Category Archives: Kaneland

Lauzen announces several General Assembly Scholarships

AURORA—Eight one-year General Assembly Scholarships have been awarded by State Senator Chris Lauzen (R-25, Aurora) to eligible college students in the 25th District.

The Scholarship Committee, including local business, healthcare, education and community leaders from Kane, Kendall and LaSalle Counties, reviewed the applications to select eight students who plan to attend one of the state’s public universities, or to attend the University of Illinois. Academic achievement in high school (or college, if applicable), community service, and financial need are among the criteria considered by committee members.

“There are many qualified young adults in the 25th District. This is never an easy decision for the committee,” said committee chairman, Jeri Steinmetz.

The 2010 scholarship recipients who will be attending the University of Illinois are: Tara Czepiel, Sugar Grove; Matt Johnson, West Dundee; Lauren Michels, Aurora; Jake Petit, Geneva. The scholarship recipients who will be attending other distinguished universities in Fall are: Sarah Bohr-Walsh, Plano (NIU); Kate Abell, Aurora (NIU); Peter Vilim, Sugar Grove (UIC); Nicole Hanna, South Elgin (ISU).

“Although I have voted and have sponsored legislation to discontinue the scholarship program because it represents a ‘perk’ of public office, I’m proud that the committee fulfills our responsibility by awarding these scholarships on merit rather than politics,” Lauzen said. “Although we have always kept the process open and available to every student who meets the criteria, this will be the last year that our office participates in this program.”

Given a boost

The Kaneland Sports Boosters offers four $500 scholarships to graduating seniors each year (two male/two female). The students write an essay with the theme ‘Lessons Learned in Victory and Defeat.’ These scholarships were awarded at the Senior Athletic Banquet sponsored by the boosters and the athletic office on Wednesday, May 26. The winners this year were (from left) Danilo Bruno, Megan Gil, Tara Groen and Logan Markuson.
Courtesy Photo

High school exchange program needs hosts for foreign students

KANELAND—If you have room in your hearts and room in your home, the SHARE! High School Exchange Program, a nonprofit foundation, is seeking families in the Elburn area to host exchange students from more than 30 different countries during the upcoming school year.

The students will arrive in early August 2010 and will stay with the host family for one semester of the school year. They are in need of caring American families to provide a bed, meals, as well as friendship, understanding and a genuine desire to share the American way of life with a youngster from overseas. The exchange students, who are between the ages of 15 and 18, speak English, are covered by medical insurance, and have spending money for their personal expenses.

“It may seem early to be making plans for the next school year,” said Melisa Higgins, the local program coordinator for the SHARE! Program. “There are already students who are eagerly awaiting news of their host family so they can begin writing to them. Now is the best time to select an exchange student to ensure there will be a place in the local school.”

Families are able to review student applications and select the student they feel will best match their own interests.

For more information, call Melisa Higgins at (815) 557-3078 or the SHARE! Regional office at 1-800-715-3738.

Tickets go on sale June 15 for ‘The Music Man’

Kaneland—While the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival enjoyed its 11th year of bringing the Fine Arts to the Kaneland Community, it is wrapping up its first year of a new endeavor called the Festival Performance Series.

The final event in the Festival Performance Series will be the first summer theatre production ever held in the Kaneland High School auditorium.

“The Music Man,” directed by assistant principal Kaneland High School Diane McFarlin, will take place on July 16-18.

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, June 15. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens, and $23 for a family ticket, admitting all members of the family currently living in one household. More information can be found at

Expert advice for the beginning gardener

by Maggie Brundige
Kaneland Krier Reporter

Spring is here, which means it’s time to pull your green thumbs out of your pockets and begin planting.

Illinois has the perfect climate for not only flower gardens, but for vegetable gardens too. This is because the area gets enough precipitation throughout the year to moisten the soil, which is perfect for the growth and development of plants, Laura Widhalm, Kaneland High School horticulture teacher, said.

Selecting the right spot, and the plants that will thrive there, is key.

“You need to know how much sunlight your plants need so you can pick a spot on your land to start your garden,” Tim Norris, of Spring Bluff Nursery in Sugar Grove, said. “You will need to till the spot and fertilize it before you plant, as well as after.” Make sure water is accessible.

Norris and Widhalm offered the following tips for beginning gardeners:
1. Begin by finding an open piece of land to start your garden.
2. Till the soil with a shovel making sure every chunk of dirt is broken up evenly, giving your plants ability to breath.
3. Both vegetable and flower gardens need fertilizer to enhance the quality and growth. Lightly sprinkle fertilizer over the tilled soil, and mix it together with a shovel.
4. For a vegetable garden, the soil must be moistened, so gently sprinkle water on top with a hose until a layer of water is formed. Once all of the standing water has absorbed into the soil, begin planting seeds.

How much maintenance the garden will require varies, depending on the type of garden.

“The type of garden will determine the amount of care needed every day. The basic tools you will need to take care of your garden will be a hoe shovel and a hose,” Andie Strang, a Kaneland High School junior whose family owns Strang Inc., said.

Strang said growing vegetables and flowers is a fairly easy task, but that beginning gardeners need to understand that gardening takes time.

“If they research and take time, it’s easy,” Strang said. “But they have to put in more than one day’s effort. Gardening is a daily job.”

Norris advised regular care as well.

“Weed on a daily basis, keeping the garden neat and clean,” Norris advised.

“You will need to water it every day to keep them growing.”

Vegetable gardens need water twice a day in order to grow healthy and develop to their full potential, Strang said.

“Every specific plant needs specific care. Knowing the needs of each plant is extremely important,” Strang said.

Charles McCormick, Kaneland superintendent, retires

by Jessica Corbett
Kaneland Krier Editor

It was 1997, just before 9 a.m. on a Tuesday morning—an ordinary day in the Kaneland district office. Dr. Charles McCormick, then the Associate Superintendent for Business, sat in Dr. Dennis Dunton’s office, curious about why he had been called in to speak with the superintendent.

Dunton instructed McCormick to return to his office, because the School Board president, Richard Samuelson, would be calling him. At exactly 9 a.m., the phone on his desk rang.

The purpose of Samuelson’s call was simple: Dunton planned to retire, and McCormick would be offered the position of superintendent. McCormick was surprised by the offer, as he didn’t have the proper certification for the job.

“I was in the program to get the certificate,” McCormick said.

He asked Samuelson if the district planned to conduct interviews for the position, but Samuelson assured him, “we feel we’ve interviewed you for three years.”

McCormick accepted and was operatively in charge of the district, though until his administrative certification was complete, the director of the Fox Valley Career Center was available to sign the paperwork and consult, if necessary.

