Category Archives: Kaneland

IMG_5881

Photos: Cheerleaders @ NIB-12 Competition

It was a high-flying Sunday in Morris, as the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference cheerleading squads travelled to the home of the Redskins for the annual NIB-12 Conference Cheerleading Competition. The Lady Knights left with a ninth-place showing as a team, but featured All-Conference athletes in Mattie Garrison, Denise Gombar and Nicole McClellan. KHS also recieved two all-conference honorable mentions for Alexis Lund and Jessica O’Donnell. Freshman Amber Evans (above, left to right), sophomore O’Donnell and freshman Rylee Born show their Kaneland spirit at Sunday’s NIB-12 Competition at Morris High School.

Kindergarten Registration, Literacy Fair

KANELAND—The 2014 Kindergarten Registration and Literacy Fair will take place Saturday, Feb. 8, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park.

Students with last names beginning with letters A-H will register from 8 to 9:30 a.m.; I-O will register from 9:30 to 11 a.m.; P-Z will register from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The following must be provided in original and photocopy forms: driver’s license, birth certificate and proof of residency (utility bill, lease, mortgage, etc.). No fees are due during the fair.

Informational booths regarding heath and physical information, speech, alphabet sounds and letter recognition, number, retelling, rhyming, expectations for kindergarten, motor skills, independent/adaptive skills and transportation will be available during the fair.

For more information, contact Dr. Sarah Mumm, director of Curriculum, at (630) 365-5111, ext. 112.

KAI to present ‘The Laramie Project’

KANELAND—The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) will launch its inaugural performance of the Winter Theatre Production, “The Laramie Project,” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-26, in the Black Box Theatre portion of Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Attendees are asked to enter through Door 32 on the north side of building.

“The Laramie Project” is a drama that depicts the account of the townspeople in Laramie, Wyo., following the tragic death of Matthew Shepherd.

The production will be presented by KAI in partnership with the Kindness Campaign.

Tickets are available for purchase by calling (630) 365-5100, ext. 180, or emailing 10911@kaneland.org. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. Seating is very limited in the Black Box Theatre, so KAI recommends advance ticket purchases. Tickets will be general admission seating.

Note that the subject matter depicted in “The Laramie Project” is sensitive, and appropriate age recommendations are for middle school aged students or older. The Kaneland Arts Initiative and the Kindness Campaign will lead a discussion after each performance for interested audience members.

Kaneland will not continue with intergovernmental consortium

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted against continuing onto the next phase of an online and blended learning intergovernmental consortium with neighboring school districts.

The only board members who voted to continue with the consortium were Board Secretary Gale Pavlak and Peter Lopatin.

Board members had previously given a literal thumbs up to collaborate with four other districts, including Indian Prairie 204, Wheaton-Warrenville 200, Naperville 203 and Batavia 101.

Erika Schlichter, director of Kaneland Educational Services for grades 6-12, had written a report about the consortium.

“The objective of the consortium was to design a collaborative, high quality online/blended program that would expand educational options for students in our districts,” Schlichter wrote.

The consortium’s Phase One took place last September through December.

The consortium had contracted with Evergreen Consulting Group. The cost to the Kaneland School District for its Phase One involvement is $4,835.

Schlichter’s report noted that Phase One objectives included development of a mission and guiding principles, and a strategic plan of goals, as well as creation of an implementation schedule this month, with courses to launch in August.

The report noted that to become a voting member, each district would have to pay $85,000 as an initial investment, while an initial proportional amount would be $11,450. The total first-year investment would then be $96,450.

“It’s unfortunate,” board member Teresa Witt said. “I would love to have the money laying around to support it. I just don’t see that I could allocate that kind of money.”

Schlichter acknowledged that the specifics of Phase Two is something “hard to be definite about.”

Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler spoke favorably on working with the consortium.

“I see it as a new path,” Schuler said.

Off-roading at McDole CARE

Montgomery—“Climb big rocks, go up steep hills and get muddy.”

That doesn’t sound like something a parent would encourage his or her children to do, but that is exactly what Bryan Adams tells his children.

Adams is an off-roader. He is a member of a fast-growing club called Chicagoland Dirty Deltas Jeep Club. The club started just two years ago with nine members and, at last count, has 440 off-roading enthusiasts. According to Adams, the off-roaders like their rides bumpy, rocky and muddy. In fact, the rougher the road, the better.

Adams and four other members of the Chicagoland Dirty Deltas Jeep Club recently shared their passion for off-roading with the children of the Sugar Grove Park District CARE program during a special presentation at Kaneland McDole Elementary School in Montgomery. Adams’ children, Addie and Riley, attend the CARE program.

Mike Faltz, Caitlin Mate, Ryan Coleman, Pete Kovaevic and Adams all drove their Jeeps to the school so that the children could see how these vehicles are different from a typical car. The children learned words like “skid plates,” “roll cages,” “snorkels,” “hydraulics” and “winches.” They were treated to a slide presentation and a video showing Jeep owners tackling all sorts of challenges from climbing steep terrain to driving through a huge culvert.

The club members said they try to get together monthly to off-road. Sometimes, Faltz even hosts events on his farm. To see what off-roading is all about, check out Mike’s YouTube video titled “Fun at the Farm with the Dirty Deltas.”

