New Year and New Staff


Megan Rinock, Staff Writer


Portage Northern High School, like always, is warmly greeting the newest additions to our population. New students are always expected; however, this year, seven new teachers have decided to join Portage Northern’s ever-growing family. Not only have we increased of student body with the large amount of freshmen this year, but we’ve also gotten some new big Huskies to help us pave our way to success. In addition to the other teachers here, these seven new teachers are unique and experienced in what they teach.

A lot of the teachers are very supportive. The kids are great; it’s nice

— Jamie Hassing

Among these fresh new faces is French teacher Jamie Hassing. “A lot of the teachers are very supportive. The kids are great; it’s nice,” says Hassing. Hassing is the new French teacher here at PNHS. As well as a French teacher, PNHS has also received German teacher Becky Klien  and Spanish teacher Mandi Mills. It seems like Northern won’t lack in language teachers for a while. “It’s been great. People are very friendly. The other Spanish teachers are awesome and I feel comfortable,” says Mills. Three new teachers are in the language department, so who are the other four?

Strangely enough, all of the teachers except for one are on the third floor. The three new English teachers are English teacher Mandi Thorpe, English teacher Cece Weeks and English teacher and DLR Mitch Sytsma. Weeks is currently on maternity leave, so James Houston is temporarily taking her place. And certainly last but not least, Robert Jordan, Northern’s new choir director.

The students are also contributing their personal opinions about the new teachers. “Besides being very nice, she’s very into reading. She gave me a book to read and that was nice of her,” said Bailey Telgenhoff (9) of Thorpe. Telgenhoff was one of many to give the new English teacher a good review. Thorpe is not the only teacher to bring in an A+ teacher rating.  “She’s really nice. I feel like we’re learning a lot more French this year than previous years,” said Hannah Wang (12) of Hassing. “She’s very nice. She’s a constant barrage of happiness,” said Chris da Graca Lobo (11) of Klien.

It seems like these new teachers are fitting in just fine, and PNHS is glad to welcome them into our growing family. “I assume that later on in the semester that [the school year] will get better,” said da Graca Lobo. Like everything else in life, Northern is undergoing some changes, but it’s definitely going to be positive.

Fun Facts:

Sytsma was recently married. This is also his first teaching job.

This is Klien’s first time teaching IB German.

Thorpe is widely known across the country for being one of the best journalism teachers. She even won the Golden Pen award and was one of the four runner-ups in the country!

Hassing has shown horses since she was two and has been training them since she was fifteen.

Mills graduated from Portage Central.

Systma Thorpe Hassing