McCormick’s background
Just as his rise to superintendent came unexpectedly, McCormick’s career path had also changed course. He had begun his college career with aspirations of becoming clinical psychologist, and he credits his background in business and psychology with providing him with an “alternate perspective” when faced with tough decisions.

In June of 1971, he graduated cum laude from the University of Rochester in western New York, near his childhood home and the Finger Lakes.

“(The University of Rochester is the) smallest research university in the country and has high academic standards,” McCormick said. “I was a competitive golfer in high school, and they put me on the golf team. I got a great education there.”

McCormick said that when he received his bachelor degree in psychology, he didn’t realize how difficult it was to be accepted into graduate school for that area of study. He chose to attend Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, because his advisor at Rochester had graduated from NIU and “he knew I could get in there.”

In June 1973, he received a Masters’ Degree from NIU and became a volunteer in the residential youth home for boys for DeKalb County Special Education Association, where he “did classroom management.”

From there, he worked for the DuPage County Health Department, and in 1975, he began work with the Northwestern Illinois Association, where he developed behavior management programs for public schools, and he continued to work for NIA, through the Sycamore school district, until 1986. As a behavior management specialist, and with his clinical psychology background, he developed behavior management protocol and programs.

He moved into school administration in 1986, when he began working for DeKalb Community School District as Associate Superintendent for Business, and then moved to Kaneland in 1994.

Flash-forward to present day: McCormick has served as Kaneland’s superintendent for the last 12 years and has worked for the district since July 1, 1994. And as this school year comes to a close, so will McCormick’s superintendency. He will be succeeded by Dr. Jeff Schuler, the current Associate Superintendent.

“My last day of work is June 11, and my last day of pay is June 30,” McCormick said. “I’ve told Dr. (Jeff) Schuler that at 3:31 on June 11, he’s in charge.”

“I would rather know now then on June 11,” Schuler said, smiling. “Come June 11, at 3:31 p.m., we will be ready for the transition.”

McCormick’s Legacy
The man who oversaw the rapid expansion of Kaneland has left behind a legacy that has shaped the district. Yet despite all the changes the district has seen in the past 12 years, McCormick said he couldn’t claim sole responsibility or credit.

“In this job, there isn’t anything you really accomplish on your own,” he said. “You can’t say (these accomplishments happened) because I was here, it happened while I was here. It’s really the work of the whole Kaneland community working together—including citizens.”

Though McCormick is modest about his role in Kaneland’s growth and development over the years, Schuler and his colleagues doled out praise.

“I think any leader in a school system is measured by the legacy that they leave behind,” Schuler said. “Dr. McCormick has left behind a legacy.”

Schuler said that there are five major developments McCormick has accomplished in his time as superintendent, ranging from the expansion of the district to the development of student programs.

When McCormick came to Kaneland in 1994, there were two school buildings in the district, and students of all ages–from kindergarten to high school seniors–rode the same sets of buses at the same time. Today, the district has six buildings on six separate campuses, and the elementary bussing is kept separate from the middle and high school bussing.

“There were only two buildings when I came here and now we have six. That’s really pretty exciting,” Sharon Sabin, the superintendent’s secretary, said.

Schuler credited McCormick with the successful expansion of the district.

“He really has had a hand in either building infrastructure or (he has) led the process in the renovation of our facilities, and he was instrumental in securing the funding (for this construction) through referendums,” Schuler said.

“That also connects to another aspect,” Schuler said “He has built partnerships with parents and community members who have taken leadership roles in passing referendums. He’s been incredibly instrumental in building key partnerships with the School District, that help us do what we do.”

Those partnerships are created with local governments, as well as other educational groups.

“He was instrumental in helping to secure an intergovernmental agreement, which brought consistency to how each of our municipalities assess fees which help educate new students,” Schuler said.

The Kaneland district is unique in the amount of land and variety of towns it serves. Maple Park, Elburn, Sugar Grove, Virgil, Kaneville, Montgomery and parts of North Aurora are all included in the district. As subdivisions were built, new students entered the district, and the growth during McCormick’s tenure has been explosive.

“We’ve got to be prepared to educate these students,” Schuler said.

A good portion of that preparation is financial, which was a concern because “each of the municipalities worked with their own fee structure,” Schuler said. He said “we’re going to revisit this topic every couple years, but the tough work was done getting everybody on board with it.”

Schuler also credited McCormick with developing student programs.

“Any student program that has evolved in the last 12 years has happened with his support,” Schuler said. “He lets principals and key administrators take risks and develop things for kids; it all happens with his stamp of approval.”

Schuler described McCormick as “an avid supporter of the arts. He supports the development of a lot of the fine arts programs in our schools,” he said.

Through this support, and the support of the community, the Fine Arts Festival has been developed.

“I think the Fine Arts Festival is important because it showcases the talents of art in our community, but it also reminds the community that even in tough economic times, we need to continue to support those programs,” Schuler said.

The fifth element, and the one Schuler said he personally considers the biggest part of McCormick’s legacy, is that McCormick “invests a lot in building the capacity of other people. He invests a lot of time in people, and our effectiveness has a direct correlation to the quality of people we have.”

A focus on people
That focus on people has extended through McCormick’s professional relationships, including his work as a mentor.

“He has certainly been a mentor for me for the last four years. He really is a great mentor for people,” Schuler said.

Beyond district administration, McCormick has been a mentor for many teachers and students, as well. He said he enjoys “working directly with students—that can be very rewarding.”

He emphasized that an important part of his job is “making sure the citizens’ perspective is taken into account.” McCormick enjoys working with the board and the citizens advisory committees, and said, “I think I’m pretty good at processing information and listening.”

Though there are enjoyable aspects, no career is without its difficulties—especially in positions of leadership.

“There are things that become difficult,” McCormick said.

He said the most difficult situations he has experienced in his 12 years as superintendent include accidents involving student deaths and expelling students. Other difficulties are handling parent and community complaints.

“It’s not so much the substance of the issue, but the way the people are behaving,” he said.

Another challenge for the superintendent, especially in the Kaneland district, is communication.

“You have to repeat things a lot more in our setting, because we are so dispersed,” he said. “We have the phone blast, but that has tended to be only for emergencies.”

However, despite the difficulties, McCormick’s method of addressing the district leaves his peers eager to praise.

“I know that he believes very much that the success of our School District depends on the quality of people we have working here—on all levels. That’s a core belief of his, and it works all the way through the system,” Schuler said.

“He’s a great person to work for,” Sabin added. “He’s my favorite superintendent by far, and I wouldn’t say that about just anyone. He’s intelligent, kind and a good leader.”

McCormick has also worked with many teachers through his years at Kaneland, including Patty Welker, the English department head at Kaneland High School.

