ties to Relief Effort in Puerto Rico

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

For one West Bend teacher, Hurricane Maria meant immediate separation from her husband. Continue reading

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Peace, Love and Understanding

 

Confessions of a Teenage Mind

Candlelight vigil against hate was a positive first step

By Kaitlyn Von Behren, Current Staff

As a child, my favorite game at sleepovers was always “Would You Rather.” I even had a go-to question: Would you rather go backward in time, or forward?

My companions would almost always say they’d rather go to the future. They already knew how the past went, after all, and they wanted to learn something new: who they’d marry, which country would first plant its flag on Mars, who the first female president of the United States would be.

I was, and still am, anxious when I think of the future. Because of this, I’d always counter my sleepover pals and explain to them why traveling to the past was a much better choice.

Now we have, and I know I was terribly wrong. Continue reading

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The Radio Stars

By Gabrielle Diaz, Current Staff

The familiar voices from the West Bend High Schools’ public announcements are now being heard on local radio.

West junior Andrew Haese and East senior Lydia Spettel can be heard on 101.3 WIBD talking about events happening in the community and the schools at 6:45 a.m. every Tuesday morning. Listeners can also find Haese daily on his own station, A100 Radio. Continue reading

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Basically Belle

East junior brings Disney love to Autism Walk/Run

By Mattie Zautner, Current Staff

Her yellow gown twirled around her feet as she danced the night away with her beast.

For as long as she can remember, Gabby Diaz, a junior at West Bend East High School, has loved the Disney princess Belle. This obsession inspired Diaz to dress up as Belle for a recent Autism Walk/Run, attend prom wearing a dress similar to Belle’s gown and start her own party entertainment business. Her princess career has already begun and she plans on continuing to be a role model to all the little girls and boys out there. 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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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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‘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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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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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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A House Divided Against Itself

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By Alina Prahl, Current Staff

Gabbie Becker again flipped over the Trump magnet on the fridge, much to her mother’s chagrin.

As with the country as a whole, the 2016 presidential election has divided the Becker family. Gabbie, an East senior, has reservations but prefers Hillary Clinton, while her mom, Paula, a West Bend real estate agent, plans to vote for Donald Trump. Continue reading

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