Tag Archives: Zach Brown

Kaneland Krier wins Quill and Scroll International first place award

by Sarah Arnold
Kaneland News Bureau Editor

Krier—Kaneland High School’s newsmagazine, the Kaneland Krier, was awarded a Quill and Scroll International First Place Award last month, earning its highest score in several years.

“We had a very hardworking staff last year who put their whole heart into the Krier, and the judges saw that and rewarded them for it,” journalism teacher Cheryl Borrowdale said.

The judges commended the 2009-2010 Krier, giving it high scores for policy guidelines, coverage, writing and editing, display and design, and business practices.

“I think the judges saw the staff had good story topics, high quality in terms of writing and research and an attractive paper design,” Borrowdale said. “The Krier is a completely student-run paper and publishes without censorship or prior review, and the editorial board has set very high standards for itself, both in terms of production and ethics. They are perfectionists, and it shows.”

In the critique, the judges offered both praise and some constructive criticism.

“The judges commented they really liked our designs, ads and in-depth stories. It feels good because that is what we worked hard on last year. They want us to improve our captions and use our space wisely,” executive editor Maria Kernychny said.

The overall score of 950 placed the Krier in the superior achievement category, giving the staff the International First Place Award.

“It feels good to win Quill and Scroll because it goes to show the success of all of our staff’s time and effort throughout the year,” web editor Megan Nauert said.

Schools from 49 countries compete in Quill and Scroll, the largest of the journalism honor societies. Quill and Scroll, which is run by the University of Iowa’s Communications Department, has college journalism professors and professional journalists judge student newspapers from around the world each year. Over the Krier’s 37-year history, Quill and Scroll has distinguished the Krier many times. The newsmagazine also received an International First Place Award last year and won the 2010 Golden Eagle from the Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association, which is given to the best student newspaper in its class.

The current Krier staff is working on making the judges’ suggested improvements to ensure another win next year.

“We are working to develop our layout even more, involve more Kaneland students, continue to make sound editorial board decisions, and maintain our journalistic integrity. Our goal is to receive an even higher score,” head copyeditor and advertising manager Jessica Corbett said.

Photo: The 2009-2010 Krier editorial board, which recently won a Quill and Scroll’s International First Place Award. Melanie Mazuc (front, left to right), Hope Zegiel, Ali Boan, Erin Rodway, Megan Nauert, and Jessica Raines. Zach Brown (back, left to right), Jessica Corbett, Sarah Arnold, Maria Kernychny, and Anthony Sperando. Courtesy Photo

Putting names to the numbers

Kaneland sends dismissal notices to cut staff members
by Susan O’Neill
[quote]Kaneland—For the first time, individual teacher’s names are part of the record, with the reality hitting home for everyone involved. The Kaneland School Board on Monday approved resolutions authorizing the administration to provide notice of their dismissal of 118 teachers and professional staff.

“I don’t take much comfort in knowing that it’s happening everywhere,” board member Cheryl Krauspe said. “We signed the releases with the people’s names on it, and I feel bad for each and every one of them.”

Krauspe, a teacher of 35 years in another district, said what breaks her heart is that some of the talented teachers and other professionals the district has invested in and mentored will end up leaving the profession.

“They went into the profession because they were passionate about students, and we will lose that,” she said. “That’s the tragedy.”

An official letter was given to the teachers and other professional staff this week of the non-renewal of their contracts and their dismissal, hitting a note of finality for them, as well.

McDole computer and technology teacher Jeremy Berger, a fourth-year teacher who was informed that he would be part of the reduction in force, came to speak to the board at Monday’s meeting about the importance of the technology program at the elementary school level.

Berger is also the father of a Kaneland student. He may not know if he has a job at Kaneland next year until mid-summer.

He is just one of the teachers, social workers, counselors, psychologists and speech therapists whose lives have been put in limbo this week.

