Choir Concert, DGN Students Visit DC and Good Shepherd Jumps In to Help

Here's the latest news from local schools.

Good Shepherd Lutheran School

Students "Jump In" to Help Fight Heart Disease

Good Shepherd Lutheran School proved it’s a small school with a big heart by raising more than $5,500 for the American Heart Association with a Jump Rope for Heart event on April 15.

“Good Shepherd has done a wonderful job with both the heart health education and the dollars raised to fight heart disease and stroke”, said Sandy Wolfrum, of the American Heart Association.  “They raised more than double the amount an average school raises nationwide with only 89 kids. We applaud them for the great job they did with the event to help us do our life-saving work.”

“I’m so pleased with the success of this event,” said Dana Hartjes, Jump Rope For Heart co-coordinator. “We all had a lot of fun, and the kids enjoyed learning about the importance of physical activity and how they can play a role in saving lives.” 

Jump Rope For Heart is a program that promotes physical activity and heart health through jumping rope. It is co-sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

District 58

Downers Grove Children's Choir Wraps Season

The last Downers Grove Children's Choir concert of the year, held on April 25 at Herrick Middle High, included a song composed by a District 58 fifth-grader and concluded with awards for all Level 3 choir members.

Faith Barr, a Fairmount Elementary fifth grader, wrote the song "Valleys" sung by the Level II choir, of which she is a member.

At the end of the evening, all Level III choir members were awarded a medal for participating in choir for all three years.  Those students are: Ben Goedert, Elena Mendez, Emma Southworth, Dana Vaci, Molly Carlson, Addyson Wesolowski, Nathan Galway, Klaire Carlquist, Allison Lysien, Chris Neumann, Jori Tyler, Lydia Walsh-Rock, Sharon Stagaman, Raemon Meents, Lauren Isenman, Victoria Iacovetti, Matt Benge, Kelly Doro, Natasha Jung, Maggie Nevrly, Emma Doak, Rachel Leucuta, Molly Forouhi, Kayla Jacobs, Paige Vondrasek, Lauren Smith, Amanda Backman, Alex Castillo, Audrey Clemens, Julia Dolce, Mia Fallara, Peyton Furman, Olivia Bartkowiak, Timothy Berberich, Elizabeth Hodonicky, Tatiana Jordan, Eirene Kowal, Katrina Miller, Abigail Murphy, Elise Cismesia, Rachel Youngdahl, David Atwater, Jade Isaac, Hannah Krusenoski, Charlie Maher, and Olivia Morrow.

 O’Neill Raising Funds for Genocide Awareness

Eighth-graders in the scarlet cluster at O’Neill Middle School will be doing their part to raise awareness of past and present genocides during their annual fundraiser, “Got Awareness?”

A portion of Thursday sales from Home Run Inn Pizza at 75th Street and Lemont Road  will be donated to the Chicagoland Sudanese Community Center. The students also will sell wristbands during all lunch periods during the week of May 2, with a goal of raising funds for charity and awareness about genocides in Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia, Congo, Cambodia, Burma, Chad and Iraq. 

New this year, the eighth-grade scarlet cluster teachers will be “guest grillers” from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday, May 5, at bd’s Mongolian Grill at the Bolingbrook Promenade.

 “The restaurant will donate $3 for every diner who says they are there for the guest grillers," said Sarah Brost, an O’Neill social studies teacher. “Last year, our fundraisers brought in more than $4,400 in one week, and our goal is to beat that amount this year.”

The Chicagoland Sudanese Community Center aids Sudanese living in this area to acclimate to America by helping them find day care, adult education, job training, transportation, and English as a Second Language courses.

“They are in need of a place to build a sense of community, and we hope to help them achieve their goal by raising money for their cause,” Brost said.

District 99

North High Students Visit Washington, D.C.

From April 10 to 15, North High School students and Social Studies Teacher Amy Wlodek-Holland traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of  “Close Up”, the nation’s largest civic educational organization.  

DGN has been traveling to Washington D.C. with Close Up for 31 consecutive years; more than 200 students have been part of the trip since its inception. The spring trip gives students first-hand experience of government and political processes. From small group seminars and workshops to meetings with congressional members, lobbyists and embassy officials, this program offers students an in-depth learning experience. 

“We saw so much at our nation’s capital, including the museums and monuments, and the students were inspired by seeing our government in action,” says Wlodek-Holland. “One highlight was stopping in to see Judy Biggert in her office where our students could witness first-hand how our community is represented in Washington.” 

Students who participated include: Jacob Acevedo, Kevin Brewton, Alex Buckley, Alex Candel, Nicole Fyten, Amanda Irigoyen, Zach Miller, Hannah Rose Murphy, Justin Neely, Hannah Novak, Helen Novak, Kayla Nykiel, Blake Pryor, Roman Rivera and Suzi Smulkaitis.  

While students were required to provide their own funding for the trip, local businesses and organizations donated funding for scholarships. Students received support from current and retired faculty members, as well as a variety of organizations, including the Alexander Bradley Burns American Legion Post 80, the Royal Arch Masons West Suburban Chapter 207, the Downers Grove Woman’s Club, and the Law Offices of Eileen Fitzgerald. 

“For many of our students, attending the trip wouldn’t be possible without our donors,” said Jill Rose, Social Studies chair. “We appreciate the generous donations from our community to support these extra opportunities for learning."

State Championship Success for DGN SkillsUSA Students 

 At the SkillsUSA Illinois State Championships held on April 14 to 16 in Springfield, students from North High School were successful in the “Technical CAD,” “3D Design and Animation,” and “Java Programming” competitions. 

Brandon Walsh received second place, Jeff Wall placed third  and Joe Fiala took fifth place in “Technical CAD;" the team of Carolos Marungo and Jack Joers received fourth place in “3D Design and Animation;” and Chris Schnieder received second place and Mike Hutchinson received fourth place in “Java Programming.” 

“Our North High students competed at a high level at state,” says teacher Tony Ciezadlo. “The level of skill these students possess is impressive. They truly represent our future architects, engineers and other skilled workers.” 

South Students Receive State Medals 

Eight students from South High School won medals at the state leadership conference and competition of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), held April 7 to 9 in Springfield. FCCLA is the Career and Technical Student Organization for family and consumer science students.

 Students who received state medals include: Corey Cross, Bronze Medal in Cookie Decorating; Shannon Dawalibi, Gold Medal in Cookie Decorating; Tracy Echert, Silver Medal in Cookie Decorating; Terry Gagala, Gold Medal in Relish Tray; Nadia Hernandez, Silver Medal in Cookie Decorating; Carly Lipuma, Gold Medal in Fashion Apparel Display and named “Most Outstanding” in overall event; Chris Reusz, Gold Medal in Relish Tray; and Jason Viacrusis, Silver Medal in Cookie Decorating.

“The level of competition at State is intense, and we are so proud of the outstanding work by our students,” said Cindy Farren, teacher and sponsor. “Students from across Illinois were represented at the competition.” South High teacher Katie Gonzalez also sponsors FCCLA.

 FCCLA helps young men and women become better leaders in their families, careers and communities. Students learn skills for life including planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and interpersonal communication.


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