April 23, 2017
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Anna Leigh Niles


Parents: Scott and Rae Anne Niles, Bristol

Favorite class: AP Biology

Most influential teacher: Karen Ditthardt, Anatomy and Physiology

“Mrs. Ditthardt is inspiring. Her positive attitude and her passion for the subject is contagious. She is constantly looking for unique ways to engage her students, and she makes it very difficult to ever be bored in her class. She also is one of those teachers who genuinely cares and invests in her students. One of the greatest things about her is that she teaches not only anatomy, but occasionally life lessons too. By sharing various quotes and stories, she instills in her students the importance of faith, confidence and love, in between her lectures of bones, muscles or the endocrine system.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Before a basketball game, two of my friends and I decided to burn some time by heading to a thrift store near Central where we ended up buying a rather dirty stroller (I have no idea why). We ended up pushing each other around in it and falling over from laughter. This instance stands out to me as one of my most memorable high school experiences as it shows the great friendships I have made over the years and the pure joy that can be found in the most random activities.”

Monica Cucunato


Parents: Leo and Kristine

Cucunato, Kenosha

Favorite classes: Human Anatomy and Physiology Honors

Most influential teacher: Jeffery Wirch, Biology and Human Anatomy, Physiology Honors

“Mr. Wirch was a huge help in guiding me in the direction of my educational path. After introducing me to different sciences, I realized I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. He is by far the most supportive teacher I have ever had and any student would be lucky to have him as a teacher.”

Geny Museitef


Parents: Modeen and Amal Museitef, Kenosha

Favorite class: Accelerated Chemistry

Most influential teacher: Amy Jacob, Lab Techniques and Accelerated Chemistry

“Ms. Jacob is the most influential person to me because she inspires me day by day, and most importantly, she believed in me in times when I didn’t. I once told her that I want be a great role model for others and make a difference, she said, “You already are.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Organizing a school-wide event to fundraise for pediatric cancer in Kenosha.”

Rebecca Brewer


Nickname: Becca

Parents: Jerry and Tracy Brewer, Silver Lake

Favorite class: U.S. History

Most influential teacher: Debbie Chike, AP Language and AP Literature

“Ms. Chike not only taught me how to become a confident writer but also how to approach life’s hardest situations with logic and reason.”

Amari Whittington


Parent: Angela Townsend, Kenosha

Favorite class: Human Anatomy and Physiology Honors

Most influential teacher: Katherine Garringer, Perspectives in Literature and Composition

“Ms. Garringer pushes me to do my best. She challenges me, and has high expectations for her students.”

Most memorable high school moment: “My most memorable high school moment is going to state for softball.”

Melissa Valdez


Parents: Juan and Martha Valdez, Kenosha

Favorite class: Entrepreneurship

Most influential teacher: Heather Belke, entrepreneurship and Hawk Shop internship

“There are many great teachers at Indian Trail, but Mrs. Belke definitely goes the extra mile. Thanks to her classes and one-on-one conversations, I have become more ambitious with my goals in life. I am very thankful for all of her advice and hard work.”

School activities: Yearbook

Jacob Werth


Nickname: Jake

Parents: Tom and Mari Werth, Bristol

Favorite class: Adventure Education

Most influential teacher: Dan Bender, government

“Mr. Bender made the learning environment an enjoyable atmosphere and he taught me how to learn and have fun while doing it.”

Sonja Katt


Parents: Timothy and Jayne Katt, Kenosha

Favorite class: Human Anatomy and Physiology

Most influential teacher: Kristina Niemi, honors art classes

“Mrs. Niemi has been my art teacher for all four years of high school, and throughout the course of those years we have formed a very strong relationship. She has been very influential in my life through how she conducted her class with authority, but also encouraged her students to feel comfortable enough to express themselves. She not only educated me academically, but she also taught me many valuable lessons about life. She emphasized the idea that not only can my creativity be applied to my artwork, but through any subject I study in my education and through any goal I set to accomplish within life.”

