Suring FFA landscapes around library

The Suring FFA Chapter redesigned the landscaping near the Suring Area Public Library with 50 new plants, using a $1,200 Semester-Long Living to Serve grant. From left, Jesus Nieto, Caleb Dekeyser, Colton Peters, Emilee Tachick, Trinity Remic, Megan Wagner, River Flynn, Dalton Fidler, Mackenzie Bailey, Kaylee Otradovec, Neveah Bender, Passion Helsinger, Moriah Stage and Brandon Lealion. (Contributed photo)

The Suring FFA chapter was awarded a $1,200 Living to Serve grant under a nationwide program that supports semester-long service-learning projects that address needs related to community safety; environmental responsibility; hunger, health and nutrition; and community engagement.

The Suring chapter aimed to address the need for main street beautification and increase pollinator plant population by designing and landscaping the area near the village library.

The students presented landscape designs to the village council during their monthly village meetings. After final approval, the students removed the old landscape and created a new one. A total of 50 plants were planted representing 18 different types of plants. Many of the plants are pollinator plants. Eleven yards of mulch were used to complete the design.


Teachers honored for excellence

Deborah School, left, receives the Richard T. Lowery Educator of Excellence Award for 2018-19 from Laurie Penkivich representing the Nicolet Oconto Retired Teachers Association (NORTA) during the Gillett Education Association banquet at the Main Event in Cecil. (Contributed photo)

Carmen Brown, NORTA member, congratulates Lori Rowland of Washington Middle School on her Educator of Excellence Award. (Contributed photo)

Heidi Gerndt, left, receives the Richard T. Lowery Educator of Excellence Award from retired Suring teacher Tina Nieling, NORTA member and secretary. (Contributed photo)

NORTA member and retired Lena educator Sharon Van Ark, left, presents Karen Gard with the Richard T. Lowery Educator of Excellence Award. (Contributed photo)

Correction: Lori Rowland's name was misspelled in the original version of this article, published June 26, 2019. The Times Herald apologizes for the error.

Teachers from area schools are being honored with the annual Richard T. Lowery Educator of Excellence Award, sponsored by the Nicolet/Oconto Retired Teachers Association (NORTA) and the parent organization, WREA (Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association), Madison.

One teacher from each of the NORTA schools is chosen by their peers to receive this award. They receive a certificate from the state Department of Public Instruction and also a cash stipend encouraging them to continue in her outstanding fashion and encourage others to do the same.

The recipients this year are Deborah School in the Gillett School District, Lori Rowland in Oconto Falls, Heidi Gerndt in Suring and Karen Gard in Lena.



Gillett FFA hosts annual banquet

Award winners and officers were honored at the Gillett FFA banquet May 5. Pictured are, front row, from left, Phillip Heroux, Emily Hairapetian, Elizabeth Ciancio, Haley Giese and Thayne Bjelland. Back row is FFA adviser Michele DeBauch, Matthew Rost, Blake Goodreau, Tani Lucht and Grace Wickman. (Contributed photo)

To celebrate this year’s accomplishments of the Gillett FFA, the chapter held a banquet May 5 at Romy’s Holiday Inn, Kelly Lake. Twenty members and 42 friends, family members and guests attended the awards ceremony. Amelia Hayden, Wisconsin FFA state president, was the guest speaker.

There were many awards given to celebrate the past year of accomplishments within the chapter. Discovery Degree recipients were Bradin Bjelland, Ben Matczak, Dylan Nelson, Shelby Otto and Emma Walker.

Laney DeBauch was named the 2019 Outstanding Middle School Member.

Greenhand Degree recipients included Alex Baldwin, Thayne Bjelland, Tani Lucht and Juniper Schaefer. The 2019 Star Greenhand award was presented to Thayne Bjelland.


Falls senior gets Burger King scholarship

Glenn Seyfert, owner of Burger King in Oconto Falls, presents a $5,000 Burger King McLamore Foundation scholarship to Mackenzie Staidl, along with Doug Kellogg, manager, and Jennifer Taege, director of operations for PIP Corp. (Contributed photo)

An Oconto Falls High School senior is one of just 11 students across North America to receive a Burger King Scholars Regional Employee Award from Burger King’s philanthropic foundation.

The Burger King McLamore Foundation presented the $5,000 scholarship to Mackenzie Staidl of Oconto Falls, who plans to use the award to attend University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, majoring in English and Drama.

Staidl has maintained a high GPA throughout her academic career at Oconto Falls High School, while also being an active member of several clubs and participating in several productions in her high school career.

In addition to working as a team member at the Oconto Falls Burger King, she is involved in her high school’s drama club, FFA, student council, band, jazz band, choir, vocal jazz, and forensics team. She is a class officer, president of the FFA, and a member of the National Honor Society.


