‘We’re Unprepared’: Students and Staff Have Safety Concerns

West assistant principal Patrick O’Connor monitors the West cafeteria during the first lunch period on Tuesday. Photo by Samantha Dietel, Current Staff.

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

Not everyone is satisfied with the safety of the West Bend High Schools.

After the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., both students and staff at WBHS have expressed their own concerns about the building’s safety. Some even believe that the school would be unprepared for an attack similar to what occurred in Parkland. 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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Waking Toward Greatness

Video game review: ‘Hearts of Iron IV’

By Robert Pulford, Current Staff

World War 2 is, if unintentionally, the perfect time period for war games. Continue reading

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Video Announcements 3/16/18

(Video created by students in West Bend High Schools’ advanced video production class, under the supervision of Michael Bentdahl, East High technology teacher.)

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‘I Couldn’t Just Sit Back’: Protest Organizers Call for Change

WBHS students are divided about how to address school violence

By Elise Marlett and Lauren Oppermann, Current Staff

Four West Bend teenagers have taken the lead after the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

East junior Lindsay Kramer, West senior Olivia McClain, East senior Alina Prahl and West sophomore Jada Williams organized the West Bend High Schools’ participation in a nationwide moment of silence. The demonstration took place 10 a.m. Wednesday on the football field. Continue reading

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How Have the High Schools Addressed Safety Since Parkland?

Community Q&A planned for March 22

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

“If you see or hear something, say something” is a phrase that has lately been given a great emphasis at the West Bend High Schools.

In light of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students, parents and other West Bend community members have wondered how the district is planning to respond to the calls for better safety in schools. Several steps to improve the safety of WBHS have already been taken since the attack, including plans for a community discussion about safety that will be held by the school board March 22. Continue reading

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Local Students Protest School Violence

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Today students at the West Bend High Schools participated in a national school walkout. According to organizers, the event was intended to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. and to encourage legislators to pass stricter gun control laws. These snapshots, taken by Current staff reporters, capture how the event unfolded on the WBHS campus.

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The Current View: National Walkout

Why did you participate in today’s national school walkout?

“I went just to support the kids that were killed in any school shooting. And I went to have that moment of silence for the people who died in the Florida shooting.
Nick Matsunaga, West senior

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East Teacher Will Study the Holocaust Overseas

By Bailey Schultz, Current Staff

West Bend East High School social studies teacher Scott Lone is taking a trip to the birthplace of Hitler for spring break. Continue reading

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‘Our Students Are Very Safe’: WBHS Officials Discuss Campus Security

Recent changes were implemented prior to Parkland shooting

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

For students shifting from class to class at the West Bend High Schools, it’s easy to miss the numerous cameras that monitor each of the hallways.

In recent years, the West Bend School District has placed an increased focus on the security of its high schools to ensure the safety of the students and staff within the building. But after a gunman took the lives of 17 students and faculty last month at a high school in Parkland, Fla., there has been a heightened number of inquiries regarding the safety at WBHS. Continue reading

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Guns in the Classroom?

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

A typical classroom inventory contains plenty of paper, pens and dry erase markers, but now, some believe a gun should also be included.

Students and staff members of the West Bend High Schools have been left with many thoughts, questions and even some concerns due to recent proposals to allow teachers to possess a gun in the classroom. Such proposals began to circulate through the nation in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Even Wis. Rep. Jesse Kremer proposed the arming of private school teachers in February. Continue reading

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The Current View: Teachers and Guns

What do you think about arming teachers as a safety measure?

“I think that arming teachers is unnecessary. If teachers want to have a gun, I think that they can. I don’t necessarily agree with it but they are their own person, they are independent. However I don’t think it should be a mandatory thing.
Alex Schloemer, East senior

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Video Announcements 3/8/18

(Video created by students in West Bend High Schools’ advanced video production class, under the supervision of Michael Bentdahl, East High technology teacher.)

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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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Teaching History Through Music

Music scholar visited WBHS to talk about Jewish traditions

By Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff

One way to study the Holocaust is by using your ears.

Amanda Ruppenthal Stein, a doctoral candidate in musicology at Northwestern University, visited band students at the West Bend High Schools Feb. 26 to deliver a presentation about Jewish music. Her presentation was part of the ongoing WBHS project to integrate the art, music, culinary and social studies departments for a Holocaust memorial taking place in April. All three band classes are playing pieces either by a Jewish composer or regarding the Holocaust. Continue reading

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The Secret Rock Life of a Guidance Counselor

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

This Friday, Kara Phillips will be stepping away from the typical lifestyle of a high school guidance counselor to pick up a microphone.

