Former Wheatland Center School students gleefully walk the halls during a tour given by Bill Lois on April 26 (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Seniors brought back to offer feedback, receive tour

By Jason Arndt
Editor

When Wheatland Center School invited former students back April 26, officials sought feedback from the current high school seniors who attend Westosha Central and Wilmot, and it turned into a trip down memory lane.

The purpose of the invitation, according to Wheatland principal Drew Halbesma, was to garner insight on how the school prepared each of them for high school.

While the students offered feedback, courtesy of a computerized survey, school staff welcomed them back.

“Other staff members are aware they are here, so they are going to just come in for a little bit,” Halbesma said. “We are going to do a little tour with some of the kids while the others are actually talking to some of the eighth grade kids and giving them advice.”

Wheatland teacher Bill Lois, meanwhile, agreed and said the idea has been in discussion for years.

“We wanted to have a chance to bring our former eighth graders back to see how they are doing,” Lois said.

The 28 total students, 16 from Westosha Central and 12 from Wilmot, were also offered an incentive to return.

Halbesma said the incentive, known as Elf Hunting, has been a holiday tradition at the school for years.

“It is a game that Mr. Lois started years ago and it is usually during Christmas time and they run around the gym,” he said. “They remember it.”

“Half of them are here because of that game,” Halbesma added.

Class reunion
With 30 students coming back, the turnout exceeded Halbesma’s expectations, especially when he saw how the Westosha Central students reacted when their Wilmot counterparts filed in.

“I’m thinking it is great. We didn’t know what to expect,” he said.

“When the Wilmot kids walked in here, the Central kids were surprised. It was like a class reunion.”

Brock Muzzy, of Wilmot, said the experience allowed him to see how some of his former classmates evolved since their eighth grade graduation.

“It is really cool that we get to see all of the kids we went to grade school with and see how they have changed,” he said.

Westosha Central’s Chelsea Lamp, however, said she felt compelled to participate since she has not been inside the school for about four years.

Additionally, she said the teachers were another incentive, noting the experience brought back memories.

“I thought it would be kind of cool and a little different because I haven’t been here since graduation,” she said. “I loved seeing all of the teachers who I haven’t seen in awhile. It was really nice to catch up on different things.”

Changes ahead
During the tour, Halbesma and other school officials showed the former students how Wheatland will change in the future, courtesy of a capital referendum passed in April.

The referendum calls for security upgrades and infrastructure repairs.

“We are going to talk about the referendum and what is going to change here at Wheatland,” Halbesma said.

Although the school plans for more changes, Muzzy has already seen one happen, notably technology.

“Honestly, their technology is a lot more advanced than when we were here,” he said.

 
 

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