“The area I’ve worked with him most closely is in regards to student publications, so my experience there is that he has been a huge champion of students’ rights to responsible and free expression,” Welker said. “He really was instrumental in moving the Krier into a Tinker publication. I don’t know whether we’d be there if he wasn’t behind that.”

Welker’s other experiences with McCormick were on a more personal level.

“We’re both great readers, so we share book recommendation and swap books,” she said.

A change in leadership
Ken Dentino, math department head at Kaneland High School, said he is optimistic about the transition from McCormick’s superintendency to Schuler’s.

“Anytime there is a change in leadership, there’s always new challenges,” Dentino said. “Hopefully, the school continues to run effectively. I’m optimistic about our new leadership.”

The change in leadership set for June was not the original plan. With McCormick’s original contract, he would have retired at the end of the last school year. However, because Tom Runty, former Assistant Superintendent for Business, retired last year, McCormick and the School Board decided that extending the contract and putting off retirement for a year was best for the stability of the administration and the transition to the incoming superintendent, Dr. Jeff Schuler.

“I don’t know if I’m going to feel any more comfortable than I do right now,” McCormick said. “(The administration) is stable, well-staffed, and well-positioned for the future.”

McCormick expressed high hopes for the future of Kaneland.

“It’s all going to be growth and resource driven, other than aspects for us to get better at what we do,” he said. “I hope that the financial mess and the economy—which is affecting Kaneland—will improve, and we get more resources to work with,” he said.

McCormick also said a focus will be raising standards, politically and economically.

Future plans
McCormick currently resides in Sycamore, with his wife, Jennifer, and said he plans to spend a lot more time with the family he has scattered among Colorado, California, Illinois and New York.

“I’ve got a lot of plans,” he said. “I’ll catch up on some reading, fishing, golfing … and I do a lot of genealogical research. It’s fascinating to find the family history.”

Schuler also expressed high hopes for the future of both Kaneland and McCormick.

“I’m happy for him. Dr. McCormick has worked hard, and he deserves all the opportunities that retirement will offer him,” Schuler said. “I just have tremendous respect for him—as a quality person, and he has really been a quality mentor for me. My hopes are going to be to continue to build on the legacy that he has left.”

Photo: Dr. Charles McCormick (center) has represented Kaneland schools at school board meetings and community forums throughout his 12 years as superintendent. Krier File Photo

Students help wipe out pantry’s need for non-food items

by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Five students from John Shields Elementary School, along with Kaneland social worker Nicole Pryor, recently collected lots of needed articles for the Between Friends Food Pantry, but none of the items were edible.

Alison Daeschler, Nick Grimes, Thomas Huff, Madison Jordan and Daniel Stotler are all fifth-graders whom their teachers chose to coordinate the event because of their leadership skills.

After consulting with food pantry manager Melisa Taylor, the students named their effort “Wipe Out Week” to show that anything that could “wipe,” such as paper towels, baby wipes, Kleenex and toilet paper, was desirable.

Between Friends receives many food donations especially during peak times, but the pantry was in dire need of paper products. Taylor told the students, “If you can’t eat it, we need it.”

To get the word out about the collection, the students sent flyers home asking families to, “Help us ‘wipe-out’ the current needs at the food pantry.” A poster the class created for John Shields hallways said, “Don’t Blow It,” requested Kleenex donations.

Stotler gave a Powerpoint presentation in the school lobby to remind students to bring in their donations. Stotler, Jordan, Daeschler, Grimes and Huff created and put up posters outside of classroom doors, helped with clean up afterward and participated in a Wipe Out Week skit prepared for the morning announcements.

Pryor said that through these types of projects, students learn about helping people and working together.

All of the students said they learned that there are always people who need the basic necessities of life, especially in our worsening economy. They were amazed when Taylor told them that sometimes the food pantry is so short on paper items that they can only give out one roll of toilet paper to an entire family.

Their collective effort resulted in “lots” of donations, the students said.

Between Friends

The Between Friends Food Pantry that the local students helped
recently is located to the rear of the Engineering Enterprises, Inc.
building at 52 Wheeler Road,
Sugar Grove. For information about donating or obtaining pantry items,
call (630) 466-0345.

Photo: John Shields Elementary students who conducted the Wipe Out Week collection for Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove were (from top left) Allison Daeschler, Madison Jordan, Daniel Stotler and Thomas Huff. Photo by Paula Coughlin

Three John Stewart teachers retiring

Three individuals have long history with Kaneland School Dist.
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Three fourth-grade teachers from John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn are leaving Kaneland School District this month, Suzanne Girsch, Andrea Zietlow and Barbara Romack, who all were honored with a retirement reception at the Town & Country Public Library in Elburn on Wednesday.

• Suzanne Girsch
Girsch graduated from Western Illinois University in 1974 and began her 34-year career as a teacher’s aide in St. Charles and a substitute teacher in the Fox Valley. She started at Kaneland as a part-time fifth-grade teacher at the Elburn Elementary School, (now the Elburn & Countryside Community Center) in 1976.

“I tell my students that the building was old when I taught there and that I’m not as old as the building,” she said.

Girsch spent five years teaching fifth grade and 29 years teaching fourth grade. She chose her profession because she loves working with children. Her favorite subjects over the years were social studies and math.

Working for more than three decades in Kaneland has offered her an opportunity to teach children of her former students.

“I’ve enjoyed working in the same district for this length of time,” she said. “There are teachers teaching in our district that I taught in fourth grade.”

For her retirement, Girsch plans to travel and substitute teach.

• Andrea Zietlow
Challenge teacher Zietlow began her teaching career in 1970 in Mississippi when her husband was stationed there with the Air Force. With her husband in the military, she moved around a lot and taught in California, Ohio, Oklahoma and also spent two years living in Adana, Turkey.

In 1983, Zietlow was hired as a gifted-students teacher in Oklahoma, and gifted education then became the focus of her life’s work. While in Oklahoma, she earned her master’s degree in reading. As a gifted educator, she has worked with kindergarten through eigth-graders, presented at conferences for educators and been the course instructor for the Kane County Gifted Level I and II training.

Zietlow spent the last 17.5 years of her career at Kaneland, moving her classroom 10 times.

“Regardless of where my classroom was, however, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students, parents and teachers in the Kaneland community, ” she said.

Zietlow continued her education at Northern Illinois University, earning her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction in 1998.

During her retirement, Zietlow plans to teach part-time at the college level and travel as much as possible, starting with a trip to Egypt this summer.

She also wants to stay connected with people she has met during her years with District 302.

“Throughout my career I have constantly been on the move,” she said. “But even as I now make the move into retirement, I hope to keep in touch with the many friends I have made at Kaneland. They will forever be cherished and definitely missed.”