Of the 15 part-time, 24 first-, 37-second and 33-third year teachers, as well as nine of the 42 fourth-year teachers and professional staff who received the letter, approximately 40 to 50 will not come back to Kaneland next year. According to Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler, notifying this number of staff 45 days prior to the end of the school year was necessary to give the district the flexibility it needs to reorganize and restructure the district in response to a potential $2.2 million financial shortfall from the state.

Members of the School Board and administration went into an executive closed session to discuss the cuts and their impacts on programs, classes and class sizes, Board President Lisa Wiet said. Although there have been cuts in activities, clubs and competitive sports, the remaining reductions will necessarily come from letting people go, she said.

“Education is people; 80 percent of the cost of running a school district is in salaries and benefits,” she said.

The task for school administrators in the coming weeks will be to come up with recommendations that they will present to the board for discussion at its April 12 meeting. Wiet said they will take into consideration the input and feedback from the public, parents and members of the various advisory committees as they make these choices.

“We want to do what is absolutely the best for the education of the children,” Wiet said.

The impact on the children of the up to $5 million in cuts is not yet known. Class sizes will likely be larger; programs will likely be cut or reduced.

What is known is that the first round of cuts limits the opportunities for some students to participate in after-school activities and clubs.

Of the 11 clubs that will be eliminated at the high school level, members of the Chess Club have been the most vocal on the impact of its elimination. According to data the administration gathered, Chess Club members are the students least likely to participate in other activities.

“I’m not strong. I’m not fast,” chess player Zach Brown said. “The Chess Club is the only way I can represent Kaneland.”

Another member, Alex Siebert, said that the club links him with others at school in a social way, as well as helping him with the skills necessary to learn.

“Without chess, school would be boring,” he said. “It (also) gives me an opportunity to use my mind and to improve my critical thinking skills.”

While the competitive sports programs at the middle school level will be cut, Principal Rick Burchell has plans for an intramural sports program that he said will offer more activities to more students for about 25 percent of the cost.

Parents and other community members have already started to come forward to offer help and assistance with sports and some of the other affected programs.

The board will vote on the second round of cuts at its May 24 meeting.

2000-09: Looking back at the decade that changed Kaneland

by Jessica Corbett and Zach Brown
Kaneland Krier Editors

Kaneland—Over 3,300 students have graced the halls of Kaneland High School in the last decade. They have witnessed skyrocketing class sizes, resulting in a sudden increase in cultural diversity.

They have heard the pounding of hammers and nail guns as the high school made the transition from an 800-student capacity to a 1,600-student capacity building.

Classes have been cut, expanded upon and added to the curriculum. Teachers and principals have come and gone. New clubs have been formed, and various sports teams have experienced successful seasons.

A lot has happened in 10 years, and a lot has changed.

“Change, no matter what kind of change, is hard for everyone,” history teacher Scott Parillo said.
Looking back on the last 10 years at Kaneland High School, some may not even recognize what it once was.

New principals

Dr. Dan Bertrand, Mike Davis, Tony Valente and Dr. Greg Fantozzi: four principals in 10 years.
These four men have all served as KHS principals in the last decade.

Bertrand, Davis and Valente have all moved on to administrative positions at other districts, and Fantozzi has just joined KHS for the 2009-10 school year, as well as being the interim principal continuing through the 2010-11 school year.

Bertrand served as principal from 1995 to 2005, and went on to become superintendent of Marengo School District.

“He had advanced his degree and wanted a superintendent position,” Sayasane said.

Following Bertrand was Davis, who served as principal from 2005 to 2007, after which he “moved to a place where he had deep family roots,” McCormick said.

In 2007, Valente entered the scene, but only served as principal from 2007-09, resigning to become the principal at Springhill High School in Roselle, Ill.

“Mr. Valente decided to resign later in the year, when he was offered the position,” McCormick said.

His place was filled by the newest principal, Fantozzi.

Although this is Fantozzi’s first year at Kaneland, he did have a special connection to the school before accepting the position as interim principal.

“Dr. Fantozzi had been Mr. Valente’s mentor,” McCormick said.

Typically, interim principals only stay for one year, but not in Kaneland’s case.

