All posts by Lauren Helstad

Students Get Ready for AP Exams

It’s 9 days until the AP national exams, and students and teachers are doing everything they can to prepare for these difficult tasks.

At the high school, students will be taking a variety of tests such AP Psychology, AP U.S. History, AP Biology, AP Calculus, and AP English.

For some students, AP exam studying consists of changes in schedules and early morning study sessions.

“We have 6:30 a.m. study sessions that take place weeks before our exams. Typically we go unit by unit, and I present new information that I didn’t particularly get to in class and then afterwards ask them questions about the unit,” said AP Psychology teacher Tony Boerger.

Although these study sessions are helpful, many students are having a difficult time fitting it into their busy schedules.

“We have softball practices and sometimes games. Then I have to get up at 6 am to study? It’s helping me, no doubt, but sometimes I feel tired and drained the rest of the day. It’s really stressful to stay on top of it all,” said junior Ally Waughtal.

Other students are trying to juggle not one, but two AP exams, and finding time to prepare for both is no easy challenge.

“I have signed up to take both the Psychology and History AP exams, and I’ve been trying to keep study time for both consistently in my schedule, but it’s not easy. Lots of study sessions, flash cards, and online practice tests are helping me get all the information together,” said junior Megan Engebretson.

Studying is a process and not a last minute cram session. Spacing out your time will help you remember your material better and ease your time.

“Something that out APUSH teacher Mr. Rykken told us to do was to take out eight minutes of our day to study. That way you aren’t overloading yourself with knowledge, but the minutes eventually start to add up and you can remember things better,” said junior Tyler Leadholm.

The day of the national exams are almost just as important as the weeks before. Guidance Counselor Sue Leadholm gives students helpful tips for the day of the exam.

“In order to fully feel prepared for the exam, you should get a full night of sleep and wake up and eat a healthy breakfast. You should also bring along the materials such as pens, pencils, calculators, and a student ID. By having these materials, students will not be increasing their anxiety because they will feel prepared,” said Leadholm.

The physical approach of getting ready for the AP exams is not the only way to make yourself prepared. A positive mental attitude going into the test is key in order to be successful.

“The important thing is to feel prepared. You should be hammering down now on studying, and as you get closer to the exam, you should be feeling more relaxed and sleeping more instead of crunching. That way you are well rested and you’re going to do better,” said Boerger.

The important thing for the National Exams are to go in without nerves and do the best you can.

“To do as best as you can, students should not approach this test as a make or break, but as part of the experience of enrolling and completing a college course. Whether you receive a 2, 3, or 4, your confidence and knowledge gained by taking the course in high school will greatly help your future college experience,” said Leadholm.

Garvin wrestles at state

Black River Falls junior Gary Garvin traveled to Madison on February 26 to compete in the WIAA State wrestling meet.

Competition was difficult throughout the tournament, and Gary had a tough opponent right from the start.

“Gary lost to a very good wrestler from Wisconsin Lutheran. In heavy-weight matches things can go either way in a hurry. At one point Gary almost made it out on top, but hisopponent readjusted quickly and ended with the win,” said wrestling coach Steve Markee.

Although Gary’s wrestling season ended more quickly than he had hoped, he has no regrets from the tournament, and took away everything he could have from it.

“I can’t look at this as a loss. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about how I performed. I had a great time with my coaches and fellow teammates and it was an amazing experience that I can take from,” said Garvin.

Gary’s thanked his teammates for all the support throughout the season and also at the tournament.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate. He deserved everything he got this year with his successes. I can see Gary’s determination and work ethic during practice and competition and it motivates me. He makes me better,” said wrestling teammate Tyler Leadholm.

This isn’t the end for Garvin, either. He is taking this experience as motivation for his off-season and next year.

“This definitely fueled me to want to perform better in the future. I’m not satisfied until I’m at that state tournament again next year,” said Garvin. “I’m hungry for the win.”

Garvin to wrestle at Kohl Center today

IMG_2909Junior Gary Garvin qualified on Saturday for the 285 pound weight class in the 2015 WIAA State wrestling match, and his first match happens tonight.

Garvin has been working towards this goal and dreaming of it since he was four years old, and his accomplishment is nothing short of satisfying.

“I always used to look at the place reserved for state qualifiers outside of the Sam Young Gymnasium when I was young and would always look with admiration to those people, and I am finally one of them. Ever since I won the match to qualify, I have been floating on a cloud of jubilance,” said Garvin.

Garvin has worked hard his whole season to meet this goal, and his determination and hard work has paid off for him.

“After winning the third place match, my emotions got the best of me. My body started to shake, and I got choked up. I turned and greeted my coaches with a hug, and then the tears came. They were tears of pride. Tears of achievement. Tears of fulfillment. We moved into the hallway, followed by the rest of the BRF crew, and the tears just kept coming,” said Garvin.

Garvin’s coach, Steven Markee, expressed his excitement for Garvin.

“We are all very proud of Gary and the effort he has put in to get to where he is today. We are nervous, but confident at the same time. I know that Gary will do his best and win or lose, he will accept it like a champion and great sport,” said Markee.