• Barbara Romack
Romack is retiring after 37 years with the district, spending more than 10 of those as a fourth-grade teacher at John Stewart. Romack spearheaded the district’s longstanding Young Authors program for K-8 students, through which hundreds of Kaneland students wrote their own books.

Romack began work in Kaneland in 1973, teaching third grade at Kaneville Elementary School. About 10 years later she became gifted-program teacher and coordinator for K-12.

Romack has no set plans for retirement, other than to catch up on her favorite pastime, reading and continue teaching various classes at Fermilab.

John Stewart will have new principal

Assistant Principal Laura Garland to replace Brian Graber
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn will have a new principal for the 2010-11 school year, seven-year district employee Laura Garland. Garland said she plans to follow the current principal’s example of community involvement and commitment to student learning, she said.

Garland will replace Brian Graber, who announced early last week that he accepted a job as principal of Highlands Elementary School in LaGrange Highlands School District 106 in LaGrange, Ill. Graber announced his decision early last week.

Garland, of Sugar Grove, has worked for Kaneland since 2003, as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher and a reading specialist at John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove, and most recently as the assistant principal for two schools simultaneously, John Shields and John Stewart.

Garland’s goal when she begins in her new position is to continue the positive development Graber was responsible for while at the school’s helm, she said. Garland cited his initiatives, including reaching out to the community with resident coffees and a school newsletter, and focusing on learning through efforts such as tracking student-progress data.

“I will continue to move forward in this positive way,” Garland said.

Her predecessor, Graber, accepted the position in LaGrange Highlands in part because the school is close to his home in Western Springs, Ill. He and his family had hoped to move to the Kaneland area from Western Springs, but the housing market did not make it feasible, he said.

“It’s been a bit of a commute (to Elburn),” Graber said.

The main reason he took the job was because of his family.

“I have a 3- and 1-year-old at home, and sometimes when I leave in the morning they are still asleep and when I get home at night they are already in bed,” Graber said.

Graber is looking forward to working closer to home, but said he will miss John Stewart and the Kaneland area.

“It was a phenomenal year out here,” Graber said.

Graber became John Stewart’s principal in 2009. Previously, he was an assistant principal in Elmhurst District 205.

Until his last day at John Stewart in late June, Graber will work closely with Garland to help her acclimate to the principal position. He feels comfortable leaving the school’s leadership in her hands.

“We (he and Garland) have been very much on the same page all year long, so I feel it will be a good transition,” Graber said.

Making it official
Kaneland Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler proposed Laura Garland for the John Steward Elementary School principal job during a special School Board meeting on Tuesday.

“I can recommend her to you without hesitation-she is the right person,” Schuler said. “She has an extensive background in reading (education) and administration,” Schuler said.

The Kaneland District 302 School Board decided in a 4-0 vote to accept his recommendation to hire Garland to replace Brian Graber, who accepted a position in another district. Present at the meeting were the board’s new president, Cheryl Krauspe, and board members Ken Carter, Elmer Gramley and Robert Myers.

Garland will receive an annual salary of $78,000.

Schuler said the district will advertise the assistant principal position she is vacating.

“We have time to make sure we get the right person in place for that position,” Schuler said.

Photo gallery: 2010 KHS graduation

Kaneland High School student Olivia Fabrizius (left—shown with her mom and KHS teacher Judy) and her classmates graduated as the Kaneland High School class of 2010 this past Sunday. The class motto was “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” The class flower was a white rose, and the class colors were emerald green and silver. A full gallery will load below.
Photos by Mary Herra

KHS announces students-of-the-term for term 4

Kaneland—Kaneland High School recognized the following students for being the Term 4, 2009-10 students-of-the-term: Lacey F. Eberle, CTE (Business); Andrew D. Hladilek, CTE (Orientation to Family Consumer Science); Niko G. Becerra, English; Alexandra Morefield, Fine Arts (Foreign Language); Kevin R. Krasinski, Fine Arts (Music); Kasey E. Ostarello, Math; Kyle V. Pollastrini, Physical Education/Health; Benjamin J. Kovalick, Science; Elizabeth G. Webb, Social Studies; Zachary R. Held, Student Services.

The goal of the Student-of-the-Term program is to recognize Kaneland High School students who exemplify the type of effort, commitment, character and leadership qualities and academic effort, including achievement, improvement and contributions, that are desired of all Kaneland students. The above-named students will receive a certificate, T-shirt and a plaque.

KHS recognizes students for volunteer service

Kaneland—The Kaneland Knights Generosity Involves Volunteer Effort (GIVE) program has been set up to recognize students who gave back to their school and community through volunteer service.

Kaneland High School recognizes the following students for at least 40 hours of volunteer service this school year: Brittany Bauer, Kami Bauer, Stephanie Bauer, Elaine Cannell, Megan Cline, Dominique Galloway, Dylan Good, Brooke Harner, Amy Husk, Katie Kenkel, Morgan Newhouse, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Keith Runde, Erik Tattoni.

KHS recognizes the following students for at least 80 service hours during the school year: Eric Eichelberger, Tyler Fabrizius, Valerie Zavala and Mariella Zavala.

Krauspe elected as school board president

She replaces 8-year president Wiet
by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday unanimously elected Board Secretary Cheryl Krauspe as the new board president.

Krauspe will replace Lisa Wiet, who had served as president since November 2002. Wiet nominated Krauspe for the president’s position before board members cast their votes in the annual election of board officers Monday.

“I think it was very obvious that Cheryl had the unanimous support of the board,” Wiet said Tuesday. “It was time.”

Krauspe, who had been board secretary, said she is eager to take on her new role as president and felt comforted by Wiet’s support. She also praised Wiet’s work as the board’s leader.

“I’d like to thank Lisa for her leadership, her subordination of self-interest as president (and) her forward vision to make sure the board moved in a positive direction,” she said. “Not only did (she) give each board member an opportunity to participate fully in the boardroom, (she) did a great deal outside of the boardroom, which to most of us went grossly underappreciated.”

Krauspe said she expects to learn and to make mistakes as board president, but feels fortunate that she can draw from Wiet’s experience and wisdom.

Wiet said Tuesday that she is glad for Krauspe.

“I didn’t think I’d end up serving seven or eight terms when I first became board president in 2002,” Wiet said. “I am delighted to turn it over to Cheryl, though. I believe she’ll do a wonderful job, and I hope she’ll do things her own way instead of trying to emulate me.”

Wiet was elected Monday to replace Krauspe as board secretary, a role with which she is very familiar.

“Board secretary is a function I did many years ago,” Wiet said. “The really nice part (about the position) is I can work really closely with Cheryl.”

Martha Quetsch contributed to this article.

