Monthly Archives: May 2015

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Ava Porlier

College: Valparaiso University
Sport: Soccer
Study: Health Sciences/Biology

“I chose [Valparaiso] because they have a great soccer program, and they are well known for their academics. They have great health sciences programs, and… I am studying biology,” Porlier said. “I also really liked the team, coaches, and campus… I am very excited to play at the next level. I’m excited to learn a lot more about soccer and improve my skills overall. I hope to have a successful career at [Valparaiso] and play to the best of my ability while I am there.”

Senior Ava Porlier scans the soccer field for an open teammate.
Photo courtesy of Ava Porlier

TJ Simpson

College: Robert Morris
University – Chicago
Sport: Football
Study: Business

“I felt that RMU was best for me because they help you with internships, and you don’t take general [study] courses. I also enjoy the city lifestyle,” Simpson said. “I’ve played football for four years now. My goal for playing football at the collegiate level is to stand out amongst all incoming freshmen. I plan to do that by continuing to lift daily and increase my power and speed.”

Senior TJ Simpson commits to Robert Morris University.
Photo courtesy of TJ Simpson

Andrew Heneghan

College: Carthage College
Sport: Track/Cross Country
Study: Computer Sciences

“I decided to go to [Carthage] because… I think doing a sport in college is going to be an unforgettable experience and is something that not many kids will get to experience,” Heneghan said. “I hope to make nationals by the time I am a senior. I hope as a freshman, I will be able to make Varsity. I want to experience being on a national caliber team, which is what we will strive to be next year… running is really rewarding and is a great metaphor for life.”

Photo courtesy of Clarissa Moreno

Senior Andrew Heneghan competes in the 800-meter run at the Western Suburban Gold Conference meet on May 15.
Photo courtesy of Clarissa Moreno

Katie Vondra

College: Aurora University
Sports: Volleyball
Study: Special Education

“I decided to go to Aurora University because it offers a great Special Education program, which is what I plan on doing as a career. It just so happens that I got the chance to also play the sport that I love,” Vondra said. “I feel so blessed and grateful that I get the chance to continue playing volleyball at the collegiate level.  I hope to do the best that I can do at not only volleyball but also my academics.”

Senior Katie Vondra takes a breather in between sets at a home match.
Photo courtesy of Katie Vondra

Rebekah Ondracek

College: Elmhurst College
Sport: Softball
Study: Education

“I want to make All-Conference in college and work my way up to being the starting catcher my freshman year. I’m super excited about forming close relationships with my teammates and getting out of my comfort zone to make college the best experience I can make it…. I found so much joy with the sport and can’t think of anything else I’d rather do,” Ondracek said. “It means a great deal to me, and I’m so excited that my career in softball doesn’t have to be cut short after high school.  I can’t believe I only have four more years of playing, but I want to give everything I have to these last four years.”

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ondracek

Senior Rebekah Ondracek shares laughs on the field with fellow teammates as she warms up before a game.
Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ondracek

Graphic by Joe Stellato

Compiled by Joe Stellato and Jack McGann

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While most seniors have two or three more months to mentally prepare themselves before they go off to college, senior Jimmy Schatmeyer has less than a month before he trades in his school books for work boots.

Schatmeyer is committed to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) for four years of active duty; he leaves for boot camp on June 15. Boot camp is held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, and it consists of 13 weeks of physical and mental training.

Schatmeyer decided to join the Marines in his sophomore year.

“Honestly [I decided to enlist] because I wanted to join something that was bigger…I figured that if no one else is going to do it, why don’t I do it?” Schatmeyer said. “I want to do something that really challenges me and makes me a better person, and I figured this is the best way.”

Within the Marines there are countless different jobs, and Schatmeyer discusses his goals and future within the USMC.

“I’m going to be a CM, which is a carpenter/contractor engineering type [job], so it’s in the engineering field. And then after two years I can switch my job if I really want to, so I’ll figure it out from there,” Schatmeyer said. “[After four years] I have to decide if I want to keep going, which I think I will, and then I just have to re-sign. I want to stay until at least Sergeant, and then see from there.”

In order to prepare for boot camp, many future Marines go to physical training (PT)  every Wednesday.

“It’s basically like a little workout that I do with my recruiter, and I run the workout that we do. It’s mainly circuit stuff and runs that we do; it’s fun,” Schatmeyer said.

Schatmeyer said that his parents are supportive of his decision, but that his father was harder to win over.

“At first, my mom was just supportive and my dad was really unsupportive, because he’s just never really liked that kind of stuff. I think my mom was more supportive just because my cousin on her side is also a Marine. But they are both really supportive now,” Schatmeyer said.

For Schatmeyer, nerves aren’t a problem–at least not yet.

