11/12/2019 - 10:52 AM - Kelly Hueckman

Athlete, teacher, coach, mother.  Amy Ring has covered it all, and hasn’t hesitated to prove it to Prentice High students. Since her arrival in 2012, Ring has taken over several positions in the athletic department, teaching middle and high school physical education while also coaching JV boys basketball before advancing to the Varsity coach. For the past few years, Ring has somehow managed her basketball team and students, all while starting a family. In Prentice, it has been the norm to show our respect toward Ring, but the case may prove to be a struggle in others’ perspectives.

For her entire life, Ring has posed as a competitive and driven athlete. Following Varsity collegiate sports at the University of Minnesota Duluth, she continued her passion for sports by becoming the Varsity girl’s basketball coach in Manowa before finding her way to Prentice. Ring didn’t take long to find her niche in the school, snagging the honor of being only the fifth female Varsity boy’s basketball coach in the state. Furthermore, she was even a coach in the first Varsity boy’s basketball game in the state that had two opposing female head coaches.

However, Ring hasn’t always been praised for her accomplishments, especially by opposing teams and officials.  “People came in questioning my knowledge,” Ring stated as she explained the raised eyebrows and disrespect she received from others. She recalled one instance during a game when emotions inevitably ran high, resulting in a game of butting heads with the opposing coach. “He rolled his eyes and told me to sit down,” Ring said. “And so I asked, ‘Would you say that to me if I were a man?’”  

With disrespectful coaches, fans, and refs, Ring faced a lot of discrimination in the world of basketball, but she was no stranger to the rain.  From the age of five until she reached her freshman year in high school, Ring had always been on all-boy teams, where she became accustomed to being the only girl. In her situation, many may become disheartened. However, along with her determined nature, her grandmother also served as an inspiration for Ring’s hard work. Ring explained how during her childhood, her grandmother ran a farm by herself following Ring’s grandfather’s death. “Grandma was a huge influence,” she said. “I saw her to be a really strong woman in a male-dominated world,” referring to the 1970s, when women were often given less respect throughout society.

Though women have gained a lot of ground since then, women like Ring can still detect the thinly veiled sexism shown toward her.  While slurs and direct actions that are offensive to women aren’t as common as they were in the past, more subtle suggestions of discrimination are still posing as an issue to women of all ages today. Ring, taking note of this behavior in the world of sports, explains how she channels the frustration into drive and determination. “I’ve been talked down to my whole life,” she stated. “I’m motivated by people’s doubt in me.” 

With fall sports coming to an end, Ring will be able to establish her will power once again as she takes over the position as the Varsity boy’s basketball coach for another season. After losing a handful of valuable seniors, incoming upperclassmen will have to step into new roles quickly. While Ring admits there might be some growing pains, she doesn’t foresee any major challenges. As always, the team’s goal is to contend for the conference title and play in the regional final game.

Not a Bunch of Dumbells: PHS Starts Powerlifting Club

11/12/2019 - 10:34 AM - Kaden Hartmann

As the winter months roll around, most of the hype has been for the coming boys' and girls' basketball seasons, but not for a few high school students. There has been some buzz from some student athletes at Prentice High School about the possibility of starting a Powerlifting Club that would run through the winter for students who don’t currently participate in any other winter athletics. The idea to start the club was first brought up by a few senior students at Prentice High, and the popularity of the idea has been steadily increasing. The club would add some diversity to the winter athletics for Prentice as currently the only available options for the winter months are the basketball programs.  With this new club, any students who don’t compete in basketball would have the chance to continue to stay in shape during the winter months. “It gives students the opportunity to participate in sports besides basketball during the winter season,” added Prentice High School junior Logan Sarkkinen. “It can be very long and boring when you are not playing a sport.” Prentice High School has never really had another winter sport other than basketball, so the club would add a new way for students to continue to better themselves. 

With the new addition of the new elementary and middle school wing and the ‘38 building's demolition, the old weight room in its basement was also demolished. This meant that there had to be a whole new weight room and workout area built for our school. Until the completion of the new area, it was tough for students and athletes to lift as the weightlifting equipment had been set up in east gym. Once the new weight room area was completed, it was much easier for students to be able to lift before and after school. The new weight room was condensed from two different rooms to one larger one. This addition of the new weight room has gotten some mixed reviews throughout the first few weeks of it being used, the main concern being the size of the new area. “The weight room is a little small, but we can still get a good workout done in there," notes junior Trent Heikkinen. 

