Mother's Day by Logan Webster (5/6/22)

I know it’s a little early, but for all the mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day! Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, May 8th this year. The American version of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official holiday in the U.S. in 1914. Before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis, Anna Jarvis’s mother helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” in West Virginia.  However, celebrations for mothers and motherhood have been going on as far back as the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of Rhea and Cybele, the mothers of the goddesses. Days to celebrate mothers are different in every culture. The Greeks and Romans had their goddesses, and Christians had their festival known as “Mothering Sunday”. “Mothering Sunday” fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church” for a special service. Over time this slowly grew into a tradition of children presenting their mothers with flowers and gifts of appreciation. The official Mother’s Day that we know, and love was a result of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. After the death of her mother in 1905, Anna Jarvis wanted a day to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. The first official Mother’s Day celebration was at a Methodist church in Graton, West Virginia. Jarvis aspired to see her holiday added to the national calendar, arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements. Jarvis spent a lot of her time on this and because of that she was never married and did not have any children of her own. Of course, it was and Mother’s Day is now celebrated in so many different ways around the world. I’m not sure about others, but I know for my family we do an annual cookout with our family and get all the mothers gifts and flowers. 


National Day of Prayer by Brooklyn Jones (5/6/22)

On the first Thursday in May every year, National Day of Prayer is celebrated. This day is to give thanks to God, pray to Him, and do some peaceful meditation. The history of National Day of Prayer dates back to 1952, when Harry S. Truman was president. A bill was initiated in 1952 that was set aside specifically for May 5th to be National Day of Prayer. This bill was initiated by Hilton Hotels CEO, Conrad Hilton, and Senator of Kansas, Frank Carlson. In 1979, the National Day of Prayer Committee was officially formed, which consisted of only a few members, but today, has eighteen. The National Day of Prayer Committee holds their very first meeting in Washington, D.C. at the Constitutional Hall in 1983. The committee contacts Senator Strom Thurmond to get help to pass the bill, and in 1987, Thurmond writes the bill, which then gets sent to the Senate Judicial Committee, and officially becomes a bill in 1987. Some ways to celebrate this day could be organizing a church or community event to pray or to just spend time together, getting your family/friends together to pray or read passages from the Bible, or you could volunteer at a local church or community event to help out.

Final Choir Concerts of the Year by Yoana Yordanova (5/6/22)

We are now in the final month of the 2021-22 school year at CHS! This is an exciting time for the choir department because of the upcoming performances next week: the last time the choir seniors will sing as a group. Most of the seniors have been singing together since 5th grade when they joined choir. Together, the choir has gone through COVID’s online singing and has put together many concerts. Along with this, many of the seniors have starred in the CHS musicals, creating amazing shows for the community. Next week, on Wednesday, May 11, there will be a Maximum Forte showcase at 7 pm, and on the 12th at 7 pm, there will be a choir concert where the theme will be the songs of America. This concert will also serve as Senior Night, where there will be awards and fun activities featuring the choir seniors! One tradition is having the audience guess who the senior is based on a baby photo. Both of these performances will be at Doudna for the community to enjoy! On May 13th at 8 pm, the CHS graduation will take place at EIU where the CHS choir seniors will be singing a song in honor of all graduating students. This upcoming week will truly be full of celebration, so make sure to get tickets to these concerts and support all the seniors at graduation! An advanced choir senior says, “It’s a bit sad to go when we have been singing together almost our whole academic career.” Mrs. Sharp, the choir director, comments, “I am really looking forward to our final performances this year, especially on behalf of my seniors. After two years of watching our graduates having to miss out on the "normal" senior experience, I am grateful that our current graduating class will at least have some normalcy at the end of the school year when all of these culminating events are happening. I hope that our seniors will embrace this time and these experiences to the fullest and will honor the groups that came before them the last two years by recognizing how truly blessed they are this spring to have these opportunities.”  We will all miss the talented and amazing seniors of the choir department at CHS! 

Mrs. Thoren photo

Retirement Spotlight: Debora Thoren by Aftyn Oliver (5/4/22)

Mrs. Debora Thoren is a Learning Behavior Specialist at Charleston High School and will soon retire after working with the district for thirty-five years. While teaching, she has also coached Special Olympics off and on. Mrs. Thoren would like to thank her department co-workers Amy Jackson and Kathy East especially for making every day better. 

While in high school, Mrs. Thoren volunteered in a special education classroom. She then worked for CCAR in college. She has since earned a bachelor’s degree for special and elementary education and a master's degree in Educational Administration. 

Mrs. Thoren wishes to encourage CHS students to work hard and get involved. Also, to take advantage of opportunities to have fun and explore possible career options. 

Mrs. Thoren looks forward to having ongoing relationships with her students even after retirement. For fun, she plans to kayak more and learn how to use power tools. 

Congratulations Mrs. Thoren on your retirement and thank you for your many years of service in the Charleston School District! 

Festival photo

Cinco de Mayo by Lilly Long (5/4/22)

Cinco de Mayo, or, Fifth of May, is a holiday celebrated in parts of Mexico and the United States. This day is also known as the Battle of Puebla Day. This holiday is celebrated in memory of the victory over the French forces of Napoleon III in 1862, at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. While Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico, many people in Mexico and the United States celebrate this day. There are street festivals and Mole Poblano, the official food of this holiday. This is a dish made of a brown sauce from Puebla made with ancho chiles and chocolate. Other food that is consumed are would be chilaquiles, tamales, carnitas, barbacoa, fish tacos, horchata, and Mexican street corn. Another practice on this day is the consumption of alcohol, the main drink being margaritas. A couple weeks after the Battle of Puebla, Americans and Latinos in California heard of this hard-won victory and celebrated by holding banquets and having parades of people walk down the streets in Civil War uniforms. This could most likely be the first fiesta of Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. Today, the world’s largest celebration of this day is in Los Angeles, California. Although the first celebration for this holiday was in 1886 in the United States, it was not recognized in America until 1933. This is when President Roosevelt put the “Good Neighbor Policy” into place, the goal of this being to have a better relationship with Latin American people.  

College Preparation by Yoana Yordanova (4/29/22)

With high school coming to an end for our CHS seniors in a couple of weeks, it is a good time to prepare for college for those planning to attend. Firstly, make sure you have signed up for orientation and registered for your classes. To be ready to take major-related classes, you can read related books. Some colleges even assign summer reading lists to prepare you. For example, if you are majoring in business, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic concepts and marketing strategies. If you are going into a STEM field, make sure to stay sharp on your math skills and science information, since this knowledge will be the basis of most of your classes. Another idea for preparing for college is becoming financially prepared. Getting a job over the summer can be beneficial for helping you have pocket money for college. If you have unpaid college costs, paying them ahead of when they are due can decrease overall cost and this burden as well. Make sure to have a financial plan set in place though detailing how much money you would like to save and spend from each paycheck. Staying organized in your expenses from the beginning of college will help later on. Going into college means you will be mostly independent in your choices and lifestyle. Summer is a good time to practice managing household chores and learning new skills. You’re going to need to know how to do laundry and stay organized with your belongings in college. Lakeland freshman Hayden Howell wished he was sure of what to major in before his freshman year. I also asked Hayden what he would have done differently his first year and he stated, “I wish I had tried a little bit harder.” However, most importantly, it is well-advised to have a proper goodbye before you go off to college. Hug your parents extra tight and go have fun with your friends. 

FNHS inductees

This year's French National Honor Society inductees (left to right): Annabel Wehrle, Connor Hughes, Abby Smith, Lily Porter, Leah Mertz, Delaney Goddard, Korina Johnson

NHS and FNHS Induction Ceremonies by Ambrie Zanton (4/29/22)

The National Honor Society and French National Honor Society are both highly regarded clubs that are available for students who are intelligent, kind, and contributing members of society. It was established to recognize their many achievements. Juniors and seniors with a GPA of 4.5 or higher, with an average grade of B- or higher, a background in community work, and recommendation from an adult community member and teacher, are allowed to sign up. The National Honor Society accepts any student who meets these requirements, while French NHS is specifically for French students who have an A- in French 3. 

In the more simple terms of Ms. Peterson, NHS is “An organization that shows the world that you’re a good student and a good person and community member.” NHS is a great thing to have on a college resume; universities love accepting students who they know are smart, kind, hard-working people. If you do plan on going to college (or even if you don’t) and meet all the requirements, consider signing up for NHS or FNHS this coming fall. Talk to Ms. Peterson if you’re interested in NHS, or Mr. Cohoon if you’re interested in FNHS.  

Retirement Spotlight: Randy Harpster by Aftyn Oliver (4/29/22)

For twenty-eight years, Mr. Randy Harpster was a Physical Education and Health teacher at Charleston Middle School. For the past five years, he has taught Drivers Education at Charleston High School and will retire at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Additionally, Mr. Harpster is certified to teach Psychology and English. During his professional career in Charleston, Mr. Harpster has simultaneously coached several sports teams: basketball for thirty-three years, baseball for twelve, and golf for five. He is proud to have coached two golf State Champion teams.  

Upon leaving, Mr. Harpster would like to encourage CHS students to give their best effort in every class. He has loved teaching alongside his two department colleagues and co-coaches, Jeff Miller and Brad Oakley, throughout the years. Mr. Harpster also wants to joke Coach Oakley to stay out of the wrong two lanes on Lincoln Avenue! 

After his retirement, Mr. Harpster plans to watch more of his daughter’s college golf tournaments. He hopes to stay physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally active - and to play more putt putt with his friend, Mr. Burgett!  

Congratulations are in order for Mr. Randy Harpster! We thank you for your service to the Charleston Community School District and its beneficiaries. 


FFA State Competition by Lilly Long (4/29/22)

Last week on Friday, April 22nd, the Charleston FFA went to Champaign to participate in the State Livestock judging competition. These students got out of school for the day for this competition. About 120 teams went to this competition, with five students on each team, as well as a handful of individuals. For the Charleston FFA to qualify for this team, the student had to place in the top five for their team the week prior at the Lincoln Land section livestock judging. The students that went to state were Ellie, Dylan, Kaylin, Blake, and Ethan. With the team, the Ag teacher, Mr. Oakley, went as well. The judging took place at one of the University of Illinois facilities and was only about ten minutes from the campus. Pens for the animals were put up between barns in an open space. The students then judged different classes of cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Earlier in the day, it was cloudy and even rained, but eventually the weather cleared up and it was very pleasant. It was a perfect day to get out of school and participate in some hands-on-learning. The students judged the animals based off how well they looked, ranking them based off of desired qualities. The results of the competition were not released until the day after, but the Charleston FFA ranked 60th overall! Blake ranked 39th with a score of 344. Ethan ranked 266th and scored 293 points. Ellie ranked 318th and scored 282 points. Dylan got a score of 278 points and a rank of 336th. Kaylin scored 276 points and ranked 344th. FFA president, Ellie, remarks, “I didn’t do as good as I hoped I would, but I ended up with a decent score so I’m happy with how I performed.” This competition was the last one for the FFA for the year. After this competition, the team stopped for lunch at Chick-fil-A before heading back to Charleston. A student on the team commented, “This was a good learning experience, especially at the state level where the competition is harder, compared to what you would see at other livestock judging competitions.” 

Great Poetry Reading  Day poster

National Great Poetry Reading Day by Brooklyn Jones (4/29/22)

National Great Poetry Reading Day is celebrated on April 28th. This day is dedicated to reading poetry and to enjoy a day celebrating poetry. Some famous poems you can read is Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson, or Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats. You can also celebrate this day by reciting or memorizing a poem, acting out a poem, creating a poem yourself, or by stopping by at your local library or bookstore and picking up or checking out some poetry books. And, if you feel comfortable with it, you can record yourself reading poetry and sharing it to social media, using the hashtag #NationalGreatPoetryReadingDay. Here’s a little history about National Great Poetry Reading Day. Back then, poetry was used as means of setting a truce with your enemies. Kings and queens would assign a poet to read them poetry, sing praises, and make their enemies feel less valued. Although there is no true origin of how National Great Poetry Reading Day came to be, it has been found that this holiday has been celebrated since at least 1994. 

Fitness testing photo

Fitness Testing by Logan Webster (4/29/22)

I’m sure most can agree that fitness testing can be kind of annoying to do sometimes, especially when it’s an annual thing. Beginning in the 1800’s people were wanting to have some sort of physical testing for their children. Out of this concept, organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Physical Education, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. The fitness test itself went through a lot of changes including going from a test focused more on “physical efficiency” to “motor ability testing”. During and after World War I, fitness testing and physical training for children increased in schools. A similar process occurred during and after World War II, when military, public health, and education services held conferences and published manuals on the topic of youth fitness. The beginning of the 1950’s the government was starting to reevaluate the education system and what kids are taught in schools. Physical education and fitness were also among the topics of reassessment during the 1950s. It was recommended that schools start to shift their programs away from obstacle courses and boxing, the likes of which were popular during World War II, and towards a more balanced approach to recreation, including games, sports, and outdoor activities. The style of physical testing that has developed into the presidential physical fitness test, was based off a research study conducted by Dr. Hans Kraus and Dr. Sonya Weber in the early 1950s. Public perception of the tests was guided by a sense of fear and alarm that American children were lagging behind their European counterparts. In July 1956, President Eisenhower created the President's Council on Youth Fitness by Executive Order. Shortly after, AAHPER established the Youth Fitness Project, which was tasked with conducting an initial study on the fitness of children nationwide. Kennedy changed the name to the President's Council on Physical Fitness with the aim of addressing all age groups. In partnership with the Advertising Council, President Kennedy participated in a nationwide public service advertising campaign. Linking the supposed state of American youth to the security and futurity of the nation, Kennedy set the stage for the aims of his presidency's Fitness Test. 

The Importance of Fire Safety by Logan Webster (4/27/22)

Every year we participate in annual drills to help us improve our ability to survive. Tuesday April 19th, 2022, we had a fire drill here at Charleston High School. This drill is very important when it comes to knowing how to go about fire safety. It’s even more important in states like California, where forest fires happen every year. In 2021, California had 9,260 wildfires. According to latest Verisk estimates, in California, there were more than 2 million properties at high to extreme wildfire risk in 2021, the largest number of properties of any U.S. state. With those wildfires over two million acres of land were burned and destroyed which ranked California at number one at high extreme wildfire risk. As of last year, Illinois had twenty-nine wildfires, and this led to 219 acres of land being burned. In Illinois per a thousand fires, there are 3.5 casualties and 15 injuries. In the history of the schools at Charleston there have been a few fires. It’s not an unlikely thing to occur, so it’s a good thing to have protocol. Yoana, a senior at Charleston High school says, “It’s very important to keep children safe in school”. I think most would agree with that statement. A senior at Charleston says, “I think fire safety is important because in stressful situations it can be hard to think clearly and so it’s good to have a plan in place before it happens”. In all, fire safety and fire drills are very important to have at school. Growing up you're taught about STOP, DROP, and ROLL, what to do during a fire, and where to go. All of this to ensure you leave with your life and go home safely to your family. 

Facts + Statistics: Wildfires | III 

Student singing

Advanced Choir Joins Opera Performance at EIU by Lyla Long (4/27/22)

The Charleston High School’s Advanced Chorus took part in a wonderful performance on Sunday evening, the 25th of April. The choir sang with the Eastern Illinois University’s chorus, as well as their orchestra and internationally recognized singers, Sarah Jane McMahon and Richard Troxell. This performance lasted about two and a half hours, that were composed of two different acts. The CHS choir sang five of the twenty – two songs. This concert was mainly in Italian, a popular language when singing in the opera style. Many pieces in Mrs. Sharp’s choir classes are in different languages, which qualifies her classes for a Foreign Language class. Just this year, in her Advanced Chorus, they sang songs in Latin, Italian, and many different African languages. These performances give students many opportunities they would not normally get to have. Bree, a junior, spoke about her experience, “I think singing with an orchestra was a great opportunity to broaden my horizons of music.” It not only had an impact on the students that performed it, but also the people that watched it. Senior, Aftyn, was in the crowd watching the show. “The show was fantastic! It’s exciting that CHS students had this performance opportunity, and that I got to see it! It's these sort of events that grow the pride I have for my community,” she says. With everything that is happening with the music department, the opportunities will only grow. Bree, with one year left, reflects on how just this performance has impacted her, “As a singer it has helped me with more ideas of things I can do with music, and given me more to think about with what I want to do with my life and go to college for.” Some upcoming performances include Maximum Forte’s showcase, and a concert full of music and regular choir shenanigans. Another performance is the Charleston Choir’s end of the year concert.

Earth Day photo

Earth Day by Brooklyn Jones (4/22/22)

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd and is celebrated by many people around the world. Earth Day is celebrated specifically for protecting our environment and planet. People can participate in Earth Day activities such as planting trees, doing a neighborhood trash clean-up, planting gardens, saving energy/electricity by turning off lights that aren’t being used, or recycling trash instead of just throwing it away. Earth Day was founded in 1916 by Gaylord Nelson, a World War II veteran. It’s important to note that in 1962, author, Rachel Carson, sold 500,000 copies of her book, Silent Spring, which raised awareness for living organisms, the environment, and links to both pollution and public health. In 1970, over two million people participated in activities for the very first Earth Day ever in the United States. In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, which limits chemicals (pollutants) from getting in rivers, lakes, and streams, and in 1973, Congress also passed the Endangered Species Act, which protects animals and their ecosystems. Earth Day had originally begun as an idea for colleges and universities to teach students about the environmental factors and producers of our planet and allows a day for students to learn about the environmental health and hazards that consume our planet.