“With the budget situation that we’re in, we felt that stability in the staffing pattern was important,” McCormick said. “So Dr. Fantozzi decided to stay another year.”

It is the plan that, next year, a new principal will be hired for the 2011-12 school year.

Steininger said that changing principals definitely impacts the high school.

The principals have “different views on how things should be done,” she said.

Steininger said that, as principals change, there are also changes made within the school.

“There haven’t been drastic changes,” she said. “They’re smaller, but they add up.”

There is some concern among the administration with frequent changes in administrators.

“The length of time an administrative system is in the district is usually correlative with test scores,” McCormick said. “So it is difficult to get a consistent improvement effort at the high school.”

But McCormick was optimistic, and expressed hope of “building things back up” with the incoming principal.

Size and diversity
The high school enrollment has grown by leaps and bounds, from 803 students enrolled in 2000 to 1,300 students for the 2009-10 school year.

“I think we’re starting to see more cultures coming into the School District,” Parillo said. “As any growth happens, there’s always going to be diversity.”

Diversity impacts schools in different ways.

“In theory, it ought to bring a broader perspective to a setting,” McCormick said.

Sayasane and Parillo said that increased diversity has not affected their classrooms, but it may impact how students interact with each other.

“Increased diversity can sometimes lead to racial jokes or slurs, but for the most part, students at Kaneland seem to get along,” junior Michael Caballero said. “People are more accepting of other cultures (when diversity is increased).”

Students can also learn from their classmates’ varied cultural backgrounds.

“Learning about other cultures and their belief systems is very good for everybody,” Parillo said.

Also, as growth and diversity increase, classes and the curriculum have more options.

“The bigger population helps us offer a broader curriculum,” McCormick said. “We can offer more sections of a class.”

As growth continues, the school may become even more diversified.

“We have become a more diverse school district,” McCormick said. “(But) compared to other schools, our number of students with diverse ethnic backgrounds is still relatively small.”

Sports teams
From memorable games to some teams competing at state, Kaneland sports has had quite a decade.

With the exception of 2007, Kaneland varsity football qualified for the playoffs every year in the last decade.

In 2006, with All-State players like Casey Crosby and Boone Thorgesen, the team won conference.

In the last 10 years, wrestling became a AA school in the 2000-01 season, which former wrestling coach Gary Baum described as the “big school class.”

In 2006, Kaneland wrestlers reset the record for most wins in dual matches and had both conference champions and regional champions, as well as three additional state qualifiers.

Baum gives most of this credit to the fact that most Kaneland wrestling coaches were former Kaneland graduates.

In basketball, senior David Dudzinski recently scored his 1,000th point in a game against Burlington.

Last year, the boys’ varsity basketball team won a tournament in Plano, against 16 other teams.

A variety of teams at the high school have achieved great success in their seasons over the last 10 years.

As of 1997, District 302 consisted of only two buildings on one campus. The district has since grown to seven buildings spanning the 140-square-mile district.

Up until that point, elementary and middle school students attended school at the former
middle school, and high school students were taught at the current high school.

The Kaneland School District expanded in 1998, with a total of four schools in the district. Two identical elementary schools were opened, located in Elburn and Sugar Grove. The new elementary schools were named Kaneland North and Kaneland South.

The district has expanded even more in the last decade, constructing two more elementary schools, one in Elburn and another in Montgomery. This year marked the opening of a new middle school, which is located on Harter Road in Sugar Grove. This building took the place of the former middle school, which is located on the same campus as the high school.

KHS has also experienced building changes in the last 10 years. Due to extensive additions and reconstruction, the high school has doubled in size, McCormick said.

Such expansions include the auditorium and the current cafeteria, as well as the music wing, which houses the band and choir rooms.

Junior Kendall Renaud, who is involved in band and the school plays, has personally experienced the effects of the additions.

“I think (the additions) are helping the arts programs, now that we have new band and choir rooms,” Renaud said.

The fitness and wrestling rooms were also added, and the library was gutted and renovated, McCormick said.

Since the library was renovated, the book collection has doubled in size, librarian Lorna Code said.

