Baar has plenty of Mustang support in fight against cancer

Kailyn Scully – LRHS News

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LRHS sophomore Carly Palkovich shows her support for a stricken classmate.

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Walking down the halls of LRHS you see thousands of students fighting their way to class. This year though, one of the students is fighting a different battle… a battle against cancer. Sophomore Matt Baar has recently been diagnosed with an abdominal cancer.

In order to show Lakewood’s love for Matt, SGA has started a t-shirt fundraiser. The shirts are $15 and will be sold during all lunches. They are grey and yellow and read “Miracles For Matthew.” All the proceeds will go towards Matt’s medical expenses.

Due to his medical treatment schedule, Matt is enrolled in Florida Virtual School this year, but he will return to the Ranch next August. Meanwhile, Barr has plenty of Mustangs in his corner.

LRHS Spanish teacher Jasmine Westerburger said, “Matt was such a good student and was always outgoing and friendly.”

Sophmore Carly Palkovich said, “Matt is such a kind and fun-loving guy, and he is always laughing.”

Matt Baar was very involved in the school, especially the cross country team.

Sophmore Olivia Ogles said, “Matt is a very dedicated athlete and he always knew how to make the team enjoy our hard practices.”

Peer counselors change lives, especially their own

Julia Harrison – LRHS News

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Jessie Edelman and Catie Hanson share life-changing experiences in the LRHS Peer Counseling program

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS offers many programs and classes but one that does not get the recognition and praise it probably deserves is the Peer Counseling program.

The program allows a select few LRHS students to help lead and be role models to peers with learning disabilities.

Peer Counseling is a class of ten developmentally delayed students and three peer counselors per class period. The program is headed by Exceptional Student Education teacher Melissa Koehlinger and has been running for three years.

The program allows the counselors and the students to form special bonds in which both learn from each other.

“The students have impacted me and it hasn’t even been one semester. They have taught me a lot of patience and to be persistent,” said peer counselor senior Rachel Gross.

Peer counselor Mollie Rainwater, sophomore, agrees. “They have made me see the world in a different light and they have taught me just as much as I have taught them.”

Many peer counselors including junior Brianna Rowland, senior Amy Lawson and senior Catie Hanson even want to learn sign language to better communicate with the students and improve their relationships. Hanson also helps peer counseling student Jessie Edelman outside of school.

The Peer Counseling students have a normal school day just like any other students. They have a daily schedule and go to lunch but unlike regular students, they go on field trips like bowling. The program is more beneficial to the these special students than traditional ESE teaching because they have the opportunity to work with counselors that are the same age, who better relate to them.

“It helps students by offering a new perspective and by getting to interact with people their own age.” said Rainwater.

The peer counselors agree that fostering relationships with the students and making them happy is the most rewarding aspect of the program. They also hope to make a difference in the student’s lives and impact them positively.

“I hope that even it it’s in a small way I can impact their lives and make their days a little bit brighter,” said Rainwater.

Senior peer counselor Andie Tradler said, “[The best part of the program is] being with the great kids and getting to know them. I love all the fun activities.”

Fellow counselor Laurel Rowland, senior, said the class makes memories she will always cherish. “They are a huge joy to work with and I believe they have impacted my life.”

Athletic trainers – Mustangs’ hidden heroes

Kailyn Scully- LRHS News

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Coach Chris Blank leads his trainers onto the field to tend to varsity Mustang football players

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- While everyone cheers on LRHS’s athletic teams, there is another team hiding in the shadows. They are a team of their own, with only eight players, lead by Coach Chris Blank. Instead of playing on the field, they are standing on the sidelines, waiting for the moment when one of their fellow Mustangs is injured, and then it becomes their time to perform. Instead of throwing a ball around they sit in anticipation. Instead of running for a touchdown, they run to the rescue. This elite team is known as Lakewood’s Athletic Trainers.

Juniors Talli Sharp and Brittany Abate both agreed that the best part of being an athletic trainer is being on the field next to all the action and feeling like they are part of the teams.

Lakewood’s Athletic Trainers are always hard at work. They are present at every home game the school has, no matter what the sport, and every varsity football game, no matter what the location. The trainers prevent, evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate athletic injuries.

LRHS girls basketball coach Tina Hadley said, “It’s good to know that if one of my players gets hurt that there are people at the game ready to give immediate medical attention to them.”

Trainer Talli Sharp, junior, said, “My favorite part of being an athletic trainer is being on the field next to all the action.”

Junior Amanda Rak said, “I became an athletic trainer because I want to major in sports medicine.”

LRHS baseball coach Ryan Kennedy said, “I think that being able to be an athletic trainer in high school is a great opportunity that can help prepare students for a future in the medical world.”

In order to become a part of this one-of-a-kind team, students must first take a semester of First Aid and Safety and a semester of Injury Prevention. Then they need to contact Coach Blank, in room 916.

Fans who watch the Mustangs play should remember to take a look around for the young heroes standing on the sidelines.

Adams joins the LRHS family

Christina Bowley – LRHS News

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LRHS’ s Amy Adams inspires her students with her love of math.

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – A fresh start to the new school year means a lot of fresh faces.

One of those new faces belongs to math teacher Amy Adams. Adams previously taught at LRHS four years ago is back with a kick. Adams, a University of South Florida graduate and Bradenton local, is entering her fifth year teaching Algebra 2 and College Readiness Math.

Adams said, “I always liked math and I like to help others learn.”

Her passions include her three children and chocolate. Adams is an active member in her local church and spends her free time with her friends and family.

Adams says her love for her daughters, Kaylie, 7, Myla, 4 and Brynlee, 1, keeps her upbeat and passionate about teaching.

Junior Savannah Camstro said, “The first day when she was introducing herself she talked about her children a lot…She seems really excited about everything and really nice.”

Adams enjoys teaching and interacting with all of her students. Her favorite part about teaching is “When I see the light bulb turn on in a student and they get it!”

Adams is looking forward to the school year. “[I’m looking forward] to getting to know everyone at LRHS again.”

Adams is passionate about her subject. “I love to FOIL,” she said about her favorite math operation. FOIL is the distribution of two binomials in a First, Outer, Inner, Last order.

Junior Caitlyn Currey said, “I’m really looking forward to this year with Mrs. Adams…She’s really nice, and a good teacher. I get along with her and she takes her time with students who don’t understand at first.”

New Colonel rolls into LRHS

John McGovern – LRHS News

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Lt. Col. Richard Roller prepares lessons for the LRHS JROTC program.

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- With the start of the new school year, LRHS has new arrivals. Freshman, transfers and teachers are among these, but what many may not be aware of, however, is a new colonel on campus.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Roller is the new head of the Mustang Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He served in the US Army for 20 years. He was an armor officer, which meant he works on tanks and other vehicles and weaponry.
Roller was stationed in New York, Kentucky, Georgia, Kansas, Wyoming, Texas, and Hawaii.  He says his experience, travel and longevity led to advancement.

Roller joined the Army because he “wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.” That also ties in directly with his becoming a teacher. Teaching is the act of improving knowledge among students.

Roller is new to high school teaching. He was a teacher for six years before this, three at the university level and three at the graduate level. Roller taught in the University of Louisville’s senior ROTC program.

Roller realized that teaching was his calling. He could still affect people’s lives without being transferred around the country by the army.

Roller says, “This program is to teach students to be better overall citizens. We teach them leadership, study skills, U.S history and camaraderie.”