The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

Student Senate’s Power Week Breaks Fundraising Record: See Moments Here

Quinn Rudnick
Senior Brian Bowler poses for Mr. Creek’s opening performance. The pageant, hosted annually by student senate, serves as a mid-week show for students to attend, and for one junior or senior to be named Mr. Creek. This event and many others, including Shazam, Mario Kart, 3v3 basketball, and a silent auction all culminated into Creek’s Power Week.

Student Senate hosted Power Week last week, shattering last year’s donation record by almost 5,000 dollars, raising a total of $55,175. The massive event provided many ways for students to donate to Bags of Fun, a charity that provides donations for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

The whole week is a huge student senate project, where senators work as a team on each event and fundraiser.

The week started off with a Cherry Creek Sports Network (CCSN) telethon, where senior class president William McDavid, senior Coco Katskee, and sophomore Morgan Eichenberger sat down next to the Activities Office with a video camera, raising money through a YouTube livestream throughout the school day.

“We just do this to create a fun way to start the week,” Katskee said. “I love doing this broadcast. This is my second year doing it and I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

The CCSN broadcast would kick off a packed week of competitions, dress-up days, restaurant fundraiser nights, a pageant, and an assembly.

See photos from the week below.

The Brain Bowl champion Village Idiots, a team made of juniors Benji Simberg, Viktor Sidorov, Parker Brunken, and senior Vedanth Sampath pose for a photo with their completed, victorious bracket. (Peter Philpott)

Brain Bowl – Monday Afternoon

Unlike the Super Bowl, which pits brawn against brawn, Creek hosted their own Brain Bowl on Monday, pitting students’ brains against each other in a night of fast-paced trivia.

“When you kind of go into this zone, nothing’s around you. You’re just focused,” junior Benji Simberg, a member of the champion Village Idiots, said.

In preparation for the ultimate tournament, social studies teacher Michael Kraft personally wrote each question, pulling inspiration from either the world around him or questions from past Brain Bowls. 

“Mr. Kraft has what I call ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ where he walks around, [and] he just has things come up like, that’s an idea.’ So he might look at a couple M&Ms on the ground and be like, ‘oh, calculus question,’” social studies teacher Jonathan Johnson said. 

The Village Idiots, made up of juniors Simberg, Viktor Sodorov, Parker Brunken, and senior Vedanth Sampath, had been competing for two years previously. 

“We crushed every single person that we came across, including the teachers,” Sodorov said.

Senior senator Alex Condon, who organized the 3v3 basketball event on Monday night, laughs and dribbles the ball against a defender. “A lot of these guys are friends with each other and they like a little competitiveness,” Activities Director Kelly Devitt said. (Peter Philpott)

3v3 Basketball – Monday Night

Monday’s 3v3 basketball generated record-breaking participation, according to Activities Director Kelly Devitt. 30 teams signed up to play the 7:00 contest in the West gyms, organized by senior senator Alex Condon.

“They have a lot of fun [playing],” Devitt said. “You can’t have more than one varsity basketball player, male or female on the team, and it’s super popular.”

Teams would play quick five minute games with simple pickup basketball rules. The team “Skeen n’ Em” with seniors Jayden Skeen and Grady Young, and junior Jackson Hamilton, was victorious. 

“A lot of these guys are friends with each other and they like a little competitiveness,” Devitt said. “It’s the equivalent of dodgeball during homecoming week.”

Junior Charlie Stern, part of the champion “Songsters” team, listens to the song with a finger on the buzzer, as junior senate organizer Dex Rhody dances along with a smile in the background in the Wednesday “Shazam!” competition. (Peter Philpott)

Shazam – Wednesday Night

The fast paced, frantic “Shazam!” game, hosted by junior senator Dex Rhody and organized by senior senator Coco Katskee on Wednesday at the Fine Arts Theater, generated quite a stir as contestants rushed to buzz in and identify a tune before their opponents could.

Named after the music detection app, students would pick from musical genres on a Jeopardy-style board, and the first team to slam on their buzzers, naming the correct song and artist, would collect points. The “Songsters,” with seniors Daniel Mathy, Owen Adams, Parker Ortanes, Luke Evashevski, and junior Charlie Stern, won.

Mathy, Evashevski, and Adams were repeat champions, winning the contest in 2023. “It was pretty great to go back to back, to solidify ourselves at the inaugural two time champ,” Mathy said. 