“It looks like a college library,” she said. “You almost had to see it before to know how lucky we are.”

Discipline and rules
The frequent administrative staffing changes have impacted a particular aspect of the high school: rules.

Senior Matt Larsen said that, as Kaneland has transitioned from principals Davis to Valente to Fantozzi, things seem to have gotten much stricter.

Superintendent Dr. Charles McCormick said that it’s more the enforcement of certain rules that changes, rather than altering the rules or policies.

“Principals vary on how things are interpreted and how things are emphasized,” McCormick said.

“If a rule is not communicated enough to students or parents, then it will be changed or altered,” McCormick said. “But I don’t think there has been a huge change in topics.”

He said that changes are often due to changes in state or federal laws, or specific circumstances.

“Look at the way cell phones have changed in the last 10 years,” McCormick said.

“We’ve been all over the map on the cell phone policy,” English teacher Jennifer Sayasane said.

In an effort to remove the distraction posed by cell phones, the current policy states that students must leave cellular phones off and in lockers while school is in session, McCormick said.

The ID policy, which requires all students and staff to wear IDs, has also been implemented.

“I don’t think it’s a huge deal, having to wear IDs,” junior Charlene Steininger said. “But I don’t think students like wearing them.”

Krier announces staff

by Ali Boan, Kaneland Krier
Kaneland Krier Editor

The Kaneland Krier announced its new executive editors and page editors for the 2009-10 school year on May 20.

The new executive editorial staff of 2009-2010 positions are Erin Rodway, editor-in-chief and assistant copyeditor; Mel Mazuc, production manager, copyeditor and editorial editor; Megan Nauert, advertising and graphics manager; Ali Boan, marketing manager, assistant web editor and Kaneland News Bureau manager; Jess Raines, business and circulation manager; and Hope Zegiel, online editor and visual editor.

“I think it’ll be a lot easier to do things (next year) because we’re a smaller, really good group of people. It’ll be fun,” Rodway said.

The editorial staff positions were also selected for the 2009-10 school year. Editorial staff are Sarah Arnold, trends, features and A&E editor; Jess Corbett, profile, lifestyle and feature editor; Maria Kernychny, centerspread editor; Anthony Sperando, boys and girls sports editor; and Zach Brown, news, opinion and photo page editor.

Next year’s goals include “being on time, working effectively and making deadlines,” Rodway said.

The selection process for the positions is a careful one.

“The outgoing executive editors select the new executive editors through an application/ interview process. They unanimously agreed on the new staff; I think they chose very well,” Cheryl Borrowdale, Krier adviser, said.

Krier editors will start their summer meetings Tuesday, June 9, as they sell advertisements and prepare for the 2009-10 Krier.

Photo: The 2009-2010 Krier staff. (Back row) Jess Corbett, Anthony Sperando, Zach Brown, Maria Kernychny and Sarah Arnold. (Front row) Jess Raines, Megan Nauert, Erin Rodway, Hope Zegiel, Ali Boan and Mel Mazuc. Courtesy Photo

Kaneland chess team earns second place

The Kaneland chess team took part in the Far Side Suburban Chess Conference Championships on Saturday.

The event was a success, as the Knights took second place in the 11-team conference, falling short only to state powerhouse IMSA.

Alex Mollohan and Lucas Ross each won two matches. John Rotella won all three of his matches, good for second place at his board. Taylor Kruause chipped in with a win at board 4. Sophomore Dylan Draper played four boards ahead of his normal position and still managed to earn a win and a draw at board 5. Keli Patterson took home first-place honors at board 6 with a perfect 3-0 day. Cory Clausen also went 3-0 on the day to earn second place at board 7. Zach Brown took home first-place honors with two wins at board 8.

Vickie Likeum earned a draw at her match in the open tournament. Connor Sandquist and Alex Siebert tied for fifth place in the open, each going 3-1. Alejandro Barragan swept through the open tournament at 4-0, taking home first-place honors.

The team looks forward to carrying this momentum into the state championships in two weeks in Peoria.