Category Archives: Feature

WYSE team wins Regionals

By Gabriel Tomer
Multimedia Manager

Many students shrivel in fear at the thought of taking tests. School is filled with them, and they are the bane of both the students who have to take them and the teachers who have to grade them.

However, at Mattoon High School, there is a team for the students who are not deterred by tests, but exceed at taking them. The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering, better known as WYSE, is an organization where students compete against other schools by taking tests in various different subjects. MHS recently won as a team at Regional competition.

MHS math, science teacher and WYSE adviser Brendan Aydt pinpoints the difference between WYSE and other groups that compete.

“There is a focus on a broad range of subjects, instead of just math or science club. There’s everything from math to different areas of science, to English and engineering graphics are included. It’s also competitive. We compete against different schools at Sectionals/State competition,” Aydt said.

Aydt says students should look at participating in WYSE to further their academic interests in various subjects that push students to their mental limit.

“They can learn a little bit more than what they typically do in classes. The tests are challenging, being at a high school and first-year college level. That challenges students to go beyond what they’re doing in their classes,” Aydt said.

MHS senior Charles Derrickson explains which students are able to compete, because not just anyone can join WYSE.

“You need to be nominated by a teacher to take a test. The tests are in math, science, English, or drafting. Teachers nominate kids they think will do well,” Derrickson said.

MHS senior Ryan Taylor was determined to join WYSE for academic reasons as well as the challenging aspect.

“I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, and WYSE gives a perfect opportunity to grow academically. Also, I’m going to major in Engineering in college, so math and physics are right in my wheelhouse,” Taylor said.

WYSE Regionals took place on Feb. 3. It’s the start of the competitive ladder that extends to Sectionals, then to the State competition. MHS senior Paisley Meyer attended Regionals, and felt strongly about competing.

“It really is just an honor to be chosen to go. Just being at Regionals gives a sense of pride for the work I put into my classes. Going to Regionals in WYSE was more to see how I would do, but it wasn’t super competitive like other Regionals I’ve gone to, sports wise,” Meyer said.

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Hale leads students by example: Former MHS intern becomes new counselor, bringing male perspective

By Mary ZuHone

With parents having not completed any post-secondary education, one might not expect their child to complete undergraduate school, much less go on to earn a graduate and doctoral degree.

Nevertheless, recently hired Mattoon High School counselor Dr. Aaron Hale has challenged this expectation, earning various degrees ranging from teaching high school social studies to becoming a licensed school and clinical counselor to K-12 education administration.

“When I was an intern [at MHS], I really liked the experience. I worked at Lake Land College as the director of dual credit last year, so I worked a lot with the dual credit instructors…I was interested to come back. I really enjoyed my time at Lake Land, but I’ve been really wanting to come back to Mattoon,” Hale said.

In addition to his experience working with the MHS staff, his personality traits make him especially fit for the job, which is primarily working with students with social and emotional issues.

“He’s just really easy and fun to work with. He is very organized. He is very professional. He is straightforward. He’s very knowledgeable about the dual credit part and just working with students,” MHS counselor Deanna Dalby said. “He isn’t afraid to go out and meet with them. He isn’t afraid or intimidated by going up and talking to a student and getting to know them and being relatable with them.”

Dalby also explains how having a male presence in the counseling team can be beneficial for the students.

“It’s just nice to have another male in here to balance out things or if the student isn’t comfortable talking to a female, they might be more comfortable talking to a male, especially for the male students,” Dalby said.

MHS counselor Krista Jackley agrees with Dalby, adding that Hale is willing to go above and beyond the job requirements while also bringing a fun element to the office.

“The main thing is he’s a go-getter. He doesn’t just want to sit at his desk and just exist here. He tries new things, he wants to do new things, he has good ideas. I really like that about working with him,” Jackley said. “I love his little bow ties. He makes it fun here. When it came time to dress up for Halloween when someone’s like ‘Let’s dress up’ most guys would have been like ‘I’m not doing that,’ and he’s like ‘What do you want me to wear?’”

Hale’s willingness to go the extra mile for students exemplifies his passion of working with students.

“The best positive [of being at MHS] is working with students again…Here, it’s just a lot of student engagement, so working with kids has just been great getting back into that,” Hale said.

Despite his current accomplishments, it was not always easy for Hale who had found the motivation within himself to pursue his higher education.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted. Just because I feel like I preach education, and I want to make sure that I’m an example of that. So if I’m telling students how to make something of themselves or go on and accomplish great things, I don’t want to accomplish anything less than my best,” Hale said.

While achieving his best is one factor of his drive toward his college degrees, another factor is the desire do better for his own family.

“I think it’s a drive you see in a lot of students that come from the low income or that kind of home life where they want something better for themselves. They want something better for their children. I have a, he’s almost three, son named Oliver, and I want to give him a bright future, prove to him that education is important,” Hale said. “My parents kind of struggled financially, so it was not something that I wanted for myself or for my child. I was motivated to kind of pull myself out, do something with my life that’s more, from the educational standpoint.”

Hale finds his determination in providing a better life for his son, and as he looks toward his future, he foresees that his smooth transition to MHS may be his last career change.

“I really enjoy working with students, so I see myself being a counselor potentially for the rest of my life. I really love Mattoon School District, so I don’t have any plans on leaving…Whatever I do ultimately is going to be working with students,” Hale said.

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Humans of Mattoon: Wickline creates design company, actively engages in political machine

By Chloe Anderson

While scrolling through filters on the popular social media app Snapchat, residents of Mattoon, Illinois may notice a new geo-filter specific to Mattoon. This filter and others for places around the town like Mattoon High School and First Presbyterian Church were made by MHS freshman Haiden Wickline. Although he is young,

Wickline has created his own design company, Haiden Charles Design, and has become an active voice in politics. While the Mattoon filter currently on Snapchat may be the first one people have seen, it was not the first filter Wickline designed.

“I’ve been doing graphic design for almost two years as a hobby and for some conventions. So when I heard you could make your own geo-filter on Snapchat, I thought ‘Hey I want to try this.’ So one night, I just scrambled together this little design that said ‘Coming together to build a future’ as a little slogan, and it had the water tower in the background. I sent it in, and it got rejected,” Wickline said. “So then I made another one, sent it again and made it more basic, and it got rejected. I was really confused. I sent another one in and that is the Mattoon, Illinois geo-filter that we have now.”

For many MHS students, this filter may have been the first they heard of Wickline or his graphic design work, but it was not his first design used for the public.

“In my past, I ran a convention called CIL-Con. That was a big convention where we had guests from movies and TV shows. I did the logo for the convention. Once I started doing CIL-Con, I got other conventions trying to get hooked up with me. So, there was a convention up in Champaign, and I made their logo for them,” Wickline said.

Graphic design is not the only thing occupying Wickline’s time. While he makes school his first priority, he has also been very active in politics.

“The 2016 election I worked with Vote Yes, the facility tax for our schools. I also went to many [rallies] in Springfield to show my support for Hillary Clinton,” Wickline said. “I was also a part of the Dennis Malak campaign so he could run for state representative of the 110th district.”

Long before Wickline became active in politics, he became friends with MHS freshman Wyatt Webb. They became friends in fourth grade because they lived only a block away from each other.

Through years of friendship, Webb has watched Wickline grow and mature into the person he is now.

“I know he has goals to do some large things and his eagerness to accomplish things [will help him reach them],” Webb said.

Wickline hopes by continuing to dedicate himself to all he does, he will find success.

“Trying my best in the next years of high school will hopefully make most of my goals and dreams come to reality,” said Wickline.

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