The children at CARE learned a lot about the sport of off-roading. They also learned that getting a little bit dirty is all part of the fun for kids of any age.

Friday Knightlife to return to Kaneland community

KANELAND—Friday Knightlife is back.

The program, which ran from fall 2009 to spring 2011, has been resurrected thanks to the community collaboration of Peak for Kids, Inc., Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library.

According to Renee Dee, founder of Peak (Promoting Enrichment and Kindness) for Kids, the purpose of the Friday Knightlife program is to give Kaneland-area youths, grades four through eight, with more opportunities to connect with fellow students and other people in the community.

Dee said that the program is necessary to have in the Kaneland community.

“There’s nowhere else for these kids to go on Friday nights,” Dee said. “There’s no movie theatre, there’s no mall, there’s no open community center, there are no libraries open. There’s nothing.”

Dee pointed out that even children occupied with sports can find a little bit of free recreational time through Friday Knightlife.

“Kids are lacking (free time) in their lives nowadays. They don’t have it at school, especially in the middle school. They have 20 minutes for lunch. That’s it.”

Students who attend Friday Knightlife will have three hours to have fun on Fridays, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Jan. 10 to March 21. Elburn and Countryside Community Center will have activities like basketball, dodgeball, floor hockey, Nerf football, Wii, ping-pong, air hockey, Guitar Hero and crafts.

Dee also plans to include karaoke and “weekly appearances” or “special attractions.” There may even be a presenter stopping by to demonstrate worm composting.

“People put the worms in the drawer, and the worms eat up all of your leftover table scraps and turn them into dirt,” Dee said. “So it’s just an environmentally safe type of activity.”

Dee is thinking up another possible plan—a Valentine’s Dance with live music.

Sugar Grove Public Library’s Friday Knightlife activities will include family-friendly movies, games, bracelet making, computer gaming, Wii, puzzles, dancing and music.

Dee plans to have Kaneland High School dance team volunteers create choreography for girls who want to dance. Meanwhile, teen volunteers are needed to help in the music selection department for Friday Knightlife.

“I’m a very conservative parent,” Dee said with a laugh. “So it will definitely be conservative but still fun. And we’re hoping to have some music going loud at the Elburn Community Center the whole time.”

Students who attend can purchase a cheese pizza slice for a dollar from Elburn’s own Paisano’s Pizza and Grill. Water and potato chips will also be available.

KHS students will be on site to offer mentoring during Friday Knightlife.

Meanwhile, parents can make Friday nights date nights, as they will receive a FKL (Friday Knightlife) Out and About Card that entitles them to 15 percent off food at local restaurants, including Open Range and Blackberry Bar & Grill. Those wanting a cool treat can head to Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville to buy one ice cream and get another free ice cream.

Java Plus inside the Sugar Grove Library’s Book Nook Cafe will offer 15 percent off coffee to FKL cardholders. Attendees can see Kaneland area musicians perform. Local band These Paper Hands will perform 7 to 8:30 p.m. this Friday.

To make this program come together Dee collaborated with Sugar Grove Library Director Carol Dolin and Bill Brauer. Brauer is the former head of Friday Knightlife.

Dee would like to eventually expand Friday Knightlife so that it runs from November to March and costs less. The current cost for 10 weeks of Friday Knightlife is $75 per student, or $125 for two or more siblings. The deadline for payment is Friday, Jan. 10. Those wanting to attend any program the night of the event can pay $10 at the door.

Interested teens who want to volunteer or are simply looking for further information can contact Dee at (630) 935-7834.

Meanwhile, Clayton Hannula, an eighth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, expressed interest in attending Friday Knightlife.

“It kind of sounds fun,” he said. “Maybe having a little hang out with a couple of my friends. Maybe going out, just seeing a movie.”

Fellow eight-grader Annie Dydas said she’s also open to checking out Friday Knightlife.

“It’ll be really fun if everyone can get their group of friends to go,” she said. “Similar friendships will be made. People will enjoy themselves and want to come back.”

WCC_Coach

Waubonsee’s Wagner feels good about collecting 200

Waubonsee Community College head women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner celebrated her 200th victory recently. She is a 1992 Kaneland graduate that went on to play at Aurora University. Courtesy/File Photo

Kaneland alum’s milestone victory paves way for memorable year
SUGAR GROVE—To illustrate how Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner approached a milestone 200th coaching victory, which occurred on Dec. 8, it was almost an afterthought.

“(Sports information specialist) Steve Moga told me before the season that I was going to get it, and I forgot about it for awhile,” Wagner said. “It was a road victory and the girls and team moms got together and signed a frame picture they took. It was a nice surprise.”
photo 2
The 73-68 win over the St. Ambrose University varsity team is one of many highlights so far for the 9-5 Lady Chiefs, featuring former Kaneland standouts Sarah Grams and Brooke Harner.

“These girls work hard and buy into the system, and it pays off,” Wagner said. “It’s been a good year for the transition game, and the way we run the floor has been great.”

In her 15th year, Wagner will step down at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, as Waubonsee has enacted a rule that coaching positions will be for non-full-time staff members.

“It’s bittersweet, which is why it’s nice to have this good year. We’ll move onto the next phase, and I’m excited for the future,” Wagner said. “I’m excited to go on a different path.”

Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager, runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and is facilities coordinator for the hoops squad’s home, Erickson Hall.
With Erickson Hall undergoing renovation to hold a 59,000-square-foot fieldhouse, Wagner’s duties involve that heavy undertaking that benefits Waubonsee athletics in the long run.

“It’s great for recruiting when you walk these kids through the facility. It’s going to be unbelievable, that building will be my ‘real job’ and take up a lot of time after this year,” Wagner said.
photo 1
Not only involved in area basketball, since her days as a player at Kaneland, Wagner has worked with many standouts that have seen her evolve as player and coach.

“When I got this job, the first person I coached was Dick Rink (former KHS girls basketball head and assistant coach). I asked him to be my assistant coach after that, and I think we tried adding the number of games he and I had been involved with. It was too many,” Wagner said.

A member of Kaneland’s Class of 1992, Wagner was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball. She then went on to star for Aurora University as a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, was selected the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) Player of the Year three times, and was named Aurora’s Female Athlete of the Year three times. Wagner remains the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693.

With 200 victories, and more looked for as Waubonsee makes its way through Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference action and beyond, Wagner can not only look over a memorable moment, but a memorable coaching tenure. The accomplished coach will just be in the market of bettering WCC rather than just a girls’ roster.

“You have girls that come in here and want to play and don’t want to spend a lot of money, be closer to home, and get their gen-eds done,” Wagner said. “A lot of area girls basketball teams are getting better and starting younger. The hard work pays off. I’m moving on, and looking at the positive.”

1st-grade-sing_1

Photos: Singing for Santa

Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn held its first-grade holiday program on Dec. 6 in the school gym. Parents and other family members were welcome to attend. Mrs. Brubaker and staff guided students through a variety of holiday songs to share with the audience. John
Stewart first-graders (above) delighted family and other guests with their performance. Caeden Strack (right) made a good Santa Claus during the class’ afternoon performance.

Bailey_1

Pride in Platteville

Photo: Elburn native Ryley Bailey had 86 catches for 1,047 yards for UW-Platteville’s football team this season. It was a school record for catches, and only the second time in school history a receiver recorded over 1,000 yards in a season. Courtesy Photo

Former KHS pass-catcher Bailey continues high level of play for UW-Platteville

KANELAND—A local buzz for something like the Division III football playoffs can be excused, especially with the deep semifinal run from Naperville, Ill.-outlet North Central College.

Look deeper, and you’d see even more reason to follow.

Kaneland High School Class of 2010 member Ryley Bailey, who played both sides of the ball for Knight playoff contenders in 2008 and 2009, also made a playoff run in D-III for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-P) Pioneers football roster.

UW-P, with the senior Bailey, made it to the second round before losing to North Central, 52-24, at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville, Ill., to finish at 10-2, which tied a school win record.

“It was just a great feeling,” Bailey said. “It was a great group of guys and an amazing feeling, and it wouldn’t have happened without guys like Quinn (Buschbacher, fellow Kaneland football alum) and (quarterback) John Kelly.”

Bailey, of Elburn, was also one of six Pioneers this month to get a D3Football.com 2013 All-West Region award for outstanding play.

Helping Bailey throughout his Pioneer tenure was the similarity to Kaneland’s noted spread offense.

“I fit right in, which was kind of unique for me I was the receiver that kind of went across the middle. They needed me to do the dirty work in there, because I’m not as fast as the other guys.”

Doing the dirty work this year yielded 86 receptions for 1,047 yards, on his way to becoming the second Pioneer in school history to record over 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The senior receiver averaged 7.17 receptions per game for 87.2 yards per game.

His 86 catches also set a new school record and ranked fourth most in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history.

The wideout came in with accomplished skills, but resolved to pick up his game this season to help make a postseason run.

“You had to stay focused. You had to be ready to do the little things. It was tough this year because of all the hype. We really had a target on our back,” Bailey said.

The Pioneers, paced by assets like Bailey, Buschbacher (28 catches) and Trevor Whitehead (81 catches) in its wide-open offense, had a season to remember, only to end in DuPage County.
Bailey_2
Despite that, Bailey, a first-team all-WIAC member, was able to hold his head up, even catching two touchdowns in the season-ender.

“I’ll remember that game, and I was rooting for (North Central) on Saturday when they lost (41-40 to Mount Union in D-III semifinals). That and the win over Wisconsin-Oskhosh, where we got a late field goal to get us into the playoffs, were what I’ll remember. Those were really emotional,” Bailey said.

Bailey isn’t done with the Wisconsin setting yet, as he works toward his degree.

“I’d like to still be around the football (progam) up here and help the team and the receivers,” Bailey said. “I know football, and football’s been good to me.”

WCC_Coach

WCC’s Wagner garners 200th career coaching victory

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball head coach Dana Wagner collected her 200th career coaching victory as the Lady Chiefs hung on to defeat the St. Ambrose University Junior Varsity 73-68 on Sunday, Dec. 8. Waubonsee improved to 9-3 overall on the season as it won its fourth in a row.

This season is Wagner’s 15th year overall leading Waubonsee’s basketball program. Under her guidance, 22 players have been named Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Teamers. The Lady Chiefs have finished second in the ISCC three times during her tenure, including two years ago when they won a school-record 11 straight games.

