Self Evaluation

This is one of my last assignments on the staff of the gull lake high school newspaper. Overall, I’m so glad I took this class my sophomore year and decided to continue with it, even though I didn’t write what I originally thought I would. I’m definitely not the best writer, but this class did help me to improve my efficiency, wording, and fear of others reading my work. I know my experience from newspaper has helped me when it came to writing for other classes, specifically my college english classes. Looking back I should have pushed myself more when it came to speaking up and choosing tougher articles. I would have improved and been more proud of what I had written. Although, I’m amazed that more than fifty articles of mine have been published on the school paper.

I have not taken the chance to go to MIPA yet, but this year being my last chance, I’m not going to let it go. I have entered an infographic that I’m really pleased with that went with my Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them movie review. My favorite thing to do in newspaper was making the infographics and I wish I spent more time making them, but I guess I got caught up with other things and didn’t take the opportunities. This was a great class to develop my writing and make friends. I’m looking forward to seeing the newspaper continue and grow with more reporters, editors, graphic designers and photographers.


Students to perform at Carnegie Hall

Kylie Buckham with fellow singers chosen to sing at Carnegie Hall for the High School Honors Concert Choir. Photo courtesy goes to Kylie Buckham.

It all started with a nomination and audition tape for sophomores Kylie Buckham and Benjamin McWilliams. They were chosen to represent Gull Lake in New York City for the High School Honors Concert Choir and Symphony Orchestra.

Both McWilliams and Buckham practiced, learned and performed at Carnegie Hall from February 2 through February 6. They were nominated from over 18,000 students that auditioned in grades 10 through 12 from all over the world for the opportunity to perform.

McWilliams was nominated by Branden Burris, the GLHS Band and Choir Director and will be playing the only tuba spot in the orchestra.

Burris said that McWilliams is a dedicated musician who goes above and beyond to improve his musical abilities. Burris said that he nominated McWilliams, but that McWilliams earned it. [pullquote]

“Ben McWilliams is a joy to have as part of the GLHS Band Programs, and I am so proud of all of his hard work and achievements. If GLHS had a fine arts hall of fame, like athletics does, Ben would surely be inducted,” Burris said.

Times Square, New York City. Photo courtesy goes to Kylie Buckham.


McWilliams has been in band since sixth grade, but didn’t start playing the tuba until seventh grade. He also plays the trombone, euphonium, piano, bass guitar, ukulele and guitar.

McWilliams travels the country to take lessons from the best tuba professors, plays in both the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra and Youth Brass Band of Battle Creek, and spends his summers traveling to different professional music camps.

“Even though Ben has playing abilities well beyond his years, he still takes the time to encourage the band tries to instill his musical experiences into the younger players,” Burris said.

Buckham was nominated by Fred Sang, Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus Director. Sang runs all four choirs in the KCC program and is the director of the touring choir that Buckham has been apart of since she was nine-years-old.

“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, but it started getting serious when I joined the Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus in 4th grade,” Buckham said. “I really started to find passion and inspiration in music.”

Both students have put the time in and it has made it a possibility to be selected for this renowned program.

“I enjoy playing the tuba very much, and I think that enjoying it so much enriches every experience I have, making me audition for something every chance I get,” McWilliams said.[pullquote]

“I am most looking forward to performing with other kids from all over the nation who are just as interested in music as I am,” McWilliams said. “Also, the conductor of our orchestra is a very accomplished conductor from the Thornton School of Music.”

The High School Honors Concert Choir preparing at Carnegie Hall for show. Photo courtesy goes to Kylie Buckham.


McWilliams was mostly excited to play in the famously historic music hall where orchestras from all over the world have performed world class concerts.

“I think I’m most looking forward to meeting new people who are dedicated musicians and also seeing the city,” Buckham said.  “And performing at Carnegie hall, of course.”

