2019 Letters to the editor stock

I am a graduate of the Duneland Schools, and I am a 2016 Olympic gold medalist. 

I can say with certainty that the opportunities I was provided in the Duneland schools equipped me for college and gave me the ability to achieve my ultimate dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. The rigor provided through Duneland’s academic and athletic programs is essential to prepare future generations for what comes next. Whether it be college or the workforce, qualities such as discipline, confidence, leadership and over all good stewardship are essential for the continual prosperity and success of the next generation.

My time in the Duneland School System shaped me into the person that I am today, and I am so thankful for it. I might have accomplished far less had the referendum not passed in 2012, which would have meant cuts to the outstanding academic and athletic programs, resources and staffing offered by Duneland.

On May 7, please vote “YES” for continuation of the referendum, keeping taxes at their current levels, so our school system can continue the level of excellence it has provided for decades. A “YES” vote means so much more than our optimism in the future of our school system; it means the continued support of our kids and their dreams.

In addition to my academic experiences, I was a member of the Chesterton High School Swim Team, which won the IHSAA Boys State title my junior and senior year. My coach, Kevin Kinel, is a physical education teacher at CHS. He taught me about sportsmanship, pushing myself to my limit, and how to be humble in victory. Were it not for his coaching and mentoring, I would have been hard-pressed to eventually become an Olympian.

Additionally, I credit my academic success in college to my Duneland teachers, who cared about me as a student and an individual. They held me to a high standard and helped teach me the importance of a strong work ethic.

In short, I would not be the man I am today without the incredible opportunities and teachers in the Duneland School Corp. Vote “yes” for the continuation of support in the referendum, so that our school system can continue its excellence for the youth of our community.

Blake Pieroni, Duneland Class of 2014, 2016 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist



Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.