Tag Archives: Maddie Heinzer


Postive Post-its

Photo: Words of kindness spread through the halls of Kaneland High School this past week with brightly colored post-it notes displayed on each of the students lockers. Inspiring, quirky and cute uplifting phrases were written with the intent to encourage each student of the acts of Kindness in Kaneland. Kaneland senior Bryanna Stoiber (right) came up with the idea, and was helped by fellow seniors Riley Coyle (left to center) and Lanie Callaghan, and sophomore Jack Coyle (not pictured). Photo by Lynn Logan

KHS students greeted by warm messages
KANELAND—”Smile today.”

That was the message Maddie Heinzer, a Kaneland High School senior, recently found on a Post-it note placed on her locker.

“I thought it was very cute,” Heinzer said. “And I thought it was good how somebody put that much effort to even try to bring a smile to someone’s face.”

10.Fellow senior Bryanna Stoiber had been inspired to do just that by checking out a photo on Twitter. She noticed that a person had written more than 1,000 Post-its that read, “You’re beautiful.”

“They were sick and tired of hearing people calling themselves not beautiful and not pretty and just being down all the time,” Stoiber said. “So, I just kind of had the idea of it being like something in the positive. Especially at school, it feels like there’s so much negativity.”

Stoiber and her friends, seniors Lanie Callaghan and Riley Coyle, worked together to create positive messages. Coyle recruited “little brother” Jack Coyle, a sophomore, to help.

“We just want students to realize that they don’t know what’s going on in everyone’s life,” Jack said. “Maybe they seem happy at school, but really, you don’t know what’s going on at home or anything. So even the smallest compliment about how their hair looks that day or that you like their outfit can improve someone’s outlook.”

According to Stoiber, the group made 1,400 Post-it messages. They stuck rainbow colors of pink, green, yellow and blue on the lockers of all 1,332 Kaneland High School students. The extra notes went on some KHS staff members’ doors.

Messages found along the hallways included: “You’re cuter than a kangaroo in a sweater”; “You definitely know the difference between your and you’re”; “Your opinion matters”; “Chuck Norris wishes he was you”; “Your smile is beautiful”; and “You are loved.”

Diane McFarlin, assistant principal at Kaneland High School, called the students’ actions “stunning.” It was McFarlin who gave the students the green light to put up positive messages around the high school.

“They really wanted to do this and make a difference,” McFarlin said. “And I thought, ‘Holy cow. That’s just awesome.’”

Callaghan would like students to get something out of reading the messages.

“I hope they realize that a compliment can go a really long way,” she said. “And realize that we put a lot of effort into just like making their day a little bit brighter.”

Senior Mitch Bateman, who was recently named Mr. Kaneland 2014, did get something out of his message, which read, “At least you’re not in the ‘Hunger Games.’

“It was random,” Bateman said. “But I got a laugh out of it. So I was pretty happy with it.”


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