STUDENT & PARENT INFORMATION
CHS PRESS FALL 2023
CHS Football 2023 Recap
By: Morgan Dickey
The CHS Football team at the end of their 2023 season
Charleston football came out with a bang this season surprising the community with how they were playing. Coach Brian Halsey had so much support from the community and student body that gave the push to work for it this season. “They support has been amazing and has helped us tremendously throughout this season” Halsey said. “Thank you for supporting us and rallying around us and being there for the kids.”
“If somebody came to me last January and said you’re going to go 8-3 and make it to the second round of playoffs, I would have taken it in a heartbeat” and that’s exactly what they did.
To Halsey he is more than a coach to these boys, but more of a role model. “I believe I have made friends for life with these kids.” This team achieved something that hasn’t been done since 2012 and has made this year one to remember.
2023 Football Awards:
Aidan Archibald- 1st Place Defensive Line, Academic All-State, Class 4a All-State
Brett Spour- 2nd Team Linebacker, 1st Team Running Back, All-Academic Team, Scholastic Award, Offensive Player of the Year
Marcellx Boling- Unanimous Offensive Line, Linemen of the Year
Matthew Misner- 2nd Team Offensive Line
Damien Chastain- Service Award
Captain’s Award- Langdon King, Marcellx Boling, Luke Nelson, Brett Spour, Aidan Archibald
Max Weber- Special Teams Player of the Year
Honoring Coles County's Fallen: Buford Mannin
By: Gunner Barr
Buford Mannin, Class of 1940; photo courtesy of CHS yearbook
Throughout the hallways of Charleston High School, various trophies and plaques are on display. One plaque that we pass by on a regular basis, but may not realize the significance of, is the memorial plaque to Charleston High School alumni who died during World War II. This plaque is located on the south side of the Main Office of the high school. It was given to the Class of 1945 and dedicated by the Class of 1946. There are 21 names of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedom.
Buford Mannin graduated with the Charleston High School Class of 1940. He was the son of Daniel Boone and Ann Pieratt Mannin, and had a sister Madeleine. Buford enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 9, 1942, and became an artillery soldier serving with the 10th Marine Artillery Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Mannin was killed in action on June 15, 1944, while landing on the Japanese-held island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
Mannin’s remains were returned to his family in 1949. Mattoon’s Journal Gazette on February 1 wrote “Charleston. Ill.- Funeral will be held at the Charleston Methodist Church at 2:30 o’clock Sunday afternoon for marine Pfc (Private first class) Buford Mannin… Young Mannin was killed June 15,1944, on Saipan at the age of 22. The body was returned home today to the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Boone Mannin, four miles south of Charleston.”
Buford also had an article written about him by The Decatur Hearld on February 1, 1949. “Pfc (Private first class) Mannin, a member of the 10th marines 2nd division was killed on Saipan on June 15, 1944, and was interned in a military cemetery there, He was born near Hindsboro, July 20, 1922. He attended Villa Grove high school and Charleston high school before entering the service October 9,1942… Burial will be in Roselawn cemetery with military rites in charge of the V.F.W and American legion."
Buford Mannin's headstone at Roselawn Cemetary in Charleston, IL; photo courtesy of Gunner Barr
We salute the service and sacrifice of PFC Buford Mannin, as well as the other Charleston High School alumni whose names are listed on the memorial plaque. May we never forget and always honor them.
Research was found at the Charleston Public Library's Local History and Genealogy Room.
The Buried and the Bound Review
By: Eris Miller
"The Buried and the Bound" book cover
Do you like fantasy and adventure? If so, The Buried and the Bound is the book for you, filled with an interesting plot containing an amazing mystery that makes you want to keep reading.
This book is very inclusive, containing LGBTQ+ characters and characters of different races. The author Rochelle Hassan put in a lot of effort with these characters to make sure that they had a lot of personality and detail in them.
The Buried and the Bound also features many plot twists and unexpected lovers that make you want to read more of the book. It’s hard to find a stopping point when reading the because of how interesting it is.
I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys The Song of Achilles, as they are both queer fantasy stories. Rochelle Hassan put so much effort into this story to make it interesting and fun to read, resulting in it becoming one of my favorite fantasy stories.
Native American Heritage Month
By: Octavia Mull
Native American Heritage Month graphic
November is known as Native American Heritage Month. This month is about celebrating the tradition, languages and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and affiliated island communities, as well as their culture and heritage.
President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution in 1990 designating November as National American Heritage Month to recognize Native Americans for both their original inhabitation of our country and for their essential contributions, specifically farming and harvesting.
Misconceptions and ignorance surrounding Native Americans and their culture can also lead to the perpetuation of misinformed celebrations, especially surrounding the month and Thanksgiving holiday. This month is an opportunity to educate and grow our understanding of Native American culture, traditions, and how historical traumas like colonization and genocide have impacted their people throughout history.
Sacagawea is one of the most famous Native Americans. Sacagawea spoke both Shoshone and Hidatsa as she grew up with Shoshone people near what is known today as the Montana/Idaho border when she was twelve. From there, she was captured by the Hidatsa people and lived in a Hidatsa village called Awatixa. Sacagawea also married at the age of sixteen to Toussaint Charbonneau, someone thirty years older than her who was already married and had a son.
Remembering Coles County's Fallen: William Henry Drake
By: Gunner Barr
William Henry Drake, Class of 1942; Courtesy of Charleston High School Yearbook
Throughout the hallways of Charleston High School, various trophies and plaques are on display. One plaque that we pass by on a regular basis, but may not realize the significance of, is the memorial plaque to Charleston High Alumni who died during World War II. This plaque is located on the south side of the main office. It was given to the Class of 1945 and dedicated by the Class of 1946. There are 21 names of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedom.
William Henry Drake graduated with the Charleston High School Class of 1942. He was the son of John and Mamie McGahan Drake. William had three sisters (Edna, Mary and Martha) and three brothers (Gerald, Roy and Dale). William enlisted in the U.S Army on April 1st, 1943, and became a glider infantryman in Company B 193rd Glider infantry regiment of the 17th Airborne Division.
After much training, Drake and his comrades left Boston for England on August 20th, 1944. They arrived in England on August 28, 1944. Upon their arrival, they continued training and were held in strategic reserve until the Germans launched the Ardennes offensive (also known as the Battle of the Bulge) on December 16th, 1944.
Drake and the men of the 193rd were flown to France on December 23-25th and then were taken hastily by truck to Belgium. In January 1945, Drake saw combat for the first time around the Belgian town of Flamierge. He was killed in action on January 8, 1945, On January 31, 1945, the Journal Gazette from Matton wrote an article with the headline “Pvt. William H. Drake of Charleston killed”
On February 1, 1945, The Decatur Daily Review wrote, “Mr. and Mrs. John Drake, Charleston, received a message from the War department Tuesday informing them that their son, Pvt. William H. Drake, 20, was killed in action in Belgium and that a letter with details would follow. Private Drake was born in Charleston July 7, 1924, and attended Charleston schools.”
William Drake’s remains were returned at Mound Cemetery in Charleston in 1949. His father, John Drake, purchased William’s headstone.
William Henry Drake’s headstone at Mound Cemetery in Charleston, IL; Photo courtesy of Gunner Barr
We salute the sacrifice of all Charleston High school alumni, Pvt. William Henry Drake, as well as the other heroes whose names are listed on the memorial plaque. May we never forget.
Research was found at the Charleston Public Library in the Genealogy Room and Local History Room, as well as the link below:
Jamila's Year Abroad in France
By: MJ Lehwald
Jamila at the base of the Eiffel Tower
Many people question a year abroad. Do I want to do it? Where can I go? Do I feel ready to do something like that? Will I make friends? Will I understand the language? There are so many questions, but maybe Jamila can help answer them.
Jamila Amartey is a 17-year-old high school student here at CHS and was in France during the 2022/23 school year.
The most important question regarding her time in France is, "how did you ever come to spend a year abroad?"
