All posts by Brittany Hill

Waters Sparked By Magic

Social Studies and Economics teacher Kris Wrobel’s magic tricks sparked interest in sophomore Nicolai Waters’ eyes.

“My mom got me a magic kit when I was younger. I tried doing that, and I kind of gave up on it, but seeing Mr. Wrobel do card tricks and stuff kind of reconfigured me. Like, the amazement was really the biggest thing,” said Waters.

When Waters has a new trick, he’ll speak up and ask Wrobel to perform one in front of the class.

“If there’s a minute or two at the end of a class or something sometimes I’ll have Nicolai say, ‘Hey, I have a trick, can I show it?’ and depending on what the plan is for the day we try to give him an opportunity to encourage his work. He’s doing a great job, too,” said Wrobel.

Not only does performing tricks bring joy and wonder to people, Wrobel says it is a great way to learn some great skills.

“There’s a few other students that have also been working at some magic. It takes a lot of work to do that, too. I think it has you practice your ability to speak in front of a group and put together a routine. There’s a lot of reading and research into what the trick is and the techniques, so I think there’s a lot of good skills there.” said Wrobel.

Waters learns new tricks quite often and knows when to practice and get it down just right.

“When I do learn harder tricks it’s like, okay, you’ve got to get on the grind and really pay attention and get it down with the movements of your hands. It’s really a struggle learning some things, but I like that,” said Waters.

Learning new tricks is a great way to pass time or to have something to do with free time.

“It kind of gives me something to do when I’m at home. I’ll just hop on YouTube look up some new card tricks,” said Waters.

Learning tricks may be somewhat easy; however, performing them can be a challenge.

“I mess up all the time. I do them like one hundred and thirty times at home, get them down perfect then go into class like ‘yeah I got this new awesome trick’ and mess up. Cards stick together or you can lay down one too many,” said Waters.

Even though Waters messes up, he never gives up.

“I just keep trying. If I mess up I usually go back to my desk and do it a couple of times like I kind of go through the cards and see where I messed up and just what I could do better,” said Waters.

Magic brings this special minute of joy to those who perform. A minute where everyone is amazed.

“I like that it creates wonder. It creates that minute. It’s about going back to that time when anything was possible. That feeling of being amazed is what I like creating for people even just for a second makes me feel good,” said Wrobel.

Wrobel had better explained just what magic is about and that it’s not about tricking anyone.

“Magic is not about trying to fool people; it is about entertaining people and trying to get people to say ‘wow! That’s really cool’ just for that one moment. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about the ‘ha ha! I got ya!’ and it’s not a puzzle. It’s to add wonder,” said Wrobel.

Even when messing up, Waters appreciates the support and advice from his classmates and Wrobel.

“I like how Mr. Wrobel a lot of times gives his advice on things on how to do better, so it’s nice. It keeps me going,” said Waters.

A fellow student, Mackenzie Lamp, had added how this is a great hobby for Waters.

“It gives him something to do. It’s productive and its fun for him and Mr. Wrobel is very kind and often coaches Nicolai and gives him advice,” said Lamp.

Wrobel had given some advice to Waters and any other aspiring magicians.

“Keep working at it and enjoy the journey. Practice, practice, practice and try to bring that joy of wonder and amazement to other people. That’s what’s really fun,” said Wrobel.

FFA Chapter Celebrates 75 Years

This year marks the 75 year anniversary of FFA in Black River Falls. FFA held its yearly FFA week February 23-27, which included lots of dedication, hard work, and even some history.

“We do put a lot of work in, we start meeting about a month before, every so often to try to plan out all the activities that we’re going to do,” said Black River Falls FFA Chapter President Eric Markhardt.

Preparing for FFA week and all the activities holds many responsibilities and struggles.

“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into everything. We have to get supplies, we have to get permission, we have to organize with a lot of different individuals. There’s a lot of committee work, and a lot of individual FFA members do all the things like that,” said FFA adviser, Brad Markhardt.