Most memorable high school moment: “In the middle of my junior year I tore my ACL and meniscus playing soccer. This injury to my knee was devastating, but eye opening. It allowed me to recognize this as a blessing, including a strong desire to pursue a career in the medical field. The experience with my injury has molded me into the individual I am today and for that reason it is my most memorable high school moment. My most fun moments include attending football and basketball games while cheering on other athletes!”

Anthony Sanberg


Parents: John and Pamela Sanberg, Twin Lakes

Favorite class: Accounting

Most influential teacher: Nikki Kaiser, English

“No one has been more helpful than Mrs. Kaiser. When delivering an oral presentation for our public speaking unit, Mrs. Kaiser suggested that I take steps to further my public speaking and performance, which led me to try out for the school musical, which I received the male lead for, and is something I have been involved with ever since. She encouraged me to read and write, which has now led to me attempting to write my first electronic book. She saw me reading the book ‘Click Millionaire,’ and she suggested ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, which has become my second favorite book of all time. She was there to help me compose an e-mail to try and apply for an accounting position and aided in the creation of my resume. She helped lead me in Link Crew and has been there to assist me with whatever crazy dream or idea I have had. She is one of the most down to earth and caring people I know, and I am glad that she always pushed me to be better at reading, writing, leading, speaking, and to be the best that I can be.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Singing ‘Small Umbrella in the Rain,’ the finale of Little Women, with my best friend and stage partner Lauren Hanson.”


Parents: Daniel and Paula Siltala, Kenosha

Favorite class: Gym

Most influential teacher: Joey Charles, Personal Finance, employability skills

“He is very kind. He has a good sense of humor. What he has taught me will help me in the real world.”

Most memorable high school moment: “My friends and I started our own melodic death metal band three years ago. I love playing the electric guitar with my friends and creating music.”

Bryana Bosko


Parent: Kathy Mann, Kenosha

Favorite class: AP Biology

Most influential teacher: Kathleen Korbas, AP Psychology

“She inspired my interest and adoration for the study of psychology and along the way has taught me a myriad of life lessons.”

Most memorable high school moment: “The very first day of freshman year. I had moved from Arizona that summer and upon the first day of school was introduced to an entirely new student body, all holding different interests, ambitions and personalities, in addition to a challenging curriculum. The experience was terrifying to say the least, but forced me out of a comfort zone I would not have willingly left beforehand.”

Jenna Cannon


Parents: Michael and Trisha Cannon, Kenosha

Favorite class: AP Biology

Most influential teacher: CarrieAnn Glembocki, AP Biology

“AP Biology is my first class of the day and Mrs. Glembocki is always super-energetic when we walk in. She makes the subject matter easy to understand and goes above and beyond to make sure that we are learning while still having a good time. She finds and prepares amazing labs for us that reinforce the material we are working on. She has inspired me to work my hardest and I know that I will be prepared to take the AP test at the end of this class. Mrs. Glembocki’s enthusiasm is contagious and I really hope that I am able to encourage others in the same way that she does.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Completing the Certified Nursing Assistant class that I took this fall through KUSD’s Youth Options program. It was a very eye-opening experience and I learned a lot about the basics of the nursing career field. I did my clinical work at St. Joseph’s nursing home and being able to meet and care for all of the incredible people there helped me confirm that this is the direction I want to take my life in.”

Maxwell Alfredson


Nickname: Max

Parents: David and Ruthann Alfredson, Pleasant Prairie

Favorite class: AP Microeconomics

Most influential teacher: Art Preuss, counselor

“Though I have had great teachers throughout my four years, no one has been more influential than Mr. Preuss. He is just an overall great person and without him I would not have been as successful in school.”

Andrea Quets


Parents: Jerome and Joan Quets, Kenosha

Favorite class: Calculus

Most influential teacher: Kerry Whittaker, Coastal Marine Ecosystems

“It was a hands-on class, with the entire Maine coastline as our classroom. Kerry spent time with my group on our research project helping us to identify all the types of plankton we were seeing. This project completely changed my college and career path, because now I understand what a link the phytoplankton have to understanding climate change.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Harborside 11th/12th-grade camping trips.”