Mrs. Buchar school photo

Retirement Spotlight: Mary Buchar by Aftyn Oliver (4/22/22)

Mrs. Mary Buchar is currently a Physical Education Instructor at Charleston High School and has been for 32 years. In May, Mrs. Buchar will be retiring. She said, “I've been fortunate to work in a great department where we're not only colleagues but family.” For the last 20 years, she has been the Department Head and wishes luck to Liz Watson who will be Head starting next year.

After graduating from Danville High School in 1974, she attended Danville Junior College for two years and coached the 6th-8th grade Dance Team. She then transferred to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where she received a BS degree in Physical Education (K-12). During this time, she also taught swimming lessons. She finished her master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Illinois in 2005.

During her time at CHS, Mrs. Buchar has coached the Trojets and added, “My most recent fond memory would be the surprise party my Trojet parents threw for me. There were dancers that were on my first teams that came back to attend. Many more attended via ZOOM as their plane flights were cancelled due to bad weather. It was an evening I will never forget.”

Mrs. Buchar shared with us a word of advice for CHS students. “Work hard but enjoy your high school years. Get involved in sports, drama, music, or any other extra-curricular activity you may be interested in.”

After retiring, Mrs. Buchar first plans to watch her grandkids who are active in many sports but live over 3 hours away. Due to her coaching and teaching, she has not been able to watch a lot of their games. Looking further ahead, Mrs. Buchar hopes to travel as much as possible, work in her garden, and spend more time with friends and family.

CHS Press congratulates Mrs. Buchar and thanks her for serving the Charleston community and school district.

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British National Tea Day by Lilly Long (4/22/22)

British National Tea Day is more than a holiday, it is now a movement to spread the appreciation of tea to future generations. This day is on Thursday, April 21, and is celebrated in the United Kingdom. This day was first instated in 2016. April 21st was chosen for this holiday because it is Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. According to the United Nations, International Tea Day is celebrated on May 21st instead of in April. This specific drink has been the chosen drink for the British for the past two centuries. According to, The British drink around 60 billion cups a year; that is over 165 million cups a day, the most commonly drunk, is black tea. The slogan of this day is, “Brew More. Do More.” This slogan is to help people associate tea with movement, action, and accomplishment. This beverage originated from China but was made popular in England in 1662 by Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese woman. Catherine was married to King Charles ll. She continued to drink tea every day, and her royal court soon joined, this trend soon becoming popular among the aristocrats. Tea is now very important to the British and a way of life. Tea is more than tea; it is a feeling, and an art. Tea, it is said, is like chicken soup for the soul.

Reception desk photo

Administrative Professionals Day by Lyla Long (4/22/22)

Administrative Professionals Day is an opportunity to recognize people that work as receptionists, secretaries, or similar jobs. These jobs are hard to do and require a specific mindset. People with these jobs often the first person that you see when walking into an establishment. Many people in the job do work that is behind the scenes and keeps the workplace running. The National Secretaries Association began to educate people on how necessary this job was after the Great Depression. From there, this organization helped to back people that took on this profession, helping them learn how to do the job. Despite several name changes, the National Secretaries Association, now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, has continued to thrive. Originally recognized as National Secretaries Day, this day has now expanded to include other jobs similar to that of secretary. This job is very important and often underappreciated. If you missed Administrative Professionals Day this year, don’t worry. People working the front desk are always ready to hear a nice word or a thank you, so don’t wait.

Map of arab countries

Arab Month by Yoana Yordanova (4/22/22)

April is National Arab American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich culture and contributions of Arab Americans. It has been observed since April 2017 by the organizations, Arab American Foundation and Arab America, however it was first recognized in 2021 by President Biden and many Congress members and governors. Arab immigration to the United States has been occurring since the late 1800s. Many Arab Christians immigrated in order to escape religious persecution during the Ottoman Empire. Economic reasons were also motives to immigrate and many Arab Americans found work in sales and as grocers, according to the U.S. Department of State. In 1924 however, the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act stopped Arab immigration until 1948. Regional conflicts began soon after and immigration reopened; the Immigration and Nationality Act was soon passed in 1965 which allowed immigration from everywhere, not just favoring Europe. Today, there are approximately 3.7 million Americans with Arab roots with countries of origin including Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Immigration and diversity is what makes America unique and with this month of celebration, we can recognize that. To celebrate this important month, you can research the traditional culture of the Arab people like food, music, and clothing.

Arab American Heritage Month 2022 - Commemoration, Traditions & Populations - HISTORY

Bunny image

Easter by Yoana Yordanova (4/15/22)

On April 17th, 2022, Easter will be celebrated by Christians across the world. Depending on the calendars used, various branches of Christianity may celebrate on different dates however the whole month of April is a time of celebration for the Christian faith. The story of Easter centers around the resurrection of Christ. As Jesus journeys to Jerusalem, he is welcomed by the laying of palm leaves at his feet-this is the meaning behind Palm Sunday. The following week is known as Holy Week which ends with Easter on the following Sunday. Jesus sits down to feast on that Thursday with his twelve apostles and that captures the famous moment of the last supper. He proclaims he is the Son of God and is arrested and executed by crucifixion on Good Friday. Three days pass and on Easter Sunday, Jesus is resurrected, proving he is the living son of God. Much of Christianity centers around his resurrection. To celebrate Easter, you can follow the traditions of painting Easter eggs, eating lamb, and having a generous feast. These traditions are said to center around Lent-the 40 days prior to Easter where you must eat vegan. Finally being able to eat eggs, people decorated them to celebrate. Lamb is typically a symbol of sacrifice, which is what Jesus did, so it is often eaten on Easter as well. Some say Easter bunnies were just a silly story about them hiding the eggs until you could eat them while other sources point to a Pagan inspiration. The Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and life, Eostre, is the root of the name “Easter” and many celebrations of her involved bunnies. Some sources also point to a connection with the Jewish celebration of Pascha, or Passover, for the holiday of Easter. All in all, Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ for the Christian faith but is recognized across the United States, being a day to paint eggs and have fun!

Passover feast image

Passover by Ambrie Zanton (4/14/22)

Passover (also known as Pesach) is a major holiday celebrated by Jewish people around the world. It celebrates the escape of the Israelites from slavery under the Egyptian pharaoh; the name comes from how, to avoid one of the deadly plagues God sent down against the Egyptians, Jews marked their doors with lamb’s blood, which told God to “pass over” their homes. While the rest of Egypt suffered the loss of their firstborn sons, Jews were spared from the grief.

Passover occurs on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which is the first month of spring (also known as Aviv). It lasts for seven or eight days, from sunset on the first day to nightfall on the last. In 2022, the dates are April 15 through April 23.

The holiday involves several traditions; one of the most significant ways to commemorate Passover is by removing chametz (leavened food) from one’s home. Another important practice, often considered the most fun, is seder. Most families have one or two; they are very specific meals eaten after sundown to end the day’s fast. The food served represents parts of the holiday’s origin story; for example, charoset (a sweet, dark-colored paste made of fruits and nuts) represents the mortar the Jews used to build for the Egyptians, while bitter herbs represent the evil and bitterness of slavery.

Passover is one of the most important holidays in Judaism, celebrating one of the most important events in Jewish history. It has unique traditions and a very long and deep history, having been celebrated for approximately 2,500 years – and it will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

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2022 Prom Court by Aftyn Oliver (4/14/22)

Prom Queen: Ellie Long

Prom King: Jonah Houston

Biographies of court nominees from left to right:

Ally Thompson has earned High Honors for all four years of high school and is also a certified Nursing Assistant, which she earned through her Health Occupations class. Throughout her high school career, she has participated in Tennis her freshmen year, Dance her sophomore year, and Track and Field all four years. After graduation, Ally plans to go to Lake Land College for basic classes in health care and then transfer to a university at some point. She plans to move to Tennessee.

Sophie Kattenbraker is a member of the National Honor Society and has participated in Cross Country and earned her varsity letter for all four years of high school. She has also been active in Track and Field, Habitat for Humanity, C-Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Sophie is looking forward to graduation and wants to have a great summer before college. Sophie plans to stay in Charleston and attend Eastern Illinois University.

Aerielle Ecker has had High Honors all 4 years of high school and has her varsity letter in Track and Field. She is also a certified nursing assistant through the Sarah Bush Health Occupations program. Aerielle has participated in Basketball for one year and Track and Field for shotput and discus. She is an active member of Home Church and has attended youth group since 8th grade. After graduation, Aerielle plans to attend Lake Land College for one year and then transfer to Parkland College to pursue a career as a veterinary technician.

Ellie Long has been on the Honor Roll all four years of high school, is a member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M, and is President of FFA which she has earned her Greenhand, Chapter, and State degrees. She has earned the SAR Outstanding Citizenship Award. Ellie has participated in Basketball, Soccer, FFA, 4-H, Marching Band, Pep Band, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She plans to go to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to continue studying agriculture.

Jonah Houston is a member of FFA and has earned degrees in Greenhand, Chapter, and State. Jonah has been Chaplin and Sentinel two out of his three years. He has also been in Choir for four years and the musical for two years. After graduation, Jonah will be in the Army National Guard and go to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for Forestry to be a conservation officer. Jonah plans to live in Charleston.

Jake Coffey's activities include FFA, 4-H, and is President of the Showstoppers 4-H Club. Jake wants to work on his farm growing beans, corn, and pumpkins after attending Lake Land College.

Peyton Cox is the son of Julie Miller, Doug Miller, and Mike Cox. This year, Peyton has enjoyed being a part of FFA and has earned his varsity letter all four of his years in Track and Field. He has enjoyed all of high school and understanding various parts of life. After graduation, Peyton plans to go to college or vocational school for construction. He plans to move to Tennessee in the future.

Zachary Stout is the son of Derek and Kim Stout. Zac is an Eagle Scout, earning the Brotherhood of the Arrow and also his Nursing Assistant certification through the Sarah Bush Health Occupations program. Zac has participated in Football as well as Track and Field. For the Swim team, Zac is Captain and has earned the Scholar Award and Coaches Award, as well as holding two school records. He has earned his varsity letter in all three sports. After graduation, Zac would like to attend Eastern Illinois University to major in Biology, after he would like to continue as pre-med and eventually become an orthopedic surgeon.

Logan's signing

Logan Signs with Lincoln Trail College (4/14/22)

Logan, a student at CHS, recently signed with Lincoln Trail College for a full-ride athletic scholarship in soccer. Logan has been playing soccer since she was about four years old as well as club soccer since she was six. Growing up, Logan always enjoyed playing soccer and just loves playing on a team. Logan says, “I always knew I wanted to play soccer in college, and I always dreamed of being a professional soccer player”.  Along with soccer, Logan enjoys being in choir and school clubs like the writer’s club and the Charleston High School Debate team. Being a part of a team is the best, according to Logan. Having people there to support you and guide you through the wins and losses is always great. At Lincoln trail College, Logan would like to work towards getting an Associates in science. Once she is graduated from her two years, she would like to move to a four year to get a degree in biology and then head off to vet school. Logan says the thing she loved most about her signing was, “Having my family there with me and to walk down the hallways of the school I’ll be going to after I graduate from CHS”.  


Taylorville FFA Competition by Lilly Long (4/14/22)

On Tuesday, April 12th, the CHS FFA left school and went to the Taylorville fairgrounds to participate in the Lincoln Land livestock judging competition. It was a chilly and cloudy day, the students bundled up as they went from barn to barn to judge all kinds of livestock such as hogs, cattle, sheep, and goats. There were around 700 students competing from all different schools. Each student got a clipboard with a scantron sheet and scored livestock that way, some of the livestock coming with scenarios to help judge them better. The Charleston FFA practiced for this competition in advance during tutorial and after school almost every day two weeks prior. They prepared by watching livestock classes online, where they can see all angles of the livestock, and then rank them. They see how the judges scored the livestock and how close they were to those scores. The FFA also studied data sheet scenarios, which contributes to the judging process; they learn what characteristics are likeable in each. At the Taylorville competition, Ellie remarked, “judging is almost completely silent because everyone is working hard and rushing to score, unless they are making a request to see the livestock at a different angle or compared to another.” Students only have ten minutes to judge each animal. Ellie Long, Jonah Houston, Kaylin Nolte, Trent Ferguson, Nate Shrader, Ethan Ennius, Dylan Ealy, Landon Ames, Kolton Dare, and Blake Homan went to the competition to represent Charleston. The students were supported by Mr. Oakley and Mr. Williams. Trent Ferguson placed first for Charleston with 428 points, ranking 17th. Second was earned by Dylan Ealy who received 414 points, ranking 63rd. Chapter president, Ellie Long ranked 170th with 391 points. The students did not receive their scores until the day after the competition. After the event, the FFA members went to Steak n Shake.  “This was a great learning experience,” Ellie said, “I had a great time getting out of school and hanging out with friends, learning and developing a skill set further.” 

College Visit to EIU

SAT, College Visits, and Job Shadowing by Lyla Long (4/14/22)

On April 13th, the students of Charleston High School participated in the Scholastic Aptitude Test, also known as the SAT. Colleges use these scores to consider admitting them into their schools. Many colleges these days are looking beyond these tests, including local colleges. Kiley, a junior, shares her experience, saying “It definitely wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, but I was still pretty stressed out.” She said that she felt that she did well overall. Only the seniors were exempt from taking the test, getting an option of taking a college visit or job shadowing. While some seniors used their college visit to go eat lunch at the Union on EIU campus in town, others took it seriously. Yoana used her day to job shadow her father at Eastern Illinois University. “I went to the EIU biology sciences with my dad and observed him directing a lab for his students. I was his assistant for it.” Paris, a senior, used her day to job shadow, going to the Neoga Elementary School, where she helped with kids in kindergarten. She helped the students by making baskets for Easter. She also read to the class and taught them about bunnies. Paris is going to college for dental hygiene, a totally different path than childcare. She thinks that is important because this will teach you different skills that you could use in the future. “I learned that patience is key with toddlers. I can use this knowledge to better communicate with younger children.” Having this day also helps students decide their career paths to make the best possible direction for their future. With the end of the school year just around the corner, seniors are quickly figuring out their next step.

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan by Lyla Long (4/8/22)

Ramadan, a Muslim holiday, started last Saturday. This a month-long holiday that involves many traditions, one of the most common being that nobody can eat during the day, only after sundown. Every year, Ramadan starts between ten to twelve days earlier than its previous year, allowing it to be held in any month. The holiday begins with the crescent moon. When that is seen, the holiday starts. This month of sacrifice is used to reflect on sins, and to have them forgiven by God. Muslims are to deny themselves immoral behavior. Thinking poor thoughts or taking part in bad acts are included into this. Not only do they restrain from eating, they also pray five times a day. After a month of fasting, Muslims end the holiday with the “Feast of Fast – Breaking.” This is a day of celebration, giving thanks to God for the month that they just took part in. People wear their best, new clothes, make special foods, and this is a time to remember family members that have passed. Overall, this is a beautiful tradition that spans for many centuries, truly focusing on a person’s faith.  

Jeb Signs with McKendree University by Logan Webster (4/8/22)

According to NCSAS Sports, “Fewer than 2% of high school student-athletes are offered athletic scholarships”. That’s why getting an athletic scholarship is such a big deal. A lot of athletes work hard to go on to pursue a higher level of education after high school. For example, Jeb a senior athlete at Charleston High School, has learned a lot about making good use of his time and schedule. Jeb has signed to McKendree University to play baseball. Jeb started playing baseball at the young age of about five or six years old. He mentioned that he always wanted to move on to the next level and play baseball in college. Jeb had kept his mind open to different schools but when McKendree University offered him an athletic scholarship, he instantly wanted to sign there. In college, Jeb is going to major in business, mostly considering marketing. Jeb says, “I definitely enjoyed having my coaches, family and teammates there with me because I definitely wouldn’t have made it this far without them”.  

National Library Week by Brooklyn Jones (4/8/22)

What is National Library Week, you may ask? National Library Week is the week of celebrating libraries and librarians and runs from April 3rd through the 9th. National Library Week first started in 1958, where it was sponsored by the American Library Association. Saturday Night Live actress, comedian, and multi-Emmy award winning nominee, Molly Shannon, was the honorary chairwomen of National Library Week this year. The theme for National Library Week this year was “Connect with Your Library” and it “promotes the idea that libraries are places to get connected to technology by using broadband, computers, and other resources. Libraries also offer opportunities to connect with media, programs, ideas, and classes—in addition to books” as well as “aiming to commemorate the contributions of libraries and library workers. It also promotes the use of libraries and for people to continually support them. Libraries just offer a lot of opportunities for us – children can learn the basics, entrepreneurs can find useful business tactics, students can research, and a lot more.” A lot of libraries and schools all over the country are celebrating National Library Week by hosting various activities such as a book display at Miami Dade College and a drawing contest, a book club event, and a book discussion at Herkimer State University in New York. In honor of celebrating National Library Week, the CHS Media Center made some new changes, including some new school supply stations, a bookshelf with new books, a section dedicated to Lincoln award-winning books, and two computer labs being gone. 

