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Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief

Avani Rai is a senior at Normal Community High School and is a part of the Speech Team, FBLA, and Swim team. This is her second year working with the Inkspot, where she is a senior staff reporter.

Random fact about me is I've been to 10 countries outside of the United States.

My hidden talent is that I am a fantastic procrastinator.

My slogan to live by is never be afraid to make someone's day. Whether that's something small, like complimenting someone in the hallways, or something big, like advocating for what you believe in.

 

 

All content by Avani Rai

Para-normal activity

Are Normal's halls haunted?
Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Oct 26, 2023
Moaning Myrtle. Peeves the poltergeist. Nearly Headless Nick. While Community lacks the thousand year legacy of Hogwarts, the school has had its fair share of rumored spirit sightings. The Inkspot’s team of amateur ghost hunters set out to find the paranormal at Normal Community that, according to Gallup, 32% of Americans believe exist.
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Inkspill – ‘Community at Normal Community’ – Mr. Brad Bovenkerk [Ep. 8]

Inkspill – ‘Community at Normal Community’ – Mr. Brad Bovenkerk [Ep. 8]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai May 22, 2023

Welcome to “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. For our eighth and final “Inkspill” episode...

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Peter Metivier receives historic recognition from Illinois FFA

Peter Metivier receives historic recognition from Illinois FFA

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief May 8, 2023

Illinois FFA named Peter Metivier as one of ten State Officer candidates, selecting him to compete for the organization’s five highest student leadership positions during its State Convention. Metivier, who currently serves as FFA’s Section 9 President, said to be nominated was an honor. “I'm...

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Nina Osborne received the Dual Language recognition award for standout performance in two AP-level language classes.

Foreign Language Awards Night recognizes excellence in language learning

Two seniors receive special recognition
Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief May 5, 2023

Two standout seniors were among the over 140 students recognized at the annual Foreign Language Awards Ceremony on April 22. Each year, the event honors the Foreign Language Honor Society’s new inductees and celebrates students’ accomplishments within the foreign language department’s 15 courses. Kara...

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Inkspill – ‘A Unicorn in the Classroom’: Navigating ‘double minority’ status – Mr. Chris Belt [Ep. 7]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai May 3, 2023

Welcome to the seventh episode of “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. This episode, Mr. Chris Belt,...

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Gibson Smith (23), Leslie Burton (23) and Killian Boyd (23) star as the shows leads, playing Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood.

Musical ‘The Lightning Thief’ brings striking theatrical elements to Community’s stage

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Apr 20, 2023

“The Lightning Thief” opens its run on Community’s stage Thursday, April 20, packed with striking theatrical elements—fight scenes, an onstage rock band and otherworldly LED lighting. Based on the first book in Rick Riordan’s best-selling “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series,...

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Following Holi traditions, attendees arrived to the celebrations in white attire.

South Asian Performing Arts’ ‘Holi Moli’ celebrates community, inclusion

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Apr 17, 2023

Karthika Nair has lived in the United States her entire life. Yet, there are very few days, the senior said, she “truly feel[s] at home” in Bloomington Normal. That feeling of home, that sense of acceptance, Nair said, comes when she can celebrate her culture with the community. For two...

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This April’s ballot includes two issues with potential large-scale impact on Unit 5 students: the election of members to the Unit 5 School Board and a vote on the Unit 5 tax referendum.

Voter registration drive promotes local political participation

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Mar 24, 2023

Community held its second voter registration drive of the school year March 3. The event, organized by Ms. LaTishia Baker, registered 13 students in-person and several others virtually ahead of April 4's Consolidate Municipal Elections.  Baker first organized a student voter registration drive in...

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Inkspill – ‘A Special Recipe: Cultivating Growth’ – Ms. Erin Sanders [Ep. 6]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Mar 21, 2023

Welcome to the sixth episode of “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. This episode, 18-year special...

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Black Student Union organizes Black History Month celebration in organization’s first year

Black Student Union organizes Black History Month celebration in organization’s first year

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Mar 13, 2023

The Black Student Union, in its inaugural year, organized Community’s most comprehensive celebration of Black History Month in recent years. February’s recognition of Black Americans’ accomplishments, culture and history was the BSU’s first large-scale opportunity to address the organization’s...

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Inkspill – ‘Uno Reverse Card: No Singular Story’ – Mr. Ricky King [Ep.5]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Feb 23, 2023

Mr. Ricky King, 2023 Bilingual Teacher of the Year recipient, spills on the ESL Department at Community.

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The Battle for F.I.R.S.T.

The Battle for F.I.R.S.T.

MetalCow robotics engineers victory
Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Feb 14, 2023

There’s a storm inside Houston's Brown Convention Center. Lightning flashes, crackles, zigzags… Multicolored beams of red, blue and gold dance across the amphitheater, spotlighting the match taking place in the arena below.  There’s the booming commentator, the referees’ piercing whistles,...

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Pam’s and Dave’s yearbook pictures in the ’97-’98 school year—the year they first met

A Storybook Romance

Avani Rai and Marielsie Iglesias Feb 14, 2023

He was the youngest of five siblings—the self-proclaimed baby of the family.  She—the oldest of four. He grew up in Morton, Illinois—a rural town with a population of under 14,000.  She went to high school in the suburbs of Chicago—graduating in a class of 500.  He was an athlete,...

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Sweet Spot: Volume Four

Sweet Spot: Volume Four

Crumbl Cookies’ Peppermint Cupcake cookie review
Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Jan 5, 2023

The Sweet Spot puts desserts from eateries around town to the test, deciding whether they hit the spot or miss the mark. Two Inkspot staffers review each product based on taste, presentation and value - separating the savory sweets from the crummy confections. This week, Abby Ruebush and Avani...

