Testing with care

Oak Lawn High School Student Council Vice President Barbara Pajor helps create care packages that were given to students and staff members before first semester final exams began Dec. 18. Each package included No. 2 pencils, sticky notes, pretzels, granola bars, candy, and a handwritten letter offering encouragement. Student Council members wrote more than 200 letters with sayings like "Do UR best!" and "Good luck on your test!"

This week in THE REPORTER history

News and events from our archives

50 years ago
Jan. 10, 1962

Hickory Hills annexed 30 acres of land. Twenty acres were annexed west of 88th Avenue, and another 10 were annexed east of 88th Avenue between 89th and 91st Streets.


Worth Township paid $45,000 for a 10-acre plot of land as the site for a new town hall to house the supervisor, clerk and auditor offices. The site was bound by 115th Street on the north, 116th Street on the south, Menard Avenue on the east and Mayfield Avenue on the west.

25 years ago
Jan. 14, 1988

Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills received a $4 million donation from a former student to help fund a $16 million fine and performing arts center. William Stoecker, the chairman of the board of Grabill Corporation in Oak Forest, attended Moraine from 1976 to 1977 and said he wanted to give back to the school.


Jim Riley, the owner of Riley's Trick Shop in Worth, started Knucklehead Press, a bizarre humor magazine. Riley planned to publish the magazine once every three months.

10 years ago
Jan. 10, 2002

Evergreen Park mourned the death of former Mayor Anthony Vacco. The village's longest serving mayor, in office for 32 years, died Jan. 3. He was 77.


A 76-year-old man allegedly shot his wife to death on New Year's Eve as she laid in bed at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Shirley Harrison, 74, had suffered a stroke, and her husband, Thomas, told police he believed she was suffering. Thomas shot Shirley then turned the gun on himself and fired one non-fatal shot into his chest. He was charged with first-degree murder.

This week in THEREPORTER history

News and events from our archives

50 years ago
Jan. 3, 1962

A Worth couple adopted a 3-yearold boy from China. Gerald Berg and his wife adopted Kenneth Ming Berg from Hong Kong through a Catholic Charities adoption program. Adoption proceedings were finalized Dec. 27, and Kenneth joined the family's other boy, 4- year-old Jeffrey. Both boys wanted to grow up to be police officers.

25 years ago
Jan. 7, 1987

The Worth Village Board approved "Operation Deep Freeze," which would add manpower to the fire department in the event of severe weather. The program allowed the fire department to schedule three additional firefighters when either temperatures fell below zero or 3 inches of snow of more fell.

10 years ago
Jan. 3, 2002

Consolidated High School District 230's board of education decided to launch its own investigation into claims of improper asbestos removal at Sandburg and Andrews high schools.

The Illinois Attorney General had launched an investigation during the summer after hearing complaints that construction workers were ripping apart asbestos-laden floor tiles in areas that were open to the public. The work was part of a $118 million construction and renovation projects at Andrews, Sandburg and Stagg schools.

District 124 schools to get new security cams

By Jessie Molloy

Evergreen Park School District 124 will install new surveillance cameras at all five of its buildings, and as another security measure is considering reconfiguring the main entrance at Central Junior High School.

The District 124 board of education on Dec. 19 voted to approve the installation of the new cameras, awarding the winning bid of $44,800 to Precision Control Systems of Chicago. Most of the work will be finished this week while students are on winter break, and the fine tuning of the cameras and the accompanying computer system will be finished by Jan. 30, district officials said.

The new cameras are intended to provide better security in all the schools' high traffic areas, and footage will be recorded to a central computer system rather than to videotapes or DVDs.

The board also heard a proposal from FGM Architects' representative Mike Eichhorn for the reconstruction of the entrance-way at Central Junior High, 9400 Sawyer Ave. The district has for three years been considering ways to reconfigure the school's entrance to make access to student areas more difficult. Work is anticipated to begin planning this summer in conjunction with pipe replacement and roofing projects at Central and Northeast and Northwest elementary schools.

Board members agree the project is necessary, but there is some concern about the nearly $500,000 price tag - significantly more than the original estimate of about $300,000. A less streamlined version of the reconfiguration could be a cheaper alternative, but was not as well-received by board members. Another possibility is postponing the roof work at Northeast for another year or two to free up funds for the work at Central.

The board plans to review more detailed designs this month to get a better idea of the project's cost and scope. The board hopes to reach a decision this month so the project can go out to bid in February.

District 117 says new junior high would be cheaper than addition

Conrady could be rebuilt for $36.8 million

(From Oct. 4, 2012)

Several hundred residents of Palos Hills and Hickory Hills came through the doors of Conrady Junior High last Saturday and sent a clear message to North Palos School District 117's Conrady Citizens Advisory Committee.

Tear the building down.

District 117 is considering renovating and expanding Conrady, 7950 W. 97th St. in Hickory Hills, and held open houses Saturday and again Tuesday to let people see for themselves the condition of the 47-year-old building. The Citizens Advisory Committee was created in May to examine ways to improve the school.

Open house attendees saw hanging electrical wires, mismatched and cracked floor tiles, uncovered fluorescent lights, and overcrowded classrooms and faculty spaces. The school's faculty lounge cannot accommodate all its teachers at once, which makes it futile to hold staff meetings, according to District 117 officials. Some classrooms are so overcrowded teachers have to conduct group work in hallways because it is impossible to put the students' desks in a configuration that would allow for collaboration, district officials claim. Some classes are taught in converted storage spaces near Conrady's music rooms. A school psychologist began working in an office this year - for three years before that she was working in a closet-sized space that was connected to a school bathroom, district officials said.

Advisory Committee spokeswoman Shari Schmidt, the parent of twin third-grade girls who will eventually attend Conrady, said the event provided an interesting opportunity to talk with members of the community, and that most attendees "couldn't believe kids went to school here."

"We need everything from a new roof, to changes with the lighting, because the lighting is so old, we can't find parts for it anymore," Schmidt said. "We hope they were able to see firsthand some of the concerns that have been raised about Conrady as they relate to educating our students."

District 117 has renovated other schools but not Conrady, which was built in 1965, Schmidt said.

"We have ladders that hold up the wiring, because our ceiling is our roof," said Conrady Assistant Principal Sia Albans said.

The lack of an adequate science lab is also a concern, according to Conrady Principal Andrew Anderson.

"In our science lab, we have the minimum code requirements - eye wash stations and tables, and some towels, but no space for experiments," Anderson said. "We need to make the transition to 21st century learning, and we have to deal with our space constraints. We are competing on a global stage, and we have concerns about the opportunities and options available for our students."

The state of Conrady's science lab leaves students unprepared once they get to high school, Albans said.

"Serious" changes to the school's electrical system have to be made - there are electrical cords running along the ceilings of some of the classrooms because there is no other space for the wires, and the building's electricity is so old the building cannot support computers.

"We had some people who went to Conrady who are grandparents now, who said they didn't have a computer when they went to school, so the kids don't need computers," Schmidt said.