District also has new superintendent
KANELAND—Outgoing Kaneland School Board President Lisa Wiet said she believes Jeff Schuler, currently the assistant district superintendent, will make a smooth transition into the role of superintendent.

Schuler will replace Charlie McCormick, who has served as District 302 superintendent for 12 years and is retiring at the end of the school year.

“We interviewed Jeff three or four years ago as a potential candidate, but we never made any promises that he’d one day become superintendent,” she said. “He’s turned out to be exactly what we were hoping for.”

Monday’s School Board meeting was the final one for McCormick, who commented on his time with the district.

“(My time here) has been a very active period in the Kaneland history. We built a lot of schools, got a lot of changes and a lot of growth,” McCormick said. “I am really honored to have been a part of it.”

iStatement project starts students on career paths

by Paula Coughlan
KANELAND—By exploring career fields while still in high school, students have a chance to see if those paths are the ones they really want to take before heading to college or other training.

Students in the freshman-level Applications of Technology classes at Kaneland High School are completing self-produced videos called iStatements, in which they focus on what careers they might want to pursue and how to begin taking steps toward them.

The three-minute videos each freshman is making in the class is the capstone project that wraps up a career-focused unit, instructor Andrew Ingras said. The project encourages students to think differently about preparation for a career.

After completing a variety of self-reflective and career-related activities in the class, students put their experience into the electronic production about themselves. They include pictures, videos and music in which students answer three questions: Who am I, where do I want to go, and how might I get there?

Students including Amanda Lesak have begun thinking of how answering those questions will help them choose a career.

”Instead of saying, ‘Oh, I want to be a doctor,’ and then the next day, ‘I want to be a dentist now,’ the project made me realize that in life you have to work hard to achieve your goals and to be more realistic about the future and consider more options,” Lesak said.

Reflection is a major part of the class, a process through which a student might realize they want to be an accountant, for example, and transfer that into the action of taking accounting and business classes while they’re still in high school.

“The reflective process is the most important part of the project,” Igras said. “It produces a tangible way of translating thought into action. For one of the activities, I give the students a list of about 50 different topics (such as independence, money, being creative, art, being helpful) and they have to rate how much they value that topic.”

In addition to reflection, the class focuses on manifesting, a process in which students visualize their lives as successful, much like athletes visualize success and use that in their games. Students also zero in on personal missions to facilitate setting goals, identifying options and exploring pathways.

“We ask students to develop a plan of short and long terms goals that lead to career options, credentials, advanced certificates or a degree,” Igras said.

Students also use digital literacy, the practice of using computer-based tools, to tell the story of their past, present and future lives. Students bring in any type of image possible that can be transferred to a computer, ranging from pictures from the Internet and videos shot by the student to photos from a digital camera.

KHS one of 2 schools participating in state
Kaneland High School instructor Andrew Igras first heard about iStatements through VALEES (Valley Education for Employment System), which provides ongoing training for teachers whose high schools feed into Waubonsee Community College.

VALEES was looking for teachers who wanted to participate in training for the iStatement project, and counselor Andy Franklin and Igras volunteered for it. Kaneland and Newark High School are the only schools in the state with iStatement in their curriculum.

“We piloted the class in the 2008-09 school year, and all Application of Technology teachers decided to do it for the 2009-10 year,” Igras said.

WCC offers career education scholarships

Sugar Grove—The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is offering scholarships to students enrolling in a variety of career education programs during the upcoming 2010-11 academic year. The application deadline is Friday, May 28.

These $500 program scholarships are available to both new and returning Waubonsee students. A list of qualifying degree and certificate programs and an application form can be found at, or call (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

KHS students earn honors in IWPA contest

Kaneland—Four Kaneland High School students were among the 54 honored by the Illinois Woman’s Press Association (IWPA) during its annual High School Communications Contest.

Contest winners were recognized during an award luncheon on May 15.

Erica Brettman earned a second-place honor in the Environment category with a piece titled, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Ways to Go Green Today.”

Mel Mazuc earned second-place recognition in the Opinion category with an entry titled “He Might as Well Cause Cancer.”

Sarah Arnold earned third place in the Reviews category with “The Coolest, Funniest iPod Apps Money Can Buy.”

Austin Paulson earned an honorable mention in the Graphics category with an untitled graphic.

What his future holds

by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—Even though he has always been a planner, Charlie McCormick, Kaneland District superintendent for the past 12 years, said when he retires in June, he has no set agenda for the future. When asked what he might do, he answered, “What I want to do.”

McCormick is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, doing genealogy research—his favorite hobby—and fishing in Wisconsin from a sit-on-top kayak he intends to buy.

He also wants to spend time with friends.

“Frankly, my job has not given me a whole lot of time to do that,” McCormick said. “So, going someplace for a cup of coffee some morning and just chit-chatting with people is not anything I’ve had much opportunity to do.”

McCormick said it was not unusual for him to have to attend as many as eight night meetings a month—staff and board and community and committees—after working during the day.

He will miss the general activity level of his job and camaraderie of what he calls his “work family,” but won’t miss those night meetings, he said.

McCormick doesn’t think retirement will be much of an adjustment for him, except in one regard.

“As of 3 p.m. June 11, my opinion won’t matter anymore,” McCormick said. “I will have to get used to that.”

McCormick looks back, ahead

After 16 years planning Kaneland’s future, superintendent prepares for his own
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—If one word could be used to describe Kaneland School District during Superintendent Charlie McCormick’s 16 years with it, that word would be “growing.” One word best describes how McCormick dealt with that issue, “planning.”

“I have tried to think ahead, always anticipating several years in advance what things could be so that we don’t paint ourselves into a corner and so that we give ourselves some flexibility for the future,” McCormick said.

McCormick, who is retiring in June, came to the district in 1994, and since then the number of students and staff has more than doubled. Sixteen years ago, the district had 147 teachers and administrators, and now has 382.

At the beginning of 1994 school year, the district had 2,149 students, compared to the estimated 2010-11 enrollment of 4,674.

Intergovernmental agreement
One of the first tasks he tackled to prepare for additional expected growth was pursuing intergovernmental agreements with district municipalities to ensure developer impact fees for the schools.

“When I became superintendent (in 1998) I sort of took that on and really, what I thought what had to happen was that it’s not just the municipalities talking to us—they need to be talking to one another.”

Now, when a municipality wants to attract a developer, everything is open to negotiation except school fees.

“Those are not negotiable,’ McCormick said. “They can’t be traded off.”

Establishing the intergovernmental agreement was not easy, he said.

“It took a lot of meetings with municipalities,” McCormick said.

At two or three of those meetings, all of the trustees from all the villages were all in one room, the high school library.