Mathy considers music a passion, and he thought “Shazam!” was the perfect way to express that passion. “I just love music,” he said. “I’m always listening to music and this is a chance to show my stuff and put my hobby to a competition.”

Senior Amro Amhed is hoisted up by his competitors at the end of the Mr. Creek performance, after being given the 2024 title. For him and the other students, Mr. Creek served as both an opportunity to collaborate with others, as well as hold a fun activity for the school to enjoy during Power Week. “Just seeing everyone’s different talents being brought in, and the amount of effort and passion everyone had, all of that makes the competition feel so real,” Amhed said. (Quinn Rudnick)

Mr. Creek – Thursday Night

Students gathered in the sold-out Fine Arts theater on Thursday night to enjoy Creek’s long-standing tradition; Mr. Creek. Eleven students competed for the title, each of them displaying a lip-sync performance, partaking in an interview, and showcasing a talent. After everyone had performed, a judges panel made up of Creek staff members Dawn Baranek, David Knoeckel, and Hettie Jackson, named senior Amro Ahmed as Mr. Creek. 

“It was such a surreal feeling to win, I was so excited and got to celebrate with all my friends,” Ahmed said. 

Performances ranged from risque dances to PSY’s “Gangnam Style” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, to senior Charlie Leonard’s attempt to escape a prison sentence, and to senior Brian Bowler’s Rizz 101 lesson. 

“It may be tricky but it’s all a ton of fun, all the work put in during lunch and after school for months on end all seems worth it when you’re out there on stage,” Bowler said. 

Principal Ryan Silva gives his opening speech during the pep assembly, congratulating the students on their achievements throughout Power Week and shouting-out sports teams, including girls’ swim and dive, poms, and cheer for their recent state and national placements. (Quinn Rudnick)

Pep Assembly – Friday Morning 

Students filled the south gym for a pep assembly on Friday, closing off Power Week. The assembly was filled with many different activities, ranging from a K-pop dance performance, to a game of musical chairs.

“It [was] a lot of fun and [a way] to get involved at Creek,” freshman varsity cheerleader Norah Doot said. 

The pep rally was hosted by seniors Trey Zurcher and Sydney Himmel, and featured a special speech from junior and former bags of fun recipient Garrett Rymer.

The Pep assembly closed with handing off a check to Bags of Fun worth $55,175, which met and went over student Senate’s goal of $50,000.

We are so proud of our accomplishment,” activities director Kelly Devitt said.

See a continued gallery of more events below.

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  • A student leans back in confusion, unable to answer a challenging question at Monday’s Brain Bowl event.

  • Students collaborate, hoping for a chance to steal points back from an opposing team.

  • Two teams race against the clock, competing in one of the final rounds of Brain Bowl.

  • Players fight for a layup in the final moments of their round during the 3v3 basketball tournament in the North gym.

  • Senior Owen Adams dribbles against social studies teacher Matt Weiss, who stood in for missing students on a few teams. While not on the court, spectators roared their approval for dunks and three-pointers. Chants boomed through the echoey gym. “They’re all kind of here spectating, watching. It’s a lot of fun,” Activities Director Kelly Devitt said.

  • Students steer through Moo Moo Meadows during the Mario Kart competition in the senate room on Wednesday. Junior Charlie Stern was the winner of the tournament.

  • Junior Tessa Beatty pounces on the buzzer to guess the correct song title in the “Shazam!” tournament in the Fine Arts Theater. Her team would not win their round.

  • Senior Trey Zurcher and his team listen to a song in “Shazam!” while waiting to buzz in. They would reach the semifinals before falling to the “Songsters,” who won their second consecutive “Shazam!” competition. “I just love music,” senior Daniel Mathy, a member of the “Songsters” said. “I’m always listening to music and this is a chance to show my stuff.”

  • Senior Brian Bowler sits for his interview with the hosts of Mr. Creek, seniors Coco Katskee and Taylor Shoflick. Many of Bowler’s performances were surprises to the audience, especially his talent performance, where senior Max Parrot made an appearance as Cupid. “I had to get really creative, and I went through a lot of trial and error, [like the] Santa Claus interrogation, Rizz 101, and finally forcing Cupid to give us the secret to love,” Bowler said.

  • Junior Ryan Falke performs a small skit with the makeshift Mr. Creek trophy before diving into a previously taped volcano rocket experiment. Falke was the only contestant to provide something pre-recorded, due to safety concerns about exploding coke and mentos.