Wagner also directed Waubonsee’s volleyball program for two seasons and was the softball head coach for 11 years, helping guide the 2007 team to the ISCC title and a then record-setting 33-win season.

Additionally, Wagner was named the ISCC’s Female Coach of the Year for 2005-06.

A 1992 graduate of Kaneland High School, where she was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball, Wagner went on to star for Aurora University. She was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, was selected the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) Player of the Year three times, and was named Aurora’s Female Athlete of the Year an unprecedented three times. The Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693 points, Wagner’s number 40 jersey was retired upon the conclusion of her last game, and she was inducted into Aurora’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

In addition to her coaching duties, Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager. She also runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and serves as facilities coordinator for the college’s gymnasium, Erickson
Hall.

‘Family Knight In’ at Paisano’s

ELBURN—Place any order at Paisano’s Pizza and Grill on Friday, Dec. 19, and Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO will receive 10 percent back in donation. Just present or mention the “Family Knight In” coupon when you pay for your order, and Paisano’s will take care of the rest. Go to paisanospizzagrill.com for a complete menu. Valid all day for pick up or delivery.

‘Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland community

Elburn—’Friday Knightlife,’ a newly reborn program giving Kaneland kids a fun place to go on Friday nights, will be available this winter for Kaneland community kids, grades fourth through eighth, on Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., from Jan. 10 to March 21.

Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., will be open with activities like basketball, floor hockey, dodgeball, Wii, air hockey and more. Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, will also be open with a movie every Friday, computer gaming, board games, crafts, music and more.

Friday Knightlife is a community collaboration between Peak for Kids, Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library District. Peak for Kids is a new non-profit organization in Kane County dedicated to promoting enrichment and kindness. Part of Peak’s mission is to provide kids more opportunities for connection to community.

Friday Knightlife will provide kids with a safe and fun place to go and socialize. It will also provide mentoring opportunities as older, high-school-aged kids will be invited to volunteer at both facilities.

The Friday Knightlife program will provide participating parents with a Friday Knightlife “Out & About Card,” which will unlock 15 percent discounts on food and more at participating restaurants and venues in the Kaneland community.

Java Plus Cafe at Sugar Grove Public Library will also be open every Friday night from January until March, and offer 15 percent off coffee and live music by some of your favorite Kaneland area musicians.

Registration is now open at www.peakforkids.org. Registration forms also available on the Kaneland School District virtual backpack system. Each student will get a free Friday Knightlife T-shirt. Cost is $75 per student; $50 for one sibling, and no charge for all additional siblings. The pilot program is 10 weeks long this year. If the program is successful, the intent is to open the program up to five months next year (November through March), open more facilities and keep the price point between $35 and $55 per student.

The program will be monitored and reviewed weekly to note the kids’ preferences in terms of activities. That way, program coordinators can work to enhance next year’s program.

For more information, call (630) 466-8880 or visit www.Peakforkids.org. Peak for Kids was the official host of the recently promoted Kindness Campaign in the Kaneland area.

D302 tax levy increases

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board agreed to increase the tax levy at the Monday meeting.

This means that the tentative tax levy that had been approved at the October meeting will go into effect.

The requested amount is $52,210,825 and includes operating levy amounts and bond and interest amounts.

According to a report by Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for Business for the Kaneland School District, money received will provide programs, services, operating costs and other expenditures for 2014-15.

The only two board members who have consistently voted against the tax increase are Tony Valente and Pedro Rivas.

“I’m not going to compare us to other districts,” Rivas said. “We’re us. This is a hard time. At home we’ve had to tighten our belts. That’s what we need to continue to do here.”

Area residents and taxpayers packed the meeting room and many stood up to express their opposition to the home tax increases before the board voted.

Denise Zabelle, Elburn resident, voiced her concerns.

“How much can you grab from us now?” Zabelle asked. “You’re taking more money from us.”
She pointed out that Sugar Grove is asking for $6.50 and the village of Elburn, $27 a year.

“This ‘it’s only’ is adding up,” Zabelle said. “I would like an explanation.”

Her husband Dave Filipski said that the private sector has taken a beating since 2006 and added that the federal and state government is “after us.”

“Everyone’s killing us,” Filipski said. “Enough is enough.”

Sugar Grove resident Jason Mann has spoken in favor of a tax levy increase. He noted the idea that the the district is working on “more with less.” He said that spending, not including Chicago public schools, is less per pupil on instruction than the state average.

“That is sad,” Mann said.

Gale Paviak, board secretary, said that there had been more than $7 million cut from the budget in the last four years. She said that teachers and administrators had not received increases.

“Do we provide our teachers with benefits?” Paviak asked. “Yes. We are not going into this blindfolded. But we have to look at the big picture.”

At the last meeting, Valente had questioned Fuchs about the special education fund in regards to July 31 through currently. He had asked what has changed to warrant doubling the special education fund amount.

Fuchs had explained that the education fund has maxed its tax rate and EAV has dropped.
“To me, robbing Peter to pay Paul—if that’s not a backdoor referendum, I don’t know what is,” Valente said Monday.

School board approves hiring of two interim athletic directors

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board agreed to hire two interim athletic directors for the the school year on Monday.

The two directors are Rudy Keller and Ralph Drendel.