Citizen advisory committees
Trying to get the word out about district issues over 142 square miles and nine communities was among McCormick’s challenges over the years, especially when referendums were at stake, he said. The district made great strides in that communication effort by establishing the citizen advisory committees, he said.

McCormick proposed the citizen advisory committees to the School Board about 10 years ago.

“I said, as long as we’re going to keep growing here, you really are going to need to have ongoing communications with the community in some form, some way,” he said.

The district created a citizens advisory committee, a facilities planning committee and finance advisory committee, all composed mostly of citizens appointed by the School Board.

“I think that structure has served the board well, because it has provided for them an ongoing entity that when we start seeing a need in a change for a facility, or a new facility, we start right there with the citizens, early,” McCormick said.

Some CAC members have served for nearly 10 years, bringing district information to the community and bringing residents’ feedback to district officials.

The advisory committees have helped inform district residents about the need for several school referendums for new buildings, McCormick said.

District growth
McCormick, of Sycamore, started as Kaneland’s assistant superintendent for business 16 years ago and became superintendent four years later in place of Dennis Dunton.

Kaneland Assistant Superintendent Jeff Schuler will take the superintendent seat this summer.

When McCormick came to Kaneland, the district had just two schools, at Meredith and Keslinger roads in Maple Park. Others throughout the district had been closed over the years as enrollment tapered off and old buildings needed costly asbestos removal.

However, by 1994, enrollment had increased at the seventh through 12 grades, housed in what is now the high school, and K-sixth at the other building.

“That’s what I walked into … growth was now happening,” McCormick said. “The district was getting bigger and bigger, swelling up against the walls.

“Part of what happens with growth, is that everything has to grow. You have to have more buildings, more lights, more teachers, more administrators, more buses-the whole thing just grows.”

School Board member Cheryl Krauspe said McCormick was a deft leader who was invaluable in a time of great change in the district.

“Charlie provided important direction in our times of managing rapid growth and due diligence in our times of economic distress,” Krauspe said. “He led with respectfulness, thoughtfulness, finesse, and the wisdom that comes from valuable experience. Kaneland is a better, much improved, more solid place because of his dedication and his distinguished career of service and leadership with us.”

Graduates, families invited to baccalaureate

Kaneland—Kaneland High School’s 2010 graduates and their families are invited to attend the class of 2010 Kaneland Community Baccalaureate on Tuesday, May 25, at 7 p.m. at Kaneland High School auditorium.

There will be a senior slide show, student testimonies and special music. The keynote speaker will be Victor Saad, student ministry pastor from Christ Community Church. Graduates should arrive by 6:30 p.m. with their caps and gowns.

District will pay $1.1 million for roof work

Kaneland—Kaneland School District will pay Riddiford Roofing Company $1.1 million for the Kaneland High School roof replacement project this summer. The company submitted the lowest bid for the project.

Arlington Heights, Ill.—based Riddiford will replace a large section of the school roof beginning June 2010.

Calling all actors

Kaneland Community Summer Theater holds auditions
Kaneland—Auditions will take place for the Kaneland Community Summer Theatre production of “The Music Man,” directed by Diane McFarlin, on Wednesday through Friday, May 19-22.

“The Music Man” is the last performance in the Festival Performance Series, the new endeavor of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival. Performances will be on July 16-18 in the Kaneland High School Auditorium.

Anyone 8 and older is welcome to audition, however, the audition dates for people 13 and older are Wednesday, May 19, and Friday, May 21, at 6:30 pm. Auditions for people 8- to 12-years-old will be held on Saturday, May 22, at 9 a.m., and parents of these participants must be in attendance during the audition. All auditions will be held in the auditorium of Kaneland High School. Callbacks will be posted by 11:30 a.m. on Saturday for those participants being called back from the 9 a.m. audition.

Audition information can be found at and questions can be directed to Diane McFarlin at (630) 365-5100, ext. 208, or diane.mcfarlin@kaneland .org. Tickets will be on sale beginning June 15.

Board hires manager for Harter project

Kaneland—Nicholas & Associates will serve as the construction manager for the repair and renovation work for storage facilities at Harter Middle School.

The Kaneland School Board on Monday approved a contract for the company, which also will assist with the construction budget. The district will pay Nicholas & Associates $44,000 for the work, 4 percent of the total project cost.

Evanston, Ill.-based Nicholas & Associates has been the general contractor for many of the district’s projects, including Harter Middle School and the multi-phase addition and renovation of Kaneland High School.

Principal for the day

8-year-old takes on school official’s tasks
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Second-grader Ben Durbala, 8, was in charge at John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn on Friday, serving as Principal for the Day. He was excited about the unique opportunity, which he won in a silent auction at a PTO fundraiser.

“I’ve never been a principal before, of course, because I’m just a kid, and I wanted to find out what it would be like,” Ben said.

The reason he was interested in being Principal for a Day is because he wants to follow in the footsteps of his dad, who is a school principal in Downers Grove.

“I want to be one when I grow up,” Ben said.

Ben took his role on Friday very seriously, and was enthusiastic about everything he did, said John Stewart principal Brian Graber.

Ben prepared for the day beforehand and was ready to go when he got to school that morning, Graber said. Ben’s first task was to read the morning announcements on the school intercom.

Graber always starts the announcements with, “Today is a splendid day to be at John Stewart” or “Today is a terrific day to be at John Stewart.” In preparing the day before, Ben came up with another descriptive word. He announced to his fellow students over the intercom, “This is principal Ben Durbala. Today is an exceptional day to be at John Stewart.”

Ben wore a lavalier tag during the day identifying him as the school principal. He did five classroom walk-throughs with Graber, part of the principal’s daily routine. Ben chose which teachers’ classes to visit, and then offered feedback to them on what he saw, mostly “Great job” and “excellent,” he said.

Ben also was able to send comments to the teachers about changes he would like to see at the school, using Principal Graber’s official e-mail address. After complimenting his teacher, Mrs. Hensley, and the other teachers for working hard to make school exciting and full of learning, he suggested that the school have physical education every day and eliminate the rule against having candy in class.

He closed the e-mail by saying he hoped they all had a nice Mother’s Day.

A lunch with Principal Graber had to be postponed because he had an unexpected school matter that needed his attention and had to leave the building for awhile. But the two will reschedule the lunch for a later date.

Graber said serving as principal on Friday offered Ben a window into what the job entails.

“Before, he saw pieces of it, but on Friday, he could get a better idea of what it is about, including having to roll with things and be flexible,” Graber said.

Ben said nothing about his day changed his mind about wanting to be a principal someday.

“I liked doing pretty much everything,” he said.