Julie Katzer


Nickname: Jules

Parents: Keith and Carol Katzer, Trevor

Favorite class: Advanced Sports and Entertainment Marketing

Most influential teacher: Julie Eckhart, Accounting I and II

“Mrs. Eckhart goes above and beyond. Time after time she has offered me extraordinary opportunities to advance my accounting career and goals, and she solidified my interest in entering the accounting field. I can talk to her about my goals, knowing she will support me 100 percent. She is a joy to talk to each day, and I always look forward to attending her classes. Mrs. Eckhart is one of the most supportive, influential and generous teachers I have ever had, and I am truly grateful to have had her as my teacher. Her encouragement will lead me to success in the future, and I will always be thankful for her guidance.”

Jenna Zeihen


Parents: Robert and Juli Zeihen, Somers

Favorite class: Choir

Most influential teacher: Brad Mann, choir

“I love singing in groups. Having everyone be a part of the music. I get to be involved in other great experiences like being a Madrigal Singer through choir. Mr. Mann has been my choir teacher for six years now, and he always picks great music. I have a real love for singing, especially with him as the teacher.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Going to the Wisconsin State High School Theatre Festival with the cast of “E.D.” My wonderful cast won Critics Choice; I got an acting award, which is a huge honor; and I competed individually in acting and made it to the national festival with my event. The whole weekend just meant so much to me.”

Aseelah Saiyed


Parents: Aslam and Shabana Saiyed, Pleasant Prairie

Favorite class: AP Biology

Most influential teacher: Paul Fix, Biology

“Though he no longer teaches in the district, Mr. Fix teaches all of his classes in a way that is unparalleled: with contagious energy and enthusiasm. It was during his freshman biology class, and because of how enjoyable the class was, that I discovered my fascination with biology as it pertains to the human body.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Performing at the Wisconsin Music Educator Association in Madison with the rest of my Wind Ensemble and Mr. Wiele was an amazing experience.”

Lauren Daniels


Samantha DeBartolo


Seap Bhardwaj


Parents: Paul and Simmi Bhardwaj, Bristol

Favorite class: AP Government and Politics

Most influential teacher: Kristen Peterson, AP Government and AP Psychology

“Mrs. Peterson was also my teacher for Mock Trial during J-term, and I feel that she is a respectable and influential teacher based off of all the knowledge she has on several subjects. I always look forward to being in a class taught by Mrs. Peterson because she is a great teacher and I remember what she teaches.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Being in Northwestern’s In Focus Seminar for Legal Interpretation for two weeks over the summer.”

Benjamin Salfer


Nickname: Ben

Parents: Dennis and Jennifer Salfer, Somers

Favorite class: PLTW Aerospace Engineering

Most influential teacher: Dan Schulz, AP Chemistry and chemistry

“He is a very enthusiastic teacher who holds my attention well. It is also very easy to relate and have a conversation with because he is my track and field coach.”

Brandon Simonsen


Nickname: Brando

Parents: James Simonsen and Jennette Soler, Kenosha

Favorite class: Drawing/printing/painting

Most influential teacher: Chad Turra, art

“He is a motivational teacher who has a good sense of humor. He makes good connections with the students.”

Rohit Potineni


Parents: Chandra S. and Anupama Potineni, Kenosha

Favorite class: AP Calculus

Most influential teacher: Brian Kielar, U.S. History

“Mr. Kielar has fostered a passion in social studies and encouraged me to form the Business & Finance Club.”

School activities: National Honor Society, Peer Helpers/Tutors, Student Government, Business & Finance Club, Relay for Life

Leah Ness


Parents: David and Theresa Ness, Kenosha

Favorite class: AP Physics I

Most influential teacher: Ken Wiele, band

“Mr. Wiele has not only taught me to be a better musician but a better person as well. I have always enjoyed being in band, and Mr. Wiele has only made the experience better for me and my peers. Band is something that I will miss immensely when I go to college, and it is a family that I will not be able to replace.”