Board member Tony Valente was the only member to vote no.

“You can go without this position for half a year,” Valente said.

The original plan had been to hire a trio of retirees, including Ross Truemper, Keller and Drendel.

Truemper and Keller worked at West Aurora High School as co-interim principal for two years and have experience in athletics and activities.

Drendel is a former Kaneland High School assistant athletic director, coach, teacher and student.

“It just turned out that Ross had some conflicts in his schedule that made it difficult for him to support us,” said Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler after the meeting. “It just didn’t work out.”

According to a memorandum, Keller will receive $500 per day not to exceed 70 days. That totals up to $35,000. Drendel will receive $250 per day not to exceed 100 days. That totals up to $25,000.

“(That’s) something you can live without for six months,” Valente said. “That’s the issue in my eyes—exorbitant spending.”

Schuler spoke favorably of Keller and Drendel.

“Nothing has changed,” Schuler said. “We’re still providing the same level of support we anticipated. It’s more than just an athletics activities position. It really has a key operational focus for the entire building.”

073

KHS’ Madrigal Feaste: a 36-year tradition

Photo: KHS senior Kayla Hedgren performs a solo during the KHS Madrigal performance at the Sugar Grove Library Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

MAPLE PARK—The Kaneland High School Madrigal Feaste performances are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. All performances will be held in the Kaneland High School cafeteria, 47W326 Keslinger Road in Maple Park, where a meal will be served.

The Madrigal production involves nearly 100 Kaneland students who combine their talents in music and drama to celebrate the holiday season. Ticket orders for this reenactment of a 10th century English madrigal feaste are currently being accepted. To order tickets online, visit the Kaneland District 302 website, www.kaneland.org.

Madrigal singing came to England from Italy in the late 16th century, and was used as private entertainment at the castles and country homes of English nobility. The Kaneland Madrigals replicate this tradition by dressing in authentic looking costumes and singing Old English and traditional Christmas carols. In addition to the four dinner performances, the Kaneland Madrigals make numerous appearances in the Fox Valley area throughout the holiday season.

The Kaneland Madrigal Singers is under the direction of Bryan Kunstman. The group is composed of students who were selected from the award-winning Kaneland High School Chorus, and many were also chosen to sing with the IMEA District IX Chorus.

For more information, contact Kaneland High School at (630) 365-5100, or visit www.kaneland.org.

FVCC honors October Students of the Month

MAPLE PARK—The Fox Valley Career Center (FVCC) announced its Students of the Month for October.

Kaneland students earning the honor included Jacob Aguilar (Welding I), Kathryn Leonhard (Graphics II), Joseph Mendoza (Electrician II), Alexander Ochoa (Fire Science I), Blake Schultz (Graphics II) and Arielle Theis (Early Childhood II).

The FVCC recognizes Students of the Month throughout the school year. In order to receive this honor, students are selected by their program instructors because they have demonstrated the ability to do excellent work and to accomplish goals for their particular career training program during this past month. Further, these students have also exhibited a positive attitude, willingness to work with others and willingness to learn.

Family Bingo, Auction Night at Blackberry Creek

Elburn—The Kaneland Blackberry Creek PTO will host a Family Bingo and Auction Night on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at Blackberry Creek Elementary School.

The PTO is currently looking for donations from families and businesses to use in its silent auction. Also, if you would like to provide any promotional items or coupons; they will be included in gift bags that will be given out to all attendees.

Your generous donation will certainly help to make this a successful event. If you have any questions, call (630) 205-5810 or email njohn1975@yahoo.com. All donations can be sent to KBC-PTO c/o Nicole Fleshman, PO Box 746, Elburn, IL 60119.

Kaneland educators, staff honored by ASQ

KANELAND—Two teams from Kaneland schools were recently honored at the American Society for Quality Education Conference in Milwaukee, Wis. As a part of their annual conference, ASQ recognizes teams of educators who have worked together to advance an idea that improves the quality of education for students. Each of the teams was recognized for their superior team work, innovative ideas and for the impact on student learning.

The team of middle school educators, including Bryan Zwemke, Britt Mattern and Marci Lapinskas, were honored with a Finalist Level Award for their project titled “Preparing Students for the Middle School Transition.” The presentation focused on celebrating the success of the middle school transition, and presented the process used to develop a comprehensive transition program, including fifth-graders visiting the middle school, “Step-Up Night” and the Jump Start Program.

The middle school transition centered on receiving feedback from students, parents, fifth-and-sixth-grade teachers and K-8 Administration to develop a path for students and parents to enter the middle school prepared academically and socially.

Our elementary team of Sarah Mumm, Kelly DeGaetano, Shelley Hueber, Laura Garland and Martne McCoy were honored with the Merit Level for their project titled “Hiring the Right Teachers” that presented a session on unique hiring processes using the panel interview techniques at the Quality Education Conference. The team shared their knowledge of the panel interview process, as well as the impact on student achievement. The team was also awarded the National Merit Level Team Excellence Award.

Kaneland preschool screening Dec. 13

KANELAND-Kaneland School District Special Services will conduct a preschool screening on Friday, Dec. 13, at MorningStar Church in Aurora, for students who may qualify for special education services.