Library bookshelf

As you walk into the CHS Media Center, on your right, any and all school supplies are set up on this stand for students’ convenience. Highlighters and paper clips are stored in a container on the top shelf, notecards and paper are on the second shelf, folders and notebooks are on the third shelf, and binders are on the bottom shelf.

School banners

As you keep walking around the Media Center, straight ahead of the school supplies, you’ll see the “College Corner”. The “College Corner” is flags from colleges and universities all around the area, which range from Lake Land to Indiana State University, as well as books and information about local colleges such as Millikin University in Decatur, IL and Indiana State in Terre Haute, IN.

Supplies shelves

Walking around to the left, you’ll see project supplies for any kinds of projects that you’ll need for class. On the top shelf, you’ll see crayons and colored pencils, on the second shelf, you’ll see markers and stamps, on the third shelf is scissors, ribbing, and yarn, on the fourth shelf is rulers, and on the bottom shelf is magazines and decorative/colored construction paper. If you need cardboard, or Sharpies, make sure to ask Mrs. Runyon for those.

Book shelf

Going straight through the Media Center, you’ll see a bookshelf filled with the newest books.

Book shelf

Directly ahead of the new books, there’s a whole section dedicated to just Lincoln award-winning books. This section is just past the front desk, which is on the left-hand side when you walk in.

The Wait is Over: Big Fish to Premiere This Week

Big Fish, a riveting musical performed by Charleston's own student body, premieres this Thursday at Doudna Fine Arts Center! Catch the first showing at 7:00 p.m. The video above previews the spectacular cast and crew as well as the intriguing story line. Don't miss out on this wonderful performance!

Ellie, Fruit Production

FFA Record Book Judging by Lyla Long (4/1/22)

Recently, the Charleston Chapter of Future Farmers of America, participated in their annual record book judging. At the district round, Ellie Long, Elena Wetzel, and Jonah Houston all took record books. Only Ellie Long, the chapter’s President and Elena Wetzel, the chapter’s Reporter, advanced to the state level. The two traveled to Decatur for state. Just advancing to state is a very big accomplishment. Ellie Long, a senior, took part in keeping a record book last year. She entered with a book on Bee Keeping. She was previously beaten out at districts due to a participant that raised shrimp. Ellie spoke about her time at state, saying, “It was fun and a good learning experience.” This year, Ellie took two record books. One for Bee Keeping and one for Fruit Production. Her book for Fruit Production was sent to state.  In the summer of 2021, Ellie spent time on the Grisham Orchard learning all about fruit: how to produce it, cultivate it, and how to operate a business surrounding it. Just by getting this job, it helped her move forward in other aspects of her life and helped her learn valuable skills that will be used in the future as well as help her leadership position as President. “It’s a good example for kids who will continue the record books to compete at the district and state levels.” FFA works on many skills as seen here. Keeping a record book is a necessary when operating a business or farm.  

Post Prom flyer

CHS Post Prom by Brooklyn Jones (4/1/22)

After everyone has had their fun at CHS’s Prom, head down to the EIU Student Rec Center (next to Lantz Arena) for post prom on Saturday, April 9th. Post prom is four hours of fun, games, prizes, and food. Check-in starts at 11:30 pm and goes until 12 am. Activities start at 12 am and end at 3 am. Grand prize drawings begins at 3 am. Bags will be checked and held during post prom, and once you leave, you cannot come back in. This means that if you enter for a grand prize drawing, you must be present to win your prize and cannot show up just to win your prize and leave after. Post prom is only for juniors, seniors, and any prom guests that were accompanied by juniors and seniors. Students who wish to participate in post prom don’t have to attend prom to attend post prom. Cost is $1 per guest at the door. There are a variety of games that include an escape room, a cash machine, inflatables, mini prize drawings, card/board games, movies, dancing, and various sport games including corn hole, kan jam, spike ball, ping pong, basketball, pickleball, volleyball, as well as tournaments in ping pong, corn hole, volleyball, basketball (3-on-3), pickleball, and spike ball. Grand prizes for seniors are two $500 cash prizes, two $250 cash prizes for juniors, and a laptop. Students must be present to win grand prizes. There will be prizes every thirty minutes with over $5,000 given in cash and prizes and various gift cards and gift baskets. Although CHS isn’t putting on post prom directly, March 31st is Community Day, which means that if you eat at Dirty’s Bar and Grill in Charleston on March 31st, 15% of your bill will go the proceeds for hosting the CHS post prom. When asked why there would be a post prom, Amie Braun, the organizer for the post prom, said, “There has always been a post prom, but unfortunately because of COVID, things have been different.  Last year, because the school was not able to have prom, several of the parents went together and planned a prom/post prom for the seniors only.  Now that things are starting to get back to "normal", several parents of juniors and seniors have decided to continue the tradition of a post prom.  This year’s post prom is looking to be a super event with a lot of activities for all and GREAT prizes.”

Suffragist newspaper

Journalism's Role in the Women's Suffrage Movement by Aftyn Oliver (4/1/22)

To wrap up Women’s History Month, I wanted to research the early history of woman’s involvement in the field of Journalism. For the last few weeks in the Dual Credit Literature course, we have studied the Women’s Suffrage Movement, occurring near the turn of the 20th century. Mrs. Drone and Ms. Granat, our student teacher visiting from Eastern Illinois University, have collaborated to teach a women’s literature unit, as writing was an important outlet for women at the time to tell their stories and call for justice.

While we have primarily focused our studies on short stories such as, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin to understand how literature allowed women to tell of hardships they unfairly experienced, article writing was also noted as key for females to voice their struggle for equal rights.

Ms. Granat commented on the significance of women having writing platforms during The Movement, “For women to have been able to begin writing and becoming journalists in a time where patriarchal values were very extreme is super powerful. Being able to share their life experiences, beautiful writing, and knowledge also was a big game changer in women’s rights.”

Ladies often used pseudonyms when writing for big name media such as Vogue to be taken more seriously as content creators. In women-controlled newspapers and magazines however, they were granted the safety of using their given names. The Una was the first acknowledged newspaper to be principally about advocating for women’s rights. The Revolution followed nearly a decade later publishing works by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others. The Woman’s Journal has been described as an “organ” of The National American Woman Suffrage Association, publishing content from 1870 to 1917 (additionally having been coined, “The Suffrage Bible”).

During the Progressive Era, the increase of periodical writing provided women opportunities for work and self-expression, big steps towards reaching equal rights.

Group photo of Girls Basketball Team

Girls Basketball Banquet by Lilly Long (4/1/22)

This year the Charleston Girls Basketball team had a season of 1-22. However, Varsity Coach Hudson notes that the team made some major improvements by the end of the year. The team this year continued to put their all into every practice and game. By the end of the year, the girls’ team was noticeably more competitive and had really bonded as a team. Although the team did not advance beyond Sectionals this season, Addy Logsdon did participate in the apollo three-point shootout and advanced to finals. The basketball team this year was assisted by the JV Coach, Bailee Eslinger and the Freshman coach, Justin Gunther, a Math teacher here at the high school. These assistant coaches were great, always stepping in to improve them team and sharing their knowledge as well as helping the season run smoothly overall. At the banquet, Ellie Long, a senior, was awarded the Offensive player of the year. Addy Logsdon, also a senior, earned the Trojan award as well as the Defensive player of the year. Hayven Clapp, a sophomore, was awarded the Most Improved Player and Delaney Meister, a junior, earned the Trojan award as well. Coach Hudson thinks over his year as a whole and reflects on the accomplishments of the team and the experience he gained from coaching this year. Coach Hudson states, “To me, coaching people that I can be proud of goes a long way.  I was definitely blessed that I coached a group of great people.”  Coach Hudson then speaks of the four graduating seniors on the team, Ellie Long, Addy Logsdon, Kiera Campbell, and Maddi Bryant, remarking on their addition to the team; “they are great people. They will make a positive contribution to whichever community they become a part of. That means a lot to me.”

Red panda

Turning Red Review by Ambrie Zanton (3/29/22)

Turning Red is the newest film by Disney-Pixar Animation Studios. It follows the story of a thirteen-year-old Asian-Canadian girl, Meilin “Mei” Lee. It follows Mei growing up in Toronto in 2002. It is about Mei’s struggles: balancing her social life, family life, and her new magical power of turning into a giant red panda when excited. I’ve found this movie has a lot of negatives and a lot of positives, and although I personally love it, I can definitely see why others don’t. 

First, the negatives. Turning Red touches on generational trauma, especially at the end of the film; this is definitely not a bad thing in itself. However, it does come off as a little shallow; although these topics were touched on, they were not delved into like they could have been - especially when compared with 2021’s Encanto, which dives deep into the topic, exploring it and handling it with the utmost respect and grace. They could’ve delved into it more thoroughly in Turning Red, as it’s great to see it represented in media. 

I also wasn’t a massive fan of certain parts of the climax. Although I think it was, over all, a good and exciting end to the film, some part of it just seemed underwhelming. The scene at the end, where the women in the family go to seal their pandas back up, felt a little out of place. I feel like it went against a lot of their development in the film; a big part of me wishes they had all kept their pandas, although this is more personal preference than anything. Also, it was weird and very uncomfortable that Mei twerked at her mom. Maybe that’s nitpicky, I just don’t want to see a thirteen-year-old red panda girl shaking her butt at her mother. 

However, despite all of this, I loved this movie very much. I related with Mei; she’s who I thought I was and wished I could be in middle school: confident despite her awkwardness, funny, kind, and optimistic. I think, if I had had a character like Mei to look up to at that point in my life, I’d have been a lot less self-conscious and irritable than I was. 

Although it received a lot of backlash for its art style, I find it adorable – and, personally, my favorite of Pixar’s recent movies. The animation is beautiful, although that’s to be expected in a Pixar film. The art style is unique and expressive; it’s halfway between the art styles of Encanto and Luca. Its expressions are exaggerated and funny and remind me of old 2D cartoons like Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes. 

Another thing I loved about the movie was its characters. Not only were they ethnically diverse, but they had their own unique personalities, and nearly all of them were three-dimensional. Mei, of course, was a great character; she was the epitome of a middle school girl. She had a lot of strengths and a lot of flaws, but the flaws were charming and made her even more lovable, in my opinion. I love how you can easily see from the mother’s point of view and empathize with her, despite how much she embarrasses Mei. The ridiculous lengths she goes to protect her are funny and absurd, but just realistic enough to be relatable and realistic. I also really liked Mei’s friends: Miriam is just as awkward and outgoing as Mei, but in a way that sets her apart from her friends; I love Priya’s deadpan delivery of lines and face; Abby is probably the character who made me laugh the most, and it was refreshing that they had a plus-sized/chubby comic relief character whose main shtick wasn’t being addicted to food; and Tyler was probably the second-funniest, whose redemption arc was impressive and had him as one of my favorite characters by the end. 

In conclusion, Turning Red isn’t for everyone, and is by no means going to become known as one of Pixar’s masterpieces, alongside movies like Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. However, it is still a great, funny, and relatable film that I definitely suggest watching at least once. I give it a 7/10. 

soccer balls

Girls' Soccer Season Begins! by Logan Webster (3/29/22)

The girls’ soccer season has officially started! On March 21st, the CHS girls’ soccer team faced off against Champaign Central High School. Although this wasn’t their first game of the season, it was the first home game. Over Spring break the Charleston high school girls’ soccer team played in the St. Teresa tournament in Decatur, Illinois. The first game was a loss against Pleasant Plains. The second game ended up in a tie with Mia, a freshman, scoring a goal for Charleston.  Due to the tie, it went into a penalty shootout with Shelby, Mia, Logan, Delaney, and Hadley shooting. The first two shots were a miss, and Logan scored the third shot. However, the other team had secured the win with all of their shots making it in. The third and final game took place Friday March 18th at 4:30 P.M. With great effort and a great mind set the Charleston high school girls won 2-0.  Logan and Mia both scored a goal, but the whole team did a great job at defending the goal from Danville. 

Overall, the girls’ soccer team along with the coaches have put so much effort and time in the practices and games. The team would like to thank the families and friends that come out to support the them.  Ella, a player from the girls’ soccer team says that her favorite thing about being on the team is “Probably the players. I feel like we’re all really close and it’s nice to play games and practice with people who support you and care about you”. Ellie, a senior on the soccer team said that her favorite part of being on the team is “Being outside and the friends that come from being apart of the team”. It’s such a great experience to be a part of a team, through thick and thin. 

Maximum Forte Semifinals by Lyla Long (3/25/22)

Maximum Forte ended a great season on March 19th at the Midwest Semifinals. Just getting to compete at this event, they placed in the top ten a cappella groups of the Midwest. This year’s Midwestern Semifinals took place in Harrison, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. Maximum Forte came with their improved set of songs including “Vertigo”, “Only Us”, and “Crazy Swing.” For the seniors of 2022, this was the last time competing in ICHSA. Though Maximum Forte did not place in the top three, they came to the performance and gave it their all. Their final score was just under being in the top three. The third-place winner of this region’s Semifinals was Ars Nova, a school from Dayton, Ohio. The second place was a school out of Centerville, Ohio, called Prime A Cappella, the group that placed first over Maximum Forte at Quarterfinals. They also took Outstanding Soloist. The first place went to SoundProof from Overland Park, Kansas. Kiley, a junior from CHS Maximum Forte, speaks about her experience during the Semifinals. “My favorite memory was spending time with the other members throughout the whole trip. We work as a coherent team while performing and are friends off stage…” Maximum Forte has been known for their teamwork and how close all of them are away from the class itself. This dynamic helps them a lot, with both their actions that go into their performance, and the way that they sing together. It makes for a perfect balance. Kiley shares how close they are, saying, “During the performance, I felt nervous right before we went on, but as soon as we started singing together, I felt alright knowing that we are a team, and were on that stage together, no matter what happens.” Six seniors are leaving which is over a third of the group. This leaves a lot of room for new members and a new sound. Kiley, a 2023 senior, talks about what she is looking forward to next year, “Opportunities are starting to open up to us like they did before COVID, and that’s incredible.” Hopefully, we’ll see the first normal year for Maximum Forte since 2019. Maximum Forte is an outreach program that does not profit events. With the talent that surrounds the group, they always go far in anything that they do. Forte makes their own funds with their concerts and showcases. To help continue this wonderful group, encourage people to give them a listen and attend their events while doing the same.  

Big Fish poster

Introducing the CHS Musical, Big Fish by Aftyn Oliver (3/25/22)

Set into motion by the International Theatre Institute in 1961, show lovers everywhere celebrate World Theatre Day on March 27th. Near this time, Charleston High School is proud to present their Spring 2022 musical, Big Fish (book by John August with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa).

Described on the flyer as “A father’s story. A son’s journey. Life’s epic adventure”, Big Fish presents the whimsical life of an aging Edward Bloom (Mitch Cox), whose tales supported by his wife Sandra (Nautica Long) test the believability of their son Will (Nick Hawk) as he prepares to bring his own child into the world with his partner Josephine (Abby Smith).

The following students have taken on the roles of these featured characters that Edward meets all along his way: Tom Bates as ringmaster Amos Calloway, Tristan Williams as Karl the Giant, Olivia Bennett as the Witch, Tesa Brown as the Mermaid, Sadie Stowell as Jenny Hill, Kaitlyn Friedmann as Dr. Bennett, Ashton Fifield as Zacky Price, and Mikey Fleming as Don Price.

Members of the supporting Ensemble include: Emily Davidson, Emily Kaurin, Madison Step, John Peterson, Brennah Gerdes, Nevaeh Ethridge, Kiley Will, Annabel Wehrle, Breonna Bower, Trinity Coonce, Elaina Sutula, Meredith McGrath, Andrew Pearson, Dylan Hawk, Ethan Ennis, Lucas Neal, Aiden Caughran, Jackson Ulm, Sofia Cornebise, Ella Kenner, Ella Beavers, Mia Carcasi, Kayleah Colvin, Abrielle Groff, Abby Metzger, Jilli Symonds, Josie Wehrle, and Arabella Wines.

Several elementary aged students have also joined the production to act as Boy Scouts in the show.

Assistant Stage Manager, Leah, commented about the growth of the cast members throughout the rehearsal process: “The growth has been phenomenal. I’m just so proud of them. You start from the ground up…” Leah shared how impressed she is with kids, who often have to break into different singing parts, while also dancing(!) and specifically admires Meredith McGrath for how she sings boldly and tap dances at the same time, as just a freshman.

With opening night approaching, all Crew departments are finally invited to join and lead the behind-the-scenes workings of the production. They are as follows: Jo Vanderport and Leah Mertz (Stage Management); Karmindy Abbott (Front of House); Aftyn Oliver, Emma Beurskens, and Bailey Wolfe (Costuming/Hair/Makeup); Lilly Long, Jessie Logue, Ayden Gossett, Jeanna Mertz, Ethan David (Properties/Run); Gavin Johnson and Kenna McPeak (Lighting); and Sound services to be given by Doudna staff with the assistance of Caleb Peterson.