It has been a dream of Jamila's to go abroad ever since she was a small child. Once the opportunity had arisen in her sophomore year, after hearing a lecture on it in her French course, she didn't have to think much longer and was invited directly by Rotary, an international organization that helps exchange students, for an interview.
The topic of host families is sometimes a concern within the student exchange program. Jamila says it was uncomfortable in the beginning because you didn't know how to talk about things. However, as she grew as a personality and became more intrigued in the family, she became more comfortable. She also reported that it was exciting for her to know that she will lead a different life than in America in the coming months.
The school system also posed a challenge. Jamila says there were many differences. She says that her school in France was very strict and disciplined, having no time for games or anything else.
Living abroad usually comes with a new language as well. Jamila reports that there were many moments when she just sat there and just smiled, because she didn't know what the conversation was about. She also said there were a lot of strange conversations during her time in France, but she never stressed herself when it came to the language.
For Jamila, French culture took some getting used to. She says there is a drastic difference between American food and French food, and, regarding the locals, that the people are really neutral and don't have such extraordinary thoughts as the people in America.
When asked how Jamila has changed this year, she revealed that she has definitely grown as a person and that for the most part because she has lived independently.
When it comes to her future, Jamila has plans to study in France or to study something international here in America. Because, as she says, this year in France has opened her eyes and shown her just how great her potential is.
Charleston Tree Planting Project
By: Jackson Simmons
Have you noticed the saplings around CUSD #1 campuses? If you have, you should know why. These are the beginnings of the Charleston Tree Planting Project to help benefit Charleston schools by providing them with the new addition of gorgeous trees.
Angie Niebrugge is the CTE specialist at CHS. She often applies for grants that she believes will benefit the school. When she saw the grant from the Lumpkin Family Foundation based right in our neighboring town of Matoon she jumped at the opportunity.
Mrs. Niebrugge applied for the following two grants: Land, Health, Community, which granted the school $5,000 to put toward stocking the greenhouse and the Nature Based Climate Action, a two-year grant, that granted the school $40,000 to put towards buying all the various trees.
However, applying for the grant was only the first part, because the science team at CHS must next do some research. Their goal was to find trees that would best fit CUSD #1 campuses. Chelcie Doughty, who teaches Biology, AP Biology, and Ecology/Environmental Science at CHS, was glad to report that the following tress were the species that were selected to be planted among the campuses:
Linden Green Spire
Finally, it was time to plant the saplings and Emmalyn Walk’s horticulture class was up to the challenge. Mrs. Walk is the Horticulture and Intro to Agriculture teacher here at CHS. The students in Mrs. Walk’s horticulture class had to study up on the trees before planting because this is a very delicate process.
The students were asked, “What did you learn?”, Olivia Suhuette (Senior) said, "It's a very long process,”, Mason Redfern (Junior) said, “The roots are very important,”, and Ben Coffey (Junior) said, “The tree has to be level,”. Everyone is beyond excited about this amazing project, and I can safely say that these trees will indeed benefit CUSD #1 and its campuses now and in the future!
More information about the grants can be found here.
No Shave November 2023
By: Mackenzie Forth
No Shave November 2023 participants
This year CHS is doing a fundraiser called “No Shave November” to raise money for Mrs. Jenni Bales, who was diagnosed with a type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma just before school started.
Mrs. Bales currently teaches Spanish 1 and 2, Academic Literacy started at CHS in 2002. All the money collected from this fundraiser will go to medical bills and other things that she needs like groceries and rides to appointments.
The people participating this month are Mr. Deadmond, Mr. Lock, Mr. Cohoon, Mr. McInerney, Mr. Hanner, Mr. Shamhart, Mr. Gunther, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Oakley, Mr. Hinote, Mr. Concepion, and Mr. Cox. If you would like to donate, jars will be scattered throughout the building, you could contact the people participating, or you can bring your donation to the office. The staff member who collects the least amount of money will have to wear their November growth for a day in whatever style Mrs. Bales comes up with!
There was another fundraiser on November 13 and 14 for World Kindness Day set up in the lunchroom by the Interact Club. Students who donated to this fundraiser were able to choose between a ‘kindness’ button, a fake mustache, candy, or a baked good.
Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Hanner oversee No Shave November this year, and the fundraiser is inspired by Mustache March, which Mr. Hanner has overseen for the last couple of years.
When asked how Mrs. Bales is doing, Mrs. Hughes said that “She is doing great, the treatments are working, and she plans to return to school in January!”
She misses all CHS students and staff very much and is extremely grateful for all the love and support she has received from her Charleston family and the people who have donated to the No Shave November and World Kindness Day fundraisers.
What is STEM?
By: Wynter Huckaba
STEM digging to plant trees
National STEM Day, November 8, 2023, recognizes the effort of the students and staff who make dreams come true. You have likely heard of the term STEM, but what does it stand for? This organization combines science, technology, engineering, and math. These four fields come together to form a successful industry that allows dreams to come true. STEM is not just a regular subject; it is a way of thinking and doing. It is an educational program to prepare primary and secondary students for college, graduate study and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM education program prepares students for challenges and experience for transformative power and developmental strengths in technology.
STEM was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Many young adults are more involved with current world issues, technology and our communities. A leader in STEM, Helen Lyons (New York, NY) has figured out a way to harness wave power using electromagnetism technology to hopefully slow the natural disaster devastation caused by global warming. Helen and other girls in STEM have proven that even with STEM being predominantly male, women still have the same opportunities and skill sets. “Being a young woman in STEM, I often feel the need to set a role to those even younger than me, to show them that even in a male-dominated field we have the capability to make a huge impact,” said Meghna Behari.
Students of STEM all over the United States have demonstrated higher mathematical literacy than students in only five out of thirty-four OECD countries. The average mathematics score ranked 11th among the 46 participating education systems. STEM has received millions of dollars’ worth of grants to create world breaking opportunities.
Why is STEM important? Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the United States economy. STEM is a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future. Education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators.
At Charleston High School we offer advanced science classes such as, AP physics, AP chemistry, AP biology, ecology and astronomy. If you are interested in Agriculture and Mechanics, we offer Small Engines, Welding, Geometry in Construction, Horticulture, and Construction Trades courses. If any of these classes catch your interest, make sure to sign up in January 2024!
Scare on the Square
By: Eris Miller
Scare on the Square promo
Scare on the square was an enormous event. With several stands from many different businesses. Most of the stands were decorated for Halloween, some more decorated than others but all looking amazing.
This year's event was very popular with the streets being full of people even before the event officially started. The event was held on October 27, 2023, from 5:30 P.M.-7:30 P.M. Scare on the Square is one of the most popular events on the square with hundreds of people from not only Charleston, but also from even farther towns coming to visit and experience the event. Everyone was dressed up in fun costumes. Sadly, that night was cut off a little early for people because it had started to rain and eventually storm, but many people still enjoyed the event before and even after.
There were several stands passing out candy and informational papers that consisted of drug awareness, medical care, promotion, and more. There were candy stands, food trucks, and even fun activities for the younger audience. One of the main events was the Canine Costume Contest with many adorable dogs dressed up with their families. Many shops had stands set up to promote their products, such as the CHS Interact Club which had students dressed up and hanging out while promoting their club.
Thank you to Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce for making this year's event possible and thank you to all the stands passing out candy, promoting, and spreading information. Scare On the Square’s Facebook page has pictures from the event and has more information on all the stands at the event.
Oblong Spooktacular 2023
By: Ally Gonzalez
Rain or shine, CHS Marching Band is always here to give it their all! The Oblong Spooktacular 2023 event occurred on October 28. It is an all-day event consisting of a competition at midday and a parade at night, both of which are judged.
CHS marching band competed against several other high school marching bands in their last competition of the season. Their competition set was performed around 1:15p.m. and consisted of “Holiday” by Green Day and “Learn to Fly” by Foo Fighters. Their theme was Pop Rock related, and their Color Guard was dressed in Rocker clothing and Halloween inspired make up. After every band performed, a drumline showcase went on at 3:30p.m. This consisted of each high school’s percussion group performing a routine of cadences they created.
