Richards students study pollutants

The students could have guessed that motor oil, SCHOOL-PAGE-RICHARDS-hlrES15studentsB1Richards High School freshman Lucas Sekulski measures the amount of motor oil his lab group will place in soil to test its effect on radishes. Submitted photo.insect repellent, and rubbing alcohol would adversely affect plant life. But scientists don’t guess.
So the freshmen from Richards High School meticulously recorded how each pollutant affected their radish plants.
They monitored the effects by inputting and analyzing data with Microsoft Excel. They took photos to visually track the deterioration of the radishes.
And finally they wrote a lab report with their findings and a sequence of photos that illustrated how the pollutants damaged the plants.
“This lab follows the next generation science standards because it is student-generated. They told me what they wanted to test and did the lab themselves,” said teacher Sheri Caine.
Parents volunteered more than 600 freshmen – a record – to participate in Early Start this summer in District 218. The three-week program helps students adapt to high school with classes in English, math, and science.
Many Early Start teachers incorporate activities, such as the radish experiment, that the time constraints of the regular school year don’t allow.
“Early Start is a great program for multiple reasons. First, kids learn skills that they’ll use during the year. For science, they’re getting a head start in experimental design, some concepts in biology, using microscopes, and Microsoft Excel and Word,” said Caine.
Early Start also provides an orientation to high school life.
“They’re learning about Richards by touring the school, meeting staff, making friends, and learning the expectations of high school-level work. They’re also learning interpersonal skills during their homeroom such as active listening and body language,” she added.
The science portion of Early Start included a biodiversity survey.
“We started off with a nature walk down by the creek behind Richards. They got a tour while learning to critically examine an area,” Caine said.
Students looked for signs of animals along Wolfe Wildlife Refuge.
“This led to the discussion on why biodiversity is necessary for life. The pollutant lab is their final project where they are demonstrating everything they’ve learned in the past few weeks,” she said.
--District 218

Campus Leaders from 5-28-15

Several local residents were named to the dean’s list for the spring semester at Illinois Wesleyan University. To be included on the dean’s list, a student must have a grade point average of 3.50 or better during the semester, based on a 4.0 scale. Included on the dean’s list were Sarah Menke and Thomas Simmons of Evergreen Park, and Kiersten Bergquest, Katherine Ford, Harley Miller and Patrick Nudo of Oak Lawn.

More than 1,700 degrees were conferred during Creighton University’s commencement ceremonies at the CenturyLink, Omaha. Area residents Saleem Jafilan of Oak Lawn and Daniel Slubowski of Palos Hills earned their Doctor of Medicine degrees from Creighton University.

Michael Houston of Oak Lawn was named to the dean’s list for the winter semester at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. To achieve a mention on the dean’s list, a student must maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average while enrolled in at least nine credits of regular coursework.

More than 450 students from the Class of 2015, representing nearly three dozen countries, including Mitchell Raymond Garrett of Evergreen Park, crossed the stage on Tempel Green to receive their diplomas from Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron. Garrett, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in behavioral Nneuroscience.

Brittney Swicionis of Palos Hills was named to the spring dean’s list at Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Mo. Students named to the list earned at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, and completed at least 12 degree credit hours during the spring session.