“I’m really excited,” Schatmeyer said. “I think the night [I leave] I’ll probably be nervous, but for right now I’m really excited.”


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Senior Angela Campbell is enrolled to attend University of Missouri (Columbia) next school year. She enjoys the friendly vibe of the people there and the beautiful campus with the city of Columbia surrounding it. She explains that Mizzou offers her an on campus hospital which will be helpful to her, due to her plans of going into physical therapy.

“I got the Mark Twain nonresidential scholarship for living somewhere other than Missouri, and for having a high ACT score,” Campbell said.

She explains that there are dorms that are available for students that offer the option of rooming with other students who are taking the same classes and studying the same majors as each other. This is called FIGS which stands for freshman interest groups. She hopes to be involved with her major, health sciences and rushing a sorority in her college years.

Senior Joe Vath will be attending Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin where he has received a partial scholarship to play golf. His goal for golf is to become the best player on the team within the four years that he attends. He acknowledges that balancing academics with athletics will be a challenging task, but he is up for the challenge.

Vath explains the reason he chose Carthage and his love for the game of golf.

“I decided to play at Carthage because I wanted to continue to compete in the game I love…I have spent countless hours on my game to get where I am today, and I believe that my hard work will pay off in college,” Vath said.

Senior Austin Balinski will be attending University of Wisconsin in Madison next school year. Balinski feels that the school has a nice balance of what he was looking for in a school that he would be attending for four years.

“It has the nicest campus out of all the schools I visited, and has a great mix of highly ranked academics with good sports and a big social scene,” Balinski said.

He explains that he spent a great amount of time on the application for the University of Wisconsin Madison, which made getting accepted a big deal because it had always been his number one school. He will be majoring in chemical or nuclear engineering, which he was directly admitted into the school for.


According to Balinski, one of the biggest struggles for him will be leaving his friends and meeting new ones, since a lot of his friends will be attending other schools, although he says he is looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends.

“I’m nervous to find out how difficult the classes will be…I’m most excited about the football games and meeting new people,” Balinski said.

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Leaving high school to join the United States Military is something that few choose to do. Some choose to do it to fight for their country, for a fresh start and to show how much they can accomplish by moving up the ranks through a line of the military.

For senior Tony Huerta, the decision to join the US Marine Corps has been something that he’s had with him for four years.

“I’ve had the decision made [in]8th grade to join the Marine Corps because of the hard work you need to go through to earn the title,” Huerta said.

Looking forward to the upcoming journey, Huerta feels that the impact and the skills that he will learn in the Marines will help him later in life with anything he tries to pursue.

“The Marine[s] will help me in my future by giving me strong core values like leadership [skills] and working as a team, important traits I can apply to almost anything in life,” Huerta said.

For Huerta, the hardest part about being gone for months at a time will be the training that each Marine must go through in the initial stages of learning how everything works.

“The most difficult part about joining the Marine Corps is the training…we train to be prepared for boot camp and [to] become Marines, so it needs to be intense. As it is, we also learn a lot of knowledge [about certain topics],” Huerta said.

Huerta leaves for boot camp the first week of August, a few months after he graduates high school. He has support from his family and friends and is grateful for the support system that they have provided him with.

“It’s going to be really hard [on my] mom and girlfriend because I’ll be gone for three months…overall they think that it is a good choice for me,” Huerta said. “I’m lucky to have the people that are close to me to be very supportive of my decision.”


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Welcome to The Blueprints 2015 senior edition. Where the quirkiness of what is “Highschool Musical” makes its appearance in the mighty mustangs home.

Start of something new:

Taking a walk down memory lane can be a whirlwind of emotions; remembering freshman year can be quite intriguing. From the interesting smells, assemblies and teachers, take a look back at some of your first moments at DGS. 

Getcha head in the game:

They had to “fake right and break left” to get some of the biggest athletic scholarships from their chosen colleges. They weren’t “afraid to shoot the outside J,” all because they put their head in the game, “You go, Glen Coco.”

Now or never:

Take a look at these senior individuals with a rather interesting college choice–from studying abroad to studying miles away from Illinois. “It all comes down to right now” as these students make a choice to kiss DGS and Illinois goodbye.

I gotta go my own way:

After high school, most teenagers have a sense of “I’m leaving today, ‘cause I’ve gotta do what’s best for me” when it comes to colleges. So follow this state map like you used to track Santa Claus as a child to see where the highest enrollment for colleges are for DGS class of 2015. 

Stick to the status quo or breaking free:

Some teens like “sticking to the stuff they know” while others are like a “wave that an ocean can’t control.” In non “High School Musical” terms, some teens go to college while others choose to travel or do something else; read all about who’s doing what after high school. 