Then, awards were given out to the three different divisions the bands were split into. They placed 3rd in their division. The competition ended around 5:00p.m. Then, it was time for the parade at 7:00p.m. The band arrived at Oblong Park, ate dinner, and started getting ready for the parade. They stayed in their everyday clothing because of the possibility of their uniforms getting damaged from the rain, and they decorated their instruments and bodies with glow-in-the-dark glitter, spider webs, and string lights. They lined up alongside Mr. Wengerski with their buses trailing behind them in case it started pouring and they had to load up the buses. It went from sprinkling to full on raining as the parade went on, but that didn’t stop CHS. They walked through Oblong’s square, playing Holiday and multiple drum cadences until they passed the judging area, and then loaded up the buses as fast as they could in the pouring rain. Everyone was soaking wet and exhausted, classifying it as “type two fun,” meaning it felt miserable while it went on, but looking back at it, it was an enjoyable experience.
At the end of the parade, they had the option to go back to Oblong High School for the award ceremony or be notified of the awards they got and get a trophy mailed to them. CHS decided to be notified of the award so they could get home earlier. Once the buses got back to CHS, everyone found out that they had placed 1st in their division for the parade. This competition marked the end of the marching band season and what better way to go out than 3rd and 1st on a cold, rainy, “type two fun” day! The majority’s favorite part was marching in the parade.
“Marching the parade was definitely my favorite part because it just felt like no matter what, we were going to power through and we were determined to get the highest score we could, and we did,” Leo Lassak, a senior and section leader shared. “Marching band as a whole has really been the best thing about high school, it’s the reason why I became friends with and am still friends with a lot of people.” This also marked the last marching band season at CHS for all the seniors.
All the seniors made marching band such a wonderful experience for everyone, and they will be greatly missed. The CHS Marching Band is such a talented group of students, and it was a pleasure to watch them in Oblong. Now it’s time for pep band!
Fall Play: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
By: Andrew Pearson
"The Boy Who Cried Werewolf" Flyer
The CHS Theater Department is putting on The Boy Who Cried Wolf for the annual fall play. This delightful 30-minute experience will feature a wide variety of comedic relief, mystery, and WEREWOLVES!!! The story follows Chris and his friends as they investigate a weird phenomenon in their town as they crack down on their detective skills, all while still remembering to do their homework.
The students involved in this production have been working hard to put on the best show possible. Recently the Theater Tech department has joined the production to make this show work the best. Keep a look out for posters made by the Theater Tech students.
Aiden Caughran who plays Mrs. Hawthorne and Benny in the show says, “Working with the cast was extremely fun and to me is a reflection of the show! It’ll be silly, interesting, and a whole lot of weird. Come to the show without knowing what to expect.”
Another cast member, Elaina Sutula who plays Madison shares her experience with the show by saying, “Being in the production has been so silly and fun! I’m with some of my closest friends, and love collaborating with them. We’ve put in hard work on the weekends to make this happen, and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone for the work they’ve put in. We hope to have lots of people come to see it!”
Tickets are only available for purchase at the door, costing $4 for students and $6 for adults. Make sure to get there early to grab your seat for this wonderful show. Fun for all ages! The show will start at 7 p.m. and the doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
By: Alex Morgan
Esports is a collection of different online games and is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. in both high school and college, says Mr. Shamhart, an Esports coach and algebra teacher here at our school. It’s something that anyone can enjoy, but the people who enjoy it the most are the gamers around the world. Our gamers see something interesting in playing video games, whether it be playing to win or just to have a bit of fun here and there. Many students in our school are gamers, and some decided to play competitively in our Esports team.
The current Esports schedule is simple: there are practice days on Monday while the rest of the week consists of game days, while Friday is mainly used for looking over past games and fool-proofing your game plan. The school is allowed one week off per season, meaning no games will be played. You also have the option of coming in to practice the game(s) you play. While you aren’t limited to one game at a time, you are expected to show up to the game days for the game(s) you play. If you don’t show up to any games, you’ll be removed from that game because you showed a lack of interest in that game.
The games available to play now are League of Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, NBA2K, Madden2K, Splatoon 3, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Overwatch 2, and Pokémon Unite. Some of the games currently do not have any players for them, such as Hearthstone, both 2K games, and Overwatch 2. If you would like to play any of these games competitively, talk to Mr. Shamhart or Mr. Gunther about joining Esports today. Our coaches and players look forward to seeing you dominate the opposition!
CHS Football Goes to Playoffs for First Time Since 2012
By: Morgan Dickey
CHS's Football team's reaction to making playoffs
For the first time since 2012, the Charleston football team is going to the playoffs! The Trojans are seeded #7 and will host #10 Freeburg on Saturday. Coach Brian Halsey has led his team this season to be 7-2 in the regular season and 3-2 in the Apollo Conference.
Halsey said the reason for their success is that they genuinely like each other and want each other to get better.”
Senior captain Langdon King agreed saying, “Us hanging out more with the team meals, and team time have helped us get closer.”
Halsey believes their advantages on the field is their “speed, strength, and being physical.” He also said that “they are just smart on the field.”
Halsey has turned Charleston football around this year by pushing them harder with higher expectations. Another reason for their success is how the seniors have led the team to multiple victories.
“Seniors have been phenomenal since day one,” Halsey said. “The captains have taken the torch from the seniors and have done a great job. I don’t have to remind them of stuff, and they lead by example.”
Senior captain Brett Spour said, “Halsey has pushed us every day to get better and never lets up and that’s a big reason why we are here today.”
The first playoff game will be held at Trojan Field on October 28th and Gates open at 12: 30. Honer roll passes will not be accepted, and there will not be a pre-sale. Tickets will be available at the gate for $5.
By: Heighden Fairley
217 Terror Haunted House
Located in Roodhouse, IL, four haunted attractions wait for the price of one! Open every weekend in October, tickets will cost $25 for general admission, but for $30 you can get a Speed Pass. Purchasing tickets online will also save you $5 on general admission.
Terror on Washington Street
From October 5 to October 31, there is a family-friendly spooky house in Clinton, IL. This attraction will be open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are now available on site at the booth, costing $15 for general admission and $30 for a Rush Pass.
Necrosis Haunted House
Named Top Ten Haunted House (2021, 2022) by Haunted Illinois, as well as Top Overall Attractions in Illinois, this is a must visit! Located in Rantoul, IL, ticket prices range from $20 to $45. However, all tickets purchased on-site will be $5 more, plus additional fees.
Halls of Madness
Located in Paris, IL, this haunted house combines fun and fear into one chilling attraction. With games, concessions, and nights of entertainment, this is one of the best locally frightful attractions set entirely outdoors. The most popular ticket is the Combo Pass, which costs $20, but can be upgraded to a Fast Pass for $5 more.
Join American Hauntings for a chilling ghost hunt in Ashmore, IL! For $76, you can spend the night looking for the ghost of the old, and very haunted, former poor farm asylum. To read the history of the infamous haunted attraction, you can visit Night at Ashmore Estates for more details.
Six Flags Fright Fest
In Gurnee, IL, you can spend the night on exhilarating rides while also getting the spooky atmosphere. Taking the rides high above the ground will be the only place you are truly safe from the live actors that roam the grounds to haunt you. For ticket prices visit Six Flags Fright Fest.
Basement of the Dead Haunted House
This haunted house is located near Chicago, IL, in Auroura, IL, formerly being ranked #1 Haunted House by many different sponsors. Special events and prices can be found at Basement of the Dead. Do note that online ticket purchases will be cheaper than on-site.
Torment at Twelve Hundred in Orion
Rated Top 10 Haunted Attractions in Illinois, this is another must-see with the last night to attend being October 31. This attraction located in Orion, IL also celebrates its 20th anniversary this year! Ticket prices can be found at The Scare Factor.
Hayride of Horror
In Lockport, IL, you can experience a horrific ride every Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with ticket prices ranging from $15 to $25. For more information, visit Lockport Park’s website, which can be found here.
