DUNELAND

The Future of Duneland: The Duneland Difference

2014-05-28T11:00:00Z The Future of Duneland: The Duneland DifferenceHeather Augustyn nwitimes.com
May 28, 2014 11:00 am  • 

When it comes to the Duneland School Corporation, the Duneland Difference is many things, including its excellent teaching staff and administration, a challenging curriculum, parents who support their children’s academics and extracurricular activities, facilities that foster growth in the child, a strong work ethic among students, and activities that support every facet of student development. Here are five seniors at Chesterton High School who truly exemplify the Duneland Difference through their academic life, their extracurricular activities, and their reach into the community.

Jessica Ciesielski

Jessica is involved in Natural Helpers, Student Council, National Honor Society, Yearbook, Business Professionals of America, and has been involved in cadet teaching and is an assistant basketball coach at The Courts. She says that Chesterton High School has been a positive experience for her growth. “It’s easy to get involved in activities in this school and find your niche. The teachers and staff are great about giving you opportunities,” says Ciesielski.

Outside of school, Ciesielski has been involved in volunteering at the Westchester Food Pantry, and has been a camp counselor at Sunset Hill County Park for their Camp Funset program, as well as their Parents As Teachers camp. “We give the kids the feeling of going away to camp or away on vacation, even though they’re right here at home. It’s really fun to work with the kids,” she says. Ciesielski will attend Loyola University in Chicago this fall to study marketing.

Jonathan Kindmark

Jonathan has been involved in the Chesterton High School swim team, track and field, football, Natural Helpers, National Honor Society, and peer tutoring. He says that his days at Chesterton High School have been helpful to learn to balance his many activities with his academics. “I’ve learned a lot about time management. I have developed a system where I attend my activities, go home, eat, and do my homework so I’ve learned how to get it all done,” Kindmark says.

One of the activities that Kindmark has been involved with outside of school is Boy Scouts Troop 929 where he became an Eagle Scout after completing his project. “I designed and constructed an arboretum at Jackson Elementary School and planted 19 deciduous trees and designed a guidebook to be used as a curriculum with the arboretum. I will be the assistant ranger at Camp Topeneebee this summer and enjoy scouting because it gave me so much, like learning how to be prepared, so I want to give back,” Kindmark says. He will attend Brigham Young University this fall to study special education on an ROTC scholarship.

Corinne Leopold

Corinne has been involved in the Chesterton High School Speech & Debate Team which is legendary in forensics. She is also involved in German Club and serves on their leadership committee, Natural Helpers, and National Honor Society. She says her experience with the Speech & Debate Team has been tremendously influential in her life. “The coaches are so committed to helping us and we have all become very close, a real family,” Leopold says.

Outside of school, Leopold has been involved with the Indiana Tourette Syndrome Association, is a board member and the webmaster for their website. “My brother has Tourette Syndrome and it runs in our family so I like being involved in the organization. I am also involved in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and have been volunteering there with my family since I was five years old, baking in the kitchen at the Chellberg Farm during reenactments and on demonstration days,” says Leopold. She will either attend the University of California Berkeley or Purdue University this fall to study computer science.

Matthew Petrovich

Matt is involved in the Chesterton High School Orchestra, Science Olympiad, National Honor Society, and the Ultimate Frisbee Club. He says that the Duneland School community as a whole has been very supportive of his educational growth. “The overall atmosphere here at Chesterton High School is so welcoming. It’s a wonderful learning environment and students and teachers are very friendly. As you progress through high school you get along with everyone and make strong friendships,” says Petrovich.

Petrovich is involved with the Porter County Special Olympics outside of school as well as Boy Scout Troop 908 for which he attained Eagle Scout. “Because I volunteer for Special Olympics, and because my mom is the treasurer for Porter County Special Olympics, I decided to do my Eagle Scout project for them and designed and constructed storage shelves for their facility. The wood was supplied by John Bell of L.A. Bell Trucking and I now spend my time assisting other scouts,” he says. Petrovich will attend Purdue University this fall, majoring in either mechanical or aeronautical engineering.

Erin Socha

At Chesterton High School, Erin has been involved in cross country, swimming, track and field where she competes in pole vault, National Honor Society, and Natural Helpers. She says that the support of her teachers has been essential to her academic growth. “The relationships I’ve developed with my teachers have been important to me, especially in subjects that are not necessarily my favorite. They have given me support and helped me down the path I want to grow,” says Socha.

Outside of school, Socha has been involved in the Porter County Special Olympics. “I have volunteered as a swim coach, working with kids as young as 8 and adults as old as 40. It has been incredible to meet a whole different side of the community I never would have met otherwise and I love it. I love to see the kids splashing around and some that were afraid to even get into the water at the beginning really have fun by the end so it’s fun to see them grow,” she says. Socha will attend Miami University at Oxford this fall to study architecture with a minor in either sustainability or anthropology.

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