Most memorable high school moment: “My first cross country meet. Running in my first competitive 5k was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It challenged me both mentally and physically. I am so thankful that I went through it though because cross country helped me meet a lot of great people and to become a better and stronger person.”

Alexandra Harrah


Nickname: Alex

Parents: Donnie and Tomasa Harrah, Kenosha

Favorite class: Science

Most influential teacher: Duane Sturino, science, eighth grade

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher but I never knew what subject or what grade. He was an amazing science teacher. He showed me how much a teacher can impact students’ lives. He showed me that, if you make students interested in the topic they’re learning, they will put more effort into the subject by themselves. I hope someday I can be as great a science teacher as him. He’s the reason I want to be a science teacher!”

Madeline Decker


Parents: Jack and Trish Decker, Kenosha

Favorite class: Honors Anatomy

Most influential teacher: Heidi Tennyson, Honors Yearbook/Journalism

“She always holds me to a high standard and is constantly pushing me to improve and grow. She has been both an amazing mentor in the classroom and in life. I am so thankful for the major impact she has had on my life.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Winning the regional volleyball championship my senior year with a team that filled me with so much joy and is like my second family.”

Miranda Cantu


Parents: Jose and Maria Cantu, Pleasant Prairie

Favorite class: Advanced Marketing

Most influential teacher: Paul Schimelfenyg, English 11

“He always motivated me to be a better student and was very welcoming to me when I was new to Central.”

Most memorable high school moment: “New York trip for Advanced Marketing.”

Armani Carmickle


Parents: John and Marci Carmickle, Kenosha

Favorite class: Physiology

Most influential teacher: Jane Gross, health/gym

“Mrs.Gross always gave me the best advice and she helped me gain more confidence.”

Most memorable high school moment: “The most memorable high school moment would have to be the Bradford football game. It was such a close game. Two great teams went back and forth until the last seconds.”

Leah Tirabassi


Parents: Rocky Tirabassi and Becky Fuhr, Kenosha

Favorite class: Human Anatomy

Most influential teacher: Alan Skripsky, Algebra and AP Statistics

“I have had Mr. Skripsky for two years now and he continues to amaze me with his hard work and dedication toward his students. This is shown from the long hours he has stayed after school to help any student who is seeking help. His passion for teaching is incomparable. Mr. Skripsky wants each student to work beyond their limits.”

Most memorable high school moment: “The one moment I will never forget is winning prom queen. Being surrounded by my closest friends and family definitely added to the excitement.”

Baylee Chappell


Parents: John and Julie Chappell, Bristol

Favorite class: Sociology

Most influential teacher: Stefanie Younger, marketing and business

“Ms. Younger is a teacher who brings joy to a room with her constant enthusiasm and bubbly personality. She is someone who believed in me so strongly, that for the first time I actually had a bit of confidence to believe in myself. Her impact goes beyond the classroom and I can never truly express how grateful I am to have worked with a teacher who is so selfless and hard working!”

Most memorable high school moment: “Going to Orlando, Fla., for DECA Internationals in sophomore year.”

Ruben Castanuela III


Parents: Ruben Jr. and Marisa Castanuela, Kenosha

Favorite class: Choir

Most influential teacher: Nicolas Cicerale, acting

“He has helped me with so much. He is always there for every one of his students. Most of my high school memories come from his class.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Probably playing football on the late nights with my team.”

Erin Paschke


Parents: Robert and Janelle Paschke, Spring Grove, Ill.

Favorite class: AP Chemistry

Most influential teacher: Dan Schulz, chemistry and AP Chemistry

“Mr. Schulz brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the classroom. It would be impossible to not love chemistry with him teaching.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Helping with Night to Shine, which is a special needs prom sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. To be able to spend a night giving back to the community and having fun with some of the happiest people was truly life changing.”