Disturbia Haunted House
In Downers Grove, IL, you can visit this thrilling haunted house! Every night has a different theme, which can be found at Haunted House Disturbia. Prices range from $20 to $35.
Massacre Haunted House
This is the #1 Haunted House in Illinois in 2023! Located in Mongomery, IL, the largest and scariest haunted house will be open until November 4. General admission is $30 to $35 depending on dates and times. For more information, visit Fear the Massacre.
National Medical Assistants Recognition Day
By: Mackenzie Forth
National Medical Assistants Recognition Day (Stock Photo)
National Medical Assistants Recognition Day, celebrated on October 18, is a day to appreciate the work that Medical Assistants do in the health care industry. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) created this day to pause and acknowledge how assistants around the world help people who are in need.
This day also falls in the middle of Medical Assistants Recognition week and is a time to share more information about the job for people to see if they could be interested in the medical field. Being a Medical Assistant is hard, as you are tasked with the responsibility of handling patients effectively and with careful attention as well as making sure they receive the highest quality care. Other duties include running diagnostic tests and taking X-rays or various brain scans, managing the admissions and discharge process, taking vitals, and educating patients on proper care procedures.
“Being a Medical Assistant is not an easy job and those who dedicate their whole lives to this profession must be respected and celebrated!” (AAMA).
Medical Assistants get confused with CNA’s often, but a CNA’s main priority is providing care to bedside patients and making sure they are comfortable. Ways to appreciate them and shout out their dedication are to give them a gift, write a positive review and simply say “thank you!”
Thank you for all that you do Medical Assistants!
My First 3 Months at CHS
By: MJ Lehwald
When I found out that I would be spending my year abroad in America, I was full of expectations. I have been to America but I have lived the typical tourist life rather than the life of a high school student. I had many thoughts and expectations about my year here in Charleston and at CHS. Of course, I knew I wasn't going to end up in a high school musical, but I knew that school wasn't going to be too stressful when it came to things like tests and homework.
I was really surprised how sports-oriented schools in America. I know that football is a very big topic for Americans and high school students, but, through my host sister and through my own experience, I’ve learned what it means to be a part of a team.
My experience in cross country was unique and yet incredible. I had already practiced something like that in Germany but had to give it up due to school conditions. To be honest, the morning training sessions in the early days were already hard for me, but it was still fun. With time also came new friends through cross country, which I didn't really expect. This week marks the End of cross county for me and I can confidently say I do not regret joining the team.
I will spend the Winter playing basketball, but I am a little nervous.
When it comes to team spirit and all that, I love the Student Section. My first football game was amazing and to be honest, I didn't know a single cheer to begin with, but over time I learned them all. Since my first football game, I've been captivated by the atmosphere that prevails during games. That's what I'll probably miss the most when I go back to Germany.
I am more than happy that I ended up here in Charleston and get to go to school here and have the privilege of being a Trojan. I am more than curious what this year will bring for me, but I am open to everything.
New Teacher: Mr. Sego
By: Izzy Keith
Mr. Sego is a freshman ELA teacher, and this is his first year of teaching at Charleston High School.
Some students may know him from his time student teaching last year as a Social Studies with Mr. Shubert while working towards his degree at EIU.
Primarily, when Sego was looking for a degree, he ended up with Business, which he quickly realized was a poor option for him, so he switched degrees to a History degree after a semester.
After recognizing that there were very few job opportunities for just a History degree, he decided to add a teaching licensure to have more chances of getting a job opening.
Mr. Sego decided to teach high schoolers because there are more subjects that he was interested in compared to elementary schoolers and middle schoolers which have a lower level of maturity than what he wants to work with.
His favorite class he’s taught is sociology and wants to eventually continue teaching that as well as psychology. He is currently teaching English Language Arts.
He says that so far, he’s been having a good time with the students and says that there will likely be a learning curve as he figures out the best ways to engage his students.
Remembering Coles County Fallen: Warren Dale Stitt
By: Gunner Barr
Warren D. Stitt, Senior year at CHS, 1943; Photo courtesy of the Charleston High School Yearbook
Throughout the hallways of Charleston High School, various trophies and plaques are on display. One plaque that we pass by on a regular basis, but may not realize the significance of, is the memorial plaque to Charleston High Alumni who died during World War II. This plaque is located on the south side of the Main Office of the high school. It was given to the Class of 1945 and dedicated by the Class of 1946. There are 21 names of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedom.
Warren Dale Stitt graduated with the Charleston High School Class of 1943. He entered the U.S Army shortly after graduation, serving with Company D, 382nd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. T.H Stitt and had two other brothers who also served in World War II.
During Warren Stitt’s time in the war, he participated in two invasions in the Pacific Theater. He fought at Leyte in the Philippines and Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands. First seeing combat on October 20th, 1944, when he landed on Leyte.
While fighting on Leyte, Stitt was wounded. A local war time newspaper article noted, “Mr. and Mrs. T.H Stitt, Charleston have been notified that their son, private first class (Pfc.) Warren Dale Stitt, was wounded on action on Leyte. Private Stitt received a shrapnel wound on his foot and has been removed to a rehabilitation center in that vicinity for treatment.” After recovering from his wounds in an Army hospital, Stitt rejoined his unit in February 1945.
On April 1st, 1945, Stitt landed on Okinawa and fought there for almost three months. While on Okinawa, Pfc. Stitt was involved in heavy fighting against the Japanese and capturing things of strategic importance to the Japanese.
While the campaign was coming to close and the last of Japanese defenders were flushed out from their caves and fortifications, Stitt was killed in action on June 21st, 1945. This was the last day of the Battle of Okinawa.
Warren D. Stitt’s final resting place at Mound Cemetery, Charleston, IL; Photo courtesy of Gunner Barr
Stitt’s remains returned to Charleston in 1949. The Herald and Review newspaper of Decatur wrote on March 29th, 1949, “The body of Pfc. Warren Dale Stitt, son of Mr. and Mrs. T.H Stitt, Charleston will arrive in Charleston at 1:15 a.m. Thursday and will be taken to the home of his parents… Burial will be in Mound cemetery near Charleston, with full military rites conducted by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.”
We salute the service and sacrifice of Charleston High School alumni, Pfc. Warren Dale Stitt, as well as the other heroes whose names are listed on the memorial plaque. May we never forget, and ever honor them.
Interview with Mr. Cox
By: Dalie Dunn
Zach Cox works at Charleston High School as a Biology teacher. Before he started at CHS he was a teacher at Bridges, the alternative school in Lerna. Bridges helps kids that have bad attendance and struggle a lot in school or just do not know how to behave in school catch up with other students who are more well-behaved.
Growing up, he lived in Paris, Illinois where he graduated high school. Mr. Cox then went to college at EIU in Charleston, Illinois to study exercise science because he wanted to go into physical therapy, but he went into teaching instead. He chose to teach high schoolers because they are more mature and have more respect. His first few weeks at this school were great because the students he teaches are respectful and listen well.
Mr. Cox is engaged to the CHS middle school teacher Miss. Clough, whom he proposed to over the summer, and they have a dog together.
New Coach, New Players, New Mindset
By: Morgan Dickey
Senior Ally Logsdon and Junior Audrey Jacobs posing next to Coach Keobele
The new Lady Trojans basketball coach Alex Koebele is preparing to turn Charleston basketball around. Koebele has made an effort to get more girls to join the team, and it’s working. Audrey Jacobs is a player who has decided to play this year because of Koebele.
“I think he’s going to push us hard and make us all around better athletes” says Jacobs.
Koebele’s plan for the girls this season is to play “physical” and “fast.” He wants a team that will compete, and, right now, he is getting that. Koebele also feels like his coaching style will push the girls while getting them to develop other skills outside of basketball and help them work as a team.
Koebele has high expectations for the girls this season but also wants every sport to succeed. His vision of this team goes beyond the sport of basketball and wants them to inspire the younger teams.
“I want them to be the leaders of this school, but also, I want them to be great daughters, wives, moms, and be productive in society,” said Koebele.