Students to perform at Carnegie Hall

Seniors achieve impressive accomplishment for wrestling

“My uncles and Grandparents, everybody likes wrestling. I started it when I was really young, so I thought I would just stick with it,” senior Nolan Rowland said. Photo by Jovanna Moore.

Seniors Nolan Rowland and Daniel Rodriguez both earned their 100th win on Gull Lake’s wrestling team.

Rowland received his against Lakeview on Wednesday, January 4 while Rodriguez was awarded on Saturday, January 7, against Bangor at Climax Scott.

Rowland has been a member of the varsity team since his freshman year.

“I started when I was three-years-old,” Rowland said. “It’s fun and everyone in my family has–my uncle wrestled, my Grandpa wrestled and so did a bunch of my cousins, so it’s kind of a family thing.”

Many wrestlers go their entire high school careers without reaching 100 wins. In the high school gym, a banner hangs with all the names of the players who have reached this feat.

“I got my name on the banner and a cool poster,” Rowland said.

Wrestling senior night on February 1. Nolan is recognized with his parents and sister. Photo by Jovanna Moore.

Rowland plans to continue wrestling at Alma College as he studies to become a veterinarian. He plans to earn his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) while having a backup plan of becoming a chemistry teacher.    

“I love working with animals. I have been in the Veterinary Science Education for Employment (EFE) for two years now,” Rowland said.

Rodriguez also played on varsity all four years but doesn’t plan on continuing after high school.  

“I can’t say I was really surprised at making 100 wins because I knew I was making good progress year after year,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez plans on attending to a compass college of cinematic arts in Grand Rapids to pursue an education in film.

Seniors achieve impressive accomplishment for wrestling

The Crown takes back lost views

Queen Elizabeth assumed the throne at the age of 25 with a husband and two children. The Crown depicts the friction that responsibilities and expectation in the royal court have on relationships, specifically between Elizabeth and Phillip. Photo courtesy goes to Netflix.

The Crown uncovers the weight of the crown and country on the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, has shown a growing popularity. The 10 episode Netflix original, created by Peter Morgan, was released November 4, 2016.

The program recently won a Golden Globe for the Best Television Series in the drama category and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, as well as being nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

The series stars Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth, Matt Smith as Prince Phillip and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.

This series is elaborate and detail oriented; the fashion and architecture are an amazing representation of the era that is well made and definitely showed a higher caliber of production that might be seen on PBS.

“The Crown” had a great mixture of historical and dramatic moments to keep the show engrossing and as accurate as possible. It touched on the history and issues with Prime Minister Winston Churchill regarding his age and health and the drama regarding Princess Margaret and the Church of England.

“The Crown” gives insight into the personal relationships of the royal family, going behind the scenes to what was not made to the public. This series is one of the top trending shows on Netflix because viewers get to see something considered private “from” another time period.

The biographical drama portrays mainly the relationship between Elizabeth and Phillip.

This show is not completely accurate, but what television show really is? Although it does touch on the King George’s cancer and stutter, commonwealth tour, The Great Smog of 1952, the televised coronation and Churchill’s resignation.

The Crown takes back lost views

PAC’s Revenge of the Space Pandas soaring our way

Performing Arts Company (PAC) cast for the 2016 fall show, Game of Tiaras. Photo credit goes to Jonathan Kind.

Travel through time and space with the Performing Arts Company (PAC) and come watch their newly selected their winter show. This production will be for the Company’s competition season that starts December 28 and lasts through February.

“Auditions for the competition show were right before Thanksgiving,” said PAC Director Jonathan Kind. “PAC had only a week between the end of the Game of Tiaras and auditions for Revenge of the Space Pandas.”[pullquote]

This show is different from the others we have done here in a lot of ways. The content is much more silly. Game of Tiaras was funny, but in a very different fashion.


The main storyline of Revenge of the Space Pandas revolves around a young scientist, Binky Rudich, and his companions who create a device that allows them to travel through time and space. When they come out on the other end, they find themselves on a planet 50 light years from Earth with a device that has broken.