If you reside within the Kaneland School District, and suspect that your child, ages 3-5, has any delays in developmental milestones, then you are encouraged to attend.

This is not a kindergarten screening. In addition, Child and Family Connections will be available, upon request, to screen children from birth to age 3 for suspected developmental delays.

If you have any questions regarding Kaneland’s Early Childhood Services, or you would like to schedule an appointment for a screening, call Stacy Krisch at the Kaneland Special Services Office, (630) 365-5100, ext. 158.

Kaneland tabs retiree trio as interim athletic director

by Stefanie Frazier

KANELAND—Kaneland High School’s search for an interim athletic director has concluded.

Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler recently announced a “finalized plan” to fill the interim athletics and activities director position for this school year at KHS.

The people set to take on the job include retirees Ross Truemper, Rudy Keller and Ralph Drendel.

According to Erika Schlichter, director of Educational Services 6-12 for the Kaneland School District, the Kaneland School Board is expected to approve the new directors at the board meeting on Dec. 9.

“We ran an interview process,” Schlichter said. “And these candidates rose to the top of the interview process and were selected.”

Truemper and Keller worked at West Aurora High School as co-interim principal for two years and have experience in athletics and activities.

Drendel is a former Kaneland High School assistant athletic director, coach, teacher and student.

Schlichter explained that it is needed to have three interim directors because of limited work days for retirees.

“No one person can work more than 100 days,” Schlichter said. “And so in order to meet our complete dates in this position through the end of the school year, it was necessary to have more than one person. That’s a very common practice.”

The need to fill the position came after former KHS athletic director Leigh Jaffke, who also served as activities director, resigned prior to the Oct. 16 School Board meeting. She had served as athletic director for 14 years.

Meanwhile, Keller said he started to settle in on Monday, with getting his email address and desk situated.

Keller said that he has been treated like “royalty” by Kaneland staff. He has received smiles and well-wishes from staff and students.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” Keller said. “I’m looking forward to a successful winter and spring at Kaneland High School with a highly spirited group of staff and students.”

Friday Knightlife’ in the Kaneland community

Elburn—”Friday Knightlife,” a newly reborn program giving Kaneland kids a fun place to go on Friday nights, will be available this winter for Kaneland community kids, grades fourth through eighth, on Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., from Jan. 10 to March 21.

Elburn and Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., will be open with activities like basketball, floor hockey, dodgeball, Wii, air hockey and more. Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Drive, will also be open with a movie every Friday, computer gaming, board games, crafts, music and more.

Friday Knightlife is a community collaboration between Peak for Kids, Elburn and Countryside Community Center and Sugar Grove Public Library District. Peak for Kids is a new non-profit organization in Kane County dedicated to promoting enrichment and kindness. Part of Peak’s mission is to provide kids more opportunities for connection to community.

Friday Knightlife will provide kids with a safe and fun place to go and socialize. It will also provide mentoring opportunities as older, high-school-aged kids will be invited to volunteer at both facilities.

The Friday Knightlife program will provide participating parents with a Friday Knightlife “Out & About Card,” which will unlock 15 percent discounts on food and more at participating restaurants and venues in the Kaneland community.

Java Plus Cafe at Sugar Grove Public Library will also be open every Friday night from January until March, and offer 15 percent off coffee and live music by some of your favorite Kaneland area musicians.

Registration is now open at www.peakforkids.org. Registration forms also available on the Kaneland School District virtual backpack system. Each student will get a free Friday Knightlife T-shirt. Cost is $75 per student; $50 for one sibling, and no charge for all additional siblings. The pilot program is 10 weeks long this year. If the program is successful, the intent is to open the program up to five months next year (November through March), open more facilities and keep the price point between $35 and $55 per student.

The program will be monitored and reviewed weekly to note the kids’ preferences in terms of activities. That way, program coordinators can work to enhance next year’s program.

For more information, call (630) 466-8880 or visit www.Peakforkids.org. Peak for Kids was the official host of the recently promoted Kindness Campaign in the Kaneland area.

Emily-n-creston

Production takes KHS to ‘Almost, Maine’

Photo: KHS students Emily Laudont, as Marvalynn, and Creston Saylors, as Steve, practice at a rehearsal for “Almost, Maine.” The production took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Kaneland High School. Courtesy photos

Weekend play draws hundreds to the town of ‘Almost’
KANELAND—Christina Staker last weekend made her directorial debut with Kaneland High School’s production of “Almost, Maine,” a modern-day play that has been performed by many high schools across America.

Staker, a KHS English teacher, called the John Cariani-penned play “a success.”

A total of 17 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, performed the show on the auditorium stage last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. According to Staker, between 60 to 100 people attended the performances each night.

Sunday featured the lowest audience turnout, mainly due to the tornado breakout that caused severe damage to parts of Illinois and its surrounding states.

“It was sunshine at times,” Staker said. “And then downpouring at other times. I think a lot of people were probably scared off by the (tornado) warnings.”

After Staker consulted with the assistant principal, auditorium manager and technical director, it was decided that the show would go on.

KHS senior Emily Laudont played the role of Marvalyn, a character Laudont described as “defiant.”

“I think all of our work came together,” Laudont said. “From what I heard from audience reaction—from afterwards and friends that came and saw it—they said they really liked it.”