We’re all in this together:

Vitamin C said it best fellow seniors,“As we go on/we remember all the good times we had together/and as our lives change/come whatever we will still be friends forever.” We will go “hand in hand” on this new adventure screaming “geronimo” with our cool blue caps and gowns. But first instead of taking a selfie take a look at these senior highlights… then take a selfie.


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From the exciting to the embarrassing, freshman year brings a whole new experience. For many, it’s a whole new way of life from the comforting walls of junior high.

Senior Taylor Troha had a funny freshman moment that she will remember for a long time. What Troha pictured homecoming to be like freshman year was far from what it actually was.

 “I had no idea what homecoming would be like. I had heard stories, but I thought that most people would just be standing around talking,” Troha said.

 When Troha walked into the dance, she was in shock when she realized there weren’t just a few people dancing but the whole room.

 “My two friends and I saw a huge group of kids dancing so we made our way to the middle of the crowd and just stood there and looked around because we didn’t know what to do, so we started fist bumping,” Troha said.

 But not all of these freshman moments are funny, some are filled with embarrassment. Senior Alveena Saeed explains how she unknowingly walked into the boys bathroom her freshman year.

 “It was in the morning and I woke up really late, and I just wanted to go to the bathroom when I got to school. I was on my phone and saw the hallway so I walked in,” Saeed said. “After, I was really embarrassed, but good thing I didn’t know any of the guys in the bathroom.”

 Going into a new school with new people and surroundings can be scary, but getting injured on top of it all can be even worse.

 Senior Matt Buczko tore his meniscus in his right knee freshman year attempting to do a pin drop.

 “My friends and I were messing around and dancing and one of them did the pin drop. So I decide to try and when I got down I heard a pop, and I was in a lot of pain,” Buczko said.

“I was amazed that it tore by just doing a simple pin drop. It was the worst pain in my entire life.”

 Some other moments are ones that students are proud of. For Senior Ryan Taylor, it was during his freshman year football season when he got pulled up to Varsity during playoffs.

 “It was a [really] nice accomplishment. I got to feel what the atmosphere [on Varsity] was like at an early age,” Taylor said.

All of these moments that happened freshman year are in the past, but will remain with them for a lifetime.

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Senior Mike Fogarty will be attending the University of Minnesota next year, where he will be studying biological engineering.

 “I’ve always been really interested in working with alternative energies, and that is one of the routes you can go when studying bioengineering, so I felt like it would be a really good fit for me,” Fogarty said.

 Fogarty enjoyed the atmosphere and the vibe the Minnesota campus gave off.

 “I felt really comfortable there. It had a nice social environment and good academics. To me it just felt like home,” Fogarty said.

 Fogarty also talks about his excitement to learn new things and to met new people.

 “I’m really excited about all of the opportunities that are going to be available to me in college, both recreationally and academically. Minnesota is also a pretty large school so I’m excited to meet all of the new people on campus,” Fogarty said.



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Senior Caitlyn Minnis has a full summer ahead of her before she starts her freshman year at Iowa State in the fall.

Being accepted into a summer program called Academic Program for EXellence (APEX), she will be living on campus taking three to four classes over a course of eight weeks.

 “I’m really excited and blessed by the opportunity. It’ll be great to get to know the campus and have a taste of what college is like before fall,” Minnis said.

 Minnis feels that this time will give her an opportunity to get to know her way around the campus before school starts and already have a few credits on her transcript.

 “[One thing I'm looking forward to is] studying what I’m interested in and growing close to new people,” Minnis said. “Also the Iowa State community is full of people looking to see you achieve your dreams.”

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In efforts to raise money for the devastating earthquake in Nepal, the DGS Social Studies Department will be selling t-shirts in the cafeteria during all lunch periods starting Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 15.The shirts will be sold for $10 and are offered in three colors: black, red and blue. Over half of the money made from selling the t-shirts will be donated toward the fundraising of relieving the impacted areas in Nepal. DGS will be partnering with the Lions Club International Foundation to bring as much awareness to the cause as possible. These funds will be spent on materials and goods that Nepali citizens now lack after the earthquake such as food and shelter.


The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Apr. 25, which has caused destruction and loss of shelter for many. Over 7,000 people have died from this disaster, leaving thousands more hungry and homeless.

The shirt logo features the slogan “Pay atTENTion,” incorporating the Nepal flag to help raise money to purchase tents for the thousands that were left homeless from the natural disaster. The organization will also be leaving small jars at the ends of lunch lines for spare change anyone might have after purchasing lunch. There is also the option to donate online by visiting

 Nepal t shirt design

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saraNEWS BRIEF – Senior Sara Guagliardo attended the IHSA state competition for journalistic writing last weekend on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. She placed fourth out of the 20 competitors in her headline writing competition.