While trying to find their way back home the group encounters famous actors, a tyrannical ruler, and of course, space pandas.

“The idea came directly from Mr. Kind. He showed a few of the PAC kids some of the script, and it was pretty much decided then,” said junior and Assistant Director Dallas Fuller.

This competition show has more restrictions compared to the fall show, each year the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association (MIFA) cycles between drama and comedy, so the schools must adhere to that. The play must also be able to be performed in under 45 minutes. So, Kind said he selected Revenge of the Space Pandas by David Mamet because he was sure it would wow audiences and judges.

“When I first came across Revenge of the Space Pandas by David Mamet, I was intrigued by the title and upon reading it, I fell in love with the quirky comedy and twists and turns of the plot,” Kind said. “The potential for awesome costumes and an interesting, yet simple set struck me as something perfect for competition.”

Junior Tova Carter is taking the helm as Stage Manager for a second time, as well as, other seasoned Crew Heads. Dallas Fuller is the assistant director working alongside Kind. Juniors Parker Feraco, Kelly Newell and Samantha Putman are Sound Chief, Lighting Chief and Props Chief respectively.[pullquote]

Cast List for Revenge of the Space Pandas

Binky- Sam Tilbury
Vivian- Athena Osburn
Bob- Alex Prater
Mrs. Rudich- Mackenzie Sternburgh

George- Ruth Hill
Retainer- Hannah Monroe
Edward Parpis- Trenton Hargrove
Executioner- Rein Boehme
Newsperson- Sylvia Nuyen
Panda 1- Chloe Leitch
Panda 2-Lizzy Hargrove
Panda 3- Storm Armstrong
Panda 4- Erin Hope

“Casting was very difficult because we had a lot of great actors audition, but only a small number of parts,” Kind said. “If everyone puts in the work, I know they are capable of I am optimistic for our season.”

Coming into the second year of competition, the PAC company better understands the process and enables the company to explore new elements to improve their production.  

Kind said that the set was going to be the most considerable difference with production this year. The cast and crew will be interacting with the set.

“Last year the set was a simple interior set with aspects of minimalism. The set for this production is much more interactionary and adaptive,” Kind said. “The same set pieces serve multiple purposes to create the illusion of many more scenes.”

Sophomore Athena Osburn–who was casted as one of the leads, Vivian, said that preparation for the show has been running smoothly and that they are heading in a really good direction to make the performance the best it can be.

“I think the show will be good because it’s filled with great, funny characters and little actions and dialogue that make this show enjoyable,” Osburn said. “Also the set is gonna really super cool.”

She also said that the cast gets along well, and she enjoys being surrounded by these funny people for most of her day.

“Since this is our second year of competition, I am very excited to see what PAC can do now that we better understand the process,” Kind said.

PAC’s Revenge of the Space Pandas soaring our way

Girls bowling earns first win

Freshman Grace Rutz at practice in new uniform provided by the boosters before team pictures. Photo credit goes to Emily Koenig.

Girls’ Bowling at Gull Lake High School had a win min-season on January 7 against Loy Norrix at the Pinz Bowling Alley in Kalamazoo.

“Being our first win as a team, I feel as though it really uplifted our belief in our abilities to bowl and brought us together as a team,” junior Sierra Mason said.

The girls’ team has 12 players, but only seven are chosen to participate at matches each Saturday. Seniors Sarah Fagerness and Abby Simmons, juniors Sierra Mason, Elizabeth Stout and Kelsey Jacobs, and freshmen Grace Rutz and Jordyn Hale all bowled against Loy Norrix on Saturday.

Matches at Airway on February 4, Continental on February 11 and last one at Eastland on February 18. Photo credit goes to Keyshawn Wilson.

“We won because they only had three, while we had seven,” Rutz said. “But, We always cheer each other up, and it’s a fun environment to be in no matter how we perform.”