Show times are listed below, to be shown in The Theatre at Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Thursday, March 31st at 7:00 P.M.

Friday, April 1st at 7:00 P.M.

Saturday, April 2nd at 1:00 P.M.

Saturday, April 2nd at 7:00 P.M.

Purchase tickets NOW through this link!

SAT icon

PSAT/SAT/Take a Student to Work Day/College Visit Day by Brooklyn Jones (3/25/22)

To get ready for the upcoming PSAT/SATs on Wednesday, April 13th, ninth through eleventh graders are preparing themselves by going over lessons and activities that are planning to be used on the PSAT/SAT in their classes. To be specific, Mrs. Drone’s English 3 classes are going over material in class that are going to be used on the tests. Mr. Lock, principal of CHS, says that the PSATs for ninth graders can “get students ready for when they’re taking the actual SATs as juniors” and that “any preparation for tests or using test strategies help students prepare for the PSAT/SATs.” Ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders are to report to their testing rooms by 9 am. Mrs. Nelson, CHS Guidance Counselor, says that “kids should plan to get plenty of sleep” the night before testing. Before testing begins, students are to receive a student guide to help them prepare.  There are three portions of the tests: English, Reading, and Math and each test varies from a range of twenty-five to sixty minutes. Only students who are in eleventh grade are required to write an essay as part of testing. Students are allowed to bring their own snacks and drinks, but snacks and drinks will be provided. While testing and on breaks, students are not to be on their phones/smartwatches, and both will be taken out of the testing rooms. Certain students are allowed to have accommodations based on their 504 plan or if they have an IEP. Examples of accommodations include a student having extended time on tests or having the test read aloud to them. All teachers are to respect the accommodations provided for students. Seniors should not be on school grounds and must either fill out a form for “take a student to work day” or take a college visit day. Forms for “take a student to work day” are located in the Guidance office. 

Boys Basketball Banquet by Lilly Long (3/25/22)

This year the boys Basketball team did very well, finishing 18-11 for their final season score and took 2nd place in the Apollo Conference. This was the best record the Charleston High School Boys Basketball team has had since the 2002-2003 season. The team also beat their county rival Mattoon High School three times this year, which was celebrated by the team. The head coach this year was Cody Drone, CHS’s own Social Sciences teacher, and the Assistant coach, Andy Mersman. The freshman/sophomore coach this year was Colin Mcinerney, a Physical Education teacher, and the JV coach was AJ Alexander. Coach Drone states that, “This season couldn’t have been the success it was without these three on the coaching staff…they brought a lot of passion, excitement, and support for the program and the players.” This year, Jaksen Braun, a senior, was on the 1st team for All Apollo Conference, and 3rd team IBCA (Illinois Basketball Coaches Association). William Applegate, a junior, was on the 2nd team for the All - Apollo Conference. At the banquet, Jaksen Braun was awarded the Most Valuable Player, the Marvin Smith Highest GPA Award, along with the Rebounding Award. William Applegate was awarded the Free Throw Award. Caleb Oakley, a junior, took the Defense award, and Jackson Becker, a senior, was awarded Trojan Culture. Grady Smitley, another senior, earned the Assists Award as well as the Most Improved Award. The team played hard and well this year, lead and encouraged by Coach Drone. “I am extremely proud of this team and what they accomplished this year. I could not have asked for a better team to coach,” Coach Drone says. “Our goal was to be better today than the day before not just in basketball but in character as well. This team and these young men exceeded my expectations in both realms, and I am proud to call myself their coach.”  

Photo of prom poster

Everything You Need to Know About Prom by Logan Webster (3/11/22)

Prom is coming up fast and I hope everyone’s prepared. Make sure to get your dresses and suits ready before the big night. This year, prom is taking place at EIU in the University Ballroom, April 9th from 8pm to 11pm. However, couple announcements start at 7:30 and Coronation is at 8:30. Nomination for Prom begins March 21st and voting is April 4th through the 6th. The theme, City of Stars, will be on the tickets, t-shirts, and hoodies. For people just buying tickets, they are fifteen dollars and will be on sale March 28th through April 8th. For those also wanting to buy a t-shirt, hoodie, or both, forms will be available in the office and all orders are due by March 25th. Sweatshirts are thirty dollars and t-shirts are twenty dollars.

March 21st through April 4th ,you can grab guest passes and make song requests and dedications requests in the office.

Remember that if you wish to participate in the “Prom-Posal” Contest, tag or send it to @stuco.charleston on Instagram with your PROM-POSAL. The winner will be announced on April 6th on @stuco.charleston Instagram Page. The winner will receive 2 free CHS Prom tickets and a sixty-dollar gift card to dinner at The Brick House Bar & Grill.

Aftyn, a senior, says, “Well it’s my first prom…first and last. I’m more excited about prom from the success of Sadie’s because it was really fun. Prom is going to be that much more formal and put together, and a great opportunity for the upper classes to be together, due to a lot of things being taken away from us because of COVID”. So, remember to have some fun because you never know when something like COVID will hit again.  

A sunny day

Daylight Saving Time by Ambrie Zanton (3/11/22)

Daylight Saving Time is the practice of setting our clocks ahead an hour to conserve energy and make the most out of the extra hours of sunlight in the spring and summer.

The first people to use Daylight Savings were a few hundred Canadians in Port Arthur, Ontario (known as Thunder Bay today) on July 1, 1908; other Canadians soon followed. Regina, Saskatchewan implemented the practice on April 23, 1914. Winnipeg and Brandon, Manitoba joined in on April 24, 1916. It proved to be so successful that it became law.

From there, the practice of Daylight-Saving Time spread from Canada to other parts of the world. Once Germany and Austria introduced it in 1916, right in the middle of World War I, other countries, such as the United Kingdom and France, began to use it as well. After the war ended, clocks were reverted to the standard; however, once World War II hit, many countries once again made the switch back to Daylight Savings.

The concept of Daylight Savings Time was actually first suggested by New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson in 1895. Hudson’s idea was to set the clocks forward two hours in October, and back two hours in March. A decade later, in 1905, a British builder, William Willett, made the suggestion of setting the clock forward twenty minutes for each Sunday in April, then back twenty minutes again each week in September. There’s also evidence of ancient civilizations using a similar system. For example, in Rome, water clocks’ scales changed depending on the month.

Today, Daylight Savings Time is in use by over 70 countries, and over 1 billion people are affected by it worldwide. The start and end also start on different dates depending on where you are in the world.

Sociology Students Identify Needs at CHS by Aftyn Oliver (3/11/22)

Students in Mr. Drone’s Sociology classes are currently working on a new project as they wrap up their education unit. His classes have been tasked with creating their own “School Improvement Plans”. Utilizing ideas they gather from surveying peers and staff throughout CHS, they are identifying the most pressing needs of their school and how specifically they can be met.

“The reason it’s important to do this project,” Mr. Drone says, “it’s extremely student led. It allows students to have a voice, to be a proponent of change, good change. From my students last year that did this, some projects have since become a part of the school. They fostered success. We want to improve our school. To have a growth mindset as a student body.”

“All the ideas I’m hearing from my students are all solid and are things they really care about,” Mr. Drone wanted to make clear. He did, however, share a few ideas he could remember that he especially liked the sound of. He said that quite a few groups are focusing on bathroom improvements. When interviewed, a senior had offered, “It’s hard to comfortably use the restroom when there aren’t locks on the door.” Another group is focusing on introducing more elective classes, perhaps a world cultures class, which would include cultures of today and in the past, as well as studying different religions. Several are in favor of adding a criminology or forensics class as well. Many of those interviewed had something to say about school spirit. One group is planning to propose more student assemblies to help with this lack, and to push student engagement and pride. Willow, a junior, is developing a plan to implement a voting system. This idea ties back to when Thomas Jefferson instituted public schooling to teach cultural values and the basic principles of republican government. While voting practices are present within select clubs and organizations, Willow reasoned, “Essentially, we don’t really have student voice here.” Willow received that same feedback from several of the teachers she interviewed. For major decisions regarding the school, she wants to have a ballot. This way, students are given a voice, and they can be taught how to vote. “This way,” she adds, “we could figure out what the populous wants.”

Photo of an art show

CHS Art Show by Brooklynn Jones (3/11/22)

Get ready for CHS’s art show on Thursday, April 28th in the CHS cafeteria! Students from Mrs. Siegel’s art classes are required to show their art that they’ve made since the beginning of the semester. The art show is required for all art students and is worth 10% of their grade. When asked why deciding to put on an art show, Mrs. Siegel said that “it’s a chance to show the community what the students have been learning.” And when she was asked what she’s most looking forward to the art show, Mrs. Siegel said that “it’s a fair bit of work to set it up, but once everything is set up, it’s fun to see, not only families and community members come out to see the works, but also for students to look at the work of their own classmates as well as students from other art classes.” Students are to be expected during the entirety of the art show, but guests may come and go as they please. During class time and the days leading up to the art show, art students will be picking out their pieces that they want shown in the show as well as creating title cards. From 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., students will be setting up their art pieces and displays in the cafeteria and will be grouped by class and each student will get their own table to display their artwork. Then, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., the art show will be open to all guests. Art students may view other art students’ work but must be at their own table to answer any questions guests may have for them. Activities and contests will be available for all guests. After the main open house, at 7 p.m. to around 7:30 p.m., there will be student recognition and an awards presentation. From around 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be one final open house and opportunities to win contests for guests. After the final open house, at 8 p.m., contest winners will be announced, followed by clean-up/dismissal. Students and families may take home any work that is completed but must bring their own boxes. The Friday after the art show, art students will clean-up and restore the art rooms. As for the rest of the semester, students will have chances to complete any unfinished artworks or may work on personal art pieces.


Baba Marta Day by Lyla Long (3/9/22)

Baba Marta Day is a holiday known to signal the start of spring. This is a holiday unique to the country of Bulgaria. Other countries around this area acknowledge it, but Bulgaria is the main country that celebrates it. This holiday is celebrated on March 1st. On this day, people wear items called Martenitsas, which could be bracelets or dolls made from red and white yarn. These items are said to be worn until the wearer sees a stark. The stark in Bulgaria shows that spring is here and then the bracelet or charm is tied to a tree in bloom. Baba Marta translates to Grandmother March in English. In the folktale, Baba Marta is always mad at her brothers, January and February. Many different tales could be told on this day regarding the weather. If it is to snow on this day, Baba Marta is doing her spring cleaning, shaking out her mattress, feathers falling to the ground as snow. This is to be the last snow of the season. Another tale is found in German folklore. Baba Marta is angry at being called old. She asks April, her younger brother, to let her borrow a few of his days. This is used to explain if the first day is warm. This holiday is traditionally celebrated by women, girls, and children. Another important day for Bulgaria in March, is the third. This day is to celebrate the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish Empire.

ClassE Prom Dress Sale this weekend

Friday, March 4th 4-8pm; Saturday, March 5th 10am-6pm; and Sunday, March 6th 1-3pm at Elevate Business Center in Cross County Mall (the old Carson's building).

Mustache March participants

It's Mustache March at CHS by Logan Webster (3/4/22)

Every year, Mustache March raises money for a new group of people going through hard times. The fundraiser started six years ago to honor Scott Black, a history teacher here at CHS in the mid 2000’s, who died from colon cancer. Now it’s used to raise money for people who are under similar circumstances or need the money due to financial reasons. Teachers like Mr. Locke, Mr. Williams, Mr. Ben Oakley, Mr. Cohoon, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Hanner, Mr. Mclnerney are all participating. If an individual can raise five hundred dollars, they agree to keep their mustache through April and if a thousand dollars is raised, Mr. Hanner agrees to keep his in general. So, if anyone that is reading this would like to drop donations off at the office towards a specific teacher, you can do that or if you would rather just drop a donation off towards the cause in general you can do that as well. Later on, Interact Club will be selling fake mustaches in support of the cause if anyone would like to buy some.

For those raising the money and for those that give money towards the cause thank you so much because it’s going towards a good cause! Also, there will be updates to this post and pictures uploaded to show the progression of the money raised.  

Choir Students See Little Women, the Broadway Musical by Lilly Long (3/4/22)

On Wednesday March 2nd, students from the choir department got a chance to see the musical, Little Women, at EIU. Students went to their early bird classes but after tutorial, left school for the event, returning for 5th hour after lunch at the EIU food court. The musical, Little Women, was based off of the book written by Louisa May Alcott. This musical starred the adventurous Jo March, an aspiring writer trying to find her way in a prestige world, breaking through the social norms for women and publishing her works. Jo was brought to life by a very talented Haylie Rae Denzer. The musical was about the four March sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy and their relationship. Lyla, a senior in the advanced choir and Maximum Forte at CHS, stated, “I thought it was very good with an extremely talented cast. The storyline shows a lot of women empowerment, making this relevant and relatable. I personally really connected to this musical and think that many people will also enjoy it.” Another choir student, Kiley, stated their love for the production, “I really enjoyed the show overall. The characters were portrayed very well, the vocals were strong, and the set design was beautiful. I loved their use of lighting to convey the characters intense feelings. The hard work and talent put into the show is evident.” All of the students attending enjoyed the musical immensely, the opportunity given to them by their choir teacher, Mrs. Sharp, as well as Doudna, for opening it up to the CHS choir students as well as students from other schools. Returning from this event, the choir students made it back to the school just in time for their choir classes. This production was directed by Larry Cox Jr. This musical will be open to the public on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on March 3rd through 5th at 7:30pm. This show will also be running on Sunday March 6th at 2:00pm.    

E-Learning and Fun in the Snow

(Feb 2-4, 2022)

Watch this video interviewing CHS students and staff about the e-learning days and how they spent their time in the winter weather

Valentine's Day Memories

Watch this video to hear about CHS students' favorite Valentine's Day memories

Maximum Forte participants

Maximum Forte Advances to Semifinals by Lyla Long (3/2/22)

Charleston High School is known for very talented musicians. At the state convention that took place in January, ILMEA, Charleston High School had more representation than any other school. Charleston’s Advanced Chamber Chorus is an example of their impressive choral abilities. This a capella group is called Maximum Forte, a group that has been around for a little over eight years. In the fall of 2021, this ensemble submitted a video of their set, a collection of songs under the time limit of ten minutes. Maximum Forte easily completed the task and were waved on to Quarterfinals. On February 10th, the chamber choir traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to compete. They placed second out of seven choirs, making it possible for them to compete in the Semifinals, taking place on March 19th in Harrison, Ohio. Not only did Maximum Forte place second, but they also won two individual awards. Maximum Forte won best vocal percussionist, given to our high school junior, Megan Heise. Despite being extremely talented, Megan also is performing in a male dominated role, which just shows how gifted she is. Maximum Forte won another award for Best Choreography for their song, “Vertigo”. “Vertigo” was choreographed by our senior, Mitch Cox. He explains his excitement saying, “I was pumped. My sophomore year, I never thought that I would be a choreographer. I had a vision for “Vertigo” in the fall, and I executed it. I never expected for it to win best choreo.” Mitch Cox has been in Maximum Forte for all the years he was able to participate. He had his first competition cut short by COVID – 19 and had to miss his own junior year for the same reason. Mitch has high hopes for the next step. “Honestly I am really excited for Semifinals, just to better ourselves as a group and to get a great experience at competition.” All of Maximum Forte shares his enthusiasm and is excited for the days to come. Make sure to cheer on Maximum Forte when they compete at Semifinals!  

Photo of Mr. Mark Williams

Teacher Spotlight: Mark Williams by Ambrie Zanton (3/2/22)

Mark Williams has been teaching at Charleston High School for eight years, out of nineteen years of total experience. He teaches Intro to Technology, Production Technology, Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD), and Construction Trades. While attending Kansas High School in Kansas, Illinois, he was a part of band, choir, drama, FFA, golf, football, basketball, and baseball. Upon graduating, he attended Eastern Illinois University for his teaching endorsements in Special Education K-12 and Industrial Technology for K-12. Mr. Williams says that if he wasn’t teaching, he’d be in something related to construction, whether it be drawing floorplans, building homes, or something else. His favorite part about his job is being in the shop and teaching students how to use tools and create quality projects. A few fun facts about Mr. Williams: he has a black-and-white cat named Sylvester, and his favorite food is hashbrown casserole and biscuits and gravy. His top five favorite movies are Dumb and Dumber, Billy Madison, Tommy Boy, Wayne’s World, and Jerry Maguire. 

Leader in Me

Mark Twain Hosts Their "Leader in Me" Program by Brooklyn Jones (2/25/22)

Mark Twain Elementary School held their “Leader in Me” program on February 23rd at Mark Twain from 1:30 P.M. to 2 P.M. Charleston High School’s Interact Club and football players all went to volunteer at Mark Twain to see the kids and help out with anything they needed. Everyone who decided to participate in this event walked from CHS to Mark Twain, which, since the two are closely connected, was just a short walk down the road. All the CHS kids had left during their fifth hour and stayed for the duration of fifth and most of sixth hour. I loved volunteering at Mark Twain. The connection that I had with some of the kids was a great experience for me. At the end of the day, it just felt really nice helping out the kids and I would definitely do it again sometime in the future. 