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Inkspill Episode 4 – ‘A Sense of Empowerment’: Mr. Patrick Lawler[podcast]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Jan 4, 2023
Welcome to the fourth episode of “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. This episode, Mr. Patrick Lawler, 17-year Community social studies teacher and 2021 Bloomington City Council candidate, spills on the importance of political involvement among high schoolers.
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Inkspill Episode 3 – ‘Not Much Financial Cents’: Ms. Tara Pendleton [podcast]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Nov 29, 2022
Welcome to the third episode of “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. This episode, Ms. Tara Pendleton spills on the enrichment activities she sponsors, Community's Future Business Leaders of America chapter and the Freshman Mentoring Program, and their impacts on students.
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Inkspill Episode 2 – ‘Pearls of Wisdom’: Mr. Mike Roller [podcast]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Oct 24, 2022
Welcome to the second episode of “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. This episode Mr. Mike Roller spills on standardized testing.
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The Midterm elections are often overlooked, yet their impact and importance cannot be overstated.

Why the Midterms matter; Turning point in politics

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Oct 18, 2022

America’s Midterm elections are the younger sibling of U.S. politics -- forgotten, neglected, underappreciated, and overlooked.   The Midterms exist without any highly publicized conventions, clickbait-worthy debates, no elaborate merchandise lines--from beanies to flyswatters-- to capture the...

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Inkspill Episode 1 – ‘LSD Every day’: Señora Mary Esther Baldwin [podcast]

Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai Oct 17, 2022
Welcome to “Inkspill,” a podcast where hosts Abby Ruebush and Avani Rai take turns inviting Community’s staff to “spill the tea” on all things NCHS. In less time than it takes to finish a cup of tea, listen to our guests dish on piping hot topics. This episode Señora Mary Esther Baldwin spills on how Community has changed over the years.
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News Briefs for Sep. 17 – Sep. 30

News Briefs for Sep. 17 – Sep. 30

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Sep 30, 2022

SkillsUSA National champion recognized at School Board meeting Katelyn Olson (’24) was recognized at Unit 5’s September Board meeting for earning a gold medal in the Medical Terminology event at the National SkillsUSA competition.  Olson was the one of three Illinois high school students...

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On the Spot: Ep. 3 – ‘Homecoming Hopes & Hype’ [video]

Anna Dunne and Avani Rai Sep 29, 2022
Anna Dunne and Avani Rai took to the halls to ask students, staff what they were excited about for Homecoming 2022
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Avani: Missed the mark

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Sep 26, 2022

I could bask in that perfect pumpkin scent of fall-flavored food every day for the rest of my life. It's the first thing I look forward to when the blankets come out and the leaves start to turn. When the opportunity arose to start the Sweet Spot column with Starbucks' seasonal Pumpkin Cream Cheese...

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Sweet Spot: Volume One

Sweet Spot: Volume One

Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffin review
Avani Rai and Marielsie Iglesias Sep 26, 2022

Each week, the Sweet Spot puts desserts from eateries around town to the test, deciding whether they hit the spot or miss the mark. Two Inkspot staffers review each product based on taste, presentation and value - separating the savory sweets from the crummy confections. This week, Avani Rai...

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News Briefs for Aug. 29 – Sep. 9

News Briefs for Aug. 29 – Sep. 9

Avani Rai and Marielsie Iglesias Sep 14, 2022

21 awarded national recognition for academic achievement 21 seniors earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs for their “outstanding performance” in the classroom and on College Board assessments.  As juniors, the students posted a GPA of 3.5 or higher and...

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New Faces of Normal 2022-23

New Faces of Normal 2022-23

A Q & A with Community's nine new instructional staff members

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Race to the record books [video]

Ali Ince's run at history
Anna Dunne, Drew Farmer and Avani Rai May 23, 2022

Heading into the 2022 IHSA State Track and Field meet, Ali Ince had already achieved her share of accolades. Ince added two more State titles Saturday, May 21 -- taking first in the 800 and 400 -- before anchoring the Lady Iron's 3rd place 4x400 relay team. Check out the Inkspot's feature story...

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The shake that sham-rocks the world

The shake that sham-rocks the world

Three Inkspot reporters review the McDonald's seasonal Shamrock Shake
Drew Farmer, Anna Dunne and Avani Rai Mar 15, 2022

Since the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake was first m-introduced in 1970, flurries of fans have awaited March 1 for the season’s first sip of the minty green drink.  Over the decades, the Shamrock Shake has become a cornerstone of the St. Patrick’s day season, sparking an obsessive following. This...

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Student Council hosts blood drive amid blood crisis

Student Council hosts blood drive amid blood crisis

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Mar 14, 2022

As the American Red Cross battles its first-ever blood crisis, experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade, Student Council hosted its second blood drive of the year Feb. 25.   Students, staff and community members donated a combined 75 units of blood, enough to save 225 lives.  The...

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While Bloomington Normal has shown economic growth, Unit 5 struggles to fill vacant positions in the food service and custodial departments and is in need of substitute teachers, teaching assistants, and bus drivers.

Community feels impact of staffing shortages

Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief Nov 17, 2021

Staffing shortages, said Superintendent Kristin Weikle at the Oct. 17 School Board meeting, are “one of the biggest challenges [the district] is facing” this school year. Unit 5’s struggles to staff vacant positions in the food service and custodial departments, and the lack of substitute teachers...

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Meet the court [photo gallery]

Meet the court [photo gallery]

Avani Rai, Ethan Scott, Abigail Ruebush, Izzy Fader and Samantha Coleman Sep 23, 2021
A Q & A with the 2021 Homecoming court
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