Garrett Wons is exemplary soloist

Garrett Wons, son of Bill and Suzie Wons, was recently the recipient of the Wisconsin School Music Association Exemplary Soloist Award at the UW-Green Bay State Solo and Ensemble Festival. Wons plays alto saxophone and is a junior at Oconto Falls High School.
This is the second year in a row that he has been selected as an exemplary soloist. He is a member of the Oconto Falls High School Band and is performing with Wisconsin’s Ambassadors of Music European Tour Band this summer.


Suring schools offer summer meals

The Suring Public School District, 411 E. Algoma St., Suring, invites all children age 18 and younger to a free breakfast and lunch Wednesday and Thursday as well as the weeks of June 25-28, July 9-12, July 16-19, July 23-26 and July 30 to Aug. 2.
Breakfast will be served 7:45-8:15 a.m., and lunch will be served from 12:15-12:45 p.m.
Meals are provided to all children regardless of race, color, national origin, gender or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of meal service.


Gillett, Suring students bike to school

Gillett kids head down the home stretch to school, with Superintendent Todd Carlson on his motorcycle and Police Chief Jess Keplinger leading the way. (Contributed photo)

Safe Kids Oconto County joined Suring Public School District and Gillett School District to celebrate Bike to School Day. Gillett’s event was initially scheduled to take place May 9, which is International Bike to School Day. But due to inclement weather, the event was delayed until May 30. The event brings together children, parents and educators to raise awareness about bike safety.

About 119 Gillett students and 85 Suring students participated in the event, along with 50 or more staff members and volunteers from each community. Both communities also received support and sponsorship from more than 20 local businesses and organizations each.

In partnership with Bell Sports, Bike to School Day is celebrated in hundreds of communities across the United States as part of National Bike Month. All events promote biking to school as a safe and fun way to travel, while highlighting important bike safety information, such as wearing a helmet.


Middle school grants support technology and exploration

Students use a digital microscope to examine lettuce growing in a hydroponic tower. The microscopes were provided from a Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin grant and the hydroponics system was provided by a Wisconsin Public Service grant. (Contributed photo)

Washington Middle School in Oconto Falls received a grant this year from the Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin for digital microscopes and magnifiers, tools used by students to investigate and explore their world at a magnified level.

The digital microscopes work seamlessly with students’ Chromebooks so that students are not only able to view closer, they are able to take pictures and save them on their Chromebooks as well. The tools help extend the school’s technological capabilities, investigate and ask questions with a scientific mindset.

Another grant WMS received is from Wisconsin Public Service for a hydroponic growing system and grow lights for germinating seeds. Students harvested seeds in the fall and all year long have been growing native plants to plant in a pollinator garden.

There are over 50 plants, coming from of a variety of native species such as yellow coneflower, wild bergamot and cup plant.


Oconto Falls High School girls attend STEM workshop

Oconto Falls High School students who attended a STEM workshop at the Milwaukee School of Medicine are, top row from left, Shelby Salamonski, Amber Proctor, Jordan Rennie, Lyndsey Luebke, Ashley Britton and Lauryn Slade; second row, Mercedes Risso, Erin Effenberger, Lydia Murphy-Hendricks, Samantha Coron, Natalie Brauer and teacher Constance Rauterkus; third row, Katie Kurth, Emily Greenwood, Morgan Blazek, Wendy Avila and Kayley VanDenEng; bottom row, Jaquelyn Gerlach, Brett Norling, Kya Pecha, Addison Hatch, Gwen Williams, Abigail Schmeisser and Sierra Seizyk. (Contributed photo)

A group of 23 girls from Oconto Falls High School attended a workshop April 28 at the Milwaukee School of Medicine titled “Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Professional Women.” Constance Rauterkus and Candice Behnke, high school science teachers from Oconto Falls High School, made arrangements and traveled with the girls for this event.

Rob Seeber, from the Riverview BP Quickmart, provided funding from the station’s Panther Pride pump to help pay for busing costs to the event.

Half of the college-educated workforce are women, but only 29 percent are pursuing careers in science or engineering, despite 74 percent having expressed interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in middle school. The Engaging Girls in STEM Initiative is a nonprofit organization determined to change that by encouraging high school-aged girls to engage with and be inspired by STEM professional women to more confidently pursue their own STEM careers.


Gillett forensics competitors bring home gold

Members of the Gillett High School Forensics Team visited the state Capitol while at UW-Madison for the Wisconsin High School Forensics Associate State Event. (Contributed photo)

The Gillett High School Forensic Team traveled to Madison on April 20-21 to participate in the Wisconsin High School Forensics Associate State Event at the University of Wisconsn-Madison.

Students who scored a perfect 25 points received a gold medal. Three top performers from Gillett earned the prestigious Critics Choice Award, Alex Young, Anastasia Lizarraga and Bailey Pederson.