Charleston FFA

National FFA Proclamation contributed by Elena Wetzel, Charleston FFA Reporter (2/25/22)

FFA members, state officers, ag advisors, alumni, and the organizations supporters celebrate National FFA week on the Saturday to Sunday that encompasses George Washingtons birthday on February 22.  “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man,” – George Washington. On February 18th members of the Charleston FFA went to the office of Brandon Combs, the mayor of Charleston, Illinois. He signed an official proclamation declaring in the city of Charleston, IL National FFA week will take place February 19th to 26th,2022. On these days Charleston High school is celebrating with spirit days. 

Monday: No school

Tuesday: "Mercia"

Wednesday: Blue and Gold

Thursday: Camo

Friday: Dress like a farmer

Addy Logsdon Places First in Regional Three- Point Showdown by Lyla Long (2/25/22)

On Friday, February 18th, Addason Logsdon, a senior for the Girls’ Basketball team, competed in the IHSA Three-Point Showdown, finishing first place in the Regional competition, scoring a total of ten baskets. From the Charleston team, four girls competed. Addy was the only Charleston athlete to move on. She explained her thoughts for the first round, “I was thinking it is what it is; if I advance, I advance and if I don’t, at least I got to compete.” Out of sixteen girls that competed, four girls advanced, Addy placing an impressive first. From there, those four girls go to Bathalto Civic Memorial to compete in the Sectional competition. Addy shared her goals, saying “It would be great to go to state, but if I don’t, making it to Sectionals is still more than I was hoping for.” Addy is one of four seniors leaving the team next year, as well as a valuable player for the Varsity team. She consistently makes three - point shots for the team in the game and always continues to boost morale. She would like to make a shout out to her two younger sisters, both members of the team who competed in the Regional competition with her.

Jessica, ClassE student

Jewelry by Jess logo

Jessica's necklace

Jewelry by Jess: How a CHS Student Created a Business Through ClassE by Yoana Yordanova (2/25/22)

ClassE, an elective class offered at Charleston High School, is available to all juniors and seniors. It is an entrepreneurial class to teach students about business and it is based in Mattoon, Illinois at the Elevate Center inside of the Cross-Country mall. This program takes students from both Charleston and Mattoon, giving students the chance to make connections in the surrounding community. Jessica, a Charleston senior, expresses her excitement for the class, “I love ClassE because I get to explore different types of businesses and get to meet new people!” Vincent Walk, a Social Science teacher at Mattoon High School, teaches the class and guides students in their entrepreneurship. Right now, they are working on making their business plans and how to format them. Each student needs to be on a business team and come up with an idea and strategy. Costs, materials, and marketing is to be planned out in advance. These skills are taught to the students through this experience. All students also receive an individual mentor that guides them through the process. Jessica is now happy to say she is running a self-owned business called “Jewelry Jess,” where she sells handmade jewelry, some of which including bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings. She has set up an Instagram account, @jewelry_jess, for her business, and she hopes to soon have a Shopify account! Jessica says ClassE is a great class where you get to talk to different business leaders and visit them as well. For students who are considering a career in business, enjoy learning about being an entrepreneur, or wish to start their own business, ClassE is a perfect course to see if they have what it takes to create and hold onto a business. Jessica highly recommends it and says she is very happy she took the course. Be sure to check out Jessica’s business and stay tuned for more news on ClassE!

CTE month logo

Behind the Push for CTE by Aftyn Oliver (2/25/22)

The month of February celebrates CTE, or career and technical education, which helps to prepare students for the workforce. At Charleston High School, several departments relating to CTE provide opportunities for students to obtain industrial experience and certifications: Agriculture, Business, Computer Science, Family and Consumer Science, Art, and others. Examples of specific courses include, Production Technology, Health Occupations, and even our own Journalism and Broadcasting class.

Mrs. Angie Niebrugge, CTE Specialist at CHS, works to inform the community of the significance of career and technical education, especially this month. She attended a CTE conference last week and gained a better understanding of its importance. The concept of CTE has been around for years, though recently there has been a big push for it, as the realization grows that not all students will attend college. Upon returning from the event, Mrs. Niebrugge has a greater interest in “pathway endorsements”, which promote workforce readiness in students. How? Throughout their high school career, students will be provided coursework and training to help form a plan to enter the workforce, being rewarded a seal on their transcripts for post-secondary schools to see, similarly to a diploma. Typically, high schools prepare students to take the next step of receiving higher education at a college or university, and she along with other educators would like to see the state of Illinois offer this alternative opportunity in addition. Further, not only would Mrs. Niebrugge like for said experiences to be only beneficial for workforce-minded students, but she would like “for all students complete an internship or co-op before graduating.”

Mrs. Niebrugge is also busy working on the “shell” of Charleston High School’s developing industrial projects. In her words, “I plan for future internship opportunities by contacting local businesses, am working on getting the CHS coffee shop off the ground, obtaining grants to help fund a t-shirt business for next year’s new Entrepreneur class, I create webpages [and more!].” CHS thanks Mrs. Niebrugge for her efforts towards widening the possibilities for students and their futures.

Photo of Mr. Cohoon

Teacher Spotlight: Rick Cohoon by Ambrie Zanton (2/23/22)

Rick Cohoon teaches French at Charleston High School. He has been at CHS for nineteen out of twenty-seven years of total experience. He is actually a graduate of CHS himself, and while he was attending, he was a part of French Club, AFS, and Speech and Drama. After graduating, he attended Eastern Illinois University, where he got a Bachelor’s in French, with a teaching certificate, and a Master’s in Educational Administration. Mr. Cohoon says that if he wasn’t teaching, he would possibly be in administration. His favorite part about his job is seeing students succeed and move forward with their learning. He has a cat at home, his favorite movie is Star Wars, and his favorite foods are steak and prime rib. 

Students cooking

Cuban sandwiches

Sandwich Cubano by Ambrie Zanton (2/23/22)

The Intro to Spanish class has been working on a sandwich dish from Cuba, called the Sandwich Cubano. Between two slices of bread, you can find cheese, pickles, lettuce, mustard, and ham, fried in a buttered skillet. Since class periods are only 45 minutes, the class does not have time to prepare complicated dishes; however, this does not stop them from preparing delicious and culturally diverse food. 

When asked if they enjoy the class, nearly all students only had positive things to say about it. 

“It’s fun to prepare different dishes we’ve never heard about before,” says Kei as he works with Ella to put the toppings on their bread. 

“I like this class because you have something you can control for the most part,” Ella adds. 

Rain says, “My favorite part of the project is getting to know different parts of the culture [the foods come from].” 

Adding on to Rain’s comment, Elliot says, “It’s pretty cool to see what different countries and cultures eat.” 

Kei and Ella were kind enough to let one of the Journalism class's members try a piece of their sandwich. She says that it tastes like a Monte Cristo and said that it was “a really good sandwich.” 

The teacher of this class, Mrs. Stark, even let us have Taco Truck jellybeans; with flavors like salsa, horchata, and margarita, the candy was unique, but very delicious.   

"Students created different Latin dishes during our Latin food unit. Some cooked Pupusas, chimichangas, quesadillas, Cuban sandwiches, etc. Students enjoyed the hands-on experience and trying new foods."

Mrs. Stark  

   CHS Spanish teacher

Students with their dishes

Student chopping vegetables

Students cooking on the stove

Students cooking

Student cooking

Student cooking

Decorations image

The Sadie Hawkins Dance by Logan B. Webster (2/17/22)

With Sadie Hawkins less than two weeks away, it is a great way to start the second semester. I hope everyone that is planning on going is ready and prepared to have a fun night at Charleston High School. Yoana, a senior at CHS said, “I like that the attire is more casual. Also, there’s not as many people, so the people that want to be there are there to have a good time. I personally had a great time sophomore year with my friends. One of my greatest memories at a high school dance”. Lilly another senior at CHS said, “I like how it’s not stressful as homecoming or prom. It’s more laid back”. Aftyn, a senior, also gave her input on the dance, “The Sadie Hawkins Dance is a bridge between Homecoming and Prom. The anticipation for prom is kind of satisfied by Sadie’s but it’s not nearly as stressful”. Make sure to make some good memories this year at Sadie Hawkins because once you graduate and leave high school, one of the things you’ll take with you are the memories you made here at Charleston High School.  

The Sadie Hawkins dance is in the Baker Gym from 7 to 9 in the evening on the 26th of February, and tickets are five dollars. The preparation for the dance began in November. The theme is “Sweetheart”, and the colors are pink, red, and white. Also, if you would like to make song requests, there are forms in the office. For those attending the dance, Mrs. Piper says to you, “I just want people to come out and enjoy being young and have fun and enjoy being a part of the school”. Speaking of dances, Prom is just around the corner and coming up fast. The decorations and other things for Prom have already been decided and made in preparation.  

President's Day image

History of President's Day by Brooklyn Jones (2/17/22)

President’s Day is a national holiday in the U.S. celebrated on the third Monday of February (February 21st). This holiday originally celebrated George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd, following his death in 1799. People didn’t start celebrating his birthday until the late 1870’s when it was more recognized and in 1879, former president Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law to make it an official holiday. The day known as Washington’s Birthday transitioned into President’s Day in the 1960’s when Congress proposed an act known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The proposed act would give workers a three-day weekend. The act would also give a nod to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th, which would be shared with Washington’s birthday. Former president Richard M. Nixon had passed this act in 1968, but it didn’t take effect until 1971. To this day, President’s Day has never actually fallen on any president’s actual birthday. 

Li'l Abner comic cover image

The History of the Sadie Hawkins Dance by Yoana Yordanova (2/15/22)

The original idea of the “girl asks guy” theme came from a comic strip by Al Capp called “Li’l Abner.” According to this website, the plotline of this comic was that on a certain day in November, single women could chase bachelors and if they were caught, he would have to marry her. The main character was a girl named Sadie Hawkins who loved to celebrate this day by chasing around all the bachelors. How the day was decided is uncertain, but there were rumors that it could occur on February 29th on leap years. With this inspiration, high schools and colleges across the country started using this as the theme for a dance and now we have the Sadie Hawkins Dance on the 26th of February this month. It is unique to the United States and something most high school students can look forward to. It is generally more casual than homecoming and prom; it challenges social expectations by having the girl ask the guy this time. 

Photo of Mr. Ben Oakley

Teacher Spotlight: Ben Oakley by Ambrie Zanton (2/15/22)

Ben Oakley is an agriculture teacher here at Charleston High School. Mr. Oakley has been teaching for four years, with three at CHS. He loves sponsoring the FFA and taking students to conferences, as well as watching students learn welding, wiring, building, and other activities they have not had the chance to do before. Mr. Oakley is a graduate of CHS himself, and as a student, he was a part of 4-H, FFA, and Soccer. When he graduated, he attended Lake Land for an Associate’s degree, and later the University of Illinois, where he got a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Science Education. Mr. Oakley says that if he was not teaching, he would be in the agriculture industry, perhaps in the AG business sector. At home, he has a chocolate lab named Nessie. His favorite movie is the first Cars, and his favorite food is ribeye steak. 

CHS Choir and Band Winter Concert Highlights

Featuring alumni

December 17, 2021

Paper hearts photo

Valentine's Day Festivities by Brooklyn Jones (2/11/22)

Valentine’s Day is celebrated by a lot of couples, but it can also be a holiday celebrated with friends if you don’t have a significant other. When a group of girls get together (who don’t have dates for Valentine’s Day) and celebrate it, it’s called Galentine’s Day. People have celebrated Valentine’s Day for a long time, and they all celebrate it in different ways. Some people celebrate this holiday by getting their significant other cards, flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, jewelry, or by going on dates. My favorite part about Valentine’s Day is spending the day with the people I appreciate the most in my life. When I was younger, I had a lot of fun participating in classroom Valentine’s Day parties where everyone would bring candy and Valentine’s Day cards. Now that I’m in high school, we don’t do those types of things anymore. 

Photo of Heather Piper

Teacher Spotlight: Heather Piper by Ambrie Zanton (2/11/22)

Heather Piper has been teaching for fourteen years, and has been teaching at Charleston High School for one and a half of those. She attended high school in Kansas, where she was a part of the Student Council, Library Club, Spanish Club, FCCLA, NHS, and Scholastic Bowl. After that, she attended Lakeland College and later, Eastern Illinois University, where she was in the sorority Sigma Rho Epsilon. While attending these schools, she achieved an Associate’s in Elementary Education/Early Childhood, a Bachelor’s degree in Standard Special Education, and a Master’s degree in Special Education, specializing in curriculum adaptation and applied behavior analysis. Her favorite part about her job is helping students rise to their full potential, but says that if she weren’t teaching, she would like to own a day care. She has two cats and two dogs at home. Her favorite movie is Gone With the Wind, and her favorite foods are steak and baked potato. 

"Happy Valentine's Day" image

History of Valentine's Day by Logan B. Webster (2/11/22)

Every year Valentine’s Day comes around on February fourteenth in the United States and other places around the world. It’s a day for you to give gifts of candy, flowers, or bears to your loved ones. All this, done in the name of Saint Valentine. The month February itself had long been celebrated as a month of romance and has roots from both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.  

There is a lot of mystery that surrounds Valentine’s Day when it comes to Saint Valentine. What is known however, is that Valentine was a priest for the Catholic Church that served during the third century in Rome. When the Emperor of the time, Claudius II, realized that younger men make better soldiers rather than married men with wives and children, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine did not support this at all. So, going against the words of the emperor, Saint Valentine performed secret marriages for the young men and their lovers. After Claudius II found out about this, he imprisoned Valentine in the Roman prison that was well known for being harsh and for torturing and beating their prisoners. While Valentine was in prison, he helped Christians escape the harsh Roman prisons. According to one legend, Valentine fell in love with the jailor's daughter and while he was imprisoned, she would visit him. Before Valentine was killed and beheaded, he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”, an expression still used today. Due to this reputation of being a kind and romantic figure, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France. 

Speech Team

An Update on the CHS Speech Team by Yoana Yordanova (2/8/22)

The CHS Speech and Drama Team recently went to the Heyworth Tournament on January 29th. Mr. Magee, the team’s coach, said it went great and was proud to say that his students went to the finals with Eva Zheng placing 4th in humorous interpretation, Ayden Gossett placing 6th in radio speaking, and Owen Wardrip placing 2nd in prose speaking. Mr. Magee says that he loves coaching the team because he can get to know each student and their unique personality. He notes that there a lot of different students which definitely makes the Speech and Drama team fun. There is something for everyone; from Theater and Acting to Communication and Voice Acting. “Being a part of the Speech and Drama Team can be a very rewarding experience,” states Mr. Magee. He highlights the fact that through the team, students can meet many people across Illinois who could help you in the future. If you are interested in joining the Speech and Drama team at CHS, then you can reach out to Mr. Magee at or stop by room 219 during practice hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. He wants to add that on the team, “There is a place for you and people who are ready to help you build the future you want for yourself.” 

Mrs. Hackett

Teacher Spotlight: Stacey Hackett by Ambrie Zanton (2/8/22)

Stacey Hackett has been at Charleston High School for thirteen of her twenty-two years of teaching. She teaches IEP English 1, 2, 3, and 4, as well as Career Exploration. While attending DeLand-Weldon High School in DeLand, Illinois, she was part of cheerleading, volleyball, marching band, and was in the musical for all four years of high school. After graduating, she got a nursing license, and was in the medical field for twelve years. After deciding to become a teacher, she went to Illinois State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Education. After that, she attended Eastern Illinois University to add special education to her degree. Despite not initially expecting to become a teacher, she loves making a connection with her students and making a difference in their lives. Her favorite movie is Yellowstone, her favorite foods are spaghetti, beef and noodles, and homemade bread. She also has a 14-year-old cat named Gracie at home. 

Mid-Winter E-Learning by Lyla Long (2/9/22)

Many people can agree that Illinois weather is the best. What other state could have fifty-degree weather and then the next day blizzard-like conditions? That’s exactly what happened last week. February second through the fourth, Charleston High School utilized its first E-Learning days. Students got to stay at home and watch it snow while keeping up with their homework. This decision will now keep students safe while also upholding the school’s mission of delivering education. However, doing homework is not the only thing that students did. Many of them got out and enjoyed the snow, taking a break from the daily routine. Students went out and played in the snow. In one picture, students from Maximum Forte got together at Kiwanis Park. Another, Yoana Yordanova is pictured with her boyfriend. One of our own writers, Logan Webster is also featured. This was overall a wonderful break.

A Brief History of CHS by Aftyn Oliver (2/4/22)

Central School

Postcard image of the Central School building

From its founding in 1867 to 1898, Charleston High School students studied at the Central School which was located on the grounds where Jefferson Elementary now stands. Just before the turn of the century, a fire destroyed the original Central School and a newer, larger building was finished in the first days of 1900. It has been said that students had classes in various spaces around the town square or on EIU’s campus while the new building was under construction.

Second high school building

Postcard image of the second High School building

Unfortunately, another fire, most likely due to faulty wiring, destroyed the second high school building on January 3rd of 1927, exactly twenty-seven years later. 

“The school, which cost $40,000 to build, was insured for $75,000. [The] estimated cost of replacing it was $150,000” (Shick 220). The principal at the time added though that “the new gymnasium was saved” and used for schooling and sporting events as the new high school building (now Jefferson Elementary School) was under construction (Shick 220). The Elks Lodge building was also used during this transitional time.  