Prentice seniors Clayton Lyons, Logan Severson, and Joshua Jast came up with the idea as a way to get more people in the weight room. “We wanted a club for guys or girls who don’t play basketball, our only winter sport,” stated Jast. “A lot of students lift regularly after school but don’t play basketball, so we figured we’d make it official and help each other meet goals,” adds Severson.  The club would most likely start meeting regularly Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before or after school. The club would be open for anyone to join. Some are hoping to compete in competitions and events as a way to set and reach new goals: “We hope to compete, not only for the experience, but for the interaction with other powerlifters,” adds Jast. “We also want to set goals for ourselves and others in our school," states Lyons. 

The start of a powerlifting club would bring many lifelong benefits with it. The obvious benefits are muscle gain and just getting in better shape, but weightlifting also has proven benefits towards better mental health as well. Weightlifting can also help athletes to prevent common injuries and recover from recurring injuries. Members of the club strive to bring light to the benefits that come from lifting. “Weight lifting not only helps the body perform better in other sports but can also help increase self-esteem and mental health,” expressed Severson. “Lifting also helps self-confidence, endurance, and even has many positive psychological effects, like preventing depression in the winter months,” added Jast. 

The club also wants to show the life values that can be gained from lifting. “A life value that I’ll learn is how to pick up big things and put them down,” joked Lyons. “I would say lifting teaches perseverance because if someone wants something bad enough they need to push through the hard things and situations,” added Severson. Building good life values is important to the club as they see weightlifting as a way to better themselves for the rest of their lives. “I think perseverance, hard work, and teammate encouragement are great habits that will be refined as we go through our season, and even the rest of our lives,” stated Jast. 

The members of the club stress the importance of getting into the weight room as much as they can. With the introduction of the club many student athletes that would lift anyways throughout the winter months now have an outlet for new ways to push themselves and set new goals. The club stresses the importance of setting new goals and bettering yourself not only as a lifter but as a person.  The club would also act as a way for new lifters to learn better techniques, and better lifting habits. 

With the introduction of a powerlifting club at Prentice High School, comes ways to get more students involved with winter athletics. Prentice has been historically known as a basketball school, so the addition of the powerlifting club will add another way for students that don’t participate in basketball a way to stay in shape for other sports seasons. The hype for the winter athletic seasons will change for some students as they can now participate in a new co-curricular activity. 

The New Workout Facility

The New Workout Facility

Coach Greg Smith: A Simple Name but a Complex Man

11/1/2019 - 1:17 PM - Kaden Hartman

If you have ever been to a Friday night RLP Hawk's football game, chances are you have heard the boisterous voice of high school football coach Greg Smith. Smith, born and raised in the state of California first started getting involved with football while he was in the 7th grade when he started playing for the flag football team at his school. He started playing tackle football in high school. His ability to play football and his great academic work allowed him to play football for Stanford University. Studying Environmental Earth Science, Smith had no intentions of teaching high school or coaching football. After graduating college he worked for an independent oil company. Working for this company allowed him to travel the world. “At one point I had been to more countries than I had been states,” he noted. “I believe God really opened up the doors for me.” 

Smith met his wife while she was attending college in Tucson, Arizona, and they decided to settle down and start a family in California. Smith has four daughters living as far away as Fairbanks, Alaska, and all the way across the country in Washington, D.C. He is also the grandfather to nine grandchildren, five grandsons and four granddaughters. While living in California with his family Smith coached high school football and softball and taught for 26 years. After all of his daughters had grown up, Smith’s wife decided she wanted to experience the four seasons as she was born in Staten Island, New York. His daughter who had been living in Medford, Wisconsin, at the time showed them a few houses in the area, and they decided on a house in Westboro. Smith and his wife bought the house in 2005, but Smith finished up his teaching contract and finally moved to the area in August of 2015. 

While going to church in the area, he met Dave Hopkins who helped get him into coaching for the Rib Lake Prentice Hawks. Smith loved the opportunity and took the job right away. Smith mainly coached JV level football during his coaching tenure in California so he loved the fact that he had the chance to coach it again. “I really like coaching at the JV level, I’ve always liked working with the younger players to get them ready to be good varsity players.” adds Smith. He has always loved the impact that coaching football can have,  “The incredible thing with coaching is the impact not only that I can have on players, but you as players have on me,” he adds “I get blessed both ways.” This past season Smith was able to coach the Hawks JV football in a 16-12 win over Tomahawk, their first win in almost five years. “I’ll never forget the score of that game,” Smith states, “seeing the glow on your guy’s face was so cool, when I saw that the way it touched your heart, it was shining through your eyes.”

Smith has loved to be part of our small town community, “It is fun being part of Prentice High school and Rib Lake High School, and part of your state. I like being part of Wisconsin. It's fun to be here.”