Students who score a 23 or 24 receive a silver medal. Eighteen Gillett students earned the All-State Award, Kaylee Simon, Jerika Heroux, Ana Grover, Angela Guzman, Kalea Britton, Elizabeth Kahler, Valerie VandeCorput, Jenna Woelfel, Sydney Young, Kendyl Sturm, Jaylan Lauersdorf, Sophie Horsens, Annie Kohls, Aubrey DeBauch, Abby Peterson, Elizabeth Ciancio, Emelie Horsens and Sylvia Hanson.


Stephanie Peitersen recognized for making it better

Oconto Falls High School senior Stephanie Peitersen reacts to the news that she has been awarded a $7,500 scholarship as the first-place female winner of the Wisconsin Sports Awards Scholarship Contest. (Contributed photo)

Stephanie Peitersen was surprised last week by a group of special visitors with a big check to further her education.

Peitersen, a standout athlete and active student at Oconto Falls High School, was the first-place winner in the statewide Wisconsin Sports Awards Scholarship Contest for a $7,500 scholarship. The contest is sponsored by Cousins Subs and its Make It Better Foundation.

She will be recognized at the Wisconsin Sports Awards event in Milwaukee on Aug. 22. The Wisconsin Sports Awards is an exclusive VIP event celebrating the finest Wisconsin athletics in high school, collegiate and professional arenas.

Peitersen was selected as a finalist due to her exceptional academic acumen, volunteer work and achievements in three Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) sanctioned sports — volleyball, softball and basketball.


Gillett HS forensics team qualifies for state

Gillett High School forensics students going to state are, front row from left, Faith Sorlie, Kaylee Simon, Emily Umentum, Jerika Heroux, Serenity Corona, Ana Grover, Elizabeth Ciancio and Kaylee Huebner; second row, Abby Peterson, Jenna Woelfel, Alex Young, Bailey Pederson, Sydney Young, Kendyl Sturm, Elizabeth Kahler, Jaylen Lauersdorf, Kelsi Olinger and Valerie VandeCorput; back row, Kalea Britton, Sophia Horsens, Sylvia Hansen, Angela Guzman, Brandon Rodgers, Ben Burt, Alex Rodgers, Willow Pecha, Emeile Horsens, Brianna DeBauch, Aubrey DeBauch and Anastasia Lizarraga. Missing is Annie Kohls. (Contributed photo)

The Gillett High School forensics team participated in the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association District Festival at Marinette High School on March 17. The competition consists of two levels, subdistrict and district, where performers must achieve performance standards to advance to a state festival in Madison.

In three rounds of competition, performers must earn two scores of 20 or higher out of 25 possible points to advance. All 31 Gillett performers in 15 entries qualified for the state festival, which will be held April 20-21.

Thirteen students received a perfect score in one of their rounds: Alex Young, Kaylee Simon, Anastasia Lizarraga, Angela Guzman, Ana Grover, Emily Umentum, Brianna DeBauch, Serenity Corona, Aubrey DeBauch, Abby Peterson, Elizabeth Ciancio, Emeile Horsens and Sylvia Hansen.

The team is coached by Tami McQuillan, Stephanie Spang and Don Olderman.


Gillett Middle School Forensics team performs well

The Gillett Middle School forensics team is, first row from left, Phillip Heroux, Cheyenne Krueger, Madyson Van Haren, Virgil Herzog, Amanda Jenerou, Marissa Klein, Angela Mosconi, Jaimee Rehn and Anna Bierhals; second row, Laney DeBauch, Kadence Swim, Thayne Bjelland, Hannah Simpson, Amber Brehmer, Evan Peterson, Blake Goodreau, Isabella Matczak and Eva Woodke; third row, Connor Hanson, Lars Grover, Joslyn Sexton, Alaina Herzog, Alex Peterson and Christina Ciancio. (Contributed photo)

The Gillett Middle School forensics team performed well at two recent festivals.

The team, coached by Tami McQuillan and Don Olderman, competed at a Level I Festival in Suring on Jan. 29. All performers received straight A’s and qualified to participate in a Level II Festival.

On March 5, the team traveled to Wabeno for the district Level II competition. More than 100 students from eight area schools participated in the festival. The Gillett Middle School team had outstanding performances and brought home 25 A’s and one B in the categories of play-acting, prose, storytelling, news reporting and readers’ theater.


Schools prepare for spring break

Area public schools are planning to give students a spring break around Good Friday and Easter.

Gillett, Pulaski and Oconto public school districts will be closed for the week beginning Monday, March 26, with classes resuming on Monday, April 2, for Gillett and Oconto. Pulaski has scheduled a staff development day with no classes April 2.

Oconto Falls and Suring public school districts have scheduled staff development days on Thursday, March 29. School will not be in session.

Lena, Oconto Falls and Suring schools will be closed for spring break on Friday, March 30, and Monday, April 2. Classes will resume at the regular time Tuesday, April 3.

The Coleman School District will close for spring break from Thursday, March 29, through Monday, April 2, with a staff in-service day Tuesday, April 3. Classes will resume Wednesday, April 4.


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