Girls’ bowling at Gull Lake hasn’t had the strongest record over the last few years, but with the sudden interest this year, the bowling team members said they hope to make a few pick ups.

Last year the team started with four, but sometimes they would have six players at competition.

“Our team last year, although small and pretty terrible; we had heart and fun just like this year,” senior Abby Simmons said.

Girls bowling earns first win


Bowling season strikes interest

Mickey Rutz at practice. “I enjoy the sport because it is something you can do well into your adult years.  Unlike football, baseball, wrestling or any other sport that requires physical contact,” Rutz said. Photo by Lexi Warren.

Tryouts were held November 16 and accompanied with a large turn out. Bowling at Gull Lake is a no cut sport, so the girls’ team consists of 12 people, and the boys’ team has 10.  

“I have no idea why so many signed up this year. This is my third year as the girls coach, and this is the highest turn out yet,” girls bowling coach Mickey Rutz said. “I’m hoping it’s because the sport may be on the upswing in popularity.”

So far there has been two matches, one against Portage Northern and the other against Paw Paw.

“We have lost both, but we have a great time while we bowl, whether it’s practice or competition,” senior Jessica Widner said. “We even have our own slogan, ‘one is better than none.’”

This is the first year the bowling participants didn’t have to fundraise for the $40 shirt in addition to the $75  pay-to-play fee. With so many students interested in bowling this season, the boosters are pitching in and buying the shirts for the uniform.

Bowling season strikes interest

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: A new era

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was released on November 18, 2016. The film was inspired by British wizard, Newt Scamander, author of a Hogwarts textbook from Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

On May 13, 2014 it was first announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them would become a motion picture. The excitement of this Harry Potter revival became similar to that of Star Wars, but this time it has a completely unique plot, written by none other than J.K. Rowling herself. This marks her debut to screenwriting and more in the future with confirmation of this being the first of a five movie series that will span a 19 years story.

Shall we step back into the wizarding world and magical suitcase of the long awaited movie Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them.

New York 1926, Eddie Redmayne stars as the central character, magizoologist Newt Scamander. He sets out on a global exploration to find and study an array of magical creatures with suitcase full of mischievous beasts, such as the Niffler.

He plans on the trip to only be a brief visit, but an array of problems arise from an encounter with a No-Maj named Jacob. Cases are switched, beasts are released, new villain and obscurious. The situation threatens to reveal the wizarding world to the No-Maj which puts Newt in a tight position with The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA).

This is the book written by J. K. Rowling that the movie was inspired by, it contains an index of magical beasts with their classification and description. It also is supposed to be Harry Potter’s book from Hogwarts, so it has notes inside from his adventures. Photo by Lexi Warren.

The dazzling imagery throws Harry Potter fans back into the magical world created by J.K. Rowling. “Let me tell you, I ain’t got the brains to make this up,” a line said by character Jacob Kowalski in the movie.

Fantastic Beasts combines the wizarding world and the extravagant Roaring 20’s to create a “new era” of the series. Throughout the movie Newt cares for these beasts that haven’t been given the chance to be understood.

This movie lays down the story for the films to follow, as there is not a book series that goes along with these movies. With that, this film has some advantages; it won’t have a book series to live up to.

Potter fans are expecting a Dumbledore and Grindelwald showdown in the span of 1926 through 1945, as alluded in the Harry Potter series.

The film was directed by David Yates, who also filmed the last four Harry Potter movies in the franchise. This movie had new faces such as Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler to accompany Academy and Golden Globe Award winner Eddie Redmayne. The movie also stars Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell.


Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: A new era

Stoner and Kwiatkowski begin new jobs in Gull Lake School District

It was announced to the school body this year that counselor Bobbi Jo Stoner had accepted a different position in the school district. Jim Murphy, the Coordinator of Early College, Virtual and Home School Programs, retired on November 23, and Stoner stepped into his shoes.