Phillips, a counselor at West Bend East High School, is the lead singer of the local rock band Love Handle. She and her band will be performing at 8 p.m. Friday inside Pillars Pub, which will be the group’s first gig since December. Continue reading

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Pencil, Ink and Digital Paint: East Grad Has Ties to Oscar Nominees

Rory Kurtz is an award-winning illustrator

By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief

West Bend East High School alumnus Rory Kurtz has a personal reason for hoping “Baby Driver” wins an Oscar on Sunday.

Kurtz, an illustrator who graduated from East in 1997, created the official movie poster for “Baby Driver.” He also produced the alternative key art for “I, Tonya,” another Oscar nominee. Kurtz creates art for many clients, including Mondo-Alamo Drafthouse and well-known publications such as the New Yorker and Rolling Stone. Continue reading

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East Swimmer Wins State Title

Fitzgerald takes first in 200 individual medley

By Elise Marlett, Current Staff

West Bend East High School has a state champion swimmer for the first time since 2013.

Bryan Fitzgerald, a senior and member of the West Bend Boys Co-op Swim and Dive team, placed first in his claim-to-fame race, the 200 individual medley, at the WIAA Boys Division 1 state meet on Saturday. His time of 1 minute, 50.15 seconds is the eighth-fastest time in the history of Division 1 boys swimming for this event. He also participated in two relays, placing 14th and 22nd, and received second place in the 500 freestyle. The team placed 14th as a whole. Continue reading

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Video Announcements 2/23/18

(Video created by students in West Bend High Schools’ advanced video production class, under the supervision of Michael Bentdahl, East High technology teacher.)

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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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‘It Was Very Inspiring’: Brookfield Violinist Brings His Gift to WBHS

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

It’s not every day the West Bend High Schools host a teenage musical prodigy. Continue reading

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Video Announcements 2/16/18

(Video created by students in West Bend High Schools’ advanced video production class, under the supervision of Michael Bentdahl, East High technology teacher.)

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The Current View: Tuesday Schedule

Last week the West Bend High Schools announced that the schedule on Tuesdays will be adjusted to ensure students receive the proper number of instructional minutes. The new schedule starts March 6.

How do you feel about the elimination of early release on Tuesdays?

Personally I don’t think it makes that big of a difference, it’s only 20 minutes. But I’d like to know how this was overseen, because it’s kind of a big thing, how many minutes you go to school. So how did we not realize this earlier?”
Libby Willkomm, West junior

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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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Science at the South Pole

By Grace Peplinski, Current Staff

The recent cold snap won’t bother Elizabeth Widen. After all, she spends much of her time in Antarctica.

Widen, a research scientist, gave a presentation to students in Paul DeLain’s Advanced Placement Environmental classes Jan. 30 in the Silver Lining Arts Center. Students learned about the research going on at the bottom of the planet. Continue reading

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Video Announcements 2/9/18

(Video produced by the West Bend High Schools media team, under the supervision of Michael Bentdahl, East High technology teacher.)

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International Musicians Visit Orchestra Students

By Samantha Dietel, Current Staff

It has been a tradition for West Bend High Schools orchestra students to travel to Scotland, but this time, Scotland came to them. Continue reading

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Senior Wants WBHS Volunteers Recognized at Graduation

By Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff

For Serenity Krueger, trying to make a change went beyond volunteering.

Last week the West Bend West High School senior created an online petition directed at the WBHS administration asking that students who have 100 or more documented volunteer hours be honored with cords of recognition at graduation. So far, the petition has garnered over 800 signatures and the online response has been overwhelmingly positive. 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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‘Keep the Crowd Rocking’: West Bend Bands Bring the Rock and Jazz

By Rachel Gergetz, Current Staff

The No Nonsense Brass Band thinks its new song will wow the crowd Wednesday at the third annual Rock & Jazz Fest. Continue reading

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Wellness Wednesdays

Students can sign up for sessions about reducing stress

By Justin Scherzer, Current Staff

For a short time, students can put aside the stresses of a traditional school day and prioritize their personal wellness.

Several teachers at the West Bend High Schools are leading a new Wellness Wednesday program that allows students to sign up for sessions focused on relaxation, fun and the betterment of their mental health. Through the use of the online tool FlexiSched, students can opt to participate during their normal Wednesday resource time. Over the last two months, eight courses have been offered by teachers from both East and West High. Continue reading

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