Jefferson Elementary School

Postcard image of the third High School building (currently Jefferson Elementary School)

In August of 1930, Hardy Hill gave the public schools twelve acres located south of his home on Harrison at Twelfth Street, and at one time, the Coles County Fair actually took place here. This land became what we all know now to be Trojan Hill. 

Finally, “the cornerstone for Charleston’s new $1,300,000 high school was swung into place on the east side of the building at the intersection of Route 130 and Lincoln Street on April 21st, 1954. Principal Marvin Smith said all but the gymnasium and the auditorium would be ready for the fall term” (Shick 312).  

In the 1970’s, additions were made to the current high school building on Lincoln Avenue, including the West Gym, a weight room, a space for the Wrestling team, more locker rooms for Gym class, and music classrooms.  

In 2022, Charleston High School students are once again witnessing renovations to their school building. Band and Choir students can now make use of their designated rooms this semester after they underwent total revamping up until Winter Break. The Swickard Auditorium follows, as it has recently begun a complete remodeling. Much more is in store for CHS students, staff, and community members to enjoy! 

Charleston High School. The Recorder 1928. 1928, pgs. 3-5. The Dr. Nell Wiseman Media Center. 

Shick, Nancy Easter. 'Round the Square: Life in Downtown Charleston, Illinois, 1830-1998. Charleston, Easterchick Publishing, 1999. 

Groundhog image

Groundhog Day by Logan B. Webster (2/4/22)

The very first day of Groundhog Day took place February 2, 1887, at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather. If it doesn’t see its shadow, it means spring is coming. It seems like a very weird tradition to have especially if you don’t know how it started. 

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas. This tradition started when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. The Germans new of this tradition and wanted to start their own Winter traditions. Before groundhogs were used, it was the hedgehog that predicted whether six more weeks of winter was coming. Germans that migrated to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania kept the tradition, but had to change it to a groundhog because hedgehogs weren’t native to the land. At that point, Groundhog’s Day wasn’t very big or wildly known. It wasn’t until the 90’s it became popular. 

Usually, the Charleston school district doesn’t get Groundhog’s Day off, but due to the heavy snow we are lucky enough to enjoy this holiday to the fullest. Make sure to thank Phil, the groundhog that’s been predicting the weather for you and your family every year. 

Chinese New Year photo

Chinese New Year by Ambrie Zanton (2/1/22)

The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is an annual celebration of the new year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It is the most important holiday in East and Southeast Asian cultures, celebrated not just by Chinese communities, but also Korean, Vietnamese, and many more. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, where the new year is only celebrated for one day, the Lunar New Year is celebrated for several; although the date it begins differs from year to year, and for 2022 it is February 1st. One of the holiday’s most famous aspects is its Zodiac, where each year is represented by one of twelve animals: a rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, or pig; each year is also represented by one of five elements: earth, water, fire, wood, and metal. Each animal corresponds with an element. 2022 will be the year of the water tiger, which only comes up every 60 years. Water tigers represent the traits of strength, bravery, and warding off evil. The Chinese New Year itself is very, very old, dating all the way back to the 14th century BCE – or, 3,500 years ago, and has gone through many changes. Many believe it was started in the Shang Dynasty, where sacrifices were made to appease gods and ancestors. In the Zhao Dynasty, the holiday first became known as a new year celebration. The official date of the festival became set in the Han Dynasty, and this period also saw traditions such as burning bamboo to make a cracking sound, a practice that became widespread. One of the most famous traditions associated with the holiday is the story of the mythical and deadly Nian, a beast who eats livestock, people, and crops. To prevent destruction, people put food out at their doors for it to eat instead. The Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in many East and Southeast Asian cultures, and it has a long and rich history. As the new year is brought in on February 1st, millions around the world will celebrate the year of the water tiger. 

ILMEA Pictures by Yoana Yordanova (2/1/22)

Select students from Charleston High School attended the state-wide ILMEA choir conference from January 26th to the 29th in Peoria, Illinois.

ILMEA photo collage

ILMEA photo collage

Mr. Hudson photo

Teacher Spotlight: Jeremy Hudson by Ambrie Zanton (1/28/22)

Jeremy Hudson is a math teacher who has been at Charleston High School for 5 years out of his 7 years of teaching. He attended Oakland High School in Oakland, Illinois, where he was on the basketball, baseball, and football teams. He was also a part of Student Council and the National Honor Society. After graduating high school, he went on to attend Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University, where he got an Associates in Science in engineering with a focus on mechanical engineering, a Bachelor’s in Arts in mathematics with teacher certification. He is currently working on two Masters’ degrees, one in math and another in education leadership. Mr. Hudson says that his favorite part about his job is that every day is different; however, if he wasn’t teaching, he’d be a mechanical engineer. His favorite food is ribs, his favorite movie is Reign Over Me, and he has three dogs at home. 

Aztec pyramid

The Aztec Empire by Logan B. Webster (1/28/22)

For the past few weeks, the Spanish classes have been learning about the Aztecs. The Aztecs are a tribe that originate from Aztlán. The Aztecs were told by Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, sun, and human sacrifice, that when they find a cactus with an eagle perched on it with a snake in its beak, that’s where they will build their great city. After years of wandering, looking for this sign, they found exactly what they were looking for in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Lake Texcoco was a natural lake within the Valley of Mexico. Settling in the middle of a lake on islands wasn’t easy, but the Aztecs were able to build their capital city, Tenochtitlan on the lake. It was built on two islands. The area was extended using chinampas. Chinampas are small, artificial islands created above the waterline that were later reinforced. Acamapichtli was the first ruler of the new Aztec empire in their capital city, Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs were master builders and constructed many different buildings. They built pyramids, plazas, temples, ball courts, and homes. Most Aztec homes were built of adobe brick constructed of mud, sand, water, straw, and then dried in the sun. The Aztecs had advanced knowledge when it came to building structures. I hope this article piques your interest of learning even more about the Aztecs. There is still so much to learn about them. 

Graduation photo

Senior Checklist by Brooklyn Jones (1/28/22)

Graduation is just around the corner, and with seniors leaving in less than four months, there is some important information that they should pay attention to. When should seniors be looking at colleges? According to Mrs. Beth Nelson, one of Charleston High School’s guidance counselors, seniors should be looking at colleges in the fall of their senior year. As for the required classes, Mrs. Nelson says that “required classes your senior year would be a full year of English, a full year of P.E., and a semester of Consumer Ed.,” which is a class about how to better manage your money and hopefully be debt-free for college and life in general. When asked what to look for and when seniors should apply for colleges/scholarships, Mrs. Nelson replied, “you need to consider if the college offers the area of study you are interested in and the cost of the school. Some colleges cost a lot more than others. Scholarships are listed on our CHS website, but you can’t start applying for them until your senior year. Most scholarships come available to you during the spring semester of your senior year.” So, for all you seniors, start looking into colleges and applying for scholarships because deadlines are quickly approaching! 

Mrs. Siegel photo

Teacher Spotlight: Heather Siegel by Ambrie Zanton (1/25/22)

Heather Siegel teaches art at Charleston High School, and has been doing so for five years, out of twelve total years of experience. She is a woman of many talents; on top of art, she is certified to teach social science and middle school language arts. For the first three years of high school, she attended Vista High School in Vista, California; but for her senior year, she attended and graduated from Brussels American School in Belgium. While in high school, she was involved with Scholastic Bowl, Art Club, German Club, dance classes, show choir, theatre, and played alto sax in marching band. She returned to the United States to attend Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and later Eastern Illinois University. She got a Bachelor’s in Arts in Globalization Studies, with a minor in Studio Art, a teaching certificate in K-12 Visual Arts (with endorsements to teach secondary social sciences), and a Master’s in Arts in Art Education. Her favorite part about her job is seeing the “lightbulb moments” students get when they get excited about a project or figure out how to solve a creative problem; with that being said, if she wasn’t teaching, she’d likely be working in the travel/hospitality industry or in recreation administration. She loves many movies and foods, but among her favorites are Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the “Grilled Cheese Supreme” from Sun Singer in Champaign. She has two tabby cats at home, Charcoal and Zinc. 


Blood Drive Poster

Get Ready For Another Blood Drive at CHS! by Lyla Long (1/20/22)

Get ready for the Charleston High School Blood Drive! Taking place on Friday, January 28th, the blood drive will be in Baker Gym. This is hosted by the CHS Student Council, which always comes forward to help with this event. The students from Student Council leading this is senior, Molly Smith, and junior, Emma Thomas. The organization that puts this forward is the American Red Cross. This organization responds to those in crisis, providing relief to those in need. It is important to keep them thriving because they are essential for the survival of many people. To give blood you must be seventeen, or sixteen years old with a consent form. Many community members come out for this event as well as students and teachers. Aftyn, a student at Charleston High School plans on donating blood. She took part in a past blood drive and had a really good experience. “It’s something very simple that I can do to help the community or someone in need,” Aftyn says. January is National Blood Donor Month, a recognition started just over fifty years ago. This year, the need for blood is higher than it ever has been. Every person counts when it comes to giving blood. It does not take much to save lives, and CHS gives you an easy opportunity to do so. If you are interested and need more information, contact Molly Smith, Emma Thomas, or Mrs. Piper.  

Teacher Spotlight: Ruthann Hughes by Ambrie Zanton (1/20/22)

Ruthann Hughes is a teacher of many talents. Currently, she teaches Credit Recovery/Interventionist (APEX), but in the past has taught Spanish, Academic Literacy, and English, as well as being Literacy Coach for a time. She’s been teaching for thirty-two years, and has been at Charleston High School on and off for twenty-three years. While she was a student at CHS, she was a part of AFS, CHS Press and girl’s athletics, as well as being a cheerleader, school mascot, and manager for the volleyball team. Ms. Hughes went to Eastern Illinois University, where she got her Master’s degree in education, a degree in Spanish, a minor in English, and a certification in reading. Ms. Hughes says that if she wasn’t teaching, she’d be a stay-at-home mom to her children and cat named Josie. She loves her goofball students, and her favorite movie is the original Jumanji

Paperwork image

High School Registration by Logan B. Webster (1/20/22)

Registration is coming up and it’s time to start picking classes. I remember registering for classes in middle school and every year after until I became a senior. In my experience it can be exciting to pick out classes you want for the next year. I’m a senior, and every year I wonder why we are registering for classes so early. Well, I recently learned the answer to that. There is so much that goes into creating a schedule and it starts with the middle school. In December, the counselors at the high school send out letters to the middle school students and their families. This is done in order to set up times and days to make appointments for incoming freshman to register for classes. Once that’s done, the counselors are given a calendar for when they go into the English classes and give out all the information to the students at the high school in January. Seniors, juniors, and maybe sophomores have this down by now, but freshman, maybe not so much. I know my freshman year I was a little overwhelmed by the number of classes to choose from. After students have decided on their classes, they give the forms back. Mrs. Phillips enters them in for the students after they are returned. This is about halfway completed in March. Once this is finished, scheduling board runs the numbers to see how many sections are needed for each class. Sections are just the different times the classes would be. For example, the same Honors English class would be at different times throughout the school day. Once the sections are figured out Mrs. Phillips goes through and adds teachers to those classes. So, you and your friend might be taking the same English class, but you could be taking it at different times, and have different teachers. After all the data is entered in, a mock schedule is ran in order to determine any conflicts in the students schedules. If one appears, it’s fixed, and then re-ran again until the problem is resolved. However, there could still be conflicts that have to be fixed manually by talking with the students and rearranging their schedule. This whole process can take Mrs. Phillips till June to get done. That’s why it’s important to register so early for classes. Mrs. Phillips says, “There is a lot that goes into making a schedule”. 

Favorite High School Memories by Brooklyn Jones (1/20/22)

As a senior at CHS, I’ve been thinking back on all the great memories I’ve had here. I remember in P.E. when a friend and I were playing badminton on the balcony and I hit the birdie and it got stuck on the ceiling and I laughed really hard. Then, a few minutes later, my friend had hit a different birdie (since we couldn’t get the first one down), and she got that one stuck in the ceiling.  

I asked other students to share their best memories at CHS as well. “My favorite high school memory was probably last year when we were able to go back to school and see all our friends again. One thing I liked the most was seeing what ways they changed and stayed the same, and one thing I missed about not being able to see them would be, at that point, they were the only reason I would smile”, says sophomore, Mason. Lyla, senior, has a good memory from her years in high school. She says, “my favorite memory is when the Writers Club meets at Jackson Avenue Coffee Shop.” And, finally, junior, Kiley, says this: “My favorite thing about high school is that most teachers I’ve had treat their students like their own kid and want the best for us. Ms. Hughs is always encouraging us to work harder and making sure we eat, providing food and things to help us de-stress.” Sounds like we have some great teachers and thankful students at CHS! 



Photo of Mr. Hanner

Teacher Spotlight: Tyler Hanner by Brooklyn Jones (1/13/22)

Introducing Mr. Tyler Hanner, one of the math teachers here at Charleston High School. Mr. Hanner has taught for seventeen years and has been teaching at CHS for fifteen. Mr. Hanner has had the privilege of graduating from CHS in 1999 and from EIU in 2004. In his high school years, he participated in various activities that include playing football all four years of high school, playing baseball for one year, and he was an active member of C-Club. Mr. Hanner has a Bachelor’s in mathematics and a Master’s in Mathematics Education. Mr. Hanner has said that if he wasn’t teaching math, he would probably be an athletic trainer. He has said that his favorite part of his job is “getting to interact with students and other teachers!” When not teaching, Mr. Hanner loves watching The Sandlot, Dumb and Dumber, Rudy, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 with his bulldog, Sport, and eating deer backstraps. 

Photo of Mrs. Niebrugge

Teacher Spotlight: Angie Niebrugge by Ambrie Zanton (1/18/22)

Angie Niebrugge has been at Charleston High School for all twenty-seven of her years teaching. This year, she is in a new position as a Career and Technical Education Specialist, and teaches Cooperative Education and Internship classes only. She also oversees CHS Industries. As a student, she attended Mattoon High School, where she was a part of cheer, the dance team, student council, key club, and was class officer. After graduating high school, she attended Eastern Illinois University, where she received two Bachelors of Science in both Business and Information Systems, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration. Her favorite part about her job is getting to build relationships with her students, but she says that if she wasn’t teaching, she’d own a boutique. She has two dogs, a yellow lab named Buddy and a boxer-doodle named Hank. Her favorite movie is Just Go With It, and her favorite kinds of food are Italian and Mexican. 


Cheer Team Service Project by Lyla Long (1/13/22)

Even on their break, the Charleston High School Cheerleaders were still hard at work. On December 21st, these girls were bringing joy to the ERBA Head Start preschool program. Kicking off the Christmas season, the Cheerleaders hosted a Christmas party for the children. Each cheerleader was paired with a child and given a list of items that they would like to have for Christmas. This was a great way to add a little joy for the students who have had a tough semester with Covid. During the party, they met at Phoenix Elite, the local tumbling and gymnastics center here in Charleston. They played around on the equipment under the supervision of the girls and just have a good time. When they finished at Phoenix Elite, they headed back to Head Start to finish their party, even getting to meet Santa! The event was scheduled by one of our cheerleader’s parents, Ms. Coonce. For this article, I interviewed Ms. Vilardo, one of the coaches for the Cheer Team. I quickly realized that the Cheer Team is actively doing community service on a regular basis. A very recent event that they helped at, was the dance competition that took place on the weekend of January 8th. Besides big one-time events, they also help with weekly sporting events, the best example being this season’s basketball games. Ms. Vilardo expresses her admiration for the girls in how each of them volunteer for events; every one of them putting in their time and work to make a difference. All together the Cheer Team is made up of eighteen girls. The two seniors on the team are Abby Austin and Faith Hill. The team’s other coach is Ms. Gallaher, a Special Ed. Teacher at the high school. These girls set a great example for their team on and off the field, representing our school well.  

Group Counseling by Brooklyn Jones (1/13/22)

Come check out Charleston High School’s brand-new counseling group. The meetings are held two Wednesdays every month this semester during tutorial (January 12th and 19th, February 2nd and 16th, March 2nd and 30th, April 20th, and May 4th) and are held in Conference Room 1, across from the main office. The goal of the counseling group is to help students with their mental health and to “raise awareness about mental health needs and promote good mental health practices for all students.” Any student can attend these meetings and no registration is needed prior to the meetings. Mrs. Katie Barr, the organizer for the counseling groups, has said that “small groups provide an opportunity for students to improve their self-awareness, learn from others, feel supported and know that they are not alone.” 

Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial

MLK Jr. by Logan B. Webster (1/13/22)

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist leader in the American Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Mr. King was many things: a father, a husband, a speaker of God, a leader, and just a great man. King participated in and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other civil rights. In 1955, King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was a social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. This all started with a woman named Rosa Parks. After this, King became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. As the President, he led and organized the Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia which was unfortunately unsuccessful. However, he also helped organize some of the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. One of his most famous events was the 1963 March on Washington. This is where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In all, King was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least 4 times during his campaigns.  