Volunteers worked the box office and sold concessions like candy, homemade cookies and packaged Oreos and Chips Ahoy. They also handed out programs and ushered folks to their seats.

The stage transformed into a mid-winter wonderland of real branches and a sparkling canvas of snow, a laundromat and a bar that featured a donated moosehead.

“Almost, Maine” had a series of nine vignettes, or short plays, that ranged between 10 to 15 minutes a piece. The scenes consisted of mostly two actors featured at a time.

“Almost, Maine” is a story that takes place in a town called Almost, where real life mixes with figurative ideas of love and loss.

“It really appeals to a wide range of audience,” Staker said. “There’s stories that it could either relate to yourself or somebody (you know) who is that person in life.”

Students played adult-aged roles during scenes that depicted different messages.

“Some of (the scenes) appeal to parents and marriage,” Staker said. “And how we tend to stop paying attention to each other, because life gets in the way. Or how we don’t often think about the other person’s feelings in a situation.”

KHS senior Maddie Heinzer played the married role of Marci, a 30-something woman featured in the “Where it Went” vignette.

Heinzer’s one-word description of the character was “stressed.” In order to play the role, she did her homework.

“I looked at neighbors that I have who have multiple kids and juggle around,” Heinzer said. “Like, my mom is a stay-at-home mom. So she has to deal with stuff with the kids. And then my dad works. So I think it’s kind of a common situation in many couples, where they don’t really pay attention to each other anymore, unfortunately.”

Magical happenings occurred in Almost. A shoe drops from the sky. A flash of green illustrates the Aurora Borealis.

Sounds of a car starting, and a snowmobile over yonder, can be heard.

And the play’s original soundtrack provided what Staker called “mood music.”

KHS student Taylor Tindall played Ginette, a character who travels the world to get back to the bench of where the one she loves—Pete, played by Dillon Lynn—was last with her.

Snow falls when the couple reunites.

Clare Laudont, mom of Emily Laudont, sat in the audience and appreciated the play.

“I was really impressed,” Clare said.

Meanwhile, KHS students are looking forward to their next production—a musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which will debut in the spring.

Staker will direct that one, as well.

“I’m looking forward to doing a musical,” she said.

 The cast of “Almost, Maine” (top photo) bows after Friday’s performance.           Courtesy Photos
The cast of “Almost, Maine” (top photo) bows after Friday’s performance. Courtesy Photos

HMS students to perform ‘Crumpled Classics’

SUGAR GROVE—With first-year teacher Mr. Collins out sick, a quirky cadre of students will take it upon themselves to pull together Harter annual “Classics on Parade,” acting out famous stories that they studied in their literature class.

The students, however, decide to make the stories relevant to today’s audiences, with comedic results. The authors are surely rolling over in their graves, and Mr. Collins is terrified of losing his job, especially when the principal calls the superintendent in the middle of the show.

Performances of “Crumpled Classics,” by Craig Sodaro, will take place in the Kaneland Harter Middle School “Cafetorium” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22-23, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the door prior to the show. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students, and the doors and ticket stand will open at 6 p.m. The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters will be sell concessions before the play and during intermission.

“‘Crumpled Classics’ is very funny and entertaining, plus it gives us all an opportunity to be expressive,” said seventh-grader Gavon Hargrove, who plays the role of “Scott” in the production. “Everyone can relate to it.”

Three softball signings at KHS


Three Kaneland High School softball standouts signed with three separate universities on Nov. 13 in the KHS library in front of their teammates, families and coaches. Lauren Zick signed with St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., Lexi Roach signed with Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, and Lanie Callaghan signed with Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.

Kaneland announces interim athletics, activities director

Maple Park—Kaneland School District 302 recently announced a finalized plan for filling the position of interim athletics and activities director for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year.

The position will be filled by a team of three retired educators, who will each contribute to the program in unique ways.

Ross Truemper and Rudy Keller come to Kaneland with numerous years of administrative experience and expertise, including experience in athletics, activities and high school principalships. As retired administrators, they are well known in the area for the strong administrative support they have been able to offer school districts on an interim basis. Most recently, they worked together for two years as West Aurora High School’s interim principal.

Ralph Drendel returns to Kaneland High School as a third member of the team. As a former Kaneland High School assistant athletic director, coach, teacher and student, Ralph brings with him a passion for Kaneland and a commitment to supporting athletics and activities programming.

The team approach to filling the interim position was crafted with the goal of both supporting needs for the remainder of the current school year, as well as identifying processes and setting up systems that will promote success when the permanent position is filled.

Kaneland High School will begin gathering feedback and input from community, staff and students in January 2014 regarding the search for a permanent athletics and activities director.

JS_VETERANS_2013_6

Photos: Elementary students honor Veterans Day

A ceremony to honor veterans took place at 8:50 a.m. Monday by the flagpole on the campus of Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn. The school’s students and staff, the Elburn Legion, the Fox Valley Concert Band, and Boy Scout Pack 107 participated in the event.

JS_VETERANS_2013_5JS_VETERANS_2013_7JS_VETERANS_2013_8
Boy Scout Pack 107 (above) helps local veterans unfold the flag.

JS_VETERANS_2013_4
Wiley Overly (above) from Elburn American Legion, kicks off the ceremony. Wiley served in the Army during the Vietnam era and the National Guard.

