Category Archives: School News and Features

‘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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Smooth Rollout for New Testing System

STAR replaces Galileo as the district-wide standardized test

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

The new STAR testing has mostly received stellar reviews at the West Bend High Schools.

For the 2017-18 school year, the West Bend School District implemented a new standardized testing system, STAR 360 Assessments. Although this system is used globally, it is a product of Renaissance Learning, which was started by a parent here in Wisconsin. STAR tests students’ core reading and math skills. Ninth and tenth grade students at WBHS took the math test Sept. 21 and the reading test Sept. 26, and will take them again in January and April. Continue reading

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‘I Knew I Would Regret It If I Didn’t Go’: Two WBHS Students Audition for American Idol

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

“American Idol” is making a comeback, and this time it has local connections. Continue reading

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West Bend Schools Step Up

East High will participate in Hurricane Harvey Donation Drive

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

While a problem may be approximately one thousand miles away, part of the solution is located right here in the West Bend School District.

Seven West Bend schools have joined to create the Hurricane Harvey Donation Drive. The donations will go to the KIPP Prime College Preparatory School in Houston, Texas. The drive begins Monday and continues through Thursday. Each day the drive will run from 7 a.m to 3 p.m. Continue reading

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Two Principal Model Returns to WBHS

Students will experience unique school identities at East, West

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

This year the West Bend High Schools welcome a new principal, but wait… there’s more! Attend school now, and you will get not one, but two principals. 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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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

By Auburn Larson, Current Staff

Anne Rieke, on the cusp of graduating from West Bend East High School, never expected to be sent back to elementary school.

The idea belonged to Dennis Ziegler, East’s athletic director. Ziegler recently implemented a new program which involves East athletes reading books to elementary school students. Every Friday afternoon, six East athletes go to a local elementary school and read to an assigned class. Ziegler hopes that the interaction between East athletes and younger students will help create a stronger culture for West Bend academics and athletics. Continue reading

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Steger Selected

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Jessica Steger, East junior, will serve as The Current‘s Editor in Chief for the 2017-18 school year.  She replaces graduating senior Hannah Bensen. Congrats, Jessica!

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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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Beloved Principals Honored

By Priyanka Trivedi, Current Staff

Two conference rooms at West Bend High Schools have been renamed after two former principals.

Mary Skalecki and Patrick Gardon were both honored by having conference rooms inside West Bend High Schools named after them in the fall of 2016. The Skalecki conference room is located outside the main office while the Gardon conference room is in the attendance area.

“The conference rooms dedicated are the two most visible conference rooms,” said Ralph Schlass, a current assistant principal who worked with both Gardon and Skalecki. Continue reading

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Tooting Our Own Horn: NEWSPA Awards 2017

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Bensen leads with four awards

The West Bend Current set a school record with 21 individual awards from the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association in a statewide contest for high school journalists. Continue reading

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Crash Course

Every 15 Minutes program asks students to confront the dangers of drinking and driving

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

While hundreds of students looked on, West Bend East High School teacher Jeff Rondorf was taken away in an ambulance.

The Every 15 Minutes program took an unusual twist this year by including a faculty member in its plotline. Rondorf, a business education teacher, “died” on Friday due to injuries sustained in an accident caused by a drunk driver. The events were not real, but they simulated the graphic realities of such an incident. Continue reading

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New Principal Visits WBHS Campus

Jeridon Clark

By Justin Scherzer, Current Staff

A new leader has been welcomed into the building to prepare for his new role as principal of the West Bend High Schools.

Jeridon Clark won’t officially become principal until July 1, but he visited the school Monday and Wednesday as a way of getting to know the staff, students and environment.

“The school seems very exciting,” Clark said. “I got to meet quite a few staff members as well as several students, and I really like the energy.” Continue reading

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The Living Dead

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Today juniors at the West Bend High Schools witnessed a mock fatal accident involving their classmates as part of the Every 15 Minutes program. These snapshots, taken by Editor in Chief Hannah Bensen and staff reporter Gabrielle Diaz, capture how the event realistically showed the trauma of such an incident. Juniors and seniors will assemble Friday in the auditorium for a followup presentation about the potential consequences of drinking and driving.

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Rising from the Ashes

Art show helps students comprehend the Holocaust

By Sydney Spaeth, Current Staff

During the Holocaust, it was a rare occurrence to capture a suffering Jewish person smiling. That fact inspired Rachel Mauney, an East High junior, to create an artwork for the West Bend High Schools’ Holocaust Art Show.

The show, which centered around the Holocaust theme “Rising from the Ashes,” had its gallery opening April 20 in the atrium of the Silver Lining Arts Center. Continue reading

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A Walk to Remember

By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

Long lost memories of precious recess and unappreciated nap time are about to resurface for the 2017 graduates of West Bend High Schools.

Seniors will receive a blast from the past May 31 when they embark on the West Bend School District’s first Graduation Walk. Continue reading

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District Officials Weigh Options for Renovating Locker Rooms

By Hannah Bensen, Current Staff

In the boys locker room, only two of the eighteen shower heads are functioning.

The West Bend High Schools locker rooms have not been updated since they were built in 1970. As a result, East athletic director Dennis Ziegler is looking into potential plans to renovate the locker rooms and other high school athletic facilities. He hopes to implement these plans in stages over the next five years. Continue reading

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The Current View: AP Testing 2017

How prepared are you for the Advanced Placement tests?

I feel pretty prepared. Our teachers all did a really good job at balancing things out over the year so we’re not cramming much in at the last second. And we have some time to review so overall I feel pretty good. Mostly I like to look at the review material that the teacher gives out, I don’t like going back in the textbook myself. The teachers usually do a pretty good job at giving us stuff that we could go over in order to be successful.
Justin Scherzer, East sophomore

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‘It’s a Tremendous Honor’: Rolfs Foundation Recognizes Two High School Teachers

By Lily Mottet, Current Staff

Two cakes were made for this year’s Rolfs award ceremony at the West Bend High Schools.

Staff members Mark Drake and Donna Goetz were each honored by the Rolfs Educational Foundation in a surprise event after school May 1 in the West High media center. Drake, who won Teacher of the Year, teaches US Government and Politics and World Affairs. Goetz, who won Support Staff of the Year, is the fulltime school psychologist at the high school. Continue reading

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Staff Members Learn New Safety Plans

West teacher leaps into action during faculty meeting

By Kaitlyn Von Behren, Current Staff

It’s not every work day that Aaron Paulin must rescue two English teachers.

Paulin, a West Bend West High School social studies teacher, was seated near the front at the March 3 teacher in-service, and when presenter Ted Hayes wielded a mock weapon, instinct told him to act. Continue reading

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‘Bring Good to This World’: Holocaust Survivor Opens Up to Students

By Maddie Aamodt, Current Staff

The auditorium was silent as Nate Taffel spoke, save for the occasional sound of sniffles and attempts at stifling sobs, the listeners trying to be as quiet and attentive as possible.

Taffel, you see, is a Holocaust survivor. Continue reading

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Family of Composers

Siblings will perform original songs at Friday’s talent show

By Mattie Zautner, Current Staff

“Why Do I Like You?” and “Diamond Eyes.”

These two songs cannot be found on a Billboard Top 10 list because they were composed by West Bend West High School students Victoria and Sebastian Hunt. Their love of music inspired each sibling to write original songs to perform in this year’s WBHS Talent Show. The show is at 7 p.m. Friday in the Silver Lining Arts Center. 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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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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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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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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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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‘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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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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