Towards King’s last years alive he was awarded five honorary degrees, was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, and became not only the symbolic leader of black Americans, but also a widely recognized world leader. At the age of thirty-five, he became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize for his exceptional leadership skills in the principles of peace, nonviolence, and direct action. However, when receiving his award he said, "this Nobel Prize was won by a movement of great people, whose discipline, wise restraint, and majestic courage has led them down a nonviolent course in seeking to establish a reign of justice and a rule of love across this nation of ours…”. He also donated all the prize money which was a lump sum of $54,123 to further help with the civil rights movement.  

J&B Class Photo

Meet the Journalism and Broadcasting Class by Aftyn Oliver (1/13/22)

The Journalism and Broadcasting class has begun its second semester ever. Every first period of the school day, we students gather in the Production Lab (previously Lab 3 of the Media Center) to decide what we can share with the community about Charleston High School. This course enveloped the work of the school’s newspaper named CHS Press, headed by Mrs. Kristin Runyon previously. Last spring, she was in need of participation, since it was a difficult time for clubs during the early pandemic, as well as the fact that writing for the newspaper was “independent work”. She also mentioned the connection to the schoolwide push to have more career-oriented and production classes. Our new Journalism and Broadcasting class “give students experiences with real life skills, [such as] doing research, writing, and getting comfortable with interviewing.” Also, broadcasting was added into the curriculum with the help of Mr. Derrick Zerrusen, the new Athletic Director. This involves shooting and editing videos for creative or promotional purposes, as well as live streaming select sports events on the CHS YouTube channel.

Under the direction of Mrs. Runyon, we are laying a foundation for years to come and responsible for setting standards and expectations for the class. At the beginning of the schoolyear, about 15 students were enrolled, ranging from freshman to seniors. Currently, seven students head the writing portion of the work, as well as publishing their pieces using Thrillshare, a communication platform used across the Charleston School District. Yoana Yordanova, Logan Webster, Lyla Long, Brooklyn Jones, Ambrie Zanton, and I each write an article a week, posted on either of the official publication days, Tuesday and Thursday. Beforehand though, the article must be edited at least once. One person a month is in charge of producing our Senior Spotlight series; currently, Lilly Long is doing so for January. Additionally, Adrianna Gonzales, Casey Bence, Kaylee Fellers, Mitch Cox, and Willow Koontz manage video production. Mr. Lock has been generous to them in this first year, aiding financial support for whatever the broadcasting crew needs to be successful and productive.

Mitch, who primarily works on editing video content, contributed this about the process: “The videography and editing teams consult on what they need to cover in the next month. After deciding, the videographers go and get footage, which they then bring back to the editors. One editor focuses on the visual side, then sends it to me so I can finish with touching up the sound.”

To our audience, CHS Press asks for your input: What do you want to read more about? What do you want advertised? Is there anything we can help bring to light? Please email your ideas to us at

Photograph of English teacher Mrs. Kerri Taylor

Teacher Spotlight: Kerri Taylor by Brooklyn Jones (1/11/22)

Meet Mrs. Kerri Taylor, one of CHS’ many English teachers. Mrs. Taylor has had the privilege of teaching English 2 and Honors English 3. She says that this is her 18th year teaching at CHS! Before she taught at CHS, Mrs. Taylor had graduated from Arcola High School and EIU. While attending AHS, she participated in cheer, and was a first chair flute player for four years, as well as participating in National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and AFS. While attending EIU, she had gotten her B.A. in English, as well as a M.S. in education. Mrs. Taylor has said that if she wasn’t teaching English, she would work in marketing, or would be writing for a magazine. When asked what her favorite part of her job is, she replied, “My favorite part is interacting with students and helping them understand different concepts.” When Mrs. Taylor is not teaching at CHS, she enjoys watching It’s A Wonderful Life with her dog and eating shrimp tacos. 

Photograph of FCS teacher Mrs. Abigail Thomas

Meet: Mrs. Thomas by Yoana Yordanova (1/11/22)

Mrs. Thomas is the new Family and Consumer Science teacher at Charleston High School! She has a degree in career and technical education with a focus on family and consumer science from EIU. Mrs. Thomas recently started on January 3rd and says that the teachers have been so helpful as she’s been getting used to everything. “Working with my former teachers from high school has been so much fun as well,” she adds. She has enjoyed learning students’ names and getting to know everyone her first week. In her free time, Mrs. Thomas likes to play board games and cook. Her favorite board game is Catan. 

Photograph of store fronts on the Charleston Square

Internship Opportunities by Logan B. Webster 12/16/21

Current workplaces for Internship and Co-op Students include: Carl Sandburg, Jefferson Elementary, CMS, CHS Coffee Shop, Albin’s Animal Hospital, EIASE, Coles County Health Dept., Rock Paper Scissors Salon & Spa, Standing Stone, Plush Boutique, The Libman Co., Pilson Auto Center, County Market, Myerscough Automotive, KFC, Sweeney Farms, Coffey Family Farms, Walmart, Lake Land College, Coffey Farms, Charleston Family Dental, SBLHC

Sign outside choir classroom

CHS Music Classroom Renovations by Lynsay Kibler (12/16/21)

Click here to watch a tour of the newly renovated classrooms

Over the past few months, CHS band and choir students have been waiting with excitement to see the finished music room renovations. Students moved back into the completed rooms earlier this month and are very pleased with the results. While the classrooms were under construction, choir classes took place in the auditorium and the band students attended class in the wrestling gym. One choir student named Abby said, “We are very grateful. It is easier to sing and to see the teacher. It's nice to be back in the choir room.” The band room, choir room, offices, and closets all received complete renovations. This includes new flooring, trim, ceiling paneling, lighting, and a new paint job. The music rooms specifically received new music stands and chairs, sound proofing panels, instrument cabinets, and whiteboards. The choir room received a large mirror, a new desk for the director, and a corkboard. A choir student Leah said, “Before the room was renovated, it wasn’t great or a super pleasant place to sing in. Now we have good place to sing and it feels great that people care enough to put time and money into our music program.” 

 On December 8th, the band and choir held a combined winter concert. This was the first concert for both groups since being in their new rooms. Charleston High School band and choir alumni were invited to perform a song, “White Christmas” with the current band and choir students. The alumni and audience who attended the concert were invited to tour the newly renovated music rooms to see what changes have been made. When asked the question; How has the band room renovation affected the group's performance? A student Megan responded, “Since moving into the band room, it's easier to hear what we sound like because of the soundproofing. It is nice to have our own designated space that feels like it belongs to us. It is really motivating and empowering.” 


Charleston IL, Charleston Square business paintings

Workplace Experience Program by Logan B. Webster 12/16/21

Interviewing Mrs. Niebrugge, I learned a lot about Workplace Experience Programs and why it is so important to have more businesses and students join the programs. The two main parts to the programs are the internships and cooperative education. In general, the programs have been around for over twenty years. For the internships, the main purpose is primarily to be a learning experience for the students. This part of the program has been around for a long-time, helping students learn valuable employability skills that will come in handy for them in the future. It teaches students better time management, planning, and being an all-around team player. As of right now, fourteen students are interning at different places. Internships can either be a semester or yearlong class depending on preference. It takes up two class periods per day, Monday through Friday. Both juniors and seniors can enroll in the program. Certain internships even allow you to get a salary as well, but it’s important to note that not all businesses will give payment. The other program you can join is called Cooperative Education, or Co-op. Co-op’s main purpose is to build work experience. As of right now, there are ten students in the co-op program. Co-op is a full year class that only seniors are permitted to take. This class meets consumer education requirements for graduation, which allows for a free class period. This class helps people better understand the career field they wish to go into and figure out whether or not they would like to pursue it in the future.

Current workplaces for Internship and Co-op Students include: Carl Sandburg, Jefferson Elementry, CMS, CHS Coffee Shop, Albin’s Animal Hospital, EIASE, Coles County Health Dept., Rock Paper Scissors Salon & Spa, Standing Stone, Plush Boutique, The Libman Co., Pilson Auto Center, County Market, Myerscough Automotive, KFC, Sweeney Farms, Coffey Family Farms, Walmart, Lake Land College, Coffey Farms, Charleston Family Dental, SBLHC

                As you can see there are many business opportunities for students however, there is still a need for more. It’s vital for students, especially seniors, to have a variety of opportunities when it comes to different businesses. Those that offer additional skills like automotive, manufacturing, technology, construction trades, medical, and electrical would be very great businesses to have be a part of the program. Most importantly, businesses that are open to anything whether that’s in hosting students, giving tours, serving on an advisory community, and providing information to students. All of those things would be helpful in insuring all the students have at least some experiences in internship or in the co-op program.

                Writing this article, I’ve learned a lot about the Workplace Experience Programs, and I can honestly say that I wish I had done either internship or co-op. Although I didn’t enroll into the programs, I can honestly say I wish I had, but this is what Mckenzie, a student doing an internship in the program said, “It’s a great program to test the career path that you want to go into and learn new opportunities”. If there is any student interested in learning more about a particular career field, please sign up to learn more. Mrs. Niebrugge says to you,” It’s a great opportunity for students to figure out what they want to do with their life”.

For any businesses that want to get in contact about the Workplace Experience Programs or any student wanting to get more information please contact:

Angie Niebrugge

CTE Specialist

Charleston High School

(217) 639-5100




Teacher Spotlight: Chelsie Doughty

Teacher Spotlight: Chelsie Doughty by Ambrie Zanton 12/16/21

Chelsie Doughty has been a teacher at Charleston High School for three years out of her twelve total years of teaching. She teaches Biology, Ecology, and AP Biology. While a student at Highland High School in Highland, Illinois, she was a part of the science club and swim team. After graduating high school, she attended Eastern Illinois University, where she received her Bachelor in Science in Biology with Teacher Certification, and a Master’s in Science in Curriculum and Instruction. Although she loves how much she learns from her students and building relationships with them and colleagues, Mrs. Doughty says that if she wasn’t teaching, she says that she’d be a zookeeper or zoo educator. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. Doughty loves spending time with her cats and dogs at home, as well as watching her favorite movie 10 Things I Hate About You and eating her favorite food, hazelnut and chocolate. 

Teacher Spotlight: Jerry Payne

Teacher Spotlight: Jerry Payne by Ambrie Zanton (12/14/21)

This is Jerry Payne’s fourth year as an American History, Advanced Placement U.S. History, and Current World Issues teacher here at Charleston High School. He has been teaching for nine years in total, with nearly half of those being at CHS. He was very active while attending Potosi High School in Potosi, Missouri as a student, playing football and running for all four years, and playing basketball as a freshman. After graduating from high school, he attended Eastern Illinois University, where he got a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, as well as received a teaching certificate. He loves working with students, but says that if he wasn’t a teacher, he would be a welder. He has no pets, but loves dogs; his favorite movie genre is action, and his favorite food is fish. 

CHS National Honor Society

Updates on the CHS National Honor Society by Aftyn Oliver (12/14/21)

Members of the National Honor Society at Charleston High School had another opportunity to do service at Lincoln Log Cabin earlier this month. On Saturday, December 4th, 2021, the Historic Site hosted a Christmas Open House, where NHS students spent the afternoon helping visitors make children’s crafts and Christmas tree ornaments. 

The Charleston Illinois Chapter of the National Honor Society has recently gone through an election process and produced a new executive committee, which includes Ashton Fifield, President; Emma Amaya, Vice President; Aftyn Oliver, Secretary; Lyla Long, Treasurer; and Keegan Madlem-Easterday, Historian. Chapter bylaws have since been updated and plans for remaining service and social activities are actively being discussed. Proposals for additional changes to the organization’s structure are in the works, including an advanced induction ceremony for new members. 

Under the new direction of Ms. Jennifer Peterson, the executive board is making efforts to gradually increase the involvement and camaraderie among National Honor Society members like Charleston High School has never seen before. They recently looked into one way to accomplish this: proposing to allow only active members to wear National Honor Society tassels at graduation. The intention was to encourage more engagement by providing this opportunity and special honor. Though this didn’t end up working out, other options are being explored, such as pins displaying the NHS emblem. 

Ashton Fifield, President, provided his content with this outcome, expressing that he doesn’t necessarily think a ton of rules are needed to increase participation. He said, “We need more encouragement and motivation. We need more activities overall than in years past to get people interested.”  

Ms. Peterson, a former member of the CHS National Honor Society herself, has also reflected on the lack of involvement in past years, and looks forward to a future of improvement as the new sponsor. 

Science Club Demo

2021 Science Club Demo Night by Yoana Yordanova (12/14/21)

Click here to see a demonstration of igniting methane bubbles

On December 9th, 2021, Science Club held their annual Science Club Demo Night. The Science Club sponsor, Mrs. Hernandez, led the students in the experiments. The officers are Madam President Yoana Yordanova, Vice President Kiley Vanderport, Treasurer Lucas Edgar, and Secretary Jacasta Bower. Everyone was happy to be there, and celebrated the night with pizza, breadsticks, and soda. There aren’t exact names for the experiments carried out, but the majority of them were done with liquid nitrogen: a watery liquid that can cause instant frostbite if you make skin contact with it for more than a few seconds. One experiment that demonstrated the abilities of liquid nitrogen involved placing a rose in a jar full of liquid nitrogen for several minutes. The rose petals would be frozen once this time had passed and several students smashed the roses onto the countertop, petals flying like glass shards. Another experiment was done with a rubber ball that was submerged into a container of liquid nitrogen. It was then thrown at the wall and again, because it was frozen by the liquid nitrogen, the ball shattered like glass. A classic science club experiment was also done: the Whoosh Jug. It involved a big empty jug of water filled with a bit of isopropyl alcohol. After this was set up, Mrs. Hernandez had the lights dimmed and the science club members sat in suspense. She flicked a lighter alive, then with one motion, the fire spread into the jug making a big “whoosh” as the flame grew then shrank in just a couple seconds. Another favorite of students, done towards the end of the demo night, was scooping up methane bubbles into their hands that when lighted would burst into a little flame in their palms: no third-degree burns involved. It was great to have a science club demo night after a year of COVID where social distancing limited experiments. Science Club is looking forward to future projects and experiments. If you are a CHS student and intrigued, join Science Club in Mrs. Hernandez’s room every other Thursday! 


CCAR Fence Design by Brooklyn Jones (12/10/21)

Charleston’s CCAR Industries building, across from CHS, is building a new garden fence for their mini-pollinator habitat (butterfly garden) and has asked the CHS Art Club students to come up with a new mural for the fence. Science Club members at CHS also did their part in helping with CCAR’s other garden, the larger habitat, located on the south side of the building. They came after school back in December 2019 and helped mix and distribute seeds to then plant into the ground in the habitat. The Art Club students had voted on their top five favorite designs and had submitted them to CCAR for their final decision. Director of Development, Chastity Parker, said, “Students came up with some wonderful design possibilities and it was an incredibly tough choice.”, however, Lily Porter’s butterfly and flower design won over CCAR members who thought this would be a great addition to their nature habitat, but also serve as beautiful scenery for people passing by. This is a great experience for art students to show off their creative artistic skills. People can expect the mural to be painted after Winter break/in spring 2022. 

Stipend recipients

Second to left: Ms. Vilardo; Center: Mrs. Cole

Two CHS Teachers Receive Stipends by Aftyn Oliver (12/10/21)

Ms. McKenzie Vilardo, Business, and Mrs. Tracy Cole, Special Education, were both presented their $100 SEE stipends from the local Gamma chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International on December 1st, 2021 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. According to their webpage, The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International “promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.” Ms. Vilardo and Mrs. Cole received an email from CHS Principal Lock regarding this opportunity. Possible candidates throughout the Charleston School District #1 had to write a one-page application, including what they would use their stipend money for if they were to be chosen. Ms. Vilardo plans to purchase more yoga balls for her classroom. She has several students with accommodations who benefit much from having preferential seating options, such as, yoga balls! Currently, she only has three, and they’re pricey, so Ms. Vilardo is grateful for this sudden allowance to get more. She has noticed that her yoga balls “have actually helped them [students] do their work better.” Mrs. Cole, who heads the Functional Program (CT), will happily utilize the stipend money to fill her classroom with “the basics(!)”, including silverware, a dish pan, strainer, crockpot, even a spatula. Since she is currently limited on resources, Mrs. Cole may also reimburse herself for supplies that she has bought up until now. This stipend will surely help build up Mrs. Cole’s life skills courses.

Both Ms. Vilardo and Mrs. Cole are invited to attend the local Gamma chapter brunch in the Spring. Congratulations to both!

Teacher photo

Teacher Spotlight: Nathan Hinote by Ambrie Zanton (12/8/21)

Nathan Hinote has been a teacher for five years, and has been teaching at Charleston High School for four. He teaches several different levels of English language arts, which include; English 1, English 2, and Honors English 2. While attending North Vermillion High School in Cayuga, Indiana, he founded and led a skateboarding club that funded, designed, and built a skate park for their town. After graduating high school, he attended college at Indiana State University and Eastern Illinois University. Mr. Hinote achieved both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Arts for English Literature, with an emphasis on creative writing. He says that he loves hearing students share their thoughts and answer questions with no easy answer. If he wasn’t teaching, Mr. Hinote says that he would be editing fiction, which he used to do for a living, or work as a carpenter, since his father is a contractor. 