“YOU remain my #1 priority and we will make sure this transition does not affect you [seniors] in a negative way. I am thrilled to say that in my new role, I still will get to be on stage at graduation and will be cheering each one of you on as you walk across that stage!,” former counselor Bobbi Jon Stoner said. Photo courtesy goes to Stosh Tustin.
“YOU remain my #1 priority, and we will make sure this transition does not affect you [seniors] in a negative way. I am thrilled to say that in my new role, I still will get to be on stage at graduation and will be cheering each one of you on as you walk across that stage,” said former counselor Bobbi Jon Stoner. Photo by Stosh Tustin.
“I went through the application process to be selected for this position. I was very involved in the Michigan Early Middle College Association Early College certification process over the past two years,” Stoner said.

Stoner will continue to work closely with the three counselors Jodee Stanton, Jayne Stover and Diana Kwiatkowski at the high school. She’ll also assist all the counselors, as well as, counseling secretary, Kelly Quartermaine and monitor seniors’ progress towards graduation and will continue office hours on Wednesdays.

“I am not giving up on seniors–and will miss seeing all of you daily. Rather, I feel like I am graduating and moving on with all of you as you are preparing to graduate and move on as well,” Stoner said.

[pullquote]Mrs. K is totally fine, I just got married, so I’m sick of saying that last name as well, so it’s all brand new for me too. [/pullquote]

As of this November, Diana Kwiatkowski filled Stoner’s counseling job. She is a Gull Lake alumni of 1999, spent all 12 years of her schooling here. She participated in soccer, basketball, student senate, newspaper and yearbook.

She has spent the last seven years working as a counselor at Vicksburg High School.

“I have always wanted to end up back at Gull Lake; it’s been fun to be back and see old teachers. Now I have students of my friends that I went to high school with, so it’s just kinda fun,” Kwiatkowski said. “It’s more just getting back to home.”

Starting her ninth year as a counselor with caseload of 325 students, she is responsible for all the freshman and then A-G of the seniors. [pullquote]

Seniors have been divided by alphabet for counseling this year for any needs:

A-G: Mrs. Kwiatkowski

H-O: Mrs. Stanton

P-Z: Mrs. Stover


“Meeting all the students, it’s overwhelming, but I’m excited to meet everybody,” Kwiatkowski said.

She is also excited to work in a nice new building with updated technology–as well as get a bit more sleep since she doesn’t have the commute from Vicksburg.

“I even have a window in my office, which is awesome. At Vicksburg I didn’t have a window, so I was just in this box the whole time. It’s nice to see outside and see what’s going on,” Kwiatkowski said.

Diana Kwiatkowski is the new counselor at GLHS. “As I was saying to other people, it’s good to be back home, you know this is where I grew up, this is where I’m from and I have always been a blue devil, so it’s excited to be back,” Kwiatkowski said. Photo by Lexi Warren

Kwiatkowski went to college at Western and graduated still not quite knowing what to do with her psychology major. So after talking with a friend’s Dad who was a school counselor and job shadowing, she made the decision: become a school counselor.  

Kwiatkowski furthered her psychology major by going to DePaul University for student counseling. So even though she took the long about way to finding her career, she said she now loves the individual work of counseling. 

Stoner said that she believes that everyone can finish school and change jobs, but that the way or how they get to the end result may look different for each person. 

After half a decade as one of the high school counselors, she herself is having a job change.

“As I’ve talked about with students before, the career life cycle expands and changes as you work professionally,” Stoner said. “This was an opportunity for me to grow as an educator and continue to learn while also allowing me the opportunity to expand meaningful learning options for students in traditional and nontraditional ways.”

Both Stoner and Kwiatkowski are both excited to begin their new jobs as a counselor and Coordinator of Early College & Innovative Programs. 

Stoner and Kwiatkowski begin new jobs in Gull Lake School District