Category Archives: School News and Features

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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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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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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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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A Special Breed

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West junior finds success in the saddle

By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff

Katelyn Schultz is not your prototypical student-athlete, but she recently accomplished one of her greatest feats.

Schultz, a West junior, competes in horse competitions and this year she went to Nationals, the largest single breed show in the world, and her horse won.

“It’s something I never thought would happen because it’s really expensive, but my parents support me so much. I was so shocked. You never think you’re going to be the one to win,” Schultz said.

Even with all of her success, Katelyn does have an everyday obstacle: She was born without depth perception, making sports like volleyball and basketball difficult to play. 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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Rettler Finds His Calling

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West senior is headed to the seminary

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

It’s the question that many high schoolers are asked to consider at some point in their lives: What do you want to be when you grow up?

This question is often met with ambiguous and uncertain answers, but for West senior Max Rettler, the answer is clear. He wants to become a priest. Continue reading

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Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away with DJ

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By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff

If you ever catch yourself on Big Cedar Lake during the summertime you’ll most likely cross waters with DJ Jaessing.

The high school senior operates sailboats on the water for leisure and competition, and earned his first victory this year. Continue reading

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Challenge Accepted

By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

Talk about the ultimate all-sports all-star.

Dennis Ziegler, the new East athletic director, has committed to a year-long challenge. He has extended an invitation to all East sports teams to give him an athletic challenge, and he will fulfill that request at their practice for that day.

On Tuesday, Ziegler joined the boys varsity soccer team for a pk5 shootout, acting as both a goalie and a shooter. He previously ran with the girls cross country team, running eight Decorah Hills, and joined the girls volleyball team by performing a five-ball drill with them. Continue reading

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Walking for Charity Brings Club Members Together

SAGA members raised more money for the AIDS Walk & 5K Run than any other high school group in the state

By Kaitlyn Von Behren, Current Staff

The WBHS Sexuality and Gender Alliance fundraised over triple their goal for this year’s AIDS Walk & 5K Run.

SAGA’s goal was $500, and the total raised was $1690. Donations were collected in late September and early October.

The AIDS Walk & 5K Run was held Oct. 1 at Milwaukee’s Summerfest Grounds. The event is put on by the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin to raise funds to increase access to life-saving health care among those with HIV and AIDS. Continue reading

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The Current View: Summer Highlights 2016

What’s the most interesting thing you did over summer?

logan-woods“So I was out at around 11 at night and we were looking for turtles. I had seen them underneath a rock and so I put a stick underneath the shell and I grabbed it by the tail. We measured the shell, and it has to be 12 inches, and then we took it back. We ended up making turtle soup out of it. The meat is pretty tough, so you have to slow cook it, but it was pretty good. I would recommend it. ”
Logan Woods, East senior

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West Bend Welcomes Erik Olson

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By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Like many other West Bend dads, Erik Olson took some pictures, socialized with other parents, and then walked his two youngest kids to school for their first day. Then, he went to work as the new superintendent of the West Bend School District. Continue reading

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Welcome to the 2016-17 School Year

2016.05.23 - Hannah Bensen [crop]By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

Do you have a passion for writing? Do you enjoy learning new things about different people? Consider utilizing these interests by joining The Current staff as an investigative reporter or columnist. Is photography or watching films a hobby of yours? Combine your passions as a photographer or entertainment critic.

There is a wide array of positions available for a number of different interests. Please see Mr. Beltmann in room S95 for details.

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Getting Schooled: Choosing a College Is Stressful

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By Beth Williams, Current Staff

With graduation right around the corner, numerous WBHS seniors are taking the time to finalize decisions about their futures.

For East senior Elizabeth Bensen, however, the decision was not quite so easy.

“I applied to 14 schools,” Bensen said. Continue reading

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No Soup For You

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Students with a negative balance in their lunch accounts are turned away

By Kara Conley, Current Staff

Rules are rules, even when it comes to lunch.

Lunch provides a small amount of time for students to enjoy food and conversation in the middle of the day. However, some students are unable to share in the food part due to the hot lunch policy regarding account balances. Continue reading

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Tooting Our Own Horn: NEWSPA Awards 2016

2016.05.23 Current Staff

WBHS journalists score 12 awards in statewide contest 

For the second year in a row, The West Bend Current received top recognition from the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association.

Judges for the 2016 NEWSPA contest again gave blue ribbon honors to The Current for a website not published as part of a journalism class, saying that many of the stories “reflect an original, enterprising approach to news gathering.”

The website’s student reporters also took home eleven individual awards. Continue reading

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Bensen Selected

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Hannah Bensen, East junior, will serve as The Current‘s Editor in Chief for the 2016-17 school year.  She replaces graduating senior Lauren Sorensen. Congrats, Hannah!

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Flitter Named Teacher of the Year

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Prizes pile up for East social studies teacher

By Jessica Steger, Current Staff

It’s been a good year for Jessica Flitter, East social studies teacher. Continue reading

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See a Show: The Well Pennies Perform with Orchestra Students

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By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff

The WBHS orchestra is teaming up with the Well Pennies to put on a concert Friday in the West Bend Silver Lining Arts Center.

The Well Pennies are a husband and wife folk pop group based out of Boston, Massachusetts.  The acclaimed group consists of four members from all over the United States, from the Seattle area all the way to the East Coast. Continue reading

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