Garvin knows his competition will be tough, but that is not stopping him from going in with confidence and pride.

“The biggest thing that I feel will be essential is my mental preparation and my attitude coming into State. This tournament will be hard, but no matter what the outcome, I am soaking up the experience as one to remember,” said Garvin.

Follow along with live results starting at 7:15 this evening. It’s estimated his first match will begin between 8:30 and 9 p.m.

Parker takes FCCLA first-year gold

Sennior Eli Parker participated in FCCLA regionals for the first time in his high school career, ending up with a score of 90.4 and finishing with a gold.

FCCLA adviser Tina Gilbertson has not seen someone jump into competition so soon and do so well before.

“FCCLA competitions are very precise and difficult. Receiving such a high score was very rare and impressive for Eli, considering he has never done it before, and just recently started his project,” said Gilbertson.

Gilbertson has been an FCCLA adviser for almost 15 years. Over the course of these years, she has seen many projects and students compete in regionals, and eventually go on to state-level competition.

“My project was on job applications. I made a portfolio and explained things about my working career. I then did a mock job application where I was questioned and asked what set me apart from other people applying for the same job,” said Parker.

Eli has not had the opportunity to participate in FCCLA before this year because he was unaware of it and was not sure what he would do. As he took more classes with Gilbertson, he thought he would give it a shot.

“At first I wasn’t sure how Eli would adapt to FCCLA and the challenges it brings students. I quickly found out from his hard work and outstanding project, that this is something he should have picked up on sooner,” said Gilbertson.

Eli will be competing at FCCLA State on April 13-15. There are going to be many new challenges he will be facing as new competition arises at this leadership conference hosted by FCCLA Wisconsin state officers.

“State is a great way to get FCCLA participants to interact with other chapters in Wisconsin and there’s always new and exciting things to be held at this conference. Competition is always great during this time,” said FCCLA State Officer Logan Megosa.

Eli will be taking many great steps to prepare for this and make his project even better than his original.

“I will work on selling myself more and practicing my answers for questions I might run into during the interview. I need to know my strengths and weaknesses and how to overcome those,” said Parker.

Other students involved in FCCLA also went to La Crosse to participate. All students that received a gold in their given category included Jenny Malchow, Interior Design-Occupational; Jordan Rondorf, Job Interview-Senior; Devin Newby, Entrepreneurship-Senior; Grace Simonson and Bailee Ciezki, Recycle and Redesign-Junior.

Students receiving a silver in their category include Sabrina Gunning and Kristen Johnson, Chapter Service Project Display-Senior.

Parliamentary Procedure teams also received silvers in both their Occupational and Senior categories. The Occupational category group includes Jacky Lin, Mitchell Gjerseth, Ally Waughtal, Hanna Hodge, Jack Roou, Ryan Millis, Matt LaFaunge and Nick Hagenbrock. Senior category group includes Kacey Koenigs, Lauren Helstad, Ali Dunneisen, Hailey Collins, Haley Beams, Ashley Derus, Megan Engebretson, and Kristine Johnson.

FCCLA, or Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, is a student organization whose members address personal, family, work, and social issues through Family and Consumer Science Education.

Media Classes Fundraising for San Diego

Black River Falls Student Media is starting the process for fundraising for a trip to San Diego and new equipment for the class.

Beginning in January, students brainstormed ways to make money, and also get the student body involved. Publications teacher Julie Tiedens has spent a lot of time getting together different fundraisers for the kids in both SRL News and Yearbook classes.

“We have a really cool t-shirt design by Megan Engebretson that we are going to sell to people. I think a lot of students will like this because Megan is an amazing artist who has a really cool and original design. Also, we are going to have a flower sale for Valentine’s day that people always love to get involved in,” said Tiedens.

The Flower Sale will be held February 9-11 and will be distributed on Friday the 13. The carnations will be sold for $2 during lunch time. The t-shirt sale is still being thought through on where and when they will be sold and distributed.

These fundraising opportunities for students are for new camera and video equipment, along with a trip to San Diego in early Spring.

“The trip to San Diego is a combination of a bigger project all the students are doing. They were selected to create a documentary from their region. So in this trip, the documentary will shown at the conference, and they need to be there to see it,” said Tiedens.

This is going to be a convention for these media students to explore different exhibits, sessions, and contests to broaden their horizon on film and journalism.

“Going to San Diego will give us media students some national experience, get our names out there, and give us exposure to not only new tips and learning skills, but also professionals that we can learn from,” said media student Devin Newby.

The class is also advertising to local businesses as a fundraiser. Students will be able to see new ads in the yearbook and also segment tags on the morning announcements, GM97. Jenny Malchow is one of many students who is getting involved in the ad fundraising.

“These ads are a great way to get business exposure throughout the school and give them a way to reach out to our student body. We are hoping for as many ad segments as possible to make this a successful thing,” said Malchow.

These fundraisers will be happening throughout the next few months. Additional news on when these fundraisers, such as the t-shirts, will be specifically sold will be shared later to the student body through morning announcements.