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#1StudentNWI: Portage Athletics Forge Ahead

Student in the Spotlight:

Jamie Valadez is a very active member in many clubs and sports at PHS. Valadez, a senior, has been cheer captain at PHS for two years and has attended Portage Township Schools her entire life.

Valadez is an active member in student council, PHS newspaper the Pow Wow, the cheer team, Natural Helpers, and the mentor program for underclassmen.

With this mentor program Valadez goes to classrooms of underclassmen to help them discuss issues of trust and communication, as well as basic management skills. Valadez works with a classroom of Sophomores and enjoys her work with them very much.

She was recently able to attend a PHS Natural Helpers retreat this past month along with many other mentor members from PHS. Natural Helpers is a weekend retreat that is kept a secret from those not in attendance. These retreats are secretive to help keep the experience new to all students. This school year there will be two retreats, one for mentors (which recently passed), then another retreat at the end of the school year. For the final retreat, the students will select who has the opportunity to go.


“Natural Helpers was an amazing experience,” Valadez said, “ I made so many new friends, and I definitely learned a lot of things on this retreat.”

Natural Helpers is not the only thing that Valadez has done. She is involved in Hannah’s Hope which is a charity organization that she and the rest of the cheerleading team are involved in.

Valadez hopes that has made an impact on the underclassmen she cheers with, along with the underclassmen that she has befriended over her years at PHS.

What’s Upcoming:


Portage High School has just transitioned into their winter sports season. With multiple sports hoping for big wins here’s a look into the season so far.

Girls Varsity basketball has started their season off early and strong this year. The girls’ first game was against Hanover Central High School where the girls took a win of 77-22. With 5 games underway the girls are 3-2 this season and are hoping for the best. The next home game is November 28 against Hobart at home.

For boys basketball their season just started. Their first scrimmage of the season was against Hanover Central High School where they won 87-57. Currently in their season they are 0-2. Their next home game is Saturday, December 2.

Other winter sports that started their season are boys and girls swim, boys wrestling, girls gymnastics, and coed bowling. The cheer team that travels with the basketball teams and the dance team that performs at home boys and girls varsity basketball games also started their winter season.

Staff Spotlight:


A new co-athletic director has been named at PHS. Former head coach of the varsity football team and PHS staff member Wally McCormack was named co-athletic director alongside former assistant athletic director Fred Joseph. This change has come months after the previous athletic director, Kelly Bermes, resigned.

McCormack is not new to the athletic department. McCormack served as head football coach for several years before resigning in 2016.

Even after his resignation, McCormack could be seen around school and at athletic events. At the beginning of the school year he even began serving as a study hall teacher.

Many students are happy to see McCormack back in the athletic department.

Before being named co-athletic director with McCormack, Joseph was assistant athletic director. Once Bermes resigned, Joseph filled her spot until further notice. Joseph can be seen at all home athletic event and even at away events along with McCormack.

Joseph took charge once Bermes left and many coaches are thankful for Joseph and the role he had taken on in this time of need.

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