Coach Greg Smith

Coach Greg Smith

10.31.2019 - 1:25 PM - Lauren Lallemont

For the first time ever, the RLP Hawks girls’ cross country team is going to be attending Wisconsin State Cross Country Meet in Wisconsin Rapids. This meet is going to be on Saturday, November 2nd. Prentice hasn’t had a girls cross country team attend the state meet since 1988, before the RLP co-op. On the '88 team was Prentice School District’s High School Special Education teacher and Middle School Cross Country coach, Lynn Granberg. “It’s exciting, of course. The team I was on went when I was a freshman, sophomore, junior and a senior. We won three of those years, except we lost by four points my senior year.  I am really proud of [this year's] girls. Especially when it’s just those five girls running.  Everyone on the team counts. There’s no slacking off for them because there’s nobody to pick it up. Pretty amazing, actually,” Granberg stated. 

The girls from Prentice on this team consists of two seniors, Kaitlyn Erickson and Brook Peterson, and a junior, Serena Moore. Moore isn’t unfamiliar with what a trip to state feels like, as she has gone to state both her freshman and sophomore years as an individual qualifier.   “It’s way better to go as a team instead of as an individual. I’m way more hyped up for this weekend compared to when I went alone. I’m so proud of this team and how far we’ve come over the past season.  It’s just so amazing,” Moore stated. 

Between her freshman and sophomore cross country seasons, Moore tore her ACL and her meniscus. ‘When this happened, I thought my sports were over. I didn’t think I would be able to run cross country, or do any sports at all,” Moore explained.  She had to go through one very long surgery to try to get this repaired. During the procedure, they removed 25% of her hamstring, and then took her broken ACL and replaced it with the new one. They also removed and clipped the torn meniscus. After this surgery, it took Moore only 5 ½ months to recover, even though the predicted recovery was approximately one year. “It showed me that even when you go through the worst, anything is possible,” Moore noted. After her recovery, Moore is proud to say she is a 3x cross country state qualifier, went to state track her sophomore year, plays varsity basketball, and is looking to continue her running career at the NCAA Division I level.

Along with every great team, there’s always a great coach. Lisa Schantner has coached this team to where they are now. Schantner started coaching middle school cross country in 2004, eventually taking over the high school program when former coach and former Prentice High School English teacher, Ken Spellman, retired in 2012. “Saturday was definitely an emotional day. Tears of joy of our girls” Schantner stated. “We started this year without even having a team until Brook Peterson joined. At that point, we started to climb our way to state. Most teams have at least seven, and we have done this with just five, which is awesome,” Schantner also noted.

If you get the chance this weekend, head down to support the girls. The meet will be at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Division 3 girls' race starts at about 1:20 PM. Be sure to bundle up though, the weather forecast calls for temperatures to hover around the freezing point.

10/29/2019 - 11:25 AM - Noah Schantner

The evening of September 26 proved to be a late night for the Prentice/Rib Lake Hawks’ Cross Country Team on the way back from a Cross Country meet in Baron.  At approximately 9:00 pm, the Rib Lake-owned bus was entering the village of Hawkins from the west on Hwy. 8 and a white truck struck the rear of the bus at a speed greater than 60 MPH.

A few passengers on the bus were looking through the rear window almost directly at the truck as the accident occurred. Prentice student and Hawks Cross Country runner Reese Isaacson said, “Dude, why are your brights on?” seconds before the crash.  After the collision, the man in the truck pulled off into the Jeld-Wen parking lot. All the students and adults on the bus, including the driver, were, aside from minor sore shoulders and necks, uninjured and remained safe throughout the experience. The bus only suffered a rear bumper dent, a displaced tail light cover, and a broken back door window.  Although the driver of the truck was uninjured, his truck was totaled. Authorities suspect the driver was under the influence at the time of the crash. 

Firefighters responded quickly to the call, arriving within approximately five minutes of when it was placed. The police were also quick on the call, arriving within 10 minutes. When the students exited the bus, they were all asked to sit down. Police officers and firefighters circulated asking questions and assuring everyone was unhurt. They questioned the bus driver, Dave Probst of Rib Lake, along with the two adults passengers, Prentice Middle School coach Lynn Granberg and Rib Lake High School coach Gabe Sandoval.  Probst was unaware of specifically what had happened and officers asked some of the boys in the back for their statements. 

The man allegedly driving the white truck has been identified as Charles Reisner of Glen Flora.  Potential charges are pending.