Yet another Murphy joins Moraine Valley board

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

It’s Murphy times three at MVCC.
The Governing Board of Moraine Valley Community College has a brand new DR-SCHOOL-PAGeMichael-Murphy-swearing-inLinzey Jones, of the Cook County 15th Circuit Court swears in Evergreen Park’s Michael Murphy to the Moraine Valley board. Submitted photo.look after welcoming two new trustees in a special meeting Thursday.
While the look is new, the roster may sound familiar as one of the new trustees bears the name of Murphy, bringing the total number of Murphys serving on the board to three. None of them are related. Joseph Murphy and Susan Murphy round out the Murphy trio on the board.
Taking the oath of office was Orland Hills resident Kimberly Hastings, who defeated incumbent Patrick Kennedy in the April 7 election and Evergreen Park resident Michael Murphy, who unseated incumbent Thomas Cunnningham. Kennedy did not attend the meeting.
Linzey Jones, of the Cook County 15th Circuit Court, swore them in.
Hastings and Murphy have a number of things in common. It is the first elected office for each of them, both previously attended Moraine Valley and each has an engineering degree.
Hastings is a graduate of Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, where she obtained a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She said she is looking forward to serving the college and protecting the taxpayers’ dollars.
“I want to have a part in the college continuing to provide its excellent educational opportunities,” she said.
“Moraine Valley Community College is my foundation. I completed all my undergraduate work here which enabled me to move on to my higher education. I want to give back to this community. It is only right.”
Murphy, 28, graduated from Evergreen Park High School in 2005 and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2009 with a degree in architectural studies. He said he took a year to investigate grad schools.
“During this year off, I enrolled in MVCC, taking additional courses to pursue a dual career in architecture and structural engineering,” he said. “What was great about being at Moraine was that I was able to work construction and other side jobs and also do substitute teaching at Evergreen Park high school.”
In 2012 he finished his masters of architecture with emphasis in structures. He is currently taking his architecture board exams to become a licensed architect and is preparing for the structural engineering exam in a few years.
“Not many people become licensed as both, but I enjoy the challenge and am passionate about both fields,” he said. “I am excited to be a member of the board of trustees to continue MVCC’s great role in our community and to provide amazing opportunities to our students, young and old, to improve their education and lives.”
In other action, the board was reorganized with Trustee Joseph Murphy elected chairman; John Coleman as vice chairman and Susan Murphy as secretary.

‘A playground of opportunities’

  • Written by Kelly White

The Moraine Valley Community College board saidDR-SCHOOL-PAGE-WITH-MVCC-STORYKarim-AwwadStudent Trustee Karim Awwad is swornn in at last Wendesday’s MVCC board meeting by board secretary Susan Murphy. Photo by Kelly White. goodbye to two board members last Wednesday night. 

Orland Park’s Tom Cunningham and Patrick Kennedy atteneded their final board meeting as trustees. Orland Hills’ Kim Hastings and Evergreen Park’s Michael Murphy won six-year seats on the board and will be sworn in at the May 13 meeting.
Also Student Trustee, Eamon Almiladi finished his one-year term and will be replaced by 19-year-old, Karim Awwad, who moved from Jordan to the United States in 2014.
“Coming to Moraine Valley has been a series of challenges and opportunities for the two years I have spent here so far,” Awwad said, “This is just the beginning of my journey. Moraine has changed my perspective of community colleges in general. It is a playground of opportunities.”
Cunningham finished third in the April 7 election for two seats that were claimed by Hastings and Murphy.
“Working on the board was a way I could give back and serve the taxpayers and the community,” Cunningham said upon the completion of his two-year term, “At Moraine Valley, we are always striving to be the best.”
Kennedy, who did not run after spending 12 years on the board, admits leaving is bittersweet.
“This is truly a wonderful college and a wonderful group of people to work with. In fact one of my closest friends in life, Joseph Murphy, sits here with me on the board,” he said.
Vice Chair Murphy nominated Kennedy for a trustee position in 2003 and said his decision was one well made.
“Twelve years ago, I did approach this gentleman because I have the utmost respect for him with his intelligence, his patience and his way of communicating,” Murphy said, “I was very happy 12 years ago when he accepted the position.”
Since taking on a trustee role in 2003, Kennedy also served secretary of the board from 2007-2011 and as vice chair from 2011-2015.
Kennedy was known for always working and providing really good strong advice to the board, according to the Board Chair, Sandra Wagner.
On the student trustee front, Almiladi provided advice to the board from a students’ perspective.
“He has done absolutely outstanding work here and we all really appreciate everything he has done,” Wagner said.
Wagner was not the only board member who will miss Almiladi after his one-year term as student trustee.
“Eamon is the third student trustee that I have had the opportunity to work with during my time on the board,” MVCC President Sylvia Jenkins said, “He has always done an outstanding job voicing the opinions of the students when necessary during meetings. We really appreciate the dedication he has provided.”
Almiladi thanked board members for the opportunity.
“This has been an extraordinary opportunity and it has been very humbling as well,” he said, “We have great students here at Moraine and everyone has been wonderful to work with.”
Almiladi will be heading to the University of Illinois to pursue a degree in business finance. He will be replaced by Awwad. After being named a finalist following a board review, Awwad won a student election and was sworn into office on Wednesday night by secretary, Susan Murphy.
Awwad was born in Jordan and raised in the Middle East prior to moving to the United States in 2014. The youngest of three children and a former student council member at Mashrek International School in Jordan, the new student trustee said he has a passion for politics.
Awwad is a member of Model Illinois Government and the Fast-Walk Group, a healthy living organization based on keeping fit and active that he took part in at the age of 12.
“Trustee comes from the word trust,” Awwad said, “And since students are putting their trust in me, as promised, I will offer my commitment, dedication and loyalty to the needs of my fellow students.”

