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#1StudentNWI: Wheeler High School Takes Steps Towards the Future


College and Career Ready
Summer is a time for optimism, especially for graduating high school seniors. Required education is coming to an end and plans are made for the next phase of life. I sat down with five Wheeler High School seniors to discuss their experiences in Union Township School Corporation and catch a glimpse of where they will go after graduation.

To begin the discussion, the topic turned to what they experienced at Wheeler High School.

“We are really lucky with the quality of education that we are getting,” offered Caitlin Haas, who is headed to Butler University to become a pediatrician after attending UTSC for just her four high school years.

“I talk to my friends from St. Paul’s (Catholic School) who attend other high schools in the area, and they often will say, ‘We do not have that class’ or ‘We don’t get to do that’.”

Max Gilliana has his sights set on becoming a Department of National Resources officer at the Dunes after attending Purdue Northwest.

“I think the teachers have really tried to be helpful to me and all students that I know,” said Max. “Even the people in the office like Mr. Gandy (principal), Mr. Rosta (guidance), and Ms. Day (guidance) – everyone tries to help you out.”

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“I agree,” added Andrew Santos, who will be a freshman at Purdue in West Lafayette next fall as a first step to becoming a research physicist.

“I am thankful for the broad variety of opportunities we have had in our education. While what happens in the classroom is at the core to what I have received, I think the many opportunities I have in this small school environment have put me a step ahead of others. The administration purposely tries to hire teachers who care about their students and are willing to provide more for us.”

Mari Zeitlow has attended Wheeler High School only in the last two years, having moved with her family several times. She is headed to LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas with a goal of becoming an athletic trainer.

“Students at Wheeler High School were farther ahead when I came here,” Mari explained. “The teachers here helped me catch up and to be better prepared for college. I will miss Wheeler High School, but I am prepared to go on.”

“I think the things I will miss most from high school are the people,” said Danilo Orlich, who is on his way to Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. “I want to become a medical sales representative, and the people here have been so supportive,” Danilo said.

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“We have a small school, like a family. I could not think about going to a large high school.”

When the five seniors were asked, ‘What do you want to tell the people of Union Township?’ the answers came out immediately.

“When the community supported us through the (2013) referendum, that was big,” said Danilo enthusiastically.

“I do not know what would have happened if we would have had all the projected cuts.”

Mari agreed, “This community really helps our students. I am thankful for that.”

Andrew said, “The support through the referendum was an integral part of my education.”

Max thoughtfully commented, “The school encourages students to do what they really want to do [in life].”

Caitlin smiled and said, “For me, the quality of education here has been the best.”

Congratulations to all of our graduating Wheeler High School seniors!

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Technology Department Gets Ready for the Future
When students graduate from Wheeler High School, they must be prepared for a world in which technology will be a large part of their future education, employment, and family life. Designing a technology plan and implementing that plan for the 1,525 students in the Union Township School Corporation is a significant task. The field of technology keeps changing at a rapid pace, and UTSC students cannot be left behind.

A recently formed committee named the ‘Technology Integration Team’ organized by Assistant Superintendent Michael Stephens is taking on the task of analyzing what students truly need to be successful in the future.

“There are so many facets to technology in education,” said Dr. Stephens. “We want to make sure that our plan prepares our students to compete in college and in the workplace. It is important that we are efficient and effective with the dollars we spend on technology.”

The Integration Team will be comprised of teachers and administrators from all UTSC schools as well as the Technology Director. It will bring in outside expertise at appropriate times to help team members understand all the choices that are available and beneficial for students. The team will consider questions such as “should student textbooks be available on computer?” “Should students have laptop computers of their own or just have computers available in the classroom?” “What are the basic technology skills all students must have?”

Dr. Stephens clarified, “technology is not an end in itself or a separate subject. Technology is a tool which can help students go deeper into content, analyze facts quickly, and be more productive in many subjects. Technology is able to touch virtually all parts of our curriculum. Making the right technology choices for our students is very important.”

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