10.25.2019 - 4:42 PM - Hannah Raab​

For many student athletes, their senior season of high school sports is something special. Everything means a little extra because, no matter what happens, it’s the end of their high school sports career. For the last three years, they’ve taken for granted how much time they have left, and now it hits them fast, that it’s almost over. The season is full of many “lasts.” The last season opener, the last home meet, and the last time running with the people they’ve grown up with. These are the feelings and thoughts, quickly approaching Prentice senior cross country runner, Kaitlyn Erickson. 

“I love the team dynamic and the mental strength that cross country requires. It’s not only a physically tough sport, but it’s also a mentally tough one,” said Erickson. She has been running cross country since she first joined in sixth grade. She chose to join after the coach, Lisa Schantner, told her that she would make a good runner and because her best friend, Peyton Enders, was also going to be running.

Despite having some troubles with her iliotibial band this year, Kaitlyn and her team proved to have a successful season. For the first time in eight years, the girls’ cross country team won a meet. They took first place in the “Bear Invitational” at Stratford and second place at the “Auburndale Invitational.” She comments on the season saying, “Personally, I have done really well this season, and as a team we have done phenomenal. This season has been unlike any other.” The success the team has been having may stem from the strength of the team. Erickson said, “We have an amazing team dynamic with both girls and boys this year, unlike any other team in my six years of running.” An element that may contribute to the team dynamics, is the tradition of having a team dinner the night before the meet. Erickson said, “I love the team dinner! We always get such good food, and it’s so fun to spend time with my team and just chill and talk.”

This being her final season, Kaitlyn wanted to make it one to remember. Before the season began, she set the personal goals of placing in as many meets as possible and running a lifetime personal record. Now as the season is quickly approaching its end, Kailtyn has essentially met her goals. Erickson stated, “I’ve placed in almost all of the meets I’ve ran in and I was able to beat my lifetime PR by about two seconds this year.” As a team, they have the goal of making it to state. Erickson said, “We were seeded at the top of our sectionals for awhile, and now it’s between Phillips, Park Falls, and us to make it to state.” Making it to state as a team this year would be an ideal way for Kaitlyn to go out on top and finish her final season. Over her past seven years of being in cross country, Erickson has learned a lot, and made many memories along the way. She said one of the biggest lessons that she has learned from cross country is that, “I’m stronger than I think, and I can do whatever I set my mind to.” 

After four years, the time will come when the seniors will put on the uniform and spikes for the last time. It will be hard to say goodbye, to the sport and the past four years of hard work, dedication, and most of all fun. The final season of high school sports goes by fast. Enjoy every second because in the blink of an eye, it will all be over and all that will be left are the memories. Soon seniors will be crossing the finish line for the final time. But for them, “The finish line is only the beginning of a whole new race.” ~ Unknown.

10.25.2019 - 3:53 PM - Kelly Hueckman

On Tuesday, October 8th, a group of students from grades 9-12 traveled to NTC in Phillips to have training in a new program being introduced to the halls of Prentice School. The program, Sources of Strength, is a peer leadership organization with a mission to prevent suicide and create relationships between caring peers and adults. Both Prentice and Phillips schools sent select students and staff to become part of Students of Strength. The training involved a series of exercises and activities to coach the attendees in recognizing personal strengths and developing healthy connections with those in need.

The beginning of the program consisted of a pre-training acting as a more extensive course reserved for staff of Prentice and Phillips schools. Here, they learned about the origins and logistics of Sources of Strength while also participating in some healthy competition. School Counselor, Jackie Franzoi, even beat former Prentice English teacher and current Phillips teacher, Anna Vollendorf, in a riveting game of Cups [VIDEO]. 

Each class from grades 9-12 sent student nominees chosen by staff who were thought to be “persuasive” individuals from different groups within the school that are easy for peers to talk to and seek guidance from. “The energy when the students came was just awesome,” Franzoi commented. “Their participation added to the impact of the training.”

The idea of the training was not native to Prentice, though. During a meeting designed for school counselors in the county to share ideas and concerns, the middle school counselor from Chequamegon shared her experience with Sources of Strength.  After deciding the program would be useful last school year, high school counselors from Prentice, Phillips, and Chequamegon each applied for grants for Mental Health to pay for the $1,250 training.  

Throughout the day, students and staff found themselves participating in numerous activities including “Dance-Master,” poster making, and “Walking Cool.”  Though she didn’t know what to expect beforehand, Sources of Strength trainee Kaelyn Isaacson expressed her fondness for the teaching style. “I had a lot of fun,” she said. “I like how they incorporated the games to help us retain information better.” 