Claire Czerwonka


Parents: Christian and Tracie Czerwonka, Kenosha

Favorite class: AP Calculus

Most influential teacher: Grace Kim, AP Calculus

“Mrs. Kim is very passionate about AP Calculus and is one of the best teachers at my high school. She knows the subject very well and always makes sure that her students understand as well. She has inspired me to pursue a career relating to calculus and has taught me to love the subject.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Winning the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 individual state singles tennis championship my sophomore, junior and senior years. I was the first athlete in St. Joseph Catholic Academy history to capture a WIAA state title and the fourth female athlete to win three individual state singles tennis titles.”

Miguel Garcia


Nickname: Angel

Parents: Celso Garcia and Rosa Gomez, Kenosha

Favorite class: Government and Politics

Most influential teacher: Steve Gorski, math

“He gave me a different outlook on society.”

Julie Magiera


Parents: James Magiera and Jeannie McLaughlin, Kenosha

Favorite class: Medical interventions

Most influential teacher: Julie Dalka, pre-calculus and AP calculus

“She’s just super fun to talk to and is one of the nicest teachers I’ve ever had. She makes math enjoyable!”

Most memorable high school moment: “I remember walking through the halls one day and I got this feeling that I really belonged there. I love LakeView.”

Andrea Wallent


Parents: Scotty and Christine Wallent, Kenosha

Favorite class: English

Most influential teacher: Lily Stasik, English

“Ms. Stasik is always positive and encouraging in her review of my class work, making me enjoy writing.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Being the first student to complete all my finals and receiving a gift card for doing so.”

Dionisse Molina


Parents: Leonardo Molina and Maria Aponte, Kenosha

Favorite class: Wind Ensemble

Most influential teacher: Ken Wiele, Wind Esemble

“Mr. Wiele has been not only a music teacher to me, but a mentor in life and has wanted nothing but the best for me. His compassion toward all his students motivates us all to realize and strive to our full potential.”

Most memorable high school moment: “Being accepted into the International Thespian Festival for our production of ‘West Side Story.’”

Jacquelyn Feldy


Nickname: Jackie

Parents: Scott and Christine Feldy, Pleasant Prairie

Favorite class: AP Psychology

Most influential teacher: John Gransee, chemistry

“I’ve always loved science, but Mr. Gransee really made me fall in love with chemistry in particular. The passion that he teaches with is incredible and very inspiring. He is the person who made me want to pursue a biochemistry degree.”

Lucas Hyllberg


Parents: Ken and Marcy Hyllberg, Kenosha

Favorite class: Honors American Law

Most influential teacher: Beth Feest, AP U.S. History

“Mrs. Feest taught me so many life lessons in relation to my school work. Her class and teaching taught me discipline, great study habits and a great amount of knowledge about our nation’s history.”

Most memorable high school moment: “In my sophomore year I got the opportunity to sing a featured solo at our Spring Choral Concert. The song was called “Tshotsholoza” by Jeffery Ames. This was especially memorable to me not due to the fact that the solo was an amazing experience, but that it was my first year in choir as well. It made me realize how much I love to sing and perform.”

Jesstys Volbrecht


Nickname: Jess

Parents: Brett and Christine Volbrecht, Randall

Favorite class: Math

Most influential teacher: Jonathan Kao, biology and forensic science

“Mr. Kao is a very engaging teacher and makes every class fun. The fact that he taught the class for the field of study I would like to go into really made it all the more interesting.”

Jenna Bonofiglio


Parents: Tony and Jodi Bonofiglio, Kenosha

Favorite class: Physics

Most influential teacher: Jean Whiteside, science, seventh grade

“Mrs. Whiteside had very high standards for me. She knew what I was capable of before I even did. She was always so encouraging through all different aspects of my life and I think that’s the reason I am the same to others. Even though it was only middle school, she pushed me to do the best I could and never settle. She also taught me about how if you are enjoying your life, that is all that matters and it doesn’t matter how you are doing it.”

Most memorable high school moment: “During my sophomore year when my softball team won our sectional final game against Oak Creek at home, taking us on to the state tournament (2015).”

Today’s Teen 2017 launches Sunday

It’s that time of the year again.

Starting Sunday, the Kenosha News will once again be sharing the exploits of some of the top high school students in the county with the Today’s Teen feature.

This is the 41st year of Today’s Teen.

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