  • Junior pom Ellie Price performs a routine during the pre-show for the pep assembly as students filed into the stands. Both the cheer and poms teams attended, performing routines before the audience.

  • Freshman Norah Doot poses before the cheer performance begins. Fresh off of their National Championship, the cheer team’s explosive routine came after a school-wide recognition by Principal Ryan Silva.

  • French teacher Alyssa Colehower (left) celebrates after stealing a chair during the pep assembly’s annual musical chairs game as administrator Krista Keogh (right) laughs. Colehower won the round, beating out junior Stephen Dayton in the final round.

  • Bouting Green sweatshirts and jackets, seniors were well in attendance during Friday’s pep assembly, participating in the Dash for Cash as one final push to collect donations for Bags of Fun before the final check was presented.

  • A member of the step team, performs during the pep assembly to loud applause. The step team’s dances often feature a choreographed sequence of claps and foot-stomps, soliciting interaction from the audience.

  • Senior Gabbi Lopez (center) poses during the K-pop dance group Blue Cherriez’ assembly performance. “I was obviously nervous, but hearing the cheers and applause made it so much fun,” sophomore Hailey Shim (far right) said. “ It’s nice to know that my culture is accepted at Creek and that the students will hype us up.” A crowd favorite, the group danced to a mashup of popular K-pop songs including “Fancy” by Twice.

  • A member of the Bollywood dance team poses. One of many performances, this dance was sandwiched between K-pop and Step, creating an energetic environment fit for the record-breaking week.

  • The senior section of the stands cheers loudly as a band performs Blink-182’s “All The Small Things” during the pep assembly. Students danced and sang along in preparation to end Power Week.

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About the Contributors
Alex Gribb
Alex Gribb, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, I’m Alex Gribb. This is my third and final year at the USJ.  As the Editor-in-Chief, I hope to inform the Student Body, while also investigating hard-hitting stories. I love writing in all genres, except for news, and I am really excited to work with such an amazing staff this year. If I'm not working on journalism, which I always am, you can find me reading a good book, baking, or going on late-night coffee runs with my friends. I have amazing music taste, and my top three artists are Beyoncé, Laufey, and Weston Estate.
Quinn Rudnick
Quinn Rudnick, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Quinn Rudnick, and I am the USJ's Editor-in-Chief. I am a senior at CCHS - and this is my fourth year on staff at the USJ. I hold a strong passion for both journalism and photojournalism, and intend to pursue a career in politics and law. As a journalist, I strive to present information to the student body and beyond in a factual and digestible fashion. The importance of journalism is based in allowing the public to understand what's happening around them, so that is what I strive to do. I write a lot about local and global politics, as well as local theatre and events around the school. You can find me at a lot of Creek sports games, fueling my passion for sports photography and reporting. Outside of the USJ, I follow Formula One racing, the Nuggets and the Avs, and I love being outside, whether that's on hikes, or by snowboarding and mountain biking. 
Peter Philpott
Peter Philpott, News Editor & Outreach Coordinator
Hey there! My name's Peter, I'm a junior, and I'm the USJ's News Editor and Outreach Coordinator. I believe that the first amendment is incredibly important, and as journalists we have the right and the duty to uphold it. I am very passionate for news reporting, from small, local issues, to major politics or systemic change topics. This is why I love political/breaking news reporting, and one day I hope to be an investigative journalist. I also enjoy artistic photography in my free time. My position as Outreach Coordinator gives me the opportunity to connect to other newspapers, businesses, and families in the community to grow our reach and get our coverage in the hands of more people. I play trumpet and mellophone and I am part of Creek's Marching Band. I'm enthusiastic to inform this school on the happenings of our community, from Capitol Hill to the quad. Also, check out my column, Peanuts and Cracker Jack, where I talk about in-depth baseball!

To contact me by email, access my portfolio, or view my photography Instagram account, click the respective buttons below.

Alisa Kovaleva
Alisa Kovaleva, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Alisa Kovaleva, and I'm a junior. This is my first year with the USJ and I am super excited to learn new skills with the team! I joined journalism because I've always loved photography, but I also wanted to put a greater purpose behind my photos. I'm also a big fan of live music, and I love working in our school theater.
Sophia Hady
Sophia Hady, Features Editor
Hey I’m Sophia. I’m a sophomore at creek and this is my second year as part of the USJ. This year I am the Features Editor. I love journalism because it gives me a chance to share people’s story and voice my opinions in a professional manner. Outside of journalism, I love being with friends and reading. I’m so excited for what’s to come this year.

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