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PHS senior named winner in Peachjar’s Student Success Story contest

PORTAGE — Portage High School senior Sanja Kirova has been named a winner in Peachjar’s Student Success Story contest. The contest highlights students who have been impacted by after-school programs in the community.

This school year, Kirova organized She Can Tech, an after-school group club offered through the Portage Boys and Girls Club. Kirova’s club encourages elementary-aged females to pursue their interests and learn more about the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. While attending the six workshops presented each session, participants learn STEM terminology, take part in a variety of activities and discover the possibilities available to them in middle school, high school and beyond. At the end of the session, the participates attend a showcase, where their families and friends can see what they learned in the workshops.

Kirova is a member of her school’s award-winning robotics team, the Porta-Botz, led by Project Lead the Way teacher John Kappes. She also serves as president of the PHS National Honor Society and was named the class of 2019’s Distinguished Young Woman. Kirova said that being involved in the community not only motivates her to do well but allows her to leave a lasting impact as well. As a contest winner, Kirova’s story will be featured on Peachjar’s website and shared on its social media pages. Peachjar is a company that serves Portage Township Schools, allowing the district and its community partners to send visually appealing flyers and newsletters to PTS families.

Munster Kiwanis names Students of the Month

The Kiwanis Club of Munster announced that Kelly Collins, daughter of James and Tracy Collins, and Joseph Bellahcen, son of Benjamin and Maria DeRosa-Bellahcen, were honored as its October Students of the Month.

Collins, a senior at Munster High School, maintains a 3.95 average. She has been a member of the Munster Theatre Company, serving as a performer all four years, a Thespian, an Honor Thespian and as an officer. She has also worked on set construction for two years. She has been a Travel/Varsity Performer on the Speech and Debate Team for two years, achieving success in both sectional and state competition. She’s been a member of the MHS choirs all four years and a soloist with MHS SONG for two years. She was a member of the color guard for two years and the winter guard for one year. Collins received the MHS EQUUS Awards for Best Actress in a Drama/Comedy and Best New Artist. She was a Gold Medalist for Vocal Solo at both regional and state ISSMA competitions in 9th, 10th and 11th grade. Outside of school, Collins has taken private voice lessons with William Woods, as well as workshops, masterclasses and private lessons in voice, performance, dialect, dance, choreography, and audition prep. She has appeared in productions at the Towle Theater in Hammond, 4th Street Theater in Chesterton, and Highland Parks Theatre. She is employed as a Princess Performer with Magic, Music, and More LLC and as a hostess at Dante’s House of Pizza. Collins plans to attend college and pursue a BFA in Musical Theatre.

Joseph Bellahcen, also a senior at Munster High School, maintains a 4.28 grade point average. A four-year member of the Munster Theatre Company, currently serving as president, he’s also served as technical director, vice president and historian. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Club. As a junior, Bellahcen served as business manager for the MHS newspaper. He’s also been a member of the Creative Writing Club and the cross country team. He represented MHS at Hoosier Boys State and the American Legion Boys Nation. He received the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, the Principal’s Award for Excellence, AP Literature Department Award, AP Computer Science A Department Award, the Algebra II Department Award, the Spanish II Department Award and JEA First-Year Photographer Honorable Mention. Outside of school, Bellahcen is a musician with an album published on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Tidal, etc. He is self-employed as a videographer and media restoration technician. He plans to attend a four-year university to study electrical engineering, computer science and world languages.

Chrysler Cars 4 Classrooms fundraiser raises $470 for Ready Elementary School

HIGHLAND — Thomas Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep of Highland Inc. partnered with Ready Elementary School to raise $470 during the Chrysler Cars 4 Classrooms fundraising initiative. Through Chrysler’s Cars for Classrooms fundraiser, the Chrysler brand contributes up to $3,000, toward the school on behalf of every test drive participant.

“The Thomas Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep of Highland Inc. enjoyed raising funds for a great cause with families and the local community. We always look forward to giving back to the community and the Chrysler Cars 4 Classrooms initiative is a great way to do it,” said Phil Scroggin, Midwest Business Center Regional Director. “On behalf of the Chrysler brand and the dealership, I would like to personally thank everyone who took the time to participate in this test drive to help us raise money for such a deserving group of students.”

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