JS_Veterans_2013_1
Collin Miller (above), a John Stewart third-grader, takes the podium to say a word to veterans for their job well done.

JS_VETERANS_2013_3
John Anderson (above), an Army veteran from the Vietnam era who resides in Batavia, salutes during the ceremony at John Stewart, where his granddaughter attends school.

JS_VETERANS_2013_2
Students and staff (above) raise flags to salute veterans.

School Board discusses tentative Tax Levy

KANELAND—The Kaneland community on Monday had the chance to weigh in on the tentative Tax Levy recently proposed by the Kaneland School Board.

The requested amount is $52,210,825, and includes operating levy amounts and bond and interest amount. The operating levy is $42,345,200.

Close to three dozen people packed the meeting room at Harter Middle School, including Kaneland taxpayers and parents, community leaders and district employees.

Elburn resident Dave Filipski stood up to express his concern. He said that he works for the private sector, and that since 2006, his pay had gone down and he has not been receiving yearly increases.

“We just paid our taxes and everybody was having a good time,” he said.

He spoke about taxing bodies, like the forest preserve, police, fire and road departments, having an “it’s only” dollar amount.

“We’re strapped,” Filipski said. “And we’re strapped hard.”

Sugar Grove resident Dan Borowiak talked on behalf of clients he has in his Sugar Grove business.

“You’re seeing a great deal of pain out there,” Borowiak said.

Elburn resident and district teacher Lynn McHenry spoke in favor of the levy and noted the consequences if it did not pass, including many large class sizes and the loss of teachers.

The tentative levy had been approved by the majority of the Kaneland School Board on Oct. 28. The two board members who voted against the levy were Valente and Pedro Rivas.

The proposed levy would mean a tax increase for homeowners, and would pay for things such as programs, services, operating costs and salaries for the 2014-15 school year.

At the Oct. 28 School Board meeting, Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintentendent for Business, gave examples of assessed home values ranging from $200,000 to $500,000. For example, a home valued at $200,000 in 2012 had an approximate tax bill for the Kaneland District of $4,479. If the home’s assessed value remained static between 2012 and 2013, its approximate tax bill for this year would be $4,904, or an increase of $425.

However, suppose the above-mentioned $200,000 home experienced a 7 percent decrease in value between 2012 and 2013. Now valued at $186,000, the home’s tax bill would be $4,561, or an increase of $82.

Thus, the range in tax bill increase for a home valued at $200,000 last year is $82 to $425, depending on how much the home’s value has decreased.

Provided home value has not shifted between 2012 and 2013, a $300,000 home would see a tax increase of $638. A $400,000 home would experience a tax increase of $850, while a $500,000 home would see its tax bill increase $1,063.

At a 7 percent decrease in value, a home valued at $300,000 last year would see a tax bill increase of $123, while a $400,000 home would see a tax bill bump of $164. A home once valued at $500,000 would now be worth $465,000, and would see a tax increase of $205.

Fuchs provided new information at the Monday meeting about DeKalb County. In her levy update report, she noted that the estimated EAV from DeKalb property is estimated to decline about 7 percent. This is similar to Kane County’s estimated decrease. New DeKalb County construction is estimated to be $100,000. She wrote that an estimated new construction amount of $3,200,000 had been used in the estimated new construction amount for the levy formula. She noted that she is not recommending changes to the tentative levy amount the board had approved.

Fuchs provided three option scenarios. Option 1 is as noted, with a CPI of 1.7 percent where the average increase ranges from $425 to $1,063 for home values ranging from $200,000 to $500,000.

Option 2 with a 1.2 percent CPI, the average increase would be $405 to $1,014. Option 3 with a .7 percent CPI range is from $386 to $965. Option 4 has a .0 percent CPI and the average increase is $359 to $897.

“The difference between the 1.7 percent and 0 percent to the taxpayer is estimated to be between $66 and $166, but the decrease to the district would be about $688,000 less if the board levied the 0 percent,” Fuchs later said.

Tension and tempers flared during the meeting.

“We’re taxing people out of their homes,” School Board member Tony Valente said. “I can not stand here and allow you to do that.”

Valente also questioned Fuchs about the Special Education fund in regard to July 31 through now.

“What has changed in the Special Ed fund?” Valente asked. “What has changed in the Special Ed fund that has warranted us doubling that amount?”

Fuchs explained that the education fund has maxed its tax rate and EAV has dropped.

“You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Valente said.

Board member Peter Lepatin weighed in on the matter, stating that Special Education is subsidized with General education dollars.

“That is correct,” Fuchs said.

Students of the Term for fall 2013

KANELAND—The following Kaneland High School students were recently recognized as Students of the Term for Term I of the 2013-14 school year: Grant Wooten (CTE—Business), Jacob Gomes (CTE—Family and Consumer Science), Colin Gussman (English), Madeline Heinzer (Fine Arts—World Language), Matt Alfrey (Fine Arts—Music), Freddy Paulino Martinez (Fine Arts—Art), Alexandra Grimpe (Math), Brandon Bishop and Brandon Murabito (Physical Education/Health), Aaron Steenwyk (Science), Samantha Payton (Social Studies) and Niki Davies (Student Services).

KHS administration and staff congratulates the above-mentioned students on their recent achievement.