Gillett forensics brings hardware home

The Gillett High School forensics team visits the state Capitol during its trip to the state tournament in Madison. Front row from left, Marissa Klein, Serenity Corona, Elizabeth Ciancio, Sylvia Hansen, Sia Billington and Jerika Heroux; second row, Joslyn Sexton, Brianna DeBauch, Emily Umentum and Angela Guzman; third row, Kallie Frank, Sydney Young, Meredith Hansen, Jenna Woelfel, Hannah Simpson and Lizzie Tebo; fourth row, KayLee Huebner, Ana Grover, Alaina Herzog, Aubrey DeBauch, Valerie VandeCorput, Bailey Pedersen and Lars Grover; top row, Anastasia Lizarraga, Derek Hanson, Cole Watts, Riley Engebretsen and Connor Hanson. (Contributed photo)

Members of the Gillett High School forensic team represented their school well in the Wisconsin High School Forensics Associate State Event, held April 12-13 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Students who scored a perfect 25 out of 25 possible points received a gold medal. Eleven top performers from Gillett earned this prestigious “Critics Choice Award,” including Anastasia Lizarraga, Sia Billington, Sydney Young, Ana Grover, Abby Peterson, Jenna Woelfel, Lizzie Tebo, Aubrey DeBauch, Brianna DeBauch, Valerie Vande Corput and Lars Grover.

Students who scored 23 or 24 points received a silver medal; 11 Gillett students earned this “All-State Award.” They are Jerika Heroux, Angela Guzman, Kallie Frank, Serenity Corona, KayLee Huebner, Emily Umentum, Elizabeth Ciancio, Sylvia Hansen, Riley Engebretsen, Derek Hanson and Connor Hanson.


Stegeman named state Future Business Leader

Suring High School senior Mitchell Stegeman with his first-place trophy after being named Wisconsin’s Future Business Leader. (Contributed photo)

A Suring High School senior qualified for national competition during the 65th annual Wisconsin State Leadership Conference on April 8-9 in Green Bay.

Mitchell Stegeman placed first in the Future Business Leader state event, qualifying him for national competition in San Antonio in June. There he will compete against members from across the country for the title of national Future Business Leader.

Stegeman was also was recognized for his completion of the Future, Business, and Leader levels of the Business Achievement Awards as well as, being a Who’s Who in Wisconsin FBLA recipient.

He was one of five members and one adviser who took part in this year’s conference. Maddy School competed in Broadcast Journalism, while Caleb Lally, Linzy Runge, and Wylee Van Bellinger completed the Legacy Academy, a one-and-a-half-day leadership workshop led by professional speaker Patti Hendrickson.


OFHS Drama Club to present classic comedy

Abby (Mackenzie Staidl), second from right, and Martha (Paige Stapleton), right, look on affectionately as their nephew Mortimer (Keith Van Dornick) celebrates his new engagement with his fiancee Elaine (Andrea Waschbisch). (Contributed photo)

The Oconto Falls High School Drama Club is finalizing preparations for its spring production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” later this month.

This classic dark comedy has been a smash hit in New York and on the road. The story tells of the charming and innocent Brewster sisters, Abby and Martha, who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously “acceptable” roomers; along with the antics of their nephews, Mortimer, a manic theater critic; Jonathan, who is on the run from the law; and Teddy, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt.

The production is once again under the direction of faculty member Gayle Gander, assisted by senior student director Addy Hatch. Club members making up the cast include Mackenzie Staidl, Paige Stapleton, Keith Van Dornick, Connor Romandine, Aidan Spillane, Andrea Waschbisch, Khloe Van Dornick, Gabby Wellnitz, Allison Grzelak, Katelyn Staidl, Lydia Murphy-Hendricks, Carli Fischer and Alex Waschbisch.


OFHS artist receives national recognition

Adeline Pumplun is Oconto Falls High School’s first-ever national medalist in the annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She will be traveling with her mom to New York to receive her award at Carnegie Hall, and her work will be exhibited around the U.S. for the next two years. Pumplun had three art pieces accepted into the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, earning two silver keys and one gold key.


Veteran teachers call it a career

Sports teams always face the challenge of moving on as veteran players retire, sometimes several at the same time.

Everyday work teams can face the same challenge. The Oconto Falls School District is no exception.

The Oconto Falls School Board on March 11 accepted retirement requests from four teachers with a combined 125 years of service to their students.

Retiring at the end of this school year are Todd Peterson, elementary teacher at Oconto Falls Elementary School; Charles Seidl, science teacher at Washington Middle School; JoAnn Peters, seventh-grade English teacher at Washington Middle School; and Jan Wallrich, art teacher at Oconto Falls High School.

“To say that they have been extremely dedicated to our school district is an understatement of epic proportions,” Superintendent Dean Hess told the board. “We greatly appreciate the work that they have each done, ranging from the elementary school to middle school and the high school.”


STEM Symposium showcases student research

Kids belly up to the “Alien Juice Bar” run by, from left, Trinady Vorpahl, Willamina Peterson and Navalee Bauer at the Oconto Falls High School STEM Symposium on Monday. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

More than 150 science, technology, engineering and math projects are on display at the annual STEM Symposium at Oconto Falls High School on March 4. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Kailey VanLanen, left, and Lydia Murphy-Hendricks demonstrate with a tennis ball the trebuchet they used to measure trajectory and distance in their “Orange Smackdown” experiment. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics ruled the day Monday evening in the gymnasium and commons of Oconto Falls High School, where hundreds of students shared the results of their research in the school’s annual STEM Symposium.

Seniors Kailey VanLanen and Lydia Murphy-Hendricks explained the results of their “Orange Smackdown” experiment, using their hand-crafted trebuchet — a catapult-like device that uses a heavy counterweight to hurl its payload — to determine the launch angle needed to throw an orange the farthest.

Their attempts showed that the “sweet spot” is when the trebuchet was pulled 80 to 100 degrees off center. A greater or lesser angle was less effective.


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