IPS expands to three class periods, over 70 students

Members of IPS reflect on the program’s change in their lives, impact of expansion


Maison Flory

Prying at each other’s hands, members of IPS’ third hour play water polo on October 6.

By Sophia Zogry, Reporter

IPS has been at LHS since the spring of 2011, starting with just 15 students, and has been steadily growing since. The IPS program seeks to spread inclusivity, build lasting friendships, and to create leadership skills. This school year, an additional third hour was added to the IPS program, allowing more people to join. 

Susan Micka, the IPS teacher at LHS, is excited for the extra hour.

“I think the extra hour will help spread awareness of the program,” Micka said. “With more kids being involved, it has allowed more students to participate and therefore take ownership, and then that strengthens the meaning of everything that we do.” 

Micka praises the administration for their helpfulness and leeway as she continues to set up the program.

“They’re incredibly supportive,” Micka said. “I don’t think they’ve ever told me no, so if I’ve ever had an idea that maybe wasn’t fully fleshed or wasn’t workable, then they’ve always helped me to figure out how to make it work.”

Returning senior and IPS member Emme Dye is also hopeful for the new hour.

“I love it because more people can get in,” Dye said. “I know that in the past, lots of people have wanted to get in but couldn’t because there wasn’t enough room because most people can do it two years in a row, but some people can’t, so I think it helps include more people.”

Many members think of IPS as a safe community where they can express themselves and feel connected to those around them. Senior Treven Gill is one of those members and has been involved in the program for his entire tenure at LHS.

“My favorite thing about IPS is getting to go out together into the community as often as we can,” said Gill. 

Senior Will Leuschen also enjoys the community aspect of the program. 

“With IPS, I meet people that I probably wouldn’t meet if I wasn’t in IPS,” said Leuschen. “Everyone has a different background, so hearing their stories and how they got here is really interesting. One of my friends, Ola, came from Africa, and I probably wouldn’t have met him if I wasn’t in IPS with him.”

Leuschen also appreciates the broader and larger connections that he made through IPS.

“I just feel more connected with everyone around the school, teachers too,” said Leuschen. “I feel like with IPS, I’ve become more outgoing. And I’ve learned how to approach people and ask them how their day is going, and I feel like if it wasn’t for IPS, I wouldn’t be doing that. It’s changed me for the better.”

IPS is doing many fun activities this year as they have before, such as going to Panera Bread for breakfast, going on field trips around town, and the beloved Polar Plunge. IPS is also closely related to Unified Sports, which is coming back in full swing this year. Among other sports, bowling, basketball, bocce ball, and soccer are some to look out for in the upcoming months.

For many, IPS is a place where anyone can do anything and where kids can get the chance to step out of their comfort zone and meet new people. Senior Jackson Martin adds his own charm to the program via his collaborations with the video team.

“I do video here at LHS, and IPS and video do a lot of stuff together. We’ll [the video team] help IPS sometimes with video and stuff,” said Martin.

Dye had shared a similar experience.

“I definitely have got to know more people, and it’s led into different things. I’ve never known people on the video team, but now I know a bunch of people on the video team,” Dye said. “It really just helps you meet new people.” 

Without the undying support of the administration, Micka thinks that the program wouldn’t be what it is today.

 “They’ve [administration] really propped us up. They have been very instrumental. It’s probably what makes the difference between LHS and other schools.”