Photo: Ben Drabala, a second-grader at John Stewart Elementary School, occupied the principal’s chair on Friday, when he was Principal for the Day. While on duty, he sent e-mail comments from the principal’s office to the school’s teachers, visited several classrooms and read the morning announcements over the intercom. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Teacher spearheaded Young Authors

by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—The longstanding Young Authors program for K-8 Kaneland students owed its start to teacher Barb Romack, who is retiring after 37 years with the district.

Romack has been a fourth-grade teacher at John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn for more than 10 years, and is one of 12 district teachers who are retiring in June.

Through the Young Authors program, Romack encouraged hundreds of Kaneland students to write their own books.

“At one time, she had all of the sixth grade writing,” said Barb Landis, who teaches sixth grade at Harter Middle School.

Romack read every one of the books students wrote, choosing the winning works each year and awarding ribbons to all participants.

“I look for original, quality work,” said Romack.

Romack said she was pleased that one student actually wrote a book each year from kindergarten through eighth grade. She added another past participant now is a published author, and many others have continued to write.

Reading is Romack’s passion, and she plans to spend more time doing it after retiring from teaching.

“I have a lot to catch up on,” Romack said.

She also will spend some time visiting her grandsons in Utah, and will continue working for the Education Department at Fermilab, where she co-teaches a class in particle physics for middle school teachers each summer.

Romack began work in Kaneland in 1973, teaching third grade at Kaneville Elementary School. About 10 years later she became gifted-program teacher and coordinator for K-12. Seven years later, she returned to the regular classroom, teaching fourth grade for the next two decades.

What she expects to miss most about her teaching years with Kaneland are the “Oh, I get it now” or “Oh, yeah” moments from students, as well as the time with her former colleagues.

“I’m sure there will be a period of adjustment since I won’t be planning everything else in my life around teaching,” Romack said. “I think I’m ready to begin a new phase in my life-who knows where it will lead.”

More than 30 years at Kaneland
Following are the employees who have been with the Kaneland the longest from among this year’s 12 retiring district teachers:
Barb Romack 4th grade John Stewart 37 yrs.
Patrick Sheetz 7th grade science 35 yrs.
Suzanne Girsch 4th grade John Stewart 34 yrs.
Rick Dalton middle school P.E. 33 yrs.

Photo: Retiring John Stewart Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Barb Romack has served in many roles during her more than three decades with the Kaneland School District. Those included coordinating the Young Authors program, after-school science programs and Starlab presentations. Photo by Martha Quetsch

Krier earns Golden Eagle

by Ali Boan
Kaneland Krier Executive Editor
Kaneland News Bureau

Kaneland—The Kaneland Krier was awarded the Golden Eagle for best student newspaper in its class at the April 23 Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association (NISPA) conference.

The Krier, which competes in Division 4 against schools ranging from Deerfield High School to Glenbard South to Rockford Lutheran, took top honors. The Golden Eagle is the highest award given by the association, which awards gold, silver, and bronze certificates as well. To earn a gold certificate and be in the running for the Golden Eagle, a paper must earn at least 360 out of 400 points, scored by the quality and design of the high school’s newspaper. The Krier earned 380 points, including perfect scores for its news coverage, in-depth coverage, special page design and advertising.

“The Northern Illinois region is very competitive because of the large number of schools, and so I was very pleased with the Krier’s performance this year,” Cheryl Borrowdale, journalism teacher and Krier adviser, said. “I think the judges identified a number of our strengths in news coverage and feature writing in particular. The judges also gave us several ideas as to what our goals for future improvement might be.”

In the final critique, NISPA judges commented that “The Krier is rich in content, and it’s presented very attractively. A great variety of topics and issues receive coverage.”

Other judges’ comments included that the Krier includes “ample evidence of reporting,” “fair and balanced” stories and contains “layered information.” Judges suggested that the Krier continue to work on writing more varied headlines, including more information in captions, using more white space and writing more concise editorials.

The Krier most recently won the Golden Eagle in 2008 and historically has performed very well at NISPA.

“All the hard work and stress definitely paid off after we got to hoist that trophy,” sophomore Anthony Sperando, sports editor, said.

Individual staff members also won eight blue ribbons and two honorable mentions for writing, photography, cartooning, graphics and ad design.

Blue ribbons were awarded to junior Maria Kernychny, centerspread editor, for feature writing and photography; senior Melanie Mazuc, editorial editor, for column writing and an individual in-depth piece; freshman Julia Angelotti, reporter, for sports writing; sophomore Zach Brown, opinion editor, for review writing; junior Megan Nauert, advertising manager, for ad design; and sophomore Demi Schlehofer, artist, for editorial cartooning. Honorable mentions went to Mazuc for graphics and to Kernychny and senior Jessica Raines, business manager, for a team in-depth piece.

The NISPA conference also included a keynote speech from Joe Mahr, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter from the Chicago Tribune, and two breakout sessions on a variety of journalistic topics.

“Because a lot of the instructors were high school newspaper advisors, or reporters from the Chicago Tribune, they gave us a lot of real life tips, ideas and strategies that we’re going to put to good use with next year’s Krier staff,” Kernychny said.

Photo: Several Krier editors celebrate taking home the Golden Eagle at NISPA. ‘Winning a blue ribbon for ad design felt amazing because doing ads is so time consuming each issue,’ junior Megan Nauert, advertising manager and executive editor, said. ‘Winning an award made all that time feel worthwhile.’ Junior Jessica Corbett, feature and lifestyle editor (left to right); senior Jessica Raines, executive editor; Erin Rodway, executive editor; Ali Boan, executive editor; Anthony Sperando, sports editor; and Megan Nauert, executive editor. Courtesy Photo

Going abroad

43 KHS students hone language skills while seeing Europe
by Paula Coughlan
Last fall, Kaneland High School Spanish teacher Michelle Jurcenko approached then-principal Tony Valente and the School Board with an idea of taking a group of students on a trip to Spain and France. Jurcenko spent three years in Copenhagen, Denmark and traveled to Europe several times besides living and teaching in Ohio, from where she twice led groups to Europe. She found these trips were a wonderful opportunity for students to use the language skills she had taught in class.

Despite concern that with the state of the economy there might not be much of a response, Jurcenko met with parents in February this year, and within five days, 43 students had filled the trip to capacity, with more on a waiting list.

Pre-trip meetings took place once a month so that the students could learn the ways of the cultures they would be visiting. For example, Jurcenko told them that although Americans are used to taking large slices of bread and buttering them, in European cultures people take small pieces and often there is no butter present on the table at all. The students also were taught how to navigate the European metro transportation system and were told what they would see.

Three weeks before the trip, Jurcenko met with the parents to give them the final details. They were told there would be a phone message system on which she would leave daily updates about the trip. A few of the students obtained international service on their cell phones so they could call home.

