The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

A Strong Start for Illini West

by Mitch Worley, Special For The Quill

A semester at Illini West High School is now in the books.

Most people that aren't directly involved in the school as a student or faculty would assume that this past semester was business as usual, but undoubtedly that's quite the contrary.

Bringing three schools together changed the name, mascot, location, teachers, maintenance workers, and everyday rituals for everyone.

In a situation like this it would seem to be a daunting task to meld the schools into one successful and positive learning environment, but that is also another misconception.

Ann Logan, a counselor at Illini West High School, believes this has been a relatively smooth transition on all fronts. Mrs. Logan finds with a higher number of students it has been easier for them to find other students that share their interests and also commented that, "Everyone has found a good group to fit into."

In terms of the educational aspect of the new school, Mrs. Logan goes on to say, "We have more of a variety of classes and more sections. There have been some kids that haven't been able to get into a class, but for the most part, if they're really interested in something, they've been able to get it into their schedule." Students that currently attend Illini West echo those same sentiments and give us more of an in-depth account of life at the new school and the opportunities they've received through it.

Bryan Rodeffer, an Illini West Senior and former La Harpe High School student, is very active within the school as a social figure, as well as an athlete. Many of his friends quip that he is "Mr. Illini West" as he's been so supportive of the school and all it had to offer from day one. When asked about the expanded selection of classes, Bryan said feels he's getting more out of his high school education because Illini West is offering classes that he's interested in, such as Spanish.

Bryan also appreciates the fact that the student body boasts over 500 students and said, "There are different types of people. You meet someone new everyday, which is pretty cool." Some of these meetings are by chance, but as you will see, Illini West is doing its part to bring the student body together.

One of Bryan's classmates spoke highly of an "Advisory Period" the students partake in to help meet new people and gain a sense of unity as a school. "We have an "Advisory Period' where we do activities to help us meet people from the other schools, and I think that's good," said Jordan Brooks, a former Carthage High School student. She goes on to say that, "The teachers are good about working with us and don't show favoritism to the kids they used to teach from the other schools." With that being said, it's apparent that even the faculty has gelled and takes pride in the new school district.

Upon completing the first semester at Illini West High School, it's safe to say this convergence has been an enormous success. Not only have the students been given more opportunities to excel scholastically, but they've also been able to associate and grow close to others they may not have met otherwise as separate schools. As the students, faculty, and members of the communities associated continue to support Illini West as vigorously as they have, there seems to be no ceiling on the amazing things that will come from this newly formed high school.