What's Going On?
Homecoming week at Griffith High School is not to be taken lightly. Students at “The G” go all out for the week that is anticipated for months, and take it very seriously. This year, Griffith’s football team has had a nearly perfect record, and school spirit is through the roof.
Spirit week, the week before the big dance and football game, kicked off this year with a dress up day on Monday, September 25th. Students wore their finest attire for club pictures. The students returned the next day for twin day, dressing up with the same clothes as their best friends. Wednesday, students came dressed as their favorite characters. These included Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable, Average Joe’s from “Dodgeball”, and Gaston from “Sleeping Beauty”. On Thursday, neon day, students came dressed in their brightest clothes and included articles such as safety vests. Friday, the day of the football game, was black and gold day.
A pep rally was held during the last period of the day, and included an announcement of all the football players and games. One of these games, Hungry Hungry Hippos, used students who were dressed in football gear to be pushed out on a scooter to retrieve balls with a crate. They were then pulled in, and sent out again. The four grades, freshmen through seniors, each competed in the game.
Another game was the traditional tug of war between the seniors. The seniors competed against each other, and the winners from that game compete against teachers and administration. The seniors won both games. Other games such as administrators dressed in sumo wrestler costumes throwing footballs through hula hoops took place, and the rally ended with a performance from seniors Jake Dye and Alaa Mroueh, the leaders of the student fan section at the game. Dye has an odd talent of being able to catch food in his mouth that is thrown from Mroueh, and the duo performs for the student section every Friday, throwing candy from various distances. The two got the opportunity to do this at the pep rally, and Dye caught over 20 skittles, some being from halfway across the basketball court.
“It started as a joke last year with me and my friend Carson, just throwing skittles at halftime. He graduated last year, and said that Alaa could do it with me, so we continued the tradition. It’s really fun to lead the student section with him.” said Dye.
Friday night before the game, the annual Homecoming parade went through downtown Griffith, starting at the YMCA, and ending at the high school. The four classes competed again for the best float based off of this years theme: Hollywood. This year’s floats included many film reels, clapperboards, marquees, and of course, Hollywood glamour. The junior class won with their float, which included a marquee with the football teams on it, film reels, many, many stars and a red carpet.
That night, the Panthers took on South Central High School. The Panthers at that time were 6-1, and after a win of 53-10, increased their record to 7-1. The team is currently 66th in the state, and first in the Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC). Senior Fred Winston broke Griffith’s record for the single game passing yard record and the career passing yards record.
“I feel like the team’s success is expected and that this is just the first half of a long season.” said Winston, “I love playing on the team because it’s a small town and it makes you bond with the players even more because you see them literally every second of the day.”
On Saturday, September 30, Griffith’s Homecoming dance took place in the fieldhouse. Students danced to music provided by The Music Boyz. Student Council planned and decorated for the event, and provided snacks along with the photo booth and professional photos. At the football game the night before, the king and queen of Homecoming were announced. Seniors Shadi Haddad and Merry Galindo were crowned king and queen by last year’s king and queen, Keith Hernandez and Dana Jelenski.
“It was a really fun and exciting experience when I was crowned even though I wasn’t really paying attention when I won. I didn’t expect my name to be called because I was just trying to enjoy the moment.” said Haddad, “It was an amazing feeling to get my name called and I was mostly happy because my parents were there to see it.”
What’s Coming Up:
GHS Student Council will be attending a team building field trip at Iron Oaks Environmental Learning Center in Olympia Fields, IL. This field trip is a reward for the members of the club, because they recently hosted the Homecoming dance, where they planned, set up, and tore down everything. Iron Oaks is meant to enhance relationships socially and with nature, through environmental projects and challenges. The 40-acre nature preserve contains woods, wildflowers, birds, and various animals. The park is open daily to the public.
At Iron Oaks, the Student Council learn to work together by facing outdoor challenges such as teamwork based obstacles. Participants must be willing to work with others and enjoy their time there in order to complete each task.
Student Council President, Ben Jacobs, is enjoying his last year as a student, and is looking forward to the trip.
“Being Student Council President is really an honor. I enjoy being a leader in my favorite club, and being able to work with Berzy (the Student Council sponsor) and set up some of the best events our school offers. I enjoy leading meetings and listening to the opinions of other students,” said Jacobs. “The Iron Oaks trip will help the group bond, and will help them work together better on future Student Council activities. I love directing change in our school, as well as giving the student body the best activities that we can offer.”
Kay Orzechowitz has been teaching for 33 years, and has been at Griffith High School for 31 years, not counting the four years that she spent attending GHS. After graduating from Griffith in 1981, she attended Indiana University Bloomington, and graduated in 1985. After college graduation, Orzechowitz went to Arizona, where she taught english to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and had to move around the outdoor campus multiple times during the day.
“I knew that school year was going to make me or break me. It was a challenge, but it helped me become the teacher that I am now,” said Orzechowitz.
After her year in Arizona, she moved back to her home in Northwest Indiana, and went on to teach at Lake Ridge Middle School, where she taught social studies.
“I wasn’t supposed to teach social studies, but I got experience nonetheless,” said Orzechowitz.
After her year at Lake Ridge, Orzechowitz returned to her high school, where she began teaching English. She has been at Griffith for the past 31 years and has taught multiple types of English classes.
She became a Booster Club sponsor when she began teaching, and continued with it for 10 years. They planned homecoming along with Varsity Club, a club for varsity athletes that is no longer in existence, before Student Council took over planning and preparations. Orzechowitz then became a junior class council sponsor, and has been involved in it for the past 20 years. She helps the class plan their Homecoming float and Prom.
Student Spotlight: Hannah Ramirez
Hannah Ramirez, a senior at Griffith High School, organized the first annual Best Buddies SoccerRama this year. The idea came to mind during a gym class, when she saw a student sitting alone in the corner and asked him if he wanted to go kick a ball around with her. The student felt welcomed, and Ramirez wanted to share this experience with others. She wanted to teach others basic skills and drills, and brought the idea to her assistant coach, Hillary Campbell, who happens to be a special education teacher at Wadsworth Elementary. After being approved by the Best Buddies president, and varsity coach Glenn Maglish, they started planning for the event.
SoccerRama, which took place on Saturday, September 16 at the Griffith High School football field, was a success for the team and Best Buddies club. The event consisted of a passing warm-up, then drills and footwork, a shooting drill, and finally a scrimmage. Ramirez was very proud of how smooth the first annual event went, and hopes that it continues for the following years.
“SoccerRama was an incredible experience. I liked getting to watch my idea come to life, but I loved getting to experience it even more.” said Ramirez, “I’m hoping that my teammates will help make it an annual event, and I plan to come back and help in the future years whenever they need me.”
Ramirez plans on attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and wants to become a missionary and live in Africa to continue serving others.