Though the day was generally fun and light, some serious topics were tackled including depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Trainees were asked to consider different sources of strengths found in their lives, from friends and families to going for runs or petting their dogs, and share these strengths with others. These “sources” were generally methods for dealing with anger, depression, or anxiety. Students found this exercise to deem helpful, and even expressed a campaign proposal for a school-wide project identifying individual student’s strengths and showing gratitude for them. Je’Ann Johnson, a sophomore that attended the training, explained that it was “very inspiring to recognize the strengths of not only myself, but of others."

A “Wheel of Strength” was emphasized throughout the day, which contained eight of the top responses from high school students when asked about positive aspects in their lives. These aspects included Family Support, Spirituality, Healthy Activities, Generosity, and more. Trainees learned that individuals each have a unique cluster of parts of the Wheel of Strength that they excel in or need to work on.  Amongst all of the self-reflection, students were then encouraged to share their thoughts on their strengths and weaknesses. The entire workshop even broke into small groups to converse about the specifics of each component of the wheel about how their lives were affected by them. Franzoi praised the students, commenting on how much information they were willing to share within the group and how “the things they had to say were really powerful.”

Trainees were also informed about signs of depression and suicidal thoughts, how to recognize them, and what actions need to be taken in specific circumstances. “I’m glad they taught us to not be afraid of mental illness. It is a very important topic, so I think this program will benefit the school,” Isaacson explained. The Sources of Strength representative stressed the importance of building good observational skills to take note of questionable behaviors in others. Johnson said she learned to “acknowledge the warning signs and reach out.” Some of these behaviors can include destructive habits, a change in appetite, or isolation. Students and staff were informed that they should practice becoming aware of these signs and introduce positive experiences and people to their lives. 

So how can members of the community have a positive effect on the mental health and well-being of others? Sources of Strength emphasized encouraging those in need to take recognition in their own redeeming characteristics, especially from the  “Wheel of Strength.” Students should be mindful of the behaviors of their classmates and involve them in productive activities, helping others, and creating a positive environment.

Now that the training has ended, some may wonder how the Sources of Strength program will affect the school and the community, if at all. Franzoi states that she believes “it has the potential to be impactful as long as the student body is willing to let it be.” Students and staff members have organized meetings where upcoming campaigning and projects are under arrangement, which should soon be open to community involvement. Prentice High School students, teachers, and other faculty should keep an eye out for the new Sources of Strength outreach to support a great cause and spread a positive message throughout the community. 

10.25.2019 - 2:31 PM - Lauren Lallemont

On Tuesday, October 29, from 5-7 pm, Prentice Elementary School will be hosting a Totem Pole Family Night. It’s a great opportunity for the elementary students to come in with their families to enjoy a Taco Bar and start to create their part of the Totem Pole. “Totem poles tell a story and represent different cultures and beliefs. We would like our classroom totem poles to tell our own story about our families,” Michelle Hlavacek, the district’s Family Engagement Coordinator, stated. 

Each family will be given materials to create their section of the Totem Pole. “The Totem Poles are meant to represent themselves, and their families will also be around to help them design what they think represents them,” Hlavacek said. They will be given around an hour, about 5:45-6:45, to design and create their part of the Totem. Each student will also get a book about Totem Poles for them to take home with them. Each grade has selected a theme to give to their Totem. An example would be the first grade class. “My first grade class's Totem Pole theme is Pond Animals because I got married this year and now my name is Mrs. Pond,” the first grade teacher, Hilary Pond, explained. After each class completes their Totem, they will be displayed within the classrooms. 

As the kids go on throughout their school careers, they will be able to carry these Totems with them. They will be passed on to the next teacher at the end of the year, so this way they aren’t lost or accidently wrecked. Then the Totem Poles will be there and ready for them when they start school the next year. Even when they go on the stage when they graduate, their Totems will be with them as well. If new students come into grade at any time, they will also have their own opportunity to add their own personal touch to the Totem Pole. “It’s just a great way for students to feel like they're a part of their class and feel connected,” state Hlavacek. There are also intentions to have three more family events throughout the school year. This provides a lot of good opportunities for families that didn’t get to attend the first family night to join on the next. Hlavacek also noted that she plans on working with Jackie Franzoi, Prentice School District’s School Counselor, on creating an event for the Middle School and High School. “Maybe nothing to do with Totem Poles, but maybe a project that they would be interested in. It’s just something for the community to get involved with,” Hlavacek noted.

After the Totem Poles are completed at the end of the night, there will be time for families to go around and visit all the Totems that were created throughout the night. The gallery walk is going to be around 6:45-7:00, and this is how the event will end. If a child and their family, unfortunately, aren’t able to join the rest of the elementary on this fun family event, then materials will be sent home with the child, so they can still be presented with the chance to create and contribute their own touch to the Totem Pole.