The girls are not the only ones who have to put the work in. Koebele wants the girls to learn that it’s important to show up, for both the sport but also for each other.
Open Gyms are 2 days a week through the month of October with no tryouts. The first official day of practice is October 30.
Back-to-Back Wins for CHS Football
By: Izzy Keith
Coles County Clash Informational Poster
Charleston destroyed Mattoon in the annual Coles County Clash for the second year in a row on Friday, September 29, in a 50-21 sweeping victory. From the start of the first quarter, Charleston was already in the lead by 8 points at 22-14, and it only became more drastic from there!
The Coles County Clash is an annual football competition between Mattoon High School and Charleston High School at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field.
This tradition started in 2012 when Mattoon joined the Appollo Conference, Eastern Illinois University's Enrollment Committee gave out a scholarship to one senior from each of the two participating schools, Mattoon and Charleston High Schools, during the halftime of their game.
This year the awarded senior was Sophia Combs. The requirement to be eligible was that the student had to have applied to EIU prior to the Coles County Clash football game.
In 2021 Joshua Norman, the Vice President for Enrollment Management stated, "The Coles County Clash always feels like a community celebration to me, with all the excitement and interest it generates." (EIU official website)
Speaking of excitement, the Clash also invites the cheer and band teams from both schools to participate in a performance during halftime and some performances before the game.
Before halftime, Charleston was still in the lead as during the second quarter both defenses stayed strong and let nothing through, but we already had an advantage from the first quarter points.
During the third quarter, the Trojans team continued to build up the slope between the two teams. The Trojans then brought the score up by 15 points and left the Mattoon Green Wave with no more than what they had at half-time.
With the same amount of momentum used in the final quarter, Charleton swept away the competing Green Wave, only letting them get 7 more points and defeating them with a 29-point victory.
After this amazing success, for the first time since 2012 the Charleston Trojans football team could become playoff eligible on our varsity team.
Banned Books Week
By: Octavia Mull
Banned Books Week Promotional Image
Banned books week is October 1-7, 2023. The theme this year is “Let Freedom Read,” as for the 40th anniversary.
What is considered the first book ban is the United States took place in 1637 in Quincy, Massachusetts. The Bible and works by Shakespeare are among those that have been banned over the past two thousand years. It wasn’t just banning books; it was also burning books.
“Most challenges were books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQA+ community, black, indigenous, and people of color,” according to Harvard.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person for group. A ban is the removal of those materials.
“Between January 1st and August 31st, 2023, 695 attempt to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles which is a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2022, which saw the highest number of book challenges since compiling the data more than 20 years ago.”
“The top 6 books challenged books in 2022 are, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Flamer by Mike Curato, Looking for Alaska by John Green, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky,” according to Harvard.
There are many ways to become part of the banned books movement such as staying informed, brushing up on banned books history, helping spread the word, speaking out, and exercising your reading rights and support.
Important Senior Information
By: Heighden Fairley
Class of 2024, graduation season is coming up! Graduation is an especially exciting time. Before you go it is best to be prepared, so let's cover the most important senior information!
Cap and Gown
A meeting for the senior class will be held Thursday, November 2 in the auditorium. Jostens will be there to go over the information needed for your Diploma, Cap and Gown, Custom Charleston Graduation announcements, and Senior Gear.
Jostens will be at CHS on Friday, November 10 collecting graduation orders. Orders may be turned in directly to Jostens on the 10th during HS Lunch, or placed online at : https://www.jostens.com/apps/store.customer/1076101/Charleston-High-School/
The online portal for Graduation orders will be available November 2 to November 14.
Monday, December 4 – Senior Celebration Event during HS Lunch-
Distribution of the Senior 2024 Gear
Selfie Stations with the senior gear
The names of the schools and the dates of the visits will be on the morning announcements as well as the announcements posted online. Most of the representatives will come in during lunch/ WIN time (11:30-12:30). They will be on the backside of the CHS Media Center, where you walk in from the student parking lot.
College Letters of Recommendations
Allow 2-3 weeks for the recommenders to complete the letter. Provide the person with a resume stating your goals, career choice, awards, accomplishments, and extra-curricular activities in and out of school. If you are using the common application or sending us links from other sources, students with the last name A-K use Mrs. Nelson’s email: email@example.com and those L-Z use Mrs. Meeker’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Create an account on htpps://www.parchment.com/ to request your transcripts to be electronically sent to the college or university of your choice. If you have any questions regarding your transcripts, please email Ms. Marucco: email@example.com
If you need transcripts for scholarships, please email Ms. Marucco or your counselor.
Most local scholarships will become available after January 1 ,2024. The applications will be available on the CHS guidance webpage as we receive them. Students should be checking the CHS guidance webpage and their school email regularly for updates.
College Applications for Financial Aid or Scholarships
Sometimes colleges have separate applications for financial aid and/or their scholarships. This information will be found on the college’s website.
FAFSA opens December for all seniors. This is now a graduation requirement per the state of Illinois. Students must complete FAFSA or an online waiver. More information will come. This fall we will hold a financial aid night to learn about the FAFSA applications. It is hosted by the Lake Land College and EIU. Mark your calendars now-it will be in person on Thursday, January 4, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. in the CHS auditorium.
College Visits/Open House
If you are interested in visiting a college or university, you need to pick up an anticipated absence form from the main office and have it returned prior to your college visit.
Lake Land College Career Day
Lake Land College will be hosting a Career Day on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. On Career Day, you can attend sessions to learn more about specific occupations that interest you. The Illinois Regional College Fair will also be there, so you will be able to talk to college representatives and learn valuable information about their schools. If you are a senior who has no idea what you want to major in or which college to apply to, this is an amazing opportunity for you!
See the guidance office to sign up and pick up a packet to register online.
Are you considering competing at a NCAA Division 1 or 2 school? You must have a certain core GPA and register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Note that there is a fee to register. At www.eligibilitycenter.org
If you have any concerns regarding college information and important senior resources, please contact your counselor.
Make this year count and stay informed by checking your email every day!
LGBT History Month
By: Jackson Simmons
Row of pride flags
Every year in October, LGBT, (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) History Month has been celebrated. LGBT History Month consists of celebrating the important LGBT people who have worked hard to engrave themselves into history. This month is recognized and celebrated by Australia, Canada, and the US every year. One major point is to raise awareness for discrimination to the LGBT community. Every year, thirty-one new community members are selected to represent one day in October.
LGBT History Month started in the very Republican state of Missouri with that high school teacher Rodney Wilson in 1994. Wilson’s reasoning for beginning the tradition was a month simply needed to be dedicated to the extensive history of the LGBT community.
One historic day that you might know of is Stonewall. Stonewall was a series of riots in New York, New York on June 28th where members of the LGBT community fought back against the police. This happened in 1969 which was when being a part of the LGBT community was not seen as an acceptable way to be. This was the beginning of the fight for LGBT community liberation.
One figure worth noting is Roxanne Gay. Gay is the well-known author of Bad Feminist. Gay used to be an assistant professor of English at our hometown university EIU. Gay started working at EIU after she finished her Ph.D. and ended up leaving after four years at EIU to pursue a more prestigious career at Purdue University. Gay has published numerous works following Bad Feminist in popularity like, short story collection Ayiti, novel An Untamed State, short story collection Difficult Women, and memoir Hunger. Gay is one of the many large figures who has really paved a path for more strong LGBT community members like her to shine.
To this day society itself is becoming more accepting of the LGBT community. This community is truly diverse and has many deep roots in history. Luckily, this history is at our fingertips, and we have the freedom to learn more and be more accepting. That is why we have the month of October, to learn more and more together and figure out how to accept each other and work together to make the world a better place.
More information can be found at:
Theater Tech Trip
By: Andrew Pearson
In the Fall of 2022, a new class emerged at CHS for creative students who were more comfortable behind the scenes than on stage.
Theater Tech One is a beginning class that teaches the basics of theater and how to run a production successfully, whether that be in lights, sound, scenes, costuming, or stage management.