Each student had a laminated card with Jurcenko’s cell phone number and their hotel and tour-guide information; and they were told if they were separated from the group to get in a cab and go back to their hotel. On the back of the card was the exchange rate for American money and Euros so students could refer to it when buying something. Prior to the trip, the students were told to have $50 converted into Euros and to bring a debit or credit card that had the Visa or MasterCard logo.

Leaving on March 25, the first leg of the nine-day journey for the students and six school staff members was an eight-hour flight to Zurich, then a two-hour flight to Madrid. Most of the students had flown before, and a few had taken long overseas flights, although many were glad to get off of the last plane after a bumpy ride.

A typical day involved a tour in the morning, then two hours for lunch and free time, after which there might be another tour or time spent walking around the city. Students were always directed to meet at a certain spot after free time, and Jurcenko suggested that they take a picture of the meeting area including the street signs, so if they got lost they could show it to someone for directions.

In Madrid, Spain, the group visited cathedrals and the Prado Art Museum. Some students took an optional side trip to the medieval town of Segovia. There, they had a chance to see the Palm Sunday parade, which senior student Haley Johnson said was one of the most memorable parts of her trip. The students also met a visiting men’s Japanese indoor soccer team and had pictures taken with the team.

All the students visited Toledo, where they toured cathedrals and watched swordmaking.

In Madrid, the students stopped at a park called Retiro (parque de buen retiro). There, several of the girls from Kaneland’s soccer team saw some Spanish girls playing soccer and asked if they could play with them. The girls surprised their Kaneland coach, Scott Parillo, with a phone call to tell him they had just won a soccer game in Madrid: Maple Park 4, Madrid 1.

The next four days were spent in Paris after a 14-hour train trip during which they slept four to a small cabin. Half an hour outside of Paris, the students toured the famous Palace at Versailles. The palace has 2,000 rooms, so they were able to see only a few of them. They saw the famous gardens around the palace and visited the cathedral at Notre Dame and the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa.

At the Louvre, they saw the modern pyramid entrance to the museum, recognized by everyone who’d read “The DaVinci Code.”

Their guide had to cancel an outside tour on a rainy day in Paris, but found an indoor perfume-making demonstration instead. On a drier day, some students decided to take a cruise on the Seine River, embarking near the Eiffel Tower. They went to the top of the Eiffel Tower both during the day and on a 2-1/2 hour night trip which included a laser light show.

Breakfasts were at the hotels, but lunch and dinner were at local restaurants. The food in both Spain and France wasn’t a lot different from back home, they said. A common item at breakfast was croissants. Other meals in Spain featured egg and potato omelets and pasta. Some of the students decided to be adventuresome in France and ate snails and squid. There was also a medieval band at one of the Madrid restaurants, where the students danced the macarena.

Senior Megan Cline said it was difficult to understand some of the people in Spain because of how fast they spoke, but that she liked to challenge herself by speaking in complete sentences rather than just one-word responses. Haley Johnson said it was exciting for her to be immersed in the language that she has spent four years studying, adding that everyone she encountered was nice about letting her practice.

Junior Lindsay Jurcenko felt it was an awesome experience to use the language for the first time without textbooks or worksheets. She said she gained a much better understanding of the Spanish language. Johnson also said that through the trip, she gained the desire and knowledge she needed to go back to Europe on her own.

A favorite excursion for the students was the visit to the Eiffel Tower at night. All in all though, they seemed to enjoy Madrid most for its smaller, old-town quaintness.

Megan summed up the students’ feelings by saying that she realized after this trip that it is important to learn about the culture and languages of other countries.

“There is so much going on in the world outside of our small town, and it’s important to know what’s happening in the world, or you might miss out on something you’d love,” Megan said.

Future trips planned
Kaneland High School Spanish teacher Michelle Jurcenko hopes to lead a trip abroad every two years, varying the destinations each time. The first trip she coordinated at Kaneland
was to Europe this spring, through E. F. Educational Tours.

The company charges an average of $2,500 per person, which covers everything except lunch and gifts and a few of the side excursions. A 12-month payment plan is available. Sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible and do not have to be language students to go.
Parents or students who would like to inquire about the next trip may contact Jurcenko at

WCC names Business Competition Day winners

Waubonsee—More than 125 students from 11 area high schools competed at Waubonsee Community College’s 31st Annual Business Competition Day on April 14. The event, which took place at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, was hosted by Waubonsee’s Business and Information Systems Division.

The top three finishers in each of the day’s seven subject area contests received partial Waubonsee scholarships. West Aurora High School turned in the best overall performance at Business Competition Day and received one full Waubonsee scholarship to be given to the student of their choice.

First-place winners included: Cesar Villa, East Aurora High School; Tyler Packard and Tara Olson, Kaneland High School; Jeremy Schmitt, Somonauk High School; Andrew Moment and Kyle Nusbaum, Yorkville High School; and Anna Marie Graham, Rosary High School.

Second-place finishers included: Eric Du, Batavia High School; Matt Schuman, Fox Valley Career Center; Nolan Meehan, Bernard Enriquez and Jeanette Bustamante, West Aurora High School; Abraham Herrera, Yorkville High School; and Elizabeth Healy, Rosary High School.

Third-place finishers included: Ben Justus, Kaneland High School; Jesse Long, Serena High School; Matthew Bily and Jose Valadez, West Aurora High School; Kevin Lafond, Batavia High School; Shanna Pack, Kaneland High School; and Kerry Portillo-Lopez, East Aurora High.

Kaneland adds to Hall of Fame

Kaneland—The Kaneland School District Hall of Fame Committee added a group of new members of the Kaneland Hall of Fame.

Joining the Hall of Fame in the Friend Category is Donald S. Myers. Pam Ferdinand was named to the Hall of Fame in the Commitment Category. The 1988 girls track team was named in the Teamwork Category.

Jobs, most programs reinstated by school board

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday adopted a resolution to hire back the first, second, third, fourth-year and part-time teachers let go in a cost-cutting measure taken last month. The plan would have eliminated as many as 30 certified teaching and professional positions.

The jobs were saved when the Kaneland Education Association (KEA) agreed to put off until the following year a salary increase for 2010-11 that had been negotiated in its contract, saving the district $1.1 million. With this salary freeze, the teachers now join the rest of the district personnel, whose salaries had already been frozen for the coming school year in an attempt to address the deficit.

Although fifth-grade band will still be eliminated, the district reinstated cuts made to the middle school and high school athletics and clubs. The Loredo Taft field trip will also still be eliminated.

While the second phase of cuts will not be implemented, the first phase of reductions will go forward, including 23 positions to be lost through attrition, a reduction in spending for supplies and professional development, as well as the elimination of the after-practice bus service.

According to Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Jeff Schuler, the total of all budget reductions for 2010-11 is $4.3 million.