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#1StudentNWI: first-class teachers, students, and athletics at Portage High School


Teachers often have different approaches on instructing their students. The tactics benefit students in different ways. All teachers can agree that they love to see their students succeed in and out of the classroom.

Amanda Brown-Holler, a Spanish teacher at Portage High School, believes students need to learn from their mistakes, and fail, before they can flourish. “Mistakes are the biggest thing. Academically, what helps students most is learning from your mistakes and finding strategies that can help you study effectively for each different course.” Brown-Holler has always had a passion for teaching, and her favorite part is seeing growth. “I teach because I really love to see the lightbulb go off in kids’ heads,” she said.

Education has been influential in Brown-Holler’s life since she was little. “My mother was an educator and an author. She wrote on education, and had been an educator on all different levels.” Her family continually inspires her to become a better teacher and a better person.

Brown-Holler also hosts the Interact Club, a group dedicated to giving back and volunteering in the community. “I believe that students gain a lot of experience volunteering and giving of their own time and effort to organizations that are in need, and it is a self-rewarding opportunity,” she said. “It gives kids the opportunity to network and work with adults.”

Brown-Holler was given the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student in Brazil, where she learned fluent Portuguese and the culture. She believes this helped her become a better teacher, and it left a big impact on her life. She now gives back to the same group that allowed her to be an exchange student by hosting her very own exchange student from Mexico.

Student in the Spotlight

Many students have their own role models and heroes. Some may look up to famous actors, exciting athletes, or even fictional superheroes. Anthony Maletta, a junior at Portage High School, looks up to his father, Andy. “He is the greatest man I know, and he embodies every value a quality man should have: honesty, compassion, responsibility, and integrity.”

Anthony follows these guidelines laid down by his father in and out of the classroom. He plays the clarinet in the Wind Ensemble, the baritone saxophone for the Jazz Ensemble, tenor sax in the Big Red Basketball Band, and is also the saxophone section leader for Portage’s marching band. “I love writing and producing music. Any chance I get, I go and try to record a track,” Maletta said.

Maletta feels that Portage High School is a perfect fit for him. “I love the environment. Our educators and administrators truly believe in what we do here and help inspire excellence every day,” he said. “The faculty helps create a great learning environment and helps students push themselves to help achieve whatever they set their mind to.”

Maletta loves being involved in PHS and is a member of the school’s National Honor Society, Natural Helpers mentor program, various music groups, and the golf team.

What’s going on?

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The Portage High School National Honor Society is helping the American Heart Association fundraise by selling paper hearts. The money raised from the hearts will go directly to the American Heart Association to support cardiovascular research and educate people about heart health and heart disease. The National Honor Society has chosen to help this organization because it supports their foundations of Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. The hearts are sold in every lunch period at the high school.

What’s Upcoming?

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The Portage Boys and Girls track teams will begin their season in March while competing in various indoor meets On March 2, the Indians will compete in the Indian Open indoor qualifier. This exciting meet will host teams from all over northern Indiana. Portage will also host the NWI Championships on the March 9. Both meets will allow athletes to qualify for the Hoosier State Relays hosted at Indiana University Bloomington. Valpo’s track teams will also be visiting Portage to compete in an indoor dual meet on March 5. The indoor meets will prepare Portage athletes for outdoor competitions.

Matthew Zmija, a senior at Portage is excited to begin his track season with his teammates. “With the season a few days away, I feel as a whole we’re ready. The team is in the zone at practice and we’re out there grinding and ready to show out at the qualifying meets.” Zmija said. “Continuing on into the outdoor season, everyone’s goal is to go compete in the State Finals. I feel like my relay can be one of the best in the state. We want to run against the best competition in the state at the state finals hosted by Indiana University.” Zmija competes in the middle-distance events at PHS and specializes in the 800-meter dash.

Come support the Portage Indians Boys and Girls teams at their indoor meets this weekend and look into their outdoor schedules also at https://goportageindians.com/teams/2432551/boys/track/varsity/schedule and https://goportageindians.com/teams/2432552/girls/track/varsity/schedule.

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