The class took a trip to the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for the whole day to tour the spaces and find out what field interested them the most.
Kei Webber, one student in the class, found a new interest in scenic design and set building after visiting the set scene shop.
“I really liked the scene shop because when we entered, we went to a table and saw the scene designs and all the papers and how she thought of it and a miniature stage where the play was going to go on,” she said. “Behind us, we had someone painting the actual stage while we were going through the design of it. I thought that was really cool.”
Many students also found new loves and interests upon enrolling in the class.
Jude Roberts, a freshman in the class, originally joined in hopes of becoming a stage manager who found a new interest in scenic design as well.
“What really stood out to me was also the scene shop, I really liked the idea of sketching out designs because of knowing that a person actually did this and came up with the ideas that are being put together,” he said.
Some already had an interest in theater work, but this trip was eye-opening to everyone who attended.
They would all like to revisit Krannert Center in the future and hope that Mrs. Sharp will continue with these exciting outings and educational opportunities.
Introduction to GSA
By: Eris Miller
Ms. Gisondi and Honor Brown
GSA is the Gay Straight Alliance and is meant to be a safe place for all students, which is also run by the students.
The club is not only for LGBTQ+ students; it’s for allies too.
Club meetings are every other Friday, so the next meeting will be on October 13, 2023.
During the next meeting, the club will vote for officers, which are members who speak for the group and are more involved.
There are also planning positions to plan fundraisers and events and social media positions to run the social media accounts.
The student organizer of GSA is Honor Brown, who is very passionate about GSA.They want GSA to be a safe place for LGBTQ+ students in the school.
GSA doesn’t have funds from the school, so the club is hoping to be able to start some fundraisers to raise some money for events.
Ms. Gisondi is the sponsor of GSA. She decided to help because she's queer herself and would like to help make CHS safer since her sister was bullied at CHS for dating a girl.
Members of the group have been enjoying the club and said a few different things about what they think.
“Maybe it’ll help students and teachers learn more about the LGBTQ+ community,” said Lana Livermore.
Other people like Cy Moore have said, “It’s cool and relaxing.”
If you have any questions or would like to learn more GSA has an Instagram page @chstrojansgsa or you can ask Ms. Gisondi or Honor Brown.
Corrections 10/6/23: The date for the next meeting is 10/13/23 and not 10/10/23 as previously stated. Honor Brown uses they/them pronouns, not he, as previously used in the article.
New Staff: Mr. Carpenter
By: Mackenzie Forth
Mr. Bill Carpenter is a new paraprofessional here at CHS!
As a paraprofessional, he walks with students to their classes and keeps them out of trouble.
Mr. Carpenter is from Granite City, Illinois, and before he came to CHS he was a monitor/paraprofessional at Granite City High School for thirteen years.
He chose Charleston High School because he saw that we were hiring paras and decided to give it a try.
He said his favorite part of CHS is Friday Night Football.
"The kids and Coach Halsey are doing really good," he said.
Mr. Carpenter has always wanted to be a teacher; he had other jobs and coached football in the past but loves that he ended up here.
He has worked with 5th and 6th graders in the past but prefers high school because the students care more about education and listen better to instruction.
Mr. Carpenter's first few weeks at the high school went great, “but was a little bit of a transition,” he said.
The last school that he worked at was larger than CHS and had more students, but he didn’t mind because he does not have to worry about so many kids each day.
Mr. Carpenter's fiancé has been here for two years; she owns Ashmore Estates, and her son does Special Olympics.
He and his fiancé we both friends in school, and he moved here to be with her.
Mr. Carpenter goes to Hot Springs, Arkansas often since he has a lot of family-based stuff there.
He also goes because his father is friends with President Clinton.
Welcome to Charleston High School, Mr. Carpenter!
New Athletic Director: Brian Deadmond
By: MJ Lehwald
CHS has a new Athletic Director: Brian Deadmond!
Before Deadmond came to Charleston, he was principal of a school for five years. When he then came to Charleston, he was initially a P.E. teacher for the whole day.
His schooling career after graduating from high school led him to Greenville, Illinois, where he successfully completed his Bachelor degree. After Grenville, he went to Eastern here in Charleston and graduated with administration degree.
When asked why he chose Charleston as a city instead of a larger city, he replied, “I thought Charleston would be a good opportunity for my career, because previously I only worked on small school like with 150 students.”
It’s not uncommon for teachers to choose to go to smaller cities, but for Coach Deadmond, he had another reason, “I grew up in little schools and that's why I also wanted to work in small schools, but I quickly realized that I needed to think bigger to advance my career.”
Another reason why Coach Deadmond chose Charleston as his school to teach is pretty profound, “I think just the people we interact with every day at school. Starting with the teachers throughout the building and continuing with all the students here.”
Coach Deadmond tries to have a big impact on the lives of his students. Since he teaches in the field of health it is easy for him to do so, ”I want my students to later remember my health classes and say, ‘Look what Mr. Deadmond told us and maybe we’ll do it this way.’”
Like every teacher, Coach Deadmond has his great moments as a teacher and as a coach. As for a coach it was, of course, about sports.
“As a coach, definitely when I coached the basketball team of a school years ago and we actually went to a state tournament. The school had never achieved this before. As a teacher, the everyday interaction with the students because I feel like I talk to the kids because I want to talk with them. I sit down with the kids and have a conversation with the kid, I try to have time to do it because not everyone has the time for it,” he said.
CHS is very excited to have a new Athletic Director!
By: Olivia Rios
According to the Internships page on Charleston High School’s website, “Internships are currently available to juniors and seniors and offer an excellent opportunity to work alongside a professional in the community. This is a semester course and students attend the internship for one 80-minute period every day or, if the student’s schedule allows two 80-minute class periods every day. Additional coursework is assigned throughout the semester.”
Below are some of our current interns and what their job is at their internship as well as a brief biography of the CTE teacher Mrs. Niebrugge.
Colton Himes: Car Maintenance and Repair
Colton Himes internships at Pilson in Mattoon. Colton chose to intern here because he wants to learn more about working on vehicles, something he has been into learning about recently in his own time.
Himes says that his internship is “simple and it’s going well.”
Jessica Logue: Physical Therapy
Jessica Logue is an intern for the physical therapy department. Jessica is doing physical therapy because she has always wanted to do something in the medical field, but it wasn’t her first choice.
Her first choice was labor and delivery but for legal reasons she was unable to get in.
Logue said she “honestly really loves physical therapy more than I thought I would.”
She has also been helping with children and watching them get physical therapy because of certain injuries and the knowledge and experience that comes with seeing them.
She also likes that it’s in the medical field because that is what she holds interest in, and she gets to interact with a wide variety of people.
Dylan Roberts: Law Enforcement
Dylan Roberts has an internship with Officer Roa because he wants to learn about law enforcement.
Roberts and Officer Roa have gone to Jefferson Middle School to do some presentations and other activities.
He also says that “Officer Roa is really nice.”
Angie Niebrugge: Internship Teacher
Mrs. Niebrugge is the CTE specialist here at Charleston High School.
She has been at Charleston High School for 26 years as a business education teacher.
When the Charleston school district created this new position three years ago, she knew it was something she wanted to take part in.
Mrs. Niebrugge gets to work with students who are looking towards the next step in their life after graduating from high school.
CUSD #1's New Security Officers
By: Luke Brewer and Andrew Pearson
Charleston High School has been adding new security measures over the last few years with new cameras, better lighting in the parking lot, and the addition of Officer Roa.
She has acted as a role model to the students by providing necessary law enforcement, counseling, teaching moments, and consulting with parents.
Although Officer Roa works with the school district, she is not a member of the faculty.
She is a member of the Charleston Police Department and solely reports to her superior officers, unlike the CUSD#1 security officers who report to the administration and their team leader.
Officer Roa has undergone extensive training involving Juvenile officer experience, a certification for a resource officer run through the NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers), being able to deal with kids in high stress situations and make juvenile arrests.
In the case of a fight on school grounds, Officer Roa said “I’ll be included just because we don’t want things to ramp up and you never know what parents are going to say.”
The presence of a resource officer has made teachers feel safer, set up a good communication system between local law enforcement and the school district, as well as added the extra security the schools needed.
In recent years, many programs have been created for security teams in school districts. For example, the neighboring state of Indiana has a law that requires a district security team.
This is something CHS this summer has decided to implement into our school district, but the question still remains: what is the security officers’ job?
“I think our job is over all security of the school, obviously we are here for a violent type of encounter, active shooters, or drug usage in the school, we are also here to assist Officer Roa in anything she may need,” said Tad Freezeland, the security team leader.
The security team is all for student interaction and are always there for students in need, whether that be assisting new students with directions, getting to class on time, or just having someone to talk to.
The team would also like to get to the know the student body and be of any help they can offer and hope to evolve as a team and make the students’ learning environment a safer space.
When Mr. Wood was asked the same question he said, “We value the safety and security of our students and staff.”
This was a common thread shared amongst the multiple interviewed administrators, including Mr. Lock at the high school, Mr. Mayhall at the middle school, and Dr. Vilardo at central office who was asked to research this topic and get the program running while Mr. Burgett was delegated the opportunity to oversee the new and developing team.
All administrators agreed the school’s safety was the top priority in mind when hiring them.
However, there were multiple factors that added to the necessity of the officers’ presence.
One of which is the overall safety of the schools regarding possible school shootings. Many public schools can be considered soft targets and without the proper security measures, the schools will remain targets.
“Our students have to worry about something previous generations didn’t have to worry about…” said Mr. Lock.
Lock’s opinion was something also shared between all interviewed administrators, but Dr. Vilardo made a point that the chances of something highly dangerous occurring within the district is like the chances of being struck by lightning.
Another issue they all agreed upon is the drug problem, mostly found within the high school in past years.
While the security officers don’t have the full extent of the law on their side due to technically being district employees, their presence is deterring to those who seek to do harm.
This can also be seen during passing periods, lunch, and the start and end of the school day as the officers will be in areas of increased activity.
So far, the feedback on the officers has been positive with students, parents, and even other administration members being happy to see the officers integrated into our district.
The administration has also asked the student and staff body treat them no differently than any other staff member by treating them with respect.
Not So New Coach: Brian Halsey
By: Morgan Dickey
Coach Brian Halsey has big plans for CHS football, and right now he is right on track.
Halsey is happy to be representing red and gold and wants all the kids to be proud of their school again.
After the community and school welcomed Halsey back “it brought many tears to [his] eyes” and he was ready for an amazing season.
Halsey had started coaching in 2000 where he had to “build from the ground up.”
Now he has facilities, equipment, great coaches, and a team who is putting in the work.
Halsey said he’s not just focused on his team, but also the kids in JFL.
“The senior class has great athletes, and they are great leaders. They have set the bar high,” says Halsey, “but we want to get to the point where with our lower classes we have to reload instead of rebuild.”
Halsey said he has a tough love relationship with his players, and he coaches them hard by pushing them to play at a high level but will also care for them like his own.
“I’m not afraid to high five them. I’m not afraid to hug them. I’m not afraid to tell them I love them because honestly a lot of times these kids spend more time with me than their own families.”
The coaching staff also has growing relationships with the players. Halsey said he has a “dream team staff,” and they are a big part of their success.
After not beating Effingham since 2012, this win meant a little bit more than what was shown.
“It was a huge game coming off last week’s loss, especially a little added pressure since it was homecoming,” Halsey said.
Now this week they will play Mattoon in the Coles County Clash and are preparing the players on what to expect.
“It’s just implementing our plans and reaping it out with the kids, no surprises,” Halsey said, “Not only how we are going to attack them but also how we are going to adjust if they make adjustments.”
The Clash will be held at O’Brien field on Friday, September 29th at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $5 per person if purchased In the CHS office before 1:20 p.m. on Friday but will be $6 per person at the stadium.
Passes will not be accepted.
New Student Experience
By: Jackson Simmons
This year CHS had around forty-five new students move to the area this year.
With this substantial number of students, a survey was sent out to see what these new students are up to.
When the new students were asked, “Where did you live before moving to Charleston?” most answers consisted of moving from places an hour to two hours away.
There were only two people who came from Mattoon, which was interesting because of how close in proximity the town is to Charleston.
One very closely related question the was asked was, “Why did you come to Charleston?" This time there were some interesting answers.
“I came to Charleston because it is close to a college (Eastern Illinois University), and it is where I would like to go after I graduate. So, after I graduate, I will not have to move far away from my friends and family, and I will just be down the street,” said Tommi Griffen.
Another student moved to Charleston because he wanted to be involved with a more advanced music program.
When asked, “Are there any similarities between your old school and CHS? If so which, do you prefer.”, the answers once again varied.
“[CHS] has lots of stairs, and I can eat lunch outside. I still prefer my old school though because I grew up with everybody,” said Parker Tompkins.
A second student was not a huge fan of the learning program Empower, while another kid said the learning programs are amazing, and they love the new format of learning.
A favorite question was, “How were your first few weeks at CHS? Stressful, exciting, tell me what you felt like and why?”
“My first couple of weeks have been relatively easy to manage making it to class and navigating the halls. Been kind of stressful at times because of all the people everywhere,” responded Parker Tompkins.
Another freshman says he remembers his first week just being overwhelmingly nervous.
He was already so worried about the normal High School worries like how to fit in and figure out where my classes are but was incredibly pleased to find that Charleton is filled with a lot of amazing people.
New Volleyball Coach
By: Morgan Dickey
2023-24 Volleyball Team
Charleston volleyball has a new coach and mindset.
Coach Amanda Hackett has plans to turn the program around and get some wins and has been involved with Charleston volleyball for many years.
She played all four years and was an assistant coach for three years, but too a year hiatus, deciding to come back because she missed the games and environment surrounding them.
She plans to keep coaching for as long as she can and is willing to try new things.
The team has a strong bond with Hackett, but they also know that they are the ones who have to put the work in. When stuck, they look at Hackett for answers which she takes pride in.
Senior Tommie Carver said, “I was really nervous before the big game (Mattoon) and we started a new rotation the day before, but we trust Amanda and know she won't lead us in the wrong direction”.
Before the Mattoon game senior outside, Addison Shrader, went down on a knee injury during warmups, and that caused panic between the team.
Coach Hackett calmed the girls down and switched the lineup before the game.
Shrader said, “After the game I was very emotional. I was so happy we got the win, but also didn’t know what the future looked like for me”.
As the strong outside hitter went down everyone look at coach Hackett for answers and the next step.
“It’s a moment-by-moment situation,” says Hackett “I do the best I can, and really like it when they come to me so I can pass down what I have learned for all these years."
Once Charleston volleyball goes into post season, they will match up against some bigger teams, but Hackett is not worried.
Charleston Volleyball is 7-11 right now and will play Mattoon on September 29.
New Counselor: Ms. Roper
By: Ally Gonzalez
Ms. Melissa Roper is a new counselor this year at the high school.
Before she came to the high school, she did Medicare for Blue Cross & Blue Shield, worked in hospitals, and did social services at a nursing home for a few years.
In high school, she earned her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), so she’s been doing CNA work her entire life.
Ms. Roper moved here from California when she was a kid and went to Cumberland High School. She went to Lake Land and EIU and majored in Nursing and Health Administration and she then earned her master’s degree in school counseling.
Growing up, she wanted to be either a vet or a nurse because her mother was a nurse in a nursing home.
She has three children; a 15-year-old in high school, a 13-year-old at the middle school, and an almost 11-year-old at Jefferson.
When asked what her favorite part of CHS is, she responded, “My favorite part of being at CHS is meeting all the kids and like knowing that eventually, at some point, I’ll be able to help them.”
She chose high school students because she knows this is a vital time in our lives.
We’re making big choices about career paths, colleges, the military, etc., and she wants to be able to help students and guide them in the right direction.
“It’s also not just picking your life, because that can change, but also different emotions teenagers go through, different struggles that maybe they need help with and I just remember when I was in high school, I wish I would have had somebody to help me with those things.”
Ms. Roper is such a great fit for Charleston High School and we are excited to have her!
New Counselor: Mrs. McKee
By: Mackenzie Forth
Carrie McKee is a 504 coordinator and counselor here at CHS. Being a 504 coordinator, she helps with students who need extra accommodation in class and develops a more individualized plan.
Mrs. McKee was born in Springfield, Illinois, and went to college at UIS there, too.
After that, she went to Culver-Stockton College in Missouri for two years.
Later, she earned her undergraduate and master's degrees at Stevens College in Columbia, Missouri.
Mrs. McKee was also a college volleyball player at both UIS and Culver-Stockton.
Her major was elementary education with an endorsement in history, and her master’s was in school counseling. She chose her major because she knew she really liked working with kids and in schools but did not know what she wanted to do after her degree.
But, while working as a 3rd grade teacher, she soon figured out what she wanted to do.
When it comes to counseling, Mrs. McKee prefers high school students, but when she teaches, she prefers elementary.
Her passion is more of a college board route, so she likes high school because she gets the chance to talk to students about what they want their life to look like after school and offer ways to get them there.
Mrs. McKee comes from a large high school, so she really likes how there's a smaller community both within CHS and around town because then she gets the chance to interact with kids more.
“I love being out in the halls during passing period just so I can say hi to people and answer and question they have.” Mrs. McKee said.
Her husband works at the middle school in Mattoon as a social studies teacher and is also the head basketball coach for the high school, too.
They do not have any children yet, but she is pregnant with twin girls that are due in January.
Before CHS, she was a school counselor in Columbia, Missouri, and she chose Charleston because it was closer to home for both her and her husband, who is from Indianapolis, Indiana.
They both were also from rival high schools, so they are used to having debates over games.
When asked if the rivalry between Charleston and Mattoon affects them, she said “It's not different, just makes it very fun.”
Welcome to Charleston High School Mrs. McKee!
From CMS to CHS
By: Eris Miller
Stock photo of students in a classroom
How are freshmen adjusting to CHS? Between stress, navigating the school, new teachers, and more people, it’s been difficult, but they seem to be adjusting well.
The hardest part for some students has been getting used to a new bigger school. For others it’s been waking up and trying to keep up. For Cy Moore, running around between different classes and up and down stairs has been very exhausting and difficult.
What about what some of the freshmen think of upper classmates? A lot of freshmen think the upper classmen are nice and respectful. Other freshmen think upper classmen can be a little rude or disrespectful.
Freshmen are dealing with stress decently well, but others are struggling more. According to River Madrigal, stress has been “through the roof.” Some freshmen have different opinions on how difficult high school is going to be. Some of them think it’s going to be hard, some are in between, and others think it’s going to be easy.
Going from what freshmen have been getting used to and stressing about, what are some things they are enjoying? Adelivia Lopez is enjoying lunch. Savana Shrock likes hanging out with her friends. Cy Moore’s favorite class is art.
From U.S. News & World Report here are some tips for freshmen:
Learn your way around the school.
Think about what classes would be helpful for the future.
Keep up with homework.
Prioritize your mental health.
Try to participate/attend in school events and special days.
Homecoming Week and New Student Council Adviser
By: Octavia Mull
Homecoming Week is here! From the 18th to the 23rd, you can find all sorts of fun events happening around CHS. Below is a full list of said events:
September 18th: PJ Day and Homecoming coronation
September 19th: Barbenheimer Day
September 20th: Country vs. Country Club
September 21st: Dress Like Your Favorite Teacher Day and Parade (starts at 5 p.m. at CHS and travels around the square)
September 22nd: Wear Class Colors (Freshman wear black, Sophomores wear lavender, Juniors wear blue, and Seniors wear pink), Homecoming Assembly (1:20-3:20 p.m.) & Football Game (starts at 7 p.m.)
September 23rd: Golden Hour Homecoming Dance (7-10 p.m. in Baker Gym)
Mrs. Keeton is the new student council director. She is a wife and a mom of two boys who enjoy playing football. She is a study hall teacher and student council advisor.
This is a newer position for Mrs. Keeton, and she was a little shocked about how much hard work and effort goes into student council.
Mrs. Keeton likes meeting all the different people that have joined student council and says that this is a fun and new experience for her, and she cannot wait for all the new stuff to happen with the student council.
Mrs. Keeton also makes a reminder to always make good choices.
New Staff Interview: Mrs. Schubert
By: Gunner Barr
Join us in welcoming Mrs. Suzanne Schubert to the faculty at CHS! Mrs. Schubert teaches Food & Nutrition and Child Development in the Family and Consumer Science department.
Mrs. Schubert is a native of Newburgh, Indiana. She is a graduate of Castle High School. Mrs. Schubert obtained her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and her master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.
Her major was specialty dietetics and exercise physiology. She chose to study those areas because she had always been interested in health and biology, and she enjoys helping others.
Before working at CHS, Mrs. Schubert worked as a dietician and helped patients with kidney failure. Her transition to teaching came from a love of education, teaching, and helping people.
Mrs. Schubert’s family included Mr. Matt Schubert, a social studies teacher at CHS, and two children in the 3rd grade.
Mrs. Schubert chose to teach at CHS because “I want to contribute positively to our local community.”
Her favorite part about teaching here is that the faculty and staff are so supportive. She feels that they can have a positive impact on the students and families they serve.
She specifically enjoys working with high school students because “I want to help students in this stage in their lives. I couldn’t imagine a better group of students!”
Something interesting about Mrs. Schubert is that she has traveled to several places. She has been to visit her brother in Pennsylvania, as well as her sister in Kansas City, Missouri. Also, she has traveled to Niagara Falls, Kauai, and Maui.
In her free time, Mrs. Schubert enjoys spending time with her family and loves to exercise, she is also a CrossFit level 1 coach for CrossFit 217 here in Charleston.
We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Schubert and CHS. We wish her and all faculty and staff at CHS a fantastic school year!
CHS New Dean of Students: Kori Brimner
By: Heighden Fairley
Mrs. Brimner has been teaching since 2008, however, this year is especially exciting because she is taking on the new role of Dean of Students at CHS!
Previously she had taught middle school in Paris, Illinois, and Hoopeston, Illinois. After she moved back to Charleston, Illinois, she taught English 1, English 2, and English 3 at CHS. She is familiar with CHS because her mother taught P.E. and Health and coached girls' basketball.
This year Mrs. Brimner decided she could make a larger impact and help more students on the day-to-day, which is why she became the dean of students. She says, “My favorite part of being here at CHS is just the school community we have here and the culture we have.”
Mrs. Brimner has always known that teaching is what she was meant to do. She gives her mom the credit for helping her to realize that goal. She loves her new role and says that she plans to continue in that position for years to come.
Mrs. Brimner says, “The biggest challenge I've faced with taking on the dean of students role is trying to know as many students as possible and interact with them outside of the classroom setting.”
Mrs. Brimner attended Illinois State University to get her English degree to be able to teach middle school and high school; she then went back and got her Masters degree in administration She was born in Charleston Illinois. Her father is a retired police officer, and her mother was a teacher.
“I grew up playing school when my mom was prepping for her classroom, so it’s cool to be a teacher here, and it’s definitely an experience to be the dean of students in the school I grew up in” she says.
She has three sons Klay the youngest, Kroy, and Karter the oldest. Every year during Christmas break Mrs. Brimner and her family go to Disney World. She enjoys traveling and seeing new things. She says that one day she would love to travel outside of the country.
In her free time Mrs. Brimner loves to play basketball and says, “I still think I have a shot even though I don’t.” She also enjoys listening to audiobooks in her free time. The people that inspire Mrs. Brimner the most are her parents. They are hard workers and have taught her from an early age that things that you want will cost you to work for them.
We are incredibly grateful to have Mrs. Brimner as our dean of students here at CHS!