Bulletin Board from 4-23-15

Marist Students in Irish dancing Team Claiming First Place in Dance Championships
An eight-person team ,containing seven Marist High School students, recently finished in first place in The Irish Dancing Commission’s World Championships in Montreal.
The girls study with the Lavin-Cassidy School of Irish Dancing, and competed in the senior ladies category. The team members are seniors Erin and Bridget Rickert , Keely Dolan of Hickory Hills, juniors Katie Ross, Bailey Donnelly of Oak Lawn, Martina Lee , and freshman Grace O’Brien. The eighth member of their team is Kali McEntee Graziano, a student at Oak Lawn High School. Ross said the team was practicing up to 10 hours per week leading up to the world competition.
Additionally, Marist alum Michael Putman, class of 2010, of Oak Lawn, took third place in the world in the category for men ages 19 to 21. Putman dances with Dennehy School of Irish Dance.
OLCHS Baseball and Softball Programs Set To Bring Community Together
When the Oak Lawn Community High School baseball and softball programs were thinking of ways to raise funds for their respective programs, many thoughts ran across the board. However, the two teams kept coming back to one idea – uniting staff, parents and alumni. The result is the Spartan Baseball and Softball Spring Bash.
The two teams will host a 21 years and older live music event tomorrow, Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight at 115 Bourbon Street, 3350 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park. Tickets are $35, and the night includes food, open bar, and live music being performed by Friday Night Music Club, which features Oak Lawn English teacher Billy Denton as the lead singer. There will also be 50-50 raffles available.
For more information, contact head baseball coach Bill Gerny at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or head softball coach Brian Frangella at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 
Saint Xavier University Announces 2015 Commencement Ceremony Speakers
Saint Xavier University will host several guest speakers at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony in May. The Commencement ceremonies will be held in the Shannon Center at the University’s Chicago campus, located at 3700 W. 103rd Street.
President and Chief Executive Officer Ana Dutra of Executives’ Club of Chicago, will deliver the Commencement address on Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. to graduates of SXU’s Graham School of Management. Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Reynolds, Jr., of Loop Capital, is an honorary degree recipient who will also deliver the Commencement address on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. to graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Jason Canner, physician and head of pediatric hematology/oncology at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, will receive an honorary degree and deliver the Commencement address on Saturday, May 9 at 3 p.m. to graduates of the School of Education and School of Nursing.
Dutra has over 28 years of experience as a global executive, consultant, and business leader in technology, manufacturing, and professional services. She began her career as an attorney in Brazil, then moved to Chicago and started working at IBM. She is the founder and CEO of Mandala Global Advisors, as well as the former CEO and chief executive officer of Leadership and Talent Consulting at Korn/Ferry International. She has two decades of experience helping boards, CEOs, and senior management identify and align around transformational and growth strategies. Dutra received a master’s of business administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, as well as a master’s degree in economics from Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Rio de Janeiro and a juris doctor in international law from Univeridade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, all summa cum laude.
  James Reynolds, Jr. is founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Loop Capital, which has become the largest minority-owned financial services firm and one of the largest privately-held investment banks in the United States. Reynolds oversees all aspects of Loop Capital business – investment banking, brokerage and financial advisory services. He has over 27 years of experience in the financial services industry and began his career at PaineWebber where he established and headed the Midwest Municipal Bond Sales Desk. Reynolds later joined Merrill Lynch in the Corporate and Institutional Client Group department where he managed the municipal sales team responsible for the distribution of all tax-exempt products to institutions in the Midwest. He holds a masters of management in finance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a bachelor’s degreen in political science from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. He currently serves on the boards of buildOn, Chicago United, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future and The University of Chicago Medical Center.
Dr. Jason Canner is a physician and head of pediatric hematology/oncology at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital. Canner is actively involved in research in conjunction with the Children’s Oncology Group and has a specific interest in acute myeloid leukemia, survivorship and education for both families and health care professionals. In 2011 he founded The Cure It Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to winning the fight against childhood cancer by funding groundbreaking research and fulfilling the unmet needs of fighters, survivors and siblings affected by the illness.