Photo of students

Tips for Finals by Logan Webster (12/8/21)

Finals can be a hard time for everyone. Coming into high school as freshmen, it can be especially hard considering you’ve never been through it before. In my experience, I’ve found that getting too worked up about it does more harm than good. Now, this isn’t me telling you not to study, but to calm down and take a break every once in a while. The thing that keeps me going is knowing that when finals is all said and done, I get to go on break. I’ve interviewed one of my good friends, Yoana, about how she copes with finals, and since she is a senior, she has experience in these kinds of things.  

When preparing for finals, assigning days to study is crucial and usually it helps to get studying done on the weekends, so it doesn’t interfere with schoolwork. Along with that, make sure to take care of yourself more because you might be a little more stressed than normal. For those taking finals for the first time, Yoana says to you, “Don’t cram, start studying for all the tests in advance, and take it easy on yourself. You studied the best you can and that’s all you can do”. 

Click here to watch an ILMEA performance:

The Importance of District ILMEA for CHS Choir Students by Yoana Yordanova (12/8/21)

“It builds confidence and independence,” said Mrs. Sharp, when I asked her about the impact of the district ILMEA Festival on choir students. ILMEA stands for Illinois Music Education Association. Each year, this organization selects a handful of pieces that will be the basis for the later audition to qualify for the district ILMEA festival. Choir directors across Illinois, like Mrs. Sharp, provide their choir students with the pieces. Students will then have to be prepared on all the pieces, out of which a couple excerpts will be chosen for the audition, along with singing scales. Mrs. Sharp notes that the pieces selected are higher level music which some of the younger choir students are not familiar with. Out of class work is needed on the music, and CHS students would come in for lunch meetings with Mrs. Sharp to practice the songs. The leadup to the district ILMEA festival with all its preparations is so important, states Mrs. Sharp, and adds that she gets to know each singer better as well. She says that she is so grateful that her students can have the experience of going to the festival once again, after a year of COVID restrictions. Mrs. Sharp states that, “It was as close to normal as it could’ve been.” Even though there were limited audience sizes for the performance and auditions were virtual, the experience was nearly the same and she tried her best to make sure her students felt this way. Mrs. Sharp would like to add that she is so proud of her choir students. More students went to the district ILMEA festival than ever before, and though audition numbers went down across Illinois, CHS’s went up. ILMEA 2021 was most definitely a success. 

The students in ILMEA District Mixed Chorus were: 

Tom Bates, Olivia Bennett, Breonna Bower, Mia Carcasi, Aidan Caughran, Mitch Cox, Ethan Ennis, Mikey Fleming, Ella Garrett, Marissa Green, Dylan Hawk, Nicholas Hawk, Lyla Long, Lilly Long, Nautica Long, Meredith McGrath, Leah Mertz, Lucas Neal, Andrew Pearson, John Peterson, Matthew Skelley, Abby Smith, Maddie Step, Sadie Stowell, Elaina Sutula, Jackson Ulm, Annabel Wehrle, Josie Wehrle, Kiley Will, Tristan Williams, Yoana Yordanova 

The students in ILMEA Treble Choir (women’s chorus): 
Brennah Gerdes, Emily Kupcheck, Cicily Ronna, Arabella Wines 

Yearbook photo of Mrs. Peterson

Teacher Spotlight: Jennifer Peterson by Ambrie Zanton (12/3/21)

Jennifer Peterson has been teaching on and off for twenty-five years, and this is her eighth year at Charleston High School. She teaches, with the Competency Based Education (CBE) method, both regular and Honors Algebra and Geometry. A graduate of CHS herself, she was a part of the Speech Team, French Club, National Honor’s Society, and American Field Service (AFS) while she was attending high school. After graduating, she achieved a bachelor’s from Olivet Nazarene University, and a master’s from Eastern Illinois University; she got degrees in both elementary education and mathematics education. Her favorite part about her job is nurturing problem solving and analytic skills in her students to help them become successful adults, and jokingly states that if she wasn’t teaching, she’d be ruling the world. 

Group photo of CHS FFA members at National Convention

FFA National Convention by Elena Wetzel, FFA reporter (12/3/21)

Charleston FFA took two groups of members to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 94th National Convention and Expo. These members being Ellie Long, Brie Tomlinson, Kaylin Nolte, Nate Shrader, Clara Cox, Elena Wetzel, Bryant Parker, Trent Ferguson, Logan Beals, Collin Patterson, Jonah Houston, Landon Ames, and Ethan Ennis. We attended this past October 27-29 and the first group left Wednesday morning. They went to the event center, attended a session, did fun group activities, and attended a fish tour.  

The first group attended the first session of the expo. This was the opening ceremony where they heard from Courtenay DeHoff, a keynote speaker also known as the Fancy Lady Cowgirl. She talked about how to not settle and to be true with yourself. “Keep showing up” was what she said to FFA members. The second group attended the 4th general session, listening to Miriam Hoffman, the 2020-2021 Easter Region Vice President retiring address. She told us a story about how when you do things, you sometimes don’t think about what could happen with the choices you make.  

Both groups meet in Martinsville, IN to attend a tour of the Ozark fishery. Ozark has two main locations; one near Stoutland, Missouri, and the other in Martinsville, Indiana. Each tour lasted for about an hour with history and multiple stops. They have a variety of goldfish; these being red fantails, calico fantails, pond comets, shubunkins, and sarasa comets. They also have two kinds of koi, a standard fin, and a butterfly koi. They don’t just raise fish, they also raise red minnows, black fathead minnows, bullfrog tadpoles, trapdoor snails, and crayfish. The group stopped at their hatchery, spawning facilities, production, and shipping facilities. They explained their set ups and what they did to keep the fish heathy and ready to ship. They showed us how they package them and ship them to ensure the safest way for the fish to get to their new home.  

Each group had their own fun bonding experience. The first group attended a concert where they watched Brent Young. The second group attended a haunted house located in Indianapolis, IN and it was called Haunted Angelus House. They also went to the K1 speedway, where each person got their own kart and raced.  

Each year in the expo, there is a career fair. All members can come and ask questions and talk to colleges, as they are exposed to many different options of agricultural choices and future occupations. This allows members to sign up for more information on the colleges they are interested in. 

Official movie poster for Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghostbusters: Afterlife by Yoana Yordanova (12/3/21)

Another Ghostbusters movie has just been released! This movie is rated PG-13 and is 2 hours and 4 minutes long. It was released on November 19, 2021. Ghostbusters: Afterlife centers around a single mom and her two kids uncovering the legacy of their grandfather (a ghostbuster) as they move into his house. The starring actors are McKenna Grace as Phoebe, Finn Wolfhard as Trevor, Carrie Coon as Callie, Paul Rudd as Grooberson and Logan Kim as Podcast. The characters in this movie are genuine, funny, and relatable; especially because the majority of the characters are kids. The characters are what made this movie funny and enjoyable for me. Along with this, the plot and script were, of course, excellent as well. There wasn’t a dull moment in this movie, and I was always intrigued to see what would happen next. IMDb gave it a 7.8/10 rating and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 62%. I would personally give it a 9/10 because I really enjoyed this movie. A fellow classmate from CHS, Logan, said this about the movie: “I thought it was a really good way to add on to the legacy of Ghostbusters without destroying how the older generation remembers it.” I would recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy/sci-fi and who like quirky characters. I think if you like the TV show Stranger Things, you would also enjoy this. Go and see Ghostbusters: Afterlife in theaters today! 

2022 Class Officers

Class Reps by Finola Dahlke (12/1/21)

On Wednesday, November 17th, our 2022-23 class representatives were announced. I would first like to say congratulations to all the winners and great job to all the participants. A lot of work is put into just becoming a candidate. You must get seventy-five signatures from your grade level only, three teacher recommendations, and write a statement of interest, not to mention campaigning. Here are your 2022 class representatives - for the class of ‘22 there is Vice President Casey Fisher and President Molly Smith, class of ‘23 Vice President Emma Thomas and President Makenzie Pamperin, class of ‘24 Vice President Brennah Gerdes and President Keedran Parr, and finally, class of ‘25 Vice President Blaine Holman and President Elaina Sutula. Makenzie states, “The position of class officer includes responsibilities like voting, attending both general and executive meetings, and giving a voice to their specific grade level.” You can go to your class reps anytime you have a suggestion for your grade or even the school and they will voice it at the next executive student council meeting. One example of something that can be voiced was given by Keedran, who says, “One thing I would like to improve this year is making spirit weeks more fun so more people will participate and show more school spirit.” These new class representatives will shadow the current class reps learning the logistics of the position and preparing to officially become class presidents during the 2022-2023 school year. 

Creative Commons image of a lit Menorah

Hanukkah by Jaylinne York (12/1/21)

Hanukkah is the Jewish wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated for eight days with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried food. As stated by History: The Hanukkah Story | Reform Judaism, the Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication;” it has this name because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. This year Chanukah runs from November twenty-eighth until December sixth. 

 In the year 168 B.C.E., the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes sent his soldiers to Jerusalem. The Syrians desecrated the Temple, the holiest place for Jews at that time. Antiochus also abolished Judaism, outlawing the observance of Shabbat and the Festivals, as well as circumcision. Altars and idols were set up for the worship of Greek gods, and he offered Jews two options: conversion or death. 

On the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev in 168 B.C.E., the Temple was renamed for the Greek god Zeus. A Jewish resistance movement – led by a priestly family known as the Hasmoneans, or Maccabees – developed against the cruelty of Antiochus. The head of the family was Mattathias, an elderly man.  His son, Judah, became the chief strategist and military leader of the resistance. Though outnumbered, Judah Maccabee and his fighters miraculously won two major battles, routing the Syrians decisively. 

Although historians debate the causes and outcomes of the war in which Judah Maccabee and his followers defeated the Syrian armies of Antiochus, there is no doubt that Hanukkah evokes stirring images of Jewish valor against overwhelming odds. Other themes of the holiday include the refusal to submit to the religious demands of an empire practicing idolatry, the struggle against total assimilation into Greek culture and loss of Jewish identity, and the fight for Jewish political autonomy and self-determination. Although modern celebrations of “Hanukkah” such as lighting the menorah was common throughout much of the nineteenth century, Jews in North America tended to neglect most of the other traditions and practices associated with the holiday. By the 1920’s, though, Jews began adding gift giving to their celebrations for Hanukkah.

Mrs. Drone, English teacher

Teacher Spotlight: Rebekah Drone (12/1/21)

Rebekah Drone, an English teacher for 6 years, not only teaches at Charleston High School, but graduated from it, too. While she was attending, she was on the Trojets Dance Team, Art Club, French Club, Interact Club, and National Honor Society. After graduating, she attended Illinois Wesleyan University, and later, EIU, receiving a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Literature and Secondary Education and a minor in Dance, as well as Master of Arts in English Literature, and is currently working on her Master of Educational Leadership with Principal Endorsement. She loves working alongside and collaborating with her husband. She says that if she wasn’t teaching at CHS, she would be a dance instructor or working at a book publishing company. 

Thanksgiving by Lilly Long (11/23/21)

Click to find out the favorite part of Thanksgiving Break for students and staff

Thanksgiving is a time reserved for family and friends to get together. It’s a day to spend time with people you care about, and to take time off to travel and see your loved ones. Around this holiday, people have started to wear puffy coats, snow starts to dust the ground, people wake up early to go hunting, and kitchens are warm and welcoming with yummy smells. Thanksgiving dinner usually consists of foods such as turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Breaking the wishbone is a common tradition held in most households: the person who breaks off the bigger piece of bone is granted luck for the year. Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year and is celebrated in the United States and Canada. On Thanksgiving morning, families will often watch the Macy’s Day Parade, and then after dinner, they typically flip to a football game. After dinner, some families like to relax by playing music, board games, or cards. With COVID last year, many families did not get to travel or meet up with their loved ones. With less restrictions this year, many are excited to continue their traditions and gather together again.  

The Importance of Poetry Yoana Yordanova (11/23/21)

“Poetry, at the root, is about expressing emotions which is crucial to connection and community.” This is what Mrs. Drone, an English teacher at Charleston High School, said when I asked her why poetry is important. She noted how much of the writing done in high school is informative and reflective while poetry focuses on emotion and the beauty of words. Through poetry, you can express how you feel and your thoughts in what could be only a few lines. Some of the most famous poets are Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, E.E. Cummings, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath and many, many more. You can even read the beautiful poetry of living poets like Ocean Vuong, Ada Limon, and Rupi Kaur. Mrs. Drone stated that her favorite poet would have to be Maya Angelou, and that her poetry books Still I Rise and Why the Caged Bird Sings are amazing. Mrs. Drone teaches D.C. Composition and Literature, and her students are currently working on the Living Poets Project. She notes that she recognizes students are not as comfortable or familiar with poetry and wishes to introduce them to it. The project asks you to choose a living poet to research and analyze two of their poems. By doing it on living, modern poets, Mrs. Drone says it can be much more relevant to students. I know I have a newfound interest in poetry after reading Rupi Kaur’s poetry and exploring different poets’ work. In fact, for students like me, who like to read but cannot stand a long novel, poetry is perfect. Overall, poetry is such an important part of the written word as it captures emotions and tells stories in a simply short yet intricate way. Next time you go to the library, a bookshop, or are scrolling online, perhaps a piece of poetry  


Ungar, Marie A. “Top Five Contemporary Poets Right Now.” The Harvard Crimson, 2019 April 23, Top Five Contemporary Poets Right Now | Arts | The Harvard Crimson (  

Elinzano, Mo. “The 34 Greatest Poets of All Time.” Deseret News, 2015 March 20, The 34 greatest poets of all time - Deseret News.  

CHS Production and Technology students carrying the floor to install a shed

All about Mrs. Schaefer’s She-Shed by Yoana Yordanova (11/19/21)

Click here to watch the installation video (video by Casey Bence using photographs by Bryant Parker)

Mrs. Kimmy Schaefer is now the owner of a She-Shed. She was in need of space at her house and a place to put her belongings and supplies. Luckily, the Production Technology and Instruction Trades class led by Mr. Williams stepped in to build a special shed for her. Mason Reeley, a student in the class, shared why they started this project, “We started this project because Mrs. Schaefer reached out to us upon hearing that we are building sheds all year, after that we sat down with her and decided what a good fit would be for the shed.” Mrs. Schaefer says she was impressed with Mr. Williams’s leadership and noticed how much the students respect and listen to him. One of the students that work in this class, Kolton Fritz, told us why he wanted to take part, saying, “Because I wanted to learn and because it’s an important skill.” Schaefer’s favorite part of the project was just seeing the kids working together, communicating, and enjoying the work. Mrs. Schaefer stated, “It’s good to have a team working together.” She noted that the program is so beneficial for students who have talent and are working with their hands in a construction environment. Mrs. Schaefer also stated her gratitude for the class coming back after 7th hour to continue working on the shed. Overall, she looks forward to hanging out in her She-Shed and storing anything she needs to there. 

National Substitute Educator's Day by Lynsay Kibler (11/18/21)

The third Friday of November is National Substitute Educators' Day. This falls on the last day of American Education Week and recognizes substitute teachers. Substitute teachers have always been important, but they have been incredibly vital to our education these past few years. Every day, it seems like we have at least one substitute teacher in our classes throughout the day. Due to teachers having to attend meetings, getting quarantined, getting called to jury duty, doctors' appointments, or having to stay home with their kids, teachers are often not able to come to class and substitute teachers must step in. Next time you see your favorite substitute teacher, make sure to let them know they are appreciated. 


Transgender Day of Remembrance  by Finola Dahlke (11/18/21)

Transgender Day of Remembrance is celebrated every year on November 20th to honor those who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence. A candlelight vigil was started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman murdered the year before, and has continued to be done as a way of bringing light to the murders of trans or non-gender conforming people and the violence they face every day. This year we will be honoring 45 lives lost in just 2021 alone. This is the highest recorded number of transgender people killed in one year, not including the many murders that go unreported. You can show your respect by attending and/or organizing a vigil, or even just educating yourself on the violence affecting trans and other LGBTQ+ members in their daily lives.  

Stock image from Creative Commons of a movie set action board

Movie Reviews of Eternals by Yoana Yordanova (11/18/21)

Marvel Studios has just released a new movie, Eternals.” On November 5th, it became available in theaters and on the 10th, I went to see for myself how the movie was. The plot centers around a group of immortal beings who protect the Earth and its civilizations throughout history. It stars Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumal Ninjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh and Don Lee. Overall, I was intrigued by the story of the Eternals and how it coincided with well-known historical events. I also thought that the acting was good, and the characters were complex, funny, and powerful. The combat scenes had me on the edge of my seat, and the costumes were beautiful. A downside for me was the movie length which was three hours with the advertisements. Along with this, the movie was a tad slow and anticlimactic. The writing could have also been better at parts. However, besides all this, it was a well-made movie that I enjoyed. I would give it a 7/10. I recommend the movie to those who like the fantasy genre and enjoy history, don’t mind a longer movie, and of course, to Marvel fans! Besides my review, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 46% and IMDb gave it a 6.5/10. “Eternals” was not the best movie from Marvel, but a good one! Go and see it at AMC Theatres in Mattoon! 


“Eternals.” IMDb,,  

“Eternals.” Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango,