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#1StudentNWI: News & Notes from Kouts


Teacher Spotlight: Cindy Perkins

Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) teacher Cindy Perkins spent nine years in advertising but wanted to find a more fulfilling career. Her own love of learning and reading led her to be a kindergarten teacher, where she could help students have a strong foundation in school from the very beginning. During her time as a stay-at-home mom, she honed her cooking and sewing skills, which sparked her interest in becoming a FACS teacher.

Perkins believes FACS classes can teach students basic life skills, such as etiquette, how to eat nutritiously, take care of children, and fix clothes. She has recently built on these fundamentals and started the Kouts chapter of the national organization, Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

The organization provides students with leadership development opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and the chance to develop life and career skills. They can do this through completing projects similar to 4H.

Perkins is also putting a large focus on community service. Members of FCCLA have been planning an Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk that took place on May 6. Perkins partnered with community leaders, churches, and the Midwest Family Center. They are already planning an animal shelter service project for next year. Anyone wishing to donate money for the project can send checks to Kouts School, attention Perkins.

Perkins always saw herself as a follower rather than a leader, but she has grown into a leadership role and feels it’s good for her students to see their teachers care about what they do.

Student Spotlight: Lukas Mergenthaler

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Going to a small school means that when students are involved, they are usually involved in many different things. Senior Lukas Mergenthaler is no exception.

He has been part of the robotics club hosted by Safe Harbors in Michigan City and participated in all three competitions in March and April. The team brought home a second place finish at the first competition, followed by a first place at state which led the team to Worlds in Detroit.

Mergenthaler also has an interest in aviation, as he participated in an aviation camp this past summer at the LaPorte Municipal Airport. There, he learned about the industry and what it takes to become a pilot.

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As captain of the Rube Goldberg team his sophomore and junior years, Mergenthaler realized he wants to be able to make something tangible and do something that will have an impact on others around him. He is the kind of student who identifies a problem and takes initiative to fix it.

Over the past year, Mergenthaler has changed paths from aviation to engineering to firefighting. Reflecting on the past, he said, “My brother and I always kind of had a plan. He would become an EMT, and I would be a firefighter.”

His grandfather and uncle, both firefighters, influenced his decision and provided him with the support to come to this career choice. Mergenthaler will be attending Ivy Tech in the fall to study fire science, which will put him on an advanced path to become a twenty-four hour firefighter.

April Month in Review

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April is always a month filled with field trips, performances, and Prom. With AP testing and finals right around the corner, it’s important for students to have a little fun, too.

On April 14, the band and choir performed at ISSMA at Kankakee Valley High School. The ensembles had been working on this music since January and finally performed in front of a panel of judges. Both groups earned a silver rating.

The top ten students (based on GPA) from each school in the corporation were honored on April 15 at the inaugural Top 10 Banquet held at Old Town Banquet Center. These ten students were honored for their hard work during high school. Each student selected an influential person in their life to be recognized with them, as well. The principal from each school read a list of activities that students participated in and why they selected their guest. Students chose teachers, grandparents, cousins, and pastors. The banquet was a nice way for families to come together to honor the seniors’ accomplishments.

There were a variety of field trips this month, but here are the highlights.

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Spanish students took a field trip to Don Quijote, Indiana’s only Spanish restaurant, on April 17. Spanish teacher, Señora Angeles, takes this trip every year to give students a taste of the culture. Students were treated to a full Spanish meal, complete with paella, albondigas (meatballs), bread, and tortillas. Once they finished with their meal, they watched a flamenco performance and passed the bota (a drinking pouch traditionally filled with vine).

U.S. History students travelled to the Field Museum on April 27. They saw the special exhibit, Ancient Mediterranean Cultures in Contact. Students learned about this topic early in the year, so history teacher Heather Dutko jumped at the opportunity to take her students to see the mummies first-hand.

The Indiana Police came to Kouts on April 18 to demonstrate the effects of drinking and driving. Students put on drunk goggles to simulate intoxication and then drove a go-kart on the track with obstacles set up. Many students ran into the obstacles that represented other cars or people to show the repercussions that come with drinking and driving.

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Prom was held on April 21. Sponsor, Shelly Dick, shook things up this year and changed the venue to Duneland Falls. She also used a new DJ, Arrested Sounds. Parents were invited to come to the hall an hour before the dance started to take pictures of their kids and see the beautiful venue. Prom goers spent a night “Under the Sea” and enjoyed the evening with their friends. Seniors reminisced as they danced together to “We are Young.” Truitt Anweiler and Brooklynn MacDonald were crowned Prom King and Queen.

The senior play, “Check, Please” was performed on April 27 and 28 and was declared a success. It was an evening full of laughter and entertainment, for audience members and actors alike. It was a bittersweet end for all of the seniors, many who have performed together since sixth grade.

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