Black River started an FFA organization in 1940 which was run by an ag teacher, Vernon Hanson, and his twenty-seven ag students. Names of those agriculture students were mentioned in PSAs that were aired on WWIS.

“The only thing that we really changed this year was the Public Service Announcements that we did. We changed the wording of those quite a bit because we wanted to highlight the 75 years. What we did was we made six radio PSA’s for WWIS and each of those six took like five or six of the original charter member names and put those into the PSAs,” said Brad Markhardt.

Quite a bit has changed over the past 75 years in our local FFA chapter.

BRF FFA Charter 1940“You’ll notice on the charter there’s all boy names. No girls. Girls weren’t officially a part of FFA until 1969. Also, I will guarantee you virtually all of these guys on the charter became farmers. It started out very focused on the farming side of agriculture. The business side of ag, engineering, science, marketing, those kinds of things have all changed.”

Even though a lot has changed throughout the local chapter’s history, some things didn’t change.

“In our PSA we talked about how some things still haven’t changed. We still learn by doing. That’s always been a hallmark of ag education. We learn stuff by doing. We still earn success, in other words a student has to work for what they receive and service is an important aspect. Back then they would do things to help people out, and we still do things to help people out,” said Brad Markhardt.

FFA week also withholds many great fundraisers for organizations such as Heifer International and The Great American Milk Drive.

“We’re raising money for Heifer International. It’s an organization that gives animals to people in third world countries. Also, a new organization that were donating to this year is called the Great American Milk Drive. What it does is it gives vouchers to food banks for needy families to be able to get milk,” said Brad Markhardt.

FFA week is the time for FFA members to shine. They use the time to promote themselves and hopefully bring in more members.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in FFA. I just hope that we can help more and more students see the neat opportunities that exist in FFA. Things that’ll help them be successful, right now and also in the future.” said Brad Markhardt.

This is the week for members raise awareness and put in lots of effort.

“FFA week is all about raising awareness for FFA. It’s kind of our week to really put forth a lot of effort into showing people who we are and all that we do,” said Eric Markhardt.

FFA week allows members to share who they are and what their mission is.

“It’s about sharing what we do with everyone. We want to let everyone know what we do, what our mission is, giving them information through trivia and sharing our beliefs,” said Vice President Jayden Gjerseth.

Recycling program pulled out of the bin

Student Senate and BRAGS (Black River Area Green School) are pairing up to bring the recycling program back.

The high school once had a recycling program which ran for about five years. Now, with the Student Senate starting up this year again, senators are trying to bring back recycling.

“The program had started to fade out,” said student senator Paul Rykken. “We initiated the program, and I think the Student Senate ran it for at least 2 years, and then it went over to the Science Club to what we called the ‘Go Green Team’ and they had it, but then it kind of faded out.”

While every state has its own regulations, Wisconsin schools are not required to recycle but are highly encouraged to do so.

“There’s no law that says you have to do it. I think because they’re taxpayer supported they should be doing it. It seems logical,” said Rykken. “We decided it would be kind of ridiculous for a tax-supported institution like a school to not be recycling. It doesn’t make sense,” said Rykken.

To help get this program started, Student Senate is planning on designing and printing posters to spread the word. New bins will need to be purchased and organized, and labels will be made with the help of BRAGS.

“We should try to get the recycling program started in the high school first and then move on to the other schools,” said Senator Bob Severson.

“Every bin in the hallway is basically garbage. Even though some of them are clearly for paper you know so it’s just this […] thing that we’ve got going on right now where everything’s just garbage,” said Rykken at the February 17 senate meeting.

Rykken advises that one challenge in establishing the program will be to adjust student and staff recycling habits. The goal is to have the program going by the end of the term. With this, the school will be on track to be recycling by next fall.

“Once we get it going, I think it’ll work fine, but we also have to re-educate the building,” said Rykken.